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Focus on Police Reforms, Coalition for Democracy Urges #EndSARS Protesters

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The Coalition for Democracy, CD, has urged EndSARS protesters in Nigeria, to focus on the theme of their campaign of reforming the Nigeria Police in order not to allow subversive elements hijack the protest.

President of the Coalition, Comrade Samson Atawodi, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja, said since President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the Nigeria Police Bill, 2020, this is the right time for citizens to push for the implementation of the reforms which formed the original theme of the #EndSARS protests.

It would be recalled that President Buhari had in a memo dated September 16, 2020, communicated his assent to the Bill to the National Assembly, which repeals the Police Act Cap. P19. Laws of the Federation, 2004, and provides for a more effective and well organized Police Force in Nigeria.

Comrade Atawodi said with the establishment of an appropriate funding framework for the Police in line with what is obtainable in other Federal Government key institutions, the new Act will enhance professionalism in the Force through increased training opportunities as well as create an enduring cooperation and partnership between the Police Force and communities in maintaining peace and combating crimes nationwide.

He said as President Buhari has taken prompt action and disbanded the SARS unit of the Police as demanded by the protesters and agreed to implement suggestions on improving the police, it would be unfair for the youths to continue to be on the streets.

“The Presidential Panel on Police Reform has agreed to the five-point demand of protesters which includes halting use of force against protesters, unconditional release of arrested citizens; justice for the victims of police brutality, payment of compensation, and the psychological evaluation of policemen as well as increasing their salaries.

“By agreeing to do these, the Federal Government has shown that it is a listening government and is prepared to listen to suggestions that would make lives better for Nigerians,” he said.

The Coalition President said added to that, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu has gone ahead to set up a new outfit to replace the notorious SARS while the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has also set up N200 million fund to assist victims of police brutality.

Comrade Atawodi however noted that despite the dissolution of SARS and FG’s concession to implement these reforms, that the protests have continued noting that this could be hijacked by opposition politicians and other subversive elements to cause hardship on fellow citizens .

He insisted that continuing with the protests when the cardinal point for staging it has been met would not only portray the protesters as having ulterior motives but would enable miscreants and other subversive elements mislead them into hidden, selfish and dangerous motive that will impact negatively on the nations democracy.

He said the youths should be wary that not everyone that identifies with them is doing so with a clear motive as there are people who have been looking for opportunities to hurt the current administration for either defeating them at elections or blocking channels which they corruptly enrich themselves.

He said Nigeria’s democracy came at a cost and the youths must be careful not to fall to the antics of mischief makers to throw it away.

“Nigeria has gone far with its journey into democracy and it is not at this time that we should give room to people who for selfish reasons want to turn back the hands of time to achieve their selfish aims.

“While we make demands of the government, we should be wary of naysayers and be focused on what we want so that our intentions remain clear,” he said.

The Coalition President reminded the protesters that no administration has impacted on the youths the way President Buhari has done in the last five years.

He said it was President Buhari who increased the allowances of NYSC members by a hundred percent after several past administrations had failed to do so.

He said the current administration also introduced social interventions programmes like N-power Scheme that put unemployed youths on allowances until they were able to start businesses of their own.

Comrade Atawodi said the current increase in the salary of teachers is also a demonstration of the current government’s belief in bettering the lot of the youths adding that though the SARS police unit has been quiet unprofessional in their dealings with the citizenry, that should however not allow the youths open the door to lawlessness or allow agents of destabilization plunge the nation into chaos and anarchy.

He said this year alone, president Buhari had given the go ahead for the Nigerian Army and Airforce to employ 5,000 Nigerian youths, the NDLEA 15,000 youths and is empowering at least one person per the 774 local governments in the country

He described such measures as steps that would help the youths in the long run and advised that it is better to support the government to conclude the process of reaching majority of the yours with better jobs and opportunities rather than lose it on the alter of populism.

“Some of these things take time to mature, but as far as I know the benefits are gradually trickling in and very soon, we shall be the better for it,” he stated.

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2023: PDP Insists On Electronic Transmission Of Election Results

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no excuses not to use the electronic direct transmission of results in the 2023 general elections and other future polls.

The party’s position is predicated on INEC’s announcement of its readiness to conduct online (electronic) registration of voters for future elections in the country.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan.

According to the party, since INEC is in the position to deploy technology to conduct online registration of voters, which entails electronic transmission of voter’s data to its central server, the commission can also conduct an electronic transmission of results directly from the polling unit to its central server.

“Our party calls the attention of the commission to the fact that it no longer has any excuse not to employ the direct transmission of results from polling units, which will ensure credible elections by eliminating manipulations, alterations, switching, and disappearance of election results during manual collation processes.

“The PDP insists that if INEC can use the electronic platform for registration of voters it could as well deploys the same technology for electronic transmission of results in future elections including the 2023 general elections.

“Our party however urges INEC to ensure that the online registration of voters is credible, transparent, and not open to the manipulations of desperate politicians, particularly in the All Progressives Congress (APC),” the statement read in part.

The PDP also called on the APC leadership in the National Assembly not to delay the Electoral Act amendment bill.

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Fulani Will Always Revenge Injustice, Says El-Rufai

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says the Fulani tribe will always take revenge whenever they suffer injustice.

He, however, said they accept their fate whenever they are convicted of a crime. El-Rufai said this on Thursday during a webinar organised by the Africa Leadership Group.

The governor was asked to clarify his tweet in 2012 wherein he said, “Anyone, soldier or not, that kills the Fulani, takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”El-Rufai had been asked why he made the comment and if the Igbo would be justified to take revenge on other Nigerians that killed them during the Biafran war.

In his response, the governor said, “If a Fulani man dies in war, it is different. If a Fulani man is arrested by the authorities and convicted, it is not an issue. What the Fulani never forgets is when he is innocently targeted and killed and the authorities do nothing. He will never forget and he will come back for revenge. This is it.

“So, it is better to understand the context given the context of what I tweeted which had to do with an issue in Plateau State in 2012. I hope you get the context. So, it is not that Fulani will never forget. Anyone that goes through pain and sorrow either forgets or doesn’t forget but when it is extrajudicial, when it is extra-official, the attitude is completely different.

“This is the context in which Fulani never forgets. It is not in every context. As I said, I lost relations during the war. It doesn’t mean I still hold a grudge. We’ve moved past that.”

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Buhari Probes N165.32bn Unremitted Operating Surplus by NPA

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The President, Muhammadu Buhari , is probing alleged non-remittance of about N165bn operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund by the Nigerian Ports Authority.

There are indications that the development may not be unconnected to the recent suspension of the Managing Director of the agency, Hadiza Bala-Usman.

Documents sighted on Friday showed that the government figured out discrepancies in the remittance of operating surpluses by the NPA to the Consolidated Revenue Fund for two consecutive years under the leadership of Bala-Usman.

Findings indicated that a total of about N73.61bn (N56.3bn in 2017 and N17.31bn in 2018) realised within the two-year period was not remitted to the CRF as expected by the government, although the suspended NPA boss provided explanations to the contrary.

Also, the Federal Ministry of Transportation in a May 4, 2021 letter to the President claimed that the NPA failed to remit N165.32bn to the CRF from 2016 to 2020 and called for an investigation and audit of the financial accounts of the authority

But in a letter, with reference MD/17/MF/VOL-XX/541, dated May 5, 2021 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Bala-Usman said the NPA was aware of Buhari’s approval for the Federal Ministry of Transportation to conduct an audit of the accounts of the NPA and its remittances to the CRF.

The letter was entitled, “Re: Request for the record of remittance of operating surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Funds account by the Nigerian Ports Authority.”

In the letter, she explained that the audited financial statements of the NPA provided operating surpluses in 2017 and 2018 that were contrary to what were arrived at by the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

The letter read in part, “Audited financial statements of the authority for the period 2017 and 2018 provides operating surpluses of N76.782bn and N71.480bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively as contrary to the sums of N133.084bn and N88.79bn arrived at by your office from the budgetary submission.”

The letter stated that the presidential approval for the audit of the NPA accounts arose from a correspondence between the Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Transportation where the budget office conveyed to the FMoT an observed shortfall of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

Bala-Usman said, “We wish to state that the authority’s basis for arriving at the operating surplus on which basis the amount due for remittance to the CFR is guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as amended.

“It is further based on the statutory mandate Part 1, S.3(1) (b) &(d) whereby the FRC issued a template for the computation of operating surplus for the purpose of calculating amount due for remittance to the CRF.

“Accordingly, the figures so provided by the Budget Office of the Federation as the operating surplus for the respective years on which basis they arrived at the shortfall are derived from submission of budgetary provision not the actual amounts derived following the statutory audit of the authority’s financial statements.”

She argued that in line with the template issued by the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, the accessible operating surplus of the authority stood at N51.09bn and N42.51bn for 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“This amount will give rise to a remittance due to the CFR in the sum of N40.873bn and N34.065bn representing 80 per cent of the surpluses for the year 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“Accordingly, the authority consequently made a remittance of N42.415bn and N33.969bn for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively for the full amount required as remittance for the period.”

On remittances for 2019 — 2020, the suspended MD said the audit of the 2019 financial statement had been completed and awaiting consideration of the authority’s board at which point the final figures for the 2019 operating surplus would be determined for consequent computation of the amount due for remittance to the CFR.

“But thus far, the authority has made a remittance of N31.683bn for the 2019 remittance. The sum of N51.049bn has also thus far been remitted for 2020, while awaiting the audited financial statement to determine the final amount required for both 2019 and 2020 at which point the authority will make the payment of the balance as required,” Bala-Usman noted.

She stated that based on the above, the authority wished to clarify that the computation of its remittances to the CFR were concluded from audited financial statements using the template forwarded to the authority from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and not budgetary provision.

“The authority has remitted the full amount due to it to CFR for the periods 2017 and 2018 arising from the operating surplus derived from the audited financial statement for the period totaling N76.384bn as evidenced in attached treasury receipts,” Bala-Usman said.

She added, “The authority has remitted a total of N 82.687bn for the periods 2019 and 2020 pending the audit of the financial statement at which point the amount so computed arising from the value of the operating surplus in the audited financial statement will be remitted to the CFR.”

She said the NPA wished to request the Chief of Staff and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation who were the statutorily custodian of status of payment to the CRF to provide clarification on the above so as to establish the true position of the authority’s remittances to the CFR.

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