Local Government Accounts: Court Dismisses Governors’ Suit Against NFIU

A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit by the Attorneys General of the 36 States and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum seeking to restrain the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from implementing its guidelines on local government spending for lack merit.

Justice Inyang Ekwo said after studying the provisions of the NFIU’s guidelines, he was unable to see where the provisions contradict or conflict the provision of Sections 7 (a and b) of the constitution.

The Judge further held that the guidelines did not contradict Section 162(8) of the constitution which prescribed that the amount standing to the credit of the local government council of the state shall be distributed among the local government councils of that state.

READ ALSO: FG Wins Case Against State Governors Over Financial Autonomy

The court also opined that the provisions of the NFIU’s guidelines do not contradict or conflict with the provisions of the 4th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution which prescribes the functions of a local government council.

Earlier the judge had struck out the name of the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum from the suit for lack of locus standi (legal right) to institute the suit.

The Attorneys General and the Nigeria Governors’ forum had asked the court to determine whether having regard to the combined effect of Sections 7, 162 and the 4th Schedule of the 1999 Constitution which, among others guaranteed the existence and structure of Local Government Councils under Local Government laws of each State, the state governments of the federation are subject to the directives or control of the NFIU or anybody other than the House of Assembly of each state.

Governors To Meet With House Of Assembly Speakers In Abuja

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

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has said it is scheduled to meet with all 36 State House of Assembly Speakers in Abuja on Friday.

The purpose of the meeting is to rub minds and brainstorm towards finding urgent solutions to issues of national importance.

According to an invitation issued by the Director-General of the NGF, Mr Bayo Okauru, the emergency meeting will be held at the Frazier Suites in the Central Business District in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Visits El-Rufai, Donates N50m To Victims Of Train Attack

It is expected to commence at 4pm and be chaired by NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi.

The Governors are expected to help facilitate and enable the Speakers in their various states to attend the meeting.

“We seek Your Excellencies’ indulgence to kindly facilitate the participation of the Hon. Speaker of your State House of Assembly at this important emergency meeting,” Mr Okauru emphasised in the invitation letter to all governors.

NGF, Labour Question NNPC’s Fuel Subsidy ‘Removal Agenda’

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

 

The Nigeria Governors Forum and the Nigeria Labour Congress has queried the motives of subsidy administrations, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

This is according to a statement signed by NGF spokesperson Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo.

According to the statement, the NGF and NLC agreed, after a meeting this week, that the “lacuna in the subsidy removal agenda was hidden in the untruths bandied by the administrators of the subsidy, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which both groups identify to be at the forefront of the mismanagement of the proceeds accrued therein.”

READ ALSO: NNPC Has Requested N3trn As Fuel Subsidy For 2022 – Finance Minister

NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, noted that action must be taken to ensure that Nigerians get direct benefits from subsidy and not just a few wealthy individuals and their cronies.

“We need a partnership with the NLC to confront the challenges of what the NNPC is about, because there is a lot of fraud in the consumption and distribution figures that the country is getting and we can only move forward if the NLC engages all those who are knowledgeable in the field like PENGASSAN to conduct a thorough research into the sector before any further action is taken on subsidy,” Fayemi said at the meeting.

 

Read the NGF’s full statement:

As a sequel to its meeting of the 19th of January the NGF, yesterday, met with the leadership of the NLC, led by its president Comrade Ayuba Waba, to deliberate on the fuel subsidy removal which both groups believe is a necessary action that the country must deal with now or in the nearest future.

The meeting which was held at the NGF secretariat in Maitama Abuja, brokered a partnership between the NGF and the NLC, as both parties agreed that the lacuna in the subsidy removal agenda was hidden in the untruths bandied by the administrators of the subsidy, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which both groups identify to be at the forefront of the mismanagement of the proceeds accrued therein.

Delivering his opening remarks at the meeting also attended by the TUC president and a host of other leaders of organized Labour in the country, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi argued that the nation’s economy is at the precipice and that it has become necessary for the two groups to carefully verify all of NNPC’s estimates to ensure that whatever action is taken on subsidy, it would be the people that get direct benefits and not a few wealthy individuals and their cronies in the country.

Dr Fayemi told the Labour leaderships that subsidy removal has remained an on-gong conversation not just among governors but the country at large and emphasized that Governors cannot but be part of the solution providers in this onerous task that is confronting the nation.

The Ekiti State Governor further stated that “there are raging questions of accountability associated with subsidy removal in the country and observed that the NGF and the NLC can jointly work together to proffer solutions that heal the economy and provide succour to the Nigerian people.”

The NGF chairman who led a delegation of Governors Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State and chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, to the meeting stressed that governors cannot ignore the economics of petroleum, arguing that all the countries surrounding Nigeria including Niger, Mali, Cameroun and Ghana have their fuel pump price at the equivalent of a US dollar, arguing that Nigeria has a pump price that is far less than a dollar and is uncomfortable with the removal of subsidy until the challenge of what the NNPC is telling the country is confronted frontally.

“We need a partnership with the NLC to confront the challenges of what the NNPC is about, because there is a lot of fraud in the consumption and distribution figures that the country is getting and we can only move forward if the NLC engages all those who are knowledgeable in the field like PENGASSAN to conduct a thorough research into the sector before any further action is taken on subsidy,” Dr Fayemi declared.

On the part of the states, Dr Fayemi stated that only about eight states are benefitting directly from the subsidy while all the others have to contend with the situation on their own.

The Governor of Ekiti State also insisted that the partnership with the NLC must confront the perennial issue of palliatives for the common man towards cushioning the effects of subsidy removal on the citizenry stating that “not tackling the problem now is tantamount to postponing the evil day”.

“Finding succour for the ordinary Nigerian at this time is absolutely imperative and necessary now more than ever,” the NGF Chairman emphasised.

One of the asks, which formed the terms of convening the meeting was to also plead with Labour to jettison their decision to embark on what they referred to as a mega-strike and join hands with Governors to consider the dimensions at play on the subsidy removal palaver because Governors through their internal mechanisms had already found out that what is paid is egregiously higher than what is actually being declared by the country’s petroleum industry managers.

Commenting, the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, who usually serves the NGF as its shining light on economic issues, on his part warned that we have a choice of continuing to behave like Father Christmas (Santa Claus) or take concrete actions on a problem that is permanently with us rather than throwing away N3tr on subsidy.

Governor Obaseki suggested that the nation can, in the interim, increase productivity to reduce imports and create jobs. He also emphasised that the country would do well to revamp the power sector, which is virtually comatose because without power, we will continue to throw millions of our people into unemployment, and ultimately, poverty, reminding all present that we should know that we have a country to manage.

The Governor of Plateau state, Rt. Hon Simon Bako Lalong who like Governor Obaseki also joined the meeting virtually recalled that the NGF had spent three years on this matter because we cannot continue with subsidising petroleum products. He stated that we must find options and create opportunities that address the hardships that stare our people in the face.

Lalong volunteered that the painstaking work that led to the solutions that the NGF was highlighting took a year to script together and warned therefore that the fact that we are sitting here with Labour to resolve this contending issue does not mean that as we leave the table we should go to sleep. Instead, Governor Lalong said the teams from the two groups should immediately set out to work to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

This meeting took place barely an hour before the NLC announced the suspension of its mega-strike, as he disclosed to the governors that their committee had consulted widely and decided to call it off before arriving at the NGF secretariat.

Both Comrade Ayuba Waba and the TUC president stressed their lack of appreciation of the trust deficit that characterised previous negotiations and wondered why the subsidy issue had always been shrouded in lack of transparency on the part of government.

The unionists argued that the conflicting figures that always came from the managers of the petroleum sector had always tended towards inefficiency which have remained, to the people and to Labour, completely objectionable

Removal Of Fuel Subsidy Isn’t Business Of Governors – Fayemi

 

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, on Thursday, said the decision to remove or retain fuel subsidy is not in the hands of State Governors.

Mr Fayemi made the remark during a press briefing after a meeting of the Governors.

The Ekiti State Governor said the forum has “concluded to engage the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress on how best to address this issue without causing any disaffection but with a view to salvaging the Nigerian economy for the Nigerian people.”

READ ALSO: Removing Fuel Subsidy Will Push More Nigerians Into Poverty – Abdulsalami

However, he argued that the decision wasn’t one for the Governors to make.

“For us at the forum, it is a matter that is a going concern. We don’t have a definite issue on it because it is left to the Petroleum Industry Act. It is not for us. NNPC is now a private company and the company should decide what it wants to do with the price of its products. It shouldn’t really be the business of Governors.

“It is not up to sub-nationals to decide on what happens to PMS pricing. It is an entirely exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.

“However, we are critical stakeholders and we are members of the National Economic Council, so we contribute to debates in the Council.”

The Federal Government has said it plans to discontinue the payment of fuel subsidy by June but the move has been rejected by several stakeholders, including the Nigeria Labour Congress.

Also on Thursday, former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar raised concerns over the removal of fuel subsidy.

General Abdulsalami, who was speaking at the 19th Daily Trust Summit in Abuja, said the country is facing challenges on multiple fronts and a fuel subsidy removal will only compound the situation.

“We all know when this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty,” he said.

Banditry: Governors Agree To End Open Grazing In Nigeria

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

 

The Nigerian Governors Forum on Thursday said it had reached a consensus on the “need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night, and underage grazing in the country.”

In a communique issued at the end of its 25th virtual meeting and signed by Forum Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, the Governors were encouraged “to put in place systems to accelerate the grazing initiative of the National Livestock Transformation Plan and ranching in the country.”

The consensus was reached to address the rising insecurity in the country which has been linked to armed herdsmen operating as bandits.

Meanwhile, the Forum condemned the ethnic profiling of crime in the country and resolved to “convene an emergency meeting of all Governors” on the matter.

“The Forum respects the right of abode of all Nigerians and strongly condemns criminality and the ethnic profiling of crime in the country in an effort to frame the widespread banditry and the herders- farmers crisis,” the communique said.

Read the full communique below:

ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 25th TELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM (2ND IN 2021) HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY 2021.

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held on 10th February 2021 received extensive briefs on a number of issues, deliberated on various matters of national concern and reached some resolutions:

1. On the current conversation on the COVID-19 pandemic, which is focused on making vaccines available as soon as possible to Nigerians, the Chairman called on all relevant agencies and public- spirited organizations involved in the procurement of vaccines to work amicably to ensure that the vaccines arrive the country quickly. He announced that the NGF will shortly inaugurate an advisory group of experts to provide high-level strategic guidance and support to the NGF on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines in the short time and the local production of vaccines in the medium to long term.

2. The Forum is also engaging directly with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to ensure that vaccines are administered equitably, first to workers who are on the frontlines of the pandemic.

3. The Forum deliberated on the underutilization of fiscal facilities in the country including the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and the Saving One Million Lives programme for results (SOML) which are meant to expand the size and scope of resources spent on health and education across all States of the Federation. The Forum recognises that the timely implementation of these facilities in line with the financing plans of States is vital to ensure expenditure coherence and the sustainability for several projects on primary health care and basic education implemented at the State-level, especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic where the demand for government intervention has been heightened.

4. On the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) performance for results project, the Chairman announced that the Federal Ministry of Health, the Commissioners for Health Forum and the World Bank have resolved to distribute the outstanding funds under the Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLI 1,2) equally amongst all the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

5. On the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), the Chairman expressed concern over the delay in the payment of funds to the three pilot BHCPF States of Abia, Niger and Osun. He urged the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the World Bank (WB) to urgently disburse the funds to these States using the original BHCPF Guidelines for States.

6. Following an update from Governors on the various initiatives taken by State governments to address the rising insecurity in the country due to the activities of herdsmen, members reached a consensus on the need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night and underage grazing in the country. State governments are encouraged to put in place systems to accelerate the grazing initiative of the National Livestock Transformation Plan and ranching in the country.

7. The Forum respects the right of abode of all Nigerians and strongly condemns criminality and the ethnic profiling of crime in the country in an effort to frame the widespread banditry and the herders- farmers crisis. In the light of the economic and security risks that have arisen from these circumstances, the Forum resolved to urgently convene an emergency meeting of all Governors.

8. The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) and Governor of Plateau State, Rt Hon. Simon Bako Lalong provided an update on steps taken by the Governors of the nineteen (19) Northern States and cautioned against the tagging of ethnic groups based on the misbehavior of a few criminally minded individuals. He called on State governors to address this matter head-on in their various States.

9. Following an update by Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, members resolved to immediately address the misinformation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources that it has so far registered 4.5 million farmers nationwide under the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), a key component of the Nigeria Economic and Sustainability Plan (NESP) designed to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.

10. On the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 (NNBP), the Chairman briefed the Forum on the letter from the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC) requesting Governors to give effect to some of the Infrastructure, Policy and Demand Drivers Pillars of the Broadband Plan in order to achieve full implementation of the NNBP.

11. The Chairman drew the attention of members to the letter from the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) requesting States to submit details of work done at the subnational level on lifting people out of poverty. This information will help the Council in developing a poverty reduction strategy/plan at the national level. States are expected to submit these on or 26th February, 2021.

12. The Chairman announced that the Forum was in receipt of a letter from the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Against Gender Based Violence (NGWA-GBV) thanking members particularly the Governors of Kogi, Ondo, Niger, Plateau and Ekiti who attended the High Level Policy Dialogue on December 2, 2020 for their support in making the event a huge success. The NGWA-GBV implored Governors to maintain the momentum around the emergency declared on GBV on June 10th, 2020. While noting the concerns of the NGWA-GBV, Governors resolved to endorse all requests and proposals contained in its letter dated January 26th, 2021.

13. Following the Presentation that was made at the 24th NGF Teleconference meeting on enhancing States’ IGR through harmonized Traffic Management System, the Secretariat was mandated to convene a meeting of the Committee headed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, to further review and advise the Forum on the project.

14. On the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) performance for result programme, the Chairman briefed the Forum on emerging concerns with the Independent Verification Agent (IVA) following the nomination of a new Auditor General for the Federation. He assured members that the Governor of Edo State who doubles as the Chairman of the NGF SFTAS Committee is working with relevant stakeholders to engender a final resolution that will sustain the momentum and quality service delivered by the IVA on the programme so far.

15. As part of the SFTAS update, Ajogbasile Olanrewaju, Senior Programme Manager (HelpDesk and SFTAS TA Programme) at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat provided the following:

a. All 36 States are set to meet the 2020 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) Eligibility Criteria having prepared and published online an IPSAS-compliant 2019 Audited Financial Statements by 31 August 2020 and their FY2021 State Budgets under the National Chart of Accounts (NCoA) by 31st January 2021.

b. Twenty Six (26) States including Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe State achieved the Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) 12.1 (strengthened procurement function for COVID-19 or emergency situation and facilitated participation of SMEs in public procurement in the resilient recovery phase).

c. Anambra State Annual Performance Assessment (APA) result for Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) 11.1 (announced and started implementation of a tax compliance relief program for individual taxpayers and businesses) has been revised following additional considerations that confirm that the State met the requirements of the DLI.

d. State Governors were encouraged to sustain high-level support for the SFTAS programme, promote an incentivised environment for participating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as State officials. They were also advised to leverage existing technical assistance on the programme and implement in full and not in part the SFTAS verification protocols for the annual eligibility criteria and Disbursement Linked Results (DLRs).

16. On the operations of SFTAS, the Governor of Edo State, H.E Godwin Obaseki called on members to further strengthen the institutional capacity of the NGF Secretariat to become a stronger resource and policy centre for the provision of technical assistance to States.

17. The Chairman formally informed members of the death of the father of their colleague, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and prayed for the family and the people of Delta State. Members offered their sincere condolence and noted the decision of the Okowa family to opt for a quiet private burial this month, while a Celebration of Life event will be held on August 21, 2021.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum 10th February 2021

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.

READ ALSO: Funke Akindele, Husband Plead Guilty To Social Distancing Violation

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.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Cabinet Is ‘Heavily Political,’ Says Adebajo

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.”