Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday met behind closed doors with the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting came shortly after the news broke that some policemen were protesting against non-payment of their allowances in Maiduguri, Borno State.
The meeting, which was held inside the Vice-President’s office, came at a time President Muhammadu Buhari was attending the 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Mauritania.
The agenda of the meeting was not made public neither did Idris spoke with journalists at the end of the meeting.
Mobile policemen took to the streets of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday morning to protest six months’ unpaid allowances.
It was learnt that the officers were posted to the state in January to beef up the security of the troubled state, which had been bedevilled by Boko Haram insurgency for about a decade.
The protesting policemen, who were fully armed, marched in their hundreds to the Borno State Police Headquarters located on a major highway in the town, barricaded the highway, shooting sporadically into the air and scaring off motorists.
Some of the students and workers had to turn back to their homes as they could not pass through the barricade.
Some of the policemen, who spoke on condition of anonymity, lamented that since January when they were deployed in the state on a special operation, they had not been paid their allowances.
They complained that many of them had had to endure inhuman treatment as they had to sleep on the corridor of the office on returning from duty at night.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Damian Chukwu, said he was aware of the protest and said the delay in the payment of the policemen’s allowances might not be unconnected with the late signing of the budget.
It was later learnt that the IG waded into the crisis by directing the commissioner in charge of the Police Mobile Force to immediately relocate to Maiduguri to address the crisis.
In a press statement in Maiduguri, the spokesman for the Borno Police Command, Edet Okon, said, “The IG has consequently directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of Police Mobile Force to relocate to Borno State and address the situation.”
He added, “The Borno State Government has also intervened and pledged to assist to better the condition of the visiting PMF personnel.
“The Police High Command is aware of their plight and liaising with appropriate Federal Government agencies to address the situation.
“We are hopeful that since the 2018 budget has been signed by the Presidency, the allowances will be paid soon.
“Meanwhile, efforts by officers of the command yielded results as the situation was brought under control. Members of the public are, therefore, encouraged to go about their lawful activities without any fear or apprehension.”
However, the Force Spokesman, acting DCP Jimoh Moshood, had in a statement in Abuja denied reports that riot policemen protested over the delay in the payment of their special duty allowances in Maiduguri on Monday.
Moshood said that the policemen simply visited the Borno State Police Command headquarters to enquire about the delay of their allowances.
Moshood’s claim was, however, contrary to pictures circulating online, showing policemen holding leaves and firing their weapons in the air.
Moshood explained that the Inspector-General of Police, Idris, had directed the Commissioner of Police in Borno State to explain to the men why there was a delay in the payment of their allowances and to also assure them that “since the budget has been approved, the allowances will be expeditiously processed and paid without any further delay.”
Coalition thumbs up FMBN over workers -friendly policy
A group, The Coalition of Civil Societies and Media Executives for Good Governance in Nigeria (COCMEGG), has commended the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) for its policy aimed at assisting Nigerians to own houses.
The commendation was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its President, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Inuwa Sule.
According to the group, the commendation was “in recognition of the transformational development and giant strides of the FMBN, in its appraisal of the bank’s efforts in carrying out its regulatory roles and functions as enshrined in the Act establishing the bank and in making homeownership affordable, available and less cumbersome to the nation’s workers thereby driving the growth of the economy and its allied sectors.”
It added that the bank, under the leadership of Arc Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, had raised the hope of Nigerians who desired to own houses.
“The World Bank estimated that Nigeria has a housing deficit of about 17 million units and the FMBN has designed the NHF to mobilise funds to provide the citizens with affordable residential houses through accredited PMBs with the lowest rate possible.
The introduction of the zero equity on loans to workers is a novel initiative commenced by the bank for the implementation of a new approved condition for accessing loans from the National Housing Fund (NHF).
“We commend the paradigm shift from the old to the new and applaud the gigantic development strides in the welfare of staff, development of critical infrastructure as well as maintenance culture of infrastructure adopted by the Dangiwa-led management in keeping abreast of the mortgage industry globally,” the statement read in part.
Continuing, it read: “COCMEGG passes a vote of confidence on the hierarchy of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), under Arc Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, for its forthrightness, vision and strategies in ensuring that the average workers, middle income earners and the common man in the streets have a home to lay their heads.”
Buhari lacks vision, capacity to develop Nigeria – Saraki
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has said that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, lacks the vision, capacity and the patience to develop the country.
Saraki made the comment on Thursday when he led his Presidential campaign team on a courtesy visit to Governor Seriake Dickson at Government House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The Senate President asked Nigerians to replace the current leadership provided by the APC, saying that the party had caused disunity in the country.
Saraki stressed that the country was in dire need of a leader like him with a demonstrable capacity to unite the deeply divided country and create a sense of belonging through fair distribution of appointments in the country.
He argued that it was indeed impossible for anybody to give what he doesn’t have as shown by the inadequacies of the current APC leaders.
He further said that the country was in need of a young vibrant leader with the capacity to withstand the rigours of governance at all times.
He said that running governance must be accompanied with the inseparable willingness and capacity to give all-round attention to the demands of the job.
The Senate President, who also spoke on the raging debate on restructuring, stated that it would be wrong to perceive restructuring as a move to develop a few states.
Saraki said that restructuring would create opportunities for the respective states of the federation to actualise their developmental potential and ensure national growth in the interest of the future generation of Nigerians.
“2019 is a very crucial election for this country; we are at the crossroads as we have never been so disunited as we are today.
“Wherever you go, people ask questions: where do you belong? We need to address the issue of unity in this country; it is time for everybody to have a seat on the table, a time for everyone to have a sense of belonging in this country. It is not about me.
“There is a new order in the world today, wherever we go, we see leaders that have a vision, that are ready to develop their countries. A lot of us talked about the Asian tigers, but they did not come by chance, or trial and error, they became tigers because they have visionary leaders.
“They are leaders that are ready to defend their countries, that have an idea of what they want to do. As I keep on saying, you cannot give what you don’t have.
“Where we are now, we have a leadership that has no vision for us. We must bring visionary leadership to the presidential level so we can move this country forward.”
In his remarks, Governor Dickson said that the time had come for the country to move away from the evil of bigotry and indeed a leadership founded on feelings of sectional superiority.
He restated the position of the elders and leaders of the Niger Delta that the 2019 election would be a referendum on restructuring.
He said, “We must get quickly to that point where we build a new Nigeria; where to be appointed as Director General of the Department of State Services or the Chief of Army Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and to be whatever you want to be, you don’t need to come from a particular tribe, or someone who worships one type of God or another.”
The presidency, in its reaction, described Saraki’s comment as crude, condemnable and derogatory of the President.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, the Presidency, however, called on Buhari’s supporters to display restraint in language and conduct.
Noting that Saraki’s sole aim of joining the PDP was contesting for the President, Shehu said the Senate President had shown himself to be a very dangerous person who could go any length to promote his personal interests.
The statement read, “The Presidency wishes to react to the crude speeches hitting the news from Senator Bukola Saraki, who recently joined the PDP with the sole ambition of running as the president of Nigeria.
“In response to the condemnable and extremely derogatory speeches by the PDP aspirant, we urge all Buhari supporters to display restraint in language and conduct and to always put across their points of view in a decent language.
“Throughout his political career, Senator Saraki has shown that he is a very dangerous person who can go any length to promote his personal interests. The language of his campaign is such that cannot be used against a domestic help.
“Does he just know that the President lacked vision? This is someone that the Senator had worked with very closely for more than three years.
“Amazingly, he never said all that he is now saying against him. Rather, his words for and on the President were always respectful and reassuring.
“That’s the man he called ‘My Father,” about him “there is no cause for alarm…a President who is healthy, witty and himself.’ What then changed, all of a sudden?
“Is he saying these blatantly false and crude things against the President because he is running for the same office? Could it be that he is targeting President Buhari because the party he just joined does not have any real issues to highlight?”
Why we resort to contractor-financing of pipeline projects – NNPC
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has explained why it has resorted to contractor-financing of its pipeline and other facilities development in recent times in the Industry.
Delivering the Keynote speech at the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS 2018) Tuesday in Abuja, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the recourse was to get around the prevalent funding challenge in the country, saying this has enabled the corporation to aggressively build the pipeline infrastructure within the Gas Master Plan as exemplified in the recent award of the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline and all ongoing downstream pipeline infrastructure rehabilitation effort.
The NNPC GMD who was represented at the event by Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, Chief Operating Officer, Ventures, affirmed that pipelines remained the cheapest way of moving products across any distance, noting however that pipeline operation and construction in Nigeria had been an expensive undertaking.
He challenged members of the Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria (PLAN) and other stakeholders to proffer solutions that could lead to a dramatic change and expansion of pipeline business in Nigeria.
Dr. Maikanti Baru said such solution must be able to resolve the challenge which has hindered the growth and viability of pipeline venture in the country.
The GMD explained that emphasis should not be on what has been done in the past but to seek quicker, better, cheaper and more effective ways of how things should be done to achieve the feat.
“The poser I will like the conference to address is: Is cost really an inhibitor or is it the security challenges or financial models that are not properly structured and above all how do we make the pipeline business a financially viable investment?’’ he said.
Continuing, the GMD probed: “How do we build partnership with the required technical expertise to assemble new technology based-industries that are cheap to operate and can deliver products that are both locally and internationally marketable?”
He also wondered if Nigeria had a financially capable environment that could provide funds at rates that would be competitive and low enough to produce adequate returns.
He averred that the answer to these posers would enable NNPC restructure and develop policies that would encourage infrastructure development in the country.
Earlier in his welcome address, Engr. Geoff Onuoha, Chairman of PLAN, expressed delight at the high level of support accorded the association by the NNPC Management, assuring that the pipeline professionals would not only pick up the gauntlet and tackle the challenge posed to the group by the NNPC GMD, but would continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure the in-country viability of pipeline business.
Engr. Chidi Izuwah, the Acting Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, commended the NNPC Management for embracing the contractor-financing model in the AKK project, noting that such an option should be replicated wholesomely in respect of other mega industry projects.
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