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Photo News: Buhari receives Afenifere delegation in Abuja

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday received a delegation from the Pan-Yoruba Socio-Cultural Group, Afenifere, who came to congratulate him on his re-election for a 2nd term in office at the Council Chamber, State House, Abuja.

Below are the photos:

Source: PM News

Financial Autonomy: Buhari Promises To Stabilise State Legislature, Judiciary

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration will ensure a strengthened and stabilised democratic system in Nigeria.

He made this known when the Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary submitted a report on Tuesday.

According to a statement by Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari added that this government is making efforts to ensure autonomy for state legislatures and judiciary so citizens can be guaranteed fairness.

“I went through a terrible time getting here for the three times I contested elections. That’s why I want to stabilise the system so that others will not pass through the same experience.

“Both young and ordinary Nigerians depend on leadership to ensure justice is always done.”

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Buhari Receives Delegation Of Govt, People Of Nasarawa

He assured that the government will study the report and recommendations, and take an appropriate decision.

“We must ensure that trust is not compromised. This administration will take the report seriously,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Committee, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said that implementation of the recommendations will entrench constitutionalism, democratic principles, and separation of powers.

“The recommendations clearly spell out that if uniform modules for implementation of financial autonomy for the state legislature and state judiciary are approved for implementation across 36 states, it will no doubt strengthen Nigeria’s democratic principles, practices, and public governance.”

He said the committee consulted with state governors, Chief Judges of states, Speakers of State Houses of Assembly, Civil Society Organizations and relevant stakeholders, including members of the public to come up with the recommendations.

‘Pay Attention To Children’s Mental Health’, Sanwo-Olu’s Wife Urges Parents

File Photo of the Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu
Source: Lagos State

Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has urged parents and guardians to pay serious attention to the welfare and mental health of their children and wards.

She made the appeal on Monday at a symposium on substance abuse, explaining that it has become necessary in order to build a sanitized society.

She also stressed the importance of parents giving quality attention to their children adding that they sometimes need to go as far as intruding into their privacy to truly be abreast with them.

“As individual family units, we must focus on the home front, by paying due attention to the welfare and mental health of our children,” the governor’s wife was quoted as saying in a statement signed by the Asst. Director, Public Affairs, Office of the Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Olubukonla Nwonah.

“The type of adults that children grow to become, has a lot to do with the level of decency of their upbringing.

“We must make it our business to sometimes intrude into their business, by knowing who their friends are, where they go, how they relax, what they drink and so on and so forth.

“By so doing, we will be their friend and earn their confidence. It is the way to go, to positively influence our children and reduce peer pressure on them. This will help remarkably, to evolve a decent youth population, for a sanitized society.”

Speaking further, Mrs Sanwo-olu noted that the state had recently updated its Mental Health Law to meet with current realities.

She also assured Lagosians that there will be renewed efforts on the part of the government to improve the overall welfare of youths.

“In the current dispensation, we will see a renewed effort of government to scale up the welfare of youths, through gainful employment, modern education infrastructure, health interventions, sports and recreational activities, among others,” she said.

At a separate event, the governor’s wife also said it was important for all residents to register for the recently unveiled Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme.

According to her, the scheme was a strategic policy of the government designed to achieve affordable, comprehensive and unhindered quality healthcare services for all residents, and as such, it was imperative for it to be embraced by all.

How ex-governor Amosun surrendered guns, ammunition acquired for 2019 elections

Details of how former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun surrendered million rounds of ammunition, AK47 rifles, vests and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) few hours to the end of his reign as governor have been revealed.

A report by Premium Times revealed that the disgraced former governor contacted the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, confessing that he had thousands of arms and millions of ammunition in store at a secret armoury in Government House, and that he had decided to hand them over to the police.

Amosun’s anointed candidate for the March 9 governorship election, Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), had been roundly defeated by Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress and the governor was now desperate to clear the Government House of any incriminating material as Abiodun moved in to take charge.

Shortly after he was contacted, Commissioner Makama raced to Government House with some of his subordinates. On arrival, truckloads of arms and ammunition were brought out of a nondescript armoury inside the Ogun State Government House.

And then began a short hand-over proceeding during which the governor surrendered at least four million rounds of ammunition, 1,000 units of AK47 assault rifles, 1,000 units of bulletproof vests and an armoured personnel carrier (APC).

At the event, Amosun said he procured the arms and ammunition to check the widespread insecurity in his state of 3,751,140 residents, according to the 2006 census. He said he decided to keep them at the Government House Armoury to ensure they were not allocated indiscriminately by security agencies.

The speech making over, the arms and ammunition were driven to the police command headquarters in the Elewe-Eran area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Four weeks after the event, top Nigerian security operatives remained alarmed that a civilian governor would create an armoury and store thousands of arms there. The agents are also wondering why Amosun has not been arrested and prosecuted for violating sections of the Nigeria Firearms Act.

The law forbids individuals and civilian institutions from illegally operating armouries or possessing prohibited firearms, including artillery, apparatus for the discharge of any explosive or gas diffusing projectile, rocket weapons, bombs and grenades, machine-guns and machine-pistols, military rifles (namely those of calibres 7.62 mm, 9 mm, .300 inches and .303 inches), revolvers and pistols whether rifled or unrifled (including flint-lock pistols and cap pistols).

It remains unclear how Amosun obtained the weapons. Authorities are wondering how he imported the weapons, and how he transported them to Government House and stored them for prolonged periods without being detected.

Some security experts say they are suspicious he might have acquired far more weapons than he gave up to the police and that some of them might be in wrong hands already.

The former governor, now senator, declined to give his own side of the story. He did not answer or return telephone calls made to him over five days. He also did not respond to text and WhatsApp messages sent to him.

When contacted, his media adviser, Rotimi Durojaiye, requested this reporter to email him the questions meant for Amosun. Five days later, Mr Durojaiye is yet to respond with answers.

‘Absolutely troubling, illegal’

Authorities at Nigeria’s key security agencies told PREMIUM TIMES, Amosun may have procured the arms and ammunition without securing End-User certificates from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). End-User certificates are absolutely required to import controlled products into Nigeria.

A guideline by the NSA office stipulates that End-User Certificate requests for arms and ammunition must be made by approved security agencies on behalf of themselves or their qualified vendors. Neither Amosun nor his state is an approved security agency or qualified security equipment vendor.

“In line with international best practices EUCs for arms and ammunition are to be obtained before the shipment of the items from the originating country. These conditions equally apply for parts and accessories of all military armaments and hardware,” the guideline states.

A spokesperson for the Office of the NSA, the only government institution responsible for issuing end-user certificates, did not return requests for comments. But PREMIUM TIMES learnt from multiple sources within the agency that Amosun or his state could not have been granted certificates to procure and store arms.

Also, the Nigeria Customs Service said Amosun did not clear the deadly equipment through Nigerian ports, and that no one without an end-user certificate could be allowed to bring controlled items into Nigeria.

“Only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue end-user certificate for importation of arms, and any person or organisation without the document cannot import weapons into Nigeria,” the spokesperson for the Nigeria Customs Service, Joseph Attah, told PREMIUM TIMES, “I repeat: weapons can never be imported into Nigeria without end-user certificates.”

Mr Attah said even security agencies, including the police, military and Customs, are required to secure end-user certificates before embarking on arms purchase.

The Customs regularly intercepts attempts to import illegal arms into the country, but the owners often disappear as soon as such illicit shipments are discovered. Yet, security analysts believe that for every container intercepted by Customs, dozens would slip through the ports due to Nigeria’s porous security measure.

Illegal possession of arms is a criminal offence under several Nigerian statutes, including the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act (1984) and the Firearms Act (1990).

In May, three Nigerians were sentenced to a combined 120 years in prison, including 20 years each for illegal possession of firearms. The Oyo State High Court relied on the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act to convict the trio.

Bolstering suspicion

Arms proliferation has long been a big driver of election-related bloodshed in Nigeria, with hundreds of deaths reported across the country in the 2019 elections alone.

In Amosun’s Ogun State, a number of residents died in widespread shootings between February 23 and March 9, the days of the presidential and governorship elections, respectively.

Most of the election-related deaths, including of police officers, were reported in Ilaro, Abeokuta and Ijebu-Ode, three of the state’s largest cities. Security sources blamed the killings on arms proliferation across the state, a menace they said had been largely difficult to contain.

Security analysts and civic groups contend that politicians are the major suppliers of deadly weapons into the streets because of their desperation for victory — which they often find impossible to recover post election.

Aside election violence, arms proliferation has also been linked to the growing spate of kidnapping, banditry and herdsmen violence — claiming tens of thousands of civilian deaths within the last four years alone.

Amosun also recognised the danger of arms proliferation in the early days of his administration. Less than four months after he assumed office as governor in September 2011, he raised a judicial panel to probe the proliferation of arms in Ogun.

He blamed his predecessor, Gbenga Daniel, for fostering an atmosphere of gun violence for political benefits, and imposed a moratorium on gun ownership in the state.

PREMIUM TIMES’ efforts to get Amosun’s comments were rebuffed by the politician. Several text messages, WhatsApp messages and telephone calls to his two active telephone lines went unacknowledged or returned over five days.

Amosun’s spokesperson, Rotimi Durojaiye, also took questions from PREMIUM TIMES on behalf of his principal, but said he could not respond to them because he was unable to reach his principal after several attempts. Mr Durojaiye served as Amosun’s special adviser on media and publicity when he was governor.

The police also declined to give comments. Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, directed all enquiries about police involvement in the matter to Commissioner Makama.

But when PREMIUM TIMES sent a set of five questions to Makama, he declined to respond. This was despite his initial promise that he would respond to the enquiries once he received the questions, which were sent to his telephone line and also through the state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi.

Some of the clarifications sought from Makama included whether he asked Amosun the source of the weapons before or after he accepted them, whether it was appropriate for a civilian governor to stockpile a massive cache of weapons and why he was yet to escalate the matter to Force Headquarters nearly a month later.

There was consensus amongst several police chiefs who spoke on the matter that Makama should have at least invited Amosun for questioning after receiving the arms and ammunition from him. Amosun lost immunity from arrest and prosecution on May 29 when his tenure ended.

Two police sources revealed that the commissioner had been making frantic moves to quickly inform Force Headquarters ahead of this story’s publication.

“He is afraid he would be in trouble if the headquarters learnt about the matter in the media,” a police source said Sunday evening.

Even though there were initial claims that the State Security Service’s state director, David Tuksa, was also present when Amosun handed in the weapons, the agency’s spokesperson completely distanced the Service’s officials from the matter.

“Our state director was not there and the SSS did not take any part in the matter,” spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, said.

Minimising a carnage

Top national security officials believe the quantity of weapons Amosun held was large enough to destabilise a country.

“You can overrun a country with that quantity,” a top security official told PREMIUM TIMES. “Imagine given 1,000 thugs AK47 rifles — what is the size of the Gambian Army for instance?”

The official, who had served two national security advisers, said there were legal options Amosun would have pursued if the arms were primarily imported as donation to the police.

“When Tunde Fashola bought weapons for the police during his tenure as governor in Lagos, he obtained an End-User certificate, and the weapons were delivered to the police and not to his official residence,” the official said, adding that he was amongst those who worked on the matter at the time.

Multiple security sources said the SSS became aware of the arms in the Ogun Government House Armoury just as the 2019 elections were about to begin.

“We immediately placed him and his surroundings under a heavy security watch,” an SSS agent who had knowledge of the operation told PREMIUM TIMES. “We knew he had enough arms to make the state a field of dead bodies during the election if he wished.”

Another senior law enforcement official said he was convinced Amosun handed over the weapons because it became too late for him to relocate them and he knew the incoming governor would not give him a cover.

“It was too late for him to organise an efficient logistics for the relocation of the remaining weapons,” the official said. “He also did not expect the incoming governor, Dapo Abiodun, to continue keeping the arms in Government House as a cover-up.”

Source: PM News

Nasarawa Govt To Immortalise President Muhammadu Buhari

Nasarawa State government is to immortalise President Muhammadu Buhari by naming an institution after the president.

The state governor Abdullahi Sule disclosed this when he led a delegation of politicians, government officials and traditional rulers on a courtesy call on the president at the state house, Abuja.

The delegation thanked the president for initiating several projects in the state and noted that in appreciation of the President’s deeds, he will be immortalised in the state.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Buhari Receives Delegation Of Govt, People Of Nasarawa

Meanwhile, President Buhari once again called on State governments to work with his administration in its quest for sustainable peace and development.

While addressing the delegation from Nasarawa state, the President reiterated his call for investments in education and security while promising to fashion out policies to check herdsmen-farmers clashes.

Amosun left ‘little or nothing’ in Ogun treasury: Abiodun

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has disclosed how difficult it was for him to pay state workers’ May salaries immediately after he took over from his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, because he left little or nothing.

While addressing leaders of the All Progressives Congress in the state on Monday, he revealed that he took a loan of N7bn so as to fulfill his promises to pay as at when due.

He added that he would rather focus on delivering good governance in the state than engaging himself in a political war with his predecessor.

He said “We have by far too many things to do than to begin to be bogged down by what someone did or what he did not do or what he left behind.

“I cannot begin to describe in the open to you the Ogun State that we inherited. I cannot begin to describe it to you. I will not because I have made up my mind that publicly and privately, I will not discuss anything about the past administration.

“We have resolved to draw the line and to move forward from there. We need to be focused. We are going to rebrand and relaunch the security trust fund.”

Abiodun added that his first challenge in office was how to pay the May workers’ salary, saying he had to call his friends who are managing directors of banks to get a credit facility of over N7bn to pay the workers.

He said, “30th day of May was our first day in office. And on the 31st, it dawn on me that it was the end of the month and we need to pay salaries.

“But here we are on our second day in office. I don’t even have an office; I don’t even know how to sign any document; I don’t even know what the protocols are. Suddenly, we realised it was 31st and I intend to keep my end of the tripartite agreement. So, I called the Head of Service; I told him we must pay salary. But he said to me, ‘You are new in government and everybody understands that you just assumed office and we don’t have that expectation of you paying salaries now. They (workers) will understand. There is very little or no money. We can talk to them.’

“I told the Head of Service, whether they (the workers) were expectant or not, it was my promise to the people that salaries would be paid as and when due.”

He added, “So, I picked my phone and called my friends who are MDs in different banks. I told them I needed to pay salaries and this is the little I have; almost nothing in the state account.

“I requested for a credit facility to allow me to pay over N7bn which is the state wage bill. That day, my intention was that maybe one or two will oblige me, but the five banks I called obliged me.”

He said civil servants received their alerts that evening and that gave a sense of fulfillment, being his first task in office.

The governor later held a closed-door meeting with the APC chiefs.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Publicity Secretary of party’s caretaker Committee, Mr Tunde Oladunjoye, said the governor called the meeting to brief them on the activities of his administration in the last one month.

Source: PM News