By: Manny Ita
Palpable Expectations of President Buhari’s Return From China
Bilateral relationships between Nigeria and China dates back to February 10, 1971when the two countries signed bilateral relationship which have over four decades spanned tremendously. In April 2005, China and Nigeria, the most populous developing countries in the world and Africa, declared the establishment of a strategic partnership, which lifted the bilateral ties to new highs and sounded the clarion call to form an all-directional, multi-layered and wide-ranging cooperation. Presently, Chinese investments in Nigeria alone are pegged at over a $100bn dollars and this is expected to grow in the coming years. The areas of cooperation between both countries cover infrastructure, energy, trade and finance, all of which have scored impressive achievements, with bilateral trade volume between both nations standing at $14.94 billion, representing 8.3 per cent of total trade volume between China and Africa, and 42 per cent of total trade volume between China and ECOWAS countries.
As at today, China is the top lender to Nigeria, where political instability and violence have shrunken Western interests. It may be worthy to note that Nigeria is the first African country to accept Chinese RMB in its foreign reserve.
Needless to belabor the fact that President Buhari, since taking over the leadership of the nation in may 2015, has embarked on numerous foreign trips each with clear mission of not only seeking international collaboration on fighting corruption but also working assiduously on ensuring that stolen funds by corrupt public officials are repatriated to Nigeria. However, there still is need to even explore more areas where this relationship can further benefit both countries which informed the president’s visit at the prompt of the Chinese government.
The first to be embarked upon by an African leader after the 2015 China/Africa summit, the president’s visit to the Asian nation could not have come at a better time as the Buhari’s administration urgently needs to foster economic growth and development.
The call to diversify the economy from an oil-dependent one has always been clarion and the hardship which dwindling oil revenues have inflicted on the nation’s staggering economy is simply an indication that the nation can no longer rely solely on oil as its major source of revenue generation with economic experts persistently calling on the President to revamp the agricultural sector and make it more attractive as it were in the past before the discovery of oil.
Over the years, Nigeria’s infrastructure development has remained poor. From epileptic power supply, to bad road transport network, impeding easy movement of agricultural produce and services from rural to urban centers, absence of efficient and modern railway networks, degrading aviation sector and an unproductive housing sector, so many questions and expectations trailed the president’s visit with millions of jobless Nigerians adding to the strain.
Thankfully, on arrival from China, President Buhari expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his working visit which he said yielded additional investments in Nigeria exceeding $6 billion and confident that the several agreements concluded with the Chinese during the visit will have a huge and positive impact on key sectors of the Nigerian economy including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation.
According to the President, in the power sector, North South Power Company Limited and Sinohydro Corporation Limited signed an agreement valued at $478,657,941.28 for the construction of 300 Mega Watts solar power in Shiriro, Niger State.
For the solid minerals sector, Granite and Marble Nigeria Limited and Shanghai Shibang signed an agreement valued at $55 million for the construction and equipping of granite mining plant in Nigeria.
A total of $1 billion is to be invested in the development of a greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos under an agreement reached by the Infrastructure Bank and Sinohydro Corporation Limited while in the housing sector, both companies also sealed a $250 million deal to develop an ultra modern 27-storey high rise complex and a $2.5 billion agreement for the development of the Lagos Metro Rail Transit Red Line project.
Other agreements announced and signed during the visit as revealed by Mr. President included a $1 billion for the establishment of a Hi-tech industrial park in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Igbesa, Ogun State, apart from a signed agreement of the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone and CNG (Nigeria) Investment Limited valued at $200 million for the construction of two 500MT/day float gas facilities.
While an agreement valued at $363 million for the establishment of a comprehensive farm and downstream industrial park in Kogi state was also announced at the Nigeria-China business forum, other agreements undergoing negotiations include a $500 million project for the provision of television broadcast equipment and a $25 million facility for production of pre-paid smart meters between Mojec International Limited and Microstar Company Limited.
We applaud the President for the consistent strides he has made in revamping the economy but point out at this juncture, the need to ensure that after all these efforts, spanners are not thrown into the works as one bane of Nigeria’s economic fortunes has been poor implementation of policies, projects and the prevalence of corruption in national wafting across all dealings.
We want to believe the president is conversant with this ugly trend which he also is fighting assiduously to stamp out from the system and therefore enjoin relevant stakeholders to give the President full support in making Nigeria a country we all have for long dreamed and wished for.
‘Do Not Use Police Uniform, Accessories Without Permission’ – NPF
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has expressed concern over unauthorised possession and use of police uniforms and equipment by movie makers, skit makers and others in Nigeria.
Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the force’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) issued the statement about police uniform and accessories on Sunday.
He stated that the police were also worried about the illegal sale of police materials and accessories by traders in shops and open stores not approved nor recognised by authorities.
According to the statement the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba Usman has equally frowned at the ‘demeaning manner’ in which movie and skit makers portray the police institution in their productions.
The use the police uniform has been without recourse to the provision of Section 251 of the Criminal Code law, and Section 133 of the Penal Code Law which criminalise unauthorised use with accompanying necessary sanctions.
“The IGP, therefore, charged all commands and formations, the IGP Monitoring Unit, Provost marshals and X-Squad to arrest and immediately prosecute, in accordance with the law, all persons or groups of persons engaging in the illegal sales of police uniforms and accoutrements within their jurisdictions, while film or skit makers who portray the Nigeria Police Force officers in a bad light, without applying for and being duly issued a permit letter for such portrayals to desist with immediate effect or face the full wrath of the law,” the police spokesman said.
“The IGP further reiterates the commitment of the force to guaranteeing compliance with the law, as the Force Public Relations Officer has been charged with the task of ensuring prompt authorisation for all applications for approvals of usage of police items in movies, in tandem with the extant laws and which will portray good values, impress positively on the Nigerian public, add value to our system, provide police officers with modern innovations to actively carry out policing duties and on-screen role models who would influence their lives and career, and consequently improve security mechanisms in Nigeria.
“The Inspector-General of Police strongly believes that such sanity in movie production, regulation of sales, possession, and usage of police uniforms and accoutrements will definitely impact positively on resuscitating moral values and correcting wrong perceptions and ideologies towards commissioning of crimes in our society.”
Adejobi also said that the force will curb the proliferation of police uniform, kits, and accessories, as well as eventually reduce police impostors-induced crimes in the society.
Police Commence Recruitment of 10,000 Personnel Based on Merit- IGP
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+), NPM, fdc, has again restated unequivocally that the recruitment process of the Nigeria Police Force is merit-based and not subject to the whims and caprices of any individual or groups of persons irrespective of their position or status in the society.
The IGP emphasizes that the recruitment process comprises a physical screening of all applicants who have expressed interest in serving with the NPF by filling the application form online, which is totally free; a Computer-Based Test (CBT), set and organized by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) for all who met the legal requirements for the physical screening exercise as provided by the Police Act 2020; and a Medical Screening of all applicants who passed the CBT Examination to confirm their fitness to take up the policing duty. Those who have successfully passed these processes are collated, and an equal number of them, prioritizing the best amongst them, per Local Government Area (LGA), are selected to form part of the Police Constable Intake for a particular year, including the just concluded 2021 intake.
The process ensures that only those suited for the job are amongst the final individuals from whom the required 10,000 would be selected. It is therefore surprising and misinforming to read in the news from some quarters that the recruitment of Police Recruits, was influenced and facilitated by some individuals to suit their interest for whatever reasons best known to them.
The IGP further reiterates that the Police recruitment process is not for sale neither can it be influenced. He therefore urges the general public to disregard comments ascribing glory for the efforts of young men and women who burnt the midnight candle and exerted all effort to emerge successful in the police screening exercise to some individuals for their pecuniary reasons or gains. The IGP vows to continually intensify efforts in upholding the sanctity and standards of modern policing in the NPF.