Substandard electric cables running into millions of Naira have been confiscated by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Plateau State, north central region of Nigeria.
Nine of the shops selling the fake electrical products were also sealed.
Several rolls of electrical cables were tested during the operation that lasted for several hours with security men at hand to provide security.
Although there was not much resistance from the shop owners while the operation lasted, some of them expressed displeasure with government’s approach to the raid.
Some have suggested that more efforts should be geared towards enlightening the public and consumers on ways of identifying such fake and substandard products which will save lots of lives from the hazards of such products.
The Plateau State head of the SON, Musa George, said that the raid on the electrical shops selling fake and substandard cables to unsuspecting members of the public is to ensure that only goods that meet the requirements of relevant Nigerian industrial standards are in the market.
He revealed that the operation will also be extended to other sectors of the economy.
The Presidency says that about 70 per cent of Nigerians surveyed, approve of President Muhammadu Buhari’s job performance in June 2015 (first 30 days in office).
On the other hand, a total of 12 per cent of the respondents disapproved of his job performance, whereas, 18 per cent of the respondents were neutral as they neither approved nor disapproved of the President’s job performance.
The result of the poll conducted by the NOI which is affiliated to Gallup, showed that the north-east, north-central and north-west recorded the highest approval percentages. South-east and south-south recorded the lowest.
The result of the polls made available to State House correspondents by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garuba Shehu, said that 12 per cent of respondents disapproved of his performance over 30 days because it is too early to evaluate him.
Respondents mentioned reasons for approving the President’s performance after 30 days in office, stating that security has improved (20 per cent), he has good intentions and he is good so far (16 per cent), and stability of electricity (15 per cent) among others.
In addition, the deteriorating power situation in the country seemed to have improved by a whopping 27 points up to 44 per cent (June 2015) from 17 per cent (May 2015) as Nigerians claimed to have experienced more improvement in the month of June 2015.
By contrast, only 17 per cent of respondents acknowledged that there is no improvement while 22 per cent stated that there is no difference at all in power supply in June 2015.
The race for Senate leadership is getting more interesting as people from different groups and religious affiliations offer prayers to God, to ensure the victory and emergence of Dr Bukola Saraki as the next Senate President.
While the All Progressives Congress (APC) championed the cause, Dr Saraki has also said that he is hopeful of becoming the next Senate President.
The prayer session was started by the Kwara South chapter of the APC where representatives from seven local governments converged at Ajjase Ipo, the headquarters of Irepodun Local Government to seek the blessings of God for the emergence of Dr. Saraki as the President.
The State Chairman of the party, Ishola Balogun Fulani, noted that the Senator is qualified to hold the position, having served as the Chairman of the Governors Forum meritoriously.
He also appealed to the party leadership to zone the post to North Central and other Senators to support Saraki for the coveted post.
Pastor Bisi Oyewo, who led the Christians, expressed belief that Dr. Saraki has contributed immensely to the growth and success of the party and ought to be rewarded with the post of the Senate President.
While playing host to traditional rulers from Kwara Central which comprises of Magajis and Alanguas, the State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who spoke in Yoruba, urged the royal fathers to intensify their prayers for Saraki’s emergence as the President of the Senate.
A Fellow of the Chattered Institute of Personnel Management, Ibrahim Abdullahi, has suggested that ahead of the governorship and state assembly elections on April 11, Nigeria must build on the success of its presidential election by paying special attention to some trouble spots judging by the result of the March 28 election.
Mr Abdullahi, who is also the Vice Chairman, Mediation and Conflict Resolution Committee of the institute, was speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“I think the most important issue people should ruminate on or talk about and work upon is to build on the success we have achieved during the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Kudos to the President-elect, President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Peace Committee, for the wonderful job they have done,” he said.
Explaining further his suggestion, Mr Abdullahi stated that crisis could arise in 18 states in the federation. He named Lagos, Osun and Ondo as the states security agencies have to put under close watch in the South-West region.
He said that issues could arise during Osun State House of Assembly election because the sitting governor is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state are threatening to unseat the APC members of the House.
Speaking about Lagos State, Mr Abdullahi said that the votes the PDP got during the presidential poll was a surprise to many, especially the ruling APC and they would be working hard to prevent another close contest in the governorship election.
In Ondo State however, he explained that the APC sees the PDP Governor’s inability to deliver the mandate of his party during the presidential poll as an opportunity to take over, which they are threatening to.
He added that this is further made worse by the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Ali Olanusi, who has defected to APC.
Mr Abdullahi also named Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi states in the South-East.
He cited the frosty relationship between the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, and the PDP following the last election as well as allegations in Ebonyi State that their PDP Governor sponsored a candidate of the Labour Party during the National Assembly elections.
Other states mentioned are Rivers and Edo states in the South-South region; and Kogi, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Niger, North East, Adamawa, Bauchi and Taraba in the North Central.
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, is insisting that elections should be conducted in the north east despite threats of insurgency.
He said that not conducting the exercise in the troubled zone would mean disenfranchising a huge population of Nigerians.
He also took a swipe on the President and the armed forces for the length of time expended in fighting Boko Haram fighters.
Atiku Abubakar told Channels Television correspondent, Paul Nwachukwu, that the relative peace being enjoyed now would again be broken if concerted efforts are not taken to reverse the trend.
Boko Haram has reportedly killed more than 5,000 civilians between July 2009 and June 2014, including at least 2,000 in the first half of 2014, in attacks occurring mainly in north-east, north-central and central states of the country.
A delegate at the National Conference, Goddy Uwazurike, on Wednesday, said the National Conference was unable to achieve desired results on the issue of derivation, because they had fallen into a trap, set by some members.
Criticisms for the Conference seemed to have increased following a major disagreement which ensued over the issue of derivation and resource sharing/control. Many analysts had said this was the crux of the matter as it was perceived as the root of major other national issues including unemployment, insurgency, etc.
However, Uwazurike spoke in defence of the Conference. “We fell into a trap,” he said.
“Some people came forward and said instead of us standing up here to argue and debate, why don’t we have this small group that will negotiate and see how we can reach agreement… (that was the trap) and we said, fine, let there be no acrimony.
“They came back, the man who was reading what was supposed to be the recommendation, from what we heard, read what was not the recommendation.
“That thing shocked many people. The recommendation was simple. 18 percent derivation, 5 percent would come from the Federation Account for the maintenance of areas damaged by terrorism and so on, beginning with North East.
“It’s a national fund, but the man went and said beginning with North East, North West, North Central and the rest of the country. Then some of them said, no we don’t even want the rest of the country; it’s only for us.
Asked why appropriate changes were not made upon discovery of the error, Uwazurike, explained that the man in question called in sick after he was told to make corrections, after which a larger committee took over “which was still another trap. So by the time we all came back to sit down, the tension was already high”.
He, however, noted that a decision was reached to adopt the report by the committee, which stated that status quo should be maintained.
Speaking on the most critical breakthrough of the Conference, Uwazurike noted that Conference recommended that the creation, management, funding of the local government should be the business of the State government, although the LGs would be fully autonomous.
The recommendation also states that State Finance Committees should be set up the same way the FAAC has an Allocation Committee. This Committee will be in charge of disbursing money to the local governments.
“Any money coming from the States should be handled by the local government directly, provided it is an elected local government and provided the governor has no power to sack such a person, the House of Assembly has no such powers to sack such a person.”
“The second breakthrough we have is that any state that desires State Police should go ahead and get one, provided they can fund it.
State Police will only handle state matters including murder, stealing, road network and so on, while Federal Police will handle bank fraud, treason and so on.
National Assembly Can’t Achieve What National Conference Has
Uwazurike, also commended the achievements of the Conference thus far, noting that the National Assembly cannot achieve such, as it is “bound by too many rules”.
Mr Uwazurike, a part of the sub-committee on judiciary matters, reacted to comments – in the public domain, as well as those by some delegates – describing the entire process as a failed effort, based on the assumption that some concrete recommendations were not made.
“Opinion is free and you are free to say anything”, Uwazurike said, noting that those who consider the Conference a failure must be “living in the moon” because delegates took pains to make recommendations.
“We have taken steps. We made painstaking efforts, line by line, to discuss national issues; whether is it executive, whether it is judicial, whether it is legislative. We took pains”.
Although some delegates have also publicly berated the effort, Uwazurike insisted that such delegates were “visiting delegates” and not “regular delegates”.
A Delegate at the National Conference holding Nigeria, Wale Oshun, on Friday explained the why delegates at the National Conference are at logger heads over the resource control formula to adopt.
Appearing as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Oshun noted that the rowdy session witnessed on Thursday was necessary as “there is no way (that) an issue of this nature will be discussed and will not have a lot of emotions”. According to him, the bone of contention was money.
While explaining the situation, Oshun said the Oil producing States have insisted on a 50 per cent derivation as a first line charge on the Federation Account, however, some delegates advocated that the increase should be installmental in order to cushion the effect on other States which had always depended on oil revenue.
Hence, a kick-off percentage of 21 to 25 was proposed. However, some delegates from the North insisted that the status quo (13 per cent) be maintained.
Further deliberations led to several factions proposing different percentages including, 15, 18 and 21.
“At some point in time, many of us felt that 18 would be a fair game,” Oshun said, noting that delegates were also considering setting aside five per cent of the oil revenue to develop mineral resources in all States of the Federation.
Oshun admitted that if the problem of resource control was solved, 80 per cent of the nation’s problems, including unemployment, insurgency, would have been solved.
Trap Of Sharing Mentality
However, he maintained that complications arose when some delegates from the North came in “with a proposal to have five per cent set aside as what they call a crisis management fund, that would be given directly to the North East, North central and maybe parts of the North West, because of the on-going insurrection.
This fund, would be in addition to funds already set aside by the Federal Government to manage crisis in parts of the country.
He highlighted that Nigeria had become over dependent on oil revenue and had hence “fallen into a trap of a sharing mentality” and “without generating income, every part of the country wants a share of what does not belong to them”.
He explained that the Niger Deltans, whose land oil is extracted from, have endured the adverse effect of the exercise, including environmental damages, unsatisfactory social development while other parts of the country claimed the deposit belonged to everyone and should be shared amongst all.
In Oshun’s opinion, the solution to the problem is for all States to have total control on all resources.
“This country, in so many diverse ways is blessed. I am told that Nasarawa State alone sits atop of more than 33 minerals and each one of them is a revenue generator.”
He opined that the resources were left untapped, because “our leaders are used to the cheap way out of gathering once a month, talking about FAAC, about sharing oil money”.
This trend, Oshun maintained “creates its own difficulty because there are many missing gaps. There’s this sense of right that each one of us, whether from Lagos to Ogun, Sokoto and to Borno State, feel that we are entitled to”.
He noted that the issues at stake were much more complex, hence the emotional outbursts may continue.
The National Conference delegates are expected to reconvene on Monday and the the issue is also expected to top discussions. It is hoped that the issue would be resolved to enable the conference, expected to end in July, wind down.
Tempers flared at the National Conference on Thursday as it had to adjourn abruptly following sharp division among delegates on critical issues of revenue sharing formula from the federation account and derivation principle.
Delegates had gathered in plenary for the third day in a row, hoping that a resolution was in the offing on the contentious issues of revenue sharing formula and the derivation principle.
Some of the delegates spoke of their expectation. Delegate of the National Youth Organisation, Abdullahi Abdulmajeed, said, “I am optimistic that that the mind set of statesmen, that patriotic intent, the spirit of give and take and the urge to empathise with each other will prevail and eventually we will be able to move over this issue without having to cast a single ballot.”
Another delegate, Adenike Akande, said, “18% I think is reasonable. The status quo was supposed to be 13% so I’m expecting that the 18% would go through today.”
Emotions, however, ran high as delegates exchanged words in anger over the issues and the inability of the conference to agree on the immediate functions of a proposed National Intervention Fund.
The conference adjourned for an hour to try to resolve the impasse and the break allowed some delegates to speak candidly to each other and when conference resumed, some other amendments were taken as the house waited for the committee to return with an agreement.
When they eventually came in, it was obvious that all was not resolved; this led to another break in proceeding.
The Conference had to adjourn for the day when it became obvious that an agreement would not be reached.
It became clear that there would be different meetings between different groups of delegates over the weekend. What is not clear is if these issues would be resolved or this would be the end of the road for the conference.
The Middle Belt Forum has expressed hope in the potentials of the proposed National Conference as it has said that the Conference would serve as an avenue for national reconciliation, restoration of trust and rededication to the onerous task of accelerated national development.
Speaking during the visit of the President Goodluck Jonathan constituted advisory committee to Jos in the North Central region of the country, the Chairman of the Forum, Professor Jerry Gana, on behalf of the group proposed an agenda on what should be discussed, the structure, time frame as well as legal basis for the acceptability of the proposed conference.
As part of its mandate, the Committee, led by its chairman, Senator Femi Okurounmu, visited the zone as part of its efforts in consulting with Nigerians on what they want concerning the conference agenda, selection of delegates, length of the conference and its legal basis as well as recommendations on how the findings can be adopted into the constitution.
The meeting, which held at the Eliel Centre, Jos, the Plateau state capital, was attended by political leaders, women groups, non-government organisations, student groups and several cultural and ethnic groups.
At the forum, Nigerians were urged to give the proposed national conference every support it requires so as to serve as an avenue for national reconciliation, restoration of trust and rededication to the onerous task of accelerated national development.
The Committee also visited the Gbong Gwom, Jos, His Majesty, Da Gynag Buba as well as the state governor, Jonah Jang who solicited for the cooperation of the national assembly on the proposed conference.