Nigeria requires a revolution to combat corruption, according to Bitrus, President of the MBF

Posted by

Dr. Pogu Bitrus, president of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), has spoken out against the pervasive corruption in Nigeria and the inaction of the country’s security forces, stating that the only way to eradicate this evil is to launch a revolution.

During his conversation with LEAKNEWS, he touched on a wide range of pressing national problems, including the present administration’s anti-corruption efforts, the removal of the immunity provision from the constitution, the war on banditry and abduction, and the Lagos-Calabar coastal route.

Is the government genuinely tackling corruption, or is it just giving it lip service? Roughly fifty CSOs have recently criticized the federal government’s anti-corruption efforts.

He did not come to pursue corruption; it is not his goal, as the president himself said. His only statement was that he was following in Buhari’s footsteps. From what I can see, he is performing better than Buhari since his arrival.

I believe we should be patient until a new administration arrives with clear goals and follows through on them in a lawful and appropriate manner. Corruption exists; the question is whether or not the institutions necessary to combat it are in place, independent of the administration in power.

We have strong legal protections against corruption, but our institutions are failing to implement them. Because of this fundamental flaw in our culture, it is now socially acceptable to honor and even crown someone who steals money and provides it to a king.

Because of this ingrained mindset, it is quite unlikely that one person can bring about a complete and utter transformation. If we want the president to change the economy and the security situation so that businesses, trade, and commerce may flourish, we need a revolution in that area.

People will eventually stop eying the government’s resources for theft if they are successful in business. Therefore, we must alter our attitude and conduct in order to alter this aspect of ourselves.

As I mentioned before, we have the necessary institutions and legislation in place to manage this, so it’s not only up to the government to accomplish it. Doing a good job is the responsibility of these institutions. They need our support just as much as we need it to execute their jobs properly.

Photos and videos of hundreds of bandits celebrating Sallah in Zamfara State went viral on social media last year, seemingly unchecked by anybody in Nigeria or anywhere else in the globe. Regarding it, what are your thoughts?

This proves that there are still many ISIS militants who pose a threat to the United States, despite claims to the contrary made by the military.

Apart from our biases, we are Nigerians who believe in a united Nigeria. The truth is that there are those who do not believe in a singular Nigeria, and we do not subscribe to that view.

They will continue with their current actions if they do. Doing what’s required is our first priority, and we have already stated our desire for a national restructuring as the best course of action.

Do you agree with Dikko Radda, the governor of Katsina state, who recently said that some government officials and security personnel in Nigeria help and support banditry?

To a certain degree, I concur with him. Members of the security and government agencies are not without their share of miscreants. Recall that some of these were mentioned by former President Goodluck Jonathan while he was in office. Some individuals are causing problems for mainstream security operations by acting as moles inside various security services, such as the military or the police, and providing intelligence to terrorists and bandits.

Bandits have perfected the art of ambushing security personnel on the road because some of their informants provide them with information regarding their whereabouts. But we have inexpensive drones; the government should equip all of our security forces with them so they can see what’s coming. There are traitors working for the government and intelligence services, that much is true. The presence of these saboteurs within the security agencies makes even the struggle against insecurity more tedious and difficult. Indeed, as General TY Danjuma stated in 2018, security agents are in cahoots with terrorists and criminals. To maintain instability, something must be done to remove such individuals from the security forces and the government officials who back them.

In a recent assessment, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) estimated that 16% of Nigerians, mostly in the states of Sokoto and Zamfara, would face severe starvation from June to August of this year. In your opinion, how does the report stand?

There is no requirement for an external report; we are already aware that this is the case due to the fact that banditry has progressed to the point where farmers are unable to travel to their fields, and as a result, there will be an insufficient supply of food.

The government needs to take action to solve the insecurity problem because at that time crops like maize are supposed to develop. If there isn’t enough corn to complement or supplement what’s already there, then there will be trouble and famine. Therefore, their report is correct as it corresponds to the actual situation.

Because bandits prevent farmers from going to till the land in so many other places, it’s unfortunate that things won’t be worse in Sokoto and Zamfara as the article said. When this happens, you’ll agree with me that a terrible famine will ensue unless the government does something about the banditry, allowing farmers to go back to work in peace.

A movement to remove the immunity clause that shields the president, vice president, governors, and their deputies from prosecution while in office has been revived in light of the current constitutional reform underway by the National Assembly. In your opinion, should the immunity clause be removed?

To shield those in high-ranking government positions from abuse, I believe the immunity clause was a prudent constitutional provision. As a result of the Nigerian mentality of “if it doesn’t go my way, it shouldn’t happen at all,” the removal of the immunity provision will lead to an excessive number of lawsuits.

Still, it’s up for grabs. When it comes to criminal offenses, the president, vice president, governors, and their deputies may not have immunity. No one should be able to circumvent the law and take someone’s life simply because they are a governor; in fact, everyone should be subject to prosecution in such a case.

That being said, it is debatable whether or not they ought to be subjected to criminal proceedings while in office. However, I believe that the immunity provision adequately protects us, and that governors should use caution when interpreting it. Therefore, it is not a good idea to discard it right now.

What are your thoughts on the controversial Lagos-Calabar coastal highway? Many Nigerians are wondering if it is appropriate given the country’s current economic position.

There is no need for the controversy. Development, in our view, is development. I am not concerned about the price, but I do know that repairing roads in marshy regions is more expensive than up here, where we do not have such obstacles.

Since we are Nigerians, we are in favor of everything that would lead to progress. Overseas, China constructed something. The only difference is that our economy is based on consumption rather than production. We shouldn’t be concerned about it if we are productive and have the necessary tools and technology to accomplish all of these things.

The issue, though, is that we do not yet constitute a nation. If we could put aside our differences in race and religion, we might be a much stronger nation. The project should continue if it will contribute to development; if it would hinder Nigeria’s growth, it should be halted.

However, I do not believe that a project of that scale would be viewed as regressive; rather, I believe it is advancing our cause. Anything that helps Nigeria progress is excellent, but if the price is wrong, the government should look into it.

There are many who believe the N15 trillion allocated for the project is excessive, that the budget did not account for it, and that the terrible state of many Nigerian roads should have been addressed before beginning a project of this scale. Are we on the same page?

Even if the country’s roads are in terrible shape, we must simultaneously undertake a project to improve the country’s economy. If the project is not already allocated funds, the president should push for more funding so that the National Assembly can include it.

Any project of this kind will not be completed in a year; rather, it will be an ongoing endeavor. Therefore, I fail to perceive any impediment to its continuation in tandem with similar endeavors underway in other regions of the nation. This nation’s citizens are too sentimental. Things are not good if they are outside of our area.

So, we should do everything is necessary to make life easier for the people there. So that all roads are accessible, let other projects likewise receive adequate funding. However, addressing insecurity is of utmost importance; without it, having roads won’t make you want to use them if you’re not comfortable doing so.

A 14-day ultimatum was recently issued to cement makers by the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals, Industry, Commerce, and Special Duties in response to the ongoing rise in cement prices. The deadline for manufacturers to come before the committee is September 14. In your opinion, will the Committee’s meeting with the cement makers produce any fruitful results?

To begin, goods prices are subject to change based on supply and demand. As a precursor to cement, the clinker that these folks work with is a byproduct of the calcium carbonate process that yields calcium oxide.

Clinker is the byproduct of crushing calcium carbonate, the main raw material for cement production. I can tell you that the clay and other main ingredients are found locally, but I can’t say for sure if any of it is imported.

Nevertheless, they incur expenses due to the energy required to convert the carbonate to oxide. Because diesel is so expensive right now, it’s also expensive to transport cement after manufacture.

Everything is factored into the ultimate price of the items, even if it’s great that some of Dangote’s trucks now utilize compressed natural gas. Before meeting with industry leaders, the House Committee should review these indexes and conduct some computations, in my opinion.

Market forces decide all these things, but if they are extorting Nigerians needlessly, then something needs to be done. When there is more supply than demand, prices fall; when the opposite is true, prices rise. However, we may take comfort in the fact that the gypsum and, more importantly, the calcium carbonate, are both obtained locally. We can only hope that other economic indicators will be used to address this, because even the gypsums that are used are insufficient, so they have to import.

However, this is just a small part of the cement making process. Since these individuals base their decisions on comparisons to outside forces and the value of our Naira compared to other currencies used to import machinery, gypsum, and other inputs, it stands to reason that the cost of cement would decrease if the value of the Naira were greater than its current rate of $1/N1400.

The government should do what’s necessary to fortify the Naira, and then other things will follow suit; prices will fall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *