KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE 16TH CONFERENCE OF THE COMMITTEE OF INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY SERVICES OF AFRICA (CISSA) ON 18TH JULY 2019, ABUJA
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to Abuja, for the 16th Conference of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa.
2. When this committee was founded here in Abuja, on 26th August, 2004, there was great optimism that it would help to bring down walls of suspicion and mistrust, and galvanize cooperation among Africa’s Security and Intelligence Services, consistent with the African Union’s vision for an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful continent.
3. This meeting today, 15 years since the founding of CISSA, is a measure of the organisation’s continuing relevance and an affirmation that the vision and hopes of its founding fathers are alive and well.
4. The theme of this year’s Conference, ‘Illicit Financial Outflows from Africa and its impact on National Security and Development,’ is a burning issue that this committee should focus on.
5. Illicit financial outflows are funds that have been obtained illegally, typically through fraud and corrupt means, and moved across international borders.
6. Criminals and their collaborators cheat the system through various practices; including trade mis-pricing, trade mis-invoicing, tax abuse and evasion, as well as money laundering. Several unfair commercial agreements and illegal resource extraction by multinational companies, in cahoots with their local collaborators, also create routes for illicit financial outflows.
7. Frankly, we may never know the true extent of the damage. Estimates, however, suggest that African countries lose over 60 billion US dollars annually due to illicit financial outflows, a staggering amount for a continent in dire need of development finance.
8. Corroborating this figure, a United Nations Report on “Illicit Financial Flows and the Problem of Net Resource Transfers from Africa: 1980-2009,” observed that during the period 1980 to 2009 between $1.2 trillion and $1.4 trillion was taken out of Africa. This figure is half of the current Gross Domestic Products of all the countries of Africa.
9. As partners in the fight against crime and insecurity, you know that terrorist networks, organized criminal syndicates of drugs, arms and human traffickers and sundry hostile non-state actors are actively undermining the security and stability of our countries.
10. These criminal groups not only fund their operations from the proceeds of crime, but are implicated in much of the illicit financial outflows from Africa.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
11. Firm and unwavering action is required to bring this threat under control. Any evasion of rules and regulations in ways that aid corruption in its various manifestations, including illicit financial outflows, must be vigorously fought and defeated.
12. My role as African Union’s Anti-Corruption Champion brought me closer to appreciating more the devastating impact of corruption and illicit financial outflows on our continent. I am, therefore, pleased that this conference will boost the sense of urgency that we collectively have about this devastation and raise our response capacity at operational levels.
13. In Nigeria, we have risen to the challenge. The fight against corruption remains at the core of our efforts to accelerate national development. We have recorded successes even though the perpetrators are not giving up and are trying to fight back.
14. I would like to remind you that while the task you have set for yourselves at this Conference is laudable and essential to the future prosperity and stability of Africa, it is not an easy one. Success will require robust efforts and resolute commitment by individual services in order to lay the solid base for the collaborative efforts that are required to address this daunting challenge.
15. Recently in Abuja, I underscored this point at the launch of the new Transnational Security Report “Cooperating Across Borders: Tackling Illicit Flows”, put together by Munich Security Conference, where I stressed the necessity of collective, well-resourced approaches to counter illicit flows as “no government can do it alone.” Also recently in Abuja, the Fifty-Fifth Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government underlined “the need to strengthen direct exchange of information and intelligence among Member States”.
16. I therefore, urge you to:
a. develop a template of risk factors and actionable strategies to stem the flow of illicit funds from our continent;
b. give priority to examining the links between crime and instability on our continent; and
c. propose measures to ensure that terrorists and criminals are denied access to our financial systems.
17. Finally, I would like to charge this committee, to remain steadfast as a model platform of cooperation, in words and deeds.
18. I wish you a very fruitful conference. It is now my special honour to formally declare open the 16th CISSA Conference.
Anambra State Partners Centre for Disease Control
Anambra State Health Commissioner, Dr Vincent Okpala, has assured the Federal Government of his readiness to partner the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in tackling disease outbreaks in Anambra.
He said this during a courtesy call by a Disease Surveillance Team, from the Federal Ministry of Health, in his office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.
Dr. Okpala said that Governor Willie Obiano had channeled his energy towards ensuring that healthcare facilities in the State, were upgraded for optimal services for Ndi Anambra.
He added that creative means would be considered so as to ensure that the facilities would be in the same page with reporting of outbreaks.
The Commissioner commended initiators of the project, while also assuring them of the Ministry’s support in the implementation of Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS) in the State.
Dr Wunmi Adebayo, NCDC Team Leader, said that the Agency was partnering with Anambra for the implementation of SORMAS.
“SORMAS is basically designed for Surveillance of Disease Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System.’’
She said that SORMAS application was developed in collaboration with German partners and NCDC to detect outbreaks in Nigeria. It was also strengthened to survey; identify outbreak response management and system analysis.
“NCDC as a government agency is to ensure proper surveillance of disease outbreak in the country,’’ she emphasised.
According to her, since 2014 SORMAS has been rolled out across 11 States with Anambra being the most recent on their schedule.
At the initiation of the project, NCDC would be responsible for the procurement of tablets, training of disease surveillance and notification officers, from the twenty one Local Government Areas of the State.
“We also insure the tablets because of the way it works, we don’t want interruption within the first one year, whereby someone will say that his or her tablet has been stolen or snatched.’’Dr. Wunmi Adebayo added.
Dr Chijioke Obagha, Anambra State Epidemiologist, said that the beauty of the project was that it would help to look at the information flow as it arrived.
He noted that currently a lot of paper base data was in use along the line, in a chain of transmission, thus losing some vital information, but with SORMAS and the way it works, data would be cued in at the LGA level.
“The SORMAS helps to make quick and fast decisions in cases of outbreaks. Diseases surveillance officers and assistants selected, will undergo training, that is one person each, from the three senatorial zones in the State.’’ Dr Obagha added.
By Ebele Egoh/Chukwudi Nwauba
I Will Turn Around Oyo’s Security Architecture to Boost FDI—Makinde
Governor Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, 17th July 2019, said that his government intends to quickly turn around the security architecture of Oyo State, in order to open up the State for foreign investors.
Makinde, according to a statement made public by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, said that he would relaunch the State’s Joint Task Force on Security, Operation Burst, commanded by Brigadier-General Oluyinka Soyele.
The Governor made this known during a visit to the Headquarters of Operation Burst where he maintained that he would relaunch the outfit within his first 100 days in office, so as to guarantee investors a peaceful and conducive environment.
Makinde stated “Let me use to opportunity to appreciate the good work you have been doing in this State. For us in Oyo State, you have allowed our people to have confidence in your outfit. I asked people to give me complaints about the outfit, but i didn’t get any. This administration has four main pillars with Agriculture value chain as a key aspect to promote foreign investment. But we will be very limited in our drive if people come here and they do not have a conducive atmosphere to do their business”.
Furthermore, the Governor said “What is there for us to do is to redesign the security architecture to ensure adequate security for our people. Nobody will invest in an atmosphere of insecurity.
The challenge of herdsmen and farmers, kidnapping, killings will basically make the environment more challenging. We appreciate the fact that if we want to achieve all the other pillars we have mentioned, the security needs to be taken seriously. We have a lot of work to do as regards security.”
UGOEZE CHIMA STANLEY
President Buhari Congratulates Imam Abdullahi on U.S. Award
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed pleasure over the International Religious Freedom Award conferred on Imam Abubakar Abdullahi of Nigeria, by the United States Department of State.
In a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja recently, the President heartily congratulated Imam Abdullahi on the well-deserved honour by no less a credible and formidable government agency of the United States.
According to him, the recognition bestowed on the 83-year-old Muslim cleric is towering and befitting, for the patriot who risked his own life and that of his family on June 23, 2018, to save the lives of hundreds of Christians, fleeing from attacks by suspected bandits in Yelwan Gidin Akwati, Swei and Nghar villages in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, of Plateau State.
“Like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said, on May 30, 2019 at the State House, Abuja, when he received the Imam, the Village Head, Damafulul Mangai, community leaders and a delegation from the US, UK and European Union, the cleric ‘‘has done so much to promote peace by his singular act than most politicians could do and deserve all the commendation and high honour.’’
President Buhari is, therefore, elated that a Nigerian National has written his name in gold in the international arena and his deeds will resonate wherever and whenever there are discussions on religious tolerance, cordiality between Christians and Muslims in the country and around the world.
The President recommends the sterling virtues of Imam Abdullahi to all clerics, in particular, and Nigerians in general.
He also strongly affirms the commitment of this administration to freedom of religion and worship for all Nigerians, as guaranteed by the Constitution, stressing that under no circumstance will any religion or faith be imposed on the nation.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
July 18, 2019