Senator Ali Ndume is a lawmaker never shy to throw his hat in the ring anytime the issue of Boko Haram is raised for conversation.
Marked by unrestrained destruction of lives and property, the Boko Haram insurgency in North-east States of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe has been a gory tale stretching over a decade.
This sad experience has also seen to the displacement of over a million people in some towns and communities in the troubled States.
And, beyond this is the pitiable breakdown of social and economic activities.
Ndume literarily wept last week as he, again, took the driver’s seat to lament the Boko Haram insurgency, a conduct typical of his many contributions on the floor of the Red Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS).
This time, he cried out over how insurgency had crippled Federal Government’s road projects in the North-east region.
His was one of the many engaging stories that emanated from the NASS.
And Ndume wept!
On January 4, Senator Ndume, representing Borno South at the NASS cried out over how the deadly activities of Boko Haram terrorists have been stalling the execution of road projects approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in the North-east region of the country.
In an interview with journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the outspoken Senator lamented that the construction and rehabilitation of major roads in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States had been abandoned due to terrorist attacks.
“The first is Dikwa-Marte-Monguno road which was approved for N60.273bn and the Numan road linking Borno and Adamawa approved for N15.527 billion. The third is the road from Gombi-Biu linking Adamawa and Borno also approved for N7.643 billion,” he lamented.
Ndume’s concerns illustrate most vividly the socio-economic ruins into which a large segment of the country has been subjected to on account of a protracted war.
As most part of the north bleeds, it must be acknowledged that it will take decades of painstaking effort to restore some semblance of peace, progress and development.
This is why the President must take himself serious having promised in the New Year to end the Boko Haram menace in 2021.
It would be interesting to see how the Buhari administration husbands the resources already budgeted for these infrastructures, as the funds cannot be made to idle away while the said communities can also not be denied of their rights.
In all, the lesson learnt is that the ruling class must realize that political instability is the greatest set back to development anywhere in the world.
And, it is a no brainer that the shortest route to political instability is the absence of justice and fairness in the affairs of states.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“One thing Nigerian politicians must understand is that you can make much more money through legitimate business from a growing economy than you can make stealing from a dying economy. No one loves poverty. But corruption isn’t the answer. Create wealth and it’ll circulate to you?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Reviewing minimum wage law
The House of Representatives, on January 8, considered an amendment to the 1999 Constitution by removing matters relating to wages from the Executive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.
Done, the law will deny the Federal Government its exclusive power to negotiate and determine the minimum wage for workers across the three tiers of government.
The bill, sponsored by Garba Datti Muhammad, is said to be at the second reading, and is targeted at making respective governments to determine wages in accordance to their economic capacity.
“Let every state pay according to what it has. But labour always looks at it from the point of ‘you want to weaken the organised Labour so that the government will always have a say’. Every Labour union in the States should negotiate with the respective State Governments,” Muhammadu said.
It is to be safely assumed that the controversy, confusion and non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage signed into law in 2019 by President Buhari must have inspired Muhammad’s bill.
Rightly so, as reports indicate that as at last year, no fewer than 11 States: Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Taraba, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Plateau, Benue, Osun, Anambra, Imo and Kogi, are yet to start paying the wage; whereas, some States: Bauchi, Kebbi, Oyo, Yobe, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, only implemented it partially.
Muhammad’s bill strikes at the heart of the matter, and it is hoped that he would get the support of his NASS colleagues.
Nothing drives the point home than the widely held belief that the power configuration in the country puts too much authority in the care of the federal government, and that this must be whittled down.
It would be interesting to see how Muhammad’s bill fares.
On January 7, the House of Representatives proposed a bill on the legalisation of cultivation and trading in cannabis for medical and cosmetic use, research purposes as well as revenue generation for the country.
Sponsored by Miriam Onuoha, the Cannabis Control Bill 2020 is awaiting second reading. The objectives of the bill, among others, include providing for the “regulation of the cultivation, possession, processing, availability and trade of cannabis for medicinal and researching purposes.”
Onuoha’s bill naturally stokes controversy, given the abuse to which many have put the ‘weed’ to in the past, as well as speculations that its usage has often been traced to incidences of crime in the country.
The bill’s benefits, however, can be found in the fact that many countries of the world are beginning to tap into the economic values of the crop.
Should Nigeria ignore these facts on account of its notorious culture of being unable to implement or enforce its laws? That should be a task for the House to contend with.
Answer: Senator Ben Murray-Bruce
Murray-Bruce made the statement, on May 24, 2019, via his Twitter handle, @benmurraybruce. The Tweet was a piece of advice for his fellow politicians who thrive in looting public funds. He served as a Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District from 2015 to 2019.
By John Chukwu…
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