04 Dec

The week ahead – IPOB takes centre stage

Separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, laid siege on Onitsha for two days demanding the release of their incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu. The protest turned violent on the second, as property was looted and destroyed. This forced the hand of the military and police, who intervened and dislodged the protesters. The protesters had blocked the only bridge linking the South-West and South-East geopolitical zones for two days, leading to a massive traffic tailback. Meanwhile, in Abuja, Nnamdi Kanu’s trial was postponed by the Magistrate who was unavoidably absent.

The DSS this week finally arrested former National Security Adviser, Rtd. Col. Sambo Dasuki, and eventually transferred him to the EFCC, for further investigation into the arms procurement scandal. Earlier, the EFCC had arrested some high profile suspects, including the Chairman of AIT, Raymond Dokpesi, who upon interrogation claimed that he was paid by the ONSA for services rendered to the ruling party. In Lagos, despite a court order to the contrary, the DSS invaded the home of its former Director-General, Col. Kayode Are, claiming that he was occupying the house illegally.

Members of the Nigerian army drawn from the 7th Division in Maiduguri, who provide internal security at the Internally Displaced Camp, Dalori, on Tuesday apprehended an 11 year-old suicide bomber, named as Modu Tella. The suspect also identified a senior Boko Haram member in the Camp.

In politics, disgruntled APC members caused trouble at the party’s headquarters in Abuja as a result of the controversy surrounding the elections in Kogi state. The party had picked Yahaya Bello to replace the late Abubakar Audu as its governorship candidate, leading to the stepping down of Audu’s running mate James Faleke, who had expected to get the ticket. Mr. Faleke had indicated that he wanted Audu’s son, Mohammed, to be his running mate. Still on election matters, residents in Bayelsa State have expressed fears that mercenaries have invaded the state on the eve of the governorship elections. The police have also confirmed that there are many strange faces in town, and have vowed to deal with any troublemaker. This week, the convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan was attacked in Bayelsa, although the former president was unscathed.

In a relevant case, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Wednesday, warned thirty newly inaugurated Judges of the Federal High Court to beware of compromising their position and especially avoid doing the bidding of politicians in their quest to amass power. This warning is seen as timely given the sheer number of election related matters in court around the country.

President Muhammad Buhari is in South Africa to participate in the China-Africa Cooperation Summit. The presidency said a number of infrastructure projects will be discussed between the Nigerian leader and his Chinese counter parts, which includes the Lagos-Calabar coastal railway and the renegotiation of terms of Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation and also seek ways of resuscitation of the 3,050 Manbilla Power Station.

Regarding security issues, FAAN security officials at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, arrested a male stowaway who attempted to jump on the wings of a domestic airline as it taxied for take off. In Rivers state, armed robbers ambushed a team of policemen and killed the DPO in the ensuing shoot-out. Four other policemen were injured. This happened shortly after a Polish ship captain and four crew members were hijacked by pirates off the Nigerian coast. Experts say this kidnap is coming after a lull in the past year.

The CBN has banned 1600 Bureau De Change operators in the twice weekly sale of foreign exchange. The CBN took the decision to ban them after their failures to render returns on the utilisation of previous forex purchases made at the the Central Bank Window. The ban, according to apex body is meant to check mate money laundering.

COUNSEL

  • The Federal Government of Nigeria has never learned how to manage internal security challenges. The escalation of the current IPOB protests is as a result of the failure of Department of State Services and the Police to work with stakeholders. We expect the Minister of Interior to lead a comprehensive review of the situation in the South East and work to resolve it with the stakeholders of the region.
  • The DSS and EFCC have earned a reputation for making high profile arrests, and then bungling the bungle investigations, and as a result, never seeming to come up with effective prosecutions and convictions in the courts. We view the current wave of arrests with scepticism and are currently positing that nothing may come out of them. The ball is in the court of the EFCC and DSS to prove us wrong.
  • We commend the military for averting a suicide attack at the IDP camp in Dalori. We must however urge them to take seriously the emerging reports that Boko Haram kidnapped some more girls in a dawn attack on the village of Bam. Some unsavoury stories have bedevilled the military recently in terms of set backs and controversy surrounding body counts, and the best thing the military can do is come clean at every point in time.
  • The Kogi elections are clearly not over, and the outcome must be monitored effectively by the security agencies. Youths protested violently both in Kogi and Abuja, and we have no reason to believe it would end there. We urge for peace, security and stability in the Bayelsa election. The recent violent conduct of party men in the state is not encouraging. We must condemn the attack on the former President’s convoy.
  • It is a good thing that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is speaking up. We hope that there will be some political will backing his words, and that the NJC rids the Judiciary of corruption and corrupt Judges.
  • We unequivocally state that one of the most meaningful foreign trips so far by the President is the current one to the China-Africa Cooperation meeting in South Africa, because it borders on infrastructure projects and financing, and the Chinese are known for keeping their word.
  • We salute the FAAN officials that intercepted the man that breached security. However, especially in view of global threats, we urge more vigilance and stricter controls in and around our airports to prevent a terrorist attack and other security threats.
  • The way and manner the DPO and his men were ambushed in Rivers shows the need for superior fire power, body armour and hi-tech equipment for the police. This will aid them while responding to crime and emergencies.
  • We call for NIMASA and the Navy to fight piracy on our coast and not give pirates the space to operate.
  • The CBN needs to come up with other ways to check money laundering. The cash restrictions are beginning to bite the economy, and small businesses are feeling the strain even more. We urge more creative solutions.