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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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;
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;
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.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) received with great relief and satisfaction the decision by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), M.A. Adamu, NPM, mni to ban with immediate effect the operations of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and a range of other Tactical Squads of the Force.
In a statement by the Chairman of the forum, Kayode Fayemi, “We also completely agree with the directive of the IGP that “no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti” forthwith.
This, in our view, will significantly reduce the various infractions of the Force that the ordinary Nigerian people have been complaining about and bring an end to the menace of SARS brutality on the people they are meant to protect.
The IGP’s instructions could not have come at a better time when the majority of Nigerians are unhappy with this cohort of police officers who have routinely engaged in unlawful killings and torture, thereby giving the Force a bad name.
It is helpful to recall that SARS has been cautioned in the same manner before only for it to go back to its old ways.
Our young people should not be criminalized simply on account of how they look or their mode of dressing or the cars they drive, the type of phone they carry, etc. This is an assault on their fundamental human rights.
We think this is a timely clinical response by the leadership of the Nigerian Police Force and must specially commend IGP Adamu for his promptness and boldness. However, it is our hope that the announcement this time will promptly be followed by action and that there will be no reversal to the unorthodox enforcement practices being complained against.
Finally, we call for appropriate sanctions against law enforcement officers that have been lawless and irresponsible in the exercise of their duties against ordinary Nigerians.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has cautioned the organised labour against embarking on industrial action.
The warning was contained in a communique issued on Friday by the NGF Vice Chairman and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.
Tambuwal argued that any plan to down tools will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On the call for national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Forum believes that the labour unions should exercise caution on the call for strike action, noting that any strike action will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the communique partly read.
“While expressing concern over the call for national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Forum members suggested the provision of a cushioning arrangement to ameliorate the effect of subsidy removal.”
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE
Communiqué ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 18th TELECONFERENCE (EMERGENCY MEETING) OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON THURSDAY, 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020
The Emergency Meeting was convened to deliberate on two key issues – ALGON Vs FAAC: deduction of LGC statutory allocation for the construction of primary healthcare centers in each of the 774 LGAs; and the NLC & TUC call for a national strike action over the recent increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and increase in Electricity Tariff.
Governors expressed serious concern over deductions from the Federation Allocation of the 774 local governments of the country to construct and equip healthcare centres in each local government area on behalf of the Association of Local Government Areas of Nigeria (ALGON);
The Forum rejected the legality and the legitimacy of the contract including all ﬁnancing arrangements;
On the call for a national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Forum believes that the labour unions should exercise caution on the call for a strike action, noting that any strike action will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic;
While expressing concern over the call for a national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Forum members suggested the provision of a cushioning arrangement to ameliorate the effect of subsidy removal;
Governors conﬁrmed during the meeting that an Industrial Court had barred Labour from embarking on its planned industrial action but nevertheless decided to use the intervening period to mediate between the stakeholders.1
Communiqué After a long and arduous deliberation on the two issues, the Forum Resolved to:
Call on the Minister for Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation not to disburse to receiving entities monies already deducted for the construction of primary healthcare centers in each of the 774 LGAs, and that further deductions should be halted forthwith;
Constitute a Committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti (Chairman), Ebonyi, Delta, Gombe, Plateau, and Kano States to represent State and local governments on the matter. The Committee will also approach Mr. President, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the National Judicial Council and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to appeal against the judgement;
Intercede with the Labour Unions, the Federal Government and other stakeholders and especially call labour to exercise caution in its plan to embark on an indeﬁnite strike action, noting that any such action will worsen the already deteriorating economic situation of the workers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic;
Set up a Committee made up of the Governors of Jigawa (Chairman), Nasarawa, Ogun, Kwara, Gombe, Abia and Bayelsa States to interface with the National Economic Council, the Labour Unions and relevant stakeholders for the overall interest of the nation. The NGF Secretariat will provide relevant support to the Committee on the details of the mechanism for deregulation put in place by the federal government;
Call for an Emergency NEC meeting as soon as the Committee comes up with a common position on the deregulation of both the petroleum and power sectors and the ﬁgures laid bare for all to see;
Finally, members advised that any position taken by the Forum should not be seen to be contrary or injurious to the position State Governors 2
Communiqué have always maintained in support of deregulation. Governors insisted that subsidy in the petroleum sector, apart from promoting corruption in petroleum pricing and distribution, brings about loss of revenues to the three tiers of government and loss of jobs to the populace.
Meeting held from 6pm – 7:30pm.
Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal
Governor of Sokoto and Vice Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has revealed plans to engage leaders of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors, (NARD) over its planned industrial action.
The decision formed part of the communique issued at the end of the virtual meeting of the governors on Wednesday where they deliberated on a number of national issues including the COVID-19 pandemic.
NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi said among other things the forum will work our modalities to reach a truce with the resident doctors to avert another crisis in the health sector.
He explained that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education is also facilitating access to unrealized funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) fund while also waiting for an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from states in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on state finances.
He added that testing remains the number one priority for the government while 29 states have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19.
Read Full Statement Below:
ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 15th TELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 19th AUGUST 2020 We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NGF Chairman provided an update on the following:
Discussions are ongoing with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education to facilitate access to unrealized funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund. The Forum is also awaiting an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from States in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on State finances.
29 States have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19. Testing remains the number one priority for the government. 32 States in the country now have molecular laboratories while investments are being directed to the remaining 4 States.
Data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country show that 20 local government areas in the country account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded. In light of this, all State governments will be required to scale up risk communications campaigns in these areas through State and local structures.
The NEC Security Ad-Hoc Committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti, Katsina, Borno, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Kogi, and Lagos met with Mr. President on 11th August 2020 to present the concerns of governors on the security situation in the country. At the meeting, the President called for better inter-service coordination and assured governors that necessary security equipment was being provided to the security agencies.
The Forum also received updates from the following: The Forum received an update from H.E Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who’s leading the NGF Committee interfacing with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation on the implementation of Executive Order 10. The Committee is currently working on a template acceptable to all parties for the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.
The NGF HelpDesk Programme Manager, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajogbasile provided an update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme. The NGF in collaboration with the World Bank has negotiated a flexible payment term for the acquisition of a Software as a Service (SaaS) e-procurement solution for all States in the country. States can now make 30% advance payment for the solution after signing the framework contract. The software which is aimed at improving public procurement in the country has many advantages over traditional models of business software installation including lower upfront cost, quick set up and deployment, easy upgrade, accessibility and scalability.
States were also encouraged to publish a Consolidated Revenue Code, Public Procurement Law and Debt Management Law on or before 30th September 2020 to be assessed under the SFTAS 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA)
Thereafter, members of the Forum resolved as follows:
Scale up the implementation of the Risk Communications Community Engagement (RCCE) strategy developed by the Presidential Task on COVID-19. The strategy will provide the necessary impetus on communicating with the public so that communities can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a sustainable approach. State governments will also be able to identify and engage with all the relevant multisectoral partners as the success of this strategy. Commissioners of information are to head this exercise nationwide.
The Forum will continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing the UBE Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
State governments will continue to provide appropriate support to the independent verification teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) who are currently in States to conduct the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment for the SFTAS programme.
The States are to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors NARD in order to forestall their intention to embark on industrial action.
President Muhammadu Buhari has again met with members of the Nigeria Governors Forum Security Council and Service Chiefs at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting which took place at the Council Chambers had in attendance, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, the National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), the Chief of Staff to the President Prof Ibrahim Gambari and Heads of other security agencies.
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the security challenges facing the country.
The governors expressed concerns over what they described as the rapidly degenerating security situation across the nation.
In a communique issued by the chairman of the Forum, Kayode Fayemi, after the 14th teleconference meeting in Abuja, stated that the NEC Ad-Hoc Committee on Security and Policing met on Tuesday 4th August 2020 with the heads of the nation’s security agencies to discuss and review the security challenges in the country.
Attack On Borno Governor’s Convoy
The governors raised concerns over the recent attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor by members of the Boko Haram terrorists.
The convoy of the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, was attacked by members of the terrorist group on July 29, 2020.
Governor Zulum had departed Maiduguri, the state capital for the northern part of the state in continuation of the food distribution programme which he started earlier in July.
He was scheduled to visit Baga, a fishing town on the shores of the Lake Chad region which has been under the control of insurgents for many years until the military declared its liberation, insisting no Nigerian territory is under the control of Boko Haram.
But, few kilometers to Baga, gunmen opened fire on the Governor and his entourage.
The Governor was forced to retreat as security operatives on escort duties repelled the attackers.
Governor Fayemi disclosed that the resolutions reached will soon be presented to the President.
Universal Basic Funds: NGF Negotiates With FG
The NGF also announced that the forum is negotiating with the Federal government to waive the requirement that state governments provide counterpart funds before they can access Universal Basic Education (UBE) Funds.
“The governors also deliberated on the ongoing negotiation between the NGF and the Federal Government to waive the requirement that State governments provide counterpart funds before they can access Universal Basic Education (UBE) Funds.
“The move was taken in the light of the impact of COVID-19 which has affected the capacity of State governments to provide counterpart funds required to access various national funds and statutory levies”.
The UBE facility was created by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration to help provide facelifts to schools at the basic education level (primary and junior secondary).
NGF Intervenes In NARD Strike
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) in June intervened in the nationwide strike by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
Following a meeting between the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, and the leadership of the association.
The Chairman stated that some of the States Governments still have unresolved issues with the Resident Doctors and enjoined Governors to engage with the State branches of the Association to resolve these disputes.
Some of the issues include unpaid salaries for doctors and the non-domestication and non-implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act, 2017.
Read Full Communique Below:
Communiqué ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 14thTELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 5th AUGUST 2020.
We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. The NGF Chairman Dr. John Kayode Fayemi provided an update on:
a. The finalization of plans for the flag-off and distribution of food items to vulnerable persons in all the 36 States by the Forum with the private sector-led Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID). The kick-off which started in Borno, Edo, Enugu and Kano State on Tuesday 4th August 2020, will hold daily in at least one State in each geopolitical zone until 11th August 2020.
b. The recent attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and the rapidly degenerating state of security across the country. The Chairman stated that the NEC Ad-Hoc Committee on Security and Policing met on Tuesday 4th August 2020 with the heads of the nation’s security agencies to discuss and review the security challenges in the country. According to the Chairman, Resolutions reached will be presented to Mr. President shortly.
c. The meeting deliberated on the ongoing negotiation between the NGF and the federal government to waive the requirement that State governments provide counterpart funds before they can access Universal Basic Education (UBE) Funds. The move was taken in the light of the impact of COVID-19 which has affected the capacity of State governments to provide counterpart funds required to access various national funds and statutory levies.
d. The collaboration between the NGF and the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) to organize a Webinar on Governance and Insecurity Challenges in the country was discussed. The Webinar will facilitate an interaction between Governors and the public to shed more light on some of the strategies deployed to tackle insecurity amidst the battle against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
e. The intervention of the Forum in the nationwide strike action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in June 2020. The Chairman stated that some of the States Governments still have unresolved issues with the Resident Doctors and enjoined Governors to engage with the State branches of the Association to resolve these disputes. Some of the issues include unpaid salaries for doctors and the non-domestication and non-implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act, 2017.
2. The Forum received further updates from:
a. Alhaji Aliko Dangote on behalf of the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on the flag-off and distribution of CACOVID palliatives to States. The flag-off started on Tuesday, 4th August 2020 in Borno, Edo, Enugu, and Kano States.
The launch is ongoing and will hold daily across one State each in the six geopolitical zones until Tuesday 11th August 2020 when it will be concluded in all 36 States of the Federation.b.The Honourable Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba briefed members on guidelines for the resumption of schools in the country.
The Ministry has been engaging with governors through the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and through regular meetings with State Commissioners for Education.c.The Chairman of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta State.
Dr. Okowa briefed Governors of the measures discussed with the PTF on reopening the economy. His update highlighted concerns such as guidelines required to reopen schools; resumption of international flights; the need for increased testing capacity and sample collection centers in all local government areas in the country; disbursement of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and other health-related facilities; dissemination of guidelines for home care for COVID-19 cases; and the non-availability of reagents in the country due to its high demand globally.
d. The Programme Manager NGF HelpDesk -SFTAS Technical Assistance Project, Olanrewaju Ajogbasile provided an update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and (SFTAS) program and pending actions for State governments, including the publication of comprehensive audited financial statements by five (5) remaining States and preparations for the 2019 SFTAS Annual Performance Assessment (APA) exercise to be conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) starting 9th August 2020.
Thereafter, members of the Forum Resolved as follows:
1. All COVID-19 Task Forces in the various States will work closely with their Palliatives Implementation Committees to target the most vulnerable population in society for the distribution of the CACOVID palliatives, particularly in local governments that have been identified as epicenters. States will also take cognizance of the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infection and should start preparing preventive measures.
2. The Forum will continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing UBE funds. The Forum had adopted the Report of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, which recommended the immediate suspension of the requirement for State Governments to provide matching funds to access grants like UBEC.
3. In preparation for the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment of the SFTAS program which is expected to start from 9th August 2020, State governments will ensure appropriate health and security measures are put in place to ensure a seamless exercise by the teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF).
4. The NGF Secretariat will provide Technical Assistance to the remaining five (5) States yet to publish their Audited Financial Statement(AFS).
5. Lastly, State governments with unresolved issues with their Resident Doctors were enjoined to meet with the Association at least at the local level to agree on workable solutions in the face of the current challenges in the country.
SIGNED: Governor Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum 5th August 2020.