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Posts tagged ‘President Goodluck Jonathan’

Jonathan Queries Minister Of Interior Abba Moro And CG Of Immigration Parradang Over Immigration Job Screening Deaths -The Nation.


 

An applicant being helped by security official as he collapses after a major stampede
By Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan Monday summoned the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro and the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), David Parradang to give explanation why the over 19 job seekers had to die during NIS recruitment exercise at the weekend.

During the recruitment exercise in cities across the country, among those who died include Abuja (eight), Port Harcourt (five), Minna (three), and Benin (three). Many of the job seekers were also injured during the exercise.

The deaths were said to have occurred due to stampede resulting from poor crowd management at the centres.

The duo, who were in the Presidential Villa for over two hours Monday, were led to the President’s office by the Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, General Jones Arogbofa.

They however declined comment on the issue when they were led out from the President’s office by Arogbofa at 2.24pm.

While the All Progressives Congress (APC) among other stakeholders have condemned the recruitment method which led to the death of the job seekers, others have called for the sack of Moro and Parradang over the issue.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Court strikes out case against Jonathan’s candidacy for 2015 election.


A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna said yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan is eminently qualified to contest the 2015 presidential election if he so desired and struck out a suit seeking to stop him from contesting the election.

Delivering judgement on a suit brought before the court by two chieftains of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Richard Mneaga and Shuibu Lili, Presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike also ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the case by virtue of section 308 of the constitution, which prohibited the president from sueing or being sued.

The plaintiffs, had among other things sought for an order of the court to disqualify President Jonathan from presenting himself as a

presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015 election, and for the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission to restrain the PDP from accepting nomination of Jonathan as its presidential candidate in the election.

The Plaintiffs had insisted in the suit which was filed on October 7, 2013, that Jonathan would have completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when calculated from May 29, 2007 and therefore want the court to declare that President Jonathan is not entitled to a tenure of office as President exceeding eight years calculated from 2007, as last holder of the said office”.

Justice Anyadike affirmed that President Jonathan has the constitutional right to contest for presidency in 2015 if he so desire, pointing out also that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter since the plaintiffs did not follow the due process of filing their case, saying the petition was served out of jurisdiction.

She however dismissed the case for lack of merit.

Reacting, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mohammed Ibrahim dismissed the judgement, faulting the technicalities which the judge relied upon to dismiss the case rather than looking at the matter based on its merit.

Ibrahim however said they will be heading to the judgement at the Appeal Court for further interpretation of the judgement by the lower court, adding that they will also be asking the upper court to determine whether President Jonathan has the constitutional right to seek for another term of office in 2015.

But Counsels to President Jonathan, Nnamdi Ekwem and second defendants, (PDP), Victor Kwom, hailed the judgment, describing it as another landmark victory for democracy and rule of law.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria to pay N12m to each delegate at the confab; Bakare says he won’t receive allowance.


 

Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said that he will not partake of the N12m to be paid to each delegate to the three-month National Conference to be inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday (today).
Bakare, representing Ogun State at the conference, said he made the decision not to collect the money to be paid to delegates by the Federal Government in order to dispel any speculation that his motivation for accepting to take part in the conference was material.
Each of the 492 delegates to the National Conference would be paid N4m per month for the three month duration and this has been the subject of controversy with some Nigerians condemning the amount to be spent.
Announcing to his church members that he had accepted to be a delegate to the conference, Bakare told the congregation that he would be giving them weekly report as the conference progressed.
He said, “A friend of mine called me this (Sunday) morning that he heard on the radio that ‘Pastor Bakare had accepted to go, that his own fee is N12m’. Pastor Bakare will not take a kobo in the National Conference.
“I will not take a penny. It has nothing to do with others; that is by choice. We go with integrity of heart, it is not money. The God of heaven will prosper us.
“What I say here is what I will do there. I do not say others should do it, but I intend to do that so that our heart can remain pure. That does not mean the hearts of others are not pure but I don’t want anybody to think in any slight manner that the motive is this.
“This is the moment we have been waiting for, for this end I was born. Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will become great.”
Bakare explained that before he decided to be a delegate, he sought the approval of Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the man to whom the cleric was a running mate on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change in the 2011 presidential election.
He said, “Before I answered the call, before I said yes, I called General Buhari that ‘I don’t want our stands on this national conference issue to be different. The governor of Ogun State put me on his list, the Elders of South-West put me on their list. What do you say?’
“He said the All Progressives Congress might not be going, but you are free to go because you never can tell how God will help our nation. That does not mean I am in APC. People have been asking, ‘are you in APC,’ ‘are you in PDP?’ I have told you, I am on the side of God. In this season I don’t know until we fix Nigeria.”
by PUNCH
(From Biafra Galaxy)

Suspended CBN governor Sanusi hits back as FG moves to probe him.


 

STRONG indications emerged yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan may soon commence a probe into the tenure of immediate past governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido.

This comes as ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday, called for a detailed forensic audit of all the accounts and financial activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 till date, stressing that in carrying out the probe, the audit must establish and publish all movement of monies from the CBN accounts, such as contract sums, donations and other extra budgetary spending under the suspended CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

The party, reiterated by alleging that a fraudulent N48 billion contract was awarded to a leader of the APC, while N5 billion was further paid to another stalwart of the party as consultancy fee.
But the suspended Central Bank governor weekend reacted to  the 35 allegations levelled against him by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, saying he saw the FRCN Briefing Note for the first time when it was attached to his suspension letter.

It will be recalled that following the suspension of Sanusi as CBN governor last month, the Presidency  explained that his suspension  was not related to witch hunt, but alleged cases of impunity, incompetence, non-challance , fraud, wastefulness, and gross abuse of and non-compliance with provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, had in a statement   explained that  Sanusi’s sack by President Goodluck Jonathan was also not  a deviation from the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.

He added that the issues that culminated in the suspension of the CBN governor dated back to April 2013, following the submission of the CBN audited accounts for the year that ended on December 31, 2012, and which was submitted to the President by the apex bank.

PDP calls for forensic audit
The PDP, while calling for Sanusi’s probe, said:  “Facts available to it, some of which have already been published by the Financial Reporting Council, show that within the period, the apex bank engaged in reckless award of inflated contracts through which over N680 billion CBN money was frittered away.”

“The audit must expose the true beneficiaries of over N150 billion doled out as developmental donations especially as some of the institutions listed as beneficiaries such as the Bayero University Kano, BUK, have denied receiving the sums recorded against their names by the CBN. It noted that BUK was widely reported to have announced that it received only N1billion as against the N4 billion claimed by the apex bank.

Meanwhile, Sanusi further stated that each of the allegations was false, unfounded, malicious and fabricated to mislead the President, adding that if the CBN had received the FRCN Briefing Note prepared in June 2013, all misconceptions, misrepresentations, erroneous inferences would have been cleared.

Sanusi, also called on President Goodluck  Jonathan to revisit and redress his suspension, urging the President to apply same rationale and rigour to other agencies of government with serious allegations and queries against them.

The suspended CBN governor called on the President to ask other agencies that had been queried of financial impropriety to provide responses and explanation with the same level of clarity and transparency as he had done.

In his defense, according to the report made available to Vanguard, Sanisi said:   “ Indeed, it will be impossible for me to review almost five years of revolutionary change made possible by the work of thousands of employees in the CBN, in collaboration with other regulators, banks and other financial institutions and government ministries in this press statement. However, I will mention a few of the key highlights.

“The highlight include : improvement of the institutional framework for policy-making,  local currency and maintenance of stability;  Establishment of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria , AMCON; monetary policy amongst others.”

On Briefing Note Allegation that there is weak corporate governance at the CBN on account of the fact that the office of the governor is fused with that of the Chairman of CBN’s Board of Directors, Sanusi said the allegation ignored the fact that global best practice was that the governor of the central bank is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the central bank.

On alleged fraudulent activities; that the CBN’s breakdown of “Currency Issue Expenses” for 2011 and 2012 indicated that it paid the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc, NSPMP, N38.233 billion in 2011 for printing of banknotes, whereas the entire turnover of NSPMP was N29.370 million, Sanusi said the expense item of N38.233 billion to NSPMP was made up of N28.738 billion payment to NSPMP in 2011; N6.587 billion accrued liability in 2011 but paid in 2012 when deliveries were received; and  N2.829Billion audit adjustment journal entry into the account at the end of 2011 in respect of prepayments to NSPMP.
He said the difference between the numbers in the financial statements of CBN and NSPMP was a simple reflection of timing differences between recognition of expenses by the CBN and income recognition by the NSPMP, with both entities applying conservative accounting policies.

He said with respect to Associated Air Limited, the CBN did in fact pay a total of N1.025 billion to Associated Airlines Limited but noted that the CBN was not responsible for how the company reported its turnover.

On Akingbola’s petition and the N40bn loan waiver;
Sanusi said Akingbola was a man found by a final judgment of the Courts in England to have been liable for financial improprieties in the management of the affairs of ICB.
He said:  “In his self-serving petition, Mr. Akingbola alleged that the CBN, on my watch, wrote-off a loan in favour of Dr. Bukola Saraki. This is untrue.  The CBN was at no time involved in the decision of ICB (or any other bank for that matter) to write-off its loans.

“The CBN never gave prior approval to the Management and Board of ICB to write-off any particular loan.  It is important to state up-front that all the non-executive directors on the Board of ICB were appointed by its shareholders, while Akingbola was CEO and they were the majority on the Board that approved the write-offs.”

In his conclusion to the response, Sanusi  stated:  “ It is now clear that each of the allegations made by the FRCN in the briefing note could easily have been resolved upon a simple request to the CBN for clarification or a little more careful review.

“There is no doubt that if the CBN had received the briefing note, which was prepared in June 2013, all the misconceptions, misrepresentations and erroneous inferences contained therein would have been cleared, and the misleading of His Excellency would have been avoided.

“It is now my sincere hope that, having painstakingly provided detailed explanations, backed by verifiable documents, His Excellency, Mr President will find the response satisfactory, and in line with his adherence to fairness and justice, revisit and redress the issue of my suspension.

“Furthermore, it is my wish that His Excellency, Mr President, will apply the same rationale and rigour to other agencies of the Federal Government that have had serious allegations and queries levied against them, and presume upon them to provide responses and explanations with the same level of clarity and transparency.
“In closing, I would like to place on record the dogged professionalism and patriotism of the staff of the CBN. They have, over the years, served this country creditably, loyally and diligently.”

Source: Radio Biafra.
BY HENRY UMORU & PETER EGWUATU

Duplicitous Atiku Commends Jonathan On 2nd Niger Bridge, knowing full well that it is a scam.


Former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, said, Monday, that the flag off of the construction of the second Niger Bridge by President Goodluck Jonathan was belated, “as the project ought to have been completed before now.”

Atiku stated this while delivering a keynote address at the 16th annual conference of African Council for Communication Education.

The conference was entitled “Communication, Children and the Youth in the 21stcentury,” and was hosted by the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

At the time Atiku was speaking at Nsukka, President Jonathan was in Onitsha, Anambra State, flagging off the construction of the second Niger Bridge.

The former vice president, however, commended the President for eventually flagging off the construction of the second Niger Bridge after long years of wait.

He said that when completed, “the bridge would boost economic activities and transportation in the South-East zone and environs.”

In his address, Atiku urged participants at the ACCE conference to find solutions on how best to ensure that 10 million out-of-school children returned to school.

“The participants should also seek solution to the high rate of unemployment facing youths in the country,” he said.

He tasked the media on content that would promote the Nigerian economy, which, he said, has diverse sources of revenue and employment generation. “We don’t have to depend just on oil, but on agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing and services”.

He said, “The media as an agenda setter should promote ideas for building the 21stcentury robust economy. You also have the responsibility to promote an education system mix of academic and vocational training, so as to cater for diverse needs of the youth and the emerging economy.”

Atiku, a presidential hopeful in the All Progressives Congress, advocated that federal schools be handed over to states in which they were located, saying, “It would help in administration and management of the schools.”

He added, “The Federal Government should also focus on setting regulatory standards and insist on implementing these standards.

“It will save cost as well as make it easier in management if federal schools were handed over to the states.”

The Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Prof. Bartho Okolo, expressed appreciation to the former vice president for honoring the invitation.

Earlier, the Head, Department of Mass Communication in the institution, Dr. Ray Udeaja, explained that the aim of the conference was to continue to advance evolution of communication education in Africa as well as guarantee the dignity of young Africans in the coming days.

“We are aware of the faith our society reposes on those of us who are in the academics. This is why we organise such conferences as these to enable us contribute to sustainable development.

“This conference targets young Africans who are our successors on this planet,” he said.

Udeaja added that the ACCE 2013 annual conference held this year (2014) because of the protracted Academic Staff Union of Universities strike last year. [Vanguard]

(From Biafra Galaxy)

Boko Haram killed over 1,000 in one week –Borno Senator.


Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, Ahmed Zannah Khalifa, has alleged that over 1,000 people have been killed by the Boko Haram insurgents in the last one week in the North East region of the country.
Khalifa, who is representing Borno Central in the Senate, spoke on Sunday in an interview with the Daily Independent in Abuja.
He lamented that the casualties in various killings were high due to the inability of the armed forces operating in the area to contain the insurgency.
Khalifa, also a member of the Senate Committee on Industries, accused the Federal Government of not equipping the soldiers enough to be able to surmount the insurgents that have been terrorising the region in the last three years.
He insisted that the terrorist sect was still in full grip of Borno and Yobe states, pointing out that over 20 villages in the areas were under the control of the insurgents.
“Since there are no schools, no markets functioning in those villages, it shows that the Boko Haram are still in total control of the area,” Khalifa said.
Reacting to insinuations that most of the bombings were carried out by the security operatives, Khalifa, a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said: “We are still investigating whether the security personnel were responsible for the bombings. We are not sure yet. But after our investigation, we will be able to say whether there are complexities in the military operations or not”.
He, however, regretted that he had not been able to have access to President Goodluck Jonathan to narrate his ordeals to him in the midst of the crisis, adding that he has been under serious threat because of his position on the crisis in his area.
“I have no access to the President to tell him my ordeals. I have made effort several times to see him, but I could not. He is supposed to look for me as a sitting Senator, not me looking for him,” Khalifa lamented.
On the threat by the Northern elders to take former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, a retired General, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his alleged role in the crisis in the North East, the Senator said: “We are still gathering evidences against him. We have enough, but we are still gathering more. At the right time, we will come up with our position”.
Khalifa implored Jonathan to be more serious in the efforts towards eliminating the insurgents.
He reminded the President that he (President) was elected by the people of Nigeria without a drop of blood, urging him to do everything within his powers to stop the on-going bloodbath in the country.
Meanwhile, residents of Borno State are primed for a three-day fast beginning today and ending on Thursday to seek divine intervention in the resurgence of killings by members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect.
According to Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn-Garbai, who issued the directive on Monday in Maiduguri, the fast is to ask for Allah’s help in restoring peace to the state.
“I am appealing to all residents of the state to observe a three-day fasting to seek Allah’s mercy towards ending the crisis facing us”, he said.
“I believe we should continue to seek for Allah’s help toward restoring peace in the state.”
Ibn-Garbai bemoaned the human and material devastation caused by the renewed killings by the terrorists, saying there can be no other time to seek God’s intervention.
Although he said special prayers would be held in mosques and churches during the period, he further implored residents to remain relentless in their prayers afterwards.
Ibn-Garbal’s prayer-and-fasting directive came on the same day the Borno State Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) pleaded for the material and financial support of the Federal Government to bolster the contribution of its members to maintenance of peace in the state.
Spokesman of the group, Iliasu Saidu, said while vehicles would aid the movement of the 2,500-plus youths, an allowance would serve as a steady source of livelihood while also motivating them for the challenge.
“Borno is Nigeria and the people fomenting violence and the killings are Nigerians”, said Saidu, who revealed plans of the state government to recruit another 1,500 youths to the civilian group.
“If we can have assistance from the Federal Government, it will help us to achieve peace. Borno is a beautiful state that must not be taken over by hoodlums.”
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) again on Monday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to “take time off his premature electioneering campaign” to visit Yobe State to commiserate with the bereaved families of the school children who were brutally murdered by terrorists last month.
Fifty-nine students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, were massacre by the Boko Haram insurgents on March 25.
In a statement in Lagos by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, APC said it is inconceivable that about two weeks after the “heart-wrenching killings of more than 29 schoolchildren, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has not deemed it fit to visit the state”.
It said far from being a mere formality, such a visit will provide great succour to the families of the victims, reassure them and other residents of the state that their government has not abandoned them to their fate, and also serve as a morale booster for the troops who are battling the terrorists, against all odds.
‘’There is no other democracy in the world in which that number of schoolchildren will be killed and the head of government will carry on with business as usual.
“Since the killings, President Jonathan has made a national broadcast in which he mentioned the killings only as a footnote, instead of making it the central point of the broadcast.
‘’Since the killings, the President has presided over a wasteful national celebration, in which the drums were rolled out to mark the country’s centenary even as devastated families were still mourning and those injured were reeling from their pains.
‘’Since the killings, President Jonathan has been gallivanting across the country, surreptitiously kick-starting his electioneering campaign for 2015 under the guise of receiving some inconsequential political jobbers now wearing the tag of defectors.
“This junketing has taken the President everywhere, including Sokoto, Minna, Ilorin and Onitsha. But he has pointedly avoided Yobe.
“To put it mildly, the father of the nation has been practically dancing on the graves of those innocent souls. This is not the stuff of leadership and the President must make amends by visiting Yobe today,’’ APC said.
The party said Jonathan should take a cue to what obtains in other lands, especially in the U.S after which Nigeria has modelled its democracy.
‘’In January 2014, U.S President Barack Obama flew to Tennessee, where he spoke at a high school where students were still reeling from the shooting death of just one of their classmates; In 2012, President Obama paid a similar visit to Newtown in Connecticut, where he met relatives of the 20 schoolchildren and eight adults who were shot. These are examples worthy of emulation by President Jonathan,’’ APC said.
It challenged the President to tell Nigerians why he has not or why he would not visit the scene of the gruesome murders.
‘’Whatever his reasons are, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces must not give the impression that there is any part of the country he cannot visit for any reason whatsoever, otherwise he would only have succeeded in handing some sort of victory to the terrorists who have continued to kill and plunder in the North-east,’’ the party added.
In a related development, the United Nations Education and Children Fund (UNICEF) has expressed concerns on the killing of children by the Boko Haram sect.
The Fund said it will, in collaboration with other stakeholders, carry out a verification exercise of the North East region of Nigeria to access the situation on ground.
This is coming jus as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also expressed concern on the human rights and humanitarian condition of women and children especially in the North East following the instability in the region.
To this end, the commission said it was committed to lead the UNICEF and other stakeholders in the campaign against child rights violations in Nigeria, particularly in the North East where insecurity has greatly affected the vulnerable group.
According to a statement by Chief Press Officer in the NHCR, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, “the Executive Secretary of the Commission Prof. Ben Angwe, gave the assurance when he received a delegation from the UNICEF led by its Country Representative, Jane Gough, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja”.
Earlier, Gough had expressed worries over the difficult challenges being faced by children in the North Eastern part of the country, saying most of them are afraid to go to school for fear of being killed or bombed by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Also on Monday, an angry Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology queried the Federal Ministry of Environment for paying N21 million to a contractor who claimed that his firm was currently executing a construction project in the troubled Bama community of Borno State.
The committee has, therefore, directed senior officials of the ministry to institute a probe into the issue and forward their findings to it before their 2014 budget could be approved.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Taiye Haruna, had listed the Bama road construction, which also include drainage work and erosion control, as one of the 20 other constituency/intervention projects at different stages of execution and on which N1.4 billion had been paid.
He stated this when he stood in for the Minister, Lawrencia Labaran-Mallam, when the Senate committee led by the Chairman, Bukola Saraki, visited the ministry headquarters in Abuja on oversight functions.
Haruna had drawn the anger of members of the committee when he claimed that his ministry had effectively implemented all the 20 constituency/intervention projects under its supervision and reeled out the details.
Senator Boluwaji Kunlere, a member of the committee, immediately drew the attention of the Perm Sec to the fact that there was no way any contractor could execute any project in Bama between July 2013 and now when the area had been fully occupied by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Kunlere, also a member of the Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence, believes that the claims of the contractors were fraudulent because it was difficult for even his team led by heavily armed military personnel, to gain access to the area when they went there on oversight functions within the same period.
The Perm Sec, however, referred the issue to a director in charge of the project who justified the N21 million paid to the contractors when he said convincing evidences, including documents and pictures, were presented to him.
He told the committee that the N1.4 billion appropriated to the ministry for constituency projects had been fully disbursed to the various contractors that handled them.

(From Biafra Galaxy)

President Jonathan hand pick National conference list of delegates sparks anger.


 

Even before it begins, the National Conference is generating acrimony – the very ailment it is expected to tackle.

The talk shop to which 492 delegates have been invited is to be inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan next Monday. It will be chaired by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Lagbo Kutigi.

But the Ogoni in Rivers State, the Itsekiri of Delta State and Pensioners, among others, rejected the list yesterday. They are angry that they have been “sidelined”.

The coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOS) in the Northeast has also rejected the delegates’ list.

Besides, a top official of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the opposition party might not be keen on filling the two slots allotted it at the conference.

But a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the conference should be given the benefit of the doubt to succeed.

He urged President Jonathan not to reduce its outcome and concessions to “mere advisory significances”.

The APC chief, who is a member of the Interim National Executive Committee (NEC), doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity.

He said: “If they are still waiting for the list of delegates from the APC, they may have to wait till eternity. If they are waiting for our list before they start it, then, the conference will not hold. Our opinion and disposition are known. They need to understand where we stand.”

Asked to comment on the participation in the conference of some APC chieftains nominated by state governments and other bodies, he said they are not representing the interest of the opposition party.

“There is no evidence that the conference will solve Nigeria’s problems. As at today, we have no delegates’ list. The people expecting us to send a list are not blind and they are not deaf. Our position is clear,” the official said.

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) at the weekend wrote the Presidency through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, protesting it exclusion.

The union said: “We are strongly protesting the exclusion of our Union from the National conference, which, if not quickly redressed, would lead to mass protest by pensioners all over Nigeria.

“We humbly call on Your Excellency, to use your good offices to rectify this ugly situation as soon as possible. This issue has been referred to the Nigeria Labour Congress for quick intervention as well.”

In the letter dated March 7, titled: “National Conference Nomination: Letter of Protest”, the NUP National President, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said the six slots that were allotted to retired civil servants were all for the Council of Retired Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS).

According to the the letter, the NUP should have been consulted as the major stakeholders representing the interest of the entire civil service retirees/ pensioners.

Afolayan added: “Ironically, other related retirees’ associations, such as the military, the police, State Security Service, were all given slots to represent the interests of their members with the exception of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.

“Regrettably, the presence of the National President of the union at the office of the SGF on the 5th of March, 2014 to protest this oversight was rebuffed by the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) of the office of the SGF.

“I am writing on behalf of over 1 million pensioners in Nigeria who are members of our union.

We consider it necessary to direct our complaint to the office of the SGF because it is the office charged with the responsibility of compiling the list of the delegates to the National Conference.

“It is on this note that we wish to draw your attention to the Federal Government’s announcement in the media on the release of the list of delegates to the National Conference, which indicated that retired civil servants were given six slots to the National Conference.

“As the only union registered and approved by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity for Nigerian civil pensioners/retirees, it was expected that our union, rather than the association of the retired Federal Permanent Secretaries should nominate delegates to the conference. But to our greatest dismay, we discovered that the union was sidelined.

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has written to President Jonathan to protest the exclusion of Ogoni from the national conference.

MOSOP, through its President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, in the letter to the President accused the Federal Government of marginalising Ogoni people.

It reiterated that the national conference was set up to address lingering imbalances, injustice and instability occasioned by marginalisation and violation of people’s rights, among other issues.

The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people said: “We have reviewed the published list of delegates (to the national conference) and are shocked that while some ethnic groups in the country are represented by over 40 delegates in some instances, others have no representation whatsoever.

“For us (Ogoni) specifically, in spite of the huge sacrifices we have made in our pioneering struggle for justice in the Niger Delta and democracy in the country as a whole, we are appalled that even out of the list of 15 delegates from the Southsouth, while some ethnic groups in the zone were represented by upwards of five delegates, not even one of our people was considered for inclusion.

“We had thought that the Federal Government’s nominations would help address cases of such obvious omissions, but surprisingly, we found that it suffered the same fate.

“Given the internationally-acknowledged contributions and huge sacrifices of the Ogoni people, under the leadership of MOSOP, to the struggle for democracy, justice, human rights, including indigenous people’s and minority rights, environmental justice and true federalism, we see the exclusion of Ogoni people as another major step in the continuing government policy to malign and oppress the Ogoni people and diminish their huge contributions to nation building.

“This our protest is predicated on our firm belief that any dialogue process to address the injustice of marginalisation cannot succeed, if erected on the shallow foundation of exclusion and that the best way of perpetrating injustice is to exclude those most afflicted by it from discussions aimed at addressing it.

“Our people and others like us have been the barometer by which injustice in Nigeria has over the years been measured and that explains why we have been in the forefront with others to advocate national discourse to address the national question. Our exclusion not only sends a dangerous, even if inadvertent message, but asks important questions about the credibility of the process.”

It declared that Ogoni people and other indigenous/minority communities would not consider themselves bound by whatever decisions that would be reached at the national conference, should the organisation’s protest not be considered.

The Volunteers for Protection of Itsekiri Rights accused Jonathan of “rigging” the list of delegates to achieve a predetermined agenda in favour of his Ijaw kinsmen.

VPIR, in a statement by Robinson Ariyo, Leleji Augustine and Okpeyeghan Toju, National Coordinator, Secretary and Public Relations Officer, said the exclusion of the Itsekiri ethnic group from the original list of delegates was suspicious.

It also faulted the explanation of “anomaly” proffered by the state government for the exclusion of Chief Isaac Jemide, the Itsekiri delegate, saying, “We suggest that it is because in this instance, the selection criteria for the delegates were rigged from inception to favour one ethnic group above every other ethnic group in Nigeria.”

It said the assertion was buttressed by The Presidency’s presentation of an delegate in each of the categories, stressing that other ethnic groups must also vet the list properly to ensure that the agenda of a group is not imposed on Nigerians.

“With the conspiracy to exclude the Itsekiris from participating in this conference and the fact that over 20 delegates of Ijaw ethnic extraction are on board, Nigerians need to revisit the set of criteria finally chosen by the Presidency to make this possible,” the statement added.

The Itsekiri group said the hoopla generated by the exclusion of their kinsmen and other ethnic groups from the list of delegates justified initial calls that selection of delegates be done along the lines of ethnic nationalities as suggested by constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze.

They claimed that the decision not to make selection on ethnic line was to “guarantee that Ijaw have the well over 20 slots which they now have. While the Itsekiris have none, Isokos and Urhobos have only about three jointly.

“Now that the Presidency has gone ahead to execute its strategy of lopsided representation of delegates to suit the President’s ethnic group, we call on all other ethnic groups in Nigeria to peruse the list of delegates against the alleged criteria and determine how much each has been cheated in this scheme before we proceed any further with the conference.

Secretary of the Coalition of the Northeast Civil Societies, Alhaji Baba Shehu told reporters in Damaturu yesterday that the conference is a jamboree of fraudulent and selfish government agents without the full representation of the people at the local level.

Alhaji Shehu noted that 25 CSOs in the region met and nominated four delegates but the list was thrown into the dust bin by the Federal Government.

“We the Civil Society Organisations in the Northeast receive the news of the delegates of the CSOs in our region with a rude shock.

“The list as released by the Federal Government is completely strange from the criteria and procedure of selection of the delegates as earlier directed.

“Apart from our complete ignorance of the names of delegates on the list, we are also noticed that the region has been short-changed by two delegates. Instead of the four names that we forwarded after our meeting on the 12/02/2014, none of the names came out only for us to see just two strange names on the list.

“We make bold to say that the Northeast more than any other region in this country at the moment needs a more true representation at this conference to discussion its problems. It is rather unfortunate that some people would sit in Abuja and make a decision on such a sensitive matter of this nature.”

Olanipekun said no constitution disallows President Jonathan from organising a National Conference, noting that “sovereignty resides in and with the people.”

The former chair of the University of Ibadan Governing council explained that the NBA had long been in the struggle for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) since the 1980s under the leadership of Chief Alao Aka-Bashorun.

“Whether it is National Conference or Sovereign National Conference, Nigerians must start from somewhere. We have to cross-fertilise ideas on how best to run the country, whether the Presidential system should continue or not. We have to go there and listen to discussion”.

He said: “Are we saying the maiming and killing of innocent Nigerians presently in some parts of the country should not be discussed? Are we saying these human lives have no meaning to us?, he queried”.

“It is the conference that would determine the type of constitution and system of government that would be operated in Nigeria. It is the conference that will give us a groundrum and not to advise Mr President”, Olanipekun said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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