Pass gender sensitive bills for National development, Women group tells NASS

A coalition of women groups under the auspices of the 100 Women Lobby Group has appealed to the National Assembly to pass all gender sensitive bills into law, to enable more development in Nigeria.

National Coordinator of the group Felicia Onibon, made the call in a statement made available to the media in Abuja.

The bills include an Equal Opportunities Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2020; Gender and Equal Opportunities, Abuse and Administration Bill 2012; Affirmative Action (Equal Opportunities for Women) Bill 2012; Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill 2015; Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill 2015; Women Participation in Elections Support Bill, 2018.

“Note that this does not take into consideration, the number of proposals on affirmative action not considered by the National Assembly,” the statement said.

The statement also expressed concerns that the electoral System in Nigeria has not been fair to women, saying that this contributes to women’s underrepresentation in Nigeria’s legislature.
“Nigeria is considered the worst performer in the West African Region when looking at the representation of women in parliament and the second-worst after Eritrea in the whole of the African Continent. This is sad and does not speak well of Nigeria as a Nation with Women occupying only 21 out of 469 seats in the National Assembly.

“The situation is worse at the State level with the national percentage of State seats being 4.5% with women occupying 45 of the 990 seats in all State Houses of Assemblies,” the statement noted.

It added that, “On a general note, Nigeria women have paid their dues in all sectors and human endeavors including politics. Nigeria Women have also shown integrity and capacity in governance.”

The statement lamented that despite women’s contributions, they were still excluded in mainstream politics and governance, stating that available records show that the presence of the few women in the National Assembly led to the proposition of critical actions to promote affirmative action and equal opportunities for women.

“This low number of women in the Assembly is a factor for the lack of support or push for these bills. In a space where voting numbers matter, the numerical presence of women is key.

“Today, we are asking the Additional Seats Bill and all other gender-sensitive bills that are receiving attention at the National Assembly to get the support of all members so that Nigeria can move forward in all aspects of life.

“Our prayer is for our legislators to consider working to effect change by creating enabling environment for Nigeria Women through the passage of these bills and the inclusion of women-focused issues in the constitution”, the statement added.


We‘re living on extra time, 2023‘ll be more challenging – Sanusi

A former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Muhammadu Sanusi II, has warned that the country may sink further into more problems unless citizens were ready to take tougher decisions in the interest of the country.

Sanusi, the immediate past Emir of Kano and leader of the Khalifa of Tijaniyya sect in Nigeria, stated this Monday in Abeokuta, at the reception organised in his honour as part of activities marking the 80th birthday of Babanla Adinni of Egbaland, Chief Tayo Sowunmi.

“To be honest, we are living on extra time. In 2015, we were in a deep hole. In 2023, we will be in an even much deeper hole than in 2015.

“The challenges facing all those people who are struggling to be president, I hope they understand that the problems that they are going to face are multiples of the problems that were faced in 2015 and all of us have to be ready for difficult decisions and if they are not taken, we are all going to pay for it.

“But the solution is not for all of us to jump into politics, this country needs good politicians, it needs imams and pastors and bishops who are going to stand up and remind them (politicians) of the fear of God. It needs technocrats who are going to critique their policies, it needs traditional rulers who are going to speak as the conscience of the people, everyone has a role to play and we should try to play that role to the best of our ability.

“I think the most important thing is that we should continue to pray for our country that whoever emerges as President, Governors, Senators, members of the House, leadership at all levels that we get good leaders.

“And I think that we should also remind ourselves as Muslims and as citizens that we owe it to ourselves because we know that this country deserves better than we have been giving ourselves.

“Allah commands you that you place trust only in the hands of those who are capable of handling that trust. If you choose somebody who is incompetent to lead you, if you choose somebody who is weak to lead you, if you choose someone who is dishonest to lead you, you can only blame yourself because Allah says you should only give that trust and He also explains to us what it means to be capable of holding that trust, someone who has the competence to do the job and who can be trusted.

“Now, if we go and choose leaders who are not competent because they give us money or because of personal interest and I keep saying to my brothers in Tijaniyyaa that we should stop praying for people who come to talk to us to say come and pray for me to be Governor, come and pray for me to be President, they go and people go and read the Quran for them.

“We should look at all the candidates, we should choose the people that we think are competent and honest and then we decide who we want to pray for, not who comes to us with money or who comes to us to beg us, whether or not they come for us. And we should go and vote for them and we should pray to Allah that our sincere belief that these are the people who are in the best interest of our nation,” he stated.

While speaking on the forthcoming Presidential elections, the former CBN governor denied eyeing the presidency in 2023, saying he’s content being spiritual leader of the Tijaniyyah, even as he called on all presidential aspirants to be ready to inherit a sinking country.

He noted that he had served in various capacities both in the past and present, saying, “I will forever be grateful to Allah.

At 60, the Islamic scholar said, he had been blessed by Almighty Allah, stressing he prefers the Khalifa Tijaniyah position he occupies to being president.

Sanusi said: “When they tell me to go into politics, you are telling me to set aside one type of authority and look for another type of authority, to leave what God has given me and pursue something else.

“I am the first and only northern Nigerian to be Chief Executive Officer of First Bank since it was set up in 1823. In this same life, God has made me Governor of Central Bank. He has made me Emir of Kano. He has made me Khalifa of Tijaniyah. What am I looking for?

“If we all go into politics, who is going to make politicians to account? Who is going to stand up to tell them ‘you are going wrong’? Who is going to speak with the people and explain sometimes difficult policies that people don’t like, but which are in the long term interest of the people?

“People don’t understand the role we play as religious leaders, traditional rulers that they think we should go and be a Governor or President. To be honest I think that the role I play can be more than that of the President.

“To be Khalifa Tijaniyah, is an office that personally has proven the choice between that office and the Presidency, I will choose that office.

“I can only speak about what I want, what I see and what I think, but at the end, we all have to submit ourselves.”


No job loss if police take over NSCDC, Peller explains bill

The lawmaker representing lseyin/ltesiwaju/ Kajola/lwajowa Federal Constituency in Oyo State at the House of Representatives, Shina Peller, has said the intention of his bill has been “misconstrued” to mean the scrapping of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps when it actually seeks to make the Nigeria Police Force absorb the security outfit.

Peller had sponsored the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (Repeal and Transition) Bill 2022, which passed the first reading on Tuesday.

The bill seeks to repeal the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (Amendment) Act 2007, establish a transition management committee to superintend over the NSCDC, develop regulations and implement procedures for the transfer of assets and personnel of the corps to the Nigeria Police Force, and other related matters.

The bill had generated mixed feelings from the public.

Peller, in a statement issued on Saturday and titled ‘It was titled ‘Proposed Bill to Repeal NSCDC Act was Misconstrued…We Must Begin to Think of the Future of Our Policing System…Avoid Duplication of Functions,’ said he needed to make some clarifications.

The statement read, “Given the controversy that my bill has caused – the bill seeks to absorb the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps into the Nigeria Police Force and set a transitional framework to achieve this objective, I shall weigh in and make certain clarifications about the proposed bill.

“On Tuesday, the 1st of February, 2022, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (Repeal and Enactment) Bill that I sponsored was read for the first time in the House of Representatives. Expectedly, while some understand and align themselves with the points raised in the bill, some either unknowingly missed the points or deliberately misconstrued the content for reasons best known to them.

“Contrary to what is being falsely spread by some people, the bill is not about scrapping NSCDC but merging the agency with the Nigeria Police Force to achieve better results in policing. The bill does not in any way seek to render people jobless rather the bill proposes the transfer of assets and personnel of the NSCDC to the Nigeria Police. In other words, assets and personnel will be absorbed by the Police; so there won’t be loss of jobs.

“Recall that the NSCDC was established by statute in the year 2003 to exist and operate as an ancillary force, assisting the Nigeria Police Force in maintaining public order, engaging with civilian populations in times of emergency, and other such adjunct functions. The creation of the corps was supposed to free officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to focus on their core policing operations of protecting lives and ensuring the security of property. Since then, the nature of the NSCDC has changed. Rather than exist as, and perform the role of an ancillary force, the NSCDC now includes an armed component and performs policing functions across the country. Predictably, this overlap of functions and jurisdictions has led to increasing conflicts between the NSCDC and the Nigerian Police.

“Nigeria is faced with an unprecedented wave of different but overlapping security crisis, therefore, the government and legislature must be aggressively innovative in considering better options for a more effective national security architecture. This proposed bill should serve as a trigger to constructive debates and conversations that end with substantive reforms in the best interest of the nation.

“Shockingly, the leadership of the NSCDC withdrew security details attached to me, as a result of my proposed bill, although after the news was made public, NSCDC reversed itself. A situation like this calls for serious concerns.

“In conclusion, fragmentation of security resources across multiple competing agencies is counterproductive, coupled with the fact that we have limited resources. What’s the essence of having multiple security agencies with no desirable result when we can harness the resources together to make our Police Force more efficient? This is what the bill seeks to achieve.”


Breaking: Thomas Tuchel test positive for COVID-19, to miss FA Cup clash vs Plymouth

Thomas Tuchel
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be in the dugout for this afternoon’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Plymouth Argyle.

The German – who undertook his pre-match duties yesterday and oversaw first-team training – has entered self-isolation and will be absent for the clash at Stamford Bridge.

There are now doubts as to whether Tuchel will be able to travel to the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi. The Blues head out to the UAE after today’s game and their first match in the competition is on Wednesday. If Chelsea win that, there will be a final to play next Saturday.

A statement on the Chelsea website read: “Thomas Tuchel has tested positive for Covid-19. The Chelsea head coach will now follow necessary self-isolation protocols and hopes to join up with the team in Abu Dhabi later next week.

“The team fly out for the Club World Cup following this afternoon’s FA Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle.”

Chelsea have confirmed that Tuchel’s long-time assistant, Arno Michels, will take charge for today’s FA Cup tie against the League One side.

Tuchel has publicly confirmed that he has been vaccinated against Covid, although has been at pains to stress that was his own choice and not one he has attempted to force on his players.

He said in September: “Vaccination seems to be a proper protection. I am vaccinated. I took the decision for myself. But I don’t really see myself in a position to speak out on proper recommendations.”


ASUU vows to commence strike, says ‘we’ve lost trust in FG’

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Friday expressed doubts over the ability of the Federal Government under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to resolve the lingering crisis in the education sector, particularly the universities.

The union said an indefinite strike will commence.

The union described as “shameful” the continued defence of IPPIS by the Federal Government despite reported fraud in it’s implementation as indicated in the 2021 report submitted to the National Assembly by the Auditor General of the Federation.

In a statement on Friday, ASUU lamented the numerous past negotiations and agreements with the Federal Government on how to revamp the education sector but which the government had shown no commitment to implement.

The statement signed by the Chairman of ASUU, University of Jos branch, Dr Lazarus Maigoro, read, “In the last one year, our Union has been engaged with the federal government and its officials over demands which, if met, would lift the standard of our battered tertiary institutions, especially the universities. The undisputed crisis in our educational sector has met, as with other consequences, nothing but the same response. Our union states very clearly that we appreciate the interest demonstrated by the Nigerian Inter-religion Council with a view to resolving the current impasse.

“However, it is not rational to continue to return to the same physician for the cure of an ailment iatrogenically introduced by him or one in which he has failed to cure or bring relief to his patient.

“From historical experience, we can conclude that NIRECs efforts with agents of government will be more prone to bringing further pain and anguish to the system. This will surely be the case if NIREC’s intervention ends with a palliative solution. This will lead to another phase of the same crisis. For the avoidance of doubt, our Union ASUU, has had several meetings with the Minister of Labour, Officials of the Federal Ministry of Education, the NUC, and NITDA and, very recently with the Chief of Staff to the President.

“All these meetings have not calmed our members as the following issues still remain unresolved.
The recent comments by the spokesman to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina that government will keep to the promises, rings very hollow to us. The government’s pattern of response to the issues is that of a serial promise-breaker. Like an unfaithful spouse, they are unable to match their words with action which is affecting the education sector negatively. We are tired of their deceit and IT IS TIME FOR US TO ACT. We want to inform Nigerians, that we are tired of fruitless meetings with the Minister of Labour, NUC Executive Secretary, Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, NITDA, and the Chief of Staff to the President. If they ever want us to listen to them, they should first of all act on the promises they have already made.

“In the meantime, we are resolved to proceed on an indefinite and comprehensive strike until fidelity returns to our relationship with the government and our demands are met. We are tired of the back and forth.”


Insecurity: 400 ethnic groups decry daily killings, urges FG to be proactive

No fewer than 400 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria on Thursday called on the Federal Government to be more proactive in dealing with the growing spate of insecurity in the country.

According to them, Nigeria youths cannot continue to witness such mindless killing of Nigerians in their numbers on a daily basis.

The nationalities under the aegis of Nigeria Ethnic Nationalities Youth Leaders Council said they have taken notice of the level of insecurity in the country which had now reached a very alarming level.

The President-General of NENYLC, Terry Obirh, spoke on behalf of the organisation during a press briefing in Abuja attended by its Secretary-General, Oladotun Hassan and Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Zopmal.

He said, “Our stand is that the Federal Government needs to be more proactive in dealing with the growing spate of insecurity in the country as we cannot continue to witness such mindless killing of Nigerians in their numbers on a daily basis.

“The main essence and purpose of government is the protection of lives and properties but this appears to have been defeated in Nigeria. On a daily basis, Nigerians are being mowed down and roasted like chickens for no fault of theirs, except the fact that they are Nigerians.

“We say today that enough is enough and urge the security agencies to sit up. We have heard so many words without action from the government, we have had enough rehearsed condolence messages from the government, what we demand now is an end to the massacre of Nigerians under whatever guise.

“The council equally took notice of the pervasive corruption in Nigeria. We are concerned about the level of corruption in governance in Nigeria. This has to a large extent impeded development in the country, with resulting infrastructural decay across the country. The humongous annual budget of the country has not in any way translated to development.

“There are no commensurate development indices vis-a-vis the trillions of naira released every year as capital expenditure. The reason for this gap is not farfetched- it is buried in the graveyard of corruption.

“Worthy of mention is also our uncompromising position on the need for a united Nigeria, cautioned against inflammatory statements ahead of the 2023 general election.

“To this end, we urge politicians to put the interest of the country above self; they should see themselves as vehicles for national cohesion and not as agents of disunity. This is why we note with serious concern some unguarded utterances by political actors across the country, especially with regards to the 2023 general elections.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission has a big role to play. It must give all interested parties equal opportunities in the 2023 general elections to ensure the emergence of credible leaders.”

Also speaking, NENYLC organising secretary, Okwu Nnabuike, who urged Nigeria youths to participate actively in 2023 politics, called on political actors to be fair to all political zones in elections.


2023: INEC partners CSOs to enhance stakeholders participation

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is partnering with some prominent Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to create a platform for key stakeholders in the electoral process to share experiences and build public confidence in the electoral process, ahead of the 2023 general election.

To this end, a committee of INEC-YIAGA joint national conference on the 2023 general election has been inaugurated to among other objectives, identify and popularize innovations and reforms designed to enhance the integrity of the 2023 polls.

The planning committee which has National Commissioner, Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, as chairman is also to explore and build strategic partnership for improving the democratic qualities of the 2023 general election and provide stakeholders opportunity to give account of their preparedness for the election.

Members of the committee are drawn from INEC and partnering organisations such as; YIAGA Africa, the European Union (EU), The Albino Foundation, Nigerian Women Trust Fund, ACE Foundation, International Foundation for Electoral Support (IFES) among others.

Inaugurating the Committee at a brief ceremony held at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja, on Wednesday, Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu underscored the immense contributions of CSOs to the development of democracy in Nigeria.

He recalled the successes achieved through partnerships with various CSOs in a bid to strengthen the electoral process and mobilize citizens for participation in the electoral process.

The committee members present at inauguration included the Chairman Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, Samson Itodo Cynthia Mbamalu, Michael Agada, and Bakara Yetunde all of YIAGA Africa, Jake Epelle of Albino Foundation, Obaje Ukeh of IFES, Laolu Olawumi, EU; Obinna Osisiogu, ACE Centre and Mufuliat Fijabi, Nigeria Women Trust Fund.

Other members of the committee are: the Chief Technical Adviser to the Hon. Chairman of INEC, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Special Adviser to the Hon. Chairman INEC, Prof. M.J Kuna, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the D-G of The Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris, Director VEP, Ayodele Aluko; Director EPM, Aminu Idris; and Engr., and Director Planning and Monitoring, Paul Omokore, as Member / Secretary.

Other co-opted members are; Director Commission’s Secretariat, Mrs. Maryam Iya Musa, Director, Health Services, Dr. Ajoku G.N, Lebari, Director Security Samson Ndu, and Ag. International Cooperation& Partnerships, Kemi Oyeyemi.

The Committee has 2 weeks to submit its report.

Responding on behalf of the committee, Samson Itodo of YIAGA Africa appreciated the commission for deeming the committee fit to carry out the tasks.

He said the Committee would ensure that the 2023 general election met international best practices.

Samson Itodo renewed his call on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to enable the commission and other stakeholders prepare ahead of the 2023 general election.


Those who burnt my farmland will be fished out, prosecuted —Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned the burning of his 2,420 hectares of farmland at Howe in Aliade area of Gwer East Local Government of Benue State, at the weekend.

The 84-year-old ex-President and former military leader described the incident as a bad development, noting that the arsonist will be fished out by security agents.

The PUNCH had reported that arsonists burnt the Orchard Farm belonging to the strong man of Hilltop in Abeokuta on Saturday.

The ex-president had acquired about 2,420 hectares of farmland in the community, where he planted fruits such as mango and orange.

Some indigenes, who claimed they were not compensated for the land, had allegedly set the farm on fire, beat up and robbed the firefighters deployed in the area to put out the fire.

Reacting in a release by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Tuesday, Obasanjo said “the local and state governments, including the security agencies in the state, have taken up the issue, with a view to fishing out the perpetrators and prosecution”.

The statement was titled, ‘Obasanjo condemns burning of farm in Benue.’

The former President thanked those who had called him to identify with him on the incident.

(Punch News)

Senate moves to stop annual rents in FCT as bill scales second reading

A bill seeking to make the annual payment of rent illegal in the Federal Capital Territory has scaled second reading in the Senate.

Tagged: “A Bill for the Regulation of Advanced Rent on Residential Apartments, Office Space” was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West).

The lawmaker, in his lead debate on the general principles, said the bill seeks to regulate the mode of payment of rent on residential apartments, office space, rooms and accommodation in the FCT.

According to him, the move by the chamber to regulate the payment of rents in the FCT stemmed from the obligation of its constitutional responsibilities, aimed at  impacting the lives of residents.

“If passed, this Bill will improve the well- being and standard of living of residents and minimize corruption and immorality emanating from the oppressive tenancy system in the Federal Capital Territory.

“This Bill will make life less stressful and less painful for majority of the down-trodden and low income earners in the Federal Territory”, Adeyemi said.

He explained further that due to global economic recession, life  has become very challenging and almost unbearable for the low income earners despite the huge palliative measures by the Federal Government through the N-POWER traders money.

He noted that in the FCT, Landlords demand between one to three years advanced rent, a situation which he pointed, “automatically adds a huge burden on the masses, subsequently giving rise to desperation and corruption.”

He lamented that the “tenancy system has continuously impoverished Nigerians who are salaried employees that can only pay rent after haven received their first remuneration.”

“This tenancy system is unafrican, unislamic and indeed unbiblical”, the lawmaker added.

Adeyemi expressed concern that many residents of the FCT are finding it difficult to cope with huge rent payment, adding that, “many houses built within the city center for such purposes are empty.”

He said that yearly tenancy has continued to breed corruption, moral decadence and huge inequality as low income earners who cannot afford to continually pay their rent.

According to him, some tenants now engage in corrupt practices, immorality, and even criminal acts to meet the pressing need of shelter.

He underscored the need for Legislation aimed towards justice, fairness, equity and improved standard of living.

He noted that in the FCT, a single one room apartment ranges from one million (N1,000,000) Naira to two million (N2,000,000) Naira within the city.

According to the lawmaker, in the satellite towns such as Kubwa, Nyanya, Kuje, Lugbe, rents are still not affordable for the common man as it ranges from Three hundred and fifty thousand naira (N350,000.00) to Five Hundred thousand naira (N500,000.00).

He stated that the bill, therefore, seeks to reduce advance payment for new tenants to three months and, thereafter, proceed with the monthly payment scheme.

“It also seeks to protect low income earners from any form of oppression by homeowners.

“The bill also seeks to provide a window for legal action for any form of oppression.

“Importantly, it will also serve as a safety net for Landlords against erring tenants”, he added.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, while supporting the bill, described the piece of legislation as “people-centered.”

He said, “The truth is out there, many residents in the FCT are groaning under this very difficult system where people are expected to pay house rent in advance.

“With the policy where government has withdrawn participation in providing official quarters with demonetization, we are all aware, young Nigerians who are gaining employment within the precinct of the FCT for example, majority of them are actually in the outskirts.

“This is because it is extremely difficult for most of these young Nigerians to get the quantum of money that represent two years rent”

The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary, described the bill as “popular” owing to the number of Nigerians who have showed interest in it.

However, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East), a Peoples  Democratic Party (PDP) Senator and the only lawmaker in the chamber who spoke against the bill, argued the issue of rent payment should be driven by market forces.    

“The issue of rental payment, either in advance or installments is purely economical and should be driven by market forces.

“Such market forces as availability of land, cost of building materials and income.

“If government wants to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses, government can go into housing schemes, mortgage schemes, housing credit facilities, not control the business of private individuals in an emerging African democracy”, he said .

Senators, however, voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill when the Deputy Senate President put the question for it to be read a second time.

The bill was subsequently referred by Omo-Agege to the Committee on Housing and Urban Development for further inputs. 

The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary.

Meanwhile, three other bills also scaled second reading during plenary on Tuesday.

They are a bill to establish the Federal University of Environmental Technology Saakperwa Tai Ogoni, Rivers State; a Bill to Establish the Solid Minerals Development Bank; and a Bill to amend the National Health Act 2014.

The bills were sponsored by Senators Mpigi Barinada (Rivers South East), Yakubu Useni (Kogi Central) and Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central), respectively.

The bill to establish the Federal University of Environmental Technology, was referred by the Deputy Senate President after consideration to the Committees on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to report back in two weeks.

The other two bills to Establish the Solid Minerals Development Bank; and to amend the National Health Act 2014, were referred to the Committees on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy; and Health (Secondary and Tertiary) for further work.

Both Committees were given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.