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APC Plots To Vest Power To Constitute Appeal Tribunal On CJN, Wike Alleges

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the All Progressives Congress (APC) intended to use ongoing constitutional amendment to vest power on Chief Justice of Nigeria to set up panel to hear appeal from election tribunal.

Concerned about this inordinate scheme, the governor urged  members of the National Assembly to shun partisan politics and primordial sentiments, and work for the interest of Nigerians.

Wike made this assertion when the Senate Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendment for the South-South zone led by Senator George Sekibo, paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

The governor asserted that he has uncovered plot by the APC to hide under the guise of constitutional amendment to deprive the President of the Court of Appeal the power to constitute a panel to hear appeal cases from election petitions tribunal.

He further frowned at the attempt by the ruling party to also use the Electoral Act Amendment  process to deny State High Courts from hearing pre-election matters.

According to him, the APC was scheming to vest power to exclusively hear such matters on Federal High Court.

Wike emphasized that it was important at this crucial period of the nation’s history, that the National Assembly should use the opportunity to amendment to correct a lot of anomaly in the 1999 Constitution.

He observed that though no constitution can be described as perfect, concerted efforts must be made by federal lawmaker to deliver a better constitution for Nigeria.

Wike urged the members of the National Assembly from the South-South geopolitical zone to canvass for an upward review of the 13 per cent derivation to 50 per cent.

He further tasked them to press for the devolution of power, creation of state police and  strengthening of  the federal character.

According to him, the prevailing situation where only persons from certain section of the country are appointed to sensitive positions is unacceptable.

“I think this is an opportunity for members of the National Assembly to say they are working for the interest of Nigeria and not for the party they belong. Because at the end of the day, if anything happens to the country, you will all be affected.”

The Rivers State governor called for the creation of additional state in the South-East geopolitical zone in order to correct the current imbalance in the six geopolitical zones.

“There is no way the South-East should continue to have only five states. It is very unfair. Since other regions have six states, South-East should be made to have six states.”

The Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Amendment of the Constitution, which covers Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River, Senator George Sekibo, said taht the National Assembly has virtually completed the first processes of the review of the 1999 Constitution.

“The House of Representatives and the Senate alone cannot amend the Constitution of the great country, so, we have come to reach out to our people to collate their views, and inputs they will make in the Constitution.

“The Constitution actually is supposed to be a law that is made by the people, and so, we are here to collate views from major stakeholders in these three states and when we get back to Abuja, we will see how we can harmonize their views and those of other stakeholders already sent to us.”

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Sanwo-Olu Signs Anti-Open Grazing Bill Into Law

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, signed the bill to prohibit open cattle grazing and trespass of cattle on land in the state into laws.
With the law, Lagos has joined some states in southern Nigeria that have anti-open grazing laws in place.
The law is coming more than two weeks after the September 1 deadline set by the Southern Governors Forum for states.
The governor also signed the Lagos State Domestic And Sexual Violence Agency Bill, into Law.
Meanwhile, the state government has said it is committed to tackling the menace of drug abuse frontally to reduce the ravage among youths in the state.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Monday at the Lagos House, Ikeja, during a courtesy visit by the delegates of Anglican Communion Church of Nigeria, led by the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate, Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba.
Sanwo-Olu said his government was building a massive rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejirin to tackle drug abuse, adding that his administration would  partner with the Church to ensure that the people lived a better life.
He said governance started from the leadership of spiritual homes, noting that government and church can jointly build a community that would outlive all, while restating the commitment to improve the movement of people on road, water as well as building rail infrastructure to make Lagos a livable city.
Speaking earlier, Ndukuba thanked the governor for partnering with the church in the welfare of the people and commended him for his outstanding performance in tackling Covid-19. 
 Also present at the courtesy visit were the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tayo Ayinde, Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, among other dignitaries.

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Okowa Tasks NASS On True Federalism

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Delta  State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the National Assembly to embody in the 1999 Constitution being amended, true federalism and independence of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
The governor made the call on Monday at a nationwide sensitisation on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
He explained that an independent RMAFC would carry out its functions independently, including laying its proposals directly before the National Assembly for approval.
According to the governor, the current practice where recommendations of the commission are presented to the President has led to the non-review of the revenue allocation formula since 1992 as no President demonstrated the political will to forward the amendments to the parliament.
He commended RMAFC for ongoing sensitisation of the states before a zonal exercise where recommendations from the states would be received.
“For quite some time a lot of talks have gone on in the revenue allocation and it’s very unfortunate that in this country we are still operating a revenue allocation formula that was actually reviewed in 1992.
“As we look forward to a new revenue allocation formula, we hope that you come out with something that is fair, justifiable and equitable.
“But, the challenge is that when you have done all this work, you are going to eventually, by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lay this before the President and the President ought to lay it before the National Assembly.
“There is a challenge there and there has always been a challenge there, because what is there in our laws that will ensure that the President lays the recommendations of RMAFC before the National Assembly?
“We hope that the National Assembly takes a look at this amendment because RMAFC is supposed to be an independent commission, a commission on behalf of all federating units and component parts of the federation.
“They cannot tie your hands; the constitution ought to be amended to enable chairman of RMAFC to directly lay before the national assembly whatever review it has come up with so that nobody stands it down,’’ he said.
Okowa stated that the National Assembly must do what was right because “a nation is a nation.

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Reps Query Presidential Committee Over Assets Seized From Past Leaders

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The House of Representatives on Monday ordered the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) on Landed Property to produce reports of all assets seized from former Nigerian leaders.
Members were more particular about the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, whose property and money were recovered by the Federal Government. 
 The chairman, ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned Property, Ademora Kuye, said the House wanted a report on all assets seized from Nigerian leaders in and out of Nigeria, particularly Abacha.
He said this when the Executive Secretary of PIC appeared before the committee in Abuja.
“We need to know the state of those property and to also know if the property have titles of deed,’’ Mr Kuye said.
The committee also queried the sale of federal government’s assets held in trust by the PIC.
Mr Kuye said the committee discovered that some of the property the PIC claimed to have sold were either not sold or were not paid for, contrary to claims made by the PIC.
He added that some of the seized houses which the PIC claimed were vacant were still being occupied.
He directed the PIC to furnish the House of Representatives committee with up-to-date reports of federal government’s assets sold, amount realised from the sales, those yet to be sold and those under litigation.
Mr Kuye also asked that the PIC must state the amount of money remitted to the federal government from the sales with evidence of remittance, adding that all assets pointed out to the committee but not included in its first report should be forwarded to the House of Representatives committee.
Responding to Mr Kuye’s submissions, the Executive Secretary, PIC, Bala Samid, stated that some of the people occupying government quarters had refused to vacate them.
He added that as soon as the occupants were approached for payment or to vacate the houses they went to court to obtain injunctions restraining the PIC.
“We approached the federal government to report them and the federal government said that we should give them time”.

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