UK Govt, Civil Society Seek Better Security Ahead Of 2019 Elections

The government of the United Kingdom and members of the Civil Society Organization (CSOS) in Abuja are advocating for the need to strengthen Nigeria’s security and justice system ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The head of security and Justice Department at the British High Commission and members of the civil society organization want security agencies to function within the confines of the laws during the polls.

They also appeal to the national assembly to make new laws that would strengthen the Nations security and justice system.

The Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, PLAC, Clement Nwankwo at the meeting said Nigeria as a country is committed to respecting treaties that are in international best practices.

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The Head, Security, Justice, Reforms Programmes of British Economy, Pauline Owen said it is the responsibility of Nigeria and its citizens to promote peace and stability.

“Nigeria, its citizens, government structure and security bodies have a critical and positive role to play in promoting peace and stability throughout the region.”

USAID Urges Political Parties To Strengthen Internal Democracy

USAIDThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and a coalition of civil society organizations in Nigeria are urging political parties to strengthen their internal democracy system ahead of the 2019 general elections.

According to them, the way political parties make choices of their leaders and candidates during conventions and primaries has effects on the credibility of the election process.

Although 2019 when Nigeria is expected to conduct another general elections is about three year away, members of the civil society groups believe that this is the best time to start engaging political parties on internal democracy in other to get the elections right.

The Executive Director of Partners for Electoral Reforms, Ezenwa Nwagwu, said, “2019 looks far away but it is here on us. We should actually have started this in 2014 in preparation for 2019 so there is no better time to interrogate this issues than this time”.

Responding to the procedure for selecting candidates in political parties, another member of the group said, “It reflects on their party values both internally and how they wish to behave once in power. It also reflects on the kinds of relationships they want to have with their members and with the public at large as voters.”

He stressed the need to address these issues immediately, saying that political parties “do not really have the luxury of stepping back and thinking about how our internal systems are working for us as a party, Nigeria and democracy”.

Social Media Bill Is Dead On Arrival – Saraki

SarakiThe so-called social media bill, sponsored by the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Ibn Nallah, may not see the light of day.

This is because the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki says the bill is dead on arrival and is going nowhere.

The Senate President was the chief speaker at the Social Media Week in Lagos where the issues of the 2015 general elections and the major influencers were discussed.

Dr Saraki said that the Senate and the major users of the social media in Nigeria are on the same page and will not be paid back badly for their efforts in seeing off the last government.

“As far as I am concerned, we are all on the same side. It is like any bill, it has to go through processes. I am sure that many bills, content of those bills will not even pass second reading.

“I strongly believe that there is a role of the social media platform in our governance. You’ve helped in the election, you’ve helped in improving governance. So I don’t think there is anybody who will want to ensure you don’t play that role.

“There is no perfection in any group. Among politicians there are the good ones and bad ones. I am sure in the social media, you will see those that are responsible and those that are irresponsible.

“What is important for us is to focus on the bigger picture. Don’t let those other issues distract us. That bill is going nowhere, its dead on arrival,” Dr Saraki said.

Civil Society Groups Reject Social Media Bill

Social Media BillA coalition of Civil Society Organizations have led a protest to the National Assembly asking for the discontinuation of the passage of an anti Social Media Bill.

The Senate last week Wednesday passed to second reading, a bill seeking two years imprisonment with an option of two million naira fine for any Nigerian who posts abusive statements on Social Media.

The protesters say by criminalizing free speech, the bill directly contravenes the universal declaration of Human Rights and the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

The protesters demanded to meet with the leadership of the Senate to press home their demand.

A delegation from the Senate met with the protesters and promised to present their demands to the Senate.

Taraba Government Reassures Residents Of Calm After Tribunal Verdict

Darius IshakuOrganised private sector and the civil service in Taraba State in north-east Nigeria, have been reassured that governance and security of lives and property in the state are guaranteed despite the verdict of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.

Giving the government’s assurance a day after violence that started in Wukari after the Tribunal’s judgement left at least eight persons dead, the Chief of Staff in the Government House, Rebo Usman, stated that business activities and government commitments in the state had not been affected in any way.

He said that the situation at the moment was contrary to what was being speculated after the Tribunal decision was relayed to the state.

Since the Tribunal in its verdict nullified the election of Darius Ishaku as Governor of Taraba State, the state has been in severe tension, with apprehension across the 16 local government areas.

Several comments, including condemnation and commendation, have been made in relation to the Tribunal’s decision which invariably has been worrisome to citizens of the state.

However, the initial tension created by the verdict has greatly reduced, as commercial activities have picked up in the capital city and environs.

Citizens have been going on with their duties, with assurances from the government that lives and property are secured.

The All Progressives Congress, through its state chapter’s secretary, Tony Suleiman, beliefs that the verdict is a reflection of the truth politically. The party claimed that the people were yearning for change at the governorship election held in April.

A coalition of civil society in the state, however, condemned the disturbances in Wukari following the judgment in Abuja and urge all concerned citizens to allow the rule of law prevail instead of resorting to destruction of lives and property.

Reps To Table Lawmakers’ Allowances Before Nigerians

reps to revel legislators' allowancesNigerians have been assured that legislators’ allowances that is generating controversy will soon be put across to the people for discussion with a view to finding what will be appropriate as allowances to the lawmakers.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, told Journalists that the House will be conducting a legislative needs assessment by competent Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in conjunction with development partners, to discuss the issue of allowances received by the legislators.

Dogara, who spoke to Journalists in Jos, North Central Nigeria, after visiting the Governor of the state, Simon Lalong, explained that the salaries of the legislators were fixed by the Revenue Mobilisation Fiscal Allocation Committee (RMFAC), while the allowances are subject to discussion.

The Speaker also addressed issues of the economy as it affects states owing salaries which he believes would soon be properly addressed in spite of the economic depression.

With the stability enjoyed by the out-gone National Assembly, the newly elected Speaker gave an assurance that fairness and justice would be ensured at the zonal and state levels, in order to stabilise the Lower Chamber.

Centenary Celebration Is Private Sector Driven – Nwaobasi

The Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Federation, Sam Nwaobasi, has said that Nigeria’s centenary celebration is private sector driven and the Government was not funding the celebrations.

He revealed that the Government approached the private sector for funding of the celebration, and that “every money spent on the centenary celebration so far is by private sector sponsorship, and Government has not given any funds for it.” He pointed out that the celebration, which started on February 4, 2013 should be seen as part of history for Nigeria.

Mr. Nwaobasi explained that the celebration was coming at a time when Nigerians need to come together, reunite with each other despite the security challenges of the country and project into the future.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he stated, “1st of January 2014 made Nigeria a hundred years and the Government decided on the need for a reflection of the past and look at how far the nation has gone, the challenges and reunite our unity”, adding that the independence celebration is different from the centenary celebration.

Mr. Nwaobasi, while further emphasizing that the sponsorship of the centenary celebration had been brought from the private sector, noted that the names of the sponsors have been “clearly acknowledged” on every programme that has been held in honour of the celebration.

He further explained that before the celebration started, the Government met with Nigerians to seek their opinions. He said that the Secretary to the Federal Government led a team together with members of the planning committee, who met with the auditors, managers, civil society,  Labour, Senate, House of Representatives, Federal Executive Council, as well as the National Economic Council, and got a copy of the draft documents.

NEMA Organises Anti-flood Campaign For Groups

Not ignoring the impact that flooding has had on Nigeriain 2012, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has embarked on an awareness campaign to prepare Nigerians for flood.

The sensitization campaign was organized for local government officials, civil society organizations, community and faith based organisations, volunteers and citizens to educate them on risk reduction and prevention.

Flooding has been known to have a damaging effect on farmlands which will always lead to increase in food prices as reckoned by resource persons at the campaign workshop.

NEMA urged Nigerians to obey warnings on the impending flood by the Nigerian Meteorological Department, noting that it will go a long way in reducing the impact of the flood.

It further advised that warnings should be strictly adhered to in order to avoid the repetition of last year’s flood disaster.

 

NANS, Others Condemn Planned Scrapping Of JAMB, NECO

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists and the Coalition of Civil Society Groups have criticised the planned scrapping of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the National Examination Council (NECO).

In a communique signed by the national president of the student body, Yinka Gbadebo, the association says scrapping the examination body will compound the sufferings of ordinary Nigerians who may not be able to secure admission into tertiary institutions.

Also in a press statement signed by the national vice president of the National Association of Women Journalists, missus Ifeyinwa Omowale, the association appealed to the Federal Government not to scrap the unified tertiary matriculation examination saying it will have serious adverse effect on the masses.

The president of the coalition of civil society group for transparency and good governance in another press statement said the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board has put smiles on the faces of many families by allowing merit to prevail in the admission of students into tertiary institutions.