Confab panel seeks scrapping of councils, NULGE kicks
• Govt raises committee on LGs workers’ welfare • Bid to decentralise police fails
OSTENSIBLY to introduce two tiers of government in the country, the Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government at the ongoing National Conference has recommended the scrapping of the 774 local councils from the constitution and transfer their administration to the states legislature. This came as members of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Monday stormed the National Judicial Institute (NJI), venue of the National Conference, to protest the decision of the committee. In a related development, the Federal Government Monday inaugurated a 13-member presidential committee on the review of the scheme of service for local council employees. Meanwhile, arguments in favour of a decentralised police force in Nigeria Monday suffered a major setback as the advocates failed in their bid to transfer police matters to the Concurrent Legislative List. Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, also cautioned a delegate representing Zamfara State and member of the National Conference Committee on National Security, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali, to stop telling lies against the Nigerian Armed Forces. This came as members of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Monday stormed the National Judicial Institute (NJI), venue of the National Conference, to protest the decision of the committee.
The Guardia, front pg cont on pg4,
Court Refuses Alison-Madueke, NNPC’s Application to Stop Probe on Jet Charter
• House halts investigation
Efforts by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieezani Alison-Madueke, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop their appearance before the House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have run into a hitch, as a Federal High Court in Abuja has turned down their application for an interim injunction to stop the committee from inviting them. The committee was supposed to commence the probe Monday into allegations that N10 billion had been expended by the state-run oil corporation to charter executive jets for the personal use of Alison-Madueke and her family. One of the jets is a Challenger 850, while the other is a Global Express XRS, which was said to have cost NNPC €600,000 on a return charter trip to London. Instead of granting the injunction in the minister and NNPC’s favour, Justice Ahmed Ramat Muhammed directed the House of Representatives to appear before him to show cause why the interim orders being sought by the plaintiffs should not be granted. The court further directed that the National Assembly and the House of Representatives, who are the first and second respondents, respectively, be served with the application for the injunction. Justice Muhammed also ordered that the respondents be served with the motion on notice attached to the ex-parte application for the injunction. The court further ordered that hearing notices be issued and served on the respondents. Instructively, the court paper distributed by NNPC’s media department showed that the ex-parte application for the injunction was heard on April 14, 2014 while the case was adjourned to April 17.
Thisday, front pg, cont on pg6
Boko Haram: Politicians stoking insurgency, says Okonjo-Iweala
FINANCE minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the insurgency by the violent Islamic sect, BokoHaram, is being stoked by politicians, who “will use anything to win election.” “We tend to notice when the electoral cycle comes in, all these things heat up. What we are going through now is democracy in raw form, because people are fighting for power and they will use anything to get there … and to win the election,” the minister said in an interview reported by Reuters on Monday. While assuring that “Nigeria as a nation will overcome this,” Okonjo-Iweala said she hoped the politicians would heed President Goodluck Jonathan’s appeal at a meeting last week for all to be united to curb insurgency. Jonathan Thursday last week met with the 36 state governors, security chiefs and top cabinet members in Abuja to discuss the way forward in combating the menace of the insurgents in the North-East.
The Punch, pg9
STATE OF EMERGENCY: Govs Gaidam, Nyako blast Clark, Akpabio
Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark and Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State have incurred the wrath of the governors of Yobe and Adamawa states for asking President Goodluck Jonathan to dismantle democratic structures in the North-East to pave way for a full military takeover. The two governors, Ibrahim Gaidam and Murtala Nyako, said Clark and Akpabio, who are supposed to be democrats, threw caution to the winds by advocating the removal of the elected representatives of the people of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa and replacement with sole administrators. In a joint statement released in Abuja yesterday, Gaidam and Nyako berated Clark and Akpabio, accusing them of attempting to sabotage the nation’s democratic march for their parochial political interests. The statement was signed by Abdullahi Bego, Special Adviser (Media) to Governor Ibrahim Gaidam and Ahmad Sajoh, Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Murtala Nyako.
CPC orders Aero to compensate passengers for rights abuse
Buoyed by the success recorded in previous battles to ensure Nigerian companies meet international best practice in service provision, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), on Monday in Lagos, ordered the management of Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited to compensate 39 passengers on its flight AJ132 of November 8, 2013. Investigations, CPC said, showed that the Lagos-bound passengers were abandoned at the Abuja International Airport and left stranded overnight be compensated. Briefing newsmen, CPC’s Director-General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, noted that under the Passenger Bill of Rights (PBR) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR), each affected passenger who were stranded for over 15 hours between 6pm and 9am during the period, be paid N5,000 due to them after two hours of delay. They are also to receive N1,000 each for phone calls, SMS or email; N10,000 for return transportation to and from their hotel in Abuja; and N25,000 for one night of hotel accommodation.
Daily Independent, pg27
FG Introduces New Security Measures at Major Airports
The federal government, in cognisance of terror threats in the country, has introduced new measures to restrict the movement of people, including VIPs, in sensitive parts of the five international airports in the country. The new measures, which would take effect on May 1, 2014, require that all visitors to Nigeria, including foreign dignitaries and officials of multilateral institutions to submit themselves to immigration officers for the requisite scrutiny and clearance at the five designated international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu. This was disclosed by the Presidential Committee on Security which was directed by the president to review security and screening structure set up by the federal government in 2013. The president’s Special Adviser, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Professor Sylvester Monye, who addressed journalists at the Murtala Muhammadu International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, yesterday, said the new security arrangement at the airports had become imperative because of the prevailing security situation in the country. Monye said from May 1, no protocol officer/aide would be allowed into the arrival/baggage halls of the five international airports in Nigeria, a trend which has existed over the years and sometimes resulted in security breaches.
Thisday, front pg, cont on pg6
FG bans VIP escorts, aides, others from airports
In a bid to ensure security, the Federal Government has introduced measures to forestall unnecessary loitering of unauthorised persons at all the nation’s international airports. The unauthorised persons, according to the government, include protocol officers, aides and escorts of dignitaries who are usually in the habit of following their principals to restricted parts of the airports.
The Punch, pg26
Parents Reject N1,500 JAMB Scratch Card
Some parents and guardians in Plateau State have described as “very exorbitant,’’ the N1,500 they were being charged by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for scratch card to access the examination result. The parents, who spoke in Jos, Pakshin and other towns in the state, accused the examination body of extorting money from students and parents with all manners of charges.
Egypt: Brotherhood’s leader gets death sentence
A judge at a mass trial in Egypt has recommended the death penalty for 683 people – including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie. The defendants faced charges over an attack on a police station in Minya in 2013 in which a policeman was killed, BBC reports. However, the judge also commuted to life terms 492 death sentences out of 529 passed in March in a separate case.
The Punch, pg66
Ohanaeze tasks South East govs on Uwechue’s burial
THE apex Igbo so-cio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has urged governors of the South East geo-political zone to participate actively in the burial of Amb. Ralph Uwechue, its immediate past president-general, who died on March 13 at 79. Making the appeal, Ohanaeze spokesman, Chief Tony Oganah, said there was need for all Igbo to give the late Uwechue the honour he deserved.