Idris: Nigeria Won’t Fall, Remains Africa’s Giant

Idris: Nigeria Won’t Fall, Remains Africa’s Giant

•We’ll overcome our challenges, says Kalu 

•Customs to disburse forfeited items to mitigate food crisis 

•State police bill passes second reading

James Emejo, Juliet Akoje in Abuja and Laleye Dipo in Minna

Despite the increasing hardship in the country, the federal government, yesterday, responded to those prophesying the collapse of the country and declared that “Nigeria will not fall” because it remained the giant of Africa.

Also, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has said the current economic challenges in Nigeria was transient and would be surmounted because Nigerians would always rise together in times of adversity.

At the same time, the Comptroller General of Customs, Mr. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, has disclosed that the service would facilitate the direct disposal of food items forfeited to the federal government to alleviate the current hardships faced by Nigerians as well as improve access to essential food items.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, yesterday, passed through second reading, a bill seeking to alter the provision of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria to provide for the establishment of state police.

However, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, gave the hope on Nigeria in Minna, Niger State, in a message to the 2024 NIPR Niger State Chapter Conference/ Annual General Meeting.

Idris hinged the optimism of the government on the various measures being taken to revive the economy, surmount insecurity and make life worth living for the ordinary Nigerian.

Represented by the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Alhaji Jibrin Ndace, the minister declared that, “His Excellency  Ahmed Bola Tinubu, GCFR, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, is highly committed to lead us to the Nigeria we want with a sincere purpose and focus on the values of the Nigeria Constitution.

“In the last seven months, this government has ensured it doesn’t lose track in fixing the economy, fighting insecurity, attracting Foreign Direct Investment and consolidating Nigeria’s Foreign policy ethos on the world stage.

“Our role in sustaining democracy in the West-Africa region through the ECOWAS platform has won us a prestigious mention at the global political family table.

“We will not rest on this milestones, because the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu, was and still remain resolute that Nigeria will not fall because we are the true giant of Africa.”

The minister expressed delight that rising food prices in many parts of the country had started coming down and assured the people that steps taken by the administration would further bring succour to the ordinary Nigerian.

Idris disclosed further that the federal government had approved funding for the second Niger bridge-bypass, Abuja-Kano, Lagos-Ibadan highway projects, and also  approved funds  for the Minister of the FCT to procure all the security gadgets to fight insecurity situation and safeguard the integrity of the federal capital.

In addition, he said the president had approved the resolution to increase primary healthcare centers from 8,300 to 17,600 across the country and also  approved N9 billion for Group Life Assurance for federal government workers as well as gave the go ahead for the establishment of an “infrastructure support fund for states to invest in critical areas that will create an enabling environment for businesses”

He, therefore, charged all the major stakeholders in the country to collaborate with the administration to bring an end to the numerous challenges the country was facing.

Former governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, in an address spoke against the plan by some members of the National Assembly to return Nigeria to the parliamentary system of government, saying, “the presidential system is not the problem but needs modifications to suit Nigeria’s peculiarities.”

Aliyu said if the political culture was not right with the system, there was nothing anyone could do because it would not work.

“I need to talk about the discussion of switching to parliamentary system. No system can work if people do not change their ways. Britain, France and Italy devolved powers and responsibilities to the states and local government areas, thereby reducing the temptations of wastages and corruption in federal government and any of the system can work.

“It is what is in our hearts that is bad and if we do not change, whatever system you bring will not work” Aliyu submitted, insisting that, “There is nothing wrong with the presidential system. It is the mindset of Nigerians and the people who need to change.”

We’ll Overcome Our Challenges, Says Kalu

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has said the current economic challenges in Nigeria was transient and would be surmounted because Nigerians would always rise together in times of adversity.

Kalu, who spoke before the commencement of the plenary session yesterday noted that all hope was not lost and that appropriate policies had been enacted by the President Bola Tinubu government to tackle the situation.

“As we commence proceedings today, we are all aware of the challenges we face as a nation. The storm clouds of inflation gather, the cries of economic hardship echo, and whispers of doubt threaten to dim the flames of our collective spirit.

“But let me assure you, the Nigerian spirit is not one that cowers in the face of adversity! We are a nation forged in resilience, a people united by dogged determination. The challenges we confront may seem insurmountable.

“Yet, amidst these trials, amidst the anxieties and frustrations, I ask you, my colleagues, to remember the words of a great leader facing a seemingly insurmountable foe: ‘We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

“But I say to you, my friends: fear not! Just as Winston Churchill rallied his nation in their darkest hour, so too must we rise to the occasion. This is not the time for division, for despair, for pointing fingers. This is the time for unity, for strength, for a staunch belief in ourselves and in the future of our beloved Nigeria.

“Do the challenges seem immense? Yes, they do. But are they insurmountable? Absolutely not! We have the tools, the talent, and the tenacity to overcome. The macroeconomic management approach laid out by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, while demanding sacrifice, is a necessary step towards long-term stability and prosperity.

“Let us trust in the expertise of those tasked with guiding our economic course, even as we hold them accountable for their actions,” he said, adding: “But remember, fellow Nigerians, true progress cannot be achieved solely through policy pronouncements.

“It requires the collective effort of each and every one of us. Let us rise above petty squabbles and unite in a common purpose. Let us channel our frustrations into constructive criticism, into holding ourselves and our leaders accountable, but always with the betterment of our nation as the guiding star.”

Customs to Disburse Forfeited Items to Mitigate Food Crisis

Comptroller General of Customs, Mr. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, yesterday, disclosed that the service would facilitate the direct disposal of food items forfeited to the federal government to alleviate the current hardships faced by Nigerians as well as improve access to essential food items.

He also said the service had launched a strategic anti-smuggling operation and public engagement in its commitment to prevent the unlawful export of vital food resources for individual economic gains.

Adeniyi, in a statement by the Chief Superintendent of Customs, National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Abdullahi Maiwada, said the urgent imperative calls for a proactive stance to safeguard food availability within the country and alleviate the detrimental effects of scarcity on Nigerians. 

He said the move was in response to the critical challenges of food security and the soaring costs of essential food items currently being witnessed in the country, and further reaffirmed his commitment to advancing President Bola Tinubu’s food security agenda.

According to him, his commitment was deeply rooted in the customs’ core mandate of serving the best interests of the Nigerian people, thereby fostering economic stability and prosperity.

The customs boss further explained that the items to be disbursed would be certified fit for consumption by relevant agencies and made available to ordinary Nigerians nationwide through equitable distribution across its areas of operations.

Adeniyi also clarified that the modalities for the disposal of the food items would be communicated through customs formations nationwide, with a firm commitment to transparency, fairness, and public safety.

“It is our pledge that this exercise will be managed diligently to ensure that the benefits reach those most in need. The NCS remains resolute in its dedication to safeguarding the nation’s food security and advancing the economic well-being of all Nigerians.

“With the unwavering support and cooperation of the public, we will surmount these challenges and pave the way for a more prosperous future for our beloved nation.”

House Passes State Police Bill for Second Reading

The House of Representatives has passed through second reading, a bill seeking to alter the provision of the constitution of Nigeria to provide for the establishment of state police.

Titled “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for Establishment of State Police and for Related Matters (HB. 617),” the proposed legislation was sponsored by the Deputy Speaker Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu and 14 other lawmakers.

Leading the debate, Hon. Tolani Shagaya, who was one of the sponsors of the bill, noted that the primary purpose of government as enshrined in Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Altered) is the security and welfare of the citizens.

Shagaya further noted that in recent times, the nation’s collective security has been greatly challenged and state policing is not only inevitable, but urgently desired to tackle the mounting challenges of insecurity.

“The establishment of State Police is a clarion call for a tailored, community-centric policing system; and an acknowledgment that our states are uniquely positioned to address the security challenges within their borders.

“The transfer of ‘Police’ from the ‘Exclusive Legislative List’ to the ‘Concurrent Legislative List’, a move that effectively empowers states to have state-controlled policing; the introduction of a comprehensive framework to ensure cohesion as well as accountability and uniform standards between the Federal Police and State Police; the provision of prescribed rigorous safeguards preventing unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in State Police affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances.

“The establishment of State Police Service Commissions as distinct from the Federal Police Service Commission with clearly defined roles and jurisdictions; a re-calibration of the National Police Council to include the Chairmen of the State Police Service Commissions, emphasising the collaborative and consultative nature of policing in our federal system, a recognition of the possible financial challenges which may be faced by States Police, by empowering the Federal Government to provide grants or aids. subject to the approval of the National Assembly, thus ensuring adequate resources for effective policing, etc.”

Hon. Ahmed Jaha while contributing to the bill stated that it was timely as security was the responsibility of all and everybody’s business and that with community policing and Nigerian police working in tandem, they would rid communities of all forms of crimes.

Contributing, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, noted that Nigeria has had enough of insecurity and establishing state police was a way “we can ensure that we can sleep with our eyes closed.”

The bill when put to vote got the support of the majority of the members and was later referred to the Committee on Constitution Review by the Deputy Speaker, who presided over the session.

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