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PDP Links Suicide, Vices To Buhari …Says Aisha’s N500bn Fraud Claim On SIP Vindicates Party

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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday lamented what it identified as the escalated despondency, depression and misery in the country since the rigging of the 2019 presidential election.
The party stated this in reaction to the increase in the rate of suicide, youths’ desperation to travel abroad and other social vices since the conclusion of the 2019 presidential election.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the former ruling party charged Nigerians to “uphold and support one another in love, at this trying time to check the rising social degeneration in our nation, particularly acts of suicide.”
PDP described as a “national tragedy, the rising spate of suicides, slavery mission abroad, divorces, child abandonment and other social degeneration occasioned by the worsening economic hardship, poverty, hunger and rising insecurity under the incompetent, corrupt, divisive and manipulative All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
“Such social ills, which is a direct response to bad governance, occurs when citizens are overwhelmed by gloom, with no hope in sight, particularly after their majority vote for a new, purposeful and result-oriented President in the PDP candidate AtikuAbubakar, as expressed in the February 23 Presidential election, was subverted with brazen impunity.
“In the last few months, the news media has been awash with horrible reports of teenage suicide in our country.
“Banditry, insurgency, marauding, bloodletting and kidnapping with unmentionable ransoms, have almost become daily occurrences. Our citizenry is now battling with the worst kind of siege mentality.
“Constitutional violations, human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests, extra-judicial killings, assault on perceived dissenting voices and attempt at annexation of our institutions of democracy, particularly the judiciary, signposts a nation in dire strait.
“Misery has set in. This is evident in the shrinking of our nation’s Gross Domestic Produce (GDP) to 2.1percent in the first quarter of 2019.
“It is saddening that at the time Nigerians ought to be celebrating, they are rather forlorn, committing suicide and exiting the country in droves.
“Most Nigerians have become downhearted in the face of an administration that wrecked our once robust economy and divided our people; in the face of worsening joblessness, piling bills, hunger and diseases; in the face of incompetence, lies, and unfulfilled promises of free homes, monthly allowance to unemployed youth and the poor, bringing the naira to the same value as the US Dollar, creating of 5 million new jobs, ending of insurgency in three months and myriad of other false promises.
“Instead, what our nation has witnessed is an official entrenchment and elevation of incompetence, deceit, propaganda, failure and cabal mentality on the corridors of power; a situation where the only achievement is the foisting of economic recession and mortgaging of the future of our nation with the accumulation of N24.39 trillion debt, with no tangible project to show.
“It is instructive to state that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration has obstinately refused to allow any scrutiny of its books, knowing that they are catalogues of corruption, treasury looting, violations, impunity and acts that have brought our nation to its knees.”
The PDP however called on Nigerians not to despair but “stand firm in their collective determination to retrieve the stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal, so they can have an administration that truly cares for them and which has the competence to return our nation on her deserved path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha, has rubbished the N500billion Social Investment Programme of her husband’s administration, saying that it failed “woefully” in the North in particular.
Aisha, who hails from Adamawa State, said the situation in her home state, as far as the implementation was concerned, was pathetic.
She also cited Kano, a highly-populated northern state, as another example where she believed the programme failed, despite the huge funds the Federal Government budgeted for it.
The SIP is domiciled in the Office of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, but its direct implementation is done by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment, Mrs Maryam Uwais.
Mrs Buhari bared her feelings, last Saturday in Abuja during an interactive programme she organised for women at the Presidential Villa.
For instance, she disclosed that though Uwais informed her that 30,000 women would be beneficiaries in Adamawa State, four years had passed and there was no evidence that the SA kept her word.
The President’s wife spoke in detail, expressing her disappointment.
She went on, “Concerning the N500bn voted for SIP, that was part of 2015 campaigns where they promised to give out N10,000, feed pupils in primary schools and give N5,000 to the poorest of the poor.
“The SSA to the President on Social Investment is a lady from Kano and I am sure that my husband decided to put somebody from Kano because of the population and political impact it made. I have never asked how the money is being used or is being given out.
“I met Barrister (one of the President’s aides on SIP) once, and he promised me that for my state (Adamawa), we should get 30,000 women to be given N10,000. Up till now, I haven’t heard from him.
“I don’t want to raise the alarm that my state does not benefit from it, where the SGF (Secretary to the Government of the Federation) came from; I kept quiet because I don’t want people to say that I talk too much. Recently, I saw a 74-year-old man selling petty things in Kano, I asked him how much is his capital, he told me between N3,000 and N4,000. Don’t forget that we have campaigned to give the poorest of the poor N5,000 every month.
“So, I don’t know where is the social investment… Maybe, it worked out in some states. In my own state, only a local government benefited out of the 22. I didn’t ask what happened and I don’t want to know, but it failed woefully in Kano, it’s not a good sign and it’s not a good thing.
“We have a lot of women that do business locally due to the cultural thing in the North; they are at home doing their business. Some are millionaires, some have thousands of naira, they need the assistance but they do not get it. Most northern women do not belong to any market association.
“I was expecting the N500billion to be utilised in different methods in the North for the aim to be achieved. I don’t know the method they used, but most of the northern states do not get it. My state does not get it.
“How many of you (women in the hall) get it in your state? My state did not benefit from it.”
The women responded by saying that they got nothing in the past four years.
She argued that the method employed in implementing the programme in the North was faulty, a reason she believed it failed there.
“It worked out well in a situation whereby they have market associations but I was thinking different methods should be used in the North”, the President’s wife stated.
Amid applause from women in the hall, Mrs Buhari also criticised the $16million counterpart fund said to have been used so far on procurement of mosquito nets.
She noted, “I have heard about mosquito nets, Nigeria paid its counterpart fund, $16million. I asked them to give my own share of the net to send it to my village people. I didn’t get it.
“They have spent $16million in buying mosquito nets, I did not get it, maybe some people have got it. But I feel that, that’s my personal opinion, $16million is enough to fumigate mosquitoes in Nigeria. That’s my opinion.”
However, she commended the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, for the initiative to include women in the inauguration programme of her husband for his second term on May 29.
She stated further, “I will also like to use the opportunity to thank the SGF for including women in the inaugural activities of Mr President; this is what is called next level. They didn’t allow us to participate in politics but now they have started giving us hope that we can be involved in certain things.”
On the anti-drug committee chaired by a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Buba Marwa, President’s wife recalled how she practically made herself a member to ensure that things went well.
She added, “I also managed to put myself as member of the committee and the wife of the Vice-President. The wife of the Vice-President (Dolapo Osinbajo) has worked very well; it took her one year to go round schools in Abuja because of the level of abuse. Many girls don’t go to school because they are afraid of being raped while returning from school or when their parents are away.
“You know most of their parents are farmers. The revelation is beyond comment. I asked her to publicise her discovery but she didn’t; if she had done so, it would have served as a lesson.
“Over N12billion has been released by the President to take care of trauma cases across the country. Can you please monitor the money? The ministers are going very soon and the money is being released.”
On the 2019 polls, she called on the All Progressives Congress to refund the money female contestants spent to purchase nomination forms since the women ended up being marginalised.

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Court Orders FG To Pay Rivers $1,114,551,610; A’Ibom $2,258,411,586

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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.

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Declare State Of Emergency On National Assets, Experts Tell Buhari

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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.

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Flood Ravages NASS As Senate Confirms New COAS

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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

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