The Federal Government has raised concerns over smuggling of small arms and light weapons, saying the trend must be checked before the 2019 elections.
This came as the government also raised the alarm over porous borders, which, it said, contributed to the proliferation of illegal weapons. The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), made the assertions at a stakeholders’ meeting called to address the national crisis.
According to Dambazau, statistics from the United Nations showed that an estimated 500 million assorted firearms are in West Africa. Out of the number, about 350 million are said to be in the country. “Following the meeting we had with governors two weeks back over the violent conflicts that took place in Benue and other places, between herders and farmers, one of the issues that came up in the communiqué, was the issue of the proliferation of small arms, and also the issue of drug trafficking and abuse.
“And, we also found that these two issues are triggers to the violence taking place in this country. Without the firearms, without the drugs being processed, the courage of those who partake in violence, we would not have the kind of violence with magnitude we have today.
So, there is need to take very urgent action, in order to ensure that this situation is dealt with accordingly. “And, as a follow-up, I invited this meeting of experts so that we will be able to deal with the situation, examine and analyse it, and see how best we can approach it. From records by the United Nations Centre for Peace and Disarmament, I understand that there are approximately 500 million assorted firearms in West Africa. “Out of these 500 million, 70 per cent, approximating 350 million of them are in Nigeria.
And, of course, we know for a fact, that quite a large consignment of weapons are being smuggled or have been smuggled from North Africa, in particular, Libya, as a consequence of the crisis in that country. And, in addition to that, the insurgency in the North-East adds more of the problem, because of the supplies of weapons to the insurgents and terrorists there,” the minister said. On the state of borders, the minister challenged the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other security agencies, to ensure that the nation’s borders are well manned.
President, VP, governors, legislators should disclose salaries -Sani
The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Kaduna State, Shehu Sani, yesterday charged Nigerians to demand for compulsory disclosure of salaries and allowances of the President, Vice President. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, governors, state legislators and chairmen of councils.
Sani, who recently disclosed that federal lawmakers go home with stupendous N13.5m monthly allowance also called for a review of salaries and allowances of government officials to stem the ugly tide of inequality in the society.
Speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State capital yesterday, the senator said his revelation of the allowances and salaries which he and his colleagues collect was actually not to antagonize them but to end the 19 years of secrecy and culture of silence in the National Assembly.
His words: “I made the revelation not because I wanted to antagonise my colleagues but out of my belief that things should not continue to be as it were for a long time. My observation was based on the reading of public mood and public perspectives on issues in the National Assembly. The National Assembly has many distinguished personalities, but because of the culture of secrecy and silence, many have found themselves criminalised and stigmatised, and the dome of the National Assembly is being seen to be a canopy of persons with questionable characters and integrity.
“I took the bold step to save the honour and integrity of the National Assembly by unveiling the wall of 19 years secrecy and bring it once and for all to an end. I know I would lose friends and colleagues from the Senate I serve, but my action is to correct the conflicting rumours about Senators collecting N50m, N100m and the rest.
“Nigerians should ask their members of the Houses of Assembly too how much allowance they are collecting in silence because they are also collecting such. I am collecting the allowance and others are also collecting at the National Assembly. But this will continue until there is a review which I advocated. There is need to know the salary and allowances of Ministers, Chief of Staff. GMDs of NNPC, and the rest. This is necessary because we cannot continue to be like the North Korea.”
“When President Buhari assumed office, he publicly declared his assets. His Vice, Professor Osinbajo followed suit. After them, I was the third person that declared my assets publicly. Since then, there was no one. Not even a Councilor, Local Government Chairman, Governor, had declared their assets. There is no difference between a sinner and a saint in the political arena.
“I went to the Code of Conduct Bureau. I was given a pen and paper and in a page, I wrote down my assets. Others with me in the hall who have also won elections were calling for more papers as if it was an exam centre where you could ask for more papers. Some filled theirs almost like volume. If the PDP are seen as sinners and in the group of APC who are saints, only three persons can come out clean, then you ask yourself whether you are being taken for a ride. Since I made the public declaration, there has not been any sanction against me. I am not sure maybe there may be one tomorrow or next”, Sani said.
Benue: Tiv youths seek unity to end herdsmen killings
The Tiv Youths Organisation (TYO), yesterday called on all well meaning Nigerians to embrace unity of purpose in order to stem rampant killing of farmers in the country by armed Fulani herdsmen before they destroy the country for Benue State selfish gains.
President General of the organisation, Mr. Timothy Hembaor stated this while addressing a news conference in Makurdi, the state capital.
Hembaor, who regretted the continued killing of innocent people in the state by herdsmen, expressed concern over the inability of President Muhammadu Buhari to respond to critical issues put to him by stakeholders during his visit to the state, especially the call by the state government for security operatives to arrest the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), whose intention, he said is to kill and take over Benue Valley that is blessed with green vegetation.
“We want to call on all well meaning Nigerians to rise up and resist attempts by the Fulani herdsmen to take over Nigeria. The signal is clear that if Nigerians do not mobilise against these deadly terrorists, and they succeed in taking over the Benue Valley, it will not stop here, it will surely extend to other parts of the country that are blessed with green grass.
“We must realise and appreciate the fact that every part of Nigeria that has green grass is under serious threat at this point. The sooner we mobilise and collectively resist our attackers, the better for our future and that of the generations to come.”
The TYO boss stressed the need for the Federal Government to provide security to all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity.
Police kill, nab armed robbery suspects, cultists in Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Police Command, at the weekend, confirmed the killing of one suspected armed robbers and the arrest of 11 others over alleged cases of armed robber and cultism.
According to the police, the death of the armed robbery suspect and arrest of others were part of security operation to check the onslaught against criminals by the Police in Bayelsa Command.
This was made possible through ‘Stop and Search’ operations on motorists, tricycles and frisk on suspected persons.
The spokesman of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, said, “On March14, 2018, at about 13:50 hours, two unknown gunmen, armed with a locally made pistol went to Elohim Food Mart, at Swali Road, Yenagoa and robbed one female customer, Elo Baribefe of one Itel phone, one Infinix phone, one Vivo phone and cash of N327.000.”
“The CCTV camera in the premises captured the suspects. Further investigation led to the arrest of the suspects – Elayo Youngosi (24) of Oil Mill Road, Ovom, Sarah Alex (19) of PDP Road, Yenezue-gene and Collins Nathaniel (25), who was earlier arrested by men of Operation Doo-Akpo for cult-related offence.
“Shop owners are advised to mount CCTV cameras their premises to assist police in investigation. The suspects will soon be charged to court.
“On March 14, at about 0300 hours, operatives from Operation Doo-Akpo, were alerted on the hideout of criminals, who were on the wanted list of police for several heinous crimes.
“Consequently, the operatives swung into action and raided Benvis Hotel, at Opolo, where the criminals were hiding. In a bid to escape, one of the suspects, Job Nathaniel (29) jump from the roof of the hotel, sustained an injury and later died in the hospital.
“His cohorts, Wisdom Holly (19); Ovie Solomon (25); Goodnews Blessing (18) and Miracle Marcus (20) were arrested. The suspects led police to their girlfriend’s house few meters away from the hotel, where police recovered a locally made revolver with one live cartridge. Investigation is ongoing.
“In March15, at about 1300hrs, police at Julius Berger Pin down flagged down a tricycle with REG No. HKW 704 QC and searched the occupants: Julius Konyefa (41), a native of Aghoro community in Ekeremor LGA, but residing in Azikoro village; Apuam Ikegima (36) of Epebu community in Ogbia LGA, but residing in Amarata, Yenagoa; Paul Raphael (36) years of Brass, in Brass LGA, but residing in Azikoro village, Yenagoa, and the tricycle rider, Shuibu Japebu (45).
“A Beretta Pistol without breech number and magazine and two plastic coca-cola bottles wrapped in a black cellophane bag were recovered from the tricycle. The suspects are undergoing thorough interrogation.”
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