A Security Consultant, Olatubosun Abolarinwa, on Thursday expressed disappointment in the Federal Government’s counter-terrorism measures, scoring it 10 percent and noting that “we are almost 67 years backward in our fight against terrorism”.
Speaking in light of the recent attacks by Boko Haram and the use of young female suicide bombers, Abolarinwa said “none of this should be surprising” as the study of terrorism trends, all over the world, shows that the events happening in Nigeria are not new.
“If you study terrorism and its trend all over the world, there is nothing happening in Nigeria now that has not happened somewhere else in the world,” he said, noting that the new trend of indoctrinating and using young suicide bombers, was saddening.
He went further to say that another sad thing was the government’s efforts to “indoctrinate the society at large, to counter it”.
He however noted that there were two ways of dealing with terrorism, including anti-terrorism – which is majorly the work of the security agencies – and counter-terrorism – which involves the general populace.
“The counter terrorism initiative of the government at the moment can be rated at 10 percent” he said, insisting that “we cannot continue to pretend, or to assume, or believe that it is the law enforcement agencies that are going to deal with this or solve it.
“It is never done like that,” Abolarinwa said.
He further stressed that the government needs to take an active step to ensure that citizens are highly conscious of the situation at hand, as majority don’t believe the severity of terrorism until there is an explosion or bomb scare around them.
“Now is the time, not later, although it is a little bit late but not too late to take steps in indoctrinating the society on how to counter terrorism,” he said, adding that “It’s ok to be over-suspicious”, on the part of the people.
He called on the government to evaluate the funds spent in the fight against terrorism vis a vis the results achieved.
A legal practitioner, George Eke, on Wednesday advocated that the controversial ex-governor’s pension law be scrapped and a “Salary For Life” approach be adopted to allow those who have served to have benefits after their time in office.
“Let them have, at least for serving, life pension” he said, while on Sunrise Daily, describing the extra perks including cooks, security aides, houses as “looting and an abuse of the office.”
Although he commended Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpbabio for bringing the discussion to the front burner, Eke insisted that the law was an attempt by governor’s leaving office to get enough money to keep them secured after their tenures.
He stressed that the bill has been passed in almost all the States of the federation and wondered where the NGO’s and civil society groups were when the law was initially passed.
According to the lawyer, the perks for those who have served in office are too much, which is why many become desperate to be in power.
“Why must the governor be in the sky after serving?” he asked, noting that no destitute contests for the position of governor and so the law mandating that a 5-bedroom house for governor “is rubbish”.
On the health pension, Eke said the governors should make the health system work and then they can be given free medical attention after office.
“Let them have at least for serving, life pension” he said, describing the extra perks of cooks, security aides, houses in Abuja as “looting and an abuse of the office.”
It was a glorious home journey for late Mrs Deborah Oluwatoyin Ogun.
It was indeed an emotional day but a celebration of a life well spent for Mrs D. O. Ogun, who was laid to rest in Badagry, Lagos State.
Mrs ogun, the mother of Channels Television Sunrise Daily female anchor Maupe Ogun, passed on at the age of 58.
Maupe described her late mother as “a lovely person, a beautiful soul, a really joyous heart and I am hoping that I will be like her. She set a bar. She showed me what it is like to live on a day to day basis”.
Though painful, she still says “it is really a time to thank God and to be grateful” that she has gone to rest.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, on Monday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s action against the suspended CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, was long overdue and should have been an outright sack.
Several arguments trailed the President’s decision to suspend the Governor without the required two-third vote from the Senate.
However, speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ozekhome argued that Jonathan followed due process under the law.
According to him, the power of the President to remove Sanusi is inherent in the power of an employer to suspend an employee and so it doesn’t even have to be written.
“The CBN Act simply talks about removal from office in Section 11(2F) but it did not dwell on the issue of suspension,” he said and stressed that suspension was a step towards removal or dismissal.
He commended counter arguments by some lawyers that “one of the legal principles of statutory interpretation is that whatever is not stated is excluded and since suspension was not specifically mentioned in the CBN Act, it means it was excluded.”
He, however, gave a counter argument saying “such argument forgets its sister principle of statutory interpretation that what is not forbidden or outlawed is allowed. In other words, if a law does not specifically say you cannot do this, it means you can do it.”
The lawyer went further to say that the suspended CBN governor, who was employed directly by the President under Section 8 of the CBN Act, failed in regards to the ethical and behavioural tendencies expected of him and that the autonomy of the institution was subject to the President’s leadership.
“Section 8 says it is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that employed the CBN governor and the deputy governors” adding that “the CBN is autonomous to the extent that it reports to the President” he said.
Ozekhome further argued that the President had followed due procedure in removing Sanusi, as approval by the Senate should come after the deed had been done. “One comes before the other,” he said and maintained that; “dismissal takes place then you go to the Senate for confirmation.”
Ozekhome, who compared Sanusi to unpopular Governors in other countries of the world, said the position of the CBN governor was conservative and that he should not have criticised a government he worked for publicly. “A CBN Governor is supposed to be seen and rarely heard, if at all he should be heard.”
“If you must be a sentinel at the apex bank of Nigeria, like Caesars’ wife, you must be above board,” he said, insisting that “the right thing to do out of self-respect, character and dignity is to put in your letter of resignation” if he had differences with the system.
According to the senior lawyer, Sanusi’s criticism of the Federal Government led to disinvestment and the instability of the Naira. “That is why the Naira has been dancing a ‘yoyo dance’.”
He faulted Sanusi’s inconsistency in reeling out figures, insisting that it undermines the confidence in the economy and currency of the country. “As a CBN Governor he should be master of figures, he shouldn’t stumble because you are playing with figures in the realm of international politics.
“A CBN governor does not have to raise an alarm to the country. There are in-built mechanisms in any government.
“I don’t agree with you that when you work in a system, that the way to work in that system is to flip-flop with figures to the whole world which undermines the economy of that country,” he added.
A Legal Practitioner, Chukwuma Ezeala, has recommended that the National Conference must have real representation of Nigeria’s 6 geo-political zones, for it to truly address the issues confronting the country.
While speaking on Channels Televison flagship breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, he noted that since the year 1964, the main issues confronting Nigeria had bothered on corruption and ethnic differences.
While admitting that leadership was also an issue, he argued that one of the reasons Nigeria has not had good leadership was because of the ethnic problems, explaining that the ethnic problems affect the way the leaders emerge.
He explained how ethnic groups determine who should be the Nigerian President and also influence who would be Ministers to work with him. He claimed that it has also been ethnicity that had shielded corruption over the years.
Mr Ezeala, however, suggested that this situation does not require that the National Conference be tagged ethnic. He said that what Nigerians must ensure is that issues of ethnicity are discussed. He said: “If we already have accepted to 6 geo-political zones, why don’t we make sure that there is real representation of those 6 geo-political zones, which represents the ethnic issues and which has fairly equal representation?”
On the issues of a “no go area”, the lawyer said: “If we must discuss how we are going to live, first thing will be to affirm that we want to live as one country. I think that 90% of Nigerians want us to be together, so why are you avoiding it?
“Let it be that for the first time, Nigerians have said they want to live together.
“Now, the next question is yes we want to live together but how do we live together? Is it possible for an Ondo man to come to Lagos and become the Governor of Lagos State? I think it should be possible if he is the most qualified…but we need to agree because my own view should not be the view of Nigerians.
“We should come in, discuss, decide this and we now give it a print of authority to say this is what Nigerians have done, and any president and any leader can now enforce it and not say that it was Decree 24 that brought us together and decreed how we should live.”
In a show of cautious optimism, Mr Ezeala expressed confidence that the constitution of the National Conference has the ingredients to address the Nigerian issues once and for all, provided that at the end of the conference there is a written agreement which would make it easy for political leaders to enforce the people’s resolution.
He also suggested that the National Assembly should pass a law that would enable the outcomes of the National Conference to go through a referendum, and if they are not ready to do so, the Conference could recommend or decide that what they had done should go through a referendum.
He also spoke about the structure of the representation at the conference as it affects the body of lawyers in Nigeria.
A Former Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Eseme Eyiboh, on Wednesday said that those defecting from one party to another, particularly from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress are only doing so for selfish interests, as the move is not based on any ideological conviction.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Eyiboh complained that the main issues, including internal democracy and party management, had been abandoned for other matters.
He said that neglecting key issues of the management of political parties and internal democracy of the parties would lead to a “poor leadership recruitment process where you have wrong people in right places.”
He averred that the trend of defection was good for both the ruling and opposition parties but insisted that the trend was based on selfish interests and not the welfare of the people or on any ideological conviction.
“It is not all about the issue of the people. It’s about your heart being where your mouth is” he said, stressing that “none of these persons is doing it either out of ideological conviction or because of the mandate of that people,” he stressed.
On the possibility of the opposition party, APC, being a better party than the ruling PDP, Eyiboh said “APC, as a matter of fact is not a solution because APC is unable to provide an alternative to what they believe is wrong with the PDP controlled government.”
He further stated that the “APC shot itself in the foot by allowing PDP to reinvent itself” through the new party chairman, “a businessman who stoops low to conquer.”
Speaking on controversy and issues surrounding the defection of 11 senators to the APC, which the PDP opposed, although it had benefitted from similar defections in the past, Eyiboh said “the scenario is different in the sense that some members of the APC went to court (to stop their seats from being declared vacant) and PDP also went to court saying they should not defect from PDP.”
“We can’t deny the fact that there are other subsisting issues before the court of law and because it is so, it becomes unnecessary for you to begin to talk about it because the matter will be sub judice. In previous cases, there has never been such circumstance,” he said.
On the Senators’ insistence that their letter of defection be acknowledged and read on the floor of the House, Eyiboh said the Senate President was not under obligation to do it by their prompting.
He continued by saying, “it is a communication, it will definitely be done but he has to look at all the exigencies. In this case, he has to look at the matter before the court and other matters bordering on the roles of the Senate.
He further argued that “we must have a clear difference between politics and governance.”
A former Director of State Security Services, Mike Ejiofor, has predicted a decrease in the activities of the Boko Haram sect in 2014 as political activities increases and the nation gears up for state elections in Osun and Ekiti States as well as the forthcoming 2015 general elections.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Ejiofor said: “I’ll tell you outright from forecasts, the activities of Boko Haram are going to go down with the rise of political activities,” he said, insisting that the sect is politically motivated.
The appointment of new Service Chiefs, including the Chief of Defence Staff is also no guarantee that “the activities of Boko Haram will go underground,” he said, faulting the new CDS’ promise to bring an end to the insurgency in before the 2015 elections.
“I believe he should have settled down to study the situation,” he said.
Commenting on the state of the nation’s security, Ejiofor stressed that progress was being made. “In 2013 for instance, we made a lot of progress in terms of security. You can see that the issue of Boko Haram is now restricted to Borno in particular, with occasional splashes in Yobe and some parts of the North East.”
The current situation, he said, “is unlike what we had in 2011 – 2012 when it was bombing everywhere. You had in Kaduna and Kano. It was all over, even in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
“I think we made substantial progress in 2013,” he said but stressed that there were “spill overs from 2013 to 2014.”
According to him, the greatest challenge Nigeria will face in 2014 is on the political front because of preparations for general elections. “I would concentrate more on the political threats.”
“The outcome of the governorship election coming up in Osun and Ekiti states is very critical to the general elections coming up in 2015.
“We should worry as a matter of fact” he said, referring to developments in the polity part of which he said was the mass defections from the PDP to the APC.
According to him, “PDP to Nigerians is just like what the Catholic Church is to the Christendom” and it is healthy for the nations democracy when politicians move in and out of political parties.
On the forthcoming elections, he said: “We should expect some level of violence this year in terms of political activities”.
“INEC should put all they have together and make sure that Osun and Ekiti elections come out clean. At least they should be able to score at least 80 to 90 per cent because we would be deceiving ourselves if we say we expect 100 per cent.”
On INEC’s decision not to conduct elections in the three states currently under emergency rule if security threats persist, Mr Ejifor mentioned the possibility of elections in the state based on the success of local government elections in Yobe state.
He also drew attention to comments made by certain individuals concerning the forthcoming general elections. “My worry is the utterances being made by some elders that would tend to compound our already existing problems.”
“Politically, if we don’t moderate our utterances, it’s going to create a lot of problems.”
He berated elder statesmen who have been making comments that would generate conflict in the polity.
On the arrest of Mr Nasir El-Rufai by the DSS for making inciting comments, Mr Ejiofor said there were bound to be reactions from the people because other individuals had made similar comments and were not seen to be called to order.
He said: “Government should be commended for the tolerance of opposition” as previous administrations had been hostile towards critics.
He further blamed some print media for its way of reporting news which “generates a lot of friction when there is none.”
“Some of our print media are part of the problems we are facing in our security challenges,” he said, citing ambiguous headlines as examples.
He called on the media to “play down on some of the security threats.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Bukola Saraki, has said that the decision by some senators, who have chosen to decamp from the Peoples Democratic Party to the opposition, APC should be respected, as the trend of defection “is not new.”
Speaking on the letter of defection which led to disagreements between senators on both sides of the PDP/APC divide, as a result of the Senate President’s refusal to read the letter on the floor of the Senate, Saraki said that “the practice has always been in the past that when Senators or members of the House of Representatives change their party for whatever reason, they come to the floor and indicate their interest by writing to the leadership, quoting section 68 of the constitution. The leadership reads it and it goes into the records of the Senate that you have defected to another party.”
He added that the laid down procedures “had been working very well in the past but unfortunately now, it seems not to be working as it used to.”
He said arguments that the senators who decamp will lose their seats are false as the trend is not new in the country. “I think between the House and the Senate, there are over 20 cases since 1999, where people had defected quoting the same section.
“There’s not been any hullabaloo about it. There’s been no noise. It’s gone smoothly. People have left the opposition party to the ruling party, now it’s the other way round, people are quoting and trying to hold on to what doesn’t exist.
He added that “as of today, there’s no law that stops any of the senators or members of the House of Representatives to say that they have left their party.”
“The issue at the end of the day is that most of these decisions are based on your constituencies. At the end of the day, that’s what we represent.
“We have moved. We have taken those decisions. I think that it needs to be respected.
The former governor of Kwara State advocated for consistency in government process, adding that “every time we do things to suit the situation, it goes back to bite us and haunt us later.”
He argued that the case concerning defection is the same in both legislative houses and should not be treated differently. “One would wonder if the legal experts who are advising the Senate President are totally different from those advising the Speaker. I mean, it’s the same case.”
Defection To APC
Asked why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, Mr Saraki cited impunity as one of the reasons he left the ruling party for the opposition.
“I think largely, it is due to the kind of dissatisfaction that we’ve seen in the affairs of the party over a while with regards to key issues like the level of impunity, the regard for the rule of law, the level of inclusiveness, the consideration of the wishes of the people and party members at the different chapters, not ready for us to engage more in participatory democracy.”
He added that those who defected in Kwara State did so because the leadership of the party had interfered in the State chapter’s primaries.
“Leading to our local government election, we had carried out primaries at the party. The party had come from Abuja to supervise our primaries.
“We were going to election, after electing our flag-bearers and then 24 hours before election, somebody who sat in Abuja, decided to just write another 193 names (of councilors) and sent it to the state INEC commissioner to say that these are the authorised candidates of the party,” he said.
Saraki also addressed rumours that he may contest in the forthcoming presidential elections.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Saraki said those criticising his activities are quick to attribute them to a personal ambition to become President.
Return To PDP
The Senator has said that it is too late to return to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Asked if the change in the party’s leadership will make him turn back, he said it was too late despite the new Chairman of the PDP being ‘a nice chap.’
Security Consultant and Public Affairs Analyst, Femi Adegbulu on Wednesday said although there have been improvements in the security measures against terrorism, as there were no records of “any major upsurge of insurgents” towards the end of 2013, the nation is yet to reach its ‘Eldorado’.
He also mentioned that every attack by the insurgents gives the government the upper hand as it gathers more intelligence on the methods of the terrorists. “With each of the attacks, Federal Government gets wiser,” he said.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Adegbulu commended the efforts of the security agents in combating the Boko Haram menace adding that the peaceful Christmas and New Year celebration shows that “the security apparatus of the government is actually working and that they have improved on their intelligence gathering.”
While analysing the security situation in the country, he stressed that the terrorists have strong financial backing from persons or groups internationally which “is making the job of security very difficult indeed, because we have to match this force with force,” he said.
He added that “we really need to match them force with force with money, men, strategy and everything” and assured that the government will always have the upper hand against terrorists as long as it has the necessary political will to do so.
On the controversy surrounding the Apo killings, he said the confession of a Boko Haram suspect confirmed that the SSS was well aware of its mission in storming the hide-out. Adegbulu advocated that credit be given to the security forces as a way of encouraging them.
On the government’s claim that terrorists from neighbouring countries attack and flee, Adegbulu said it shows the porosity of Nigerian borders. He called on members of the relevant agencies in charge of the borders to carry out target hardening or tightening, which means to make it impossible or difficult for malevolent individuals to gain entrance into the country.
The government will also need to deploy resources to that effect and collaborate with the countries as issue can lead to “diplomatic faux pas”. On relationship and exchange of intelligence between the country and neighbouring nations, he said it is a move still in the process.
Hollywood actress, Lynn Whitfield has said that the Nigerian Movie Industry ( Nollywood) is fast developing but still needs more time to get to perfection.
She added that there is so much curiosity internationally about Nollywood because they have carved a niche, making foreigners eager to reckon with them.
Whitfield who is in Nigeria for the African Film Festival was speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, in Tinapa, Calabar, stated that most of the stories written do not reflect the life of an everyday Nigerian, adding that the stories are written based on personal issues but “the Nigeria that I know are authoritative and powerful people which is so different from what the writers capture”.
She added that part of her visit here is to train young writers, film makers to be able to picture the Nigerian culture in movie making.
Whitfield revealed that she plans to be part of Nollywood production and not just cameo which she has been involved in before.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Bola Bakare, on Wednesday said that the six weeks given the advisory committee to submit a report on the proposed National Conference will not be enough as the job cannot be done in such a short span of time.
Mr Bakare’s argument while speaking on Sunrise Daily brought a fresh twist into the on-going discussion on whether the plan for a National Conference is the way to go.
Commenting on President Goodluck Jonathan’s call for a National Confab, Bakare stated that the initiative is good but there are several other things to consider, including the tendency of the average Nigerian to be dishonest.
He also said: “Let’s look at how we got here. Let’s look at timing. Let’s look at the National Assembly. Let’s look at the mode of operation. Let’s look at the aftermath of non-implementation.”
He added that the timing is wrong. This thing cannot happen in six weeks. The best bet is for the advisory committee to put it together and then it should be pursued after a year.
The advisory committee which is currently visiting different regions of the nation for consultations on how the people want the Conference to be conducted is expected to submit its report by the second week of November.
Mr Bakare doubts that the timing would enable the committee to achieve much as the magnitude of the assignment needs a whole year to finish up.
The process of consulting with the people, putting together a report and thereafter submit it to the President cannot be completed in 6 weeks as stipulated by President Goodluck Jonathan. “It won’t get done in nothing less than 12 months,” Bakare said.
He also raised concerns that as 2015 draws near, election campaigns would also overshadow the plans for a National Dialogue.
Although many have argued that good governance and not a Conference is what the country needs, Mr Bakara opined that the problem with the nation lies with the individuals that make it up.
Calling for an inward reflection on the people’s part, Mr Bakare said “we need to look at ourselves. What is wrong with Nigerians is the person (you as a person, me as a person, we as Nigerians). We are highly dishonest people”.
He added that, the orientation which accommodates embezzlement of public funds by public and political officers as long as they leave office so that others can do the same is wrong.