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Develop Your Zone, Don’t Wait For FG, Obasanjo Tells S-east Govs, Ndigbo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, asked Ndigbo and their governors to take their destiny in their hands by developing the South-East geographical zone instead of waiting for the government.

Obasanjo said there was no need for the governors to wait for the Federal Government to develop South-East when they already had the instruments already.

Obasanjo noted that economy and security were two sides of the same coin, adding that none could be achieved without the other.

He also asked Igbo elders to intervene in the on-going agitation for Biafra Republic to bring the situation under control.

Obasanjo described the Igbo stock as unique people, saying their entrepreneurial and communal efforts were driven with the spirit of adventure.

He spoke as the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu asked President Muhammadu Buhari to obey an earlier court order compelling the Federal Government to release the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

Ekweremadu further lamented that the South-East zone was not represented at the apex level of either the military or the police.

On the rule of law and fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Ekweremadu insisted that Kanu must have his day in court and if court orders his release, he must be released.

Both Obasanjo and Ekweremadu spoke, yesterday at the South East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu.

Among those who attended the summit included former Secretary of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; Chief Pascal Dozie; Mbazulike Amaechi; Ben Akabueze; Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (retd), among other dignitaries.

President Muhammadu Buhari was expected as a guest during the summit but he neither attended nor sent any representative.

Develop your zone, don’t wait for FG, Obasanjo tells S-East govs, Ndigbo.

According to Obasanjo, the aim of the summit was on how the industrious people of the zone could do things for themselves other than relying on government’s intervention.

Obasanjo said: “Insecurity in any part of the country affects the other. The instruments of doing the jobs are already with you.

“The South-East had been known from time for entrepreneurship, community effort services and their spirit of adventure. The papa Okafor has been there in my village right from when I was growing up and nobody has taken those traits away from the Igboman, but how do we use it to achieve economic prosperity and security?

“You can’t have security when the economy of your people is not well taken care of and you can’t have security without economic prosperity. What we need to do here is to harness what we have.

“The people of the South-East are extremely unique and need to be harnessed. We should work together and that is the purpose of this summit.”

The former president told the gathering to look in the ways of their fertile agricultural land, the Aba industrial cluster, and other minerals both on the surface and beneath the earth to grow their economy.

“Whatever we can do for ourselves, let us do it for ourselves. If I could go to Maiduguri when Boko Haram was raging and I had to try to reach out to them in the interest of the country, I don’t think I have to be eulogized for being part of the initiative of South-East summit.

“Security is all inclusive. If there is no security in any part of the country, there is no security in the entire country. All the governors have spoken. I am delighted. They said ‘we have things we can do if given the instrument’. You have the instruments already.

Obasanjo lists traits of Ndigbo

“We knew South-East for enterprise, entrepreneurial ability, communal interest and spirit of adventure. Nobody can take it away from them. What can we do with it in area of economy and security? The symbiotic relationship between economy and security has been mentioned by the governors and the chairman. You cannot have good economy when the security of your people is not taken care of. If security is not taken care of, the economy will diminish. What we have, how can we use it?

“The people of South-East are extremely unique. That uniqueness of the South-East must be used to your advantage,” Obasanjo said.

On agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra

On the agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra, Obasanjo attributed the situation to youth restiveness, caused by challenges facing the young people of the zone and asked: “But should we leave them with the agitation, should we leave them as elders?

“There should be agitation by the youths but should we leave them with the agitation? There is this saying that where youths are cutting trees in the forest, the elders should caution them because they are the people who know where the tree will fall,” he addeed.

Citing the Aba-made shoes and Ebonyi rice as examples, Obasanjo described the potentials of the South-East region as legendary, saying that the South-East could be the food basket of the nation.

He, however, described the challenge of youth restiveness in the region as understandable as the agitators had education and skills and yet they do not have jobs.

I’m not at war with Buhari

In his speech, Ekweremadu stressed that he was not at war with President Muhammadu Buhari, citing recent meetings he had had with the President.

Ekweremadu further called for the restructuring of the country, noting that if Nigeria’s democracy should thrive, the citizens should be ready to subject themselves to the basic rules of law.

He said: “So long as we have unified economic structure, it cannot work. It is also important that all parts of the country are represented in the affairs of government. As we talk now, nobody from the South-East is among the security chiefs in Nigeria.

“On human rights, the issue of liberty is an inalienable right. If court says release somebody, please do that. No matter the offence allegedly committed by Nnamdi Kanu, he should be released from detention.”

The Chairman of the planning committee of the summit and former Minister of Power, Prof. Bath Nnaji, said the essence of the summit was to brainstorm on how the private sector could work with the public sector to achieve infrastructure influx into the South East. Nnaji said the areas they are looking at to work on include gas pipelines, railway, sustainable agriculture, among other areas.

Anyaoku calls for restructuring of Nigeria

Earlier, Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of Commonwealth and Chairman of the occasion, reiterated his call for the restructuring of Nigeria to have fewer and effective federating units for this country to have stability and faster pace of development.

“There is no need for Federal Government to periodically bail out any of the 36 non-viable units from dire financial conditions,” 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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Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.

The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.

Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.

Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.

The statement in full:

“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.

The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.

With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;

Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;

  • applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
  • a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
  • upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
  • that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
  • that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
  • applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
  • a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.

The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.

Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″

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INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.

Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).

He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.

He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities

He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.

“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.

“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.

“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.

“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.

He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.

“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”

Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.

According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.

“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.

“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.

“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission

“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.

Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.

Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.

“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.

“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria

“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.

He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.

Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.

“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.

“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.

“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said

Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.

Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.

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Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum

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The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.

The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.

The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.

The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.

He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”

You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.

Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.

Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.

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