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Doctors, Pharmacists Wrangle Over Drug Prescription [LEADERSHIP]

Doctors and Pharmacists in the country are entangled in a fresh altercation over an age-long struggle over the professional mandate to prescribe drugs in an ideal situation.

In separate interviews with LEADERSHIP yesterday, both the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) gave reasons to justify their claims over the right to prescribe drugs.

President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Prof Innocent Ujah, triggered the contention when he said it was not appropriate to completely blame the rising cases of self-medication in the country on industrial action by members of the medical union and outbreak of COVID-19.

Rather, he said it should be partly put on the doorsteps of pharmacists who illegally prescribe drugs to patient against the normal procedures.

“If you go to pharmacists, they are even prescribing drugs. This is unethical. When you go with your prescription, their own is to sell drugs to you but they are prescribing. They are exercising the power that doctors have and it is lacking competence”, Prof Ujah said.

The chairman of NMA in Kwara State, Prof Issa Baba and a senior lecturer in the department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ilorin, Dr Ghali Alaaya, were unanimous in their submissions that pharmacists have no business in drug prescription for patients.

Baba and Alaaya maintained that only medical doctors are qualified to prescribe drugs for patients.

The duo also traced the causes of self -medication to many factors, including poverty, ignorance, the desire by pharmacists to sell their drugs and make money as well as inadequate healthcare facilities.

But in a swift reaction, the Registrar of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm Elijah Mohammed, accused doctors of taking over the responsibility of pharmacists, saying that doctors who are meant to only prescribe medication are now dispensing as well.

According to him, pharmacists are also prescribing drugs to patients because doctors have refused stick to their practice.

He said, “The doctor is to prescribe and the pharmacist is to dispense, but in Nigeria today, you have dispensing doctors and prescribing pharmacists.  When a patient come to the doctor, he prescribes and he dispenses, so what do you want the pharmacist to do? Should they close their shops?

“But when you go to UK and USA, the medical doctor prescribes then the pharmacists will dispense. If that is maintained, when a patient comes to the pharmacy, thepharmacist will ask them to go and get prescription. But now that the doctors are prescribing and dispensing, what do they expect the pharmacists to do? The pharmacist know what the drug is all about then when the patient comes, they will do the needful.”

Mohammed however called for support to tackle open drug market, saying that the present government has come with a coordinated wholesale centre concept whereby they want to create an environment that is well regulated and move these drug traders into those places.

According to him, once that is done, all the markets will be shut, and whoever that is coming to buy drug, will be asked where he is taking it to.

He continued: “We should stop blaming ourselves. Although it was formally known for distributive functions, latest experiences have shown that pharmacists in all settings are now involved in health promotion, disease-state management, and pharmaceutical care, as well as both collaborative and independent prescribing.

“As our roles have evolved to become more clinically focused, prescribing has become a logical extension of the provision of comprehensive pharmaceutical care”.

LEADERSHIP checks revealed that there had been flagrant refusal by some residents to comply with the laid-down protocol of the government relating to testing of persons who have symptoms of COVID-19.

In Akwa Ibom State, It was gathered that, several people who experience these symptoms, such as fever, sore throat and difficulty in breathing no longer contact the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

It was learnt that most of the residents prefer staying at home and experiment with drugs, especially anti-malaria drugs, in a desperate bid to find a possible cure for the symptoms they are experiencing.

Some residence who spoke to   our correspondent in different parts of the state said their main reasons for self-medication, especially during this period is to reduce financial burden and fear of contacting the virus at the Hospitals.

Macus Iniobong, a public servant, said in the wake of COVID-19 he and his entire family had to take chloroquine bought from a local pharmaceutical shop along with vitamin C even though they were all healthy.

“Except for emergency or very serious cases, my family will stay away from hospital for now,” he said.

Similarly, Bassey Eyo, a fisherman from the coastal city of Oron said, “When I felt very feverish during the height of the pandemic the thought of going to the hospital made me scared. I just took anti-malarial drug. I prayed hard that my condition should not get worse to warrant my going to the hospital”

 

Edo: NBC Warns Against Illegal Announcement Of Results [LEADERSHIP]

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) yesterday warned broadcast stations against announcing election results during the Edo State governorship election billed to hold on Saturday.

The commission also drew the attention of broadcasters to the essential provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act regarding the coverage of elections and announcement of election results.

A statement signed by the director-general of NBC, Prof Idachaba Armstrong, also warned that election results can only be announced by authorised electoral officers and not by broadcast stations.

The statement noted: “We draw attention specifically to Section 5.3.3 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which stipulates that: The Broadcaster shall (J): Ensure that the broadcast of a partisan political campaign, jingle, announcement, and any other form of partisan party identification or symbol ends not later than twenty-four hours before polling day.

“(K) Not use any vote obtained at a polling station or from an exit poll, to project or speculate on the chances of a candidate. (I) Relay election results or declaration of the winner only as announced by the authorised electoral officer for the election. (This is also as contained in the Electoral Act of the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria)”.

NBC noted that it had been working towards a free and fair governorship election in Edo State along with other stakeholders.

It further enjoined broadcasters to continue to perform their duties professionally in order to bring about a successful democratic process.

 

Edo: NBC Warns Against Illegal Announcement Of Results [LEADERSHIP]

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) yesterday warned broadcast stations against announcing election results during the Edo State governorship election billed to hold on Saturday.

The commission also drew the attention of broadcasters to the essential provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act regarding the coverage of elections and announcement of election results.

A statement signed by the director-general of NBC, Prof Idachaba Armstrong, also warned that election results can only be announced by authorised electoral officers and not by broadcast stations.

The statement noted: “We draw attention specifically to Section 5.3.3 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which stipulates that: The Broadcaster shall (J): Ensure that the broadcast of a partisan political campaign, jingle, announcement, and any other form of partisan party identification or symbol ends not later than twenty-four hours before polling day.

“(K) Not use any vote obtained at a polling station or from an exit poll, to project or speculate on the chances of a candidate. (I) Relay election results or declaration of the winner only as announced by the authorised electoral officer for the election. (This is also as contained in the Electoral Act of the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria)”.

NBC noted that it had been working towards a free and fair governorship election in Edo State along with other stakeholders.

It further enjoined broadcasters to continue to perform their duties professionally in order to bring about a successful democratic process.

 

Hike In Price Of Petrol, Electricity: Labour Issues 7 Days Ultimatum [LEADERSHIP]

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged the federal government to  reverse the increase in fuel pump price and electricity tariff in  the next seven days or face a mass action.

TUC in a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, said Nigerians “cannot bear the burden any longer.”

LEADERSHIP reports that the federal government is billed to meet with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as other civil society organisations (CSOs) today.

But in the letter signed by TUC president, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, the labour centre said some recent actions of the government had become worrisome to the working class, their families and the masses.

He listed the actions to include sudden Increase in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) Products pump price without any definitive and concrete efforts to make the nation’s refineries functional, which has a devastating multiplier effect on the working people and their families.

Other actions include increase in electricity tariffs without proper consultation and consideration of the effect of COVID – 19, and without commensurate electricity supply, non-provision of prepaid meters and other biting economic realities.

The labour centre also listed part of its grievances to include the non implementation of the negotiated National Minimum Wage by most of the state governments, and federal government’s inability to create  and sustain salary date and calendar to ensure transparency as well as loss of jobs across the industries, high cost of living and, businesses not moving in the light of the effects of Covid-19.

According to the letter, the TUC at the just concluded meeting of its organs have thus resolved that government should take immediate steps  to reverse the hike in prices as it affects electricity, petrol and all other social services in the country to status quo ante (prior to increase) within seven days; provide adequate and quality healthcare and education for all to save the poor and the vulnerable at all  levels.

The letter reads in part, “These demands are made in good faith, and to save the dying masses and the vulnerable in our society. In the event of not showing empathy for this class of people by adhering to above demands, we shall, together with our civil societies and allies, sympathetic to the suffering masses of our people commence an  indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday 23rd  September 2020.”

 

U.S. slams sanctions on top politicians, others [THE NATION]

UNITED States (U.S.) has imposed visa restriction on top politicians and other categories of Nigerians it considered to have undermined the electoral process in some states.

The Department of State in statement on Monday said those to be affected are individuals whose actions have undermined the democratic process during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

Also in the category are those behind violence in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election and the October 10 Ondo State governorship election.

In a statement on its website, the Department said: “The United States is a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy. We commend all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen Nigerian democratic institutions and processes.

“We remain committed to working together to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both our nations.

“We condemn the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.”

Controversy trailed the Kogi poll as the battle shifted from the ballot box to the court. The litigations that followed the election traversed the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, the Court of Appeal before terminating at the Supreme Court.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello and candidate of the of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner.

One of the candidates alleged exclusion from the process, although the court dismissed her request for the nullification of the election.

Violence was reported from hot spots across the state during the election.

There was also a massive violence in the Bayelsa election won by APC candidate David Lyon. But the Supreme Court nullified the victory and returned PDP candidate Duoye Diri as governor.

Domestic monitors and foreign observers complained about sporadic shooting and disruption of polling units in some voting areas in Kogi.

Ahead of the Edo governorship poll, fears are rife that it may be marred by violence, judging by the pre-election violence.

INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmud Yakubu acknowledged on Monday at a stakeholders’ meeting in Benin-city, the state capital, that polling may take place under a charged atmosphere.

Pre-election party meetings and rallies have been disrupted, leading to accusations and counter-accusations between the two major parties.

Miffed by the spate of violence, Benin monarch Oba Ewuare II brokered a peace meeting with leaders of the ruling and major opposition parties, urging them to eschew violence.

 

Obasanjo group insists Buhari insensitive [THE NATION]

MEMBERS of the Nigerian Elders and Leaders insisted on Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari is insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

They said the President should have embraced former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s admonition as a wake-up instead of abusing the former leader for telling him wake up from his slumber.

According to the elders, who met on the state of the nation last week in Abuja under the chairmanship of Obasanjo, the President has uncritically perceived the responsible and credible initiative as Obasanjo’s sole affair.

In a statement in Lagos yesterday, the group said it has no regrets or apologies to offer for encouraging a dialogue for an exchange ideas in a bid to pulling the country from the brink of collapse.

The statement was signed by Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt Forum), Yinka Odumakin (Afenifere), Chief Guy Ikokwu (Ohanaeze) and Bassey Hensaw (PANDEF).

The group said: “We are even more worried at this stage that a responsible and constructive effort to douse tensions, build bridges and restore hope in the potentials for the survival of our country as democratic and united entity will attract the type of childish vitriol from the Presidency, including labelling us as terrorists.

“Clearly, our current leaders are living in very deep denial, if they do not recognise that our current situation represents an existential danger to the nation.

“We noted the commendable support of other leaders for the initiative, and the statesmanship of Chairmen of Nigerian, APC and PDP Governors‘ fora who attended the second day of the meeting and expressed genuine support for it.

“In contrast, we are alarmed at the insensitivity of the Presidency which will rather demolish patriotic and responsible action than take steps to address gaping holes in the manner it handles our national destiny, our security and our economy.

“Our fora is encouraged to pursue the time-tested strategy of engagement, dialogue and steadfast commitment to the future of our country as secure, united and just.

“We will continue to exercise our rights to meet and seek for solutions, and discharge our obligations to younger generations of Nigerians who deserve to live in a nation without its current frightening limitations.

“We believe that the Presidency, our legislators and all well-meaning Nigerians should be part of our initiative. If the Presidency chooses to stay out, Nigerians have the right to ask what it is doing to address our deeply-embedded problems itself.

 

PTF: states fail to conduct COVID-19 tests [THE NATION]

STATES are not doing enough COVID-19 tests despite the increased capacity, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control said on Monday.

As at the last count, there are 71 molecular laboratories in the country excluding the accredited private hospitals where COVID-19 tests can be conducted.

Apart from not collecting many samples and conducting enough tests, many states are no longer filing reports on the tests to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The PTF said yesteron Monday that only 13 states reported their figures in the last 24 hours (on Sunday).

It warned that although the number of confirmed cases are low, it is not a basis to draw any conclusion that the country is flattening the curve of the disease.

Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who spoke during the PTF on briefing, said: “Seventy-nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection were reported in the past 24 hours from 13 states of the Federation, bringing the total number of known cases as of today 14th September, 2020 to 56,256 out of a total of number of 442,075 tests conducted. 44,152 persons have been treated and discharged while 1,082 have sadly been lost to COVID-19.

“Though we continue to record declining positivity rates every day, we are reluctant to conclude that we are halting the spread of disease, because some states have not sustained the testing rate that would give us more assurance. Only 13 States, for example, reported their figures in the past 24 hours. This can be better.

“Until all parts of the country can sustain a certain testing rate, it would seem presumptuous to conclude that we are flattening the curve. In the words of Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), we are not safe until everyone is safe. I therefore again request our state governments to ramp up the testing momentum, so that we can together get control of the spread of this disease in our country.”

He added, “The entire surveillance diagnostics and response is inter-related. The NCDC is responsible for surveillance and diagnostics mainly. They support the in other activities. The states governments are the one that begin the actual activity of collecting samples, working out the surveillance, contact tracing etc. So there is an interdependency there.

 

No room for rigging, violence in Edo [THE NATION]

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said Saturday’s governorship poll in Edo State will be holding under a charged atmosphere.

The agency, which unfolded a comprehensive plan to safeguard the sanctity of the election, warned trouble makers to stay away from the state.

INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmud Yakubu told stakeholders at the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, Benin-city, the state capital, that the agency had packaged security device to check electoral fraud.

He said the ballot papers and result sheets have security features which are a clean break from previous polls.

Assuring that votes will count, he said there will be no room for impunity on poll day, adding that all forms of electoral offences will attract penalties.

Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu said he had deployed 31, 000 policemen to provide security.

He warned that no disruption will be condoned by security agents, who have been mandated to deal with electoral offenders.

The meeting was attended by Governor Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy Philip Shaibu; Southsouth Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Dan Orbih; Edo PDP Chairman Dr. Tony Aziegbemi; and his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Col. David Imuse (rtd).

Also at the forum were INEC National Officer in charge of Edo, Bayelsa and Rivers states, Mrs. May Agbamuche- Mbu; and Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Dr. Johnson Alalibo.

Yakubu said INEC’s proposed plan to deploy optimal technology during the exercise would be moderated to prevent a further complication of the already charged environment.

He said “The atmosphere in Edo State ahead of the election this weekend is already charged. We cannot afford to complicate it further by introducing a new technology we are not yet fully satisfied with.”

Yakubu emphasized that, although INEC is committed to a peaceful and credible poll, polling unit results will be uploaded for public view.

He said: “The commission is determined that no one will benefit from impunity or be rewarded for bad behaviour such as vote buying, ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, hijacking and diversion of election materials, disruption of collation, falsification of results, attack on INEC officials or compelling them to declare unofficial results.

“The people of Edo State must be allowed to freely vote for their preferred candidate without inducement or harassment.”

Yakubu added: “We have been assured by the security agencies that thugs and their sponsors will not have the freedom to move around freely to disrupt the election or collation of results.”

The INEC boss said the national headquarters of the commission will monitor the election.

“Our zoom situation room will receive live reports from the field. Accredited observers and the media will also be invited to join at intervals.

“By doing so, the commission will receive first-hand information as the election is going on.

“At the same time, citizens can contact us on our various platforms such as the toll-free INEC Citizens Contact Centre (ICCC) telephone line, in addition to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.”

Petrol price/electricity tariff hikes: TUC, NECA, ASUU talk tough as FG meets Labour today [PUNCH]

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday said the Federal Government had surrendered the growth and development of the country to the International Monetary  Bank and the World Bank.

The National President of the union, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, who said this in a telephone interview with The PUNCH in Lagos, said the Federal Government should prepare for more crises as people’s anger against the government would worsen as a result of hunger in the land.

He also said those running “Nigeria today do not love Nigerians,” but relied on the advice of some “outside forces.”

Also on Monday, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria gave the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse the recent increase in electricity tariff and the price of petrol.

The TUC gave the ultimatum in a letter addressed to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and dated September 14, 2020.

The letter titled, ‘We cannot bear the burden any longer, issuance of seven days ultimatum,’ was signed by its President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, and the Secretary-General, Mr Musa Lawal.

The congress made the letter available to journalists shortly after its national executive meeting in Abuja on Monday.

The ultimatum was issued 24 hours to the Federal Government’s meeting with the TUC and the Nigeria Labour Congress. The meeting was convened by government to explain the financial condition of the country and the reasons for the increase in the electricity tariff and the fuel price.

Recall that the Federal Government two weeks ago increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N 138.62 to N147.67,  prompting marketers to adjust their petrol prices to between N158 and N162 from N148 to N150 in August. The ex-depot price is the price at which government sells petrol to marketers.

The hike was the third within three months and it came at a time when electricity distribution companies increased their tariff.

Although the Federal Government had defended its action, saying the sharp drop in its revenues could not sustain the subsidy regime, labour leaders and civil rights groups said government was insensitive.

They said the decision was taken at a time when other countries were introducing measures aimed at mitigating hardship caused by COVID-19 lockdown.

The president of ASUU, Ogunyemi, in the interview with The PUNCH, said government did not have any respect for Nigerians.

He stated, “If we are to operate in a country where our votes count, they will think twice before they ignore trade unions’ demands.  They will think twice before they rubbish agreements and memoranda.”

Ogunyemi said  government found it difficult to respect agreements it willingly signed with trade union leaders.

He also cautioned government  on its over-reliance on external agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank.

He said, “You will agree with me that there is hardly any worker that can boast of meaningful existence with his or her honest income. And if government is ready to take some fundamental steps to redirect the growth and development of Nigeria, if government will continue to surrender the growth and development of this country to external agencies such as the IMF and World Bank, then government should be prepared for more crises because the people will become angrier when they are hungry and that is what they are beginning to see.  There will be more of labour unrest.”

He stressed that despite ASUU’s constant negotiations and agreements with the government, it had never paid attention to the university education system.

Ogunyemi stated, “From the perspective of our union, we believe that government has neglected the education sector for too long, particularly the university education sub-system.  As much as we have been trying to keep government on track, by reaching agreements, signing memoranda with government, government has been unfaithful.

“Successive governments in Nigeria have been setting aside our collective bargaining agreements. Just as it is happening to ASUU,  we know it is happening to other trade unions. What should be done is to draw out government very clearly. How do they see trade union agreements?  Are they just for the sake of placating labour leaders when they come up with issues the same way they deceived Nigeria with manifestoes  which they set aside immediately they came to power?

“Or is it because they have some other forces outside Nigeria that are making them disrespect collective bargaining agreements to set aside every agreement they sign with trade unions.”

 

Train crushes Lagos trader attempting to save son in SUV [PUNCH]

A commuter train has crushed a shoe merchant, Christopher Ngobidi, to death, while his son, Arinze, is fighting for his life in a hospital.  The incident happened on Monday around the Nigerian Army Shopping Arena, Oshodi, Lagos State.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the train had earlier collided with a white Ford Ecoline 250 bus with number plate, GGE 972 GE, at the PWD area.

The train, while pulling the Ford vehicle, got to the Army Shopping Arena, where Ngobidi parked his Toyota Highlander on the rail tracks.

It was gathered that the Anambra State indigene, a trader at the Arena, was waiting for the gate of the shopping mall to open when he saw the approaching train.

Our correspondents learnt that Ngobidi raced to the vehicle to rescue his son,  who was sleeping in the vehicle, but was crushed to death by the train.

However, one of our correspondents, during a visit to the scene of the incident and the shop of the deceased, observed that many stalls around the deceased’s shop were locked.

A witness, Hezekiah Adekanmi, said, “The man parked on the rail track while he was waiting for the Arena gate to be opened. While the train was coming with a bus that it had earlier hit, it started honking. But the man, who was not in the car, remembered that his son was inside the vehicle and he ran to rescue him.

“Before he could come out of the vehicle, they were hit by the train and pushed inside a gutter. The man died immediately, while his son was injured. The train still dragged the bus to the Oshodi under bridge before it stopped.”

One of the shop owners around Ngobidi’s shop, Efechukwu Udeh, who described the deceased as a nice man, lamented that he would be sorely missed.

He said, “Christopher (Ngobidi) was my neighbour in this market and he was nice to everybody.

“The man attempted to rescue his son who was sleeping inside the vehicle when the train crushed him, while his son was injured. The boy is unconscious at the hospital. Christopher’s wife called me this morning to ask after the husband, but I had to lie to her that he had not got to the market yet because I don’t know what to tell her.”

The Head of Public Affairs of LASEMA, Nosa Okunbor, said the agency received a distress call to the scene around 8am.

He said, “Upon arrival at the scene, it was discovered that a white bus, with number plate GGE 972 GE, veered onto the rail tracks while crossing the railway line at the PWD inward Oshodi and subsequently collided with a scheduled commuter train.

“The bus was dragged along by the train for a stretch of the journey before managing to come to a complete halt at the Oshodi under bridge.

“It was also gathered that while the train was pulling the bus, it crashed into a stationary Toyota Highlander Sport Utility Vehicle, with the number plate FST 763 FL. The driver of the SUV lost his life during the incident, while his son, who was with him in the SUV was taken to One Life private hospital, opposite the Arena, Bolade, Oshodi.”

However, the Lagos State Police Command claimed that three persons sustained injuries in the incident.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, in a statement on Monday, said the matter had been referred to the Railway Police Command for investigation.

He said, “Around 07.45am, there was an accident involving a moving train and two vehicles crossing the rail tracks at Arena Plaza, Oshodi. Three people sustained varying degrees of injury and were taken to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.”

Meanwhile, the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who visited the scene, sympathised with the families of the victims.

Sanwo-Olu said, “This incident is regrettable because it happened on the day all stakeholders reached a consensus to close down the gates into the shopping arena. And this is part of the concerns we have been raising about commuters’ safety on this axis. We need to act fast. This fatal accident should strengthen our resolve to do the needful and prevent a repeat of the sad incident in the future.

“It is also a clarion call on our people to be safety conscious whenever they need to drive across rail tracks. If there is slow movement of vehicles at any railway bypass, then there is the need to keep a safe distance from the rail tracks.”

 

US extends visa ban to Edo, Ondo polls’ offenders [PUNCH]

The United States Government says it has imposed visa restrictions on some individuals for their actions during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run up to the Edo and Ondo State governorship polls on Saturday and October 10, respectively.

Although elections have not yet held in Edo and Ondo states, the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, imposed the visa restriction on the individuals due to their conduct in the run up to the polls.

This is according to a statement signed by the spokesperson for the Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, on Monday.

The statement read in part, “In July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians, who undermined the February and March 2019 elections. Today, the Secretary of State is imposing additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo states’ elections.

“These individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.”

Although the US Government did not reveal the identities of those who had been banned, it said the decision reflected its commitment to strengthening democracy in Nigeria.

“The Department of State emphasises that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights,” the statement read.

The US said it remained a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy and commended all those Nigerians, who participated in elections throughout 2019 and had worked to strengthen democratic institutions and processes.

It condemned the acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.

“As the Edo and Ondo State off-cycle elections near, we urge all stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission, the political parties, and the security services, to uphold the tenets of democracy and facilitate genuinely free and fair elections conducted in an appropriately transparent and non-violent manner,” the US stated.

 

S’East NASS caucus visits APC National Chairman, passes vote of confidence in leadership [SUN]

Members of the South East caucus in the National Assembly elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, passed a vote of confidence on the interim leadership led by Yobe Governor, Mai Mala Buni.

Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, who led the team extolled the leadership qualities of the Buni-led committee and called on him to promote transparency in the party’s activities.

“We need more openness in the party inorder to promote transparency within the party because once the party has transparency in operating in all their activities, things would be easier

“It is easier to win election with popular candidates. It is  difficult to win elections when people are imposed. We should avoid imposition of candidates. You are a very experienced party administrator and governor of the state and you are also very experienced in handling party matters. The caucus of the South East APC want to congratulate you, to enjoin other party members and to reassure you that we are going to work with you.”

He reassured of South East APC’s commitment to improve on its performance in subsequent elections in the zone.

“I want to specially congratulate  and to tell you that we are solidly behind you and we shall support you in your quest to do everything transparently. It is important to have transparency in our party congresses. This will make the party have a big footing in the area. We assure you that we, from the SouthEast,  shall do better in the next election than we did in past election. We believe that with your honest leadership, the party will go to further heights. How I wish you are not the governor of a state. We shall not be looking for another national chairman because we have trust in you and I know you very well and even your  capabilities.”

Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Nkeiru Onyejeohca, on her part advocated the  encouragement and inclusion of women in the party’s activities and elective  positions.

“We are going to embark on constitutional review and I want you yo use your office to ensure you  carry everyone along because there is no way we can continue living the way we are living. Women are helpmates to the men and in politics, if we don’t have enough women coming up on board,  that means we are not doing what God says. From my experience, women  don’t have the strength that the men have. So, if we continue to leave the constitution the way it is there would be discrimination so we appeal that you give the women more number of slots.”

Spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu lauded the chairman’s efforts in the formation of the special tripartite committee which consists of members of the party drawn from all the arms of government. Benjamin said  the committee would serve  as mechanism to resolve issues internally.

“We, the APC members of the House are in absolute peace which is very important to what you want to achieve. The leadership of Femi Gbajabiamila is great and we are all carried along. Let us also commend you for spearheading the formation of the tripartite committee, which consists of all the arms of government. With this tripartite commitee, we can resolve issues internally before any matter that can dent the image of the party goes out to the public.   I very much commend commend the role you have played. I also commend your reconciliation efforts. I also love the fact that you talked about reconciliation in Imo State, though Senator Orji Kalu has been championing it. For the party to expand and grow in the  South East, we need the reconciliation in Imo State. So, please extend your reconciliation efforts to the South East. This will help us win more states.”

Governor Buni thanked Senator Kalu for the visit and restated the committee’s willingness to work with the South East caucus. He extolled Kalu’s efforts and contributions to the party’s growth and urged him to continue his good work for the party. He also called on women to take up the responsibility of contesting in elections rather than waiting to be given such position.

Other lawmakers who spoke were Chinedu Ogah of Ezza South and Princess Miriam Onuoha of Okigwe senatorial zone.

 

Magu’s probe nosedives, as panel walks out lawyers [SUN]

Justice Ayo Isa Salami-led Commission of Enquiry, yesterday, reportedly directed security agents to walk out two lawyers, Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola and Mr. Aliyu Lemu from its sitting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The two lawyers were part of the legal team of the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who is being probed over alleged mismanagement of recovered assets and abuse of office.

According to eyewitnesses, trouble started at about 11.50 am when Mr. Wahab Shittu, who has been appearing for Magu, stood up to introduce other members of the legal team.

However, Justice Salami reportedly interrupted Shittu and insisted that only him would be allowed to defend Magu. He, thereafter directed the security agents to “bundle” out the lawyers from the venue.

Shittu has appeared for Magu for the past two months and has repeatedly raised certain issues, including fair hearing for his client and the need to cross-examine witnesses who testified against Magu.

According to media sources from Magu’s camp, Shittu-led Prof. Abiola and Mr. Lemu to the venue of the panel yesterday because of the seriousness of the issues raised.

According to sources, upon arrival at the venue, Shittu introduced members of his team before the panel and as soon as he finished speaking, Justice Salami ordered that only Shittu would be allowed to represent Magu, insisting that other members of the team wiould have to leave the venue.

Attempts by Shittu and Abiola to explain the sanctity of legal representation for Magu were resisted by Salami and other members of the panel who refused to  listen to their explanations.

Abiola expressed her disappointment with the conduct of the panel.

She said: “What happened today (yesterday) has highlighted  the nature and manner the panel of inquiry has been conducting its sittings secretly against the presidential directive and the instrument setting it up, that it should hold a public haring. It is unacceptable and patently illegal.”

Abiola further expressed the fact that she was appalled by the treatment meted out to her, saying the development was unprecedented in the history of Nigerian legal system as even in the worst days of the military junta, people had the right to be represented by lawyers of their choice.

She expressed the need for Nigerians to stand up in support of their anti-corruption champions. Abiola also called  for an end to the travesty and charade being conducted by the panel, saying its action may ridicule Nigeria in the international anti-corruption community.

Daily Sun could not independently verify the claims as at the time of filing this report.

 

Strike disrupts resumption of 4 Lagos tertiary institutions [SUN]

The resumption of academic activities in four tertiary institutions in Lagos State were, yesterday, disrupted, by an industrial action ordered by academic and non-teaching staff to protest non-payment of the new minimum wage.

Workers of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo; Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu; Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Noforija, Epe and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Ijanikin, yesterday, embarked on a strike in line with directives from the Joint Action Committee (JAC) after a meeting with officials of the state government on Wednesday, September 9 to resolve the wage issue ended in a deadlock.

Yesterday morning, staff unions of LASU and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education locked the main entrances to their institutions disrupting academic and administrative activities.

Chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian (SSANU), LASU branch, Mr. Saheed Oseni confirmed that members were on strike because of the inability of government to pay the new minimum wage since 2019.

At LASU, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olarenwaju Fagbohun, his management team, final year students and bank workers were prevented from accessing the campus.

Oseni said the gates of LASU would remain shut and the university management, students and bank denied access to their offices  as he vowed the industrial action would continue until the state government met their demand.

At MOCPED, the provost, Olajide Onibon and his management were locked outside and forced to hold meeting with the union leaders in front of the gate.

At LASPOTECH, however, the workers complied with the directive to go on strike, but did not lock the school  gate even as it was learnt that  they were  invited for a meeting with the school management.

Chairman of College of Education Academic Staff Union  (COEASU), MOCPED branch, Mr. Jamal Apena said the three staff unions were on strike based on the directive of JAC.

However,Special Adviser on Education to Lagos Governor, Mr.  Tokunbo Wahab, decried the industrial action saying the government had funded the institutions adequately to cater for the needs of the staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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