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Showing posts with label Northern Nigeria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Northern Nigeria. Show all posts

ONE KIDNAPPING TOO MANY! - OKEGBOLA

ONE KIDNAPPING TOO MANY! - OKEGBOLA


Let me first express my joy for the return of the students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina state, alive and in one piece. These boys were kidnapped exactly a week ago from their boarding school. After a headcount, and the back and forth on the actual number of students missing, about 333 were finally confirmed by the Governor of Katsina state, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari. On return, 344 was mentioned. Garba Shehu has apologised for giving such a ridiculous number as 10.


The incident happened some hours after the arrival of the president in Katsina state, who is on one-week private visit to his home town, Daura, in the same state. Many saw the incident as an afront to the president, who is the Commander-in-Chief and the Chief Security Officer of the country, whose first constitutional responsibility is to protect the lives and properties of the citizens. Those who did that must have done so for strategic reason to make the president look bad. And they succeeded.


For the past one week, all kinds of verbal "missiles" have been thrown at the president and his administration. Series of events were organised to show the anger of Nigerians against his handling of the security matters in the country as a whole, and particularly in the north, which has been more at the receiving end. But, can the critics be blamed? No, ofcourse. Only an insensitive, inhumane and irresponsible person will be nonchalant about all that's going on in the country now.


Against my resolve some months ago, I found myself writing about the challenges of insecurities in Nigeria, and in the north specifically, in the past three weeks. The situation is akin to what the Yorubas will call; "egbinrin ote, bi a se n pakan, nikan nu ruwe" (the shoot of conspiracy, as we nip one, another sprouts). I am overwhelmed by the shear magnitude, frequency and the brutality of the attacks these days. Many lives have been lost to them.


The events of the past week overshadowed and dented the 78th birthday celebration of our President Muhammadu Buhari. The day was 17th of December. There was no chance for merriment given the circumstances we are in. I am using this opportunity to wish him happy birthday. Long life in good health (he already has prosperity, no need disturbing God about that again). Such occasion should be used to reflect on his life, living and the legacy he would like to leave behind after his tenure and after his sojourn on the mother earth.


The situation at this time didn't permit me to write about him personally, something I did in the past three years on every Saturday that followed his birthday. I usually used the opportunity of that day to x-ray few things about him, his personality, his government and performances. But today, the situation is sobering.


As at today, it is now 2441 days that Chibok girls were abducted from their hostel on April 14, 2014 in Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state, while preparing to write their WAEC in May/June 2014. Nigeria was never the same again. This was during the previous administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. When it happened, it was unbelievable to the extent that the FG denied it happened. This unfortunately slowed down immediate response to rescue them until they have gone far and it was too late. It was novel to us in Nigeria at the time.


The back and forth of that time was nauseating. The blame game, accusations and counter-accusations that followed made a mess of the whole incident. The various accusations of politicisation of it, the misinformation, sabotage, conspiracy, the many unanswered questions till date, the many issues that were shrouded in secrecy, and so on. The girls were the people who suffered for all of that. The government mishandled it.


So, one could imagine the fear and agony when the news of another mass kidnapping broke last Saturday. It was devastating. And to say we were still recovering from the massacre of 43 farmers in Zabambari, who were slaughtered by boko haram. That was shattering.


On Thursday afternoon, I was quick to spread the "good news" of the release of the boys immediately I got that from my publisher, one I always trust and rely on his sources and news. I was overexcited, knowing what evil must have passed over the boys if the news were to be true. Unfortunately, my celebration was cut short will another news of rebuttal by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, from whose Twitter handle many got the news also. She claimed her account was hacked. I had to forward that rebuttal as well to all the platforms I earlier shared the "good news". My heart was broken into pieces.


As if that was not enough, many of my friends on social media who saw my first post were very quick to criticise me for spreading "fake news" even if it was good. That actually came from our history. Many of them, as I often wrote in the past, are either APC members, "Buharists" (loyalists and supporters of President Buhari) or those who have sympathy for him and the current administration. So, it was an opportunity to hit back at me as they have always seen me as an "enemy" because of my critical analysis of this administration's performances in the past few years.


I took responsibility for my post with the explanation that fell more on deaf ears. However, as God would have it, the news turned out to be true. My joy was double bound. After confirmation the second time, I had to wait for more visual evidences before posting again. And as a believer in God, I "forgave" my earlier transducers who also tried to justify their actions against me (lol). "Ti a o ba gbagbe oro ana, a o ni reni ba sere (it's in forgiveness that relationships blossom).


All that were really inconsequential to me. The joy that the boys were back overshadowed any misgivings. This is one thing I commend the government under the leadership of President Buhari for and all the efforts put in it by the Katsina state governor. They did very well. Those six days were traumatising to the parents of these kids. I knew because I followed the incident keenly. Katsina was under my jurisdiction while I worked in the north for about 10 years.


I know the Kankara village. I passed there on my way from and to Kano, Dutsinma, Funtua, etc. countless times. I hope people can now understand my attachment. Katsina was naturally a relatively more peaceful state in the north, even at the height of the boko haram attacks. How it became such a hot bed of criminals still baffles me. I don't want to join in different conspiratorial analysis that followed the abduction and release. I am simply happy that the kids are back.


This is similar to what happened in Dapchi nearly three years ago. Abduction and latter released soon after. That still has its scar on us all as one girl, Leah Sharibu is still in captivity, just like over 100 Chibok girls who have not been released till date, in spite of all the government's efforts. It’s true that one of the waves that President Buhari and APC rode to power was that of Chibok girls and general insecurities.


In 2014, #BringBackOurGirls went viral. It became a global movement, triggered by a group with the same name in Nigeria. They were nightmare to Jonathan and his government. The conveners were Dr. Oby Ezekwezili, Ayesha Yesufu and some others. Some people in the present administration were part of the movement. The people in power today, took advantage of the potency of that movement to damage (literally) Jonathan and his government. He was denigrated, called all kinds of names. People were sold their alternative, which included securing the nation, ending boko haram and bringing back all the Chibok girls in record time. But here we are. The chickens have come home to roost.


Not only that boko haram has not been defeated and that many Chibok girls are still in captivity, the general security across the country has collapsed, unlike in the past when boko haram was the biggest security challenge. Now, roads have become death traps as they have been taken over by kidnappers. Farms are killing fields as they have been colonised by bandits. Many communities have become ghost towns since people ran away and abandoned their ancestral homes for fear of being killed. "Iku t'onpa ojugba eni, owe lo npa fun ni" (to be forewarned, is to be foreharmed).


Nowhere is safe now. Nobody feels safe. But, we cannot give up on our country. Emir of Kaura Namoda of Zamfara state escaped by the whimsical on Thursday night, from being killed on Zaira-Funtua road. Eight others in his entourage were not that lucky. They were killed by bandits who attacked their convoy. Another Emir was kidnapped from inside the mosque in Kogi while he went for morning prayer yesterday.


What is really going on? The situation has become hydra-headed. For years, there have been calls for the rejigging of the national security architecture and breathing of fresh air into the leadership of security agencies, but all that fell on deaf ears. The president has the prerogative of appointing and sacking them but he didn't do anything. May be he knows what the rest of Nigerians don't know, because, even the national assembly's call was never heeded.


Then, one wonders who benefits from these insecurities when events that happened this week is considered. On Monday, the Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) organised a meeting in Arewa House, Kaduna, to discuss the problem of the insecurities in the north, a welcome development. But what happened? There was an invasion of the venue by arms-bearing thugs and hoodlooms who attacked them, scattered the gathering, broke cars and other facilities, many invitees and dignitaries scampered for safety. Many were wounded. Who sponsored them? What was the motive? How does one explain an attack by "potential" victims of insecurities on the people who tried to profer solutions to their problems? What's really going on?


Why has the federal government not been able to nab the financiers and sponsors of the terrorists and bandits all these years despite having the helicopter view of financial transactions and movements of funds through the CBN and other regulatory agencies? Afterall, it took the CBN only few days to track those accused of financing the #EndSARS peaceful protesters and froze their accounts. Or is it a matter of interests and priorities?


In similar scenario, it took the government of UAE to identify and arrest some sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria. Before, during and after, we did not hear any action from the government of Nigeria, CBN or other agencies. These are concerns among many. How do we move forward from here?


What I believe is missing in all of this is sincerity of purpose. The people saddled with the responsibilities of protecting lives and properties are not completely sincere in their handling of the issue. This is why there are always accusations and allegations of complicity in crimes, corruption in security funding and rebuilding efforts. IDP relief materials were stolen. The insecurity has become a striving industry for many involved.


For the umpteenth time, there is need for sincerity of purpose. The security architecture should be rejig. There should be deployment of technology to enhance the functionality of the security agents. The training of the agents in modern ways of policing and securing the country should be a continous exercise. They should also be provided with modern equipment, arms and amunitions. More personnel should be recruited into different security agencies.


Unfortunately, these measures may still have limitations as to their effectiveness as long as we continue to operate this dysfunctional system of government as we have in the country. Nigeria should be restructured. The much advocated state police, local police and community policing will be consequential dividends of a properly restructured country. We cannot be doing the same thing over and over, but expect different results. That’s insanity. When are we going to be "sane" and do the right things?


In all, all glory be to God for the safe return of the Kankara boys. We urge the government to put similarly intense efforts at rescuing other citizens in captivity of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers, including Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls, and the rest.


May God continue to protect us.


God Bless Nigeria.


[email protected]



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Let me first express my joy for the return of the students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina state, alive and in one piece. These boys were kidnapped exactly a week ago from their boarding school. After a headcount, and the back and forth on the actual number of students missing, about 333 were finally confirmed by the Governor of Katsina state, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari. On return, 344 was mentioned. Garba Shehu has apologised for giving such a ridiculous number as 10.


The incident happened some hours after the arrival of the president in Katsina state, who is on one-week private visit to his home town, Daura, in the same state. Many saw the incident as an afront to the president, who is the Commander-in-Chief and the Chief Security Officer of the country, whose first constitutional responsibility is to protect the lives and properties of the citizens. Those who did that must have done so for strategic reason to make the president look bad. And they succeeded.


For the past one week, all kinds of verbal "missiles" have been thrown at the president and his administration. Series of events were organised to show the anger of Nigerians against his handling of the security matters in the country as a whole, and particularly in the north, which has been more at the receiving end. But, can the critics be blamed? No, ofcourse. Only an insensitive, inhumane and irresponsible person will be nonchalant about all that's going on in the country now.


Against my resolve some months ago, I found myself writing about the challenges of insecurities in Nigeria, and in the north specifically, in the past three weeks. The situation is akin to what the Yorubas will call; "egbinrin ote, bi a se n pakan, nikan nu ruwe" (the shoot of conspiracy, as we nip one, another sprouts). I am overwhelmed by the shear magnitude, frequency and the brutality of the attacks these days. Many lives have been lost to them.


The events of the past week overshadowed and dented the 78th birthday celebration of our President Muhammadu Buhari. The day was 17th of December. There was no chance for merriment given the circumstances we are in. I am using this opportunity to wish him happy birthday. Long life in good health (he already has prosperity, no need disturbing God about that again). Such occasion should be used to reflect on his life, living and the legacy he would like to leave behind after his tenure and after his sojourn on the mother earth.


The situation at this time didn't permit me to write about him personally, something I did in the past three years on every Saturday that followed his birthday. I usually used the opportunity of that day to x-ray few things about him, his personality, his government and performances. But today, the situation is sobering.


As at today, it is now 2441 days that Chibok girls were abducted from their hostel on April 14, 2014 in Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state, while preparing to write their WAEC in May/June 2014. Nigeria was never the same again. This was during the previous administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. When it happened, it was unbelievable to the extent that the FG denied it happened. This unfortunately slowed down immediate response to rescue them until they have gone far and it was too late. It was novel to us in Nigeria at the time.


The back and forth of that time was nauseating. The blame game, accusations and counter-accusations that followed made a mess of the whole incident. The various accusations of politicisation of it, the misinformation, sabotage, conspiracy, the many unanswered questions till date, the many issues that were shrouded in secrecy, and so on. The girls were the people who suffered for all of that. The government mishandled it.


So, one could imagine the fear and agony when the news of another mass kidnapping broke last Saturday. It was devastating. And to say we were still recovering from the massacre of 43 farmers in Zabambari, who were slaughtered by boko haram. That was shattering.


On Thursday afternoon, I was quick to spread the "good news" of the release of the boys immediately I got that from my publisher, one I always trust and rely on his sources and news. I was overexcited, knowing what evil must have passed over the boys if the news were to be true. Unfortunately, my celebration was cut short will another news of rebuttal by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, from whose Twitter handle many got the news also. She claimed her account was hacked. I had to forward that rebuttal as well to all the platforms I earlier shared the "good news". My heart was broken into pieces.


As if that was not enough, many of my friends on social media who saw my first post were very quick to criticise me for spreading "fake news" even if it was good. That actually came from our history. Many of them, as I often wrote in the past, are either APC members, "Buharists" (loyalists and supporters of President Buhari) or those who have sympathy for him and the current administration. So, it was an opportunity to hit back at me as they have always seen me as an "enemy" because of my critical analysis of this administration's performances in the past few years.


I took responsibility for my post with the explanation that fell more on deaf ears. However, as God would have it, the news turned out to be true. My joy was double bound. After confirmation the second time, I had to wait for more visual evidences before posting again. And as a believer in God, I "forgave" my earlier transducers who also tried to justify their actions against me (lol). "Ti a o ba gbagbe oro ana, a o ni reni ba sere (it's in forgiveness that relationships blossom).


All that were really inconsequential to me. The joy that the boys were back overshadowed any misgivings. This is one thing I commend the government under the leadership of President Buhari for and all the efforts put in it by the Katsina state governor. They did very well. Those six days were traumatising to the parents of these kids. I knew because I followed the incident keenly. Katsina was under my jurisdiction while I worked in the north for about 10 years.


I know the Kankara village. I passed there on my way from and to Kano, Dutsinma, Funtua, etc. countless times. I hope people can now understand my attachment. Katsina was naturally a relatively more peaceful state in the north, even at the height of the boko haram attacks. How it became such a hot bed of criminals still baffles me. I don't want to join in different conspiratorial analysis that followed the abduction and release. I am simply happy that the kids are back.


This is similar to what happened in Dapchi nearly three years ago. Abduction and latter released soon after. That still has its scar on us all as one girl, Leah Sharibu is still in captivity, just like over 100 Chibok girls who have not been released till date, in spite of all the government's efforts. It’s true that one of the waves that President Buhari and APC rode to power was that of Chibok girls and general insecurities.


In 2014, #BringBackOurGirls went viral. It became a global movement, triggered by a group with the same name in Nigeria. They were nightmare to Jonathan and his government. The conveners were Dr. Oby Ezekwezili, Ayesha Yesufu and some others. Some people in the present administration were part of the movement. The people in power today, took advantage of the potency of that movement to damage (literally) Jonathan and his government. He was denigrated, called all kinds of names. People were sold their alternative, which included securing the nation, ending boko haram and bringing back all the Chibok girls in record time. But here we are. The chickens have come home to roost.


Not only that boko haram has not been defeated and that many Chibok girls are still in captivity, the general security across the country has collapsed, unlike in the past when boko haram was the biggest security challenge. Now, roads have become death traps as they have been taken over by kidnappers. Farms are killing fields as they have been colonised by bandits. Many communities have become ghost towns since people ran away and abandoned their ancestral homes for fear of being killed. "Iku t'onpa ojugba eni, owe lo npa fun ni" (to be forewarned, is to be foreharmed).


Nowhere is safe now. Nobody feels safe. But, we cannot give up on our country. Emir of Kaura Namoda of Zamfara state escaped by the whimsical on Thursday night, from being killed on Zaira-Funtua road. Eight others in his entourage were not that lucky. They were killed by bandits who attacked their convoy. Another Emir was kidnapped from inside the mosque in Kogi while he went for morning prayer yesterday.


What is really going on? The situation has become hydra-headed. For years, there have been calls for the rejigging of the national security architecture and breathing of fresh air into the leadership of security agencies, but all that fell on deaf ears. The president has the prerogative of appointing and sacking them but he didn't do anything. May be he knows what the rest of Nigerians don't know, because, even the national assembly's call was never heeded.


Then, one wonders who benefits from these insecurities when events that happened this week is considered. On Monday, the Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) organised a meeting in Arewa House, Kaduna, to discuss the problem of the insecurities in the north, a welcome development. But what happened? There was an invasion of the venue by arms-bearing thugs and hoodlooms who attacked them, scattered the gathering, broke cars and other facilities, many invitees and dignitaries scampered for safety. Many were wounded. Who sponsored them? What was the motive? How does one explain an attack by "potential" victims of insecurities on the people who tried to profer solutions to their problems? What's really going on?


Why has the federal government not been able to nab the financiers and sponsors of the terrorists and bandits all these years despite having the helicopter view of financial transactions and movements of funds through the CBN and other regulatory agencies? Afterall, it took the CBN only few days to track those accused of financing the #EndSARS peaceful protesters and froze their accounts. Or is it a matter of interests and priorities?


In similar scenario, it took the government of UAE to identify and arrest some sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria. Before, during and after, we did not hear any action from the government of Nigeria, CBN or other agencies. These are concerns among many. How do we move forward from here?


What I believe is missing in all of this is sincerity of purpose. The people saddled with the responsibilities of protecting lives and properties are not completely sincere in their handling of the issue. This is why there are always accusations and allegations of complicity in crimes, corruption in security funding and rebuilding efforts. IDP relief materials were stolen. The insecurity has become a striving industry for many involved.


For the umpteenth time, there is need for sincerity of purpose. The security architecture should be rejig. There should be deployment of technology to enhance the functionality of the security agents. The training of the agents in modern ways of policing and securing the country should be a continous exercise. They should also be provided with modern equipment, arms and amunitions. More personnel should be recruited into different security agencies.


Unfortunately, these measures may still have limitations as to their effectiveness as long as we continue to operate this dysfunctional system of government as we have in the country. Nigeria should be restructured. The much advocated state police, local police and community policing will be consequential dividends of a properly restructured country. We cannot be doing the same thing over and over, but expect different results. That’s insanity. When are we going to be "sane" and do the right things?


In all, all glory be to God for the safe return of the Kankara boys. We urge the government to put similarly intense efforts at rescuing other citizens in captivity of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers, including Leah Sharibu, Chibok girls, and the rest.


May God continue to protect us.


God Bless Nigeria.


[email protected]



Share, forward and retweet, as sharing makes love go round!

BUHARI'S BIRTHDAY OF MIXED BLESSINGS BY OKEGBOLA

BUHARI'S BIRTHDAY OF MIXED BLESSINGS BY OKEGBOLA



I can not figure out how President Mohammadu Buhari feels on his 78th birthday celebrations. I don't even know if he is a birthday person. I am not but I'm not a president; I'm just an ordinary Nigerian. I'm not because I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, if I could eat my three square meals everyday that was enough and birthday celebration will be a luxury. I don't think President Buhari had a different background than I had. I don't think he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth either.


But he has been around the corridor of power for a long time and things could have changed. This is his second shot at the headship of Nigeria and the military he served could have given him a taste of the luxury/ luxurious life. Olusegun Obasanjo, first president of the restored Nigeria's third republic was also not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but his friends and hangers on always had great birthdays with pages of newspaper taken to greet him on his birthday as "father of modern Nigeria". Perhaps Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired General of the Nigeria Army just like President Mohammed Buhari learnt the luxury of birthday in the Military.


Buhari has a different personality from Obasanjo. Buhari is not showy and does not hug the klieg light; at least we have that impression of him. Are we right? The first lady glitters and is so outspoken that one will think only a flashy and ceremonies man will win the heart of such a beauty. Whether Buhari loves birthdays or not, it is certain his 78th birthday on 17 December 2000 was a mixed blessings. Before the birthday the President took a leave and planned to chill out in the quiet of Daura his home town but three hours drive from Daura the boko haram or bandits or both rolled together in one gave him an ugly birthday present in Kankara when they raided a science secondary school and left with 600 students. Up till the time of writing more that 300 student are still missing.


Few weeks before Kakanra, boko haram had similarly chosen a rice farm where they slit open the throats of 43 hapless farmers. By doing that, they threw spanner in the works of Buhari's plan to make the nation self sufficient in rice production. If there is anything the North needs, it is science education. In one state in the North there are twenty three hospitals and twenty two medical doctors. So to have raided a science secondary in the North and make away with over 600 students is to have worsen the situation of medical service there. There were much hues and cries that followed the cruel killing of the 43 rice farmers and the languages of condemnations that came from both local and international sources were so unsettling, so the choice of Daura by Buhari to chill down may have been informed by the need to get away from the ascerbic criticism.


A barrage of criticism again trailed the President. There are obvious enemies who desire no rest for the President. One, a former acolyte and from North openly told readers his grouse with the President . He had medical doctors and lawyers among his children and the Federal Government will not recruit them into the Federal Civil Service. You wonder why the Civil Service and not set up private practice to provide employment but in the quest you see another problem that plagues the north, the desire only for government job where little is required to be done and where the opportunity exists to steal as much as possible. The father had done nothing since independence in 1960 than stay in corridors of power and having tasted how easy to make wealth without lifting a finger, why should he encourage his children to toil for every kobo they will earn as private persons.


And if the children must be civil servants why not in the state of the father? Here again you see why some people are angry with the now strident calls for restructuring. Restructuring means whoever will rule over any portion of Nigeria will to engage in hard thinking to raise needed revenues to run that portion of the country. If you don't work you don't eat and many in Nigeria prefer not to work but eat. It's so easy to go to Abuja and collect oil money and go back home to share it. Unfortunately, it does not seem that the President is prepared to confront such laziness in Nigeria because his body language does not indicate he wants anything to do with restructuring. Anyhow, oil is no longer in demand the world over become substitutes have been found for it and so earnings from it is fast drying up. If the harsh criticism of the President by some northerners is to take his attention away from needed restructuring, they may have been successful. But if it is to get them favour, so far it has not been successful because the President has stuck to his 2015 word to be for all and to be for nobody.


Another birthday gift to the President concerns his health. Seems each time there is crisis in the country many of the enemies of the President want to talk about the fact that he survived the initial challenges he had with his health. Some went as far as to say the person Nigerians have in Aso Rock is a clone of the man we voted for in 2015. Despite the scientific denial of such possibility by former head of our space research, Dr. Borofice, now a senator, the suspicion is not dead. The latest of such suspicion is that the President forgets so easily. It becomes disturbing when these suspicion is coming from persons from his immediate constituency in the North. On the President birthday a prominent second republic politician and a medical doctor, also a radical, Junaid Mohammed alleged that the President suffers from dementia. He told Tribune online emphatically that the President has been diagnosed with demential and thus unfit to continue to run the country. Coming from a medical doctor, this allegation can not be treated with levity.


Do these suscipicions stick? Are they true? Are they just bile? Are they attempts to cower the President to do their bidding? What is their bidding? The situation is not helped much by the traditional Nigeria mentality to treat health as a secret. Fortunately some governors are breaking out of this cocoon. When Governor Jide Sanwoolu of Lagos went down on Covid-19, the public was promptly told with the press aides using the opportunity to tell the public that the virus is spiking again and to remind them of the Covid protocol. Similarly, Governors Makinde of Oyo State, Akeredolu of Ondo State, and El Rufai of Kaduna State have toed the same line. If our democracy is going to be stable, the health of the President and that of other public servants must not be a secret. Hiding the health status of leaders lead credence to many lies. It will amazing what huge number of Nigeria subscribe to what these critics are saying.


It is not all gloom for Mr. President on his birthday. His party men have risen to celebrate him on his birthday. The Progressive Governors Forum has sent to greet the President in a very generous tone. What makes these forum progressive? What makes others unprogressive? May be their party affiliation. If you belong to PDP, you are probably not seen as progressive even if you have the best achievement in your state. But if you cross over to APC you may wear the bag of the progressive which means progressive in Nigeria's political fermament has nothing to do with ideology but with mere label. Well it seems good for progressive governors to identify with and celebrate the progressive President. They are progressive and the President is also, even if pensioners in their states are protesting none payment of their pensions. They are progressive and the President is especially on the occasion of his birthday even if Nigeria is in recession and has no hope of quiting it.


They must be progressive and so is the President even if over 100 million Nigerians would have their sims blocked if they could not meet the two weeks deadline slammed on Nigeria by Nigeria Identity Management Commission, NIMC, an exercise that moves at the speed of snail. I hope this will be pulled through;  at least we will finally have a country that can track bandits, kidnappers and boko haram. That will happen if those who are to employ the data are not themselves the sponsors of these criminals.


Mr. President, this is wishing you a happy birthday.


[email protected]



I can not figure out how President Mohammadu Buhari feels on his 78th birthday celebrations. I don't even know if he is a birthday person. I am not but I'm not a president; I'm just an ordinary Nigerian. I'm not because I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, if I could eat my three square meals everyday that was enough and birthday celebration will be a luxury. I don't think President Buhari had a different background than I had. I don't think he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth either.


But he has been around the corridor of power for a long time and things could have changed. This is his second shot at the headship of Nigeria and the military he served could have given him a taste of the luxury/ luxurious life. Olusegun Obasanjo, first president of the restored Nigeria's third republic was also not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but his friends and hangers on always had great birthdays with pages of newspaper taken to greet him on his birthday as "father of modern Nigeria". Perhaps Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired General of the Nigeria Army just like President Mohammed Buhari learnt the luxury of birthday in the Military.


Buhari has a different personality from Obasanjo. Buhari is not showy and does not hug the klieg light; at least we have that impression of him. Are we right? The first lady glitters and is so outspoken that one will think only a flashy and ceremonies man will win the heart of such a beauty. Whether Buhari loves birthdays or not, it is certain his 78th birthday on 17 December 2000 was a mixed blessings. Before the birthday the President took a leave and planned to chill out in the quiet of Daura his home town but three hours drive from Daura the boko haram or bandits or both rolled together in one gave him an ugly birthday present in Kankara when they raided a science secondary school and left with 600 students. Up till the time of writing more that 300 student are still missing.


Few weeks before Kakanra, boko haram had similarly chosen a rice farm where they slit open the throats of 43 hapless farmers. By doing that, they threw spanner in the works of Buhari's plan to make the nation self sufficient in rice production. If there is anything the North needs, it is science education. In one state in the North there are twenty three hospitals and twenty two medical doctors. So to have raided a science secondary in the North and make away with over 600 students is to have worsen the situation of medical service there. There were much hues and cries that followed the cruel killing of the 43 rice farmers and the languages of condemnations that came from both local and international sources were so unsettling, so the choice of Daura by Buhari to chill down may have been informed by the need to get away from the ascerbic criticism.


A barrage of criticism again trailed the President. There are obvious enemies who desire no rest for the President. One, a former acolyte and from North openly told readers his grouse with the President . He had medical doctors and lawyers among his children and the Federal Government will not recruit them into the Federal Civil Service. You wonder why the Civil Service and not set up private practice to provide employment but in the quest you see another problem that plagues the north, the desire only for government job where little is required to be done and where the opportunity exists to steal as much as possible. The father had done nothing since independence in 1960 than stay in corridors of power and having tasted how easy to make wealth without lifting a finger, why should he encourage his children to toil for every kobo they will earn as private persons.


And if the children must be civil servants why not in the state of the father? Here again you see why some people are angry with the now strident calls for restructuring. Restructuring means whoever will rule over any portion of Nigeria will to engage in hard thinking to raise needed revenues to run that portion of the country. If you don't work you don't eat and many in Nigeria prefer not to work but eat. It's so easy to go to Abuja and collect oil money and go back home to share it. Unfortunately, it does not seem that the President is prepared to confront such laziness in Nigeria because his body language does not indicate he wants anything to do with restructuring. Anyhow, oil is no longer in demand the world over become substitutes have been found for it and so earnings from it is fast drying up. If the harsh criticism of the President by some northerners is to take his attention away from needed restructuring, they may have been successful. But if it is to get them favour, so far it has not been successful because the President has stuck to his 2015 word to be for all and to be for nobody.


Another birthday gift to the President concerns his health. Seems each time there is crisis in the country many of the enemies of the President want to talk about the fact that he survived the initial challenges he had with his health. Some went as far as to say the person Nigerians have in Aso Rock is a clone of the man we voted for in 2015. Despite the scientific denial of such possibility by former head of our space research, Dr. Borofice, now a senator, the suspicion is not dead. The latest of such suspicion is that the President forgets so easily. It becomes disturbing when these suspicion is coming from persons from his immediate constituency in the North. On the President birthday a prominent second republic politician and a medical doctor, also a radical, Junaid Mohammed alleged that the President suffers from dementia. He told Tribune online emphatically that the President has been diagnosed with demential and thus unfit to continue to run the country. Coming from a medical doctor, this allegation can not be treated with levity.


Do these suscipicions stick? Are they true? Are they just bile? Are they attempts to cower the President to do their bidding? What is their bidding? The situation is not helped much by the traditional Nigeria mentality to treat health as a secret. Fortunately some governors are breaking out of this cocoon. When Governor Jide Sanwoolu of Lagos went down on Covid-19, the public was promptly told with the press aides using the opportunity to tell the public that the virus is spiking again and to remind them of the Covid protocol. Similarly, Governors Makinde of Oyo State, Akeredolu of Ondo State, and El Rufai of Kaduna State have toed the same line. If our democracy is going to be stable, the health of the President and that of other public servants must not be a secret. Hiding the health status of leaders lead credence to many lies. It will amazing what huge number of Nigeria subscribe to what these critics are saying.


It is not all gloom for Mr. President on his birthday. His party men have risen to celebrate him on his birthday. The Progressive Governors Forum has sent to greet the President in a very generous tone. What makes these forum progressive? What makes others unprogressive? May be their party affiliation. If you belong to PDP, you are probably not seen as progressive even if you have the best achievement in your state. But if you cross over to APC you may wear the bag of the progressive which means progressive in Nigeria's political fermament has nothing to do with ideology but with mere label. Well it seems good for progressive governors to identify with and celebrate the progressive President. They are progressive and the President is also, even if pensioners in their states are protesting none payment of their pensions. They are progressive and the President is especially on the occasion of his birthday even if Nigeria is in recession and has no hope of quiting it.


They must be progressive and so is the President even if over 100 million Nigerians would have their sims blocked if they could not meet the two weeks deadline slammed on Nigeria by Nigeria Identity Management Commission, NIMC, an exercise that moves at the speed of snail. I hope this will be pulled through;  at least we will finally have a country that can track bandits, kidnappers and boko haram. That will happen if those who are to employ the data are not themselves the sponsors of these criminals.


Mr. President, this is wishing you a happy birthday.


[email protected]

Nigeria: Gunmen attack Emir’ of Kaura Namoda's convoy, kill eight

Nigeria: Gunmen attack Emir’ of Kaura Namoda's convoy, kill eight


Gunmen on Friday attacked the convoy of the Emir of Kaura Namoda, in Zamfara State, killing eight guards, including police officers.


The monarch, Sanusi Muhammad-Asha, a retired army major, was ambushed along the Zaria-Funtua highway.


An uncle to the Emir, Abdulkarim Ahmad-Asha, confirmed to Daily Trust that the incident occurred around 3am on Friday.


“The gunmen fired shots at a Hilux vehicle at the front and killed the driver, three policemen and four others. In all, eight people were killed,” the paper quoted him as saying.


“But Almighty Allah in his infinite mercy had made the Emir and his wife to escape the attack unscathed.”


The Emir reportedly spent the night in safe custody in Funtua local government area of Katsina.


Also the remains of deceased persons are expected for burial at Kaura Namoda immediately after Jumuat prayer today.


The police spokesperson in Zamfara, Muhammad Shehu, did not respond to calls seeking comment.


Source: Premium Times


Gunmen on Friday attacked the convoy of the Emir of Kaura Namoda, in Zamfara State, killing eight guards, including police officers.


The monarch, Sanusi Muhammad-Asha, a retired army major, was ambushed along the Zaria-Funtua highway.


An uncle to the Emir, Abdulkarim Ahmad-Asha, confirmed to Daily Trust that the incident occurred around 3am on Friday.


“The gunmen fired shots at a Hilux vehicle at the front and killed the driver, three policemen and four others. In all, eight people were killed,” the paper quoted him as saying.


“But Almighty Allah in his infinite mercy had made the Emir and his wife to escape the attack unscathed.”


The Emir reportedly spent the night in safe custody in Funtua local government area of Katsina.


Also the remains of deceased persons are expected for burial at Kaura Namoda immediately after Jumuat prayer today.


The police spokesperson in Zamfara, Muhammad Shehu, did not respond to calls seeking comment.


Source: Premium Times

Governor Masari receives freed Katsina students, gives condition for reuniting them with families

Governor Masari receives freed Katsina students, gives condition for reuniting them with families

 


The Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, on Friday received 344 secondary school students released six days after they were kidnapped by Boko Haram.


The students were released in Zamfara State, and travelled to Katsina government house where they were received by the governor.



The students were abducted by gunmen on Friday last week from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of the state.


Terror group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the abduction and subsequently released a video that showed some of the boys pleading for help to return home.


Mr Masari said the released students will be reunited with their parents after they rest from the fatigue and undergo medical check-up, in addition to being given proper clothing and feeding.


“The released students will be carefully reunited with their parents after the state authorities in collaboration with local government officials confirm that those that come forward are the real parents, guardian,” the governor said.


“The principal of the school cannot know all the 344 parents and guardians of the released boys which is why the government has to engage local officials. Also, the released boys are to identify their relations before we hand over any child.


“The Executive Secretary, Science and Technical Education Board, will list all the names of the students and their parents because we are not going to release a child to anyone until we are sure they are the parents or guardians.



“We will continue to discharge our responsibilities as government and leaders in the state. I am more disturbed about the abduction than any other parents. This is because while parents cried for a missing child, I cried for 344 missing children.”


The governor said security is the responsibility of all citizens, saying the abduction of the schoolboys affected everyone in the 34 council areas of the state in many ways.


“For you the released students, it is now part of your life story and your journey to adulthood, some of you will only understand this in your later life, we suffered physically, mentally, psychologically and we thank Allah for the success,” Mr Masari said.


Source: Premium Times



 


The Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, on Friday received 344 secondary school students released six days after they were kidnapped by Boko Haram.


The students were released in Zamfara State, and travelled to Katsina government house where they were received by the governor.



The students were abducted by gunmen on Friday last week from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of the state.


Terror group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the abduction and subsequently released a video that showed some of the boys pleading for help to return home.


Mr Masari said the released students will be reunited with their parents after they rest from the fatigue and undergo medical check-up, in addition to being given proper clothing and feeding.


“The released students will be carefully reunited with their parents after the state authorities in collaboration with local government officials confirm that those that come forward are the real parents, guardian,” the governor said.


“The principal of the school cannot know all the 344 parents and guardians of the released boys which is why the government has to engage local officials. Also, the released boys are to identify their relations before we hand over any child.


“The Executive Secretary, Science and Technical Education Board, will list all the names of the students and their parents because we are not going to release a child to anyone until we are sure they are the parents or guardians.



“We will continue to discharge our responsibilities as government and leaders in the state. I am more disturbed about the abduction than any other parents. This is because while parents cried for a missing child, I cried for 344 missing children.”


The governor said security is the responsibility of all citizens, saying the abduction of the schoolboys affected everyone in the 34 council areas of the state in many ways.


“For you the released students, it is now part of your life story and your journey to adulthood, some of you will only understand this in your later life, we suffered physically, mentally, psychologically and we thank Allah for the success,” Mr Masari said.


Source: Premium Times



Bandits were created by Gen Mohammadu Buhari Rtd to oust Jonathan

Bandits were created by Gen Mohammadu Buhari Rtd to oust Jonathan

Bandits are not Boko Haram nor Herdsmen


BY: NUHU RIBADU,  FORMER  EFCC BOSS

 

It all started in April 2014 when Mohammadu Buhari assembled his ardent supporters, promoters and strategists to determine how to remove President Jonathan Goodluck.  Prominent amongst them were El-Rufai, Gen Danbazo (Rtd)……..

 

A decision was reached to consult Miyatti Allah cattle breeders association for assistance to boot Jonathan Goodluck out of office. Consequently, the National Chairman of Miyatti Allah was engaged to bring in foreign mercenaries. Within a month, 2,000 Fulani fighters were brought in from Mali, Senegal, Niger Republic, Chad, Libya to name but a few. Further 4,000 fighters were stationed in Niger and Chad on standby.

 

 On arrival, they were assembled in Kaduna under the sponsorship of El Rufai and were addressed by various Northern Leaders including the Sultan of Sokoto, Gen. Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar (Rtd) etc.

 

Specifically, Gen Buhari in his address told the fighters that “the British handed Nigeria over to us the Fulanis at independence. The land (Nigeria) belongs to us. We must reclaim what belongs to us.”He added that at the event that Jonathan Goodluck worn the election, the Fulani machinery must fight until they regain control of the country. He assured them that the Nigerian Army was behind them.

 

The mercenaries received initial training from the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy and were sent to 6 camps in Ekiti State, Benue State, Katsina State, Kaduna State, Zamfara State and Borno State.

 

In the camps, brand new pick-up trucks, generators etc were provided them. Nigerian Airforce helicopters were used to provide them essential supplies like food, water, drinks and even arms and ammunitions.

 

Evidently, Jonathan Goodluck lost the election in 2015 through a well orchestrated election organised by INEC under a Fulani Chairman, Professor Jega. Gen Buhari (Rtd) was sworn in as the president. This saw the emergence of a Fulani president through a dodgy election hence the planned violent war was averted.

 

Contrary to expectation, the mercenaries in the various camps were abandoned, no more food and essential supplies. The relationship between Miyatti Allah, El Rufai (now a State Governor) and Dambazo broke down. El Rufai arrogantly declared that they were not needed anymore and they should go back. Consequently, the killings in Kaduna commenced as a warning to El Rufai but it did not bother him. He declared that he had paid the people carrying out the killings and they did not want to stop. The Nigerian police did not bother to call Gov El Rufai to give further clarification on this.

 

The Mercenary at the various camps decided to go about to find food for themselves by robbing people, going into farm lands and kidnapping.  Miyatti Allah made several efforts to contact El Rufai and Dambazzo to appeal to them to provide money to return these fighters to where they came from. All efforts proved abortive. The mercenaries at this point vacated their organised camps and took to crime.

 

The criminal gangs which emanated from these mercenaries were at this point described as “Bandits” in order to differentiate them from other notorious terrorist groups like Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram etc.

 

Following the untold destruction and killings which the Bandits carried out especially in Katsina and Zamfara, the Northern leaders in conjunction with officials of Nigerian Government requested Miyatti Allah to intervene and remove the Bandits from Nigeria. Miyatti Allah returned demanding 150 Billion Naira to settle the Bandits and evacuate them. The Government turned the offer down and restricted itself to the payment of 100 Billion Naira.

 

Shamefully Godwin Emefiele raised 100 Billion Naira for the settlement as a condition for his re-appointment as the Central bank Governor.

 

Miyatti Allah collected the money and purportedly distributed it but nothing changed.

 

In a bid to control the damage, President Buhari directed that RUGA initiative be setup to create colonies for these fighters in every state in Nigeria.

 

My questions are:

1. Should Nigerian communities accommodate these criminal elements?

2. Why has El Rufai not been called to clean up the mess he created?

3. Does this explain the President Buhari’s silence?

4.Is this conspiracy of the North gone wrong?

Nigerians think for yourselves?


Written 

By 

DSP Nuhu Ribadu

Reposted by URBAN CLASSIC Media ltd.

C&S Magazine

Bandits are not Boko Haram nor Herdsmen


BY: NUHU RIBADU,  FORMER  EFCC BOSS

 

It all started in April 2014 when Mohammadu Buhari assembled his ardent supporters, promoters and strategists to determine how to remove President Jonathan Goodluck.  Prominent amongst them were El-Rufai, Gen Danbazo (Rtd)……..

 

A decision was reached to consult Miyatti Allah cattle breeders association for assistance to boot Jonathan Goodluck out of office. Consequently, the National Chairman of Miyatti Allah was engaged to bring in foreign mercenaries. Within a month, 2,000 Fulani fighters were brought in from Mali, Senegal, Niger Republic, Chad, Libya to name but a few. Further 4,000 fighters were stationed in Niger and Chad on standby.

 

 On arrival, they were assembled in Kaduna under the sponsorship of El Rufai and were addressed by various Northern Leaders including the Sultan of Sokoto, Gen. Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar (Rtd) etc.

 

Specifically, Gen Buhari in his address told the fighters that “the British handed Nigeria over to us the Fulanis at independence. The land (Nigeria) belongs to us. We must reclaim what belongs to us.”He added that at the event that Jonathan Goodluck worn the election, the Fulani machinery must fight until they regain control of the country. He assured them that the Nigerian Army was behind them.

 

The mercenaries received initial training from the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy and were sent to 6 camps in Ekiti State, Benue State, Katsina State, Kaduna State, Zamfara State and Borno State.

 

In the camps, brand new pick-up trucks, generators etc were provided them. Nigerian Airforce helicopters were used to provide them essential supplies like food, water, drinks and even arms and ammunitions.

 

Evidently, Jonathan Goodluck lost the election in 2015 through a well orchestrated election organised by INEC under a Fulani Chairman, Professor Jega. Gen Buhari (Rtd) was sworn in as the president. This saw the emergence of a Fulani president through a dodgy election hence the planned violent war was averted.

 

Contrary to expectation, the mercenaries in the various camps were abandoned, no more food and essential supplies. The relationship between Miyatti Allah, El Rufai (now a State Governor) and Dambazo broke down. El Rufai arrogantly declared that they were not needed anymore and they should go back. Consequently, the killings in Kaduna commenced as a warning to El Rufai but it did not bother him. He declared that he had paid the people carrying out the killings and they did not want to stop. The Nigerian police did not bother to call Gov El Rufai to give further clarification on this.

 

The Mercenary at the various camps decided to go about to find food for themselves by robbing people, going into farm lands and kidnapping.  Miyatti Allah made several efforts to contact El Rufai and Dambazzo to appeal to them to provide money to return these fighters to where they came from. All efforts proved abortive. The mercenaries at this point vacated their organised camps and took to crime.

 

The criminal gangs which emanated from these mercenaries were at this point described as “Bandits” in order to differentiate them from other notorious terrorist groups like Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram etc.

 

Following the untold destruction and killings which the Bandits carried out especially in Katsina and Zamfara, the Northern leaders in conjunction with officials of Nigerian Government requested Miyatti Allah to intervene and remove the Bandits from Nigeria. Miyatti Allah returned demanding 150 Billion Naira to settle the Bandits and evacuate them. The Government turned the offer down and restricted itself to the payment of 100 Billion Naira.

 

Shamefully Godwin Emefiele raised 100 Billion Naira for the settlement as a condition for his re-appointment as the Central bank Governor.

 

Miyatti Allah collected the money and purportedly distributed it but nothing changed.

 

In a bid to control the damage, President Buhari directed that RUGA initiative be setup to create colonies for these fighters in every state in Nigeria.

 

My questions are:

1. Should Nigerian communities accommodate these criminal elements?

2. Why has El Rufai not been called to clean up the mess he created?

3. Does this explain the President Buhari’s silence?

4.Is this conspiracy of the North gone wrong?

Nigerians think for yourselves?


Written 

By 

DSP Nuhu Ribadu

Reposted by URBAN CLASSIC Media ltd.

C&S Magazine

STATE SPONSORED Hired Thugs Disrupt Northern Groups’ security summit in Kaduna

STATE SPONSORED Hired Thugs Disrupt Northern Groups’ security summit in Kaduna

 By Ibrahim HassanWuyo



Thugs wielding dangerous weapons

invaded the Arewa House Kaduna on

Monday, where they ran after

officials of the Coalition of Northern

Groups, CNG, who were there for a security summit.


Abdulaziz Suleiman, spokesman of

the CNG, in a statement, explained

that even security guards had to run

for their lives.


According to him, “We regret to announce that armed thugs numbering hundreds were unleashed on the Arewa House venue of the

security summit hosted by the Coalition of Northern Groups on Monday December 14.”


“The Summit aimed to discuss ways to achieve synergy between communities and government security and design a uniform approach to the current security situation in the North.”

“Participants at the meeting included retired military officers, Retired Police

officers, religious leaders, traditional rulers, various women, youth and

trade associations.”


The CNG said just as the meeting was kicking off, ” sponsored armed thugs stormed the auditorium after

subduing the civil guards at the gate.”

“They overturned tables shattered glasses, attacked the guests and officials, wounding several people

and smashing vehicles parked in the premises.”

 By Ibrahim HassanWuyo



Thugs wielding dangerous weapons

invaded the Arewa House Kaduna on

Monday, where they ran after

officials of the Coalition of Northern

Groups, CNG, who were there for a security summit.


Abdulaziz Suleiman, spokesman of

the CNG, in a statement, explained

that even security guards had to run

for their lives.


According to him, “We regret to announce that armed thugs numbering hundreds were unleashed on the Arewa House venue of the

security summit hosted by the Coalition of Northern Groups on Monday December 14.”


“The Summit aimed to discuss ways to achieve synergy between communities and government security and design a uniform approach to the current security situation in the North.”

“Participants at the meeting included retired military officers, Retired Police

officers, religious leaders, traditional rulers, various women, youth and

trade associations.”


The CNG said just as the meeting was kicking off, ” sponsored armed thugs stormed the auditorium after

subduing the civil guards at the gate.”

“They overturned tables shattered glasses, attacked the guests and officials, wounding several people

and smashing vehicles parked in the premises.”

Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Buratai

Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Buratai

 


Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff Buratai tees off today in Abuja while out there in the North East, Boko Haram is unleashing terror, bandits are holding the North West & Central to ransom. 


Meanwhile, In April, Buratai said he won’t return to Abuja unless BH is defeated. 


They are too rich from the proceeds of corrupt system than to still be concerned about security of lives and properties been silenced and destroyed daily by the terrorists.

 


Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff Buratai tees off today in Abuja while out there in the North East, Boko Haram is unleashing terror, bandits are holding the North West & Central to ransom. 


Meanwhile, In April, Buratai said he won’t return to Abuja unless BH is defeated. 


They are too rich from the proceeds of corrupt system than to still be concerned about security of lives and properties been silenced and destroyed daily by the terrorists.

Terrorism: Report Shows B'Haram Killed 657 Civilians, 592 Officials In 11 Months

Terrorism: Report Shows B'Haram Killed 657 Civilians, 592 Officials In 11 Months


A report by an international agency, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), has shown that Boko Haram terrorists killed about 657 civilians in the last 11 months in Nigeria.

It was gathered that the terrorists had also killed 592 state actors, including security operatives, government officials, humanitarian workers, civilian task force, and others. 

This brings the number of people killed to 1,249 in less than a year.

Also, according to a report by Daily Trust, thousands of people have been killed in the country by the Boko Haram terrorists in the last 11 years. Like some of those that occurred this year, many killings are hardly reported by the media because of some reasons as the regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari keep maintaining it's propaganda stance of technically defeating the dreaded group.

As the year 2021 is inching closer, many families, especially in Borno and Yobe states, would live to remember 2020 as an ugly one that deprived them of their loved ones.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in its Nigeria Security Tracker shows that Boko Haram has killed 657 civilians between January and November 2020.

The CFR's Nigeria Security Tracker tracks political violence based on a weekly survey of the Nigerian and international press.

CFR is a nonpartisan membership organisation, founded in 1921, that works on providing a resource for its members; government officials, journalists and other interested citizens to help them better understand the world.

The council, which relied on press reports of violence in its report, noted that there is a shortage of accurate reporting across certain regions.

organisation, founded in 1921, that works on providing a resource for its members; government officials, journalists and other interested citizens to help them better understand the world.

The council, which relied on press reports of violence in its report, noted that there is a shortage of accurate reporting across certain regions.

The tracker showed that 179 civilians were killed in June – the highest in 2020, followed by November with 130, while 81 and 52 civilian deaths were recorded in January and August respectively. March had the least with 13 deaths followed by April with 24.

However, newspaper reports compiled by Daily Trust Saturday showed that Boko Haram killed 396 people during the period in review.

"There is the potential for political manipulation of the media. Given these limitations, the NST makes every effort to collect information from multiple sources. Nevertheless, NST statistics should be viewed as indicative rather than definitive," the council said on its website, adding that the Nigeria Security Tracker was edited by Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Studies, John Campbell.

As the council reported, this number, however, could rise as several cases were either unreported or exact number of casualties unknown as was the case with the farmers killed in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State which fuelled calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs.

There have also been calls in some quarters for the resignation of the president due to the growing insecurity in the country. The presidency described such needs as irresponsible.



A report by an international agency, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), has shown that Boko Haram terrorists killed about 657 civilians in the last 11 months in Nigeria.

It was gathered that the terrorists had also killed 592 state actors, including security operatives, government officials, humanitarian workers, civilian task force, and others. 

This brings the number of people killed to 1,249 in less than a year.

Also, according to a report by Daily Trust, thousands of people have been killed in the country by the Boko Haram terrorists in the last 11 years. Like some of those that occurred this year, many killings are hardly reported by the media because of some reasons as the regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari keep maintaining it's propaganda stance of technically defeating the dreaded group.

As the year 2021 is inching closer, many families, especially in Borno and Yobe states, would live to remember 2020 as an ugly one that deprived them of their loved ones.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in its Nigeria Security Tracker shows that Boko Haram has killed 657 civilians between January and November 2020.

The CFR's Nigeria Security Tracker tracks political violence based on a weekly survey of the Nigerian and international press.

CFR is a nonpartisan membership organisation, founded in 1921, that works on providing a resource for its members; government officials, journalists and other interested citizens to help them better understand the world.

The council, which relied on press reports of violence in its report, noted that there is a shortage of accurate reporting across certain regions.

organisation, founded in 1921, that works on providing a resource for its members; government officials, journalists and other interested citizens to help them better understand the world.

The council, which relied on press reports of violence in its report, noted that there is a shortage of accurate reporting across certain regions.

The tracker showed that 179 civilians were killed in June – the highest in 2020, followed by November with 130, while 81 and 52 civilian deaths were recorded in January and August respectively. March had the least with 13 deaths followed by April with 24.

However, newspaper reports compiled by Daily Trust Saturday showed that Boko Haram killed 396 people during the period in review.

"There is the potential for political manipulation of the media. Given these limitations, the NST makes every effort to collect information from multiple sources. Nevertheless, NST statistics should be viewed as indicative rather than definitive," the council said on its website, adding that the Nigeria Security Tracker was edited by Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Studies, John Campbell.

As the council reported, this number, however, could rise as several cases were either unreported or exact number of casualties unknown as was the case with the farmers killed in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government Area of Borno State which fuelled calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs.

There have also been calls in some quarters for the resignation of the president due to the growing insecurity in the country. The presidency described such needs as irresponsible.


Our Position: Constitutional Review and the Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation - FD

Our Position: Constitutional Review and the Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation - FD

 Friends of Democracy

No. 11 Cotonou Crescent . Wuse Zone 6 . Abuja

[email protected]


 

Memorandum by Friends of Democracy to the National Assembly Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution

 

September 2020

 

1.0 Introduction

 

Since the 1994/95 Constitutional Conference, there have been loud and persistent agitations for the restructuring of the Nigerian Federation. The most strident voices have come from Southern Nigeria whereas the Northern voice has been largely muted. This has created the impression that the South is for and the North is against “Restructuring”. In the North, there has been a long process of consultations and reflections on the subject matter. This memo sets out to propose a path to and an outcome of restructuring that serves the best interests of Nigeria as a whole, instead of just the interest of the North or the South.

 

1.1 In 1991, a group of politicians, intellectuals and technocrats from Northern Nigeria held several meetings in Kaduna and Kano to design and propose a new federal structure for Nigeria. Among members of this group were the Late Alhaji Sule Gaya, a former First Republic Minister, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, the Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, the Late Dr. Suleiman Kumo, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, Dr. Mahmoud Tukur, Mallam Sule Yahaya Hamma, the Late Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano Gwarzo and others. They came up with various constitutional, political and fiscal alternatives and options with which to negotiate with the rest of Nigeria to restructure the federation. They invited the Late Chief Anthony Enahoro to Kano, held discussions with him and agreed to pursue a Restructuring Agenda together only for the Chief to rush to Lagos, hold a unilateral press conference and launch his own agenda for restructuring under the auspices of Movement for National Reformation.

 

1.2 In 2003, after twelve years of advocacy without making headway, Chief Enahoro decided to return to the same group to continue the discussions he abandoned in Kano. The 2003 discussions held at a meeting room in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, with personalities such as the Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, Late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Late Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Late Dr. Suleiman Kumo, Late Alhaji Mahmud Waziri, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and others in attendance. The Chief narrated the contours of his journey in pursuit of restructuring since 1991 and outlined the results of his consultations within the three zones in the South. He wanted the three zones in the North to each outline their own positions so he could have an overall picture of the positions of the six zones in Nigeria.

 

1.3 Having listened to the Chief's submission, the group referred him to the Arewa Consultative Forum, the umbrella socio-cultural organization for the North, which was founded in the intervening period in 2001. Chief Enahoro met with the leadership of ACF a couple of months later but could not sustain the consultations because he wanted separate positions from the three zones in the North on Restructuring, a position the ACF found rather condescending. Since then, a new crop of Northern intellectuals, technocrats and politicians, have continued the search for a common ground with the rest of Nigeria on restructuring in different ways but the Northern effort has been underreported in the mainstream media, for understandable reasons.

 

1.4 The popular opinion about the current debate is that the South as a block appears to be for restructuring. This is however more apparent than real. When the questions of how to restructure and the substance of such restructuring are posed, there are significant differences in the positions advanced in the three zones of the South and these are yet to be reconciled. Discussions on the issue in the North may also reveal significant differences between component parts of the region. It is therefore important to reflect on restructuring in a way that will promote the welfare of the people of Nigeria as a whole, while taking the divergent interests of its constituent parts into account. We begin from the premise that every part of Nigeria has a peculiar challenge that needs to be addressed but together all parts have more to gain from a united Nigeria. Restructuring must, therefore, not be conceived a priori to be for or against any part of Nigeria. Any contrary approach is sure to end in unqualified failure.

 

2.0 Background

 

2.1 There is a need to introduce some history into the discussion on restructuring. Protagonists tend to articulate their positions in a way that suggests Nigeria has not been restructuring. The fact of the matter however is that Nigeria has been restructuring since 1914, when the British amalgamated the three territories in the Nigeria area, the colony of Lagos and the two Protectorates to the North and South of the Niger. This symbolic act representing the “creation of Nigeria” has been widely castigated as an artificial act and a mistake. Such views erroneously believe that there are states that have been “naturally constituted”. We do know, however, that throughout history, state formations have occurred in a fluid and artificial manner. State cohesion has been patiently and painstakingly built much later. What the British created as Nigeria was made up of many autonomous and independent communities as well as diverse languages and cultures that were coerced into a new political formation. The problem of Nigeria is not so much the amalgamation of 1914, but the failure to forge a cohesive nation from the hitherto autonomous and independent entities after independence due, largely, to a primitive and backward fixation with and relentless pursuit of a utopian, uni-cultural concept of “nation”.

 

2.2 Lord Lugard first structured Nigeria into a political system based on 'indirect rule' with a policy of non-centralised administration or ‘separate government for different peoples'. This policy led to the evolution of certain structures and institutions, which to a certain extent, still characterise the contemporary Nigerian State. The basic principle of "Indirect Rule" was 'divide and rule'. In the Emirates of Northern Nigeria and in the Yoruba kingdoms of the South West, indigenous political structures were retained and often reinforced by the colonial administration as the primary level of government, while in the South East as well as among some of the acephalous 'Middle Belt' societies, a new order of colonial chiefs known as 'warrant chiefs' was imposed. These imposed colonial structures are what some groups mistake for traditional structures, which they are agitating to retain as their’s.

 

2.3 In the North, traditional elites were fully involved in local colonial administration, thanks to the system of 'Native Administration' (NA) and were therefore allies in the administration of the British colonial system. Secondly, they had an understanding with the colonial administration to keep Christian missionaries and by implication, western education, out of the Emirates. The result was that the pace of development of Western education in the Muslim part of the North was very slow and the few that were chosen to participate in the Western education system were all employed in the NA.

 

2.4 In the other parts of the country, Christian missionaries were given full freedom for proselytisation and, virtually, exclusive control of Western education. It resulted in a fairly rapid evolution of a Western educated elite, to the detriment of traditional ruling elites. The new elite, however, had very limited opportunities of integrating into the upper echelons of the civil service even when they had high levels of education. Given their educational background and the frustrations of exclusion, they drifted into political agitation and adversary journalism.

 

2.5 In 1938 the South was restructured into two regions, the West and the East, while the North was left intact - hence the origins of the tripartite political system. This system was formalised with the Richards Constitution of 1946. The Nigerian debate over restructuring started with the Richards Constitution. The Southern nationalists – Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Michael Imoudu rejected the Constitution because it was designed to perpetuate the colonial structure of sharing power between the Crown and Native Authorities and mobilised for a new structure in which citizens would be the repositories of power. They travelled round the country, mobilized, raised funds and went to London in 1946 to demand for a new structure.

 

2.6 When five years later, they succeeded in placing self-government on the agenda with Governor Macpherson's Constitution, the Nigerian political elite had agreed to a Federation based on the three tier regional structure Lord Lugard had invented. In the process, the profound demand for democratic government in which power resided with citizens was abandoned. The guiding principle of this “new” tripartite Federation was that each Region had a 'majority ethnic group', which was to play the role of the leading actor - in the North the Hausa, in the West the Yoruba, and in the East the Igbo. In fact the whole process of constitution making between 1946 and 1959 was an elaborate bargaining pantomime to find equilibrium between the three regions. No wonder the process resulted in the emergence of three major political parties each allied to a majority group.

 

2.7 The pre-independence restructuring was problematic because Nigeria was never composed of three cultural groups but of hundreds of cultural and ethnic groups competing with the three majority groups. Although Nigeria was profoundly multipolar, the Hausa-Yoruba–Igbo political elites opted to maintain the colonial tripartite structure. It is important to remember that none of the three regions of the First Republic represented a historic political bloc, as there were minority groups in each. Against the recommendation of the Willinks Commission of 1958, the colonial administration refused to create more regions. This refusal heightened the fears of domination of the 'minorities' by the 'majorities'.

 

3.0 Post-Colonial Restructuring

 

3.1 It was the military that subsequently succeeded in completely restructuring the Nigerian State. They dismantled the tripartite regional structure, which had become quadripartite with the creation of the Mid West Region in 1963. In 1967, just before the advent of the civil war, the Gowon Military Administration created 12 states from the four existing regions. The move appeared to have been an improvement because it was addressing the correction of the structural imbalances and ethno-regional inequities of the inherited federal structure. In 1976, the Murtala-Obasanjo Administration increased the number of states from 12 to 19; General Babangida raised the number of states to 21 in 1987 and to 30 in 1991 while the regime of General Abacha increased the number of states in the country to 36.

 

3.2 This restructuring through the multiplication of States has produced a Jacobin effect that strengthened Federal power relative to the powers of the federating units. We should not forget that there was elite consensus that the First Republic collapsed because the regions were too strong and were pulling away from the Centre. Weakening their power base was therefore the logical objective of restructuring. The real issue however was not weakening of the States per se, but the erosion of a counterweight to what became known as the “Federal Might”. Rather than correct the regional balance in the country, the concentration of enormous powers at the centre weakened all political groups that are not in control of the centre. Increasingly, restructuring led to the emergence of a quasi-unitary State which mimics the military command structure.

 

3.3 This tendency was reinforced with further restructuring through the decentralisation policy of the Babangida regime carried out between 1987 and 1991 with the declared aim of increasing the autonomy, democratising, improving the finance and strengthening the political and administrative capacities of local governments. The number of local governments was increased from 301 to 449 in 1989 and to 589 in 1991 and again to 774 in 1996. Virtually all Nigerians are dissatisfied with the present condition of weak federating units and an excessively strong centre.

 

4.0 Options for Restructuring

 

4.1 There are a number of options for restructuring of the Nigerian federation. These include:

 

1) Return to the tripartite regionalism of the First Republic. This is a non-starter as the regions were too large and above all, too uneven. The North alone was much larger than the combined regions in the South.

2) Dismantle the 36 State structure and reconstitute the federation along the six zonal structure. Nigeria is a very large country and the six federating units might be too large to cater for a much needed sense of local identity. Some of the zones also clearly lack internal cohesion.

3) Maintain the current 36-State structure but take some power and resources from the Federal level and transfer it to the State level. The problem with this option is that the cost of governance has risen exponentially under the 36-State structure and the result has been the lack of resources for development. It is this uneven allocation of available resources to maintain the political structure and its supporting bureaucracy rather than promote development that is largely responsible for the current economic crisis in the country.

4) Return to the 1967 12-State Structure which sought to correct the uneven distribution of power between the federal and regional governments.

 

4.2 In our view, a return to the 12-State Structure is the most viable option for Nigeria at the moment and in the foreseeable future.

 

5.0 Return to the 12-State Structure

 

5.1 The distortion of the 12-State structure by multiplying the States to 19, 21, 30 and 36 was done to appease new minority groups that emerged after state creation, to spread federal largesse more evenly and sometimes for selfish reasons. Today, Nigeria cannot sustain the 36-State structure due to its over-dependence on oil revenues that would continue to dwindle in the coming years.

 

5.2 The key principle for restructuring Nigeria must, then, be as follows:

 

A) States must be economically viable and must rely on fiscal resources they generate themselves instead of handouts from the Centre;

B) States must operate in a democratic manner and be run by Chief Executives that are accountable to the people and legislators that are independent;

C) States should have the constitutional and legislative powers to determine their internal structures such as the number of local governments they desire.

D) States must be allowed to determine their own framework and mechanism for the choice of leaders at all levels, which recognizes and combines both merit and the need for fair representation of the broad identities that make up the states - such as geography, ethnicity, religion etc;

E) Balance the distribution of power and fiscal resources between the states and the federation to address the desire for local resource control and the viability of the federation as a whole;

 

6.0 Constitutional Proposals

 

i. A return to the 12-State federal structure of 1967. The 12-States would be the federating units;

ii. The 12 States shall be re-designated as “Regions” and shall have full control of their resources while paying appropriate taxes to the Federal Government;

iii. The Regions shall have the powers to create and maintain local governments as they desire;

iv. Overhaul the Legislative Lists and reassign agriculture, education and health to the Residual List in which States alone would have competence but the Federal Government would share a regulatory role with the States;

v. Mining should be reassigned to the concurrent list with on-land mining under the federating units and off-land mining under the control of the government of the federation.

vi. Policing should also be reassigned to the concurrent list with only inter-State crime, cybercrime and international crime under the jurisdiction of the federal police.

vii. The power of taxation should remain concurrent.

viii. The Federal Character principle should be retained and strictly and universally observed.

ix. The current Senate should be merged with the House of Representatives under a unicameral legislature

 

7.0 Conclusion

 

This memorandum is a product of years of patient and painstaking consultations with a wide variety of stakeholders across the length and breadth of Nigeria. While it does not claim to cover all the divergent interests of all the political, cultural and geographic groups in Nigeria, we believe these proposals, if accepted, will substantially improve and stabilize Nigeria’s Federation, cater for the welfare of a large majority of Nigerians and allocate the nation’s resources in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

 

Signed

 

Alh. Bashir Othman Tofa

Amb. Fatimah Balla

Alh. Sule Yahaya Hamma

Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed

Mr. Sam Nda-Isiaih

Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim

Mal Bilya Bala

Dr. Usman Bugaje

Mr. Hubert Shaiyen

Dr. Kabir Az-Zubair

Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim

 Friends of Democracy

No. 11 Cotonou Crescent . Wuse Zone 6 . Abuja

[email protected]


 

Memorandum by Friends of Democracy to the National Assembly Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution

 

September 2020

 

1.0 Introduction

 

Since the 1994/95 Constitutional Conference, there have been loud and persistent agitations for the restructuring of the Nigerian Federation. The most strident voices have come from Southern Nigeria whereas the Northern voice has been largely muted. This has created the impression that the South is for and the North is against “Restructuring”. In the North, there has been a long process of consultations and reflections on the subject matter. This memo sets out to propose a path to and an outcome of restructuring that serves the best interests of Nigeria as a whole, instead of just the interest of the North or the South.

 

1.1 In 1991, a group of politicians, intellectuals and technocrats from Northern Nigeria held several meetings in Kaduna and Kano to design and propose a new federal structure for Nigeria. Among members of this group were the Late Alhaji Sule Gaya, a former First Republic Minister, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, the Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, the Late Dr. Suleiman Kumo, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, Dr. Mahmoud Tukur, Mallam Sule Yahaya Hamma, the Late Alhaji Abdullahi Maikano Gwarzo and others. They came up with various constitutional, political and fiscal alternatives and options with which to negotiate with the rest of Nigeria to restructure the federation. They invited the Late Chief Anthony Enahoro to Kano, held discussions with him and agreed to pursue a Restructuring Agenda together only for the Chief to rush to Lagos, hold a unilateral press conference and launch his own agenda for restructuring under the auspices of Movement for National Reformation.

 

1.2 In 2003, after twelve years of advocacy without making headway, Chief Enahoro decided to return to the same group to continue the discussions he abandoned in Kano. The 2003 discussions held at a meeting room in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, with personalities such as the Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, Late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Late Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Late Dr. Suleiman Kumo, Late Alhaji Mahmud Waziri, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and others in attendance. The Chief narrated the contours of his journey in pursuit of restructuring since 1991 and outlined the results of his consultations within the three zones in the South. He wanted the three zones in the North to each outline their own positions so he could have an overall picture of the positions of the six zones in Nigeria.

 

1.3 Having listened to the Chief's submission, the group referred him to the Arewa Consultative Forum, the umbrella socio-cultural organization for the North, which was founded in the intervening period in 2001. Chief Enahoro met with the leadership of ACF a couple of months later but could not sustain the consultations because he wanted separate positions from the three zones in the North on Restructuring, a position the ACF found rather condescending. Since then, a new crop of Northern intellectuals, technocrats and politicians, have continued the search for a common ground with the rest of Nigeria on restructuring in different ways but the Northern effort has been underreported in the mainstream media, for understandable reasons.

 

1.4 The popular opinion about the current debate is that the South as a block appears to be for restructuring. This is however more apparent than real. When the questions of how to restructure and the substance of such restructuring are posed, there are significant differences in the positions advanced in the three zones of the South and these are yet to be reconciled. Discussions on the issue in the North may also reveal significant differences between component parts of the region. It is therefore important to reflect on restructuring in a way that will promote the welfare of the people of Nigeria as a whole, while taking the divergent interests of its constituent parts into account. We begin from the premise that every part of Nigeria has a peculiar challenge that needs to be addressed but together all parts have more to gain from a united Nigeria. Restructuring must, therefore, not be conceived a priori to be for or against any part of Nigeria. Any contrary approach is sure to end in unqualified failure.

 

2.0 Background

 

2.1 There is a need to introduce some history into the discussion on restructuring. Protagonists tend to articulate their positions in a way that suggests Nigeria has not been restructuring. The fact of the matter however is that Nigeria has been restructuring since 1914, when the British amalgamated the three territories in the Nigeria area, the colony of Lagos and the two Protectorates to the North and South of the Niger. This symbolic act representing the “creation of Nigeria” has been widely castigated as an artificial act and a mistake. Such views erroneously believe that there are states that have been “naturally constituted”. We do know, however, that throughout history, state formations have occurred in a fluid and artificial manner. State cohesion has been patiently and painstakingly built much later. What the British created as Nigeria was made up of many autonomous and independent communities as well as diverse languages and cultures that were coerced into a new political formation. The problem of Nigeria is not so much the amalgamation of 1914, but the failure to forge a cohesive nation from the hitherto autonomous and independent entities after independence due, largely, to a primitive and backward fixation with and relentless pursuit of a utopian, uni-cultural concept of “nation”.

 

2.2 Lord Lugard first structured Nigeria into a political system based on 'indirect rule' with a policy of non-centralised administration or ‘separate government for different peoples'. This policy led to the evolution of certain structures and institutions, which to a certain extent, still characterise the contemporary Nigerian State. The basic principle of "Indirect Rule" was 'divide and rule'. In the Emirates of Northern Nigeria and in the Yoruba kingdoms of the South West, indigenous political structures were retained and often reinforced by the colonial administration as the primary level of government, while in the South East as well as among some of the acephalous 'Middle Belt' societies, a new order of colonial chiefs known as 'warrant chiefs' was imposed. These imposed colonial structures are what some groups mistake for traditional structures, which they are agitating to retain as their’s.

 

2.3 In the North, traditional elites were fully involved in local colonial administration, thanks to the system of 'Native Administration' (NA) and were therefore allies in the administration of the British colonial system. Secondly, they had an understanding with the colonial administration to keep Christian missionaries and by implication, western education, out of the Emirates. The result was that the pace of development of Western education in the Muslim part of the North was very slow and the few that were chosen to participate in the Western education system were all employed in the NA.

 

2.4 In the other parts of the country, Christian missionaries were given full freedom for proselytisation and, virtually, exclusive control of Western education. It resulted in a fairly rapid evolution of a Western educated elite, to the detriment of traditional ruling elites. The new elite, however, had very limited opportunities of integrating into the upper echelons of the civil service even when they had high levels of education. Given their educational background and the frustrations of exclusion, they drifted into political agitation and adversary journalism.

 

2.5 In 1938 the South was restructured into two regions, the West and the East, while the North was left intact - hence the origins of the tripartite political system. This system was formalised with the Richards Constitution of 1946. The Nigerian debate over restructuring started with the Richards Constitution. The Southern nationalists – Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Michael Imoudu rejected the Constitution because it was designed to perpetuate the colonial structure of sharing power between the Crown and Native Authorities and mobilised for a new structure in which citizens would be the repositories of power. They travelled round the country, mobilized, raised funds and went to London in 1946 to demand for a new structure.

 

2.6 When five years later, they succeeded in placing self-government on the agenda with Governor Macpherson's Constitution, the Nigerian political elite had agreed to a Federation based on the three tier regional structure Lord Lugard had invented. In the process, the profound demand for democratic government in which power resided with citizens was abandoned. The guiding principle of this “new” tripartite Federation was that each Region had a 'majority ethnic group', which was to play the role of the leading actor - in the North the Hausa, in the West the Yoruba, and in the East the Igbo. In fact the whole process of constitution making between 1946 and 1959 was an elaborate bargaining pantomime to find equilibrium between the three regions. No wonder the process resulted in the emergence of three major political parties each allied to a majority group.

 

2.7 The pre-independence restructuring was problematic because Nigeria was never composed of three cultural groups but of hundreds of cultural and ethnic groups competing with the three majority groups. Although Nigeria was profoundly multipolar, the Hausa-Yoruba–Igbo political elites opted to maintain the colonial tripartite structure. It is important to remember that none of the three regions of the First Republic represented a historic political bloc, as there were minority groups in each. Against the recommendation of the Willinks Commission of 1958, the colonial administration refused to create more regions. This refusal heightened the fears of domination of the 'minorities' by the 'majorities'.

 

3.0 Post-Colonial Restructuring

 

3.1 It was the military that subsequently succeeded in completely restructuring the Nigerian State. They dismantled the tripartite regional structure, which had become quadripartite with the creation of the Mid West Region in 1963. In 1967, just before the advent of the civil war, the Gowon Military Administration created 12 states from the four existing regions. The move appeared to have been an improvement because it was addressing the correction of the structural imbalances and ethno-regional inequities of the inherited federal structure. In 1976, the Murtala-Obasanjo Administration increased the number of states from 12 to 19; General Babangida raised the number of states to 21 in 1987 and to 30 in 1991 while the regime of General Abacha increased the number of states in the country to 36.

 

3.2 This restructuring through the multiplication of States has produced a Jacobin effect that strengthened Federal power relative to the powers of the federating units. We should not forget that there was elite consensus that the First Republic collapsed because the regions were too strong and were pulling away from the Centre. Weakening their power base was therefore the logical objective of restructuring. The real issue however was not weakening of the States per se, but the erosion of a counterweight to what became known as the “Federal Might”. Rather than correct the regional balance in the country, the concentration of enormous powers at the centre weakened all political groups that are not in control of the centre. Increasingly, restructuring led to the emergence of a quasi-unitary State which mimics the military command structure.

 

3.3 This tendency was reinforced with further restructuring through the decentralisation policy of the Babangida regime carried out between 1987 and 1991 with the declared aim of increasing the autonomy, democratising, improving the finance and strengthening the political and administrative capacities of local governments. The number of local governments was increased from 301 to 449 in 1989 and to 589 in 1991 and again to 774 in 1996. Virtually all Nigerians are dissatisfied with the present condition of weak federating units and an excessively strong centre.

 

4.0 Options for Restructuring

 

4.1 There are a number of options for restructuring of the Nigerian federation. These include:

 

1) Return to the tripartite regionalism of the First Republic. This is a non-starter as the regions were too large and above all, too uneven. The North alone was much larger than the combined regions in the South.

2) Dismantle the 36 State structure and reconstitute the federation along the six zonal structure. Nigeria is a very large country and the six federating units might be too large to cater for a much needed sense of local identity. Some of the zones also clearly lack internal cohesion.

3) Maintain the current 36-State structure but take some power and resources from the Federal level and transfer it to the State level. The problem with this option is that the cost of governance has risen exponentially under the 36-State structure and the result has been the lack of resources for development. It is this uneven allocation of available resources to maintain the political structure and its supporting bureaucracy rather than promote development that is largely responsible for the current economic crisis in the country.

4) Return to the 1967 12-State Structure which sought to correct the uneven distribution of power between the federal and regional governments.

 

4.2 In our view, a return to the 12-State Structure is the most viable option for Nigeria at the moment and in the foreseeable future.

 

5.0 Return to the 12-State Structure

 

5.1 The distortion of the 12-State structure by multiplying the States to 19, 21, 30 and 36 was done to appease new minority groups that emerged after state creation, to spread federal largesse more evenly and sometimes for selfish reasons. Today, Nigeria cannot sustain the 36-State structure due to its over-dependence on oil revenues that would continue to dwindle in the coming years.

 

5.2 The key principle for restructuring Nigeria must, then, be as follows:

 

A) States must be economically viable and must rely on fiscal resources they generate themselves instead of handouts from the Centre;

B) States must operate in a democratic manner and be run by Chief Executives that are accountable to the people and legislators that are independent;

C) States should have the constitutional and legislative powers to determine their internal structures such as the number of local governments they desire.

D) States must be allowed to determine their own framework and mechanism for the choice of leaders at all levels, which recognizes and combines both merit and the need for fair representation of the broad identities that make up the states - such as geography, ethnicity, religion etc;

E) Balance the distribution of power and fiscal resources between the states and the federation to address the desire for local resource control and the viability of the federation as a whole;

 

6.0 Constitutional Proposals

 

i. A return to the 12-State federal structure of 1967. The 12-States would be the federating units;

ii. The 12 States shall be re-designated as “Regions” and shall have full control of their resources while paying appropriate taxes to the Federal Government;

iii. The Regions shall have the powers to create and maintain local governments as they desire;

iv. Overhaul the Legislative Lists and reassign agriculture, education and health to the Residual List in which States alone would have competence but the Federal Government would share a regulatory role with the States;

v. Mining should be reassigned to the concurrent list with on-land mining under the federating units and off-land mining under the control of the government of the federation.

vi. Policing should also be reassigned to the concurrent list with only inter-State crime, cybercrime and international crime under the jurisdiction of the federal police.

vii. The power of taxation should remain concurrent.

viii. The Federal Character principle should be retained and strictly and universally observed.

ix. The current Senate should be merged with the House of Representatives under a unicameral legislature

 

7.0 Conclusion

 

This memorandum is a product of years of patient and painstaking consultations with a wide variety of stakeholders across the length and breadth of Nigeria. While it does not claim to cover all the divergent interests of all the political, cultural and geographic groups in Nigeria, we believe these proposals, if accepted, will substantially improve and stabilize Nigeria’s Federation, cater for the welfare of a large majority of Nigerians and allocate the nation’s resources in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

 

Signed

 

Alh. Bashir Othman Tofa

Amb. Fatimah Balla

Alh. Sule Yahaya Hamma

Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed

Mr. Sam Nda-Isiaih

Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim

Mal Bilya Bala

Dr. Usman Bugaje

Mr. Hubert Shaiyen

Dr. Kabir Az-Zubair

Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim

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