By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Do you know that Valentine’s Day comes up this week and will be celebrated as ‘Asa Day’ by the Public Service of this State? Do you know that the dress code is ‘Adire Osogbo’ to celebrate cultural revival? Do you know that there will be music, dance and other entertainments to spice up the event? Do you know that this is the time to preach love to bring peace? You care to know why? Come along!
Are you aware that China is the world’s biggest oil importer? Do you know that earlier in January, 2020 the sudden face-off between the United States and Iran, after U.S. airstrikes killed a top Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, forced prices of crude oil in the international market above $70/barrel? Do you know that the incident made the prospect of a better day in Nigerian oil economy to show green? Do you know that oil prices have been under pressure following the spread of coronavirus from China to other parts of the world? Do you know that Chinese oil demand has fallen around 20%, which equates to about 3 million barrels per day with Brent trading at $54.22 a barrel, having fallen nearly 17% of its value in January 2020? Are you aware that West Texas Intermediate was trading at $49.81 a barrel on the market last week, down more than 18%? Do you know that Nigerians have to pray? The voice of the President of Lipow Oil Associates also cuts in: “The market will eventually recover, the Chinese economy will get back to some semblance of normal, but it’s going to take a fair amount of time.”
Can you recall that in December,2019, the National Assembly of Nigeria passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law, approving N10.59 trillion as budget for year 2020? Do you remember that N560.4 billion was budgeted for statutory transfers, N4.84 trillion for recurrent expenditure, N2.46 trillion for capital expenditure and N2.72 trillion for debt servicing? Can you please recall that the fiscal deficit of the budget was put at N2.28 trillion while the deficit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was put at 1.52 per cent? Are you aware that the two major economic assumptions upon which the 2020 budget was based are a crude oil production regime of 2.18 mbpd and oil price benchmark of $57? Do you know that with the current situations in the market, we have to pray for the 2020 budget to come to fruition? Hurray! OPEC has found it! Do you know that OPEC members are reportedly set to meet on 14th February, 2020, the Valentine’s Day, to debate possible action to reduce output to push oil prices back up? The voice of Andy Lipow, President of Lipow Oil Associates cuts in:
“ The market will recover, .. it’s going to take a fair amount of time.”
Comrades! Do you know that in the special prayers we are to hold on 14thFebruary, 2020 for the triumph of OPEC members over oil price slump, only 18 political parties will have their representatives accredited? Why? Do you know that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has removed 74 political parties from the list of parties that will participate in the 2023 general elections, leaving only 18 out of 92 parties registered for the 2019 elections as announced on Thursday, 6th February, 2020, by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu? Will the members of the de-registered parties and their teeming workers join us in the prayers for prospect of the 2020 budget to be held shortly on Valentine’s day?
Comrades! Have you heard about the Lagos Controversy! Have you been told that the State Government recently placed a ban on the operation of Okada and Keke Napep in some Local Government areas in the State? Do you know that the ban took effect from 1st February, 2020? Do you know that the riders and the commuters are not keeping quiet? Do you know that the Lagos State Governor, Sanwo-Oludeclared that the ban on these cycles in the State would not be reversed, citing security and safety reasons? Do you know that many of these commercial motor cycles rejected in Lagos over security and safety reasons may smuggle themselves in, if we are not vigilant? Do you know that we must refrain from any action that may heat up the polity in all our conduct throughout this week?
Hurray! Are you aware that there is love in the air for Nigeria as the Supreme Court on Friday , 7th February, 2020 dismissed an appeal by the family of the late Head of State, General Abacha, who had prayed for an order unfreezing some bank accounts of the late dictator and other members of the family held in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechenstein and Luxembourg? Are you aware that the accounts were frozen in the countries following mutual judicial assistance agreements entered with the countries by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 1999? Following the agreement, President Obasanjodirected the then Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), to write to the Swiss government to freeze all bank accounts held by Abachaand his family members between 1993 and 1998 in the Switzerland, United Kingdom, Jersey, Liechenstein and Luxembourg? Can you believe that the government also engaged a foreign financial investigator, EnricoMonfrini of Hauchomann & Bottage in Geneva, Switzerland, to assist in recovering of these looted funds?
Do you know that on 28thJanuary, 2004, the late Head of State’s family challenged the freezing of their accounts by filing the suit, FHC/KN/CS/6/2004, at the Federal High Court, Kano? Are you aware that in 2006, the court dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred? Can you believe that Mohammed Abacha further appealed to the Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal, which also in its judgment delivered on 15thDecember, 2009, dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the suit was statute-barred as held by the Federal High Court? Do you know that in the lead judgment by Justice ChimaNweze, the apex court affirmed the concurrent decisions of both the Federal High Court in Kano and the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, which had both dismissed the suit for being statute-barred?
Hurray! Nigeria has found it! Are you aware that the United States of America has hinted that a sum of $321m of Gen. Sani Abacha loot will soon be repatriated to Nigeria? Can you recall that Abacha is believed to have diverted over $4bn from Nigeria and only over $1bn has been recovered so far? Unfortunately, do you know that there have been rumours that the funds have not been properly managed by successive governments? Do you know that the United States threatened that Nigeria would be made to replace the money, if stolen? Can you believe that the spokesperson for the US State Department, Morgan Ortagus, said in a statement that the stance of the United States on the matter was consistent with the commitments both the US and Nigeria made under the principles agreed to at the 2017 Global Forum on Asset Recovery co-hosted by the US and the United Kingdom? Do you know that in order to ensure that the funds are used responsibly, the agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of projects the funds will be expended on as well as external oversight, and it requires Nigeria to repay any funds lost as a result of any new corruption or fraud to the account established to hold the returned assets?
Do you know that the Solicitor General and Attorney General-designate of Jersey, Mark Temple, remarked:
“The agreement represents the culmination of two decades of intensive work by law officers in Jersey, the United States and Nigeria. The return of the money toNigeria had been delayed by a number of hard-fought challenges by third parties which were defeated in the Courts in Jersey and the United States and will be subject to monitoring and reporting obligations”?
Do you know that Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, also remarked:
“Since becoming aware that the alleged proceeds of Abacha corruption and money laundering had passed through Jersey’s financial institutions, the Jersey authorities have done everything within their power to investigate what happened and to return the money to its rightful owners, the people of Nigeria?”
Do you know that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr AbubakarMalami (SAN), has promised during the signing of the tripartite agreement on the fund in Washington DC on Tuesday, 5th February, 2020 that the government of Nigeria is committed to the fact that the assets will support in expediting the construction of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria – the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Road and Second Niger Bridge? According to him:
“These projects are being executed under the supervision of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority as a Public Private Partnership that will boost economic growth and help alleviate poverty by connecting people and supply chains from the East to the West and to the northern part of Nigeria, a vast area covering several kilometres with millions of the country’s population set to benefit from the road infrastructure.”
In the spirit of love in the air as we mark Valentine’s Day, the voice of the spokesperson for the US State Department, Morgan Ortagus, cuts in:
“This return reflects the growing international consensus that countries must work together to ensure stolen assets are returned in a transparent and accountable manner.This agreement is a symbol of the weight that the United States government places on the fight against corruption. We welcome President Buhari’s personal commitment to that fight, and we will continue to support civil society and other Nigerian efforts to combat corruption at all levels. The fight against corruption is an investment in the future of Nigeria.”
Are you aware that there is love in the air already as the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamuand the Senate President bonded some days ago to harmonise positions on the implementation of a community policing policy that would involve governors, traditional institutions and groups in the provision of security for Nigeria? Do you know that the Inspector- General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, last week Wednesday appeared before theSenate at plenary to unfold the myriad of security challenges, architecture, methods employed so far and the way forward towards addressing the problems of community policing, the declining rate of moral among the rank and file of the Police force as well as the issue of welfare, with very poor working environment and accommodation? Do you know that the issue on internal security in Nigeria has been a major concern for all Nigerians as we wake up daily to face nightmares of kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, ritual killings and terror? Do you know that the IG in an interview with journalists after the meeting, confirmed that the police was convinced that they need to involve the States, Local Governments and traditional institutions to tackle the menace? Do you know that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also confirmed that the Senate thereafter resolved to support the Nigerian Police through legislative interventions? Can you see that this synergy is enough good news to celebrate Valentine’s Day? What is Community Policing? Come along! The voice of the IG resonates:
“What we mean here is that we scan the community to find out what are the indices that can lead to the commission of crime or a crime that has been committed already.”
Do you know that the main objective of community policing is for the police to build relationships with the community through interactions with local agencies and members of the public, creating partnerships to reduce crime, an idea credited to Robert Peel? Do you know that just as we are having controversies on the propriety or otherwise of having State Police in Nigeria, the same controversy reared its ugly head in the 19th-century Britain, as government made spirited attempts to inaugurate a police force for London? Do you know that the idea raised the dust of suspicion for fear that it could be used to suppress protest or support unpopular government? Do you know that the opinion then was that such police force should be under local control? Are you aware that Peel became Home Secretary (Minister of Interior) in 1822 and tried his hand on what professional policing should be in a community? Do you know that Peel used the provisions of the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 to establish a full-time and centrally-organised police force for the Greater London area, known as the Metropolitan Police? Do you know that Peel formulated the following nine principles of policing called Peelian Principles, which were: –
To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
–To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
–To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
–To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
–To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
–To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
–To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
–To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary, of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
–To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
Do you know that the summary of PeelianPrinciples relies on the consent of the people, the defined powers approved for the police, the integrity of the force and the sense of revision in accounting for the use of that power? Can you see that the concept of Community Policing relies on the power and support of the people rather than the power of the State? Do you know that Community Policing has various methods which include: encouraging the community to help prevent crime by providing advice, giving talks at schools, encouraging neighborhood watch groups, and a variety of other techniques, increased use of foot or bicycle patrols, increased officer accountability to the communities they are supposed to serve, creating teams of officers to carry out community policing in designated neighborhoods, clear communication between the police and the communities about their objectives and strategies, partnerships with other organizations such as government agencies, community members, nonprofit service providers, private businesses and the media and decentralizing the police authority, allowing more discretion amongst lower-ranking officers, and more initiative expected from them?
Do you know that the advent of Community Policing has always been trailed with suspicion? Are you aware that since 1984, Peter Waddington cautioned that the idea, however attractive, should be subjected to careful and skeptical scrutiny? Do you know that C. B. Klockars and David Bayley raised doubt about the success of community policing on the premise that the democratic manifesto preached by community policing is antithetical to central elements in police culture and more widespread understandings of crime and punishment? Do you know that the argument of Charles P. McDowell in 1993 on the matter is that the idea of community policing is new and because it is a paradigm shift in ideology, then it will take time for it to take roots? Do you know that David Bayley argues against Community Policing because in his opinion, it may increase bureaucratic and governmental power over community affairs, is unnecessarily?
Since there is now a common ground on the subject, do you know that the various States’ Houses of Assembly should seize the tide by the line, put on the costumes of legislative drafting and give life to new laws now to regulate our new-found ‘Amotekun’ to nip in the bud the type of twin bank robberies witnessed in Ile Oluji in Ondo State last week? Do you know that two police officers and two civilians were brutally murdered in the incident? Can you see that the scheme needs to start like yesterday? Do you know that in this love season, we need peace?
Do you know that the Institute for Economics and Peace, an independent non-profit think tank based in Australia, annually publishes the Global Peace Index, an international study that assesses 163 independent states and territories according to their levels of peacefulness? Do you know that the study assesses global peace through three filters: safety and security in society, the extent of ongoing domestic or international conflict and the degree of militarization? Are you aware that researchers considered 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators to determine scores, including the number of casualties from terrorism and conflicts in that country, the number of murders per capita and the ratio of military spending to gross domestic product? Did you read the Global Peace Index for 2019? Do you know that the report held that the world continues to be less peaceful than a decade ago? Do you know that Europe maintained its position as the most peaceful region in the world? Do you know that in 2019, Afghanistan was the least peaceful country in the world, replacing Syria? Can you believe that the economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2018 amounted to $14.1 trillion in constant purchasing power parity (PPP) terms which was equivalent to 11.2 per cent of the world’s GDP or $1,853 per person? Do you know that this cost is more than 600% of the per capital income of $300 USD in Nigeria? Are you aware that an estimated 971 million people in 2019 lived in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards, putting them at risk for both extreme weather events and breakdowns in peacefulness in the coming decades?
Do you know that the same institute published the most Dangerous Countries in the World in 2020 using 23 different indicators, including political terror, deaths from internal conflict, and murder rate? Do you know that the 20 most dangerous countries in the world are: (1) Afghanistan ) (2) Syria, (3) South Sudan, (4) Yemen (29,161,922), (5) Iraq(39,309,783), (6) Somalia, (7) Central African Republic, (8) Libya, (9)Dr Congo (10) Russia, (11)Pakistan, (12) Turkey (83,429,615), (13) Sudan, (14) Ukraine, (15) North Korea, (16) Nigeria. (17)Lebanon, (18)Israel, (19) Mali and (20)Venezuela? Do you know that the first 5 most peaceful countries according to the report are: Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark? Can you see from the report that Nigeria occupies Number 16 with a population of 200,963,599 people seriously at risk?
Are you aware of the International SOS Report, the latest global Security Risk Report published on 31st January 2020 on most dangerous countries in the world for 2020? Do you know that the most dangerous countries in the world to visit in 2020 have been revealed in a Travel Risk Map used to predict the safest and conversely the most dangerous places to visit in the year ahead? Do you know that the map comprises three sections: medical, security and road safety, usingfive risk definitions: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme? Do you know that International SOS uses a number of criteria to assess how the conditions in the countries may impact visitors’ security and safety including including terrorism, insurgency, politically motivated unrest and war, social unrest including sectarian, communal and ethnic violence as well as violent and petty crime? Are you aware that the report goes as far as to predict three upcoming potential geopolitical events that could affect global security, namely: the upcoming US presidential election, tensions in the Korean peninsula and social disturbances and identity politics in Europe?
Are you aware that the following 10 countries have all been assessed as carrying an extreme travel security risk and, as such, are considered the most dangerous countries in the world: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen? Do you know that the countries that carry high risk include: Burkina Faso, Congo, Democratic Republic of, Egypt, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India (part), Mexico (part), Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, and Venezuela? Can you see that all the countries in the extreme category are at full-scale wars? Can you see that Nigeria is in the second category, next to war? Shall we not think of what to do to reverse this trend on Valentine’s Day?
Have you heard the news that on Thursday, 6thFebruary , 2020, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria commissioned two Agusta 109P Gunship and Mi-17 1E Medium Lift Helicopters into the service of the Nigerian Air Forcewhich were procured from Italy? The voice of the President cuts in:
“I am delighted to be here this morning to once again commission 2 x Agusta 109 Power and MI-171E helicopters into the Nigerian Air Force inventory. About a year ago, we commissioned 2 x Agusta 109 Power helicopter gunships which were procured from Italy.The platforms were subsequently inducted into the Nigerian Air Force inventory to boost the operational capacity. This was necessary to improve delivery of robust air power in support of our counter terrorism and counter insurgency efforts. It is on record that these additional platforms have contributed immensely to the Air Force’s successes and decimation of Boko Haram insurgents…. I promised to put an end to Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other forms of criminalities that have bedeviled our country during my inaugural speech as President. …I have no doubt that the deployment of these Agusta 109P gunships and the M-17IE helicopter would add impetus to the combat efficiency of the Air Force in combating our contemporary security challenges.”
Can you now see that we are in a near-war situation? Do you now see why we occupy a conspicuous place in the comity of most dangerous nations? Do you know that these flying birds of mass destruction are part of the fleets to wage war against those people, who before the crises were fellow Nigerians? Is it not high time we preached peace, tolerance and love? The words of President Lyndon B. Johnson cuts in:
“The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure. They are necessary symbols. They protect what we cherish. But they are witness to human folly.”
Do you know that we have to appreciate in no small measure the kind gesture of Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun for giving us the opportunity and enabling environment to celebrate this year’s Valentine’s Day with full salary and a crystal commitment to pay the minimum wage ? Just a subtle reminder! Do you know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14 as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world? Do you know that the day serves as a memorial of the imprisonment of Saint Valentine of Rome who was sentenced to prison for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire? Do you know that the day symbolizes restitution from hate speech, man-inhumanity-to-man, discrimination, banditry, raping, alcoholism, ritual killings and terror? Do you know that it is designed to celebrate good culture and to promote goodwill and better friendships? Are you aware that the Office of the Head of Service has enjoined all workers to wear ‘adire Osogbo‘ on that day? Do you know that our amiable Governor of the State and the First Lady will be there, live to rejoice with us? Are you aware that Mr Speaker and all House of Assembly members and the members of the Executive Council will be there, live, to rejoice with us? Do you know that the venue is Kolawole Resorts in the Secretariat? Do you know that Mr Governor will commission a new millennium ‘Bukataria‘ for us in the same Resort on that day? Do you know that the Osun Cultural Troupe and other entertainers will treat us to Valentine’s songs? Do you know that there will be gifts for good conduct and dressing? The poem of Robert Green Ingersol cuts in:
:Justice is the only worship,
Love is the only priest.
Ignorance is the only slave,
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here and
The way to be happy is to make others so.”