Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has sent a blunt message to President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly to the worsening security situation in the country and asked them to do something urgently to arrest the drift before Nigeria fails.
Anyaoku, who spoke at a book launch in honour of a former judicial icon, Justice Dadi Onyeama, in Abuja yesterday, pointed out that the emerging scenarios in the land were ominous signs that needed to be checked without further delay.
Anyaoku said: “Let me now come to my message to President Buhari and all members of our National Assembly. The message is two-faced: Nigeria is on the brink, and our foremost national challenge is the management of our country’s diversity.
“Every diverse federal country throughout the world achieves political stability and socio-economic development through successfully managing its national diversity. There are two common keys to this. The first is having an inclusive central government which gives the peoples of the component parts of the federation a sense of belonging that in turn underpins the sense of unity and patriotism in all the citizens.
“The second is having an adequate delegation of powers to the federating units to enable them to handle their internal security and significant aspects of their socio-economic development.
“However today, Nigeria is on the brink. For no objective observer, including those in the government, can deny that the current state of affairs in our country is extremely worrisome.
“We see an unprecedented diminution of national unity; we see an unprecedented level of insecurity of life and property with kidnappings and killings of human beings occurring virtually every day in many parts of the country including the seemingly unchecked violence by Fulani herdsmen which has spawned fractious controversies over the proposed Ruga policy by the federal government.
“For the sake of peace and integrity of the country, the Ruga policy must be handled with circumspection and strictly in accordance with our extant constitution’s provisions on the land tenure.
“And, we see that all these unwholesome developments are accompanied by a worsening level of poverty that is leading to Nigeria fast becoming the poverty capital of the world.
“I call on our president, the members of the National Assembly, the governors, and indeed, on all our political elites not to continue to live in denial of the seriousness of these glaring facts, if not effectively addressed, are bound to push the country over the brink of a national disaster.
The former Commonwealth scribe said that Nigeria is already blessed with what is needed to tackle the security challenges before they get out of hand.
“Fortunately, to provide insightful governance which would facilitate effective tackling of these challenges, Nigeria does not need to reinvent the wheel. If only the people in government and all concerned would learn from our history, thereby avoid validating the saying by the German philosopher, Friedrich, Hegel that “the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history”.
“Because it is undeniable that Nigeria’s history has demonstrated that the economy attained a greater sense of national unity and faster progress in socio-economic development during its period as a true federal of more viable federating units with greater devolution of powers to them. The period was in the immediate years after the country’s independence under its 1960/63 constitutions.
“As I have stated on many occasions, I believe that the current travails of Nigeria will more effectively tackle if the country’s diversity is managed with a structure of governance that draws not only from the present lessons of successful diverse federations but more importantly, from Nigeria’s own past happier experience during its immediate post-independence years.
The author of the book: Dadi, the Man, the Legend, was written by Dillibe Onyeama and presented today at the Yar’Adua Centre Abuja.
Meanwhile, the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti over the death of his daughter, Mrs Funke Olakunrin.
Olakunrin was reportedly killed along Ore-Shagamu Expressway by some hoodlums suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, last Friday.
Speaking with journalists, Jonathan described the incident as a painful occurrence to the whole country.
He also described the murder of Olakunrin as an act of terrorism.
Jonathan called on the federal and state governments to be more proactive on the issue of insecurity in the country.
He said, “Every generation of human being face problems and that generation must find ways of solving that problem. Every government faces some unique problems. Insecurity has been with us immediately after the civil war. That was the first time we experienced armed robbery in Lagos. From armed robbery, it graduated to kidnapping.
“The first major kidnapping was described as commercial kidnapping because some money exchanged hands. This happened in 2006 when I was governor of Bayelsa State. From commercial kidnapping, it moved to terrorism in the North and now some kind of terrorist attacks are all over the country when people will just come out of the road and spray bullets on innocent people. That is a terrorist attack. You have no reason to attack somebody you don’t even know, that is terrorism.”
While calling on the Federal Government to implement the report of the 2014 confab, Jonathan said some of the recommendations in the report dealt with the issue of security and the government should apply the recommendations.
The former President stated, “In 2014 when I was president, we had a national conference where a number of things were discussed. The issues of security; state and regional police were discussed.
“I always believe that if the government looks into that report; because it was not written by me, so we should not play politics with national issues. If we look into that report, there are recommendations.
“A lot of things were discussed during the national conference organized during my time as president. The issue of security, state and community policing were discussed. I always believe that the government should look at that report, it was not written by me.
“We should not play politics with a serious national issue. If we look at that report, there are recommendations that bother on security and if there is an area that needs to be expanded because I believe everyday new idea comes, it should be updated.
“There is nothing wrong holding a specific meeting to look at the issue of security. I believe the federal and state governments need to have a new approach, deploy technology and have more money to protect our people.”
He also charged the security operatives in the country to deploy technology to fight insecurity, saying there was a need for the Federal Government to set up a special unit that would specifically tackle insecurity in the country.
“I was there as a President for some time, security challenges were there with me, I also inherited some. But it is getting worse every day. And we cannot continue to use the same old method,” he charged.
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to immediately convene a National Security Summit to address the insecurity ravaging the country.
It would be recalled that President Olusegun Obasanjo had made this call in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, last Monday.
The call followed a point of order raised by Sen. Ayo Akinyelure (APC-Ondo), over the killing of one his constituents, Mrs Funke Olakunrin.
Olakunrin, daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, a leader of the Afenifere Group, was shot dead by gunmen along the Akure-Ore Road in Ondo State, last Friday.
Akinyelure expressed concern over the killing and similar ones, which he described as “increasing and incessant murder of innocent Nigerians by gunmen along major highways in the country.”
He also cautioned that if immediate actions were not taken, the development might lead to ethno-religious crisis, especially in the Southern part of the country.
While urging the Senate to observe a minute silence in memory of the deceased and others who died in similar circumstances, he said the attention of the Federal Government should be drawn to the situation.
Also, Sen. Tolu Odebiyi (APC-Ogun) called on the Senate as an institution to sit down with the Presidency and the security formations in a meeting to take immediate action.
“We have to demand for an action by security forces and the Presidency.
“There’s nothing we do here that is safe if we don’t get our security right. We can’t be coming here every day, mourning and observing one minute silence when Nigerians are being killed.
“As a Senate, we should send a delegation to meet with the Presidency and the security forces to address what is happening.”
However, the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Sen. Ajayi Boroface (APC-Ondo), urged his colleagues to be cautious about linking a particular tribe as perpetrators of the attacks.
“We should approach this matter maturely and encourage the Federal Government to improve on the state of security.
“We should not link a particular tribe with the killings, as being observed in the social media. Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani people have all been killed,” he said.
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, in his submission, equally lamented the situation, which he said was being felt across the country.
He, therefore, said stakeholders should immediately be converged for a robust national security summit to discuss and address the situation.
“The security situation is all over the country. It is very unfortunate just like all our colleagues have said in their contributions.
“We should have one national security summit on this. The summit should be all-
encompassing and all-inclusive, involving other arms of government and various security formations,” he said.
The summit will be coming 17 months after the Eighth Senate organised a similar event where the present President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan as Senate Leader was the Chairman of the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Senate, in its resolution, “unequivocally” condemned the killings, calling on the Inspector General of Police to extend his dragnet to fish out the perpetrators.
In its reaction, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) accused President Muhammadu Buhari of dividing the country through his style of leadership.
This came as it asked the president to listen to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other eminent Nigerians, who have been expressing concerns on the state of the nation with a view to putting the country on the right path.
In a statement, yesterday, by its spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, CUPP alleged that “the unimpressive leadership style of President Muhammadu Buhari has so far led the country to a state of total anarchy and impending disintegration.
“This situation has regrettably led to daily shedding of blood of innocent citizens across the country either in the hands of terrorists, kidnappers, bandits among others”, it added.
Furthermore, a group of Niger Delta agitators, yesterday, dismissed as insolent and infuriating, the call by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association on the Federal Government to apprehend former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his latest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, decrying the insecurity in the country.
The Leader of the assembly, 21st Century Youth for Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, self-styled “General” Izon Ebi, in a statement, yesterday, said: “It is laughable, very insulting and provocative for a group that is supposed to be proscribed as terrorist issuing such a directive to Nigeria President, who happens to be their patron.
“We are surprised because he has emboldened them with his body language and open defense and support for his people and tribe. How can a primitive and murderous group like the Miyetti Allah talk after committing sacrilege and genocide against the Nigerian people, it still has the audacity to call for the arrest of an elder statesman and patriotic leader like Obasanjo.
“It is the highest joke that cannot be treated with kid-glove. Buhari should know that he is the President of Nigeria, not Fulani or Miyetti Allah. We urge him to do the needful and uphold the Constitution by protecting lives and properties of Nigerians or he should resign before this country collapse finally,” the group added.
It would be recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had last Monday said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the insecurity has vindicated the party’s position.
Obasanjo, in another open letter to President Buhari, last Monday, lamented about the state of the nation, while calling for urgent actions to tackle Nigeria’s challenges.
Reacting, the PDP, in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, described Obasanjo’s open letter as patriotic and prove that President Buhari has failed as the nation’s chief security officer.
The statement read: “The party notes that President Obasanjo’s letter re-echoes its numerous caution against the violations, insensitivity, impunity, vindictiveness, divisiveness, intolerance and dangerous sectionalism that characterize the Buhari administration and which are jeopardizing our national unity.
“The PDP urges President Buhari to read between the lines and listen to the voice of reason from well-meaning Nigerians at this moment.
“Our party is deeply worried that our nation, which grew in leaps and bounds in all sectors before the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over in 2015, is now dangerously sliding on all fronts under President Buhari, who has shown crass incompetence in managing our national affairs.
“The PDP maintains that had President Buhari heed wise counsel to rejig his parade and respect the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians in the national interest, our nation would not have been on this dangerous bend.
“The fact remains that President Buhari has not demonstrated the capacity to lead a nation as complex as our Nigeria. Events have shown that he cannot handle our diversities and ensure a united and equitable country that guarantees fairness, justice and space to all citizens without fear or favour.
“The PDP, therefore, counsels President Buhari to listen to the pulse of our nation; accept his failure and seek help from other well-meaning Nigerians so as to take back our nation from this imminent precipice.
“The party also calls on all Nigerians across the divides, irrespective of creed, ethnicity and political leaning, to close ranks, eschew all primordial and parochial interests and work together for the stability of our dear nation”.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, took a swipe at those criticising him on the insecurity situation in the country, saying that they were not patriotic.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had on Monday written an open letter to President Buhari accusing him of not doing enough to tackle the increasing rate of insecurity in the country among other challenges.
But receiving the National Executives of the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), at the Presidential Villa Abuja, the President said that those criticising the isolated cases of insecurity in the country were not patriotic Nigerians.
According to him, countries around the world were facing one security challenges or the other. He also pointed out that there were new challenges of banditry and kidnapping around the globe.
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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