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Electoral Act: We’ll Report Malami, Judge To NJC, NBA, PDP Threatens

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the Federal High Court judgement deleting Section 84(10) of the new Electoral Act.
The PDP also said it was exploring the option of reporting the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the National Judicial Council (NJC), respectively.
Section 84(10) of the Act makes it compulsory for all political appointees planning to run for office to resign, at least, 30 days before any primaries they plan to take part in. The section also states that political appointees would not be allowed to vote in any primaries.
Malami, who is believed to be eyeing the Kebbi State governorship seat, had rejected the provision, insisting that he would not resign.
A member of Action Alliance, Nduka Edede, subsequently filed a suit before the court challenging the section.
Malami, who was the only defendant in the suit, agreed with the plaintiff, thus securing a favourable judgement.
The AGF subsequently issued a statement commending the court for the judgement.
He also promised to swiftly gazette the judgement.
In his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Debo Ologunagba, said, last Saturday, that Malami had abused his office by placing his personal interest ahead of that of the public.
Ologunagba also wondered how the case, which was instituted barely a week ago, was swiftly heard and judgement was delivered.
He said the intention of the plaintiff was suspicious as he neither joined the National Assembly nor the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The PDP spokesman stated, “The basis for this order is curious. We see it as an ambush instigated by the office of the AGF and it shows the irresponsibility of the holder of that office. Number one, the job of the AGF is to defend the Constitution which he swore to do.”
He added, “Who is the plaintiff in this matter? What is his personal interest? Why were the necessary parties like the National Assembly, which made the law, and INEC, which ought to implement this provision, not joined in this suit? That is why we cannot look beyond the AGF who is planning to participate in the elections.”
The PDP spokesman wondered why Malami, who was not always keen on obeying court judgements, was seeking to implement this particular order immediately.
Ologunagba added that the PDP was looking into the matter with a view to taking action against Malami and the judge that delivered the judgement.
On whether petitions would be written to the NJC or the NBA, he said, “All options are on the table. Nothing will be left out. We will study it and take necessary decisions to protect our democracy and ensure that this recklessness by people in office does not stand. That is what we are going to do. All the options will be taken and if there are necessary actions, we will take them.”
Human rights activist, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), also encouraged political parties and others to challenge the judgement.
Adegboruwa, in a statement, last Saturday said, “The Electoral Act is an act of the National Assembly. How can you ‘nullify’ an Act without joining the institution that made the Act, so that they can be heard concerning what they did?
“When a defendant (Federal Government) rejoices over a judgement delivered against it as a party, then you know there is a problem in Nigeria. Let the National Assembly, the political parties and NGOs appeal against the judgement as interested parties.
“Why do you want to hold on to your office as a political appointee, and at the same time, be a candidate in an election?”
Another lawyer, Mr Kayode Ajulo, said in a statement that the court erred by assuming that public officers as stated in the Constitution and appointees were all the same.
He said INEC and the National Assembly should appeal the matter quickly.
“It is quite glaring that the tale of the future of the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act is not that of an unrivalled woe, the National Assembly and INEC have a right to challenge the decision of the trial court as same is likely to set aside on appeal,” Ajulo said.
The lawyer advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to allow appointees to take part in its forthcoming conventions as it could mar the exercise if the Court of Appeal upturns the judgement.
Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Emukpoeruo, has faulted the judgement of the Federal High Court, saying the Section 84 (12) was a unique provision that political appointees should not vote or be voted for at any congress or convention to nominate candidates of a political party.
Emukpoeruo stated, “The section provides that ‘The National Assembly may by law provide guidelines and rules to ensure internal democracy within political parties, including making laws for the conduct of party primaries, party congresses and party conventions’.”
According to him, this clearly showed that Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 was made consistently with and pursuant to the provision of Section 228(a) of the Constitution.
Emukpoeruo said, “A juxtaposition of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Section 228 (a) of the Constitution on the one hand with other provisions of the Constitution dealing with qualifications and disqualification to contest election will reveal that they deal with different subject matters. Put bluntly, a political appointee is not (and cannot be) a person employed in the public service of the federation or of the state. There is a sharp difference between a public servant and a public officer.
“There is no law until the coming into being of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, which regulated political appointees’ participation in congresses or convention for the nomination of party candidates. And to this extent, that subsection cannot rationally be held to be inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution.”

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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