Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Friday, 9th February, 2018.

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
None of the 36 governors was in attendance at a security summit yesterday as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo explained why Nigeria is ripe for state police.

The inability of governors, as state chief security officers, to commandeer police forces has always been on the front burner of complaints about defects in the nation’s structure.

Present, however, were the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai, and the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ekwe, among others.

“We cannot realistically police a country the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja. State police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go,” Osinbajo told participants at the two-day National Security Summit organised by the Senate.

Highlighting the country’s “complex” security challenges, the vice president noted: “Securing Nigeria’s over 900,000 square kilometres and its 180 million people requires far more men and material than we have at the moment. It also requires a continuous re-engineering of our security architecture and strategy. This has to be a dynamic process.

“For a country our size, meeting the one policeman to 400 persons ratio prescribed by the UN would require triple our current police force, far more funding of the police force and far more funding of our military and other security agencies.”

Osinbajo who declared the summit open also stressed the need to boost collaboration with Nigeria’s neighbours in the Chad Basin by strengthening security at border communities, thus preventing the movement of small arms, and facilitating the disarming of armed pastoralists and other bandits.

“We must avoid the danger,” he said, of the security challenges spiraling into religious or ethnic conflict.

On the controversial issue of allocating land to herdsmen, the vice president said: “Let me reiterate that on no account will any land be seized or forciblly taken to create ranches or grazing areas. All insinuations to that effect should be disregarded. Instead, it is in our view that states that are willing should cooperate even with willing investors for commercially viable government-supported ranches or livestock production centres for commercial use.”

The summit came at a time of nationwide concern about insecurity, amid deadly clashes between herdsmen and farmers, kidnappings, armed robbery, ethnic agitations and militancy.

“This is not a summit to trade blame; in no way is this a blame game. Neither is it convened so that any person or entity can take credit. We just want solutions. Solutions only. That is all Nigerians require of us,” declared Senate President Bukola Saraki.

According to him, “There can be no denying the horrific reality in many parts of our country today. People who should be neighbours are turning on one another and taking up arms. These attacks and reprisal attacks are an intolerable cycle of hell that must be broken. Killings, kidnappings, mayhem and general lawlessness cannot be the new normal. We must take this country back and restore order.”

Saraki was, however, cautious about what it would take to rescue the nation from the brinks of insecurity.

“We have the capacity to bring about a change in this situation, to end the violence and bring succour. We have the capacity. But do we have the political will? I dare say political will is what is required. And it is my hope that we shall marshal it as a legitimate instrument against this problem. Indeed, there is no reason why that should not be the case,” he said.

What Nigeria needs at this time “is leadership that will work, to douse the flames and reduce tension in the land,” Saraki said, adding: “It is essential that we lower the barriers in our actions and rhetoric and refrain from playing politics with a crisis situation in which Nigerian lives are being lost tragically and needlessly on a regular basis.” 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Catholic bishops yesterday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock where they lamented what they described as a glaring failure of his administration to tackle poverty, hunger, insecurity, violence, fear and unemployment.

The clerics, under the aegis of Catholic ‎Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), were led to the Presidential Villa by their president and Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama and the secretary and Bishop of Gboko, Most Rev. William Avenya.

They wondered why President Buhari in the last three years failed to take advantage of the enormous goodwill of Nigerians and provide the expected succour to the people.

“We work with the people at the grassroots and, therefore, have first-hand information about what they are going through.

“There is no doubt that when you came into office, you had an enormous amount of the goodwill of Nigerians, since many saw you as a person of integrity who would be able to bring sanity into a system that was nearly crippled by endemic corruption.

“Nearly three years later, however, one has the feeling that this goodwill is being fast depleted by some glaring failures of government which we have the moral responsibility to bring to your notice, else we would be failing in our duty as spiritual fathers and leaders,” the bishops said.

In an address they presented to Buhari during their closed-door meeting and made available to newsmen, Most Rev. Kaigama lamented that “our beloved country appears to be under siege” with many negative forces keeping a stronghold on the population, especially the weaker and defenseless ones.

“There is a feeling of hopelessness across the country. Our youths are restive and many of them have taken to hard drugs, cultism and other forms of violent crimes, while many have become victims of human trafficking. The nation is nervous.

“Just as we seem to be gradually emerging from the dark tunnel of an economic recession that caused untold hardship to families and individuals, violent attacks by unscrupulous persons, among whom are terrorists masquerading as herdsmen, have led to a near civil war situation in many parts of the country.

“We are saddened that, repeatedly, innocent citizens in different communities across the nation are brutally attacked and their sources of livelihood mindlessly destroyed. Lives are wasted and property worth billions of naira, including places of worship, schools, hospitals and business enterprises, are torched and turned to ashes.

“We are still more saddened by the recent massacre of unarmed citizens by these terrorists in some communities in Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna and Taraba states which has caused national shock, grief and outcry. The silence of the Federal Government in the wake of these horrifying attacks is, to say the least, shocking,” the bishops told Buhari.

According to them, there is a growing feeling of helplessness among the people and the danger is that some may begin to take the laws into their hands.

The religious leaders said the President Buhari-led administration must take very seriously its primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens and ensure that such mindless killings do not re-occur.

Kaigama noted that while herdsmen may be under pressure to save their livestock and economy, it should never to be done at the expense of other people’s lives and means of livelihood. He insisted that a better alternative to open grazing should be sought rather than introducing “cattle colonies” in the country.

The visitors urged the Federal Government to move against other criminal activities including kidnapping.

The CBCN decried the government’s alleged disregard for federal character principle as it concerned appointments and imbalance in the distribution of federal amenities, saying it had resulted in the loss of a sense of belonging in many parts of the country.

“These and many more such problems are, in our opinion, grave matters that should be worrying all political leaders in our country today, rather than any bid for re-election,” Kaigama said,

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, yesterday visited Benue to commiserate with the government and the people over the gruesome murder of 73 on New Year Day by suspected herdsmen in Guma and Logo council areas of the state.

Speaking in Makurdi, the capital, Fayose swore that God would visit the blood of the victims on the killers and their sponsors, even as he reiterated his call for the restructuring of the country.

The governor declared support for the state’s anti-grazing law, urging the people to stand by the piece of legislation.

He said: “Since the law is for the Benue people and not residents of other states, there should not be any problem about its enforcement.”

His Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement yesterday in Ado-Ekiti that the governor, accompanied by his deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola; Chief of Staff, Chief Dipo Anisulowo; Chairman of the State House of Assembly Committee on Information, Dr Samuel Omotoso among others, was received at the Makurdi Airport by Governor Samuel Ortom and other top functionaries at exactly 12:23p.m.

The statement indicated that Fayose visited the Genabe mass grave where the 73 persons were buried with prayers offered for the victims by Prof. Olusola.

He also paid homage to former Governor Gabriel Suswam at his Makurdi home.

Fayose urged the people to be united in prayers, noting that “whosoever that is in government during the time of peace, posterity will remember him while those in powers when innocent people are being killed in the most barbaric manner, will not be forgotten too.”

He advised the indigenes to “change vehicle since the present vehicle of change has broken down.”

Fayose was, however, unsparing of President Muhammadu Buhari whom he accused of double standards.

He decried a situation where a particular group was unleashing mayhem on innocent citizens yet allegedly gets special treatment whereas others with lesser offences were being made to face the wrath of the law.

Describing the Benue massacre as ethnic cleansing, Fayose later donated N10 million to alleviate the suffering of the displaced persons spread in different camps across the state.

The host governor thanked the visitor for the gesture, restating that the authorities charged with the protection of lives and property never heeded his earlier alerts.

His words: “Nigeria and Benue can never be the same. There is going to be a turn-around that has never been witnessed in this country. I have thus decided to join my brother, Fayose, to be outspoken on things that are not done rightly in this country. Anything that is not right here, I will challenge it. How can you be beating me and you don’t want me to cry.”

He described restructuring of the country as the panacea to the ongoing “maladministration and open bias of the security agencies.”

Meanwhile, troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Makurdi have arrested two armed militias.

In a statement, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Major Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, said the arrest was affected during a routine patrol along Gbajimba – Iyordye road in Guma council area.

According to him, the militias were suspected to be converging for a possible attack on Governor Ortom’s fish farm located in the area.

The army spokesman said when the troops made a stop to query the militias, they immediately opened fire.

He hinted that the arrested members had been handed over to the police.

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Technology conglomerate Google has chosen 24 start-ups from developing markets around the world, including Nigeria, out of thousands of applications to participate in a two-week boot camp to take their business to the global stage. 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
The Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Katsina State, Shittu S. Shittu, has narrowly escaped a mob attack at the conference room of the state Government House. 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
StarTimes, Pay television company, said it has invested over $220 million in Nigeria, over the last nine years to boost entertainment and enrich the country's television experience. 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Guide to Sleeping in Airports survey 2017 again listed Nigerian international airports among the worst in the world. Port-Harcourt International Airport... 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Some prominent Nigerians, including National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, Col. Tony Nyiam... 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) has hosted a gathering of relevant stakeholders to unveil its 3-Year (2018-2020) strategic plan. 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
Taking painkillers could ease the pain of hurt feelings as well as headaches, new research has discovered. 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
The board and management of Communication Week Media Limited, a certified global ICT company with over 2 million online subscribers and publishers of Nigeria CommunicationsWeek... 

Fri, 09 Feb 2018
The Presidential executive order signed last week by President Muhammadu Buhari is targeted at helping to move Nigeria away from being a consumer country to an import producing nation. 
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