Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday shocked the nation, when he hinted that the least daily upkeep of a prisoner in America was higher than the proposed N30,000 minimum wage for the least Nigerian worker. Aregbesola made the startling revelation at a budget defence session of his Ministry with members of the Senate and House of Representatives joint Committee on Interior. He also pointed out that the least daily upkeep spent on a prisoner in America is N31,000 in Naira equivalent, which is also higher as compared to N730.00 budgeted for similar purpose in Nigeria.
The minister, who bemoaned the pathetic state of Nigerian economy and Nigerians, further noted that daily upkeep spent on a prison inmate in America was even as high as N60,000 per day in some states. According to him, the Nigerian economy is small compared to that of America, which makes daily upkeep on a prisoner there, not only far higher than what is projected for similar purposes in Nigeria but also higher than the N30,000 minimum wage.
“Comparing Nigeria with countries like America, Turkey and even Egypt as illustrated by some of the federal lawmakers will completely demoralised the morale of any concerned citizen but what we are sure of in the Ministry, is that we shall with the limited resources available make the best for the country.”
North-East, others canvass afforestation as panacea for climate change
Major stakeholders in North-East and experts on environmental sector have advocated construction of water harvesting structures and increased afforestation programmes as part of measures to address climate change challenges threatening the North-East sub region of the country.
The stakeholders and experts drawn from Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Taraba and Adamawa States also suggested introduction of public awareness campaign in schools and communities by relevant Federal Ministries to mitigate devastating effect of climate change.
The suggestions, they said formed part of the North-East’s position during the National Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change for Nigeria held in Bauchi yesterday as organized by the Federal Ministry of Environment and supported by the Women Environmental Programme.
Speaking with our correspondent, a participant from Bauchi, Hajiya Hauwa Abdullahi of the Development Exchange Centre (DEC) suggested that states in the zone should train communities members on how to engage in raising of tree seedlings to check desertification and rejuvenate the weak soil that had suffered years of being overused.
Hajiya Hauwa stressed that there was the need to mainstream gender into climate change, saying, “climate change today affects everybody, the rich, the poor, men, women, children and the socially disadvantaged and as such, we must all find a way out through Community Mobilization.”
Probe: Lagos Assembly challenges Ambode’s restraining reliefs
Lawmakers probing former governor of Lagos, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode over purchase of 820 buses as part of the Bus Reform Project of the Lagos state government, yesterday told an Ikeja High Court that a case filed against them by the former governor was incompetent.
The lawmakers represented by Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN) said that the Ikeja High Court hearing the matter had no jurisdictional powers to hear the suit.
Ambode had instituted the suit against the State House of Assembly, its Speaker, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa and the House Clerk, Mr. A.A Sanni.
Other respondents in the suit were Mr. Fatai Mojeed, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, set up by the House to probe procurement of the buses and eight members of the Committee.
Other members of the Ad-hoc committee were Mr. Gbolahan Yishawu, Mr. A.A Yusuf, Mr. Yinka Ogundimu, Mrs. Mojisola Meranda, Mr. M.L Makinde, Mr. Kehinde Joseph, Mr. Temitope Adewale and Mr. Olanrewaju Afinni.
The lawmakers, however, opposed an injunction by Ambode seeking to restrain them from probing him.
Addressing the court, Pedro said “we have filed a notice of preliminary objection highlighting the incompetence of this suit we are well challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.”
“We also filed a counter-affidavit and a written address for the claimant’s (Ambode) motion for interlocutory Injunction,” he said.
Responding, Ambode’s lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) confirmed receiving processes served on the claimant, saying that the claimant had also responded to the processes.
“We have, however, not been served with any defence my lord as there is nothing to defend,” Oyetibo said.
Fayemi: Nigerians must hold leaders accountable
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has urged Nigerians to always hold their leaders accountable to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
Fayemi pointed out that democracy was beyond the right to choose leaders through the ballot, but stimulating civic engagement to better the lives of the citizens.
The governor stated this yesterday while delivering a paper at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington DC, United States.
Fayemi’s lecture was entitled “Twenty Years of Democracy in Nigeria: Successes and Challenges” in the event with the theme: Deepening Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
In attendance were Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Martin LutherAgwai; former INEC Chairman, Prof Attaahiru Jega and a member of House of Representatives, Hon Aishatu Dukku as well as officials of the U.S. Department of State, scholars and members of the civil society.
While noting that Nigeria had made significant progress as a democracy since returning to civil rule in 1999, Fayemi said that “democracy is a journey and not a destination” hence the need to address imbalances in the Nigerian federation.”
He maintained that a fundamental restructuring of the Nigerian federation was an “unavoidable step for the creation and sustenance of a participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, responsive and equitable national governance based on respect for the rule of law.
Economic summit: Osun now Nigeria’s investment destination, says panelists
In a voice yesterday, panelists at the ongoing economic summit in Osun State yesterday identified the state as investment destination in Nigeria.
Besides, the State was adjudged as one of the few states in country with potential to fast track industrial, commercial and infrastructural developments in the nation.
Specifically, Osun was evaluated as a state with unique potential which spread across sectors and spheres of human endeavours.
These were the conclusion of the panelists at the ongoing 2019 Osun Economic and Investment Summit holding in Osogbo, the State capital.
Speaking at Day 2 of the Summit, the panelists which included the CEO Niger Delta Power Holding, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo; Stanbic IBTC China Coverage Manager, Mr. Zhou Bin; Country Director, Halcrow Infrastructures, Mr. Tomiwa Aregbesola; CEO, Chapel Hill Denham Group, Mr. Bolaji Balogun, and Mr. Nasir Giwa, Vice-President, Power and Gas, Siemens, described Osun as a socio-economic haven.
The panelists, who spoke on “Developing Infrastructure to Support Industrial Development and Economic Growth,” acknowledged the economic opportunities created by the state through infrastructure development.
They urged investors to tap from abundant resources which Osun was blessed with as the state had made significant changes in all the sectors of the economy, particularly in the education, infrastructure and agriculture sectors.
While describing the state as an industrial hub, the panelists urged the state government not to relent in its effort to woo investors by showcasing its potential.
Stakeholders laud suspension of transfer of Eland’s interest to Seplat
Oil and Gas stakeholders in Nigeria have thrown their weight behind the suspension of transfer of Eland’s interest in of OML 40 to SEPLAT with an approach to a United Kingdom (UK) court to halt what was described as unholy alliance.
Eland had last month announced the proposed acquisition of its Nigeria Oil and Gas assets to SEPLAT, another UK stock exchange-listed company.
The group of stakeholders under the auspices of a non- governmental organization (NGO), Nigeria Oil Reformers claimed that Goerge Maxwell’s attempt to transfer the country’s oil and gas assets on the high streets of London Stock Exchange without proper pre-approval of the NPDC, Starcrest (its senior local partner in the JV) and DPR would be described as lack of desperation to transfer the company’s underlying problems to SEPLAT.
Spokesperson the group, Mr. Fredrick Phillips stressed that it was allegedly gathered that the George Maxwell-led company demonstrated what could be termed lack of understanding regarding Nigeria’s regulations concerning the transfer of interest in oil and gas assets and change of company’s controls.
Philips argued that the move was considered as a disregard to the country’s right to her crude reserves as enshrined in the principles of Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources (PSNR) aimed at shielding developing countries from external economic and political interference.
Ibadan youths declare support for Makinde
Youths from across 11 local government areas of Ibadan yesterday, declared their support for the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde following the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed his victory in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.
The youths, under the aegis of a group known as the Ibadan Youth Progressive Indigenes Association (IYPIA), maintained that no one would bring down the government of Makinde, who they said was massively voted into office by the people.
However, the youths declared that Makinde’s mandate was a product of the majority of Oyo residents, who spoke with their votes in support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The group, in a statement signed by its President-General, Comrade Kamorudeen Mudashiru Keji and the Publicity Secretary, Comrade Akindele Alabi Ibrahim, warned the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop running around and trying to corner the people’s mandate through the courts.
The IYPIA said that the people had already rejected the APC at the polls as Makinde made history on March 9 when he recorded over 515,000 votes to win an unprecedented victory with a margin that no one has recorded in recent times.
The group stated that although it was non-partisan, its stance for truth, justice and progress of Oyo state would not afford it to keep quiet in the face of orchestrated attempt to steal the mandate of the people.
It said: “Ibadan Youth Progressive Indigenes Association is a registered association with the Corporate Affairs Commission and it comprises Ibadan youths.
Ooni lauds border closure, wants youths to embrace agric
Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi has said that the closure of the borders by the federal government was one of the recipes of support that the teeming youths in the country needed to look inward and create wealth.
This is just as the monarch urged stakeholders in the country to remain committed to youth empowerment as failure to do so may spell doom for the country.
Oba Ogunwusi disclosed this yesterday when the Chief Executive Officer of Longrich International Marketing, Mr. Alex Jia, led entourage of the organization including wife of the former governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode; the first Black Five Star Director of the company, Mrs. Titilope Ejimagwu; President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, her husband, Mr. Yinka Odumakin in a meeting with the monarch in Lagos.
Longrich, an international multi-level marketing platform with headquarters in China, manufactures a wide range of healthcare, cosmetics, household cleaning, furniture, and other products.
Oba Ogunwusi, who warned that Nigeria was sitting on a keg of gun powder, said there was the need for the Federal Government to embark on youth empowerment.
He said: “The closure of our border is really working but I am encouraging our youths to go back into farming and I am working with the Federal Government on that.
“We are going to use our platform to empower our youths. If you look at what Longrich is doing now, I marvel.
“It is important for us to be committed on how to empower our youths. Nobody is safe in Nigeria because we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. That is the truth and we do not pray for the revolt of these youths. If the youths get frustrated, we are going to be in trouble.
“I am proud to be an association with such a platform (Longrich) that will continue to give our youths hope. If we have 20 of this platform (Longrich), Nigeria will be better.”
Speaking earlier while seeking the blessing of the monarch, a director of the company, Mr. Seun Osofisan said the organization was putting up a new $50m plant in Nigeria that would employ at least 5,000 persons, adding that the meeting with the Ooni of Ife was meant to expand the frontiers of reaching out to thousands of youths.
Malaye petitions INEC, wants Kogi West senatorial poll cancelled
…says election marred by violence, fraud
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kogi West in last Saturday’s senatorial election, Dino Melaye yesterday asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the entire election.
Malaye, who was at the headquarters of the commission yesterday to submit his petition, said the election was marred by violence and ballot boxes snatching, adding that helicopter was used to intimidate voters.
In the petition, dated November 18 and signed by his lawyer, Tobechukwu Nweke, the PDP candidate also submitted 21 copies of video discs, which he said, captured the infractions during the election.
“The content of my petition is that I am demanding the entire cancellation of the election,” he added.
He urged INEC to painstakingly study the events captured in the video, and said it was a revelation that election was not conducted in Kogi West on November 16.
“This is not an election. We are going to take it up and fight for our right to finish.
“We urge the commission to cancel the entire election to the Senate of Kogi West senatorial district held on Nov. 16,” Melaye demanded.
He alleged that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) as well as the requisite guidelines and regulations issued for the election.
Melaye took exception to the claim by the
Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that fake police officers operated during the election in Kogi State.
According to him, “if fake police officers overpowered over 66,000 security officers deployed for Kogi and Bayelsa, it means there is a problem in the country.
“If the police officers were fake, were the guns and bullets they used fake? Was fake police officers that were driving police vehicles and helicopters?
INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye who received the petition on behalf of the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mohamood Yakubu, assured that INEC would review the petition and the video CDs on its merit.
“We assure you that this commission is a public institution. We exist because political parties exist and because Nigerian people want democracy.
Benue PDP expresses fear over transfer of Ortom, Jima’s appeal to Abuja
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue state yesterday expressed fears over decision by the Court of Appeal to transfer an appeal filed by defeated governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the last general election, Emmanuel Jime for hearing today.
Jime’s appeal challenging the decision of the governorship election petition tribunal which upheld the re-election of Governor Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was earlier scheduled to be heard at the Makurdi Division.
Instead, the court yesterday reversed its decision to hear the case at the Abuja Division of the court.
This has sent jitters down the spines of the leadership of the PDP in the state, promoting its swift rejection of the shift in venue of hearing of the case.
But the APC supporters were yesterday overjoyed following the action of the court in the state when the news filtered into their secretariat.
In a spontaneous reaction, APC said the Court of Appeal had the right to hear the case in Abuja, and expressed confidence that the party would emerge victorious at the end of the day.
But the PDP in a statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom, insisted that the case be heard in Makurdi as according to it “anything short of this is an attempt at subverting the course of justice and will be lawfully resisted.”
It reads: “The Benue State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) totally rejects the movement from Makurdi to Abuja of the hearing of the appeal filed before the Court of Appeal by governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Emmanuel Jime and his party, against the judgement of the Benue Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the victory of Governor Samuel Ortom at the 2019 election.
“We are aware this shift in the venue of the sitting of the Appeal Panel from Makurdi to Abuja may have been ordered by none other an authority than the President of the Court of Appeal, yet we find the development disturbing and unacceptable as there are no reasons given for the action”.
Masari presents N249bn Budget
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina yesterday presented a budget estimate of N249.4 billion to the state House of Assembly for the 2020 fiscal year.
Tagged Budget of Reflection and Progress, the Budget had N173.8 billion or 69.70 per cent capital expenditure, and N75.5 billion or 30.30 per cent recurrent expenditure.
Presenting the budget before the House, Masari said the estimate was N48.7 billion or 23.72 per cent more than that of the 2019 budget, which stood at a little over N201 billion.
The governor said under the capital expenditure, the Economic Sector would gulp N49.5 billion (28%), Social Sector N49.6 billion (29%), and N57.8 billion (33%) for Regional Development, saying administration would take N6.2 billion (4%), judiciary, N936 million (0.6%), legislature, N500 million (0.3%), Contingency, N1.5 billion (1%), and Debt Servicing, N7.5 billion (4.1%).
Accordingly, Masari said recurrent expenditure would see Personnel Cost gulping N30.8 billion (40.77%)), Overhead Cost to take N20.9 billion (27.71%), and Consolidated Revenue Charges, N23.8 billion (31.53%).
He said the estimate, when passed into law, would be utilised to complete projects and programmes the state government had started.
Speaking, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Tasiu Maigari called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA), to work towards generating more revenue to make the expenditure in the budget estimate a success.
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