By Mahmud Isa Yola
Save for the fact that the news came from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency itself, Nigerians would have found it hard to believe that there is a prodigious amount of cocaine sequestered somewhere in the southwestern part of Nigeria that could weigh up to 1.8 tonnes and be worth up to two hundred and seventy-eight million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($278, 250,000), equivalent to one hundred and ninety-four billion, seven hundred and seventy-five million Naira in street value.
Since the assumption of Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) as the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has been recording feats upon feats in the war against drug abuse on a daily basis. There’s seldom a day that passes without the news that the agency has made a significant seizure of illicit substances or has made arrests of drug traffickers. It almost looks like the traffickers are now competing for fame through making headlines.
Murphy’s law should have simply been enough to stop the cartel that stashed cosmic cocaine in Nigeria’s centre of excellence. But they doused themselves in ashes and blocked their vision of the impending peril. Lo and behold, the NDLEA, which had been on their trail since 2018, caught up with them, and this time, with a massive score that Nigeria had never witnessed before.
According to the NDLEA, this is the largest single cocaine seizure in the agency’s history. The press release, which was signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, reads in part: “In what appears to be the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of Nigeria’s premier anti-narcotic agency, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have busted a major warehouse in the Ikorodu area of Lagos where 1.8 tonnes (1,855 kilograms) of the illicit drug worth more than Two Hundred and Seventy Eight Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($278, 250,000) equivalent of about One Hundred and Ninety-Fifty) Naira in street value were seized.”
According to the agency, at least four drug barons, including a Jamaican and the warehouse manager, were apprehended over the course of two days in various places around Lagos state. Soji Jibril, 69, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo state; Emmanuel Chukwu, 65, an indigene of Ekwulobia, Anambra state; Wasiu Akinade, 53, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo state; Sunday Oguntelure, 53, an indigene of Okitipupa, Ondo state; and Kelvin Smith, 42, a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The arrested individuals are part of an international narcotics ring that the DEA has been investigating since 2018.
The warehouse, located at 6 Olukuola Crescent, Solebo Estate, Ikorodu, was raided on Sunday, September 18, 2022, while the barons were picked up from hotels and hideouts around Lagos between Sunday night and Monday morning.
The class A narcotics, according to preliminary findings, were cached in the residential estate, from which the cartel attempted to sell them to buyers in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.
Although NDLEA’s press release indicated that the busted drugs were meant for distribution to Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world, there is no guarantee that the drugs won’t be peddled internally in Nigeria. However the cartel intended to merchandise the illicit drug, this arrest and seizure deal a historical blow to illicit drug traffickers in Nigeria and a strong warning to international cartels that Nigeria is certainly not a trading ground.
This is the second time in less than two months that Marwa is rewriting history in Nigeria’s war against illicit drugs. Recall that the agency on the 4th of August 2022 destroyed 560,068.31414 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs in Badagry, Lagos state. The destruction broke history because it was the highest quantity of drugs to have been destroyed by the agency.
Leading other top officials of NDLEA, other security agencies and members of the public in the burning of heaps of illicit drugs in Lagos, Marwa, said the exercise is a strong message to drug barons and cartels that they’ll continue to lose their huge investments in the criminal trade if they fail to back out and look for other legitimate businesses.
It is therefore apparent that Marwa, who once swept the then notorious Lagos of criminality that was bedeviling the state, is rewriting history in Nigeria’s war against illicit drugs and trafficking. He has re-energized the NDLEA, which is now more sophisticated and unstoppable, and is bringing the war to the peddler’s doorstep, with major successes already recorded.
The statistics are not friendly to drug peddlers anymore. The losses that they suffer are spiking exponentially, and Nigeria is gradually winning the war. Statistics coming out from the NDLEA indicate that since the assumption of Marwa as the Chairman of the agency, the agency has arrested over 18,940 suspected drug traffickers, comprising 17,444 males and 1,496 females, including 12 barons from January 2021 to July 2022. Also, the agency recorded 2,904 convictions as well as seizures of over 3.6 million kilograms of narcotics and other psychotropic substances. The agency also said that it has seized no fewer than 286 assets and 600 accounts and has blocked over 600 accounts of drug offenders between January 2021 and August 2022.
Every kilogram of drug seized is one kilogram less on the street; every asset seized decapitates the drug business; every drug trafficker arrested weakens a link in the drug supply chain; and every conviction is a clear blow to drug syndicates.The numbers above aren’t just indicators; they serve as a fierce warning to drug peddlers that it is no longer business as usual as the flaming swords of NDLEA are ever ready to strike them down. Certainly, Marwa is rewriting history, and it is not in the favour of drug offenders.
Mahmud Isa Yola is Special Assistant to the Chairman of NDLEA.
Can the economic problem of Nigeria be solved?
By Olamirewaju Olatunde
Taking Nigeria out of its unfavourable state to a favourable state – addressing budget deficit, balance of payment in relation to foreign policy. A government that owes international countries will be forced to pursue foreign policy toward other countries that will be detrimental to the country.
The purpose of this article is to outline strategies for assisting Nigeria in paying off its obligations to other nations so that it can pursue an international agenda that serves its own interests. Nigeria can pay off its head debt first. Increasing exports while lowering imports is one of the key strategies for achieving this.
The Nigerian government borrows money from other nations to finance its budget since its spending much outweighs its profits. Nigeria’s imports outweigh its exports, causing a balance of payments imbalance that makes it harder and harder to borrow money to cover our budget. The best strategy to determine which products Nigeria should export is to look at those in which the country has a stronger comparative advantage (i.e., those with the lowest opportunity cost relative to other nations). The country’s foreign reserves will increase with increased exports, which will aid in funding national spending. It is possible to fix this, though.
One of the most important ways to address this is to ensure expansionary supply side policy. This entails adopting measures such as infrastructure construction, corporate subsidies, and so on to help expand the overall amount of goods and services in the country. As a result, this might contribute to a rise in GDP (economic growth), which can result in exports of goods and services once domestic demand has been satisfactorily satisfied. Increased exports generate more cash to cover budgetary expenditures and debt repayment.
Also, expansionary fiscal policy can be implemented. Fiscal policy involves the use of tax and expenditure to regulate the economy. When progressive tax system is employed the economy is likely to experience less income inequality.
The money received from the taxes of monopolists in the country can help increase the amount of revenue received which can help increase the profit of the government and help regulate the economy of Nigeria.
In conclusion, these are some of the methods Nigeria can implement to help ensure a balanced economy. Taking off the debts of a country helps to ensure the achievement of the national interest of Nigeria leading to the benefits of all citizens in the country.
Osun: Adeleke’s one year of colossal waste
By Waheed Adekunle
Without any sense of prejudice, malignancy, impugnancy, hatred or vilification, an empirical assessment of the administration of the incumbent Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke in the 365 days of being in the saddle has been the worst in the history of the state.
Since the creation of Osun in 1991, the state has never witnessed a monumental failure as being experienced under the incumbent government, as the ‘State of the Living Spring’ has remained stagnant and redundant in the last twelve months.
Recall that the Adeleke-led government, on assuming office in November 27th, 2022, ascended the leadership of the state on the mantra of lyrics and propagandist euphoria, pledged heaven and earth, promised to turn around the socio-economic fortune of the state, even within the six months of being in office.
The Governor who was full of himself, ignorantly boasted to turn Osun to a mega city while Osogbo, the state capital would witness an astronomical facelift of development and become a ‘Small London” within six months of administering the affairs of the state, Alas! Osogbo has never witnessed any tangible project since Governor Adeleke assumed office in the last one year.
Coming to power to clamp down on known members of the opposition and perceived enemies, Adeleke’s administration has been battling for survival as it plunges into an irredeemable ditch thus making its survival practically impossible in the last one year.
The administration, despite the humongous funds at its disposal couldn’t boast of meaningful success but rather, the gale of political imbroglio that had pervaded the system, thus drifting the state to paths of destruction and backwardness.
Aside the fact that Osun was known for her discipline, integrity, honour and dignity and above all, as the ‘State of the Virtuous’, no doubt, the state has been growing wild in retrogressive backwardness since the emergence of the incumbent government.
The current administration had practically subjected the state to ridicule due to its glaring ineptitude, incompetence and palpable malfeasance in all sectors of the economy.
Going by its performance, one does not need to be told to know that unless for political patronage, nothing tangible has been achieved since Governor Adeleke came to power other than failed promises and glorification of political jamborees that had beclouded the sense of reasoning of some members of the ruling class.
The state government which started its nonexistent infrastructure project with phoney borehole project, ironically planned to be dung across the 332 political wards in the state at initial cost of N14 million per one, later came to defend its failure of not fulfilling same after several months, claiming that the state only spent N1.5 million on each of the failed borehole project.
Aside on the fact that many of the roads that were embarked on were not captured in the budget, the Adeleke’s administration failed woefully to deliver on many of the projects, but rather went ahead to feed the public with lies to justify its failures in that regard. Even the one or two that was done had gone bad again.
No doubt, Adeleke’s administration only thrived on administrative incompetence openly and ignorantly displayed in the case of substantive Rector of the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Dr. Odetayo who was unjustly removed for selfish interest.
Ditto the foiled removal of the Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo among others.
Even before the removal of Dr. Odetayo, the Adeleke’s government had initially sacked several heads of the government’s MDAs whereby General Manager, Osun Ambulance Services, Executive Secretary, Osun Health Insurance Scheme among other top careerists that had risen to the peak of their careers were cruelly sacked for political reasons.
The despicable and despondent act culminated into the horrific suspension of some traditional rulers, an action that actually exposed the citizens to the endemic rudderlessness, ruthlessness and leadership recklessness of the Adeleke-led government.
Ever since the revered royal fathers were diabolically removed from the thrones of their forebears, the state government under the leadership of Senator Adeleke has done nothing to reinstall the affected monarchs let alone come up with any black or white paper to justify their supposed dethronement.
The governor’s failed Review Committee was still unable to make public the outcomes of their findings up till now. The question agitating the mind is ‘what is the fate of the affected monarchs in the last one year’?
Instead of Governor Adeleke to face governance squarely, he had resorted to vengeance, hiring and firing at his whims and caprices, as this resolve led to the total clampdown declared on both Statutory and Non-statutory Commissions and Boards.
The administration of Governor Adeleke has failed woefully due to its abysmal performance in the last one year, yet his government has been thriving on impunity, illegality and incompetence.
The only legacy that Adeleke’s government will be remembered for as he marks one year in office is nothing but failure, as citizens would not forget in a jiffy all he has done to take Osun back to 10 years of backwardness within one year.
Many were illegally and forcefully removed to pave way for the Governor’s kinsmen and stooges thereby making impunity to freely thrive in the state.
The Governor had initially sacked all the 20,000 volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, a youth platform established under the administration of former Governor Rauf Aregbesola and sustained by his successor, Adegboyega Oyetola.
Also, no fever than 1,500 teachers recruited into the teaching profession in the state by the immediate past administration were arbitrarily sacked by the Adeleke led-government all for political reasons. The same treatment applied to over 300 health workers employed by his predecessor.
Despite the reasonable monthly statutory allocation to the state, coupled with the special supports from the Federal Government and notable aids and grants received from local and international agencies, the Adeleke’s administration could not justify what the state had earned with anything, rather he has been running the economy aground even in the face of financial supports.
In spite of the untold hardship occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal, coupled with the humongous funds received from federal government as support to lessen the excruciating effects on the citizens, the Adeleke’s government has done nothing meaningful to justify same in the last four months of the receipt of the funds.
It is no more news that Osun received N9 billion at different occasions to address the socio-economic challenges attached to the subsidy removal, but up till now, nothing was done to impact positively on the lives of the citizens.
In the same vein, the state under the watch of Governor Adeleke received closed to 20,000 bags of 50kg rice from the federal government as palliative, yet no ordinary citizen receives a cup of rice up until now. Meaning that the entire bags of rice had disappeared into thin air.
The recent disclosure of allocation of N10 billion as expenses appropriated for meals and refreshments for the Governor’s office is not only a ruse, but very despotic and inhuman, particularly at a time the citizens are undergoing exacerbating hardship daily.
While Governor Adeleke had practically wasted the monetary inheritance to the tune of N14 billion, bequeathed by his predecessor, Adegboyega Oyetola, the state under Governor Adeleke’s watch had received nothing less than N130 billion from different sources as revenue into the coffers of the state in the last twelve months.
Though the discerning citizens are worried about the unfolding manifestations so far, the fact remains that the leopard of Adeleke’s government can never change its skin.
No doubt, the reasons eventually emerged on the premeditated trip skillfully arranged for the Governor to dodge and escape possible embarrassment that may come from his failures to deliver on the promises made to the people while seeking office. This and much more had shown clearly that Osun is drifting towards an irredeemable ditch unless it is rescued as soon as possible.
How on earth could a serious government, confident of its achievements, decide to schedule and embark on a purported continental working vacation trip to a time like this, when the citizens will be keenly interested to hear from the horse’s mouth, his account of stewardship in the last one year?
Though, there is no secret under the sun, as the governor and his aides continue to cover their coverups, it is interesting that their ‘open secrets’ is already in the public domain as many are aware of the medical vacation that the Governor embarked on against what is being painted. The wind has blown and we have seen the anus of the hen.
The fact is that the governor should begin to count down his days in office as events to his first year anniversary remain a pointer to the fact that the People’s Democratic Party, PDP’s government meant no good for the great citizens of the state.
May God heal our land.
Iragbiji day: UN-SDGs, Coastal Guard in focus
By Isaac Olusesi
The insertion of something of a different nature into something else is the latest misfortune of the government of Osun State, going by its decision to convert the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, funded Skills Acquisitions Center in Iragbiji into a soccer base. The centre is built by the federal government.
The thought out switch or conversion of the centre, in every sense, cannot go for a value determined from the existing value of the UN- SDGs. In terms of concept and departmentalisation, the metamorphosis is just wrong, an affront to the UN’s interlinked objectives of ending the global challenges of poverty, hunger in all its forms and generate prosperity for the youths of the world. The Osun government’s steering to modify the UN-SDGs skills acquisition hub in Iragbiji in Boripe local government council area of the state, to a soccer bed on the same land square is unwelcome and a snub to the federal government’s interest in national youth development.
Conceptually, the Iragbiji skills acquisition nexus is meant to equip the youths with vocational and technical skills, afford them decent work and economic growth, and reduce inequalities, the finest, admirable short titles of the UN – SDGs. It is also the UN, federal government’s sustainable economic concern for the youths of Osun through the Iragbiji skills acquisition center, put in place.
And by the writer’s content analysis, it’s the point made by Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who said, “Turning the centre into anything outside this, is a disservice to the purpose it was meant for. This is a project that we fought for and facilitated while in government for the benefit of youths in the state and anything short of what’s not meant for is anti- development.”
As to departmentalisation, the lined up conversion of the Iragbiji skills acquisition locus to soccer axis is a paradox, marked off by contradictory fixtures. The Osun government’s reasoning premise has only led to a conclusion, absurd, and logically unacceptable. How? The state government ought to know that the centre, not just any but the UN’s, is a distinctive work learning processes centre, firmly focused on the SDGs’ goals to achieve the UN global vision, with the centre programmed to function productively, based largely on specialised skills, vocational and technical, departmentalised. And the trainees’ expertises galvanized most effectively to handle a particular set of tasks, most adaptive to their skills.
The skills acquisition centre in Iragbiji, is one departmentalised to bring about the trainees’ specialisation, simplicity, speed and clarity in particular entrepreneurial skills or services with productivity and profitability as end results. This is enough a reason the state governor, Ademola Adeleke should let the Iragbiji centre be. But Adeleke, weak, and without intellectual protection, one with corrigible disability, and most emotionally wounded, oft-times, relishes in nonfeasance, or lawlessness.
Oyetola, erstwhile governor of Osun and current Minister of Marine and Blue Economy spoke at the 2023 Iragbiji Day, a Saturday ago and berated the state government’s intention to exchange the Iragbiji skills acquisition core with soccer link when he stated that, “it is ridiculous that the state government could think of converting a centre that’s meant for youth development into a soccer base. But we won’t allow a project that’s purposely built to cater for youth development in the area of entrepreneurial skills acquisition to become a football base for whatever reason,” adding, “I have taken it up already, and I want to assure you that very soon, something will be done in that regard.”
Speaking on Iragbiji Day, Oyetola charged communities across the nation not to relent efforts at supporting the government by mobilising, orientating and sensitising the natives to embark on community projects. “Government alone cannot do it,” he pointedly said. He noted the individual achievements of everyone present at the event, saying, “ All of you, sons and daughters of Iragbiji and our invited guests are eminent with whom I’m not just pleased but very proud of you. All of you have brought honour to me by your presence. The wherewithal to sustain the momentum you have reached in your respective endeavours, God will grant you all.”
The former Osun governor is a prophet honoured in his hometown, Iragbiji. That fact of him as personal grata to his countryside home has been proven several times in the past. And it was again demonstrated at the 32nd Iragbiji Day celebrations. The town folks, virtually everyone on their feet to catch a glimpse of him again, and they all had many good things to say about him as they took turn to describe him in superlative terms, with the aggregate saying, he’s an amalgam of intellect and wisdom, a skilful administrator, and champion of social justice whose contributions to Osun politics and finances, then as governor, were prudent and innumerable.
The men wing said, “He’s a silent philanthropist par excellence, caring, that endears him to many.” And women noted, “he’s unassuming and quiet and a lover of peace. We pray to God to continue to protect him.” As a matter of fact, he deserves the honour from his people. His upbringing must have shaped his unassuming disposition. Born into the family of an Islamic cleric and mother, a community leader, he benefited immensely from God fearing parents who taught him in the way of Allah.”
The palace of Aragbiji of Iragbiji was earlier in the day turned into an amphitheatre with a warm parade of Nollywood comedians, artistes, actors, itinerant talking drummers and entertainers performed, seasoned with cultural display, traditional songs and dance. And people kept chanting ‘Kabiyesi oooo,’ to HRM Oba Abdul-Rasheed Ayotunde Olabomi Odundun IV Aragbiji of Iragbiji, described as an embodiment of royalty, nobility, humility, self sacrifice and accommodating spirit. The king was full of smiles as he waved his horsetail at his subjects and guests, chauffeur-driven in exotic cars and gaily dressed in their attires.
The sights and sounds at the palace were soonest joined by other Nigerians resident in Iragbiji: the Hausa with their flutes, the Igbo in their typical dress with redcaps, the Edo with their wrappers flung over the left shoulders, and other nationals cladded in dresses that depicted the part of the country they come from. Men and women, in the element, did the hip and waist dance that had guests and bystanders in stitches with rib-racking laughter in admiration, right in the frontage of the palace in homage to the traditional ruler of Iragbiji. Why? The town kinsmen and women and enthusiasts couldn’t wait for the event to be over to cheer the king; they rolled out drums in celebration. The brevity of songs, pitch and resonance at the palace, preceded by the series of events in the town gave insights into the grand finale of this year’s Iragbiji Day anniversary, certainly, the most grandiose in recent times.
From the palace to Oke-Iragbiji Grammar School, event venue, the town lost its serenity to heavy human and vehicular traffic and security operatives had time frenetic, on hand as the moment the people had longed for came with the arrival of Oyetola. And the venue, brimmed with a beehive of activities, became enlivened with his friends, associates, politicians, heads of government establishments; and captains of industry and commerce, other eminent personalities who hold enviable positions in the private sector, his first constituency. All, gently out of posy cars, orderly parked with music wafted, alighted, were dressed in a kaleidoscope of colours like in a carnival arcade. Handsets and the day’s newspaper were their only companions. Journalists, and photographers had a hectic time capturing sights.
The well respected Aragbiji of Iragbiji welcomed dignitaries from within and outside Osun to Iragbijiland and thanked all, including his subjects for their presence and love over the years. He said that the Iragbiji Day for which people of contrasting backgrounds in tribe and language, sex and age, position and status, power and authority, enterprise and wealth, and affluence and influence gathered was about improving interpersonal relationships to further the development of the ancient town.
The Oba of Iragbiji promised that justice would be done to whatever was the donation for the development of Iragbiji – ‘Consolidating our frontiers,’ the theme of this year’s Iragbiji Day. He added that “it gladdens me, the annual event has made my people and our good friends socio-economic actors in the development and growth of my kingdom.” The event had the clergy, Muslim and Christian pray for everyone, Iragbiji, governments, and the nation. While the natives of Iragbiji sketched the monarch as a rare gift to humanity, kindhearted who’s willing at all times to share what he has with the less privileged. Others marked him out as courageous and hardworking.
Guess estimated, there were more youths, so overwhelming at the Iragbiji Day event, representative of the nation’s youths as it were and that, by itself, defines the aptness of the planned enlistment of youths into “Coastal Guard.” Oyetola made the disclosure on the guard as accompaniment to the extant coastal security system. He made known his ministry’s determined and serious shots at reinforcing security across the nation’s waterways in Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Delta,Edo, Lagos, Ogun and Ondo States to ensure providing a home for fish, improve water quality, provide valuable economic and ecological services for economic development, and guarantee human security as coastal areas are popular tourist destinations. He enjoined the youths, other Nigerians to increase support for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his people centric government and governance.
Withal, the coastal guard is the Ministry of Maritime and Blue Economy’s swivelling around its commitment to putting up perfect associates to the traditional maritime security. In specific terms, the young men and women as coastal guards may be required to perform maritime search for coastal touts and maritime rescue for fishermen in distress and vessels wrecked on or near coast; mount maritime law enforcement against smuggling operations; keep up maritime security and safety against hijacking, piracy and slavery known today as human trafficking; and bring off maritime environmental protection against maritime pollution, flooding, erosion and other territorial water threats.
It’s anticipated that the youths for the job would have to get fitted, uniformed, trained and oriented on maritime skills and meteorology. General competence would have need of skills in good verbal and written communication, concentration, interpersonal relationship, organisational, teamwork and project management. Hello, Nigerian youths, coastal guard should leverage you to be free from history of seizure disorder, chronic pain syndrome, recurrent syncope, pre-syncope or traumatic loss of consciousness. And such others.
The 2023 Iragbiji Day was not just a headlong, higgledy-piggledy, hit or miss outing. Or a celebration on the spur of imitation. Dr Thomas Olaleye Ogungbangbe, a shrewd business magnate, politician of no mean values and servant of the Most High after the Heart of God, who grew up in Iragbiji noted, “we do not have to mimic the ways of other communities around in fixing our own development process in Iragbiji. The Iragbiji Day we have just had is about ourselves as the architect of the collective destiny we seek together as a community; and our unique preparations, sacrifices and efforts form the bedrock of our communal achievements made thus far.”
The event as witnessed by the writer was one that was strategically planned on common and clear purpose in terms of relationships and trust, belongingness and influence, reputation and loyalty, and engagement and cooperation, with result and accountability in view. The planning carefully explored the efforts of the sons, daughters and friends of the town and achieved the outcome – about N200 million was what guests including Oyetola’s friends and associates donated. Really, the 2023 Iragbiji Day, with its excitement and glamour, had no dull moment; the scenery was beautiful and the reception was grand and guests’ own, classy. And there were enough choice delicacies and drinks for everybody.
Olusesi can be reached via email: email@example.com
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