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EDITORIAL

Agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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History will be made in Africa’s most populous nation, and the country with the continent’s largest economy today when President Muhammadu Buhari is sworn in as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Buhari is on course to equaling the record of former Nigerian leader, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who served as a military head of state, and was sworn in the second time as civilian leader of the country.

For Nigerians as a whole, they will have much to celebrate as the inauguration, and that of the National Assembly in a couple of days will mark 20 years of interrupted democracy in the continent’ most populous nation. Nigerians eager to effect a change from the increasing security threat posed by Boko Haram Insurgency, corruption in high places voted for a change of governance in 2015.

Almost at the same venue where he will be inaugurated four years ago, at the Eagle Square in Abuja, President Buhari’s coming to power marked the first time an opposition party would prevail over a ruling party in Nigeria promised the nation three key areas that will form the cornerstone of his administration: security, especially in tackling insurgency; economy and tackling one of the nation’s most dreaded vices: corruption.

After four years of his administration, and towards the expiration of his first tenure, Nigeria’s went to the polls on February 27 in what later turned out to be one of the most hotly contested and disputed elections in the history of  the country.

Nigerians voters   were divided over renewing Buhari’s mandate, or to opt for his main challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The perceived poor leadership style of Buhari cost him significant number of voters, even in his traditional stronghold of the North West, North East and South West where his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar made incursions. His critics, especially the opposition took the APC-led administration to task, of doing little even in the key areas of their promises to the nation.

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The PDP in particular maintained that the security situation has deteriorated under the present administration with herders-farmers’ crises, especially in the food chain of the country which consists of states like Benue, Taraba, Adamaw, Kogi, Adamawa ravaged by Fulani herders who always, armed with sophisticated weapons, killing and maiming hapless farmers. The crises left thousands of Nigerians killed, while crops and animals worth billions of Naira were destroyed.

They also pointed out that because of the government’s poor economic management 87, million Nigerians have been rendered extremely poor, and today Nigeria has infamously assumed the status of the poverty capital of the world, displaying India which has a population of more than one billion, compared to Nigeria’s mere 150 million.   

His government was criticized for not doing much on security especially in the wake of growing rate of banditry in the north, kidnapping, robbery, etc.

 All  said and done, Buhari’s greatest challenge, especiall as he mounts the saddle of leadership for his second term in office is the economy whose  picture does not look promising enough. Even the Central Bank warned not long ago that the nation’s economy risks going into recession.

Undoubtedly, Buhari inherited one of Africa’s most buoyant economies in 2015 before it slid into recession shortly after, recording negative growth and stagnation for more than one year. Nevertheless, it is to the credit of his administration that the country was steered out of recession.

However, Nigeria, one of the world’s most promising economies had struggled with trepid growth under Buahari. It a sad commentary that unemployment rate has more than doubled while more people have been driven into extreme poverty, especially in his tenure.

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But to the government’s credit, it has done a lot in food production, especially with the introduction of Anchor Borrower’s scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria. As a result, Nigeria is making great progress in food production especially in the production of rice, beans, maize millet, sorghum, tomatoes, etc.

There has also been remarkable progress in power generation, electricity supply and other core areas of development like railways and road construction.

DAILY ASSET expects the government to sustain these initiatives, especially the programme to ensure food self –sufficiency for the nation in the next few years. There are also high expectations in some quarters that the economy will be brought back on track in the next few years, especially with the efforts being made to win investors’ confidence with improvement in the ease of doing business climate.

It is noteworthy that investors in particular remain keen on backing the government ‘s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan[ERGP], an improved business climate. Experts have maintained that Buhari needs to carry out reforms in the exchange rate mechanism, improve budgetary implementation to propel the economy to grow to expectations.  

However, one of the greatest problems facing the new administration, and why most Nigerians are skeptical of President Buhari  achieving is  his failure to show broad-mindedness ,accommodation, and statesmanship especially in his appointments and conduct of state affairs generally.

While his key appointments including those in charge of defence and strategic establishments are skewed in favour of the far North and a particular religion, and ostracizing other Nigerians from outside his enclave, he is aggravating his narrow prism in the conduct of state matters to his Fulani ethnic stock.

President Buhari has unfortunately degenerated into a leader, who defines Nigeria by serving and promoting the Fulani interests above every other interest.

A few weeks back, the Meyetti Allah which he was a patron was in the front burner of allegations of plans by the Buhari-led government to pay them  billions of Naira  to enable their  members maintain the security of the nation, especially that of the North.

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The idea to put it mildly was in a bad taste, and against the collective interest of the nation and underscores  how  the President   can wittingly or unwittingly  sacrifice the   national interest, including the nation’s security  for his parochial interest. With the controversy of the plan to make billions of Naira of  tax payers’ money available to his ethnic group,  who are seen more as militia behind the herders’ atrocities , especially in the Middle Belt Region of the country, came the controversial Fulani Radio Station, to be established and funded by the Federal Government. This to DAILY ASSET is ludicrous and unacceptable and condemnable,

Even if Buhari wants to improve the of of his people, he should do so within the structures and constitutional framework. Never in the history of governance of this nation, has a leader so identified with his people and even religion without regard to others’ feelings, interest and sensibilities than has Buhari done and continues to do for his tribesmen.

For those who had reservations because of his low performance in his first tenure, his Fulanisation of his government, apologies to Chief Obasanjo, will see more Nigerians losing faith in his administration to make this nation a better place for all Nigerians in his second tenure.

Buhari still has more time to retrace his step and go the path of his predecessors who served this country with sense of patriotism and purpose or go down as one that came only came to serve and promote his ethnic group alone, rather than the entire nation that gave him their collective mandate.

EDITORIAL

In Support Of The Ban On Open Grazing 

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After years of indecision, procrastination and dilly dallying, the Federal Government last week took a firm decision to ban open grazing of cattle across the country. The implementation of the ban will however take-off on a pilot basis in five states of the Federation-Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and Zamfara.

The decision was taken by the National Economic Council (NEC) after its meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who made the decision public on behalf NEC also said the Council equally banned the free movement of cattle and other animals across the Nigerian border from other West African countries, regardless of the relevant protocol of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which guarantees free movement of people and goods within the sub-region.

We welcome the decision of NEC even though it is coming late in the day when the country has witnessed unnecessary spilling of blood from incessant clashes between Herdsmen and farmers nationwide.

The clashes which have become a national security concern, it is hoped will abate since the Herdsmen will by the new decision adopt to ranching which is the global best practice in animal husbandry.

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We are even the more happier that the decision was not based on political or  religious sentiments but a product of the report of the  technical committee earlier set up by Council under the chairmanship of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi.

Umahi’s Committee traversed the states where the farmers-Herders clashes have been most prevalent, i.e Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau and Zamfara states. During the fact-finding visits, the Committee met with all stakeholders including farmers, security agencies, state governors, leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and Miyetti Allah Kautal Horel, among others.

In all the meetings, ranching was canvassed as the most enduring solution to the bloodletting occasioned by the farmers-Herders clashes. The Committee was therefore, left with no better option than recommend the ban on open grazing of cows.

The NEC decision has at long last vindicated the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and his Taraba state counterpart, Darius Dickson Ishaku, both of who enacted the anti-open grazing law as a panacea to the frequent violent clashes between farmers and the Herdsmen. It can be said therefore, that the two governors understood the issues and the best solution and indeed acted appropriately. It is to their credit that  NEC arrived at the same solution the two governors proffered several months earlier.

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While we commend NEC for the courage to take this decision, the security agencies especially the police and the Department of State Services(DSS) must immediately commence the enforcement of this ban otherwise the Federal Government decision would pass as one of the  rhetorical statements commonly associated with politicians when confronted with difficult situations. 

As has been severally argued by experts, Nigeria with a little over 26million cattle should have no problem operating ranches since countries like India, Brazil, Argentina and the US with upward 100million cattle have long practiced ranching.

What more, animal scientists have since established that the nomadic cows produced less milk and poor quality meat compared to those kept in ranches.

The Federal Government should live up to its words to provide subsidies for animal husbandry as recommended by the Umahi Committee.

In our view, the subsidies should come by way of

If the NEC decision is properly implemented, Nigeria would have just began the journey towards a profitable and healthier cattle rearing business through the ranching model.

Most importantly, the NEC decision banning the free movement of

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EDITORIAL

The Owo Killings

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Nigerians appear  to be tired  and even  helpless  as a result of the nation’s drift into a  state of high level of insecurity.

The country that prides itself  as Africa’s most populous nation, and equally  boasting of its largest economy  has degenerated  over the years  to   become the killing field for terrorists, bandits, kidnappers , and other criminal elements in the society.

The killings of hundreds of the nation’s defenceless citizens, and even scores of security men have continued unabated because the government, especially the Federal Government has shown itself to be   weak and indecisive towards  handling the criminal elements.

Barely a week after the massacre  of farmers and other  defenceless   Nigerians in Borno and some states in the North, a group of criminals carried out another heinous  attack on a church in Owo , Ondo State on Sunday, June 5.

The attack, which was unleashed on   Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo,  the headquarters of the Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State witnessed pandemonium  as gunmen struck leaving no fewer than 50 persons dead.

There has  been serious concern among Nigerians as the  attack on the church in Owo,  the hometown of the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, came barely a week after the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Bishop Samuel Kanu-Uche, was kidnapped in Abia State by gunmen which  the priest later identified as Fulani youths working with some security men.

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Reports had it that  the gunmen, who attacked the Catholic church, arrived at the premises, which is less than 200 metres from the palace of the Olowo of Owo, at 12pm when the Sunday mass was being rounded off.Reports further had it that  worshippers, mostly children and women, were killed in the attack, by the criminals  who were said to have thrown an improvised explosive device before they started shooting sporadically.Some videos posted online showed some of the slain worshippers in a pool of their own blood.

Workers of the Federal Medical Centre and Saint Louis Hospital, both in Owo, where the dead and the injured were taken to, said no fewer than 50 persons were killed in the tragedy.

While visiting the scene of the tragedy,  Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state and the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye have appealed to youths in Owo, Ondo state not to retaliate the killing of worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church in the town.

Speaking during his visit to the church and hospitals where survivors of the attack are receiving medical attention, Gov. Akeredolu,further  described the terror attack on innocent worshipers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo, as a massacre and horrific.

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Akeredolu, who said he was terribly sad, noted that the attack was the most dastardly act that could happen in any society.He said the  security agencies lost no fewer than  two men and that the incident  was not an expected attack.

The Governor  expressed  his  condolences to those who  lost their dear ones to this unnecessary gruesome murder.

He declared that the ugly incident  must not happen again as the people must  very vigilant.

At the palace of the Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye,  Gov. Akeredolu  condoled with the monarch over the sad incident.Akeredolu said the gunmen made a mistake of attacking Owo, vowing that they will not escape justice.Like other men of goodwill we condemn in totality the killings in Owo, which we describe as callous, wicked and inhuman.

We are condoling with the government and people of Ondo state, the relatives of worshippers that lost their dear ones as a result of the ugly incident.

Once more, we call for a review of the nation’s security architecture, which has failed the nation in tackling the numerous security challenges. Without further ado, the much advocated state police is an idea whose time has come. Nigeria must embrace state police for its survival and existence as a nation.

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EDITORIAL

NPA as Den of Corruption

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The Nigeria Ports Authority, (NPA)is one of the agencies of the Federal Government notorious for corruption.  A body like NPA that should serve as a  cash cow for the government of the Federation  has unfortunately  been turned into an organ  for looting and stealing in high places.

Exactly a year ago, its former Group Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman was suspended from office, with an Administrative panel set up to investigate a number of allegations against her, mainly on illegal diversion of funds close to N 200 billion.

 While Nigerians continue to wait in despair for the official  outcome of the probe, another disturbing report of high level of corruption against the management of NPA came to limelight recently. 

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Wole Oke has demanded explanation from the management of   NPA, over non-remittance of millions of dollars by terminal operators and the agency into the Federation account.

This followed the launch of a large scale investigation by the House committee into the matter. The probe came on the heels of 12 audit queries from the office of the Auditor General for the Federation on the financial statement of the NPA for the 2019 financial year. Of the number, NPA has only responded to one on the indebtedness of terminal operators to the government.

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The House of Representatives  has therefore began probe of the  unremitted multi-million dollars by terminal operator,  to the commonwealth.

The amount involved is about $852.094 million and N1.897 billion.

NPA however said the sum of N269.410 million of the N1.8 billion has been recovered while the balance of N1.6 billion “invoices processed on the encumbered areas remain unpaid”.

NPA said in its lame defence that bills raised on encumbered areas which remained unpaid is $19,169,459. This is a serious development ,  that should not be allowed to be swept under carpet as appears to be the case with the former GMD of the NPA.

Hadiza Bala  Usman who  did not conduct her self with the integrity  while at the agency. President Muhammadu Buhari approved her suspension, as a result of grave allegations against her.

She had to be probed as a result  at the instance of the supervising transport ministry, headed by Rotimi Amaechi.

Curiously before her sack, Usman was reappointed to continue heading the NPA in Janaury 2021 by President  Buhari several months before the end of her first tenure.

But the public is disturbed that there have been attempts to exonerate her of these allegations.  The former managing director of the NPA, has reportedly  been cleared of allegations of failing to remit N165 billion operating surplus to the coffers of the federal government.

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However, the 11-member committee set up by the ministry of transportation to probe the alleged fraud decided to shift its attention to allegations of insubordination to Rotimi Amaechi, the minister.

She was instead accused of ignoring ministerial directives and communicating directly with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Usman was originally suspended in May 2021 by the minister over an allegedly missing N165 billion but the committee did “not find any evidence” in its account reconciliation. We are calling on the Administrative Panel to make its report public for  the scrutiny of Nigerians. We are equally calling on the House of Representatives  to probe the Audit Report  indicting the NPA of unremitted colossal amounts in local currency and in foreign ones. It is no doubt a case of a case of high level of  corruption too many in NPA.

Corruption, sadly, continue to thrive in government agencies because of the present government’s lackadaisical attitude towards this monster. Matters must not and ca should not continue so for the advancement and well-being of the nation.

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