COVID-19: NGF Asks FG To Cancel All Deductions, Restructure Debts

 

Members of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have urged the Federal Government to cancel all funds deductions from states.

The governors also asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to restructure all commercial debt service payments from states.

NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi said this at the governor’s COVID-19 teleconference meeting held on Sunday.

According to the statement, released after the meeting, the NGF also commended the presidential task force for leading a national response team for COVID-19 but emphasised the need for a stronger collaboration with the states.

They insisted that such collaboration should include the administration of palliatives to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

See below, full statement as released by the NGF.

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We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today deliberated on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and resolved as follows:

1. The NGF Chairman briefed State Governors on ongoing coordination with the World Bank to mobilise support for States to mitigate the economic and social cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ongoing plans include accelerated disbursement of existing and new financing for States under the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results, and mitigation and recovery support for expenditures to protect livelihoods, support local economic activity and recovery over the next 18 months to 2 years.

2. The Forum expressed appreciation to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their pledge to support States increase their capacity to mitigate the spread of the virus and care for confirmed cases through the construction of isolation centres and the distribution of personal protective equipment to States. Members underscored the need for CACOVID to work directly with the States in the distribution of palliatives.

3. Following a briefing from Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the activities of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 which he chairs, the Forum commended the SGF and his team for the commitment in leading a national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Members also emphasized the necessity for stronger collaboration with States because they are best positioned to administer palliatives to mitigate the impact of the crisis, including the distribution of food and essential materials to households to help them cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods.

5. The Forum received presentation from Mazen Mroue, Chief Operating Officer and Olubayo Adekanmbi, Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria on ongoing collaboration with the NGF Secretariat to profile States vulnerability to the spread of the coronavirus based on parameters such as population age and density, travel history, location, income level, etc. Governors approved the vulnerability model and resolved to use the model to drive a data-driven approach to stopping the spread of the virus in the country.

6. The Forum also expressed full support for the federal government’s timely implementation of the petrol price modulation mechanism to eliminate petrol subsidy permanently in the country.

7. Governors unanimously supported the unification of exchange rates into a single, market-determined window and the use of the market-determined exchange rate to calculate all revenues due to the Federation.

8. Finally, Governors reiterated the importance of canceling all deductions and deferring or restructuring all commercial debt service payments on federal government and CBN-owned debts.

SAPZs Can Attract About $4bn Investment Into Nigeria – NGF

 

The establishment of the Special Agro-Processing Zones (SAPZs) in Nigeria has the potential of attracting about four billion dollars investments into the country, this is according to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Governor Kayode Fayemi, the chairman of the forum said this in a conversation with newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Ekiti State Governor explained that the initiative will be of great benefit to all Nigerians.

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He said, “SAPZs which will bring together the farming and the processing community and the potential of attracting about one billion dollars from the AfDB and up to 4 billion dollars with the entry of private sector investors.”

The NGF Chairman stressed that the governors were already in agreement with the AfDB, adding that provisions will be made for a desk at the NGF Secretariat where the interests of various states will be tabled.

Those in attendance at the NGF meeting include Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Umaru Fintri (Adamawa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Godwin Obaseki (Edo).

Others are Darius Ishiaku (Taraba), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Babagana Umara (Borno).

Sunrise Daily Highlights Memories of 2013

Sunrise Daily Host, Chamberlain Usoh on Wednesday morning gave a review of the major highlights, issues and episodes of the programme in 2013, including the Nigeria Governor’s Forum crisis in which two chairmen, Jonah Jang and Chibuike Amaechi, emerged following a controversial election which was held in May 2013.

According to a statement by Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, the purported election that returned Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) was a ruse.

Other issues highlighted were the return of Taraba state governor, Danbaba Suntai, who was deemed unfit to continue to hold office as a result of his health, alleged fabrications by the Abia state government on its various achievements which an investigative journalist challenged on the programme.

Finally, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) employment scam which led to an interview with the then Lagos State commandant, Obafaiye Shem. The interview with the officer, who was unable to state the official website of the agency, went viral online and produced the popular phrase, ‘Oga At The Top.”

Jang-Led NGF Hails Deployment Of Troops To Nasarawa

The Jonah Jang faction of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has commended President Goodluck Jonathan for deploying troops to Nasarawa state to ensure law and order in the distressed part of the state.

In a statement signed by the media officer to the chairman of the forum, Musa Bello, the development was hailed as another indication of the seriousness of the federal government to work with the state governments to ensure peace in the country.

The chairman of the forum also called on the warring communities in the state to seek peaceful ways of resolving their differences while pledging the support of the forum to the Governor Tanko Al-Makura in finding a lasting solution to the violence in the state.

Following a clash between the warring groups in the north central Nigerian state, the federal government ordered a deployment of military troops to the state in order to put an end to the lingering crisis in the state.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Director, Army Public Relations Department, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru said the troops, will join the police to stem the tide of violence in the state.

Tension heightened in the state with a clash between Ombatse militia and Alago youths in Obi local government area of the state, following the alleged killing of an Eggon man by the Alago group, which led to reprisal attacks on Friday 13th September, with hundreds of houses set ablaze.

Impunity Of PDP Is Catching Up With It – Omatseye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amaechi Decries Rising Cases Of Undemocratic Act By Politicians

Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state has criticized what he called the rising cases of undemocratic acts by some politicians saying this portends grave danger for the 2015 general elections.

Addressing participants at a symposium on the review of the 1999 constitution and its impact on judicial reforms in Abuja, Mr. Amaechi advised judges to be prepared for multiple litigations as politicians will upturn results of elections with the connivance of those in authority.

Mr. Amaechi urges judges and lawyers to defend the nation’s democracy and blamed the current security challenges in the country on the absence of state police and the culture of impunity.

The factional chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) further told lawyers at the gathering that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has lost its voice saying this portends danger for the 2015 general elections.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who expressed support for judicial reforms, said a morally upright judiciary will help in upholding the tenets of democracy while a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher advised judges to work towards restoring the confidence of the people in the judiciary.

Former president of NBA and convener of the symposium, Mr. Joseph Daudu advocated a constitution that reflects the aspirations of the people.

The clamour for the separation of the office of the attorney general of the federation from that of the minister of justice and the issue of Holden charges are some of the issues that dominated discussions at the forum as legal experts expressed concern that the nations prisons are overcrowded due to Holden charges.

Amaechi’s Re-Election Splits Governors Forum

Some members of the Nigerian Governors Forum have rejected the re-election of Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers as the Chairman of the forum.
After a three hour meeting, the Director-General of the Governors Forum, A.B. Okauru announced the result of the elections, which showed that Governor Amaechi scored 19 votes, against 16 votes scored by his opponent and Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang.

But some members of the forum led by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa-Ibom state rejected the result and described the election as a sham.

Addressing reporters after the election, Governor Akpabio claimed the ballot papers were not serialized and that Mr Amaechi did not step down prior to the election.

Governor Akpabio and 18 other governors in attendance at a meeting of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) governors had taken a resolution proclaiming their support for Mr Jang as the new Chairman of the Forum. The document was also signed by at least two opposition governors, Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe (All Nigeria Peoples Party); and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State (Labour Party). Mr Akpabio claimed it was inconceivable that after voting, the outcome would be in favour of Mr Amaechi.

In the resolution of the 19 governors that Mr. Akpabio also presented before the NGF meeting, they stated that: “We the undersigned Governors of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum having taken cognizance of the state of the nation and the perception of the Nigerian people, do herby resolve as follows:

1. That we thank the out-going Chairman, His Excellency, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State for his leadership and achievement.

2. That we strongly agree for a change of leadership of the Forum from May 2013 to May 2015.

3. We hereby, therefore elect His Excellency Jonah Jang of Plateau State as the new Chairman of the Forum.”

The signatories included Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe); Serike Dickson (Bayelsa); Garba Umar (Taraba); Gabriel Suawan (Benue); Peter Obi (Anambra); Idris Wada (Kogi); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Jonah Jang (Plateau); Mukhtar Yero (Kaduna); Sullivan Chime (Enugu); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); Isa Yuguda (Bauchi); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); T. A. Orji (Abia); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe); Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Abdul Ahmed (Kwara).

Mr Amaechi insisted that despite the majority signatories (19 out of Nigeria’s 36 governors), the elections should still proceed; apparently knowing that not all the 19 would vote for Mr. Jang.

In his post-election speech, Mr. Amaechi thanked the governors for upholding democracy, reassuring the people of the commitment of the Forum under his leadership to support President Goodluck Jonathan “realize the development dream of all Nigerians by reducing tension, uncertainty and insecurity in our beloved country.”

“Today our democracy was tested and proven,” Governor Amaechi said. “Democracy is about participation. The aim of democratic governance is for everyone to partake in winning. Today the governors have spoken with one voice reaffirming our faith in democratic governance as the hope of Nigeria’s future. I must thank my colleagues for their tenacity and determination to ensure the unity of the forum but more importantly of our nation.

“We remain committed to supporting our leader, the president and commander in chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, to realize the development dream of all Nigerians by reducing tension, uncertainty and insecurity in our beloved country. We want to pledge our steadfastness and resolve working alongside Mr. President to better the lives of our people as we render transparent and accountable stewardship.

“Finally our thanks go to all those who have patiently endured these times especially our constituents and members of the fourth estate of the realm who have followed these elections with keen interest. We promise that we will not betray the confidence you have reposed in us.”