The Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson has told President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigeria was in dire need of restructuring and devolution of power, saying without it, there would not be stability in the states of the federation.
The governor, who met President Buhari behind closed-doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, said that there was the need to carry every section of the country along, adding that the government should, as a matter of urgency, have a change in the approach to security management, especially in the Niger Delta region.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting, the Bayelsa State governor said he had a frank discussion with the President with regards to the ongoing debate on restructuring of the country.
According to him: “I am here this afternoon to see the President and to confer with him on critical national issues, and also on issues that are pertinent to the stability, security and development of Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta region.
“And we had a very fruitful discussion, and I am grateful to the President for the opportunity he afforded me to intimate him on the challenges and also of the prospects.
“You recall that since my re-election, this is the first time I would be here, I am not a regular visitor here. So, I thank the President for availing me the opportunity to share perspectives on very serious issues on security, stability and development of Bayelsa and the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
“We talked about the need to revisit the Brass energy, we talked about the need for change in approach to security management in the Niger Delta, and we talked about the challenges of stabilizing the Niger Delta and the need for federal support.
“We talked about a whole range of other issues, including what we think should be the final response to the ongoing debate about devolution, and I believe that we had a very fruitful interaction.”
On what were his concerns on the issue of security and what he would want the President to do, Dickson said, “I had a discussion with the President, he is the President and Commander-in-Chief, he is the leader of the country, and these issues are beyond partisan politics, and we had a frank discussion.
“He understands the issues because he served in that region during the war when he was a younger officer, he is familiar with the challenges that I have come to discuss with him, and I look forward to collaborating and working with the President and the security officials to advance security in the region.
“Governors of the Niger Delta region are doing a lot, and as governors, we will continue to do our best, working with the security agencies, we should be apolitical in supporting constituted authorities in the states. We expect that this interaction will yield positive results.”
Also commenting on his meeting with the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, he said: “I was in Kaduna to confer with my brother friend and colleague, the governor of Kaduna State. As you know, he chairs the APC panel on restructuring or devolution. And that panel as far as I am concerned, did a good job.
“What we need is what it agreed upon to expand the scope of consultation. My view is that all parts of Nigeria needs to be carried along, and especially the leadership of Northern Nigeria. It needs to be engaged and contacted, and their buy-in and support. It is not only essential; it is indispensable to the success of the new Nigeria we are trying to carve.
“Not only have I visited Governor el-Rufai, in the next coming days and weeks, I will be visiting a lot of my colleagues in other parts of the country. I will be visiting and interacting with a lot of other opinion leaders and stakeholders.
“We are talking about our country and every part of the country has to be carried along. We need to interact and know what their fears and concerns and perspectives are so that we can, at the end, craft a position that will represent the collective aspirations of all parts of our country because this country is in dire need of devolution, this country is in dire need of a return to the essential founding fathers principles of our nation.
“That is when you can have stability in the states; that is when we would have unleashed the huge potentials that exist in every part of the country.”
Commenting on the value of the award given to him by the Leadership Newspapers, he said, “I was conferred with Leadership Award on the account of the modest efforts and investments we are making in the education sector in Bayelsa.
“There is no doubt that sector has changed in Bayelsa over the past six years. We will continue to make more investments. I thank Leadership; I thank all those who are working with me and the team. I am dedicating this award to the good people of Bayelsa State,” Dickson added.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Yorro Local Government Council in Taraba State, Hon. Joseph Sonweri, yesterday, confirmed killing of six people in a fresh clash between herders and farmers in the local government.
Sonweri said though the cause of the crisis was still not clear, but that security agencies were on the trail of the boy allegedly said to have caused the clash.
“I can’t tell you exactly what happened now, because we are still trailing the boy that was said to have led the attack. He is on the run and his family has deserted their house.
“We spoke to him early in the morning but his line is off now so we are trailing him. Until we get him or any of his accomplices, then we can know exactly what happened,” he said.
He, however, said the situation in the area was calm as security agents had been deployed to maintain peace.
Also speaking, the Chief of Yorro community, Chief Ado Adamu Mazan, who condemned the killings, told newsmen during an interview, that he has forwarded their complaints to the commissioner of police for necessary action.
“It was just a little misunderstanding between herdsmen and farmers in one of the villages. We were told that some Fulani herders strayed into a farm belonging to a native, leading to the clash.
“We have since forwarded our complaint to the commissioner of police in Jalingo and has responded promptly by sending security to the area,” he said.
The traditional ruler called on the people of the area to tolerate one another in the interest of peace and development.
Meanwhile, persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have killed two people along the Naka/Makurdi Road.
The incident was said to have occurred last Tuesday while the deceased were returning from the burial of the Catholic priests and 17 parishioners killed by herdsmen earlier last week.
The deceased, who were said to be riding on a motorcycle, were said to have been ambushed by the herdsmen who reportedly slaughtered them.
Naka/Makurdi road, which is a federal road, has been abandoned for a long time due to the activities of herdsmen along the federal highway.
A native, who spoke to newsmen said, “The two men were returning from the burial of the Catholic priests and the parishioners when they were attacked by herdsmen.
“Naka/Makurdi highway has been abandoned since herdsmen invaded Naka a few weeks ago. Anyone coming to Makurdi from Naka has to pass through the major road to Taraku, making the journey of 30 minutes’ drive to result in two and a half hours’ journey.
“I think the deceased just decided to take the route; unfortunately, they were killed,” the local said.
Efforts to get the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Moses Yamu, were not successful, as he did not respond to his call.
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, however, confirmed this while receiving in audience yesterday, the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka.
“Killing is still ongoing. Just on Tuesday, two people returning from the burial were killed along Naka/Makurdi road,” Ortom told his visitor.
Reps Fail To Override Buhari On Peace Corps Bill
The controversial Nigerian Peace Corps Bill has finally been jettisoned as attempts by the House of Representatives to override President Muhammadu Buhari failed, yesterday.
The bill failed to pass the second reading at the House of Representatives, yesterday.
The House of Representatives, which boasted that it would override the veto of the Buhari could not achieve its aim.
The bill seeks to turn the Peace Corps, currently a non-governmental organisation, into a government para-military agency.
The bill, which was passed by the National Assembly amidst controversy, was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari, who refused to sign it into law.
Buhari, in February, refused to assent to the bill because it was a duplication of duty and could conflict with the functions of the existing security outfits – the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The bill was sponsored by Emmanuel Orker-Jev (APC, Benue) and passed by the National Assembly in 2017.
In separate letters to the Senate and House of Representatives, Mr Buhari also cited security concerns and financial implications amongst reasons for his decision.
The bill was transmitted to the president in December, 2017 by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Omolori.
The Nigerian police had remained opposed to the legalisation of the corps.
On February 17, 2017, it stormed the organisation’s headquarters in Abuja and arrested its head, Dickson Akoh, and about 49 other members.
The police accused Akoh of using the Peace Corps, registered as a non-governmental organisation, to swindle young job seekers and operate as a para-military agency.
Akoh, who denied the allegations, was later granted bail.
Southern Govs Back Wike, Insist On VAT Collection …A’Court Urges Rivers To Submit Written Application For Receiver
Southern Governors met in Enugu, yesterday, and declared their support for Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, insisting that it is within their purview to collect the Value Added Tax (VAT).
This is coming amid row between the Rivers State Government and the Federal Government, a case that is now subject of litigation.
The governors also reaffirmed their stand on open-grazing ban, urging every state in the region to quickly pass a law to that regards.
The resolution by the Southern Governors Forum is part of the six-point communique reached at its meeting at the Government House, Enugu, Enugu State, and read by Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN.
The meeting of the Southern Governors Forum, which reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of the implementation of the decisions reached in its previous meetings, expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in Southern Nigeria were enacting and amending the anti-open grazing laws which allowed a uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors, and encouraged the states that were yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.
Reading the communique after the closed door meeting to journalists, Akeredolu said that the meeting reiterated its earlier position that the next President of Nigeria most come from the southern part of Nigeria, in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
According to the communique, the Southern Governors agreed to encourage the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfit which will meet, share intelligence and collaborate to ensure the security and safety of the region.
Akeredolu opined that the meeting also reaffirmed its earlier commitment to stick to fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the forum held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Asaba, Delta State, and emphasize the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective state Houses of Assembly, as well as representation in the National Assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution, through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
The communiqué, according to the forum’s chairman, expressed satisfaction with the array of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of NNPC by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum.
The forum thanked the host Governor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors Forum meeting in November, 2021.
Present at the meeting were Rivers StateGovernor, Chief NyesomWike; Delta StateGovernor, Dr.IfeanyiOkowa;AkwaIbom StateGovernor, Chief Emmanuel Udom; and Osun StateGovernor, IsiakaAdegboyegaOyetola.
Others were Enugu StateGovernor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi;Bayelsa StateGovernor, Senator DuoyeDiri;Lagos State Governor,BabajideSanwo-Olu; and Ogun State Governor,EngrOluwaseyiAbiodun.
The governors of Oyo, Ekiti, Edo, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyistates were represented by their deputies.
The communiqué read in full, “The Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum at its meeting of Thursday, September 16, 2021 held in the Government House, Enuqu, Enugu State, reviewed the state or the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in her previous meetings and further resolved as follows:
“Expressed satisfaction with the rate at which the states in the Southern Nigeria are enacting or amending the Anti-Open Grazing Laws which align with the uniform template and aspiration of Southern Governors and encouraged the states that are yet to enact this law to do so expeditiously.
“Encouraged the full operationalization of already agreed regional security outfits; which would meet, share intelligence and collaborate, to ensure the security and safety of the region.
“Reaffirmed its earlier commitment to structural and fiscal federalism as resolved at the inaugural meeting of the Forum held on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at Asaba, Delta State, and emphasized the need for the Southern States to leverage the legislative competence of their respective State Houses of Assembly as well as representation in the National assembly to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“Following from paragraph 3 above, the meeting resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.
“Expressed satisfaction with the handling of issues around the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
“Reiterated their earlier position that the next President of Nigeria must come from the Southern part of Nigeria in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
“The forum thanked the host Governor, IfeanyiUgwuanyi, and chose Rivers State as the next host for the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in November, 2021″.
However, the Court of Appeal, yesterday, declined to accede to the request of Rivers and Lagos states for the appointment of Receiver or Manager for the purpose of collecting and keeping Value Added Taxes (VAT) in place of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) pending the resolution of all legal disputes in the matter.
The two states separately canvassed that the order of status quo ante bellum granted on September 10 in favour of FIRS to continue the collection be put on hold given the appeal already lodged at the Supreme Court against the order.
Counsel to Rivers State, IfedayoAdedipe, SAN, in his oral application, pleaded with the appellate body to exercise its power under Order 4 Rule 6 of the Court of Appeal to appoint a Receiver or Manager to take custody of the VAT in the interest of justice to parties in the matter.
The Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr MoyosoreOnigbanjo, SAN, who stood for his state, toed the path of Rivers in canvassing that the court be fair and just in the pending appeal.
Onigbanjo specifically asked the Appeal Court to restrain FIRS from further collecting the tax and replace it with a Receiver or Manager that would act for parties that are locked in the legal battle.
The Lagos Attorney General predicated his expressed fear of unjust treatment on the fact that FIRS apart from collecting the tax has been sharing it among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) despite the pendency of the legal tussle.
“I think it is also necessary to restrain the FIRS, because they collect the VAT, distribute to all the states and keeps their own 4 per cent.
“If, at the end of the day, the court agrees with the judgment of the Federal High Court, how do we retrieve the funds that have been shared?”,Onigbanjo added.
The appeal by the FIRS is against August 9, 2021 judgment by Justice Steven Pam of the Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt, voiding the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act and holding that states could collect VAT.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsanami, who led a three-member panel, directed them to make the application formal by providing the necessary facts, including ascertaining the amount being collected as VAT.
Other members of the panel are Justices BatureGafai and Peter Affen.
Meanwhile, the court has reserved ruling on an application by Lagos State to be made a respondent in the appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The court, after listening to arguments by lawyers to parties, yesterday, said they would be informed when the ruling was ready.
In arguing Lagos’ application, Onigbanjo (SAN) said his client was a necessary party as it would be affected by the outcome of the case.
He noted that, as a federating unit/state in Nigeria, Lagos was entitled to collect VAT by virtue of the judgment of the Federal High Court that annulled VAT Act.
Onigbanjo argued that even the appellant (the FIRS) recognised that Lagos State has an interest in the case, which he said, was evident in the affidavit it filed, wherein copious reference was made to the Lagos State Government.
He further argued that since FIRS, in an affidavit supporting its application for stay of the judgment, recognised the interest of the Lagos State Government in the case, “it cannot now turn around to say the Lagos State Government has no interest in this case and should not be joined. It cannot blow hot and cold or speak from both sides of its mouth.”
Onigbanjo also contended that it was unfair for the FIRS to oppose Lagos’ request to be heard in the case after making allegations against the state.
He added that even the court recognised the interest of Lagos State in the case when it extended its order on maintenance of status quo to Lagos State, which was not yet a party in the case.
Onigbanjo prayed the court to join his client as a respondent.
Adedipe adopted Onigbaajo’s argument, and urged the court to allow the application by Lagos State.
Following the observation by Onigbanjo that the written address filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) was incompetent, the lawyer representing the AGF, TijaniGazali (SAN), withdrew the address, subsequent upon which the court struck it out.
Lawyer to FIRS, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), objected to the joinder application filed by Lagos State, arguing, among others, that the state was not a necessary party.
Magaji faulted the competence of the application, and urged the court to discountenance it.
On second thought, Magaji said if the court was willing to join Lagos; it should extend such indulgence to the other states of the federation.
Okonjo-Iweala Makes ‘TIME 100’
Nigerian-born Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has thanked the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, for the kind words they penned about her as she makes the TIME 100 list of The World’s Most Influential People.
The magazine has noted the globally-rated economist’s activities around the efforts to ensure that everyone on the planet earth gets vaccinated against any preventable disease for which there is a vaccine.
The ex-World Bank guru has been the Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, since January 1, 2016.
Gavi has the goal of increasing access to immunization in poor countries.
Concerning the TIME entry, the Duke and the Duchess state, “What will it take to vaccinate the world? Unity, cooperation—and leaders like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala”.
“As the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization, a 164-member group of nations that oversees trade across the world, Okonjo-Iweala took on the role of director-general this March at a watershed moment for our global health and well-being. Make no mistake; her job affects every person, family and community.
“As we face a constant barrage of vaccine misinformation, bureaucratic slowdowns across both government and industry, and the rise of variants that underscore the urgency of the situation, Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that to end the pandemic, we must work together to equip every nation with equitable vaccine access.
“Our conversations with her have been as informative as they are energizing. This is partly because, despite the challenges, she knows how to get things done—even between those who don’t always agree—and does so with grace and a smile that warms the coldest of rooms.
“The fragility of our world right now cannot be overstated. Just over a quarter of the nearly 8 billion global population is fully vaccinated.
“Achieving vaccine equity is a global duty of compassion for one another. Our hope is that guided by strong leaders like Ngozi, we can get there soon”, they wrote.
Relocation Of Insurgents, Wake-Up Call, CAN Warns
The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter, Revd Joseph Hayab, has described the alleged relocation of Boko Haram leaders to Southern Kaduna as a wake-up call on people of the area.
Hayabsaid that though the news of the alleged relocation was not new, government has not done enough to protect the people.
He claimed all the calls from voices of reason appeared not to have moved both the federal and state governments to rise to the occasion.
“The relocation of Boko Haram to Southern Kaduna is not new. Who are those that have been killing people indiscriminately in that area in the last few years? The church, SOKAPU and the people have been complaining about killings in Southern Kaduna but only fell on the deaf ear of those in authority.
“Therefore, the leaked document has simply confirmed our worries and shows that more days for killings of innocent citizens are coming unless the people take personal initiative to defend their lives and land. Our government has not done enough to convince us that they want to stop the killings going on all over the area.
“Now, we were being told that there is a leaked memo about Boko Haram when those in authority have always turned deaf ears to cries of our people when we complain about killers that people see every day. Boko Haram fleeing North-East to Southern Kaduna is simply a wake-up call for the Southern Kaduna people to rise to the occasion,” he said.
A leaked DSS memo had said insurgents were relocating from Sambisa forest in BornoState to Chikun LGA in Kaduna State.
The alert was in a leaked memo marked NSCDC/NHQ/INT&INVST/323/2021, dated September 9, 2021, and signed by the Acting Deputy Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Intelligence and Investigation, B.O. Bassey.
The DSS, therefore, asked the civil defence to be on the alert.
“It has been uncovered, plans by senior Boko Haram fighter, Ibrahim (FNU) alongside his foot soldiers relocating from ‘Sambisa Forest in Borno State to Rijana Forest in ChikunLocal Government Area of Kaduna State with a view to joining their counterpart under the leadership of one AdamuYunusu (aka Saddiqu).
“In light of the above, you are hereby directed to step up surveillance and intelligence gathering on the aforementioned areas and environs.”
Meanwhile, months after the crash involving a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) King Air 350 aircraft on May 21 at the Kaduna Civil Airport, Commissioner of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Akin Olateru, has submitted an interim report to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Amao, at his office at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
After the crash, the CAS directed that a joint investigative body consisting of NAF safety officers and the AIB be constituted to investigate the causes.
A joint statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, and General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, TunjiOketunbi, revealed that at this interim stage, a total of 27 initial findings and eight safety recommendations were made for the convening authority as well as other aviation-related agencies for immediate implementation.
They further disclosed that it is expected that the final report would contain the flight data recorder readout, the reviewed operator’s and service provider’s standard operating procedures as well as other detailed analyses.
While receiving the report, the CAS reiterated the main essence of activating the ‘joint investigative’ clause contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NAF and the AIB on July 1, 2020.
He said successful collaboration is a clear indication of the potency of collaboration in aircraft accident investigation, which must be encouraged.
Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has blamed Almajiri system in the North for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country.
The Chairman of CAN in Imo State, Rev. Eches Divine Eches, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, ahead of the organisation’s 45th anniversary and Founder’s Day billed to hold today in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
According to him, banditry and kidnapping are increasing because the authorities have failed to pay more attention to the critical factors behind the widespread insecurity in the country.
Eches also expressed concern over Sheikh Ahmed Gumi’s links with the bandits terrorising the North-West region and the alleged helplessness of the government to arrest and caution him for his many ‘unguarded utterances’ about their activities.
He said, “You can’t have Almajiri system of life and government in the last 40 years in our nation bringing up people without any trace to families, hometowns or nationalities.
“They are scattered all over the street, without you knowing that someday they will leave the street and go to the bush where they will begin to do the trade of kidnapping.
“Also, you can’t, in any sane nation, have the likes of Gumi, a religious scholar, going about promoting banditry and you don’t think that this will continue. Yet, that is what we are seeing today. We are not seeing anything more than what we have planted.
“We allowed this thing (insecurity) to continue and it is now going to consume the nation, if drastic measures are not put in place to take them (Almajiri) out of the streets, give them a sense of belonging, put them in school, and help them realise their potentials.
“These bandits we find today were the Almajiri who used to be in front of our houses and begging for food.
“We are praying and that is why God is still sustaining our nation. I trust God will continue to sustain us in Jesus name.”
On CAN’s 45th anniversary of its Founder’s Day, Eches said the programme was necessary to remember the labour of past heroes, including over 250 retired church leaders and indigent youth and women who were weak.
“They retired church leaders laboured to bring to bear what we are enjoying and working on today.
“We thought it very necessary to remember the weak among us as most of them are passing through terrible times, especially in such a time as this in our nation.
“So, we thought it very important that we will use this 45th anniversary of our Founders’ Day to celebrate such a people and remember their labours, and say to them ‘you deserve to be celebrated’ both by cash and gift,” he said.
- News5 days ago
Shell Trains 40 Imo Youths For ANOS Gas Project
- Business5 days ago
FG To Shut Ikorodu Terminal Over Explosive Overtime Cargoes
- Business5 days ago
Estate Surveyors Reject Housing Deficit Report
- Sports5 days ago
CAF CL: Why Akwa United Struggled Against CR Belouizdad
- Sports5 days ago
NFF, Premier Lotto To Seal Partnership Deal
- Sports5 days ago
Akwa United Can Stun CR Belouizdad In Algeria – Ikpeba
- Sports5 days ago
Remo Stars To Appoint Ogunbote Head Coach
- Editorial5 days ago
Slaughter Market Demolition: Kudos To RSG