THE political dichotomy between the North and South appears to be festering quietly ahead of 2015.
Going by the communiqué issued after a meeting of northern stakeholders in Asokoro, Abuja, two weeks ago, it is clear that all is not well with the unfinished national question.
That meeting was a reaction to series of meetings by stakeholders from the South-South-Southwest and even Southeast on the grave security situation in the country, which Southern leaders suspect to be the realisation of alleged threats by a section of the North to make the country ungovernable for the Jonathan Presidency.
While President Jonathan’s men were still weighing the effects of this politicking from various geopolitical zones, the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, upped the ante, by joining calls for the restructuring of the country.
He used the opportunity of inauguration of a Foundation for the late Ahmadu Bello to attack Nigeria’s revenue allocation formula, which he said was skewed in favour of the Niger Delta.
Aliyu, speaking on behalf of the northern governors, blamed the poor development index in the North on low revenue accruing from the Federation Account.
That outburst coincided with a story published in an Abuja-based newspaper, which said about 30 per cent of the capital votes in the 2012 budget had been earmarked for the South-South states, notably the Niger Delta.
The story warned that the North had enough numerical strength in the National Assembly to block approvals in the two chambers of the federal legislature.
Specifically, it is alleged that some northern leaders are not happy with the huge budget for security, which in 2012 runs into a daily estimate of about N1 billion.
It is also reported that some persons are not happy with the reforms going on in the Petroleum Ministry and the power and money the Minister of Petroleum Resources wields and control.
According to investigations, there are also worries over reported presidential protection for the minister, in spite of sordid revelations from the National Assembly probe of the oil sector’s activities.
The dissatisfied persons feel that the minister, who presided over alleged monumental illegalities in the oil ministry, is still the one setting up committees to reform the ministry and the NNPC.
They think the president is not sensitive about people’s feelings to do something about the revelations on the oil subsidy scam.
For this reason, 2015 politics has taken off in Abuja through various means and the North has begun a strategic move to checkmate the East, which is alleged to have high-jacked the top echelon of the administration in league with their South-South neighbours.
It was revealed that the North will continue to come up with all sorts of strategies to ensure that Jonathan, who is suspected to have set-up a 2015-2019 structure, cannot contest or hand over to the mantle of Nigeria’s leadership to person of the Southeast extraction.
However, the presidency is said to be angry over such political scheming and harassment from some sections, and disturbed by behaviour of some members of his cabinet clearly seen to “praise him in the open and lambast him in the night when they are with their people.”
It was said that Jonathan is peeved by insinuations that because the National Security Adviser (NSA), General Azazi Owoye and the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), Mr. Ita Ekpenyong are from the Niger Delta, the country must be made ungovernable to compel government to change the officers.
But a study of the wall of the NSA’s office, where photographs of past NSAs are displayed, reveals that Gen. Owoye is the first National Security Adviser (NSA) from the South since Independence.
It was also revealed that a former NSA, who brought in a former deputy NSA before going into politics, orchestrated the appointment of the current helmsman of the SSS.
“It was the former Deputy NSA who suggested the appointment of the current DG, SSS and not President Jonathan. The president never knew Ekpenyong,” a presidency source explained at the weekend.
“The person who brought the Deputy NSA then should be asked why the deputy he recommended to the then President Yar’Adua, recommended the two officers — the just retired IGP, Hafiz Ringim and Ekpeyong.
“Why should they recommend a thief to raid a farm and at the same time call the farmer to come and catch the thief they had recommended?”
As the source queried: “While Jonathan’s boss and predecessor was in power, it was permissible to have the NSA and the SGF from the North. But why is it not permissible in Jonathan’s time?”
It was learnt that President Jonathan is “closely watching a number of his ministers, who engage in double-standard and intrigues, including those who are promoting religious sentiments.” This has given rise to speculations in the polity that some of these Ministers may be given the boot soon. .
Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew
Following the outbreak of violence in some quarters of the State, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has declared a 24-hour Curfew on the state starting on Saturday.
Governor Abdulrazaq made this known in a statewide broadcast on Friday night.
Recall that on Friday some residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital stormed the warehouses where the government stored COVID-19 palliatives expected to be distributed to citizens.
Also Read: BREAKING: Lagos Government Relaxes Curfew
The warehouses, located at the cargo warehouse of the International airport in Ilorin as well as the agro-mall located in the Sango area of the state were totally ransacked as residents struggled to pack as much food items as they could.
Abdulrazaq said, “Lives are being threatened. Businesses are being looted. Public properties have been targeted. This is unacceptable. It is not who we are.
“To curb these acts of criminalities, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew in Ilorin metropolis from midnight today October 23rd, 2020. This is in line with Sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Public Order Act Chapter 382 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“People are urged to stay indoors in compliance with this curfew. This will be reviewed as we watch developments.
“Our observation is that what has happened today is not a protest, it cannot be defended under any guide, it was a pure act of criminality as some people are hiding under the guise of nationwide protest.”
Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest
Two PUNCH journalists, Femi Dawodu and Segun Odunayo, were on Wednesday brutalised by policemen guarding the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.
The duo had gone to cover events around the Alausa area, a major demonstration ground of the #EndSARS protesters calling for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the PUNCH, both Odunayo and Dawodu were recording a live video of activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop the recording.
After showing the policemen their identity cards, indicating that they are journalists covering #EndSARS protests and monitoring compliance with the government-imposed curfew, the policemen became annoyed and pounced on them.
Odunayo said the policemen tortured them for four hours, adding that they stripped them of their clothes, laid them on the floor, beat them with a stick and guns, and took a video recording of them while torturing them at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Odunayo said, “Femi and I were at the Secretariat in Alausa around 7 am and were doing a live video of the activities going on in the area. We were heading back to the expressway when a group of armed policemen accosted us at the Lagos State House of Assembly roundabout and immediately collected our phones. We showed them our ID cards, but they refused to let us go.
“What got the policemen annoyed was that we saw them using a stick and a rubber to beat a young man, and during the live video, they heard me saying that they were beating someone. So, after they arrested us, they tortured us and demanded that we should do another live video denying the statement, but we refused.
“Each Time we refused, they slapped us, used a stick to beat us, used the butt of their guns to hit our heads and bodies after stripping us of our clothes. All they wanted was for us to do another live broadcast to claim that we lied and we didn’t because we told the truth.”
Dawodu said it took the intervention of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi before they were released at the Alausa Police Station, adding that before their release, the policemen took their details, including their addresses, took a video record of them and threatened to go after them if any negative report was published about what happened.
He said, “The policemen were transferring the aggression of what is happening regarding the #EndSARS protest on us. They later took us to the Divisional Police Station in Alausa, and if not for the DPO, the policemen guarding the LSHA that arrested us would have done more grievous things to us.
“The PPRO and the DPO later spoke with them, and we were released.
“But despite his intervention, we were told to write statements. They collected our details, address, took video recordings of us making false statements during the torture, and threatened to use it to blackmail and go after us if we end up doing any bad report against them.”
CCTV At Lekki Toll Gate Was Not Removed -Lekki Concession Company Says
Lekki Concession Company in their press release has debunked the rumour that the Lekki Toll Gate CCTV camera was not removed.
According to the press release by the company which condemns the unlawful killings of the peaceful protesters said no one gave the order for the removal of the Closed Circuit Television System as the CCTV is still intact as of the time of this report.
Speaking further, the concession company revealed that if the CCTV was to be removed, it would require the use of machinery to reach the heights that they have been installed.
Read the release report below;
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