Kagara Abduction: We Must Stop Rewarding Criminality – Atiku Abubakar

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday said Nigeria must stop rewarding criminality, warning that doing so will result in more crimes being perpetrated.

In a statement he personally signed, Abubakar lamented the deteriorating state of insecurity in the country, describing the menace as alarming.

While noting that a situation whereby children and minors were being kidnapped, the ex-vice president asked the Federal Government to tackle cases of abductions by ending what he calls the reign of impunity.

“Now is not the time for fingers to point in blame. Our nation needs solutions. And we have now seen that paying ransoms, and allowing criminals to profit from their criminality is not a solution,” he said.

“When you reward crimes, the end result is more crime. The only long-term solution to the insecurity challenge Nigeria is facing is to end the reign of impunity.

“The Federal Government must enforce the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against abductions and kidnappings, by apprehending the criminals, trying them, and making an example of those convicted, to serve as a deterrent to others.”

READ ALSO: Gunmen Attack School, Abduct Students, Others In Niger

He also called for the protection of schoolchildren in the affected states, asking the Nigerian government to deploy all-around security personnel.

The ex-vice president said if it is “not feasible to have armed military guards in all schools, then each state in the should as a matter of urgency replicate the Civilian Joint Task Force idea, that has worked so well in Borno and deploy them to each school, along with men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.”

His remarks come hours after gunmen stormed Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of the state, killing one student ad abducting several others.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

PRESS RELEASE

Kagara Abduction: We Must Stop Rewarding Criminality, Or It Will Increase

I condemn the abduction of students and staff of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State. The reported death of one of the students in the process of escape, is heartbreaking. The thoughts of my family and I are with the parents and the authorities of the institution.

The spate of insecurity in Nigeria is now beyond alarming. It has gotten to crisis levels, especially when it involves children and other minors.

Now is not the time for fingers to point in blame. Our nation needs solutions. And we have now seen that paying ransoms, and allowing criminals to profit from their criminality is not a solution.

When you reward crimes, the end result is more crime.

The only long term solution to the insecurity challenge Nigeria is facing is to end the reign of impunity. The Federal Government must enforce the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against abductions and kidnappings, by apprehending the criminals, trying them and making an example of those convicted, to serve as a deterrent to others.

Also, we must be proactive. We cannot wait for these abductions to happen and then go into reactive mode.

I therefore call on the Federal Government to declare all secondary and primary schools in the affected states and zones,  as Federal Protected Zones, and post armed military personnel at all schools for 24/7 protection. If it is not feasible to have armed military guards in all schools, then each state in the should as a matter of urgency replicate the Civilian Joint Task Force idea, that has worked so well in Borno, and deploy them to each school, along with men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

What we must not do is do nothing. History may forgive us for making wrong decisions, but we will never be forgiven if we carry on business as usual.

As a nation, we must be willing to provide the same level of security that we provide for the schools that the children of the elite attend, for schools that the children of other classes of Nigerians attend.

I pray that the Kagara staff and students are rescued, and for peace to return to Nigeria.

Atiku Abubakar

Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007

17th February, 2021.

Atiku Asks Security Operatives To Secure Protesters, Not Arrest Them

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the arrest of some protesters by the police in the Lekki area of Lagos State.

In a statement on Saturday following the arrest of the youths at the Lekki tollgate, he decried that the police abandoned their responsibility of protecting the protesters.

“The 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended (Section 40) guarantees the right of citizens to peaceful protest; the courts have also affirmed that right, anything contrary to that is not acceptable and stands condemned,” said Atiku who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He added, “It is the security agents’ responsibility to provide a secured conducive environment for citizens to protest peaceably, in line with constitutional provisions and the African Charter on Human rights.”

Atiku’s reaction is one of several others who insisted that the arrest of the youth by the police stands condemned.

The young Nigerians had occupied the tollgate a week after the Lagos State Judicial Panel granted the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) the approval to repossess the toll gate.

This informed the decision of the youths to stage a protest, which was met with stiff resistance by the security personnel on the ground.

Several of them were arrested at the protest venue by the police, including popular comedian Mr. Macaroni.

Cryptocurrency Transactions: ‘This Is Definitely The Wrong Time’, Atiku Faults CBN Directive

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has advised the Federal Government to have a rethink on its directive on cryptocurrency transactions in the country.

This advice, which was contained in a statement on Saturday, was in reaction to the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to banks and other financial institutions to close accounts of any individual who transact in cryptocurrency.

The CBN had told the regulated institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges was prohibited.

But Atiku stated that it was wrong to issue such a directive at this time, saying the number one challenge facing Nigeria was youth unemployment.

READ ALSO: CBN Orders Banks To Close All Accounts Transacting In Cryptocurrency

He explained that youth unemployment has already become not just a challenge but an emergency that has affected the nation’s economy and was exacerbating insecurity.

According to the former Vice President, what Nigeria presently needs are jobs and an opening up of its economy following the report that foreign capital inflow into the country is at a four-year low.

He decried that the nation had already suffered severe economic losses from the border closure and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atiku warned that introducing policies that would restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria could harm its economy more and urge the government to revisit the policy to prohibit the dealing and transaction of cryptocurrencies.

He suggested that rather than an outright shutdown, the government could regulate the sub-sector and prevent any abuse that may be damaging to national security.

The former Vice President informed the government that there was already immense economic pressure on the youth and efforts must be made to reduce the pressure and not add to it.

He also recommended job creation, expansion of the economy, and removal of impediments towards investments as the way forward.

Read the full statement issued by Atiku below:

The number one challenge facing Nigeria is youth unemployment. In fact, it is not a challenge, it is an emergency. It affects our economy and is exacerbating insecurity in the nation.

What Nigeria needs now, perhaps more than ever, are jobs and an opening up of our economy, especially after yesterday’s report by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that foreign capital inflow into Nigeria is at a four year low, having plummeted from $23.9 billion in 2019 to just $9.68 billion in 2020.

Already, the nation suffered severe economic losses from the border closure and the effects of the #COVID19 pandemic.

This is definitely the wrong time to introduce policies that will restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria, and I urge that the policy to prohibit the dealing and transaction of cryptocurrencies be revisited.

It is possible to regulate the sub-sector and prevent any abuse that may be damaging to national security. That may be a better option, than an outright shutdown.

There is already immense economic pressure on our youths. It must be the job of the government, therefore, to reduce that pressure, rather than adding to it.

We must create jobs in Nigeria. We must expand the economy. We must remove every impediment towards investments. We owe the Nigerian people that much.

Atiku Exits Intels, Accuses Buhari Of Killing Businesses

A photo combination of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

Former Vice President of Nigeria and co-founder of Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (INTELS), Atiku Abubakar, has sold his shares in the company.

Atiku, in a statement issued on Monday by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, said he took the decision because the President Muhammadu Buhari government allegedly has destroyed the economy.

“Co-founder of Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (Intels), Atiku Abubakar, has been selling his shares in Intels over the years,” the statement partly read.

“It assumed greater urgency in the last five years because this government has been preoccupied with destroying a legitimate business that was employing thousands of Nigerians because of politics.”

READ ALSO: Alleged Certificate Forgery: APC Closes Case Against Obaseki

The statement further said the former Vice President sold his shares in Intels and redirected his investment to other sectors of the economy for returns and the creation of jobs.

Meanwhile, Intels has denied owing the sum of $145.84m, adding that its pledge to pay the sum of $55.70m as revenue for the period from November 1, 2017, to march 31, 2019, was predicated on the Nigeria Ports Authority’s payment of $19.67m.

NPA has, however, denied that its action was politically motivated and stemming from the feud between Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections and President Buhari.

Let Us Remember Our Armed Forces, Atiku Says In Christmas Message

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has felicitated with Nigerians on the occasion of the Christmas celebrations in the country, urging them to remember men of the Armed Forces who risked their lives in protecting citizens

He made the call on Friday in his special message via Twitter.

“Let us remember our fellow citizens, the men and women of our armed forces, some of whom have paid the supreme sacrifice this year fighting to protect us from terrorist attacks, banditry, kidnapping and other threats that are rearing their ugly heads across the country against our national security,” he said.

While calling on the citizens to pray for Nigeria amid the numerous security challenges in the challenges, the ex-Vice President said a lot more can be achieved in unity.

To Atiku, Nigerians should “inject the healing and unifying serum of love for our neighbours into the nation’s consciousness this season.”

READ ALSO: Renew Your Faith In This Govt To Make A Lasting Difference, Buhari Tells Nigerians At Christmas

“Merry Christmas to our Christian brothers and sisters as well as other Nigerians. I urge all Nigerians to seize the opportunity of another Christmas celebration to rededicate themselves and remain steadfast in prayers, which have an immense impact on the peace, security, unity and stability of our dear nation.

“It is important for Nigerians to inject the healing and unifying serum of love for our neighbours into the nation’s consciousness this season and be intentional in thinking good thoughts and sowing even better actions to make our country better and greater today and for all times as the revival of the country’s glory is everyone’s responsibility,” he added.

COVID-19: Suspend Flights From UK Now, Atiku Warns FG

Mr Atiku Abubakar addressing a press conference in Abuja on February 27, 2019.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday urged the federal government to immediately restrict flights, temporarily, from the United Kingdom.

Atiku’s call comes on the heels of news of a new strain of COVID-19 circulating in the UK.

The new strain is said to be more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus.

Several countries, including France and other EU states, have already suspended flights from the UK.

READ ALSO: Countries That Have Blocked Travel From UK Over New Virus Strain

“The reason Nigeria took a harder than necessary hit during the first wave of the #COVID19 virus is that the Federal Government failed to heed the warnings of well-meaning Nigerians, like myself and others, to shut down our borders once the virus became a pandemic,” Atiku said in a statement on Sunday.

“Hindsight is 20/20. Nevertheless, we must learn from history, or we stand the risk of repeating it.

“The new strain of COVID19 that has erupted in the United Kingdom, and specifically, London, can add to Nigeria’s health emergency if we do not act with an abundance of caution and temporarily halt all flights to and from the UK until this new strain is brought under control.

“Already, prudent nations are taking prompt action, and Nigeria must take necessary precautions due to the volume of air traffic between Nigerian airports and London, where this new strain has erupted.

“We must face the reality that our health sector is not sufficiently prepared to handle a sudden and unpredictable surge of this pandemic. We have already lost lives needlessly. We need not lose more.

“In the case of this virus, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Insecurity: Declare State Of Emergency, Atiku Advises Buhari

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Saturday asked the federal government to declare a state of emergency over the state of insecurity in the country after bandits abducted scores of students in Katsina.

In a statement Mr Atiku said the government must abandon old strategies and embrace better ones.

“The abduction of a large number of students at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State, is a very unwelcome escalation of the spate of insecurity in the nation, one which I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Mr Atiku said.

“I sympathise with the parents of the abducted children and the government and people of Katsina, my adopted home state and home of my late benefactor, Tafida Shehu Musa Yar’adua. I pray for their safe return.

“While I urge our nation’s law enforcement agencies to immediately swing to action and rescue the missing students, I am nevertheless conscious of the fact that we cannot continue to be reactionary in our response to the growing insecurity in Nigeria. Something has to give.

“I therefore call on the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency in states bedevilled by banditry and terrorism, for an offensive and decisive war on terror and insecurity.

READ ALSO: Scores Of Students Missing In Katsina After Bandits Attack

“For the avoidance of doubt, the emergency I call for should follow the steps prescribed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and case law, by leaving all democratically elected state and local government structures intact.

“The rationale is quite simple: We cannot win the war on terror by continuing with the same strategies we have deployed over the last five years. That they have not worked is very glaring, with the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara incidence being the latest in a long line of proofs.

“If we must get better results, we must implement better strategies. Strategies that may have to include the temporary stoppage of the boarding school system in all the affected states, in favour of a day students approach, until the situation is brought under control.”

Mr Atiku added that the strategies “must include 24 hours armed military guard for each school in the affected states.

“No sacrifice is too great to make to return law and order to the affected communities, and that must be the singular focus of the Federal Government until this menace is eradicated.”

Ghana Election Should Be ‘Eye-Opener’ For Nigeria – Atiku

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday said Nigeria should learn from the “smooth conduct” of elections in Ghana.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo won a second term after a tightly contested presidential election, the country’s electoral commission announced on Wednesday.

“Congratulations to President @NAkufoAddo on his reelection,” Atiku said on Twitter.

“The smooth conduct of the Ghana elections should be an eye-opener to our nation.

READ ALSO: Ghana’s Opposition Rejects Election Results

“We must undertake far-reaching electoral reforms that address the shortcomings of our previous experiences and strengthens our electoral process.”

Although the Ghanaian election was considered largely peaceful, five people were killed in election-related violence, police said on Wednesday.

The opposition party has also rejected the results and said it will appeal the electoral commission’s decision.

Recession: Nigeria Must Stop Borrowing – Atiku

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar says Nigeria needs to stop borrowing to avert sliding into a further recession.

Atiku, on Sunday, in a series of posts on his official Twitter handle reacted to Nigeria’s economic slip into recession.

In his statement titled, ‘We Must Exit This Recession With Precision,’ Atiku said it is a very heavy heart that he received the news which confirms that for the second time in five years, Nigeria has entered into another recession.

He said the nation must stop borrowing for anything other than essential needs adding that, the more the country keeps borrowing, the more it stands the risk of defaulting.

READ ALSO: Recession: SERAP Asks Buhari To Cut Cost Of Governance

“The more we borrow, the more we will need cash to make interest and principal payments, and the less cash we will have to make necessary investments in our economy and our people.

“If we keep borrowing, we stand the risk of defaulting, and that will make recession a child’s play because we will lose some of our sovereignty,” he said.

Atiku also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to heed to the patriotic counsel given by himself and other well-meaning Nigerians on cutting the cost of governance.

 

 

See his full statement below…

We Must Exit This Recession With Precision.

It is with a very heavy heart that I received the confirmation that for the second time in five years, #Nigeria has entered into another #recession.

Heaviness of heart, because this could have been avoided had this administration taken heed to the patriotic counsel given by myself and other well-meaning Nigerians on cutting the cost of governance, saving for a rainy day, and avoiding profligate borrowing.

Yes, the COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated an already bad situation; however, we could have avoided this fate by disciplined and prudent management of our economy.

Be that as it may, it serves no one’s purposes to quarrel after the fact. We must focus on solutions. Nigeria needs critical leadership to guide her back to the path of economic sustainability.

We cannot afford hand wringing and navel-gazing. We must act now, by taking necessary, and perhaps painful actions.

For a start, the proposed 2021 budget presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday, October 8, 2020, is no longer tenable.

Nigeria neither has the resources, or the need to implement such a luxury heavy budget. The nation is broke, but not broken. However, if we continue to spend lavishly, even when we do not earn commensurately, we would go from being a broke nation to being a broken nation.

As a matter of importance and urgency, every non-essential line item in the proposed 2021 budget must be expunged.

For the avoidance of doubt, this ought to include estacodes, non-emergency travel, feeding, welfare packages, overseas training, new vehicle purchases, office upgrades, non-salary allowances, etc.

Until our economic prospects improve, Nigeria ought to exclusively focus on making budgetary proposals for essential items, which include reasonable wages and salaries, infrastructural projects, and social services (citizenry’s health, and other human development investments).

Additionally, we have to stimulate the economy, by investing in human development and increasing the purchasing power of the most vulnerable of our population. Only a well-developed populace can generate enough economic activity for the nation to exit this recession.

We must invest in those most likely to be impacted by the effects of the recession, the poorest of the poor. As well as stimulating the economy, this also ensures that they do not slip further into extreme poverty.

For example, a stimulus package, in the form of monthly cash transfers of ₦5000 to be made to every bank account holder, verified by a Bank Verification Number, whose combined total deposit in the year 2019 was lower than the annual minimum wage.

For example, a stimulus package, in the form of monthly cash transfers of ₦5000 to be made to every bank account holder, verified by a Bank Verification Number, whose combined total deposit in the year 2019 was lower than the annual minimum wage.

Now, how will this be funded? By more profligate borrowing? No. I propose a luxury tax on goods and services that are exclusively accessible only to the super-wealthy. A tax on the ultra-wealthy to protect the extremely poor.

A practical approach to this is to place a 15% tax on all Business and First Class tickets sold to and from Nigeria, on all luxury car imports and sales, on all private jets imports and service charges, on all jewelry imports and sales, on all designer products imported, produced or sold in Nigeria, and on all other luxury goods either manufactured or imported into Nigeria, with the exception of goods made for export.

The proceeds of this tax should be exclusively dedicated to a Poverty Eradication Fund, which must be managed in the same manner as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, or the Ecological Fund.

I further propose that a 1% poverty alleviation tax should be legislated by the National Assembly on the profits of every International Oil Company operating in Nigeria, and international airlines doing business in Nigeria, which should also go towards the proposed Poverty Eradication Fund.

It is inhumane for us as a nation to increase the cost of goods and services that affect the poor, while keeping the cost of luxuries fairly stable. We must flip this, and flip it immediately.

And above all, Nigeria must stop borrowing for anything other than essential needs. Again, for the avoidance of doubt, borrowing to pay salaries, or to engage in White Elephant projects, is not an essential need.

This is particularly important as we need cash at hand because the world and our economic and development partners are also focused on helping their home economies overcome the effects of COVID19. We must be our own saviors.

The more we borrow, the more we will need cash to make interest and principal payments, and the less cash we will have to make necessary investments in our economy and our people.

If we keep borrowing, we stand the risk of defaulting, and that will make a recession a child’s play because we will lose some of our sovereignty.

I urge the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to swallow its pride, and accept its limitations, so that they can open their minds to ideas, without caring who the messenger is.

For as Deng Xiaoping said, “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”

Atiku, Saraki Congratulate Biden On Election Victory

A photo combination of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

 

More congratulatory messages have continued to pour in for former Vice-President Joe Biden following his projected victory in the United States presidential election.

As Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and France among other countries and prominent leaders congratulate Biden for the feat recorded, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki have also made their voices heard.

In a statement on Saturday, Atiku described Biden’s victory as well-deserved and anticipated the age-long collaboration between Nigerian and the U.S. in the course of the advancement of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the people.

“Nigeria and the United States are two nations, united by a common language.

“Indeed, the first major trip by the leader of an Independent Nigeria was July 25, 1961, White House visit of the golden voice of Africa, the late Sir Tafawa Balewa, under President John F. Kennedy,” he said.

The former vice president believes Nigeria and the world have much to learn from Biden’s victory, especially from his statement that he would not be a president for only those who voted for him.

He urged the U.S. president-elect to build on the relations between the two counties, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for seamless interplay with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

According to Akitu, it is only by fair trade that Africa will fulfil its potential and a prosperous Africa is good for the United States and the world.

“In electing a man rich in experience, the great people of the United States of America have done the world a great service and I also look forward to your global leadership in the war on terror, and partnership with Nigeria to end the terror and poverty-related insecurities that we face,” he said.

Saraki also congratulated Biden and his running mate in the election, Kamala Harris, who is on course to be the first African-American Vice President and the first female to hold the position.

Read his tweet below:

#EndSARS: Atiku Asks FG To Reform Police, Make It More Civil

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has asked the Federal Government to reform the Nigeria Police Force by making it more civil.

He made this call in Minna on Monday after meeting with former military President, Ibrahim Babangida.

“There is a need for them to reform the Police, actually to make it more civil,” Atiku said while condemning police brutality in the country.

Atiku noted that it’s wrong for police personnel to face unarmed civilians in a democratic setting with guns.

“I had issued a statement supporting the reform of Police and of course also the disbandment of the SARS.

“I was trained by the Police and I know the kind of work they doing now is not the type of work they are trained to do actually.

“You cannot face unarmed civilians in a democracy with guns in any of the world. It is only in this country. So, it is totally unacceptable,” the ex-president said.

Atiku’s comment comes a day after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the country.

Adamu’s announcement followed days of widespread protests by Nigerians demanding to scrap of the unit which had gained notoriety for brutality and human rights violations.

#EndSARS: I Strongly Condemn Use Of Force On Protesters Across Nigeria – Atiku

 

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the use of force on #EndSARS protesters across Nigeria. 

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Atiku also called on relevant authorities to ensure the youths are heard.

The former vice president asked that all incidents of excessive use of force by security agencies against protesters are investigated.

His comments come on the heels of several reports of violence wrought against the protesters and other citizens, the latest being the killing of a young man in Ogbomoso.

The victim named Jimoh Isiaq was shot during a protest in Ogbomoso, though he was not a part of the protest.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Trey Songz, Big Sean Join Nigerians In Protest Against Police Brutality

While many say the bullet which killed Isiaq was from the police, the force claim they only used canisters of tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Several videos making the rounds, however, show security operatives firing live arms at those calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

In reaction to the use of force against those protesting, Atiku was of the opinion that the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression must be protected at all costs.

“Nigerians should be provided with a non-toxic environment for #EndSARSProtests.

“It is their constitutional right and an ingredient of democracy.

“They deserve to be heard and not killed or maimed,” Atiku tweeted.

Atiku who had in a previous tweet noted that SARS has morphed into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses said he stands with all those who are peacefully protesting to end police brutality in a bid to enthrone a new policing order that underscores the interest of the citizens.

The elder statesman commended the tenacity of protesters who he described as brave youths who have stayed out on the streets all day and night to make their voices heard.