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Clark cautions against calls for Nigeria’s breakup

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Elder statesman Edwin Clark has cautioned against calls for cessation in some parts of the country.

Clark told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that calls for cessation in some quarters were not the solution to the country’s problems.

He said he did not believe in Nigeria’s breakup in spite of rising insecurity and economic challenges in the country.

According to him, rather than fan the embers of war by making cessation calls, workable strategies should be evolved to solve the problem of insecurity and other challenges making life unbearable for Nigerians.

“Nigeria will remain one. Some of us do not believe in the call for cessation. Where do we go to, who are we leaving the country for, who owns it.

“We cannot flee, where do we go. Though I am seeing this danger but I do not believe that Nigeria will split.

“Recently 17 Southern governors met and they also agreed that Nigeria will remain one. They are not just PDP but also APC governors.

“Even during the civil war in 1967, we never believed Nigeria would break up and the war eventually ended in 1970.

“That was the nearest we got to breaking up but Nigeria did not break up,” he said.

The elder statesman called for restructuring rather than call for break up.

He referred to reports of the 2014 National Conference and the committee headed by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, saying the recommendations would go a long way.

He said, “all we are saying is that we should restructure the country. Let us devolve power to the states. They should be the federating units.

“We should refer to the 2014 National Conference report of over 600 recommendations. We do not need to convoke another confab.

“The confab report in addition to what APC produced under Gov. Nasir El-rufai’s committee are enough to create a true federal system of government in Nigeria.”

Clark stressed that unless Nigeria returned to a federal system of government, as obtained in 1963, the restructuring process would not be complete.

“Let us have a federal system of government as we had in 1963. Once that is done, there will be peace in Nigeria. With that, every region will have a State Police.

“So, the only cure to the problem of insecurity in Nigeria is to return to the 1963 Constitution with a few amendments.”

He further said, “I have been in politics for about 70 years in this country and I have seen it all.

“In 1960, there was the Independent Constitution, drawn up in Britain by the Whites and Nigerians.

“They agreed that this country has more than 250 ethnic nationalities, therefore a unitary form of government will not work and that there should be a federation which we had.

“The 1960 constitution made it that every region had its own constitution and develop at their own pace and keep half of what is developed in their area.

“That was why Obafemi Awolowo was able to develop the West because we had the cocoa boom at the time. The price of cocoa was very high in the international market.

“So he was able to introduce free primary education which other regions could not do at the time.”

He blamed the military for the present economic and security challenges faced by Nigerians, saying the military changed into a unitary form of government.

“Aguiyi Ironsi changed this country into a unitary government.

“It continued until the Army handed over in 1999 and they left behind a unitary form of constitution.

“That is why we are facing so much problem as a nation and that is why we are calling for restructuring,” he said.

On attacks on schools, Clark called for provision of security in and around schools through the building of fences and adequate surveillance.

He said that it might not be possible to guard all schools with the few number of security men in the country.

He advised that vigilantes could be employed to provide the Police with necessary information in the case of attempted attacks.

He, however, kicked against mounting surveillance cameras in schools, saying, “it will not work unless the people are ready to prevent kidnapping and other forms of attacks in schools.

“Even if we mount CCTVs they will be compromised as has happened on different occasions in some parts of the country.(NAN

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja
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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.

 

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Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates

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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Defence and Security

Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading

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Federal House of Representatives
Federal House of Representatives
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A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

 

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