FG Should Start Acting On Intelligence From Security Agencies – Falana

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, on Monday asked the Federal Government to start acting on intelligence from security agencies, especially the Department of State Services following a recent attack on a church in Ondo State.

Gunmen had attacked St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, killing scores of worshippers while injuring several others. The situation has drawn condemnation from Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors among others.

In a statement issued a day after the attack, Falana commiserated with the victims and families of the attack.

He said the government must go beyond issuing threats and alerting citizens of imminent attacks.

READ ALSOOsinbajo Pays Condolence Visit To Owo After Attack

This is even as he recalled that the Department of State Services (DSS) had on March 20 issued a statement claiming that it had discovered plans to cause violence in parts of the country, particularly in the north-central.

“Exactly nine days later, a group of terrorists attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train, killed over a dozen passengers and injured several others,” he said.

“Once again, on April 26, 2022, the SSS alerted Nigerians on alleged plans by some dangerous elements to launch bomb attacks on critical infrastructure and public places like worship and relaxation centres, especially during and after the festive celebrations.

“As predicted, a group of unmasked armed terrorists stormed the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state where they detonated explosives in the church and then gunned down worshippers during service on Sunday, June 5, 2022.

“After the terrorist attack, the Ondo police command was reported to have deployed officers of the explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) unit,  better known as the anti-bomb squad, to Owo local government area.

“As expected, the federal government has condemned the reckless attack on the worshippers and threatened to bring the criminal elements to justice.

“However, governments at all levels must go beyond issuing threats. It is common knowledge that every country involved in the prosecution of war on terror is required to train security personnel and acquire adequate security gadgets to protect the people.

“Therefore, the federal government should ensure that the nation’s airports, trains, buses, courts, schools, malls, churches, mosques, banks and other public places are provided with screening machines and CCTV cameras.

“As a matter of urgency, the federal government and the various state governments should promptly act on intelligence reports compiled by the State Security Service and other security agencies.”

Monkeypox: FG Warns Nigerians Against Bush Meat Consumption

This handout picture depicts the dorsal surfaces of a monkeypox case in a patient who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. Photo: AFP

 

Following the outbreak of Monkeypox in the country, the Federal Government has warned Nigerians against the consumption of bushmeat including rodents and others.

On May 29, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed the disease, saying the virus killed one person while 21 others were hit by the disease.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the warning was to ensure that the situation is contained and brought under control.

According to him, the Ministry is giving advice on measures to prevent and contain the spread of the virus as citizens also have their part to play by adhering to hygiene practices.

READ ALSO: Atiku Gets Certificate Of Return, Says PDP Will Rescue Nigeria From APC ‘Misrule’

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD) through the Department of Veterinary & Pest Control Services is actively collaborating with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other stakeholders in the One Health Team to ensure the situation is contained and brought under control,” the statement partly read.

“In view of the above, the FMARD is hereby giving the following advice: People must avoid contact with persons suspected to be infected with Monkey Pox at home and at workplaces.

“Hunters and dealers of ‘Bushmeat’ must desist from the practice forthwith to prevent any possibility of “SPILLOVER” of the pathogen in Nigeria.

“Transport of wild animals and their products within and across the borders should be suspended/restricted

“Silos, stores, and other agricultural storage facilities must institute active rodent control measures to prevent contacts and possible contamination of Monkey Pox Virus with foodstuff.”

He also added that “all operators of Zoos, Parks, Conservation and Recreational centers keeping non-human primates in their domains must ensure strict compliance with their biosecurity protocols aimed at preventing their contacts with humans”.

FG Wins Case Against State Governors Over Financial Autonomy

A court gavel

 

The Federal Government and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) have won the case against the state governors over the financial autonomy from the Local Government joint account.

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court delivered the ruling on Monday in favour of the Federal Government.

The NFIU had in June 2019 issued guidelines aimed at curbing crime vulnerabilities created by cash withdrawals from local government accounts by various state governments.

The Nigerian Governors Forum sued the FG and NFIU for interfering with state government powers to initiate transactions on Local Government Joint accounts citing provisions of the 1999 constitution.

The NFIU issued a guideline on money laundering risk and vulnerabilities advising all banks not to honour transactions from joint accounts.

It directed that the States/Local Governments Joint Accounts should use only for receiving funds and subsequently transferring them to Local government accounts only.

The guidelines also reduced cash withdrawal from local government accounts to five hundred thousand Naira daily.

Immediately after the guidelines came into place, most local governments across the country stopped facing challenges in the payment of staff salaries.

While reacting to the judgement the Director/CEO of NFIU, Mr Modibbo Tukur said the judgement is good because the Federal government is always ready to protect both states and local governments by making funds available for their governance responsibility.

He stressed that funds can now be decided on by local councils which can be channelled to improve local security.

The CEO of NFIU stated that “from this judgement and from today all transactions on Local Government funds will be disclosed to ICPC and EFCC 100% and will be reported continuously”.

 

IPOB: No Plan To Suspend Facebook Over Alleged Use To Incite Violence – FG

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Federal Government on Wednesday said it has no plans to suspend Facebook over the alleged use of the platform to incite violence by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

But addressing journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said Facebook has assured that it will take action against posts that incite violence on its platform.

READ ALSO: Court Declares Adeleke As Authentic PDP Candidate In Osun

He also reacted to the ministers who declared their intention to seek elective positions but were yet to resign their appointment.

The minister explained that President Muhammadu Buhari has the sole power to confirm the status of the affected ministers.

Suspected IPOB members have launched a series of attacks in the South-East, destroying some security formations as well as killing some innocent persons in the region.

Most recently, an army couple were killed on April 30 in Imo State, a situation that made the military authorities to say IPOB was not promoting the interest of the Igbos.

 

FG Amends Charges Against Nnamdi Kanu, Lists Lawyers As Accomplices

 

The Federal Government is set to re-arraign the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on an amended six-count of treasonable felony.

The amendment came on a day the trial Judge, Justice Binta Nyako fixed to hear an application Kanu filed to be released on bail, pending the determination of the charge against him.

A member of Kanu’s legal team, who craved anonymity, says the FG had in the amended charge, listed some lawyers representing the embattled IPOB leader, including Misters Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara, as accomplices of the defendant.

It is gathered that the FG alleged that the said lawyers, were constantly in contact with Kanu after he jumped bail and fled the country.

READ ALSO: Soludo Visits Nnamdi Kanu, Says Together Peace Will Be Restored In Anambra

Justice Binta Nyako had on April 8, struck out eight out of the 15-count treasonable felony FG preferred against Kanu.

Justice Nyako held that the charges were mere repetitions that did not disclose any offence that could be sustained by the proof of evidence before the court.

Scenes from the court showed Kanu, his lawyer Mike Ozekhome and supporters in triumphant celebration over the amendment.

FG had in the counts that were struck out, purported that Kanu had through his broadcasts, incited members of the public to not only stage a violent revolution but to attack police officers and also destroy public facilities in Lagos State.

 

FG Holds Tripartite Meeting With Striking Lecturers, Other Unions

Some of the striking lecturers at the meeting on May 12, 2022.

 

The Federal Government on Thursday met with the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions.

The meeting was chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and had in attendance the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle.

It was held at the banquet hall of the State House in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Others present were the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osedeke, Presidents of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff of Union of Universities among others.

READ ALSO: Consider Students’ Plight And Call Off Strike, Buhari Appeals To ASUU

The meeting was aimed at addressing the lingering industrial action by ASUU and other pressing issues of industrial actions in the tertiary institutions.

The Chief of Staff informed the gathering that the meeting was under the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari who he says is concerned about the strike action and its impact on the Nigerian students.

While appealing to the lecturers to call off the strike, Gambari reiterated the Federal Government’s resolve to address the issues affecting the striking ASUU members.

The meeting was held few hours after President Buhari appealed to ASUU to consider the plight of students and call off its ongoing strike.

He made the appeal at the 19th National productivity day and conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit award held on Thursday.

The President equally urged students in public tertiary institutions to exercise patience as the Federal Government is striving to address the nagging issues in the nation’s university system within the ambit of available resources.

Buhari’s appeal came two days after the union extended its industrial action, accusing the government of unwillingness to address its demands.

NASU, SSANU Present New Payment Platform To FG

Officials of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) meet with the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu in Abuja.

 

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have presented to the Federal Government a new payment platform through which they want their salaries to be paid.

The platform, known as the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) was presented by the Committee to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu at the Ministries Conference Centre in Abuja.

READ ALSO: No Extension Of Timeline For Party Primaries – INEC

While presenting the platform to Adamu, SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, said it serves as an alternative to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) through which all personnel in the university system will be paid.

He noted that IPPIS was full of inconsistencies.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which is currently on strike, has also rejected IPPIS.

ASUU has come up with its own replacement for the payroll system: the University Transparency Accountability System (UTAS).

ASUU Strike: UNIBEN Students Protest Against Unending Action

Some of the protesting UNIBEN students.

 

Students from the University of Benin, the Edo State capital on Wednesday defied the early morning rain to embark on a protest against the continued strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The students, who took their protest to the King Square area of the city, demanded an end to the strike. They said they are tired of staying at home, cut off from their academic pursuits.

While they appealed to the relevant authorities to look into the issues that led to the strike for a resolution to be reached, the students rued watching their dream of graduating suffer stagnation.

‘Ticking Time Bomb’

Also worried about the situation, Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, called for a decisive action to end the strike, describing the situation as a ticking time bomb that must be urgently addressed.

She spoke during a special Eid-El-Fitr celebration hosted by the Lagos State first family and the state government held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja to commemorate the end of Ramadan.

“Our children need to go back to school. It is a ticking time bomb when our children sit at home doing nothing. The devil will find work for the idle hands. Our children, those in the universities, sitting down at home for two months is not a plus for us and so anytime we have the opportunity, we as parents, especially mothers, should continue speaking up,” she said.

“The federal universities are shut down as a result of the ASUU strike. We plead and plead that God will help us to resolve this issue. I don’t feel comfortable that the students are at home and whatever it takes, all hands must be on deck to ensure that they go back to school.”

The governor’s wife also asked the youth to shun all ungodly, immoral, and bestial acts.

Mrs Sanwo-Olu’s comment followed the lingering strike embarked on by the union on February 14.  The university teachers are pressing home their demands which include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), and payment of promotion arrears.

They had first embarked on a four-week strike before extending it for another eight weeks to enable the Federal Government to address issues in concrete terms.

ASUU had also accused the government of poor commitment to the payment of earned academic allowance; the continued use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS)  and refusal to adopt the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) among others.

Labour Day: Reps Minority Caucus Seeks Speedy Resolution Of ASUU Strike

File photo of Reps Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.

 

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has felicitated Nigerians on the Workers’ Day celebration, seeking a speedy resolution of the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu asked the Federal Government to urgently intervene and meet the demands of the Nigerian workers.

READ ALSO: Workers’ Day: We’ll Work With Organised Labour To Address Issues – Lawan

“The Caucus also urges the Federal Government and all stakeholders to urgently resolve the issues surrounding the lingering industrial action by lecturers in public universities in the country,” the statement partly read.

“The Minority Caucus further charges the Federal Government to initiate more worker-friendly policies for capacity building as well as incentives to further enhance the productivity of the Nigerian workers.

“On our part, our caucus assures that we will continue to initiate and give legislative backing to efforts tailored toward improving the welfare and productivity of the workers.”

The Caucus also lamented that Nigerian workers are observing the day in pain, agony, and despair given the suffocating working condition and general economic hardship occasioned by the insensitive, corrupt, and overtly inept All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.

The Minority Caucus insisted that given their long-standing patriotism, sacrifices, and dedication to the development of our nation in spite of the odds, Nigerian workers deserve a better welfare package.

Sunday’s statement followed the industrial action declared by ASUU on February 14. Following the expiration of the four-week warning strike on March 14, the university lecturers extended the action by two months. The situation has forced many Nigerian students to remain at home.

The union led by Professor Emmanuel Osodeke said it extended the strike to give the Federal Government and its agencies enough time to meet the lingering demands of the union.

Imo Explosion: FG Begins Assessment Of Disaster To Provide Victims With Relief

 

This combination of photos created on April 23, 2022, shows the aftermath of an explosion that rocked an illegal refinery in Imo State.

 

The Federal Government has commenced an impact assessment to ascertain the level of disaster in the recent fire explosion at an illegal refinery located at Abaezi community in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.

This is part of efforts to know the volume of relief to provide to families affected during the incident.

No fewer than 110 people lost their lives in the tragic incident on April 22 that sent the state and President Muhammadu Buhari into mourning.

A few days after the explosion, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq was in Owerri, the state capital.

Address a press conference on Sunday, she said the purpose of the impact assessment is to assist victims in building their lives back.

READ ALSO: Imo Govt Holds Mass Burial For Victims Of Illegal Refinery Explosion

The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Relief and Rehabilitation in the Ministry, Alhassan Nuhu, said that disaster risk management is first a local and collective endeavor before it becomes national.

He asked traditional and religious leaders, women, and youth groups to join hands with the federal and state government to serve as watchdogs and continuously advocate against the setup and safe use of refinery facilities in their communities.

“I implore community leaders, traditional and religious leaders, women and youth groups to join hands with NEMA to serve as watchdogs,” he said.

“In order to protect lives, properties, and the environment, it is obvious that disaster risk management is first a local and collective endeavour before it becomes national.

“Our visit today is not only to condole with the good people of Imo State but also to assess the extent of the disaster and also ascertain the volume of relief to provide for the victims for the purpose of assisting them to build them better.”

FG, States And LGs Receive N725.5bn Revenue In March

A file photo of the Accountant General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, at his office in Abuja. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total of N725.5 billion as Federation Account revenue for March to the Federal Government, states, and local government areas.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a virtual meeting of the FAAC for April held on Wednesday.

The N725.571 billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N521.169 billion and the distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N204.402 billion.

In March 2022, the total deductions for the cost of collection were N44.411 billion, and the total deductions for statutory transfers, refunds, and savings were N382. 826 billion. The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $35.372 million.

READ ALSO: FAAC Shares N574.668bn January 2022 Revenue To FG, States And LGAs

The communique confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N725.571 billion, the Federal Government received N277.104 billion, the State Governments received N227.201 billion and the Local Government Councils received N167.910 billion.

A total of N53.356 billion was shared with the relevant States as 13 per cent derivation revenue.

Gross statutory revenue of N933.304 billion was received for the month which was higher than the N429.681 billion received in the previous month by N503.623 billion.

The sum of N35.631 billion cost of collection and N376.504 billion being amount for transfers, refunds, and savings were deducted from the N933.304 billion gross statutory revenue, resulting in the distributable statutory revenue of N521.169 billion.

From the N521.169 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N246.444 billion, the State Governments received N125.000 billion and the Local Government Councils received N96.369 billion.

The sum of N53.356 billion was shared to the relevant states as 13 per cent derivation revenue.

In the month of March 2022, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N219.504 billion.

This was higher than the N177.873 billion available in the month of February 2022 by N41.631 billion.

The sum of N6.322 billion allocation to NEDC and N8.780 billion cost of the collection were deducted from the N219.504 billion gross Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, resulting in the distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N204.402 billion.

From the N204.402 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, the Federal Government received N30.660 billion, the State Governments received N102.201 billion and the Local Government Councils received N71.541 billion.

According to the communique, in the month of March 2022, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duties, Companies Income Tax (CIT), and Value Added Tax (VAT) all recorded tremendous increases.

$418m Paris Club Loan Refund: States Warn FG Not To Tamper With Funds

 

The 36 states of the federation have warned the Federal Government not to tamper with funds accruing to them and the 774 local government councils under the guise of satisfying an alleged $418 million London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts.

In documents seen on Monday by Channels Television, the states said they were not parties to any suit on the London/Paris Club refund, and as such were not liable to any person or entity in any judgment debt being relied on by the Federal Government.

Speaking through the Body of Attorneys-General of the Federation, the states warned further that should the Federal Government proceed to make any such deduction, it would be acting illegally and in contempt of their appeal challenging the judgment.

They gave the warning in an April 4 letter as part of their response to a November 11, 2021 letter from the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, advertising the commencement of the deduction for the liquidation of the alleged judgment debts.

READ ALSO: Lagos Govt Shuts Chrisland Schools Over Alleged Abuse

The reply of the states was signed by the Body of Attorneys-General of the Federation Interim Chairman, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) of Lagos State and Interim Secretary, Dr. Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana of Nasarawa State as well as the Attorneys-Generals of Rivers, Abia, Taraba, Benue, and Zamfara states, for and on behalf of all the state Attorneys-General.

It reads in part: “Their Excellencies have drawn our attention to your letter referenced above, which the various states of the federation received at about the end of March 2022. The letter notifies the States of your intention to commence deduction from allocations due to the States from the Federation Account for the liquidation of the London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts on behalf of the 36 States of the Federation and the 774 local government councils.

“Please note that the states of the federation were not parties to any contract or suits concerning the London/Paris Club refund, from which the said judgment debts arose.

“Consequently, the 36 States of the federation are not liable to any person or entity in any judgment debt.”

The letter noted that the deduction of the allocations due to the 36 states of the federation from the Federation Account to liquidate the London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts is the subject of an appeal filed by the 36 States at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

It explained that: “The appeal challenges the Federal High Court’s (per Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo) judgment delivered on 25th March 2022 between A.G Abia State v. President, Federal Republic of Nigeria & 42 Ors. and, therefore, the issue is sub judice.”

In addition, it noted that the states have also filed a Motion on Notice for an Order of Injunction pending appeal.

The letter added that the body’s legal representatives had published a public caveat in national dailies notifying the public of the pending appeal, which also advised concerned parties “to desist from dealing with the subject matter thereof pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal and the application for Injunction pending appeal”.

It said that given the above, “The law requires you to restrain from taking any step whatsoever that is capable of interfering with the rest of the suit, which is now a subject of an appeal.

“Accordingly, Nigerian case law enjoins you to refrain from effecting any deduction whatsoever from the allocations due to the 36 States from the Federation Account for the liquidation of the London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts purportedly on behalf of the 36 States of the Federation and the 774 local government councils, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal by the states of the federation. Doing otherwise in the face of the pending Appeal and Motion on Notice for Injunction pending appeal shall be at your peril.”

See the document below: