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Highlights of Gov. Zulum’s opening remarks at the meeting of Northeast governors in Bauchi today:

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*Seeks review of “operation safe corridor”, says De-radicalized insurgents return to join fighters after spying on communities

*Says prosecution of insurgents only option at the moment while AGF alone has powers which causes delays

*Calls for protection of schools; temporary withdrawal of students from boarding to day schools where necessary to avoid kidnapping

*Calls for consideration of regional but constitutional security outfit against Boko Haram with CJTFs, Vigilantes as potential members

See full opening remarks below:

OPENING REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NORTH EAST GOVERNORS’ FORUM AND EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF BORNO STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, PROFESSOR BABAGANA UMARA ZULUM, FNSE, mni AT THE 4TH MEETING OF THE FORUM, HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 3RD MARCH 2021 AT THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE, BAUCHI

Protocol:

I am profoundly pleased to welcome Your Excellencies to yet another meeting of the North East Governors Forum, which is the fourth in the series, since our maiden meeting in Gombe, exactly one year ago.

The Forum has now become a veritable rallying point in our determined efforts to identify and address the various challenges of development confronting the North East sub-region and ultimately the nation at large.

2. In our previous meetings, we have been able to identify most of the daunting challenges facing us, individually and collectively, and the possible courses of action which we would pursue through shared responsibility and commonality of purpose, in order to arrive at the desired outcomes. These challenges range from the seemingly unending issue of insecurity to deep-seated and pervasive poverty, from banditry and kidnapping to cattle rustling, from gender-based violence to youth restiveness.
The challenges seem to be endless but so also are the possibilities of overcoming them. The very fact that we have been able to identify most of the major challenges facing us, is an indication that we are on the right track to overcoming them.

3. The most formidable and by far the most daunting challenge we, in the North East and indeed Nigeria as a whole, is the current security situation which seems to be defying solutions and which has a telling effect on virtually all aspects of our lives. Expectedly with the appointment of the new Service Chiefs, a new set of strategic initiatives is expected to be deployed to the war effort, as the insurgency is now taking a new turn for the worse, with renewed spate of attacks on soft targets and innocent civilians. May I, at this juncture, congratulate, on behalf of the Forum, the new Chief of Defence Staff and the new Service Chiefs on their well-deserved and highly merited appointments. As most of them are already familiar with the theatre of war in the North East, having served in various command positions, we shall be expecting a significant improvement in the security situation in the sub region and the country at large. As it is now, especially in Borno State, violence, being perpetrated by the insurgents, seems to be on the increase, both in scope and viciousness; and it has become a matter of tactical necessity for the new Service Chiefs to devise new and offensive strategies to counter the current attacks and forestall any future attacks. Undoubtedly the commitment of our Military to the war against the insurgency is unquestionable and their determination to succeed is undeniable, as they have considered and acted upon a full range of options to deal with the insurgency. However with the current escalation of deadly attacks by the terrorists, the various courses of action being pursued seem to have some limitations in terms of the expected impact; hence the need for a new set of pragmatic and result oriented initiatives to completely subdue the terrorists and ultimately end the insurgency.

4. On our part, in addition to the logistical and financial support we have been rendering to the armed forces in their fight against general insecurity in the sub-region, we should also look into the possibility of forming a security outfit, within the ambit of constitutional precedent and operational feasibility, as has been done in other parts of the country. If and when we decide on a regional security outfit, the vigilante groups and civilian JTFs in our respective States may form the basis for the outfit.

Whatever the case, we must make efforts to bridge whatever gaps that exist in our respective States in collectively addressing the security challenges.

5. Your Excellencies, another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified, is the issue of de-radicalization of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities. It has been confirmed that the concept of de-radicalization or Safe Corridor, is not working as expected. Quite often those who have passed through the Safe Corridor Initiative or have been de-radicalized, usually go back and rejoin the terror group, after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process. In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on, usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been de-radicalized, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past. So the idea of de- radicalization, as currently being implemented needs to be reviewed, because the main goals and the underlying objectives behind the initiative, are not being achieved. The best option is to immediately prosecute the terrorists, in accordance with the Terrorism Act. However, those people who, ab initio, were forcefully recruited but have been rescued or have escaped from the group, should be the ones to be subjected to the de-radicalization process. On the prosecution of terrorists, we must make efforts to avoid the current encumbrances and intricacies associated with the process, which usually takes considerable time, by urging the appropriate federal authorities to devolve the powers of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation to State Attorneys-General in order to facilitate the prosecution process. At the moment, only the Attorney-General of the Federation is statutorily empowered to prosecute terrorists, which, quite often, results in avoidable delays. We once again call on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to delegate his prosecutorial fiat to the States Attorneys General to prosecute such cases in their respective States as justice delayed is justice denied.

6. Your Excellencies, as we all know, the negative effect of the insurgency is widespread and all-encompassing and has adversely affected the economic live-wire of our people, such as farming and commercial activities and even inter-state travels. And unless the insurgency is totally and absolutely subdued, all efforts at improving the socio-economic status of our people may be futile, because nothing tangible could be achieved without sustainable peace and security.

7. As we are set to deliberate on matters of common interests and shared responsibilities, we should, in addition to the issues of insecurity, banditry and kidnapping, also focus specifically on youth unemployment, the deep-rooted poverty among majority of our people, gender based violence and protection of our farmers and petty traders who necessarily have to travel within and outside the States to sell their wares. We should also ensure that all critical infrastructure in our various States are properly safeguarded so that they don’t become target for destruction by the terrorists, as it was the case in Borno State, where the terrorists destroyed the main electricity transmission line to Maiduguri, thereby completely subjecting the State to total darkness for the past seven weeks.

8. Your Excellencies, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, may I at this point also re-empathise the urgency and significance of protecting our schools, particularly in these trying and uncertain times. The provision of a comprehensive and adequate security to our schools has now become a matter of compelling necessity, in view of the current trend in which innocent school children have now become a target of choice to bandits and insurgents, particularly in the northern part of the country. In this regard, we in Borno State have had the most harrowing and excruciating experience when over two hundred students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok were brutally abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014. And despite the best efforts and representations of the State and Federal Governments as well as the international community, most of the girls have not yet been released and their conditions virtually unknown. As we may recall there have been series of subsequent abductions in Dapchi in Yobe State, Kankara in Katsina State and most recently, in Kagara, Niger State and Jangebe in Zamfara State. Apart from the physical traumatic effects of such abductions on the innocent children there is the unimaginable psychological impact which may result in life long impairment of their cognitive abilities. The overall long-term psychological effect of abductions on our children is indeed too hideous to even contemplate. We should therefore devise appropriate strategies and explore all options and possibilities to provide effective and sustainable security protection in our educational institutions especially boarding schools. If proper security cannot be provided for whatever reason, the affected boarding institutions should be converted to Day Schools to reduce their vulnerability to possible abductions. This, I believe, is the only way we could inspire and sustain public confidence and trust in the ability of the Government to protect their children and wards in the school system.

9. It is on this note that I, once again, welcome Your Excellencies to this auspicious summit of the North East sub-region.

10. Thank you and God bless.

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Uche Secondus Set To Resign As PDP Crisis Deepens, Chairman, Exco Members Pass Vote of No Confidence On Him

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The days of Mr. Uche Secondus as the National Chairman of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is now numbered as pressure mounts on him to resign or be removed.

The leadership of the party is currently meeting in an emergency meeting over the lingering crises of confidence in the party.

Several members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) has reportedly resigned from their offices alleging that the National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus has been high-handed in handling the affairs of the party.
In a press conference earlier in the day, the National Youth Leader of the party, Hon Ude Okoye had threatened to resign if the National Chairman does not resign. Hon. Okoye alleged that Mr. Secondus “lacks the intellectual capacity to administer the party.”

Members of the National Working Committee who reportedly turned in their resignation letters include, the Deputy National Financial Secretary, Deputy Legal Adviser, Deputy National Auditor, Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Deputy Women Leader, and Deputy Organising Secretary.

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Crime

I’m not a fraudster – Mompha reveals why EFCC is trying him

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Famous social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, aka Mompha, has denied any link with fraud following his case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

Mompha is standing trail on a 22-count bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N33bn.

Mompha was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sometime in 2020 but was released on bail.

The debate about his lifestyle has continued since the arrest of Hushpuppi.

However, in a recent post via his Instagram, Mompha clarified that the charges filed against him by the EFCC has nothing to do with fraud.

He stated that he’s not a fraudster and was only charged by EFCC for operating BDC without license.

His post read: “I wish to also state that the charges filed against me by EFCC is in relation to allegations of operating BDC without license and has nothing to do with or involving fraud.

“I am, therefore, not a fraudster or in anyway associated with fraudsters.”

Mompha discloses what EFCC told him after Hushpuppi’s arrest

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Just 11. 7 million that was carted away by robbers not N100m-Nasarawa State speaks to media

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The  Nasarawa State Government has debunked  the reports that N100 million meant for payment of casual workers of its ministry of finance was carted away by armed robbers.

A statement by Commissioner For Information , Culture and Tourism , Mr Dogo Shammah, on Friday in Lafia, however, confirmed that  N 11. 7 million was carted away by robbers at the state’s  Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning.

Shammah said the stolen money  was meant to host a team from the Revenue, Mobilisation,  Allocation and Fiscal Commission, which was due to visit the state .

He said part of the money was also meant for  furnishing and refurbishing of some offices and vehicles.

Shammah said the N100 million which was erroneously  reported  to be carted away by robbers was  meant for payment of salaries for casual workers  in the state.

Narrating how the N11.7 million was stolen by the robbers, Shammah said the gunmen trailed the official who went to the bank to make the withdrawal.

” The gunmen trailed officials of the state Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning after making withdrawal at a second generation bank along Lafia-Jos road.

” They shot sporadically on getting to the ministry’s premises and took the money away,” he said.

Shammah, however, said  that the incidence had been reported to  security agencies and investigation had commenced.

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