Ex-Nigerian Soldiers Who Fought Biafran War Lament Unpaid Pension

Rivers Security: Nigerian Army Dislodges Criminal GangsThirty-eight years after, retired Nigerian soldiers across the country who fought to protect ensure the unity of Nigeria are displeased with the non-payment of their pension by the Federal Government since then.

They lamented what they described as ill-luck which they said had befallen them for almost four decades.

The retired soldiers are embittered that while they who fought for the unity of the country still struggle 38 years after to collect their legitimate pension, their Biafran colleagues who waged war against the country then have been enjoying all their entitlements including their pension.

Subjected To Untold Hardship

The ex-soldiers under the leadership of their National Coordinator, Ex-sergeant Kasali Busari, said after series of screenings which had led to the death of many of their colleagues, the government had not paid any of them after verification of their documents and certifying them for payment since November 6, 2015.

According to them, instead of the country to treat them as heroes for the uncommon loyalty they displayed to make the country a united one,”it is rather unfortunate that we are subjected to untold hardship in our old age and our legitimate rights denied us”.

They said, while waiting endlessly for the unpaid pension, some of their colleagues had died when they could not get money to buy drugs prescribed for them to manage their fragile health.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Dan Alli (rtd), the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin and the AVM, Mohammed Dabo, Chairman, Military Pension Board for helping them to the level of verification and clearance for payment.

They pleaded with them to ensure that the soldiers, who spent less than 15 years in service, get their pension, as they have promised them.

Citing a March 31 1977 decree which qualified them for payment, Ex- Sergeant Busari requested that ”relevant stakeholders should come to our aid and wipe off our tears so the labour of our productive years to this country will not be in vain”.

Corruption Is Not Necessarily A Crime Against Humanity – Giwa Victor

corruption, crime, DSS
Giwa Victor

A National Coordinator, and Advocate for People’s Justice, Giwa Victor, says corruption in general, is not necessarily a crime against humanity.

This is in response to the conference held by the Presidential Council against corruption at the National assembly on October 18, where the Vice President lamented the state of corruption in Nigeria, describing it generally as “a crime against humanity”.

With the issue of corruption still taking centre stage, and the recent raid on judges, arguments are still ongoing as to the legality or otherwise of the actions of the DSS and ways to tackle the corruption menace.

Mr Giwa while explaining further said corruption for corruption to be described as a crime against humanity, there has to be specifically identified crime.

“In some quarters, because of the effect on the entire system of certain nations, some people tend to elevate corruption as a crime against humanity.

However, when considering poor roads, poor health care systems as well as standards of living, he says those issues have direct effects on the people and in such cases, corruption can be seen as a crime against humanity.

A Former Director of the Kenyan Anti-corruption Commission, Professor P.L.O Lumumba, said many African countries would have realized much economic growth but such growth has been stunted as a result of corruption.

He said this while giving his key note address also at the conference and recommended sanctions to deter corrupt persons.

Looking at the raid on Judges, Mr Giwa said contrary to the idea that the DSS came to protect them, their actions came to him as a shock.

Not only was the arrest a shock to him, but “the manner in which it was done, shows that they contemplated a strong resistance,” he added.

Giving insight on the duties of the DSS he opposed popular opinion that the DSS has superior power to make arrests.

Taking a look at the National Security Agency Act, he says according to section 2, the DSS ought to be performing duties as an intelligence gathering agency rather than violently taking action.

Buhari Appoints New Heads For 13 FG Agencies

Muhammadu-Buhari-UNGeneral-AssemblyPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the appointments of Chief Executives for 13 Federal Government agencies.

A list of the new Chief Executives was contained in a statement by the Director of Press in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Bolaji Adebiyi.

The appointments are:

Joseph Ari, Director-General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

Dr. Isa Ibrahim, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Monitoring Board.

Aboloma Anthony, Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

Mamman Amadu, Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement.

Sharon Ikeazor, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

Princess Akodundo Gloria, National Coordinator, New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Mr Ahmed Bobboi, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalisation Fund.

Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority.

Sa’adiya Faruq, Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

Usman Abubakar, Chairman, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).

Dr. Bello Gusau, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary, National Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).

Government Urged To Embrace Data Democracy To End Corruption

Data-DemocracyNigeria cannot be successful in the fight against corruption until it democratises data and breaks the wall of secrecy that surrounds public finance.

This was one of the strong messages at ‘The Platform Abuja 2016’ held on Saturday.

It is a global media event that focuses on facilitating growth in Nigeria through personal capacities and productivity.

Poor Data Culture

According to the Co-founder of BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde, Nigeria’s poor data culture had made diversification of the economy an uphill task.

He stressed the need for a data revolution, pointing out that corruption would remain unless data were made available and accessible.

Resource persons at the event, one of whom was the Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, also harped on tapping overlooked resources to shift the nation’s economy away from reliance on crude oil revenue.

Over three thousand persons attended The Platform Abuja 2016

While some spoke on agriculture which they emphasised could be a perfect option to oil if well explored others stressed the need to explore digital technology that could give Nigerians the number of employment government was unable to provide in the time frame Nigerians required them.

Alibaba stressed the need for rich Nigerians to invest in the entertainment industry

Arts and entertainment is another sector that a Nigerian Comedian, Alibaba, said could bring billions of foreign exchange to Nigeria through tourism.

For over five hours, they brainstormed to encourage more than 3,000 youths present, to finally rise up to the task of empowering themselves while waiting for government to do their bit.

It is not the first time that the fall in oil price would be tagged an advantage for Nigeria’s economy but an agro-business expert, the National Coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Emmanuel Ijewere, asserted that a crop like cassava could give Nigeria biofuel, ethanol and oil, but expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that it had remained untapped because the nation depended so much on crude oil sales.

The issues highlighted at the forum serve as a call to action to the youths of Nigeria to look around them, find niches to fill and build business that would create jobs for majority of Nigerians until government is set to play its part.

Attempt To Prosecute Bukola Saraki Is Political – Ezeagu

Bukola SarakiA lawyer has described the attempt to prosecute the Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) as political.

The National Coordinator, Lawyers of Conscience, Benedict Ezeagu, made the observation on Monday while giving his opinion on Sunrise Daily.

“The attempt to prosecute or arraign Senator Saraki is a political one rather than a judicial prosecution. Not actually based on law when you look deep into the entire processes that were followed to bring him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal,” he said.

Mr Ezeagu noted that the court that is currently trying to prosecute the Senate President lacked the credibility and the moral basis to go ahead with the prosecution.

“The chairman of that Tribunal (Mr Danladi Umar) has a stinking corruption allegation hanging on his neck and he has been indicted by one of the institutions of the state,” he said, referring to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The legal practitioner explained that the chairman of the Tribunal needed to clear the purported allegation before he would have the moral basis to sit on judgement against anybody.

Ezeagu also confirmed that Umar had been investigated and found wanting by the EFCC, insisting that the “EFCC was directed by the former Attorney General to commence his prosecution (and) I have the documents to that effect”.

Senator Saraki is facing charges of false declaration of assets while serving as Kwara State Governor before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

In the last ruling, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, fixed March 24 to rule on whether or not to quash the charge brought against the Senate President by the Federal Government.

Power Sector Investors To Set Up Customer Care Centres

The National Coordinator, Professionals and Business Groups of the People’s Democratic Party, Aroma Salifu, has said that the new investors in Nigeria’s power sector are expected to set up customer centres to address existing or arising issues following the official handover of the sector to private companies.

While speaking from our Abuja studio, on Sunrise Daily, Mr Salifu congratulated Nigerians and the Federal Government on the hand-over of the power sector to private companies through a credible and transparent process. He thanked Nigerians for their support, optimism, and for being hopeful about stable electricity.

“The process has been credible, has been transparent, has been fair and has been very competitive as being demonstrated in the last one year.”

On the outstanding payment of some PHCN workers, he stated that “the federal government has worked assiduously to ensure that all those who are entitled to being settled in the entire process are being settled as such.”

The remaining workers who are unpaid will be paid after the verification exercise is completed, he said.

The privitisation of the sector which took effect on the 1st of November has been touted as the solution to Nigeria’s power problem and stakeholders have expressed hopes that the country is closer to a new era of uninterrupted power supply.

However, Mr Salifu has stressed that the system needs to be overhauled as “there’s no way you will suddenly get stable electricity overnight.”

He added that there is a need for significant investment in the sector as the challenge cuts across the three aspects of generation, transmission and distribution.

“There is need for significant improvement and overhauling of the capacity to meet up with demands,” he said.

He disclosed that the World Bank is currently supporting the sector with about 1 billion dollars and there is a projection of FDI’s to the tune of 40 billion dollars.

These developments and investments are expected to translate into constant supply of electricity.

Although the country currently generates about 3500 MW, with its highest record of 4500 MW in 2012, Mr Salifu assured that the NIPP will supply an additional 10,000 MW while the off grid sources including wind, solar energy, coal, are expected to supply another 10000 MW.

However, the current projections only cover those who are already connected to power and not communities which are not yet connected.

The aggregate demand of power in Nigeria stands at 12000 MW.

He assured that the National Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) would ensure that the key players in the sector deliver what is expected to power consumers and “equally guarantee that consumers are not unfairly treated.”

“Since the private sector has taken over, it is a matter of time that generation is going to be improved upon significantly.”

Fashola Is Not Anti-Igbo

In light of the accusations made against the Fashola led Lagos government, of encouraging tribalism, a Public Affairs analyst, Cdon Adinuba, has said that Governor Babtunde Fashola is not ‘anti-Igbo’.

While discussing the controversial deportation of certain individuals to Anambra state on Channels Television’s Sunrise, Mr Adinuba said that the Fashola’s administration’s aim to turn Lagos into a mega city is paving way for “a new social order” which means taking a lot of people away from the streets. “This initiative has been on for 6 years,” he said.

Following the many criticisms against the Lagos government for ‘deporting’ some citizens of the country to Anambra state, Mr Adinuba said it is untrue that Governor Fashola is unfriendly to Igbos in the metropolis.

Citing cases such as the state assistance of N4.5million given to actress, Ngozi Nwosu, who needed financial assistance for her failing health, Mr Adinuba added that the Lagos governor cares about the Igbo tribe.

He discarded rumours of bad blood between the two state governors. “He’s a personal friend and we are very proud of him”. He added that he had in his possession, 5 letters of correspondence, between the Lagos and Anambra governments.

He blamed subordinates who may not have carried out their assignments appropriately.

A legal practitioner, Emeka Okpoko confirmed that the Anambra governor is not attacking Governor Fashola, but also respects him.

However, he said Governor Obi was not speaking solely for Anambra indigenes, but for every citizen.

We confirmed that there were indeed correspondences between the two governments but insisted that Lagos state did not conduct the proceedings properly.

“Government business is not done by 3am,” he said.

He also described the act as unconstitutional and illegal.

Also speaking during the breakfast programme, the National Coordinator, Alliance for Positive Reform, Oscar Onwundiwe, said that the Lagos government has done something wrong but Governor Fashola is not happy about the bad publicity.

Court Fixes Hearing On Asset Declaration Case

The National Coordinator of the Legal Defence And Assistance Project (LEDAP), Chino Obiagwu has said that the hearing for the case filed by the organisation against the Code of Conduct Bureau has been fixed for April 4 2013 by the Federal High Court Abuja.

LEDAP had filed a suit in July 2012 against the Code of Conduct Bureau demanding copies of the asset declarations of all federal ministers, state governors, the President and Vice President.

LEDAP had filed the suit to enforce its request to the bureau under the Freedom of Information Act.

However, the bureau claimed in its response that the Freedom of Information Act exempted it from disclosing declaration of assets of public officials because the asset declaration forms contain personal information about the assets of the officials and of their spouses and unmarried children.

In a letter signed by the Chairman of the bureau to LEDAP in July 2012, the agency said that it would not allow the public to know about the personal information of public officials because it has been exempted under sections 13(1)(v) and 15(1)(ii) of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Code of Conduct Bureau in the letter stated that “we note that Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act, as a general principle, guarantees the right of any person to access or request for information whether or in written form, which is in custody of Code of Conduct Bureau or indeed any public agency.  However, by Section 13(1)(v) of the Act, the Code of Conduct Bureau has power to decline your request as it will constitute an invasion of the personal privacy of the honourable ministers under section 15 of the Act. The asset declaration forms contain personal information about them and their properties, assets and liabilities and those of their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 18 and consequently comes under the exemption
under Section 13(1)(v) and 15(1)(ii) of the Act.”

In a statement released to Channels Television, LEDAP’s lawyer, Chino Obiagwu says that the claim by the bureau is not correct under the law. The information that the Bureau says are exempted under the FOI Act are the main target of the asset declaration law.

According to Mr Obiagwu, “the purpose of assets declaration laws is to enable the public and citizens know the worth of its public officials and their close relations so as to monitor how they acquire assets while in office and whether or not public funds are used for such acquisitions. This purpose cannot be achieved if the declarations are not accessible to the public. There is nothing private about the assets declaration. Any person who assumes public office must be ready to face public scrutiny”

LEDAP has now called on the judiciary to decide once and for all on the right of citizens to know the assets of their elected leaders and their spouse in order to monitor and report unlawful acquisitions. There is no way we can tackle corruption in this country if the civil society and indeed the citizens cannot have access to information on assets declared by the public officials and their dependants who they can use for unlawful acquisition of assets from misappropriated public fund”.