INEC To Blacklist Political Parties Over Violent Congresses

A file photo of an INEC official carrying a bag with electoral materials.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will blacklist political parties unable to conduct peaceful congresses and primaries.

INEC in a statement on Monday said it might not acknowledge the result of violent congresses if the trend continues.

The statement titled, ‘Conduct of Acrimonious Congress And Primaries By Political Parties’ was signed by INEC spokesman, Festus Okoye.

READ ALSO: PDP Debunks Purported Suspension Of Kwankwaso, Babangida Aliyu

“This Commission will not stand askance and watch party conventions and congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property.

“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC will henceforth reconsider its involvement in these events, should they continue to put lives of members of the public and staff of the Commission at risk.

“Henceforth, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property. Apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future.

“The Commission may also withdraw its staff from monitoring such violent political party meetings, with the resultant non-recognition of their outcomes,” the statement partly reads.

NGF Sets Date To Implement Financial Autonomy For Judiciary

 

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said it will ensure the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislative and judiciary institutions by May 2021.

Chairman of the NGF, Dr Kayode Fayemi gave the assurance after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at the Statehouse.

He maintained that the Governors forum has never been opposed to the issue of financial autonomy and that the governors, the speakers, and judges are on the same page.

He further disclosed that upon emerging from a meeting with the Solicitor-General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary, the representatives of the Conference of Speakers, and House of Representatives today, an agreement has been reached, thus reiterating that Nigerians can expect implementation of the agreement no later than May.

READ ALSO: Lawyers March To NASS, As Judiciary Workers Begin Nationwide Protest

The NGF’s comments regarding the matter come few hours after members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) staged a peaceful march at the National Assembly in solidarity with judiciary workers who are protesting in favour of financial autonomy in the country.

The lawyers who had earlier converged at the Court of Appeal gate before proceeding to the Parliament’s complex in their numbers were stopped from entering the Assembly by security operatives.

Leadership of the NBA had earlier on Friday directed its branch chairmen nationwide to lead “visits” to government houses in their states over the 36 governors’ alleged unwillingness to implement judiciary’s financial autonomy.

A statement by the president of the association, Olumide Akpata, directed the branch chairmen to lead the “visits”, which are more like peaceful protests, on Monday, and on all other subsequent Mondays until the demand for the judiciary’s financial autonomy is met.

It urged the branch leaders “to effectively mobilise their members” for the “visit to the governors at the state government houses” to press home the demand.

JUSUN since April 6, 2021, left the courts in Nigeria under lock and key because of the non-implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary as the third arm of government. They commenced a nationwide strike today, April 19, 2021.

Sanwo-Olu Commends ASP Sunday Erhabor For Calmness In The Face Of Assault

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commended ASP Sunday Erhabor, a Police officer attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the State Command, who was assaulted by one Victor Ebhomenyen at Four Point by Sheraton Hotel, Oniru last the weekend.

Governor Sanwo-Olu hailed ASP Erhabor for displaying a high level of professionalism and calmness by restraining himself from taking laws into his hands, despite being assaulted while trying to arrest Ebhomenyen for driving against the traffic.

The incident that was captured in a viral video on social media last Saturday, Erhabor while trying to arrest Ebhomenyen for driving against the traffic was violently assaulted and inflicted with severe bodily injuries. But the Police officer, who was armed with his official AK 47 rifle, displayed a high level of professionalism despite the fierce provocations.

Speaking at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Monday while receiving ASP Erhabor, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the action of the Police officer is a testimonial and encouragement for other officers to show that they can be civil in the face of provocation or assault from suspected criminals.

READ ALSO: ‘It Is Long Overdue,’ Sanwo-Olu Backs State Policing To Tackle Insecurity

He said: “This is our own little response to the very condemnable events that happened over the weekend. We are all very quick to condemn men of the Nigeria Police, especially when they are found wanting. We are always very quick to also admonish them. But the event that we all saw over the weekend showed that indeed there are some very commendable Police officers.

“In the real heat of provocation, ASP Erhabor displayed high quality of restraint. He displayed calmness and restrained himself from taking laws into his hands. And I think for that little gesture, it is important for us to bring him out so that we also can use him as a testimonial and encouragement for other Police officers to show that indeed they can be civil and that Police are meant to protect our citizens. They are meant to also be law abiding and the likes of ASP Sunday Erhabor today can be a source of encouragement to others.

“On behalf of the Government and the entire people of Lagos State through the Commissioner of Police, I want to commend ASP Erhabor for show of patience, decorum and what is expected of a Police officer. And I want to implore other Police officers to see that indeed there are times when you may be provoked, restraint is the word and see it that there are some members of the general public that can be very violent, please restrain and let the normal cause of law take its full course.”

“I want to use this medium to commend him, thank him and give him a Governorship handshake or elbow shake as the case might be as a source of encouragement for him and for the Commander of RRS, Chairman of Task Force, the Chief Security Officer and everybody in our Police formation to use ASP Sunday Erhabor as a good case for others.”

Speaking earlier, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu said ASP Erhabor “in the face of provocation and assault on his person displayed high level of diligent and civil oriented professionalism expected in modern policing as advocated by the present Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.”

Osinbajo To US: Support Just Transition To Net-Zero Emissions, Global Access To COVID-19 Vaccine

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has urged the United States to lend its weight to the call for a just global transition to zero emissions, lead the effort to ensure easy access to COVID-19 vaccine by all countries, and generally reset its foreign policy agenda with the African continent in ways that bring about economic prosperity, increased security, and improved governance.

Prof. Osinbajo expressed these views today in a speech delivered virtually at the 2021 Johns Hopkins University’s African Studies Programme Conference on the theme “Africa-US Re-engagement: A New Foreign Policy Agenda”. The conference was organized by the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), of the university.

According to the VP, “the United States and Africa should work together to tackle climate change and moderate global warming including through an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. African countries have made commitments in this regard towards implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement targets.”

“Given the long term commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, there is a growing trend among development finance institutions to withdraw from fossil fuel investment, including the World Bank’s decision to cease funding for upstream oil and gas development and the new restrictions on financing downstream gas development currently being considered by the European Union, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States.

“While well-intentioned, this move does not take into account the principles of common but differentiated responsibility and leaving no one behind, that are enshrined into global treaties around sustainable development and climate action.”

“The United States must lend its weight to stopping this manifestly unfair trend that can undermine the sense of collective responsibility we all have towards mitigating climate change. What is required is a just transition to zero emissions,” the Vice President added.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Harps On A Just Transition Towards Global Net-Zero Emissions Target – Osinbajo

Prof. Osinbajo has in recent times advocated for a just transition to net-zero emissions, particularly calling on multilateral agencies, and western countries to stop the planned defunding of gas projects in developing countries.

At different national and international forums, including recent meetings with a delegation of the European Union (EU), and at the Africa Regional Heads of Government Commonwealth Roundtable, among others, Prof. Osinbajo had maintained a firm stand against ending investments in gas projects in developing countries during the transition to zero emissions.

Commending the US for helping to improve healthcare outcomes in Africa including through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR), Prof. Osinbajo called for “the same spirit of collaboration with regard to making COVID-19 vaccines available to African countries.”

His words: “the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need to coordinate actions to prevent and tackle pandemics while also building up public health infrastructure in developed and developing countries alike.

“This is not a time for vaccine nationalism and export bans but rather of working together towards universal vaccination against the disease. The United States can lead in the effort to ensure that all countries and their peoples can access vaccines irrespective of the resources available to them.”

Calling on the US to reset its foreign policy agenda with Africa, Prof. Osinbajo noted that the reviewed cooperation with the continent “should promote a partnership that brings about economic prosperity, increases security, combats disease, improves governance and mitigates climate change.”

“Africa is in many ways the last frontier for economic development and it has the potential to be a global growth pole. Indeed, as other parts of the world are looking inwards, Africa is moving confidently to integrate its economies through the African Union Agenda 2063 as well as the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” the Vice President added.

Speaking specifically about the implementation of AfCFTA, the Vice President said “the United States is well placed to lead trade and investment ties with Africa. And it has a good leg-in with the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). The legislation, which removed all tariffs on 6,400 products available for export to the US, saw some African countries benefiting considerably.”

Continuing Prof. Osinbajo noted that “as the African Continental Free Trade Agreements are set to kick-in, AGOA must now be implemented consistent with the AFCTA. AGOA expires in 2025. But a new and improved AGOA that takes these challenges into account can be negotiated before then.”

On improving the support of the US in combating terrorism in the Sahel region, the Vice President said a more robust intervention towards clearing the reign of terror in the region is desirable.

“While it is evident that the threat of violent extremist organizations is growing, it will appear that US policy (United States Africa Command) has since 2020 shifted from a strategy of degrading violent extremist organizations in West Africa to simply containing their spread.

“The escalation of the attacks and the synergies being created amongst these extremist groups call for a review of that position. It may be the moment for a more robust intervention along the lines of US-backed operations in clearing terrorists and insurgents in the Middle East.”

The Vice President also strongly advocated that the US-Africa relations need not be uni-dimensional, noting that “since the United States is also a global leader in economic and military terms as well as through its contributions to the norms that shape the global order, it should work with Africa either under the auspices of the African Union or indeed through individual countries like Nigeria to build a better world.”

“Africa should not be seen or used as a pawn in great power games nor as an arena in the contest to secure strategic minerals and natural resources but rather as a partner in building a more secure, peaceful and prosperous world,” Prof. Osinbajo added.

Before his speech, organizers of the conference commended the VP for his leadership and commitment, expressing delight, according to Prof Elliot Cohen, Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies, that a professor rose to the height of a Vice President in any country at all.

Also, Prof. Peter Lewis, the Chair of African Studies in the university described the Vice President as “a figure known for his integrity, dedication, and effectiveness.”

After his speech, the Vice President also took questions from conference participants.

Army Says Boko Haram Suffered High Casualty In Failed Attempt To Take Dikwa

 

Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole currently carrying out Operation Tura Takaibango stationed at Dikwa and Gulumba Gana supported by the Air Component inflicted heavy casualty on Boko Haram Terrorists who attempted to take control of the strategic town of Dikwa, the headquarters of Dikwa LGA of Borno State.

This is according to a statement by Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, Director Army Public Relations.

General Yerima stated that the terrorists in their numbers mounted on 12 gun trucks attacked the town on the eve of Sunday 18 April 2021, just as the locals prepare to break their Ramadan fast for the day.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Is Not In Control Of Damasak, Army Insists

“The troops having contained the initial wave of the attack had to occupy their alternative Headquarters at Gulumba Gana to enable the Air Component engage any gun trucks and other technicals in the vicinity of the attack to prevent fratricide. The troops launched a counter attack in the early hours of Monday 19 April 2021 and successfully reoccupied their main headquarters in Dikwa.

“The retreating terrorists suffered heavy losses in both equipment and personnel including some of their key leaders from the superior firepower of own troops both from the air and ground forces. The troops are currently patrolling Dikwa town and environs to assess the level of damage inflicted on the terrorists,” the army’s communique partly read.

It further noted that the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru has commended the troops for their doggedness and directed them to restrategise in order to prevent any further attacks in the area, adding that the Nigerian Army remains committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment through out the North East theatre.

 

Death Toll In Benue Tanker Explosion Rises To 13

 

The Benue State Emergency Management Agency has confirmed thirteen deaths from yesterday’s petroleum tanker fire disaster at Ochigbudu, Agatu local government area of the state.

According to the agency, the report comes after an assessment visit to the scene of the fire to determine the extent of damage and the level of intervention required.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Seven Confirmed Dead In Benue Tanker Explosion

 

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Samuel Ortom on disaster management Mr. Cyprian Tsenongo who led a team for the emergence agency disclosed this to Channels Television while noting that, seventy-six shops, eight residential houses, twenty motorcycles, one Keke Napep, three vehicles, and the petroleum truck were burnt in the fire while three persons sustained injuries.

Speaking to victims of the fire incident who all appealed for government intervention, the senior special assistant, assured them of the Governor Samuel Ortom-led administration’s support to get back on their feet, once the report of the assessment visit is submitted, as the impact of the fire cuts across businesses, homes and even those with physical injuries.

 

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the government and people of Benue State over the tanker explosion that left several people dead in Agatu Local Government Area of the State.

Commiserating with families of the victims, the President said:

”I am worried by the frequency of these tanker explosion incidents on public roads or residential areas. Our road traffic authorities and transportation ministries should urgently address this.”

Noting that public safety should not be compromised under any circumstances, the President calls for strict adherence to safety standards and procedures; and these rules should be enforced without fear or favour.

NAF To Tap Into Skills Of Nigerians In Diaspora – CAS

 

The Chief of the Air Staff, (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, has stated that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will exploit the possibility of tapping into the abundant skills and competencies that abound within Nigerians in the diaspora.

He made this known when he played host to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The CAS assured the Commission of NAF’s interest in seeking partnership with Nigerians in the diaspora especially those with expertise in the fields of human capacity development, technological advancement as well as areas that are relevant to defence and security.

READ ALSO: Troops Arrest Suspected Boko Haram Informant In Yobe

 

The CAS also expressed support for the proposed Diaspora Defence and Security Conference soon to be held in the Country, just as he stated that the Conference would serve as the most appropriate avenue for the NAF and other government agencies to synergize and exploit the enormous resource base of Nigerians plying their trades overseas for national development.

Air Marshal Amao also commended Honourable Dabiri-Erewa for effectively engaging Nigerians in the diaspora for meaningful contributions to national development and for her selfless service to Nigeria which was not surprising in view of her rich pedigree as a public servant and as a politician.

In her remarks, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa noted that the Commission was looking forward to synergizing and collaborating with the NAF particularly in the areas of defence and security, human capacity development as well as any other field of interest to the NAF.

She added that several Nigerians worldwide excelling in various endeavours, including military-related fields, have expressed interest in returning home to contribute their quota towards national development. Honourable Dabiri-Erewa also disclosed that the proposed Diaspora Security Conference was expected to serve as a perfect medium for cross-fertilization of ideas and strategies towards tackling the current security challenges facing the nation. She also used the occasion of the visit to thank the NAF for its support to the Commission particularly in the airlift of stranded Nigerians in the diaspora.

Present during the visit were some management staff of NiDCOM as well as some Branch Heads and Directors at NAF Headquarters.

PDP Debunks Purported Suspension Of Kwankwaso, Babangida Aliyu

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) debunks claims in misleading documents being circulated by some mischievous individuals purporting that former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, has been suspended from the party.

The PDP states clearly that Senator Kwakwanso is not suspended from the party adding that any claim of suspension by any individual or group, purporting to be representing any organ of our party at any level, is a mere fabrication and should be discountenanced.

The PDP stresses that the provisions of the constitution of the PDP are very clear on the suspension of a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), if and when such occasion arises, and cautioned those behind the misleading claims to desist henceforth.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Must Engage Other Nations – Gbajabiamila

The PDP strongly cautions that it will not accept such reckless adventure by such misguided individuals, which its notes, is capable of destabilizing our party and bringing it to public disrepute.

Similarly, the PDP states that the former Niger state governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has not been suspended by the party as mischievously published in certain quarters.

Our party frowns as such fabrications aimed at subverting the stability of our party and trigger disagreements and suspicions within our ranks.

The PDP urges our leaders and teeming members in Kano and Niger states to be at alert, resist distractions, and continue to work together as Nigerians earnestly look up to the PDP for solutions and direction at this critical time.

Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Must Engage Other Nations – Gbajabiamila

A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that Nigeria’s foreign policy in a fast-changing world should seek to engage other nations in finding solutions to new challenges and threats so that collectively, they can address them.

He specifically cited climate change, easy flow of capital/funding of terrorism, and the rapid growth of technology as some of the new challenges altering the way the world functioned in the past.

Gbajabiamila, who was speaking in Abuja on Monday at the opening of a three-day Conference on the Review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy, noted that the country should define the terms of its foreign policy by engaging the rest of the world to address the different manifestations of the challenges.

The conference was organised by the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

READ ALSO: Financial Autonomy: Security Agents Lock NASS Gate, Deny Protesting Lawyers Entry

“To do this, we must establish the values that underpin and motivate our foreign policy as this is necessary to determine everything else, including how we protect our country from the downside of globalisation while ensuring our people benefit from the opportunities that abound”, the Speaker told the session.

For instance, Gbajabiamila said Nigeria today faced threats of insecurity and huge unemployment, which it must find solutions to internally and tailor its foreign policy to address both.

Gbajabiamila explained further, “Today in Nigeria, we face two existential threats of insecurity and unemployment that have caused a deep loss of faith amongst our people.

“All our governing efforts must be geared towards finding solutions to these problems. Whereas the rest of the government looks inwards, it is the mandate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to look outward. It is not an easy task.”

Pledging the support of the 9th House under his leadership and the entire National Assembly to achieve this, the Speaker recalled how the resort to ‘parliamentary diplomacy’ in recent times by the Legislature helped to douse tensions between Nigeria and some African countries.

Gbajabiamila informed the session how the intervention of the House helped in checking the xenophobic attacks in South Africa from becoming a full-blown crisis between Nigeria and its Southern African sister.

He also stated that the House intervened in the trade dispute between the authorities in Ghana and Nigerian traders in Accra in 2020, using parliamentary diplomacy to engage the Ghanaian Parliament to address the dispute.

“I assure you that the House of Representatives stands ready to be an effective partner in advancing our nation’s foreign policy objectives”, the speaker added.

Earlier, the Chairman of the House committee, Rep. Yusuf Yakub, observed that the world has become “highly-dynamic”, requiring a comprehensive foreign policy response from Nigeria beyond the age-long position of Africa being the centrepiece, a non-aligned nation and practising democracy.

He said, “It is about time we had a fully and comprehensively articulated document that addresses what we call the foreign policy of Nigeria.

“Though foreign policy in its true nature is dynamic, such a document must encompass as well as engender ideals that will make Nigeria maximise the gains of its relationship with every other part of the outside world, be it Asia, Africa, Europe or the Americas.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, in a remark, thanked the speaker and the House for the initiative, which he said tallied with the thinking in the ministry.

“This is an excellent and timely initiative by the House of Representatives to review the foreign policy of this country. We thank Mr Speaker and we look forward to the outcome of this conference”, Onyeama added.

Greta Thunberg, Climate And Environment Activist, Joins WHO’s Call For Vaccine Equity

The Greta Thunberg Foundation will donate 100,000 Euros to support vaccine equity. Photo credit: @GretaThunberg.

 

Greta Thunberg, the climate and environment activist, will donate 100,000 Euros (US$ 120,000) via her foundation, to the WHO Foundation, in support of COVAX to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, as part of the global effort to ensure equitable access of vaccines to the most at-risk in all countries, including health workers, older people and those with underlying conditions.

The donation has been made possible thanks to awards that the Greta Thunberg Foundation has received for her advocacy in support of action on climate change.

Ms. Thunberg, who today will join the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 press conference (details below) said: “The international community must do more to address the tragedy that is vaccine inequity. We have the means at our disposal to correct the great imbalance that exists around the world today in the fight against COVID-19. Just as with the climate crisis, we must help those who are the most vulnerable first. That is why I am supporting WHO, Gavi and all involved in the COVAX initiative, which I believe offers the best path forward to ensure true vaccine equity and a way out of the pandemic.”

READ ALSO: France To Impose Quarantine On Arrivals From Four Countries

On average, 1 in 4 people in high-income countries have received a coronavirus vaccine, compared with just one in more than 500 in low-income countries.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked Greta Thunberg for her advocacy in support of vaccine equity and the example she has set, through the Greta Thunberg Foundation, for making this life-saving donation to COVAX.

“Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of people worldwide to take action to address the climate crisis, and her strong support of vaccine equity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic yet again demonstrates her commitment to making our world a healthier, safer and fairer place for all people,” said Dr Tedros. “I urge the global community to follow Greta’s example and do what they can, in support of COVAX, to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from this pandemic.”

Anil Soni, chief executive officer of the WHO Foundation, applauded the donation by the Greta Thunberg Foundation as an important signal to policymakers that there is widespread support from young people around the world for a global response to this global challenge.

“Greta’s gift shows how we, as a global community, must come together to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines. Each of us can do our part,” said Mr Soni. “The WHO Foundation is committed to working hand in hand with all those who share this vision.”

The WHO Foundation is mobilizing resources to support COVAX, in part through a new fundraising campaign being launched at the end of April.

We’ll Provide Support For Digital Switch Over In Lagos, Sanwo-Olu Assures Residents

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu attends the Eko Educators Webinar Performance Series 3.3 hosted by the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission. Sept 8.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu attends the Eko Educators Webinar Performance Series 3.3 hosted by the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission. Sept 8.

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu says his administration will support the Digital Switch Over (DSO) being embarked by the country, saying it would enhance job creation and content development.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who acknowledged that the DSO would be of immense benefit to residents said Lagos State would be providing publicity support for the rollout.

Speaking on Saturday when the Ministerial Taskforce of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Digital Switch Over led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Marina, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the DSO will provide job opportunities for youths and many businesses, especially those in the entertainment and tourism industry.

READ ALSO: TCN Upgrades Transmission Line To Boost Power Supply In Sokoto

He said the DSO will also provide opportunity for government to use the content to inform and engage the citizens as well as bring governance closer to the people.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who advised the Ministerial Taskforce on the Digital Switch Over to make the FreeTV box and after sale support easily accessible, said making the FreeTV Set Top Box a one-off payment with a yearly renewal, will provide opportunity for millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the subscription fees being charged by the PayTV platforms to enjoy the benefit of digital television.

He said: “The movement from analogue set up that we currently have to digital is apt and it speaks to reality of what we have today. Everywhere in the world, technology is now a fundamental and critical deliverable of government. It presents an opportunity for citizens to have access to local, national and international space.

“As a forward looking state, we are in partnership and we see it as bringing the future to our citizens, so we do not have a problem with it at all. Even for us as a state, we have been developing our metropolitan fiber optics to provide fiber connectivity as one of the solutions for our citizens to have access to cheaper data.

“We will support the DSO. We want Lagos to continue to set the pace for the nation. We will help our people to be exposed to modern and international best practices. We will be willing to work with you and ensure that we deliver jointly on April 29.”

Speaking earlier, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the proposed rollout in Lagos would be a critical milestone for the DSO and the creative industry as over one million jobs would be provided nationwide.

He said with the FreeTV of the DSO, Nigerians would have opportunities to watch over 60 channels with great contents at a cheaper rate and without subscription to pay TV.

Mohammed who presented Governor Sanwo-Olu with the Set Top Box for the DSO said it would also enable government to get the data of every household with television, thereby making the collection of television and radio licenses easier, adding that the Nigerian Broadcasting Code (NBC) had been amended to make provisions for the switch over from analogue to digital.

The Minister of Information and Culture also disclosed that six months after the rollout of the DSO in Lagos, the NBC would ask television stations to shut down their analog broadcast equipment, thereby making more spectrum available for data and other telecommunication services.

Mohammed who noted that the DSO is relevant to the Lagos Smart City Project and the Lagos Broadband initiative, urged Governor Sanwo-Olu to direct the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) to provide out-of-home boards, lamp post and other publicity support for the DSO launch for at least three months.

He said: “The rollout in Lagos reflects our decision to take the DSO to commercial centres across the country. With a population of over 20 million, and projected TV Households of over five million, the launch of FreeTV in Lagos State will be a critical milestone for the DSO and for Nigeria’s broadcast and creative industry.

“Lagos State, which is the hub of the Creative Industry, will take a large share of the 1 million jobs to be created. Since FreeTV helps to provide Value Added Services, the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 LCDAs in Lagos State will be supported in the collection of Television and Radio Licenses from residents. With FreeTV’s push system for information services, the FreeTV platform can be used to broadcast information on Lagos State activities to all viewers.

“A major advantage of the DSO is that viewers will not pay subscription fees. Once they have acquired the Set Top Box and pay the once-a-year access fee, which is a token, it is free viewing all the way. Millions of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the rising subscription fees being charged by the PayTV platforms can now enjoy the benefits of digital television. This is the meaning of bridging the digital divide.”

Plug Financial Leakages, Leave Obaseki Alone – PDP Govs Tell APC Counterparts

Godwin Obaseki

 

The PDP Governors Forum says it is alarmed at the partisan slant a patriotic advise to the Federal Government by Governor Godwin Obaseki, on its monetary policies has assumed.

In a statement by the Director-General of the PDP Governors Forum (PGF), Hon CID Maduabum, governors of the opposition party said it is unhelpful for the Progressive Governors Forum to join the fray in the manner it did by its recent statement attacking the “bona fides of Governor Obaseki” who merely warned the monetary authorities about the danger of uncontrolled use of Ways and Means, that is, the printing of Naira, to support government’s expenditure.

According to the PGF, Governor Obaseki has a background in economics and finance and is a very responsible governor who talks in a measured way.

“His advise, which by the way has been corroborated by none other than the Governor of the CBN himself, and the international ratings agency FITCH , should be heeded rather than being crucified for sounding a note of caution.

READ ALSO: It Is Our Job To Print Money, Lend Govt – Emefiele Replies Obaseki

“No doubt the Federal government has been supporting the States in the area of agriculture, budget, refund of Federal Government executed projects by States and a few other areas of intervention. Is CBN trying to be vindictive and vengeful by recalling its loans to the States because of an informed advise by a Governor?. It is unfortunate that governance has plummeted to this level,” the PGF’s communique partly reads.

The opposition governors asked the Federal government to plug financial leakages in the system and curb wasteful expenditure of billions of Naira on projects that can be executed by the private sector and save a lot of money in the process, thereby relying less on Ways and Means by the CBN, which brings pressure on the Naira with its inflationary consequences.

Nigeria’s inflation rate has continued to rise, as of April 15, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation increased to 18.17 per cent (year-on-year) in March, a development which the PGF insists all Nigerians should be concerned to find ways of stemming the tide.

“We are all involved in the urgent task of rescuing the economy of Nigeria and nobody should indeed play the OSTRICH,” the PGF emphasized.