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Why FG Lacks The Gut To check Bandits, Farooq Kperogi Exposes Malami

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Allocation

Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t.

 

 

On July 18, 2021, so-called bandits shot down an Alpha Jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force on the boundary between Zamfara and Kaduna states. Then on October 7, 2021, the Wall Street Journal, whose news section is adjudged one of America’s most credible, got a scoop that the Nigerian Air Force paid N20 million to bandits to buy back “an antiaircraft gun” that the bandits had seized from the Nigerian military in a clash.

 

The antiaircraft gun, the paper said, “posed a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been planning to fly to his hometown….”

 

On October 20, 2021, the bandits, whom the Wall Street Journal says have “collaborators inside the army” and who are “better equipped with larger-capacity advanced weaponry than national security agencies,” detonated explosives on the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks and caused the indefinite suspension of rail transportation between Abuja and Kaduna.

 

What has become transparently apparent in the last few months is that the plague of so-called Fulani herdsmen banditry is way deeper and more complex than we have persuaded ourselves to believe. The menace we self-deceptively and simplistically attenuate as mere “banditry” is nothing short of well-oiled, deep-rooted, well-practiced, and well-organised mercenary terrorism whose tentacles have spread to unthought-of social territories of the Nigerian society.

 

Early this month, I had a lengthy conversation with a well-placed Nigerian government official on a whole host of issues, including the escalating, never-ending scourge of mass abductions for ransom in vast swathes of the country. In the course of our conversation, he casually shared with me a disturbing story that, for me, strikes at the core of why terroristic banditry won’t go away anytime soon.

 

He was involved in negotiations for the release of abductees some months back. The multi-million-naira ransom paid to the “abductors,” he said, went through a tortuous chain of command that finally ended up with some armed, well-nourished, out-of-state individuals. In other words, although the kidnappers were bucolic Fulani, the people who finally received the ransom weren’t.

 

In any case, as most people know, most of the cattle that the Fulani herders rear don’t belong to them; they belong to wealthy city dwellers (and some prosperous rural folks) from all over Nigeria.

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Well, the anecdote that the government official shared with me recalls a viral video of a “bandit” in one of the northwestern states swearing in Hausa that “bandits” aren’t independent actors, that they are armed and financed by well-placed people in the society who take advantage of their poverty and disaffiliation from mainstream society to recruit them.

 

To be clear, I am not by any means absolving Fulani herders from responsibility for kidnapping. I just want to transcend the surface on which we have dwelled for far too long.

 

I also connected the dots between what the government official told me and a message that trended in Nigerian social media circles in May 2019 about a woman who was threatened with abduction but given the option to pay N5 million into a bank account to avert her kidnap.

 

A portion of the narration is worth reproducing without authorial intervention: “She took it up. Went to the bank with some assistance from influential friends. They asked that the account be flagged…. Bank did checks. Bank said the account cannot be flagged else they will lose influential clients How so? The names attached to the account are powerful names. That the kidnap ring pays some top persons percentage from the ransome [sic] paid. She was advised to jejely goan [sic] pay her POTENTIAL KIDNAPPERS. I was speechless for over 5 minutes.”

 

If you think this is a made-up story, read Daily Trust’s July 28, 2021 story titled “Kidnappers in FCT Begin Collection Of Ransom Through Banks.” When a Mrs. Aminat Adewuyi was kidnapped in Niger State, the kidnappers threatened to slaughter her if her relatives didn’t deposit N5 million naira into an Access Bank account.

 

The amount was later scaled back. “The ransom payment slip, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Trust showed that Adewuyi’s husband paid N500,000 into an Access Bank account with number 1403762272 and the name Badawi Abba Enterprise,” the paper reported.

 

Also recall that late last month even the National Youth Service Corps advised youth corps members posted to abduction-prone roads like “Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, or Aba-Port Harcourt” to let “family members, friends and colleagues to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded” in the event of their abduction. This piece of advice was frozen in a handbook distributed to corps members.

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It’s easy to explain away the NYSC advice as merely an organisation being pragmatic and making peace with the ever-present reality of mass abductions in the country. But the listless capitulation to mercenary terroristic bandits by almost all segments of the Nigerian government, including security outfits, points to high-profile complicity, in my opinion.

 

The Daily Nigerian reported on October 21 that security agencies had intercepted communication between “a notorious bandit” and his “associate.” “The report, dated October 19, 2021 and entitled ‘PLANNED ATTACK ON TRAIN AROUND RIJANA, KADUNA STATE,’ said the terrorists were heard discussing about the planned attack by Darul Salam terrorists in concert with two bandit kingpins, Danlami and Lawan (not real names),” the news site reported.

 

It quoted the security report to have said, “Baffa informed Bala that members of Darussalam (Boko Haram) in collaboration with bandits led by Danlami and Lawan are currently on their way to plant a bomb at a bridge on the railway in Rijana to hijack a moving train and kidnap the passengers. Baffa said he decided not to participate in the operation because it is risky but believed that DANLAMI and LAWAN will blow up the bridge.”

 

 

 

Why was the report, which the paper said was “circulated across security agencies,” ignored? Was this complicity, incompetence, or indifference? I am inclined to think it’s complicity, especially in light of the Wall Street Journal’s not-surprising revelation that mercenary terrorist bandits have “collaborators inside the army.”

 

 

 

Here are my own extrapolations based on the facts I’ve encountered these past few months. While uneducated, pastoral, semi-nomadic Fulani herders are the public face of mass abductions for ransom in the country, they are just branches of a tree whose roots are buried deep beneath the surface. The herders are mere expendable foot soldiers of people who have privileged connections to the government and the private sector.

 

 

Peasant, seminomadic Fulani herders who have lost their cattle have historically served as an inexhaustible pool of lumpen proletariat to conscript into all kinds of conflicts. In the early 1800s, for instance, they constituted a huge percentage of Afonja’s army in his fight against the Alaafin of Oyo. In “A Little New Light: Selected Historical Writings of Professor Abdullahi Smith,” the late Abdullahi Smith wrote that Fulani pastoralists who lost their cattle to tsetse fly bites in Yoruba land and “had nothing to lose” became Afonja’s mercenaries.

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The domination of abduction for ransom by Fulani pastoralists who have lost their cattle seems to me like the recrudescence of what happened in the 1800s—and at other historical epochs. Killing the abductors will do nothing to stop the problem because they are merely the branches of a tree. You don’t kill a tree by cutting off its branches because new branches will sprout in time.

 

 

 

You kill a tree by uprooting it. That means identifying the funders and real beneficiaries of mass abductions in the country. From the information I am privy to, they are elites who are not necessarily Fulani. They are a pan-Nigerian gang of ruthless buccaneers who are united by rapaciousness and vileness.

 

 

 

But instead of confronting this grave existential threat to Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, is obsessed with blabbering about who the “sponsors” of Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu are.

 

 

This is the same guy who refused to name and identify people who have been exposed by the United Arab Emirates as sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists because, according to him, “Naming and shaming of suspects is not embarked upon as a policy by the federal Government out of sheer respect [for] the constitutional rights of Nigerians relating to presumption of innocence.”

 

 

 

Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t. That is all you need to know for why mercenary terroristic banditry will endure for as long as incompetent hypocrites like Malami hold and control the levers of government.

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HAVING A FIRSTBANK SALARY ACCOUNT CAN EASE YOUR MONEY PROBLEMS, FIND OUT HOW…

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First Bank

“There is always a lot to spend money on, and sometimes the bills can’t wait for the salary to be paid” Tope complained when his wife informed him that they had run out of cooking gas and had to refill.

 

He had just moved to a new location with his family and the bills seemed to be coming at such speed that he could hardly keep up.

 

Barely three weeks in the new apartment, the electricity bill had arrived. The new apartment was bigger than the last and their two double-seater cushions left too much space vacant in the seating room. They needed to get a couple more furniture to fill the space. His wife had not stopped reminding him of the car he promised to get, in order to ease mobility for the family.

 

Everyone has been a Tope at some point in time, and that is why everyone needs a financial partner like FirstBank, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services brand. FirstBank offers a variety of loan products that can help you ease off pressure as you work towards meeting pressing and urgent needs, as well as medium term goals.

FirstAdvance is a digital product tailored for Salary Account holders, who have an urgent cash need and would want to access salary advance from the bank. If you have held a salary account with FirstBank for up to two months, you can access 50% of your monthly net salary and as much as half a million naira (N500,000).

 

A physical visit to the bank branch is not required as you can access it via the FirstMobile (FirstBank’s Mobile banking app) and USSD channels. To access the service via USSD, dial *894*11# from the phone number linked with your FirstBank account. This has proved to be the solution for many people while emergencies arise before pay day. There is no point in waiting for month end before you can take on those pressing financial obligations.

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FirstCredit is another digital product designed to cater for the non-salaried individuals. All that is required is for your account to have been active and transacting in FirstBank for six months or more to access FirstCredit. It provides customers with quick and easy access to loans to fund urgent transactions. You do not need a smart phone or a physical visit to the bank to get this done as well. This credit facility can be accessed using a mobile phone and the USSD banking code, *894*11#. You can access as much as N300,000 to be repaid within 30 days.

 

No physical documentation or collateral is required, neither do you need a physical visit to the bank to access both loans. Imagine the confidence that comes with sorting out your bills within minutes and without having to wait till month end.

 

Salary accounts should do more than receiving your monthly pay from your employer. It should be instrumental in making your day-to-day living easier, and this is what having your salary account with FirstBank can achieve for you. You can get a Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS) if you have a a longer-term project at hand or investments to make. It may be paying school fees for your kids, acquiring assets or renovating your properties, paying rent, taking professional examinations.

 

Customer who qualify can access Up to N50 million based on their net monthly income and rates are competitive, while offering long term and flexible repayments up to 48 months tenor.

 

Despite all these benefits and ease in access to loans, it literarily costs nothing to open a FirstBank Salary Account. Zero opening balance, Zero minimum daily operating balance, Zero account maintenance charge, plus you even get your first debit card issued for free.
Truly, it is always “YOU FIRST” from FirstBank.

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UBA Group Dominates the 2021 Banker Awards, Wins ‘African Bank of the Year’

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UBA

Breaks the Banker Magazine Record as it wins Best Bank in Nigeria and 12 of Its Subsidiaries Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc yet again, reaffirms its leadership position across Africa, as the bank has been globally recognised as the African Bank of the year 2021 by the Banker Magazine, a leading global finance news publication published by the Financial Times of London.

 

UBA’s solid financial performance, its excellent service delivery to customers and its continuous role of facilitating rapid economic growth across the African continent were some of the reasons that led to the bank being named best bank in 12 of its African subsidiaries and in Nigeria. UBA Nigeria Plc, UBA Benin, UBA Burkina Faso, UBA Cameroon, UBA Chad, UBA Congo Brazzaville, UBA Cote D’Ivoire, UBA Gabon, UBA Guinea, UBA Liberia, UBA Senegal, UBA Sierra Leone and UBA Zambia all came out top as the best banks in their respective countries.

 

This will not be a first for UBA. In 2020, six of its subsidiaries in Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia were winners of the Best Bank award. This year, the UBA Group is breaking a record with its exceptional wins as African Bank of the Year and Bank of the year in 13 countries. The total 14 awards makes it the first time ever in the history of the almost 100 years of The banker, that any banking group will be clinching as many as 14 wins in a single year.

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At the Virtual award ceremony which was held on December 1st 2021, the Middle East and Africa Editor for The Banker, John Everington, explained at the event that a rigorous and highly analytical process is made annually to reach the decision for each Bank of the Year award and the institution’s reputation for independence, authority and integrity is thoroughly applied to each submission.

 

“While several African banks impressed the judges this year, there was no doubt as to the worthiest recipient of the Bank of the Year for Africa – UBA Group – a clear winner across a wide range of criteria. UBA has performed impressively across its footprint with a strong financial performance across most of its markets,” Everington said.

 

UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, who expressed delight over the recognition from The Banker stated “Like I always say, at UBA, we must be doing something right. Winning 14 total awards in13 subsidiaries and the Bank of the Year on the African continent is a big achievement.’

 

Continuing, Uzoka said, “The recognitions come as a reassurance that we are on track in consolidating our leadership position in Africa, as we continue to create superior value for all our stakeholders. We have our millions of customers across the globe and our many thousands of staff to thank for this. They are the very reason why we keep winning’

 

Since1926, the Bank of the Year awards has been celebrating the best of global banking and is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence. The 2021 edition highlights those institutions that have outshone their peers in terms of performance, strategic initiatives and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Banker Magazine is a publication of the Financial Times – a leading global finance news publication which has been in existence since 1888. The Banker magazine is the definitive reference in international banking for high level decision makers.

 

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-five million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries.

 

With presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services

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Crisis Rocks Ghana Parliament As Members Clash Over 2022 budget

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Ghana

The 2022 budget of Ghana suffered another set back as the House could not reach concerts on its passage.

 

The Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori Atta had presented the budget for the House to deliberate upon and possibly approve it for passage to the president to work with. But the House is in disagreement.

 

The Majority members had earlier hoped in easy passage but, they were shocked to witness a tie in the House. The ruling Party, New Patriotic Party ( NPP) has 137 members in the House, same to the main opposition party, The New Democratic Congress(NDC)

 

The Speaker who could have added one to the ruling NPP lacks the constitutional right, as the Constitution denies him voting right as the presiding officer.

 

The case will then be taken to the Supreme Court for intervention. The issue has been a major challenge threatening the smooth democracy in the country. The decision to go to Supreme Court is expected to be taken before or by Friday sitting.

 

By Moses Owopade,

Accra, Ghana.

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