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Beyond nationwide ban on motorcycles – The Guardian



The proposed nationwide ban on the operation of motorcycles as a means of transportation and a blanket ban on mining activities nationwide is another evidence of the failure of leadership, absence of deep analysis in policy making and a narrow-minded focus on symptoms rather than causes of the security challenges in Nigeria.

The proposal is not only an apparent panicky measure, it signposts yet another over-simplistic measure to resolve overnight, a problem that built up over at least the past 40 years.

Surely okada as a phenomenon of public transportation in Nigeria happened gradually but steadily as a natural way to fill a void of organised means of transportation; no thanks to official neglect of a sector so critical to the economy and social wellbeing of the ordinary Nigerian.

All over the world where government and governance exist in the real sense of it, somebody thinks of how to facilitate mass movement of people.

This requirement is even more critical in Nigeria where people’s livelihood is linked directly with their mobility capacity, as workplaces are usually a distance from residential areas; but governments at all levels failed to respond, or respond adequately to this vital necessity, giving vent to the conversion of motorcycles to commercial means of transportation now employing millions of able-bodied young Nigerians including graduates of tertiary institutions who are denied decent employment.

No doubt, commercial motorcycles, or okada in popular parlance, have over the years constituted more menace than they have provided good services despite intermittent attempts by various governments to regulate them. They are used to perpetrate violent crimes such as armed robbery, because of the ease of getaway in a country of bad roads, clumsy topography and town planning.

Lately, this menace has heightened as terrorists and insurgents now freely use okada to launch deadly attacks on hapless Nigerians and escape with ease.

In addition, the operators are notorious for reckless driving that has, directly and indirectly, caused the untimely deaths of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians; and overstretched health facilities to the extent that major hospitals devote wards substantially to okada-induced accidents. Many Nigerians have been permanently disabled from these accidents.

Therefore, a proposal to rid the country permanently of these vices ordinarily ought to be exciting; but such a proposal cannot be implemented by fiat without dangerously complicating the old problems and creating multiple fresh problems.

Government is expected to bring to the table a holistic set of measures to eradicate the vices caused by okada, engage meaningfully countless operators that will be affected, and provide alternative means of transportation to teeming commuters, among other things.

As part of measures to find solutions to the lingering security challenges, the National Security Council met in Abuja. Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami said the Council was considering banning the use of motorcycles, popularly called Okada in the country. He also said mining activities would be banned on security grounds. According to him, “placing a ban on the use of motorcycles and mining activities will cut the supply of logistics to the terrorists.”

However, finding solutions to the embarrassing security breaches in the country goes beyond cosmetic measures to a holistic rejigging of the security architecture and provision of the right economic, political and structural environment for the citizenry.

Expectedly, there have been many reactions to the proposed ban with the majority of commentators and sectoral interests criticising the move. The Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere described the government’s proposal as “evidence that deep or scientific thinking does not characterise how decisions are arrived at in the corridors of power… to suppose that banning these activities would put a stop to terrorism is not only wishful thinking, it amounts to an induced self-delusion that can only complicate the ailment that one is suffering from. Pursuing that line is leaving the substance to chase the shadow.”

One of the associations directly affected, Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycles Owners, Repairers and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) has warned that the proposed ban will throw 40 million Nigerians into the job market and create a worse monster than terrorism.

Malami during his announcement acknowledged that it would affect about 20 per cent of Nigerians. That would mean about 40 million of the estimated population of about 200 million. But the Attorney General said they should take it as a sacrifice to guarantee security in Nigeria. This is too much sacrifice to the demand of 40 million Nigerians without any reciprocal incentive for the hapless Nigerians. Beyond that, they would be sacrificing for a policy that is not guaranteed to solve the problem of insecurity.

But the posers from ACOMORAN are worth addressing. The association had asked:
*If 10 million of these 40 million people they plan to render jobless take to crime, can the government contain them?

*If you attribute the movement of terrorists to motorcycles, don’t criminals operate with vehicles?

*When terrorists regrettably attacked Kuje Prison, was it the motorcycle riders that caused the failure of intelligence gathering?

*If they rode motorcycles there, how were they able to beat all the security checkpoints to get to such a fortified facility?

*Are motorcycles also responsible for the late re-enforcement?

These questions may appear self-serving and intended to protect their businesses but they also contain some iota of truth that belies the thoughtfulness of the panicky ban.

A different set of reasons could be marshalled to justify the ban on Okada. In the first place, it is an aberration to rely on as a modern means of transportation rather than an integrated multi-modal means of transportation that will eliminate the need for Okada.

Also, a sincere and concerted effort to improve power supply to the populace will remove a large chunk of Okada riders who resorted to that trade because poor electricity supply precluded them from pursuing more respectable employment.

We refer to artisans like welders, barbers, refrigerator repairers and similar trades that thrive on a constant power supply. There is a large army of unemployed youth who ordinarily would not have considered Okada riding if there are other means of employment. These challenges are the root causes of the burgeoning Okada business. Remove these root causes and the country will not need a formal ban on Okada. It will become unattractive and consequently less problematic.

The argument about banning mining is equally specious. Having abandoned that sector because of a booming petrol dollar, it is time to take back the mines from all comers.

Serious management of the mining sector through legal and regulatory frameworks and the enforcement of extant regulatory frameworks will do the magic. Take back the mines instead of banning them. This should also extend to other neglected sectors such as agriculture, a potential mass employer who gave the right policy, implementation and a conducive environment devoid of killings and harassment by herdsmen.

In sum, banning Okada nationwide and banning mining is a panicky suggestion. It will not address the fundamental causes of banditry and terrorism in Nigeria. Only a well-thought-out plan and faithful implementation devoid of corruption and primordial sentiments can tackle Nigeria’s security challenges.

(The Guardian)

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Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah
1. Permit me to begin this address by expressing my immense gratitude to God. I am also most grateful to the great people of Enugu State for the opportunity they have given me to serve them as their governor. I will forever be grateful to you for this honour.
2. Let me also thank all those who contributed to the success of this governorship struggle. It began as a tiny conception, as small as the mustard seed. Today, it has acquired a life of its own. Time constrains me from naming all of you, one by one, who contributed to the maturation of this idea. However, let me be quick to put on record the invaluable contributions of the immediate past governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi, Gburugburu The Great, to what we are celebrating today. Posterity will certainly be kind to you for your deep sense of patriotism. To you all, I remain forever grateful.
3. Today is a historic day in the life of Ndi Enugu. Again, providence is placing Enugu State at the threshold of history. As offspring and heirs of a great historical heritage, we are aware of our proud and lofty past.  Right on this soil, our forebears worked relentlessly for the greatness of Nigeria. We are inheritors of centuries of pedigree of a hardworking, industrious and brave Igbo race. Our forebears toiled to produce the coal that powered Europe and grew her economy, extracting the black gold locked inside the bowels of the earth.
4. We thus cannot be repositories of this great history and yet be laden with poverty and want. It will be unacceptable for us to be heritages of those massive resources that are still buried in the bowels of our soil and yet be trapped in underdevelopment. It is a contradiction of immense proportion which we are poised to unravel.
5. We cannot afford to delink from our glorious past. The soil of Enugu boasted of a retinue of great leaders and committed followers. The legendary Dr. Michael Okpara, whose astounding leadership qualities later got celebrated, decades after, in Ivy League universities like Stanford, demonstrated the component of his leadership ability right here on the soil of Enugu. The soil of Enugu has always been a fertile ground for the growth of leadership. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akanu Ibiam, and others who administered Igboland, right from this soil of Enugu, exhibited memorable leadership, aided by the great support offered them by our people. They administered a great people who gave their leadership abilities ample and fertile soil to flourish and flower.  These are the testaments that point to the fact that greatness runs in our DNA. This is the sort of greatness that the soil of Enugu breeds.
6. For six months, I traversed the length and breadth of Enugu State visiting the 68 development centres that make up this land of history. During this time, I listened to you, saw your challenges in the midst of considerable resources and felt your pains, but I saw that you remained hopeful of a better tomorrow.
7. Two very instructive anecdotes explain the future that is here today for Ndi Enugu. One is the narrative of an imaginary youth, whom I shall call Emeka, who plies his craft right here on the soil of Enugu State. Like many young men who struggle with existential survival issues in Nigeria, life was becoming an excruciating and lost battle to Emeka. He had gone through the unease of struggling to study and here he was, with a certificate that looked worthless. So Emeka decided to join the now popular Japa movement. Life must be blooming on the other side of Europe, he thought. So he was enfolded into a ship that travels on the Mediterranean. Hope was beginning to build in him. As the ship taking him to a new life he had conjured, that hope suddenly evaporated. The ship sunk and the Mediterranean Sea swallowed Emeka and his lofty dream.
8. Conversely is the other youth whom I shall call Ikechukwu. Like Emeka, life was troubling for him too. He scarcely could make ends meet. He also struggled to go through school. Life was tough. However, he suddenly woke up to the creative genie in him. Ikechukwu, with friends on Ogui Road, was able to develop an app and before he knew it, entered his creative genius products in a global contest. All of a sudden, he won a prize in Dubai and the World stood still for that hitherto hopeless boy previously roaming the streets of Enugu.
9. The above anecdotes spoke to the power of ideas, as against the escapist belief in the redemptive power of Japa. The two of them – Emeka and Ikechukwu – lived in this same city. The question that our administration is asking is, how many of Ikechukwus do we want to produce? How do we stem the tide of the Emekas? How do we address the ‘hopelessness’ among Enugu youths?
10. Beyond anecdotes, what qualifies me to stand before you today is the conquest of the can-do spirit, the type manifested by Ikechukwu. I am an Enugu boy whose creative energy saw him through all his existential life battles and brought him to where he is today. Like Ikechukwu, while growing up, I struggled against the tides of adversities that made the future look bleak. Failures and frustrations dogged my way. I worked as a shop attendant at Alaba Market in Lagos, struggling to stave off all kinds of negative manifestations of an inclement environment. Like a determined swimmer, I swam against the tides of these adversities to embark on my scholarly journey. In 2008 when we began operations at Pinnacle Oil and Gas Limited, I came into that industry as a backbencher. The DNA of exploits and creativity that is innate in every nwa Enugu was my driving force. It pushed me to go beyond the limits of expectations in the industry. A few days ago, I resigned as the CEO of Pinnacle. By the time I was leaving, Pinnacle Oil and Gas had conquered all odds, displacing the incumbent in the petroleum industry within a short time. We succeeded in driving the upstart of yesterday into reaching the Pinnacle of the downstream oil sector.
11. The youths of Enugu State will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the tomorrow that is now here today. We want to expose our youths to the skills required to grasp the emerging future and create opportunities for the genius in them to flourish. We also want to invoke and instill in them the can-do spirit that is innate in the Igbo man. Enugu will rubbish Japa, not by legislation but by creatively addressing the challenges to the future of our youths.
12. We will equip our youths with e-commerce, fintech and cyber-security skills, such that they will become globally interconnected, and can indeed ‘Japa’ all over the world by providing services online through their e-commerce skills. They will be champions of the globe without necessarily having to leave Enugu.
13. I am standing before you today pregnant with ideas on how to rescue our youths and indeed the whole of Enugu State from the threats against our existence. You can trust me. I will be operating from the vantage of transcendental values and not narrow interests. That is what we are driven by. I will not let you down. We believe that the only purpose of leadership is to bring the best out of every one of us. You are why all these are possible.
14. As we enter the threshold of history with this signing of a social contract with Ndi Enugu, we are immensely aware that the contract also has the spirits of our ancestors as witnesses. They hear us as we proclaim our resolve to transform the lives of our people. God’s supervening eyes are also watching us. My prayer is that every citizen of Enugu State will remember today and be glad that we took a bold step forward for the benefit of our children unborn.
15. There is no doubting Enugu’s capacity to recreate the iconic wonderment of economic prosperity and phenomenal growth witnessed in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Our will is strong and unshakeable. We are also acutely aware that where there is a will, there is always a way. When their forebears conceived the models of Dubai and Singapore some few decades ago, they too began to sow their tomorrow like a tiny seed as we are doing today. At that moment, the conceivers of the dreams appeared like some theatre jesters. Today, those countries have become models of the wondrous depth of human capacity.
16. Today, we too are announcing the conception of same humongous dream, right here on the soil of Enugu State. All the ingredients needed to actualize this dream are present in us. Today, God is bestowing upon us a leadership that keys into those yearnings and aspirations.
17. Take notice that this administration will be business unusual. Tough decisions will be taken. Those decisions will however be taken in the best interest of Ndi Enugu and Enugu State in general. You will constitute the driving force of every action we take as your representatives.
18. We will serve you with every fiber of our being and devote all our energy and your resources to working for you and your interests. Our driving force and governance philosophy will be always based on transcendental values.
19. We will invoke the spirit of enterprise, the creative energy of our people and the remarkable industry on the streets of Enugu State to create the difference in governance. We will pursue an economic growth that is unrivalled in this part of the country. We will tap into the limitless resources of the private sector to provide world-class infrastructure and productive sector growth.
20. We will retool and re-energize our agriculture/agro-allied sector. We will unlock our rural economy through the implementation of Special Economic Zones and Special Agro-allied Processing Zones. The commerce and industry sector will help us to kick-start this drive. We also plan to provide a N100 billion revolving fund for our SMEs in partnership with the Private Sector and other Development Financial Institutions.
21. In the area of Information and Communication Technology, (ICT), we will provide a Tier 4 Hyper Scale Data Centre to attract hyper-scale businesses like Amazon, Google, Netflix, Tik Tok and Microsoft.
22. Our creative industry will be lifted from its old glory and be positioned as driver of our developmental dream. We will set up a film village and, working with stakeholders in the industry, ensure that our state becomes the destination of choice for tourists, attracting not less than 3 million visitors each year.
23. The sporting sector will transmute under us from a solely recreation sector into a revenue earner. We will invest highly in it with an eye on returns into the Enugu economy.
24. We also have robust, cross-cutting programmes in the social services sector. Education, for us, is a key driver of our developmental effort. Our intervention will boost the access to and understanding of ICT in our early child learning and schools. We will increase the focus on vocational education in our secondary schools, while reemphasizing civic and moral values.
25. In the healthcare sector, our aim is to ensure that rural, semi-rural and urban Ndi Enugu have access to primary healthcare facilities, without any hindrance. We will partner with private investors in building specialist hospitals, so as to attract Nigerians who fly outside the country on health tourism. Our objective here would be to make Enugu a medical tourism destination.
26. In the area of water, Ndi Enugu are aware of our promise to ensure availability of water in our homes in the Enugu metropolis in 180 days time. We reiterate this promise here. Furthermore, we will waste no time in replicating same feat in Nsukka, Udi and Awgu axis.
27. Sanitation and hygiene are also areas where this administration wants to pluck its low-hanging fruits. In the next 100 days, our administration will ensure that our streets are cleared of refuse. We will also ensure that existing landfill sites are relocated and further ensure that they are harnessed for wealth creation. Urban renewal is key to us as an administration.
28. We will pursue an infrastructural revolution in Enugu State by turning our state into one huge construction site. We will prioritize road construction and infrastructural renewal ensuring that our roads are well paved. Where necessary we shall construct flyovers and dualise roads as a remedy to any gridlocks.
29. We shall run an inclusive government designed to accommodate all citizens of Enugu State.
30. Our transportation blueprint is comprehensive and holistic. We will have a multi-modal transportation system, a monorail to connect cities in Enugu and even go a step further by partnering with other governments in the Southeast in connecting us with our sister states.
31. We are committed to the strengthening of our institutions. The judiciary, legislature and public services will receive the needed propellers as lifters of our dream. We will provide the right enablement to ensure justice is dispensed as speedily as possible. In this regard, we will digitize and digitalize the judiciary, so as to make the management and procedures in our courts more efficient.
32. Our approach to tackling insecurity in Enugu State will be by adopting the kinetic and non-kinetic models and approaches. We will strengthen community policing architecture; neighbourhood watch and forest guards. In this mode, we will deploy modern technology such as CCTV cameras and others, as well as establishing a command-and-control centre in Enugu State, so as to track perpetrators of crime who we will pursue and bring to justice.
33. The most logical question that must be playing in corners of your lips as you listen to me is, how do we source the funds to jumpstart this massive governmental ambition?
34. We have critically studied different financing models, a number of which we will deploy. The first, as I have earlier itemized, is that we will open Enugu State up for the influx of investments and investors. Our ambition is to have our state as the corridor where the private sector migrates and plays. We will strengthen internally generated revenue, not by increasing tax rate arbitrarily but by expanding the tax net, plugging loopholes of leakages, as well as by operating a lean and agile government.
35. We will also, within our first 100 days in office, convene a Diaspora and Investors Forum where we will market all the productivity sectors in the state through showcasing our huge investment potentials.
36. Our government will also organize what is called the Diaspora Bond where we will securitize remittances from abroad. In this regard, remittances will no longer be for consumption alone but for production. Government will create a platform for securing those remittances so the investors have security for their funds.
37. The governance philosophy of our administration will be based on transparency, accountability and fund traceability. Part of this philosophy is collaboration and partnership with CSOs and the private sector.
38. To demonstrate how persuaded we are about doing this, as I leave here now, I will head for the office to perform my first executive task as your governor. That task will be to sign Executive Order 001. It is called the Citizens’ Charter. It demands that we manage your money, the people’s money, in the people’s interest. This Charter holds me and members of my team to account on your funds. The Citizens’ Charter mandates us to provide detailed information on our public financial management system, report our revenue to you in detail and ensure that we adequately capture our expenditure. The Charter demands, in the same vein, that our expenditure is consistent with government priorities.
39. In line with the Public Financial Management (PFM) system, we will also ensure implementation of programmes and projects that deliver value for our money, factoring due process and public procurement laws into them.
40. In closing, let me invite the people of Enugu State to accompany our administration on this journey into prosperity. This is not time for politics. It is not time for passion as well. It is time for the sowing of the seed for the Enugu of our dream. Each Enugu son and daughter should ask themselves the question: what sort of future do we desire for our children? In answering the question, we must begin to work together to forge that future of our dream. Posterity will not forgive us if we fail.
41. The tomorrow we professed is here. It is a signpost of what the tomorrow of our children and their children’s children will be. Like Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream of an Enugu State that is second to none for development in Nigeria and Africa.
42. Here on the soil of Enugu are hidden innumerable potentials for future greatness. They may look as tiny as the mustard seed but they carry within their pods energies that can move mountains. All we need do is tap the soil and out of it will sprout the seeds for the activation of the Enugu of our dream, the driver of a greater Nigeria.
43. My charge to all of us today is that Enugu must take back what it has always represented. What carves us out for this role is an acute sense of industry, as well as the pride of our people which will enable us wax stronger as the future decades roll by. So, let us commit to our sense of enterprise, joined together in brotherhood and sisterhood, to form that filial bond that has been known to be the raw materials for building great nations, a cohesive people and society. This is what ties us.
44. Like King said, I have a dream that one day, beginning from today, every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight. Ultimately, the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
45. It is our hope. It is the summary of our pact with Ndi Enugu. It is the faith that will propel developmental actions in every minute of our tenancy at the Lion Building. Again, to parody King, it is with this faith that we will transform the jangling discords of our state into a beautiful symphony of development.
It is our creed. It is our pact. May God help us. God bless Enugu State.
Tomorrow is indeed here!

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FULL TEXT: President Buhari’s farewell broadcast to the nation



President Muhammadu Buhari


My fellow Nigerian brothers, sisters and friends of Nigeria.

  1. I address you today, in my last assignment as a democratically elected President of our great and well-endowed nation, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, a great deal of appreciation to the Nigerian people and a modest sense of fulfilment.
  2. Today we mark and celebrate another peaceful transition of power from one elected government to another in our steady march to improve and sustain Nigeria’s democracy.
  3. This year we witnessed the most keenly contested Presidential Elections since the first Republic and this demonstrates that our democracy is getting better and more entrenched with each election.
  4. We must as a nation improve and sustain gains we make in the electoral process, on an incremental basis for Nigeria to take its rightful place among Nations.
  5. Our democracy provides for, allows and encourages seeking redress for perceived injustices, enabling some candidates and political parties that did not agree with the results to go to court.
  6. Irrespective of the outcome of the various cases, I urge all parties involved to accept the decision of our courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria.
  7. I salute the doggedness and resilience of all the Presidential Candidates and their political parties for believing in our judicial system by taking their grievances with the election results to court.
  8. In the course of the campaigns, we had argued and disagreed on how to make Nigeria better but we never disagreed or had any doubts that Nigeria has to be better.
  9. As your President, I call on all of us to bring to bear the strength of our individualism, the power of our unity, the convictions of our beliefs to make Nigeria work better and together with one spirit and one purpose.
  10. To my brother, friend and fellow worker in the political terrain for the past ten years – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu -, I congratulate you on the realisation of your dream, which was propelled by a burning passion to put Nigeria amongst the leading nations of the world.
  11. You have indeed worked for this day and God has crowned your efforts. I have no doubt that your passion for excellence, reliance on competence, fairness in relationships, commitment to equity, loyalty to the country and desire for Nigeria to be globally relevant would come through for you, under God’s guidance, as you lead our country to levels higher that I am leaving.
  12. You are the best candidate among all the contestants and Nigerians have chosen well.
  13. The last eight years have been an exciting experience in my desire and commitment to see a Nigeria in which public goods and services are available, and accessible within a united, peaceful and secure nation.
  14. Fellow Nigerians, on the strength of your overwhelming support for me and my political party, I started this journey with a great deal of promise and expectation from you. I never intended to be just politically correct but to do the correct things that will make meaningful impact on the lives of the common Nigerian.
  15. This high expectation was not misplaced because, like the ordinary Nigerian, I had grown tired of watching the country progressively moving away from the path of correctness.
  16. To ensure that our democracy remains resilient and our elected representatives remain accountable to the people, I am leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice.
  17. We are already seeing the outcome of this process as it provided an even playing field where persons without any political God-Father or access to money defeated other well-resourced candidates.
  18. The Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns.
  19. You would all recall the supply chain disruptions and economic downturn that the world witnessed between 2020 and 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deftness of our response to the pandemic still remains a global best practice.
  20. Furthermore, we increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living.
  21. Young men and women in urban centres were also supported to put their skills into productive use. Our administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their return on investments is guaranteed.
  22. The private sector proved a strong partner in our drive to build a resilient and sustainable economy as evidenced by the growing number of turn-key projects in various sectors of the economy.
  23. In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results. Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologised to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the over-all good of the country.
  24. Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the second Niger bridge and various important roads linking cities and states.
  25. Our battle to ensure that all Nigerians live in a safe and secure environment has achieved considerable results. As I complete my term in office, we have been able to reduce the incidences of banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other criminal activities considerably.
  26. To sustain the gains made so far, I call on all Nigerians to be more vigilant and support the security agencies by ensuring that our values defined by being your brothers’ keeper govern our actions.
  27. Up-till now, I still grieve for our children still in captivity, mourn with parents, friends and relatives of all those that lost loved ones in the days of the senseless brigandage and carnage. For all those under unlawful captivity our Security Agencies are working round the clock to secure their release unharmed.
  28. Fellow Nigerians, you know how dear the desire in my heart is, to rid the country of corrupt practices that had consistently diminished our efforts to be a great country.
  29. I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected push back. I am happy that considerable progress had been made in repatriating huge sums of money back to the country and also taken over properties illegally acquired from our common wealth.
  30. To improve service delivery, we began the implementation of a number of reforms aimed at producing an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-oriented (EPIC) Federal Civil Service and the results are beginning to show.
  31. On the international scene, Nigeria’s influence continues to grow as exemplified by notable Nigerians occupying headship and leadership positions in renowned global bodies.
  32. Our democracy is built on and continues to thrive on the principles of separation of powers. The leadership and members of the National Assembly deserve my appreciation for their patriotism which did not detract from their roles as a check to the executive arm.
  33. I also want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to a good number of Nigerians who provided their support and encouragement to help me navigate the exciting journey in moving Nigeria forward.
  34. I cannot and will not forget the millions who prayed for me during my illness in my first term of office. I am constantly praying for you and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.
  35. As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps and I am convinced the in-coming administration will quicken the pace of this walk to see a Nigeria that fulfils its destiny to be a great nation.
  36. I am confident that I am leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015.
  37. I thank you all. And may God Bless the Federal Republic

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Security Concerns – The Nation Editorial



•Govt must urgently address the issues of millions of abandoned phone lines, and bank accounts not linked to BVN

If the news that 96.8million of 323.6million telephone subscribers in the country had abandoned their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards as at February is not shocking enough, the report that only 57.01 million of the 191.4million bank accounts are linked to registered Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) should be startling. The two cases show Nigeria’s capacity to create loopholes in the banking and telecoms sectors.

Latest data by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) indicates that the unused mobile lines represented about 29.9 per cent of the total registered SIMs. The inactive SIMs cut across all the four mobile networks — MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile.

A mobile line is deemed inactive if it is not used to make or receive calls and/or access data services for a minimum of 90 days. Such lines are thus separated from active lines because they do not generate any revenue for the telecom service providers within the period. The inactive lives have been in the increase since December, last year. There were 94.4million such lines as at December 2022. These rose to 95.2million in January and then to 96.8 million in February.

SIM registration became compulsory in the country with the rising incidence of cyber frauds as well as terrorists and kidnappers who use the lines to facilitate their nefarious activities. It got to a head in 2021 when the Federal Government made it compulsory for all mobile telephone subscribers to link their SIMs to their National Identity Number (NIN). Because of the tedious nature of the process as well as the seeming inability of the agency in charge of the exercise, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to cope with the deluge of people rushing to register, the deadlines had to be shifted severally from December 2020 to April 2022. Millions of lines that were not linked to the subscribers’ NIN were ordered by the government to be blocked. Many people simply abandoned the lines and went for new ones which were relatively easier to register. This was a major source of many of the abandoned lines.

It is for the same reason of ease of acquiring new lines that many subscribers dump their existing numbers and acquire new ones which are sometimes offered for free by telcos that are looking for all means to increase their subscriber base. This has also adversely affected the number portability introduced by the sector’s regulatory agency, the National Communication Commission (NCC), designed to enable subscribers move from one network to another without changing their numbers.

With regard to the banking sector, it is worrisome that only about 57.01 million of the 191.4million bank accounts in the country are linked to registered BVN. This is about 30 per cent. It is true that, given the fact that the BVN is relatively new in Nigeria (it was introduced in 2014 and made compulsory a few years after), it is impossible to have all bank accounts linked to it. BVN, lest we forget, was introduced to enable banks capture the biometrics of their customers and to give them a unique identity peculiar to them across the Nigerian banking industry. Some of the account holders would have died, some others would have travelled out and abandoned the accounts because they don’t have much money in them, and so on.

But we cannot rule out the possibility that there would also be many other people who would not want to be identified with their accounts because their hands are  not clean. Many of the accounts not linked with BVN could belong to shady characters who are either into money laundering or drug trafficking. People who can explain the source of their wealth have no cause not to want to be identified with their bank balances, no matter how fat such balances are.

The Federal Government and its agencies concerned in the telecoms and banking sectors must move swiftly to inquire into the circumstances that led to mass abandonment of SIM cards as well as the inability to link almost 70 per cent of accounts in the banks to BVN. These scenarios have grave security implications for the country even as they are injurious to its financial health. People who abandoned their SIM cards at random could be doing so because they don’t want to be tracked since they know their hands are not clean. Similarly, those who don’t want to be identified with money in their accounts could be into drug trafficking, money laundering or terrorism financing; none of which is good for the country.

The statistics are out; and figures don’t lie. Efforts must be made urgently to sift the wheat from the chaff. We must know what led to the two circumstances in question to be able to tackle the possibilities of corruption and instability that they could unleash on the polity before things get out of hand.

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