President Jonathan Appoints New Ministers

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan forwarded for confirmation, a list of 12 new ministerial nominees to the Senate in Abuja, on Tuesday, January 21. David Mark, president of the Senate, read out the president’s letter to his colleagues that day, before plenary. The nominees are Aliyu Gusau, former security adviser (Zamfara); Musiliu Obanikoro, former Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana (Lagos); Boni Haruna, former governor of Adamawa State; Aminu Wali, former Nigerian ambassador to China(Kano); Mohammed Wakil (Borno); Jamila Salik (Kano) and Akon Eyakenyi (Akwa Ibom). The rest are T.W. Danagogo (Rivers); Asabe Ahmed (Niger); Abduljelili Adesiyan (Osun); Lawrencia Mallam (Kaduna State) and Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto State).

President Jonathan also sent for confirmation the names of the newly-appointed service chiefs in accordance with the provisions of Section 18(1) of the Armed Forces Act. The service chiefs are Alex Badeh, air marshal, Chief of Defence Staff; Kenneth Minimah, major-general, Chief of Army Staff; Usman Jibrin, rear admiral, Chief of Naval Staff and Adesola Amosu, chief of Air Staff. This was the first time the president was forwarding the names of appointed service chiefs to the Senate for confirmation.

The Senate is expected to start the screening as soon as possible. Incidentally some of the nominees are not likely to have a good ride. Prominent among them is Adesiyan, who was accused and charged with the murder of Bola Ige, SAN, former attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice. Adesiyan stood trial with Iyiola Omisore, a former senator, for several months before the case was controversially dismissed. Haruna has a case of misappropriation of more than N160 billion pending against him.

FG Budgets N200 Million for G-WIN

THE Nigeria government is going to spend more than N200 million on the take-off of the Girls and Women Initiative in Nigeria, G-WIN. Sarah Ochekpe, minister of water resources, who disclosed this in Abuja, on Wednesday, January 21, said the ministry would provide sanitation facilities in public places such as markets, motor parks and highways, in selected communities to reduce open defecation.

Ochekpe
Ochekpe

According to the minister, 30 participants from 19 states in the Northeast, Northwest and Northcentral would be trained in water management kiosk, community-led total sanitation, CLTS, facility operation, maintenance and health, water scheme operations and management, leadership and conflict resolution in the water sector.

Ochekpe who spoke during the take-off of the G-WIN, said 30,000 people die daily across the world from water-borne illnesses while 1.5 billion others lack access to safe drinking water. The numbers, she said, represented a significant challenge for individuals, governments and businesses.

The minister said the G-WIN would train 2,400 women and girls in procurement processes in water management to become entrepreneurs. Five ministries, namely, Water Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, Communications, Works and Health, are expected to pilot the G-WIN project to train women and girls to enable them contribute to the economic development of the country. Ochekpe said: “The G-WIN project is an innovative approach adopted by the federal government and is aimed at opening access to life-changing opportunities for girls and women in diverse endeavours. The project will serve as a vehicle to effectively harness the potentials from this class of the society to sustainably support the transformation agenda of the government. The strategy is to create jobs and generate wealth to alleviate poverty through the provision of water kiosks, public sanitation facilities and enhance the capacity of women and girls to own and upscale such facilities on an economic basis.”

Northern Elders Threaten Ihejirika with Word Court

Ihejirika
Ihejirika

ELDERS of the North and the Southeast exchanged altercations on Wednesday, January 22, over the military’s battle against the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State. They both talked tough at separate fora in Abuja, the federal capital territory, over the plan by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, to take Azubuike Ihejirika, a retired lieutenant-general and former Chief of Army Staff, to the International Criminal Court, ICC, for alleged war crimes.

Ango Abdullahi, a professor of agriculture, and NEF spokesman, said there was no going back on the decision to call in the ICC over the massacre of hundreds of people in Baga, Borno State. The former university don said; “stupid to insinuate that we are dragging the former Chief of Army Staff to the ICC because he is an Igbo man.” Ihejirika, who was replaced recently by Kenneth Minimah, a major-general, was the first officer from the Southeast extraction to head the army since the civil war ended in 1970.

But Uche Chukwumerije, a serving senator, who spoke on behalf of Igbo elders, criticised the “blatant selective search for who is responsible in Baga and Why so personal? Every citizen (including Prof. Ango Abdullahi) knows that the anti-terrorism campaign in the North is a joint military operation under the command of the Chief of Defence Staff. In singling out Lt.-General Ihejirika, the then Army boss, the likes of Professor Ango Abdullahi are merely betraying old prejudices and embarking on new hazardous search for bad names to hang hated dogs. Besides, the fact that Prof. Ango Abdullahi and co sprung into action immediately Lt.-General Ihejirika and ‘six others’ left their commands has revealed the depth of long-smouldering resentment of the campaign against Boko Haram by the self-proclaimed leaders of the North.”

Twenty PDP Lawmakers Defect to APC

Ahmed
Ahmed

NO fewer than 23 members of the Kwara State House of Assembly, led by the speaker, defected on Wednesday, January 22, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The 24-member House had only two APC lawmakers from Offa Local Government Area. In a letter to Razak Atunwa, speaker, the former PDP members hinged their defection on the division in the PDP, quoting Section 109 (1) (g) of the nation’s constitution.

Atunwa said PDP had suffered fragmentation, leading to the emergence of two factions. He said the resignation of Bamanga Tukur, former PDP national chairman, had nothing to do with their stand and would not change their positions. Atunwa added that efforts aimed at resolving the differences between the factions had been frustrated. “It is clear that from August 30, last year, when some delegates walked out of the Eagles Square Convention to hold a parallel PDP convention at the Yar’ Adua Centre, factions were established. All reports have been awash with reference to either the Baraje faction (commonly referred to as ‘new PDP’ or ‘nPDP’) or the Bamanga Tukur faction. I, and the rest of the members who have today changed party to the APC, belonged to the ‘new PDP’ faction. The decision to leave the PDP was not made without thorough evaluation and extensive consultations,” he said.

Governor Abdulfatha Ahmed of Kwara State is among the five PDP governors that defected to the APC last year.

— Feb. 3, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT