- Buhari Meets CAN, Reaffirms Commitment to Anti-graft War, Security
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday said he would not relent in his efforts to fulfill his electoral promises of securing the country, fighting corruption and resuscitating the economy.
Buhari said this when he received members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by its President, Reverend Samson Ayokunle. in State House, Abuja.
Noting that though fighting corruption takes longer time when adhering to the rule of law, he said he was determined to fulfill his electoral promises.
“It is on record that some cases initiated by the anti-graft bodies since 2003 are yet to be concluded. We will, however, not be discouraged.
“Where monies have been recovered, such monies will not find their way back to the looters as I have directed EFCC to account for every money it has recovered and put them in a dedicated account,” President Buhari said.
On next year’s elections, he assured the Christian leaders that he had assurances from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the elections will be free and fair, noting that he has been a victim of fraudulent elections and beneficiary of free and fair election in the past.
As regards farmers-herdsmen clashes, Buhari told the CAN leadership that government was working towards finding a lasting solution to it.
Responding to the request by CAN for an overhaul of the intelligence gathering system, President Buhari told the group that intelligence gathering involves everyone, especially district heads, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and especially religious leaders that are very close to the grassroots.
He added that bandits operating in various communities live among the people and enjoined leaders of thought in various communities to avail security agencies of information about criminals.
The CAN delegation commended the President for his efforts in fighting corruption, the initiatives to stem the tide of unemployment, the various efforts aimed at revamping the economy, the fight against Boko Haram and the implementation of the Bank Verification Number and the Treasury Single Account.
Noting the relative improvements in the areas of security and job creation, the religious body said despite government’s efforts in the area of security, Boko Haram terrorists had continued to attack some soft targets.
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Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
Nigeria Spends N231.27 Billion on Arms Procurement in Four Years Amidst Rising Security Challenges
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N231.27 billion for arms and ammunition procurement over the past four years.
Despite this significant investment, security agencies argue that the allocated funds are insufficient to effectively tackle the myriad security challenges afflicting the nation.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, defended the substantial budget for arms purchases during a session with the House of Representatives.
He emphasized that Nigeria’s dependence on foreign countries for military hardware, which are priced in dollars, diminishes the impact of the substantial budget when converted to the local currency.
General Musa explained, “We don’t produce what we need in Nigeria, and if you do not produce what you need, that means you are at the beck and call of the people that produce these items. All the items we procured were bought with hard currency, none in naira.”
He further illustrated the challenges faced, citing that a precision missile for drones costs $5,000, underscoring the magnitude of the expenses associated with arms procurement.
An analysis of the annual budgets for the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces from 2020 to 2022 reveals allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively.
In 2023, N47.02 billion was disbursed for arms procurement, supplemented by a recently passed budget of N184.25 billion, resulting in a total of N231.27 billion.
Security expert Chidi Omeje raised concerns about the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which is tasked with manufacturing arms locally. Omeje criticized DICON’s underperformance, urging the government to revamp the agency to reduce reliance on foreign nations for arms and ammunition.
Omeje stressed, “The new government must make sure that DICON lives up to its responsibilities,” highlighting the urgency of fostering self-sufficiency in arms production to address the country’s security challenges effectively.
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