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Outcry as Benue govt okays launch of Fulani security outfit in the state

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By Abdulateef Bamgbose

There is growing public outcry over the Benue State Government’s commissioning of a security outfit in Makurdi on Saturday June 3, 2023.

The security organization known as Al-Tershak Global Security Ltd was established by Alhaji Aliyu Tershaku, who had in the past been arrested over alleged links with Boko Haram.

An online newspaper, National Record reported that the commissioning of the security organization was performed by the Benue State Deputy Governor, Sam Ode who was represented by his Chief Protocol Officer, Gabriel Igoche.

What was curious during the inauguration of the security outfit and which has sparked concerns among people in the state was the huge number of Fulani personnel with many of them appointed as heads of key units within the organization.

The online newspaper reported, “National Record observed during the inauguration that the membership of the security outfit was dominated by the Fulani based on the names the Director called out and looking at the number of the officers who were physically present.”

This newspaper decided to sample the reactions of residents of Makurdi following the launch of the new security organization. What was more disturbing to those who spoke with us was the fact that the organization is dominated by men of Fulani extraction considering the sour relationship between them and indigenous people of the state in recent years.

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Terdue Asongu, a resident of North Bank, Makurdi who was the first to react, described the development as suspicious and cautioned the Benue State Government to retract its steps and stop the Al-Tershak Global Security Ltd from commencing operations. He feared that the presence of men who have questionable backgrounds in the state in charge of security would spell doom for innocent people.

“When I read the news that a security outfit controlled by Fulani men had been approved by the Benue State Government, a cold shiver ran through my spine. Even when Fulanis were not in control of security in the state, our people saw hell. What will happen now that they have formally been asked to take charge of our security?”, Asongu queried.

Another respondent James Gbagir who works at the Tipper Park in Wurukum said “Someone should tell Governor Rev Fr Alia that we will not accept this new security formation. He should not make us regret voting for him. We ignored rumours that Fulani people were sponsoring his election and voted for him. Is he now telling us that we were wrong?”, Gbagir wondered.

A public affairs analyst, elder Peter Shange who has constantly written against attempts by Fulani to occupy Benue lands advised the present government of the state to follow the example of Governor Ortom and come clean on the rumours that it is in cahoots with those who have vowed to displace indigenous people of the state from their ancestral lands and take over.

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Shange reminded the Alia government that the state already has a lawfully recognized security outfit known as Community Volunteer Guards who were drawn from each community of the state by the people through traditional rulers. He condemned the launch of an alternative outfit which origin and ownership are suspicious.

“Let me advise Governor Hyacinth Alia to listen to good counsel and resist the pressure from those who might have funded his election, if the story is anything to go by. Allowing Aliyu Tershaku to float a Fulani controlled security organization in the state at this time is as good as sitting on a time bomb. Those guys will wake up one day and ask him (Governor) to vacate the Government House and give them the keys. No one goes to bed with a known enemy”, he stated.

Other respondents who pleaded anonymity alleged that the new government in Benue State has brought Aliyu Tershaku with his security organization to fight their political opponents.

It will be recalled that Tershaku was arrested in 2018 by the Nigerian Army in connection with the killings in Benue State. He had stayed away from the state until last year when he returned and contested for the Makurdi/Guma House of Representatives seat in the 2023 election. Even at that, he was not seen campaigning anywhere until he surfaced at the polling unit on the day of the election. He did not get single vote in the election.

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Tershaku, though a Tiv man who went wild and became a Boko Haram kingpin is believed to be a Fulani agent who has been sent on a mission by his sponsors to capture Benue State for them.

His return to the state and endorsement by the Alia administration is surely not going down well with the people of the state.

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Business and Economy

Nigerian Minister laments low investment in Infrastructure

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By Iyojo Ameh

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu on Friday said the country has not invested enough in infrastructural development.

According to him, several problems been encountered recently by Nigerian are as direct results of under- investment in several multi- dimension infrastructure.

The minister spoke at the National Assembly during an interactive session with the Senate committee on Appropriation under the chairmanship of Senator Olamilekan Adeola.

The minister was invited to provide insight into the N6.2 trillion supplementary appropriation approval for the 2024 budget by the National Assembly as requested by President Bola Tinubu.

Bagudu commended President Tinubu for the political will yo confront the infrastructure deficit by seeking the N3.2 trillion to fund the projects which include the Lagos – Calabar coastal highway, the Sokoto – Badagry highway and the Trans- Sahara highway.

He commended the President for his confidence that the projects when completed will increase economic activities and shore up the nation’s revenue base.

He added that the projects will encourage massive transformation apart from strengthening economic realities.

The minister while trying to douse the agitation of members of the committee on the fate of other deplorable roads and uncompleted roads projects in their various constituents said the federal government has not abandoned any of the ongoing projects.

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Bagudu categorically stated that the government is not giving priority attention to the innovative projects at the expense of other road projects.

He assured that the Federal Executive Council will continue to consider and give financial approval to other roads as funds are available.

The minister though did not give a detailed statement of the supplementary approval, gave a sectoral overview of both the N3.2 trillion of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Projects and the N3 trillion increase in the recurrent component of the budget.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola the government has full capacity to finance the 2024 budget.

He , however implore the minister to make available to the committee a full detail and breakdown of the N6.2 trillion approval as soon as possible.

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Business and Economy

Economy : CBN announces indices on growth and stability …As Senate interfaces with the CBN Gov

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By Iyojo Ameh

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja , rolled out indices , signaling improved growth and stability of the Nation’s economy.

This is as the apex bank through its Governor , Olayemi Cardoso , assured Nigerians of better days ahead .

Rolling out the growth and economic stability indices during statutory engagement with the Senate Committee on Banking , Insurance and other Financial Institutions , the CBN Governor said : ” The
spread between official and BDC rates has narrowed significantly from N162.62 in January to N47.22 in June 2024, indicating successful price discovery, increased market efficiency, and reduced arbitrage opportunities.

“The stock of external reserves increased to US$36.89 billion as of July 16, 2024, compared with US$33.22 billion at end-December 2023, driven largely by receipts from crude oil related taxes and third-party receipts.

” In Q1 2024, we maintained a current account surplus and saw improvements in our trade balance.

“Our external reserves level as at end-June 2024 can finance over 11 months of import of goods and services, or 14 months of goods only. This is significantly higher than the prescribed international benchmark of 3.0 months, indicating a strong buffer against external shocks.

“The banking sector remains robust and diverse, comprising twenty-six commercial banks, six merchant banks, and four non-interest banks. Key indicators such as capital adequacy, liquidity, and non-performing loan ratios all showed impressive improvements, underscoring the sector’s growing stability and resilience.

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“The equity market has shown impressive performance, with the All-Share Index rising by 33.81 per cent and market capitalization expanding by 38.33 per cent from December 2023 to June 2024, reflecting growing investors’ confidence.

“While we are encouraged by these positive trends, the CBN remains vigilant and committed to implementing policies that support sustainable growth in our financial markets, while maintaining overall economic stability”

He added by assuring the committee members , that required measures and strategies , have been mapped out to confront emerging challenges .

“To combat inflation, we have implemented a comprehensive set of monetary policy measures. These include raising the policy rate by 750 basis points to 26.25 percent, increasing Cash Reserve Ratios, normalizing Open Market Operations as our primary liquidity management tool, and adopting Inflation Targeting as our new monetary policy framework.

“In the area of banking supervision, the CBN has taken decisive actions to ensure the safety, soundness, and resilience of the banking industry.

” Key measures include intervention in three banks, revocation of Heritage Bank’s license, increasing minimum capital requirements, and enhancing AML/CFT supervision.

” We also introduced new frameworks for Cash Reserve Requirements and cybersecurity and prohibited the use of foreign currency collaterals for local currency loans.

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“We are in the process of reviewing the Bank’s micro and macroprudential guidelines to reinforce the resilience of financial institutions in Nigeria to withstand tightened conditions, thus creating a secure and attractive investment climate.

“We have signaled our plans to re-capitalize deposit money banks in Nigeria to improve capital inadequacy and their capacity to grow the economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a more stable, resilient, and efficient financial system that can better serve the Nigerian economy, while adhering to international best practices”, he said .

Earlier in his opening remarks , the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru said the overall purpose of the interaction , ” is to update the commiittee on efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the Bank with respect to monetary policy”

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General News

I’m not a power manipulator —senator Bamidele

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The Senator leader senator Opeyemi Bamidele has dispelled the campaign of calumny against him in some social media not the Citypost and office of the Leader of the Senate,

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele in a statement from his media directorate says some individuals, either misconstrued the statutory role of the Majority Leader in a democracy or willfully distorted established legislative rules that charged the Majority Leader with the duty of leading the business of the Parliament, including government bills.

The statement reads in parts:

“Senator Bamidele is never a power manipulator, enemy of the people and an obstacle to national peace, as some reactionaries or agents of regressive forces have been peddling in the social media. As a political actor who enjoys vast public trust, he will never or can never act against the core and strategic interests of Nigeria and Nigerians at any level”

“Under Rule 23, the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended) specifically provides for the Office of the Leader of the Senate, who shall be a Senator duly nominated from the political party with the highest number of seats in the Senate. This is the global best practice, which is not peculiar to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but also to all democracies worldwide”

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“The rule further establishes that the Leader of the Senate shall (a) lead all government bills; (b) lead the business of the Senate; (c) manage the legislative schedule of the Senate; (d) liaise with Committee Chairmen and other functionaries of the Senate and (e) perform such duties as the President may assign to him.

Consistent with the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended), therefore, Senator Bamidele is under obligation to lead all government bills, a role he has been playing creditably. By implication, he is responsible for sponsoring and promoting government bills originating from the Executive Arm or its ministries, departments and agencies”

“In this light, Senator Bamidele has been able to manage the floor debate on government bills successfully; build consensus across political divides; mobilise support for government bills within the Senate and lead negotiations to gain broader support. Since his assumption of office on July 4, 2023, Senator Bamidele has equally deployed strategies in navigating the complex legislative procedures to advance government bills and coordinated closely with the Executive Arm to ensure that government bills reflect the administration’s policies and priorities”

“Like other principal officers of the Senate, the role of the Leader of the Senate is provided for in the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended). In Nigeria, particularly, this role has been pivotal in advancing the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR through the National Assembly. And he has played the role well through a combination of strategic planning, negotiation and leadership skills”

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