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Expectations From New IGP, Rivers CP

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari
appointed an Acting Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Idris following the retirement of the former IGP, Solomon Arase. The same week, a new Commissioner of Police, Foluso A. Adebanjo was deployed to Rivers State.
Our correspondent, Calista Ezeaku went out to get people’s reactions to this development, especially their expectations from the two police officers. And their reactions are quite exciting. Our photographer, Ibioye Diama captured their images

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Mr. Nation – Fashion Designer
Since the inception of the current administration, the condition of the State has been very bad, security wise. Just recently, about twenty persons were killed in Emohua by a so-called cultist. From Emohua, he went to Rumuosi and also killed some people. A similar situation prevails in many parts of the State. So, the new Commissioner of Police should work hard because the level of insecurity in the State is very alarming. Nobody is safe. Nobody is protected. He should beef up security in our communities, especially the volatile communities. There should be police presence everywhere. And all of us, members of the public, should also help the police.
Evang Mike – Chairman Abua/Odual Pray Foundation
The rising rate of insecurity in the State is worrisome to everybody. Nobody is comfortable with what is happening and looking at the situation carefully, you will understand that the whole problem emanated from cultism, from politicians and all the rest. And unfortunately, even the police that we should look up to has already been politicised.. If you go close to them, you will find out that some of them are working for one political party or the other. So, a situation where the political party has power over the security agencies, it means we don’t have security any longer because they are not on their own. We are not feeling safe. There are a lot of things happening right now that many people are yet to know. Yesterday, I left Abua/Odual only to be told later that there was shooting in a place called Ogolocon. The JTF went there and came back with one of them being shot. That is the kind of things happening in the local areas. For those in Port Harcourt, they are a little bit safer. But those in rural communities, especially the riverine communities, they are suffering greatly.
So, I want to formally welcome the new Commissioner of Police to the State. This morning, I heard from a radio station, a journalist saying that the frequent changing of police commissioner in the State will not help matters. I agree with him because a situation where someone is posted to the State and before he could study the situation in his domain to know how to tackle it, he is removed, it doesn’t help. I don’t think that is a good approach to manage the situation.
Having said that, I think the new Police Commissioner should be concerned about what is happening in the entire State. He should engage the communities, the traditional rulers, the youths, the civil society organisations, NGOs, opinion leaders towards resolving the crisis in the State. The Police is in a better position to do that. So, I expect the new police boss to carry out a kind of consultation and assessment of how many NGOs are registered, who are doing what to see what they can also contribute to help in solving the insecurity problem in the State.
The police boss should also sensitise his men because there have been allegations that some of these criminals work with them. So, he should be sensitive to that fact and only use the committed ones to do the work instead of allowing the police to be so politicised. He should ensure that his men carry out their job professionally and should not be controlled by anybody.
I also want to say that all hands must be on deck to make the new commissioner to succeed. The Governor, the Commissioners and every other person should support him. We can support by giving the police necessary information required for them to carry out their duties effectively.
For the AIG, I expect him to be meeting frequently with his Commissioners and all those put in strategic positions at least to be hearing frequently what is happening in the states. He should not just sit in his office and be expecting reports. He should take steps that will actually convince the people that he is working. He should respond promptly whenever security challenges arise in any part of the country. The police should ensure that everybody is treated equally.

Celine  Ayo Tamuno – Civil Servant
I think I like the idea of changing the Commissioner of Police because so many wrong things are going on in the State. People can no longer move freely. And I pray and believe God will give the new police boss the wisdom to handle the security challenges in this State. People in the rural areas are suffering. So many people have fled their homes to Port Harcourt. He should ensure that peace is returned to our communities so that people can go back and live in their homes peacefully.
I strongly believe the police know what to do to stop cultism and cult-related attacks in the State. The CP can invite them for a meeting to know actually what their problem is. Definitely, there must be reasons why they do what they are doing. The Commissioner of Police should invite them for a round table discussion, find out what actually are their grievances and see how to tackle them amicably. This morning, I heard the governor saying he will give amnesty to any repentant kidnaper. If that will solve the problem, they should give it to them.

Anonymous – Security Expert/Civil Servant
Rivers State has been a restive area because of cultism, militancy and others. The first thing the CP has to do is to develop an intelligence structure. He should be able to set up a strategy to enable the police fish out these criminals. They should be able to develop a good synergy with other security agencies. This will help in information dissemination. If you develop such a structure, you will make the criminals restless because anywhere they go, there will be presence of security agencies there, so very good network of information should be developed.
Secondly, there should be adequate discipline in the police. Any erring policeman or any criminal working with the police should be dealt with. The CP should be able to develop a network of policing around volatile areas.
A lot of people believe that the insecurity situation in the State had been fuelled by politics. So, there is need for the new CP to invite all the major political stakeholders in the State. Those of them who either arm the boys, send them to cause havoc or protect them from being harmed, should be punished in accordance with the law. By the time one or two of them are nabbed into the police net, it will reduce the crime. The Police Commissioner should not be respecter of anybody. He should ensure that the rate of harassment and intimidation of members of the public by policemen in the state is reduced.
For the new IG, he should be on his toes because the immediate past IGP has kept a standard. He should maintain that standard and learn from whatever lapses and develop the Nigerian police force.

Mr. Stephen Osigwe – Taxi Driver
First of all, we welcome the new Commissioner of Police and we will be happy to see him do a good job for us. He should try and curtail the spate of cultism in the State because it is too much. Every time killing, killing. He should help us curtail this crime. He should mobilise his boys to volatile areas like Diobu. Once it is 6 p.m, you will see the bad boys patrolling everywhere. He should mobilise his boys to deal with them. Sometimes they can come in disguise and arrest these boys.
The new CP should help us talk to his boys. They are always at every junction, checking, checking, checking. So we are tired of the several checks. We are suffering from the numerous taskforces and police checking. Things are very hard in the country now and the police make it harder for us by their harassment, intimidation and extortion. There are minor offences  they are expected to caution the driver and ask him to go, they should do so instead of asking him to pay.
On the federal level, I wish the new IG good luck. I welcome him. I believe he has new plans, new agenda that will strengthen the police force and ensure adequate security in the entire country. So, I wish him good luck. The policemen have been trying to curtail the menace of Boko Haram and the new IG should maintain the tempo. He should also look into the problem of Fulani herdsmen. He should put measures in place to ensure that these cattle rearers don’t become Boko Haram members in disguise
Miss Juliet Polokachike – Businesswoman
I will advise the new CP to please ensure thorough enforcement of the laws of the State. He should try and make the State to be peaceful. He should also try and get to the root of the insecurity problem we have in the State. Most of the time, we hear it is cult war and all that, but what led to the high rate of cultism among our youths? He can dialogue with them; educate them on the dangers involved in cultism. He should call them, know what their problem is; seek for peace before you start arresting them. Killing them will not solve the problem.
The CP and the state government should make our youth useful. From time to time, there should be seminars for them. There should be constant sensitisation, education of our youth on the need to do the right thing, and be useful to themselves and the society because our youths are going extra miles these days.

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Nigeria’s Revenue-To-GDP Ratio Lowest, Private Sector Choking – World Bank

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Nigeria’s revenue-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio, which fell to between five and six per cent last year, is the lowest in the world, the World Bank said on Monday.
The Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank, Dr Shubham Chaudhuri, said this during a panel session at a virtual public sector seminar with the theme ‘Nigeria in challenging times: imperatives for a cohesive national development agenda’ organised by the Lagos Business School.
Chaudhuri, who stressed the need for private investment for the country to realise its potential, said the private sector in the country ‘is struggling to breathe’.
“In Nigeria, I think the basic economic agenda is about diversification away from oil because oil has really been like resource curse for Nigeria on multiple dimensions,” he said.
He noted the aspiration of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by the end of the decade.
He said, “Nigeria is a country with tremendous potential. If you look at the synopsis for this panel, it suggests that Nigeria is at a critical juncture – almost at the moment of crisis.
“Despite all of that, Nigeria is still the largest economy in Africa. So, just think about the potential that Nigeria has because of its natural resources, but more than that, because of its dynamism and all of its population. Nigerians are more entrepreneurial by nature.
“No country has become prosperous and realised its potential, eliminated poverty without doing two simple things: investing in its people, and unleashing the power of the private sector in creating jobs by investing and growing business. And then, of course, the basic function of the state is to provide security and law and order.”
According to Chaudhuri, to invest in people entails basic services, basic education, primary healthcare and nutrition, among others.
He said, “On this, Nigeria at the moment ranks sixth from the bottom in terms of the human capital index that we produce every year.
“So, obviously, there is a huge agenda in terms of investing in human capital. Nigeria spends more on PMS (premium motor spirit) subsidy than it does on primary healthcare in a year, and we know who the PMS subsidy is benefitting.”
He indicated that despite the country’s huge potential to attract private capital, the non-oil part of the economy ‘is not growing that robustly and certainly not generating revenues that the government needs’.
Chaudhuri said, “So, we see as priorities investments in human capital. But for that, one needs revenues. And there again, Nigeria unfortunately has the distinction of having about the lowest revenue-to-GDP ratio in the world.
 ”The standard rule of thumb is that for government to provide the basic services and law and order, it needs between 15 to 20 per cent of GDP as being revenue, and this will be both at the federal and state levels combined.
“In Nigeria, it was eight per cent in 2019. In 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis and with the fall in oil prices, that went down to about between five and six per cent.
“So, domestic revenue mobilisation is huge. And then the third is enabling the space for private investment. You have to fix the power problem. Power is like the oxygen of an economy. In Nigeria, the private sector is struggling to breathe.”

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CBN Stops Sale Of Forex To BDCs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as announced immediate discontinuation of sale of Foreign Exchange (forex) to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor , made this announcement yesterday, while presenting a communique from the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.
Emefiele said that the decision was informed by the unwholesome business practices of the BDCs, which he said had continued to put enormous pressure on the Naira.
He  said ,  henceforth,  the apex bank would sell forex to deserving Nigerians through the commercial banks.
“ The BDCs were regulated to sell a maximum of 5000  dollars per day,  but CBN observed that they have since been flouting that regulation and selling millions of dollars per day.
“The CBN also observed that the BDCs aid illicit financial flows and other financial  crimes.  The bank has thus, decided to discontinue the sale of forex to the BDCs with immediate effect.
“We shall, henceforth,  channel all forex allocation through the commercial banks,” he said.
He urged the commercial banks to ensure that every deserving customer got their forex demand,  adding that any bank found circumventing  the new system would be sanctioned.
“Once a customer presents all required documentation to purchase forex, the commercial banks should ensure they get the forex.
“Any customer that is denied should contact the CBN on 0700385526 or through the email- cbd@cbn.gov.ng “ he said.
The Tide source reports that stakeholders have been calling on the CBN and its MPC to take urgent steps to halt unending depreciation of the Naira.
Recently,  a past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN),  Mr Okechukwu Unegbu,  urged the MPC to focus on policy decisions that would curb rising inflation and stabilise the Naira.

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RSG To Privatise Songhai, Fish Farms

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There are strong indications that the Rivers State Government has concluded plans to privatise the moribund Songhai Farm in Tai and Fish Farm in Buguma.
The State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Amb. Desmond Akawor, gave this indication while appearing in a phone-in radio programme organised by Silverbird Communications in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He explained that the previous administration in the state failed to put in place a sustainability programme for these farms, hence they went moribund.
In order to reverse the situation, he said that the present administration was now contemplating a rehabilitation scheme to be driven by a privatisation policy to enable those investments come on stream.
He said the scheme had reached an advanced stage and is to executed by the State Ministry of Agriculture.
On the issue of job creation, Akawor said the administration of Chief Nyesom Wike was using the various construction projects around the state to empower the youths.
He explained that the government had floated a special scholarship scheme in Law and Medical Sciences to create opportunities for young people in various professions.
He called on the opposition to desist from de-marketing the state through propaganda as it’s capable of scaring investors away from the state.
Akawor insisted that the Wike led administration has provided an enabling environment for businesses to thrive through infrastructure and improved security.

By: Kevin Nengia

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