• Be wary of Northern Elders Forum, Tanko Yakassai warns acting president
From Agaju Madugba, Katsina and Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Security was tight in and around Katsina metropolis following the arrival of the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on a one-day working visit.
Osinbajo was in Katsina for the launching ceremony of a pilot edition of a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Clinic for viable enterprises, organised by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) under the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industries.
Joint security personnel were posted to strategic places in the state capital, Katsina.
A combined team of armed soldiers and mobile police were posted to the Emir’s palace, Government House and the State Secretariat where Osinbajo visited.
Some of the security personnel patrolled major streets of the metropolis, while others were stationed at selected roundabouts in the ancient city.
Armed soldiers and policemen were also seen at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua International Airport where the visitor’s aircraft landed.
Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir welcomed Osinbajo to his palace and urged the Federal Government to extend the Kaduna-Kano rail line to Katsina to boost economic and industrial activities in the state.
In his response, the acting president assured the monarch that government would look into the requests.
Elsewhere, Osinbajo reaffirmed the Federal Government’s determination to ensure that Nigeria becomes less dependent on import of goods and services arguing that the country is blessed with abundant human and natural resources.
“The reason why we are respected and sometimes feared by other countries of the world especially some other African countries is because we are a country of so many talented people…”
He added that government had taken a number of measures to make registration of businesses less cumbersome as part of measures to encourage both local and foreign investment in the country.
He said he was impressed by the number of goods being produced locally in Katsina, after an inspection of the various pavilions at the programme.
As he put it, “government will continue to support small scale enterprises to make them more effective and for them to play active roles in the nation’s economy.
“Let me assure you, we shall make sure that small scale enterprises make profit and we shall give the necessary assistance. All the regulators are aware of the stand of this government to make business registration in Nigeria easier and more friendly and they are ready to work along this line.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Northern Elders Council, (NEC), Alhaji Tanko Yakasai has warned Nigerians to be wary of the sudden resuscitation of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF).
He described members of the Forum as a group of non- progressives, reactionarists and neo –NPC apostles, and questioned the genuineness of their goodwill for Nigeria.
Yakassai recalled that the Forum had been silent and inactive but suddenly came to life following President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical trip and expressed fearthat they are out to play a role in the politics of the coming days, but declined to speculate on their latest agenda.
“My fear now is that the NEF has been out of action for so long and it was formed purposely for the campaign of the 2015 elections. They went into hibernation. Now all of a sudden, with the departure of Buhari for medical attention, they are now suddenly reactivating themselves.
“I have no quarrel with the resuscitation of these NPC men because I know that even when the NPC was alive, the rest of the people in the North was more than NPC in numbers.”