Categories
ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard ADVERTISING Alaka community ALAUSA NEWS Anthony Village APC APEX NEWS Benue Weekly Breaking News Broadcast to the Nation Business Business Men City News Community News CONSULTING DAILY BREAK WEEKLY DAILY BREAKFAST DAILY BULLETIN REVIEW DAILY SUN Delta Central DELTA CHRONICLE DELTA HERALD Delta North Delta South Delta State DELTA STREET TIMES DISPATCH NEWS EASTERN PUNCH Edo Today Ekiti News Eko Daily Eko News EPOCH NEWS INSIDE LAGOS International News Lagos LAGOS BLAZERS LAGOS BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL TIMES Lagos Central LAGOS CHRONICLE Lagos Chronicles LAGOS CITY NEWS LAGOS DAILY LAGOS DAILY NEWSPAPER LAGOS DAILY OBSERVER LAGOS DISPATCH Lagos East LAGOS ENTREPRENEURS LAGOS EVENING NEWS LAGOS EXPRESS LAGOS FINDER LAGOS FREE PRESS LAGOS GAZETTE LAGOS GOVERNOR LAGOS GRAPHIC LAGOS GREEN DOVE LAGOS GUIDE LAGOS HERALD LAGOS HERITAGE LAGOS INDEPENDENT NEWS LAGOS INSIGHT Lagos Island LAGOS JOURNAL LAGOS MAIL LAGOS MATTER LAGOS MESSENGERS LAGOS MIRROR Lagos News LAGOS OBSERVER Lagos People LAGOS PEOPLE AND PLACES LAGOS PIONEER LAGOS POST LAGOS PRESS LAGOS PUBLIC AGENDA LAGOS SCOOP LAGOS SEARCHLIGHT LAGOS SHOWBIX LAGOS SPECTATOR LAGOS SPORTS LAGOS SQUARE LAGOS STANDARD LAGOS STAR Lagos State Government LAGOS STATESMAN LAGOS TIMELINE LAGOS TIMES LAGOS TODAY LAGOS VIBE LAGOS VOICE Lagos West LAGOS WORDS

MediaGate: A commitment to a series of well-written, newsworthy press releases

 

  • Are you about to release a new product or contest election?
  • Do you want everyone to know about your agenda or service?
  • Do you want to build some buzz around your event, product and service?
  • Are you opening a new office, relocating your office, changing the company name?
  • Are you hosting a seminar, sponsoring an event?
  • Are you changing the prices of your products or services?
  • Are you developing a new technology, rebranding your business, hosting a major contest?
  • Are you filing a lawsuit, receiving endorsements from a major celebrity or public figure?
  • Are you establishing a scholarship, hosting a tour of your facilities, responding to accusations against your company or industry?
  • Are you setting a major goal, speaking at a conference or event, debunking common myths?
  • Are you celebrating an important milestone, exhibiting at a trade show?
  • Are you releasing findings of new study or research, starting a new sister company, receiving an award, celebrating an important anniversary?


MediaGate Management:

  • We write and distribute press release
  • We get the media coverage you want

Phone: 08036977194

Call us Monday through Sunday to discuss your campaign

 

MediaGate: A commitment to a series of well-written, newsworthy press releases

 

  • Are you about to release a new product or contest election?
  • Do you want everyone to know about your agenda or service?
  • Do you want to build some buzz around your event, product and service?
  • Are you opening a new office, relocating your office, changing the company name?
  • Are you hosting a seminar, sponsoring an event?
  • Are you changing the prices of your products or services?
  • Are you developing a new technology, rebranding your business, hosting a major contest?
  • Are you filing a lawsuit, receiving endorsements from a major celebrity or public figure?
  • Are you establishing a scholarship, hosting a tour of your facilities, responding to accusations against your company or industry?
  • Are you setting a major goal, speaking at a conference or event, debunking common myths?
  • Are you celebrating an important milestone, exhibiting at a trade show?
  • Are you releasing findings of new study or research, starting a new sister company, receiving an award, celebrating an important anniversary?


MediaGate Management:

  • We write and distribute press release
  • We get the media coverage you want

Phone: 08036977194

Call us Monday through Sunday to discuss your campaign

 

 

Ebireri Henry Ovie Mobile: 2348036977194

Categories
ABIA STATE Abigborodo ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard Africa Alaka community ALAUSA NEWS Anthony Village APC APEX NEWS Aso Rock Villa Benin News Breaking News Broadcast to the Nation Buhari CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY Citizens City News Civil Society Groups Community News CONCERNED NIGERIANS DAILY BREAK WEEKLY DAILY BREAKFAST DAILY BULLETIN REVIEW DAILY SUN DELTA CHRONICLE DELTA HERALD DISPATCH NEWS EASTERN PUNCH Edo Today Ekiti News Eko Daily Eko News EPOCH NEWS INSIDE LAGOS Interest Group Iponri Lagos LAGOS BLAZERS LAGOS BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL TIMES Lagos Central LAGOS CHRONICLE Lagos Chronicles LAGOS CITY NEWS LAGOS DAILY LAGOS DAILY NEWSPAPER LAGOS DAILY OBSERVER LAGOS DISPATCH Lagos East LAGOS ENTREPRENEURS LAGOS EVENING NEWS LAGOS EXPRESS LAGOS FINDER LAGOS FREE PRESS LAGOS GAZETTE LAGOS GOVERNOR LAGOS GRAPHIC LAGOS GREEN DOVE LAGOS GUIDE LAGOS HERALD LAGOS HERITAGE LAGOS INDEPENDENT NEWS LAGOS INSIGHT Lagos Island LAGOS JOURNAL LAGOS MAIL LAGOS MATTER LAGOS MESSENGERS LAGOS MIRROR Lagos News LAGOS OBSERVER Lagos People LAGOS PEOPLE AND PLACES LAGOS PIONEER LAGOS POST LAGOS PRESS LAGOS PUBLIC AGENDA LAGOS SCOOP LAGOS SEARCHLIGHT LAGOS SPECTATOR LAGOS SPORTS LAGOS SQUARE LAGOS STANDARD LAGOS STAR Lagos State Government LAGOS STATESMAN LAGOS TIMELINE LAGOS TIMES LAGOS TODAY LAGOS VIBE LAGOS VOICE Lagos West LAGOS WORDS

I’ll be Surulere Local Government Chairman in 2021, says Aborishade

 

A chairmanship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Kayode Aborishade, has promised to attract foreign investment to Surulere, make the business climate in Surulere the best in the country and life better for all.

He also promised to create better opportunities for the people.

Mr Aborishade spoke about his readiness to manage Surulere Local Government, his monthly payments to the elderly and widows, road construction, clearing of blocked drainages, provision of new weight scale machine and distribution of palliatives.

“I’ll be the council chairman in 2021. I’ll take Surulere to the Next Level. I’ll transform the lives of more children, students and elderly” he said during a virtual meeting of Surulere stakeholders.

The Lagos Philanthropist and business mogul also spoke on his vocational studies, football academy and the buying of General Certificate of Education (GCE) and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) forms for Senior Secondary School pupils (SSS3).

Giving an insight into his blue print, Aborishade said he would spread the dividends of democracy to all nooks and crannies of the local government.

“Politics is about service.  It is about empowering the people and developing the area” Aborishade said.

He promised to focus on security, health care, economy, education and infrastructure.

‘’ I have a detailed and comprehensive plan to develop Surulere. Everything in that plan will secure the opportunity for a good life for the people’’

He also promised to focus on youth employment, capacity building and empowering the women.

“Surulere Local Government needs someone that can solve problems. I will go anywhere and do anything to create jobs”

Hon Aborishade is not kidding about his aspiration.

Currently in America to sharpen his arsenal which he is expected to fire from all cylinders in 2021, the Lagos politician said “what I’m aspiring for is very near to my reach”

“Surulere needs someone with fresh ideas” he said.

Excited about the journey ahead, the current APC Coordinator, California chapter, thanked the good people of Surulere for urging him to contest in 2021.

‘’I’ll do more for Surulere’’ the chairmanship aspirant said.

He also praised Second Republic Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, APC National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for their tremendous contributions to Surulere.

 

 

Ebireri Henry Ovie Mobile: 2348036977194.

Henry Ebireri <henryebi@yahoo.com>

To:Henry Ebireri,Henry Ebireri

Wed, Dec 2 at 8:18 AM

I’ll be Surulere Local Government Chairman in 2021, says Aborishade

A chairmanship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Kayode Aborishade, has promised to attract foreign investment to Surulere, make the business climate in Surulere the best in the country and life better for all.

He also promised to create better opportunities for the people.

Mr Aborishade spoke about his readiness to manage Surulere Local Government, his monthly payments to the elderly and widows, road construction, clearing of blocked drainages, provision of new weight scale machine and distribution of palliatives.

“I’ll be the council chairman in 2021. I’ll take Surulere to the Next Level. I’ll transform the lives of more children, students and elderly” he said during a virtual meeting of Surulere stakeholders.

The Lagos Philanthropist and business mogul also spoke on his vocational studies, football academy and the buying of General Certificate of Education (GCE) and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) forms for Senior Secondary School pupils (SSS3).

Giving an insight into his blue print, Aborishade said he would spread the dividends of democracy to all nooks and crannies of the local government.

“Politics is about service.  It is about empowering the people and developing the area” Aborishade said.

He promised to focus on security, health care, economy, education and infrastructure.

‘’ I have a detailed and comprehensive plan to develop Surulere. Everything in that plan will secure the opportunity for a good life for the people’’

He also promised to focus on youth employment, capacity building and empowering the women.

“Surulere Local Government needs someone that can solve problems. I will go anywhere and do anything to create jobs”

Hon Aborishade is not kidding about his aspiration.

Currently in America to sharpen his arsenal which he is expected to fire from all cylinders in 2021, the Lagos politician said “what I’m aspiring for is very near to my reach”

“Surulere needs someone with fresh ideas” he said.

Excited about the journey ahead, the current APC Coordinator, California chapter, thanked the good people of Surulere for urging him to contest in 2021.

‘’I’ll do more for Surulere’’ the chairmanship aspirant said.

He also praised Second Republic Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, APC National Leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for their tremendous contributions to Surulere.

 

 

Governor Receives Lagos Crime Reports At LSSTF Town Hall Meeting

  • CP: ‘Kidnapping Cases Have Gone Down’

 

The six police officers lynched in Lagos State in the wake of the violence that trailed the recent nationwide EndSARS protests may not have died in vain.

 

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu compensated their family members with N10 million each on Thursday, fulfilling the State Government’s pledge made during an earlier meeting with police officers at the State police command.

 

The Governor’s gesture, the beneficiaries said, has not only wiped off their tears, it has also brightened their hope to attain the future their slain breadwinners had envisioned.

 

As part of the promise to the families, Sanwo-Olu also announced scholarship awards to the children of the deceased officers up to the university level.

 

The Governor presented cheques to the wives and children of the slain officers at the 14th Town Hall meeting on security held at Civic Centre on Victoria Island. The yearly event with the theme: “Lagos Security: Resilience in the Face Adversity”, was organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF).

 

The late police officers are Yaro Edward, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Inspector Ayodeji Erinfolami, Inspector Aderibigbe Adegbenro, Inspector Samsom Ehibor, Sergeant Bejide Abiodun and Inspector Igoche Cornelius.

 

Sanwo-Olu described the slain officers as “heroes”, saying the deceased sacrificed their lives to secure lives and properties in the State. He said the compensation was the State Government’s modest reward for their gallantry, pointing out that the gesture would help the families to heal from the loss.

 

He said: “Some of our gallant police officers paid the supreme price for our security and safety during the recent EndSARS protests. These are the officers deployed to protect our families from hoodlums but they were lynched in the violence. Today, I am happy to announce and present N10 million compensation through LSSTF to each family of the officers. All their children have also be placed on scholarship up to university level, courtesy of the State Government.”

 

The Governor, at the event, received the report of security activities across the State in the last 12 months from Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, expressing his delight at the downward trend observed in sophisticated crimes, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, in the last one year.

 

As Lagos embarks on rebuild effort, Sanwo-Olu reiterated that security would remain a top priority for his Government. He noted that Lagos was on the verge of bridging technological and logistical gap in its security architecture before the violence that trailed EndSARS protest erupted.

 

The coordinated arson of the past weeks, the Governor said, has necessitated the need to tighten security across the State, giving assurance that the State Government would invest more in intelligence-led policing and improve operational capacity and welfare of personnel serving in Lagos.

 

He said: “We must sustain the steady progress Lagos has recorded in security of lives and businesses. The issue of security is a shared mission. The more we are able to engage the citizens, the better we will become at nipping crimes in the bud. Our Government will continue to proactively engage all stakeholders as part of ongoing exercise to address all security concerns.

 

“We have taken proactive measure of making the necessary budgetary provision for security. We will be committing N37.8 billion to Public Order and Safety in 2021 because we fully understand the correlation between development and security. We will stop at nothing to flush out criminal elements whose sole aim is to foment chaos and perpetrate crimes. Lagos will offer no hiding place for bandits and criminals.”

 

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the Government would be committing funds to social protection to address contributing factors to crimes, including substance abuse, unemployment and poor education. He said the State remained focused on addressing issues that led to recent youth agitations, adding that programmes would be rolled out to cultivate young people’s trust and get them to embrace participatory governance.

 

The Governor thanked the private sector for its support for Lagos security initiative and partnership with the Government through LSSTF.

 

Odumosu, in his extensive report, said his men rose to the occasion of effectively combating crimes in Lagos because of constant logistics supplies from the State Government.

 

Despite the trauma the police personnel went through during the EndSARS protests, the police chief said the Command re-mobilised officers to guard troubled communities where police stations were burnt and destroyed.

 

Giving the breakdown of crimes recorded in Lagos from October 2019 to last September, Odumosu said the Command foiled 273 cases of armed robbery, arresting 1,181 robbers in operations. He said 27 robbers were killed in the encounter during the period.

 

The police boss said the State recorded a sharp decline in kidnapping in the past year, an effort he linked to improved intelligence-driven operations. He, however, said cases of cultism and drug abuse were on the rise, promising to beam focus to the issues.

 

Executive Secretary, LSSTF, Dr. AbdulRazaq Balogun, observed that there was a decline in donations to the Funds in the current year, a factor he linked to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and establishment of similar trust funds agencies by other States.

 

He said LSSTF had provided 90 patrol vehicles and six units of outboard engine boats for security operations across the State in addition to logistics support provided for the personnel.

 

He said: “There’s need to acquire more equipment, particularly crowd control assets. Lagos has always set the pace for other States. We deserve to have a security architecture that can withstand any form of adversity.”

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

DECEMBER 3, 2020

 

 

Buhari is repressing human rights – and getting away with it

 

By Kolawole Olaniyan

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is failing to live up to his promises to ensure respect for human rights, obey the rule of law, and tackle corruption. Since assuming office in May 2015, Mr Buhari’s government has consistently flouted constitutionally and internationally guaranteed human rights. The growing crackdown on peaceful dissent, and the signing into law of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 to squeeze civic space and impose restrictions on civil society suggest that this brutal repression will only escalate under his watch.

 

There was a further intensification of repression of human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, in October when #EndSARS protesters participating in demonstrations to end police violence and corruption were reportedly harassed, intimidated, attacked and killed in several parts of Nigeria.

 

Since the national protests, authorities have arbitrarily arrested and detained many of the leaders of the protests, blocked their bank accounts, and otherwise restricted their human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and movement.

 

It’s not the first time Mr Buhari’s government has repressed human rights. Authorities continue to flagrantly suppress human rights and disobey the rule of law. For example, journalist and leader of #RevolutionNow protest Omoyele Sowore is still being restricted to Abuja, despite the decision by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declaring his detention and prosecution unlawful.

 

Amnesty International has in several reports documented cases of gross violations by the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS], including corruption, torture and other ill-treatment. Many of these cases are neither investigated nor prosecuted. Similarly, horrific cases of police violence and corruption are reported daily by victims before judicial panels set up by state governors to probe allegations of human rights violations by SARS.

 

For example, the Lagos State judicial panel of inquiry has heard a story of Ndukwe Ekekwe, who was allegedly pushed from a two-storey building by officers of SARS. Mr Ekekwe has had to use a wheelchair since then.

 

In another case, Chukwu Vincent told the panel how his cousin, Basil Ejiagwa, who is now dead, suffered loss of memory and eventually developed a brain tumour after he was tortured by SARS operatives in May 2014. A Federal High Court in Lagos in April 2019 reportedly ordered the authorities to pay Basil and his family N40 million as compensation but the order has so far been ignored.

 

The Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party guarantee the rights to life, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and prohibit criminalization of dissenting voices.

 

Yet, authorities routinely crackdown on human rights, and security agents use unlawful force to stop peaceful protests. The failure to hold suspected perpetrators to account is an attack on human rights, and on the victims who have endured horrific abuses.

 

Judicial review is what protects people’s rights from the overbearing might of the state but the government’s disdain for the judiciary and the rule of law is underlined by its repeated disregard for court orders.

 

That is why, for instance, many in Nigeria have trouble taking seriously repeated promises by Mr Buhari to respect human rights, obey the rule of law, and tackle corruption. Mr Buhari’s government is continuing repression and ignoring the rights of the people. And it is getting away with it.

 

It shouldn’t be like this. The truth is that Mr Buhari has failed to fulfil his promises to the people.

 

Human rights provide people with invaluable protections against the power of the state. Human rights include the rights to speak freely, not to be arbitrarily detained, to peacefully protest, and so on. They are the bedrock of a healthy and corruption-free society.

As former South African president Nelson Mandela once stated: “to deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”. Therefore, Mr Buhari has to publicly recommit to human rights, the rule of law, and the fight against corruption. He should make clear that his government won’t tolerate impunity for repression and human rights violations and abuses, not only in words but in action.

Mr. Buhari and his government should immediately lift the restriction on Mr Sowore, and allow him to re-join his family; drop bogus charges against activists and peaceful protesters, and immediately and unconditionally release all those still being detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights.

Mr. Buhari should immediately send back CAMA 2020 to the National Assembly so that this draconian law can be repealed and brought into conformity with the country’s international human rights obligations. And he should instruct his Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN to obey all court orders, including those obtained by anti-corruption watchdog Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN.

Mr. Buhari and his government ought to learn from John Locke’s dictum that “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins”. Rather than continuing to repress human rights, the government should show that it can genuinely tackle systemic corruption and advance people’s well-being.

Civil society groups, human rights defenders and activists should continue to put pressure on the government to ensure the realization of human rights to which Nigeria has subscribed, and to end the general erosion of rights.

 

Now is the time for Nigeria’s international partners to speak out on the ongoing repression and crackdown on human rights in the country, and to push for the government to respect and protect the rights of its own people.

 

Doing this will boost the brave people trying to speak up for human rights in the prevailing tough environment in the country. It is essential for freedom, justice, dignity and accountability in Nigeria.

 

 

Kolawole Olaniyan, author of Corruption and Human Rights Law in Africa, is legal adviser at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat, London.

 

  • LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR

PRESS RELEASE

EndSARS: TRADITIONAL RULERS PUSH FOR DIALOGUE TO RESOLVE YOUTH GRIEVANCES

…Sanwo-Olu receives delegates from national council of traditional rulers 

 

Traditional rulers across the country have lent their voice to the call on the youth who staged the recent nationwide protests against police brutality to embrace dialogue in resolving their grievances.

 

The monarchs, under the aegis of Nigerian Council of Traditional Rulers, said although the protests were organised for good reasons, the violent outcome of the demonstration, they submitted, pushed the nation to the edge and threatened the peace.

 

The Council of traditional rulers stated its position on Wednesday when its delegation paid a solidarity visit to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over the destruction in the State.

 

Etsu of Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, who led the delegation to the State House, Marina, said the visit to Lagos – the epicentre of the EndSARS protest – followed the decision reached on the November 3 meeting of the Council jointly chaired by Sultan of Sokoto and Ooni of Ife, noting that the Council was disturbed by violent attack on traditional institutions and the level of destruction visited on the Government- and private-owned assets.

 

The monarch said the nation had learnt both good and harsh lessons in the violence that followed the protests, urging the protesters and political leaders to dialogue.

 

He said: “We have come here to express our concern about the violent event that erupted from the EndSARS protests in Lagos and to also put our feelings forward to offer suggestions on the way forward. We acknowledge that there are a lot of shortcomings and misgivings in the system, but misinformation and negative bias that accompanied the agitations fueled the violence we witnessed.

 

“The reason for the protest was very genuine and reasonable. Unfortunately, the demonstration was overtaken by groups who didn’t believe in peace and unity of this country. So many lessons were learnt both in positive and negative ways. As leaders who believe in peace, we owe people of this country a duty to ensure the lessons are taken by the political class. It is on this ground that we come physically to show our solidarity to the Governor over the losses.”

 

Abubakar said that despite the violence, the Government had not reneged on its promise to grant the five-point demands of the protesters. This commitment, Etsu of Nupe pointed out, should be seen as an olive branch to the youths to embrace dialogue rather than returning to public protests to press home their demands.

 

He said: “We urge all Nigerians, especially our youths, to give peace a chance. Whatever grievance anyone or a group may have against the Government, dialogue is the key to resolve them. Our youths have protested peacefully, and those in authorities have started responding to their demands. We all must be committed to peace in this period.”

 

The Council sympathised with Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, over the attack of his palace, while also commiserating with the police and people who lost their loved ones in the violence across the country.

 

Governor Sanwo-Olu thanked the traditional rulers for the gesture, assuring them of his administration’s commitment to engage jobless youths in productive ventures.

 

Others traditional rulers in the delegation include Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, Obi of Obi-Orodo Eze Imo, Eze Agunwa Ohiri, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, paramount ruler of Nsit Ubium Okin Ibibio, Nteyin Solomon Etuk, Oba of Ikate Elegushi, Oba Saheed Elegushi, and Director General of the National Council of Traditional Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Kassim Yawa.

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

 

 

 

LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR

PRESS RELEASE

EndSARS: TRADITIONAL RULERS PUSH FOR DIALOGUE TO RESOLVE YOUTH GRIEVANCES

…Sanwo-Olu receives delegates from national council of traditional rulers 

 

Traditional rulers across the country have lent their voice to the call on the youth who staged the recent nationwide protests against police brutality to embrace dialogue in resolving their grievances.

 

The monarchs, under the aegis of Nigerian Council of Traditional Rulers, said although the protests were organised for good reasons, the violent outcome of the demonstration, they submitted, pushed the nation to the edge and threatened the peace.

 

The Council of traditional rulers stated its position on Wednesday when its delegation paid a solidarity visit to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over the destruction in the State.

 

Etsu of Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, who led the delegation to the State House, Marina, said the visit to Lagos – the epicentre of the EndSARS protest – followed the decision reached on the November 3 meeting of the Council jointly chaired by Sultan of Sokoto and Ooni of Ife, noting that the Council was disturbed by violent attack on traditional institutions and the level of destruction visited on the Government- and private-owned assets.

 

The monarch said the nation had learnt both good and harsh lessons in the violence that followed the protests, urging the protesters and political leaders to dialogue.

 

He said: “We have come here to express our concern about the violent event that erupted from the EndSARS protests in Lagos and to also put our feelings forward to offer suggestions on the way forward. We acknowledge that there are a lot of shortcomings and misgivings in the system, but misinformation and negative bias that accompanied the agitations fueled the violence we witnessed.

 

“The reason for the protest was very genuine and reasonable. Unfortunately, the demonstration was overtaken by groups who didn’t believe in peace and unity of this country. So many lessons were learnt both in positive and negative ways. As leaders who believe in peace, we owe people of this country a duty to ensure the lessons are taken by the political class. It is on this ground that we come physically to show our solidarity to the Governor over the losses.”

 

Abubakar said that despite the violence, the Government had not reneged on its promise to grant the five-point demands of the protesters. This commitment, Etsu of Nupe pointed out, should be seen as an olive branch to the youths to embrace dialogue rather than returning to public protests to press home their demands.

 

He said: “We urge all Nigerians, especially our youths, to give peace a chance. Whatever grievance anyone or a group may have against the Government, dialogue is the key to resolve them. Our youths have protested peacefully, and those in authorities have started responding to their demands. We all must be committed to peace in this period.”

 

The Council sympathised with Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, over the attack of his palace, while also commiserating with the police and people who lost their loved ones in the violence across the country.

 

Governor Sanwo-Olu thanked the traditional rulers for the gesture, assuring them of his administration’s commitment to engage jobless youths in productive ventures.

 

Others traditional rulers in the delegation include Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, Obi of Obi-Orodo Eze Imo, Eze Agunwa Ohiri, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, paramount ruler of Nsit Ubium Okin Ibibio, Nteyin Solomon Etuk, Oba of Ikate Elegushi, Oba Saheed Elegushi, and Director General of the National Council of Traditional Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Kassim Yawa.

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

DECEMBER 2, 2020

Categories
ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard ALAUSA NEWS APEX NEWS Breaking News CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY City News DAILY BREAK WEEKLY DAILY BREAKFAST DAILY BULLETIN REVIEW DAILY SUN DELTA CHRONICLE DELTA HERALD DELTA STREET TIMES DISPATCH NEWS EASTERN PUNCH Ekiti News Eko Daily Eko News EPOCH NEWS Lagos LAGOS BLAZERS LAGOS BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL TIMES Lagos Central LAGOS CHRONICLE Lagos Chronicles LAGOS CITY NEWS LAGOS DAILY LAGOS DAILY NEWSPAPER LAGOS DAILY OBSERVER LAGOS DISPATCH Lagos East LAGOS ENTREPRENEURS LAGOS EVENING NEWS LAGOS EXPRESS LAGOS FINDER LAGOS FREE PRESS LAGOS GAZETTE LAGOS GOVERNOR LAGOS GRAPHIC LAGOS GREEN DOVE LAGOS GUIDE LAGOS HERALD LAGOS HERITAGE LAGOS INDEPENDENT NEWS LAGOS INSIGHT Lagos Island LAGOS JOURNAL LAGOS MAIL LAGOS MATTER LAGOS MESSENGERS LAGOS MIRROR Lagos News LAGOS OBSERVER Lagos People LAGOS PEOPLE AND PLACES LAGOS PIONEER LAGOS POST LAGOS PRESS LAGOS PUBLIC AGENDA LAGOS SCOOP LAGOS SEARCHLIGHT LAGOS SHOWBIX LAGOS SPECTATOR LAGOS SPORTS LAGOS SQUARE LAGOS STANDARD LAGOS STAR Lagos State Government LAGOS STATESMAN LAGOS TIMELINE LAGOS TIMES LAGOS TODAY LAGOS VIBE LAGOS VOICE Lagos West LAGOS WORDS

WE MUST NOT ALLOW FIFTH COLUMNISTS UNDERMINE OUR SECURITY, SANWO-OLU URGES LAGOSIANS AT FORUM

PRESS RELEASE

 

  • Interior Minister Moves To Strengthen Peace In Troubled Communities, Meets Stakeholders

  • Forum Makes Case For Special Security Arrangement For Lagos

The wanton destruction of public assets in the violence that trailed the recent nationwide protests by the youth against police brutality has bolstered the Federal Government-led initiatives geared towards engendering peace and security in the country.

Ministry of Interior, on Tuesday, held Stakeholders’ Engagement on Internal Security and Conflict Resolution in Lagos State, with the purpose to strengthening peace and security in the aftermath of the destruction.

The Ministry engaged in consultations with the State Government, traditional rulers, civil society groups, religious institutions and youth groups on the need to adopt dialogue as key approach in channeling grievances and resolving conflicts.

The consultative forum, held at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in the Secretariat, Alausa, was graced by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, his Police Affairs counterpart, Maigari Dingyadi, frontline lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, service chiefs in Lagos and representative of Iyaloja General, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo.

Also, political leaders in the State, members of Community Development Councils (CDCs), and Community Development Associations (CDAs) attended the meeting.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu set the tone for the discussion, saluting the Federal Government for its commitment to restoring peace in troubled States. The Governor described initiative as “a deliberate effort” to address causes of crisis and nip violence in the bud.

Sanwo-Olu said the coordinated arson that trailed the EndSARS protests was a wake-up call to all citizens of the country and security organisations to be vigilant and collectively move against actions that could undermine the wellbeing and security of Nigeria.

The Governor pleaded with the citizens to allow the seed of peace being sown to germinate, while also stressing the need to re-establish communication link between the Government and the people in order to thwart tendencies of those he dubbed fifth columnists and conspiracy theorists bent on employing disinformation and misinformation to destabilise the State.

He said: “The level of insecurity being experienced across the nation calls for serious concern, considering its implication not only on the socio-economic development and prosperity of our people but also on the unity and territorial integrity of our nation. The importance of an effective strategy for peaceful resolution of conflict cannot be overemphasised.

“We have the opportunity today to share knowledge and ideas that could pre-empt crisis situations through conflict resolution mechanism. That incident through which extensive damage was wrecked on public infrastructure and private businesses, is a wakeup call to all well meaning individuals and organisations that we cannot afford to allow external forces or factors threaten or undermine our wellbeing and security

“We have to reignite the communication link between government and the people so that fifth columnists or conspiracy theorists will not be able to infiltrate and spread disinformation and misinformation that would jeopardise the future of our country or the opportunities available for our youths to contribute to the greatness of our country.”

Aregbesola said the forum was the third stakeholders’ engagement which the Ministry of Interior initiated to strengthen peace across the country.

The Minister said the Federal Government particularly had a responsibility to deepen peace and reduce conflicts in Lagos, which he described as the cradle of the black race.

The Government’s interest in security, Aregbesola pointed out, is selfish, adding that no development would be achieved in a situation of insecurity.

He said: “The main purpose of the ongoing drive is to create an atmosphere of peace for our development. We may not have attained the most secured state at the moment, we must not take what we have for granted.

The nature of insecurity we are witnessing today is not peculiar to Nigeria. The world is increasingly facing insecurity whose main causes are armed conflicts, terrorism, banditry, organised crimes, food shortages, natural disasters and epidemics among others.

“We have a responsibility to deepen peace and reduce conflicts that are peculiar to our nation. This will enable us to bring down the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) shelters dotting our land.”

Aregbesola also said it was time for the nation to fully harness the physical and intellectual energy of young people, who he described as “unique demographic”.

Dingyadi, who said the destruction witnessed in Lagos was painful, pointed out that the engagement couldn’t have come at a better time than now, noting that the State was in dire need of reconciliation, reconstruction and re-integration.

He said Lagos must be supported to achieve lasting peace in order to continue playing its “magnificent role” as the nation’s industrial centre.

“This dialogue will offer every community an opportunity to constructively add their input to the effort of sustaining peace and securing the country,” Dingyadi said.

The consultative forum moved into an executive session where discussions were held on ways out of the current situation.

The participants, in the 15-point communique issued after the meeting, called on the Federal Government to treat Lagos security as a national issue. The forum also called for increased intelligence gatherings by security agencies by working with neighbourhood security apparatus.

The resolution reads in part: “Government must move from the phase of advocacy on security improvement to the phase of action; restructuring of the Police Force must be a reflection of principles of true federalism.

“More attention should be paid to the youth, as they also have ideas that can assist in formulating better policies for Government. It is essential to create jobs for the youth in order to reduce social security challenges. However, Government must checkmate and identify young people engaging in destructive activities.

“Acquisition of adequate crowd control equipment and non-lethal weapons for management of civil protests and demonstrations. Reintroduction of value-driven programmes, such as Boys Scout, Girls Guild, in our schools to meaningfully engage young people.”

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

WE ARE DETERMINED TO STAMP OUT GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN LAGOS – SANWO-OLU’S WIFE

…Unveils Activities To Mark 16 Days Of Activism Against GBV

Lagos State First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday vowed that the State Government will continue to implement various initiatives aimed at stamping out the heinous crime of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the State, especially against women and children.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke during a press briefing held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja to unveil activities lined up to mark this year’s Lagos GBV Week and the global 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and girls, said the commitment of the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu remains the same which is zero tolerance to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

According to her, “Today is another great day in the annals of Lagos State as we jointly march forward in our quest to frontally stamp out all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), especially against women and children in our communities across the State.

“Essentially, we are here to unveil activities we have lined up in furtherance of the Lagos State Gender-Based Violence Week designed to scale up awareness and galvanize action. This is with the view to ensuring eradication of the menace of violence against women and girls in our dear state.”

She said the Lagos GBV Week was being championed through a collaborative effort between her Office and critical stakeholders including Ministries of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; Youth and Social Development; Justice; Education; Health, Information and Strategy; Lagos State Judiciary, and the Nigerian Police Force.

“It is also in line with the cause being championed by the 36 First Ladies in Nigeria, via our forum, to collectively end rape in the country, as well as the global 16 Days of Activism of the United Nations, which is an annual campaign to end violence against women,” she said.

Speaking on the 2020 UN Campaign – “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!,” the First Lady said it was necessitated by the challenges brought about by the unexpected Covid-19 pandemic, which according to her, effectively altered life and ensured an unanticipated lockdown not just in Nigeria, but across the world.

“As all efforts were geared toward battling Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of an already-existing pandemic of rape and violence against women and children was relegated to the background, and the result was a worrisome and alarming spike in rape cases across the country,” she said, adding that her office and other stakeholders have been collaboratively working to address the menace.

On activities for the GBV Week, Sanwo-Olu said plans have been firmed up to embark on a massive Social Media Campaign, Identification of Complaint Platforms, Documentary and Docudrama as well as Sensitization of various Women Groups.

She added that a working visit would be paid to Office of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) in Alausa as well as the Gender Desk Unit of the Nigerian Police, Panti.

“Also, we will be visiting the Proposed Shelter Sites for victims of Domestic Violence being spearheaded by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), which is one of the success stories of our collaborative effort on ending Gender-Based Violence, with regards to care for victims.

“Furthermore, in continuation of the visit to Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas, we shall also be embarking on Symbolic Walk against Rape in some notorious Local Government Areas across the State.

“The highpoint of the GBV Week is a visit to Mr. Governor; Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu who I must confess has been commendably supportive and leading efforts to fight the heinous crime of rape and all forms of Gender-Based Violence in the State. A Compendium of Stakeholders’ Meeting on Gender-Based Violence in Lagos State will also be presented to Mr. Governor during the visit.

“Our aim of doing this is that we envision a society where Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is reduced to the barest minimum and we are determined to achieve this by working collaboratively and effectively with relevant stakeholders,” the First Lady said.

On her part, Wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat urged members of the public to join the effort of the State Government to drastically reduce the menace of rape and all forms of gender-based violence.

The press conference was attended by relevant stakeholders including Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos Branch, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya; representatives of African Women Lawyers Association, Youth Council of Nigeria, and Parents Forum in Lagos State, among others.

 

SIGNED

OLUBUKONLA NWONAH

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS

OFFICE OF LAGOS STATE FIRST LADY

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

Jimoh Ibrahim fights back, says AMCON deceived the court to secure an interim injunction wrongly

The chief promoter of Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, yesterday alleged that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) obtained by deceit the interim court order of injunction it got last week in respect of some properties, majority of which did not belong to him.

Ibrahim in a statement made available to the press said: “One question begging for answer in this case is how the corporation secured a second interim injunction when the first one obtained by the same institution has been discharged.”

He said on October 2, Justice Oguntoyinbo J. of the Federal High Court, Lagos in a matter brought by AMCON against NICON Investment and others held: “In view of the facts and a consideration of the fuller facts contained in the affidavit before the court, this honourable court is minded to stay proceeding in this suit pending the outcome of the suit before the state High Court.

“I believe that is just the best thing to do in the circumstances. Accordingly, the lone issue formulated for determination by the court is hereby resolved against the plaintiff (AMCON) in favour of the defendants (NICON INVESTMENT), and relief 2 is granted as prayed.

“In effect, the proceedings in this suit are hereby stayed pending final determination of suit no: LD/1074/2010 before Hon. Justice Oyefeso of Lagos High Court.”

Owing to the foregoing, he wondered how AMCON secured another interim injunction when the same court had stayed the said matter.

“Did AMCON’s lawyer inform the court of the Justice Oguntoyinbo order?” he questioned.

According to him, in the High Court of Lagos before Justice Oyefeso, Union Bank, in its statement of defence filed in court, had admitted that he (Ibrahim) had a deposit of over a £137 million.

He said the bank had prayed the court as follows: “An order for the sale of the funds standing to the credit of the pound sterling fixed deposit account maintained by the 1st defendant to the counterclaimant; the proceed of which shall be applied in liquidation or part liquidation of the judgment sum as may be awarded against 1st and 2nd defendant counterclaim.”

Jimoh explained: “The amount is also contained in the statement of account issued to Ibrahim and published in THISDAY Newspaper. Vol. 13 No. 5692. The said pound starling is three times higher than the amount borrowed by my companies.

“When Justice Oguntoyinbo J ruled on October 2nd, 2019, that the proceedings in this suit are hereby stayed pending the final determination of case no: LD/1074/2010 before Hon. Justice Oyefeso of Lagos High Court, was the said court, not functus officio?

“Union Bank also acknowledges another deposit of £125m from my second company, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited, making a total deposit of over £250 million 10 years ago and running at a five per cent interest rate, so who is owing who? My NICON investment admitted borrowing N26 billion to which £137 million was used to secure the bank’s said loan.

“Can AMCON sustain the interim order in the face of the apparent facts because there is no returnable date in the court file?

“Again, AMCON did not sign any undertaking for a temporary injunction in the events facts were misrepresented to the court as required by the rules of Federal High court.”

He noted that surprisingly, the lawyer on the record before Justice Oguntoyinbo was Yusufu Ali as counsel to AMCON, asking: “So when was the change of counsel done with the motion on notice with the interim injunction?”

He said the new counsel to AMCON, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, was the lawyer to Union Bank who opposed AMCON joining the case at the Lagos High Court!

He promised to take up the AMCON lawyer’s activities with the legal practitioners’ disciplinary committee “but not on the pages of newspapers.”

According to Ibrahim, Union Bank and AMCON cannot be pursuing the same matter simultaneously in two different courts.

He said he did not own the majority of the property attached by the interim order granted to AMCON, explaining that this shows the level of misrepresentation.

“The coming week will be interesting as judiciary integrity is on trial,” Ibrahim said, explaining: “AMCON cannot buy a loan that is collateralised with cash.”

The Water Resources Bill: A Distortion of Nigeria’s Federalism by Chief Anthony George-Ikoli, SAN

1.0        When I was invited to provide a Keynote Address to this eminent gathering on a subject that has in recent times become very topical and in some ways, seems to be trudging along under its own steam of a multiplicity of opinion ranging from the rational to the absurd; I wondered to myself what more in terms of valuable intervention could be added to deepen and enrich the current discourse.

2.0.       Subsequently, it dawned on me that engagements that elicit such widespread contributions as these have been a missing ingredient in the lawmaking, albeit the rebuilding process of a country that has seemingly lost its way. If this is what it will take for a national rebirth, then I pray we have many more attempts at distortions to our system of Federalism.

3.0 Taking a critical look into the much-heralded National Water Resources Bill, 2020, that is currently making its way across our national legislature and national consciousness, I am at once compelled to align myself with more eminent speakers who in recent times have come to the difficult conclusion that such a bill can only be the product of a yet undisclosed, I fear ultimately deleterious agenda.

4.0  The interesting thing about the bill in itself is the many contradictions the authors may have overlooked in its concoction and wherein I submit possibly lies its Nunc Dimittis. For a piece of legislation whose veiled intendment is a grand usurpation of rights due to an autonomous federating unit, there exists within it, the strangely implicit recognition of the rights of ownership by the federating units of the water bodies within their jurisdiction. There being consensus all round that, federalism serves to recognize the rights of the constituent units to ownership and protection of same, the bill therefore in and by its vesting sections, its statutes, agrees, confesses, professes, and confirms itself to being an egregious distortion of federalism.

5.0   In the words of the learned author, Professor Ben Nwabueze, in his book, Constitutional Democracy in Africa, Volume 4;

“Federalism is an arrangement whereby governmental powers within a country are shared between a national, country-wide government and a number of regional (i.e territorial localized) governments all equal in status as governments, in such a way that each of the national and regional governments exists separately and independently from the others and operates directly on persons and property within the territorial area of its jurisdiction, with a will of its own and its own apparatus for the conduct of its affairs, and with an authority in some matters exclusive of all the others.

6.0   In the words of OSEJI, J.C.A, in the case of EDOSACA v. Osakue & Ors (2018) LPELR-44157(CA):

“To properly address this issue it will be expedient to embark on forage of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Section 2 (1) and (2) provides:- 2 (1) Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble Sovereign State to be known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 2 (2) Nigeria shall be a Federation consisting of States and a Federal Capital Territory. From the above provision, Nigeria operates a federal system of government. Federalism is defined as the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government i.e. (Central or ‘Federal government’) with regional governments i.e. (States, provincial, cantonal, or other sub-units of governments) in a single political system. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government. In modern terms, it is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between the Central and State provincial governments in accordance with the terms and conditions proscribed by the subsisting Constitution. In Nigeria as in a number of other countries, the Constitution provides for a three-tiered system of government. That is to say, the Federal, the State, and Local governments. Hence Section 3 (b) of the 1999 Constitution provides for Local Governments as follows:- 3 (b) “There shall be seven hundred and sixty-eight local government areas in Nigeria as shown in the Second Column of Part 1 of the First Schedule to this Constitution and six area councils as shown in Part 11 of that Schedule.”

7.0   The Supreme Court once agreed with the former Lagos State Attorney General, Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s argument that Section 20 of the Nigerian Constitution, which provides that “The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air, land, forest, and wildlife of Nigeria,” is not an exclusive legislative function of the National Assembly.”

Going further,

“It must follow that the (National Assembly) cannot make law in the form, and to the detail, and territorial extent of the present Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning (Act) 88 of 1992.”

“To do so,” it was argued, “will be in the breach of the principles of federalism and an incursion into the jurisdiction of the States.”

8.0   What is deducible from the quotes above is that each of the States of the Federation is independent of each other in terms of government apparatus and none is an appendage of the other. Each has the power to regulate the affairs of its people and the property within its territory; and such power is not to be “impeded, obstructed or otherwise interfered with by the other government while acting within its own powers” (the words of Prof. Ben Nwabueze).

9.0   The question then is, why a Bill which was sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria is now being referred to as a “distortion of Nigeria’s Federalism“? Before I seek to answer that question very briskly in order not to usurp the space of the main speaker who I believe will do real justice to the theme, I must provide a brief background of the bill and how it came to be.

Brief History of the Bill

10.0         The President, saddled with the constitutional responsibility of preserving and maintaining the principle of federalism, and who ought to be making decisions which will promote the provisions of the Constitution and by extension, the independence of each of the States of the Federation to make laws and policies over the limited resources left for them to administer for the interest and benefit of the people of their respective States, had in his first term in office (2015-2019), particularly in the year 2017, to the consternation of the larger segment of the `Nigerian populace, forwarded a Bill to the National Assembly known as the National Water Resources Bill whose sole purpose was to control and manage the water resources across all states of the federation.

11.0   Being an executive Bill, it was presented by the then-Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who is now the Head of the Senate.

12.0 The Bill was, however, largely criticized, opposed, and subsequently stepped down as same was not favored by the larger legislative body corporate or for that matter the general public. Precisely, in May 2018, the Bill was stepped down in the course of it being deliberated by the Senate Committee on Water Resources.

13.0 Under this new 9th National Assembly and its Principal Officers, in the face other more pressing and critical national issues such as disaster relief after a debilitating pandemic, widespread economic dislocation, rising energy costs, skyrocketing inflation, rampant and pervasive insecurity to mention a few; has seen it fit to make this Water Resources Bill its main priority, lending credence and due confirmation to the notion of a subterranean agenda whose timeline must be faithfully executed despite more pressing challenges critical to our nation-state.

14.0 The timing, the pace, the sheer autocratic temerity behind and implied by the bill, marching aggressively, swinging wildly at everything standing in its path, and eventual creating a command and control structure for the benefit of a central government far away from water body they sought to control. This was an assault on our vaunted federation and federalist pretensions.

15.0 The level of unilateral arbitrariness of the bill is another serious cause for concern, that a central government would repeatedly sponsor this bill to the national assembly without ever thinking it necessary to engage with the state who are the direct stakeholders, but who are only acknowledged in passing as footnotes to the grand larceny that is afoot.

16.0 I have been plagued by the question, why? What is the actual motive behind these calculated actions? I have been one of the hardest people to convince of any systematic invasion plan against Southern Nigeria by rampaging herdsmen invaders, be they Fulani or any other variants thereof, but the evidence being laid before our very eyes seems indubitable and leaves one to wonder aloud “What if?”

17.0 Now, the Bill has passed the first and second stage at the House of Representatives

The Issues:

18.0 Still the question why a Bill which was sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria, has now earned itself a reputation of a “distortion of Nigeria’s Federalism“?

19.0 The answer will not be out of reach if the provision of the Bill is examined vis-à-vis the provisions of the Land use Act as well as the realities on the ground in each of the federating units of the Country.

20.0         The Federal Government has not only deprived the States of the “minerals and mineral oils” in the land within their territories, but it is also now plotting to take the only “resource” left for the States to administer for the benefit of their people through the so-called National Water Resources Bill. The Bill is an incursion into the power of the States in relation to property within the territorial area of their jurisdiction which the Land Use Act has vested in them, and it is an infringement of their distinct will and apparatus for the conduct of their respective affairs.

21.0 According to Section 2 of the Bill,

  1. All surface water and groundwater wherever it occurs is a resource common to all people, the use of which is subject to statutory control. There shall be no private ownership of water but the right to use water in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

  2. The right to the use, management, and control of all surface water and groundwater affecting more than one State pursuant to item 64 of the Exclusive Legislative List in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and as set out in Schedule 1 to this Act, together with the beds and banks thereof, is vested in the Government of the Federation to be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

  3. As the public trustee of the nation’s water resources the Federal Government, acting through the Minister and the institutions created in this Act or pursuant to this Act, shall ensure that the water resources of the nation are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, for the benefit of all persons and in accordance with its Constitutional mandate.

22.0 What does this suggest? That any strange individual, irrespective of where they may be migrating from, may have the rights and legal access to that body of water at the back of our ancestral homes, even if they have to illegally traverse and willfully trespass upon our lands, travel across our fields whilst trampling on our crops whilst seeking to exercise that right of usage, or in the process even remove whatever shelter that is obstructing their right of passage to the waters. The Fulani Herdsman in faraway Yobe can elect to migrate his cattle to the water behind our homes anywhere in the South; and no one dares challenge them because it is now entrenched in our laws that they have equal rights to the use and enjoyment of the waters and are prepared to in the process, undermine any rights conferred on you by the Land Use Act.

23.0         Section 64 of the bill again goes so far as to arrogate exclusive powers to the Central Government to decide what constitutes “interstate waters” and in the same breath goes on to contradict itself by acknowledging that management and control of water resources within the boundaries of a state resides in that state government. Now if contiguous states are desirous of implementing an economic project across the waterways that crisscross their states, which jurisdiction do they defer to?

24.0 It is therefore no wonder that Nigerians from different works of life and backgrounds as well as renowned Groups have spoken against the Bill. Their reactions have best summarised the reason the Bill is indeed a DISTORTION OF TRUE FEDERALISM.

25.0         To the spokesperson for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, the moves towards passing the Bill have the capacity of destabilizing Nigeria “given how sensitive land issues are and which are safely vested under the governors in our laws“.

26.0         To Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the Bill

is not only obnoxious but draconic and imperialistic. It is anti-people. That was why it attracted wild condemnation. And the eighth National Assembly heeded to the voice of the people, by throwing out the bill. It would therefore be awful if the ninth National Assembly acts otherwise, and allows itself to be used against the people. It is absurd that while citizens are clamoring for the restructuring of the country, to divest more powers to the federating units, the federal government is wanting more powers to control waterways and resources in an already over-centralized, unitary system. Instead of initiating constructive dialogue processes to address the yearnings of Nigerians for true federalism. The people of the Niger Delta region, particularly of the South-south geopolitical zone, are against the bill in its totality. We consider it an attempt by the federal government to divest Niger Delta communities of their exclusive control of the waterways; seas, rivers, and creeks, in the region. They have plundered our oil and gas, our hitherto luxurious ecosystem has been devastated, without any meaningful development; they tried to take our lands through the so-called Ruga scheme. Now they want our waterways, Niger Delta Region people will resist it.

27.0 To Professor Wole Soyinka, the Bill has the potency to hand the absolute control of the nation’s entire water resources to the President. In his words, “The National Water Resources bill is a deliberate, flanking move towards RUGA colonization. It must be resisted across board. No compromising or this nation is doomed since it will be resisted by any and all means.”

28.0         According to the Benue State Governor whose people have suffered immense cruelty in the hands of the Fulani Herdsmen,

A bill that was outrightly rejected in 2018 cannot be passed through the back door. It will not be accepted in Benue State. I enquired from members of the National Assembly from Benue and none of them accepted that the bill was returned when it was rejected in 2018. I told them it is wickedness as you want to control the waterways and extend it to about three kilometers radius which means that even Benue Government House that is close to River Benue will be removed or taken over….. It is very wrong and we will not continue to keep quiet on things that affect our land and our people. We cannot allow this injustice to continue in our country and we keep quiet. That law will not be accepted in Benue State because we have Rivers Katsina/Ala and Benue which we will not allow anybody take away from us for the purpose of grazing cattle.

29.0         As far as Senator Anietie Okon, an Elder statesman and a former member of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, is concerned, the Bill is an “evil” document and “a Bill of iniquity” which should not be allowed to stand. In his words,

Buhari is trying to get the bill by stealth and that’s the lowest form this government can fall to. This shows the lack of empathy for people other than the president’s people. It is obvious that they are casting some eyes of evil possession over the waters. When you claim a river, you claim it’s banks because this is the most fertile portions in the country. They want to use his people, the Fulani people but that will be the end for his people, for Nigeria. I dare him to send the National Assembly to pass that bill of iniquity. When you believe that your government owns any piece of land, owing to the rights to deploy them anywhere, then you are in for a surprise. This is a backdoor approach to reintroduce RUGA, but RUGA itself will die. The national labor leaders have spoken. Leaders of PANDEF, UMBC have also spoken. Leaders of the South East have spoken through Ohaneze and other groups and that the President wants to dare the people and we are going to be ready for them. As I said, it’s a law of impunity and it has to be stopped. Every member of the National Assembly has it as a duty to stop the conflagration that will follow this rubbish.

30.0         The present reality in this Country remains that the cities that make up the Niger Delta region are coastal cities; and the Ijaw people are “water people”. Everything about us is “water”; and the only thing that has been left for us in the present entity called Nigeria is “water” albeit polluted water. They have despoiled every good thing that is underneath our land. The remnants of the land are contaminated and poisoned already; now the only thing left of our identity is that water which they now seek to spirit away to some shadowy individual sitting in Abuja.

31.0 What is more, the Bill, if passed into law, has the effect of depriving the Ijaw people of our natural cause of action arising from any oil spillage on our waters which we suffer daily through the degradation of our livelihoods; in deference to the new owner who to all intents and purposes will be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

32.0         We must arise now with utmost alacrity coupled with determination and intensity and shout from our various lofty heights using all means, both legal and material, at our disposal to prevent this evil from been cloaked with the garb of enactment before we are put in a situation of lamentation just as we have been rendered in relation to the mineral resources underneath our land which they had taken away from us.

33.0         I will look to conclude my address with a few recommendations and a corporate call to action on all Sons and Daughters of our Ijaw heritage:

My recommendations:

  1. The Ijaw nations must not sit aloof and seemingly oblivious of the hole being dug all around it, it must set an agenda for its legislators. The time for sitting idly in Abuja whilst noxious legislation is passed is at an end. Rather than wait for these types of pernicious legislation to be thrust upon us and then begin to scramble for a reactionary response, our legislators must act proactively to repeal the current laws that act against the interest of Federalism and the rights of the people to their God-given resources.

  2. Indeed, it is because of this long assumed state of lassitude that our rights and interests have been so pushed back, suppressed if you will, that they have now decided that the injustice of all that has been taken from us is insufficient since we are so docile and lack a common front, it is indeed time to take even more.

  3. My suggestion to this August body is that rather than accept this bill through our now predictable legislative demeanor of quiet acquiescence, our legislators must counter this affront with a proactive counterpunch by demanding ownership of that which is rightly ours rather than only the return of that which they now conspire to take from us.

  4. Our senators and representatives from Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, and any other littoral states that have inadvertently been thrust into the front lines occasioned by this new challenge must stand to be counted. Those amongst us in the legal profession must also dust up our wigs and gowns ready for the legal battles ahead, this saga will no doubt snowball into.

  5. What is at issue here is not just strictly a question of constitutionality or one begging for legal interpretation of an offensive proposition, but one of the long-postponed questions of self-determination and the right to ownership of that which is already owned.

  6. Within what we call a Federalist system, where by definition, convention, natural justice, and common sense, we own everything beneath our feet and with that ownership; automatically the rights to work, win, farm, exploit thatwhich we own to the best of our ability and good conscience, whilst recognizing our responsibility to contribute an agreed fixture of that which we have worked, won, farmed and exploited to the central government; we have wallowed for too long in acceptance of this pittance wrapped in all manner and texture of brightly colored ribbons.

  7. I draw your attention to the recent Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (“PAGMI”) recently introduced by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as I look to draw my concluding propositions on this vexed and provocative issue.

  8. I reference a few quotes from some of the literature that heralded the launch of the initiative:

“The Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (“PAGMI”) is a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development program, launched in 2019 to foster the formalization and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into Nigeria’s legal, economic, and institutional framework.”

“PAGMI is designed as a broader strategy to address the structural and institutional factors such as rural poverty, lack of alternative livelihoods, and difficulties in meeting legal and regulatory requirements that tend to push artisanal gold mining operators deeper into the informal economy.”

“The catalyst for the integration is the provision of access to markets for the artisanal miners through a National Gold Purchase Program and the deployment of enhanced mining methods at artisanal and small-scale mining sites”.

  1. The summary of these quotes is the following:

  2. Nigeria recognizes the right of ownership of the natural resources by those who are indigenous to a locality where said natural resources exist;

  3. Nigeria acknowledges that there is an urgent need to address rural poverty and lack of alternative livelihoods;

  4. Nigeria can stand as a global offtaker of natural resources mined by indigenes who reside within a given locale or geographic area.

10.I applaud and even go as far as to salute the Federal Government for this fantastic initiative as this is what all lovers of the laws of the concept and precepts of constitutional Federalism and indeed natural justice have been clamoring for, for many decades in Nigeria.

  1. Accordingly, I draw the attention of the Federal Government to the following:

  2. the Niger Delta is home to millions of artisanal miners who have oil & gas resources right under their feet much like the artisanal miners in Zamfara and Osun State;

  3. there exist unbelievable levels of rural poverty across the Niger Delta region and a crying lack of alternative livelihoods, a scenario foisted upon the long-suffering people of the region by wanton pollution of their natural farmlands and fishing grounds stemming from an unbridled legacy of oil exploration and which this new front known as the Water Resources bill seeks to exacerbate ;

c.the Niger Delta artisanal miners are also able to make the oil and gas products that reside underfoot available to the CBN, NNPC, IOCs, NOCs, or any other interested offtaker under agreed terms that include paying a tax to the central government.

  1. Why include this PAGMI in a discussion focused on the obnoxious Water Resources Bill? The answer is simple. They are the same argument with different names, complementary sides of the same Rubik’s cube that is Nigeria. However, like the paradox that is the Rubik’s cube, what should be apparent to the naked eye is often distorted and disfigured beyond recognition.

  1. I posit that is the same rights that the Nigerian Federal Government acknowledges by omission accrues to those artisanal miners in a Federal system that must accrue to the artisanal miners in Brass Bayelsa State or those in Ilaje, Ondo State. That in a Federal system, the land, waterbody, river, and the natural resource that reside therein belongs to the indigenous people for their continuous benefit and livelihood.

  1. Accepting this as a given within the context of the artisanal mining initiative only confirms what we all know to be true of our country but fail to uphold because we are bent-over pandering to the whims of an ancient political hegemony.

  2. The current operators of the system recognize our weaknesses and are happy to enact contradictory legislation because they believe we are not wise enough to connect the dots.

  1. I humbly submit that the question is not one of an ill-thought Water Resources bill or Artisanal Mining Rights, the question is the same question of Federalism; the question is one of a right to ownership of that which is already owned.

Thank You for your kind attention.

Chief Anthony George-Ikoli served as the Attorney General of Bayelsa State under the administration of former Gov Timipre Silva. He was the one who influenced the establishment of the Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa Campus, and also reorganized the administration of justice system with the establishment of a world class ministry of justice.

Categories
ABIA STATE Abigborodo ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard

Jimoh Ibrahim fights back, says AMCON deceived the court to secure an interim injunction wrongly

 

Jimoh Ibrahim fights back, says AMCON deceived the court to secure an interim injunction wrongly

 

 

The chief promoter of Global Fleet Oil & Gas Limited and NICON Investment Limited, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, yesterday alleged that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) obtained by deceit the interim court order of injunction it got last week in respect of some properties, majority of which did not belong to him.

 

Ibrahim in a statement made available to the press said: “One question begging for answer in this case is how the corporation secured a second interim injunction when the first one obtained by the same institution has been discharged.”

 

He said on October 2, Justice Oguntoyinbo J. of the Federal High Court, Lagos in a matter brought by AMCON against NICON Investment and others held: “In view of the facts and a consideration of the fuller facts contained in the affidavit before the court, this honourable court is minded to stay proceeding in this suit pending the outcome of the suit before the state High Court.

 

“I believe that is just the best thing to do in the circumstances. Accordingly, the lone issue formulated for determination by the court is hereby resolved against the plaintiff (AMCON) in favour of the defendants (NICON INVESTMENT), and relief 2 is granted as prayed.

 

“In effect, the proceedings in this suit are hereby stayed pending final determination of suit no: LD/1074/2010 before Hon. Justice Oyefeso of Lagos High Court.”

 

Owing to the foregoing, he wondered how AMCON secured another interim injunction when the same court had stayed the said matter.

 

“Did AMCON’s lawyer inform the court of the Justice Oguntoyinbo order?” he questioned.

 

According to him, in the High Court of Lagos before Justice Oyefeso, Union Bank, in its statement of defence filed in court, had admitted that he (Ibrahim) had a deposit of over a £137 million.

 

He said the bank had prayed the court as follows: “An order for the sale of the funds standing to the credit of the pound sterling fixed deposit account maintained by the 1st defendant to the counterclaimant; the proceed of which shall be applied in liquidation or part liquidation of the judgment sum as may be awarded against 1st and 2nd defendant counterclaim.”

 

Jimoh explained: “The amount is also contained in the statement of account issued to Ibrahim and published in THISDAY Newspaper. Vol. 13 No. 5692. The said pound starling is three times higher than the amount borrowed by my companies.

 

“When Justice Oguntoyinbo J ruled on October 2nd, 2019, that the proceedings in this suit are hereby stayed pending the final determination of case no: LD/1074/2010 before Hon. Justice Oyefeso of Lagos High Court, was the said court, not functus officio?

 

“Union Bank also acknowledges another deposit of £125m from my second company, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited, making a total deposit of over £250 million 10 years ago and running at a five per cent interest rate, so who is owing who? My NICON investment admitted borrowing N26 billion to which £137 million was used to secure the bank’s said loan.

 

“Can AMCON sustain the interim order in the face of the apparent facts because there is no returnable date in the court file?

 

“Again, AMCON did not sign any undertaking for a temporary injunction in the events facts were misrepresented to the court as required by the rules of Federal High court.”

 

He noted that surprisingly, the lawyer on the record before Justice Oguntoyinbo was Yusufu Ali as counsel to AMCON, asking: “So when was the change of counsel done with the motion on notice with the interim injunction?”

 

He said the new counsel to AMCON, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, was the lawyer to Union Bank who opposed AMCON joining the case at the Lagos High Court!

 

He promised to take up the AMCON lawyer’s activities with the legal practitioners’ disciplinary committee “but not on the pages of newspapers.”

 

According to Ibrahim, Union Bank and AMCON cannot be pursuing the same matter simultaneously in two different courts.

 

He said he did not own the majority of the property attached by the interim order granted to AMCON, explaining that this shows the level of misrepresentation.

 

“The coming week will be interesting as judiciary integrity is on trial,” Ibrahim said, explaining: “AMCON cannot buy a loan that is collateralised with cash.”

Categories
ABIA STATE Abigborodo ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard

The Water Resources Bill: A Distortion of Nigeria’s Federalism by Chief Anthony George-Ikoli, SAN

1.0        When I was invited to provide a Keynote Address to this eminent gathering on a subject that has in recent times become very topical and in some ways, seems to be trudging along under its own steam of a multiplicity of opinion ranging from the rational to the absurd; I wondered to myself what more in terms of valuable intervention could be added to deepen and enrich the current discourse.

2.0.       Subsequently, it dawned on me that engagements that elicit such widespread contributions as these have been a missing ingredient in the lawmaking, albeit the rebuilding process of a country that has seemingly lost its way. If this is what it will take for a national rebirth, then I pray we have many more attempts at distortions to our system of Federalism.

3.0 Taking a critical look into the much-heralded National Water Resources Bill, 2020, that is currently making its way across our national legislature and national consciousness, I am at once compelled to align myself with more eminent speakers who in recent times have come to the difficult conclusion that such a bill can only be the product of a yet undisclosed, I fear ultimately deleterious agenda.

4.0  The interesting thing about the bill in itself is the many contradictions the authors may have overlooked in its concoction and wherein I submit possibly lies its Nunc Dimittis. For a piece of legislation whose veiled intendment is a grand usurpation of rights due to an autonomous federating unit, there exists within it, the strangely implicit recognition of the rights of ownership by the federating units of the water bodies within their jurisdiction. There being consensus all round that, federalism serves to recognize the rights of the constituent units to ownership and protection of same, the bill therefore in and by its vesting sections, its statutes, agrees, confesses, professes, and confirms itself to being an egregious distortion of federalism.

5.0   In the words of the learned author, Professor Ben Nwabueze, in his book, Constitutional Democracy in Africa, Volume 4;

“Federalism is an arrangement whereby governmental powers within a country are shared between a national, country-wide government and a number of regional (i.e territorial localized) governments all equal in status as governments, in such a way that each of the national and regional governments exists separately and independently from the others and operates directly on persons and property within the territorial area of its jurisdiction, with a will of its own and its own apparatus for the conduct of its affairs, and with an authority in some matters exclusive of all the others.

6.0   In the words of OSEJI, J.C.A, in the case of EDOSACA v. Osakue & Ors (2018) LPELR-44157(CA):

“To properly address this issue it will be expedient to embark on forage of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Section 2 (1) and (2) provides:- 2 (1) Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble Sovereign State to be known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 2 (2) Nigeria shall be a Federation consisting of States and a Federal Capital Territory. From the above provision, Nigeria operates a federal system of government. Federalism is defined as the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government i.e. (Central or ‘Federal government’) with regional governments i.e. (States, provincial, cantonal, or other sub-units of governments) in a single political system. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government. In modern terms, it is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between the Central and State provincial governments in accordance with the terms and conditions proscribed by the subsisting Constitution. In Nigeria as in a number of other countries, the Constitution provides for a three-tiered system of government. That is to say, the Federal, the State, and Local governments. Hence Section 3 (b) of the 1999 Constitution provides for Local Governments as follows:- 3 (b) “There shall be seven hundred and sixty-eight local government areas in Nigeria as shown in the Second Column of Part 1 of the First Schedule to this Constitution and six area councils as shown in Part 11 of that Schedule.”

 

7.0   The Supreme Court once agreed with the former Lagos State Attorney General, Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s argument that Section 20 of the Nigerian Constitution, which provides that “The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air, land, forest, and wildlife of Nigeria,” is not an exclusive legislative function of the National Assembly.”

Going further,

“It must follow that the (National Assembly) cannot make law in the form, and to the detail, and territorial extent of the present Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning (Act) 88 of 1992.”

 

“To do so,” it was argued, “will be in the breach of the principles of federalism and an incursion into the jurisdiction of the States.”

 

8.0   What is deducible from the quotes above is that each of the States of the Federation is independent of each other in terms of government apparatus and none is an appendage of the other. Each has the power to regulate the affairs of its people and the property within its territory; and such power is not to be “impeded, obstructed or otherwise interfered with by the other government while acting within its own powers” (the words of Prof. Ben Nwabueze).

 

9.0   The question then is, why a Bill which was sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria is now being referred to as a “distortion of Nigeria’s Federalism“? Before I seek to answer that question very briskly in order not to usurp the space of the main speaker who I believe will do real justice to the theme, I must provide a brief background of the bill and how it came to be.

 

Brief History of the Bill

10.0         The President, saddled with the constitutional responsibility of preserving and maintaining the principle of federalism, and who ought to be making decisions which will promote the provisions of the Constitution and by extension, the independence of each of the States of the Federation to make laws and policies over the limited resources left for them to administer for the interest and benefit of the people of their respective States, had in his first term in office (2015-2019), particularly in the year 2017, to the consternation of the larger segment of the `Nigerian populace, forwarded a Bill to the National Assembly known as the National Water Resources Bill whose sole purpose was to control and manage the water resources across all states of the federation.

11.0   Being an executive Bill, it was presented by the then-Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who is now the Head of the Senate.

12.0 The Bill was, however, largely criticized, opposed, and subsequently stepped down as same was not favored by the larger legislative body corporate or for that matter the general public. Precisely, in May 2018, the Bill was stepped down in the course of it being deliberated by the Senate Committee on Water Resources.

13.0 Under this new 9th National Assembly and its Principal Officers, in the face other more pressing and critical national issues such as disaster relief after a debilitating pandemic, widespread economic dislocation, rising energy costs, skyrocketing inflation, rampant and pervasive insecurity to mention a few; has seen it fit to make this Water Resources Bill its main priority, lending credence and due confirmation to the notion of a subterranean agenda whose timeline must be faithfully executed despite more pressing challenges critical to our nation-state.

14.0 The timing, the pace, the sheer autocratic temerity behind and implied by the bill, marching aggressively, swinging wildly at everything standing in its path, and eventual creating a command and control structure for the benefit of a central government far away from water body they sought to control. This was an assault on our vaunted federation and federalist pretensions.

15.0 The level of unilateral arbitrariness of the bill is another serious cause for concern, that a central government would repeatedly sponsor this bill to the national assembly without ever thinking it necessary to engage with the state who are the direct stakeholders, but who are only acknowledged in passing as footnotes to the grand larceny that is afoot.

16.0 I have been plagued by the question, why? What is the actual motive behind these calculated actions? I have been one of the hardest people to convince of any systematic invasion plan against Southern Nigeria by rampaging herdsmen invaders, be they Fulani or any other variants thereof, but the evidence being laid before our very eyes seems indubitable and leaves one to wonder aloud “What if?”

17.0 Now, the Bill has passed the first and second stage at the House of Representatives

The Issues:

18.0 Still the question why a Bill which was sponsored by the Federal Government of Nigeria, has now earned itself a reputation of a “distortion of Nigeria’s Federalism“?

19.0 The answer will not be out of reach if the provision of the Bill is examined vis-à-vis the provisions of the Land use Act as well as the realities on the ground in each of the federating units of the Country.

20.0         The Federal Government has not only deprived the States of the “minerals and mineral oils” in the land within their territories, but it is also now plotting to take the only “resource” left for the States to administer for the benefit of their people through the so-called National Water Resources Bill. The Bill is an incursion into the power of the States in relation to property within the territorial area of their jurisdiction which the Land Use Act has vested in them, and it is an infringement of their distinct will and apparatus for the conduct of their respective affairs.

21.0 According to Section 2 of the Bill,

  1. All surface water and groundwater wherever it occurs is a resource common to all people, the use of which is subject to statutory control. There shall be no private ownership of water but the right to use water in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
  2. The right to the use, management, and control of all surface water and groundwater affecting more than one State pursuant to item 64 of the Exclusive Legislative List in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and as set out in Schedule 1 to this Act, together with the beds and banks thereof, is vested in the Government of the Federation to be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
  3. As the public trustee of the nation’s water resources the Federal Government, acting through the Minister and the institutions created in this Act or pursuant to this Act, shall ensure that the water resources of the nation are protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, for the benefit of all persons and in accordance with its Constitutional mandate.

22.0 What does this suggest? That any strange individual, irrespective of where they may be migrating from, may have the rights and legal access to that body of water at the back of our ancestral homes, even if they have to illegally traverse and willfully trespass upon our lands, travel across our fields whilst trampling on our crops whilst seeking to exercise that right of usage, or in the process even remove whatever shelter that is obstructing their right of passage to the waters. The Fulani Herdsman in faraway Yobe can elect to migrate his cattle to the water behind our homes anywhere in the South; and no one dares challenge them because it is now entrenched in our laws that they have equal rights to the use and enjoyment of the waters and are prepared to in the process, undermine any rights conferred on you by the Land Use Act.

23.0         Section 64 of the bill again goes so far as to arrogate exclusive powers to the Central Government to decide what constitutes “interstate waters” and in the same breath goes on to contradict itself by acknowledging that management and control of water resources within the boundaries of a state resides in that state government. Now if contiguous states are desirous of implementing an economic project across the waterways that crisscross their states, which jurisdiction do they defer to?

24.0 It is therefore no wonder that Nigerians from different works of life and backgrounds as well as renowned Groups have spoken against the Bill. Their reactions have best summarised the reason the Bill is indeed a DISTORTION OF TRUE FEDERALISM.

25.0         To the spokesperson for Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, the moves towards passing the Bill have the capacity of destabilizing Nigeria “given how sensitive land issues are and which are safely vested under the governors in our laws“.

26.0         To Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the Bill

is not only obnoxious but draconic and imperialistic. It is anti-people. That was why it attracted wild condemnation. And the eighth National Assembly heeded to the voice of the people, by throwing out the bill. It would therefore be awful if the ninth National Assembly acts otherwise, and allows itself to be used against the people. It is absurd that while citizens are clamoring for the restructuring of the country, to divest more powers to the federating units, the federal government is wanting more powers to control waterways and resources in an already over-centralized, unitary system. Instead of initiating constructive dialogue processes to address the yearnings of Nigerians for true federalism. The people of the Niger Delta region, particularly of the South-south geopolitical zone, are against the bill in its totality. We consider it an attempt by the federal government to divest Niger Delta communities of their exclusive control of the waterways; seas, rivers, and creeks, in the region. They have plundered our oil and gas, our hitherto luxurious ecosystem has been devastated, without any meaningful development; they tried to take our lands through the so-called Ruga scheme. Now they want our waterways, Niger Delta Region people will resist it.

27.0 To Professor Wole Soyinka, the Bill has the potency to hand the absolute control of the nation’s entire water resources to the President. In his words, “The National Water Resources bill is a deliberate, flanking move towards RUGA colonization. It must be resisted across board. No compromising or this nation is doomed since it will be resisted by any and all means.”

28.0         According to the Benue State Governor whose people have suffered immense cruelty in the hands of the Fulani Herdsmen,

A bill that was outrightly rejected in 2018 cannot be passed through the back door. It will not be accepted in Benue State. I enquired from members of the National Assembly from Benue and none of them accepted that the bill was returned when it was rejected in 2018. I told them it is wickedness as you want to control the waterways and extend it to about three kilometers radius which means that even Benue Government House that is close to River Benue will be removed or taken over….. It is very wrong and we will not continue to keep quiet on things that affect our land and our people. We cannot allow this injustice to continue in our country and we keep quiet. That law will not be accepted in Benue State because we have Rivers Katsina/Ala and Benue which we will not allow anybody take away from us for the purpose of grazing cattle.

29.0         As far as Senator Anietie Okon, an Elder statesman and a former member of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, is concerned, the Bill is an “evil” document and “a Bill of iniquity” which should not be allowed to stand. In his words,

Buhari is trying to get the bill by stealth and that’s the lowest form this government can fall to. This shows the lack of empathy for people other than the president’s people. It is obvious that they are casting some eyes of evil possession over the waters. When you claim a river, you claim it’s banks because this is the most fertile portions in the country. They want to use his people, the Fulani people but that will be the end for his people, for Nigeria. I dare him to send the National Assembly to pass that bill of iniquity. When you believe that your government owns any piece of land, owing to the rights to deploy them anywhere, then you are in for a surprise. This is a backdoor approach to reintroduce RUGA, but RUGA itself will die. The national labor leaders have spoken. Leaders of PANDEF, UMBC have also spoken. Leaders of the South East have spoken through Ohaneze and other groups and that the President wants to dare the people and we are going to be ready for them. As I said, it’s a law of impunity and it has to be stopped. Every member of the National Assembly has it as a duty to stop the conflagration that will follow this rubbish.

30.0         The present reality in this Country remains that the cities that make up the Niger Delta region are coastal cities; and the Ijaw people are “water people”. Everything about us is “water”; and the only thing that has been left for us in the present entity called Nigeria is “water” albeit polluted water. They have despoiled every good thing that is underneath our land. The remnants of the land are contaminated and poisoned already; now the only thing left of our identity is that water which they now seek to spirit away to some shadowy individual sitting in Abuja.

31.0 What is more, the Bill, if passed into law, has the effect of depriving the Ijaw people of our natural cause of action arising from any oil spillage on our waters which we suffer daily through the degradation of our livelihoods; in deference to the new owner who to all intents and purposes will be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

32.0         We must arise now with utmost alacrity coupled with determination and intensity and shout from our various lofty heights using all means, both legal and material, at our disposal to prevent this evil from been cloaked with the garb of enactment before we are put in a situation of lamentation just as we have been rendered in relation to the mineral resources underneath our land which they had taken away from us.

33.0         I will look to conclude my address with a few recommendations and a corporate call to action on all Sons and Daughters of our Ijaw heritage:

 

My recommendations:

 

  1. The Ijaw nations must not sit aloof and seemingly oblivious of the hole being dug all around it, it must set an agenda for its legislators. The time for sitting idly in Abuja whilst noxious legislation is passed is at an end. Rather than wait for these types of pernicious legislation to be thrust upon us and then begin to scramble for a reactionary response, our legislators must act proactively to repeal the current laws that act against the interest of Federalism and the rights of the people to their God-given resources.
  2. Indeed, it is because of this long assumed state of lassitude that our rights and interests have been so pushed back, suppressed if you will, that they have now decided that the injustice of all that has been taken from us is insufficient since we are so docile and lack a common front, it is indeed time to take even more.
  3. My suggestion to this August body is that rather than accept this bill through our now predictable legislative demeanor of quiet acquiescence, our legislators must counter this affront with a proactive counterpunch by demanding ownership of that which is rightly ours rather than only the return of that which they now conspire to take from us.
  4. Our senators and representatives from Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, and any other littoral states that have inadvertently been thrust into the front lines occasioned by this new challenge must stand to be counted. Those amongst us in the legal profession must also dust up our wigs and gowns ready for the legal battles ahead, this saga will no doubt snowball into.
  5. What is at issue here is not just strictly a question of constitutionality or one begging for legal interpretation of an offensive proposition, but one of the long-postponed questions of self-determination and the right to ownership of that which is already owned.
  6. Within what we call a Federalist system, where by definition, convention, natural justice, and common sense, we own everything beneath our feet and with that ownership; automatically the rights to work, win, farm, exploit thatwhich we own to the best of our ability and good conscience, whilst recognizing our responsibility to contribute an agreed fixture of that which we have worked, won, farmed and exploited to the central government; we have wallowed for too long in acceptance of this pittance wrapped in all manner and texture of brightly colored ribbons.
  7. I draw your attention to the recent Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (“PAGMI”) recently introduced by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as I look to draw my concluding propositions on this vexed and provocative issue.
  8. I reference a few quotes from some of the literature that heralded the launch of the initiative:

“The Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (“PAGMI”) is a comprehensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining development program, launched in 2019 to foster the formalization and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into Nigeria’s legal, economic, and institutional framework.”

 

“PAGMI is designed as a broader strategy to address the structural and institutional factors such as rural poverty, lack of alternative livelihoods, and difficulties in meeting legal and regulatory requirements that tend to push artisanal gold mining operators deeper into the informal economy.”

“The catalyst for the integration is the provision of access to markets for the artisanal miners through a National Gold Purchase Program and the deployment of enhanced mining methods at artisanal and small-scale mining sites”.

 

 

  1. The summary of these quotes is the following:
  2. Nigeria recognizes the right of ownership of the natural resources by those who are indigenous to a locality where said natural resources exist;
  3. Nigeria acknowledges that there is an urgent need to address rural poverty and lack of alternative livelihoods;
  4. Nigeria can stand as a global offtaker of natural resources mined by indigenes who reside within a given locale or geographic area.

10.I applaud and even go as far as to salute the Federal Government for this fantastic initiative as this is what all lovers of the laws of the concept and precepts of constitutional Federalism and indeed natural justice have been clamoring for, for many decades in Nigeria.

  1. Accordingly, I draw the attention of the Federal Government to the following:
  2. the Niger Delta is home to millions of artisanal miners who have oil & gas resources right under their feet much like the artisanal miners in Zamfara and Osun State;
  3. there exist unbelievable levels of rural poverty across the Niger Delta region and a crying lack of alternative livelihoods, a scenario foisted upon the long-suffering people of the region by wanton pollution of their natural farmlands and fishing grounds stemming from an unbridled legacy of oil exploration and which this new front known as the Water Resources bill seeks to exacerbate ;

c.the Niger Delta artisanal miners are also able to make the oil and gas products that reside underfoot available to the CBN, NNPC, IOCs, NOCs, or any other interested offtaker under agreed terms that include paying a tax to the central government.

 

  1. Why include this PAGMI in a discussion focused on the obnoxious Water Resources Bill? The answer is simple. They are the same argument with different names, complementary sides of the same Rubik’s cube that is Nigeria. However, like the paradox that is the Rubik’s cube, what should be apparent to the naked eye is often distorted and disfigured beyond recognition.

 

  1. I posit that is the same rights that the Nigerian Federal Government acknowledges by omission accrues to those artisanal miners in a Federal system that must accrue to the artisanal miners in Brass Bayelsa State or those in Ilaje, Ondo State. That in a Federal system, the land, waterbody, river, and the natural resource that reside therein belongs to the indigenous people for their continuous benefit and livelihood.

 

  1. Accepting this as a given within the context of the artisanal mining initiative only confirms what we all know to be true of our country but fail to uphold because we are bent-over pandering to the whims of an ancient political hegemony.
  2. The current operators of the system recognize our weaknesses and are happy to enact contradictory legislation because they believe we are not wise enough to connect the dots.

 

  1. I humbly submit that the question is not one of an ill-thought Water Resources bill or Artisanal Mining Rights, the question is the same question of Federalism; the question is one of a right to ownership of that which is already owned.

 

Thank You for your kind attention.

Chief Anthony George-Ikoli served as the Attorney General of Bayelsa State under the administration of former Gov Timipre Silva. He was the one who influenced the establishment of the Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa Campus, and also reorganized the administration of justice system with the establishment of a world class ministry of justice.

Categories
Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard Lagos LAGOS BLAZERS LAGOS BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL TIMES Lagos Central LAGOS CHRONICLE Lagos Chronicles LAGOS CITY NEWS LAGOS DAILY LAGOS DAILY NEWSPAPER LAGOS DAILY OBSERVER LAGOS DISPATCH Lagos East LAGOS ENTREPRENEURS LAGOS EVENING NEWS LAGOS EXPRESS LAGOS FINDER LAGOS FREE PRESS LAGOS GAZETTE LAGOS GOVERNOR LAGOS GRAPHIC LAGOS GREEN DOVE LAGOS GUIDE LAGOS HERALD LAGOS HERITAGE LAGOS INDEPENDENT NEWS LAGOS INSIGHT Lagos Island LAGOS JOURNAL LAGOS MAIL LAGOS MATTER LAGOS MESSENGERS LAGOS MIRROR Lagos News LAGOS OBSERVER Lagos People LAGOS PEOPLE AND PLACES LAGOS PIONEER LAGOS POST LAGOS PRESS LAGOS PUBLIC AGENDA LAGOS SCOOP LAGOS SEARCHLIGHT LAGOS SHOWBIX LAGOS SPECTATOR LAGOS SPORTS LAGOS SQUARE LAGOS STANDARD LAGOS STAR Lagos State Government LAGOS STATESMAN LAGOS TIMELINE LAGOS TIMES LAGOS TODAY LAGOS VIBE LAGOS VOICE Lagos West LAGOS WORDS

The world needs your message

MediaGate Management:

  • We deliver incredible value to the client

  • We capture people’s attention

  • We will fast-track your growth

  • We change people’s lives

Phone: 08036977194

Categories
ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard APEX NEWS Citizens City News Civil Society Groups CONCERNED NIGERIANS

Recession: SERAP asks Buhari to cut cost of governance, not public services

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him “to put the country’s resources at the service of human rights, and to support the less well-off to enjoy an adequate standing of living through cutting the cost of governance and implementing bold transparency and accountability measures in your government’s response to Nigeria’s second recession in five years.”

In the letter dated 21 November, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “This economic crisis provides an opportunity to prioritise access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic socio-economic rights, and to genuinely recommit to the fight against corruption. The country cannot afford getting back to business as usual.”

SERAP said: “Implementing human rights, transparency and accountability measures would save money, address projected adverse human rights impacts of the recession, and fast-track the economic recovery process. It is not too late to take urgent measures that would put the country’s wealth and resources to work for the common good of all Nigerians.”

According to SERAP: “Decades of mismanagement and corruption, and deep-seated deficiencies in public financial management have directly contributed to higher levels of borrowing and public debts, and consequently, the economic recession. Successive governments have squandered the promise afforded by the country’s natural wealth and resources.”

The letter, read in part: “The paltry resources Nigeria invests in essential public goods and services that would benefit ordinary Nigerians can be partly explained by the high spending of public funds to finance a life of luxury for members of the National Assembly, state governors, and other powerful politicians.”

“The country’s resources appear to have been used almost exclusively for the benefit of the political elites rather than on projects that would ensure the right to an adequate standard of living, the maximum welfare, prosperity, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality.”

“SERAP is seriously concerned about the adverse consequences of the economic crisis on the human rights of poor and vulnerable Nigerians, including denying them access to essential public goods and services such as healthcare, education, clean water, and regular electricity supply.”

“We would be grateful if your government begins to implement the recommended action and measures within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to implement these recommendations for the sake of human rights, transparency and accountability.”

“Nigeria has been poorly governed for many years, with systemic and widespread corruption at all levels of government, contributing to failures by successive governments to deliver essential public goods and services to Nigerians, contrary to the country’s constitution and human rights and anti-corruption obligations.”

“Huge budgetary allocations to fund security votes, renovate the National Assembly complex, pay jumbo salaries and allowances to members of the National Assembly, and life pensions to former governors and their deputies, as well as massive corruption in ministries, departments and agencies [MDAs] contribute to low provisions for health, education and other essential public goods and services.”

“Prioritising the human rights of poor and vulnerable Nigerians means providing public goods and services free of charge for those who cannot afford them. This is the time to prioritise poor and vulnerable Nigerians, and to ensure that any response to the recession goes well beyond bailing out large companies and banks.”

“Our requests are brought in the public interest, and in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], and Nigeria’s international obligations, including under the UN Convention against Corruption, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the UN Guiding principles on human rights impact assessments of economic reforms.”

“Your government ought to have taken full advantage of court judgments ordering the full recovery of stolen public funds, recovery of life pensions collected by former governors and their deputies, and mandating your government to hold to account corrupt electricity contractors and companies that collected billions of naira but disappeared with public funds without executing any projects.”

“The continuing failure to enforce these judgments has contributed to increasing level of borrowing, and in the process, the inability to fulfil the country’s anti-corruption and human rights obligations to progressively realize the human rights of poor and vulnerable Nigerians, including their rights to affordable and decent health care, clean water, adequate sanitation, and education.”

“As the National Bureau of Statistics stated, the country’s GDP recorded a negative growth of 3.62 per cent in the third quarter of 2020. The country had earlier recorded a 6.10 per cent contraction in the second quarter.”

“SERAP therefore urges you to prioritise citizens’ socio-economic rights and undertake comprehensive reform to stem grand corruption including in MDAs, hold corrupt electricity contractors to hold, fully recover all stolen public funds, and life pensions collected by former governors and their deputies, and ensure a transparent and accountable spending of any recovered public funds on projects that will directly benefit poor and vulnerable Nigerians.”

SERAP also urged President Buhari to:

  1. Increase investment in public health, the healthcare system, education services, provision of clean water and other basic public goods and services that will benefit majority of the population;
  2. Re-direct budgetary allocations to renovate the National Assembly complex and take urgent steps to ensure that essential public goods and services are available to poor and vulnerable Nigerians;
  3. Improve transparency and quality of information in government budgets and reform public financial management to bring it in line with international standards, and safeguard the right of media and civil society to speak out against corruption and human rights abuses;
  4. Direct the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to urgently undertake a downward review of remuneration and allowances of all political office holders including President, Vice-President state governors and their deputies, and members of the National Assembly, consistent with the provisions of paragraph N, 32[c][d] of the Third Schedule, Part 1 of the Nigerian Constitution;
  5. Regularly and widely publish full accounts of projected and actual government revenues and expenditures;
  6. Immediately instruct the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to jointly investigate allegations of systemic and widespread corruption in MDAs, as documented by the Auditor-General of the Federation, and to ensure effective prosecution of those suspected to be involved, and recovery of any stolen public funds;
  7. Ensure independence of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation

Kolawole Oluwadare

SERAP Deputy Director

22/11/2020

Lagos, Nigeria

Emails: info@serap-nigeria.orgnews@serap-nigeria.org

Twitter: @SERAPNigeria

Website: www.serap-nigeria.org

For more information or to request an interview, please contact us on: +2348160537202

Categories
ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard

FG Reiterates Commitment to Completing Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria -Kano Dual Carriageway 

 

 

 

Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to completing the ongoing reconstruction of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway.

 

He stated this at the town hall meeting of stakeholders organised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing held in the Kaduna State University Conference hall, Kaduna on Thursday.

 

Fashola said, “ Mr. President is more passionate and concerned about finishing this road and many others before his constitutional term ends.”

 

He also said the objective of the town hall meeting was to expose the realities and explain the challenges involved in the construction of the road.

 

Responding to various questions from stakeholders who wanted to know why the construction work on the road was taking too long, the Minister explained that one of the reasons why work could not commence early on the road was as a result of the request made by the some members of the National Assembly to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes.

 

In his words, “Shortly after we flagged off the road, we received a letter from the Senators in the National Assembly asking the Federal Government to expand the road from two lanes to three lanes, that was not from us ,it was from the National Assembly,  the Senators and they wrote to the President and copied my Ministry.

 

Explaining further, Fashola stated that based on the directive from the Presidency to undertake that expansion, “we needed to redesign an expansion to accommodate about 40 different bridges on this road to align with the lanes.

 

” So if they are going to expand from two to three lanes, a new design needed to be created. The process for doing that required us to hire a design consultant. We had to follow the procurement process established by the National Assembly,” he said

 

Accordingly he said, the procurement process is a long one which entails advertising, waiting for a period of six weeks after advertisement, reviewing of tender, picking of consultant and going to the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) and finally to the Federal Executive Council for approval to hire a consultant to do the design requested.

 

 

The Minister also disclosed that, after going through all the processes of procurement for redesigning to three lanes, the Ministry received another instruction to revert back to two lanes due to paucity of fund.

 

Fashola also attributed the delay in completion to the total length of the road and the process of construction.

 

He explained, “Each Lane is 375km. So if you multiply that by four, we are building a thousand and five hundred kilometres of highway. No matter how hard you tried to work, if there was 25 hours in one day to do this work, we will commit to it, but the truth is that materials take time to react, minimum and maximum processes must be observed. “

 

Responding to a question on the Kaduna  Western By-pass, the Minister explained that the Kaduna State government  initially requested it to be transferred to  the State and the request was granted, but later due to the inability of the state to raise the financing for it , the commencement of the work was stalled.

 

He added that, a recommendation to put the project under the Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme was later considered and approved.

 

He explained, “As far as the Western By-pass is concerned, let me also say that it is on record, Kaduna State was the first State to apply for the transfer of Federal Road to them, that I recommended to the Federal Executive Council and Council approved and I transferred it to the State Governor in his first term. It was after the unsuccessful attempt by the Kaduna State government to raise financing that we recommended that it be put under the Infrastructure Tax Credit  Scheme.”

 

 

In her response to some of the questions raised at the the town hall meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs  Zainab Ahmed stated that her ministry would work closely with the Ministry of Works and Housing and Messrs Julius Berger to expeditiously work on the reconstruction of  the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway in order to ensure completion before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

 

She explained that the issue of funding has been addressed because the Ministry of Finance has given Six hundred and fifty million US dollars ($650,000,000 USD)  to the National Sovereign Investment Authority  (NSIA) whose responsibility is to generate additional fund to ensure that the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway and other designated projects are fully funded.

 

In his address, the leader of the delegation and Chief of Staff to President Muhammad Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, assured the people that  President Muhammad Buhari’s “commitment is real and is going to be realizable before the end of his tenure.”

 

The Managing Director of Messrs. Julius Berger, who also made presentation at the town hall meeting, revealed that the company has introduced a new innovative Cold Recycling method of constructing roads in Nigeria, which he said is being used for the first time on Nigerian roads for the on going  reconstruction of Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano dual carriageway way.

 

He listed the benefits of Cold Recycling as achieving shorter construction time, conservation of resources, cost effectiveness,  enhancing road safety and impacting positively on the environment.

 

The Managing Director also stated that the scope of work on the roads have been divided into  three sections which are; Section One,  Abuja to Kaduna road with 165.5km;  Second Section is Kaduna to Zaria with 73.4km and the Third Section is Zaria to Kano with 137.0km .

 

In attendance at the town hall meeting were the Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe who represented the Governor, representatives of the Niger State Governor, Commissioner for Works and Housing and that of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Engineer Shehu Hadiza Ahmed.

 

Other Stakeholders at the meeting were legislators from both the National and State Assemblies from the concerned states ,  representatives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Community and traditional institutions.

 

 

Boade Akinola

Deputy Director Press & Public Relations

 

 

Friday, November 20, 2020

 

 

Our meeting with FG, a step forward – COEASU President 

 

President of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Comrade Nuhu Ogirima, has disclosed that the Federal Government (FG) eventually called the academic body for a meeting to discuss the various issues for which the union has been threatening to embark on industrial action.

 

Ogirima, who has been championing the cause for better funding for colleges of education in the country and improved welfare for the staff, said the meeting which held on Monday, 16th November, 2020, was a  step forward.

 

“The Federal Government has started paying the salary shortfall to the Federal Colleges of Education, as being done to other MDAs. The procedure is that submissions made by the colleges would have to go through the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing (PICA). PICA will check and verify. After PICA’s verification, the Office of the Accountant General will pay. As a matter of fact, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has commenced payment of some of the verified outstanding arrears of promotion and shortfall to Federal Colleges of Education. On the Visitation Panel, constitution of Governing Councils, release of funds for Needs Assessment and others, we are awaiting government written response to that effect for transmission to NEC. That was what they resolved at the meeting,” Ogirima said.

 

He further revealed that a meeting of the Union’s NEC would be convened from December 9 to 12 where details of the deliberations with the FG’s delegation will be conveyed to the members.

 

According to him, the FG’s team that met with COEASU was made up of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, the Permanent Secretary and top Directors of the Federal Ministry of Education.

 

On the issue of the Colleges of Education Amendment Bill, the union leader expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far, stating that “Our bill, that is the Colleges of Education Establishment Amendment Bill, before the National Assembly has been taken at its first reading on the floor of the Senate. But for the ongoing budget defence process at NASS the second reading would have been done by now. So, I can tell you that the bill is progressing. Recall that the Bill was passed by the 8th NASS in 2018 but for undisclosed reasons, it was not sent to Mr. President for assent.”

 

 

 

LASG READS RIOT ACT TO MOTORCYCLES, TRICYCLE OPERATORS

….Says restriction on Okada riders from plying bridges, major highways still in force

…Traffic offenders will face the maximum penalty, says Transport Commissioner 

 

Following the flagrant violation of the traffic laws and other anomalies on the roads, Lagos State Government on Thursday read the riot act to motorcycle and tricycle operators, noting that the restriction on them from plying 10 major highways, 40 bridges and roads within six local governments and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the State is still in force.

 

The State Government also expressed government’s displeasure at the disobedience to the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018 which restricts the operations of commercial motorcycles riders known as Okada and driving against traffic, known as one way driving.

 

Speaking during a press conference held at Alausa in Ikeja on traffic rules violation, Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the game is over for traffic offenders, especially the menace and impunity of commercial motorcycles and tricycles’ operators in the State.

 

The Commissioner said all commercial transport operators must carry out their daily activities within the approved routes in Lagos State, adding that any motorist caught driving against traffic will face the maximum penalty and will equally be charged to the court of law under the transport sector reform law of Lagos 2018.

 

He said: “Our Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has since his assumption of office prioritized his administration’s development agenda encapsulated as THEMES. The T stands for Traffic Management and Transportation.  In the last one and a half years, Mr. Governor has demonstrated his affirmed commitment to our roads, reform complex junctions to promote better traffic flow, invested in water and land transportation through the provision of ferries and high capacity buses.

 

“In spite of all the efforts of Mr. Governor to reform our transport sector, it is therefore disheartening to note a lot of our people are still going against the extant law of the state on transport operation and safe driving on our roads and in our communities. The State Government prioritises the safety and security of the people. As a government, we cannot continue to watch this lawlessness develop into an uncontrollable situation.

 

“I say the game is over because in the last few months, we have witnessed a lot of security and safety challenges apparently as a result of the activities of unscrupulous ‘Okada riders.’ These operators do not only violate the provisions of the Transport Sector Reform Law of Lagos State, 2018 with respect to restriction of areas of operations, but perpetrate crime using their motorcycles.”

 

Oladeinde while stressing the need for sanity on the roads within Lagos, said the restriction of motorcycles on certain routes in Lagos State is still in force and failure to comply with the law will attract sanctions as stipulated in the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018, with penalties ranging from N20, 000 to three months imprisonment.

 

 

He said: “In line with this Administration’s plan to build Lagos that works for all, we are determined to continue to engage with the various transport unions and associations of tricycle and okada operator to ensure their members cooperate with us in the process of ensuring public safety by abiding with the TSRL 2018 at all time.

 

“With the upsurge in the number of commercial motorcycle operators, we shall intensify our enforcement strategy. This we intend to carry out along with the various transport union leaders. We will set up a joint enforcement team to ensure that our roads are sanitised from the menace of okada riders.

 

“We hereby direct all law enforcement agencies; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Taskforce and the Nigerian Police to immediately and continuously embark on enforcement on all restricted routes.”

 

The Commissioner also urged the media to do more by enlightening drivers on the danger of one way driving. “Obedience to the law was paramount if we must build a state of our dreams. We all have joint responsibilities to make the state work for all,” he said.

 

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, implored all road users, especially commercial transport operators to be law abiding.

 

He urged transport unions to wake up and caution their members who flout traffic rules, saying the government had directed law enforcement agencies to clampdown on them.

 

The Deputy Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Sulyman Ojora, during the press conference assured Lagos State Government of the support and cooperation of the union in ensuring that traffic offenders are brought to book.

 

He also advised law enforcement agencies not to trouble the law abiding members of the union, saying that NURTW members are law abiding and they are fully ready to discipline any members whenever they violate any traffic laws.

 

Also speaking, the representative of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Ayinde Runmokun said that most erring riders were alien to the union, saying that the union was concerned about flagrant disregard of law by some motorists and riders.

 

He also urged the government to carry the transport union along in the constitution of the task force for the enforcement of the law.

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

NOVEMBER 19, 2020

CDWR Condemns hike in Petrol and Electricity Prices

NLC and TUC Rotten Compromise and Official Acceptance of Deregulation and Privatisation Strengthen the Hands of Buhari

We demand an end to Deregulation and Privatisation Policies; for a public sector-led economy under the democratic control and management of workers and consumers

Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) condemns the increase in petrol price from N162 to N170 per litre; we also condemn hike in electricity tariff by over 100%. There is no doubt that these increments will worsen the rising cost of living and deepen poverty. The rising cost of living in the last 7 months alone has wiped out the N30,000 minimum wage, more so when some states are yet to implement the minimum wage while the rightwing labour leaders feel unconcerned. Nigerian workers and the poor masses are groaning under the weight of anti-masses neo-liberal capitalist policies, there is increasingly mass suffering in the midst of abundance.

The rotten compromise by rightwing leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their official acceptance of Deregulation and Privatisation have emboldened the Buhari-led government and the capitalist ruling elite to increase prices and continue the attack on living conditions of the vast majority of workers and the poor masses. These rightwing labour leaders will not be affected by these attacks because they are aristocrats whose living conditions are far and above that of rank and file workers.

Although, the Ayuba Wabba-led NLC and Olaleye-led TUC have issued a statement condemning the new hike in petrol price, these are face-saving responses, they are only playing to the gallery; it is not new as the Congresses leadership do nothing beyond the issuance of press statements, workers and the poor masses read these statements with scorn and derision as NLC and TUC have become a joke and their leaders are seen as a bunch of betrayals. The fact is that officially agreeing and endorsing deregulation and privatization is a betrayal of the working class.

The official document that was released by labour and government on September 27, 2020, was clear that the rightwing labour leaders led by Ayuba Wabba and Olalekan Olaleye agreed to a rotten deal that accepted deregulation of the downstream oil sector in exchange for very ridiculous and insulting palliatives that will have no bearing on the living conditions of workers let alone the vast majority of the suffering masses.

These worthless palliatives Ayuba Wabba got as a result of futile negotiation is an indication of a leadership that has joined the dubious ruling elite to exploit workers. To show that Ayuba Wabba-led rightwing reactionary leadership is playing games with Nigerian workers, the letter it issued to presidents and General Secretaries of the affiliated unions and dated September 16, 2020, in preparation for September 28, 2020, general strike stated that Buhari-led government failed to implement its promise anchored on its Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) to refine 70% of petroleum products locally but somersaulted on September 27, 2020 (11 days later) that the same failed government should rehabilitate refineries after deregulation has been accepted by Labour? These rightwing labour leaders are speaking from both sides of their mouth, they are playing ostrich with Nigerians.

Deregulation and privatisation simply means handing over the oil and power sectors to private companies and allowing the market forces to determine the prices. In line with this new market pricing, the price of petrol and other petroleum products will soar, electricity tariff will skyrocket considering continuous devaluation of Nigerian currency (Naira), weak infrastructure and a possible rise in crude oil price. Refineries were left comatose to allow private oil companies to remain in the business of exploiting the people; the current appalling state of the refineries is a product of deliberate sabotage by the capitalist state aimed at sustaining the massive exploitation of the vast majority and these labour leaders know this. In this same vein, the more money spent on the power sector, the more darkness is supplied, tariff should be coming down rather than going up if over $20 billion spent was well spent. Rather, a chunk of this public funds investment have been stolen, leaving consumers at the mercy of greedy and rapacious electricity companies (DISCOs and GENCOs).

Some of these tokenist palliatives even if it takes off will amount to too little with no effect; what effect will 133 buses have in the lives of Nigerian workers? At best, these rightwing labour leaders will mismanage 133 buses into their pocket, the same way Labour City Transport Services was mismanaged. It is shameless for the rightwing labour leaders to rely on a failed palliative, a concept the government uses to deceive the masses.  Similarly, we have not forgotten the housing scheme spearheaded by the NLC and became a scandal while many unsuspecting workers lost their money. One of the reasons these rightwing labour leaders went for “palliatives” is because it is an avenue to enrich themselves; secondly, it gives them the alibi not to challenge Buhari’s government and the capitalist ruling elite.

The rightwing labour leaders are also failing Nigerian workers when they come under attack by management and that explains the reason casualization, outsourcing and other indecent labour practices are widespread. The same way Ayuba Wabba-led leadership entered into a rotten deal with the government, these rightwing leaders also enter into a rotten deal with private employers of labour in enslaving Nigerian workers- it is unfortunate.

Workers and the poor masses must begin the struggle to defeat the deregulation of the oil sector and privatization of the power sector. Workers must also fight to rescue the trade unions from these rightwing reactionary trade union leaders, bring about a fighting leadership, restore democracy in the trade unions and use the unions to defend the rights and interests of workers and the poor masses.

CDWR demands the reversal of petrol price to N87 and electricity tariff to N13 kwh as a step towards bringing down the price further. We demand the turnaround of the existing four refineries and building of new ones. The oil and gas industry, power sector and other commanding heights of the economy should be nationalized under the management and control of workers and consumers in order to end this monumental exploitation, looting and suffering in the midst of plenty.

 

SIGNED

Comrade Rufus Olusesan                                        Comrade Chinedu Bosah

National Chairperson                                                  National Publicity Secretary

Categories
Lagos LAGOS BLAZERS LAGOS BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL TIMES Lagos Central LAGOS CHRONICLE Lagos Chronicles LAGOS CITY NEWS LAGOS DAILY LAGOS DAILY NEWSPAPER LAGOS DAILY OBSERVER LAGOS DISPATCH Lagos East LAGOS ENTREPRENEURS LAGOS EVENING NEWS LAGOS EXPRESS LAGOS FINDER LAGOS FREE PRESS LAGOS GAZETTE LAGOS GOVERNOR LAGOS GRAPHIC LAGOS GREEN DOVE LAGOS GUIDE LAGOS HERALD LAGOS HERITAGE LAGOS INDEPENDENT NEWS LAGOS INSIGHT Lagos Island LAGOS JOURNAL LAGOS MAIL LAGOS MATTER LAGOS MESSENGERS LAGOS MIRROR Lagos News LAGOS OBSERVER Lagos People LAGOS PEOPLE AND PLACES LAGOS PIONEER LAGOS POST LAGOS PRESS LAGOS PUBLIC AGENDA LAGOS SCOOP LAGOS SEARCHLIGHT LAGOS SHOWBIX LAGOS SPECTATOR LAGOS SPORTS LAGOS SQUARE LAGOS STANDARD LAGOS STAR Lagos State Government LAGOS STATESMAN LAGOS TIMELINE LAGOS TIMES LAGOS TODAY LAGOS VIBE LAGOS VOICE Lagos West LAGOS WORDS

LASG READS RIOT ACT TO MOTORCYCLES, TRICYCLE OPERATORS

….Says restriction on Okada riders from plying bridges, major highways still in force

…Traffic offenders will face the maximum penalty, says Transport Commissioner 

 

Following the flagrant violation of the traffic laws and other anomalies on the roads, Lagos State Government on Thursday read the riot act to motorcycle and tricycle operators, noting that the restriction on them from plying 10 major highways, 40 bridges and roads within six local governments and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the State is still in force.

 

The State Government also expressed government’s displeasure at the disobedience to the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018 which restricts the operations of commercial motorcycles riders known as Okada and driving against traffic, known as one way driving.

 

Speaking during a press conference held at Alausa in Ikeja on traffic rules violation, Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the game is over for traffic offenders, especially the menace and impunity of commercial motorcycles and tricycles’ operators in the State.

 

The Commissioner said all commercial transport operators must carry out their daily activities within the approved routes in Lagos State, adding that any motorist caught driving against traffic will face the maximum penalty and will equally be charged to the court of law under the transport sector reform law of Lagos 2018.

 

He said: “Our Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has since his assumption of office prioritized his administration’s development agenda encapsulated as THEMES. The T stands for Traffic Management and Transportation.  In the last one and a half years, Mr. Governor has demonstrated his affirmed commitment to our roads, reform complex junctions to promote better traffic flow, invested in water and land transportation through the provision of ferries and high capacity buses.

 

“In spite of all the efforts of Mr. Governor to reform our transport sector, it is therefore disheartening to note a lot of our people are still going against the extant law of the state on transport operation and safe driving on our roads and in our communities. The State Government prioritises the safety and security of the people. As a government, we cannot continue to watch this lawlessness develop into an uncontrollable situation.

 

“I say the game is over because in the last few months, we have witnessed a lot of security and safety challenges apparently as a result of the activities of unscrupulous ‘Okada riders.’ These operators do not only violate the provisions of the Transport Sector Reform Law of Lagos State, 2018 with respect to restriction of areas of operations, but perpetrate crime using their motorcycles.”

 

Oladeinde while stressing the need for sanity on the roads within Lagos, said the restriction of motorcycles on certain routes in Lagos State is still in force and failure to comply with the law will attract sanctions as stipulated in the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018, with penalties ranging from N20, 000 to three months imprisonment.

 

 

He said: “In line with this Administration’s plan to build Lagos that works for all, we are determined to continue to engage with the various transport unions and associations of tricycle and okada operator to ensure their members cooperate with us in the process of ensuring public safety by abiding with the TSRL 2018 at all time.

 

“With the upsurge in the number of commercial motorcycle operators, we shall intensify our enforcement strategy. This we intend to carry out along with the various transport union leaders. We will set up a joint enforcement team to ensure that our roads are sanitised from the menace of okada riders.

 

“We hereby direct all law enforcement agencies; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Taskforce and the Nigerian Police to immediately and continuously embark on enforcement on all restricted routes.”

 

The Commissioner also urged the media to do more by enlightening drivers on the danger of one way driving. “Obedience to the law was paramount if we must build a state of our dreams. We all have joint responsibilities to make the state work for all,” he said.

 

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, implored all road users, especially commercial transport operators to be law abiding.

 

He urged transport unions to wake up and caution their members who flout traffic rules, saying the government had directed law enforcement agencies to clampdown on them.

 

The Deputy Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Sulyman Ojora, during the press conference assured Lagos State Government of the support and cooperation of the union in ensuring that traffic offenders are brought to book.

 

He also advised law enforcement agencies not to trouble the law abiding members of the union, saying that NURTW members are law abiding and they are fully ready to discipline any members whenever they violate any traffic laws.

 

Also speaking, the representative of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Ayinde Runmokun said that most erring riders were alien to the union, saying that the union was concerned about flagrant disregard of law by some motorists and riders.

 

He also urged the government to carry the transport union along in the constitution of the task force for the enforcement of the law.

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

NOVEMBER 19, 2020

CDWR Condemns hike in Petrol and Electricity Prices

NLC and TUC Rotten Compromise and Official Acceptance of Deregulation and Privatisation Strengthen the Hands of Buhari

We demand an end to Deregulation and Privatisation Policies; for a public sector-led economy under the democratic control and management of workers and consumers

Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) condemns the increase in petrol price from N162 to N170 per litre; we also condemn hike in electricity tariff by over 100%. There is no doubt that these increments will worsen the rising cost of living and deepen poverty. The rising cost of living in the last 7 months alone has wiped out the N30,000 minimum wage, more so when some states are yet to implement the minimum wage while the rightwing labour leaders feel unconcerned. Nigerian workers and the poor masses are groaning under the weight of anti-masses neo-liberal capitalist policies, there is increasingly mass suffering in the midst of abundance.

The rotten compromise by rightwing leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their official acceptance of Deregulation and Privatisation have emboldened the Buhari-led government and the capitalist ruling elite to increase prices and continue the attack on living conditions of the vast majority of workers and the poor masses. These rightwing labour leaders will not be affected by these attacks because they are aristocrats whose living conditions are far and above that of rank and file workers.

Although, the Ayuba Wabba-led NLC and Olaleye-led TUC have issued a statement condemning the new hike in petrol price, these are face-saving responses, they are only playing to the gallery; it is not new as the Congresses leadership do nothing beyond the issuance of press statements, workers and the poor masses read these statements with scorn and derision as NLC and TUC have become a joke and their leaders are seen as a bunch of betrayals. The fact is that officially agreeing and endorsing deregulation and privatization is a betrayal of the working class.

The official document that was released by labour and government on September 27, 2020, was clear that the rightwing labour leaders led by Ayuba Wabba and Olalekan Olaleye agreed to a rotten deal that accepted deregulation of the downstream oil sector in exchange for very ridiculous and insulting palliatives that will have no bearing on the living conditions of workers let alone the vast majority of the suffering masses.

These worthless palliatives Ayuba Wabba got as a result of futile negotiation is an indication of a leadership that has joined the dubious ruling elite to exploit workers. To show that Ayuba Wabba-led rightwing reactionary leadership is playing games with Nigerian workers, the letter it issued to presidents and General Secretaries of the affiliated unions and dated September 16, 2020, in preparation for September 28, 2020, general strike stated that Buhari-led government failed to implement its promise anchored on its Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) to refine 70% of petroleum products locally but somersaulted on September 27, 2020 (11 days later) that the same failed government should rehabilitate refineries after deregulation has been accepted by Labour? These rightwing labour leaders are speaking from both sides of their mouth, they are playing ostrich with Nigerians.

Deregulation and privatisation simply means handing over the oil and power sectors to private companies and allowing the market forces to determine the prices. In line with this new market pricing, the price of petrol and other petroleum products will soar, electricity tariff will skyrocket considering continuous devaluation of Nigerian currency (Naira), weak infrastructure and a possible rise in crude oil price. Refineries were left comatose to allow private oil companies to remain in the business of exploiting the people; the current appalling state of the refineries is a product of deliberate sabotage by the capitalist state aimed at sustaining the massive exploitation of the vast majority and these labour leaders know this. In this same vein, the more money spent on the power sector, the more darkness is supplied, tariff should be coming down rather than going up if over $20 billion spent was well spent. Rather, a chunk of this public funds investment have been stolen, leaving consumers at the mercy of greedy and rapacious electricity companies (DISCOs and GENCOs).

Some of these tokenist palliatives even if it takes off will amount to too little with no effect; what effect will 133 buses have in the lives of Nigerian workers? At best, these rightwing labour leaders will mismanage 133 buses into their pocket, the same way Labour City Transport Services was mismanaged. It is shameless for the rightwing labour leaders to rely on a failed palliative, a concept the government uses to deceive the masses.  Similarly, we have not forgotten the housing scheme spearheaded by the NLC and became a scandal while many unsuspecting workers lost their money. One of the reasons these rightwing labour leaders went for “palliatives” is because it is an avenue to enrich themselves; secondly, it gives them the alibi not to challenge Buhari’s government and the capitalist ruling elite.

The rightwing labour leaders are also failing Nigerian workers when they come under attack by management and that explains the reason casualization, outsourcing and other indecent labour practices are widespread. The same way Ayuba Wabba-led leadership entered into a rotten deal with the government, these rightwing leaders also enter into a rotten deal with private employers of labour in enslaving Nigerian workers- it is unfortunate.

Workers and the poor masses must begin the struggle to defeat the deregulation of the oil sector and privatization of the power sector. Workers must also fight to rescue the trade unions from these rightwing reactionary trade union leaders, bring about a fighting leadership, restore democracy in the trade unions and use the unions to defend the rights and interests of workers and the poor masses.

CDWR demands the reversal of petrol price to N87 and electricity tariff to N13 kwh as a step towards bringing down the price further. We demand the turnaround of the existing four refineries and building of new ones. The oil and gas industry, power sector and other commanding heights of the economy should be nationalized under the management and control of workers and consumers in order to end this monumental exploitation, looting and suffering in the midst of plenty.

 

SIGNED

Comrade Rufus Olusesan                                        Comrade Chinedu Bosah

National Chairperson                                                  National Publicity Secretary

Categories
ABIA STATE Abigborodo ABUA ODUAI Abuja Abuja News Abuja People Abuja Pilot Abuja Punch Abuja Sun Abuja Times Abuja Vanguard Uncategorized

Hope not lost, says Okpe Union President

 

HRM Maj. Gen. Felix A. Mujakperuo (rtd) Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom 2012

 

‘’All hope is not lost on Okpe,’s future despite its current travails, President General of the Okpe Union, Mr. Patrick Akpotor, affirmed at the weekend.

In a State of the Union address in Lagos, Akpotor hinged his optimism on the union’s plans to use the political, traditional and trade union leadership of the area to get a fair deal for the kingdom.

He called on Okpe politicians to close ranks to project a common front to the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to revisit the issue of Sapele Polytechnic, Elume, the only higher institution proposed for Okpe land.

Akpotor said that a kingdom highly respected for industrialization, degenerated to one of the poorest kingdoms in Nigeria.

‘The dwindling economic fortune of Okpeland calls for urgent attention. Many companies and establishments which have accounted for the employment of our youths and teaming population have relocated out of Okpeland. In 2017, one of the highest employing companies in Okpeland and Delta State located in Sapele, Eternit Ltd folded up and relocated its proposed huge infrastructure installation to Emenite Ltd, Enugu for the inability of the investors of the company(which include the Delta State Government) to raise the sum of one billion naira only. Our area lost the thousands of direct and indirect jobs thereby’’.

The union’s president complained about the African Timber and Plywood.

‘’The largest of all, the African Timber and Plywood is in a sorry state now as production is hardly taking place there now despite the reported take over by the Delta State Government. The exact investment structure of the company is currently shrouded in misery. The NTA Amukpe has ended its operations reportedly because of seven hundred thousand naira for equipment. Many smaller companies and enterprises have gone under too’’ he said.

The community leader said there was no reason whatsoever for Okpe Local Government not to have a bank.

‘’It is shocking to realize that Okpe Local Government Area does not have a bank. The bulk of the salaries of council workers, primary school teachers, the Udogun Okpe accounts, and the several towns and villages around Orerokpe are sufficient to attract a commercial bank to Orerokpe if we can get the political, traditional and trade union leadership of the area to act in concert.

He also restated his stand on the advisory role of the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, Orhue 1, saying there is no law whether of the Constitution, Federal Act, or State law which empowers His Royal Majesty to set up caretaker committee for the Okpe Union.

‘’The Okpe Union Constitution does not contain any provisions for such. It does not provide for any role for his Royal Majesty. As the Royal father of the Okpe Nation, we have always received advice from our Orodje. However, it is clear that our royal father by the decree of the 3rd of October, 2020, has overthrown and suspended the constitution of the Okpe Union which is a registered organisation under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its legally recognised independence. There is no law whether of the constitution, federal Act, or State law which empowers His Royal Majesty to do so’ he said.

The role of the Okpe monarch was equally addressed by Akpotor.

‘’The Okpe Union is a registered organization under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its registered constitution. Allowing the overthrow of the Union is the beginning of the destabilization and destruction of the Okpe Union which our forefathers handed over to us as independent of the Palace. We must collectively protect the respected traditional stool of the Okpe people from coming down to matters which do not fall within its legal jurisdiction. The Okpe Union has always had its autonomy and mechanisms of internal dispute resolutions.

The 2020 annual national conference of the Okpe union was held in Lagos on Saturday, November 14, 2020.

“The Union shall not be governed nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the government of the Union or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of this constitution. The Okpe Union is an organisation which has membership. It is not every Okpe person that is a member of the Okpe Union. The reported interim National Executive Council by the Orodje decree of the 3rd of October, 2020 has only two members of the Okpe Union out of nine. The Okpe Union Constitution has no provisions for the role any external powers within or outside Okpe Kingdom’’ the community leader said.

Akpotor listed poor power supply and the current activities of government backed touts who harass vehicles bringing goods to and from the area especially Sapele on the pretext of stickers and other charges as factors militating against the growth of smaller enterprises in Okpeland

‘’It is said that trucks from different parts of the country are scared of bringing goods to our area and many a time ask that the goods will be dropped at neighbouring cities’’.

To improve job creation and enhance economic activities in Okpeland, Akpotor called for a multi-faceted approach.

‘’The power sector has to improve, the conduct of our youths has to encourage investors and the agricultural sector like palm trees, cocoa, fish breeding, livestock and the like have to be exploited. The Okpe area has comparative advantages in many of these areas and the hydra headed problems of unemployment and poverty have to be addressed from this robust perspective’’.

He called on the government of Delta State as well as the administration of the two local government councils of Okpeland to intervene in the issue of hindrances to businesses regarding free movement of goods to and from , the Okpe Kingdom which have brought down businesses enterprises and activities in the area.

‘’The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration of Delta State needs to revisit the matter of the proposed Sapele Polytechnic as there is yet to be a higher institution in the two local government areas of Okpe Kingdom’’.

On the recent End Sars protests nationwide, Akpotor urged both the federal and state governments to achieve synergy in ensuring that the Nigeria Police Force is restructured in such a way that guarantees the protection of lives and property of Nigerians.

Akpotor said he was worried about the current controversial Water Resources Bill at the National Assembly.

‘’Firstly, it is a misnomer for there to be an attempt for the central government in a federal system to make provisions for a legal framework which attempts to cover the entire field of water resources management. That can only be tolerated in a unitary system. One problem of the Nigerian governance system is that after transition from military administrations in Nigeria which are basically unitary with concentration of powers at the centre, we as a country neglected to firstly restructure the country to a federal system. The adoption of a new imposed constitution is not sufficient in getting back the country to a federal system. The existing water resources legislations have already violated the federal nature of the Nigerian system of government. Much of the contents of the controversial Water Resources Bill like control of rivers and other water bodies as well as underground water are purely within the jurisdiction of the state governments and communities of the local government councils’’.

He called on the various ethnic nationalities of Nigeria especially those of the Niger Delta to close ranks and present a common front not only to prevent the passage of the current Water Resources Bill but also to evaluate existing ones which have already violated the agreed federal principles for the governance of Nigeria at independence.

‘’Okpe Union was founded by our forefathers officially in 1930. It was registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria in 1934 under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Ordinance No. 22 of 1924. We celebrate our founders’ day 16th May of every year. The Union which started in Lagos has grown to several towns, cities and countries of the world. At a point especially between the 1970s and the 1980s, the union could boast of no less than sixty branches. Though there has been a drawback in its growth in recent decades, we have started experiencing some revival of the Union due to increase in communication from especially new media as well as the dedication to duty of the current leadership’’ he added.

 

2023 Polls: Okpe leaders insist on governorship

 

  • Move against traditional ruler

  • Declare Action Unconstitutional

  • Urge FG to transform Sapele Technical College to a Federal University or Polytechnic

  • Appeal to Okowa to complete the Delta State Polytechnic, Elume

  • Suspend Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni from  Okpe Union

 

Prominent Okpe leaders on Saturday descended on the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, Orhue 1, accusing him of plotting to destroy the union of the ancient kingdom.

They also called on politicians and other stakeholders to zone the 2023 governorship of Delta State to the Okpe Nation.

‘’The Okpe Nation has played a continuous uniting role and stability of the state. There are notable Okpe personalities in the government and politics of Delta State that are qualified and loved by the people of the different ethnic nationalities of the state’’

At a press conference in Lagos, the leaders said there were no doubts as to whether the Okpe Kingdom would produce the next governor of Delta State.

In a communiqué read to newsmen by the President General of Okpe Union Headquarters, Mr. Patrick Akpotor in Okpe House, Obalende, Lagos State after the Okpe Uunion National Conference, the leaders rejected the purported dissolution of the National Executive Council of the Okpe Union and imposition of a Nine-member Interim National Executive Council for two years.

‘’It is unconstitutional, illegal, and void’’ the leaders said.

They unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the current National Executive Council of the Okpe Union led by Mr. Patrick Akpotor and extended the tenure of the current leadership for five months to enable it conduct a credible free and fair election in compliance with the Okpe Union constitution and the wishes of the majority of Okpe people.

‘’The Okpe Union 2020 National conference considered the state of the Okpe Union and recent developments regarding the purported dissolution of the elected national leadership of the Union including imposition of an interim committee of the Okpe Union. The conference noted that the Okpe Union, being a registered organization under the Lands Perpetual Succession Ordinance of 1924 and thus under the Corporate Affairs Commission, is an autonomous organization with its constitution and under Nigerian federal laws that govern incorporated non-governmental organizations.

The leaders explained that there was no cause to panic as the Executive Committee would tackle the challenges facing the union.

Particularly, the leaders nominated and adopted 15 Okpe personalities to be recommended to the Corporate Affairs Commission for registration as members of the Board of Trustees.

The leaders applauded the peaceful nature of all Okpe people.

‘’Remain law abiding and support the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Delta State government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’’

The leaders appealed to the Federal Government to reward the Okpe people, being one of the highest oil and gas producing ethnic nationalities in the Niger-Delta.

‘’Consider the reopening of the Sapele Sea Port which lies in the best fresh water harbor in the country’’

They also asked the Federal Government to transform the Sapele Technical College, one of the oldest in Nigeria to a Federal University or Polytechnic to create capacity in the teeming youths of the area and generate employability.

The leaders called on the Delta State government to complete the Delta State Polytechnic, Elume, Sapele which construction commenced during the administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.

‘’That Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni who are the only Okpe Union members amongst the imposed Interim National Executive Council are hereby suspended indefinitely from the Okpe Union’’

The Conference also nominated and adopted a five-man Electoral Committee to organize elections into the National Executive Council of the Okpe Union within five months from 14th November, 2020.

 

EndSARS: APC GOVERNORS HAIL SANWO-OLU’S LEADERSHIP

Governors under the aegis of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) on Tuesday visited Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to commiserate with him and the people of Lagos State over the recent destruction of public and private properties in the State in the aftermath of the  youth protests.

Speaking to journalists after a closed door session with Governor Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Marina, the chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu, on behalf of All Progressives Congress (APC) governors commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for demonstrating leadership during the protests.

The Progressives Governors Forum delegation to Lagos State comprised Bagudu; Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni; Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong and Jigawa State Governor, Muhammed Badaru.

Governor Bagudu said the APC governors are committed to good governance and making life comfortable for youths in Nigeria. “We want our young men and women to have fulfilling jobs and opportunities both locally and internationally. But this will take continuous engagement and dialogue,” he said.

The PGF chairman said they decided to visit Governor Sanwo-Olu to encourage him and his team and to further show solidarity with the people of Lagos State.

He said: “We come to encourage our colleague and his team and to further show solidarity with the people of Lagos that we are all in it together. This evening Governor Sanwo-Olu showed us some of the pictures of some of the devastating damages that were caused by the violence. And it is very clear that violence does not solve any problem; it compounds it.

“Today Lagos has further taken a loss because of that violence that has attacked everything; police stations, cultural institutions, two palaces and public facilities, loss of lives and other incidents. It is now very clear that the wise people of Lagos and all of us have known better that yes, our young persons have the right to express their feelings, we have to dialogue with them.  But also as ambassadors of the family at different respective families and parents, we also have to appreciate that we are in it all together.

“You are not alone; we support them. We went to give them the support of a united strong country so that they can go into the world with pride. But they have seen how nobility of any course can be overtaken by those who otherwise have agendas that are contrary to what they thought they are out to achieve.

“So, I believe that there is a lesson for all of us and as a country, we need to do more quickly. We are doing well but this is a course that we must do more. In the last six years, Nigeria has had one of the most devastating slow down in the economic activities because of the combination of commodity prices collapse, which is further aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic in the country. But yet Nigeria’s response has led to a drop in the GDP by less than seven per cent, which is one of the best in Africa and indeed in the world.  There are countries where slowdown in the economy activity has been close to 40 per cent per quarter with unemployment.”

The Progressives Governors’ Forum also commended Governor Sanwo-Olu’s leadership in Lagos State during the protests. “We encourage our brother and commend him for the leadership he demonstrated visiting all the hospitals. He was with the youths; he presented their requests to Mr. President. He mobilised his team to respond as kindly, gently and energetically as possible. We must appreciate him.

“He has remained committed till date. The panel (Judicial Panel of Enquiry) he set up is making progress and they are independent. The truth is coming out gradually; it is evolving. So we encourage him. We appreciate the people of Lagos and we are glad that when we came in today, we saw economic activities, the resilience of Lagosians moving in. That is quite commendable and we believe that Lagos will get back its groove and mobilise the nation,” the governors said.

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

NOVEMBER 17, 2020

 

Obasa tutors free scholarships screening commence Thursday

The three days screening exercise in preparation for tutors free Polytechnic and College of Education scholarships sponsoring by the Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa under the auspices of Obasa Movement Initiative, in conjunction with National Image, will commence on Thursday, November 19, 2020 through Saturday November 21, 2020.

A release issued today by the Project Director of The Obasa Movement Initiative Entrepreneurship Empowerment Training with Scholarship to study in Nigeria Polytechnic and College of Education for our teaming Lagosians, Seyi Bamigbade, stated that the three days Computer-Based Testing (CBT) version of the tutors Free Scholarship Screening is scheduled to commence from Thursday – Saturday November 21, 2020, by 8a.m daily at the Speaker Obasa’s Constituency Office: 29, Oluwole Olaniyan Street, Iyana Ipaja, Orile Agege, Lagos.

All interested applicants are expected to come the following items:
a. Original certificate(s) of Educational qualification claimed.
b. Original birth certificate or statutory declaration of age
c. Two (1) Passport size photographs
d. Proof of state of origin signed by the secretary of your Local Government

The registrar of the institutions, Mr Ibitoye T. Abiodun said no applicants will subjected to writing examination but will be screened based on their O’ level result in order to determine those that are qualified for admission into the Polytechnic and College of Education.

The screening date for First Batch Local Council- 8.00 am prompt Daily.

Thursday 19th November, 2020
Alimosho Local Government / Egbe – Idimu, Agbado Oke Odo, Ipaja Ayobo, Igando Ikotun, Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Areas
Agege Local Government / Orile Local Council Development Area
Mushin Local Government / Odi olowo Local Council Development Area
Oshodi Local Government / Isolo & Ejigbo Local Council Development Areas

Friday 20th November, 2020
Ikeja Local Government Local Government / Onigbogbo & Ojudu Local Council Development Areas
Amuwo Local Government / Ori Ade Local Council Development Area
Ifako Local Government / Ojokoro Local Council Development Area
Ojo Local Government / Iba & Olorunda Local Council Development Areas

Saturday 21st November, 2020
Ajeromi Local Government / Ifelodun Local Council Development Area
Badagry Local Government / Badagry West & Olorunda Local Council Development Areas
Eredo Local Council Development Area
Ikorodu Local Government / Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area

While the 2nd series of the Entrepreneurship Empowerment training scheduled to hold first Quarter of year 2021.

The Project Director urged all duly registered applicants to come with their registration slips and ascertain their O’level results.

Mr Seyi advised all interested participants to take cognisance of the prevailing COVID-19 situation and adhere strictly to the laid down guidelines and protocols to contain the spread of the disease at the venue.

 

 

 

 

ACBF hosts Africa Think Tank Summit

The 7th Africa Think Tank Summit hosted by The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development, commenced today.

According to a press release by the ACBF’s Senior Communication Officer, Ntsiuoa Sekete, the virtual Summit which will end tomorrow November 19, is being held under the theme, “Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement: Assessing country readiness and the implications for capacity-building.”

The Summit is meant to provide a platform for African Think Tanks and other key stakeholders to engage in a high-level deliberation on the most effective ways of addressing capacity challenges of Member States in a bid to enhance country readiness and accelerate implementation of the AfCFTA, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACBF’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie says the Summit will examine the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for making the AfCFTA a reality; assess country readiness in the implementation of the AfCFTA; identify and examine key capacity challenges facing countries and other key institutions involved in driving the continental free trade agenda.

“The Summit provides a perfect opportunity for all players to determine the most effective ways of addressing institutional and human capacity challenges facing the implementation of the AfCFTA. Having played a key role in establishment of the majority of the foremost Think Tanks across the Continent, we at ACBF believe that Think Tanks have a critical role to play in making the AfCFTA a reality. Therefore, our goal is to provide the opportunity for a better understanding of the role of Think Tanks and how they can effectively support African countries in addressing AfCFTA-related challenges and in maximizing the benefits of intra-Africa trade,” ACBF helmsman said.

The 2020 Think-Tank Summit is expected to generate partnerships and coordination mechanisms that will enhance capacity development programming and overall efforts in advancing country readiness in implementing and benefiting from the AfCFTA.

The Summit has attracted experts and representatives from at least 45 African Countries, and partner institutions such as the Afreximbank, African Development Bank, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, to mention a few.

Ondo Assembly exonerates OSOPADEC Chairman from financial misappropriation

Mr Olugbenga Edema, the Chairman of Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), was, on Tuesday, exonerated from alleged financial misappropriation by the state House of Assembly.

It would be recalled that an individual had petitioned the Assembly, urging it to investigate the financial activities of the commission, particularly in relation to the projects executed from 2019 till date.

Consequently, the Assembly had set up an ad hoc committee, headed by Mr Samuel Aderoboye, to investigate the allegations.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Bamidele Oloyelogun, commended the committee for doing a thorough job and for submitting its report which cleared Edema.

“I appreciate the committee for doing an unbiased job and for commending the activities of the OSOPADEC chairman.

“He (Edema) is, hereby, exonerated from any alleged financial misappropriation, in accordance with the report of the committee,” Oloyelogun said.