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Pipeline Vandals Should Be Treated As Terrorists – Sen Ndoma

Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba was majority leader in the 7th senate and in this interview with RUTH CHOJI, the senior advocate of Nigerian (SAN) stated that, anybody who undermines national security infrastructure is a terrorist and other national issues. Have you been able to integrate into the APC and what has been the level of…
The post Pipeline Vandals Should Be Treated As Terrorists – Sen Ndoma appeared first on Nigerian News from Leadership News.

Ndoma

Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba was majority leader in the 7th senate and in this interview with RUTH CHOJI, the senior advocate of Nigerian (SAN) stated that, anybody who undermines national security infrastructure is a terrorist and other national issues.

Have you been able to integrate into the APC and what has been the level of acceptance so far?

I have been fully integrated. I am already in the board of trustees and I have been given assignments.

What actually led to your departure from the PDP?

I have talked too much about it, but essentially membership of the PDP were lost to governors. It was only the governors that mattered. They had no space for anyone except themselves.

As a member of the APC, are you concerned with the state of the country’s economy?

Yes but one good thing is that, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. It is very bad because as boko haram is being contained, some other huge problems of herdsmen, kidnapping and other crimes are rising. So the security situation remains troubling.  For those of us in the private sector, there is no money anywhere. But you can see the debt we are coming from, so economic challenges will be there. But I believe this government is ready to tackle this issue.

But with this overwhelming problems, do you think the APC government is capable of solving them?

It is being approached systematically. First of all, you have to diminish the infrastructure of corruption. That is being done, if you take the single treasury account into consideration. It is a monumental check on waste and inefficiency. In my view, corruption is a product of inefficiency and so people take advantage of inefficient system for personal gain. So you have to attack this. Nigerians are also having a conversation around the system, what is being exposed now is absolutely mind boggling. We have never had it this bad but the good news is that Nigerians are talking about it, which is another way of attacking it when people talk about it. The other thing being done is the introduction of another currency in foreign exchange management. A lot of things are being done but it will take lots of time before we will see the dividend. I will ask for patience from the part of Nigerians. So the government is tackling corruption, infrastructure and insecurity.

Do you think devaluing the naira will help in revamping the economy?

Devaluing a currency is tied to a number of factors and one is the level of productivity. We are running a mono-cultural economy and we are oil dependent. The price of oil collapsed, it was a global phenomenon, and Venezuela is going through the crises because they are also oil dependent.  We have to diversify the economy if we must avoid this kind of thing in the future. The industry must run and for this to happen, we must solve the issue of power.  Government must invest heavily on agriculture.

Should the naira be devalued?

I am not an economist but the basic economy we are taught is that you devalue to encourage export. I don’t subscribe to devaluation.

It is like Nigerian laws are not strong enough to prosecute corrupt persons. Should stiffer laws be enacted so that people can deter from looting the treasury?

My faith is against capital punishment. As a Roman Catholic, we don’t believe in murder. I don’t believe that death is punishment or freedom from earthly worries. I believe that the person should be alive to bear the consequences of this crime.

But are you not worried that the judicial system seems to be slow in convicting those prosecuted?

Yes our judiciary system is slow. But the criminal justice administration act has just been passed and trial will begin to move faster.  Today the judiciary is beginning to appreciate that they have a strong major role to play and they are beginning to respond on the anti-corruption.

The FG has said pipeline vandals will be treated like terrorists, will you support such action?

They should, anybody who undermines national security infrastructure is a terrorist. Our oil pipelines are critical security infrastructure because the more you sabotage them, then you are sabotaging the economy.

State governors are finding it hard to pay salaries because of lack of funds?

It is a pity that we have gotten to this point, that people who don’t have monies to pay salaries are still living lavish lifestyles, they go around with very long convoys and out riders. Is that a sign of austerity?  You cannot say you will not pay salaries and you are living a lifestyle that reflects wealth. I believe there is a lot of waste in the system. They have engaged themselves in a lot of needless projects, fancy projects that are not fundamental to the lives of the ordinary Nigerians. I think that there is a lot of waste in the system.

Some are of the opinion that we should go back to regionalism since the states are not ‘working’?

When we had three regions, economic historians told us that the Nigerian economy was the fastest economy and from 1960, the Nigerian economy was at par with Brazil, India, Malaysia and Singapore. Now what is it that they did that we didn’t do? Brazil experienced a regressive military rule, Indonesia was the same. The only country that didn’t experience military rule was India. So we cannot blame all our woes on military rule even though they take a substantial blame. What is it that we did that they did not do? Let’s start with India which has a population of 1.2bn people, they have 29 states. Brazil has a population of 205 million people with 3.2 square miles of land and they have 26 states. Malaysia has a population of 28 million with 127 square miles, they have 13 states. Indonesia has a population of 280 million persons with a land mast of one million, nine-hundred and four square kilometers, it has 34 states. Nigeria with 170 million people with land mast of 356 thousand square miles has 36 states and the FCT. Between 1960 and 1966, we had three regions before the Midwest was introduced. In 1967 which was four years later, we moved from four regions to 12 states. A few years later we moved to 19, then 21 and then 30 and now we have 36 states. Between 1960 and 1996, a period of 36years, we have moved from three regions to 36 states which means on an average, we have been creating one state every year, while all these countries we compare with have remained stable. The other aspect of the research I will do is to take the budget from 1960 to date, I want to compare the capital and recurrent, the capital used to be more than the recurrent but lately it is the recurrent that is more than the capital. We have reached a point where the states have become a burden, an impediment on the system. Rather than generate development, they are acting as a drag. We have reached a stage where the current structure cannot deliver…

What is the way out?

We must have the will to look at this structure without any emotion. The current federal structure is a drag, it is promoting inefficiency and incompetence. When you have such system in place, people will take advantage of it for personal gains. When states were created, in my state, they couldn’t find enough people to be made permanent secretaries, they went to secondary schools to pick school principals who were made perm secs. I had a friend who is late now who has never worked in the civil service, but was appointed perm sec then.  They just injected incompetent people into the system and like they say, every system reinforces itself. An incompetent system cannot bring out competence.  Buhari can fight corruption every minute, second, day and month with an inefficient system in place, the system must change. I remember when we had one of those constitutional review exercises, I made a proposal that just the same way we have a provision in the constitution that creates states, let us also have a law or rule that will it make it possible for the merger or acquisition of state so that the richer states can acquire the poor states. The 36 states structure is no longer feasible.

How do we revamp the economy?

First of all we have to take agriculture and fortunately peace is returning to the country, I hope and pray that it will be enduring peace. That region and the north central has always been the food basket of Nigeria. You can massively inject funds into agriculture in the region, you can create enough ranches for cattle. This nomadic style of cattle rearing is an uneconomic one, the cattle are subjected to so much stress by moving up and down, that is why you cannot export Nigerian cattle because they don’t look healthy and the beef is strong because  the cattle are subjected to so much stress, they don’t produce the quantity of milk they should. So we are not even deriving the kind of value we should expect form our cattle.

Recently, a prof and former ambassador wrote about a country in South Africa and compared their cattle with ours, so we need enclosures so that the cattle can be as productive as they can be. When we were growing up, we depended on agriculture, my grandfather was a big plantation farmer, he was able to send his children to schools in Europe, and he was driving the best car then. Today, these farms cannot produce what it used to because of our inheritance customs. In my part of the world when a man dies, you share his properties among his children. So when the man died, they shared the farms among his children. The farms have become smaller, his children have died and passed it to their children and so it was shared again and they have become smaller. So those lands have become smaller than they cannot produce in large quantity. So the inheritors of the farm abandoned them and moved to things that bring immediately money. So we must review those factors that inhibited our realising our potentials. When we had three regions and I was growing up in our town, the hospital we had was compared with any hospital anywhere in Europe. The same with the secondary schools and when we entered the university, our preference was Nigerian University. You only go abroad then when you didn’t get admission to Nigerian University. We were four in a room, you wake up, take your bath, go for lectures, people will come to dress your bed and fix the room. You go to eat, there is a mistress who makes sure you eat the proper meal.  Then they started creating states and before you know it, hospitals became consulting clinics. Secondary schools became primaries and universities degenerated to secondary schools. When they say states creation brings development, it is not realistic, we just create a system of inefficiency and social values collapse. When people like us talk, they say we are old school, we are not moving with the trend.

Going back to National assembly, what is your take on what played on the 2016 budget between the National assembly and the executive?

The budget has always been negotiated for the entire period I was in the national assembly. The fundamental issue is, who has powers over the budget. The constitution enjoined the president to make proposal and gives the power of appropriation to the national assembly. What is the extent of the president powers to propose and what is the extent of the National assembly’s powers to appropriate that has been a subject of very intense debate all this years. There are those who see the president’s proposal as a scripture that should not be changed or touched. The other school of thought are saying no, we have powers to appropriate. So you have to find a medium and in a democracy, there is always a compromise. That is why when people say the national assembly padded the budget or tampered with it, they are wrong because it is their duty to appropriate. We can tinker with the budget. When Yar’adua was president, the budget was not passed that year until June because of this kind of problem. The national assembly was then given a certain amount for our projects. So the budget has always been negotiated, the issue came to the fore because this party came to the scene newly and so we will have to experience this crises.

Are you worried with what the current senate president is going through?

I am sad about the development but for personal reasons, I will not make any comment.

How will you compare the present day senate and how it was run during your session?

There are two different scenarios. You cannot compare the president senate with the two last sessions. You can rather compare the president’s senate with the fifth senate because during the fifth senate, the democracy was new then, PDP had just come into power and there were all sorts of crises like the Salisu Buhari crises in the house, in the senate, there was the constant change of senate president. When a party is new in power, it takes a while for that party to settle down. APC is new in power, it is at the point PDP was in the fifth senate in 1999. The sixth and seventh senates were the highest point of stability for the PDP in power. For the first time, the president of the senate in the sixth session served out four years full term without any problem with his deputy who served out his term with him. In fact the sixth and seventh senates were crises and scandal free. The same leadership was transferred to the seventh senate which was unprecedented. The senate leadership in the sixth senate returned. I was deputy senate leader and I moved into the position of majority leader without any stress. APC also is new and it is adjusting to power, it will adjust to the same dynamics before it stabilises.

So do you agree with the assertion that the APC is finding it hard to manage its success?

Back to the PDP in 1999, it was the same crises. It is just history repeating itself. By the time the APC settles down, you will see a national assembly that can be compared with others.

Some have also attributed the senate president’s travails to 2019 and why hasn’t the party intervened in anyway?

I wouldn’t know but I am aware that the party intervened in the political process, but the party cannot intervene in a judicial process. It is an individual that is facing the charge not the party.

Coming back to you, what are you doing now that you are not in the senate?

I am a lawyer, on July 4th this year I will be 38years in the bar. I spent 26 years in the court room. So I am back to law practice. I am heading the Abuja office of our law firm, it was established in 1987 and so it will be 30 years old. I am proud to say that we have produced SANs, attorney generals in the state, and big men in INEC. It is a law firm with history.

 

The post Pipeline Vandals Should Be Treated As Terrorists – Sen Ndoma appeared first on Nigerian News from Leadership News.

Source:Nigerian News from Leadership News

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