Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, says the National Assembly is working on strengthening the country’s anti-graft laws.
Yomi Odunuga, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in a statement on Friday said that Omo-Agege made the disclosure in Abuja, while receiving representatives of Good Leadership Advocacy for Africa (GLAFA).
Omo-Agege said the Ninth Assembly would continue to give President Muhammadu Buhari the necessary support in his fight against corruption.
This, he explained, was why the National Assembly intervened whenever some government agencies appeared to be veering off the normal course.
He said: “Talking about corruption, there has been an argument that we should make more laws and make punishments more stringent.
“Of course, there is also a school of thought which argues that we have enough laws but that we need to create incentives for those who are doing the investigations, arrests and prosecution so that they can see this as a really worthwhile effort without any top official hindering their work.
“Reassurances will go a long way to help but indeed there are lacunae that can be addressed with new laws like what we have done with the Sexual Harassment Bill.
“This was because it was becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to prosecute crimes in that area.
“Our job at the National Assembly is to assist President Buhari in strengthening these institutions, knowing full well that he will not be here forever.
He expressed appreciation for the organisation’s acknowledgement that the National Assembly leadership had not been involved in the humongous corruption being uncovered at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other government agencies.
According to Omo-Agege, the National Assembly leadership is determined to ensure the success of the Buhari administration, even as he asked Nigerians to rally round the president.
“As a legislative body, we are very conscious of the powers and privileges set aside for us, as embedded in the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).
“Very often, the legislative arm has been accused of veering off legislative activities and moving into areas that some believe to be set aside for the Executive arm of government.
“Apart from providing enabling environment for the president to succeed, our major interest is to enhance the success of his anti-corruption agenda.
“I agree that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of governance in this country and some have come to a conclusion that it is a bigger pandemic than the COVID-19.
“So, that is part of the reasons we are determined to give the president everything he needs to succeed in this war.
“Because, at the end of the day, this is going to be part of the legacies he will leave behind, along with tackling insecurity.
He commended the National Assembly for its probe of the interventionist agency.
He also lauded the deputy president of the senate for sponsoring 19 bills within his first year in the ninth senate.
Obire explained that with over 10,000 membership strength across 54 African nations, at the core of GLAFA’s mandate was the promotion of good governance and quality leadership on the continent.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)https://nnn.ng/nass-working-to-strengthen-nigerias-anti-graft-laws-omo-agege/
Why FG is investing massively in railways, seaports — Amaechi
The Federal Government’s focus on railway and seaport development is a necessity to drive the nation’s economy, according to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
Amaechi stated this at the virtual 15th Annual Kaleidoscope Global Business Conference hosted by the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York on Sunday.
“Many Nigerians have asked why the construction of railways.
“Eighty per cent of the cargoes we have in Nigeria are mostly imported, because the Nigerian economy is yet to generate enough production.
“However, the president is of the view that if we must produce, we must have infrastructure that enables that production, hence the focus on transportation, power and works,” he said.
The minister said although the railway project had started before the President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation’s seaports were not included in the design.
He stated that one of the first things the administration did was to rework the plan to link the rail network to seaports across the country.
“So, we started with the Apapa seaport. We are working there now and I believe by December, we should conclude the Lagos-Ibadan rail line extension into the port.
“We then added the Warri Seaport, the Calabar seaport and Tin Can Island. We are making sure that all of them include seaports,” Amaechi said.
According to him, contract for the 386km rail line from Kano to Maradi in the Republic of Niger will be awarded on Wednesday.
He added contract award for the 1,500km eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri would follow on Sept. 30.
The minister highlighted other rail line projects in the country, including Abuja to Itakpe, and Itakpe to Warri, which he said had been completed
He said the Warri line would also be extended to the Warri seaport being developed by the federal government.
Amaechi also highlighted the government’s seaport digitalisation programme, which he said would be completed in 2021.
Mr Gurjit Singh, former Indian Ambassador to Germany, Indonesia and the African, described Nigeria as the giant of Africa.
Singh, who is the Chairman of the CII Task Force on Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, said the Nigerian rail sector had the potential to drive the nation’s development as was the case in India.
He urged Nigeria to take advantage of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor initiative to access public private partnership funding for its infrastructure projects.
Organised by United States-based Kaleidoscope Business Project, the event brought together Nigerian state governors, ministers, business executives and prospective foreign investors.
The participants included Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Samuel Ortom of Benue and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara,
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, and the Minister of State for of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Uchechukwu Ogah, also participated.
They took turns to highlight the investment opportunities that abound in their respective states and sectors in addition to the invest facilitation and security measures in place.
Welcoming the participants, the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, said the conference was part of the government’s efforts to open more windows of business opportunities in Nigeria to the world.
“With the opportunities that abound in Nigeria, this Conference aims at identifying those investors that are able, willing and committed to long term direct investment into the Nigerian economy.
“And it goes without saying that those from the Nigerian side are as desirous to meet investors in order to establish mutually beneficial relationships.
“Let me emphasise the need for us to jointly work together to enhance NIgeria economic growth and industrialization on our shared values and sound principles of mutually beneficial partnership and on a win-win business matrix,” Okoyen said.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Schools reopening: Gov. Ganduje lauds FG’s level of preparation
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has commended the Federal Government for progress recorded and measures taken toward reopening of schools in the country.
Hassan Fage, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, said this in a statement on Sunday in Kano.
The governor described the federal government’s policies and programmes in education as veritable tools to national development.
He said: “the progress recorded and measures taken by Buhari led administration in reopening of Schools in the country is commendable.
“I wish to acknowledge the commitment of the federal government in the education sector, particularly at this time when schools are about to be reopened,” he said.
Represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, Ganduje made the assertion while receiving the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who visited him in his office.
Ganduje also said the state government was committed to prioritising the education sector in view of its importance.
Hr said fumigation had been conducted with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided to the schools across the state.
“As part of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols for ensuring safety and protection of the teaching staff and the students ahead of the reopening of schools, fumigation has been conducted with PPE provided to the schools across the state.
“The state government recently released the sum of N880 million for the renovation of some schools across the State, ” he said.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said he was in Kano for the North West Stakeholders meeting to review the guidelines and protocols for reopening of schools.
He further said during the visit that he would also assess the facilities in the schools with a view to making them functional.
The minister also commended the efforts of the Kano government for its laudable initiatives in promoting education, which he described as worthy of emulation by other states.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Northern states may reopen schools before Oct. 30 – commissioners
The Commissioners of Education in the 19 Northern States, say they may reopen schools before October 30, but subject to approval of their respective state governors.
The commissioners made this known in a communique issued in Kaduna on Sunday, at the end of a two-day meeting on student exchange programme, school reopening and other matters held in Abuja.
The communique was signed by Dr Shehu Makarfi, Commissioner of Education, Kaduna State, who is also the Chairman of the northern states School Exchange Programme (SEP).
The meeting was attended by commissioners of 10 of the 19 northern states namely, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Plateau, Niger, Kogi Gombe, Taraba, Nassarawa and Plateau, while others sent their apologies.
“We have agreed to reopen schools as soon as possible, hopefully before Oct. 30, fully or in phases, but subject to the approval of our respective governors.
“Some states have already reopened fully while others opened partially since Sept. 14, so we are looking at the possibilities of reopening as soon as we get approvals.
“We therefore urge state governments, development partners, parents and relevant stakeholders to combine efforts in the provision of COVID-19 prevention facilities in schools to fast track reopening.
“The Federal Government should equally support states to meet the COVID-19 requirements for school reopening, as it did to other sectors,” they said.
They recommended the establishment of an effective communication channel between the FME and the state commissioners of education, on policy issues, development in the sector, and particularly plans on schools reopening.
The commissioners observed that most of the SEP schools were overpopulated and directed that affected states should adhere to the numbers stipulated in the guidelines establishing the programme.
According to them, decongesting the schools will ensure quality teaching and learning.
“Commissioners should intensify monitoring of SEP and other schools to improve the education delivery system in their respective states.
“States should equally invest in building the administrative capacities of principals and teachers by organising workshops and supporting school administrators and teachers to attend courses in institutes of education and public administration.
“Similarly, Information and Communication Technology should also be included in school administration to equip school principals and teachers with relevant skills to deliver quality education,” they stated.
The commissioners also resolved to engage the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in developing the needed strategies for integrating children of all almajiri schools into the formal education system.
They agreed to intensify efforts to gain the support and cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure success of the integration process.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Edo Polls: Foundation commends security personnel
Cleen Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has commended the conduct of the security personnel deployed for the Edo State Governorship election on Sept. 19.
Mr Benson Olugbuo, the Executive Director of the foundation, gave the commendation in a preliminary statement on the conduct of the election.
Olugbuo said that the conduct of the security agents made the electorate feel safe and confident while carrying out their civic duty.
“We observed the feeling of safety at the polling units. Our reports showed that 78 per cent of the polling units were safe and secure while 22 per cent were observed to be somewhat safe and secure.
“Report from our observers also showed that 94 per cent of the security personnel at the polling units were approachable and 83 per cent of the security personnel were impartial.
“However, we observed that at Uwa Primary School, Ward 10, Pollin Unit 21, Oredo Local Government Area, party and security agents were observed monitoring electorate’s votes in the cubicle disregarding the secrecy of the balloting system,” he said.
He lauded the security for early arrivals at 86 per cent of the polling units and for not scaring or threatening the safety of the electorate with the possession of firearms.
Olugbuo said its foundations observers also reported that on the aggregate, 83 per cent of the polling units had three or more security personnel which boosted voters’ safety and confidence.
He said that 96 per cent of security personnel were observed to be wearing easily identifiable name tags, which also encouraged voters to feel safe.
He said that apart from wearing of facemasks, there was no physical distancing and there was absence of sanitisers.
He said that other observations were vote trading across the state, malfunctioning of some smart card readers and late commencement of voting in few places.
Olugbuo said that the organisation would continue to observe the elections and issue its post-election statement to detail more on the overall conduct of the security personnel.
He said that the observation was done by its trained observers under the platform of the Election Security Support Centre (ESSC), of the foundation, in collaboration with the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Donald Ugwu