ANGRY IJAW YOUTHS BARRICADE EAST WEST ROAD OVER APPOINTMENT OF NDDC SOLE ADMINISTRATOR.  4.7/5 (3)

Hundreds of travelers and other road users were on Monday morning stranded along the East-West road for several hours following the protest by angry Ijaw youths over the appointment Of Okon-Awka as NDDC Sole Administrator, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Senator Godswill AkpabioThe protesting youths, who arrived at the Mbiama axis of the East-West road at about 6.30am in protest against the appointment of Effiong Okon-Akwa, as the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, blocked the two lanes of the road, and were seen chanting war songs.

Senator Godswill Akpabio
Senator Godswill Akpabio

They also warned the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over alleged interference with issues concerning the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The aggrieved youths were with placards, inscribed with “Akpabio focus on your Ministry and leave NDDC alone, Ijaw youths demand a substantive board for NDDC, Say no to the appointment of an administrator for NDDC”.

Recall that the appointment of Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa, which was announced last week, had provoked anger and controversies among stakeholders and youths from the region, who demanded the setting up of a substantive management board for the region.

Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa was the Ag. Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Commission, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria before his appointment.

The protest on Monday, led by Ebilade Ekerefe, Spokesman of IYC, the Chairman of the Central Zone of IYC,

Comr. Ebilade Ekerefe, Spokesman of IYC

Comrade Inodu Clever and Treasurer of IYC, Timilaemi Ebifoubo, accused the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio of pocketing the region and playing politics with NDDC, thereby undermining the region’s development for selfish gains.

 

Comrade Ebilade said, “Niger Delta is not your personal estate; you cannot pocket a region. We say no to the appointment of a sole administrator. Sole administrator is alien to NDDC act”.

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IYC AT 22, ANY VISIBLE RECORDED ACHIEVMENT? (1998-2020).  4/5 (2)

HAPPY 22ND BIRTH ANNIVERSARY TO THE IJAW YOUTH COUNCIL. (1998-2020).

NOTE: IJAW PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ROBBED OF THEIR RIGHT TO OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF THEIR LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES.

The 11th day of this month marks exactly 22 years of the formation of the most revered Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) when Ijaw people gathered at Kaiama town to form the Youth body of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) on the 11th December 1998.

IYC attributed the political crisis in Nigeria to the struggle for the control of oil mineral resources, while asserting that the degradation of the environment of Ijawland by transnational oil companies and the Nigerian State arise mainly because Ijaw people have been robbed of their natural rights to ownership and control of their land and resources.

The council was formed in the town of Kaiama after over 5,000 Ijaw people representing over 40 Ijaw clans, chose to articulate their aspirations for the Ijaw people, and to demand an end to 40 years of environmental damage, oppression, marginalization, injustice, and underdevelopment in the region.

Today that child has grown to be a real man of 22 Years fast spent. In as much as the struggle experienced setbacks, there are achievements also recorded.

It has given a platform for leadership training where so many are well cooked to Govern the state and even be President of this country.

So far, we have our own ministry in the country, we were also given Amnesty which enabled some Youths pursued and obtained academic degrees, and opportunities to travel out to learn vocational skills. Of course, even if is little, there is a 13% derivation from the federation account. We are still pushing forward as a people even though our achievements are slim and by God’s grace, we shall squarely achieve our aims and objectives of its formation.

NOTE: Do not leave the task for only Executive Councils in the IYC, as Ijaw Youth, it is also your responsibility to bring to the table reasonable ideas that will better our region.

Hon. Comr Paul Ebikeseiye.

Comr. Daniel Runo For Goldam

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How Lai Mohammed Spent N19 On International Trip During Lockdown  5/5 (1)

The Senate on Tuesday drilled the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for some hours for spending N19 million on international travel and N23 million on local travel before the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and subsequent lockdown.

The Senator Danladi Sankara, All Progressives Congress, APC, Jigawa North West led Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation was baffled when the Minister at 2021 Budget defence disclosed the amount spent by the ministry as contained in its 2020 budget.

After the minister’s presentation, the Senate Committee expressed surprise how the ministry could spend such amount particularly when the country was on a lockdown due to the global pandemic.

Recall that the first phase of lockdown in Nigeria began on the 30th of March.

Trouble started when the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Francis Onyewuchi, PDP, Imo East questioned the Minister to explain how such sums of money could be expended on travel against the backdrop that the COVID- 19 did not only affect Nigeria, but the entire world.

Senator Onyewuchi asked Lai Mohammed thus, “Let me take you on this your 2020 overhead. You have here on Local travels and transport appropriated is N30 million you expended N23 million on local transport you received N96 million as appropriated as released you expended N90 million.

“On International travels and transport, you had N43 million, you expended N19 million. So I am wondering this period of lockdown where nobody was able to go to any country during the 2020 appropriation how were you able to embark on international travels and you expended N19 million? So we need to look at that critically and you also tell us here in parliament how you were able to do that?

“Most part of the year we had travel restrictions. I am sure you will remember you did a lot of enlightenment programmes on this and I am sure you will remember that most of us were prevented from moving into other states; so I don’t know how you also had the luxury of spending the entire amount that was appropriated on those travels so those are the information we need to get from your expenditure.”

In his response, the Information Minister who noted that the amount was spent when they travelled for international summits alongside an advocacy done in the United Kingdom before March, said, “You will notice that N43m was budgeted but less than 40% was spent precisely because of the COVID-19 and before then remember that we had travelled to attend several international summits starting UNWTO conference, UNESCO in Spain, in the UK. We have done advocacy in the UK at the same time.

“All before the Lockdown, I think our last trip was actually in Addis Ababa when we accompanied the President to the AU that was about March before the lockdown, the lockdown came at the end of March. So whatever we spent here was before the lockdown.”

Consequently, the Committee asked the Information Minister to forward to it, details of its local and international travels in the 2020 budget, just as it also questioned the Ministry for huge increase in its proposed 2021 budget.

In the Ministry’s 2020 budget, N4 billion was proposed, but N2.9 billion was appropriated while in 2021, N400 billion has been proposed.

In his explanation, Mohammed said that the increment was due to the reviewed national minimum wage.

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Despite Breach Of National Pension Commission Act, Senate Committee Clears Aisha Umar Nomination As Pencom DGNo ratings yet.

The Senate Committee has confirmed the nomination of Ms Aisha Umar as Director-General of National Pension Commission, GoldamBlog gathered.

This is despite the nomination being in clear violation of the National Pension Commission Act and objection from different quarters.

President Muhammadu Buhari had submitted Umar’s name to the Senate for confirmation as PENCOM DG to replace former DG, Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu.

According to Section 20(1) and section 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014, states that in the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geopolitical zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.

However, disregarding the guideline of the commission, President Buhari nominated Umar, who is from the Northwestern part of the country to replace Anohu-Amazu, who is from the Southeast.

When submitted, some senators raised objection to the nomination but the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, shrugged-off the objections and directed senators not pleased with the nomination to submit their petitions to the Senate committee.

It has now been gathered that the Senate committee has cleared Umar for approval by the Senate.

It was also discovered that the committee members were financially induced by wealthy and influential individuals seeking to control activities at the PENCOM.

Sources, who spoke with GoldamBlog, predicted that the Senate might be having a rowdy session as the Southern caucus is not pleased with the nomination of Umar.

“The Senate is likely to go up in another session whenever the committee charged with screening of the presidential nominee for the position of PENCOM Director-General was earlier today compromised by the nominee and her backers.

“The senators from the South are saying somebody from the North should not have replaced the former DG who is from the South-East,” a source said.

Another senator claimed that members of the Senate committee received $20,000 each to clear Umar for the position of the substantive DG of PENCOM.

“At the committee screening, Aisha Umar got a positive response from the members of the committee without objections by senators raised or considered.

“Members were induced with $20,000 apiece to clear Aisha for the position.

“Aisha is not only the candidate of the executive, as strongly represented by Secretary to Government of Federation, but also that of the Northern clique headed by the Senate President.

“Some of the senators are bracing up for a major showdown with the senate President during the presentation of the committee reports of the screening,” the source privy to the meeting of the Senate committee disclosed to GoldamBlog.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, submitted the names of six nominees to the Senate for confirmation as Chairman, Director General and National Executive Commissioners of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

In the letter, Despite Breach Of National Pension Commission Act, Senate Committee Clears Aisha Umar Nomination As Pencom DG, which was read on the floor of the upper chamber by Lawan, the President nominated Oyindasola Oni as Chairman and Aisha Umar as the Director-General.

Others nominated as Executive Commissioners are Hannatu Musa (North-West), Clement Akintola (South-West), Ayim Nyerere (South-East) and Charles Emukowhale (South-South).

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MRA Accuses Customs Of Confirming Reports Of Pervasive CorruptionNo ratings yet.

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has inducted the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) into its enhanced Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame for its non-compliance with its FOI Act obligations, saying by its refusal to be transparent, it is unwittingly lending credence to widespread public perception of pervasive corruption in the agency.

In a statement issued by Ayode Longe, Programmes Director at MRA, the organization accused the Customs Service of ignoring all its obligations under the FOI Act by failing to proactively publish the range of information that it is required to disclose by the Law; refusing to designate an FOI Desk Officer; not providing the appropriate training for officials of the institution on the public’s right of access to information and for the effective implementation of the Act; and consistently neglecting to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation its annual FOI implementation reports for the past eight years, all of which are mandatory requirements of the Law.

 

Longe said, “Such level of impunity should not be tolerated in any decent society and it amazes us that a Government that expects ordinary citizens to obey the Law allows an agency of the Government to get away with such blatant disregard for a Law validly made by the same Government in accordance with the Constitution, thereby presenting an imagine of a lawless society and a Government that condones such lawlessness.”

According to him, “An approach to governance in which Government officials and agencies disobey the Law, sets a bad example for ordinary citizens, robs the Government of legitimacy as well as the moral authority to enforce any Law against citizens. It is more disheartening when the Law in question is one aimed at fostering transparency and accountability in governance and the Government involved is one that claims to be championing a war against corruption, particularly in the public sector.”

Longe noted that for eight consecutive years, the Nigeria Customs refused to publish the categories of information that the FOI Act requires it and all other public institutions to proactively publish under Section 2(3) and (4) of the Act, adding that “in the circumstances, it is doubtful if the Customs Service keeps records of all its operations and businesses or bothers to maintain its records in a manner that will facilitate public access to such records and information, as required by the FOI Act.”

He also pointed out that the Service has apparently not designated an FOI Desk Officer, as the name and contact details of such an FOI Desk Officer are not available on the website of the Nigeria Customs and have not been published anywhere else, in breach of Section 2(3)(f) of the FOI Act. He noted that the name and contact details of the institution’s FOI Desk Officer are also missing from the Database of Contact Details of FOI Desk Officers of Public Institutions in Nigeria published by the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The MRA Programmes’ Officer said although Section 2(1) and (2) of FOI Act places an obligation on all public institutions to ensure that they record and keep information about all their activities, operations and businesses; that they organize and maintain all the information in their custody in a manner that facilitates public access to such information, that the NCS is obviously not doing this, which would appear to be part of its deliberate efforts to cover up unwholesome dealings going on in the institution.

He accused the institution of not providing the appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right to access to information or records held by it and for the effective implementation of the FOI Act, in accordance with Section 13 of the Act, as there is no evidence or indication that it has ever done so over the last years since the coming into force of the Act.

Longe lamented that “the level of contempt that the Nigeria Customs has for the FOI Act is further made evident by the fact that in all the eight years that the Act has been in operation, the institution has not submitted a single annual FOI implementation report to the Attorney General of the Federation, in breach of Section 29 of the Act.”

He said in the light of the institution’s failure to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation its data on the number of FOI requests that it has received and granted or denied annually since the Act was passed into law, it is not possible to assess the level of responsiveness by the Customs Service to FOI requests from members of the public.

Noting that the previous induction of Nigeria Customs into the FOI Hall of Shame about two years ago had not resulted in any improvement in the implementation of the FOI Act by the institution, which has continued to carry on its business as usual in total disregard for the Act, Longe announced that MRA would be taking the legal route to compel the Service to comply with its obligations under the Act.

 

The Nigeria Custom is the second public institution to be inducted into the revamped FOI Hall of Shame after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which the organization named in August as probably the most opaque and unaccountable public institution in the country. MRA said it had taken steps to file legal proceedings against the NNPC for its persistent non-compliance with the FOI Act.

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Anti Corruption – Senate Passes Federal Audit Service Commission BillNo ratings yet.

The Senate has passed a bill for the establishment of the Federal Audit Service Commission in line with the current administration’s anti- corruption fight.
The bill was read the third time and passed at plenary presided over by President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki. The Senate mandated its leadership to engage the executive with a view to getting Buhari to sign the bill before the end of the eighth National Assembly.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Matthew Urhoghide, while presenting his report, explained that the commission would have a chairman and six commissioners from the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He also said the commission would have a representative of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation who would not be below the rank of a director. He said it would also have two retired civil servants, who had reached the rank of a director on grade level 17 and two persons appointed to represent the two professional accounting bodies in Nigeria.
Urhoghide said , “This bill is very important to the nation as passing it into law will form the bedrock for fighting corruption, which is one of the cardinal objectives of Mr President ’s administration .
“It will empower the Office of the Auditor -General of the Federation, who has the constitutional mandate of auditing all accounts of the federation to nip corruption in the bud, ensure transparency in government transactions.
“The bill will address acute manpower shortage existing in the Office of the Auditor – General of the Federation and bring it in tandem with supreme audit institutions and international best practices.
“The bill is not new to this eighth Senate. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on April 2016 and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.
“The Senate passed the bill on Thursday, March 1, 2018. Due to differences in the version passed by the two chambers, conference commitee was set up to reconcile areas of differences. The bill was harmonised and passed by both chambers. The harmonised copy was forwarded to Mr President, for his assent on January 8 , 2019.
“It is over four months that the bill was sent to Mr President for assent but Mr President neither assented nor declined assent to the bill .
“That since Mr President did not communicate to the National Assembly as to why he withheld his assent to the bill, the most viable option for the National Assembly in view of the constraint of time, is to liaise with Mr President to ensure that he assents to the bill before the end of the Eighth Assembly.”
Meanwhile, the Senate also passed 10 other bills including the one that changed the name of Nigeria Football Association to Nigeria Football Federation.
The rest are National Assembly Budget and Research Office ( Est , etc) Bill 2019 ; Federal Audit Service Bill 2019; Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria Bill 2019 ; Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners ( Est, etc) Bill 2019 and Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill 2019, among others.
Source – Punch

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Follow The Money, Of CODE Wins 2019 #SDGActionAwardNo ratings yet.

Follow The Money, an initiative of Connected Development that tracks national governments’ and foreign assistance spending to enable citizens hold governments accountable to their commitments, has won the United Nations 2019 Sustainable Development Action Awards.

Follow The Money won the Mobilizer award, making Nigeria emerge winner out of 143 countries with over 2000 applications.

Follow The Money had earlier been announced by the SDG Action Award as one of the 3 initiatives in the finalist category of Mobilisers. Other categories are Storytellers, Campaigners, Connectors, Visualizers, Includers and Creatives. The finalists in each category will present their achievements at the UN SDG Global Festival of Action.

Announcing the victory via his twitter account, Chief Executive of Connected Development, Hamzat Lawal, said “follow the money, from Nigeria to the world. Our #SDGAwards is dedicated to all the rural grassroots communities across Africa and my very dedicated Team, partners and supporters from around the world #SDGglobalFest We can achieve #SDGs with you.”

Every year, the UN SDG Action Campaign opens the SDG Action Awards to call for the top individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networks, private sector leaders who are advancing the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way.

Follow The Money which started in Nigeria over seven years ago, has chapters in Kenya, The Gambia, Cameroon and Liberia. As the largest social mobilization & accountability movement in Africa, it has advocated, visualized and tracked USD 10 million meant for social development across African grassroots communities, impacting directly over 2,000,000 rural lives.

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Breaking – NJC Issues Fresh Query To OnnonghenNo ratings yet.

The National Judicial Council, NJC has issued a fresh query to the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The query was sequel to the petition sent to the NJC by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The council took the decision after its meeting in Abuja and asked Onnoghen to respond to the query within seven working days.

However, the council according to a statement issued by its Director of Information, Soji Oye will reconvene on Wednesday.

 

Details later…

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Walter Onnoghen: A Peculiar Mess!No ratings yet.

By Rotimi Fafowora
Nigerians were undoubtedly created during the Tower of Babel’s confusion. If not, nothing describes Nigerians interpretation over any issue of national importance to suit their whims and caprices.The suspension of the CJN has generated so much great furore that many comments have been adduced for and against by no less than our own legal emeritus. While most arguments centre around the propriety or otherwise of the President whether he has the constitutional power to carry out such act, every arguments revolves around S 292 (1)a (i) & b 1999 CFRN as amended which is totally irrelevant and  inapplicable because it is silent about suspension not removal. Suffice to say in the case of Nganjiwa v FRN and all other legalese coined, the fact still remains that most often than not law is an ass depending on the interpretation.
However, this is not the first time in history that a Chief Justice will be asked to vacate office based on abuse of office. In 2007, the Chief Justice of Pakistan was suspended, although he was later recalled.The Chief Justice of Nepal in 2018 was suspended for faking his date of birth in order to stay in office past his mandatory retirement age. Most importantly, the allegations against our own CJN were mere allegations and all he needs to do is for him to prove his innocence. So based on the information at the disposal of the federal government, they threw caution to the wind though and acted swiftly.The government knew that should they try to go through constitutional means, they might not achieve their aims. As the Chairman of National Judicial Council (NJC), he had postponed the sitting of NJC indefinitely. Please who would summon the meeting? There were injunctions that emanated like the speed of Usain Bolt been reeled out from these courts restraining the Federal government from taking any further actions. Cases were filed in the morning, the same day it was assigned to a judge and also the same day rulings were delivered.The South South Governors met and ordered the man not to appear before any court, as if the CJN is the CJN of South South. Chief Edwin Clark a lawyer, came on air to threaten fire & brimstone. Now that the man has been suspended (not removed), let’s see the position they are going to take. Most of the lawyers coming on air proferring copiously different laws, most of them are already warming up because they know it is time for their bank account to shoot up.
By and large, the Senate that will be sitting on Tuesday may sit in futility. In the first place ,where will they get the two third to over turn the decision? If there are to be any swift political solution to this logjam, it was supposed to have come from the CJN’s immediate constituency. Imagine when they asked the most senior judge to take over in whatever capacity and he refused. It goes on to the next in rank and so on and so forth.The two hundred and fifty members of various Tribunals that were sworn in had refused to turn up in solidarity with the suspended (not removed) CJN.There would have been total lock down in the Judiciary.But what did we get instead, an acting CJN who inwardly has been his prayer to his Allah for a day like this to come. Sooner than later all the Supreme Court Justices that were not in attendance will pledge their unalloyed loyalty to him in no distant future, such is life.
On a final note, whoever that is going to lighten someone’s heavy load, must have first of all carry his own load to a reasonable degree. America that is making comments, what is the relationship of President Trump with the judiciary in the US? He was so miffed that he tagged them ‘Obama judges’. This case in my humble submission is Onnoghen’s case, let him find another solution instead of grandstanding and stonewalling. Like Yorubas will say, “whoever puts you into trouble, will not carry the burden with you when such occasions demand, and even if they follow you to a reasonable distance, they will deny you just like Peter denied Jesus.”

 

Rotimi Fafowora is a Student at the Nigerian Law School and he can be reached on [email protected]

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Reactions Followed CJN’s Suspension, PMB Defends ActionNo ratings yet.

Nigerians have continued to condemn the suspension of the of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday and his immediate replacement by Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as acting CJN.

Reactions came from senior lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria and professors of law who condemned the President’s action, describing it as unconstitutional, null and void. Buhari stated that he carried out the suspension on the orders of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which was given on January 23rd.

Buhari defended his action, saying, “A short while ago, I was served with an Order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal issued on Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, directing the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen, from office pending final determination of the cases against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and several other fora relating to his alleged breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

“Although the allegations in the petition are grievous enough in themselves, the security agencies have since then traced other suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the CJN’s personal accounts, all undeclared or improperly declared as required by law.”

He added, “Perhaps more worrisome is the Chief Justice of Nigeria’s own written admission to the charges that he indeed failed to follow the spirit and letter of the law in declaring his assets, citing mistake’’ and forgetfulness’’ which are totally unknown to our laws as defences in the circumstances of his case.” The President argued that

Onnoghen ought to have resigned before now, having admitted mistakes.
But a SAN, Yusuf Ali, stated that the National Judicial Council remained the body empowered by the Constitution to suspend the CJN. He said, “The Constitution is clear on who can remove the CJN and in what circumstance. No person, individually, can remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria, no matter how highly placed. The law is clear on how the CJN can be removed and even how he can be suspended. It is the NJC that can suspend a serving judge or justice.”

SAN and professor of law, Yemi Akinseye-George, described the CJN’s suspension as a coup against democracy. Akinseye-George said, “If it is true, I think it is a misguided action; it’s unconstitutional and it is tantamount to a coup against the Nigerian people and the Nigerian constitution. The President must quickly and immediately reverse himself; he has no power to do it.

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