House Seeks KWACCIMA’s Support On Moribund Industries

Kwara LG Pensioners Begin Seven-Day Prayer, Fasting SessionThe Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Ali Ahmad, has advocated for stronger ties between Kwara State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KWACCIMA) and the three tiers of government to “resuscitate moribund industries.

He said the collaboration will facilitate the needed capital through the Bank of Industry (BOI) for the organization to embark on the resuscitation of the industries that had been laying fallow.

Ahmad stated this at the investiture of Dr Ahmed Raji as the new president of KWACCIMA held at the banquet hall in the Government House, Ilorin.

At the ceremony, which also featured conferment of award on some personalities; Raji was officially installed as the new helmsman of KWACCIMA, thereby succeeding Hezekiah Adediji.

The Speaker, however, observed that the revival of the industries will lead to employment generation through Public Private Partnership (PPP), maintaining that the synergy was required to reconstruct what he called “battered economy”.

He expressed the readiness of the State Assembly to receive a bill sponsored by KWACCIMA with the intention of adding value to the economy of the state.

Ahmad, who chaired the occasion, applauded the state government for providing the organisation some plots of land for its proposed trade fair ground.

 

“It is essential that when your chamber forms a synergy with these three tiers of government, solutions will be found to resuscitate some of these moribund industries with guaranteeing of loans through the Bank of Industry.

‘There is no doubt that when these moribund industries are resuscitated, more employment will be provided under the Public, Private Partnership (PPP). I hope your organisation will take it as a point of duty to form the appropriate synergy with these three tiers of government, so as to foster unity and cooperation.

“For people to know what your chamber stands for, you need to sensitize them through workshops, seminar and advocacy on radio and television, to enable the populace know what activities you embark upon and what people should gain from your chamber at the long run.

“I am convinced that if you work assiduously with your agenda, KWACCIMA will go to places as it will change the face of the state economically.

I appeal to the state and local governments to stretch their hands of fellowship to KWACCIMA through donations, to build a befitting trade fair complex this year.

“Let me assure you that the House of Assembly remains a genuine partner in the drive to move Kwara state forward, especially in the promotion of economic development and in raising the standard of living across the spectra of our human capital assets.

“Consequently, the House, will be receptive to the contribution of the chamber through the sponsoring of a bill that will add value to the economic and social well-being of the people of Kwara state including the business community”, the Speaker said.

In his acceptance speech, the KWACCIMA president, Ahmed Raji, expressed gratitude to members, for their trust in him and pledged to act within his powers to revolutionise the state business environment.

He also promised to work with other executive members, to ensure that the organisation punches its weight on the national stage with the ability to shape its future, through facilitating local business environment that would encourage growth and enterprise.

Ahmad Urges Buhari To Implement Relevant Laws On Corruption

ahmad aliThe Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Ali Ahmad, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to implement relevant laws on corruption towards making graft cases actionable in the nation’s courts.

Mr Ahmad, during an interactive session with reporters in Ilorin, the state’s capital, said that existing lacuna in the nation’s criminal codes should be expunged so that President Buhari’s quest to stem cases of corruption in the country could be effective.

He noted that the President should implement the administration of criminal justice act passed by the seventh National Assembly for the war against corruption to be won.

The Speaker further noted that a Minister of Justice should be appointed on time to guard against unnecessary adjournment of corrupt cases adding that existing sections of the criminal codes that allow undue adjournment of cases should be removed.

Justice Ademola Did Not Order 37 Lawmakers To Vacate Seats – APC

Lai MohammedThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that Justice Adeniyi Ademola did not order the 37 members of the House of Representatives who defected to the APC to vacate their seats because he is not competent to issue such a ruling, as the issue of whether not they can defect was not before him.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that it would appeal the ruling because Justice Ademola’s perpetual injunction restraining the concerned lawmakers from participating in motions and debates in the House is unconstitutional and defeats the very purpose for which the members were elected into the House.

It said that Justice Ademola’s unsolicited comments were “clearly gregarious, unnecessary, superfluous and has no foundation in law or fact, hence should be ignored.”

APC asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria to act urgently to sanction Justice Ademola for engaging in mischief that could bring the bench into disrepute.

The statement read: ”If this case had been issued a day later than Monday, we would have said the Judge was caught in the web of April Fool! Alas, he indeed made the ruling on Monday, hence the need for us to take it very seriously for several reasons.

“Firstly, the question whether the House of Representatives members should vacate their seats was not a question before Justice Ademola for determination. The only question for him to determine was whether the APC members, with their numerical strength at that time, had the right to change the House leadership such as the Majority Leader, Chief Whip and their deputies. So Justice Ademola had no business commenting on seats being vacated.

”Secondly, it is highly unprofessional and unethical for one Judge to delve into a matter that is sub judice in another court. A Judge should not make comments on matters being litigated in another court. The question of seats being vacated or otherwise is being heard by Justice Ahmed Mohammed in the Federal High Court in Abuja who, on March 29, 2014, said the issue was still live before him and is not ripe for Judgment.”

APC recalled the alarm it raised in a statement on December 14, 2013, that the PDP was shopping for a pliant Judge who would be heavily induced to do its bidding in the case over the defections from the ruling party to the APC.

In the December statement, the opposition party warned against any attempt by the PDP and the Presidency to “turn back the hands of the clock as far as the cleaning up of the judiciary is concerned, by inducing a servile and disreputable Judge to do the duo’s bidding.”

In the said statement, APC said: ”We recognize the efforts of the present CJN to sanitize the Judiciary since she assumed the mantle of leadership but she should not allow any black leg to reverse the gains that have been recorded on the altar of unmitigated avarice. This is because if that happens, Nigerians will hold the Judiciary vicariously liable for the catastrophic consequences that may follow.”

Claiming that its alarm had now proven to be prescient, the party wondered whether there was any link between what it termed an exercise in judicial rascality and President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent statement in Kwara that the PDP would soon retrieve its ‘stolen’ mandate from those who defected from the PDP to the APC.

”That presidential boast raises the following questions: What did the President know and when did he know it? Was this judgement procured by the PDP for a price, in which case the President’s statement amounted to a Freudian Slip? Are we to expect more of this?

”It is necessary to unravel this so the PDP and the Presidency, in their desperation, will not paint the judiciary with their brush of failure and crash our democracy,” it said.

The party urged its supporters not to panic as the judgement was “clearly intended to cause mischief”, adding, however, that “the plan by the PDP and the Presidency had fallen like a pack of cards.”

PDP-to-APC: Court Asks 37 Defecting Lawmakers To Resign

house_of_repsA Federal High Court order in Abuja has asked the 37 lawmakers who defected from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, to resign their positions as members of the National Assembly.

In what seems to be a twist in the on-going drama in the House of Representatives, the court, on Monday, also granted a perpetual injunction restraining the defecting lawmakers from effecting any leadership change in the lower House.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola told the lawmakers that they were no longer competent to vote or contribute to any proceedings in the House of Representatives.

In other words, the lawmakers, according to the judgment of Justice Ademola no longer have any business, morally and legally to remain in the House.

He said, “Having perused the arguments of counsel and the constitutional provisions, it is clear and unambiguous that the defendants were sponsored by the PDP and won the election on its platform. It is also the court’s opinion that their tenure has not expired and there is no division in the PDP.”

The lawmakers, while defecting in December 2013 had said that they were joining the APC due to “division and factionalisation” within the ruling party.

They also said that their defection to the APC was in obedience to section 68, subsection 1G of the constitution.

It has been argued, however, that the Nigerian Constitution stipulates that a lawmaker can only defect to another party without losing his seat if there is adequate proof that the political party he is moving from is in crisis that must have divided the party.

Justice Ademola, in his judgement, lambasted the lawmakers and advised them to resign honorably as House members.

Jonathan Says Boko Haram Must Go

The Federal Government of Nigeria has reassured citizens that the current administration will do its best to ensure that Boko Haram insurgency becomes a thing of the past in the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan gave the assurance while addressing Christian faithful at the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in the Federal Capital Territory, where he participated in the service to mark the first Sunday in the New Year.

President Jonathan, his mother, and some members of the cabinet joined the congregation to thank God for the New Year and to identify with the church at the beginning of the year.

The President commiserated with families hit by the terrorist group, most of them members of the church. He also called on well-meaning Nigerians to join hands with the administration so that the war against terror would collectively be won.

The leader of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Reverend Dachollom Datri, delivered a message in which he commended the President for his “giant strides” in the administration. He expressed hope that the New Year would be crisis free, so that the church would suffer less as has been the case since the inception of terror attacks in the North.

He also declared the theme for the church in the New Year; ‘knowing the will of God’, emphasizing usefulness as the purpose of God.

The President appreciated the leadership of the church, and called for more prayers for the country, promising that in the midst of challenges especially in the North, Nigerians would soon witness the end of the Boko Haram sect.

The President also reiterated that development cannot be achieved overnight, but that his administration is committed to it, despite the daunting challenges.

The COCIN referred to Dr Jonathan as God’s gift to Nigeria, pledging to support him at all times with the belief that only the will of God shall prevail in the country as the year 2014 unfolds.

Apart from the typical praise, worship and bible readings expected of the service, the congregation, who were excited about the visit also said prayers for the President.

Jonathan Predicts Great Future For The Nigerian Child

Nigeria’s president, Doctor Goodluck Jonathan, has seized the opportunity of the season’s religious festivities to predict a brighter future for Nigerian children.

The President, joined residents of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to worship at the Apostolic Faith Church in Jabi, and there he called on Christians to continue to pray for the continuous peace and unity of the country, in the midst of daunting challenges.

He said that despite its diversity, Nigeria has remained as one nation. Therefore citizens need to shun the barriers created by the diversity and embrace togetherness at all times.

The president, who uses the holiday season and yuletide to worship in any church he likes, stressed that if he could make it to the highest place in the land, then no Nigerian child should surfer.

The service, which had all the trappings of end of the year and the festive season, with the traditional over 100-man orchestra, with rich accompaniment of musical instruments, also saw the children presenting a special rendition for Mr President.

The General Overseer, Reverend Emmanuel Adeniran, while noting in his message that the visit of the President on the last Sunday of the year is of great significance, also reminded the congregation that one’s closeness to God matters a lot, above all.

The special guest, while promising to continue to do his best, thanked the church for their prayers and called on Nigerians to join in the prayers while hoping for a better 2014. He shared with the congreation more of his great expectations for Nigerians in the new year, especially the children.

Remarks About Terrorism: Media Misquoted Jonathan – Presidency

The Presidency has called on the Nigerian media to “eschew undue negativity and join hands with the government to promote peace, national security and political stability.”

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Reuben Abati, the Presidency condemned reports in the media which quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as accepting defeat, expressing helplessness and underestimating the magnitude of challenge posed by terrorism in the country, during a Christmas church service he attended with his family on Christmas day.

Abati said that the reports are “completely untrue and a mischievous misrepresentation” of the President’s actual words.

“President Jonathan’s verifiable remarks at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp Abuja were to the effect that in comparison with some other countries which have experienced the scourge of terrorism, Nigeria has made remarkable progress in dealing with the security challenges posed by terrorism and insurgency.”

In an effort to assert the Jonathan administration’s view of the war on terrorism as one it can win and which it is already winning, it frowned at headlines that read ‘Terrorism Has Come to Stay’ and ‘Insurgency Far From Over – Jonathan’, referring to them as inappropriate representation of the President’s remarks, which amounted to taking “extreme editorial liberties” with his comments.

The statement continued: “It is apparent that in their indecent haste to cast the most sensational and negative headlines, some editors never paused to consider that it would have been most absurd for a President whose administration has done so much to reverse the tide of terrorism, to publicly assert the contrary.”

“Interpreting those remarks, which are clearly in tandem with facts available to all objective observers of Nigeria’s war against terrorism, as an expression of defeat or helplessness, amounts to reckless scaremongering which can only serve the purpose of needlessly instigating fear among the populace and bolstering the confidence of criminal and unpatriotic elements,” Abati stated.

It insisted that President Jonathan simply highlighted the global challenge that terrorism has become as increasing source of concern in many countries. Therefore, in comparison to some of these countries, Nigeria has done reasonably well at reducing the rate of terrorist attacks within its territory.

The statement assured that the government, Armed Forces and security agencies will continue to build on the successes they have so far achieved against terrorists, insurgents and their sponsors.

Jonathan At Christmas Worship, Calls For More Prayers

President Goodluck Jonathan, today joined other Christian faithful to worship in one of the Anglican churches in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The Church of the Advent plays host to the President and members of the first family every year and the 2013 service had all the elements of Christmas, from popular carols to songs of praise and thanksgiving.

The First Lady read the first Bible lesson from the book of Isaiah chapter 9, verses 2 and 7, while the President read the second lesson from the book of Hebrews.

The Primate of the Anglican Church, Nicholas Okoh, spoke about the joy and peace that Christ brought, as they affect Nigerians.

“Do not join anybody to cause trouble, because you may be a recipient of the evil of the trouble. Do not join anybody to cause confusion because we have nowhere to go.”

While reminding the congregation and all Nigerians of the need to shun being used as political pawns, he said: “some of you don’t have international passports, do you? And the people who are telling you to do this, do that do not only have international passports, they have bank accounts, and houses abroad; they can go and stay there and at the end of the whole matter they come back.”

President Jonathan, in his goodwill message after the session called on the Nigerian clergy not to allow politicians to plunge the country into chaos as they want to do.

The president cited examples of events in countries like South Sudan and Pakistan and pledged that his administration will continue to do its best to ensure that the country does not degenerate into crisis.

He made the promise especially now that bitter criticisms of his administration and what he called unwarranted letters appear to be the order of the day, when according to him “we the politicians begin to think about our next elections, doing what we ought not to do, making statements we are supposed not to make, and writing letters we are supposed not to write.”

The President added that the country does not belong to politicians alone and called on men of God to continue to pray for the reign of terror to stop.

Defected PDP Lawmakers: We Made PDP What It Is – Ahmad

One of the 37 lawmakers who defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), has defended his colleagues, insisting that their seats are secure under the law.

Politics Today on Channels Television sought to examine the political implications of this move by the 37 members of the House of Representatives, in view of the calls by the PDP leadership to declare their seats vacant.

Appearing live on the programme to discuss the rationale behind their move, and its legal justification is one of the defectors, and the Chairman House Committee on Judiciary, Ali Ahmad, representing Kwara State in the House.

He claimed that the leadership of the PDP does not respect the constitution and the rule of impunity still abound in the party, whereby a single person would have the powers to dismiss members at will; “if he calls a governor and that governor doesn’t answer his call, he suspends him.”

“Whether it is Alhaji Bamanga Tukur or it is somebody who is directing him, we know the party is not being governed according to the rules.”

Referring to their August 31 walkout from the PDP convention at the Eagles’ Square, Abuja, he said: “We thought it was something that would easily be resolved, because it was resolvable. But we saw a lot of actions and activities that didn’t take us anywhere, and we believed that if we continued on that route, it won’t take Nigeria anywhere.”

Speaking further, “All we have been talking for the past two–three months is about politics, not governance and I predict this is all we’ll be talking about till 2014-2015, which doesn’t serve anybody any good.

“If you do not get the leadership right, I’m sorry you have to go back to the drawing board. So this is where we find ourselves.”

He said that the reasons behind their defection has nothing to do with having an ulterior agenda as alleged by some quarter of the polity, claiming that this was the dummy some people sell to the people in power in order to get favour and attention.

He stressed, “if what members of the APC wanted was to pursue an agenda, they could have gone for it. The day we gained majority in the House, we could have moved and changed the leadership, we had it, and it’s all ours.”

Ahmad took on many allegations and permutations about the implication of their defection which he constantly referred to as misconceptions. One of these is the newly assumed status of the APC as the majority in the House. He said: “by the rules of the House, you would have majority leadership when your party controls the highest number of members.”

He also debunked the allegation that they betrayed the PDP, which brought them into office, saying that in Kwara State where he belongs, the party does not make the people; it is the people who make the party. “We made PDP what it is; we gave PDP success and not the other way. I don’t know about other states but PDP doesn’t give anybody success in Kwara State.”

He took time to explain the lawmakers’ interpretation of the constitutional provision for cross-carpeting. He explained that Section 68, 1(G) is the constitutional provision on cross-carpeting from a party to another, and they have precedence in the case of Goni and FEDECO.

“Section 68, 1(G) provides that a member who changes his party would lose his seat, very clear but it says he would not (lose the seat) in two circumstances. Number 1, when there is a division or faction in his party…the second situation is that when there is a merger between his party and another party.

“Those who are fuelling this propaganda choose what they want Nigerians to believe and they punctuate the sections of the constitution. So they put full stop at that point where the constitution says any legislator that defects will lose his seat.”

On being tagged as rebels, Ahmad, who chose to personalize the allegation, rejected the tag vehemently, claiming that Kwara State has never been known to be in the opposition but rather seen as being politically accommodating.

He added; “some people said part of the demand was that Jonathan should not run. I cannot remember that being (so) and I can say it is not. If it were, I would not be part of it. I support President Jonathan running for the election in 2015, that is his cardinal right; it’s his fundamental right, but please do it according to the laid rules and regulations.”

Reps Order Aviation Authority To Submit List Of All Private Jets In Nigeria

The House of Representatives on Tuesday ordered federal aviation authorities to immediately submit a comprehensive list of all private jets in Nigeria, at a hearing on the controversial grounding of a Rivers State-owned aircraft.

A House Joint Committee on Justice and Aviation agreed that the list, which must contain identification of all private jets in the country, names of owners, agents, expiration dates of clearances and licences and other vital data, be made available in two days.

“Let us have a register of titles of all registered private aircraft in Nigeria including those on ad-hoc basis. If anyone is confidential, indicate so,” the Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Ali Ahmad, said.

The order came after the lawmakers listened to conflicting testimonies from federal government officials, including the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, and Rivers State officials, led by the Secretary to the State Government, George Feyii.

The federal government stuck to its position that the Rivers State government had not established its ownership of the aircraft, since the plane was registered in the name of a U.S. bank.

Again, Rivers State’s claim that Caverton Helicopters was in charge of its interest in the aircraft, requesting and securing necessary clearances, was denied by the helicopter firm.

Caverton agreed it was in partnership with the state initially, but said the cooperation ended since August 2012.

Rivers State has claimed the purchase and operational plan agreement it entered into with the Utah bank and Caverton, which the government has cited as reason for banning the plane, was common with other owners of private jets in the country.

The House of Representatives hearing follows the controversial grounding of the Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s private jet due to the “status of the controversial aircraft” by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) last month.

The NCAA had said the aircraft is “operating illegally in the country.”

The Rivers State government, however, claimed the plane was grounded over “vague issues” saying the governor’s pilot had filed all the right papers.