Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, has called on Nigerians to stop celebrating people who loot the nation’s resources.
Obi who featured as a guest on Channels Television’s special end of the year programme on Thursday stressed the need for true democracy in the country.
He said, “I still blame the people who watch the sharing (of loots) go on and celebrate criminality. The people continue to praise those who steal money; they give them awards and titles.”
“We need to practice genuine democracy. It is not just the political class, but the people as well. People need to be part of this change.
“People are complacent. The people think you can leave it in the hands of the politicians; they have to demand that the right things happen,” the former governor added.
According to him, the actions of the politicians affect Nigerians directly and they must be committed that the right people are voted into office.
Looking For What To Grab
Obi, who was the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, decried that there were incompetent people who lacked the necessary capacity elected into political offices.
He attributed this to the present situation in which the country has found itself, stressing that the way to address the issue was to ensure Nigerians do the right thing and vote competent people into political offices.
“You saw the Financial Times publication saying we are a failed state, and you have to agree with them if you look at the state of the country; look at what happened in Katsina, what happened in Imo, where a Catholic priest was kidnapped. I can go on and on.
“We have become the highest in drug prevalence. We have overtaken India in under-five mortality. So, it affects the people,” the former vice presidential candidate said.
He added, “Our country is not productive, that is why our economy is not growing. While other nations are working hard to pull themselves out of poverty, ours are going the other way round. Everybody is looking for what to grab out of the system.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says the looting of warehouses and shops by hoodlums were not necessarily caused by poverty but greed.
Adesina who disclosed this in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, insisted that the looting spree which occurred in days after the #EndSARS protest was propelled by greed and criminality.
He said he completely disagrees with the idea that the pandemonium which accompanied the #EndSARS protests is a true reflection of the people’s hunger and anger.
“I wouldn’t agree completely with that (that the looters are hungry) because criminality is criminality, would you justify armed robbery because the man was poor?
“Just as you can’t justify armed robbery because a man was poor and then he took a gun to rob another person. You can’t also justify the lootings that are going on. It is pure criminality.
“It is not everybody engaged in that looting that is hungry, that is the truth. It is pure greed and criminality,” Adesina said.
He added that a situation was created for anarchy in the country and this created room for criminality and looting.
Adesina insisted that the looters are not necessarily hungry and angry they took advantage of the breakdown of law and order.
The President’s spokesman said further that, “Criminality will always be criminality and mere anarchy promotes criminality. What has happened in the last two or three weeks led to what has happened now. If there was cohesion and tranquillity in society, this wouldn’t happen.
“Therefore, it was a corollary to the mere anarchic situation that came on the country because of the protests. If you didn’t have people burning police stations, killing policemen, burning private and public property, you wouldn’t have this spate of looting.”
Adamawa State Governor Umaru Fintiri has given a 12-hour ultimatum to the hoodlums involved in the looting of public and private warehouses and government agencies to return the looted items or be ready to face the consequences of their actions.
The Governor gave the order during a state-wide broadcast where he also lamented the loss witnessed in the state in the past few days to looters.
He also announced the arrest of over 100 suspects involved in the looting, condemning their action in strong terms.
The governor had earlier on Sunday, October 25 imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state following massive attacks, arson, and looting of warehouses and government establishments in the state.
The looters wreaked havoc on the Customs Office, FRSC office, Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NEMA office, Bishop Makanto COVID-19 Isolation Centre at Kofare, North-East Commodity Association (NECAS) Kofare amongst several others.
Igbosere High Court is a monument with its existence dating back to when Lagos was known as a British protectorate.
The building came under attack by some hoodlums on October 22. The buildings in the court premises and properties in it were destroyed and completely vandalized.
The hoodlums spent hours burning vehicles, vital documents, case files and looted properties including furniture, refrigerators, and air conditioners.
Chief Judge of Lagos State, Kazeem Alogba in an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday, October 27 said substantial records of the court were not affected as wrongly believed by many.
He said the archives remain intact.
“Fortunately, it is not all our records that are lost. In some of the key areas, we still have a substantial part of our records intact. Like our archives and the probate registry, to a reasonable extent, some of our records are still intact.
“We are working day and night to ensure that we find alternative accommodation for our judges and magistrates and they will soon start sitting,” he said.
While the impact of the damage done on the High Court is still been accessed, the Chief Judge said reconstructing the building will cost over a billion naira.
He said, “in terms of equipment and other items vandalized. It is also almost one billion. We have several vehicles there. All our computers, the air conditioners, the refrigerators and all sorts of electrical gadgets. Even the furniture.”
The court is however planning a comeback soonest.
“We are going to reconstruct our case files. We are not going to look back, we are looking forward. This is a temporary set-back.
“These are trying times and we must go through it, but we are going to come out of it brilliantly,” the Chief Judge promised.
– Judicial Monument Attacked –
Igbosere High Court was one of the structures left devastated by the activities of hoodlums last week in Lagos State.
The city was ravaged by hoodlums in the days after the #EndSARS protest, leaving many parts of the state with the burnt buildings, looted shops, and destroyed properties.
Igbosere High court which is the oldest in Nigeria was not spared as the courtrooms were burnt, vandalised, and left in ruins.
Over 100 suspects have been arrested in Plateau for allegedly invading warehouse in the State Agricultural Development Programme (PADP).
This was disclosed by the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo on Sunday in Jos, the state capital.
He said security operatives cannot watch what he describes as misguided elements and hoodlums destroying government and private properties.
Okonkwo noted that security personal swung into action to arrest the suspects to serve as a deterrent to others.
The suspects said to have destroyed the warehouse were arrested at Dogon Dutse around Angwan Rukuba and west of mines as well as Dogon large at Custom warehouse.
Some stolen items recovered from the suspects include fertilisers, pumping machines, agrochemicals, generators, trailer Tube and other farming items that are not foodstuffs.
While noting that the suspects include 105 male and 13 female, the Commander assured that all of them would be prosecuted.
He also warned those involved in such criminal acts to desist from or risk facing the full wrath of the law, adding that security personnel have been deployed to the fields to ensure law and order is restored in the state.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday rejoiced with Nigerians, especially Christians in the country on the occasion of this year’s Christmas.
In his message to the nation, he urged the people to show love to their fellow neighbours, noting that this among others was the essence of the season.
The President also called on insurgents, armed robbers, and kidnappers, as well as economic saboteurs among others to have a rethink and be of good behaviour.
He, however, warned that those who choose to remain adamant would definitely come to the end of the road as respective government agencies were already making efforts to make Nigeria better.
President Buhari was confident that the recent signing of the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law would help the country to actualise its vision of a bright and prosperous future.
During the period of celebration, he appealed to the people to pray for members of the nation’s armed forces making the sacrifice to protect the people.
He also advised motorists to drive with care and ordered the relevant traffic agencies to ensure compliance with safety measures.
The President, therefore, wished Nigerians a Merry Christmas and a more fulfilling New Year 2020.
Read the President’s message to the nation below:
PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI’S 2019 CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO NIGERIANS
I felicitate with our Christian brothers and sisters in particular, and all Nigerians in general, on the joyous occasion of Christmas of the year 2019.
As Christendom commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, I enjoin all Nigerians to imbibe and demonstrate the essence of the season of love; goodwill among all the ethnic groups in the country; giving and sharing; strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and good neighbourliness; and focusing on all that bind us together as one united country.
I, therefore, urge our compatriots to shun all actions which negate the spirit of the season.
However, celebrating the spirit and virtues of Christmas need not be a one-day affair, but rather, ought to continue into the New Year.
It is in line with the spirit of Christmas that I call on all elements whose actions are opposed to what the season represents, especially, insurgents, terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers and economic saboteurs, to retrace their steps and join people of goodwill and common humanity.
If they fail to heed this call, they will meet their end as the armed forces, security and law-enforcement agencies are poised now to confront and defeat them.
Our people must make extra efforts to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours, irrespective of differences.
While it is gladdening to note that incidents of violence and conflicts have reduced drastically owing to the several operations embarked on by our security agencies, we must not let our guards down.
As Christmas indicates good tidings of hope and redemption, Nigerians can look forward to a turnaround in the administration’s priority areas of fighting corruption, providing security, economic diversification, job creation and infrastructure upgrade.
Having recently signed the 2020 Appropriation Bill into Law, I reiterate my promise during the presentation of the Budget Proposals before the National Assembly on October 8, 2019 that, “We remain resolutely committed to the actualization of our vision of a bright and prosperous future for all Nigerians.”
The 2020 Budget of Sustainable Growth and Job Creation will be rigorously implemented to further deepen its impact on the generality of our people.
Let me use this occasion to once more thank the leadership and members of the National Assembly for the speedy consideration and passage of the 2020 Budget Proposals.
We are confident that this new era of cordiality and cooperation between the executive and the legislature will fast-track our collective commitment to giving our people better life and governance.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember to pray for members of our armed forces and other security agencies who are making so much sacrifice to protect us from people of evil intent.
We should also extend love to the families of those whose bread-winners made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their fatherland.
I appeal to motorists to drive with care this festive season, while road safety and security officials should ensure compliance with safety measures to avoid needless accidents and attendant loss of life and property.
I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a more fulfilling New Year 2020.
Police authorities in Lagos have paraded suspected looters of Shoprite in the Lekki area of the State.
The police area commander of Shangotedo, Mr Gbolahan Olugbemi says between September the 3rd and 4th, a total of 125 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack on Shoprite with 90% of the stolen goods recovered.
“They admitted that they spent 16biliion American dollars on power, where is the power? You know it more than I do,” President Buhari told his supporters at the Aso Villa in the nation’s capital.
He added, “So, this large-scale abuse of trust; only God can give them punishment; so, we leave them to God. But those we can catch, we will take them before the court and get them prosecuted.
“And whatever is recovered from them in terms of infrastructure – housing here in Abuja, companies in Europe, in other states; this time around I said they should sell it and put the money in the treasury, and we will be using the money for infrastructure.”
The President who is seeking re-election in the coming polls insisted that his administration is on a mission to recover Nigeria’s resources from those who allegedly looted them.
He said having served as a governor and a minister, he would have been in trouble if he did not stick to his principles of accountability.
President Buhari said his vision and objectives for Nigeria were very clear and that he was already on course to achieve them.
He also stressed that he was doing his best to fulfil his electoral promises of securing the country, fighting corruption and resuscitating the economy.
Responding to the request of CAN for an overhaul of the intelligence gathering system, the President said the burden of intelligence gathering involves everyone.
According to him, those directly involved include district heads, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and religious leaders who are very close to the grassroots.
President Buhari, who decried that the bandits operating in various communities live among the people, urged the leaders of thought in various communities to avail security agencies with information about the criminals.
On the general elections in 2019, he told the Christian leaders that he had assurances from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the polls would be free and fair, noting that he has been a victim of ‘fraudulent elections’ and beneficiary of a free and fair election in the past.
“When I decided to put on this Agbada to see what the people are seeing in it, I tried three times, 2003, 2007 and 2011, but the fourth time, in 2015, I succeeded,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“We thank God and technology in the form of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and card reader because what they used to do was to look at constituencies, award the votes and then they will say whoever didn’t agree should go to court.
“When people are looking for what to eat, where do they have the money to go to court to pay the SANs?” President Buhari wondered.
He also informed the CAN delegation that the Federal Government was working towards finding a lasting solution to the clashes between farmers and herders in the country.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says former Vice President Atiku Abubakar will open a system-wide fight against corruption if elected president.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, it said its candidate would jail those who have looted the nation’s treasury.
The party insisted that looters must be made to face the wrath of the law and go to jail, adding that its candidate would not only fight poverty but also fight corruption uncompromisingly.
According to it, Atiku will strengthen the institutions empowered by the laws to do their jobs while he concentrates on the duty of governance and rescuing Nigeria from its challenges.
The PDP explained that the former vice president would also revamp the economy through the creation of qualitative employment for the youths.
It added that the presidential candidate would implement the political and economic restructuring of the nation, in a manner that would engender unity, inclusiveness in governance and upliftment in the general standard of living for the people.
The opposition party stressed that if elected, its candidate would immediately commence the marketing of Nigeria to the international business community, as well as providing a clement environment for businesses to thrive.
“Atiku Abubakar comes with the Nigerian resilient entrepreneurial spirit to once again open up our economy, attract investments, create jobs and unite our citizenry for a more productive nation.
“Already, our candidate, as a successful entrepreneur, has perfected an economic template that will reduce the cost of governance, plug wastages, tackle corruption, free our national resources currently being squandered by the Buhari administration and channel them for the welfare of the people,” it revealed.
According to him, the pressure being mounted on the government over its decision to expose alleged looters is not unexpected.
”We know where the pressure is coming from. However, the die is cast. We will not stop until we have released the names of all those who have looted our commonwealth. Those who have not looted our treasury have nothing to be afraid of,” the minister said.
He further assured Nigerians that no amount of pressure, including the antics of hack writers and threats of litigation, would prevent the government from releasing more names of the alleged looters of the public treasury.
Anti-Graft War Politicised?
Mohammed alleged that since the release of the first two lists of alleged looters, there have been overt and covert attempts to intimidate and blackmail the Federal Government into discontinuing the release of more names.
He said, “Hack writers have inundated the social and traditional media with articles casting aspersion on the lists, while some newspapers have even resorted to writing editorials against the Federal Government over the release of the lists. Most of the write-ups have accused the government of politicising the anti-graft war by releasing the lists. We strongly disagree with them.”
The minister pointed out that the government does not have the power to try or convict anyone accused of corruption, saying it was the exclusive preserve of the courts.
He, however, maintained that the government has the power to let Nigerians know those who turned the public treasury into “their personal piggy banks on the basis of very concrete evidence, and that is what we are doing”.
Subsequent Lists Imminent
Mohammed acknowledged that the government has always known that corruption would fight back, adding that it was not surprised at the purported hiring of hack writers to attack the very idea of naming and shaming alleged looters.
He decried that the worry about politicising the anti-corruption fight was aimed at preventing the government from releasing more alleged looters’ names.
“But 1,000 negative write-ups or editorials will not deter us from releasing the third and subsequent lists. For those who have chosen to give succour to looters, we wish them the best of luck with their new pastime,” the minister said.
He further challenged anyone who feels that he or she has been wrongly accused to seek redress in court.
Mr Mohammed reiterated that it was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that challenge the Federal Government into releasing the list of alleged looters.
To this end, he insisted that the argument that the list only contained the names of PDP members fell short without proper contextualisation.
While the government does not underestimate the worry of alleged looters, the minister assured Nigerians who are justifiably outraged at the plundering of the nation’s wealth of the government’s determination not to back down in the anti-graft war.
He maintained that Nigerians deserve to know those who have wrecked the country and mortgaged the future of their children.