- Poverty, Unemployment, Getting Worse
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says Nigeria is currently at a crossroads as poverty, unemployment, inflation, infant mortality and other social vices are on the increase.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to unite in the demand for true federalism.
Atiku said this while delivering his speech at the formal public presentation of the Daily Stream newspaper in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “A huge pall of pessimism hangs over a section of the citizenry, and the ranks of those who harbour real doubt about the future of the country swell by the day.
“The country is truly at a crossroads, and things are made worse by the cocktail of economic, social and political problems which we have had to contend with, and which add to the abysmally low estimation of our country even by its own citizens.”
The former Vice-President recalled that life was better in the First Republic because each region was allowed to grow at its own pace while the Federal Government was weaker.
Atiku, however, noted that following the creation of states, the Federal Government became very powerful while the federating units became poor, thereby, deepening poverty among the populace
He added, “Our beloved country has been in the throes of severe and debilitating social and economic problems. Virtually all the development indices have not been favourable: massive and pervasive poverty, double-digit inflation, unemployment, dwindling foreign exchange receipts, poor GDP growth rates, high infant and maternal mortality, high levels of illiteracy, and millions of school-age children out of school.”
Atiku said the many problems facing the nation were already threatening the unity and the existence of the country. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to come together to renegotiate the terms of our union.
The former vice-president said no leader could make far-reaching positive changes in the country except the current political structure is changed.
He added, “To be sure, good leaders do make a difference in the fortunes of countries. However, leaders operate within structural constraints imposed by constitutions, laws and regulations and the local and world economy.
“But the most germane question we need to ask ourselves is: must we really continue to live together as one country amidst such a pervasive climate of disunity, which is impeding our development?
“My prompt answer to this is yes, we should remain together because it is the best option, and because we will be stronger, greater, and better in one piece than in pieces.”
Attempts to get reactions of President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, did not succeed. He had not responded to an email and an SMS sent to him as of the time of sending this report.
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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