A Professor of criminology and social sciences at the University of Abuja, Femi Odekunle has described Nigeria as a place where politicians engage in political and economic racketeering for their selfish purposes. Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odekunle said Nigerians should disregard the comments of ministers and other government, officials, who often say that Nigeria’s macroeconomic indices are growing.
“Of course, nobody would deny that we are growing but the growth is not translating to development. Development has to do with impacting on the socioeconomic and political lives of the average citizen. It has to do with distribution of the dividend of development,” he said.
The professor said the reason why the dividend of development is not getting to the ordinary Nigerian was because of corruption.
“The consequences of the resulting underdevelopment cannot be divorced from our level of insecurity which has been worsening, if you allow me to say, from the 60s to today,” Mr Odekunle said.
A security expert and National Coordinator of the Network on Police Reform, Emeka Nwanevu has said that the opaque processes by which Inspectors-General of Police are appointed, the absence of secured tenure for those that occupy that office and high turnover in the leadership of the police make planning for improvements in the performance of the force rather difficult in Nigeria.
Mr Nwanevu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the lack of security of tenure for the Police Inspector General as well as interference of politicians into the operations of the police make the position of IGP one of the most unstable leadership positions in the country.
He said since the President was the one who can hire and fire the IGP; he has enormous power to control the activities of the police boss. “An Inspector General cannot flaunt the orders of the person who appoints him,” Mr Nwanevu said.
The security expert is calling for the amendment of Section 215(1) of the Nigerian Constitution which provides that the IGP “shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from amongst serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.”
A lawyer and member of the Crusade for Justice, Richard Nwankwo has described the efforts by the leadership of Nigeria in fighting corruption as superficial and designed to achieve nothing. Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Nwankwo said the present leaders in the country lack the political will and determination to conduct a genuine crusade against corruption in Nigeria.
“When you are fighting corruption from the general point of view, the leadership must show some measure of political will and determination and some measure of drive to demonstrate to everybody that actually there is a massive campaign against corruption and that is clearly not been done here,” he said.
Doctors in Nigeria under the aegis of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday advised the federal government to liberalize the policy of gun ownership as part of efforts to effectively curb all forms of insecurity in the country.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the National President of the association, Osahon Enabulele called on the government to be alive to their constitutional responsibility of guaranteeing the security and welfare of the citizens until when the concept of state police is accepted by the federal government.
“Nigeria is fast descending into a hobbesian state as insecurity remains highly prevalent in Nigeria, with the possibility of violent death lurking at every corner and at every time,” he said.
Mr Enabulele said that the security situation in Nigeria continued to deteriorate “despite the publicized past and current statements of government that they are ‘on top of the situation’ with recurrent reshufflement of the security apparatus of the country.”
He called on the “governments at all levels to truly be ‘on top of the situation’ with respect to effective address of the state of insecurity in the country”
The association attributed the problem of insecurity in Nigeria to the rising unemployment rate in the country.
“We strongly call on governments at all levels to provide, as an interim/stop-gap measure, meaningful unemployment and social security monthly allowance for unemployed Nigerians and elderly Nigerians,” Mr Enabulele said.
The NMA president, who condemned the unfortunate murder of Cynthia Osokogu said there is a need for drugs to be sold only to persons upon the production of a medical/dental practitioners prescription.
He said the association “observed with dismay the events surrounding the tragic and unfortunate murder of a vivacious and up-coming young Nigerian lady, Miss Cynthia Udoka Osokogu, and efforts made to apprehend her killers.”
Mr Enabulele said the events surrounding murder of Miss Osokogu, “underscores the need for drugs to be sold to the citizens of Nigeria only upon the production of a medical/dental practitioner’s prescription.
“The NEC therefore calls on the Federal Government to strictly enforce Prescription Rights in Nigeria, and to duly sanction violators of Prescription Rights. We also call for speedy dispensation of justice in the murder case.”
We reject N5000 note
The doctors condemned the planned introduction of the N5000 note and the conversion of N20, N10 and N5 notes to coins saying it will have a negative implication for the nation’s economy.
Mr Enabulele advised the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido to “review his planned introduction of the single N5000 note, and N20 and N50 coins, on account of the likely negative implications for the economy.
“The Association notes that despite several similar changes made in the past no significant improvement in the economy was witnessed. Increased inflation rate have more often than not been the lot of similar policies in the past.
“We therefore advise that rather than waste the country’s resources in such an unprofitable venture, such should be channelled into viable poverty reduction schemes to alleviate the sufferings of toiling Nigerians.”
The State Security Service has arrested seven individuals suspected to have a hand in the kidnapping of United Arab Emirates national, Mohammed Khamis Ali, who was released from captivity on March 19 after being held for 60 days.
The SSS said on Thursday that the seven-man gang had lured the Emirati business man into Nigeria on 20 January, under the hoax of a business deal in the nation’s commercial hub of Lagos. He had been seized and held prisoner in a remote locale near Osun state.
“(Al Ali) was lured to visit Nigeria for a phantom business transaction by a fake company, Finuche Investments, was abducted by a kidnap syndicate and held hostage for about 60 days,” SSS spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar told reporters.
Kidnapping has become a major enterprise in Africa’s most populous nation, with the vast majority of the victims being Nigerian, but in recent months, a number of foreigners have been abducted, including the British and Italian nationals that were abducted and killed shortly before a failed rescue operation by British and Nigerian forces.
Ogar reporters that while the seven gang members, who had been tasked to guard al Ali during his captivity, are now in their custody, the masterminds of the attack still remain at large.
She addressed reporters, with the suspects behind her as she spoke. The suspects claimed that they had released the Emirati after it had become apparent that their bosses were no longer contacting them with further instructions on what to do with their victim.
Neither Ogar nor the suspects mentioned payment of a ransom.
The SSS spokesman said the seven suspected kidnappers will be charged to court while investigations continue in order to fish out the kidnapping mastermind.
In order to revive the already existing trade relations between the Rivers state government and the United States of America, the Rivers state governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on Monday called for the review of the US travel advisory to the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
Mr Amaechi was speaking when the deputy commander of civil-military activities of the United States, Africa command (AFRICOM), Sir Anthony Holmes led a delegation on a courtesy visit to him at government house, Port Harcourt.
The governor said the review of the United States’ travel advisory on the Niger Delta would open up huge opportunities of investment and trade for both the rivers state government and the United States of America, at the sub-national level.
Currently, the United States of America and the United Kingdom have travel advisories on the Niger Delta that do not favour the oil-rich region.
Mr Amaechi said that the Niger Delta region have had tremendous improvement in security to warrant the American and UK government to change their position on their travel advisory.
“The American and British travel advisories are currently unfavourable to the Niger Delta, foreign construction firms from Israel, Lebanon, Italy amongst other countries had completed and currently carrying out capital-intensive infrastructural and power projects in Rivers state, without any molestation or security threat to their lives,” he said.
He further said that an American company was bidding to partner with the state government to build a 1000-bed hospital and that during their several visits to the state; the company’s staff did not face any security threat.
The governor therefore urged the United States’ government to reconsider its stance on the nicer Delta so that their citizens can freely come to the region.
Stating the reason for the visit, Mr Holmes said they were in Rivers state as part of the American government efforts to engage with and assist the military in Africa, and to promote and create security for the benefit of all Nigerians, including people in Rivers state and those of other African nations.
He said the significance that Nigeria has on the continent of Africa in terms bilateral relationship and the key role that Rivers state plays in Nigeria in terms of population, resources, and its strategic location has brought them to learn, listen, and to understand the various challenges they face particularly in the area of maritime security
A forth night ago, the United States ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCulley was in the state to meet with Mr Amaechi.
The wife of the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, George Thompson Sekibo who was kidnapped last Thursday in Port Harcourt has been rescued, a family source said on Monday.
Asime sekibo along with two other ladies was abducted under the Obiri Ikwerre Bridge (still under construction) along the East-West road at about 7:00pm, while returning from the University of Port Harcourt, Choba.
A reliable family source told Channels Television news that Mrs Sekibo was rescued from her abductors by security forces somewhere close to Bayelsa along the East-West road at about 5:30pm on Monday.
The family source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said no ransom was paid to the kidnappers, adding that the Senator’s wife has since been reunited with her family.
The spokesman of the Rivers state police command, Ben Ugwuegbulam (DSP), could not confirm the rescue of Mrs Sekibo. He said “I have heard of the development, but I’m still waiting for the details of how it happened”.
The Kidnappers had reportedly contacted Senator Sekibo to demand for an undisclosed amount of ransom money.