The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has explained why it is important for its officials to be present at Nigeria’s airport and borders.
NAPTIP Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli, said this during her appearance on the latest episode of Channels Television’sHard Copy which aired on Friday.
Okah-Donli, who alleged that NAPTIP officials were not allowed at the airports and borders, stressed that their presence would go a long way in tackling the menace of human trafficking and other related crimes.
According to her, the purported refusal was attributed to the Ease of Doing Business which the authorities claimed would be affected by the presence of the officials of the agency.
“Unfortunately, we are not allowed to be at the airport, I have brought this up severally on the need and importance for NAPTIP to be at the airport and borders, but we were told that the Ease of Doing Business will not allow NAPTIP to be at the airport or borders.
“I will still continue to push until we are allowed to stay at the airport and at the borders; the reason being that, those at the airport and borders don’t have trafficking as their core mandate, so they are definitely going to concentrate on their core mandate. But NAPTIP’s mandate is to stop all types of human trafficking, and so if they have our officials at the airport, we will definitely stop human trafficking.
“It is important that NAPTIP is stationed at the airports, seaports and borders; if that happens, we will see a drastic drop in the number of girls who are trafficked to the Middle East,” she stressed.
On the area of collaborating with other enforcement agencies and stakeholders, the NAPTIP boss expressed that the level of relationship can be improved on.
“It is extremely important for NAPTIP to have a very good relationship with all the law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders because there must be synergy, cooperation and there must be coordination.
“I am not feeling it the way I want to feel it and that is why I am reaching out to the law enforcement agencies because some of them think they are superior, but I tell them that we are working together for the good of Nigeria; we must come together and work closely.
“We are collaborating in the fight against human trafficking with the Immigration service; we are both trying to see what we can do to ensure that we bring it to the barest minimum.”
Kachikwu said, “Those numbers have spiked; can I challenge those numbers? Yes.
“I am questioning them through science. We just got the Department Of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to install trackers to track every product coming into the country for the first time. In a matter of months, we will be able to say for certain, what we really consume.”
“What we have done basically is to institute a quiet audit to look at those numbers, find out why we are going up because it is troubling for everyone, especially when the price is hiked,” the minister explained.
On further steps taken, he said he has always engaged with the DPR and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ascertain the figures.
The minister, however, rejected the claims that over 10 million litres of petrol were moved across the border.
He insisted that there were no hard facts or reasons for him to be suspicious of the numbers that were given.
But Kachikwu noted that he had substantial reasons to question how the products were moved.
“My responsibility is to sit with NNPC, PPPRA, vet those numbers to be sure and that is why we just installed the latest technology with DPR,” he said.
He added, “If the numbers are right, then we need to ask ourselves why we are growing at this alarming rate.
“Something is spiking that sort of consumption; is it the usual excuse of going through the border? but you can’t move 10 million litres a day across the border that easily; you need almost a thousand trucks and that can’t happen because we are not that porous.”
The minister proposed that the best way to stem the tide was to get the nation’s refineries working and engage the private sector in the operations.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole has said that INEC was grossly biased against the APC in the just concluded general elections.
In an interview with Maupe Ogun-Yusuf on Channels Television’s Hard Copy, Oshiomhole claimed that the INEC conducted the elections in a manner that put the ruling party at a disadvantage.
“I have huge reservations about the way INEC conducted this election. INEC bias against APC is so clear.
“INEC was biased even in the way it dealt with our primaries, INEC was biased in the way in which it selectively used the card readers or the non-use of card readers in some states where it suits them.”
He claimed that there were several instances on paper where INEC contradicted itself as to the way the elections were conducted.
Laying emphasis on the non-use of card readers in some areas, Oshiomhole claimed that in some states were the APC clearly won, the electoral umpire used the non-use of card readers to rig the party out.
Oshiomhole said he will never be in a position to defend INEC as to say that they were fair in executing the duty for which they were set up, with regards to the last general elections.
On this edition, Hard Copy speaks with the Governor of Imo state and the chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, who has been in the news for attempts to ‘reconcile’ his party members at the national level.
Hard Copy questions him on his statement that the APC now takes responsibility for all that is wrong in the country.
His statement is in seeming contradictions with the President’s stance that the PDP is responsible.
Gov. Okorocha has also stirred the hornet’s nest in his state through some of the controversial reconstruction work he embarked on in the state capital.
A group recently cried out to the federal government that he be checked. He responds to their allegations and a lot more in this interview.
Find below a transcription of the entire interview.
The two short clips we saw. The first one of you was recorded after the meeting of APC governors with the President, I think was on October the 24th and the next one that’s the one of the President was taken on November the 3rd.
Now you had said that your party should carry the can and a lot of people assumed that was the new stance of the APC. Well then shortly after we heard the President talk about the PDP again. Don’t you think that your party is sending conflicting signals as to who exactly is taking responsibility for Nigeria’s state?
Not at all. I think you must understand that what we’re talking about is the soul of the Nigerian nation. There is nothing contradicting in both statements.
Mr President is giving the background, the origin of the Nigerian problem, saying that we should have saved through the rainy days. That has not removed him from taking responsibility because we understand that these problems exist that is why we called for the change so we must take responsibility.
Mr President is not shifting blame. He is letting Nigerians know and understand where he’s coming from and probably put the whole situation in a perspective for people to understand.
You do understand that that is the strongest point of criticism for the President. People say that he’s been blaming the PDP for far too long and even in areas where this government ought to have taken responsibility it would seem that the President is still busy criticizing the PDP.
No, but you must understand that there are two different things talked about here. Letting people understand the origin, the history of the entire economic woes we are in. That’s a different thing altogether. You should understand.
Mr President is not saying that he is not taking responsibility. He’s taking responsibility by matching out the policies and programmes for this nation, that’s part of responsibility.
All we are saying is listen; there was a mess and everybody accepted there was a mess but we cannot dwell on the mess issue without finding solution so he’s finding solution to them. These are two different things you’re presenting here.
Mr President is not saying “I’m not taking responsibility”. He should take responsibility because he’s the President and will not shift it to anybody. Whatever you meet on your way to governance is the problem you are meant to solve. So this is a problem for President Buhari to solve.
He says and he said it before that he almost did not realise the depth of the problem. In fact you heard him say in that track that he felt like absconding when he saw the problems that were on the ground.
It was seen that your party did not quite realise the depth of the mess, understand the problem that was on the ground when you were on the campaign trail.
Nigerians like taking things in their literal meanings. He’s trying to dramatize the humongous nature of the problems on ground which many do not know.
Put yourself in his position. You came into a government and there is nothing left in the treasury of the nation meanwhile few years ago we were opportune to have oil at the price of 120 dollars per barrel and we produce about 2.2 million barrels everyday so you could imagine how much money would have been there in the process and there’s nothing to show for it.
There’s nothing wrong in Mr President letting the world understand where he’s coming from. I think that will make you better appreciate what he’s going through. That is really not transferring blame because you are not going to call PDP back to governance in this era we are taking responsibility.
Let me tell you, it’s a simple statement. Every leader in every position must take responsibility. In Imo I take responsibility for the good, bad and ugly.
You are not trying to deflect criticism because you know on two occasions you’ve been, there was one time in May and only recently in November you were quoted as saying that your party is not managing its victory well and you’ve also been in Abuja trying to reconcile factions within your party.
Tell us, do all members of your party agree with you or do they resent what they perceive might be an open criticism of your party in public space?
The truth sometimes could be bitter but the truth must stand at every given situation. Now, our party the APC has not managed its victory well. There have been so much of accusations, counter accusations, allegations, internal acrimonies, so many problems and that wasn’t good for our party but I have come into this matter and I have looked into it and met all stakeholders but one thing that was reassuring is that in all the speeches or statement of everybody concerned all I saw was communication gap.
It was a huge communication gap amongst the leadership of the party. You find out that it wasn’t even worth it at all with all the speculations here and there and people taking advantage of it. So, I’ve come to realise that what we suffer from is a communication gap, people wanting to be carried along.
You see, in our Nigerian custom, if you want to hear that you own this station, channels TV but allow me use it. I can use the station but let the world know that you own it. That’s our culture and I think that’s basically what is happening but I think all that has been resolved now and you’re going to see a brand new relationship in the party, you are going to see a great party and because Mr President does not need those distractions, not even from his own party. I think we are fine from it and I thank God almighty.
So you are saying that relationships have been repaired?
Everything is fixed perfecto to the glory of God. I believe it and I think everybody understands that bridging the communication gap and speculations and people saying something, repainting it in a different way and trying to create the gap.
This is even as we see divisions in the Ondo state governorship elections that are approaching?
No, that’s a different thing altogether. You’re talking about a different thing altogether.
Are the divisions not reflecting there as well?
No it is not. What happened in the Ondo election is a different kind of fish. Its internal democracy in action. What we are saying is that the same system that brought President Buhari in as the presidential candidate, is the module we use for all our primaries.
Clean and clear internal democracy. Remember some of us were in that contest but when we saw it was clear that the man won we had no choice but to support him.
But you should know that in Africa as democracy grows people don’t accept losing election easily. It is common with us and for any election that you loss you must give reason why you lost. There must be agitation so I think, it’s a different thing altogether.
What I’m talking about is those already in power not working together, not agreeing on issues, our party is a majority in the National Assembly but when you see things coming out it looks like we are a minority. These are some of the things that are very critical to the survival of any government and I think that peace has come today.
You say the peace has come to be but some people say that as we get closer to 2019 we are going to see more and more of this wrangling. Do you think that 2019 is at the heart of crisis within your party?
Wrangling is part of democracy. Agitation is part of democracy. Getting the vision right is about everything. Let me tell you; I care about vision and where we are going to.
I told my wife one day I said ‘young lady, my lovely wife, listen. Don’t marry me. If you marry me I will offend you and I don’t intend to marry you. Let us establish a vision. You marry the vision and I marry the vision. The vision is not humane it is an idea. Once we are married to that vision no matter how angry you are the vision will bring you back’.
I think our party needs to develop a common vision. And that vision must be of the interest of the masses of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Are you saying there is none for now?
There is, but we have to understand it, everybody has to key into it. There is. But has everybody keyed into it? In that vision you have what is called people being able to give up themselves and sacrifice, so that even if you don’t get what you think you can get or due to you as part of right, the vision will tell you, listen make that sacrifice for my sake and for the sake of this nation.
This is the orientation we need in our party.
The reason I ask you is that is because during the President’s campaign to the south-east before he got elected you named him Okechukwu and you mentioned that it shall be the turn of the south-east very soon.
Some people interpreted that to be 2019. Are you looking at the Presidency come 2019?
Let President Buhari do this job now. Let him clear the mess. Everyone has a gift. President Buhari has the gift for clearing the mess. Let him clear the mess and lay the foundation. He might not be the person to paint the house but the house needs a solid foundation and I think that’s where he’s coming from.
I have told the people that President Buhari’s coming at this time is crucial to lay a solid foundation and bring down the entire crack wall of the whole nation and that is what he is doing now which I refer to as the painful period that nobody wants to see. It has to be done once and for all.
So you’re not committing to whether or not you’ll support him if he decides to run in 2019?
He is my candidate for 2019 if he’s running.
Only recently you came out to support the President’s wife Aisha Buhari when she gave her outburst. It was on the back of that it was seen that the President called a meeting of APC governors. The issues around appointments, have they been resolved now?
Issues around appointment is about being resolved and will be resolved. There was nothing wrong with issues of appointment, it was simply the methodology. Take for instance there are certain things that you allow the party and the system deal with, issues of board.
It gives everybody a sense of belonging. Those are the areas we are trying to fine-tune now and as soon as we do that everybody is going to be fine.
On Tuesday November 8, a group under the aegis of concerned citizens took out a centre spread advertorial on the Vanguard newspaper to petition the President on what they titled “Imo State Tilting Towards Fascism And Anarchy Under Gov. Rochas Okorocha – An SOS For Urgent Intervention.
In that advertorial they accused you of extreme measures including having no regards for constitutional order, disregarding court orders and imposing hardship on the people amongst other accusations. How do you respond to this?
Does that look like what Rochas can do? I think you can answer this question because it’s baseless. You must understand also when we say concerned citizens, someone who is trying to paint you black can assume a concerned citizen and sometimes nameless.
Have you seen the advertorial?
I have not seen the advertorial because some of these things don’t make sense anymore. The question is if the person really believes that what he is saying is true, may you invite them here and invite me and we sit down eyeball.
Let me drop my ranking as Governor and sit down with whoever to discuss where I have disobeyed court order and if there is any single one or constitutional issues. I have come to make Imo state better.
Can I announce to you? Imo state is much better than it has ever been since creation and what you see in Imo state, not even the past government of 16 or 24 years put together has achieved what I have achieved and I stand to be challenged. It is not right but what they are referring to is one, I have embarked on what you call urban renewal programme.
Some of your opponents see it as a witch-hunt. I’ll like you to respond to a visual. It’s a picture of the home of the APGA governorship candidate of the state Emmanuel Iheanacho. He says he has not been able to access his house for the past three months and sees your renewal as some attempt to witch-hunt some of your political opponents in the state. Do you agree with them?
This doesn’t make sense at all. You can see what we are doing is that we are expanding these roads. Most of the people build their houses right on the road and if I have to go by what the law says 25 meters away, none of those buildings will be there. As enlightened as the gentleman says and a onetime governorship candidate who wants to govern the state, excuse me.
He knows that very building is on the road and no one touched any building, just the fence. And I said by the time I finish, he owes me to pay me more task because the value of this property would have jumped by almost 500% because it’s looking like a brand new city with a different environment.
In the meantime it is okay for him not to be able to access his house?
That’s the work going on everywhere. Even my own property I brought down the fence. In Orlu my building that is about two floors I brought the building down. That’s my own building but I never brought anyone’s building down just to make sure that there is enough space for the people.
We have traffic congestions, the city looking clumsy and not beautiful and we want to make it beautiful. You come to Abuja here and see good roads wouldn’t you like it? That issue they are raising now is the issue of the market. Ekuku which is laughable.
The Ekuku (which) is three minutes away from government house is where you have the worse criminal activity today. The major road which is called the Douglas Road is all blocked by people, shanties and people selling on the road and I say we must clean this up. They said no that it is ancestral and I said if it is ancestral let’s go back to the leaf days and wear our leaves if you don’t want progress in the land.
Now the question you asked of what benefit is this to Rochas or my family or to me as a person if not for the interest of the state called Imo state and to make our city look beautiful to attract investors and make it something that you can call home? That is my home. I’m going to live there for the rest of my life so I must make it good.
But you do agree that there are criticisms and you are aware of the criticisms and are you taking steps to understand and ensure that the people are carried along with the projects that you mean well for the people of Imo state?
There are people that I call the talking-sees and seeing- sees and never appreciating- sees and these are the Pharisees of the bible. They can never see anything good as long as it is you. I have put 70% of Imo state wealth in Owerri capital since I became governor just to make it a city that we can all be proud of. When I came into that city the government house was dead. I gave them a brand new government house. I have international conference centre. I have eagles square. Whatever you have in Abuja I have replicated in Owerri capital city and there is no government building of the past that has not been changed to befit the beauty of Owerri capital.
So what do you say to the accusations that some of these projects you’ve carried out you’ve done by bullying contractors in your state? They say that you issue contracts, pay a certain amount for mobilisation and never finish paying contractors.
Let the person come. These are all cheap talks. This government does not owe any contractor, quote me. Since I became governor we don’t owe any contractor, the only time they raised issue was the issues of rural roads where I would not say it is a regret but where I thought empowering our people was a thing. Most of them ran away with the money and never did this job and now we are taking some legal actions against them to recover government money.
So there is nobody that has done a contract in Imo state that is being owed one naira. Have you heard this before? And Imo state government does not owe any bank in this whole world any one naira.
Let’s talk about the south-east region now. The governors of the region have a south-east governors initiative I believe which you are a part of. There have been some issues in the south-east. Recently there are reports of negotiation between IPOB and the federal government. Is that correct as well? Is it true that there are reports of a negotiation?
That has not been brought to my notice. I am not aware of it but the issues of IPOB I have handled personally.
What are your views on IPOB?
IPOB is a group agitating just like any other group agitating. I feel we are over-dramatising the whole IPOB situation. I have looked into that matter, some of their leaders have come to me when they had their protest in Imo and they were surprised that nobody shot them, nobody hurt them, in fact I requested the police to accompany them and they went throughout the city and stopped at so many junctions and they were wondering.
They thought I was going to come on heavy on them and I said no. You are my sons and daughters and we have to accept that whether someone is an agitator first of all know that he is a son and daughter of the soil. Approach the matter from there.
How do you think the federal government or Nigeria can address the so many agitations we see in the south-east and sometimes south-south as well, the numerous agitations that have sprung up in different parts of the country?
It is to find out the root cause. Most of the problem we have in this country is that we tackle the symptoms and not the disease. This is why we keep having repetitions of the same disease coming up. It’s like suffering from diabetes and you have sores on your legs and someone is giving you Panadol because you have headache. It is mere wasting time.
Would you say that your party has treated the south-east fairly so far?
We are expecting. I must tell you there are a lot of expectations from the leaders of south-east but let me tell correct this impression. The impression is that south-east never voted for President Muhammadu Buhari but the truth is that if we didn’t play the role we played, probably APC would have had a difficult time winning the presidency.
If we had allowed the usual practice of PDP in the south-east as it was in the past then we wouldn’t have had a government today. So it is not true. Some of us take our lives and take everything but I have said that whatever is due to any other zone should be due the south-east. They deserve it.
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has defended his decision to sign a law prohibiting open grazing of cattle in the state.
The Governor, who was speaking on Channels TV programme, Hard Copy, has further inaugurated a task force to enforce the law, insisting that he has a duty to do whatever he can to protect the lives of his people,
He stated that the entire Ekiti people are behind the bill as citizens came out in thousands to show their support for the government on the day the bill was passed.
Governor Fayose described as shameful the practice of herdsmen rearing cows in cities, including the nation’s capital, Abuja.
He recalled that while growing up, herdsmen were known to carry ordinary sticks with which they directed their cattle, therefore “anything that will involve you being armed, you should check it as soon as possible”
“When people take advantage of harmless people, people that gave you space to do your business; you feed on their farmlands, their crops and you harass them daily because you have weapons.
“Where are they finding these AK47? Who is behind it?
“Let me tell you very expressly, Nigeria is a federation. Everybody as responsible leaders must take steps to curtail excesses of anybody that wants to take the lives of your people. I was elected Governor to protect lives and property.
“If you are hiding under cattle rearing to take lives of my people, to sleep with their daughters, to take their wives by force because they know you can come in the night and harass them, that will not work.”
He said that the new anti-grazing law would require everyone who wants to practice the business in Ekiti state to register with government through the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We must give you space. You must tell us where you’re doing it.”
On the effectiveness of the new law in the state, Governor Fayose expressed joy that so far the law has been well adhered to and those who have flouted it have had their cattle impounded.
“You don’t rear cattle in my state after 6PM. I will have you arrested and take all the cows and we will turn some of them to stomach infrastructure immediately without delay.
“I will call the public, they will roast it. Those who do not have enough protein by themselves they cut the thigh, some take the arm and they enjoy.”