· Commend Sylva for creating 35,000 Jobs in Bayelsa State
Some prominent leaders in the Niger Delta region on Monday urged Nigerians to encourage the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in its efforts to create jobs, develop the oil rich Niger Delta region and tackle youth unemployment in the country.
The eminent leaders also praised President Buhari for his resolve to make the lives of all Nigerians better.
In a statement in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, the leaders praised the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva for going the extra mile, using his good office to pursue the Niger Delta cause and helping the business image of Nigeria in the international scene.
‘’Certainly, Chief Timipre Sylva has further shown that his politics is driven by character, integrity and development’’ the leaders said.
They emphasized the country’s vast endowments, revenue generation, supports for gas based industries and import substitution for methanol needs of the nation.
The leaders also emphasized Sylva’s approach to the development of the oil and gas sector, foreign direct investment, economic diversification, zero gas flaring and community development
Signed by the Chairman of the Niger Delta People’s Movement (NDPM), Mrs. Ibifuro Thompson Tatua, the leaders commended the management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and DSV Engineering for the growth of the nation’s economy.
They pointed out that the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FIB) for the construction of 10,000 tonnes/day methanol production plant by the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company LTD (BFPCL, committing equity investment of US$670m was well timed.
The construction phase is expected to create 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and additional 5,000 permanent jobs during the operations phase.
The leaders described the FID, the Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) led joint venture, off-take agreements and contracts for Engineering Procurement Construction and Technology Provider as another benchmark in the history of Nigeria.
‘’It is a good development that is capable of yielding a beneficial outcome’’ the leaders said.
The statement said the Niger Delta leaders would continue to pray for the success of the President Muhammadu led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
President Buhari in July, 2020 approved the development of the Brass Gas Company with the sole aim of aggregating and monetizing all stranded gas in the Brass area.
Notable women in the South-West on Tuesday scolded the leader of the Indigenous people of BiafraI (POD), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu for creating enmity and cutting a bad image for the South-East.
‘’We feel very sorry for the people who listen to the sermons of the mischief maker and the voice of disunity, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’’ the women said.
Expressing concern over the potential implications of statements credited to the IPOD leader, the women condemned Kanu for his parochial reasoning and hatred for Hausa-Fulani.
‘’The statements portray Nnamdi Kanu as one who is ignorant of the police hierarchy in Nigeria. As it concerns Oyo State and the directives of the Inspector General of Police, we feel very strongly, that it is very wrong for Kanu to urge the CP to flout the orders of the IGP’’.
In a three-page statement issued in Akure, the women harped on the need for unity and mutual understanding within the South-West.
Signed by the Chairperson of Yoruba Women in Government (YWIG), Chief Fumilayo Adesanwo, the women poured encomiums on Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko.
They underscored the IGP’s focused and purposeful leadership, the CP’s academic and professional credentials and her vision to set a record in Oyo State’s security history.
The women also emphasized Onadeko’s demonstrable competence, discipline, loyalty and integrity.
Part of the statement reads’’ Another round of ethnic feuding in Oyo State started last week. One Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers stormed the Fulani settlement in Igangan, Ibarapa to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir’’
This antagonistic position towards Fulani can hardly be described as the best thing to do.
It is very obvious that this action appeared not to have gone down well with Nigerians.
However, the order by the Inspector General of Police that Sunday Igboho should be arrested came as a joy to many.
But much ado has been created over the reported order to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko, to arrest Sunday Igboho.
Indeed, some Nigerians in Diaspora have attempted to denigrate the Inspector General of Police for directing the Oyo State Police Command to arrest Igboho.
For sure, the good people of Oyo State have every obligation to fight crimes ranging from kidnapping, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands at all cost but without promoting anarchy,
Forcefulness, dissent, general bad manners and unruly behavior should not be encouraged in a decent society.
Nigerians should disregard the various lies being peddled by the self-acclaimed Igbo leader against the Inspector General of Police and the Oyo State Commissioner of Police. There is no plan to stop the agenda of the people of the South-West. There is no plan to ferments enmity between the South-East and the South-West.
We commend the Police for doing what they are statutorily assigned to do.
We urge the Oyo State Police Commissioner not to succumb to the propaganda and blackmail daily oozing out of the mouths of some enemies of Nigeria.
We urge the Oyo State Commissioner of Police to ignore calls by the self-acclaimed Igbo leader in Diaspora to resign from office.
It was reassuring to see how thoughtfully the Inspector General of Police responded to the incident.
The police must go the whole hog to put a stop to the acts of lawlessness of some people in the country.
We commend Governor Seyi Makinde for being responsible and responsive to the needs of all.
We urge him to continue to support the police and other security agencies.
We also commend President Muhammadu Buhari for showing that lawlessness and brigandage are alien to our culture
We call on Oyo youths to extend to Hausa/Fulani in the state a hand of fellowship, friendship and brotherhood so that together, they could position the state for economic growth.
We call on the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor to call this Igbo self-acclaimed leader in Diaspora to order
Security of life and property is so fundamental. We urge the police to discharge their duties to the government and heroic people of Oyo State and Nigeria.
Lastly, we appeal for professionalism, restraints and understanding on the part of Igbo and Yoruba youths.
Niger Delta leaders restate support for Buhari, Akpabio
Leaders of the Niger Delta region on Wednesday described the appointment of sole administrator in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as legal and ethical.
They also described the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as a pride to Nigeria.
‘’We are determined to support the current effort of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Effiong Okon Akwa to sanitize the Commission and effectively develop the oil rich region’’ the leaders said on Wednesday.
In a statement in Port-Harcourt, the leaders commended President Buhari for his commitment to assisting and dealing with challenges in the Niger Delta region.
Signed by the Chairman, South-South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry, the regional leaders condemned the orchestrated attack on the person and leadership of Senator Akpabio by some misguided individuals and their backers.
They praised Akpabio for sticking to the administration’s policy of transparency and accountability, promoting the best interests of the Niger Delta people and initiating the first-ever comprehensive reform of the NDDC.
The leaders expressed disappointment that some elders, politicians and youths in the region seem to be interested in board appointment rather than the performance of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
‘’Some governors, elders and federal lawmakers in the region are not focused as we think they should on the level of development in the region. We should not quantify development of the region in terms of board appointment but in broad terms. We have to think about completed and on-going projects’’ the leaders said.
They described the calls for Akwa’s removal as puerile.
‘’As notable leaders, we are concerned with the unity and transformation of the region. We are very proud of Senator Godswill Akpabio. He has given good account of himself in politics and public life” the leaders added
High-ranking federal government functionaries, prominent traditional rulers, professionals and leaders of political parties in Nigeria are expected in Aghalokpe, Delta State on Friday, April 9, 2021.
The 70th Anniversary Celebration of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe is billed for April 9 and 10, 2021.
According to a statement by the Chairman of the 70th Anniversary Organizing Committee, Chief Kingsley Omokri, there will be Mass at the College Chapel, inspection of college premises and distribution of anniversary crested books to students of SPCC, Aghalokpe and pupils of SPCC Nursery and Primary School on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Major programmes at the gathering, Chief Omokri said, include the commissioning of renovated projects by old students, anniversary lecture, award ceremony for those that have distinguished themselves and launching of a book titled ; SPCC Aghalokpe: The Hidden Pearl of the Ethiope.
‘’There will be free medical service for the natives of Aghalokpe, Aragba, Oviri, Ekpan, Okpara-Waterside and Igun on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement said.
.’’A novelty football match between Old Boys Association of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe and Old Boys Association of Urhobo College will take place on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement added.
Founded in 1950 as the fourth secondary school in Warri Province (later renamed Delta Province in 1952), St Peter Claver’s College was the first secondary school in Sapele.
Its proprietor, His Lordship P. J. Kelly, Catholic Bishop of Benin Diocese which included Warri/Delta Province during British Colonial Times, envisaged St Peter Claver’s College as the equivalent of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, for the Catholic Community in Warri Province.
SPCC moved from Sapele to Aghalokpe in 1953.
· FOREIGN JOURNALISTS
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· NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS (Publishers, Editors, Correspondents and Reporters)
I welcome you all delegates from various branches and affiliates as well as the members of the Okpe National Executive Council to this year’s 2020 Annual National Conference of the Okpe Union. The last Annual Conference of the Union held in 2018. That of 2019 could not hold due to some unfortunate circumstances that we could not handle efficiently. We are grateful to God and to all those who have been steadfast in ensuring the continuous functioning of the Union despite several difficulties in the course of this year 2020.
2 Brief Surgeon into the History of the Okpe Union.
The 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. We hope that with the growing interest amongst our youths in the affairs of the Okpe Union, we shall achieve a turnaround for our Union.
In 2016, we agreed to relocate the Okpe Union National Headquarters to Orerokpe. The past four years have indeed been remarkable in the affairs of the Okpe Union as it is the first time that we have experienced a National Executive Council whose members are elected from the various branches in the country. The efforts to implement the relocation of the headquarters is still ongoing as the legal procedure to accomplish it is still a work in progress. The registered office of the Union is still the Okpe House, No. 65 Moshalashi Street, Obalende, Lagos. It is our sincere wish that with unity, a befitting edifice will be built in Okpe Kingdom in Delta State that will house the National Headquarters of the Union.
The Okpe Union at Ninety Years Anniversary
It is regrettable that as our union, the Okpe Union marked its ninety years anniversary this year 2020, circumstances beyond our control especially the incidence of the global pandemic, COVID 19 did not enable us to have the elaborate celebrations that we had planned. We hope that next year 2021 when the Okpe Union shall be 91, we shall have the intended celebration.
Current Challenges of the Union
The Okpe Union has several challenges at the moment. The Union is experiencing challenges of reforming it from the age long analogue ways of doing things to that of the digital information technology era of smooth interaction and communication. In today’s reality for example, it is no longer necessary for decision making process to be by physically travelling hundreds or thousands of kilometres to meet. With contemporary communication technology, members of executive and committees of organisations are able to meet in secure platforms like WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and many others without the risks, inconveniences and expenses that physical meetings entail. Delegates in this National Conference are therefore called upon to fashion out a way of breaking from the analogue past through resolutions and constitutional amendment to put the Union on the part of progress consistent with modern realities. In the same vein, sections or articles of the constitution relating to notices of National Executive Council meetings, national conferences/meetings and such others should be reviewed accordingly to enable electronic transmission and modern media as communication means. We should also consider the possibility of voting through similar means as the reality for example of COVID19 has made this necessary.
Secondly, the Okpe Union has the challenge of funding. The Union must find a way of conveniently funding its activities without the current near dependence on individual members of the National Executive Council. The current subscription from branches of five thousand naira annually is a far cry from the funding requirements of the Union.
Thirdly, though I have alluded to this earlier, the constitution of the Union needs thorough reworking for it to meet the requirements of a modern ethnic union regarding administrative structure. The Union Constitutional framework must also provide for how the various people of the communities of the Okpe Kingdom can be incorporated into the Union. This is the only way that the Union can ultimately become relevant to the Okpe people generally in contemporary Nigeria and Delta State today.
One immediate challenge currently is the transition of the current National Executive Council whose tenure is constitutionally due to end by the 17th this month November, 2020. As the NEC was not able to set up an Electoral Committee for the purpose of organising elections in our last meeting of the 29th of August, 2020, this National Conference as the highest decision making organ of our union has to set it up and also determine the transition framework that will be in charge of running the Union at the national level from the 17th of November, 2020. It is also necessary that this conference fixes the date and modalities for the next elections. Let us consider the possibility of the electoral committee which we shall set up adopting on line voting for the next elections.
I must on behalf of the National Executive Council also bring to your notice the events of the 3rd of October, 2020 in which His Royal Majesty, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe swore in a nine member interim Committee to take over the administration of the entire Okpe Union and purportedly dissolving the elected National Executive Council. The imposed NEC is made up of two members of the Okpe Union and seven non members. 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. We expect this National Conference of the Okpe Union to respond to this development with all sense of responsibility so as to determine the limits of the role of our royal father in the face of the fact that the Okpe Union is a registered organisation under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its registered constitution. Allowing the overthrow of the Union is the beginning of the destabilisation 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. In its more than ninety years history, the Okpe Union has always had its autonomy and mechanisms of internal dispute resolutions.
Some Recent Developments in Okpeland that the Union should be abreast with.
Within the last four years, we have noticed some not pleasing developments in our dear Okpe Kingdom relating to economic development. The dwindling economic fortune of Okpeland of recent calls for urgent attention. Many companies and establishments which have accounted for the employment of our youths and teaming population have either been relocating out of Okpeland or folding up outrightly. 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. Similarly, Sapele City has lost the sister companies of the seaboard group. 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. If properly structured and managed, we believe the African Timber and Plywood Company, Sapele can employ a large number of our teaming youths. The NTA Amukpe has ended its operations reportedly because of seven hundred thousand naira for equipments. Many smaller companies and enterprises have gone under too. The factors militating against the growth of smaller enterprises in Okpeland include poor power supply as well as 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. 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.
Another area that is disheartening is the abandonment of the Sapele Polytechnic, Elume which the Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration approved and commenced construction. We hope that there can be a strong resolution here in this National Conference today to call on all our Okpe politicians to close ranks to project a common front to the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to revisit the issue of the only higher institution proposed for Okpeland.
Also it is shocking to realise that the entire Okpe Local Government Area still 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.
To improve job creation and enhance economic activities in Okpeland, there needs to be 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. I urge this confidence to table a strong resolution calling 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.
About Some National Issues in Nigeria.
Permit me to address a few issues that are of national relevance in our country Nigeria. On the recent End Sars protests nationwide, we urge both the federal and state governments of our country Nigeria 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 while at the same time respecting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians. The issue of police reforms must be taken holistically.
Of great importance to the country at large and especially to areas in the country with so much water resources is 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. I urge this general assembly to pass a resolution calling 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.
What should be immediately done by the this National Conference and Branches of the Okpe Union.
As the President General of the Okpe Union elected along with us the other members of the outgoing National Executive Council on the 17th of November 2020 Union, Chief Robert Onome, has accepted the imposition of an unelected interim Committee to take over the affairs of the Union in contravention of the constitution of the Okpe Union, this general assembly of the branches of the Union should act decisively to save the Okpe Union.
The Okpe Union constitution provides as follows:
“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 road to the disability and destruction of our union has begun if strangers to the Okpe Union are permitted to take over the union. 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. By the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution, such members who have permitted themselves to be part of what overthrows the Okpe Union constitution are guilty of gross misconduct. This conference is called upon to look into this too. The Okpe Union Constitution has no provisions for the role any external powers within or outside Okpe Kingdom. This National Conference must be decisive in protecting the Okpe Union.
To buttress the need to act firmly, it is important for us to understand that we have a duty to reach out to our royal father, the Orodje whenever we are not happy with any of his decisions.
Believing in the Divine rights of Kings which presupposes that kings make no mistakes and therefore cannot change their decisions at this age is not supportable. The dark notion Divine Rights of Kings has been condemned to the dustbin of the dark age. It is even a burden too heavy for monarchs as it will restrain them from correcting errors which they later realise thereby causing their societies underdevelopment. This account for the incidence of modern monarchies being transformed into limited offices. They only reign but never rule now. This explains the refusal of successive governments of Nigeria since 1976 to provide constitutional governmental roles for traditional rulers in the Nigerian constitutions.
For immediate attention is the matter of transition. I had earlier alluded to the fact that the tenure of this outgoing executive is to end in three days time which is precisely the 17th of November, 2020, this National Conference being the highest decision making organ of the Okpe Union, is duty bound to put in place a transition template which includes the setting up of an electoral committee to organise an election for a new National Executive Council of the Okpe Union. The outgoing National Executive Council could not set up the electoral committee in the last NEC meeting where this Annual National Conference date was fixed. A Union of the status of the Okpe Union worthy of its name and history cannot afford to permit a vacuum in its leadership.
Lastly, delegates need to know that all the trustees of the Okpe Union registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission have passed on. This conference is required to approve other names of prospective Board of Trustees members for subsequent registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja.
Once again, I welcome delegates to this auspicious gathering of representatives of the Union from various branches. With unity, we shall surely realise the dreams of our forefathers who founded this Okpe ethnic organisation to protect the interests of the Okpe people.
SERAP asks ICPC to probe ‘alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in several states’
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to “promptly, thoroughly, transparently and effectively investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses in several states, which ought to have been distributed to the poorest and most vulnerable people during the lockdown, and to publish the outcome of any such investigation.”
SERAP’s petition followed reports that some people have discovered and taken away COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses in several states.
SERAP in the petition sent to Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, ICPC, asked the agency to “ensure the prompt and effective prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible, if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of hoarding and diversion of the palliatives.”
In the petition dated 24 October, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “It would seem that Nigerian authorities asked people to stay at home as a protective lockdown measure but then failed to discharge a legal responsibility to timely, effectively, and transparently distribute COVID-19 palliatives to ease the hardship faced by the poorest and most vulnerable people.”
SERAP also said: “Unless promptly investigated, the allegations of hoarding and diversion would undermine public trust in any efforts to bring the spread of the pandemic under control, exacerbate the negative impact of the crisis, and deny those most in need access to basic necessities of life.”
SERAP argued: “Tracking, monitoring and ensuring COVID-19 palliatives are timely, effectively, and efficiently distributed to those most in need would improve transparency and accountability, respect for human rights, as well as remove the possibility of political considerations or bribery in the distribution of the palliatives.”
SERAP expressed: “serious concerns that the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives in several states and the apparent failure to timely, effectively, efficiently, and transparently distribute the palliatives and other reliefs to the poorest and most vulnerable people have continued to deny many citizens the much-needed support.”
SERAP also urged the ICPC “to visit the states where COVID-19 palliatives have been discovered in warehouses, and to track and monitor the distribution of palliatives across the 36 states of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to remove the risks of diversion, and ensure that the palliatives get to those most in need, and not used for political or corrupt purposes.”
The petition, copied to Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), read in part: “Some people have reportedly discovered and taken away COVID-19 palliatives stored in warehouses in several states including Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kaduna, Lagos, Osun, Plateau and Taraba states, with some of the people reportedly saying: ‘the food is ours but they are keeping it for themselves’.”
“Promptly attending to these recommendations would show your agency’s willingness to proactively exert your mandates, as this would act as a deterrent against breaches of Nigeria’s constitution, anti-corruption legislation and international standards, as well as ensure the transparent and accountable distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs.”
“SERAP notes that billions of naira have been budgeted and donated to respond to COVID-19 and help ease the resulting impact and hardship on the poorest and most vulnerable people. Nigeria has also received millions of dollars in international aid and announced programmes to help citizens through the lockdown, including direct distribution of food to millions of vulnerable households.”
“This request is consistent with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act, and the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Nigeria has ratified these treaties.”
“The request is also consistent with the COVID-19 transparency frameworks that have been put together by the Nigerian authorities.”
“These include: the framework on delivering a transparent food ration distribution for the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme; Framework for the Management of COVID-19 Funds in Nigeria under the Treasury Single Account by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; Guidelines for the Conduct of Procurements that respond to COVID-19; and the Accountability and Transparency Mechanisms for Delivering the Cash Transfer by the Humanitarian Affairs.”
“In particular, Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution provides that ‘The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.’ Similarly, the UN Convention against Corruption requires the authorities to ensure effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and penalties for hoarding and diversion.”
SERAP therefore urged the ICPC to put pressure on federal and state authorities to:
1. Develop clear criteria on who exactly qualifies for COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs to ensure that the palliatives are not used by corrupt officials to benefit themselves and their political supporters at the expense of the intended beneficiaries;
2. Seek and publish distribution information from federal and state authorities, including details of the timelines of distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs, as well as the logistics that have been put in place to facilitate the distribution;
3. Seek and publish details of palliatives and other socio-economic reliefs that federal and state authorities have so far provided to the poorest and most vulnerable people, including the list of beneficiaries of any such palliatives and reliefs;
4. Open public complaints reporting mechanism on distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other reliefs to ensure access of citizens that may be unduly denied of the aid to justice and effective remedies;
5. Work with federal and state authorities to identify which areas remain most in need of palliatives and other reliefs and ensure timely, effective, efficient, transparent and accountable distribution to the intended beneficiaries
ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE ENDSARS PROTESTS, 22ND OCTOBER, 2020
It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.
2. I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well – intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
3. On Monday 12th October, I acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.
4. The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.
5. As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
6. On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
7. Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
8. The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a Peace Maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.
9. All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.
10. The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.
11. On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the wellbeing and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
12. Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:
a. paying three months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small – and medium – enterprises,
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission,
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans; and
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders.
13. These are in addition to many other initiatives such as;
e. N-Tech and
14. No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.
15. With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force. The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.
16. In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.
17. Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
18. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
19. We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected.
20. But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.
21. To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgment and making hasty pronouncements.
22. In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.
23. For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.
24. I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.
25. And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect. Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.
26. I would like to thank those state Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint. I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.
27. This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.
Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.