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BREAKINGExchange Rate Unification: A Poisoned Chalice

A crude oil production figure of 1.5mbpd, out of an OPEC quota of approximately 2.3mbpd, is an insult on the Nigerian reformist president and a vindication of the need to immediately relieve Malam Mele Kyari of his undeserved current position.

If Nigeria begins to meet its current OPEC quota, the dramatic effect of the currently mortgaged crude oil stock on the nation’s earnings will be obviated. There are too many dirty tricks in the channels of the management of NNPCL.

The general security problem in Nigeria has to be addressed. The armed forces, police, civil defence officials and the Nigerian hunters/ forest guards association are highly commended for the steps taken so far to address the national security meltdown. The time for the commencement of the state police system has come. The National Assembly members must be forced to authorise the state police system. The insecurity of today is way beyond the capacity of our centralised federal policing system. The federal governement also requires the services of foreign mercenaries to work side-by-side with our local security forces and the armed forces to eliminate the resistant bandits and criminals in Kaduna, Zamfara, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Niger, Imo, Anambra, and in the forests of the western states. A kidnapping and terrorist tribunal should be established and a trial period of six months be set down as the period of arrest, trial and conviction or discharge for terrorists, bandits, killer herdsmen and mass murderers. The death penalty without the option of fine or imprisonment must be the punishment. In the 1970s the death penalty and public execution by firing squad for convicted armed robbers was able to tame the crime of armed robbery. This time death penalty by hanging or electric chair, should await convicted bandits, killer-herdsmen, killer cattle rustlers, Boko Haram terrerorists and cross border killers along the fringes of northern Nigerian borders and other such killers in Nigeria. The execution of convicts must be carried out within 90 days of conviction and whatever appeals that may arise must be determined within the 180 days deadline. A drastic ailment requires a drastic cure. The question of rehabilitating Boko Haram convicts as repentant offenders and absorbing them into the Nigerian armed forces and the police force is a detestable practice and an effort to undermine the sovereignty of Nigeria.

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If the security situation improves, national food production efforts will be boosted. Farmers can go back to the farms and herdsmen will no longer be emboldened to walk their herds of cattle over huge farmlands wrecking pain and destruction on hundreds of millions of naira private investments. In parallel with this effort, the much discussed system of ranching in selected states of the federation should commence. Indeed the federal government can build experimental ranches in five northern states as an example for others to follow. The annual value of the Nigerian cattle economy runs into tens of billions of dollars. With a secured land access to farm lands, produce buyers can go freely into the forests and farms to purchase palm kernel, rubber, cotton, grains, ginger, cocoa, rubber and others and process for export.

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The commodity boards can now return and export business will be promoted. It is also important for the Nigerian federal Ministry of Finance to use the NEXIM Bank as its channel to seek an export stimulation loan from the African Development Bank (ADB). Foreign exchange earnings from exports will help the foreign exchange market and gradually reduce the current market volatility. The commodity boards of those past years helped in creating the modern Nigerian state. The cocoa board in Ibadan, Palm produce board in Calabar, groundnut board in Kano, Cotton board in Funtua and Rubber board in Iyanomo were the vehicles for Nigerian prosperity before and during the crude oil years of glory. Their subsequent sale and destruction has had an unsavoury effect on the Nigerian agricultural sector and our foreign exchange earnings. Similarly, the ability of the terrorists to prevent federal access to mining sites in this country is preposterous. The action of the federal government in all these areas has been tepid. There has been no sufficiently effective action in any positive direction since May 29, 2023. Even the much touted efforts in the Nigerian mining sector are held captive.

The federal government is advised to immediately implement a measure for both the federal and state governments to open up their ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) for mass recruitment of qualified personnel. The administration of President Ibrahim Babangida achieved a feat in 1986/87 when he threw open the doors of government for the mass recruitment of qualified graduates in the country. The reason was that the SAP had brought untold hardship to Nigerians at the time and he saw the need to bring succour and relief into Nigerian homes.

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President Tinubu is at a similar period in his presidency. In the federal and state state civil service and in the MDAs, hundreds of thousands of vacancies abound. These vacancies have developed from staff death, retirement, resignations, ill-health, dismissals, and the flight to economic safety called the “JAPA” phenomenon. On this note the infamous Oronsaye report should be shredded because it is not only outdated, it sought to achieve no useful purpose from the very beginning. An emergency meeting of the National Economic Council should hold. The federal government and all state governors and the FCT should be mandated to take an inventory of vacancies existing in their public service. A directive should then go from the presidency for these vacancies to be filled within 90 days. Furthermore, in all government primary and secondary schools with an appalling student/teacher ratio, teachers should be immediately recruited to fill the vacancies. Jobs should be created to enable President Tinubu to neutralise this poisoned chalice. Let us act before it is too late.

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