Former Senator, Ekiti North senatorial district, Ayo Arise was kidnapped in December last year and he cautions that only the decentralization of the police structure would solve the problem of insecurity in the country. The former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation between 2007 and 2011 says there is an urgent need to improve the nation’s road network and other transportation modes to allow for free movement in the country. In this interview with WILLY EYA, he examines activities of last year and recounts his ordeal in the kidnappers’ den.
With all that happened in the year 2017 that just ended, how do you feel about the state of affairs in Nigeria.
Many things happened in 2017, one of which is that I was kidnapped between Kabba and Okene in Kogi State. The same year, the government also announced me as the chairman of Sheda Science and Technology Complex. All those happened in succession and within the same month. And of course people also experienced fuel shortages during the Christmas celebration. It was surprising because the petroleum product supply has been consistent for some time now. And of course also, we are happy that our president got almost a complete rejuvenation of his energy, stamina and health. There are other positive things that also happened in the year that just ended. Nigeria in the area of sports did very well as we qualified for the World Cup and a number of developments in terms of revenue generation for the country even now that the crude oil is going at $60 to $67 per barrel. I do not recall when we had this kind of remarkable improvement in our foreign reserve which today stands at about over $40 billion. In the year as well, we saw a significant transformation in the areas of other revenue generation in the country. The importation of rice has reduced significantly because of local production, which is trying to catch up with the local consumption in the country. We have seen a remarkable improvement never experienced in this country in revenue from tax collections. I believe the gentleman in charge of FIRS is doing a good job. In the same vein, if you look at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), it has reached the N1 trillion mark in terms of revenue generation from duties. Several areas have made significant improvements. Even the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has become an income generating organization for the Federal Government.