NEC: Security Challenges, Arms Proliferation Have Reduced

Babajide Sanwo-Olu
  • Asks govs to set up Security Trust Fund
  • Moves to draw 20% of pension fund for infratructure

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The National Economic Council (NEC) thursday adopted the report of its security committee with the resolution that the security situation in all the six geo-political zones of the country has improved.

The council also adopted the committee’s recommendation that there has also been a reduction in the proliferation of small arms in the country with a charge to state governors to be alive to security situations in their states and manage them effectively.

Briefing State House reporters at the end of the monthly NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the security committee was headed by his Ekiti State counterpart and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

He listed others members of the committee to include: Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), among others.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the council resolved that governors should pull resources together to set up Security Trust Fund to improve security situation in the country.

He said the committee’s report also emphasised the importance of community policing in the quest for national security.

Sanwo-Olu said another committee set up by the council and also headed by Fayemi on mining, in its report to NEC, said the Ministry of Mines and Steel should do more by ensuring advocacy and collaboration among various zones on mining activities.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the committee recommended the need for the ministry to set up offices in all the cadastral zones of the country while any state willing to carry out any action on mining must secure the consent of the committee.

He said states must also be aware of any mining activities in their domains.

In his briefing, the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said a committee was constituted to come up with recommendations on how 20 per cent of pension funds could be deployed to fund infrastructure as provided in the Pension Reform Act.

Bagudu who said the council was excited by the performance of the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), stated that the committee was constituted to leverage on such performance and see how pension funds could be used to upgrade the country’s infrastructure on power, roads and rail as obtainable in some countries such as Saudi Arabia.

He also said the council received a report on ownership structure in the power sector, recalling the discussion at the last NEC meeting on how federal and state governments’ 40 per cent stake in the sector since its privatisation has not been enjoyed.

Against this backdrop, Bagudu said NEC received an interim report from a committee chaired by Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, to review the status and ownership of the shares in the sector that had not been distributed.

The governor also said a presentation was made to the council by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) that was set up 10 years ago by the federal, state and local governments with 10 completed power generating plants and two other plants still under construction. He said the plants had the capacity to generate 4,500 megawatts.

“Today, the options were discussed and members of the NEC advised to study the presentation so that at more opportune time, NEC can review the presentation and take whatever necessary steps henceforth,” he explained.
According to him, NEC is studying the presentation to know the steps to take on the company.

In her own briefing, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said she presented balances in the Federation Accounts to the council.

According to her, the balance in the Excess Crude Account on November 19, 2019, was $324,967,933.72, adding that the balance in Stabilisation Account, as at December 17, 2019 was N30,479,704,808 while the Natural Resources’ Fund account had a balance of N88,283,218,114.40 as at December 17, 2019.

Ahmed also said she presented an update on repayment of loan facilities by states, saying “the current situation is that deductions are ongoing and remittances on these facilities are being made to the central bank.”