NewsNight | 09/08/2021

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92hqYH6S1ck"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][Music] hello and welcome to news night i am lady akira dulale it's our pleasure to have you join us for today's edition if president muhammadu buhari wants to be seen as a man of integrity committed to democratic institutions building my guest says he should refuse to sign into law the recently passed electoral act amendment bill my guest also weighs in on the open grazing ban and other security challenges facing the people in his state and the country newsnite talks to the governor of benue state mr samwell or tom your excellency nice to see you again welcome to the program thank you very much the situation we find ourselves now is different from the situation when i last spoke to you about two years now going to two years just before covet arrived do you think the situation with everything considered is better today than it was then and if so and if not why well um i would say yes and no yes because there are more [Music] committed efforts than what we were seeing in terms of security and of course without security there can be no meaningful development in fact there can be nothing going on schools will be affected farmers will be affected government will be affected as we have it but we are not there yet and i still want to emphasize that we're living in a federation we have federation units we have the federal government we have the states we have the local government and i think that the coercive forces the security agencies purely the responsibility of the federal government what we do at state yes where chief security officers betting court and so he requires the political will from the federal government and with we complemented to get to the destination for security in this country so far i say no things are not better yes there have been some minimum efforts but we need to go to the maximum then things will be better the cooperation between security agencies in the state and the state government as far as i'm concerned today is better than what used to be that is appreciated but i think that the federal government will need to do more i see a lot of lack of commitment from the part of the federal government in ensuring that we have security in this country and i give you an example recently the federal government have demonstrated the capacity the will to go after nandi cano who was leading ipot and i am told that he was even arrested in a foreign land with the cooperation of interpol and so on and today i hear that sonny guhu have been arrested you know with that kind of commitment it shows that yes the federal government have capacity today bandits full and militia are terrorizing the entire country the country is in disarray and this fulani malaysia have come out with video clips and sent to the people that they were brought here by government everybody have seen that i have also watched that video clip and i'm sure you have also watched it and many other nigerians and they have identified where they are it was amazing that a top government official came out to say that the fulani militia and bandits are invisible how are they spirits and so why is the government not going after this felony militia and bandits that are terrorizing the entire country and terrorizing my state just two days ago two humanitarian workers in my own village who went to author of humanitarian services were gunned down by this fellaini militia and their phones taken away and one of my relations from my council award was a 200 level students in bengal state university they were tree on that motorcycle and they were going down and the fulani militia took the phone when one of our brothers called they confirmed that yes they had killed them and their possession of the phone and that they should tell me to repeal the prohibition of open grazing law and provision for ranching otherwise they have the right to continue to kill since i said there will be no opponent grazing and then we said they will continue to kill my people so that's the reason why they say they are focusing on benue of course that that is what they said but your colleagues now your other 16 colleagues in uh uh in the south sorry 17 south and now your other colleagues in the north too are banning open grazing this once in the south say by september 1st there will be no such thing and the laws will be in place just like your state has a law so you see it is amazing i'm very surprised when you hear may it come out to take responsibility for sending these bandits and militia to kill us when you hear funam fulani nationality nationality movement taking responsibility for the killings in benue and even the attempted assassination on my life and after reporting until today i have not had any apprehension from security agencies and all that and so for for whatever reason they have because they have been exposed because this is not an ordinary uh invasion is an invasion to take over the land and they have said that they have not hidden it i have documents and press statements from fellaini nationality movement and miyati allah who say that except nigerians and benue people decide to live their own same way of life otherwise they will not know peace i have documents from funam who said that they will continue to kill that this is a continuation of 1804 jihad that they came here in benue and were defeated that they will continue it and they will kill our people they will rape our children they will rape our wives they will send the people away they have the resources they have the power they have the armory to destroy us these are not hidden things i have written reports to the presidency i have written to the vice president i have written to security agencies and attached copies of this press statement these provocative press statements are given into them by yet no action and today you tell me those people are invisible they are in abuja attached with heavily armed security agencies that are moving about so how can you deny that government is not aware of this and when the bandits themselves are coming out to say that yes we are being sponsored by by the government how can they deny it so are you saying are you saying your excellency that the operation that was set up the one that had the army the police and so on and that was sent to benue after the embroiled with the former inspector general of police who was asked to take action then by the president but didn't has not achieved much no no no no this one they have done their operation why talk they've done well in terms of containing general criminality not just the bandits not just the full enhancement not just the kidnapping activities here in benue state armed robbery and other forms of criminal activities courtesy and all that they've been very supportive and they have done well i must commend them since the inception they have done well but the challenge is truly they are overwhelmed the overwhelmed in the sense that the manpower is not enough the equipment is not enough and of course other logistics that would have helped on our part with all the difficulties but i will try to support them but it has not been easy and so on their part they have done well in fact the entire security agencies here in benue state whether civil defense police the army and all that have been doing very well that is why we have some of this minimum peace that we're enjoying today otherwise would have been consumed but i tell you as i talked to you i have over 1.5 million idps that was actually going to be my next question because the last time i spoke to you yes um there weren't that many that's number one number but then you were also still overwhelmed at that as as far back as then by the number and providing for them and at that time you had said you had no assistance from the agencies that you ordinarily uh step in to help when this kind of situation arises uh has that situation changed the impression there is assistance from even the agency but it's a peanut compared to the number of idps that we have they keep increasing every day because the attack has not stopped and even those who attempted to go back to their homes they were killed and today i see danger coming ahead of us why this number of idps that after over 1.5 million we're still counting and what is the population of benue state that's about about 7 million by projection and now you have 1.5 million over 1.5 million and these people the young men the children are not going to school they are not living in a normal camp every one of them is distressed because these are not even standard comes where these people are so it's quite challenging and our people cannot go to farm usually benue economy is driven by the civil servant but actively supported by uh farming activities all our civil servants and political office holders who are giving them encourage them to go into farming and that is why for for june and july during cultivating season we allow those days and fridays for those who are not on special assignment in the civil service to go to the farm so that we can add value to food security in the state and during november december will also allow people to go for harvesting is what we've been doing and it's been very very uh fruitful but as a today most of the land that was used for farming is no longer available because of this invasion those who attempted to go there they were killed governor tom let me ask you this now because this has been on for quite a while and i'm thinking there will be those outside benue maybe one or two in benue who may say why don't you key into the national livestock transformation plan provide some level of land for the ranch facility that the federal government says it is ready to support interested states to do katsina which is the president's state who i mean it was publicly announced the president has given them five billion uh towards that there are other states nasarawa dhamma and so on um which are also keying that why is benue state not key well let me tell you that is the challenge i have with this federal government they are full of lies and deceits and they try to create a negative image concerning things that affect benue state benway state was one of the first state that killed into the national lifestyle transformation program why was he not implemented rather even after our report i'm a member of neck and neck took time to try to find out the lasting solution to this problem the committee that was set up and they came here and the entire stakeholders of benue state met with the committee and we recommend that for us in benue state we have land for ranching let us do ranching open grazing there is no land for open grazing and in any case in benue state we also cause it to be included that we will not just look at a cow business we look at pigs we look at goats we look at other forms of livestock that can be grown here because as far as our people here are concerned if you ask them the sweetest meat in the world they will tell you that pig is second because they're not eating all the meat so pig are supposed to be part of our own program it is there captured in the the national lifestyle transformation program so why didn't they do it what did they tell you is the reason maybe you ask them for whatever reason they've been trying to blackmail and cast me in in bad light for whatever otherwise it been wasted was the first state that started ranching what every other state is killing today why are they not looking at where we are we're on the program but they chose to do it in kazan and maybe mr president comes from casino so that is what it is but i did say that they should apologize to me for what for not doing it for not doing it but not turning around to do it what kind of hypocrisy is that that is the point because globally ranching is the best practice if you go to india on record you have over 300 million heads of country in brazil over 250 million heads of cattle in america over 100 million in uh argentina over 100 million in china over 100 million in nigeria the total number of cattle that we're talking about is just about 20 million health of cattle why has it become an issue about this why have they refused to ranch but all these countries that i have mentioned all of them are ranching their cattle so why have they refused to do that so now that they have seen that what we started in 2016 is what will really solve this problem they would have apologized to me and also provided money to me first in benue state and so that is why i said that we need apology and we need even more money to be given to us because we showed them we have a number of ranching that are going on here the cattle in our ranch are much better than what you see roaming from sokoto to lagos and then to portugal and to benue and and all that but because these people i tell you the fulanis have said it that they are here for occupation they want to take over the land make every other person slaves and take over and become kings over our people that was what it is not a hidden thing i am quoting them and they have said that nothing will stop them because they have an agenda to execute that is why they are going on with this otherwise long ago they would have accepted that if katsina now is doing ranching and i heard the governor from katsina who said that uh open grazing is on islamic just like christianity in the bible in exodus open grazing is insane and you are punished so if islam and christians are saying that christianity are saying the same thing what is stopping us from doing the needful but what's of it these people who are here who are calling themselves bandits and are kidnapping our children in school who are calling themselves full and in militia and are killing people and driving them from their land and taking over why is federal government not going after them like they went after san diego and went after uh because at that point that i want to then ask the next question about your role as chief security officer would you um made reference to earlier um you're achieved security officer of the state but as you pointed out all the coercive agents of state are federal government owned and operated so they don't report to you they they the argument of course has also been made on on the other side that they are federal government agencies but that every state including benue has um a state security council and that the military commanders in benue as well as the police commissioner are members of the state council which you as governor you chair yes and that any instruction or directive coming from there they have no choice but to obey and that if indeed there are parts of them who are refusing to be they have no records of you having reported that this this particular person or this particular command and so on is refusing to obey you i've already told you i told you that in when we say the security agencies are cooperating by just that they have limitations you set up uh a group which was community volunteer guide yes yeah what what has happened to that let me respond to this what you're saying first yes i am the chairman of the state security council of pennsylvania state and all the security agencies are cooperating with me to that extent i have no problem with that but i have told you earlier they have limitations which requires the federal government to actively support them to activate their equipments provide the logistics we do on our part our state governors to complement what the federal government is supposed to be doing we provide logistics and all that to security agencies within our limited resources i don't have problem with that but when they have challenge with manpower they're not enough when they have challenged with logistics then it becomes a problem but if federal government wants as they have done in the case of uh uh eastern security network and then the sunday ebola thing they want to stop they would have stopped it long ago and that is what i'm saying these fulanis are very vocal and they come out and say that we are here let them challenge god and some people will say that you have been told and you can confirm it that is not true they have been told that except you go back to the apc this will not end well i don't know about that i'm not prepared to go to back to the apc now i'm comfortable where i am today well some of your colleagues are going back it doesn't matter that is their business politics is a game of interest no permanent enemy no permanent friend i was an apc but i left for i was in pdp first i left for apc because i wanted to be governor in 2015 and i was denied in 2015. so quickly the apc in the state saw that yes i was a material to beat and so i joined them and i won the election and in 2017 when i was given red card after signing the prohibition of open grazing law and some people in apc were not comfortable today i have to go back to pdp and today i'm here i'm so i'm comfortable with uh pdp the truth is that if you talk about apc why am i going to apc apc have failed this country is this security is it a economy politically and socially where are we today we can go to our villages how many nigerians can move from lagos to their village or kano or abuja to their villages it is a a problem apc have completely failed so why should i go there to join them to do what so it doesn't matter i have been blackmailed i have been intimidated that has been told to me it is true but i am not bothered about that i'll continue to do the right thing let there be justice i fight for justice equity and fairness and i challenge any other person who feels that i'm not doing the same thing here in benue state to also challenge me go back to 2015 how much was a dollar 189 today is what 520 naira how much was the economy what was our foreign reserve check all those ones go to the organized private sector how many businesses have folded up from 2015 to date this is the challenge how many people have been thrown into the unemployment market this is the problem and nothing is being done to ensure that we promote things that can add value and provide jobs and provide opportunities for our people government at the state level at the local government level and the federal government do not have the capacity to observe our children that are coming out of university so this is a big challenge two years ago i did a joint convocation in benue state university i graduated 40 000 of our children and i went to a booklet we graduated another 37 000. so where are the jobs and when the private sector is dead it becomes a problem where is the electricity check 2015 and today where are we so this is the challenge we have and nothing is being done to take away this our children on the streets and most of them as are today they have gone into drugs because they have nothing to do i have traveled to some number of countries and what i have seen happen in asia in europe in america and other parts of the world is that the private sector is responsible for driving the economy govern government government regulates brings in put policies in place and monitors to ensure compliance but largely to take this children out of the street it is the organized private sector that is where i come from i'm a businessman before i became governor and the intention is to allow the the private sector if they have the opportunity they can really solve some of this problem and some of these courtesy kidnapping and that are going on if our children are engaged you will see that it will reduce it's a various minimum before we before we leave that subject i i i must ask you because it also came up when last i spoke to you um economically you've talked about the limitations but in terms of benue state for example you said civil servants drive it the reports that are out there are that there are problems with salaries pensions and gratuities not just in benue but i'm talking to the governor of benue state so of course i'll ask about benue of course that are those problems still there or have you managed to i can't share away from that and that is what the federal government using insulting me any time i try to offer suggestions that will help they will say i should not talk i should go and pay salaries i've been paying salaries since 2018 i've been paying salaries but the truth is that when i came in in 2015 i inherited 70 billion areas of patience gratitude and salary areas that is what i've been battling with we developed funds we got i applied for 70 billion we were given 28 billion just like other states but other states because i'm not in uh apc they have refused to give me the second trench so they perpetually they have maintained this each time i try to give a suggestion that we help add value to even the government of the presidency the command to say that you have not paid salaries but i've been paying salaries since 2018. the challenge i have is the arrears but i've taken steps i want to i just want to clarify because you applied for you applied for 70 billion 28 was approved i have approved how it was given to you 28 billion was given to given and we paid we use it in depleting the 70 billion that we inherited so a balance of 242 billion was left but through some other engagements and resources that we have gotten i think we have reduced that to about 37 billion as i talked to you now so that is the challenge but some states were given the second trench because they were apc me i'm in pdp so i've been refused to be given so that i clear so that they use it to say you are not paying salary so you should not talk they would have been paying and the civil servants are happy with me they have not gone on strike the pensioners who have sat and agreed i have domesticated pencil law we're just waiting to reach a threshold that we can borrow money from pencil and clear the areas that are uh pending that we're one of the states that we have done because that would be the financial and the next few years no pensioner will be suffering from collecting this gratuity or pension everybody will be there they have registered it is ongoing i've established the pence commission here in below state they are operating we have already uh been able to uh invest up to 1.3 billion error as i talked to you since we started with the funds of pencil that is why you don't have the people that are working with the civil servant moving against me they would have done that since i've been very transparent with them and what is it the entitlement i give it to them and by the grace of god the projects we have executed is as a result of the support we get from our bankers through project financing they dominate whatever money that is agreed upon and they pay to contract us directly it doesn't come to state and so can you can you expand on that a little uh because i know that when i spoke to you last you mentioned one or two of the projects but now i know that there's something that is uh under what you call your score your medium term scorecard yes uh so under that what and what has been done because that's another accusation that that that why is he spending all his time on open grazing he's not executing anything you know it's a narrative yes to paint me black by the federal government they sponsor people instead of using money to do meaningful things to support the state they are using it to castigate me for no reason benue people appreciate what i have done the number of roads have been constructed here in benue state and commissioned electricity project a number of them on head service delivery we have several comprehensive head centers built and constructed the general hospitals we have we are renovating them and in some cases reconstructing them and in all space of life in sports where there we have not left anything out despite all the challenges of financing here security and all that we have been able to impact on the people those who do press conferences in abuja they collect money from the presidency and do it but they can't come here and do it they know that they are lying i constantly have stakeholders meeting and it has been very fruitful and all the times we have the the vote of confidence is moved on me and the people are working with me and as far as i'm concerned as i always define democracy is government of doing what the majority of the people say so for me i am doing their bidding that is why i don't have any problem with them traditional rulers civil servants people to politicians yeah because you might have heard about anybody the campaign from pdp in venezuela not in benue you won't hear that i have to ask you this rather people are coming from apc every day and joining me here i have to ask you this because of course there are so many of your colleagues who have pointed out that it was essential to democracy and so the drama that followed it uh was not unexpected and i'm referring to what happened at the national assembly with the electoral act amendment bill um [Music] there was a lot of drama i don't know if you were able to follow i'm really disappointed with the especially the apc legislatures yes democracy is about the majority of what they say but there are certain things in government that you don't politicize electoral law today you're an apc tomorrow you may be in pdp or afghan or any other party so if you do a law to suit what you're planning to read election and you tell her it was that then you may be in another party tomorrow pdp was in government uh for 16 years and in those days one of my chairman which i disagreed with him he used to say that pdp would rule for 60 years the day ruled for 60 years the 60 years was 16 years today it is hpc i heard some apc members saying that they were ruled for 100 years they are not god power belongs to god and he give it into whosoever he wins i honestly want to advise mr president if he is the same president buhari that we know as a man of integrity let him not sign that electoral view he should send it back to them but the pc has denied both as a party and the individuals we need that they have any plans to read the election what again what do you expect them to say what do you want them to say well what they say is that the pdp which is accusing them of planning to rig the election should provide evidence which election have they been the evidence is that why did inec and ncc accepted that they have the capacity to transmit result electronically and yet they they they they rejected it why did they do that it is very clear because they want to look for a way of reading the election so that the actual people who vote their vote will not count it would be the people who will be counting that their vote we count and in most times those people who are accounting are not even voters you know so that is their trick we have seen them but they will not remain there forever apc will not remain there forever they are not god it happened to pdp it can also happen to apc so my advice to mr president from my heart is that he should hear the cries of nigerians go to the media social media the conventional media everywhere hear comments for people here the comment of the former chairman of inec professor jiga you heard what he said you know it is really shameful that they are reducing this country to nothing lack of rule of law the rule of law is no longer respected patriotism is no longer there integrity is no longer there because they want to remain there forever but they are not god there is god that there is god is a famous statement by somebody but i i i believe that there is god now is it a lie there is god there is god i i want to ask you about the situation in benue regarding a national issue which is this this one of legislative and judicial autonomy it took so long and it pitted particular unions and so on against the state governments not just your states virtually every governor and many of the governors pointed out that it was a lot of noise over nothing because in many of their states they were assisting local governments to pay salaries because what was it their entitlement was not enough anyway and that in the case of the judiciary the same was applying what's the case in benue look the case i have ever supported autonomy whether at the local government level some few months ago the national leadership of norgay national union of roads of uh local government employees they came here and gave me a merit award for standing with them i was a local government chairman myself between 1991 to 1993 indeed and we had local government autonomy though some people did abuse the autonomy that was given to us but that does not mean we should not grant autonomy to local i support it because the local government system is the one closer to the grassroot it will reduce a lot of tension if they have that that is when you have patriotic people leading the local government on judiciary and legislative autonomy i don't have problem with that too and it's just that the executive order attend was done in bad tests to shift away blame from the presidency and lord it on the state there was no need for any executive order it's something that can be discussed this is something we're already doing at the end of every month allegations are made to the assemblies to the judiciary and all that but i'm saying studying a suggestion that one of my friends said lawyer brought to me because the issue of judiciary the federal government has a responsibility we have responsibilities for just the magistrate and all that but that notwithstanding it was collectively agreed that one will challenge the executive order attend at the governor's forum as law abiding people let us challenge it and but we should go ahead and provide autonomy which every state had a template that we met with the speakers and the judges and today in benue state i think by next week we should be passing the judicial autonomy and the legislative autonomy but most of my colleagues who have already done it i got feedback from them that they're already saying that no we should revert back to what it used to be they are where we are i'm ready for that i have nothing against that because here in benue state i believe in the entire democratic structures working the judiciary the executive and the legislature anything that will make them function better i support it i'm not against it then the other one has to do with the minimum wage the national minimum wage that has been a continuing controversy yes because the governors had always said each state should be allowed to determine labor has always said no that there should be a base and any state can pay differently beyond that basis it will amaze you to hear this about minimum wage since i came in in 2015 i've been paying more than minimum wage yes the money that is one of the problems i have a very large wage bill here in denver state compared to other states why is that so let me say this before i explain to you in the entire knot benue is paying the highest salary it's amazing they look at us here an economy that is driven by civil service and then farmers so our igr is next to norton in the entire country benway state is number three after lagos and rivers we are paying the highest salary so when the issue of minimum wage came i called level we sat down and we brought figures from mother's day look at what other states are saying even with the minimum wage and you're still taking higher so what do we do is it not better to maintain what we have most times people who don't understand but the workers in the state they understand very well so what we agreed at the end of the day was to say that levels one to six only person who is on less than uh the 30 000 minimum wage should be upgraded but the level 7 to 17 they all agree that truly they understand the situation i have never had any problem with a labeled here in benue state because my actions are very very uh transparent why my wish be is high is because of what i inherited and i couldn't reverse it that's the structure the amount the wage b itself was what i inherited and you see in some states they did not what we are paying is double what they pay and that is why i have this challenge but then the concept of minimum wage itself where are you in i mean in the gathering of your colleagues the governors because that is a matter that was also supposed to be part of the amendment to the constitution that is going on side by side with all these other things that we have spoken about which is that they want to move minimum wage away from the exclusive list to the concurrent list which would then make it possible for governors like you to negotiate a more so we say manageable wage with your workers and not take the template that other states are using what's your position then what is the governor's forum still at the battle on this to ensure that that is done i can't remember the last time we discussed this matter again but it was agreed that every state should negotiate with their workers and you see the advantage of allowing states to negotiate with their workers is that if you pay minimum wage at 30 000 for instance other states are buoyant enough to do even double or even more of that so i will subscribe i would strongly suggest that it is better to allow states to discuss with their workers and agree based on the resources available to each of the states i can't i i can't end this interview without asking about two things the first is kovit you twice survived uh my wife and children got 24 of my aides caught covet yes and uh remarkably uh you survived whereas quite a number of people in your age bracket and so on cut it once and they didn't come out of it and now we are hearing that a third wave is imminent if it is not already in the country what are your thoughts and what is benue doing to prepare for that thank you very much for me and my family the bible says john 3 27 a man can receive nothing except is given to him from above i give glory to god because when it happened to us myself my wife and family members and then about 24 of my age who came together and prayed to god and we took the medication that was prescribed both local uh concussion uh like onions and garlic and you can share it because other people may now yeah those were the things i took and were able to get through with it we have also killed into the national programme of covet and we've also received monies from the national level and currently we will have a quarantine center we also had support from other goodwill organizations that provided help with what we have so we have a standard quarantine center currently we're almost completing the modicular lab that will be used instead of going to abuja for testing and we can do this here this much the federal government provided the money and so it was used we also bought kits and also kid into the vaccination but we are not making it compulsory for those who want can take it for those who feel they should not take it is okay with them so we have not made it uh compostly here we recorded a number of debts during the kovite period but it was not um massive restrictions were done but not total restrictions people were saying allowed to move we massively educated our people up to today the people are aware with the new wave coming in we have renewed our call for people to wear their marks and observe covey 19 protocols so so far i think i commend benue people for their cooperation for their understanding and i believe that by the grace of god will be over with it your excellency it's been a pleasure speaking with you thank you so much for your time thank you very much [Music] that's this night thanks for watching do let us know what you think of this conversation and much more our social media handles are on your screen you can also watch this and previous episodes of the program via our podcast please visit our website channelstv.com forward slash podcast i am lady akira dulu ali goodbye [Music] you<br><!-- wp:image {"id":1776,"sizeSlug":"large","linkDestination":"none"} -->rn<figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img class="wp-image-1776" src="https://en.videoencontexto.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/NewsNight__09082021_92hqYH6S1ck.jpg" alt="NewsNight | 09/08/2021" /></figure>rn<!-- /wp:image -->[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

NewsNight | 09/08/2021

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