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Governors’ Forum backs state police

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  • Senators urge FG to address causes of insecurity

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) yesterday threw its weight behind the current call agitation for establishment of state police in the country. The Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari, expressed the support of the Forum while speaking to journalists at the closing session of the two-day National Security Summit, organised by the Senate

. He stated that the Forum had earlier agreed on the issue of state police during the constitutional amendment in the past, but lamented that when the NGF split into two factions, some governors decided to play to the gallery and jettisoned the idea.

Yari said that establishment of state police was the only solution to the current escalated security challenges in the country, arguing that the ratio of the present police force to the population of the country was inadequate and below international standard. He also noted that since all the states might not have the financial capacity to run state police, the states that could afford it should go ahead and do so while the Federal Government should redeploy some federal police to the financially disadvantaged states.

His words: “The first primary responsibility of government anywhere in the world is to ensure that the lives and property of citizens are protected; and there has been so many challenges in Nigeria for the past 10 years ranging from Boko Haram, cattle rustling, armed banditry, militancy in the Niger Delta dwindling the economy and even threatening the unity of the nation. “The take home from this summit is that the Vice President raised some of the key discussions about the issue of state police.

The state police is something we have agreed on during the constitutional amendment, but at a later time when the Forum divided into two, some governors played to the gallery, which is unfortunate. “Today, we have reiterated the position of the Vice President on the security summit we held in August last year, that there is a need for state police. And we can say it is only the answer. The police of today are inadequate; so if we look at the ratio, it is far below international standard.

Therefore, we in the Forum agreed that we can find a way that we can fine-tune the issue of state police.” On the inability of every state to maintain a state police, Yari said: “That is why we are saying that it is not all the states that are supposed to have state police.

Those that can, can have it. For instance, Lagos State, as rich as they are, can have state police. “For the federal police in Lagos, they can reduce the number and give to Osun, Ogun and other states that cannot do it. If Rivers State can afford it, the number of federal police can be redeployed to Cross River and other neighbouring states like Enugu that cannot do it.

If Kano State can do it, they can take to my state that is not all that rich. It is something that we can’t take up at the same time and land at the same time.” Two governors and two deputy governors attended the last day of the Summit.

They are Yari and Jubrilla Bindow of Adamawa State. Also in attendance were deputy governors of Benue and Kaduna states. Meanwhile, senators who attended the summit impressed on the Federal Government to promptly and comprehensively address agitations that led to the current grave security development in the country.

A member of the Senate Committee on Security and National Intelligence, Dr. Sam Egwu, noted that the issue of security in the country required collaborative efforts by all, particularly between the Executive and the National Assembly.

He expressed serious concerns that the security situation in Nigeria had degenerated to a point where everybody was in danger, stressing that solution to the problem must not be left to the executive arm alone. Egwu also said that the Senate had a plan to go beyond the summit by going to meet with critical stakeholders at the grassroots including the civil society organisations, traditional and religious leaders. “As an arm of government, we have to contribute our quota by trying to find out means to avert the serious dangers we find ourselves as a country,” Egwu said.

 

 

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National news

EFCC grills former Kaduna governor for 4 hours over N700m campaign fund

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The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Friday interrogated Ramalan Yero, former governor of Kaduna state, for four hours at the commission’s office in Kaduna.

Yero was at the EFCC Kaduna office from around 9 am till around 1:30 pm, when he walked out smiling.

The former governor thanked his supporters who were outside the EFCC office, for their solidarity and asked them to go to the mosques for Juma’at prayer.

He, however, declined to make comment to the press.

His spokesman, Yakubu Lere, told NAN that the ex-governor was invited in connection with the N700 million campaign funds released to the state by the People Democratic Party headquarters in 2015.

Lere recalled that the former governor was at the EFCC office in Kano two years ago over the matter and was granted administrative bail.

“At that time, he explained during the interrogation that the N700 million was PDP money sent to him as the then governor of Kaduna state to finance 2015 general election with instructions, which he judiciously followed,” he said.

“What they are holding against him was that he kept the money in the office of the secretary to the state government instead of in a bank.

“Even last week he was here on the same issue, but as you can see, he came out smiling, meaning the commission has found nothing to hold against him for now.”

The spokesman urged Yero supporters to remain calm and be law abiding, adding that the struggle to “rescue the state from collapse” has started.

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National news

Speaker seizes mace to avoid impeachment

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mace

The Speaker of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Legislative Council, Mr Daniel Michael, on Friday, seized the mace, the symbol of authority, to prevent his impeachment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that his action followed the move by his colleagues to impeach him over allegation of misconduct and abuse of privilege.

Mr Yusuf Kadir, the majority leader of the house, while moving a motion to pass a vote of no confidence on the speaker for alleged gross misconduct, called for his impeachment.

Mr Haruna Saidu, the deputy speaker, who presided over the house, directed the clerk to serve the speaker with the no confidence vote notice moved against him.

Saidu explained that the speaker had been given notice and the ultimatum to respond to the petition on or before May 30, but had to step down as the speaker in the meantime.

He further said that the impeachment would depend on his response to the notice served him.

Mr Aminu Barde, representing Kabusa ward, called on the house to strike out article B in the motion, which according to him, was strictly a party affair and should not be brought to the house.

Mr Isah Baushe, the Councillor representing Gwarinpa ward, said that the speaker should be given time to respond to the petition in writing before his the formal impeachment.

Baushe added that the petitioners should also provide evidence to back up their claims.

The petition reads: “abuse of office by taking unilateral decision without consulting this honorable chamber, which is tantamount to act of impunity and gross abuse of privilege.

“There was also an abuse of privilege by misinforming and misleading the honourable members to subconsciously disobey the party decision on state exco affirmation.

“This singular action has brought this honourable house to disrepute and ridicule.

“There was subversion of the legislative authority by unilaterally withdrawing an official communication from this chamber to the executive arm of the council without our collective consent.

“Desecrating the symbol of authority by removing and ordering mace to be deposited in an unconstitutional and unauthorised location,” it stated.

In his reaction, the speaker told NAN that he had not done anything wrong and would answer any question brought to him.

“I know myself, I have not done anything wrong, I’ll answer them,” he said.

NAN also reports that the glass door to the chamber was completely broken during the fracas that ensued at the chamber, following the event.

The lawmakers resorted to the use of the old broken mace to conduct the business of the day.

Some of the lawmakers, however, expressed happiness to the happening at the chamber, saying the crisis would allow members to sit up for serious legislative business.

(NAN)

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Navy seizes N66m illegally refined diesel, arrests 23 suspects

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Navy

Nigerian Navy (NN) on Friday says it impounded a vessel, barge and wooden boat illegally conveying about 300,000 litres of suspected stolen diesel worth N66 million.

Capt. Victor Choji, the Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, presented 11 suspected crewmen to newsmen in Onne, Rivers.

He said that the vessel, MV Nazarene, barge and wooden boat were intercepted in the late hours of April 20 by troops on routine patrol of waterways.

He added that “the vessel, MV Nazarene, was caught in the act by our patrol elements transhipping suspected illegally refined diesel from a barge, DP 28, and a wooden boat at about 2300 hours.

“MV Nazarene was seized with 300,000 litres of petroleum product suspected to be illegally refined diesel.

“The 11 all-male crew members of the vessel were subsequently arrested and they have been in our custody as preliminary investigation had commenced.”

Choji said that troops also on routine patrol intercepted another suspected illegal vessel, MV Asha, escorted by six undisclosed security personnel.

He said that troops on boarding the vessel found out that the security personnel did not have permission to escort the vessel at the time of seizure.

He, however, declined to reveal the identity of the security agency that provided the illegal escort to the vessel.

He said “MV Asha was seized on March 29 at Onne waterways with 11 crewmen on board. The vessel and crewmen have been in our custody because their motive is still not clear.

“The vessel was arrested with six security personnel that were not under any authority to escort the vessel, thereby, contradicting the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP).

“The HSOP clearly spelt out roles of security agencies in combating illegalities in the oil and gas sector. I advise that security agencies abide by the HSOP.”

The officer added that any individual or group that wished to lift and load petroleum products legitimately at sea must first seek clearance from navy before carrying out such business.

He said the navy was resolute to ensuring that crimes and criminality within the state maritime environment were frustrated to allow legitimate social and commercial activities to thrive.

The naval officer handed over the vessels, barge, wooden boat and 23 suspects to operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.

(NAN)

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