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Presidency faults southern governors’ open grazing ban, approves ranching

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The Presidency has opposed the position of southern state governors banning open grazing of cattle as a solution to frequent herder-farmer clashes across the country.

It said their position was legally questionable, adding that the decision to stop herders from grazing from North to South was a violation of their constitutional right as Nigerians.

It said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved new measures to clear the way for modern ranching and revival of forest reserves as permanent solutions to the clashes.

The 17 southern state governors at a meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, on May 11,  jointly decided to enforce the ban on open grazing and called on the Federal Government to fund the Livestock Transformation Programme.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum endorsed the southern governors’ decision.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders in the South-West have also supported the position of the governors on restructuring and open grazing.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami likened the ban on open grazing to stopping a spare parts seller from doing his trade in the North.

His position, which the Presidency appears to have adopted, was criticised by many Nigerians.

The Presidency on Monday faulted the southern governors’ position through a statement by a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

He said the President “expressed a strong resolve to address the conflicts of herders and farmers in a sustained and lasting manner that should lead to the emergence of a permanent solution to the frequent clashes between them, as well as the associated problem of the gun-wielding ‘killer herdsmen’.

“The President had approved a number of specific measures to bring a permanent end to the frequent skirmishes as recommended by Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture in a report he submitted and the President signed off on it back in April, well before the actions of the Southern Governors Forum which attempts to place a ban on open grazing and other acts of politicking intended by its signatories to demonstrate their power.

“It is very clear that there was no solution offered from their resolutions to the herder-farmer clashes that have been continuing in our country for generations.

“But the citizens of the southern states – indeed citizens of all states of Nigeria – have a right to expect their elected leaders and representatives to find answers to challenges of governance and rights, and not to wash their hands off hard choices by, instead, issuing bans that say: ‘not in my state’

“It is equally true that their announcement is of questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT) -regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”

It added, “Fortunately, this declaration has been preempted, for whatever it is intended to achieve and Mr President, who has rightly been worried about these problems more than any other citizen in consultation with farmers and herders alike, commissioned and approved an actionable plan of rehabilitating grazing reserves in the states, starting with those that are truly committed to the solution and compliant with stated requirements.

“With veterinary clinics, water points for animals, and facilities for herders and their families including schooling – through these rehabilitated reserves, the Federal Government is making far-reaching and practical changes allowing for different communities to co-exist side-by-side: supporting farmers to till their fields, herders to rear their livestock and Nigerians everywhere to be safe.

“The entire country is acutely aware of the strain the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on public finances, for both federal and states. Still, given the pressing urgency of addressing the perennial challenges, the federal funding for the project that has been delayed is now being partly unlocked. Actual work for the full actualization of the modern reserve system in a few of the consenting states should take off in June.”

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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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Reps summon Sunday Dare over athletes’ disqualification at Tokyo Olympics

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The house of representatives has summoned Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports development, over the disqualification of 10 athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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The lower chamber passed the resolution during plenary session on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Lawrence Ayeni, lawmaker from Osun state.

The minister is to brief the lawmakers on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

TheCable had reported how the AIU disqualified 10 Nigerian track and field athletes for failing to comply with the out-of-competition testing (OCT) requirement.

AIU said Nigeria is among countries deemed to have the highest doping risk, and the athletes were expected to undergo “at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event”.

Leading the debate on the motion on Wednesday, Ayeni said Nigeria was disqualified despite the “huge funds” available to the sports ministry and preparation made by the athletes.

“Nigeria delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating the comity of nations,” he said.

“Concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests.”

The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house.

While mandating its committee on sports to investigate the cause of the “failed doping test to forestall future occurrence,” the green chamber asked the ministry of sports to put measures in place to “ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions”.

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Senate passes MTEF, retains $57 per barrel as oil benchmark

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The senate on Wednesday passed the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF), retaining the oil benchmark for the 2022 budget at $57 per barrel.

The upper legislative chamber also put the daily crude oil production at 1.88 million barrels per day and the exchange rate of N410 to a dollar.

The aforementioned assumptions, which the 2022 budget will be predicated on, were proposed by the federal executive council (FEC).

The upper legislative chamber did not make any adjustments to the assumptions of FEC chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Before the senators passed the document, Solomon Olamilekan, chairman of the finance committee, while presenting a report, said there should be a continuous review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure that all revenues are remitted to the federation account.

The Lagos west senator said this would curtail “frivolous” deductions and diversion of funds by miniseries, departments and agencies (MDA).

“That the daily crude oil production of 1.88mbpd, 2.23mbpd, and 2.22mbpd for 2022, 2023 and 2024 respectively, be approved, in view of average 1.93mbpd over the past three years and the fact that a very conservative oil output benchmark has been adopted for the medium term in order to ensure greater budget realism,” he said.

“That the benchmark oil price of $57 per barrel should be approved because of the clear evidence of wide consultations with key stakeholders. and the age long fiscal strategy of addressing the oil price shocks by the adoption of a higher than forecast oil price benchmark for fiscal projections over the medium term.

“That the exchange rate of N410.15 to a dollar proposed by the executive for 2022-2024 be approved.”

The senate also approved the projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 4.20 percent and projected inflation rate of 13 percent.

At the international market, Brent oil price climbed by 1.4 percent to $75.44 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 1.6 percent to $71.65 a barrel over tight supply as demand improves.

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