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HURIWA to DSS, IGP: fish out armed herdsmen

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has advised the Department of State Security (DSS), and the Inspector General of Police, to fish out armed herdsmen, especially those in the forest before it gets out of hand.

HURIWA wonders why prominent Northerners like Katsina and Zamfara States governors and lately the Kaduna based Islamic cleric Dr. Gumi have had open interfaces with armed Northern bandits but the DSS is yet to arrest the suppliers of those sophisticated weapons being displayed openly during such publicized parleys.

The group said: “We suspect that there are vested interests supplying these weapons of mass destruction to armed Fulani herders also known as armed Northern bandits who have taken control of most forests across the Country. There may be a game plan to put pressure on the Federal government to set up an amnesty office for the soon to be declared repentant bandits to take the shape of the Niger Delta Amnesty office so as to create jobs for the boys now well armed.

“We wonder why the DSS has yet to catch up with the sponsors of these bandits but are often inundating the public space with irritating alarms as if it has become the “village town criers”. Is this why Nigerian public spend billions of public cash to maintain that once professionally excellent security institution? Please the DSS should be operated in line with the law setting it up so all the suppliers of weapons to armed non- state actors especially the armed Fulani herders attacking every community in the country through the forests are arrested prosecuted, sanctioned to save Nigeria from imminent war of ethnicities.”

National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko in a statement issued on Thursday recalled that the renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi, on Tuesday visited some bandits in the forests of Shinkafi and Gummi local government areas of Zamfara State, even as the Cleric was reported to have gone to another forest at Makkai Forest, where he and his entourage met with more than 600 bandits with automatic rifles. And their top commander, one Kachalla Turji, welcomed the Sheikh.

The Rights group citing media report said, like in Tubali, the bandits in Makkai expressed frustration at government attitude towards them even as Gumi said, “Let there be peace; you all have a legitimate concern and grievances, and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling.”

Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator, HURIWA


HURIWA has therefore alleged that there is more to it than meets the eyes if a detailed analysis of the interactions held between the Islamic Cleric and the armed bandits are anything to go by.

The group said: “The texture of the conversations pointed directly to a grand conspiracy to blackmail Nigerians into buying into any future suggestion that the government should set up an amnesty office for repentant Northern armed bandits.”

HURIWA asserted that by virtue of the National Security Agencies ACT, it was totally irregular and unconstitutional that DSS will do nothing to arrest persons welding sophisticated weapons just as politicians and Islamic clerics are photographed holding conversations with the terrorists and the armed Non- state actors will then speak like persons being owed by Nigerians.

HURIWA affirmed that under the establishment Act for SSS the law says: “There shall, for the effective conduct of national security, be established the following National Security Agencies, that is to say- (a) The Defence Intelligence Agency; (b) The National Intelligence Agency; and (c) The State Security Service.

“Besides, the general duties of the National Security Agencies are: (1) The Defence Intelligence Agency shall be charged with responsibility for- (a) The prevention and detection of crime of a military nature against the security of Nigeria; (b) The protection and preservation of all military classified matters concerning the security of Nigeria, both within and outside Nigeria; (c) Such other responsibilities affecting defence intelligence of a military nature, both within and outside Nigeria, as the President, or the Chief of Defence Staff, as the case may be, may deem necessary. (2) The National Intelligence Agency shall be charged with responsibility for-(a) The general maintenance of the security of Nigeria outside Nigeria, concerning matters that are not related to military issues; and (b) Such other responsibilities affecting national intelligence outside Nigeria as the National Defence Council for the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary, amongst others.”

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NPA vows to upgrade country’s maritime hub status

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Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation

In a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos by NPA General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Mr Olaseni Alakija, Bello-Koko disclosed this in Abeokuta, Ogun,  at the first retreat for the reconstituted board of directors.

The theme of the retreat was “Expanding the Frontiers of Service Excellence.”

He noted that investments in modern deep seaports would attract very large merchant vessels with the attendant multiple socio-economic benefits, as well as boost port revenue performance.

The statement said Bello-Koko disclosed that a lot had been done, especially in the last few months, to resolve most of the identified constraints to the efficient movement of cargoes to and from ports.

Such efforts, he said, were in line with the new direction and measures being put in place to actualise NPA’s aspirations,

“Nigeria accounts for about 70 per cent of cargoes imported into West and Central Africa and the country controls an impressive stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Nigeria’s rich aquatic endowments and her border with landlocked nations makes development of deep seaports a huge potential revenue earner for the nation.

“The move towards earning the status of hub in the region is in line with our new vision statement.

“This was adopted at the recent NPA Management retreat with the theme ‘To Be The Maritime Logistics Hub For Sustainable Port System In Africa,” he said.

The statement said the acting managing director described the board retreat as very timely, as it signposts a unity of purpose and shared vision.

According to him, the vision is one in which the executive management works closely with every section, unit, department, division and directorate and embraces an all-inclusive strategic outcome for the organisation with the requisite buy-in of the board.

“In appreciation of this, I will like to crave the understanding of the board with regards to the executive management’s limitations in actualising some of our goals and objectives, which I am sure distinguished board members must have noticed in the course of the tour of ports that preceded this retreat,” he added.

The NPA boss informed the board that recent interventions made by the authority had led to significant improvement in terms of ship and cargo dwell time at the ports.

He, however, explained that some of the benchmarks which were yet to be achieved were dependent on “externalities and variables” that required concerted inter-agency actions.

He said that NPA, despite dogged efforts, has yet to optimally achieve the said benchmarks due to systemic administrative constraints and red-tape.

He enumerated the constraints as conflicting directives from the agencies operating within the ports and reporting to different supervising ministries with jurisdictional overlaps and duplications of functions.

He informed the board that concerted efforts were being made to expand NPA’s revenue streams, in addition to revenue from traditional port operations.

According to him, unlike the practice in sister Francophone countries where government funds the dredging of ports, the NPA was responsible for funding its.

This, he said, has put a lot of strains on its resources and capacity to invest in critical port infrastructure.

“We are facing decaying port infrastructure, for example, sections of the quay aprons or walls at the Tin Can Island Port, Onne, Delta and Calabar Ports are collapsing and require huge funds to repair them.

“With the increasing pressure to remit more revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the federation, it has become very difficult to have sufficient funds to attend to these decaying facilities.

“There is then the need to explore alternative funding sources outside the traditional port service offerings,” he stated.

Bello-Koko explained that the authority was blessed with prime real estates which could serve as alternative funding sources outside the regular budget.

“NPA has a lot of high value landed properties in Onne, Snake Island, and Takwa Bay that are designated free trade zones.

* Apapa Wharf

“They are mostly allocated but burdened by poor arterial road network and other infrastructure to make them attractive for private investments which would bring good revenue to the authority and the Federal Government.

“Management will need the support of the board to drive the process of alternative revenue sources to actualise the lofty aspirations of the authority,” he said.

The Acting MD also disclosed that management had opened correspondence with some multilateral financial institutions such as the French Development Agency (AFD), African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB) and Sanlam Infraworks (a Central Bank of Nigeria approved fund manager for InfraCorp).

He explained that these were all part of plans to access long term low interest credits for port infrastructure upgrades and expansion.

“In making the Nigerian seaports more business friendly, we have been able to deploy technology to address the perennial traffic gridlock that has been frustrating the conduct of business around the Lagos ports corridor.

“A software application code named “eto” is gradually restoring sanity to trucking business despite the initial teething problems and resistance by vested interests hitherto profiting from the chaos.

“The authority has accredited 33 private truck terminals within the Lagos area, in addition to the Lily Pond Truck Transit Park and Tin Can Island Port Truck Transit Park, to ensure trucks do not park indiscriminately on the access roads.

“The trucks would only be allowed to transit to the port after obtaining electronic tickets via the “eto” call-up platform and the authority is collaborating with the Lagos State Government to ensure enforcement and compliance with the e-call up system, he said.

He added that other solutions being implemented was the push to link all seaports to the national rail network, as well as optimise the use of the inland waterways through the transfer of cargo or containers via barges.

Bello-Koko said that currently the authority was streamlining barge operations to ensure efficiency, safety and cost effective cargo delivery for increased port revenue.

He said that the Bonny Seaport project in Rivers, boosted by two major railway projects, would massively transform the economic landscape of the country, particularly the South-South and South-Eastern regions.

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BREAKING: Former CBN Deputy Governor Obadiah Mailafia Dies at 64

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A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, has passed on at the age of 64.

Mailafia, who was a columnist with The PUNCH was said to have died at midnight after a brief illness.

The former deputy governor, who was the Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the 2019 election, was a known government critic and had advocated for public sector and exchange rate reforms.

Mailafia was born on December 24, 1956, in the Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He later graduated top of his class at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1978 with a First Class B.Sc.Honours Social Sciences degree (Politics, Economics, and Sociology). He also has an M.Sc. from the same institution.

He subsequently won a French Government Scholarship to France, where he earned a Certificate in French Language and Civilisation from the University of Clermont-Ferrand in 1985.

Mailafia later proceeded to the United Kingdom as a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Scholar at Oriel College, earning a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1995.

He joined partisan politics in 2018 amid the rising killings in Southern Kaduna.

Despite losing, he remained an ardent government critic and got into trouble with the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), when he alleged that a northern governor was a Boko Haram commander.

This earned multiple invitations by the Nigeria Police Force, forcing him to recant his statement.

In his last interview with The PUNCH, Mailafia said the refusal of the CBN to sell foreign exchange to bureau de change operators may not yield the expected result because corrupt bankers would frustrate it while the BDC operators were being shielded by a “Jigawa cabal”.

He had also lamented that Nigeria was operating a “dollarised” economy which was hampering economic growth.

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