The contractor handling the N9.2billion worth of clean cooking stove and wonder bags awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, has dragged the Federal Government to court.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Fatima Mede, disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday shortly after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ministry’s activities inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mede said the contractor approached the court to order the government not to terminate the contract following the emergence of the present administration.
The Jonathan-led Federal Executive Council had on November 26, 2014 approved N9.2billion inclusive of Value Added Tax for the procurement of 750,000 units of clean cook stove and 18,000 wonder bags.
The contract was awarded in favour of Messrs Integra Renewable Energy Services Limited.
There have been calls on the present administration to terminate the contract.
Confirming the legal action, Mede, said the ministry had briefed the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation on the development.
She said the government would appear before the court to argue its case, but however, did not say if there were plans to terminate the contract.
She said, “The matter is in court right now, so, there is a limit to how I can talk about the issue of cooking stove.
“The contractor took government to court asking the court to grant an injunction for government not to terminate the contract.
“We will go there and argue our case, the government will go, we have briefed the Attorney-General’s office. We will present our case on the issue that led to the contractor taking us to court, it will be explained and the court will decide,” she said.
Mede said during her team’s meeting with Buhari, the President raised concerns over environmental degradation in the country.
She said the President was aware that the sustainability of the country would depend on how well the environment was managed.
She added that the rate of desertification and deforestation in the country is alarming.
She said over 43% Nigerians were affected by the effect of desertification.
The Permanent Secretary also pointed to the conflict that comes up between the herdsmen and farmers because of forced migration.
She said the President had directed that to reduce the rate at which wood was being cut down as fuel for cooking, the ministry should consider promoting the use of cooking gas especially in the cities.
She said, “For instance, if everybody in Abuja is using LPG to cook, the rate at which people cut down wood to sell will be reduced.
“The President is also concerned about the fact that Lake Chad is receding from the 33,000square kilometres about two decades ago to just 300 square kilometres which has affected the farmers, fishermen and the livelihood of the people around that area.
“So, he has directed that we should go and look at the report that was submitted in 1920 about how to prevent Lake Chad from drying up, so that the communities around, even border communities, including the countries benefiting from activities of fishermen and livelihood, based on Lake Chad are not affected.
“So, he has directed that we should bring up that report immediately and see how we can promote the use of LPG to reduce the rate at which trees are being cut down.
“He was also concerned about the level of environmental management, solid waste, erosion control, pollution, air quality, climate change, the general environmental situation in the country.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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