President Muhammadu Buhari, has sacked the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Dr Tony Jaja.
His sack was contained in a notice made public by the spokesperson for the Attorney-General of the Federation, Dr Umar Gwandu, on Monday.
It was reported that the document which was signed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata (SAN), was dated October 15, 2020.
Titled, ‘Notice of your removal as Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian’, the notice referred to an earlier letter dated September 28, 2020 which was said to have conveyed to Jaja the approval of the President for his sacking.
Dr.Jaja was ordered to immediately hand over the property of the commission in his custody to the Director-General, John Asein.
It read in part, “l have been directed to notify you of your removal as the Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari. GCFR, as conveyed vids letter Ref: 59312/V/230 of September 28, 2020.
“Your removal is with immediate effect and you are, therefore expected to hand over all the properties of the commission in your possession to the Director-General.
“While wishing you success in your future endeavours, please accept the assurances of the warm regards and best wishes of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.”
Naija Politics Hub recalls that Jaja was inaugurated for a four-year tenure along with other members of he NCC board in May 2019. But He was sacked before the expiration of his tenure.
Protests have occurred across the country. Few saw this coming except with the aid of hindsight. However, the protests are here and we must be cognizant of the reasons why. Every society, every nation has its imperfections and challenges. Some of them are of high consequence while some of them minor in scope. No nation escapes this reality. The mark of a great nation is not that it does not have challenges and flaws, the mark of a great and hopefully compassionate nation lies in how it resolves its inconsistencies and social tensions.
Nigeria is a democratic republic established to ensure its people enjoy the benefits of good governance and the quiet enjoyment of their lives through the observation and protection of their fundamental human rights, including the rights to exist and to move about the nation freely as long as one moves about peacefully.
This is the ideal to which we as a nation and to which this government both strive. Yet, the protests show that we have not achieved this ideal. It is now painfully apparent that something undermining this noble goal was taking place and was taking a harsh toll on our people, especially our youth. The youth endured indignities, ranging from petty harassment, extortion, to beatings and killings at the hands of those who had been given a commission to protect them from such brutal criminality. That which was meant to protect you was distorted in too many instances to torment you. Once a good and functional ideal, SARS became a burden on the people.
Here, I must say that a few SARS officers are good, decent police officers trying their best in often challenging conditions. I say this not to cover or condone the wrongs done. I say this that we not unduly taint all for the bad acts of some. However, I also am not attempting to downplay the severity of the misconduct or to give some false solace or consolation to those who have suffered unduly. The activities of the bad SARS officers had violently undermined the reputation and function of the squad. This is a national disgrace turned into unfortunate tragedy by the harsh mistreatment of innocent youth and other Nigerians.
Police brutality is neither a hallmark of democracy nor is it the stamp of this administration. Yet, something went wrong. Your courage and commitment to organize and then carry out peaceful protests brought this grave issue to the attention of the highest levels of this government.
Your protests made the government focus on your concerns. Once government investigated the matter and understood the gravity and veracity of the protest claims, government moved with dispatch and resolved to abolish SARS. Government has also moved with sincerity, committing itself to working on several other important demands raised by the protests. Here it is important to continue to act based on the premise that we all want the best for Nigeria and that the other person is motivated by good faith.
During this situation, some people have lambasted the protesters as troublemakers intent on bringing down the government. This was unhelpful. We cannot move forward if we taint everything as fundamentally motivated by partisan political coloration. A few things transcend political bickering. Also, those claiming that government was harsh and intolerant were wrong. Like any committed government, this administration does not want see innocent citizens brutalized by the police. There is no good that can come from such a policy as such a stance is morally and political bankrupt and counterproductive. The President and his government care for the people.
While we may have policy disagreements with others and have a different political perspective, no one should question the good faith of this administration and its commitment to the Nigerian people. It is an unfair and unfounded assertion to allege that we care not for the people and want to see them harshly treated. Such allegations are not born of sincerity but come from those seeking to gain political capital from the current situation.
Yet, all in all, the youth-led protests have done the nation and its people a service. Good police action helps all of us but police misconduct adversely touches Nigerians of every demographic. By demonstrating for an end to brutality you have enhanced the liberties and freedoms of all Nigerians.
Thus, I salute the courage of the Nigerian youth for finding their voice, for mobilizing, for staying on message by keeping the peace during your protests that we may have even more peace. Your demands for action, and deep-rooted reforms, including adequate funding of our Police, show that you are seeking pragmatic solutions to real problems. In essence you had the fruitful insight to seek aid for the very Police that have inflicted hardship on you because you realize that only an improved police will better serve you. In essence, you seek not to destroy but to build better than before.
Government is nothing but a public service. Leadership must respond to the agitations and valid yearnings of society. In this case, this Government is doing that. The demands are being met as swiftly and practicably as possible. SARS has been dissolved, and will not come back. A multi stakeholder committee to address youth demands and relevant issues is already in place.
Shortly after the protests began, President Muhammadu Buhari issued a public broadcast vowing that police reforms have started with the dissolution of SARS.
Beyond dissolution of SARS, the police as an institution will undergo a reform process intended to promote community-police cooperation and to weed out unqualified and bad officers. Our youth, who constitute over 60 percent of the population and are often wrongly profiled, harassed and brutalized for no justifiable reason at all and this must stop.
Institutional change and reform are coming and government will fulfill this solemn promise. Yet, we must also realize that the changes and reform will take more than one day to effectuate. We are talking about changing the behavior and ideals of an institution that have been operating in a certain way for decades.
This episode is a dual lesson to us all. First, it instructs us on how law enforcement is not to act. Second, it also shows on how citizens can peacefully relay their grievances to government that it may take curative action. In this vein, the right to protest is part of the fabric of a responsive democratic setting. Protests are one of the legitimate ways people can lay their petition before government. Thus, the people have a right and duty to protest peacefully in order to raise serious grievance or call for important government action. And in the face of sustained protests, government has the duty to listen and the responsibility to respond to and resolve legitimate issues to the extent possible.
The people should never be afraid to protest as long as their cause is just and government should never be frightened by such protests but should accept that the protests are peaceful call by the people for government to help them create a better society and a better life. For protest to make any sense the protests implies and the protesters must believe government has the requisite good faith to listen and to act.
Thus, amidst these considerations is another important one. Genuine protesters must be careful not to allow those with nefarious motives to hijack their protests and steer them into violence or into conduct that actually undermines constitutional democracy instead of enhancing it. The line between legitimate protests and improper attack against the democratic order may not be the broadest but it is there and relatively clear. Yet, it is possible to be taken across that line if you do not remain disciplined and focused. Always be mindful that others with agendas contrary to your altruism will infiltrate the protests and will seek to exploit your constructive efforts to stir conflict and tension that cannot be resolved except through even more conflicts. Protests to build and improve society. Yes. Protests to foster chaos and disorder to tear down society, No.
As Youth, you seek the path of a new more just Social and Political Order but that better order can never be born or emanate from disorder and chaos. Better to seek the path of reform that builds on the extant democratic foundation, that recognizes initiatives this administration has already commenced but will also not hesitate to push and urge government to move faster and further if you believe that will better serve the nation.
Thus, government and the youth must embrace dialogue.
This President and his administration will speak to you frankly and in good faith. There will be honest dialogue but no false promises on one hand or unfair suppression on the other.
The youth must be sufficiently fair minded to assess the facts and the situation. Do not swallow the ugly narratives peddled with malicious intensity by organizations that politically oppose the President. They seek to paint him as uncaring and hateful toward you. This is an unfair lie. The President cares deeply. He profits nothing when an innocent Youth or Nigerian is hurt, harassed or killed by those hired to protect them. He is personally insulted when the police act against safety and proper order. He is engaged in a dogged battle against vested interests that had literally hijacked the soul of the country over decades and are intent on avoiding accountability. This means, he is more than willing to dialogue with you because you both seek reform albeit sometimes in different ways with different priorities. As a father figure, the President has always maintained that his actions will ultimately prove that he always saw the youth as our greatest assets.
We must now be concerned that even protests can be subjected to the hurricane winds of manipulation to the extent that many would claim nothing is being done for the Nigerian youth. As the Minister responsible for this portfolio, I can say categorically that this is simply not true. For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a specific ring-fenced investment fund, the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) was approved by Government. The President’s belief is that we must make substantial and meaningful financial investment in our youth if we truly want them to become creators of wealth, employers of labor and architects of a better Nigeria.
When Youth Corpers lamented the inadequacy of their allowances, many raised the competing needs for resources as a reason why increments would not be possible. This President ensured increment from N19, 800 to N33, 000 Naira monthly, even above the minimum wage. This pool is the single largest concentration of youth in the country annually.
The Social Investment Programme (SIP) of this government has won international acclaim. An enabling environment for youth-run Fintech companies to thrive has been created with a special license category created by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Buhari administration continues to make massive investments in every facet of Nigeria’s life so the country can have the infrastructure it needs for rapid economic development.
Still in the youth spectrum, we have established a roster of youth-focused programs never seen before, under this administration. The N-Power Youth Empowerment Programme has benefited over five hundred thousand (500,000) youth and remains the largest such youth program in sub-Saharan Africa. And there are countless stories of impact. The next batch of four hundred thousand (400,000) youth will soon take advantage of this initiative. The Bank of Industry (BOI) oversees the $20 million fund for Youth Tech Innovators and Entrepreneurs (YTIE), Youth Entrepreneurship Support Program (YES-P) among others. There is the National Young Farmers Scheme under the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) aimed at encouraging and supporting thousands of young farmers across the country. There is also the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) from which over 50,000 youth have benefited. Training in Mobile Device Repairs, Digital Skills Acquisition, Business Training and Support for SMEs are being undertaken by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government.
As Minister of Youth and Sports Development, every youth-focused request I have made has been greeted with the undivided attention of President Buhari meeting his approval. It is clear that Government needs to do more and we and we know this. We are not finished. Thus, I urge you to join us and when needed to prod us to do even more and go even further.
We must however know when to pocket an achievement and we are at that point. Government is ready for greater engagement with youth. The protests have brought your grievances to the forefront and thus have fulfilled their stated objective. Now we must continue to discuss and work out solutions to these matters.
You have only one country and the President is positioning it for greatness through the institution of deep sometimes painful but needed reforms. Yet, he is ceaselessly assaulted by powerful vested interests who have skeletons to hide.
This is a country of youth in the century of the youth. These protests have earned the youth a well-deserved place at the table. So, take your seat in order to continue the progress and reform you have called for.
From the protest, it is time for the next phase – dialogue. Identify trusted leaders and have them come forward. Any movement without leaders becomes rudderless and susceptible to being hijacked by people with agendas inimical to the very reasons behind the protests. The youth have a unique opportunity to help write a new chapter in our journey to a more compassionate and benign society and a greater nation. Don’t let this historic chance pass through your hands. You deserve this moment, as does the nation we love.
We have a committed President who has the will power to get difficult things done. We have that in President Muhammadu Buhari. I urge you to have the confidence and fortitude to have this conversation with him. You will find in him a listening ear and a ready partner. I say to the youth – Your time has come. History now waits for you to turn protest into dialogue and grievance into solution.
Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Federal Republic of Nigeria .DISCOURSE WITH THE NIGERIAN YOUTH -SUNDAY DARE
Anonymous, a group of international ‘hacktivist’ group backing #ENDSARS protesters has claimed responsibility for bringing down the websites of the Lagos State Government, Kaduna State Government, Ministry of Justice, INEC, NNPC, EFCC and NCDC.
“The collective of #Anonymous is working on a database leak for the #OpNigeria. We are not 100% sure this will be released, but lets hope so. We are Anonymous!… Anonymous is justice, and justice cannot be silenced.
“The collective of #Anonymous is working on a database leak for the #OpNigeria. We are not 100% sure this will be released, but lets hope so. We are Anonymous,” it tweeted on Saturday morning.
The Nation checks observed websites of the Lagos Government, Kaduna Government, INEC, EFCC and NCDC could not be accessed at the time of this report.
The Nation, on Friday, reported how the official website of the Nigeria Police Force, Central Bank of Nigeria and official twitter handle of the National Broadcasting Commission got infiltrated after the group hacked into various platforms.
It tweeted: “Official website of @officialEFCC has been taken down in support of #EndSARSProtest. CHECK HOST: https://check-host.net/check-report/df89d3bk838 TARGET: https://efccnigeria.org/efcc/ You should have expected us!”
“NCDC website has been taken #Offline. #TangoDown, Check Host = https://check-host.net/check-report/df8bcefk805 Site: https://ncdc.gov.ng”
“Official website of @inecnigeria has been taken #Offline. CHECK HOST: https://check-host.net/check-report/df8a978k278. #TangoDown! You should have expected us.
The group had vowed to attack federal government agencies’ websites in solidarity with the EndSARS protesters
Many Nigerians have however reacted to the cyber-attack launched by Anonymous.
Nigerians took to social media especially twitter to express their thoughts with the development.
@Joshua_Ubeku said: “With the way Anonymous is going with this hacking thing, we might be seeing #EndSARS from Buhari’s account soon”ADVERTISEMENT
@Mauyon_ said, “Anonymous hack on Nigeria is so easy..”
@_Sumanguru said: “Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is running their website on Microsoft IIS Web server? Shame Thinking face I wonder what other faulty infrastructure/code they are running? Cheapskate bank, they deserve to be hacked by Anonymous”
@Jonath_an said: “They never expected such attack will ever befall them LoL. But it has happened.”
@GoogleEmperor said, “Don’t just hack. Show us something to be angry about.”
Nigeria has been barred from the US visa lottery application for 2022, a document obtained from the US Government website showed.
In a 19-page document published on the website, Nigeria is the only African country barred from the visa lottery.
“For DV-2022, persons born in the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than, 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam,” the document read. “Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.”
Although natives of other African countries are allowed to apply, the document explained that “persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt,” it said.
“Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.”
In the document captioned “Instructions for the 2022 diversity immigrant visa program (dv-2022),” applicants must meet certain guidelines to be eligible for the visa lottery.
“The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing,” the statement added.
“The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available DVs in any one year.”
INDEPENDENCE DAY ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE OCCASION OF
NIGERIA’S SIXTIETH INDEPENDENCE
1ST OCTOBER 2020
I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country’s 60th independence Anniversary. As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.
2. Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.
3. At this stage in our nationhood it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.
4. On October 1st 1960 when Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa received the constitutional instruments symbolizing Nigeria’s independence, he expressed his wish that having acquired our rightful status as an independent sovereign nation, history would record that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace.
5. This optimism was anchored on the peaceful planning, full and open consultation and harmonious cooperation with the different groups which culminated in Nigeria emerging as a country without bitterness and bloodshed.
6. Our founding fathers understood the imperative of structuring a National identity using the power of the state and worked towards unification of Nigerians in a politically stable and viable entity.
7. That philosophy guided the foundation that was laid for our young nation of 45 million people with an urban population of approximately 7million occupying an area of 910,768 square kilometers. These demographics led to development challenges for which major efforts were made to overcome.
8. Today, we grapple with multiple challenges with a population exceeding 200million occupying the same land mass but 52% residing in urban areas.
9. Sixty years of nationhood provides an opportunity to ask ourselves questions on the extent to which we have sustained the aspirations of our founding fathers. Where did we do the right things? Are we on course? If not where did we stray and how can we remedy and retrace our steps?
10. Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programmes that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30-months of civil war.
11. We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world-class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government. This positive trajectory continued with a return to democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.
12. For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years existence as a nation, we have been under military rule.
13. My summary of our journey so far as a nation is necessary to appropriately chart where we need to go and how to get there TOGETHER.
14. Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by unbridled craving for political control.
15. An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.
16. In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.
17. We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.
18. The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration.
19. To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – OUR PEOPLE – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.
20. It has been demonstrated time and time again that Nigerians in the diaspora frequently excel in science, technology, medicine, sports, arts and many other fields.
21. Similarly, the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Nigerian at home have resulted in globally recognized endeavours.
22. I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations TOGETHER we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme TOGETHER to mark this epochal event.
23. Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly, together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.
24. I chose the path of self-reflection because this is what I do on a daily basis and I must confess that at most times, I always felt the need for a collective reflection as I know that the foundation for a solid future which this administration is laying can only be sustainable if there is a collective commitment by Nigerians.
25. Nigeria is not a country for Mr. President, any ruling or opposition party but a country for all of us and we must play our part, irrespective of challenges we face, to make this country what we desire.
26. To achieve this, we must focus our minds, TOGETHER as a people, on ways of resolving the identified critical challenges that underlie our present state. These include:
a. Evolving and sustaining a democratic culture that leaves power in the hands of the people;
b. Supporting the enthronement of the rule of law, demanding accountability of elected representatives and contributing to good governance;
c. Increasing our commitment to peaceful co-existence in a peaceful, secure and united Nigeria;
d. Harnessing and Optimizing our tremendous human and natural resources to attain our goal of being in the top twenty economies of the world and in the process;
e. Lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years;
f. Strengthening institutions to make them stronger in protecting National Interests; and
g. Imbibing tolerance in diversity.
27. I am a firm believer in transparent, free, fair and credible elections as has been demonstrated during my period as a democratically elected President.
28. The recent build-up and eventual outcome of the Edo State elections should encourage Nigerians that it is my commitment to bequeath to this country processes and procedures that would guarantee that the people’s votes count.
29. The problems with our electoral process are mainly human induced as desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office.
30. Democracy, the world over and as I am pursuing in Nigeria, recognizes the power of the people. However, if some constituencies choose to bargain off their power, they should be prepared for denial of their rights.
31. This call is made more urgent if we realise that even after a transparent, free, fair and credible election, desperation leads to compromising the judiciary to upturn legitimate decisions of the people.
32. It is necessary to, therefore support the enthronement of the rule of law by avoiding actions which compromise the judiciary.
33. Fellow Nigerians, our history has shown that we are a people that have the capacity to live peacefully with one another.
34. As a government, we remain committed to our constitutional oath of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. I, however, call on the citizenry to also support government by providing the necessary community level intelligence in addressing these challenges.
35. In moving forward together, it is important to strengthen our economy to provide sustainable means of livelihood for as many Nigerians as possible so as to eradicate absolute poverty from our midst.
36. I want to re-emphasize my dedication and commitment, a dedication and commitment that propelled my public service career and informed my quest to continually seek for an opportunity to improve the lives of Nigerians, set the country on the path of prosperity and lead the country to a better future.
37. This administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria. Of course, we have met and are still meeting the challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative – more so that of a nation like Nigeria that has undergone avoidable levels of deprivation – but can be surmounted if we all work together.
38. I wish to re-iterate that our people and our spirit of excellence remains our most important asset.
39. In this wise, the need to return to our age-old ethical and high moral values would be necessary and this informed my launching of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy on Monday 28th September, 2020.
40. The policy would not implement itself and the first contact of the visibility of its implementation is the Public Service whose on-going reforms would be expected to be sustainable and give a radical re-direction in providing services to all Nigerians.
41. Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.
42. Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources.
43. In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible. The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.
44. Accordingly, in the last three years, we have introduced unprecedented measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of our society in the shape of:
c. School Feeding Programme
d. Job creation efforts
e. Agricultural intervention programmes
45. No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.
46. In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.
47. Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;
a. Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre
b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.
c. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.
48. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.
49. Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.
50. Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges.
51. It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation.
•I Am Not PDP Member, PDP Thugs Attacked Me, Jegede lied – Victim
•PDP Wage War On Owo Community – Owo High Hope Club
•Other Victims recount Ordeal, As Shells of Bullets from Sophisticated Weapons litter Owo Street
The Commissioner of Police in Ondo State, Mr. Bolaji Salami and the Commandant of the Nigeria Security And Civil Defense Corps, Philip Ayuba have visited Ijebu-Owo and Ipele in Owo local government area of Ondo State to assess the level of wanton destruction carried out by suspected thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the town yesterday.
Moving round Owo town, from Mobil in Ijebu-Owo to Aro street Junction down to Ipele town, the suspected PDP thugs destroyed over twenty vehicles and injured over ten persons who were initially receiving treatment at Ipele Hospital before they were transferred to the Federal Medical Center (FMC) due to complicated medical situations.
Mrs. Nike Alale who said she recently returned from Norway narrated how she was attacked while buying fuel at Bovas Gas Station at Aro Junction in Owo.
She said:”We were buying fuel here and all of a sudden we heard gun shots. We had to run inside the fuel station office. We were watching them as they destroyed my vehicle. They were shouting “Eyi La fe”. They stole all the valuables in my car including my phones and car documents.
“They came down from a PDP campaign convoy. We saw them shouting kill them! Kill them! There is no APC sticker on my car. I am not an APC member. This is unfair.”
The Owo High Hope Club was not speared in the attack. The leader of the club, Mr. Deji Ogunbodede said members of the club were drinking peacefully before the PDP thugs attacked. He said ”We were drinking peaceful and suddenly we heard gunshots from the PDP campaign convoy. Some boys entered this place with guns. They wore PDP vests and caps. They aimed at us but we ran away. Look at bullets all over the floor. Our cars are destroyed. They packed our phones. Over 30 phones were packed away by the thugs. They broke my car and carted away all valuables inside including the photocopy of the car documents. They broke our fridge and took bottles of beer away.
“We were surprised. This club is not for APC. It belongs to Owo people. We see this attack as an attack on Owo town. It’s a taboo. People don’t bring war to Owo. The worse part was that they were shielded by the Police, Civil Defence and the Soldiers.”
The branch chairman of Ipele NURTW, Bukunmi Ojo, who is on the hospital bed said he was beaten thoroughly and stabbed severally by the PDP thugs in Jegede’s campaign convoy.
Ojo said Jegede lied on Channels Television yesterday when he referred to him as a member of the PDP.
He said:” Jegede’s thugs attacked me. I am not a member of the PDP as claimed by Jegede on TV yesterday. Everyone in Ipele knows that I am an APC member.
Afolabi Ibidapo narrated how the PDP stormed the APC secretariat at Ipele and descended on all party members holding their meetings peacefully.
Several vehicles and motorcycles belonging to APC members that were destroyed in Ipele were seen by the Security chiefs who were also in the town.
Other persons attacked and still on the hospital bed receiving medical attention are; Tunde Oke, Aladenika Bade and Abraham Steven.
Shell of bullets from sophisticated weapons were recovered from the scene of the incident
Addressing Journalists, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Salami flanked by the commandant of the NCDSC, Mr. Ayuba said, he has gone round and saw that many properties were damaged, and scores of persons were injured. While assuring that the perpetrators will be brought to book, the Police boss, said investigation will commence to get to the root of the matter.
On the October 10 governorship election, he said: “I have always assured the people of Ondo state that security will be total and everybody will be allowed to vote for the party of their choice.”
He identified the shells of bullet recovered from the scene of the incident as that of Pistol, Ak 47 and pump action which he said are prohibited arms for civilians.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila presiding.
After leading the opening prayer and the National Pledge, the Speaker examined and approved the votes and proceedings for Thursday, July 23rd, 2020
COMMUNICATION FROM Mr PRESIDENT
Transmission of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2020 for consideration and passage into Law by the House of Representatives. It consists of a single tone aspect for reforms for the improvement of parameters governing the Nigerian petroleum industry. The letter was referred to the Ad-Hoc committee on PIB.
Request for the resolution of the reimbursement of 148.14 Billion Naira through promissory notes to be shared among Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Ondo and Rivers state governments for the construction of Federal road projects in the respective states. The letter was referred to the House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt management.
Invitation to 2-day dialogue for Executive- Legislative retreat slated for 5th and 6th October from 9:00 Am- 4:30 Pm at the banquet hall, Presidential Villa. Attendance is compulsory for all Chairmen of House of Representatives Committees.
All members with issues on flooding in their constituencies should forward their motions to the office of the Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business so that all would be collated and taken in a single motion.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila welcomed members back from their annual recess: “Good morning. I thank God by whose mercy and forbearance we are able to gather here once more in the hallowed chamber of the House of Representatives to attend to the business of the people with the dedication and determination that is expected of us, and which this moment in our history demands. In the time we have been away from plenary, the Committees of the House have been engaging with stakeholders to achieve progress on several priority initiatives. Members have been meeting to work out strategies and develop plans for legislative action to address the many challenges of governance that we continue to face in the country. Over this past weekend, the leadership of the House of Representatives with Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and other senior members of the executive arm of government acted to prevent the planned strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). This intervention was necessary to forestall the possibility of an industrial action that disrupts the lives of Nigerians and further weakens an already troubled economy. In the course of these negotiations, the Federal Government made commitments to labour and the Nigerian people. These commitments must be adhered to as a matter of good conscience, and to the extent that doing so does not cause us to deviate from ongoing efforts to achieve essential and long-overdue reforms to our economy. Reforms of the oil and gas sector and the electricity and power sector that keep the heavy hand of government from undermining the proper operation of free markets must be encouraged. We recognise that some of these reforms will increase the living costs for many at a time when people are struggling to cover the costs of daily life. We will work with the Executive to develop and implement measures to support people that need help and ensure that the most vulnerable among us can get through this interregnum with dignity. Even more importantly, the House will exercise our oversight authority to hold people’s feet to the fire and deliver outcomes that are worthy of the sacrifices we are asking of the Nigerian people. I am also pleased to announce that for the first time in our history, the House of Representatives will sit in an entirely digitised chamber where the proceedings of the House, including records of votes, will be taken appropriately in real-time and archived for all history. When we resumed in the 9th House, we promised to deliver and operate a modern parliament in keeping with international best practice. We have kept our word in this regard and will continue to do so in every other sphere. Since March, when the virus first entered our shores, the House of Representatives has taken active measures to protect the people who work here and our constituents who visit the National Assembly Complex. As a result of these measures, we have not operated at full capacity for most of the year. Despite these limitations, the House has considered and passed 38 bills with another 159 bills awaiting reports from the Committees. However, we still have 713 (Seven Hundred and Thirteen) bills pending second reading. We must act quickly to dispense of them lest we find ourselves overwhelmed and unable to respond to emerging developments with the speed and effectiveness that the moment requires Before the recess, we presented to the Nigerian people the updated Legislative Agenda of the House, which we tagged “Our Contract with Nigerians.” The updated Legislative Agenda of the House and the accompanying Implementation Framework are a significant and thorough effort to outline a set of priority actions that taken together will help us achieve a more peaceful and more prosperous nation. We updated our Agenda to help us respond more effectively to the unique and far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economy, on our national security and the general wellbeing of all our people. We must each always remember that this document is a contract with the people who sent us here and as such, our readiness and determination to keep our end of this bargain must never be in doubt. The time has now come for us to make good on our obligations. To do that within the time frame we have committed to in the Implementation Framework, requires that we change the way we operate. From now on, motions and proposed bills that speak to the priorities set out in the Legislative Agenda will receive precedence in the House. The only exceptions will be for emergencies and matters of urgent national importance that require immediate action. Honourable colleagues, I enjoin you to continue, as a matter of course, to acquaint yourselves with the provisions of the Legislative Agenda and the Implementation Framework, as these are documents to which we will often return during our time here. To ensure fidelity to the commitments we have freely made, I am appointing an Adhoc Committee to guide implementation of the Legislative Agenda across the Committees and other institutions of the House of Representatives. This AdHoc Committee will work with the Committee on Rules and Business to ensure that bills brought forward for consideration align with our Agenda. Additionally, the Committee will monitor and provide regular reports on our individual and collective efforts to deliver on the objectives set out in the Agenda. Hon. Henry Nwawuba has worked closely with me to conceptualise and develop the Legislative Agenda, and Implementation Framework will serve as Chairman of the Committee. Other members will be announced subsequently. Early in the life of the 9th House of Representatives, we promised that we would return to a regular budget cycle, running from January through to December. We kept that promise in our first year and set a standard from which we must not deviate. However, there is an ongoing problem of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government failing to implement projects and programmes for which funds have been provided in the Budget. It bears restating that the Appropriation Act is not merely a policy document or a statement of intent. It is the law of the land that binds us all. Any expenditure of public funds outside of the Appropriation Act is a crime, as is a failure to implement programmes and projects for which funds have been allocated and provided. But more than that, it is a betrayal of the public trust that undermines faith in the government and frustrates good faith efforts at national development. The House will take action against those who fail in their responsibilities in this regard. I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that. All over the world, Nigerian citizens are pursuing education and economic opportunities to better themselves and improve the circumstances of their lives. Unfortunately, in some of these places, our citizens become victims of state actions that impede on their right to life, to free movement and free enterprise. So far, the 9th House of Representatives has had cause to intervene on behalf of Nigerians in South Africa, Egypt, China and Ghana. These interventions have resulted in specific and general improvements to the wellbeing of our citizens in these countries. This pattern of legislative diplomacy will continue. Our responsibility as Representatives to advocate for and protect the interests of our people does not terminate when they travel to other parts of the world. There is no jurisdictional limit on our duty to intervene to ensure the wellbeing of Nigerian citizens. The constitution of our Republic, to which we swear allegiance, demands this of us when it declares without exception, that “the security of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. Last month I led a delegation of the House of Representatives to the Republic of Ghana in response to increased friction between both of our countries to the detriment of ordinary citizens on both sides who only wished to live quiet, productive lives. The delegation met with Nigerians in Ghana to understand the challenges they faced in that country, particularly regarding the obligations imposed on them by the Ghana Investment Promotion Act. We also met with the Speaker of the Parliament, the Honourable Aaron Mike Oquaye and the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo to discuss our concerns and seek solutions that serve the collective best interests of all our people. We received assurances from President Nana Akufo-Addo that Nigerians in Ghana will not be the victims of any punitive actions by state and non-state actors. We also resolved with the Parliament of Ghana to appoint a Joint Committee of members of both Legislatures to explore reciprocal legislation that will ensure the people of both countries can continue to freely trade with each other and in each other’s territories. The people of both countries have traded with each other and in each other’s territories since before either nation existed in their current form. The relationship precedes all of us here and will survive us. We must ensure that the relationship we bequeath to the next generation is stronger than the one we inherited. Ladies and gentlemen, legislative diplomacy is not only about actions to protect the rights of Nigerians abroad. On many of the issues that most affect our lives; national security, trade, healthcare and our economy, cooperation with the rest of the world is necessary to promote Nigerian interests. Legislative diplomacy is also about building alliances that allow us to meet the obligations we owe to Nigerians here at home. One of the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic is that we are more connected to each other than we realise, and developments in one part of the world can very quickly affect the rest of the world for good or for ill. Unfortunately, some have learned the wrong lessons from our recent experiences, and are choosing the course of isolationist nationalism. I believe that this moment calls for the opposite. This is a time for reaching out, for cooperation and partnership, for brotherhood and the recognition of our shared humanity. I believe, and my colleagues in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa and Senegal agree with me that our separate national interests do not preclude us from a joint endeavour in the common good. It is in that spirit that we have convened the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliament (CoSAP) to collectively engage on issues that affect all of us, particularly the enormous and increasingly untenable debt burden on the continent. My colleague Speakers and Heads of Parliament have asked that I chair this Conference. I thank them for the honour and their faith in me. We have established a Secretariat here in the House of Representatives, and a Technical Working Group (TWG) of policy aides from across the participating countries to support the Conference as we chart a new course for Africa in the world. Honourable Colleagues, I ask the blessing and support of this House to continue in this effort. Two weeks ago, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR signed the Police Reform Act into law. The Act is the first significant reform effort in a generation. It is the beginning and not the end of such measures. The Nigeria Police Force, as it currently operates, has too long and too often failed to meet the expectations of the Nigerian people. In many parts of our country, people are more afraid of encounters with the police than they are of criminals. That’s not right, and we can no longer stand for it. There will be, in this 9th House of Representatives, further legislation to improve police performance across the board and to introduce mechanisms for individual and collective accountability in the Nigeria Police Force. Our objective is nothing short of a total overhaul of the culture and practice of policing in Nigeria. In the same vein, we have begun, and we will expedite work on the Armed Forces Trust Fund Bill so that in the shortest possible time, we can finalise and pass legislation that ensures once and for all that the resources we need to protect the homeland are never at the mercy of politics or changes in policy or personnel. The House has received and will shorty begin consideration of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as part of our efforts to achieve wholesale reform of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. This is not the first time that we have initiated the Petroleum Industry Bill or similar efforts at broad oil and gas sector reform in the National Assembly. I assure all Nigerians that we in the 9th House of Representatives fully intend to succeed this time around. However, I must appeal to stakeholders in the public and private sector, to the media, to the host communities and all who wish our country well to support this process. Let us reject cynicism and resist all attempts to frustrate this reform effort in service of the narrow interests of any particular group. Let us put Nigeria first so that history may judge us kindly. Honourable Colleagues, I have said before that the success or failure of the 9th House of Representatives would not be the result of the actions of any one individual. We are in this together. Let us continue to work in unity, as we have done thus far. Let us continue to act always in the best interests of our people, never allowing our disagreements over politics to get in the way of our joint efforts at nation-building. As we ask for God’s favour on our endeavours, let us make sure that the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the priorities we pursue are always deserving. I welcome you all once more to the chamber, and I thank you for your time this morning. God bless you all, and God bless our Federal Republic of Nigeria. “
Rep. Ibrahim Ali laid a petition from a complainant against the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA) petitioning his unlawful termination from the Agency
Rep. Mohamed Umar laid a petition from a complainant on the unlawful termination of his employment.
Rep. Henry Nwawuba laid a petition from a company challenging the harassment of the premises of the organization.
Rep. Haruna Dederi laid 7 petitions from different complainants on various issues.
All petitions were referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions
MATTER OF PRIVILEGE
Rep. Benjamin Mzondu rose on a Matter of Privilege, seeking clarification on the controversy surrounding the National Water Resource Bill 2020 that was debated and approved by the House of Representatives. Rep. Mzondu stated that he did not have the opportunity to sight the gazetted copy of the Bill and hence he was deprived of his right to contribute for the good of his constituents. He also queried the Bill that it didn’t pass the normal process for passage. In his response, the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that the Bill was recommitted from the preceding Assembly, so proceeded De’novo. Rep. Nkem Abonta stated that he supported the submission of Rep. Mzondu as certain parts of the Bill are questionable and the procedure with which it was dispatched was also unprecedented. Rep. Sada Soli stated that the Bill was an Executive Bill and followed the normal procedure for consideration. He stated that the Bill was a consolidation and updating of four previous Water Acts. Rep. Abubakar Hassan Fulata as the Chairman, Rules and Business clarified that the Bill was passed by the 8th Assembly but was reintroduced by the Executive in the 9th Assembly and was reconsidered in the Committee of the Whole. The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that it is important to find out if the Bill was gazetted or if clean copies were circulated in line with the provisions of the rules of the House. The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Ahmed Wase stated that the Bill was stepped down on the first day it was supposed to be considered as Members wanted proof that it had been passed in the preceding Assembly, and on that first day; there were clean copies provided for members. Rep. Kingsley Chinda stated that he aligns his position with that of Rep. Mzondu and only wants the Bill to pass through the proper procedure in the interest of Nigerians. The Speaker in his ruling reminded members of the Infectious Disease Bill which he sponsored that generated controversy and he stood down the Bill and sent it to a public hearing for proper procedure. Rep. Gbajabiamila then stated that the Rules and Business Committee should quickly send the Bill for gazetting and bring it back to the floor of the House.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
Chartered Institute of Project Auditors of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill 2020 (HB. 1040) (Rep. Fred Agbedi) – First Reading.
Chartered Institute of Operations and Supply Chain Professionals (Establishment) Bill 2020 (HB. 1041) (Rep. Fred Agbedi) – First Reading.
Chartered Institute of Inventory Control Management Professionals (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1042) (Rep. Fred Agbedi) – First Reading.
Federal University of Technology Okija, Anambra State (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1043) (Rep. Ifeanyi Chudy Momah) – First Reading.
National Orientation Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1044) (Rep. Shinna Peller) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1045) (Rep. Bede Eke) – First Reading.
Oil and Gas Investment and Free Zones Bill, 2020 (HB. 1051) (Rep. Darlington Nwokocha) First Reading.
Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1052) (Rep. Darlington Nwokocha) – First Reading.
Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (Establishment) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1053) (Rep. Onofiok Luke & 5 others) – First Reading.
Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1054) (Rep. Onofiok Luke & 5 others) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1055) (Rep. Onofiok Luke & 5 others) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1056) (Rep. Onofiok Luke & 7 others) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1057) (Rep. Shehu Balarabe Kakale) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1058) (Rep. Shehu Balarabe Kakale) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1059) (Rep. Solomon T. Bob) – First Reading.
Companies and Allied Matters Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1060) (Rep. Ugonna Ozurigbo) – First Reading.
Federal Medical Centre, Ankpa (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1062) (Rep. Abdullahi Ibrahim Ali) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 Alteration Bill, 2020 (HB. 1063) (Rep. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
Federal University of Agriculture, Ugbakwa (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1064) (Rep. Nnolim Nnaji) – First Reading.
Federal Medical Centre, Akpugo (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1065) (Rep. Nnolim Nnaji) – First Reading.
Federal Colleges of Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1066) (Rep. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1067) (Rep. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) (Indulgence of Judiciary in States Bill, 2020 (HB. 1068) (Rep. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (HB. 1069) (Rep. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading.
ORDER OF THE DAY
A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal Medical Centre Igboho, Oyo State; and for Related Matters (HB.733) (Rep. Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde) – Second Reading. Debate Rep. Ojerinde moved for the second reading of the Bill. In leading the debate, Rep. Ojerinde stated that the proposed medical centre would bridge the deficit currently being suffered by the residents of the region. He stated that it would also provide skilled employment and socio-economic development for the region and other neighbouring communities. The Bill was voted on, adopted and referred to the House Committee on Health Institutions.
Rep. Chinedu Ogah rose to commend the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila for his intervention on the issues that led to the intended strike action by the NLC, TUC and other labour unions. He commended the patriotic spirit of the Speaker and assured him of the commitment of members to the able leadership of Rep. Gbajabiamila.
Rescission of the Resolution on the FGN 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper: Rep. Abubakar Hassan Fulata:
Recalls that on Tuesday, 21 July 2020 the Rt. Hon. Speaker read a communication from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria submitting the FGN 2021-2023 MTEF / FSP;
Also recalls that the Hon. Speaker referred the Communication to the Committees on Finance, Appropriations and, National Planning and Economic Development; Aware of the importance of the 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP in preparation of the 2021 budget estimates of the Federal Government of Nigeria; Also aware of the need for members of the House of Representatives to contribute to the approval of the MTEF/FSP by participating in the debate on the Subject matter; Conscious of the desire to rescind its decision on the matter and subject it to debate. Resolves to: Rescind its decision on the 2021–2023 MTEF/FSP and subject it to debate.
Motion stepped down by leave of the House.
Urgent Need to End the Incessant Killings in Guri and Kirikasamma Local Government Areas of Jigawa State: Rep. Abubakar Hassan Fulata: The House:
Notes the violent encounters between farmers and herdsmen in Guri and Kirikasamma Local Government areas of Jigawa State which have claimed several lives and property on a recurrent basis such that the lives of farmers in the areas are perpetually in danger; Also notes that unless urgent action is taken, the people of the two local Government Areas would be plunged into starvation as rampaging horde of herdsmen killed the farmers, destroyed their crops and the herdsmen feed their livestock;
Concerned that in June 2020, over 20 farmers were killed and over sixty people sustained various degrees of injuries and several crops destroyed by herdsmen in Adiyane town of Guri Local Government;
Also aware that on Friday, 18 September 2020, Madammawa town in Guri Local Government was invaded by herdsmen and one farmer was killed and over 20 people sustained matched and arrow wounds, equally in Kiriasamma Local Government, the people of Marma, Zagari, Madachi, Matara, Likori, Gubuzum and Sunkuye now live in perpetual fear;
Worried that the perpetrators of those crimes are known but were either not arrested or released shortly after they are arrested by the police and never prosecuted;
(i) Urge the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Special Task Force to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to apprehending and prosecuting the leaders and members of the killer herdsmen;
(ii) Also urge the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to supply relief materials to all the affected victims of the violence at Adiyane, Madammawa and Marma Guri and Kirikasamma Local Government areas of Jigawa State.
Debate Rep. Hassan Fulata moved the motion on the urgent need to end the incessant killings in Guri and Kirikasamma local government area of Jigawa state and it was seconded by Rep. Haruna Mshelia. The motion was voted on and adopted.
Non-Release of Take-Off Grant to Federal Universities Across the Country: Rep. Unyime Idem: The House: Notes that there are some Federal Universities in Nigeria that are yet to receive take-off grants decades after their establishment and commencement of academic activities;
Aware that take–off Grants are seed funds provided by the Federal Government to assist newly established Universities for the take-off of academic activities, support training, pays the salaries of pioneer workers, assist in the provision of the requisite technology, books and other crucial materials needed to run the school;
Concerned that most second and third generation Universities had to commence academic activities from existing Secondary, Technical School or State Universities as the case may be;
Also concerned that the University of Uyo, formerly known as the University of Cross River State (UNICROSS), a third-generation University established on October 1, 1991, commenced academic activities without the initial take-off grant and had to grapple with lean resources to manage its affairs and as a result, could not develop properly till date;
Also aware that other institutions such as the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umuahia, University of Jos, and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka among others are yet to receive their take-off grants decades after being established, and this has hampered their growth;
Concerned that this unfortunate development has hampered the rapid provision of required infrastructure at various main campuses of the affected Universities overstretching the existing facilities due to lack of lecture halls;
Also concerned that failure of the Federal Government to release the said take-off grant to the affected Universities from the onset, has led to untold hardship since funds that would have been used for other projects were deployed to provide immediate remediation;
Worried that these Universities are still facing the challenges of inability to prove a befitting physical facility, payment of staff promotion arrears, arrears of salary shortfalls, payment of earned allowances and engagement of more staff to improve the staff-student ratio;
Disturbed that other Universities established after these Universities have enjoyed the privilege of receiving take-off – grant ranging from the Federal Government;
(i) Mandate the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency release the take-off grant meant for University of Uyo;
(ii) Mandate the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to liaise with the Federal Government to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Debate Rep. Unyime Idem moved the motion on the non-release of take-off grant to Federal universities across the country and it was seconded by Rep. Onofiok Luke. The motion was voted on adopted.
Devastating Effects of Deforestation and the Need for Extensive Tree Planting in Nigeria: Rep. Kolawole Lawal:
Notes that trees improve air quality by filtering harmful dust, odours and pollutants such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulphur dioxide from the air we breath;
Also notes that not only can trees benefit the economy by reducing heating and cooling cost, trees can also reduce our dependence on oil and natural gas;
Aware that according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the requirements of sustainable forest management include the extent of forest resources, biological diversity, forest health and vitality, productive functions of forest resources, protective functions of forest resources, socio-economic functions and a legal, policy and institutional framework;
Also aware that forests have been associated with helping to reduce flooding as many flooding disasters have been partly blamed on the effects of deforestation;
Further aware that Nigeria is a member nation of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CFRN) which seeks to, among other things, manage tropical rainforests in a way that supports climate stability, conserves biodiversity, and helps development and poverty alleviation efforts;
Concerned that due to high demand for timber, which is used for the production of furniture, paper and in the construction industry, there has been an increase in illegal logging, which has resulted in deforestation in Nigeria the consequence of which Nigeria has been rated by the FAO as the country with the highest rate of deforestation in the world;
Also concerned that many aspects of the FAO requirements are currently not being met in Nigeria and will continue to have detrimental effects, if not quickly addressed;
Cognizant that Tree-planting is one of the options adopted by many nations towards curbing the serious and irreversible changes of climate change as trees help absorb greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions that are caused by human civilization; Worried that a lot of damage has been done to Nigeria’s land through the processes of deforestation, notably contributing to desertification and increased temperatures across the country;
Again aware that there is hardly any implementation of forest management policies, and very few attempts have been made to lower the deforestation rates and to stop illegal logging, hence Nigerians are hardly aware of how to prevent deforestation;
Also worried that deforestation has led to soil degradation across the country, resulting in poor crop yield and economic loss to the nation as a whole;
(i) Urge the Federal Ministry of Environment to implement and enforce policies that discourage deforestation;
(ii) Also urge the Federal Ministry of Environment to embark on sensitization campaigns to create awareness across the country on the need to imbibe the culture of tree planting in order to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change caused by indiscriminate deforestation;
(iii) Call on the Federal Government to liaise with institutions, communities and other relevant stakeholders with a view to offering capacity-building opportunities, productive partnerships and sustainable schemes that can create more economic activities to sustain hard-working rural dwellers and discourage them from the indiscriminate cutting of trees;
(iv) Mandate the Committee on Environment to ensure compliance.
Debate Rep. Kolade Lawal moved the motion on the devastating effects of deforestation and the need for extensive tree planting in Nigeria and it was seconded by Rep. Benjamin Kalu. Rep. Aishatu Dukku proposed an amendment to add another prayer to the motion that the national forest Laws should be amended to provide stringent punishment for defaulters in line with the current realities of the times. The motion was voted on and adopted as amended.
Urgent Need to Speed Up the Certification of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport to World-Class Standard: Rep. Haruna Dederi:
Notes that the Certification of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has commenced since 2017, but has not been completed;
Aware that Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport is the oldest Airport in Nigeria where the first aircraft landed in Nigeria at Kano in 1922 and full operations in Kano Airport started in 1936 with flights from the Airport to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and the international flight to Cairo, Addis Ababa, Medina, Khartoum and other destinations;
Also aware that Certification means an official document issued by the Regulatory Authority Supported by Technical documentation demonstrating that the Aerodrome for which it was issued meets specific Air Safety-Related Criteria. Thus certification helps to show that Airport meet international best practices;
Further aware that the certification of an Airport entails making sure that everything is up to date, working and checked on a regular basis. It also encompasses all elements of safety oversight such as aviation legislation, operating regulations, civil aviation system, personnel training and certification, development of guidance materials and safety-critical information, as well as surveillance and resolution of safety concerns;
Again aware that Airport certification is one of the requirements of ICAO and the NCAA and covers security, safety and equipment, it shows the Airport Operator and aircraft Operators with documented proof that the facilities they operate or use are safe; Concerned that the Certification of Kano Airport started the same year, 2017 with that of Lagos Airport. Regrettably, while Lagos Airport has been certified, the Kano International Airport has not been certified;
Worried that the true state and status of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport is not known unless it is certified, failure to certify the Airport may be endangering the safety of aircraft and passengers alike;
(i) Urge the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to speed up the certificate of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport;
(ii) Also urge the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to include the certification in the 2021 budget estimates; and
(iii) Mandate Committee on Aviation to liaise with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant Agencies and ensure implementation.
Debate Rep. Haruna Dederi moved the motion on the need to speed up the certification of the Mallam Aminu Kano airport to world-class standard and it was seconded by Rep. Abubakar Yalleman. The motion was voted on and adopted.
Adjournment: The House at 2:13 PM adjourned plenary till Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 by 11:00 A.M following a motion for adjournment moved by Rep. Abubakar Fulata and seconded by Rep. Kingsley Chinda
Source: Media Unit, Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives
A Nigerian Senator under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Elisha Abbo from Adamawa State is currently embroiled in a hot case of Assault.
According to Premium Times, Abbo, representing Adamawa North Senatorial District, descended on the woman after she pleaded with him not to physically assault the shopowner whom the senator had accused of insulting him. He said the shopowner called him a drunk.
Below is a video of the assault, which occurred on May 11 — nearly three months after Mr Abbo became a senator-elect and a month before he was sworn in on June 11.
The attack happened as an armed mobile police officer looked on, and instead made attempt to arrest the victim.
The assault was reported on May 14 at the Maitama Area Command Headquarters on Nile Street, but the police told the victim to go look for Mr Abbo’s telephone number or they would not be able to do anything about it.
The victim of the assault and the storeowner declined comments for this story, saying they were afraid there could be a violent backlash from the senator. The victim’s lawyer also declined comment.
But witnesses and other sources familiar with the matter told premium times their accounts of what happened. They all declined to be identified, citing fears for their safety.
Mr Abbo, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had entered the shop at about 6:00 p.m. on May 11, a Saturday. The senator walked in with three young women to purchase adult toys.
But shortly after they began shopping for the toys, one of the three girls brought in by Mr Abbo started throwing up. She vomited multiple times, prompting the shopowner to remark that the woman should have vomited outside and not inside her shop, especially since she was not a child.
Mr Abbo, who was said to be agitated by the sudden illness of one of his girls, was said to have accused the shopowner of poisoning the store’s air conditioner.
The shopowner’s argument that if the air conditioner had been contaminated others in the shop would have also taken ill further angered Mr Abbo, and the two began exchanging words over the matter.
In the first five minutes of the 10-minute video, Mr Abbo is seen sitting on a yellow power generator near the entrance of the shop. He could be heard within this time making calls and asking some people where they were and how close they were.
Just before the first half of the video, an armed police officer walked in. Mr Abbo explained to the officer in Hausa that the woman insulted him and that he had called the assistant inspector-general (AIG) over the matter, who then assured him that he would call the police commissioner to call the Maitama Area Command. He also said he was disappointed in the shopowner, with whom he said he had been friends for five years.
Mr Abbo, 41, said the police officer should take the shopowner away. The shop owner quickly called her father to inform him that Mr Abbo had called the police over the matter and that she was about to be taken away.
Mr Abbo asked the shop owner to stop the call because he was talking to her, a demand the woman refused to accede to. Another man could be seen coming from behind the police officer to snatch the shopowner’s phone from her.
Next, the shopowner’s friend who had been standing nearby tried to intervene by pleading with the second man to take things easy.
“Oga, please take it easy now,” she said.
Mr Abbo switfly descended on the shopowner’s friend, saying she was “very stupid” and slapping her repeatedly, including directly on the eyes.
The senator then demanded that the two women should be taken to the police station. He repeatedly told the shopowner that he was disappointed in her for calling him a drunk, and that he would have harmed her more and closed down the shop but for their friendship.
The pressure mounted on both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) by petrol marketers, tanker owners and other stakeholders influenced the decision of the unions to reluctantly accept deregulation as a policy.
However, in the spirit of give and take, the Federal Government also accepted to reverse the increment in the electricity tariffs.
The meeting started 8.37pm last night at the banquet hall of Aso Rock on Sunday.
The Guardian gathered that both labour unions will only take a final decision on the matter when it reached concrete agreement with government.
Stakeholders argued that Nigeria is ripe for deregulation especially if she wants to encourage the building of refineries in the country.
The marketers also argued that subsidy has led to mismanagement of the regime, which had led to the mounting unpaid subsidy payment.
Labour had called for strike to protest the increment in fuel prices and electricity tariffs.
In sensitising Nigerian over the weekend, members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart combed major streets of Abuja to distribute leaflets to motorists, market men and women and workers at the weekend explaining the reasons behind the strike and the need for Nigerians to resist alleged neo-liberal policies that demand removal of subsidy on public utilities such as electricity, PMS and water.
This comes as facts are emerging on why labour rebuffed promises of constitution of committees to work out palliatives at the last Friday meeting.
Sources that participated in the parley told The Guardian that the refusal of labour to buy the promise made by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, that a committee whose membership will comprise labour and government officers fell on deaf hears because of similar promise that was made in 2016 but never fulfilled as soon as government succeeded in dividing labour then.
Indeed, when the Friday meeting ended at 8.05pm, the labour delegation did not wait to eat the dinner that was provided as they briskly walked into the waiting buses led by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba and TUC President, Quadri Olaleye.
The source said: “When we went for this meeting last week Friday, government came up with the same agenda it used in 2016. But it failed this time as we sat there for more than 45 minutes refusing to say anything and government officials too did not have anything to say. It appeared to us that government does not have any plan beside the 2016 tactics. In 2016, government lashed on the division that arose after the 2015 delegates’ conference which led to the formation of a faction of the NLC, which later metamorphosed into United Labour Congress (ULC), which had NUPENG and NUEE as foundation members.
“This greatly hampered the capacity of labour to execute a successful protest. The Federal Government reaped bountifully from the crises. But the atmosphere has changed today. The ULC has dissolved into the mainstream NLC while both the President of the defunct ULC, Joe Ajaero is now a deputy president of the NLC and NUPENG now occupies the position of the Vice President.
Now, labour is formidable and speaks with one indissoluble voice. This strike might be the biggest and deadliest we have seen in the history of this country is the pump price is not reversed to N145 per litre and electricity tariff reversed. We know that two steps were part of the condition given by Bretton Wood institution for Nigeria to get more loans.”
Why has the new Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA) generated so much hoopla and controversy? It is because its unique provisions make it possible for CAMA officials to take over a Church,Mosque, or an NGO, appoint a Bishop, Imam, Overseers or Executive Director of their choice, and even decide what sermon, homily or Khutbah shall be disseminated to the adherents. This sounds like a fairy tale. But, it is real, if not carefully handled.
On the 7th of August 2020, President Buhari signed the CAMA into Law. The Act repeals the Companies and Allied Matters Act, of 2004. The Act addresses the lapses in the old Act and equally introduces new provisions to regulate businesses in line with international best practices. It has been hailed in several quarters as the most important business legislation to come out of Nigeria in the last thirty years. However, despite the resonating plaudits generated by the Act, in numerous quarters, we must be circumspect and cautious in our euphoria and cyber-rattling. There is need for this cautious oxymoron of making haste slowly”.
SOME LITTLE HISTORY
The new CAMA has roots in the Companies Act, 1968. However, the 1968 Act had itself been repealed by the CAMA Act of 1990; which improved on the 1968 Act.
With the passing of the new CAMA bill to amend the 1990 CAMA by both Houses of the NASS since 2019. However, in the snail like pace and frustrating nonchalance that the Buhari administration has become typically legendary and accustomed to, there was neither an assent nor a veto of the Bill by the President throughout the remainder of President Buhari’s first tenure. The Bill for the amendment of CAMA, 1990, had to be represented to the Senate by the current Senate Leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya. It was subsequently passed by the Senate on10th March, 2020.
It again took the President over six months to finally assent to the Bill on 7thAugust, 2020.This was the first major challenge of the Act that raised eyebrows, having regard to section 58(4) of the Constitution which gives the President only thirty days from the day that a Bill is presented to him to grant Presidential assent or refusal. In the case of the amended CAMA, 2020, it took over six months after the amendment bill had been passed by the NASS for the President to grant his assent. Is the 2020 CAMA Act constitutional?
The provision of Section 839 of CAMA has generated much hoopla and ruckus. A barrage of criticisms from churches, the Civil Society and of course, public commentators, has since visited it.The contentious Section 839 of CAMA provides:
“(1) The Commission may by order suspend the trustees of an association and appoint an interim manager or managers to manage the affairs of an association where it reasonably believes that:
(a) there is or has been any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the association;
(b) it is necessary or desirable for the purpose of —
(i) protecting the property of the association,
(ii) securing a proper application for the property of the association towards achieving the objects of the association, the purposes of the association of that property or of the property coming to the association,
(iii) public interest; or
(c) theaffairs of the association are being run fraudulently.
(2) The trustees shall be suspended by an order of Court upon the petition of the Commission or members consisting one-fifth of the association and the petitioners shall present all reasonable evidence or such evidence as requested by the Court in respect of the petition”.
In a nutshell, Section 839 of CAMA 2020 states that the Corporate Affairs Commission can unilaterally suspend the trustees of any Association that is registered as Incorporated Trustees, such as the Heads of churches, Mosques,Executive Directors of NGOs, etc. The Section goes on in a mindless arrogation of supremacy to the CAC over the Constitution, to provide that such trustees can be removed where the Commission “reasonably believes” that the trustees are involved in “misconduct or mismanagement in the affairs of the association”; or where the removal of the Trustees would be necessary for the protection of the property of the Association; or where the removal of such trustees is “in public interest”; etc. This Section also appears to donate untrammeled powers to the CAC, to usurp the investigative powers of law enforcement agencies.
This provision virtually confers supremacy on the CAC over constitutional provisions, to the extent that the CAC can remove the trustees of an Association based solely on its“reasonable belief”. This portends danger for Nigeria’s fragile and already over conscripted civic space, because by virtue of the amended CAMA, all that would be required to remove the Executive Director or the General Overseer or Bishop of a registered Church,or Imam of a Mosque whom the Government is not comfortable with, is the magical wand of“reasonable belief” that such Executive Director, General overseer or Bishop has been involved in the mismanagement of the NGO or Church. This is arbitrary, whimsical and capricious. Also affected by the section 839 are charitable organizations, educational institutions, socio-cultural organizations and clubs, etc.
Where is the right to fair hearing guaranteed by section 36 of the 1999 Constitution,which is the grundnormand the font et origo of Nigeria’s statehood?
The mere fact that the CAC can unilaterally remove the Trustees of an Association on nothing more than its “reasonable belief” of “misconduct”by the trustees is ominous – not just for the Associations, but also for the entire civic space.
Section 839(2) CAMA however appears to douse this fear by providing that “the trustees shall be suspended by an order of court upon the petition of the Commission or Members consisting of one-fifth of the association and the petitioners shall present all reasonable evidence or such evidence as requested by the court in respect of the petition”.
If one may ask, what are the conditions precedents before a case for the removal or suspension of a Trustee for 12 months can be instituted based on a petition by the CAC,which leads to appointment of trustees for “the proper administration of the association”? Yes, the CAC can even appoint an interim manager to act as receiver and manager over the church’s property.
Furthermore, the grounds for the unilateral removal of the trustees of an association by the CAC are, to say the least, quite vague. For example, Section 839(1)(b)(iii) basically entails that the CAC can remove the trustees of an association “in the interest of public interest”. What is this “public interest?”.Who determines it? What is the measure of “public interest”?The vagueness of some decisive terms is definitely problematic. As a budding journalist, David Hundeyin, explained, “the Buhari Administration or any of its successors can now legally take over Amnesty Nigeria,SERAP or any similar organisations it has previously antagonised openly, if their definition of “public interest” means “the government must not be embarrassed.” Surely, this is dangerous for our already overburdened democracy.
The amended CAMA 2020 attempted to enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria and to generally bring Nigeria up to speed with globally accepted best practices. But, in trying to do so, the Act has become a burdensome albatross on the neck of civil societies, the Church and Mosque. It presents a ready opportunity for the Nigerian State apparatus to further shrink Nigeria’s civic state, and unleash its deadly arsenal on opposition, rights Activists, dissenters and critics of government.
To this end, these identified negative aspects of the amended 2020 CAMA should be resisted by all men and women of goodwill Civil societies and religious bodies (who are the main targets of the Act) must instigate a serious legal challenge to ensure that the Act does not bastardise their activities. The validity and constitutionality of these sections of the Act must be tested at every level of courts in Nigeria.
ALLAYING THESE FEARS
The fears generated by the new CAMA may have however been overblown. Section 839 (a) for example only penalizes for misconduct, fraud or mismanagement in the administration of an association, and to protect its property towards achieving its objectives. Section 839 (2) makes it clear that 20% of members of the trustees of such an organization must sign a petition before a court of law.
Who is afraid of provisions of a law meant to instill discipline in the affairs and conduct of a church, mosque, or NGO? Are they saying the society should remain indifferent to stinking corruption within them? I wholly disagree with them.
The point must equally be emphasised that these “not-for-profit”organisations, whether Churches, Mosques, etc, NGOs must themselves be above board like Caesar’s wife. The only reason they are accorded tax-free existence is because of the belief that they will add value to the society, by ploughing back their would-be taxation into the society to help the needy and most vulnerable. Are many of them actually do this? It does not appear so. Many of them plough their income and tithes into profitable ventures, building universities, buying private jets, building mansions, etc. Why should they not pay tax for such commercial activities? Mercifully, the Catholic Church is quite different from this new genre of Pentecostal Churches, that are mostly profit-driven and very worldly in their orientation and affairs.
The greatest edge the Catholic Church however has over them is that the Catholic Church is holy, one, universal and apostolic, It therefore requires no registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The Catholic Church is the only church founded by Christ Himself. In Mathew 16.18, Jesus said to peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”. One can also, albeit cautiously, therefore say that the fears of a take-over of its affairs by the CAC under CAMA, will not arise.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.” (Albert Einstein).