It is obvious that members of United Kingdom House of Lords who called on the UK Government to apply sanctions on Nigeria due to their shallow understanding of what constitutes the security problems in the country are, were not looking at the big picture.
From all indication, their conclusion is projected on a myopic mindset at variance with what can be referred to as the general good of the people.
They assume that the regime of sanctions is imperative only to an administration without scrutinizing the merit for such calls.
Since the EndSARS protest which ended in mass destruction of public property and loss of lives including those of security agents, those who had an axe to grind with the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari decided to add the call for sanctions on Nigeria as part of their demand to achieve the partisan and parochial aim of bringing the administration to its knees.
The projection is based on the belief that when the sanctions are imposed on Nigeria and things begin to get difficult for the government and people, then the opposition elements could use the scenario to tar the administration in dour colours and claim it has failed.
But there is no way anyone with a fair knowledge about what is happening in the country would call for a sanction on Nigeria because, 1) there is absolutely no need for that, 2) it willl compound the socio economic problems in the country, 3) it would further encourage the terrorists and their sponsors to step up the campaign towards destabilising the country and 4) worsen the security problem in the country.
Sanctions generally are of different types and they could be applied either diplomatically, economically, militarily or through sports.
Sanctions in the UK is said to fall under the authority of several different departments like the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) which is responsible for negotiating international sanctions and has overall responsibility for the UK’s policy on sanctions and embargoes; the HM Treasury (HMT) which is responsible for making designations under UK domestic financial sanctions and for the implementation and enforcement of all financial sanctions in the UK; the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which implements some trade sanctions and embargoes.
The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (2018) allows the UK to impose autonomous sanctions which includes specific provisions for sanctions that punish human rights violations around the world, allowing the UK government to target individuals, organizations, and regimes (rather than countries) that violate international laws.
This is said to be intended to help the UK address the unlawful killing of journalists, media workers and campaigners, along with human rights abuses that are motivated by religion or belief.
From mere observation, it is from this provision that those calling for sanctions on Nigeria and their sponsors wish to take advantage of.
This is not the first time the misguided elements would try to take this route but each time they try it, they’re seriously rebuffed.
Last year, the House of Commons held a debate on whether sanctions should be imposed on members of the Nigerian government and security services involved in alleged human rights abuses in response to the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian police and the alleged killings of protestors at the Lekki toll gate.
This did not sail through.
Days before that, a young UK parliamentarian incurred the wrath of Nigerians when in the attempt to call for economic sanctions on Nigeria, claimed that its former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon had ran away with half of the nation’s wealth.
It was clear he acting a script but has not done his homework well.
But from all available records, Nigeria does not fall into the category that warrants the call for the invocation of such measures.
This because since the Boko Haram terrorism started in 2009, the various Nigerian governments have tried to deal with it in ways they considered appropriate but none has been able to take the bold initiative of the current administration.
President Buhari for instance on assumption of office in May 2015, gave orders to the military to deal with threats to internal security in the country.
Within six months of the order, the operational headquarters of the millitary action against terrorism and insurgency moved to the Northeast of Nigeria leading to defeat of the terrorists and the capture of their operational headquarters while their leaders and few of their commanders fled.
Territories held by the insurgents were recaptured and many that fled from their homes and were putting up at camps for internally Displaced Persons returned to their communities.
The military has since then secured such places and have constantly repelled the terrorists from launching further attacks on towns and communities and driven them further to border communities.
The Nigerian military has also been commended for the professional manner it has conducted itself in the fight against terrorism and insurgency by avoiding civilian casualties and causing genuine repentant terrorists to surrender.
On the economic front, the Buhari administration has also been able to recover large sums of money that were stolen in previous administrations and has been able to put in place measures that have it made it difficult to siphon public funds which has revived Nigeria’s economy.
So it is shocking for anyone with a fair knowledge of Nigeria to call for sanction on this administration that has done so much to make life better for its citizens.
It is therefore in order to call the misguided House of Lords members to stop embarrassing themselves by getting their facts about Nigeria right before delving into issues they know nothing about.
It is also most appropriate to warn the UK parliamentarians against promoting meaures that would encourage activities of terrorists in Nigeria as calling on the UK to sanction Nigeria over organized falsehood promoted by terrorists and their sponsors will amount to promoting terrorism in Nigeria. It is a route no House of Lords member should contemplate. Nigeria and Nigerians deserve their peace.
Pande wrote from the United Kingdom.
NCPC And The Footprints of a Colossus – By Best Agbese
The appointment of the Plateau-born famed minister of the gospel, Rev. Dr. Yakubu Pam as the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), on June 26th 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari attracted loud applauses within the Christian community in Nigeria. Rev. Pam emerged leader of the commission on the hills of the unceremonious exist of his predecessor, Rev. Tor Uja following faulty leadership outings and crisis of trustworthy leadership.
The NCPC is the apex national regulatory body for Nigerian Christian pilgrimages, an exercise for spiritual rebirth and deeper understanding of the Christian faith by worshippers. Additionally, it also, has a mandate to create platforms conducive for national inter-religious dialogue, harmony, peaceful co-existence, and development in the comity of the Body of Christ in Nigeria.
Issues of religion are quite thorny, sensitive, and explosive in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria is always concerned with the constant frictions and altercations among the diverse religious sects in the country. So, it is incumbent on any leader of a national religious body to work towards vacating issues which propel disharmony and animosities in religious circles.
Therefore, the mandate of the NCPC leadership is hinged on exiting these unnecessary brawls, entrench inter-religious harmony and enhance the spiritual welfare of Christians in Nigeria. Presently, the NCPC coordinates and supervises activities of intending pilgrims to Holy Lands around the globe, including Israel, Greece, Rome, with the latest addition of Jordan by the Rev. Pam leadership in the 2021 pilgrimage exercise.
These were the onerous tasks placed on the shoulders of Rev. Pam when he mounted the saddle about a year ago, precisely in July 2020. In order to deliver to Nigerians, worthy services of a pilgrim’s commission, Rev. Pam ensconced his vision in battling corruption; rebranding the tainted image of the commission; changing the faulty perception and mindset of the people; strong synergy with the church and the establishment of an NCPC peace desk to resolve emerging disagreements.
So far, Rev. Dr. Pam who parades over 30 years of leadership experiences in the Christian community on the local and national stages, have armed him with enough wisdom to discharge his responsibilities honestly, conscientiously and with the fear of God Almighty.
In effect, Pam considered his elevation to the national leadership of the Christian community in Nigeria under the auspices of the NCPC as a golden opportunity to redeem the battered image of the commission and Christians, which also negatively affected the global reputation of the nation.
The NCPC boss has brought to the table his wealth of experience in promoting inter-religious harmony and conflict resolution, especially in Northern part of the country in the administration of the commission. These have not only been his weapons, but trusted assets in leading NCPC to its towering ambience at the moment.
Barely a year into office, Rev. Pam has admirably proved his mettle as a leader of the people. He has reorganized and repositioned the NCPC as the most organized and efficient pilgrimage body in the world, recognized for excellence in faultless services. These are driven on the principles of fairness, equity and justice as his anthem.
Ab initio, Rev. Pam was convinced that his failure to lead the NCPC on the path of glory will bring shame to the church and canvassed inclusive leadership from all stakeholders in Christendom in the country. Pam enthused that “There’s a need to bring out talents to build NCPC. The time has come to work together and collectively re-build the image of our country and the NCPC.” It has been his operative doctrine inspired by orderliness and commitment to a service which repulses all manifestations of corruption in the commission.
Pam is a team player and keeps constant touch with Executive Secretaries and Board Chairmen of States’ Christian Pilgrim Welfare Boards and other stakeholders in piloting the affairs of the commission. He has sustained synergy with disparate bodies for the smooth dispensation of the operations of the commission.
To get started, Rev. Pam trained staffers of the commission in Lagos for effective Pilgrimage operations and refreshed their memories on the discharge of official responsibilities at a three-day staff retreat in Jos. The NCPC under the leadership of Rev. Pam also organized the maiden Ministers Conference of Network of Gospel Ministers in Northern Nigeria (NOGMINN), in Jos, Plateau state as part of his deliberate policy of his inclusive administration of the commission.
This platform which assembled ministers of the gospel was utilized by Pam to sermonize to the church in Nigeria to assume complete ownership of Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria and the operations of the NCPC generally. With a mind always fixated on peace, the NCPC boss invited these ordained messengers of God to assist in restoring peace and unity in the Northern part of the country.
To his credit and the expansion of the experiences of Nigerian pilgrims, Rev. Pam has worked out modalities for the 2021 intending pilgrims to explore new Holy sites around the world, outside the routine sites. The Kingdom of Jordan has been added to the list of countries to be visited by Nigerian pilgrims because of its historic religious significance to Christian faithful.
And proactively, Rev. Pam embarked on an inspection and exploratory visit to the new sites; dialogued with the Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities in Amman and finalized the arrangements. It will be a novel experience for the 2021 pilgrims.
The NCPC executive scribe is also conscious of the Coronavirus pandemic and its effects. To ensure Nigerian pilgrims are protected from contracting the disease, Rev. Pam has kept in constant touch with the Israeli authorities to monitor and detect any unusual or awkward development that may endanger and compromise the health of Nigerian pilgrims.
And in consonance with one of his visions, Rev. Pam has introduced and vigorously pursued peace-building among religious sects in the country. His intervention in the perennial Southern Kaduna crises between Christians and Muslims tremendously assisted in brokering peace to warring factions. It terminated with a three-day peace summit, where the agenda of de-escalation of crises was extensively discussed and a report, containing recommendations on enduring peace has been forwarded to Governor Nasir El-Rufai for necessary action.
To expand the tentacles of the NCPC and bring its services closer to Northern Christians, the commissions executive secretary is currently in persuasive dialogue with the Northern governors for the establishment of pilgrim welfare boards in states with any such office. He is optimistic that the fruitful discussions would create more pilgrim boards in the North to deeply unite Christendom and generate progressive ideas for the development of the country.
Conversely, NCPC under Rev. Pam has intensified sensitization visits to State Governors as well as advocacy for sponsorship of pilgrims in Nigeria. Rev. Dr. Yakubu Pam has demonstrated in all ramifications, an impactful leadership of the commission in a short while. At the expiration of his five- year tenure, NCPC would surely be transformed into an enviable national asset for both Christians and the nation through Pam’s purposeful and focused leadership. #
Agbese is a UK based scholar and wrote from Dundee.
Nigeria Army And War Against Insurgency Beyond Slogan – By Isaac Ikpa
I don’t know him; may be, only a few Nigerians might have encountered him in the sanctuaries of books and there is no possibility that any Nigerian would ever have a chance of knowing him personally, but Frederick C. Blesse is a living legend or a genius of wisdom by conquering the essence of existence with his timeless philosophy. Blesse told his generation and those who cared to listen that “No guts; no glory.”
So, Nigerians are fervently asking; where are the guts of the incumbent Service Chiefs barely three months after they sauntered on the turf of anti-insurgencies and insurrections as Nigeria’s chief sentinels worthy of a glory? Could it be physical and intellectual fatigue this early in office? Or, are some gods or invisible celestial forces chasing their shadows to the point of disarmament?
It is incredible to the discomforting reality that we are now tethered to the mercy of armed gangs, in ceaseless torments and wails. We are now operating on a frequency akin to a typical village market in the countryside, directionless and unfocused. We are forced to sleep, wine and dine with terrorists and bandits near Abuja. Is it the new glory the incumbent Service Chiefs wish to earn for us and the nation?
Peace and security have eluded us. Our enclaves are seized by gunmen, known and unknown. The unending fires in Southern Nigeria, specifically, Southeast region have felled both civilians and soldiers. The infamous leader of the outlawed IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has changed the configuration of his rogue armed gangs several times and boldly dare the Nigerian Military. Yet, we appear helpless and rather enter a plea of bargain for mercy? Nigerian Military Chiefs, where is the glory?
We are only searching for the glory in the number of our kidnapped or abducted children by bandits in the Northwest; we only sight a tainted glory in the dingy dungeons of terrorists who have held our people captive. We are forced to sing lullabies to sword-brandishing hoodlums and miscreants; the plain rogues whose only strength is the uncontrolled thirst for bloodshed, in the excitement of feasting on our soldiers.
Asking further, I repeat; where is the glory of our Military or they’ve got no guts anymore? What else can we remember in this quagmire? The ceaseless bloodbath, arson and ashes staring us in the face? We are now standing on rooftops and selenic heights to inspect the ruins brought upon us, as our military fumbles and trembles before deadly enemies. Like romantic poets, Nigerian Military chiefs now are inured to sloganeering and have turned deaf ears to the lamentations around them.
I reminisced on what the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru voiced out when he took the mantle of leadership from his predecessor in Abuja. Gen. Attahiru was stern and appeared like a ferociously devouring lion.
He told his eager audience and pledged to Nigerians on January 28th 2021 to sustain the giant strides of Nigerian Army as he experienced and inherited from his predecessor. Sadly today, Nigerians can neither sight the giant nor the strides in Attahiru’s actions. The spirit has waned unceremoniously. Sometimes, he appears more phobic than the civilian Nigerians he has the mandate to secure. Where are the guts, to transform into glory? Blesse was right!
The guts starts and ends with slogans of the Army Chief. Gen. Attahiru told another audience two months later in March 2021, at the opening of the Combined Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference and Nigerian Army Operations Retreat 2021 in Abuja that;
“I want to state that the Nigerian Army under my watch will remain resolute in decisively dealing with any threat confronting the country…I have directed that serious attention must be given to sustaining and improving the tempo in all ongoing Nigerian Army operations across the country…Commanders must therefore glean from my command philosophy to ensure that operational and administrative proficiency of Nigerian Army formations and units are sustained and improved upon.”
Sometimes, it is not good enough to overstretch limits of reasonableness in assessment of anybody on a hot seat, like where Attahiru has found himself. He is not in the game alone. His colleagues, other Service Chiefs are also there with him. But we cannot divorce the reality that Attahiru is the Chief honcho of counter-insurgency operations and together with his colleagues are absolutely lost on positive impressions in the terrorism combats in the country.
So, it’s a tedious task to attempt to discern Gen. Attahiru’s philosophy of “operational and administrative proficiency” now. Is it the proficiency which has allowed terrorists and bandits surround Abuja? Is it the proficiency of the everyday kidnapping of our children and adults all over the North or the closure of schools in Abuja because of the unexpected influx and infiltration of the capital city by truckloads of bandits?
In case Gen. Attahiru and the other Service Chiefs forget, I chose to remind them now. That at the point they took over from their predecessors, the Nigerian Military was only battling with Boko Haram insurgents/ ISWAP terrorists most dominantly on the fringes of Borno’s Lake Chad Basin area. Now, they are very close; the terrorists have come too close to us in courageous braggadocio.
We can no longer sight the guts to which any glory can be earned by the leaders of the counter-insurgency operations. Who will deliver us now? Nigerians now are only entertained with the barrage of slogans from the Military Chiefs than dexterity in warfare. Military Chiefs often assure us of protections from armed gangs; but the assurance consistently fails every time and everywhere.
Hesitantly, our Military Chiefs are compelling Nigerians to trust the haughty spews of Boko Haram’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau more than their actions have so far espoused on the battlefield. Shekau boasted two days after these Military Chiefs came into office in a nine-minute video that the new Service Chiefs can’t outshine their predecessors in the fight against insurgency in the Northeast or elsewhere in Nigeria.
Shekau thundered; “(General) Leo Irabor, the head of the military, you should have sympathy for yourself, repent and convert to Islam. There is nothing you can do.” I am confused now! Whose words should I trust as stronger and bear any consequence on Nigerians? That’s why Generals Irabor and Attahiru must tighten their seat belts beyond sloganeering.
Nigeria is running out of patience with itself. Terrorists and bandits are making merriments; whilst Nigerians mourn and agonize in bloodshed, abductions and arsons. Shadows of bandits and terrorists loom large and freely roam our city centers, villages, communities, highways and every conceivable place. Courage has given way to numbing fear in our homes and offices.
One is infinitely perturbed watching the effeminate actions of the COAS and leader of the anti-insurgency operations, Gen. Attahiru and the new Service Chiefs in the theatre of war these three months. It is easier to conclude that Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are infinitely endangered. It has been donated to the terrorists under these new sheriffs or Military chiefs who initially, held so much promise, but have faltered terribly.
There is neither spark nor gusto in their deportments in the frontlines of the Northeast, Northwest or Southeast. Jubilant armed gangs have seized our peace and security, shattering dwelling places. We are pathetically tossed on bended kneels under these new masters of terror, as Gen. Attahiru gazes elsewhere.
Therefore, Nigerians make bold to demand that at this time in the history of insurgency in the country, there is the dire need for quick actions and not slogans; we want deafeningly positive results beyond the niceties of rehearsed speeches in the conference halls of Abuja and elsewhere. Will the slogans ginger the troops? Will it deliver the desired results? These and many more are the issues confronting us today as a nation. What ought to be done that has been left undone?
We abhor the demons of terror and the Nigerian Military should not foist them on us. We neither want to worship Abubakar Shekau nor bow to the praxis of the bloody swords of the ISIS-backed Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists commanded by Musab Al Barnewi. The armed bandits in the forests and caves of Zamfara, Katsina to Niger states have tormented us enough. Herdsmen should give us a break; and it is a break, which Gen. Attahiru must necessarily impose on them because he is not crowned for a feast of romance with insurgents in the theatre of war.
The rogues camouflaging as secession agitators in the Southeast must be reined in. We seek no protection from some gods; other than our Military. Gen. Attahiru and his colleagues, the Service Chiefs must wake up from slumber to redeem their names and salvage our fatherland in patriotic and true sacrificial service without further delay. We want to again, make bonfires of celebrations, as against the feasts of blood and whines. Like Blesse intoned, our Service Chiefs should immediately show us the guts and the glory now.
Chief Ikpa writes from Abuja.
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