World Bank Spring Meetings: Channels TV Attending

Washington, the United States Capital will this week, play host to thousands of government officials from over 170 countries.

Also in attendance, would be top officials of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Civil Society Groups, as well as participants from the academia and private sectors, for the 2017 annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

The meetings which would include series of seminars, is expected to focus on the global economy, international development and the world’s financial markets.

Channels television will also be on ground to bring you daily highlights of the meetings.

President Buhari To Launch ERGP 2017-2020

Buhari Extends Return To NigeriaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will formally launch the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 on Wednesday, April 5.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, revealed that the ceremony will take place at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The statement explained that the launch is “in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.

“The Medium-Term ERGP, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), has amongst its broad strategic objectives: restoring sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; investing in the people; and building a globally competitive economy”.

The ERGP, which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development, was made public on March 7, while President Buhari was on his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James, had said the ceremonial presentation will take place when the President returns from his vacation.

FG Releases Economic Recovery Plan

FG Releases Economic Recovery Plan (ERGP)The Federal Government has released the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development.

This was according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James.

According to the statement, the development of the plan went through a rigorous process including wide consultation and robust engagements with stakeholders from a range of relevant fields.

They include: economic experts from the public and private sectors, academia, the Organised Private Sector, Civil Society groups, Organised Labour, sub-regional governments, International Development Partners (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank), the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly.

The statement hinted that the Plan has been approved by the Federal Executive Council, adding that its ceremonial presentation would take place when President Muhammadu Buhari returns from vacation.

Achieving Structural Economic Change

The statement read: “The core vision of the Plan is one of sustained inclusive growth. There is an urgent need as a nation to drive structural economic transformation with an emphasis on improving both public and private sector efficiency.

“The aim is to increase national productivity and achieve sustainable diversification of production, to significantly grow the economy and achieve maximum welfare for the citizens, beginning with food and energy security.

“The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy. Overall, the Plan is expected to deliver on Five key broad outcomes namely: a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialisation focusing on small and medium scale enterprises.

“Realising that the country’s economy would remain on a path of decline if nothing was immediately done to change the trajectory, the present administration, when it assumed office, embarked on strategic moves to halt the trend and redirect the course of the country’s economy and growth process.

A Knowledge-Based Economy

“The process started with the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 Budget of Change as a short-term intervention. The ERGP, a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, builds on the SIP and has been developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people.

“The Plan seeks to eliminate the bottlenecks that impede innovations and market based solutions, recognises the need to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to build a knowledge-based economy, and is consistent with the aspirations of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The ERGP differs in several ways from previous strategies and plans as it:

  • is anchored on focused implementation which is at the core of the delivery strategy over the next four years;
  • outlines bold initiatives such as ramping up oil production to 2.5mbpd by 2020, privatising selected public enterprises/assets, and revamping local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 percent by 2018;
  • builds on existing sectoral plans such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan and the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master-plan;
  • signals a changing relationship between the public and private sector based on close partnership.
  • utilises the value of the merger of budget and planning functions into one Ministry to create a better and stronger link between annual budgets and the ERGP; and
  • provides for strong coordination with the States to ensure that the Federal and sub-regional governments work towards the same goals.

Vision Of Inclusive Growth

“The thinking behind the development of the Plan was driven by several fundamental principles, including a focus on tackling constraints to growth; leveraging the power of the private sector and promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, as well as allowing markets to function.

“The Plan has three broad strategic objectives which are expected to help achieve the vision of inclusive growth: restoring growth, investing in the people, and building a globally competitive economy.

“The ERGP focuses on achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification by undertaking fiscal stimulus, ensuring monetary stability and improving the external balance of trade.

“The delivery mechanism has been identified as a major determining factor in the successful implementation of the Plan. The implementation strategy therefore focuses on prioritising the identified strategies, establishing a clear system of accountability for well-defined assignment of responsibilities, setting targets and developing detailed action plans, allocating resources to prioritised interventions, creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment, developing an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track progress, and using effective communication strategies”.

NAFDAC Partners With CSOs To Effect Drug Monitoring

NAFDAC, Drug MonitoringThe National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it is partnering relevant organisations and civil society groups to strengthen its drug monitoring mechanism across Nigeria.

NAFDAC Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Professor Samson Adebayo, said the agency had also opened six zonal offices to make monitoring activities effective at states level.

He made the disclosure on Wednesday while representing the Director General of NAFDAC at a media chat in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Professor Adebayo appealed to medical practitioners and patients to report any adverse reactions from medications to the agency, to enable it follow up on the efficacy of such medicines.

Army-Shiites Clash: Groups Condemn Clash, Say ‘It Is Avoidable’

shiitesA coalition of Civil Society Groups have condemned the December 2015 clash between members of the Shiites sect and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur  Buratai, saying ‘it is an avoidable act’.

Addressing a news conference on behalf of the coalition in Abuja on Wednesday, the Organising Secretary of Global Centre for Conscious Living Against Corruption, Comrade Ali Abacha, stressed the need for Nigerians to treat issues pertaining to the military with utmost care, as the military remained a major instrument responsible for the recognition of Nigeria as a sovereign nation.

Comrade Abacha further said that the clash would have been avoided if members of the Shiite sect had heeded the pleas by General Buratai to remove the barricades from the road instead of preventing vehicular movement on a major road.

Meanwhile, Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shiites), had said that the group’s clash with the Nigerian Army in last December, was premeditated.

The group made a presentation to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in Abuja on Tuesday, to tell its side of what happened on December 12, 2015 in Zaria, Kaduna State.

INEC Raises Security Concerns Ahead Of Kogi Polls

inec on kogi electionThe Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi State, Mr Hussaini Haliru, says insecurity could be a major threat to the peaceful conduct of the governorship elections holding next month.

Mr Haliru raised the concern at a dialogue session with Civil Society Groups and the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Commissioner, however, said that the body language of the political class in the state as well as records of politically motivated violence in the past made it important for security agencies to be proactive.

Meanwhile, the Kogi State Police Commissioner, Emmanuel Ojukwu, had also assured that the polls would be violence free.

Apart from security issues, members of the Civil Society Groups also want INEC to rectify the flaws identified during the last general elections.

About 1.3 million registered voters are expected to participate in the Kogi governorship election on November 21.

The election will not only elect a new government in the state, it will also be used to judge INEC’s improvement or otherwise after some flaws were recorded during the last general elections.

EFCC Ready To Work With CSOs – Lamorde

EFCCThe Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has charged members of the civil society to work with the commission in the fight against corruption.

Speaking at a meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja, the Chairman of the Commission, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, said the commission is ready to have an open relationship with the CSOs.

Mr Lamorde said the collaboration would strengthen the commission’s work as a watchdog for the society.

EU Observers, Civil Groups Seek Probe Of Alleged Electoral Manipulation

Osun_Election_2014_360x320The European Union Observation Mission and some civil society groups have expressed concern over the severe cases of violence and alleged manipulation in some states in Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.

In its 2nd preliminary statement on the 2015 general elections, the EU Observer Mission urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to launch investigations into these cases.

The EU Chief Observer, Mr. Santiago Fisas said despite lack of evidence of centralised systematic fraud at the elections, some attempts at manipulations were observed which necessitates further investigations by the electoral body.

Mr. Fisas, however, noted that the overall process during the April 11 elections was more efficient compared to the presidential and parliamentary elections but lamented the rise in violence and attempted manipulation of the process in some states.

The spokesman for the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo said multiple cases of electoral misconduct in Abia State, violence in Rivers State and partisan interference in Akwa Ibom State call for scrutiny of final collated results from the three states.

The groups also condemned the involvement of prominent public office holders, politicians and INEC officials in what they termed ‘organised misconduct and disorderly behaviours’ in the April 11 elections.

They noted that steps must be taken to investigate all such cases and prosecution of those found culpable.

Groups Task Jonathan On Constitution Amendment

jonathanSome Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the amended sections of the 1999 constitution before the end of his administration.

The appeal was made at a forum between civil society groups, journalists and legal experts, aimed at appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the amended sections of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to the groups, the Presidential assent to the amended constitution, especially those sections that deal with election and post election matters are necessary, in view of the forthcoming polls.

The organiser, Mr Clement Nwankwo of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, believes that it is important for the President to give his assent ahead of the elections.

Other Conveners at the meeting agreed that Presidential assent to the sections, especially those dealing with election matters such section 285, would provide a better framework for the tribunals and INEC to work.

Professor Oyewo, however, proposed that the lawmakers resolution on the amended sections should be allowed to be part of the laws, whether or not the sections have presidential assent after a period of time.

The National Assembly has amended some sections of the 1999 constitution including sections 65, 134,150, and 285, that deal with Electoral and Judicial Reforms.

Although both the Senate and House of Representatives have harmonised the amended sections, they are yet to be approved by the President.

DSS, Other Security Agencies Are Playing Partisan Politics – Civil Society Groups

DSSSome civil society groups have accused security agencies including the Department of State Services (DSS) of playing partisan politics ahead of the February polls.

According to the groups, the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) have become mouth-piece of the incumbent government, a situation which they said is a threat to the credibility of the February elections.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the group validated its claims by citing a recent action by the DSS against the All Progressives Congress (APC) on allegations of cloning of voters cards in Lagos.

Members of the group under the umbrella of the ‘Say No Campaign’ also called for the arrest of politicians and their supporters whose utterances threaten the peace and unity of Nigeria before, during and after the elections.

Several groups have condemned actions and utterances of politicians and their supporters which could threaten the peaceful conduct of the February elections.

Spokesperson to the DSS, Marilyn Ogar, on Wednesday, had maintained that the DSS would not allow anything that could undermine the credibility of the elections.

Activists Recommend Implementation Of Past Election Committees’ Reports

ElectionA coalition of civil society groups in Abuja have said that non-implementation of election committees’ reports and impunity have continued to encourage electoral malpractice and violence in Nigeria.

They said that if past committees’ reports on the prevention of electoral violence were fully implemented by government, the tensions ahead of the 2015 general elections would have been reduced.

The civil society groups noted that asides lack of implementation of past committees’ reports contributing to re-occurence of electoral violence in Nigeria, lack of punishment for perpetrators of electoral violence in the past is also a huge challenge to peaceful elections.

With about eight weeks to the elections, the activists said that there is need to meet candidates of prominent political parties before the polls.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Atahiru Jega, had severally raised concern over conducts of politicians as a threat to the conduct of a peaceful elections in February 2015.

Efforts to reduce tension and violence during the February elections had made Professor Jega to meet with stakeholders at different fora in December 2014.

During those meetings, Professor Jega repeatedly raised concern over the conducts of politicians and its implication on the elections in February.

 

Osun Joins World Human Rights Day

indexOsun State Coalition of Civil Societies is advocating the establishment of Human Rights Desk in the Nigeria Police Force to enable Citizens report cases of Human rights abuses without inhibition.

At a rally organised on Wednesday in Osogbo to commemorate this year’s World Human Rights Day, the chairman of the Coalition, Comrade Abiodun Agboola, stressed the need for Nigerians’ rights to be upheld by security personnel.

The Coalition made-up of several civil Society groups, marched through the popular Olaiya junction in the state capital, with each of them carrying placards with different inscriptions Like ‘Education is Our Right’, ‘2015; Our votes must count’ and ‘Government should ensure Our Security’ among others.

Comrade Agboola and other speakers, who later addressed the people, urged Nigerians to resist any attempt by any person or group of persons to trample on their rights especially as the general election is approaching.

They maintained that the solution to insecurity, economy and corruption was the responsibility of all, urging Political office holders to show sincerity in the fight against all acts that could run down the country.

On Tuesday, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Suleiman Abba, ordered all police officials in Nigeria to ensure that the rights of Nigerians and all residents were upheld and sustained, as they carry out their duties.

Mr Suleiman Abba, gave the command in Commemoration of the International Human Rights Day 2014 and as further proof of his commitment to respecting the rights of Nigerians.

In line with the need to ensure that rights or Nigerians are upheld by the police, the police authority had launch a Human Rights Manual.

A Human Rights Desk was also created and would be manned by officers in all the formations of the Nigeria Police Force.

The Desk Officers are tasked with ensuring that rights of suspects are protected and cared for.

The IGP further emphasised his commitment to walking the talk in observance of the Human Rights of all Nigerians irrespective of class, creed and tongue.

A rights group, Amnesty International had accused the Nigerian police of extra judicial killings and series of Human rights abuses, an allegation that the police denied.