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Igboho won’t change Benin-based lawyers –Counsel

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Kayode Oyero and Olufemi Olaniyi

The Coordinator of Legal Affairs for the detained Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (Sunday Igboho),  Olasupo Ojo, has said  Igboho has no plan to change his Benin-based lawyers.

Igboho, had in a leaked audio, expressed anger with his team of about 10 lawyers in Benin Republic for failing to secure his release after about 50 days in detention.

In the leaked audio, Igboho had lambasted all his Benin Republic-based lawyers, led by Ibrahim Salami and also complained about his alleged maltreatment and abandonment in prison by Salami and the other lawyers despite receiving about N5m each.

Igboho had said he was not afraid of being extradited to Nigeria.

But Ojo, in a chat with The PUNCH on Tuesday, said, “He (Igboho) is not changing any of the lawyers in Benin Republic. We know the lawyers that are working, we know those are not working and we have adjusted according. For the sake of goodwill and everybody concerned, we are not removing any lawyer because each of those lawyers has their good sides and added advantages and we also need their goodwill. It is a foreign country.

“So, we have decided to continue working with all of them. We can manage them. They are all contributing. He may not know what the lawyers are contributing outside; he is only concerned about who he is seeing. All the lawyers cannot be coming to the prison all the time.”

 ‘Legal team head once sacked Cotonou-based lawyers’

However, speaking with The PUNCH, a member of Igboho’s legal team in Nigeria, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said the leaked audio was a regretted development, adding the head of the entire legal team, Yomi Aliyu (SAN), had once fired all the Benin-based lawyers for related matters the activist accused them of in the leaked audio.

Olajengbesi said, “There is no confusion in the Igboho legal team. Of course, it is a big legal team but it is well-structured. The Igboho case is not a small matter because we are dealing with two nations and the Federal Government of Nigeria is determined by all means to take down Igboho.

“Chief Sunday Igboho is not satisfied with the way in which the matter is handled in Benin Republic. Of course, he is aware of the progress made in Abuja, he is aware of the progress made in Ibadan, Abuja and Lagos.

“The head of the entire legal team of Chief Sunday Igboho is Chief Yomi Aliyu and there was a time he sanctioned the entire team of lawyers in Benin Republic. As a matter of fact, he sacked all of them. It took the understanding of senior lawyers involved in this matter who have always been giving guidance and advice like Chief Femi Falana (SAN), Ojo Olasupo and others to salvage the Benin-based lawyers.

“The legal team in Nigeria is intact, there is an understanding and the matter is going on well.”

The Cour De’appal De Cotonou had on July 26 granted Igboho access to medical care and ordered that he be remanded in a prison facility.

Speaking on the next date of court appearance, Ojo saidthough no date had been fixed for resumption of Igboho’s trial but the court in the West African country would resume later this September.

Court extends restraining order against Malami, DSS

Meanwhile, Justice Ladiran Akintola of the Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan on Tuesday extended the restraining order he granted against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Department of State Services against arresting Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho.

He extended the restraining order at the resumed hearing of the fundamental human right suit instituted by Igboho against the defendants on Tuesday.

Justice Akintola in his ruling extended the interim order to September 17.

The judge had on August 4 granted an interim injunction restraining the AGF, the  DSS and their agents against arresting,  intimidating harassing and freezing bank accounts of Igboho. The court extended the interim order on August 18.

Counsel for Igboho, Chief Yomi Aliyyu (SAN) also on August 26 filed a fresh application before the court for an extension of the interim order.

The AGF on August 30, which was the last adjourned date, also filed an application for the vacation of the restraining order.

 At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, counsel for the AGF, Abdulahi Abubakar,  prayed the court to set aside the August 4 injunction restraining the AGF.

However,  Igboho through his counsel said he filed a counter-affidavit and a written address on  August 24,  and that he would adopt same and rely on the counter affidavit.

Alliyu argued that the application filed by the AGF was filed out of time because it was done outside the seven days stipulated by Order 4 Rule 6 of the Fundamental Human Rights Procedure Rule 2009.

Justice Akintola extended the restraining order and adjourned till September 17.

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TUC gives strike notice to Fayemi over unpaid workers’ benefits

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Dr Kayode Fayemi

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ekiti chapter, has advised Gov Kayode Fayemi to pay workers backlog of arrears as promised during his electioneering campaign in 2018 before the expiration of his tenure on Oct. 15, 2022.

The labour union said redeeming such pledge would further reinforce workers’ trust in the APC-led administration in Ekiti and smoothen relationship with the incoming Governor,   Biodun Oyebanji.

The union congratulated Oyebanji on his victory in the recently concluded Governorship poll, urging him to be magnanimous in victory by being inclusive in governance and forming robust alliance  with opposition, to build Ekiti of his dream.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that this was contained in a statement in Ado Ekiti after the union’s State Executive Council’s meeting and signed by its State Chairman,  Sola Adigun.

The council condemned in strong terms, the rate of kidnapping of citizens in the state, urging Fayemi to devise means to curtail the nefarious act, threatening peaceful coexistence and investment drives.

Sequel to government’s inability to meet some pending workers’ demands, TUC issued a 21-day ultimatum to government to pay all arrears of salaries, deductions and promotion, failing which industrial harmony could no longer be guaranteed.

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“The TUC commends the government’s prompt payment of salary since the inception of this outgoing administration in October 2018 till date.

However, the TUC reminds Governor Fayemi of his initial promise to offset all arrears payment before the expiration of the tenure.

“But we noted with dismay, the refusal of the government to remit the already deducted dues such as co-operative deductions, contributory pension, bank loans repayment, NHF fund, to the appropriate quarters.

He said this had made life becoming unbearable for workers.

“We equally frown seriously at the refusal of the Accountant-General of the State to continue with cooperative savings update of Ekiti workers, due to the alleged presence of some syndicate operating in her office.

“Most members of TUC have not benefited from the new minimum wage after almost two years of implementation in the state.

” We call on the government to implement the minimum wage across the board for all workers without further delay.

“We note that the financial backing giving the 2018 – 2019 promotion exercise was selectively implemented.

“Hence, we call on  government to ensure that others exempted should be immediately captured for financial remuneration.

“The TUC also demands that the facilities in the health institution, especially the teaching hospital, be upgraded to meet up with the expected standard of best practice.

“Finally, the meeting demands that the government should set machinery in motion within the next 21 days to meet up with the demands, failing which industrial harmony will no longer be guaranteed”.

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Army to engage retired soldiers in insecurity fight – COAS

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The Nigerian Army says it will continue to engage the services of its retired personnel in tackling insecurity in the country.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya said at this on Tuesday night at a ”Regimented Dinner ” he organised for the 2021 set of retired officers from its 3 Division, Rukuba, near Jos.

The COAS, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the division and Commander Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), thanked the retired personnel for their sacrifices and commitment to duty while in service.

He explained that the expertise of the retired personnel would be needed toward supporting the Nigerian army in its bid to end all forms of insecurity in the nation.

”I wish to assure you that the Nigerian army is grateful for the services you rendered to our father land.

”There are ongoing efforts to engage the services of the retired professionals with the wealth of experiences gathered over the years.

”These experiences are necessary toward tackling all forms of insecurity in our nation, ”he said.

Yahaya added that the dinner was organised to appreciate the retired personnel and their spouses for thier meritorious service to the nation.

The COAS assured the personnel still serving, to put in their best in securing the territorial integrity of the nation and promised to make their welfare top of his priorities.

Also speaking, retired Maj.-Gen. Hasaan Umaru, who was Special Guest at the event, thanked the COAS for introducing the dinner as a welfare package for the retired officers.

He tasked the retired officers to be good ambassadors of the Nigerian army and be ready to support it anytime their services would be needed.

Umaru advised them to contribute to the growth of their immediate communities and the society in general.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that earlier, a buffet was held in honour of retired soldiers at the cantonment.

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20 million Nigerians benefitting from our cash transfer – FG

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The Federal Government says over two million households in Nigeria are currently benefitting from its conditional cash transfer programme.

The government also said over 20 million persons were indirect beneficiaries of the programme in the two million households.

This came as it began partnership with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC,the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission,ICPC and other relevant agencies to probe compliance level of the National Social Investment Programme,NSIP in states of the federation.

The National Coordinator of the National Social Investment Programmes, NSIP, Dr. Umar Bindir, speaking on Tuesday at the stakeholders’ meeting on state compliance check exercise of NSIP in Abuja, said, ”As we speak, we are now advancing cash transfer to two million households, these are houses of not individuals, so if you are approximately putting 10 people per household,you are talking about probably like 20 million or so people that we are handling.”

Bandir said the government was spending between N12 billion to N15 billion monthly.

“When you look at N-Power,we have a bill of possibly between N12 billion to 15 billion every month. And you can estimate that we have 510,000 now ongoing and we have the batch c for 490,000 coming on,so when you multiply the number of the graduates by N30,000 per month, you will get the figure,”he said.

He said government was injecting N12 billion and N14 billion every month into the funds for feeding school children.

He said, “If you look at the school feeding,you will see that we are feeding between nine to ten million children nationwide and each child on a schooling day is fed with N70 per meal,so again,when you do the arithmetic,you get something maybe between N12 billion and N14 billion every month in feeding these children during school every month.

“But the finances injected in summary,into the National Social Investment Programme,the recurrent alone is over N300 billion. That is not enough,that is less than possibly what is required, gauging against the number of poor and vulnerable we have in this country.

He said, ”We are beginning to see the multiply effects, people who have gotten credit and are now hiring one or more people, therefore,the employment generation is improving. The graduates,some of them are exiting and establishing their businesses.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, speaking at the event, said government had begun partnership with relevant agencies in carrying out the compliance check of the implementation guidelines “of all our programmes and to develop a standard and effective compliance check structure for the various NSIP assignments.”

The Permanent Secretary,who was represented by the Director, Special Needs, Mrs Nkechi Onwukwe, explained that,”Our primary goal is to meet the needs of the people who need a helping hand from Government to restore hope, provide support and succor, as well as an enabling environment for recovery, rehabilitation and social inclusion, while ensuring their human dignity is upheld at all times.”

The creation of the ministry,he explained, “was necessitated by the compelling need to harmonize, synergize, institutionalize, as well as provide coordination of all government’s humanitarian and social interventions.

“This is in line with the vision of Mr. President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”

“The National Social Investment Programme, a social investment initiative aimed at tackling poverty across the country was launched, targeting “the poorest of the poor and the socially excluded members of the society.”

Speaking more on the event, he said, ”The activities of the Mmnistry constantly impact on the well-being of the indigent citizens and contributes to the socio-economic development of the country and in order for the ministry to effectively provide the desired and much needed coordination and leadership it was conceived to provide, it must have an effective and consistent means of appraising its activities.”

Sani-Gwarzo said since inception, the ministry had so far “achieved a lot in the area of the provision and effective coordination of humanitarian interventions in keeping with our mandate. “

“We have also been able to provide coordination through cooperation and partnerships with relevant government MDA’s, development partners, UN agencies and other strategic partners.

“This is all in a bid to ensure sustained and expanded social protection programmes, prompt emergency response services, and appropriately targeted humanitarian interventions,”he said.

Noting that,“The National Social Investment Programme,NSIP is the biggest social protection and poverty eradication programme ever put in place by any government in Nigeria and one of the biggest in Africa”,he explained that:”it was established by President Buhari in 2016 to address immediate and long-term socio-economic imbalances and inequalities, alleviate poverty, and stimulate accelerated economic growth.”

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