Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday disclosed that the Federal Government is ready to deploy new measures of dealing with the wider problem of systemic corruption in the country which directly affects the vast majority of ordinary Nigerians.
Osinbajo stated this at an anti-corruption summit organised by the Office of the Vice President and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in Abuja.
He said the initial policy of the present government was to tackle grand corruption, which involves the stealing of huge public resources directly from the treasury.
According to the Vice President, such kind of corruption existed at the behest of the highest levels of executive authority, with the stealing of budgeted funds through various schemes.
The Vice President explained that: “We are now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption, especially where the average person interacts with government. It is that level of corruption that affects our people the most – where the average person is doing some business or is seeking some favour or some discretion from government.”
Osinbajo listed areas where corruption is affecting ordinary Nigerians to include, the issuance of contracts, licenses and other government approvals.
“There is no reason why any Nigerian should have to pay bribes to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licenses or passports, or to clear goods at our ports,” he added.
The Vice President, therefore, called for more collaboration among government agencies and interest groups in the fight against corruption.
He also said that a new national re-orientation and attitudinal change would be required for corruption to be effectively tackled in the country.
According to him, “Our struggle against corruption is one for the soul and substance of our nation.
“The battle must be a collective one, corruption fights back with venom, guile and force. It is relentless and unashamed we who fight it must meet it with greater resolve and force.
“We can only win by working together with a common vision.”
Osinbajo said corruption has been Nigeria’s most devastating problem for many years and has continued to hinder development.
He referred to a recent PriceWaterhouse Coopers’ study, which concluded that Nigeria’s 2030 GDP could be up to $534 billion or more if it reduces corruption, pointing out that the country’s high revenue could not translate to development if corruption is not checked.
Osinbajo explained further that it was for this reason that one of the first bodies to be set up in 2015 by the President Buhari was the PACAC.
According to him, even though the Buhari administration has done much since 2015 in the fight against corruption, there is still a long way to go to stem it.
The Vice President said the policy of the administration has been to tackle grand corruption first, using various strategies.
“The enforcement of TSA, the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, and even ensuring that most civil servants are on the IPPIS electronic platform have helped greatly to control official theft of public funds.
“The judiciary also moved the needle in recent times….
“This opens the door for forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.”
In his address of welcome, the Chairman of PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, said the anti-corruption information and intelligence roundtable organised by the committee on June 1, 2016, recommended short-term and long-term approaches for the successful collaboration among anti-corruption agencies.
Osinbajo added that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) structure would be adopted for the sharing of information and intelligence on corruption in the short-term.
Buhari orders tough military action against bandits
President Muhammadu Buhari has given a matching order to the military to clamp down heavily on bandits and other criminals across the country.
The President who gave the order on Saturday in Katsina State, charged the military to be more spontaneous in restoring peace to the country, particularly states troubled by bandits. Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity to the President Garba Shehu, in a statement, quoted Buhari as ordering them “not to spare bandits’’ that have been killing, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.
Addressing 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base in Katsina, under the “Operation Hadarin Daji’’, at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, President Buhari, said: “This group was formed by the military to secure the geopolitical zone from the activities of bandits. Fundamentally, it is your responsibility to secure the country.
“As the Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces, I believe you are capable of doing it. I don’t think you should spare any bandit. Identify and eliminate them. Pursue them anywhere you can find them and eliminate them,’’ he said.
“Nigeria deserves peace. The rainy season is good and we are already achieving food security, but we need peace. The money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations,’’ he said.
The President, flanked by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, assured the troops that the Federal Government will provide all the necessary support for restoration of peace in the country.
“We will give you all the right equipment so that you can deal with them with despatch. I appreciate all your efforts but you can do more. I don’t want any bandit spared,’’ he added.
President Buhari said the government and all officials were being sustained in office by the ordinary people, and they owe the people a duty to protect their lives and property. “Please give my regards to your families. The earlier you finish with the bandits, the earlier you will return and stay with your families,’’ he said.
ABU Alumni dominate Buhari’s cabinet
When President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurates his cabinet on Wednesday, a group of people will stand out. They are the Alumni of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Kaduna State.
They attended the institution at different times, but fate and Buhari has brought them together as members of the Federal Executive Council, who will execute the Next Level Agenda of the Daura, Katsina State born retired general.
The journey to Wednesday’s historical date started on July 23, 2019, when, Buhari forwarded a list of 43 nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation for appointment as ministers. Not willing to delay the screening of the long awaited nominees, the Senate immediately resolved to suspend its annual break for one week, in order to treat the list with dispatch before going on the long holiday.
However, beyond the peripheral glimpse on the ministerial list as forwarded to the apex legislative chamber for screening, Sunday Telegraph decided to take a deeper and critical look at other indices and compositions of the list. Doing this, it was observed that out of the 43 nominees, nine were nominated from the North West geopolitical zone while President Buhari allotted seven ministerial slots to the North East.
Also, the North Central, South West and South South all got equal ministerial slots of seven while only the South East geopolitical zone got the least slot of six appointees.
It is also important to note that while the North West has seven states and the largest among the six geopolitical zones of the country, the other four have six states, and only the South East has five states, a situation that has been a point of agitation for the disadvantaged region, as it seeks to get one additional state for a balance. Meanwhile, one striking issue of interest in the configuration of Buhari’s next cabinet ministers is that 13 of the 43 ministers-designate, representing 30.23 per cent are alumni of the reputed ABU.
A statistical breakdown of the number shows that four of the ministers-designate, representing 9.3 per cent who are products of the ABU, are from the Boko Haram insurgency stricken North East zone of the country.
The appointees from this zone are Mohammed Musa Bello (Adamawa), who is the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and Adamu Adamu (Bauchi), who is the immediate past Minister of Education.
Other ABU Alumi in the list of the recently confirmed ministerial appointees are Ambassador Maryam Katagum (Bauchi) and Mustapha Baba Shehuri, who hails from Borno State. Ambassador Katagum obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and a Graduate Certificate in Education at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1976 before she proceeded to the United States of America for further studies.
Six out of the 13 ABU graduate ministers-designate, representing 13.95 per cent are of the North West extraction namely: Engr. Sulaiman Adamu (Jigawa) and Zainab Shumsuna (Kaduna), who is the immediate past Minister of Finance. Others are Sabo Nanono (Kano), Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi (Kano), Muhammadu Maigairi Dingyadi (Sokoto), and Sa’adiya (Zamfara). Further more, two of the ministers-designate representing 4.65 per cent of the total nominees are from the North Central states of Kogi and Niger in the persons of Ramatu Tijani and Ambassador Zubairu Dada, respectively. Only two of the appointees are from the Southern part of Nigeria.
One is a former Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Goddy Jedy-Agba, from Cross Rivers State, and Sunday Akin Dare, from Oyo State. It is also important to note that there are a total of seven women among the 43 ministerial nominations made by President Buhari, and out of them, seven are products of the Ahmadu Bello University.
The three female appointees are Ambassador Maryam Katagum, Ramatu Tijani and Sa’adiya Umar Farouk. They were among the senators who were asked by the Senate to “take a bow and go” during the just concluded ministerial screening.
Army/police face-off: Common man now enemy of state –Gen Williams
…urges communities to support neighbourhood security
•We’re in state of anarchy –Police officer
One-time head, Training and Doctrine Command Nigerian Army (TRADOC), Major- General Isola Williams, said the recent show of shame which led to the killings of four members of the Inspector General of Police Response Team (IRT), was not only appalling, but had made the people, whom the security agencies were supposed to protect, the enemy of state. Last week, four members of the IRT were killed in Ibi, Ibi Local Government, Taraba State, when they went to arrest a suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Wadume.
They succeeded in arresting Wadume, but were gunned down by soldiers on the orders of an army Captain, despite the fact that they identified themselves that they were on official and legitimate duty. Williams, in a chat with Sunday Telegraph, said this happened because the army got involved in duties meant for police. “There is a reason you separate military and the police.
One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people,” he said, quoting Admiral William Bill. Gen Williams provided a solution: “The civilians will blow the whistles to support security agencies.
The community policemen must stay in the community and not in the barracks.” A serving senior police officer, who spoke with the Weekly on the condition of anonymity, decried the brutal assassination of the four police officers in Taraba, saying, “It is demoralising for officers to be killed in the line of duty. “Now, the implication is much for the society, the family, the young children and the wives they left behind.
The way and manner they were brutally killed, they did not have to die the way and manner they did. “There is no amount of compensation that can take their place in the family. It will only take the grace of God for them not take it against the society when they get to know the way and manner their breadwinners were wasted.
“Here are officers who were commended for saving military officers when they were abducted. “We are in a state of anarchy. If a serving DPO could be abducted and he paid N3 million for ransom, the ordinary man is not safe. Wiith soldiers killing police men on official and legitimate duty, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
“The situation is dicey as the civilians are part of the problem. The man at the root of it all is a case in point. From all indications, there is the report that soldiers are on his payroll. To worsen the situation, the felled officers rescued military men when they were abducted. The military gave them a letter of commendation.
Look at the celebrated case of Evans. The case is dead when the principal witness is dead. We are just going around in cycles. Only God can deliver and protect us.” In the meantime, over 25 soldiers and policemen have been arrested for their alleged culpability in the dastardly act.
They include the army captain and the latest being the DCO of Ibi Police Division and the Station Officer. The DCO was said to have had over 200 telephone chats with Wadume who is said to be on the run.
President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a thorough probe into the killing of the IRT operatives who were taking Wadume to the Taraba State Police Command when they died under a hail of bullets from soldiers at a check point. For the Chief Security Officer, Watertight Security Limited, Lagos, Mr. John Effiong, the face-off between the Nigerian police and Nigerian army is a pitiable one as it suggests weakness.
For him, the country has never had it this bad, saying that the situation endangers the lives of over 180 million Nigerians who depend on them for safety and protection.
He said: “This situation has been going on in the Nigeria security apparatus but it’s made clear now by this. You can recall one that happened along Lagos-Badagry Expressway, where army ambushed police officers that went for a peace talk. “It shows that intelligence collection between the two sisters agencies is faulty, which shouldn’t be. They must douse this tension before this blame trading leads to war between the army and the police.
“Those officers loyal to the deceased might want to avenge their colleagues’ death. It’s a bad signal and not good for the country’s security in a time like this when the country is combating crimes and terrorism – herdsmen, Boko Haram and Bandits among others.”
For a retired police DCO Bernard Obiaroko, both the police and army should be made to understand that they work for the good of the country and can’t be working at a cross purpose. He said, “If you go through the roles and missions of the two forces, it is to protect and maintain…
So, they are working for the same government and the same masses at all times. I said this because there have been cases of clashes between the two actors. “They clashed in Ebonyi State the other day, in Rivers, Abuja and Taraba to mention but a few.
This is not good for foreign investors. Insecurity will not allow any country to grow. The principal actors in this crisis must note this. “Having said this, this is the manifestation of what is happening in the country and you wouldn’t expect anything different. “Our security system can’t continue this way. Mr President must show himself a president ready to secure and protect the lives of people under him. This is just one killing too many.”
IBB: My only prayer is an indivisible Nigeria
•Buhari, Bello, Aliyu, others felicitate with former military president
•‘IBB is Nigeria’s most experienced leader’ –Ex-gov Aliyu
Former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has said the only thing he prays for, is an indivisible Nigeria, adding that “there is no place like home”.
This was as well-wishers described him as the most experienced national political leader in the country at the moment. General Babangida said on Saturday during his 78 birthday at his Uphill Mansion, Minna that there is the need for Nigerians to unite and sustain the entity called Nigeria. Babangida said: “I thank the Almighty God for sparing my life up to this time. God has been very kind (to me) and I remain very grateful.
“My word to everyone is that, we don’t have any other country except this country. So, we must all work together, men and women; young and old to make sure that this country survives, the unity of this country is maintained.
To make sure we identify ourselves as Nigerians all the time “My prayer everyday for Nigeria is that this country of ours remains as one indivisible nation”.
While calling on Nigerians to continue in prayers for the peace and unity of the country, General Babangida said “this is my wish and prayer as I celebrate my 78th birthday, irrespective of age, tribe or religious differences Nigeria must remain an indivisible nation.”
President Muhammadu Buhari in his congratulatory message said: “On behalf of the Federal Executive Council, my family and all Nigerians, please accept my warm felicitations on your 78th birthday.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity Garba Shehu notes that: “On this special day of your life, the reminiscences of your courage and invaluable service to the army in protecting the sovereignty of the country come to the fore. Thank you for the role of statesman you are playing in the affairs the nation.
“As you age gracefully, the country will continue to look up to you for guidance and wisdom. May Allah continue to increase your health and grant you the strength to give your best to your family and the nation,” he added.
Governor of Niger state, Abubakar Sani Bello described General Babangida as a staunch advocate of the unity of Nigeria, peace builder and a dogged patriot who has remained committed to the corporate existence of the nation.
According to a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, the Governor said General Babangida as an Elder statesman has carved a niche for himself in the annals of Nigeria’s history as a unifying factor and an enigmatic leader among various political actors.
Also, the immediate past Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu told our Correspondent that, he was particularly happy that General Babangida was still alive and rendering services to God and humanity.
According to him “some are happy that he has reached 78 years and we are counting, we hope that he stays far longer because he is probably the most experienced leader that we have had so far in this part of the world and we need him around as an elder, a leader and an adviser.”
While extolling the virtues of the former Nigerian leader, the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, described General Babangida as a nationbuilder who has continued to champion the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. According to him “the former military leader remains an inspiration to many, especially young politicians who continue to draw inspiration from his leadership charisma.
In a statement he issued over the weekend, Senator Sani Musa said despite resigning from active politics IBB has continued to contribute positively towards the development of the state and Nigeria as a whole.
Experts: Nigeria’s population is unknown
…say 200 million figure a projection from rejected 2006 head count
•NPC population is 198m, OECD 190m and UNFPA 201m
In any country, governments, business and civil society need accurate population figures to plan their services properly. Credible census data are required to ensure equitable distribution of government resources, planning, and for the achievement of basic development goals as well as in the delivery of essential services. PAUL OGBUOKIRI reports that Nigeria’s population has remained unknown, leaving planners to mainly guess or depend on unreliable estimates
Controversy over census figures
Controversy over Nigeria’s census figures is nothing new. Accusations that the country’s official population figures had been rigged date back to even before independence in the 1950s and have continued under both military and civilian regimes.
In the run up to independence in 1960, the British authorities were accused of skewing census figures to favour the interest of northern political elite. After independence, the same accusations were made about the seriously flawed 1963 census.
The next official population count, conducted in 1973, was no better. It was officially annulled and no figures were published. After that, there was no attempt at a head count until 1991 when a census was conducted and just as quickly discredited and annulled.
The most recent attempt came in 2006, which declared that the population had reached just over 140 million. Festus Odimegwu, a former Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), in an interview with journalists, said no census in Nigeria’s history has been valid and that trying to count Nigerians was “impossible”.
He said that was why he resigned his appointment as the National Population Commission (NPC) chairman after 20 frustrating months (the presidency insisted he was sacked).
Also speaking, Dr. Akanni Akinyemi, a lecturer in Demography and Social Statistics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said cultural practices in the North and difficult terrains in the South had made head counting almost impossible in the country.
“There is a concept of ‘Ba Shiga’ in the northern part of the country, which forbids entry, particularly of a male guest into house.
That means that enumerators must accept potentially erroneous numbers given to them by the male head of the household,” he explained.
Nigeria’s total population
Towing the same line, Dr Loretta Ntoimo of the Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, admitted that the population of Nigeria is not certain. “We depend on projections. It was from the projections that the 200 million figures for 2019 were arrived at.”
She, however, said that the projection was based on the 140 million census figures of 2006 which was questioned by experts because they did not analyse it. She added: “If you do the projections from past censuses like that of 1991, you will get something close to the 200 figure being brandied as the country’s population this year.”
However, according to the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 70 per cent of the children born annually in Nigeria are not registered at birth. It noted that this failure to track the biggest source of population growth – babies – makes it “difficult to verify the information on census forms” later on.
Other demographers spoken to by Sunday Telegraph at the weekend insisted that no one can give a firmly reliable estimate for the total population of the country, saying the figures commonly cited today are from the World Bank, “and they are extrapolated from the derided and rejected 2006 headcount.
“That implies that today’s statistics – taken from faulty figures – are equally misleading,” they said.
Also speaking, Odimegwu said: “These figures are just guess estimates. Nobody knows whether the population of Nigeria is 120 million, 150 million, 200 million – no Nigerian, not the NPC, the UN, and the World Bank. Unless you conduct a proper census, which has never been done without political interference, it is not possible to know.”
Politics, money fuel population census rigging
According to Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation, the real cause of controversy in Nigeria’s population censuses has always been the influence of politics and money (revenue sharing). In a research carried out by Adewale Maja-Pearce and Eleanor Whitehead on Nigeria population figures, it noted that the reason the British rigged the pre-independence census figures in the 1950s was reportedly to allocate more seats in parliament to those they favoured in the North, and diminish the political influence of the South.
It further noted that Nigeria’s census results are a loaded issue because they largely determine the distribution of public funding and power between states. “The higher a state’s population, the more money it gets from the Federal Government.
“The censuses of 1963, 1973 and 1991 were also widely seen in the South as having deliberately underrepresented the southern population to justify the distribution of resources to the North,” the research report indicated.
According to Prof. Olasupo Ogunjuyigbe of the Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, censuses conducted after independence suffered from the problem of overcount.
“The people who refused to be counted during the colonial era were counted more than once and some had multiple counts.” Four failed attempts on national headcount Prof. Ogunjuyigbe said it is no surprise, therefore that four censuses have been aborted since Independence in 1960 “due to logistical difficulties and allegations that ethnic or religious groups had sought to inflate their numbers”.
Sunday Telegraph notes that results of the first postindependence census conducted in 1962 were withdrawn. The reliability of the 1963 census was questioned. The results of the 1973 census were discredited and never saw the light of day, and no census was conducted in 1981.
The 1991 census was marred by allegations of cheating when some states showed every household in the state having exactly the number of members as the census form provided lines to list people. Dr. Akinyemi said unsurprisingly, the 2006 census was subject to all the same flaws as before.
“There was huge influence from the communities and political class to manipulate the whole processes.
In my view, there was a competitive manipulation across many communities and states,” he said.
Arguments and counter arguments since have revolved particularly around the number of people in Lagos State in the South and Kano in the North. In a report on the 2006 census process, Odimegwu said: “Even before the census was conducted, highly placed individuals and organisations in several states had already determined to the decimal point the population of a particular area or region.”
This last census was also marred by abductions of census officials, abandonment by enumerators, shortages of materials and violence.
Different population figures for one country Nigeria is reputed to be the most populous country in the black race and seventh most-populous country in the world in 2019 with the estimated population of 200.9 million, using the unaccepted 2006 headcount.
A census was supposed to be conducted since 2016, 10 years after the last one, but this has not happened three years after and a peep into the 2019 Appropriation Act, shows that the headcount will most likely not take place next year.
According the National Population Commission (NPC), Nigeria’s population has risen to 198 million as at July 2019.
Chairman of the Commission, Yusuf Anka, in a media briefing to mark the 2019 World Population Day in Abuja, said that the NPC arrived at the figure through application of appropriate census tools.
“The current population of Nigeria is about 198 million people. Recall that about three months ago, UNFPA brought out a figure of 201 million, and we were also asked to comment on that.
“Our comment was for us, the difference between the UNFPA figure and our own figure is a function of assumption they have made and the assumption that we have also made. And as you know, in the absence of an accurate census, you have to use a model or projections to arrive at the figure that you are projecting,” he said.
However, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) using the Africapolis urban study puts our population at 190.56 million for 2019.
“The OECD has adjusted Nigeria’s population figures on the basis of the much reduced urban populations estimated by the Africapolis team,” Dr Deborah Potts, a reader in Human Geography at Kings College London told Africa Check.
He said: “Their calculations put Nigeria’s population at 110.1 million in 2000, compared to a UN estimate for that year of 123.7 million.”
In the report, the organisation estimated that Nigeria’s population in 2006 was just over 134 million; below the 140 million reported in the census. “Using a similar growth rate to project the OECD figure to today gives an estimate of around 190.56. It was 162 million in 2014,” Dr Potts said.
“The entire world community takes the statistics issued by the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) essentially at face value.
What we aren’t really told is that even the UNPD can hardly pinpoint the current and future population of Nigeria with any accuracy.
This is due to the fact that the underlying data on the ground are so suspect and erratic,” said Dr Potts. “When one is relying upon international agency population projections for analyses of countries such as Nigeria (and thus the world), it is worth taking it all with a grain of salt,” she added.
No land for RUGA, S’ East govs insist
For the umpteenth time, Enugu State government has refuted rumours of secretes allocation of land for Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlement in the state. The state government said that her position has not changed from that of the South East Governor’s Forum which made it clear that there is no land for RUGA in South East geopolitical zone of the country.
Speaking on the matter, an official of the state government who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter said that “mischief makers” have refused to let the matter die possibly out of their “sinister motives”.
It would be recalled that the South East Governor’s Forum only recently reiterated her position that the zone would not allocate any land for RUGA because there is no land to allocate.
In a communiqué by the Chairman of the Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, the governors reinstated their rejection of RUGA settlement within the zone, even as they resolved to pull resources together to fund any farmer or investor from the zone ready to go into Cassava, cow rearing, piggery, goat rearing, poultry, fishery and other cash crops permitted by the soil within the zone.
“On the issue of RUGA, the Forum maintains its earlier decision that there is no land in South East for RUGA programme,” the communique noted. Also, weighing in the Imo State government said it has no plans whatsoever of allocating any land to the RUGA project of the federal government. It noted also that the state was not secretly mapping out any land or thinking of secretly mapping out lands for RUGA.
In a chat with our correspondent, the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Imo state, Mr. Steve Osuji said the matter has since been settled in Imo and government was looking at areas of intervention that will speed up the rebuilding and development of Imo State. He said: “This matter has been discussed in the South-East Governors’ Forum and the governors reached a resolution and unanimously took a position against the RUGA project.
The Ohanaeze ndigbo had also declared and taken their stand against the RUGA project. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no discussion on the issue of RUGA at the state executive council meetings. So we stand with the South-East governors on RUGA.”
Osuji continued: “Secondly, Our people are vehemently opposed to the RUGA idea and it may be impossible for any governor in this region to embrace RUGA. Such governor may find himself instantly disconnected from his people and it is a sure way to political suicide.
Anambra state governor Chief Willie Obiano has dismissed claims that land has been aquired for Ruga settlement insisting that government is currently sponsoring the establishment of Igbo cattle farm.
According to the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightement Chief C Don Adinuba such allegations are spurious and unfounded adding that no land has been made available for that
Adinuba contended that she issue of Ruga has put to rest by the Federal government adding that the Anam bra state government has no such plans for that
“We have a special project for the local Igbo farm and we are making progress on that. So the issue of Ruga do not come into picture
Less than 72 hours after the Benue State government out rightly rejected the federal government’s proposed National Livestock Transformation Plan, (NLTP), and the government Friday made a detour indicating interest to domesticate the programme, widely believed to be the establishment of RUGA settlement in disguise.
The state government had met with major stakeholders drawn from the traditional institution, the church, socio-cultural organisations, the academia and civil society groups during an interface with a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the implementation of the NLTP.
The government in a resolution after the meeting as contained in a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Terver Akase, described the plan to establish NLTP in the state as “a round peg in a square hole”.
The stakeholders maintained that the document detailing the NLTP and its implementation only talks about cattle and no other category of livestock, stressing that “the plan was targeted at reintroducing the rejected RUGA settlements and cattle colonies for herdsmen”.
But the government, after yesterday’s meeting with the Miyetti Allah group and other stakeholders, reneged on its earlier position on rejection of NLTP saying it took the hasty decision “due to lack of adequate information”.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Timothy Ijir, in a statement reconsidering the stand of government said they “resolved to domesticate NLTP in Benue State and to ensure that it conforms with the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state”.
“Benue stakeholders drawn from the traditional institution, the church, socio-cultural organisations, the academia, members of the Benue State Executive Council, the civil society and Miyetti Allah, met again and deliberated on the Federal Government proposed National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, in order to take a position on implementation of the programme since it was earlier rejected due to lack of adequate information”.
“The stakeholders went through the complete document which was recently made available to them”.
“The meeting which was the second of its kind in the state was facilitated by former Director of Livestock Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Joseph Nyager”.
“After exhaustive deliberations, stakeholders resolved to reconsider their position in view of the fact that they now have enough information to make an informed decision”.
“It was also resolved during the meeting that a technical team of experts be put together to study the NLTP document and identify areas suitable for implementation in Benue State based on peculiarities of the state”.
“The meeting also resolved that the NLTP should be domesticated in Benue State and to ensure that it conforms to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state”.
Dr. Ijir reiterated the resolve of the state executive council at evolving its agricultural development policy to capture the people’s interest.
IPOB: We attacked Ike Ekweremadu in Germany
•Ohanaeze condemns assault
The fight for the actualisation of Biafra took a dramatic twist yesterday when Senator Ike Ekweremadu, was attacked by some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Germany. The former Deputy Senate President had been invited to attend a New Yam festival in Nuremberg when he was assaulted by IPOB members.
The video of the incident, which has gone viral on the Internet, shows Ekweremadu being protected and then bundled into a car and rapidly driven out of the venue ostensibly to save him from further being attacked.
IPOB subsequently confessed to being behind the attack accusing the Senator of being a “supporter” of Operation Python Dance, the security operation currently taking place in the Eastern part of the country. In a statement, signed by the group’s media and publicity secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, IPOB also warned that what happened to the Senator now also awaits other Igbo leaders including Governors, Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Willie Obiano (Anambra) and President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo should they venture outside the shores of Nigeria.
“Today being the 17th day of August 2019 the Nuremberg IPOB family in Germany in keeping with the long standing directive from our leader to hound all instigators of Operation Python Dance, is glad to report that Ike Ekweremadu was confronted and duly hounded out of a so-called New Yam Festival event in Germany,” Emma Powerful said. He then concluded the short statement by warning: “This should serve as a warning to Nnia Nwodo, Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Willie Obiano and co that any day we find them in a public event abroad, they will be humiliated. IPOB is strategically located in over 100 countries around the world. Anywhere we find them, they will be dealt with.”
However, in swift response, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo condemned the assault on the former Deputy Senate President in Germany. In a statement made available to journalists in Enugu at the weekend, Nwodo said: “The assault on Ekweremadu by Igbos in Germany, described as IPOB members, is disappointing, grotesque and dangerous for Igbo solidarity.
“This violent, rude, impertinent, divisive and discourteous style of IPOB or IPOB instigated miscreants is damaging to our cause. It strengthens the case of those who describe them as terrorists and weaken our case against the infringement of our fundamental human rights.”
But the Senator, who gave his own side of the account of the event on his social media handle, @iamekweremdu, however, assured Ndigbo and his supporters across the nation that he was safe. Narrating the incident, Ekweremadu said: “I attended the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by Ndi- Igbo Germany in Nurnberg today (yesterday), where I was billed to give a keynote address along with the President- General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it eventually.
“I was given a resounding welcome by Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members stormed the venue and began to complain about the killings in the South East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue. “I tried to engage them but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue.
The organisers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.
“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons, who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency and the media as well as rallied the South East Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I nevertheless do not hold this to heart against them, for they know not what they do.
“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well-meaning Ndigbo. I want to assure them that I am hale and hearty. I have also spoken with the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.”
Gunmen invade wake, kill over 20 mourners in Benue
- Only four died – Police
Unidentified gunmen yesterday invaded a wake keep for one Tor Gbev Ikue in Amaafu in Tongov community in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State and left more than 20 people dead.
The assassins, whom sources said made the surprised incursion when the mourners were weeping profusely for their departed loved one, were said to have proceeded to another nearby community near Divine Love Girls Secondary School in the area and killed another 10 people.
But the state Police Command confirmed that four persons were killed in the attack.
A source from Katsina-Ala told Sunday Telegraph in confidence that the attackers, said to number about 10, stormed the area on Bajaj motorcycles brandishing sophisticated weapons to carry out the dastardly attack.
Those killed, according to our source, who refused to be named, included men, women and children.
An eyewitness said that the gunmen opened fire on the mourners and killed many while others sustained injuries in the process.
Reason for the gruesome killing, according to the source was not unconnected with the intractable communal strife between the Shitile and Ikyulav Tiev communities.
This latest attack is coming barely a week after the Provost of the College of Education Katsina-Ala, Tsavwua Gborigyo was kidnapped.
Though, he has since regained his freedom, the security situation in the area is still tense.
But reacting, the Benue Police Command confirmed the killing of four persons at the burial.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mukaddas Garba, told reporters that the incident occurred during the burial of one late Tor Amaafu.
Garba said the police had commenced investigation into the matter, assuring that the perpetrators would be brought to book
Criminal elements have infiltrated Armed Forces, say security experts
- Nigeria is over-militarised, says DIG Irohan
- Equip police, recruit, increase their welfare –Ejiofor
- Security chiefs must match expertise with authority –Ekhomu
Security experts have said that the recent killing of three Police Detectives in Taraba State by soldiers and sundry involvement of security agents in criminality in the country were an indication that criminal elements have infiltrated the armed forces.
According to them, while this was not a design of the military high command, it can also be blamed on the over-exposure of the soldiers currently carrying out security operation in about 33 states of the federation and gradual incapacitation of the police as the lead security agency in internal security.
Recall that five soldiers and two policemen are currently in detention over the gruesome killing of three Police Detectives with the Inspector General’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) by soldiers from the Nigerian Army’s 93 Battalion, Takun, Taraba State, as setting free suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Wadume, even as investigations have revealed that a senior officer had over 200 telephone conversation with the suspect now at large.
In separate interviews with our correspondent, the trio of former Director of DSS, Mr. Mike Ejiofor, President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operation of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu and a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Donald Irohan, blamed increased criminality on over-militarisation of the country and haphazard manner of tackling security.
Irohan in particular said: “The over-exposure of these soldiers to internal security duties and their attendant showmanship has been further exacerbated by inter-agency rivalry, the haphazard manner of fighting security which is now causing a collateral damage in the populace, “making the public very disillusioned about government’s capacity to fight crimes.”
“The rule of engagement as contained in the books is such that military can only be brought in when there is a serious breakdown of law and order, because they are trained to kill. But now these people who have tasted power are brought in at the slightest instances. Why do you bring them in for election security? Even worse today, they perform escort duties and protection of very important personalities. This over-militarisation now breeds criminality and the earlier they are returned to the barracks and the police adequately equipped the better for all of us.
“All the security apparatus must cooperate and drop this inter-agency rivalry as to who takes the credit for whatever success, but work together as one. In developed countries, we trained together, both the police and the military and it is at the point of graduation that we specialize. That was what President Olusegun Obasanjo tried to do while in office such that we even had the Armed Forces Games where we all participated. But today, those things are gone. Ironically, there is cooperation at the top echelon of the security services, but the problem is at the lower ranks,” the former DIG said.
Ekhomu said: “The widespread use of the military in public law enforcement carries grave risks as they are not trained for such duties. It should therefore be severely curtailed, and the Nigeria Police Force empowered to carry out their constitutional duties.”
Ekhomu said that the incident in which policemen were killed by soldiers highlighted poor law enforcement tactics and poor interagency cooperation “particularly in the operational realm,” adding that police undercover detectives suffer a lot of workplace violence as they are often mistaken for hoodlums and attacked by members of the public and even by other law enforcement officers.
“In the Taraba State projectile encounter, the police detectives should have adequately informed police and military authorities that they were operating in the area. “He said that since Taraba State has a high frequency of herdsmen/farmer clashes, Tiv-Jukun communal clashes, kidnappings and other terrorist offenses, the state was a hotbed of targeted violence. In this regard, proper notification of the military authorities was a tactical imperative which might have prevented what happened.
Dr. Ekhomu, the first chartered security professional in West Africa, said that the claim that the police detectives ignored military checkpoints was quite troubling as that might have precipitated the tragic occurrence, even as he added that the use of the military in public law enforcement should be reduced to prevent further occurrence of “blue on blue” violence (friendly fire incidents).
He said that the United States Congress in 1878 passed the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) in order to forbid the use of the US military in law enforcement duties within the United States. He said that the “use of military in public law enforcement is being abused and such abuses lead to incidents of this nature”.
‘Imo Housing Corporation abandoned under Okorocha’
The Board Chairman of the Imo Housing Corporation, Hon. Nze Ray Emeana yesterday told newsmen that he met a thoroughly run down corporation with no financial or administrative records available.
According to the newly appointed Chairman, there was neither a clear record of staff strength nor was there any credible documentation of sites and estates owned by the state government.
He noted that his immediate past General Manager of the corporation, in spite of all entreaties, has refused to hand over to the newly constituted board.
Emeana said: “In the last two days, this board has held a marathon inaugural meeting punctuated by inspection tours of some of the assets and facilities of the corporation.
The revelations from these fact finding visits and our review of the activities of the Corporation are mindboggling, outrageous and scandalous to say the least.”
The Chairman continued: “Estates and sites have been sold without due process and the extant ones left with no management, no supervision or maintenance. The previous boards and management recklessly engaged in land speculation and all manners of unprofessional and unethical conducts.
“There is no proper accounting, financial record and administrative records. As we speak, the Corporation is involved in over seventy court cases resulting from illegal and irregular transactions and the corporation’s account is garnisheed by several court orders.
“The Corporation owes five months arears of staff salary resulting in low morale, low commitment and diminishing productivity amongst management and staff.”
Emeana, however, noted that the review of activities at the Corporation was neither to elicit sympathy nor to vilify his predecessors, but just to keep the records straight.
“You will, however, agree with me that the state of this Corporation is only a small reflection of the general state of Imo’s economy and so, we as a Board have refused to be daunted by the grim realities of the situation but have resolved to rise to the challenge of reviving Imo Housing Corporation from it’s comatose state to a state of enviable functionality where it can deliver on it’s mandate of delivering affordable and sustainable housing to the people and government of Imo State,” he stressed.
To fast track the recovery and rebuilding plan of the Corporation, the Chairman announced the setting up of four strategic committees with clear mandates and timelines.
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