Ruga Settlement Controversy Is Needless, Distracting – Analysts

Analysts on Channels Television breakfast show have opined that the controversy surrounding the planned Ruga Settlement by the Federal government is needless and a distraction from the hardship confronting Nigerians.

The legal adviser of Middle Belt Forum, Mark Jacob, during his interview on the programme, said Nigerian politicians are enjoying the controversy which the planned Ruga settlement has raised because it has distracted many from questioning their contribution to the development of the nation.

“The controversy is needless. I see the entire thing as politics because when a government lacks what to say to its citizens on issues that are central to governance, this issue of Fulani is brought up.

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“It started with grazing reserves, then grazing route, cattle colony, then we went to the National Assembly with a certain bill that took all the time and after four years, we are now talking of Ruga. It’s revolving around a thing that has consumed this country’s unity and cohesion.

“I suspect that Nigerian politicians are enjoying this distraction. It is a distraction from the abysmal hunger and poverty that is eating up the land. When they throw up these things, our attention is diverted to that,” he said.

Jacob who is also a former attorney general of Kaduna State said Nigerians should rather ask questions on the policy drive of the government.

“What is the government going to do about poverty? What is the investment of government on roads and infrastructure?” He asked.

“Power (sector) is dwindling to the barest minimum and we are here talking on Ruga,” Jacob added.

Isa Mafinda, a livestock farmer in his reaction blamed the Ruga settlement crisis on civil servants which he called ‘evil servants.’

He said the lack of continuity in policy triggered the controversy surrounding Ruga settlement. According to him, the controversy is needless because the policy dates back to the era of post-independence.

“It is needless because this thing did not come without precedent. Immediately after independence, two regions set up livestock developing units. One was established in Iseyin, Oyo (by the biggest Yoruba leader, late Obafemi Awolowo) and another at Gindawaya by the late Amadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto.

“Both places still exists till date.

“When Obasanjo launched the green revolution. There was a move to create the River Basins and the purpose of the River Basins was to make provision for a vast of land for livestock activities to thrive,” he said.

The farmer who also owns one of the largest private abattoirs in Nigeria insisted that Ruga settlement is not a new policy in Nigeria.

“Just that Ruga by name is the only thing that is new but the activities that started during Adesina (Femi Adesina, former Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture) is still what is going to happen.”

Yakasai, Akintoye Disagree On Scope, Process Of Restructuring

An elder statesman and former presidential adviser, Tanko Yakassai and the Chairman of the Political Committee of Afenifere, Professor Banji Akintoye have expressed a different opinion on the scope and process of restructuring.

Different calls for the restructuring of Nigeria have earlier formed the narrative among political and intellectual circles, and they are increasing in intensity by the day.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Yakassai said he is in support of restructuring but a blueprint is needed for the restructuring process to be successful.

“What we have been arguing for is a blueprint for restructuring. Now, some people have started to speak out. We have four regions- North, West, East and Mid-west. Then, there was a gathering of some Afenifere leaders in Ibadan and they said they wanted to us to go back to 1963 constitution. But they created six regions in 1963.”

Yakassai said he believes that a return to the 1963 constitution will provide a stronger platform for restructuring process in Nigeria.

“We don’t have six regions, we cannot eat our cake and have it. If we want to go back to 1963 constitution, then we go back to four regions. If we want to create more, then we use the provisions of 1963 constitution to create more.”

However, Professor Banji Akintoye, the chairman of the political committee of Afenifere, the Pan-Yoruba organisation argues that restructuring must take into consideration ethnic, cultural and regional differences, noting that a country like Nigeria is not one nation.

“A country like our own, we are not one nation, we are many nations and each nation has its own territory, its own culture and its own dignity in the world and wants to do things in its own way.”

Citing the example of holding public hearings, Akintoye said he supports the idea of holding public hearings which is a good way to produce a policy.

“I think the public hearings is a very positive thing to do in a democratic society. You are opening the discussion to the people, gathering their ideas and the purpose is to gather it together and use it to produce a policy, that’s good.”

Why We Are Monitoring Social Media – Military

The Director Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, has defended the military’s decision to carry out social media surveillance, saying it is necessary for the military to get vital information that will aid its activities.

Enenche spoke about the controversial surveillance during an appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily on Wednesday morning, a weeks after he told Channels Television that the military is monitoring the activities of Nigerians on  the social media, sparking outrage.

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When asked on Sunrise Daily if it is part of the military’s role to carry out such a surveillance, Enenche said the objective is not to curtail freedom of expression but to aid the military with planning.

Despite the outrage the military has no plans of stopping the surveillance.

 

“We are monitoring the social media to sieve out information to help us in our planning. In the military we cannot arrest anybody for that, we cannot. Surveillance is observing, getting information. That is what we are doing so that we can be proactive. So that we can get information,” Enenche said.

“We are monitoring the social media to help sieve out information, the one that will be anti-government, anti-military, anti-government. Surveillance is part of our job and we will keep doing it.”

He added that the social media is a platform where people can communicate freely and the military is only using the platform to gather useful information.

“The Social Media is a platform where people communicate with themselves, a platform where anybody can join and you can get information. Surveillance is observing, that is what we are doing so that we can be active.”

Enenche during the interview also said the military is still observing Boko Haram insurgents closely despite claims that they are tired of fighting the Federal Government.

“We are following up because it is not unexpected. The actions we had put in place in the past. The reinforcement and the reinvigoration of our actions. We started with clearance operations which is supposed to dovetail into dominating the whole area and now we have seen the results,” he said.

“We cut off the lines of supply and communication and then there is pressure on them. Their helping center and activity in Sambisa forest has been knocked off.’’

On what the military is planning to do with the information it is getting, he said, “The information we are getting, we are yet to convert it into intelligence. We are not taking it at surface level because sometimes it might even be a decoy to divert our attention.

“So, professionally we are handling it to ensure that what they are telling us is true intelligence and that is the situation of things. But, I will tell you that It is 60% closer to the truth that they are fatigued and they are giving up.’’

Judges’ Lifestyle Not Proof Of Corruption – Muyiwa Sobo

Legal practitioner Muyiwa Sobo says one’s lifestyle, regardless of how extravagant it is, is not proof of corruption.

He said this while responding to suggestions that the judiciary may not be cooperating with the Federal Government’s anti-graft war.

Recalling the instance of the raid on judges in October 2016, Mr Sobo who was against the action of the Department of State Services, explained that when a raid is conducted outside the provisions of the law, the cases cannot be prosecuted successfully.

He said, “When you conducted those raids outside of what is normal within the law, you cannot expect to win those cases. I think it was one of the government officials who came and said, ‘We have been watching these people and we are going after them because of their lifestyle’. Lifestyle is not proof. That is why I said those cases will not go far, those judges will be acquitted.

He said this while speaking on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, days after six of the eight judges, whose homes were raided, were recalled by the National Judicial Council (NJC) after being suspended from carrying out their judicial duties.

“The judiciary has a job to do, to adjudicate, rule on cases – there is no co-operation that is required in that. If the government or the prosecutor brings in an iron-clad case, you have credible witnesses, you have evidence that can be admissible in front of the court, what the court would do is look at those things and issue a judgement.

“You don’t go into court and expect the court to rule on your behalf because you expect the judge to cooperate,” the lawyer added.

Furthermore, he stressed that there is a difference between the judiciary cooperating and the judiciary being corrupt.

“If you think the judiciary is corrupt then do something about the corruption but don’t base your cases on the fact that the judiciary is corrupt. It’s not all judges that are corrupt, by the way, and when you talk about judicial corruption, you have to hold people accountable, you have to show examples.

“Do due diligence in presenting your case, prosecute your case.

“I was reading in the newspapers this morning where the representative of the EFCC was saying our job is to investigate and charge people to court. No, you don’t have to stop there, you have to prosecute and you have to prosecute vigorously, presenting all the evidence – And in doing so, you have to think of the rights of the accused as well.”

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Buhari Should Have The Decency To Resign – Adetokunbo Pearse

A Public Affairs Analyst, Mr Adetokunbo Pearse, has asked Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, to have the decency to resign, as he believes that the issue of his health, is worse than what the general public has been made to believe.

He said this on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, while addressing the issue of the President’s health which has been sparking up various reactions among citizens.

Mr Pearse also expressed concern about the President not being able to attend meetings, among his other constitutional duties, adding he is not competent enough because according to him, even when Mr Buhari was fit, the economy was still failing.

“In the first place, when he was well, he failed his nation – the economy collapsed under him, there is insecurity everywhere. Nothing is working, all the indices of poverty is gone up, unemployment is gone up, the direct foreign investment is gone down, the stock market is in disarray, nothing was working in the country when he was well – now he is not well, things are only bound to get worse”.

Furthermore, he expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that Mr Lai Mohammed had addressed Nigerians on behalf of the President, stressing that it isn’t part of his responsibilities to do so.

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“Right from the beginning of this administration, we know, I know and the public knows that Lai Mohammed does not speak for the Presidency.

“He has no access, the President has his own spoke’s person. It is only when that Spoke’s Person is frustrated and doesn’t know what to say that they push Lai Mohammed ahead to go and talk to the people and mis-inform the people.”

The Public Affairs analyst, therefore, recommended that the President steps down, adding that if he had provided his doctors report when was asked earlier, the situation may not have gotten so serious.

“We never saw any medical report and when Yar’ Adua was ill, this same President kept saying “show us your medical report” – We are asking the same questions now and I am not saying the President won’t get better but when you have been off the job for so long, you have undermined the process of this country.”

Why FG’s Investigative Panel Should Continue Behind Closed Doors

Policy analyst, Tokunbo Adedeji, has stated reasons why the investigative process of the committee set up by the  Presidency, over the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Lawal Babachir and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, should be kept behind closed doors.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, he also raised concerns that it is not enough to accuse and probe but rather, claims of wrong doing must be proven.

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“It’s a step in the right direction that the general public is getting to know a number of the rot that we have had in the system – It is good and it is salutary that these issues be pursued.

“However, we must all remind ourselves that it is not just a question of doing wrong or accusing someone of doing wrong, you must be able to prove that the person has done wrong. Therefore, there is the course of the law that must be followed.

“Under the present circumstance, we have seen a number of cases go to court and lost in court by the Federal Government and therefore, I would imagine that the Federal Government wouldn’t want to make the same mistakes again,” Mr Adedeji stated.

Hands Are Tied

Speaking further on the intentions of the Government, he said: “What they have done in this instance of the NIA DG, is to ensure that they follow the due process.

“I think where their hands are tied with regards to the NIA DG is simply because he came up to own that the money found in Ikoyi, belongs to his organisation and it was meant for a covert operation. Once you hear that, then you have to be a little bit careful. It may be true, it may not be true.

“That’s why there is need to find out internally – That’s why they set up that committee internally to be able to go through that process.”

He, therefore agreed that the investigative process should continue behind closed doors because of the nature of the issue of the DG.

“These are people who in other climes are faceless – You don’t even know who they are – That particular organisation, they remain faceless. Therefore, it is left for us to understand without emotion, the direction these things are going.”

According to Mr Adedeji, there are certain things that are said there that are meant for internal consumption only and eventually the outcome of the investigations would be presented to Nigerian.

“I would want to believe that the position of the Vice President is in line with the position of the President with regards to corruption and therefore, he would follow through with that determination that if it is true that this is a corrupt practice, it will be exposed and the person would be made to go through the process of investigation before they even go to court.”

Dino Melaye Applauds SGF, NIA DG’s Suspension

Chairman Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Melaye, has applauded President Mohammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir Lawal, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

He made this known in an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

“I’ll start by saying, that was a very fantastic move by Mr President, I welcome the suspension, especially that of the SGF, and though very belated, it’s a welcome development and I congratulate the President for taking such a bold step and we hope that decisions would also be taken in this manner on some other pending controversial issues.

Speaking on the “other pending issues”, he explained that “there are a lot of individuals that have been investigated or not cleared by the Nigerian Senate and we expect that with unity of purpose as enshrined in the constitution between the legislature and the executive, the executive should be more proactive especially in decision making.

“A times, when you delay in taking some decisions, it creates some bad blood and it discourages the spirit of the fight against corruption because when you delay very important decisions, it begins to send a signal that we are being lackadaisical in the fight against corruption.”

While also praising the President, he expressed dissatisfaction over the committee that was set up to investigate the issues surrounding the suspension.

“The President has done well by the suspension but I do not subscribe to the committee that was set up by Mr President,” Melaye said.

According to him, this was because he expected the President to wait for the report of the Senate on the SGF especially when there had already been a communication between the Presidency and the Senate, requesting for a final report.

“I do not understand why a new committee would be set up to look into the matter when already the President is expecting a final report from the legislature and we are doing this within the confines of the constitution.”

He however noted that the committee is currently working assiduously to complete their investigation regardless, and he gave the assurance that the revelations would be sterling.

Ile-Ife Crisis, Not An Ethnic Clash – Jimoh Moshood

moshoodThe Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force, Jimoh Moshood, has stressed that the fatal incident that took place in Ile-Ife, an ancient town in Osun state, south-west Nigeria, was not an ethnic clash.

According to him, those same youths do business together and have always lived in harmony, regardless of their tribal differences.

He made this position known while addressing the allegations by Yoruba youths that the Force had handled the case in a one-sided manner.

They had alleged that those paraded at the Force headquarters were Yorubas, and no Hausa or Fulani was among them.

Mr Moshood however stated that the Osun State Commissioner of Police, among other people handling the case, were equally Yorubas.

He said it would be wrong for anyone to make a blanket accusation against the Police, describing it is as a disservice to the efforts of the Inspector General of Police.

46 People Killed

Giving a background of what resulted in the fatal clash, he said a certain Oba of a Local area, who is also a Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the area, moved in with thugs to attack a community, following an assault on his wife, which occurred the previous day.

He stated that when the crisis started, the Police moved in immediately to resolve it, however, people started burning houses, property, and killing people.

“96 People were injured, 81 were treated and discharged, and 15 were still hospitalized as at the time we did the parade of the suspects and 46 people were killed in this process,” he confirmed.

He also stated that when the crisis erupted, the IGP promptly deployed Special Intervention Force from the Force Headquarters headed by a commissioner of Police, in charge of Police Mobile Force.

“This intervention was very very swift, in ensuring that within two days, the arrow head was arrested.”

The PPRO further stated that investigation was still on-going and he confirmed that 38 people have so far been arrested and taken to Abuja for more thorough and discrete investigation.

Mr Moshood, however, stated that 18 of them were later found not culpable and amongst them were Yorubas as well as Hausas.

“Our intervention was very prompt and we ensured that including the northern states, the effort of the Police were equally circulated in local language for people to know that we have intervened and the situation is under control.”

Magu’s Rejection, Based On His Inability To Show Competence – Isaac Anumudu

isaac-anumuduLegal practitioner, Isaac Anumudu, says the Senate’s rejection of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was not based on the DSS report alone, but also bordered on his incompetence for the job.

“Some of us watched the screening and we saw that Magu was rejected not on the report alone but based on his inability to show competence for the job.

“He was asked critical questions based on his job which he could not answer,” he stressed.

Mr Anumudu, also stated that the issue has been unduly hyped by some persons.

He made this known while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

“There is no complication whatsoever – It is just that certain gladiators, for certain reasons not yet known to Nigerians, are unduly hyping this issue and making a very simple, constitutional issue to look as if it is complicated”.

He, therefore expressed worry over the fact that there could be something else that meets the eye on the issue which according to him, is accentuating it beyond the way it is meant to be.

Quoting Section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act, Mr Anumudu, explained that the nomination and subsequent confirmation of the EFCC Chairman is not a duty of the President alone as it is subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

“We are in a democracy and the intendment of section 2(3) is to take away arbitrary powers from the executive because the issue of EFCC chairmanship is a very tough position and seeing the damage corruption has done to our society, the intention was to put someone there who would be above board, who would be transparent.”

Mr Magu has been in acting capacity as EFCC chairman since November, 2015.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a letter, re-nominating him as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.

The Senate’s rejection, however, marks the second time in three months that he has been rejected by the lawmakers; a situation which another legal practitioner, Robert Clarke, has described as a slap in the face of the Presidency.

Magu’s Rejection: A Slap On Presidency, All Nigerians – Robert Clarke

Magu's Rejection: A Slap On Presidency, All Nigerians – Robert ClarkeLegal practitioner, Robert Clarke, has described the Senate’s rejection of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as a slap in the face of the Presidency.

He made this known while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

He believes that the request for a second letter should not have been made because the President had already cleared him of any allegations made against him by the DSS’ first report.

“By asking for a second report, then you should have allowed the presidency to be aware of this before his presence before the Senate, because this is not a slap in the face of Magu, it is a slap in the face of the President, this is a slap on all Nigerians.

“When your president in his position has nominated somebody and you found him wanting and he claimed that “I have looked into it”, that is enough for you not to be asking for another letter.”

Although, there are arguments that Mr Magu’s continuation in acting capacity as the EFCC Chairman does not necessarily diminish his ability to probe issues of corruption, Mr Clarke explained that there is a difference between acting and being a confirmed chairman.

“Under the law, acting is different from being a confirmed chairman. the EFCC Act says there shall be a Chairman of the EFCC who shall be nominated for that appointment as chairman by the President; however, it must be confirmed by the Senate.

“Now the problem is, before you can nominate to the Senate, you must have done your home work. In the sense that, for every appointee, the President asks the DSS to write a report on them.

“Why should in the case of Magu, the DSS write straight to the Senate instead of writing to the President, something is wrong somewhere. They did it the first time, it backfired on them, they have done it the second time. I think what we should ask ourselves is who authorized the DSS to write that second report,” he questioned.

Undue Complication

On the other hand, another legal practitioner, Isaac Anumudu, says the issue of Magu’s rejection, has been unduly hyped by some persons.

Senate’s Rejection Of Magu, A Slap In President’s Face – Robert Clarke
Isaac Anumudu

“There is no complication whatsoever – It is just that certain gladiators, for certain reasons not yet known to Nigerians, are unduly hyping this issue and making a very simple, constitutional issue to look as if it is complicated”.

He therefore expressed worry over the fact that there could be something else that meets the eye on the issue which according to him, is accentuating it beyond the way it is meant to be.

Quoting Section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act, Mr Anumudu, explained that the nomination and subsequent confirmation of the EFCC Chairman is not a duty of the President alone as it is subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

“We are in a democracy and the intendment of section 2(3) is to take away arbitrary powers from the executive because the issue of EFCC chairmanship is a very tough position and seeing the damage corruption has done to our society, the intention was to put someone there who would be above board, who would be transparent.”

Mr Anumudu however stated that beyond the Senate’s explanation that Magu’s rejection was not based on the DSS report alone, it was glaring to Nigerians that he seemed incompetent for the job.

“Some of us watched the screening and we saw that Magu was rejected not on the report alone but based on his inability to show competence for the job.

“He was asked critical questions based on his job which he could not answer,” he stressed.

Mr Magu has been in acting capacity as EFCC chairman since November, 2015.

This occasion marked the second time in three months that he is being rejected by the lawmakers.

Senate, CG Tussle: A Case Of Democratic Power Versus Military Mentality – Yinusa Tanko

ncp-chairmanHuman Rights Activist and National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, has described the situation between the Senate and the Customs Comptroller General, Colonel Hameed Ali, as that of democratic power versus military mentality in a democratic setting.

He made the position known while addressing the issues that led to the summoning of the Customs CG by the Senate and the compulsion to appear in his complete uniform.

“The senate is trying to consolidate its power to say, this is the representative of the people, this House represents the interest of Nigerians and so when we call you, Nigerians call you and you must answer to the question of Nigeria.

“Here, you have an ex-military man, who comes from a big military background, who is trying to show that I’ve been a military man and in this my own profession that I have learned, there are things that cannot go down well with me as an ex-military man.”

Although Col. Ali had argued that there was no law to his knowledge that compelled him to wear the uniform, the NCP Chairman stated that according to some of the Senators, Section 2 of the Customs Act compels the CG to be in his uniform.

According to him, it must be understood that this is a democratic setting and the processes that brought him in must be understood.

Meanwhile, many hold the opinion that the real issue which led to the summoning of the Customs Comptroller General had been pushed to the background, and the focus had shifted to whether or not he appeared in uniform.

On his part, the NCP Chairman admitted to the fact that some of the major issues had been ignored, while also advocating that policies should be made in the interest of Nigerians.

“People who take up offices do not really read up on the kind of laws governing those offices and this is why anyone who is applying into any leadership role should read up on the laws guiding that office.

“If You want to achieve an aim, in ensuring that the system is clean, where there is need for you to do some things in order to get to that particular place, do them so that you would not have this particular altercation that does not depict the kind of person that you are”.

Mr Ali had been summoned to explain the Service’s new directive on duties to be paid on imported vehicles.

Although he eventually appeared before the Senate on Thursday, he made good on his word of not appearing in his uniform.

The House, however, refused to engage the CG and fixed another date (March 22), for him to appear as required; failure to which the Senate leadership might be forced to issue an arrest warrant as initially threatened.

Kaduna Airport: An Inconvenience To Nigerians – Adetokunboh Obayan

adetokunboh-obayanThe Former Head, Chilled Foods LTD, Adetokunboh Obayan, says the Kaduna Airport is an inconvenience to Nigerians, because of the risk of life and property plying the road.

He expressed hope that the six weeks of Abuja Airport closure won’t exceed.

Mr. Obayan, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that one of the biggest challenges we have in Nigeria is that when we communicate decision, we communicate them as fait accompli and then justify them without recognizing the stress the people would have gone through.

U.S Travel Ban

Mr Obayan said government or leaders who stand to represent the nation need to look at how it affects people on the other side.

Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has advised Nigerians who have no compelling or urgent reason to travel to the U.S to postpone their travel plans until the new administration’s policy on immigration is clear.

A statement signed in Abuja by Special Assistant on Media to Dabiri-Erewa, Abdurrahman Balogun, said that the warning became imperative due to series of reports received by the office of the SSA.

“In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry US visas being denied entry and sent back to the Nigeria.”

“In such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas were cancelled.”

Dabiri-Erewa said that “no reasons were given for the decision by the U.S immigration authorities.”