WHO WILL SAVE KATSINA STATE?

By AbdulMumini Shehu Sani

Any keen follower of happenings in Katsina State in the last three years would be asking by now: ‘what exactly went wrong?’ talking of the appalling scandals, the plundered finances, the total lack of direction in governance, the heavy debts, the raw greed, the unprecedented corruption, the worsening poverty and unemployment levels, the widespread public despair and loss of confidence in government, and the downright cluelessness and incompetence.

Worse, this brand of incompetence is beyond redemption, as it is bred by a gross deficiency in education. For three years and counting, our destiny has been held hostage by a government that is led with incompetence surrounded by smarter educated politicians and hawks that are taking advantage to skew government policy and money to their greedy advantage.

Some say the present state leadership has only come to power to boost personal whims and of course to restore what was lost of the eight years spent out of political office (Restoration Agenda). Now this seat of power has provided him with ample state resources to travel around the world and see the places he had missed for those eight years. If their assumption is true, this self-actualization mission is already taking a heavy toll on the welfare, wellbeing and security of at least 7 million people. It is now public knowledge that at present, Katsina State is being governed by a committee of three governors: an insatiable ‘business’ mogul, a notoriously corrupt politician, and an absentee executive governor that is everything except being in charge. Nothing under the sun can change this status quo except a change in leadership; and God bears witness that no good news can come out of Katsina State as long as this committee is in charge.

What Katsina State has witnessed in the last three years is an ungodly effort by a government to fill so many greedy pockets with taxpayers’ money. Now in just three years, the greedy pockets cannot give good account of a larger part of the over N500 billion that include N47 billion in debts for a state that has never taken a kobo in debts in all its history until the current government. Where others borrow to invest in strategic infrastructure and the real economy, this regime borrows because its benefactors want the goodies to keep flowing. Never before have a set of hungry politicians been unleashed on Katsina State than in this clime. Now the state’s treasury is free for all, but for a price:

At present, none of the 25 General Hospitals in Katsina State can afford a syringe or an ordinary painkiller like Paracetamol, or run the generator for 12 hours, or purchase insecticide treated nets for patients, or boast of simple pipe borne water. For instance, the most important General Hospital in the state, General Hospital Katsina, has been neglected without pipe borne water. Now patients purchase water from water vendors that wheel it around the hospital particularly in the mornings. Every resident of Katsina dreads having to take a relative or loved-one to the mosquito-infested General Hospital that has not been fumigated since the inception of this regime in the state.

Every patient or caregiver that spends two or more days at General Hospital Katsina is sure of a malaria infection afterwards. Doing justice to this piece is taking a visit to any of the General Hospitals in the state especially at nights where during the heat season patients are compelled by the blackout to wheel their beds outside the ward — to pass the night as dinner for mosquitoes. This may be beyond the control of the corrupt General Manager of the Hospital Services Management Board appointed by the Government but of the Governor himself who would rather allocate hundreds of millions for the maintenance of flowers at the Government House than give a damn about the ordinary resident of Katsina, Daura, Funtua or Kankia who may be dying for lack of money to purchase a syringe to take an injection.

Even worse are the primary health centres in areas that are considered far from the public’s view where the health department receives less than N300,000 to maintain all the PHCs in a LGA for a month. Despite the billions of Naira allotted in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets, neither the rehabilitation of the general hospitals nor the Ajiwa Water Supply Scheme have been completed. In fact, the renovation of these and all other ongoing projects in the state have been halted till further notice for reasons best known to the administration.

This cycle of godlessness is replicated in all other sectors of the state and its economy, like the education sector where billions have so far been released for the so-called renovation of schools, particularly schools that are within the traveller’s view. But in actual fact, the schools are merely re-painted; and after one or two rainy seasons, the paint is washed away and, with it, the N90 million ‘spent’ on the painting. Elsewhere in a so-called renovated school in Daura, most of the chairs, desks, doors and windows have now broken down and the ceilings fallen off.

This poor quality of work is a sad narrative that permeates all sectors in Katsina State since June 2015; like the roads sector, with the embarrassing example of the Sheme-Daudawa-Dandume road which was started by the past administration, but some peculiar sections of the road completed by this administration in 2016 are no longer motorable, with deep pot-holes that get wider with every rainy season. A worst case scenario is the rehabilitation of the Marabar Kankara-Tsiga-Yar Kasuwa Road where the renovation tar was washed away in less than six months. Out of sympathy for road users, communities along the high ways have now resorted to sand-filling the pot-holes which is as durable as renovations by the State Roads Maintenance Agency.

Current regime in the state rode to power on the promise of positive change in governance; but to the electorate’s shock, the only visible hallmark of change in Katsina from 2016 to date are the exotic mansions and companies erected by party and state government officials with funds suspiciously looted and on stolen land, even in choice locations in Kaduna, Kano and Abuja. A notorious policy that facilitated this is the illegal allocation of lands and government property in the state to family, friends and cronies of the government.

A disturbing instance was the displacement of petty business owners along IBB Way that paid taxes to government for decades and the re-allocation of the strands of land to the Katsina State APC Chairman and a Special Adviser to the Governor, both of whom have ran into unexplained wealth since this government came to power in 2015. However, their names have appeared multiple times on incriminating documents for crimes bothering on theft, money laundering and criminal breach of public trust. By the time a team of lawyers conclude work on a series of case files, their wealth will have to be explained before a court of law, and those they launder money for unmasked.

The crop of greedy politicians at every echelon of this administration are defined by their gluttonous impulse for primitive accumulation such that most high ranking political appointees in this administration can be tried and imprisoned for theft, criminal conspiracy and breach of public trust. The most dangerous implication of this variety of bad governance is that money meant for public welfare is never accounted for, except in the opulent and indulgent lifestyle of public officials at the expense of public welfare and security.

On the other side of the divide are hundreds of thousands of political thugs, hooligans and other restless youths whose number is increasing by the day as a result of the non-payment of Senior School Certificate Examination fees for students who cannot afford it. Such policies have ultimately bred a mass of angry and unemployed youths who have lost hope in education and found meaning in political thuggery, hooliganism, armed robbery and kidnapping. In the Jibia, Batsari, Safana and Danmusa axis alone, at least 120 people are estimated to be in the custody of kidnappers. With an army of youths that have completely lost confidence in government, even politicians have become wary of campaigning in some towns like Malumfashi and Funtua where every political rally turns violent. An incident in 2016 saw a Governor and a Senator being evacuated by armed security men from the venue of a political rally after the youths turned violent.

The current administration found itself in power in 2015 by no credibility of it, but by the whirl wind of President Muhammadu Buhari as in various other places by virtue of his good name and the goodwill he enjoyed from the mass of the people. President Buhari personally appealed to the people of Katsina State to support the current leadership of the state in both 2011 and 2015, and it was alright to give someone a chance, especially someone that promised accountability, good governance and positive change. But when the President’s trust and our mandate are betrayed so recklessly, and an allocation of over N500billion cannot be justified with even a project worth N2 billion in over three years, and the treasury being gang-raped while taxpayers are deprived of even the most basic social services, then President Buhari should dissociate himself from this ignoble journey and help his over 7 million kinsmen to clean the mess by reclaiming our state from this committee of three governors that has placed the state on the path of ruin.

AbdulMumini Shehu Sani writes from Katsina

Author praises police efforts in book

A University Don at Kampala International University Uganda, Dr. B. M Magaji says the book titled “Police in the Eyes of the Public” by
Hauwa Sheriff attempted to highlight the great efforts being made by the police in ensuring the safety of lives and properties in Nigeria.

Dr. B. M Magaji who is expected to review the book during it’s launching this coming Saturday in Abuja, described the author Hauwa Sheriff as a criminologist and security analyst with special major in data base intelligence collection by training and a journalist by profession.

He said going by the author’s antecedents and her pro police and security stance and her criminology background her rightful calling ought to be the security agencies particularly Nigerian Police Force, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC which according to him she would definitely be a great and formidable asset to any of these agencies and many more.

According to Dr. B. M Magaji, the first chapter looks at the police in general. It contains the history of the Nigeria police from its humble begining as a constabulary police for the Lagos colony in 1879 to the various transformation and dynamics to the present;

He explained that the book looks at its duties from which the public measures its performance as well as its powers. Also discuses policing around the world while going down memory lane, citing good examples from the ancient city of Rome to modern France, the United Kingdom and North America.

Accoding the Dr. Magaji Chapter 2 looks at how Nigeria police is being chided by the public; ridiculed in movies, hated by criminals and their allies, exposed to temptations and dangers and not appreciated when the laws are enforced.

The University Don further explained that the chapter three urges the need for a proper police, public and community relationships and the last looks at the main theme of the book; Police and Public where it sought the views of some eminent Nigerians while the last chapter captured pictorial depiction of the past Inspectors General of Police from 1930-date and some security tips.

The book reviewer considered the book very satisfactory in respect of its of theme content and aim to bring to fore the glorious aspects of the institution of the Nigeria police Force and proferring ways to further make the police a formidable instrument for security and democracy.

The author, Hauwa Sheriff is a lady of many callings; a journalist, criminologist, security analyst, author and a pro police protagonist. She is a staff of the prestigious Radio Nigeria Kaduna. During the course of her job she had at one time or the other been the producer of “daka da waje”, “siyasa rigar yanci”, also of popular translator and news-caster. Presently she is the producer and presenter of “Duniya Makwata Rikici”.

Hauwa’s tight schedule did not deter her from fulfilling her life long ambition of being an author/writer. At the age of 16 her first publication was entitled “baa nan take ba”, a book that highlights the importance of women acquiring western education. It was followed in 2008 by the “Nigeria Police Force; Friend or Foe”, biography of “Halilu Ahmed Gesto Akida da gaskiya” was her third publication in 2010. This book “Police in the Eyes of the Public” is her fourth publication”

Shehu Sani tells new DSS boss to avoid partisanship

The senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, has congratulated the newly appointed Director-General of Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi while calling on him not to be partisan.

President Muhammadu Buhari replaced Matthew Seiyefa with Bichi on Thursday.

But the appointment of Bichi, a northerner, did not go down well with a group of southern leaders who accused the President of dividing Nigeria more than any other leader in the nation’s history.

Seiyefa, a southerner, was appointed in acting capacity after Lawal Daura was dismissed for ordering the laying of a siege to the National Assembly.

”Congrats to Yusuf Magaji Bichi; 7 Agenda for the New DSS Boss; Professionalism, Respect for rule of law & Obey Court orders, End kidnappings & rescue abductees, Avoid partisanship, asphyxiate & annihilate terror groups, Improve welfare of operatives, Use gloves when shaking politicians,” Sani wrote on his Twitter handle on Friday morning.

Ex DG DSS indicted over N8.2 billion pension funds

Investigators established that the sacked DG gave directives for the opening of the account “without any form of documentation and approval from the Office of Accountant General of the Federation”

– Accused of withdrawing N2.6b cash from agency’s accounts

There appears to be no respite yet for the sacked Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS) Mallam Lawal Musa Daura as a preliminary report of investigation by a probe panel set up to investigate financial allegations against him has indicted him for alleged embezzlement and money laundering while in office.

Saturday Sun had last month reported exclusively the detention of Daura in DSS ‘protective custody’ after his initial arrest and release by the police to allow detectives carry out extensive investigations on some allegations against him.

This followed his sack by the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, allegedly, on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari who was holidaying in London, and detained, on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. He has since remained in the DSS detention facility located in Gwarimpa, Abuja.

The team of investigators comprising operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other security agencies in their report accused Daura of operating a phony account with a new generation bank, with a total in-flow of over N8.2 billion between November 2015 and April 2018 in five structured and systematic transactions. The account number is 1014481726 and is managed by one Miss Amara Maduagwu, a staff of the bank, believed to have a close relationship with Daura.

The investigators also established that the sacked DG gave directives for the opening of the account tagged ‘DSS Dedicated Pension Account’ on November 27, 2015 “without any form of documentation and approval from the Office of Accountant General of the Federation.”

A letter dated September 5, 2018 to the EFCC and signed by one M. Kalu for the Accountant General of the Federation with reference number OAGF/SD/ABJ/303/ VOL.1/22, says “The OAGF did not grant clearance and approval to the DSS to operate DSS Dedicated Pension Account No 1014881726 with…neither did the bank obtain clearance from OAGF to operate the said account.

Beside this, the investigators accused Daura of embarking on a pattern of cash withdrawals running into billions of naira. Specifically, the report said between January and December 2016, the embattled ex-intelligence chief approved and withdrew in cash the sum of N2, 675,858,185,09 from the accounts of DSS.

The report further disclosed that, while the Chief Security Officer to Daura, one Musa Garba had about a million naira in his bank account when he was appointed in 2015, investigation shows he now has a balance of N106 million in his naira account and another $120,000 in his domiciliary account.

The investigators also accused Daura of using a Lebanese, Mr Joseph Marc Khoury as a front to execute phony contracts. They said the Lebanese operates 36 different accounts in five banks.

Source; The Sun

Dahiru Bauchi Prays for Nigeria

By Ukasha Ibrahim, Bauchi

A renowned Islamic Scholar Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi has prayed for peace, security, social, economic and Political development in Nigeria.

Sheikh Dahiru organised a special prayers that includes glorifying the name of Allah recitation of the Holy Quran and special prayer for the country annually as part of the celebration marking the Muslim calendar 1440 AH.

Thousands of Muslims from within and outside the country attended the special prayers in Bauchi, Friday.

Dahiru Bauchi Prays to Allah to save the country from the calamities of armed robbery, kidnappings, insurgency and to provide wealth, development, progress and peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.

The Scholar stressed the importance of glorifying the name of Allah and frequent recitation of kalimatush shahada “Lailaha illallahu” saying “who ever recites it and Allah puts him inside its wall he would be protected and we pray to Allah to protect Nigeria”.

In his message to Muslims across the world the scholar said “Intelligent Muslims not only lead lives of remembrance of Allah, but also require an understanding of it to maintain a spirit-filled life to run the race Allah sets before us. Running the race is not possible without the remembrance of the Creator in the form of dhikr”.

Sheikh Dahiru said similar activities will be held in many states and on the country second Friday of Almuharram it will be held at the palace of the Emir of Lafiya in Nassarawa State, third Friday it will be held at the palace of Emir of Dass, fourth Friday it will be held in Abuja National Mosque fourth Friday it will be held at the Palace of Emir of Katagum in Bauchi State and other Emir’s palaces will also fix a date for their’s

How I was assaulted for rejecting Abubakar as sole Candidate -APC Chieftain

By Ukasha Ibrahim
A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Yakubu Ibrahim who is also the Director General of Dr Ali Pate governorship camping organization in Bauchi State has alleged that he was assaulted and humiliated by supporters of the incumbent governor Mohammed Abubakar for opposing the motion for the endorsement of Abubakar as the sole candidate of the party in 2019.
Addressing Journalists on friday, Ibrahim explained that the party convened a stake holders meeting on Thursday at government house where supporters of the incumbent governor made the endorsement.
He said he raised his hand up severally to express the view of his principal that they were not in support of the endorsement ‘because they want the party to present a flag bearer

through the conduct of direct primary election’ but was allegedly denied the right to do so by the state chairman of the party Uba Ahmed Nana who presided over the meeting.

According to him, after he was deprived of the freedom of expression, he stood up and talked being pointed by Nana but was confronted by some party stalwarts who strangled, beat him and push him out of the hall.
He said he had now instituted a suit in court against his humiliation with the party state chairman Uba Ahmed Nana and the Deputy Governor Audu Sule Katagum as defendants as he was assaulted in their presence.
” We are not against Mohammed Abubakar but we don’t want anybody to impose candidate on us in the state. Let the governorship candidate be produced through primary election. Why are they afraid of conducting primary election ” He decried.

2019: Buhari will Lose Presidential Election –The Economist Report

Daily Post, September 12, 2018
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research unit of The Economist Magazine, has predicted that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the upcoming 2019 presidential election.
EIU stated this in its latest country forecast overview on Nigeria which was made public on Tuesday.
The EIU, which gave an array of reasons for its prediction, said even though it would be a close call, the opposition PDP would win the election.
It predicted slowdown in economic activities in Nigeria as politics takes centre stage.
The London-based magazine, which also anticipated a depreciation of the naira, said further in its assessment that Buhari was fast shedding support from within the APC with governors and lawmakers defecting to the opposition en masse.
“Intra-party politics would be chaotic ahead of the poll and we ultimately expect the incumbent to lose power.
“The 2019 elections will be a close contest between the ruling APC and the PDP. We expect the PDP presidential candidate to win, but for the next administration to flounder against the same problems as the incumbent one.
“The next government is likely to be led by the PDP, the main opposition, potentially in a coalition with smaller parties, but instability will remain an insoluble challenge.
“Internally, not all ambitious politicians from the APC who have defected will be rewarded with places in the next government; or if they are, it will mean that pre-existing grandees within the PDP will have been sidelined.
“Whoever ends up feeling cheated will eventually turn on the new administration, as is happening to the APC now. There is also a unifying PDP presidential candidate, with around 16 aspirants competing for the nomination.
“A weak APC before the election and a troubled government thereafter implies that Nigeria’s manifold security threats will continue to fester.
“Parliamentary rifts will remain the main problem, and this applies no matter who is in charge, given competing priorities between representatives from different regions and the absence of a common ideology within parties,” it said.
Continuing, it noted that “policy reforms, particularly in the vital oil industry would be slow as a result of division in the political elite between advocates of tough, unpopular market reforms and those who refer pandering to nationalistic and pro-subsidy interest groups. The latter group was likely to remain in the ascendancy.”
According to the EIU, politicisation of economic policy would also slow reforms and at times actively decelerate economic growth.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria will not act completely independently, and the overall policy agenda will be pulled in differing directions by various powerful interest groups,” the report stated.
“Fiscal expenditure will remain dominant by recurrent spending despite attempts to boost capital investments. Efforts to boost non-oil tax revenue will be constraint by weak bureaucratic capacity and low economic growth. Constrained by a crippling infrastructure deficit, economic growth will be well beneath level needed to boost job creation and increasing living standard.
“Inflation will generally remain high over the forecast period (2018-2022) amid expansionary fiscal policy and high food prices stemming from government efforts to limit import and support local producers.
“The authorities will continue to interfere in the foreign exchange market although the degree of interference should eventually lessen with higher oil prices supporting reserves and broad economic confidence slowly improving. The naira will nonetheless depreciate over 2019-21 and be broadly stable in 2022,” the report explained.
Furthermore, the EIU held the view that Nigeria’s current account would record marginal gain over the forecasts period, saying pick-up in oil prices would be offset by recovering import demand.
The difficult business environment will restrict the development of non-oil exports, it added.
The report further pointed out that without a collective resolve, it would prove impossible to bring permanent peace to the large parts of Nigeria hit variously by an Islamist insurgency in the north, ethno-nationalism and piracy in the main oil-producing region and secessionism in the Biafra region, as well as inter-religious tensions and disputes over land access across the centre of the country.
“It will prove hard to build a more effective security apparatus while also creating economic opportunities for local populations; poverty lies at the root of much of the instability.
“Our central forecast is, however, that the 2019 elections will be completed without a widespread breakdown in stability with Nigeria’s democracy proving once again to be robust enough to endure.
“However, we expect major unrest to continue in 2020-2022 as comprehensive solutions prove too complex and costly to implement in the medium term.”
It noted that given the severe risks to stability, speculation over the threat of a military coup or a civil war was likely to surface periodically.
It stated, “That these issues are part of the popular discourse highlights the seriousness of the challenges facing Nigeria, but we consider a widespread breakdown of security to be unlikely; the military is more professional and has been depoliticised since the junta stepped aside in 1999.
“Meanwhile, there is little appetite outside more extremists’ agitators for a return to civil war, given memories of how disastrous the 1967-1970 conflict was for the country.
“Nevertheless, as the country’s leadership struggles to shift Nigeria onto a more sustainable and robust pat of economic development, the risks to stability will intensify as more and more Nigerians question what they have to lose from pushing for violent change.”