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Arms proliferation: Reps move to enact prohibition law

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Arms proliferation: Reps move to enact prohibition law

The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed through second reading a bill seeking to establish a commission to regulate the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country.

The bill, titled: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons” to coordinate and implement activities to combat the problem of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria in line with the Economic Community of West African States Convention on small arms and light weapons and for related matters is sponsored by the Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno).

In his lead debate on the bill, Monguno expressed fear at the proliferation of light weapons and small arms in the country, stressing the urgent need to put machinery in place to check the trend in order to save the nation from widespread crime and violence.

He explained that the avalanche of violence from banditry, Boko Haram and the uprising from the Shi’ite group should worry every Nigerians, adding that the arms in the hands of these groups were illegal ones and must be checked.

According to Monguno, the primary responsibility of any government is to protect life and property and work for the welfare of the people hence it behooves on the Nigerian government to set up the commission to check the menace posed by dubious characters and groups that are engaged in kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes.

When established, the commission will be charged  with the  task of  coordinating efforts to combat the challenges of  proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country in line with the ECOWAS convention on light weapons.

Supporting the motion, Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi (APC, Plateau) said the law must incorporate measures on how to also check activities of blacksmiths who manufacture weapons of various grades and sell to every dick and harry thereby endangering the lives of missions of Nigerians.

Also speaking, the Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia) submitted that all stakeholders should be carried along in arriving at the legislation, lamenting that the proliferation of arms has caused so much harm to society as seen in the increasing crime in the country.

According to her, creating a new commission may be expensive, but the benefit of a commission to check proliferation of small arms are innumerable. “If you know the implication of local made arms and ammunitions, you will then understand the importance of this bill.

“The contributions of local arms are more dangerous that AK 47 assault rifle, it is import to look into the activities of the local blacksmith. No matter the cost implication, the benefit of the commission will offset the cost.”

In his contribution, Hon. Aminu Suleiman (APC, Kano) faulted the proposal for the creation of a new commission to tackle arms proliferation, noting that the country is at a risk of “proliferation of commission.” Suleiman said instead of creating a new commission to check arms proliferation, the government should address the issue of remuneration and retraining of police officers.

Also supporting the motion, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) said the police have been overwhelmed and it was high time the nation look in the direction of establishing a commission that will be specifically charged with the responsibility of tracking illegal arms and ammunition in the country.

Before putting the bill to vote, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said although some people may argue that multiplicity of agencies is not good for the nation, it in most cases helps in strengthening related agencies. He explained that both the EFCC and the ICPC have complemented the work of police in fighting corruption and economic crimes in the nation.

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Buhari pledges more investment in education

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Buhari pledges more investment in education

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday promised Nigerians that the current administration would use education to fast track transition of the nation to a modern society capable of favourably competing with other nations. The President, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said this during the 2019 convocation, and 71st Foundation Day ceremony, award of doctorate degrees and conferment of honorary degrees and Fellowship on some prominent Nigerians at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. At the event which took place at the International Conference Centre of the university, Buhari said that his administration would continue to substantially invest in education to make the country a knowledgebased economy. He nevertheless urged the graduating students to contribute to nation building and be good ambassadors of the university.

Buhari said: “I charge you to make meaningful contribution for the development of the nation in particular and humanity in general. It is my belief and prayer that the recognizance of these prominent Nigerians especially Aare Afe Babalola (one of the awardees) will spur the graduating students to cultivate selfless service to humanity. “One of the main purposes of the university education is nation building. “To achieve this noble objective, you have to be good ambassadors of this school by deploying your skills for national growth and development.

“The university and government at all levels have invested for you graduates to be useful for yourself, your parents, community and to the larger society. Here today we are celebrating an important milestone in your life. “I therefore urge you all to justify the investment in you. We will continue to invest substantially in education and government has not relented in its efforts to ensure that education is used to fast track Nigeria’s transition to a modern society.” A total of 343 candidates from various disciplines were awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The Faculty of Education led the pack with a total of 70, followed by the Faculty of Science with 60 PhDs and the Faculty of Agriculture with 44. Five distinguished Nigerians were given honorary doctoral degrees and Fellowship awards. Among them was the Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, (ABUAD), Ado-Ekiti who received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

Three of former teachers of the university made the prestigious list. They included the ninth Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayodele Falase, who received an honorary Fellowship; the foundation Dean of Technology, Prof. Fola Aboaba and the former Dean of the Social Sciences, Professor Emmanuel Edozien. Similarly, Prof. Alex Chika Eze, an alumnus received an honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.). Speaking on behalf of other awardees, Aare Babalola (SAN) called for autonomy of public universities in Nigeria to attain a world-class standard. Babalola said: “I wish to utilize this auspicious occasion to address an issue that worries me day and night which is the autonomy of public universities in Nigeria

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EU-UN blames child marriage for obstetric fistula

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EU-UN blames child marriage for obstetric fistula

The European Union United Nations (EU-UN) Spotlight Initiative has blamed child marriage in the country for an increased in obstetric fistula as 43% of girls marry before the age of 18 and 17 % of them were married off before age 15.

This, it said had given rise to 20,000 new cases of obstetric fistula which occurred every year as a result of child marriages in the country.

This was disclosed by EU-UN Spotlight Initiative during a two-day media engagement on violence against women and girls for southern journalists in the country.

According to the Initiative, violence and other forms of harmful practices against women and girls were on the rise in the country despite the war against the menace.

UNICEF child protection specialist, Mrs. Olasunbo Odebode described violence against women and girls as a silent killer that had taken the lives of scores of victims which the health outcome had gone beyond direct result of physical, psychological or mental health issues.

She said: “The social context of violence against women and girls is based on the traditional patriarchal structure that defines gender. It is the belief in Nigeria being a patriarchal society that women are subordinate to men and when married, they surrender to their husbands

“Women do not have a say in decision making, issues concerning their lives are decided upon and determined by others usually men and older women in the family, and violence is prevalent in the society.”

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Okigwe Constituency deserves better representation, says APC candidate

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Okigwe Constituency deserves better representation, says APC candidate

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming rerun election in Isiala Mbano/Onuimo/Okigwe Federal Constituency of Imo State, Princess Miriam Onuoha, has urged the people of the constituency to come out en masse and vote for the APC on an election day.

Speaking in a reaction to the Appeal Court’s nullification of the election of Kingsley Onwubuariri, in Owerri, the APC candidate said she dedicated the victory to God, her supporters and the judiciary, which she said remained the last hope of the common man.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri had at the weekend upheld the judgment of the electoral tribunal that sacked Onwubuariri and also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in the entire federal constituency within 90 days.

While dedicating her victory to God and the people of the constituents, the APC candidate enjoined all to capitalize on the golden opportunity to vote her again in the rerun election, so as to enjoy the remarkable dividends of democracy like never before in the history of Okigwe North Federal constituency.

Frowning at the state of total neglect and  current poor representation of Okigwe North at the Green Chambers, Onuoha pledged to effect  sound and productive  representation to the people of Okigwe North when elected.

The APC candidate also added that her performance as SURE-P representative which earned her the title “Mama SURE-P” in the last administration is proof of serving the people judiciously.

She urged all registered voters in the zone to come out en masse in the soon to be scheduled rerun election and vote her again.

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Court restrains NAFDAC from deploying banned chemical for public use 

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Court restrains NAFDAC from deploying banned chemical for public use 

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of a Federal High Court in Lagos has  restrained the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) from deploying a banned chemical, methyl bromide, allegedly imported into the country by a firm, Toon Consolidated Company Limited, for public use.
Other defendants affected by the order are: the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Justice.
NAFDAC and the other defendants were dragged to court by a retired judge of the Osun State High Court, Justice Olamide Oloyede and an NGO, Virtues Unlimited Restorative Justice Initiative (VURJI), over alleged illegal importation of the banned chemical.
The restraining order, which was made Monday by the judge, was sequel to a request by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Olukayode Enitan (SAN).
In his submissions, the silk drew the court’s attention to a motion for interlocutary injunction seeking to stop the defendants from deploying the chemical for public use pending the determination of the suit.
However, his motion could not be moved because all the defendants’ lawyers present in court asked for time to respond to it.
Following the development, Enitan urged Justice Oguntoyinbo to issue an interim order to preserve the ‘res’ of the suit.

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Court hears army’s objection to Falana’s suit on OPI

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Court hears army’s objection to Falana’s suit on OPI

Justice Mohammed Aikawa of a Federal High Court in Lagos will next week Thursday hear the preliminary objection filed by the Nigerian Army against the suit filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, to challenge the controversial Operation Positive Identification (OPI).
The judge had at the last hearing of the matter on November 5, ordered the army to suspend the operation pending the final determination of the suit.
At Monday’s proceedings, the lawyer representing the Army and the Chief of Army Staff (1st and 2nd respondents), Mrs. Olayemi Badewole, drew the court’s attention to a motion dated November 14, 2019, seeking to regularize her clients’ notice of preliminary objection.
In the absence of any opposition from other parties in the matter, she moved the motion and her request was granted by the court.
The Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr. Dayo Apata (SAN), who represented the Attorney General of the Federation (3rd respondent) had earlier informed the court that necessary processes in respect of the suit has been filed and served on the plaintiff.
Responding, a lawyer from Falana’s chambers, E. E. Olawale, while acknowledging the receipt of the processes, sought for an adjournment to enable him respond appropriately.
Justice Aikawa subsequently adjourned the matter to November 28 for the hearing of all preliminary objections to the suit.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen.Tukur Buratai, the Army and the Attorney-General of the Federation were joined as co-respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1939/2019.
In the suit, Falana argued that the planned nationwide operation which was scheduled to run from November 1 to December 23, 2019, by which Nigerian citizens would be required to move about with means of identification is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

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NDDC’s debt: National Assembly to probe NLNG, Shell, 15 other IOCs

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NDDC’s debt: National Assembly to probe NLNG, Shell, 15 other IOCs

…Finance minister, CBN Gov to testify

A joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has concluded arrangements to investigate 17 international oil companies (IOCs) including the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), Shell Petroleum and Conoil for alleged indebtedness to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC).
Other oil firms, which are to be quizzed by the joint committee, are Shebah Express Petroleum, Atlas Petroleum, Allied Energy, Frontier Oil, Seven Energy Limited, Belma Oil Producing Limited, AITECO Exploration and Production, Dubrin Oil and Continental Oil and Gas.
Also to be investigated is Enageed Resources Limited, New Cross exploration and Production, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company and Prime Exploration and Production Company.
Co-chairman of the joint committee and House of Representatives committee chairman on NDDC, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC, Ondo), who disclosed this Monday in a chat with the media in Abuja, explained that as part of the investigation, the Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris and Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine will also testify before the joint committee.
According to Tunji-Ojo, records have shown that the affected oil companies jointly owning the NDDC N72 billion and $73 million respectively adding that the federal government is also owning the agency a whopping N1.2 trillion.

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Senate disowns Hate Speech Bill, says it’s Abdullahi’s idea

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Senate disowns Hate Speech Bill, says it’s Abdullahi’s idea

Worried by the spate of criticisms that have greeted the Hate Speech Bill which passed first reading last week, the Senate has distanced itself from the proposed legislation

The acting spokesperson for the red chamber, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, told journalists in Abuja on Monday that contrary to widespread impression, the bill was not the idea of the ninth Senate

He said it was solely being sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, based on his conviction.

Akwashiki described as unfortunate, the statement credited to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which insinuated that the bill was a Senate bill, skewed to make the alleged third term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari possible.

He maintained that the fate of the bill would be determined on the floor of the Senate after a robust debate by senators.

Meanwhile, the ex-spokesperson for the Senate, who sponsored the bill, insisted at a news briefing on Monday that his proposed legislation is aimed at achieving peace in the country.

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Buhari congratulates Lyon, condemns violence in Bayelsa

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Buhari congratulates Lyon, condemns violence in Bayelsa

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, David Lyon, on his “impressive victory”.

He felicitated with the governor-elect in a statement on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The President also commended APC supporters in particular and Nigerians in general in Bayelsa who exercised their civic rights in a peaceful manner, despite the pockets of unrest recorded in some parts of the state.

He, however, condemned the loss of lives in the state, particularly prior to the election and, commiserated with the families of the victims.

“Violence during elections vitiates our commitment to demonstrate to the world and upcoming generation that we are a people capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in the statement.

He noted that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies did their best within the ambit of the law to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

According to the President, it is unfortunate that pockets of unrest, mostly sponsored by desperate politicians were recorded during the poll.

He promised to work with the incoming government to improve the lives of the people in Bayelsa while ensuring the security of lives and property of all citizens.

Buhari also urged the governor-elect to carry other divergent interests along in the next phase of governance.

He appealed to those aggrieved by the outcome of the election to seek redress through the constitutionally established channels.

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INEC declares Kogi West Senatorial election inconclusive

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INEC declares Kogi West Senatorial election inconclusive

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday declared as inconclusive the election of the November 16 Kogi West Senatorial District because the margin of win was less than the total cancelled votes.

It said that it will announce later a date for the supplementary election.

It stated that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Smart Adeyemi scored a total of 80,118 votes while the Kogi West Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Dino Melaye, scored 59,548 votes.

Smart Adeyemi had slightly more than 20,000 votes than Dino Melaye.

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APC’s Lyon wins Bayelsa guber election

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APC’s Lyon wins Bayelsa guber election

Mr David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been declared the winner of the Bayelsa State governorship election which took place on Saturday.

Announcing Lyon as the winner, the Returning Officer, Prof Faraday Orumwense, stated that the total votes cast stood at 505, 884 while the total valid votes were 499, 551.

He added that 6333 votes were rejected in the election in which the PDP scored 143,173 leaving the APC’s to take the bigger chunk of the votes, totalling 352,552.

Lyon defeated Douye Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in six out of eight locals government areas in the state.

“I , prof Faraday Orumwense hereby certifies that I am the Returning Officer for the Bayelsa State governorship election held on 16th day of November 2019.

“That the candidates recorded the following votes… Lyon David of the APC got 352,552 votes…while the PDP candidate, Diri Douye got 143,172 votes.

“That Lyon David having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby returned elected,” he said at the State Collation Centre in the capital, Yenagoa.

Lyon’s victory makes it the first time an opposition party is winning the state since the return of democracy in 1999.

The state, which was created in 1996, has always been governed by the PDP.

Below are the scores from each local government area as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Sagbama LGA

APC – 7, 831

PDP- 60, 339

Brass LGA

APC – 23, 831

PDP- 10, 410

Nembe LGA

APC – 83, 041

PDP- 874

Ekeremor LGA

APC – 21, 489

PDP- 18, 344

Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA

APC – 8, 934

PDP- 15, 360

Ogbia LGA

APC – 58, 016

PDP- 13, 763

Southern-Ijaw LGA

APC – 124, 803

PDP- 4, 898

Yenagoa LGA

APC – 24, 607

PDP- 19, 184

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