Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said solar powered electronic voting system produced by National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) is ready for use. Onu made this known on Thursday in Abuja. According to him, the product is of world standard designed for effective and efficient voting. He said using of the indigenous voting system for 2019 or 2022 could only be decided by Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). “We have improved on our solar powered electronic voting system so much that we have taken it to INEC and show it to the chairman and all the National Commissioners. They were very impressed. “We took it to the National Economic Council where the Vice President is chairman and all our governors are members and showed it to them.” But I can’t say when the solution will be used whether in 2019 or 2022 that is a decision to be taken by INEC but our law now allows electronic voting, he said.” Onu said the aim of developing the solar-powered electronic voting machine for collating results was to ensure free and fair elections as well as to tackle current electoral challenges. The minister said the machine had provision for real-time election results collation as voting progressed and provision for Diaspora voting. He said the solar-powered electronic voting system developed was built on the gains of the present INEC. In another development, the minister said the government was presently discussing with some countries towards having a constellation of satellites. “This means that instead of one country having one satellite, many countries can have many satellites that can do so many things. “Then you pull the resources together and pull the data together from all participating countries. So in that way, you share cost and also share data and it is more cost-effective.” “We have very serious constraints in terms of funding but we are working on how we can have funding for research and innovation in the country from outside the budget,” he said. He said the Federal Government was still working on the speeding limit system of a Nanosatellite set up last year at National Space Research and Development Agency to bring the cost down. He said the government was also intensifying effort to ensure the Nanosatellite was the best in the country and world. According to him, using the Made in Nigeria satellite will cut a lot of costs and provide jobs.
Four stockbrokers are currently facing trial before Justice Josephine Oyefeso of a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, for their involvement in an alleged N13 billion fraud. The defendants, Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah , are being prosecuted by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for stealing the sum of N13 billion naira, property of First Marina Trust Limited. The defendants, who were arraigned on November 16, 2017, on seven count amended charges pleaded not guilty to the charges. They were alleged to have committed the offence while they were in the employment of the organization. Part of the amended charges before the court stated that ” Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume , Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah on or about 17th day of May, 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court stole the sum of (N237,250, 000) two hundred and thirty seven thousand, two hundred and fifty thousand naira only, property of First Marina Trust Limited. ” Adeyemi Oluwaseun, Suleiman Yusuf Obhakume, Yusuf Imran Adekunle and Haruna Issah, on or about 27th day of May, 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court stole the sum of N500,200,000, property of First Marina Trust Limited.” They were also accused of ‘stealing the sum of N183, 500,000, N180, 000,000, N186, 000,000 and N14, 749,000 respectively,’ all property of First Marina Trust Limited. The prosecution counsel, Mr. Anselm Ozioko, had held that the offense is contrary to Section 285(1) and (8) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. During examination by the prosecution counsel on January 17, 2018, the prosecution witness who is the Chief Risk Officer of the company, Anthony Onyeoghane, told the court that the report of an internal investigation conducted by the company indicted the defendants of the offence. “I was a member of the investigation committee set up by the company. A report was delivered to the management after investigation. I signed the report and every member of the committee signed the report. It was during investigation that this fraud was discovered,” he told the court. The matter was adjourned till April 16 for continuation of trial.
A second-half strike from Cristiano Ronaldo was enough to hand Real Madrid, the FIFA Club World Cup for the second successive year. Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid have thus become the first side to retain the cup, beating South America’s champions Gremio1-0 win at UAE 2017. Madrid surely deserved the victory, having dominated the encounter with the South American champions in Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening. The game began with a thump, with plenty of physicality on show. However, it was the title holders that found their rhythm quickest. Dani Carvajal and Luka Modric both had the band blue and black-clad fans in the Zayed Sports City Stadium inhaling sharply. Though the large amount of local support were not spared some nervous moments either in the opening period, with Edilson striking a swerving rocket of a free-kick inches over Keylor Navas’s crossbar. Having had two-thirds of the possession before the break, Real returned for the second half looking to make it count. It did not take them long and it was Ronaldo, who broke the resistance. He struck a free-kick from 25 yards straight into the net. There was an instant inquest among the Gremio wall, as the ball nestled in the bottom corner, having seen the Portuguese’s shot pierce clean through it. Ronaldo thought he had taken his record goalscoring tally in the Club World Cup from seven to eight, volleying in seven minutes later, but Karim Benzema’s fine nod down was adjudged to have been from an offside position. Gremio failed to rouse a response, with goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe forced into fine saves from Modric – tipping his effort onto the post – Ronaldo, and Gareth Bale to stay within touching distance of Los Blancos. However, they could not prevent Zinedine Zidane guiding the Spanish side to successive titles, equalling Barcelona’s record tally of three. “We wanted to win because Real Madrid have never won five trophies in one year,” said Ronaldo at the end of the match. “I think we played a very good game and deserved to win.” Ronaldo has now scored 15 goals in 20 appearances for Madrid this season despite a slow start in La Liga. “The numbers speak for themselves,” added the Portuguese. “I give my answers on the pitch. The team were phenomenal and it is another trophy for the CV.”
Perhaps in the long run, the most remarkable legacy of the Nigerian leader known as Olusegun Obasanjo would be his personal example, in terms of the manner in which he continues to creatively reinvent himself and the Renaissance quality and force of his achievements. In addition to all that we already know about him, Obasanjo last week bagged a Ph.D degree in Christian Theology from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). I am impressed. It is therefore with great admiration that I welcome Dr. Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo to the distinguished class of Nigeria’s Ph.D elite. As his senior colleague in this class, I have an idea of the amount of effort and determination that must have gone into the study, research and writing that produced the Ph.D. Anyone who has ever attempted a research-based course of study would readily attest that a Ph.D is a rigorous test of patience and endurance. The Professors who supervise doctorate theses do not give them out as chieftaincy titles. They make you work for it. Dr. Obasanjo is one of the oldest Nigerians to date to bag a Ph.D degree, and probably the first to do so as an octogenarian, but it is not just his age that is noteworthy, but how his achievement is a significant advertisement for the value of knowledge and education, and how it makes him an even more interesting case study for the profiling of leadership and the theory of personality. The great man theory of history often tends to focus on the political and the cultural as enabling contexts, but the finest blend of all of that is to be traced to the individual – what manner of man? What makes the man? As for Obasanjo, he is already widely known and remembered for his role in Nigerian history, but with him, we encounter something else: an extra, somewhat mysterious, if not inexplicable force which propels him to seek new frontiers, new conquests, labels, a questing, restless, bullish, insatiable spirit, to prove a point, or perhaps to test his own humanity. What is known is the important life that he has lived: Obasanjo, the soldier, Obasanjo, the farmer, Obasanjo, the leader, Obasanjo, the statesman, Obasanjo, the politician, Obasanjo, the author, Obasanjo, the entrepreneur. He probably does not need a Ph.D to validate or prove himself further, but here he is: Obasanjo the scholar. Everything Obasanjo touches, he wants to get to the root and height of it. He projects a competitive spirit that is complex and near-mystical. His refusal to slow down as an octogenarian contains significant lessons for the younger generation. Many young men and women today are unwilling to go the extra mile, or think out of the box. They are happy to be “slay queens and boys” and hunters of entitlements, in this case, unmerited entitlements and instant gratification. In a society where knowledge is derided and scholarship is under-appreciated, the new role models are not knowledge-seekers, but cross-dressers, naira plunkers and persons of indeterminate means. We have become a country of short cuts, where value is subjected to partisan considerations. I am shocked at how so different the younger generation is from my own generation, and how so much different from our own fathers’ generation. Obasanjo belongs to a different generation that produced, made and unmade Nigeria: there were sluggards in that generation too just as there were challenged privilege-seekers, but it was a different kind of generation, once described by Wole Soyinka as a wasted generation but now in retrospect, not a wasted generation at all, because it managed to produce values, now lost, now devalued sadly, but with memories of a country that could have been. The individuals in that generation many have given us a broken country, but there are many of them whose stories of individual accomplishments and discipline continue to hold out a fig of hope and inspiration. Take Obasanjo whose Ph.D I am celebrating and whose portrait I am trying to paint. When he left office the first time in 1979 as Nigeria’s Head of state, he had devoted the following years of his life to self-improvement. Soldiering has always been a noble profession, and in that line, Obasanjo had distinguished himself in training in various parts of the world (India and Aldershot, Chatham, England), and on the battlefield in then Congo and the Nigerian civil war. He famously and fortuitously received the instrument of Biafran surrender in 1970, and served in the post-civil war Yakubu Gowon government before history and fortune propelled him to the highest office in the land in 1976. His boss, Murtala Muhammed was killed in a military coup d’etat, and he became against his will, Nigeria’s Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. When he later ensured the return to civilian rule in 1979, the civilized world praised him to high heavens. The military handing over power was an unusual thing at the time. It was the age of Idi Amin and the culture of sit-tightism in African politics. But rather than wallow in the adulation that came, Obasanjo embarked on a mission of self-reinvention. He became a farmer, the famous Uncle Sege with the luxuriant moustache, a signature pot-belly which scores of women found irresistible, and the hoe on his shoulder. But he did something else: he established the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) and what he called the Farm House Dialogues. Through these platforms, Obasanjo turned his Ota Farm into a rendezvous for intellectuals and policy makers, who visited regularly to discuss matters of national, regional and global interest in a sober, calming village environment. In-between feeding his chickens and monitoring the pens in his farm, Obasanjo encouraged learning and knowledge. He became the host and the friend and mentor of the best and the brightest on the continent of Africa. Presidents visited him. Everyone courted him as the Africa Leadership Forum grew into a leading think-thank. In my early years, I was privileged to be one of the resource persons for the Forum. I wrote and edited reports and travelled with the ALF team. I did my first public review of a book through the Forum and never looked back. I co-wrote my first two books at Obasanjo’s instance, and I travelled round the world and Africa with ALF and through Obasanjo. But I was not alone. The ALF actively sought out young, smart Nigerians and other Africans, and tried to build a community of ideas across sectors. But the greatest beneficiary was Obasanjo: he re-educated and re-invented himself. When he went to prison, implicated in a phantom coup by the military junta led by General Sani Abacha, the ALF survived and even grew bigger. In the intervening years, Obasanjo had established himself as a credible global voice: member of the Global Eminent Persons Group and a voice of reason in Africa. He had moved from being merely a retired soldier who did well to an acclaimed man of integrity and knowledge. His search for and cultivation of knowledge after his retirement as a soldier stood him in extreme good stead. It was the fashion in his neck of Nigerian woods to look down on soldiers. Soldiering was seen in the Western region of his time as a profession for those who had more brawn than brain and had chosen the rough path. Obasanjo’s place of birth, Abeokuta in particular, boasted of generations of educated people and families. A soldier may have been prominent, but he was certainly not in a position to intimidate anyone in a town with so many distinguished and accomplished persons. Being rich also meant nothing to the people, but education and knowledge attracted respect. Obasanjo’s biographers have told us how he gained admission to the University of Ibadan to study agriculture, but he had to turn down the offer because he could not afford the school fees, and so opted for a career in the Military which offered free feeding, boarding and a tidy monthly allowance. A psychoanalytic reading of Obasanjo’s persona may in fact reveal a compensatory self-assertion in this direction, but he has continuously remained relevant and important because of his capacity for self-growth and re-alignment. When he returned to power in 1999, as Nigeria’s President and Head of State, he was absolutely well prepared. Nobody had any reason to question his credentials. In a country where political office seekers often present affidavits, NEPA bills and trashy excuses in place of secondary school certificates, or claim not to remember the exact name of the universities that they attended, Obasanjo had no such problem, for indeed, his life has remained an open book. Years of preparation and exposure made him an impactful President. Within 24 hours after assuming office in 1999, Obasanjo hit the ground running and announced key policy decisions. He also did not have to wait for six months or fish around the forest to compose a team, and there was no way he could ever have made the mistake of referring to the Chancellor of Germany as the President of West Germany. In Nigeria’s history since independence, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Goodluck Jonathan have recruited the brightest minds into government. Both Obasanjo and Babangida openly craved the company of intellectuals. Some of Obasanjo’s close friends to date are among the brightest minds in their respective fields and this ranges from Emeritus Professors to Christian priests or local farmers and hunters. Before now, perhaps because of this polyvalent association and his robust efforts as a writer, Olusegun Obasanjo has always tried to assert himself as an intellectual, to which the likes of his kinsman, Wole Soyinka have always responded with friendly snobbery, but now, I assume that in their next brotherly spat, the farmer of Ota is likely to engage the Nobel Laureate far more confidently. Kongi should note: Olusegun Obasanjo, now Dr. Obasanjo, has become a licensed intellectual. With a Ph.D, no one again can accuse Obasanjo of lacking in theoretical thinking. He now combines the learning of theoretical thinking with his talents as a man of quick wit, action and native wisdom. I don’t want to start a family squabble much as I do not deliberately seek to run into foul weather with this commentary by taking the risk of discussing Obasanjo’s politics, which in my informed assessment is a landmine of contradictions. So let me move on to more urgent matters and state that what further makes Obasanjo important is the creative manner in which he planned an exit strategy for himself after the expiration of his tenure as Nigeria’s President in 2007. No other Nigerian President alive or dead has been better prepared. From being a soldier, farmer, global statesman and a two-time President, Obasanjo is the only former Nigerian/African President alive with a living, robust legacy in spatial and ideational terms. The other man is Nelson Mandela, who is now a legend and an ancestor. After leaving office in 2007, Obasanjo has managed to set up in his home-town of Abeokuta, a sprawling, intimidating Presidential Library, appropriately named Legacy Resort, which is fast growing into a cultural melting point for the historic town with Obasanjo’s image and brand at the centre. Since 2007, Obasanjo has also always managed to make himself an issue in Nigerian politics. His Hilltop home in Abeokuta is a target of pilgrimage for politicians and seekers of support. Not every former African President manages to speak, have a voice or remain relevant after office. Obasanjo’s voice continues to be heard in part because he continues to strive to develop himself. For a man who is in the departure lounge, it is amazing how he continues to live as if life is immortal. He represents a study in leadership for all men and women who seek only the shortcut and have sworn an oath to a life of indolence. His life reminds us of how we live in a knowledge age and how knowledge and education are the only redemptive forces at whatever stage in life. Education, indeed continuous education can improve the individual, but it can also save communities and societies. Indolent, self-indulgent Nigerians and other political leaders can learn a lot from the Obasanjo School of Leadership. For all his accomplishments however, Obasanjo does not necessarily speak for the stifled masses of Nigeria, but he is committed to the idea of Nigeria and has spent his life and career defending that idea and the unity and progress of his homeland. I congratulate him on his fulfillment of requirements and completion of the course of study for the award of a Ph.D in Christian Theology. This is probably for him, another beginning. With a Ph.D in Theology, Obasanjo now better understands the subjects of forgiveness and love. Nobody should be surprised if Baba, as we call him, launches a Pentecostal Christian Ministry tomorrow, and declares himself a General Overseer in the Lord’s Vineyard. Should he venture in that direction, however, I may be tempted to join his ministry, and if I so decide, he would have to reciprocate by putting me in charge of the collection of tithes and offerings… Well, yeah…Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, congratulations.
Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar has vowed not to support Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for a second term in office, come 2019. In a leaked audio which is causing trouble in the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the deputy governor who was a lecturer at the Bayero University in Kano before he was picked to serve as deputy governor, said he was tired of the shenanigans of his principal and longed to return to the classroom in 2019. Prof Abubakar reported said in the leaked audio which had gone viral: “When they were campaigning for election, my picture was juxtaposed with the governor (Ganduje), president (Muhammadu Buhari) and our leader Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. “But today at my birthplace, my picture was replaced with somebody else’s picture. What have I done to my birthplace? I do not deserve this even as a university lecturer at Bayero University, where I hope to return in 2019 at the expiration of my tenure. “Pray for me to return to the university by May 2019, and this is what I’m fervently asking from Allah. Those who want to continue should go on, but my prayer is to go back to Bayero University. “I will not be part of a system whereby the leadership of my party, APC, would be formed at my Mandawari ward, my birthplace, and my blood brother was removed without anyone consulting with me. “I did not bring myself here. I was engrossed in my academic activities when I was picked as the deputy governorship candidate. God that chose me is not sleeping. Whether I am in the university, God knows the best. I pray to him to choose the best for me”. Reacting to the leaked audio, Governor Ganduje expressed “shock” over the turn of events, Daily Trust reports.
Innoson motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma has been arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for jumping bail. It took a reinforcement from the Enugu office of the EFCC to effect the arrest of Chief Chukwuma who mobilised thugs to prevent his arrest. Confirming the arrest of the industrialist, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said Chukwuma was arrested at about 11am at his Savage Crescent, GRA Enugu residence today. “Chukwuma, rather than honoring invitation by the EFCC, mobilized six truck loads of thugs pretending to be staff of his company to his residence, where they manhandled EFCC operatives. “It took reinforcement from the Enugu office of the EFCC to effect the arrest of the industrialist who is currently being grilled by a team of investigators,” Uwujaren said. The EFFC added that Chukwuma’s arrest followed his refusal to honour invitation by the Commission having earlier jumped an administrative bail granted him in a case being investigated by the Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Unit of the Commission’s office in Lagos. Chief Chukwuma is a Nigerian business magnate and investor. He is the founder and CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile manufacturing company. He is also the Head of Ford Foundation in West Africa.
A report released by the Nigeria Watch Project says Lagos recorded 837 violent death in 2016. The report is the 6th Annual Report on lethal violence in Nigeria covers the period between 1 January and 31 December 2016. It has been written at the University of Ibadan, with the support of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) and the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA-Nigeria). “In Lagos in 2016, it recorded 837 violent deaths, including 460 resulting from various criminal incidents. In contrast, the police recorded 246 murders, or a low rate of 2.7 homicides for 100,000 people as per the 2006 census, against a national average of 20 according to UNODC. Anyone walking in the streets of Lagos would thus be quite surprised to learn that the city is almost as safe as Stockholm in Sweden or Geneva in Switzerland, two countries that record homicide rates equivalent to 2 homicides for 100,000 people,” the report said. The report added that although the statistics for fatalities in Lagos and Rivers were quite similar, the former is far more prone to criminal activities than the latter, disclosing that Lagos recorded 235 events, while Rivers listed just 108 incidents in 2016. “Also, Lagos State recorded the highest number of fatalities, 194 in road mishaps. The result is rather intriguing because there is no evidence to show that Rivers State has a better road infrastructure than Abuja and Lagos. Perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that vehicle pressures on Lagos and Abuja seem to be more intense. “In the case of Lagos, the ongoing road construction on the Lagos–Ibadan expressway may be a factor. A major aspect of crime in Rivers was cult violence, which killed 254 people, as against 93 in Lagos and 2 in Abuja. Most of the cult killings were perpetrated by gangs such as the Icelanders, Greenlanders, and Deygbam. The killings occurred in 11 LGAs, especially in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (80 deaths), Ahoada East (59), Emuoha (51), and Ikwerre (26). “The problem hinges on the fact that politicians reportedly use cultist groups to harass opposition parties. The overall assessment of security as a combination of both crime incidents and road accidents shows that Rivers is more unsafe than Lagos and Abuja. However, the situation in these states is not comparable with Borno State, which records 56.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants,” the report revealed. The report further revealed that in 2016, the main causes of violence in Nigeria in order of number of fatalities were crime (4,127), political conflict (3,502), religious violence (3,361), and accidents including road crashes (2,618).
As its central message on this year's World Human Rights Day, a frontline civil Rights and Non-Governmental organisation- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the Federal government of Nigeria and the National Assembly to transparently carry out an investigation into allegations of high handedness and extralegal killings of unarmed members of the pro-self determination group-Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) shortly before it was hurriedly proscribed during the controversial operation python dance two by soldiers drafted to the South East of Nigeria. In a statement against the backdrop of the commemoration of the year 2017 World Human Rights Day and the Tenth anniversary of the founding of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), the Rights group condemned the widespread conspiratorial silence by the officials of the current administration to the massive and large scale atrocities and massive human rights violations committed by the operatives and officers of the Nigeria Army during the month-long operation python dance two in the South East of Nigeria during which scores of civilians were killed through coordinated extralegal executions carried out by the armed security forces and the public torture of dozens of civilians suspected to be members of the now proscribed Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB). In a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the Federal government of Nigeria and the leadership of the Nigerian National Assembly for apparently failing to carry out proper; thorough and forensic human rights investigation with the objectives of naming, shaming, prosecuting and legally sanctioning the culprits who inflicted pains and carried out illegal executions of civilians who were completely unarmed and whose only crime was that they belonged to the Indigenous peoples of Biafra IPOB which as at the time of these widespread atrocities wasn't proscribed. HURIWA affirmed that the nation can't make any claim of subscribing to the tenets and provisions of the Universal Declarations of HUMAN RIGHTS when the supposed law enforcement agencies like the security forces including the Police are neck deep in carrying out large scale atrocities of gross human rights abuses including committing crimes against humanity such as massive extralegal executions of unarmed protesters and civilians whose only crime was that they were canvassing for self determination through constitutional means. The Rights group tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to provide clear and unambiguous information on the physical whereabouts of the Director of Indigenous peoples of Biafra IPOB Mr Nnamdi Kanu whose home was attacked and ransacked by armed security forces during the controversial military deployment that undertook the operation python dance two in the South East of Nigeria. HURIWA said the conspiratorial silence of government over these allegations of gross violations of human rights in the South East of Nigeria amounted to the institutionalisation of impunity. HURIWA carpeted the United Nations Human Rights Council; the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for failing to speak out against the widespread abuses of the human rights of South Eastern Nigerians. HURIWA condemns the total disobedience of binding Court orders which ordered the release of erstwhile National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki and the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim ElZaczacky who have spent two years in illegal detention. "Mr President must tell Nigerians where the leader of IPOB is since his home was bombarded by the armed security forces on his instructions. The Nigerian State must provide accountability for the activities of the armed security forces in the South East of Nigeria during the controversial military deployment." Conversely, the Rights group said the Federal government must also carry out comprehensive reforms of the Nigeria Police force which the group argued has become a criminal syndicate used by the hierarchy to perpetrate all sorts of organised and sophisticated crimes including armed robberies, grandscale extortion racketeering, commercialisation of weapons to hoodlums,bribery and massive corruption. HURIWA stated that: "The nation-wide advocacy for the abolition of SARS by the police is in order. SARS is the police unit that has over the years committed gross human rights violations including the extralegal killings of hundreds of detainees in the various police detention facilities in the Country. This same so called special anti-robbery squad of the Nigeria police was responsible for the killing of over three dozen youths whose fresh corpes were discovered in Awka Anambra state in a River. SARS have carried out atrocities in Lagos and Rivers States including organised crime and the harassment of youngsters." "We use this auspicious occasion of the World's Human Rights Day to call on the Federal government to dismantle the notorious police roadblocks in the South East of Nigeria which are used to extort money from commercial drivers and in a lot of cases these triggar happy rogue police operatives have been found committing extralegal executions of commercial drivers and innocent road users. We condemn this military and police occupation of the South East of Nigeria and to stop forthwith the Widespread human rights violations". HURIWA stated thus: " As a civil society group we subscribe to the opinions of experts that the responsibility of national governments to uphold and implement international human rights standards is not in doubt. International human rights law is a subset of public international law, and as such, it engages the commitment of nation states. The applicability of international human rights treaties to ratifying states is not controversial and there is no ambiguity about the general principle that governments are accountable for human rights standards". HURIWA reminds the Nigerian state of what human rights scholars have determined to be the obligations of government to enforce human rights provisions thus:"This question has been considered in different contexts, including the International Law Commission’s (ILC) work on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts and in conjunction with implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights." "We are aware that over the past two decades a consensus has emerged that with respect to international human rights states have a threefold responsibility: to respect, to protect, and to fulfill their obligations. As expounded by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights.The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses.The obligation to fulfill means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights."
President Muhammadu Buhari has launched his bid for re-election in 2018 in far-away Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire when he solicited for votes from the Nigerian community during an interactive session late Tuesday night. The president is currently attending a two-day European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit in the West African country. After apologising for coming late to the session, President Buhari told the gathering that he had to wait for the two governors on his entourage to accompany him to the meeting so that they will convince their people to vote for him in the future. “First I want to apologise for keeping you for too long sitting, this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. “This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up,” Buhari stated. The president also reiterated a line in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 when he stated he will be for everybody and not for nobody. He said this was the reason for supporting Akinwumi Adesina to emerge as the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, despite serving as a minister in a PDP-led administration. Buhari was reacting to Adesina’s remark earlier expressing gratitude to the president for the support he received in his bid to emerge as the AfDB president. “The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who forgot to mention that he was serving in the PDP government as minister but all the same I picked him and recommended him for AfDB. “I think it emphasised what I said during my swearing in that I am for everybody and I am for nobody. As long as you are a Nigerian, be prepared to be on the receiving end from me,” Buhari said. President Buhari also told the gathering that he just received “a beautiful piece of information” from the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu which he was never aware of. He thanked Tinubu for the information which he did not disclosed. “I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information, which I was not aware of it until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hard work and I will discuss that paper with you,” he said. The AfDB president in his speech revealed that the the Nigerian economy picked up soon after Buhari’s health challenges appeared over, adding that “so it seems there is a correlation between the President’s health and the improved economy.” “I want to thank you immensely. I want to thank God for your health because I must say that for all of us that has been a big concern. But seeing you fit as a fiddle and seeing you back in action, we thank God for that and may God continue to give you great strength. “Mr. President as you must have noticed, there is a very strong correlation between your health and the economy and when you came back the economy picked up after that. So we wish you great health so that the the economy can continue to pick. “I also want to congratulate you for the economic growth and recovery plan that you have put in place and the incredible plan that you have put in place to bring the economy out of recession and also in terms of the fact that Nigeria has moved up in the World Bank ease of doing business index. “It is to your leadership, vision and commitment that we want to from the African Development Bank commend you, Mr. President, and to assure you of our strong support behind you and your government for the efforts to try and move Nigeria forward. We are solidly behind you, you can count on that. “I also want to thank you for your leadership on the Boko Haram issue because to draw investments into Nigeria, you absolutely have to have security. “I think that securing our borders is very very important, thanks to your leadership for that. I also thank you for all the efforts you have made in the Lake Chad Basin Area. “I was with you in Paris where you led the efforts in reviving the Lake Chad Basin. As you know Mr. President, the bank is very strongly behind that. We put in $250 million to support the North-east of Nigeria rebuilding. I know you were criticized for rebuilding but I don’t see anything wrong, if things get destroyed they have to be rebuilt and the African Development Bank has contributed $250 million towards that,” Adesina disclosed
A renowned company director, Dr. Mayor Nwachukwu of Godfy Towers Nigeria Limited has called for the proscription of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company in Abia State over its inability to supply power. Nwachukwu made the call in Aba recently while making a contribution during a one day mega seminar on “Electricity Consumers Rights and Obligations”organized by Joint Action Group and attended by professional bodies, labour union leaders, market leaders, youths, civil servants and artisans, where issues bothering on crazy and outrageous bills,illegal disconnection,intimidation by EEDC staff and absence of electricity in some parts of Aba, Abia State were discussed. Dr.Nwachukwu lamented that for over one year now, he has not had electricity in his residence yet receives and pays bill every month.He decried Nigerian Electricity and Regulatory Commission for not doing enough to enlighten the public on their rights as electricity consumers.According to him, the EEDC is just out to milk consumers as nothing has changed since it came into the Power industry.He said, “they occupy the same office as National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) the same office as Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) and now as EEDC” He suggested that electricity consumers in Aba should match and inform the government of the day about the sufferings consumers are passing through. He said the issue of non-provision of electricity supply, adversely affects the overall economy and production capacity of the state in general and Aba in particular. “What EEDC staff do in Aba is to make money for those in charge and allow the poor masses to suffer the consequences, but when we match to the government functionaries, we will tell them all their atrocities” he concluded. Earlier in his key note address,the secretary, Joint Action Group,Chief Ike Opigwe said the group is a non –profit advocacy body that provides an enabling environment for the education of electricity consumers on their right as guaranteed by the Electricity Power Sector Reform(EPSR) Act 2005 and National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) guideline,directive and methodology which include but not limited to the following: billing methodology,connection, disconnection procedure and rights to certified standard prepaid meter. Mr.Odu Obot,a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who represented Abia State Commissioner of Police, thanked the organizers of the seminar and said if all activities are handled this way;the police will have less job to do. He revealed that Abia State Police Command is tackling the problem of vandalization of electricity materials by creating Electricity Consumers Team to tackle all criminal activities against the provision of electricity in Abia state. Mr. Ezeocha Peter, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Representative in charge of Ebonyi State, gave an overview of Electricity Sector Power Reform .He said the Commission (NERC) is empowered by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005, to ensure an efficiently managed electricity supply industry that meets the yearnings of Nigerians for stable, adequate and safe electricity supply. According to him the Act mandates the Commission to ensure that electricity Operators recover costs on prudent investment and provide quality service to customers. In a lecture on “ Overview of Consumers’ Rights and Obligations” delivered by Comrade Anele Jacobs, he said “ it is pertinent that electricity customers know their rights which include that a new electricity connections must be done strictly based on metering before connection. That is, no new customer should be connected by a DisCo without a meter first being installed at the premises” According to him, consumers have the right to electricity supply in a safe and reliable manner; a properly installed and functional meter; a right to transparent electricity billing and also that all un-metered customers should be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology. He said consumers should be notified in writing ahead of disconnection of electricity service by the DisCo serving the customer in line with NERC’s guidelines; refund when over billed and to report the issue to the NERC Forum Office within the coverage area of the DisCo. Consumers have the right to appeal against the decision if not satisfied and any un-metered customer who is disputing his or her estimated bill has the right not to pay the disputed bill, but pay only the last undisputed bill as the contested bill go through the dispute resolution process of NERC. “It is not the responsibility of electricity customer or community to buy, replace or repair electricity transformers, poles and related equipment used in the supply of electricity” he added .However, he said consumers are under obligation to pay bills for electricity consumed and provide requirements for connection as stipulated by NERC and DisCo. And also to ensure that meters and other electrical equipment within your premises belonging to the DisCo are not tampered with, or by-passed and consumers should notify the DisCo serving you of any tampering or bypass of electricity installations. In an exclusive chat with the Chairman, Abia State Civil Society Network (ASCON) Comrade Cassius Ukwugbe, he decried the crazy bills and epileptic electric supply in Aba that has touched everybody and said the messages should be taken to the appropriate authorities and solution proffered once and for all. According to him, high billings have continued to be a source of worry to many Electricity Consumers in Abia state. He called on the Federal Government to revisit its power privatization policy to check the exploitation of Nigerians by Power Distribution Companies. He said”Aba residents have made their feelings known in the area of over – estimated billings by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company and something should be done.. In his contribution, the Chairman Hotel Proprietors Association, Aba, Chief Godwin Egbuchulam, revealed that hotels will soon sack some of their staff due to high electricity billing in Aba. According to him the cost of running hotels has increased in recent time as a result of fast consumption rate of prepaid meter. A book on Rights and Obligations of Electricity Consumers authored by Chief Ike Opigwe and reviewed by Dr. Mike Iheukwumere was presented to participants. The book; a must read by all electricity consumers, was described by Dr. Iheukwumere as the ‘Bible’ of electricity consumption. The seminar had in attendance notable Nigerians including: the Chairman Joint Action Group-Dr. Mike Iheukwumere, DSP Odu Obot, who represented the Abia state Commissioner for Police, Secretary, Joint Action Group-Chief Ike Opigwe, National Electricity Regulatory Commission(NERC) Ebonyi State Representative-Mr. Ezeocha Peter,Chairman, Hotel Proprietors Association-Chief Godwin Egbuchulam, Chairman, Abia State Civil Society Network-Comrade Cassius Ukwugbe,Comrade Anele Jacobs, Chairman, NASSI-Amb. Darlington Kalu, Manager, Hotel De L’s Paix-Mrs Celestina Asiegbu and others.