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PDP Tackles FG Over Ekweremadu …Urges Buhari To Call APC To Order Over Metuh

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has tasked the Federal Government to fight corruption and stop hounding members of the opposition parties, especially its members.
The party specifically expressed dismay at the motion exparte filed by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property seeking the forfeiture of assets allegedly not declared by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan yesterday, the party said that while the PDP was in full support of any genuine anti-graft war, the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led administration’s obsession with Ekweremadu was another clear indication that it was not ready to fight corruption, but rather out to scandalise, persecute, and bring down its perceived opponents.
It said: “The PDP recalls that this government rushed to arraign Senator Ekweremadu and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki in 2016 on trumped up charges of forgery of Senate Standing Rule, even when there was not even a mention of their names in the contentious police report or Proof of Evidence.
It eventually withdrew the charges for lack of merit.
“The police raided and ransacked Senator Ekweremadu’s official guest house in Abuja in May 2017 and blamed it on false whistle blowers, whom they charged to court. Nothing has been heard about the trial of the alleged false whistle blowers again.
“In the current matter, apart from relying on an obsolete law to dabble into the roles of the Code of Conduct Bureau, we are not surprised that the Panel could not carry out a thorough and independent investigation on the purported property of the Senator, but relied on a petition by the former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, who is standing corruption trial in several courts, after his removal from office by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in 2017.
“It is also instructive that this calculated smear campaign in the guise of forfeiture of phantom assets came on the heels of Senator Ekweremadu’s alarm and scathing criticism of the APC-led administration over the nation’s deteriorating democracy and in the midst of the ongoing executive-legislature face-off, in which a ranking senator of the APC extraction identified Ekweremadu as a pillar of support to the Senate President”.
The PDP also said that contrary to the Federal Government’s claims, Senator Ekweremadu had assured it that he declared his assets.
“This government and party have a wet appetite for prosecution and media trial of the opposition while investigation is on, but refuses to prosecute its members and friends indicted by even its own presidential or ministerial panels.
“While members of the opposition are taken to court on stretchers, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, indicted by both the Senate and a presidential panel only got a pat on the back.
“The APC Federal Government has failed to prosecute those involved in the Ikoyigate scandal, and the recall of fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina, among others. “Ekweremadu is a major symbol of the opposition. We believe that this is part of the grand plan to strangulate the PDP ahead of the 2019 elections and we will resist” it added.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call his party, the All Progressives Congress, and some of his appointees to order over their manifest interest and continued interference in the trial of its former National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.
The party also urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to protect the institution of the judiciary and the courts from the established direct interferences of the APC and officials of the Federal Government in the conduct of cases involving its members and particularly the former National Publicity Secretary.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday said the connection between the timing of happenings in the court case and the intrusions of the APC in the entire matter has assumed a worrisome dimension.
The party also said its members have specifically expressed fear about Chief Metuh’s fate before Justice OkonAbang, a judge it said had in the past delivered judgments against the PDP, which were eventually upturned, after much damage had been done.
The statement said: “The PDP finds it curious that interferences are manifesting in Metuh’s case even after the court had adjourned indefinitely on his application to be allowed to travel to the UK for surgery.
“This court had twice rejected Chief Metuh’s applications for medical leave at the initial stage of his ailment, but the condition of the former PDP spokesman has now degenerated.
“It is on record that people facing similar charges at the Federal High Court are granted leave to travel for ordinary medical check-ups and other sundry reasons, but Metuh has had his application for medical treatment deferred indefinitely and had to be brought to court for trial even on a hospital stretcher.
“The fact remains that if the court cannot grant Chief Metuh leave for medical treatment, moreso, with the manifest interference of the APC, then there is absolutely no guarantee that he can get justice from the same court at the end of the day and we want the CJN to take copious note of this.
“The PDP notes that no other application for medical leave has ever been subjected to a greater burden of proof, ridicule and undue delay than the case of our former spokesperson.
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party has told the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government that it will always reply its lies with facts and continue to be firm on the side of the people as always.
The party also told the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that it does not need his so-called crash course on opposition politics as such will be full of advanced syllabus on lies, falsehood, deception and propaganda, which are patent trademarks of the APC and its controlled Federal Government.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday said the Federal Government should rather hide its face in shame, having been busted in its numerous lies in governance, the latest being its complicity in the abduction and return of the Dapchi schoolgirls.
Ologbondiyan said: “We hope Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC as well as the Federal Government are following the reactions and comments of Nigerians on this latest ruse and noting how their party and government are being mocked.
“Your APC and government have become frustrated because you can no longer hoodwink Nigerians as you did in the past. The PDP will therefore overlook your intemperate reactions as signs of these times.
“However, Alhaji Lai Mohammed need not be in a hurry to defend his dishonest and dysfunctional government as he would soon have more than enough to chew.
“This administration will at the appropriate time provide answer to allegations that while the nation sorrow, agents of the APC are busy in financial rackets and criminal round tripping of ransoms, in foreign currencies, to service APC interests.
“The minister should be ready to explain, at the appropriate time, those behind the transactions, who got what and under what agreements, as well as the truth behind allegations of clandestine deals with insurgents.
“Our promise to the APC, the Federal Government and of course, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is that the PDP will never condescend to lies, deception and propaganda as we do not have any need for that.
“The PDP will, as always, remain on the side of the truth as Nigerians, across board, work together on our repositioned platform to rescue our nation from the misrule of this deceptive, dysfunctional and incompetent APC, come 2019.”

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Catholic Bishops Vow To Work For Credible Polls In 2023

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Bishops of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja have pledged to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure free, credible and transparent general elections in 2023.
The commitment is contained in a communiqué jointly signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja and Very Rev. Fr. Sam Tumba, after the 3rd General assembly of the Archdiocese.
In the communique issued on Saturday in Abuja, the bishops enjoined Parishes, families, Church societies and groups to dedicate special moments to pray for a hitch-free election.
“We call on Catholics and indeed all Nigerian citizens to be consciously and actively involved in the electoral processes at all levels.
“Voter registration, collection of Permanent Voters Card, casting votes on election days with a firm and clear conscience to elect credible leaders who will bring about the true dividends of democracy”, they said.
The bishops commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act into law to enhance the sanctity of the electoral process.
“We task the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure political fairness and transparency, to consolidate the trust reposed in them by Nigerians.
“Parishes and Catholic institutions within our Archdiocese are encouraged to arrange and organize voter awareness programmes, seminars and workshops guided by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, to better equip our people for greater political responsibility.
“We remain open and willing to collaborate with relevant government agencies, electoral bodies and security operatives to ensure peaceful and credible election processes in the coming year,” the communique added.
The bishops cautioned politicians not to regard the election as a ‘do or die’ affair, adding that they must also refrain from money politics, manipulative and divisive practices along ethnic, social and religious lines to win elections.
“Even though we decry the hard economic situations in the nation, we strongly discourage all Catholics and especially our youths from lending themselves as easy recruits for political thuggery and other criminal activities to enthrone selfish and incompetent aspirants into electoral offices.
“We discourage and condemn any form of vote buying or selling and other electoral malpractices during the elections,” the bishops said.
The bishops advised catholic politicians from all political parties within the Archdiocese to participate in Church activities, so as to be better known by the faithful.
They called on all people of goodwill to cooperate with security agencies to root out criminal elements within communities.
The bishops, however, urged security agents to remain professional in discharging their duties and resist any attempt to be used to intimidate the people by corrupt politicians.
The communique called on Catholics across the country to match work with prayer, for peaceful electioneering process.
They called for sustained prayers for the country, adding: “Nigerians should take courage and be of ardent hope, for the storms will soon be over.”

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Take 2023 Elections Seriously, Wike Tasks Rivers People

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The Rivers State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians to take the upcoming 2023 General Election seriously by securing their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and using it wisely and prayerfully.
Wike stated this during the Inter-Denominational Church Service in commemoration of the 62nd Independence Day Anniversary of Nigeria, at St. Paul’s Cathedral Church, Diobu in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the governor said he believes God would use the 2023 elections to grant the pleas of Nigerians for a rebirth of a new nation.
“Nigeria must rise again, it must fulfil its divine purpose for which God has put it together, Nigeria has a prophetic agenda, whether the devil likes it or not. We must have the confidence that our votes will count and that we will use our votes to bring in the leaders after the heart of God”, the governor said.
Wike said under his watch, the state government has been resolute and consistent in providing the dividends of democracy to the people living and doing business in the state.
“We have seen it, in the massive improvement in security.We have seen it in social and physical infrastructure.What will you say, when public tertiary institutions have been on strike for the past seven months, and some of the students are being killed, some are roaming about, some are going into crime, while others are abusing drugs and going mental, but in Rivers State, all the state institutions are functioning none-stop, and salaries are paid as at when due and lecturers are teaching the way they should”, Wike further stressed.
The state chief executive expressed gratitude to the Almighty God for the 62nd Independence anniversary of the country and for keeping the nation as one in spite of all the security and economic challenges, adding that “God in His infinite mercy has kept us together as a people, what seems impossible with men, is possible with God”.
In his sermon drawn from Matthew Chapter 7: 7-12, Bishop Diocese of Niger Delta North,St. Paul’s Cathedral Church, Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, said “if Nigeria must go forward, we must obey the golden rule”.
He said,”We must not give up on Nigeria; no matter the challenges, God would make the nation great again, but it behooves on us to pray and do the right things at all times”.
A schedule of activities released by the state government shows that on Friday, September 30, 2022, a Jumma’at Prayer would be held at the JIBWIS Directorate Headquarters, Central Mosque, 36 Bonny Street, Port Harcourt Township, at 1:00pm.
According to the programme, signed by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Sir George Nwaeke, the grand finale would hold on Saturday, October 1, 2022, with a parade ceremony/march-past at Sharks Football Stadium, Port Harcourt by 10:00am.
The statement said that the state Governor, Chief NyesomWike, would preside over the activities at the grand finale on Saturday.

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Buhari Launches INFF In New York

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President Muhammadu Buhari has restated the commitment of his administration to the achievement of inclusive, broad-based and sustainable development.
The President spoke while delivering his keynote address at strategic High Level Event held on the sidelines of the 77th session of United Nations General Assembly in New York to launch Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) for Sustainable Development.
The President noted that Nigeria adopted the INFF as a tool to improve the financing of SDGs without increasing public debt and contingent liabilities to levels that will be detrimental to economic sustainability.
He commended the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; and the United Nation Development Programme for working together to develop Nigeria’s INFF in a process which started in 2020.
“Today’s event marks the end of a long process which began in 2020, when the Steering Committee and the Core Working Group on Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework were inaugurated.
“The Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) has been developed to map out a much-needed sustainable financing plan for Nigeria to deliver on our commitment to the SDGs and our National Development aspirations,” the President said.
He further noted that as part of its commitment to sustainable and inclusive development, his administration aligned its 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP); the 2020 Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP); the 2021 National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS); and the 2021-2025 National Development Plan (NDP) with the SDGs.
“It is in line with this commitment and with a focus on the National Development Plan (2021-2025) that, the Federal Government of Nigeria, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has adopted the INFF as a tool to improve SDGs financing without increasing public debt and contingent liabilities to levels that will be detrimental to economic sustainability.
“The INFF is backed by Nigeria’s Medium-Term Revenue Strategy and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. As Nigeria champions the INFF process, we hope to promote the strategic alignment of financial policies with sustainable development and provide the enabling conditions for domestic and international, public, and private financial actors to best respond to our national needs.
“I urge all Nigerians, the international community, and our development partners to recognize the importance of this integrated approach to financing development, as you continue to count on my leadership in its immediate implementation,” the President said.
Speaking earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs,Princess AdejokeOrelope-Adefulire, described the launch of the INFF report as a significant milestone in the commitment and efforts to achieve the SDGs in Nigeria.
She noted that the INFF is in line with Nigeria’s strategic approach to the implementation of the SDGs working at the National and Sub-national levels.
“At the National level, we work closely with the Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to integrate the SDGs into their sectorial policies and plans. At the Sub-national level, we are working closely with the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to mainstream the SDGs into their medium and long-term development policies and plans”.
She noted that her office, with the support of UNDP, has supported 16 states to develop SDG-Based Development Plans as part of Nigeria’s Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) for the agenda.
The INFF report, she added, was also another feat recorded by the country in the bid to institutionalize the SDGs, noting Nigeria was the first country in the Global South to have successfully completed a country-led Independent Evaluation of SDG-3 on ‘quality health and well-being for all’ and SDG-4 on ‘qualitative and inclusive education and lifelong learning for all’.
The two reports, she said, were officially launched on the 25th of August, 2022.
The presidential adviser noted that on the 21st of December, 2021, Nigeria became the first African country to successfully realigned its National Statistical System with the requirements and indicators of the SDGs, hence the country will be now be able to track progress on the 230 Key Performance Indicators of the agenda on annual basis through the National Bureau of Statistics.
Orelope-Adefulire further noted that in 2019, Nigeria successfully domesticated the Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Simulation Model (iSDG Model) as a home-grown analytical tool for evidence-based SDGs policymaking and planning with the report launched on the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly by the President.
“The Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) Report we are about to launch today is a product of series of efforts led by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“Nigeria is now among the INFF Pilot Countries that have made significant progress by completing the design process. Indeed, this is an expression of Nigeria’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
She expressed appreciation and profound gratitude to the President for accepting to launch the report as well as all the Institutional Members of the National Steering Committee and the Core Working Group on Nigeria’s INFF for the commitment demonstrated during the design phase.
“We look forward to similar commitment during the implementation phase,” Orelope –Adefulire said while affirming the commitment of her office to continue to drive the process of achieving the SDGs in Nigeria.
“I would like to conclude by re-affirming Nigeria’s commitment to the successful implementation of the SDGs. We look forward to working more closely with you all in this ‘Decade of Action’ for the Global Goals, so that no ‘One is left behind’.”
In his remark, Head/Sustainable Development, Minister Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the UN, Axel Maisonneuve, said EU had also support the mobilisation of capital for an inclusive and sustainable transition, which is at the heart of an INFF, in several ways.
“For instance, we know that whilst public finance of course has a key role to play, it will not be sufficient to bridge the SDG financing gap, and private finance needs to be mobilised as well.
“In the EU, we believe in fact that sustainable finance is critical to enable private financial flows being channelled towards sustainable investments.
“The EU’s Green Deal and the Global Gateway strategies are some of the key examples of the EU efforts in this direction. Indeed, sustainable finance is part and parcel of an INFF,’’ he said.
According to him, private finance is very much part of Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework.
Maisonneuve said the INFF was designed to help the Nigerian government explore innovative financing options linking government with private sector and development partners to increase public revenue and private investments.
“Let me take this opportunity to praise Nigeria for the efforts undertaken toward the achievement of the 2030 agenda and the SDGs and for the key milestone that you have achieved.
“In September 2019, 16 countries committed to pioneer the development and implementation of INFFs, and Nigeria was among them.
“Now, Nigeria has successfully designed its INFF Strategy, and is offering a leading example for INFF progress toward a more systematic, holistic approach to achieve sustainable development objectives,’’ he said.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, and development partners.

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