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Supreme Court Hears PDP’S Case, Thursday …As Jonathan Meets Wike …States Party Chairmen Back Dickson

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The Supreme Court will on Thursday in Abuja, the nation’s capital, hear the case filed by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), challenging a recent judgment of the Court of Appeal, which restored the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff leadership of the party.
This is however, caming at a time former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, met with the Rivers State Governor, Nyesome Wike in Port Harcourt, the state capital and held talks behind closed doors, apparently in view of the lingering crisis in the party.
In similar breath, all the 23 state chairmen of the party threw their weight behind the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, who is also the reconciliation committee chairman of the party for his peace initiatives in the overall interest of the PDP.
Our source gathered at the weekend that one of the parties to the case, the Makarfi-led group, will be arguing its case for accelerated hearing in view of the forthcoming governorship elections in Anambra and Ekiti States.
But our correspondent  learnt that the other party has also asked its legal team to oppose the plea for accelerated hearing on the grounds that there was nothing urgent to warrant such a request since there was an existing party leadership in place.
The Makarfi group has also vowed to take further steps to challenge the illegality of the Sheriff-led National Working Committee, saying it would challenge Sheriff’s actions which it claimed were in clear violation of the judgment of the Court of Appeal that ordered reversal to status quo ante.
The group also described the meeting of state chairmen held in Abuja on Friday night as an illegal assembly, adding that all those who attended the meeting which declared support for Sheriff were nothing but fake state chairmen.
The Tide source gathered that part of the actions being contemplated to prevent Sheriff’s leadership from moving on with their convention plan is to secure a court injunction based on alleged impunity and infractions he has committed.
A statement by the Caretaker Committee spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, accused Sheriff and his men of causing more problems for the party by going round the states, disorganising the party at state levels and giving recognition to illegal persons as state chairmen.
He said since the Appeal Court Judgment of Port Harcourt Division pronounced the May 21 Convention illegal, Sheriff has made a number of illegal appointments including that of the Deputy National Chairman and National Publicity Secretary.
“It should be noted, however, that parading himself as National Chairman with illegal State Executive Committees by Senator Sheriff will surely further aggravate the situation. The continued parade of Dr. Cairo Ojougboh as Deputy National Chairman and Hon Bernard Mikko as Acting National Publicity Secretary of the PDP are acts of impunity and will be challenged in court,” he said.
He claimed it was a known fact that no meeting of the NWC or National Executive Committee (NEC) was held to nominate or approve the appointments of these men.
Adeyeye, who said Sheriff had been deluding himself by claiming he had the support of party members, insisted that the caretaker committee remained committed to seeing through the appeal filed at the Supreme Court as a way of settling the PDP crisis once and for all.
“This committee will like to appeal to all party faithful to remain calm and committed to the cause of the party while the matters before the Supreme Court are carefully and meticulously sorted out in the interest of the party,” he said.
Jonathan, who has been very active in the PDP peace process, described Wike as a good representative of a PDP government that is committed to the development of his people, adding that Wike has performed creditably since assuming office 22 months ago through his transformation of the state.
Jonathan spoke to journalists yesterday after he was led on a tour of projects being executed by Wike. Projects inspected by the former president included the new amphitheatre, the Government House Chapel, Restored Brick House (former Seat of Power in Rivers State), New Corridor of Power and Extended Landscape.
Jonathan praised the governor for keeping the torch shining by his exemplary performance which has justified his election by the people of Rivers State.
He noted that Wike’s outstanding performance has become the common story across the country, pointing out that he has been hearing about the good works of the governor for some time and that indeed, the governor has lived up to his reputation.
He noted that since Wike was sworn in, Saturday was his first time of driving round Port Harcourt. He expressed satisfaction with the quality of transformation he witnessed enroute the Government House.
“I am part of Rivers State. I grew up in Rivers State and Bayelsa was carved out of Rivers State. Also, my wife is from Rivers State. Today, is my first day of visiting Rivers State since Wike assumed office as governor. Twenty two months down the line, I am quite impressed with what I have seen.
“First, I heard so much, people have told me of the changes in Port Harcourt. I was told that I can’t even recognise the roads to where I used to live. As we drove into the city, I noticed that he has done very well in various areas.
“One thing I must commend Wike for is that he has positive traits. I always believe that wherever you find yourself, add value. Governor Wike has added value in Rivers State. He has done well to show his signature.
“Wike has taken us round. We have seen how he has transformed the Brick House and maintained that Brick House. We saw the changes he has made in some places in the Government House, including building an amphitheatre, a new chapel for worship, relaxing places and general beautification.
“If you are the Chief Executive of an institution, you stay for two years and you add no value, then you have no vision. Wike is doing well and we commend him. He is a good representative of the PDP who is committed to developing his people,” he said, thanking Nigerians for appreciating his contributions to the development of the country, even after he left office.
On his part, Wike said his commitment was to lift the state to higher heights. He noted that the Old Brick House was restored with certain additions because of the need to preserve history of governance in the state, while noting that the New Amphitheatre being constructed at the Government House would host high profile guests, who visit the state.
According to him, the New Government House, Port Harcourt Chapel, which will host about 300 persons, provides a venue for interdenominational Christian Worship.
Meanwhile, some of the PDP state chairmen of the PDP have endorsed the roadmap to peace as contained in the Dickson-led Reconciliation Committee report. The committee had recommended among other measures, the holding of a unity national convention on June 30 under the supervision of Sheriff.
While expressing concern about the crises in the party, the 23 chairmen who declared support for Sheriff, in their communique read out by the Federal Capital Territory chairman, Alhaji Y.Y Suleiman said they were in support of the political solution as recommended by Dickson and his committee.
“In line with the only template presented by the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of our Party headed by Hon Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, we wish to state that we support the recommendation that a political solution is the best and only solution to our crisis without prejudice to the ongoing judicial processes, but added that “We shall at all times align ourselves to any judicial pronouncement of a higher jurisdiction on this matter.”
The state chairmen who were at the meeting are Salisu Mamuda (Jigawa), Abdulrahman Bobboi (Adamawa), Tanko Beji (Niger), Joel Adamu (Gombe), Victor Bala (Taraba), Hon. Nasiru Abubakar (Zamfara), Lawan Gana Karasuwa (Yobe), and Alhaji Aliyu Bagudu (Kebbi),
Others include Iyola Oyedepo (Kwara), Moses Cleopas (Bayelsa), Y.Y. Suleiman (FCT), Adebayo Dayo (Ogun), Hon. Yinka Taiwo (Oyo), Sir Nnamdi Anyahie (Imo), Hon. Segue Adewale (Lagos), Onyekachi Nwelery (Abonyi), Williams Ajayi (Ekiti), Prince Boroye Olabiyi (Ondo), Hon. Soji Adagunodo (Osun), Chief Samuel Uhuonu (Kogi ), Hon. Dan Ale (Benue), and Itufan Edim Inok Edim.

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Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion

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The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.

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FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer

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The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.

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Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media

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The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.

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