For The Record: State of The Nation Address II

The Committee on Social Mobility, the Economy and Politics arm of The Muslim Congress (TMC) in its 8th edition of the Quarterly State of The Nation Address, at the weekend, took a critical look at the horsetrading between the executive and legislative arms of the government at the centre, expressing disgust at the unnecessary delay in passing the budget.

According to the committee of the Faith Based Organisation in the address presented by its chair, Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem, the criminal delay and recurring episode of padding the budget episode is saddened and retarding the nation’s economy into deeper recession.

Below is the concluding part of the Address:

The National Assembly And The National Interest

It is indeed certain that the executive, the judiciary and the legislature are responsible for the success or failure of any particular government. This is the reason people look up to the members of these three arms of government to lead the way in providing responsive and responsible leadership for moving the nation forward.

But what we are seeing today, especially with respect to the legislature, does not seem to be anywhere near what is expected. The National Assembly has been embroiled in one needless confrontation after another and the promulgation of some bills that are self-serving rather than benefiting the majority of the people they swore to serve.

We boldly condemn the bill that is at the House of Representatives. This bill, which is meant to grant amnesty to suspected public account looters in the country, was sponsored by Linus Okorie of the PDP representing Ebonyi State.

The bill seeks to confer on suspected looters of public funds the benefit of enjoying full and complete amnesty in addition to not facing any probe, inquiry or prosecution. These looters would also not be compelled to disclose the source of their looted funds for as long as they invest it in Nigeria.

The provisions of this bill run counter to common sense and all ethics of spiritual and moral decency. It is also in dissonance with Nigeria’s justice system and her commitment to international obligations relating to prosecuting and punishing corrupt people through just and fair trials in the court of law. We urge the Speaker of the House of Representatives to immediately

We urge the Speaker of the House of Representatives to immediately discontinue this anti-people bill that also negates the principles of justice and accountability. While the executive is trying to curtail corruption by going after corrupt people, the House of Representatives should also be seen to provide the legislative framework that will make it more and more difficult for anybody to steal public funds.

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The bill seeks to confer on suspected looters of public funds the benefit of enjoying full and complete amnesty in addition to not facing any probe, inquiry or prosecution. These looters would also not be compelled to disclose the source of their looted funds for as long as they invest it in Nigeria.

The provisions of this bill run counter to common sense and all ethics of spiritual and moral decency. It is also in dissonance with Nigeria’s justice system and her commitment to international obligations relating to prosecuting and punishing corrupt people through just and fair trials in the court of law.

We also strongly condemn the demand by some senators for immunity and life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly after their tenure in office. This definitely is a part of the proposals by the senators at a two-day retreat on Constitution Review organised by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review.

Among others, the proposals want presiding officers, such as President of the Senate, Deputy President of Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives to enjoy life pensions and immunity, since the executive and judiciary are enjoying same.

It would however be noted that the members of the National Assembly already enjoy stupendous salaries and benefits, the type that other officers and civil servants can only dream of. This is coupled with the humongous severance packages that they pay themselves at the end of their tenure.

What more are they asking for? They have forgotten that the ordinary people who voted them to power are still struggling with a minimum wage of N18,000 that can no longer cover their basic needs for the month.

These legislators need to wake up to their responsibilities and realise that the reason they are there is for the welfare and protection of the ordinary Nigerian. They should put a stop to this impunity and self-serving attitude.

The people would also need to rise from their slumber and be determined to take peaceful and positive actions that will prevent the mandates they have freely given from being misused.

Taming The Unrelenting Kidnap Gangs

The Nigeria Police needs to be commended for its efforts under the able Inspector-General, Ibrahim Idris, for busting a notable kidnapping gang led by the notorious Chukwudi Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans. This is one of the major kidnapping and armed robbery gang that has brought untold hardship and misery to many homes and families.

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But this particular crime-busting has shown as well that some unscrupulous members of the Police and the army are supporters and accessories to crimes. This is one of the reasons that members of various notorious kidnapping and armed robbery gangs have escaped justice for so long while continuing to unleash mayhem on members of the society.

There is no way that crime can be committed without leaving a trail. But when some of the people who are charged with stopping crimes are colluding with criminals, it can only lead to the perpetuation of crimes and criminality with the attendant loss of lives and properties.

The Inspector-General and his officers must ensure that all the bad eggs within its rank are flushed out of the system and that they are also made to face the full wrath of the law for the harm they have caused to the people that they are paid to protect. Before criminality halts our political and economic development, we must stop criminality.

We are in an era where cities are run for 24 hours of the day and there is no longer any distinction between night and day. Policing is one of the key factors that make this possible.

Let the police begin to do more as we urge the Federal and State Governments to increase the capacity of the personnel and provide better equipment.

The kidnap of six pupils at the Model College in Igbonla is assuming a more worrying dimension as the kidnappers who were alleged to have received money from the parents of these children have not released them from captivity almost two months since their kidnap.

We urge the police at the level of the Inspector-General to do more on this matter so that these innocent children are safely returned to the warm embrace of their loving families and so that they can continue their education. We thank the officers of the Nigeria Police and the Lagos State Government for their efforts so far but we believe that more still needs to be done in order to ensure that these children are released from captivity. 

Government Needs To Clampdown on Ritualists

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The on-going needless destruction of lives by the dreaded Badoo cult boys has once again highlighted the need for government at all levels to seriously clampdown on ritual killings. All people involved in ritual killings including their sponsors and the errand boys must be smoked out and made to face the full wrath of the law.

The case of the Badoo cult boys that have laid siege to Ikorodu town and its environs is indeed a worrisome development. These boys unleash orgies of killings, during which they use heavy stones to crush the skulls of their victims.

They then use ritual handkerchiefs to clean victims’ blood after the operation. It was gathered that each handkerchief is then sold for N500,000 to herbalists and some prominent Nigerians for money rituals.

In order that these killings be put to an end, the security forces must go after the patrons who pay for this service just as well as they are raiding the criminal errand boys who are used for these operations. If there is no demand for human blood by the patrons, the errand boys will be out of business and the killings will be stopped.

We commend the efforts of the combined team of security forces, the Lagos State Government and other vigilance groups that are helping to round up these violent boys. The people in these areas should be vigilant and guard their communities night and day.

They should be wary of suspicious movements and strange faces. Wherever strange people are sighted, they should be promptly arrested and handed over to the police. Every one person should endeavour to know his neighbour and be aware of activities around him.

We, however, call on the people of the affected areas not to give in to jungle justice since this is likely to further increase the death toll. Most of those that will be killed in this kind of situation will be innocent people who are unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

People should not take the law into their hands but should rather hand over the suspects to the police. The police must also quickly swing into action in order to carry out thorough and exhaustive investigations to know whether or not the suspects are culpable.

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