Boko Haram planning to attack VIPs, says Osinbajo
VICE President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday raised the alarm that Boko Haram members were planning to attack very important personalities (VIPs).
His concern was contained in a press talking point made available to State House Correspondents after the 59th National Economic Council (NEC) meeting where he was quoted as saying that “security reports have it that scavengers are now being prepared by insurgents to dump refuse laden with bombs in the houses of VIPs.”
At the meeting too, states resolved to explore ways to reduce their cost of governance.
Meanwhile, Northern leaders, under the auspices of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday, urged the Boko Haram insurgents to accept the olive branch extended to them by President Muhammadu Buhari to embark on a sincere dialogue that will end the reign of terrorism in the country.
The Arewa elders expressed shock over the multiple bomb blasts that occurred on Wednesday evening in Gombe motor parks, killing no fewer than 30 people with scores injured.
A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Alhaji Muhammadu Ibrahim said that Gombe town had in the past and even last week witnessed several of this dastardly act of suicide bombers where innocent souls were unjustifiable killed in markets and motor parks by suspected Boko Haram members.
The Vice President expressed regrets that the insurgency had badly affected the economic life of the North East and the country as a whole. He called for the Council to speak as a team to put pressure on the service chiefs to intensify efforts in combating the menace.
Osinbajo also suggested that there should be increase in sensitisation and education channels like radio, television.
t would be recalled that the Vice President had since on assumption of office on May 29 toured camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the troubled states of Adamawa, Borno and Gombe. Infact, his earlier visit to Borno State coincided with an attack on a hospital near one of the IDPs’ camps in the state, shortly after his departure, an action interpreted to mean a clear signal by the insurgents.
However, at a joint media briefing by the governors of Lagos, Akinwumi Ambode, Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, Plateau, Simon Lalong and Enugu Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the council challenged the states to find a way of generating revenue to augment their statutory.
Ambode, who read the outcome of the meeting said, “We resolved that all states should find ways to reduce their cost of governance. We do not have a uniform template on how to reduce the cost of governance but is very clear that states in the specific situations will find different ways and means of ensuring the cost of running governance is not as huge as it has always been.
“But it is left for the states in their respective situation to find the different ways of cutting cost but what is important is that we cannot continue with the kind of huge burden or huge cost we are apply to run our government. A situation where you are having a huge percentage of your budget as recurrent expenditure is obviously not acceptable. And you must look for ways in reducing the cost of administration in the various states.
“We also spoke about the issue of insurgency in the north east and the activities of Boko Haram, we spoke extensively on its implication to the whole nation, and the effect on our economy.
“The meeting also recognised the frantic efforts that have been made by the President and even his recent visit to the US in trying to find solution to resolve the situation in the north east. We also recognized the fact that the new service chiefs will cooperate the president and also ensure that all the things that needs to be put in place are done as quickly as possible.
“We resolved to support the Federal Government in all its policy direction to boost the economy of this nation. Above all we also spoke in areas to boosting the revenue potentials of the country.
“We commend the efforts of the President and Vice President on their visits to areas in the north east and also resolved that we will do things in all ways and rights to ensure that we boost the economy of the states in the north east.”
The Lagos governor confirmed that the four-man committee raised during the 58th NEC meeting on respect of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) did not submit its report yesterday as directed. However, he confirmed that the report would be submitted during its next meeting.
It was confirmed that the Governor if the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Godwin Emefiele briefed the meeting on the update on the restructuring of bank loans for the states and payment of salary arrears.
“The CBN governor informed the council that following meetings with banks, it was agreed that existing loans should be restructured for the minimum of 20 years while salary arrears should also be restructured for the minimum of 15 years and not exceed more than 20 years.
“Council resolved that a four man team made up of the governors of Bauchi Rivers, Ondo and Osun states are to follow up with the CBN to ensure that the issues of Excess Crude Collateral for the States are sorted out by next week Tuesday.”
Council directed that the Committee on ECA should work with the Accountant General’s office to resolve the gaps observed in the presentation.
On insecurity in the north Governors from the north east and north west presented updates on the issue of insurgency in the north east and other criminal activities like cattle rustling and banditry in the north west.
Governors of Yobe, Borno, Taraba Kaduna, Gombe, Plateau and Bauchi took turns to inform the Council of security concerns in those regions.
On Boko Haram issues, Governors of Yobe and Borno raised the alarm of five local government areas of the two States still being in possession of the insurgents.