Nigeria’s Security Challenge Worrisome, Says Gowon |The Republican News

By Onyekachi Eze


Gen. Yakubu Jack Gowon (Rtd)

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd.) has described as worrisome, the security challenges facing the country. He, however, expressed the hope that the nation would not go through the path of civil war again. Also, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, faulted the conduct of government officials to the wanton killings by Fulani herdsmen, noting that the bloodletting is symptomatic of a failed state. Gowon and Dickson spoke at a National Prayer Conference in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Gowon, who is the convener of Nigeria Prays, said his prayer was that Nigeria should not go through the path of civil war again. A statement yesterday by Dickson’s media team quoted the former head of state as saying that Nigerian leaders were concerned with the growing insecurity in the country.

“This is worrisome. When I recall the end of the civil war, I had hoped and prayed that Nigeria would never go through the same experience again. This was what I prayed for and you can see how worrying it is. “All these spate of crises: Is it the militants, is it the Boko Haram, is it the so-called Fulani herdsmen? All sorts of things that are happening: man’s inhumanity to man, that is happening throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria.

“Sadly, it is worrying to all Nigerians and this is what all of us who are in leadership positions, your governor and his assistants, all the governors throughout the country, all of us who are leaders are concerned about it, and always aim for whatever they can do to put it under control. “But it is not only they that can do it.

They need the press and support of the people so that they can deal with the problem together. And this is our prayer, prayer for everyone in Nigeria and all Nigeria wherever they are. We hope for greater peace than what we have for now,” the former head of state added. He stressed the importance of prayers, which he said, could help solve Nigeria’s problems better and faster than military generals and soldiers could do with physical weapons of war.

The former head of state assured Nigerians that God would honour the collective prayers and intercession for the nation, while also advising people to shun violence and retaliation. On his part, Dickson said Nigerians must unite in prayers and resolve to work together to ensure fairness, justice, equity and equal citizenship.

“In this country, God’s children, human beings, irrespective of the God they worship, are being slaughtered mercilessly, remorselessly in many parts of the country. “Our nation is bleeding; we must unite in prayers and resolve to do what is right and fair. Our nation should be a nation of fairness, justice, equity, equal citizenship and united by common ideals of being the greatest black nation,” Dickson added. He called on the nation’s leaders to take the responsibility to stop the bloodletting, adding that this is the time Nigerians have to intensify prayers for the nation to overcome its challenges.

He said: “We are united by our common shared humanity and nationality, so injustice and unfairness anywhere should be a concern to anyone and everyone in our nation. “I join you in praying that the bloodletting, unnecessary killings in our nation under any shape or guise ends in Jesus’ name. “God should intervene so that people will feel the need to do the right thing, be fair and just to one another.”    (New Telegraph)

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Must Read: Why The Sartorial Choices Of Salafi Clerics Sparked A Debate On Morality In Nigeria – Prof Ochonu

Muslims pray at the Kofar Mata Central Mosque in Kano, Northern Nigeria. Liberal and fundamentalist Islam are in a contest of legitimacy in the region. Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

The innocuous photos of two Nigerian Islamic clerics shopping and relaxing in London sparked a fierce debate on social media platforms in northern Nigeria in early December 2017. The photos were quite unremarkable. One showed the two men sitting on a park bench; another showed them in a clothing store wearing cowboy hats. In both, they were dressed in suits. And they were wearing gloves and scarves to protect themselves from London’s cold, wet weather.

The pictures caused a fierce online debate about piety, hypocrisy, morality, the sartorial prescriptions of Islam, and the tyranny of religious authorities in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. The violent Islamist group, Boko Haram, is active in the region, which has become a hotbed of extremism.

So, why were these ordinary images so controversial? Why did they spark heated debates among educated northern Nigerian Muslim men and women?

The answer is simple. The two men are Salafi clerics, members of a clerical order that has come to wield outsized influence over Muslims in northern Nigeria. The clerics act as enforcers of an increasingly puritan Islamic order. They are uncompromising in defining what is moral and permissible and what is haram or sacrilegious. They often equate Muslims’ engagements with modernity and Western ways of life with immorality and sinful innovation or bid’ah.

This leaves them open to charges of hypocrisy when they appear to make choices seen as contradicting their teachings. And this is what happened in London. The two clerics were wearing what in northern Nigeria is considered western dress. This touched off debates between two camps of young Muslims: those who resent the growing intrusion of the clerics into their lives and are eager to criticise their adventures in a Western city, and those who continue to look on the religious figures as revered exemplars of piety.

Wahhabism and the roots of Salafi Puritanism

The Islamic sect to which the two clerics belong heightened the controversy. Sheikh Kabiru Gombe and his mentor, Sheikh Bala Lau, are prominent clerics of the Izala sect, the most visible face of a growing community of Nigerian Salafism, a branch of Sunni Islam which holds to a strict, uncompromising doctrine.

Leaders of the sect are gaining popularity and displacing mainstream Sufi clerics in the region. They accuse traditional Sufi Muslims of hobnobbing with modernity and failing to practice Islam in its pure form. Sufis are vulnerable to these accusations because their creed focuses on individual mystical paths to God rather than on outward, political and authoritarian expressions of piety.

This difference has led to an increasingly intense contest between the two sides. The photographs of the two clerics catapulted the contest onto social media, blogs and web forums.

The personalities and profiles of the two clerics contributed to the intensity of the debates.

Sheikh Gombe is known in the region for his ultra-radical Salafi theological positions and pronouncements. He has made his voice heard in local and foreign settings, capturing the imagination of some young Muslims in northern Nigeria. He presents an argument that being a pure Muslim means eschewing association with Western modernity. He is against modern and Western institutions such as secular filmmaking, mixed gender socialisation and goods such as Western clothes. All, he argues, can pollute the piety of Muslims.

In my ongoing research on the historical roots of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, I call the rise of this branch of Islam the Salafi Islamic wave. Tracing its roots, I have found that it began with the slow but well-funded arrival of Wahhabism in northern Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s. Wahhabism is the puritan strain of Sunni Islam birthed in Saudi Arabia by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

The Wahhabi-Salafis’ most dominant organisational umbrella was – and still is – the Izala sect, which was founded in 1978 in Jos, Nigeria, by followers of the late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

At the time Gumi was travelling throughout the Muslim world and spending time in Saudi Arabia as a member of both the Supreme Council of the Islamic University in Medina and the Legal Committee of the Muslim World League. He returned to Nigeria in 1986 and was recognised as the spiritual leader of the Izala anti-Sufi reform movement. The movement’s following expanded dramatically under him.

The Izala group set up schools and the best graduates were sent – on generous Saudi Arabian scholarships – to the University of Medina to study Islam under a Wahhabi curriculum with a tinge of ultra-radical Salafism. They returned in the 1990s and inaugurated a new Salafi era in northern Nigerian Islam.

In the 2000s, Medina-trained Salafi clerics, backed by Saudi money and patronage, succeeded in upstaging the old Izala clerical order through a mix of youthful charisma, theological novelty and populism. They began entrenching their strict moral code conforming, according to them, to the Islamic Sharia law.

Beyond photos and suits

Western culture and lifestyle dominate popular culture in Nigeria. For many young Muslims in northern Nigeria, Salafism’s prescriptions and prohibitions are suffocating, particularly for those who want a more pragmatic engagement with a Western lifestyle. Many believe they can pursue these lifestyle choices and still practice their religion.

But Salafi clerics and their followers see no acceptable compromise. They are increasingly making themselves custodians of public morality. They routinely condemn conduct that they associate with decadent, permissive western modernity. For example, they dictate what northern Nigerian Muslims can and can’t wear.

The debate around the two clerics was therefore not a trivial conversation about the dress and the recreational choices of two Salafi clerics. The photos were loaded with symbolism and contradictions. Participants in the online debate used the opportunity to criticise – or excuse – the perceived tyranny and hypocrisy of a powerful Salafi establishment. And to express personal anxieties and fears.

The debate about modernity, Islam, and morality has migrated to online platforms because the internet is relatively anonymous. This has given both sides greater freedom to express their views. The debate encapsulates the ongoing ideological struggle in northern Nigerian Islam between those who live and defend a modern lifestyle, and those suspicious of Western modernity and the unmediated influence of Western education and culture.   (The Conversation)

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This Is Why The North Will Still Vote For Buhari In 2019 – Matthew Kukah |RN


Bishop Matthew Kukah

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, speaks to TOBI AWORINDE on the socio-economic situation in the North, President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance and the forthcoming 2019 elections

You were one of those who vehemently opposed Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency from the outset. How would you describe the quality of leadership in Nigeria in the immediate past era?

Vehemently opposed to Buhari? Where did you get this from? I think you were sold this dummy in the heydays of ecstasy, frenzy and euphoria of the Buhariphilia, who jumped out of every corner of Nigeria believing that their redemption was at hand. Sadly, today, a good chunk has since apostacised. I never doubted the sincerity of the President’s intention to fight corruption. However, no matter how much you hate leprosy, you cannot cure leprosy by just giving Panadol to the victim.

My fears were threefold and based on experience. First, no matter the goodness, holiness or devotion of any human being, wait until he or she has power entrusted to them and see what they become. So, even in the most optimistic of situations, set goals and expectations and let the person prove himself or herself. Secondly, what Buhari kept saying about corruption did not seem to be the result of some deep reflections. His claims and strategies had never been interrogated. And finally, I insisted that national cohesion was far more urgent a task than just saying ‘we are here to fight corruption’. That informed what you may have referred to as vehement opposition. I was simply warning against too much blind trust and now we are where we are today.

What worries you most about this administration?

I am worried over the lack of fresh ideas, focus, vision and a seeming insensitivity to public feelings; a kind of contempt for how people feel and the impact of policy choices, on the part of this government. This is a season of anomie and alienation. The (Buhari) government seems closed to ideas that challenge their assumptions and apparently does not care what Nigerians think and what they feel. Else, there is no way that you can have a government make the mistakes that this government has made; refuse to engage citizens and simply refuse to give a damn. It is disturbing and, clearly, the government is listening to other drummers. Technically, no one suggests that their views should be taken, but this government has given Nigerians a feeling that they were sold a dummy. This is sad; very sad indeed.

Buhari and the military under his government have continuously claimed that Boko Haram has been defeated. Do you believe them?

Well, this is part of the problem and I think we should let the evidence — not the sloganeering and propaganda — do the talking. The government has refused to listen to the views of Nigerians about the rather incestuous and non-plural ways it has dealt with security and the appointments of their heads. Perhaps the government has a reason for allowing members of only one faith to monopolise the security apparatus, perhaps because it thinks Boko Haram is a problem within Islam and only Muslims can address the issues. Either way, our country is haemorrhaging in a way that ending the Boko Haram conflict will only open a new chapter in a country of people suffering the collective trauma, fear, self-doubt and a feeling of being totally disconnected from the state that has no empathy. With the government seeing this purely as a military operation, we can spend all the money in the world, but we will be nowhere near having a united nation or people. This battle has become a military operation with all its consequences on the economy and the dynamics of the engagement.

What was your reaction upon hearing the news of the Dapchi girls’ abduction?

My reaction was that of shock, sorrow; a tragic sense of déjà vu, and some level of near despair.

Do you agree with Buhari that his response time to the Dapchi girls’ abduction was better than that of the previous administration to the abduction of Chibok girls?

This comparison does not arise. One tragedy is bad enough; a repeat is a disaster. It is like asking whether dying by injection is better than drowning.

Do you think Buhari owes Nigerians an apology, considering his commitment to rescuing the Chibok girls and defeating Boko Haram within the first few months of his presidency?

Why should he apologise? I believe this government has done its best and this is about all it can offer. So, they should be judged not on speculation but on the reality. The issue of an apology does not arise because what we are seeing is the best that is on the table and this is the best team for the job in their view.

Buhari’s health was a major talking point last year with the President spending several weeks on two medical trips. Do you think Buhari owes Nigeria an explanation about what he was treated for?

You mean he should apologise that he was sick? I think we should respect everyone’s privacy. You don’t lose that by being a public servant. I was not happy the way we handled the issue of the President’s health. Others behave differently and I think we should learn not to play politics with everything in Nigeria.

Does his physical fitness worry you, given the possibility of his running for a second term?

There is a Hausa proverb which says, ‘You cannot borrow someone else’s mouth to eat onions’. No one has the right to decide on anyone’s health and as to whether they are capable of a particular function. It is left for the insiders of a party to decide whom they will field as a candidate even if the person is on a stretcher. Today’s weightlifter could fall sick tomorrow. Let the party decide who their best candidate is.

Three of the major promises of this administration is to fight corruption, boost the economy and conquer Boko Haram. Would you say the government has made any significant stride in these areas?

I have said repeatedly that personal opinion does not matter in the long run. Look at the reports from the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the United Nations Development Programme, Amnesty International or Transparency International. What does the evidence suggest? You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe. Or look at the entire Nigerian landscape littered with corpses, destroyed businesses and buildings, all the ravages of war. This is very painful.

What achievements do you think the Buhari government has made?

There is a Minister for Information; he has that duty, not me. They said they have technically defeated Boko Haram, reflated the economy, and brought back some Chibok girls and the Dapchi girls, bar Leah. We now have 7,000 megawatts of electricity and so on. They are also telling us about new multi-billion-naira projects which they are embarking on with no idea when they will be completed. The faces of Nigerians tell a different story and, sadly, we are not communicating with one another.

How do you feel about the recent revelation that senators receive N13.5 million monthly as running costs and that House of Representatives members receives N12m monthly?

Senator (Shehu) Sani has done his job. It is left for Nigerians to decide what to make of it. It is a pity that we are in such a state of stupor that nothing can rouse us from our apathy and this country will continue to sink. Will the President, Vice President, governors and ministers ever come clean or does it require reverting to the Freedom of Information Act? In the mafia, they call this destructive secrecy ‘omerta’, an oath of silence under pain of death. This is why Senator Sani deserves our respect for taking the decision he took. We hear that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is claiming ignorance as to these sums. But, as I have always said, governance in Nigeria is a criminal enterprise which functions above the law.

What are your thoughts on governors’ transition to senators when their eight-year tenure is completed?

Well, what else is there for some of these people to do? Can they go anywhere to deliver a lecture or write books on their experiences? This country stands or falls depending on what the governors do.

What is your grouse with Governor Nasir el-Rufai?

What do you mean by grouse?

You recently criticised el-Rufai on his handling of the Southern Kaduna massacre. Do you think there is room for reparations?

Did you read my sermon in its entirety and why do you single out Governor el-Rufai? It was a funeral and there was the need to set the records straight. I simply articulated an evidence-based side of a story that I had played a role in. If that is what you mean by criticism, then fine. We are all entitled to our opinions but we are not entitled to our facts because facts are sacred. I presented my side of the story based on my personal experience with the claims he made.

What can the governor do to make amends?

Amends with, or to, whom? That is within the realm of governance which requires consultation and consensus building.

You have been vocal about the role of the northern elite in the poverty and underdevelopment plaguing the North. Can you elaborate on this?

My field of doctoral research was on Religion and Power Politics in Northern Nigeria and the result was my book, ‘Religion, Politics and Power in Northern Nigeria’. It opened up new frontiers and it was a pioneering research on how religion has been used to mobilise and retain power by the northern Muslim elite. I had over 100 recorded interviews with a cross-section of northern politicians across the divide.

This has given me an appreciation of the issues. It does not make me an expert. However, it is because of this that those who do not want to follow the arguments keep falling back and accusing me of being anti-northern or anti-Muslim. This is the easy line for those who benefit from this manipulation but do not want to face the consequences.

There is a noble obligation that all elite owe to those they represent; those on whose shoulders they may have stood; those who voted for them or those who helped them get an education. In the rest of Nigeria, these elites have met these obligations by building schools, hospitals, clinics, and so on for their people. They have bridged the gap between government’s absence and the welfare of their people. This is the story of almost all of southern Nigeria and parts of the Middle Belt.

In the North, the evidence of this dereliction of duty litters the entire landscape, millions of out-of-school children, federal and state government projects such as irrigation and power-generating dams that now lie abandoned in remote communities, structures, such as the Almajiri schools, all in decay in many communities, and so on.

Look at the World Bank, UNDP and other reports on development in Nigeria and look at northern Nigeria. The sad thing is that for the elite, these lives of destitution, illiteracy and squalor are reservoirs of investment from where they draw their oxygen of political relevance. The grinding poverty leaves the people permanently below zero and all they do is continue to look at the stupendous wealth of the elite with awe. In exchange, they (the elite) pretend to offer them (the poor) dubious religiosity through the manipulation of pilgrimages and construction of mosques.

Could that be the reason for the emergence of Boko Haram?

In my view, it is the long historical experience of this distortion of the religion of Islam with its exclusionist tendencies that Boko Haram has exploited. Boko Haram exploited the fact that this elite proclaimed Sharia in 1999 and 2000, while in reality, they did not believe in the religion itself. So, Boko Haram simply has asked them to step aside.

Indeed, the Buhari project presents us with an interesting view. The average northerner has become far more impoverished under Buhari than he was under (former President Goodluck) Jonathan. But they will still vote for Buhari because they see him as the only one who can help bring their derelict elite to order. It is a strange appeal but that is it. They believe their corrupt elite are above the law. They were seduced with Sharia because they believed it was going to help them punish their own elite, who they see as being above the law of Nigeria. These are the issues.

Did the northern elite act against the interest of their people intentionally?

If they were mistaken, 50 years would have been enough to correct the mistake, but as I said, this culture of ignorance, poverty and squalor is an investment. Aminu Kano spent his life trying to open the eyes of his people, the Talakawa. The late Bala Usman, a phenomenal intellectual, made massive contributions in this regard by subjecting this charade to critical social analysis. The result was a ‘saner’ environment for the generation of fresh ideas among Christian and Muslim scholars. Ideology replaced the divisive tendencies of religion among the elite. Fighting the Kaduna mafia and other mafias was an ideological project. Today, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and some of the remnants of NEPU (Northern Elements Progressive Union) politics remain the last of the best wine.

What are the interests of the northern elite?

They want to permanently hold on to power. Inherently (there is) nothing wrong with that if it can be used for the good of the people, but after all these years of the monopoly of power under the military and civilians, we northerners are still the weakest, the most sickly, the poorest, the most illiterate, and the most vulnerable. We have the highest number of childhood stunting, which is a danger to the future. The elite has brought shame on us and made us too weak to fight.

Do you believe in restructuring?

Does it matter what I or anyone believes? Even if it determines the outcome of the elections, did the All Progressives Congress not promise us restructuring? Promises have never been a problem. The saddest part of it all is that even the politicians do not expect to be believed, but somehow, we stupidly do. The Kenyan scholar, Patrick Lumumba, once said the tragedy with Africa is that those with ideas are not in power, while those in power have no ideas. The sad thing, he said, is that when the people have a chance, they still vote for those with no ideas.

What do you think the North has to gain or lose in restructuring?

They may perhaps gain the chains of poverty and the fear of those who hold the chains over the majority of our people.

What do you make of the APC committee on restructuring led by el-Rufai?

I have not seen it.

Many have described the APC panel on restructuring as an afterthought by Buhari to score political points. Do you agree?

No idea. Nothing is ever late. It is when honesty appears that matters.

What are your thoughts on the Catholic Church in Nigeria rejoining the Christian Association of Nigeria?

How can we rejoin what we started?

Do you still maintain a relationship with former President Goodluck Jonathan?

I don’t know what you mean by ‘a relationship’. The last time I saw him was when the Peace Committee had a consultative audience with him after the swearing-in of the new administration.

Do you have any expectations concerning the outcome of the 2019 elections?

Let us pray to be alive first. 2019 is a long way away. But I tell you that I have never felt this sense of foreboding. Things could change, but we have to plan how to cross this wide river that lies ahead of us.  (Punch)

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Bakare To BBOG: Nigerians Must Demand Their Rights From Buhari |The Republican News


Okwe Obi, Abuja

Founder of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, speaking at a Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) lecture, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on the promises he made to Nigerians in 2015, insisting that it is constitutionally necessary for citizens to demand their rights.

Bakare also accused the Federal Government of failing to appoint women into a sensitive position of authority, advising the President to protect citizens, and especially the girl child faced with genital mutilation, trafficking and slavery, early marriage, unequal access to education, economic empowerment, and aspirations.

Bakare, stating this at the 2nd annual lecture of the ‘Bring Back Our Girls campaign’ themed: ‘Towards a just and good society: Renewing our commitment to the girl child,’ Saturday in Abuja, insisted that, unless the government began to prioritize girl child education and freedom, the country may not achieve its full potential.


The BBOG is an activist campaign founded by former Education Minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, demanding the release of the remaining 112 girls abducted by terror group Boko Haram in Government Girls College, Chibok, Borno State four years ago.

Bakare, who was a Vice Presidential running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2011 under the platform of the defunct Action Congress Nigeria (ACN), stated that “the fact that the Dapchi episode happened four years after the Chibok incident and one year to elections, just as it was in the Chibok case, is evidence of an alarming national malady.

“There is something wrong when a nation is twice bitten yet never shy with respect to the safety and security of its girl child.

“There is something undeniably wrong when the girl child repeatedly becomes the bargaining instrument in negotiation deals between the government and terrorists.

“There is something absolutely wrong when the girl child becomes a pawn in a political chess game in which the major political parties seek to score political points.

“One of the key indicators of stability or the lack thereof in a nation is the state of its girl child because she is often the most vulnerable in a destabilised polity.

“The problematic issues encountered by the girl child in any society are symptoms of an underlying malady which must be diagnosed.

“In essence, the brazen assault on the girl child in the Nigerian state is a clear indication that our nation is sick,” the pastor concluded.

Bakare also spoke on the actions of the BBOG campaign, stated that their intervention was timely.

“The right intervention must be guided by the realisation that the Bring Back Our Girls campaign is symbolic.

“It is the realisation that the girl child can grow to become a strong and accomplished woman contributing significantly to society.

In her remarks, co-founder of the group, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, stressed that they would not bow to pressure until victory is achieved.

Chairperson of the event, Sen. Naj’atu Muhammed, blamed the military for not doing enough to see to the rescue of the girls.

She admonished Nigerians to join in the campaign to ensure that the abducted girls regain their freedom.     (The Sun)

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$1bn Security Fund: Reasons We Are Angry With Buhari – Saraki |RN

By Onwuka Nzeshi and Chukwu David


**Says parliament was not consulted on proposed spending


President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki yesterday, blamed lack of consultation with the legislature for the controversy trailing the $1billion the Federal Government recently approved for the purchase of equipment to combat insecurity in the country.

Saraki, who disclosed this at the 2018 retreat of the Senate Press Corps held in Jos, Plateau State, said many Senators were angry not because they do not support the counter-terrorism war but for the fact that the National Assembly was not consulted on the issue.

President Muhammadu Buhari last week, approved the expenditure after a crucial meeting he had with the Minister of Defence, Col. Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) and the service chiefs during which they reviewed the security situation in the North East as well as rising wave of insecurity in other parts of Nigeria.

In the wake of that announcement, a number of lawmakers from both chambers of the National Assembly expressed outrage at the attempt to expend such a huge amount of money without consultation and prior approval of the parliament.

The Senate President, whose remarks centred on “Strengthening Executive/Legislature Relations,” said that though the presidential system of government is built on the principle of separation of powers and occasional envisaged conflicts, it also reserved a room for consultation among the three arms of government.

He acknowledged the resurgence of violent attacks on communities and abduction of Nigerians by Boko Haram terrorists and other armed groups and admitted that there was the need to equip the security forces to enhance their capacity to do their jobs. He, however, added that such a remedial action involving expending public fund cannot be undertaken by the executive alone but in consultation with the parliament.

He warned that the security architecture of the country cannot perform optimally unless there were a strong synergy and cooperation between the executive and legislature, stressing that anything outside this cooperation would be counter-productive.

Saraki argued that the relationship between the two arms of government goes beyond party affiliations as the mere fact that the party in power is the same as the party with majority seats in the National Assembly was not a guarantee that the executive will not take the parliament into confidence in taking crucial decisions and ensure mutual respect.

“Even during the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, when PDP was in charge of both the executive and legislature, there were some frictions.

It means it is not about the party. It is not about any individual. It is about the system. “In a situation where a particular arm of government stands up and calls people from another arm of government thieves, looters and other names, how can we work together?
How? It is not possible. It is not realistic. If we collaborate, the country will be better for it,” he said.   (New Telegraph)

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BREAKING: Boko Haram: Buhari Approves Release Of $1bn For Security Equipment

                                  President Muhammadu Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of $1bn for the procurement of security equipment to fight the insurgency.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting Buhari had with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

The President was also said to have asked the security chiefs to intensify efforts aimed at securing the release of Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl still being held by Boko Haram because she allegedly refused to renounce Christianity.   (Punch)

Details later…

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Nigerian Christians Should Pray Against Islamization Of Their Country – Bishop Nwokolo


Rt. Rev. Dr Owen Nwokolo

Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

  • Kicks against disarming registered vigilante groups

The Bishop on the Niger, Anglican Communion, Onitsha, Anambra State, Rt. Rev. Dr Owen Nwokolo has said that the activities of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen indicate an agenda to Islamize Nigeria, saying that Christians should not allow that to come to fruition.

He called on Nigerians to be watchful, and that Christians should take a stand for their faith.

Bishop Nwokolo, who stated this yesterday while addressing newsmen on the activities to mark this year’s Easter, said that Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem Mankind and to bring salvation to the world; the Bishop warning against sin and murders across the country.

“The Boko Haram… is purely to Islamize Nigeria,” Nwokolo said. “Fulani herdsmen, whether they say it is cultural or outsiders coming into Nigeria, the whole idea of herdsmen bearing AK47 guns, going around killing and intimidating people is to Islamize Nigeria. In the case of the Dapchi Girl in Yobe State, where some abducted school girls were released and they held one because she refused to renounce her Christianity – that was a typical example; in as much as we are hearing rumours that she has been released at last. Why was she detained after others were released? Just because of her faith in Christ.

“We are saying that Nigerians should be watchful. Christians should also pray and be watchful and speak out concerning their faith and take their stand.

“The issue of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen is an agenda to Islamize Nigeria and Christians should not allow that to happen. We must hold our faith, we must stand our ground, we must defend our churches, we must defend our fellow Christians, we must also watch and pray,” Nwokolo exhorted.

He said that he supported the call by Gen. T.Y Danjuma for self-defence because Nigerians won’t fold their hands and watch their people be slaughtered by Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen, stressing that Nigerians should rise and defend their territory and stop the killers of innocent citizens, mostly Christians, in the country.

Bishop Nwokolo went on to say that:

“It appears that the Federal Government is turning a deaf ear to the plea of the people, behaving as if nothing will happen because they have the power, that there is nothing else anybody can do. We have said so many things before now, we have appealed to the Federal Government to defend the citizens, and it appears nothing substantial is happening. It is not that the Army is not doing anything or they are not making any effort, but we have not seen drastic measures that will curb the old system.

“When IPOB was reigning, we heard how the government… dealt with the problem; but this one, nothing really substantial has been done. So, I don’t know what else to say rather than to ask the people that, if they have any means to defend themselves, they should do it but still appeal to the Federal Government to tackle this matter headlong, because that is the only solution,” he said.

On the call by IGP to mop-up arms from vigilante groups, Nwokolo said: “I don’t know the people that [belong to] vigilante groups and those who are not. If any group has been registered in by the government and have obtained licenses to own and use weapons, withdrawing their weapons from them is to make room for anarchy. In this country, we don’t have enough security men, we don’t have enough policemen to cater to the citizens. I don’t think [we have] up to 500,000 [Police officers] but we have over 180 million Nigerians; with about 500,000 policemen to guard them, it is insufficient, there is no way it can work.

“So, because the situation is like that, the government in one way or the other permitted local people to organize themselves to secure their area working with the police, and to come now to withdraw their weapons in the guise of security is something we can’t support because we see it as a deliberate attempt to destroy the people. If the government will withdraw the weapons of the people, they must first of all increase the number of policemen to match the population and it will still take them a number of years to do that, and Nigeria is not yet prepared to take such steps, unless there is a hidden agenda of eliminating the people.

“We are calling for the introduction of state police so that every state will take care security measures. The Governor of a state is the chief security officer of the state [but as things stand now], he has no power over the security of his state” Nwokolo stated.       (The Sun)

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