How Nigeria can defeat insecurity, restore peace, order – Buratai

Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd)
The Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd), has called for comprehensive measures with all stakeholders playing key roles, if Nigeria was to effectively tackle insecurity and restore peace and order.

Nigeria currently faces various forms of insecurity in different parts of the country such as insurgency in the North East, banditry and kidnapping in the North West, agitations for secession in the South East and crude oil bunkering in the South South leading to loss of thousands of lives, billions of dollars on economic losses, billions of naira in ransom payment, destruction of properties in millions, jeorpadizing children’s education among others.

According to the former Chief of Army staff, Nigeria needs to apply 66.67% non-kinetic approach to banditry by engaging bandits in dialogue using traditional leaders in the various communities. He also called for the creation of border security to tackle the migration of foreign bandits and other foreign criminals into the country, noting that everybody needs to participate in achieving a peaceful nation.

Addressing one day symposium on National Security with the theme: ‘Politics and Insecurity in Nigeria; the Way Forward’, organised by Arewa House on Saturday in Kaduna, Buratai tasked the National Security Adviser to collaborate with foreign security chiefs of neighbouring countries to fish out sponsors of insurgency and banditry in Nigeria with a view to curtailing their nefarious activities.

Buratai suggested the adoption of comprehensive and integrated approach to enable the entire society play key roles in tackling the country’s security challenges.

He explained that the approach should entail the involvement of critical stakeholders from the society, such as religious leaders, youths, teachers, women, civil society, media, law enforcement as well as the security and intelligence agencies.

“There is a need for the public to be constantly sensitised and enlightened on their roles as stakeholders in the security architecture of the country through agencies such as the National Orientation Agency, among others. Nigeria needs to revitalise the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to mitigate the challenge of lack of specialised equipment and platforms for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to curb insecurity.

“This is crucial in meeting the increasing equipment requirements of AFN to confront current and emerging security threats. To achieve this, the Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with stakeholders, could put structures in place for adequate manpower training for DICON staff. This would further enhance their specialised manpower and increase their capacity for production of military hardware for the AFN,” he said.

The former Army chief noted that the ongoing reforms of the Nigerian Police Force, procurement of modern platforms for intelligence gathering, and effective control of Nigeria’s porous borders would go a long way in achieving the desired security in the country.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, assured the symposium of traditional and religious institutions’ commitment in ensuring they play their strategic roles in achieving a peaceful Nigeria.

The Sultan, who was represented by Dr. Bello Lafiagi, urged Nigerians to be prayerful and be each other’s brothers’ keepers, by exhibiting a high level of trust and compassion.

For Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, the non-kinetic approach is best in tackling banditry in the country.

He said the bandits are ready to lay down their arms if they will be provided the nesesary succour, adding that federal government should dialogue with them now as they are vulnerable to ISWAP and Boko Haram who are already attempting to recruit them.

“After my discussion with the bandits, I realised that they are ready to lay down their arms the only problem is we the people in the towns. They want a genuine peace process. They are only aggrieved that we left them unattended without education, without amenities. Their agitation is not ideological.

“But now I found it hard labelling these people as terrorists, killing them at sight, killing their families and their children. Then they would embrace the terrorism, they would give terrorism passage instead of using them to repel terrorism. Let’s go in, let’s talk to these people, let’s hear their demands and use intelligence to resolve them. That is what Boko Haram is doing now, taking to them and trying to recruit them,” Dr. Gumi said.

The symposium was attended by representatives of heads of military and paramilitary organisations, religious and traditional rulers, academics, among others.

(Blueprint)

100m Nigerians living with poverty are my structures – Peter Obi

The Labour Party has issued its certificate of return to its candidate, Peter Obi as its flag bearer in the 2023 presidential election.

The certificate of return was handed over to Obi on Friday at its headquarters in Abuja by the Party’s National Chairman Barrister Julius Abure.

The chairman while handing over the certificate indicated that the day was historic not just in the life of the party but for the people of Nigeria.

“I said so because it is a new dawn for the people of this country. It is a new dawn because the people have been enslaved over the years and a new movement has began that will liberate them from the slavery of hunger, poverty, employment, bad governance and insecurity in the land.

“Today we have started this movement and nothing, no amount of intimidation, no amount of pretence of factionalization, no amount if stopping us from registering or preventing us from participating in the ongoing voter registration will stop this movement.

“Wherever I have been to people have confronted me on how Am i going to deliver Peter Obi since you have no structure and my response has always been that a people that have decided to liberate themselves you can never stop them.

“I have also maintained that it is people that form structure. The structure belongs to the people and the people of Nigeria have made up their minds to liberate themselves and what will happen in the next few weeks will shock you what Nigeria s will do.

“We already have structure across the country, across the states and local government as well as in the units.

That structure will be further ventilated because Nigerians have decided to make a change and this change is inevitable. “

The presidential candidate Peter Obi while responding said; “Whenever I hear of no structure my answer to it is simple. The 100 million Nigerians living under poverty will be the structure. The 35 million Nigerian youths who don’t know where the next meal will come from, will be structure.

“The elderly, the mothers and fathers, the old ones that are dying or being owed gratuity and pension, will be the structure, ASUU, the lecturers who are being owed, the students that are not in school will be the structure since it is all about the structures of a human being.

He said in 2011 when ASUU went on Strike, though he could not meet up but he was able to strike a middle ground with ASUU.

According to him Anambra State University is not part of the ongoing ASUU strike because the precedent he set of N5b subvention yearly is still on.

He said the money that was in his custody was for the public hence he had the duty to utilize it judiciously for the people.

He promised to turn Nigeria from a consumer nation to producer nation.

“We must talk about the future of Nigeria to change the trend to ensure that our youth become productive, woth job opportunities, our aim us to move Nigeria from consumption to production.”

(Blueprint)

Muslim-Muslim ticket: APC won’t ride on cheap sentiments of religion, ethnicity – Lukman

The National Vice Chairman, North-west of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Mohd. Lukman has warned that for the country to move forward, 2023 Presidential campaigns must not reduce important debates to sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion.

The former Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) said APC will not ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity in choosing its running mate for its presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He argued that the adoption of ethnicity and religious considerations in decision-making in the past has not only stalled development, but it has also further divided the masses of the country.

Reacting to the current debate on a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the ruling party at the 2023 Presidential election, Lukman in a statement titled “Issues for APC 2023 Presidential Campaign” warned against these primordial considerations as the standard-bearer of the ruling party picks his running mate ahead of 17th June deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Admitting the importance of ethnicity and religion, the APC leader maintained that political leaders should not be allowed to ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to opportunistically win elections.

He argued that as “important as ethnic and religious identities are, addressing challenges facing the country, requires that political leaders are not allowed to ride on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to opportunistically win elections.

“If Nigeria is to move forward, 2023 Presidential campaigns must not reduce important debates of moving Nigeria forward to sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion. If the truth is to be told, both Islam and Christianity, as well as all our ethnic factors have been used in equal measure to hold Nigeria at a standstill.”

He alleged that many religious and ethnic leaders have used and are still using religion and ethnicity to pollute the minds of Nigerians against one another.

According to him, “If Nigerian politics is to overcome the adversities of these so-called religious and ethnic leaders, religious and ethnic backgrounds of leaders must be subordinated to experiential attributes of persons being considered for leadership.”

Lukman pointed out that whatever is the final choice of Asiwaju and APC leaders concerning who emerges as the running mate, the 2023 Presidential election will be keenly contested, irrespective of religious and ethnic identity of both Asiwaju Tinubu and whoever the running mate may be.

He counselled APC leaders to acknowledge the fact that the 2023 elections present another golden opportunity for the APC to re-invent itself.

Lukman argued that the primordial sentiments expressed before the emergence of the APC flag bearer have shown that for the country to move forward we have to jettison these considerations.

According to the former director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), “Against very strong sentiments and dominant ethnic and religious politics, which weigh heavily against Asiwaju, both within the APC, but perhaps more promoted by a very sectarian and conservative strategy of winning cheap votes of Nigerians by the PDP and their sympathisers, which led to the emergence of Alh. Atiku Abubakar as the PDP Presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Asiwaju Tinubu emerged as the Presidential candidate of the APC.”

As the opposition is using the challenges facing the country as campaign tools to further divide Nigerians, Lukman, advised that “APC’s 2023 presidential campaign must be about uniting citizens to move Nigeria forward. It must be about issues and proposals for nation-building.

“It must be about pushing Nigerians to take all the hard decisions based on respect, equity and fair representation. This is what the Presidential candidature of Asiwaju Tinubu should represent. APC should win the 2023 presidential election based on a convincing promise for national unity.

“A major objective of APC 2023 Presidential campaign should be to correct all the false narratives being propagated by opposition parties that APC government has failed. The campaign should instead focus more on showcasing the achievements of APC-led Federal Government, which is about rebuilding the country. For instance, achievements in the areas of social investment, infrastructure and agriculture can effectively provide APC’s contrasting scorecard. Since emerging as the governing party in 2015, APC Federal Government has implemented National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which is far more than what any government in the past has done. Founded on four pillars of N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Home Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), millions of poor Nigerians are benefiting from these initiatives. For instance, GEEP has disbursed N36.9 billion in interest-free loans of between N50,000 to N350,000 to more than 2.3 million Nigerians. Under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, 9.9 million primary 1 – 3 pupils in 54,952 public primary schools in 35 states are benefiting. Additional 107,000 cooks have been engaged. In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer, more than 3 million poor and vulnerable households have been registered on the National Social Register, out of which more than one million families are currently being paid N5,000 monthly.

“In the area of infrastructure, when President Buhari’s administration assumed office in 2015, the total budget for Federal Roads by the outgoing PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan was 18 billion Naira, which is only about 25% of the Lagos State roads budget for that year. The persistent skeletal funding translated to abandoned or slow-moving road projects across the country. APC administration increased allocation to the roads budget to more than 200 billion Naira per annum. In addition, more resources were devoted to construction of road and transport infrastructure than any other administration since 1999, and the results are roads, bridges, highways, rail lines and stations, and air and seaport upgrades. Currently, there are around 900 active road contracts covering the construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation of more than 13,000km of Federal roads and highways across the country, out of a total of 35,000km of Federal roads in existence.

“In the area of agriculture, APC led government of President Buhari established National Food Security Council (NFSC), Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), National Livestock Transformation Plan, Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and Creation of an Enabling Environment. Specifically, ABP for instance, implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2015, provided more than 300 billion Naira to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soy Beans, Groundnut, Fish), across Nigeria, successfully cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland. PFI has produced and delivered to the Nigerian market over 30 million 50kg bags equivalent of fertilizer, at reduced prices; and resulted in the revival or construction of no fewer than 40 moribund fertilizer blending plants across the country. Nigeria today has 44 functioning blending plants, with more on the way as a result of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI).”

(Blueprint)