The Service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser to President Muhammad Buhari will, today, in a closed session face the Senate over the continued failure to rescue the abducted 218 school girls in Chibok two years ago by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Senate has also cleared the air over the rumour making rounds that the upper chamber has suspended the bill seeking to establish grazing reserves across the country, saying that no such national grazing bill has ever been received by the 8th Senate.
In a statement issued by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Babajide Omoworare to that effect, the Senate said the Bill reportedly titled, “A National Grazing Reserves Establishment and Development Commission Bill” was only introduced in the 7th Senate by Sen. Zaynab Kure, who represented Niger Central.
The statement clarified that the bill, sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure in the 7th Senate, was not passed and expired with the tenure of the 7th Senate, and thus can only be considered upon fresh introduction or presentation.
His words: “Several Distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been inundated with the request by the members of the public concerning the pendency of the National Grazing Bill in the Senate.
“This is to clarify that no such Bill has been presented by the executive arm of government and none has so far been filed by any senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 8th Senate”.
The Bill has now expired by the operations of law on the 6th June 2015 in furtherance of Section 64(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
At plenary, yesterday, as announced by the Deputy Senate President Senator Ike Ekwerremmadu, who presided over the session due to the Senate President’s on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) , the Service Chiefs and NSA will appear before the Senate by 1pm, in a closed session.
They are to brief the Senators on the efforts and successes recorded by the military in the tracking, and rescue of the Chibok girls, who have remained in the custody of the Boko Haram insurgents for over two years now.
It would be recalled that the Senate resolved to summon the Service Chiefs following debates on a motion on the continued abduction of the 218 Chibok Girls moved by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) and three others on the continued abduction of the Chibok girls.
The Senate expects full explanations from the service chiefs on the reasons and challenges that had kept the military from locating and rescuing the girls.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
Mother Of Kidnapped Bethel Baptist School Student Begs For Help
A 85-year-old mother of one of the 78 Bethel Baptist School students still in kidnappers’ den, Mrs Esther Joseph, has called on relevant authorities, including international bodies, to urgently intervene in the release of the students.
She expressed faith in God to intervene in the students’ case.
Looking weak and dejected, Mrs Joseph, who said she sold all her properties and paid ransom for the release of her daughter, said she was disappointed as the kidnappers made a fresh demand.
It would be recalled that kidnappers had reached out to parents last week, making a fresh demand of N100million after they had paid N68million.
The kidnappers released 28 students two weeks ago and promised to release the rest in batches.
However, they have made a fresh demand for ransom.
Mrs. Joseph said she spoke with her daughter when the kidnappers made contact.
“From the way she was responding to me, I knew my daughter was in pain. Her speech was distorted as she was crying throughout the period we spoke on the phone,” she said.
“As a widow, I can’t even afford to feed myself and other siblings as I have sold everything I had. I am trusting God that one day, my daughter will be freed,” she added tearfully.
Gunmen had on July 5 abducted 121 pupils during an attack on the school along the Kaduna-Kachia highway, Damishi, in the Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
Made-In-Nigeria Foods: NAFDAC Raises Alarm Over Rejection By US, EU
The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Moji Adeyeye, has decried the incessant rejection of food and agricultural commodities from Nigeria by the United States of America USA and the European Union member countries over what she described as “poor quality”.
The DG, in a press statement on ‘Quality and Safety of Export Food Trade’ made available to newsmen, yesterday, urged all the regulatory agencies at the port saddled with the responsibility of ensuring high quality of imports and exports to find urgent and lasting solutions to Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Border Rejection Notifications from the European Commission on products originating from Nigeria.
Adeyeye lamented the resultant bad image the repeated rejection of commodities from Nigeria by the EU has caused the country.
She expressed concern over the volume of food and agricultural commodities from Nigeria that is currently facing challenges at entry points in some countries in Europe and the US where they have been repeatedly rejected.
‘’NAFDAC has a statutory responsibility to safeguard public health through the execution of its mandate. We are charged with the responsibility to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled and packaged water, chemicals – generally referred to as NAFDAC regulated products.
“NAFDAC is designated as World Trade Organization/Sanitary and Phytosanitary Enquiry Point in Nigeria on Food Safety to facilitate international trade, and respond to enquiries on safety standards, regulations, and guidelines on food trade in Nigeria”.
Adeyeye said internationally, Nigeria’s products meant for the export market are faced with the presence of contaminants such as pesticide residues, notoriously dichlorvos and other impurities, exceeding maximum permitted level and some with inadequate packaging and labelling which had caused a lot of products’ rejections in the global market.
She noted that the international market is competitive in nature and only welcomes products of high quality with relevant certifications and quality packaging that is environmentally friendly, to trade globally, stressing that the problem of quality, standard, certification, and appropriate packaging for made-in-Nigeria products destined for export has been an issue in the international market and there is a need to address the issue of rejections.
The NAFDAC boss disclosed that the agency has over the years intervened to assist Nigerian exporters to meet with international regulations thereby creating employment and earning foreign exchange for Nigeria.
Through this intervention by NAFDAC, she added that it was agreed that these products be subjected to 100 per cent pre-export testing and issuance of Health Certificate to products with satisfactory limits before European Union further verifies at their border control points.
Adeyeye further disclosed that her agency had analysed the RASFF alert from the EU and observed that most rejected products by the EU were smuggled out and not certified by NAFDAC nor the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services at the ports, adding that this calls for proper collaboration and synergy amongst all agencies of government to curb the indecent behaviour of some exporters and ensure only quality and certified products are exported.
‘’We need to close gaps and work together to prevent regulatory gaps being exploited by the unscrupulous traders and their collaborators. There must be convergence for all regulatory activities especially at the Ports of Exit as a starting point before we begin cleaning up and capacitating the honest operators and traders within the country’’.
Based on the RASFF alert received from the EU, she said NAFDAC had sensitized food processors, handlers and exporters through training programmes, workshops and seminars on current Food Safety Management requirements such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), Good Manufacturing Practises (GMP), Good Hygiene Practices (GHP), Risk Analysis to ensure that products are safe and of good quality, to gain consumers’ confidence and acceptability in Nigeria and international export markets.
“Effective assessments of export products are very key and basic information that may need to be considered in the accompanying shipping documents include Certificate of Radiation, Health certificate, Sanitary and Phytosanitary certificate, Evidence of fumigation of vessels and evidence of risk-based inspection on food Safety, must all be certified by the appropriate and designated competent authorities having current scope-testing accreditation.”
Oyedepo Justifies Sick Pastors’ Sack
The President, Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, blew hot, yesterday, as he said he has right to sack pastors who were sick and unprofitable, warning critics to face their jobs.
Oyedepo, during a service at Faith Tabernacle, Ota, Ogun State, justified the sack of some pastors in his church, saying that even in the secular world, workers who are not profitable are always sacked.
“Rural church is going on. All the offerings from rural churches for the next 40 years cannot build what they are building for them because I learnt some fellows were saying that, “It is because they don’t have offering that is why they said they should go.
“It is because you are sick, you are unproductive, you will be plucked out. We sent you to go to the villages to reach out to minimum of 12 souls in a week and ensure that minimum six of them come to church. Then six months, you don’t have 10. You are unprofitable, you shouldn’t survive.
“Sound management brought us here Sir. Keeping unprofitable servants makes you a poor manager. Businessmen hear me now: keeping unprofitable servants makes you a poor manager. You have a right to resign; we have the right to sack you. It is a system, it works like that everywhere,” he stated.
Oyedepo also spoke on the church’s ongoing 100,000-capacity auditorium, warning critics to stay clear as the church was not using their money to build the massive edifice.
According to him, “We are building 100,000-seat auditorium; did they collect money from you? ‘They should have built a factory’: who told you? Do you budget for somebody’s resources? Keep quiet my friend, and face your job.
“They enjoy hearing from me, so, I like speaking to them. Even UK Government agrees that our churches are one of the best run charities in UK. Well, God is faithful.
“That is how your business will be. You will never keep unprofitable stewards in your system. If you have a driver who is always bashing your car, will you retain him? Before he will bash you yourself.”
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