Southern Governors Set Deadline For Promulgation Of Anti-Open Grazing Law

Southern Governors during the meeting in Lagos on Monday, July 5, 2021.

 

Southern Governors have set September 1, 2021, as the deadline for the promulgation of anti-open grazing law among its member states.

The governors jointly agreed on the date during their meeting on Monday in Lagos.

“The forum frowns at selective criminal administration of Justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the Law and fundamental human rights and set a timeline of Wednesday, 1st September 2021 for the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law in all Member States,” the governors said in a communique issued after the meeting.

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During the meeting, the governors also jointly agreed that Nigeria’s next president should emerge from the southern region.

They affirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria and reinstated calls for state police.

The governors also deliberated on insecurity, constitutional amendment, PIB, and anti-open grazing law in all member-states.

 

See the full communique below…

 

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNORS OF SOUTHERN NIGERIA AT THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT HOUSE, IKEJA, LAGOS STATE, ON MONDAY, 5TH JULY, 2021 NIGERIA.

The Southern Governors Forum at the end of the meeting held on Monday, 5th July 2021 reviewed the situation in the Country and focused on the current security situation, constitutional amendment, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Rising from the meeting, the Forum agreed on the following:

Re-affirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress, and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people.
The Forum reiterates its commitment to the politics of equity, fairness and unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria be rotated between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region.
Security.  a. The Forum reviewed the security situation in the country and commends security operatives for their relentless efforts in restoring security and safety and commiserates with families and loved ones of those who have fallen in the line of duty; b. Re-emphasized the need for State Police; c. Resolved that if for any reason security institutions need to undertake an operation in any State, the Chief Security Officer of the State must be duly informed; d. the forum frowns at selective criminal administration of Justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the Law and fundamental human rights; e. Set a timeline of Wednesday, 1st September 2021 for the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law in all Member States; and f. Resolved that Funds deducted from the Federation Account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund should be distributed among the States and Federal Government to combat security challenges.

Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Law: i. The Forum commends the National Assembly for the progress made in the passage of the PIB; ii. the Forum rejects the proposed 3% and support the 5% share of the oil revenue to the host community as recommended by the House of Representatives; iii. the forum also rejects the proposed 30% share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins; iv. However, the forum rejects the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC). The Forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of Government have stakes in that vehicle.

In order to consolidate our democracy and strengthen the Electoral process, the Southern Governors’ Forum rejects the removal of the Electronic transmission of the election result from the electoral act; and also rejects the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court.

The Forum unanimously chose Lagos State as its permanent secretariat and appreciated the Governor of Lagos State for the wonderful hosting of this meeting while commending him for his good work in the State.

Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN

Governor, Ondo State, and Chairman, Southern Governors’ Forum

US Senator Suggests Using Constitution To Remove Trump

US President Donald Trump marks Memorial Day with a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. PHOTO: JIM WATSON / AFP

 

US Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Thursday that it is time to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove President Donald Trump if top officials believe he can no longer fulfil his duties.

The Democrat’s comments follow a stunning newspaper op-ed by an anonymous senior administration official expressing grave concerns about Trump’s morals and behaviour.

The New York Times article described an insider resistance movement that prevents him making “reckless” decisions.

“If senior administration officials think the president of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment,” Warren told CNN.

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution allows the vice president and cabinet officials to write to Congress if they believe the president cannot do his job.

In that event, the vice president would assume presidential duties — permanently if Congress agrees in a subsequent vote that the president cannot discharge his duties.

The amendment, ratified in 1967, allows for a temporary transfer of power if the president is incapacitated by something like surgery, as in 2002 when George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy.

The far more consequential Section 4 has never been used, however, and experts say the process is particularly fraught.

The op-ed was published on the same day as explosive excerpts of veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward’s upcoming book which described how officials would remove important documents from Trump’s desk to stop him signing off on bad policy.

Warren, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, expressed alarm that senior officials were offering anonymous but searing critiques of a troubling presidency but not taking constitutional action.

“What kind of a crisis do we have if senior officials believe that the president can’t do his job and then refuse to follow the rules that have been laid down in the Constitution?” Warren said.

“They can’t have it both ways.

AFP

Reps Inaugurate Constitution Amendment Committee

Dogara on Constitution The House of Representative has inaugurated an ad-hoc Committee on constitution review.

Inaugurating the committee, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, advised the House not to override the presidential veto that prevented the constitutional amendment of the 7th National Assembly from becoming law.

The Majority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who spoke for the ad-hoc committee, said that the committee would also review the procedure of altering the constitution to make it more practical.

Rep Dismisses Reason For Jonathan’s Refusal To Amend Constitution

ConstitutionThe House of Representatives has responded to President Goodluck Jonathan on the reasons he cited for withholding his assent to the Constitution alteration Bill.

This is coming a day after President Jonathan dragged the National Assembly to the Supreme Court, asking the apex court to nullify the proposed amendments.

President Jonathan had argued that not less than four-fifth majority members of each house of the National Assembly was required to amend the Constitution and demanded that evidence be made available to show this was complied with.

Briefing journalists in the National Assembly, the House Minority Whip, Samson Osagie, said that the four-fifth requirement was met, as evidenced in the votes and proceedings of July 24, 2013.

Osagie also explained why the National Assembly amended section 58 of the Constitution which looks at the President’s failure to assent to a bill passed by the National Assembly.

President Jonathan had written to the Senate, refusing to give assent to some sections of the Nigerian Constitution amended by the National Assembly.

President Jonathan’s letter to the National Assembly detailed the sections which he refused to approve.

In the letter read by the Senate President, President Jonathan rejected the alteration of section nine of the Constitution which removes the approval of the President in the process of constitution amendment.

President Jonathan also rejected the amendment which separated the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation from the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General from the Commissioner for Justice in the states of the Federation.

Jonathan’s Clause Destroys Purpose Of National Conference – Akiri

The Chairman, Editorial Board of National Daily Newspapers, Chris Akiri, has said that President Jonathan’s intention to subject the proposed National Conference’s recommendations to the legislative arm of government will rob the whole idea of its true purpose.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunnrise Daily, Akiri said his initial ecstasy upon hearing the President’s decision to set the ball rolling for the Conference was deflated on hearing that the Conference’s recommendations would be subject to the National Assembly’s scrutiny and verification.

Although he expressed satisfaction with the names on the list of the Advisory Committee, he said the new development from the Presidency is akin to the mistake made by Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005.

Making reference to the 2005 National Political Reforms Conference, as instituted by President Obasanjo, Mr Akiri said the idea made everybody happy but the way Obasanjo “constituted it and denied it of the quality of sovereignty” made him conclude that it was a jamboree and would not be successful.

He said that if indeed the Conference is to be sovereign, there would not be any need for its recommendations to be ratified by the Senate or States Houses of Assembly.

Such a move would make the proposed Conference a ‘talk show’ and confirms that Nigerians are only being hoodwinked into believing that there is a Conference.

He added that Section 9 of the Constitution explains how the legal book can be altered or amended. This does not empower the National Assembly to present a new constitution. While in section 14, it is evident that sovereignty belongs to the people.

Nigerians are the donors of sovereignty to any department or arm of government, he said.

He stressed that only the people of the nation can work out a new constitution for themselves through a Conference.

Sending it to the National Assembly or State Assembly indicates a Constitutional Amendment, which is what the President wants to do by the new clause he just raised.

Why don’t you just continue with the amendment of the constitution instead? He asked.

Clamour For Nat/Dialogue Is Same As For New Constitution – Analyst

The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, Onyekachi Ubani, has faulted the intention of the Presidency to subject the outcome of the proposed National Conference to the verification and possible adoption by the National Assembly.

In what he described as a ‘master stroke’ by President Goodluck Jonathan who set up a committee with the mandate to establish the ground work for the Conference, Mr Ubani, on Thursday said “if we do that then we don’t know what we have been clamouring for.”

While speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Ubani explained that the National Conference is the nation’s ‘golden opportunity’ to re-write the wrongs it has been living with since the colonial era.

“It is very commendable that they have realised that this nation cannot move forward except we sit down as a nation and talk and resolve some of those bottlenecks that have acted as a clog in the will of progress.”

He stated that crucial decisions would be made at the Conference, one of which would be interest in remaining a united entity as well as how the entity should be governed.

An agreement on how the country should be ruled indicates that there may be a New Constitution owing to the agreements made at the Dialogue.

“We have never had an input in all the constitutions… so the people have never had an input in the governance system.”

The Conference, he said, would present ‘golden opportunity’ for Nigerians to produce a constitution they agree with.

“What we have been clamouring for is a new constitution” not an amendment of the existing one, he said.

However, he raised concerns that the committee’s activities may be interfered with adding that “it is also very important that if you have set up a committee and given them terms of reference, you must allow that committee to do the job of doing the recommendation of the way forward.”

He called on stakeholders not to preempt the committee’s work as that would only give credence to what skeptics have been saying about the conference.

He faulted the National Assembly’s decision that the committee’s recommendations would have to be vetted by the House. “That is not healthy at this point in time,” he said, adding that,  “If the President begins to say that the outcome of the conference would go back to the National Assembly for consideration, you are spoiling the process.”

He added that “the President should be advised to be a bit circumspect, at this point, until the recommendation of the committee comes out.”

Ubani opined that submitting the Conference’s resolutions to the National Assembly would be wrong as that is not what Nigerians are clamouring for.

 

House Consideration On Constitution Amendment Stalled

Plans by the House of Representatives to begin clause-by-clause consideration of the report on constitution amendment for the alteration of the 1999 constitution was today  stalled after some lawmakers questioned the procedure being adopted by the house leadership.

Being the first allotted day for consideration of the report of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the review of the constitution, the chairman of the committee; Rep. Emeka Ihedioha started with a summary of how Nigerians had voted on the items being considered for amendment.

The Speaker of the House; Aminu Tambuwal then advised the lawmakers to be on the side of the people as they consider the report. Even as he said the house is not targeting any public office holder with the proposed amendments to the constitution.

The speaker however said the procedure was in order but after other observations by other lawmakers on the non-availability of the proposed documents, the house put off the consideration till tomorrow.

He also encouraged lawmakers to be on the side of the people during the consideration and not to follow the bidding of any individual.

But the proposed consideration was brought to a halt following an observation about the procedure to be used by the house.

This observation led to a short break in the proceedings as the leadership consulted before coming with a decision.

Retired Justice demands better condition of service for retired justices

The first female Justice of the Supreme Court, Retired Justice Olufunke Adekeye, has called on the Federal Government to review the condition of service of judges to prevent legal minds from retiring into penury after many years of service to the nation.

Justice Adekeye made the appeal at a valedictory session in her honour at the Supreme Court in Abuja on Wednesday, where she stated that many judges retire with gratuity that is not enough to sustain them in retirement.

The retiring Justice further claimed that her retired colleagues do not enjoy the monetization of their official residence like their counterparts in the civil service while the judiciary has no alternative arrangement for their accommodation after retirement.

She also called for the establishment of a virile body of retired judicial officers and legal practitioners to serve as a committee of elders and a reference body for members of the profession, while also advocating for all retired justices of the Supreme Court to automatically become a life-bencher considering the number of years they have put into the profession.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma Muktar, opened the ceremony by eulogizing Justice Adekeye for her contribution to the judiciary.

Other speakers, who poured encomium on the retiring justice, used the opportunity to speak on the state of the nation and issues affecting the judiciary.

Uncoordinated constitutional amendment

While the Body of Benchers led by Mr Wole Olanipekun (SAN) demanded stringent conditions for the appointment of judicial officers and zero tolerance for corruption in the judiciary, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association on his part, expressed reservation for the process of the Constitutional Amendment which it described as uncoordinated and without credibility.

Meanwhile the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) announced plans by the Federal Government to put in place stringent laws against terrorism in the country.

In her closing remark, Justice Adekeye called for improved condition of service for justices of the Supreme Court, and the establishment of roles for retired judicial officers and increased number of women as Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

After the speeches, Justice Olufunke Adekeye bowed out of the court for the last time as a justice of Nigeria’s apex court having served 40 of her 44 years career on the bench.

Present at the valedictory session were the Governor of Ekiti state, Mr Kayode Fayemi, retired justices of the Supreme Court and the Appellate court, legal practitioners, federal lawmakers, traditional rulers, and religious leaders.