The Coalition of Concerned Northern Youths (CCNY) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to honourably resign as President, adding that he has failed woefully.
In a statement signed by its National Convener, Muhammed Ishaq and made available to newsmen, yesterday, the coalition cited the President’s lack of the will power to tackle the security challenges facing the country.
This call by the youths’ coalition followed a similar call by the Ango Abdullahi-led Northern Elders Forum (NEF), which had last weekend declared the administration of President Buhari a total failure.
The group said it had warned Nigerians that Buhari has nothing to offer to them, adding that the President has failed to tackle insecurity and improve the economy.
NEF said Buhari-led government appeared helpless in finding solutions to the numerous challenges the country is faced with
The Northern youths added, “The above named coalition wishes to make its position clear regarding the insecurity problem that has been ravaging Nigeria, particularly the Northern part for long.
“We, as a coalition that represents millions of youths from various nooks and crannies of Northern Nigeria, are pained by the insecurity problem that threatens to consume our region, the North.
“It is a glaring fact that security situation of Nigeria is seriously deteriorating and our agony as victims is aggravating. This lingering insecurity problem is one of the major reasons that made us to clamour for change and voted Goodluck Jonathan out in 2015.
“But instead of getting panacea for the problem, we just got respite, and now, the problem has been resurfacing with escalating dimension under the watch of someone that vowed to be our saviour.”
The group noted that is almost five years now and the country under the watch of Buhari is either worse than the Jonathan administration or it is no different from the previous government despite the fact that in his first term, “Buhari pledged that his government would bring an end to the national suffering inflicted by insecurity.
“Our stance as youths and backbone of our nation is that we grow tired of excuses while our lives are being taken on hourly basis.
“We cannot continue watching while our region is being turned to ashes and cemetery.
“We cannot keep mute while our future is being punctured and fractured due to the carelessness and negligence of those that are entrusted with our protection.
“Our investigation revealed that about 80 per cent of the victims of this insecurity are Nigerian youths, particularly Northerners considering the fact that the kidnapped and the kidnappers are mostly youths, the killed and the killers are mostly youths, the soldiers on warfront and the terrorists are mostly youths also.
“It is on reliable and available records that not less than 245 persons were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria in January, 2020 only.
“The Expat Insider Survey of 2019 by Inter Nations has revealed that Nigeria is the third most dangerous country in the world due to widespread insecurity and corruption.
“The aforementioned facts have irrefutably shown that Muhammadu Buhari as President of Nigeria has woefully failed to secure the lives of Nigerians due to probably lack of will, commitment or competence.
“If we did not forget, when Nigeria was boiling under Jonathan with Boko Haram massacring thousands and over-running military barracks, almost all Nigerians believed Jonathan was not fit to rescue Nigeria and was voted out.
“Now that the same insecurity problem is replaying itself under President Muhammadu Buhari, we are left with no option than to respectfully but vehemently call on President Muhammadu Buhari to honourably resign to give room for someone who has what it takes to address the security problem that constantly turns our nation to another version of Somalia.
“The above call is made in the best interest of the nation having considered the fact that insecurity problem is caused and maintained by nothing but the failure of leadership.”
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to go beyond his sympathy visit to Borno State and take decisive steps to end the killings across the country.
This is even as the party described the alleged booing of President Buhari in Borno State, yesterday, as a clear message to him that Nigerians hold him responsible for the escalated insecurity in the country.
A statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan read: “The PDP demands that Mr. President should not limit his visit to Borno State but also visit other parts of the country, including Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Plateau, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Niger, Taraba and other states to face the feelings of Nigerians as well as view the national devastation his poor handling of security and infrastructure has caused our nation.
“The party hopes that the visit to Borno State, which came only after the PDP and Nigerians criticized Mr. President for his aloofness, particularly over the Auno killing on Sunday, is not part of the usual presidential media stunts that will not be followed with a corresponding action to track down killers and end terrorism.
“It (booing) shows a loss of confidence in the Buhari Presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The PDP further charges Mr. President to endeavour to go on subsequent visits by road in order to see and feel the agony Nigerians are being subjected to with the parlous state of our road infrastructure and security network under the incompetent and unresponsive Buhari Presidency and APC.
“Our party holds that Nigerians do not deserve a distant President, who sits in the comfort of the Presidential villa and luxury jets, remaining indifferent to the pains, anguish and torments that compatriots suffer on daily basis.
“The PDP hereby calls on Mr. President to quickly embark on these visits and monitor, on first hand basis, the damage which his administration has caused and for which Nigerians are demanding that he resigns and allow more competent hands to manage the affairs of our nation. It is only after these visits that the Buhari Presidency will appreciate that those calling on him to rejig the nation’s security architecture mean well for our dear country.”
However, the songs of welcome have changed in Maiduguri for President Muhammadu Buhari, from being friendly and warm to being openly hostile.
According to video published online, yesterday, as the President’s convoy blitzed through the streets of the Boko Haram threatened city, the crowd that lined the streets shouted “Bama so”, “Bama so”, which means “We don’t want you”.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the people of Borno to cooperate with the military and other security agencies to facilitate successful implementation of the counter-insurgency campaign.
The President made the call when he paid a condolence visit to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar El-Kanemi, yesterday, in Maiduguri.
Recall that the president is in Borno to sympathise with government and people of the state over the Boko Haram insurgents’ attack which claimed many lives at Auno in Konduga Local Government Area.
The insurgents had, last Sunday, attacked Auno community, killing dozens of stranded passengers, destroyed houses, vehicles and properties worth millions of Naira.
Buhari noted that the fight against insurgency could not be executed without good intelligence and support of the people.
“Boko Haram, or whatever they are, cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs without the local leadership knowing; traditionally, the local leadership is in charge of security in their own respective areas.
“With my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this end.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I campaigned in 2015 and last year on three fundamental issues which include security – you cannot preside over an institution or a country if it is not secured.
“This is just common sense, everybody knows this, even those that have not gone to school knows this.
“On the issue of economy, the Nigerian youths are over 60 per cent of our population with many of them below 30-years. We have to remind them that they must help us to stabilise the country so that they can have a better future.
“If they do not cooperate with government; they are endangering their future; I am already 77 now, how many years do I expect under normal circumstances?”
Buhari reiterated his commitment to work with the security agencies to enhance security, protect lives and property in the country.
“We are working for you in this country; as Commander-in-Chief, I am dealing with the security institutions, and I believe there is improvement in security.
“I urge the people of the state to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies; let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens and encourage displaced people to go back to their land,” he said.
The President noted that his visit to the state was to sympathise and show his respect to the governor and the people of the state.
Speaking on the economy of the nation, Buhari said that government had saved millions of dollars through agriculture which enhances livelihood of farmers and food security, and also improved the social and economic state of the people.
Buhari said that the Federal Government had adopted proactive measures to check smuggling through the land borders in the country.
According to him, government has created an enabling environment for educated Nigerians to venture into legitimate and sustainable agriculture to enable them become self-reliant and employers of labour.
The President, however, commended the state Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum for providing quality leadership in the state.
Also speaking, Zulum called on the military to take the fight to the insurgents in the fringes of the Sambisa Forest, Lake Chad Basin and other identified hideouts of the terrorists.
Zulum urged the military authorities to foster greater unity between them and the civil authorities with a view to closing the existing discrepancies in their relations.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says the killing of over 30 people in Auno near Maiduguri by Boko Haram has again proven that the security architecture in Nigeria has collapsed.
CAN wondered why President Muhammadu Buhari was dragging foot on the need to overhaul the security hierarchy.
In a statement yesterday, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, spokesman to CAN president, Rev Samson Ayokunle, commiserated with families of the bereaved, Muslims in Nigeria, the people and Borno State Government.
It said that the Nigerian Army and Buhari Government had severally claimed that terrorists had been decimated, technically defeated and chased away from the country.
CAN lamented that the insurgents have actually become more daring in their deadly operations, consistently attacking communities, killing, maiming, abducting and burning property with minimal or without any resistance from the frontline troops.
Condemning the claim, CAN has insisted that that the security arrangement in the country, especially in the North-east has been compromised.
“Except the security system is completely overhauled, Nigerians will remain helpless and Federal Government may never be able to contain the current nightmarish security situation”, it warned.
“There is no doubt that sabotage and compromise are largely responsible for the prolonged terrorism, banditry, kidnappings and herdsmen killings in the country, an allegation that has been confirmed by authoritative voices in the country’s security circle at the highest level.
“It is, however, sad that Federal Government nay the Commander-in-Chief is still turning a deaf ear to the desperate calls for the rejigging of the security architecture by Nigerians.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says the killing of over 30 people in Auno near Maiduguri by Boko Haram has again proven that the security architecture in Nigeria has collapsed.
Stiffer Anti-Kidnapping Bill Scales 2nd Reading In Senate
A bill seeking to introduce stiffer punishment for kidnapping, wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement for ransom, has passed second reading at the Senate, just as it also passed a bill seeking to establish the Nationwide Emergency Communications Service.
This was sequel to the presentation of the lead debate by the sponsor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Osun) during plenary, yesterday.
The bill is titled “Abduction, Wrongful Restraints and Confinement Bill 2021”.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Amosun said the bill was read for the first time on Wednesday, June 30.
He said the aim was to ensure stricter and more stringent punishment for the offence of kidnapping, and bring to an end the debate of the adequacy or otherwise of punishment for kidnapping and other related crimes, like false imprisonment.
“It also seeks to combat and prevent any form of kidnapping in Nigeria.
“This bill also provides more punitive measures for ancillary crimes flowing from the commission of the crime of abduction, like death or grievous bodily harm.
“To achieve the deterrent effect, life imprisonment is proposed for the offence of kidnapping, particularly where death results from the act.
“The law is made stricter by ensuring that recipients of any proceeds of the act of kidnapping are heavily sanctioned with term of imprisonment of up to 30 years.
“The bill proposes to give the Inspector-General of Police wider powers to enable adequate policing of the crime of kidnapping.”
The lawmaker further said that the highest term of imprisonment prescribed for kidnapping in the Criminal and Penal Code Acts was 10 years imprisonment.
“The light punishment against these offences has not helped in deterring the spate of abductions and kidnappings that have now become prevalent in the country.”
Amosun described the menace a major national challenge that deserved to be treated with all seriousness.
The bill was thereafter referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative action to report back in four weeks.
The Senate’s approval of Nationwide Emergency Communications Service followed the consideration of the report of Senate Committee on Communication on Nationwide Toll-Free Emergency Number (Establishment) Bill, 2021, at plenary.
It also approved 112 as the toll-free number for emergencies.
The report was presented by Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti) on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, Sen Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos).
Olujimi in her presentation explained that clause two of the bill sought to establish a service which would be responsible for deployment and coordination of seamless and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency needs nationwide.
She said clause five of the bill was amended to empower the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) with the responsibility of formulating regulations and guidelines for the workings of the service.
Olujimi explained that Clause 11 of the bill prohibited use of telephone and mobile telecommunications services to place false, frivolous or vexatious calls to the emergency number 112.
She added that Clause 12 of the bill provides that, “a person who violates any of the provisions of this bill or the regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a penalty of not more than N50,000.
“Or in default to a term imprisonment not exceeding six months, and for each subsequent offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than N250,000 naira or, in default, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year.”
She said new sub-clauses (2), (3) and (4) were introduced into the bill to provide for the blacklisting of any person who violates Clause 11 for a period not more than eight weeks.
UNICEF, EU Warn Of Damaging Effect Of Conflict On Nigerian Children
No fewer than 300,000 children have reportedly been killed in the northeast since the advent of insurgency in the region 12 years ago.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative to Nigeria, Peter Hawkins; and the European Union (EU) Head of Cooperation, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer; who disclosed these figures in a joint press statement, yesterday, also confirmed that over one million children had as well been displaced.
The aid agencies have now appealed to all sides in the conflict to protect children from the “short and long term effects of war, warning that a recent Mental Health and Psychological Support (MHPSS) needs assessment of conflict-affected children in Nigeria, revealed pervasive psychological distress manifesting as high levels of anxiety, suspiciousness, anger as well as aggressive and hyper-vigilance”.
They stressed that the scars of conflict were real and enduring for children and that too many children in the northeast were falling victim to a conflict they did not start.
UNICEF country representatives advised that affected children be allowed and supported to regain their childhood and restart their lives.
The EU Head of Cooperation, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, also advised that addressing the psychological well-being and development of children and teachers in conflict situations is an important part of re-establishing education provision and enabling children to re-enter schools safely.
Pensions Scheme: Retired Police Officers Protest At NASS …Accuse IGP, Others Of Mismanaging Fund
Police retirees under the Contributory Pensions Scheme, yesterday, embarked on another protest over the alleged lack of equity in the scheme.
The police retirees converged at the gates of the National Assembly to push home their earlier demand to be exited from the scheme.
The officers had in April taken their protest to the National Assembly when they made similar demands in a form of a petition which received the blessings of the Senate following which an investigative hearing of their petition was carried out.
They also accused the Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali, and the management team of aiding and abetting the alleged fraudulent mismanagement of the fund which they claim is being diverted to private pockets.
The retirees said based on their findings, the IGP and the management team have been foot-dragging in proposing a bill to the National Assembly to exempt the police from the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Part of their text made available to journalists read, “It would surprise you to hear that till date, the IGP has refused to comply with the advice given, instead, he mandated the DIG, Sanusi Lemu to join the NPF Pension Ltd marketing team to go on marketing campaigns against the exit of the Police from Contributory Pension Scheme.
“DIG Sanusi’s action violates Section 4 of Police Act which highlights the constitutional duties of a police officer. As contrary as this was, another crafty aspect of the act was a hired crowd that was induced with N10,000.00 and souvenir each to gather and pose as retired police officers to enable them make a clip for a press release to the effect that our genuine agitation was political and not supported by the generality of police retirees.”
The angry ex-officers recalled that the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, had ordered an investigative hearing of their petition since June 2, under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba, which outcome, the IGP was unwilling to abide by three months after.
The group said, regrettably, the Inspector General of Police rather directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Sanusi Lemu, to join the NPF Pension Ltd marketing to embark on a false campaign, stating that exiting from the Contributory Pension Scheme was not in the interest of retires and serving police officers.
The retirees wondered how the IGP and his management team would allow their pecuniary interests, overwhelm the thousands of retirees, saying that it was the police officers’ fund that was used to set up the capital base of NPF Pension Ltd.
The ex-officers expressed confidence that the National Assembly will intervene by amending the Act to do away with the flaws and those clauses that are inconsistent with the supreme law and further demanded that:
“The exemption clause in the Pension Reform Act should be expanded to include the Nigeria Police Force which is the leading agency in internal security in this country.
“All police retirees who enlisted into the force before the birth of the CPS in 2004 should be exempted CPS and the 300% of their annual salary be paid to them as gratuity and 80% of their last monthly salary be paid to them as pension as specified under the defines benefits scheme under which condition they enlisted into the force.”
The chairman of the Cross Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Police Retirees Under Contributory Pension Scheme, Christopher Effiong, who coordinated the protest on behalf of other chapters said, the IGP’s lukewarm attitude has justified their earlier findings that their pension was being fraudulently diverted into private pockets.
He alleged that they were being cheated by the pension managers and some serving senior Police officers, which the National Assembly has since directed the IGP to forward a bill.
“We are here to reiterate our former appeal to the National Assembly to exit us from the Contributory Pensions Scheme for which we were coerced.
“We want to exit, we don’t want it again. We would rather prefer to return to the defined benefit scheme controlled by the Nigeria police pension board where our pension and gratuity would be paid. We are pleading that they should exit us from the Contributory Pensions Scheme.
“As experts and professionals in different fields that we were trained, if we are utilized properly we are a major asset to Nigeria as a nation especially these days of insecurity and terrorism.
“When such well-trained officers are treated with such disdain they can be hijacked to carry out some activities that would not be very good for the government of this country.
“We have bomb experts, anti-bomb and terrorism experts, we have highly trained intelligence officers among us.
“Government has to keep us somewhere to pacify us because in more civilised nations retired officers like us are kept as a reserved force.
“Anytime you have challenges you fall back and get ideas from us to get things right but here in Nigeria after we have suffered they have abandoned us”.
Offiong lamented that a police inspector who spent 35 years in service and retired would be paid a paltry sum of N785,284.40 and will be taking N22,000 as monthly pension, while an ASP retiree is currently paid N16,000 monthly, a situation he described as homicidal.
“Let them pay us debarment allowance, exit us from Contributory Pension Scheme. These are the two requests we are making that National Assembly should help us.”
Meanwhile, a bill for an Act to amend the Pension Reform Act 2014 so as to exempt the Nigeria Police Force from the Contributory Pension Scheme has passed second reading.
Sponsored by Rep Francis Waive (APC-Delta), the bill was read for the second time on the floor of the House of Representatives, yesterday, in Abuja.
Leading the debate, Waive stated that the bill sought to amend Section 5, Sub-Section 1 paragraph (a) of the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
According to him, this will include the Nigerian Police Force as part of the categories of persons exempted from the Contributory Pension Scheme, which presently include members of the Armed Forces, the intelligence and secret services of the federation.
The lawmaker said that the Nigerian Police was brought under the current pension scheme by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.
He said that Obasanjo modelled the country’s Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) after the Chilean ‘Chilere’ pension scheme, which exempted both the armed forces and the police from the scheme.
Waive said, “Unfortunately, in adopting the same model, he brought the police under the Nigerian Contributory Pension scheme, while exempting the military and other intelligence agencies”.
The lawmaker said that the Nigeria Police Pensions Limited emanated from a Presidential approval that was aimed at enhancing the welfare of serving and retired police officers.
“Consequent upon the approval, the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), was in 2012 directed to guide the police towards the establishment of a Nigeria Police Pension Fund Administrator”.
This, according to him, was in order to remain within the Contributory Pension Scheme and to address all other areas of concern on welfare and pension matters.
He, however, alleged that operating under the current pension scheme had been both unpalatable and regrettable for the retirees of the Nigerian Police Force.
The police, being the front line security agency in the country, were exposed to dangers day and night more than the other security agencies and as such deserved better treatment during and after service.
“For example, the highest retirement benefit of a Deputy Superintendent of Police under this obnoxious pension scheme is N2.5million.
“That of Assistant Superintendent of Police is N1.5million, while their equivalent in Army (captain) and DSS are paid N12.8million and N10.3million, respectively,” he said.
In his contribution, Hon Uzoma Abonta (PDP-Abia), said that other security agencies should also benefit from the exemption.
An overwhelming majority of the lawmakers agreed with the sponsor of the bill, enabling it to scale second reading.
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