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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ex-lawmaker calls for investigation into CBN, telcos and others

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Former member of the House of Representatives, Rima Shawulu, has called for investigations into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), commercial banks and telecommunications companies for failing to trace ransom payments to kidnappers in the country.

Shawulu, who represented Donga, Takum, Ussa and Yangtu federal constituency of Taraba State, made the call in an interview on Kakaaki, a program on Africa Independent Television (AIT), on Thursday.

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He said the CBN and banks should explain why kidnappers are not caught when a huge amount of money is paid or transferred as ransom.

“What happens is that if bandits can call people to pay a ransom, they can’t take that huge amount of money and put it into the banking system without getting caught.

“The problem is not security challenges, but that everywhere in the world there will be criminals, but the problem is our system. How can a kidnapper raise 100 million naira and not a single kidnapper or major faces are exposed? Because some of the people who have access to 1 million naira… there are people who are the ones who are raising this huge money,” she said.

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Shawulu said Nigeria is one of the most profiled countries in the world thanks to the use of BVN and NIN.

He said almost all Nigerians have BVN and NIN and wondered why it is difficult to trace criminals.

“The Nigerian is one of the most profiled people in the world. If he goes to the bank and needs a BVN, even after obtaining a BVN, he will be asked to provide a NIN number. Without a NIN number you cannot obtain an international passport. You go to immigration, they profile you, you go to your workplace, they profile you, you go to the bank, they profile you, you go to telecommunications companies, they profile you. How can we say then that we do not know how this money moves around the country?

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Zamfara to restore telecommunications services

“You know how many people lost their phone numbers and got them back simply because they were able to link their numbers to the national registration number. And now you’re telling me that people will use phones to collect large amounts of money and they can’t be traced. Why do we have telecommunications companies? Why do we have banks? I think it is necessary to investigate and hold the banks and telecommunications companies accountable.

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“If you don’t do it you won’t have any solution. Let me tell you, for example, if you mistakenly put money into someone’s account, you go to your bank and the bank will tell you how to get the money from the recipient of the account.

“How can you move N100 billion and nothing will be done? In order to solve this problem, we have to question the banks, including the Central Bank; They must be investigated to find out where that money goes,” Shawulu said.

Insufficient security staff and funding

The former legislator also revealed that one of the main insecurity problems is the lack of an adequate police system.

He said Nigerian security agencies are understaffed and underfunded.

Shawulu said: “People talk about security agencies, especially the police and the army. For example, for every soldier in Nigeria today there are around three police officers, so we have the civil defense corps, we have the State Security Service; those are the frontline agencies that should have been combating the nature of kidnappers and bandits where they deal with people in the villages, where they have held people.

“We have not done much in terms of security because our investment in the security system in the security sector is too small. Nigeria is a country of 220 million people and with all the security agencies combined, we do not have even a million personnel. The police, I think last time they said it was about 300,000, the army 100,000, the Navy and Air Force 40,000 or 30,000, the civil defense corps about 30,000 or 40,000.

“If you go to a country like Germany, like in 2019 we were in Germany, the population was 18 million and they had 400,000 federal and state police officers.

“We have 220 million people and we have 300 or 350,000 police officers and this police includes investigation, traffic and others, how do you expect them to work? If you even look at their budget, the police budget and how much is budgeted for police operations, you will find that it is not enough.

“There is not much budget for your DPO or the police post in your area, for them to go on patrol or do any investigation, so we go to the police station and there is no paper, no pen, no this or that. “Those are realities.”

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