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Corruption: Eight years in office, I have no ‘square inch’ outside Nigeria — Buhari

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…Says willing to live in Country after office

…Fighting corruption not easy like military era, President admits

…Prepare for the worst if you want to serve Nigeria, he says

…Urges migrants to reconsider staying back to build the nation together

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that against all doubt, he could stand to beat his chest, having not looted the treasury as democratic elected President of the Country. In about eight years in office, he said, he has gotten no “square  inch” to himself outside the Country.

“I do not have a square inch outside Nigeria, the country I have been serving for about eight years of democracy and good governance,”  Buhari said in Damaturu, the Yobe State Capital, at a dinner organised in his honour, after inaugurating several completed projects in the health, security, education, transport and housing sectors of the economy.

Other projects commissioned by the President included the Damaturu Modern Market (DMM) with over 250 shops; the Maternal and Child Healthcare Complex at the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital; Police administrative office, hospital and school and the Bra-bra over 2,350 housing units across the state.

He admitted that though the administration has fought corruption, yet the fight was not easy under the prevailing democratic system.

“The economy has picked up and some people are asking me about the achievements of my promise to fight corruption.

“Well, under this system fighting corruption is not easy.

“When I was in the military, as the Head of State, I locked up some people because the Constitution says you must declare your assets and people who couldn’t explain the differences in their assets, I locked them up.

“In the end, I was also locked up. So, if you want to serve this country you must be prepared for the worst.”

He said that he intends to stay in the country when he retires from public office.

Buhari urging citizens to remain patriotic, that they have no other country than Nigeria, said, “We must all stay here and salvage it together.”

He said that the most critical security challenge inherited by the administration about eight years ago, was the potent and pervasive threats of terrorism, banditry and kidnappings across the country.

President Buhari expressed delight that normalcy has returned to the insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

He lamented the threat and losses, particularly the ones that were pervasive across the North East region, but said “In the North East, God has helped us to clear Boko Haram terrorists.”

According to him, Yobe state is the most hit by the terrorists operating in Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad region.

He, therefore, declared that he has fulfilled the commitment made to Nigerians in his May 29, 2015 inaugural address to “frontally and courageously tackle Boko Haram terrorists and stabilise the country.”

On his journey to the Presidency, he said, “Between 2003 and 2019, I visited all the local government areas in this country.

“In 2019 when I attempted a re-election, I visited every State and the number of people that came out to see who this Buhari is were more than what anybody can pay or force.

“So, I thank God that Nigerians understood me and I made a promise that I will serve God and Nigerians.”

President Buhari commended Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State for taking advantage of the return of peace and security in the State to execute people-oriented projects.

Buhari, therefore, commended Buni for completing the capital projects that have possibilities to improve the living conditions of the people.

“They will take advantage of the return of peace and security in the state by executing people-oriented projects,” he said.

The President described the Governor “as a very competent and courageous leader in the state.”

“I am lucky to have him in the saddle as the political leader in Yobe,” he said.

He added that the Governor also supported the Federal Government, the Armed Forces, Police and other security agencies to decimate Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the Northeast.

The President also acknowledged the cooperation of Nigeria’s neighbours in the fight against terrorism.

He recalled that his first visit outside the country in 2015 was to Niger and Chad, to garner support on tackling the misguided terror groups

President Buhari thanked the Governor and people of Yobe State, including Senate President Ahmed Lawan, for their warm reception during the State visit.

In his remarks, Governor Buni expressed delight at the President’s inauguration of landmark projects in the state, including the Yobe International Cargo Airport, Damaturu ultra-modern market, Maternal and Child Health Complex at the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital, the 2600 Housing Estate in Potiskum and the Damaturu Mega School at new Bra-Bra.

He appealed to the President to approve the takeover of the Yobe State International Cargo airport by the Federal Government and the refund of N38 billion expended by the State government on the project.

Equally, he requested the takeover of the State University Teaching Hospital, including the Maternity and Child Health Complex.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba Alkali, thanked the President for inaugurating a purpose-built, ultra-modern, and fully furnished State Command Headquarters; Police Secondary School; and Tertiary Police Hospital during the State Visit.

The IGP thanked the President for the annual recruitment of 10,000 police Constables over a five-year period, adding that the Presidential consideration has significantly bridged the manpower gap in the Force and broadly strengthened their capacity to effectively police the electoral process.

The IGP assured the President and Nigerians that the Nigeria Police are fully prepared for the upcoming 2023 General Elections and would remain apolitical in compliance with the presidential directive.

He disclosed that newly passed out Constables are being posted on field operations to their Local Government Areas in line with Mr. President’s directives and ahead of their deployment for the General Elections.

“In furtherance to this, we have exposed our personnel to specialised election security management trainings, developed Code of Conduct Handbook to guide the Police and other national security agencies that will be involved in the exercise,” he said.

He added that the Force has also perfected the logistics and manpower mobilisation framework, and fine-tuned the Election Security Operational Action Plan in conjunction with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Military, Intelligence Community, and other Sister Security Agencies.

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State Police: Nigeria immature for implementation, will be abused by Governors — IGP

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…As Fmr President Jonathan, Abdusalam harp on independence of Police, increased funding

By Adeyanju Esther

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun has stated that Nigeria is immature to have a state controlled Police force.

The IGP was responding to recent calls advocating for the creation of State Police to tackle the rising insecurity and banditry across the country.

Recall that some state Governors had previously embarked on creating security services but have been unsuccessful on making them legally recognised, prominent of which is the Amotekun Corps set up by South-West Governors.

Speaking during a national dialogue on state police organised by the House of Representatives in Abuja, with the theme: ‘Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria,’ Egbetokun, represented by Ben Okolo, an assistant inspector-general of police, said Nigeria is not ready for a decentralised police force.

He said, “It is the submission of the leadership of the Nigeria police force that Nigeria is yet to mature for the establishment of state-controlled police.”

The IGP listed some of the challenges as inadequate manpower, inadequate operational equipment such as vehicles, arms and ammunition, communication equipment, drones, aerial surveillance cameras, security surveillance helicopters, armoured vehicles, and inadequate training of personnel.

He added that state police would create a conflict of jurisdiction and be open to abuse by state governors.

However, Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Gaidam, countered Egbetokun’s stance with advocacy for state police. Gaidam argued that decentralising the police force was imperative to effectively combat the rising tide of insecurity. He stressed the need for tailored, localized approaches to policing to address the diverse security challenges facing different regions of Nigeria.

However, concerns were raised about the potential of such a merger as proposed by Egbetokun on the autonomy and efficacy of the respective organizations.

Also speaking, Former President of Nigeria, Goodwick Jonathan declared that the issue of state police is non-negotiable.

Jonathan noted that for state police to be implemented, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must be rejigged.

“So if we are talking about state police, we must also rejig INEC, and the police must not be used against or to the advantage of any political party.

“The issue of voting, the polling booths of INEC, and the use of police during elections has to be reviewed by the National Assembly.

“So the National Assembly needs to look into all these. These are the areas that we have to concentrate on. The issue of the need for states to have their own police is not negotiable. There is no way we can continue this kidnapping that is going on in this country,” Jonathan said.

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd) also rechoed the opinions of Former President Jonathan.

Abdulsalam opined that the success of the state police is hinged on adequate funding.

He said that in order to make peace and security in any nation, the governance must be transparent, must have honesty, accountability and all that it takes to make citizens comfortable in order to go on with their daily business to earn their legitimate earnings.

He added that the citizens of any country have the responsibility and that responsibility is to ensure the maintenance of peace and order and this can be done by upholding the Constitution, laws and orders, and regulations.

“Not only that, citizens should not vandalise any property or establishment provided by the various governments. It is our responsibility to be each other’s keepers and ensure that there is equity and the maintenance of issues provided by the various governments,” Abubakar said.

He further called that the traditional rulers should be carried along in achieving that state police.

“Indeed, our royal fathers have a lot of responsibilities in ensuring the maintenance of peace and order. As a young child growing up in a rural community, we see the role of these royal fathers in the various arms ‘of their governments,’ where when a stranger enters a village, within hours, the village head knows about that stranger and through their means of communication, the Emir is aware,” the ex-Head of State said.

“I think, as much as we are talking of establishing State Police, we should also look into the role vis-a-vis our royal fathers.

“President Jonathan has mentioned the relationship of what I was to say to politicians vis-a-vis the local police if we decide to have them. It is absolutely necessary for the politicians as much as possible to avoid exerting influence on the ways the police are going to operate if at all we agree to have the police.

“Although President Jonathan has already concluded that it’s the operational standards that we are going to discuss. I think we must really give it a thought to have to operationalise these police if we decide to have them,” AbdulSalam said.

In the same vein, Vice President, Kashim Shettima pledged the commitment of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to reform the Police Force and enhance security to achieve a safer and more secured Nigeria for the well being of citizens.

According to him, Tinubu believes that the path to effective security is through adaptive reforms catering to Nigeria’s diverse circumstances.

This, he said, can only be achieved by carefully reviewing various options in the Nigerian context. He said this inclusive approach will guide the country to have a policing system that is most effective and respectful.

“Your interest in the issue of state policing underscores your commitment to the security and well-being of citizens. This initiative is not only timely but also speaks to the commitment of the legislative arm for addressing critical national issues through inclusive and collaborative governance,” Shettima said.

“This government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is actively aware of the complex security issues that abound in places.

“As such, we are continually developing and reminding ourselves of methods to address these challenges effectively. Today’s dialogue is critical to these efforts of providing a platform for robust discussion and innovative thinking regarding the reform of our policing structure. He deserves commendation for his openness and proactive stance towards the idea of reforming and decentralising the police force.

“It gladdens my heart that the 10th House of Representatives under the Speaker Tajudeen Abbas has keyed into this initiative. The involvement of the legislature in executive reforms ensure continuity and synergy. Let us use this opportunity to engage with the seriousness it demands.

“The President is committed to listening to your recommendations and insights invariably to share in the policies that would lead us to a more secure and good society.”

He further explained that the concept of state policing is not merely a policy but a potential revolution of the law enforcement framework which offers the possibility of catering to the diverse means of the nation’s communities.

“As the Vice President, I am deeply interested in the outcomes of today’s discussions. The insights would inform our administration’s approach to supporting legislation and enhancing the capacity of our police force but also strengthen the bonds of trust between the law enforcement and the public.”

“In our deliberations, let us consider the implications of state policing from multiple perspectives. We must invite (stakeholders)…to respond on time to emergencies, adapt to specific local challenges and increase accountability. At the same time we must address concerns related to the standardisation of training, oversight and the safeguarding of our civil liberties.

“We should also see it as an opportunity to listen, understand and focus on the solutions. It is essential that this forum is not the end but the beginning of an ongoing conversation on the issue of police and security sector reform in our country.

“The nature of the stakeholders gathered here today including security experts, religious leaders, civil society representatives, underscores the comprehensive approach to ensure that diverse perspectives are integrated into the policy making process.

“As we continue today’s sessions I urge participants to engage with openness, honesty and insight. The value of this gathering lies in the ability to harness advice and constructive reasoning and suggestions from all quarters. Your contributions today are not merely academic but theoretical discussions of the transformative reforms we aspire to implement.”

He also reiterated the President’s readiness to support and implement meaningful resolutions that would emerge from the dialogue.

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Gunmen kill Babcock lecturer, abduct two in Iperu

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Gunmen have murdered a lecturer from Babcock University Ilisan Remo, Yinka Olowojobi.

The gunmen numbering about eight were said to have invaded Ajadeh Event Centre in Iperu Remo along Sagamu road also abducted two other persons.

The incident, according to a statement from the Spokesperson of Ogun State Police Command, Omolola Odutola, on Monday, happened on Friday, April 19 at about 9:20 pm.

The gunmen were said to have shot Olowojobi in the chest after allegedly resisting to go with them.

The slain Babcock University lecturer alongside one Dare and another person yet to be identified who were abducted were said to be relaxing in the lounge of the event centre when the daredevil gang struck.

Odutola, however, said that the police had picked up one Awada Ishaya from Plateau State as a suspect in the act.

Ishaya was said to have just been employed two weeks ago as a security guard when the event centre was opened.

The statement reads, “A report from the Iperu Division indicates that a kidnapping and murder incident occurred on April 19th, 2024, at about 9:20 pm.

“It was reported that gunshots were heard at the Ajadeh Event Centre on Sagamu Road in the Iperu area in Ogun State.

“Eyewitnesses were able to count eight men dressed in black and armed with guns emerged from an unknown place into the relaxing lounge and open fire indiscriminately, where one person later identified as a lecturer at Babcock University named Olowojobi Yinka, was shot in the chest, for resisting to go away with the hoodlum, at their prompt, while a manager of a car stand, simply known as Dare ‘m’ the third person is yet to be identified.

“A suspicious coincidence led the police to arrest one Awada Ishaya ‘m’ of Plateau State who was employed two weeks ago when the event centre was launched as a security man for further interrogation.

“The lecturer was taken to Babcock University Teaching Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Efforts are underway to apprehend the culprits and rescue the kidnapped victims. Further updates will be provided as the situation develops.”

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Power devolution: NERC cedes regulatory powers over Enugu to State government

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In a groundbreaking move, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has ceded its regulatory powers of the Enugu electricity market to the Enugu Electricity Regulatory Commission (EERC), which is owned by the state government with effect from May 1, 2024.

This is the first-ever transfer of regulatory powers from the NERC to a state government electricity regulator.

This strategic shift was detailed in a memo released by NERC, bearing signatures from its Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and Commissioner for Legal, Licensing, and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, dated April 22, 2024.

The transfer is a direct result of recent legislative changes that have decentralised the power sector.

These changes were set into motion in March 2023 when former President Muhammadu Buhari signed amendments to Nigeria’s constitution that removed power generation, transmission, and distribution from the exclusive legislative list, effectively ending the federal government’s sole jurisdiction over these areas.

Under the new legal framework established by the Electricity Act 2023, states now have the authority to manage and regulate their electricity markets.

The amended Paragraph 14(b) Part II of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution empowers state governments to legislate on electricity provision within their territories.

According to NERC, the Enugu Electricity Regulatory Commission (EERC) now holds the exclusive authority to set and adopt end-user electricity tariffs within Enugu State, tailoring these charges to local conditions and requirements.

While EERC manages local tariff methodologies, any electricity sourced from grid-connected plants and the related tariffs for generation and transmission services must still receive approval from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), ensuring alignment with national energy policies.

Ultimately, the final tariffs approved by EERC for consumers in Enugu will be definitive for the state, with the Enugu State Government responsible for supporting and implementing tariff-related policies, ensuring that electricity pricing is both fair and attuned to the specific needs of the state’s residents.

The memo from NERC states, “This regulatory instrument may be cited as the Order of Transfer of Regulatory Oversight of the Electricity Market in Enugu State from NERC to the Enugu State Electricity Regulatory Commission (EERC). This Order shall take effect from May 1, 2024.”

Furthermore, the memo outlines the framework under which states can establish their regulatory authorities and manage the transition of oversight.

According to Section 230 of the Electricity Act 2023, states intending to regulate their electricity markets must notify NERC and the relevant distribution licensee.

NERC is then required to prepare a transition plan within 45 days, detailing the transfer of regulatory responsibilities to the state regulator—a process to be completed within six months of notification.

This decentralisation initiative aims to enhance efficiency and responsiveness in the management of electricity services by aligning regulatory oversight more closely with local needs and conditions.

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