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#EndSARS: Lagos Deserves True Healing, Harmony, Sanwo-Olu Begs

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Lagos State deserves true healing after the disturbances that trailed last year’s protests against police brutality, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said, yesterday.
He said only sustenance of harmony can guarantee the realisation of aspirations of all residents.
Sanwo-Olu spoke in a live broadcast held at the State House, Alausa, on the state government’s position on the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on #EndSARS submitted a fortnight ago.
The governor said the state currently faced the hard choice of restoring harmony or doing itself a great harm, urging residents to join his administration in strengthening harmony and put the state on the path of peace.
Sanwo-Olu asked residents to reject those fuelling anarchy and suspicion, clinging to unsubstantiated belief that carried no weight of verifiable evidence, while choosing emotion over facts.
His administration, he said, is ready to facilitate better communication between the youth and the state’s security machinery to resolve issues before they become intractable.
He said he would be leading ‘A Walk for Peace’ in December to herald the healing of the land, extending an open invitation to the youth, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students and the media as well as other stakeholders to join him in the Peace Walk.
The governor specifically invited Folarin Falana (Falz), Debo Adebayo (Mr. Marcaroni), Dele Farotimi, Temitope Majekodunmi, Segun Awosanya (Segalinks), Adedotun (Just Detoun), Seun Kuti, Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, and Commander of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Yinka Egbeyemi, and others, to join him in the “historic march for our dear Lagos.”
He said: “Nobody will build this city for us. Let us show the world who we are. We are Lagosians. A people of great renown, driven by the irrepressible spirit of Lagos. It is a testimony to our strength and resilience as a people that, despite the huge losses incurred because of these terrible incidents, we have bounced back, with our economy as vibrant and virile as ever. I have no doubt whatsoever that our prospects are as bright as ever and the best lies ahead of Lagos State and Nigeria.
“We will make it easier for our young people to initiate formal complaints on human rights violations through the Ministry of Justice. We will also improve the coordination between the state government and the security agencies, including the police and the military. In this vein, we are studying how to improve security policy formulation, information sharing, and clarifying rules of engagement in times of social unrest.
“Just as we have established a mechanism to compensate all those who lost homes, businesses, and livelihoods to the violent destruction of October, 2020, we shall also establish a detailed procedure for the just compensation of citizens with verified claims of police brutality committed during the protests.”
Speaking on last year’s #EndSARS protests and the events that followed, especially the hijack of the protests by hoodlums, which led to the destruction of public and private property worth billions of Naira, the governor said the government, the youth, protesters, the police and other security agencies have learnt the appropriate lessons from the #EndSARS protests, particularly the Lekki Tollgate incident, with a view to averting any recurrence to the detriment of the state.
On mixed reactions following the release of the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Sanwo-Olu said his administration remained committed to the process that would bring a closure to a “painful episode” in the history of the state.
The much-expected White Paper, the governor pledged, will be issued later in the day.
He recalled that the panel was originally inaugurated to investigate allegations of police brutality committed by the disbanded SARS and in the aftermath of what happened on October 20, 2020, he decided to expand the mandate to include investigating what happened at the Lekki Tollgate that night.
He said: “…The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.
“We have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence, and unblemished respect for the truth.”
Sanwo-Olu, while expressing his administration’s commitment to end human rights abuses, said he has never been in any doubt as to the sincerity, patriotism and noble motivations of both organisers of #EndSARS protests and those who participated in the movement to see an end to the human rights abuses by the now disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS).
He said it was also on record that the Federal Government accepted all the demands of the protesters, including the immediate scrapping of SARS, adding that the National Economic Council (NEC) also recommended the establishment of State Panels of Inquiry into cases of police brutality and the Lagos State Government was the first to set up its own panel.

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RVHA Dismisses Amaewhule’s Resolution On Rivers Govt Expenditure

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Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo, has dismissed the purported resolution passed by Martin Amaewhule and his co-travellers wherein they claimed to have barred the Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, and the State Government from withdrawing money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Clerk of the House, Dr G. M. Gillis-West, on Tuesday.
In his opening speech before the start of legislative business at plenary in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo wondered the basis of such audacity by Amaewhule and his cohorts when their seats had been declared vacant on December 13, 2023, by the immediate former Speaker of the 10th House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie.
Oko-Jumbo stated: “The House states as follows: On the 11th Day of December, 2023, at the 87th Legislative sitting of the House, former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule and the 24 former members defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“By virtue of Section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, which are self executing, and consequent upon their defection, on the 13th Day of December, 2023, Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie, DSSRS, Esq, PhD, as the then duly recognised Speaker of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, by virtue of a court order granted by Hon Justice Danagogo on the 12th Day of December, 2023, in Suit No. PHC/3030/CS/2023, and pursuant to Section 109(2) of the 1999 Constitution, declared their seats vacant.”
The speaker, therefore, said it is laughable to have heard and seen the news of the illegal sitting of the 25 former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, led by Amaewhule on television screens and
social media space on the 15th Day of July, 2024.
Recall that Amaewhule and 24 others had passed a resolution to the effect that Governor Fubara was not permitted to authorize the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.
The resolution further threatened that the Amaewhule led House would declare a shutdown on expenditures, until an Appropriation Bill for the 2024 fiscal year is presented and passed by the group.
The purported resolution also directed the governor to desist from further authorization of withdrawals from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State, while directing all Rivers State Government Ministries, Commissions, Agencies, Departments and Extra-Ministerial Departments to desist from spending taxpayers’ funds until the 2024 Appropriation Bill is laid before the former lawmakers.
Decrying the Amaewhule-led Assembly directives, Oko-Jumbo insisted that “Consequent upon constitutional provisions and the declaration of their seats vacant, the recognised 10th Rivers State House of Assembly is the one led by Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo.
“Thus, the Rivers State Government has ceased paying any form of salaries, allowances or statutory remunerations to the former members.
“The 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, which is the legitimate House under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo is the only one recognised by law and the Rivers State Government, and thus, has been receiving all statutory allocations due the House of Assembly.
“And has been discharging its financial obligations by paying the salaries of the recognised Honourable members of the House, their aides, and allowances of the public servants in the Rivers State House of Assembly.”
Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo said Amaewhule and the 24 ex-lawmakers had hinged their resolution on Section 122 of the 1999 Constitution, which empowers a State Governor to continue to make appropriations for six months, from the budget of the previous fiscal year, where for any reason, he was unable to present an Appropriation Bill to the House.
He noted, “May I remind the defected members that His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, GSSRS, presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill to the Rivers State House of Assembly, under the leadership of the then Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie, DSSRS.
“And it was duly passed on the 13th Day of December, 2023, and assented to on the 14th Day of December, 2023.”
Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo said further: “This House awaits to receive from His Excellency, the presentation of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the next three financial years, pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers State Fiscal Responsibility Law, No 8 of 2010, in order to prepare for the 2025 fiscal year.
“The general public is, therefore, called upon to disregard and ignore those misguided former members, and also discountenance their illegal actions.
“I once again call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to expedite preparations towards the conduct of a bye-election to fill the vacant seats created in the Rivers State House of Assembly by the defection of Martin Amaewhule and 24 others.”
Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo explained that the position of the Rivers State House of Assembly led by him has been communicated to the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, the Head of the Civil Service of Rivers State, the Accountant-General, and Auditor-General of Rivers State.
Other institutions that have also been communicated, according to Oko-Jumbo, include the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria; Chairman of Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission; Accountant-General of the Federation; Group Managing Director/CEO, Zenith Bank PLC; and Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Group.
At the commencement of legislative business, member representing Opobo/Nkoro State Constituency and Deputy Speaker, Hon Adolphus Orubienimigha, proposed the Rivers State Vocational and Technical Training Institute Bill 2024, which passed first reading.
The bill seeks the establishment of a comprehensive training institute where Rivers youths, including women can access to learn and acquire requisite and industry-based skills to become self-reliant or employable where such skills are needed.
Also at plenary, the House entertained the motion to Prohibit Public Defecation, which was proposed by Deputy Speaker, Hon Adolphus Orubienimigha, demanding the declaration of public health emergency on public defecation in order to protect public health, dignity of lives and ensure environmental responsibility in the State.
The House also received a petition from the Ataba Community in Andoni Local Government Area over ongoing land dispute between Bonny and Ataba communities, with the House Speaker referring the petition to the Committee on Public Complaints headed by the member representing Ahoada West State Constituency and Leader of the House, Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari.

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N70,000 Minimum Wage: How Tinubu Convinced Labour Leaders

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President Bola Tinubu yesterday increased the Federal Government’s offer on the national minimum wage from N62,000 to N70,000, with an assurance that it will be reviewed after three years, instead of five years.
Tinubu said he had to intervene in the negotiations, knowing the economic challenges faced by many Nigerians, and the need to provide urgent succour.
He said this at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.
“I have heard all your presentations. You came here with the intention to get something on behalf of your members. It has been tough globally. And if you review my track record, I have never been found wanting in ameliorating the problem of workers.
“I belong to the people and to all of you in leadership. Without you, this job is not interesting,” the President said, in statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, his spokesman.
He said the labour leaders challenged the thinking faculty of leadership, “and we have reviewed the position. I have consulted widely, and when the tripartite committee submitted their reports, I reviewed them again and started to think and rethink.
“Last week, I brought the workload to you because we have a timeline. We have a problem, and we recognise that you have a problem too.
“We are in the same economy. We are in the same country. We may have different rooms, different addresses, and different houses; we are just members of one family that must care for each other.
“We must look at the parameters of things. Here, I have a speed limit, and I must pay attention to traffic warnings; slippery when wet, curved roads, and be careful not to have an accident. That is why I went as far as having this meeting today.”
He said the government and labour leaders were driving the economy together.
“Let us look at the tenure of review. Let us agree on that, and affirm three years. Two years is too short. We affirm three years. We will review.
“I am going to move from the tripartite committee. I am going to edge a little bit forward, looking at the review that we have done.
“Yes, no one in the federal establishment should earn less than N70,000. So, we are going to benchmark at N70,000,” he said.
Tinubu explained that renewing the hope of Nigerians extended to providing infrastructure that would improve their livelihoods and create an inclusive economy that all could participate and benefit.
The President said the government was committed to reducing the cost of transportation with the introduction of Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses, which would be cheaper and efficient.
He also assured the labour unions of providing buses that would be deployed across the country.
President Tinubu also said the entitlements of members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions would be considered.
He urged the Ministries of Finance, and Budget & Economic Planning to look at the possibilities of clearing the backlog.
At the meeting, Sen. George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, thanked the President for his consideration of issues as the “Father of the Nation” and scheduling two meetings to resolve the initial impasse.
“Mr President, at the tripartite meeting, and the resolutions of the government, Organised Private Sector and labour unions; we were all united as one family to promote and grow our economy, and deepen our democracy, by implication to the benefit of all.
“Basically, that is what we are saying today. We have a listening President here,” said Akume.
Comrade Joe Ajaero, the NLC President, and Comrade Festus Osifo, his TUC counterpart, thanked the President for creating time to host two meetings on the review of the national minimum wage.
The two labour leaders acknowledged that at the last meeting, the President directed the rescheduling of an official trip in order to attend the second meeting.
The labour leaders also expressed their appreciation to the President, applauding him for his clear show of commitment to the welfare of Nigerian workers.

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Rivers Crisis: Sanction Wike Before He Throws Nigeria Into Chaos, Momodu Tells Tinubu

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A 2023 presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dele Momodu, has called for stricter discipline within the administration, particularly regarding the ongoing political situation in Rivers State.
Dele Momodu made this known in an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, yesterday.
“You must enforce Discipline as a leader,” Momodu stated in the open letter, The Tide gleaned from his X handle.
He specifically addressed the actions of the former governor of Rivers State and current Federal Capital Territory minister, Nyesom Wike.
“Your new disciple, Nyesom Wike, has publicly disrespected you in the Fubara matter,” Momodu wrote.
Momodu warned of potentially severe consequences if the situation is not addressed promptly, stating, “You need to sanction him before he throws Nigeria into total chaos.”
In his letter, Momodu, despite being a member of the opposition, positioned himself as a concerned friend with a long-standing relationship with the President.
Momodu wrote, “Nigeria is in big trouble. Our economy has virtually collapsed. And what’s the way out? You’ve been wasting too much money at a time that requires absolute frugality. Please, stop this reckless propensity for wasting scarce resources.
“Purchasing Presidential jets, building outlandish monuments, distributing cash as palliatives, etc, are signs of a failed and careless government. If you can curb the excessive spending of your government, you will free up a lot of resources for serious development.”
He criticised what he perceives as wasteful spending by the administration, urging for absolute frugality in these challenging times.
He said, “I believe you’re frittering away our resources because you desperately crave a second term. But the best assurance of a second term is Performance. Nigerians are not expecting you to turn water into wine but they don’t want you to turn their wines into water.
“Here are my tips: invest in vocational skills for our highly talented youths who can demonstrate their capacity for hard work. Invest heavily in local agriculture. Upgrade our institutions of learning. Giving cash to politicians to distribute is unhealthy and unhelpful. It is the height of cluelessness.”
Momodu also cautioned against the influence of sycophants, particularly in the National Assembly, advising the President to be wary of those who worship him.
He wrote, “In the name of God, beware of those hero-worshippers at the National Assembly who have turned you into God. NDUME is your best friend. Listen to him. There’s danger ahead.
“You must enforce Discipline as a leader. Your new disciple, Nyesom Wike, has publicly disrespected you in the Fubara matter. You need to sanction him before he throws Nigeria into total chaos.”

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