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Push For N826bn Annual Fund To Combat Insecurity Angers Nigerians

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Concerned Nigerians have reacted to a revelation from the Nigerian Defence Headquarters, last Monday, that, at least, $2billion (about N826billion), would be needed yearly, to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country.

The Director of Production, Defence Headquarters, Air Vice Marshall M. A. Yakubu, who revealed this during public hearing on the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund Bill, said even the sources of funding, which the bill prescribes, were insufficient to address the problem.

“If we are not able to raise a minimum of $2billion (about N826billion) per annum in the next three years for a start, subsequently maybe we can begin to taper down the percentages. But for a start, we need a bulk sum because of many of these manufacturers of equipment require 100 per cent down payment to even start production. So, you cannot sign a contract example with the US manufacturers and pay 15 per cent mobilization as required by the procurement act.

“Nobody would look at you. Their terms must be followed. Many times we are asked to pay 100 per cent. The example is the Super Tucano. This one is on government-to-government. They insisted on 100 per cent payment within 30 days. No budgetary allocation would fund that,” he said.

Reacting to this, some Nigerians kicked against it, sarcastically asking the government to ‘sell Nigeria’ and give the proceeds to military to combat insecurity or share the money (N826billion) to Nigerians and watch insecurity be put to a stop by citizens.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, cautioned the National Assembly against politicizing the anticipated Armed Forces Trust Fund.

HURIWA said the multi-billion dollars worth of statutory Armed Forces Trust fund being contemplated by the National Assembly is a constructive idea that will inevitably transform the Nigeria military into an enviable fighting force if prudently applied.

Speaking on the proposed Armed Forces Trust Fund, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko; and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf; described the initiative as a creative idea whose time has come.

A statement by the group reads partly, “The National Assembly should not politicize the initiative but expeditiously set up the trust fund by way of a national law as a legacy to be bequeathed to generations unborn.

“We read the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, saying that the military needs more funding because Nigeria is at war.

“Gbajabiamila, who stated this at a public hearing on a bill seeking to establish a special trust fund for the Armed Forces, said insecurity in the country has made extra funding for the military necessary.

“He spoke as the Defence Headquarters said at the hearing that the military will need not less than $2billion annually for the next three years, making $6billion, to effectively tackle the growing security crises across the country. We are happy with this proposal and we call for its expeditious passage”.

Besides, the Rights group has described as campaign of character assassination the allegation by some soldiers that their allowances for the past four years have been either unpaid or underpaid by the Army authority without any explanation especially in the tenure of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Yusuf Tukur Buratai (rtd).

HURIWA specifically recalled that in a media publication, the soldiers stated that their allowances for the past four years have been either unpaid or underpaid by the army authorities without any explanation, urging the president to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC)  as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe what happened to the monies just as the aggrieved soldiers of the Nigerian Army are calling for a probe of how their Uniform and Boots Allowance and Scarce Skills Allowance approved by President Muhammadu Buhari since November, 2017, have not been paid by the army authorities, then under the former Chief of the Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai (rtd).

HURIWA, however, stated that authoritative information made available to it from the Nigerian Army High Command shows that contrary to the claims, that category of allowances was even introduced by the immediate past Army chief.

 

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NIMASA Boss Bags OFR National Honour

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The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, is set to be honoured by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari with the conferment of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).
According to a statement from the Head of Public Relations, NIMASA, Osagie Edwards, this was disclosed in a conveyance letter to Dr. Jamoh from the Office of the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume.
The investiture ceremony, the statement said, is scheduled to hold at the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Monday, 10th October, 2022.
Recall that Dr. Jamoh had served the Nigerian maritime sector as an administrator for over 30 years before he was appointed by President Buhari as the NIMASA DG in March 2020.
Since then, he has overseen the successful deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project, which has played a major role in achieving a reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to its barest minimum since 1994.
This has  culminated in Nigeria being removed from the infamous piracy red list by the International Maritime Bureau, (IMB).
A hallmark of his tenure at the helm of NIMASA has been his institutionalization of collaboration among stakeholders, within and outside the country, to achieve major milestones in the sector.
One notable example of this has been his initiation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), which has yielded the positive outcomes derived from information sharing among regional and non-regional military forces in achieving a secure maritime space.
Reacting to the news on his social media handle, Jamoh expressed gratitude for being considered for the honour.
“Words cannot express how humbled I feel to be so considered for the National Honour as an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).

“When I began my maritime journey 30 years ago, little did I know that I would be so favored by Almighty Allah to rise to the position of NIMASA DG, let alone to be considered for one of the highest honours in the land”, he said.

Dr Jamoh especially thanked His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Standing Committee on National Honours Award for deeming him worthy of the honour while also appreciating everyone who had supported him throughout his tenure as NIMASA Director General, especially the maritime stakeholders.

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Nation-Building, A Collective Responsibility -Group

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The Nigeria National Christian Coalition (NNCC) says no tribe or religion can build the country alone, adding that nation building is a collective responsibility.
NNCC said this in a communiqué at the end of the annual “Meet the Church” summit by its Convener, Pastor Titi Oluwadare, yesterday in Abuja.
According to Oluwadare, working together and investing wisdom are key to nation building.
The programme, which had more than 700 participants, had the theme: “The Role of the Church in Nation Building.”
Oluwadare called on the Church to fight for justice for everyone, including Christians and adherents of other religions.
She said that the indivisibility of justice, and being vigilant to protect the rights of humans as enshrined in the constitution would go a long way.
“No tribe or religion can build the country alone, thus all must work together and invest wisdom which is the application of the right knowledge.
“Equal opportunities and access to wealth to every Nigerian and inclusion of youth and women in all national calculations must be treated with the sense of urgency that it deserves.
“There should be counterpart equity in all policies that will be passed into law.
“The banking sector, sharing of political and government offices or ambassadorial positions must recognise all interests identified in Nigeria,” she said.
She called for selfless and visionary leadership, and a trans-generational process of producing leaders with requisite character, competence and conscious of the consequences of their actions and inactions.
She said the creation and development of strong institutions, structures, policies and strategies were applicable to everyone, adding that there was the need to realise previous mistakes and usher in a new Nigeria.
“To establish credible elections, the Federal Government must derive their governance from the governed.
“It is of utmost importance that there is a national vision, a national dream and nationhood premised on national shared core values.
“Furthermore, we need to put in place, a national strategic purpose and the national will to pursue and enforce the purpose,” she said.
According to the former Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Dr Danjuma Gani, the decisions made today and the actions that follow will greatly affect Nigeria and Nigerians.
Gani called on Christians to participate in electoral processes come 2023.
“A nation is built upon the vision and values of the founding fathers which, more often than not, are a God-given ideal to see to the business of nation building, national transformation and prosperity.
“Whatever we do must be accomplished with a clear vision, strong value systems rational thinking with a critical mass of information populace fully engaged in the project of nation building,” he said.
The Tide source reports that the summit comprised three plenary sessions and four interactive group sessions.
The conversations were aimed at identifying the role of the Church in nation building and charting a new course for credible elections with the critical inclusion of all stakeholders in the nation.

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EEDC Nabs, Hands Over Eight Vandals To Police 

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Enugu Electricity Distri bution Company (EEDC), has apprehended eight suspected vandals of electrical installations and handed them over to the Police. The Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr Emeka Ezeh, who disclosed this in a statement issued in Enugu, stated that the vandals were apprehended within a period of one month in different states in the South-East. Ezeh, therefore, attributed service disruptions experienced in some parts of its network to activities of vandals, expressing regret that the increasing rate of vandalism had adversely affected the company’s service delivery to its customers in the affected states.   He, however commended the support of critical stakeholders and the various vigilante groups in nipping trend in the bud, even as he confirmed that most of the arrests were made by the vigilant groups. According to him, this recent citizens’ arrest of vandals can be attributed to the consistent engagement with stakeholders on the need to ensure that the electrical installations sited within their neighbourhoods are protected.   His words: “Over the weekend, a suspected vandal identified as Nonso Nwajonta, was arrested in possession of aluminum conductors (cables) by the youths of Ulakwo Community in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State. “Within the same period, with the assistance of security men attached to Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, Anambra State, two suspects, feanyi Onwe and Anthony Oselebe, were arrested for vandalising a substation belonging to EEDC, situated along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, by Pioneer Students Hostel. “Earlier in the month, at Uzuakoli, Abia State, the Ngwu relief distribution substation belonging to EEDC was attacked by vandals, and the up-riser cable carted away. “But with the intervention of Uzuakoli vigilante group, one of the vandals identified as Henry Nwachukwu was arrested, while three of his partners in crime took to their heels. Efforts are being made by the Police to arrest the fleeing suspects. “At Eziafor in Abia State, some members of vigilante group also arrested the duo of Kingsley Agwu and Ebere Uchendu, while vandalising a feeder panel, property of EEDC,” he stated.  The EEDC spokesman also recalled that toward the end of August this year, one Chukwuka Ogayi was arrested by members of Umuoru Amaechi Community electricity committee in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State while vandalising a distribution transformer belonging to EEDC. According to him, items recovered from the suspect, Ogayi, include 100mm 2 aluminum conductor with 20mm and 50mm double copper conductor measuring 5 meters.    “Similarly, the Nkpor vigilante group arrested one Ubaka Okafor for vandalising Umusiome distribution substation in Onitsha, Anambra State,  carting away three intermediate cables as well as the up-riser cable property of EEDC.  “Customers being fed by the attacked substations are currently subjected to blackout and untold inconveniences, and as a result, EEDC has not been able to live up to its responsibility owing to these acts perpetrated by the suspects”, he said.  He also encouraged customers to be more vigilant in ensuring that the electricity infrastructures within their environment are safe from vandals, so that the services EEDC offers to them would not be disrupted.

By: Canice Amadi, Enugu

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