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40 Reps, 5 Senators Parade O’ Level Certificates -Saharareporters

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Nigeria's National Assembly

A peek into the qualification details of the members of the National Assembly by Daily Trust on Sunday reveals that a staggering number of the parliamentarians got elected with Ordinary Level certificates during the 2015 general elections, a development that leaves doubts on the capacity and quality of legislation in the 8th National Assembly.

A total of 45 federal lawmakers who got elected into the Nigerian parliament during the 2015 general elections to represent their various constituencies across the country were inaugurated into both chambers of the National Assembly with either Secondary School Certificates or Grade-II Teachers’ Certificates as their highest educational qualification, investigations by Daily Trust on Sunday has revealed.

Details of this, which was obtained after a scrutiny of the list of elected National Assembly members in the 2015 general elections as contained on the official website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has left analysts expressing fears over the impact of such on the quality of legislation, especially in view of the fact that most of them are first-timers with little or no experience as it relates to debates, initiation of bills and motions.

Nigeria’s National Assembly comprises 109 senators in the Upper Chamber (Senate) and 306 representatives in the Lower Chamber (House of Representatives), but observers say most of them in the current Eighth Assembly are hardly seen taking an active part in proceedings. A check of the list from INEC website showed that 40 of the affected federal lawmakers, representing 11 per cent of the members, were elected to the House of Representatives while five got elected into the Senate.

The lists are separately titled: “Independent National Electoral Commission 2015 updated-elected Reps” and “Independent National Electoral Commission 2015 updated-elected Senators.” They are displayed on Microsoft spreadsheet in different columns indicating:  state, constituency, name of candidate, sex, party, age and qualification of each member as at the time of the election.

While 28 of them were elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), 21 others got elected on the tickets of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with their qualification details indicating that they either possessed the West African School Certificate (WASC), Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), West African Examination Certificate (WAEC), General Certificate of Education (GCE) or Teachers’ Grade-II Certificate.

Although the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the possession of a School Certificate or its equivalent as the minimum requirement for election into the Senate and the House of Representatives, many critics have called for an upward review, saying the business of lawmaking, especially at the federal level, was a serious one that requires not only experience but a higher level of educational attainment.

Going by the 2015 elected National Assembly members list on the INEC website, an average of two representatives from each of the federal constituency in the country from the various zones got elected with Ordinary Level certificates.

Low qualification by zones

The list shows that the North-West zone comprising Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina and Jigawa states, has the highest number of Rep members with low academic qualifications, totaling 11. Three representatives from the zone with the lowest qualifications are from Jigawa State, namely: the member representing Hadeja/Kafin Hausa/Auyo in Jigawa State, Usman Ibrahim Auyo (Grade II), member representing Kazaure federal constituency, Muhammed Gudaji Kazaure (SSCE) and the member representing Miga/Jahun, Hon. Saidu Yusuf Miga (Grade-II).

Three other representatives from the North-West with similar qualifications are from Kaduna State, namely: the member representing Kachia/Kagarko, Jagaba Adams Jagaba (WASC), member representing Kaduna South, Rufai Ahmed Chanchangi (WASC), and the member representing Ikara/Kubau, Yusuf Bala (WAEC).

Also from the North-West are three reps from Sokoto State and one from Kebbi. Those from Sokoto include the member representing Kware/Wammako, Abdullahi M. Wammako (Grade-II), member representing D-Shuni/Bodinga/Tureta, Aliyu Shehu A.A. (WASC) and the member representing Binji Silame, Saadu M. Nabunkari (WASC), while the only member from Kebbi State is Salisu Garba Koko, representing Koko/Besse/Maiyama (Grade-II).

The North-Central has the second highest number, with nine representatives who were elected with lower qualifications during the 2015 elections. Out of this number, three are from Niger State, namely: the member representing Wushishi/Mashe/Gukgora/Miriga, Garba Abdullahi (WAEC), member representing Gbako/Bida/Katcha, Muhammadu Bida Faruq (GCE) and the member representing Mokwa/Lavun/ Edati, Ahmed Abu (SSCE). Two are from Benue State while one each represents Kwara and Plateau states, respectively. Those from Benue include the member representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo, Christian Adaba Abah (GCE) and the member representing Makurdi/Guma, Dickson Dominic T. (GCE), while Plateau and Kwara have the member representing Jos North, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande (WASC), as well as the one representing Ifelodun/Ifa, Olayonu Olarinoye Tope (Grade-II).

The North-East has representatives in this category from Borno, Bauchi, Taraba and Yobe states. The only member from Borno is the one representing Maiduguri Metropolitan, Abdulkadiri Rahis (SSCE). In Bauchi, the member representing Torro federal constituency, Lawal Yahaya Gamau (WASC) also falls in the list. The same is the case of the member representing Darazo/Ganjuwa, Haliru Dauda Jika who has a WASC, while Taraba has the member representing Ardo Kola/Lau/Karim Lamido, Baido Danladi Tijos parading WASC and the member representing Bali/Gassol, Garba Hamman-Julde Chede having a Grade-II. Yobe State has the member representing Nangere/Potiskum, Alhaji Sabo Garba with WASC.

The South-West and South-South zones also have five federal lawmakers each that were elected during the 2015 elections with the minimum qualification requirement. Lagos State has five federal lawmakers who make the list in the South-West, namely: the member representing Shomolu, Diya Oyewole (WAEC), member representing Oshodi/Isolo-I, Shadimu Mutiu A. (WASC), member representing Oshodi/Isolo-II, Nwulu Tony Chinelu (WASC) and the member representing Agege, Adaranijo Taofeek Abiodun (WAEC).

The South-South has one member each from Rivers, Edo and Cross Rivers states while two are from Delta State. Rivers State has the member representing Akoku-Toru, Boma Godhead (SSCE), Edo has the member representing Egor Ikpoba, Johnson E. Agbonayinma (SSCE), while Dalta has the member representing Bomadi/Pantani, Nicholas Mutu Egbomo (WAEC), and the member representing Isoko North/Isoko South, Leonard O. Ogor (WAEC).

The South-East has the least in this category with one representative each from Imo and Ebonyi states, namely: the member representing Ahiazu/Mbaise, Raphael Uzodi Igbokwe (WAEC) and the member representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu, Nwazunku Chukuma (WASC).

The senators found in this category are: the senator representing Adamawa North, Binta Masi Garba (GCE); Adamawa Central, Abdulazeez Murtala Nyako (GCE); Bayelsa West, Ogola Foster (TC-II) and the senator representing Imo West, Uzodinma Good Hope (WAEC).

The flip side

On the flip side, however, Daily Trust on Sunday discovered that about 24 of the federal lawmakers were elected with the highest academic qualification of doctorate degrees (PhD). They are made up of 14 members of the House of Representatives and 10 Senators. Out of this number, 15 were elected on the platform of the ruling APC, while nine came through the PDP.

The representatives with PhDs are: the member representing Uyouram/Nsit/ Ebesikpo Usutan in  Akwa Ibom State, Michael Okon; the member representing Ihiala/Anhonu in Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Reginald; the member representing Alkaleri-Kirfi of Bauchi State, Mohammed Sani Abdu; the member representing Gboko/Tarka of Benue State, John Dyeh; the member representing Nkanu East-West, Chukwuemeka Ujam; the member representing Uzo/Uwani/Igbo/Etiti of Enugu State, Stella Uchenna Obiagheli Ngwu; the member representing Zaria in Kaduna State, Abbas Tajudeen and the member representing Kiru Bebeji in Kano State, Abdulmumin Jibrin (currently under suspension).

Others are the member representing Lagos Island-I, Enitan Dolapo Bau; the member representing Ede North/Ede South/Ejigbo in Osun State, Moyeed Olujinmi; the member representing Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke in Plateau State, Golu Timothy; the member representing Tai/Eleme/Oyigbo in Rivers State, Jonathan B. Nbina; the member representing Ilela/ Gwadabawa in Sokoto State, Abdullahi Balarabe Salame and the member representing Jalingo/Yorro/Zing from Taraba State, Aminu Ibrahim Malle.

The senators in this category are Stella Oduah (Anambra North); Samuel Ominyi Egwu (Ebonyi North); Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West); Yahaya A. Abdullahi (Kebbi North); Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim (Kwara South); Robert Ajayi Borofice (Ondo North); Olusola Adeyeye (Osun Central); Buhari Abdul Fatai (Oyo North); Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir (Sokoto East) and Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan (Yobe North).

Implications

For Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, the executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the possession of only Ordinary Level certificates by a large number of legislators in the current National Assembly is a matter of serious concern, given what he called the character of the current legislature.

“It explains why there is poor legislative experience in terms of procedures and proceedings because if you have this kind of people, it affects not only the quality but individual contributions to legislative business. Although some of them hire competent legislative aides due to their lack of capacity and knowledge, we cannot expect quality from them due to the way and manner they came in,” Rafsanjani said.

Stressing that it was important for voters to know the kind of people they vote for to represent them, especially in the parliament, Rafsanjani, who is also the acting secretary-general, West African Civil Society Forum (WASCOF), said: “If you are elected with only WASC in the legislature, there is a huge gap compared with those in the executive, some of whom have 25 years’ experience.”

While advocating that whoever wants to serve in the National Assembly should have a requisite capacity and knowledge, Rafsanjani said there was low capacity in the current parliament due to the way and manner the elections threw up the candidates.

“About 70 percent of them are new members who are learning; some are not even interested in the legislative business but seeking for opportunities and privileges,” he said, adding that the best way is to upgrade the minimum requirement for election into the National Assembly to diploma, with at least 10 years working experience.

He said political parties should also help in fielding qualitative candidates with capacity and experience to deliver, as it is by so doing that there could be quality deliberations and debates.

Speaking in the same vein, a former speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Josiah Sabo Kente, said the quality of performance in the current legislature, both at the states and the federal levels, has dwindled, due largely to the low level of education of the lawmakers.

“In modern day democracy, you don’t just stop at School Certificate. This is why we are having low level of participation in the legislature because only a few attend sittings; some do not attend sittings because of their low level of education while some are coming there just to make money. I can even mention names of non-contributors in the National Assembly,” Kente said.

He called for a constitutional amendment that would raise the qualification requirement for election into the legislature.

But for Senator Dansadau, educational qualification is not the issue but voter preference as, according to him, the voters know their people very well. “Someone may have a PhD but may be weak in debates, so only the voter knows who are capable. But so long as the voter is taking money you will continue to have this problem. So, the key issue is to avoid money politics,” he said.

While calling on voters to jettison money and go for credibility, Dansadau said there could be many PhD members who do not have money to dish out. He said the current National Assembly has failed to perform optimally because it is bedeviled with political crisis, especially in the Senate.

Dansadau’s view is corroborated by a member of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Mark Useni, who said there should be a balance between capacity and educational qualification. “Some people have school certificates but do well, and I have come across some of them who speak and deliver well. Those that flaunt academic degrees have a questionable capacity to deliver well,” he said.

According to the lawmaker, capacity building is essential in terms of the qualification a lawmaker possesses, while agreeing that it is good to raise the current minimum qualification requirement for election into the legislature.

Umar Ardo, a politician, said what is critical is intellect and wisdom, which he said are lacking in the current National Assembly. “Most of them have low level of exposure and intellectual capacity; most of them go there for a job – something to survive without understanding the basic rudiments. Even for governors, there are those who know next to nothing. So what matters most is not qualification but intellect and wisdom,” he said.

‘No cause for alarm’

But the spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdas, allayed such fears, saying the 8th National Assembly is vibrant and capable of performing its statutory functions.

Namdas said: “Forty out of 360 shows that the 8th House of Representatives is a vibrant one. We have several lawyers, one of whom was only recently awarded the prestigious title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). We also have professors and many PhD holders.

“Among all those that ruled Nigeria, only two are graduates (Yar’Adua and Jonathan), yet they performed. The act of lawmaking is not for lawmakers alone; we often conduct public hearings to collate views.”

On whether the current qualification requirement for election into the National Assembly should be reviewed upward, Namdas said it would depend on the views of Nigerians to that effect. “If Nigerians want it that way, so be it,” he said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Government

Oyo State Budgets N330M Monthly To Support Community Policing In LGAs

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State

Oyo State Governor, Seye Makinde has said that the state has set aside a monthly budget of N330 million to be spent on security across the 33 local governments in the state.

The governor who disclosed this in Ibadan said each local government in the state is expected to spend N10 million to support the security of lives and property in their domain.

He said part of the measures was the instruction to local government chairmen to involve traditional rulers as well as other voluntary residents in policing their areas.

Each local government is to spend N10 million monthly on this security arrangement.

Makinde explained that the initiative amounts to spending N330 million in the 33 local government areas, besides other efforts the state government had put in place to tighten security.

“We said each local government should set up a security committee, which should include traditional rulers and voluntary people willing to police their areas.

“I encouraged them to budget N10 million to service the committee every month. For the entire state, that’s N330 million per month by all local governments, excluding what we are doing generally at the state level,” the governor told a group on a visit to him during the recent Muslim festival.

“On security, most of the data in the past months shows that things are now improving. The Igangan incident, some days ago, was only falsified by some people who were saying that Fulani herdsmen had invaded Igangan again. The truth is actually about the NCS and smugglers. They know each other.

“Customs officials were accused to have entered Igangan, which is not a border town. But we are working with Federal authorities and they have arrested most of them.

“The gun that was collected is still with us. I said I won’t release it until I get the attention of the Federal authorities.

“In the Constitution of Nigeria, Oyo State is a federating unit. We are not saying Federal agencies should not carry out their operations here. But they must tell us; they must inform us. They may not disclose the details of the operation to us, but we must know about it.

“If we had known about the operation, we would have pre-informed the security detail in the town and those who died could have been alive. The Amotekun Coordinator that died in Igboora would have still been alive today.

“How can you go operating in an unidentified vehicle in a town where the security tactics have been heightened? As they wanted to enter the town, they were confronted because we have heightened security in all of those places.

“So, we will keep appealing to them and to our people that false information won’t help anybody. Nobody will profit politically from the security issues we are faced with. It is our collective responsibility. The people will play their part and the government will play its own part,” Makinde said.

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Security Operatives Arrest Sunday Igboho in Cotonou, Benin Republic

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The security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic have arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.

An anonymous source privy to the arrest disclosed on Tuesday morning.

According to the source, Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou while trying to travel to Germany from the West African nation.

President Buhari-led administration is now working with the Benin government to repatriate him to Nigeria.

The source said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.

“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.

“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”

It would be recalled that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.

DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in to the nearest security.

“Those cheering and eulogizing him may appeal to or advice him to do the needful,” Afunnaya said. “He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law.”

Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers representing Igboho and others arrested in his House, told SaharaReporters he had not confirmed the news of Igboho’s arrest in Cotonou.

“I will contact Yomi Aliu (SAN) to verify the news,” he said.

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Government

IOM Ethiopia Appeals for USD 40 Million to Assist Additional 1.6 Million People in Northern Ethiopia

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Northern Ethiopia - Investors King

Nearly two million people affected by the crisis in northern Ethiopia desperately need life-saving assistance, including water, medicine and shelter, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today as it issued an urgent appeal for USD 40 million to help internally displaced men, women and children, including newborn babies. 

Since the outbreak of the conflict eight months ago in Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State, millions of people are enduring unimaginable suffering, including forced displacement, hunger, death, and destruction of private and public property.

In Tigray, IOM has been providing support to more than half a million people, including displaced children, women, men, and vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and persons with disabilities. This includes shelter and provision of essential items such as food, water, clothing, medicine and supplies for babies, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.

IOM has also been supporting camp coordination and management efforts, providing mental health care to those in need, and producing Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports to shed light on the evolving situation.

Nearly USD 70 million (USD 69.3M) is needed to respond to the needs of internally displaced populations in northern Ethiopia but only USD 28.7 million has been received this year. IOM needs an extra USD 40.6 million for the remainder of 2021 to be able to continue and further expand its response to help the displaced.

“The nearly two million people displaced by this crisis continue to live in inhumane and undignified conditions and require critical and urgent support,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA. “IOM Director General António Vitorino said it before, and we say it again: we must act without delay to meet the needs of people in the region.”

The situation in Tigray remains volatile. In partnership and coordination with other UN agencies, IOM is committed to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance, to continue reaching people in need. IOM is planning to significantly scale up response programming and increase the deployment of senior IOM staff in the region despite the severe shortage of funding.

IOM’s response is aligned with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group’s (ICCG) – a cooperative effort among sectors and the Humanitarian Country Team to improve the national response – Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, which estimates that 5.2 million people are in dire need in the worst-case scenario of this escalating humanitarian crisis.

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