Nigeria: The Changing Governance Story

Tracking many stories of remarkable progress currently taking place in Nigeria can be a challenging task. This is so because these important stories are lost to some who daily indulge in the cacophony of adverse reports. These negative news often dominates the headlines.

With a 24-hour news cycle that tends to focus mainly on distasteful narratives, several Nigerians have been made to accept the view that nothing good is happening in their country.

Those who rely on the mainstream media and social media as the only sources of news and information they consume are the worst hit by the cycle of misinformation that portrays our country as descending rapidly to the edge of the precipice. However, the reality is different: the country is making progress in leaps and bounds.

Late Swedish physician and Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute, Hans Rosling, his son, Ola Rosling, and daughter-in-law, Anna Rosling, extensively dwell on this subject in ‘Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the
World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think,’ a book published in 2018.

In the book, the authors demonstrate that most people are made to hold the wrong notion about the state of the world because the media project data, analyse trends and select stories to make people assume that things are getting worse around them. The authors assert that a majority of people view the world as poorer, less healthy, and a more dangerous place to live in than it actually is. In other words, many people believe they are living in a worse period in the history of mankind because of misinformation.

The same situation the Roslings describe in their book is at play in Nigeria, where individuals, interest groups, activists, analysts, self-serving politicians, and opposition elements constantly project and amplify negative stories.

It is as if we are in a race with those who can say the most horrible things about our country. Yet, we have an abundance of good stories to tell the world. We seem so numb to the good news that
we are dismissive of breakthroughs and innovative trends. For instance, we downplay the significance of Dangote Petroleum Refinery and its possibilities to reflate the economy.

Many people forgot so soon that we had been importing petroleum products for over three decades because the state-owned refineries are moribund. Our national economy bled, and the country was in a fiscal cul-de-sac for those years as a result of subsidy payments on petroleum products.

Today, however, Nigeria is home to the largest single-train refinery in the world, with the capacity to process 650,000 barrels of crude per day. Cynics do not see this as a breakthrough.

Nigerians who are 60 years old and below started seeing modern rail infrastructure in 2016 when the All Progressives Congress-led administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the standard gauge rail system, beginning with the Abuja-Kaduna route, later Lagos-Ibadan and then the Warri-Itakpe.

The national rail modernisation project is progressing wi
th Kano-Katsina-Maradi and Kano-Kaduna standard gauge rail projects at different stages of completion. The contractor working on the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge recently announced the completion of the Port Harcourt-Aba section.

While the Federal Government is rallying stakeholders to promote economic integration across the country, the Lagos State Government recently launched two metro rail lines -Blue and Red Rail lines – as part of the state’s elaborate master plan to build a modern and efficient megacity. Like Lagos State, there are visible signs of remarkable, quantifiable progress in several other states, including Kaduna, Kano, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Kebbi, Borno, Gombe, Oyo, Ekiti and Ogun, among others.

A few weeks ago, the President Bola Tinubu-led administration embarked on the construction of the 700 kilometres Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway that will connect nine coastal states in another bold move to bolster economic growth further and open up the country to productiv
e economic activities.

While it may be very easy for critics and other armchair analysts to ignore these developments and their significance to remaking Nigeria, there is no gainsaying that these projects and many more that are ongoing or about to be instituted across critical sectors are the core of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda. Indeed, it is hard to process why the so-called critics and cynics can not see the Lagos-Calabar Highway project as a clear demonstration of the President’s commitment to harnessing the potential of our renascent Blue Economy.

Despite what is bandied by the most vociferous critics, a recent policy intervention on the state of the economy by the Independent Media and Policy Initiative (IMPI), a think-tank group, refuted the apocalyptic prognosis of the economic situation of the country by opposition figures, led by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The experts at IMPI made brilliant and well-thought-out submissions that repudiated the doomsday prophesy of critics.

ing true to type, the People’s Democratic Party Presidential candidate in the last election and a few others, including business advocacy groups, derisively heightened tension with their pronouncements on the state of the economy. They framed the country under the leadership of President Tinubu as a hostile business environment, scoring the administration low on business enablement.

While politicians, such as Atiku Abubakar, will naturally play politics with everything to score cheap points, some corporate advocacy groups often raise needless alarms, ostensibly to compel the government to do their bidding and usually in manners adverse to the interests of the people.

For example, while private sector advocacy groups, such as the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), regularly issue press statements on many businesses shutting their operations in Nigeria, such state
ments always fail to disclose that new businesses are also springing up in the country.

It is not only in Nigeria that businesses shut down operations. In any case, businesses wind up operations for many reasons that may have nothing to do with the operating environment.

It is a worldwide phenomenon shaped by a variety of factors. For instance, when the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria announced that 767 companies shut down in 2023, the Small Business advocacy group in the United Kingdom announced that 345,000 businesses closed shop in the UK.

The UK Group said: ‘More businesses closing down than starting up for the first time in 12 years.’

While it is not good for any business to shut down operations, irrespective of the number of employees, those who project the negative narrative should be nuanced and more balanced in their analyses.

In its submission titled, ‘In Defence of the Nigerian Economy,’ the Independent Media and Policy Initiative declared: ‘767 companies that closed down in Nigeria do no
t in any way come close to the 345,000 closures recorded in the United Kingdom in that same period. Neither can the number be compared to the 460,000 companies that shut down every quarter, that is, every three months, in China, or the 10,655 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) shut down in 2022-2023 in India.

‘As routinely rendered, we are further informed by the Indian data that there were over 11,000 new firms that started business afresh for every one of the 175 shutdowns in 2022.’

Interestingly, while the announced exit from Nigeria by GSK and Sanofi generated much furore on the social media and mainstream media last year, about the same period the two companies were planning their exit, indigenous pharmaceutical companies, such as Emzor were making new multi-million Dollar investments to expand their production lines in Nigeria.

More balanced news reports on Nigeria in that respect should have also included statistics circulated by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Con
trol (NAFDAC), which indicated that 105 applications for the construction of drug manufacturing facilities across the country were approved and 35 per cent of the promoters of the approved applications actually completed construction of their factories.

Within this period, Emzor Pharmaceuticals Company, owned by Mrs. Stella Okoli, Japanese Multinational Pharma, Otsuka, and over 20 newly registered local drug manufacturers cumulatively, invested over $2 billion to complete their World Health Organisation (WHO)-compliant facilities to produce quality pharmaceuticals and essential drugs for Nigerians.

In its ranking of Africa’s 100 fastest-growing companies in 2023, the Financial Times (FT) ranked 27 Nigerian businesses on the list.

The FT list, again, validated the strength of the Nigerian economy and its viability as a business destination for investors seeking to make good returns on their investments.

Since he assumed office less than a year ago, President Tinubu has been bullish in addressing the identi
fied problems besetting the investment climate in Nigeria.

The administration has restored global confidence in the monetary policy reforms of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that have seen the Naira rebound strongly against the Dollar and other convertible currencies, making the Naira the best-performing currency in the world.

On the back of the reforms embarked upon by the fiscal and monetary authorities, the country’s currency gained N900 against the US Dollar within a spate of two months. This is spectacular progress, but to subjective critics, they are unimportant.

On security, the progress being made is noticeable and can be felt in the calmness that has returned to the South-East geopolitical zone. This is where the criminal activities of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group and its Eastern Security Network (ESN) have been brought under control. In the North-West zone and parts of North-Central, most especially Abuja, where there was a surge in banditry and kidnapping, the Nigeria
n Military and Police have successfully gained control and counterbalanced major threats to the security of lives and property.

The National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, announced on Monday, April 15, 2024, that the security forces had rescued 1,000 Nigerians from their abductors without payment of ransom. This is evidence of successful security operations across the country. Again, the cynics and inveterate critics will not find such feats interesting to amplify.

In the technology ecosystem, Nigerian startup companies have continued to record big strides. At least 10 Nigerian startups were selected among 40 technology firms listed for the $4 million Black Founders Fund. Google sponsors the Black Founders Fund for Startups (GfS).

Nigeria continues to lead the pack in tech startups and capital raising in Africa. In the First Quarter (Q1) of 2024, 121 African tech startups, led by Nigeria’s Moove, raised $466 million. Of the total amount raised in Q1 2024 by tech startups on the African continent, Ni
gerian startups got the lion’s share of $160 million. Nigeria’s startup ecosystem has remained vibrant and a massive centre of innovation and driver of economic growth.

A 2022 report on African Tech Startups Funding by Disrupt Africa also showed that startups from Nigeria accounted for 28.4% of the total funded ventures and received 29.3% of total investments in Africa. The report indicated that 180 startups from Nigeria collectively raised $976 million from the $3.3 billion that flowed into the continent.

From the Nigerian tech ecosystem, Andela, Flutterwave, Opay, Jumia, and Interswitch emerged as unicorns out of 7 unicorns in Africa. That each one of these five companies with over $ 1 billion in valuation came out of Nigeria is an affirmation of the progress Nigeria is making in human capital development.

Another interesting twist to this enchanting story is that the majority of the founders of the leading startups came out of the Nigerian school system. They had their education from primary school up t
o the university level in Nigeria.

The story of Kiakia Bits Limited and Sycamore, two companies managed by innovative and enterprising young Nigerians, illustrates the impact Financial Technology (FinTech) companies are making on the economy as enablers of growth for small businesses.

Established in 2016 by Olajide Abiola and his partner, Chiemeziem Anyadike, Kiakia has over 200,000 customers and has advanced credit worth over N20 billion to more than 12,000 small and medium-scale enterprises within eight years. Babatunde Akin-Moses and two of his partners started Sycamore in 2019 after they met during their MBA programme at Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), in Lagos.

Within five years, the company has gained recognition and a reputation as one of the most visible and viable brands in the FinTech space. Sycamore has 140,000 registered customers, out of which over 10% are active.

The value of transactions on Sycamore’s platform in dollar terms is in excess of $30 million. The company has disbursed over N25 bi
llion in credit to various small and medium enterprises. A significant revelation from both Kiakia and Sycamore is the report that 99% of their credit to small and medium-scale enterprises are performing, an indication that the businesses they support are doing well.

Overall, the groundbreaking performance of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) as, possibly, Africa’s best stock exchange in terms of capital appreciation, the footprints of BUA Group in manufacturing and other consumer goods, the solidity of IHS Towers and MainOne as Africa’s telecoms infrastructure backbones, the disruption caused by Air Peace on the lucrative Lagos-London route, the grandeur of the sprawling Lekki-Deep Sea Port rank highly among countless high-impact business endeavours.

And finally, the indomitable spirit of Nigerians epitomises the narrative of progress that all patriotic Nigerians should regularly amplify.

-Ajayi is Senior Special Assistant to President Tinubu on media and publicity.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


FEMA director, Wenegieme bags risk managers fellowship

The Risk Managers Society of Nigeria (RIMSON), has conferred its Fellowship on Mrs Florence Wenegieme, the Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation, Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the fellowship was conferred on Wenegieme during the 2024 National Risk Reduction Conference on Friday in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, the President of RIMSON, Mr Gus Wiggle, said that the fellowship was approved by the Board of Trustees and the Executive Management of the society.

Wiggle, who is also the Chairman of Governing Board of RIMSON, explained that the honour was in recognition of Wenegieme’s integrity, professionalism and contributions to risk management.

He explained that the director was also recognised for her support to RIMSON over the years.

‘This is a distinguished membership category of honour reserved for those who are embodiments of value, reformation, innovation and progress.

‘As a fellow, RIMSON hopes to benefit from your
wealth of experience and goodwill, support for the society’s leadership strategies and implementation of the continuous professional development programme.

‘We will continue to hold you in esteem as a worthy Ambassador of RIMSON and of risk management,’ he said.

Responding, Wenegieme thanked RIMSON for recognising her efforts and the steps taken by FEMA to reduce risks and keep residents of FCT safe from avoidable disasters.

She equally thanked FEMA for giving her the opportunity to serve and contribute her quota toward risk management in the FCT.

‘I also thanked my Search and Rescue family for being there for FEMA while implementing action plans designed to reduce disaster risk for a safer and happy FCT.

‘We will continue to work to ensure a safer and risk-free society,’ she said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


D-G tasks anti-graft agencies on more awareness to stem corrupt practices

The Director-General (DG), Nigeria Technical Aid Corps (NTAC), Dr Yusuf Yakub, on Friday urged anti-graft agencies to enhance awareness on the dangers of corruption on national development.

The DG made the call in Abuja at the end of a two-day sensitisation workshop on corruption, organised by the NTAC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit.

The workshop was held in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

He said that if more awareness was created among public servants, the menace of corruption would be greatly reduced.

‘The best way to fight corruption is with what we are doing here.

‘Most of the corruption cases being investigated would not have taken place if citizens, most especially public servants, are properly enlightened and taught the dos and don’ts frequently.

‘So, I want to commend ICPC for introducing ACTU in all government agencies, and I must say the ACTU unit in NTAC is doing well.

‘Every year they come up with a complete schedule
for the year, they have programmes every month,’ he added.

Yakub pledged to continue supporting the anti-corruption unit ‘so that our staff members can get all the necessary information to see that we do not go against both the public and financial rules’.

He expressed confidence that if such interaction continue on regular basis, ‘ICPC will have no job to do, because corruption will be killed from the roots.”

Also, Mr Olusegun Adigun, Acting Director, System Study and Review, ICPC, said that the workshop was part of efforts to raise awareness among civil servants to the ills of corruption and how to avoid it.

‘We all know the issue of corruption in the country, so in the last two days, lectures have been delivered on various aspect of anti-corruption in order to bring to fore the effects of corruption on the system and the nation.

‘Even before now, we have been engaging them on sensitisation and enlightenment activities; we have a desk officer that relates with them on quarterly basis.

‘A day or two f
or the workshop is not the days that are important, it is the attitude that is important, and that’s what we are preaching to Nigerians, that we need to change our attitude.

‘Nigeria is a blessed country, if we can change our attitude and support government in the fight against corruption, Nigeria will be a better place for all,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


NNPC Ltd., First E&P begin crude oil production at OML 85

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) and its joint venture partner in OML 85, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited (First E and P), have commenced oil production from the asset.

Production from the asset, also known as Madu Field, which is located in shallow waters offshore Bayelsa and operated by First E and P is expected to be at an average of 20,000 barrels per day.

In a statement on Friday in Abuja, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd., Malam Mele Kyari, described the commencement of oil production at the Madu Field as a significant milestone.

Kyari said the achievement was a testament to the commitment of President Bola Tinubu administration’s to optimise production from the nation’s oil and gas assets through the provision of enabling environment for existing and prospective investors.

He said it would contribute to the larger goal of meeting the production required to drive revenue growth and boost the nation’s economy.

Kyari, who commended s
takeholders for their support, also explained that the addition of 20,000 barrels per day by an indigenous oil player signalled the commitment of stakeholders to achieving economic development for Nigeria.

It will be recalled that the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the development of the Madu Field and a sister field, Anyala, was taken by the NNPC Ltd/First E and P JV in 2018.

Production from the Madu Field would be processed at the JV’s Abigail-Joseph Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Unit, which has a crude oil storage capacity of up to 800,000bbls.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Embrace digital technology for global relevance, UNICEF specialist urges youths

Mrs Aderonke Akinola-Akinwole, a Social Behavioural Specialist from UNICEF’s Lagos Field Office, has advised the youth to embrace digital technology to maintain global relevance.

Aderonke-Akinola gave the advice during the town-gown interaction at Covenant University on Friday in Ota, Ogun.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ota, in collaboration with UNICEF.

The theme of the event is, ‘Strategic Communication for Behaviour Changes in the Digital Age’.

She emphasised the importance of leveraging digital innovation to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced world.

‘We are moving toward a stage where machines would begin to replace human beings.

‘How prepared are the youth to stay relevant as the world keeps moving at a fast space because technology and innovation drive the world?’ she queried.

Akinola-Akinwole also explained the need for youth to acquire diverse digital experiences and knowledge to navigate t
he evolving technological landscape effectively.

She stressed that leaving behind over 60 per cent of the population, comprising youths, would hinder the country’s development.

Aderonke-Akinola said that the essence of the interaction was to create a relationship between the industry and the academia world.

Akinola-Akinwole urged young people to not only adapt to change but also actively drive positive transformation in their communities.

According to her, the interaction between UNICEF and Covenant University aims to enhance students’ practical knowledge and experiences.

This, she explained, would help to boost collaboration between academia and industry for holistic development.

She said that knowledge acquired by the students from the institution would not only be theories but more practical.

In her welcome remark, Dr Stella Aririguzoh, Head of Mass Communication Department, commended the UNICEF specialist for lecture delivered to the students.

Aririguzoh said that the lecture had taught them that
communication could be used to change behaviours depending on the approach.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Amaseikumor Festival: INC calls for cultural, spiritual reawakening of Ijaws

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has called for a cultural and spiritual reawakening of its people following the conclusion of the Amaseikumor Festival in Gbaramatu, Delta.

Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President, INC, made the call on Saturday in a communique assessing and dissecting the activities showcased at the five-day festival.

Okaba called on the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism to support and popularise the Amaseikumor festival.

He stated that ljaw culture remained a strong identity of the people and as such would be promoted for its uniqueness and civilisation.

According to him, the INC uses this period of Amaseikumor to call for cultural and spiritual reawakening of the Ijaw people to the common cause and showing ijaw wealth to the world.

‘Tourism, besides natural resources is a major foreign exchange earner around the world.

‘Not only in petroleum, which is a fleeting resource but also in the arts, tradition, culture and hospitality of Ijaw people.

‘Countries l
ike Brazil, Egypt, Israel and others survive very well on income from tourism.

‘Gbaramatu is rich in culture, just as it is rich in oil; the investment possibilities and potentials in culture is open to investors both in the public and private sectors.’

Okaba added that cultural festivals bring people together and foster unity.

‘By celebrating our cultural heritage, it is easy to break stereotypes, promote social cohesion, encourage dialogue and boost local economies.

‘The 2024 Amaseikumor festival featured songs, dance and drama all through the five days of commemoration and this festival has contributed to building a more inclusive and harmonious society.

‘The festival was an acknowledgement of man as an embodiment of body, soul and spirit which was re-enacted in dance and song to commemorate the spiritual roots of the Gbaramatu people.

‘It was truly an observance filled with spiritual and physical joy. The great hospitality of the Gbaramatu community was on display, as invited guests came from far an
d near and were all thoroughly enthralled.

‘The ambience all through the event was that of peace and tranquility. No single incidence of violence, not even simple affrays which are common in such large social gatherings.

‘This confirms ljaws as very peaceful people, contrary to some revisionist public commentators and quasi-intellectuals who like to label them as violent people. ljaws are free spirited and peace loving people’, he said.

The INC president further felicitated warmly and congratulated the kingdom on the successful celebration of the annual festival.

‘It was five days of world class cultural display and theatre showcasing Ijaw civilisation and tradition at its very finest,’ he added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Wildlife Trafficking: Nigeria, Cameroon sign MoU on transboundary ecosystems

The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Cameroon on Transboundary Ecosystems Conservation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the MoU, signed on Friday in Abuja, is on cooperation framework on Transboundary Ecosystems Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forestry and Wildlife Resources.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Lawal, said the bilateral agreement demonstrated the importance of cooperation in tackling global challenges.

He said the event was also was of great significance as it underscored the commitment of the present administration to collaborate with Cameroon in managing and conserving shared natural resources.

Lawal said that Nigeria and Cameroon not only shared common border but also common vision on the best approach towards the protection and conservation of natural resources.

‘Apart from the global phenomenon of climate change and environmental challenges, social factors including over-populatio
n, poverty, food insecurity has continued to immerse these resources to the brink of extinction

‘While this is going on, transboundary criminality such as illegal logging, poaching and wildlife trafficking have further aggravated the trend.

‘It seem to have vindicated the reverberating but appalling warning revealed in the landmark Inter-Governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), 2019 Global Assessment Report,’ he said.

The minister said that the 2019 Global Assessment Report said that about one million species were threatened with extinction, and many within decades.

He said the agreement symbolised a milestone and provided a platform for the establishment of a joint transboundary management framework.

Lawal said the agreement would facilitate cooperation and coordination between two countries on matters relating to the conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources.

‘This framework will be instrumental in ensuring the effective conservation and sust
ainable management of our forests and wildlife resources, which are critical to our ecosystem services, livelihoods, and sustainable development.

The minister assured that Nigeria would not fail in playing its part in ensuring successful implementation of the agreement.

‘We must continue to engage in constructive dialogue, and remain steadfast in ensuring that our natural resources are sustainably managed and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations,’ he said.

In an address, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Cameroon, Mr Jules DoretNdongo, said it was an hounour to witness signing of the Transboundary agreement between his country and Nigeria.

He also expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for agreeing to host the long awaited bilateral partnership.

DoretNdongo urged all stakeholders to be more committed to the implementation of the agreement.

In a Goodwill message, the Country representative, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Dr Oliver Stolpe, congratulated the governm
ents of Nigeria and Cameroon on milestone achievement of the signing of the MoU.

‘This signals the importance that both countries have given to wildlife and forest crime and collaboration and cooperation to combat these crimes.

‘UNODC pledges its support to the implementation of the cooperation agreement and in the efforts to combat crimes that affect the environment in general,’ he said.

Stolpe was represented by Mrs Folusho Adelekan, Wildlife Team Lead, UNODC.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Ondo APC Primary: Commissioner allegedly assaults NAN journalist

The Ondo State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, on Saturday allegedly assaulted Mr Tayo Ikujuni, an Assistant Editor-in-Chief, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The assault took place during the conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary in the state.

It happened at Ward 9, Eji-Oba High School, Oba-Ile in Akure North Local Government Area of the state.

Yusuf-Ogunleye, who confirmed to have harassed Ikujuni and collected his cell phone and threw it away, said ‘the journalist failed to produce his identity card when asked.

Recalling the ordeal, Ikujuni said that the commissioner ordered some of his political thugs to seize his Samsung tablet.

‘Trouble started at about 11:45 a.m., when I inquired if the electoral materials has arrived, since they have started counting.

‘Immediately, Yusuf-Ogunleye shouted, ‘who are you. You’re a useless journalist. You’re a stupid journalist. Go away from here.

‘He had to collect my Tecno phone and damaged my Samsung tablet
and my wrist watch.

‘It was the quick intervention of some party chieftains and security personnel that rescued me from the midst of the commissioner’s violent looking thugs,’ Ikujuni said.

Reacting, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ondo State Council, decried the attack and physical assault on Ikujuni by the commissioner.

Its chairman, Mr Leke Adegbite, said the act was barbaric and unacceptable.

In a statement, Adegbite said the action of the commissioner was uncivilised and called on Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa to immediately suspend Yusuf-Ogunleye and launch investigation into the incident.

‘Ondo NUJ observes with sadness that Mr Yusuf-Ogunleye’s attitude to media professionals was unbecoming of a public office holder.

‘We call on Mr Governor to place Mr Saka Ogunleye on indefinite suspension for his physical assault on a senior journalist like Tayo Ikujuni, who was performing his constitutional roles of monitoring the APC primary.

‘We call on the commissioner to replace damaged handset of the jou
rnalist and tender unreserved apology to the victim and the media industry.

‘We equally direct media houses and professionals to halt the coverage and activities of the commissioner until our demands are met.’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Nigeria ripe for a new Constitution- Ndara

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mohammed Ndarani has called on the National Assembly to draft a new constitution instead of panel-beating the 1999 constitution made by the military regime.

Ndarani said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while reacting to his submission of a memorandum on the review of the 1999 Constitution to the House of Representatives on Saturday in Abuja.

He said the National Assembly has the power to draft an entirely new constitution, urging it to invoke its power to make a people’s constitution for Nigeria.

‘Developments in this country today justify the complete overhaul and comprehensive amendment to our 1999 constitution, which was only made as an annexure to a Military Decree.

‘We have attempted to beat into shape and modify it through a myriad of amendments, but these efforts have still left much to be desired as they have not yielded the desired dividends.’

The SAN said they submitted the memorandum as an affirmation of their absolute faith and con
fidence in the National Assembly.

‘We believe that they will, without bias, collate and harmonise our views and other public views in this regard to produce a formidable document that will effectively, and truly reflect the historical, cultural, and traditional values of all Nigerians.’

He said that in their submission, they proposed a constitutional amendment that would reintroduce the Parliamentary form of government.

‘We contend that the present Presidential form of government has outlived its usefulness.

‘Western liberal democracy has not worked for Africa and the historical and traditional antecedents in Nigeria favour parliamentary governance.’

He disclosed that they also proposed the adoption of the six geopolitical zones to act in the capacity of regional governments.

He said they also recommendeded the independence and autonomy of the Local Government in tandem with the parliamentary system of government being proposed.

‘We support and recommend the formation of State Police in all the states
of the federation, which we consider long overdue.

‘We recommended a comprehensive and all-embracing reform of the judiciary to make it capable of standing, performing optimally under the Parliamentary system of governance”.

Ndarani said that they also recommended Electoral Reforms to strengthen INEC to deliver transparent, credible, free and fair elections.

‘There is an overwhelming need to re-strategise, overhaul and amend or enact a new electoral act and regulations to make the process responsive to the will, yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

‘We have submitted our own recommendations hoping that the new constitution, or such amendments, would make provision for a referendum as a condition for the passage of any law or amendments being anticipated thenceforth.

‘This, in our opinion, is what will give the said constitution or act the touch of the people and imbue it with the much-needed legitimacy and bring the laws closer to the people and the people closer to the law and the lawmakers.”

rce: News Agency of Nigeria


Women need regular health talk, physical exercises – DEPOWA President

Mrs Oghogho Musa, the President, Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA), has stressed the need for regular health talk and physical exercises for women.

She also advised women in barracks to take charge of their health through regular medical check ups.

Musa gave the advice during the monthly DEPOWA Aerobics with the theme ‘Walk for Health’ at the NDC Base Camp, Ushafa in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Saturday.

She said the event was organised to encourage women to be active and live a healthy life.

She urged the women to make the walk their daily routine or at least four times a week with 10,000 steps daily.

She said ‘we must take charge of our health and I believe we have learnt one or two things.

‘Today, like the doctor just informed us, some people have high Blood Pressure (BP) and blood sugar and with this exercise, we are able to identify those people and extra care will be taken.

‘For those that are already on medication, please stick to your drugs,
visit your doctors and make sure you do all that you have been advised to do.

‘We have doctors around us, we have nurses too, we have people that are knowledgeable about these things and we need to please ask questions, talk to people and open up because a problem shared is half solved.’

She said the event was organised to encourage women to be active and live a healthy life.

She urged the women to make the walk their daily routine or at least four times a week with 10,000 steps daily.

She said ‘we must take charge of our health and I believe we have learnt one or two things.

‘Today, like the doctor just informed us, some people have high Blood Pressure (BP) and blood sugar and with this exercise, we are able to identify those people and extra care will be taken.

‘For those that are already on medication, please stick to your drugs, visit your doctors and make sure you do all that you have been advised to do.

‘We have doctors around us, we have nurses too, we have people that are knowledgeable about th
ese things and we need to please ask questions, talk to people and open up because a problem shared is half solved.’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Tinubu’s aide donates foodstuff to victims of attacks on Omala in Kogi

The Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Community Engagement, North-Central zone, Mrs Abiodun Essiet, has donated 80 bags of rice to victims of attacks on Omala Local Government Area in Kogi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Agojeju-Odo and Abejukolo communities in Omala were attacked by suspected herdsmen on April 4.

A total of 25 persons were reportedly killed and several others injured by the assailants.

The President’s aide and a delegation from the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) programme, visited the area to commiserate with the people over the unfortunate incident.

Essiet emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence which remained an important tool and pillar for development, adding that it could make or mar any community.

Represented by Lateefa Isah, Essiet conveyed the goodwill message of President Tinubu to the people of Omala, and donated 80 bags of rice to the victims.

She reiterated the commitment of the President to continuou
sly support all Nigerian citizens.

‘These bags of rice are part of the palliatives from Mr President. They were delivered by my office to assist victims of conflict in Omala Local Government Area.

‘President Tinubu is committed to protecting lives and property of all Nigerians. He has also resolved to engage Nigerian citizens at the grassroots for all-inclusive governance,’ she said.

Also, the Head of Kogi State CARES Coordination Unit, Sani Haruna, said Omala community had benefited from NG-CARES intervention through the Kogi State Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA).

He described NG-CARES as a development programme designed to expand access to livelihood support and food security services, as well as grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms.

Haruna urged the community to take advantage of the government’s intervention through the NG-CARES programme to attract more developments to the area.

According to him, CSDA and Fadama are some of the NG-CARES intervention that the Omale comm
unity could benefit from.

The District Head of Abejukolo, Chief Suleiman Abimaje, who spoke on behalf of the community, appreciated the Federal and State Governments for their support.

Abimaje appealed for the siting of a military base in the area to curb the incessant attacks by herdsmen.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Navy takes delivery of additional offshore survey vessel

The Nigerian Navy has taken delivery of a state-of-technology Offshore Survey Vessel, OSV 115, designed and built by a French shipbuilding company, OCEA SA.

It is a 35m-long vessel built for scientific hydro-graphic and oceanographic missions and equipped with progressive technology, including medium or shallow water multi-beam echo sounders and other essential survey equipment.

The vessel, delivered at Apapa, Lagos, is primed to conduct in-depth surveys in shallow and medium waters.

It was delivered with comprehensive support services, including training, spare parts, tooling, and necessary documentation, ensuring seamless integration and operation within the Nigerian Navy’s fleet.

Director of Naval Information, Commodore Aiwuyor Adams-Aliu, stated on Saturday in Abuja that the latest addition to the Nigerian Navy fleet would operate in tandem with the OSV 190 ‘NNS LANA”.

NNS LANA was also built and delivered by OCEA in 2021.

‘The primary role of the new vessel is to conduct hydro-graphic and oceanogr
aphic surveys, supporting on-going efforts to safeguard Nigeria’s territorial waters and optimise the current administration’s Blue Economy initiatives.

‘The Nigerian Navy began local production of internationally-recognised nautical charts in 2019 and the newly-acquired OSV will further improve its hydro-graphic charting proficiency,” Adams-Aliu stated.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria