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400,000 policemen not enough to secure Nigeria’s – Kalu

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…… Says State Police necessary for effective policing

By Chukwuka Kanu, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas has said that the number of policemen which is placed at about 400,000 is not sufficient to provide security to over 200 million Nigerians.

Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the association of Clerks of State Houses of Assembly on Thursday, Abbas who was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Benjamin Okezie Kalu, said that it became necessary to establish state police.

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He said state policing will increase internal security because the operators are already familiar with the terrain they are to police.

Abbas said that the establishment of State Police is akin to the amendments made to issues of railway, power amongst others by the 9th National Assembly to enable the States enjoy some constitution rights under the concurrent list to delve into those issues.

He said: “On other key nationally important matters like state police, for example, the House recognizes the diverse perspectives and needs across different states. We believe that through constructive dialogue and a willingness to find common ground, we can arrive at solutions that truly serves the best interests of all Nigerians.

“Talking about state Police, you will remember also that we did something with the Correctional Services. These are issues that ordinarily fall into the exclusive list of the Constitution of the federal of republic of Nigeria which you had no business tampering with.

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But in the spirit of true federalism, the 9th and 10th Assemblies are determined to bring some of these for better governance to take it from the exclusive list to the concurrent list. We did that with the railway and power in the 9th assembly. The question is, how many of the states have drafted laws, domesticating that in their state?

“Now, the State Police is here. We want to use the legislative intervention to improve the needs in our society. One of our needs is security. And we have tried the one layer police system and they overwhelmed us. The truth remains that 400, 000 policemen, policing over 200 million people can never give you the expected security. It is not even in line with the international best practices on police per citizen policing.

“How do we make it trickle down and achieve what we are looking for. Imagine a brother of mine trained in Sokoto or Kaduna during his training as a policeman and he finished and was sent to Bayelsa, a riverine area where the culture is different, language is different, even the way of movement is different -they use mainly boats and this our brother has a phobia for water, how do you expect him to police the people who swim?

The policing will not be thorough. But take a man from that community who knows the in and out of the geography of the area, train him around that place, send him to police, you will agree with me that he will police better. The same thing if you take my brother from Bayelsa to Sokoto, he will not police better than the Sokoto man.

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“Yet, the spirit of one nation, national integration, federal character is key and cannot be tampered with. That is why the federal police can have the coloration of what it is at the moment.

“And another thing is, if we don’t streamline it, you will see pockets of organizations, vigilante groups springing up everyday, getting armed everyday. If tomorrow we are not able to manage them in line with the core principle of policing, we may end up creating monsters that will add to insecurity.”

Abbas also called for collaborations among the national parliament and the State Assemblies with regards to the ongoing constitutional amendments.

He said that the synergy was necessary if lofty results were to be achieved.

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“The House of Representatives recognizes the crucial role State Assemblies play in shaping the fabric of our nation. We understand that effective governance in a federal system like ours requires inter-governmental collaboration and synergy between the government at the center and the federating units.

“The Nigerian constitutional amendment process has long been a subject of national discourse, and rightfully so because the society is dynamic. It presents a unique opportunity to address critical issues, strengthen our institutions, and pave the way for a more prosperous, enviable and equitable future for all Nigerians.

“However, this process cannot succeed without a unified front. It’s been tested time and again that the federal legislature in isolation of the states legislature cannot amend the grundnom. The constitution is clear on that. Responsibility is shared.

“The House of Representatives firmly believes that collaboration between the National Assembly and State Assemblies is essential to achieve meaningful and lasting reforms. The clerks are the backbones of the State legislature.

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“We are committed to working closely with you, the Clerks who serve as the backbone of your respective legislative houses, to ensure open communication, exchange of ideas, and a shared understanding of the issues at stake”, he said.

Earlier in her presentation, the chairman and leadership of the delegation, Rukaiyatu Adamu Jalo told the Speaker that their mission to the House was to seek collaboration with the House, appreciate the national assembly for the passage of the autonomy for state legislature and judiciary bill into law and to understudy the national parliament on the implementation of practice and procedures of legislative business.

Bemoaning the non implementation of the act in many states, Adamu appealed to the House leadership to interface with the Forum of State Speakers to resolve the issue.

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Nigeria to export petroleum products by Dec, says NNPCL

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Nigeria’s oil industry will join the big league in December when it becomes a net exporter of refined petroleum products.

Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mele Kyari, said yesterday that ahead of this, the Port Harcourt Refinery will go into full operation and petrol supply from next month.

According to him, the Warri and Kaduna refineries will follow suit by December.

On Sunday, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said the Dangote Refinery will pump petrol in commercial quantity also from next month.

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These are expected to bring relief to Nigerians.

Kyari spoke when he appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Finance.

He was part of the Federal Government’s finance team that shared ideas with the lawmakers on how the Executive is tackling the myriad of economic challenges.

Yesterday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the June headline inflation rate at 34.19 per cent, pushed up by the 40.87 per cent food inflation.

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Other members of the economic team at the parley led by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy Mr. Wale Edun were: Budget/National Planning Minister, Senator Atiku Bagudu; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Dr Yemi Cardoso, represented by Deputy Governor (Economic Policy) Muhammad Abdullahi and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Chairman, Mr. Zacch Adedeji.

Edun and Abdullahi joined the meeting during the closed-door session.

Relying on emerging indicators in the energy and gas sector, the NNPCL boss told the committee that Nigeria will become a net exporter of refined petroleum products by December.

Kyari told the committee that the Port Harcourt Refinery will start production early next month, adding that this will be followed by the one in Warri and Kaduna Refinery latest by December.

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He added that in a few months, the daily crude oil production will hit two million barrels with the logistics so far put in place.

Kyari said: “NNPCL and the oil and gas industry are very critical in bringing a turnaround in our current economic situation, and we understand the importance of this. We are taking every step that is practical for us to achieve this.

“We have already seen growth in our oil and gas production because of certain actions that Mr. President personally took, and also the very mere truth that we have also declared a war on production activities and this is yielding the required results.

“The combination of these two has now seen us restoring production in our country, and we believe that, as the minister has said, we will soon hit the target of two million barrels of oil production per day.

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“I’m aware that there are several comments in the public space around refining business and domestic production, including production that will come from the commissioned Dangote refinery.

“This country will be a net exporter of petroleum products by the end of this year. We’re very optimistic that by December, this country will be a net exporter.

“That means a combination of production coming from us, and also from Dangote refinery and other smaller producing companies are in line to do this.

“So, I can confirm to you, Mr. Chairman, that by the end of the year, this country will be a net exporter of petroleum products.

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“We have spoken to a number of your committees that it is impossible to have the Kaduna refinery come into operation before December, it will get to December. Both Warri and Kaduna but that of Port Harcourt, will commence production early August this year.”

The CBN Deputy Governor said the triple challenge of rising inflation, foreign exchange rate fluctuations and food inflation would soon be on the reverse trend as indicators to that effect are already emerging.

Bagudu said the 2024 Budget is already being implemented and that there is ongoing negotiation with Labour leaders on the new minimum wage.

Chairman of the joint Committee, Senator Sani Musa, appealed to Nigerians to persevere “as the government is working around the clock to stabilise the economy”.

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He added: “Our critical interactive session with you as managers of the economy is about economic growth. It’s about how we can get our policies to work. How we will support Nigerians.

“The National Assembly is very concerned because we are the representatives of the people. And we are obliged to ask what is happening and this is the reason for this meeting.

“We have heard from you, at least you have given us preambles of the activities going on, on how our economy can get back on track.

“You are all aware of the obstructions our economy has had in the previous years and it is not going to be easy that overnight, in 365 days or in one year of the coming administration, things will change. It will be gradual.

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“I believe that Nigerians will persevere. This is the only time we can all come together as Nigerians to give His Excellency the President, all the needed support to get us out of all the trouble we have been.

“The indicators are showing that the economy is doing well. Things are a bit difficult because it is not easy for inflation that has gone up to go down like that. It takes time.”

Inflation rises to 34.19 per cent

Nigeria’s headline inflation rate rose marginally by 0.24 percentage points to 34.19 per cent last month from 33.95 per cent in May.

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Food inflation also increased to 40.87 per cent last month against 40.66 per cent the previous month.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its latest report, said: “In June 2024, the headline inflation rate increased to 34.19 per cent relative to the May 2024 headline inflation rate which was 33.95 per cent.

‘’Looking at the movement, the June 2024 headline inflation rate showed an increase of 0.24 per cent points when compared to the May 2024 headline inflation rate.”

The NBS stated this in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) released yesterday.

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The CPI  measures the average change over time in the prices of goods and services consumed by people daily.

“On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.40 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023, which was 22.79 per cent,’’ the report added.

However, the rate of increase (0.24 percentage points) is lower than that of  May and other months.

“On a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in June 2024 was 2.55 per cent, which shows a 0.26 per cent increase compared to the rate recorded in May 2024 (2.28 per cent),” it said.

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The NBS attributed the development to a rise in the average prices of food items.

CPI had risen from 33.20 per cent in March to 33.69 per cent in April.

Nigeria has seen 19 months of consecutive inflationary pressure, pushing the inflation rate to a 28-year high.

Many experts at Cordros Capital Group, and CardinalStone Group, had expected a gradual and sustained decline in inflation in the months ahead, with some highlighting possible disinflation from July 2024.

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Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) predicted that average prices would rise further this month. It cited renewed inflationary pressure.

FDC particularly noted that imminent wage increases could trigger cost-push inflation.

President of the Association of Capital Market Academics in Nigeria, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, said recent fiscal measures by the Federal Government designed to address food shortages would manifest in a slowdown of costs.

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18.7m Nigerians under insurance cover, NHIA DG

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No fewer than 18.7 million Nigerians have been covered by health insurance as of this year’s second querter, the Nigerian Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) said yesterday.

The agency said it has made significant strides in expanding health insurance coverage across the country.

It’s Director-General, Dr. Kelechi Ohiri, dropped the hints in Abuja during the inaugural Quarterly Performance Dialogue between the Federal Government, 36 State Governments, and key health sector stakeholders.

According to him, the 18.7 million Nigerians covered by health insurance, surpassed the target set for the period by an impressive 11 per cent.

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He said that this achievement highlighted the NHIA’s dedication to achieving universal health coverage (UHC).

Ohiri said: “The authority’s vision is centered on bridging the gap in healthcare access for millions of Nigerians and enhancing the overall quality of care. Despite this progress, several challenges persist.”

He said that one of the significant challenges identified was the uneven distribution of coverage, particularly the disparity between the formal and informal sectors.

To tackle these challenges, Ohiri said that the NHIA had outlined a strategic plan for the future.

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He mentioned that the authority aimed to leverage on data and technology to enhance service delivery and patient outcomes.

He said that the NHIA was optimising operations and fostering citizen engagements in its commitment to improving healthcare access.

“The authority has set an ambitious target to cover 20 million Nigerians by 2027, a goal that underscores its comprehensive vision for universal health coverage in the country,” he said.

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Ex-VP Osinbajo Celebrates Wife’s Birthday With Heartfelt Message

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Former Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has taken to social media to gush over his wife, Dolapo, as she marks her birthday anniversary on Monday.

Osinbajo took to his X handle (formerly Twitter) on Monday to pen down emotional messages with pictures of Dolapo appreciating arts and plants, to wish his wife well.

Osinbajo wrote: “Happy birthday my love @dolapoosinbajo.

“Your love, kindness, and generosity make all our lives so much happier.

“Love you always, Yemi xxx.”

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He continued, saying, “This year I decided to share my favorite photos of Dolly @dolapoosinbajo doing her favorite things.”

Taking to the comment section, veteran Nollywood actress Joke Silva said, “Happy birthday to the Jewel in the Crown. Have an incredible day.”

Also, a former Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., Ibukun Awosika, reacted: “Happy birthday to a most beautiful person, both inside and outside. You are a true treasure and a worthy example of Christ in us. God bless you richly. Love you lots.”

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