BENIN CITY – The duke (Enogie) of Obagie N’Evbuosa dukedom in Ikpoba-Okha local government area of Edo State HRH Stephen Usiemwanta Imadonmwanyi has said that there is no controversy over his stool as claimed by a caller during a phone-in radio programme in Benin City, recently.
Also, the Iduore of Ihogbe Chief Johnbull Igbinogun said he introduced the claimant to Obagie N’Evbuosa Community as his father was taken and buried in Obadan village in Uhunmwonde local government area of Edo State, when he died few years ago.
He however described the claim as laughable and advised him to respect the palace of the Benin monarch.
The caller was said to have stated that he is the authentic person to occupy the stool and not the reigning Enogie HRH Stephen Usiemwanta Imadonmwanyi.
He was also said to have alleged that all his efforts to reach the Benin monarch on the issue had always been thwarted by some persons, hence, his resort to the popular pidgin English radio programme.
The reigning Enogie HRH Stephen Usiemwanta said the claimant one Pa Eduwuirofo Igbinosun Ohenbor was a non-indegene of Obagie N’Evbuosa whose father was never an Enogie.
He said that he was installed Enogie of the community about 50 years ago when his father who was also an Enogie of the dukedom joined his ancestors.
HRH Usiemwanta described the claim as false stating that about five years ago the man took him to the palace where Oba Erediawu of blessed memory told him to steer clear from Obagie N’Evbuosa dukedom.
In a document dated 2/4/2014, with reference number: Palace 113/Vol.XIII/S/308, and endorsed by one O. Oronsaye-Guobadia Secretary to the then Oba of Benin, and made available to journalists by HRH Stephen Usiemwanta Imadonmwanyi, the said claimant was said to be unqualified to aspire to the Enogie of the community.
“… Palace decision on the controversy over the Enogieship of Obagie N’Evbuosa brought to the palace by Pa. Eduwuirofo Igbinosun Ohenbor against the reigning and existing Enogie of Obagie N’Evbuosa, HRH S.U Imadonmwinyi…
“After much deliberation on the issue, it was discovered that Pa. Eduwuirofo Igbinosun Ohenbor’s father was never an Enogie in Obagie N’Evbuosa community and since the installation of the present Enogie, which is more than a decade ago, there has never been any dispute with regards to the Enogieship.
“Consequently, after applying all laid down traditional approaches, the claim of Pa. Eduwuirofo Igbinosun Ohenbor was found to be incorrect and therefore was not qualify to aspire for the Enogie of the community.
“The Omo N’ Oba and Chiefs therefore declared HRH S.U Imadonmwinyi as the qualified and recognised Enogie of Obagie N’Evbuosa Community. The document reads in parts.
Pa. Eduwuirofo Igbinosun Ohenbor could not however been reached for further comments.
BENIN CITY – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has extolled the virtues and exemplary lifestyle of Pastor Gabriel Oiboh and his wife, Deaconess Bassey as they celebrate their 40th marriage anniversary.
At a colourful anniversary ceremony held in Benin City, the Edo State Capital, Governor Obaseki described the couple as true servants of God who, through the gospel, have contributed their quota to the growth and development of the society.
Obaseki who described the clergies as people he admires from a distance, urged the couple to continue in their relentless service to God and humanity.
The governor said, “It is not too common to find people very well educated and trained, who are truly committed to the service of God and humanity. People who are decent, caring, and with a heart of gold that are truly committed to their people. This kind of people are very rare and you can barely find them in the political space. I want to commend them for their exemplary life over the years.”
“If you are opportune to have a personal encounter with Pastor Gabriel, you will want to always hold on to him, appreciate and work with him. He is an asset to Edo State and we are sincerely proud of him. My prayers are that God grant him and his wife, Deaconess Bassey, more years together, in good health and wisdom to work in his vineyard”
In his response, Pastor Gabriel Oiboh who thanked the governor for coming to honour his family, urged Obaseki to continue in his transformational reforms in the state.
The clergyman also declared his support for the second term bid of the governor, noting that Obaseki against the expectations of many, has surpassed the achievements of his predecessors.
He further assured Obaseki that the people of Edo State are happy with his reforms, policies and programmes and will continue to support him in his bid to reposition the state for growth and development.
Tension in Edo as APC youths barricade Airport, set burn-fire in protest of factionalisation of party
BENIN CITY – There was tension in Benin City as hundreds of youths believed to be members of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) stormed the busy Airport Road in protest of the party’s lingering crisis, factionalisation and imposition of leadership on the people.
The angry youths blocked the two sides of Airport Road, setting burn-fire, thereby causing serious traffic logjam and panic in the state capital, while motorists sought alternative routes out of the area.
The protesting youths also set burn-fire around Golf Course, Akenzua junction and along Akenzua Road in Benin metropolis, thereby disrupting human and vehicular movement.
The youths, however, opened one side of the road to traffic when the representative of the Commissioner of Police, Danladi Isa, persuaded those who barricaded the main gate of Benin Airport to allow for free flow of traffic.
He had pleaded, “I am here because of you people. I heard there is a protest here. That is why the Commissioner of Police sent me to find out what the problem is. I am the Area Commander in-Charge of this area. Blocking of the high way is a criminal offence, we appeal to you to open the highway for people to pass. We have instructed the police not to arrest anyone.”
One of the protesters, Lucky Ehimen, who spoke with journalists, charged the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to stop meddling in the state’s politics and concentrate on national issues.
“Oshiomhole should leave us alone in the state and allow us to live in peace as Governor Godwin Obaseki has performed excellently well and the youths in the State are happy with his performance and want him to continue in office. We will not allow any imposition of the leadership of the party in the state,” he said.
BENIN CITY – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has mourned the passing of the former Chairman of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), High Chief Sam Iredia, extolling his exemplary life of service to the state and humanity.
In a statement, the governor said late Chief Iredia would be sorely missed even as he would be fondly remembered for his key roles in the development of the state.
He said late Chief Iredia, who served as a one-time Chief of Staff to the Governor in Edo State, rode as a colossus through life and brought his talent and intelligence to bear in the development of the state at a very young age.
According to him, “It was with a heavy heart that I received the news of the passing of High Chief Sam Iredia, a quintessential Edo son, who had a lot of impact in the state owing to his versatility and sense of purpose and execution. He was a complete gentleman; humane, unassuming, composed and focused.
“At a very young age, he got into the old Bendel State Government under the administration of Professor Ambrose Alli on the recommendation of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In that government, he served in eight different ministries due to his insight, intelligence and resourcefulness. He left indelible marks in these ministries, acting as a key player in the reforms and developmental efforts of the defunct state.
“As a successful golfer, he brought his sterling virtues to golfing, leading a nationwide rebirth of the game while holding top positions in relevant golfers’ associations. He is reputed to be behind the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) Golf Club.”
The governor consoled with late Chief Iredia family, praying that God grants them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Purported APC rally: IGP suspends event till further notice, cites ‘overriding internal security interests’
BENIN CITY – The purported rally allegedly being planned by persons claiming to represent the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been suspended till further notice by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, who cited ‘overriding internal security interests.’
The rally was slated to hold at Garrick Memorial College, Ekenwan Road on Friday, December 13, but youths on Thursday besieged major streets in Benin metropolis protesting against the event, which they said put the state’s security framework in jeopardy over concerns linked to cult-related clashes.
In a letter addressed to the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, signed by the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, ACP Idowu Owohunwa, the Police said “in cognizance of the security consequences of the proposed Mega Rally, I am to confirm that the Inspector General of Police has directed the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command to emplace appropriate security framework that is directed at suspending the rally until further notice.
“He has also been directed to summon a meeting of all parties involved in the political development with a view to engaging them towards giving effect to his directives in overriding internal security interests.”
Members of a local vigilante group in Esan west local government area of Edo state have shot dead suspected Fulani herdsmen during an exchange of fire.
The Fulani herdsmen were said to have attacked the vigilante group along Uhiele Egoro Na Oka road at about 7.30 pm on Wednesday while on patrol along the road.
Going by an eye witness report, there was an exchange of gunfire between both sides, which left one of the attackers dead.
According to the eye witness who would not want his name in print, the vigilantes successfully repelled the Fulani herdsmen’s attack.
He said that one of the herdsmen was shot dead in the crossfire.
The vigilantes were said to have reported the incident to the Divisional Police Officer, Ekpoma Division who ordered them to write a statement.
Continuing, he said that after writing a statement at the police station, the vigilantes were told to remain at the station till morning to enable the police to visit the scene of the crime with them.
During a visit to the scene, the morning after the shootout by a team of policemen, a double-barrel gun abandoned by the attackers was recovered by the police.
Speaking on his mobile phone, the Edo State Police spokesman, Mr Chidi Nwanbuzor said that he was busy and could not talk.
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday called on leaders in the public and private sectors to ensure the development of the mining industry in the country.
Sanwo-Olu made the call at the Lagos House, Marina during a courtesy visit paid by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite and the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah.
The governor assured that there would be a collaboration between the Federal and state governments to ensure sustainable development in the mining sector, saying this collaboration was targeted at ensuring growth and diversification of the nation’s economy, with the outcome producing a victory for the people at the end.
According to him: “As a nation, we need to continue to see how development can happen in the mining sector, and it has to be an inclusive one.
“As much as possible, we need to push a lot of transparency there. It also has to be a development that truly reflects our federating state and the minister has assured me that it is an area in which they want to collaborate.
“And we as a State must also trust and see that we are from the same side, just like everyone sees the same sides of a coin so for us at the end of the day is development for our people, the nation, growth and diversification of our economy and it’s really an opportunity to take our state and our nation to a greater height.”
Sanwo-Olu commended the team and assured them that his administration would ensure that there was full cooperation with the Federal Government for the benefit of the general public.
Speaking earlier, Adegbite explained that the Federal Government was using the medium to increase job opportunities in the country.
He lamented the neglect of the sector and stated that attention was gradually shifting to the mining sector.
He added that the team would visit all the states across Nigeria to enlighten them of the new development, with Lagos being the first state to be visited.
“We are here essentially in furtherance of the issues that arose from the NEC meeting that was held the last week. The potentials are in the mining industry to diversify the economy of Nigeria and create more employment,” he said.
Adegbite disclosed that a committee headed by the Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had been set up to iron out the cases of overlapping between the Federal Government and the state governments.
A group, Voice of Reason (VOR), on Thursday in Lagos, decried the invasion of an Abuja high court by men of Directorate of State Service (DSS) in their attempt to re-arrest the publisher of SaharaReporter, Mr Omoyele Sowore, describing the act as executive lawlessness, and “for all intents and purposes an attempted coup against democracy”.
The group said this at a press conference attended by prominent Yoruba professionals, warning that anarchy loomed in the country if the abuse of human rights, assaults on the judiciary and disregard to court orders, as well as desecration of federal charter principle, among others continued to reign over democratic ethics.
They include the group chairman, Chief Olufemi Adegoke; Olukemi Adegoke-Badenoch, former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr Tunji Alapini; Dr Ebun Soniya, Dr Ladi Awosika; Arc. Lanre Towry-Cowkry, Chief Femi Kufo, Mr Bolaji Ogunseye, Barrister Tokunbo Ekunanim, among others.
Speaking at the press conference, Chief Adegoke, decried the DSS operatives invasion of the court, which he said was quite clear and unambiguous despite attempts by the agency to twist the narrative, even as he equally condemned the continued detention of Sowore and one other.
While observing that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot possibly be directing all these excesses of his appointed officials, Adegoke, however, said it would appear that the president’s body language, which his operatives generally watched for indications on how to act, might have informed the actual desecration of the temple of justice by the DSS operatives “a few days ago in their attempt to forcefully re-arrest Omoyele Sowore and one other person, who were facing trial for ‘treasonable felony’ and had been granted bail by a competent court”.
VOR chairman condemned the act in its entirety, urging President Buhari on the need to rise up to the oath of his office and protect the country’s hard-won democracy as he represented the nation’s hopes by virtue of the office he occupies.
He equally called on him to uphold the banner and ensure that he was able to hand over the banner without stain, come 2023.
“He, however, needs to rise up to the oath of his office and protect our hard-won democracy. Today, he represents our hopes for its sustenance by virtue of the office he occupies and we call on him to uphold the banner. He must be able in four years hand over the banner without stain,” Adegoke said.
Speaking further, Chief Adegoke called urgent restructuring of the country’s political, economic and social structures, warning that a delay in doing that would spell doom for the country.
He equally called on President Buhari to take over governance of the country and purge his administration of those he described as “unelected characters” currently ruling the country by proxy.
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has expressed condolence with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) over the death of four staff of Pioneer Newspaper in Akwa Ibom State in a ghastly road accident.
A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yomi Odunuga, described their death in a road accident as devastating, coming so close to the Yuletide season.
“I feel very saddened by this disconcerting news and the burden of grief caused by the untimely passing of four staff of the Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation, publishers of ‘Pioneer Newspaper’.
“I commiserate with affected families, members of the NUJ and the Akwa-Ibom state government over the ghastly accident that took four lives and left others injured on Wednesday evening.
“It is even more saddening to know that they were returning after brotherly felicitations with their colleague whose marriage ceremony took place at Ekpene Ukim, Uruan Local Government Area of the state.
“As I counsel the newly-wedded couple against guilt feeling over this great loss, I commend the Akwa-Ibom State chapter of the NUJ for their sensitivity in suspending other activities earlier scheduled as part of their ongoing Press week.
“I pray for the speedy recovery for injured ones and for divine grace for all members of the Pioneer Newspaper Chapel, the Akwa Ibom state chapter of the NUJ and the national body; please accept my heartfelt condolences,” Senator Omo-Agege stated.
The leadership of House of Representatives on Thursday assured Nigerians of its resolve to pass the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s 2020 budget before embarking on the 2019 Christmas recess.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila gave the assurance during the debate on the general principle of the Appropriation bill.
Breakdown of the budget estimates showed that the sum of N53,876,241,095 is for personnel costs; the sum of N57,070,343,435 is for overhead costs while the balance of N121,928,781,417 is for capital projects for the service of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for the Financial year ending on 31st December 2020.
In his lead debate, Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason explained that the bill seeks to ensure that the federal capital territory functions optimally and the budget cycle returns to the January to December period.
He called on the House Committee on FCT to expedite action on the budget and ensure it is ready for passage by the House not later than Thursday, December 19th 2019 to ensure the January to December timeline is achieved
On her part, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on FCT, Hon. Onuh Blessing stated that the FCT operates a dual budget as it functions as both a State and a Ministry, so the budget is for the smooth operation of the functions of the FCT.
She observed that passing the budget is for the good governance and socio-economic well being of the people of the FCT.
While ruling on the debate, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila expressed the desire of the House to get the FCT budget passed before the House adjourns on Thursday, 19th December 2019 to achieve the January to December timeline.
While urging the House Committee on FCT not to sacrifice the quality of scrutiny that the House is accustomed to, Hon. Gbajabiamila referred to the House Committee on FCT.
The Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) has hosted donors to an appreciation concert as part of its end of year activities.
The event, which held at the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, had in attendance MTN Foundation officials, senior members of the society, students and alumni.
Speaking at the event, Director, MTN Foundation, Dennis Okoro said: “We appreciate everyone who has performed tonight. We thank you all for being here and we are proud of what you have become. The MTN Foundation, as part of its arts and culture cause, will continue to support the music society.”
MTN Foundation had earlier in the year organised series of workshops for the students and alumni of the musical society, tagged Business of the Arts. The workshop focused on equipping the students with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the business of music and the arts.
The Director, Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON), Mrs Banke Ademola thanked MTN Foundation for its continued support.
“The Foundation has been of tremendous help to us. They came in to add value and have proven themselves”.
”MTN Nigeria has continued to show its support for arts and culture in Nigeria through its social investment vehicle, MTN Foundation. In the coming days, the Foundation will be sponsoring a series of arts and culture productions including Fela and the Kalakuta Republic, OMG, EMOTAN and Five Maids of Fadaka.
The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, on Thursday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry that would conduct public hearing to determine those behind last Friday’s invasion of a courtroom by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) to re-arrest the convener of RevolutionNow Protest, Omoyele Sowore.
The umbrella association of SANs in the country said it was troubled about the audacity with which some of the “actors” entered the Courtroom while the Judge was still sitting, saying it, “exposed our hallmark of indiscipline to the whole world in a matter of seconds”.
It maintained that emphatic claim by Sowore’s counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), that it was DSS operatives that invaded the courtroom, and the agency’s denial that its officers were not involved in the saga, called for the constitution of an Independent Commission of Enquiry under the law to investigate the matter.
The body made its position known in a speech it presented at a Valedictory session of the Supreme Court to mark the retirement of Justice Kumai Aka’ahs from the bench.
It said it was opposed to allowing either the Police or the National Assembly to carry out the investigation.
While extolling the virtues of Justice Aka’ahs who bowed out of active judicial service upon clocking the 75 years mandatory retirement age, the body of SANs said: “If his Lordship, was to go back memory lane to tell us whether the Judiciary he is leaving behind today, enjoys the same respect, honour, and dignity as it enjoyed when he first joined the judiciary years ago. I am not in any doubt as to what the answer will be.
“In the days before the Military Coup in 1966, the judiciary was accorded the highest recognition and honour in Nigeria. Judges were well respected and held high in all circles of the Society. Their orders were respected and obeyed by everyone including the Colonial government at all levels.
“There were clear signs of a disciplined society where the rule of law flourished to a great extent, and the rights of citizens were respected and upheld.
“The story today is totally different. The society of today is one where indiscipline has taken firm root such that Judgments and Orders of Court are now treated with disdain.
“Desperate politicians are mounting roadblocks on the path of the Rule of Law. They are doing all within their power to replace the Rule of Law with their own rule for their own selfish interest.
”The effect of an unrestrained quest for political power has all sewed to disrupt the efficiency of the judiciary and damaged its perception.”
“ln spite of all disruptions, His Lordship and his learned brothers continued in the performance of their duties. A country that does not respect its judiciary cannot qualify as a democratic country.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognized the Judiciary as the third arm of government in the country to which the Judicial powers of the nation is vested.
“It has been clearly stated by our predecessors in the profession of law that the Judiciary is undoubtedly the weakest of the three arms of government under the Constitution. It has no arms or weapons and controls no force and does not hold the key to the nation’s treasury.
“Save for the interpretation of the statutes made by the Legislature, the Judiciary plays no part in enactment of Laws. By the Constitutional arrangement of the Country, the only power left to the Judiciary is to decide matters in issue and make appropriate orders, Limited in its power, the judiciary remains the unbreakable pillar of the Nation.
“The Judiciary was in place in colonial times and it continued thereafter.
“When the Military intervened it did not abolish the Judiciary all they tried to do was try to coerce but it failed.
“The Nation prides herself as a democracy. Its Constitution (as Obaseki JSC puts it in The Government of Lagos State vs. Ojukwu) is founded on the Rule of law, the primary meaning of which is that everything must be done according to the law. it means also that the Government should be conducted within the framework of recognized rules and principles which restrict the discretionary powers.
“By our Constitution, therefore, Nigeria opted for and accepted that Nigeria and Nigerians are to be ruled and governed by the laws of the land.
“The events of the past 3 years or so have shown that while Nigeria professes to be governed by the Laws of the land, some of its actions and her officers show otherwise. No one suggests that Judges are above the law or that they ought not to be arrested when there is justifiable cause for it.
“But in doing so, one ought to recognize the fact that the judiciary is an arm of government and its judicial officers are persons deserving of decency and respect in their treatment.
“In the recent past, we have witnessed the arrest of judges in their official residence at night time. Entry into the residence or offices of judges vi et armies is an assault on the Judiciary.
“The incidence has come and gone and no State Officer was questioned or queried for the manner they purported to have carried out their state duty of arresting judges in the manner they did.
“Of immediate concern is the recent incidence of the alleged invasion of a courtroom while the Court was in session for an alleged purpose of effecting the arrest of Sowore. Treasonable felony is a grave crime in the statute book but there is nothing special about it.
“Chief Obafemi Awolowo & Ors. were once charged and tried for it. So, Sowore is not the first to be so accused. He will certainly have his day in Court.
“The evidence so far is that they wore vests with the Inscription, “DSS”. Denial has come from the Department of State Security saying that its officers were not the ones that operated in the Courtroom.
“They submitted that the whole incident was ”orchestrated” by some interest groups. Whoever did so, our country now stands out as an indiscipline Country where such bizarre operation takes place in the Courtroom and in Court that was in session.
“This is the picture of the state of affairs of our country and the Judiciary which Honourable Kumai Bayang Aka’ahs OFR is leaving behind.
“As I Speak, no one has owned up to be responsible for what everyone saw on the television screen. The question is now, how can we curb that kind of behavior in the future? The Nigerian Bar Association has come up with a Statement from the Bar condemning the action.
“As members of the Nigerian Bar Association, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria Association associate itself with the condemnation of the show of shame. It will, however, go one step further to suggest that this matter should not be swept under the expanding carpet of deceit in Nigeria.
“The pertinent question is who was responsible for the action in the courtroom? This is a task that the government must carry out to ascertain the truth. The Nigeria Police is a sister agency to DSS, they cannot, therefore, investigate this matter, so also the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Custom and other Paramilitary forces in the country.
“The National Assembly is not sufficiently equipped to investigate the matter.
“The way out is an Independent Commission of Enquiry under the law. This can be achieved. The Body of Senior Advocates hereby demands that Mr. President considers without delay, the setting up of a Judicial Commission Enquiry to hear publicly and determined the perpetrators of the acts their sponsors and their objectives.
“Unless this is done, Nigerians are unlikely to be convinced by any other explanations that the act was not the work of the DSS.
“It is the result of any such judiciary inquiry that will lead to the re-establishment of discipline in society. The DSS and its officers are not above the laws of the land and the Constitution. In Nigerian law and in the Common Law, the Superior Orders is no defence to criminal conduct. It has never been and this administration must not allow it to be.
The SANs made their demand, barely 24 hours after the AGF, Malami, SAN, disclosed that the federal government has set up a mechanism to investigate the alleged court invasion by the DSS to re-arrest Sowore who was the presidential candidate of the African Action Alliance AAC, in the last general election.
On its part, the NBA, at the valedictory court session, decried what it termed as the desecration of the temple of justice through persistent disobedience and flouting of court orders.
The NBA said it was unfortunate that the judiciary was gradually being turned to “a toothless bulldog”.
It warned that disrobing the court and making a mockery of its toga as the last hope of the common man would enthrone anarchy and promote the practice of self-help.
“That slide into the abyss of anarchy and disorder must be arrested immediately and before it is too late. Our governments must take the lead in that regard. They must be exemplary in obeying and complying with court orders.
“Beyond appealing to the good conscience and sense of responsibility of litigants and Nigerian principalities generally, we urge the courts to demonstrate that they are not toothless in sanctioning persons who flagrantly disobey and flout court orders.
“Such persons, for example, must not have continued audience before the courts that they so flagrantly denigrate.
“They need to be denied the audience before any and all courts during the pendency of their contemptuous conduct. They need to know that disobedience of court orders can be and is costly”, the NBA added in a speech that was presented by its President, Usoro, SAN.
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed through second reading a bill which seeks to give additional powers to National Assembly and State House of Assembly to compel the appearance of the President and State Governors.
The bill seeks to amend the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2017 with the view to prescribe the offence and punishment for contempt of Legislative Houses, provide punishment on the Police or any other Law Enforcement Agent that refuses to arrest any person as directed by a Legislative House, provide exception to the kind of person to be compelled by a Legislative House, such as President, the Executive Governor and the Deputy, Diplomats and their agents, Representatives of International Organizations such as the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, ECOWAS and Commonwealth; and for related matters.
In his lead debate, Hon. Hassan Fulata who explained that the bill seeks to address the lacuna in the existing law, reminded members that even recent efforts by the House to resolve critical national issues have been frustrated by individuals through their non-appearance before Committees of the House.
According to him, the bill seeks to criminalize these non-appearances as is an international practice and ensure the punishment also serves as a deterrent to defaulters.
In his remarks, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila stated that contempt for parliament is not just a Nigerian problem and should be punishable as it frustrates the functions of parliament.
To this end, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Justice.
STAKEHOLDERS in the Nigerian oil and gas sector have called for coordinated security response, efficient governance structure, special courts and stringent sanction to secure oil assets and check crude oil theft in the country.
The call was part of key resolutions reached a Policy Dialogue, convened by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to proffer sustainable solutions to the scourge of oil theft in the country.
The dialogue followed NEITI’s recent policy brief which disclosed that Nigeria lost $41.9bn between 2009 and 2018 to crude oil theft and product losses, including other social and environmental challenges associated with illicit activities of oil thieves.
Speaking at the dialogue, Edo State Governor and Chairman of the National Economic Council’s Committee on Crude Oil Theft, Prevention and Control, Mr Godwin Obaseki said oil industry must end the prevailing incentives that make it possible for crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism to flourish.
Lamenting on the oil thieves impunity, Mr Obaseki said: “When breaches are reported, when products are lost, we just deal with the financial losses to the operators, but what happens to the government? Nobody is ever held accountable; nobody is brought to order.” He affirmed the commitment of the National Economic Council to consider the resolutions at the dialogue as valued contributions in search of solutions to end oil theft in Nigeria.
Also speaking at the event, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, disclosed that in addition to its huge negative security implications on the country, oil theft had caused difficulty in the operating environment, high cost of production and assets divestment by some companies.
Speaking through his Special Adviser on Niger Delta, Felix Bob-Nabena, the minister noted that despite the sophistication of weapons committed to ending the incidences, the government would continue to review current efforts to end oil theft in the country.
In his presentation, NEITI Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio, identified active markets for stolen crude and products; low cost and high incentive for oil theft; weak measurement and surveillance mechanism; weak and inadequate sanction as part of reasons why the illicit business of oil theft lingers in Nigeria.
Mr Adio said: “$41.9 billion that Nigeria lost to oil theft and product losses in ten years (2009-2018) translates to $11.47 million per day, $349 million per month and $4.19 billion per annum.” He called for deployment of appropriate technology, diplomatic and global partnership, and multi-sectoral approach to stem the menace of oil theft in the country.
On his part, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, described the high spate oil theft in the country as a threat to the national economy, given the critical role of oil and gas revenues to the country.
Mr Kyari, who was represented by the NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Roland Ewubare listed other measures to curb the menace to include improved security architecture with single accountability for national critical infrastructure.
“NNPC as a player in the downstream sector has felt the direct brunt of the attacks on our facilities and assets. Between 2001 and 2019, we recorded a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks and breeches on our downstream pipeline network,” he added.
Stakeholders at dialogue also called for the need to strengthen relevant legislations, prompt prosecution of oil thieves; improved oil communities’ stakeholding; commitment to transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector, among others.
Participants at the dialogue include representatives of Office of the Speaker, House of Representative; Office of National Security Adviser; Joint Task Force; Nigeria Security and Civil Defense; Nigeria Police Force; Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit; and Department of Petroleum Resources.
Others are; former Minister of State for Petroleum, Odein Ajumogbobia (SAN); Executive Director, Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS), Mr Buumi Toyobo; Head of Security, OPTS, Mr Shina Bankole; Managing Director, AITEO Energy Pipelines, Nembe Creek Trunk Line, Mr Tunde Akinpelu; media/civil society organisations and development partners.
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, revealed on Thursday that a total of 805 cases that emanated from the 2019 general elections have been successfully disposed off by the appellate court.
Justice Bulkachuwa said the 805 appeals arose from the various petitions filed by aggrieved contestants against the results declared in the general elections.
Speaking at the 2019 annual conference of the Appeal Court Justices held in Abuja, Justice Bulkachuwa showered encomiums on his colleagues on the Appeal Court bench for their hard work and resilience during adjudications of the election cases.
The Appeal Court President at the conference attended by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, admitted that handling of the election cases was so hectic, adding that it took collective efforts of the Justices for the cases to be disposed off to make the country’s democracy stronger.
Reviewing the performance of the court in the outgoing year, the Appeal Court President announced that a total of 4,007 judgments were delivered while 7,911 motions were also disposed off during the period.
She attributed the performance of the court to the reforms carried out on its Rules and the Practice Direction which are now giving a speedy hearing to cases before the court.
As a result of the hardwork of Justices of the court, Justice Bulkachuwa disclosed that four justices of the court have been elevated to the Supreme Court bench.
On the yearly conference, she said it was put together for the justices to brainstorm and sharpen their skills having discovered training as a vital part of man development.
To enable the court successfully clear the backlog of pending cases, Justice Bulkachuwa, announced that four new divisions of the court will soon be opened.
She appealed to the Appeal Court justices participating in the conference to take maximum advantages to be provided, adding that experts from various fields have been carefully selected to present papers on different topics.
The CJN in his brief remarks at the conference urged the appellate court justices to cooperate with each other, be truthful, hard-working and shun egoism in the discharge of their judicial functions.
President Muhammadu Buhari and his Egyptian counterpart Abdelfattah el-Sisi on Thursday’s pledged to collaborate to eradicate the menace of terrorism in parts of Africa.
According to a statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media &Publicity), they gave the commitment during a meeting on the sidelines of the “Aswan Forum on Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa” taking place in Egypt.
Speaking at the event, President Buhari said that countries of the West African sub-region were already in close collaboration towards combatting terrorism by setting up a multinational task force. He said since terrorism was a worldwide phenomenon, more collaborative efforts were needed to rein in the menace.
According to him: “Together with other West African leaders, we are working hard to ensure that terrorism is eradicated. It is also important that the conflicts in North of Africa particularly in Libya do not frustrate our efforts. We seek your cooperation in this regard.”
President el-Sisi conveyed his appreciation to his Nigerian counterpart for honouring his invitation to participate in the gathering and for his contributions. He also praised the Nigerian President for his leadership qualities and pledged to deepen cooperation and partnership with Nigeria in all areas of common interest.
The Egyptian leader briefed President Buhari on efforts of his government on counter-terrorism, particularly on the Sinai and the borders with Libya. He reiterated his willingness to synergize with the Nigerian government on all fronts to conquer the “evil of terrorism.”
The Egyptian President also invited President Buhari to the opening of the new Capital and the Grand International Museum in October 2020.
Kano state deputy governor, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, has said that the present administration headed by Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s resolves to ending drug abuse in the state has recorded fruitful results in the state.
Dr Gawuna made this known on Thursday at the commencement of a 3-day retreat for Kano State Executive Council Members, Permanent Secretaries and selected top Government functionaries held in Kaduna State.
He revealed that the synergy, diligence and evolvement of an all-inclusive Government were part of the tools used by Ganduje’s administration in actualizing its policies and programmes.
Gawuna maintained that the state agenda for next level was clinically selected to make a significant impact on the lives of the good people of Kano State, stressing that the administration had already made courageous efforts to harness the latent resources and synchronize all available opportunities to move the state forward.
“In this inaugural pronouncement, His Excellency stated highlights with Education were strong declaration was made on the administration’s plan to make basic education sector ‘free and compulsory’ to all citizens of the State ”
On the Health Sector, Gawuna stated that the administration of Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje made it part of its vantage points to ensuring good, workable and state of the art healthcare facilities which resulted to the approval for the establishment of the Cancer Treatment Centre in the state.
According to him, the Governor, equally pronounced to consolidate on the existing 5-year development plan as well as the passage of the water and sanitation law, adding that plan to overhaul the state water board has reached an advanced stage with the granting of a facility worth 64.5 million Euros from French Development Agency to the state.
“From the D-Day of this second term, we have various glad tidings pertaining to Agriculture. Little among them, were the APPEALS Programmes, Islamic Development Bank, Postoral Development Programme and N1.89b Cotton intervention programme to boost the production and value chain of the commodity “.
Regarding the issue of security and the anti-corruption crusade of the governor, Gawuna said Kano becomes one of the most peaceful states in the country due to the effort made in collaborating with all security agencies to etch out strategic plans to tackle social vices in the state.
“I cannot end this overview without mentioning the pledges made by His Excellency to fight Corruption in all ramifications. You are aware of the administration’s effort of bolstering the activities of the state anti-corruption agency with employment and training of 145 new Staff ” he disclosed.
While reviewing the Governor’s pronouncement on the issue of war against drug abuse, the deputy governor pointed that the administration had recorded significant improvement in that direction, stressing that “a recent report from relevant agencies indicated that the gruesome ranking of Kano as number one state with prevalent drug abuse has come to an end”
Other areas highlighted by the deputy include the issue of physically challenged people and integrated rural development in which the state had adopted the law which guarantees the fundamental human rights of people living with disabilities.
“You are all living witnesses of the effort made by Ganduje’s administration in effectuating a holistic rural development programme. I am certain our newly created first-class Emirates will serve as a springboard for overwhelming development in the State ”
The retreat was organised by the Council Affairs Directorate, the office of the Secretary to the State Government in collaboration with DFID-PERL and declared opened by the Kano State Governor Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has warned motorists not to drive against traffic during the Yuletide on the excuse of being in a hurry.
Mr Taofeek Iyanda, the Sagamu Unit Commander of the FRSC, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.
Iyanda, who said the warning became necessary to prevent loss of lives and property, added that FRSC officials would be on the ground to control vehicular movement.
“The FRSC implores motorists not to be in a hurry and drive against traffic because of diversion at sites where construction works are ongoing.
“They should be patient as FRSC personnel will be on the ground to control traffic to reduce pains and discomfort that may be encountered during this period,’’ he said.
Iyanda also urged them to adhere to speed limit and cooperate with the FRSC and other sister agencies that would be on the roads to control traffic.
Also speaking, Mr Akeem Ganiyu, the Sango-Ota Unit Commander of FRSC, urged motorists to consider other road users in order to avoid accidents during the Yuletide.
Ganiyu further advised them to plan their journey ahead, noting that safety on the roads “is the state of mind, while the accident is caused by the absence of mind.”
“Motorists should shun any nefarious acts that could lead to unnecessary loss of lives and desist from excessive speeding because it is only the living that can celebrate the festivities,’’ he added.
NAN recalls that Mr Clement Oladele, the Ogun Sector Commander of FRSC, had on Tuesday announced that the corps would deploy 1,700 personnel across the state from December 19 to January 2020 for special patrol.
Oladele said that this was to check the excesses of motorists and ensure the free flow of traffic before, during and after the Christmas celebration.
A group, Civil Society Groups for Peace, Sustainable Security and National Development has warned the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission in Nigeria to refrain from commenting on the trial of Convener of #Revolution Now protests and publisher of Sahara Reporters and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.
The duo is facing trial for alleged conspiracy to commit treason, money laundering, and insulting the President.
The accused were granted bail last Thursday, after spending 123 days in the detention facility of the Department of State Services but Sowore was rearrested within the premises of the Abuja Federal High Court shortly after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu presiding over his trial had adjourned the case till next February.
But in a press statement read to newsmen by Convener of the group, Comrade Adamu Matazu, who led his group in protest to the national assembly, they claimed that Sowore was a threat to national security.
Despite the court bail granted the accused, the group further claimed that indefinite suspension of Omoyele Sowore has since been settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Asari Dokubo.
The group cautioned Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission to stop what it called ”needless meddlesomeness in our national security affairs.”
The statement read in part:” As a collection of patriots we are duty-bound to take a stand on issues that affects our national security and development, and with potentials to cause full pledge conflagration. We have had bitter experience of civil war which consumes over 2 millions of our compatriots, therefore we can’t afford to travel the same road again.
”In a landmark judgement of the supreme court in a case of Asari Dokubo (Appellant) Vs Federal Republic of Nigeria (Respondents) S. C. 208/2006, the supreme court ruled as follows “…where National Security is threatened or there is the real likelihood of it being threatened Human rights or individuals rights of those responsible take second place. Human rights or individual rights must be suspended until the National security can be protected or well taken care of.”
”Against this backdrop, we as the conscience of democracy, human right and undisputable champion of human rights wishes to state the following position.
That there is nothing repressive or suppressive about the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari rather it is a new era of transparency, respect for rule of law and security.
”That where national security is threatened we must join hand with our security agencies in neutralizing imminent threats to our collective wellbeing, safety and security.
”That we are satisfied with the present leadership of the Department of State Service (DSS) led by a seasoned intelligent officer Mr Yusuf Magaji Bichi under whose leadership has brought the needed reforms in the service.
”That we admonish the National Human right Commission to as a matter factuality stop meddling into national security issues in the name of protecting human rights defenders.
”That we salute the DSS and other security organizations in containing all national threats and for safeguarding our democracy and for their tolerance to genuine and objective criticism.
”That we wish to sound a note of warning to Amnesty international Nigeria to stop it needless meddlesomeness in our national security affairs or risk being declared persona non grata by the Nigerian Civil Society Community.
”That we call on both chambers of the National Assembly (Senate and the House of Representatives) to pass a vote of confidence as a resolution of the national assembly on our security agencies particularly the DSS for the daily sacrifices they are making in keeping our country safe and secured.
”That we are using this medium to pass a vote of confidence on Muhammad Buhari led administration for its successes in the war against terrorists, economic saboteurs, bandits and other security threats across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
”That we call on our eminent members of the bar and bench to always put the national interest over and above any other considerations, and never to succumb to blackmail and propaganda churned out by the enemies of this nation.
That we call on the national assembly to grant more powers to the security agencies through new bills and constitutional amendments to curtailed all imagine threats to national security.
That we can on our compatriots to always be mindful of their criticisms when national security is a stake but instead support our gallant men and women in uniforms.
That we call on opposition elements to seek governance through the ballot not orchestrated violence to overthrow a democratically enthroned government. ”
An Adamawa High Court sitting in Yola, presided over by Justice Nathan Musa, on Thursday, has asked the Inspector General of the Federation in conjunction with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to produce the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke.
This is to enable her face prosecution over the N362 million she sent to two INEC staff in order to compromise the 2015 presidential election in Adamawa State.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had brought the case against Ibrahim Mohammed Umar and Sahabo Iya Hamman, both staff of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as the former Minister of Petroleum for conspiring to defraud the federal government of with the intent to compromise the 2015 general election.
Justice Musa noted that the court delivered the verdict after due diligence which established a conspiracy between the three.
As such, he convicted and sentenced the two INEC staff to seven years each on the three count charges brought against them by EFCC.
He added that since they are first term offenders, the sentence will run concurrently.
“The offence has a mandatory provision. I’m constraints by the law. They shall be sentenced to 7 years imprisonment without option of fine.
“However, in view of plea to temper justice with mercy, I will allow the sentence to run concurrently,” he said.