The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State worsened yesterday as the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), a splinter group which laid claim to the leadership of the party, said it had suspended Governor Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Hon. Philip Shuaibu, state party chairman, Anslem Ojezua, as well as the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie.
Their suspension came 24 hours after the state party executive led by Ojezua suspended the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for allegedly fuelling the crisis in the state chapter of the party.
The factional group, led by Col. David Imuse, revoked the suspension of the state secretary, Lawrence Okah, saying his purported and subsequent removal from office by Ojezua was a nullity.
The faction rather passed a vote of implicit confidence in Okah as the Secretary of their own faction of the party.
But in swift reaction, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, described the suspension of his principal and other top government functionaries as a nullity.
Osagie stated that EPM cannot suspend any member of the APC in the state, as they were not recognised by the constitution of the party.
He argued that the said suspension was a huge joke as any decision taken by members of the EPM is ultra vires, null and void, and not binding on any bona fide member of the APC in Edo State.
“The rogue organisation, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), claiming to have suspended the governor, the deputy governor and the SSG is outlawed by the APC in the state.
“This group was operating against the provisions of the constitution of the APC and was proscribed by the party. The group is, therefore, unknown to law. Hence, it cannot take any disciplinary action against any member of the APC.
“The kangaroo meeting of the rogue group was held at the residence of Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, who himself has been suspended by the party in the state. So whatever decision that might have been taken by the group is ultra vires, null and void,” Osagie said.
In revoking the suspension placed on Oshiomhole, the faction equally claimed that the no confidence vote passed in Oshiomhole was the handiwork of an unknown organ of the APC in Edo State.
“This development would have been laughable if it did not have serious implications for the overall integrity of our party. Their decision is unconstitutional and it is unheard of, for a lower level party hierarchy official to want to take disciplinary action against an official or organ on a higher level. We, therefore, pass a vote of implicit confidence in the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC.
“We wish to reiterate our position that Edo APC was plunged in this crisis by the unguarded actions and inflammatory statements by Anselm Ojezua. Thuggery and political violence has spiked and escalated in the pursuit of the second term ambition of Governor Obaseki and his deputy, Shuaibu.
“This is exemplified by the various incidents of attack on the Benin residence of the National Chairman, the congregation of thugs on motorbike that were led by Shuaibu to the convocation of Edo University Iyamho, the mayhem that was visited on the political meeting in Owan East LGA. The same pattern repeated at Ikpoba Okha LGA in Hon. Osarobo’s residence.
“On 18th June, 2019, members of our party who were elected into the Edo State House of Assembly were violently attacked by armed thugs led by the Chief Security Officer of the governor,” he said.
Imuse accused Governor Obaseki of anti-party activities which he said resulted in widespread electoral losses for the APC in Edo South Senatorial District during the 2019 general election.
“There is clear and unambiguous evidence by the admission of the governor himself that he actively supported and worked with opposition candidate in areas where his favoured aspirants did not pick the party ticket. This pattern of anti-party activities led to widespread electoral losses in Edo South Senatorial District, including the ward and local government of the governor where we lost.
“In the desperate bid of Mr. Obaseki to suppress all forms of perceived opposition and in his determination that no credible opposition emerges in the forthcoming primaries, elected council officials are indiscriminately removed from office with impunity.
“In light of the foregoing, it has become obvious that Mr. Obaseki has become a liability to the APC. We can no longer fold our arms and watch him drag our collective political fortunes into the abyss in his desperate bid to destroy the party. The only option is to protect the interest of all stakeholders who have laboured assiduously to build up the party,” he said.
Imuse alleged that there have been threats on the lives of members of his faction and urged the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to take necessary steps to protect their lives and property which are now at risk.
He alleged that since his group decided to salvage the image and future of the APC in Edo State, thugs and hoodlums have been mobilized to hound them in their homes in the dead of the night, while some have been stationed at strategic locations, including the Benin Airport.
Ebonyi, ex-female lawmaker bicker over N80m entitlements
A former member of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Maria Ude Nwachi and the state government are trading words over an alleged N80million statutory entitlement of the former female lawmaker.
Nwachi, who represented Afikpo North East State Constituency in the 5th Assembly, alleged that the state government in connivance with leadership of the Assembly denied her statutory and privileged entitlements including severance allowance totaling N80million.
But the state government described her claims as nothing but one of the dimensions of the Ponzi trap for gullible people as no House of Assembly member’s allowance in Ebonyi State, whether in whole or in part was closed to the amount she claimed.
Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Uchenna Orji described it as laughable.
He said: “My office has noted as laughable the disdainful Ponzi arrangement of one Hon Maria Ude Nwachi which she orchestrated to trend in different Social Media platforms so as to attract pity with corollary pecuniary intentions. Most pitiable is the conspiracy of syndicates who are already sharing in different media classifications this manufactured ordeals of the said Madam Nwachi.
“Worst still are those who know the antecedents and potentials of this woman and would still desire to set trap for unsuspecting members of the public to make this Xmas profitable for the smartest arrangers But Nwachi also alleged that her aides were also denied their own entitlements till date.”
Nwachi, who contested for Afikpo North/Afikpo South Federal Constituency in 2019 general election under the platform of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) lost to PDP candidate, Hon. Idu Igariwey.
She accused the state government and the leadership of the state Assembly of humiliating her in all fronts throughout the end of the state 5th Assembly.
Nwachi said: “It is alarmingly worthy to note that I am owed to the tune of over N80million in statutory and privileged entitlements, including my severance allowance.
“Since I was elected into the State House of Assembly in 2015, and throughout my embattled four-year tenure which ended this year, I never received the monthly stipend of N500, 000.00.
“In April 2018, I was denied my N15million Constituency Projects
Allowance made to every member of the House. This is in spite of the fact that I had delivered an ultra-modern public toilet project among others with my personal funds. I have never borrowed money from a bank
in my life but I borrowed from Fidelity Bank to complete some of the
projects for my people. Thank goodness I have completely paid off that
loan; which was a thorn on my flesh.”
Security Trust Fund Bill scales first reading in Enugu Assembly
Enugu State Security Trust Fund and Other Connected Purposes Bill yesterday scaled first reading at the State House of Assembly.
The executive bill, which was presented by the Leader of the House, Hon. Ikechukwu Ezeugwu during the plenary, sought to provide money for the acquisition and deployment of security equipment, financial and human resources to prevent crime and preserve public security in the state. Ezeugwu said that the bill sought to promote efficiency of all security agencies as well as reserve part of the fund for training and retraining of security personnel in the state.
He said that the bill when passed would establish a board of trustees to manage the security fund to be headed by a chairman, who would not be less than 45 years of age and be appointed by the state governor.
Other details of the bill indicates that the chairman and members of the Board shall hold office for a term of three years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for one further term of three year and no more.
Ezeugwu listed the functions of the Board to include procuring and maintaining of equipment “including but not limited to patrol vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, water cannons, protection vans, lorries, buses, recovery vehicles, drones and helicopters as may be required for use in Enugu state by federal, state and local government security agencies”.
Speaker Edward Ubosi said that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi would present 2020 budget proposal to the House of Assembly on17th December, 2019. Ubosi urged his colleague to get prepared as the bill would be deliberated on a later day.
Niger gov presents N148.2bn 2020 budget to Assembly
iger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, yesterday presented a budget of N148.2 billion for the 2020 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.
The budget proposal represented a decrease of 13.2 per cent compared to the 2019 budget, which was N194, 698,816,253.00; including a supplementary budget of N30, 247,947,518.42.
The governor said the decrease indicated the readiness of the state to adjust its fiscal responsibility in line with the current economic realities of the state.
According to Governor Bello, “The budget, christened Budget of Inclusion for Sustainable Development, consists of Recurrent Expenditure of N69, 968,379,598.50 or 47.21 per cent and Capital Expenditure of N78, 243,549,951.32 or 52.79 per cent of the budget.”
He added that the budget was specifically anchored on the completion of projects that had attained 75 per cent completion and above.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abdullahi Bawa Wuse, assured the governor that the lawmakers would ensure that the budget was scrutinised and given speedy passage.
He also expressed the readiness of the Assembly to partner with the executive and security agencies in ensuring that the security challenges facing the state were brought to an end.
NAVC/ICPC canvasses youth-empowerment as panacea for corrupt practices
Abia State Coordinator of the National Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps (NAVC/ICPC), Rev Blessed Amalambu has said that if the war against corruption would succeed in Nigeria, the citizens should be empowered to hold government accountable, stressing there should be law to end impunity in the conduct of government business.
Amalambu, who made the recommendation in Umuahia during the 2019 Anti-Corruption Day with the theme “Together we can fight against corruption,” added that the clauses in the Constitution that had given undue rights and privileges to certain offices and positions for power of monopoly in decisions and policies should be removed as monopoly or power of discretion bred corruption.
He said: “There should be transparency and access to information. In Nigeria, there is law encouraging freedom of information, but it is not applied or enforced. Vital information should be made public as to create room for proper enlightenment of the general public. “There should be community monitoring initiatives in our various local governments. This will help to detect leakages of funds and improve the quality and quantity of services.
IPPIS: FG must correct anomalies in the payroll system – Rector
s the management of the Federal School of Surveying, Oyo, prepares for mass convocation of its graduates in the past ten years, the Rector of the professional institution, Surveyor (Dr.) Dupe Olayinka, has said that the school was not opposed to the Federal Government’s policy of Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) unlike the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) but said that there were a series of anomalies in the system.
The Rector of the 111-year-old institution who spoke with journalists at the school during the 20th convocation press conference, disclosed that staff of the school had been captured twice in 2016, but in the recent capturing initiated by the Accountant-General of the Federation, 37 of the school’s staff were missing in the list released, while names of three staff already deceased surfaced on the list, and one staff that had voluntarily retired also had his name on the list. Due to the anomalies, the first female Rector and indigene of Oyo town lamented that staff’s November salary was yet to be paid.
Olayinka said: “It is better we are getting our salaries from the centre. If it is going to check corruption, there is no institution that would say no.
“The fear of ASUU and other unions is because some that have been captured have issues. After the exercise had been done in this institution, names of no fewer than 37 of our staff were missing from the list.
“Three staff who were deceased were surprisingly on the list, and one staff that had voluntarily retired had his name still on the list. This is confusing.”
Niger, foreign firm to revive Zungeru fertilizer plant
he Niger State government yesterday said it has entered into partnership with a foreign firm to revive the abandoned fertilizer plant in Zungeru to boost food and cash crop production in the state.
It will be recalled that the fertilizer plant in Zungeru, established by the military regime of Colonel Simeon Oduoye, had been abandoned for more than 20 years.
However, the state government on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Dubai-based firm, JMarine Logistics Limited, for the resuscitation of the plant and its operation by the company for the next 25 years.
Niger State Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane, signed the agreement for the government while Mr. Tahir Quresh, initialled the document for the firm.
The agreement, which provided that actual work should start in the blending plant within six months, also showed that the Dubai company would inject about $12 million into the procurement of new machines for the plant.
In an address at the occasion, Matane said agriculture cannot be modernised without the use of fertilizers and mechanised farming implements, which was why the government was determined to revamp the fertilizer plant.
assured the people that raw materials were available in the state for the plant to operate, pointing out that there was also abundant labour in the state.
Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Cooperative in the state, Dr. Jibril Mustapha, said when the plant becomes operational, it would generate N4 million monthly for the government apart from employing a large number of people.
Mustspha added that the state government had provided additional land and security for the company, saying that the state and local governments also have a total of 45 per cent share in the plant.
Minister proffers solution to early girl-child marriage
he Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, yesterday said that she was committed to abolishing girl-child early marriage in the country by ensuring their education.
Tallen said the Ministry of Women Affairs was collaborating with the Ministry of Education towards addressing the issue of early marriage among Nigerian girls.
The minister spoke in Jos while addressing journalists after a town hall meeting with women from Plateau State.
She said educating the girl-child was key to unlocking access to economic and social development of the country, adding that her ministry and Ministry of Education was ensuring that girl-child education from primary to junior secondary school was free.
“Investing in girls and women education is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty and advance national development.”
The minister frowned at early girl-child marriage, saying her ministry would not accept nor encourage child marriage involving girls between 12 and 17 years old, but girls from 18 years and above.
“We say no to early child marriage from 12 to 17years, this is not acceptable, but we are working to end the practice such as liaising with local and religious leaders to prevail on their people to stop all practices that limit girls from achieving their potentials.”
Tallen said Plateau State was the first state to have signed the Child Rights’ Act, adding that her ministry was working towards ensuring total implementation of the Act, which was domiciled in all the states.
She said: “I commend the Plateau State government for signing the Child Rights’ Act, the benefits would lead to poverty reduction, better health outcomes, economic growth, reduced rates of child mortality and malnutrition; it would also help girls to achieve their potentials.”
The minister also said that her ministry was collaborating with female legislatures in the National Assembly towards sponsoring a bill that would protect women against violence and abuse of all kinds.
She therefore encouraged parents; stakeholders to value the girl-child to enable them have access to quality education and protection from all forms of abuse and molestation.
Harmattan: FCT Fire Service begins enlightenment campaign
he Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Fire Service yesterday commenced an aggressive fire safety enlightenment campaign in the rural areas to prevent fire disasters.
Director, FCT Fire Service, Mr. Opetunsin Julius, said the enlightenment campaign was to forestall fire disasters, by educating residents on basic fire safety measures.
Julius, who led a team of his Fire Safety and Public Education managers to Junior Secondary School, Pasali in Kuje Area Council, noted that the spate of fire disaster, not only in the nation’s capital, but across the country was alarming and needed some proactive measures to prevent it.
While inaugurating a Fire Safety Club in the school, Julius said the FCT Minister had given the fire service management a marching order to ensure that the effects of the harmattan season was properly mitigated in the territory.
He also explained that the idea behind the fire safety clubs in schools was to arouse the consciousness of preventing fire disasters in children.
According to him, the service would replicate the club in most of the schools across the territory, especially in the rural areas, to inculcate fire safety in the children, who will also assist their parents in the preventive measures.
“Prevention is better than cure, with the incessant fire outbreak in the country now, we have to do something about fire prevention, especially as harmattan season is approaching and we all know that the rate of fire outbreak during harmattan is very high than in the rainy season.
“We have to be very proactive by bringing this enlightenment programme to the people at the grassroots. I advise parents to be very vigilant at home, they should ensure that there are fire fighting equipment like fire extinguishers, blankets, they should also take some necessary safety measures to prevent fire outbreak.”
Court summons Dokubo, over alleged diversion of amnesty slots, stipends
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on Tuesday summoned Prof Charles Dokubo, Cordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Office to appear before it on January 21, 2020.
The court, presided over by Justice Awogboro Abimbola, also dismissed an application by two ex-militants to join the suit alleging diversion of N65,000 monthly stipends for 75 amnesty beneficiaries from 2010 till date.
Ruling on application for joinder, Abimbola said that she found no merit in the application as the applicants were not a necessary part in the matter.
“I find no merit in the application for joinders as the rule for joinders require that only those whose inclusion will ensure the dispensation of justice, the application is hereby dismissed,” Abimbola said.
Two ex-militant leaders, Messrs Aso Tambo and Stephen Ebisintei had sought to be joined in a suit which alleged the diversion of stipends for 75 ex-militants who embraced the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The ex-agitators had brought the application through their Counsel, Mr Stanley Damabide before the High Court
Army: Law-abiding Nigerians have nothing to fear about our operations
rehabilitates road in Ogun
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Olu Irefin, on Tuesday, said law-abiding citizens in the country have nothing to fear about Exercise Crocodile Smile IV.
Irefin, who reassured Nigerians about the ongoing military operation, declared that only criminals, miscreants and “those on the other side of the law” should be ready for military onslaught.
He spoke at the flag-off of road maintenance from Alamala Barracks to Lafenwa Railway in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
New Telegraph reports that the rehabilitation of the deplorable road was carried out by the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta in collaboration with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The GOC, who was accompanied by the Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, Brigadier-General E.J. Amadasun, said the Army authorities desire a hitch-free festive period for Nigerians.
He explained that the Exercise Crocodile Smile IV was designed in line with military’s constitutional role of conducting internal security operation in aid of civil authority.
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