Governors Lament Mounting Wage Bill, Plan To Meet Buhari Again

Nigerian-Governors-ForumjpgNigeria’s Governors say they will seek more solutions to the inability of some states to pay their workers and meet other responsibilities.

The decision was reached at a meeting of the governors held in Abuja, which began at about 8:00pm local time on Wednesday.

At least 22 governors or their representatives were present at the Governors Forum seen as crucial, as some governors are still owing some workers salaries of several months.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, the governors said that they discussed sustainability of the wage bill of some states, which had been affected greatly by the dwindling revenue and allocation to states.

Channels Television’s Correspondent, Lanre Lasisi, said that the “dwindling funds of the states and the complaints that have been made by some states concerning their inability to meet their wage bill and keep the state running,” topped talks at the meeting.

The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, said most states sincerely were bankrupt and needed quick solution to the paucity of funds they were facing.

“Solution has to be found to address the problems,” Lanre quoted the governors as saying.

The governors said they would need to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to look for a solution and tackle the problem once and for all.

The Federal Government had some months back approved a bailout fund for the states finding it difficult to pay their workers. It is not clear if all the states have accessed the funds.

Another key issue that the governors discussed was the fine imposed on the MTN telecommunication group by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The Forum met with the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the commission and they pledged to work with the commission to ensure that the telecommunication company paid the fine.

They expressed satisfaction with the commission over the fine and insisted that there would be no leeway.

The governors also said the law should be obeyed fully and that the fine should be paid.

Ghanaian President Calls For True Freedom In Africa

Ghanaian PresidentThe President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, has called for what he called true freedom in Africa for the continent to develop economically and educationally.

He made the call while presenting a lecture during the 40th anniversary of University of Ilorin.

The Ghanaian President lamented that the continent has never been free from colonialism and also blamed past African leaders for their harsh method of governance which he noted retarded the growth of their countries.

Each country, he stressed, should evolve plans to develop its education and economy to meet its peculiar needs.

Also speaking, President Muhammadu Buhari represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, urged the private sector to complement the efforts of the federal government in the education sector by investing to improve the education in the country.

He also urged them to think outside the box in the funding and running of their campuses.

Osinbajo Says Next Budget Will Spring Economic Development

Yemi Osinbajo, vice president of Nigeria on BudgetNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the next budget, which the new administration is already drafting, is positioned to spring economic development.

The Vice President spoke at the Port Harcourt International Airport on Sunday in an interview with Channels Television’s correspondent, Emmanuel Ereyi.

Professor Osinbajo further said Nigerians should expect the continuation of good governance, as promised by his party during campaigns.

He stressed that the coming days of the present administration would see the stabilisation of power, security and completion of the drawing of the next budget.

The Vice President was in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, as a guest at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

On the choice of members of the cabinet, he assured Nigerians that best crop of ministers would be presented by the Federal Government at the end of the month.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on September 7 in Aburi, Ghana, reassured Nigerians and the international community that he would name his cabinet before the end of the month.

President Buhari gave the assurance at a joint press conference with President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana.

Residents Protest Proposed Demolition Of Buildings By Kaduna Govt.

kaduna protestSome aggrieved residents of Lokoja, Gwari and Muri roads in Kaduna metropolis have held a peaceful protest against plan by the Kaduna State Government to demolish their buildings.

The residents, mostly artisans, said they were served notice of eviction through the Chairman of Kaduna North Local Government Council, to vacate their shops and residential buildings within two weeks, after which they will be demolished.

Spokesman for the aggrieved residents, Mr Abiola Eneja, said the two-weeks ultimatum given to them to vacate their shops was too short, and more-so they had all valid papers for their shops.

He appealed to the State government to provide them with an alternative land where they could build new shops, or at least give them sufficient time to relocate.

Reports says the area is home to majority of the commercial printing houses in the state capital, with over 300 shops being marked for demolition.

Carrying placards and singing protest songs, the shop owners marched along the roads to show their anger over the proposed demolition.

In the copy of the eviction notice obtained by Channels Television’s correspondent, dated August 5, 2015, the council based its action on the state’s 1958 township building rules and Environmental Protection Law of 2010.

The notice, however, warned that any violator of the eviction order would be dealt with.

In reaction to this, the printers said their opinions were not sought on the planned demolition and they were only presented with a fait accompli.

They also explained that the land was allocated to them by the government to build their shops more than 25 years ago, wondering why the government wants to evict them from the same land.

The Senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, described the ongoing demolition exercise by the State government as harsh and anti-people.

Mr Sani advised the government to trade with caution, in order not to plunge the citizens into severe hardship.

While addressing a coalition of youth groups and Civil Society Organisations, who marched to his office to support the ongoing demolition exercise, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said his administration would continue to resist any attempt by land grabbers to take over schools and hospital lands in the state.

He added that those with genuine papers and had obtained valid building permits would be adequately compensated.

Two weeks ago, about 93 private buildings illegally erected within a government secondary school premises in Zaria were demolished by the Kaduna State Urban Development Authority (KAPSUDA), while over 700 others including shops, hotels and worship centres have been marked for demolition in Zaria and the state capital for being illegally erected on government lands.

INEC Assures Of Credible Elections In Kogi, Bayelsa

INEC Chairmanm, Amina ZakariThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is giving assurances that the governorship elections holding in Kogi and Bayelsa States about three months from now would be free and fair.

The Acting Chairman of INEC, Amina Zakari, told Channels Television’s correspondent, Gbenga Ashiru in Abuja that everything has been put in place to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

“We do a by-election within a month with the time we get information from the National Assembly if there’s a vacancy, but this is about three months/four months.

“I think we’ve been adequately prepared and remember, we just came out of the national election and we have already met some purchases of some non-sensitive materials. What is remaining for us is to put our acts together,” she said.

The Acting Chairman also commented on the controversy surrounding her appointment.

She said, “I think we should not distract ourselves from the issues at hand. I have been in the commission, I’m a National Commissioner.

“I passed through the Senate screening to become a National Commissioner and by virtue of that, I am appointed Acting Chairman in the commission, so there shouldn’t have been much controversy. But be it as it may, I have a job to do and I am set out to do that job,” she added.

Benue Speaker Orders Channels TV Out Of Chambers

Benue-House-of-Assembly Channels Television coverage Dictatorial democratic tendencies played out at the Benue State House of Assembly on Thursday when the Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Kyange, ordered Channels Television’s correspondent out from the chamber.

The walk-out order against Channels Television was not unconnected to an earlier report of the Television station, showing a free for all fight the lawmakers resorted to during Tuesday’s plenary over the House leadership.

On arrival at the Assembly chamber, the Channels Television’s correspondent, Pius Angbo, was asked to leave by the Press Secretary and the Sergeant At-Arm, on the strength of the Speaker’s directive to accredit all journalists covering the Assembly.

All journalists, who came for the plenary, were allowed in except Channels Television crew.

Effort by the Clerk of the State Assembly to allow Channels Television’s correspondent cover Thursday’s plenary was resisted by the Press Secretary who insisted that the speaker did not approve of Channels Television coverage of the Assembly.

Card Reader Test: Exercise Good So Far In Lagos, Delta

Card Readers For Election in NigeriaThe card reader test conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State “has been good so far”, Channels Television’s correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye reported on Saturday morning.

Our correspondent in Ward 4, Azagba Primary School, Ezenei, Asaba, Delta State capital, South-south Nigeria, also reported that the exercise which started exactly at 8am, saw a good number of Delta residents coming out with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) for the mock accreditation exercise.

According to our correspondent, it was a smooth ride for some, with only a few minutes and they are done, pointing that it took a little while for others before their thumb print could be recognised by the card reader.

He added that some other persons from other wards came out to check if they could be accredited but the card reader rejected the cards with an “OPC message which means Other Polling Cards”.

Some voters in an interview with Channels Television, lauded the exercise while others pointed out a few challenges that should be looked into by INEC.

In Lagos, south-west Nigeria, Seun Okinbaloye reported that the exercise took place at Ikeja Primary School in the GRA, on Fajuyi road, one of the 30 Polling Units in Onigbongbo Ward, Ikeja Local Government Area of the State.

Okinbaloye noted that as people were trickling in, INEC officials used the opportunity to map out the process, accompanied by State Security operatives.

He also said the time frame for the testing of the card readers ranged from about 5 seconds to a minute, adding that the issue of cloned cards had not been recorded, even as those whose cards had been tested still hung around to observe the exercise.

Cloned PVC Fails To Pass Card Reader Test In Port Harcourt

Smart Card ReaderOfficials of the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) on Saturday reported that an individual had presented a cloned Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to be verified during the card reader test in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

INEC on Saturday began testing card readers that would be used for voter accreditation during the 2015 general elections, in 12 states, spread across six geo-political zones.

Channels Television’s correspondent in In Port Harcourt, Emmanuel Ereyi who was at the scene of the incident reported that the testing exercise had kicked off to a slow start as “not many people appeared to have taken it seriously” despite the presence of INEC officials.

The process commenced when “people started trickling in” and the cards had been read by the devices. However, one case of a failed test had been recorded as one person complained his card could not be read by the device.

Ereyi noted that the card in question “did not look like a proper card issued by INEC” as officials at the unit claimed the card appeared to have been cloned, further explaining that cards not issued by the Commission will not be read by the card readers.

The person whose card was not verified threatened “that if he comes on the voting day and the reading machines cannot detect his card, he is going to cause mayhem”.

His statement was reported to the police by INEC officials who promised measures were in place to forestall any mayhem on election day.

In Anambra, Channels Television’s correspondent, Joy Odinye reported that there were challenges as the card readers took up to three minutes to verify voter’s thumbs. This, she said, was because many of the voters had not been properly educated on how to place their thumbs on the device.

“The atmosphere is really calm. People are trickling in, one after the other to have their accreditation done”, she said, noting that about 30 persons had come for the voluntary exercise.

Odinye reported that the exercise took one to two minutes for the authentication as voters have to first cross check their name in the register.

“The next process, which most of the people here are saying is really cumbersome is the authentication process where the fingers will be authenticated” Odinye said, noting that the process took between one to three minutes.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner who was at the scene explained that “if the card readers fail, so to speak, then the voters have a choice to fill a form and still vote”, Odinye said, adding that the process was going well altogether.

Also in Kano State, Channels Television Correspondent, Idris Jibrin, said that the exercise was going on smoothly, except for some cards not matching the biometric data of the owner.

In response to this challenge, the INEC Commissioner in Kano, Abdullahi Danyaya, said that they had already anticipated this kind of problem, disclosing that it is been taken care of by the issuance of accreditation cards to each voter whose thumb print was not accepted.