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Nigeria’s Security, Economic Problems Self-Inflicted—General Ayoola



General Ayoola

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A retired Major-General in the Nigerian Army, Mr Henry Ayoola, has said the security and economic problems facing Nigeria are purely self-inflicted, noting that it was time the citizens took action rather than depending on prayers alone.

In his keynote address at the inauguration of the Africa Kingdom Business Forum Institute (AKBF-I), he recommended an “all citizens approach” to end insecurity, urging Nigerians to explore their rights to self-defence.

Mr Ayoola, while in active service, was the Chief of Defence Research and Development of the Nigerian Army and the commander of Special Task Force (STF) Operation Safe Haven in Plateau State.

At the event held in Abuja over the weekend, he said, “Yes, the security challenges! Well, one thing to say upfront is that our problems, not only security, simply put, are self-inflicted.

“We have been living like nobody is really interested in solving the problems because it’s not for lack of what to do. It’s not for lack of what to do, advice, ideas, or strategies, it just appears as this is the Eldorado some people know for Nigeria. This is our golden era, so we should allow it last.

“That’s what I see. I don’t see any palpable attempt to solve a problem. Like I said, one can easily conclude that it is self-inflicted problem.

“Not only because I know the genesis of those problems, having been a player in it myself but I think Nigerians themselves are too timid, too docile that we will just allow anything goes.

“We take everything and anything. At what point are we going to get sufficiently aroused as to rise up and solve our problems ourselves?

“I don’t know. What else do we want? Until half of us are dead or what?

“For me, self-defence, like I said, is a divine right, it’s a universal right – Article 51 of the UN charter talks about the inherent right of the individual and the collective self-defence. So, if somebody is threatening my life, I don’t have to wait until he has killed me before I respond.

“There is pre-emptive defence, which is part of self-defence. So, the ball is in our court really. Even the government is overwhelmed. So, it’s gone beyond them. It should be an all-citizens approach when everybody is ready to put an end to this nonsense we’re going through.”

Another speaker at the programme, Mr Sam Amadi, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said the major issue facing the country was the leadership crisis.

The former Head of the Department of International Law and Jurisprudence at the Baze University, Abuja harped on the need to redefine the process through which leaders emerge in the country.

“Leadership presupposes a common vision. That means people have a vision of where they are going; they have a common understanding of the problems of Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, we have never had a common vision and a common understanding of our problem.

“Even before colonialism, our people were disparate people, different people and the colonial authorities put us together and never cared about our well-being. They put us together for their own good.

“When they left, our leaders were trapped into ethnic competition and that also led to why they didn’t build a common consensus.

“Today in America they talk of the American dream because different immigrants came together and had some degree of what America represents for them. That is the first problem of leadership in Nigeria.

“The second is: how do you recruit leaders? How do your leaders come up?

“They don’t need to be first class people but they are leaders, people who have gone through a process. If you look at countries all over the world: China, America, or Britain or any other places in the world, you see that leaders rise through a process that give those leaders some common vision about their country and some have some experience about solving problems.

“In Nigerian democracy today, leadership can emerge from anywhere. A mechanic who is doing his work can this year become Senator because the Governor likes him. So, the tide changes and people just emerge from nowhere. That’s another problem.

“The third issue is a leadership task, what should leaders be doing? So, leaders diagnose the problem, they pay attention.  Why is there unemployment? In paying attention, they find solutions,” he said.

Speaking further, the visiting Professor at the Emerald Energy Institute at the University of Port Harcourt noted that, “The fourth become implementation of that solution. If it’s a leadership that is looking for ethnicism, you won’t implement it well because some of the solutions may require you disrupting some dominance if you take some actions.

“For example, when we were building the power sector, we knew that the best thing was for us to take the power to Niger Delta where we have all the gas. But because we are a country that is consumed by geographical competition, they can’t take it to the South-South.

“We have to take some to the North Central and so on. But those ones don’t have glass again. We have to spend a lot of money to carry the gas to those places.

“That’s a simple story that tells you that there is a dysfunction in leadership because leaders are not solving problems based on the based ways of solving them. They are solving problems in a way that will align with their own strategic ethnic geopolitical needs.

“So, the Nigerian crisis is a crisis of leadership. But we should start first with a vision – what we want to be as a people, understanding our problems – where are we in history? Where are we now? Why are we trapped?

“That is why we talk about restructuring; people don’t want to hear about restructuring. It is not about changing geography or changing who collects what money. It is about changing the underlying factors that are creating the problems we want to deal with.

“So, if you don’t want to solve those underlying structural problems and you keep preaching “we’re going to be a great nation” we have been preaching before you became President, the present President is doing his best preaching. Later, another person will come and start preaching.

“They blame the Nigerian people, the youths are not working hard, the Nigerian people are divided. That’s what they are answering because we don’t have leaders who have knowledge about the problem and the process of solving those problems and have the will to execute.

“Like I said today, you need humility to say that you don’t know and seek for answers to “why is this happening? Why is the economy like this?

“Look at Nigeria, a country that is spending 89% of its revenue serving debts, not paying for them and you keep borrowing. You dedicate 40% of revenue to seek for oil where you know that you may not find oil at a time you know that oil is a wasting asset. The future is to invest in human beings to create wealth.

“So, how can such self-deception lead to leadership growth? How can it lead to country prosperity?

“We’re trapped because we leaders who not even leaders because they neither have the priestly profile of humility and compassion nor the kingly profile of effective execution. They don’t know the problem, they don’t care about the people and they cannot even execute the solutions well.”

However, Mr Amadi expressed optimism that their strategic principles will change the direction of leadership in the country, pointing out that the birth of the institute “is a right intervention and that is what I have been saying that for years.

“They are now going about, bringing people together to show them why things are not working and should them patterns that can work and building in their understanding, knowledge and ethics of leadership.

“So, we’re not talking about governors. We’re are talking about leaders in ministries, parastatals, agencies, the private sector, youth platforms, and so on.

“Leadership is diverse. What they are doing now is the right way; it’s to solve a problem by identifying the problem and providing tailor-made solutions that deal with that problem.

“And that is what this platform is doing and it’s long overdue and the people behind it are people who have built experience over the years trying to solve problems. So, we have hope that it will succeed.”

Other speakers at the occasion like the Continental Chairman Africa Kingdom Business Forum (AKBF), Mr Steve Olumuyina as well as Mr Emeka Nwankpa, agreed that prayers were not enough in dealing with the several challenges of Nigeria.

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

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Insecurity Will End With Full Cooperation of Citizens—Buhari




By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria will surely overcome insecurity in the country with the full cooperation of its citizens.

According to Mr Buhari, security is a responsibility of every member of the community and only through solidarity and cooperation with law enforcement agencies can defeat the problems finally.

“The federal government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe that with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem,” a statement issued on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted Mr Buhari as saying.

He said the President made this comment in his message to the government and people of Niger State over the recent attacks in some communities in the state.

“I would like to express sincere sympathies to the government and people of the State following recent security incidents,” the statement further quoted the President as saying.

Mr Shehu noted that the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces, has set the ball rolling for a major military operation in Niger State which has faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the North-western and North-eastern parts of the country.

In a directive to the Defence Headquarters a few days ago, the President asked the military to respond robustly to the cases of killings and kidnappings in the state and to give effect to the strategic objectives through the use of force.

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NDLEA Intercepts 1.5 million Tablets of Opioids in Edo




By Adedapo Adesanya

About 1.5 million tablets and capsules of pharmaceutical opioids such as Tramadol, Exol-5, and Diazepam loaded in Onitsha, Anambra State and heading to Yauri, Kebbi State have been intercepted in Edo State by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

According to NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, the agency intercepted the drugs on Friday, January 14, adding that on the same day, about 425,000 Diazepam tablets were recovered at Segemu, Kano.

In addition, a total of N1.4 million was seized along with arms and ammunition from a suspected bandit and a drug kingpin in Plateau State while over 137.754 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs were recovered during interdiction operations across seven states in the past week.

It was stated that the interception in Edo State was made possible due to credible intelligence and when the truck was thoroughly searched, the items were discovered to be concealed under legitimate goods.

The drugs seized included 394,480 capsules and 3,000 tablets of Tramadol weighing 83.707kg; Exol-5: 647,500 tablets weighing 203.315kg; Diazepam: 12,500 tablets weighing 2.05kg; Bromazepam: 1,500 tablets weighing 0.45kg; Codeine based Syrup: 999 bottles weighing 134.865kg; Pentazocine injections: 4,000 ampoules weighing 16.64kg.

The driver of the truck, Mr Bashir Lawali, 30, was arrested along with Mr Abubakar Sani, 30, and Mr Ali Abubakar, 19, while the exhibits in Kano were seized from one Mr Sa’idu Yahya, 31.

In other related operations, attempts by drug traffickers to export 73 parcels of cannabis (34.05kg) concealed in foodstuff plastic containers to the United Kingdom through the NAHCO export shed of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos were frustrated by operatives on January 8.

Also, another 50 parcels of cannabis consignment (27.25kg) meant for the United States was also intercepted at the export shed of the airport on Tuesday, January 11 and at least three suspects so far arrested.

In the reverse bid, moves by illicit drug merchants to bring into Nigeria 94 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing 43.4kg through the Tincan seaport in Lagos were crushed on January 13 when operatives intercepted the drug inside a 40ft container from Canada.

The exhibit was concealed inside a Toyota Camry car. This came on the heels of a similar seizure on 11th Jan. of 59 parcels of Colorado (17.3kg) concealed in a Mercedes Benz vehicle imported from Canada.

In Plateau State, a fake security agent, Mr Babagana Ma’aji has been arrested through a controlled delivery of 5.6kg cannabis from Lagos. The suspect based in Damaturu, Yobe State, was nabbed following the interception of a commercial bus bringing the consignment from Lagos to Gombe in Mararaban, Jos on January 8.

On Tuesday, January 8, operatives of the Plateau Command of the agency also arrested a suspected bandit, Abdullahi Usman Ahmad, 28, at Hwolshe with one Beretta pistol; seven rounds of live ammunition; two empty shells; 12 grams of cannabis sativa; a pair of handcuffs and one million one hundred and thirty-six thousand, three hundred and forty-four naira only (N1, 136,344), suspected to be ransom money as well as an Opel car with registration number ZAR35LQ.

Similarly, the suspected leader of a cocaine distribution ring in Plateau, Mr Chibueze Okoro John, 42, has been arrested along Zaria Road, Jos, with quantities of cocaine and Tramadol recovered from him as well as a Sienna Bus (BWR 584 AL), Toyota Camry car (RBC 461 BF) and the sum of two hundred and seventy-seven thousand naira only (N 277, 000), which the suspect offered to the narcotic officers as a bribe but was rejected.

Meanwhile, in Delta State, the bid by 38-year-old Ejike Obiora to smuggle different quantities of cocaine and heroin into the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South LGA, was foiled on January 8, when he was discovered to have concealed the drugs in foodstuffs meant for an inmate.

This is even as 598kg cannabis was recovered during a raid in the Owo area of Ondo State with the two owners: Mr Arataye Raimi, 41, and Mr Tope Osinnuwa, 36, eventually arrested in follow up operations.

Still, on the latest feats by the NDLEA, one Abdullahi Mohammed was arrested in connection with the seizure of 48.5 blocks of cannabis in Potiskum, Yobe State, another fake security agent, Dike Davison was nabbed at Aliade, Benue State with 50grams of cannabis and 29 rounds of live ammunition of 7.62mm calibre.

In Abuja, a buy and bust operation on Friday, January 14, led to the arrest of one Habib Yusif, 41, with a total of 28.2kg cannabis recovered from him, while in Osun State, the trio of Samuel Joseph; Francis Ujor, and Sola Johnson were arrested in Onikoko village Area 5, Ile-Ife, with 100 bags of cannabis weighing 1,530 kilograms recovered from them on Thursday, January 13.

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ASUU Gives February Deadline Before Planned Strike



ASUU Suspends Strike

By Adedapo Adesanya 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has decided to hold on till February before embarking on a nationwide industrial action.

This follows intervention from the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) which plans to avert the strike action as the federal government was yet to fully fulfil its agreement with the academic pressure group.

The 50-member NIREC, under the co-chairmanship of the Sultan of Sokoto, Mr Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III; and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, is also backed by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Mathew Kukah, among other Christian and Muslim leaders.

ASUU had resolved to embark on industrial action to compel the federal government to meet its demands since last year, threatening strike action among government-owned universities.

However, following the intervention of NIREC, ASUU has opted to go for more consultations and to give the government a few days within January 2022 to address all outstanding issues arising from the December 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA).

In an interview with THISDAY Newspaper over the weekend, ASUU President, Mr Emmanuel Osodake, said that the union had agreed to wait till February.

He also added that it has also submitted its position to NIREC which promised to help mediate and resolve the issues.

“ASUU leadership has agreed to wait till February to give NIREC and other stakeholders enough room to address the union’s grievances,” he said.

The decision of ASUU to suspend action till February is seen as bowing to pressure from prominent Nigerians and the leadership of NIREC comprising of the Sultan of Sokoto, the president of the CAN and other stakeholders.

Mr Osodeke noted that ASUU would resist any attempt to blackmail it and derail its patriotic struggle for a productive university system “by official propaganda founded on tokenism and crumb-sharing”.

Its earlier statement had summed up the decisions reached at the emergency National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held at its National Secretariat, University of Abuja.

The meeting was meant to review the level of government’s implementation of the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 23, 2020, and other related matters to decide on the way forward.

In deciding to stay action on strike, Mr Osodake said: “NEC took full account of efforts by student union bodies, leading media organisations, traditional rulers, civil society organisations and other interest groups within and outside Nigeria to make government address all outstanding issues arising from the December 2020 MoA”.

In particular, the ASUU president said the union took special cognisance of the pledges made by the NIREC to make further consultations on the crisis in the coming days to find an amicable resolution.

He accused the government of reneging on its promise to set up an inter-ministerial committee to handle renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.

One of the issues in contention is the delay in approving the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) developed by ASUU.

ASUU said it was fully prepared to address all the reports of the “integrity test” on UTAS raised by the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to pave way for its deployment.

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