Showing posts with label Naija. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Naija. Show all posts

Friday, 25 April 2014

expose killers among them, Northern Governors tells fulani herdsmmen

The Northern Governors Forum has urged Fulani associations to expose deviants in their midst and encourage educational pursuit among their wards, to end incessant clashes with farmers. This was part of a communique issued at the end of a closed door meeting with Fulani herdsmen under the aegis of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association as well as other Fulani groups in Abuja, on Thursday.

Chairman of the NGF and Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, who read the two paged communique lamented the alarming rate of insecurity in the region characterised by sporadic killing of law abiding citizens by bandits camouflaging as herdsmen.

He reiterated the resolve of northern state governors to ensure the protection of lives and property of citizens at all levels as a constitutional responsibility.

The communique partly read: “He also called on Fulani associations to help in exposing deviants in their midst and encourage their wards in their educational pursuit. “The Forum expressed immense gratitude to the Federal Government for drawing up an action plan (Short, Medium and Long term) to address the issues of grazing reserves, cattle routes as well as provision of amenities in their settlements to encourage transition to intensive sedentary system of livestock production where pasture is sown and harvested.”

According to the document, it was also resolved that member states hold meetings with relevant stakeholders in their respective states with a view to searching for lasting peace.

Member states were also encouraged to explore the potentials of various groups and use every means available at their disposal to implement recommendations capable of ameliorating the problem. The meeting also discussed a proposed meeting with investors from the United States scheduled for May 10, 2014.(Punchng)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Borno women talk tough on abducted school girls, condemn Jonathan’s inaction

“The abduction of innocent young girls violates their human rights, is a crime against humanity and is prohibited under international humanitarian law”.

Women in the volatile North-East Nigerian state of Borno on Tuesday said the President Goodluck Jonathan-led federal government would be tagged an accomplice in the abduction of the secondary school girls in Chibok town last week if it fails to rescue the 230 missing girls.
Parents of the abducted girls had on Monday cried out about their missing daughters saying 230 girls as against the earlier announced 129, were still missing. The girls have now spent ten days in the jungle enclaves of the insurgents.
Speaking at a press briefing organised by the Baobab for Women’s Human Rights in Maiduguri, one of the leaders of the women, Aishatu Ngulde, said they were not impressed by the silent attitude being put up by leaders in Abuja since the abduction of the final year secondary school girls.
The spokesperson of the women’s group, Hauwa Biu, described the abduction of the girls in Chibok as “acts considered inhuman and affects efforts to enhance girl child education and development in the state and country at large”.
Ms. Biu added that “the abduction of innocent young girls violates their human rights, is a crime against humanity and is prohibited under international humanitarian law.
“We women in Borno state condemn it in totality, as such acts of violence, attacks on schools deny children their rights to learn in a safe environment, thereby jeopardising their future.
Speaking during a question and answer session of the press conference, Ms Ngulde, who doubles as the Northeast Coordinator of WOTCLEF, said “It is very disheartening that despite what is going here in Borno state concerning our abducted girls, our national leader (President Jonathan) who is supposed to champion the protection of the entire country, didn’t see it as an a duty to do so”.
“Since this incident happened, we have not heard our President telling the entire nation that he is deploying our Air Force with their jets, to come and hover over our terrain in Borno state and find out which bush these girls are being kept.
“Is anybody telling me that the bushes in Borno state are so thick that even the military planes cannot see through? Our soldiers have been going to other countries and we see and hear how troops are being dropped from the sky into thick forests and attack enemies in the bushes. Why is that not being done in Borno State concerning our children that have been taken; we are grieved because we are all mothers.
“If it were Jonathan’s daughters that have been stolen today, would the country go to sleep?”
She said instead of the president showing empathy as other leaders of the world would do during incidences like this, the president left the matter to the state governors.
“Why should it be all about the governor, he is just an entity, he has no such powers over the military or any security men. We are in a country where everything has to come from the federal government. Let us call a spade, a spade. The federal government should do something now or we accuse them as accomplices and part of this crime”.
The women expressed their sympathy to all families affected by the insurgency. They also implored on members of the Boko Haram to go to the dialogue table and sought out their differences with government rather than hiding in the bushes and perpetrating violent crimes.
They pleaded for “adequate security around all schools so as to have safe learning environment for our children”.
Credit: Premium Times

Jonathan meets with Security Chiefs, Sultan, Oritsejafor over state of insecurity in Nigeria

The meeting is part of an enlarged security meeting the president is holding to review the security situation across the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday held a security meeting with leaders of Nigeria’s security agencies.
The meeting was also attended by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor; and the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar.
The meeting, presidency sources said, discussed the worsening security situation across the country particularly in some northern states.
The meeting is part of an enlarged security meeting the president is holding to review the security situation across the country.
A similar but controversial meeting was held last Thursday with security chiefs and state governors in attendance. However, the 16 governors of the All Progressives Congress were not invited for that meeting.
The worsening insecurity has led to the killing of scores of people in Zamfara, Taraba, Borno, and other states in the last one month.
Over 200 female students of a secondary school were also kidnapped in Chibok, Borno state last week.


Imo Govt. to revive 3 Hailing industries

The Imo Government has announced plans to revive three moribund industries established by the first civilian administration of the late Chief Sam Mbakwe about thirty-three years ago.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Mbakwe who ruled Imo from 1979 to 1983, established more than 10 industries across the old Imo which included the present  Imo, Abia and part of Ebonyi.

In a statement, Mrs Ugochi Nnanna-Okoro, the state Commissioner for Industry and Non-Formal Sector, identified the  industries to be revived as Resin Paint Industry, Aboh Mbaise; Avutu Poultry, Obowo, and Paper Packaging Industry, Owere Ebiri Orlu.

The statement signed by Mr Kennedy Amanze, the Public Relations Officer of the ministry and made available to NAN in Owerri, said that the ministry was already in contact with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation on the matter.

It said that successive administrations in Imo were unable to manage the industries established by the Mbakwe administration.

“Gov. Rochas Okorocha’s aim in reviving these industries is to enhance the economic development of Imo.’’

The statement quoted the commissioner as saying that the motive of the state in reviving the moribund industries was to create employment in the state as well as to check the involvement of youths in social vices.

According to the statement, Imo government under Okorocha is attracting foreign industrialists as a way to expand the state’s  economy and create more employment opportunities.

It urged the people of the state and members of staff of the ministry to key into the vision of Okorocha’s administration to turn around the economy of the state.

He advised members of staff of the ministry to make dedication and honesty their watchwords, adding that hard working members of staff would be rewarded. (NAN)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

EFCC not witch hunting any Citizens or politicians- Ibrahim Lamorde

ABUJA — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, lamented that its efforts to tackle corruption in the country had been misconstrued by corrupt persons as a witch-hunt.

This came as the anti-graft agency arrested an undergraduate of the University of Ibadan, Orowo Jesse Omokoh, for using an internet dating site to defraud an Australian of the sum of  $90,000.

Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, made the claim when he received the new American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, in his office.

Lamorde told his guest that it was normal for Nigerians to complain against the commission for doing its job, especially during an election year.

Lamorde said: “Most of the times, anything that happens, whether people are at fault, they blame it on someone else.

“Even when there is a genuine case and you go after an individual, they will start saying that he is being haunted because he is this or that. It is a situation that is laden with landmine now.

“So, we have to meander to avoid stepping on the landmine so that they don’t blow us up. It is very difficult. We went through that in 2011. Sometime when election is coming it becomes very difficult to do anything.”

He, however, assured the ambassador that the commission would not be deterred, saying the commission had decide to do its job to the best of its ability.

Lamorde commended the United States government for its continuous assistance to the commission since its inception, describing the US as a major international ally in its fight against corruption and other financial crimes.

On his part, Ambassador Entwistle assured that the US would continue to support and strengthen the EFCC to tackle corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria.

Even though Entwistle did not state the form the support would take, he said the American government was ready to support the commission in any way it could, admitting that corruption was a serious global challenge.

Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency has arrested an undergraduate of the University of Ibadan, Orowo Jesse Omokoh, for using an internet dating site to defraud an Australian of  $90,000.

Arrests UI student for defrauding Australian

Omokoh, 28, reportedly met the victim, Mrs. Jette Jacob, an Australian based in Johannesburg, South Africa, on a dating site and struck a sizzling romantic affair that necessitated him moving to Johannesburg in 2013 to link up with his lover.

According to the EFCC, Omokoh arrived in Johannesburg on February 4, 2013, to meet with Jacob who had been in Johannesburg since November 2012.

The commission said five days after Omokoh had arrived and taken up residence with her, Jacob was found dead in her apartment with some of her valuables missing.

After the incident, Omokoh reportedly fled South Africa and returned to Nigeria, fuelling speculations by the South African police that he might have had a hand in Jacob’s untimely death.

Spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement on the matter, confirmed that the EFCC received a petition from Richard Stanford of Australian Federal Police on March 15, 2013, asking for help to track Omokoh, whom it accused of defrauding Jacob to the tune of $90,000 in a dating scam.

The commission said although it swung into action almost immediately to track down the scammer, Omokoh became elusive until a few days ago when he was nabbed.

The commission said the suspect had already made useful statement while efforts were on to track his accomplices and arraign them in court.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Fashola employs 3,311 LASTMA, KAI Officials

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has offered permanent employment to 3,311 operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Kick against Indiscipline (KAI), thus putting paid to the ad hoc arrangement, which he said, had been in place since their establishment more than a decade ago. The governor consequently, declared zero tolerance to a culture of extortion and indiscipline in the ranks of LASTMA and KAI officials, noting that the state government would not give them any second chance if they infringe their ethnics. Fashola disclosed this at the Teslim Balogun Stadium while formally unveiling the Lagos State Law Enforcement Institute, which was created to regulate the activities of LASTMA and KAI as well as train their officials. At the unveiling also, the governor gave three traffic management volunteers namely Mr. Anthony Edewor, Mr. Salisu Adamu, and Mr. Salisu Audu conditional employment offers for making input to control traffic in different parts of the state. He, therefore, explained the rationale of the reform, which he said, had been ongoing in the last two years, noting that the reform was tailored to redevelop and furnish all the thirty offices where LASTMA and KAI officials “are working in difficult conditions.” He said the state government “is already rebuilding. We are already refurnishing. We are also re-equipping all the offices. I am told that the first four offices are ready and another batch of four will be ready. Instead of being ad hoc staff, you are now full-fledged public servants of the state. “Your work will entitle you all the benefits that the permanent staff members enjoy including pension rights. It will entitle you to pension rights under our contributory pension scheme. For LASTMA and KAI, we have created a new cadre of employment in the Lagos State Public Service. We have the legal cadre. We have the architect cadre. “We have the teaching cadre. We have the administration cadre. We have created the law enforcement cadre for you alone. What is the heart of this reform? The reform is to reward service and punish deviant behaviour. There are few people who give bad name. We will not relent in fishing them out and bringing them to justice.” Also, the governor gave an update about a LASTMA official, Mr. Ekundayo Kazeem Michael, who was caught on videotape while negotiating bribe, acknowledging that he had asked the State Police Command to declare him wanted. According to him, “the officer, who was caught on videotape seeking to extort money, was at large. I asked the Commissioner of Police to declare him wanted. The commissioner has reported to me that the ministerial disciplinary procedure has started today. His case file is being compiled. We fish out any such bad eggs.” In her address, Senior Special Assistant on Transport Education, Dr. Mariam Masha, explained how the governor proposed institutionalising standards and trainings for all State Law Enforcement Officers concerned with transport and traffic management, environmental sanitation and neighbourhood security beginning with a mandatory career evaluation training programme (CETP) for all in-service officers. According to the special assistant, it is expected that adequately trained officers will enhance the efficiency of accomplishing the goals of law enforcement work as well as provide for improved community/officer relations. He added that the evaluation programme, which began with LASTMA and KAI, was intended “to determine suitability and ability of each personnel for the assigned job, achieve appropriate re-orientation and professionalism of the officers and equip officers with the requisite skills for their assigned tasks.”

Rivers crisis: Pro-Wike dare police

The six pro-Wike members of the crisis ridden Rivers State House of Assembly are spoiling to resume sitting on Tuesday,Director-General of the PDP in the state, Emeka Woke,said yesterday. Woke, an engineer,spoke on the second day of the barricading of the assembly complex by the Police who said they were awaiting the appropriate court order before throwing the door of the House open for the first time since it was shut in July. “Enough is enough,” the PDP Director-General said in reaction to the police action. He vowed that the self –acclaimed Speaker and leader of the pro-Wike legislators,Evan Bipi, would preside at the sitting. Bipi himself boasted that he would declare vacant the seat of any of the 29 pro-Amaechi legislators defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Governor Rotimi Amaechi. The APC yesterday alleged that the six minority legislators have been recruiting thugs that would aid their planned take-over of the assembly for the purpose of commencing impeachment proceeding against Governor Amaechi. Beside, the political camp of the governor suggested that the sole objective of the minority lawmakers is to create an atmosphere of fear and terror with a view to inviting a state of emergency. The state,especially the capital,Port Harcourt ,was on edge for much of yesterday with the police battling supporters of the two sides from marching on the shut assembly. Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu said he would reopen the complex only on the receipt of a valid court order to that effect. Woke, a two-term Chairman of the Emohua Local Government Council of Rivers State, accused the pro-Amaechi lawmakers of acting drama. He claimed that there is no crisis in Rivers PDP. A source in the governor’s camp said the six legislators are bent on removing the governor and his deputy, Tele Ikuru, for an administrator to take over. However,the Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Chief Tony Okocha, said that Amaechi, Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), would complete his tenure in 2015 “by God’s grace,” and that Rivers people would decide his successor. The pro-Amaechi lawmakers, led by the Deputy Speaker, Leyii Kwanee, are weighing the option of going to court to resume sitting. Twenty-five of them,excluding Speaker Dan Amachree who is indisposed,were joined by members of the National Assembly from the state, loyal to Amaechi, the Chief of Staff, Local Government chairmen and other top politicians, yesterday occupied a portion of Moscow Road, near the Rivers House of Assembly.They sat on bare ground after the police prevented the lawmakers from entering the assembly complex. The legislators decided to sit on the ground when they were not allowed to bring chairs from the nearby secretariat of the Port Harcourt City Council. In front of Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre,acting their own drama, were the six minority leagislators and the Secretary-General of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), Samuel Nwanosike. As Nwanosike was addressing reporters that Evans Bipi would soon arrive to speak to the crowd, policemen in an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), marked NPF 4004 A, started firing teargas canisters at them. This sparked a stampede with everyone scampering to safety. Member of the House of Representatives from Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro in Rivers, Dakuku Peterside, denounced the police barricade of the assembly and the teargassing innocent people. Soon after the teargas subsided, Bipi, who represents Ogu/Bolo constituency, arrived at the civic centre at 10:41 am, but was not allowed to move close to the barricaded House of Assembly. He then moved to the popular Lagos Bus Stop and told reporters that he would declare the seats of the 25 pro-Amaechi lawmakers vacant should they follow Amaechi to the APC. “I will bring peace back to the Rivers House of Assembly. There will be lasting peace, if the pro-Amaechi lawmakers discountenance the advice of the Rivers governor, by not following him to the APC. If they move to the APC, I will declare their seats vacant. I have the power to do so,” he said. He added:“We are processing the CTC (Certified True Copy) of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja. We will sit very soon. We are lawabiding. Nobody can intimidate us. “Magnus Abe (the representative of the Rivers South East Senatorial District in the National Assembly) was the happiest person when the Rivers House of Assembly was handed over to the National Assembly. I have brought back the Rivers House of Assembly.” The element dramatically intervened in forcing the politicians and their supporters off the street when it began to rain at 11.47 am. Police Commisioner Mbu, who is scheduled to depart the state tomorrow preparatory to his one-year course at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru near Jos said the policemen would not allow any politician into the complex, without a court order. He said it is none of his business to decide who would preside in the Assembly, between Bipi and Otelemaba Dan Amachree. Mbu said: “There are two contending issues. To my right are legislators who said they are pro-Gov Amaechi. To my left, I understand there are legislators who said they are against Governor Amaechi. If you were in my shoes, would you allow both of them to come into the Assembly? They are going to clash. “If we get the appropriate judgment, we’ll go through it.We will come to the Assembly, we will sweep the Assembly. We are going to bring the Bomb Disposal Unit; we are going to bring the Dog Section, they will sniff round and make sure there is nothing that is going to harm any member of the House.” Mbu added: “Yesterday (Thursday), you saw what happened. For Christ sake, they are honourable members, why should they not behave honourably? You saw how lawless they were yesterday? Court ruling came up the previous day, not even 12 hours, not quite 12 hours; they all thronged out with hooligans following them. “In my capacity as the Rivers Police Commissioner, I owe every citizen the responsibility to protect and I said, no, go home, when we get the court order, we will sweep the place (House of Assembly) in your own interest. We will allow you to come in. “You saw them taking chairs and sitting down, defying police orders, and they are lawmakers. It is a shame. I am not a politician. I am here to do my duties and I know my duties. I have spent about 29 years in this job. So, I know what I am doing.” Deploring the police action, Deputy Speaker Leyii Kwanee said: “From what we are seeing outside here, we are seeing the Assembly complex. It is in a very sorry state.” “So, when we leave here, we are going to meet with the executive arm of the government, to see what they can do for immediate renovation. You know the electrical gadgets were damaged during the crisis and they are expensive. “We are going to look at the legal provisions, as they relate to the sitting of the House. As soon as we are properly briefed, legally, we will know what next line of action to take, because the interest of Rivers people cannot not be jeopardised.”(THE NATION)

NNPC accuses Sanusi of political game

The Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Andrew Yakubu, yesterday described the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s claim that the corporation failed to remit $49.8 billion into the Federation Account from January 2012 to July 2013 as a political instrument in preparation for the 2015 general elections. According to Yakubu who spoke at a world press conference in Abuja, it is a baseless and unfounded allegation targeted at ridiculing the management of the NNPC. He said: “In conclusion, I want to say from what I have said clearly that the allegation is unfounded. It is baseless and it has become a political instrument in the current politically charged environment. And we consider this as an attempt to ridicule NNPC and the management of NNPC.” Asked to explain what he meant by political instrument, the NNPC boss added that : “When this issue came up about four months ago, we made our clarification to the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources. For it to surface at this time that the political atmosphere is charged, we are taken aback. It is left for you journalists to do your investigative journalism to unravel the reason behind this attack.” Yakubu explained that all NNPC crude oil lifting is made up of equity crude, royalty oil, tax oil, volume for third party financing and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company equity volume. He noted that remittances of proceeds from the above liftings are made to statutory and production arrangements. The GMD said: “Accordingly, proceeds from equity crude is paid by the NNPC into the Federation Account which is held by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Similarly, the proceeds from Tax oil or Petroleum Profit Tax lifted by NNPC is paid directly into the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) account also managed by the CBN. “It should now be clear to all that NNPC is by statutory requirement responsible for direct remittances of only one stream of lifting, namely Equity Crude.”

Friday, 13 December 2013

Maiduguri Attack: Shekau Appears In New Video, Claims Responsibility

Boko Haram
Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau said in a video obtained by AFP yesterday that the group was behind a daring raid on military installations in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri earlier this month.

 “Allah the Almighty has given us victory in the attack we launched inside Maiduguri (which was) called Borno in ancient times,” said Abubakar Shekau in a 40-minute clip.

Speaking in Arabic, Hausa and Kanuri widely spoken in North-East Nigeria, Shekau added: “We stormed the city and fought them (and) Allah blessed us with lots of booty.”

The video, which was obtained through an intermediary, shows Shekau dressed in military fatigues with a turban and Kalashnikov assault rifle leaning on his chest.

He spoke for 19 minutes in all while the rest of the tape shows images of burning buildings and aircraft said to be from the Dec 2 attack in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

It also shows a display of weapons the banned Islamist group says it seized in the attack, including dozens of Kalashnikovs and rockets.

 The authenticity of the tape could not be verified independently.

Gunmen who arrived in pick-up trucks besieged an army and air force base, destroying aircraft, razing buildings and setting shops and petrol stations ablaze, witnesses said.

The early morning raid was seen as significant because the Nigerian military had previously claimed to have pushed the militants out of urban centres and into more remote, rural areas.

 FG Disputes ICC Report On Boko Haram

Meanwhile, the federal government has dissociated the International Criminal Court (ICC) from a report that ICC has classified the state of emergency following the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east as constituting a state of war.

Federal government stated that the letter written by the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP), ICC had never referred to the situation in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states as a ‘civil war.’  It noted that the international body only referred to the situation as a ‘Non-international Armed Conflict’ (NIAC).

This was made known in a press statement signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and made available to LEADERSHIP, yesterday, where the federal government also refuted a report about an upsurge in armed confrontation in the three restive states.

The statement reads in part; “It is equally not correct to state that there has been an upsurge in armed confrontation following the declaration of the State of Emergency. Rather than an increase in intensity, attacks by Boko Haram have become sporadic, focusing on soft targets such as schools. It is therefore a matter of regret that the relative success of the Emergency Rule and the noticeable lull in the attacks by Boko Haram seem to have escaped the attention of the OTP”.

In a related development, the chief of army staff, Lt. Gen Azubuike Ihejirika has begged Nigerians to help the military bring the Boko Haram insurgency to its knees.

He said terrorism came to the country without the nation planning for it, adding that the fight against the menace required efforts of both the security forces and the Nigerian public to assist in curtailing this situation.

‘FG’s Indifference Fuels Violence In Northern Nigeria’

Meanwhile, the indifference of federal government in investigating and quelling the killings in the northern part of the country has been linked to the increasing spate of violence in the region.

According to international watchdog, Human Rights Watch (HRW), “Nigeria’s government has largely ignored years of mass murder in Plateau and Kaduna states in central Nigeria.”

HRW in a report released yesterday catalogues horrific sectarian violence in these two states, which has left more than 3,000 people dead since 2010.

The report which examines government’s failure to hold perpetrators accountable, even though many of their identities are well-known in the affected communities, said victims of the communal violence – including women and children – were hacked to death, burned alive, or shot simply based on their ethnic or religious identity.

International Report Reveals JTF’s Alleged ‘Indiscriminate Violence’ In Boko Haram Fight

In another development, an international report highlighting ethno-religious and political violence in Nigeria has revealed alleged “heavy-handedness” and “indiscriminate violence”  of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the fight to check a Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged most parts of the country’s North-East.

Citing disclosures by the Nigeria Police Force’s anti-bomb squad, the report stated that over 400 bomb explosions have taken place in Nigeria in the last three years.

Also, Enugu state, South-East of the country was identified as having the highest incidents of crime in the entire country. In the same vein, the report highlighted that the North-Central region has some of the highest national levels of violence with communal militias being involved in over 40 per cent of incidents of political violence and over 73 per cent of conflict related fatalities there.

The 124-page report, “The Violent Road: An Overview of Armed Violence in Nigeria,” was produced and launched yesterday in Abuja by the National Working Group on Armed Violence in Nigeria (NWGAV) with support from the government of Norway through the London-based organisation, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

PDP has lost focus says Ladoja

A former governor of Oyo State, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja, on Tuesday lampooned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying it has lost focus. Ladoja stated this while addressing reporters in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The former governor, who spoke on a variety of issues in the country, explained that the party has abandoned its founding objectives as it is now comprise with politicians who are opposed to the principles of democracy. Analyzing the ongoing crisis in the party and past crises including the one that led to his impeachment in 2006, Ladoja said the reason accounts for why he cannot consider returning to the part for now. He also cited the recent Anambra State election as a window through which one could assess the party. Ladoja said the problems of the party manifested in that it could not conduct a simple primary to produce a candidate until one week before the election. In the former governor’s view, the current National Chairman of the PDP, Alh. Bamanga Tukur, means well for the party but the undemocratic elements that are in the majority are frustrating his efforts to put it back on the right track. “Tukur came in to correct this ill but I think he is seeing more than he thought. “It is difficult. May be God will be kind to us one day such that we can have democrats in the majority in the party because whatever they do largely affects the country,” he said. He likened his impeachment in 2006 to the current travails of Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, stressing that governance must have stopped in the state since the beginning of the crisis as Amaechi would be battling to save his political career. The former governor also disclosed that the recent partnership between him and his successor, Adebayo Alao-Akala is not working because the latter is not willing to join the Accord party. He said the joint committee set up by the two groups could not work because Alao-Akala did not show any sign that he would soon abandon the PDP, possibly due to the huge patronage he still gets from the party. He said, “Akala approached me if we could work together. We didn’t even talk or think about what happened in the past. Yesterday is gone. We can only learn lesson from it and use it to plan for tomorrow. All I want is to work for the benefit of Oyo State. We set up a committee but personal interest changed many things. Bayo is not ready to get out of PDP. Our party does not have any privileges to offer. I think he doesn’t want to leave PDP because of the privileges he enjoys there. As far as am concerned, our doors are open.”- THE NATION

Nigerian Senate eulogise Mandela

Senators on Tuesday took turns to eulogise former South African President, Nelson Mandela. The upper chamber devoted the entire session to praise the qualities of the foremost anti-apartheid crusader who died last Thursday. Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, raised a motion which was co-sponsored by 107 other Senators who praised the foremost freedom fighter. The motion was entitled: “Demise of Nelson Mandela.” Senate President, David Mark, who summed contributions of majority of the lawmakers, said the greatest of all the tributes, the sum total of Mandela’s attributes is “forgiveness.” Mark said, “It (forgiveness) is an attribute that is difficult for human beings to acquire. Some seek power only to go and deal with those who offended them but that will not give you the spirit to unite the people. “Some white people sold their property and other belongings and ran away when Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa but today they are regretting it. “Mandela believed in a course and he was prepared to die for the course he believed in. Mandela did not waver. Leader should not waver because it is the leader that will generate the followership. Once a leader is honest and fair there will be followership. “It is important that the western world that clarified him as a terrorist and a communist are today falling over him. It shows that those who say crucify him, crucify him may tomorrow say hosanna, hosanna. “There may never be another Mandela but we have several lessons to draw from this great son of Africa. “There may never be another Mandela but we can be small Mandela in our communities, villages and our homes.”- THE NATION

75% Nigeria workers are stressed-Study

Economic volatility has increased pressure on Nigerian workers with 75 per cent reporting that they are seeing more stress-related illness since the downturn, finds the latest survey from global workplace provider Regus. But businesses can help change this trend as workers identified flexible working as critical to help ease work-related stress (84 per cent). Stress-related illness can worsen or cause a whole series of health conditions ranging from obesity to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems and asthma. Building on Regus research last year, which found that 48 per cent of respondents globally felt their stress levels had risen in the past year, this latest study found that almost one third (30 per cent) of Nigerian workers are actually losing sleep worrying about work. The survey, canvassing the opinions of more than 20,000 senior executives and business owners across 95 countries, also found that in West Africa stress is causing a worrying increase in absenteeism (60%) damaging business productivity as well as worker well-being. Other outcomes include: *.22% of respondents are worried about losing their job; *.29% feel less confident about the sector they work in; *.36% of respondents report that their family and friends have noticed they are stressed by work *.56% say that stress is damaging their co-worker’s personal relationships Commenting on the study, Joanne Bushell, VP Africa at Regus says: “Difficult economic times in the West and an unprecedented rate of growth in emerging economies have put a strain on businesses and their employees. Workers are expected to do more with less, and this has taken its toll to the point many are close to burn-out. “It’s not surprising that work-related worries, and the sleepless nights they cause, are taking their toll on employees’ personal lives. More importantly still, their health is at stake as stress is a known catalyst for a number of serious illnesses. Proactive businesses that address stress in their workforce are likely to end up with a healthier workforce and reduced absenteeism.” - THE NATION

Budget: We ‘ll not boo Jonathan – Rep Okwu

Rep. Samson Okwu is the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Pension and represents Oju/Obi Federal Constituency of Benue State. In this interview with Vanguard, he posits that President Jonathan should present 2014 Budget estimates irrespective of non-harmonziation of the Medium Term Economic Framework, MTEF. Three weeks after the president expressed his comments on the differences between the Senate and the House on the benchmark, no change seems to have happened? Samson Okwu For me, it is not surprising but the only worry I have is the letter of Mr. President to the National Assembly saying that until both chambers agree on the benchmark, he will not present the budget. That is actually my fear because should the two chambers fail to agree and the constitution says that the president must lay the document before the National Assembly before the end of the fiscal year. So, what do we do? According to the legislative calendar, the House is supposed to go on Christmas break on December 23. So what do we do? That is my worry. But House spokesman Rep. Zakari Mohammed has said that the practice is not for the Senate and House to agree on the benchmark for the presentation of the budget. So, why is the present insisting on that? That’s why I said that, for me that reaction is unfair because last year, the House passed MTEF at 79, then the Senate had not even considered the MTEF at that point. But the President came and laid his budget and we considered it. So, if you look at the Fiscal Responsibility Act, it says that the President shall send MTEF 90 days before the presentation of the Budget. First of all, the President has violated that provision. So, he ought not to have said until the National Assembly agrees before he will now bring the budget. That is the only problem. If not, there is none. Assuming the National Assembly agree on 79 which is not what he wanted, will he come and redo the Budget? He will not. So, if he has a proposal let him bring the proposal and we will work on the budget. Our conference committee will continue to meet. It has been claimed that the real fear is that the president would be booed whenever he enters the chambers. Is that so? No body can boo Mr. President. He is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Whether you are APC, PDP or whatever party you call it, the seal of the President is the symbol of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and nobody can do it. We are not talking about party politics in that respect. Does that lend credence to an emerging situation in the House where APC members are now having an edge? What is important here is that we respect court decision that says that there is no faction in PDP. So, no body can move anywhere. The only problem is that some members now remain in PDP but take a decision with APC. That is the worry now. But five PDP Governors have defected to APC and you still say no division? That is not a division. Members in a large party like the PDP can have different opinions and views. If you have a different opinion from another person that does not mean you have a faction. I think to that extent, there is nothing called faction in PDP as far as I am concerned. And the Electoral Act is clear about it that where there is no faction, no body can defect from the party to another party. But we have a situation where members pretend to be PDP whereas they belong to APC in spirit. Does that augur well for PDP? It does not augur well. But that means that the person does not work with the ideology of the party. If he does not work with the ideology of his party, well nobody can change it. But that does not mean that the party is not the majority in the House. Well, what happens is that the decision of the House is by majority. So, anytime the decision comes and they take the majority, so be it but that does not stop PDP from being a majority party in the House. Doesn’t that amount to anti-party activity? It could be anti party but it is subject to a decision. That is it. The party can allow you to take a decision that favors your constituents. If it does not favour your constituents, it is only your constituents that can call you to order.- VANGUARD

Rep member threats to drag environment ministry to EFCC

The House of Representatives Committee on Environment has said there is the need to overhaul the Ministry of Environment in order to stem lack of transparency and corruption. The committee has also questioned the ministry over a N2.6 billion domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) and a commercial bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) with just few months to the end of the year, particularly when numerous contractors who have done over 60 percent of the jobs given were yet to be paid. Things heated up during the committee’s oversight to the ministry when a member of the committee, Hon. Pat Asadu said he was ready to shed his immunity and personally drag the ministry to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for corruption. According to Asadu there have been complaints and written protests and allegations that money has to be paid by contractors before their letters of contract was signed. He said: “The lack of transparency and level of corruption in this ministry is a shame. The money you collect from contractors ensures that projects don’t get kicked off. I am going to mention names that can be prosecuted. The companies that you select that are doing deals with you are talking to me.” “I will bring contractors who paid money and they will state whom they paid to,” he threatened. But the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Haruna Taiye, who represented the minister, debunked the allegation against the ministry. According to him, any contractor that has such claims should bring it to the fore. “I will like to meet one or two contractors who had this allegation. I am ready to discipline anyone that is doing that,” he said. THE NATION

Obama arrives Mandela memorial

SOWETO (AFP) – US President Barack Obama received a huge ovation as he arrived an hour late Tuesday at an emotional memorial service for South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. Obama, scheduled to deliver a personal tribute at the event, was delayed as his motorcade struggled through the rain-soaked route to the Soweto World Cup stadium. The memorial event was marred by heavy rainfall which began in the early morning. Obama and his wife Michelle had arrived at Waterkloof air force base near Pretoria after a 16-hour flight on Air Force One from Washington. They flew in with former president George W. Bush and his wife Laura, while two other former presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter travelled separately.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Acting Taraba gov. sacks UBE boss, Others

Taraba State Acting Governor Garba Umar yesterday sacked the Head of Service, Augustine Bazing and the Chairman, Universal Basic Education (UBE) board, Bubajoda Mafindi. The acting governor also swapped some permanent secretaries. Mrs. Asebe Maiungwa and Danladi Batulu were appointed head of Service and UBE chairman. The sacked officials are loyalists of Governor Danbaba Suntai, who have supported the recuperating governor since the state slipped into political crisis in August. They are also loyalists of former Governor Jolly Nyame, who recently reconciled with Suntai. Basing’s and Mafindi’s removal are seen by analysts as another step by Umar to consolidate his hold on power. Basing was in the office when he was served his dismissal letter, his aides said. A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Gave Yawe, however, said Basing’s and Mafindi’s dismissal was just an “administrative change.” Yawe was the chief of staff appointed by Governor Danbaba Suntai. But Umar appointed him SSG. The SSG said the dismissals and appointments were to take immediate effect. The statement also announced the reshuffling of some permanent secretaries. Habila Jamaa is now permanent secretary (Finance), Lydia Baba (Women Affairs and Child Development), Abdullahi Ndoba (Agriculture), Ifraimu Kisafi (Lands and Survey) and Aliyu Serkin Numa (Home Affairs). The affected persons, according to the deputy governor, are to hand over on or before Friday. According to G. T. Kataps, the SSG appointed by Suntai, “Umar has continued to harass and intimidate Tarabans ,who are loyal to Suntai and Nyame. “Basing and Mafindi were sacked because they attended a church service with Suntai and Nyame last Sunday.”- THE NATION

ASUU to members: remain resolute

The Federal Government shifted yesterday its ultimatum for the reopening of universities till Monday. The deadline of its resume-or-be-sacked-directive to striking teachers would have been today. Supervising Minister of Education Nyesom Wike, who gave the much criticised directive, announced the shift of date. He said since the family of the late Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ex-President Prof. Festus Iyayi informed the ministry of funeral rites for weekend, the resumption date had to be shifted to enable the government participate in the ceremony. Wike said: “The decision to shift the date of the compulsory resumption of federal universities for academic activities is now Monday, December 9. This decision has been taken as a result of the respect we have for the former ASUU President.” He said the Federal Government took the decision to re-open the universities in the interest of Nigerians and not to engage in a showdown with ASUU. Wike said Nigerians should appreciate that the pro-chancellors and chairmen of the federal universities Governing Councils took the decision to re-open the schools, pointing out that the Federal Government’s directive was to the vice chancellors who are expected to comply with the decision of the pro-chancellors. The Minister said the Federal Government had already opened a dedicated account for the revival of infrastructure in the universities. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, has signed the resolution that the Federal Government will commit N1.3trillion into the revival of infrastructure in the universities, he said, adding that the advertisement of internal and external vacancies is part of the process to address the shortage of manpower in the nation’s universities. According to Wike, the Federal Government has implemented over 80per cent of the issues contained in the 2009 agreement, with only the payment of earned allowances and revitalisation of infrastructure pending. “The Federal Government appreciates the need to revive infrastructure in our universities and other tertiary institutions, hence the government has put in place the process to effectively address the challenges identified by the NEEDS Assessment report voluntarily initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan,” the minister said. National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary Prof. Julius Okojie is displeased that ASUU members are yet to call off the strike. He said the deadline was not a threat but a call to go back to work. But ASUU restated its rejection of the ultimatum, issuing yesterday a 14-point guideline to its members on why they must sustain the strike. It also said no external force was behind its action and spurned sack threats because, according to ASUU, such a measure is against the Labour Act and the International Labour Organisation’s Convention. The union made its position known in Strike Bulletin No. 14, signed by ASUU National President Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge. ASUU said: “Our union, as you know, derives its strength from members. Government fallacy of ‘external forces’ behind our union only betrays its desperation to distract our genuine cause. You know better! “Do not believe in the falsehood being peddled by certain persons as regards some fictitious ratio of branches that voted for suspension of strike. “ASUU operates strong internal democracy and is capable of taking critical decisions on matters of concern to the Union. Your Union will always do your bidding. “Our struggle is on course; the threat of sack for failure to sign resumption of duty register is part of the oppression that failed in the past. It will fail again.” The union came up with 14 guidelines signaling that it is prepared for a long drawn battle with the Federal Government. The guidelines read in part: •Do not sign any resumption of duty. Government is out to humiliate us. Hold your head high. This too shall pass!!! •If you receive any query on account of the ongoing strike, failure to sign resumption of duty register, etc, bring such to the attention of the branch chairperson immediately for guidance. •It is a general knowledge that members of ASUU are on a national strike. It is against the Labour Act and the ILO convention to sack anybody on account of participation in a strike, no matter how remotely related. •Remain resolute and refrain from violating the ongoing strike. Our Union is capable of protecting its members. •Meanwhile, be security conscious. Do not visit security agencies alone. In case of difficulties, always consult your Chairperson. •With our collective resolve, we can again brush off this unwarranted and provocative onslaught. Stand to be counted on the positive side of history. Do not betray your union. The leadership of ASUU also justified its struggle and insisted that it is in the public interest. It said: “Our collective national struggle to save the future of public system has entered yet another critical phase. The National Strike Coordinating Committee(NSCC) commends all members for their steadfastness and commitment to this patriotic cause. “When we commenced the strike, we were clear as to the possible antics of Government, such as attack on our Union, stoppage of salaries, harassment through security agencies, opening of resumption of duty registers, sacking , etc, all aimed at breaking our resolve “For five months, we have weathered the storm of persecution, oppression, media attack, manipulation of public opinion by government and its agent against our cause, stoppage of salaries, etc. With our sacrifice and dogged determination, we have remained standing. “In our interactions with government, we craved for better funding, but arrived at a resolution upon which it offered to begin the process of revitalising the Universities by making available N200bn in 2013 and follow with a release of N220bn annually for another five years. “Our congresses considered the offer by Government and resolved that the strike be suspended after incorporating the ‘non victimisation clause’, ‘the commencement of renegotiation of FGN/ASUU Agreement by 2014’ and the endorsement of the new MoU by representatives of Government and ASUU with NLC President as witness. We have not made a fresh demand. “For a Government that recently raised question on the validity of its own document (MoU) even when it was signed by the Permanent Secretary for the Minister of Education, have we done anything wrong by insisting that the MoU be duly endorsed?” Lecturers of the states and Federal universities in the Southwest said they remained resolute. They described as “primitive and derogatory”, the threat of the Federal government to sack them, should they fail to return to the class, saying a government that could hurry to inject over two trillion naira into ailing banks that are privately owned should not find it difficult to infuse N200bn into public universities across the country. Addressing reporters on the main campus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University(OOU), Ago – Iwoye, Ogun State, the local ASUU chair, Dr Adesola Nassir, said the Ibadan Zone of ASUU comprising University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, would sustain the strike. Nassir said: “Not Nyesom Wike, Doyin Okupe, Julius Okojie was given the mandate to manage the affairs of this country, education sector inclusive.” Nassir said: “We just want Nigerians to know that ASUU is not going to be cowed. We are very strict as to the reason why we embarked on strike, we want our universities to be repositioned so that they can churn out the type of graduates that would fit into roles that will power the development of this country. “We cannot continue to be accomplices in the process of producing the half-baked graduates, as we have been accused of. “Our position is very clear: the Federal government said it was going to infuse N200bn into the universities in 2010, we are barely three or a little over that today in 2013 and our union is saying, government must live by what it has said it would do.- THE NATION

N50b for electricity firms to boost power

Owners of the Electricty Generation Companies (GENCOs) are to get a N50 billion prop from the Federal Government, which is desperate to expand electricity generation. The N50 billion will come in form of a guarantee. On behalf of the Federal Government, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) Plc, the government signed yesterday an escrow agreement on power with three Nigerian banks in Abuja. The three banks are United Bank for Africa (UBA), First Bank Plc and First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc, which is the lead escrow agent. Although the banks will take custody of the fund, the NBET will administer the N50billion, which will be raised from the proceeds of the privatization of the PHCN successor firms. In the absence of the World Bank to provide Partial Risk Gurantee (PRG), the fund will serve as a palliative for the new owners to improve power generation, The Nation learnt. But, speaking after the documents signing ceremony, the Director General, BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, noted that such financial guarantee should not BE taken as a grant, considering established processes required for any generation company to benefit from it. His words: “This N50 billion is not a dash. There are certain conditions that must be met before funds can be drawn from this escrow account. The market and systems operator have to confirm the quantum of power that was put on the national grid. The market operator has to confirm that because of system defects and inefficiencies in the transmission network, certain amount of power was lost. So, there has to be a due process before any Genco can draw from this amount; it is not a gift because certain conditions have to be met.” He said :”It is actually the generation companies that are left on the high end and we need to guarantee that whatever power they generate will be paid for if not, they will lose their capital and not able to invest in expansion of their capacities. “We have a deficit of about 29,000 megawatts (MW) of basic power needed to stabilise our power needs of 40,000MW and the average cost of installing a megawatt is about $1.3 million and that will mean an investment of $7.5 billion for 5000MW, and so we need to make sure that we create the atmosphere that will enable these generation companies to make investments without worrying whether they will be able to recoup monies they have invested and that is why this escrow account was created,” Dikki said. On the roles of the banks, Dikki said: “The banks are the custodians of the money, which is deposited in them and we want to establish a process through which this money will be drawn and not just drawn frivolously; that is why the BPE, Bulk Trader and the banks signed the agreement to say that you have to follow a process to draw this money; otherwise, there will be penalties.” The distribution companies are not covered by this escrow account because they have committed to reducing the Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses of the companies. Dikki said: “If you recall, they (distribution companies) were not given to the highest bidder but to those that committed to reducing ATC&C losses by a certain percentage and so they have committed and have given a technical proposal with a business plan cataloguing the level of investments that they will make every year in this regard.” - THE NATION

FG owes us N100m — UCH Doctors

IBADAN — RESIDENT doctors in the University College Hospital, Ibadan, have alleged that the Federal Government had short-changed the hospital authorities to the tune of N100million since January this year. The doctors said this came about through the newly-introduced system of payment by the government. The faulty system, they said, had resulted in serious blunder which made the government mistake doctors for cleaners and other people doing menial jobs in the teaching hospital. They said this while announcing the suspension of their two month strike. -VANGUARD

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Enterprise bank sacks 150 workers

Lagos – Enterprise Bank Ltd., one of the nationalised banks, has retrenched about 150 workers.. Checks on Monday showed that the affected workers were part of the 250 staff nationwide pencilled down for rationalisation. Sources close to the bank said that the sack caught across all units of the bank. At some of the branches on the Lagos Island, workers who confirmed the rationalisation, said that fear and apprehension had enveloped workers in most of the branches. He said that the bulk of them were living in fear as the management could call on anybody to resign. Efforts to confirm the reasons for the retrenchment from the banks’ management proved abortive. The Association of Senor Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has confirmed the mass sack. Mr Emma Ilodianya, one of ASSBIFI secretaries, said that fractionalisation of the union was affecting the urgent resolution of the crisis in Enterprises Bank. “The bank’s workers belong to a faction of the ASSBIFI that is affiliated to Trade Union Congress, while our own faction belongs to the Nigerian Labour Congress. “I can only confirm to you that 250 workers were sack by the bank, but we are not handling the issue from this end,” Ilodianya said., One of the affected staff, who spoke to NAN on the condition of anonymity, said he was retrenched without any tangible reason. He said that the management was sacrificing junior workers because of their refusal to reduce their salaries. Enterprise Bank, had on Feb. 14, 2012, asked 150 of its workers to resign or face sack without any reason. The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) earlier in September, 2013 invited interested buyers to acquire 100 per cent stake in the bank. (NAN)