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Reps Reject Request To Honour Late Ken Saro-Wiwa

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An articulated move to arouse a special recognition for late environmental activist, Ken Saro Wiwa, 22 years after his death, was yesterday, roundly stepped down by members of the House of Representatives who saw it as a controversial path to tread in Nigeria’s national history.
The development came on the heels of a motion subsumed under “Matters of Urgent Public Importance” by the member representing Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency of Rivers State in the House, Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
Chinda had while moving the motion titled, “Remembering Saro-Wiwa and Eight Other Ogonis 22 years after their death and Urgent Need to Expedite Action on the Clean-Up of Ogoni Land”, craved for an observation of one minute silence in honour of Saro-Wiwa alongside other prayers, which included condemnation of continuing pollution of Ogoniland and other parts of Niger Delta region, declaration of Ogoniland as an ecological disaster zone.
He also prayed that the House mandate its Committee on Environment and Petroleum to monitor level of progress or otherwise of the implementation of the clean-up and report to the House quarterly.
The lawmaker said, the “House notes with dismay the despoliation of the Ogoni environment, and indeed, that several other Niger Delta communities occasioned by decades of oil exploration activities in the region.
“Further notes that following this, and at the request of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) conducted an independent assessment of Ogoniland and proffered options for remediation.
“Conscious of the clear provision of Section 20 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as variously amended) that ‘the State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wild life of Nigeria’ which environment of course includes that of the Niger Delta region.
“Aware that the UNEP study amongst other things showed the nature and extent of oil contamination and covered contaminated land, ground water, surface water, sediment, vegetation, air pollution, public health, industry practices as well as the implications for affected populations and provides clear operational guidance as to how that could be addressed”.
It would be recalled that Saro-Wiwa was executed by the General Sani Abacha’s regime after he was found guilty of killing four Ogoni indigenes, who were opposed to his crusade through the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) by a law court.
Reacting to the one-minute silence prayer, some lawmakers reminded the House that it would be controversial to reverse what was ‘duly considered and endorsed by the government.’
For instance, Hon. Benjamin Wayo (APC, Benue) said it would be out of order to heed the prayer.
He said: “While I agree that the environmental situation in Niger Delta is pitiable, we have to be careful in adopting the prayer in the motion, calling for one minute silence for the late environmentalist.
“Section 33 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution says every person has right to life. It’s only permissible to be taken through constitutional means, just as it was done in this case.
“Therefore, it will be out of order to observe a minute silence for him (Saro -Wiwa) under this circumstance”.
Also rejecting the call, Hon Ali Madaki (APC, Kano) called for caution in order not to breach procedures regarding government’s pronouncements.
Similarly, the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun reminded the House of a possible negative implication of taking such action against the state.
For Hon. Mojeed Alabi, it would amount to reversing an “act of state”, without following due process.
On her part, Hon. Onyemaechi Mrakpor (PDP, Delta), said one-minute silence in Saro-Wiwa’s honour would be inconsequential in the light of the environmental degradation of the region.

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NIGCOMSAT To Acquire More Satellite In 2023/2025

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The Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Abimbola Alale, has disclosed that the agency will acquire more satellites between now and 2025 with the NigComSat-2 (Hight ThroughputSatellite) due for launch in 2023 while NigComSat-3 will be launched in 2025.
According to the MD, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos during a stakeholders forum organised by the agency with the theme, ‘NIGCOMSAT, The Present and The Future’, the launch will not only inspire confidence in agency’s customers and channel partners but will also place NIGCOMSAT in the front line of communication satellite operators with fleet of satellites in the orbit.
Alale also disclosed that NIGCOMSAT, in a bid to achieve its ambition as the leading satellite communication solutions provider in Nigeria and Africa, obtained approval early 2020 to form two subsidiarycompanies (SUBCOs) the Satellite Infrastructure Company SIC to provide satellite upstreamservices such as Transponder leasing, and In-Orbit-(IOT) services, Carrier Spectrum Management (CSM) services & the Satellite Broadcasting and Broadband Company (SBBC) to provide satellite downstream services such as broadband internet services,Broadcasting (DTH) services etc.
“The SUBCOs were formed to carryout commercial businesses on behalf of NIGCOMSATwith strategic partners and expand its business operations and in the information & communications technology space, NIGCOMSAT realizes the need to strategically position its subsidiaries for potential opportunities and risks, put in place operational structures to facilitate its business aspirations”.
As a result of the aforementioned, the NIGCOMSAT boss stated that Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has given the company a set of KPIs that are linked to the development of a strategic document which identifies the key market opportunities and risks in the Nigerian market as well as to define the SUBCO’s operational framework.
Continuing, Alale noted that as part of VSAT/TVRO capacity development programme,NIGCOMSAT has trained 600 youths across the six geo-political zones in the country adding that they have been equipped with tools to participate in growing the digital economy timely achievement of NIGCOMSAT’s roles specified in the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.
“Satellite communications is a technology with rapid changings, in view of this, NIGCOMAT has continued to build capacity that match global trends and requirement”, she said.
Speaking on the objective of the stakeholders’ forum, explained that, it is part of the agency’s efforts to rub minds with stakeholders on areas they may need expansion and improvement in line with its core mandate and core values.

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Northern Groups Pass Confidence Vote On Emefiele

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Some Northern groups under the auspices of Northern Advocacy Groups yesterday, threw its weight behind the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over recent economic growth.
This was made known in an address signed by Mohamed Bashir-Ali of Northern Professional Forum; Fatima Abubakar for Arewa Business Women League; Mallam Sadiq Ibrahim of Arewa Frontier; and Comrade Yusuf Yahaya for Arewa Patriotic and Anti-Corruption Network, in Abuja.
The statement reads in part, “Today, after an appraisal of the uncharitable utterances made by a supposedly Youth Assembly from the north, we came to a conclusion that it is imperative to address most of the issues wrongfully and mischievously presented.
“Our position is unanimous and we are all in support of Mr. Godwin Emefiele and his management team in CBN and all their effort to stabilize the Naira and grow our foreign reserve for the nation.
“This holistic resolve brought us together under the aegis of Northern Advocacy Group (NAG).
“We welcome you all to this important press briefing which is a patriotic motive to disabuse the public on misrepresented issues and claims of infractions on the Governor of Central Bank leading to a call for his resignation by same hired and sponsored discontented elements whose aim is to distract and unsettle the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is unfortunate to observe that the misrepresentation and falsehoods emanated from some legislators who believe that pulling Emefiele down will culminate into their political God Father having access to Nigerian’s money for his presidential ambition.
“It is regrettable that these persons feel that it is wisdom to tarnish and bring to ridicule, the outstanding effort of CBN just to gain the support of the President and seize power.
“We hereby call on those who find it profitable to peddle wrong information to stop. This act is unpopular, uncharitable and should not be associated with Northern interest.
“We hereby state emphatically that any act designed to frustrate efforts of Mr. Godwin Emefiele to restore the economy from its downward slope orchestrated by fall and unstable price of crude oil and the advent of Covid-19 pandemic will be opposed.”
In addition, the group unequivocally stated that, “Let it been known that we are not part of any Northern organization trying to bring disrepute to the government.
“We consider it wrong to call for the resignation of the CBN Governor by the Arewa Youth Assembly over an unproven claim that the policies of the CBN have leaped the county into poverty.
“It is worthy of note that any call for resignation of Emefiele will erode the achievements recorded by President Buhari in his effort to revamp the economy.
“The economy was already in shambles and it got worsened by low prices of crude at the international market, empty treasury, corruption, dilapidated infrastructure and insecurity in the country.
“We are grateful to the CBN governor and his effort in expanding foreign exchange earning opportunities so as to increase our foreign reserve and raise the value of the Naira. It is our belief that this effort will improve the economy.
“The politicians should please allow the government to work; we are convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari will deliver at the end.
“We are disappointed that some persons will make themselves available to unsettle the government. No reasonable person will embark on such venture, because it is unpatriotic.
The group also warned that, “We should not be seen creating crisis for a government that we all made effort to install. This is the time to support the government for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“In conclusion, we request that everybody support this government, there is no doubt that the governor of CBN and his team will deliver.”

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B’Haram, Miyetti Allah, Bandits Are Terrorists, OPU Tells FG

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The O’odua Progressive Union (OPU) has told Federal Government to be sincere with itself by calling a spade, a spade in addressing myriad challenges facing the country.
OPU, in a statement by its Director of Communication, Alhaji Akeem Apena, stated that it was inappropriate for Federal Government to describe Yoruba nation agitators as terrorists when their action had nothing to do with such description.
OPU held that the description of terrorist only fit Boko Haram, Miyetti Allah, bandits and not the Yoruba nation agitators who are back by law to agitate for secession.
The group, however, urged the Federal Government to address the various security challenges in the country, and leave the Yoruba nation agitators alone.
Speaking against the backdrop of the recent attack by government on Yoruba nation agitators, for keeping association with the proscribed Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), the group said it was most unfortunate for Federal Government to judge the Yoruba nation agitators by the company they keep.
OPU stated that the Yoruba nation agitators had committed no offence by joining other like-minded groups in driving home their self-determination agenda.
He pointed out that the Federal Government, rather than addressing pertinent issues bordering on insecurity across the country, has shifted its focus to attack agitators and trample upon their civic rights.
“Garuba Shehu is always in the media for the wrong reason. He should be told that the call for self-determination was not accidental. It came up as a result of the growing tension, including kidnappings, killings ,and banditry, spreading across the country,
“The United Nations rally was to raise our voices against the unjust nepotism, corruption, kidnappings and killings in the country. And we have strategically approached the UN to lend our voices against the Federal Government’s failures to tackle the security challenges in the country”.
Apena, however, dismissed Shehu’s warning against Yoruba nation agitators, insisting that the UN is a global meeting arena reputed for its purposeful agenda, and cannot fall for the Federal Government’s subterfuge.
“Garuba Shehu needs to check his dictionary very well before calling the Yoruba nation agitators terrorists. The Federal Government has embarked on using blackmail as a tool to denigrate all the groups by calling them names and also urging the UN to ignore our demand for justice, safety and peaceful approach towards achieving the best for our race.
“But it is also sad that the Federal Government has never tagged Boko Haram, Bandits and killer herdsmen, Miyetti Allah and other terrorists’ groups.
“Yoruba nation agitators are Free-minded people that have taken the right step by going to the UN to press home their demand.
“It is their legitimate rights because they didn’t take up arms against anybody. They go about their demands legitimately.
“Terrorists are dangerous elements that are terrorising the people. Boko Haram, Miyetti Allah, Bandits and their cohorts have on several occasions shook and still shaking the very foundation of this nation.
“The Yoruba, right from the beginning will never mortgage their future to ordinary blackmail. Whether the FG likes it or not, the Yoruba nation agitators will continue to seek the international support in ensuring that our request is granted by the global communities,” he stated.

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