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Nigeria in trouble, seek help, Afenifere tells Buhari:

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Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be decisive in confronting the security situation and urged him to seek external help in order to prevent the country from collapsing.
The organisation stated that apart from the bomb blast that happened in Maiduguri on Thursday, the day the President visited that city, the Nigeria Immigration Service also revealed in a letter to its border posts, dated December 23, 2021 that terrorists from Mali planned to attack the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
to see the security situation in the country as warlike and one that requires recalling retired intelligence officers to complement the efforts of existing security organs.
Afenifere stated this in a statement on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Jare Ajayi.
It said, “The above are aside from kidnapping, killing, arson and burning of vehicles conveying people from one place to another as it happened on Kaduna highway, in Borno and Katsina states, etc, recently.”
Afenifere also said, “The president must come out openly to give an ultimatum of two weeks to those carrying arms illegally to lay down their arms. Within the period, retired intelligence officers should be encouraged to report at military formations nearest to them with a view to reintegrating them into the system. Needed weapons and incentives must be provided just as the intelligence units within the security organs should be rejigged to weed out the fifth columnists in the army.
“Overtures should be made to certain powers that have control over our neighbouring countries from where terrorists infiltrate our country. Among such superpowers that need to be consulted are France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Germany, Israel and the United States of America.

“The rationale behind this is to seek direct assistance in terms of logistics as well as for some of them, particularly France, to work on French-speaking neighbouring countries to help curtail insurgents using their territories to infiltrate Nigeria.”
The group said beyond seeking foreign help, the Federal Government must show genuine commitment to ridding the country of insurgency and other related criminalities.
“This it can do successfully by stopping to treat bandits and terrorists with kid gloves, by genuinely providing needed equipment to the army and other security agencies, by truly engaging the youths into ventures that would earn them a livelihood, by no longer treating some bandits and terrorists as sacred cows and by liberalising the economy in such a way that the costs of commodities and services in the country would come down considerably.
“Above all, states and local governments that are willing should be allowed to have their own policing system up to the level of investigation and prosecution without let or hindrance,” Afenifere said.
It also said, “It is disheartening that terrorists had the temerity to launch attacks near Maiduguri on Thursday, December 23, 2021 around the time the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, was visiting Maiduguri and other parts of Borno State.
“Reports also have it that the Nigeria Immigration Service has put its officers at various border posts on red alert of a looming terrorist attack on the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“According to the Immigration Service, the step was based on the intelligence report it received from the presidency that some terrorists from West African neighbour, Mali, want to move through the NigeriaNiger Republic border to launch an attack in Abuja.

“The letter, dated December 23, 2021, was titled ‘Terrorists Plan Attacks in Abuja’ and signed by the Land Border Patrol Commander, Edirin Okoto, on behalf of the Acting Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Idris Jere.
“If steps suggested above are taken, the vow made by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) last week Thursday would be easy to fulfil. It will be recalled that the COAS had, during his visit to the 7th Division, Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri last week, asserted that the Nigerian Army is ‘committed to ending the (Boko Haram) war and other security challenges such as banditry and kidnapping and other crimes bedevilling the country’.
“To Afenifere, it was not the first time such declaration would be made either by President Buhari or the security chiefs. But rather than the insecurity being checkmated, the situation has been going from bad to worse.
“It is high time President Buhari heeded the advice being given from various quarters, including the ones by eminent Nigerians led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the one that emanated from the Inclusive Security Dialogue Retreat which held in Abuja a few weeks ago and attended by the same Chief Obasanjo; Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto; Reverend Samson Supo Ayokunle, CAN President; Chief Edwin Clark and many other leaders from the ethnic nationalities.
“They had called on the president to urgently convene a national conciliatory conference to address the underlying issues of our challenges that successive governments have ignored.”

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$418m Paris Club Refund: Govs Tackle Malami, Say Action Fraudulent, Self-Serving

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Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday described the positions of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on the controversial $418 million Paris Club contractors’ fee as “fraudulent and self-serving.”

The NGF Chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, disclosed the position of the forum in a communique issued at the end of its meeting, held at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Fayemi, while reading the communique to journalists, said the governors had resolved to pursue the issue, which is before the law court, to a logical conclusion so as to know the next steps to take on the matter.

The governors, who insisted that the deductions for the payment of said consultancy were illegal, especially as the matter is before the courts, said Malami was not acting in public interest.

“The forum extensively reviewed the purported attempt by the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Finance to circumvent the law and a recent judgment of the Supreme Court, to secure the approval of the Federal Executive Council, to effect illegal payment of the sum of $418 million to contractors who allegedly executed consultancies in respect to the Paris Club Refunds to state and local governments.

“The forum set up a committee comprising the Chairman, the governor of Ekiti State, the Vice Chairman, the governor of Ondo State, the governor of Plateau State, the governor of Nasarawa State and the governor of Ebonyi State, to interface with the committee set up by Mr. President to review the matter.

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“But the position of the Governors’ Forum is clear and unequivocal. Although this matter is sub-judice and we are very reluctant to get in the way of a matter that is still being pursued in the courts, we are constrained by the manner in which the Honorable Attorney-General has been going around various media houses and purporting to create the impression that this is a liability to which governors have committed themselves to and agreed to, even though he is very much aware that that’s not the case.

“We reject all of the claims that he has made on these issues and we also insist that states will not give up on insisting that these purported claims are fraudulent and will not stand, as far as governors are concerned, and we will take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that these purported consultancies are fully litigated upon by the highest courts in the land.

“If the courts now find governors and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and states liable, then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. As far as we are concerned, this is a matter that governors feel very strongly about and we do not believe that the Attorney-General of the Federation is acting in the public interest. We believe he’s acting in personal, selfish interest, that would ultimately become clear when this matter is fully addressed in the law courts,” he said.

The governors, who also deliberated on the prevailing economic and security situation in the country, agreed to intervene by engaging with the federal government and other stakeholders to deliberate, suggest immediate action plans on ameliorate the current situations.

“The Forum extensively discussed the state of the Nigerian economy and security, following a presentation by Mr. Bismarck Rewani, member of the President’s Economic Advisory Council, the Forum resolved to immediately engage with the federal government and other critical stakeholders; Labour, the presidential candidates of political parties, and corporate actors on finding resolutions and suggestions to implement a set of immediate actions to ameliorate the worsening economic conditions in the country”, he said.

On the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the communique said “on the prolonged strike by Nigerian universities, the forum encourages the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities to find meaningful resolutions to the lingering impasse and as proposed to engage with both parties, just as we have done in the past, in a bid to ending the strike”.

The communique further revealed that the Forum discussed several other issues, ranging from resolve to increase funding for the health care sector to encouraging fiscal transparency in states.

Daily Trust
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Ex-IBB spokesman, Duro Onabule, dies at 83

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Duro Onabule, former Chief Press Secretary of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has died at the age of 83.

The veteran journalist reportedly died on Tuesday evening.

A close associate of Onabule’s family, Chief Eric Teniola, broke the news of the foremost journalist’s death, saying, “Chief Duro Onabule died this evening”.

He Onabule was presidential spokesman for the greater part of Babangida nine-year administration when the government shut down many newspapers and magazines and slammed their publishers with temporary proscription to make them comply with the code of conduct set up by the administration.

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He was born in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on September 27, 1939 and graduated from CMS Grammar School and School of Journalism, London.

He started his first media work as a reporter at the Daily Express in 1961. Three years later, he joined the Daily Sketch and spent some time there before going back to his previous employer, Daily Express.

In 1969, he served as the London correspondent of the Express. In the mid-1970s, he worked for the Daily Times and later became a deputy editor of the Headlines magazine.

Onabule was appointed features editor when the late MKO Abiola started Concord Press and in 1984, he became the editor of Concord newspaper.

He was a columnist at the Sun newspapers until his death.

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Insecurity: Lagos considers total ban on okada

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The Lagos State Government says it is considering a total ban on commercial motorcycles in all local government areas of the state.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said this at a stakeholders forum organised to review the ban on commercial motorcycles in parts of the state.

The forum, held in Lagos on Tuesday, had the theme: “Okada Ban, What Next: Review of Enforcement and Compliance, Two Months After.”

The Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, on June 1 banned the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in six local government areas and nine LCDAs.

The six local governments are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa.

Omotosho said after seeing the results of the ban in the six local government areas, the people of Lagos had been calling on the government to expand the ban.

“Some people have suggested that the ban should be statewide, considering the present anxiety over security,” he added.

According to him, the forum is to take stock of the government decision on the ban and agree on the next step to take.

He recalled the criticisms that initially trailed the ban, “based largely on sentiments of those who had not witnessed the havoc some of the Okada riders caused in the areas of health and security.

“Residents were being robbed of their belongings by robbers who used motorcycles to flee scenes of crimes.

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“Our public hospitals were being filled with victims of Okada accidents, doctors had their hands full at Emergency wards, and hoodlums who rode unregistered motorbikes posed great security risks.”

The commissioner said all stakeholders now have the opportunity to make suggestions on what steps the government should take on the matter.

In his remark, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde said that the ban had recorded significant successes and compliance.

Oladeinde said in the affected areas within the period under review, available records’ showed that crime and accidents had reduced drastically.

“In the affected areas within the period under review, available records’ show that crime and accident rate reduced astronomically by 86 per cent and 63.7 per cent, respectively.

“While a total of 7,500 motorcycles were impounded and crushed accordingly,” he added.

He said that the rise in the level of insecurity nationwide has made it imperative to review the impact on the ban on motorcycles in parts of the state and further steps to protect the people.

“The Federal Government is presently considering the total ban of motorcycle operations across the federation as most of these underground activities are been enhanced with the use of motorcycles.

“Also, the attention of the state government has been drawn to the security threat parading the news across all socio-media platforms that some unscrupulous individuals are planning to attack the state.”

Oladeinde said the government was already working round the clock to secure the state.

The commissioner said the focus on Okada operation was due to their non-compliance to traffic rules and regulations, and its being used for robbery, kidnapping, arms supply and attack on citizens.

He said the forum was expected to re-ignite the state’s commitment to tackling traffic rules violations and criminals operating as commercial riders.

The Special Adviser to the governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa said the forum should come up with suggestions to guide the government on decisions to take on the operation of Okada riders.

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