Pro-democracy group and rights activists have urged the Federal Government to tackle insecurity and rising youth unemployment in the country. They spoke yesterday at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, Lagos, during a protest to reawaken government to its responsibilities to the people.
Activist lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) said kidnapping, armed banditry, police harassment, and other vices were increasing daily.
He said there was an urgent need to arrest the trend.
The eminent lawyer said yesterday’s transition of power from one government to the other was meaningless because the people’s development was not paramount in the blueprint of the elected officials.
“Enough is enough of kidnapping, enough of killings, enough of widening the gap of youth unemployment, enough of police arresting people for wandering,” he said.
Falana said democracy is not only about the sinking of boreholes and dancing on the streets in a country that used to have good roads that have become death traps.
According to him, the arrest and detention of innocent people for wandering by the police are vestiges of military dictatorship.
The eminent lawyer noted that the anathema had crept into the civilian administration.
He said the police must be adequately catered for to enable them to perform maximally.
Falana said: “If the police are properly empowered to provide internal security, they should be able to perform their job. Soldiers should not be seen on the street as they are meant to provide security against external aggression.
“No soldier should be seen in a civilian clime intimidating the people with his uniform. It is only the police the Constitution gives such powers. It is even wrong for the police to parade suspects as common criminals. All these affronts have continued to work against civil society.”
“Youth unemployment is a sore episode in the Nigerian state. There is information at our disposal about money recovered through whistleblowers, the ones recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC): the money should be put to use to create jobs for youths.”
Boko Haram strikes again
The orgy of violence in Borno State persisted on Sunday night as Boko Haram killed 30 persons and injured 40 others in multiple suicide bomb attacks on a viewing center in Mandarari, Konduga Local Government Area of the state.
The attacks, which were confirmed yesterday by the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), drew a strong rebuke from President Muhammadu Buhari, who commiserated with the victims of the blasts and promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The SEMA Director of Search and Rescue Operations, Mr. Usman Kachala, who briefed journalists yesterday, said three suicide bombers detonated Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Mandarari community around 8 p.m. on Sunday, explaining that the bombers, comprising two females and a male, perpetrated the act in a local tea joint and film center in the community.
He said about 17 persons died instantly, adding that the death toll increased to 30 yesterday as a result of lack of immediate medical attention.
He said his staff could not reach the spot of the incident as the military had closed the road to traffic and the hospital in Konduga did not have enough facilities to handle the situation.
“When I and my team arrived Konduga early this morning, the military prevented us from gaining access to the community to assist the victims,” he said, adding: “They told us they were given order from above not to open the road until 9 am.”
It was gathered that the wounded victims were conveyed by their relations to hospitals in Maiduguri, the state capital, a distance of about 80 kilometers from the town.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja commiserated with families of the victims.
His former special adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the president sent a message of condolence to the government and people of the state over the suicide attacks.
According to him, Buhari decried the heinous acts, saying judgment awaited perpetrators of evil acts, not only from man, through the long arms of the law, but also from God Almighty.
Adesina said Buhari also urged security agents to sustain surveillance in all flashpoints in the country, bearing in mind the unconventional methods deployed by terrorists to harm innocent and unsuspecting victims.
Buhari, Governors battling insecurity
The Presidency on Sunday night said that President Muhammadu Buhari and governors in the North West were working out strategic plan to end insurgency in the zone and the Northern region. This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to him, President Buhari’s administration and the Northwestern state governments were pursuing an urgent revamp of the national security apparatus in the subregion following the infiltration of bandits into areas.
The renewed effort to secure the zone, he said, came on the heels of the recent killing of 34 persons in an attack on Tungar Kafau and Gidan Wawa communities in Shinkafi Local Government Areas of Zamfara
President Buhari, who expressed sorrow over the renewed attacks extended his sympathies to the governments and people of Sokoto and Zamfara states and charged all stakeholders, made up of the federal security agencies and the states involved in drawing up the long-term strategic defense plan to begin its immediate implementation.
He said “Under the plan, states are joining the federal government in supporting the security and military operations by providing logistical support.
“States are providing additional vehicles in addition to those provided from the center. The federal government is establishing new forward operation bases and when all of these come together, the ongoing operations will be scaled up.
“The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and the various State Emergency Management Agencies, SEMA are expected to streamline their operations to provide succor to displaced persons, thousands of whom are taking refuge in the neighboring Niger Republic.
“The full implementation of the plan is expected to provide security for residents to return to deserted communities,” he added
President Buhari, he said, assured once again that his administration was fully conscious of its responsibility of protecting the life and property of citizens and will not fail in that regard.
Akeredolu decries state of insecurity
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has lamented that only very important personalities attached with security men are safe on the roads. Akeredolu decried the spate of kidnapping on highways, assuring his people that the menace would soon become a thing of the past.
He spoke Sunday evening during the maiden participatory Radio/Television program tagged: “An evening with Mr. Governor” in Akure, the state capital.
Akeredolu said the Akure-Ibadan road is notorious for kidnapping, stressing that his convoy ran into suspected kidnappers on the road recently.
Akeredolu said the assailants ran into the bush when his security men opened fire.
According to him, his convoy was almost attacked, but the security details shot into the air to scare the kidnappers, who ran into the bush.
“It is a serious problem on Akure-Ibadan road. We as governors will do something about the issue with the Federal Government,” the governor said.
The governor said the situation was affecting only the masses as the big men enjoy themselves when they drive in convoys.
He admitted that travelers are not safe on the road, but jokingly said: “I have passed the level where somebody can kidnap me again.”
On the increase in the state’s Internal Generated Revenue (IGR), Akeredolu said: “It has not placed an undue burden on the good people of Ondo State. We have not increased tax.
“The only difference is that we have trained personnel, who have ensured accountability and proper collection of these funds in all local governments across the state.
“When we came on board, Ondo State generated N700 million as IGR and with this, it can’t get us to anywhere and that is why we have to put all hands on the deck to generate N1.5 billion. We are still working hard on how to generate more.”
Mattawale suspends emir over insecurity
Zamfara State Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle has approved the suspension of Emir of Maru, Alhaji Abubakar Cika Ibrahim and District Head of Kanoma Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed. The suspension was announced yesterday in a statement signed by the Director General, Press Affairs to the Government House, Yusuf Idris.
Their suspension, according to Idris, followed complaints from residents over their alleged involvement with bandits attacking communities in the area.
Idris noted that the duo would remain suspended pending the outcome of an investigation panel, which will soon be set up by the state government.
The Emir has, however, been directed to hand over his official vehicles and other government properties in his possession to the Senior District Head. The Kanoma district head is to hand over the same to the most senior village head.
The suspension confirmed the allegation of former Minister of Defence Lt.-Gen. Mansur Dan Ali over the involvement of some monarchs in banditry. Sixteen people were confirmed killed and 14 injured by suspected bandits in attacks in Kanoma community on Sallah day.
Director General, Press Affairs to the Zamfara State Government House, confirmed the incident. However, the governor has paid a condolence visit to the community, saying he was aggrieved by the news of the attack. Matawalle assured the people of adequate security measures to end the armed banditry and other criminal activities.
He said his administration would collaborate with well-meaning citizens to end the security challenges facing the state.
He called on the locals to provide the government with accurate intelligence reports that would assist the security agencies in apprehending the criminals.
The governor also prayed to God to reward the souls of those who lost their lives with Jannatul Firdaus and give their families the fortitude to bear the loss.
Matawalle also called on the bandits to surrender their arms and embrace peace before it is too late.