Court Remands Enugu Cleric In Prison Over Alleged Fraud

A Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, has remanded a cleric, Bishop Ginika Obi, in Enugu Maximum Prison, over an alleged fraud.

Obi, who is standing trial on a 82-count charge of Advance Fee Fraud, was arrested and arraigned after investigation by operatives of the Police Monitoring Unit, following petitions against him and others at large.

The prosecution team informed the court that Bishop Obi conspired with others at large to dupe victims.

The offence was alleged to have been committed in his church/office at Km 111, Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway in Enugu South Local Government.

In his ruling, Justice A. Liman granted the accused bail at N50 million with two sureties, who must be a director in a ministry and a traditional ruler of his community.

The bishop however could not meet the bail conditions.

Kwara Assembly Charges Offa/ Erin-Ile On Peaceful Co-Existence

The Kwara State House of Assembly has commended the state government, stakeholders and Traditional Rulers of Offa and Erin-Ile Communities for quick intervention in ensuring amicable resolution of the recent incident in the area.
The legislature made the commendation, following a Motion titled “Preventing Boundary Dispute Between Offa and Erin Ile Communities” sponsored by a member representing Okuta / Yashikiri Constituency Hon. Adamu Usman.
Reading the resolutions of the House, the Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad said harmony was synonymous with wealth of the state and urged communities in the state to emulate the two communities in ensuring peaceful coexistence in their localities to pave way for accelerated socio – economic transformation of the state.
The House according to the Speaker urged the stakeholders and Monarchs of the two ancient communities to allow peace to reign in their domains and enjoined the affected communities to make judicious use of the State Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre in resolving boundary conflict in order not to destabilise the relative peace in the area.
Meanwhile, the revised Appropriation Bill 2017 passed through Second Reading at the floor of the House ,following a message by the Governor to the Speaker Dr. Ali Ahmad, seeking the passage of the revised Appropriation size of N159,308,859,633bn for consideration and approval of the House, as against N160,900,388,017 earlier passed by the House.
This represents 1.0% decrease.

Dogara-Led House Seeks Transformation Of Water Sector

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has called for all hands to be on deck in order to achieve positive transformation in the country’s water sector. The Speaker made the call on Tuesday at the public hearing of the House Committee on Water Resources, on the National Water Resources Bill (2017).
The Speaker revealed that the bill seeks to repeal some extant Acts such as the Water Resources Act, River Basin Development Act, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (Establishment) Act and National Water Resources Institute Act, and to establish the  National Council on Water Resources, Nigeria Water Resources  Regulatory Commission, River Basin Development Authorities, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and National Water Resources Institute Acts to provide for the regulation, equitable and  sustainable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface water and ground water resources.
“The role of water in our day-to-day life cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria being a signatory to the United Nations Human Rights to water and Sanitation and the Lake Chad Basin water charter, all hands must be on deck to ensure that such ratified Instruments are respected and implemented to the latter”, he said.
Speaking on the need to establish an enabling environment for efficient management of water resources in the country, Dogara also stated that doing so would be in line with the current  administration’s plans for industrial and agricultural development.
“The passage of this Bill would facilitate the enabling environment to achieving one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration’s commitment to ensuring adequate preservation, provision and management of water, for both domestic, agricultural and industrial uses.”
“The 8th House of Representatives and indeed the National Assembly is undoubtedly poised to exercising its statutory powers granted by the constitution to ensure that all government MDAs maximize their potentials through the creation of appropriate enabling laws.”
“With the array of stakeholders present in this hall, our collective contributions during this exercise will serve as a cradle of new ideas to transform our water sector for Nigeria to assume a respectable place at the international community”, he said.

Wike Partners Real Madrid To Set Up Football Academy In Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, is Tuesday billed to meet with Real Madrid, on Tuesday, to formalize the agreement between the Rivers State government and the club on the establishment of a Real Madrid Football academy in the state.

Governor Wike who on Monday, toured the training facilities of the club in Spain, was accompanied on the trip by former Nigerian international Adokiye Amiesimaka.

According to him, the objective of setting up the real Madrid academy in rivers state was to develop stars that would rule the world and also do the state and nation proud.

Wike however assured that the academy to be established in the state will be of international standard and will take into consideration the education of the benefitting children.

 

President Buhari Pledges Support For Development Of Niger Delta, Signs University Of Petroleum Resources Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, pledged his continued support for the socio-economic development of the Niger Delta region.

Giving the assurance at a brief ceremony in the State House in Abuja to sign the bill establishing the University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State, into law, the President said “this administration is fully committed to supporting the Niger Delta in its endeavours to achieve socio-economic development.”

He appealed to all communities in the region to strive for peace through dialogue in resolving all conflicts not only among them, but also with business entities and the authorities.

With the signing of the bill into law, the path has been cleared for the establishment of the specialised university in the Niger Delta, charged with training and research in petroleum technologies.

Army Acquires Technologies To Intensify Battle Against Boko Haram

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai has on Tuesday reveal plans to acquire, install, and apply modern technologies in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group in the country.

Buratai made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a Four-Day International Seminar on Managing Asymmetric Security Challenges in the 21st Century at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja.

He said the development was made possible through the federal government collaboration with the United States of America, Isreal, United Kingdom, Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He added that these countries are also helping regarding capacity building for personnel of the Armed Forces.

The Army Chief did not, however, disclose the categories of technologies that are being acquired to defeat insurgency in the Northeast of the country.

According to Gen. Buratai the armed forces would continue to invest in capacity building for its personnel to enable them update their skills and fine tune their knowledge particularly as the world is currently challenged by emerging security threats.

Buratai said: “ Let me observe that the array of participants in this seminar which cuts across members of of the academia, military and other security actors both from within and outside Nigeria clearly shows the seriousness and concern we accord the issue of managing asymmetric security challenges in particular and world peace in general.

“Let me at this point commend the Nigerian Army Resource Centre for taking this bold step to translate an idea earlier conceived by me into reality.

“This forum is important as it will accord our nations the opportunity to re-think and re-strategize on the best approach from shared experiences to confront the challenges posed by asymmetric warfare in the 21st century as exemplified by insurgency, terrorism and other strategies used by adversaries to undermine constituted authorities”.

D-8 Summit: Buhari Leaves For Turkey On Wednesday

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Wednesday leave Nigeria for Istanbul, Turkey to participate in the ninth Summit of the Developing 8 (D-8) which holds on Friday, October 20, 2017.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

Adesina said prior to the D-8 Summit, Buhari, at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, will participate in an official working visit to Ankara, the capital city.

According to the statement, the President will have a tete-a-tete with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara while delegations from both countries will hold discussions in various fields including defence cooperation, security, educational and migration issues.

He said Buhari would also visit the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara where he will meet with the Speaker, Ismail Kahraman.

He added that while in Istanbul, the Turkish commercial centre, the President will use the occasion of the D-8 Summit to bolster warm and growing ties across a broad range of areas of cooperation with leaders of the D8-member countries, namely Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.

National Assembly Has Power To Alter, Amend And Review Budget Bills – Dogara

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has explained that the House is focused on using its oversight functions over the executive as a cooperative tool to bring development and better the lives of Nigerians, rather than as a tool of adversary.

He made this statement while delivering a keynote address at a 2-day summit on Intergovernmental/Party Relations and the Budget Reform Process for sustainable development in Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.

“Over the years, legislative oversight has been seen as more adversarial than cooperative. However, in conducting oversight, the principles of co-operative government and intergovernmental relations must be taken into consideration, including the separation of powers and the need for all spheres of government and all organs of State to exercise their powers and perform their functions in a manner that does not encroach on the functions of other arms. Seen in this light, the oversight function of the Legislature complements rather than hampers the effective delivery of services with which the executive is entrusted.”

He, therefore, called for a more cooperative goverment where the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, in their collective struggle to develop Nigeria and ensure better life for her citizens, will always adhere to a common loyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria by committing to securing the well-being of all the Nigerians and provide effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government for the country as a whole.

Dogara said the outcomes and recommendations of oversight undertaken by the legislature should be eagerly received, studied and implemented by the executive as a measure of accountability, citing an instance where the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua requested for the report of the probe carried out by the House Adhoc Committee  on Customs and Excise in the 6th Assembly under his leadership  and started implementing the recommendations even before the report was adopted.

“I can give personal testimony that as chairman, House Ad-Hoc Committee on Customs, the report of the House investigation we conducted was requested for by him personally and he started to implement the recommendations…” he recalled.

Going further, the Speaker added that for intergovernmental cooperation to function effectively to yield the desired outcomes, the distinctiveness of each arm must be safeguarded in that its constitutional status, institutions, powers and functions of each arm must be respected; each arm of government must remain within its constitutional powers; and when exercising those powers, it must not do so in a manner that encroaches on the institutional integrity of another. This means that checks and balances should be in place with mutual respect for the authority and powers of the other arms so as to achieve better cooperation.

“Each arm of government,” he continued, “must take concrete steps to realize cooperative government by fostering friendly relations, assisting and supporting one another, informing one another of, and consulting one another on, matters of common interest, co-ordinating their actions and legislation with one another; and adhering to agreed procedures.

“The various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are constitutionally required to account to the legislature, and they should always avail parliament of the complete picture on performance of the functions assigned to them as the consideration of the annual report of the MDAs alone may not give the complete picture of the performance of the relevant functions.”

Going futher, he said failure by these MDAs to adhere to resolutions of the legislature in accordance with  constitutionally assigned powers, will lead to a high risk of zero budget allocation to them since appropriation is one of the tools it can use to enforce compliance.

He said, “on the issue of legislative resolutions, one of the tools available to parliament in enforcing its Resolutions is the power of the purse as provided for by the 1999 Constitution as amended.”

“Any MDA that persistently disrespects a well-informed Resolution of Parliament may confront the power of parliament over its budget.. Over the years, legislative resolutions have been taken as merely advisory and hence enjoy a low level of compliance by the executive branch. I wish to strongly make the point that whereas some resolutions of the legislature are expressions of the will and views of the legislature, they most often do have practical, political and legal consequences. Resolution is also a mechanism through which the executive obtain expressions of opinion of important stakeholders to assist it in framing its policies. In jurisdictions like the USA, UK and India, parliamentary resolutions are taken seriously and level of implementation reported back to parliament. We should consider adopting these models in Nigeria.”

He restated that the power of appropriation is vested in the legislature which means it can alter proposals by the executive in any manner it feels will be more beneficial to Nigerians, and shed light on reforms the House has done on the budget process, including a bill he sponsored on Budget Reforms.

“The budget is also a legitimate opportunity for the government to set its policy agenda and priorities. Thus, in almost all political systems, it is generally accepted that the Executive has the primary role in developing an annual budget and presenting it to the Legislature. However, the Legislature plays a more active role in shaping the outlines of the budget submitted to it by the Executive. In most presidential democracies, such as ours, the Legislature has the right to review, in some cases, amend, alter, approve or reject the spending plan proposed by the Executive.

“Suffice it to say that even in developed democracies, the Executive and legislative branches have traditionally struggled to find an equitable balance of power over financial matters.

“Over the years, the National Assembly and the Executive have often disagreed over basic and more fundamental issues ranging from the petroleum price benchmark for the budget and role of the National Assembly in amending or modifying budget proposals submitted by the Executive to reflect diverse national development requirements. Other subjects of contention include details of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), timeline for budget presentation, implementation status and legislative oversight of budgets. While some see Legislature-Executive conflict as a necessary and beneficial precondition to limiting and controlling government, others view it as contributing to gridlock over major public policy decisions, thus making government ineffective. I see it however as a healthy constitutional exercise, for public good. However, cooperation between the Executive and the National Assembly is not only necessary but unavoidable.

“These conflicts often stem from weaknesses inherent in the different stages of our budget process. At the formulation stage, there is no adequate provision for a fixed and realistic budget calendar as well as public participation in the budget process. Also, the budgeting system is characterised by a weak link between development plans and annual budgets, resulting in poor development outcomes. Fundamentally too, there is neither a reliable and comprehensive database on the socio-economic conditions of the country nor a rigorous analytical framework for determining policy objectives.

“Happily, in the last Constitution Alteration exercise, the National Assembly passed an amendment to S.81(1) of the Constitution which if ratified, will now  require the President to prepare and lay the budget proposal before the National Assembly not later than 90 days before the end of each financial year rather than the current provision of laying it “at any time” in the financial year.

“Secondly, at the enactment stage, the process still appears haphazard with no definite timeline for the enactment of the Appropriation Bill.

Finally, at the implementation stage, some of the weaknesses include the relatively low budgeted capital expenditure compared to recurrent expenditure. Capital budget implementation is still constrained by weak revenue base; untimely and irregular release of funds; preponderance of unplanned projects; weak implementation capacity on the part of MDAs; and weak budget monitoring by the Executive and sometimes weak legislative oversight.

“In the House of Representatives, we have shown our commitment to ensuring that the procedure and process of consideration and passage of the 2017 Budget was transparent, inclusive and professional. The details of the Budget was debated and passed in plenary to avoid unnecessary drawbacks that normally characterise the budget process, in Nigeria. That is why I personally sponsored a Budget Process Bill, to set out mandatory time-lines for all stakeholders in the budgetary process.”

He also called for the inclusion of the ruling party in the budget preparation process in order for it to align with its agenda.

UNICEF: Number Of Sokoto’s Out Of School Children Drops By Half

The number of out of school children in Sokoto, which was the highest in the country, has dropped from 69 percent in 2015 to 37 percent this year, outgoing UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office for Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states, Muhammad Muhuiddin, has revealed.

He said the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) for 2016-2017 showed that Sokoto has made appreciable progress, resulting in over 50 percent cut in the number.
Muhuiddin spoke at a reception organised in his honour by the Sokoto state government after the completion of his tour of duty.
“It gladdens my heart seeing the commitment shown by the political leadership and the technical teams set up by the government to work with UNICEF and partners in various sectors for the children of Sokoto.
“We have achieved significant changes in results, and I have to say, these changes are positive, and unique in Nigeria. It is always satisfying when you implement projects and see the results and the impact these results have made.
“Of special joy for me is the number of girls in schools at the moment. The other day, we inspected some projects in schools in Binji and in a class of 48 pupils, we saw 36 girls as against 12 boys. It was a good measure of the progress made and i urge you to sustain it,” he said.
Muhuiddin however urged the government to do more especially in the area of routine immunisation, expressing hope and optimism that the plans put together will have positive impact in the next two to four years.
Sokoto state Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal commended Muhuiddin for the commitment, passion and dexterity he showed while in Sokoto, adding that the people of the state would miss a dear friend.
“We will miss you. To us, you are a friend and reliable partner who took his job of saving humanity with all the seriousness it deserves. The people and government of Sokoto state wish you success in your future assignment in Calcutta, India,” he added.

Army Offers Free Medical Aid To 7000 People In Calabar

More than 7,000 people including women and children have benefited from the Nigerian Army’s free medical services in ten villages across Cross River State of the southern region of the country.

Spokesman for the 13 Brigade Nigerian Army, Calabar, Captain Kayode Owolabi said the medical outreach was in continuation of Operation Crocodile smile 2, which was flagged off in Bakassi Local Government Area by the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Major General Adamu Abubakar.

In a statement signed by the Nigerian Army spokesperson, Captain Kayode indicated that the Nigerian Army also offered free medical services under Exercise Egwu Eke – Python Dance 2 – to survivors of a deadly communal crisis at Ogurude clan in Obubra Local Government Area of central Cross River State.

According to Owolabi, “The launch of operation crocodile smile 2 is sequel to the successes of the first one, which was flagged off here in Calabar by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai”.

“In Obubra, the medical outreach was in support of Exercise Egwu Eke 2, which was flagged off early October at Ogurude by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Ismaila Isa”, he stated.

WHO To Collaborate With Borno On Polio Eradication

World Health Organisation (WHO), has said it will collaborate with Borno State government to ensure that Nigeria is certified polio-free.

WHO’s regional director for Africa, Rebecca Moeti stated this at the Muna IDP camp in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, where she partook in an integrated polio/malaria prevention campaign  flag-off.

Moeti applauded Borno state government and partners for ensuring that no case of live polio virus transmission, has been recorded, since last year.

She further mentioned that WHO has put in place, seasonal malaria prevention campaigns, of which two rounds have been concluded, while two more are being launched.

LASUTH To Commence Full Cardiac Surgery – CMD

As part of efforts to stem overseas medical tourism by Nigerians, the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, says it will soon begin full cardiac surgery.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Adewole Oke, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos that the teaching hospital was striving to be the hub of qualitative healthcare delivery in Nigeria. Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) doctors performing surgery.

Oke said the hospital was making effort to end the treatment of diseases that could be treated locally; hence, there it was ready to do its best. “We have a government that is interested in the health sector; that is ready to move the sector forward.

It has provided enough infrastructure and world class facilities. “In other to complement the government’s efforts, we are also sharpening our skills to make sure that we provide world class services to make Lagos the hub of medical healthcare delivery.

“Not by the world of the mouth, LASUTH conducted five kidney transplants this week and two between yesterday and today without any expatriate. All the surgeons are LASUTH doctors. “We have also done cardiac surgery (heart replacement) about six months ago with the aid of some foreign consultants, but soon we will stand on our own,’’ he said.

Oke said that with the world class facilities available in the teaching hospital, it was set to stand without any assistance from overseas as regards surgery.

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