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Nigerians want state police; listen to them, Clark replies Buhari

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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

South-South Leader Chief Edwin Clark has finally reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Channels Television, where he again rejected the clamour for state police as a solution to the worsening security situation in the country.

Speaking during an interview with Channels Television last Wednesday, the President had said: “State police is not an option. Find out the relationship between local governments and the governors. Are the third tiers of government getting what they are supposed to get constitutionally? Are they getting it? Let the people in local government tell you the truth; the fight between local governments and the governor.”

But the former minister of information, who is also the leader of Pan Niger Delta Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged the President to give in to the demands.

According to the elder statesman, Buhari was also guilty of the excuse that governors will misuse state police, alleging that the current administration is also using the Nigeria Police Force to persecute perceived political opponents, thereby undermining the National Assembly and obstructing free speeches.

In a statement Monday in Abuja and entitled, ”Majority of Nigerians believe in State Police because it is one Cardinal points or one of the ingredients in a Federal System of Government,” the Leader of the Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), noted that truth and not lies are very essential in running a democratic government, said that there was the need for proper guidance, survival and unity of the country.

Clark described the relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly, as an unholy alliance with the Senators and members of the House of Representatives that is killing the nation’s democracy, making the National Assembly an appendage of the Executive.

Clark’s statement read thus, “Firstly, I wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari for granting an interview to Channels Television. Speaking to citizens is an essential duty of a President of a country because it is one of the most important ways to reach out to the people and, also of interacting with them. Not too long ago, he granted a similar interview to the Arise Television.

“My congratulation, however, has little or nothing to do with the quality and content of the interview, but because it provided Nigerians with the opportunity to know more about the working of his government. It is a more reliable way of talking to citizens, disseminating and getting information, than when the Aides of the President, particularly Alhaji Lai Mohammad, the Minister of Information, made available to the Nigerian public, a list of purported one hundred achievements of the President Muhammed Buhari’s Administration since he came into office in 2015.

“No Minister or government personnel will make a statement without saying Mr President said so or approved of it, even when they are misappropriating government money without Mr President’s knowledge or approval. Although Mr President seems to relish it because he runs the affairs of this government which is supposed to be a democratic civilian government, as he did 38 years ago when he was a Military Head of State of Nigeria until his government was overthrown by his own colleagues who made him Head of State.

“Having said that, I will at this juncture, like to comment on some of the issues raised in Mr President’s interview, which lasted for about 45 minutes

“Mr President dismissed the call for State Police in the Country. He said that State Police was not an option, that Governors will misuse it. He gave an unrelated instance of the relationship between State Governors, and Local Governments, that there is no functional Local Government in the country.

“While the President is right that no Local Government in this country truly functions as provided by the Constitution, not even the joint account under which State Governments receive monies on behalf of the Local Governments, because the accounts are fully controlled by the State Governors, it is not enough to dismiss the demand for state police.

“It may be necessary to refer to some Sections of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. Section 214 (1) says:

“There shall be a Police Force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigerian Police force, and subject to the provisions of this section no other police shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof”.

And Section 215 (4) says:

“Subject to the provisions of this section, the Governor of a State or such Commissioner of the Government of the State as he may authorize in that behalf, may give to the Commissioner of Police of that State such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the State as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with provided that before carrying out any such directions under the foregoing provisions of this subsection the Commissioner of Police may request that the matter be referred to the President or such Minister of the Government of the Federation as may be authorized in that behalf by the President for his directions.”.

“I humbly submit that the above Section 214 (1), does not portray tenets of a Federal system of government, but a Unitary Form of Government. Hence the 1999 Constitution is rejected by democratic Nigerians who believe in a Federal System of Government. In a similar manner, Section 215 (4), does not really contain the ingredients of a Federal system of government.

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“As I stated in my recent interview, State Police is a popular agitation by Nigerians and was robustly discussed and agreed upon during the 2014 National Conference. I reproduce an excerpt of the said interview:

“In 2014 during the National Conference, which is the most important conference held in this country which was attended by 492 delegates from various aspects of this country and various aspects of life in this country, former police officers, former soldiers, professors. In fact, everybody attended. So that conference which I also was a member recommended that there should be the state police.”

“It is very unfortunate that the State Governors who are elected under the party are the ones running the party today. But it is unconstitutional and authoritative for Mr. president to say that State Police, which was even recommended by the El-Rufai Committee as one of its items under Devolution of Power to be transferred from the Executive List in Schedule 1 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to Schedule II of the Concurrent List, should be discarded.

I totally agree with Mr President that most State Governors have undermined the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, where Local Government is provided for under Section 8. They do not only abuse the joint account system but also engage in establishing Care Taker Committees, rather than conducting the free, fair and democratic election as provided in section 7(1) of the Constitution which states:

“The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every State shall subject to Section 8 of this Constitution, ensure the existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such Councils.”

“I also agree with Mr President that State Police could be used by State Governors in persecuting perceived political opponents, but it is also true that the Federal Government is also using the Nigeria Police Force to persecute perceived political opponents, undermining the NASS and obstructing free speeches. But that does not mean that the whole idea of State Police should be discarded? That will mean throwing away the baby with the bathwater.

“Also, restructuring of Nigeria is a must if Nigeria is to survive as a country. It is very cruel and disappointing to hear Mr President say that “he does not know what type of restructuring Nigerians want”. This is very insincere and dishonest because President Muhammadu Buhari has been preaching restructuring since his 2011 campaign, when he contested with our respected Pastor Tunde Bakare, as his running mate, and when our late golden boy, Comrade Yinka Odumakin was his spokesman, and who preached restructuring until his death, and for which he became one of the greatest critics of President Muhammadu Buhari due to his (Buhari’s) failure to accept the restructuring of Nigeria.

“Comrade Yinka Odumakin, was until his death, the coordinator of the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), of which I am the Leader. Restructuring of Nigeria was one of the major subjects of Mr. president’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Memorandum in 2015. But he dodged the subject when he was asked by the brilliant and intelligent personnel of Channels Television the question of restructuring by saying that it was a combination of political parties including CPC, ANPP, APGA and CAN, that made him win the election.

” Is Mr President saying that the APC manifesto did not sell to the public the issue of restructuring of Nigeria? I repeat again that when the drums of restructuring were booming in every part of this country and wise men were dancing to the tune, APC was forced to set up the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee, to produce a report on restructuring. The committee was made up of 27 members including serving and former Governors, Senators, serving and former Ministers, etc.

“In its recommendation on devolution of power on pages 14 & 15 the El-Rufai’s Report recommended A BILL FOR AN ACT TO ALTER THE PROVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, 1999, TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEVOLUTION OF POWERS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO THE STATE AND TRANSFER OF ITEMS FROM THE EXCLUSIVE LEGISLATIVE LIST TO THE CONCURRENT LEGISLATIVE LIST AND FOR RELATED MATTERS. Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 is altered as set out in this Bill.
The Second Schedule Part 1 of the Constitution is altered by transferring the under-listed items contained therein to the Second Schedule Part II –
“Item No. 2 – Arms and ammunition for the purpose of policing only Item No. 45- Police.”

“I have deliberately reproduced from El-Rufai’s report to expose the insincerity in Mr President’s saying “that he does not know what kind of restructuring Nigerians want”, and that State Police is not an option.

“In every democracy, the President or Head of State is answerable to the people and not the other way round. Mr President’s unholy alliance with the National Assembly (NASS), is like throwing a dagger on democracy. A situation where the NASS behaves as though it is an appendage of the Executive is very undemocratic.

“Truth and not lies is very essential in running a democratic government. The recommendation of the Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State Committee Report, which had already been accepted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, APC, under the then National Chairman and former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, binds every member of the party, no matter the position anyone is holding until it is reversed at the party’s Convention.

“I repeat, when El-Rufai appeared on Arise Television Morning Show in an exclusive interview, on Tuesday 28 December 2021, he said that Mr President had approved his report and this was earlier confirmed by Chief John Oyegun, as l stated earlier.

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“There is a need for proper guidance, survival and unity of the country. There is an urgent need to restructure this country and to have a new Constitution, produced by the people of Nigeria, as it was in 1963 when Nigerians negotiated for a Republican Constitution. Failure to do so will result in disintegration of this country, as a result of the serious insecurity all over the country, I will comment later on some of the other issues raised in the interview.”

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Kalu meets Abdulsalami Abubakar

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Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Saturday night paid a private visit to former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

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Kalu who made the announcement through his verified Facebook page, revealed that his discussion with the former president centered on national issues and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.
He wrote: “ Tonight, I paid a visit to the former President of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to greet him for the new year. We also discussed major national affairs and peaceful coexistence of our nation.”

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Lagos police arrest NURTW members amid calls for ban

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By Moses Omorogieva/Lagos

The Police Command in Lagos State on Saturday said that its men arrested some members of the National Union of Transport Workers ( NURTW) who clashed on Lagos Island on Friday.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) , CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday.

Ajisebutu did not mention how many people were arrested and where they were being detained.

He added that normalcy had returned to the Island as more operatives had been deployed there.
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“The police have quelled the crisis. Sufficient facilities were deployed in the area immediately we received a distress call and normalcy was restored.

”Investigation into the crisis is ongoing,” he said.

Two factions of the NURTW clashed over the control of some motor parks on the Island on Friday.

The videos of the clash went viral showing the hoodlums using dangerous weapons against each other

The arrests come amid call by Accord Party for a ban on the notorious union in Lagos.

Lagos State chapter of the Accord Party called on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to proscribe the union following repeated violence by its members.

The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Dele Oladeji, in a statement on Saturday called on Sanwo-Olu to tame the members of the NURTW by proscribing the union with immediate effect.

“Again, the members of the NURTW were enmeshed in a deadly fight on Lagos Island which was reported to have resulted in the untimely death of some four youths.

“This deadly clash created a security scare, in which innocent and hardworking residents of Lagos had to scamper into shops, crevices, under table and inside gutters for dear lives.

“Many rushed into shops and were locked in with the shop owners, just to stay away from stray bullets or being caught up in the fracas.

“Traders were forced to shutdown their businesses, which led to the loss of transactions running into billions of naira.

“We advise the Lagos State governor to, with immediate effect, proscribe the NURTW for a peaceful and safe Lagos city.”

The spokesman said that the recent violence was one too many among the members of the NURTW in Lagos State.

Oladeji said that though members of the union were always in the habit of killing themselves during such fracas, their action had always defied the security set up in Lagos State and had always created a state of insecurity among residents.

“Ask an average resident of Lagos, and they will tell you they live and commute in utter fright of these ‘union boys’ daily on the streets and roads.

“Gov. Sanwo-Olu should rise up in service to residents of the state and proscribed these lawless group for a safer Lagos State,” he added.

He said that NURTW factions were known to frequently engage in free-for-all over power tussles at different locations and parks.

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Pakistan proud of pig-to-human heart transplant pioneer

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Friends and former classmates of the Pakistan-born surgeon behind the world’s first pig-to-human heart transplant say they earmarked him for greatness from his medical school days.

Karachi-born Muhammad Mansoor Mohiuddin made headlines last week as the co-founder of the US university programme that successfully transplanted the heart of a genetically modified pig into a gravely ill American man.

While hailed as a medical breakthrough, the procedure also raised ethical questions — particularly among some Jews and Muslims, who consider pigs to be unclean and avoid pork products.

None of that worried Mohiuddin’s friends and former colleagues in Pakistan, who remember him as an ace student with a passion for medicine.

“He would be so interested, always there, always available and always ready to get involved in surgery,” said Muneer Amanullah, a specialist who attended Karachi’s Dow Medical College with Mohiuddin in the 1980s.

College vice-chancellor Muhammad Saeed Qureshi said pride in Mohiuddin’s achievement had flooded the campus.

“There was exhilaration that this has been done by a graduate from this college,” he told AFP.

Mohiuddin was quick to share the limelight with a team of 50 from the University of Maryland Medical School.

“They were all experts of their respective fields,” he told AFP by phone.

“They are the best surgeons, the best physicians, the best anaesthetists, and so on.”

While the prognosis for the recipient of the pig’s heart is far from certain, the surgery represents a major milestone for animal-to-human transplants.

About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die each year before getting one, according to official figures.

To meet demand, doctors have long been interested in so-called xenotransplantation, or cross-species organ donation.

“We were working on this model for 18 years,” Mohiuddin said.

“Those 18 years were dotted with different phases of frustration — as well as breakthroughs — but finally we have done it.”

The surgery is not without controversy, however, especially given Mohiuddin’s Islamic faith.

Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims and Jews — and even some Christians who follow the Bible’s Old Testament literally.

“In my view, this is not permissible for a Muslim,” said Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, a prominent Islamic scholar, in a video blog where he discussed the procedure.

But another Islamic scholar in Pakistan gave the procedure a clean bill of health.

“There is no prohibition in sharia,” Allama Hasan Zafar Naqvi told AFP, calling it a “medical miracle”.

“In religion, no deed is as supreme as saving a human life,” added Mohiuddin.

In Karachi, the surgeon’s fellow alumni feel their former colleague may now be destined for even greater glory — medicine’s top prize.

“I think… the whole team is in for it, in for the Nobel Prize,” said vice-chancellor Qureshi.

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