Buhari Approves Governing Council And Board Of Trustees For Implementation Of Ogoniland Clean-up

The choice is for you to keep your environment clean and nurture the Niger Delta back to its lost glory. The beginning of this clean-up exercise is clear evidence that Ken Saro Wiwa and other sons of Ogoniland who fought hard for environmental justice did not fight in vain. Let this mark the beginning of the restoration not just of the environment of Ogoniland, but of peace and prosperity to the great land and people of Ogoniland”-

President Muhammadu Buhari

Following the historic Presidential launch of the Implementation of the UNEP Report on June 2, 2016, in Bodo, Rivers State, President Buhari has approved the composition of the Governing Council and Board of Trustees, key elements of the governance structure required for the Clean up of Ogoniland. This is in line with Mr. President’s promise to implement the UNEP Report.

The Hon. Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed said in a statement that President Buhari has approved the inauguration of a 13-person Governing Council and a 10-person Board of Trustees (BOT). This governance structure ensures inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and sustainability of the Clean up exercise.

Addressing the concerns raised by Nigerians about the perceived slow pace of work, the Minister said, “Nigerians have a right to voice their concerns. We have responsibility to deliver. The launch was the 1st step in a 30-year journey. We continue to made strides toward implementation”

“We ask for patience as we lay solid foundations for the clean up. The context is complex and stakeholders are diverse. All must be taken along. His Excellency, President Buhari remains steadfast in his conviction to see Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta cleaned up. My team at Federal Ministry of Environment is actively working collaboratively with Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Niger Delta, NDDC and key stakeholders to see that the Promise of His Excellency is kept and we stay clean after the clean up” the Minister said in a Statement.

The Minister also reiterated the need to see the clean up as a collective responsibility and urged all the Niger Delta communities especially the Ogonis to support the remediation and restoration efforts of the government.

The Clean up operation – which the UNEP report said could be the “most wide-ranging and long term oil clean-up exercise” – aims to restore drinking water, soil, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves. The UN report estimated that the clean up of Ogoniland could take up to 30 years where the initial remediation will take 5 years and the restoration another 25 years.

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Felicitation And Moonsighting For Ramadan By The Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs

The month of Ramadan (is that) in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. present at his home), he must observe fasting that month… (Q.Al-Baqarah 2:185)

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President General, Alh. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto, congratulates the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and all over the world on the auspicious occasion of Ramadan, 1437 A. H. The Council prays that Allah make the month a positively new beginning in our individual and national lives in terms of spiritual excellence and national development.

The Council appreciates the educative release from National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA) on crescent sighting, which was meant to provide just the scientific explanation concerning sighting of the crescent. We urge the NASRDA to make it a monthly affair for public awareness and education. One of the beauties of Islamic calendar is its being natural, based on a monthly phenomenon as created by the Almighty Creator of both humanity and nature.

It is also instructive that the findings of NASRDA agree with those of the Islamic Scholars on when and where the conjunction of the new crescent would take place. The only difference is that mere conjunction without its physical appearance (after sunset) is not enough for the commencement of the Ramadan except on the 30th of the receding month when its existence is certain.

Since the last Ramadan fast, the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC) of the NSCIA, under the leadership of Mallam Hafiz Wali and Prof. Usman El-Nafaty, assisted by Bro. Muhammad Yaseen Qamarud-Deen, advises the President General of the NSCIA on the commencement of every lunar month. The President General, as advised, always makes monthly declaration of the commencement of every lunar month.

The NMSC had advised the President General that the crescent of Ramadan should be searched for on Sunday, 5th June, 2016 equivalent to 29th Sha’ban 1437 AH. If the crescent is actually sighted by informed persons on Sunday night and His Eminence is so advised by the experts, he would declare Monday, 6th June, 2016 as the first day of Ramadan. If, however, the crescent is not sighted on the night of Sunday, Tuesday, 7th June, 2016 automatically becomes the first of Ramadan, 1437 AH.

Muslims all over the Country are hereby enjoined to be on the lookout for the directive of His Eminence, the President General of the NSCIA, on the commencement of the 1437 AH Ramadan fast.

In addition to established and traditional Islamic leaders in each locality, members of the National Moon Sighting Committee who can be contacted for information and clarification are:

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Mallam Hafiz Wali 08036009090 hafizswali@yahoo.com
2 Sheikh  Tahir Bauchi 08032103733

08033058201

Sayyadibashir26@yahoo.com

Usmanusman9280@gmail.com

3 Sheikh  Karibullah Kabara 08035537382  
4 Mal. Simwal Usman Jibrin 08033140010 simwaljibril@yahoo.com
5 Sheikh  Salihu Yaaqub 07032558231 Salihumy11@yahoo.com
6 Mal. Jafar Abubakar 08020878075 jaafaraabubakar@yahoo.com
7 Alh. Abdullahi Umar 08037020607 waziringwandu@yahoo.com
8 Prof. J.M. Kaura 08067050641 Jmkaura56@yahoo.com
9 Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar 08036509363 Baumar277@gmail.com

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Sheikh  Habeebullah Adam Al-Ilory 08023126335 habibelilory@ymail.com
2 Sheikh  Jamiu Kewulere 08033881335 pgsouthwest85@gmail.com
3 Muhammad Rabiu Salahudeen 08035740333 muhammadrabiusalahudeen@gmail.com
4 Sheikh  Abdur-Razzaq Ishola 08023864448

08051111063

hustaz@yahoo.com

sheikh@al@abrartravels.com

5 Sheikh Abdur Rasheed Mayaleke 08035050804 jentleasad@yahoo.com
6 Dr. Ganiy I. Agbaje 08028327463

08057752980

Ganiy.agbaje@nasrda.gov.ng

gagbaje@yahoo.co.uk

7 Gafar M. Kuforiji 08033545208 kuforijiabdulwasiu@gmail.com

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Prof. Usman El-Nafaty 08062870892 elnafaty@gmail.com
2 Mal. Ibrahim Zubairu Salisu 08038522693 zubairusalisu@yahoo.com
3 Dr. Usman Hayatu Dukku 0805 704 1968 udukku@yahoo.com
4 Imam Manu

Muhammad

08036999841

 

limaminmisau@gmail.com
5 Chief Imam of Yola Central Mosque 08035914285  

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Prof. Z. I. Oboh Oseni 08033574431 oseni@unilorin.edu.ng

wazzioseni@gmail.com

2 Nurudeen Asunogie D. 08033533012 hamdallah1999@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Sheikh  Bala Lau 08037008805

08052426880

balalaujibwisnigeria@gmail.com
2 Sheikh  Sani Yahaya Jingir 08065687545

 

 
3 Muhammad Nasir AbdulMuhyi 08065687545

08024333381

ustaznasirabdulmuhyi@yahoo.com
4 Sheikh  AbdurRahman Ahmad 08023141752 aahmadimam@yahoo.co.uk
5 Muhammad Yaseen Qamarud-Deen 07032558231 info@bmics.com
6 Sheikh  Lukman Abdallah 08037861132  
7 Sheikh  Sulaiman Gumi 08033139153 ssgummi@gmail.com

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Sheikh Adam Idoko 08036759892 imamcentral@yahoo.com
2 Alh. Yusuf Nwoha 08030966956

08026032997

yusufnwoha@gmail.com
3 Mal. Isa Okonkwo 08037861407

 

isaokonkwo@gmail.com

 

As soon as the NMSC, based on the verified information, confirms the sighting of the crescent, the committee will advise the President General of the NSCIA, who will announce the commencement of the month of Ramadan.

While we are wishing all Nigerian Muslims happy Ramadan in advance, we urge each and every Muslim to remain faithful to the true teachings of Islam in all its ramifications, by being his/her brothers’ keeper, peace loving, peace keeping, peacemaking and being an advocate of peaceful co-existence for accelerated development of our troubled nation.

We urge all of us to seize the opportunity of Ramadan to pray for our leaders; Political, Religious and Social, so that the nation can be properly guided to greater development.

Ramadan Kareem!

signed

Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, OFR, FNAL,

Secretary General,

NSCIA.

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Leadership Of National Youth Council Of Nigeria: Putting The Record Straight By AbdulRahman Agboola

It is very obvious that several posers are at stake that queries the importance and relevance of the National Youth Council of Nigeria to resolutions of numerous challenges confronting Nigeria Youths, considering the deepened economic maladies and relative insensitivities of government to their general plights. Oftentimes, government agents or agencies claims recognition of palpable problems confronting Nigeria Youths and echoes government initiatives at putting the problems at bay, but the realities are the unabated social malaise, high poverty rate and employment crisis.

The creed of the Youths is an assurance of brighter future, where their basic needs will be derived not only with ease, but through lesser efforts that ultimately guarantees the achievements of these noble expectations, it is absolutely compelling for strong synergy to exist between government and representatives of Nigeria Youths for productive engagements leading to pragmatic Youth Developments. Since 1964, Nigeria Youths are majorly represented by the leadership of National Youth Council of Nigeria as fronts for genuine aspirations of Nigeria Youths.

The most successful government policy aimed towards reuniting the Country after disintegration from the Civil War in 1967 was an initiative of the then leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. It is not common knowledge, but substantive evidences and records exist that proved that the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps occurred via wisdom of leaders of National Youth Council of Nigeria that recommended the Scheme to the Federal Government, suffice to say the synergy between the leadership of the Council and Government aided several Youth Oriented Policies formulation and implementation, the impact of those initiatives on partakers and communities are sufficient enough to weigh the usefulness of a vibrant National Youth Council of Nigeria to Youth Developments in Nigeria.

It is not out of place to link the neglects of general interest of Nigeria Youths by government to the loss of vibrancy and politicization of the activities of the National Youth Council of Nigeria. It is easy for people to allege Youths of outright indiscipline and misdemeanours without investigating the causes of the rots, unfortunately, our society is only fair to the affluent and political class that commits offences and escape commensurable sanctions, the commoners are subjected to extreme punishment without creating appropriate measures to debar them from further committals.

Drawing motivations from good intents and purpose, the organizations affiliated to the National Youth Council of Nigeria offers voluntary services to Nigeria Youths at large by equipping them with sound ideological and worthy moral trainings required to become good citizens. In past eras, it was difficult to find any young educated Nigerian without membership of outstanding organizations like Man ’O’ War, Boys Scouts, Sheriff Guards of Nigeria, Girls Brigade and their likes, these organizations provided enabling platforms for Youth orientations, training, guidance and counseling with due monitoring by the leadership of NYCN aided by availability of subventions from relevant government agencies and aids from both domestic and international donors, but today, those glories have eroded partly due to failure of government to provide the subventions to assist the voluntary workers as done in the past.

The supportive efforts of these organizations impacted positively on the modeling of disciplined, contented and morally conscious Youths with inherent spirit of sacrifice and volunteerism obtainable in the past, a circumstance that is grossly at variance with the current realities of vast population of misguided, poorly oriented and desperate Youths occupying public space in Nigeria of today. These Voluntary Youth Organizations formed the source of strength for National Youth Council of Nigeria at Local, States and National Levels, their membership inductions follows detailed procedures that commandeer good manners among members that prioritize showcasing of the good ideals of their organizations as good ambassadors.

To be qualified to contest an elective position in National Youth Council of Nigeria, an aspirant must be sponsored by an affiliate organization and must have passed through series of leadership training, invariably; such person must have held a leadership position in his organization. These criteria created credible platform that enhanced vibrancy of the National Youth Council of Nigeria where unity of purpose was second to none among the fore bearers, but on the contrary, the shift from that trend to a retrogressive point is ultimately responsible for the unwarranted leadership tussle among gladiators in the Council.

A brief trace of the leadership impasse in the Council can be sufficiently linked to the NYCN National Congress in 2007, certain issues that arose from the election guidelines and conduct became subject of litigations where Court judgments eventually crashed the mandate of the Olawale James Ajani led National Executive Council among other factors that hindered the successful completion of their term of office, upon which a consent judgment among gladiators gave birth to a National Transition Committee headed by the same Ajani in 2010 with the mandate to unite all warring factions and facilitate the conduct of a credible election to reposition NYCN for greatness.

The National Transition Committee was time bound at conceptions, but logistics and necessities hindered the smooth transition that got shattered with parallel congresses that gave birth to different factions in the National Youth Council of Nigeria from 2010 till 2014 before the interventions of the Board of Trustees and other stakeholders that conveyed a message of hope for a Unity National Congress in 2015.

Due to bickering and tussles among the gladiators, high level degeneration occurred when people of doubtable characters and ill trainings without familiarities with the norms and core values of NYCN infiltrated the fold by trading their organizations with some jobbers and handed over their platforms to these elements to contest elections in the Council. These charlatans with dubious characters under heavy sponsorship of politicians attempted severally to hijack NYCN for political gains, but the resilience of the frontline leaders of the Council has aided the sustenance of the Council even in the face of invasions by the political mercenaries.

In the build up to the 2015 National Congress, one political mercenary that was on top of his game to hijack the Council for political gains is one Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga with no link whatsoever with NYCN other than fraudulently acquisition of an organization as platform to contest. He rallied support of most of his kinsmen with just few exemptions that confronted his dubious attempt to denigrate the image of the Council with his desperation under the conspiratorial guise that his kinsmen has never emerged as National President of NYCN.

Upon receiving series of reports over unholy plots between John Wakama, Chairman of the Electoral Committee and Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga who sought to be declared as president against all odds, the Board of Trustees removed John Wakama as the Chairman of Electoral Committee and put the Congress Conduct on hold, but the removed Chairman went ahead to fraudulently declared Ikenga without a proper congress. The event became a subject of litigation once again and the cases are still under legal struggles at the moment.

To avoid unnecessary vacuum in the leadership of NYCN, the board of trustees conveyed a Non-Elective Congress on 7th to 9th April at Benin City in Edo State, the Congress was presided by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees with most compositions of the Council in attendance. The Congress appraised motions for the composition of a Caretaker Committee to undertake responsibilities of the National Executive Council for a period of three months and organize an Elective Congress to put up legitimate leadership in consonance with the letters, spirits and dictates of NYCN Constitution.

The membership of the Caretaker Committee comprises of veteran youth leaders with worthy experience and versatilities in the activities of NYCN under the Chairmanship of Ibukunoluwa Oluwole – Former Chairman of Ekiti State Chapter of NYCN and Balarabe Rufai – Former Chairman of Kano State Chapter of NYCN as Secretary.

The immediate task undertook by the Caretaker Committee that rattled the usurper – Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga was the representation of NYCN by the Chairman, Caretaker Committee at both the House of Representatives and Senate Committee on Interiors on A Bill for An Act to Establish Nigeria Peace Corps. Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga is an aide to the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria as Special Assistant on Youth, which expose his deceitful claim to the leadership of NYCN, a grave contradiction and an affront to the image of National Youth Council of Nigeria.

Imo Ugochinyere Ikenga eventually landed himself in the custody of the Department of State Security Services for offences not yet in public coffer but his kinsmen and collaborators have hyped the media war to misinform the general public by alleging the DSS of detaining NYCN President claiming a Court Judgment recognized him as such without confessing his dubious practices that invited the wrath of law against him.

A study of the purported judgment being branded as their alibi revealed the Ruling of the Presiding Judge that he lacked jurisdiction to compel the Federal Ministry of Youths to recognize him, which brings to nullity whatever declarations the judge gave him as a respite for asking to be declared as a President of NYCN even without a legitimate Congress in line with the Traditions, Conventions and Constitution of NYCN.

To put the record straight, the reality of NYCN is the fact of her legal registration and existence of a board of trustees comprising of former National Presidents as Members, the Council is under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Youths and the National Congress is supreme. The legitimacy of any leadership of NYCN is legally verifiable with the Board of Trustees and it was under the supervision of the board of trustees that conveyed the Non-Elective Congress that the National Caretaker Committee was constituted, a resolution that is supreme over and above any other claim or self declarations.

The onus of responsibilities of the National Caretaker Committee as constituted is to undertake all necessary tasks required to frontally reposition National Youth Council of Nigeria to her envious position of honour aimed at fulfilling the lofty ideals, visions and missions of NYCN. The Council must be returned to the path of sound advocacy for the advancement of the general interest of Youths in Nigeria. NYCN must regain her strength which is only attainable through unity of purpose among all the 104 affiliates Organizations, 37 State Chapters and 774 Local Chapters in the best interest of Nigeria Youths at large.

The role of National Youth Council of Nigeria in modeling the characters of Youths as good citizens of Nigeria can never be underestimated; the resolutions of challenges hindering the effective discharge of required services to the Youths by NYCN through reputable affiliate’s organizations must be topmost on the agenda for the rebranding of NYCN for optimum productivities while the restoration of subventions by government to these organizations as done in the past must be sacrosanct.

Comrade AbdulRahman Agboola

National Publicity Secretary, Sheriff Guards of Nigeria.

Sheriff Guards of Nigeria is an Affiliate of NYCN since 1970

E-mail: nycnpro@gmail.com 08032813279

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Why Cross River State Was Absent in the Retreat of the National Economic Council

By Okoi Obono-Obla

The National Economic Council a body established under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); and entrusted with the power of advising the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of various governments of the Federation, arose from a meeting yesterday to announce the pumping of N350 billion into the economy to revamped it.

The National Economic Council is composed of the Vice President ( who is Chairman); the 36 State Governors and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. However, the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade was conspicuously missing from such an important economic meeting. Governor Ben Ayade has traveled out of the country since January 2016 supposedly on a tour to attract investors to the State. However, Governor Ayade failed to comply with the provisions of Section 190 subsection 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 that provides that when the Governor is on proceeding on vacation OR is unable to discharge the functions of his office, he shall transmit a written declaration to the Speaker of the House of Assembly to that effect, and until he transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration to the contrary the Deputy Governor shall perform the functions of the Governor as Acting Governor.

Since January 2016, Governor Ayade has not being able to discharge the functions of his office because of his absence from the State. Till now, Governor Ayade has been absent from the State for more than 45 days. Section 190 subsection 2 of the 1999 Constitution is to the effect that in the event that the Governor is unable or fails to transmit the written declaration mentioned in subsection (1) of Section 1 of the Constitution within 21 days, the House of Assembly shall, by a simple resolution of the vote of the House mandate the Deputy Governor to perform the functions of the office of the Governor as Acting Governor, until the Governor transmits a letter to the Speaker that he is now available to resume his functions as Governor.

The Cross River State House of Assembly has regrettably turned a blind eye to the failure of Governor Ayade to transmit a written declaration to its Speaker that he would not be unable to discharge the functions of his office because of his absence from the State since January 2016. The dialectical consequence of these infractions by Governor Ayade and the Cross River State House of Assembly was that the State was not represented in the summit of the National Economic Council, where far reaching measures to resuscitate the national economy were deliberated and important decisions taken because of the failure of Governor Ayade to comply with Section 190 (1) of the Constitution to enable the Deputy Governor of the State, Professor Ivara Esu take over the functions of his office as Acting Governor.

It is disheartening that Cross River State which is one of the States in the country hard hit by the present financial crunch caused by the drop in revenue allocation arising from unprecedented fall in the price of crude oil in the international market was not represented in such an important economic summit.

Despite, the economic crunch, the bureaucracy under Governor Ayade has astronomically increased with the appointment of 29 Commissioners; 40 Special Advisers and hundreds of personal assistants and members of Boards, Commissions and Parastatals. One of the important decisions taken by the National Economic Council is an advisory to State governments to reduce the number of Commissioners and other appointments in their bureaucracies.

Okoi Obono-Obla

 

 

Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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PDP Queries Postponement Of FCT Council Polls

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has queried the postponement of the
Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja Area Council elections.

The party alleged that the poll was postponed at ‘the instance of a political party’.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had postponed the Area Councils Elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), earlier slated for March 19 to April 9th, 2016.

The Commission said it shifted the election because it was not able to get the required number of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members as adhoc staff for the exercise.

But the PDP would have none of that, insisting that there is no valid
reason for the shift “except that the PDP and its candidates are more
popular and set to sweep the elections in the areas”.

The PDP in a statement by its spokesperson, Olisa. Metuh on Wednesday said it is aware that the postponement is part of the
moves to deny the PDP of its imminent victory at the polls.

His words: “Intelligence reports available to us indicate that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was instigated to shift the election merely because that particular political party realized that
our candidates were going to sweep the polls.

“It is indeed incontrovertible that most Nigerians from all walks of life residing in Abuja are in support of the PDP and are ready to express this support overwhelmingly at the FCT elections. The shift, we know is a fallout of the panic and conspiracy against the PDP”.

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BBC World Service And British Council Launch 25th International Radio Playwriting Competition

Writers from around the world are invited to submit their scripts as the 25th International Radio Playwriting Competition opens for entries today.

 

The global competition, hosted by BBC World Service and the British Council, in partnership with Commonwealth Writers and co-producers The Open University, offers the unique opportunity for playwrights to use the medium of radio drama to reach an international audience.

 

The competition has two first prizes – one for writers with English as a First Language and another for writers with English as a Second Language. Both winners will attend an award ceremony in London and see their plays recorded for broadcast on BBC World Service.

 

A third award – the Georgi Markov prize – celebrates the most promising script from the competition’s shortlist in honour of BBC World Service journalist and writer Georgi Markov (1929-1978). The winner of this prize will also travel to London for the award ceremony and spend two weeks with BBC Radio Drama and BBC World Service.

 

The previous competition attracted entries from a record 86 countries. To mark the 25th competition, The Ravens by Alana Valentine – the winner of last year’s English as a First Language prize – will broadcast again on Saturday 3 October on BBC World Service.

 

Mary Hockaday, Controller, World Service English, said: “This competition gives writers around the world the opportunity to have their radio plays heard by a truly global audience. International stories and compelling story-telling in all its forms – whether drama, news or documentaries – is at the heart of the World Service. I’m really looking forward to hearing what this 25th competition inspires”.

 

Neil Webb, Director Theatre and Dance, British Council said: “I am delighted that the International Radio Playwriting Competition continues to provide a platform for talented writers from around the world and I look forward to this year’s entries”.

 

Lucy Hannah, Programme Manager, Commonwealth Writers said: “The power of storytelling combined with the reach of radio make for a winning combination. We value our ongoing partnership with the International Radio Playwriting Competition and look forward to the new insights into the world that it brings each year”.

 

Dr Derek Neale, Senior Lecturer, The Open University Faculty of Arts said: “Creative Writing is a vibrant subject area at The Open University, with courses from beginner and undergraduate, to MA and PhD level. We are thrilled to collaborate with BBC World Service in this important and unique competition, encouraging and supporting talent internationally.”

 

The shortlisted scripts and judging panel will be announced in due course. Previous judges have included Dame Eileen Atkins, Doris Lessing, Wole Soyinka, Lee Hall and Indira Varma.

 

The International Playwriting Competition welcomes scripts from anyone outside the UK, whether established or new writers. The dramas need to be 53 minutes long and can be on any subject. The closing date for entries is midnight (GMT) on 31 January 2016. Further details on the competition, including T&C’s and how to enter, are online at: www.bbcworldservice.com/radioplay.

 

Social media users can keep up to date with the competition on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #BBCPlay.

 

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More States Benefit From President Buhari’s Relief Package As National Economic Council Meets In Abuja

States of the federation have started benefiting from the Special Intervention Fund aspect of the presidential relief package earlier approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This was disclosed today at the National Economic Council, NEC, meeting held at the State House presided over by Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

While briefing the Council, the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said 18 states had been able to draw from the Fund, as at today, while a number of other states are currently being processed for the soft loan facility. This is part of President Buhari’s relief package designed to help states pay backlog of salaries and also ease their financial challenges caused by the drop in federal allocation.

In a similar vein, the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, DMO, Mr. Abraham Nwankwo also informed the NEC that the second phase of the debt restructuring offered to the states is now in effect with 13 new states now being considered, with 12 banks involved.

This is in addition to 11 states whose debts were restructured last month, according to Nwankwo who also told the Council 23 states are now involved in the restructuring. While a total of over N322 Billion of states loans were restructured last month, about N252 Billion have been restructured this month.

It would be recalled that the presidential relief package has three core elements. These are:

*The sharing of about $2.1B in fresh allocation between the states and the federal government. The money was sourced from recent LNG proceeds to the federation account, and its release okayed by the president leading to the sharing of federal allocation twice for month of June.

* A Central Bank-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, to the range of about ranging around from N300B. This is a soft loan available to states to access for the purposes of paying backlog of salaries.

*A debt relief program designed by the Debt Management Office, DMO, which is now helping the states restructure their commercial loans put at over N660B, and extend the life span of such loans while reducing their debt-servicing expenditures.

Today, the NEC also received an ongoing report from its Ad-Hoc Committee of five governors on the management of the Excess Crude Account and related Federation Account issues. The Committee briefed the Council that it has observed a lack of transparency and accountability in the operation of the Federation Account, adding that there were no checks and balances in the running of the ECA in the recent past.

The five governors on the Ad-Hoc Committee are the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo; Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El Rufai; (who presented the report to Council today) Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Emmanuel Udom and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.

The Council also received a report on the issue of refund requested by states who repaired federal roads under the past administration. A briefing by both the Federal Ministry of Works and the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation disclosed that 13 states have fully complied with the reimbursement requirements, 8 states partially complied and 21 states with no compliance with federal reimbursement requirements.

The Buhari administration will be exploring options to address the problem.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture also briefed the Council on its policy direction so far. The Council which meets monthly was attended by state governors and several top officials from the federal and state governments.

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Nigeria Deserves A Seat On UN Security Council – Osinbajo

 

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has advocated a permanent membership status for Nigeria in the Security Council of the United Nations, stating that the country deserves it because of its contributions to international peace keeping, the size of its population and economy.

Delivering a keynote address today at the Africa launch of the Global Commission Report, Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Prof. Osinbajo said ‘’ Nigeria fully shares the views expressed in the Report, that the United Nation’ Security Council should be expanded including the call in the Report for restraint on the use of veto by the five permanent members of the Council.’’

He continued ‘’in addition, we take the position based on our peacekeeping role in the United Nations, the size of our economy, and the fact that we have the largest population in the continent to say that Nigeria deserves a permanent status in the Security Council’’.

The Vice President is of the view that since Africa is the only continent without a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Nigeria has the strongest profile to represent Africa and therefore balance the membership composition of the Council.

Speaking on the issue of good governance, the Vice President  affirmed that ‘’ it is clear that the crisis of global governance has deeply contributed to and continues to engender insecurity, corruption, injustice, insurgency, violent extremism, terrorism, piracy, cyber-crime, underdevelopment, climate change fears among many vices.’’

Concerned that Africa is at the centre of this crisis, Prof. Osinbajo stated that ‘’for instance, the Report highlighted the issue of intersection between justice and insecurity. It opens up the question of the place of social justice in ensuring security’’. He added that ‘’ there are those who believe that the absence of social justice in parts of our continent is partially responsible for the insecurity experienced in many of the countries in this continent’’.

According to the Vice President, the way out of crisis in Africa is for the leaders to treat their people not as mere statistics but with the respect and human dignity they deserve, explaining that ‘’ this can only be reflected by government in the provision of social services and giving opportunities to their peoples.’’

He said “injustices in one state leads to instability or insecurity in neighboring states even if only on account of economic consequences or movement of refugees. Ultimately, no nation is free of the consequences of injustice anywhere’’, he submitted.

Regarding trans-border problems, Prof. Osinbajo said ‘’Nigeria fully shares the view that no one state or states can effectively deal with such challenges. For us as a nation and government, the issue of security, justice and human rights, climate change and sustainable good governance constitute the cornerstone of responsibility we owe our people.’’

He therefore disclosed that such a realization ‘’ explains why the Federal Government of Nigeria is meticulously re-assessing  the entire governance question with the hope of putting in place structures and institutions that can sustain Nigeria in confronting multitudes of challenges identified in the report.’’

Good governance, the Vice President, averred is the panacea to the challenges confronting our world and can only be realized by a determined and visionary leader, with the active cooperation of all segments of the society.

The Vice President who was the event’s Special Guest of Honour launched the Report at the impressive gathering chaired by Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, one time Secretary to the Government to the Federation.

Prof. Osinbajo used the occasion to laud the commitment and vision of Madeleine K. Albright, former United States Secretary of State and particularly Nigeria’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, both Co-Chairs of the Commission that produced the Report for their pursuit of global security, justice and governance.

In his presentation of the Report, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari underscored the significance of global alliance for security, justice and good governance especially for Africa as a continent. He also supported the Vice President’s call for a permanent Security Council membership status for Nigeria.

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Gov Ben Ayade’s Continue Seizure Of Council Allocations Is Illegal – Obla

Governor Ben Ayade’s seizure of Councils’ allocation is illegal. I am pleasantly surprise that Governor Ben Ayade is still indulging in the seizure of allocations to local government councils in Cross River State of Nigeria from the federation accounts despite the change that is currently sweeping across the country ; a consequent of the historic victory of the All Progressives Congress last March in the general elections in the country.

Consequently, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai announced recently the abolition of the Joint State/Local Government Accounts which the successive Governors in the State have used as a pretext to impound allocations from the federation accounts to local government councils in his State under the cloak of supervisory control. Also recently the Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum admitted that the seizure of allocations to local government councils by State Governors in the country is unconstitutional and illegal.

I recall that soon after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari , he said that in as much as his government would respect the principle of federalism, it would not tolerate the seizure of allocations to local government councils in the country by State governors under any guise. One would have thought that Governor Ayade would desist from indulging in the unwholesome and indeed criminal seizure of allocations to local government councils in the State that started in the regime of Donald Duke, and became worse under Liyel Imoke.

I understand that for the past two months local government workers in the State have not been paid even though local government councils have received hundreds of millions from the federation account. This is inexplicable and a huge disappointment. I have to sound a note of warning that Governor Ayade continue seizure of allocations of local government councils from the federation accounts to the State will be his albatross. I therefore Governor Ayade to respectfully put an end to it.

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Before We Crucify Kukah and his Peace Council By Nkannebe Raymond

Renowned cleric, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah is in the eye of the storm. He happens to be in the news for the “wrong” reason in a long time, if not for the first time together with members of the National Peace Committee (NPC) which was his engineering in the period leading to the 2015 general elections. The committee became necessary at the time, to douse the high pitch tension of a possible breakdown of law and order necessitated by politicians of the two major contending political parties? PDP/APC and their supporters through their bitter comments and recriminations which left the polity highly charged and seating on the keg of gunpowder.

Comprising of notable and eminent traditional rulers like the Sultan of Sokoto, Alh. Sa’ad Abubakar II, Cardinal John Onaiyekan ; president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; and the primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh among others, the committee could be said to have done a great job with how they got warring factions at the time to sign a peace Accord in what came to be known as the Abuja Accord.

Chaired by the former Military leader, Alh. Abdulsalam Abubakar, the committee did not rest on its oars as it understood what was at stake, but rather worked indefatigably throughout the period consulting widely with interest groups within the country, members of the foreign observer team, the Security Chiefs and other relevant stakeholders on how to make their vision, a success. It sat with political parties recapping the need for them to accept election results or ventilate their grievances through conventional and legal means without inciting their supporters to disrupt the peace by taking the Law into their hands.

It needs no saying that their efforts led Former president Goodluck Jonathan to make that very important call that changed the course of history. A feat, unheard of anywhere in this part of the Atlantic when it became clear the result weren’t going to translate in his favour. That is, even before JEGA and Co. punctured their Casio Calculators.

That the headship of this committee, Abdulsalam Abubakar was seated together with GEJ at the State House when the phone call was made, is a pointer to the influence, and level of commitment of the NCP to see that the covenants reached at the Abuja Accord were not floundered and observed in the breach.

At the end of the day, Nigerians rejoiced. The international community lavished encomiums on us. We congratulated the new president and hailed Kukah’s team for a job well done in brokering peace at a time foreign elements predicted our nationhood has expired and must implode. Thanks to the NCP, an initiative of the Kaduna born cleric and Academic don who combines as the de-facto mouthpiece of the committee.

We have ran this post-mortem to paint a picture of what  this body represents, to allow us an insight into their terms of reference when they assumed duties and its undeniable successes and achievements so that objective readers  could at least come to a conscientious and fair conclusion when reconciling those with all the aspersions, calumny and mudslinging that is today (at least since their last week visit to PMP) been poured on this very resourceful body that once saved us from falling off the precipice but which many would hastily deny or belittle today, true to the nature of Man as an ungrateful beast.

Before continuing this effort, we must warn that we do not hold any brief for the Abdulsalam Abubakar led committee, nor do we reserve any sympathy for the administration of former president GEJ whom all these rabble rousing seems to be about.

On the contrary, as one who have followed the contributions of the revered cleric to national development; his commentaries over the years on national issues has since distinguished him from his ilk, endeared him to many Nigerians and attracted global attention on him, I feel constrained to call myself to “evidence” in speaking for a man whose type don’t come around every season.

Last week, precisely on the 11th of August, the committee (which has been re-named a Council) paid a visit to president Muhammadu Buhari behind Camera?a move which cynics and traducers claim was at the prodding or instance of former president GEJ to secure soft-landing for the Man in the probing of his administration by the present government which has made headlines in both print and online media platforms since PMB and co. returned from the United States. At the end of the closed-door session, spokesman of the committee, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah who seems to have stirred the hornet’s nest with his comments, told State House Correspondents the reasons for their visit. He said,

I think what we are concerned about is process. It is no longer a military regime and under our existing laws, everybody is innocent until proven guilty. Again our own commitment is not to intimidate or fight anybody. The former president and what he did still remains spectacular and I think that president Buhari himself appreciates that. So our effort really is to make sure that the right thing is done”. He cleared the air, by stating that their meeting with the president wasn’t at anybody’s instance but part of their planned series of intervention, essentially aimed at getting feedback from the conduct of the last elections from the relevant stakeholders. “Anybody is free to come to our committee but President Jonathan never by telephone or other means talked to the committee. We went to see him, but that is after we had already seen members of the political parties and members of the Civil Society” harping that the meeting was not an intervention nor a hearing session.

No sooner had they left the State House, than were they harangued and called all sort of unprintable names?accusing Kukah and colleagues as having gone to visit PMB at the prodding of GEJ to secure amnesty for the man who would later visit the State House two days later. Some shadow organizations even called for the immediate probe of Bishop Kukah, challenging him to explain the source of the funds used in the building of an ongoing structure at a site in Sokoto State estimated to cost about a billion naira. Kukah is the butt of the vilest accusation for obvious reasons: his staunch critics for bad leadership and corruption over the years and also for being the mouthpiece of the committee.

Now it is true that PMB rode to power on the wings of an ascetic and anti-corruption stance to sanitize a nation that has since become a metaphor for financial recklessness where huge sums of  money suddenly goes missing and business continues as usual if America have not confirmed the missing common wealth. A culture of sleaze and heist that has over time made the low and middle class Nigerians the greatest victim of the greed of an oligarchic and microscopic few prowling the corridors of power. But it is also true that in a democracy, there are laid down rules and procedures that must be followed to achieve a greater good and the compromising of these procedures in itself amount to a higher corruption and invitation to despotism.

Since naysayers have made the visit by the Abdulsalam led committee an exercise in securing clemency for former president GEJ, then we submit that Kukah’s statement were in order and in consonance with the major objective of his Peace Committee which is: avoiding any situation whereby people would resort to restiveness when their perceived heroes are made victim of political witch-hunt instead of a clear cut machinery of Justice set in motion against them.

After listening to Kukah’s address to State House Correspondents and also watch him the following day during the Sunrise Daily program on Channels TV, there is nothing I have found in the man’s comments that suggest he and his committee would rather PMB probes nobody. What any rightly thinking person not blighted by the catharsis of sentiments should make out of kukah’s position is: we have a lot on our hands to tackle, of which prosecuting suspected looters is one. We should not dissipate all our energy in probing allegedly corrupt public officers lest we run out of steam to address all the other multitude of problems more pressing and having direct bearing on the lives of the Common Nigerians out there. The media trial is just too much and is enough distraction in itself. Let us make our investigations and arraign suspects before courts of competent jurisdiction in accordance with democratic canons and the Rule of Law.

As an advisory body whose terms of reference, covers pre and post-election, I honestly don’t see the highhandedness in such remarks from a body whose mandate involves advising whoever emerges from the election the need not to carry along in ways where losers  feel victimized.

The connotations of conspiracy read into it by APC voltrons and propaganda machine is by no means fair to the Kukah led committee; not after what they made possible but which many would easily rubbish ex post facto.

Talking about the need to thread within the ambit of the Rule of Law, the recent treatment of Felix Obuah, the former CSO to President GEJ and Col. Sambo Dasuki at the hands of the Daura led DSS, leaves a sour taste in the mouth and speaks volume of the gun-man approach to enforcement of law by the Buhari government so far. And if Kukah had reiterated the need to do things in accordance with recommended practice, what then is the fuss about? How does that suggest he was asking PMB to back off from probing those he would be doing? Are jesters not only crying wolf when there is none? Why cook up strange imaginations just to crucify Kukah for nothing? Forcing a bad name on the man just to victimize him in the court of Public opinion and bring him to disrepute among his admirers all over the world. And where is the wisdom in such?

It is true that we have suffered many years of financial misappropriation that no one can perfectly give a correct statistic of how much of our collective patrimony have been whisked away and purloined in so many shady deals and transaction; and Nigerians need to know, or at least see those whom they suspect to preside over the regimes of sleaze rot in jail for stealing what is collectively theirs. But in doing so, caution must not be flung to the winds. Recommended practice must not be jettisoned and established standards compromised. All of these, are what Kukah and friends re-echoed on that visit last week, but Cynical fellows, in their characteristic manner picked only what they wanted, and ran to town having no patient to consider the spirit of the committee’s position but rather visited opprobrium on them.

Of all the reactions trailing that visit, only one writer of all those whose reaction I have read, has thought out of the box (forgive the cliché)? Simon Kolawole of The Cable. In is his yesterday’s Column titled: The Anti-Graft War and Rule of Law, he said: “If I were Buhari, I’d take note of Kukah’s comments on due process and ignore the bit about probe not being part of governance. I’d resolve to vigorously fight corruption with all my energy within the law of the land?so that my critics will find it hard to build a case of impunity and witch-hunting against me. Naturally, there will always be claims of witch-hunt however careful you are, but you can make it harder for your critics by dragging the net wide, by not sparing anyone, no matter the party affiliation and no matter their involvement in your campaign”.This presents a better line of thought and a clearer understanding of the Kukah sermon and not the bitter vituperations and sentimental stance of sanctimonious characters who see no good in anybody or group.

Our country is in dire straits no doubt. Our economy is on its knees. I no longer bother to check how the Naira is faring lately at the parallel market. Our graduates are frustrated. We have an army of employees who are not happy with their jobs due to poor welfare but yet cannot quit same. Our roads are death traps. Housing is a teething problem. Ours is a comatose situation in a nutshell. Some people’s wickedness and crass greed brought us in this quicksand. Should we leave them? No; even freedom it is said, comes at a price but in bringing them to justice we must carry along in such a way that would earn us commendations both at home and in the Diaspora, thereby, elevating our democratic credentials for doing a good thing by a bad means is also a wrong.

Corruption is defined by Law. Prosecution is also defined by Law. Law enforcement officers cannot be breaking the laws to enforce the law. This in essence, is the thrust of Kukah’s posturing and not any opportunistic or ulterior considerations as peddled here and there we dare say. Those who cannot wait to see GEJ, Diezani Alison Madueke and their friends languish in kirikiri should tarry a little while the Law does its bit.

Let us give Kukah and his peace Committee a benefit of doubt before we nail them to the stake. Even natural Justice preaches same. And I think it is only fair. Onu’kwube!

 

The writer is a Lawyer and Public Affairs Analyst.

raymondnkannebe@gmail.com

Twitter: @RayNkah

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Open Letter To President Buhari:  Sir, You May Have To Dissolve The Peace Council, By Ogundana Michael Rotimi

Your Excellency Sir,

This is the first open letter I will be writing to you since your inauguration as the President and Commander In Chief of The Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I will go straight to the point and won`t bug you with the facts and figure that you already know. Right now, you have become facts and figures yourself and there is no information that you are not preview to.

Sir, those that voted you and believe in you hold you in high esteem because of your level of integrity, discipline and courage in handling issues. Since you became the president, you have painstakingly taken your time to take every decision you have made. You have deliberately not appointed your ministers and other members of your cabinet because you want the best hands and less partisan Nigerians to work with you.

As you will recall Sir, the reasons why Nigerians voted en-masse for you are for you to wage war against corruption, recover stolen funds from corrupt person or group of persons that have plundered the nation and for you to reposition the nation on the path of excellence. These are the things they believe you can do which informed their decisions to vote for you. This is the more reason I believe you have been careful of the caliber of people you place in sensitive positions and in committees.

However, you are human, and the very fact that you are mortal makes you inevitable to mistakes. But it is one thing to make a mistake; it is another thing to keep making it.

On the transition of the National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections to the Peace Council and retaining its members, Sir, sorry to say this, you shouldn`t have. You should have dissolved the committee. My reasons are not farfetched; going by your stance to have credible and non-partisan Nigerians in positions and committees, the National Peace Committee should have been dissolved. Because some of the men that make up the Committee are not honorable men.

Honorable men do not protect the interest of a few corrupt persons at the peril of the innocent impoverished majority. Honorable men do not shield the wicked from the wrath of the law. Honorable men do the right thing with power and don`t abuse it.

Some members of this committee have proven times without number that they cannot speak truth to power and cannot be trusted with leadership. This should have informed your decision to dissolve the peace committee.

There is nothing peaceful about the Peace Committee if all they do is to seek peace for some corrupt golden few than for the vast majority of Nigerians that have suffered heavily from the burden of corruption.

For any group as highly placed as the National Peace Committee to resort to seeking soft landing for corrupt person(s) is another obvious reason why the committee should be dissolved.

Again, Sir, some members of the Peace Council do not believe in probing a democratically elected government like that of your predecessor. It shows that you do not share the same ideology with them. Hence, you cannot work with them. You believe in probing so long it`s done legitimately without trampling on individual`s rights. It is the more reason why you should dissolve the committee Sir!

Furthermore, the National Peace Committee has done its duties by ensuring peaceful elections. They can now stand down and let you do the job Nigerians elected you for. This is to salvage the country.

Moreover, Sir, some members of the peace council are stunt loyalist to your predecessor. They will do anything within their power to protect him from the jury. Besides, you cannot expect such committee that is loyal to your predecessor to perform transparently without external interference from him. This is why it is paramount on you that you dissolve the peace council.

According to Bishop Kukah’s he said: “Our commitment is not to intimidate or fight anybody, the former President’s commitment and what he did still remain spectacular and I think that President Buhari himself appreciates that. So our effort really is to make sure that the right thing is done.” The questions are: what did Dr. Goodluck Jonathan do that remains spectacular that warranted such statement? He lost an election and conceded defeat, what is spectacular about that? Or what is spectacular in running a corrupt driven government with so much impunity? You see Sir, the Peace committee are not working for you and are not working for Nigerians. They are not for you and they are not for Nigerians. They are for their Hero, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan!

Aside from the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh. Sir, people like Bishop Kukah, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and Gen. Abubakar Abdusalami (rtd.) are the more reason why you should dissolve the Peace Council! These men are not honorable men their antecedents speak for them.

Of course Sir, I would have gone on and on, on why you should consider dissolving the Peace Council but I wouldn`t want to consume much of your time on this, so that you can also attend to other pressing issues.

It is with these reasons that I call on you to dissolve the peace council and constitute yours yourself if you need one.

 

God Bless Nigeria.

Ogundana Michael Rotimi is a Nigerian Biochemist, Socio-economic & Political Commentator, and Public Speaker. He tweets @MickeySunny.

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Ife Traditional Council Finally Confirms Death Of Ooni Of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade

The Ife traditional council has officially announced the passing away of the Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuade Olubuse II, after weeks of speculation.

Layi Adereti, the Awara of Iwara-ife, made the confirmation while speaking on the preparation for the Ooni’s burial.

He stated that the official proclamation of the passage of the Ooni of Ife, who died at Saint Mary Hospital in London, will be made on Wednesday, August 12.

Adereti added that the Oro festival, will be the final rite of passage for the Ooni.

“This is an official statement from the palace of Awara of Iwara-Ife, who is the head of Oro deity, that on Wednesday 12th August 2015, there would be official proclamation of the demise of Ooni of Ife,” he said.

“The proclamation will be made public during the Oro festival, being the final rites on the demise of Ooni of Ife.

“The residents of the ancient town are, therefore, urged to keep away from the streets between the hours of 9am and 4pm, during which the Oro diety will be out.

“With the announcement, people are advised to stay in-doors for the period when the Oro will be out.”

Mr. Adereti who is also the head of Oro Cult in Ile-Ife, warned the residents of the town whether male or female to remain indoors during the Oro rites.

The Council had initially denied the news of the Ooni’s death, insisting that its traditional rulers don’t die.

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