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RAM panelists insist, Nigeria will collapse without restructuring

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RAM panelists insist, Nigeria will collapse without restructuring 

***only the living can vote – Afenifere warns**


Nigeria is heading for the rocks in view of the various security threats and refusal of the authorities to heed to the clamour for restructuring by majority of the population, panelists at the Restructure Actualization Movement (RAM) have said

They indicated that the only escape route for the country would be a national conversation by Nigerians on how to forge ahead.
He added that such conversation would be at the be called by ordinary Nigerians and not by political elite who would do so with  their agenda that would undermine the interest of equity being promoted by ordinary Nigerians.

This consensus view was expressed by Dr. Akin Fapounda, Dr. Obiageli Ezekweseli, Senator Usman Bugaje and Chief Edwin Clark who was represented by Oni Winge.

All the speakers maintained that, there is already a consensus among Nigerians for restructuring saying that what is left is how the people would evolve the conversation to convoke their sovereignty, discuss national cohesion and unity under agreed terms.

Representative of the Southwest at the RAM conversation, Dr. Akin Fapohunda said there was no need for any future election without restructuring, to provide for national consensus on the way to continue to exist as one country in peace and unity.
He said the term ‘Afenifere’ means living in love and unity, thus the Southwest position on the way forward for first to note that Nigeria a failed state with 36 states running as silos of expenditure that are not viable.

According to him, the Yoruba nation is desirous of living other with all other tribes and ethnic representation in Nigeria, however,  the critical question of ‘how’ to live together is one that must be deliberated and agreed upon.

He said it is because the extant constitution is not working and should be replaced.

According to him, the profligacy and inequalities in the system must be addressed for an all inclusive governance structure that provides equal opportunities to all Nigerians.

He pointed out that part of the structural deficiency in the system is lumping of over 1000 state assembly lawmakers, 109 senators, 360 members of House of Representatives 42 ministers and administrative staff of the federal government on level 16 and 17 in each of the 36 states of the federation leads the national coffers to unnecessarily bleeding economically.

He pointed out that these silos of expenditure includes the 36 states governors and their paraphanelia of office drains the public purse without any tangible public expenditure that benefits the people.

He proposed that Nigeria Lawmakers should be made to draw their earnings for their service from their respective region and communities based on their earnings.

He maintained that the Yoruba nation was not disposed to 2023 elections as “regardless of the subtle quest, by some elements, to network for political trophies in anticipation of 2023, the overwhelming desire of Yoruba people is to refrain from an further participation in the process of elections unless and until a new constitutional order in is negotiated and enacted.

“Recent events of insecurity across our lands affirms to correctness of this posture, as only the living can exercise voting rights not the dead” he warned.

In her submission on the conversation, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili restated that Nigeria suffers constitutional failure which is the foundation of the country’s trajectory and this failure manifests in the fact that Nigeria was  bequeathed British and Military Constitutions which did not take into cognisance the interest of the people, all of whom have failed.

Ezekwesili said, added to this, was the privatization of the public space and elite class thus undermining the rights of Nigerians to engage.

She said the conversation must be made and its outcome from the views of Nigerians would form the basis of going forward as an indivisible nation.

Former Cabinet minister and leader of the Niger Delta region, Chief Edwin Clerk who was represented by Oni Winge told the participant that Nigeria will not exist further without restructuring.

He said the South South region which is the bread winner of the country wants true Federalism and be able able to control its resources.
He pointed out that while the nation has focused on living on the black gold from the Niger Delta region, the Gold of Zamfara state has been the exclusive resource of the state with the State having full control.
On his part as a panelist at the RAM town hall meeting in Abuja, Senator Usman Bugaje said Nigeria is in a very dangerous trajectory and would required informed discussions on the conversation.

Bugaje who identified three major issues as the bane of advancing the nation to include: power sharing, wealth sharing and identity of a Nigerian said effective management of these factors would birth a United Nigeria.

According to him, the inability of the political class to equitably distribute political power, wealth and ensure the identity of a Nigerian without ethinic or religious biases was a problem to be solved.

He said any part of the country is free to go it’s own way however, it should be done constitutionally stressing that sovereignty belongs to the people.

He said attempts to reduce allotment of presidential slots to ethnic basis like Hausa or Igbo Presidency was a stupid idea.

Proposing a 44 state federating unit with 12 regions, former Minister of information, Prof. Jerry Gana said restructuring Nigeria is an inevitable change whose time has come and Nigeria must actualize to negotiate a peaceful co-existence among all parties.

He said the theory of the majority tribes rotating the Presidency among themselves remains an issue to be discussed so that all minority ethnic nationalities would see a possibility of emerging President of the Country too

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Legislature

Kogi Rainstorm: Senate wants NEMA to supply relief materials to affected areas

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Kogi Rainstorm: Senate wants NEMA to supply relief materials to affected areas

The Senate on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Special Duties to liaise with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to urgently supply relief and rehabilitation materials to Olamaboro communities of Kogi affected by rainstorm.
This, the upper chamber said was with a view to mitigating the sufferings of the victims.
The resolution was sequel to a Point of Order raised by Sen. Isah Jibrin (APC-Kogi) during plenary
The motion was titled “Urgent need for rehabilitation of communities affected by rainstorm in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi”.
The upper chamber also mandated the Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programme (SIP), to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to provide minimal seed capitals for the victims in the affected communities.
This, the Senate said was to help in facilitating their various economic activities. 

Senator Jibrin while moving the motion expressed worry that with the commencement of the rains, over 200 residential buildings had been destroyed across many communities in the LGA in a rainstorm, following a heavy downpour on April 9.
“Apart from destruction of residential buildings, the devastating rainstorm also ravaged crops, farmlands, schools, worship houses, clinics and businesses in several communities in the LGA.He expressed the concern that many victims of the disaster sustained varying degrees of injury and are receiving medical attention at various health centres within the LGA and neighbouring LGAs.Hence he said, the disaster has created a serious humanitarian crisis as families are rendered homeless and their means of livelihood and properties woxth millions of naira destroyed by the rainstorm, thereby creating a situation of internal displacement.
He listed the major affected communities to inlude Ogugu Central, Ogane~0forachi, Emodida, Iyono, Emagaba No.1, Emenega, Emonoja-Aludu, Eegahimotu and Adupi Emoriko in Ogugu Dtstrict. In addition to many others within Okpo and Imane communities.

Contributing, Sen. Yakubu Oseni called on the Federal Government to provide succor to the  affected communities by coming to their aid

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Legislature

Nigeria can no longer Pretend, there are firearms in wrong Hands – Senator Bamidele

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Nigeria can no longer Pretend, there are firearms in wrong Hands – Senator Bamidele

By Joseph Sunday

The chairman Joint committee on Justice and Human Rights said the committee is trying to amend the act in a way that Nigeria can have a one stop shop in the maritime sector.

Senator Opeyemi stated this during the presentation of the Exclusive Economic zone Act amendment Bill and the Fire Arms amendment Bill by stakeholders.

The chairman told journalists that Nigeria cannot pretend, it has arms and ammunition in wrong hands.
“Stiffer punishment should be served as sanction to anyone in possession of fire arms without license.”

He said section 33(4) can take care of any lacuna in the act that has to do with management and ownership of our mineral resources. He posited that an amendment Bill can alter the constitution to provide for any additional property or minerals not covered by the constitution.

In another development, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele called on state Governors and other stakeholders to do the needful in the interest of the public by granting independence to the judiciary in their states. He said “no body stands to lose anything “
The national assembly has granted the judiciary independence at the Federal level through the passage of necessary laws.

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Insecurity: Nigeria under siege, Senate raises the alarm

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Insecurity: Nigeria under siege, Senate raises the alarm

The Senate has raised the alarm that Nigeria is presently under siege from murderous non – state actors, whose activities are threatening the cooperate existence of the country.

To make the matter more scary records from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), indicated that out of 500 million Illegal weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70%, are domiciled in Nigeria for evil activities of criminally minded people .

Senator Uba Sani (APC Kaduna Central), Made the frightening submissions at the public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Navy and Marine Transport on Firearms Act 2004 ( Amendment) Bill 2021 and Exclusive Economic Zones Act 2010 ( Repeal and Re – Enactment) Bill 2021.

He said the country needs to urgently address the worrisome situation.

Sani the sponsor of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill lamented that proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the country with little or no control by relevant authorities has profound implications for collective survival of Nigerians and Nigeria.

He said, “We are gathered here to deal with a matter that has profound implications for our collective survival.

“We are under siege from murderous non – state actors. They have been acquiring arms illegally, maiming our people and threatening the continued existence of our dear Nation. 

“We either take measures to deny them of the oxygen that sustains their nefarious activities, or we watch helplessly as they overrun us and our country.”

The main aim of the proposed amendments to the Firearms Act, he explained, is to curtail the proliferation of illegal arms and bring the existing law in line with global best practices.

He lamented that “The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), recently reported that the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW) in Nigeria, has reached an alarming proportion.

“Analysts estimate that out of the 500 million weapons circulating in West Africa, 350 million, which represents 70% of such weapons, can be found in Nigeria.

“A pointer to this effect can be cited with the incidence of January 31st , 2017, when the Nigeria Customs Service confirmed the interception and seizure of 661 Pump Action Riffles imported from China into our country.

“More recently in Benue State, a local militia had the temerity to kill an Army Captain and 11 Soldiers not to talk of reign of terror in Owerri, Imo State by Gunmen who launched coordinated attacks on the Police headquarters and Correctional Centre .

“Something must be done urgently to curtail arms proliferation, the very reason for the proposed amendment bill on  the existing Firearms Act”, he said .

He listed the five major objectives of the amendment bill to include imposition of stiffer penalties for offences under the Act .

One of such penalties is the one under section 27 (sub section 1c), which proposed increase of fine from N1,000 to N1million .

Representative of Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Oladayo Amao, in his submission, objected to the N1million proposed fine on illegal possession of firearms arguing for its upward review to N2million.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the joint Commitee, Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central), said the purpose of the two bills were to further strengthen the Nigerian extant laws against illegal firearms possession and proliferation as well as making provisions of the Act on Exclusive Economic Zone to be in line with global practices as far as protection of the Nation’s territorial sea or waters are concerned.

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