Much Debt: SERAP writes Lawan to halt Buhari's $4B loan - OPID News

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Sunday, 19 September 2021

Much Debt: SERAP writes Lawan to halt Buhari's $4B loan

 Much Debt: SERAP writes Lawan to stop Buhari's $4B loan

Ahmad Lawan

The Senate President Dr Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila have been urged to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $4 billion and €710 million.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) believes Nigeria’s debt crisis is getting out of control, with N11.679 trillion committed into debt servicing between 2015 and 2020, while only N8.31 trillion was expended on capital projects.

The organisation urged the two NASS leaders to request for details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015 by the government, before acting on the new request.

President Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”

The request was contained in a letter dated 24 August, 2021.

In an open letter dated 18 September 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis.

It expressed concern over the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained.

It also expressed worry on the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”

“The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.”

 “Accumulation of excessive debts and unsustainable debt-servicing are inconsistent with the government’s international obligations to use the country’s maximum available resources to achieve progressively the realisation of economic and social rights, and access of Nigerians to basic public services,” SERAP said.

The letter, read in part: “The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.”

“SERAP urges you to urgently propose a resolution and push for constitutional amendment on debt limit, with the intent of reducing national debt and deficits. This recommendation is entirely consistent with the constitutional oversight functions and spending powers of the National Assembly, and the country’s international anti-corruption and human rights obligations.”

“Indiscriminate borrowing has an effect on the full enjoyment of Nigerians’ economic and social rights. Spending large portion of the country’s yearly budget to service debts has limited the ability of the government to ensure access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to minimal health care, education, clean water, and other human needs.”

“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.”

“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35 trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679 trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31 trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.”

“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education.”

The letter was copied to chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly.


IGP Alkali queries Abba Kyari after panel report

IGP, Abba Kyari 

Indicted super cop and former commander of the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abba Kyari, has been queried by the Inspector General of Police,  Usman Alkali Baba.

The query follows the submission of the report by the police panel set up by the IGP to look into the alleged indictment of Abba Kyari by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Abba Kyari was queried over infractions noticed in his communication with Ramon Abbas aka Hushuppi, a suspected internet fraudster, the Daily Trust reported.

“The IGP has issued a query to Abba Kyari based on the findings of the panel.

“The panel discovered that there was communication between Kyari and Hushpuppi, as well as infractions on the part of the cop, which is against the procedure of engagement of the police.”

The panel did not recommend the extradition of Kyari because it could not establish that the police officer committed any crime in the US.

“There is no proof that he committed any crime on the soil of the US to warrant his extradition.

“He will be sanctioned by the appropriate authorities here. However, it is for the AGF to advise if there is a ground to extradite him to the US, which is very unlikely, the source said further.

Spokesperson of the Nigerian Police Force, Frank Mba, however, said that the IGP has forwarded the recommendations of the panel to the Police Service Commission (PSC) for appropriate action.

Reportedly, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is also looking into the request of extraditing the indicted Cop to the United States of America.


Breaking: Obadiah Mailafia, Buhari's critic dies likely of COVID-19

Obadiah Mailafia

Obadiah Mailafia, a trenchant critic of Buhari administration and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is dead.

He died at Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja, on Sunday morning.

He was 64 years old.

It is suspected he may have died of COVID-19.

One of his cousins said he spoke with him a few days ago.

The former CBN deputy governor said he had malaria and cattarh.

Mailafia contested the 2019 presidential election under the African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Since then, he had been a fierce critic of the Buhari government.

Mailafia worked at the African Development Bank (AFDB) and served as CBN deputy governor between 2005 and 2007.

He was born on 24 December 1956 in Randa village, Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

His father Baba Mailafia Gambo Galadima was an evangelist with the Evangelical Reformed Church of Central Nigeria.

His parents later transferred to Murya, Lafia, in Nasarawa State, where he grew up.

He started his education at Musha Sudan United Mission School from 1964 to 1969 and proceeded to Mada Hills Secondary School, Akwanga, Nasarawa, from 1970 to 1974.

He later went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he made a first-class degree in Economics.

Mailafia got into the crosshairs of the DSS early in the year, when he alleged that a governor was the commander of Boko Haram.

The Department of State Services (DSS) invited him for questioning in Jos.

One of the politicians who gave an early tribute was Femi Fani-Kayode.

He wrote on Twitter that Mailafia was “one of the most powerful and progressive voices in our country.”

“He was a great nationalist, a believer in Nigeria, a kind and gentle soul, a devout and practising Christian, the leading voice of the Middle Belt zone, a former Deputy Gov. of Central Bank, a former Presidential candidate, a graduate of Oxford University and one of the most brilliant men that I ever had the privilege of knowing,” he wrote.


Gunmen kill three policemen in Onitsha, set patrol vehicle ablaze

The police vehicle set ablaze

Three policemen have been shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Onitsha, Anambra State and their patrol vehicle set ablaze.

The ill-fated cops were on duty at around Ukaegbu /Ezeiweka road in Onitsha when they were attacked around 9 a.m on Sunday.

During the attack, two civilian bystanders sustained gunshot wounds.

Anambra State police command spokesperson, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga confirmed the incident.

He said details of the attack are still sketchy.

DSP Ikenga said he would react after gathering more information on how the attack happened.


Italy-bound female drug dealer Isesele Obehi busted at Lagos Airport

Isesele Obehi

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have arrested a female passenger Isesele Obehi at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos while trying to smuggle 312 sachets of tramadol to Milan, Italy.

NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi in a statement on Sunday said Obehi was thwarted by narcotic officers who arrested her shortly before she boarded her flights.

He said Isesele was nabbed on Saturday 11th September, 2021 during outward clearance of Ethiopian Airline flight at Gate B departure hall of the Lagos airport on her way to Milan, Italy with three hundred and twelve (312) sachets of Tramadol, weighing 1.5kg, concealed in crayfish and dried vegetables.

Babafemi also disclosed that another suspected drug dealer, Emmanuel Chibuzor Omebere was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja as he was about boarding a flight to Turkey.

He said Chibuzor was caught with 137.45 grams of the same drug concealed in foodstuff at the Abuja airport on Thursday 2nd Sept during outward clearance of Turkish Airline flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

 Isesele Obehi

He said in the same vein, efforts by desperate traffickers to export varying sizes of consignments containing cocaine, heroin and other illicit drugs through courier firms were also foiled.

“Some of these include 475grams of heroin concealed in food items going to Canada; 202grams of cocaine hidden in body cream containers going to Australia; 720grams of Cannabis Sativa tucked in computer hard drives heading to United Arab Emirates, UAE and another 2.1kg of cannabis hidden in body cream bottles going to Oman, while 60grams of cocaine concealed in degree certificates meant for Australia was also seized, all from three courier firms in Lagos.


Awgu INEC office razed in Enugu


INEC office in Awgu LGA burnt: combo images of assets destroyed. Photo INEC

Arsonists yet to be identified set the INEC office at Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State ablaze on Sunday morning.

The Chief Fire Officer in Enugu State, Chief Okwudili Ohaa said the service received a distress call at about 1.30 a.m. and sent out firefighters.

“As usual, when we received the distress call our trucks and men at Ozalla Station quickly moved to the scene.

“We equally mobilised fire engines and firefighters from Enugu metropolis.

“Our prompt intervention saved the entire complex as only one office room was affected in the raging fire before it was extinguished,’’ he said.

Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee said the commission had been briefed about the attack by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Emeka Ononamadu.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Okoye said the fire caused extensive damage to mainly the stores section where election materials are kept.

“Fortunately, all movable election materials had been evacuated following recent attacks on our offices in the State. There are no casualties in the incident.

“The identity or motives of attackers are unknown while the incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police Force for investigation.

“The Commission appreciates the prompt response of the security agencies comprising the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well the Enugu State Fire Service and the Awgu Local Government Neighbourhood Watch.

“This unfortunate incident is the first since the last attack on our facilities four months ago in May 2021”.


Kogi vigilantes kill 11 bandits, NSCDC officer arrested as armorer


Some arrested suspects 

The Kogi vigilantes group has killed 11 bandits and also arrested their armorer, an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp(NSCDC) and his accomplice.

The neutralised bandits were said to have been terrorising various communities in Koton Karfe Local Government Area of the state.

Three kidnapped victims were also rescued from the kidnappers den.

Mr Onogwu Muhammed, Governor Yahaya Bello’s press secretary identified the arrested NSCDC officer as Insp. Abdullahi Saidu.

He was alleged to be giving information to the criminals to undertake their heinous crimes.

“A group of bandits terrorising some parts of Koton Karfe Local Government Area of Kogi State have met their waterloo.

“As officers of the State’s Vigilante Group killed 11 of them, arrested others while three kidnapped victims were rescued successfully

“The successful operation by the security operatives was done in series and with a detailed account the Kogi State Vigilante operatives narrating that Alaidi, the ring leader was killed during the first camp attack.

“Other Members of the bandit group, Rabo and seven others were crushed.

 “Madei and one other were killed in the second kidnappers camp while Umar escaped with gunshot wounds but was recaptured.

“Five of the kidnappers arrested including the Civil Defence operative were in the custody of the Department of State Security for further investigations,” the statement read in part.

He also noted that such security success by the operatives was a welcome development and a proof that the security architecture of Kogi was strong and solid enough to quash all forms of criminal vices.

He said that the Local Vigilantes across the state have continued to record good results because of the morale boost and support the governor has continued to give.

Muhammed also listed cooperation from the citizens and synergy between the security operatives as reasons for the security successes in the state.

He stated that the continued efforts of the state government to keep the momentum as the safest state in the country were so far yielding remarkable results.

The spokesman said that that the governor has severally made a commitment to securing the lives and property of the citizens and make the state a no-go-zone for criminal elements.

He reiterated that governments at all levels would continue to make efforts towards sustaining the drive for a peaceful Kogi by making every nook and cranny of the state unsafe for criminal elements and their sponsors.


Gunmen invade Kogi ECWA, kill one, abduct three



Gunmen 

Gunmen on Sunday invaded the Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, Kabba, Kogi State, killing one person and abducting three others.

The gunmen struck during Sunday service at ECWA, Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area, LGA, of Kogi State.

The incident took place along Kabba-Okene express road in Okedayo Kabba, throwing other worshippers and the community into confusion.

It was reliably gathered that the gunmen fully armed with AK-47 numbering five invaded the church at about 8.00am on Sunday shooting sporadically as they made their way into the church premises.

The source disclosed further that some worshipers took cover while others in an attempt to escape were kidnapped.

The dead victim was on his way to the church when he encountered the gunmen, who instantly opened fire on him.

“The gunshots left members confused, scamper for safety, with the gunmen killing one and taking away three,” a source said.

The man that was killed was identified as the Deputy Chief Security Officer of a higher institution in the area.

Efforts to reach out to the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP William Ayah proved difficult as he was said to be in church.


DRAINAGE: LASG threatens to shut markets over dumping of refuse


Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, top government functionaries and others at the event.

Lagos State Government at the weekend warned market leaders across the State not to jeopardize its effort in averting flooding, saying any market found to be involved in indiscriminate dumping of waste to block drainages will be shut down.

The State government gave the warning at a one-day seminar organised by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) in Agege in collaboration with the State’s Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs.

Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed and his counterpart, Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr. Belinda Odeneye tasked market women and men on proper hygiene.

Ahmed in his welcome address said the need to revisit the issue of market sanitation and security has become imperative, considering the increase in population and waste generation in the State.

“The benefits and advantages of sanitation in our markets cannot be exhausted, considering the fact that we have three hundred and eighty-two registered markets in Lagos State.

“Drawing from the untoward incidents occurring everywhere, it will not be out of place, that vigilance and intelligence gathering should form part of our primary responsibility. This will help us to be proactive, and be steps ahead of anyone or groups, planning to disturb the peace of the State,” he said.

In her keynote address, Chairperson of COWLSO and wife of the State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, emphasised on hygiene and cleanliness in the market place, which according to her would engender a healthy environment.

Sanwo-Olu added that health and environment are intertwined and that this was why the issue of sanitation must be given the seriousness it truly and genuinely deserved to secure the health of the people.

She said it was a statement of fact that there is a nexus between the state of environment of a particular geographical location and the wellbeing of the people in such area.

“We know that a lot of waste is generated from our markets and as market leaders, it is important that we seize this opportunity to appeal to our market men and women to do away with unhygienic practices including indiscriminate dumping of waste, blocking of drainages and street trading, among others.

 “The truth of the matter is that it is in our collective interest to imbibe international best practices in administering markets and protect our environment,” she said.

Sanwo-Olu stated that the issue of hygiene and cleanliness in markets was paramount, and that every important and necessary step must be taken by all stakeholders to inspire healthy and secured marketplace.

“Also, we have intentionally included security and safety of our markets as part of the topics at this seminar. First of all, security is everybody’s business and as market men and women and community leaders, we must be conscious of the need to make our security a priority. When we see something, we must say something!

“Security in the market place is paramount and there must be proper identification of all traders and people trading in the market. The Monitoring and Evaluation of security activities in the market must be a daily affair and also in every community,” she said.

The First Lady said as market men and women, they must take ownership of security in their markets and that like the #Sorosoke Generation, they have to speak up and speak out loud and clear when they suspect any suspicious movement or activity around them, especially the issue of strangers coming to sleep overnight in the market.

“These and many others, including fire outbreaks in the market must be addressed in order to protect the investments of the people, going forward,” she added.

Similarly, Iyaloja-General and Chairman, LASMAC, Chief (Mrs) Folashade Tinubu-Ojo while soeaking urged market leaders to insist on sanity in their markets by ensuring that market men and women are not allowed to extend their wares and produce beyond the allotted perimeters. She added that most markets are complicit of the act of placing their wares on pathways allotted for pedestrians. This she said does not only affect traffic, it also put market men and women at risk of accidents. She implored market leaders not to allow these acts in their markets.

MD, LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni in his address also assured market leaders and stakeholders that the State Government has equipped the agency with all the resources needed to ensure markets in Lagos are clean, promising that the agency would leave no stone unturned to ensure wastes in markets are promptly disposed.

Facilitators at the event which included CP, Mr Hakeem Odumosu represented by ACP Ola Agboola, Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mrs Margaret Adeseye and others urged market leaders to ensure sanitation and security are prioritised in our markets until our markets become a model for markets in Nigeria and in Africa at large.

The event which was attended by Local Government Chairmen of Ikeja division and major market stakeholders is one of the contributory efforts of the First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu through COWLSO to ensure markets in the State are clean and secure.


Group vows to investigate death of member, former CBN Deputy Governor, Mailafia

The 64-year-old development economist died at the National Hospital Abuja on Sunday morning.

SAHARAREPORTERS

The National Consultative Front (NCFront) has described the death of a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, as “unbelievable”.

The 64-year-old development economist died at the National Hospital Abuja on Sunday morning.

The group, which described the late Mailafia as an "indomitable icon of the NCFront rescue mission", noted that the former CBN deputy governor "will be greatly missed by the leadership of the NCFront". 

Luka Binniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) had said Mailafia, who took refuge in Makurdi, Benue state, following alleged persistent harassment by the Department of State Services (DSS), fell sick on Saturday and was rushed to an Abuja hospital where he was pronounced dead on Sunday.

The former deputy governor, who was the Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the 2019 election, was a known government critic and had advocated for public sector and exchange rate reforms.


NEF boasts of voting strength, vows not to accept second position in 2023 


THE Northern Elders Forum has said the north was in the process of rebuilding itself and was not prepared to play second fiddle in a nation where it clearly enjoys numerical strength.

Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Lecture Series organized by the students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, held at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on Saturday.

He said, “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and democracy says vote whom you want.

“Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?

“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership and being honest is not being stupid.

“The North has pride; we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to pay a second fiddle to anybody. We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangled.

“We are ready for this. We will consider every economic adversity, challenge. We will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.

“Whether the North holds power in 2023 or not anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, they are just looking for excuses. This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.

The NEF’s spokesman added, “If the majority of Nigeria voters vote for a candidate from the North and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under the Nigeria President, the person can leave.”




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