The publisher of the Democrat Newspaper and Life Patron of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigerian (NPAN), Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua, has slammed the leadership of the Niherian Customs Service (NCS) over the total shutdown of Nigeria’s land borders. Speaking on Saturday in a widely discussed interview on Arise Television’s The Morning Show, Mallam Funtua, very close confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari and influential businessman and politician, aired his views on a number of topical national issues.
Mallam Funtua argued that “closure of border is failure of the customs”. Laying the blame squarely at the feet of the leadership of the customs, he said “if it were to be in a civilised society, what the leadership of the customs supposed to do, you know it [referring to Dr. Rueben Abati the host of the programme], I know it, because if I’m overseeing something and then you have to come and close the border because of my inefficiency.”
Touching on the issue of subsidy, Mallam Funtua described it as an anti people policy, querying “diesel has no subsidy, kerosene has no subsidy, why PMS? that is my question.” He said “I live with the people, I live with the downtrodden, I know what is happening in this country. Subsidizing fuel is just subsidizing people like you and me, and also subsidizing criminals who are taking it out of the country. why should the country be bleeding itself to enrich a few.”
On the attempts by government to institute government regulation of the media, Funtua noted that the NPAN had won against government in two courts, and also said that Information Minister Lai Mohammed had approached him to get NPAN to withdraw its case. He also posited that “self regulation is the best”, arguing that “if you allow government interference they will mess you up”.
On the issue of Igbo presidency Mallam Funtua counselled the Igbos not to isolate themselves from the larger Nigerian society, asking “because they are Igbos, you give them Presidency on a platter? Is it turn by turn Nigeria Ltd? we are talking politics. Politics is an issue of votes. My good friend of blessed memory MKO Abiola, defeated Bashir Tofa in Kano.”
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