A spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daniel Bwala, have argued a survey, ‘Buhari Meter’, which identified top policy issues that President Muhammadu Buhari should address in the next four years.
The survey which was carried out by Africa Polling Institute became the topic of discussion on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday. Key areas like Economy, Security, Infrastructure, Education and Corruption were highlighted by respondents in the 5019 sample-sized survey across the country.
According to Afegbua, the statistics of the survey confirmed that the Buhari-led federal government failed in delivering on their mandates.
“The statistics confirm the first four years of APC as a colossal failure. The economy has to wear two solid feet to the extent that it will be able to create jobs.
“I think the APC-led Federal Government is just rotating in circles and expecting different results.”
He explained that the Federal Government should address unemployment and Security challenges, to drive the country’s economy.
“This government needs to bring back those who have lost their jobs first before talking about 100 million Nigerians who are to be taken out of poverty in the next ten years.
“If you want to drive your economy, you must get your security architecture right; who are those guys coming to invest in the economy, are they the ones who will face the issue of banditry, kidnapping and bad roads.”
In reaction, Bwala said that the APC has a robust policy agenda to address the challenges highlighted in the survey and hope that it will be made available to Nigerians for proper accountability.
“The party has a comprehensive and robust policy agenda that will address all that in the next level proposal that our party will make efforts to make it available to Nigerians which people can focus on.”
Senator Dino Melaye’s younger brother has accused the Federal Government and police of turning the Senator’s life into a nightmare.
Moses Melaye made the claim during an appearance on Politics Today on Wednesday, six days into the police siege on his brother’s residence in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.
“This government and the police have made the life of my brother, Senator Dino Melaye, a living hell for the last few months,” said, insisting that his family had reasons to believe that the police are out to harm his brother.
This, according to him, is because the grounds and allegations based on which the police want to arrest the Senator are “unfounded”.
The police had stormed Senator Melaye’s residence on December 28 to arrest him for what the force said was “a case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide committed on July 19, 2018”.
Although the Senator said he was not in the house and would make himself available to the police this week, police officers remained stationed at his house with the force insisting it won’t leave until the Senator turns himself in.
Moses, however, rejected the allegation that thugs in the convoy of the Senator had, based on his order, attacked policemen shooting one of them in the process.
He said, “The case they are raising against him happened in July. I was there in the car; the policemen shot at us. My car had over six bullets riddled on that car. How can they turn around all of a sudden that we are the ones shooting at the police?
“Our security men and policemen have been taken away since over seven-eight months ago. So, how do we now become the persons shooting? That story is not true. It is unfounded and because of the injustice on a daily basis, we cannot trust or believe anything they do. I believe that they are out to harm my brother. If not, what is the desperation?”
Senator Melaye had several run-ins with the police in 2018 and his brother said the family was used to the police showing up to search the residence.
Narrating what such a visit is usually like, he said, “I would search them before they enter the house, then when they are done I will sign that they’ve searched and they didn’t find anything and they did not steal or take anything from the house then they will leave in my very presence.”
His experience on December 28 was different, according to him.
“On this particular occasion, they went into the compound, arrested the security man, beat him up and cuffed him,” he said, adding that the same thing was done to the cleaner and the bodyguard.
Since the siege began, the Senator’s whereabouts have remained the subject of speculation. Contrary to his claims, the police believe he is in the house.
On Wednesday, the Senator had posted a video to Twitter in which he avoided directly speaking about his ordeal but took subtle shots at the police and talking up his spiritual beliefs.
“They depend on chariot, horses, power, authority and guns. But I come to them in the name of Jehovah, the Lord God of hosts. I trust you. It is well, it is well, it is well,” the Senator said among other things.
Asked about Senator Melaye’s whereabouts, Moses said, “I cannot confirm categorically because they have not allowed anybody into that compound. They shut the house; they are the ones opening (the) gate and closing gate.”
He also accused the police of failing to realise the pain they have caused the family, saying, “There are dogs in that house, we have food, my parents are supposed to be in that house as we speak; Dino is not the only occupant of that house. There are staffs, so we don’t even know. They’ve not allowed anybody, family member or staffs access into that compound.”
‘Dramatising The Matter’ – A Lawyer’s Perspective
A lawyer and member of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Daniel Bwala, who was also on the programme accused both parties of unnecessarily dragging out the problem.
Asked for his thoughts and the position of the law, he said, “I will say that both sides are dramatising this matter. For the life of me, I don’t know why the police continue to lay siege for this number of days.
“When you have a search warrant or warrant of arrest, what you will need to do is, when you go to the place, if the person will not surrender, you break into the house, make the arrest where necessary or search and leave the place.
“In other words, in less than a day, they ought to have performed whatever they ought to have performed so that people like Dino’s brother, his mother and family members will not suffer for the sin of Dino, which by law he is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty.”
As for Dino, Mr Bwala, believes but for a love for drama, the Senator would have taken a straightforward option before him and acted differently.
He said, “Of course, everyone knows that Dino is a dramatist. Otherwise, the Constitution is clear about your fundamental rights. It states in clear terms, anybody who alleges that his right is being infringed or has been infringed or (is) about to be infringed, can approach the court and seek for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.
“In other words, Dino ought to have gone to court to get an order from the court. If the court makes an order that the police should vacate the property or (the) police should not make an arrest of Dino until the determination of the substantive matter, it will be held.
“Secondly, to evade arrest when you are aware that the law enforcement agencies are demanding your attention is in itself an offence.”
From the above, Mr Bwala believes it is clear that the nation could have been spared the drama and controversy.
He said, “When you look at the combination of the activities, you will see that on the side of the police they are dramatizing it and now they have met with a super actor so the whole thing is now becoming very unnecessary for the Nigerian nation. And I think that the Inspector-General of Police should make a decision. If you want to arrest him, you know what to do.
“Very unfortunately, when the judges’ homes were invaded by another security agency last year, it was done in how many hours? So, to lay siege in front of the house of a private citizen, stay for days and days as if he is a terrorist who has come to overthrow the Government of Nigeria is unnecessary.”
‘An Abuse Of State Power’
The drama playing out in Abuja is down to an abuse of power as far as Mr Sani Umar, a spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Campaign. “I will say that this is an abuse of state power,” he said.
Umar, who was also on the programme, said the steps highlighted by Mr Bwala were indeed the ones meant to be taken “under normal circumstances”.
For Umar, when it comes to the siege on Senator Melaye’s house, “the circumstance is not normal”.
This, he explained, is because “the police are “interested party in this matter. They are investigating over the shooting of one of them”.
As a result, he said, “The police are not expected to be fair and equitable. And, of course, there are other motives behind the police action. Somebody who is being looked for since July, why would it take only this time for the police to now begin to mount a manhunt for him, clearly knowing that the elections are approaching?”
Although Umar painted the action of the police as one that is condemnable, he does not consider it strange.
“This is not unusual of the police. The police have done that with Senator Ademola Adeleke. When it was almost few days to his election, they were now crafting charges of forgery and other things to take him to court,” he said.
“This is to demoralise him, to demoralise his supporters, to intimidate him and to intimidate the party in power and that is not acceptable. That is an infringement of the dignity of the person in question and the police are acting beyond the normal confines of the law.”
The police have maintained through the ongoing siege that their actions were within the confines of the law and rejected claims by Senator Melaye, his allies and the PDP that there is a sinister motive behind the siege.
Bwala, however, stressed that the military has a responsibility to solve the imminent and immediate problem while state policing remains “the only way out” and the long-term solution to the crisis.
He noted that if the government fails to live up to its fundamental task to ensure the safety of lives and property of Nigeria, its legitimacy becomes questioned.
The lawyer stressed further that a governor is incapacitated in managing the security situation of his state without the full control over the police.
He applauded the government for admitting the need for Nigeria to have the creation of state police and called on the legislature to act promptly.
The legal practitioner said the law follows the evolution trend of the people, pointing out a situation when the British Parliament passed the laws restraining the use of guns and knives when crimes link to the weapons became prevalent in the country.
The Federal Government has been seriously criticised in the recent times following the attack by suspected herdsmen which led to the death of several people in Benue and other states.
But President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the speculations that he has done nothing to address the crisis.
A member of the Lincolns’ Inn, London, Daniel Bwala, has stated that the biggest determinant of President Muhammadu Buhari’s success or otherwise in the 2019 election, will be how he is able to handle the crisis in Benue state.
Bwala explained that the president’s ability to resolve the issues which according to him are gradually becoming acts of terrorism, will determine whether or not he will win; as the same was the fate of former President Good luck Jonathan in the 2015 election.
He said this when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday.
Speaking further, he criticised the fact that the president merely invited leaders of affected community rather than visiting the communities for a first-hand assessment.
“It is important for a leader to rise to occasion, make a bold statement, visit the place. He cannot be everywhere but the President ought to have gone to Benue and made a statement. It is not just enough to invite people from those communities without making a statement.”
Also reacting to the 14-day ultimatum given by the Senate on Tuesday to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim Idris, to investigate and arrest the perpetrators of the Benue attacks, the lawyer explained that while the Senate acted within the purview of the law, they however, did not act in the way they ought to have acted especially in comparison to past Senates.
According to him in the past, the Senate would have rather created a fact finding mission that will be dispatched immediately to the communities affected so that they can get the first hand information that will allow them make more informed decisions.
“Nigeria should brace up. There is a deeper problem that we expect. This herdsmen and farmers crisis is not to be taken lightly.
“Anybody who takes the life of an individual is a terrorist within the Terrorism Prevention Act. That says a group of people or a person that terrorizes a community, that forces that hand of the government to act in an order that is not consistent with government operations, it is a terrorist activity.
“But before we determine who is right and who is wrong, the government does not have an excuse in protecting the life of citizens,” he added.
Also addressing the issue, Political Analyst Kayode Ogundamisi said: “This president was elected first, based on his promise to fight corruption but also because of his antecedents of being able to deal with insurgence.”
On the issue of the herdsmen and farmers clashes, he accused President Buhari of being reluctant to tell Nigerians what he is doing to save them from the “murderous lot”.
Also for the Senate, he said: “It’s easy for the Senate to just issue an ultimatum but they should ask themselves why can’t the senate just donate a part of their allowances to some of those in crisis.
Ogundamisi, however, stressed the need for the government to take a more holistic approach to the issues.
On the issue of restructuring, Bwala, in response to comments by a former Governor of Osun state, Chief Bisi Akande that Nigeria should adopt a multi-party/ parliamentary system of government, said that would not resolve the nation’s problems.
“Chief Bisi Akande is wrong because of the following reasons. (1) There are countries in this world that operate a system of government that is very similar to ours and they do not have the kind of problems that we do have.
“Secondly, the reason that we have this kind of problem in the dimension we are seeing in the country is accountable to two things. Number 1 is corruption, which has pervaded our national life and the second is weak institutions.
“Even those who argue for restructuring and devolution of power, have failed to also look critically into some of the problems that we will still have as a nation when we restructure if the institutions are not strengthened to fight corruption in the way we are expected to fight,” he stated.
The Nigerian Senate has read a letter sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari re-nominating Mr Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, read the letter during plenary on Tuesday that began after a closed-door meeting that lasted for one hour 30 minutes.
It was earlier believed that the re-nomination of Mr Magu may have topped talks at the meeting, but the Senate President explained that the Senate simply discussed the issue of welfare of the Senate and National Assembly.
‘Satisfactorily Clarified Allegation’
When Plenary began, the Senate President then read the letter from the President, re-nominating Mr Magu for approval as the Chairman of the EFCC.
In the letter, which was sent to the Senate on Monday, President Buhari explained that the nominee had satisfactorily clarified the allegation, which led to the earlier rejection by the Senate.
The President also rejected the recommendation of the Senate, asking for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation over allegation of corruption.
However, the Chairman of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on the Humanitarian Situation in the North East, Senator Shehu Sani, dismissed the president’s response, describing it as a distortion of facts.
They cited security report by the Department of Security Services (DSS) which the Senate claimed indicted Mr Magu.
The decision by the Senate had been a subject of controversy as former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, had insisted that Mr Magu was not rejected by the lawmakers but his confirmation was only stepped down for further consultation with the Presidency.
Explaining the reason behind the decision, the Senate said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu is not fit to be chairman of the body.
Addressing journalists at the National Assembly after that decision was taken, Senate Spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, said that based on security reports, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm the acting EFCC Chairman.
A Nigerian lawyer, Daniel Bwala, on Tuesday gave his opinion on the Senate’s rejection of the request for confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu and the resubmission of his name by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was gathered that the President’s letter to that effect has been received by the Senate and may be read on the floor of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday.
But Mr Bwala believes the earlier rejection by the Senate was more political and personal than it was on his character.
He insisted that the right process would have been the quizzing of Mr Magu at plenary, with the allegations put forward and an opportunity presented to him to defend himself.
On Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the lawyer said that the resubmission of the name may have been as a result of recommendations made to the presidency by the Attorney General’s office after an investigation of the allegations against Mr Magu.
“It is possible that the President may have, after the recommendations of the Attorney General, come to the conclusion that there is no serious allegation against him.
“I have always had the view that magu’s rejection was political and personal than on the fact that was presented to the national assembly.
“We had thought that it was a serious allegation that the Senate had put forward.
“The circumstances surrounding the rejection and the procedure should be considered. There is supposed to be a debate for the suitability of the person for the position that the Presidency was nominating him for,” he explained.
The lawyer further alleged that on personal ground, Mr Magu’s desire to prosecute some former minister and governors, whom he said were now Senators, could have made the Senators refuse to confirm him.
“We all heard that prior to the period that Magu had said that the EFCC was embarking on prosecuting former governors and Minister. Most of this persons are in the Senate.
“EFCC is larger and bigger than Magu.
“We know that there are quite a number of cases that are on Magu’s table and if he is replaced, there is 90 per cent charge that they will die a natural death.
“When you say you want to investigate ministers, former governors that are now in the Senate and former Senators, it goes without saying that they will probably make an attempt to stop you from being confirmed,” he added.
Mr Bwala says he expects the Senate to confirm Mr Magu following the right process of fair hearing, pointing out that Nigerians also need to hear how Mr Magu will respond to the allegations against him.