Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum have called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to institute a probe into the statement made by the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS). Lawal Musa Daura, that most of the sophisticated weapons being used by herdsmen were from the armouries of security agencies in the country.
The forum led by Chief Edwin K. Clark for South-South delegation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South-West), Chief John Nwodo (South-East) and Dr Bala Takaya (Middle Belt) made the call at a high-powered meeting it held at the weekend in Abuja, saying such occurrence if not properly investigated and addressed had serious implications for the country’s national security.
Daura had reportedly made the shocking revelation at the Senate Security meeting investigating the herdsmen/farmers clashes which had occasioned several deaths in the country, with several others injured while properties worth billions of naira were destroyed.
The leaders, who met to review the Benue crisis and other flashpoints in Nigeria, expressing disappointment that President Buhari had not lived up to the expectations of his office by keeping mute on the killings and visiting neighbouring Nasarawa and Adamawa States while ignoring Benue, equally demanded immediate rejig of the country’s security architecture to reflect the principle of Federal Character.
According to the Forum, which said it was disturbed by the allegation that soldiers drafted to Benue under “Operation Cat Dance” were circulating leaflets calling Tivs cattle rustlers which clearly suggested that the operation was ostensibly meant to turn victims into villains and decimate their capacity for self-defense, the current template where 16 out of the 17 security chiefs are from a section of the country is not healthy for a multi-ethnic state and, therefore, violates the principle of Federal Character.
The leaders, while also expressing disappointment with the poor state of affairs at the IDP Camps in Benue compared to other IDP camps around the country, urged President Buhari to immediately stop the killings going on in Benue and other parts of the country.
They said he should do this by disarming all armed herdsmen carrying illegal weapons and fish out culprits of killings in Benue and other places for prosecution.
This was just as they warned against any plot to declare a State-of-Emergency in Benue State as being canvassed by some sponsored group, recalling that such a move in the Western Region had dire consequences in the past.
On the issue of underage voters as cited in Kano during the recent Local Government polls in the state, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum said it was alarmed by what it described as the perverse culture as happened in the recent exercise in the state, describing the development as open rape on democracy.
According to the Forum, the unwholesome development is a carryover of the 2015 elections practice and a clear erosion of confidence in the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct credible elections.
The Forum, while rejecting INEC’s move to probe the incident as that would amount to cover-up, demanded that a Judicial probe of the voters registry be done by a panel to be headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice with members drawn from the Commission, registered political parties, Civil Society Groups and the National Democratic Institute for international representation.
It, however, said the enquiry should be done before further elections are held in the country with the current INEC register.
“Meeting was alarmed by the perverse culture of underage voters which was palpable in the recent Local Government elections in Kano. This open rape of democracy is a carryover of the 2015 elections practice and a clear erosion of confidence in the INEC to conduct credible elections.
“Meeting rejects INEC probe into the incidence as its earlier statement that the cards were used for local elections was an attempt to cover up forgetting we know that it has exclusive right over registration of voters which state electoral bodies only make use of.
“Before further elections are held with the current INEC register, we demand a Judicial probe of the voters registry by a panel to be headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice and members drawn from INEC, registered political parties, Civil Society Groups and the National Democratic Institute for international representation,” the Forum demanded.
Tribunal Verdicts, Affirmation Of People’s Trust In Us – Fubara
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has described the judgment of the Governorship Election Tribunal that upheld his election victory as a confirmation of the trust expressed in him by Rivers people.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Governor, Boniface Onyedi, in Government House, Port Harcourt.
At a brief thanksgiving service held at the Chapel of Everlasting Grace, Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday night, which was attended by some members of the State Executive Council and political leaders, Fubara restated his commitment not to betray the expectations of Rivers people on his administration.
He explained that the place of God in his administration would not be compromised, which is why they had gathered to thank Him for His unceasing direction and guidance.
He added that his emergence as governor was made possible at the polls by God, insisting that His favour has now been affirmed by the tribunal.
Fubara particularly thanked the immediate past Governor of Rivers State and Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chief Nyesom Wike, for his immense support to his governorship bid, following through the stages of the legal contest.
He also thanked the Rivers people for rallying behind him to allow the will of God to prevail for the State.
The governor, who solicited for more support, enjoined Rivers people to be patient with his administration, promising to deliver good governance that will make their lives better.
In his exhortation, the Chaplain of the Chapel of Everlasting Grace, Government House, Port Harcourt, Rev. Barasin Ogan, said it is good to give God thanks, which is what the governor has done.
Ogan declared that the hand of God is upon Fubara and will strengthen him to work in mercy, delivering justice without bias and showing mercy without ceasing.
Senate Warns Tinubu Against Extra-Budgetary Spending
The Senate Committee on Gas has urged President Bola Tinubu to present a 2023 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly to commence his Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) project.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe made this known in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, barely 48 hours after Tinubu announced measures to mitigate the effect of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
The chairman, who lauded Tinubu for the CNG initiative, however, warned that it would be illegal to spend taxpayers’ money or money without approval by the National Assembly and other projects in the gas value chain, which is cheaper than the use of fossil fuel.
The federal lawmakers also advised against extra-budgetary expenditure through ‘Ways and Means,’ saying the legislature is ready to support and bring succour to Nigerian people.
“The noble initiative will ameliorate the hardship of the citizens. Also, the President needs to come up with a supplementary budget to enable the government to fund the gas value chain, including the provision for CNG infrastructure and CNG vehicles, and the workshops and training would need to be funded,” the senator said.
“The President should not embark on extra-budgetary expenditure because it will be inconsistent with the provisions of the law”, he cautioned.
Jarigbe noted that the National Assembly, under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio, was poised to support the great programmes of Tinubu’s administration, adding that a 2023 supplementary budget would be most appropriate, instead of the ‘Ways and Means’ approach of the previous administration, which is currently a major issue of contention in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
NDIC Begins Payment Of N16bn To 20 Defunct Banks’ Shareholders
The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has announced the declaration of N16.18 billion in liquidation dividends to depositors, creditors, and shareholders of 20 banks in liquidation.
The announcement comes after impressive recoveries from debtors and realisation of assets of banks in liquidation.
The corporation’s Director, Communication and Public Affairs, Bashir Nuhu, made this known in a statement on Monday.
The NDIC said it had commenced verification and payment of stakeholders covered by the declarations within 30 days, starting from September 28.
The statement reads partly, “It is instructive to note that the ongoing payment is sequel to earlier payment of various sums which cumulatively amounted to N45.45bn as liquidation dividends in respect of the 20 banks as at July 2023.”
The closed banks covered by the exercise include Liberty Bank, City Express Bank, Assurance Bank, Century Bank, Allied Bank, Financial Merchant Bank, Icon Merchant Bank, Progress Bank, Merchant Bank of Africa (MBA), and Premier Commercial Bank.
Others are North South Bank, Prime Merchant Bank, Commercial Trust Bank, Cooperative and Commerce Bank, Rims Merchant Bank, Pan African Bank, Fortune Bank, All States Trust Bank, Nigeria Merchant Bank, and Amicable Bank in-liquidation.
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