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Senate Kicks Against Removal Of Argungun As NDE Boss

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Nigerian Senate has expressed displeasure over the removal of Dr. Nasir Ladan Argungun as the Director-General, National Directorate for Employment (NDE) and  urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider  the action with a view to reverse it .
The lawmakers also urged  President Buhari  to direct an investigation into causes of  the frictions   between the sacked  DG and  the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Kayamo.
The Senate’s resolution  was sequel  to the consideration of a motion sponsored by. Senator Ibrahim Hadejia ( Jigawa State ), which came to the floor under, Orders 42 and 52 of Senate  rules
Senator Hadeja in his motion  said it was a matter of concern to  the upper legislative chamber rover media reports of the removal of Argungun as the NDE director general as announced  by the  Presidency on December 8.
Though Senator Hadejia noted that it was within the executive  powers of the  President to appoint and  remove  any  of his appointees, he informed his colleagues of the controversy surrounding Argungun’s removal from office.
He specifically pointed out that the Presidential directive on the removal  gave room for speculations in some  quarters that some unpatriotic people were out to undermine the laudable programme of the federal government.
Senator Hadejia said the removal was capable of creating needles and avoidable leadership crisis at the NDE at this critical time that the federal government was leveraging on public works programme to address issues of unemployment and youth empowerment in the country.
According to him, it is in the overriding public interest to reconsider and rescind the said Presidential directive on the removal to ensure leadership stability in the agency.
This, he said maintaining the the Directorate’s  leadership  would  aid and sustain smooth implementation of jobs creation, skills acquisition and the federal  government’s SPW programme aimed at benefiting the youths, many of whom were unemployed.
Contributing, Senator Rochas Okorocha, (APC Imo West) advised the Senate to apply wisdom in handling this the matter given the political and economic situations in the  country.
“Let us adopt a non formal method of resolving  these issue and not create more conflicts among arms of governments,” he stressed.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said his understanding of the motion was that  the National Assembly was in support of the  NDE programme.
Lawan said the leadership of NDE, under the sacked director general had successfully embarked on a pilot implementation of the federal government’s SPW progra-mme in six states.
He stressed the need for solution to the issue so that the minister and the NDE boss could work together harmoniously, warning that the change in leadership of the agency at  the moment could derail the genuine intentions of the programme.

 

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Senators Fault Buhari’s Planned Farm Settlements

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Some senators have expressed concerns over plans by the regime of President. Muhammadu Buhari, to establish farm settlements in each of the 108 senatorial districts in Nigeria.
They noted that any arrangement to acquire land by the Federal Government at the moment without giving details of what it would be used for, might face stiff resistance from various communities.
The President had last month, directed the National Agricultural Land Development Authority to set up the integrated farm estates in 108 senatorial districts nationwide.
Already, the policy has been greeted with criticisms from the leadership of the various ethnic groups in the middle belt, and southern part of the country, describing it as an attempt in disguise, to create grazing areas for cattle.
The Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District, Matthew Urhoghide, said the Federal Government should give details of the project before approaching state governments for land allocation.
He said, “We are in the Senate to represent our people. I know what my people want
“What we quarrel against is open grazing; we are not against ranching. We are not saying that a Fulani man that has a herd of cattle cannot come to the South to do the business of ranching but he cannot come to carry out open grazing.
“Grazing has two effects. It leads to wanton destruction of farmland. You cannot use animal husbandry to destroy crop farming. There are also criminal cases associated with it including murder.
“If the Federal Government is coming to get land in my state for ranching, it is okay because we need beef, which would be richer, when it is from the ranching system.
“However, the government should make its intention very clear on the policy to avoid major clashes and crisis.”
Similarly, Senator Abba Moro, representing Benue South in the red chamber said government could make arrangements for herders to do the business of ranching but not at the  expense of the farmers.
He advised the Federal Government to go to the drawing board and come up with a modern arrangement to make ranching the way to go.
He said, “When government policies are viewed with suspicion, when citizens lack trust in government policies, then something is wrong.
“Until we address the root causes of conflicts between herders and farmers, and genuinely come out with the right way to go through dialogue, any policy that is thrown at the citizens will be looked at with suspicion which would cause some level of tension.

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Senator Wants Improved Network For Results Transmission

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The Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, says  Nigeria requires 95 per cent of national network coverage to enable electronic transmission of election results in the country.
Kalu said this in an interview with The Tide source yesterday in Abuja.
Recall that 52 senators on July 15 voted against electronic transmission of results in the forthcoming general election while 28 voted for and 28 absentees.
The senators insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission should be compelled to seek clearance from Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) while the National Assembly would have to approve the verdict of NCC.
Kalu, insisted the current network coverage was inadequate.
“I have never been against transmission of results , I only said we don’t have adequate coverage where we live,this is the issue.
“We have coverage, but it is not adequate.
‘Like Abia North Senatorial District where I come from, there is no adequate coverage, may be 43 per cent coverage, so how are we going to do that.
“ I believe in electronic transmission,but I want to quickly urge the NCC to deploy their technology to ensure wider coverage; I believe in that process because it is transparent.
“ I don’t want to listen to officials who want to buy equipment and make commissions, I am telling myself the truth, if we even have a coverage of 95 per cent it will be okay, but we have below 50 per cent in the entire country.
“I am not talking about my constituency.
“ It wasn’t a party decision to vote against e transmission and not a clique decision, it was out of my conscience.
“ I can only do what I will do that will benefit all Nigerians,” Kalu said.

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Igbo Stakeholders Decry Absence Of S’East Govs At Forum

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The absence of four Governors of the South-East in the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting held last Thursday in Enugu has been strongly condemned by members of the Concerned Igbo Stake-holders Forum (CISF). 
The leader of the group, Mr Chukwuma Okenwa told newsmen in Enugu that there was no justifiable reason that would be enough for these governors to be absent in a meeting of such magnitude.
According to him, it was wrong particularly coming at a time when the region is battling socio-economic and security concerns stemming from the sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
His words: “The absence of the Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Imo and Anambra States leaves a lot to question the commitment of these governors to the growth and advancement of the South-East in missing a crucial meeting held within their geopolitical zone.
He further described as very disturbing the conspicuous absence of the Anambra Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, or a representative from the state at the meeting. 
Okenwa said that the body language of the South-East governors in recent times leaves no one to doubt that these governors have magnified their interest above that of the region and Ndi-Igbo in general.
“Their gaze at the forthcoming elections in 2023 is becoming an unbearable distraction for them in delivering their mandate to the people,” he also lamented.
The group, therefore beckoned on Ndi-Igbo, regardless of political party affiliation, to unite and formidably negotiate a favourable space in the political scheme of things.
According to him, when this is done, we will ensure an unhindered growth and development of all Igbos, he added.

By: Canice Amadi, Enugu

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