Obiano: Plans by Anambra monarchs to meet Buhari fails [Sun]

The bid by 13 traditional rulers from Anambra State to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and tender a petition against their state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, failed yesterday as the meeting was put on hold at the eleventh hour.

The traditional rulers’ visit was facilitated by billionaire businessman, Chief Arthur Eze, who has been having a running battle with Governor Obiano.

Prince Eze had accused Obiano of bad governance and also raised issues about non-conduct of local government election.

It was gathered that the meeting, which was earlier scheduled by the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), Aso Rock Villa, to hold yesterday was cancelled following protest by some ministers from the South East.

Sources said one of the ministers, who opposed the meeting, argued that though he strongly supports expectation for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win Anambra State governorship election in 2021, a sitting governor must be respected.

The minister said he would not support Anambra State and the Igbo people generally to be disgraced for no just cause, while advising President Buhari to reconsider his stance to meet the traditional rulers.

Sources said the minister suggested to President Buhari not to meet the traditional rulers as they were not a true representation of the state, especially as the chairman of the state’s council of traditional rulers and other prominent royal fathers were not among them.

“How can 13 traditional rulers say they represent Anambra State when Igwe Gibson Nwosu of Awka, a former Nigerian Air Force pilot and a graduate of the University of Sokoto, who is still alive and on the throne not be part of them? Monarchs like Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, are not among them. This shows that those in Abuja are not representing the people,” the minister was quoted as saying.

Saturday Sun gathered that another minister from the South East also opposed the meeting on the grounds that it was a breach of protocol for the monarchs to seek to see the president without presenting for clearance the speech they intend to read at the meeting.

Last night, it was gathered, the Anambra monarchs waited at their rooms at Sheraton Hotel and Suites, Abuja, while Prince Eze worked with the president’s Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, to facilitate the meeting.

It was gathered that the traditional rulers signed a petition to President Buhari where they accused Governor Obiano, among several other allegations,  of embezzling the state and local government funds, which has made him not to conduct LG elections.

They accused the governor of nepotism, alleging that he surrounded  himself and government with his kinsmen and family members.

 

Fuel scarcity looms: [Sun]

… as NUPENG tanker drivers begins strike on Monday in Lagos

Another fuel scarcity is imminent as the tanker drivers arm of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) begins indefinite strike from Monday in Lagos.

The leadership of the union on Friday afternoon in a statement signed by the President, Williams Akporeha and General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi directed the withdrawal of services of Petroleum Tanker Drivers from Lagos State with effect from Monday, 10th August 2020.

According to the union, this was as a result of the failure of various authorities in the State to address three major issues that have severely caused pains and harrowing experiences on the hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers in the State for several months now.

“Consequently, as a socially responsible organization, we have made wide consultations with various leadership organs of our Union and with other key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and therefore resolved to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 12 am, Monday, August 10, 2020 if there are no decisive and convincing actions from Lagos State Government to address these concerns and challenges,” the duo stated.

The union said the entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonized by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until Lagos State Government and other relevant Stakeholders address these critical challenges.

The union said it was sad and disheartening to note that it had made several appeals and reports to Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.

They expressed that the union cannot afford to fold its arms while the members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos.

According to the leaders of the union, three major challenges the Petroleum Tanker Drivers are facing in Lagos State include extortion of money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers by various security agents, menance of containerized trucks at Apapa, Kirikiri and Beach Land axis of Lagos State and collusion of government officials hindering tankers from loading and harrassment and extortion by Area Boys and Area god-fathers.

The statement read, “It is really disturbing and as well inexplicable that security agents who are expected to ensure free-flow of traffic and protection of road users now use their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers. This reprehensible conduct is taking serious tolls on the psychological, emotional and financial state of Petroleum Tanker Drivers and their capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the nation.

“This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect. Everyone of them should be contented with their salaries and allowances rather than turning hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers to money making machine.”

The union lamented that persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town, Ijegun, are another major setbacks bedeviling the smooth running of the operations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.

“As at today, MRS depot has been held captive for more than 3 months from discharging products to Petroleum Tanker Drivers despite heavy availability of Petroleum products stockpiled in their tank farm facilities,” it said.

It added that for safety reasons, Petroleum Tanker Drivers cannot continue to struggle with the containerized trucks in those corridors considering the inflammable nature of the products its members carry.

The leadership of NUPENG said the situation appears to have defied solution, considering government’s non intervention, lack of sensitivity over the years and collusion by those called upon by the Presidency to proffer solutions to the problem.

On the area boys menace, the union said it was worrisome that Lagos State which is known to be a mega city and centre of excellence has now become a safe haven for area boys and area god-fathers who now see Petroleum Tanker Drivers as soft targets, extorting money from them everyday, assaulting them and vandalising their trucks in some instances, especially when some of the Tanker Drivers show restraints in paying them illegal fees and levies.

It stated further, “Tanker Drivers whose activities cut across Oguntedo, old Ojo road, Ijegun-Egba, Abule Ado and its environs in Satellite town, Oriade Local government Area, and Apapa corridor of Lagos state have continued to work in fears, following incessant attacks by members of various notorious groups who have developed penchant for extorting money forcefully from Tanker Drivers. They are known for operating unchallenged and freely around Apapa, Kirikiri, Mile 2, Maza-Maza and Abule-Ado, near Trade Fair flank etc.”

COVID-19: Abuja Court convicts Naira Marley, fines him N200,000 [Sun]

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mobile Court sitting in Abuja, has sentenced a musician, Azeez Fashola, often referred to as Naira Marley, for violating COVID-19 regulation, made by Presidential Order pursuant to Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. 02, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Naira Marley pleaded guilty to the four-count charge brought against him by the prosecution team. Reading the four count charges, Magistrate Idayat Akanni, ordered Naira Marley to pay N50, 000 for each of the counts as well as publish a public apology to the Federal Government in a National Daily.

The four count charges include; violating presidential ban on interstate travelling, not wearing of face mask contrary to the Presidential Order imposing compulsory wearing of face mask by all persons within the Federal Capital Territory, violating social distance order as well as violating dusk to dawn curfew in the territory.

On Saturday, June 13, Naira Marley and his crew flew from Lagos State to Abuja to perform at a concert organised at Jabi Lake Mall.

Reacting to the judgment, the defender’s lawyer, Mohammad Yunusa, said that moving forward, “we will be very detailed and also confirm information given to our clients by people who book him. Like in this instance, we were given the assur- ance that all the approvals from the government had been procured for him to be in Abuja and at the concert. It was on the strength of the representation that he came to Abuja to perform.”

He further said that having gone through the trial, Naira Marley will henceforth be more focal in the advocacy for the adherence to the COVID-19 safety guidelines by all.

The prosecutor, Udeme Umanah, explained that the offences have a minimum fine of N2,000 and then the court has its own discretion to impose a N50,000 fine per count since he (Naira Marley) had admitted liability.

On his part, the Chairman, FCT Ministerial Task team on COVID-19, Attah Ikharo, said: “I think for those of us in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and those of us in the COVID-19 team, this has been a very long struggle. The artist himself today (Friday) pleaded guilty that he broke the law and the Judge in her mercy was kind to give him N50,000 per each of the four counts charge.

“We are telling people that they should learn to obey the law and do what is right. Regardless of what you think you are, you are subject to law and even if you run far and think time has overtaken the process of justice, that is not true.

“You can see that after like two months now, he has been brought to face the law. We thank the security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Police for actually picking him up and flying him into Abuja for this prosecution.”

Edo: Malami directs IGP to provide security for 17 lawmakers [Nation]

THE Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is seeking police protection for the 17 All Progressives Congress (APC) members of the Edo State House of Assembly.

He has directed the police authorities to provide the lawmakers with security, following a petition from their counsel as the political situation in the state continues to worsen.

From President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday came the latest endorsements for the APC candidate in the September 19 governorship election in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Buhari handed Ize-Iyamu the APC flag and charged the party leadership to prosecute and win the election with all legal and constitutional means.

Governors elected on the platform of the APC also pledged their support for the party’s candidate.

Their counterparts in the PDP said they would resist any attempt to rig the election.

They condemned what they called the invasion of the State Assembly on Thursday.

Malami, in a memo dated August 5, 2020, requested the Inspector General of Police to “kindly provide adequate security measures” for the inauguration of the assembly members and “the subsequent sittings of the Edo State House of Assembly.”

He said: “My office is in receipt of a letter dated 3rd August, 2020 from Messers West Idahosa & Co. requesting for the intervention of my office on behalf of its clients who are members–elect of the Edo State House of Assembly, but who were excluded or prevented from being inaugurated till date since the House was inaugurated on 17th June 2019. A copy of the letter is attached for ease of reference.

“The law firm has requested that the affected members-elect, who were willing to discharge their constitutional roles, should be inaugurated or sworn in by the Clerk of the House.

Furthermore, the members who have also been sworn in should not be prevented from discharging their duties under whatever guise.

“The above request is in line with the provisions of Sections 90, 91, 101 and 104 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered).

“In view of the foregoing and in order to ensure constitutional compliance with the dictates of Sections 91-96 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) and also to prevent breakdown of peace, law and order, I am requesting that you kindly provide adequate security measures for the purpose of the inauguration of the concerned members and subsequent sittings of the Edo State House of Assembly.”

Counsel to the APC lawmakers, Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa, had in his petition to the AGF entitled ”Urgent and nationalistic Appeal to Intervene in the Restoration of Constitutional democracy in Edo State of Nigeria’, appealed to the Chief Law Officer of the Federation to “invoke your power pursuant to Section 150 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) to arrest the breakdown of Constitutional Democracy in Edo State by intervening to restore a functional House of Assembly in line with the provisions of Sections 90, 91,101 and 104 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered).”

Recalling the circumstances that triggered the current situation in the legislature, the counsel said: “At all material times before the 17th June, 2019, when the said Assembly was purportedly inaugurated, all the members-elect had complied with the provisions of the 5th schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as altered) by declaring their assets and liabilities preparatory to inauguration in line with the statutory and conventional practice in Nigeria.

“Contrary to the standard practice of inaugurating the House with all members present, if possible, the said House was inaugurated at odd hours with only about 9 (nine) members in attendance, while the others were prevented from attending the inauguration by the agents of the State Governor.

“This unconstitutional behavior resulted in serious breaches of several constitutional provisions and which in turn underlines the continuous disequilibrium in the political stability of the state and the resultant insecurity that has characterised the state.

“Since then, the Assembly has been run by 9 (nine) members to the exclusion of about 14 (fourteen) members-elect for no justifiable reason whatsoever. The members-elect have done everything possible to remedy the situation to no avail till date.

“More than 60% of Edo State remains unrepresented in the Assembly to the detriment of the citizens of our country who make up such constituencies.

“The Rule of Law has been seriously eroded and replaced by strong arm tactics in Edo State. This in itself is anti-democratic and ought not to be allowed in a democratic government such as the one operated in Nigeria.

“By failing to inaugurate about 14 (fourteen) Members-elect of the House, there is a huge social and political disequilibrium in the state.

“Over 60% of the population of the state are unrepresented in the House of Assembly and are therefore missing out on constituency projects, employment and other forms of Government patronage.

“This has escalated the poverty levels in such constituencies and there is a corresponding increase in crime and general insecurity in such areas.

“Governor Obaseki has now joined the Peoples Democratic Party with a few of the Honourable members supposedly inaugurated  even when there is no national faction in All Progressives Congress (APC).This is contrary  to the provisions of Section 109 (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as altered).

“Democracy is founded on majority rule. Only recently 3 (three) of the nine inaugurated members, including the Deputy Speaker, Hon.Yekini Idiaye, have joined the14 (fourteen) Hon. members who are unable to do their job as lawmakers to 17 (seventeen).

“It is undemocratic and unacceptable to any sovereign nation that the House of Assembly of one of the states making up the Federation of Nigeria is operated by only 7 (seven) Hon. members out of the 24 (twenty-four) elected. This is a huge ridicule to the Nigerian legal-political system, a source of instability and international embarrassment.

“Since the Members-elect were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, it is legally and politically incorrect to allow a party with minority membership of the House of Assembly to keep out 17 (seventeen) Memebrs-elect of the majority political party in the Huse. This is unconventional and very strange to the legislature world-wide.

“Above all, it sends a wrong signal to the Nigerian public that votes do not matter and that governors are above the provisions of the Nigerian constitution when carrying out their acts of omissions.

“This is an ugly perception that should not be allowed to take root in our national life as a nation.

“With the proclamation of the said House already done and the inauguration of the House having been purportedly effected, it is now left for the members who have not taken oath to be allowed to take oath and carry out their duties in the interest of justice and our nascent democracy.

“There is no feature of the Law which precludes the said Hon. Members and the Clerk of the House. After all, Section 101 of the 1999 Constitution provides for the House of Assembly to have power to regulate its own procedure in carrying out its business. It is not the duty of a governor to do so.”

The 14 lawmakers-elect were inaugurated at an undisclosed location in Benin on Thursday, following which they elected Victor Edoror as Speaker and Hon. Emmanuel Agbaje as Deputy Speaker after unanimously removing Francis Okiye at an emergency plenary session.

The lawmakers could not access the assembly earlier in the day after the police surrounded the complex and Governor Obaseki sent artisans to remove the roof of the building “for renovation”.

Although the police on Thursday arrested seven suspected thugs of the PDP for allegedly attacking the 17 APC lawmakers, several other hoodlums were sighted around the assembly complex yesterday, smoking.

Seized from the suspects were five double-barrel long guns, two single barrel long guns and 10 live cartridges.

The suspects claimed they were mobilised by a top government official.

In view of the political crisis in Edo State, Obaseki has suspended his re-election campaigns indefinitely, due to fear of being removed by the 17 APC lawmakers.

But Speaker Edoror has said they have no plan to sack the governor.

NUPENG orders tanker drivers to withdraw from Lagos [Nation]

THE national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has ordered petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw their services from Lagos State with effect from August 10.

The directive came on the heels of the failure of various authorities in the state to address three major issues causing problems for petroleum tanker drivers in the state.

Its National President, Comrade (Prince) Williams Eniredonana Akporeha, and General Secretary, Comrade Olawale Afolabi, made this known in a press statement yesterday.

The union said: “The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonized by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges.

“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.

“We cannot afford to fold our arms while our members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos.

“It is really disturbing and as well inexplicable that security agents who are expected to ensure the free flow of traffic and protection of road users now use their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from petroleum tanker drivers.

“This reprehensible conduct is taking serious tolls on the psychological, emotional and financial state of petroleum tanker drivers and their capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the nation.

“This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect. Every one of them should be contented with their salaries and allowances rather than turning hapless petroleum tanker drivers to money-making machines.”

The union further said: “Persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa Port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town, Ijegun are another major setbacks bedevilling the smooth running of the operations of petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State.

“As at today, MRS depot has been held captive for more than three months from discharging products to petroleum tanker drivers despite heavy availability of petroleum products stockpiled in their tank farm facilities.

“For safety reasons, petroleum tanker drivers cannot continue to struggle with these containerized trucks in these corridors considering the inflammable nature of the products our members carry and we cannot afford to undermine safety standards, procedures and protocols in the course of our services.

“This is a situation that appears to have defied solution, considering government’s non- intervention, lack of sensitivity over the years and collusion by those called upon by the Presidency to proffer solutions to the problem.

“From Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Ojuelegba Bridge, Iponri and Constain, the situation is the same.

“Ikorodu Road through Funsho Williams Avenue (formerly Western Avenue) to Ijora inward Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway through Mile 2 to Berger Yard inward Tincan Island have been overwhelmed with the indiscriminate parking of these articulated vehicles, aggravating the gridlock faced by petroleum tanker drivers that ply the roads daily to lift products.

“For several months now, the Mile 2-Apapa Expressway (formerly Malu Road, now Mobil Road) has been witnessing  terrible traffic gridlock leaving petroleum tanker drivers stranded and helpless.

“It’s really worrisome that Lagos State which is known to be a mega city and centre of excellence has now become a safe haven for area boys and area godfathers who now see petroleum tanker drivers as soft targets, extorting money from them every day, assaulting them and vandalising their trucks in some instances, especially when some of the tanker drivers show restraint in paying them illegal fees and levies.

“Petroleum tanker drivers now battle with both area boys and area godfathers amidst the deplorable state of the roads in Lagos State, and this is really causing petroleum tanker drivers lots of havoc on a daily basis, a distance of just about 10 kilometres, for example, now takes seven to eight hours of manoeuvres and meandering by petrol tankers, many of which break down in the process, upturning their contents, killing petroleum members and endangering the lives of several other Nigerians who traverse the roads. Without sounding immodest, further delay in their repairs portends greater danger to the citizenry.

“Tanker drivers whose activities cut across Oguntedo, old Ojo Road, Ijegun-Egba, Abule Ado and its environs in Satellite Town, Oriade Local government Area and Apapa corridor of Lagos State have continued to work in fears, following incessant attacks by members of various notorious groups who have developed penchant for extorting money forcefully from tanker drivers. They are known for operating unchallenged and freely around Apapa, Kirikiri, Mile 2, Maza-Maza and Abule-Ado, near Trade Fair flank and so on.

“Consequently, as a socially responsible organization, we have made wide consultations with various leadership organs of our union and with other key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and therefore resolved to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 12 am, Monday, August 10, if there are no decisive and convincing actions from the Lagos State Government to address these concerns and challenges.”

Buhari endorses Ize-Iyamu in Aso Rock, tasks APC to win Edo [Nation]

PRESIDENT Muhmmadu Buhari on Friday endorsed the APC governorship candidate in Edo State Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and handed him the party’s flag.

Present at the ceremony at the State House were Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee and governor of Yobe State, Mai Malla Buni; Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.

Speaking, Buhari charged the APC leadership to prosecute and win the Edo State governorship election using all legal and constitutional means.

He told them  to avoid the pitfalls that affected the party’s victory in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa states in the 2019 elections, pointing out that with the resolution of the “acute crisis’’ in the party in Edo State, he was optimistic that the party would  regain its pride of place in winning elections and serving the people.

“What I want is a transparent process so that the confidence of the people will be strengthened,” he said.

The President congratulated Ize-Iyamu on his emergence as the party’s candidate after a “turbulent process” and assured him of full support.

Introducing Ize-Iyamu, Buni described him as “a seasoned grassroots politician who is loved by his people”.

The Chairman of the APC Edo State gubernatorial campaign, Governor Ganduje, said in line with the principles of the party, it would lead a clean campaign devoid of acrimony, hatred and violence.

Ganduje said the campaign had started on a good and happy note, with the APC already taking over the state legislature with a majority of 17 out of 24.

In his response, Ize-Iyamu assured the President of his commitment to ensuring good governance in the state if elected in the September election, recalling that he served as Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the APC at its formation.

He said he was glad to return to the APC, describing his initial exit as that of a “prodigal son’’.

The APC candidate thanked the President for the warm and fatherly reception, saying he was honoured to receive the party’s flag from the President.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu told State House Press Corps that he was fully in charge of his campaign as a popular candidate who served the state as Chief of Staff and Secretary to State Government in previous administrations.

He also said former APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had already explained that his initial unfriendly comments during the 2016 campaigns were purely political aimed at giving another candidate an edge in the elections.

Addressing State House correspondents, Atiku Bagudu, who doubles as Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, said all the APC governors were solidly behind the party’s governorship candidates in Edo and Ondo states.

His words: “We have consulted with the chairman of the caretaker committee in putting in place the campaign committee which is ably chaired by the governor of Kano State and supported by other governors.

“Since the candidate emerged, since the ratification, all the APC governors have been working in different ways to ensure the success of our party.

“Let me just remind some of you, this is not different from what we have done before.

“Four years ago, we were in the same Edo State in very difficult election and we supported the incumbent governor then, Adams Oshiomhole, to campaign for the party, which saw the emergence of Godwin Obaseki as governor.

“What we are doing today is not different.

“For the Progressive Governors Forum, the defining thing is continuity of All Progressives Congress in governance at the federal and across Nigeria and we will support our party any day.

“Our president has made it very clear about his expectations as to deliver our party in any election, and that is what we are going to do.”

Edo crisis: Pro-APC lawmakers list Obaseki’s sins in letter to Malami [Punch]

The 14 elected members of the Edo State House of Assembly who were not sworn in since the inauguration of the Assembly in 2019 have written to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), highlighting the alleged infractions of Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The members, joined by three members from the faction already sworn in, wrote through their counsel, Dr Ehiogie West-Idahosa of West Idahosa & Co., saying the governor’s action in not allowing them to be sworn in was unconstitutional. This, they said, underlined the disequilibrium in the political stability of the state and the resultant insecurity that had characterised the state.

In the letter with the reference number WIC/AB/W2/1024/20, and obtained by Saturday PUNCH, the 17 aggrieved lawmakers, said to be loyal to a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, said contrary to the standard practice of inaugurating the House with possibly all members present, the governor, on June 17, 2019, chose to inaugurate the House at odd hours with only about nine members in attendance.

They alleged that the agents of the governor prevented them from attending the inauguration, noting that they had done everything possible to remedy the situation but to no avail till date.

The letter titled, ‘Urgent and nationalistic appeal to intervene in the restoration of constitutional democracy in Edo State of Nigeria’, dated August 3, 2020 and signed by West-Idahosa, the principal partner, added, “Since then, the Assembly has been run by nine members for no justifiable reason whatsoever. By failing to inaugurate about 14 members-elect of the House, there is a huge social and political disequilibrium in the state.

“The rule of law has been seriously eroded and replaced by strong-arm tactics in Edo State. This in itself is anti-democratic and ought not to be allowed in a democratic government such as the one operated in Nigeria.

“Over 60 per cent of the population of Edo State are unrepresented in the House of Assembly and are therefore missing out on constituency projects, employment and other forms of government patronage. This has escalated poverty levels in such constituencies and there is a corresponding increase in crime and general insecurity in such areas.”

They said contrary to Section 109 (g) of the constitution (as altered), Obaseki dumped the APC for the Peoples Democratic Party even when there was no “nationally acknowledged” faction in the APC .

They pointed out that democracy is founded on majority rule but that the 17 lawmakers were unable to do their job.

The letter added, “It is undemocratic and unacceptable to any sovereign nation that the House of Assembly of one of the states making up the federation of Nigeria is operated by only seven members out of the 24 elected.”

They said since the 17 members were elected on the platform of the APC, it is legally and politically incorrect to allow a party with minority membership keep 17 members-elect out of the House.

They said since the proclamation of the House had been done and the inauguration of the House “purportedly effected”, it is left for members who have not taken an oath to be allowed to and carry out their duties in the interest of justice.

“There is no feature of the law which precludes the said honourable members from taking their oath with the cooperation of sworn in members and the clerk of the House.”

The 17 members, who have also pledged loyalty to APC candidate in the September 19 governorship election in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, therefore appealed to the AGF to intervene by restoring a functional House of Assembly in the state. The letter contained the names and numbers of the 17 members.

They said, “We therefore respectfully appeal to you as the Chief Law Officer of the federation to invoke your power pursuant to Section 150 of the 1999 constitution (as altered) to arrest the breakdown of constitutional democracy in Edo State by intervening to restore a functional House of Assembly in line with the provisions of Sections 90, 91, 101 and 104 of the 1999 constitution (as altered). Our clients shall be very obliged to have your intervention in order to save constitutional democracy in Edo State.”

How they secured AGF’s backing within 24 hours

Sequel to receiving their letter on Tuesday, August 4, Malami, wrote the police IG within 24 hours directing him to provide security for the inauguration of the 14 members, which took place at an unknown location on Thursday. The Assembly’s Deputy Clerk, Mr Tom Efezokhae, administered the oath of office on the members.

He, however, cautioned that the members already sworn in should not be prevented from discharging their duties.

The AGF’s letter obtained by Saturday PUNCH on Friday revealed that he (the minister) received a letter from West Idahosa & Co., on August 4, 2020, wrote the IG in a letter dated August 5, directing him to provide security for the exercise while the inauguration took place on August 6.

The AGF’s letter, with reference number HAGF/IGP/2020/Vol1/4, dated August 5, 2020, partly read, “The law firm has requested that the affected members-elect, who are willing to discharge their constitutional roles, should be inaugurated or sworn in by the clerk of the House.

“In view of the foregoing and in order to ensure constitutional compliance with the dictates of Sections 91 to 96 of the 1999 constitution (as altered) and also to prevent breakdown of law peace, law and order, I am requesting that you kindly provide adequate security measures for the purpose of the inauguration of the concerned members and the subsequent sittings of the Edo State House of Assembly.”

The inauguration heightened the tension in the state on Thursday, especially as the police and personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps took over the entrance of the Assembly Complex, which was shut and was undergoing renovation by the government.

Apart from electing Victor Edoror as the new speaker and Emmanuel Agbaje as the deputy speaker, the 17 factional members also ‘impeached’ Francis Okiye as the speaker and Roland Asoro as the deputy speaker.

In a related development, in an open letter to the AGF via an advertorial in The PUNCH on Friday, Okiye, the embattled speaker, said he was reluctant to conclude that the “breathtaking speed” of his (the AGF’s) speed of response to West-Idahosa’s letter had anything to do with the fact that the governor had left the APC for the PDP.

In highlighting the pending and concluded litigation on the Edo Assembly crisis, Okiye said it was clear that all matters relating to the functioning or otherwise of the Assembly and/or its members are sub judice.

He added, “It would therefore be clear that the course of action which you have urged upon the Inspector-General of Police would in fact amount to a grievous assault on the rule of law, separation of powers and respect for judicial authority.”

He urged the AGF not to allow his prestigious office to cause mayhem in the state, adding that he should take urgent steps to ensure the situation does not degenerate further.

I won’t recognise factional Speaker, says Obaseki, attacks Ganduje

Meanwhile, following Ize-Iyamu’s visit to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa on Friday, Obaseki has said he is not worried by the endorsement of the APC candidate by the President.

Obaseki, who spoke with one of our correspondents on Friday, said the President, as the leader of the APC, was free to support his party’s candidate.

He said, “I cannot speak for the President; he’s a due-process man. He strikes me as somebody who wants the process to follow its due course. The President is a member of the APC. Why would he not receive his party’s candidate?”

The governor said he would not recognise the 17 lawmakers, describing the AGF’s directive to the IGP as illegal and a recipe for anarchy. “How can I recognise them? There is a law we have to follow, otherwise we will have to be like a banana republic,” he added.

Obaseki, however, described as hilarious claims by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State that he (Obaseki) performed woefully.

He added, “If he (Ganduje) says all the physical structures, all the roads we have built, are underperformance, I see why he can never be governor. If he says reforming the educational system in Edo State, which is acknowledged worldwide, is underperformance, then he cannot be governor. Edo is not Lagos. We will see on September 19.”

Killings: Ohanaeze, Afenifere, PANDEF, Others Storm Southern Kaduna Today [PUNCH]

Leaders of various sociopolitical groups in the country, including Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum, and Middle Belt Forum, are set to pay a solidarity visit to the people of Southern Kaduna on Saturday (today) and demand an end to incessant killings in the area.

This is as the Arewa Consultative Forum and a former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, decried the worsening security situation in the area.

Southern Kaduna, a predominantly Christian-dominated area in Kaduna State, has witnessed the continuous killing of natives in recent times.

The security crisis in the area has generated outrage by several people and human rights groups across the country, with many calling on the state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, to end the killings.

The Presidency had recently stated that the attacks in Southern Kaduna were reprisal ones, a comment that received a huge backlash from several people and groups in the country.

El-Rufai also recently imposed a curfew on the area to curb the killings. However, the people of the area bemoaned that the killings had not abated; rather, more people were being killed on a daily basis.

The latest incidents took place on Wednesday and Thursday wherein 21 persons were reportedly killed by bandits.

Confirming the killings, the Kaduna State Police Command said the bandits attacked Apyia’Shyim, A’Piako, Atak’Mawei, and Kibori, all in Atyap Chiefdom of Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of the state.

However, contrary to the police figure, the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union claimed that 33 persons were killed in the attacks.

The spokesperson for SOKAPU, Mr Luka Binniyat, in a statement titled, ‘33 killed in Zango Kataf in Kaduna on Thursday,’ said that prior to the attack, there was an intensive patrol and the security personnel enforced the 24-hour curfew, but sadly, “when the gunmen struck, they were not on the ground.” Binniyat added that 30 houses were burnt by the bandits in the attacks.

To empathise with the people of Southern Kaduna, leaders of the various socio-cultural groups in the country said they would visit the area today.

The spokesperson for PANDEF, Mr Ken Robinson, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the forum and other groups such as Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo felt compelled to identify with the Southern Kaduna people in their trying times.

“We felt that we should empathise with the people of Southern Kaduna, where several people have been killed and properties destroyed by suspected Fulani herdsmen and bandits,” he said.

Robinson said the fact that the killings had not stopped implied that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), had not intervened in the crisis.

He also called for the overhaul of the security architecture to forestall the killings in Southern Kaduna.

“The government’s insincerity and the absence of ideas from the service chiefs are the reasons these killings have persisted. The capacity is there, and if the will is there to stop the senseless killings and destruction of property, they can stop the crisis in a minute,” he said.

Also, the National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bitrus Pogu, said the visit was “to see our people who have been displaced by militia herdsmen who enjoy killing, maiming, and burning people’s houses and forcing them out of their ancestral homes.”

Also, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Mr Chuks Ibegbu, who said he was visiting Southern Kaduna as the President of the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria, said the people of the area needed urgent rescue by those paid to protect them.

“As civil societies, we want to investigate the depth of the tragedy and (find the) way out,” he said.

Meanwhile, pan-Northern sociopolitical organisation, ACF, has condemned the latest attacks on Southern Kaduna communities on Thursday.

 

The governor in a broadcast earlier on Friday said the events of Thursday had all the signs of an attempted coup d’état, adding that any person or group of persons who set out to test the will of the state would meet with the full wrath of the law.

He added, “These events portend grave danger to the safety and security of our polity. It had all the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’état. The people of Edo State rose as one to prevent the desecration of our democracy. It is however worrisome that certain persons are willing to plunge the society into avoidable anarchy and conflict just to satisfy their illegitimate objectives.

“Be assured, dear people of Edo State, that this government will take all steps necessary to defend the rule of law and democratic ideals.”

Meanwhile, Okiye has said he remains the speaker of the House, adding that till date, only 10 members of the Assembly had been sworn in.

“We adjourned till Monday (August 10, 2020) and on Monday, we will sit. So, those people that are no longer members of the House going somewhere to conduct a get-together and come out to say they have a resolution, that they are now members of the parliament, I see that as an affront on the democratic principles.”

Boko Haram ordered me to renounce Christianity or be another Leah Sharibu –Juliet, victim who spent two weeks in captivity [PUNCH]

Adarju Juliet is a 28-year-old trader who was abducted by suspected Boko Haram members on her way to Maiduguri, Borno State. She shares her ordeal with ALEXANDER OKERE

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Adarju Adamu Juliet. I am 28 years old. I am a trader. I am from the Askira/Uba Local Government Area of Borno State.

Are you married?

No.

Where do you reside?

I stay in Maiduguri but I am in Damaturu, Yobe State, currently.

Why did you relocate to Damaturu?

I was no longer comfortable in Maiduguri following the incident that happened?

Can you narrate what happened?

Early in January, 2020, my mother fell ill. So, my elder sister told me to bring her to Maiduguri for treatment. On our way to Maiduguri, along Damaturu road, we heard gunshots. The people who fired the shots came out with their faces covered and stopped us. Three of us in the vehicle were women. The armed men asked for our names and religion. Those of us who identified ourselves as Christians were separated and I was the only lady among them. After that, they collected all we had and told our driver to leave with my mother because they would take me away.

What happened to the remaining passengers?

They released them and told the driver to go without the three of us. I was the only lady among them. They order us into the bush. As we were walking, they asked me again if I am a Christian. They asked me whether I would deny my faith so that they would set me free. But I refused. They asked me if I wanted to be like Leah Sharibu and I said yes. So, they released the two other passengers who were Muslims.

Did they tell you whether Leah Sharibu is alive or dead?

They said she is alive.

Did they tell you where she is?

No. They said she was married to their commander.

Were your abductors Boko Haram members?

Some of them were Boko Haram members while some were a group of kidnappers operating from the bush and working with Boko Haram. The insurgents used to come to our location to ask the kidnappers the number of victims they had in their custody. They collected money from the kidnappers any time they came, and if the victim is a woman, they took her away.

What did your abductors do next?

They told me to choose between denying my faith so as to regain my freedom or they would call a Boko Haram member to take me to Sambisa forest. I wept and told them I would not deny my faith. I cried throughout that day because my mother was sick and didn’t know anywhere in Maiduguri.

Did they demand a ransom from your family?

They told me to give them the phone number of any of my guardians so that they would inform my family that I had been kidnapped. But I told them that my dad is late and I didn’t have anyone; it is my pastor that has been a father to me. Truly, my dad died when I was three years old. They collected my pastor’s number and told him that his daughter had been kidnapped. They told him that they had not concluded on whether they would kill me, give me away to the Boko Haram insurgents or collect a ransom. After calling the family of a victim, they remove the SIM card and discard it. When they saw that I was crying because I was worried about my mother’s whereabouts, they decided not to give me away to the Boko Haram insurgents. But they argued among themselves on this before reaching a conclusion to collect a ransom for my release.

How much did they demand from your guardian?

They demanded N5m.

What did he say?

He pleaded with them not to hurt me as he would look for the money and give it to them. He also pleaded with them to reduce the ransom to N2m and they agreed. The people who abducted me were over 50 in number. While I was there, some Boko Haram members came and told my abductors that they were not comfortable with my presence in the forest. They told the kidnappers to release me for a ransom or kill me because they didn’t like me and didn’t want to see my face. So, my abductors called me pastor and threatened to kill me after three days, if he didn’t bring the money.

Was the ransom paid?

The pastor tried his best, with the help of other Christians, to raise N1.5m. They told him to bring the N1.5m because they were under pressure from Boko Haram to either release me or kill me. They told the pastor how to deliver the money to them. They later dumped me somewhere and told me to find my way from there.

Dearth Of Nurses As Private Hospitals Turn To Quacks [LEADERSHIP]

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages globally and in the country, the total number of registered nurses working in Nigerian hospitals is less than 150,000, LEADERSHIP Weekend investigation has revealed.

This is amidst growing need and demand for nurses worldwide nay Nigeria.

With this development, both government and private-owned hospitals now experience a severe dearth of this very important arm of health providers.

LEADERSHIP Weekend investigation has, however, revealed that most private hospitals in the land have resorted to quack nurses to augment the acute shortage.

Their government-owned counterparts, by law, are forbidden to engage quacks otherwise known as auxiliary nurses.

Findings further revealed that quackery in the nursing profession has become a trend in the country due to shortage of nurses in the country.

This practice, it was learnt, has become a source of worry to many Nigerians and the nursing professional body, especially in the phase of COVID-19, when a lot of people are compelled to patronise private hospitals, due to lack of access and attention in public hospitals.

While there is a perception that the trend is being driven by a shortage of qualified nurses in the country as a result of brain drain, LEADERSHIP Weekend findings showed otherwise. It was learnt that even though there was a widespread shortage of nurses, there were still many unemployed qualified nurses in the country.

Consequently, LEADERSHIP Weekend checks showed that the reasons these hospitals go for quacks are because they need cheap labour.

The president of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Abdulrafiu Adeniji, told LEADERSHIP Weekend that there is nothing like auxiliary nurses in Nigeria.

He said: “If you look at the law that established nursing and midwifery in Nigeria, there is nothing like auxiliary nurses. You are either a nurse or you are not.’’

On the number of registered nurses in the country, Adeniji said that there are less than 150,000 registered nurses working in both public and private hospitals in the country.

He reiterated the commitment of the association aimed at finding a lasting solution to quackery in the health sector.

He stressed that the body was ready to invoke the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria Registration Act Cap N143, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

The helmsman of the nursing body said invoking the laws would help to regulate the standards of nursing and midwifery education and practice to bring sanity to the sector.

He, however, cautioned that hiring of quacks was dangerous for the nation, adding that people were dying as a result of quackery practices in the health sector.

He said, “We have to make sure that something tangible is done to stamp out quackery,’’ he said. According to him, “WHO stipulates that in cases where there are shortages of trained personnel, there is danger.

WHO also said in 2001 that the people must have access to safe, affordable, accessible and timely healthcare services, all these are endangered with quacks that are called auxiliary nurses.’’

According to Adeniji, though quackery is a

global trend, many countries have regulated it and anybody caught as a quack in those countries will face severe consequences.

He, however, regretted that in Nigeria, many people practise quackery perhaps because the law is very lenient on the illicit practice.

He also warned of the dire penalty awaiting perpetrators of the illegal act especially when the loss of a human life is involved.

He said, “Anybody that practises as a quack in Nigeria can face a murder charge in court if the patient loses his life. But in cases where it does not involve life when caught in the act as a quack nurse, such person will pay just N1,000 or six months in prison.

“Although the National Health Act in 2014 introduced some other dimensions, the law is still very lenient.

“There are less than 150,000 registered nurses working in both public and private hospitals in the country.’’

The nurses’ association chair, however, painted a gloomy situation in the nearest future as he said no less than the already depleted number of nurses would quit active service in the next seven years.

Adeniji described the existing less than 150,000 figure as a drastic shortage, explaining that this indicates about six nurses to 100,000 population.

PMB Insists On Transparency In Edo Gov’ship Poll [LEADERSHIP]

As tension continues to rise ahead of the Edo State governorship election, President Muhammadu Buhari has Warns APC against Zamfara, Rivers experience As APC, PDP governors bicker to win the election.

President Buhari received the

governorship candidate at the State House alongside Caretaker Committee insisted that the much-anticipated poll must be transparent.

The president who stated this while receiving the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, however, urged party leaders and campaign team to do all that is legal and constitutionally necessary to win the election.

President Buhari received thegovernorship candidate at the State House alongside Caretaker Committee chairman of the APC and governor of Yobe State,MaiMalaBuni; chairmanofProgressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and APC Campaign chairman for Edo State elections and governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

The president’s charge on transparency comes as governors on the platforms of APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) talked tough yesterday about their bid to win the September 19, election.

However, Buhari said “What I want is a transparent process so that the confidence of the people will be strengthened.’’

He further urged APC leaders at the national and state levels to follow the electoral process in an open and transparent manner.

Admonishing the party leaders to avoid the pitfalls that affected APC’s victory in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa states in the 2019 elections, President Buhari pointed out that with the resolution of the “acute crisis’’ in the party in Edo State, he was optimistic that the party would regain its pride of place in winning elections, and serving the people.

The president congratulated Ize-Iyamu on his emergence as the party’s candidate in Edo State after a “turbulent process’’, assuring him of his full support.

Earlier in his remarks, chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, who presented the candidate, told the president that: “Pastor Ize- Iyamu is a seasoned grassroots politician who is loved by his people.” He stressed that President Buhari’s blessings on the candidate further validated the party’s confidence.

The chairman of the APC Edo State gubernatorial campaign and Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, said the party in line with its principles, would lead a clean campaign, devoid of acrimony, hatred and violence.

Governor Ganduje said the campaign had started on a good and happy note, with the APC already taking over the state legislature with a majority of 17 out of 24.

In his response, Ize-Iyamu assured the president of his commitment to ensuring good governance in the state if elected in the September election, recalling that he served as deputy chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the APC at its formation stage.

Ize-Iyamu said he was glad to return to the APC, describing his initial exit as that of a “prodigal son’’.

The APC candidate thanked the president for the warm and fatherly reception, saying he was honoured to receive the party’s flag from the president.

He, however, told State House press corps that he was fully in charge of his campaign as a popular candidate who served the state as chief of staff and secretary to state government in previous administrations.

The candidate added that former APC chairman , Adams Oshiomhole, had already explained that his initial unfriendly comments during the 2016 campaigns were purely political aimed at giving another candidate an edge in the elections.

“Let me first inform you that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is not the face of the campaign. As you rightly know, I am the gubernatorial candidate and Mallam Gani Audu is the deputy.

“It is the PDP that keeps mentioning his name, talking about him and playing tapes as if he is the candidate. But I want to inform you that I am very well known in Edo.

I have lived there all my life, I have been chief of staff, secretary to the state government and we also have a local director- general of the campaign, Gen. Cecil Esekhaigbe (retd.) from a Edo Central, who is well respected.

My Secret Life : Desire To Be Financially Independent Fires Me – Sewuese [LEADERSHIP]

BACKGROUND

I was raised by a widow, my dad passed on when I was quite young and my mum had to shoulder the responsibility of bringing me up and seeing me through school alongside my siblings all by herself which was not easy but she did it by the grace of God.

We lived a very comfortable life, there was never a day I felt the absence of my dad because my mum held both positions excellently.

ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

In 2012, I noticed some rashes on my face which looked like acne that made me uncomfortable, that I had to look for a cure. I would buy different kinds of soaps, creams, scrubs, cleansers, antibiotics (drugs/topical creams) so long as I was told it will work all to no avail.

This rashes lasted for about eight months and within eight months, I had spent so much money on different products with no tangible results.

After a while, I stopped buying products, I started reading online articles on facial skin issues, treatments and how to care for the skin, knowing your skin type, what products would suit the skin, when to use them, what to eat and all and then I went for a skin test where I found out I had oily skin most especially the facial skin and then with the help of the Dermatologist and online articles I was able to make the right choice of products for my skin which worked!

After that, I started marketing quality skin care products. As people noticed the quality of products I always have many preferred to buy theskincare productsfrommeand as a young graduate who was working in a private hospital in Kaduna with a little take home that could not pay up my bills, I took advantage of the business and started purchasing most of the products and marketing them for my customers and made little profit on top of each product, that was how my company Elevationz Facials and Cosmetics came about.

WHO TAUGHT YOU

The desire to be financially independent and to proffer solutions to every one I came across who had acne just like I had, compelled me to spend more time on skin care products in the market to make my customers smile. As I said earlier, I marketed a lot of cosmetic products, skin care products. So, I was basically self-taught.

INSPIRATION

There has been an increasing demand on personal body care and cosmetic products now, with almost everyone wanting to enhance their looks, older people wanting to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and rejuvenate their skin.

The ability to access and identify variations in skin textures (oily/dry skin) are also an added advantage for me.

I am hoping that coming years ahead, my company will be having different cosmetic brands/ products as my business expands.

WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU

My competitors have made me innovative and that has built my confidence over the years placing me ahead of them because I always try to do what most of them neglect, I don’t just buy products because everyone is buying them, I order products based on the immediate needs of my customers and my products are also authentic and very affordable.

Though, there are so many competitors out there, most of my customers believe in me. Also, the authenticity and availability of my products keep my customers coming back and many of my customers even refer others to patronise me. Honesty and truthfulness are key things that keep my relationship cordial with my customers.

YOUR MENTORS

The likes of Gina Rinehart, Oprah Winfrey, Folorunsho Alakija, Aliko Dangote,

John Paul Onyeke (Jopa) have made tremendous progress and impact in the business world with very substantive results.

 

 

 

 

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