Edo PDP calls for probe of N30b Edo storm water project

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  • Erosion site

Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), has called for a comprehensive probe of the N30 billion Benin storm water project, awarded by the immediate past Governor of the State, Adams Oshiomhole.

The storm water project was conceived to curb the menace of erosion in Benin City.

The then Governor Oshiomhole commissioned a South African company to design a master plan for the project.

The entire project cost was put at N150 billion, with phase one awarded at the cost of N30 billion.

The N30 billion was raised at the capital market.

While parts of the project have been abandoned, several sections of the moat constructed at Okhoro Road and Upper Law-abiding have already have  collapsed.

Edo State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, who conducted an on-the-spot-assessment visit to parts of the project site in Egor Local Government Area of the state, alleged that the project has eventually become a permanent habitat for mosquitoes.

He said: “I call for a comprehensive probe of this project, from the time they acquired the N30 billion bond, those who facilitated the bond, those who were paid the commission of N1.5 billion 1 and those who are now shifting blame for the disaster here.

“They have been part of this project and they must account for the public fund that have been wasted here.

“You can see this is just a mere erosion control project. They called it a very big title, the Benin storm water project.

“There is no storm here, there is no storm water project, there is no earthquake, nothing. It is all a deceit.

“They have constructed a gutter that has become a permanent habitat for mosquitoes,” he said.

Orbih added that for them to put an end to the ugly narrative in the State, the citizens must join hands with the PDP in 2020, to edge out the ruling APC.

“You will also agree with me that the Edo people have seen for themselves the blame-game of the APC government in the State.

“As we approach 2020, which is an election year for the people of Edo State, we call on Edo people to watch very closely the blame game by the APC actors in the State between Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki.

“It is very obvious that there is something that is wrong with this government. It is the duty of government to carry out project that will be in the best interest of the people, but here we are, a project that they informed the State will cost about N30 billion, they are now talking about N150b to complete this project.

“They have also come out to say it will take another 30 years for them to be able to complete this project and at a time none of them probably will be alive to answer for the failure of this project.

“Let me state clearly here, Edo State people are tired of this blame game between godfather and the godson.

“Starting from the Specialist Hospital project to the crisis in the State House of Assembly and now the Benin Storm Water Project, it is all blame game,” he added.

Orbih said the State Government should not abandon the project which it was part and parcel of and that it should stop the blame-game and complete the project for respite to return to the affected area.

“I want Edo people to look at this government, look at the failure of this government and urge them to put an end to this disaster. I can say quite clearly that we need to change the narrative in Edo State politics, the deceit and the distortion of fact must come to an end,” he said.

Efforts to get a reaction from the State Commissioner for Information, Barr. Paul Ohonbamu, failed, as calls made to his mobile phone could not connect.

PRESIDENTIAL AMNESTY PROGRAMME: FISHING BOAT CONTRACT, SMEAR CAMPAIGN AND MATTERS ARISING

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POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2019, 10:13 PM

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Press Statement

On Thursday, September 26, 2019, the social media was awash with a report published by an online portal, PointblankNews, alleging that the Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, paid a sum of N1.6billion to a contractor for supply of 400 wooden canoes for a women empowerment programme. It further claimed that the unit cost paid for each wooden boat was N4million, far above a market price of not less than N200, 000.

For the management and staff at the Amnesty Office, the report which was published barely a day after the Amnesty Programme under Prof. Dokubo celebrated its latest achievement with the flag-off of a phased empowerment exercise for 400 rural women in coastal communities of the Niger Delta, was not a surprise.  This is because in pursuit of the ignoble agenda of its paymasters, PointblankNews has become notorious for blackmail and promotion of fake news on the Amnesty Programme and Prof. Dokubo.

We had ignored several injurious falsehood concocted and peddled on the social media, but have decided to straighten the records in view of the fact that consistent falsehood could be taken for the truth by undiscerning members of the public. This is more so, as Pointblank News has crossed the borderlines and stressed its mission of discrediting Prof. Dokubo and the Amnesty Programme to a nauseating level.

ALLEGED PAYMENT OF N1.6BILLION FOR 400 WOODEN CANOES

This is outright falsehood as no such amount was paid to any contractor for supply of wooden boats. First, the scope of contract for the empowerment of 400 Niger Delta rural women in coastal fishing awarded to Innotek Royal Services Limited as specified in the terms of reference, covered cost of a one-week refresher/entrepreneurial training to prepare the beneficiaries for effective management of their businesses. This includes cost of training, accommodation, feeding, and logistics for one week.

At the rate of N4million per beneficiary which is the benchmark for empowerment in the Amnesty Programme, the amount also covered cost of consultancy services for registration of business name for the beneficiaries; tax papers, bank account opening, land acquisition for each beneficiary; provision of preservation and storage facilities, branding, mentoring/monitoring of beneficiaries in their business locations for a period of three months, and comprehensive documentation of beneficiaries of the empowerment in preparation for exit from the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Apart from the above, the N4million cost of empowerment for each beneficiary in the rural women coastal fishing programme also includes provision of a package of modern starter packs to the beneficiaries. To this end, the fishing boats built and supplied by Innotek Royal Services Limited, are not wooden canoes as mischievously reported in the social media, but products of modern fibre technology.

The implementation of this contract opened a new chapter of achievement for the Presidential Amnesty Programme as some of its beneficiaries who had been trained in polymer science/technology and offered employment at Innotek Royal Services Limited, were among the workforce that constructed the modern fibre fishing boats at its factory located along DSC Expressway, Otokutu, Warri, Delta State (please see verifiable evidence in photos).

Contrary to the claim by PointblankNews that a sum of N1.6billion was paid to the contractor for 400 wooden canoes, the Presidential Amnesty Programme has ONLY PAID 15 per cent of the contract sum for 100 MODERN FIBRE boats all equipped with a Yamaha 8 horse-powered outboard engine; fishing nets, fishing hooks, life jacket, life rings, and fire buckets, which were distributed to 100 women in the first phase of the empowerment programme for rural women in coastal fishing.

We wish to also clarify that the contract awarded to Innotek Royal Services Limited for empowerment of 400 rural Niger Delta women in coastal fishing is to be implemented in phases, and the recent exercise in Warri where starter packs were given to 100 women is just the first phase of the programme. Therefore, the allegation by PointblankNews that only 100 wooden canoes were presented after Prof. Dokubo spent a sum of N1.6billion in purchasing 400 canoes is a barefaced lie. It is also important to state that in the implementation of this contract, the Presidential Amnesty Programme did not allocate more than 100 women to the contractor for the first phase of the empowerment exercise, and nothing more than 15 per cent of the contract sum has been paid.

A day earlier, the online portal reported that Prof. Dokubo pocketed a sum of N1.1billion inserted into the 2019 budget of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. It alleged that no vehicle worth the amount was purchased, but the funds had been looted by Prof. Dokubo and his cronies.

The fact is that there is no iota of truth in this allegation as such amount was neither budgeted nor approved for purchase of project vehicles. The truth is that the National Assembly approved only a sum of N400million in the 2019 budget of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for purchase of additional project vehicles for which requisition has been made and the Amnesty Office is presently taking delivery of the vehicles.

ALLEGED FBI INVESTIGATION OVER N1.7BILLION HIDDEN AT GREGORY UNIVERSITY

PointblankNews had on September 20, 2019 published with glee what it classifies as usual, as an exclusive report of a covert investigation by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Prof. Dokubo and his unidentified kinsman over money laundering, racketeering in the sum $10.5billion and N1.7billion in safe keep at Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State.

It claimed that the unnamed kinsman of Prof. Dokubo resident in the US whose undisclosed bank account was flagged after huge sums were lodged on different dates, named Prof. Dokubo as the source of the funds and also listed properties allegedly bought for him. The online portal further claimed Prof. Dokubo confided in one of his close aides that Prof. Gregory Iyke Ibe, the founder of Gregory University, has over N1.7billion in cash in safe-keep for him. It also claimed this was in addition to a sum of N200million Dokubo paid Prof. Ibe for an undisclosed reason.

We wish to state that this is the biggest lie of the century published by PointblankNews and circulated in the social media as Prof. Dokubo is NOT under investigation by the FBI, neither was he linked to money laundry by anybody in the United States. He is neither wanted nor linked to any criminal offence in the US. The authorities at Gregory University reacted promptly to the fallacies in a statement dated 18th September, 2019, in which it dismissed the report as malicious, scandalous, ludicrous, unfounded and a figment of the writer’s warped imagination. Gregory University demanded immediate retraction of the publication by the publishers of PointblankNews within 48 hours or risk litigation.

The allegation that Prof. Dokubo has acquired massive properties is standing truth on the head. He is a humble and modest man who, rather than amassing public funds, has exhibited genuine commitment to impacting positively on the lives of the Niger Delta people. He has no such properties anywhere and those making the allegation should provide proof. It is a fact that even in Abonnema, his hometown; Prof. Dokubo has no residence of his own and still lives in a family house.

Recently, the online portal had also celebrated an “exclusive” report that Prof, Dokubo had fled the country to the United States “after being implicated in an N23billion looting under the cover of the National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno”, who it alleged, was his godfather.

It claimed the presidency had asked Prof. Dokubo to prepare his hand-over notes and hand over to the most senior civil servant in the Amnesty Office, but the NSA advised Prof. Dokubo to escape the prying eyes of security operatives and go into hiding in the US. It turned out to be an unfortunate outing for the purveyors of fake news who were unaware that Dokubo had returned to Nigeria on the day the “exclusive” was splashed on PointblankNews. As a face-saving measure, the publishers deleted the report from the news portal same day to befuddle undiscerning members of the public, in a clear case of mischief.

ALLEGEDD N700MILLION BRIBE FOR THE NSA AND STAFF

On Sunday, September 29, 2019, PointblankNews went to town with another exclusive that Prof. Dokubo bribed the NSA, General Monguno (retd) with a sum of N700million to save him from the reports of fraud published on the Amnesty Programme. It also claimed that staff of the NSA’s office were given $100,000 to write security reports clearing Dokubo. These are pointblank lies sponsored and recycled overtime by self-styled leaders of the Niger Delta who hold the erroneous belief that the Amnesty Programme is their source of livelihood. It is unfortunate that the publishers of PointblankNews have gone a step further by dragging the names of respected top government officials in the mud, in a desperate bid to get at Dokubo.

This is a dangerous and wicked lie calculated at portraying the NSA in bad light and inciting him to denounce or severe his cordial supervisory relationship with Prof. Dokubo. General Monguno is a highly respected, disciplined and incorruptible military officer with impeccable and enviable records in a career that spanned over three decades. He abhors corruption and cannot encourage fraudulent practices.

Since the appointment of Prof. Charles Dokubo as Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in March, 2018, some persons claiming to be leaders of the Niger Delta had resolved to throw a spanner in his works. They’ve not relented in firing from all cylinders of their arsenal using PointblankNews as the launch pad for a smear campaign on Prof. Dokubo for initiating reforms which obstructed their flow of illicit funds. For this, they are working ferociously to wreck the boat by sponsoring subversive activities, crime and violence in the Niger Delta region, and the ignoble resort to character assassination.

That is why PointblankNews has become the only online portal amidst hundreds in the cyber space with ‘scoops’ on Prof. Dokubo and the Amnesty Programme almost daily, recording an unmatched feat in the art of mischief and propagating fallacies with seven ‘exclusive reports’ in just one month (September 2019). Unfortunately, all are wicked lies concocted and spread on the social media by those on whose toes Prof. Dokubo had stepped on, in their unbridled quest to pocket funds at the Amnesty Programme meant for beneficiaries of the Programme and the Niger Delta people.

Prof. Dokubo has been able to sustain and deepen peace in the Niger Delta as a result of prompt and consistent payment of monthly stipends for the ex-agitators, payment of fees and other allowances of beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme on scholarship, training and empowerment of beneficiaries, and several other laudable initiatives including the construction, completion and activation of vocational training centres to fast-track the reintegration process for ex-agitators.

MURPHY GANAGANA

Special Assistant, Media

BUHARI’S INDEPENDENCE BROADCAST: AN INSULT TO NIGERIANS, MOCKERY OF DEMOCRACY

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POSTED ON OCTOBER 01, 2019, 7:04 PM

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Press Statement

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describes the President Muhammadu
Buhari’s Independence Day broadcast as an insult on the psyche of
Nigerians and a mockery of our national integrity as an independent
state.

The party says the speech was completely unpresidential, lacking in
patriotic stance and replete with manifest inconsistencies,
contradictions, paradoxes and false performance claims, which further
confirm that our dear fatherland is in wrong hands.

The PDP notes that President Buhari, in his recorded address, failed to
forcefully address the key issues of freedom, social justice,
constitutional order, separation of powers, rule of law, human rights,
credible elections, national cohesion, accountability and transparency
in government; the very fundamentals of an independent state, because
his administration had violated them all.

The party regretted that President Buhari had no forceful reassurances
on the challenge of escalated insecurity under his watch; he had no
clear-cut and operable blueprint to revamp our economy, which his
administration wrecked in a period of four years, resulting in so much
hardship and despondency that Nigerians now resort to suicide and
slavery abroad as options.

Our party notes that this address further exposes that the Buhari
Presidency is not interested in nation building; that it is completely
disconnected from the people and remains insensitive to the plights of
Nigerians.

The PDP states that if anything, Mr. President only succeeded in further
demonstrating that his administration is, indeed, in no position to
deliver a credible, acceptable and satisfactory independence address.

This is so because under the Buhari Presidency, our nation has
experienced the worst form of division, deprivation, human right abuse,
constitutional violations, disregard to rule of law, electoral
malpractices, disobedience to court order, disrespect for separation of
powers and curtailing of press freedom.

The PDP further laments that due to the incompetence and legitimacy
challenges confronting the Buhari Presidency, our nation is losing her
voice and due regard in the international arena; as the administration
has remained lacking in the required capacity and boldness to forcefully
engage other world leaders on critical issues.

The dearth in foreign direct investment and the inhuman treatments being
meted out on our citizens in countries where we were once held in very
high esteem, are some of the injuries our nation is suffering under the
Buhari administration.

The party describes as depressing that while other leaders motivate
their citizens on a day like this, President Buhari is presenting
uninspiring  claims, propaganda and empty promises.

The PDP however urges Nigerians not to despair but keep hope alive as we
collectively await the  Supreme Court to deliver justice and retrieve
our stolen Presidential mandate, so that the nation will have a
leadership that it truly deserves at this point in our national history.

Signed:

Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

NEW POLLS SHOW IMPEACHMENT SUPPORT APPROACHING THE DANGER ZONE FOR TRUMP

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POSTED ON OCTOBER 01, 2019, 7:10 PM

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President Trump reportedly told his advisers last week that he would start worrying if national polls showed more than 50 percent of Americans supporting his impeachment. Five surveys released in the past two days show that public support for Trump’s impeachment is approaching a majority — and rising.

The polls were taken after the release of a memo summarizing a phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the basis for the impeachment inquiry launched last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but before a flurry of developments late Monday afternoon gave added impetus to the investigation. Those included a report that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among those who listened in on Trump’s July 25 call and the news that Trump also pressured Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for information that could help discredit former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The surveys were framed slightly differently — some asking about support for the inquiry, others about impeachment outright — and the results varied, but in all cases the trends were unfavorable to the president.

  • A CBS News poll found that 55 percent of Americans support the impeachment inquiry, while 45 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, 87 percent support the inquiry versus 13 percent who do not. Among Republicans, 23 percent support the impeachment inquiry, while 77 percent do not. In terms of Trump’s impeachment, 42 percent of those polled believe he deserves to be impeached, while 36 percent believe he does not. About a quarter (22 percent) feel it’s too soon to say.
  • A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 45 percent of American adults believe Trump should be impeached, up from 37 percent who did a week ago. The survey found that 41 percent believe he should not be impeached; 15 percent said they “don’t know.” Among Democrats, 74 percent said Trump should be impeached — up 8 points over the past week — while 13 percent of Republicans said they supported impeachment, up 3 points.
  • A CNN poll found that 47 percent believe Trump “should be impeached and removed from office,” up from 41 percent in May. The survey found that 45 percent disagree, down from 54 percent in the May poll. Part of the shift can be attributed to younger Republicans. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents under age 50, support for impeaching Trump and removing him from office has risen from 9 percent in May to 22 percent now, CNN’s poll found, while views among older Republicans and Republican leaners have held about even.
  • A Quinnipiac poll showed a split (47 percent to 47 percent) among voters who support impeaching and removing President Trump from office and those who do not. But it represented a 10-point jump in support for his impeachment and removal compared with last week, when the same survey found just 37 percent supported it, compared with 57 percent who did not. The poll also asked respondents whether they thought Trump believes he is above the law. A majority (56 percent) said yes; 42 percent said no.
  • A Monmouth University poll found support for Trump’s impeachment (44 percent) up 9 points since August, when just 35 percent supported it. Monmouth’s survey was the only one that found a majority (52 percent) not supporting the president’s impeachment.
  • DSS Arrests Fugitive Former Pension Reform Boss, Maina
  • Rilwan Adetayo Balogun  2 hours ago
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  • Abdulrasheed Maina.
  • Former Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina has been arrested in Abuja.
  • Maina was arrested by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) after he had found his way into the country secretly.
  • “Following inter-agency collaboration, intelligence report indicated that Maina had sneaked into the country from Dubai, ” the DSS had said.
  • Abdulrasheed Maina.
  • “He was trailed to an Abuja hotel where he was arrested after operatives outwitted those who tried to ferry him away in a bullet-proof vehicle.
  • “He is currently being quizzed. He is likely to be handed over to the EFCC for trial. He has a pending case since 2015.”
  • Maina was sacked in 2013 after absconding from duty, after a recommendation by the office of the Head of Service.
  • He was accused of involvement in fraud of N100billion. The Senate Committee on Public Service Establishment had  an investigation of the alleged fraud, before a warrant of arrest was issued against him.
  • The Police, in its reaction subsequently declared him wanted as he went into hiding.
  • He came back to Nigeria in 2017 and was secretly reinstated into the Ministry of Interior, before President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for his fresh dismissal and investigation into his case.
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  • President Buhari Visits South Africa Over Xenophobia, Others
  • October 1, 2019
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  • President Muhammadu Buhari will departs Abuja Wednesday on a three-day State Visit to the Republic of South Africa, following an invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss welfare of Nigerians, and find common grounds for building harmonious relations with their hosts.
  • The visit comes against the background of recent xenophobic attacks, the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerians and the exchange of visits by Special Envoys of Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa.
  • While in South Africa, the Nigerian leader will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in the country, with a view to sharing in their experiences and reassuring them of Nigerian government’s commitment to working for the protection of their lives and property and promoting peaceful co-existence.
  • President Buhari and his host will preside over the South Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission, during which a progress report will be presented. At the end of the meeting, both leaders will sign a joint communiqué.
  • The President and his delegation including Nigerian business representatives will also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum with their host counterparts.
  • President Buhari will be accompanied by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.
  • Others are: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd); Minister of Power, Eng. Saleh Mamman; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite; Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; and Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum.
  • Also on the trip are: National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Chairman/CEO Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
  • The President will return to Abuja on Friday.
  • Garba Shehu
  • Senior Special Assistant to the President
  • (Media & Publicity)
  • October 1, 2019
  • EFCC Arrests Maina
  • October 1, 2019
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  • Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Services has arrested former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force, Abdul-Rashid Maina.
  • Maina, who was embroiled in N2.1 billion pension scam was arrested through a joint effort by the EFCC and DSS, sources told SaharaReporters.
  • According to the source, Maina was arrested in a hotel in Abuja as he attempted escaping by shooting at the DSS operatives detailed to arrest him.
  • The source said, “He hid himself in a bulletproof car for several hours before he was forced out by the operatives.
  • “On the request of the EFCC, the DSS has been monitoring his movement for days before now.”
  • It was gathered that one Zainab Buratai, a woman who claimed to be a businesswoman and philanthropist in Abuja, by her Twitter handle but no established direct connection with the Chief of Army Staff, said Maina had been using his influence in the police force, to terrorize his extended family.
  • Maina had ordered one of her nephews, Sadiq to be arrested.
  • Sadiq was beaten to a coma on the allegation of stealing $1.7 million belonging to Maina.
  • Whereas Maina’s biological son admitted stealing the father’s money and Maina’s son Laila confirmed taking possession of the unspent stolen funds from the son.
  • Maina’s younger brother, Khalid, was also arrested and detained by officers of the inspector-general’s special team under Abba Kyari.
  • It took the intervention of senior police officers to secure the release of Khalid last weekend.
  • Operatives of the anti-graft agency have arrested several agents, couriers, informant and subordinates of Maina in the last two months and several properties hidden under several “proxies and concubines” seized from the fugitive.
  • As of the time of filing this report, the DSS was still profiling Maina and possibly would hand him over to the EFCC later today (Tuesday) or sometime soon.
  • His possession of a firearm, among others, is to be investigated by the DSS
  • Maina is being aided by top government officials led by Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to evade trial and prosecution following his embezzlement of N2.1 billion pension fund.
  • Maina in January 2019, secured a court order stopping the EFCC from declaring him wanted.
  • A federal high court judge, Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo described the action of the anti-graft agency in declaring Maina wanted as “unlawful”.
  • A non-governmental organisation, Centre for Law and Civil Culture, had approached a federal high court in Lagos to compel the AGF to account for the assets recovered from Maina.
  • The suit marked FHC/L/CS/756/2019 has the EFCC as the second respondent.
  • The group is seeking a mandamus order to compel the AGF and the EFCC to provide it with information on the 270 landed properties, exotic cars, money and other valuables allegedly recovered from Maina.
  • The group said its suit followed the alleged refusal of the EFCC to oblige its request for information via a December 28, 2018 letter.
  • [SAHARA REPORTERS]

59th Independence: Time to reassert our relevance, keadership- NLC, TUC

As Nigeria marks her 59th Independence, the organised labour has called on the country to reassert her value and leadership in the continent and stand by the tenets of democracy.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, in a statement said the anniversary of Nigeria, like the ones before it, offered an opportunity for serious soul-searching and very candid reflection.

According to him, in our journey to nationhood, Nigeria has had a number of highs and lows, saying while we should celebrate the highs, we must also ponder on the lows and pick useful lessons from them.

“It is important to celebrate the deconstruction of colonial rule and what independence offered the Nigerian nation and people.

“A priceless opportunity to pursue our dreams and rewrite the history of colonial evil by the strides of our post colonial existence,” he said.

Wabba said that the country started off on a trajectory of solid foundation laid by the country’s founding fathers, who he said were in a hurry to hurl her at par with development elsewhere.

He said that the founding fathers invested heavily to build the social capital of the country through their commitment to quality and universal public education and construction of excellent medical facilities.

The result, according to him, was topnotch human capital development as Nigeria became the doyen of intellectualism in Africa, producing world class scholars, professionals and workers in different sectors of the economy.

He stated that many of the country’s universities and hospitals were ranked among the best on the continent and in the world, adding that it attracted scholars and sick people from all over Africa and even beyond.

According to him, our founding fathers showed sincere commitment to industrialisation because they believed in the dignity of labour and wanted every Nigerian to be gainfully employed.

“Industrialisation was not the dessert but the main menu of governance, our founding fathers proved this by creating the enabling environment for industrialisation, by providing quality roads, mass electrification and security of lives and property.

Wabba, however, said that the 59th independence anniversary offered Nigeria a moment to reflect, re-prioritise, re-strategise, re-position, and re-launch the Nigerian dream.

He said that as leaders and citizens, “we owe ourselves, and generations unborn the responsibility of bequeathing a nation of justice, equity and prosperity.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, in a statement said military incursion into politics, corruption, ethnicity, religious crisis were major reasons inhibiting the nation’s growth.

The statement read, “The military incursion into politics, corruption, ethnicity, religious crisis, have worked against our national development. It is even more worrisome and unfortunate that at this time and age the crack is widening by the day.

“We must interrogate the reason why countries we were at par with have left us far behind. China, India, Indonesia, were our contemporaries but they are now in the first league while we are dragging economic space with some countries in Africa.

“Although revenue from tax has improved significantly but unfortunately, instead of widening the tax net, the impoverished public is overtaxed, leading to despondency and despair.”

TUC also berated the Federal Government for failing to pay the new Minimum Wage of N30,000 as earlier agreed.

“We find it disturbing that months after the National Minimum Wage committee set up by the Federal Government to work on the new wage had submitted their report, government is still not committed to paying the new wage.

“We are beginning to think that signing it in the first place was because of the 2019 General Elections. To talk about setting up another committee over the same issue makes us feel we have been swindled. We have learnt our lessons.

“The argument on the part of government has always been that there is no money to pay minimum wage, whereas lawmakers have budgeted N5.6bn to purchase automobile that are not produced in Nigeria.

“Our belief is that government can actually pay if only the cost of governance will be reduced.”

(NAN)

 

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