Electoral Offenders’ Prosecution, South West Commission Bills Scale Second Reading

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

 

The bill seeking the establishment of a commission to prosecute electoral offenders in the country has passed second reading in the Senate.

During Wednesday’s plenary, a bill for an act to establish the South West Development Commission was also read and passed for the second time.

Both bills were sponsored separately by Senator Abubakar Kyari and Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

In his presentation, Senator Kyari explained that the eventual passage of the electoral bill would help tackle rigging, vote-buying, violence, waste of resources, and other offences that weaken the nation’s electoral process.

On the other hand, the South West Development Commission seeks to act as a catalyst to develop the commercial and industrial potentials of the region.

According to the sponsor of the bill, the commission will receive and manage funds from Federation Allocation for the agricultural and industrial development of the South West, and for any other related educational backwardness as well as security and development challenges and other connected matters.

In his contribution, Senator Teslim Folarin declared his support for the bill, adding that the bill sought to set up a commission to offer assistance and look at what was best for the region.

“I rise to support this bill and I am very conscious of so many things. There are certain things that are peculiar to the South West for which this commission, when set up will take control,” Senator James Manager said.

Another lawmaker, Senator Ayo Akinyelure was confident that the bill would go a long way to resolve problems in the region and bring development closer to the people.

Senators Emmanuel Bwacha, Obinna Ogba, and Basiru Ajibola among others also declared their support for the bill.

But two lawmakers, Senators Adamu Bulkachuwa and Peter Nwaoboshi were against the bill, saying it would split up the country.

After a series of deliberation, Senate President Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters.

He asked the committee to report back to the lawmakers within four weeks.

Amotekun: Ignore AGF’s Ban, Southern And Middle Belt Forum Tells South-West Governors

 

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has condemned the decision of the Federal Government to declare Operation Amotekun illegal.

Amotekun, a security outfit was recently set up by South-West governments to address insecurity in the region.

The group in a statement asked the governors to ignore the position of the Federal Government, delivered by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, adding that they should allow the FG to go to court to challenge their decision.

READ ALSO: FG Declares Operation Amotekun Illegal

Mr. Malami had announced on Tuesday that the paramilitary organization called “Amotekun” is illegal and runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law.

A position the forum believes is an abuse of office to suppress the rights of federating units to secure themselves.

“We consider his action as an abuse of office to suppress the rights of federating units to secure themselves and in furtherance of the widely – held suspicion that sections of the country are deliberately being rendered vulnerable for herdsmen and other criminals by the Federal Government.

“We ask the Governors of the South West to ignore Malami and allow him to go to court to challenge their decision as he cannot constitute himself a court over elected governors; we are not under military rule.”

The group explained that contrary to views, the South-West governors are working to ensure that the lives and property of the region are safe and secure; thereby challenging the AGF to explain why Operation Amotekun is illegal.

“The right to preserve your life cannot be under any exclusive list other than the list of those who have no value for human lives.

“The ultra vire action of the AGF has further exposed Nigeria as a country under command and control and governed by a conquest mentality.

“We ask Malami to tell us what makes Amotekun illegal and Hisbah legal, he should further explain to us what makes Civilian JTF legal in the North East where there is war and in Zamfara and Katsina and Kano where there is no war, while Amotekun is his only illegal take,” they insisted.

Amotekun: Southwest Governors To Formalise, Use ‘Vigilante Groups’, Says Owoseni

 

The Special Adviser to Oyo State Governor on Security Matters, Fatai Owoseni, has explained that vigilante groups have been adopted and recruited into the ‘Operation Amotekun’.

The South-West security outfit, Operation Amotekun, was launched by the governors of South-western states on Thursday in a bid to have an integrated approach in fighting crimes in the region.

Speaking on Channels Television Sunrise Daily, Mr Owoseni said that before the narratives came out properly from the governors, so many people had corrupted what ‘Amotekun’ means, and it was only right to set the records straight.

READ ALSO: ICRC Evacuate Victims After Deadly Boko Haram Attack On Monguno

He described the personnel who will be working with the Police as ‘vigilante’, and Southwest is a network formalising them.

The security expert used Oyo state as a point of reference, intimating that the police command has been working with the vigilante groups, and they are registered at each area commands.

“People decided to corrupt the interpretation of what it is, people were just jittery. The summary of it is that it is an enlargement of what Lagos is doing, the Neighbourhood watch. We have enlarged the scope and integrated in the southwest, so call it Neighbourhood watch Southwest Vigilante.

“The problem had always been that they have supported security activities and government don’t bother or know about their existence, so they are now formalizing them, making them officially recognised and providing those tools with which they will work with.

“So what the Southwest is doing is that they have recognised them formally, captured them into the security architecture and provide for them by buying equipment and pep talk because they are already trained,” he added.

The former police commissioner in Lagos and Benue state stated that it is not cast on a stone that the Vigilante’s will carry guns, but if necessary, such an approach will be adopted.

“Nobody has said that they will be armed and even in our different areas, we have the vigilantes who carry Dane guns and if it is necessary for the Amotekun personnel to carry Dane guns because the hunters do so with their dogs, those are their tools and it is not illegal; they are not going after anyone, in security architecture, they are local human intelligence, they work with the conventional security groups.

“With the guidelines, the DFID had written for the police, part of it is that each of the locality, the DPO must have their register but before it wasn’t formalised and now it has been formalised, not only have their names and addresses, you can capture them biometrically, so each of them will have identity cards.”

2019 Election: South-West Chair Crucial To PDP’s Win – Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayodele Fayose, EFCC
File photo

A former Director-General of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode has said that the chances of the opposition’s Peoples’ Democratic Party of winning the 2019 Presidential election are only hinged on the South-West zone producing the National Chairman slot of the party.

He made this known on while speaking to Channels Television’s Politics Today where he lamented that the zone is yet to produce the seat of the party.

The PDP chief said, “There was an agreement they would go to the South-West. Some were of the view that agreement no longer binds anybody, and others believe it should remain in the South-West. I believe strongly that it should remain in the South-West for a number of reasons.

“I believe at the end of the day it will if we are really serious about winning the election in 2019. I am happy to say that the Northern caucus of the party appears to share that view that it should be in the South-West simply because we have never had it before since the inception of the PDP.

“We have never had a National Chairman from the South-West and we need the numbers when it comes to an election but we will resolve this issue well before the convention. There will be a consensus and we will move forward together as one.

In the event that his zone fails the produce the party’s next Chairman, Mr Fani-Kayode said his people would be left with no other option but to cross the bridge when they get there.

“One of the things that I learnt at the early stage in this game is to try to avoid a hypothetical question. You are asking me what the reaction of the South-West will be if we don’t get the National Chairmanship. And I am saying to you that wisdom dictates we ought to.

“If we don’t get it, then we will cross that bridge when we get there. But I sincerely hope we are not brought to that impasse because it will be very difficult to our people in the South-West which probably has the second largest number of voters in the country.

“In the Presidential election, it will be difficult to explain to them why we don’t have the Presidency and why we would not have the National Chairmanship of the party and why we wouldn’t have the Vice-Presidency and why we would be left with nothing,” he added.

Military Begins Operation Crocodile II In South West

The Nigerian Army on Friday commenced operation Crocodile Smile II in the South-west and Niger Delta region of the country.

The states include Lagos, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Cross River.

The Exercise according to the military will span 3 Divisions of the Nigerian Army (2, 6 and 81 Divisions) and is in line with the 2017 Training Directives which aims at training troops in the conduct of Internal Security Operations in aid of Civil Authorities across the various formations’ areas of responsibilities, based on Constitutional provisions.

READ ALSO: Operation Crocodile Smile II Will Tackle Security Threats In Niger Delta & Military

According to the military, Exercise Crocodile Smile II is designed to further the gains and consolidate on the successes of Exercise Crocodile Smile I and is also designed to leverage on real-time intelligence to curtail insecurity, thereby fulfilling the army’s operational objectives.

General Officer Commanding, 2 Division, Ibadan, Major General Chukwunedum Abraham during the flag off of the exercise in Sapele charged the troops to be of good conduct throughout the period of the operations.

Abraham who also represented the Chief of Army Staff allayed the fears of Nigerians over rumors of immunisation being conducted by the Nigerian army for school children in the South South and South Eastern regions of the country.

South-West Governors Constitute Joint Task Force On Security

State governors in the South-West region have resolved to forge ahead with the regional integration plan, especially in key sectors such as agriculture and security.

The governor made the resolve on Monday at the meeting convened under the aegis of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The meeting, tagged “Economic Self-Determination For Western Nigeria: The Export Alternative”, was attended by all the state governors in the region.

They include Mr Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Mr Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Senator Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Mr Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti).

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting and read by Senator Amosun, the governors approved the constitution of a Joint Task Force to contain all forms of security threats in the region and to guarantee the safety of lives, property, and prosperity of the people.

While declaring that the artificial boundaries, religion, and political affiliation would no longer constitute a barrier to the region’s development, they directed DAWN Commission to develop a 25-year Western Nigeria Development Master Plan.

The leaders also encouraged state governments in the region to significantly improve bilateral and multilateral cooperation to foster regional development.

In order to improve the food security of the region, they directed DAWN to convene a regional Agric Summit to be held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. while approval was given for the establishment of Western Nigeria Export Development Initiative to drive the export potentials of the region.

The governors further approved the establishment of Western Nigeria Export Development Initiative to drive the export potentials of the region.

They further directed that there should be synergy between DAWN Commission, Oodua Group and other critical stakeholders for a framework to drive the commercial and industrialisation competitiveness of the region.

Senate Receives Second Batch of Ministerial Nominees’ List

ministerial nomineesThe second batch of President Muhammadu Buhari’s list of ministerial nominees has been presented to the Nigerian Senate.

The Senate announced this via its Twitter handle on Monday afternoon.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, who was accompanied by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang and his counterpart for the House Of Representatives, Honorable Suleiman Kawu, handed over the letter to the Senate President at exactly 4:24 pm.

The letter was sealed and would only be opened by the Senate President at the plenary on Tuesday.

The first list of 21 ministerial nominees was sent to the Senate on September 30. 16 names are said to be on this second batch.

 

Senate President Promises Fairness In Screening Ministerial Nominees

Ministerial NomineesNigeria Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, has assured Nigerians of a level playing ground in the screening of the ministerial nominees forwarded to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari without compromising the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He made the promise in Ikenne, Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State, South West Nigeria while leading a 6-man delegation of the upper chamber to the home of the former Premier of the old Western Region, late Obafemi Awolowo on the demise of the matriarch of the Awolowo family, Mrs HID Awolowo.

The Senate President also affirmed that it would not be business as usual as the Senate is poised to ensure competent hands are appointed to invigorate the current effort of the federal government in the task of putting the country on the path to socioeconomic development.

NASS Crisis: Speaker Dogara Explains Why He Shunned APC’s Letter

dogaraThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has explained that he was unable to act on the letter forwarded to him by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress because of a pending court case.

Speaking at a parley with former House Representatives members, Representative Dogara, however, said that the fracas that occurred in the House of Reps chambers last Thursday (June 25) was inexcusable and unacceptable.

The Speaker said that although he had wanted to act on the party’s letter nominating some persons as principal officers of the House, as a law abiding citizen he was compelled to do otherwise as a result of a pending court case instituted by about 36 APC lawmakers from the North Central zone.

The APC lawmakers alleged that the party had schemed them out in violation of constitutional provision on Federal Character Principle.

He said that the tradition has been that the six principal positions are shared evenly among the six geopolitical zones of the country in accordance with the Federal Character Principle.

The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had decided on the party’s position on principal officers of the 8th House of Representatives.

According to reports from the National Assembly on Tuesday, June 23 2015, the APC had written to the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, listing out the lawmakers that should fill the party’s remaining four leadership positions.

For House Leader, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila from South-west zone was selected and Honourable Ado Doguwa of the North-west zone was nominated for the position of Deputy House Leader.

Honourable Mohammed Monguno from the North-east zone was chosen as the Chief Whip while Honourable Pally Iriase from the South-south zone was selected for Deputy Chief Whip.

Plenary at the House of Representatives was disrupted by some members over the nomination of principal officers. The disruption on Thursday by some lawmakers, who protested a call by the Speaker for an Executive Session, turned the session into a rowdy one.

 

House Of Reps Leadership: APC Decides On Principal Officers

House Of Reps Leadership: APC Decides On Principal OfficersThe national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided on the party’s position on principal officers of the 8th House of Representatives.

According to reports from the National Assembly on Tuesday, the APC had written to the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, listing out the lawmakers that should fill the party’s remaining four leadership positions.

For House Leader, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila from South-west zone was selected and Honourable Ado Doguwa of the North-west zone was nominated for the position of Deputy House Leader.

Honourable Mohammed Monguno from the North-east zone was chosen as the Chief Whip while Honourable Pally Iriase from the South-south zone was selected for Deputy Chief Whip.

The names were said to have been approved by the party after extensive consultations.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers from the south-south told reporters on Tuesday that they were not pleased with the arrangement.

Shehu Sani Urges Buhari To End Amnesty Program For Ex-Militants

The Senator-elect for Kaduna Central, Mr Shehu Sani, has called on the PAmnestyresident-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to scrap the ongoing amnesty programme for ex-militants when sworn into office.

The programme was initiated by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for ex-militants in the Niger Delta.

Speaking during a courtesy call to Arewa House in Kaduna on Tuesday, Sani described the entire amnesty programme as a sham and urged the incoming President to probe the operations of the Amnesty programme.

According to him, the amnesty programme ought to be a temporary gesture and not a permanent thing which, he said, some persons have turned into a conduit pipe to drain the nation’s wealth.

The senator-elect wondered why the amnesty programme should be continuous and only meant for youths from a particular ethnic nationality while their counterparts from other regions are left out.

The senator-elect also accused President Jonathan’s administration of skewing development to the South-South alone while neglecting the North and South-West regions.

On the back of this, he called on General Buhari not to repeat “the mistake” of the outgoing government, but to ensure he carries all parts of the country along in his government.