Youths Gather At Unity Fountain To Mark #EndSARS Anniversary

Youths gathered at the Unity Fountain on October 20, 2021.

 

Youths from various parts of Abuja on Wednesday observed a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests.

The rally commenced at the Unity Fountain where the youths, led by social activist, Omoyele Sowore, marched across some of the major streets in the nation’s capital.

The youths displayed placards with different inscriptions and chanted songs of solidarity.

 

Sowore, while addressing journalists during the rally, said the government has not shown any remorse, one year after the protests and has continued to suppress the citizens.

He said justice has yet to be served on security operatives involved in the shooting at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos on October 20, 2021.

Youths display placards as they gathered at the Unity Fountain on October 20, 2021.

 

A lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, who was also at the rally, expressed displeasure that the panel of inquiry set up by the government to investigate cases of human rights violations in Abuja has yet to conclude its findings one year after.

From the Unity Fountain, the youths marched towards the National Assembly but they were intercepted by a team of security operatives.

They comprise operatives of the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Department of State Service (DSS), and other security agencies.

 

The security operatives mounted a barricade to prevent the youths from proceeding with their rally.

Despite the action of the security team, the situation was peaceful as the two sides stood face-to-face, with the youths chanting songs of solidarity.

Cut N26bn Presidency Budget For Medical Centre, Travels And Meals – SERAP Tells Buhari

A photo combination of SERAP and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari “to cut the N26 billion presidency budget for the construction of the presidential wing at the State House Medical Centre, local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, ‘sitting allowance’, and ‘welfare package’, and to use some of the savings to address the growing level of deficit, as well as improve public healthcare facilities across the country.”

SERAP also urged him “to send to the National Assembly a fresh supplementary appropriation bill, which reflects the reduced proposed spending on the construction of the State House Medical Centre, local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, and ‘welfare package’, for its approval.”

In the letter dated 9 October 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Many Nigerians will find it quite odd, unfair and unjust that the government is spending so much money on many of these items in the middle of a public borrowing crisis. The proposed spending could be better allocated to improve access of Nigerians to basic public goods and services.”

SERAP said: “The government would continue to borrow to fund the country’s budget until there is a substantial cut to the cost of governance. The government should stop spending so much money on these items. Persistent borrowing is neither sustainable nor fair to the Nigerian people.”

It added:“Your government has a responsibility to ensure the interest of the well-being and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens. The growing budget deficit and debt problems threaten Nigerians’ access to essential public goods and services, and will hurt future generations if not urgently addressed.”


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The letter, read in part: “SERAP also urges you to publish details of spending on construction and repairs of the presidential wing at the medical center and office furniture and fittings since May 29, 2015.

“The proposed spending figures highlight the lack of political will to cut the cost of governance, starting from the presidency. This spending is unsustainable, and would take away critical funding to provide access to quality healthcare and education.

“This would leave the poorest and most vulnerable people without access to these essential public goods and services, and burden the next generation.

“According to our information, for the Office of the President, you recently proposed in the 2022 appropriation bill to spend N24,835,805,231 for the construction of the presidential wing at the state house medical center, local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments.”

The agency noted that “The construction of the presidential wing will cost N21,974,763,310. N2,309,066,788 is proposed to be spent on general travel and transport while N301,138,860 will be spent on foodstuff and catering materials supplies. N250,836,273 is proposed to be spent on refreshments, meals, honorarium, sitting allowance, publicity and advertisements.

“For the Office of the Vice-President, N1,136,717,757 is proposed for local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, purchase of office furniture and fittings, and other expenses. The details are: N778,261,411 is proposed to be spent on general travel and transport.

“N168,210,826 is proposed for office stationeries/computer, consumables, printing of documents, uniforms and other clothing, food stuff and catering materials supplies. N2,350,626 is proposed for cooking gas and fuel costs.

“N99,795,229 is proposed to be spent on refreshments, meals, honorarium, sitting allowance, publicity and advertisements. N31,909,380 is proposed for computer software acquisition while N30,817,085 is proposed for the purchase of motor vehicles. N25,373,200 is proposed for the purchase of office furniture and fittings.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our requests.”

The organisation said it “is concerned that the huge spending is neither necessary nor in the public interest, especially in the face of the country’s dire economic position, the scant allocations to education and health, and the growing level of borrowing by your government to fund the 2022 budget.

“Spending limited public funds on the construction of the presidential wing at the State House Medical Centre, local and foreign travels, meals and refreshments, honorarium and sitting allowance, and welfare packages at a time the government is borrowing to fund the budget would undermine your government’s constitutional and fiduciary duties to ensure a responsible budget spending.

“The country’s fiscal situation must be changed – and changed quickly – through some combination of cuts in the areas highlighted above. Cutting waste and apparently unnecessary spending would go a long way in addressing the budget deficit and debt problems.

“The recommended measures would also ensure that your government is spending the country’s maximum available resources to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to basic needs of the poor and marginalized groups.”

PHOTOS: Obiano Visits Buhari In Abuja

Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano visits President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano on Thursday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Briefing journalists after the meeting with the President, Obiano said that he (President Buhari) is not in support of the proposed state of emergency in the state.

According to the governor, President Buhari does not want any form of intimidation ahead of the polls.

Governor Obiano who further stated that he has reported the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to Buhari, described as “unfortunate” the comments suggesting that the State of Emergency could be imposed on Anambra to engender security of lives.

At Least Two Injured As Fire Guts Federal Secretariat Abuja

File photo of the Federal Secretariat Abuja.

 

At least two people have been injured in a fire that engulfed a part of the Federal Secretariat complex in Abuja on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses told Channels Television that they jumped from the second floor where the fire started and injured themselves.

According to one eyewitness, the fire started on the second floor of the first phase of the complex, which houses the Federal Ministry of Education.

Officials of the Federal Fire Service (FSS) battled the fire for hours before it was finally put off after deploying four firefighting trucks.

Located in the three-arm zone of the nation’s capital, the complex houses major federal ministries, departments and agencies.

What We Have Today Is Not A Responsive Government – Wike

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Wednesday claimed the country does not have a responsive government going by current happenings.

Governor Wike stated this in Abuja, the nation’s capital during the Executive Management Course 14.

Delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘Governance, Security and Sustainable Development in Africa,’  Wike said a responsible government would lead to environmental sustainability, taking a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.

“Only a determined, committed government with the right policy measures can solve this and not a government of promises like what we have today. What we have today cannot be a responsive government that will provide all this,” he said.

The Rivers governor believes that the duty of every government is to invest in social and economic infrastructure such as railways, roads, sea, and airports.

Frowning at leaders who give excuses in governance, the governor said equitable distribution of resources is fundamental in achieving peace, security, and sustainable development.

He also spoke on the development of Africa, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled the giant economies of the world.

According to Wike, the continent would need billions of dollars including loans to support its future growth and development needs in the next five years.

On borrowings, he flayed the Federal Government for its decision to seek foreign loans from China, arguing that conditions must be met before any money would be given out.

“When you borrow, there are conditions attached. You go to China and borrow, China must be the contractors. I am borrowing, I am paying you as we have agreed but one of the conditions is that we must be the one that will carry out this work,” he said.

“Apart from the interest you are going to make from the loan, you are also making money from doing the work. You see the problem because you have no choice, it erodes independence. You must do what they say you should do.”

Nigeria At 61: The Vision Has Not Been Destroyed, We Are Undefeated – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the event. Photo: Facebook/Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has observed that even though there are security, economic, religious, and ethnic challenges, the collective vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, where righteousness abounds, still abides.

This was the summation of his remark at Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary inter-denominational church service and the 45th anniversary service of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja on Sunday.

Osinbajo said: “we have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. Ten of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries. From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, in sports, in technology and commerce.”

“Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time and because this country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes; and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory,”  the VP added.

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The event tagged ‘Together, Come Let Us build’, was attended by several dignitaries, especially representatives of the National Assembly, judiciary, and members of the Federal Executive Council including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

There were also eminent religious leaders, including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor E.A Adeboye; CAN President, Rev. Supo Ayokunle; among others.

Below is the full speech of the Vice President titled “Nigeria: The Vision Undefeated”, as released by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.

 

SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE 61st INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY INTER-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH SERVICE AND THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY SERVICE OF THE CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN) ON THE 26TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2021 PROTOCOLS

Let me begin by delivering to the Christian Association of Nigeria, the warm felicitations of Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari on this occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Association.

He has asked me to commend the work of CAN especially within Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, to ensure brotherliness and peace amongst all Nigerians regardless of faith. Congratulations today on behalf of Mr. President.

I have titled my remarks today – The Vision Undefeated.61 years ago, our founding fathers laid out a vision, that the many nations and ethnicities, North and South of the Niger, 300 languages or more, differing tribes, and religions, would by the grace of God become one Nation.

That their diverse strengths and gifts would coalesce into a formidable economic and regional force. And that these united nations may become the largest aggregation of black people on earth. A beacon of hope to all peoples of African descent, long bruised by the afflictions of slavery and colonial exploitation. Nigeria will be the reaffirmation of their dignity and a tonic to their spirits. 

The Lord blessed the vision and prospered the land with richness in oil, in gas, in minerals of every hue. In fruit trees, in palm trees, in crops of every kind, in savannahs and forests, arable land, seas, rivers, and the riches embedded in them.

That vision of our forebears inheres in the words of our National Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. 

Through the years, we worked that vision, through thick and thin. From subjection to colonial monarchy, to a sovereign republic, to civil rule to military rule. We fought a bitter war amongst brothers that cost millions of lives, and though we still wear the deep scars of those wounds, the Lord preserved the Republic. 

We have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. 10 of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries. From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, sports, technology, and commerce. 

But today, yet again, our path has been dogged by conflict; religious and ethnic, economic challenges, insurgencies and banditry, much darkness, many valleys, and many thorns. And so many ask, “can the vision of the nation united, the nation peaceful, the nation righteous and the nation prosperous yet abide?”

But the vision is not destroyed because of the many trials and tribulations, nor is the vision denied by the days when the fig tree does not blossom, or when there is no fruit on the vines; nor is the vision nullified when the labor of the olive fails, neither is the vision defeated because the flock is cut off from the fold, leaving no herd in the stalls.

The Lord God, our strength, He will yet make our feet like the feet of the deer, and we, who had been in the valley, He will make us walk on our high hills (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Neither hailstones nor hellfire can destroy the vision because the Creator of the universe is the visioner, the One who gave the vision is the Lord of dreams. And indeed even after we have suffered for a while, this God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle us. (1 Peter 5:10)

Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time. Our today is not our tomorrow because the vision is for an appointed time.

This country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes, and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory.

(Habakkuk 2:3) For indeed the vision is yet for an appointed time; though it tarries. But at the end, it will speak, and it will not lie. We will wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

May the Lord prosper this land, and its peoples forever, Amen.
Congratulations to CAN at 45 and happy anniversary Nigeria at 61.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless you all.

Buhari Arrives In New York For UN General Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari arrives at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on September 19, 2021. Credit: State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in the United States of America, Channels Television has learnt.

The President touched down at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, at exactly 5:10 pm local time ahead of the high-level General debate of the United Nations Assembly on September 21, 2021.

He was received by Nigeria’s Permanent representative to the United States, Professor Tijani Bande and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.

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President Buhari will address the assembly during the general debates on Friday, September 24.

The President is expected to speak on this year’s theme which is “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the United Nations” and other global issues.

Buhari and members of his delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as the high-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, themed ‘Reparations, Racial Justice, and Equality for People of African Descent’.

Buhari Departs Abuja To Attend 76th UN General Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari waves as he boards the presidential jet for the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2021. Credit: State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja for New York, the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed this on Sunday, adding that his principal will join other world leaders for the 76th session of the UNGA which opened on September 14.

According to the presidential spokesman, President Buhari will address the assembly during the general debates on Friday, September 24.

The President is expected to speak on this year’s theme which is “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the United Nations” and other global issues.

Buhari and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as the high-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, themed ‘Reparations, Racial Justice, and Equality for People of African Descent’.

Buhari is expected back in the country on September 26. Photo: State House

 

“The delegation will also participate in the food systems summit; high-level dialogue on energy; and the high-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” Adesina said.

President Buhari will hold bilateral meetings with a number of other leaders of delegations and heads of international development organisations while in the U.S.

He is expected back in the country on Sunday, September 26.

He was accompanied to New York by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

The Nigerian leader will hold bilateral talks with other world leaders during the 76th UN General Assembly. Photo: State House

 

Also on the President’s delegation are the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar; Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

Three Killed As Flood Hits Estate In Abuja

One of the cars damaged during the downpour. Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

At least three persons have been killed after a downpour in Trademore Estate, Lugbe District, Abuja.

The Director-General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency, Mr Abbas Idris confirmed the incident to Channels Television on Monday morning. 

Residents of the area, however, insist that there are more fatalities. 

Several cars were also swept away by the flood following the downpour on Sunday night.

Residents believe the casualty figure is higher than three. Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Trademore Estate has been in the news for flooding. Last year, one person died in the area after a downpour.

Find below more photos showing the effect of the flood: 

Make Sacrifices To Tackle Insecurity, Jonathan Tells Nigerians

Former President Goodluck Jonathan speaks in Abuja on September 10, 2021.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked Nigerians to make sacrifices to tackle the numerous security challenges facing the country.

He made the call on Friday in Abuja during a public presentation of a research report on terrorism and banditry by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.

“We must therefore show commitment to peace in words, action and other necessary means,” Jonathan said. “To build a peaceful nation, we must first build in the lives of people because such inspires love, love promotes peace, peace engenders justice and justice guarantees freedom and trust.”

He also lamented that Nigerians have lost loved ones, properties and investments in the decade-long insurgency in the North-East.

‘Sacrifice From All’

The former president noted that “banditry, terrorism and other associated crimes threaten our human essence and the essential values of our democracy and nationhood.

“There is no doubt that our nation is plagued by many crisis and these challenges have continued to threaten our faith and shared destinies.

“This report that we are presenting today contains some observations and recommendations on the challenges of banditry and other human security concerns in our nation. As I conclude, let me state that the crisis facing us today requires sacrifice from all stakeholders.”

Maina To Remain In Custody As Court Rejects Fresh Bail Application

A file photo of Mr Abdulrasheed Maina

 

A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused to hear a fresh bail application filed by the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina.

The judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed declined to hear the bail application filed by Maina’s lawyer, David Iorhemba, on the ground that it was contentious.

He ruled that the matter could not be heard during the court’s vacation and consequently returned the case to Justice Okon Abang who has been the trial judge in the substantive case, for hearing on the application when the court resumes from vacation.

Earlier in his argument, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Andrew Ocholi had opposed the application filed by Maina, saying he had filed a counter-affidavit and a preliminary objection to show that the applicant was no longer entitled to bail.

Maina is standing trial alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Limited over a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering of over one billion naira, among other offences.

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The ex-pension boss was first arraigned on October 25, 2019, after which Justice Abang ordered that he be remanded in the Correctional Centre at Kuje, pending a hearing of his bail application.

He was subsequently released from the correctional centre in July after perfecting his bail conditions.

However, his bail was revoked on November 18, 2020 on the grounds that he jumped bail and was rearrested.

Upon his rearrest, he returned to court where the court ordered that he be returned to the custody of the correctional centre in Kuje until his trial was concluded.

With the development, his lawyer, Francis Oronsaye, withdrew from the case while his new lawyer, Anayo Adibe, filed another bail application.

However, in a ruling on February 28, Justice Abang refused to grant the application on the grounds that it was without merit and that Maina failed to place sufficient materials before the court to convince it that he deserved another bail.

He held that Maina did not deserve to be admitted to bail again after violating the conditions of the bail granted him earlier and later adjourned the matter until October 4 when the court would resume from its vacation.

I Don’t Need To Be APC Chairman To Be Relevant, Says Oshiomhole

 

Former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, says he does not need to be the national chairman to remain relevant and serve the party.

“I’m still active in all APC activities and I don’t think that I need to be a chairman to be relevant,” he said on Saturday during the fundraising and investiture for Victoria Unuoarumi as the 10th President of the Rotary Club of Maitama, Abuja.

Oshiomhole noted that he didn’t join the party to become chairman.

“I joined in order to form an alternative platform capable of kicking PDP out of power and that objective was achieved.

“It doesn’t matter the way things have gone. The primary purpose was not for me to be APC chairman,” the former Edo State governor buttressed.

He also noted that he has no regrets that he was removed as APC chairman and that he has accepted all that happened in good faith.

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Speaking about the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Oshiomhole said he is optimistic that “God will not forsake a nation of 200million people”.

While agreeing that Nigeria’s democracy is not perfect, the former Labour leader said he is certain that the nation will press on.

“I believe that God in his infinite mercy will help Nigeria to sustain its democracy and guide us, as we move towards 2023 and the country will go forward.

“I want all of you to realise that I always make this point because Nigeria is much bigger than the total sum of the problems bedevilling it. So I am an optimist,” the APC stalwart said.