Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was yesterday cautioned by South-South leaders, chiefs, elders and stakeholders to stop harassing, intimidating, stampeding or blackmailing President Goodluck Jonathan.Obasanjo had recently accused President Jonathan of sundry issues including training of assassins to eliminate political opponents.But rising from its
The statement credited to Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), National Security Adviser (NSA), that many people with criminal antecedents occupy strategic positions in various Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) is troubling. Dasuki, through Layiwola Laseinde, director, policy and strategy of the NSA’s office spoke at a one-day workshop on the “Importance of Security Awareness Drills in Contemporary Nigeria”, organised by the Special Services Office (SSO), Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), in Abuja.The NSA was unsparing when he affirmed: “We want to make sure that people of dubious character are not employed. In some areas, you find out that people have committed crimes and once they have criminal background, they are likely to perpetrate death. I am not saying it is in all cases, but majority of the cases. So the government, especially the security agencies … want to make sure that each agency does its own in-house screening to screen out undesirable people …Government cannot afford for agencies to have staff with criminal record and that is the purpose of this workshop, that those who are trained can go and train other people and also organise their parastatals and agencies to ensure that in terms of personal record and discipline, everything is okay.’’We know that it is government that employs presumably qualified Nigerians into positions in these MDAs, not the Nigerian public. So, we expect the government, through its numerous security agencies that Dasuki, as NSA, oversees, to have routinely been effectively discharging their job of ensuring that men and women of shady background do not get employed in the MDAs or any other strategic institutions in the country. But it seems that the NSA office is getting to know too late that the country’s MDAs harbour a lot of misfits.
West GovernorAS the presidency is addressing claims of marginalisation in federal appointments by the South West, the zone may be facing a new form of discrimination, going by the proposed details in some ministries in 2014 budget.A breakdown of new projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, which was obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, showed the South West largely neglected in the allocation of the projects, compared with other five geopolitical zones.Analysis of capital projects of about N30 billion proposed by the ministry showed the three zones of the North taking the lion share of over 80 per cent, while with three southern zones competed with 20 per cent, of which South-West had less than two per cent.Of over 30 new irrigation projects proposed in the 2014 budget, only two were located in the South West.The two, lower and middle Ogun, however, had only design funding of less than N10 million, in contrast to similar new irrigation projects in Kaduna, Kano and Yobe, to which over N1.2 billion was allocated.Of the 41 new earth dam projects proposed by the ministry, South West had only one at Ile-Ife, Osun State, with about 75 per cent of the dams located in the North, while the old Eastern region had the rest.Further checks showed that while the Ile-Ife dam had only N100 million allocated to it, similar projects located in the Middle Belt and core North had between N250 million to over N500 million allocated to them in the next fiscal year.The South West was not only neglected in the areas of irrigation and new dams, the region was also shortchanged in town/city water projects, as there was no allocation to the region in the over 40 new water works projects in the country. A check showed the North being the major beneficiary of the projects, followed by the South-South and the South East.Northern cities benefitting from the water works projects included Talata Marafa,
Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako yesterday decried the N2 billion Federal Government’s proposed budget for security in the Northeast.The region has been facing the Boko Haram insurgency for over four years.He said it was appalling that the Federal Government could not increase the budget when it proposed more than the amount on less important things.Nyako, who addressed reporters in Yola noted that the N2 billion budget proposal showed the unserious stance of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to tackling security in the region.President Jonathan, on December 3 in Gombe, announced that his administration would provide a special intervention package for the Northeast to stimulate it’s economy, following the destruction of property and residents livelihood.It was learnt that in the 2014 budget the Federal Government provided N2 billion under ‘Service-Wide Vote’ as “counterpart funding” for the Northeast.The use of ‘counterpart funding’ shows that the programme would be jointly funded with the six states in the zone.Nyako said the budget was “grossly inadequate” to tackle the security and sundry challenges confronting the zone.The governor urged the Federal Government to increase the proposed budget.He noted that if the central government could give ‘’Nollywood’’ a N3 billion stimulus package, the proposed security budget to fight Boko Haram in the Northeast was “not encouraging or engendering confidence.”Nyako noted that since 2011, the Adamawa State had spent billions to support security forces in the state.He said: “As far as we are concerned, N2 billion for six states is inadequate. Commerce and agriculture have been seriously affected; so many people have lost their livelihood and shelter.“The issue is about development of infrastructure. We have the worst roads; no electricity…. If the Presidency is serious, these issues must be considered and we expect that before the release of any fund, an outline should be given to know the areas of intervention and who the beneficiaries are.”The governor objected to the proposed counterpart funding of security
There seems to be no end to the controversy sparked by the exchange of letters between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) joined the row again yesterday, saying Dr. Jonathan’s response to Obasanjo’s letter is indecent and has diminished the Presidency.The party said the president would have merely explained its position on the issues raised in Obasanjo’s letter rather than a resort to tantrum throwing.Also yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it could not intervene in the matter because it is not a party affair.Obasanjo wrote an 18-page letter titled “Before it is too late” and dated December 2 to the President, accusing him of some failings.He also alleged that snipers were being trained and 1,000 Nigerians had been placed on a watch list ahead of the 2015 election.Obasanjo said Jonathan told the PDP prior to his nomination to run in 2011 that he would do only one term. He said his 2015 ambition would be “fatally wrong”.The President denied Obasanjo’s claims. He also challenged him to prove them.The President has referred Obasanjo’s letter to the National Human Rights Commission to probe some aspects of it. The letter is also believed to have been referred to security agencies.Dr. Jonathan, in church on Christmas Day, also challenged Obasanjo to be statesmanly, adding: “Nigeria does not belong to any politician or a group of politicians… For us at this time, especially we politicians, that we think we own this country to think about next election, and doing what we ought not to do, making statements we ought not to make, writing letter we are not supposed to write.”In a statement yesterday, APC National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed said: “Dr. Jonathan’s decision to engage former President Obasanjo in a hot exchange of words in what may now be described as ‘lettergate’ is the latest in a series of scandals to hit the Jonathan Presidency.”The party said while it was not interested in joining the fray over the issues contained in the letters written by both