FG To Prosecute 400 Suspects For Funding Terrorism – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

 

The Federal Government is set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism in the country.

This is according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who stated this on Tuesday during a press conference in Lagos.

He also reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in tackling the menace of insurgency, banditry and other security threats across the country.

“The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has announced that the Federal Government is set to prosecute 400 suspects arrested for allegedly funding terrorism,” he said.

“This is unprecedented and its a testament to the government’s determination to decisively tackle terrorism and other violent crimes.”

The Minister also appealed to Nigerians to support security agencies, who face the added task of having to watch their backs while working to protect others.

Mohammed also described attacks on security formations as a declaration of war against the country, condemning the assault on security operatives.

He added, “While the government continues with these efforts to restore peace and security continues, I want to appeal to all of us to play our part in lowering the palpable tension in the polity as a result of the security challenges. The first step is to tone down the rhetoric.

READ ALSO: Security Intervention: Southern Governors Meet In Asaba

“Now, there is a growing dangerous trend which I will like to comment on. It is the practice of launching deadly attacks against the nation’s security personnel. Soldiers as well as police, customs, and other security agents have been killed and maimed in some parts of the country in this growing trend of targeting security forces.

“I want to say, unequivocally, that any attack on our security men and women is an attack on the state and a declaration of war against the nation. It follows, therefore, that this will be countered with overwhelming force.”

Nigeria has been experiencing a series of security threats ranging from terrorism, banditry, militancy, cultism among others in several parts of the country.

The country has been battling terrorism for more than a decade which has killed 36,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the northeast.

The Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016 and has since become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking troops and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.

On March 1, jihadist fighters burnt down a United Nations humanitarian compound in the town of Dikwa after dislodging troops, killing six civilians.

Nigeria’s jihadist violence has spread to neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.

Nigeria Discharges 796 COVID-19 Patients In 24 Hours

A file photo of a medical doctor receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the National Hospital in Abuja on March 5, 2021.

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has discharged 796 more people who testted negative for COVID-19 in the aftermath of their treatment.

NCDC disclosed this via Twitter on Saturday night, adding that the nation’s total recoveries had increased to 156,250 in the past 24 hours while active cases stood at 7,823.

“Our discharges today include a backlog of 795 community recoveries in Adamawa managed in line with guidelines,” NCDC said.

However, 30 new COVID-19 infections were reported in three states, thus raising the total number of cases in the country to 165,370.

Of the 30 new infections recorded, the health agency said Lagos had 21, Adamawa, eight and Rivers, one.

READ ALSO: India’s COVID-19 Deaths Hit 4000 Record

According to NCDC, no new death was recorded from the disease which had already claimed 2,065 lives nationwide.

 

The number of deaths recorded from COVID-19 had declined recently with only four deaths recorded in the past three weeks.

Since the pandemic broke out in February 2020, Nigeria has carried out 1,939,165 tests across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Global Update

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 3,284,783 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1000 GMT on Sunday.

At least 157,563,420 cases of coronavirus have been registered.

The vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.

Confirmed Cases by State

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Lagos58,5761,14756,990439
FCT19,80654119,099166
Kaduna9,06488,99165
Plateau9,060128,99157
Rivers7,132-37,034101
Oyo6,85256,723124
Edo4,90454,714185
Ogun4,679304,60049
Kano3,967223,835110
Ondo3,2481,1052,08063
Kwara3,12363,06255
Delta2,6258101,74471
Osun2,57882,51852
Enugu2,4203782,01329
Nasarawa2,3831,99737313
Katsina2,097142,04934
Gombe2,03551,98644
Ebonyi2,030331,96532
Anambra1,909641,82619
Akwa Ibom1,877301,83314
Abia1,690101,65822
Imo1,657281,59237
Bauchi1,549141,51817
Borno1,337991,20038
Benue1,18857559122
Adamawa1,11191,07032
Taraba992096824
Niger930091317
Bayelsa886585526
Ekiti872585611
Sokoto775074728
Jigawa5282049216
Kebbi4504239216
Yobe409253759
Cross River394037618
Zamfara24432338
Kogi5032

 

 

These figures are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organisations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.

On Saturday, 13,171 new deaths and 775,680 new cases were recorded worldwide.

Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 4,092, followed by Brazil with 2,202 and the United States with 653.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 581,516 deaths from 32,686,462 cases.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 421,316 deaths from 15,145,879 cases, India with 242,362 deaths from 22,296,414 cases, Mexico with 218,928 deaths from 2,364,617 cases, and the United Kingdom with 127,603 deaths from 4,433,090 cases.

The country with the highest number of deaths compared to its population is Hungary with 295 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by the Czech Republic with 277, Bosnia-Herzegovina with 268, Montenegro 245 and the Republic of North Macedonia 244.

Europe overall has 1,091,469 deaths from 51,478,073 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean 952,377 deaths from 29,840,804 infections, and the United States and Canada 606,084 deaths from 33,966,433 cases.

Asia has reported 375,315 deaths from 29,557,792 cases, the Middle East 134,325 deaths from 8,048,698 cases, Africa 124,153 deaths from 4,627,643 cases, and Oceania 1,060 deaths from 43,983 cases.

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of tests conducted has greatly increased while testing and reporting techniques have improved, leading to a rise in reported cases.

However the number of diagnosed cases is only a part of the real total number of infections as a significant number of less serious or asymptomatic cases always remain undetected.

As a result of corrections by national authorities or late publication of data, the figures updated over the past 24 hours may not correspond exactly to the previous day’s tallies.

 

EFCC Denies Offering ₦1m To ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ Informants

File photo of EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied offering a financial reward of ₦1 million for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of an internet fraudster, popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo.’

EFCC stated this in a statement issued on Friday and signed by its Head, Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren.

The anti-graft agency said the “clarification became necessary following phone calls by citizens wanting to cash in on notices in the social media by fraudsters promising a reward of One Million Naira for friends, family, and relatives of Yahoo Boys who hand them over to the EFCC.”

One of the notices with hashtags #EFCC and #beagoodcitizen said, “If you have a Yahoo Yahoo boy as family, friend, or relative, kindly hand them over to us, and get a massive reward of 1million naira.”

READ ALSO: JAMB Nabs 50-Year-Old, One Other Over Impersonation

But Uwujaren advised the public to disregard the notices because they are alien to the Commission, adding that “Promoters of the hashtags are currently under surveillance and every effort will be made to bring them to justice.”

The EFCC spokesman however explained that the Commission “welcomes information that could lead to the arrest of cybercrime suspects, it has no policy of financial reward for such informants.”

He added, “The fight against corruption and other forms of economic crime is a patriotic duty and Nigerians are encouraged to embrace it with altruism.

“The whistleblower policy of the Federal Government which the Commission is among the agencies saddled with its implementation is applicable only to public sector corruption.

“The public is warned that the Commission will not be responsible for anyone who falls for this obvious scam.”

FG Begins Profiling Of Nigerians Linked To Terrorism Financing

 

The Federal Government has begun profiling towards prosecution, well-placed Nigerians suspected of being financiers of terrorism in the country.

Briefing journalists on Friday in Abuja, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami said the arrest of the suspects followed the recent convictions of some Nigerians on terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

He said that investigations conducted have established reasonable evidence of the involvement of the highly placed individuals, businessmen and institutions across the country in financing the Boko Haram terrorists.

“As you will actually know, sometimes back there were certain convictions of Nigerians allegedly involved in terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE),” he said in reaction to the extent of prosecution.

“That gave rise to wider and far-reaching investigations in Nigeria and I’m happy to report that arising from the wider coverage investigation that has been conducted in Nigeria, a number of people, both institutional and otherwise, were found to be culpable.

“I mean a reasonable ground for suspicion of terrorism financing has been established or perhaps has been proven to be in existence in respect of the transactions of certain higher-profile individuals and businessmen across the country.”

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Upholds Deregistration Of 74 Political Parties

Although Malami declined to disclose names of the terrorist financiers nor the number of those found culpable, he simply stated that a large number of persons were involved, adding that he is not at liberty to disclose further, as investigations (which have reached an advanced stage) and profiling continue.

Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.
File photo of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami

 

He added, “I’m happy to report that investigation has been ongoing for a long and it has reached an advanced stage.

“Arising from the investigation, there exists, certainly, reasonable grounds for suspicion that a lot of Nigerians, high-profile, institutional and otherwise, are involved in terrorism financing and they are being profiled for prosecution.

“In essence, it is indeed true that the government is prosecuting and it’s indeed initiating processes of prosecuting those high-profile individuals that are found to be financing terrorism. It is indeed true.”

“The message is clear: nobody is going to be spared, no stone will be left unturned. We shall certainly and aggressively pursue those people that are involved in terrorist financing as far as the Nigerian state is concerned,” he declared.

Nigeria has been grappling with series of security challenges ranging from Boko Haram terrorism in the northeast to banditry in the northwest, kidnapping for ransom in several parts of the country, ritual, agitations for secession among several others.

The country has been battling insurgency for over a decade with over 36,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the northeast.

As part of measures to rejig the entire security architecture, President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this year replaced his four top military commanders in a bid to better combat the insurgency that has also displaced more than two million people from their homes since 2009.

ISWAP split from mainstream Boko Haram in 2016 and became a dominant group, launching attacks on military bases and ambushing troops while abducting travellers at fake checkpoints.

Since 2019, the army has mostly withdrawn from villages and smaller bases into so-called “super camps”, fortified garrisons meant to give better protection against attacks.

But critics say the strategy has left jihadists with more freedom to roam untouched in rural areas and made highways vulnerable to kidnappings and assaults.

Working Together, Nigeria Will Realise Its True Potential – Osinbajo

A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is confident that Nigeria will overcome its diverse challenges and realise its potentials.

He believes this can be achieved if people who share progressive views continue to work together in the interest of the country.

Professor Osinbajo made the remarks on Wednesday when he received members of a South West Think-Tank, known as IMODOYE (knowledge is valuable), led by a former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“I am very hopeful that this country will truly realise its potentials and I believe that all of us working together can make that happen; if the progressive ideas are put forward and we focus, then this country indeed will work,” he said.

The Vice President added, “The country is ours; we should make it happen, there will be many challenges, but I think that we must be prepared to face it until progressive views of improved welfare for the citizens that we represent, eventually prevail.”

He highlighted the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to address some of the challenges confronting Nigerians.

Professor Osinbajo noted that the best way out of the country’s present situation was to have a massive plan for investment.

“That is really how to create opportunities for jobs, which is what we are hoping to achieve with the Economic Sustainability Plan, creating opportunities through the solar investments with five million connections, the Farms for Jobs Project and the Social Housing Scheme,” he added.

The Vice President reiterated that the welfare of the people and the progress of the country have always been and would remain the priority of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the present administration.

In his remarks, Daniel said the visit was to identify with and support the cause of the Vice President whom he described as “intelligent, hardworking, articulate” and a very proud son of the south-west region.

“We want to let you know that you are appreciated, we are proud of you and the work that you are doing, we know it is not an easy job.

“We also want to let you know that we want to join you in nation-building, if there is anything, any assignment you want us to undertake, we are at your service, that is why we are here,” he said.

NCC, NIGCOMSAT Sign Deal To Deploy 5G In Nigeria

This file illustration picture taken on February 17, 2019 shows the 5G wireless technology logo displayed on a tablet in Paris. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP
This file illustration picture taken on February 17, 2019, shows the 5G wireless technology logo displayed on a tablet in Paris. Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the deployment of 5G technology in the nation’s telecommunication sector.

Both agencies signed the agreement on the use of C-Band Spectrum for 5G services in Nigeria at an event held on Wednesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners at the NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande, noted that in recent times, precisely from the last quarter of 2019, several administrations have begun to license spectrum for commercial deployment of 5G.

He stated that 5G services have already been deployed in the United States and South Korea among many more countries in the world.

“Telecommunication evolution from inception to date has led to improvement in user experience witnessed from 2G, 3G and later 4G. The global impact of 4G brought about increases in mobile usage and network performance.

“5G will build on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speeds, mobility, and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities,” said Akande.

According to him, 5G does not only offer enhanced broadband and ultra-reliable latency communications but also provides massive machine-type communications where a lot of devices will seamlessly connect and independently interact with the internet without human intervention.

Akande explained that the role of spectrum was critical in realising the full extent of the new capabilities, adding that the full socio-economic impact of 5G was dependent on access to a variety of spectrum resources.

NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta, on his part, said Nigeria cannot be left behind when several countries were already expanding their technologies through the 5G network.

He was confident that the synergy with NIGCOMSAT would help in harnessing the contagious quantum of spectrum needed for the early deployment of 5G.

Insecurity: Nigerians Do Not Deserve What We Are Going Through – Jerry Gana

Jerry Gana Asks FG To Decentralise Infrastructure Management
Former Information, Professor Jerry Gana

 

Former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana has lamented the worsening state of insecurity in the country, saying Nigerians do not deserve what they are going through.

Gana stated this in Abuja on Wednesday when he officially joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s national secretariat.

“Nigerians do not deserve what we are going through today. We must take decisive steps that will help rescue our nation,” he was quoted as saying via a statement issued by PDP’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.

“Nigeria is on the brink. The economy is stagnated. There is insecurity everywhere. Nigerians are beginning to doubt our nationhood. The political answer to the situation today is for PDP to take back power.”

READ ALSO: Tambuwal Leads Governors To Resolve PDP Crisis In Cross River

The ex-Minister also commended the Prince Uche Secondus-led leadership of the party for its efforts in stabilising the party, adding that he was happy to be back to the fold.

On his part, the PDP Chairman Secondus reiterated the party’s commitment to rescuing the nation from what it described as misrule, adding that it was imperative to tap from the wealth of experience of leaders like Gana.

He also asked Gana to deploy his wealth of experience and intellect in the collective quest of well-meaning Nigerians to forge a direction for the nation.

“The main objective of the PDP is to rescue our nation from collapse.  Our country is threatened and this is not a joke. We are confronted with guerrilla warfare and the very foundation of our country is being threatened,” he said.

“That is why the PDP is leading the charge in seeking a solution to the ugly situation our nation has been plunged into by the All Progressives Congress (APC).”

Presidency Warns Of Plot To Throw Nigeria Into Turmoil, Force Undemocratic Change Of Govt

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The presidency has raised an alarm over the plot by some disruptive elements to throw Nigeria into turmoil.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement issued on Tuesday said the aim of the disruptive elements is to create a situation whereby a vote of no confidence would be passed on President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil,” the statement partly read.

“The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country.

“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections.”

READ ALSO: DSS To Clampdown On Agents Of Anarchy, Warns Against Inciting Utterances

He recalled that the Department of State Services (DSS), on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.

The warning comes two days after the Department of State Services says it will begin a clampdown on agents of anarchy in various parts of the country.

DSS in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, faulted those said to be creating instability through comments that threaten the sovereignty and corporate existence of the nation.

It also condemned what it called the unnecessary criticism and activities of some religious and past political leaders who have either called for a forceful change of government or mass action against it.

The DSS described as unfortunate, a situation where those who should be patriotic were allowing their personal ambitions to ruin the nation.

Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal, and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.

See the full statement issued by the Presidency below:

 

OUR RESPONSE TO DSS ALERT, BY PRESIDENCY

The Department of State Services (DSS), on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.

Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.

Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.

The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country.

The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections.

Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal, and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.

These discredited individuals and groups are also in cahoots with external forces to cause maximum damage in their own country. But the Presidency, already vested with mandate and authority by Nigerians till 2023, pledges to keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.

 

Femi Adesina

 

Special Adviser to the President

 

(Media and Publicity)

 

May 4, 2021

APC Has Performed Beyond PDP’s 16-Year Achievements – Yahaya Bello

 

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello on Tuesday said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has performed beyond the 16-year achievement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Bello, who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said his party has delivered good governance to Nigerians.

“Largely, APC has performed beyond what PDP has achieved in their 16 years of governance in Nigeria,” Bello spoke from the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja.

“APC’s successes today within six years outweigh the successes of 16 years that they ruled. The statistics are there. We will remind Nigerians of where APC inherited Nigeria and where we are today.”

Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, the PDP has held sway at the helms of affairs, until 2015 when it was sacked by the APC.

The then APC presidential candidate and incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari had swept to power on three cardinal promises – Fighting insecurity, fixing the economy and tackling corruption.

READ ALSO: Military Remains Loyal To Nigeria’s Constitution, Civil Authority – DHQ

Following the messages of hope six years ago, Nigerians massively voted for the APC government with the belief that things will get better.

File photo of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

 

The governor also spoke about the worsening insecurity in the country, calling on all Nigerians to collaborate in tackling the issue rather than politicising the security challenges.

While noting that banditry had been an issue in Nigeria even before the emergence of the APC-led Federal Government, Bello said his party is doing its best in ending the menace of bandits’ activities.

On the security situation in Kogi State, the governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to flushing out criminal elements.

According to him, Kogi remains the safest state in Nigeria, notwithstanding the recent attack that claimed the life of a commissioner and the abduction of a local government area in the north-central state.

He said, “I will reiterate that Kogi State is the safest state in Nigeria today. It doesn’t mean that there are no pockets of issues that we are grappling with.

“Like I always say, they will come in their numbers but they will never return back, especially the criminals. Yes, there are some notorious spots in the state.”

 

Military Remains Loyal To Nigeria’s Constitution, Civil Authority – DHQ

A file photo of soldiers on a military vehicle. Photo: Channels Television/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The military is restating its commitment to the Nigerian Constitution with a promise that it will remain apolitical and loyal to the civil authority and the President who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, who is the acting Director of Defence Information, made the pledge on behalf of the military in a statement on Monday.

The pledge of loyalty followed comments by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Robert Clark, which the military said suggested that the current political leadership should hand over power to it for the purpose of restructuring.

While distancing itself from the comment, the military pledged that it would continue to discharge its constitutional responsibilities professionally, especially in protecting the country’s democracy, defence of its territorial integrity, as well as protecting the lives and property of the citizens.

It added that the current security challenges in the country were not insurmountable, saying the Armed Forces and other security agencies were working assiduously to ameliorate the problems.

Read the full statement by the military spokesman below:

NIGERIAN MILITARY REMAIN LOYAL TO THE CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA

The attention of the military high command has been drawn to a statement purported to have been made by one Robert Clark SAN, suggesting that current political leadership should hand over power to the military for the purpose of restructuring.

The Nigerian Military wishes to dissociate itself from such anti-democratic utterance and position.

Let it be stated categorically that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remain fully committed to the present Administration and all associated democratic institutions.

We shall continue to remain apolitical, subordinate to the Civil Authority, firmly loyal to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the 1999 Constitution as Amended.

We shall continue to discharge our constitutional responsibilities professionally, especially in protecting the country’s democracy, defence of the territorial integrity of the country as well as protection of lives and properties of citizens.

The Military High Command wishes to use this opportunity to warn misguided politicians who nurse the inordinate ambition to rule this country outside the ballot box to banish such thoughts as the military under the current leadership remain resolute in the Defence of Nigeria’s Democracy and its growth.

We also wish to remind all military personnel that it is treasonable to even contemplate this illegality.

The full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on any personnel found to collude with people having such an agenda.

The current security challenges are not insurmountable. The Armed Forces of Nigeria in partnership with other security agencies are working assiduously to ameliorate the challenge. Nigeria will know peace again. PLEASE BE WARNED!

ONYEMA NWACHUKWU

Brigadier General

Acting Director Defence Information

3 May 2021

Pius Ayim Writes Buhari, Proposes Solution To Nigeria’s Security Challenges

A combination of file photos of President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Senate, Pius Ayim.

 

A former President of the Senate, Pius Ayim, has suggested how Nigeria can overcome the problem of insecurity in various parts of the country.

In an open letter on Monday, he advised President Muhammadu Buhari to make history by setting up a commission of inquiry into the violent and non-violent agitations to make recommendations on the immediate – short-term and long-term – solutions.

Ayim believes this will help to de-escalating the rising tension in the land and lead to a process for the renewal of the march to nationhood.

According to him, no action is deemed successful or completed until the buy-in of the people is secured through a democratic process.

The former Senate President warned against shutting the people out of the process of finding solutions to the conflicts, stressing that a permanent solution would be a mirage.

He noted the processes that led to the independence of the country, saying the colonial administration was confronted with reservations by minority tribes over fears of domination by the majority tribes.

Ayim informed the President that a similar commission of inquiry chaired by Harry Willink was set up and the panel produced a far-reaching report after extensive hearings of the complaints and suggestions from the people.

“It can be argued that no other document in the history of Nigeria has had a far-reaching impact on our political structure than the Willink’s report,” he said.

Read the former Senate President’s letter to the President below:

ANYIM PIUS ANYIM LLB, LLM

3rd May, 2021

Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

President

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Aso Villa

Abuja

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI.

RE: THE STATE OF INSECURITY IN THE NATION:

MY SUGGESTION

Mr. President, you may recall that on the 5th of October, 2018, I had audience with you in your office. In that meeting, with your then Chief of Staff, the late Mallam Abba Kyari, in attendance, we touched on a number of issues including the insecurity in the country and about which you directed that I should do a short brief on my suggestion and forward to your Chief of Staff.

Mr. President may wish to know that I did as you directed and submitted my suggestion to your then Chief of Staff on the 20th of October 2018.

I have decided to do this open letter just to be sure that it will get to you, because I suspect that the private one did not get to you. Most importantly, I would not have bothered to write you this letter if the unfortunate and avoidable circumstances we have found ourselves in, as a nation, have not continued to fester to the magnitude of threatening the fabric of the nation.

This letter, therefore, is to reconvey my earlier suggestion which, I want to believe, did not get to you.

PREAMBLE

The perilous threats to our national sovereignty at the time you took over the reins of power in 2015 were the Boko Haram insurgence in the North East; the armed agitation in the Niger Delta Region, and the IPOB agitation in the South East.

Mr. President, on your assumption of office the most striking promise you made to the nation was to tackle insecurity with emphasis on reclaiming the territories occupied by Boko Haram. I must admit that you did approach the insecurity challenge with commendable determination but unfortunately, the challenge, with time, became hydra-headed and no doubt went beyond your control.

Before I proceed with my suggestion, may I first put in perspective the basis of the position I will canvass in this letter. I wish to note that every violent agitation originates from a non-violent agitation that was not attended to. Today, Nigeria is bedevilled with violent and non-violent agitations.

It is also a fact that the current violent agitations originated from non-violent agitations e.g., Boko Haram started as a non-violent procession; the herders/farmers clashes which have degenerated into a deadly conflict with many states now bloody theatres of war; ethnic conflicts in Kaduna, Ebonyi, Cross River, Benue, Plateau states etc., which are escalating to an unmanageable scale; armed banditry in virtually all states of the federation particularly Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto which has overwhelmed the law enforcement agencies, kidnapping which has become occupational in most parts of the country.

To worsen matters, Boko Haram, has acquired new impetus that they now overrun the military and have even expanded their base to Niger State. IPOB has become a regional challenge. On the non-violent side, agitations for restructuring are scaling up in momentum, ethnic consciousness and allegiance even among the elite are far eroding national concerns.

All these and many more coupled with gross downturn in the national economic, social and political space has become an apparent threat to our nationhood.

I am to add, that it must be known that military actions or even foreign help alone cannot bring permanent solutions to ethnic conflicts or nationality agitations. Mr. President, you need to create a platform to hear Nigerians out.

MY SUGGESTION

THE SEARCH FOR SOLUTION MUST INVOLVE THE CITIZENS

In the build-up to securing the Nigerian Independence, the colonial administration was confronted with reservations by minority tribes in the three regions of Northern, Eastern, and Western Nigeria about fears of domination by the majority tribes. In other to find a lasting solution, the colonial administration appointed a commission to “ENQUIRE INTO THE FEARS OF MINORITIES AND MEANS OF ALLAYING THEM”.

The Willink’s Commission of 1957, named after its chairman Mr. Harry Willink, produced a far-reaching report after extensive hearings of the complaints and suggestions from the people. It can be argued that no other document in the history of Nigeria has had a far-reaching impact on our political structure than Willink’s report.

It guided the debates in subsequent constitutional conferences before the independence; gave structure to the emergent Constitutions and indeed gave health to the socio-political structure of the nation at independence.

The greatest achievement of Willink’s Commission is that its report provided the colonial administration and the nation an in-depth understanding of the nature, dimensions, and magnitude of the fears of the minority tribes.

Accordingly, its recommended solutions became an official position and were easily accepted to be constitutionalised as a long-term measure.

There is no gainsaying that reservations about the continued existence of Nigeria are building up to a dangerous time bomb. I make bold to say that no solution except one birthed by an independently conducted engagement with fact-based recommendations arrived at with the participation of the citizens will provide an enduring solution.

The most outstanding recommendation of the Willink’s Commission as a long-time solution is the inclusion of a Fundamental Human Rights Chapter in the constitution. It was recommended that the inclusion of the Fundamental Human Rights Chapter in the constitution will protect all citizens, including the minority stock from any governmental and or majority bloc abuses.

I must say at this point that it was the recommendations of Willink’s commission that gave all the component groups in Nigeria the comfort to go into the union at independence. It has become apparent that the foundation of the various agitations in Nigeria today is that the comfort provided at independence by Willink’s Commissions Report is no longer working.

I make bold to recommend that Mr. President should make history by empanelling another commission of inquiry to inquire into the violent and non-violent agitations in Nigeria and make recommendations on the immediate-, short- and long-term solutions as a way of first de-escalating the rising tension in the land and a process for the renewal of our march to nationhood.

It is important to note that in a democracy, no action is deemed successful or completed until the buy-in of the people is secured through a democratic process. This buy-in- is an imperative that is yet to be pursued in the fight against violent agitations in Nigeria. I must say that as long as the people are not part of the process of finding solutions to the conflicts, a permanent solution will be a mirage.

THE BENEFITS OF SUCH A COMMISSION

The de-escalation of the current tension in the country and the creation of a platform for the exchange of ideas.

It is a natural governmental process of addressing challenges of public importance. The report of such a commission will put in proper perspective and provide a basis for further action.

It will offer the citizenry the opportunity and platform to share their concerns and to be heard. This helps to build confidence and reduce animosity and mutual suspicion.

It identifies the immediate and remote causes of the current challenges and provides a framework for their resolution.

Such a commission will aim not only to unravel the remote and immediate causes but also determine the various dimensions and define them accordingly. E.g. democratic agitations will be separated from violent crimes to the understanding of all. It will also capture the reasons for the agitations and the Justice thereto.

Such a Commission will propose immediate-, short- and long-term solutions and develop a roadmap towards addressing them. Such a roadmap used as a national reference document would guide further interactions and processes for implementation.

Such a document will be the foundation for a new Nigeria anchored on negotiated settlement derived from the legitimacy bestowed by citizen participation and the credibility of the commission.

Above is submitted for your kind consideration, Sir.

Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON.

Former Senate President

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Tokyo Olympics: ‘Give This Country The Best,’ Sports Minister Tells Team Nigeria

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, having a chat with some of the athletes at the Moshood National Stadium in Abuja on May 3, 2021.

 

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has challenged athletes representing Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to give their best to the country.

He made the call on Monday when he visited the athletes who have been training at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“Your job is to run and give this country the best,” the minister told the athletes ahead of their departure for the United States on Thursday to participate in relay qualifiers.

He added, “Focus on your training and the goal ahead and leave the administration to us. The world is waiting to see what you can do, you must meet their expectations.”

Dare, who asked the athletes not to be distracted, showered encomium on some of the team members for their recent performance.

According to him, the future is bright for Nigeria to have podium performances at the Olympics.

The minister commended the performance of Tobi Amusan who got adopted a few weeks ago and now has the second world best time.

He also praised Grace Nwokocha and Adegoke Enoch who got adopted by the minister under the Adopt an Athlete Initiative.

Dare stressed the importance of providing good welfare for the athletes, noting that revealed that the ministry had put in place a detailed programme for them such that every trip and accommodation were monitored.

He gave an assurance that welfare would not be a problem for the athletes, saying it was important for them to remain focused in unity.

“I have been monitoring your preparations and I have met most of you personally. Whether you are home-based or foreign-based, Team Nigeria is one.

“Hence, we decided to take you to the US to join others so that you can blend as a team,” the minister said.