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NEC Approves Umuahia For NUJ 7th National Delegates’ Confab

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The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has approved October 4, 2021 for its 7th Triennial National Delegates Congress slated for Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
It has also set up an 8-member Electoral Committee with National Officer and Deputy Editor of News Express, Garba Muhammad, as chairman.
Muhammad also chaired the recent 3rd National Conference of the NUJ in Port Harcourt, last June.
Abia State Council Chairman of NUJ, Victor Ndukwe, would serve as secretary of the committee.
Other members of the committee include, NAWOJ National President, Ladi Bala; FCT Council Chairman, Ogbeche Emmanuel; Cross River Council Chairman, Udu Victor; Sokoto State Council Chairman, Isa A. Shuni; Secretary, Ondo State Council, Prince Leke Adegbite; and Secretary, Borno State Council, Mohammed Ibrahim.
The composition of the electoral committee was one of the highlights of a communique signed by Secretary, Zone A, Abdullahi Isma Yamadi; Chairman, Ondo Council, Adetona Aderoboye; and Secretary, Abia Council, Adaeze Ralph Igbokwe; and NUJ National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman Usman, after the union’s NEC meeting in Abuja, last Saturday.
The communique stated that sportswriters who dissociated selves from the NUJ should henceforth cease to enjoy patronage of the union, including using the facilities of NUJ anywhere in the country.
It would be recalled that the NUJ 6th Triennial Delegates’ Conference was held in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, on October 4-5, 2018.
The current Central Working Committee (CWC) was sworn in on October 5, 2018 for a tenure which will come to an end on October 5 this year.
The CWC comprises the National President, Deputy President, National Treasurer, National Financial Secretary, Zonal Vice President and Zonal Secretaries of NUJ.
Appointed positions in the CWC include the National Secretary, the two Assistant National Secretaries and other national officers, while the national chairmen of the two NUJ affiliates (SWAN and NAWOJ) elected from their associations membership are also automatic members of the CWC.
NEC in its bid to resolve the factionalisation of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) resolved that “only sportswriters who pledge allegiance to the State Councils of the NUJ at the State levels would henceforth be recognised.”
As safety and security of journalists have become priority issues, NEC expressed worry over the high rate of intimidation and attacks on journalists in the country by both agents of the state and freelance actors.
It thus charged the Federal Government to urgently wade in and avert its escalation.
NEC also appealed to the Federal Government to dialogue with resident doctors to end the ongoing industrial action which has already subjected many Nigerians to untold hardship.
It equally called on the Federal Government to return to the negotiation table with ASUU to prevent an impending strike.
According to the communiqué, “NEC supports the position of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria – BON calling for a complete review of the digitisation process specifically in the area of legal framework. It notes that the only document available remains the Government White paper of 2012 which does not capture contemporary technological development and it is deficient in addressing decade long issues that have emerged since its issuance.
“NEC notes with concern the high rate of insecurity across the country and calls on the Federal Government to overhaul the security apparatus with a view to combatting incessant killings, kidnappings, banditry and other criminal activities ravaging the country. Efforts should also be intensified to effect the release of 136 school pupils still in the kidnappers custody in Niger State without further delay.
“More importantly NEC encourages the Federal Government to make public the list of those sponsoring criminality in the country as earlier promised by the Attorney General of the Federation.
“As a further step towards improving the security situation in the Country, NEC adds its voice to calls that State Governments should be allowed to establish state police to complement the existing security architecture.
“NEC calls on the Federal Government to summon an urgent conference of stakeholders to map out strategies to avert the impending food crisis in the country, as a result of insecurity.
“The poor state of Federal Roads across the country is affecting the economy and wellbeing of Nigeria, and NEC after reviewing the situation, calls on the Federal Government to prioritise the construction of additional rail lines and rehabilitation of more roads for effective transportation.
“NEC expresses regret that more state governments are now unable to pay salaries of workers as and when due, including pensions and gratuities.”
The full text of the communiqué read, “Communioue issued at the end of the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Union Of Journalists (NUJ) held at the NUJ Press Centre, Utako, Abuja, August 7, 2021.
“The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists held its meeting in Abuja with all the National Officers as well as Chairmen and Secretaries of State Councils in attendance, and came up with the following resolutions:
“NEC supports the position of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria – BON calling for a complete review of the digitisation process specifically in the area of legal framework. It notes that the only document available remains the Government White paper of 2012 which does not capture contemporary technological development and it is deficient in addressing decade long issues that have emerged since its issuance.
“NEC notes with concern the high rate of insecurity across the country and calls on the Federal Government to overhaul the security apparatus with a view to combatting incessant killings, kidnappings, banditry and other criminal activities ravaging the country.
“Efforts should also be intensified to effect the release of 136 school pupils still in the kidnappers custody in Niger State without further delay. More importantly NEC encourages the Federal Government to make public the list of those sponsoring criminality in the country as earlier promised by the Attorney General of the Federation.
“As a further step towards improving the security situation in the Country, State Governments should be allowed to establish state police to complement the existing security architecture.
“NEC calls on the Federal Government to summon an urgent conference of stakeholders to map out strategies to avert the impending food crisis in the country, as a result of insecurity.
“The poor state of Federal Roads across the country is affecting the economy and wellbeing of Nigeria, and NEC after reviewing the situation, calls on the Federal Government to prioritise the construction of additional rail lines and rehabilitation of more roads for effective transportation.
“NEC expresses regret that more state Governments are now unable to pay salaries of workers as and when due, including pensions and gratuities. NEC calls for urgent measures to check this dangerous trend in addition to creating more employment opportunities for the teeming youth to guard against restiveness.
“NEC believes that all State Governments should be put to task in terms of payment of the national minimum wage, while efforts should be intensified towards the implementation of new salary structure for media workers in Nigeria.
“Safety and security of journalists have become priority issues and NEC expresses worry over the high rate of intimidation and attacks on Journalists in the country by both Agents of the State and Freelance Actors. It thus charges the Federal Government to urgently wade in and avert its escalation.
“NEC appeals to the Federal Government to dialogue with Resident doctors to end the ongoing industrial action which has already subjected many Nigerians to untold hardship. The FG should also return to the negotiation table with ASUU to prevent an impending strike.
“NEC in session calls on State Governments to prioritise on projects that have direct relevance to the yearnings and aspirations of their people, rather than embarking on White Elephant projects.
“That Sportswriters who dissociate selves from the NUJ should henceforth cease to enjoy patronage of the Union including using the facilities of NUJ anywhere in the country. Only sportswriters who pledge allegiance to the State Councils of the NUJ at the State levels would henceforth be recognised.
“NEC in session has approved the 4th of October 2021 for its 7th Triennial National Delegates’ Conference slated for Umuahia, Abia State, and set up an Electoral Committee with National Officer, Garba Muhammad as Chairman”, it added.

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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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