Amid fear of an imminent Boko Haram attack in the Federal Capital Territory, visitors were barred from entering the Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase I located in the Three Arms Zones, Abuja.
One of our correspondents, who monitored events in front of one of the gates for about 30 minutes on Friday, observed that men of the Nigerian Legion as well as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were seen ensuring that only civil servants with identification cards were granted access onto the premises.
The security personnel were also seen turning back those without valid ID cards, pointing them to a notice on the wall of the gatehouse on the need to beef up security.
The notice directed that persons without ID cards not be allowed onto the premises, while also banning hawking in front of the complex.
Cobblers and hawkers of fruits, recharge cards and snacks were fond of selling their wares in front of the complex.
Female soldiers keep vigil at Mogadishu Cantonment
Armed female soldiers were, in the early hours of Friday, stationed at strategic points in front of the Mogadishu Cantonment, popularly called Abacha Barracks.
The troops are of the Nigerian Army Women Corps.
They were seen at the foot of the pedestrian bridge in front of the gate on both the Abuja-bound and Keffi-bound lanes of the Abuja-Keffi Expressway.
The stern-looking soldiers did not allow drivers to stop anywhere in front of the barracks.
Also, at the Louis Edet House, headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, vehicles entering the premises were seen being thoroughly searched when one of our correspondents visited.
Panic among parents
Some parents and guardians, out of panic, again stormed some schools to withdraw their children and wards.
Eyewitnesses identified the Government Science Secondary School opposite Maitama General Hospital and the Federal Government Technical College, Orozo as some of the schools in the FCT that were stormed by parents.
A woman simply identified as Sophie told one of our correspondents that she did not bother to allow her children to go to school on Friday.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed. With all we have been hearing about possible attacks since last week, it would be foolish of any parent to still allow kids like mine to go to school today,” she said.
Cop killed as El-Zakzaky followers, police clash
Meanwhile, there was tension in the Wuse/Berger area of the FCT on Friday when members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, otherwise known as Shi’ites, clashed with policemen.
An Assistant Superintendent of Police, Adama Ezekiel, was confirmed to have been killed in the process.
The protesters, it was gathered, were demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife from detention when they clashed with policemen.
The news of the incident further caused anxiety among residents.
A commercial driver in the area who gave his name simply as Williams told one of our correspondents, “I saw them during their protest coming from Wuse Zone 3 and chanting songs of solidarity for the release of El-Zakzaky.
“I cannot say what caused the clash but the protesters were aggressive. People ran for cover and I also did. I later saw police officers and Special Weapons and Tactics officials here.”
A trader in the area who did not want her name in print said the Shi’ite members attacked a police officer and attempted to snatch his gun.
“They were throwing stones and not long after, we started hearing sounds gunshot in the area. Everywhere was in turmoil. They also beat a policewoman mercilessly and tried to snatch her gun but she held on to it,” she said.
But the spokesman of the FCT Command, ASP Mariam Yusuf, in a statement, alleged that a police officer, Adama Ezekiel, was killed during the protest.
Yusuf stated that members of the disbanded sect went on the rampage, destroying properties and attacking innocent citizens, including police officers, with weapons, adding that 49 protesters had been arrested and would be arraigned in court upon conclusion of investigation.
She said, “The police successfully restored calm at Berger Roundabout after dispersing a violent protest by some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria – Shi’ites.
“Unfortunately, members of the disbanded sect went on the rampage, destroying public property and attacking innocent citizens including police officers using weapons such as cutlasses, sharp knives, etc.
“Sadly, one of the police officers, ASP Adama Ezekiel, deployed to restore calm during the violent protest, paid the supreme price as a result of the brutal attack where he was stabbed by one of the irate protesters.”
According to her, the Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, commiserated with the family of the deceased.
The statement added, “The command wishes to state that it will not condone further attacks on its personnel, equipment or other public property by members of the proscribed group.
“The command implores residents to remain calm and law-abiding, while reaffirming its unwavering commitment to the protection of lives and property within the FCT.”
When contacted on the telephone to react to the police’s claim, the spokesperson for the Shi’ites, Ibrahim Musa, said the police shot one IMN member and arrested over 50.
“I cannot ascertain all the causalities at our end but more than 50 of our members have been arrested and one shot by the police,” Musa said.
East-West road, 43 others to be completed without delay – Fashola
All 44 road projects in the approved phase two of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme including the East-West road will be completed without any delay or break.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), stated this, stressing that sustainability of funding for the critical infrastructure in Nigeria would be guaranteed.
Fashola, who spoke in Abuja, noted that unlike in the past, when there was inadequate funding of infrastructure, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had secured alternative sources of funding that could guarantee sustainability from the beginning of the projects to their completion.
He said the tax credit scheme remained a new model that encourages partnership with private companies where taxes are paid in advance to enable the government invest in notable projects that would be beneficial to its citizens.
The minister said the Federal Government had focused on nine major axes of Nigeria, adding that the A1 – A4 axis covered the Northern part of the country, while the A5-A9 axis covered the East and West of the country.
He said the successful completion of all the roads would lead to sustainable mobility for Nigerians.
“The roads like Akure – Ado –Ekiti and East-West which people have been complaining about would be adequately catered for with the approval of the second phase of the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme,” he said.
On payment of compensation, Fashola noted that it would not be paid to anyone occupying the government’s Right of Way (RoW) and appealed to members of the communities occupying the areas to vacate.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, represented by the Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Folorunsho Esan, said in line with the Executive Order 7 (2019), phase one was approved on October 27, 2021.
He stated that with the completion of phase one, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has also approved phase II of the scheme to fund 44 critical road infrastructure to the tune of N1.96 trillion naira.
Esan said that as it was done with phase one, phase two would be governed by a set of guidelines to be issued to each contractor, adding that there would be a funding intervention agreement to be implemented in addition to the standard condition of the contract governing the execution of the projects.
He said that the availability of this new funding window will ensure steady cash flow and a timely completion of projects.
He also stated that the NNPC intervention which began in October 2021 with phase one has now occupied the top of the log with a portfolio well in excess of N2.6 trillion.
On the part of NNPC, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Mele Kyari, who was represented by the Chief Financial Officer, Umar Aliya, said that funding would not be an issue anymore as the company is committed to fully funding the next phase.
“We are committed to setting aside funds for phase II. Funding would not be a problem. What is important to us is that our consultant will need to validate the value for money and the quality of work. We will not compromise the quality and timely completion of work,“ he said.
“There is no need for excuses. As for us, on our part, we are committed and we implore the contractors to do quality work and do it on time so that the road projects can be open for use to Nigerians,” he added.
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) Mohammed Nami, explained that most of the roads captured by Executive Order 7 to be executed by the NNPC were mostly road projects inherited by the administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
“So, we are appealing to Nigerians to trust Executive order 007 so that government will continue to provide the physical infrastructure that our people need,“he said.
Nigeria ranks 150 out of 180 countries in 2022 Transparency International Corruption Index
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, has announced that Nigeria ranked 150 out of 180 countries in the 2022 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
This according to Rafsanjani is four places lower than the 154th position in the country’s 2021 CPI results.
Rafsanjani made the announcement on Tuesday at a press briefing held at CISLAC meeting hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
He however added that in terms of points, the country has retrained 24 points it had in 2021.
He also noted that the data index used for the CPI is not collected by CISLAC/TI- Nigeria but by Independent and reputable organisations with sound research methodologies.
“While Nigeria moved four places up on the country ranking, it has maintained it’s previous score of 24 which is it’s lowest score on the CPI since 2012, which suggests a slowdown in the steady decline observed in the previous three CPI’s, he said.”
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The CISLAC boss lamented the rate of corruption in the country and reserved some blames for the Judiciary.
“Nigeria as a country has reached a point where citizens should come out in their millions to protest against corruption, thus, with the expectations that this regime could address the issue of corruption, yet the world continues to face corruption with the help of high profile officials,” he lamented.
Among other recommendations, CISCLAC called on the executive arm of government to stop granting pardon to corrupt politicians recklessly.
As a means to curb and tackle the incessant corruption in Nigeria, CISLAC also recommended as follows:
1. The presidency, INEC, political parties, security actors and other relevant bodies should ensure that the 2023 general election are free, fair and credible.
2. The relevant anti-graft agencies should ensure that high profile corruption cases are pursued to their logical conclusion for the benefit of Nigeria and her citizens.
3. Agencies given the mandate to recover assets under the proceeds of Crime (and Management) Act 2022 should ensures that they establish a database where information about assets in their custody is easily accessed by citizens in line with the Act and the proactive provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
4. The Federal government should address the lingering issue of oil theft in the country.
5. The relevant agencies should investigate those behind the important of toxic fuel to Nigeria in 2022.
6. The National assembly should ensure transparency in the implementation of the constituency projects. The relevant agencies should ensure that those found guilty are brought to book.
7. With the election fast approaching, the judiciary should ensure more than ever to deliver justice.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) developed by theTransparency International (TI) in 1995 is an annual ranking of countries on the prevalence of corruption within each country, based upon surveys by experts and business executives. It’s aims is to serve as a basis for critical reflection on tangible ways to strengthen the fight against corruption.
No single government can solve Nigeria’s problems – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that no single government can solve Nigeria’s problems.
Buhari, at a state- of- nation dialogue on security, economy and administration of justice in Abuja, stated that efforts of successive governments were required to see the country through its challenges
The President hoped that the event, which was organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), would contribute to Nigeria’s development. Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, reminded lawyers that they owed the nation some responsibilities.
“I would say no one government in this country would be able to solve the problems of Nigeria. But as we build on the precedent set by successive governments, not discarding completely what has been put in place, we would in the course of our desire to build a Nigeria of our dreams, be able to pick one or two things, on which we can concentrate and move.
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“As a government, the outcome of this dialogue can be transmitted to us so that whatever resolutions are reached, that would become part of the documents would prepare us as we transit and hand over to an incoming government.”
Kebbi State Governo, Atiku Bagudu, who also attended the event, said one of the ways to tackle insecurity was to give priority to primary education in the country.
He said most of the causes of insecurity were a result of the breakdown of the social contract towards the people.
Bagudu, therefore, advocated more investment in primary education to turn the situation in the country around.
The governor pointed out that in developed countries, as much as $27,000 is spent on a child, while in Nigeria, a rich state like Lagos, spends far less.
He said: “They (children) have not been provided education. The challenges of inclusion are the most current. We need to include more people and so we have to mobilise more resources.”
Bagudu praised the NBA for the theme of the dialogue, which according to him, is holding ahead of the general election.
Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Amina Mohammed, condemned the attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
She also frowned at attacks on some candidates for the general election, as well as fake news and hate speeches focusing on religious and ethnic identities.
The UN chief said: “INEC has been making great strides in improving the transparency, accountability and credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process. The increase in the number of registered voters from 84m to 93m is encouraging and suggests Nigerians are enthusiastic about the electoral process.
“However, we continue to witness attacks against the institution. Fake news, hate speech, based on religious and ethnic identities, violence against candidates as well as INEC facilities and staff since the political campaigns began.”
Mohammed hoped that the elections would provide an opportunity for Nigerians to unite and shape the future of the nation.
She said as Africa’s largest economy with a youthful population, Nigeria cannot afford to fail.
The UN chief said Nigeria must be steeped in economic, social and environmental principles and must be guided by Agenda 2030 and its 17 goals.
“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent to-do list, a blueprint for global and local action. We needed it to develop peace and prosperity and a thriving natural environment for current and future generations.”
NBA President Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) said there was a need to continuously engage government at all levels on issues affecting the country and the citizenry.
He urged members of the Bench and Bar to always ensure that justice was served without fear of favour.
The New Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, encouraged the deployment of technology to secure the country.
Arase, who added that government cannot solve security problems alone, said the establishment of reform panels over insecurity was a waste of time.
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