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Opinion

Strength in unity, shield the flock with resolve, while beast loses its grip, as the nation evolve

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CDS General Christopher Musa

 

By Suleiman A Suleiman,
A journalist based in Abuja.
suleimanasuleiman476@gmail.com

The persistent issue of kidnapping and other insecurity challenges in Nigeria has raised significant concerns, especially in the prevention of investment in the country. This has been further exacerbated by the targeting of high-value individuals, and strategic locations in the capital city, a sit of the President, which now has contributed to a fear of insecurity at Abuja and it’s environs.

Recent incidents, such as the abduction of five sisters near Abuja, have sparked a national outcry and highlighted the growing insecurity in the country’s capital. The sisters were seized by armed men, resulting in the tragic killing of one of them when a ransom deadline passed. Though they were rescued on Saturday evening, but this case, along with numerous others, has prompted public outrage and condemnation from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who expressed concern over the recent spate of kidnappings and bandit attacks

The Nigerian risk consultancy SBM Intelligence has documented a significant number of abductions in the Federal Capital Territory, with experts attributing the rise in kidnappings to the country’s economic crisis.

Insecurity around the capital has been a growing concern, with criminal gangs targeting highways, apartments, and even schools. The situation has been further complicated by periodic crackdowns that have not been effective in addressing the problem, allowing the criminal elements to evade capture.

Kidnapping in Nigeria has been identified as a serious national security challenge, driven by factors such as unemployment, worsening political instability, internal grievances, and a “get rich quick” syndrome. The prevalence of this criminal behavior has been linked to joblessness, moral decadence, hopelessness, and frustration among the youth, as well as the exploitation of the opportunity by politicians and disgruntled individuals.

The persistent issue of kidnapping and insecurity challenges in Nigeria poses a significant barrier to investment and economic growth. The government’s approach to addressing these challenges, including the formulation of sound policy programs, job creation, and the resolution of internal grievances, will be crucial in mitigating the insecurity and restoring confidence for investors.

Bello Matawalle, the former Governor of Zamfara State and current state Minister of defense, has a crucial role to play in addressing the insecurity challenges in Nigeria, building on his experience in addressing similar challenges during his tenure as Governor. His experience in Zamfara State offers valuable insights into potential strategies for combating insecurity on a national level.

During a live interview on BBC Hausa Program Ra’ayin Riga, Bello Matawalle emphasized the need to address and prevent the spread of insecurity in Nigeria. He highlighted the importance of understanding the root causes of the security challenges and the need to bring stability to the affected areas, particularly in the northern region of the country.

Matawalle spoke about the impact of banditry and its detrimental effects on the populace, stressing the need for a comprehensive approach that includes addressing the grievances of the affected communities. He also emphasized the importance of engaging in dialogue and reaching agreements and collaborative efforts from the affected state’s governors, drawing from his experience of initiating peace talks in Zamfara State.

Apparently, there is an urgent need for a serious discussion with the relevant media boards on the critical role they can play to defeat the bandits and other terror groups. It is essential to emphasize the importance of responsible reporting that focuses on showcasing the defeat of these criminal elements rather than glorifying their acts through reporting them evil doings.

Media engagement is crucial in shaping public perception and understanding of the security situation. By reporting more on the efforts to defeat bandits and terrorist groups, the media can contribute to demystifying these criminal elements and portraying them as the criminals they are, rather than granting them undue attention and recognition, in their reportage.

Promoting stories of successful operations against bandits and terror groups, highlighting the bravery of security forces, and showcasing the resilience of affected communities can help shift the narrative. It is imperative to outline the progress made in containing and defeating these threats to national security, as well as the efforts being made to restore peace and stability to affected regions.

By working closely with media organizations and setting guidelines for responsible reporting, the government can ensure that the media plays a constructive role in showcasing the defeats of bandits and terror groups while avoiding sensationalism and inadvertently providing these criminals with unwarranted attention. This approach can contribute to building public confidence in the government’s ability to address insecurity effectively and create an environment that is conducive to investment and national development.

Equally important to note is that, the aspects mentioned earlier, the role of collaborative state vigilantes and the restriction of weapon acquisition and movement are critical in combating insecurity. Collaborative state vigilantes, when properly organized and regulated, can significantly contribute to local security efforts. These vigilantes, when working in conjunction with security forces, can provide valuable intelligence, support, and surveillance within their communities.

As stated by Bello Matawalle nigeria’s state minister for Defense called for concerted efforts to combat the activities of criminal elements, focusing on preventing and addressing attacks, abductions, and other criminal activities. Matawalle emphasized the importance of collaboration between security agencies, local communities, and the government to ensure a unified and effective response to the security challenges.

Moreover, it’s advisedly for Nigerian government to impose a restriction to weapon acquisition and movement which is very essential in curbing the activities of bandits, terrorists, and criminal elements.

There is need for a more stricter regulations regarding the purchase and transportation of firearms can help prevent the proliferation of weapons, thereby reducing the capabilities of these criminal groups.

Additionally, the security at the border level is of utmost importance, as highlighted by the statement from the Kebbi State Governor during his interview on the BBC Hausa Program A fada a cika. The governor’s revelation about people mining illegally in Kebbi from Tanzania, Uganda, and some eastern countries underscores the transnational nature of some criminal activities. Strengthening border security and implementing stringent border controls are crucial in preventing the influx of criminal elements and illegal activities across the borders.

By working to strengthen collaborative state vigilantes, imposing restrictions on weapon acquisition, and enhancing security at the border level, the government can advance its efforts to counter insecurity and criminal activities effectively. This holistic approach, when coupled with the other elements previously discussed, forms a comprehensive strategy for addressing insecurity and restoring stability in Nigeria.

Furthermore, it is imperative that all security personnel receive their allowances and salaries on time to boost their morale and commitment to securing the nation. Timely payment of allowances and salaries is crucial in motivating security personnel and ensuring that they can carry out their duties effectively. This measure is essential for maintaining high morale among security forces and demonstrating the government’s commitment to their well-being.

Moreover, there is an urgent need for serious collaborative measures between all state governments to curb the menace of insecurity before it consumes the nation. Inter-state collaboration and coordination in combating insecurity are crucial for creating a unified front against criminal elements and fostering a comprehensive and effective response.

Additionally, mapping out ways to rehabilitate those involved in criminal activities and disabuse the minds of those attracted to evil acts is essential for addressing the root causes of insecurity. By providing avenues for rehabilitation and addressing the underlying factors that drive individuals to criminality, the government can work toward preventing the perpetuation of insecurity in the long term.

As the wise says “Strength in unity, shield the flock with resolve, and
Arrest the beast’s grip, and watch the nation evolve.”

This riddle encapsulates the analysis of the multifaceted strategies required to combat insecurity across Nigeria, emphasizing the importance of unity, proactive measures, and a concerted national effort to achieve lasting peace and security.

Opinion

Letter To The President On The Re-Introduction Of Subsidy

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Dear President Tinubu

Sir,every Nigerian with rudimentary knowledge of economics will agree with you that fuel subsidy has to go, it has stagnate the growth of our economy over the years,benefitting only selected few.
Most Nigerians have no qualms with subsidy removal,its the approach that was used that we have reservation for. There is no doubt that the removal of fuel subsidy had ripple effect on the woof and warp of Nigeria’s economic fabric. The private sector is struggling to keep up with the reality of the moment and civil servants in public sector are financially incapacitated.
Nigeria’s present consumer price index (CPI), stood at almost 30%, this clearly shows a reduction in the citizens purcasing power. Families are finding it difficult to have 2 meals a day; this will have resultant negative effects on the health of the citizens and may reduce manpower ability to contribute to the Nations gross domestic product (GDP).
Nigeria at this point needs to invest massively in agriculture, to make surplus food available to the citizens at an affordable rate. Agriculture is one of the most subsidized sector of most world power’s economy. United States,Russia and China controls the world grains reserve because of the subsidies available for agriculture and other working policies. NIRSAL is a case study of working policy in Nigeria, its a fantastic government programme that was supposed to transform Nigeria’s agriculture by making funds available to real farmers who produce what Nigerians consume daily,but it could not achieve its objective due to the Nigerian factor.

Yes, subsidy is gone in the petroleum industry, but it needs to be re-introduced into agriculture to make funds available for small scale farmers who produce 70% of the food items consumed in Nigeria. Also, there is the need for more regulatory policies in the agrochemical industry to control sub-standard products in the market and possibly provide tax waivers to reduce the market price of these agrochemicals.

Fertilizer is a key component of agricultural production which must be made available to farmers at subsidized rate. The e-wallet template used by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina of African development bank when he was Nigeria’s minister of agriculture is a tested and verified framework for reaching out to small scale farmers.

Insecurity is an integral index in Nigeria’s agricultural sector today, there is the need to improve on the country’s security architecture and a synergy should be put in place betwern the proposed agro-rangers and the various security apparatus ( army,airfoce, police etc). Farmers should be able to go about their business with maximum safety and also a viable solution must be worked out to put a stop to farmers/cattle rearers conflict by establishing a symbiotic relationship between both party.

The twelve River Basin Development Authorities can provide the fulcrum for achieving food security, with thousands of hectares of lands,Dams,Canals and other Irrigation structures in their control for achieving an all year round farming. More funds needs to be funneled into these agencies for revitalization and expansion of existing infrastructures.
Nigeria is presently at a turbulent time in its economic history; making food available to the masses at an affordable rate through subsidized agriculture is necessary to extinguish the embers of looming disquiet in Nigeria.
Ibrahim Baba-Ibrahim writes from Ilorin. ibrahimbabaibrahim@gmail.com

08031163326.

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Opinion

Government Panics as Cost of Living Crisis Deepens

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Professor Jibril Ibrahim

 

Jibrin Ibrahim

The Tinubu Administration is a fanatic believer in economic liberalism and market forces. Based on its belief, it cancelled fuel subsidy and floated the naira so that it can find its true value. The naira played its part and has been rising steadily desperately searching for its true market value, which it turns out, is still very far away. The result is a “misery crisis” as food prices rise beyond the incomes of ordinary citizens whose naira is too small to enable them purchase food and hunger and anger spreads throughout the land. The President who always tells Nigerians that he understands their pains then offers a solution and orders distribution of free grains from the Strategic Food Reserves. It turned out the civil servants forgot to brief him that the reserves are empty.

Over the past few weeks, hunger and anger have led to street protests all over the country and strike threats. Our politically savvy President sensing the danger decides that since the stupid market forces are now threatening his turn to rule in peace, he must find a diversion. If you search, you will find. The Bureau de Change operators, the “Mallams”, are responsible for destroying the capacity of the “market forces” he unleashed to bring down the cost of living. He therefore got the EFCC to establish a Special Task Force across its commands, to clamp down on individuals “dollarizing” the Nigerian economy. The gun trotting operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have since Monday been raiding Bureau de Change operators and arresting them all over the country. The task force which was inaugurated by the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Ola Olukoyede, was raised: “to protect the economy from abuses, leakages, and distortions exposing it to instability and disruption”, we were told.

Those of us of a certain age were brought up in an era in which the dollar did not circulate as a means of exchange or store of value and we used our currency, the naira. Did our Afrobeat hero Fela Kuti not do to jail for having dollars cash that he wanted to travel out of the country with to perform in a concert? Then the neoliberals told us it was imperative to allow free purchase and sell of foreign currency. They even encouraged us to open domiciliary accounts in our banks to store foreign currency which government guaranteed will be safe as the ideology of free markets requires the assurance. The Central Bank of Nigeria licensed thousands of BDCs and asked them to trade in currencies. Why the hell are they being arrested today for doing what the law asked them to do? The other panic move is to place the blame on crypto-currency websites for stealing the value of the naira. The issue is that the few people with naira, conscious of its steady and daily loss of value, would seek to protect their asset anyway they can, won’t they?

The fact of the matter is that we are simply not earning enough foreign currency to meet our high demands for imported goods. In so doing, for decades, we have relied on petroleum rent as our major source of foreign currency. Then to our shock, in 2022, the Group Managing Director of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, explained to us in a State House media briefing that most of our petroleum was being stolen so the dollars are no longer coming in. Mr. Kyari blamed various sections of the Nigerian society for being complicit in the theft of millions of barrels of crude oil, mentioning even that make-shift pipelines and stolen fuel have been found in churches and mosques.

We were told that between January and July 2022, Africa’s biggest oil producer lost an average of 437,000 barrels of oil a day to criminal entities and individuals who illicitly tap pipelines onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta region. The solution to the problem is therefore clear – stop the oil theft and more dollars will come in. The bigger issue is that for a rentier State, safeguarding the source of rent is an existential problem and simple logic should have prevailed and made the state stop the theft. The underlying reality, as we all know however, is that our political leaders and upper echelons of our security forces are beneficiaries of the oil theft. They have taken the decision to eat the goose that lays the golden egg and move to Dubai thereafter as rich refugees.

There is still an explanation needed for the astronomic collapse of the Naira over the past few weeks. What the hell is going on? The answer, says the research done by Business Day is that we should look at those with a lot of naira – government. Since the removal of fuel subsidy, the Federal and State governments have been receiving massive amounts of naira through the disbursement of money by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). BusinessDay learnt that portions of the funds from FAAC were often changed to dollars by some governments at the parallel market, putting more pressure on the naira. Their analysis shows that from July 2023 to January 2024, the naira depreciated in the black market for the six months immediately after the FAAC shared money to the federal, state and local governments:

“With the removal of fuel subsidy, more volumes of naira are being shared by the federal, state and local governments and some of these monies are changed to dollars at the parallel market.” BusinessDay has asked us to open our eyes from now on. We should note the price of dollars one week before FAAC allocation, check back the price after the allocation and you will see clearly the difference. Let’s all do that and know that those who should go to jail are some of our governors and ministers. President Tinubu, please stop panicking, just look around you and you shall see.

Professor Jibrin Ibrahim
Senior Fellow
Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja
Follow me on twitter @jibrinibrahim17

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Opinion

How Senator Saliu Mustapha is ameliorating the hardships in Kwara Central

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By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

It is no longer news that inflation is ravaging the country and it has adversely affected the economic power of the citizens. The surge in the prices of grains and other commodities in the market is alarming and heart-wrenching.

Senator Saliu Mustapha, having been a philantropist and a figure with a good heart prior his ascension to the Senate, understood the implications and consequences of such situations and had, as a matter of urgency, reached out to some indigent households in Kwara Central Senatorial District through distribution of rice and other items in late December, 2023.

Similarly, in mid January,2024 he rolled out NECO, WAEC and UTME scholarships for considerable number of indigent students across some selected schools in Kwara Central. The Chairman, Saliu Mustapha Foundation Education Committee, Prof. Binta Suleiman, who represented Turaki of Ilorin during the flag-off ceremony held at Socrates College, Ilorin admonished the beneficiaries to be focused, dedicated, disciplined and committed to their educational pursuits. She reiterated the commitment of Senator Mustapha to the educational development of his Senatorial district with further award of full scholarship to deserving students among the beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Saliu Mustapha Foundation Education Committee, Yakub Ishowo, explained that the committee initially planned the registration and capturing of the beneficiaries for one week, but was extended to capture over 2000 beneficiaries. Being a member of the committee I can attest to the assertion of the secretary.

Most of the parents of the beneficiaries appreciated the Senator and prayed to Allah to grant him long life and good health. In one of the videos shared by Alhaji Jagunma, one of the parents said they never expected it and that it was enough an evidence that the selection process was devoid of political affiliations and biases. Rather, the emphasis was on those who actually needed it, which were indigent students.

Essentially, the Turaki of Ilorin is much aware of the fact that sharing of food items is a temporary measure to cushion the effects of the inflation at all levels of the society and that the Federal and State governments are working together to ensure a permanent solution that would bring succour to the entire country.

In Mustapha’s philosophy, one should reach out to people in one’s neighbourhood no matter how little, because it would help in alleviating their conditions. One does not have to wait to become a rich person before extending the hand of fellowship to the less privileged in his or her community.

Most importantly,I can confirm recently that Saliu Mustapha has started giving out appointment letters to some individuals in Kwara Central. This will be a continuous thing so that an appreciably large coverage is attained ultimately.

I have always said it that when one’s is fixing other people’s lives, he or she is invariably fixing his or her own life too. According to a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, “we cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs”. This is in tandem with the philosophy of Senator Mustapha, hence he is working tirelessly to build others.

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