Commissioner Faults Military Regime For Agency’s Hidden Identity

The Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission in Lagos, Funso Olukoga, has blamed the military regime for the citizens’ ignorance regarding the existence of the agency.

The Commissioner, during an exclusive interview on Question Time, agreed that many Nigerians are not aware of the ombudsman’s operations in the different states of the federation.

He blamed the military regime for this, adding that “it was difficult to really operate under the military system and criticise the system,” although that is the commission’s mandate.

He also said that many Nigerians are not aware of the existence of the PCC, stating that the body was not ‘fully constituted’ until 2012.

The Public Complaints Commission (PCC) was established in 1975 to promote social justice, receive complaints against government, its agencies and officials from general public and investigate against all governments, including the highest authority.

Mr Olukoga disclosed that 37 commissioners were appointed in May 2012 to revitalize the agency.

“There has been some appreciable impact, “he said.

Current Rains Will Not Lead To Flooding – NIMET

The Director General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Anthony Anuforom has said that the current rainfall and wind pattern does not suggest flooding as predicted in the 2013 seasonal rainfall prediction released by the agency in February.

The agency had predicted that rainfall pattern in most parts of Nigeria was likely to be similar to that of 2012.

Speaking at a news confrence in Abuja, Mr Anuforom gave updates on the 2013 rainfall pattern, allaying fears that the country will again experience loss of lives and property.

He advised members of the public living in coastal states to take necessary precautionary measures that will prevent the likelihood of flooding.

He added that the agency will continue to monitor and provide regular updates as the weather conditions evolve adding that the north eastern states of Yobe and Adamawa may experience strong dryness due to very high temperatures usually recorded in the area between March and April.

Resign Or Be Recalled, PDP To Remi Tinubu

The Lagos State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked that Senator Oluremi Tinubu be recalled owning to her comments to the opposition members of the Senate, who she said are playing with the lives of the Nigerian people.

The senator had on Saturday asserted this view during a meeting with journalists where she gave a report of her stay in the Senate and denounced rumours that she is interested in the Governorship of the State in 2015.

Mrs Tinubu, currently representing Lagos State in the Senate, accused lawmakers belonging to the People’s Democratic Party of sidelining bills proposed by the opposition.

In a counter response, the Lagos state PDP, in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani, described her comments as “the long awaited evidence needed to commence the recall of the confused Senator”.

The statement further called on “registered voters in the Lagos central Senatorial district to immediately commence the recall process of the Senator without further delay”.

The party accused Senator Tinubu of performing below expectation on the floor of the Senate adding that “she has indeed not initiated any successful bill to justify her membership of the senate”.

The party regards as dishonourable her chastisements on senators not going home to their people because “they are so comfortable in Abuja”.

“She has also misapplied the privilege of being the senator representing the most strategic senatorial district in the state, even though she is non-Lagosian.”

The party has now asked the Senator to “resign honourably or face imminent recall”.

Police Rescues 72 Year Old Victim From Kidnappers

The Imo state police command has rescued a 72 year old man, Mr Emmanuel Ujagba who was kidnapped by unknown gun men suspected to be kidnappers in Umuebele Okporo in Orlu Local government.

While parading the bodies of the suspected kidnappers at the Command headquarters in Owerri the Imo state capital, the Deputy Public Relations Officer Mr Elvis Abanga said that Mr Ujagba had been forcefully taken from his home.

He said when the incident was reported, the ambush squad of the command immediately went into action and in the process of rescuing the old man alive, the Police went into a gun battle with the kidnappers.

Three members of the gang were gunned down while one of them escaped with a serious bullet wound.

He added that items recovered from the hoodlums included two Ak 47 rifles, one single barrel gun cut to size with 2 live cartridges and ammunition which had been used.

He cautioned members of the public to be more vigilant and remain calm as the Imo state Police command under the leadership of Commissioner of Police Mohammed Katsina is determined more than ever to combat crime and every other criminal related activity in the state.

State Of Emergency Is Illegal, Lawyer Argues

A legal practitioner, Jiti Ogunye, has said that the State of Emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan is unconstitutional, stating that due process was not adhered to.

“The President has not declared a state of emergency… and cannot declare a state of emergency.” He said.

Recently, President Jonathan declared a State of Emergency in three northern states of the federation: Adamawa, Yobe and Borno; exercising his powers as enshrined in Section 305 Subsection 1 of the Nigerian Constitution.

“However, Mr Ogunye said in an interview on Sunrise that “the President acting under Section 305 (that he evoked) can only issue by an instrument, a ‘proclamation’ of a state of Emergency.”

He said that a declaration of a state of emergency takes a process which starts with a proclamation and publication in an official gazette of the Federal Government.

The second stage would be a transmission of a gazette to the legislative arm of government for consideration and approval which can be secured by majority vote.

Thereafter, a declaration of a state of emergency is made, after all these steps have been taken.

He said the President’s telecast speech was only an announcement.

“A procedure must be followed before you can have a State of Emergency, under constitutional law” He said.

He also said that although “we may be under severe pressure… to get quick solutions…the due process of law must be followed to the letter.”

Kogi Allocates 15,000 Hectares To South African Investors

The Kogi State governor, Idris Wada on Thursday said revealed that his administration has allocated 15,000 hectares of land to South African investors who will be investing in the state’s agricultural sector.

The governor made the disclosure while briefing journalists shortly after returning from South Africa, where he participated in the World Economic Forum and presented a paper on the agricultural potential of the state.

Mr. Wada explained that the state is poised to tackle all challenges confronting its agricultural transformation agenda.

He also reacted to a story in a national daily stating that the state is not a good place to invest in, emphasising that Kogi State is one of the most peaceful states in the country today.

He accused the writers of seeking cheap political publicity, promising adequate security to all who are willing to invest in the state.

 

Obi Flags Off Multi-billion Naira Road Projects

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State on Monday flagged off the construction of two major roads – Ozubulu-Atani road and New Upper Iweka road – in Onitsha, which will cost his administration N5 billion and N350 million respectively.

At the ceremony, Govenor Obi said the reconstruction of the abandoned roads was of great importance to the people of the state because of their strategic link to several internal communities and to Enugu, Delta, and Imo States.

The Ozubulu-Atani road when completed is expected to ease the usual heavy traffic on the Onitsha-Owerri road for travelers to Owerri. It will also serve as a link from Ogbaru, Nnewi and other neighbouring communities to the new industrial hub springing up in Ozubulu.

Mr. Obi urged the people of the state to support his administration in his effort to bring infrastructural transformation to the state, by helping to preserve and maintain every infrastructure built.

Jonathan Deserves A Second Term – Kuku

The Special adviser to the president on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Committee, Kingsley Kuku has said that President Goodluck Jonathan deserves a second term if he so desires it.

The presidential aide disclosed this in an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

Mr Kuku, who was recently accused of committing treason for allegedly making a statement implying that there would be chaos in the Niger Delta should the president fail to secure to second term come 2015.

While speaking on the programme, Mr Kuku denied making such statements and added that he is a strong believer of the Jonathan led administration.

“The president has done so well because I am one of the few Nigerians who believe very strongly that this president has done so well… though well underreported under-publisied by the Nigerian media.”

He accused the opposition of making him appear not doing well. He also added that Jonathan’s achievements are underreported by the Nigerian media

He stated that “the common Nigerian who are (sic) the mass do believe that this president has done so well” and that the populace would be the ones to debate and decide who they want as president when the time comes.

President Goodluck Jonathan deserves a second term if “he so desires to have” it and “if makes himself available.” He said.

President Goodluck Jonathan has said in recent times that he is yet to decide what he will do in 2015 as he is busy with accomplishing what he set out to do in his current term.

SERAP Urges ICC To Investigate Baga Carnage

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to begin its own investigations into the killing of civilians in the northern region of Baga, Borno state.

The Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni who made this known in a press statement released to Channels Television disclosed that the organisation had “sent an urgent request to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, urging her to facilitate the visit of the court to the troubled region.

Many conflicting reports have emerged concerning the actual events of the face-off between members of the Joint Task Force and the Boko Haram insurgency which led to the loss of lives and properties.

SERAP has now called for a “visit of the court to Baga in Borno State of Nigeria and other parts of the country in order for the court to assess the situation, interview important witnesses and collect vital evidence that can be used to bring suspected perpetrators to justice for international crimes.”

In the statement disclosed that a request dated 3 May 2013 and signed by Solicitor to SERAP Femi Falana, SAN, the organisation expressed concerns over the matter and warned that suspected perpetrators may escape justice if action isn’t taken immediately. “Unless the ICC urgently visit Baga and other parts of the country to assess the situation, interview witnesses and obtain vital evidence suspected perpetrators may escape justice.” SERAP stated.

The organisation further described the criminal justice system in Nigeria as ‘weak’ and added that conflicting reports submitted by Government instituted panels will lead nowhere except the court intervenes.

“Further, while the National Human Rights Commission is currently probing the alleged violations of international law in Baga, we remain concerned that given the antecedents of successive governments to ignore reports and recommendations of national agencies and institutions in situations like this, we are convinced that intervention by the ICC will significantly complement the probe by the commission, as it will bring international pressure to bear on the government to honour any recommendations that might come out of the commission’s findings.” The statement read.

Press Freedom: We Don’t Have A Democratic Govt – Journalist

The Chairman Editorial Board, Vanguard Newspapers, Ikeddy Isiguzo on Friday said that Nigeria does not have a democratic government.

He made this known  while lamenting the many challenges journalists face, carrying out their duties.

Isiguzo made the statement, speaking about journalism in Nigeria in relation to the 20th World Press Freedom Day, on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He stated that “the world press day comes and goes in Nigeria because we think it is just a ceremony,” and opined that it should be a day of ‘sober reflections’.

In his opinion, Nigerian journalists should meditate on society’s willingness to use the media and the broad opportunities they provide for development instead of just looking for headlines.

Speaking about a report by Committee for the Protection of Journalist in which Nigeria, which mentioned Nigeria as one of the  countries where journalists are routinely murdered without their attackers being convicted.

Isiguzo stated that Nigerians have been deceived into thinking there would be press freedom under a democratic government. He implied that the current system of governance is no different from military rule.

“If we have democratic government there will be more robust debates in the media so it’s not a surprise we are on the list.” He said.

He added that the delay in passing the Freedom Of Information Bill into law is indicative of the government’s attitude towards fighting corruption.

Niger Delta Security Is My Priority – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the current security situation in the Niger Delta region is a top priority of his administration as they are working to deepen the foundations of durable and mutually beneficial peace.

President Jonathan who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo made this known at the Inauguration of the National Council on Niger Delta, held at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital.

The Vice President was present at the Stakeholders’ first National Council on Niger Delta which was organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Pertinent issues bothering on the security and development challenges facing the Niger Delta were discussed at the event which was attended by experts, technocrats, traditional rulers, the Civil Society.

Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state and his Delta state counterpart, Emmanuel Uduaghan as well as the Secretary to the Cross River State government, Mike Aniah were present at the ceremony.

Top on the deliberations was the consideration of implementation of the Niger Delta Action Plan, by the administration of President Jonathan, to compliment the specific commitments contained in the Amnesty Programme.

The president said he believes that the action plan will be of great relevance and will serve as a coherent programme for investments in the social and infrastructure sectors of the various communities of the region, thereby encouraging participation.

He went on to call for active support and collaboration of major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, development partners, states, communities and specialized interest groups partner the region for a new reinforced phase of effective development in the Niger Delta.

Speaking at the event, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio disclosed that, the people of the Niger Delta region have in the past being relegated to the background in terms of development in the midst of abundant human and natural resources.

He advocated for the non-inclusion of the Niger Delta Development Commission as a parastatal under the Ministry, noting that the region deserves an agency solely headed by its people.

Court Sentences Man To 45 Years Imprisonment For Stealing Governor’s Handset

A 31-year old ex-policeman, Kelvin Ighodalo has been sentenced to 45-year imprisonment by an Osogbo High Court for stealing a N50,000 Sony Ericsson phone belonging to Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

Mr Ighodalo had stolen the phone from the Governors pocket on November 27, 2010, when he was being inaugurated at Government Technical College, Osogbo.

Justice Oyejide Falola, who precided over the case, found the accused guilty on six counts, which included conspiracy, stealing and fraud.

Justice Falola thereafter sentenced Mr Ighodalo to 10-year imprisonment for the first three counts and five years for each of the last three which included impersonation, obtaining property by falsehood and collusion.

The Judge explained that the convict deserved the sentence and held that the convict used the phone to obtain N500, 000 from the Owa of Ilesa, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, while he obtained N200, 000 from Shengen Rahman, an associate of the governor.

Mr Ighodalo will run the jail term concurrently and so will only spend a total of 10 years in prison.

During the hearing, the assistant principal state counsel, Biodun Badiora, also disclosed that the convict had served six-year imprisonment in Ikoyi prison custody in connection with a murder case in 2005.