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IPPIS: FG, ASUU Meeting Ends In Stalemate [LEADERSHIP]

Hope of students of tertiary institutions to return to school yesterday suffered a major setback, as the meeting between the federal government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resolve the lingering industrial crisis by the lecturers ended in a stalement.

LEADERSHIP Friday reports that there were hot arguments between representatives of the federal government and ASUU as both parties refused to shift grounds on the enrollment into Integrated Payroll and Person- nel Information System (IPPIS).

Sources at the meeting told our reporter that while ASUU insisted on the payment of outstanding salaries on GIFMIS before the full implementation of UTAS, the FG team in- sisted on IPPIS.

It will be recalled that Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, had waded into the crisis urging federal government to implement the agreement it signed with the union but it seems the issue is again degenerating.

It was gathered that the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris had appealed to ASUU to receive their salaries through IPPIS platform pend- ing when UTAS will be ready but members of the union rejected the plea.

The lecturers argued that IPPIS was not demonstrated to them before government start- ed using it for workers. They wondered why demonstration of UTAS should be a requisite for the stoppage their salaries.

Meanwhile, the union has directed all its members to reject IPPIS officials reportedly coming to various campuses on Monday for biometric data capturing of its members.

 

Govs Reject SWAT As #EndSARS Protest Spreads [LEADERSHIP]

Governors of the 36 states of the federation have said that the decision of the inspector-general of police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to create the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit was ill-timed.

This came as protests continued to spread in the states against police brutality.

The governors expressed concern over the sweeping decision to scrap the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) even while acknowledging the need to address the unit’s excesses.

In a communique issued after a teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the chairman of the forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, said that the governors acknowledged the concerns of many Nigerians, especially youths that have been affected by the excesses of some officials of the F-SARS and the Nigeria Police.

The governors noted that the efforts of officials of F-SARS in their states, as according to them, they have greatly assisted in containing the increasing spate of kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, and other high end crimes particularly in the northern states, where containing these criminal activities would have otherwise been very challenging.

Fayemi however said that the governors were unanimous in their support for the IGP and endorsed his plan to carry out far-reaching reforms geared towards greater effectiveness, accountability and transparency.

The governors called for increased regularity in the meetings of the Nigeria Police Council in order for it to effectively carry out its regulatory and supervisory roles as contained in the Nigerian Constitution.

He said: “On the IGP’s plan to create SWAT, governors stated that even though the effort might be necessary and in good faith, they argued that the timing is inauspicious as the mood of the nation negates it and may understandably be misinterpreted as a surreptitious move to dress F-SARS in another garb.

“Governors agreed that there was need for greater consultation with the public before any decision is taken; governors advised the IGP to immediately convene a meeting of all stakeholders and agree on a format of engagement with all state officials in order to address concerns; and that state leadership should meet simultaneously nationwide, to address matters arising.

“Governors emphasised that reforms must include the training and retraining of operatives on the rules of engagement with the general public; policing in Nigeria must ensure freedom for all Nigerians to carry out their lawful and legitimate businesses anywhere in the country without fear of harassment, intimidation or molestation.

“Governors were unequivocal that all police officers who participated in the abuse or actions that might have led to injury or the death of innocent citizens must be fished out and brought to book while other Nigerians who have been adversely affected by police brutality or other actions that were injurious to them or their loved ones, should be compensated.

Fayemi also said each state is to set up a panel for compensation to all victims and see to it that the necessary compensation is made to those who deserve them.

According to him, this must be systematically done to ensure that nobody who deserves to be compensated is left out.

The governors directed its secretariat to work with the police authorities to develop a framework for setting up a panel of enquiry across all states to determine claims and compensation.

“Governors are aware that some states have already started engaging protesters and urged all states that have not commenced same to invite all stakeholders in the matter to resolve these issues.

They enjoined the IGP to be ready to forge stronger partnerships with state governments and the civil society to improve civil relations between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Public.

They also agreed that the concerns of the public went beyond a need for Police/F-SARS reforms and included a demand for better governance, noting the need to engage, consult the public and take decisions that address the underpinning issues leading to the protests.

Budget Funding: Revenue Agencies Shortchanging FG – Senate [LEADERSHIP]

The Senate lamented yesterday that the federal government is unable to raise adequate funds for annual budgets, culminating in incessant borrowings, because it is being shortchanged by the nation’s revenue- generating agencies.

The Senate president and chairman of the National Assembly, Senator Ahmad Lawan, made the disclosure at the end of the debate on the general principles of the 2021 Appropriation Bill before the Assembly.

The bill scaled second reading after the debate and was referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriation led by Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North) for further legislative inputs and given four weeks to report back.

The development came exactly one week after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the budget estimates to a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

The Senate president, in his contribution at the end of the debate, underscored the importance of oversight by the National Assembly even as he reiterated the need for the federal government to cut down on the cost of governance by merging some of its agencies.

Lawan said: “In the last three days (of the debate), we’ve witnessed submissions raising issues about the budget estimates presented to us by Mr. President.”

On low revenue, he blamed it on the failure of revenue-generating agencies to remit all sums generated to the Federation Account after collection.

He called for improved revenue generation, collection and remittance methods as a way of shoring up the nation’s revenue figures.

 

Attacks: Lagos protesters hire bouncers to ward off hoodlums [PUNCH]

The #EndSARS protest continued in different parts of the country on Thursday, with protesters repelling attacks from thugs and security agents.

The attacks forced some protesters to hire bouncers to increase security at the protest grounds.

In Lagos, tragedy struck when two people were crushed to death during the protest in the Alagbado area of the state.

PUNCH Metro gathered that a motorist, Nike Lawal, was driving recklessly when she rammed into a tricycle and killed two people at the AIT Junction, Alagbado.

The victims were identified as Ojo Azeez, 27; and Yusuf Sodia, 26.

While the demonstration was on in the Ikeja area around 8am, hoodlums, suspected to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, invaded the protest ground.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the men were armed with cutlasses and axes and injured several protesters.

They were also said to have vandalised vehicles in a bid to disperse the crowd.

Footage trending online showed some of the injured protesters soaked in blood while seeking medical aid.

Some of the hoodlums were alleged to have been conveyed to the scene in a government-owned bus.

An eyewitness, Seyi Adebayo, said the thugs attacked the protesters on the claim that the protest was affecting their businesses.

After the incident, the protesters regrouped and continued their agitations.

Private securities, including bouncers, were reportedly hired to bolster the confidence of participants of the demonstration.

Some Nigerians, who condemned the attack on the social media, alleged that the hoodlums were sponsored by the state government; the state Chairman of the NURTW, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo; a developer, Taoreed Faronbi, aka Baba Alado, among others.

Akinsanya, however, denied the allegation in a video he posted online.

He said, “I don’t know any of those that went there; I didn’t collect any money to scatter the protest; my sisters and brothers and people that I know have been protesting. I also support the protest.”

Faronbi, during a telephone conversation with one of our correspondents, also denied sponsoring thugs to attack the youth.

“They are just telling lies against me. I am telling you now that anyone they catch with a cutlass should face justice. The police should shoot anyone that is caught disrupting protests. Why should I attack protesters? What interest do I have in the matter? I don’t even know those behind the attack, but I am sure politicians are behind it,” he said.

Primero Transport Services Limited, operators of the BRT vehicle alleged to have conveyed the hoodlums to the protest ground, also denied knowing anything about it.

Primero, which is led by Fola Tinubu, said many other companies had been given licences to operate BRT and the bus could have been owned by any company.

It, therefore, distanced itself from the thugs.

The state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, condemned the attack on the protesters in a series of tweets and assured the youth that they would be protected by security agents.

Using his Twitter handle, @jidesanwoolu, he wrote, “I strongly condemn the attack on peaceful protesters by armed and unscrupulous elements trying to cause chaos in Alausa today. My government will never tolerate the attack on protesters.”

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said it was not true that the government sponsored the thugs.

“As a government, we will never encourage thuggery or any act of violence that may put the lives and businesses of Lagosians at risk. We are strongly committed to ensuring that our youths, who have taken to the streets to air their views, are well protected,” he added.

The Lagos State Security Trust Fund, in a statement, said there was the need for police reform in the country.

The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the LSSTF, Dr Abdurrazaq Balogun, noted that the commitment of the agency as encapsulated in the success recorded with Rapid Response Squad in Lagos was proof that decent modern policing was possible in the country.

Four cops detained for attacks on protesters

The Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the killing of two people during the protest at Alagbado.

“In the same vein, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has arrested and commenced orderly room trial of four policemen, Inspector Bagou Michael, Inspector Ekpoudom Etop, Sergeant Nnamdi Majura and Sergeant Akinyemi Benson, who were caught assaulting a young protester in a viral video in Surulere on Monday,” he added.

 

FG agrees to pay ASUU N30bn earned allowance, others [PUNCH]

The Federal Government has agreed to release N30bn earned academic allowance to the university lecturers.

The money will be paid in tranches between May 2021 and February 2022.

Our correspondent gathered that the FG also promised to spend N20bn on the revitalisation of the education sector as part of concessions meant to end the seven-month strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

These were part of the agreements reached during the ongoing meeting between the FG and ASUU leadership on Thursday.

Strike encouraging students’ recruitment into #EndSARS protests – Ngige

Speaking earlier before going into a closed-door session, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said students were being recruited into the #EndSARS protests following the closure of universities occasioned by the ASUU strike.

He expressed the hope that ASUU would call off the strike soon, noting that the government had been finding ways to end the seven-month strike.

The government team was led by Ngige, his minister of state, Festus Keyamo (SAN), and others, while the ASUU delegation was led by its President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi.

Ngige said, “For the past one week, we have all been on our toes; we have been meeting and we pray that this meeting will yield some good fruits.

 

Ban on protests: FCT minister, Bello, under fire [PUNCH]

#EndSARS protesters,  human rights organisations and lawyers on Thursday took a swipe at the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammed Bello,  over the ban on street protests in the FCT.

Leaders of the movement campaigning for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, dared the FCT administration, saying they would continue the protests despite the ban.

Also, human rights groups and lawyers condemned the ban and described it as unconstitutional, null and void.

But the Northern Governors’ Forum on Thursday said northern states were not opposed to SARS. The Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong, in an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja, said the squad had been useful in tackling insecurity in the North.

On its part, the Nigeria Governors Forum, in a communiqué issued after its meeting on Wednesday, supported the plan by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to reform the police.

It, however, asked the police to fish out operatives of the disbanded SARS  whose actions caused injuries or death of innocent citizens.

A few hours after the governors met,  the FCT Administration,  in a statement by the minister’s Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye,   announced the ban on #EndSARS protests in Abuja for alleged violation of COVID-19 protocols.

The administration said it was concerned that despite the scrapping of SARS by the IG on Sunday, the demonstrations had continued, causing inconveniences to law-abiding citizens.

According to the statement titled, ‘COVID-19: FCT Security Committee prohibits street demonstrations,’  the decision was reached at a meeting of the FCT Security Committee on Tuesday, chaired by the minister.

The administration said while it recognised the rights of citizens to freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it had observed that “the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens.”

It added that the COVID-19 guidelines included physical distancing, temperature checks and the use of face masks.

“All these guidelines were flouted by the protesters. Consequently, the committee directs that due to the dangers posed by COVID-19, all street demonstrations, protests and processions will not be allowed anywhere within the FCT,” the FCTA stated.

But the protesters said they would continue with the street rallies.

Speaking to The PUNCH, a leader of the #EndSARS protesters, Raphael Adebayo, described the directive banning protests as insensitive.

He queried the rationale for the decision, noting that the FCT minister would not have issued the order if he had the interest of the nation at heart.

Stating that youths were fighting for their survival, he noted that the protesters were not worried about the COVID-19 infections just as he pointed out that political parties had organised campaign rallies amidst the pandemic without the government stopping them for violating the COVID-19 protocols.

He said, “Their statement speaks more to the culture of impunity that we are talking about that has permeated our system. It makes no sense that in the last couple of months, we have seen a number of political parties holding rallies and campaigns and inviting people in their thousands to their campaign grounds and rallies without adhering to the COVID-19 protocols.”

 

NYSC orientation camps reopen Nov, corpers, staff for COVID-19 test [PUNCH]

The National Youth Service Corps, on Thursday, announced that its 37 orientation camps across the country would reopen on November 10 after months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NYSC said the decision was sequel to an announcement for their reopening by the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.

The Director, Press and Public Relations, NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi, stated this in a statement titled: ‘Resumption of orientation programme’.

She said, “Sequel to the announcement by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, on the resumption of the orientation course, the management of the NYSC wishes to announce that the programme shall commence across the 37 orientation camps of the scheme nationwide on Tuesday, November 12, 2020.”

Similarly, the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said, “We have developed guidelines with the NCDC and the NYSC for the reopening of the orientation camps on November 10, 2020.

“The PTF has also arranged for additional safe bags to include the testing of all corps members and staff in the camps for COVID 19 prior to commencement of the orientation programmes.”

Northern govs: We want SARS, it helped curtail activities of bandits, armed robbers [SUN]

Northern governors have rejected disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) submitting that unit has been useful in the fight against insecurity in the region.

Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) and Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, made this declaration after a meeting with  President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, yesterday.

He said though President Buhari has approved the scrapping of SARS, northern states did not believe the baby should be thrown away with the bath water arguing that the outfit was not made up of bad elements alone but included personnel who did their work diligently.

The governor said what was needed was reformation to enable the unit discharge its functions optimally.  He, however, acknowledged that there are divisions in the country concerning the continued existence of the unit.

Lalong, who said he was in the Presidential Villa to commend Buhari for approving community policing which training had commenced in the various zones of the country.

Asked his message to the protesting youths, he replied: “We had a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). I’m sure my chairman addressed the press. When we see issues like this, because most of the complaints vary from one state to the other; in one aspect, some people said they don’t want SARS, some said they want SARS but a reformed SARS. They want a reformed SARS because as far as they are concerned, some of these SARS operatives helped them in addressing insecurity. If there are bad ones under, holistically, bring them together and reform them. Then, you work for them.

“So, our opinion and conclusion at that stage was that let us not just say we are throwing away the baby with bath water.  If there are good ones, you don’t chase them away. So, as SARS is banned, we are now looking forward to…because most of the states in the north said no. They want SARS because SARS helps them.

“Borno said without SARS, he would not have been surviving today. Niger also wants SARS. So, if you are addressing this issue of SARS, you need to know what is wrong in some places. Is it the process of recruitment? Is it the character of the people? You can’t say because somebody is wrong, everybody is wrong in the country. These are some of the issues we concluded yesterday. And it’s for the chairman to go and meet Mr. President to still look at this issue holistically and critically so that we understand where we are going.

“On a whole, we all agreed that there must be general reform within the police. But you can’t do general reform without proper funding. You must address the issue of proper funding so that they don’t say government is responsible for lack of funding and we attack them for non-performance of their duties.”

However, youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked northern governors insisting on SARS to restrict it to their zone, just as it rejected the reformed Special Weapon And Tactics (SWAT).

Speaking to Daily Sun in Owerri, National  Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze  youth wing, Chief Osmond Nkeoma said utterance by the northern governors elucidated the clamour for restructuring by the Igbo.

“Northern governors by their utterances are helping us to call for restructuring  with their stand on #EndSARS, you will see that Nigeria need to be restructured.”

Similarly, the Igbo youths rejected the newly set up SWAT, claiming that there was no difference between it and SARS.

“If they want  SARS, let them have it in their own region. South East and South South do not need SARS, we don’t even need SWAT or whatever  name they rebranded.”

 

Election to pick Buhari’s successor holds February 2023 [SUN]

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),  Mahmood Yakubu,  has announced that the 2023 presidential election would hold on February 18, 2023.

The Commission boss, who made the disclosure,  yesterday,  at the inauguration of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), urged the National Assembly to come up with the necessary legislation to create an Electoral Offences Tribunal.

He also charged the legislature to remove all encumbrances to the full deployment of technology in the conduct of elections in the country.

“There must be a way either by amendment to the Electoral Act or the Constitution to give effect  to the Electoral Offences Tribunal. You can’t have a flourishing democracy in which laws.” .”are violated with impunity and nothing happens.  So there must be a mechanism by which this must be addressed. “

The INEC boss further noted: “Our elections is too manual ,  too expensive,  too cumbersome.  Too archaic. The law says we must write the results manually,  collate them manually from the unit level to the wards to the local governments, to the state and the National in terms of presidential election… The encumbrance to the deployment of full technology in elections should be removed.”

Yakubu said before 2015 general elections, INEC came out with general principle that election would be held on the second Saturday in February.

According to him, such is the practice in the U.S. and Ghana where they have a fixed day for their elections.

“Going by this decision, from today we will have 855 days to the general election; so we have very limited time for the constitutional review,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vice President,  Yemi Osinbajo,  has said the many efforts of the National Assembly to alter the 1999 Constitution have not been waste of time and resources, contrary to views in certain quarters.

Osinbajo,  who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),  Boss Mustapha,  said the country’s constitution is still a work in progress.

He added that it is only through the implementation of the Constitution that the weaknesses can be identified and addressed.

Osinbajo, while pledging the support of the executive arm of government to efforts of the National Assembly to alter the constitution,  urged the Committee not to discountenance any proposal.

Furthermore,  the Vice President said the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration places much premium on the review of the Constitution and urged the Committee to laiase with relevant government agencies, as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to achieve a “wholesome amendment” of the Constitution.

 

Buhari meets Jonathan, hails ECOWAS successes in Mali [SUN]

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, received updates on the leadership crisis in Mali from the Special Envoy/Mediator to the West African country, former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He expressed delight that the Malian situation had calmed down considerably, following interventions by leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

In a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari was quoted as saying: “We can’t do hop, step and jump like other developed nations of the world, but one is delighted at the successes recorded.”

After the intervention by the military in Mali, ECOWAS had insisted on a transition government led by a civilian, and return to constitutional order within 12 to 18 months, among others.

Giving his updates, Jonathan said the mission given to him by ECOWAS leaders was almost fully completed, as a government with a largely civilian face had been inaugurated.

“The President has been sworn in, the Prime Minister and ministers too. The military has only four portfolios for serving officers, and the government has taken off. The Council, which will work like parliamentarians, will be inaugurated soon,” Jonathan said.

He added that the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana would formally brief West African leaders soon.

 

Military under fire over riot acts to protesters [SUN]

The military has come under fire over what observers described as attempt to intimidate #EndSARS protesters. Some Nigerians, who spoke yesterday, slammed the military authorities following their threat to deal with those they called ‘trouble makers’ as the popular protests to end police brutality continued across the country. They reminded them that peaceful protest was part of democracy.

The Army in a statement by Acting Director Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, had warned those he described as “subversive elements and trouble makers” to desist from such acts or have themselves to blame.

It, however, reassured law-abiding citizens that it was “highly committed to the sustenance of peace, security and defence of democracy in Nigeria.”

The statement said: “The Nigerian Army (NA) wishes to reassure law abiding citizens that it is highly committed to the sustenance of peace, security and defence of democracy in Nigeria. As a responsible and law abiding organisation, the NA reaffirms its unalloyed loyalty and commitment to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari and the constitution of the country.

“The NA hereby warns all subversive elements and trouble makers to desist from such acts as it remains highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost. The NA is ready to fully support the civil authority in whatever capacity to maintain law and order and deal with any situation decisively. All officers and men are directed never to be distracted by anti democratic forces and agents of disunity.”

Apparently to militate the harsh criticism that followed, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), a few hours later issued another statement, saying it would no longer tolerate the situation where peaceful protesters were attacked by thugs and miscreants.

The DHQ said the military working in conjunction with the security agencies has noted with dismay some violence-related protests across the country and warned those involved to desist from engaging in acts capable of derailing the peace in the country or face appropriate measures.

Coordinator, Defence Media Organisation, Major General John Enenche, who gave the warning, said the unfolding event against peace loving Nigerians would no longer be condoned even as he assured the public to go about their legitimate business without fear of being attacked.

Enenche, in a statement, said:

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have observed with dismay some violence-related protests across the country, particularly the increasing number of attacks on peaceful protesters by thugs and miscreants. This unfolding event against peace loving Nigerians will not be condoned. Hence, thugs and miscreants are hereby warned to desist from engaging in violent activities against peaceful Nigerians henceforth, or face appropriate measures.

“Thus, the Military High Command duly encourages peaceful citizens to go about their normal activities without fear of intimidation or harassment as the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are on ground for their safety. In clear terms, any attempt to undermine the democracy of our beloved nation under any cover will not be allowed. For emphasis, the Armed Forces of Nigeria remains subordinated to the civil authorities of the country with unflinching loyalty to the President Commander in Chief.

“Additionally, the Military High Command wishes to reassure law abiding citizens that it is highly committed to the sustenance of peace, security, and the defence of democracy in Nigeria. The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies hereby commends all citizens particularly those who genuinely express their concerns in an organised, patriotic and civil manner.

 

Creation of SWAT hasty, governors tell IG Adamu [THE NATION]

The creation of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team as replacement for the scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is hasty, governors said on Thursday.

They urged Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu to “immediately convene a meeting of all stakeholders”.

The governors made their position known on the raging protests across the country against the brutality by operatives of the defunct SARS, in a communiqué released after the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) meeting. The meeting was held on Wednesday in Abuja.

The protesters have also rejected the creation of SWAT which they described as SARS incarnate.

But the Inspector-General of Police has assured that no SARS operative will be accommodated in SWAT.

The communiqué, signed by NGF chairman Dr. Kayode Fayemi, confirmed that the IG briefed the meeting on the steps being taken.

Nevertheless, they said: “Even  though  the  creation of SWAT  might  be necessary  and  in  good  faith,  the  timing  is  inauspicious  as  the  mood  of  the nation  negates  it  and  may  understandably  be  misinterpreted  as  a  surreptitious  move  to  dress FSARS  in  another  garb;

“Governors  agreed  that  there  was  need  for  greater  consultation  with  the  public  before  any decision  is  taken;

“Governors advised the IGP  to  immediately  convene  a  meeting  of  all stakeholders  and  agree  on  a  format  of  engagement  with  all  state  officials  in  order  to address concerns;  and  that  state  leadership  should  meet  simultaneously  nationwide,  to  address matters  arising.

“Members  also  recommended  that  the  IGP,  the  Police  Service  Commission  and  the  Nigeria Police  Council  should  immediately  review  the  remuneration  and  emoluments  of  police officers  and  explore  ways  to  fund  this  in  order  to  incentivize  and  motivate  police  officers  who have  pledged  themselves  in  service  of  the  country;

“Governors  emphasised  that  reforms  must  include  the  training  and  retraining  of  operatives on  the  rules  of  engagement  with  the  general  public;  Policing  in  Nigeria  must  ensure  freedom for  all  Nigerians  to  carry  out  their  lawful  and  legitimate  businesses  anywhere  in  the  country without  fear  of  harassment,  intimidation  or  molestation.

“Governors  advised  that  throughout  the  reform  process,  the  room  for  consultation  may include  sessions  and  direct  feedback  from  the  public,  stressing  that  there  is  no  single  solution that applies  to  all the  36  States  of the  federation  and  the  Federal Capital Territory.

The governors called for the prosecution of policemen found to have engaged in extra-judicial killings and other arbitrary conduct. They called for compensation for victims of police brutality.

“Governors  were  unequivocal  that  all  police  officers  who  participated  in  the  abuse  or  actions that  might  have  led  to  injury  or  the  death  of  innocent  citizens  must  be  fished  out  and  brought to  book  while  other  Nigerians  who  have  been  adversely  affected  by  police  brutality  or  other actions  that  were  injurious  to  them  or their loved  ones,  should  be  compensated;

“Each  state  is  to  set  up  a  panel  for  compensation  to  all  victims  and  see  to  it  that  the  necessary compensation  is  made  to  those  who  deserve  them.

“This  must  be  systematically  done  to ensure  that  nobody  who  deserves  to  be  compensated,  is  left  out.

“The  forum  directed  its  secretariat  to  work  with  the  police  authority  to  develop  a  framework for  setting  up  a  panel  of  enquiry  across  all  States  to  determine  claims  and  compensation.

“Governors  are  aware  that  some  states  have  already  started  engaging  protesters  and  urged all  States  that  have  not  commenced  same  to  invite  all  stakeholders  in  the  matter  to  resolve these  issues.

 

Sanwo-Olu: Two testy days at work [THE NATION]

Judge him by his modest frame, and you would be making a big mistake. Consider the weight of his office, and you might think that he would be averse to taking personal risks, and you would be wrong again.

He is no heavyweight boxer, yet he packs a devastating punch. He does not possess the oratorical prowess of Marcus Cicero or the fiery Rev Martin Luther King Jr, or Bola Ige, our own Cicero, God bless their souls; yet his eloquence is striking and his words can rouse a crowd to action. He is no soldier, yet he is bold as a lion.

I am speaking of my boss, the one whose Administration is “bankrolling” me, as it were: Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The anti-Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) protests had been going on for days, with angry youths seizing some sections of Lagos – Nigeria’s business and financial engine-room by the neck.  The anxiety that gripped the city were palpable. Prominent citizens and ordinary folks were worried that the gathering clouds portended danger.

Hundreds of protesting youths camped on the Lekki Expressway. Another group was stationed at the House of Assembly gate, screaming: “No more SARS”; “No to police brutality”; “End SARS” and more. Their fire-red eyes spoke volumes. Some were roaring, their youthful necks expanding and contracting. They pumped the air with their fists.

Sweating and screaming, hundreds of protesters pulled off their shirts and wound them round as protection from the scorching Lagos sun (31C). The protesters vowed that they would not vacate the road they were occupying until their demands were addressed.

Deputy Governor Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat elected to address the crowd at the Assembly gate. He mounted a truck, a microphone in his hand, and started slowly, even as music was blaring from some speakers mounted under a white canopy.

“Great Nigerian youths!” Dr Hamzat shouted. “We are with you. We feel your pains. I once had an encounter with SARS; you are not alone,” he told the protesters and counselled them to leave the roads. He said the state government would not condone brutality and violation of citizens’ rights by security operatives, pointing out that the position of the state on the matter had already been communicated to the appropriate quarters by the governor.

His words: “The tenet of the police operation is to protect the citizens. Security operatives don’t have the right to trample on the rights of law-abiding citizens, because of their unfamiliar looks, or because they are carrying laptops or iPhones. It is wrong for any police officer to expressly accuse or pronounce someone, irrespective of age, guilty because they have dreads or ride luxury vehicles.

“As a Government, we support evidence-based investigations and actions driven by intelligence. The procedure of arrest and prosecution must be followed through. We are equally aggrieved like every other law-abiding Nigerian. If a young man or woman who is legitimately doing his or her job is attacked or maimed by police officers for no reason, we will never support that. We condemn police brutality in whatever guise and we will continue to engage their leadership for change.”

As the Deputy Governor left the scene at 1:15pm, the protesters continued to sing anti-police songs, calling for SARS to be disbanded.  He instructed his security aides not to harass the demonstrators.

That was last Friday. The next day, Saturday, the demonstrators stormed his home. He also addressed them, urging patience and restraint. But they were not in the least mollified.

On Monday, Governor Sanwo-Olu cut short an Executive Council meeting to address the angry crowd. His security detail, it was later learnt, had tried to dissuade him from embarking on a venture which they considered “dangerous”.

“It is a mob with no known leader, who can tell them to come for a discussion,” the governor was told.”

He disagreed.

 

INEC plans e-transmission of results in 2023 [THE NATION]

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday unfolded plans to seek legal backing for electronic voting as from 2023.

Its chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu, began the push for the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act to be amended to make provision for electronic collation and transmission of election results.

He said the manual collation, which is enshrined in the laws, is too cumbersome and expensive.

Yakubu, who spoke on preparations for future polls, announced that the next presidential election will take place on February 18, 2023.

The electoral boss, who spoke at the inauguration of the House of Representatives Special Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution, urged speed, saying the lawmakers have exactly 855 days to amend the law before the commencement of the general elections.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo reiterated the Federal Government commitment to constitution review, urging the stakeholders to cooperate with the committee.

Emphasising the importance of technology, Yakubu said: “We have to also address our electoral process, which is manual. It is too expensive and cumbersome.The process of collating result is sometimes chaotic because the law says that you must write results manually and collate them manually right from the polling unit to the ward, from the ward to the local government, then, the state and from the state to the national level in the case of the presidential election.

“A lot has been achieved aboard with a simple application of technology. So, the encumbrances to the deployment of technology in the transmission of election results should be removed as part of this process.”

Urging the legislators to expedite legislative action on the setting up of the Electoral Offences Tribunal for the trial of electoral offenders, he said: “There must be a way, either by way of an amendment to the constitution to effectively penalize electoral offenders in the country. You cannot have a flourishing democracy in which laws are violated with impunity and nothing is done about that.

“That is why we must have an electoral offences tribunal. This has been recommended by several commissions and election observers. It was recommended by the Justice Uwais Commission.

“I must commend the role of the National Assembly, especially the Deputy President of the Senate, for championing the enactment of the Electoral Offences Tribunal.”

Yakubu said INEC will always exercise its power to fix timetable for election, reminiscent of how it unfolded the election sequence ahead of 2019 polls.

He stressed: “This is what happens in Ghana and every Ghanaian know that every December 7 is their presidential election. Every American knows that the date of their presidential election. In Nigeria, the third Saturday of February in the election year is the election date.

 

NNPC cuts loss to N1.7b [THE NATION]

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has recorded a 99.7 per cent reduction in its loss profile from N803billion in 2018 to N1.7billion in 2019, according to its 2019 Audited Financial Statement (AFS), released on Thursday.

The report is due to be published on the Corporation’s website in line with the transparency and accountability in its operation promised by Group Managing Director Mele Kyari, according to its spokesman Dr Kennie Obateru.

The 2019 Report came five months after the 2018 AFS report was published.

Kyari added that running a transparent NNPC is in consonance with the principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) of which it was a partner.

A breakdown of the report shows that general administrative expenses witnessed a 22 per cent dip from N894 billion in 2018 to N696 billion in 2019.

The Corporation said majority of the subsidiaries posted improved performance.

The subsidiaries are the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) which recorded N479 billion profit in 2019 compared with N179billion in 2018, representing 167 per cent increase.

The Corporation’s  Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr Umar Ajiya said: “The Integrated Data Sciences Limited (IDSL) recorded N23billion profit in 2019 compared with N154million in 2018, representing 14966 per cent increase and the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) recorded N14.2billion profit in 2019 compared with the N9.3billion recorded in 2018, representing 52 per cent increase.

“Also, the refineries maintained the same level of losses as in 2018 but which will reduce significantly in 2020 due to cost optimisation drive.”

He added that the improved performance in the 2019 financial year was driven mainly by cost optimisation, contracts renegotiation and operational efficiency.

“The 2019 AFS goes further to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the principle of Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE) while the outlook for 2020 looks promising in view of the management’s strong drive to prune down running cost and grow revenues,” Ajiya said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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