By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio has said that the Federal Government is focused on ensuring that Nigeria remains an inseparable and indivisible entity, declaring that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable.
The senate president stated this in his remarks at the Interdenominational Church Service for the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration held yesterday at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
Akpabio, who stated that the continued existence of the country lies in its rich cultural, religious and ethnic diversity, called on the people to embrace unity, stressing the resolve of the present administration to redouble its efforts in securing the country.
While paying glowing tributes to members of the armed forces who fell in the quest to make Nigeria remain one, he pointed out that their labour would never be in vain.
He also asked Christendom and other stakeholders in the Nigerian project to join hands with the Tinubu government as well as the nation’s armed forces to tackle the issues that have threatened the co-existence of the country.
Akpabio said, “The unity of Nigeria came at a great price. The sustenance and defence of this unity rests on the shoulders of the men and women of the Armed Forces, and the true weight of loss is carried by the families and dependents of these fallen heroes. If only we could share the pain they feel, then we would truly understand the imperative of eschewing insecurity and violence in all its forms.
“The year 2023 was an eventful one, marked by general elections and a change in leadership. Our nation is still grappling with the effects of long-overdue multi-sectoral reforms needed to propel us forward and position Nigeria among the great nations of the world. I urge for support to the government of His Excellency President Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, during this crucial time as we strive to achieve the Nigeria of our dreams. In this regard, I reiterate the President’s assurance that “our tough times will not last,” and we should renew our hope in a great Nigeria.
“Now is the time for all stakeholders to set aside our differences, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political affiliations, and come together to strategize on the way forward for this great nation that our gallant men and women of the Armed Forces paid, and continue to pay, the ultimate price to preserve. It is also a time for sober reflection, to take stock of past events such as the civil war, and to reflect on current challenges like the war on insurgency, incessant attacks on innocent Nigerians, the spate of kidnappings across the country. We must reflect on their causes and work together to prevent future occurrences.”
According to Akpabio, “I call upon the church to partner with the government in a much-needed rebranding of Nigeria. The church is urged to continue spreading the gospel of love for oneself, others, and our country. We must blur the lines that divide us across ethnic and religious boundaries through messages of tolerance, peace, unity, and progress.
“This administration is more determined than ever to strengthen and promote the oneness and indivisibility of Nigeria because the strength of our great nation lies in our diversity.
“Once again, let us salute the courage and appreciate the sacrifices of our men and women of the Armed Forces. Let us stand in solidarity with the families of our fallen heroes and heroines. I assure you that the government will continue to evolve policies to address the challenges you face as a result of your loss.
“The inclusion of veterans, their dependents, and caregivers into the Social Welfare Register through the Ministry of Defence is a commendable initiative of the current administration. The President, Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces is committed to implementing the welfare programmes within the services personnel for the families of deceased while making continuous efforts to address any remaining gaps,” the Senate President stressed further.
Reps Set up 23-Member Ad-hoc C’ttee on Oronsaye’s Report Implementation
By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Thursday, set up a 23-man Ad-hoc Committee to look into the Steve Oronsaye’s Report on the restructuring of Federal Government Ministries, Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies.
This was just as it emphasized the need for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to thoroughly review the Report on the proposed restructuring.
Recall that President Tinubu last week approved the full implementation of the White Paper on Steve Oronsanye’s report, which recommended the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the 541 MDAs.
Hon. Abbas, who announced the Ad-hoc Committee to be chaired by Majority Leader, Hon. Julius Ihonbvere, explained that the Ad-hoc Committee will recommend the appropriate measures to mitigate the likely fallout of the review process of Steve Oronsanye’s report on
In a related development, the House, which suffered with the process adopted by Mr.President, called for a comprehensive review of the 2012 Orosanye Report, the Goni Aji Report, which reviewed the Orosanye Report, the White Paper released by the President Jonathan administration, the Ama Pepple White Paper, and the Ebele Okeke White Paper in line with current realities, while considering implementable alternatives that are in tune with current realities and which at the same time would have minimum unintended consequences, impacts, implications, and outcomes.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance jointly sponsored by Hon. Kama Nkemkanma, Hon. Olumide Osoba and Hon. Gaza Gbwefi
In his lead debate, Hon. Nkemkanma observed that “in 2012, the President Goodluck Jonathan administration set up the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, headed by Stephen Oronsaye, a retired federal civil servant and former Head of Service of the Federation.
“The House is aware that the Oronsaye Committee, after their painstaking assignment, recommended the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the then existing 541 government agencies.
“The House is also aware that the Committee’s 800-page report noted that the government’s parastatals and agencies’ functions are overlapping and therefore recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161, the abolition of 38 agencies, the merger of 52 and the reversion of 14 to departments in ministries, and the management audit of 89 agencies capturing biometric features of staff, as well as the discontinuation of government funding of professional bodies and councils.
“The House is again aware that the Oronsaye Report said then that if the committee’s recommendation was implemented, the government would be saving over N862 billion between 2012 and 2015, with a breakdown that showed that about N124.8 billion would be reduced from agencies proposed for abolition; about N100.6 billion from agencies proposed for mergers; about N6.6 billion from professional bodies; N489.9 billion from universities; N50.9 billion from polytechnics; N32.3 billion from colleges of education; and N616 million from boards of federal medical centres.
“The House is further aware that after the committee’s report, the White Paper committee set up by Jonathan’s administration rejected most of the recommendations, while those accepted were not implemented.
“The House notes that in November 2021, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration inaugurated two committees; one of the committees, chaired by Goni Aji, a retired Head of Civil Service of the Federation, was to review the Orosanye report, and the second committee, chaired by Ama Pepple, also a retired Head of Civil Service of the Federation, was constituted to review agencies created between 2014 and 2021.
“The House also notes that upon submission of their reports, the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government in July 2022 set up another committee chaired by Ebele Okeke, a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, to produce a white paper on the reports.
“The House is worried that the full implementation of a report 12 years after it was first made, which ordinarily may be described as outdated, especially because of how dynamic society, economy, politics, technology, and all facets of our national life have been,.
“The House is concerned that, contrary to the assumption that the full implementation of the report would reduce the cost of governance, with the current realities, the full implementation of the report will not substantially reduce the cost of governance as it does not reflect the current situation in the Public Service of the Federation.
“The House is deeply worried that the full implementation of the 2012 Oronsaye report in 2024 will certainly have unintended consequences, implications, and outcomes. It is committed to supporting all positive actions and policies of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration that have minimum unintended consequences, impacts, implications, and outcomes.
“The House is cognizant of the primary purpose of government being the security and welfare of the citizens as enshrined in Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” he noted.
The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to develop and implement policies that will reposition the agricultural sector, the solid mineral sector, and the informal sector, which will serve as alternatives to those that may be laid off consequently while at the same time spurring economic growth.
Senate Urges PSC to Recruit 10 Candidates Each from 774 LGAs
The Senate has urged the Police Service Commission(PSC) to recruit a minimum of 10 candidates from each of the 774 Local Government Areas(LGAs) of the country.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Sen. Udende Memga (APC- Benue) at plenary on Thursday.
Presenting the motion, Memga said that the Buhari administration had ordered the recruitment of 10, 000 constables annually as part of measures to address the nation’s security challenges.
He said that President Bola Tinubu was keen in implementing the policy, saying however, that the recruitment should be conducted based on the strength of each LGA especially in the area of community policing.
“The use of LGA parameters in the recruitment exercise is to reflect the principles of the federal character.
“It is also meant to promote inclusion, representation and give a sense of belonging and balance in the polity, section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution as amended, captured the federal character,’’ he said.
He said that the parameter would promote national unity and command national loyalty as well as eliminate marginalisation of any state, ethnic or any group in government or its agency.
Memga said that the use of state parameters in the recruitment as against LGAs initially adopted, would lead to inequality.
“It is extremely important to always reflect a fair representation of all local government areas in the recruitments,’’ he said.
Why I Object to State Police – Senator Udende
By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja
The Senator representing Benue North East at the National Assembly, Senator Udende Memsa Emmanuel has explained that the crazy mentality of some Nigerian politicians, especially the Governors remained the reason he is opposed to the creation of state police.
Speaking with newsmen in his office at the National Assembly yesterday, Senator Udende who was the Deputy House Committee Chairman on Police Affairs during the previous dispensation pointed out that the mentality of most political elites in Nigeria was low, so if they had state police they would use it to harass and intimidate political opponents.
The Senator, a lawyer by profession however said that community policing, where youths from various communities get the opportunity in equal measures to join the federal police and be posted in their respective localities remained the best policing option for Nigeria at the moment.
Recall that senator Udende had earlier in the day moved a motion seeking the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force to adhere to the Federal Character Principle in the recruitment of Constables into the Nigeria Police Force, stressing that both entities should ensure the recruitment of at least 10 personnel from each of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
He said such a measure would entrench unity, harmony and the spirit of community policing rather than bickering and suspicion which had become the order of the day after each police recruitment exercise across the country.
He noted that the underlying philosophy of the federal character principle was to provide equality of access in public service representation to curb dominance by one or few sections of the country either in the federal, state or local government, saying otherwise it would create lopsidedness.
“I will, in the interim, oppose the creation of State Police. As you know, most of our political leaders, especially those Governors are crazy, they have mad attitudes to issues and low comprehension ability to the principles of fair play. They will abuse the good intentions of the spirit of State Police, use it to harass and intimidate not just their political opponents but anyone who goes against their thoughts and aspirations.
“In place of State Police, I’m for Community policing under the supervision and control of the federal government. This is the best approach for now in my opinion. To this effect, I moved a motion on the floor of the Senate earlier urging the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force to recruit at least 10 persons from each local government area in Nigeria in the spirit of the federal character principle. Such personnel could be posted within the local government areas and that’s community policing pure and clear. If they do that for 10 years, would we still be talking about State Police?, he queried.
However, his motion was supported by the Senate Minority leader, Abba Moro of Benue South senatorial district, senator Titus Zam of Benue North West and senator Bassey Ekong of Cross River North, making the deputy senate president, Jibrin Barau who presided over the plenary yesterday adopt the motion and consequently directing the Committee on Police Affairs and legislative compliance to ensure compliance as well as directing the police authorities to recruit at least 10 persons each across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.
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