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How we can end insecurity in S/East – Hon. Kalu …urges non-kinetic approaches

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By Iyojo Ameh

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has advocated for improvement of social infrastructure and youth empowerment in the South East geopolitical to stimulate end to insecurity.

He said that such measures subsumed in the non kinetic approaches have not been well explored.

Kalu gave the advice when he received the Resident Program Director, International Republican Institute (IRI), Santiago Stocker who paid him a courtesy call Monday evening in Abuja.

The Deputy Speaker said that it was in a bid to end insecurity in the region that he is championing the “Peace in South East Project ( PISE) alongside his colleagues.

Deputy Speaker and members of the delegation

He said: “Let me also thank you for what you’re doing with regards to these identity crisis issues within various regions. It’s an issue but I believe that some of these crises that we have, in some areas around the country could be resolved more with non kinetic approaches. I believe that non kinetic approaches have not really being utilised to its fullness.

“But a deep dive in on the causes of all these issues, like you’ve mentioned, one is identity crisis, and finding a way to navigate around that may profile a sustainable solution to end the calling the military, the police, what are the sociological needs? Are there any sociological needs with regards to the causative factors around this issue? Did anything prompt you? Who can tell us? Is it infrastructure decay?

“In my area, where I come from, some things they are saying are we are marginalized. We are not recognised. Are we part of this identity crisis? Are we part of Nigeria? We are not part of Nigeria? Why are they asking those questions? Is it that the infrastructure is not sufficient? If you go there, you find out for yourself that infrastructure is not sufficient. This is a fact. I couldn’t travel from one town to the other for 11 hours. I met about six feet pothole on federal road, six feet on a major highway. So if you’re bringing your goods, you will not pass through three days, four days.

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“It breeds frustration. It breeds confusion. It gives you a sense of alienation from the commonwealth that’s supposed to stimulate national cohesion, national loyalty. So, it depletes national loyalty. And once national loyalty is depleted, it affects national cohesion. And that is where you have the pockets of all those non-state actors. So, we should look into those areas and see what are the non kinetic area solutions to it.

“I’m happy you started this conversation. Your agency should support you, too, because it will be productive. Once you start having conversations in that regard, I also want you to support some of our programs, that is also tailored towards that.

“We have come up with a program called Peace in South East (PISE) project. This is being anchored by the members of the parliament, both House of Representatives and the Senate, especially members from that area. I founded that project, and it has the support of other members. So, what we want to do is, how do we bring in peace, not war? How do we calm the nerves of the people? Can we do that through our constituency projects, to put more facilities for our people? Do we do that through more empowerments? Do we do that through more establishment of federal government institutions around the area will lead up to come the names of the people, these are non kinetic approaches which we are using legislative intervention to see how we can push it.

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“I want you to drive that conversation as well because all we are looking for is solution that will bring peace. And that is why you have peace and unity”.

Kalu however advised the non state actors fuelling and fanning the embers of insecurity to organize themselves into a political party as one formidable way of projecting their demands.

“One advice I have given to these non-state actors as well is that, instead of killing one another for an agenda that you feel should be owned by the federal government, why don’t you form yourself into a political party, and have it as your manifesto, those things you are saying political parties were not able to do? Why don’t you form yourself into a political party and then project it?

“Why don’t you come in and form a political party? If you feel the government of the day is not doing well, form a political party to advance your expressions or what you think should be done. And that is where you come in as IRI, that kind of sensitization, so that we change the socialization that is strange to us, because that is the inculturation that is happening now in the southeast that is strange to us, and is birthed by this non-state actors, but we can make a reverse, put them into a group, become a political party, advance whatever agitation you want”, Kalu said.

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The Deputy Speaker also assured the IRI Director of the parliament’s resolve revisit the rejected five gender bills to engender female inclusion in the legislature.

He also expressed gratitude to the IRI for commencing gender based advocacy.

Earlier in his presentation, the Resident Program Director, Stocker said that their mission was to inform the Deputy Speaker of their interventions in conflict areas of south east, north central and north west regions of the country.

“At International Republican Institute (IRI) our work includes, election observation, empowering youth and women to be effectively involved in politics and mitigating conflicts.

“What we are focused on now is identity-based conflicts. We are working in south east, north central and north west. Our focus is to collect information from all interest groups and stakeholders that matter and understand there influence and priorities and use that information help political parties and elected officials, formulate policy and legislation to address some of these issues.

“That’s what we want to inform you as a great prominent stakeholder from the southeast, we want you to be informed and we will share our reports with you”, Stocker said.

General News

First Lady Calls for Gender Parity, Applauds APC Initiatives, and Encourages West Africa to Follow Nordic Models

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By Iyojo Ameh

Nigeria’s First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has recognized the substantial barriers that women in the West African sub-region face in achieving gender parity.

Speaking at the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA) event at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Monday, 22 July 2024, Tinubu emphasized the need for women’s active participation in politics, stating:

“Despite progress, significant barriers still exist. We must rethink women’s proportional representation in governance.”

Tinubu commended the All Progressives Congress (APC) for removing financial barriers for women in politics and highlighted the success of gender quotas in countries like Sweden, Norway, and Spain, which have led to more inclusive governance. She urged governments to enforce gender quotas through legal frameworks and monitoring systems, saying:

“Governments must take the bold step to kickstart the journey to an enduring democracy of quality representation.”

The First Lady expressed confidence in Nigerian women’s abilities, stating:

“Nigerian women are smart and intelligent and can work alongside our male counterparts, without friction, for the good and development of our country.”

She thanked ECOFEPA for its commitment to achieving 30% women representation in parliament, saying:

“The journey towards achieving 30% women representation in our parliament is achievable once we take the bold step to kickstart the journey to an enduring democracy of quality representation.”

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General News

TIME TO STAND TOGETHER

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By Sen. Ahmad I. Lawan, Ph.D, GCON

In these difficult times facing our beloved nation, Nigeria, we stand at a critical juncture where the weight of history rests squarely upon our shoulders. As leaders, we have individual and collective duties and responsibilities to safeguard the future of our country and ensure its prosperity. In the face of mounting economic challenges that threaten to undermine our national unity and progress, it is imperative that we unite and rally behind our President, regardless of political affiliation, ethnicity, or religious beliefs. It is time to set aside our differences and work together to build a prosperous future for us all.

Nigeria’s economy has been plagued by a myriad of problems, including high inflation, unemployment, and a widening income gap. President Tinubu, upon assuming office on May 29, 2023, had pledged to prioritize economic growth and job creation through a series of bold and innovative policies captured under the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’. He backed these up by investing heavily in infrastructure, making efforts to attract foreign direct investment, and promoting entrepreneurship. His thinking was that by creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, we can expand our tax base, generate more revenue, and provide the much-needed employment opportunities for our teeming youth population.

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Nevertheless, the economic headwinds that we encounter are not peculiar to Nigeria alone. The global economy has been severely impacted by a confluence of factors, which in turn have resulted in supply chain disruptions in the demand for crude oil, our country’s major source of revenue. These external forces have exacerbated pre-existing economic vulnerabilities within our country, leading to rising inflation, unemployment, and falling living standards.

President Tinubu is acutely aware of the challenges and hardship that Nigerians face. His administration, to the best of our knowledge, has outlined a comprehensive economic plan aimed at addressing these issues in a holistic and sustainable manner that seeks to, amongst others, Stabilize the economy and control inflation; Promote job creation and economic growth; Improve infrastructure and energy production; Enhance agriculture and food security; and Combat corruption and promote transparency.

However, the success of any government’s economic plan depends heavily on the cooperation and support of its citizens.

In the face of difficulties facing the country, it is essential that political leaders come together at this time to support President Tinubu in developing and implementing effective solutions to the unintended outcomes that trailed some of the policies of the administration.

The nation’s future hangs precariously in the balance, and it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to prioritize the well-being of our citizens.

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It is disheartening to witness the petty politicking and divisive rhetoric that have dominated our political discourse in recent times. While healthy debate is essential for a vibrant democracy, it must not be allowed to overshadow the urgent task of addressing the plight of our people.

The hardship that Nigerians endure is palpable. Skyrocketing inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the average citizen, leaving many struggling to put food on the table.

It is, therefore, imperative that as leaders, we all put aside partisan differences and work together in the national interest. By collaborating with President Tinubu, political leaders and stakeholders alike can pool ideas and expertise to come up with innovative solutions to Nigeria’s economic challenges.

Moreover, we all should be willing to make tough decisions and sacrifices for the greater good of the country. This may involve implementing unpopular reforms or policies, but these are essential in order to secure a better future for all Nigerians.

Although the federal government has announced the distribution of 20 trucks of rice to every state, which, in my opinion is a step in the right direction. But, I must point out that the quantity of foodstuffs needed in Nigeria today requires expeditious and massive supply by the FGN to address issues of both availability and affordability.

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President Tinubu cannot succeed in achieving this alone. He needs the support of governors, lawmakers, and local government officials. He needs the cooperation of the private sector and civil society organizations. And most importantly, he needs the patriotism of all Nigerians.

We must all be willing to compromise and find common ground, even if it requires us to step outside of our comfort zones.

The spirit of patriotism that once defined Nigeria must be rekindled. It is a spirit that transcends ethnicity, religion, and political affiliation. It is a spirit that puts the interests of the nation above all else.

By working together as leaders, we can overcome the country’s challenges and set it on a path towards sustainable development, growth and prosperity. It is my hope that we all rise to the occasion and support President Tinubu in his efforts to build a stronger and more vibrant economy; and a secured, stable and peaceful nation.

We are stronger together.

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Crime

Shitile Integrity Group Condemns Attacks on Harga, urges Govt.to Improve security in Sankara

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Shitile Integrity Group (SIG),a social -cultural group of Shitile sons in diaspora have condemned in strongest term, the incessant attacks on Harga, a community in Katsina -Ala Local Government Area of Benue State where several innocent residents have been killed, including the recent attack which about 18 defenceless citizens were gruesomely murdered in cold blood ,at the early hours of Saturday, 20th July 2024.

In a statement made available to the Citypost, Hon. Ben Ukeji
Ivaan I Ayange Tsanyi,
President, SIG group says the continuous tergeted attacks on Harga ,and other places in Shitile land is an indication of a complete breakdown of law and order, and urges government at all levels to step up security around Shitile, and indeed Sankera axis to protect lives and property .

Jeremy Bentham, says the essence of government is utilitarianism .

SIG bemoans the manner where lives of their kinsmen are brazenly wasted in a horrendous manner and called on the government to ensure that perpetrators of the heinous crime are made to face the full wrath of the law.

The statement reads in parts: “We condemned in its enterity ,this act of barbarism where innocent people are slaughtered, murdered like animals within Shitile land . This shameful, inhumane , criminal behavior
have continued unabated for some years leading to herriofic deaths as well as the destruction of socioeconomic and educational activities.”

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“We also want to state emphatically that, such acts are inhumane , ungodly, and must stop now!

SIG, note with utmost dismay, the violation of all international protocols and municipal law, especially the fourth (4 ) Geneva convention of 1949 which protects Civilians and civil objects from harm even in a war situation, talkeless of peace time .

“It is therefore, surprising to us that innocent blood of peaceful citizens is being wasted without adequate machinery on ground to contend the renigants .
We use this midum to appeal to those behind this murderous activities to eschew violence and embrace peace for the growth and development of Shitile nation both in Taraba and Benue States respectively.
It’s very important for the youth to understand that, issues are resolved through dialogue”

“SIG wishes to commend His Excellency, the Governor of Benue State, Rev. fr. Hyacinth Iormen Alia, for his efforts towards ending the menace and urge him not to relent on his oars.

We are aware of the government approval for the deployment of a Police Mobile Force to Harga to quell the crises

While we acknowledge the many initiatives of the governor in this regard,we most respectfully request the government to seek for a wholeistic approach to end this wanton killings and distraction of lives and property.

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“We equally call on the” traditional institutions in Shitile and Sankera intermediate area to take necessary measures in conjunction with the political class, and other stakeholders towards bringing this sad narrative to an end.
We sincerely commiserate with the families of victims of the attacks , the Mbacher community, Shitile nation and indeed Katina-Ala LGA.
May the good lord in his infinity mercy ,restore peace to Shitile land “

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