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Plateau massacre: Senate identifies failure of intelligence

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***Summons security, defence chiefs for questioning

The Senate has indicated that the massacre of scores of Nigerians in Plateau on the eve of Christmas was due to failing of intelligence.

The upper legislative chamber expressed disappointment that, security of lives and property, which is the most important constitutional responsibility of government, is suffering serious threats.

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, disclosed at a special session on Saturday that because of the very co-ordinated nature of the killings,  it is clear that intelligence failed.

During a brief debate on the killings, Senators took turn to lament the helplessness from security agencies before and during the killings.

Accordingly, the Senate has summoned heads of key security agencies including the Chiefs of Army and Air Staffs, the Chief of Defence Staff, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Director General of the Department of Security Services,  (DSS), Inspector of Police, the Director general of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency  (NIA).

Contributing to a motion sponsored by  Senator Diiket  Plang (APC, Plateau Central), it was revealed that the killings were so strategically planned that weapons were kept in the affected villages long before the day of the attack.

Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Plateau State) disclosed that his findings revealed that those who carried out the killings did so in collaboration with locals.

He expressed shock that prior information on the attack was ignored.

Ningi who is also the chairman of Northern Senators Forum, informed his colleagues that his visit to and findings in Plateau State showed lack of synergy among security agencies.

Ningi said: “I was in Bauchi for the Chrismas holiday when the news broke out and instantly on behalf of the Northern Senators Forum I moved into Plateau, had two sessions with the Governor of Plateau State before paying a courtesy call on some members of the forum as to the gravity of what happened in Bokkos.
“What happened in Bokkos is unprecedented, when you have a catchment of Bandits over 400 of them moving at a go and when I sat with the governor the stories I heard were mind bugging.
“First there was a rumor of this attack, secondly the governor tried to make this information available but they did not take him seriously.
“I was in Jos University Teaching Hospital and I could see 18months old baby with bullet wounds. This is unprecedented. “Until we see the importance of security in this country we will never move forward. We need to urgently call the security agents to order as there is no synergy among them.
“As we speak Plateau State government is in dire need because right now they are settling more than 150, 000 IDPs, they are feeding them.
“The entire security architecture of the State failed. What we have discovered is that these marauding bandits did not come with weapons, those weapons were actually domiciled in certain locations, all they did was to come and pick them.
“That means there is something behind what is happening in plateau. Who are these people and where are they doing it because if you go there from the outside you will think it is a religious war, no. There is something behind it that this Senate need to unravel.
“It is a very terrible phenomenon. We have forgotten our minds, the carnage you see in a small village, with small differences people will kill fellow human beings in their dozens and it does not prick their conscience.
“What I have also discovered after spending 72hours, the little information about those bandits, they are not living around the communities. Somebody imported them. Somebody escorted them. “They don’t even know the terrain, they were led by some people who know the terrain. And when you look at the communities, the Christain and Muslims are interwoven.
“Their communities are intermixed. In a boundary like this we have Christains and Muslims. What happened on the Christmas Eve is something that needs to be investigated by security agencies and it should not be rhetoric. Anybody who is assigned responsibility as a security chief and he can not deliver he must be sent out.”
Former governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, rejected the argument that difficult terrain and distance made swift intervention impossible.

Lalong said: “Yes I will not say I will not start with Palteau, I will say it is something that is entirely on the Northern States.
“By virtue of the privilege to be the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, for four years, when there were similar things all over the country but with particular reference to Plateau I had the report from the military this morning.
“I must say that I was disappointed because part of it was that, they couldn’t deal with the situation in Mangu and Bokkos because of proximity and also the terrain.
“I ask the question for a military there is nothing like terrain or distance. In plateau state because of crises we have proliferation of outfits, we have operation save heaven, all by the state government, we have operation Rainbow funded by the State Government, that is increase in the capacity.

“Where was the Airforce, where were Helicopters? Today we discourse about Tucano, we discourse about drones, drones are available. My spirit is that we must first of all deal with the criminals before we come back to deal with the internal situation.
“Like every society we have religious conflicts and differences. We have ethnic conflicts and differences but when a dimension like this comes into effect it calls for the attention of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because the killings that were done were carried out in systematic manner but as we move in I don’t think that the role of the military is always to employ Kinetic.
“We discussed and concluded that as much as they go into Kinetic they must also dwell on non Kinetic measures in settling disputes in this situation.
“This information is not the first, this attack is not the first, always on Christmas Eve. So as we move into this kind of thing I want to support the bill that could not sail through last time, we are still bringing it back again.
“The role of traditional rulers in security. Let us give them constitutional roles and we always talk about state police when we have traditional rulers that can always produce solution to this kind of thing.
The law failed last tome, I will represent the bill and with the help of the senate.”
The Senate therefore resolved to send a high powered delegation to Plateau State to condole with the government and the good people of the State and also visit the victims

It urged the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and NEMA to direct its agencies to provide relief materials to the victims of the crises with immediate effect to enable them relocate back to their homes and decongest the IDP camp.

The upper legislative chamber urged the IGP to establish a mopol Barack situated at Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State and also the Chief of Defense Staff to establish a mobile military in Magu LGA which is a border point and an entry root for the criminals to commit crime and escape freely
The senate also urged the Nigerian Military to deploy intelligence and Aerial surveillance in the affected Local Governments of Plateau State and its environs
It also urged the minister of Solid Mineral Development to immediately take action in putting a check on illegal miners and minning activities in the country especialky in the affected regions

It urged the Palteau State Government to strenghen the environmental minning laws to check the excesses of illegal miners in the State
The senate demanded that the plateau State Government must upscale dialogue between traditional rulers and religious leaders especially in the affected crises areas using non Kinetic solutions to finding solution to the crises.

It urged the State to issue such other directives as may be expedient in the circumstance to ensure compliance with this resolusion.

Legislature

Afeez Kilani declares to contest NASSLAF chairmanship

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***Says he is most experienced having gone through the ranks

Alhaji Prince Afeez Kilani, senior Legislative Aide to distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai has officially declared to contest for the chairmanship position of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF)
Kilani who hails from Shaki west in Oyo State, South west Nigeria said he would bring his wealth of experience to bare by improving on the welfare of Legislative Aids.
“I have been here since the year 2015. I got here as a legislative Assistant, that is LA2 and because of thr level of dedication my boss promoted me to LA1 in 2019.
“Now I am the SLA to the distinguished senator Buhari Abdulfatai, he is a third time Senator in the Nigerian senate.
“With this carrier progression, coupled with my experience in the National Assembly, at least I have run through the ranks of the aides of the National Assembly.
“I think I am in the best position to understand the yearnings and the needed welfare of the legislative aides because I have gone through the ranks of the legislative aids.
“We don’t want a situation whereby an aide or a chairman will be elected and he will not understand what other legislative aides are going through.
He said there is no need to elect a chairman that will not understand the pains, the feelings and yearnings of Legislative aides.
He said he is a reflection, a manifest example of a leader who has gone through the ranks of legislative aid because, “I started my carrier as an SL2 but now I am the SLA so there is nothing that any legislative aide is going through that I don’t understand.
“With that understanding, I am in the best position pilot the affairs of the national Assembly legislative aides. If you give me your support, I am going to serve you better.”
On how he would be able to use diplomacy to settle disagreement with the management of the National Assembly when it arises, he said, “We are in the 21st century, and as a lawyer there is what is called alternative dispute resolution. In labour law, it is very important that confrontation, protests should be the last thing, should be on the last burner.
‘The first thing is negotiation, good approach to issues, we are in a democratic era. It is when all that fails that we can adopt confrontation which we are not going to even adopt.
“I know with my skills as a lawyer for more than 11 years of experience, it is not going to be difficult for me to meet with management to convince them of the reason why they should take care of us.”

Chairman of the Southwest National Assembly Legislative Forum, Ogumawola Ebeneza, said, “As you can see the ovation is laud because we have gone through rigorous screening and Southwest as a leading zone when it comes to affairs of the NASSLAF we have then everything in to consideration and we decided one voice to queue behind our own Barr.Hafiz Kelani as our candidate
The DG said the aides need a new lease of life.
“We are tired of recirculation of warn out leaders. We don’t want people that have been circulating themselves since the 5th Assembly.
“You have heard the voice of the aides, the first timers, and the semi first timers and we have decided as the South West zone we have decided to put our own, some one who’s door will be opened, who will not stay in the office wanting people to come and meet him.
“He is someone that will go round to know the needs and yearnings of the aides. This is the man we are looking for. This is the reason we are doing to stand by him, He is not for South West but for all the zones.
Olusola Olugbami AKA maintain said they need Somebody that will do what others have not been able to do, you know in the South West, we don’t take the back seat.
“Whenever we said we have resolved to do something that is what we will do. This is our candidate and by the grace of God, he is going to emerge victorious.

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Legislature

Senate panel quizzes Bakari as NFIU Boss

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The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes has on Monday quizzed Hafsat Bakari as the Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU).

President Bola Tinubu last week appointed Bakari as the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, pending her confirmation by the Senate.

By the appointment Bakari is to replace Modibbo Tukur who was relieved of his job by President Tinubu in June 2023.
Bakari is a lawyer and financial intelligence expert with years of experience in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing said she has “enough experience to discharge he duties”
Before her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of the NFIU, she served as Deputy Director at the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, and was at different times the Head of the General Services Unit; Head of the Strategy and Reorientation Unit, and Head of the Board Secretariat of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In a chat with newsmen after the screening, the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Emmanuel Menga Udende expresses that Ms. Bakare will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to bare in the discharge of her mandate in this critical role, especially in view of the President Bola Tinubu’s war against illicit financial flows and other sharp practices currently prevalent in segments of the nation’s foreign exchange markets”
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) a creation of the National Assembly is the Nigerian federal agency responsible for collecting and analyzing disclosures from reporting organizations, in order to produce financial intelligence to other agencies combating money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
The NFIU was established in 2004 as an autonomous unit within the central coordinating body for the country’s Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist Financing, and Counter-Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) framework of Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).
It also operates as part of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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Imo North senator advocates for regional Governmment, police

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**Wants each regional Government to oversee its development commission

The senator representing Imo North Senatorial District Ndubueze Patrick Chiwuba has advocated for Regional Government and Regional Police Force as against the cloud for State Police.

Speaking on the heels of the passage of the bill for the establishment of the South East Development Commission senator Chiwuba described the politics of Regional Development commissions that has become a cash cow for some Nigerians as a welcome development as it will soon lead him to sponsor a bill for Regional Government

According him when each region is given its own Developmwnt Commission, it is another form of restructuring

“I’ll be happy, I’m supporting that 100%. After that I can bring up my bill.

“You know when people talk of restructuring, people see it in a different way. You understand? God can bless Nigeria from different angles. 

“Let us have regional governments to superintend over all these commissions so that nobody will now go and appropriate it to himself. 

“So what am I looking for? The restructuring has gotten it. So it is a very wonderful work. For me, when I saw the other regional commissions, I started preparing my bill for regional government.

“So what I’m trying to say is, it is a good omen. Every region should have it. And you are deriving money from the federal. Now, if you derive from the federal, those places where people can augment their own commission, they will go and augment and move ahead. “Others may copy them. And as such, what do we do there will be regional competition so that States do not need to go cap in hand to the Federal Government to share allocation

“So, my next bill, after we have gotten the commissions, will be a bill for us to adopt regional government. And the regional government will superintend over the commissions.
“If any, somebody can be held responsible by the people of the area. But when the chairman of the board is appointed from the federal level, he is not accountable to the area, the region, because he is not appointed by the people. The people don’t have authority to remove them or to replace them.
“So they behave like emperors because it’s only the federal that can call them to order. You understand? And if the federal wants to call them to order, their relations will go to plead on their behalf

“But when the regional government superintend over such and they are elected, you know what it means? So once you are doing bad either they recall you, or they remove you, or they make sure that your tenure is not renewed. 
Also speaking on the issue of the state police he said he is not an apostle of  state police but Regional.
He said the regional police will not be accountable to any particular governor. No person will use the regional police to fight his enemy, political enemy. 

But state police, people can use it to fight their enemy, but regional, nobody can, because the governors of the region will come together to provide funding
When it comes to regional police, it will derive its power from the region there, no single person can use them.

For now, the appointments, both the board and others are coming from the federal. And when they are appointed, they will recognize every state. That’s one. Two, the chairman and the executive members will be rotated from time to time.
On whether President Tinubu will assent to the South East Development Commission bill he said, “&I ’m not seeing any hindrance. Rather, it’s going to improve our politics in a better sense. What we need is development. What we need is freedom to operate. And that’s what the South is asking for – freedom to operate. 
“Once we have freedom to operate, the sky is the beginning, it’s not our limit. And every other part of the nation will benefit.
“If you go down the history, you know when we had regional governments? The South East was rated as the fastest growing economy in the world. Go and Google. During the regional government headed by Michael Okpara, the South East was rated as the fastest growing economy in the whole world. Now, since after the civil war, the South East had been abandoned. That’s why you see people crying of marginalization.

“First of all, we thank God for a day like this, that we can be happy, joyful, and glorify Him for the passage of this bill. And we thank the National Assembly for passing the bill as well.

“We are thanking Mr. President in advance for assenting to this Bill, because I know he will assent to the Bill. So it’s a good thing, it’s a good omen, not just for the South East, but for the nation Nigeria.

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