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Insecurity: Work With Monarchs To Gather Intelligence, Buhari Charges Govs

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President Muhammadu Buhari, has charged governors to work more with traditional rulers and community members to improve local intelligence gathering that will aid the work of security agencies.

He gave the charge, yesterday, in Abuja, during a meeting with 36 state governors on the issue of security.

According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari, who listened to presentations from the representative of each of the six geo-political zones on their specific security challenges, recalled that in the old order communities identified new comers and passed information to constituted authority.

“The sub-region is no longer safe, more so with the collapse of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and the cross border movement of weapons and criminals.

“Governors must work with traditional rulers. Try and work with traditional rulers to boost intelligence gathering.”

Giving an overview of the security situation in each of the zones, the President said his administration had done well in the North-East and South-South, adding that the South-South situation was still worrisome.

“Every day I get situation reports about illegal refineries and the blowing up of pipelines. You must stop local rogues from sabotaging oil installations.”

On the issue of banditry and kidnapping reported in each of the geo-political zones, President Buhari said “security is important and we must secure the whole country. We are thinking very hard on the issue of kidnapping. We will make it possible for the military to get to the bandits and kidnappers and eliminate them.”

The President explained that the closure of the nation’s land borders was partly an attempt to control the smuggling in of weapons and drugs.

“Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we are looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible.”

Buhari gave assurances that the country’s military will continue to get the support they needed to fight criminals.

“I am not going to the public to speak about the vehicles and equipment we have ordered. What I can say is that the military received armoured cars and other equipment and they are training the trainers. More of such equipment, including military aircrafts will come in.”

On the issues raised on #EndSARS protest and its hijack by hoodlums to cause mayhem and destroy private and public property, Buhari again gave a strong warning about reoccurrence, saying that no responsible government will allow that to happen.

“We do not stop anyone from demonstrating, but you don’t set up roadblocks and smash windscreens. Which government will allow that?”

Buhari noted that the foreign press coverage of the #EndSARS violence was not balanced, citing specifically the CNN and BBC, for omitting the number of policemen killed, police stations that were razed, and the prisons that were thrown open for inmates to escape.

“I was disgusted by the coverage, which did not give attention to the policemen that were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons that were opened. (They said we are all at fault. We don’t have the sympathy of anyone. We are on our own).”

Buhari said violent demonstrations will no longer be allowed, adding: “democracy does not mean confusion or lack of accountability.”

On the eight-month long strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, the President said lecturers had not taken into consideration the larger challenges facing the country.

“Government conceded something. The problem is that they refused to look at the problem of the whole country. The Minister of Labour is working hard at it. It is amazing how ASUU will stay out of classrooms for so long. There’s a need for our elites to understand the challenges facing the country.”

Speaking separately on a national TV programme, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, said that at the meeting, yesterday, the Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, and his North-East counterparts did not raise the subject of engaging mercenaries to combat Boko Haram terrorists in the region.

Zulum  had made six recommendations to the Federal Government to defeat insurgency following the killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno by Boko Haram members, last month.

The recommendations include the engagement of the services of the governments of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic as well as the services of mercenaries to defeat Boko Haram terrorists.

In view of the rising killings in the country, the Nigeria Governors Forum under the Chairmanship of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State met with the president, yesterday at Aso Villa.

But the presidential spokesman said the Borno State governor and his colleagues from the North-East region, the theatre of Boko Haram heinous activities, did not make any recommendation to the president on the use of mercenaries.

Adesina spoke while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme.

He said, “It was quite a fruitful meeting. The governors of the 36 states were invited and near 100 per cent of them turned up. It was across parties.

“After the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi, spoke, then, he invited a governor each from the geopolitical zones and give an account of what was happening, security-wise in their zones.”

Adesina said each of the governors spoke on the security challenges peculiar to their regions — North-West (banditry), North-East (Boko Haram), South-West (kidnapping), North-Central (farmers-herders clash), amongst others.

“After that, Mr President responded and they reviewed the accounts together. Where promises were needed to be made, they were made and where explanations were needed to be made, they were equally made,” Adesina stated.

The spokesperson added, “The promise the president made was that more equipment were being procured and that some had come and the need to train our forces on the need to use them.

“He also encouraged the governors to work in close contact with the traditional authorities and local communities because intelligence is a big part of the thing. He encouraged them to work together so that those who sabotage the military by giving information to the other side can be encouraged to give information to the military.”

The president is expected to appear before the National Assembly, tomorrow, in view of the security challenges plaguing the country.

“The National Assembly will determine the format of the forum,” Adesina stated.

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Reps Urge FG To Revisit School Feeding Programme

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to revisit the school feeding programme, suspended over sundry controversies.
The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was a pilot programme launched in 2004 targeting 12 states to provide a nutritious midday meal to public primary school pupils in the country:
In 2016, the programme was relaunched nationally, targeting public primary school children using locally sourced ingredients to improve health, stimulate agricultural production, and boost smallholder farmers’ income.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu, on January 12, 2024, suspended all programmes of the National Social Investment Programme Agency for six weeks.
The four programmes administered by NSIPA are N- the Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
Following the adoption of the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Special Duties and Finance to invite the Ministers of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Education, and Finance to revisit the program and propose solutions for its future success.”
The House, while adopting a motion on “Urgent call to revisit school feeding policy” moved by the member representing Tarauni Federal Constituency, Kano State, Mr Muktar Zakari, noted that the philosophy behind the NHGSFP is to encourage enrollment into the public primary schools, address childhood hunger pangs, and improve their ability to concentrate, learn, and increase school attendance.
The lawmaker, a member of the New Nigeria People’s Party, lamented that “The suspension of the NHGSFP by the current administration is unsettling for several reasons, namely reduced school enrollment and attendance, compromised health and cognitive development of the children, and disruption of the income of smallholder farmers.”
He also said “Addressing the programme’s challenges is crucial, but a complete suspension may cause more harm,” noting that “It is important to find alternative solutions or efficient implementation of the NHGSFP to ensure Nigerian children continue to benefit from this important initiative.”
In his words, “The cancellation of the programme is causing an upsurge in the number of out-of-school children, posing a threat to the country’s future and leading to a high rate of crimes, insecurity, and unemployment.”

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Insecurity: Reps Want Modern Technology Deployed In Nation’s Borders

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The House of Representatives has called on the Nigeria Customs Service to deploy modern technology to secure the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries.
The directive followed the adoption of a motion on “Need to employ the use of modern technology to secure the nation’s borders,” sponsored by the member representing Awka North/Awka South Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Obiageli Orogbu at Thursday’s plenary.
Consequently, the Reps mandated “The Nigeria Customs Service to beef up the nation’s border security with modern technological gadgets.”
It also directed its Committees on National Security and Intelligence and Customs and Excise to “Interface with the relevant agencies of the executive arm to ensure implementation and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.”
Leading the debate, Orogbu said that there are over 320 illegal routes into Nigeria “That serves as horrendous channels for the influx of inadmissible aliens and goods.
“Nigeria at the moment lacks sufficient security personnel to safeguard the existing illegal routes across the borders. These unmanned routes provide avenues for insecurity, proliferation of arms, and dumping of unwholesome goods into the country;
“The porous borders have provided an impetus to the thriving drug and human trafficking routes all over the country.”
Justifying the significance of the motion, the Labour Party chieftain noted that, “Border policing has since shifted from the mundane use of only human beings to the deployment of sophisticated electronic based equipment for potency.
“The deployment of technologies like electronic sensors, video monitors, and night vision scopes to detect illegal entries has proved more effective in western countries than human security.
“Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, (drones) and dark fighter cameras are available to further enhance border controls,” she added.

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Kogi Lauds Appeal Court’s Verdict On Ododo’s Victory

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The Kogi State Government has hailed the verdict of the Appeal Court, Abuja that yesterday uAtiku hails Supreme Court judgment on LG autonomypheld the victory of the state governor, Usman Ododo.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, made the government’s position known in an interview with journalists shortly after the judgment was delivered in Abuja.
Fanwo described the judgment as “sound,” adding that the it represents “echoes of the indisputable victory” of the governor at the poll.
He said the governor remains unwavering in his faith in the judiciary.
The conmissioner said, “Today’s judgment represents echoes of our victory on November 11, 2023. We campaigned round the state and worked hard to reassure the people that our party is the most reliable to take the state forward.
“November 11 will continue to be remembered in Kogi as the day that Kogites across the senatorial districts united to speak with one voice, birthing a resounding victory for the incumbent governor.
“Today’s verdict has offered another great opportunity for those who lost at the poll and in the courts to join the governor in moving the state forward.”
Fanwo said the court case did not in any way slow governance down as the governor has continued to “roll up his sleeves and deliver democracy dividends to the great people of the state.
“The jubilation that greeted the verdict affirming the victory of the Chief Servant of Kogi is a demonstration of the triumph of the people’s will.”
He urged the people of the state to continue to support the governor to make the state the Confluence of Excellence.

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