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Gunmen abduct judge in Akure

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Gunmen abduct judge in Akure

A judge of the Federal High Court, Akure, Justice Abdul Dogo, has been kidnapped.

Justice Dogo was abducted on Tuesday by unknown gunmen while he was returning to Akure from Abuja.

It was learnt that the kidnappers have made contact and demanded N50 million to release their abductee.

It was also learnt that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has deployed the head of the IGP Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kiyari, to Akure over the incident.

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APC vs PDP: Confusion in Oyo over A’Court verdict

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APC vs PDP: Confusion in Oyo over A’Court verdict
  • Court allows APC’s appeal, fails to upturn gov’s victory
  • Adelabu seeks Supreme Court’s interpretation on ruling
  • Makinde: My victory remains intact, nobody can steal it

 

There was a thick judicial confusion yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, as the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division allowed the appeal filed by Adebayo Adelabu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the March 9, 2019 election against the sitting governor, Seyi Makinde, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The court, however, ordered status quo in the lower tribunal’s judgement, meaning that the return and declaration of Makinde as winner of the March 9 governorship poll in Oyo State remained.

The two parties in the electoral dispute laid claim to the victory at the appellate court.

The four-man panel of the Appeal Court, led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya, ruled that there was miscarriage of justice in the decision of the Oyo State Election Petitions Tribunal which upheld the victory of Makinde, against the petition by Adelabu. But the appellate court could not order a retrial or give any consequential order to the effect. It also refused to make any order for re-hearing of the election petition.

It held that the tribunal erred by not considering every document submitted by Adelabu to prove his case and lumping them together as one.

In its ruling, the Appeal Court resolved all the four issues raised by Adelabu in favour of Makinde, noting that it allowed the appeal because there were issues of miscarriage of justice at the lower court, but added that a judgement must be given after considering the situation in its entirety.

But there was a dissenting judgement from a judge with a proviso that the panel could not nullify Makinde’s election, as, according to him, the 180 days mandated for the tribunal to deliver its judgement in election petition had lapsed and there was consequently no reason to touch the ruling of the lower court.

Adelabu had filed an appeal through his counsel, Yusuf Alli (SAN), against the judgement of the tribunal upholding the victory of the PDP and its candidate, Makinde.

He had prayed the court to dismiss the judgement of the lower court and order a fresh election while counsel to Makinde urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgement of the tribunal.

While speaking with journalists after the judgement, the lead counsel to Makinde, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), said that the declaration of Makinde as governor “has not been affected in any way. The Court of Appeal, in their wisdom, said they did not agree with the lower tribunal. They did not also say that they did not agree with INEC. So, INEC’s declaration is sacrosanct and it remains until any other pronouncement from the court.

“We have not seen the details of the judgement. We were all in court and you (journalists) saw that the details were not read to us. As far as we are concerned, there is no cause for alarm,” he said.

Speaking on the implications of the judgement on Governor Makinde, Jegede said: “There is no implication on the return and declaration of Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo State.”

The counsel to Adelabu and APC, Adeboye Shobanjo, however, told journalists that: “You listened to what My Lord said about the evaluation of judgement of evidence that when there are evidence before the court, the evidence of all parties before the court should be evaluated. Judgement should not be based only on the evidence of a party in a case, and if that was done during the trial, or during the judgement, that is contrary to the provision of the constitution on fair hearing.

“Second, this court settled the issue of dumping of documents on election cases. And contrary to the decision of the tribunal that all the documents tendered by the appellants were dumped on the tribunal, the judgement made it known that the documents were not dumped on the tribunal.

“In totality, the appeal was allowed. But My Lord said that because of effusion of time, that since the time for trial has lapsed at the tribunal, they cannot order for retrial of the case.

“But generally or totally, the appeal was allowed. It showed that the judgement of the tribunal occasioned miscarriage of justice against the appellants.”

When asked to comment on if Adelabu and the APC would proceed to the Supreme Court, Shobanjo simply said: “The next step depends on my clients. They will brief us accordingly and it depends on instructions.”

Meanwhile, the APC in Oyo State has reaffirmed its strong belief in the judiciary as the pillar of hope for the sustenance of democracy, saying Adelabu and the party would approach the Supreme Court for final settlement of the litigation.

The APC “regretted that the good people of the state would still have to wait for the final adjudication on the case before our candidate could reclaim his mandate.”

According to a statement issued by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Prince Ayobami Adejumo, Oyo APC lauded the appellate court’s judges for their pronouncement which validated the claims of the plaintiffs in the matter, saying, “The verdict given on Monday was unambiguous, apt and sound enough to convince any informed mind about the genuineness of our claim that Makinde’s declaration as the winner of the March 9 poll was done by INEC in error. The results announced were ridiculously inflated and there is no way such conspiracy could stand the test of proper scrutiny as this was just confirmed by the appellate court.

“Obviously, the next line of action is for us as a party and our gubernatorial hopeful to approach the Supreme Court for perfection of the landmark verdict delivered by the Court of Appeal today and, by the special Grace of God, we shall obtain favourable judgement from the apex court as only this would lend credence to the fact that Nigeria’s democratic practice is premised on free and fair elections as well as the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, Governor Makinde has declared that his mandate remains intact and cannot be stolen through the back door.

Makinde, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa said, “There is no ambiguity as to the state of things in our Pacesetter State as far as the election of March 9, 2019, is concerned. Our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election.

“The victory was reaffirmed by a ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Ibadan, the state capital.

“On Monday, the Court of Appeal, also sitting in Ibadan, delivered its judgement on the appeal by the candidate of the APC, Adebayo Adelabu.

“In its ruling, the Appeal Court refused to grant any of the three key reliefs sought by the APC candidate.

“The court refused to nullify the election; it refused to order a fresh election and it also refused to order the retrial of the petition.

“With the above being the reality of the outcome of the Appeal Court ruling, the election of Engr. Seyi Makinde as the Governor of Oyo State has just been reaffirmed.

“There is nothing in the Appeal Court’s ruling that affects the returns made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and there is nothing that tampers with the mandate freely given to Engr. Seyi Makinde by the people of Oyo State.

“Governor Makinde hereby urges the good people of Oyo State to remain calm and refuse to be provoked by agents of disruption who are seeking to upturn the truth, which remains constant against all odds.

“We also wish to enjoin the people of Oyo State to ignore the doctored reports in some media outlets, which are merely quoting the judgement of the Court of Appeal out of context.

“With a clear margin of Makinde’s 515,621 votes to Adelabu’s 357,982 votes, the preference of the people of Oyo State is as clear as day and night.”

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Declare state of emergency on roads, SSANU tells FG

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Declare state of emergency on roads, SSANU tells FG

…threatens strike over balance of earned allowances

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads.

In a communiqué signed by its President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke and the Public Relations Officer, Comrade Abdussobur Salaam at the end of its 37th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Ondo State, the non-teaching staff union of universities decried the deplorable state of roads across the country.

SSANU lamented that despite the huge amount of resources generated through crude oil in past years, Nigerian roads have become death traps filled with potholes, gullies and craters leading to avoidable road crashes.

The communiqué reads in part: “NEC in Session noted with great disappointment that the state of Nigerian roads is getting worse and more dangerous to traverse by the day. Coming from various parts of the country, members narrated the hazardous experiences they had on roads which have become death traps.

“NEC observed that it is indeed shameful that a country which has realised billions of dollars in crude oil revenue for years, cannot maintain its roads, no thanks to endemic corruption which has eaten into the fabric of the nation.

“NEC, therefore, appeals to the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads to save Nigerians from avoidable loss of lives through road accidents and other mishaps.”

While calling on government to, without further delay, release the balance of the N30 billion Earned Allowances in the interest of industrial harmony in the universities, SSANU demanded that the Audit Reports of all disbursements of earned allowances be made public in order to guide government in subsequent disbursements.

The union has also directed its members to continue mobilisation to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike should government fail to keep to its part of the bargain on time.

The union recalled that after a five-day warning strike by the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU to demand payment of N30 billion being part payment of arrears of Earned Allowances, the Federal Government, via a memo signed by the Director, Tertiary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, had conveyed the release of the sum of N25 billion for the payment of Earned Allowances for staff of federal universities.

Alleging a breach of due process and established protocols in the disbursements of allowances, SSANU noted that “the pattern adopted for the payment was a gross violation of the University Autonomy Laws because the Governing Councils who by law are vested with the power of identifying and allocating allowances to staff in their various universities were bypassed while the Registrars and Bursars, being custodians of all university records in terms of allowances and remunerations, were not involved in the processes leading to the allocations of these monies.”

The communiqué further reads: “NEC in session, therefore, demanded that the Audit Reports of all disbursements of earned allowances be made public in order to guide government in subsequent disbursements.

“NEC in Session further reiterated its resolve to demand a minimum sum of N30 billion for the payment of Earned Allowances to the JAC of NASU and SSANU to correct the present imbalance while arrangements should be made to pay the total balance as the sum demanded represents only a fraction of the actual earned allowances owed the JAC of NASU and SSANU from 2009 till date.

“NEC in Session directed the National Administrative Committee to liaise with its JAC counterpart, i.e. NASU, to give ultimatum to the Federal Government to commence an indefinite strike for the failure of government on the release of the earned allowances as promised.

“NEC directed its members to continue mobilization for an industrial action which may become inevitable if government is not forthcoming in the fullness of time.”

On the new National Minimum Wage, SSANU called on the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission to expeditiously make public, the new salary tables based on the consequential adjustments.

While warning the Federal Government not to introduce economic policies that would be counter-productive and vitiate the gains of the new minimum wage regime, the union urged state governments to immediately domesticate the new minimum wage in the various states in order to ensure that employees at the states and local governments enjoy the new wage without delay.

Commending the government for the closure of the country’s land borders, SSANU urged the Federal Government to ensure a long term goal by creating an enabling environment for local industry to thrive through the provision of loans and microcredit facilities.

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60% of drugs imported to be manufactured locally –NAFDAC

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60% of drugs imported to be manufactured locally –NAFDAC

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said that it would ensure that 60 per cent of the drugs being imported into the country were manufactured locally.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of the agency, said this at a news conference in Abuja, yesterday.

She stressed the need for the agency to ensure that local pharmaceutical manufacturing sector thrived, adding that a significant amount of substandard and falsified drugs were creeping into the country.

“We want the local manufacturing sector to thrive; we want a situation whereby 60 per cent of the country’s products are manufactured locally,” Adeyeye said.

She said that significant amount of substandard and falsified medicines were being imported as unregistered or registered but with compromise on the content after approval to become substandard.

“One of the drives of my administration is to encourage local manufacturing for products that can be manufactured in Nigeria,” the NAFDAC boss said.

She stated that the agency now encouraged innovation from local manufacturers by giving five-year market exclusivity to the innovator – company with capacity to meet the country’s demand.

Adeyeye added that during the period, there would be no approval of a similar product to ensure that products manufactured, imported, distributed and sold after registration or renewal of registration conformed with quality specifications.

She said that the agency had four laboratories, with ISO-17025 accreditation across the country, to test the quality of medicines, vaccines test kits and other biological products.

Adeyeye said that NAFDAC had overhaul its testing of products coming from China and India by re-certification of clean report and analysis agents as well as laboratories from those countries.

This, she said, was aimed at ensuring that the imported products were tested by qualified laboratories.

The NAFDAC director-general said that part of the restrictions was streamlining the pre-shipment testing, with testing done post-shipment.

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Kogi polls: Hoodlums raze SDP secretariat

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Kogi polls: Hoodlums raze SDP secretariat
  • It’s Bello’s handiwork, party alleges
  • Gov: I’ve no hand in attack

 

 

Barely five days to the governorship election in Kogi State, suspected political thugs yesterday morning set ablaze the Kogi State secretariat of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Lokoja, the state capital.

The SDP secretariat, located in the same neighbourhood of Lokoja Local Government secretariat, around the Paparanda Square, was vandalized by some thugs who smashed glass windows in the secretariat and destroyed campaign posters and billboards that bear the picture of the party’s governorship candidate, Barrister Natasha Akpoti, on them.

It was learnt that the building was razed on Monday at about 1a.m. with valuable items such as furniture, documents, electrical equipment and campaign materials burnt.

The building, which is located few metres away to the state police command headquarters in Lokoja, was reported vandalised on Saturday, Novemebr 9, by suspected armed thugs.

It was learnt that the SDP rented the building from AVM Ndatsu Umaru, a former military governor of Kwara and Kano states.

Recall that Governor Yahaya Bello was, on Sunday, booed around the secretariat by some youths alleged to be supporters of the SDP.

The governor, who was on his way to Abuja, was driving through the road opposite the SDP secretariat.

Confirming the razing of its secretariat, the state chairman of the SDP, Mouktar Atima, accused the ruling party of unleashing their thugs to carry out the attack.

Atima said the development was a confirmation of the several threats received recently by the party’s candidate, Akpoti.

The SDP chairman, who described the attack as undemocratic, unhealthy to the serenity of the Saturday gubernatorial election, wondered why a ruling party which is in control of all resources, including security, is feeling unsecured once election approaches.

“Did Yahaya Bello want to contest this election without opposition? Did he want to go unopposed so that no one can contest with him? If not, why is he attacking the opposition parties?” Atima asked.

He, however, said no amount of harassment and destruction will deter the party and its governorship candidate from contesting and winning the Saturday election, saying they remain undaunted even as he appealed to party faithful not to be discouraged over the shameful act.

Also, the governorship candidate of SDP, Barrister Akpoti, lamented the level of destruction in the party secretariat.

She equally accused Governor Bello of being the mastermind of the attack.

“What Bello should know is that he is the governor of Kogi State, and he owes the people of the state, including me, Natasha Akpoti, security of life and property,” she said.

However, the spokesperson of the APC campaign council, Kingsley Fanwo, dismissed the allegation that the hoodlums that burnt down the party’s secretariat were sponsored by the ruling party.

According to him, the party and its candidate are currently busy campaigning round the state and “have no time for irrelevant issues.”

When contacted, the state Police Commissioner, Hakeem Busari, said the police were already aware of the incident, stressing that the command has commenced investigations into it.

Incidence of attacks had increased in the state in the past few days, causing fear and tension among the residents.

New Telegraph had, yesterday, reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised the red flag about the high likelihood that the polls may be marred by violence.

A senior official of the election management body, who spoke with New Telegraph in confidence because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that going by the various pre-election indicators, including the consultative meetings held with stakeholders in both states, the atmosphere around the election looks tense.

Our source said that the elections, which come once every four years, ought to have been an opportunity for the electorate to chart a new course for their states in terms of leadership recruitment, but lamented that the atmosphere under which elections are held often does not give citizens the freedom to make their choices.

“As we are preparing to hold these elections, there ought to be that enthusiasm not just among the electorate in both states, but even among our staff and the ad-hoc staff we have recruited for the exercise. But what do you find? It’s disillusionment, apprehension because everyone is afraid that there could be violence.

“The reason is not far-fetched; our politicians have learnt nothing in the last two decades of our democracy. Rather, they have perfected the play book – Power for Its Own Sake. Just declare me elected and let my opponent go to court. To them, it is war, not elections. This is why the atmosphere is always charged,” the INEC top official said.

According to him, while INEC has made all necessary arrangements to conduct the governorship elections in the two states, the challenge of security and lack of basic social infrastructure, such as water, light and transportation logistics, had always hampered its success.

“But a major issue is the security of our staff and materials. We are afraid of violence. We are concerned about the security situation in the two states.

“Although the Nigeria Police is the lead agency mandated by law to provide security, it is doubtful if they can do it alone with all the reports of arms build-up in these two states.

“We have an option of inviting the military to support the Nigeria Police if the need arises, but the military is reluctant to get involved in election duties after the controversies that trailed their roles during the last general election,” he said. 

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Customs rakes in N1.002trn revenue in 9 months

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Customs rakes in N1.002trn revenue in 9 months
  • Apapa Area leads 32 commands with N313.5bn

 

 

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has realised N1.002 trillion in nine months (January to September 2019), signalling possibility of outperforming its 2018 revenue figure of N1.2 trillion.

Revenue data sourced from Department of Research and Statistics of the Customs Service by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) confirmed by the NCS’ public relations office indicated that the revenue was generated from 32 commands.

According to the breakdown, the highest revenue sum of N123.6 billion was raked in, in the month of July, followed by N118.6 billion realised in May while lowest revenue of N86.3 billion was realised in February.

The dip in revenue in February was not unconnected to 2019 general election that necessitated closures of borders, a development that restricted  movement of goods and foreign nationals.

According to the data, Apapa Area Command has the highest revenue of N313.5 billion within the period under review.

The statistics also indicated that immediately after the partial closure of borders, the service recorded N115.6 billion in September, with about N6.1 billion more than what was realised in August before borders were closed.

The revenue was generated from import duty, levy, excise duty and other fees.

There is every possibility, with this statistics, by the end of 2019, NCS revenue will surpass the earning of 2018, which stood at N1.2 trillion.

The 2018 revenue by customs was N164.8 billion more than the 2017 collection, which was N1.037 trillion.

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Frequent marijuana smoking increases stroke risk

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Frequent marijuana smoking increases stroke risk

Scientists in the United States (US) said frequent smokers of marijuana, which is also known as cannabis were more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke compared with those who don’t partake.

According to the findings of a second study, people who take marijuana frequently were more likely to be hospitalised for a dangerously erratic heart rhythm.

Both studies, which are observational, are to be presented at an upcoming meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), in Philadelphia scheduled to hold from November 16 to 18.

A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke). Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke).

The first study found that non-smokers who use marijuana more than 10 days a month were nearly 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke versus non-users.

For the study, researchers evaluated federal survey data on more than 43,000 adults, aged 18 to 44, of whom about 14 per cent reported using marijuana in the last 30 days.

“Young cannabis users, especially those who use tobacco and have other risk factors for strokes, such as high blood pressure, should understand that they may be raising their risk of having a stroke at a young age,” said lead author, Tarang Parekh, a health policy researcher at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va in the U.S.

In the second study, researchers found that people who compulsively use cannabis have an up to 50 per cent greater risk of being hospitalised for an arrhythmia.

An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. It means that the heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern.

The team in the second study compared more than 570,000 people hospitalised with an arrhythmia against more than 67 million patients hospitalised for other reasons, looking specifically at those diagnosed with cannabis-use disorder.

People aged 25 to 34 who compulsively used cannabis were 52 per cent more likely to land in the hospital suffering an arrhythmia, the researchers found, while those aged 15 to 24 were 28 per cent more likely to be hospitalised for an irregular heartbeat.

The lead researcher, Dr. Rikinkumar Patel said: “The effects of using cannabis are seen within 15 minutes and last for around three hours. At lower doses, it is linked to a rapid heartbeat. At higher doses, it is linked to a too-slow heartbeat.” Patel is a resident physician in the department of psychiatry at Griffin Memorial Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma in the U.S.

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Buhari promises sustained funding for Trans-Saharan Highways

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Buhari promises sustained funding for Trans-Saharan Highways

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Trans-Saharan highway projects would continue to receive deserved attention and funding by his administration, not only to bolster economic activities, but to enhance regional and cultural integration in Africa.

President Buhari made this known in his remarks at the opening of the 70th session of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee (TRLC) in Abuja, yesterday, with all the Ministers of Works from all six member states in attendance.

The meeting, which holds every four years, would review most of what had transpired in the 69th session and also get an update on the technical and experts’ works on the trans-saharan roads.

Buhari was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Dingyadi.

The president said when he took over the mantle of leadership in 2015, his administration decided to introduce changes geared towards sustainable and quality infrastructural development to drive economic development and job creation.

“Our commitment is to increase Nigeria’s stock of road infrastructure in order to ease the cost and time of doing business and improve on economic competitiveness as envisaged under our Economic and Recovery Growth Plan.

“In view of this, our administration shares the aspiration and vision of the Trans-Saharan road liaison committee aimed at encouraging member countries to develop roads of Trans-Saharan within their respective territories.

“It is a pride to the African continent and that is why Nigeria has supported and will continue to support its existence.

“Special funds had been committed to the reconstruction works on the sections of Trans-Saharan roads from Lagos to Ibadan and Kaduna to Kano, other sections of the road from Ibadan to Ilorin, Ilorin to Jebba, Jebba to Mokwa and to Kaduna, these roads are either being dualised or being rehabilitated.”

Also speaking, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said there exists Trans African highway plan which sought to connect the whole of Africa, starting from Cape Town to Tunisia.

“There is a coast-to-coast connectivity from the West to the East of Africa and North-East of Africa to the North-West of Africa and from the South-West of Africa to East Africa.

“A total of nine highways of the different stages of connectivity, three of these highways pass through Nigeria and of all these, 80 per cent are at the point of completion.

“The roads serve 37 regions in Africa and connect 74 urban centres and 60 million people across the six member states that are part of the committee and, on the local front, the road passes through Lagos through Ibadan, to Ilorin to Jebba to Kaduna to Kano where we share border with Republic of Niger,” he said.

Fashola said the road offers many opportunities for member countries. While giving an update on the work so far done, he said they were expanding the Lagos-Shagamu on the Lagos to Ibadan axis among other developments.

He commended the efforts made by President Buhari in ensuring that the ministry benefited from the Presidential Development Fund, adding that the investment in roads would help to harness the opportunities therein.

In his remarks, the Secretary General of TRLC, Mr. Ayadi Mohammed, said during the session, discussions would centre on the progress and problems of projects country-by-country.

Mr. Chukwunike Uzo, Director Highways Planning and Development, on his part, said the trans-Saharan road liaison committee, has link with six countries; Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Tunisia, Algeria and Mali.

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Bayelsa guber: Bias among security agencies fuelling electoral violence –Dickson

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Bayelsa guber: Bias among security agencies fuelling electoral violence –Dickson

Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, yesterday said that the bias and unfair conduct of some federal agencies was fuelling violence during elections in the state.

The governor made the accusation at a Peace Accord signing event organized by the National Peace Committee in conjunction with the Niger Delta Dialogue at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, noted that the governor expressed dissatisfaction with the role the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) played in the last state and National Assembly elections in the state.

The governor said that the REC lacked the moral credential to talk about peace in the forthcoming election having accepted manipulated results in the last National Assembly.

Dickson said that a public officer entrusted with the responsibility of conducting such a critical election should have the required integrity to conduct a free, fair and credible election in the state.

While condemning the activities of INEC officials and security agencies who he alleged connived with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disenfranchise the people through intimidation, he said they are writing fake results in some communities.

He stressed the need for federal institutions such as INEC to promote justice and fairness for democracy to thrive in the interest of the country.

The governor wondered why the REC and security agencies were excluded from signing the peace accord.

Describing the Bayelsa people as peace loving, he urged all stakeholders to show true commitment to ensuring a free, fair and peaceful governorship election on Saturday this week.

The governor said that justice and fairness are essential factors for the prevalence of peace in any society.

His words: “What we experience in this state is state sponsored terrorism. We have a situation in this state where communities are ransacked on the eve of election with the support of security operatives, law abiding peaceful people are maimed and killed in the name of elections.

“Results were cooked up by the APC and INEC accepted such results and the REC is here talking about peace. Let’s be clear that while peace is desirable, you cannot have peace without justice.

“Bayelsa is committed to peace, Bayelsa is peaceful and we are committed as a government to peace, but while we talk about peace, let’s not deceive people, let’s not be hypocritical, let’s talk about justice, let’s talk about propriety of actions.

“I know you are acting on the mandate of the National Peace Committee, but I was wondering why only the political parties and their candidates have to sign this peace undertaking. Why not INEC, why not the state REC, why not the representative of the National Chairman of INEC, why not the security agencies and why not the Nigerian military?

“Because our experience shows that our people are not the problem. The problem is largely caused by federal institutions that fail to do the right things.

“Let’s talk about responsibility on the part of institutions and practitioners, so it would have been nice if INEC, the REC who knew what he did in the last elections had also signed the Peace Accord.”

Earlier, the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Kukah, who is also the Secretary of the National Peace Committee, underscored the importance of peace during and after elections.

Kukah urged Nigerians, particularly the people of Bayelsa, to imbibe the political culture of tolerance and peace while exercising their franchise as only the living can enjoy the dividends of democracy.

He said: “I want to thank you on behalf of Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar who is the Chairman of the National Peace Committee, which is concerned with efforts towards not just ensuring free and fair election, but also we do the little best we can to address the issue of the urgency of peace in Nigeria.

“As you know, not all Bayelsans are members of a political party, not every member of a political party is Bayelsan. It is on your behalf that this election is being conducted. I want to enjoin you to imbibe the spirit that only the living can participate in elections and enjoy the dividends of elections.”

On her part, the Convener of the Niger Delta Dialogue, Dr. Judith Asuni said a total of 26 candidates in the forthcoming governorship elections signed the peace accord and urged them to be committed to the initiative.

Among the candidates who appended their signatures to the Accord was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Douye Diri while his APC counterpart was absent from the peace deal.

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Declare state of emergency on roads, SSANU tells FG

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Declare state of emergency on roads, SSANU tells FG

…threatens strike over balance of earned allowances

 

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads.

In a communiqué signed by its President, Comrade Samson Ugwoke and the Public Relations Officer, Comrade Abdussobur Salaam at the end of its 37th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Ondo State, the non-teaching staff union of universities decried the deplorable state of roads across the country.

SSANU lamented that despite the huge amount of resources generated through crude oil in past years, Nigerian roads have become death traps filled with potholes, gullies and craters leading to avoidable road crashes.

The communiqué reads in part: “NEC in Session noted with great disappointment that the state of Nigerian roads is getting worse and more dangerous to traverse by the day. Coming from various parts of the country, members narrated the hazardous experiences they had on roads which have become death traps.

“NEC observed that it is indeed shameful that a country which has realised billions of dollars in crude oil revenue for years, cannot maintain its roads, no thanks to endemic corruption which has eaten into the fabric of the nation.

“NEC, therefore, appeals to the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads to save Nigerians from avoidable loss of lives through road accidents and other mishaps.”

While calling on government to, without further delay, release the balance of the N30 billion Earned Allowances in the interest of industrial harmony in the universities, SSANU demanded that the Audit Reports of all disbursements of earned allowances be made public in order to guide government in subsequent disbursements.

The union has also directed its members to continue mobilisation to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike should government fail to keep to its part of the bargain on time.

The union recalled that after a five-day warning strike by the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU to demand payment of N30 billion being part payment of arrears of Earned Allowances, the Federal Government, via a memo signed by the Director, Tertiary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, had conveyed the release of the sum of N25 billion for the payment of Earned Allowances for staff of federal universities.

Alleging a breach of due process and established protocols in the disbursements of allowances, SSANU noted that “the pattern adopted for the payment was a gross violation of the University Autonomy Laws because the Governing Councils who by law are vested with the power of identifying and allocating allowances to staff in their various universities were bypassed while the Registrars and Bursars, being custodians of all university records in terms of allowances and remunerations, were not involved in the processes leading to the allocations of these monies.”

The communiqué further reads: “NEC in session, therefore, demanded that the Audit Reports of all disbursements of earned allowances be made public in order to guide government in subsequent disbursements.

“NEC in Session further reiterated its resolve to demand a minimum sum of N30 billion for the payment of Earned Allowances to the JAC of NASU and SSANU to correct the present imbalance while arrangements should be made to pay the total balance as the sum demanded represents only a fraction of the actual earned allowances owed the JAC of NASU and SSANU from 2009 till date.

“NEC in Session directed the National Administrative Committee to liaise with its JAC counterpart, i.e. NASU, to give ultimatum to the Federal Government to commence an indefinite strike for the failure of government on the release of the earned allowances as promised.

“NEC directed its members to continue mobilization for an industrial action which may become inevitable if government is not forthcoming in the fullness of time.”

On the new National Minimum Wage, SSANU called on the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission to expeditiously make public, the new salary tables based on the consequential adjustments.

While warning the Federal Government not to introduce economic policies that would be counter-productive and vitiate the gains of the new minimum wage regime, the union urged state governments to immediately domesticate the new minimum wage in the various states in order to ensure that employees at the states and local governments enjoy the new wage without delay.

Commending the government for the closure of the country’s land borders, SSANU urged the Federal Government to ensure a long term goal by creating an enabling environment for local industry to thrive through the provision of loans and microcredit facilities.

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Damaturu killing: Army begins investigation

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Damaturu killing: Army begins investigation

Aboard of inquiry has been established by the Nigerian Army to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of two persons in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, on Sunday.

It was reported that a military truck on speed, had hit a tricycle, killing two passengers.

But, the Army, while regretting the development, said the Sector 2 of Operation Lafiya Dole had set up an inquiry board over the incident.

The Sector’s spokesperson, Captain Njoka Irabor, who made the disclosure in a statement yesterday, said a toddler and a female student of the Federal Polytechnic Damaturu, were killed in the incident.

“The Sector has since conveyed a Board of Inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident,” Irabor said.

According to him, “The Acting Commander Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Sallau Ali, most sincerely commiserate with families of victims of the unfortunate road traffic accident involving a tricycle and a patrol vehicle that occurred on Saturday 9 November 2019 in Damaturu.

“The unfortunate accident is highly regrettable, especially that precious lives were lost – a toddler and a female student of the Federal Polytechnic Damaturu lost their lives.

“The Sector wishes to use this medium to express our deepest sympathy in this trying time to the families of the deceased and also to wish other victims who are still recuperating in the hospital speedy recovery.

“Additionally, this headquarters has since paid a condolence visit to the deceased families and all those civilians involved in the accident.”

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