Category Archives: Economic Today

Amotekun, Shege Ka Fasa Will Not Work – Ekweremadu Allege

A former deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, has said that with so many ethnic diversities in Nigeria, community policing will not work.

Claiming that many Nigerians are living in denial, Ekweremadu said that the security condition in the country is not only bad but unbearable, NobleReporters learnt

He said that as a federal system, what should be done is a decentralisation of the police, not community security outfit like Amotekun and Shege Ka Fasa because they will operate in ways completely different from what is prescribed in the constitution.

Ekweremadu said that the security condition in the country is not only bad but unbearable.
The former deputy Senate president said: “Amotekun is different from what the federal government is saying about community policing.

“They have personnel who are going to deal with issues unlike what the federal government is proposing.”

Moreover, he said that the creation of regional security initiatives is proof that people have lost trust in the ability of the government to ensure their security.


Boko Haram Now Weak – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that his government has weakened Boko Haram’s capability, in reaction to a foiled attack carried out by the insurgents in Garkida, a town in Gombi local government area north of Adamawa State on Friday February 21.

In a statement released on Sunday February 23 by Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu, the President said the attacks on soft targets by the terrorists are obvious signs of frustration because his administration has significantly weakened Boko Haram’s capability to invade and hold any Nigerian territory unchallenged.

Buhari also stated that Nigerians would witness an aggressive campaign to rout Boko Haram once and for all in the coming weeks.

President Buhari said;

“These attacks on soft targets by terrorists are obvious signs of frustration because my administration has significantly weakened Boko Haram’s military capability to invade and hold Nigerian territory unchallenged.

“Our gallant forces deserve our appreciation for repelling the attackers but they must go beyond this point. They have our full support to go after the terrorists and have them pay a huge price. I want to assure the country that terrorists will continue to face the combined power of our military until they give up their mistaken ways.

“These occasional and episodic attacks on poor civilians by terrorists are mere propaganda efforts to portray them as strong in order to fool the public into believing that they haven’t been militarily weakened our gallant troops.

“Security will continue to be well funded despite the competing needs of social services. I appeal to Nigerians to continue to support our troops in their gallant efforts to protect the citizens and secure the country.”


FG Rank North #1 In Illiteracy, Poverty

The northern part of Nigeria has been ranked the highest region in poverty and illiteracy level, according to a new survey that was released by the federal government.

This was made known by the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Miriam Yalwaji Katagun who represented President Muhammadu Buhari during the launch of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Area Office complex located on Dandagoro Road, Katsina.

“You will recall that during his address marking the June 12 celebration of 2019, the president made a commitment to the nation that his administration will strive to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

”True to his promise, the president has been churning out initiatives that are directly targeted at not only improving the lot of the poverty-stricken in the country but also address other numerous social problems bedevilling the country, particularly the north.

”According to statistics, there are about 13-14 million out of school children in the north today. The region also ranks highest in terms of poverty and illiteracy levels. It is in this regard that I commend the ITF for its efforts to expand its existing infrastructure in order for more Nigerians to access its services.”


Keep Borders Shut – Senator Walid Jibrin

Life Patron of Nigerian Textiles Manufacturers Association (NTMA), Senator Walid Jibrin has said that the partial closure of the nation’s land borders by the Federal government can ensure revival of some moribund textiles industries in Nigeria and keep the surviving ones afloat.

Senator Jibrin who is also the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) urged the Federal government to keep the borders closed because it helps in frustrating smuggling of foreign textiles products into the country.

Must Read:

Buhari Calls For Patience On Border Closure

In a chat with journalists shortly after the Annual General Meeting of NTMA in Kaduna, where he was unanimously elected as the Life Patron, Jibrin who is the Sarkin Fulani of Nasarawa said he has put in over 45 years in textiles Industry.

He said, “During my acceptance speech I thanked all Members for the confidence they have on me to elect me to this highest position in the Textiles Industry regretting that the Industry that was proud of employing over 300,000 workers with 175 Textiles Industries in existence in the 80s has in its employment now less than 30,000 employees with surviving Industries of only 30.

“While congratulating the Federal Government for turning attention to the textiles Industry especially in the areas of trying to curve smuggling by introducing policies aimed towards reviving the Industry, the Textiles Industry welcomes the closure of Nigerian Borders which has tremendously reduced the rate of smuggling of Textiles Fabrics to Nigeria.

He said, “We want the border closure to remain because smuggling of foreign textiles fabrics into our country is not good for the revival of the industry in Nigeria.

“The Textile Industry is also in dare need of adequate electricity to aid its production as against the use of 70%
generator as against 30% PHCN usage.

“The Industry also appreciate the Government through the CBN for giving support to Cotton Production and Textile Industry to produce made in Nigeria uniforms for the Armed Forces, Immigration, Customs, and Prison.

“The Bank of Industries has done very well in giving loans to the Industry.
Once the Industry is revived there is guarantee for adequate employment in Nigeria”. He said.

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Border Closure: US Embassy Say Nigerians Are Losing

Recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja said the issue of partial closure of Nigeria’s land border to goods from neighbouring countries will be determined by report of tripartite committee made up of Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republic.

President Buhari, who received President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso at the Presidential Villa, said Nigeria’s decision to partially close the borders was purely to safeguard national security.


Insecurities: Nothing else is my big concern but the safety of Nigerians – Bode George

Ex-Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Bode George, has said he is more concerned about the security problems in the country than contesting the 2023 presidential election.

George had said that he was interested in contesting the 2023 presidential poll against ex-Lagos State governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. NobleReporters can claim

The retired military officer, however, said he had not abandoned his presidential ambition.

George said, “People are trying to push (me), saying, if it’s coming to the South-West, they will give me support. For me, it’s still about three years from now.

“When people make such overtures to you, you don’t just brush them off. But there are many hurdles to cross before we get there.

“Look at the state of the country now. The country is destabilised. It is shifting. The platforms are very unstable and it is not a matter of one party versus another party now. It’s a national disaster and it calls for us to put all our hands to stabilise our nation.”

George praised the Operation Amotekun initiative of South-West governors, saying it would help tackle insecurity in the region.

The ex-Ondo State military governor said, “If you travel from A to B now, you will keep looking behind you and thinking you may be kidnapped or somebody is going to hit you.

“That’s a state of hopelessness and helplessness. And the number of police we have can’t cope – 245,000 versus more than 200 million people. That’s absolutely inadequate.

“That makes Amotekun more essential is community policing, at least, so that people can sleep well at night. Those are the issues that bother me now, rather than presidential elections.”

Meanwhile, George called on countries bordering the North-East Nigeria to renew their support for the fight against Boko Haram.

Ex-Security Adviser to Cross River, Mr Jude Ngaji, also echoed the PDP chief’s view.

In separate interviews, the duo said tackling the Boko Haram insurgency required the support of the neighbouring countries. N.Rs heard

Ngaji said, “We underestimated their level of infiltration into society. The military thought that the terrorists were a group of persons they would just clean up, but these people have infiltrated society. They have become those that even sell your basic daily needs to you.

“Much as we are trying to wipe out these people, we should ask if Cameroon, Niger and Chad are doing the same thing that we are doing. These countries must have to put in the same efforts as Nigeria for this war to succeed.

“There must be a commitment from the neighbouring countries for us to win this war. Cameroon, Niger, and Chad must step up the fight to support our firepower. These guys have gone beyond insurgents; they are now terrorists who operate from different countries.”

George said intelligence gathering was key. He stated, “If we think that the current war against these terrorists is a conventional war, then we have missed it. It is guerrilla warfare and once you have that situation, it takes a much longer time. The people they are fighting live in communities.

Ex-Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Bode George

“The only thing that we can do is to keep applying technology, especially the use of satellite equipment to locate their operational bases. We must internationalise this by getting the support of other nations.

“The other option is information gathering and to negotiate for peace. These Boko Haram fighters are more of Nigerians, not aliens. Meet their leaders and discuss with them and that is the way you can end this protracted guerrilla warfare.”

#Newsworthy ..

Lai Mohammed restates commission to protection of cultural heritage

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has restated the Federal Government commitment to the preservation, protection and promotion of cultural heritage of Nigerians.

The minister gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Yauri, Dr Muhammad Abdullahi, on Saturday in Yauri Local Government, Kebbi state.

NobleReporters learnt that the minister was in Yauri to attend the 2020 Annual Regatta and Cultural Festival in Yauri.

The minister said that government would continue to take seriously the issue of culture and heritage in the country, saying “that is why we are here today.

“We believe that our culture and heritage date back to several centuries and whatever can be done to preserve, protect and promote our culture and heritage the Federal Government is prepared to support.

“That is why I am here your Royal Highness to witness the famous Yauri Boat Regatta and cultural festival so that we can showcase to the whole world our cultural heritage.

“I have heard about the Regatta and cultural festival in Yauri, but I have never been able to attend anyone.

“And I want to seize this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Governor of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, who facilitated our coming here today,” Mohammed said.

Responding, the monarch described the minister as a man that always promote culture through his dressing.

He expressed willingness of the Yauri Emirate Council to partner with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to expand and promote the Regatta and cultural festival.

The Emir explained that the Yauri Regatta and Cultural Festival started about 200 years ago mainly to hunt hippopotamus and other wild animals in the river.

He said that the festival usually provides opportunity for Yauri people to showcase their expertise through the boat ceremonies.

He said that the festival had suffered serious setbacks since the demise of the then Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello about 50 years ago.

The monarch, however, commended Bagudu for reviving and expanding the Regatta and Cultural Festival in Yauri, saying that, gradually the festival would be turned into a full international event.

The Annual event started about 200 years ago as a display of naval strength of Gungu people, where Gungu warriors annually attack the most dangerous hippopotamus on the River Niger.


Border Closure: Buhari Calls For Patience

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja said the issue of reopening of Nigeria’s land border to goods from neighbouring countries will be determined by the report of a tripartite committee made up of Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republics.

President Buhari, who received President Roch Kabore of Burkina Faso at the Presidential Villa, said Nigeria’s decision to partially close the border was purely to safeguard national security.

“Our major problem is security — the inflow of weapons, ammunition and drugs. We have witnessed a decline in banditry using such weapons since the partial closure of the border. Also our farmers are now able to sell their rice since we stopped the inflow of foreign rice, usually dumped in the country,’’ he said.

President Buhari said Nigeria was very much mindful of the concerns of neighbouring countries on the issue, assuring that his administration will find an early and enduring solution.

“I will work as fast as I can as soon as I receive the report,’’ the President added.

The President of Burkina Faso is the Chairman of the ECOWAS Committee mandated to resolve the issue of border closure.

He told President Buhari that he came for the visit, following the mandate of ECOWAS to resolve the issues that culminated in the partial closure of the border, urging the Nigerian leader to reconsider the position of the country.


Buhari regime set to create 300,000 jobs in Plateau

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday announced that 300,000 jobs will be created in Plateau, through its Agriculture Mechanisation Scheme.

The Minister for Agriculture, Mr Sabo Nanono disclosed this when Gov. Simon Lalong visited his office in Abuja.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the minister in a statement by Dr Makut Machan, Director of Press and Public Affairs to Gov. Lalong said the scheme would be in partnership with Plateau govt.

According to the minister, the new agricultural programme to operate in 632 local government areas across the country will create over Six million jobs for Nigerians.

The minister further applauded Lalong for his passion in the agricultural sector and his role in the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP)

Making his remarks, Lalong said his administration was committed to developing the potential of the agriculture sector in Plateau.

He said the visit was to explore opportunities through the federal government’s new schemes in the sector.

N.Rs reports that the governor also visited President Buhari, where he appealed for the upgrade of the Institute of GeoSciences to a Federal Institute, the establishment of a federal polytechnic in the state and intervention in the construction of roads among other requests


Why taraba governor left state for over 2 months

The call for the impeachment of Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, for working from Abuja took a new dimension on Friday after one of his aides gave some reasons for the trend.

A senior special assistant to the governor, Bala Abu, said the governor had been in Abuja so he could seek medical attention.

Ishaku has been away from the state for about two months, leading to calls for his impeachment.

Abu said, “We urge the good people of Taraba, their friends and admirers in and outside the state to ignore the campaign of falsehood being orchestrated by some people.

“His Excellency is desirous to return to the state and will do so when he has sufficiently recovered.

“No aspect of governmental activities has suffered a setback as a result. All government projects are going on smoothly and the government has continued to meet its obligations to contractors while progress is being monitored by appropriate government ministries and officials.”

Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku

He also said the 2020 budget was being implemented with vigour, while salaries of workers, pensions and gratuities were also being paid promptly.

Abu added, “It is therefore wrong and misleading to suggest that the governor’s absence has affected morale of civil servants and governance in the state.”


$500M: Lai Mohammed speak on China loan

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has revealed that the 500 million dollar loan being sought from China is not for the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) alone.

The Country’s Information and Culture Minister made the clarification in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, while briefing journalists on the controversies surrounding the proposed loan for the projects.

Mohammed said the loan was for three major projects contrary to the hysteria created over it in a section of the media.

He said it was reported in some sections of the media while defending the loan before the National Assembly that the loan was for the upgrades of facilities to enable NTA compete with the likes of America’s Cable Network News, CNN.

According to him,” In an era of social media, the real news is usually sacrificed on the altar of sensationalism and disinformation.

“That’s how I will describe the hysteria, in a section of the media, over the reportage of the 500 million dollars loan being sought from China’’.

The minister said the loan would be used to construct a headquarters complex and transmission network for Integrated Television Services (ITS), the Federal Government-owned signal distributor and a major component of the country’s Digital Switchover (DSO)

He said the fund would also be used to build an ultra-modern Media City in Ikorodu, Lagos State, to include Indoor/Outdoor shooting area, Animation Production Facility and Digital Media Training Centre.

Mohammed also hinted that other facilities in the city would include World Class Cinema, Four-Star Hotel, an Amusement Park and Amphi-theatre.

The minister further said the loan would also be used for acquisition of digital movie production equipment for rental as well as power system

He disclosed that the Media City Training Academy was only the second of its type in Africa and the first is in Egypt.

He said the facilities would be used to train Nigerian broadcasters and filmmakers in the production of high-quality media content programmes and make Nigeria a hub for digital movie production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The minister also disclosed that the loan would be used for digitization of all NTA Stations at the Headquarters, 12 zonal stations, the 36 States and FCT as well as 78 community stations.

He said the fund would also be used to upgrade, purchase and install relevant digital TV broadcasting equipment compatible with DSO products and accessories.

Mohammed stressed that the equipment was necessary for the production and broadcast of digital programme contents in addition to the provision of power and manpower training.

While reacting to the accusation by Amnesty International that the military burnt some villages and displaced residents in the Northeast, the Minister called on the human rights body to stop attacking the Nigerian Army while they fight Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast.

He urged the human rights body to stop attacking its military men and casting them as “the bad guys” while they prosecute the war against terrorists.

“I am aware that the Defence Headquarters has responded appropriately to this accusation. The military denied razing down villages and detaining locals unlawfully; that it does not employ arson as an operational tactic; and that looting and burning of villages is the style of Boko Haram terrorists.

“I will like to add that in carrying out their duties, Amnesty International should not cast themselves in the league of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists. They should stop the growing practice of constantly attacking the military and casting them as the bad guys when all they are doing is putting their lives on the line to fight terrorists who have no respect for the sanctity of life, who willfully go after women and children, who attack houses of worship without respect or allegiance to any religion.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

“Amnesty International should stop providing succor for terrorists by attributing their atrocities to our troops. Our soldiers, who are defending the country, are guided by extant rules of engagement and operational codes of conduct. They should not be made to look like the aggressors here.

“I am aware that the Federal Government has always taken seriously any allegation of rights violation by soldiers or other security forces. Investigations have been carried out and culprits, if any”, the minister stated.


Presidency reassures peace, prosperity in plateau

President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured Plateau State government that the Federal Government will continue to support its efforts towards promoting a peaceful, prosperous and tolerant society.

Receiving Governor Simon Lalong and other stakeholders from Plateau State on Thursday, President Buhari appealed to residents and indigenes of the State to support the Governor’s development agenda.

‘‘Plateau is strategic to Nigeria. It is geographically unique with its diverse environmental and huge economic potential. This clearly shows the State’s incredible potential in tourism, agriculture and mining.

‘‘It is, therefore, our collective duty to ensure these potentials are fully harnessed by providing the right policy support,’’ the President said.

A crosssection of Plateau State delegation with President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari told the delegation he was very pleased with the progress made on security, provision of social services and infrastructure development under the leadership of the present Governor.

‘‘These are the critical pillars of having a prosperous and inclusive society. I will, therefore, take this opportunity to urge all citizens of Plateau to encourage and support your Government in delivering on its mandate,’’ he said.

Commending Governor Lalong for his steadfastness, patriotism and successes achieved so far, President Buhari declared: ‘‘Plateau State has been transformed by the work you have done.’’

On the requests by the State government, including the dualization and construction of some federal roads, upgrade of the Potato Research Centre to a full-fledged Institute, a special grant for reconstruction and rehabilitation of victims of attacks and crises, among others, the President assured the delegation that his administration would do its best to support where possible.

Earlier in his remarks, Governor Lalong expressed deep gratitude to the President on his unflinching support to the State, saying ‘‘you have shown that, indeed, you are a father to all and a true leader whose passion for development and peace is unquestionable.’’

Presenting the requests of the State government, the Governor appealed to the Federal Government to refund outstanding monies expended in the construction of some federal roads.

He also called for the establishment of a federal polytechnic in the State as well as the upgrading of the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences to the University of Mining.

On security, the Governor told the President his administration had made tremendous efforts in building institutional and legal framework in engendering peace and security in the last four years.

‘‘Sadly, however, in the last two months, we recorded two incidents of killings in Kulben, Mangu Local Government and Kwatas in Bokkos Local Government where lives were lost, property destroyed and people displaced,’’ he said.

The Governor announced that some arrests have been made and investigations ongoing, pledging that the state government is ‘‘determined to get to the bottom of this in order to affirm the message that criminals cannot take us back to the days of agony.’’

The delegation comprised of the State Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Tyoden as well as political appointees and some illustrious sons and daughters of Plateau State.


NCS set to close shops, supermarkets selling foreign goods

Nigerian Customs Service has warned off supermarkets and shops in some parts of the country to stop patronising foreign rice and other prohibited goods.

“In our effort to suppress smuggling, the Nigerian Customs Service Kano/Jigawa area command deemed it fit to write and seek for your cooperation to stop patronising foreign rice and other prohibited items in your supermarket/shops to avoid being closed by customs operatives,” Kano/Jigawa area controller, Ahmed Nasir, said in a statement.

This warning comes months after the Nigerian government ordered the closure of its land borders.

Nigeria, without warning on 21 August, closed all its land borders two months ago to tackle smuggling, but the unprecedented move is affecting trade across the region.

Bustling borders have come to a standstill, with goods rotting and queues of lorries waiting at checkpoints in the hope the crossings will reopen but it has hopes are dashing already.

Despite the ban, foreign rice still saturates the Nigerian market.

Although, the customs authorities said Nigeria has gained from the closure, prices of food staples have risen steeply and legitimate businesses have been caught in the crossfire.

The country’s inflation has also been on the rise since August.

The government says the border closures will help boost local food production. But rice takes time to grow, harvest, process and sell, and the country’s farming industry may not keep up with the huge increase in demand.

“We are not yet ripe to close the border because . . . we need years [of] investing in farmers so they can harvest enough for Nigeria,” said Ekpo Ain, a rice trader at the Sura market in Lagos told Financial Times.


Beware of fraudsters – Police warns Job seekers

The Police Service Commission (PSC) has cautioned Nigerian job seekers against falling prey to conmen out to extort them by promising to assist in job placements.

The commission’s Head, Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani gave the warning Wednesday as he debunked reports that it is carrying out recruitment of cadet assistant superintendents and cadet inspectors.

He said the report was embarrassing to the chairman of the commission, Musiliu Smith.

“The Commission notes that it is in possession of messages and requests to notable Nigerians informing them of a phantom recruitment exercise and asking them to send three names for recruitment. The messages were purported to have originated from the Honourable Chairman of the Commission, Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police.

“The fraudsters according to information in the Commission’s possession, are requesting from their contacts, payments to some account names and numbers of different Nigerian banks.

“The Commission is deeply embarrassed that fraudsters associate the name of the Commission’s Chairman with this fraudulent disposition.

“It is also instructive to note that recruitment in the Commission is handled by the Commission as a body and not by individuals. The Chairman only chairs the meetings where decisions of the Commission, including that of recruitment, are taken.

“The Commission warns that Nigerians should beware of these fraudsters who are on the prowl to dupe unsuspecting citizens,” Ani said.


700million metric tonnes of tomatoes demanded in Nigeria – NIHORT

The National Horticultural Research Institute(NIHORT) says 700,000 million metric tonnes of tomatoes are required to meet the nation’s demand for it.

Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIHORT said this at a two-day training workshop in Abuja on Wednesday.

The training was organised by the institute for critical stakeholders in tomato and telfairia (pumpkin or `Ugu’ leaf) production and value addition.

“Though Nigeria is currently producing 2.3 million metric tonnes as against 1.8 million produced two years ago, more needs to be done to meet the three million metric tonnes national demand.

“Tomato production in Nigeria is still short of what is demanded particularly during the second and third quota of the year. While about three million metric tonnes is the national requirement, about 2.3 metric tonnes are the production.

“About two years ago, the production was 1.8 million metric tonnes but because of the trainings and technologies that NIHORT has perfected alongside other stakeholders, the production has increased by about 25 per cent.

“That is the reason we are getting the production figure of 2.3 million metric tonnes as against 1.8 million metric tonnes,” he said.

The chief executive officer said that one of the major reasons for the deficit was post-harvest loss, adding that about 40 per cent of tomatoes is often wasted.

He added that tomato nursery practices are other reasons for the deficit in supply, stressing that “tomatoes management is important for future development of the commodity value chain.

“Nursery is a basic need and prerequisite for producing quality seedlings. Putting efforts on quality seedling production offers scope for sustainable tomato production.

“Additionally, nursery provides employment opportunities for technical, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour.”

On telfairia, known as `Ugu’ in Nigeria, Olaniyan noted that the pumpkin leaf is of high nutritional, medicinal and industrial value, adding that it was rich in protein, fat, minerals and vitamins.

According to him, there is high prospect in production and marketing of telfairia within and outside the country, saying basic knowledge on value addition was important.

He said the two-day training would cover tomato value addition and processing among other things, to reduce seasonal glut and inconsistent year round supply.

The NIHORT boss added that processing of tomato would help reduce the amount been imported into the country particularly “during lean season of tomato supply.”

He urged the participants to pay critical attention to all the sessions to make the best use of the opportunity.

He assured them of the institute’s readiness to liaise with relevant stakeholders to support and promote their various entrepreneurial skills along the value chain.


Just in: Senate strikes at proliferation of guns

..destabilising peace and development

…threatening the national security

Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

The Senate has considered a bill seeking to establish the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC– Kogi West), noted during plenary on Wednesday that the functions of the Commission when established will include: identifying sources and routes of small arms and ammunitions, identifying those involved in the illicit trade; and providing harmonisation of intelligence and information collection.

According to Adeyemi, the proliferation of small arms and weapons is a phenomenon responsible for destabilising peace and development and threatening the national security of some countries in Africa.

“The proliferation of these weapons affects the intensity and duration of violence and encourages militancy rather than a peaceful resolution of unsettled differences,” he said.

Citing a United Nations report, Adeyemi also raised concerns that “a substantial percentage of illegal arms that is in circulation in West Africa is in Nigeria.

“This has fueled violent conflicts as witnessed in the Niger Delta, kidnapping in the South East, Armed robbery pandemic in the South West, Ethnic-Religious violence on the Plateau, and the Boko Haram operations in the North-East, a situation which has plunged the nation into a serious state of insecurity,” the lawmaker added.

Speaking further, he warned that the uncontrolled arms have also impacted on the country’s democracy and development negatively.

“Electoral violence by gun-wielding thugs and assassinations of several political leaders since 1999, have jeopardised free and fair elections in many states of the federation,” he said.

“There are numerous ways by which small arms can be smuggled into the country because of their light-weight and concealable nature. Trucks have been used to smuggle arms into the country, while a number of them are brought in on donkeys, camels and on foot.

“Similarly, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) are transported through waterways, boat to add of arms from great lake’s conflict areas have been reported to have been discharged at Warri and Bonny towns of Niger Delta.

“Also, Small Arms Survey (SAS) has reported on Malian arms smugglers packing small arms in waterproof sacks, attaching them into the bottom of bots for transfer to countries along the River Niger.

“The effects of illegal arms and weapons of terror in Nigeria are self-explanatory and calls for concerted efforts by all and sundry to successfully prosecute this war against terror. The support, collaboration and involvement of all genuine stakeholders is a condition precedent to winning the war,” he added.

Senator Adamu Aliero while lending his voice in support of the passage of the bill, accused men of the Nigerian Customs Service of conniving with arms dealers to smuggle in small arms into the country through the borders.

He added that if the bill is not passed into law by the National Assembly, “violence will continue” unabated

Another lawmaker, Emmanuel Bwacha in his contribution, cited the United States as a country without strong gun control laws, adding that “they are paying dearly for it today”.

“It is better to have control of arms than allow every dick and Harry to possess arms. In doing this, we must do it with genuine intention,” Bwacha advised.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC– Nasarawa West), lamented that the proliferation of small arms has become a thriving business because those involved in the illicit trade are not apprehended by the relevant security agencies.

The bill which scaled second reading on the floor during plenary was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on National Security and Intelligence, to report back in four weeks.


Sacking service chiefs, threat to national unity – FG

The Presidency on Tuesday said sacking service chiefs would create cracks in the country and threaten national unity.
The Presidency added that there were processes that should be followed in the disengagement of heads of security agencies insisting that “at the right time, those processes will be followed.”

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, stated this at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, during the public presentation of a book titled, ‘CAN, Religion and Power in Nigeria,’ written by a former General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samuel Salifu.

He said, “Well, I don’t think this (sacking of service chiefs) is appropriate for this forum; you don’t sack people like that. There are processes and I believe that at the opportune (sic) time, those processes will be followed.

“We need everybody to be on board. We need synergy within the intelligence community, within the military formations that will help fight this war. We are in a very difficult situation and when we begin to create cracks and divisions who will be the beneficiaries?”

The SGF described the book as a reservoir of information, history and past years of struggle.

At the event, Ijaw leader and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, represented by a former Nigerian Ambassador to Scandinavia, Godknows Igali, attributed the insecurity and disunity in the country to religious differences.

Clark said, “No religion should be regarded as superior to another or be given priority consideration. For instance, the whole country and indeed the international community is watching out to see how Mr President will handle the next appointments for the Presidency of the Court of Appeal as the current occupier bows out and the position becomes vacant on March 4, 2020. It is also the same for the service chiefs which will soon be vacant. My prayer is that Mr President will do the correct thing.”

The President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, advised government to put an end to the killings in the country.

He said, “It will be good to make sure that those in government fight violence in Nigeria. Because if they fail to accomplish a Nigeria where there is peace and security, it will be sad and it will be part of their history forever and ever.”

A former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan said Nigeria would stand and flourish only when Muslims and Christians walk together to make religion a factor of stability, unity, peace and prosperity.


U.S Economy: Trump, Obama fights on Twitter. (Who deserves credit?)

President Donald Trump berated his predecessor, Barack Obama, as each sought credit Monday for the booming U.S. economy.

The robust U.S. economy – including the low 3.6% unemployment – is a central talking point for Trump on the campaign trail.

However, Obama appeared to take a subtle dig with a tweet earlier Monday marking the 11th anniversary of the 2009 economic stimulus.

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history,” Obama posted on Twitter.

Trump blasted back, accusing Obama of doing a ‘con job’.

“Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration. He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing. NOW, best jobs numbers….”

As USA Today reported, Democrats responded by praising Obama’s tweet and arguing that Trump is reaping the benefits of the work his predecessor did.

Republicans, however, accused Obama of seeking credit for Trump’s policies, an argument Trump echoed later.

“He had the WEAKEST recovery since the Great Depression, despite Zero Fed Rate & MASSIVE quantitative easing. NOW, best jobs numbers,” Trump posted of Obama.

Trump has argued that his emphasis on reducing regulations and the 2017 tax bill has spurred economic growth

Democrats noted that unemployment and stock prices began increasing under the Obama years as they bounced back from the Great Recession, a trend that continued into Trump’s presidency. Trump loyalists pointed out that the unemployment rate is at its lowest point in decades while the stock market has been hitting record highs.

“With an economy this good, it’s no wonder Barack Obama is trying to take credit,” Scalise said. “But I believe the saying is: ‘You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’ @realDonaldTrump made that happen.”

Barrack Obama

Donald Trump

Who do you think deserve the credits?


Lagos govt denies demanding operational fees from Uber drivers

Uber drivers protest in front of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Services office in Ojodu, Lagos.

Lagos State government has denied claims that it was demanding for N110,000 operational licence fees from Uber drivers.

Commissioner of transportation Frederic Oladeinde said the claim is “totally untrue, unsubstantiated, unreasonable and a ploy to win public sympathy.”

“Uber operators are out to make mischief as they would not tell the public that their members whose vehicles were apprehended contravened one law or the other,” Oladeinde added.

This comes days after Uber drivers and drivers of other popular ride-hailing companies marched on the office of the Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Services (VIS) to protest the alleged recent “crackdown” on their operation.

But two officials of the VIS who spoke with The Guardian last week said the recent they were enforcing of already existing laws guiding the operations of professional drivers in the state.

Uber drivers, he said, must have hackney permits since they use their vehicles for commercial purposes. He also said Uber has also not paid an operator license fee to the state government.

“You need to have what we call operator license, which Uber was supposed to pay to the government,” the official said in a telephone conversation with an Uber driver. The Guardian has a record of that phone conversation.

“Uber has no operator license,” the VIS officer said.

A claim that is contrary to the commissioner’s.

Oladeinde rather said the VIS is only facilitating compliance with the “Road Traffic Laws by ensuring motorists possess the stipulated vehicle documents, such as Roadworthiness, Vehicle Licence, Drivers Licence, Insurance Certificate, Hackney Permit and the Lagos State Drivers Institute (LASDRI) card for all categories of commercial commuter vehicles.”

He said almost 1,000 vehicles have been impounded for various offences across the state in the last three weeks.

“Twenty Uber vehicles are among those impounded,” he said.

Moses Ndubuisi, a Uber driver, said he was asked to pay N60,000 into the government’s account before his car was released.


Update: FG insist not sacking service chiefs

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, has said President Muhammadu Buhari will not sack his Service Chiefs now.

Mustapha explained that Nigeria was in a difficult situation, hence synergy was needed within the intelligence community.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, the SGF faulted calls for the sack of Service Chiefs, following the spate of insecurity in the country.

Mustapha noted that the country would be at the receiving end if Buhari sacks his Service Chiefs now.

He said:-

“We are in a very difficult time now. We need everybody to be on board. We need synergy within the intelligence community, within the military formations that will help fight this war.

“We are in a very difficult situation and when we begin to create cracks and divisions, who will be the beneficiaries?

“The adversaries are the ones that are going to exploit those deficiencies and further the cause of destabilising the nation.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha

“At this moment, what we need is for everybody to be on the same page, fight the battle of securing the nation for protecting lives and property and ensuring that every Nigerian has the opportunity to live a prosperous life. I think that should be our main focus.

“You don’t sack people like that. There are processes and I believe that at the opportuned time, those processes will be followed. You don’t just wake up and say sack people, it doesn’t happen like that”.


Insecurities: PMB has no right to stop peaceful protest – Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has said that the Presidency has no power to stop any peaceful protest by aggrieved Nigerians who are calling for the replacement of the service chiefs.

Mr Falana, while responding to a statement credited to a presidential spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, on Sunday, said Nigerians have the fundamental right to demonstrate for or against the Federal Government.

The senior lawyer quoted Mr Shehu: “The Presidency wishes to caution a section of the political class against misleading the public and inciting protests against the heads of military institutions.

“This has become necessary in view of received reports that about 2, 000 men and women have been hired to demonstrate against Nigeria’s service chiefs on Monday.”

He, however, cautioned that the Nigeria Police Force should not harass aggrieved Nigerians for protesting against perceived injustice in the country.

“The authorities of the Nigeria Police Force are urged not to harass aggrieved Nigerians for protesting against perceived injustice in the country.

“Nigerians have the fundamental right to demonstrate for or against the federal government without official fiat the Presidency has no power to stop any peaceful protest in the country.

“In fact, the right to assemble and protest peaceful was won by the Nigerian people in the case of All Nigerian People’s Party v Inspector-General of Police (2008) 12 WRN 65,” he stated.

Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN)

Mr Falana noted that leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had in 2014, held a protest against insecurity.

“It was in the exercise of the right of freedom of expression that APC leaders including General Mohammadu Buhari, Chief John Oyegun, Dr Sylvester Onu and Mr Rotimi Amaechi had participated in the protest held at Abuja on November 20, 2014, against insecurity under the erstwhile Jonathan administration.”

#Newsworthy ..

Just in: Nigerians can heal Nigeria – Osinbajo

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has noted that Nigeria is blessed with all the human resources needed to solve most of her problems.

The Vice President who stated this when he received a delegation from the West African College of Surgeons (WACS), in his office in the Presidential Villa, said the fact that Nigerians, home and abroad, have been identified with impressive performances and achievements.According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President, speaking after listening to a brief on the achievements of the WACS, the VP said “I am glad to hear the good things that have been done by the college through the years.

“I believe that a lot of our problems, some of the aids that we need, can be provided by ourselves. We have the resources including human capacity to do it.” He thanked the delegation for the visit, assuring the College of the Federal Government’s continued support.The delegation led by Prof. Ibrahim Yakasai, mni, was at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa to brief the Vice President about the activities of the College including its planned 60th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference scheduled for Abuja. Yakasai is the Local Organising Committee chairman.

Earlier in his remarks, the immediate past President of the College, Prof. King-David Yawe highlighted some of the achievements of WACS especially with regards to free medical outreaches to several Nigerian communities.He said while working with the Presidential Committee on North East (PCNE), the College has conducted 9, 000 surgeries on 49,000 patients in the Northeast with the insurgency in the region, adding that the body was currently conducting free medical outreaches in 14 hospitals across the FCT, some North Central States and Maiduguri.

Prof. Yawe added that as part of the 2020 pre-conference events, the College is currently conducting free surgeries in the FCT, Borno and other States, noting that 700 such surgical operations have so far been conducted in the past one week with a target of reaching 1000 before the commencement of the conference.He also said that the outreaches which started 14 years ago include eye surgeries, orthopedic, paediatric & plastic surgeries, brain tumor amongst many others complicated health challenges that otherwise cost patients several millions of Naira, and for which many travel out of the country to treat.

Continuing on the activities of the surgeons, Prof. Yawe said the College has accredited training centres in Gombe, Borno and Yobe States.He commended the Buhari administration’s support to the association in partly funding some of its activities and meeting its responsibilities especially in solving its 20-year-old problem regarding a request for land in the FCT.

The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN)

Prof. Yawe informed the VP that the land has been allocated to the College for the establishment of a Skills and Simulation Centre to train surgeons in West Africa in hi-tech surgeries.The leader of the delegation, Prof. Yakasai also informed the VP that the College works in partnership with the ECOWAS and has surgeons from 18 countries with over 7000 fellows across West Africa. The College conducts training, postgraduate education and research activitiesWhile Yawe is the immediate past President of the College, Yakasai told the VP the current President is from Senegal. (Prof Serigne Magueye Gueye.)The WACS was formed by a group of young Nigerian surgeons 60 years ago predated the Economic Community of West African States.