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Bello asks Federal High Court to adjourn case indefinitely

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Former Kogi governor Yahaya Bello has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to adjourn, indefinitely, the ongoing case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).

He also asked the court to vacate its arrest order on him, pending the determination of an appeal he filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

Bello’s demands are contained in a letter written by Musa Yakubu, his Counsel, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN).

The letter was dated July 12 and addressed to the trial Judge, Justice Emeka Nwite, ahead of Bello’s arraignment scheduled for Wednesday, July 17.

Bello is being tried for allegedly laundering N80 billion.

But, in his appeal against his trial, Bello has expressed fears over his fate if the case is left to proceed.

In the Appellate case with file no. CA/ABJ/CR/535/2024, Bello is seeking that the Warrant of Arrest he says was illegally issued against him on April 17, 2024, be set aside.

He also wants a return of the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, for re-assignment to another Judge.

The Appeal was filed against the decisions of the trial Federal High Court, Abuja, in Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024.

The former governor is also seeking an order of the Appeal Court setting aside service of the EFCC Charge on him by substituted means, including the entire proceedings already conducted in the case.

In the letter, Bello requested that further proceedings in the charge be adjourned sine die, pending the determination of the appeal currently pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

The letter, a copy of which was sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC), and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, was in response to a letter to Justice Nwite, by the EFCC, dated July 8, 2024 and filed on the July 10, 2024.

In the said letter, the EFCC requested for a variation of the earlier warrant of arrest issued against Bello, additionally requesting that the various security agencies be specifically directed to carry out the earlier arrest.

Responding to the EFCC’s application, Bello’s counsel urged the Court to decline the request and await the outcome of the appeal pending at the Court of Appeal over the said warrant of arrest and other related pronouncements of the trial Court.

Bello’s counsel made reference to the position of the law as contained in Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021 and the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the case of Vab Petroleum INC V. Momah (Supra), and a litany of other cases.

“We respectfully urge the Court to set aside and expunge from its records, the proceedings of the 27th June, 2024, including any ruling, order or directive carried out in the face of the defendant’s appeal entered on the 24th of May, 2024,” he said.

He asked the court to “adjourn further proceedings in this charge sine die, pending the determination of Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024 entered by the defendant, and pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja”.

The letter read in part: “The defendant to the Charge had, on the 17th of May, 2024, filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of this Court made on the 10th of May, 2024 refusing to discharge the warrant of arrest issued against the defendant.

“The defendant, pursuant to the said notice of appeal, compiled and transmitted record of appeal to the Court of Appeal and entered on the 24th of May, 2024, Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, the complainant has now filed the above referenced application seeking for the amendment of the warrant of arrest which was hitherto directed to the complainant only, to have it extended to the heads of other security and law enforcement agencies listed in the prosecuting Counsel’s letter.

“The court cannot countenance the application or do anything with respect to the aforesaid warrant of arrest or conduct further proceedings in this charge in view of the provisions of Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021 which is to the effect that: ‘After an appeal has been entered and until it has been finally disposed of, the Court shall be seized of the whole of the proceedings as between the parties thereto.

“Except as may be otherwise provided in these rules, every application therein shall be made to the court and not to the lower court.

“The warrant of arrest upon which the complainant’s application is predicated, is subject of appeal in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/536/2024 and, by the above reproduced provision of the Court of Appeal rules, this Court no longer has the jurisdiction to entertain any application or do anything touching on the warrant of arrest issued on the 17th of April, 2024 as the Court of Appeal has now seized of the matter.

“By virtue of the appeal entered by the defendant, the warrant of arrest, which is the subject of the complainant’s application, is now in total abeyance pending the determination of the defendant’s appeal one way or another.

“To take any contrary step to the provisions of Order 4 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021, would be tantamount to undermining the Constitutional guaranteed Appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal under Section 240 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and against the grain of settled position of the law established by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“The apex court says, when an appeal has been entered, the lower Court no longer has the jurisdiction to do anything in the matter and ought to abide by the decision of the Appellate Court as any step taken by the trial Court in the face of such appeal is a nullity.”

The letter drew the attention of Justice Nwite to a similar case, also a criminal appeal, in which Justice Ismail Ijelu of the High Court of Lagos State stayed further proceedings, the Appellant having entered an appeal in Appeal No: CAIL/1159/2023 Between Chief Cletus Ibeto V. Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Appellant was challenging the warrant of arrest earlier issued against him, in the face of his preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the lower Court to entertain the charge filed by the complainant against him.

“The Complainant’s application to you, therefore, ought not to have been filed at all or, if need be, ought to be brought before the Court of Appeal, Abuja which has now seized of the matter.

“The Complainant’s Counsel, as a senior member of the Bar, is under a duty to have brought the appeal entered by the Defendant to the attention of this Court even during the proceedings of 27th of June, 2024.

“We, therefore, respectfully urge your Lordship not to be misled or hoodwinked by the Complainant into a head on collision with the Court of Appeal, but rather tow the above stated and well-established course of action.

“To do otherwise would be an affront on the hallowed principle of judicial hierarchy which is the very foundation of our legal system,” the letter read further.(NAN)

FG Repatriates 190 Nigerians From UAE

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The Federal Government has repatriated One Hundred and Ninety (190) Nigerians from the United Arab Emirates.

This is contained in a statement by the Director, North Central Zone, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Bashir Idris Garga.

According to Garga, the returnees were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 5.45am by a combined team of government officials led by NEMA.

He stated that the returnees were profiled and documented by the relevant agencies.

He said, ”The returnees were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 5.45am by a combined team of government officials led by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

“The returnees were profiled and documented by the relevant agencies and sensitized to behave with decorum and responsibility on their return to Nigeria.

“The federal government urges all Nigerians, wherever they may be, to act as exemplary ambassadors of their country, upholding the fundamental values of patriotism, rule of law, decency, and integrity.”

Pathways to Peace, Security & Stability in the Sahel: What Role for Nigeria?

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By Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar

When we look back at its history, we see that the dynamism and movement of people, goods, services and ideas within the Sahel and with the outside world led to the creation of a number of states and even empires; Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Kanem-Borno and Sokoto, to mention but a few. There are lessons to learn from the rise and fall of these Sahelian
States, in identifying the role Nigeria should play in charting a pathway to Peace, Security and Stability in the Sahel.


To begin with, Nigeria must lead the way in relying on empiricism when analysing the Sahel. We must do away with certain exogenous and erroneous perceptions about the Sahel. The Sahel is not an empty ungoverned quarter, a terra nullius. Contrary to that, it has one of the fastest growing populations in the world; Niger currently has a population of 24.2 million and is going to have 65 million by 2050. A large part of the Sahelian populace is Nomadic, which constitutes even more challenges in identifying and following pathways to peace, security and stability in the region.

There is often an over-simplification that goes thus: the Sahel is sparsely populated by nomadic groups (Tuaregs, Bororo, Zaghawa, etc.) and many of them tend towards terrorism and criminal activities. A certain degree of laziness in information collection processes and the wholesale adoption of western taxonomy and labelling has often led to wrong decision-making. A common syllogism is: There are jihadist and organised crime groups operating in the Sahel- many jihadists and members of organised criminal groups are Nomads- therefore all Nomads in the Sahel are Jihadists or part of organised crime groups. I am over-simplifying, but you catch my drift.

Nigeria must therefore, as the hegemon in the region lead the way in providing more accurate and factual analyses and interpretation of events in the Sahel. It is incumbent on the NIA to pave the way through its information collection process. This would begin with more accurate taxonomy and labelling of groups. Not every act of crime- kidnapping for ransom, attack on a community, smuggling of weapons must necessarily be ascribed to a stand-alone jihadi or tribal group. Quite often, such acts are driven by economic interests and not ideological or tribal association. We have unwittingly been conditioned to feed into foreign “War on Terrorism” framing and narratives, and Mary Kaldor’s open
ended ‘New Wars’ Thesis. We must develop our own insights to what is happening in our neighbourhood instead of relying on those of outsiders, in order to find the right pathways to peace, security and stability in the Sahel. Nigeria must lead the way in establishing the guardrails.

And we have seen the disastrous outcomes of allowing others to frame the narratives in the Sahel; the open-ended War on Terror in the aftermath of 9-11 attacks and the adoption of the Democratic Peace Thesis as the central plank of the Bush Doctrine (of unilateralism, pre-emptive war and regime change) led to the toppling of Ghaddafi and disorder in Libya. The external framing of the situation in Libya was wrong and we are still bearing the effects today. Deriving from similar erroneous framing, came the European Union’s 2015-2020 Sahel Regional Action Plan, in which it decided to kill what
it perceived to be the twin threats of terrorism and irregular migration with one stone by securitising the region, thereby restricting movement in a region where seasonal migration is a life and death matter. And the contiguous Sahara Desert has always made trade all-the-more important, as a matter of survival, which was why trade tended to be divorced from politics. The fallout of the failed EU Strategy contributed to the banditry and insurgency we are experiencing today. France as the experienced former colonial metropole took the lead in implementing this strategy, with Operation Barkhane and G5
Sahel. Significantly, Nigeria, with all its experience in leading ECOMOG to success, in settling previous conflicts in the region, was left out of these initiatives. The end result is- MNJTF is thus far succeeding and G5 Sahel cannot even be counted as a noble failure. We know our neighbourhood. Others should follow our lead in framing, labelling and
proffering solutions.

The second thing we must do is to reposition ECOWAS into reverting to its founding ideals or raison d’etre. The Treaty of Lagos signed on 28th May 1975 begins with the overriding need to “foster and encourage the economic and social development of their states in order to improve the living standards of their peoples…”. Note the emphasis on
peoples and not systems of government. Whilst reaffirming the existence of nation-states as prime referents and units of analysis in international relations, it is equally important for us to be cognizant of the particularities of our regional environment. One such is the concept of borders. In the Westphalian state system devolved out of Europe, borders are meant to be static, delimited and delineated. Whereas in the Sahel and perhaps most of Africa, historian JC Anene says that prior to colonisation, there were no boundaries as lines separating states. What we had were Frontier Zones and there were essentially three types:

  1. Frontier of Contact- between distinct cultural and political groups, often trading with each other
  2. Frontier of Separation- as a buffer zone between hostile neighbours, which neither side claims, such as deserts or uninhabitable forests like Dajin Rugu, between Katsina and Zamfara
  3. Overlapping Frontier- where different tribes intermingle and nomads move back and forth

In the Westphalian boundary system introduced by colonialism, river systems were more important than ethnology and, as such, were used to delimit borders. Not so in pre-colonial Sahel. This further complicated matters in complex cultural areas, turning some into geopolitical shatter belts.

Nigeria has two complex Sahelian cross-border areas in the northeast where it meets Niger, Chad and Cameroon and in the Northwest where it meets Niger and Benin and the latter two meet Mali and Burkina Faso. And historically, the Kanem-Borno empire covered parts of the 4 countries and beyond into present day Libya. To the west, parts of Nigeria (Kano, Katsina and Zaria) were incorporated into the 16th Century Songhai empire. By the 19th Century, the Sokoto Caliphate extended from West to East covering substantial parts of what used to be under Borno’s suzerainty. Although the frontiers of these pre-colonial states changed considerably during the course of their existence, they all had the frontiers I described; Frontier of Contact, Frontier of Separation and Overlapping Frontier. And nomadism as a form of political expression was permitted. The


States of Central Sudan have never been ethnically or culturally homogenous because there were few natural barriers in the Sahel. Today’s framing- because it is neither organic nor indigenous- tends to oversimplify our borders and their communities and fails to accommodate our particularities. Worse still, it criminalises some. Case in point is the Buduma dwellers of the Lake Chad region, that have existed since ancient times and have seen many states come and go. They have
learnt to adopt to changing geopolitical situations, which is perhaps why they survived the Kanem-Borno and Jukun waves, as well as the brigandage or Rabeh bin Fadlallah, followed by the French, British and German contestations in their space. More recently, they have sometimes been collectively mislabelled as Boko Haram members or sympathisers. The reality may be that they smuggle and supply all comers for survival on the fringes of the modern state and feeling little effect of its promised improvement in standards of living. It falls on the Nigerian state to provide the correct labelling for the Buduma and other frontier dwellers.

Let us now turn inwards to the causal factors of insecurity in the Sahel and the Nigerian State; failure of governance at the local level. The fourth schedule of Nigeria’s Constitution clearly spells out the functions of local government councils: recommendations on economic planning and development of LGAs, collection of radio and TV licenses, building and maintaining cemeteries and housing for the homeless, licenses for bicycles, canoes, wheel barrows and carts, markets, motorparks and slaughter houses, construction of certain types of roads, street lights, drains, parks and gardens (as prescribed by the State House of Assembly) as well as sewage and refuse disposal. Provision of Primary Adult and Vocational Education and Health Services. Very little of this is being carried out by local governments in Nigeria because the funds and functions have been hijacked mostly by state governments and in some instances in the Sahel, by the central government. We cannot have sustainable peace, security and stability in the Sahel until and unless local governments function properly.

The Tinubu administration is taking the right steps in this direction. It has pre-emptively sued state governments and won. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of financial autonomy for local governments, directing that LGA allocations from the federation account should henceforth be paid to them, instead of state governments using them as slush funds. It is not by accident that Commissioners for local government are the most powerful and influential in most states. President Buhari tried to achieve this by way of Executive Order but was instead sued by State Governors and they won. But that is just
one half of it.

The other half is to find a way to establish routine elections at the LGA level, so that LGA funds are administered by elected officials- Chairman and Ward Councillors, instead of those handpicked by Governors. The Governor’s party sweeps all the LGA elections except in a few symbolic instances, leaving little room for inter-party competition for developmental projects that ultimately benefit the people. Competition makes everyone sit up for fear of underperforming and losing the next election. The stranglehold that State independent Electoral Commissions have over LGAs is debilitating. Many states don’t even bother with elections. The Governor simply appoints loyalists as LGA Sole Administrators.

A system has been perfected through which a loyal LGA Chairman is promoted to the State House of Assembly, where he would not dare challenge the perspective of the Governor. In reality, State Houses of Assemblies are packed with passive loyalists that fail in their duty of providing checks and balances on the Executive Arm. They also fail in looking out for the interest of their local government areas.

Suffice it to say that the Achilles heel of modern state system in the Sahel is the failure of governance at the local level. To begin with, there was hardly a democratic tradition in former French colonies, where military officers served as local government administrators. Even in the British system, the initial Native Authority Ordinance gave regulatory powers to the Northern traditional systems, but not to build new infrastructure. But that was the past and this is now. We Africans are in charge and in control of our own destinies and Nigeria has a responsibility to serve as the lodestar to
guide others onto the right path.


So, what must Nigeria do? It must frame and shape the narrative down to the grainy bits of taxonomy. It must also push for the developmental advancement of border communities through inter-regional planning for development that would enhance
cooperation among communities in the Sahel. We already have existing cross-border governance instruments that we can apply towards this- Border Communities Development Agency, Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, ECOWAS Cross Border
Cooperation Support Programme, CEN-SAD and the Lake Chad Basin Commission. This would close the gap of borderlands as a place of contrasting sovereign policies and therefore infrastructural impoverishment. It would further provide a platform for micro-diplomacy, exchange of ideas and sharing intelligence at the level of LGAs and states (apparently British and French colonial officers used to meet at the border for weekly security meetings, at some point). The establishment of usufructuary rights for nomadic communities in Nigeria and across the Sahel (to acquire the right to use land and facilities
but not necessarily to own) is also key. Hear also, the Tinubu Administration is blazing the trail with the creation of a Livestock Ministry to address such concerns.

Having said all that, we must also project strength and not weakness in engaging with our fellow Sahelian neighbours, particularly those that have experienced Unconstitutional Changes of Government. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, tread softly but carry a big stick. Wholesale employment of a policy of appeasement is not what our neighbours expect from us, when they look to us to tackle the region’s big hairy problems. We should, by all means, leave the door open for reconciliation and for the AES regimes to return their countries to the ECOWAS fold. At the same time, we must make it clear that replacing one foreign player with another will not solve the Sahel’s peace, security and stability challenges. The solution must be organic and homegrown. The path forward is strategic autonomy and the 4Ds.

I thank you for listening.

Yusuf M Tuggar
15th January 2024

We’ll resist any move to destroy our party —Zamfara APC

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Idris said that the APC leadership in the state under Alhaji Tukur Danfulani would  resist any plan to destroy the party using all necessary mechanisms at their disposal.

He alleged that some sponsored groups of party members were hired to form factions with the aim of destroying the APC in the state as part of their way of forming what they call a ‘Mega party’.

Idris said, “We are not going to be deterred by mischievous media campaigns and abuses against our party leaders.

“The state APC leadership is ready for them at any point ahead of the 2027 general elections.

“We know the contract they collected from their pay masters, let me inform you that this time around has failed on arrival because all well-meaning APC members in the state know your direction”

The APC spokesperson advised the sponsored groups not to bite the fingers that fed them, saying, ” they should not do so  if they want to succeed.

“We don’t want to join issues with the political contractors and blind followers of selfish politicians.

“Our amiable President Bola Tinibu, the National Secretariat of the APC and the APC leaders in the state, our former Governors, Bello Matawalle, the Minister of State for Defence and Sen. Abdul’aziz Yari are aware of any evil machinations against the party.” (NAN)

Shettima urges deployment of biotech innovations for economic growth

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Vice President Kashim Shettima has urged experts in the biotechnology ecosystem to harness the innovative power of biotechnology to drive economic growth.

Shettima made this call  while declaring open the five-day International Conference on Biotechnology (ICoB24) hosted by the National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency (NBRDA) on Monday in Abuja.

The conference has the theme, “Biotechnology as an Engine for Economic Growth.’’

Shettima, represented by his Special Adviser on General Duties, Aliyu Umar, expressed optimism that with hard work, biotechnology would revolutionalise Nigeria’s economic growth.

The vice president commended the work and achievements of Nigerian experts in the biotechnology space and called for commitment, perseverance and sacrifice.

He assured that with virtues, the country would get to the promised land.

Shettima added that young Nigerians, who would take over the country, should also be nurtured and encouraged to become professionals just as the last generation of leaders did.

Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, said he was strongly persuaded that food insecurity would become history in Nigeria with the application of biotechnology for improved crop yields.

Nnaji, who was represented by Olayiwola Agoro, Deputy Director, Strategy Implementation Task Office for Presidential Executive Order No. 5, said with emerging supportive system, Nigeria would soon experience economic growth.

“We have patriotic and innovative biotechnologists, who can ensure that more goods and services are produced and made available in our economy, contributing to the economic diversification agenda of President Bola Tinubu administration,” he said.

Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director General of the NBRDA and convener, said that biotechnology in its various forms, revolutionalised industries across the globe, offering innovative solutions to some of the pressing challenges facing humanity.

“From agriculture to healthcare, environmental management to industrial processes, biotechnology holds the key to unlocking sustainable development and economic prosperity.

“Nigeria, with its rich biodiversity, dynamic population, and growing technological capabilities, is uniquely positioned to leverage biotechnology for transformative growth,” Mustapha said.

The NBRDA director-general urged that the power of biotechnology should be harnessed for the benefit of the country.

A former Governor of Cross River State, Clement Ebri, said that current budgetary provisions were not sufficient to support transforming scientific advances into societal benefits compared to industrialised nations.

Ebri, who was one of the keynote  speakers, called for provision of meaningful financial assistance to reduce high cost of innovative activities.

Earlier, Dr Rose Gidado, Director of Agricultural Biotechnology, NBRDA, and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), said that the conference was designed on and for a purpose.

“The purpose is to advance knowledge and foster collaboration in biotechnology for the betterment of humankind,” she said.

Highlight of the event was presentation of Awards of Excellence and Certificates of Recognition for Outstanding Support to individuals of organisations for promoting excellence in biotechnology.

The event also featured goodwill messages from prominent organisations and keynote addresses.

Policy makers, researchers, scientists, experts, stakeholders among others, were also in attendance. (NAN)

Tinubu makes more appointments 

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 President Bola Tinubu on Saturday appointed new leaders for key agencies in furtherance of his renewed hope agenda.

The new appointments were announced in a statement by the President’s spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, on Saturday.

The President approved the appointment of Dr Olufemi Adekanmbi as the new Project Coordinator for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).

Adekanmbi is a former Commissioner for Special Duties, Culture and Tourism in Ondo State, and a member of the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), who holds a Doctorate degree in Environmental Management

The President anticipates he will exercise his competence, dedication, and professionalism in fulfilling the mission of the HYPREP to restore and revitalise communities impacted by hydrocarbon pollution, with a primary focus on Ogoniland in Nigeria.

The President has also approved the appointment of Ms Omolola Bridget Oloworaran as the new Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

Oloworaran is a finance and banking expert with many years of experience. However, her appointment is subject to the confirmation of the Nigerian Senate.

Similarly, President Tinubu approved the appointment of Mr Jobson Ewalefoh as the new Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC). 

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Ewalefoh is a professional with years of experience in government and development organisations, in addition to expertise in public-private partnerships, public policy reform and development.

His appointment is also subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Also, Tinubu approved the appointment of Mr Cornelius Adebayo as the new Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).

Adebayo is an engineer and also a community and social development expert.

The President expects the new CEO of NALDA to deploy his competence and experience in supporting and driving the growth and sustainability of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

Another key appointment made by the President on Saturday was that of Dr Mainasara Umar Kogo as the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Kogo is a seasoned lawyer and analyst in the fields of law, security, economy, politics and international diplomacy.

The President anticipates professionalism, integrity, and fidelity to the nation in the discharge of the functions of the Office of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Likewise, President Tinubu approved the appointment of Sen. Bashir Lado Mohammed as his Special Adviser on Senate Matters.

Mohammed, an experienced politician and businessman from Kano State, is a former Senator representing Kano Central and former Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Finally, the President approved the appointment of Mr Idris Ajimobi as his Senior Special Assistant on Livestock Development.

The appointment follows the recent inauguration of the Presidential Committee on Implementation of Livestock Reforms and the establishment of a new Ministry of Livestock Development.

Tinubu seeks to harness and develop Nigeria’s agricultural potential, including the animal husbandry ecosystem, to spur sustainable economic growth, create industries and jobs, and eradicate violent conflicts between farmers and herders over time.

The President expects efficient coordination and liaison on matters relating to this critical sector. (NAN)

Musawa Celebrates Literary Icon Professor Wole Soyinka at 90

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The Minister of Art, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Barr. Hannatu Musa Musawa has joined Nigerians and the global community in celebrating Nigeria’s literary legend, Professor Wole Soyinka on his 90th birthday today.

The Minister congratulated Professor Soyinka on this remarkable milestone and acknowledged his enduring legacy.

“I wish to extend our warmest congratulations to the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka on his 90th birthday. His contributions to literature and culture have immensely impacted our nation and the world. His legacy continues to inspire generations, and we are honored to celebrate him today.

“This milestone is a testament to his  remarkable life, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in literature, culture, and the arts. Prof Soyinka’s contributions to Nigeria and the world are immeasurable. His writings have inspired generations, and his tireless advocacy for justice, equity, and human rights has left an indelible mark on our society.

“As we celebrate him today, we honor his legacy, creativity, and unwavering commitment to the advancement of our nation. His life’s work has been a beacon of hope, inspiring countless individuals to strive for greatness.

We are grateful for his inspiring life and legacy, and we look forward to many more years of wisdom, guidance, and inspiration”.

Musawa also expressed her excitement at the renaming of the National Theatre to the  Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and Creative Arts by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and  heartily welcomes this change to the beloved Nigerian cultural landmark. 

“This renaming bears testament to the enduring legacy of Professor Wole Soyinka, whose contributions to literature and culture have immensely impacted our nation and the world as a whole. The National Theatre will continue to be an icon of creativity and a symbol of our rich cultural heritage”.

The renaming comes at an appropriate time, as the theatre gears up to reopen after undergoing extensive renovations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Banker’s Committee to transform the Theatre into a world-class center of culture.

The General Manager of the National Theatre, Mrs. Adetola Akerele Alao acknowledges the significant contributions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Banker’s Committee towards the renovations.

“The National Theatre has always been a cornerstone of Nigerian culture, cherished by generations. Through engaging programming, and the transformation of this repository of cultural legacy into a reputable center of creativity and community, our goal is to revive that sense of awe and wonder. And under the public-private partnership with the CBN/Bankers Committee, we are confident of a sustainable cultural impact”.

In line with the Renewed Hope Agenda, government is committed to promoting cultural education and entertainment infrastructure. The proposed Media City, modelled after the Dubai Media City, will provide state-of-the-art facilities for film production, conference centers, and performance spaces. Existing entertainment venues and stadia will be upgraded, and new ones constructed across the country.

“As we celebrate Professor Soyinka’s 90th birthday, we also announce the establishment of an animation hub to support young talents and attract global animation studios. This initiative will provide opportunities for collaboration and skill development in the creative sector”.

The renovations to the National Theatre commenced three years ago, marking a significant chapter in the preservation of Nigeria’s cultural heritage. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has designated October 1st, 2024—Nigeria’s 64th Independence Anniversary—as the date for the grand reopening of this iconic institution. The Theatre is scheduled to reopen with a spectacular array of world-class performances in the arts and an exclusive showcase of the National Art Collection. This momentous occasion promises to celebrate not only the rebirth of a cultural landmark but also the enduring spirit of Nigerian creativity and excellence.

ECOWAS single currency’ll benefit Nigeria immensely – Uwaleke

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The President of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, says Nigeria is positioned to reap immense benefits from the ECOWAS single currency initiative.

Uwaleke, who is also the Director, Institute of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

He said that the ECOWAS single currency if actualiseed, would facilitate free trade within the sub-region which would greatly benefit Nigeria as the largest economy in the sub-region.

According to him, it is a no-brainer that a single currency for the ECOWAS will facilitate free movement of goods, integration of capital markets, and economic integration in general.

“Given her huge population, Nigeria is positioned to benefit most from the free movement of goods and persons resulting from the implementation of a single currency

“It will enhance capital formation and lead to increased volume of trade among member-states, expanding job opportunities and enabling growth and development in the region,” he said.

Uwaleke, however, cautioned that if the experience of the Eurozone was any guide, there were enormous bottlenecks to be surmounted for the target date of 2027 to be realistic.

“Unfortunately, it does seem that the target looks unrealistic.

“ECOWAS appears fragmented with the exit of three of her members. Virtually all member-states are far from meeting the primary convergence criteria set by the West African Monetary Institute.

“In the case of Nigeria, the leading economy in the region in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size, inflation rate has been double digit for many years.

“Actual budget deficit as a percentage of GDP has been more than four per cent, and the CBN direct financing of fiscal deficits has been in excess of 10 per cent,” he said.

According to him, it is the same story with several other member-states that cannot boast of gross external reserves capable of financing three months imports.

“There is equally the fact that France is not supporting the French speaking member States UEMOA, to have independent central banks.

“Against this backdrop, the first task for ECOWAS in the direction of a single currency is to unite politically, lure back the three countries that exited into their fold and then support each other to strengthen their domestic economies.

“Any attempt to inaugurate a single currency without ECOWAS first putting its house in order will witness a still-birth project,” he said.

NAN reports that finance ministers and central bank governors from the 15 ECOWAS states recently indicated plans to inaugurate the single currency initiative known as the ECO.

The initiative, which is designed to propel economic growth and development throughout West Africa, received the endorsement of Nigeria..

The single currency is part of the features in the three-in-one identity cards planned by the National Identity Management Commission and set for roll-out in August.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance emphasised Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to its successful implementation.

The statement said that the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, noted the critical role ECO would play in fostering economic growth and development in the sub-region. (NAN) 

NAF kills scores of terrorists in airstrikes in Kaduna

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says the Air Component of Operation Whirl Stroke has eliminated scores of terrorists in recent airstrikes in  their enclaves at Giwa and Igabi Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.

This is contained in a statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, on Sunday in Abuja.

Gabkwet said the air operations had continued unabated with remarkable levels of success being recorded in spite of the weather challenges hampering ongoing efforts to diminish the capabilities of criminal elements in the North West.

He said that one of the strikes was carried out on Friday at Alhaji Layi’s enclave, situated in Kufan Shantu Village in Giwa Local Government Area.

Gabkwet  said that  their logistics tucked under thick foliage were also destroyed.

According to him, similar air strikes conducted on Saturday  over terrorists’ camps  inside Malum Forest in Igabi Local Government Area also recorded positive outcomes.

“From the Battle Damage Assessment footage, the terrorists were observed freely loitering around the forest at a compound with zinc-roofed structures.

“Subsequently, a precision strike was authorized, which eliminated most of the terrorists.

“These air strikes were initiated following thorough credible human intelligence, along with intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance operations, which identified the targeted locations as enclaves of terrorists responsible for the ambush on troops at Manini on July 10.

“The  NAF, alongside surface forces, will maintain dominance in the battlespace through extensive situational awareness, regular patrols, and targeted interdiction of terrorists’ safe havens in its Area of Responsibility and neighboring states.

“This approach aims to effectively eliminate and eradicate terrorism and other criminal activities in the North West and North Central regions,” he said. (NAN)

Tinubu welcomes Supreme Court ruling on LG autonomy

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President Bola Tinubu has welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria affirming the spirit, intent, and purpose of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the statutory rights of local governments.

A statement signed by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) said the President has stated that a fundamental challenge to the nation’s advancement over the years has been ineffective local government administration, as governance at the critical cellular level of socio-political configuration is nearly absent.

He also said the President emphasized that the onus is now on local council leaders to ensure that the broad spectrum of Nigerians living at that level are satisfied that they are benefitting from people-oriented service delivery.

“The Renewed Hope Agenda is about the people of this country, at all levels, irrespective of faith, tribe, gender, political affiliation, or any other artificial line they say exists between us. This country belongs to all of us. By virtue of this judgement, our people – especially the poor – will be able to hold their local leaders to account for their actions and inactions. What is sent to local government accounts will be known, and services must now be provided without excuses. 

“My administration instituted this suit because of our unwavering belief that our people must have relief and today’s judgement will ensure that it will be only those local officials elected by the people that will control the resources of the people. This judgement stands as a resounding affirmation that we can use legitimate means of redress to restructure our country and restructure our economy to make Nigeria a better place to live in and a fairer society for all of our people,” President Tinubu states.

President Tinubu noted that the provision of some essential amenities and public goods, such as the construction and maintenance of certain roads, streets, street lighting, drains, parks, gardens, open spaces, and other residual responsibilities, including community security, has tottered owing to the emasculation of local governments.

The President also affirmed that the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutional rights and ideals of local governments as regards financial autonomy, and other salient principles, is of historic significance and further reinforces the effort to enhance Nigeria’s true federal fabric for the development of the entire nation.

President Tinubu equally commended the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for his diligence and patriotic effort on this important assignment.

The President stated that his administration remains committed to protecting the principles of the charter governing citizens, institutions of government, arms, and tiers of government in furtherance of building an efficient and performance-driven governance system that works for every Nigerian.

By embracing its weaknesses, Qatar is turning into a global power: Lessons for Nigeria

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By Muhammad Bello Shehu

Qatar is a small desert country with a landmass of 4,468 square miles, a small population of 313,000 citizens and 2.3 million expatriates. Qatar is limited by its geographic location as it shares its major land border with a seemingly hostile Saudi Arabia that spearheaded a blockade alongside other neighbors like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates for three and half years. Qatar also finds itself in the middle of the cold war between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, further constraining Qatar’s options in global affairs. Nonetheless, Qatar is endowed with one of the primary natural resources in the world. With the start of crude production in 1949, Qatar joined other countries in trading one of the most important commodities in global trade. The abundance of crude oil and gas reserves motivated the United States – which is a world superpower – to ally itself with Qatar. This natural occurrences helped transformed Qatar into a key player in global trade and politics.

Seven decades after the production of crude began, Qatar has leveraged crude exports to gain political, economic and even military influence. Qatar is host to the largest U.S. naval fleet outside of the U.S. shores, making it almost impossible for Qatar to be targeted militarily. Qatar has transformed itself into one of the most significant country in the global humanitarian interventions, providing material aid to countries in need. Profits from crude sales was leveraged to position Qatar as a key global finance player providing access to finance to both developing and Arab countries. Qatar has improved its diplomatic scorecard presenting itself as a third party in various negotiations. Qatar bridges the gap between countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, U.S. and the Taliban, Israel and Palestine, and so on. Qatar has leveraged oil profits to carve a niche for itself in sports and entertainment. It has hosted several tournaments like the Asian cup and the World Cup, which gave the world one of the most memorable football experiences. Qatar’s investments in science and tech, media and entertainment, sports and innovations further position the small country as a major possible gainer of the future global economy. By embracing its weakness and playing to the tune of its strength, Qatar has turned into a global power, so powerful it has survived an economic blockade by one of the strongest geopolitical organization in the world.

Nigeria may learn from the way Qatar has conducted itself in the world. There is a role for every willing actor in global affairs. These roles and functions are unlimited as long as a country’s leaders have a vision and objectives; they are not limited by the size of the population, economy, natural resources, or military might of a country. Non-state actors have also been able to play important roles in international affairs due to the boundless possibilities of these roles. The Swiss leveraged banking and international finance, China its population, Russia its energy resources, Brazil its football talents, Jamaica their track and field athletes, Ethiopia their talents for marathon, and even Nauru, one of the smallest UN member states, used its geographic location to play a major role in Australia’s national security.

The issue with Nigeria is not just defining a role, but also staying committed long enough to maximize its objectives. Nigeria has contributed significantly over the years to world issues that have influenced and formed a key part of world history. There is widespread praise for Nigeria’s contribution to the end of apartheid in South Africa. It is estimated that Nigeria invested over $8 billion in restoring peace to Liberia. In recent times, Nigeria has demonstrated its commitment to upholding democracy in the Gambia and the Ivory Coast. Numerous studies have universally acknowledged Nigeria as one of Africa’s major powers due to its overwhelming influence, political, economic, and military might, as well as its altruistic initiatives for the continent’s liberation, integration, and advancement. Nigeria was one of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement, which China and Iran have used to increase their clout and collaboration with developing countries. Nigeria, through the Nigerian Trust Fund at the African Development Bank, continues to support the economic development of the poorest African nations, in spite of its domestic challenges. As previously mentioned, Nigeria’s issues extend beyond defining a role to include a committed path to solidifying the role it plays for the country’s long-term advantage. Nigeria is home to some of the most devoted Muslim and Christian populations that have not yet been fully utilized on the global stage.

Nigeria faces a number of obstacles that make it difficult for it to maintain the gains it has made – or is making – from its involvement in international affairs. This fall into two categories; internal and external challenges. Nigeria faces obstacles on both the domestic and external fronts. The country’s lack of political and economic stability is a hindrance, and it needs to restructure its foreign policy to roll out a clear path in order to achieve its long-term foreign policy goals.

Nigeria requires both economic and political stability. Even though it recently celebrated 25 years of uninterrupted democratic governance, the country’s administrations have largely lacked continuity when it comes to foreign policy concerns, with each one acting independently or even undermining the accomplishments of the previous administration. In less than a decade, President Obasanjo’s achievements in improving Nigeria’s reputation abroad and obtaining debt relief from the Paris Club were substantially undone, with former British Prime Minister David Cameron characterizing the Nigeria’s leaders as ‘fantastically corrupt.’ With the IMF’s 2024 estimates placing Nigeria in a soon-to-be fourth position, President Jonathan’s economic model which rebased Nigeria’s GDP of $500 billion to become the largest in Africa has now been lost. President Buhari’s commitment to establish structural prowess and the infrastructure required to support economic development through different partnerships with multi-national enterprises and strong economies like China and Germany has also lost steam. Consolidating achievements in foreign policy is challenging when these latter accomplishments are not maintained by succeeding administrations.

Nigeria must revive and revamp its foreign policy in order to regain the positive outcomes of the foreign policy approaches of previous administrations on the world stage. In order to address Nigeria’s political stability and maintain economic progress, the new foreign policy objectives must take contemporary realities into consideration. Such a policy will be beneficial to Nigeria’s long-term security and development. Some of the areas that Nigeria needs to emphasize are revealed in a recent interview with the country’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. Dangote stressed the importance of collaborating with the world’s black communities such as in the Caribbean and Nigeria’s diaspora population in Europe and America. The developing world in general offers a wealth of opportunities for Nigeria’s economic development. Regardless of the size and/or standing of the country or organization, these wealth of opportunities must be taken advantage of in the same spirit that China has historically leveraged modest partnerships.

Other important areas where Nigeria can collaborate with the international community are in the areas of counterterrorism, food security, immigration, technology and innovation, energy production, healthcare – which is becoming even more crucial in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and manufacturing – which enables the world’s population and small economies to access essential goods and services. Nigeria has also demonstrated its capacity to support international peace initiatives through peacekeeping missions, which is something that seems to be becoming more and more crucial in the wake of the wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

In December 2023, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, unveiled the 4D foreign policy approach. The four pillars of the doctrine are Democracy, Development, Demography and Diaspora. This approach can direct Nigeria’s foreign policy goals toward long-term security and prosperity, but the country’s top diplomat must make sure that it endures through succeeding administrations and that there is a clear path to consolidate the achievements. Based on his 4D doctrine, which emphasizes the significance of the diaspora, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister must prioritize cooperation with black organizations and multi-nationals in areas that will improve FDI and Nigeria’s economy. The foreign ministry has been fortunate enough to have a resource diaspora officer who has worked hard to create a platform for utilizing the potential that the diaspora community presents. According to the Dangote interview, Nigeria, like China, has to increase its cooperation with smaller countries in order to create a shared development partnership. Just as the Foreign Minister hinted when he unveiled his 4D doctrine, the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) is crucial. Ambasador Tuggar must take advantage of China’s infrastructure financing, as provided through the Belt and Road Initiative, to build the physical infrastructure – like regional highways, seaports, airports, and railways – that the ACFTA requires. Nigeria’s economic development would have opportunities from an EU-style integration in Africa, thus, the Minister must remain committed to such objectives. The Minister needs to be focused on achieving results and stay away from the ‘talk without walk’ mentality that has plagued Nigeria’s political leaders. Finally, it is imperative that the Foreign Minister ensures Nigeria does not squander any more time and opportunity in joining the BRICS, a leading development partnership that includes some of the world’s largest developing economies.

Lai Mohammed Urges Hospitality Sector to Leverage Industry Data, Trends for Competitiveness

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), has called on stakeholders in the hospitality industry to harness industry data and trends to maintain a competitive edge.

This appeal was made during his goodwill message as the Special Guest of Honour at the 6th Hotel Managers Conference & Awards in Lagos 2024, themed: “Innovative Strategies: Nurturing Resilience and Excellence in Guest Experience in African Hospitality.”

Speaking at the event, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, a former Minister of Information and Culture, emphasized the critical role of the hospitality sub-sector within the broader tourism industry.

He referenced the UNWTO definition of tourism, highlighting its social, cultural, and economic dimensions and the need for the hospitality sector to provide quality accommodations and services to tourists.

“The hospitality industry is prone to setbacks, whether it’s a sudden influx of guests, unexpected operational hurdles, or, as in the recent global pandemic, restrictions due to epidemics or natural disasters. Resilience involves responding positively to any setbacks and reframing them as opportunities for growth and excellence,” Mohammed stated.

Mohammed underscored the importance of data in transforming guest experiences and improving service delivery.

While presenting data from the Yearbook of Tourism Statistics (2017-2021) to illustrate how understanding market trends can enhance the hospitality sector’s resilience and excellence, he said the top seven source markets for Nigeria in 2019 were the United States (157,123), Ghana (168,136), Cameroon (166, 904), United Kingdom (157, 123), China (151, 832), South Africa (69, 593), and India (90, 809).

He said part of the implication of this is that guests of Nigerian origin accounted for more arrivals than all top seven source markets combined.

Mohammed, who is also the Managing Partner of Bruit Costaud, a policy advisory firm, urged businesses to position themselves to better serve the Nigerian diaspora.

“How are you marketing or promoting your brands to attract more of them so they can enjoy your excellent services when they visit home?”, he asked.

Mohammed highlighted the underperformance in attracting visitors from the Caribbean and South America, despite historical connections.

“Imagine how appealing Nigerian festivals will be to our brothers from the Caribbean and South America who have a large population of people from African ancestry,” he noted.

Mohammed encouraged the industry to seize opportunities to promote Nigerian hospitality both locally and internationally.

“The tourism industry is show business. We have to be visible for patronage. Congratulations to all the brands who take part in exhibitions and awards events like the HMCA. We must let the world see our best always!”, he said.

Tinubu appoints new executive secretary of National Lottery Trust Fund

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mr Tosin Adeyanju as the new Executive Secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF).

The appointment was announced in a statement on Saturday by his spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale.

The President described Adeyanju as an accomplished administrator, and good governance advocate.

“The President expects the new Chief Executive Officer to ensure transparency and efficiency in the operations of the agency to actualise the objective of the NLTF as a driver of good causes in Nigeria,” said the statement. (NAN)

LG Autonomy: President Tinubu Committed to Rule of Law, Democracy – Rinsola Abiola

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The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Citizenship and Leadership, Rinsola Abiola, has described President Bola Tinubu as a leader who is committed to entrenching democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria. This was contained in a statement issued by her office following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling reinforcing the administrative and financial autonomy of local government councils.

Ms. Abiola also extended heartfelt congratulations to all Nigerians on the ruling by the apex court, saying it proves that Nigeria’s democracy has come of age.

“For years, the effectiveness of local government administration has been a challenge and this has negatively impacted public service delivery at the grassroots. This ruling highlights the judiciary’s dedication to preserving the best interests of citizens and the rule of law as enshrined in our Constitution. Local governments are crucial to our democratic system and preserving their autonomy is essential to quickening the pace of development”, she said.

She lauded President Tinubu’s commitment to democratic ideals, saying his approach to governance is exemplary.

“As evidenced by the bold decision to approach the Court, the President Bola Tinubu-led administration is committed to enshrining true democratic principles and enabling government at all levels to better address the needs of our people. The President’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law is exemplary and highly commendable.”

She also called on citizens to take advantage of the ruling by participating in local government elections and by holding their leaders to account.

“I hereby urge all citizens to seize the moment by actively participating in community development efforts and local government elections, and also hold their leaders accountable. Increased transparency and improved service delivery at the local level depend on active civic engagement. All hands must now be on deck to ensure that this ruling translates to improved local government administration in the 774 LGAs across the federation”, she said.

The Supreme Court had, on Thursday, granted full financial autonomy to local governments, directing the federal government to pay allocations directly to local government councils from the federation account while exempting those without elected administrators.

Isah Aliyu Chiroma,
Technical Assistant Media,
SSAP (Citizenship and Leadership).

The Samoa Agreement and the widespread confusion

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By Isah Aliyu Chiroma

It is easy to be befuddled by not paying attention to details while reading. We sometimes become so blind because the power to understand and distinguish between the good, bad and the ugly. In the world of information, misinformation becomes a hug gap of ignorance between factual.


On the other hand, there is also a bridge from the government, where a lot of new policies need to be addressed. The government needs to design a communication strategies, to sensitize the citizens, to let them be aware of it new policies and initiatives. This will create more awareness among the people, to know the direction the government is heading.

The Samoa Agreement is a collaboration between members of the Organization of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union and its member states. Because it was signed on the Oceania island of Samoa, the multinational pact is also referred to as the “Samoa Agreement.” With Nigeria as a member of the OACPS.
The six main pillars upon which the agreement is built are; Human rights, democracy and governance, peace and security, human and social development, inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development, environmental sustainability and climate change, and migration. One major principle of the agreement is that the Parties shall make decisions and undertake actions at domestic, regional or multi-country level.

A true tool for Nigeria’s development collaboration with the EU and other countries is the Samoa Agreement. One of the international system’s most varied and complex development agreements is the OACPS-EU Partnership. The National Assembly, National Executive Council (NEC), and Federal Executive Council (FEC) must all ratify the accord after giving it careful thought.


Then comes the Daily Trust report, which has caused a lot of discussions across the country. Daily Trust as an institution with professional journalists, it appears to be a big slap. Those of us in the media sector know that, every story going out has two faces. It either destroys or repairs.

What is utmost is to work with factual, authentic narration, which is been fact checked, through various stages before been released. Through those processes, a common ground on truth stands. The Federal Government has maintained an open relationship with the media, promoting democracy and human rights. This gives room for the media to tell the facts and factual from the happenings. At the press conference by the minister of information, he made it clear that the government is restraining itself from taking self-help or draconian measures, and is lodging a formal complaint to the NPAN Ombudsman for irresponsible reporting. The government will use every lawful means to seek redress in the court of law. The government restates its friendly policy towards ethical media and free speech, but will not take fake news and disinformation lightly, as it would injure the peace of the country and its national security.


To the other media houses, they need to brush up and live up to expectations, where they will serve as a medium for truth and honesty. As media platforms become a source of information for the people, it is our duty, to ensure the authenticity of what we say, when we say and how to say it. To be on the safer side, citizens must dig deep beyond headlines, read through lines and comprehend what they see or hear before concluding.

ECOWAS Parliament receives Liberia, Guinea country reports

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 Liberia and Guinea on Wednesday presented their respective country reports to the ECOWAS Parliament at the ongoing first Ordinary Session of the Parliament in Abuja through their countries’ parliament delegations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the country report contains an analysis of the political, economic and security situations, among others, in the two countries.

According to the Liberia country report, which was presented by the leader of the country’s delegation, Sen. Edwin Snowe, Jr., Liberia is politically stable under President Joseph Boikai.

The report also noted that the establishment of an Assets Recovery and Property Retrieval Task Force, a war and economic crimes court, and the appointment of Brig.-Gen Geraldine George as Defense Minister, were crucial.

It projects a real GDP growth, with a focus on priority areas and strong investments, and cited a boarder approved resource envelope for FY 2024 as U.S. 692,409,245.53 dollars.

The report also indicated that Liberia has made progress in meeting four out of six macroeconomic convergence criteria.

It, however, noted that there were challenges in the areas of regional security threats, drug trafficking, and the need for national reconciliatory measures to unite both past and present leaders.

The Liberian parliamentary delegation assured that the government was doing all it could to combat the challenge, adding that the government now has a strong law in place to combat the challenges.

The Liberian MPs also drew attention to the non-payment of community levy by some member states, and urged the parliament to adopt measures that would ensure compliance by all member states.

They further expressed concern over the developing threat of food insecurity, and underscored its negative effect on every economic factor.

On its part, the Guinea delegation’s report, which was presented by Rep. Fanta Conte, highlighted the challenges confronting the country in the areas of security, human rights, and socio-economic development.

Conte said that Guinea was determined to overcome them, adding that the country was making strident efforts to rebuild and strengthen the nation’s institutions, promote democracy, and ensure a peaceful return to constitutional order.

According to the delegation, Guinea’s transition process is progressing gradually, with the National Committee of the Rally for Development working to establish strong and legitimate institutions, ensure the rule of law, and promote fundamental human rights.

According to the Guinea MPs, in spite of multifaceted challenges, the country has made significant economic progress, with a growth rate of 4.2 per cent projected for 2024.

They also reported that in order to improve its security situation, Guinea had adopted several security policies and laws to combat terrorism, money laundering, and fraud.

The delegation appreciated the ECOWAS Parliament for its support and guidance during their trying period, noting that the solidarity and encouragement from ECOWAS had strengthened the country.

They also reported that the country was doing everything possible to return to constitutional order, and assured that all the country’s activities, which had been adopted by ECOWAS were being fully implemented.

Responding to the reports, other ECOWAS parliamentarians lauded the two countries’ delegations for their countries’ efforts and expressed optimism that the new era would further strengthen democracy.

They also urged them to encourage their countries’ leaders to work towards the growth of the region, advancement of democracy, stability, security and peace to in the sub-region.(NAN)

Police presents N43m cheques to families of deceased officers

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The Police Command in Cross River, has presented cheques of N43 million to the families of 17 deceased officers, who died while on duty in the state.

The State Commissioner of Police, Gyogon Grimah, presented the cheques to the families of the deceased in Calabar on Wednesday.

Grimah said that the presentation was in line with the welfare programme of the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.

He said that the welfare programme of the Police boss covers the serving, retired and deceased personnel of the force.

He urged the beneficiaries to make the best use of the financial support and desist from creating division in the family because of the money.

“I urge you all to make the best use of the amount for the prosperity of the family, especially the children of the deceased,” he said.

In another development, Grimah said that the command has apprehended 20 suspected criminals across the state within the last four months.

The commissioner, who spoke through the command’s spokesman, Superintendent of Police, Irene Ugbo, said that out of the 20 suspects, 14 were arrested for cult related activities and have been charged to court.

He said that the six others were arrested for various crimes.

“The breakdown includes, one rape suspect, three armed robbery suspects, one kidnap suspect and one suspect for unlawful possession of arms,” he stated. (NAN)

NDLEA creates 5 new strategic commands, deploys body cameras

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has established five new strategic commands and deployed body cameras to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency’s operations.

The NDLEA Chairman, retired Brig.- Gen. Buba Marwa said this during the decoration ceremony of some elevated personnel of the agency on Wednesday in Abuja.

Marwa named the five strategic commands as Lagos, FCT, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Apapa and Tincan respectively.

He said that there was need for the strategic commands to further help in carrying out the mandate of the agency.

“We are deploying body cameras for the use of our officers on strategic operations.

“This is for the purpose of ensuring their safety and the integrity of such operations,”he said.

Marwa however, charged the elevated personnel to remain upright in the discharge of their duties saying “Let me also seize this occasion to pass some messages to the NDLEA personnel.

According to him, We have come a long way. In three and a half years, we have taken down as many as 50 identifiable drug cartels.

“Some of them important spokes in the wheel of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine distribution in the country and the global trafficking network.

“We have seized a huge quantity of illicit drugs and we have convicted record numbers of drug offenders. We have achieved many milestones without soiling our integrity and I expect us to continue on that course.

“Our core values of integrity, hardwork and transparency, among others, must be respected at all times,”.

The NDLEA boss tasked the officers and men of the agency to continue to justify the trust reposed in the agency by the society, the government, as well as the international partners and governments supporting the agency across the globe.

He said “we have raised the standard and it must not be lowered at any cost or by any means.

“That is to say, we will not take kindly to any news of infractions, indiscipline or corruption from the field or any command.

“The least we demand of any officer of this proud agency is to be upright and committed to our goals, while management continues to work on our welfare.

“The strides of the past three years have put behind us the tribulations of the previous 30 years. We owe the agency allegiance to maintain its integrity.

“We owe the public a duty to not betray the trust reposed in us.

“We owe our government, and our partners and stakeholders supporting us a duty to get the job done.

“Therefore, we must not fail in giving the required sacrifice, patriotism, commitment, honesty, hard work, and all the virtues that go along with this important job and service to the nation and mankind.

Marwa assured them of the management commitment saying that the agency would not relent in the pursuit to create the best paradigm of work, welfare and reward for all. (NAN)

Tinubu swears in 8 new permanent secretaries

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President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday swore in eight new permanent secretaries to fill existing and impending vacancies of some states and geo-political zones in the top administrative cadre of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, the President’s spokesman, read their citations before they took the traditional oath of office.

Ngelale said the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation embarked on a diligent selection process comprising a written examination, an ICT proficiency test and an interactive session with a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

He said at the end of the exercise, eight directors in the Federal Civil Service who scaled the hurdles were appointed as Permanent Secretaries.

One of the permanent secretaries sworn in was Dr Emanso Umobong, representing Akwa Ibom State, who obtained a Fellowship of the Medical College of Pathology (FMCpath), from the National Post-graduate Medical College of Nigeria.

Before joining the Federal Civil Service, Umobong was at various times a lecturer in the College of Medicine, University of Uyo; and College of Medicine, University of Abuja.

Her civil service career started in 2008 when she was employed as an Assistant Director and posted to the State House, where she rose to become a Director.

Also sworn in was Dr Emeka Obi, from Anambra State, who joined the Federal Civil Service on Feb. 5, 2001 as a Dental Officer Grade Level 12 in the State House, having obtained his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) Degree from the University of Lagos in 1997.

He rose through the ranks in the State House Medical Centre to become a Director in the Federal Civil Service in 2018.

Similarly, Fatima Mahmood, representing Bauchi State, who was sworn in alongside others, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and is a Fellow of the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA).

Prior to joining the service, she garnered invaluable experience in the finance sector as an agricultural specialist, where she honed her expertise in navigating the intricate intersection of finance and agriculture.

Other permanent secretaries sworn in by President Tinubu were: Mohammed Danjuma, Jigawa State; Olubunmi Olusanya, Ondo State; Maryam Ismaila Keshinro, Zamfara State; Chinyere Ijeoma Akujobi, Imo State and Christopher Isokpunwu, Edo State.

Danjuma was employed into the Federal Civil Service as Accountant II in 1993 and rose through the ranks to become a Director in 2021.

He was until his appointment, the Director (Finance and Accounts) in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Olusanya, a fellow of the Waste Management Society of Nigeria and a Member of the Nigerian Environmental Society, started his career as a Microbiologist with Sona Breweries Plc, Sango-Ota, Ogun State in 1993.

He later joined the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) in June 1996 as a Senior Environmental Scientist.

He was absorbed into the Federal Ministry of Environment in June 1999 upon the winding down of FEPA, and rose through the ranks to the position of Director on Jan. 1, 2019.

Keshinro joined the Federal Civil Service on Jan. 3, 2011 as Assistant Director/Consultant Paediatrician with the State House at State House Medical Centre Abuja, and rose to Director/Consultant Special Grade I on Jan 1, 2019.

She served as the Head of Paediatrics Department from 2011 to 2019.

Recognising her leadership abilities, she was elected Chairman of Clinical Services from 2015 to 2019.

Akujobi, until current her appointment, was the Director (Epidemiology) at the Department of Veterinary & Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security, Abuja; and Director, World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary Enquiry Point (Animal Health) for Nigeria.

As a Chief Veterinary Officer, responsible for certification of animals and products of animal origin, Akujobi ensured that exported and imported animal products complied with international standards thus preventing rejections and introduction of animal diseases into the nation’s livestock population.

Isokpunwu’s career in the Federal Ministry of Health includes his most recent role as Director of Health Planning Research and Statistics, where he coordinated national health sector priorities and strategic plans.

He previously served as Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, Senior Technical Assistant to the Honourable Minister of Health, and National Coordinator of the National Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) Programme, leading significant health initiatives.

Dr Folasade Esan, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, said the newly sworn in permanent secretaries should realise that the responsibility of being a permanent secretary was a huge one, and a call to service to one’s nation.

“And so they should see that responsibility and deal with it with all diligence. They need to come in with a lot of fresh vigor and do their work to move the country forward.

“The role of the civil servants is very critical in ensuring that the President gets all the results that he needs. And the civil servants are key, and permanent secretaries being heads of the MDAs must, as a matter of fact, ensure that all the results that Mr President needs will be seen.

“They must make sure that if there are bottlenecks, they should do whatever they have to do so to achieve great results for our country, Nigeria,” said Esan.

One of the newly sworn in permanent secretaries, Obi, said the appointment was a national call to service to support the government in driving the reforms in the federal civil service and to help the president to achieve his mandate.

“So, we feel that is a very great privilege for the eight of us. So, I’ve been elected as permanent and secretary to serve our Motherland, as enshrined in the national anthem that this call to service. (NAN)

NASS pledges speedy passage of digital economy and e-Governance bill

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The National Assembly has expressed its commitment to speedily pass the National Digital Economy and e-Governance Bill to revolutionalise the economy.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity, Sen. Shuaib Salisu, made the commitment on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ roundtable in Abuja.

He said the bill was important as it was the first attempt to put an omnibus legislation to cater for online activities.

According to the senator, the bill, when passed into law will revolutionise the economy and also unleash the full potential of the ICT sector.

Salisu said that the ICT sector was a critical segment that other sectors depended on to function optimally.

“This bill was introduced in the senate less than a week ago. We are engaging the media first because the media is critical to the successful passage of the bill.

“As members of the National Assembly, we are committed and want to pass this bill before the end of this year so it can take effect from 2025.

“We do not want this bill to be misunderstood. We want you to have an understanding of what this bill seeks to do.

“This bill is not about levies, it is not about commission but creating an environment for the digital economy to thrive and we cannot do that without the partnership of the media,” he said.

The lawmaker urged Nigerians to hold the legislators accountable on the commitment made to pass the bill.

Also, the Chairman, House Committee on Digital and Information Communication Technology, Rep. Stanley Olajide, said that the bill would be a crucial legislation.

He explained that it had the potential to transform the nation’s digital economy and position it for sustainable development in Nigeria.

“The bill which has undergone first reading in the National Assembly aims to provide a legal framework for the development and regulation of our digital economy.

“It is a comprehensive legislation that seeks to establish a regulatory framework for the digital economy for digital literacy and skills development.

“It will enhance cyber security and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship; it has the potential to unlock Nigeria’s digital potential and improve the lives of Nigerians,” he said.

Olajide expressed the commitment on the assembly to ensure an inclusive process in the development of the bill.

According to him, we recognise the importance of collaboration with stakeholders in ensuring legislation that reflects the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.

He said that the event marked the beginning of a series of engagements with various stakeholders and the general public. (NAN)

Reps wants Wike, 6 FCT’s council chairmen sanctioned for insubordination

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The House of Representatives has called for sanction against Mr Nyesom Wike, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and six Area Council Chairmen over insubordination and disregard for the House.

Rep. Ikonne Ifeanyi, a member of the House Committee on FCT Area Council and Ancillary, made the demand during the committee’s meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that it was a show of disrespect and lack of regard for the House that the Minister and his council chairmen refused to appear before the House after they were needed on invitation.

“Why must we invite someone here and they are given us the date they will appear? What about the risk people took to be there? We should not be seen pleading for them to appear before us.

“My own decision is that they should be the ones to look for us. If we don’t stop this arrogance, it will not stop.

“Henceforth, we will not approve anything for both the minister and the area council chairmen, and as a matter of fact, we will tell the president to remove Wike as the FCT minister.

“I hereby move as a motion to bring this to the floor of the house for them to come and explain why they are not honoring our invitation,” he said.

Rep. Fredrick Agbedi, the chairman of the committee, said he viewed the action of the minister and the council chairmen as a breach of their constitutional responsibilities and a disservice to the people they serve.

“The committee’s oversight function is essential to ensuring accountability and good governance, and this refusal to honour our invitation undermines these efforts.

He said that the six area council chairmen had not flagged-off, completed or commissioned any project in the area councils, unlike the Minister.

“This is appalling considering the huge monthly allocation running into billions of Naira to each of the six area councils in the last one year and beyond.

He said the committee, would not hesitate to invoke its power to ensure that the area council operate in the best interest of the people.

Also speaking, Rep. Adesola Adebayo (APC-Lagos), a member of the committee, said that the function to oversee the activities of the council areas resides in the House.

He said as former council chairman of Apapa Local Government in Lagos State, the chairmen should know that they are extensions of the state House.

He stated that no chairman dares not to appear before the state House of Assembly because they have the power to remove them.

The lawmaker said that he considered the attitude of the area council chairmen as an affront on the House of Representatives for them to have been invited and they refused to come.

“They were fully invited but wrote a letter within an hour saying that they would not be coming.

We should apply the maximum pressure on them; they should be accountable to the legislature.

“It is disrespectful and disregardful for the House of Representatives for them not to have shown up,’’ he said.

The committee said that the FCT minister and the council chairmen see them as their house boys, saying that such would not be tolerated.

Rep. Nurudeen Abbas (PDP-Oyo), however, suggested that the minister and the council chairmen should be given the last chance.

“Let’s communicate with them again, and if they fail to appear again, then we should sanction them.

Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) asked that members be break into a close session to discuss further. (NAN)

Attempted Suicide: FCT Police send Shuaibu Alhaji Yushau for mental assessment, evaluation

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The FCT police command has sent the man who was arrested for attempted Suicide to the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) for mental assessment and evaluation.

Recall that Police on Monday arrested Shuaibu Yushau for climbing a high broadband mast at ASO Radio in Katampe, Abuja, and attempting to take his own life.

The Police Public Relations Officer, FCT, Abuja, SP Josephine Adeh who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, therefore stated that the suspect when found mentally stable after the test will be discharged.

He said, ”The FCT police command has today, July 9, 2024, sent Shuaibu Alhaji Yushau to the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) for mental assessment and evaluation following his rather troubling action, which caused apprehension in the populace on Monday, July 8, 2024, by climbing a high broadband mast at ASO Radio in Katampe, Abuja, and attempting to take his own life.

“The suspect, if found to be mentally stable after the test, will be charged in court for attempted suicide, disturbance of public peace, and incitement contrary to sections 231, 111, and 114 of the Penal Code Act.

“The Commissioner of Police, FCT, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, urges residents to be law-abiding while pushing for their voices to be heard, as the police will not be stampeded into allowing the breakdown of law and order,” she stated.

Reps to FG: Withhold allocation to states running TIC

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The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to withhold allocation to states running a Transition Implementation Committee (TIC).

The House also urged the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to create a special account where allocations due to local governments run by unelected officials would be paid.

The House stated that the money should be withheld until elected representatives are put in place by such state governments.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Gaza Jonathan (SDP-Nasarawa) and Rep. Ademorin Kuye (APC-Lagos) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

The motion titled,” Urgent need to address the refusal of state government to uphold democratic principles in the local governments and the financial impropriety of unelected local government officials.

Presenting the motion, the duo noted that the local government, as envisaged by the constitution, was the most important tier of government.

They stated that the LG was the closest to the people and forms the foundation of both the state and federal governments.

According to them, the dissolution of democratically elected councils is in direct contravention of section 7 of the Nigerian Constitution.

“The Supreme Court pronouncements on such matters, states that it is a deliberate affront on democracy.”

They noted that the number of states acting with impunity and in utter disregard to the constitution continued to increase.

They noted that not less than 21 state governors are currently running local government councils with caretaker committees.

The duo said that the impunity and disregard to the constitution was a deliberate effort to upstage democracy, frustrate accountability and transparency in the local government and also thwart their development potentials.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the committees on state and local government affairs and finance
to work with the RMAFC to withhold allocations to local governments run by unelected officials.

The House also urged the Attorney-General of the Federation to institute legal action against any state that terminates the unexpired tenure of a local government.(NAN)

Tinubu inaugurates Committee on Livestock Reforms, appoints Prof Jega as Co-Chair

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President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Implementation of Livestock Reforms to address obstacles to agricultural productivity and open up new opportunities which benefit farmers, herders, processors, and distributors in the livestock-farming value chain. 


Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) who disclosed this in a statement also revealed that the President appointed former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, as Co-Chairman of the Committee.

President Tinubu emphasized that the implementation of the reforms will require the collective efforts of members of the committee, drawn from the public and private sectors, state governors, and all Nigerians.

“From here, I will appeal to everyone to remove every iota of partisan politics from this. I will assume the chairmanship of the committee as President and appoint Professor Attahiru Jega as my deputy or co-chair.

“This is not about politics; this is about opportunity. This is about our nation. While I may be absent, Jega will preside and continue to promote our objectives,’’ the President said.

Inaugurating the committee in the Council Chamber at the State House, the President thanked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje for his efforts in assembling experienced and reputable experts to ensure the activation of opportunities in the livestock sector, stating that a Ministry of Livestock Development will be created to further explore the potential in the area.

“When we have great opportunities in our states, why should Nigerians continue to experience conflicts?

“With the calibre of people that are here, this presents a unique opportunity also to delineate and establish a centric ministry called the Ministry of Livestock Development. It will give us the opportunity so that our veterinary doctors can have the necessary access to research and cross-breed. We can stop the wanton killings,’’ President Tinubu stated.

The President noted that the traditional method of livestock farming will need to be reviewed and repositioned with the support of stakeholders, which include state governments, in order to open up new opportunities for growth and prosperity. 

President Tinubu said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) will ensure the removal of all legal obstacles to the implementation of the reforms, while the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani will provide support with automation. 

“Modern technology is available to us. We are ready to work. I said at the beginning, with you, all of you, the solution is here, and we must run with it. Any law that might inhibit the promotion and actualization of our objectives, the Attorney-General is here, please give it a priority; and the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning is here; create a budget for it to grow, and the Minister of Finance is here as well to work out the money,’’ the President stated.

The President also said the reforms will be comprehensive and collective, urging the support of all stakeholders. 

“We need to provide the incentive to enable Nigeria to finally take advantage of livestock farming; dairy products and cold-chain logistics collectively offer substantial commercial and economic advantages. We have seen solutions and opportunities. With these adversities that have plagued us over the years, I believe that prosperity is here – in your hands.

“The dairy industry contributes significantly to nutrition and food security by supplying essential proteins and vitamins, through milk and its derivatives, such as cheese, yoghurt, and butter. Efficient cold-chain logistics is crucial in maintaining the quality and safety of these perishable goods from farms to markets, thereby reducing food waste and ensuring a steady supply.

“This sector will boost agricultural productivity, enhance export opportunities and stimulate economic growth by fostering a robust value chain that benefits farmers, processors, herders, distributors, and consumers alike,’’ the President said.

President Tinubu thanked the APC National Chairman for his initiative and leadership of the committee. 

“Let me thank the former Governor of Kano State and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, for assembling the best minds and experts to find solutions by convening the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria in February last year,” the President said.

In his remarks, the former Chairman of the committee thanked the President for taking further action, following the submission of a report on livestock reforms on September 28, 2023. 

“We will surpass your expectations and bring succour to Nigerians. Once, again, we thank the President,’’ the APC National Chairman added. 

What Nigeria should learn from unrest in Kenya

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By Isah Aliyu Chiroma

There are concerns about the possible effects on regional stability and economic growth as a result of the recent unrest in Kenya, which has sent shockwaves across the continent. For African countries, it is a moment of reflection especially when the high cost of living becomes alarming.

Like many other developing nations, Kenya’s national debts have increased thanks to the recent hike in interest rates around the world. The worldwide financial architecture urgently needs to be reformed. This needs a strategic way in order to lead Kenya away from more violent political and economic crises.

The violent demonstration and public outcry over the proposed tax increase in Kenya draw attention to the nation’s grave problems, which include high rates of youth unemployment, growing poverty, and disparities in living standards. Severe corruption, a crippling foreign debt, and an overly harsh response from Kenyan police are the major causes of this crisis. In order to maintain stability, as a commercial hub in East Africa, and its ability to act as a peacemaker—all of which the US is increasingly depending upon in Africa and beyond—action must be taken to defuse this problem.

Kenya is the economic and transportation hub for East Africa and parts of Central Africa, with the port of Mombasa handling cargo for countries as far away as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Kenya remains East Africa’s most important and influential nation.

Among Kenya’s major problems are corruption and debt. The underlying societal crises of inequality and poverty need to be addressed. Kenya’s economy expanded significantly prior to the 2020 COVID pandemic, partly as a result of policies that supported corporate growth. Kenya must, therefore, experience remarkable and continuous economic growth in order to fulfill its crucial mission of eradicating poverty.

Kenya’s progress is hindered by pervasive corruption and dubious economic choices made in the past. Kenya has made significant investments in large-scale infrastructure projects throughout the last decade, although these projects necessitated significant foreign loans. Kenya currently owes $80 billion in debt—roughly 70% of its gross domestic product—both domestically and internationally. Repayment of debt currently consumes almost half of the government’s budget, making it more difficult for the nation to continue the development initiatives required for economic growth.

Likewise other African countries, there are facing similar nightmare. Was raising tax the solution to such circumstances? Every citizen will be willing to pay for task, if what he paid is been utilized and used effectively. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed, while the countries still have the power to change things around.

The crisis in Kenya has significant implications for other African countries. It highlights the need for institutional reforms, regional cooperation, and effective conflict resolution mechanisms. It also underscores the importance of addressing economic crisis, which threaten to undermine stability and progress in Africa. As the continent continues to grapple with these challenges, the international community should provide support to African countries as they work towards a more peaceful and prosperous future, while they create an economic system that will work for them.

Customs generates N12.8bn in 6 months

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun 11 Area Command, generated more than N12.8 billion revenue between January and June.

Mr Olusola Alade, the Area Controller of the command said this at a news conference in Abeokuta on Friday.

Alade said that the figure represented a significant increase of 51 per cent compared to the amount generated in the corresponding period in 2023.

According to him, revenue collection improved significantly in the last three months, with more than N3.4 billion collected in April, N2.8 billion in May and N3.6 billion in June.

The controller attributed the command’s improved revenue generation to the diligence and professionalism of its officers.

“The attainment of this feat is evidence of the commitment of our officers and men who worked tirelessly to ensure that we met and exceeded the revenue targets given to our command,’’ he said.

Alade attributed the success to continuous deployment of intelligence and reconnaissance by the monitoring unit, which led to the discovery of some factories that had been brought under excise control.

He said that the command would continue to put in place necessary measures to improve revenue collection, engage with local and trader communities as well as enforce compliance with government fiscal policies.

“The command will continue to put in place necessary measures to improve on the collections with adequate support from other units of the service.

“We shall maintain success through synergy and continued dialogue by engaging and sensitising the local and trader communities while discharging our statutory responsibilities of enforcing compliance with government fiscal policies,” he said. (NAN)

Reps probe N1.5bn allegedly diverted by Ministry of women Affairs officials

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The House of Representatives has launched a probe into the N1.5billion meant for the payment of contractors, but allegedly diverted by principal officers of ministry of women affairs.

The House Committee on Women Affairs commenced the probe in Abuja against the backdrop of petitions by contractors over non-payment of contracts executed.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman of the committee, said that the ministry initiated new contracts not captured in the 2023 budget and diverted N1.5 billion being funds for old contractors.

She added that the ministry, while owing contractors, awarded fresh contract in 15 states of the federation, which she alleged was not captured in the 2023 appropriation.

According to her, ”money for contractors has not been paid and money has been diverted, so how do you pay these contractors,”?

She said there is an on-going probe of the ministry by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on overhead release of Nov/Dec, 2023 to the tune of N1.5 billion.

The petitioners, according to Ogbara also alleged that the ministry purchased seven tricycles for a military Barrack in Abuja.

She stated that the ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the America University of Nigeria, Yola for the payment of Chibok girls school fees for seven years.

Mr. Aloy Ifeakandu, the Director of Finance and Administration in the ministry, said he only complied with official directives from his superiors, saying the records are available.

He said, “I resumed at the ministry in Sept. 2023, I wouldn’t know what happened before I came.

“The individual contractors have their files, it can be traced, as at the time I took over, there was no balance in the vote,” he said.

Mr Gabriel Aduda, Perm Sec, in the ministry, exonerated himself, saying that, “in 2023, we had a total budget of N13.6billion, while the total release was N3.4billion.

This, according to him translates to 25 per cent budget utilisation, while unreleased balance stood at N10.2billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation revealed that the said N1.5 billion had been released to the ministry.

Meanwhile, the committee has summoned the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye to appear before it on Tuesday, July 9.

The committee also ordered the ministry to stop all contract process in 2024, “until the matter is resolved, while demanding for the special account for the Chibok girls and the MoU.(NAN)

NiMet prediction: C’River Govt. discloses flood  containment plan

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Mr Moses Osogi, the Cross River Commissioner for Environment, says the state government is taking steps towards containing the impact of any eventual flooding in the state.

Osogi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Friday that the plan followed the 2024 prediction by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) which listed the state as flood-prone.

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He said that the state government had made arrangements towards reducing the impact of flooding in the state during the year.

“We are doing everything necessary to ensure that the impact is reduced to the barest minimum, we shall also ensure that those in flood-prone areas are safe.

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National growth LS

“Apart from the sensitisation programmes being carried out by the government, those in flood prone areas have been advised to move to the upland,” he said.

The commissioner said that although flooding was a natural occurrence, the location of Cross River made it prone to such occurrence.

“As a government, we are aware of this fact, we are working in line with the prediction and warnings of NiMet.

“As part of efforts to mitigate the impact, we have cleared most drainage and water channels across the state for easy flow of water.

“Those in the riverine and flood-prone areas have also been advised to relocate to the upland for safety.

“For those moving, the government, through the State Emergency Management Agency is working on shelter for them,” he said.

Osogi warned residents of the state against erecting structures on waterways, saying that the state government would prosecute anyone found flouting the order.

It would be recalled that NiMet in its 2024 annual flood outlook, said that 148 local governments in 31 states fell within high flood risk areas

Only recently, Joseph Utserv, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, said that some states had already started experiencing varying levels of flooding and its associated disasters.

He stated that most of the flood incidents recorded so far were flash or urban flood, resulting from high rainfall and poor or blocked drainage systems.(NAN)

Tinubu congratulates Starmer new UK PM on election victory

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President Bola Tinubu on Friday congratulated Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, on the victory of his party in the United Kingdom general election.

Starmer, emerged winner of the UK general election and is set to become the next prime minister of the country.

Rishi Sunak, the outgoing Conservative Prime Minister who has already conceded defeat, said he will step down as leader of the Conservative Party before tendering his resignation letter to the King.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, in a statement, said as a former leader of the opposition in Nigeria, Tinubu noted the determination and courage demonstrated by Starmer throughout his years in the opposition and as the leader of the Labour Party.

“The President states that the party’s ability to reform, mobilise, and position itself for victory after 14 years clearly affirms the leadership qualities of Sir Starmer.

“President Tinubu also congratulates the citizens and the government of the United Kingdom, describing the Kingdom as an abiding model of democracy and Nigeria’s long-standing partner,” said the statement.

The President said he looked forward to deepening relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom in mutual areas of interest in strengthening democratic institutions, as well as in building a safer and more prosperous future for the people of both countries.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Labour Party secured a landslide victory in the UK election to end 14 years of Conservative rule.

“We did it!” Starmer said in his victory speech. “Change begins now.”

Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim and her social impacts

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By Bashir Aliyu

As a retired civil servant and successful businesswoman, Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim has been on the media’s spotlight for years due to her affable sense of humour, and desire to put smiles on the faces of economically disadvantaged people from different walks of life. The impact she has made on people is huge as she has been described by many as a motherly philanthropist who silently comes to the aid of people in distress without expecting anything in return.

Due to her huge number of followers on social media, she is also known for her Facebook account to campaign against deteriorating insecurity, domestic violence, and girl-child education in Nigeria. 

As part of our series of articles to highlight the impacts of notable women in northern Nigeria, Daily Review is featuring Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim, and how she is impacting lives in the region.

“I only met Haiya Fadima Ibrahim on social media six years ago, and over the years I am a witness to how she is always there for people,” said Siraj Ibrahim who has been a fan of the philanthropist for several years.

Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim has over the years helped hundreds of out-of-school children get back to school by buying them uniforms, paying their school fees, and tackling the key factors that force many of the kids to drop out of school, such as poverty and near-absence of guardians who would supervise the kids.

Another milestton Hajiya Fadima Fadima Ibrahim has managed to achieve was the prominent roles she played during the raging humanitarian crisis in Zamfara because of banditry which affected thousands of people and forced thousands more from their homes.

Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim was praised for spending millions of naira to buy medications, clothes and cash hand-outs to the Internally Displaced Persons in a bid to alleviate their suffering.

One of the beneficiaries who did not want to have his name mentioned, said the assistance he received from Fadima Ibrahim was life changing.

“Our village in Maru was attacked in 2023, and I had to flee to Gusau with my four children and their mother. We left everything behind because we were fighting for our lives. We stayed in Gusau for weeks living in a temporary accommodation for IDPs. We were in our third week as refugees in Gusau when one Good Samaritan whose name I could not recall just brought children clothes for my daughters as well as cash hand-out for me and my wife. I could not prevent tears from running down my cheeks because I never expected that somebody somewhere would come to our help,” he said.

According to him, he and his wife used the money to engage in selling tomatoes and groceries which helped them feed their family, and after three months of saving and austerity lifestyle, they managed to rent a small apartment in Gusau and settle down. “I cannot forget what Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim did to me. I only pray that Allah rewards her in kind,” he said emotionally.

Aside from helping the needy, Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim is a staunch advocate of girl-child education. She has been using her social media account to call for more actions to tackle the continued deprivation of girls of access to education. To talk the talk, she has silently managed to support hundreds of children in Kano, Bauchi, Zamfara and many other places.

Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim’s passion for empowering people is worthy of emulation because she has done all this for the sake of Allah, and she has never for once expected any form of gratitude from people.

Hajiya Fadima Ibrahim is not a politician, and she has no political ambition whatsoever.   

Changing people’s lives and giving them a helping hand to grow is one of the few pit projects that only few people undertake.

Our hope is for other able women emulate the humble virtues of Hajsiya Fadima Ibrahim.  

Appeal Court nullifies order on defection of pro-Wike lawmakers

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday dismissed the order of a Rivers high court which restrained Martin Amaewhule and 24 others from parading themselves as lawmakers of the state assembly.

In the appeal, marked: CA/PH/198/2024, the pro-Wike lawmakers urged the appellate court to stay the execution of the high court judgement.

They further prayed to the appellate court to invalidate all the legislative actions that have been taken by the Jumbo-led Rivers State House of Assembly.

The lawmakers, who won their elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had on December 11, 2023, announced their defection to the APC.

Subsequently, the Rivers Assembly led by the then Speaker, Hon. Edison Ehie, on December 13, declared their seats vacant owing to their defection.

A three-member panel of the appellate court led by Jimi Olukayode-Bada, held that the  court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, as such matters can only be heard and determined by a federal high court.

It therefore, invalidated all the restraining orders that were issued against them by the high court.

The appeal, which was filed by Amaewhule, factional speaker of the Rivers state house of assembly, and 24 others, sought to vacate the order of a high court in Port Harcourt that restrained them from parading themselves as lawmakers.

On May 30, Charles Wali, the high court judge, restrained the lawmakers in Amaewhule’s faction from conducting legislative sittings anywhere, including within the legislative quarters.

The judge also restrained Siminalayi Fubara, governor of Rivers, from interfacing with or accepting resolutions and bills from the 25 lawmakers.

The suit was filed by Victor Oko Jumbo, a factional speaker, and two other lawmakers , Sokari Goodboy and Orubienimigha Adolphus Timothy. The three legislators are loyal to Fubara.

The court also held that all of the laws made by Amaewhule and others would amount to a nullity until the matter was determined.

The appellants had asked the appeal court to dismiss the judgment of the lower court and nullify the decisions taken by Jumbo’s faction.(NAN)

Tinubu inaugurates Presidential Economic Coordination Council

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(Press Release) President Bola Tinubu on Thursday inaugurated the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) and launched the Economic Stabilization Programme to ensure food security, improved power supply, enhanced social welfare and healthcare, increased energy production, and overall economic transformation.

Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President(Media & Publicity) revealed this in a statement Thursday.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the 31-member Council held at the Council Chambers in Abuja, President Tinubu, who chairs the Council, underscored the need for innovative solutions to the country’s economic challenges, noting the importance of public-private partnerships in driving economic reforms.    

”We have the challenge of energy security in Nigeria. We need to work together to improve our oil and gas sector, and we must also increase electricity generation and distribution throughout the country. 

”We are determined to do that with your cooperation, collaboration, and recommendations. As a nation, it is so shameful that we are still generating 4.5GW of electricity.  

”We must increase our oil production to two (2) million barrels per day within the next few months and we are determined to remove all entry barriers to investments in the energy sector while enhancing competitiveness,” the President stated.

President Tinubu announced measures, which will run concurrently with the National Construction and Household Support Programme, to stabilize the economy, enhance job creation, and foster economic security.

The measures under the Economic Stabilization Programme are as follows:

(1) Energy Security

The Energy Security Initiative, which includes power, oil and gas, aims to:

– Increase on-grid electricity to be delivered to homes and businesses from about 4.5 gigawatts to 6 gigawatts in six months;

– Increase oil production to 2 million barrels per day within the next 12 months; and

– Remove barriers to entry for investments into the sector to enhance competitiveness.   

(2) Agriculture and Food Security

Under this plan, the aim is to:

– Increase staple crops grown by small-holder farmers from 127 million MT in 2023 to 135 million MT this year;

– Bolster production by partnering larger-scale commercial farmers;

– Support qualified farmers with satellite imagery for land use planning, crop rotation, and monitoring of agricultural expansion.

(3) Health and Social Welfare

In the health and social welfare sector, the federal government shall:

– Make essential medicines available at lower cost for 80-90 million Nigerians; 

– Expand healthcare insurance coverage for 1 million vulnerable people via a Vulnerable Group Fund in collaboration with state governments;

– Redeploy 20,000 healthcare workers to provide services to 10-12 million patients in areas where they are most urgently needed;

– Power up 4,800 primary healthcare centres (PHCs), second tier, and third tier hospitals using renewable energy sources.

(4) Fiscal Measures 

Some of the interventions to improve access to finance for the housing sector, MSMEs, and the manufacturing sector are:

– Youth-owned enterprises: Support for new and existing youth-owned enterprises across all 36 states of the Federation, creating 7,400 MSMEs within the next 6-12 months;

– MSME support: A six hundred and fifty billion naira (N650 billion) facility will provide lower-cost short-term facilities to youth-owned businesses, manufacturers and MSMEs across various industries; food processing, pharmaceutical, agriculture, and wholesale and retail trade. This financing will be based on their current and future receivables, company rating, and market demand for products;

– A Manufacturing Stabilization Fund will rejuvenate up to two hundred and fifty companies and deliver lower cost (9.0%-11.0%) long-term facilities to large, medium-scale, and light manufacturers that produce finished goods for domestic and export markets;

– Sub-national Matching Fund: A Grow Nigeria Development Fund consisting of a single-digit interest rate loan portfolio with the Bank of Industry and a matching fund agreement with sub-national governments to grow MSMEs;

– Expanding the Bank of Industry’s Rural Development Programme: A fund to support rural economies in developing 300 new MSMEs for each state, including the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), resulting in 11,100 new rural-based MSMEs across the Federation;

– Mortgage Finance Acceleration Facility: A facility that delivers affordable housing for all segments impacted by the cost-of-living challenge. This will support the construction of an additional 25,000 housing units.

These fiscal measures will improve access to finance for MSMEs and, in the process, create 4.7 million direct and indirect jobs over a six to 12-month period.

Emphasizing the significance of the task ahead, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Council, stated that President Tinubu is committed to proffering solutions to the nation’s economic challenges and not apportioning blame. 

”I want to emphasize that when there is a will, there is always a way, and the President does not believe in apportioning blame. He believes in preparing solutions,” the Vice-President said.

The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr. Wale Edun made a presentation on the highlights of the Accelerated Stabilization and Advancement Plan earlier submitted to the President.   

The plan details economic issues to be resolved in 2024 by sub-committees in the key sectors of agriculture and food security, energy (oil, gas, power), health and social welfare, and business support. 

Other members of the Council include the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, twelve ministers, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. 

Members from the Organized Private sector include: Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Mr. Tony Elumelu; Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu; Ms. Amina Maina, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir; Dr. Funke Opeke; Dr. Doyin Salami; Mr. Patrick Okigbo; Mr. Kola Adesina; Mr. Segun Agbaje; Mr. Chidi Ajaere; Mr. Abdulkadir Aliu; and Mr. Rasheed Sarumi.

FG defends signing Samoa Agreement

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Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said the recently signed Samoa Agreement was perfected in the interest of Nigeria.

The Minister made the clarification in a statement he personally signed wherein he described the Samoa Agreement as a vital legal document.

According to Idris, “It is necessary to assure Nigerians that the President Bola Tinubu Administration, being a rule-based government will not enter into any international agreement that will be detrimental to the interest of the country and its citizens. In negotiating the Agreement, our officials strictly followed the mandates exchanged in 2018 between the EU and the OACPS for the process.

“The Samoa Agreement is nothing but a vital legal framework for cooperation between the OACPS and the European Union, to promote sustainable development, fight climate change and its effects, generate investment opportunities, and foster collaboration among OACPS Member States at the international stage.”

Idris noted that “On 28 June 2024, Nigeria signed the Samoa Agreement at the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. The partnership agreement is between the EU and its Member States, on one hand, and the members of the OACPS on the other.”

The Minister recalled that, “Negotiations on the agreement started in 2018, on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. It was signed in Apia, Samoa on the 15th of November 2018 by all 27 EU Member states and 47 of the 79 OACPS Member states.

“The agreement has 103 articles comprising a common foundational compact and three regional protocols, namely: Africa –EU; Caribbean-EU, and Pacific-EU Regional Protocols with each regional protocol addressing the peculiar issues of the regions.

“The African Regional Protocol consists of two parts. The first is the Framework for Cooperation, while the second deals with Areas of Cooperation, containing Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth and Development; Human and Social Development; Environment, Natural Resources Management, and Climate Change; Peace and Security; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance; and Migration and Mobility.

“Nigeria signed the Agreement on Friday 28 June 2024. This was done after the extensive reviews and consultations by the Inter-ministerial Committee, convened by the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning (FMBEP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ). It was ensured that none of the 103 Articles and Provisions of the Agreement contravenes the 1999 Constitution as amended or laws of Nigeria, and other extant Laws.

“In addition, Nigeria’s endorsement was accompanied by a Statement of Declaration, dated 26th June 2024, clarifying its understanding and context of the Agreement within its jurisdiction to the effect that any provision that is inconsistent with the laws of Nigeria shall be invalid. It is instructive to note that there is an existing legislation against same sex relationship in Nigeria enacted in 2014,” the Minister said.

Tuggar raises alarm over deteriorating insecurity in the Sahel

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By Bashir Aliyu

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honorable Yusuf Maitama Tuggar has raised an alarm over a steep rise in terrorist attacks in the Sahel region which has witnessed relentless attacks from insurgents and terrorist groups since Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic since saw a series of military coups in 2023.

Speaking at the 52nd Session of the ECOWAS Security and Mediation Council at the ministerial level, Honourable Tuggar said painted a dire picture of the worsening insecurity that claimed thousands of lives.

“The statistics from the ECOWAS Early Warning and Response Network (ECOWARN) paint a sobering picture. Between January and May 2024, our region has witnessed over 7,000 deaths as a result of more than 800 terrorist incidents. Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali have been particularly devastated by this relentless violence. This stark reality highlights the staggering human cost of insecurity, and underscores the urgency for a coordinated and decisive action to combat this menace.” Mr. Tuggar said.

The minister also called for more concerted efforts from the ECOWAS member-states to do more in order to stem the tide of terrorism in the Sahel because according to the minister, the insecurity in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger could spill over to the neighbouring countries with devastating effects.

“Terrorism does not recognise borders. From the Sahel to the coastal States, no country is immune to its devastating impact. It is therefore crucial for every country within ECOWAS, including those in the Sahelian belt, to understand that the fight against terrorism is not the burden of a few but a collective responsibility. Therefore, we must remain united, and demonstrate unwavering commitment and resolve to safeguard the lives and futures of our citizens.” Tuggar added.

Also speaking on the underlying causes of the instability in the Sahel, Honorable Tuggar pointed out that migration, climate change and transnational criminal networks are fanning the flames of instability in the region.

“As we join forces to find common solutions to the continuing challenge of violent extremism and foreign interference,
we should also remain mindful of the broader challenge of cooperation to help tackle the underlying causes of instability in our region: climate change, migration, organized criminal activity, global terms of trade and access to financing. Our task today is to consider how best to meet the immediate symptoms of the condition we face – and also how to establish firmer foundations to reduce inequality and poverty and strengthen democracy.”

The minister also highlighted the enormous roles the ECOWAS Member-States are playing to supports various mission being undertaken by the ECOWAS, citing Gambia, Guinea Bissau, stating that these among other efforts, are critical to its counterterrorism efforts in the region.

“Despite the challenges that confront our region, ECOWAS has continued to sustain its peace support operations in some Member States, including the ECOWAS Stabilisation Support Mission in GuineaBissau (SSMGB) and the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG), as well as the ongoing plans for the deployment of an ECOWAS Stabilisation Mission in Sierra Leone, given recent developments there. In this regard we will receive a detailed briefing on the Operationalisation of the ECOWAS Security Architecture, focusing on the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), including a progress report on the
ECOWAS logistics depot in Lungi, Sierra Leone, and the outcome of the just concluded meeting of Ministers of Defence and Finance, convened to discuss financing options for the operationalisation of the ECOWAS Counter-Terrorism Force,” added the minister.

Finally, the minister called on the Member-States to up their efforts in order to make sure West Africa remains united and stable.

“In conclusion, I urge us all to redouble our efforts in this collective endeavour, and stand together, united against the forces
of terror and despair, while striving to build a West Africa that is secure, stable, and thriving for all its citizens.”

No hiding place for drug barons, traffickers – says Marwa

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A statement by the NDLEA , Director Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the judgment was delivered three months after Ogbonna’s arrest.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convict was arrested by NDLEA operatives at the screening point of Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) Ikeja Lagos.

He was arrested on Sunday, March 31, while attempting to board his flight to Delhi, India, via Doha on Qatar Airways, with a Liberian international passport, bearing the name: Carr Bismark.

He was taken for body scan, which tested positive for ingestion of illicit drugs.

Preliminary checks revealed his real identity to be Freeman Ogbonna and he was subsequently placed under observation in NDLEA custody where he started to manifest signs of discomfort.

Obviously choked by the volume of illicit drugs in his stomach and another substance taken to hold back excretion, the suspect soon began to retch before starting to vomit and excrete wraps of cocaine he ingested almost simultaneously.

Ogbonna, who claimed he was recruited into drug trafficking by one of his relatives, eventually passed out a total of 80 wraps of cocaine weighing 889 grammes through his mouth and anus over a period of four days.

The great risk that almost took his life notwithstanding, Ogbonna said he was given the drugs to swallow at a hotel in Ipodo, Lagos.

He said that it came with a promise to reward him with N300,000 cash if he successfully delivered the consignment in India.

The suspect was subsequently arraigned before Justice Dipeolu Deinde of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in charge number FHCL/378/2024 .

Marwa said that the suspect committed the offence contrary to section 20(1)(b) and punishable under section 20(2)(a) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30 LFN 2004.

“Delivering judgment on the case on Monday, July 1, Justice Dipeolu sentenced Ogbonna to 25 years in prison without an option of fine.

“I want to commend the MMIA Command and the prosecution team for a fast and diligent handling of the case, ” he said.

Marwa said the judiciary remained a strong pillar in the coordinated and concerted effort to curb the scourge of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Ogbonna’s conviction will further send a strong signal to his ilks that there will be no hiding place for drug barons and their mules,” he said. (NAN)

ASUU tasks FG on lecturers’ welfare

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged President Bola Tinubu ensure that his administration adequately took care of the welfare of the nation’s public university lecturers.

The chairman, ASUU, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) chapter, Prof. Kingsley Ubaorji, said this when he addressed newsmen during a protest by members of the union in Awka on Tuesday.

Ubaorji said the inability of the Federal Government to honour some of the provisions of its previous agreements with ASUU was creating economic challenges for lecturers and jeopardising the growth of university education.

Ubaorji said at ASUU emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on June urged Tinubu implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement.

He said also begging for the President’s attention was the implementation of the Prof. Nimi Briggs Report, funding and revitalisation of Public Universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012 and 2013.

Ubaorji also called for the implementation of ASUU/FG MoA of 2017; release of the 3½ months of the withheld lecturers salaries and the payment of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA).

Others are the release of unpaid staff salaries to lecturers who went on sabbatical and adjunct teachers, which was not done due to linking of universities to Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

He said that others areas of dispute were the release of third-party deductions and the implementation of University Transparency Account System (UTAS) in place of IPPIS.

He said the union also wants the federal government to implement the reports of the Visitation Panels.

He condemned what he described as the dissolution of Governing Councils of federal and state sniversities without following due process.

“Governing Councils are crucial for the governance and strategic direction of our universities.

“Therefore, the illegal and arbitrary dissolution of the Governing Council whose tenures have not ended undermines Nigerian universities’ autonomy and smooth functioning.

“This cannot be tolerated as it lays a very bad precedence. Even the membership of the said newly reconstituted Councils is problematic’’, he said.

Ubaorji said ASUU and government had entered into agreement detailing timelines and expectations of both parties aimed at developing the Nigeria’s universities system.

Ubaorji said the union would embark on a nationwide strike if the federal government failed to honour the terms of agreements it entered into with it.

“It may interest the general public, especially Nigerian students, to know that through ASUU struggles, Nigerians have enjoyed regulated and subsidised tuition fees.

“There is also the establishment of TETFund and NEEDS Assessment funds that have sponsored critical infrastructural projects in our universities, including lecture classrooms,” he said.

Also speaking the South East Zonal coordinator of ASUU Prof. Dennis Aribodor, urged the federal government to properly funds its existing universities, rather than establishing new ones.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the protesting lecturers carried placards some of which read: “FG pay us three years arrears”, “Stop suffocating university lecturers”,

Others are: “Honour Nimi Briggs agreement,” “End poverty level salaries”, “FG allow lecturers breathe,” “Pay us our worth,” “lectures dignity matters“. (NAN)

Mutfwang urges corps members to build bridges across tribes, religion

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Gov. Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau has urged the 2024 Batch “B” stream 1 corps members posted to the state to be bridge builders across tribes and religions for national integration and development.

Mutfwang made the appeal, on Tuesday in Jos, at the swearing in ceremony of the 2024 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Batch “B” stream 1 corps members.

The governor urged the corps members to promote and champion peaceful coexistence wherever they are deployed for their primary assignments

Mutfwang, who was represented by his Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Bashir Datti, cautioned the corps members against  fake news and rumour mongering, noting that such only promotes crises for selfish interests.

He assured that peace had since returned to Plateau and the government was doing everything within its power to ensure its sustenance.

Mutfwang said that the NYSC orientation programme was designed to inculcate in them the spirit of discipline, self-reliance and leadership skills expected for their future.

He further urged them to you pay special attention to all orientation course content and adhere to the bye-laws of the NYSC scheme.

The governor also enjoined the corps members to exhibit the highest level of loyalty, dedication, discipline and commitment to the Nation during and after their service year.

Mutfwang assured the NYSC of the government’s support of providing an enabling environment for the youth to maximise their potentials in keeping with the ideals of the NYSC scheme.

Earlier, the NYSC Coordinator in Plateau, Mrs Esther Ikupolati, said the orientation programme was to formally usher the corps members into the service year.

Ikupolati said that the orientation programme was designed to equip the corps members adequately for the challenges during the service year and beyond.

She said the programme was highly regimented comprising of physical trainings, intellectual/motivational lectures, sporting activities and social activities and Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED).

The state coordinator implored the newly sworn in corps members to actively participate in all camp activities, while creating avenues for long lasting relationships.

She commended the Plateau government for providing an enabling environment for the scheme to thrive.(NAN)

Reps Probe CBN’s N1.12tr Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Agric Loans

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to investigate the alleged misuse of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding by the Central Bank, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.


The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion on the “Alleged Mismanagement of Government Agricultural Initiatives and Funding by Departments, Agencies and Government Programmes Outside the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security”, sponsored by Rep. Chike Okafor, the member representing Ehime Mbano/ Ihitte Uboma/ Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State.


Specifically, the Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.
The Committees are also to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.


The Committees given four weeks to report back to the House will equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed ₦3 billion Naira to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value chain financing (AVCF) Programme.

Finally, the Committee will investigate the handling of the 5 Billion Naira loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country and the management of the National Agricultural Development ₦1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT) for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions.


Leading the debate on the motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.


He said although the Federal Government has expended two trillion Naira in eight years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight (8) year with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians, the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programs has left Nigeria is with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.


He said: “As the House should be aware there have been reports and allegations of abuse, mismanagement, and misapplication of government intervention funds earmarked for agricultural development and food security initiative in Nigeria.


“Funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions have also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes, hence the current acute scarcity of food”.


Okafor called for an investigation into the disbursement of funds meant for the agricultural sector as it plays a crucial role in ensuring food security, improving nutrition, and supporting the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.
“Any abuse of the programmes and schemes of Government drastically affects millions of innocent citizens”, he stressed.

Flooding: Senate urges NIMET to make information available to public

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The Senate has urged Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) to make public, all flooding forecast, information to Nigerians to ensure preparedness on flood mitigation.

It said awareness on flood information would facilitate the provisions of precautionary measures and avoid loss of lives and properties.

Senate resolutions followed adoption of a motion on “Urgent Need to provide Palliative Support for Ipao, Itapaji and Oke-Ako Communities in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

The motion was sponsored by Sen. Cyril Fasuyi (APC- Ekiti North).

Fasuyi said on June 2, a violent windstorm and heavy rainfall affected Ipao, Itapaji and Oke-Ako towns in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

He said the storm resulted to destruction of houses, farmlands, schools, properties, food items , shelters and other valuables.

He said the victims were currently living in deplorable conditions, having been dispersed to some neighboring villages to live with friends and relatives with little or nothing to cater for the needs of their families.

Fasuyi expressed worry that government agencies did not provide warning and advance information to prevent and control imminent disasters on the communities across the country.

He said the communities have continued to experience constant fear and absence of knowledge for preparedness to avert natural disasters.

“So far, no agency of the state or federal government has come to the assistance of the victims of these natural disasters”.

Contributing, Sen. Ede Dafinone (APC- Delta) expressed concern over the failure of Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) to provide information, when he sought for it on recommendations and preparedness of NIMET.

According to him, he was asked to pay three million  naira to get the information.

Dafinone said NIMET should be asked to make all flood warnings available to the public and specifically to the state governments.

This, he said would help the people to adequately prepare for any eventuality.

Sen. Joel-Onowakpo (APC-Delta) said the issue of flooding and rainstorm have become a perennial disaster .

He said relevant government agencies should be proactive in providing the needed information for people to get prepared for the wet season.

“Knowing when the rains will come and preparing for the disaster that will occur thereafter is very important,” he said.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Barau Jibrin(APC-Kano), who presided over the plenary said NIMET should not wait for people to ask for the information on flooding, but should make such information available at all times.

Senate in its further resolution urged Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief items especially, food items, building materials, farm tools and other essential equipment to affected communities.

It mandated Committees on Environment and Legislative Compliance to ensure strict compliance with the resolutions and report back to plenary in four weeks.

ECOWAS court president tasks parliament on turning Mali, B/Faso, Niger to bloc

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President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Edward Asante, has called on the Parliament to ensure that Mali, B/Faso and Niger rescind their threat to exit the bloc.

Justice Asante stated this in a goodwill message at the formal opening of the first 2024 ordinary session of the 6th ECOWAS Parliament on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three Sahel countries had earlier in January officially communicated their decision to quit the ECOWAS after they were slammed with sanctions over military takeovers.

Asante said he was aware that the parliament had been engaged with high level officials of those states in order to ensure their overdue return to ECOWAS, through their members.

He described the effort as a noble initiative for which the parliament should be commended and which should be sustained under the 6th legislature.

“This should continue until the realization of the objective that informed the decision in the spirit of solidarity and complementarity, which is at the foundation of the Community.

“This is so that we can continue our relentless march towards the development of our region by leveraging our rich human and material resources.

“I can assure you that the Court remains available to provide whatever support that is necessary in furtherance of this and other initiatives that will preoccupy the members during the sixth legislature through its standing, joint and ad hoc committees,” Asante said.

The CCJ President noted that the session’s inauguration coincided with a period of “seismic political developments in the region, which if not appropriately managed, have grave implications for the region.”

According to him, these can potentially hamper the bloc’s efforts at democratic consolidation, regional cohesion and the integration of the region.

“These relate to the resurgence of military coups in the region and the avowed intention of the member states that have, despite our entreaties, refused to return to the Community,” he said.

Asante recalled that the Court had sought to draw attention to the scourge by providing the platform of its 2023 international conference in Banjul to discuss these threats to the region’s struggle to entrench democracy in the region.

“I am hopeful that the presentation by the President of the Commission on the Community work program during this session will enable members of parliament have further insight into the regional efforts to reintegrate the affected states into the ECOWAS family,” he added

Cardoso tasks sub-regional financial institutions on money laundering, cybersecurity regulations

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has urged Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) in the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) to strengthen anti-money laundering practices.

Cardoso said this on Monday in Abuja, in his keynote address at the 10th Meeting of the College of Supervisors for Non-Bank Financial Institutions (CSNBFI) in WAMZ.

He was represented by Mr Arogundade Abayomi, Acting Director, Other Financial Institutions Department of the apex bank.

He emphasised on the need for monitoring trends, risks, and innovations in such categories of financial institutions.

“We must continue to push forward the agenda of strengthening the anti-money laundering practices; deepening supervisory capacity on cybersecurity and fintech regulation, and the implementation of risk based supervisory approach.

“We reiterate the importance of monitoring trends, risks and innovations of NBFIs/OFIs as their increasing transaction volumes pose major financial system stability risk.

“Fintech loans are one of the most commonly reported innovation.

“While overall, this may appear small in relation to the size of credit by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), some jurisdictions, globally, have noted a growing trend in the volume of these loans,” he said.

Cardoso said that fintech credit is usually provided via electronic platforms that connect lenders to borrowers, in which case the platform takes the role of a financial auxiliary.

According to him, in some cases,  loans are taken on the balance sheet of these platforms (even if it is short-term), in which case the platforms are akin to new types of financial intermediaries.

He commended the college for focusing on climate risk regulation during the technical sessions of the meeting.

Mr Yaw Sapong, the outgoing Chairman of CSNBFI, WAMZ, said that the meeting would enable the participants to discuss issues of supervisory concern and share experiences.

“By coming together, we strengthen our collaborative efforts and enhance our ability to respond to both opportunities and challenges in our respective jurisdictions.

“The role of non-bank financial institutions in our sub-region cannot be overstated.

“They provide essential financial services to underserved segments of our populations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“This fosters economic growth and financial inclusion, thereby contributing significantly to the overall development of our economies,” he said.

He commended the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) and the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) for their unwavering support to member states.

He said that their contributions had been vital in advancing regulatory and supervisory frameworks.

The Director -General,WAMI, Mr Olorunsola, Olowofeso, said that the global economy had been surprisingly resilient.

“As we all continue to anticipate the soft landing of global inflation to pre-pandemic levels, let us continue to monitor policy actions and spillovers to ensure the financial system is resilient.

“In the WAMZ, after turbulent years, the outlook is gradually improving.

“However, the funding squeeze persists as governments continue to grapple with financing shortages, high borrowing costs and impending debt repayments.

“Emerging risks to the financial system include climate-related risks, internet disruption, cyber and social media threats arising from the digitisation of financial services,” he said.

He said that to strengthen the resilience of the financial sector, member states should develop adequate national cybersecurity strategy and appropriate regulatory and supervisory frameworks.

He said the meeting was very important as it presented another opportunity to review developments in the non-bank financial institutions sub-sector, within the zone for the second half of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

He said that it would also help assess the regulatory and supervisory challenges of member states, and share experiences to mitigate emerging risks to the financial system of the WAMZ.

“Your discussion should focus on identifying, assessing, monitoring emerging risks, vulnerabilities and early warning signals in the NBFI sector of the member states,” he said.

He urged participants to provide relevant recommendations to the Committee of Governors of the WAMZ.(NAN)

INEC inducts 10 new RECs

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has inducted ten new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

This was declared by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu during a retreat organized by the Commission in Abuja on Monday.

Yakubu noted that the retreat was in line with a well-established global practices.

“For us in INEC, retreat is not just about induction of new appointees. Beyond that, it is an opportunity to review performance, reappraise processes, discuss innovations, engage service providers, interface with lawmakers on critical areas of reform and explore new frontiers in our continuous effort to improve organizational capacity for better service delivery.

“Many of you here may recall that this is the 5th retreat organised by the Commission in the last two years. In March 2022, we had an induction retreat for new National Commissioners, followed by another one on election logistics in October and then another retreat for new RECs in November. The most recent retreat was held in August last year to the review of the 2023 General Election.

“Today, we are holding another retreat to induct 10 new RECs: nine of them were sworn-in on 12th December 2023 and one of them on 30th January 2024. In a matter of weeks after the swearing-in, many of the of the new RECs were saddled with the task of conducting re-run elections in a few locations in some constituencies or bye-elections in entire constituencies,” he said.

He added,”As I said repeatedly on many occasions, the reality of the work we do in INEC is that there is no election season in Nigeria at all.

“Elections are held all-year round in addition to numerous electoral activities such as voter registration. Even today’s retreat is holding against the background of forthcoming governorship elections in Edo State in the next 81 days and Ondo State in the 137 days.

“In addition, there are five pending bye-elections for Babura/Garki Federal Constituency of Jigawa State and four State constituencies: Khana II of Rivers State, Bagwai/Shanono of Kano State, Zaria Kewaye of Kaduna State and Ganye of Adamawa State. These outstanding bye-elections bring the total of such elections to 14 since the inauguration of the national and state assemblies in June last year.”

The INEC Boss urged the new REC’s to think, reflect and innovate for credible elections, as they moved towards implementing reforms and innovations that they intend introduce by administrative action

“Looking forward, there are four major elections before the next General Election in 2027. The Anambra State Governorship election next year will be followed in 2026 by the Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections and, I must remind you in case you forget, the Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Therefore, as we think, reflect and innovate for credible elections, we are also instantly implementing the reforms and innovations that we can introduce by administrative action. Since election is a process governed by law, we also plan to intensify our engagement with the National Assembly for activities that require legal reform.

“The format for today’s retreat is slightly modified. Instead of the general presentations by all Departments and Directorates at the Headquarters, we considered it more appropriate to limit the Departmental presentations while providing for discussions at the end of each presentation,” he said.

Yakubu further said,”I must also add that in making your contributions, let us maintain the spirit of retreat and not that of a seminar or workshop. This is also not a review meeting. We are done with these engagements and both the General Election and Review report will soon be made public.

“As new RECs, we should focus on how we can acquaint ourselves more with the processes and procedures of the Commission. For the veterans, we should leverage on our privileged field experience to contribute on how to mitigate recurring challenges in the areas of pre-election and post-election litigations, operational issues especially in the area of logistics, improvement on voter education processes, issues of strategic communication and combating fake news, misinformation and disinformation as well as inclusivity in the electoral process, voter registration, allotting voters to polling units, the role of technology from pre-election activities to Election Day processes, political party issues mainly arising from leadership crisis and the management of party primaries, the recruitment and training of election duty officials, election security and our own code of conduct.

“In a well organised retreat such as this one, there is always something new to learn. Upon reflection, there is also new experience to share with colleagues. However, always bear in mind that the cardinal objective is improved service delivery.”

The INEC Chairman expressed the Commission’s deepest appreciation to the Development Associates Inc. (DAI) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) for supporting this retreat in particular and many other activities of the Commission in general.

Drone, not helicopter, crashed in Kaduna – NAF

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) popularly known as drone, crash in Kaduna on Monday morning and not its helicopter as earlier reported.

The Director, Public Relations and Information, NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

“Contrary to reports on social media as well as on a handful of traditional media outlets that a NAF helicopter had crashed in Kaduna earlier today, July 1, be informed that no helicopter crash occurred.

“Instead, a NAF Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) experienced a mishap after take-off for a mission, at a location near Rumji Village and about 15 Km from Base. Since it is an unmanned vehicle, there were no casualties on board or on ground,” he said.

Gabkwet said that preliminary investigation had since commenced to ascertain what might have caused the mishap.

He assured Nigerians that the minor setback would not, in anyway, impinge on all ongoing operations.

According to him, it should also be pointed out that the propensity to always rush to press in the name of ‘breaking news’ without a hold of the complete facts should be discouraged in its entirety.

“While the news of the crash filtered in, some outlets had misinformed Nigerians that a helicopter had crashed without the decency to clarify from the NAF.

“This attitude should be discouraged as it negates the principle of developmental journalism, balanced reporting and fairness.

“Members of the media are again advised to always seek clarification from authorized military outlets before rushing to ‘break’ the news,” he added. (NAN)

Kano Govt. urges residents to clear drains to avert flooding

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Alhaji Nasiru Garo, Kano State Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, has urged residents to clear drains in their areas in order to avert flooding.

Garo made the call on Saturday in Kano while monitoring the monthly environmental sanitation exercise.

The commissioner said that apart from ensuring a clean and healthy environment, clearing drains of silt and refuse would ensure free flow of water; thereby preventing flooding.

“Individuals are expected to clean their surroundings; cut the grasses, and clear the drains to ensure free flow of water.

“We are appealing to the people to make sanitation a continuous habit by keeping their environment clean,” he said.

According to him, the state government will not hesitate to sanction defaulters of the monthly environmental sanitation.

He lauded the compliance level of residents to the sanitation exercise, especially in the urban areas and called for its sustenance.

Garo said said that the enforcement team from the ministry would restrategise towards ensuring full compliance from the people.

The commissioner said the state government would not relent in ensuring that citizens lived, worked and did their businesses in clean and healthy environment.

He called on all citizens to also do their bits as government lived up to its responsibility.(NAN)

FG terminates contract with Mothercat, Dantata, RCC for non-performance

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The Federal Government has terminated its contracts with Mothercat, RCC and Dantata & Sawoe for non-performance on the dualisation of the Obajana-Benin road project sections two, three and four.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, made this known in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media Uchenna Orji, on Monday In Abuja.

Umahi said that the contracts were terminated due to delay leading to the expiration of the contract which were awarded since Dec. 3, 2012.

”The Federal Ministry of Works has terminated contract numbers 6136, 6137 and 6138 with Mothercat Ltd, Dantata & Sawoe Construction Ltd and RCC Ltd respectively.

”The projects affected by this termination are the dualisation of Obajana – Benin road and section II, (Okene – Auchi) in Kogi/Edo.

”Others are the dualisation of Obajana – Benin road, section III (Auchi – Ehor) and the dualisation of Obajana – Benin road section IV (Ehor – Benin) both in Edo.

”The termination of the said contracts became necessary in view of the inordinate delay of the affected companies in job performance,’’ he said.

Umahi said that it was also due to their failure, neglect and or refusal to fulfil their contractual obligations as required by the standard conditions of contract.

”This has affected the timely completion of the projects, which has resulted in the expiration of the contracts by effluxion of time.

”The projects which were awarded on Dec. 3 2012 were advertently abandoned by the contractors and no genuine commitment or good faith was shown towards executing the projects after accepting the considerations offered by the Federal Government.

”This thereby is exposing the road users to untold hardship due to the deplorable condition of the projects,’’ he said.

Umahi also said that engineers in charged, have therefore been directed to take the necessary steps to do the needful and arrange with the affected companies for a joint measurement of work done so far.

”The Federal Ministry of Works under my watch will not condone acts of unseriousness and sabotage by contractors whose plan is to become a clog in the wheel of progress of the Renewed Hope administration.

”Going forward, the government will not hesitate in terminating all projects that are funded but are non-performing,’’ he said.(NAN)

Rebuffing the Falsehood Peddled by Africa Intelligence Article about the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry

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By John Okeyson

One of the fundamental principles of a true journalistic enterprise is objectivity and the propagation of truth based on research facts and data which enables the dissemination of concrete information to the public. The representation of facts is not only necessary but strengthens the democratic process in any society as it enables citizens to become aware of the true picture of things thereby eschewing falsehood and unfounded sentiments. However, when a reputable media platform like Africa Intelligence jettisons the ethics of the journalistic profession to propagate assumptions and incorrect, it not only demeans the profession but questions the integrity of the media profession. It is for this reason that this reason that it is expedient to set the record straight with records to the allegations raised, particularly concerning the person and ability of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar.

Firstly, the article by Africa Intelligence commences by raising a false alarm regarding the state of affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is a clear pointer to the fact that the writer of the article had no objectivity in mind while writing the diatribe against the Minister and Ministry. The opening of the article reads; “Understaffed, a minister frequently absent from his home country, ambassadors recalled to Abuja… Nigeria’s foreign ministry is in disarray, even though the president has been chair of ECOWAS since last July.” This statement is a clear testament to the unholy motive of the writer of the article as in one sentence it discredits and raises a false alarm by insinuating that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not been under a capable leadership since the administration of President Tinubu Administration by declaring that the “Nigeria’s foreign ministry is in disarray”, the writer also states albeit authoritatively that “a minister frequently absent from his home country” implying that the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Tuggar has not been attending to his obligation not being around to oversee the affairs of the ministry. This portrayal is a careless display of lack of professionalism and dubious intentions on the part of the writer of the article, Africa Intelligence.

It is disingenuous for any follower of the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to suggest that the ministry is in disarray given the proactive disposition of the Minister who has been extremely active since he assumed office in August 2023. Ambassador Tuggar upon assumption of office did not shy away from the ECOWAS crisis he met on the ground, he swiftly engaged in diplomacy to contain the multiple effects of the crisis that threatened ECOWAS’ existence by continually advocating for a diplomatic solution to the impasse rather than the military intervention earlier declared by ECOWAS before he assumed office. Until the recent allegation of sexual harassment against the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, the Minister maintained cordial working relations ensuring that the programmes and activities of the Ministry went on as statutorily mandated by the ethics that foregrounds the operations of the Ministry. There has never been untoward news about any crisis in the Ministry, the erstwhile Permanent Secretary Dr. Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa discharged his role as the Permanent Secretary in the absence of the Minister even representing the Ministry on behalf of the Ministry while the Minister was attending to other official matters. It is therefore unfounded that Africa Intelligence would write that the Ministry has been in disarray. There is no single piece of evidence advanced to back up such an outrageous claim by African Intelligence.

Secondly, the article alleges that foreign diplomats in Abuja have remained confused as a result of the absence of the Minister to attend to his official engagement with them. This is farther from the truth. The Minister has been very much available to receive and engage with diplomats in Nigeria since he assumed office in 2023. Last year, he held a reception in honour of members of the diplomatic community where he formally met with the diplomatic community in Nigeria at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja. Ever since, he has received and welcomed diplomats from around the world and when he is away on official visits, the Permanent Secretary took charge in discharging these responsibilities as contained in the various news reports obtainable in the Nigerian media. Thus, it is false to suggest that the diplomats are confused with regards to their engagement in the country. A simple Google search would have averted this obvious misinformation by the writers of the article. The Minister has been actively involved his duties both at home and away representing Nigeria at critical global events as it were. In 2024, the Minister has hosted the Secretary of State of the United States of America in Nigeria as he has done to other foreign envoys since assumption of office, thus, it beggars belief that anyone would suggest that the Ministers has not been living up to the responsibilities of his office as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is overseen by the Minister and the Permanent Secretary and since assumption of office, Ambassador Tuggar has pursued a collaborative system of administration where the Permanent Secretary takes full charge when the Minister is away on official duties. To suggest a gap in the administration of the Ministry is to insinuate that the Ministry has not structure and is not guided by ethics. This is preposterous to say least that anyone would think that the Ministry suffers because the Minister is away on official duties outside the countries. It betrays a clear lack of research and information on the part of Africa Intelligence. It is appalling to think that Google is just a click away to verify the operations of the Ministry. The Permanent Secretary is the statutory authority that provides oversight in the absence of the Minister and this status quo has not changed since the Minister assumed office.

The article also alleges that the Ministry suffers once the Minister is away on official duties because of the absence of a Secretary of State. One might then ask what the role of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry if the activities of the Ministry would be halted because of the absence of the Minister the Ministry will function even without the presence of the Minister like it did before the Minister was appointed. Equally, the article insinuates that the “Tuggar is reputed to be less easy to get hold of than is predecessor, Geoffrey Onyeama, thereby suggesting that the Minister is inaccessible and a difficult leader. This is a blatant fallacy invented by the writers of the article to paint Ambassador Tuggar as a difficult and inaccessible leader, almost suggesting him to be some sort of a dictator. This is clearly a manifest display of bias and hate towards a man they have not taken their time to understand. It is sad that the noble profession of journalism has been reduced to a market place enterprise where people write without facts and recourse to the damage that they cause to the subjects of their vile vituperations often guised as social commentary. The sheer comparison of Ambassador Tuggar to Onyeama explains the insincerity of the writers of the article. It is not only a shame but a disregard for the noble profession of journalism.

The article also suggests that the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ambassador Ben Okoyen is new therefore does not have the capacity to handle the affairs of the Ministry. This is an indirectly attempt to discredit the rich credentials of Amb. Okoyen who is a season diplomat and civil servant versed in the affairs of Nigeria’s foreign and diplomatic relations. His recent elevation to the position of acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry does not mean that he is incapable or inexperience of discharging the affairs of the Ministry as the sponsors of the article want us to believe. He remains an astute civil servant and diplomat versed in the affairs of Nigeria’s foreign relations. But for people bent on casting aspersions they would go to any length to paint anyone not in their paycheck as incapable of discharging their responsibilities as the tone of this insidious diatribe clearly suggests.  

In conclusion, the article also states that Nigerian embassies abroad have been left without concrete leadership as a result of the recall of former ambassadors without stating the fact that these embassies have been under the direction of chargés d’affaires who are not only seasoned diplomats but who have the experience to oversee the affairs these embassies pending the appointment of ambassadors. The article suggests chargés d’affaires lack the requisite knowledge to hold forth the mantle of leadership pending the appointment of new ambassadors but that is not the case in actuality as it is a common practice for nations around the world to send representatives pending the appointment of ambassadors to such places and the appointed individuals play central roles in maintaining and addressing the issues of their nations until the time when ambassadors are sent to take over from them. The administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been transparent in its dealings ensuring that citizens are able to follow and appreciate the dynamics of governance, therefore to suggest otherwise is to belittle the realities that have led to the delay in appointing new ambassadors which neither the Ministry nor the Federal Government have shied away from addressing.

Perhaps what is most unprofessional in Africa Intelligence is the fact that there is no single sentence or paragraph that lay claims to having contact the authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of all the supposed issues they raised in their article. This invariably suggest a deliberate attempt to malign and discredit the persona and office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs whereas the Ambassador has been one of the most proactive and result-driven Minister under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

John Okeyson: A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lugbe in Abuja.

NEMA receives 103 Nigerians deportees from Turkiye

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A total of 103 Nigerians deported from the Republic of Turkiye back to Nigeria were received by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other Stakeholders.

The deportees who arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Friday at 7pm through the pilgrims wing of the airport were received by the Federal Government officials led by NEMA

A Southwind Airlines flight TCGRB conveyed the deportees from Turkiye to Nigeria.

Addressing the returnees, the Director General NEMA, Mrs Zubaida Umar, admonished them to accept their experience in good faith and be law abiding.

The DG NEMA, who was represented by the Director, North Central Zone, Alhaji Bashir Garga, said the returnees were received with dignity to assuage their experience and assured the concerns of Federal Government over their plights.

Umar announced that a token of financial support had been provided to assist in their transportation to their various locations.

After being screened by officials of Port Health authority, profiling was done by NEMA and NCFRMI, they were cleared by NIS and were given transportation to aid their movement to their various destination.

Other stakeholders that joined to receive the deportees were officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Commission for Refugees Migrant and Internally Displaced Persons (NCRMID), National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Other are the Federal Airport Authority of Nigerian (FAAN), Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Others were officials of Port Health Authority and National Intelligence Agency. (NAN)

6 killed, 15 injured in Borno suicide attack

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No fewer than six people have been killed with 15 others injured in a suicide attack in Gwoza, Borno.

Tragedy struck when the suicide bomber detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs) in Gwoza town.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the attack occurred at a busy motor park known as Marrarraban Gwoza.

Borno State Commissioner of Police (CP), Yusuf Lawal, confirmed the attack saying that the attack was carried out by a female suicide bomber.

Lawal said that he was informed by the Divisional Police Officer in Gwoza, that at least six people were killed with 15 others evacuated to the hospital.

An eye witness who identify himself as Buba, told NAN that the suicide bomber targeted a wedding ceremony.

Buba said that the attack shattered the joy and celebration of the special day, leaving families and loved ones in mourning.

Muhammed Kasim, another witness said that the attack happened around 1:30 p.m.

“We heard a very loud sound of explosive, accompanied with dust; then we saw bodies on the ground.

He said that several victims were evacuated to the hospital while security agencies were deployed to sanitise the area. (NAN)

Edo, Ondo Elections: INEC urges equal access to public facilities for campaign activities

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Following the commencement of campaign for the forthcoming Edo and Ondo states governorship campaign, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for equal access to public facilities for campaign activities by political parties.

National Commissioner & Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, mni, who stated this on Friday, decried the recurring problem in Nigeria’s electioneering process has been the use of the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates access to public facilities for rallies and other campaign activities.

He said, ”Following the publication of the final list of candidates for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, public campaigns have commenced in earnest.

“Over the years, a recurring problem in Nigeria’s electioneering process has been the use of the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates access to public facilities for rallies and other campaign activities.

“These include public buildings such as sports stadiums, open spaces in public places, total denial or restricted access to state-owned media (specifically radio and television stations), the imposition of excessive levies and fees for outdoor and media advertising, and even the removal or vandalisation of billboards and posters. These actions often result in violent clashes among party supporters and a breach of public peace.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission wishes to reiterate that Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 prohibits the use of State apparatus to “the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election”.

Olumekun pointed out that under Section 95(3-5), it is obligatory for public media houses to allot equal coverage and visibility to all parties and candidates. Section 95(6) provides sanctions against heads of public media organisations, their principal officers, and other officials for contravention.

He revealed that a publication containing the Commission’s guidelines for the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns is already uploaded to the Commission’s website (www.inecnigeria.org).

“For emphasis, the same document is now uploaded to our social media platforms.

“Consequently, the attention of all concerned is drawn to the provisions of the law and the guidelines for strict compliance,” he stated.

Minimum Wage: Governors can’t dictate what they’ll pay – NLC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned the Nigerian Governors’ demand to unilaterally determine the minimum wage.

According to a statement by the Head Information and Public Affairs, Benson Upah the demand threatens the welfare of Nigerian workers and the national economy.

He said,”The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is compelled to address the recent statements made by some Nigerian Governors regarding their desire to pay what they deem fit to Nigerian workers as the minimum wage. This notion is not only dictatorial but also undermines the very essence as well as the model adopted for creating a  national minimum wage in Nigeria.

“The concept of a national minimum wage is not arbitrary. It represents a national wage floor, a baseline below which no worker in the law should be paid. This threshold is a collective agreement that ensures a minimum standard of living for every worker in the law. The Governors’ demand to unilaterally determine the minimum wage negates this principle and threatens the welfare of Nigerian workers and the national economy.

“It is important to remind the Governors that the national minimum wage is not   synonymous with the individual pay structures of the states which they implement religiously, reflecting their unique financial capabilities and circumstances. This diversity in pay structures underscores the flexibility that already exists within the system, allowing states to reward their workers in alignment with their financial realities.

Upah further noted that the Governors’ argument appears inconsistent when juxtaposed with the remuneration of political  office holders.

“Why is there no hue and cry when political  office holders across the nation receive uniform salaries as determined by Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission? This double standards which piths a few privileged against the majority poor is an issue that should be of concern to those who love this country. 

“We are deeply concerned by this blatant display of ignorance regarding the  global best practices for national minimum wage by some of these Governors.

“It is evident that, despite their frequent travels abroad, they have deliberately chosen not to educate themselves on fundamental global issues crucial to successful governance. This level of self-imposed ignorance  on basic industrial relations matters clearly illustrates why our nation is poorly governed, resulting in unacceptable  suffering of  Nigerians.

“For this set of governors we recommend a return to school for proper education as they constitute a threat to our democracy,” he said.

He added”We must also use the opportunity to commend the forward-looking and progressively-minded governors (not in name but indeed) who take seriously the welfare of workers in their thoughts and policies.  We will continue to identify as well as work with them.

“The pursuit by many governors to pay workers whatever they like deepens  poverty and  causes varying dimensions of insecurity. The governors are carried away by their present structure of security detail but the sword of Damocles awaits them on exit from office.

“It is unfortunate that workers’ salaries are often seen as charity rather than the hard-earned income of hardworking Nigerians. It is equally painful that some of these governors fail to realise that workers salaries substantially drive the economy. Not surprisingly, they prioritise their greed over the need of ordinary citizens,” he stated.

He stressed that the fate of Nigerian workers cannot be left solely in the hands of employers, whether public or private.

According to him, no sane society does that. What the governors are asking for is akin to allowing numerous companies and organizations in Nigeria to pay workers whatever they like.

“While these companies may not pay the same salaries, they must adhere to the national wage floor, and the same should apply to state governors.

“We urge President Tinubu who had promised a living wage (which is superior to a minimum wage) not to allow himself be blackmailed or boxed into a corner by unpatriotic governors. 

“We urge  the federal government to stop dithering on the issue of the national minimum wage because of the gang up by some selfish governors.

“The NLC urges the Governors to abandon any inclination towards dictatorial practices as the process remains a tripartite one,” he stated.

He called for policies and actions driven by equity and fairness.

“Ensuring a fair minimum wage is not only a matter of economic justice but also a fundamental aspect of maintaining social stability and national cohesion. Nigerian workers should not be reduced to beggars! Enough is enough!

“Finally, NLC stands firm in its commitment to protecting the rights and welfare of Nigerian workers.

“We will continue to advocate for a fair and equitable wage system that reflects the true spirit of our nation’s values.

“We call on the Governors to join us in this commitment for the benefit of all Nigerians. Let  democracy flourish,”Upah stated

Tinubu celebrates Fashola at 61

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President Bola Tinubu on Saturday congratulated Mr Babatunde Fashola, former Governor of Lagos State, on his 61st birthday.

In a statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, the President described Fashola as a highly esteemed lawyer, administrator, author, essayist, and  a public officer per excellence.

“He has had a brilliant career trajectory – in private practice as a lawyer and in public service.

“He was the Chief of Staff when President Tinubu was the Governor of Lagos State and had served in various capacities before his election as the Governor of the state in 2007.

“The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also served as Minister of Power, Works and Housing from 2015 to 2019, and Minister of Works and Housing from 2019 to 2023,” it stated.

It added that the President “joins family, friends and well-wishers to celebrate one of Nigeria’s most gifted minds on this special occasion.

“While thanking Mr Fashola for his fervent services to the nation, President Tinubu prays for many more years in good health for him and his family, as well as for renewed vigour as an active voice and stakeholder in building a greater Nigeria.”

Tinubu appoints 8 new Permanent Secretaries – See list

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of eight new Federal Permanent Secretaries to fill in existing and impending vacancies of some states and geo-political zones in the top administrative cadre of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale disclosed this in a statement Friday.

Ngelale said the new Federal Permanent Secretaries appointed after a diligent selection process by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation are: Dr. Emanso Umobong Okop – Akwa-Ibom; Obi Emeka Vitalis – Anambra; Mahmood Fatima Sugra Tabi’a – Bauchi ; Danjuma Mohammed Sanusi – Jigawa  and Olusanya Olubunmi – Ondo .

Others include: Dr. Keshinro Maryam Ismaila – Zamfara ; Akujobi Chinyere Ijeoma (South-East) and Isokpunwu Christopher Osaruwanmwen (South-South).

The President anticipates that the new Federal Permanent Secretaries will exercise absolute dedication, diligence, and fidelity to the nation in the discharge of their functions and ensure optimum service delivery to the Nigerian people, the statement concludes.

Unity Government: the forth force equation

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By Isah Aliyu Chiroma

In the shadowy corridors of political power, alliances that seem to transcend traditional boundaries and historical animosities are not what they appear to be. What if building an alliance with people from various political parties is a cunning move to consolidate power, manipulate public perception, and implement hidden agendas? While it might reshape political permutations and provide a facade of national unity on the surface, the true risks and challenges lurking beneath need to be meticulously examined.

An alliance between opposition factions can be a potent symbol of national cohesion—or so they want us to believe. This purported readiness to prioritize national interests over partisan politics could be a calculated move to promote stability and unity, masking the real intentions. During times of national intricacies, such alliances might conveniently serve the interests of those in power, ensuring their grip remains unchallenged.

Such alliances could ensure that crucial policies and changes continue unabated, preventing party deadlock from causing significant projects to be shelved or reversed. But is it really about promoting a bipartisan approach to governance? Or is it about creating a perception of cooperation to implement long-term plans that serve a hidden agenda, ensuring the policy environment becomes more predictable and controllable for those behind the scenes?

Cooperating beyond political circles is portrayed as a way to bolster democratic institutions. Yet, what if this cooperation is a carefully orchestrated act to demonstrate a mature political culture that values communication and cooperation above conflict and division? This could set a dangerous precedent for future political exchanges, subtly conditioning the public to accept these alliances without questioning the underlying motives.

By forming an alliance with a popular opposition figure, existing leadership can appeal to a larger portion of the electorate, consolidating authority and establishing a greater mandate for governing. But could this be a strategic move to manipulate public sentiment, especially during elections, ensuring that power remains in the hands of a select few?

The possible alienation of key supporters is touted as one of the main dangers of such alliances. Loyalists within the ruling party might see this as a betrayal of ideals and values, potentially leading to internal discord and disintegration. But what if this discord is deliberately sown to create a smokescreen, distracting from the real machinations at play?

Compromising on policy positions is necessary for the success of these alliances, potentially weakening the goals of the current administration. This might result in perceived concessions that seem inconsistent with its program. However, this could be a sophisticated balancing act, where the necessity for compromise is a guise to uphold ideological integrity while covertly advancing a hidden agenda.

Public opinion is a crucial factor in the success of these coalitions. The electorate might be skeptical and distrustful, seeing the coalition as more opportunistic than a commitment to values. But what if this skepticism is precisely what the orchestrators rely on, using effective communication strategies to manipulate public perception and establish acceptance and trust?

Forming an alliance with opposition members might seem like a bold and calculated decision that can have a major positive impact on stability and national governance. However, beneath the surface lies a web of hazards and difficulties that could be part of a grander scheme. Only through thorough scrutiny, clear communication, and a shared commitment to uncovering the truth can we navigate these alliances with wisdom and caution. If we fail to do so, we risk becoming pawns in a larger, more insidious game of power and control.

FG approves e-verification for military pensioners

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The Chairman, Military Pensions Board (MPB), AVM Paul Irumheson, says the Federal Government has approved an electronic verification system for military pensioners to ensure sanity in pension administration.

Irumheson stated this while addressing newsmen on the commencement of the electronic verification exercise nationwide on Friday in Abuja.

He said the initiative was aimed at sanitising military pension administration and elimination of issues of impersonation.

The chairman said the board adopted an electronic verification system to reduce the risk of traveling from one place to another, and the cost of transportation owing to their old age.

“You may recall that on Feb. 15, I briefed this honourable press about the board`s intention or plan to move from physical verification to electronic verification for our military retirees.

“The reasons amongst others include security risk of travelling from one place to the other; old age of some of our pensioners; and high cost of transportation, particularly for those staying abroad,” he said.

Irumheson said the board successfully conducted a pilot test from Feb. 15 to March 1, adding that only 15 of the 2,000 pensioners verified failed the process.

He said the little observations noticed had been used to improve on the system.

According to him, the Minister of State for Defence, Dr Bello Matawalle, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, have approved the commencement of the verification for the esteemed pensioners.

The chairman assured that the board would carry out sufficient public awareness to enable pensioners to navigate the system with ease.

He called on military pensioners to take advantage of the electronic verification exercise as those who failed to, would seize to receive their pensions.

“I hereby declare the Electronic Verification Exercise officially open on full scale for all our retired pensioners for a period of three months from July 1 to Sept. 30.

“Finally, the Board wishes to advise all pensioners to take active part in this exercise.

“Those that fail to take part in the verification exercise will not get their pensions going forward,” he said.

Cost of healthy diet stood at N1,041 in May–NBS

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The National Average Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD) per adult a day stood at N1,041 in May 2024, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

The NBS revealed this in its CoHD report for May 2024 released on Friday in Abuja.

The bureau said that the CoHD in May increased by one per cent compared to the N1,035 recorded in April.

The NBS said the CoHD was the least expensive combination of locally available items that met globally consistent food-based dietary guidelines.

It said it was used as a measure of physical and economic access to healthy diets.

“This is a lower bound (or floor) of the cost per adult per day excluding the cost of transportation and meal preparation.”

The bureau said that to compute the CoHD indicator, the following data on Retail Food Prices, Food Composition Data, and Healthy Diet Standard were required.

The NBS also said that in May, the average CoHD was highest in the South-West at N1,189 per adult per day, followed by the South-East at N1,190 per day.

It said the lowest average CoHD was recorded in the North-West at N919 per adult per day.

The NBS further said that at the state level Ebonyi, Abia and Anambra recorded the highest CoHD at N1,225, N1,215, and N1,205, respectively.

The bureau said Kano recorded the lowest CoHD at N898, followed by Jigawa at N899, and Yobe and Katsina at N906.

The NBS said CoHD had steadily increased since the first CoHD report by the bureau in October 2023.

“The CoHD in May 2024 is 32 per cent higher than what was recorded in December 2023 at N786 and one per cent higher than CoHD in April 2024, which was N1,035.

“The food groups that have driven the increases in CoHD the most are starchy staples, legumes, nuts and seeds, and animal source foods.

“On the other hand, vegetables and fruits recorded the lowest increase in price on a month-on-month basis.”

The report added that animal-source foods were the most expensive food group recommendation to meet in May, accounting for 36 per cent of the total CoHD to provide 13 per cent of the total calories.

It noted that fruits and vegetables were the most expensive food groups in terms of price per calorie.

“They accounted for 11 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, of the total CoHD while providing only seven per cent and five per cent of total calories in the Healthy Diet Basket.

“Legumes, nuts and seeds were the least-expensive food group on average, at seven per cent of the total cost.’’

The report also says that in recent months, the CoHD had risen faster than general inflation and food inflation.

“However, the CoHD and the food Consumer Price Index (CPI) are not directly comparable.

“The CoHD includes fewer items and is measured in Naira per day, while the food CPI is a weighted index.”

The NBS said the policy implications of these results would foster collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders, such as policymakers, researchers and civil society actors that focused on food security.

“These stakeholders will devise strategies that tackle access, availability, and affordability of healthy diet effectively.

“Also future research incorporating income can also be used to determine the proportion and number of the population that are unable to afford a healthy diet,” the report said. (NAN)

Tinubu sympathises with FCT market fire victims

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President Bola Tinubu has received the news of the fire incident that affected sections of Karu Market in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with deep sadness.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

“On Thursday, fire ripped through a swathe of the market, destroying property and other valuables.

“President Tinubu extends his heartfelt sympathies to all the traders affected by this distressing incident, and assures them of his administration’s full support.

“The President urges caution and adherence to essential safety measures to prevent fire outbreaks and other accidents,” the statement read.

Recall that the Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Department (FEMD) said that a fire started at the market around 6:30 p.m on Thursday.

It said that the fire was eventually brought under control by the combined team of its men, FCT Fire Service, Federal Fire Service and Julius Berger Fire Service.

The acting Director-General of the department, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, said that goods worth millions of naira were lost in the incident, but there was no loss of life.

She had also made clarification on the area affected by the fire. (NAN)

Tenure of FCT area council chairmen, councillors expires June 2026, says INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday said that the tenure of the incumbent chairmen and councillors of the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will expire in June 2026.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood  Yakubu made the clarification in Abuja at a meeting of the commission with the leaders of  Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) FCT chapter, led by the council’s National Chairman, Yusuf Dantalle.

The delegation was at INEC with the sole purpose of seeking the commission’s clarification on the tenure of the current officers of the six area councils as well as the 62 councillors in the FCT.

He said that based on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), the current elected executives of FCT area councils have a four-year tenure.

Yakubu said that INEC had earlier received inquiries from some law firms, an individual, a political party and one FCT Chairmanship Aspirants’ Forum regarding the tenure of FCT area councils and demands for the Commission to release timetable for the elections.

He said that the inquiries were based on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which was the subsisting law at the time the area council elections were held on Feb. 12 2022.

“The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides for a three-year tenure for Chairmen and Councillors which, in their opinion, expires 2025.

“However, Nigerians are aware that the National Assembly has since repealed and re-enacted the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) as the Electoral Act 2022.

“In particular, in the exercise of its powers as the law-making body for the FCT, the National Assembly extended the tenure of the Area Councils from three to four years, thereby aligning it with executive and legislative elections nationwide.

“This is one of the important provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. The Act came into force on Friday Feb. 25 2022, two weeks after the last Area Council elections in the FCT.

“By the time the elected Chairmen and Councillors were sworn-in four months later on June 14, 2022, they took their oath of allegiance and oath of office on the basis of the new electoral Act (i.e. the Electoral Act 2022) which provides for a four-year tenure.

“Consequently, their tenure therefore expires in June 2026,’’ Yakubu said.

The INEC chairman said tenure was not defined by the date of election but the date of the oath of office for executive elections or the date of inauguration for legislative houses.

Yakubu said that an officer-elect (president/vice, governor, senator, house member, chairman or councillor) cannot exercise the powers of office and draw from the remunerations attached to it until such a person is sworn-in or the legislative house is inaugurated.

“The Constitution empowers INEC to hold elections not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the end of tenure of incumbent officers.

“In the case of the FCT, Section 108(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 under which the current Chairmen and Councillors were sworn-in on 14th June 2022 is clear and therefore unambiguous:

“(1) An Area Council shall stand dissolved at the expiration of 4 years commencing from the date –

(a)          When the Chairman took the oath of office; or (b) when the legislative arm of the Council was inaugurated whichever is earlier”.

Yakubu added that there were several judicial authorities; including the judgement of the Supreme Court that tenure begins from the date of oath of office and not the date of election.

“The Law Firms that have written INEC on behalf of their clients ought to have drawn their attention to both the law and judicial pronouncements on the matter.

“You may also wish to note that when the Electoral Act 2022 was signed into law two weeks after the commission conducted the last area council elections in the FCT, the incumbent holders (chairmen and councillors) challenged us;

“That we conducted the election too early, claiming that the new Electoral Act extended their tenure from three to four years.

“We reminded them that they took their oath of office under the old law before the coming into force of the new Electoral Act. Therefore, their tenure will expire in June 2022,’’ Yakubu said.

He reassured IPAC that INEC was aware of its responsibilities under the law, hence would release the timetable and schedule of activities for the election at appropriate time.

He said that the FCT area council election conducted by INEC remained a model for local government elections in the country.

He pledged that INEC would continue to uphold the sanctity of tenure and improve the credibility of those elections.

Yakubu appealed to all persons with ambition to contest for the positions of chairmen and councillors in the FCT to be guided by the provisions of the law and judicial pronouncements on the issue of tenure.

He also appealed to political parties to enlighten their members accordingly

Speaking earlier, Dantalle they were at INEC for the commission to clarify the tenure of the FCT area council.

“ There have been issues about if they are meant to spend three or four years in office.

“I recall that in the previous meeting, the national leadership of political parties have with the commission, this issue has been clarified.

“But I feel it will be necessary to invite IPAC general assembly of the FCT to come with me to the commission for first-hand information about the status of the tenor of the elected officers in FCT,’’ Dantalle said.(NAN)

FG backs calls for establishment of Restorative Justice centres

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The Federal Government has thrown its weight behind stakeholders’ calls for the establishment of Restorative Justice Centres in the country.

Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba,mni, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, said this at the Validation Session of Restorative Justice Documents; the Policy, Bill, Practice Direction, and Training Manual on Thursday in Abuja.

The programme was organised by the Mi