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Coups: International IDEA, regional envoys lead the way for inclusive governance, constitutional transition in Africa

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Coups: International IDEA, regional envoys lead the way for inclusive governance, constitutional transition in Africa

By: Michael Mike

•Jonathan, Chambas, ECOWAS, AU, IGAD harps on strengthening democracy 
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), special envoys, and other key stakeholders are leading the way for inclusive governance and constitutional transition in Africa.


This was the main focus of the just concluded two-day “2nd Annual Retreat for Special Envoys and High Officials representing the RECs on Constitutional Transitions and Unconstitutional Changes of Governments” in Abuja, organized by International IDEA in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission and Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands.
Speaking at the event in response to the resurgent Coup in parts of Africa, former President and ECOWAS Special Envoy, Goodluck Jonathan, stressed the need for inclusivity and constitutional transition of government to maintain stability in the society. 


Jonathan stressed that the dialogue on inclusivity should delve into how RECs and Special Envoys respond to constitutional transitions and unconstitutional government changes in alignment with democratic principles.
He said: “I have always said that there is a strong connection between democracy and development, hence the need to deepen democracy, make it more inclusive, and strengthen the institutions of governance, towards building a stable and prosperous society.”
He urged the stakeholders to place more emphasis on strengthening structures for credible elections, peace meditations, and good governance. He said discussions should explore the monitoring of responses to crises, and their adaptability in a rapidly evolving context due to factors such as security, climate change, and humanitarian challenges.
In his remarks, Secretary-General International IDEA, Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora,  stated its commitment to promoting Constitutional Transitions in Africa noting that it’s a pivotal opportunity for inclusive reform and democratic consolidation. 
He said, “History teaches a crucial lesson: a significant portion of the population must feel they have a stake in the political system to prevent challenges, often violent, from those feeling excluded. Constitutional transitions, particularly following unconstitutional changes of government, are critical junctures in which all stakeholders must have a vested interest. 
“Ensuring broad-based trust and ownership during these times fortifies public and stakeholder confidence in the new political order, creating safeguards against future attempts to undermine the transition,” he explained.
Zamora noted that key findings emanating from the International IDEA’s “Global State of Democracy Report” revealed that “this is a challenging time for democracy globally”. 

According to him, their data showed that this is the sixth consecutive year of democratic deterioration globally, the longest such sequence since our records started in 1975. 

The International IDEA scribe lamented that over two-thirds of the world’s population now lives in non-democratic regimes or in countries where democracy is visibly retreating. 

“Our report documents the considerable pressures faced by democratic governments everywhere: rising populism; declining trust in institutions; runaway polarization; unmet social expectations; pressing environmental challenges; and an increasingly toxic information environment,” Zamora disclosed.

In the same vein, Ambassador Muhammad Yonis, representing the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), emphasized the perils associated with a lack of inclusivity, underlining the potential for unrest or tribal discord. He acknowledged that, in some instances, disillusionment with corrupt governments may lead some to favor a military takeover. 


However, Yonis stressed the importance of engaging with such forces through open dialogue and public involvement.
The IGAD Senior Advisor to Chief Negotiator,  also cautioned against the adoption of colonial-era constitutions, asserting that this approach may not be suitable for contemporary contexts.


Drawing from his experience in Somalia, he pointed to the structural deficiencies that had led to political instability, where presidents hung prisoners multiple times within a single term, and some leaders remained in power for extended periods, ranging from eight to twenty years.
While acknowledging that the IGAD region is not entirely immune to the potential for unconstitutional government changes, Yonis highlighted that such instances are relatively rare within the region.


Ambassador Addel-Fatau Musah, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, pointed out that while the African Union, ECOWAS, and other regional organizations possess documents designed to fortify democracy, they continue to grapple with challenges.
Musah highlighted the necessity of examining factors such as poverty and exclusive politics, questioning the root causes behind the surge in coups. He urged for a deeper exploration of whether poverty plays a significant role in these events, emphasizing the relevance of the digital advancements that characterize the era.


The Ambassador said, “We need to talk about poverty, exclusive politics. There must be a reason why there is an epidemic of coups. Is it poverty? We are in an era where we have to look at digital advancement.


“There is organized labor but the military is now abandoning its primary role and taking over power. In West Africa, we had 9 coups. Unsuccessful coups have been there. On the day of the inauguration, Bazoum faced a coup,” he lamented.


Musah urged for a nuanced understanding of these situations, emphasizing that the blame should not be solely placed on governance issues. While concerns about insecurity are raised, he highlighted the crucial role of the environment in these circumstances. The military, he noted, is traditionally tasked with providing security, making it pertinent for them to fulfill this duty.


In a stark portrayal of the situation, the ECOWAS  Commissioner shared alarming statistics, stating that over two million people are displaced in Burkina Faso, and more than one million children are deprived of education. He underscored that the security situation is deteriorating in Mali and Niger.


To ensure a smooth and inclusive transition, Musah implored the international community to exercise patience, recognizing the complexity of these challenges.


Also speaking, the African Union (AU) High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Amb. Mohammed ibn Chambas said the Union is in solidarity with International IDEA.


“Violation of human rights, violation of African rights, and our resources are often exploited to our disadvantage,” Chambas said.


“We must abide by the principle of non-differentness. We must push forward the agenda for conflict resolution through the African peace architecture,” he stressed, adding that “we must ensure that African standby forces work”.


On his part, Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb Williams Wouter Plomp, said African countries are facing a rise in unconstitutional government transition without constitutional reforms.
“We want inclusion. ECOWAS and others must devise mechanisms to help entrench constitutional government.”


Also speaking, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, who was represented by the Director of African Affairs, Amb. Salisu Umar decried what he described as an “avoidable crisis of unconstitutional change of governments in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Gabon, and others”.


“This has to be reversed. These unconstitutional changes are taking place despite things that are supposed to deter the actors. Africa is signatory to treaties and conventions but the reasons why the continent is still where it needs to be interrogated,”the minister said.


The gathering which epitomizes the spirit of collaboration and commitment to democratic values, was championed by IDEA. The annual retreat offers a platform for experts and political leaders to explore the critical themes surrounding democracy’s sustainability, making it an apt demonstration of International IDEA’s multifaceted contributions.

International IDEA, established in 1995 as an intergovernmental organization, is dedicated to promoting sustainable democracy worldwide.

The organization specializes in policy-friendly research and analysis related to elections, parliaments, constitutions, digitalization, climate change, inclusion, and political representation, all aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Coups: International IDEA, regional envoys lead the way for inclusive governance, constitutional transition in Africa

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New NIS CG Promises Policies Discouraging Illegal Migration, Foster Bilateral Relations

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New NIS CG Promises Policies Discouraging Illegal Migration, Foster Bilateral Relations

By: Michael Mike

The newly appointed Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Kemi Nandap has promised to evolve policies that would prevent illegal migration, safeguard the lives of Nigerians and foster positive bilateral relations.

Nandap made the promise on Friday in Abuja during her decoration with her new rank by the Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo

The Comptroller General, while expressing gratitude to President Bola Tinubu and the Minister of Interior for her new appointment, said: “I extend my sincerest gratitude and profound reverence to His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the trust and confidence placed in me to lead this esteemed organisation. I am very grateful to my Honourable Minister of Interior- Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo-for his vision, meticulous focus, tireless work ethic, and leadership. I must also acknowledge and sincerely thank the Permanent Secretary and the entire Board for their unwavering support and endorsement.”

She added that: “As I step into this role, I want to first assure our fellow Nigerians that I am fully prepared and committed to serving our nation with utmost dedication and integrity. I am not unaware of the socioeconomic challenges and pains facing our beloved country, and I pledge-to use the functions of the Nigerian Immigration Service to alleviate these struggles to the best of our
ability.

“To that end and under the guiding principles of the “Renewed Hope” agenda set forth by his excellency, President Tinubu’s administration, we will strive towards unity, growth and development. We will prioritize the welfare of our immigration officers and enhance the ease and .efficiency of engagement between Nigerian citizens and the Immigration service. We will focus on improving the entry and acclimatization processes for compliant foreigners through various visa and residency programmes.

“Furthermore, we are steadfast in our resolve to strengthen policies to prevent illegal migration, safeguard the lives of our citizens and foster positive bilateral relations. Tightening border security will be our major objective to reduce the porosity of our borders and enhance overall national security.

She added that: “We will strive to implement revenue generation programmes to bolster the economy, contribute to our tax quota, and aid in job creation.

“In addition, we will continue to integrate cutting-edge techology to modernize the Nigerian Immigration Service. Our Honourable minister has demonstrated the power of technology in creating a seamless e-passport system for citizens. We will continue under his aegis to reform the service for greater efficiency and ease.”

Earlier, the Minister of Interior has charged the new CG that it was important that she performs as no excuse for non-performance would be entertained.

He noted that the entire nation is looking up to her to perform and not ready to entertain any excuse.

New NIS CG Promises Policies Discouraging Illegal Migration, Foster Bilateral Relations

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Police, NSCDC Have Clear Roles Under the Constitution- Tunji-Ojo

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Police, NSCDC Have Clear Roles Under the Constitution- Tunji-Ojo

By: Michael Mike

Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo has said the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) should brace up to perform its constitutional given role, insisting that the constitution was clear on the role of the Corps which are to secure the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Speaking at the celebration of the World Civil Defence Day in Abuja on Friday, the Minister said there is distinct roles in the constitution for both the Nigeria Police Force and the NSCDC and there was no reason for a clash in roles.

He said that the members of Civil Defence Corps have no reason to perform the role of the police as they have a duty to ensure that the nation’s oil pipelines are not vandalized and oil theft is a thing of the past.

He equally said they have the duty of ensuring that a stop is put to illegal mining and that lives and property at mining sites are protection.

He said though they have done so much but much more need to be done in ensuring that Nigeria’s natural resources is not stolen by vandals and that public infrastructure are protected.

The Minister said: “I have not come here to commend you but rather to tell you to brace up as there is much more that needed to be done.”

He however called for collaboration between all security apparatus in the country to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

The Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr. Ahmed Audi said the
Corps has intensified patrol, monitoring, surveillance and have emplaced adequate security measures to ensure protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure (CNAI) in all its formations across the Country including the Federal Capital Territory to prevent violent attacks, willful damage, vandalization and sabotage.

He said: “The Corps’ Anti-Vandal Squad and the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad has continued to wage relentless war against vandals of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure and oil thieves among others.

“The sudden upsurge in the vandalization of railway tracks and sleepers is also being critically addressed as the Corps has begun an onslaught on these criminal elements/economic saboteurs. This renewed war has led to several arrests and seizures in the past one year.”

He revealed that between January and February 2024 alone, the Corps has made significant impact in the war against vandalization and oil theft where over 57 suspects have been arrested. A greater percentage of the arrested vandals are those involved in the vandalization of railway tracks and sleepers.

He said: “Similarly, on 11th January, 2024 at about 0057hrs, the Corps in conjunction with the Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited also arrested a vessel, MT KALI suspected to have been involved in oil theft at the sea in Beneti, Bayelsa State.

“The Vessel was arrested with about 119 metric tons of crude oil already loaded. Twelve (12) crew members and eleven (11) community members on board were arrested and are undergoing investigation.”

Audi, who is also celebrating three years as CG, said parta of the achievements recorded from March, 2021 to date include
1,421 arrests, 933 prosecutions, 488 convictions and 233 destroyed illegal refineries.

Police, NSCDC Have Clear Roles Under the Constitution- Tunji-Ojo

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Ndume backs Gov Zulum on appealing to FG not to merge NAUB with NDA

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Ndume backs Gov Zulum on appealing to FG not to merge NAUB with NDA

……. Says only Act of Parliament has power to scrap NAUB

By: Inusa Ndahi

Southern Borno Senator, Mohammed Ali Ndume has threw more weight behind Governor Babagana Zulum who appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to halt purported merger of the Nigerian Army University Biu, NAUB with Nigerian Defense Academy, NDA in Kaduna.

Recall that the Oronsaye Committee Report (OCR) 2012, hitherto adopted by the federal government seeks to merge or scrap several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including institutions with duplicating functions as a means of cutting cost in governance .

Senator Ndume who addressed Journalists in Maiduguri on Friday said, Borno state, and indeed all the other states of the North East are proud of NAUB which was established since 2018, and therefore, for it to be merged or subsumed, it has to be by an Act of Parliament.

Ndume who is the Chief Whip, noted that, NAUB had even graduated it’s first set, while many undergraduates are waiting for graduation and issuance of their statement of results or certificates, stressing that scrapping of such a top civil- military institution is against development and research.

“The NAUB was created out of necessity and to ensure there is civil- military relationship in the North Eastern parts of the country, especially Borno state which has suffered devastation of lives and property due to over decade Boko Haram ( Western Education is Sin) insurgency.

“Secondly, the NAUB is not part of the Oronsaye Report. The OCR was in 2012, while NAUB was established in 2018 by approval of the National Executive with enactment of an appropriate law that backed it up after I sponsored that Bill.

“NAUB is assented to by the then President of the federal republic of Nigeria, and therefore is a law, and only another law can repel or subsume it to become another institution or faculty as the case many be.

“The NDA is purely a military defense institution to train Military Officers, be it Army, Navy or Airforce, while 75% of the students’ population in NAUB are civilians studying various degree courses in the existing six (6) faculties that are fully accredited by the Nigeria Universities Commission, NUC. Therefore you cannot merge this University with and institution that is purely mandated to train Military Officers.

“To this end, our Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum has already made the position of Borno State Government clear by appealing to the President or the federal government to back track on its matter, considering the fact that Borno has only one federal university/institution in Maiduguri serving the whole North East, before establishment of NAUB, compared to other states that has many federal institutions.

“In addition, NAUB is also established in order to carter for admitting all Nigerians irrespective of where they came from. Let me give you an example, our neighbouring Adamawa state is currently having two federal universities, one in Jimeta-Yola and the other is located in Mubi.

“Infact, even on 29th February 2024, the Senate passed a bill for establishment of federal university of technology in Ilaro, Ogun state. Several federal universities which were established have not been included in the merger, and we see no reason why NAUB will be merged with NDA.

“We just held an emergency meeting with Borno Elders, including those from Southern Borno where the University is located. We deliberated and came up with a position similar to that of our Governor, so we are going to write our resolution to the federal government under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu to delist NAUB from the merger.

“This is very important because, and I want to use this opportunity to call on the people of southern Borno Senatorial District to remain calm and be law abiding, as we strive to ensure justice.” Ndume stated.

Ndume backs Gov Zulum on appealing to FG not to merge NAUB with NDA

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