11 Sep

The week ahead – The economy, kidnapping and robbery must come into sharp focus

It was announced at the weekend that investors lost about N1.6 trillion at the Nigerian Stock Exchange within the first one hundred days of President Buhari’s government. It was reported that the NSE market capitalization closed at N10.1 trillion, down by over 14 percent from N11.7 trillion closing value of the last day of the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

As if the 100-day fall was not enough, during the week, global finance institution, JP Morgan, announced that it would eject Nigeria from its Government Bond Index (GBI-EM) unless Nigeria restores liquidity to currency markets in a way that allows foreign investors tracking the benchmark to transact with minimal hurdles. The stock market reacted very negatively to the event while Nigerian entrepreneurs and large corporates continue to face severe limitations on foreign transaction as a result of ban on deposit to domiciliary accounts.

Kidnapping comes back to centre-stage
An Isreali construction worker was shot and killed by suspected kidnappers at Apo Mechanic village in Abuja. He was said to be on his way to a construction site when four young men accosted him, dragged him out and made an attempt to switch cars, Unfortunately, but the victim resisted the attempt and was killed. In the same week, a gang of kidnappers abducted the Bishop of Gwagwalada Diocese, Abuja, Bishop Moses Tabwaye, at Onicha-Ugbo-Ewohimi Road, Edo State, and have reportedly demanded for a N40 million ransom.

Armed robbers launched an attack on commuters at Osun-Akure-Ibada road, and held them hostage for several hours with no security forces available to arrest the situation.

Middle Belt states finally begin to wake up
Taraba and Benue states held a security summit on curbing the incessant criminality in both states, and also resolved to grant amnesty to the “crime lords” in the two states. Some of the “crime lords” were present at the summit and claimed they have given up arms and crime.

DSS targets governors?
Towards the end of last week, the Department of State Services invaded the Akwa Ibom state government house, purportedly to recover arms and ammunition allegedly stored in the premises. Eye witness suggest they forcefully opened all the security doors and ransacked all the offices and rooms they entered.

Delta shoot-out
Members of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta under the “Operation Pulo Shield” engaged a militant group in the Niger Delta. The incident took place at a militant camp in Beniboye, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state. Large amounts of arms, ammunition and explosives were recovered from the fighters. The group known as Red Beret engaged the military in a shoot-out that lasted for more than four hours.

Army squeezes Boko Haram
Nigerian troops over the past few days have reported the destruction of Boko Haram camps leaving the terrorists currently in disarray. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Buratai also led the troops on a field inspection of the recaptured town of Gamboru Ngala in Borno state. Soldiers of the 3rd Armoured Division, intercepted, and arrested some kingpins and foot soldiers of suppliers of Boko Haram with hard drugs and other stimulants between Depchi and Geidam, Geidam Local Government Area in northern part of Yobe state.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • In our special report yesterday, we expressed optimism that the JP Morgan announcement will not have any long term effects. However, this optimism is dependent on the government having, and pursuing, clear economic objectives. We repeat our weekly call for the urgent appointment of a Minister of Finance, and a Chief Economic Adviser to the President.
  • Some reports say kidnapping for ransom is an industry worth over a N20 billion in Nigeria. It is a shame the Nigerian Police and DSS do not appear to have the capacity to tackle and dismantle the syndicates. Leaders of the syndicates are said to be found in the security services and the elite class, and there must be a radical new approach to this problem.
  • It is only in failed states that gangs take over the interstate highways and rob the travelling public for hours without the security services being available to respond to the distress call. We call on the Inspector General of Police to retool his strategy and get his men to protect citizens and property. We urge everyone to exercise extra ordinary caution as we have entered the “Ember” months.
  • While we are relieved that the governments in Benue and Taraba states are finally nodding to the problem, we must question the legal basis under which both states granted amnesty to criminal lords. It is not only condemnable but also a greater incentive for others to maim, steal, and profit from criminal enterprise, in the hope that they will be granted pardon. Taraba and Benue states must rethink their strategy.
  • We urge the DSS to exercise caution with some their actions that could see them perceived as another extension of the APC. Only a few months ago, the same accusation was meted out that the security body was an extension of the then ruling PDP. The invasion of the government house is a violation of the Governor’s constitutional immunity, and until that immunity is not longer guaranteed by law, we strongly condemn the DSS’s action.
  • The Army is ramping up pressure on the Boko Haram Terrorists, and it is noteworthy the role of the military leadership in attempt to boost morale and heighten the operations by the offensive forces.
  • We call for a security and strategic plan for the Niger Delta. It must a holistic approach to rid the region of militancy and at the same time develop the area. We noticed the Nigerian Navy have never shown us arrests of members of syndicates behind the stealing of crude and who come in big ships off our coast. It is either the Navy is complicit in the stealing of crude oil or they don’t have the capacity to stop the illegal theft of oil. We urge the President, and the military High Command to urgently look into this.