A former member of the defunct National Political Reform Conference and Pioneer President of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON), Sir Chukumela Nnam-Obi II, says it has become imperative for the Nigerian federation to be restructured for the sake of justice, equity and fairness to engender national growth and development.
In a statement in Port Harcourt yesterday, the two time Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers recalled how the reorganisations of 1967, 1976 and 1996 as well as the excision of the Midwest from the Western region in 1963 underscored the volatility of the internal territorial configuration of the Nigerian federation since the country’s independence in 1960.
He stated that of greater concern are the distributive pressures, sectional anxieties, partisan conflicts, constitutional controversies and institutional dilemma that are interwoven with the issue of’ state reorganisation in the country.
Dr Nnam-Obi II noted that though there are feelings of disenchantment among all tribes and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, the “case of the mindless marginalization of the minority groups is worse”.
Listing the enormous contributions of the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) to the national economy, the monarch who is also the Oba (Eze Ogba) of Ogbaland regretted that the area has had only one ministerial appointment, two ambassadorial slots, no special adviser, no permanent secretary in the Federal Public Service, no Chairmanship of any Federal Government parastatal, no high ranking officer in the military, among others since the inception of the country.
Continued he: “We are not found even in the middle level employment of federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) just as we are denied jobs and facilities in financial institutions. Our people are slowly but steadily being suffocated out of meaningful existence”.
He said being the highest producer of crude oil and gas in Nigeria, ONELGA deserves a better treatment for sustaining the Nigerian nation and by extension every state and local government area in the country.
The Eze Ogba maintained that the panacea to the developmental challenges and the dilemma of injustice, sectional interest or regionalism, and other perversions on the part of the political class lies in making fundamental social, economic and institutional changes affecting the policies, practices, and the overall management of the federation.
These, according to him, include proper decentralisation and strengthening of democracy through the practice of true federalism, participatory democracy, community empowerment and participation in the exploration, exploitation and management of their natural resources and private sector involvement in national development.
He assured that the Niger Delta will continue to play key roles in the growth and development of the Nigerian nation in so far as there are concerted efforts to improve the environmental and living conditions of the region.
Meanwhile,the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has thrown his weight behind those calling for the restructuring of the country.
He said that the present situation called for every Nigerian to take the opportunity offered to restructure and redesign Nigeria.
“We should come out with a new master plan that will address the social, economic and political crises that gave birth to some of these agitations.
“We should also use the opportunity to reach out, to strengthen our unity and form a coalition against separatists, who come from the South-East and ultra-nationalist and anarchist who come from northern part of Nigeria.
“This is the time for each and every Nigerian to take position. Nigeria will not and should not be Soviet Union; Nigeria will not be and must not be Yugoslavia, Nigerian should and must not be Sudan.
“There are issues we need to address. this is an opportunity for us to restructure and redesign our country,” Sani said.
Sani, who spoke to newsmen in Kaduna, added, “the moral calling of all men of conscience is to champion the cause of unity and peace. And for people like me, this is my area of calling. Biafran agitators are persons who have forgotten the lessons of history, the country is bigger than individuals, we are one and we should remain one.
“The Igbo ethnic groups have since been able to build themselves economically, and present themselves as Nigerians. Igbos can clearly be found in all the nooks and crannies of this country, and I believe we should be able to separate the few, who want secession from millions, who live among us as Nigerians.
“Any southerner in the North is in the North because he believes in one Nigeria, if he does not believe in one Nigeria, he could have gone back to South-East. We should look at it this way, it is great that we are called giant of Africa because of our size, our population and because of the promise we hold for West Africa and the black race. Secession is not an option, those who want to divide this country should be condemned in totality, and I can understand the anger by some of our people in northern part of Nigeria, but we should not play to the gallery.
“The secessionists should not determine our collective decision or distract what our response should be. If they are for secession, we are for unity. We must protect Igbos that are living in the northern part of Nigeria because they are here to live with us; they are here because they believe in one Nigeria. But Nnamdi Kanu and his Biafran forces are doomed to fail because Nigeria will remain one.
“This is a time to challenge them, combat and nip them in the bud. It is the time in history of this country that we must speak out. I will also say a nation united by force is vulnerable, a nation united by justice is inseparable, that must be our goal.”
Speaking on the need for unity in Kaduna State, Sani explained, “I am opposed to the dropping of these 4,766 district heads, for the very fact that they are very strong instruments of peace and unity. I call on the governor to reverse his decision. There is enough money to pay them.
“In a situation whereby we have a government in Kaduna State that is issuing out contracts to advisers, members of the state House of Assembly and the people in the position of authority, which is contrary to ethics of civil service, in that sense, you know that it is very disgusting to accuse the Peoples Democratic Party, the Ramalan Yero, Makarfi, late Yakowa’s governments of corruption in Kaduna State.
“In Kaduna State, you have public office holders who submit companies to be awarded contracts. We should understand that it is not just about N3billion contract scam, but there are ethics issues concerned, a civil servant is not allowed to be a contractor.
“It is an act of nepotism to send your son, your wife, to do contract directly under your office, it is against the code of conduct, code of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for an elected public office holder to engage in contract, that is very wrong.
“The only persons who are immune to face investigation is the governor and deputy governor of all this persons involved. The governor of the state should follow it up and set up investigation panel to fish out the bad eggs within his government and deal with them.
“If Buhari can drop Babachir as Secretary to the Government of the Federation for giving his own company contracts, Governor Nasir el-Rufai should toe the line by sacking his aides that have exploited their positions in office, and have turned themselves into contractors,” he added.
Court Orders FG To Pay Rivers $1,114,551,610; A’Ibom $2,258,411,586
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo has ordered the Federal Government to pay Rivers State $1,114,551,610.00 and Akwa Ibom State $2,258,411,586.00, respectively.
The money is entitlements of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, based on the subsisting decision of the Supreme Court over production sharing contracts arising from the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts.
Taiwo delivered the judgment in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/174/2021filed by the Attorney General of Rivers State and Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State against the Attorney General of the Federation.
It would be recalled that in 2016, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states, through their Attorneys-General, had sued the Federal Government, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation at the Supreme Court in Suit No: SC.964/2016, seeking a declaration that there is a statutory obligation imposed on the Defendant (the Federal Government) pursuant to Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore Inland Basin Production Sharing Act, Cap.D3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, to adjust the share of the Federation in the additional revenue accruing under the Production Sharing Contracts if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20.00 per barrel.
The states had asked the court to declare that the failure of the Defendant to accordingly adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue in the Production Sharing Contracts (variously approved by the Defendant) following the increase of price of crude oil in excess of 20.00 per barrel in real terms, constitute a breach of the said Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, and has therefore, affected the total revenue accruing to the Federation, and consequently, the total statutory allocation accruing to the Plaintiffs by virtue of the provisions of Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The three oil producing states further prayed the court to issue a consequential order compelling the Defendant to adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue under all the Production Sharing Contracts in Nigeria’s oil industry within the Inland Water Basin Deep Offshore areas as approved by the Defendant from the respective times the price of crude oil exceeded $20.00 per barrel in real terms and to calculate in arrears with effect from August, 2003, and recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to the Plaintiffs arising from the said adjustments.
It would be recalled that at the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General of the Federation opted for an out of court settlement, and consequently, terms of settlement were duly drawn up by the parties and entered as the judgment of the court.
The judgment specifically stated that the reliefs in the amended Originating Summons relating to the larger interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the entire citizenry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be diligently implemented.
It was also agreed that the Attorney General of the Federation, working jointly with the Plaintiffs should undertake to immediately set up a body and the necessary mechanism for recovery of all lost revenue accruing to the Federation Account in the past and up till the date of full recovery and accruing in future or an acceptable instalmental payments thereof within 90 days next from the date of execution of these presents or its being made judgment of the court.
Following the judgment of the Supreme Court and in compliance therewith the Attorney General of the Federation, the Defendant, constituted a body to determine the respective liabilities including the amount due to oil mineral producing states as derivation proceeds.
The report of that body stated among others that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
However, Attorney General of the Federation, without recourse to the governments of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, unilaterally claimed to have settled with International Oil Companies (IOCs).
It was gathered that this unilateral action on the part of the Attorney General of the Federation as the Defendant in the judgment of the Supreme Court that led Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, to fill the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Based on the suit filed by the state, the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo, declared that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
The court also awarded a post judgment interest of 10 per cent in favour of the Plaintiffs until the final liquidation of the judgment.
Declare State Of Emergency On National Assets, Experts Tell Buhari
Against the backdrop of challenges facing national assets across the country, the Association of Facilities Management Practitioners of Nigeria (AFMPN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to declare state of emergency on public infrastructure.
The call was made by AFMPN President, Collins Osayamwen, in an interview with newsmen, while speaking on the new vista his leadership has opened for the association to play a strategic and critical role as a professional body charged with the responsibility of maintaining and managing public infrastructure if the bill at the National Assembly was passed into law and assented to by Buhari in order for Nigerians to enjoy public assets.
However, Osayamwen pointed out that public infrastructure has not been given the desired attention over the years as a result of not giving recognition to professional facilities managers who government needs to collaborate with to maintain critical national assets worth billions of Naira.
He said, “It is evidently clear that our public infrastructure is in a state of emergency and the government needs to declare a state of emergency in order to rescue our public infrastructure from total collapse.
“The reason for lack of maintenance of our infrastructure is not far-fetched.
“It is because, in Nigeria, the profession that is saddled with the responsibility of looking after the built environment does not exist in the list of professionals that constitute the building team.
“We are seriously concerned about the deplorable state and deficit of public infrastructure in Nigeria. In 2012, the Infrastructure Council of Regulatory Commission (ICRC), alluded that $12billion to $15billion was required annually for the next five to six years to bridge the infrastructure deficit gaps in Nigeria.
“It is worthy of note that if these figures are anything to go by, the situation should have become worse by now, nine years later.”
He also explained that in the built environment, architects are responsible for conceptualisation, design and supervision of the project; the Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and even the IT engineers are responsible for design and construction of the building systems; the building engineer carries out the physical construction of the building.
“Now, let’s examine the role of these professionals. They all perform a certain function and they leave the site once their assignment is completed. Not even one of the professions listed above is trained to look after the building. Once the building is commissioned, they all leave the site for a new project.
“Unfortunately, all the activities carried out in the building up till the stage of completion is less than 20 per cent of the life cycle cost.
“The remaining on-going activities and cost of over 80 per cent is operations and maintenance cost and activities.
“This critical stage in a building life cycle is often neglected, hence, the poor state of our infrastructure. I cannot overemphasize the role of the facilities management practitioners in managing our built environment,” he stated.
According to him, the main reason Nigeria has not been able to maintain her infrastructure is because “the profession responsible for maintenance is not yet recognised for its strategic role in Nigeria as a profession and Facility Management profession is not recognised as a member of the built environment practitioners.
“Maintenance starts from the design stage of a facility. It requires painstaking planning, scheduling, budgeting, sustainable programme management and implementation of maintenance technologies, and others.
“It takes more than culture to effectively and efficiently maintain a facility. It requires time, money, and experience to maintain infrastructure,” he added.
Flood Ravages NASS As Senate Confirms New COAS
There was a downpour in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday morning, leaving several parts of the National Assembly Complex flooded.
The central lobby at the ‘White House’ section of the building, which adjoins the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, was flooded.
Other areas affected include the third and last gate to the premises as well as the road linking the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the National Assembly.
The Senate had resumed plenary, yesterday, while the House is to resume on June 28, 2021, as the National Assembly returns from a mid-term break.
At the lobby, workers of the two private firms engaged for cleaning services at the complex were busy mopping the floor while it rained.
Water could be seen dropping from several points on the famous green roof.
Some senators watched as the workers struggle to keep the floor dry.
During the plenary, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Maj-Gen Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.
The Red Chamber took the decision after the consideration of the report of its Joint Committee on Defence and Army led by Senators Aliyu Wamakko and Ali Ndume.
Earlier, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, had on June 2, referred the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for Yahaya’s confirmation to the committee.
The Defence Committee, which is chaired by Wamakko, was mandated to be the lead panel to screen the newly appointed Army chief.
Yahaya was appointed to replace Lt-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a plane crash with 10 other military officers while on an official trip to Kaduna State, last month.
Until his appointment, Yayaha was the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East.
Meanwhile, at the House, the downpour delayed legislative activities as several committees which had scheduled the meetings and hearings for the morning were forced to delay the events, as several workers and guests were said to have been trapped in their vehicles.
For instance, the House Committee on Disabilities, which was to begin an investigative hearing on ‘The Need to Investigate the Alleged Violation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and Private Airline Operators’ at 11am had to commence the event at about 12:15pm.
Also, the House Committees on Communications; Justice; Information and Culture; and National Security and Intelligence, which were to hold an investigative hearing on the recent ban placed on Twitter by the Federal Government shifted the event from 10am to 1pm.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
- Sports3 days ago
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
- Featured2 days ago
APC’s Ploy To Ban, Regulate Social Media, Hypocritical, Wike Affirms
- Oil & Energy3 days ago
Buhari Thumbs Up For NLNG As NNPC Reviews Activities
- Politics17 hours ago
APC: C’River LP Disowns Decampees
- Oil & Energy3 days ago
Total Nigeria Advocates Petroleum Subsidy Removal
- Sports3 days ago
Hooliganism Won’t Be Tolerated At Match Venues – NFF
- Sports3 days ago
Dettol Becomes Official Hygiene Partner Of S’Eagles
- Politics2 days ago
Okorocha Cautions Igbos On Secession