The House of Representatives on Wednesday lamented the rising spate of insecurity in Nigeria.
It condemned the kidnapping of judges in different parts of the country and called for better security around judicial officers.
Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Mr Onofiok Luke, moved a motion on the matter at the plenary on Wednesday, which was unanimously adopted.
The motion was titled, “Urgent Need for Security Agencies to Ensure the Release of Hon Justice Chioma Nwosu and Increase Security and Protection Around Judicial Officers Across Nigeria.’
Moving the motion, Luke noted that judicial officers were charged with the fundamental responsibility of interpreting laws, adjudicating and resolving disputes, as well as conflicts and controversies between persons, natural or artificial.
He added that the responsibility involved presiding over serious criminal matters and politically charged cases, convicting and passing sentences on hard criminals, including drug dealers, kidnappers and murderers.
According to him, the exercise of this responsibility by judicial officers helps to maintain and preserve stability, peace and equipoise in the polity, and protect and safeguard the rights of citizens.
Luke said, “The House is conscious of the risks associated with performance of judicial responsibility on the lives of judicial officers and their families, and the necessity for judicial officers to be provided a safe, comfortable and conducive environment to operate; disturbed that judicial officers are becoming preys in the hands of criminals and the security of their lives and that of their family is under serious threat.
“Some weeks ago, Justice Abdul Dogo of the Federal High Court, Akure Division, was kidnapped on his way to discharge his official functions, and was later released after spending some days in kidnappers’ den. Just a few days after the release of Justice Dogo, Justice Chioma Nwosu of the Court of Appeal, Benin Judicial Division, was kidnapped in brutal circumstances. His lordship’s orderly was shot dead.”
The lawmaker said the House appreciated the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies for general security of judicial officers, particularly for securing the release of Dogo.
The House, therefore, unanimously resolved to urge the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies “to ensure the immediate release of Hon. Justice Chioma Nwosu and the apprehension and prosecution of her kidnappers.”
The lawmakers also urged the police to “increase protection and security around judicial officers and their families across the country.”
Also on Wednesday, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly and the executive arm of government were collaborating on the best ways to tackle insecurity and kidnapping in the country.
Lawan stated this following a motion on the “Urgent need for Security Agencies to intervene in the increasing rate of kidnapping in the riverine areas of Ogun East Senatorial District and Securing the Waterways.” The motion was sponsored by Senator Lekan Mustapha.
Lawan said there was an ongoing collaboration between the National Assembly and the security agencies to seek alternative ways of finding a permanent solution to the lingering situation of kidnapping and insecurity across the country.
Lawan identified funding as a major setback in the fight against insecurity.
He said the legislature with the support of the executive arm of government would explore the possibility of sourcing for funds separately from what was budgeted for security agencies in the 2020 budget.
He said the National Assembly had requested the National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno, to come up with a proposal for the acquisition of drones that would be deployed across the country to facilitate the arrest of kidnappers.
He said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had also received the nod to devise a means of tracking kidnappers through active mobile numbers used in the course of negotiations.
The Senate President disclosed plans by the Federal Government to launch a National Emergency Call Centre.
He said an emergency phone number was already activated for the purpose of contacting the various security agencies in times of distress.
He said, “In the last one month, I’ve been holding regular meetings with security agencies, including the Ministers of Communications and the Federal Capital Territory.
“What we are trying to do is to get a better and result-oriented approach to fighting kidnapping and insecurity.
“We have insisted that no amount of resources will be too much because we need to protect our people and secure the country.
“It will remain a pipe dream if we continue to ask investors to come to Nigeria; even those in Nigeria will not invest properly if the security situation remains very dicey.
“This is something that the National Assembly will have to do together with the executive arm of government. We have to look for something out of the ordinary for funding.
“We have to go out of our way to look for resources outside the national budget. If we can release seven billion naira to Distribution Companies (Discos) or Generation Companies (Gencos), nothing stops us from looking for such money to address the security situation of the country.
“We have already given a request for the NSA to come up with the different designs and models of drones.
“We hope there should be drones properly deployed to ensure kidnappers are arrested.
“We have to find a way to be able to track kidnappers through phones. We should have launched the National Emergency Call Centre with a specific number about two weeks ago.
“We have tried to reconcile all security agencies to have one specific number instead of separate and different ones. We want the emergency call centres to be established across the country. At the moment we have only two major ones.”
Mustapha had condemned the recent increase in the activities of criminal syndicates who specialize in kidnapping and militant activities in and around riverine communities in Ogun East Senatorial District.
He said Ode-Omi, Makun and Iwopin in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun State, were the most affected.
Tribunal Victory, An Act Of God – Gov. Bello
He described his victory at the Tribunal as an act of God and a testament to the popular votes cast in his favour by the people of the state.
Governor Bello stated this on Sunday shortly after he observed the Eid prayer at the Lokoja Township Stadium to mark the Eid-El-Fitr in Lokoja, the state capital.
According to him, the electorate re-elected him during the November 2019 governorship election to enable him to consolidate on the achievement recorded in his first tenure.
The governor insisted that his victory which was affirmed on Saturday by the judges of the Tribunal did not come to him as a surprise, as the electorate came out in large numbers to vote for him and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He stated that the victory has posed a challenge to him and assured the people that he would continue to do his best to ensure that they get good governance in the state.
Governor Bello made the remarks a day after the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Mr Musa Wada, and his party.
In a judgment of two to one, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumbprinting, and voter intimidation, among other electoral malpractices against the governor.
He also awarded a cost of N1 million to be paid by the petitioners to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Bello, and the APC who were the respondents.
Governor Bello’s re-election was, however, nullified by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele who gave a dissenting judgment.
Justice Ovbiagele, therefore, ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices
Tribunal Affirms Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor
The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello.
The petition had been filed by Mr Musa Wada, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election.
In a judgment of two to one, delivered by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, on Saturday, the tribunal held that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.
The tribunal also awarded a cost of one million naira to be paid by the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada to INEC, Yahaya Bello and APC who are the respondents.
In a dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele nullified the election of Governor Yahaya Bello and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices.
What Does Boss Mustapha Want From Ministry of Power? – By Edem Edem
Anyone reading through a circular dated 19th May, 2020, from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) will only arrive at one solemn fact: Boss Mustapha is untowardly interested in goings on in the power sector. And his actions have begin to re-inforce talks in various quarters that he is a major beneficiary of the proceeds of darkness. The circular, in short, was a direct response to the sacking of the TCN MD by President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Power, Eng Sale Mamman – an action that was popular as it was necessary. The circular, citing all sorts of rules, said the minister lacked the power to sack the erring MD. But nothing could be further from the truth. And this latest adventure clearly shows he is on a collision course with his own boss the President himself. Is he trying to over rule his own employer?
Because for those watching events closely, this may yet be another move to humiliate the minister by reversing a very effective decision just as it happened earlier this year. If that happens again, it would be an unmitigated tragedy both for national leadership, cohesion and indeed the entire power sector.
I’m a power sector activist so I should know. Many of the decisions taken by the minister are not only right but actually necessary if we must wade out of the embarrassing darkness we found ourselves. But officialdom, small minded meddlesomeness, and outright corruption keep getting in the way. The activities of Boss Mustapha in particular are worrisome.
I have some questions for Boss Mustapha.
1. Why does he always become restive with anything in the power Ministry?
2. Why didn’t he say all of these when the minister of communications, for instance, made some changes recently in top position of that Ministry?
3. Why didn’t we hear his (Boss) voice when similar reorganisation happened in key parastatal of the Ministry of Humanitarian Services when DG NEMA was replaced
4. Is it true the rumours making the rounds that he (Boss) benefits directly from some agencies within the power Ministry? The speed with which he acted when NBET MD was sacked is still fresh in my mind.
5. Is Boss Mustapha angry with the minister because SIEMENS company got a contract he is interested in? Why has be been so hard on local contractors making it difficult for them to meet targets.
Things to ponder
Nigerians will sooner or later have to chose between effectiveness and strangulating official procedures in addressing the power sector conundrum. The honourable minister must be empowered to go beyond those administrative red-tapism to deal with matters heads on. Procedures are great but not when an emergency like we have now has to be addressed.
The removal of the TCN boss was greeted with widespread jubilation in the industry especially by Patriots who want to see an end to darkness. The former MD was practically against the FG’s effort with SIEMENS and was openly granting interviews against the company due to his vested interest. By replacing him with a sound professional, Eng Abdulaziz, the minister demonstrated that he was willing and in fact, capable of delivering on his mandate. He, the minister, must not be frustrated in this bid. And Boss Mustapha must clearly know his place at the Federal Executive Council. A minister of the federal republic is clearly ahead of him in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). He must not be seen as rubbing shoulders with his superiors.
Edem Edem is a power sector watcher based in Sweden
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