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Ekweremadu Recommends for Amendment of Constitution to End Inclusiveness

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From L - R : Mrs Mufuliat Fijabi,CEO,Nigeria Trust Fund,Dr. Mairo  Mandara,member of the Advisory Group, UN Central Emergency Response Fund(CERF),Former Country Representative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nigeria, Mallam Mohammadu Lawal Nalado, Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Deputy Senate President ,Sen. Ike Ekweremadu,Executive Director PLAC, Clement Nwankwo and Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra State.

From L – R : Mrs Mufuliat Fijabi,CEO,Nigeria Trust Fund,Dr. Mairo Mandara,member of the Advisory Group, UN Central Emergency Response Fund(CERF),Former Country Representative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nigeria, Mallam Mohammadu Lawal Nalado, Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Deputy Senate President ,Sen. Ike Ekweremadu,Executive Director PLAC, Clement Nwankwo and Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra State.

By Sarauniya G Usman

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has recommended for the amendment to Section 42 of the Constitution and a change to proportional representation to boost women representation in governance.

Ekweremadu spoke yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting to improve the representation of women organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, PLAC, in Abuja.

He explained: “You cannot confer any special political advantage on women under the 1999 Constitution as amended because Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution clearly provides that you cannot discriminate against any Nigerian by the reason of his or her community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion, or political opinion.

“Therefore, the first step is to amend Section 42 of the Constitution to provide for an exception and also a special quota for women in line with the 35 per cent Affirmative Action.

“What Rwandans did was to amend the country’s constitution in 2003 to provide for a minimum 30 per cent quota for women in all the decision-making bodies and organs, including the national parliament and political parties leadership. Today, Rwandan women not only control the majority in the country’s national parliament, Rwanda is also the first country with women majority in a national parliament.

“However, a constitutional provision for a quota for the women in elected positions will be difficult to achieve under our current first-past-the-post voting system. We need to adopt the proportional representation system in which each political party will eventually be allocated parliamentary seats in proportion to the votes they garnered at the polls. That way, they will effectively be in a position to distribute the seats in a way that honours affirmative actions in favour of women, minority groups, the physically challenged, among others”.

He observed that leading African nations in women representation in parliament, such Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Mozambique, operate proportional representation voting system.

Citing the last constitution amendment effort during which the proposal to reserve 35 per cent of the appointments into the federal and state cabinets for women was defeated, Ekweremadu warned that ”Nigeria may never get to the Promised Land until Nigerian women occupy their rightful place in governance”, noting that “they have the integrity, knowledge, and empathy to build a better future”.

He lamented that while women, including Kudirat Abiola, Ayo Obe, and Joe Okei-Odumakin, played key roles in the struggle for the current democratic dispensation, women had been relegated in the governance of the country.

“Ours has been a case of one step forward, two, and sometimes, three steps backward. Our women have been held down by factors ranging from the cultural to the religious, economic, and political.

“Our society wrongly believes that the role of the woman is that of a fosterer and in the kitchen. There is the wrong notion that women are not meant to lead, thus placing a glass ceiling over them. Those who vie for leadership positions are viewed as overambitious and deviants.

“Women representation in parliament where major policies are discussed and given legal backing is very poor. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, Nigeria places a very distant 168th position in women representation in national parliaments worldwide, as at May 2018. Nigeria is just slightly better than a few countries like Thailand, Kuwait, Lebanon, Haiti, and Oman.

“Conversely, the East African nation of Rwanda is first in the world, while Namibia is 5th. Ironically also, other African nations such as South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and neighbouring Senegal are among the top 20”, he added.

In their presentations, the Executive Director of PLAC, Clement Nwankwo, and the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra State, Nwachukwu Orji, said that while the retrogression in women representation in Nigeria was quite unexpected, progress was possible if Nigeria adopted the right policies and legal reforms.

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Troops inflict devastating casualty on Boko Haram terrorists in fresh Baga encounter

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Combined Special Forces troops of the Nigerian Army, Navy and the Air Force operating under the auspices of Operation LAfiYA DOLE in the ongoing counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in northern Borno have inflicted devastating man and equipment casualty on Boko Haram terrorists in a fresh encounter with the dissidents in the late hours of Saturday 19 January 2018.

The terrorists, armed with two Gun trucks, a vehicle laden with Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and a suicide bomber met their water loo while frantically fighting to break into the formidable defensive position of the troops. The gallant troops responded swiftly in a fierce counter offensive, unleashing superior and overwhelming firepower on the terrorists and neutralizied five of them, including a driver and a gunner firing from a gun truck, a suicide bomber in a vehicle loaded with IED and two other terrorists.

In the ferrocious counter attack, the valiant troops destroyed one Gun truck ànd one IED – Carrying vehicle. The troops also recovered one Anti Aircraft Gun and three AK 47 Rifles belonging to the terrorists. The troops are relentless and in high morale as they continue in hot pursuit of some of the terrorists who fled the scene of the encounter when they were overpowered by the troops.

It will be recalled, that only recently, the special forces troops resolutely dealt a deadly blow on the terrorists in a battle in which the terrorists attempted to contest the control over Baga town with the Special Forces troops.

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Boko Haram: Nigerian Army seeks strategic military partnership

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…As COAS visits Republic of Korea

As part of the efforts to further enhance the professional efficiency and capabilities of the Nigerian Army, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General TY Buratai has led a delegation to the Republic of Korea to seek strategic bi-lateral collaboration in the fight against terrorism and insurgency. The visit which was at the instance of KIA Motors Corporation, was further aimed at improving the capacity building of the Nigerian Army by Republic of Korea in the areas of military logistic, intelligence gathering, army aviation and military vehicle manufacturing.

The visit began on 16th January 2019 with a courtesy call to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Korean Armed Forces, General Park Hanki, at his office. During the visit, both emphasised the need for more collaboration between the Republic of Korean and the Nigerian military especially in the areas of training and equipment support. They also promised to further enhance the relationship between the Republic of Korea military and the Nigerian Army. Lieutenant General TY Buratai also paid similar visit to Chief of Staff Republic of Korean Army, General Kim Yong-woo, where they exchanged ideas and emphasised on the need for further collaboration between both Armies.

Thereafter, the COAS was at the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA), at Duteopbawi-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, which was equivalent to Defence Industries of Nigeria (DICON). While there, he interacted with the Minister in charge, Mr Wang Jung Hong and other management staff of DAPA on ways of further collaboration between DAPA and the Nigerian Army.

As part of his itinerary, the COAS also visited the Headquarters of 11th Infantry Division of the Korean Army, at Hong Cheon. On arrival, he was received by the Commander, Major General Kim, who briefed him on the organisation, operations and exploits of the Division. The Division also displayed the sophistication and potency of some of the formation’s equipment and Armoured Fighting Vehicles for the COAS.

On Friday 18th January 2019, the COAS and members of his delegation were at the Corporate headquarters of KIA Motors Corporation, Gwangju, where they were received and briefed by Mr Il -Tae Kim, Director Special Vehicle Global Sales Group. Thereafter, they were conducted round the company’s manufacturing plants particularly the KIA Light Tactical Vehicles manufacturing plants.

The COAS also had another meeting with Mr Il-Seop Lee, the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Special Vehicle Division of KIA Motors Corporation in Seoul. Present at the occasion was Mr Ik-tae Kim, Director, Special Vehicles Global Sales Group.

The COAS was accompanied on the visit by Major General VO Ezugwu, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company, Brigadier General Hussein Ahmed, Acting Provost Marshall (Army) and the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General SK Usman.

Earlier on arrival at Incheon International Airport, Seoul, on Wednesday 16th January 2019, the COAS and the entourage were received by Mr Gabriel Olufemi Asaolu, a Minister with Nigerian Embassy at Seoul, Republic of Korea, Nigeria’s Defence Adviser to Beijing, Major General TOB Ademola, Navy Commodore EO Ferreira, Nigeria’s Defence Adviser to New Delhi, Republic of Korean military delegation and some officials of Kia Motors Corporation. They also accompanied the COAS delegation throughout the visit.

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Onnoghen: Nabena cautions South-south leaders, governors, others over threats

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Justice Walter Onnoghen

Justice Walter Onnoghen


The threats and comments by some South-south leaders, Niger Delta agitators and South-south governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the prosecution of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen has been condemned by a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Speaking with newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, Yekini Nabena, the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary said the attempt to give Justice Onnoghen’s prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over false asset declaration an ethnic colouration is dangerous, unacceptable and totally misplaced.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen has already confirmed inadvertent discrepancy in his asset declaration, although the law says ignorantia legis neminem excusat (meaning: ignorance of law excuses no one). The right and proper thing is to allow the CCT or any other empowered judicial body look at the allegation contained in the petition, consider Justice Onnoghen’s defence and take a judicial decision.

“Resort to blackmail, ethnic coloration, inciting statements and threats to sabotage the country’s economic assets by the South South leaders, Niger Delta agitators and South South governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the legitimate prosecution must be condemned by all.

“They will be held responsible for any breakdown of the peace in the Niger Delta that has sustained since the advent of the President Muhammad Buhari government.

“The fight against corruption and ensuring the rule of law is blind to ethnic, religious, social, economic and political standing of whoever is accused or indicted for breach of our laws.” The Bayelsa-born APC chieftain stated.

Citing a court decision, Nganjiwa vs FRN (2017)LPELR-43391(CA), Nabena dismissed arguments of the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to entertain the petition against the Chief Justice of Nigeria without recourse to the National Judicial Commission.

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