South East Governors To Launch Regional Security Outfit

L-R: Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke; Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; and Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, at the Government House in Enugu on February 9, 2020.

 

 

The governors of the South East met on Sunday over the security challenges and other issues in the region.

At the end of the meeting which held at the Government House in Enugu State, the governors resolved to launch a regional security outfit.

They affirmed their commitment towards concluding the establishment of the Joint South East Security Outfit to tackle the daunting security challenges in the region.

The chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, disclosed this to reporters after the first meeting of the forum in the year 2020.

He said the leaders have written the Federal Government in this regard and were equally satisfied with the arrangement that would lead to the enactment of the law to back up the programme in all Houses of Assembly across the region.

 

Governor Umahi, however, said they have yet to choose a name for the security outfit, adding that would come later.

To other issues, the governors were pleased with the level of work done at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.

They noted that the airport would be reopened on March 31 and also commended the progress made so far in the construction of the Second Niger Bridge and some Federal Roads in the region.

The governors thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the swift intervention of the Federal Government and called for more funding to conclude the ongoing works and incorporate other abandoned road sections in the South East.

 

The meeting was attended by the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, and the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke.

Also present were the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and former vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi.

The meeting was also attended by some leaders in the region such as the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, and some members of the sociocultural groups, as well as religious leaders among others.

SERAP Asks Court To Order Buhari, Osinbajo, 36 Governors To Publish Their Assets

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to order President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the 36 state governors and their deputies to “make public details of their assets, specifically property and income, contained in their asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since assuming office.”

According to a statement signed by the agency’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, it is also seeking: “an order to compel President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to disclose whether they have received any confirmation of the verification of their asset declarations by the CCB and to disclose whether they have taken any steps to encourage members of their cabinet to also submit their asset declarations to the CCB, and to make such declarations public.”

The agency believes that the non-public disclosure by public officials of their summary of assets undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the constitutional and statutory obligations to submit asset declarations, “especially given that declarations are designed to curb grand corruption”.

SERAP further stated that only two states— Lagos and Niger state, have responded to its Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

However, it says both states declined the request to make public the assets of their governors and deputies, on the ground that “the FoI Act is inapplicable to state governments, their agencies and officials, and that only Houses of Assembly of states are constitutionally empowered to make laws on public records of states.”

Also reacting to the FOI request, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, was quoted to have said: “SERAP asking the president to declare publicly, on the basis of what law? The president will do what the law requires of him and what the law requires is that he should declare his asset which he has done.

“Declaring publicly is not in our laws; it can only be a voluntary thing”.

SERAP, therefore, stated that it is seeking “a declaration that the failure of President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to provide the requested information on their assets constitutes a breach of SERAP’s right under the FoI Act, 2011.

Fulfil Your Campaign Promises, Buhari Tells APC Governors

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to focus on fulfilling their campaign promises to the people of their states.

He gave the charge in a statement on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

The President congratulated the governors on their Supreme Court victories, after what he called “your patient legal battles to defend your mandates.”

“I am pleased and proud that you have successfully concluded your legal battles, and now is the time to concentrate fully on fulfilling your campaign promises after the distractions caused by the litigations,” he said.

READ ALSO: Man Climbs Mast To Commit Suicide, Seeks TB Joshua’s Intervention

President Buhari was happy that one of the great things about democracy was that it gives the aggrieved avenues for redress through the courts.

He, therefore, commended the governors for using the opportunity to defend their mandates following the March 9 polls.

The President advised the governors not to see their challengers as enemies, saying they were only exercising their democratic rights by going to the courts to seek redress.

He also reminded the APC governors that there are still challenges ahead and asked them to brace up.

“With the legal battle now over, it is my hope that you won’t rest on your oars,” he said.

President Buhari added, “You should work ever harder to deliver good governance in the next remaining four years of your tenure.

“I wish you God’s guidance, more wisdom and good health in the performance of your exalted responsibilities.”

Corruption: 22 Ex-Governors Facing Probe, Trial – Malami

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, addressing reporters in Abuja on December 19, 2019.

 

 

At least 22 former governors are either being investigated by the Federal Government or already standing trial in various courts.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, announced this on Thursday at a press conference in Abuja.

“We have three former governors convicted and serving various jail terms for corruption-related crimes while in office. Equally, 22 ex-governors are either under probe or trial,” he said.

READ ALSO: EFCC Detains Adoke Over Malabu Oil Scandal

Malami stressed that the government was more than resolved to nip corruption in the bud and return all of Nigeria’s commonwealth.

According to him, the Federal Government has won no fewer than 1,636 cases through the agencies championing its anti-corruption drive in the last four years.

The Minister affirmed that the government was committed to seeing the cases of corruption to a logical conclusion.

He stated, “Our fight against corruption is total, comprehensive and dispassionate, devoid of any political or any sentiment or inclination.

“One of the multiple institutions involved in the fight against corruption, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was able to from 2015 to September 2019 convict 1,636 persons involved in corruption-related offences.”

“It might interest you to note that former state governors and even serving senators are not spared.

“Currently, high-profile personalities including judicial officers and former governors indicated for corruption have been prosecuted and sentenced to jail,” Malami added.

Minimum Wage: IGR To Drive States’ Payment, Says NGF

File Photo

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum says payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments will be determined by each state based on their Internal Generated Revenue.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Fayemi Kayode, gave an assurance that governors are ready to comply with the 30,000 minimum wage as agreed by the tripartite negotiation committee.

He, however, explained that they cannot be forced to comply with the consequential adjustment.

According to him, payment will be determined majorly by the Internally Generated Revenue of each state and the number of civil servants on their payroll.

This formed part of the deliberations when the governor’s met at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja on Monday.

The development comes just days after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) ordered that payments of the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments, must be completed by the 31st of December, 2019.

Read Also: FEC Sets Deadline For Payment Of New Minimum Wage Arrears

Others in attendance included Governors of Sokoto, Imo, Anambra, Ondo, Adamawa, Oyo, Osun, Cross River states, and some deputy governors.

Details later…

Nigeria Governors’ Forum Meets In Abuja

File Photo

 

The Nigeria Governors Forum is about to commence its meeting.

The meeting is expected to hold at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, and the forum is expected to be briefed on the updates from meetings with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among other things.

Already, Governors of Imo, Anambra, Ondo, Adamawa, Oyo, Osun, Cross River, and some deputy governors have arrived at the venue.

Details later.

Buhari, Three Governors, Others Arrive In Russia

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Russia for a three-day inaugural Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum, which will focus on peace, security, and development.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed in a statement that the President’s plane touched the tarmac of the Sochi International Airport at 11.25pm on Monday.

He added that President Buhari was received by the Mayor of the City of Sochi, Anatoliy Nikolayevich Pakhomov, and other state officials.

READ ALSO: Police Promote Senior Officers, Retire Two DIGs

The Economic Forum and Summit will hold on Wednesday and Thursday with four plenary sessions that will be attended by over 30 African Heads of State and governments.

According to Shehu, these leaders have confirmed participation, including the Chairman of the African Union and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

 

The summit will be co-chaired by President Vladimir Putin, who will present a keynote address at the opening on Wednesday, and the African Union Chairman.

The President’s spokesman said his principal and the Russian leader would meet at Nigeria and Russian bilateral meeting on Wednesday, while President Buhari would make a statement at the summit on Thursday.

Other participants at the summit that will showcase Russian interest and investment potential in Africa include businessmen, experts, investors, leaders of major sub-regional associations and organisations.

An African Business Forum, which will bring together African and Russian business leaders, will be held during the event to enhance Russian investments in Africa, and promote African business interest in the host country.

 

About 250 Nigerian business interests will be participating in the forum.

Shehu said, “It is important that this meeting is taking place at this time. All the big economies are picking a stronger interest in Africa.

“We now have US-Africa Summit, India-Africa Summit, China-Africa Summit, and Japan-Africa Summit, so Russia has signified its interest for political, cultural and economic partnership.”

“Nigeria has had an excellent relationship with Russia over the years. We will not forget how the country assisted us in keeping Nigeria as one during the civil war when some of our traditional allies deserted us.

“They have also stood behind us in the fight against terrorism, Boko Haram and ISWA, and Russia has demonstrated its capacity in gas production, a resource which Nigeria has a huge potential of utilising,” he added.

 

The presidential aide said the summit would look into issues of sustainable energy, mines and steel, infrastructure development in Africa, nuclear energy and trade and investment.

On security, he said the meeting would come up with proposals for a security architecture that would be heavily driven by new technology.

President Buhari was accompanied by Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.

Ministers on the trip include Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs), Adeniyi Adebayo (Trade and Investment), Olamilekan Adegbite (Mines and Steel Development), and Timipre Sylva (Minister of State, Petroleum).

APC Governors, Others Pay Sallah Homage To Buhari In Daura

 

Members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum on Tuesday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at his residence in Katsina State.

The host governor, Aminu Masari, accompanied the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and other governors elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s platform to the President’s abode in his hometown of Daura.

Governor Masari received his colleagues in batches along with Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, at the Umar Musa Yar’Adua Airport.

READ ALSO: Nobody Can Succeed In Undermining Nigeria’s Territorial Integrity, Says NAF Boss

On their arrival, the governors paid Sallah homage to the President and prayed for good health and many more years of active service to the nation.

In his response, President Buhari thanked his guest for the visit after which they went into a closed-door session.

Among the visiting governors are Babajide Sanwoolu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).

Others who paid homage to the President are the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, and Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari.

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Isa Pantami, and acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

See photos below:

SERAP Sues CCB Over Presidents, Govs’ Privacy Of Assets Declaration

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit in the Federal High Court, Lagos against the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

In a statement issued on Sunday, SERAP said it was suing the CCB over its claim that it could not disclose details of asset declarations submitted to it by successive presidents and state governors since 1999 because doing so “would offend the right to privacy of presidents and state governors.”

According to the human rights group, the CCB had last week refused a Freedom of Information request by SERAP, stating that: “Asset declaration form is private information.”

But in the suit number FHC/L/CS/1019/2019 filed last Friday, SERAP argued: “Asset declarations of presidents and state governors submitted to the CCB are public documents. Public interest in disclosure of the details of asset declarations sought by SERAP clearly outweighs any claim of protection of the privacy of presidents and state governors, as they are public officers entrusted with the duty to manage public funds, among other public functions.”

According to the group, “A necessary implication of the rule of law is that a public institution like the CCB can only act in accordance with the law, as to do otherwise may enthrone arbitrariness. The CCB does not have reasonable grounds on which to deny SERAP’s FOI request, as it is in the interest of justice, the Nigerian public, transparency and accountability to publish details of asset declarations by presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999.”

SERAP also argued that: “Disclosing details of asset declarations of public officers such as presidents and state governors would improve public trust in the ability of the CCB to effectively discharge its mandate. This would, in turn, put pressure on public officers like presidents and state governors to make voluntary public declaration of their assets.”

The suit filed by SERAP’s counsel, Adelanke Aremo, read in part: “The right to receive information without any interference or distortion should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure, and a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions. It is a settled principle of law that details such as asset declarations of presidents and governors should be disclosed if there is an overriding public interest in having access to such information, which is clearly so in this matter.

“Democracy cannot flourish if governments operate in secrecy, no matter how much open discussion and debate is allowed. The very nature and quality of public discussion would be significantly impoverished without the nourishment of information from public authorities such as the CCB, and to guarantee freedom of expression without including the right to know would be a formal exercise.”

SERAP is, therefore, seeking the following reliefs:

An order granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondent to compile and make available to the Applicant information on specific details of asset declarations submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau by successive Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senate Presidents, Speakers of House of Representatives, State Governors and Deputy Governors from 1999 to 2019 and to publish widely including on a dedicated website, any such information.

An Order granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondent to compile and make available to the Applicant information on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by the Bureau and to publish widely including on a dedicated website, any such information.

An order granting leave to the Applicant to apply for Judicial Review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondent to immediately take cases of false asset declarations to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for effective prosecution of suspects, and include banning the politicians involved from holding public offices for at least a period of 10 years and seeking refund of stolen public funds as part of the reliefs to be sought before the Tribunal
and for further order or orders as this Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Updated: President Buhari Meets With Governors, Security Chiefs In Abuja

President Buhari Meets With Governors, Security Chiefs In Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held a security meeting with state governors and security chiefs.

The governors in attendance were those of Borno, Kaduna, and Adamawa states, Kashim Shettima, Nasir El-Rufai, and Bindo Jibrilla.

The meeting took place at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

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Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Governor El-Rufai said the death toll in the recent killing in Kaduna State has risen.

He said those denying the recent killings in the state were “grossly irresponsible,” stressing that new facts revealed that those killed were more than 100.

Governor El-Rufai added that the effort of relevant agencies in the state has yielded a positive result, as the security agencies have arrested more suspects linked to the killings.

 

On President Buhari’s order to deal with ballot box snatchers, he said only those who were planning to snatch boxes have reasons to worry.

Governor Shettima, on his part, told reporters that he was ready to pay the supreme price as the fight against terrorism in the north-east continues.

He also vowed to return to Gamboru Ngalla, where his convoy was attacked recently by a faction of the Boko Haram terrorists.

Members of the President’s cabinet at the meeting include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, as well as the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, and Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, among others.

Security chief in attendance were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe.

Also present were Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; Director General of Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Buchi, and some other security heads.

See photos below;

Nigerian Governors Forum Meeting Fails To Hold

 

A meeting of the Nigerian Governors Forum which was scheduled to hold today in Abuja has stalled because of the inability of the members to form a quorum.

Some of the governors had arrived at the NGF secretariat located in the Maitama area of the nation’s capital this evening for the meeting but had to leave shortly after.

Those present included the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, as well as his Jigawa, Adamawa, Niger and Bauchi States counterparts.

Others present were the Deputy Governors of Enugu and Kaduna States who were there to represent their principals.

NLC Warns Governors Against Refusal To Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage

NLC Warns Governors Against Refusal To Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage
NLC leadership holds a press briefing in Abuja (file)

 

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned state governors against their refusal to pay the proposed national minimum wage of N30,000.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning on Friday after attending a labour related function in Ado, the Ekiti State capital.

He insisted that there was no going back on the N30,000 as against the existing N18,000 new minimum wage for workers in the country.

Wabba told reporters in the state that state governors have no justification to decline to pay the wage, stressing that they were part of the decision-making process.

“Six of the governors representing each geopolitical zone were part of this decision-making process; the N30,000 was not a labour demand, it was even a compromise position,” the NLC president stressed.

According to him, any governor, under any political party, who declines to pay the proposed wage stands the risk of revolt through the ballot.

On how the proposed minimum wage can be achieved by the governors, Wabba said, “If we reduce the cost of governance, including the humongous security vote, the wage can be paid.”

He added, “Workers should be resolute; we have told workers, pensioners, and their dependents not to vote or support any governor who refuses to pay the minimum wage.”