Akwa Ibom Govt. Commends Niger Delta Leaders

Gov. Emmanuel Promises More Support For Akwa-Ibom Youths
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has commended the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) for spearheading a national discourse on issues of neglect, underdevelopment, restiveness and environmental despoliation which have been the lot of the Niger Delta region to enable the present administration proffer solutions.

Governor Emmanuel gave the commendation at the General Assembly of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) held in Uyo, the state capital.

He said, “The forum which comprises of statesmen and resourceful women, represent the voice of the Niger Delta people in the articulation of issues and concerns of the region, to ensure the realization and implementation of the 16 point agenda which the forum had earlier agreed with the Federal Government.

“This August, eminent group of leaders gathered to bring the issues and concerns of the region to the Nigerian State with a view to ensuring that the 16 Point Agenda that was earlier agreed upon will be met and implemented by the Nigerian Government”.

The Governor pointed out that Niger Delta which is the economic life wire of the nation has not received the corresponding prosperity it has brought to the Nigerian State, adding that, neglect, despoliation of the environment, disruption of aquatic life and high handed military operations have been the reward for the blessing nature which was generously given to the region.

Governor Emmanuel noted that the tour of Niger Delta region undertaken by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the Ogoni cleanup was aimed at addressing the problem of the region and enlisted the support of all to enable the Federal government achieve its goal.

“The tour of the region undertaken by the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to our region deserves our commendation.

“I know and believe that President Mohammadu Buhari genuinely wants to address the problems of the area once and for all, and he deserves our support”, the governor stated.

He further emphasized the need for Niger Delta region to collaborate in the establishment of Petrochemical Industries and embark on ventures that could generate income to sustain the region.

Earlier, the Coordinator, Local Organizing Committee, Uyo Chapter of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Mr Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, identified dialogue as key to sustainable peace, development and security in the Niger Delta region.

He advised youths to refrain from using violence to register their grievance and applauded Governor Emmanuel for assisting the forum to achieve its goals.

In a welcome address, the leader and Convener of the Forum, Mr Edwin Clark, stated that, “The gathering was necessitated by the need to appraise activities of PANDEF and deliberate on issues affecting the Niger Delta region and the country at large”.

He emphasized that the issue of restructuring was the panacea to the problems of the country and commended the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo, for visiting the Niger Delta states to get a firsthand information on the deplorable state of the area.

Mr Clark used the occasion to commend President Buhari for taking steps to address issues which are detrimental to the region saying that the gesture would foster peace, development and unity in the country.

Herdsmen Invade Obio Usiere Community In Cross River

Herdsmen Kill One, Injure Three In Adamawa StateSuspected Herdsmen have invaded Obio Usiere community in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River state.

One person was reportedly killed while several other persons are missing including children.

The community is still reeling from the effects of the recent attack on their community by the Fulani herdsmen.

Meanwhile, residents of the community said over 100 Fulani Herdsmen invaded the community.

They are appealing to the Federal Government to beef up security in the country.

According to Channels Television correspondent who visited the community reports that the people are living in fear of another invasion by the herdsmen.

ASUU Owerri Zone Demands Immediate Payment Of Emoluments

ASUU, JAMB Act, amendment Executive members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Owerri Zone, comprising five universities in Anambra, Imo, and Abia states, have raised their voices against the persistent shortfalls in payment of their emoluments by the Federal and State Governments.

In a press briefing in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the representative of the Zonal Coordinator and Chairperson of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Mr Uzochukwu Onyebinama, noted that the ASUU has been battling this issue since 2015.

While highlighting the various amounts owed the universities in the region, Mr Onyebinama stated that the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, had been experiencing steady shortfalls in payment and as at January 2017 it had amounted to over 88 million Naira and hit 170 million Naira in February.

That of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri, as at February 2017 was put at 157 million Naira, while the situation at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture had increased to 136 million Naira.

Mr Onyebinama then stated that they were not demanding new salaries, rather, they were demanding what was legitimately theirs.

He maintained that the issue was capable of truncating the smooth running of programmes in universities across the country.

He therefore demanded an immediate payment of all emoluments, saying “We unequivocally demand the immediate release of payment of our entire outstanding salaries and remittance of all authorized deductions in order to avert the impending industrial disharmony in our universities”.

Keep Faith, President Buhari Will Take Us To Promised Land – Adesina

Femi Adesina, 5,000 nairaThe Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has urged Nigerians to keep faith with the current administration’s commitment to take “Nigeria to the promised land.”

He said President Muhammadu Buhari is fulfilling his campaign promises to Nigerians, particularly in stimulating the economy for job creation, anti-corruption campaign and security of lives and property.

He made the statement while addressing a delegation of Northern Youths Initiative for Peace and Good Governance on Tuesday in Abuja.

“I am glad that majority of Nigerians are still with President Buhari.

“The excitement and jubilation, around the country, that greeted his return to Nigeria recently is a clear testimony of the love, confidence and belief, which Nigerians have in his leadership.

“We are witnessing a positive turn around in the economy, agriculture, the fight against corruption, job creation and I am very confident that President Buhari will lead Nigeria to the Promised Land before the mandate given to him by Nigerians lapses in 2019,” Adesina said.

The Special Adviser, who received the Sardauna Leadership Award, “Icon of Societal Transformation”, thanked the Group for the honour, noting that he was motivated to serve in government because of the personality and integrity of the President.

In his remarks, the President of the Northern Youths Initiative, Comrade Muhammadu Abubakar, described Adesina as an exemplary leader.

“You are a Goldfish that has no hiding place.

“We northern youths, under the aegis of Northern Youth Initiative for Peace and Good Governance, honour you as Garkuwan Matasan Arewa (The shield of Northern Youths), for your invaluable contribution to the country and inspiring role to the upcoming generation,” he added.

Buhari Condemns Killings Across Nigeria

Southern Kaduna: President Buhari Orders Strong ActionNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has condoled with the government and people of Benue state on the recent attack on a market in Zaki Biam by gunmen which resulted in the loss of lives.

This was revealed on Tuesday, March 21, in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“The President condemns the wicked attack and directs security agencies to begin immediate investigation with a view to bring the perpetrators of the act to book.”

President Buhari, while sympathising with those who lost their loved ones, also prayed that God comforts the grieving families and grants the souls of the victims eternal rest.

Furthermore, he condemned the wanton killings in other parts of the country and challenged security and law enforcement agencies to rise to the occasion and bring the attacks to an end.

“We must condemn inhuman and unnecessary shedding of human blood all over the country.

“We seem to have lost value for human life, which is sacred. Man is the glory of God’s creation and nobody has the right to unjustly and unlawfully take another person’s life in a reckless manner”, the President said.

He enjoined all citizens to learn to live together in peace and brotherhood and not allow little misunderstandings to degenerate into heartless acts capable of straining the bonds of nationhood.

Ogun Govt. To Plant 1.5 Million Trees Across Forest Reserves

Ogun, NLC, TUCThe Ogun state government said it is planting about 1.5million trees in 2017.

This is to regenerate seven of its depleted forest reserves, which have been degraded to about 5% of their original capacity by activities of illegal timber operators across its forest in the state.

This disclosure was made by the State Commissioner for Forestry, Mr. Kola Lawal, during the International Day of Forestry with the theme ” Forests Energy” held in Abeokuta, the state capital.

The Commissioner said that the state government is reviewing its various laws on forestry to strengthen existing laws, and recommend stricter punishment for illegal operators across the state.

”We have nine forest reserves in Ogun state, seven out of the nine have been degraded to about 5% of their original capacity but the state government under Governor Ibikunle Amosun, has done a lot in its afforestation programme, for example, in 2016 we planted 500,000 seedlings, this year (2017) we are planning to plant 1.5 million seedlings so that we can regenerate our forest reserves”.

”We know the government alone cannot do it, that is why we are frightening our relationship with private investors and private sectors”, he said.

The Commissioner further said: ”The current forestry laws in place was last reviewed in 2006 but because of the governor’s mission to rebuild the state, we are reviewing the existing laws because they can no longer stand the challenges of the current time, this you are going to see in the next couple of months when the reviewed laws are going to be presented to the State House of Assembly for passage”

” Most of the laws are obsolete, that is why we need to have a look at them with a view of reviewing them, there are some without punitive measures which allow these people to do whatever they like in the reserves, we know we should strengthen and enhance the law to be able to arrest the situation” he concluded.

Gov. Fayose Declares Support For LGs’ Autonomy

Ayodele Fayose, Ali Modu Sheriff, PDP, Ahmed MakarfiThe Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Monday, declared his support for total autonomy of the third tier of government, calling on other governors to follow same in bringing development to the grassroots.

The Governor also pardoned a local government staff and Deputy President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Ekiti State, O.B. Olatunde, who was dismissed from service for alleged rudeness to the governor over salary crisis.

The affected LG staff was alleged to have rudely addressed the Governor when a directive was given on how certain money should be disbursed being recommended by the State Joint Allocation Committee.

Fayose gave the indication after meeting with the NULGE’s reconciliation delegation led by its National President, Ibrahim Khaleel, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, to appeal to the Governor to rescind his pronouncement on the erring staff.

Fayose, while briefing the delegation said: “There should be a government that the people at the grassroots can refer to as their own. When you cede the LGs to the people, then nobody can blame a governor for the inefficiency at that level.

“I want to appeal to my colleagues to embrace total autonomy to all the 774 LGs in this country”, he said.

On the punishment meted out to the Deputy President, Fayose said: “I have decided to shift ground on this matter, after the recommendation of the committee because of the swift way Mr. Khaleel handled the matter. Unionism is not always about confrontation, but about respect and reconciliation”.

“I want to commend the NULGE delegation for the show of solidarity and I want to tell you that rather than dismissal, the government will look for alternative punishment to serve”.

Mr. Khaleel, who described Fayose as the “voice of the voiceless”, said: “I decided to honour Governor Fayose because I saw him as part of this fold, He is a comrade governor because he represents the voice of the voiceless in Nigeria.

“In the recent time, Governor Fayose has been speaking for the commoners. He has been fighting their courses and he deserves our respect. I want to thank the governor for this mutual respect and I want to assure you that your relationship with the LG staff will remain intact’.

SERAP Calls On FG To Investigate Amnesty International Office Attack

Alleged Corruption: SERAP Writes Buhari Over SGF's CaseThe Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to urgently instruct appropriate authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack on the Amnesty International office in Nigeria, and ensure the safety and security of its staff.

It would be recalled that a group of protesters on Monday, barricaded the Abuja office of Amnesty International and asked the international organisation to quit Nigeria within 24 hours.

In a statement signed on Tuesday, by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organization called on Buhari and Osinbajo to “Act swiftly to end the attack, intimidation, harassment and threats against Amnesty International Office in Nigeria and its staff.

“Any failure to hold to account those who may be responsible will invariably increase the vulnerability of civil society in the country, and strengthen the perception that attacks against the Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) and the human rights workers can happen with impunity.”

“If the Buhari government does not take all necessary measures to immediately end the mob attack on Amnesty International or any other civil society group for that matter, SERAP will be compelled to take appropriate legal action nationally and internationally including approaching the United Nation (UN) Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders for remedy.

“SERAP will continue to work to challenge any attempt to restrict, silence or eliminate the voices of credible civil society in the country.

“We urge the presidency to speak out strongly against intimidation and harassment of Amnesty International office in Nigeria and its staff.

“Investigating the attacks against naming and shaming the sponsors and bringing them to justice will send a powerful message of protection and support to civil society groups who stand up to speak truth to power.

“Any attack on Amnesty International office in Nigeria or harassment and intimidation of its staff members is an assault on the entire human rights community in the country.

“This government has an obligation to support and protect civil society groups and human rights defenders against violence and sponsored attacks.

“Nigeria is a democratic society and the government can’t just sit back and watch reprisals, threats and increasing hostility to Amnesty International in particular and the NGO community in general.

“Under the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and International Human Rights Law, everyone whose rights are violated are entitled to a right to an effective remedy.

“Exposing human rights violations and seeking redress for them is largely dependent on the degree of security enjoyed by civil society groups and human rights defenders.

“Protecting NGOs against sponsored attacks and ending impunity for such attacks is therefore a critical element in the promotion and protection of human rights in this country.

“While some may not like to hear these things Amnesty International has said, this in no way justifies this kind of mob attack on its office and staff members.

“The authorities should show its commitment in protecting the right to freedom of expression and guarantee conditions for civil society to flourish.”