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The Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies, yesterday called for synergy in tackling the security challenges currently facing the country.
Representatives of the security outfits spoke differently in Ibadan, at this year’s Operational Planning Cadre training programme organised by the 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, for the security agencies operating in the state.
The theme of the programme is: “Inter-agency Collaboration and Cooperation in Mitigating Contemporary Security Challenges”.
Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, in his presentation, said that the goals and objectives of the nation’s security agencies might not be achieved without collaborating with one another.
Represented by Ayodele Sonubi, Enwonwu, said: “We came from different agencies that cumulated into what we call security. Therefore, we need to improve and work together towards achieving better results. There is no single security outfit that can do it alone in terms of securing the nation. All hands must be on deck to achieve our objectives of securing the country,” he said.
A representative of NDLEA, ACN Luka Yerima, said it was imperative for the existing good relationships among senior officers to be extended to the rank and file. Yerima also stressed the need to address the problem of unhealthy rivalry among junior officers to enable them work harmoniously to achieve a common goal.
Chijoke Inyama, a representative of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said that some security agencies had the attitude of not responding to distress calls from other security agencies. In his opening address, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 2 Division, Nigeria Army, Maj.-Gen. Anthony Omozoje, said that the training would enhance understanding, growth and development among security agencies.
The programme was also attended by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Correctional Service.
NNPC, NPA, NIMASA under fireWritten by Admin
The Senate, yesterday, sought the comprehensive audit of accounts of top revenue generating agencies like Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Authority NIMASA), among others.
Senate’s Public Accounts Committee gave the charge while commenting on the 2021 budget for the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
It challenged acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Adolphus Aghughu, to focus more on financial transactions of big revenue generating agencies instead of beaming searchlight only on smaller organisations.
Chairman of the Committee, Mathew Urhoghide, who stated this frowned at the failure to audit the accounts of bigger agencies.
“You claim that you are auditing account of the federation and you won’t touch accounts of NNPC, NPA, NIMASA, among others. You will remove all the big spenders from your watch list, but will focus on smaller agencies. That is what has been happening from 2015 till date. We don’t want to be seeing these smaller agencies of government that you are focusing on because they can’t settle well. We are tired of seeing audit queries involving municipal councils leaving behind the big agencies.”
Urhoghide said his committee would carry out further work on what the AuGF was doing regarding the Bureau of Public Procurement.
“We are doing status enquiries on the Bureau of Public Procurement based on the Auditor General report. We want to expand the scope. We want to look at their revenues and expenditure profile. We will look at the budget, particularly the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). We want to see everything they have been collecting and how they’re spending it. We have asked the secretariat to write them and invite them. The indictment of the Auditor General is correct. They could not even defend the queries issued against them by the Auditor General.”
Urhoghide advised the AuGF to be proactive instead of waiting for corrupt activities to occur before taking action.
NLC weeps over Abuja-Kaduna road massacreWritten by Admin
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has condemned what it describes, as the senseless slaughter of no fewer than 15 commuters, on Sunday at Gidan Busa, Rijana, at the Kaduna end of the Abuja – Kaduna expressway.
A statement by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said scores were reportedly wounded and several others crashed into the bush, as over 20 vehicles were said to have been stopped and attacked.
Labour is worried that the Gidan Busa attack was not only one too many on that road, especially at the Kaduna end of the road in recent times, but it is also arguably the most horrific and represents the height of impunity and lawlessness.
The statement expressed fear that security agents have not done enough to contain the surge of violence on that road, while it noted that in the last couple of weeks alone, multiple attacks have been recorded in and around the same area designated as a dark spot.
Labour argues that “…except something is urgently done, we are fast degenerating into anarchy, with no place to hide.
“It is enough that the roads are bad and accident-inducing in addition to extortions, especially of food vendors.
“Labour, therefore, called upon the security agencies to rise to the renewed challenges of internal security…”
The Minister of state for petroleum Timipre Sylva, says the recent hike in pump price of petrol, was due to the price increase in refining crude oil.
Briefing state house correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, Sylva explained that since Petrol is refined from crude, its price is directly related to the price of crude oil in the market.
He noted that the price of the feedstock from which petrol is refined, is high at the moment hence the increase in the pump price of petrol.
The minister gave the assurance that as soon as the price of refining the crude drops, the pump price of petrol will altomatically drop.
Sylva maintained that Nigeria’s earnings are not fixed because it is dependent on crude oil price, adding that what happened recently was because of the announcement of a vaccine for COVID-19 by Pfizer, making crude oil prices increase a little.
While noting that these are not the best of times not only for Nigeria but for the global community, the minister insists that the Nigerian government is no longer in the business of fixing pump price and that is the meaning of deregulation and stepping back on subsidy.
He said he was at the presidential villa to brief president Buhari, who doubles as the minister of petroleum, on happenings in the sector.
The Vice-Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has decried the rate of poverty in Nigeria.
In a statement issued on Monday, Obi “warned that no nation can develop and prosper with a rising large poor population as in Nigeria.”
For Obi, the “poverty rate in Nigeria should worry every concerned leader because there couldn’t be national growth under this situation,” adding that “no country can develop and prosper with a rising large poor population as in Nigeria.”
He explained that “Poverty is dehumanizing, it is therefore left for humanity to create a better world by putting measures in place to eradicate poverty and give everyone the chance to live a meaningful life.”
He asked government agencies, organizations and wealthy people around the country to join hands to combat poverty and reduce it to the barest minimum so as to have a safe environment.
The former governor of Anambra State lamented that the country “has become the poverty capital of the world, with over 90 million people living in poverty and more than 15 million out-of-school children roaming the streets, Obi said that the government could not continue to turn a blind eye to such depressing situation.”
Obi advised the Federal and state governments to invest in economic growth, explaining that doing so would “lift people out of poverty in no distant time noting that investment in education and health, and support for small businesses, remain the pivotal ways of eradicating poverty in any nation.
“To combat poverty in Nigeria, organizations and wealthy individuals must deploy their resources to support government investments in these critical areas.”
A Federal High Court in Abuja has again adjourned the hearing of the alleged certificate forgery suit filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Although the suit was slated for hearing on Monday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the suit until Wednesday.
The adjournment followed the submissions by counsel to Governor Obaseki, Mr Ken Mozia, that all pending motions relating to pleadings must first be resolved before going into the substantive matter.
Mozia specifically asked the court to allow him move his motion challenging the competence of the reply filed by the APC to the defence of his in the matter.
However, lawyer to the APC, Mr Akin Olujimi, objected to the position of the governor’s counsel on the pending motions.
He prayed the court to step down all the pending applications and allow him proceed with the substantive matter by calling his witnesses who were in court.
In a short ruling before adjourning the suit, Justice Mohammed held that the motion of Governor Obaseki challenging the competence of the APC’s reply to his defence was fundamental because it related to the pleadings and has to be resolved first.
Governor Obaseki contested the September 19 governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a bid to extend his stay in office by another four years.
After defecting from the APC to the PDP, he went ahead to defeat Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu and was returned elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The governor secured 307,955 of the total votes, 84,336 more votes than his closest rival Ize-Iyamu, who got 223, 619 votes.
Mr Dahiru Buba, the man who trekked from Gombe to Abuja in celebration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in 2015, has received support from the Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya.
He was reported to have developed limb complications from the solidarity walk he undertook to celebrate the first term victory of the President and called on the government and others to come to his aid.
The 50-year old native of Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe, who is a commercial driver, can now heave a sigh of relief after he was presented with a car and the sum of N2 million on Monday.
Governor Yahaya’s media aide, Ismaila Misilli, noted in a statement that Buba was taken to the Government House clinic for diagnosis from where he was referred to a private orthopaedic hospital where he was examined and placed on medication.
He later met with Governor Yahaya at the Gombe Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, in company with some top politicians in the state.
“For taking the pains and risks to show solidarity with Mr President and our great party, people like Buba should not be neglected.
“By embarking on that solidarity trek, Dahiru Buba had shown patriotism and support, he should therefore be appreciated and encouraged,” the governor said when he received Buba.
He added, “So, on learning about his condition, first I directed that he should be taken to the hospital for proper medical attention and I am happy that he is now better after undergoing his first round of treatment.”
Reward For Genuine Sacrifice
The governor explained that the 50-year-old was gifted the car to support him with his commercial transport service to sustain his livelihood.
He stated that the cash gift was also to enable the driver purchase a house within his locality since he has yet to own one.
“As far as we are concerned in the APC and in this administration, no genuine effort or sacrifice will go unrewarded, no matter how long it takes.
“So, on behalf of our dear President and our beloved party, we say a big thank you for your show of support and solidarity,” Governor Yahaya told Buba.
In his response, an emotional Buba thanked the President and the governor for recognising him and coming to his aid.
He said even with his earlier challenges after he returned from his 15-day journey, his spirit had never been dampened in his love for the President and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Buba also promised to use the vehicle and the money judiciously, saying the gesture truly motivated and spurred him as a loyal party man, and as a breadwinner of his family.
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has claimed that more of his counterparts will join the All Progressives Congress (APC), from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following in the footsteps of Ebonyi’s David Umahi.
There were reports that Umahi had concluded plans to pitch his tent with the APC ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Speaking to journalists after a closed-door meeting with the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni, and other members of the committee, at the APC National Secretariat, Abuja on Monday, said more governors would soon dump PDP for the APC.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that Federal Government’s Executive Order 10 is politically motivated and geared towards the 2023 general elections.
The governor, however, warned that if implemented, the order would destroy the criminal justice system in the states.
The governor stated this yesterday at the third Annual Nigerian Criminal Law Review Conference organised by the Rule of Law Development Foundation in Abuja.
In a statement issued by his Media Assistant, Kelvin Ebiri, the governor revealed that the Executive Order 10 permitted deduction of funds from each state account to finance the judiciary.
He said: “Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Federal Government, which has been hostile to judges, now suddenly wants to lure the judiciary to assume that it believed in the independence of the judiciary by enacting Executive Order 10.
“Independence does not equate taking resources and presiding over the award of contracts. If the judgment cannot be given according to conscience and the law, there is no independence. This affects the criminal justice system.”
Wike also pointed out that the Federal Government’s politicisation of security issues would continue to negatively affect the criminal justice system in the country.
He argued that kidnappings, banditry and armed robbery, which threaten the country’s existence and stability clearly justified the establishment of state or community police.
The governor noted that while the establishment of state police might require amendment of section 214(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Rivers State Government thought that community policing or Neighbourhood Watch could be established without a constitutional amendment.
He explained that it was against this background that his government enacted the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law 8 of 2018, which established the agency as a corporate body with powers to establish uniformed Neighbourhood Safety Corps in the 23 council areas of the state.
It is also vested with powers to prescribe regulations guiding the operations of the Safety Corps and any other local government vigilante group in the state.
In furtherance of the law, he stated that recruitment and training of members of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps commenced at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Nonwa, Tai Council Area, after obtaining necessary approvals from the Nigeria Army and other security agencies.
He said given that criminal justice system was linked to security, peace and order, there was the need for stakeholders to rethink the system through reforms to address current challenges.
Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Joseph Daudu (SAN), commended Governor Wike for being a pillar of rule of law in the country.
There are indications that the Federal Government may have tacitly allowed the price of Premium Motor Spirit (popularly called petrol) to be determined by market forces.
The development is indicated in the new role by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), the trading arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
In the meantime, there could be a fresh round of protests against the hike in the price of PMS by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart.
Organised Labour said it would be receiving updates from its unions in the petroleum and electricity sectors before coming up with a final decision in the coming days.
“The outcome of this engagement will determine our response in the coming days. But while we are at that, we condemn the recent price increase, and we call for its reversal with immediate effect.”
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, clarified that the fresh fuel price increase was not part of the agreement reached with the Federal Government in October.
The PPMC has, in the last three months, been conveying the price of petrol to Nigerians and issuing memos to depot managers.
Before now, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) was in charge of announcing monthly price guide, which stakeholders in the sector as well as transportation sub-sector, use in determining the price of services.
But in the prevailing setting, the PPMC, which is just a marketer like others, is in charge of price announcement. This has resulted in arbitrary pricing, as there is no longer clear-cut agency that monitors compliance in the sector.
The Price Review Committee (PRC), which was set up by the Federal Government to appraise the price of PMS, has since been disbanded by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva. Even before the disbandment, the NNPC had refused to attend its meetings for two consecutive months.
The PRC drew its membership from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), PPPRA among others.
As it is, the PPPRA has been confined to promoting the usage of gas as an alternative to petrol.
The Senate and Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation have disagreed over the hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives.
The Director, Media, and Publicity of the Muhammadu Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign Committee, Kailani Muhammad, had at the weekend, berated unnamed governors and federal lawmakers for their alleged role in hoarding palliatives meant for distribution to Nigerians in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said their action “revealed how selfish elected leaders have become”.
Muhammad, who lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his investment in the youth population, said had leaders across other layers of government done a fraction of what Buhari did, the fortune of the youths would have been better than it is today.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, Muhammad said that but for the twist in the #EndSARS protests, Nigerians wouldn’t have known that foodstuffs meant for distribution were safely in warehouses for reasons unknown to millions across the country.
His words: “The average Nigerian hardly eats two meals a day, but our politicians from the National Assembly and the governors cruise flamboyantly in Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) around town. I am optimistic that this #EndSARS movement will jilt them out of stupor. The protesters have touched the conscience of a mass section of the various stratum of our nation across board. What our so-called leaders need to do now is to sit back and think deeply about where they went wrong.
“It was during the protests that Nigerians got to know that President Buhari had long ago, approved a whooping N75 billion for Youth Investment Fund (YIF) that is meant to empower the youth stratum with a loan facility ranging from N250, 000 to N50million. That was a heartwarming revelation. Moreover, over N53 billion was approved for state governors, apart from the palliatives from the Humanitarian Ministry”.
In a counter-statement yesterday by its spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, the senate described the allegation as either wicked lies or deliberate misinformation on the part of Muhammad.
Basiru said that the lawmakers never received any COVID-19 palliative from either Mr. President or the Federal Government for onward distribution to their constituents.
The senate’s statement read in part:
“While not speaking for the governors, I make bold to say that no federal lawmaker, and indeed, no senator received any kobo from Mr. President or any foodstuff or any material for that matter, talk less of hoarding them.
“Rather, at the senate, we donated half of the members’ salaries for the purpose of cushioning the effect of COVID 19.
“We legislators equally played our part by purchasing and distributing palliatives to people at our different constituencies. So it is quite unfortunate for Muhammad or anyone to castigate us in the public and saying what is not true.”
Osinbajo seeks probe of #EndSARS violenceWritten by Admin
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, emphasised the need to thoroughly investigate deep causes of the chaos that led to the destruction of life and property in Lagos State amid #EndSARS protests.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the inauguration of the Board of Trustees of the Rebuild Lagos Trust Fund, said that the violence that took place portends a major economic setback for Nigeria.
According to him, there are many ways that the future of the country is closely tied to the fortune of the state, stressing that the state leads in the collection of non-oil revenues.
The Vice President, who disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari was awaiting the full report of the incident, added that the Executive was having a conversation with the National Assembly on the collaboration that must take place between the Executive and the Legislature to fast-track the reconstruction efforts.
“I don’t know how the noble course such as the #Endsars protest designed to call attention to a serious problem of the brutality of extra-judicial killings by law enforcement agents can be subverted and lead to the exact opposite of its objective, chaos, murder, looting, and arson.
“We have seen what can happen when the strings of law and order are loosed and anarchy is given a free rein. Society is bent on balances between freedom and order.
“We have also realised that order itself in a social context is sustained by the consent of the governed.
MEANWHILE, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the House was ready to support the interventions of the Federal Government to rebuild Lagos and other states worst-hit by the protests.
Gbajabiamila also tasked Lagosians to put heads and resources together to rebuild the state in view of the destruction of property worth billions of naira in the state.
He said he was heartbroken after going round the state for an on-the-spot assessment of the devastation that followed the unrest.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said: “The violence has no doubt set our economy back by tens of billions of naira, and impacted our confidence. We have, however, found hope and great strength in the offers of assistance from far and wide, which culminated in the constitution of the Lagos Rebuild Committee to co-ordinate our efforts to rebuild and upgrade our state.
Also, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, who stated that the public and private sector must address youths’ unemployment, said: “If youths’ unemployment is left unchallenged, it can provide ground for our youths to engage in nefarious activities that could be harmful to the progress of the country.
“We must therefore seek to promote increasing policies that will equip our youths in the right skills that will support innovation, employment, and wealth creation.”
Worried by the shutdown of the nation’s universities for about eight months, governors have asked the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to shift grounds.
They are pleading with the Federal Government to create a temporary salary payment window pending the outcome of the ongoing testing of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), recommended by ASUU.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA is already subjecting UTAS to test.
It was learnt that the governors have met with some past leaders of ASUU on how to end the strike on mutual terms.
ASUU has been on strike since March 23, leading to a near loss of 2019/2020 academic session.
The nation’s varsities may also record admission backlogs, should the crisis persist beyond December.
According to investigation, the governors are disturbed by the consequences of the continued closure of the universities on the future of younger generation.
The governors felt the deadlock in talks between ASUU and the Federal Government was amenable.
It was also gathered that the governors felt they could fill in the gaps between the two parties without bruising any side.
A source, who was in the know of the intervention, said they identified the row over IPPIS as compounding the negotiation with ASUU.
The source said: “The governors have met behind-the-scene with all the ministers either involved or connected with the negotiation with ASUU.
“During a session with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the governors’ representatives asked the Federal Government to create a temporary salary payment window which can be a stop-gap between IPPIS and UTAS.
“They said the temporary payment modality will subsist until UTAS or any other payment is agreed upon by both parties. They said the nation cannot afford to continue to shut down its varsities endlessly.”
A governor told our correspondent: “We have reached out to past and present ASUU leaders to put the interest of the nation above personal desires.
“Our main message to all the parties is to shift grounds on all the issues at the negotiation table.
“The two sides need to face the reality of the economic challenges at hand and accommodate all issues within the nation’s capacity. We believe, there are quick win demands of ASUU and there are long-term ones. But with sincere dialogue, the Federal Government and ASUU can reach amicable agreement.”
The conciliator between the two parties, Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige, last week said the Federal Government had tried its best to meet the demands of ASUU.
Ngige said only three things needed to be resolved.
He listed the additional concessions given to ASUU as follows:
- Receipt of ASUU’s University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) salary payment proposal and presentation to NITDA for verification
- Readiness of the government to pay N40b for Earned Allowances for ASUU members, other unions
- FG to set up visitation panels for all universities
- The FG-ASUU renegotiation team likely for inauguration.
- N20billion for the revitalization of universities.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday released its updated economic funding support totalling $99 billion to 70 emerging and developing economies to tackle COVID-19 pandemic.
In an emailed report, the IMF said it advanced $29 billion under the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing instrument to Nigeria and other beneficiary countries.
Nigeria got $3.4 billion of the $29 billion to enable it strengthen balance of payment and local currency.
The fund said other countries also benefited from the support fund through other channels, including augmentations under existing programmes, to the tune of over $70 billion, thus bringing the total support fund to the $99 billion.
Many African countries like Ghana, Gabon and South Africa, among others, have been knocking on the IMF’s door for financial assistance to fight the pandemic.
As the virus plunged Africa into its deepest recession in decades, IMF continued to support many of the member countries to pull out of the financial implications on their economies.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the fund was meant to assist Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19 and resolve urgent balance of payment needs.
The fund said even compared to previous crises such as the Ebola epidemic, the needs triggered by this current pandemic are unprecedented.
“The fund’s rapid response helped many countries to contain and mitigate the impact of this external shock,’’ according to the report.
This financial assistance does not have traditional IMF conditionalities and phasing of disbursements over time. But countries still undertake policy commitments to address their difficulties, and governance commitments about how those resources are to be spent.
The Fund said the human toll and global economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic triggered unprecedented demand for financing.
The multilateral institution added that it had provided relief to more than one-third of its membership.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, the IMF has responded rapidly and decisively to meet urgent and exceptional demand for financial assistance from its membership,” it said in the statement.
Since March 2020, 70 members, including many low-income countries, have received financial support under the two instruments created to address urgent financing needs that may arise from natural disasters (including pandemics, earthquakes and hurricanes).
The IMF explained that in April, it approved a broad package of reforms, which built on previous changes to strengthen the reach and flexibility of financial assistance under these facilities.
The IMF disclosed that across Africa, countries are trying to build buffers to strengthen their economies, and for Nigeria, it is through the collection of taxes.
It said Nigeria should use the crisis to transform into a more resilient economy.