The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently consider the use of private defence contractors for targeted security operations to combat insurgency and terrorism.
This was among the 19 recommendations made by the Special Committee on National Security.
It would be recalled that following the escalating security situation in the country, the House in June this year convoked a summit to help find lasting solutions to the menace.
The report of the committee laid before the House on July 8, 2021, was considered in the Committee of the Whole, yesterday.
Moving the motion for its consideration, the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila said that a large number of Nigerians from different backgrounds and experiences were consulted on the matter to make inputs.
The House also recommended that a special team of 40,000 Police Mobile Unit officers should undergo special training to improve their capacity in dealing with issues of insecurity.
It detailed that 1,000 of the officers be deployed to every state for immediate operations, stressing that the North-East, South-West, South-East can receive the officers remaining out of the 40, 000 men.
The Green Chamber also urged the federal government to deploy early warning systems nationwide including installation of CCTV cameras and other surveillance, satellite and electronic equipment along major highways, public places, and major cities and the borders.
It also called for the creation of Local Security Committees in all 774 Local Government Areas to be managed by the Nigerian Police Force as part of its community policing mandate.
According to the House, the panel should include traditional rulers, religious institutions, and local opinion leaders.
The parliament also recommended the use and development of grazing reserves and ranching be pursued in lower population areas, saying that pilot schemes should commence immediately in all states that are positively disposed to it.
The recommendations ran thus, “Instruct the immediate enhanced training for the Police Mobile Unit to improve their capacity to deal with insecurity. A special team of 40,000 Police Mobile Unit officers should undergo this special training. 1,000 should then be deployed to every state for immediate operations. North-East, South-West, South-East can receive the officers remaining out of the 40,000.
“Create a new team under the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to train and work with the guards of Nigeria’s forest. This unit will collaborate with the current Forest Guards who will remain under the control of states.
“Encourage the intelligence agencies (working with the National Security Adviser and the Chief of Defence Staff) to initiate a screening and vetting program of all frontline officers of the Nigerian military to fish out moles and double-agents who have so far compromised most efforts at combating insecurity and win the war against insurgents and terrorists.
“Strategically, the Executive should initiate a Presidential Police Reform initiative that will be resident in one central place within the Presidency. Also, an operational specialised unit should be established within the NPF to champion and drive all the change initiatives (based on a Presidential Policing Reform Roadmap) from within the institution.
“Direct the use of the Nigerian Police Trust Fund to procure some of the immediate equipment need by the rank-and-file police officers in Nigeria. This intervention will include the procurement of modern critical equipment for the Nigeria Police Force as specified by the leadership of the NPF.
“Give immediate consideration to the use of Private Defence Contractors for targeted security operations to combat insurgency and terrorism, especially.
“Urge the Executive to use all means at its disposal (while Legislation is pending), to require the creation of a protocol that will compel intelligence (as a matter of necessity) sharing amongst all security agencies.
“Deploy Early Warning Systems nationwide including installation of CCTV cameras and other surveillance, satellite and electronic equipment along major highways, public places, and major cities and our borders.
“Establish and strengthen a National Crisis Centre (NCC) within the Nigerian Police. The NCC will be the national coordinating centre for all civil security response actions and monitoring of resolutions of such with monthly reporting on all incidents. It will also be the central place for any Nigerian to report major security incidents.
“Through an Executive Order, initiate a Civilianisation program in all our security agencies. This should compel the agencies to use civilian staff to perform most back-office and non-tactical duties. This initiative will free up thousands of security personnel for frontline duties immediately.
“Encourage and resource the National Orientation Agency and the Federal Ministry of Information to begin a structured strategic Communication and orientation campaign using all available media channels and platforms to promote peaceful coexistence and national unity.
“Support for the creation of Local Security Committees in all 774 Local Government Areas. This panel should include Traditional Rulers, Religious institutions, and local opinion leaders.
“This should be managed by the NPF as part of its Community Policing mandate.
“The use and development of grazing reserves and ranching should be pursued in lower population areas. Pilot schemes should commence immediately in all states that are positively disposed to it.
“Strengthening the judicial and law enforcement administration through a digitisation initiative for the Judiciary. This will speed up the administration of Justice and reduce corruption. Swift administration of justice will help reduce causes of disaffection which feeds into insecurity.
“Strengthen and instruct widespread use of the centralized national criminal database by the NPF and mandate access for other security agencies, providing resources to ensure this can be done. This should also include modernization of the national fingerprint database.
“The NSA in collaboration with civil security agencies should identify, map, and arrest cult group leaders, violent agitators, and networks of criminal groups at tertiary education level as well as society at large.
“The nation’s dependence on the import of basic security requirements should be reduced by enhancing the existing military production facilities and private companies across the country for immediate supply of needed security equipment.
“Target poverty as a must; as poverty is the main driver for all the insecurity issues currently prevalent across the nation. This can be done through a focus on infrastructure and a new jobs’ creation drive and initiative by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Executive is also urged to consider doing even more by declaring a state of emergency on job creation considering the high rate of unemployment.
“That Nigeria must take major steps to control the flow of illegal arms into the country. The first step must strengthen the control of our borders to detect and seize any illegal shipment of arms into the country, and arrest and prosecute any person associated with the illegal flow of arms into the country.
“In the next step, Nigeria should reach out to overseas arms dealers to enlist their cooperation against the sales of arms to non-state actors. A third step should be a major diplomatic initiative with the governments of countries known to have companies engaged in selling arms to non-state actors. Continuous Arms-Collection and Depository scheme should be established national to encourage disposal and collection of illegal firearms.”
Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate
Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.
Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”
Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
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