Obasanjo names Panel on National security

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- In fulfilment of his promise during Nigeria's 41st independence anniversary 1 Oct.
, President Olusegun Obasanjo has named a 13-member presidential panel on national security, to advise the government on the strengthening of security in the country.
The panel, headed by a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan in South-west Nigeria, Tekena Tamuno, includes former Inspector-General of Police Muhammadu Gambo, former Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University, Jadesola Akande, retired Maj.
David Jega, B.
Irikefe, Archbishop Ola Makinde and Bukar Usman.
Other members are Bilikisu Yusuf, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, Justice Ekundayo, P.
Ndukwe, Leonard Okonkwo-Okon, Sotade Burkins and Yahaya Abdullahi, who will serve as Secretary.
The panel will be inaugurated next week, when its terms of reference are expected to be spelt out.
In his address to the nation 1 Oct.
, Obasanjo said he would set up a Commission on security as part of efforts to stem rising crime wave as well as religious and ethnic violence in Africa's most populous nation of 120 million people.
The pledge was a follow-up from the national retreat on security, organised earlier by the federal government.
"Peace and security are the fundamental foundation stone on which democracy and development can and need to be anchored," said Obasanjo, while explaining the need for the panel.
The establishment of the Commission comes at a time the country is wracked by sectarian and communal violence in several parts of the country, including Jos, Kano and Benue, in the last one month alone.
Earlier this week, soldiers sent to help quell the Benue clashes between the Tiv and Jukun-Fulani communities, sacked several villages in the northern State, killing at least 100 civilians.
Obasanjo has ordered a halt to the killings, in the first official confirmation that the soldiers were involved, even though the military hierarchy has continued to deny that soldiers perpetrated the mass killings.
The security panel is also expected to address the rising crime wave and armed banditry, which have assumed a frightening dimension.
Armed robbers operate in broad daylight in many cities, leaving the poorly-motivated and ill-equipped police personnel helpless.
Nigerians are waiting for Obasanjo to deliver on his administration's commitment to "(build) a formidable, well-equipped, well-trained, well-disciplined, re-oriented and people-friendly police".

26 october 2001 15:11:00

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