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9th NASS: Omo-Agege’s Emergence, Desecration Of Senate -HURIWA

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A Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, yesterday, called for the impeachment of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the Deputy Senate President.
It said the credibility of the 9th Senate would be eroded if Omo-Agege was not impeached, adding that the National Assembly would remain a “mere political circus ring and a charade even.”
HURIWA stated this while describing the election of Senator Omo-Agege as the Deputy Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Representatives as a desecration of the legislative arm of government when the duo is “yet to fully and transparently clear their names against very damaging allegations of misdemeanour and fraud.”
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the Rights group insisted that the election of the duo was a sacrilege on the parliament.
The statement reads: “HURIWA described their election as a desecration of the central law-making organ of government with lasting consequences on the moral justifications of the legislation to be churned out from the 9th session of the National Assembly and constitute also a grave sacrilege on the parliament because of the hovering doubts that will linger in the minds of decent persons globally about the ethical challenges that confronted the duo which were never treated or resolved to the satisfaction of the principle of rule of law.
“We also condemn the All Progressives Congress(APC) for insisting on foisting the duo of Omo-Agege and Gbajabiamila which offends section 15 (5) of the Nigerian Constitution which states that the Nigerian State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”
The Rights group said it was the “peak of corruption that two persons with questions to answer which in some cases borders of alleged criminal conducts of fraud and aiding and abetting the criminal invasion of the Senate and the violent theft of the Mace, the symbol of authority of the Senate, just as the group said the emergence of these two persons as Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives smacks of irresponsibility and crass insensitivity to the opinions of millions of the Citizens.”
Speaking specifically on the emergence of senator Omo-Agege as deputy senate president even after he was indicted by the 8th session of the National Assembly over his alleged role in the theft of the Senate mace by suspected armed hoodlums, HURIWA stated that the credibility and integrity of the Senate has been eroded and massively damaged irretrievably unless senator Omo-Agege is impeached from the high office of Deputy Senate President.
HURIWA said, “called on the Senate to impeach Senator Omo-Agege from the office of Deputy Senate President,” stressing that “so long as Omo-Agege remains the Deputy Senate President, the 9th session of the National will remain a mere political circus ring and a charade even as any laws emanating from such a body will have little or no credibility.
“We invite the senators to take a good look at the preponderance of overwhelming rejection of the election of someone who disrespected the constituted authority of the 8th session of the senate when he was suspended by the leadership of the then senate in session only for him to now emerge as deputy senate president. “This is comedy taken too far and will water-down the respect the rest of the world would have on our senate. What this action conveys to Nigerian youngsters is that it pays to misbehave and disobey constituted authority. This election of both Senator Omo-Agege and tje allegedly discredited lawyer Femi Gbajabiamila if allowed to remain will amount to the Canonisation of Rascality and Misconduct”.
The statement added: “It would be recalled that the National Assembly joint ad hoc committee recommended the immediate suspension of the senator representing Delta Central, OvieOmo-Agege, for 180 legislative days over the theft of the Senate mace. The recommendation was made by the committee investigating the invasion of the Senate at the conclusion of their investigation. The committee also recommended that Senator Omo-Agege be prosecuted alongside six other suspects who allegedly accompanied him into the chamber on the day of the incident. They are to be prosecuted for treasonable felony, assault on National Assembly members of staff, conspiracy to steal and eventual theft of the Senate Mace.
“The committee also recommends a total review of the National Assembly’s security architecture. These steps were never taken by the law enforcement agency under the direct control of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration because Senator Omo-Agege was then positioned as the chief loyalist of the Executive at war with the then-Senate President BukolaSaraki. “
HURIWA argued that the emergence of someone with this kind of disciplinary record as Deputy Senate president has graphically depicted Nigeria as a banana republic whereby misconduct is rewarded.
Besides, the Rights group recalled that for many years, “Gbajabiamila, has been accused of perpetrating fraud in the United States where he obtained a law degree and where he practised until his return to Nigeria to join partisan politics from the platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD).”

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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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