By Jude Opara, Abuja
Nigerians and other nationalities from the West African sub-region, constitute 40% of the 70 million refugees in the world, the Secretary General of ECOWAS Parliament, John Azumah , has said.
Azumah who stated this yesterday in Abuja during the official inauguration of the West African Parliamentary Press Corps and Senate Press Corps Day, at the National Assembly, added that humanitarian situations in the region were products of bad and unimaginative governance .
Painting the gloomy picture of the region on humanitarian crises and poverty level in his key note address read by the Director of Parliamentary Affairs and Research of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr Bertin Some, on his behalf, Azumah said in Nigeria alone, 2.1 million people are displaced by Boko Haram insurgency .
He said: It is regrettable that despite the efforts being madein West Africa, the region is plagued with multiple crises .
“For instance, Nigeria’s North -East , North – West and North – Central are ravaged by Boko Haram terrorism and farmer-herder clashes , which has resulted in the killing of over 20,000 people and with about 2.1 million people displaced .
“This carnage has caused huge humanitarian crisis , such thatthere appear to be a lethargy of addressing the crises with funds by the international agencies .
“In Mali, insurgency has run down the country and displaced many. These crises are replicated in many parts of the region.
“According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), West Africa is one of the regions of the world with the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons , estimated to constitute about 40% of the 70million refugees and displaced persons in the world “.
The Scribe of the ECOWAS Parliament, blamed the sorry state of the region on bad governance which according to him, had rendered many affected countries financially impotent to the point of depending on funds from donor agencies to implement their yearly budgets .
”The political crises that trigger these humanitarian situations in the region are products of bad and unimaginative governance, which has plunged a great number of our citizens into poverty and untold hardship.
”The poverty level is so high in the region such that many member states largely depend on donor agencies and international humanitarian agencies to fund their activities and programmes because their streams of revenues can no longer fund the national budgets “, he lamented .
As a way out of the bad situations, he tasked the media and civil society organizations across the sixteen countries in the region to hold their various governments.
The vibrancy of the media according to him, is evaluated based on the degree of consciousness of the citizens in challenging leaders to live up to their duties and obligations.
However in his own speech , the President of the Senate , Ahmed Lawan who was represented by his Deputy , Senator Ovie Omo- Agege assured the gathering that the 9th National Assembly has put on ground , feasible template for populist synergy with the executive arm of government towards addressing the problems of insecurity, unemployment and high poverty level among the populace .
“These we believed, can be effectively tackled with required synergy with the executive arm of government and effective oversight duties by the Parliament .
” The press as the fourth estimate of the realm and societal watchdog, is expected to focus more strongly on the imperative of legislative independence “, he said .
Police Parade Suspected Killers of Former Benue Judge
By David Trough, Abuja
The Benue State Police Command has paraded four suspects in connection to the murder of Retired Justice Margaret Igbetar, who was murdered in August this year.
State Commissioner of Police, Bartholomew Onyeka who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Makurdi on Tuesday said the suspects have since confessed to the crime.
According to him, among those who were arrested was a nephew to the deceased, Aondohemba Joseph, adding that Joseph had alleged that Justice Igbetar was holding his father’s property which should have been bestowed on him, but she (Justice Igbetar) had refused to relinquish the said property.
Onyeka said, “You will recall that on 24th August 2023, a case of Culpable Homicide involving the late Justice Margaret Mary Igbetar (rtd) was reported and I had promised to ensure that Justice is served. One Aondohemba Joseph, a nephew of the deceased was arrested immediately.
“A more detailed and advanced investigation started when the case was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and handed over to the Operation Zenda investigative team to continue.
The suspect who eventually confessed to having planned and recruited other people to help him in killing his Aunty (Justice Igbetar) led a team of detectives to Adikpo, in Kwande Local Government Area of the state where more suspects were arrested including, Igbazenda Gbidye, 63yrs old and Dzungwenen Ukor, 40yrs old.
“These suspects admitted that Aondohemba Joseph had reported to them that his father died and left so much property in the hands of his aunty (the deceased) and she has refused to hand the said property over to him. They agreed to join him in eliminating her so that he could have access to his property.
“One Akuhwa Barnabas, 32yrs old, a driver to the deceased who was also arrested, corroborated their statements by admitting that he was the one who allowed the gang access to the house and manned the gate for them until they finished the assassination process”, the State Commissioner of Police stated.
Onyeka said commended the people of the state for their patience and cooperation adding that the command would continue to do its best to rid the state of crime
DMO Offers N150bn Sukuk Bond for Subscription at N1, 000 Per Unit
The Debt Management Office (DMO) on Tuesday offered for subscription, Ijarah Sukuk valued at N150 billion.
According to a statement by the DMO, the Sukuk is issued by Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Roads Sukuk Company PLC, on behalf of the Federal Government.
It said that the Sukuk were offered at N1,000 per unit, subject to a minimum subscription of N10,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter.
“Rental payment is made half-yearly, and bullet repayment is done on the date of maturity.
“Proceeds will be used solely for the construction and rehabilitation of key road projects and bridges across the six geopolitical zones of the country,” the DMO said.
It added that the Ijarah Sukuk was backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government.
“It qualifies as securities in which trustees can invest under the Trustee Investment Act.
“Qualifies as government securities within the meaning of Company Income Tax Act and Personal Income Tax Act for tax exemption for pension funds among other investors.
“To be listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited, ” it said.
It added that the Ijarah Sukuk was classified as liquid asset by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and certified by the Financial Regulation Advisory Council of Experts of the CBN.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Sukuk is a Sharia-compliant instrument that represents the interests of the owner in an asset or pool of assets.
It ensures that every financial activity is backed by real economic activity, is usually linked to specific infrastructure projects.(NAN)
Release of Chicago Documents Stirs Uproar, Stereotypes, Sarcasm
By Ben Atonko, Abuja
The release of documents by the Chicago State University (CSU) to clear doubts on President Bola Tinubu’s certificates on Monday has caused huge public uproar in Nigeria.
Lawyers and social media users are particularly agog with different views.
While some call it a disgrace to President Tinubu, some say it is a dashed hope for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
The documents contained Tinubu’s admission records, and a letter dated 27 June 2022 confirming that he attended the university from August 1977 to June 1979 majoring in Accounting.The letter said Tinubu was awarded Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Honours on 22 June 1979. CSU released the school documents to Abubakar.
In his reaction, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wahab Shittu said Abubakar’s case against President Tinubu in the February 25 election may have collapsed completely.
Shittu is of opinion that the release of Tinubu’s educational results as ordered by Justice Nancy Maldonado of the Northern District of Illinois Court, USA, does not alter the likely outcome of the case.
A subpoena was issued after a federal judge in the United States ordered the university to turn over records pertaining to Tinubu’s time there in the late 1970s.
Tinubu has been accused by Abubakar of falsifying his academic credentials.
Abubakar alleges in court that the documents showing that Tinubu graduated from CSU in 1979 are not authentic and that is grounds to nullify Tinubu’s election victory.
His application sought four categories of documents from CSU, which confirmed Tinubu’s graduation in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Following the release of the documents, Shittu said aside from the fact that CSU exists, there is proof that President Tinubu attended the institution, stressing that his claim is not a fabrication.
He said, “The constitutional requirements for qualification to aspire for the presidency is at least school certificate level or its equivalent. The three diplomas issued by the university satisfy this requirement.”
He noted that the university has not denied issuing the certificate issued to the president in 1979 adding that “the school merely says it does not keep duplicate copies of issued certificates.
Similarly, a former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka in an essay entitled “The US Court Proceedings on Order Directing Discovery from Chicago State University: A National Embarrassment” maintained that however the certificate matter ends, Nigeria has been disgraced.
Chidoka is a staunch member of PDP.
He wrote, “The decision of the District Court and the whole proceedings is not a moment of triumphalism but a sober moment of introspection. It is a moment when as a nation we ask ourselves:
“What are our national values? Who or which institution should have ordered the full investigation of the questionable certificate?
“If the certificate is not forged, the president should conduct a wide-ranging reorganisation of our national security system for failure to save the country from this needless embarrassment and reputational damage.
“If and that is a big if, the certificate is forged, President Tinubu should resign immediately. It is not a legal matter but a national honour and moral issue.
“If he does not, the National Assembly should do the needful to restore our dignity as a people. I also expect the Supreme Court to rise to the occasion and restore order to our electoral process.
“On either count, the National Assembly should start a constitutional amendment process to end all election judicial challenges before the assumption of office of all elected persons at all levels.
“The bold challenge of President Tinubu by HE Abubakar Atiku in the US is the most prominent sign of state failure.
“It is depressing but maybe it is an inflection point to alter the character of the Nigerian state to live up to the words of the second stanza of our old national anthem.”
Social media users also take opposing position, espousing that which suits their narration.
X formerly Twitter and Facebook have been buzzling since. Users lace their comments with stereotypes, sarcasm and abuses.
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