Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) and former Governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa have warned President Muhammadu Buhari to take pragmatic steps in tackling wanton insecurity and ethnicity brewing in the country as the nation is already heading towards anarchy.
A statement issued by the duo, yesterday, said amid the cacophony of ethnic and regional voices, it was imperative that pan-Nigerian voices should be heard louder than ever before to save Nigeria from disintegration, saying that the symptoms of the brewing socio-political crisis were manifest.
They said the Nigerian state had failed to tackle the worsening insecurity plaguing every part of the country, stressing that Nigeria was increasingly being defined by insecurity, as killings had become almost a daily affair in Nigeria.
“Terror attacks, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery are perpetrated by criminals with reckless abandon. In practical terms, no part of Nigeria is immune to violent crimes, although the incidence might be relatively higher in one part than the other at this time. Tragic news of lives wasted issues from the North and South, East and West.
“In response to the flourishing crimes in the face of the worrisome incompetence of the state, ethnic and regional champions have resorted into the dangerous ethnic profiling and demonisation of others. It is the reign of hate speech and marketing of prejudice. Claiming to speak for “our people,” they issue irresponsible ultimatums and orders for which they lack constitutional authority to enforce. Some of those who are supposed to act as statesmen at this critical hour have instead joined the ranks of issuers of prejudicial statements.
“The appropriate response to these sectional voices is not to glibly question the patriotism of any person or group. The effective response is to compel the Nigerian state under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the constitutional duty of keeping Nigeria secure. Nigeria must not be turned into a killing field. The way to take the wind out of the sails of merchants of hate is for the government to confront the worsening insecurity in Nigeria squarely and honestly,” they said.
According to Falana and Musa, law enforcement and other security agencies should fight crimes competently and strictly according to the law, and that in doing so, the ethnic and religious identity of the criminal was not of any importance, as ethnic and religious profiling could distract from the urgent task of stamping out crimes.
“The truth is that every ethnic and religious group has its own share of criminals. We must separate crimes from prejudice so that criminals could be fought with a unity of purpose as a nation. It is also an indisputable fact that the victims of criminal activities belong to the various ethnic grounds and religions. We are convinced that the urgency of the situation should compel the Buhari administration to rethink its internal security strategy by considering some of the patriotic suggestions from conferences and panels set up by government in the last few years.
“In our view, another conference (by whatever name) may not be coming up anything new given that the Nigerian condition is akin to an emergency. The police and other security agencies should be equipped and organised to perform their duty in the light of the new dimensions of insecurity.”
According to them, the justice system, especially in the states should be alert to their responsibility of diligent and swift prosecution of arrested suspected criminals, saying that it was the duty of the respective attorneys-general in the affected states to prosecute suspected killers, kidnappers and armed robbers.
Leah Sharibu Alive, Doing Well, Freed Aid Worker Confirms
A 26-year-old medical aid worker working with Alliance For International Medical Action, Jennifer Ukambong Samuel, who regained freedom from the Boko Haram captivity, said she didn’t meet with Leah Sharibu but she was told that Leah was doing well.
Jennifer, who arrived Jos, last Saturday amidst crowds after the Department of State Services (DSS) facilitated her release, told our source in Jos that they were not allowed to see other abducted girls but said they met with Alice, a lady who has been in captivity for long told her that Leah was doing fine.
“I don’t know how many of us that were taken but I think we were eight or nine in number. We started moving inside the bush and got to a place where they wanted to make video recording for us to speak to the Federal Government.
“They said we should tell Federal Government that if they want us to be released, they should release their people in government custody. When we got there, I saw Alice; the last day we were going, she was the only person we were allowed to see.
“I didn’t see Leah Sharibu but Alice said Leah and Grace were doing fine, that is what she told me. That if I had known her before she was abducted, I would have agreed that she is doing fine; she is very fat but she wasn’t fat before her abduction.”
Jennifer said they were kept in a tick bush for about three weeks, and said the insurgents gave them food, and urged them to request whatever they want for their comfort.
She noted that they were not harassed sexually but they were preparing them for the action when one of them said their religion permits them to have sex with their slaves.
Jennifer appreciated the Department of State Services, other security agencies, the Federal Government and spirited individuals who cried out for their release.
Amotekun: Yoruba World Congress Holds Solidarity Walk, ’Morrow
A solidarity walk organised by the Yoruba World Congress (YWC); an umbrella body of all Yoruba socio-cultural and self-determination groups in support of Operation Amotekun, a security network recently established by governors from the South-West to wage war against the spate of insecurity ravaging the zone will hold tomorrow across the entire region.
The congress has pleaded with the South-West governors not to back down and push the concept through.
A statement by the Director of Contacts and Mobilization of the group, Comrade Victor Taiwo, yesterday, said the walk would take place in all the South-West state capitals in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Osogbo, Akure and Ado-Ekiti, simultaneously, from 9am.
The YWC is being led by Yoruba Leader, Emeritus Professor of History and Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye.
Taiwo said, “All Yoruba people are urged to come out in their millions anywhere they are in Oduduwa Land on Tuesday to show to the world that Amotekun has come to stay.
“We must show to the external forces and their internal collaborators who want to stampede our resolve to protect ourselves, safeguard our land from kidnappers and armed robbers, and put an end to consistent destruction of our farmlands, that enough is enough.
“Well-meaning Yoruba people and leaders of thought would be at designated venues to address the protest.
“We want to assure our governors that Yoruba people are behind them on Amotekun. We urge them not to shiver, and they must never shiver. It is no retreat, no surrender. We will not surrender Amotekun.
“On the meeting points, those in Lagos are to converge at Gani Faweyinmi Freedom Park, Ojota; Oyo: Opposite Agodi Cenotaph, Ibadan; Ogun: Pansheke Junction, Abeokuta; Osun: Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo; Ondo: Alagbaka Roundabout, opposite First Bank, Akure while those in Ekiti are to converge at Fajuyi Roundabout, Ado-Ekiti”, he added.
RSG Tackles CBN Over N50 Stamp Duty Charges
The Rivers State Government has vowed to check any form of double taxation in the state, just as it appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its N50 stamp duty charge on business owners using the POS in the state.
The state Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Dr. Peter Medee stated this during a meeting with Licensed Petroleum Products Station Owners Association in Rivers State (LIPPSOAR) led by its Chairman, Sunny Nkpe at his office in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Medee explained that paying the extra N50 charge was a form of double taxation, which the state government under Governor Nyesom Wike was bent on stopping.
He said, “When the transporter goes to the fuel station to buy the product, and he is charged extra N50, he passes it on to the passengers in any way he can, but definitely he will pass it on, and by so doing exploiting Rivers people.”
Medee, in a five-point communique he jointly signed with LIPPSOAR Chairman, Comrade Sunny Nkpe, and read to newsmen, said the N50 petrol stamp duty fee by the CBN for the use of POS remains a merchant fee which should be paid by business owners and not the customers.
The commissioner charged the association not to allow their facilities to be used for any unpleasant activity that may negatively affect residents of the state and the environment.
The communique reads, “Government understands the challenges and difficulties the members of Licensed Petroleum Products Station Owners Association of Rivers State face on the implementation of the N50 stamp duty.
“That the N50 stamp duty is a merchant fee and should be so regarded. Further engagements will be made with the CBN for appropriate review of the N50 stamp duty charges, considering the fact that LIPPSOAR and operating in Rivers State, are adversely affected because their businesses are highly regulated.
“That LIPPSOAR members are advised not to allow their facilities to be used for any unwholesome practices that will adversely affect the residents and environment of Rivers State.”
In his remarks, LIPPSOAR Chairman, Sunny Nkpe, said the association would adhere to the decisions taken at the meeting, noting that his members have remained partners with the ministry and the state government.
He added, “On our part, LIPPSOAR and other stakeholders, we want to promise the commissioner, his team and the Government of Rivers State of our usual support and cooperation at all times.
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