You Cannot Legislate A National Conversation – Legal Practitioner

A Legal practitioner, Ismail Ahmed, has said that he does not think the National Conference, as proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan, should hold as it is not possible to legislate a conversation which has been on-going for many years, in public places.

“I don’t think we should have it,” Ahmed said. “Personally, I think this government has made a reputation out of creating unnecessary committees. About 70 committees so far in the last 3 years and nothing has come out of it.”

Ahmed, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, was of the opinion that a conversation which Nigerians have had in their homes and schools for many years cannot be made into law.

He raised doubts that the Goodluck Jonathan Confab would make any difference from the last Conference initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Echoing the opinion of a public affairs analyst, Mr Bola Bakare, who was on Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Mr Ahmed stressed that the Conference timing was inappropriate. He said that it was too close to the 2015 elections.

The legal practitioner posited that President Jonathan should have added the idea as part of his transformation agenda in 2011.

The time at which the initiative is coming to reality is wrong, he stressed.

Although many have criticised President Jonathan’s clause which mandates that recommendations from the National Conference would be verified by the National Assembly, Mr Ahmed opined that it is reasonable since “we are running a constitutional democracy”.

“The President cannot do as he pleases, even though most times, he does, but in this case he can’t. So, it would still have to go back to the National Assembly.”

He supported the argument raised by Mr Bakare that the time given to the advisory committee to present a report to the president is too short.

He said it would be better if the committee would begin work after the 2015 elections with a new government in place.

Tamubuwal, Northern Christians Link Youth Restiveness To Frustration, Bad Leadership

The  Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 northern states and Abuja  warned  on Monday that the  region cannot achieve any meaningful progress or  determine the  fate of the presidency in 2015 when  it is still divided along ethnic and religious lines.

The group also called on politicians from the region to learn how to respect those in leadership positions and to stop over heating the polity with their personal political ambitions; pointing out that such leaders were elevated into such positions by God which they don’t have the power to question.

Delivering an address at a two day annual conference organised by the youth wing of the religious body in the region, Secretary General of the Christian body in the north, Professor Daniel Babaye decried the high rate of killing and other social vices in the region, which he attributed to tribal and religious intolerance as well as bad leadership.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal who was represented by his special adviser on legal matters, Mr Chille Igbawua stressed the need by the government, society and the youths to address the issue of violence, pointing out that the series of violence and youth restiveness in the country are as a result of unemployment and frustration.

Participants at the conference themed “building trust, tolerance and understanding among divide towards peaceful co-existence and political awareness in northern Nigeria for sustainable growth and development” agreed that for the region to overcome the current security and economic challenges, those in leadership positions must come to terms with the issues on ground and initiate practicable programmes that are geared towards providing a peaceful environment  for the people, and most importantly, provide jobs and improve the welfare of the people.


Impunity Of PDP Is Catching Up With It – Omatseye

The The Chairman of the editorial board of the Nation newspapers, Sam Omatseye has said that the raging crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is nothing short of a taste of its own medicine and the disputes among members is the rewards for the party’s impunity and disregard for the law.

He said this this on Monday, while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily.

Despite the fact that members of the Tukur led PDP have denied the existence of a crisis or another faction led by Abubakar Baraje, Mr Omatseye said “it is very clear that PDP is not at peace” and that the former are only holding on to “a construction of denial”.

He went further to describe last night’s PDP post-convention dinner hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan as “a party after a funeral”.

“You are trying to say that nobody died, you are drinking but inside of you, you are weeping,” he said, concluding that the whole thing was “a charade.”

He stated that there wouldn’t have been any need to go to court if the situation was a family matter and not the crisis it is.

Although the party has been experiencing varying levels of discord, Mr Omatse faulted the party’s approach to solving issues, which he described as “foul logic,” is catching up with it.

“The impunity of the PDP is catching up with it” he said recalling the issue of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), where they said 16 votes was more than 19, he questioned “why are they now worried that 7 members are getting away.”

He mentioned that a court case would serve no purpose because “PDP has never respected the law”. “It is about power,” he said.

Aliyu Says PDP Crisis Will Affect Nation If Not Resolved

Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has warned that the crisis rocking the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has assumed a dangerous dimension that should be resolved, urgently.

Speaking at a meeting with the members of the state chapter of the party, Governor Aliyu argued that the challenges confronting the ruling party would not only affect it, but the nation as well.

He recalled some of the political developments and the crisis that engulfed the party’s special National Convention which resulted in seven governors including himself, walking out of the venue to form a faction of the party.

“Politics, like I always say is about negotiation, is about sincerity, is about truth

Unfortunately for us, politics in this part of the world is seen like people who (pause) is like lies and insincerity

“No, people must be able to back up whatever they have said, either in public or in secret, in private, they must be able to come out and say to the people, this is it

“Whatever it is we are doing, we are doing on behalf our people, and we must take their pulse to appreciate what is happening at a given time. So for me I see solution in sight because when people gather to look at the problems on the ground and to say this is the way to solve it, I believe in ‘give and take’ position, which should be the one to be taken”.

He faulted the situation where persons at the helms of affairs intimidate and force their personal opinions on the people without giving room for dialogue and negotiation.

70% Of Nigeria’s Farm Produce Rots In Transit

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Aviation Matters, Ann Ene-Etta, has outlined the means by which the government is trying to ensure the successful exportation of farm produce through the aviation sector and the Nigerian Fresh Produce Transformation Programme, which would bring an end to the huge wastage experienced in the food sector.

Ene-Etta made this known during an interview on Sunrise Daily at the on-going 19th Nigerian Economic Summit which focuses on the agricultural sector.

She disclosed that 70% of farms produce in the country rot before it reaches the consumers, a trend she assured government is working to tackle via the Nigerian Fresh Produce Transformation Programme because “the essence of it, is for us to ensure that we put the processing facilities in place” as well as the storage, refrigeration facilities “which will assist the farmer to preserve produce that is rotting away”.

The Nigerian Fresh Produce Transformation Programme, an initiative of President Jonathan which was launched in May 2013, is managed by an inter-ministerial committee made up of the ministry of agriculture, water resources, national planning and finance,and it is headed by the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.

The programme aims to provide food security, facilitate the exportation of farm produce and create jobs.

The National Orientation Agency was tasked to ensure that farmers are aware of the programme as the ‘tempting’ offer would encourage the farmers to ensure that their produce meet the required specifications and standards for exportation.

The programme also seeks to cause a great reduction in the percentage of post-harvest produce which does not have self-sustainance.

The programme will help local farmers increase their production; she said, and it will also help improve the rural areas, create more jobs and increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The aviation sector comes to play as there are 14 perishable cargo terminals all over the country, which farm produce collectors can use in transporting the goods to other states or countries.

This process, she said, would breed more ambition in the market and attract more investors into the sector.

Nwagu Calls On Taraba Citizens To Break ‘Lock Jam’

The Convener of the Say No Campaign Nigeria, Eze Nwagu, has called on the people of Taraba state to break the ‘lock jam’ in the state by demanding that the governor make an official appearance.

He said this while responding to statement made by the Taraba state Commissioner for Information, Mr Emmanuel Bello adding that he was wrong to say that “the governor returned,” but rather he should have said that “the governor was brought back”.

He also said his claim that the governor was received by a ‘tumultuous crowd’ is false as no media reported such.

In order to put an end to speculations about his health, the governor should have admitted his frail condition by addressing the people and thereafter ask for more time to fully recover.

“That has not happened,” he said adding that “all this drama is something we have gone through”. He described it as an act of “holding on to legalistic ties as something that we do when it is convenient. Remember in 2010, we played it until we invented doctrine of necessity”.

“This drama is unhelpful not just for the people of Taraba state, those are part of the things that make us the laughing stock in the comity of nations,” Mr Nwagu said.

He advised the governor to continue resting until he is fit to resume duty and let the acting governor continue in his stead.

He said that the health condition of serving government officers should not be “shrouded in opaqueness” and then called on the people “to break the lock-jam in the state”.

Mystery Shrouds Death Of Teenage Factory Worker

The death of a 17 year old girl, Jennifer Onyeche, who died on the July 24th 2013 while working at a Juice manufacturing company in Ketu area of Lagos, has raised several questions, including the actual cause of her death.

The secondary school leaver, Jennifer, was reported to have died of electrocution but a doctor’s report states that the cause of death is asphyxiation.

Asphyxiation is a condition of severely deficient supply of oxygento the bodythat arises from being unable to breathenormally.

Jennifer’s mother, Dorcas Onyeche, said four of her daughter’s co-workers visited her at 11pm to announce that she (Jennifer) got electrocuted and is dead.

Her father, Friday Onyeche, told Channels Television that he had been refused the right to see his late daughter’s corpse many days after her death.

However, there seems to be a conspiracy of silence as the police did not let the girl’s parents to see the autopsy report, but scribbled the cause of death on a piece of paper.

Dr. Femi Adewale of Fineday Hospital, Ketu confirmed that Jennifer was rushed to his hospital but was dead on arrival.

He explained that asphyxia and electrocution are two causes of death that have nothing in common.

An administrative staff of the company where Jennifer worked, a fruit juice manufacturing company located a No.9 Adisa Akintoye street, Ketu, divulged no information about the incident.

The state Criminal Investigation Department is currently handling the case.

ASUU Strike: Education Minister Has Not Helped Matters

A public affairs analyst, Chima Nnaji, has said that the Minister of Education, Ruqayat Rufai is not helping the on-going industrial strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and accused of treating the situation in an off-handed manner.

“The Minister of Education has not being helping matters” by “talking glibly.” This, he said, is a very cheap way of looking at a very serious problem.

He said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

The strike action embarked upon by the union is currently in 6th week, however, students may have to wait some more before an agreement is reached between the body and the Federal Government.

Mr Nnaji said “it appears it’s still a long wait” but added that the strike may be called off “anything from next week Tuesday, if it is possible.”

He accused President Goodluck Jonathan and government officials of paying little or no attention to the problems of the education sector and focusing attention on 2015. It is very unfortunate thing because “education is the most primary thing government should provide.”

“The ministers, governors, president, all the people in government are geared towards 2015.”

First, government must accept responsibility because “an agreement is an agreement” and must be respected.

The ASUU strike is happening at a time where there is proliferation of federal universities but “if you do not prepare the child of today for tomorrow, there is no future for this country.”

He addressed the issue of unqualified lecturers and called them to examine themselves. “How many of them are good enough to teach. What is the content of their teaching?”

JTF Imposes 24 Hour Curfew In Potiskum

Barely two days to the Muslim ed-el –ftr Sallah celebration, the Military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe state has imposed a 24-hour curfew in the troubled commercial town of the state.

A statement made available to journalists by the JTF spokesman, Captain Eli Lazarus said the curfew commences from 5th of August 2013 and enjoined residents to remain calm and cooperate with security agencies by remaining indoors until the curfew is lifted.

“The Joint Task Force announces the imposition of 24 hour curfew in Potiskum commencing from today (6th) August 2013

“Residents of Potiskum town are enjoined to remain calm and cooperate with security agencies until the curfew is lifted”

It will be recalled that Yobe state has long being under a dusk to dawn curfew as a strategy to curb the activities of the insurgents and the time got reviewed between the hours of 10:00PM to 6:00 AM daily just a week ago.

Potiskum has over the years remained one of the flash points of the radical Islamists, Boko Haram, since the commencement of the insurgency.

Early this year, the entire state had remained under 24 hour curfew for three days as a measure to trap the sect in their hideouts with the aim of recovering arms and ammunition, a style that has always caused clash between the sect members and security forces.

Military troops were sighted in their hundreds along Maiduguri-Damaturu-Potiskum road hours before the announcement of the curfew was made.

SSS Parades Suspected Kidnappers Of Rhodes-Vivour’s Wife, Daughter

Three suspected members of a gang that kidnapped the wife, daughter and driver of a Justice of the Supreme Court, Bode Rhodes-Vivour, were on Tuesday paraded by the State Security Service (SSS), alongside other suspected criminals.

The suspected kidnappers had in May, this year, kidnapped the two women and the driver in Edo state.

Parading the suspects before the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole in Benin, the state capital, the state director of the SSS, Bello Bakori, said the suspects had confessed to the crime and that three members of the kidnappers of the judge’s wife are still at large.

He added that Mrs Rhodes-Vivour and her daughter had been kept in a house in Upper Sakpoba area of Benin City from where the suspects were arrested.

Justice Rhodes-Vivour’s family was held captive for 18 days by their captors.

Nigeria’s Budgeting Process Is ‘Guess Work’ – Financial Analyst

A Financial Analyst, Bandele Olusegun on Thursday faulted the entire budgeting procedure  in Nigeria, referring to it as ‘guess work’ because the government does not apply analytics when planning the budget.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Olusegun supported the National Assembly in its stance against the executive arm of government regarding the current state of the 2013 National Budget, which is yet to be passed.

“If the 2013 was properly done, there wouldn’t have been any need to amendment” he said, adding that “the National Assembly is doing its job.”

Mr Olusegun called on the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to change the process of budgeting in the country. “A budget drawn up without data is not a budget, it’s a guess work”.

Nigeria is currently using cash based accounting system which he says allows for lapses in ensuring the completion of budgets.

He alleged that cash based accounting system allows for holes in the country’s accounts which in turn affects the budget. He said this is why there is ‘so much fraud’ in the budgeting process.

He suggested that the country adopts the accrual system which is the trend worldwide.

The budget was submitted in October 2012.

School Admission: Don’t Sacrifice Merit For Zoning, Lawmaker Cautions Educatnion Ministry

The Deputy Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee, House of Representatives, Victor Ogene on Monday urged the Federal Government not to “sacrifice merit on a platter of zoning,” referring to the National Common Entrance cut off marks published by the Ministry of Education.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ogene said that matter is of “urgent public importance” and during the 3rd session of the House of Representatives, a motion was passed to check the situation.

Mr Ogene, who spoke on behalf of Anambra state and the South East, expressed his objection to the fact that students from his state are required to score 139 marks on merit while “some others are made to score just 2 and 4 marks for the same examination”.

This, he said, runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution in chapter 42(1) – “No Nigerian shall be discriminated against on the basis of community, ethnicity, religion, tribe, gender”.

“We should not sacrifice merit on a platter of zoning,” he said.

The House of Representatives has passed a motion mandating its committee on education to interface with the National Examinations Council and the Federal Ministry of Education”

The committee is expected to send its report on Tuesday, 2nd July.

Merit Quotient

Mr Ogene also said many members of the house would like to raise the merit quotient to ‘about 50 or 60percent”.

He attributed the issue to “failure of governance at different levels” and accused several governments of concentrating on building more schools instead of focusing on the quality of education.