The Federal Government says it is working hard to ramp up the number of foreign investors in the various sectors of the nation’s economy, and also reduce its reliance on debts.
Speaking to state house correspondents today after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari privately in his office, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian investment promotion commission, Saratu Umar explained that government is looking to improve it’s Investment master plan to develop the economy.
She further underpinned that the commission is committed to advancing foreign direct investment as well as facilitating import substitution.
Meanwhile, the presidency has announced that nine oil-producing states have received 13 percent derivation totalling 625.43 billion naira, subsidy and SURE-P refunds from the Federation Account in the last two years.
According to a statement issued today by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Mister GARBA SHEHU, the states listed to have received the refunds dating from 1999 to 2021 include Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
Abia State received 1.1billion naira, Akwa-Ibom, 15billion naira; Bayelsa, 11.6 billion; Cross River, 432 million; Delta State, 14.8 billion; Edo State, 2.2 billion naira; Imo State, 2.9billion; Ondo State, 3.7billion and Rivers State, 12.8 billion naira.
The States were paid in eight instalments between October 2, 2021 and January 11, 2022, while the ninth to twelfth instalments are still outstanding.
The Presidency recalled data obtained from the Federation Account Department, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, which it said showed that a total of 477.2 billion naira was released to the nine states as refund of the 13 percent derivation fund on withdrawal from Excess Crude Account (ECA), without deducting derivation from 2004 to 2019, leaving an outstanding balance of 287.04 billion naira.
The statement adds that states also got 64.8 billion naira as refund of the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation to Oil Producing states from 1999 to December.
The Presidency again revealed that the benefitting states still have an outstanding balance of 860.59 billion naira from the refunds, which it said was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Federal Government and the United Nations have signed the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2023-2027.
The Cooperation Framework focuses on assisting Nigeria to achieve developmental objectives of ensuring inclusiveness, sustainability and accountability.
At the signing of the document at the UN House in Abuja, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Matthias Schmale said the framework will further assist in the achievement of the federal government of taking 35 million Nigerians out of poverty by the year 2025.
He said it will also create more than 2.5 million developmental opportunities for Nigeria.
In his address, the Minister of State, Prince Clem Agba says the framework is in line with the Federal Government’s National Development Plan 2021-2025.
He lamented the lack of development in the rural areas.
Reiterating his comment on lack of even development at the state level, Mr. Agba said more than 90 percent of the activities by state governors are in the state capital.
According to him 70 percent of rural areas are neglected by state governors, especially in terms of education.
Mr Agba asserted that he has no apology for his comment about the governors and calls on Nigerians to also hold the governors accountable.
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, on Wednesday faulted the redesign of the naira, saying the Federal Government should have given the funds for the redesigned notes to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’sPolitics Today, Sowore said the amount the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) spent to redesign the naira is N218 billion. He argued that the fund should be disbursed to aggrieved varsity lecturers.
Sowore flayed Nigerian leaders for not addressing the welfare of Nigerians but only concerned about the naira redesign.
“These are issues you get from leaders who are concerned about the welfare of the people of the country, not the redesign of the naira which cost us N218 billion. We should have given that money to ASUU,” he said.
According to him, the intervention fund will help prevent strikes as well as help improve the state of the nation’s tertiary education sector.
Earlier today, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes at the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja.
Accusing the Federal Government of not running the tertiary education system well, Sowore is however against the idea of privatising the sector.
The presidential hopeful insisted that if elected as President in the 2023 general elections, he would ensure free and qualitative education to all Nigerians.
He also pledged to cater for the needs of the over 1.7 million Nigerian students in tertiary institutions, noting that each will get N100,000 per semester.
“They are not running anything well; I will never be part of those who ask the private sector to run. It will be a publicly run education programme.
“We are focusing on free education. Every student in Nigeria who is in higher institution will get at least N100,000 per semester as study grant from the Federal Government,” Sowore added.
When asked where he would generate such funds to pay the over 1.7 million Nigerian undergraduates, the AAC candidate said his administration will plunge the loopholes in government and channel such into key priority areas like education.
ASUU had on October 14 suspended its eight-month strike in line with an order by the National Industrial Court for the lecturers to return to work.
When they returned to classes, the Federal Government paid the varsity teachers half salaries for the month of October. The development did not augur well with the lecturers who embarked on a one-day nationwide protest over the part payment last Monday.
But the Federal Government has since defended the pro-rata payment to ASUU members in October, saying they cannot be paid for work not done.
Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, through the spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, dismissed media reports that the government was biased in paying the university teachers.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq has flagged off the payment of grants to 3, 166 beneficiaries of the Grants to vulnerable groups in Niger State.
Presenting the Cheques to selected beneficiaries in Government House, Sadiya Farouq said President Buhari had also approved the release of 12, 000 metric tons of assorted grains from the Strategic Grain Reserve and Non-food materials for distribution to the victims of flood and banditry in the state.
She said the grants under Grants for Vulnerable Groups for programme targeted rural women to sustain social inclusion of the present administration.
According to her, under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), 70 percent of beneficiaries out 5, 428 people were women while the remaining 30 percent were youths with emphasis on people with Special needs.
The minister also said the Condition Cash Transfer payment system had been digitized to improve the pace of payment and ensure accountability, adding that the digitisation would enable generation of reliable payment data and records and enhance inclusivity of the target beneficiaries.
In his remarks, the Governor of Niger state, Abubakar Bello described the social protection programmes as “unprecedented which has supported Millions of people across the state.
The governor who was represented by the Secretary to the state government, Ahmed Matane, noted that the successful implementation of the programme by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration would give the party ticket to win the 2023 elections
He also appreciated the federal government for lifting over hundred million Nigerians out of poverty.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Focal Person, National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) in Niger State, Amina Gu’ar, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for sustaining the programme that had touched the lives of the poor and the vulnerable in the society and improved the living conditions of citizens in the state especially the victims of banditry and recent flood disaster.
The Federal High Court Abuja has discontinued a suit filed by the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu against the Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency Ahmed Abubakar.
Mister Kanu had filed the suit through his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, seeking, among other reliefs, an order of the court directing the defendants to pay him the sum of N20 billion being general and exemplary damages.
The suit, which was before Justice Inyang Ekwo, sought to challenge the manner Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya. According to Ejimakor, the suit was discontinued for strategic reasons that would be inappropriate and unprofessional to disclose publicly.
Part of the reliefs sought in the suit includes a declaration that Kanu’s arrest and imprisonment at a location in Kenya and the subsequent imprisonment in the aircraft that conveyed him from Kenya to Nigeria, amounted to false arrest and false imprisonment;
A declaration that the defendants acted in bad faith and/or abused their public offices in falsely arresting and falsely imprisoning the plaintiff at the said location in Kenya and said aircraft;
An order of the court directing the defendants to, jointly and severally, pay to the plaintiff the sum of N20 billion being general and exemplary damages;
An order of the court directing the defendants to separately write and deliver to the plaintiff, an unreserved personal letter of apology.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had fixed Friday, November 18, for the hearing of the matter. However, Kanu’s counsel announced today that the suit has been discontinued.
The Federal High Court Abuja, has discontinued a suit filed by the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu against the Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.
Kanu had filed the suit through his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor seeking, among other reliefs, an order of the court directing the defendants to pay him the sum of N20 billion being general and exemplary damages.
The suit, which was before Justice Inyang Ekwo, sought to challenge the manner Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya.
According to Ejimakor, the suit was discontinued for strategic reasons that would be inappropriate and unprofessional to disclose publicly.
Part of the Reliefs sought in the suit includes a declaration that the Kanu’s arrest and imprisonment at a location in Kenya and the subsequent imprisonment in the aircraft that conveyed him from Kenya to Nigeria, amounted to false arrest and false imprisonment.
A declaration that the defendants acted in bad faith and/or abused their public offices in falsely arresting and falsely imprisoning the plaintiff at the said location in Kenya and said aircraft.
An order of the court directing the defendants to, jointly and severally, pay to the plaintiff the sum of N20,000,000,000.00 (twenty billion naira only) being general and exemplary damages.
An order of the court directing the defendants to separately write and deliver to the plaintiff, an unreserved personal letter of apology.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had fixed Friday, November 18, for the hearing of the matter. However, Kanu’s counsel announced today that the suit has been discontinued.
The presidency has said that scenes of flooding from Bayelsa state are deeply saddening and the thoughts of the government are with the victims of, and those affected by, the floods.
The presidency however, notes that calls from some quarters for the resignation of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development are not appropriate in this climate.
In a statement on Wednesday, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu stressed that almost every state in Nigeria has been affected by the floods, adding that the Federal Government is concerned about what has happened in Bayelsa as it is with respect to the other states.
“No life lost is bigger or lesser than that of the others.
“The challenge of bringing succour to the large number of the displaced people in Bayelsa and other states, the restoration of their damaged property and farmlands washed away have clearly overwhelmed disaster management efforts so far but that is not to say no efforts are being made.
“The huge need for everything from foodstuff to tents, blankets and mosquito nets; antimalarial and other drugs clearly indicate that more resources are needed, not only by the disaster management agencies at the center but also by those at the State and local council levels that are structurally, the first responders.
“The Minister has been diligently working to target assistance where its most needed and plug the gaps in several state governments’ disaster responses.
“The state of Bayelsa has done commendably well but they certainly can do better with increased Federal assistance, which is still being delivered batch by batch.
“All these efforts are coming ahead of the report of the committee under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum, set up by the President “to fashion out solutions and then escalate their conclusions to the Federal Government, to alleviate the plight of people currently being ravaged by flood around the country.”
“This is just as more is being expected by way of international response and how much difference can be made by support from businesses and nonprofits as the country deals with its worst flooding in decades.
“We hope that everyone, the agencies of the Federal government, the states and the local councils will increase the attention to pay to the challenges of climate change.
“Clearly, this is not a time for public reproach. It will only weaken our collective response to the tragedy, and ultimately hinder cooperation that saves lives and delivers emergency aid,” Garba Shehu stated.
He further asserted that the government at the centre will continue to do more for Bayelsa and for all states so affected as more and more resources are made available to agencies dealing.
The Federal Government has explained the rationale behind the payment of half salaries to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
ASUU had embarked on strike on February 14. Following a series of discussions with the government, coupled with a court order, the university lecturers ended the eight-month-old strike and returned to their classrooms on October 14.
However, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had vowed to invoke the no work, no pay on the aggrieved lecturers who had pressed home for a better welfare package for their members.
True to the government’s stance, ASUU members were paid half salaries for October, a situation that drew criticism from both the varsity teachers and the newly registered Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA).
In a statement, the Federal Government said ASUU members were paid their October salary pro-rata, noting that they cannot be paid for work not done.
Spokesman of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, also dismissed media reports that the government was biased in paying the university teachers.
“They were paid in pro-rata to the number of days that they worked in October, counting from the day that they suspended their industrial action,” the statement partly read.
“Pro-rata was done because you cannot pay them for work not done. Everybody’s hands are tied.”
According to him, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, never directed the Accountant General of the Federation to pay the university lecturers half their salary.
The ministry equally faulted a statement by the Chairperson of ASUU, Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS) branch, Muhammad Al-Mustapha, accusing Ngige of biased payment of salaries to selected professional members of the union.
Oshundun added, “Following the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), asking ASUU to go back to work, the leadership of the union wrote to the Minister, informing him that they have suspended the strike.
“The Federal Ministry of Education wrote to him in a similar vein and our labour inspectors in various states also confirmed that they have resumed work.”
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Thursday, blamed the rising number of out-of-school children on the nation’s security challenges.
Speaking during the 66th National Council on Education meeting in Abuja, which had in attendance the 36 commissioners across the states, the Minister admitted that he failed to address the situation.
Available data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Nigeria has about 20 million out-of-school children.
“I came into office with the resolve to remove out-of-school children and I failed,” he said, charging commissioners to complement the Federal Government’s efforts in addressing the situation.
“The choice is very apt because we are not living in a situation where insecurity has virtually taken over everything, hence our children displaced.
“It is the responsibility of government at all levels to afford the right to education for all by ensuring that all barriers to education are removed.”
In his remark, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Senator Borrofice Ajayi, said the National Assembly will collaborate with the Federal Government in ensuring that every Nigerian has access to education.
“We in the National Assembly will investigate all the submissions by the various parastatals under the ministry and the ministry itself. We are going to ensure that the issue of security is taken seriously and adequately provided for,” he stated.
Challenging the commissioners to rise up to their responsibilities by providing a safe and secure learning environment for both students and teachers, the Minister said the Federal government and some states as well as the Federal Capital Territory have done their best to arrest situations of incessant attacks on schools while several other states are lagging behind.
Adamu urged the states to immediately domesticate the guidelines based on their circumstances.
According to him, states are responsible for the continued increase in the numbers of out-of-school Children (OSC) in Nigeria; adding that the figure has remained constant.
The embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has commenced a Fundamental Right Action before the Federal High Court in Abuja, to demand payment of One Hundred Billion Naira (N100,000,000,000) as reparation for the gross violation of his Rights to Liberty and Dignity of Human Persons, by the Federal Government.
According to a statement by his legal team as led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, the IPOB leader is also seeking an immediate release from the “unlawful facility” of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The communique notes that this action was predicated by the continued grandstanding of the Federal Government of Nigeria to implement/carryout the Orders/Judgment of the Court of Appeal, delivered on the 13th day of October 2022, which in effect, discharged Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of the “frivolous” charge brought against him and consequently, prohibits the government from further detaining him, and/or subjecting him to further trial or prosecution by any court in Nigeria.
“It will be recalled that following the judgment of the Court of Appeal, delivered on the 13th day of October 2022, which in effect struck out the retained seven count charge hitherto pending against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, there is no existing Order of a Court of Law, which presently sanction or legitimize the continued detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as all Courts of first instance in Nigeria has effectively, from this 13th day of October 2022, divested of all jurisdictional powers to either issue Orders in respect thereto or even undertake any further criminal trial/prosecution against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“In the Originating Court Process, duly initiated on behalf of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by our erudite Lead Counsel – Chief Dr. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, on the 21st day of October 2022, in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1945/2022 : BETWEEN MAZI NNAMDI KANU VS FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA & ORS, supported by six (6) paragraph affidavit, deposed to by Chimuanya Emenari Esq, a legal practitioner in the law firm of I. C. Ejiofor & Co., clearly verifying the facts of these gross violation of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s constitutionally guaranteed Rights, following his continued detention in a solitary confinement in the custody of the DSS in flagrant disobedience of Court Orders, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is substantially seeking for the following Reliefs, anchored on the forgoing grounds, which the Reliefs are predicated upon to wit:
“A DECLARATION that the continued detention of the Applicant by the Respondents, from the 13th day of October 2022 till date, is illegal, unlawful, oppressive, unconscionable, and unconstitutional as it violates the Applicant’s Fundamental Rights to Dignity of Human Persons, Personal Liberty and Right to Freedom of Movement as guaranteed by Sections 34, 35, 36, 39, and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) 2011.
“AN ORDER OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT directing the Respondents to unconditionally release the Applicant from their custody forthwith.
“AN ORDER OF INJUNCTION restraining the Respondents, their agents, privies, assigns or howsoever called, from further interfering with the Applicant’s rights, and/or dealing with the Applicant in a manner inimical to his Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) 2011.
“COMPENSATORY AND EXAMPLARY DAMAGES of N100,000,000,000.00 (One Hundred Billion Naira Only), against the Respondents for the gross violation of the Applicant’s fundamental rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, and freedom of movement.
“AN ORDER OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT directing the Respondents to tender unreserved public apology to the Applicant in two National Dailies, and any other forms of reparation that the Honourable Court may deem fit to grant.
“AND FOR SUCH FURTHER ORDER(S) as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
“GROUNDS UPON WHICH THE RELIEFS ARE SOUGHT:
“By virtue of Section 46(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) 2011, and Order 1 Rule 2(1) of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, any person who alleges that any of the Provisions of Chapter 4 of the Constitution to which he is entitled to, has been, is being or likely to be contravened in any State in relation to him may apply to the High Court in the State for redress.
“The Applicant is entitled to his Fundamental Rights to Dignity of Human Person, Personal Liberty and Freedom of Movement guaranteed by Sections 34, 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) 2011,” the communique partly read.
Kanu’s legal team further argued that the continued and unlawful detention of their client whose health is daily deteriorating, from the 13th day of October 2022, till date, violates his “Fundamental Rights to Personal Liberty, Dignity of Human Person, and Freedom of Movement, and consequently, illegal and unconstitutional”.
“The Court of Appeal held that the Applicant is prohibited from being detained, tried, or otherwise dealt with in Nigeria, for/or in respect of any offence allegedly committed by him before his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria, thus, the continued detention by the Respondents, is arbitrary and unlawful.
“The Respondents have no authority or justification whatsoever, to detain the Applicant in complete defiance and disregard to the positive Order of the Court of Appeal, discharging the Applicant and barring the Respondents from detaining and/or prosecuting him.
“The Respondents cannot exercise their power outside the provision of the law and judicial pronouncements, and thus, they are bound to comply with the Order of the Court of Appeal, which discharged the Applicant.”
The communique from Kanu’s legal team further held that the applicant (Kanu) is constitutionally entitled under Section 35 subsection (6) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) 2011 to the payment of compensation and public apology from the Respondents for the gross violation of his Rights to Dignity of Human Person, Personal Liberty, and Freedom.
The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi has asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on all flood affected areas across the country.
At a visit to flood victims in Ibi local government Area of Taraba State on Tuesday, the presidential hopeful also urged the government to adopt the global best practice of desilting all its waters to avert a reoccurrence of this year’s flood that wrecked havoc across the nation.
“”We are calling on the government to come with interventions, declare all the affected states – a disaster area,” the former Anambra governor stressed.
Adding that, “what the federal government has to do to stop this is to ensure that the waters are desilted.
“The rivers have all been silted and we need to work on them, this is easy, it is done globally, all over the world.”
According to Mr Obi, several contracts have been given out to fix situations like this in Nigeria, however, nothing has been done.
Speaking further on the desilting process, the Labour Party flagbearer said by desilting the water bodies, the rivers begin to contribute to the wellbeing of the people, not to be a source of trouble for the masses.
While assessing the level of damage caused by the flood, Obi interacted and sympathized with the flood victims. He reassured them of his firm support even as they try to stay afloat in this difficult time.
Obi who has been urging other presidential candidates to suspend campaigns and join him to raise awareness regarding the plights of flood victims in Nigeria, insisted that the federal government must send a high powered delegation to evaluate losses because states alone cannot cope with such disaster.
He thanked the Taraba government, traditional rulers and other leaders within the state who are helping to alleviate the situation and are giving the people succor in this time of distress.
Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the mismanagement of the ecological fund which he described as a crime against humanity.
Falana, according to a statement from his chambers signed by Tayo Soyemi, stated this on Monday at a convocation lecture at Augustine University, Lagos.
Speaking at the event on Monday, Falana said it is wrong for the Federal Government to ask citizens to hold state governments to account in event of a national disaster. He expressed concern over the impact of recent flooding across communities.
“The mismanagement of ecological fund is a crime against humanity because it is responsible for the loss of many lives, displacement of millions of people, and destruction of properties worth trillions of Naira,” Falana said.
“Before the proposed probe by the EFCC, the federal government should come to the aid of the affected state governments. However, the EFCC should probe the involvement of officials of the federal government and state governments.
“In particular, the federal government has failed to release money from the ecological fund to the affected states. On their own part, the various state governments have equally failed to provide relief materials for the victims.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government did not ask the citizens to hold the state governments to account for funds meant for building and equipping hospitals.
“Instead of inciting citizens to demand an explanation which will be ignored by state governments, the federal government should submit a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the investigation of the mismanagement of the ecological fund which is a crime against humanity.”
While faulting the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, for saying the floods are an “act of God”, Falana asked the government to ensure that measures to mitigate flooding become a priority.
He also expressed concern over ongoing campaign activities by political parties despite the effect of flooding on victims.
The Ecological Fund Office, under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was created in 1985 following the approval of the Federation Account Act of 1981.
It includes one percent of the Federation Account and it is known as the derivation and ecology fund, and the focus of the office is to have a pool of funds that would be solely devoted to the funding of ecological projects to mitigate serious ecological problems.
Last year, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N16.04 billion in ecological fund projects across 12 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) for soil erosion/flood and pollution control interventions.