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Ministerial nominee calls for adequate funding of orientation agency

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Amb. Zubairu Dada, a ministerial nominee from Niger, says adequate funding and improved welfare of staff was key to effective operation of the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

Dada made the call on Thursday in Abuja when he appeared at the screening of ministerial nominees by the Senate.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Dada served as Director of Mass Mobilisation for Self Reliance (MAMSER).

He said MAMSER succeeded because the government supported the agency with all necessary logistics.

The ministerial nominee said the staff gave their best because they were motivated.

He said Nigeria needed to resuscitate the activities of MAMSER to reach the rural people.

Dada added that the giant strides recorded in MAMSER could be replicated in NOA with proper funding.

He was later asked to take a bow given the intervention of some senators, who spoke of his glowing pedigree and performance in his previous appointments.

Fielding questions from senators, nominee from Oyo State, Mr Sunday Dare, said the fight against kidnapping, like cyber crimes, could be mitigated via the collaborative efforts of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

He added that the fight should also involve data managing agencies, security and intelligence agencies.

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Hate speech bill: Governors tell NASS to respect views of Nigerians

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has advised the National Assembly to hold a public hearing on the hate speech bill before it to ensure that views of Nigerians were captured in the passage of the bill.

Aminu Tambuwal gave the advice while fielding questions from newsmen at the end of the forum meeting held on Wednesday night in Abuja.

He advised the federal lawmakers to respect the views of Nigerians on the bill.
“I am not sure I have heard any governor come out to say he is in support of the death penalty for hate speech.

“I believe the National Assembly should hold a public hearing on that bill so that due process of lawmaking is followed so that the views of Nigerians not just the governors will be well captured on that bill.

“They should respect the views of Nigerians in whatever may be the direction of debate and the eventual passage or otherwise of that bill,” Tambuwal said.

Asked of the governors’ position on the Finance Bill submitted to the NASS by President Muhammadu Buhari to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from five to 7.5. percent, Tambuwal appealed to Nigerians to show more understanding with the  Federal Government.

He said that the governors were in support of what would improve the revenue generation drive of both the federal and state governments.

“We are appealing to those who probably have no proper understanding of the contexts of those bills to kindly have a rethink of them and reflect on the quantum of work ahead of us.

e need a lot of resources to turn around infrastructure, to invest in education, healthcare and every sector of our national life.

“There is an urgent need for more revenue in Nigeria. So, I appeal that we should show more understanding with the  Federal Government in that regard,” he said.

On the December deadline for the implementation of minimum wage issued by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to state governors, Tambuwal said the various states were engaging labor unions on the issue.

“I am sure it is a work in progress. Before December all the states must have finished working out the details on the issue of minimum wage across the federation.

“We are very much committed to the welfare and wellbeing of our workforce and therefore we shall continue to ensure we do our best on what needs to be done.”

Tambuwal said the forum received an update on the outcome of its meeting in the US with Aliko Dangote Foundation, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Human Capital Development with a focus on Primary Health Care (PHC).

He said that at the meeting, the governors and the two Foundations expressed commitment to the Seattle Declaration aimed at promoting collaboration to transform PHC at the subnational level in Nigeria

This according to him includes full implementation of PHC Under One Roof and meeting the requirements of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

“To improve efficiency gains across governments and economic activities at the household level, the NGF committed to initiatives to advance value-added activities in agriculture, access to finance and women economic empowerment.”

Tambuwal disclosed that the governors also received an update on the World Bank State Fiscal Transparency
Accountability and Sustainability  (SFTAS) program and discussed modalities to ensure its smooth and accelerated implementation.

“Following a presentation from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation on the SFTAS Annual Performance Appraisal (APA) mission to States, members committed to working with the Independent Verification Agent (IVA) to ensure that the APA process does not experience delays.

“The forum also held a preliminary consultative session with the World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri and his team on the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Nigeria for the period of 2020 to 2024.

“This also includes a planned Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment Program.

“Governors promised to hold a dedicated session to reach a consensus on what matters most for States and a common agenda to improve the wellbeing of all Nigerians.”

Tambuwal said that in commemorating the anniversary of the Rights of Children, Peter Hawkins, the Country Representative of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) made a presentation to the forum where education of Nigeria’s children was unequivocally emphasized.

Asked if the forum was looking at ensuring each member state domesticate the Child Right Act, Tambuwal said many states had already passed the law.

“I believe some of the states that have challenges that have to do with religion, culture or others are dealing with them at the local level and addressing them.

“The peculiarity depends on the situation of an individual state.”

The seventh meeting was attended by governors of Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Adamawa, and Kwara.

Other states such as Gombe, Enugu, Edo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, and Ebonyi were represented by their deputy governors.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Oyo Assembly seeks citizens’ contributions for robust legislation

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As part of efforts to develop people-oriented legislative agenda, the Oyo State House of Assembly has called for the support of the people of the state to ensure robust legislation.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Debo Ogundoyin, made the call while speaking at a town hall meeting, held on Wednesday in Ibadan.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the meeting was organised by the Assembly, in collaboration with Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa.

NAN also reports that the meeting had as its theme: “Citizens’ Town Hall Meeting on Development of a Legislative Agenda”.

Ogundoyin said that although legislative agenda was not a popular practice, especially in Oyo State, it was the best way to give direction to the legislature.

“Although the state has a four-cardinal programme, which includes Security, Education, Agriculture and Health, we want the people of the state to contribute towards what they will like to see and the kind of laws they want the Assembly to develop.

“The meeting is meant to collect and aggregate people’s contributions towards good legislature in the state,” Ogundoyin said.

Dr Ernest Ereke, Coordinator, YIAGA Africa, said that the town hall meeting was the initiative of the Assembly, adding that his organisation only provided technical support.

Ereke said: “this meeting is an activity of the 9th Oyo State House of Assembly, organised because the Assembly wants to find out from people issues that are of topmost priority to them.

“The Assembly wants to give itself agenda that will guide its activities in the next three years or thereabout.

“In developing the legislative agenda, the Assembly thought that it would perform better if it had the contributions of the citizens.”

In addition to the agenda, Ereke said that YIAGA had deployed enumerators in all the local governments in the state to find out from people what they actually wanted from the lawmakers.

Ereke said that this was aimed at getting as much opinions as possible that would fit into the legislative agenda.

He added that the enumerators were just back from the field and currently doing the analysis, adding “we can only speak authoritatively when we have the analysis completed”.

Mr Babatunde Ogunyoye, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, said that this was the first time the Assembly would call on citizens to make inputs into its legislative activities with a view to fashioning out a robust agenda.

He urged the people to make good use of the meeting by making meaningful contributions to the legislative agenda.

NAN reports that members of the Assembly and the state Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Mr Seun Fakorede were among those present at the event.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Organisation calls for building of Great Green Wall to combat climate change effects

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The Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) International has called for the Great Green Wall to be built across several states in northern Nigeria to combat the effects of climate change and desertification.

The Vice President (Africa), GLOBE International, Mr Samuel Onuigbo,made the call at the launch of the GLOBE-UNEP-GEF project on Wednesday on Abuja.

The.project is tagged “GLOBE Legislators Advancing REDD+ and Natural Capital Governance towards Delivery of the 2030 Agenda.”

The Great Green Wall is Africa’s flagship initiative to combat the effects of climate change and desertification by growing trees across the entire width of Africa.

Onuigbo said there was the need to plant millions of trees and build a Great Green Wall from Adamawa to Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe up to Zamfara.

He said that it would contribute to the reduction or elimination of the menace of insurgency and farmer-herder clashes in parts of Nigeria and West Africa.

“When people have their means of livelihood taken away through drought, desertification, coastal erosion or degradation, crime becomes an option, hence the rise in criminal activities.”

He urged the Federal Government to pay “serious attention”to the Sustainable Development Goals and support policies and laws to protect “our natural capital.”

He said that government should also take seriously the issue of its counterpart funding for the project to achieve its objectives.

Launching the project, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said that the Executive and Legislature were determined to make coordinated and sustained efforts toward combating the scourge of climate change.

Gbajabiamila said government would develop policy, pass legislation and implement plans and projects intended to protect the environment and achieve sustainable economic growth.

The speaker also said there was urgent need to build technical capacity in the sector and make concerted effort to create public awareness on issues of climate change.

According to him, this is necessary so that Nigerians could be more effective partners in proffering and implementing solutions.

Also speaking, Mr Rafael Jimanéz-Aybar, Chief Operating Officer and Programme Director, GLOBE International Secretariat commended Nigeria for its leadership role in the establishment of GLOBE.

“As early as 2013, Nigeria showed that it is a country that is in a leadership position.

“The establishment of GLOBE Nigeria heralded that and many international commitments of President Muhammadu Buhari have shown the country’s commitment to the protection of the environment and sustainable development,”he said.

Jimanéz-Aybar, however, called for the commitment of the government to pay its counterpart funding to the project.

The GLOBE project is in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) .

Edited by Jane (NAN)-Frances Oraka/Dada Ahmed

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Edo Ministry takes delivery of equipment for The Observer newspapers — Commissioner

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Edo Ministry takes delivery of equipment for The Observer newspapers — Commissioner

Equipment

Benin, Nov. 20, 2019 The Edo commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu, on Wednesday said that the ministry had taken delivery of 38 crates of equipment for the Bendel Newspapers Company Limited ((BNCL), publishers of The Observer newspapers.

Ohonbamu stated this when he appeared before house committee on Information, Orientation, Youths and Sports to present his briefs on performance of 2019 budget and also defend 2020 appropriation.

He said that the equipment were bought as part of state government’s plans to reposition it for efficient service delivery.

He noted that the ministry was expecting another batch of equipment from the contractor to complement the first batch to have a complete assemblage of a state of the art printing machine .

He added that the digitization of the Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS) was underway

“Government is poised to repositioning the state-owned media for efficient service delivery as regards dissemination of information to the members of the public.

“There are radical plans to revamp EBS, as government is thinking along the line of digitilization for this purpose.” he said.

The budget performance of both the observer newspapers and EBS according to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Joses Sede, is 34.8 per cent based on the N1.5billion earmarked for capital expenditure in the 2019 budget.

Mr Sede said that only N100m was released out of N779m allocated to EBS for its digitization project.

The chairman of the committee and speaker of the house, Francis Okiye, in his submission after the briefing by the ministry said government was committed to overall repositioning of the state-owned media.

The speaker further revealed that in the 2020 budget efforts would be made to ensure that the budgetary allocations to carry out the total digitilization of EBS would be made available.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Edo State Sports Commission, Dudu Orumen, and members of the commission have been directed to present themselves for budget defense on a later date.

The commission members were asked to come with a comprehensive list of the performance of the various sporting activities in the 2019 budget.

The Speaker, Francis Okiye, noted in his submission that soccer events could not be treated in isolation from other sports currently under the supervision of the commission.

Edited by Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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PDP senators reject Bayelsa, Kogi results

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PDP senators reject Bayelsa, Kogi results

Results

Abuja, Nov. 20, 2019The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the Senate, on Wednesday, rejected the Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship election results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The senators, led by the Minority Leader of the Senate, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, made the rejection at a news conference in Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency reports that INEC had declared the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), David Lyon and Yahaya Bello winners of the gubernatorial elections.

“We want to call the attention of Nigerians. We are very disturbed by the elections that were held last weekend in Bayelsa and Kogi.

“We totally reject the pronouncements after the elections by INEC and we are worried about the trend of what happened during the election.

“We know that the results that were announced were not a true reflection of what happened in the field.

“We are much more concerned about the fact that it seems that all the gains made by the PDP in all the period of democracy starting in 1999 seem to have been eroded from the elections starting in Osun, Edo and culminating into last weekend.

“We are further pained by the fact that the PDP woman leader, Salome Abuh, after declaration of result, hoodlums still chased her to her house and burnt her to dead in the clear view of security agents.”

The caucus called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to immediately fish out the killers of Salome.

“We hear that the police are launching an investigation but this is something we don’t want to be put under the carpet because it involves life,” Abaribe said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Senate, Sen. Godiya Akwashiki, in his reaction to the outcome of the Bayelsa and Kogi gubernatorial elections said: “I don’t think it will be right for the Senate to say anything about the election.

“Nigeria is not a lawless country and we must obey it. The Electoral Act has spelt out everything that there should be primaries between aspirants in political parties so a candidate will emerge.

“After the primaries, INEC will set aside a day for general election. Based on the Electoral Act, the elections have come and gone. If anyone has any grievances, the one knows what to do,” he said.

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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APC condemns post-election violence, killing in Kogi

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned the post-election violence reported in Kogi State, which led to the death of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) woman leader, Salome Abuh, and destruction of property in the state.

The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in Abuja on Wednesday, condoled with the family of the deceased and others affected by the post-election violence.

Issa-Onilu, who quoted the state police command as saying that the killing was as a result of a reprisal attack, urged the Kogi people to ensure that the violence was not allowed to escalate.

“We are aware that Gov. Yahaya Bello has already directed law enforcement agencies to fish out the perpetrators.

“The APC abhors violence and other criminalities which, sadly, have continued to plague our electioneering process.

“We urge people to see election as a democratic contest and not a do-or-die and for which we should pay with our lives.

“We pray that the culprits are caught and the full weight of the law brought to bear on them.

President Muhammadu Buhari has advised those who are not satisfied with the results of the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa to seek redress in court and shun violence.

“We must all heed this call,” the APC spokesman said.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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