Page 10 of The Tide newspaper of Monday, November 4, 2019, carried some vital news items of which two will form the focus of this article. “Presidency Lists Gains of Buhari’s Foreign Trips’’, and “Miyetti Allah Not Above The Law…” Those who know the style and strategies of news management would give the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu credit as being an astute PR guru and perhaps, a spin doctor.
That President Muhammadu Buhari departed Mecca for United Kingdom after successful performance of the lesser Hajj, makes a straight news, from a professional journalist. But the import of the fact, “Buhari would be in London for a private visit and will return to Nigeria on November 17”, was drowned in “Gains of Buhari’s Foreign Trips”. Rather than the financial and other implications of such private visit to the United Kingdom for a country spending over $1billion to service debts, the “take away from the President’s foreign trips” makes cheering news.
Issue about the purpose of the private visit, its costs to the Nigerian economy and the tax payers as well as the health status of the President, are not meant for public consumption. Rather, Nigerians should rejoice because the world’s largest oil operating company, ARAMCO and its chairman, Yassir Al-Rumayyan, asked Buhari, “what can we do for you?” Buhari’s response was to invite ARAMCO to visit Nigeria and carry out a diagnostic assessment of NNPC refineries, pipelines and other infrastructures.
Business prospects and gains are bound to arise when a President participates in the Future Investment Initiative (FII) and “Davos in the Desert, to talk about “What’s Next For Africa”. How will investment and trade transform the African continent into the next Great Economic Success Story? The answer lies in foreign trips and talks.
Any intelligent analyst looking at what transpired in in the Saudi Kingdom during President Buhari’s visit would conclude that Yassir Al-Rumayyan and his ARAMCO are making an in-road into Nigeria’s oil and gas market. Especially with the status of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill and interested parties waiting to invest, it would not be difficult to know why Al-Rumayyan asked: what can we do for you?”
What is of vital importance in Garba Shehu’s listing of the gains of President Buhari’s foreign trips, apart from the London private visit, is the possible coming of ARAMCO into Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. The strategy was to present this “take away “ or gain from the Saudi Kingdom, but divert attention away from the cost implications of the London private visit.
When an old class mate at the School of Oriental and African Studies called a few days ago and talked about my country “moving towards the Arab World”, the call carried more significant message than what was voiced. Apart from the ‘take away” that we expect from ARAMCO, Nigeria is a celebrated member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). So, my country moving towards the Arab world and Islamic Brotherhood does not make an exciting news. We already have the Western World as old friends, which accounts for why our leaders often go to London on private visits.
The other news item about Miyetti Allah not being above the law also contained serious implications. The National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH), Alhaji Abdulahi Bodejo was said to have made utterances that were inciting and direct invitation to anarchy in the country. He was quoted as saying: “you are a governor and you want to enjoy peace in your state, you do not need any long meeting, just create a particular area for the Fulani and equip them with modern amenities”.
Alhaji Bodejo was referring to Governor Ortom of Benue State, with regards to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law. Bodejo asked Governor Ortom to “apologise to Fulani in Nigeria for killing them, for destroying their businesses and damaging our names…” He went on to say that “we are in court because we can’t allow that law to work”.
With regards to the news items about “gains of Buhari’s foreign trips” and Miyetti Allah not being above the law, there is a need for the managers of the affairs of Nigeria to admit that there are issues of serious national concern. We must not wait until we get involved and engulfed in crises situations before realistic actions are taken.
Insecurity In Nigeria, Alarming, Wike Alerts …Suspends JAAC Accounts From Defaulting Banks
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says insecurity in Nigeria has reached an alarming proportion.
He has therefore called on security agencies to redouble their efforts in curbing it.
Governor Wike expressed the concern yesterday when the new General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Olu Irefin paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt.
He noted that the prevalence of insecurity in every State of the Federation seems to overwhelm the military.
Governor Wike stated that the situation is different in Rivers State because of the robust collaboration between his administration and the security agencies.
“Our determination is to keep the State safe but development also attracts criminality, so we can’t say we are totally free.
“There are still pockets of criminal elements. So, as a professional whose role is to defend the territorial integrity of the country, fight crime and do not involve in politics.
“We are willing to collaborate with you as a government because security is important for us. Just let us know what you require to succeed in the fight against criminality.
“That way, we will be partners in progress and make the State safe for all residents,” he stated.
Earlier, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General OluIrefin commended Governor Wike for his developmental strides.
He said on assumption of duties, his commanders told him that they have enjoyed tremendous support from the state government in the discharge of duties.
He pledged to sustain the existing collaboration in protecting lives and property in the State
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has directed the removal of Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) from banks that gave unauthorised loans to some Local Government Chairmen in the State.
Governor Wike gave the directive on Wednesday, while swearing in the substantive Chairman of the Asari-Toru Local Government Area at Government House, Port Harcourt .
He directed the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to take legal action against the defaulting Banks.
Governor Wike said both the Banks and the Councils that defaulted would suffer the consequences of the illegality.
He noted that the Banks cannot seek refund of the loans because they contravened extant Laws of the State.
“We have taken a decision that for all those loans taken without approval, the affected accounts must leave the defaulting banks.
“I have told the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to take necessary steps. The Banks cannot go and seek for refund from the Local Governments. When you default the Law, you suffer for it.
“Council Chairmen who want to take loans from banks must get official approval. You cannot take loans that will mortgage the future of the people”, he stated.
Governor Wike charged Mrs. AlasoJohnbull Obi to use her new position to make a difference because the people are yet to feel the impact of the Council.
“Go and put your local government together. Do not allow busy body politicians to distract you. Use this opportunity you have to make a difference.
“We never thought that Chief Odiari Princewill will die but as God will have it, he is dead and we have to abide by the constitution.
“That is why you, as the deputy, has to step in as the substantive chairman of Asari-Toru local Government Area today.
“In choosing your Deputy, you must consult widely with all the stakeholders of the Party. As election is coming up next year, you have an opportunity to sell yourself,” he added.
Until her swearing in, Mrs. AlasoJohnbul-Obi was the Vice Chairman of the Council but the death of the elected chairman, Chief Odiari Princewill on the 27th May, 2020 created a vacuum that needed to be filled.
SSANU, NASU Threaten Strike Over Unresolved Issues
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said they would proceed on strike over unresolved issues with the Federal Government immediately the universities reopen.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, the Chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of both unions said this while addressing newsmen on the resolutions reached by the unions yesterday in Abuja.
The resolutions were signed by the SSANU National President, Mr Samson Ugwoke, and the General Secretary of NASU, Mr Peters Adeyemi.
The unions’ grievances included the lingering Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) debacle, nonpayment of arrears of earned allowance and minimum wage. Others are the alleged lack of seriousness by the Babalakin Committee renegotiating the 2009 FG/NASU, SSANU agreements, neglect and poor funding of state universities, absence of visitation panels, among others.
According to Ugwoke, long after many other sectors had been paid the arrears of the national minimum wage and consequential adjustment, university workers are yet to be paid. “We find this development totally unwholesome and very unhealthy.
“Given the time lag of over a year since it was implemented in other sectors, members of the public would agree that we have been patient enough in the university system,” he said.
He pointed out that in spite of the series of letters by the unions to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) Office since February, their members were still confronted with many challenges, including salary payment. Ugwuoke also said that their members, whose monthly salaries were being paid in the second week of the following month in the past seven months, were suffering as a result of the difficulties posed by IPPIS.
He argued that as responsible unions, they had avoided the planned action, adding that the unhealthy situation had made it inevitable.
Ugwoke said: “We have again cried out to the general public with a view to inviting stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the government to correct the anomaly of IPPIS. “Pay us the arrears of both earned allowances and minimum wage, among others.”
He warned that the unions would have no option than to embark on strike effective from when universities would reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown.
FG’S Reviewed Broadcast Code, Draconian – PDP …Says New Code Aimed At Muzzling Media, Concealing Corruption, Abacha Loot
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has rejected the reviewed broadcast code, describing it as another draconian measure to muzzle the media and suppress free speech in Nigeria.
The party said the All Progressives Congress, APC and its government adopted the reviewed code with its N5 million fine “to intimidate the media and gag whistle blowers from further exposing the humongous corruption, abuse of office, violation of human rights as well as officials’ betrayal of trust and abuse of office in the Buhari administration.”
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the reviewed code is a grand plot “to suppress and muzzle Nigerians and the media from publicly opposing plots by the APC to mortgage the sovereignty of our dear nation to foreign interests as being witnessed in the anti-Nigeria clauses in the loan agreements with China.”
The statement read: “The APC has been jittery over the stench of monumental corruption oozing out from its government as well as its anti-Nigeria activities, and now seeks to suppress public opinion and media reportage of their atrocities against our nation.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that the APC administration rushed to review the broadcast codes and introduced draconian clauses at the height of public revelations and media reportage of its corruption and plots to mortgage our nation’s sovereignty to China. The reviewed broadcast code therefore validates the stance by Nigerians that covering of corruption and the scheme to mortgage the sovereignty of our nation are official policies of the APC which has not denied that it is the headquarters of corruption.
“Our party however, wishes to inform the APC and its administration that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and other laws guiding media practice, which guarantees a free press and freedom of opinion by Nigerians are clear and that no matter how much the truth is suppressed, it must always come to light.
“Moreover, the APC must know that we are in a democracy and that Nigerians cannot be suppressed from exercising their rights of speaking out in the face of injustice, corruption, abuse of trust in the APC administration, which President Buhari had also admitted.
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