3 months ago

BusinessDay 11 Apr 2018


18 BUSINESS DAY C002D5556 Wednesday 11 April 2018 Politics & Policy 2019: Experts blame poor policies for high crime rate, warn Nigerians to vote wisely INNOCENT ODOH, Abuja Experts have blamed the harsh economic conditions in the country for high crime rate. They are of the opinion that the increasing cases of unemployment and extreme poverty are contributing immensely to the high level of crime in Nigeria especially the capital Abuja. They warned that as the nation goes into election in 2019, if the right people are not elected in positions of authority in the country then the hardship may intensify. Law Mefor, a Forensic/ Social Psychologist, told Business Day in a chat that increasing poverty and crime are positively correlated stressing that “the higher the poverty rate the more crime in the society.” He said further that the crime rate in Abuja is made worst by the too many slums around the area and the mass unemployment. “In the FCT less than 2 percent of the people who consider themselves as living in Abuja don’t actually live there. They live in urban slums and they migrate from the slums and they are not enjoying it and they can do anything to come to the city center. So people are under very serious social pressure in the FCT and the slums have a way of fueling crime. “More criminality is bred in the ghettoes across the world not just is not a Nigeria. But if you L-R, Ketil Karisen, EU ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mahmood Yakubu, chairman INEC and Fabio Bargiacchi, vice president, EU Partnership for Democracy (EPD) during the international conference on ‘Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Technology in Elections’ held in Abuja. picture by TUNDE ADENIYI. look at Abuja, Abuja has more slums than most cities and they have not made the slums habitable for the people, so all manner of people can live there and that is a criminal environment,” he said. He added that the situation is compounded by the failure of the police authorities to enforce the law and establish deterrence saying, “In every society one instrument that holds the society together is the law because law provides the deterrence and if you have laws that cannot be enforced then there is no law at all. “We don’t have enough policing, police are undertrained, understaffed, under- motivated, undermanned and under motivated,” he said. He also said that the loss of values has led to poor parenting and the general breakdown the of values in the society are the real factors as so many people who are deprived easily take to crime adding that crime appear rewarding in the country because the society no longer ask how people make their money. He also mentioned poor modeling as another factor where the role models in the society are usually people with questionable character but who are seen flaunting their ill-gotten wealth. He added that the solution is in a comprehensive economic package that will remove most of the people from poverty adding that Nigerians must be wise in their choice of leaders in 2019. Also contributing, a develop- ment expert, Hussaini Abdu, said there is a strong relationship ship between economy and crime, stressing that it is not possible for people to go through a certain level of deprivation whether political or social deprivation without creating the boomerang effect. “Once poverty level is high and unemployment is high, as humans’ people resort to existential survivalist instincts. But that is not to say that once you have unemployment then automatically there will be crime.” “Poverty has been with the Nigerians since the 80s. With the introduction of SAP, the life of the people has virtually become synonymous with poverty and as corruption becomes s major lubricating element in our economy,” he added On the role families play in bring about crime he said “Families are not independent of the social setting of the society. So values, culture, conventions, principles are actually shaped by the larger socio economic condition of our society. So the more economic crisis you experience the more it affect the values of the society.” He said that government can respond to sad situation with massive investment in human capital saying, “When the development of infrastructure is more than the development of the people the infrastructure will be destroyed. Infrastructure development must be commensurate with the development of the people,’’ he added. Be violent in your spirits against injustice, Adedayo counsels Nigerians …Calls for restructuring AKINREMIFEYISIPO, Ibadan Nigerians have been urged to be violent in their spirits against the unjust system currently being run in the country. A former Special Adviser on Media to the governor of Oyo State and former governor of Enugu State, Festus Adedayo, said this became necessary, since it is obvious that government would not concede to a restructuring of Nigeria as being advocated. Delivering this year’s Synod Lecture of the Anglican Church, Ibadan Diocese, held at St. David’s Anglican Church, Ijokodo, Ibadan said Nigerians have fasted and prayed to God enough to change the unjust system of government which has kept them down socially, economi- Festus Adedayo cally and politically, but the time had come for them to physically manifest it by rejecting the unjust system and damn those who are behind it. “It is obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari, being one of the offspring of those who designed this unitarist-federalist constitution that is affecting Nigeria’s progress, will never allow a restructuring of the country. The bible tells us that the Kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent takes it by force. While I am not advocating that you should take up armaments against the system, you should however be violent in your spirits against this political and economic system of injustice in Nigeria,” he said. In the lecture, entitled Restructuring Nigeria: Possibilities and Challenges, had in attendance Joseph Akinfenwa, a reverend, Bishop of Ibadan Anglican Diocese and a cross-section of clergymen who had gathered for this year’s Synod. Adedayo traced the history of restructuring and agitations by Nigerians for the righting of systemic wrongs from the anticolonial struggle for independence, to the Clifford Constitution of 1922, the 1947 Richards Constitution, Macpherson Constitution of 1951, Oliver Lyttelton Constitution of 1954, down to the 1960 Independence and 1963 Republican constitutions In the lecture, noted “having faced decades of dislocation of their socio-political progress which reflects in gross poverty in the midst of apparent plenty, massive governmental corruption which has become the most visible face of the country within and outside its shores, rising cost of living, decline in educational standard and high level of insecurity, among a plethora of other existential challenges, it is only logical that Nigerians would be desirous of reinventing their country. Late novelist, Chinua Achebe, in his book, There was a country, must have been one of those who unwittingly provoked this nostalgia when, in the book, he painted a Nigeria that was once a prosperous land,” he said. “Agitations for restructuring of Nigeria are based on the notion that Nigeria, as it is currently constituted, is not working. The consensus of opinion is that, refederalising Nigeria will entail not only returning Nigeria to the 1960 and 1963 constitutions where each of the three regions was autonomous and there was a healthy rivalry among them, restructuring is also perceived as the process of redemption of the historical mistakes of the 1966 military coup,” he submitted. Adedayo said that, whichever of the types of restructuring that Nigerians may adopt, “it is obvious that the country cannot continue like this. The time to do something that will reform the current status quo is now.”

Wednesday 11 April 2018 C002D5556 BUSINESS DAY Buhari should resign as petroleum minister - Sen. Alasoadura In this interview with OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Senator Tayo Alasoadura (APC, Ondo State), speaks on issues in the petroleum industry, reordering of elections’ sequence, insecurity in some parts of Nigeria and other national issues. Excerpts: 19 Politics & Policy What is happening to the remaining three Petroleum Industry Bills in the National Assembly? The Petroleum Industrial Governance Bill (PIGB) has just been passed by both chambers of the National Assembly. For the other three PIBs, we have been assured by our consultant that the draft will be submitted to us so that we can start work on it. I am anxious but the Senate President is even more anxious than I am because we are already in an election year when people devote half of their time to electioneering and half at the Senate. Those of us who will lead this bill will need the input of our colleagues and as such, we are so much in a hurry. We recently experienced one of the longest fuel scarcities in Nigeria. What was the cause? One, Nigerians are wicked people. We are the enemies of ourselves. Some stakeholders in the oil industry are wicked. They want to increase the fuel price and the government is saying no. The government has done it once and it will not want to do it again. So the oil industry people decided to sabotage the effort of the government. All the fuel used in Nigeria today is being imported by NNPC alone. The fact that they have been able to bring the scarcity down to this level should be commended. Nigerians are so wicked that they take fuel meant for this country to other smaller African countries because of the higher price. The price of fuel in Nigeria is about 50 percent lower than in neighboring countries. It is easy for smugglers to take it to other countries than bring it here. That is causing us problems because they bribe their way and at the end, they still make more money than they make here. Even the fuel that is being imported by NNPC now, half of it is not being used here. Some have urged the Federal Government to either lease or sell the refineries. Will you support this move? I believe in privatization. We need the people that built the refineries to come and run them. We might still retain shares but we should not be in charge. We spend millions of dollars to repair the refineries every year and we get nothing from it. What is happening to modular refineries? Only one person has been able to start a modular refinery in Bayelsa State and I know that close to 30 licenses were given in the last one year. Do you support calls for President Buhari to resign as Minister of Petroleum? I have said it before and I will say Alasoadura it again that he should resign as Minister of Petroleum. He doesn’t have to be the minister because he is the minister of all the ministries. He needs time for other things. I believe the reason there were issues between the GMD of NNPC and Minister of State for Petroleum was because the GMD believes he is answerable to the President and not to the Minister of State. Will you support the President if he decides to re-contest in 2019? Of course I will support him because of his love for Nigeria as well as his candour and integrity. He may have people who are rubbishing his administration; the cabal who will be doing things that he will not do, but nobody is free of fault. Politics is a thankless job. What is your reaction to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which reordered elections sequence in the country? I don’t support the action of the National Assembly because there is a law that says INEC shall fix election dates and sequence of elections. Yet we came and said we are making corrections. I am not a part of it but as democrat, when the majority agree on something, I am bound by it. But as a person, I do not support it and if I have my way, I will make sure that that bill is not passed. Again a lot of time, the minority might be right. There was a bill that Mr. President refused to assent to recently, the one that will be doing the work of police, civil defense and the rest. I was the lone voice on the day it was being passed who said it amounts to duplication. I also said that a lot of people working for government today are not being paid salaries, so to create another agency that will be doing the same work is not necessary because it is just another avenue for government to spend unnecessarily. But because I was in the minority, my voice was drowned and when Mr. President declined to sign the bill, I was happy. Ibrahim Magu is still acting as EFCC chairman despite a court judgment that supports Senate’s decision not to confirm him. Do you think this is right? One thing I believe is that if Buhari was not president at this time, there would have been a full scale war in Nigeria because of the way the Boko Haram people were spreading before he came It is illegal and it is something that a democratic government must not do. It is the duty of the Senate to confirm Mr. President’s appointees and where such confirmations are withheld, it is the duty of the President to replace such people so that there will be no vacuum. We have rejected Magu but Mr. President is still using him. There will be a time in the history of this country where it will be written and then blames will be allotted. What will make the implementation of the 2018 budget different from previous ones? It is left for the Executive to do the needful. The Executive won’t submit the budget on time and yet they expect us to pass it by end of December. That is not possible, unless they don’t want us to do our work but just to stamp it as it is presented to us. If we have to work on it, then it must be brought early enough. Are you worried with the way the Federal Government is handling the security issue in the country? I am worried about the killings, taking people lives is wrong no matter the offence or grievance. The justice system in developed countries has eradicated taking of lives, instead of that they sentence them to life imprisonment so that they will not be able to harm the society anymore. For some people to decide to wake up and kill others is a serious crime. It is uncalled for. You will see people killing innocent children who have done nothing, I think it is complete insanity. People think it is because of land issue and so on. But the use of drugs is very important in analyzing the reason why they are doing this, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria, it is an unbearable factor. So you don’t see religion as a factor? Which religion? Look at the girls that were kidnap in Dapchi recently, are they not mostly Muslims? The Boko Haram who adopted them, are they not also Muslims? So this is not religion at all. How many Christians have lost their lives since the insurgency started? It is mostly Muslims because the damage is worse there. These are people who are insane and are hooked on drugs, people who live in hallucinative world. It is not good for anybody to take people’s lives. The security agencies are overwhelmed with all the challenges. There is Boko Haram, herdsmen crises, Niger Delta militancy and avengers. These are the challenges the President has been facing since he came into office. One thing I believe is that if Buhari was not president at this time, there would have been a full scale war in Nigeria because of the way the Boko Haram people were spreading before he came. If they had been allowed to continue, by now we would have been in real war. Religious war does not end. That the President has been able to decimate Boko Haram to the way it is today is worth applauding. The reason for the herdsmen attack is the desertification crisis in the North. The desert has taken the livelihood of vast majority of Nigerians who live on rearing animals. That is what has pushed the herdsmen down South and it is the repercussion that we are experiencing. Those they have come to meet are farmers and by pushing their animal through the farms, there is bound to be conflict. So the conflict is about survival. The herdsmen have been in Nigeria for long, it is the drying up of Lake Chad that is causing this. We need to restore the North to green land. It has been done in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the rest. Dubai was a desert 30years ago. But it was grassed. Let us look for money and re-grass the North. But is it government’s responsibility to put money into private business? Who made Dubai great? Who made Egypt great? It is government’s responsibility to do that. So the permanent solution is going back to the North and doing what civilized countries have done to deserts, reclaiming the land so that it can be useful to the people. If this is done, nobody will leave the North and go to South to graze.

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