South-South, South-East Governors Meet In Enugu

Governors of states in the South-South and South-East met on Saturday in Enugu.

The meeting had in attendance, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; his counterpart from Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

Others were the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade.

Also at the meeting is the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and the President of the Ohanaeze Nd’igbo, John Nwodo.

Read Also: South-East Governors Condemn Hate Speeches

Although the outcome of the meeting is still being expected, there are very strong indications that the meeting will continue its discussion on the restructuring of Nigeria, and the need for the practice of true federalism, which is what was discussed at their previous meeting, also in Enugu.

The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, and his counterpart from Bayelsa, were, however, absent from the meeting.

Also absent was the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano.

The host governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, in his opening remarks told the governors that there is the need for inter-regional cooperation saying it would help solve developmental issues accord the region.

Ugwuanyi also said that issues like road infrastructure and security will need inter-governmental synergy to solve them rather living for individual states.

Agitations For Secession, Ultimatum To Igbos Unconstitutional – Osinbajo

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said the agitation for secession by groups in the South East and the ultimatum giving to Igbos to leave the North by Northern groups are in violation of Nigeria’s Constitution.

Professor Osinbajo said this on Sunday when he met with traditional rulers from the South East in continuation of his consultations with leaders of the North and South East following increased tension in both regions.

While assuring the traditional rulers that the Federal Government remained committed to the unity of the country, Osinbajo warned that it would be wrong to for people to threaten to disobey laws or the unity of the nation as a result of their grievances.

He also warned that the Federal Government would deal decisively with those who put the unity of the country at risk.

He said, “The manner of those agitations, the method and objectives are wrong, unlawful and in violation of the laws of Nigeria and the Constitution of Nigeria. I want to repeat that both the agitations for secession and the ultimatum to leave the Northern states are wrong and a violation of our Constitution.

“Our Constitution says in Section 2 that Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that is the law of our country.

“Let us not be in any doubt about the fact that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that our country remains united.

“And that anyone who violates the law in the manner such as we are seeing all over the place will be met with the full force of the law.”

Although he described the agitations as unlawful, the Acting President said the nation “must be sensitive to the reasons why there are agitations by the various young men and in fact several others across the various zones of this country”.

Noting that much of the agitations had to do with perceived marginalisation, he said, “I want to say the only way to make things right is to do things right. And it will be wrong of us to approach even our grievances by threatening to disobey the laws or by threatening the integrity of our nation.”

According to Professor Osinbajo, keeping the country united is vital because enough blood has been spilt by many and thousands of lives lost for that purpose.

“Many have paid for the unity of this country with their lives and it will be wrong of us as men and women of goodwill in this generation to toy with those sacrifices that have been made,” he said.

“This is the reason why men and women of goodwill in our generation must not tolerate any tendency that drags us in the direction of yet another civil conflict.”

He assured the traditional rulers that the Federal Government is committed to listening “to all the reasons, the various suggestions, the various agitations, and the reasons for those agitations and to ensure that we do justice by all persons regardless of where you are from in this country”.

“That is the commitment of Federal Government which I am able to make to you today,” he added.

Pensioners Verification Resumes In Bayelsa January 16

Pensioners Verification Resumes In Bayelsa January 16The federal government has revealed that it is set to kick-start the next phase of civil service Pensioners Verification and Biometric exercise in Bayelsa state.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Barr Sharon Ikeazor.

The statement indicated that the verification exercise would take place in Yenagoa to cover pensioners for Bayelsa on January 16, 2017.

PTAD had earlier concluded verification of civil service pensioners from the North-West and South-East zones in the country in 2015.

As a follow up, pensioners in the North East states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states were recently verified between November 28 and December 6, 2016.

“Apart from identifying ghost pensioners and putting a stop to fraudulent payments, the exercise facilitated the restoration of monthly pension payments to genuine pensioners previously removed from the payroll, including those who had never been paid any pension or gratuity.

“A total of 4,438 pensioners who were verified in the North West and South East who were hitherto not receiving their pension were rolled into November, 2016, and their pension and arrears paid.”

The statement indicated that pensioners are expected to come along with the original and photocopies of their relevant retirement credentials for the upcoming exercise as will be published in national dailies and announced on television and radio.

Why Buhari Did Not Attend South East Economic And Security Summit

South-East Economic and Security SummitThe Presidency has denied reports that President Muhammadu Buhari snubbed the recent South-East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu.

His Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu on Friday, released a statement he described as the accurate account, contrary to media reports alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari deliberately ignored the event.

“The President was presented with a request to attend the Economic and Security Summit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

“The President happily accepted. The visit to Enugu was scheduled for Thursday 22nd as can be found on the weekly programme.

“After this was done, some other stakeholders from the South East came and advised him to not go in view of the closeness of the date to Christmas; that given the sensitivity of the period to the people, a presidential visit may come with overexertion and possibly, be disruptive of Christmas.

“In view of this, President Buhari requested that the event be pushed forward to January, 2017. Given his nature, he did not insist. He said if the change of date is not possible, then the event can go on without him. That is what the organizers chose to do.

“The President did not, and he absolutely has no reason to snub anyone,” Mr Shehu stated.

Forget About Biafra, Buhari Urges Youths From South-East

Biafra, NYSC, South east, Nigerian YouthPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Daura called on Nigerian youths, particularly those from the South-East, to take their minds off the actualization of Biafra and promote national unity.

Receiving over 100 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members serving in Daura local government area, in his residence, President Buhari pledged his unalloyed commitment to the unity and prosperity of Nigeria.

He urged them to remain focused in life, pursue their dreams and reject those fanning embers of discord and disintegration of Nigeria.

Speaking specifically to corps members from the South Eastern states, the President said: “Tell your colleagues who want Biafra to forget about it.”

Biafra, NYSC, South east, Nigerian Youth

“As a military commander, I walked from Degem, a border town between the north and the east, to the border between Cameroons and Nigeria.

“I walked on my foot for most of the 30 months that we fought the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, in which at least two million Nigerians were killed.

“We were made by our leaders to go and fight Biafra not because of money or oil, because oil was not critical factor then, but because of one Nigeria.

“So if leaderships at various levels failed, it was not the fault of the rest of Nigerians who have no quarrel with one another.

“So please tell your colleagues that we must be together to build this country. It is big enough for us and potentially big enough in terms of resources.

“Those who work hard will earn a respectable living. I have seen this country, I fought for this country and I will continue to work for the unity of this country,” the President said.

Biafra, NYSC, Southeast Youth

The President, who specially recognised corps members from the Niger Delta and South-Eastern states serving in Daura, praised the vision of former President Yakubu Gowon in setting up the scheme in 1973.

The President said that the scheme has creditably promoted national unity and cohesion by exposing young people to the uniqueness and cultural diversity of Nigeria.

“I asked for those from the other extreme of Nigeria because I very much appreciate the NYSC scheme and whenever I see General Gowon, I always thank him for that.”

In his remarks, Mr Egbewumi Adebolu, the Corps Liaison Officer in Daura, thanked the President for the honour of receiving them and making their stay in Daura memorable.

He said the youths strongly believed in the programme of the President to reduce unemployment and create jobs for more Nigerians.

Adebolu thanked the President for his personal gifts of cows, bags of rice and cash to corps members in the community for Salah celebration.

FG Holds Southeast Town Hall Meeting In Enugu

town hallThe South East Zonal town hall meeting is currently underway at the Nike Lake Resort in Enugu, the Enugu State capital.

It is a continuation of the government’s regional town hall meetings organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, to inform Nigerians about the developmental plans of the current administration.

Present at the meeting are the Ministers of Information, Health, Labour, Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Petroleum.

Also in attendance are the State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

This is the fifth in the series of the town hall meetings planned to hold in all the geopolitical zones of the country.

According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, the effort is to bridge the communication gap between government and the citizens.

South-south, South-east Lawmakers Oppose Grazing Bill

Lawmakers, Grazing BillLawmakers in Nigeria’s South-south and South-east geo-political zones have opposed the proposed grazing bill of the federal government.

The legislators also urge their counterparts at the National Assembly to kick against the bill, saying it is not in the interest of the nation’s unity.

The opinions were formed when they converged at Owerri, the Imo State capital, south-east Nigeria for the first parliamentary session of South-south and South-east State Assemblies to discuss the issues bothering on the proposed grazing bill as well as issues of militancy and bombings in the Niger Delta.

In his welcome address, the host and Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Acho Ihim, hinted that the South-south and the South-east states have many things in common in the region, not leaving out challenges,stressing the need for the first joint parliamentary session to bid a way forward in addressing their challenges.

Reacting to the grazing reserve proposals and activities of herdsmen in the geo-political zones, a lawmaker from Abia moved a motion on the position of legislators in both region.

After much deliberations and contributions, the legislators opposed the grazing bill, urging all Assemblies in the region to pass bills restricting cattle rearing and prohibit grazing of cattle from one location to another.

They insisted that the proposed bill to establish and control grazing routes and reserves should be rejected.

After the session, some of the lawmakers hinted that the theme of their gathering would go a long way to unite the South-south and South-east zones, as well as Nigeria in general.

In attendance were the Speakers from Ebonyi, Delta, Cross River, Imo, Edo, Bayelsa, and Abia states while Deputy Speakers from Akwa Ibom, Anambra and Enugu states represented their speaker amidst a large number of legislators from the the two zones.

Customs Impounds Vehicles, Goods Worth 545Million Naira

customsThe Federal Operations Unit Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service has impounded contraband with total duty paid value of five hundred and forty five (545) Million naira.

These goods ranging from vehicles, second hand clothing, school bags, expired bags of rice and cartons of engine oil.

While conducting journalists round the seizures at the Abia/Imo command in Owerri the Imo state capital, the Area Comptroller of the FOU Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service Mr Victor Dimka says the seizures were made within 7 days of intense operation by officers of the command in 11 states of the South-South and South-East under the zone.

He said the officers were motivated by the marching orders from the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service to ensure that more revenue is being generated for the federal government, he said the officers of the command will stop at nothing until smuggling is brought to its barest minimal.

The command says it has arrested 10 suspects who are already in custody to be charged to court as investigation has commenced.

 

South-east Traders Protest Boko Haram Prisoners’ Stay

south-east- traders-on- boko haramTraders in Nigeria’s South-east have shut down markets in Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi States in protest of the continued stay of the dreaded  Boko Haram prisoners in the region.

The protest is coming despite the assurance by the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, after a security meeting with a seven-man delegation from the National Security Adviser, that the 47 Boko Haram detainees at Ekwulobia prison will be moved out of the state soon.

The traders assembled at Ekwulobia to register their resentment against the prisoners through the National President of the South-east Traders Association, Mr Okwudili Ezenwankwo.

Mr Ezenwankwo said that the presence of the Boko Haram prisoners was a security threat to the region which had been battling kidnapping cases.

The traders further stressed that they have never taken any kidnap suspect to the north for trial. He, however, wondered why the insurgents should be brought down to the east where no trial or any form of prosecution would be conducted.

While the outcry went on, the academia, students and pupils of Aguata extraction, gathered at Ekwulobia Stadium to assert that all the challenges of life could only be addressed through education which they said, was the only tool for competition globally.

The coordinator of Aguata Academic Competition, Mr Bart Nwibe, said that good education would sharpen and develop the potentials of youth to get to a desired level of excellence rather than illiteracy which would expose them to vices.

The traditional ruler of Akpo community, HRH Jonathan Okpalaezecha summed up the event, maintaining that competition in education would help youths to become achievers as well as help shape their lives.

Nigeria Customs Impound Goods Worth N250m

customsThe Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C Owerri, the Imo State capital, has impounded various contraband goods.

The goods include fake human and veterinary drugs, vehicles, second hand clothing, expired vehicle tyres, furniture and bags of rice.

While conducting newsmen round the seizures, the Area Comptroller of the FOU Zone C, Mr Victor Dimka, said that the seizures were made by his men after tip off by their strategic partners in the zone, consisting of all the South-South and South-East states.

Mr Dimka said that the total cumulative duty paid value for all the seizures is over 250 million naira.

Director of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Imo State, David West, who received the fake drugs from the Customs on behalf of the DG of NAFDAC, advised consumers to be conscious of the products they consume and report any issue relating to fake products in the market.

Impounded goods include over 1700 cartoons of fake and unregistered human and veterinary drugs with cumulative duty paid value of 141 million naira, 182 impounded vehicles, 160 bales of second hand clothing, 192 pieces of used vehicle tyres, furniture and bags of imported rice.

North-east Seeks Leadership Of National Assembly

NASS-on-zoning principal officialCivil society organisations in Nigeria have joined the debate on the zoning arrangement of National Assembly principal officers, demanding that it should be zoned to the north-east.

At a news conference in Abuja, on Wednesday, the coordinator of the Justice and Development Consultative Forum, Mr Elisha Ishaku, said the north-east deserved the position of the Senate president, having delivered the second highest number of votes for the party.

Mr Elisha argued that the north-east had been marginalised in the political equation in the country since the inception of democracy.

At a separate news conference, the coalition of Buhari-Osinbajo campaign movement argued that the zone deserves the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

On Monday, the Deputy Senate President urged the incoming administration to learn from the mistakes of previous governments and avoid imposing principal officers on the National Assembly.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu gave the warning at the opening of an induction seminar for incoming legislators held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He urged the presidency to allow federal lawmakers choose their presiding officers.

Re-strategize Rather Than Fizzle Out, Donald Duke Urges PDP

donald dukeA former governor of Cross River State and one time presidential aspirant, Donald Duke, has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to re-strategize and form a strong opposition rather than fizzle out.

In an exclusive interview on Channels Television’s ‘View From The Top’, Mr. Duke said that the PDP recorded many loses during the elections because they offended electorates in some areas.

He further explained that the manner in which they handled the Boko Haram crisis in the North-East was also very poor and lacked empathy.

“The insurgency situation in the north was not seen to be addressed, the purchase of private jets and extravagance of public service holders abused the sensitivity of the poor which is a large number,” he said.

He urged members of the PDP to get over the defeat, having ruled the country for a long time.

According to him, being an opposition party would help make the current ruling party be on their toes.

Mr Donald Duke added that the strength of the PDP is from the South-East and South-South region of the country and they should build on that to be able to come out better during the next elections.