18 Dec

The week ahead – Will they know it’s Christmas?

Following the fracas between the Nigerian Army and the Shi’ites in Zaria, Kaduna state, various stakeholders including the NLC, CAN, and the Sultanate of Sokoto have all called for a thorough probe and the setting up of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry. The clash led to a yet to be ascertained number of dead Shi’ites.

Meanwhile tragedy struck in the town of Mafa, Borno state, on Monday, as four female suicide bombers detonated vests, killing members of a youth vigilance group and also injuring five others.

Fourteen people were massacred in Hwak community of Kwata Ward in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau state, by alleged Fulani herdsmen. This is coming as the Special Task Force had released a warning of impending attacks on communities in Plateau state.

Ex-militants in the Niger Delta have issued a threat to the Federal Government, regarding the Presidential Amnesty Programme. They have indicated that if the programme, due to expire on the last day of the year stops, they will return to the creeks and resume their insurgency.

During the week, pro-Biafra protesters gathered at the Alaba International Market, in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos. They were protesting the continued detention of Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. However, on the same day, the DSS withdrew its charges against Kanu at the Magistrate’s Court in Abuja, preferring instead, to take him to a High Court, ostensibly to include treason among the charges he will be facing. In a related story, soldiers were reported to have killed five people in Onitsha during a celebration of Nnamdi Kanu’s ‘victory’ at the court.

The new speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly and three other principal officers of the House were on Wednesday attacked by thugs suspected to be loyal to the former speaker, who was impeached. The assailants were armed with machetes, with which they unleashed mayhem on the entourage. Meanwhile, James Faleke, the running mate to the late Abubakar Audu, went on Twitter yesterday to accuse Yahaya Bello, the new APC candidate, of being behind a threat to his life.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has reopened investigations into alleged fraud by ex-governors who had secured permanent injunctions against their trial.

The naira continued to suffer against the American dollar and pound sterling at the parallel market, trading at 269 and 401 respectively. Also, Nigerian banks have cut customer spending abroad by 80%, down from $50,000 to $15,000.

COUNSEL

  • We call for a comprehensive investigation into the military/Shi’ite conflict, in order to ascertain whether the rules of engagement were adhered to and to ensure such an event never happens again.
  • The military needs retraining on issues concerning their conduct around civilians, and during times of provocation. Two incidents in less than a week will only foster more distrust between soldiers and the populace they are meant to defend.
  • The Nigerian military is doing a great job in the North East. However, they need to concentrate more on comprehensive intelligence to avert suicide bombers. The capacity of other security services, especially the police, has to be built up to partner with the military to get the job done.
  • The low intensity conflict in the Middle Belt is quietly burning on. Miscreants, who everyone else agree are Fulani Herdsmen continue to wreak havoc on communities, with Plateau State being the hardest hit. The Federal Government had failed these villagers, and we are fast losing hope of any comprehensive plan to stop the menace.
  • This is no time for hubris or misplaced arrogance. Nigeria’s largest ever budget will be under serious threat if the ex-militants in the Niger Delta make good on their threats. The Federal Government needs to engage stakeholders in the Niger Delta before the threats snowballs.
  • We urge the Federal Government through the Minister of Interior, to engage the stakeholders of the South-East and other interest groups towards resolving the IPOB question. We make this call because we foresee the IPOB situation degenerating beyond repair if urgent steps are not taken.
  • Kogi state has not known peace since the death of former APC governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu. Groups are realigning to ensure their personal interests are met. The security services need to take interest in Kogi state. Rounds of violence are likely to erupt as we enter a new phase there.
  • The EFCC needs to restructure and reorganise to fight the war on corruption. They make all kinds of promises regarding bringing ex officials to justice and always fail at the basic level of prosecution. We are however optimistic, that the current regime of Ibrahim Magu, will turn the tide.
  • It is time to cut our losses and allow the Naira to float. Knowing the true value of our currency is the first step towards proper planning. The days of misplaced national pride at an artificially high currency are long gone.

SBM Intelligence will release a year end report at 12 noon, West Africa Time today, then close for the end of the year. Daily briefings resume on Monday, January 11, 2016.