Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Thirty prominent professional bodies under the aegis of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) yesterday urged the federal government to immediately overhaul the country’s security apparatus, saying the situation had largely deteriorated in recent months.
APBN, which comprises Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), among others, also urged the government to consider state policing as an option.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja yesterday, APBN’s President and Chairman of its Board, Akin Oyegbola, asked the government to urgently and decisively curb the worsening insecurity of lives and properties in Nigeria.
Oyegbola also called for transparency in the way the ENDSARS panels across the country were being handled, noting that the demands of the protesters must be looked into dispassionately to assuage their grievances.
He said: “The state of insecurity in the country is worsening and community policing should be explored to bolster the internal security of the country. There’s an urgent need for the complete overhaul of the security apparatus.
“It’s the whole apparatus, not just the police or military because intelligence is central to all of them. What happened a few days ago (killing of farmers in Borno) has even worsened it the more. We believe that this overhauling has to be wholesome.
“Whatever should be done should take care of all aspects, not just looking at an aspect. The worsening state of security is obvious and very apparent,” he stressed.
Oyegbola acknowledged that judicial commissions of inquiry had started sitting in various states of the country, but maintained that the Lekki Tollgate shooting must be properly investigated.
“However, what will unfold next around EndSARS largely depends on the willingness of the federal government to investigate the Lekki Tollgate shootings at the EndSARS protesters in an open and transparent manner and in good faith.
“Concerted efforts by the federal government to address the concerns in the 7-point agenda submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari would also boost the trust in government of the EndSARS protesters and the supportive Nigerian diaspora,” the body affirmed.
Speaking on other national issues, APBN said that the enforcement of stamp duty on house rent and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) should not be on the priority list of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) at a time the country is experiencing a housing deficit and millions of Nigerians are losing their jobs.
“Till date, there are countries that are still giving out palliatives to cushion the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Some countries, apart from giving out palliatives, also take responsibility for utility bills like power, water, data, etc.
“APBN therefore calls on the federal government to look into the policy and change the policy for the benefit of average Nigerians,” Oyegbola added.
He, further, called on all levels of government to develop and improve the health sector, saying that the current health pandemic has shown that various hospitals across the nation need state-of-the-art equipment to manage health crises like the Covid-19 pandemic.
He maintained that the disbursement of the loans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be made transparent in accordance with global best practices.
“Much needed stimulus packages, grants, single digit interest loans and private investments should equally go to the healthcare sector, food, technology, creative, tourism, logistics, education and manufacturing sectors, as these are critical to maintaining jobs, livelihoods and stability, in the midst of this crisis.
“These are vulnerable industries that must also be supported by the CBN. In addition to financial support to professionals, service industry, banks should ensure that proper structure is put in place where professionals can interface,” the group stressed.
On reviving the economy, he said the association was of the view that the Nigeria economy would bounce back if the government and individual professionals could invest in real estate development.
He also recommended the participation of professional groups in government’s economic decision making, saying that there should be a need for the government to allow attendance of professional representatives before any policy decision is taken.
Other members of APBN include: ICAN, NITP, NIA, PSN, NIS, NMGS, CIPM, CIS, NIQS, NIOB, NIESV, NIM, ANAN, ICSAN, IPAN, ICCON, NCS, CITN, CIIN, CIA, AMLSN, CIPSMN, NVMA , NIMN, IMCON and NIPR.