The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu has warned the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) against underrating the recent defections of high-profile individuals to the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), especially in the North-West geo-political zone.
Kalu in a brief communique on Friday said the APC must take a keen look at the current cross-carpeting exercises taking place within the region.
He used the opportunity to reiterate his earlier position that the presidency should go North-East if it can’t be conceded to the South-East for equity and fairness.
The lawmaker said: “the silent majority who have a working conscience could protest this injustice by supporting Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso to clinch the presidential seat in 2023 if our party, the APC, and the opposition PDP field their candidates from any other zone aside from the South East or North East.
“This is because when the purpose is not known, abuse becomes inevitable.”
The lawmaker said it is time to unite and rally around a zone that has not produced the nation’s president since the rotation convention dispensation that began in 1999.
Kalu’s warning comes a few hours after the NNPP said it had enlisted over 1,000 non-governmental organisations and civil rights movements that would support them in the 2023 general elections.
The party through its Liaison Officer Bashir Abacha said it was optimistic that with the support they were getting, the former governor of Kano State, Musa Kwankwaso, would be the next President of Nigeria.
According to Abacha, the party has consulted with the organization and has a good knowledge of the challenges, and prospects, and ascertained the possibilities of actualizing the NNPP’s presidential ambition from the NGOs perspective.
“In 2021 humanitarian actors quickly responded to stave off a potentially catastrophic food security and nutrition crisis, resulting largely from protracted conflict. Preliminary results from the latest round of the Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis project further deterioration of the food security situation in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states in 2022, where more than 8.4 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection.
“The March 2022 CH projects 4.1 million people in need (IPC Phase 3 or above) during the peak of the 2022 lean season, of whom an estimated 587,955 people are projected to be in an emergency situation (Phase 4). According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) acute malnutrition analysis (IPC AMN) from September 2021 – August 2022 the number of acutely malnourished children and women is expected to significantly increase in the year 2022 and further worsen in the lean season. These are anticipated to be the highest levels observed since the emergency period of 2016. The analysis indicates that 1.74 million children aged 6-59 months will need treatment for acute malnutrition in 2022.
“Deteriorating food consumption patterns are contributing to the worsening food security and nutrition situation. The March 2022 CH analysis showed severe consumption deficits, extending beyond Borno State, and the February 2022 Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) revealed that 42.1% of households in BAY states had insufficient food intake, as compared to 37.8% at the same period in 2021.
“The 2022 HRP is seeking $1.1 billion to support 5.5 million people. $351 million is urgently needed to deliver life-saving food security and nutrition assistance to the most affected people.”
The North East Business Community has purchased and on Thursday presented the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination and expression of interest forms for president to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at his residence in Abuja.
Atiku, the Waziri Adamawa, shared the development on his official Facebook page, saying the gesture was in fulfilment of the promise made when he visited the Jewel State of Gombe late last year.
The United Nations has said that Nigeria’s North East will need $1.1bn humanitarian assistance in 2022.
According to the UN, this fund will help assist an estimated 8.4 million people who will require assistance within the embattled region.
This revelation was made on Wednesday at the launch of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for northeast Nigeria.
At the inauguration of the initiative put together by the humanitarian community in collaboration with the Nigerian Government, a request of US$1.1 billion to provide critical aid and services to 5.5 million people who are most affected by the crisis was made.
“For many women, men, boys and girls, the profound impact of conflict in north-east Nigeria continues to be felt painfully,” said the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale.
“Although we have last year seen some hopeful developments, many people have still started out 2022 in survival mode.”
The Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, said, “Millions of people struggle to have their basic needs met, and the fluctuating food prices have further destabilized the already alarming food security situation. Thousands of children are at risk of becoming severely malnourished, especially during the lean season, which will have a detrimental effect on their future development.”
In a recent visit to the north-east state of Borno, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Martin Griffiths, spoke about his visit to a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Bama, stating, “Here, about 70,000 people live in a camp built for 25,000 people—70,000 people—none of whom know the day when they will be able to go home.”
In the new 2022-2023 multi-year strategy, the humanitarian community will prioritize lifesaving needs while also working to reduce vulnerabilities through efforts to build resilience and enhance self-reliance.
“While insecurity is persistent in many areas, there are also some locations of relative peace and stability in the northeast that we must look to for opportunities of long-term or durable solutions,” said Mr. Schmale.
The Honourable Minister added, “Operationalising the humanitarian-development-peace nexus is key to meeting both immediate and longer-term needs.
“As we work with the UN and its partners to build the capacity of partners in affected communities, we are focusing on local solutions to local problems.”
Through the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), the Humanitarian Country Team for Nigeria and its partners will work to improve living conditions and strengthen protection, food security, nutrition and livelihoods opportunities.
The HRP sets out detailed and prioritised costed plans for meeting the needs of affected people in north-east Nigeria, coordinated across UN agencies and NGO partners, as well as with the Government of Nigeria.
In 2021, the humanitarian community collectively stepped up to save lives with severely limited capacities and access constraints. With the generous support of donors, the humanitarian community and partners assisted close to 5 million people in 2021, including 1.8 million people with critical protection services and 1.3 million with nutritional support.
“Through the 2022 HRP, humanitarian actors are ready to again provide targeted, life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people,” the UN assured.
The conflict in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States has evolved into an alarming humanitarian and protection crisis, disproportionately affecting women and girls.
Over 2.2 million people are displaced due to the persistent conflict and face daily threats to their health, food security and safety.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya has commenced an operational tour of the North East (NE) Theatre of Operations, where troops are leading the onslaught against Boko Haram(BH) and Islamic State West Africa Province(ISWAP) terrorists.
The COAS arrived at Headquarters Theatre Command(TC) in Maiduguri, on 2 February 2022, where he was briefed by the Theatre Commander, Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK), Maj Gen Chris Musa on the current security situation in the theatre.
The COAS with his team later proceeded to Biu and Buratai towns, where he interacted with troops. In his address, the COAS lauded troops for their sacrifices and commitment to the ongoing fight against terrorism and insurgency.
He charged them to be more vigilant and alert to their responsibilities, adding that with discipline and commitment, the war in the North East will end. The COAS reassured troops that administrative and operational challenges confronting their units will be given the desired attention.
While on the tour, the COAS paid homage to the Emir of Biu, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Mai Mustapha Umar, at his Palace. The Royal Father assured the COAS of the unflinching support and cooperation of his traditional council and the good people of Biu Emirate to the Nigerian Army(NA).
The Emir conveyed the appreciation of the Emirate to the COAS for the sacrifices and commitment displayed by troops in combating the insurgency in his domain. He urged the COAS and indeed the NA to remain resolute in discharging its constitutional responsibilities.
Speaking during the visit, the COAS stated that he was at the palace to pay homage and solicit the support of the traditional leader and his subjects in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations. He averred that the cooperation and goodwill of the traditional institution and the citizenry are invaluable for meaningful and sustainable operational success.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday assured Nigerians that in the coming months, citizens particularly in the Northeast will begin to witness a change from the protracted insurgency to peace and development in their respective communities.
Buhari stated this in line with the promise he made in 2015, to restore peace to the Northeast and return it to a path of development and growth. According to him, his government remains committed to the promise.
He disclosed this during the inauguration of a Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns, and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the Northeast during the Federal Executive Council meeting at the State House.
The committee is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that peace and normalcy return to the embattled region through engagement with community stakeholders, among other strategies.
President Buhari, who underlined that there is no room for failure, noted that the high-level coordination team will adopt guiding principles of accountability, delineation of duty, and community-driven methods to address the protracted crisis.
Members of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East include Ministers of Finance, Budget & National Planning; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Interior as well as Foreign Affairs and Defence.
Others are the National Security Adviser, Inspector- General of Police, Chief of Defence Staff, Director General, State Security, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Director-General, North-East Development Commission, Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency and Chief of Defence Intelligence.
“Cutting rations means choosing who gets to eat and who goes to bed hungry. We are seeing funding for our life-saving humanitarian work dry up just at the time when hunger is at its most severe,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa following a recent visit to Nigeria.
The WFP, which won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2020, said it required at least $55 million in a matter of weeks to avoid cutting food aid.
“Our food assistance is a lifeline for millions whose lives have been upended by conflict and have almost nothing to survive on. We must act now to save lives and avoid disruptions to this lifeline,” Nikoi added.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said cutting food assistance “will be a painful decision for humanitarians as it will negatively affect children, women and men uprooted from their homes due to continued violence.
“As we call upon our partners to step up their support in response to the growing needs, I would like to say thank you to those who have stood with us over the years in providing the much-needed humanitarian assistance in the country.”
According to its Friday statement, the WFP said it has “provided life-saving food and nutrition assistance to severely food insecure people, displaced families in camps, and to vulnerable people living in host communities thanks to generous contributions from Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States of America, and private donors.
“This year, relying on the continued generosity of donor partners, WFP ramped up its response to address rising food insecurity and the impact of COVID-19, targeting 1.9 million displaced people in Nigeria with life-saving food assistance.
“To sustain humanitarian operations in northeast Nigeria until March 2022, WFP urgently requires USD 197 million.”
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, has commiserated with troops who were involved in a road traffic accident on Thursday, at Garin Kuturu, along Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
According to the COAS, the incident happened while the troops were responding to a distress call.
One of the gun trucks conveying them skidded off the road and rammed into a road shoulder, causing the vehicle to somersault.
However, General Yahaya said no fatality was recorded and nine personnel who sustained varying degrees of injury in the accident have been evacuated and are currently receiving medical attention in a military medical facility.
He also lauded the troops for their swift response and urged them to be more circumspect during emergency operational responses.
The Taraba State Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, has called on the Federal Government to speed up oil exploration in the north east region of the country in order to help enhance and diversify the country’s economy.
The Governor made the appeal on Tuesday, at the 5th meeting of the North East Governors’ Forum Held at the Government House in the state capital, Jalingo.
“I am delighted that oil has been discovered in the North East, notably in the Bauchi-Gombe axis and in Taraba State, but ours has both oil and gas. In the same line, I urge the federal government to expand and expedite exploration in the Chad basin, as well as the Benue trough, which, according to geological reports, is rich in oil and gas,” Governor Ishaku said.
“As a result of the 13 per cent derivation principle enjoyed by oil-producing States, we anticipate that early exploitation of petroleum resources in the North-East region will increase our revenue profile.
“Similarly, the North-East states are rich in solid mineral reserves that are yet to be exploited. Solid mineral has a stable price on the international market, unlike crude oil and can help enhance and diversify the country’s economy”.
While calling on the Federal Government to work with State Governments to develop their mineral resources, Governor Ishaku also recommended that the Forum push for the removal of the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources from the exclusive list to the concurrent list.
The meeting also touched on other matters such as insurgence, agriculture, road projects, among others.
Read the full details of the meeting below.
Keynote Address Of His Excellency, The Executive Governor Of Taraba State, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku At The 5th Meeting Of North East Governors’ Forum Held At The Government House, Jalingo On 6th And 7th July, 2021
I warmly welcome my dear Governors of Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Yobe, and Bauchi States to Taraba State, (Nature’s Gift to the nation). Given the importance of this gathering to the overall well-being of our region, and indeed the federation, your arrival has been eagerly awaited.
Important as this meeting is, I will still invite your Excellencies to take advantage of the hospitality of our people and the congenial atmosphere while spending a few days in Jalingo, the State capital.
Your Excellencies, it is encouraging that the North East Governors Forum has established itself as a powerful voice in the Nigerian political arena; however, we must continue to make conscious and deliberate efforts to keep our unique concerns at the forefront of national debate to achieve the desired recognition.
Indeed, our affinity as a geopolitical zone precedes Nigeria’s merger, and subsequent post-independence political and administrative fragmentations have not affected who we are. As a result, this Forum should be in the vanguard of further reinforcing mutually beneficial social and economic integrations of our government and people.
If we wish to bring national attention to our plights, we must be able to harmonize our thoughts and communicate in unison. In other words, an injury to one is an injury to all.
Thus, the Forum must speak out loudly as the voice of each State and all the states, because as it is now, certain important issues are left to the affected states to handle alone.
On this premise, this Forum must be more proactive in ensuring that the multibillion-dollar Mambilla Hydro-Electric Power Project (MHEPP), with a capacity of 3050 megawatts, is fully operational, as it can generate half of the present national power output from all existing generation stations combined.
There is, however, a pressing need to also construct an access road to the dam site which is located in Barup village, on the Mambilla Plateau, in Sardauna Local Government Area of the State.
The economic benefits of the power project, Your Excellencies, cannot be overemphasized, considering its potential to create hundreds of thousands of skilled and unskilled jobs for Taraba State, the Northeast region, and the entire country. This is why, as the voice of the North East, our Forum must vigorously advocate for the commencement of this massive project as soon as possible.
To this end, the North-East Governors’ forum needs to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly to press for budgetary provisions to be made in the supplementary appropriation as there is zero allocation in the 2021 Federal Budget.
As you are all aware, distinguished members of this forum, one of the long-standing difficulties affecting our region is the long-running insurgency that has disrupted our way of life and become a barrier to our developmental efforts.
I do, however, appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewed energy in confronting the Boko Haram threat, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and other criminal activities head-on, and add that more is needed to be done to overcome these security challenges once and for all in the whole country.
12, Due to the persistent Boko Haram issue, we have lost a large section of our population. Many people have lost loved ones, and their livelihoods have been devastated. The threat will remain intractable as long as the insurgents’ sources of funding, supplies, and recruitment are not cut off.
Permit me to however salute the Nigerian Military’s sacrifices, heroism, and professionalism, not just in the fight against insurgents but also in defending the country’s sovereignty and unity. I must acknowledge that the military, police, and other security organizations have played and continue to play an important role in maintaining peace and security in troubled areas of the State. We will not fail to provide them with the required assistance and cooperation in this difficult undertaking.
The displacement of people from their ancestral homes has resulted in a serious refugee crisis, which is one of the consequences of the insurgency. Taraba has had to shoulder the burden of their plight, with thousands of them fleeing their villages and towns in search of a safe home in the State. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and its Taraba State counterpart (SEMA), as well as local and international NGOs, have done a lot to alleviate their suffering, but the problem remains tremendous, and much more has to be done.
Similarly, the herders-farmers conflict has resulted in a high number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), mainly in Taraba State. Given our favourable climate, the ongoing problem has had a severe influence on agricultural output, as evidenced by the country’s high food prices. Insurgency, crime, and the persistent herder-farmer conflicts, no doubt, have impacted negatively on the country’s youth unemployment and high crime rates.
The North East region is one of the agriculture belts of the country. We need to figure out which crops grow in each of our states and where we have a comparative advantage over our competitors. In Taraba state, the government has promoted the cultivation of grains such as maize, guinea corn, and rice, as well as root crops like yam, cassava, and potato. We are also leading producers of beni seed, soya beans, avocado pear, citrus fruits among others. To increase the productivity of our farmers, this forum must key into Federal Government agriculture intervention programmes and also encourage farmers to form cooperatives to access low-interest loan facilities and other incentives.
This brings to mind the Great Green Wall plan, which aims to slow the spread of the Sahara Desert. The initiative should stimulate the planting of economic trees that will provide food for people and also serve as fodder for animals. Desert encroachment, unfortunately, has forced many people to migrate from the Sahel region to other parts of the country, therefore, this African Union programme should be re-energized with the support of this meeting.
On regional co-operation, the Chairman, board of directors of the North- East Regional Shuttle airlines, has been invited to make a presentation to the meeting on its progress, challenges facing the company, and the journey so far.
Respected and admired colleagues, I am delighted that oil has been discovered in the North East, notably in the Bauchi-Gombe axis and in Taraba State, but ours has both oil and gas. In the same line, I urge the federal government to expand and expedite exploration in the Chad basin, as well as the Benue trough, which, according to geological reports, is rich in oil and gas.
As a result of the 13 per cent derivation principle enjoyed by oil-producing States, we anticipate that early exploitation of petroleum resources in the North-East region will increase our revenue profile.
Similarly, the North-East states are rich in solid mineral reserves that are yet to be exploited. Solid mineral has a stable price on the international market, unlike crude oil and can help enhance and diversify the country’s economy.
Our august visitors, in harnessing the oil and gas as well as solid minerals resources in our region for increased revenue, we must avoid the mistakes of environmental contamination in the Niger Delta and Lead poisoning in Zamfara State, by ensuring rigorous environmental impact assessment study, before mining activities commence.
On this basis, I urge the Federal Government to work with State Governments to develop our mineral resources, which are on the exclusive list, even though the land use act vests land matters in the states, to increase income and revenue.
In this regard, I wish to recommend to the forum to push for the removal of the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources from the exclusive list to the concurrent list.
For instance, control over mining is delegated by the central government to regional authorities in South Africa, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia, Chile, Canada, and Australia just to mention but a few. The South African Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 is a good example of how this could be resolved for the benefit of central and regional governments.
Dear colleagues, the Federal Government’s Road for tax plan, which gives select corporations like Dangote and BUA groups relief on backlogs of unpaid taxes in exchange for road development, is praiseworthy. Though, some of us have no idea of the criteria used to choose which roads to construct. Therefore, we are calling the Dangote group to consider the construction of selected roads in Adamawa and Taraba States where it has huge investments.
Similarly, the Taraba State Government had earlier made submission to the North-East Development Commission on the construction and rehabilitation of the following roads; Mararaba-Baissa-Abong, Lau-Karim Lamido, and Jalingo-Zing-Mayo Belwa to Ngurore. Therefore, I wish to request the Commission to commence work on the said roads.
Finally, I respectfully request that this distinguished forum debate the topics on the agenda objectively and come up with constructive and helpful solutions to problems that impact not only our region but the entire country.
Once again, I extend the most sincere greetings of the good people of Taraba State and wish you a memorable stay in our lovely State.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Borno State who doubles as chairman of the forum, Professor Babagana Zulum and the host Governor, Darius Ishaku, harped on the need for more infrastructural development in the northeast, including electricity supply.
The meeting has now gone into a closed-door session for further discussion with a communiqué expected to be issued afterward.
The North East governors have backed the call on the Federal Government to engage mercenaries in the fight against insurgents in the region.
Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, stated this on Tuesday on behalf of his colleagues during a visit to Borno State to condole with the government and the people over the recent killing of farmers in the state.
According to him, the governors are in support of the recommendations made by Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, on how to win the war against Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents terrorising the region.
“Our dear brother, we are here to condole you over the killing of farmers by Boko Haram insurgents; we are indeed saddened and traumatised,” Governor Ishaku said.
He added, “I will key into your request, which you said that the Federal Government should invite some mercenaries to come and help us out of this problem because what you cannot do, what you cannot solve, I think we should invite who can solve it for us.”
The visit was in the wake of Boko Haram’s beheading of 43 farmers from Zabarmari community who were attacked on Saturday last week at Koshobe, a village in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno.
Apart from engaging mercenaries, Governor Zulum proposed the immediate recruitment of youths into the military to boost its strength, as well as the provision of mine resistance armoured personnel carriers and other equipment for the military, police, and other security agencies involved in the insurgency fight.
During Tuesday’s visit, Governor Ishaku said, “We cannot continuously be mourning, there has to be a time to stop the mourning.
“All of us in the North East Governors Forum, we are pleading with the Federal Government to find a solution to the issue of Boko Haram.”
The Taraba governor also appealed to the Federal Government to look into the infrastructural deficit in the region and give it the needed attention.
According to him, it is embarrassing that the North East has an allocation of 0.35 per cent in the nation’s budget despite the problems of insurgency and others in the region.
“This is very unfair; I will once again call on the Federal Government that the issue of Mambila hydropower project should be looked at as matter of urgency.
“Without this power, we will not indeed have any meaningful development,” Governor Ishaku Stated.
Governor Zulum, in his response, extended his appreciation to the delegation for the visit.
Other governors on the visit included Ahmadu Fitiri of Adamawa, Bala Mohammed from Bauchi, and Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State.