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2023: We’ll put an end to security votes if elected – Kwankwaso

THE New Nigeria Peoples Party’s (NNPP) presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso and his running mate, Isaac Idahosa, have said that they will put an end to the allocation of security votes for the sitting president if elected in the 2023 elections. 

The NNPP candidates made this known yesterday during a people’s townhall meeting in Abuja, organised by Channels Television.

Kwankwaso tackled questions on security, economy, education, health among other key topics. Speaking on security, the NNPP candidates advocated penalties for security breaches such as that which resulted in the July 5 attack on the Kuje correctional facility in Abuja. 

He stated that nobody in Nigeria should be over and above the law. “One of the issues that we’re having, in our opinion, today in Nigeria is that everything goes. Nobody is punished — 100 people killed, 50 people killed, one person killed. That’s the story,” he said.

“A place was broken; so many people escaped. It doesn’t matter, and so on and so forth. There must be the issue of penalties. There must be an issue of reward. If you do the right thing, you would give the necessary reward. If you’re wrong, you are wrong.

“These are some of the things that are already in our manifesto or blueprint. In the first place, it must be prevented. Even from the official versions we hear, there were so many missing links.

“We were told that many of them, according to the information, people were being seen around for a long time. And that is what even happened with Boko Haram,” the former Kano State governor added. 

On state police, the NNPP candidate said his government will be open to the restrucuring of the nation’s security architecure.

His words, “While we believe that we will listen to the people, we will do the right thing, at the same time, we will follow due process. This is not something that the President will sit in his bedroom and announce the change of constitution to insert the issue that affects the relevant clauses in the constitution.

“We are ready to follow due process as long as Nigerians are interested in that. But on the other hand, we believe most of these things coming up are as a result of government failure. Once everything is going well, all these things will die down.”

 Responding to question on security votes, the former Minister promised to put an end to the allocation of security votes for the sitting president.

He said, “For the eight years I was governor, I have never taken one naira on the issue of security votes and I have inherited governments there were taking N10million in a day seven times, ten times. In fact, at a stage, we had a record of 12 times because the governor can only approve N10million, so they would take N10million times whatever number they want.”

   “The only thing that we did not publish for the eight years I was governor was the money given to the security agents but we have the record. So, security votes, in my own opinion, is a big way of stealing money because that is why I have never done it; if I have the opportunity again, there would not be anything like security votes in the presidency.

   “So, we have seen cases where a lot of money is been siphoned in the name of security votes and nobody can defend it and, in my opinion, I think that should be stopped using whatever means because it’s only a good way of taking cash from the treasury,” Kwakwanso added.

   On indiscriminate borrowing, NNPP presidential candidate, argued that Nigeria has enough money to take care of every of its citizens. He stated that indiscriminate borrowing has set back the country’s economy in recent years.

    He claimed to have repaid all debts he met as governor in Kano without borrowing, boasting of replicating same at the federal level.

    “There is so much money in this country, anybody who says there is no money either he doesn’t know or he wants to be mischievous. There is enough money to take care of each one of us in this country; we have done it in Kano in 1999 to 2003, we met a lot of debts, we paid the debts after eight years. When I went back I met debts of hundreds of millions of US dollars, and we settled them before I left in 2015.

   “I’m talking of borrowing money either from banks or individuals, we have never borrowed. So I believe that that can be replicated to a very large extent at national level. I will not say I will not borrow but if they are important things pay themselves, not to borrow to pay salaries, handle current expenditure and so on, I believe there is even more than enough money in this country to handle that,” he averred.

   Kwankwaso also promised that if elected president,  he would negotiate with Nigeria’s creditors to reschedule payment of debts so that government can have money to take care of other things.

    “The situation as we are being told now is that whatever we are getting as our resources, as our money in this country is not even enough to service our debt, I think that is what we have heard. 

    “Now the issue is that any responsible government day one will sit down with all the people, creditors and see how they can be rescheduled, there has to be negotiation.

    “You cannot be collecting all your resources and paying interest to the creditors, there has to be arrangement to make sure that you are given a breathing space so that you can start bringing in the good things that are necessary for the country to move forward,” he stated.

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