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Elections may not hold in Nigeria if security threats persists, CAN, Vision Africa, Warn



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The president, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle and the president, Vision Africa (VA), Bishop Sunday Onuoha have warned that elections may not hold in Nigeria come 2023 if insecurity is not addressed.

Both religious leaders stated this at the Inclusive Security Dialogue (ISD), organised by Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa with a focus on “steps to violence-free elections” ahead of 2023.

According to the CAN president, security chiefs must educate those under them to prioritise the future of Nigeria over the selfish interests of politicians who want to use them as tools against peaceful elections.

He warned politicians to shelve their desperation to win elections and therefore advised Nigerians to take note of the money bags whose statements are that of desperation and desist from voting for such individuals.

He said, “This is the right time to do whatever we need to do to make sure that elections in 2023 are not a threat. The election that is to be won is not about any political party, it is about the future of Nigerians so if you put a mischief there because of your excessive love for your party, then you put Nigerians in great harm.

“Let us reject the money bags whose hands are soiled in corruption, who have wealth in excess that they cannot explain how they got it.

“We have the power of our votes to reject them this time around. Let us shine our eyes and not follow the crowd, let us be very deliberate when we are going to vote, don’t just follow political party; I am looking forward to the total emancipation of Nigerians to the point that we will look beyond political party when we want to vote, but the quality of the individual that each political party is presenting.
“It will go beyond ethnicity, religion, but zero in on the quality of that individual. We should look at their antecedence before committing our future into their hands with our votes.

“Insecurity, if it is not taken care of, there will be no election in 2023. In the present state we are, I see politicians more concerned about declaring interest. Which nation are you going to rule in 2023? Are you sure that the bandits and terrorists will not overwhelm us before 2023 the way things are going?

“Care must be taken to ensure that security agencies do not bamboozle anyone during the election and let us also plead with security chiefs to educate those under them not to destroy Nigeria by being used by any politician to carry out their personal interests.”

He stated that INEC must be seen to be transparent, unbiased and fair and adhere to the electoral laws strictly and not use them to manipulate or suit any individual, adding that background checks must be done for the ad-hoc staff that would be used for the elections.

He commended the government and the National Assembly for the passing of the electoral act into law which is a step in the right direction towards ensuring a free and fair election, but said that it is not enough in ensuring free and fair elections. “The party in power must be sincere in ensuring level playing ground for all contestants for the forthcoming 2023 general elections, ” he further said

The President, Vision Africa and Facilitator of the ISD, Bishop Sunday Onuoha on his part, emphasised the need to expand the list of stakeholders – leaders and influencers of the polity, in brainstorming solutions to a violence and crisis-free election.

He stressed the need to invest time in promoting a culture of peace in this time when the fortified walls and mechanism gates do not protect the elite.
He said that Nigeria under this insecurity stands the risk of not holding a fair election come 2023.

“The circulation of small arms and light weapons is contributing to the security challenge we have today. We must de-escalate tension and invest our time in promoting a culture of peace and not that of violence.

“It has become difficult to travel around the country due to insecurity. Fortified walls and highly mechanized gates do not protect the elite anymore.
“Faith leaders and traditional rulers are being kidnapped, and some are even killed. How can anyone conduct any meaningful election under this kind of insecurity?
“Poverty and unemployment could mar our elections because many have seen politics as a time to collect from the candidates.

“Our farmlands are not safe, our railways are not safe, our highways are not safe, and now, our airports are not safe either. We must be careful not to wake up one day to hear that non-state actors have blocked Mr. President from coming out of the villa.
“As of today, most of our national leaders no longer go back to their villages. Many are now Abuja-based, but even Abuja is no more a safe haven. Our fortified walls and mechanized gates will do little to ward off a well-calculated and organized band of marauders.
“We do not need a 4-year degree course of study to end the wanton destruction that threatens to destroy our heritage!

“Our children are at home and away from learning and catching up with their peers around the world, and we are politicizing their future over very petty and flimsy arguments.
“We may never be able to fully assess the psychological impact of these recurrent and counter-productive ASUU strikes, as it continues to endanger the future of our young and truncate their ambitions and life goals.

“To tackle these problems, first and foremost, we must deliberately choose to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. “Men of good conscience and consciousness must rise above ethnic sentiments and religious fanaticism to address these bedeviling challenges as our common enemy. Regardless of which region we were born in (a factor none of us could control), we all have the same basic needs, and we all feel pain and hurt the same way.

“In dealing with the security situation in Nigeria, we must stop ethnicising it. Criminals and extremists are found in every ethnic group and there are also men of good character in every ethnic group.
“Let men of goodwill from every part of our country come together for the sake of our shared humanity, because without one, the other suffers, ” the cleric said.

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HIV service delivery: SFH trains security agents on human rights, inclusion, diversity




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The Society for Family Health(SFH) has expressed its appreciation to law enforcement agencies in the country for their commitment to the partnership with the organization.

The Managing Director, Dr. Omokhudu Idogho gave the indication in a goodwill message at a 3-day training workshop organized by SFH for the law enforcement officers held at Chatwell Hotel on Monday in Bauchi.

The sensitization workshop focused on general health issues, gender diversity and human rights as they relates to the survival of the key populations.

The MD who was represented by Chief of Party, KP-CARE2 Project of the SFH, Mallam Abdulsamad Salihu said law enforcement agencies have shown serious commitment to their partnership with his organization.

He disclosed that the officers have been part and parcel of the organization’s activities over the years especially as it relates to public health programming, HIV and AIDS service implementation and extraordinary general security provisions.

He said, “It is with no doubt that our gallant law enforcement personnel have been through considerable tests of their resolve by the significant increase in criminal activities in the country, especially because of the challenges with poverty, inflation, banditry and insurgency

In his words, “We also know that over 200 million Nigerians rely on the law enforcement agencies for their security and livelihoods, many of which are also supported by SFH.”

In his address, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, CP Auwal Mohammed Musa disclosed that gender inequality is not a new concept but that their pervasiveness has brought them to international focus.

He pointed out that the police force as an institution is a major stakeholder in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, guided by its mandate to maintaining peace and uphold fundamental rights to freedom.

The police boss further explained that every individual deserves safety and respect, but that the scourge of rape and defilement are curbed, and that women and girl child and boys can live their lives free from fear, intimidation and harassment.

He expressed the hope that the training program would facilitate a smooth police service delivery and improve the areas of gender sensitivity in the Force.

In his speech, the Zonal Commander of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Zone B, Idris Mohammed Bello thanked the Society for Family Health for its commitment to confronting the HIV menace over the years and the benefits therein.

The NDLEA boss expressed the belief that participants will leave the training better equipped to stem the problem due to the increased knowledge they will acquire from the training.

Bello also explained that it was the second time he would be attending the Society for Family Health sensitization training for officers with his strong belief that the participants will live with the takeaway and even impact the knowledge on others.

Other agencies in attendance at the training included the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC), Hisbah Corps, representatives of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC), heads of State AIDS Control Agencies(SACAs) and representations from KP-led Community-Based Organizations(CBOs) among others.

The training attracted officers from the North West and North East regions comprising Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba and host Bauchi states.

About 40,000 vulnerable individuals received care from the project with support from the United States Agency for International (USAID) and the Nigerian government.

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DSS alerts Nigerians against potential threats at crowded gatherings




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To avoid “potential threats” that may result from Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) in crowded places or suspicious locations, the Department of State Services (DSS), on Friday, cautioned Nigerians across the country to stay away.

The DSS in its message to both Christian and Muslim faithful to felicitate with them at their Lenten and upcoming Ramadan seasons respectively, said the advice became imperative in order to live in a peaceful environment.

The spokesman of the secret police, Peter Afunanya also cautioned clerics from both religions, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations.

“Residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” Afunanya said, stressing that the service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace.

“Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.”

According to him, the DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites, that is why it enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

The secret police spokesman said, “Accordingly, the Management extends its heartfelt felicitations for peace, unity and harmony to adherents of these faiths. The DSS recognises the significance of these sacred rites and enjoins worshippers to promote understanding, compassion and respect for one another during and after the exercises.

“It appeals to stakeholders to refrain from economic exploitation, sabotage or profiteering during these important obligations. This is more so that illegal practices such as price gouging or unethical marketing tactics are ungodly; violate fairness and can undermine the true essence of the holy events.

“As believers, it is incumbent upon us to uphold good standards and ensure that everyone can observe the religious duties with ease and dignity. Furthermore, the Service encourages clerics and religious leaders to uphold empathy as well as prioritise cooperation and conflict prevention beyond the periods under reference.

“Similarly, the media is encouraged to utilise their platforms to foster informed and accurate engagements that (can) enhance the achievement of national security objectives and interests.

“Likewise, residents are advised to remain vigilant against public dangers especially Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Also, the general public is urged to stay informed about potential threats; avoid crowded or suspicious areas and report to relevant security agencies any strange objects, activities and movements of hostile elements.

“In the same vein, the Service calls for tolerance, bonds of brotherhood, dialogue and peaceful coexistence among the populace. Overall, the Service recommits to provision of strategic intelligence to other sister agencies in order to achieve a safe and secure country.

“As we undertake these spiritual journeys in the Lenten and Ramadan periods, let us remember to love and share the values that unite us. Let us reaffirm our commitment to the values of mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, being our brother’s keepers among others and by these, advance more inclusive and equitable society for us all.”

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Clamour for State Police gains traction at security conference




Solomon Arase
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***As Arase recommends citizens’ engagement

***Wike expresses confidence that efforts against insecurity in FCT is yielding results

The chairman Police Service commission Dr. Solomon Arase on Thursday recommended citizens’ engagement in the fight against criminality through a multi-faceted approach that involves building trust, empowering citizens and fostering a sense of shared responsibility for public safety.
Arase’s recommendation was made in a paper titled: “Strenghtening Security: Engaging Citizens in Nigeria’s fight against crime and criminality” which he presented at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)/New Star Newspaper organised National Security Comference on Thursday, at the NAF Conference Center, Abuja

proffered a lasting solution to the heightened security challenges in the country that has almost defied all possible solution,
“By implementing initiatives such as community policing forums, crime reporting apps, and neighborhood watch programs, communities can work together with law enforcement to prevent crime and create safer, more vibrant neighborhoods.
There are several initiatives that can be implemented to engage the citizenry in crime fighting, including Community Policing Fora therough Establishment of community policing fora where citizens can meet with law enforcement officials to discuss crime trends, share information, and collaborate on crime prevention strategies.
Accoeding to him, the fora can help build trust and cooperation between the community and law enforcement and empower citizens to take an active role in crime prevention.
Another initiatives Crime Reporting Apps is in developing mobile applications that allow citizens to report crimes anonymously and securely. “These apps can provide a platform for citizens to share information about suspicious activities, crimes, and other concerns with law enforcement, helping to improve response times and reduce crime rates.

Neighborhood Watch Programs he said encourage citizens to form neighborhood watch programs to monitor and report suspicious activities in their communities.
He said, the programs can help deter criminals and provide an extra layer of security for residents.
Explaining further he indicated that Education and Awareness Campaigns is crucial to inform citizens about crime prevention strategies, importance of reporting crimes, and how to stay safe.
“These campaigns can be conducted through community meetings, social media, and other channels.

“Establishing volunteer programs that allow citizens to contribute to crime prevention efforts. Volunteers can assist law enforcement with tasks such as patrolling neighborhoods, conducting safety audits, and organizing community events.
“Organizing citizen patrols where trained volunteers patrol neighborhoods and report suspicious activities to law enforcement. These patrols can help deter criminal behavior and provide a visible presence in the community.
He canvassed for engaging young people in crime prevention efforts through initiatives such as youth mentorship programs, after-school activities, and community service projects. “These programs can help keep young people engaged and provide them with positive outlets for their energy and creativity.
Other solutions he said should include establishing victim support services that provide counseling, legal assistance, and other support to crime victims and their families.
“These services can help victims recover from the trauma of crime and provide them with the resources they need to rebuild their lives.
He reiterated the need to encourag citizens to participate in civic activities such as town hall meetings, community cleanups, and local government initiatives.
“This can help foster a sense of community and collective responsibility for crime prevention.
“Forming partnerships between law enforcement, businesses, and community organizations to develop and implement crime prevention strategies can leverage resources and expertise from multiple sectors to address crime more effectively.
The former inspector General of police said the fight against crime in Nigeria is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including government agencies, law enforcement, community leaders, and individual citizens. While progress has been made in some areas, such as the establishment of specialized agencies and the implementation of targeted interventions, much work remains to be done to address the root causes of crime and create a safer and more secure environment for all Nigerians.

“One of the key lessons learned from the experiences of other countries is the importance of engaging the citizenry in crime prevention efforts.
“Initiatives such as community policing, neighborhood watch programs, and crime reporting apps can empower citizens to take an active role in keeping their communities safe.
“By building trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the community, these initiatives can help reduce crime rates and improve public safety.
He also canvassed for the underlying socioeconomic factors that contribute to crime are addressed for long-term success.
“This includes investing in education, job creation, and social support programs that provide individuals with alternatives to a life of crime. Strengthening governance and the rule of law, promoting transparency and accountability, and addressing corruption are also essential for creating an environment where crime cannot thrive.
“Finally, it is important to recognize that crime prevention is a shared responsibility that requires the collaboration of all stakeholders.
“This includes government agencies, law enforcement, community organizations, businesses, and individual citizens. By working together, we can create a safer and more secure Nigeria for future generations.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesome Wike in his welcome address acknowledged that over the past few months, the nation’s capital has faced its fair share of security challenges, as have many regions across our great nation.
Represented by the acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry Dr. Shamsu Yahaya said, news, especially of kidnappings and the infamous “one chance” commercial car robberies made headline news.

“I am however pleased to report that through concerted efforts and the dedication of our security agencies, we have made significant strides in addressing these challenges.
“Our approach has been multifaceted, combining robust law enforcement measures with proactive community engagement initiatives.
“Furthermore, we have prioritized community-oriented policing approaches, fostering trust, and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. By empowering local stakeholders and investing in grassroots initiatives, we have cultivated a culture of vigilance and resilience at the grassroots level.

“My tour of the six Area Councils has galvanized the populace and reassured them that they are not alone in this fight to safeguard their lives and property.
“Nevertheless, our work is far from over. As we gather here today, let us reaffirm our collective commitment to safeguarding our nation’s security and advancing our development agenda.

He concluded saying he would like all and sundry to leverage the insights shared during the conference to formulate robust policies, forge strategic partnerships, and mobilize resources toward a safer, more prosperous future for all Nigerians.

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