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Restructuring: N’assembly opposes southern govs, Igbo youths, Ladoja okay call

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Leaders of the National Assembly have rubbished the call by governors of the southern states South’s governors for a convocation of a national conference on security and restructuring of the country.
The governors’ call for an urgent national dialogue, bold steps to restructure the country, total ban on open grazing and for President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation was faulted by Senate President Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday.
This is contrary to the support of the call got by senators from the South and members of the House of Representatives from the South.
Lawan accused the governors of retreating to regionalism to address a national issue that should be collectively decided upon.
Gbajabiamila, in the same vein, said to end the security challenge, all must ‘imbibe the spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love.”
Former Nasarawa State Governor Abdulahi Adamu, a senator representing Nasarawa West, accused the governors of “betraying the trust.”
But a former Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja, Igbo youths and minority party members of the House of Representatives from the North gave their blessing.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila spoke at the Presidential Villa in Abuja after the prayer along with President Buhari.
Senator Adamu spoke in Keffi, Nasarawa State, also after observing the prayers.
Lawan said, “I believe that, as leaders, especially those of us who are elected, should not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because, even if you are a governor, you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level, you have done it in your state as well.
“What you may accuse the Federal Government of, whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state. So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government levels work for the people.
“We should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solutions to our challenges must come from us regardless of what level of government we are, whether at the federal, state or the local government level. I believe that Nigeria is going to come out of these challenges stronger.”
Lawan added, “I also want to take this opportunity to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute the security issues to the absence of a functional local government system.
“I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge and ensure that the local government system functions. This is as we look for ways to curb the security challenge. We must never neglect the local government system. We must go back to our local government system to ensure they are autonomous and functional.”
Gbajabiamila said: “If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame for what is happening today.
“Whatever challenges we have, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve these issues we’re facing. We must imbibe that spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love that would take us through this.”
Senator Adamu slammed the governors, saying: “The recent meeting of the Southern Governors Forum is an act of betrayal of trust. Each governor swore to an oath and they emphasised loyalty to the sovereignty of this country. They pledged their loyalty to the President of the country. That’s their oath of office.
“While we accept the fact that we have various forms of association and freedom of expression as citizens, they have failed to express their views through the right channel.
“They are members of the Council of State. There is no better forum at their level to take a joint decision than such forum. The fact that they have taken a decision as a divisive move, does not speak well of their intention.
“I think they are just playing to the gallery. What they are saying is not new. They are like broken record, saying the same thing over and over again.
“Why can’t they come to the appropriate body which is the National Assembly to project their ideas?
“They have members in the National Assembly who are representing them. If they have an issue that is so important as that, which borders on the Constitution of the country, they should go there and express their grievances.
“We would sit, debate it and see how best we can come out of it. There can’t be Nigeria if every one wants to have things happen in his or her own way.
“There is a Constitution and there is a framework that we are supposed to operate as governors. To go outside it is a betrayal of their oath of office.

Lagos lawyer Mike Ozekhome said the call for a national dialogue by the Southern governors was unnecessary.
He argued that the recommendations of the last National Conference had not been implemented.
Delivering a paper as a keynote speaker at the 25th Law week of the Awka branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ozekhome argued that another national conference would amount to a waste of time and resources.
The rights activist, who spoke on “Legal profession in a lawless society”, said if the southern governors wanted to get it right, they should have referred to the 2014 recommendations which he was part of.
He said, “I was at the 2014 National Conference headed by the late Justice Idris Kutigi, and the over 200 recommendations we made at that conference were yet to be touched.
“So, when I heard the 17 southern governors talking about another conference… I know they mean well for the country, but we do not need another dialogue.
“Let them go to the 2014 recommendations, they will see that we recommended state police, we recommended part-time legislature.”
Also, VON DG Okechukwu advised Nigerians not to see the socio-economic and security challenges facing the country as a reason to give more powers to state governors who are already mismanaging their powers.
He warned that conceding more powers to the governors, whom he described as “emperors” would put the country’s democracy in grave danger.
“It will be paradoxical for us to expect good governance at the sub-national level when the governors have locked up democratic institutions,” Okechukwu said in a statement yesterday.
The VON boss, who is also a founding member of All Progressives Congress (APC) called on Nigerians to look beyond the frenzy of restructuring as canvassed by the Southern governors.
He argued that giving more powers to governors will by omission or commission create Frankenstein monsters which will put our democracy in harm’s way.

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Army: We follow int’l procedure in treating ex-insurgents, not pampering

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The army is not pampering surrendered Boko Haram terrorists, Christopher Musa, the theatre commander of the North-East Joint Task Force, Operation Hadin Kai, has said.

He stated this in an interview with journalists on Wednesday, explaining that the military’s decision to allow insurgents to surrender to troops was in line with international laws and best practices.

According to him, when an enemy surrenders during combat, the capturing forces are, by law, not to shoot that individual.

He said the army is also expected to treat the surrendered enemy humanely.

“I don’t know if people misunderstood humane treatment as being pampering, because if he is sick, we are supposed to treat him. If he is hungry, we are supposed to give him food; we are supposed to provide him shelter just like any other person and that is exactly what we are doing,” he said.

He also said, “There is no aspect of pampering. We are just keeping them as humans to ensure that they are fit enough to go through proper procedure and they will definitely go through this procedure.

“Again, let me assure the public that there is no aspect of pampering. We are sorting them out so that those that didn’t play any part will be handled separately, while those ones that took part actively — the combatants — will be treated separately.

“We want to reassure the citizenry that we are on top of the game. We assure them that we will continue to do our best to ensure that peace returns to the North-East, which is our mandate.”

The theatre commander advised other insurgents to also surrender now that they had the opportunity to do so.

“I am sure that even they too want their children to have a conducive atmosphere, where they will grow and where there will be development. This is because staying in the bush and killing people will not provide that,” he said.

“They should not allow anybody to deceive them into taking arms against the nation. They will never win and they can never win.

“It is important for them to understand that anybody who disarms will be treated fairly according to international laws.”

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UNGA: Nigeria ready to reverse biodiversity loss, says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government has initiated some specific actions to reverse the severe trend of biodiversity loss affecting the world.

The President spoke in New York, at the hybrid High-Level event tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People” on the margins of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 76).

Buhari championed regional and inter-regional cooperation towards addressing the scourge.

He outlined other measures to include: “Expansion of protected areas including the establishment of ten (10) new National Parks across the country as well as the creation of Marine Protected Areas pursuant to the 30X30 Agenda of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD); and domestication of relevant International Agreements, Conventions as well as Laws and Policies for the protection and conservation of biodiversity.”

The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, added, “Leveraging the cooperation and partnerships of the development partners as well as international organisations and coalitions for concrete action against deforestation and biodiversity loss; and promotion and increased investments in climate-positive and nature-positive economy for sustainable environment and land use practices” were other areas being worked on to confront the challenge.”

He expressed gratitude to the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, whose country currently chairs the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People (HAC) of which Nigeria is also a member and co-chair for the opportunity to be part of “this great event.”

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IPOB: There’ll be one-month lockdown in south-east if FG fails to bring Kanu to court

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) says the south-east region will go on a one-month lockdown, if the federal government fails to bring Nnamdi Kanu, its leader, to court on October 21.

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On July 26, Binta Nyako, judge of the federal high court, Abuja, adjourned the trial of Kanu till October 21, owing to the failure of the federal government to produce him in court.

In June, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested and extradited to Nigeria to face trial. He was remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) after he was re-arraigned before the judge.

On August 9, the proscribed group announced the enforcement of a lockdown every Monday until Kanu is released but later suspended the directive, a few days later.

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Reacting, IPOB, in a statement, by Emma Powerful, its spokesperson, alleged that the federal government has perfected plans not to bring Kanu to court on the next adjourned date.

The group said its “peaceful resolution” towards the trial of Kanu should not be misconstrued as weakness, while stressing that there will be one month lockdown in the south-east, if the federal government fails to bring Kanu to court.

“The attention of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great prophet and liberator of our time, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been drawn to the plot by Nigeria government and DSS in Abuja not to produce our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to court on 21st October 2021, the date he is due to appear in court to start his case,” the statement reads.

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“The federal government of Nigeria has again perfected plans not to bringing him to court on that day. Their wicked plan is to perpetually keep him behind bars without trial to see if they can demoralise him and Biafrans but they are late.

“If the federal government refuses to bring him to court in his next court appearance on October 21, 2021, the entire Biafra land will be on total lock down for one month. The federal government will know that they cannot take us for granted any more. Our peaceful disposition as a people should not be misconstrued as weakness.

“Their plan is to suppress agitation and force everyone into submission but Biafrans won’t succumb to their intimidation.”

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