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Development at LG level will stem tide of illegal migration – Dogara



The ongoing scourge of human trafficking and slave trade will become impossible if local governments are given opportunities to provide developmental activities in the grassroots to facilitate actualisation of aspirations of the people, Speaker Yakubu Dogara has said.
Speaking when he received a delegation from National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in his office, the House of Representatives Speaker said most Nigerians seeking greener pastures via the Mediterranean Sea are in pursuit of a better life and conditions that will help them achieve their God-given potentials in life, having lost all hope.
Calling for developmental activities in the grassroots, which he maintained can only be achieved when local governments are granted independence, he sought the support of all stakeholders and Nigerians to lobby their state houses of assembly to approve the proposed law seeking to grant independence to local governments.
The Speaker stated, “Recently, I was in Rome where we discussed about human trafficking and modern slavery. You need to see the kind of conditions that our citizens are subjected to. Some of you may have watched the footage on CNN where human beings like us were auctioned, some for as low as 400 Dollars. For me, I have never seen something that has jolted me really as this inhuman treatment of others by human beings. Some have even disputed it, but when I went to Rome, we attested that these things are real because I met first hand with the authorities that are charged with combating these crimes.
“But the fact is that Nigerians even form a disproportionate number of individuals or persons that are being trafficked. So, we have the responsibility to address that, and how do we address that when some of these our brothers and sisters are running away, first of all, from conditions that are even worse than death and for some of them, like I said before, death is even better than life and when an individual reaches that conclusion, it is very difficult to tame him. And all because of lack of opportunities.”
“So, if we don’t free the grassroots, we don’t free the local government to provide developmental activities in the grassroots, chances are that opportunities will continue to narrow and instead of providing conditions that make human trafficking impossible, we will be lagging behind and whether we like it or not, people will continue to flee conditions that they think will not offer them opportunity in life. Everyone is in search of opportunities to realise their God given potential in life.”
Dogara informed the delegation that the House has sacrificed a lot to grant financial independence to local governments in the just concluded Constitution amendment exercise, adding that the responsibility to make it a reality now lies with the state legislature.
He explained, “We have sacrificed a lot at this end. I believe that if the voting records are published today, some members may not even come back to this House on account of that single decision to vote for local government autonomy.
“That is not to say that all governors are against it. I have spoken with quite a number of them, they really want local governments to go, they want local government to be if that will crystalise the kind of development that we anticipate at the local level. But that is not to say all of them will want that to take place but as lovers of democracy, we have been bothered by the condition at the grassroots and if we don’t address those conditions at the grassroots by generating more opportunities, certain ills that we seek to overcome will not be overcome.”
He expressed gratitude for the award the group presented to him for his championing of the cause of local government independence, saying credit goes to the entire membership of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly for the achievements recorded so far.
“I don’t want to appropriate their work, even though I have been like the voice championing the call for local government autonomy. I am Speaker, so I speak on their behalf at that level but I can tell you that some of them have exhibited more courage than myself. I remember just before the vote really began on local government autonomy, a number of them had come to tell me that some people called them to say that they should vote against it but that they were going to vote their conscience. That it doesn’t matter who was speaking, that they will vote their conscience. That to me, shows a lot of courage.”
“We have always been lucky to have men and women of courage representing our respective 360 constituencies in the House of Representatives. We showed that courage in the last assembly and then we have exhibited it in this assembly as well. Now the ball is out of our court and it is back to the state assemblies, that is where it even holds sway and I have said to some delegations that have visited me that if we fail to gather the two-third support from the 36 state assemblies, it will be your fault because there is virtually no member of a state assembly that does not come from a local government. You can mobilise your people to say, look, our member this is we want. We sent you there and this is what we want, if you don’t do it, then don’t come back to us. I believe we will achieve that result.”
Earlier, the leader of the joint delegation, Mr Ephraim Iyke, described the Speaker as a reliable man of integrity and a man of the people who has shown serious commitment towards the development of local governments.
He added that it was as a result of all his contributions to the upliftment of the grassroots that the joint union decided to give him an award as a sign of their appreciation.
He stated, “The way you have been so highly committed towards the affairs of local governments as it concerns our desire for local governments to be granted autonomy, you will agree with us, Mr Speaker, that the speedy passage of this bill is a testimony. We cannot do anything for you, but we know that God certainly will reward you. You may not know what you have done but we want to assure you that this effort of yours will never go unnoticed. God certainly must reward you.
“For you to have embarked on this project, the passage of it, as big as it was, explains it all that you are a man of the people you really know that if this autonomy is granted, it will correlate into proper development in the grassroots.
We are so happy, these two bodies. For the very first time, these 2 bodies, ALGON and NULGE, decided to come together to pursue this cause. We remain grateful to you, Mr Speaker, because you have rightly done what others could not do.”

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Curfew in Bauchi after violence



Gov. Mohammed Abubakar

Gov. Mohammed Abubakar

Violence that erupted over a disagreement at a birthday party has forced Bauchi State government has imposed a curfew on Yelwa community, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis.

Gov. Mohammed Abubakar announced on Tuesday in Bauchi that the restriction of movement from 7 p.m to 6 a.m until normalcy returns to the affected area.

A minor disagreement at a birthday party by some youths in the community turned violent.

The fracas claimed at least three lives while two houses and a car were burnt early Nov. 19, the state police command confirmed.

“The government has decide to impose a curfew from the hours of 7.00pm to 6.00am from today, Tuesday, 20th November 2018, until further notice in the following areas of Yelwan Tsakani, Unguwan Kusu, Unguwan Gas, Lushi and Kagadama,” the governor said.

He explained that the measure was taken to ensure peace among the communities and to prevent hoodlums in the affected areas from further escalating the disturbance from spreading to other parts of the state.

Abubakar regretted that the unfortunate incident had resulted in affecting the relative peace enjoyed in the state since inception of his administration.

“This had come at a time when Federal Government is taking necessary measures to restore peace in some parts of the country ravaged by communal conflicts.

“We must therefore not allow ourselves to be used by disgruntled elements who may want to plant seeds of discord among us,” he urged.

The governor however appealed to traditional rulers, community and religious leaders to preach tolerance, peace and respect for one another to their followers.

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Ex-UK Secretary warns international investors to be careful about investing in Buhari’s Nigeria



 Priti Patel

Priti Patel

A former United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, has warned international investors to be careful when deciding to invest in Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Conservative Member of Parliament delivered a severely critical review of the Nigerian president’s economic policies in an op-ed she wrote for City A.M. which was published on Monday, November 19, 2018.

Patel accused the Nigerian government of seeking international investment while it has continued to flout international law and convention.

To illustrate the president’s hostile actions towards investors in the country, Patel pointed to Buhari’s decision to cancel a deal the previous government had made with Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) while also refusing to honour court decisions over the resulting conflict.

She wrote, “However, as with all investments, investors should know of the corrosive effect of corruption, as well as the lack of transparency and associated difficulties of doing business in certain countries.

“In Nigeria, the unhappy experience of the firm founded by two Irishmen, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), is a case in point, and demonstrates the risk that businesses will face in Nigeria.

“In 2010, P&ID signed a 20-year contract with the Nigerian government to create a new natural gas development refinery, but the project fell through after the Nigerian government reneged on its contractual commitments.

“Upon taking office, President Buhari promptly cancelled a compensation settlement, and has done his level best to pretend Nigeria’s obligations to P&ID do not exist.

“Since Buhari reneged on this deal, P&ID has undertaken legal efforts to affirm a tribunal award, first decided in London. It also made several attempts in court to force the Nigerian government to respect its obligations.

“The most recent court decision at a London tribunal confirmed that the Nigerian government owes P&ID almost $9bn for the initial breach of contract, loss of income, additional costs, and interest accrued after five years of non-payment.

“However, the Nigerian government has continued to flout international law and convention, and it refuses to respect the various court decisions.”
She noted that Nigeria’s 145th place on the world’s ranking for ease of doing business “demonstrates the risks of investment into Nigeria”.

She further cast doubts over President Buhari’s ability to fight corruption, noting that it has gotten worse under his administration according to Transparency International’s ranking. She concluded by saying investors should be wary of doing business in Nigeria.

She wrote, “President Buhari currently faces serious allegations, which include staging show trials of opponents of a regime that is accused of corruption and graft, while simultaneously shielding his own party members and inner circle.

“We should all welcome international efforts to attract international investment into developing economies. However, to do this successfully Nigeria must seriously tackle corruption, rather than use it as a smokescreen. It must honour its obligations to companies like P&ID.
“Until then, investors inevitably will be very wary of investing in Nigeria.”

President Buhari has been accused in several quarters of taking economic decisions that have made conducting business in the country a nightmare. His handling of the economy is a major issue going into the 2019 presidential election as he seeks a second term in the Presidential Villa.

His biggest challenger, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, is running largely on his self-proclaimed ability to strengthen Nigeria’s economy and ease the nation of the burden of 88 million people living in extreme poverty, the highest in the world.

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CAN urged to sanction members fueling insecurity, making hate speeches in Nigeria



A group, Christians Without Border, has called on the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to sanction members fueling insecurity in the country.

The group said the idea of promoting hate speeches from the pulpit was fast becoming a normal trend among ordained Messengers of God these days, development it said is bothersome.

CWB also chided the leadership of CAN for maintaining undignified silence; by failing to caution its members and Pastors who are in the habit promoting hate speeches and making provocative statements from sacred altars.

“Not even an ordinary condemnatory statement has been issued by CAN to denounce such hate sermons,” Elder Simon Ainoko, President lamented at a press conference on Tuesday.

Elder Ainoko said the group was also uncomfortable with the recent demand for the removal of service chiefs by the leadership of CAN led by its National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle during a visit to President Muhammedu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He bemoaned that the current leadership of the Christian body was gradually deviating from the dream of the founding fathers of the association who were apolitical.

It, therefore, charged the body to sanction any member of pastor caught making inflammatory comments that could unsettle the peace of the nation.

His words, “The Concerned Christian Forum is uncomfortable with some of the issues raised with Mr. President at the visit by the CAN leadership. By our interpretation some of the views canvassed by CAN have partisan flavor, which we have reason to believe is unhealthy for the Body of Christ.

“CAN is expected to be neutral and impartial on the affairs of Nigeria, especially sensitive issues. We suffered greatly in recent history, when the immediate past leadership of CAN dragged the Body of Christ into partisan politics. One of the repercussions was that the Roman Catholic Church, one of the major blocs, suspended its membership of CAN because of the apparent embarrassment the partisan indulgence caused Christians in Nigeria. We cannot afford a relapse into this era of disunity and lack of cohesion within the Body of Christ, hence the need for caution.

“We do not think, it is appropriate for CAN to dabble into how Mr. President should appoint his security chiefs or how long they should serve in that capacity. It appreciated the efforts of the Security Chiefs in curtailing the menace of Boko Haram terrorism and other insurgencies.

“For CAN to posture in a manner indicative of indicting the Presidency on such crisis especially in states like Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna and Zamfara states depreciates the dignity they ought to embody. CAN’s utterances and comments on such sensitive issues should be more of supporting government to enthrone peace and unity.

“In the year 2017 alone some Pastors and CAN members stood on the sacred altars of their churches and spewed hate speeches’, directing their members to go out and kill Fulani herdsmen at sight. A few examples will illustrate us better and how CAN is failing us.

“Apostle Johnson Suleiman of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, boasted of directing his congregants during the service of Sunday, January 15th, 2017 that “I have told them in the church here, that any Fulani herdsman that just entered by mistake, Kill him, Kill Him. Cut his head. If they are busy killing Christians and nothing is happening, we will kill them and nothing will happen,” and the video went viral on social media.

“And also last year, a Senior pastor with Mountain of Liberation and Miracle Ministries, Mr. Chris Okafor, said this during a church service, “Enough is enough, no Christian must be killed anymore, if you want to kill one Christian, we are going to reply, we will defend ourselves”

“So, we advise the Body of Christ to be more circumspect in their utterances, least, they be misconstrued as extending support to forces against the progress of Nigeria.”

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