Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

ALGON ELECTS NEW NATIONAL PRESIDENT

ALGON ELECTS NEW NATIONAL PRESIDENT

ALGON ELECTS NEW NATIONAL PRESIDENT

Chairman of Lafia Local Government Council of Nasarawa State and Association of Local Governments Nigeria ( ALGON) Nasarawa State chapter, Hon. Maifata Aminu Mu'azu has emerged as the National President of the association. 

He takes over from Hon. Kolade Alabi, who presided over the affairs of the association from April 2019 to March, 2024. Until his election, Hon. Maifata Mu'azu served at the National Executive Council, ( NEC) of ALGON as National Treasurer and National Deputy President respectively. 

 Hon. Mu'azu holds a Bachelor and Master's degrees in Economics from the University of Jos and Nasarawa State University. He was lecturer at the Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia between 2003 and 2018. Hon. Mu'azu served as Special Adviser on Solid Mineral Development to the Governor Umaru Tanko Al- Makura of Nasarawa State from 2017- 2018. 

Hon. Maifata Mu'azu is expected to bring his tested intellect, proven and vast experience to bear in the acceleration of ALGON's vision of promoting efficient and grassroot driven local government governance and pursue effective partnerships with critical national, state and international stakeholders.

He is happily married and the union is blessed with children.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Budget Padding: CNPP, CSOs Demand Akpabio's Immediate Resignation, Issue 14 Days Ultimatum

Budget Padding: CNPP, CSOs Demand Akpabio's Immediate Resignation, Issue 14 Days Ultimatum

 

Budget Padding: CNPP, CSOs Demand Akpabio's Immediate Resignation, Issue 14 Days Ultimatum

Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) in conjunction with its over 75 allied civil society organisations under the umbrella of the National Civil Society Organisations Against Inept Leaders, have demanded the immediate resignation of the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, following allegation of budget padding levelled against him by 48-member Northern Senators’ Forum, chaired by Senator Abdul Ningi. 

In their statement co-signed by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of CNPP, Comrade James Ezema, and the National Secretary of the coalition of CSOs, Alhaji Ali Abacha, the umbrella association of registered political parties and political associations in collaboration with the civil society groups urged President Tinubu to raise up and end the era of budget padding in the country. 

“We recall that last week, Senators accused the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, of inserting projects worth over N3 trillion in the 2024 budget, whereas the said projects were all to be sited at unknown locations. 

“Senator Ningi, had in a BBC Hausa interview, alleged that the budget version in operation is different from what the lawmakers passed in December 2023, revealing that senators had engaged a consultant to investigate the padding of the budget, saying that a N25 trillion budget was debated and passed by the National Assembly, not N28.7 trillion currently being implemented.  

“We are quick to note that the name of the President of the Senate for over ten years has come up in countless corruption allegations from his days as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State till date. 

“For instance, there are countless unresolved allegations of corruption against Senator Akpabio, including allegation by Civil Society Organisations under the aegis of Network Against Corruption And Trafficking (NACAT), which had urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Senator Akpabio over alleged diversion of the sum of N700 billion while he held sway as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

“NACAT cited an audit report of Akwa Ibom State treasury between 2011 and 2015, which accused Akpabio of financial infractions amounting to over N1 trillion naira while serving as governor. 

“The same President of the Senate has allegation of looting over N200 billion of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) funds hanging over his head as a minister.  

“There was reported inconclusive investigation by the EFCC in June 2015 over alleged theft of approximately N108 billion during Akpabio's tenure as governor of Akwa Ibom State. 

“Also, in May 2020, Akpabio was investigated by the National Assembly for the misappropriation of N40 billion from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) funds. 

“Recall that Joy Nunieh, a former acting managing director of NDDC, had accused Akpabio of attempting to silence her by demanding she take an oath to prevent her from exposing fraud at the commission. 

“The said Nunieh also accused the now President of the Senate of sexual harassment and she claimed to have slapped him (Akpabio) at his guest house in Abuja. 

“It is true that Senator Akpabio denied these allegations, just as he is doing over the budget padding accusation, and even filed a defamation lawsuit against Nunieh. But these heinous allegations have put a question mark on the image of Senator Godswill Akpabio until they are resolved in favour or against the President of the Senate. 

“Just before he became the President of the Senate, in March 2023, the EFCC invited Akpabio for questioning regarding allegations of abuse of office and misappropriation of funds but Akpabio’s lawyer cited a scheduled medical appointment overseas as the reason for his client’s inability to attend the invitation. This is how Senator Akpabio have been manipulating and escaping legal processes. 

“However, the budget padding allegation is not the first time senators are accusing Akpabio of wrong doing. We recall that in a viral video in 2023, at plenary, Senator Ali Ndume of Borno (APC) accused the President of the Senate passing bills without contributions from Senators. 

“In his words, “You are just passing bills without prior notification, even money bills, you just pass without anyone’s contribution and within 2 hours. This is not good for Nigeria and history will judge you”, Senator Ndume said.

“These and many other unresolved allegations against Senator Akpabio carry heavy moral burdens and have continued to portray Senator Akpabio as a man of questionable integrity. 

“Therefore, we believe that this budget padding burden amid unprecedented hunger and deprivation in the country should reawaken the consciousness of Nigerians that the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration has been a party that have in nearly nine years made the corruption infested 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a child's play. 

“Unfortunately, the failure of the EFCC and the Nigerian justice system to bring corrupt politicians to justice led to his emergence as President of the Senate in what has been seen as the arm-twisting of Senators by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in June 2023. In the buildup to the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, it became obvious that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had preference for his candidacy for the lofty office in the upper chamber. 

“Now, rather than give convincing explanation over how projects were inserted into the budget as alleged, the President of the Senate has obviously employed a divide-and-rule tactics in the Senate to water down the allegation. 

“Senator Akpabio should know that no amount of blackmail against his colleagues or the civil society would lessen his moral burden until he purges himself of the allegations against him. 

“We therefore call on the President of the Senate to immediately step aside for a thorough investigation of the allegation of budget padding against him and his office within 14 days. 

“In an event that he remains in office, we also call on all Senators of good conscience to rise to the occasion and commence impeachment process against Senator Akpabio after our 14 days ultimatum to pave way for a unhindered investigation of the allegation against him as Senator Akpabio cannot be a judge in his own case. 

“We therefore urge President Bola Tinubu to stand on his feet and end the era of budget padding in the country by prevailing on Senator Akpabio to leave office for proper investigation as the presidency in a statement signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, inadvertently admitted that there was a budget padding to the tune of over N1 trillion when he claimed that President Tinubu presented N27.5 trillion budget to the National Assembly but N28.7 trillion was passed; and this proves that there is merit in the allegation as what was passed was not what was presented to the National Assembly. 

“So, if our demands are not met, we will have no choice than to mobilize our members, all other civil society organisations, human rights activists, opinion leaders, political parties, men and women of good will and conscience, and all hungry citizens to occupy the National Assembly until our demands are met”, the CNPP and the Coalition of CSOs stated.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Misuse of Soldiers: Enugu Land Grabbing Kingpin Linked To Lagbaja Family - NGIJ Investigation

Misuse of Soldiers: Enugu Land Grabbing Kingpin Linked To Lagbaja Family - NGIJ Investigation

Misuse of Soldiers: Enugu Land Grabbing Kingpin Linked To Lagbaja Family - NGIJ Investigation


 Investigation:By NGIJ Team

In recent years, Nigeria has been grappling with a pressing issue known as land grabbing, where land rights are violated and increasingly stripped away from local communities and vulnerable individuals. This contentious practice, often fuelled by powerful individuals, corporations, and government entities, has triggered a series of wide-ranging consequences, leading to social unrest, economic disparities, and ecological imbalances.

Land grabbing refers to the acquisition and conversion of communal or individual land without the consent of the rightful owners. This often involves displacement, coercive tactics, and the manipulation of legal loopholes by powerful actors seeking personal gain. While rooted in historical and cultural elements, the modern-day land grabbing crisis has been exacerbated by various socio-economic and political factors.

Land grabbing in Nigeria can be attributed to a multitude of causes, including population growth, rapid urbanization, inadequate land governance, corruption, insufficient legal frameworks, and a lack of proper policies safeguarding land tenure rights. Furthermore, weak land management systems and an absence of comprehensive land-use planning exacerbate the vulnerabilities of local communities.

The consequences of land grabbing are felt deeply at all levels of Nigerian society. Rural communities are particularly affected, as their agricultural land, the mainstay of their livelihoods, is seized for commercial purposes, leaving them impoverished and reliant on precarious alternatives. Displacement and loss of cultural heritage further deepen their despair.

Furthermore, the encroachment on forest reserves and fragile ecosystems for large-scale infrastructural projects, mining activities, and real estate developments lead to deforestation, habitat destruction, and ecological imbalances. These environmental losses escalate the risks of climate change, exacerbating the vulnerability of already marginalized communities.

As a media organization committed to the principles of truth and justice, the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists' (NGIJ's) investigative report aims to expose the dark underbelly of land grabbing in Nigeria. 

Through thorough research, interviews with affected communities, legal experts, policymakers, and representatives from civil society, we aspire to provide comprehensive insights into the pain, suffering, and continued injustices arising from land grabbing practices.

Meanwhile, the objective of this investigative story is to shed light on the intricate web of land grabbing in Nigeria and Enugu to be pr├ęcised, its underlying causes, and the dire ramifications it has had on the Enugu state's populace. By exposing the truth behind this exploitative phenomenon, we aim to provoke a sense of urgency among policymakers and society at large to take proactive measures to safeguard the rights of Nigerians and prevent further societal fragmentation.

In Enugu

Land grabbing in Enugu State, South East of Nigeria has been in the news for quite a while. The victims, most often, are either the less privileged members of the society or persons who have fallen out of favour with the ruling elites in the state at one time or the other. Hapless members of some communities across the state have also been identified as victims. 

Findings revealed that those used by the land grabbers in the state are mostly naive government officials who are manipulated or blackmailed to deceive successive state governors into carrying out the bidding of the land grabbing syndicate masquerading as real estate investors. In some instances, full government weight have been thrown behind the syndicate who manipulate government officials into the business, giving their actions some kind of legal backing in the eyes of the unsuspecting individuals, communities, and general public.

 Those accused of involvement in the now booming business in the state include a former governor of the state, some traditional rulers, real estate developers, and individuals. 

 For instance, the people of Obollo-Afor in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State in a particular case fingered a former governor in a land grabbing case in a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), accusing him of deceiving the people of the area to release a large expanse of their communal land, which they said measures over 70 hectares. The land was intended for public good but later, they alleged, it turned out that the former Governor had a different intentions. The petition to the IGP, dated December 21, 2023, was signed by the Donee, Power of Attorney, Oha Obollo in Council, Chief Matthew Agu. 

 It was said that the former governor had solicited for the large expanse of land for the establishment of a dry sea port in Obollo-Afor, a request that was granted on 9th August, 2015.

 In another land grabbing case, the people of Owo community in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State protested against their traditional ruler, Igwe Okeke Arum, and former President General, Mr. Okeke Akpu, over alleged “land grabbing” and “high-handedness”.

 Even though, Owo is the country home of the Enugu State Governor, Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, the youth recently called on the State Government to end the alleged impunity of the traditional ruler and his cohorts before their actions trigger bloodbath.

In August 2023, the Umugadu village in Ezama Idi Opi, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State has accused a staff of a Nigerian Oil Company, Madu Nnaemeka of allegedly grabbing land and intimidating members of the community. The matter is currently a subject of litigation in a suit number: N/574/2023, which is now pending before the Nsukka High Court in the Enugu Judicial Division. 

In another instance, the family of Umu Obunoko of Ihewuzhi, Ogui Nike Community in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State, last year, cried out over an illegal encroachment of their land, alleging that some government officials in the past administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi want to dispossess them of their family land. 

The land, according to them, is known as “Amofia land in Asata River Layout”, located at a densely populated Ogui Nike community in Enugu North Local Government Area of the state. They said the land was shared among the family members some years ago.

The eldest son of Dr. Sam Anibueze, Barr. Chidubem Anibueze, who spoke to journalists, said “we are addressing you today because of some persons who were functionaries in the past government of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, wants to take over our family land. 

In yet another case, the Obinagu and Eziachi communities of Ugwuoba in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State in 2022 appealed to the then Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to use his good offices to prevent a state agency from taking over their lands. The communities, which share common boundary with Amansea, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, alleged that they were on the verge of being removed from their ancestral land by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ESHDC).

The elders of the Obinagu village that comprised of many aged person's, led by a ninety-six year-old Mr. Boniface Igweze, spoke to newsmen, crying bitterly over alleged plans of the government agency to forcefully strip the community of ownership of 88.9 hectares of ancestral land.

On their part, Eziachi village joined in calling on the state governor to prevail on the ESHDC and stop the agency from alienating them from their land under the guise of developing ‘Ibrahim Abacha Estate’.  

The list of land grabbing cases in Enugu State is almost endless; however, a new and frightening dimension to the booming illegal business of seizing lands underhandedly or unfairly in the state is the use of men in military uniforms, suspected to be from the Nigerian Army for land grabbing purposes. 

This is has been on from the administration of former Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the man at the centre of this new abnormal in the business has been identified as Oke Hyacinth Ayogu who is also known as Okechukwu Ayogu, popularly known in government circles in the state as “Captain”. 

His identity as Captain may not be unconnected to his suspected military background as an alleged Nigerian Army deserter, whose last known place of service is the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto. 

He is said to have been leveraging on his military contacts to carry out his underhanded activities in the state, with a plan of expanding into other states in the country through his companies.

A preliminary investigation by the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) into the business background of the man fingered as a land grabbing kingpin in the state, using soldiers, has been found to have a link to a member of the Lagbaja family. 

Findings by the NGIJ linked Hymac Real Limited to one Abiodun Maria Lagbaja. The company, a real estate development and management company located in Enugu with interests in other parts of the country, is registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with RC – 1626583 was registered on October 22, 2019.

The man at the centre of several land grabbing cases in Enugu State, some of which has cases pending in courts is Mr Oke Hyacinth Ayogu, the Managing Director of Hymac Real Limitad. 

Intriguingly, Hymac Real Limitad has a company listed as director. The company, Hyfield & Allied Associates Ltd, with RC - 1277117, was registered on July 29, 2015, about four years before Hymac Real Limitad was registered. The companies have No. 4, Edem Close, New Haven, Enugu as their registered address.

It was found that a member of Lagbaja family, Abiodun Maria Lagbaja was listed as a Director in a document obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as owners/Directors/key management of Hyfield & Allied Associates Ltd. From CAC information, it means that the Lagbaja family member, Abiodun Maria Lagbaja, has been a co-business owner with Mr Oke Hyacinth Ayogu for about nine years since 2015.

A further check by the Nigerian Guild Of Investigative Journalists showed that a similar name, Mrs Maria Abiodun Lagbaja, is the incumbent 23rd President of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) and wife of the Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja.

The NGIJ is yet to establish if Maria Abiodun Lagbaja is one and the same person as the wife of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja.

Also to be unearthed is whether the business relationship with a member of the Lagbaja family has any connection with the use of soldiers for demolition of properties belonging to victims of Mr Ayogu’s alleged land grabbing cases.

However, in view of the continued use of men in military uniforms to dispossess hapless residents of Enugu State of their properties, the NGIJ Team is working to establish whether the said Maria Abiodun Lagbaja is one and the same person as the wife of the Chief of Army Staff as efforts are ongoing to reach the NAOWA president and has not been fruitful at the time of compiling this preliminary report on coercive takeover of properties by syndicates in the state.

While the NGIJ Team is also determined to unravel the mysteries behind the deployment of soldiers as escorts and in the services of a man suspected to be an Army deserter, who has been caught on videos with soldiers, it has so far remained uncertain the extent of “Captain's” relationship with the Nigerian Army Chief or other top military officers in the country. 

But a recent memo by a former Commissioner for Lands And Urban Development in the state to the incumbent Governor, Dr Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, which was sighted by NGIJ Team, detailed how “Captain (Oke Hyacinth Ayogu) defrauded the Enugu State Government of over N1.5 billion using his close contact with the Nigerian Army.

 Full details of the memo is withheld by the NGIJ Team at the moment as it is still a subject of investigative analysis, however, “Captain”, who is said to be making frantic efforts, at the time of this preliminary report to enroll into the Nigerian Law School and work his way to the Law School in Enugu for obvious reasons, has continued to boast of his military connections, claiming to be a military spy in South East, particularly Enugu State. 

The memo to Governor Mbah unambiguously established that Mr. Ayogu uses his military contacts to get close to government officials, manipulates and penetrates them, in order to get government “secrets” and use them in his interest, “irrespective of whose ox is gored”. 

The memo noted that “Captain” has the capacity to “set the whole government ablaze and bring it down before 2027”, recommending measures to avert the looming danger of the type of crises that happened in Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s government in October 2021. 

Recall that a Commissioner for Lands And Urban Development under the administration of Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi resigned unceremoniously, citing government actions for quitting. But it is now widely believed that the main reason for the commissioner’s resignation was not unconnected with the activities of “Captain” in the Ministry of Lands And Urban Development, where it was alleged that Mr. Ayogu used his contacts in the ministry to loot official files of targeted lands and properties to favour his interests. 

It was found that such files are usually “destroyed” and he would find a way to convince naive Land Commissioners to revoke the allocations for the targeted plots for forced acquisition. Such plots, despite the buildings on them or the ownership are usually designated as “free, undeveloped, and have no traceable records”, making their revocation and re-allocation to Hymac Real Limited and Mr. Ayogu an easy task. Demolition of such properties were usually carried out with full “government presence” and enforced by “security agencies”, including men in military uniforms.

In an interesting case among several identified victims of Captain's land grabbing venture in the state, the owners Plots P/23C and Plots P/23E, part of which originally belonged to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani under the title RAINBOWNET, with sizes estimated to be 6,500sqrm each, the plots were taken over by Mr. Ayogu. 

It was gathered that the file numbers at the Enugu State Ministry of Lands are 23748/T/11 and 23911/T/11. They are referred to as “Temporary files” as “Captain” was accused of using “insiders” in the ministry to “destroy” the original RAINBOWNET File, the original title. 

Part of the above plots was allocated to the Nigerian Society of Engineers Enugu Branch and a lawyer and retired Immigration Officer, Barr. Okey Ezugwu but the properties have since been demolished.  

However, in an SoS (Save our Souls) letter to their national secretariat in Abuja, the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Enugu State branch, described the  demolition of its branch by the “state government” as ‘unlawful’.

In a letter dated August 4, 2023, and signed by its Chairman, Engr. Chigbo Obealor, MNSE and Secretary, Engr. Nneka Nwagugu, MNSE, the professional body narrated the process through which they acquired the property on which the building stood, through the former Governor Sullivan Chime.

It also went into details on how a Mr. Oke Hyacinth Ayogu, the managing director of Hymac Real Limited, made claims to the property, including other plots within the neighborhood, threatening to demolish all buildings therein.

According to the Enugu State branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, the foundation stone of the building was laid by the immediate past Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was represented by the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. G.O.C. Ajah on August 24, 2016.

A photocopy of an allocation receipt for the plot showed that a payment was made by the Nigerian Society of Engineers on April 11, 2011.

The SoS letter referenced NSE/EB/EC/2022/A005 and addressed to the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Gidari-Wudil Tasiu Saad, FNSE, titled Report of The Unlawful Demolition of The Nigerian Society of Engineers, Enugu Branch’s Engineering Centre, Plot 23/C At Independence Layout, Enugu, By The Government Of Enugu State on 18th July, 2023, read:

“We are owners of plot P/23C and have developed the property. The property was allotted to us during the tenure of Barr. Sullivan Chime as the governor of Enugu State Government, Ref: LEN: 21461/1/33 on 30th July, 2010, and we have fulfilled all the requirements in pursuant to sections 5a & 9 of the Land Use Act for the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy.

Sometime in late July, 2021, a trespasser, Mr. Oke Hyacinth Ayogu, managing director of Hymac Real Ltd, made claims to our land and property, including other adjoining plots within the neighborhood, and also threatening to demolish all the structures including our Engineering Centre building. He came in with an entirely different survey plan different from what the government issued to us in 2011. We resisted him and in 1st August, 2021, we reported the matter to relevant security offices. He later took us to court on the 16th of August, 2021. Our legal team in defense, put up a counterclaim against the plaintiffs and the case is still in the High Court vide suit no. E/658/2021.

On the 27th January, 2022, the Attorney General of Enugu State joined as the 9th defendant by order of court. The Attorney-General, in his written address to the court, stated as follows:

That by virtue of the Land Use Act, the Governor of Enugu State has the power to grant right of occupancy and certificate of occupancy to allottees of land vested in him: he also has the power to delegate such power.

That the plaintiffs/Respondents purport to have been allotted the land in dispute and certificate of occupancy issued to them by the Commissioner for lands, Enugu State.

That the Governor of Enugu State did not grant any certificate of occupancy over the land in dispute to the plaintiffs.

That the Governor of Enugu State did not delegate or authorize any officer in his government to issue any certificate of occupancy in respect of the land in dispute to the plaintiffs.

 That I know as a matter of fact that the Governor of Enugu State delegates his power to issue certificate of occupancy by prior written delegation which was not none in this case.

 The plaintiff later appealed the ruling of the High Court and the case is in Appeal Court case file Appeal No. CA/E/73/2022.  

On 6th April, 2023, we made application Ref: NSE/EC/MOL/2023/A001 to the Hon. Comm, Enugu state ministry of lands in pursuant to sections 5a & 9 of the Land Use Act, to issue forthwith, Certificate of Occupancy to the Applicant, The Nigerian Society of Engineers, Enugu Branch, having complied with all the necessary conditions president. All avenues to get official response from the office proved abortive till date.

DEMOLITION ORDER BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ENUGU STATE

While these cases are in courts (with Enugu State Government as Co-Respondents in the law suits) at about 4.00 pm on Friday, 14th July, 2023, we receive report that Enugu State Government marked our property for demolition with 48 hours’ notice and mobilized for demolition at about 6.00pm same day. The Branch Executive committee and other members of the Branch rushed to our Engineering Center venue and resisted the planned demolition that night. We immediately petitioned the Governor of Enugu State, Secretary to the State Government, Solicitor general and the Admin, Enugu Capital Territory Authority. (See attached)

 We also requested and was given audience by the (SSG) Secretary to Enugu State Government to join in the stakeholders meeting in his office at 10.00am on 17th July, 2023 as a result of the above issue in reference. The meeting was chaired by (SSG) Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, and the Solicitor General of Enugu State; Barr. Victor Emeribe, the Chief of Staff; Barr. Victor Udeh and other representatives of the government were also in attendance.

 All the stakeholders (as contained in the court summons) were given ten (10) minutes each to present her case, and afterwards, several questions were asked especially on the different survey plans presented and on the revocation / allotment by the government of Enugu State. The Nigerian Society of Engineers, Enugu Branch, made representation through 1, Engr. Chigbo Obealor; Chairman, Engr. Dr. Uchenwa Ujam. FNSE, Immediate Past Chairman, Engr. Bartholomew Edeh. FNSE, Chairman Emeritus and Eng. Okechukwu Ugwu; Secretary, Engineering Centre Land Committee.

 After due deliberations on the demolition order by the Enugu State Government, the SSG directed that the meeting was not to undermine the courts processes and it was for the government to have clear picture of the matter and therefore:

 Directed all parties to stay actions pending the outcome of the court proceedings and / or out of court peaceful resolution of the matter with Enugu State Government.

The state government, in furtherance of the above, never asked us to vacate the land and property which we occupied sincerely 2010, and have committed millions of naira in materials and labour to the Engineering Centre building. We are in courts with Enugu State Government as Co-Respondents in the suits.

At about 10.00am on 18th July, 2023, demolition of our Engineering Center commenced by the directives of the State Government. We lack words to express the shock and unimaginable betrayal of trust from the highly esteemed office of SSG, under the leadership of a Professor of sterling international pedigree whose word stands. We took him by his word and could not describe the grief and torture we were subjected to, as we watch the Enugu state government pull down the Engineering Centre building in less than 24 hours of our cordial meeting with the Enugu state government.

 Our concern is the arbitrary pulling down of Engineering Centre building where we have spent over N380m already. It is a question of putting on hold our Enugu Branch’s 60th Anniversary celebrations billed for that venue and for which we have invited international guests, some of whom have made travel arrangements. It is about the trauma, the mental shock and anguish arising from sudden demolition of a structure built over the years.

 Assuming, without conceding that we built on a site intended for some other use. We still would be entitled to an alternative plot and compensation for resources expended by us BECAUSE we built on an area allotted to us by government. If there was an error, it is the error of the government and we should not suffer for it.

 After due consultation and deliberations on the arbitrary and illegal demolition and forceful occupation of our property, and with due weight to the advice of our legal team, we have on the 21st of July, 2024 issued a pre-action notice to the Enugu State Government.

We have spent over five (N5,000,000.00k) million naira on litigation and still have a balance of N10,000,000.00k to pay. As it’s, we are soliciting for financial assistance to pursue the cases in court.

Find attached for your perusals and actions, the Enugu Engineering Centre land documents, litigation documents, site photographs, pre action notice letter and other correspondences.

 Our prayer:

The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers is respectfully requested to call on the attention of the Federal Government and other agencies to put an end to the executive recklessness of the Enugu State Government, and to ensure that justice is done by releasing our plot of land and the payment of collateral damages perpetrated on the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Enugu Branch.

Accept the assurance of our highest admiration.

Demolition of Property Belonging To A Retired Assistant Comptroller-General Of Immigration And Lawyer

In a news report on the demolition of the property of the second allottee, Mr. Okey Ezugwu, titled “Enugu State Government Deploys Soldiers to Demolish Property Belonging to Retired Assistant Comptroller-General of Immigration as Ezugwu Laments Manhandling”, the victim alleged “I was confidently told that the soldiers were approved for him by the Chief of Army Staff”.

The land located in Independence Layout was allocated to Ezugwu by former Governor Sullivan Chime and he subsequently issued with a certificate of occupancy (C of O) in 2014 but the Governor Peter Mbah-led Enugu State government demolished a building on the plot in a manner described by many witnesses as “land grabbing” by the authorities.

The case, which is a subject of ongoing litigation, has been tied to allege multiple issuances of Certificates of Occupancy to one landed property by former Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration.

According to the report, Sullivan Chime administration allocated Plot P/23CD Independence Layout, to Chief Ezugwu, and issued C of O in 2014 with File No: GAL/08031 and Certificate Number 011910. 

But Ugwuanyi’s administration allocated Plot 23C to Oke Hyacinth Ayogu and his company Hymac Real Ltd in 2021 with a C of O was issued regardless. While Mr. Ayogu and his company had gone to court to challenge the allocation of the property to Barr. Ezugwu and others in 2014, he later abandoned the court case after the state government filed a motion for joinder in the suit which was granted by the trial judge and allegedly procured soldiers from “Army headquarters to terrorise Ezugwu and his family.”

The report added that after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), arrested Mr. Ayogu for trespassing on the property, he waited until Governor Peter Mbah was inaugurated as governor of Enugu State and Governor Mbah through the Enugu State Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) on July 14, 2023 went and marked Ezugwu’s house for demolition. They gave him 48 hours to remove the house, despite the matter still pending in Court. 

 While Hymac Real and Ayogu claimed that they were allocated Plot 23C, the other plot, Plot 23CD own by the retired Immigration officer was also demolished alongside Plot 23C where the Nigeria society of Engineers' office building was located. 

It is believed that “Captain” have not paid for the so-called allocation of Plot 23C but was alleged to have only generated allocation receipts. 

Nevertheless, while narrating his ordeal in the report, Barr Ezugwu said, “On Monday Hyacinth Ayogu came with soldiers and some officials of ECTDA and brutalized my workers. They equally brutalized me and when I reached out to 82DV of the Nigerian Army I was told that they are not in control of the soldiers that came to my house to brutalize me and my workers. I was confidently told that the soldiers were approved for him (Ayogu) by the Chief of Army Staff.”

He added, “Sensing that the CCTV in my house recorded their brutality they went and carted away all the CCTV and my phones. They flushed everything in the phone before returning it but they are still with my CCTV cameras. After the incident the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia invited all the parties and I showed him all my documents and allocation papers.

“Unfortunately, this morning the Okeh Hyacinth Ayogu rolled out caterpillars and excavators to my house and demolished my property. I am distressed that such impunity could take place in my own State under this administration. It is difficult for me to fathom the conspiracy behind the whole thing. I have my allocation papers and C of O to the property. I have always paid my ground rent. I am a very loyal citizen of the State. The Governor is our father and our brother and I am using this medium to plead with him to take a passionate look at my case. I have tremendous respect for the new administration.”

It was gathered that the said Oke Hyacinth Ayogu is an ally of the incumbent Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia. This was also established in the said memo by the former land Commissioner under Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration.

Ayogu Of Hymac Real Limited And N20n Ozalla Abor Community Land Case

Sometimes in 2021, the Enugu Housing Corporation desired to acquire a large expanse of land measuring over 100 Hectares at Villa Estate, Ozalla Abor, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State. From the blues, according to available information, the self-acclaimed Army “Captain”,

Mr. Ayogu, who claimed to be working for the then GOC 82 Division, approached the community to discourage them from offering that expanse of land to the government through Enugu Housing Corporation.

As at the time Mr Ayogu, the MD of Hymac Real Ltd, who claimed to be a lawyer, Pastor and an Army officer, was believed to be closely working with the then GOC of the 82 Division of Nigerian Army as an informant or spy, and is still seen moving in the company of armed soldiers, was said to had convinced the representatives of the community to work with him against Enugu State Housing Corporation.

The representatives of the community at the time were Mr. Chukwuka Ugwu, Mr John Onyechi, Mr Ferdinand Agbo, Mr Uche Njeze and others.

The deal was that Mr Ayogu will buy approximately 8 Hectares worth about two billion Naira from the community under a staggered payment plan payable upon successful completion of Mr. Ayogu’s agreed brief which entailed using his influence in the army to stop the Enugu State Government and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation from acquiring the said land.

Mr Ayogu demanded that community must as a sign of commitment pay to him the sum of N20 Million as Logistics/Facilitation fee in order to enable him commence the brief of wading off the Enugu State Government from the said land, which the community obliged.

With the N20 Million received in trust Mr. Ayogu prepared title documents to transfer the proposed 8 Hectares of land to his company name, then invited the representatives of the community to his office for a meeting. In that meeting, he allegedly brought in armed soldiers to intimidate and bully the representatives of the community into signing the title documents, telling them that the order was from the Army Headquarters. Scared to their marrow, they had no option than to sign the said title documents, and Mr. Ayogu was said to have hurriedly registered the title documents at the Enugu Ministry of Lands, using his contacts.

The community accused Mr. Ayogu of not paying Ozalla Abor community or anyone any dime over that land.

It was said that the pivot of Mr Ayogu’s alleged fraud is that he always parades himself to be an associate of the current Chief of Army Staff, who was the then GOC of 82 Division.  Late 2021, to the disappointment of the Community, the then GM of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chukwuemelie Agu, started their development activities on the said ‘Army’ land which they called CONQUEST ESTATE, using a company Called Tochel Construction LTD, owned by one Mr. Tochukwu Nzekwe.

Not long, the community realized that the Conquest Estate included the said 8 Hectares purportedly sold to Mr Ayogu by them. The discovery gave rise to a serious running battle between Mr Chukwuemetie Agu, GM of Housing Corporation, Mr Tochukwu Nzekwe, MD of Tochei Construction against Mr Ayogu, MD of Hymac Real Limited lasting over two years.

However, Mr. Ayogu was said to have succeeded in using the Army to scare away the community from the land while he took possession by fencing it round and when the current administration of Governor Peter Mba came into power, the Government realized the feud between the Enugu Housing development corporation, Mr. Ayogu and the Ozaila Abor Community, they set up a committee chaired by the Solicitor General, Barr Victor Emeribe. However, it was gathered that the Emeribe Committee’s report was suppressed by “Captain” Ayogu, using his influence on the incumbent SSG.

Findings reveal that Mr. Ayogu is in possession of the said land having title documents from both Ozaila Abor and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation. The land is approximately 130 plots, and he is currently selling the land at 8 Million Naira per plot.

In another development, a former commissioner in Enugu State, Barr Ozo Joe Mmamel on his part recently begged Governor Peter Mbah to carry out a detailed investigation into claims of land grabbing at a layout adjacent the abandoned Enugu International Conference Centre over disputes on a parcel of land alloted to eleven allottees in 2014, by Enugu State government under the leadership of Barr. Sullivan Chime allotted some parcels of land.  

Also, Civil society groups, including the Save Enugu Group (SEG), have in recent times raised the alarm over the activities of Oke Hyacinth Ayogu and his company, Hymac Real Ltd, and his use of soldiers for land grabbing in the state.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tinubu appoints Hafsat Bakari as NFIU CEO Tinubu appoints Hafsat Bakari as NFIU CEO

Tinubu appoints Hafsat Bakari as NFIU CEO Tinubu appoints Hafsat Bakari as NFIU CEO

 

Tinubu appoints Hafsat Bakari as NFIU CEO Tinubu appoints Hafsat Bakari as NFIU CEO


President Bola Tinubu has appointed Hafsat Bakari as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, announced her appointment in a statement on Tuesday.

Ngelale said Bakari’s appointment would be definitive pending her confirmation by the senate.

Bakari is a lawyer and financial intelligence expert with years of experience in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing (AML/CFT/CPF).

The NFIU is a federal agency responsible for collecting and analysing disclosures from reporting organisations, to produce financial intelligence to other agencies combating money laundering, terrorism financing, and other financial crimes.

Before she was appointed NFIU CEO, Bakari served as the agency’s deputy director.

At the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where she previously worked, Bakari headed the general services unit, strategy and reorientation unit, and the board secretariat.

“The President anticipates that Ms. Bakare will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to full discharge in this critical role, especially in view of his administration’s war against illicit financial flows and other sharp practices currently prevalent in segments of the nation’s foreign exchange markets,” the statement reads.

Tinubu had last week approved the appointment and reappointment of chairpersons of boards and CEOs for eight agencies under the federal ministry of health and social welfare.

Tinubu had also appointed Oyetunde Oladimeji Ojo, his son-in-law, as the CEO of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Hardship: Rethink Nigeria's Romance With Bretton Woods Institutions, Sack Unproductive Appointees - CNPP Tells Tinubu

Hardship: Rethink Nigeria's Romance With Bretton Woods Institutions, Sack Unproductive Appointees - CNPP Tells Tinubu

 

Hardship: Rethink Nigeria's Romance With Bretton Woods Institutions, Sack Unproductive Appointees - CNPP Tells Tinubu


Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu “to struggle through the hard path by rethinking Nigeria's relationship with the Bretton Woods Institutions, realistically assessing the performance of his appointees and sacking those constituting a cog in the wheel of the progress of his administration through their clear unproductivity and sabotage.” 

The CNPP, a statement signed by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Comrade James Ezema, while reacting to the call by the called by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the federal government to completely phase out petrol and electricity subsidies in the country in its 'Post Financing Assessment (PFA)' report. 

The umbrella association of all registered political parties and political associations in Nigeria noted in the statement that “restoring macroeconomic stability in Nigeria should come from homegrown policies and programmes as IMF solutions have never aided Nigeria's economic recovery, rather our economic woes worsened every time Bretton Woods Institutions' advisories were implemented in Africa. 

“While removal of subsidy, due to the attendant corruption that bedevilled its payment was desirable, it was akin to shooting down Nigeria's economy by implementing subsidy removal policy without functional refineries for local production of petroleum products. 

“The call by IMF for the complete phase out of petrol and electricity subsidies in the country is a suggestion to the Bola Tinubu administration to inflict more hardship on already suffering masses of Nigeria.

“Has the IMF ever advised the USA and European countries on removal of subsidies on cotton, which has been detrimental to one of Africa’s leading cotton exporters, Burkina Faso?

“It's on record that in Europe in 2019, €38.2 billion was spent on direct payments to farmers and €13.8 billion on rural development, with a further €2.4 billion supported the market for agricultural products. Has the IMF ever spoken about energy and agricultural subsidies in the USA and the European countries? 

“We therefore urge President Bola Tinubu to focus on homegrown solutions to Nigeria's economic crisis and jettison policy advisories from the IMF and other Bretton Woods Institutions. 

“We equally call on Mr. President to sack all unproductive appointees and identify those who are engaging in economic sabotage, especially as regards revenue generation in the oil and gas sector, and relieve them of their duties to increase foreign exchange earnings”, the CNPP counselled.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

CNPP To Tinubu: Transfer of Crude Oil Proceeds To CBN Is the Way To Go

CNPP To Tinubu: Transfer of Crude Oil Proceeds To CBN Is the Way To Go

 

CNPP To Tinubu: Transfer of Crude Oil Proceeds To CBN Is the Way To Go

Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has described the speculated directive by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, transferring revenue from crude oil sales to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the way to go. 

Since on Monday, there has been unconfirmed reports that the President has relieved the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) of its monopoly control over the proceeds from crude oil sales. 

The CNPP in a statement signed by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Comrade James Ezema, said that “if indeed the directive was issued by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it is the way to go. 

“We have always criticized the NNPC Limited for not meeting its OPEC quota as well as non-remittances or under-remittances of proceeds from crude oil sales due to corruption. 

“Therefore, we welcome the speculated directive to the NNPC Limited to submit receipts for crude oil sales to the CBN for vetting and documentation. 

“While we urge the Federal Government to confirm the directive without fear or favour, we call on President Bola Tinubu to make it a policy of government that all payments for oil sales and all other revenues accruable to the federation account be forwarded to the apex bank without any delay. 

“This will reduce renenue losses as every kobo should be accounted for in the current revenue realities where the country's debt servicing takes a large chunk of the country's earnings. 

“The NNPC's monopoly over crude oil sales has been a ground for the unbridled corruption bedeviling the federal government owned oil company. 

“The initiative should also be extended to all other revenue generating agencies of the federal government, including the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigeria Ports Authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Immigration Service, among others”, the CNPP said.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

CUPP Disagrees With President Tinubu For Travelling On A Private Visit While Nigeria Is In Dare Need Of Leadership

CUPP Disagrees With President Tinubu For Travelling On A Private Visit While Nigeria Is In Dare Need Of Leadership

 

CUPP Disagrees With President Tinubu For Travelling On A Private Visit While Nigeria Is In Dare Need Of Leadership

…….We in CUPP are disturbed and not happy by the frequency of President Tinubu's so-called private trips to France.

…,.We are back to the Buhari era

……Comprehensive Health fitness test should be made compulsory so that Nigerians will avoid this situation in future.

It is our hope and belief that these private trips do not involve something untoward that is hidden from Nigerians who voted for him to salvage the country which has been on downward spiral.

Tongues have begun to wag, and speculations beginning to abound about the real reasons for these private trips. 

We hope that Nigeria is not about to witness another Buhari 2.0 presidency where from time to time without any form of announcement, the President would sneak out of the country to a foreign country for medical treatment in the name of private visit.

President Tinubu should realise that Nigeria is beset on all sides by insecurity, galloping inflation, hunger and starvation, unemployment that is running wild, and out of control, etcetera. The value of the naira is speeding southward with our currency exchanging at almost a thousand five hundred naira to the United States Dollar.

CUPP feels and recommends that the country needs a hands on deck president, and whatever the reason for these private visits can be conveniently handled in Nigeria or in the absence of such facility being available, provision should be urgently made to have it brought to Nigeria.

Nigeria needs the physical presence of their president to have that assurance that the job of Mr. President has not been outsourced to those who have no business exercising it.

High Chief Peter Ameh,

National Secretary,

CUPP.

CNPP, CSOs Blame Smear Campaign Against Naval Chief Ogalla On Frustrated Oil Thieves

CNPP, CSOs Blame Smear Campaign Against Naval Chief Ogalla On Frustrated Oil Thieves

 

CNPP, CSOs Blame Smear Campaign Against Naval Chief Ogalla On Frustrated Oil Thieves

Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and over 38 Civil Society Organisations, under the umbrella of the Coalition Of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOs) have described online reports linking Nigeria's Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, to alleged multibillion naira oil bunkering and contract-splitting fraud as “the handiwork of a frustrated syndicate involved in stealing of Nigeria's crude oil.” 

Some online media platforms had reposted an allegation that a preliminary investigations estimated that the Naval Chief had accepted over $170 million in bribes over the past six months alone.

However, in a statement jointly signed by the CNPP's Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Comrade James Ezema and the National Secretary of the CNCSOs, Alhaji Ali Abacha, they described the allegations as “dead on arrival as efforts to truncate the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration's renewed quest to mitigate the stealing of the country's crude oil is the target of the disgruntled ring's attack on Ogalla. 

“We strongly believe that it was based on Ogalla's track records of service that prompted Mr. President to trust him with the appointment in the first place and he has in the last six months shown that President Tinubu did not make any mistake in his choice of the Naval Chief. 

“It has since become evident that since the Chief of Naval Staff launched the Nigerian Navy's “Operation Delta Sanity”, which has been embraced by the government and leaders of the Niger Delta states, the oil thieves are increasingly uncomfortable. 

“The new anti-crude oil theft tactical operation initiated by the Chief of Naval Staff and his effort to provide necessary equipment for personnel have become a serious nightmare for the enemies of the country's economy due to its holistic and robust roadmap against crude oil theft and other forms of illegalities on Nigeria's territorial waters. 

“The Nigerian Navy in its reaction to the syndicated allegations expressly disclosed that all the vessels alleged to have been released, which was the basis of the bogus $170 million allegedly received by the Naval Chief in bribes, are still in the custody and undergoing investigation. 

“The Navy said unambiguously and we quote: “Indeed, all arrested vessels mentioned in the publication that were involved in crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering are being investigated and none of such vessels has been released as alleged.” 

“So, if the basis for the allegation, which is the arrested vessels, are still in custody, we call on the Chief of Naval Staff to disregard the detractors and continue with his renewed efforts against oil thieves in support of President Tinubu's Renewed Hope Agenda. 

“Nigerians are currently suffering from severe economic hardship and we urge President Tinubu and the Naval Chief not to be deterred by the smear tactic and discrediting actions of the oil stealing syndicate who are increasing unable to continue in their nefarious trade. 

“It is on record that the CNPP and CNCSOs have been in the forefront of the agitation for an end to the brazen thieving of Nigeria's crude oil in the last eight years and we will back every genuine efforts aimed mitigating the age-long economic sabotage for the benefit of the suffering masses. 

“On the contract splitting allegation, the Navy has issued a clear response and there is no need over-flogging a dead horse as we call on President Tinubu not to succumb to the antics of the already drowning oil thieves who would naturally fight back by all means possible, including the ongoing syndicated blackmail”, the CNPP and the CSOs said.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

PRESIDENT TINUBU'S APPROVAL OF THREE BILLION NAIRA FOR VERIFICATION OF NATIONAL REGISTER AND THE UNENDING PROFLIGACY OF THE PRESIDENCY

PRESIDENT TINUBU'S APPROVAL OF THREE BILLION NAIRA FOR VERIFICATION OF NATIONAL REGISTER AND THE UNENDING PROFLIGACY OF THE PRESIDENCY

 

PRESIDENT TINUBU'S APPROVAL OF THREE BILLION NAIRA FOR VERIFICATION OF NATIONAL REGISTER AND THE UNENDING PROFLIGACY OF THE PRESIDENCY

Coalition United Political Parties CUPP is distressed by the report emanating from Saharareporters of the approval by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu through the Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila to the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to expend an outrageous and mind-boggling sum of N3,000,000,000(three billion naira) to verify the national register of the poor. 

CUPP frowns and condemns this mindless attack on our collective purse in the name of verification of the national register.

This reckless and mindless spending on verification of national register reflects a lack of fiscal discipline and responsibility that has become a hallmark of President Tinubu's government who in the guise of helping the poor, keeps elevating cronyism as an art, which we ignorantly thought had gone with President Buhari's administration.

CUPP believes that a prudent approach could have achieved the same goal with less of our tax money through the acquisition of the same national register from the thirty-six states of the federation and FCT wherein the rural areas are predominantly domiciled and is pained that this elementary form of conservation of public funds was wilfully neglected on the alter of cronyism, raising CUPP's concern and that of majority of Nigerians about the financial stewardship and the efficient allocation of our scarce resources by this government to projects that will trully be beneficial to the masses. 

It is CUPP's belief that this mindless spending through cronies such as New Planet Projects Limited, a company controlled by the family of Dr. Bunmi Tunji Ojo, the Minister of Interior undermines whatever little confidence Nigerians may have had in the present government, and therefore brings to the fore the urgent need for more rigorous budgetary oversights by the National Assembly, which has from day one begun to exhibit all the symptoms of a rubber stamp parliament that abdicates its oversight functions when most needed.

High Chief Peter Ameh

National Secretary CUPP.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

CNPP Urges Tinubu Govt To Do More Working Than Talking, Says FDI Won't Increase in Absence of Security And Rule Of Law

CNPP Urges Tinubu Govt To Do More Working Than Talking, Says FDI Won't Increase in Absence of Security And Rule Of Law

 

CNPP Urges Tinubu Govt To Do More Working Than Talking, Says FDI Won't Increase in Absence of Security And Rule Of Law

Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has encouraged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to begin to do more of working than talking as “the current decline in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country will worsen unless the government tackles insecurity and improve in the area of institutionalising the rule of law.” 

The CNPP spoke while reacting to the president's New Year Message, saying that “it is obvious that investment tops the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration's agenda but will be very difficult to achieve in the obvious absence of security and rule of law.” 

This was contained in a statement signed by the CNPP's Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Comrade James Ezema. 

According to the statement, the CNPP maintained that “though President Tinubu affirmed that on every foreign trip he has embarked on, his message to investors and other business people has been that `Nigeria is ready and open for business╩╝, it is not enough.

“The Tinubu administration has continued to make promises over the past seven months as if the government is campaigning in an election rather than walking the talk.

“For the Tinubu administration to succeed, the government and its officials should stop praise-singing and celebration of its achievements. Nigerians can differentiate between a government that is working for them and the one that is not.

“It's time to deal with insecurity and end the killing of the innocent in the country. That is the primary purpose of government; to protect lives and property of the citizens.

“Secondly, upholding the rule of law is an important factor if Nigeria must attract key Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as no investor will invest in a society where the government does not obey court judgments or where court orders can be procured at the black markets.

“This explains why the recent capital importation data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the total FDI that came into Nigeria in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023 was only $48 million, and compared to the previous quarter, the FDI inflow to the country experienced a decline, dropping from $84 million in Q4 2022 to $48 million in Q1 2023, which is about 43%. But on a year-on-year comparison, there was a substantial 69% decrease, as FDI fell from $155 million in Q1 2022 to $48 million in Q1 2023.

“The CNPP therefore encourages the President Tinubu administration to do more in practice than talks as the country's FDI won't increase in the absence of security and rule of law”, the statement concluded.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Okwadike, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, CON - A True Patriot, A Quintessential Leader and An Exceptional Democrat.

Okwadike, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, CON - A True Patriot, A Quintessential Leader and An Exceptional Democrat.

 

Okwadike, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, CON - A True Patriot, A Quintessential Leader and An Exceptional Democrat.

We received with utmost disbelief, the sudden demise of one of the Nation's finest and most eloquent and patriotic democrat, Okwadike, Chief Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife OON. 

Indeed, his demise has created a huge vacuum in the Nigerian political and social order.

Chief Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife remained consistent in his struggle for a better Nigerian Nation and was until his death, a comforting shoulder for all ethnic nationalities across the Nigerian State.  

His moral and ethical disposition will remain an invaluable asset to those aspiring for public offices. 

We pray that God will grant him eternal rest and give his family, the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

Signed : 

High Chief Peter Ameh 

National Secretary 

Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).

National Headquarters, Abuja.

Terrorism: Minister Of State For Defence Matawale's US Visit Excites Northern Groups

Terrorism: Minister Of State For Defence Matawale's US Visit Excites Northern Groups

 

Terrorism: Minister Of State For Defence Matawale's US Visit Excites Northern Groups

The recent visit by the Minister of Defence, Bello Matawale, to the United States of America has been commended by several Northern groups under the North Central Stakeholders Forum for its immense significance in addressing the fight against terrorism and other security challenges in Nigeria. 

The Stakeholders Forum, in a statement signed by its Convener, Mohammed A. Mohammed noted that the visit, which involved engaging in discussions with members of the US Congress, was meant to strengthen bilateral cooperation, share intelligence, and seek support in combating terrorism. 

"The importance of this visit cannot be overstated, as it holds the potential to bring about positive changes in Nigeria's security landscape" they said. 

The Forum said first and foremost, the visit by Minister Matawale signifies the commitment of the Nigerian government to tackle the issue of terrorism head-on. 

"By reaching out to the United States, a global superpower with extensive experience in counterterrorism efforts, Matawale is demonstrating the willingness of Nigeria to learn from the best and adopt effective strategies in combating terrorism. This proactive approach is crucial in addressing the security challenges that have plagued the country for far too long."

They said engaging in discussions with members of the US Congress is another significant step towards strengthening bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and the United States. 

"The exchange of ideas, sharing of intelligence, and collaboration on counterterrorism efforts can greatly enhance Nigeria's capacity to combat terrorism. The United States has a wealth of knowledge and resources that can be tapped into, and this visit provides an opportunity for Nigeria to leverage these assets for the benefit of its citizens," the Forum pointed out. 

They said seeking support from the United States in the fight against terrorism is a wise move by the Defense Minister Matawale. 

"Terrorism is a global issue that requires a collective response, and the support of the international community is crucial in effectively addressing this menace. 

“By reaching out to the United States, the Minister is signaling Nigeria's commitment to working with other nations to eradicate terrorism and create a safer world for all."

The visit by Minister Matawale, the groups explained, also highlights the importance of intelligence sharing in the fight against terrorism which is a complex and ever-evolving threat. 

"Timely and accurate intelligence is essential in staying one step ahead of the terrorists. By engaging with the United States, Nigeria can tap into their vast intelligence network and benefit from their expertise in gathering and analyzing intelligence. 

“This collaboration can significantly enhance Nigeria's ability to detect and prevent terrorist activities, ultimately leading to a more secure and stable nation," they said.

Friday, December 8, 2023

" A TRUE PATRIOT GOES HOME", Chief Peter Ameh

" A TRUE PATRIOT GOES HOME", Chief Peter Ameh

 

A TRUE PATRIOT GOES HOME

We received immense sadness, the departure of a true patriot who gave his all, including his freedom for the enthronement of democracy and justice in Nigeria.

We also remember the role he played and the bitter struggle he fought in his lifetime for the revalidation of annuled June 12, 1993 election.

Mr. Kokori was severally incarcerated by the military junta for his opposition to military dictatorships, but we are comforted in the fact that his struggle for democracy we practice today was not in vain, no matter how imperfect.

We that are alive owe him that huge debt of improving our democracy so that our votes will count on election days.

Our hearts and condolences go to the family he left behind, and may the Almighty God grant him eternal rest.

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SELFLESSNESS COMMITMENT AND COURAGE TOWARDS THE BUILDING OF PROGRESSIVE AND PROSPEROUS COUNTRY. 

Chief Peter Ameh

National Secretary CUPP

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Abba Kabir Yusuf Vs APC: Coalition Of Yoruba Groups Tasks Supreme Court On Review Of Guber Case

Abba Kabir Yusuf Vs APC: Coalition Of Yoruba Groups Tasks Supreme Court On Review Of Guber Case

 

Abba Kabir Yusuf Vs APC: Coalition Of Yoruba Groups Tasks Supreme Court On Review Of Guber Case

A Coalition of SouthWest Groups, under its umbrella body, the Coalition Of The Yoruba Youth Network (YYN), comprising the South West Blossom Brigade (SBB), the Odua Youth Frontiers (OYF), the Yoruba Youth Empowerment Forum (YYEF), the Voice Of Yoruba Youths (VOYY), the Odua Progressive People Assembly (OPPA) and no fewer than fourteen other youth organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) have reacted to the Court of Appeal judgment on the Kano State governorship election petition between Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as it relates to the integrity of the Nigerian Justice System. 

The Coalition urged the Supreme Court of Nigeria, as the highest judicial authority in the country, to exercise its responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the judiciary by thoroughly reviewing the case. 

They noted that “by conducting a thorough review of these rulings, the Supreme Court can demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all.”

At a world press conference in Lagos, South West of Nigeria, the groups insisted that it will be detrimental to the principle of justice and democracy in the country. 

Speaking on behalf of the Coalition of Southwest Groups, Comrade Razak Olukayode, argued that a similar situation in Osun State, as presented itself in the Kano State governorship election petition, did not lead to the nullification of the election of Senator Ademola Adeleke. 

He said, “This coalition of Southwest groups is deeply concerned about recent controversial Appeal Court rulings on the Kano State Governorship election, which has raised serious questions about the integrity of Nigeria's justice system. 

“We wish to caution against compromising the nation's judiciary and emphasize the importance of maintaining its independence, transparency, and integrity. 

“In the case of the Kano Governorship election, the ruling of the Court of Appeal has raised doubts about the fairness of the nation's judiciary and the legitimacy of the electoral process. 

“This ruling severely jeopardizes the expected role of the judiciary as the cornerstone of democracy and justice in any nation.

“We observe that the Court of Appeal decision in the Kano case of Abba vs APC has deviated from established principles of electoral jurisprudence regarding the issue of nomination and sponsorship, which falls under the exclusive purview of pre-election matters. 

“Various judicial authorities, including the recent Peter Obi v INEC case, have emphasized that only the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate over nomination issues”, the Coalition said. 

According to the groups, the “Tribunal in the Abba vs APC case correctly stated that nomination is a pre-election matter but could not make a pronouncement on the issue due to lack of jurisdiction. 

“We highlight the injustice of upholding the Tribunal's decision to nullify 166,000 votes from the tally of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and sacking the incumbent governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf. 

“The Appeal Court's decision to uphold the nullification of such a significant number of votes without proper justification undermines the democratic fabric of the nation and raises questions about the impartiality of the judiciary.

“The decision to nullify 166,000 votes from the NNPP's tally in the Kano governorship election raises questions about the consistency and fairness of their judgments. In this case, the court cited irregularities and non-compliance with electoral laws as the basis for nullifying the votes”, the Coalition added .

They further argued, however, that “it is essential to note that similar irregularities were present in the case of Governor Adeleke, where the Court of Appeal ruled against nullifying votes. 

“By nullifying votes that were deemed to be irregular in Kano, the court fails to address the contradiction in its ruling in the case of Governor Adeleke, where similar irregularities were present but not nullified. 

“This inconsistency in applying legal principles undermines the principle of equal treatment before the law and raises doubts about the court's impartiality.

“Furthermore, the controversies surrounding the discrepancies between the judgment read out by the court and the content of the Certified True Copy of the Judgment in the Kano governorship election raise serious doubts about the transparency and integrity of the judicial process. 

“These discrepancies have led to confusion and speculation among the public, further eroding public trust in the judiciary.

“While it is necessary to ensure that political parties adhere to electoral guidelines, the decision to upturn the entire election in Kano raises questions about the legitimacy of the democratic process.

“Arguably, this ruling undermines the people's right to choose their leaders and places excessive power in the hands of the judiciary. This controversy highlights the need for a balance between upholding the rule of law and respecting the democratic will of the people”, they further stated. 

The contradictions in the Court of Appeal's decisions, they said, “highlight the need for a comprehensive review of the electoral laws and the judicial process. It sets a dangerous precedent for future elections. 

“Nullifying the Kano votes and allowing those of Osun without clear and consistent legal reasoning can lead to a loss of public trust in the judiciary and the electoral process. 

“Moreover, it opens the door for potential abuse of power, as political actors may exploit these inconsistencies to manipulate election outcomes. 

“The court's role should be to provide clarity and consistency in interpreting and applying the law, rather than contributing to confusion and uncertainty. 

“The controversies surrounding these rulings also raise questions about the accuracy and reliability of the court's decision-making process, suggesting a lack of attention to detail and procedural irregularities. This further erodes public confidence in the judiciary.

“We emphasize the need for a review of these rulings to ensure that justice is served and the rule of law is upheld. By reevaluating the evidence and legal arguments presented, the Supreme Court can rectify any potential errors made by the Court of Appeal, thereby restoring public faith in the judiciary.

“The review of the Court of Appeal rulings on the Kano governorship elections is not only necessary to rectify potential errors but also to reclaim the threatened integrity of the judiciary. 

“The credibility and impartiality of the judiciary are fundamental to the functioning of a democratic society, as they ensure that citizens have confidence in the legal system.

“The Supreme Court, as the highest judicial authority in Nigeria, has the responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the judiciary. By conducting a thorough review of these rulings, the Supreme Court can demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all. 

“By rectifying any potential errors and ensuring that justice is served, the Supreme Court can reaffirm its commitment to upholding the rule of law and maintaining the principles of justice and fairness within the Nigerian democratic system.

The judiciary should exercise caution and impartiality when making decisions that impact the democratic process.

“In conclusion, we urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to act as a true statesman and renowned democrat by upholding the principles of separation of powers, particularly the independence of the judiciary. 

“By allowing the free, fair, and uninterrupted application of justice, President Tinubu will demonstrate his commitment to the rule of law and ensure the continued strength of Nigeria's democratic institutions. It is crucial for him to avoid any interference with the course of justice, keeping in mind that he himself has benefited from fair judicial adjudication.

“Interference with the course of justice poses a significant threat to the principles of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. Such interference can lead to a compromised justice system, eroding public trust and undermining the rule of law. 

“President Tinubu must be cautious not to allow his name to be smeared in the dirty game of interference, as it would not only tarnish his reputation but also weaken the democratic fabric of the nation”, the Yoruba groups argued.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Northern Elders Lambast Nigerian Judiciary Over Elections Petition Verdicts

Northern Elders Lambast Nigerian Judiciary Over Elections Petition Verdicts

 

Northern Elders Lambast Nigerian Judiciary Over Elections Petition Verdicts

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said that it is deeply worried about the current state of affairs within the Nigerian judiciary, describing the current trends of verdict emanating from the elections petition courts as a significant threat to the country's democracy. 

In a press statement, NEF's Convener, Professor Ango Abdullahi, stressed the need for the judiciary to be cautious in its actions to prevent the erosion of its integrity, public trust, and confidence. 

Professor Abdullahi expressed dismay at the controversies surrounding several recent judicial decisions, particularly those concerning elections. Such occurrences, he noted, are disheartening and pose a significant threat to the future of democracy in Nigeria. 

"The potential consequences of these actions may ultimately validate the concerns raised by Retired Supreme Court Judge Dajjito Mohammed in his valedictory remarks about corruption and undue compromises within the judiciary. 

“The Northern Elders Forum recognizes the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary in upholding the rule of law and safeguarding democratic principles. 

“The judiciary plays a critical role in ensuring justice, protecting citizens' rights, and preserving the credibility of the electoral process. Any actions that compromise these principles undermine the very foundation of any democratic nation," Professor Abdullahi said. 

NEF, therefore, called on all levels of the judiciary to uphold the highest ethical standards and maintain impartiality in their decision-making processes. 

It urged judges to exhibit unwavering integrity and resilience when adjudicating cases, especially those pertaining to elections.

Professor Abdullahi expressed concerns about “the current trend that poses a threat of imminent judicial collapse has numerous Implications for constitutional democracy.” 

The trend, he said, poses a significant threat to the judiciary, the institution responsible for upholding constitutional democracy. 

He argues that if this trend continues, the nation risks descending into total anarchy. 

"The judiciary plays a crucial role in sustaining constitutional democracy by ensuring the rule of law, protecting individual rights, and providing checks and balances on the other branches of government. 

However, if the judiciary fails to fulfill its responsibilities, it can have severe implications for the stability and functioning of a democratic society. 

"The current trend may encourage politicians to view politics as a do-or-die affair. When the judiciary fails to effectively adjudicate disputes and hold politicians accountable for their actions, it creates an environment where politicians feel emboldened to engage in corrupt practices, abuse their power, and disregard the principles of democracy. This erosion of trust in the judiciary can lead to a breakdown of democratic norms and values, ultimately undermining the legitimacy of the political system. 

"Furthermore, a collapsing judiciary jeopardizes the safeguarding of constitutionalism, which is the cornerstone of any democratic society. The judiciary acts as the guardian of the constitution, ensuring that laws and policies adhere to the principles enshrined within it. Without a functioning judiciary, there is a risk of constitutional violations going unchecked, leading to the erosion of citizens' rights and freedoms. This can result in a loss of public confidence in the democratic process, as citizens may feel that their voices are not being heard or that their rights are being trampled upon," he said. 

Professor Abdullahi therefore warned that only through a robust and functioning judiciary can Nigeria truly safeguard its democratic values and prevent the descent into anarchy. 

"The fairness and transparency of the judicial system are vital for fostering public trust, confidence, and belief in the democratic process," Abdullahi said. 

The Northern Elders Forum also urges relevant authorities to conduct thorough investigations into any allegations of corruption and undue compromise within the judiciary. Any substantiated claims should be swiftly prosecuted, serving as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to taint the judiciary's reputation. 

"NEF believes that the judiciary should be an unbiased and independent arm of government, which is essential to the success of democracy and it should not be seen as compromising the integrity of its decisions particularly at a time when the nation is grappling with a range of challenges. 

"NEF therefore calls on the judiciary to consider the consequences of its actions and decisions, and strive to uphold the rule of law in all its activities to justify the confidence reposed on it by Nigerians. 

The NEF then called on the “public to remain vigilant in as to the direction the nation's judiciary is headed and not to hesitate to expose any perceived misconduct on the part of the judiciary. 

"It is our firm belief that a strong and incorruptible judiciary is crucial for the development and progress of our great nation. The Northern Elders Forum, alongside other concerned stakeholders, will continue to closely monitor the conduct of the judiciary and advocate for its ethical revitalization to safeguard the interests of all Nigerians," the Northern Elders said.