The Senate has invited the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, for a briefing over the spate of kidnappings across Nigeria.
The lawmakers said the invitation is to help profer lasting solution to the menace.
The IGP’s invitation is one of the many resolutions made after a deliberation on a motion on the “senseless killing of a Briton and the abduction of three others in a Holiday Resort in Kaduna State by armed bandits.”
The motion was sponsored by Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central).
The Briton, Faye Mooney, an aid worker, was killed in Kajuru Castle, a recreational location in Kaduna State last week.
The armed bandits killed Ms Mooney, Matthew Oguche, a Nigerian training assistant with the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO), and kidnapped three others.
Leading the debate, Mr Sani said attacks on individuals, houses, and villages have become too many and not one suspect has been prosecuted for the crime.
He expressed worry that the bandits tend to be gaining more courage to perpetuate their acts “due to their acclaimed superior firepower.”
While stating that Kajuru and Kaduna State are under siege, he said the northern part of Nigeria has become a theatre of killings and kidnappings.
In his remark, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the recent happenings were not the first time a non-Nigerian (especially construction/aid workers) was kidnapped in the country.
He said if nothing is done, Nigeria will continue to be profiled as a terrorist state abroad.
“This nation’s security has been breached. Tourists who have plans of coming to Nigeria will now think twice before coming. And this is affecting our economy.
“It is important to take this issue seriously in order to protect our national image. Even if it means declaring a state of emergency in affected states, so be it,” Mr Ekweremadu said.
Andrew Uchendu, who condemned the act, blamed it on the idleness of the Nigerian youth.
“The truth is these things keep happening because the youth are idle and have a lot of energy.”
According to him, if the youth are engaged, the rate of such crimes will drastically reduce.
It was during the resolutions that Mr Ekweremadu suggested that the IGP be invited as he hoped he (Mr Adamu) will honour the invitation.
“Mr President, since we now have a new IGP – as the other one was uninterested in talking to us, let us invite him to give a holistic view of the state of kidnapping across the country with a view to finding a lasting solution,” he said.
This prayer was seconded and unanimously adopted.
The Senate also resolved to urge security agencies to immediately deploy the use of drones and interceptors in tracking kidnappers asking for ransom.
The Senate also resolved to fast-track the concurrence of the Police Reform and the Police Trust Fund Bills with the House of Representatives for transmission to the president for assent.
Other resolutions are to “urge telecommunications companies to provide security agencies with information in areas where there are kidnappings”, and “urge community leaders, traditional rulers and all stakeholders to co-operate with security agencies.”
The Senate also urged security agencies to give special security cover to foreign workers and tourists. It resolved to send a delegation to the British embassy to console with the British government.
The Senate, however, rejected a prayer to urge the executive to sign the Peace Corps Bill to engage the youth.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said he hoped that there would be cooperation from the IGP as he prayed for a strong relationship between the Senate and the security agencies.
According to him, the passage of the Police Reform and the Police Trust Fund Bills is proof that the Senate “is ready to work with them.
Guinean Military Junta Dissolves Government, Seals Country’s Borders
Guinea’s military junta, which took power through a coup in September 2021, has officially dissolved the government, as announced via a presidential decree read on state TV by the presidency’s Secretary General, Brig Gen Amara Camara.
The announcement was not followed by details regarding the rationale of this dissolution, or the timeline for establishing a new government.
As part of the dissolution, ministers in the now-dissolved government have been instructed to surrender their passports and official vehicles, and also given directives for their bank accounts to be frozen.
The junta has also directed security agencies to “seal” all of Guinea’s borders until the complete handover of government ministries to the junta.
According to Camara, during the interim period until a new government is appointed, lower-level officials will manage state ministries.
The dissolved government, led by Prime Minister Bernard Goumou, was appointed by coup leader Mamady Doumbouya, who led Guinea’s armed forces in overthrowing elected President Alpha Condé in September 2021. The coup came after a series of protests against Condé’s controversial bid for a third term.
Guinea, as well as several other countries in West and central Africa, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Gabon, have experienced coups in recent years. These coups have faced strong condemnation from West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS, the African Union, and the UN.
The junta and ECOWAS had earlier set a 24-month transition period, and Guinea is expected to hold elections to restore democratic rule within 10 months, as the transition period comes to an end.
Atiku’s Aide Accuses Tinubu’s Govt of Diverting Funds Through Fake Petrol Subsidy
Phrank Shaibu, a Special Assistant on Public Communication to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has alleged that the refusal of the Federal government to react to recent reports on the return of petrol subsidy shows that public funds have started going into private pockets.
Shaibu made the allegation through a statement while reacting to reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Nigerian government has begun paying petrol subsidy again.
According to media reports, monthly subsidy payment is nearly N1 trillion, far in excess of exceeds the amount paid monthly by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Reacting to the allegation, Shaibu said it has become clear that one of the reasons the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has not been paying the required amount of money into the government’s account is because monies are being diverted under an opaque and secret subsidy regime.
He alleged: “Tinubu has been boasting at every economic forum that he deserves to be in the Guinness Book of records for removing petrol subsidy.
“He even said before ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ in New York last September that the ‘corrupt subsidy’ regime and FX issues had been resolved.
“But as every other thing relating to Tinubu, this has turned out to be another lie from the pit of hell. Currently, the exchange rate based on what the Central Bank of Nigeria recommended to the Nigeria Customs Service is N1515/$1.
“Hence diesel price is now over N1,200 but petrol is still selling for between N600 and N700.
“Nigeria is the only country in the world where such disparity between diesel and petrol exists. It has become obvious that petrol subsidy has returned through the backdoor.
“With the return of petrol subsidy, oil marketers have opted out and that is why the NNPC has returned to being the sole importer of petrol once more and has the temerity to be announcing that it will not increase petrol cost regardless of the international price of crude oil and the exchange rate.
“To be clear, petrol subsidy in itself is not a bad thing when it is done transparently.”
Shaibu added: “Former CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, expressed shock last month that NNPC was still not remitting FX into government’s accounts.
“It is now obvious why this has been happening. Subsidy has returned but it is now being done in a corrupt and secret manner as funds are now being diverted into private pockets even worse than under Buhari. This is the Tinubu Lagos legacy from Lagos State.”
Shaibu said it was disappointing that the Finance Minister, Wale Edun; and CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, who both claimed to have gotten their appointments based on their expertise had failed to speak up but had continued to cover up the petrol subsidy.
He also alleged that the Tinubu government had continued to frustrate the takeoff of the Dangote refinery which would have at least reduced Nigeria’s FX demands.
“The media reported last week that lingering regulatory approvals have stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market.
“At the same time, Dangote refinery has been struggling to get the needed crude oil and has decided to import from the United States while the NNPC which has no business with monetary policy, committed Nigeria’s crude oil for a $3.3 billion Afreximbank loan ostensibly to stabilise the naira.
“It is obvious that Tinubu and his so-called economic team are quacks, charlatans who put their personal interest ahead of that of the country. With such Lilliputians at the helm of affairs, Nigeria’s economic woes are about to go from bad to worse,” Shaibu added.
UK Economy Slips into ‘Technical’ Recession
The United Kingdom slipped into a technical recession in the second half of last year after its economy registered two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, official figures have shown.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced through a statement on Thursday that Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2023, after contracting 0.1 percent in the third quarter.
It meant that the economy entered a technical recession, as defined by two or more quarters in a row of falling GDP.
It marked the first time the UK had entered recession since the first half of 2020 when the initial COVID-19 lockdown sent the country’s economy plunging into reverse.
The figures dealt a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had promised to grow the economy as one of his five priorities.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said inflation and high-interest rates were behind the output fall but insisted the economy was turning a corner.
He said: “While interest rates are high so the Bank of England can bring inflation down low growth is not a surprise.
“But there are signs the British economy is turning a corner; forecasters agree that growth will strengthen over the next few years.
“Wages are rising faster than prices; mortgage rates are down and unemployment remains low.
“Although times are still tough for many families, we must stick to the plan of cutting taxes on work and business to build a stronger economy.”
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the Prime Minister’s promise to grow the economy was in tatters.
“The Prime Minister can no longer claim credibly that his plan is working or that he has turned the corner on more than 14 years of economic decline under the Conservatives that has left Britain worse off.
“This is Rishi Sunak’s recession and the news will be deeply worrying for families and businesses across Britain,’’ he said.