Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has said that the country would hold the Army and Police responsible for the abduction of 110 Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State.
He also asked the security agencies to take responsibility for failing to stop the abduction, adding that the buck passing between the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force was unacceptable.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Hassan Turaki, Dogara said rather than trading blames, the various security agencies should strengthen inter-agency collaboration and intensify efforts towards rescuing the girls.
“The statements credited to the Army and the Police in which they tried to exonerate themselves from any culpability in the unfortunate and embarrassing abduction of innocent girls from their school in Dapchi , Yobe State, are highly condemnable. “This is unacceptable and the House of Representatives, and indeed Nigerians, will hold the security agencies responsible.
They all bear responsibility for this unfortunate incident. “The traumatic experience of the Chibok abduction which is still fresh in our minds should have served as a warning signal to security agencies to provide adequate security protection to all schools in the North East.
“I want to use this medium to console the parents of the abducted girls and the entire Dapchi community over this unfortunate incident. “I also urge all Nigerians and people of goodwill from all over to pray for the safe return of the girls”.
Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists.
Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, said “some of the girls” had been rescued by troops “from the terrorists who abducted them”. But on a visit to Dapchi last Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government yesterday provided the names and details of the 110 girls missing after Boko Haram attacked Dapchi in Yobe State.
Residents of the community and staff of the school had told newsmen that the girls were kidnapped by the terrorists last week Monday during the attack.
Parents of the girls also released a list of 105 girls missing after the attack.
After the parents released the list, the Federal Government announced that 110 girls were actually missing.
Yesterday, the Federal Government provided the names of the girls and the classes they were in before the abduction.
“Of the 110 missing girls, eight are in JSS1, 17 in JSS2, 12 in JSS3, 40 in SS1, 19 in SS2 and 14 in SS3. The girls’ ages range from 11 to 19 years, the presidency stated on its official Tweeter handle.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, later released a statement providing further details on the missing girls.
Apart from the full list of the missing girls, the statement also contained the age and class each of the 110 students belonged to.
Mr. Mohammed said the details were compiled by a screening committee.
“The 26 screening committee members include the executive secretary, State Teaching Service Board, Musa Abdulsalam; Director, Schools’ Management, Ministry of Education, Shuaibu Bulama; Principal of GGSTC, Adama Abdulkarim; the two vice principals, Ali Musa Mabu and Abdullahi Sule Lampo; Admission Officer, Bashir Ali Yerima, and Form Masters for all the classes,” he said
The statement also indicated that the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, has relocated to Yobe State to ‘personally’ superintend the search for the girls.
Mr. Mohammed said the Nigerian Air Force had flown 200 hours while conducting the search at 6.00 p.m. on Monday.
“The Nigerian Air Force had earlier deployed more platforms to the North-east for the search, as the security agencies ramp up their effort to locate and rescue the girls”, he said
Apart from providing details of the missing girls, the minister also announced that the government set up a 12-member committee to probe the circumstances that led to the Dapchi incident.
According to the minister, the committee will be inaugurated on February 28 and is expected to submit its report by March 15.
Mr. Mohammed said the committee is saddled with recommending measures to prevent future occurrence in the country and suggest measures that can lead to the location and rescue of the girls.
He said the responsibility of the committee includes ascertaining the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the girls, confirming the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security in Dapchi as well as in the school before the incident .
“The committee which was convened by the National Security Adviser (NSA),Babagana Monguno, will be chaired by a military officer of the rank of Major-General, comprises one senior provost each from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force; representatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA); Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA);Nigeria Police Force (NPF); Department of State Services (DSS); Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); two representatives of the Yobe State Government and a representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Similarly, the Nigerian Army yesterday reacted to a newly-published memo which indicated that the Defence Intelligence Agency put the military on the notice about possible Boko Haram attacks in Borno and Yobe States, some days before insurgents stormed a school and possibly abducted more than 100 girls.
The Army said the memo, published by Sahara Reporters yesterday afternoon, was an attempt to bolster a narrative that the military was negligent in its counter-terrorism duties which consequently resulted in the successful attack on Dapchi, Yobe State, by Boko Haram on February 19.
The February 6 memo, signed by Emmanuel Aladeniyi, a brigadier-general, warned of impending attacks, especially suicide bombing, in public places, such as the University of Maiduguri, markets, mosques and parks.
It also said that Boko Haram was plotting an abduction of 17 citizens for suicide missions and a separate mass abduction of citizens for other deadly missions such as the use of Personnel-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) or Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) “using especially Golf cars with registration numbers from states of the North.”
“It is very crystal clear” that the memo “does not corroborate the argument and narrative Sahara Reporters is attempting to sell to the public,” Onyema Nwachukwu, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, said in a statement to newsmen yesterday afternoon.
“For one, the memo was a general warning about possible Boko Haram activities in Maiduguri and Damaturu, Borno and Yobe capitals, respectively, and did not include any specific or even general reference to Dapchi or facilities within it.
“The content reflects general intelligence alert, to which we cannot conveniently situate the attack on Dapchi, one of the several towns in Yobe State,” Mr. Nwachukwu, a colonel, said.
Secondly, Mr. Nwachukwu said, the date on the memo was February 6, 2018, nearly a month after the troops had been moved from Dapchi to Kanama, about 125 kilometres North-east of Dapchi on Nigeria’s border with Niger. The troops were moved to Kanama on a reinforcement after Nigerian soldiers came under heavy firepower there.
“As at the time of that redeployment, there was no imminent threat on Dapchi,” he said. “Rather, the threat was on Kanama where the insurgents were carrying out attacks along the Nigerian-Nigerien border.”
Mr. Nwachukwu’s statement reaffirms the details he gave newsmen which included the fact that the Nigerian Army’s 159 Task Force Battalion was moved from Dapchi to Kanama on January 10, exactly 40 days before the invasion of the girls’ school in Dapchi on February 19.
The military has come under public criticism since Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State first raised the allegation on February 24 that the military abruptly withdrew from Dapchi a week before the attack.
But the military rejected the claim first on Sunday night and again yesterday, saying soldiers left Dapchi about six weeks before the attack and had a compelling reason to do so.
Mr. Nwachukwu said the police were placed in charge of security operations in Dapchi, which he said had never been attacked before January 19 and was never under any imminent threat of Boko Haram.
The police have rejected the allegations, saying the military did not “formally hand over the security of the town to them.”
The Army insisted that the police should be responsible for communities that have never been attacked before by insurgents, like Dapchi, and communities that were once Boko Haram strongholds but had since been liberated.
“Our role is to defend the territorial integrity of the country. It’s the role of the sister security agencies to protect the civilian population whenever we have liberated a community from insurgents,” Mr. Nwachukwu told newsmen.
He said the police did nothing to repel the attack despite having a division in Dapchi.
Rivers State Needs College of Education-Don
Following the upgrade of the former College of Education to a university, a university teacher has sued for the establishment of a new college of education to replace the old one.
The plea was made by a lecturer in the political Science Department of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Iwarimie Uranta.
Uranta who made his views known in an interview with The Tide pointed out that College of Education if established will address the middle manpower in the educational system of the state.
For now, Uranta said “there is a vacuum,” National Certificate of Education (NCE) will help bridge the gap of middle manpower in the teaching profession.”
He continued”, it will boost the teaching of core courses, because NCE teachers are trained as teachers in those courses”.
The university don pointed out that currently there is a limited number of people who wants to do education. It reduce pressure on the universities and reduce social vices by the youths, Uranta stressed.
Besides, he said the current reforms in the educational system will benefit as many private schools will have manpower to recruit instead of engaging quacks in their schools.
In a similar vein, Head of Educational Psychology/ Guidance and Counselling in the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Sunday Ordu has commended the State Government
for the policy to sanitise privately schools in the state.
“A lot of private schools don not have professional teachers so the policy is in the right direction.
It will improve manpower faculties to enhance educational growth. The environment must be conducive” he added.
RSG Implements TSA To Block Revenue Leakages, Soon …Tasks State Internal Revenue Service To Grow Monthly IGR To N10bn …Seeks Informal Sector’s Support Through Payment Of Prescribed Taxes
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced that the state government would soon commence the operation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) to boost its revenue base.
Wike also charged the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to grow the state’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N10billion.
He spoke during the flag off of Informal Sector Tax Drive with vehicles donated by Access Bank Limited at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said: “We will initiate the Treasury Single Account to block revenue leakages. I assure that very soon, the Treasury Single Account will become operational.
“The Treasury Single Account will be implemented to checkmate what is presently going on. It is not good to have several accounts which lead to unnecessary leakages.
“Our revenue base fluctuates. The board has been directed to expedite action for the state to hit N10billion Internally Generated Revenue every month.”
Wike explained that the Treasury Single Account will be diligently implemented in the interest of Rivers State, and restated that his allegiance was to Rivers people who voted him, because he was not sponsored by any group.
He urged the informal sector to support the Rivers State Government by paying their taxes as prescribed by the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS).
“The drive for informal sector tax is key. I believe it will boost our revenue base, and we need it”, he said, and thanked Access Bank Limited for supporting the revenue drive of the state with the donation of 10 buses.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS), Mr Adoage Norte said that the flag off of the informal sector tax drive would ensure that informal sector entrepreneurs pay their taxes.
He said that at present, the informal sector has not been paying taxes, explaining that the flag off would unlock the tax potentials of the informal sector.
Norte lauded Access Bank Plc for supporting the informal tax drive of the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service with the donation of 10 buses, pointing out that the buses would be used across the state.
He added that the service was also in dire need of branded kiosks for point of sales transactions, and suggested the operation of Treasury Single Account to optimize revenue generation in the state.
Representative of the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr David Tinad, thanked the Rivers State Government for the opportunity to partner on revenue generation.
He assured the Rivers State Government that Access Bank Plc would continue to support efforts by the state government to improve its revenue base.
Fake Policemen Disrupted Polls In Bayelsa, Kogi, IGP Admits …Says We’re Aware People Planned To Wear Police Uniforms …As Senate Moves To Okay E-Voting For Future Polls
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted Saturday’s governorship polls in parts of Bayelsa and Kogi States were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the polls had “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
He spoke with State House correspondents after President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs held a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
However, he said an investigation was ongoing, while 11 arrests had been made.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, said that the police were aware of the plan by politicians to sew police uniforms for their supporters during the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections.
The IGP also said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the November 16 governorship polls in parts of the two states were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Briefing State House correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
The IGP, who said that the security situation in the country was stable, however, said investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of those that caused violence during the elections, adding that 11 arrests had been made.
On the alleged police extortion of motorists in South East by police officers at checkpoints, he advised that people should always copy the names of such police officers and report them to the police hierarchy in the area.
Meanwhile, the Senate has begun a fresh electoral reform which has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the much-awaited electronic voting method for future polls.
The lawmakers also compelled INEC to operate an electronic database into which all results in an election should be transmitted.
A bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010 through which the reform would be achieved has already been published in an official gazette and debate on its general principles may begin on the floor of the Senate during the week.
A copy of the bill, made available to newsmen, also stipulates that data of accredited voters must be transmitted to the central data base upon the conclusion of the accreditation of voters which would be done through the use of the card reader.
“At the end of accreditation of voters, the presiding officer shall transmit the voter accreditation data by secure mobile electronic communication to the central database of the commission kept at the national headquarters of the commission.
“Any presiding officer who contravenes this provision shall be liable, on conviction, to a minimum of imprisonment of at least five years without an option of fine,” the bill also stipulates.
It prevents INEC from shutting down the central data base until all petitions arising from the elections are determined by a tribunal or court.
“In respect of data of accreditation of voters, including polling unit results, for an election, the commission shall not shut down its central database kept at its national headquarters until all election petitions and appeals pertaining to that election are heard and determined by a tribunal or court.”
On the specific provisions for the adoption of the central database, the bill, which is being sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno State), seeks amendment of Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2010 by introducing a “National Electronic Register of Election Results.”
It states: “The commission shall compile, maintain and update on a continuous basis, a register of election results to be known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results which shall be a database of election results from each polling unit, including collated results of each election conducted by the commission.
“National Electronic Register of Election Results shall be kept by the commission at its national headquarters and any person or political party may obtain from the commission, on payment of reasonable fees as may be determined by the commission, a certified true copy of any election result kept in the National Electronic Register of Election Results for the federation, a state, local government, area council, ward or polling unit, as the case may be and the certified true copy may be in printed or electronic format.”
On electronic voting, the Electoral Reform Bill seeks amendment of Section 52 (2) of the 2010 Electoral Act and introduced a new provision stating that “the commission may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts as it may deem fit.”
It was learned that many lawmakers are not comfortable with the additional clause which permits INEC to use any other method it deems fit and may delete that option during the consideration of the bill.
The current law completely prohibits the use of electronic voting as it states: “The use of the electronic voting machine, for the time being, is prohibited.”
The reform bill has also slashed the nomination fees charged by political parties.
Presidential aspirants are to pay not more than N10million while governorship aspirants are to pay N5million.
Specifically, the bill states: “For the purpose of nomination of candidates for election, the total fees, charges, dues and any payment howsoever named imposed by a political party on an aspirant shall not exceed: N150,000 for a ward councillorship aspirant in the FCT; N250,000 for an area council chairmanship aspirant in the FCT; N500,000 for a House of Assembly aspirant; N1,000,000 for a House of Representatives aspirant; N2,000,000 for a senatorial aspirant; N5,000,000 for a governorship aspirant; and N10,000,000 for a presidential aspirant.”
The Bukola Saraki-led National Assembly had attempted the electoral reform but failed to get the presidential approval at the end.
The bill sought to strengthen internal democracy, reduce the cost of politics, widen political participation and the conduct of free fair and credible elections through technological innovations and an electronic database.
However, there were concerns raised over the enforceability of some of its provisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in refusing to sign that bill, had said: “I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.”
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