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Osun Govt Open to Engagement with CSOs, Caution Against Political Partisanship




From Kunle Idowu

Governor Ademola Adeleke and his entire team are open to engagement with civil society organisations for the common good of the state even as the administration cautions against political partisanship using civil society activism as a cover.

Responding to a press briefing by a group named Masterminds, the Governor canvassed for impartial criticism of government as the right of citizens but noted that a politically coloured statements will draw similar response from the administration, noting that if a civil group play political game, the response will also be political.

The government, in a statement by the governor’s spokesperson, Adeleke Rasheed on Sunday, cited as an example the Masterminds’ commendation of the state government on enrolment of pensioners which it said was laced with political colouration, positing that the policy of enrolling pensioners did not exist under any previous government in Osun state.

Because of political bias, the group could not stop at commendation but had to tell stories about which administration founded or nurtured the health insurance agency.

Is the issue about who established the agency or which administration launched the health cover for pensioners?

Before responding to the many issues raised by the group, let us invite its operatives and other civil society groups in Osun state to avail themselves of the Freedom of Information Act which makes it mandatory for government agencies to provide information as may be requested by members of the public.

Information about budgets, expenditure and other data related to public finance can be accessed legally and within the bounds of the law by interested members of the public. The rules and procedures are clearly spelt out.

This administration is committed to open governance and information access especially when such efforts are not politicized or designed to score political points.

On the multi-billion Infrastructure Plan, the Governor had during Ipade Imole stated that the sources of funding include savings from revenue leakages, enhanced internally generated revenue, federal infrastructure intervention, federal refunds among others.

For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Governor made it clear that he will not borrow in any way to fund the plan, that funding of the infra plan will not affect workers’ welfare and that the state will not be fiscally endangered as was the case in the past administration.

As to the question of how the Governor plans to fund the 2024 budget and if the infra plan is captured in the new budget proposal, we ask the group and other organisations to attend budget hearing sessions at the State Assembly to access the funding plans and the details of the budgetary provisions. The hearings are ongoing.

On the N10 billion-naira supplementary budget and what it contains, we urged the group to access the approved supplementary budget either through the House of Assembly or the State Ministry of Budget and Economic Development. It is a public document.

Supplementary budgeting is not in any way an aberration and such Appropriation Acts are public documents which interested parties can seek just like the 2.1 trillion-naira supplementary budget just approved by the National Assembly for President Bola Tinubu

On the alleged removal of the Chief Judge, we want to set the records straight that Governor Ademola Adeleke had only written the Chief Justice of Nigeria who is the chairman of the National Judicial Council forwarding the resolution of the House of Assembly and recommending the most senior judicial officer for appointment in acting capacity depending on the final decision of the NJC.

By conveying the House resolution to the NJC and by merely recommending for NJC action an acting capacity appointment, Governor Adeleke has proved and acted within the confines of law and in recognition of the powers and responsibility of the NJC.

On the appointment of Barrister Hashim, we challenged the group to point out any legal provisions violated as Governor Adeleke is mostly fixated on competency and legality in his appointment decisions

On alleged stifling of funding to Osun State University, we call the attention of the group and the public to the public confession of the Vice Chancellor of the University to the unprecedented capital projects and overhead funding support for the university from the state government. The video indeed went viral.

We find it curious that the group finds it convenient to ignore the completion of several abandoned projects at the university by the current administration which led to the Vice Chancellor confessing that the current government has done more than any government in the state for the university.

If not for political bias, we expect the group to list university projects initiated and others completed by the Adeleke administration instead of focussing on overhead financing adjustments which even the university management accepted is compensated for by the huge capital funding support the university is getting from the state government.

As much as this administration is ready for dynamic engagement, it is also not our duty to spoon feed civil society groups as research is an integral part of advocacy and activism. For example, attending public hearings and accessing public documents are crucial responsibilities of genuine civil society groups.

We urge civil society groups to step out as genuine partners in state development by playing their parts in the advocacy and stakeholding process and by avoiding parroting opposition party’s talking points.

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Tiv Residents in America Seek Justice for Late Joshua Terngu Gwebe




The Mutual Union of the Tiv in America (MUTA), a non-profit and non-partisan charitable organization representing the Tiv community in the Americas, has condemned in strong terms, what it described as “the horrific and violent mob attack on Joshua Terngu Gwebe, a young Tiv man, on November 20, 2023”

“This attack, stemming from unfounded allegations of car theft, is unacceptable and regrettable,” the association said in a statement released by its President, Dr Akaa D.

Ayangeakaa, and Secretary General, Beeior Rov-Ikpah.

“We are deeply concerned about the unprofessional conduct of the Nigerian Police Force, particularly the reported involvement of a Superintendent of Police, Mr Haliru, in this assault.

Instead of performing his duties as a peace officer, he was alleged to have participated in the attack on Mr. Gwebe and Tersoo, a passerby who merely communicated with the victim in our native Tiv language. This incident culminated in the tragic death of Mr. Gwebe in police custody. The grievous loss of Mr Gwebe due to such conduct cannot be overlooked or excused. 

“The actions of the mob, fueled by a baseless accusation from Mr Barka Ibrahim, a taxi driver, and the complicity of police officers, including, SP Haliru, are reprehensible and unacceptable. This case is a stark example of the mob mentality plaguing Nigeria, which has no place in a democratic society. Furthermore, the ethnic profiling of Tiv people is a serious issue that demands immediate attention and action. Such discriminatory practices undermine the principles of equality and justice, and must be eradicated from our society. Those responsible must be held accountable to prevent further tragedies” the statement said.

MUTA urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, to heed his warnings against human rights violations by the police just as it demanded immediate action to apprehend and prosecute all individuals involved the “brutal assault, including the dismissal of SP Haliru from the Nigeria Police Force for his unconscionable actions”. 

“We further urge a comprehensive reorientation of officers of the Nigeria Police Force to embrace their role as community peace officers, not violators of human rights. The reckless and brutal treatment of innocent civilians must cease if Nigeria is to progress as a democratic nation.

“Furthermore, we strongly urge lawmakers of Tiv and Benue extraction to rise to the occasion and fulfill their duties in defending the rights and lives of the Tiv people. It is their responsibility to ensure that their constituents are treated fairly and justly under the law. 

“Justice must be served not only for Joshua Terngu Gwebe but for every citizen whose rights have been trampled upon. We call on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Nigeria to investigate this incident thoroughly and ensure that all perpetrators, including erring security personnel, are held accountable” the association further stated.

It however, commended the the bravery of a passer by, Mr. Tersoo, who suffered alongside Gwebe and extended its sympathies to the family of th deceased.

“We demand an official apology from the Nigeria Police Force to the Gwebe family, along with adequate compensation for their irreplaceable loss.

“Finally, we commend the frontline actors, especially Pastor Dave Ogbole and his team, for their relentless pursuit of justice for Mr Joshua Gwebe. Their work and commitment are invaluable, and they inspire hope in these difficult times.

“MUTA remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for justice, accountability, and reform on behalf of the Tiv community and all Nigerians who seek a fairer and more equitable society,” the statement also said.

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2024 Budget: Delta Govt. Earmarks N150bn for Works Sector




The Delta Government says it is earmarking the sum of N150 billion for its Works sector in the 2024 fiscal year.

The State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, announced this in Asaba on Wednesday while presenting the 2024 budget to the State House of Assembly.

According to him, the sum of N150 billion has been earmarked for the Ministry of Works to execute capital projects in the forthcoming fiscal year.

Oborevwor noted that his administration would prioritise infrastructural development, saying that the move is a key driver of economic growth and social development.

”We will also invest in critical sectors such as transportation, energy, water, and telecommunications, with a focus on expanding access to underserved areas and improving the resilience and sustainability of our infrastructure,” he said.

Oborevwori who commended his predecessor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for his tremendous strides in infrastructural development across the State, noted that the impact was visible in the improved quality of life of the people, as well as enhanced connectivity of communities across the state.

He, however, noted that there were still much to be done and assured that his administration was committed to building on the successes of the past as well as taking the State to new heights.

Oborevwori also announced that

the sum of N46.6 billion has been earmarked for the education sector in 2024 budget.

He said that education is a critical component of development, and noted that his administration was committed to ensuring that every citizen should have access to quality and affordable education.

”We recognize that education is not only a means to personal development, but also a key driver of economic growth, social mobility, and national competitiveness.

”We will prioritize investments in technical education and vocational training.

”We believe that these sectors have the potential to transform our economy by creating a skilled workforce that is equipped to meet the demands of modern industries and entrepreneurship.

”We will work closely with our educational institutions, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to develop programmes that are tailored to the needs of our people and equip our students with the skills-set they need to succeed in the 21st century.

”In addition, we will also prioritize investments in teacher training and professional development,” he said.

Oborevwori also said, “we recognize that our teachers are the backbone of our educational system, and we are committed to providing them with the support and resources they need to deliver high-quality instruction.

”We will provide training and development opportunities for our teachers, with a focus on improving their pedagogical skills, subject matter expertise, and use of technology in the classroom,” the governor pledged. (NAN)

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Enugu Governor Orders Biometric Verification of LG Staff Members




Gov Peter Mbah of Enugu has ordered a verification and biometric capturing of all local government workers in the state.

The directive is contained in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, on Wednesday in Enugu.

According the state government, the verification committee will be inaugurated on Friday in the Government House, Enugu.

The government added that the exercise would begin on Friday and continue until the end of February 2024 with random visits by the verification committee to any of the 17 local governments in the state any working day of the week.

“Workers are by this, expexted to be on duty with their letters of appointment and schedule of duty for verification and biometric capturing.

“Those absent and others confirmed not to have been fulfilling the terms of their employment shall cease to be government employees,” the government warned.

The government also directed all local government chairmen to submit lists of attendance for the previous week on Wednesdays to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government via the email address:”. (NAN)

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