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‘Lack of constitutional powers for traditional rulers fuels insecurity in Nigeria’

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‘Lack of constitutional powers for traditional rulers fuels insecurity in Nigeria

***monarchs demand constitutional recognition

The National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, has said insecurity and other vices became incessant
regimes of General Aguiyi Ironsi, General Yakubu Gowon and General Olusegun Obasanjo stipped the traditional institution of some powers with no constitutional role.

The Chairman of the council and the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, said the General Ironsi’s 1966 Unitary Government Decree, General Gowon’s and General Obasanjo’s 1967 and 1976 Local Government Reforms Decrees respectively, stripped traditional rulers of their powers and gave same to the Local Government Councils.

“The society was at that time progressive, peaceful, decent and full of beautiful traditions and cultures, life and property were safe,  Accountability and honesty were the hallmarks of the traditional institution.”


“General Ironsis 1966 military decree and Gowon’s and the general Obasanjo 11967 and 1976 Local Government reform decree stripped the traditional rulers of their powers and vested it in the Local Government which gave birth to the present day outrageous social and insecurity of lives and properties and corruption. 
“However prior to these decrees the colonial masters needed the institution because of their indirect rule, politicians needed the institution to stabilise their domains. The traditional rulers were always at hand to douse any conflicts and the military needed the institution to gain credibility.

The decrees however, he said, resulted in insecurity and corruption currently facing the country.

Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe, who represented the Sultan, spoke in Abuja at a meeting with the Steering Committee of the Senate Constitution Review Committee.

He said before the 1976 local government reforms, which stripped traditional rulers of their powers, Nigeria was at that time progressive, peaceful, decent and full of beautiful traditions and cultures.

He said: “Constitutionally and protocol wise, traditional Rulers are relegated to the background. However, the Colonialists needed them to consolidate their indirect rule the politicians needed them to stabilize their governments and the military needed them to gain acceptance.

“All the respective levels of governments needed them to maintain peace and security as Traditional Rulers were always at hand to douse conflict that the police, the military and the government officials could not contain.

“Currently, Traditional Rulers do not have the Constitutional or other legal backings to perform effectively as they are not even mentioned in the 1999 constitution. This is a great departure from all earlier constitutions that recognised them, and even gave them some functions to perform.

“Indeed all the Nigerian earlier Constitutions gave the Chairmen of the States Councils of Chiefs seats in the National Council of State alongside former Presidents and Chief Justices.”

The monarchs, therefore, demanded that the constitution be amended to give the traditional institution a unique constitutional recognition, noting that no community or nation would thrive successfully without due consideration of its historical evolution, customs, values and beliefs.

“It is important that the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, and by extension the National Assembly as a whole, ensures that a constitutional provision is made with a view to creating roles for Traditional Rulers in matters involving religion, culture, security, justice and other ancillary matters.

“The constitutional provision should provide for States to enact State Laws that cater for specific peculiar matters relating to Traditional Rulers in the respective States. In addition, the Chairmen of the States Councils of Chiefs should be recognised by the Constitution as Members of the Council of State as it has been in all the Nigerian Constitutions, except the 1999 one,” he added.

Responding, the Deputy Senate President and chairman of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 constitution, Ovie Omo-Agege, told the traditional rulers that their requests were “not too much to ask”, urging them to lobby lawmakers at the national and state Assemblies, who are their subjects, for their requests to sail through.

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NNPC insists, it will not increase fuel price in May

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NNPC insists, it will not increase fuel price in May

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Malam Mele Kyari, has said that the corporation will not increase the ex- depot price of Premium Motor spirit also known as petrol in May as being speculated.

He gave the indication at the end of a closed door meeting with Petroleum Transport Drivers (PTD), National Association of Road Transporters Owners (NARTO) and oil marketers in Abuja on Monday.
Ex-depot price is the price marketers buy products from depot owners which determines the pump price at filling stations.

He informed oil marketing companies that NNPC will not increase the pump price of PMS in May.
“I am giving the assurance and I ask Nigerians to go about their normal businesses; we have over 20 billion litres of petrol in our custody.
“Many of you are aware of this and with the assurance with tanker drivers and NUPENG, there is no need for panic buying of the product.
“Petrol will be available in all the depots in the country including NNPC dispatched depot across the country, so nobody should panic in buying the product,” he said.
On the strike by PTD, he said the strike was associated with NARTO’s inability to increase their compensation which was not resolved last week.
“We have given commitment to both NARTO and PTD that we will resolve the issue within a week and come back to the table to have a total closure on the issue.
“We also have a robust engagement with our oil marketing partners in respect of increase in the volume product that is check in the Nigerian market.
“We have agreed to work jointly with all the security agencies to contain any possible infractions seen in our borders.
“We will work as a team to curtail this fraudulent practice with the help of the security agencies,” he added.
He added that the meeting also discussed issues on payment by Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) to oil marketing companies.

He said that all stakeholders agreed in making PMS available to marketers.

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AISA raises concern over inaction of FG in sustaining MoU with Russia on Ajaokuta resuscitation

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AISA raises concern over inaction of FG in sustaining MoU with Russia on Ajaokuta resuscitation

The African Iron and Steel Association (AISA) has raised issues over the inaction of the Nigerian Government to sustaining the bilateral agreement to revamp the Ajaokuta Steel Complex ocasioned by the recent visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin.
It would be recalled that Shehu Sharagi and Leonid Brezhnev led Nigeria and Russia when the two countries first started to build the Ajaokuta steel rolling mill in 1979.
In October 2018 almost forty years later, Nigeria returned to the bilateral agreement with Russia to resuscitate the now derelict steel factory complex.
The accord to revive the Ajaokuta project was reached during a meeting between Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia
The partnership was aimed at helping to get sections of the factory into production before the end of 2019, however the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the arrangement
Former secretry African Iron and Steel Association, Dr. Sanusi Muhammed said the Nigerian President’s effort in returning to Russia that originally started the Ajaokuta Steel and the New agreement was a welcome development for the country.
Muhammed spoke during a visit by the National Association of Material and Meturlogical Engineering Students (NAMMES) led by its national President Umah Riseline Ojochogwu to the headquarters of AISA in Abuja.
He said,
“During the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Russia he met president Putin and they signed some agreement and it was aired all over the country. 
“That gladened our hearts. We felt yes we are now moving forward, unfortunately COVID-19 came in and the efforts for the Russians to come to Nigeria to see what is left of Ajaokuta and how they can move it forward had to be postponed. 
“The minister of mines and steel development severally mentioned the suspension of international flights due to COVID-19 that the Russians could not come into Nigeria again but that immediately the window for flights landing and taking off in Nigeria is opened the Russians will come to Nigeria and they will start off.”
Muhammed expressed dismay that even though the window for flight operation has been opened for over one year for international flights unfortunately they are not seeing the Russians again. 
He said, “According to the initial agreement, the Russian Government through it’s own financial institutions was going to fund Ajaokuta $450m. African Bank, a Bank established by African  countries to help develop the Continent promised pumping in $1b. 
“So a total of $1.45b was there and we were very happy to hear that, even though these figures were mentioned before the technical board of Ajaokuta steel company. The technical board is a very critical arm of Ajaokuta. That is is what inform us what is required and how we will go forward.”
He said they have not been able to get to that. 
“Of recent I heard some information, I have no proof, that that agreement is not the way we thought it was. The African bank says they cannot fund $1b unless there are certain conditionalities. Very strigent conditionalities so we began to feel some drawbacks. 
He said they are still trying to find out the true situation adding that they will still continue. 
Muhammed said,
“The ministry has been informing Nigerians on the developments of the steel industry unfortunately for the last six months we have not heard anything from the ministry. 
“We tried to find out, the information was in a sketch so we have not received the kind of information we expected.
Speaking against the backdrop of posers from the students on their future and the fate of the meturlogical industry in Nigeria he said, the National Association of Material and Meturlogical Engineering Studens, (NAMMES) in Nigeria is the reservoir for meturlogical profession. 
He said they have been doing all their best to get things done. “Unfortunately persistence comes with a lot of challenges we have been fervently pursuing this course since the 70s. 
“The initiation of Ajaokuta steel company and Itakpe has brought in great opportunity for meturlogists. “Unfortunately along the line, some people say they were saboteurs who didn’t want to see Nigeria developed and to kill Nigeria is to make sure the meturlogical center does not take off. So we have been fighting along that line.” 
According to him, they have been closely linked up with the ministry responsible for meturlogical industries in Nigeria, the ministry of mines and steel development. “We have written to them, we have discussed with them, we have interacted with them, there is nothing we have not said, to revive the meturlogical industry, we need the support of the ministry of mines and steel development . 
“Steel is one of the meturlogical materials but Meturlogical industry is composed of so many things.So we are looking at the bigger field when we talk about meturlogical industry. 
“Steel has been the backbone for meturlogical development this is why any nation that is developed today they pay premium to the meturlogical development, they pay all the necessary attention to that sector unfortunately Nigeria did not seem to have the wherewithal to get the meturlogical institute on with the meteorological industry. 
He said all the efforts that were made, the saboteurs are all over the place, to ensure that the Ajaokuta does not function. “Those abroad are using Nigerians, you and me, this is why permanent secretaries and ministers would say they would not put any money in Ajaokuta again. 
“Most of those nations that are developed their Government played vital roles in the initiation of of their industries particularly the steel industry. 
“They nurtured it till it developed. It is after it developed to a certain level they then start talking of privatization but initially they were at the helms of affairs for the development of the meturlogical industry. 
“So we have been trying to see in Nigeria we have leaders who thinks about Meturlogy and its importance. I am sorry to say until today we have not started. “

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Humanitarian minister pledges support to small holder farmers

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Humanitarian minister pledges support to small holder farmers

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has promised to synergize with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that small scale farmers affected by the Covid19 pandemic are supported.

The Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq gave the indication when the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development flagged off the distribution of agricultural inputs to small holder farmers affected by covid 19 at the Old Parade ground in Abuja.

In her remarks, the minister said that the federal government is aware of the effects of the pandemic on farmers, hence the establishment of massive Social Investment Programmes to  support farmers especially women in the country .

“Farmers have been mostly hit following the effects of restricted movements, closure of markets, reduced livelihoods of people which also reduced marketing outlets, the unavailability and price hike of inputs. Many could not fully produce their commodities due to hardship. 

“It is in recognition of this that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development answered to the directive of Mr President to mount a nationwide palliative programme to support our poor and vulnerable farmers. I congratulate the Honourable Minister and I assure him that my Ministry will support this initiative fully”.

Umar Farouq stated that federal government’s school feeding programme will patronize the farmers and make use of their produce to feed the children. 

She however advised the farmers to be productive as the  sustenance of Agriculture is paramount to adding to the economy of any state.

“I want to assure the Honourable Minister that our relevant interventions under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) fully complement this initiative. The N-Power interventions will ensure that appropriate skills and competences are delivered to the small scale farmers to ensure  effectiveness and productivity. 

“The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) will also ensure that timely loans are delivered to the farmers especially in the FarmerMoni package, to expand their production and sustain their businesses. “Furthermore, our National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGFP) will serve as an immediate off-taker to  the farm produce  for feeding children in our public primary schools.
“This is a deliberate market for the community farmers on one hand and also a support to poor children to go to school effectively”.

In his address, the minister of Agriculture and Rural development stated that the essence of the program is to empower rural women in the farming sector.
“It is my pleasure to roll out the distribution of agricultural inputs to about 7500 small holder women farmers from the north central states and the FCT,  to alleviate the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic  on them”.

The minister of the FCT Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, the minister of Labour and Productivity Dr Chris Ngige, the minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen, Representative of the minister Finance,  budget and national planning and other dignitaries, attended the flag off.

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