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NGF urges media to be more professional on budget reportage

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Secretariat has urged the media to be more professional in their reportage especially on issues relating to budget.

The Director-General of NGF Secretariat, Asishana Okauru, made the call at a two-day training for journalists on “budget tracking and data-driven journalism” on Thursday in Abuja.

Okauru said that although journalism was a very risky job, journalists needed to do proper research to ensure correct information was published for readers to access.

“As journalist you exalt a lot of influence on the public by the role you play in forming narratives and perspectives in the society.

“You report stories and people read those stories. It is important we do this in a faithful manner if we must help our society,” Okauru said.

He said that the training was to empower journalists with the necessary skills regarding budget and how it could be reported more responsibly and comprehensively.

Okauru also urged journalists to help track the money on budgeting for the benefit of the society.

He, however, disclosed that the NGF Secretariat was working with other stakeholders to commence a governor lecture series.

The Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Mr Musikilu Mojeed, in his presentation on “the Interface of Accountability, Journalism and Good Governance”, said that it was important that journalists began to look into accountability and good governance and the role they could play.

Mojeed said that part of the responsibilities of journalists was to hold government and officials accountable.

He encouraged the media to consistently carry out investigative journalism, exposing all act of corruption in public and private sectors.

“We should also highlight and celebrate best practices by officials and institutions.

“Solution journalism is a form of investigative journalism where you show examples for people to learn and better the lots of the citizens,” Mojeed said.

He maintained that for Nigeria media to deepen accountability in the country, they must commit more resources to training and re-training of their reporters on investigative journalism.

Mojeed advised the media to push for actions, form alliance with Civil Society Organisations for transparency and accountability on budget implementation across all levels of government.

He also advised that attention should be paid to governance at both State and Local Government, as well as activities at the anti-corruption agencies and the one within the media.

“This is the kind of journalism that will help you leave a legacy for your country,” Mojeed said.

The training, organised by the NGF in collaboration with the Premium Times, was attended by journalists covering the forum in Abuja and selected journalists from other states of the federation.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Kayode Olaitan

Politics

Senate mandates committees to investigate NEMA on disaster response activities

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Disaster

Abuja, Nov. 19, 2019 The Senate has mandated its Committees on Special Duties, Ecology and Climate Change and Environment to investigate the effectiveness of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in its disaster response activities in 2019.

This was sequel to a Point of Order raised by Sen. Yaroe Binos, (PDPAdamawa South) during Tuesday’s plenary.

The motion was entitled “The need for immediate disaster response by NEMA to communities in Demsa, Numan, Guyuk and Lamurde Local Government Areas of Adamawa, severely affected by flooding in October.”

The upper chamber also directed NEMA to immediately implement a response programme for the flood disaster that affected various communities of Demsa, Numan, Lamurde and Guyuk Local Government Areas of Adamawa, as per the detailed submission of the disaster made to NEMA.

While raising orders 42 and 52, Binos said that NEMA was established via Act No.12 as amended by Act No. 50 of 1999.

“It was established for managing disasters in Nigeria through formulation of policies on all activities relating to disaster management and coordination of plans and programmes for efficient and effective response to disasters in Nigeria.”

He said that the major disaster in form of “destructive flooding“ in parts of Adamawa occurred in Oct. 2019 as a result of the release of excess water by the authorities of Lagdo dam in Cameroon.

“NEMA performed a disaster response action by distributing relief materials to communities in Furfure, Yola South and North Local Government Areas affected by the flood.

“This intervention by NEMA was not extended to other local government areas in Adamawa along river Benue valley equally affected by flood,” Binos said.

He further said that although the attention of director-general of the agency was drawn to the need to provide relief materials to communities of the four local governments mentioned, nothing had been done by NEMA till date.

Supporting the motion, Sen. Shuaibu Lau (PDPTaraba North) said that there was need to call NEMA to order because each time there was flood along the Benue valley, it usually start from Adamawa, Taraba and Benue.

“There is no way each time there is flood, the NEMA will select some few areas and give relief materials and leave the others.”

“When there is disaster, NEMA needs to go along the river Benue and ascertain which areas were affected with a view to bringing relief materials to the areas affected,” Lau said.

All the resolutions were adopted by the Senators after a voice vote by the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan.

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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Politics

Lawan swears in Sen. Danbaba

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Lawan swears in Sen Danbaba

Swear

Abuja, Nov. 19. 2019The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has swore in Sen. Ibrahim Danbaba as Senator representing Sokoto South in the National Assembly.

Danbaba left the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 8th Senate alongside Gov. Aminu Tambuwal, to join Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he contested for the Senatorial seat but lost to Shehu Tambuwal of APC.

He challenged the verdict in court and the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, returned him as the winner of the March 19 election.

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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General news

Centre decries widespread violence in Kogi elections

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The Socio Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC) has decried what it called, the widespread violence and intimidation that characterised the Nov.16 governorship and national assembly elections in Kogi.

A statement by the Executive Director of SERDEC, Mr Tijani Abdulkareem on Tuesday in Lokoja, said in spite of the process being truncated and disrupted by violence, the people still came out en masse to cast their vote.

According to Abdulkarim, “the just concluded election from available reports from our observers, was marred with serious reported issues that would undermine the integrity of democracy if not critically looked into and resolved”.

He, however, commended the Kogi electorate for their determination and resilience by coming out in their numbers to exercise their franchise during the elections.

He alleged that the elections across polling units in the state witnessed voters’ inducement and vote buying and non use of smart card readers for accreditation in some polling units.

The executive director also said that there were intimidation and harassment of voters, observers and journalists; disruption of voting process and late arrival of election materials in some polling units.

The centre, therefore, called on the police and other security agencies deployed for election duty to explain to the public, the cases of electoral violence that occurred at their duty posts.

He stressed that security men were reported to be helpless as a result of the astronomic height of violence, thuggery, and vote buying which had marred the integrity of the election.

”In an election where the electoral process was interrupted, it is expected that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) would follow its guiding principles by cancelling and ordering a rerun for the places where ballot boxes were snatched, so as to avail voters the right to vote,” he said.

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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Politics

Aviation: Buhari seeks passage of 6 bills by Senate

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, transmitted a letter to the Senate, seeking consideration and passage of six Aviation Bills.

The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan read the letter during plenary.

The President, in the letter said: “Dear Distinguished Senate President; Transmission of Six Aviation Sector Bills to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law.

“Pursuant to Section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, I formally request that the following six bills be considered for passage by the Senate.”

The bills include: Civil Aviation Bill 2019, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Bill 2019, Nigerian College of Air space Management Agency Establishment Bill 2019.

Others are: Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Establishment Bill 2019, Nigerian Meteorological Agency Establishment Bill 2019 and Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau Establishment Bill 2019.

“While I trust that these bills will be expeditiously and favourably considered by the Senate, please, accept Mr Senate President the assurances of my highest consideration.”

In his remark, Lawan urged the Clerk to the Senate, Nelson Ayewo to ensure that the bills were gazetted and distributed to all the Senators for consideration.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Dada Ahmed

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Politics

Organised labour felicitates with Bello on election victory

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The organised labour in Kogi has congratulated Gov. Yahaya Bello and his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja on their victory in the Nov. 16 governorship election in the state.

The Kogi chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued the statement in Lokoja on Tuesday.

The state NLC Chairman, Mr Onuh Edoka and his TUC counterpart, Mr Ranti Ojo, urged Bello and Onoja in the state urged Bello and Onoja to see the renewal of their mandate as an opportunity to work more for the people.

They also called on the governor to prioritise the welfare of civil servants in his second term, assuring him of the continued support and loyalty of the entire workforce.

They, however, urged aggrieved candidates in the election to seek legal redress and refrain from acts capable of breaching the fragile peace in the state.

“The organised labour commiserates with the families that lost their loved ones in the course of this election.

“We urge all relevant agencies connected to elections in Nigeria to do their jobs diligently to put a stop to unwarranted deaths,” the labour said.

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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Politics

Taraba Speaker hails Gov. Darius Ishaku’s victory at Appeal Court

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The Speaker of Taraba House of Assembly Mr Abel Diah, has congratulated Gov. Darius Ishaku on his victory at the Appeal court in Abuja.

Diah said that the judgment did not come as a surprise, adding that the appellate court only affirmed the decision of Taraba masses who turned out en masse for the re-election of Ishaku.

He assured the people of the state that the governor would reciprocate their gesture by consolidating on the achievement he has recorded in his first tenure.

NAN reports that the Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Monday, upheld the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which earlier dismissed the petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the victory of Ishaku during the March 9, gubernatorial election.

The five-member panel of the court led by Justice Chidi Nwanna dismissed the appeal.

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Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/

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