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THE STATES

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FCT

Private security guards are to benefit from the NHIS scheme as part of their welfare through the operators of Private Guards Companies (PCGs).

Mr Paul Ayeni, the Commandant, Private Guards Company (PGC) in the headquarters of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), disclosed this recently in Abuja in an interview with newsmen.

He said that the corps was also interested in seeing that guards were covered by other insurance policies, noting that the welfare of the guards was another concern of the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Dr Ade Abolurin.

Ayeni said the number of PGCs rose to 507 in 2009, noting, however, that some were dormant in their operations.

He said that 400 licence applications were pending, stressing that those companies that were not functioning in compliance with the guidelines of the NSCDC would soon get their licence withdrawn.

Kaduna

The Federal University Pensioners’ Association, Ahmadu Bello University branch, has advised lovers of the institution to join hands toward progress, peace and tranquility in the institution.

A statement signed by the National President of the union, Dr Ayuba Kura, and made available to newsmen in Zaria on Sunday urged those it described as “trouble-makers” to allow peace to reign.

It noted: “the association strongly warns those who may like to cause trouble to stay away, as members of the association and the Samaru community will not fold their arms and allow them to cause confusion.

“We will not allow detractors to have their day in bringing our great university down for their selfish interest.

“All detractors who do not want peace in ABU are advised to leave the institution before they are fished out.”

It appealed to unions in the institution to support the new vice chancellor for meaningful development.

 

Kano

Former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji.Adamu Fika, has called for a return to the Parliamentary system of Government, to enhance democracy in the country.

Fika made the suggestion recently in Kano at the 27th Malam Aminu Kano annual memorial lecture, organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training, Bayero University (BUK), Kano.

“The survival of Nigeria as a genuine democracy with effective opposition, concern for the rule of law and the welfare and wellbeing of the ordinary citizens and residents lies in our return to Parliamentary system,” he said.

The retired technocrat, who spoke on “The Role of The Opposition In Consolidating Democracy In Nigeria”, pointed out that the system provided for effective opposition and real checks and balances in the polity.

According to Fika, the system also makes it possible for “the ordinary grass-root electorate to have a say in the selection of Ministers”.

Katsina

Sandamu Local Government Council says it is constructing a multi-million naira water project that would address the perennial water problem being faced by people of the area.

The council chairman, Alhaji Nasiru Ibrahim who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Sandamu recently, said that the decision to embark on the project was to address the aged-long water scarcity in Sandamu.

He said three boreholes had been drilled, pumping machines procured and an under-ground tank had been constructed in Kagare village under the project, while pipes were now being laid to link up the town from the water source.

The chairman said that the project was expected to be completed by the end of next month.

According to him, the council has been without adequate water supply for about 20 years, hence the resolve of the local council to address the problem.

 

Kogi

The Kogi Government says it will soon set machinery in motion for the elevation of the annual Ovia Osese Cultural Festival to an international tourist event.

The state’s governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, stated this in Ogori, near Lokoja at that annual celebration of the Ovia Osese festival.

He said government would partner with other stakeholders, including elders of the community and the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to achieve the aim.

Idris described the festival as an annual rallying point for all Ogori sons and daughters that could be exploited to create employment and transform the socio-economic life of the people.

Idris, who was represented at the event by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Bala Haruna, commended the people of Ogori for upholding the age-long tradition which he said, had brought them fame and honour.

Lagos

NAFDAC has seized fake drugs and unregistered products worth N260 million that was being smuggled into Nigeria through Seme border.

Dr Paul Orhil, the Director General of NAFDAC, told newsmen in Lagos that the seizure was made at Okokomaiko in Ojo, Lagos during Easter.

Orhil said the culprits wanted to take advantage of the Easter holiday to bring in the illicit products.

“NAFDAC officials, in conjunction with officers of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), intercepted seven trailers loaded with assorted unregistered products worth N200 million,” he said, adding that the interception was made possible by agency’s intelligence network.

“NAFDAC officials were tipped -off by patriotic Nigerians and my men swung into action to carry out the arrest,” he said.

Orhil also said that in another operation at Okokomaiko, also during Easter, enforcement officers intercepted a 3×20 feet container load of suspected fake drugs, worth N60 million

The Tide’s source reports that the NAFDAC, Seme Area Command, headed by Mr Stanley Atabor, recently uncovered the routes being used by smugglers to bring in fake drugs.

Niger

Scores of people were injured on Sunday in Kutigi, the headquarters of Lavun Local Government Area of Niger, when violence erupted at a political rally, organised in honour of Sen. Zainab Kure.

Kure represents Niger South Senatorial District in the Senate.

The Tide’s correspondent reports that the violence erupted, sequel to a song which allegedly lambasted the people of the area.

The source also reports that no sooner had the singer, Alhaji Babaminin Waka, finished his song than youths of the area started beating all those at the scene.

It was gathered that the youths were angry when the singer said that the people should go and look for a way of making money for themselves.

This led to the abrupt cancellation of the event which was meant to precede the inspection of some personal projects, executed by the senator in the constituency.

Osun

Women in Ila-Orangun in Osun have threatened to go naked and make the town ungovernable through violent demonstrations if the court judgment which terminated the appointment of the Orangun of Ila on Friday was enforced.

The women, who were led by the Iyalode of Ila, Chief Funmilayo Oyebode, on a solidarity visit to the dethroned monarch, Oba Wahab Oyedotun, in his palace on Sunday, said the judgment was an abomination and unprecedented in the history of the town.

They added that Oyedotun’s reign since 2003 had brought immeasurable growth and development to the town.

Meanwhile, the deposed monarch has said that he remained the traditional ruler of Ila-Orangun in spite of the judgment of Justice R.A Siyanbola of the state’s High Court that dethroned him.

Oba Oyedotun said this while addressing newsmen in his palace on Sunday.

Oyo

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, and some Nigerian agricultural research bodies have released two new cowpea varieties to raise production and improve farmers’ incomes.

The IITA said in a statement that the varieties were released just as the country’s researchers were finalising plans to attend the Fifth World Cowpea Research Conference taking place from September 27 to Octember 1 in Dakar to discuss cowpea research.

The statement was signed and issued by the institute’s Corporate Communications Officer (West Africa), Mr Godwin Atser.

The new varieties, known as IT89KD-288 and IT89KD-391, were developed by scientists at the IITA in collaboration with the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; the University of Maiduguri and the Agricultural Development Programmes in Borno, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina states.

Both varieties have proved to be superior to the current improved ones being cultivated.

Yobe

Yobe government has announced new water and sanitation policy to ensure adequate water and sanitation at affordable cost and sustainable manner.

The Water Resources Commissioner, Alhaji Barau Sugum, told in Damaturu on Sunday that a draft policy had been submitted to the governor for review and ratification.

He said the major component of the new policy was the elimination of overlapping functions among the line ministries and water agencies.

Barau added that the policy also drew the lines between service delivery, regulation and supervision of water and sanitation programmes.

He explained that the policy had proposed autonomy for water agencies like the water corporation, rural water supply and sanitation agencies, especially on revenue generation, appointments and payment of entitlements.

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NBA Chieftain Tasks Lawyers On Fairness, Social Justice

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As the world celebrated the World Day of Social Justice yesterday, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Remuneration Committee, Mr Afam Osigwe (SAN), has urged lawyers to ensure justice at all times.
Osigwe added that Nigerian lawyers must reflect on their call as ministers of justice, and protect the same at a cost.
The World Day of Social Justice is celebrated annually on February 20.
Its observance aims to do justice and to remind us each year of the need to build fairer and more equitable societies.
In a statement yesterday, Osigwe harped on the need for lawyers to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and fairness within their society.
“Social justice is not just a concept; it is a call to action that requires our unwavering commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of all individuals, irrespective of their background or circumstances.
“As aspiring leaders and contributors to the legal landscape, we have a unique opportunity to effect positive change.
“Let us strive to bridge gaps, break down barriers, and create an inclusive legal environment that resonates with the principles of social justice.
“Our actions, both individually and collectively, have the power to shape a more equitable future for all.
“As we mark the World Day of Social Justice, we must, therefore, reflect on our collective responsibility as legal professionals to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and fairness within our society,” he said
Osigwe noted that the legal profession plays a pivotal role in shaping the legal landscape, adoing that as the bar embarks on this journey, it must stand united in our commitment to promoting fairness, equity, and the rule of law.
“Through continued education, advocacy, and engagement with our communities, we can contribute meaningfully to the advancement of social justice principles in Nigeria,” he said

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Abia Govt Flays Butchers’ Protest Over Alleged Eviction Rumour

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The Abia State Government has formally reacted to the street protest by the Umuahia Butchers Association over an unfounded speculation that it plans to relocate the abattoir to another area.
The government described the protest as ill-conceived, saying that there was no truth in the speculation.
The butchers took to the streets of the state capital last Thursday over an alleged plot by the government “to forcefully evict them” from the abattoir located at Mgbarakuma Community, near Umuahia.
They alleged that the plot was being hatched by the community and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Navy Capt. Macdonald Uba.
The protesters, who marched through the major streets of Umuahia, ended up at the Government House in Umuahia, displaying placards with different inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Save us, our governor”, “Ministry of Lands, Garki land is not for sale, please leave us”, “Abia people, slaughter Garki is not for sale”, amongst others.
In an interview with newsmen, the President of the association, Chief Ngozi Williams, said that the abattoir had existed at Mgbarakuma since 1994.
According to Williams, the host community had, in the last two years, made several attempts to force them out of the abattoir.
He said: “The community had gone as far as selling some parcels of land that make up the abbatoir to different individuals.
“We were relocated from the old Garki in Umuahia Town to this place in 1994 during the military administration of Col. Ike Nwosu (rtd.) and the abattoir was inaugurated by the then Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Adamu Chiroma.
“But the Mgbarakuma indigenes came up about two years ago and asked us to leave the place.
“They claimed that government had revoked the land.
“Ever before that time, about six hectares of the land were sold to unknown individuals by the community,” Williams said.
He also said that about a month ago, the governor’s aide started fencing the abattoir, claiming that the place had been sold to him by the government.
“About two to three weeks ago, he brought armed operatives of the Operation Crush to manhandle and chase us out.
“Most of our property were damaged.
“We have written to several agencies of the government to register our complaints,” Williams further said.
He said that the development had affected their businesses and appealed to the government to come to their aid.
“If the government doesn’t want us to continue doing our business in the present location, it should relocate us to another place within Umuahia.

“This is because it is only the government that has the right toa relocate us and not individuals,” Williams said.
But reacting to the protest and allegations by the association, the Traditional Ruler of the community, Eze Ebere Ubani, said that the butchers were not asked to leave the abattoir.
Ubani also said that the association was seeking for ways to divert people’s attention from the actual issue on ground.
“We have never asked them to leave, all we are saying is perform your corporate social responsibility to us as the host community,” he said.
Also, the security adviser to the governor described the allegations made by the butchers as “spurious”.
Uba said that the construction works taking place in the market were meant to improve the state of the abattoir and not to evict the butchers.
He said: “We have commenced the fencing of the cattle market in Lokpanta and extended the same to the Abattoir in Mgbarakuma.
“We at no time told them to relocate or to leave the place or plan for the place to be used for any other purpose than what it is currently being used for.
“The thing is that whatever be their reasons for resisting any further improvements in the market is a figment of their imagination.
“And I think I should say their resistance is based on their selfish interest.”
The Chief Security Officer to the Governor, Mr Ken Nwosu, who received the protesters at the Government House, appealed to them to be peaceful and law-abiding.
Nwosu said that protecting the interest of the people remains paramount in the government’s agenda.
He said: “The letter you have brought to us will definitely be delivered to the governor.
“I know that issues concerning abattoir and cemetery are under the Local Government’s jurisdiction.
“So, your letter will also be delivered to the Transition Committee Chairman of Umuahia South Local Government Area, where the abattoir is situated.”

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CJN Calls For Justice, Equity From West African Leaders In Building Region

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has called on West African leaders to use justice and equity to build a prosperous region for the coming generations.
Ariwoola made the call in Abuja on Tuesday while declaring open the Statutory ECOWAS Judicial Council meeting holding in Abuja.
The CJN presided over the meeting being attended by Chief Justices of West African Countries.
He said that the call has become necessary in view of the economic, political and leadership challenges engulfing the region at the moment.
He challenged West African leaders to reaffirm commitment to the ideals of justice, equity and solidarity and work together to build a just region for the people.
“The ECOWAS Judicial Council (EJC), though not widely known like other bodies, has been playing crucial roles in maintaining the rules of law and justice within the region.
“The Council which comprised eminent jurists from West African States has also been serving as the guardian of the rule of law and the protector of human rights within the region.
“In addition, the ECOWAS Judicial Council plays a crucial role in the resolution of disputes among member states, ensuring that conflicts are resolved peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law”.
He added that, the Western Region characterised by diverse legal systems and traditions, the harmonization of laws and legal practices is essential for promoting regional integration and cooperation.
“While the ECOWAS Judicial Council has made significant strides in promoting justice and rule of law in West Africa, the Council is faced with the challenges of inadequate funding, capacity constraints and the need to bolster cooperation among others.
“However, these challenges also present opportunities for innovation and collaboration, as we work together to overcome shared obstacles and build a brighter future for our region.
“The council stands as a beacon of hope and progress in the quest for justice and regional integration within West Africa”.
He assured that, the council, under his leadership will continue to pay attention to addressing situations that threaten the judiciary system in West Africa and organisation of the Community Court of Justice.
“By so doing, the court contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
“The various national judicial systems in member States are also expected to play these critical roles of nation and regional building”, he said.
He, therefore, called for support to the council to be able to play the role of ensuring an integrated West Africa.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) also charged the ECOWAS Court of Justice to pay attention to the peculiarities of member States and refrain from issuing orders and judgments that are practically incapable of enforcement.
“There is a dire need to promote and deepen alternative dispute resolution measures within West African region.
“The ECOWAS Court must adopt strategies that would strengthen its jurisdiction, whilst appreciating the jurisdictional boundaries of the court and limiting unnecessary conflict with domestic laws of member States.

“The extensive jurisdiction conferred on the ECOWAS Court calls for recruitment of jurists with extensive experience, expertise, high moral character and discipline”.
He stressed the need for the Community Court of Justice to undergo necessary reforms to bring it in tandem with the current emergencies and manage the challenges associated with justice delivery in the region.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, in his speech said, the Judiciary remains crucial in the efforts to curb instability, insecurity in West African Sub-region.
“In this era where instability and insecurity are overwhelming our
community, the role of the justice sector is crucial in conflict prevention, through the promotion and defence of the rule of law and human rights.
“Over the years, the community court has been a reference point for ECOWAS Institutions, as well as individuals, entities, and governments in search of advice, arbitration, and adjudication.
“The regular session of the Statutory Meeting of the ECOWAS Judicial Council is important to address issues affecting the effective operation of the Community Court and to ensure excellence, high standards of conduct.
“The enforcement of the judgments of the Community Court has remained a major issue in the effective delivery of the mandate and responsibility of the judicial institution to the community citizens”, he said.

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