President Muhammadu Buhari is getting an earful from the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, on the need to immediately cut the cost of governance as the country has entered another recession.
SERAP says in light of this recession, considered the worst in decades, the president should put the country’s resources at the services of the citizens so they would have the opportunity to enjoy a good standard of living.
A letter to the president by SERAP’s director, Kolawole Oluwadare says the economic crisis provides an opportunity to prioritize access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic socio-economic rights, and to genuinely recommit to the fight against corruption.
SERAP says it is not too late to reorder the nation’s steps to put its wealth and resources to work for the common good of all Nigerians.
SERAP threatened that if the president shows no move within fourteen days to cut spending on government and officials, it would take legal action against the administration.
COVID-19: Schools Not Yet Safe For Students, Teachers – Group Tells Buhari
The Network for Democracy And Development, NDD, says schools are not yet safe to reopen because of poor preventive measures put in place to tackle coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The group says the announcement by presidential task force on COVID-19 that schools reopen on Monday, January the eighteenth, is premature because the country is experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases.
The group made this declaration during a virtual press conference on Sunday. During which it also railed against plans by educational institutions to resume academic activities nationwide without adequate safety measures against the second wave of COVID-19.
NDD’s national coordinator, Tajudeen Alabede said federal and state governments have left students, pupils and staff, to their fate as adequate safety measures were not put in place by the government to contain the spread of the disease.
Alabede said, “the consequences of poorly regulated resumption plans amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 may be catastrophic,” end quote.
He further said the government should consider providing facilities for virtual classes, deploying health and security personnel to schools to handle emergencies, providing hand sanitizer and masks to students and staff, providing testing facilities for compulsory testing of all students and staff, and setting up isolation centers in all local governments.
2021 Budget: National Assembly Asked To Stop Buhari From Selling National Assets
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP has called on senate president, Ahmed Lawan, and House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to ensure president Buhari sells no public properties to fund the 2021 budget.
SERAP said the government should rather cut salaries and allowances of top officials to address the growing deficit and borrowing rather than sell national assets.
In a letter to the national assembly on Saturday, the organization said the lawmakers have a constitutional and oversight responsibility to protect valuable public properties, and to ensure responsible budget spending.
It says disposing of valuable public properties to fund the budget was not in public interest and would be counter-productive, as the action would be vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement.
The rights group says such a move would undermine the social contract with Nigerians, and that it would leave the government worse off, and hurt the country in the long run.
SERAP recommended a freeze on spending in certain areas of the budget, such as hardship and furniture allowances, entertainment allowances, international travels, vehicles purchase and utilities for lawmakers, members, and the presidency.
Four Officers Killed, One Missing As Police Repel Ambush
The Nigerian police says four of its officers have been killed and one still missing after they clashed with an armed criminal gang in the Birnin-Gwari area of kaduna State. The police also says many of the gunmen were killed in the clashes that took place on Friday.
Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said in a statement on sunday, the officers were ambushed by about 100 “bandits” as they returned from an operation in neighbouring Niger State. The police statement denies initial reports claiming 18 officers had been abducted during the attack.
It says “only 16” officers were involved in the incident and the bodies of four police officers and their weapons had been recovered, 11 survived while “efforts are being intensified to rescue the one officer still missing. It is unclear whether the missing officer had been abducted by the armed men.
Meanwhile, in other separate attacks on Sunday also in Kaduna state, authorities confirm at least five persons, including an 80-year-old woman and a local traditional ruler, were killed and several others wounded. The state commissioner for internal security, Samuel Aruwan, says the gunmen targeted three rural areas of Giwa, Igabi and Chikun.
It’s not clear who carried out the series of weekend attacks in Kaduna State.