Governors Back Continuous Use Of AstraZeneca Vaccine, Ask Nigerians To Remain Calm

A screenshot taken on March 17, 2021 shows members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at a virtual meeting. Photo: [email protected]

 

Members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have supported the continued rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine across the country.

They insisted that the vaccine was safe for use, stressing that no side effects had been reported by those who have so far received the jabs in Nigeria.

Concerns about the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which had been suspended in some countries, formed part of the discussions at the meeting of the NGF held on Wednesday.

The meeting which was presided over by the NFG Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, received a brief on the status of the vaccine roll out from its COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (CTAG) led by renowned virologist, Professor Oyewale Tomori.

In its briefing, CTAG recommended that Nigeria should continue to vaccinate all eligible persons with the AstraZeneca vaccine, in line with the latest recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The governors, in their response, reiterated their belief in the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine and agreed to continuously encourage uptake of the vaccines by all eligible persons in their states.

They, however, called on the people to report any adverse events noticed after taking the vaccine jabs.

READ ALSO: FBI Received 443 Internet Crime Complaints From Nigeria In 2020 – Report

In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP
In this file photo, a vial containing the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table. AFP

 

In his remarks, Governor Fayemi congratulated his colleagues for accepting to be vaccinated and declared that so far, the vaccines have not shown any signs of side effects as reported.

Away from the pandemic, he urged the governors to step up their support for the Forum of Governors’ Wives, who he said was driving the campaign against gender-based violence in the country.

The governors also deliberated on illicit drugs and related crimes and pledge their support for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) by providing logistics support among others, to enable the agency to deliver on its mandate.

Read the communique issued at the end of the NGF meeting below:

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly on the roll-out of the Covid19 vaccines and the attendant issues that have arisen since the rollout.

The chairman congratulated his colleagues for accepting to be vaccinated and declared that so far, the vaccines have not shown any signs of side-effects as is widely rumoured.

The Chairman also briefed his colleagues on the visit of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of States’ Universities, the activities of the governors’ spouses around Gender-Based Violence and the VAP Act, calling on his colleagues to step up to the plate in support of the activities of the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum nationwide and the progress made with the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) project.

After the briefing by the Chairman:

The Forum received a presentation from the British Deputy High Commissioner (DHC) in Lagos, Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, on the Accelerated C-19 Economic Support (ACES) programme which is aimed at supporting Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The current focus of the ACES programme in Nigeria is trade facilitation through e-customs and digital jobs booster to activate the digital economy and accelerate the creation of local tech jobs in the country.

Following the presentation, the Forum committed to supporting a Federal Government-led cross-agency trade facilitation as a critical objective of the e-customs programme coordinated through the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap.

Nigeria will be able to achieve the objectives of the e-customs programme (i.e. enhanced user experience, and approximately 10% growth in customs revenue to hit the US$176 billion revenue target) with a broader cross-agency scope of reform, including fulfilling its Word Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement.

Members also committed to encouraging digital infrastructure expansion, accelerator programmes, and investment promotion to facilitate job creation in highly potential digital areas such as IT and business processing outsourcing, digital media, e-commerce, start-up innovation and smart manufacturing based on the comparative advantage of each State.

In the light of this, state governments are encouraged to set up one-stop shops to accelerate approvals and harmonise fees for priority broadband infrastructure across the country.

Furthermore, the NGF Secretariat will partner with the British High Commission, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), as well as partners at the federal level on the workability of the ACES programme and the role of state governments to maximise its opportunities.

The Forum’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (CTAG) led by Professor Oyewale Tomori briefed members on the status of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out across the States including the increasing concerns of the public on the safety of AstraZeneca vaccines. CTAG recommended that Nigeria should continue to vaccinate all eligible persons with the AstraZeneca vaccine in line with the latest WHO recommendations as available evidence, including findings from research in which some CTAG members are involved showing that the Astra Zeneca vaccine is safe.

Governors reiterated their belief in the safety of the Astra Zeneca vaccines and commit to continuously encourage uptake of the vaccines by all eligible persons in their States, Governors also encourage the public to report any adverse events noticed following COVID-19 vaccination.

Following a briefing from the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Rtd. Gen. Muhammad Buba Marwa on Managing the Drug Crisis in the country, state governors committed to supporting the logistics and operational activities of NDLEA officials in their states, as well as programmes that will promote drug use prevention in the country.

Given the high correlation between drug use and insecurity in the country, the Forum will push for a greater role for NDLEA in Nigeria’s security fight especially as it relates to combating drug abuse and the illicit trafficking of drugs.

H.E Emmanuel A. Akabe Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State briefed the Forum on the inception activities of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) which was set up to accelerate economic growth and lift at least 100 million people out of poverty by 2030.

The PEAC has recommended the development of a poverty and growth strategy for the country focusing among others, on macroeconomic stabilisation, redistribution, structural transformation, and industrialisation.

The strategy will be overseen by the National Economic Council (NEC) through a Steering Committee which should include at least one governor from the six (6) geopolitical zones in the country.

On the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) PforR, the NGF Help Desk and SFTAS Programme Manager, Mr Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, reported that the Independent Verification Agency has begun preparatory activities for the validation of the 2020 SFTAS Annual Performance Assessment (APA).

He also presented highlights of upcoming technical assistance activities coordinated by the NGF Secretariat for states, including support on preparing Budget Implementation Reports in line with the National Chart of Accounts (NCoA); preparing a State Audit Law for the Offices of the State and Local Government Auditor-Generals; preparing State and Local Governments’ Audited Financial Statements for FY 2020; developing a Domestic Arrears Clearance Framework and Guide on the Online Publicly-Accessible Domestic Expenditure Arrears Database and the reconciliation of State Governments’ Outstanding Debt Obligations (Foreign and Domestic Debt) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Debt Management Office (DMO) and State Ministries of Finance.

The latest SFTAS results show that 28 States – (Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara State) achieved the disbursement linked indicator (DLI 12.1) to strengthen their procurement function for COVID-19 or emergency situations and facilitate the participation of SMEs in public procurement in the resilient recovery phase. These States will be eligible for SFTAS disbursements under the DLI.

Lastly, the Forum received a presentation on the 2018 audited accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER) led by its team lead, Mr Henry Adigun.

The Forum welcomed the fiduciary risk assessment of the corporation. The additional information will support the work of state governments in engaging with the Federal Government to improve the governance arrangement of the oil industry.

Governor Kayode Fayemi

Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

17th March 2021

Fayemi, Other Governors Visit Bello Over Kagara Abduction, NSTA Passengers

 

Six Governors of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have arrived Niger State to meet with Governor Abubakar Bello.

Chairman of the Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi is among those visiting the state.

Other members of the forum that have arrived are Governors Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto).

The reason for the visit is still sketchy, but it is not unconnected with the security challenges in Niger State, particularly the abduction of 41 persons from Government Science Secondary School Kagara and the release on Sunday of 53 passengers abducted from the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) bus.

READ ALSO: Buhari Receives Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, In Abuja

Governor Fayemi explained that their mission to Niger State was to commiserate with Governor Abubakar Bello over the abduction of the Kagara students and to commend him for the release of the 53 passengers.

Noting that the governors were not in the state to lament over the current national security, he said there is a need to come together as a people and leaders.

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi leads other governors to Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello on February 23, 2021 over the security situation.

 

He also called for synergy among security agencies to find lasting solutions to the problem, stressing that if it requires dialogue and negotiations, it can be explored.

The NGF Chairman insisted there is no regionalization of the security issues or ethnic inclination, explaining that Nigeria can no longer play the ostrich and pretend about the issues.

He reassured his Niger counterpart that this difficult period will be over, saying all the governors in the country must put their heads together to solve the problem, which according to him cannot be fought in isolation.

According to him, the bandits terrorising the north are remnants of Boko Haram who have infiltrated into other parts of the country.

While attributing the security challenges in the country to factors such as poverty, illiteracy among others, Fayemi called for an adequate solution to the crisis in the North East.

On his part, Governor Bello lamented the break down in law and order in the country, stating that it portends a great threat to the future of the country as the future generation may be deprived of quality education due to insecurity

The governor also criticised the centralisation of security agencies at the federal level, which according to him needed to be addressed going forward.

He expressed hope that the lamentations of the residents of Niger and indeed other states will be attended to immediately.

The Niger leader noted that there are two phases of dialogue his administration is currently exploring.

First, he said, is to secure the release of the students of Government Science College Kagara abductees, while the second phase is to dialogue with the gunmen on their challenges and reasons for the attacks.

See Photos Below:

 

We Are Totally Opposed To Ethnic Profiling Of Crimes – NGF

 

The Nigeria Governors Forum in reaction to rising insecurity in parts of the country says they are totally opposed to ethnic profiling of crimes.

Chairman of the Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi said this after the Wednesday night emergency meeting held at the State House in Abuja.

“Governors are totally opposed to ethnic profiling of crimes. Knowing what has transpired in other parts of the world, we do not believe that crimes are associated with particular ethnic groups, and to that extent, we unreservedly condemn any attempt to profile any ethnic group on account of a particular crime,” Fayemi said.

The governors also vowed to provide financial support to victims of the security crises in affected states, as they commit to greater protection of the lives of citizens.

They also underscored that they have unanimously rejected the traditional approach to grazing, hence the urgent need to crystallise the national livestock transformation plan to stem the recurring farmers/ herders clash.

NGF Sets Up Team To Advise On Procurement, Administration Of COVID-19 Vaccines

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has set up a team of experts to advise on the procurement and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The decision was taken during the 24th teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum held on Wednesday.

The meeting was to deliberate the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

During the meeting with the NGF, three medical experts briefed the governors on the country’s preparedness for the procurement and administration of COVID vaccines and the level of collaboration required from all stakeholders, including the federal, state governments and the private sector.

They include Professor Oyewale Tomori, leading Virologist and former Vice-Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Nigeria; Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); Dr. Pamela Ajayi Founder/Managing Director Synlab Nigeria (formerly PathCare), President Healthcare Federation of Nigeria and Dr. Egbe Dawodu, Founding Partner of the Anadach Group.

It was later agreed that a team of experts led by Professor Oyewale Tomori will advise State governors on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country.

“Following the presentations, the Forum set up a team of experts led by Professor Oyewale Tomori to advise State governors on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country”.

 

Read Full Statement Below:

ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 24th TELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM (1st IN 2021) HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 20TH JANUARY 2021.

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on matters of national importance, particularly on the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

1. The NGF Chairman, H.E. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, briefed State governors on a meeting with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, on the rollout of the COVAX facility which is a global risk-sharing mechanism co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate pooled procurement and the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across developing countries. Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.

2. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has indicated that vaccines will be administered in four (4) phases, based on vaccine type and availability, initially for frontline health workers, then the aged (55yrs and above), persons with underlying medical conditions and other target groups.

3. The Forum received briefings from three medical experts including Professor Oyewale Tomori, leading Virologist and former Vice-Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Nigeria; Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); Dr. Pamela Ajayi Founder/Managing Director Synlab Nigeria (formerly PathCare), President Healthcare Federation of Nigeria and Dr. Egbe Dawodu, Founding Partner of the Anadach Group on the country’s preparedness for the procurement and administration of COVID vaccines and the level of collaboration required from all stakeholders, including the federal, state governments and the private sector.

4. Following the presentations, the Forum set up a team of experts led by Professor Oyewale Tomori to advise State governors on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country.

5. On the ill-fated pronouncement made by a member of the Forum regarding the Covid-19 vaccine in a national daily, the Forum totally and categorically dissociated itself from the statement, emphasizing that the Forum will continue to be informed and guided by science and will ensure that every decision it takes retains public and professional trust and is not compromised by conflicts of interest.

6. The Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, who is the Chairman of the NGF Sub- Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 reported with concern the rising positivity rate amongst those tested for the virus. He called on Governors to do more to reactivate their health systems, open-up treatment centres and increase partnerships with stakeholder groups in order to improve risk communication and the public’s adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

7. The Forum received a presentation from the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu and the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, on the Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SUWASH) results-based financing programme for States. The programme has become necessary given the state of the sector which has contributed to 73% of Nigeria’s total burden of enteric infections and over 255,000 preventable deaths in the country each year.

8. State governors consequently committed to increasing budgetary allocation to the sector with the collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the World Bank through the US$640 million investment finance and US$60 million technical assistance component which together will support and incentivize infrastructure investments and strengthen government policies and institutions in the WASH sector.

9. A presentation was made by Dr. Sarah Alade, Special Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy, on the development of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 and the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) which will succeed Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020. State Governors committed to supporting the development of the national plan by providing technical inputs that will ensure that the plan is inclusive, comprehensive, and reflective of the component development plans of each State in the country. State submissions will be made by 10th February 2021 and will underpin the use of credible data, social development, and economic diversification.

10. The Forum also received a presentation from Dimensions Information Technology LLC on a proposed harmonized Traffic Management System for States which is aimed at boosting their internal revenue generation. The plan was assigned to a Committee, peopled by the Governors of Lagos, Niger, Jigawa and Edo State for review and appropriate advice to the Forum.

11. Finally, the Governor of Edo State, H.E Godwin Obaseki updated State Governors on the Eligibility Criteria for the 2020 States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Annual Performance Assessment (APA) which requires in part that all State governments prepare their FY2021 budgets in line with the National Chart of Accounts (minimum of administrative, economic and function classifications) and that the budgets are approved by their State Houses of Assembly, assented by Governors, and published online by 31st January 2021.

The Governor stated that all States have already met the second part of the Eligibility Criteria by publishing an IPSAS-compliant 2019 Audited Financial Statement online by August last year. He encouraged States to take advantage of the Technical Assistance being provided by the NGF Secretariat on the domestication of the National Chart of Accounts.

Governor Kayode Fayemi
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum 20th January 2021.

‘Alarmed’ Governors To Meet Over COVID-19 Second Wave As Schools Re-Open

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

The Nigerian Governors Forum on Monday said it will meet on Wednesday to chart a way out of the second wave of the pandemic as schools reopen across the country.

In a statement signed by its spokesman Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the Governors forum said it was alarmed by the intensity of the second wave of the global pandemic and the country’s “tardy commencement of inoculation”.

Nigeria’s number of new cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks, seeing the nation cross the 100,000-mark for total infections.

READ ALSO: We Do Not Need A National Lockdown Now – Prof Ihonvbere

On Sunday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported 1,444 new cases and 15 deaths.

The NGF meeting will be the first for the Governors in 2021 and will be conducted virtually.

Other matters to be discussed at the meeting include revenue sharing and the water resources bill.

 

READ THE NGF FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

Press Release Monday 18/01/21

Alarmed by the intensity of the second wave of the Covid19 pandemic, and Nigeria’s tardy commencement of inoculation that is sweeping through countries globally, the 36 governors of the federation may finally come up with a definitive pronouncement, as they will be meeting on Wednesday January 20 to find the way forward for the country.

The meeting which will be the first this year, 2021, by the governors, will as usual, be virtual, in conformity with the Covid19 protocols. It is the 23rd of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum teleconferences. The meeting commences at 2pm prompt but Governors are expected to start logging on from 1pm.

The Governors’ PTF Committee, headed by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, which is charged with the responsibility of liaising between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid19 and the Governors’ Forum, will brief the Forum on what it needs to know on the vaccines and the way forward.

Governor Okowa is also expected to give a panoramic view of the second wave of the pandemic.

The Chairman of the Forum, and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi will brief the Forum on his meeting with the President as well as update the Forum on all pending matters that have remained inconclusive, flowing from the previous year’s meetings.

According to the invitation to governors issued by the Director General of the NGF Mr Asishana B Okauru, these matters include ALGON and FAAC deductions, external debts reconciliation (2002-2018), Stamp Duty collections in respect of the governors’ letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and another response to the Ministry of Water Resources regarding the lingering Water Resources Bill among others. All disbursements of funds to states on the three tranches of PAYE will also be tabled.

Governors will also be updated on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability program for results (SFTAS) for the preceding year, 2020.

As is customary, if time permits, there will be three presentations; The Water Resources minister will brief Governors on its World Bank Support; a feedback from the Federal Government on the Medium and Long Term National Development Agenda; and enhancing IGR through a harmonized Traffic Management System by Dimensions Information Technology, LLC, a non-governmental actor which is seeking the nod of state governors.

Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo

Head, Media and Public Affairs

Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat
+234(0)9 2920025; (0)9 2920026
+234 (0) 08039567128, +234 08056180060

Governors Visit Katsina, Pledge To Be Tough On Banditry, Other Crimes

Member of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) visit Governor Aminu Masari at the Katsina State Government on December 22, 2020.

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has given the assurance that it will be tough on banditry, kidnapping, and other forms of criminality bedevilling the country.

NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, gave the assurance on behalf of the members on Tuesday in Katsina State.

He spoke when he led a delegation of the NGF to pay a solidarity visit to Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, and the people of the state over the recent abduction and rescue of the students of the Government Science Secondary School, Ƙankara.

READ ALSO: Buhari Extends PTF Mandate Till March 2021

According to Fayemi, the forum will work hard to identify and tackle the major causes of the security problems and intensify social investment programme targeted at addressing social inequality and poverty in the country.

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for working closely with the Katsina State government in ensuring the release of the schoolchildren by their abductors.

The Ekiti State governor promised that members of the NGF would work together to return the country to the path of peace, progress, development, and prosperity.

On December 11, a group of bandits stormed the Government Science Secondary School in Ƙankara, a local government area in Katsina.

The attack which was carried out in the night left hundreds of students missing, according to authorities in the state.

Following an outcry that trailed the incidents, a total of 344 schoolboys were released on Thursday last week after spending six nights in captivity.

They were transported from Tsafe in Zamfara to Katsina where they were reunited with their parents after being examined for possible medical attention.

The Boko Haram terrorist group, which has carried out a series of attacks in the North East for more than a decade, had claimed responsibility for the abduction.

NGF Visits Zamfara Governor, Rallies Support For Anti-Banditry Campaign

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, 

 

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), has visited the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, expressing its total support to his anti-banditry campaign in the North-west Zone.

Leading a 4-man delegation to the Governor who met him at the Government Lodge, Maitama, Abuja, the forum Chairman, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the forum was completely in support of the efforts being made by Governor Bello Matawalle in the fight against banditry and other criminality in Zamfara State and the North-west at large.

“We note your single-mindedness in this pursuit and we also note the positive results being recorded by your approach in the fight against the menace of banditry in your state and the North-west as a whole.

“All the Nigerian Governors stand as one in your support at this hour, your total commitment to the liberation of our people from the activities of these criminals in your state and the region”, the Governors’ Forum chairman said.

Governor Fayemi assured of the Forum’s assistance in ensuring that the problem is solved,  “Whatever we can do to assist, we shall do it. We are here to encourage you to do more and we are solidly behind you, we pray that the year 2021 will be the year of peace and by the grace of God, the peace we shall have”, the Forum Chairman prayed.

Kayode Fayemi

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the support he is rendering in the fight against banditry, especially the supply of Special forces to Zamfara State.

He also on behalf of the Governors, commiserate with Governor Matawalle over the lives lost in the state as a result of the activities of bandits in the state.

Responding, Governor Bello Mohammed said he was elated and encouraged by the visit which will serve as an elixir for his renewed efforts to do more so that his people can sleep with their two eyes closed.

“No amount of discouragement can deter me from doing what is right to salvage my people from the menace of banditry and other criminality”, he said.

He noted with utter dismay that after sleepless nights he spent working hard to assist in the release of Kankara children, a Spokesman of the All Progressive Congress accused him of harbouring bandits who terrorize his neighbours.

“I intended to sue in this case, but for the intervention of my brother, the Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni, who assured me the officer will be reprimanded for such a callous statement. I am waiting to see the action that the APC will take since it has dissociated itself from the statement”, Governor Matawalle spoke.

He commended the Governors Forum for the encouragement and financial support to the victims of banditry in the state. He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the support he has always rendered to him in the fight against banditry in the state.

The Chairman of the Governors Forum team comprises of himself, the Governors of Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto states (with Sokoto State Governor in absentia), Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and Aminu WaziriTambuwal respectively.

Governors To Meet Buhari Over Security Challenges, Back Police Reform

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

Members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have agreed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari as soon as possible to address the security challenges in the country.

This formed part of the resolutions reached at a meeting held on Wednesday, which deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly on the issue of national security and the recent killings of over 43 rice farmers in Borno State.

They decried that the police and other internal security operatives have not been functioning to full capacity since the #EndSARS protests in parts of the country, noting the attendant security exposure to the safety of lives and properties of the people.

As a result, the governors agreed to pay close attention to the conduct of police officers across the country in order to get them and others fully back to work.

The governors also resolved to support the necessary reforms that would result in a police force that works for all.

On the aftermath of the protests, they noted that the judicial commissions of inquiry instituted in all 36 states to probe petitions of brutality by law enforcement agents were in progress.

Away from security matters, the governors maintained their position that stamp duties belong primarily to states and the various collection platforms were channels of payment to the states while aligning with the guidance provided by their lawyers and experts.

A file photo of policemen.

 

The governors resolved to direct the Attorney-Generals across all states to review the Water Resources Bill and send their input to the NGF Secretariat as quickly as possible.

They also called on the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to speed up the implementation of the truce elements in their resolutions to allow schools to reopen.

Read the communique issued at the end of the meeting below:

ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 22ND NGF MEETING (HYBRID) OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 2ND DECEMBER 2020

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held on 2nd December 2020, deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly on the issue of national security and the recent killings of over forty-three (43) rice farmers in Borno State.

The NGF Chairman provided updates on the following:

A delegation of members of the Forum paid a commiseration visit to the Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum, in Maiduguri on 1st December 2020, over the killing of over forty (40) rice farmers in Garin Kwashebe in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State on Saturday, November 28, 2020, by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.

On the aftermath of the EndSARS protests, the judicial commissions of inquiry instituted by Governors across the thirty-six (36) States of the federation to probe petitions of brutality by law enforcement agents were in progress.

Following Mr. President’s approval of the request of Governors for change in the financing model of the Universal Basic Education from the current counterpart funding requirement to a Program-for-Result performance-driven model, the NGF Secretariat was following up with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to complete work on drafting the Executive Order to guide Mr. President’s directive.

There were further updates on Stamp Duty Collections and the controversial Water Resources Bill. On the former, the position of the law is that stamp duty belongs primarily to the States and the various platforms were collection channels for payment to the States.

The Forum is currently reviewing options open to the States. On the latter, the Secretariat is tracking feedback from States on the Water Resources Bill in order to coordinate the Forum’s response to the Ministry.

The Forum is currently intervening in resolving the lingering ASUU strike and has secured certain concessions from the Federal Government with the hope that the strike action will be called off shortly.

Finally, on the delayed release of Saving One Million Lives (SOML) funding, the Chairman acknowledged concerns from members and explained that the delay was due to observations made by the World Bank on the technical quality of the SMART Survey which makes it difficult to use the result for fund disbursement.

Also, the total amount won by the States was more than the funds remaining in the funding envelope. He proposed the option of using a prorated approach to disburse the fund and urged the Honourable Minister of Health to convene a meeting of the SOML Steering Committee to resolve the issue.

The Forum also received the following presentations:

Governor Nasir El Rufai, Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) Adhoc Committee on Leveraging Portion of Accumulated Pension Funds for Investment in NSIA, briefed the Forum on a proposed National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) under the auspices of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) such that a total sum of N2 Trillion Naira at 9% interest can be accessed through the NSIA. The NGF Chairman noted that the CBN Governor had a similar proposal to access N15 Trillion Naira for national infrastructure funding through INFRACREDIT at a lower interest rate of 5%.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid19 Dr Sani Aliyu addressed the Forum on the increasing cases of severe illness among Covid19 patients in the country, especially in Abuja. Dr Aliyu made a plea to Governors to remain very vigilant and keep their treatment Centers open.

He expressed concerns of the PTF on the low testing rates in most of the States and communicated PTF plans to launch a “COVID19 Testing Week” in which 450 tests would be conducted in each of the 774 LGAs over a 2-week period.

He solicited for the cooperation of the Governors especially for the funding of the exercise, which is expected to be funded from the COVID19 fund disbursed to the States by the Federal Government.

On COVID-19 vaccines, the Forum was informed that about 44 million Nigerians would immediately qualify for the vaccines, which includes medical personnel and the most vulnerable group among which are those over 50 years of age.

The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning SFTAS Programme Coordination Unit (PCU), National Programme Coordinator, Mr. Stephen Okon and the World Bank Task Team Leader, Yue Man Lee, both provided updates to the Forum on the progress recorded by States on the programme.

They highlighted as noteworthy the improved performance of States in the just concluded 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) for which 32 States are eligible for disbursement before the end of 2020, compared to 2018 APA where only 24 States met the Eligibility Criteria of publishing their approved budget and audited financial statement online.

Already, 36 States are on track to meet the 2020 SFTAS Eligibility Criteria (EC) having published online IPSAS-compliant 2019 audited financial statements by 31st August 2020.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Asue Ighodalo as well as the Chief Executive Officer, Laoye Jaiyeola, briefed members on the resolutions of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja from November 23-24, 2020; and that the outcomes and recommendations will be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in a detailed report, for consideration, adoption, and implementation.

Thereafter, members of the Forum resolved to:

Meet with Mr. President as soon as possible to address security challenges across the country particularly in the light of the carnage in Borno State;

Support the necessary reforms that will result in a police force that works for all. As an immediate to medium-term measure, members agreed to pay close attention to the conduct of police officers across the country in order to get them and other internal security operatives fully back to work as they have not been functioning to full capacity since the EndSARS protests with the attendant security exposure to the safety of lives and properties of the ordinary citizens;

Maintain its stance that stamp duties belong primarily to States and the various collection platforms are channels of payment to the States; while aligning with the guidance provided by its lawyers and experts.

Direct State Attorney Generals to review the Water Resources Bill and send their input to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat as quickly as possible;

Endorse the two proposals that canvassed for infrastructure development by both the Governor Nasir el Rufai Committee and the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, noting that both were not mutually exclusive and could be adopted simultaneously with one streaming into the other;

Agree to keep active and operational the State COVID -19 Task Force Teams and Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) in addition to ensuring the prompt release of funds as outlined in the state Incidence Action Plans (IAP), keeping temporary treatment centers open, ramping up COVID-19 testing across the country, and support the planned “COVID-19 Testing Week’ to be launched by the PTF;

Commit to achieving the second Eligibility Criteria (EC) requirement of publishing online their approved FY21 Annual State Budget, prepared under the National Chart of Accounts, by 31st January 2021. Governors also restated their commitment to implement reforms associated with the programme including the deployment of a Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to support effective land administration and an efficient property tax system;

Inaugurate the NGF-NESG Economic Roundtable (NNER) Steering Committee, whose technical committee is to commence the implementation of the strategic plan; which includes but not limited to the national mapping of subnational endowments; global mapping of sub-national entities for global competitiveness, and development of competitiveness toolkits;

Finally, encourage the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to hasten the implementation of the truce elements in their resolutions so as to allow schools to reopen immediately.

Governor John Kayode Fayemi

Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

Governors Attribute Youth Restiveness To Social, Economic Inequality, Agree To Tackle Issue

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

It is clear that the agitations by young Nigerians are attributable to social and economic inequality in the country.

This formed part of the resolutions reached by members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at the meeting held on Wednesday.

As part of measures to reduce restiveness among the youths, the governors agreed to adopt the guidelines to be developed and issued by the Sub-Committee of the National Economic Council (NEC) on Engagement, at both the state and regional levels.

The meeting focused on the fallouts of the #ENDSARS protests, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other issues affecting the country.

The governors also resolved to engage with traditional and religious leaders, as well as various civil society organisations to drive a common agenda and generate the required support for security agencies in ensuring the safety of all citizens.

Following the looting which trailed the protest, they commend CACOVID for presenting the true situation of what transpired regarding the distribution of palliatives in the states.

The governors also agreed to enlighten the people about the various palliatives provided by the states, including cash transfers, food items, medical supplies, and tax incentives given to individual taxpayers and businesses.

They asked members of the forum to direct their commissioners of finance to sign the Subsidiary Grant Agreements of the World Bank’s State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme, with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning to give effect to the principles and objectives of the programme in their states.

Shortly after the meeting began, the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, briefed his colleagues on the #ENDSARS protests, the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of Horasis: The Global Visions Community, and the partnership of the NGF with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Governors Simon Lalong (Plateau), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), and Godwin Obaseki (Edo) also gave updates and made presentations at the meeting.

Read the full text of the communique issued at the end of the meeting below:

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fallouts of the ENDSARS protests.

The NGF Chairman provided the following updates:

The ENDSARS protests and emphasising that the security situation in the country remains a priority agenda for Forum members across board;

The meeting on Friday 30th October 2020 with Mr President together with the leadership of Horasis the Global Visions Community conveying to members that the partnership with Horasis is envisaged to create a long-term strategic framework for Nigeria to be the African home for Horasis Annual Meetings in addition to establishing the Horasis – Nigeria Economic Development Council to assist the Government in the actualisation of its economic development goals.

The partnership of the NGF with the Nigerian Stock Exchange to organise a virtual event on the 17th of November 2020 with the support of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and other strategic partners in the country’s infrastructure financing space.

This event will discuss the entryway for privatisation in the development and performance of state economies.

The Forum also received the following updates and presentations:

The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, provided a brief on steps taken by the governors of the 19 Northern States to address the fallouts of the EndSARS protests.

The Vice-Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, provided an update on the work of the National Economic Council Sub-Committee mandated to engage with youths, civil society organisations, religious, political and traditional leaders with the objective of framing a new security and stability architecture for the country.

This NEC Sub Committee was set up following the NEC Emergency meeting which held on Monday, 26th October 2020.

The Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Chairman of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 raised concerns about the current low testing numbers in the country, especially in the light of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases globally.

State governors were enjoined to increase their testing capacity in all local governments to help prevent the start of a second wave of the pandemic in the country flowing from imported cases from abroad.

The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki provided an update on the status of the World Bank’s State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.

The assessment of states’ amended budgets published at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has been completed while the verification exercise for the implementation of tax relief programmes in all states is underway.

The governor enjoined all state governments to immediately direct the signing of the new SFTAS Subsidiary Grant Agreement to give effect to the principles and objectives of the new additions to the program.

Thereafter, members of the Forum Resolved to:

Engage with traditional, religious and civil society organisations to drive a common agenda and generate the required support for security personnel who play a vital role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all Nigerians;

Adopt at both the state and regional levels guidelines to be developed and issued by the NEC Sub-Committee on Engagement to reduce restiveness among young people as it is clear that these agitations are attributable to social and economic inequality in the country;

Commend CACOVID for presenting the true situation of what transpired in the light of the unfortunate misperception that attended the distribution of palliatives at the state level resolving that the NGF Chair should work with the CACOVID Chairperson to address the media in addition to members speaking up in their local settings.

Educate the citizenry about the various palliatives provided by the states including, cash transfers, food items, medical supplies, and tax incentives given to individual taxpayers and businesses.

Finally, Governors are to direct their Commissioners of Finance to sign the SFTAS Subsidiary Grant Agreements with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to give effect to the principles and objectives of the program in their states.

Governor Kayode Fayemi

Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

4th November

NGF Set To Review Security Situation, Status Of Disbanded SARS

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

The Nigerian Governors Forum are set to review the internal security situation in the country and the status of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives.

The governors in a statement on Tuesday said this will be done at a Teleconference meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

This according to the governors is in view of the recent nationwide demonstrations and subsequent indiscriminate looting of warehouses for CACOVID palliatives.

 

See full statement below…

Governors of the 36 states of the federation will be reviewing the internal security situation in the country and the status of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), whose activities in some parts of the country led to the recent nationwide demonstrations.

Along with this is the overview from different quarters arising from the CACOVID palliatives flag-offs cum distribution and the subsequent indiscriminate looting of various warehouses throughout the country, which resulted from the demonstrations.

These two items form the fulcrum of the invitation to Governors to join the 21st NGF Teleconference meeting which is scheduled for tomorrow Wednesday 4th November 2020, according to the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Mr Asishana Bayo Okauru.

As usual, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi will remark on the most contemporary issues affecting the country since the last (20th NGF Teleconference) meeting.

In this regard, the Ekiti State Governor will be addressing his colleagues on several issues including a feedback from the Villa on the UBEC counterpart funding as schools are beginning to reopen nationwide and the 50th anniversary of AREWA which took place in Kaduna at the weekend where the chairman and a host of northern governors were in attendance.

Also on the agenda for discussion are the HORASIS meeting with the president, a partnership between the NGF and HORASIS a management consultants’ consortium, to set up a strong Foreign Direct Investment initiative for the country, a webinar on privatization to be jointly driven by the NSE, NGF and the NIPC among others.

Only one presentation is on the schedule for Wednesday’s meeting. It is the Digital Curriculum Initiative for Basic and secondary Education ingeniously tagged the e-Gamma solutions ltd.

Before the floor is open for any other business, the regular updates on the SFTAS program and the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa Committee which liaises between the PTF on COVID19 and the NGF will both provide an update.

Governors are expected, according to the NGF Director-General, to join the virtual meeting at 1:00 pm as proceedings commence at 2pm prompt.

ABDULRAZAQUE BELLO-BARKINDO

HEAD, MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM SECRETARIAT

No State Hoarded COVID-19 Palliatives, NGF Insists

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has denied allegations that COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution were hoarded by state governments.

According to a statement signed by the forum’s spokesperson Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, on Monday, the governors have held several meetings since the #EndSARS street protests and started to address concerns of members of the public and that they identified calls for justice and an end to police brutality.

“The NGF wishes to state categorically that no State has been involved in or has hoarded any palliatives,” the governors said.

Although the governors regretted the loss of lives and property occasioned by the violent protests that erupted they stressed that it is important for, “a lot of the information circulating on the social media needs to be fact-checked.”

“The NGF pleads with members of the public to desist from spreading rumours which further creates panic and stampede.

“For example, some of the properties stolen and vandalised, include palliatives set aside for vulnerable members of society.

“The NGF reemphasizes and corrects the impression that palliatives found in warehouses that were broken into in Lagos and some other states were kept in storage for members of the society especially our vulnerable citizens,” the statement read in part.

According to the governors, the erroneous impression in the public domain that these palliatives were hoarded is inaccurate, “entirely erroneous and untrue.”

The NGF added that some of the palliatives had the CACOVID stamp embossed on them, meaning that their source is unambiguous.

“Until mid-October, when the NGF had its last meeting, up to ten states had not participated in the flag-off ceremonies for the distribution of palliatives in their States. This was because the items meant for distribution in these states had not been completely received from CACOVID,” the statement added.

The NGF explained that some of the states that still had palliatives in their warehouses chose to keep a strategic reserve ahead of a projected second wave of COVID-19.

They said further that some states were still receiving palliatives from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

NGF, therefore, called on members of the public to check their facts while everyone recognize the need for improved governance and are cautious not to push the wrong narrative.

#EndSARS: Nigerian Governors Appeal To Demonstrators To Call Off Protests

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

The Nigeria Governor’ Forum (NGF) has asked the #EndSARS protesters to end the demonstrations across the country.

NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, made the appeal after an emergency meeting which held on Sunday.

Fayemi said the call is necessary as criminal elements may capitalise on the protests by maiming innocent citizens and destroying properties.

According to him, the governours resolved to “appeal for the call off of protests as a continuation grossly exposes the fragile economic fundamentals of the country; particularly as criminal elements and hoodlums have hijacked the protests by maiming innocent citizens, looting and destroying properties.”

On the recent attack on Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, the forum condemned the unfortunate incident.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Hoodlums Hijack Benin Protest, Free Prisoners

Fayemi also asked the protesters to “engage with the government appropriately at both the national and state level to ensure that the protests are not taken over by hoodlums who are instigating a breakdown in law and order in many parts of the country.”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 20TH TELECONFERENCE EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON SUNDAY, 18TH OCTOBER 2020

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at an Emergency meeting held today, Sunday, 18th October 2020, deliberated extensively on the nationwide protests, riots and demonstrations.

Governors thereafter Resolved to:

  1. Condemn the attack on Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State by armed persons while he was addressing anti-police brutality protesters in the state capital Osogbo; protesters are encouraged to engage with the government appropriately at both the national and State level to ensure that the protests are not taken over by hoodlums who are instigating a breakdown in law and order in many parts of the country.
  2. Activate a Judicial Panel of Enquiry to receive all cases of police brutality by officers of the disbanded SARS Unit. Each State is also expected to kickstart a compensation mechanism for all victims.
  3. Endorse the call by demonstrators for improved governance predicated on an enforcement regime that takes into cognizance the fundamental human rights and liberties of all citizens in the country;
  4. Act on all the Demands made by the EndSARS protesters raising some concerns with the shifting nature of the demands which creates uncertainty on the exact expectations and ultimate goal;
  5. Finally, appeal for the call off of protests as a continuation grossly exposes the fragile economic fundamentals of the country; particularly as criminal elements and hoodlums have hijacked the protests by maiming innocent citizens, looting and destroying properties.

Governor Kayode Fayemi

Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

14th October 2020