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Bello restates Kogi government support for academic excellence

Posted on May 24, 2018. Filed under: news |

Praises Natasha Akpoti

Provides scholarship to Fatima Bombom Sani

 Kogi State Government is determened to support the education of brilliant students, Governor Yahaya Bello said yesterday.

Governor Bello provided scholarship to the tune of $93,000 to Ms.Fatima Bombom Sani, the best graduating student at the 2015 Call to Bar examination of the Nigerian Law School.

Bello, who spoke while receiving Ms. Fatima Sani, her relatives,alongside Bar. Natasha Akpoti at the Kogi State Government House lamented a situation where academic excellence has not been given therequisite reward in Nigeria.

“The case of Fatima Sani reminds me of how academic excellence has notbeen adequately rewarded in Nigeria. Imagine someone that bagged nine separate awards including “Best Student of the Year and Council of Education Star Award, and nothing was done for her since 2015.”

He applauded Akpoti for taking up the case of Fatima Sani. “It was Bar. Natasha Akpoti who sought the intervention of the Kogi State Governor who was not only surprised but disappointed that Fatima was left unsupported while no information was brought to his office concerning her case.

He charged privileged Nigerians to make more contribution to the education of brilliant students.

“I heard about your exceptional performance at the Nigerian Law School in 2015 and assumed you were recognized and sponsored by the administration of the day. It is unacceptable that such brilliance is not celebrated and promoted. Nevertheless, I shall grant you a personal scholarship to celebrate your exceptionality and help your career-defining goals.”

Governor Yahaya Bello stated that after some inquiries and validation of Fatima’s credentials, he in his capacity declared a full scholarship for Fatima to study Masters in Finance Law at the Colombian Law School, in the United States of America.

Bello thanked Natasha Akpoti for her humanitarian efforts in bringing Fatima’s issue while urging Fatima to uphold her academic excellence and make Nigeria proud and return home to serve fatherland. Speaaking, Barr. Akpoti commended Governor Bello for his benevolence and penchant for promoting academic excellence.

“We must celebrate heroes like Fatima in view of motivating young people especially girls towards exceptional educational performances.”

She advised Fatima to go for her studies and come back to contribute her quota to the development of Kogi state and Nigeria Akpoti had on April 27, 2018 via her Facebook page, advocated sponsorship to help Fatima further her academic dreams having emerged as the best graduating student at the 2015 Bar exam where she bagged nine separate awards including “Best Student of the Year and Council of Education Star Award

Credit: Ebireri Henry Ovie

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My chances are bright – Tunde Adedeji

Posted on April 19, 2018. Filed under: news |

adedejiElder Tunde Adedeji on Thursday indicated that he would be the All Progressives Congress (APC) nominee for governor in Osun State.

“My chances of becoming the party’s candidate and winning the next governorship election in Osun State are bright” he said.

In an interview in Lagos, Adedeji said he had to join the gubernatorial race to bring in the much needed investment to develop the state, harness the huge resources, shore up revenue and fill the gap in infrastructure.

“I have what it takes in terms of exposure, education and vision to lead Osun State to the next level of development. I have been in politics since 1998. Prior to that, I was active in student politics, a king maker and parliamentarian during my days in University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife (OAU)). Nobody could have been president of the Students Union without my input. I attempted the House of Representatives in 1999 and my ticket was ceded to a former Speaker of the House of Representatives. I cooperated with Chief Bisi Akande, our great leader, political father, mentor and great coach. I have been a loyal party man. I have gained a lot from our progressive leaders. I am a key player in Osun Politics. The greatest travail of the progressives was the struggle for the actualization of the mandate of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. I am glad that I was part of the process. I am able to mix maximally with different kinds of people –Youth, women, the old, privileged and under privileged. I have a lot of contacts both locally and internationally that can be harnessed to bring in the much needed investment to develop the state. I served as the chairman of two companies within the Oodua Group of Companies, Askar Paints Nigeria Limited and Wrought Iron Nigeria Limited. I want to leave a legacy of good governance” he said.

A grassroots politician and a native of Gbongan in Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun State, Adedeji said he would fight the election on economic issues.

“Osun should not be a poor state. The state is endowed. If given the mandate, I will leverage on the infrastructural development efforts of the incumbent. All that is needed is a visionary leader, who can think out of the box, come up with solutions that will address the paucity of development in the state. Osun is an agrarian community. We have to increase productivity through massive investment in agriculture, agroindustry and agribusiness. I am committed to building a state where there would be economic buoyancy, a hub of modern development and beehive of business investments and employment generation activities.”

He promised to create new jobs, ensure proper training and enabling environment for the civil servants in the state.

“Work is the antidote to poverty” he said.

Adedeji who praised Major General Leo Segun Ajiborisa (Rtd), Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke (of blessed memory), Navy Commodore Anthony Udofia, Brigadier General Anthony Obi, Brigadier General Theophilus Bamgboye, Chief Bisi Akande, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for contributing towards the development of the state promised to lead an all-inclusive government, bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, provide developmental initiatives and encourage women by reserving forty percent of appointment for them.

“Having garnered experiences in private and government agencies, I have decided to bring to bear the flourishing and unending exposure I have acquired over the years to serve my people. I feel there is no better time than to contribute at a higher pedestal to the development of Osun State than 2018. I have been in public administration and business for years. All I can do is to strive to do better.”

Adedeji, one of the APC leaders in Osun, represents the state as a member of the Technical Committee on Regional Integration of Western Nigeria.

He served as a board member of the Agricultural Development Corporation of The State of Osun.

Currently, he is a Director of Skyrun Cocoa Processing Company Ede.

 

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I Will Focus More on Reintegration – Prof. Charles Dokubo

Posted on April 6, 2018. Filed under: news |

…..Sets Up Eight-Man Review Committee

The new Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof Charles Dokubo, has set up a Special, Eight-Man Review Committee to take an initial look into the activities of the programme.

Members of the committee include Prof. Ayibaemi Spiff, Chief Otonye Amachree, Mr. Unyime Isong Eyo, Ms. Azizat Muhammed, Other members include the current Directors of Finance and Accounts, Procurement, Administration and the Head of Audit in the Presidential Amnesty office.

News report made available to journalists today by Wabiye Idoniboyeobu, Media Consultant

Presidential Amnesty Programme made known that Prof. Dokubo inaugurated the committee yesterday, Thursday 5th April, in the conference hall of the Presidential Amnesty office in Abuja, and mandated the committee to dissect and carefully go through the handover notes received from his predecessor, Brigadier Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd) and also look through all the briefs received from departmental heads.

Prof. Dokubo said he would focus more on the reintegration aspect of the programme, adding that he would not accommodate new entrants into the programme, which should be winding down in due course. “My focus is on reintegration. How do we get jobs for those who have been trained here such that they would no longer live on stipends? I wish to use the opportunity of the inauguration of the committee to underscore the compelling need to recalibrate and reboot the Amnesty Programme to meet current realities in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large”, he said.

The terms of reference of the committee include, among others, to take a critical look at the handover note and ascertain the current status of the programme; ascertain current level of compliance with the original mandate of the programme; and review all contracts awarded by the Amnesty Office since 2015 with a view to determine the levels of work done, monies paid, beneficiaries and extent of work done and recommend a payment schedule for only those qualified to be paid.

The committee was also mandated to look into the database of the Amnesty Office to establish its sanity, carry out a personnel audit of the staff and their suitability for the positions they currently occupy and determine the real status of all ongoing vocational, educational and post-training empowerment programmes of the office within and outside the country.

The committee has two weeks from date of inauguration to submit their report.

 

 

 

 

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MSSN urges Lagos to make new education policy public before implementation

Posted on April 4, 2018. Filed under: news |

MSSN urges Lagos to make new education policy public before implementation

The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria has appealed to the Lagos State Government to make the reviewed policies in the state’s education policy public and available to stakeholders before implementation.

This, the organisation said, would aid a collective acceptance of the policy and prevent a similar crisis currently witnessed with the Land Use Charge.

The Amir (President) of the MSSN in Lagos State, Dr. Saheed Ashafa, said this after attending the Lagos State Stakeholders Engagement Forum on the review of the state’s policy on education.

The event, which held on Tuesday in Lagos, saw stakeholders being informed about the introduction of new education policies in the state.

Ashafa, who commended the move, said that it was important to give education stakeholders the opportunity to assess the policies before implementation.

He noted that implementing the policies without adequate input from stakeholders may not yield the desired result.

He said, “We commend Lagos State Government for bringing stakeholders together to consider the proposed new policies on education. The involvement of stakeholders is a step to success but we must avoid shortcut. We love the tall aspiration of Lagos state government for striving to meet up with the status of leading nations in the education sector like Finland, South Korea and Singapore.

“While we commend the state government for involving stakeholders in the validation of the document, we feel it is fundamental to share necessary documents with stakeholders for quality contribution and unquestionable acceptance.

“A situation where a ready-made policy is just being read to stakeholders without giving room for input or contributions may defeat the good notion of the state government to maintain a good relationship with stakeholders in the education sector.”

He, however, appealed to the Lagos State Government not to allow the implementation of the new policy disrupt the peace and relative progress being enjoyed in the state’s education sector.

“We advocate for all-inclusive implementation of the policy. One way to do this is to allow non-governmental organisations to participate in the monitoring of the policy to enhance objectivity in reporting,” he added.

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South-South leaders urge Buhari to throw his hat in the ring

Posted on March 23, 2018. Filed under: news |

.… Say Oyegun is a point person for APC 2019 mission

South-South leaders on Sunday expressed satisfaction with the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

They also urged Buhari to throw his hat in the ring.

In a news report circulated by a media practitioner – Mr. Henry Ovie to journalists today said that, “at a meeting to appraise political actors in Nigeria, the leaders praised Buhari for investing in roads, bridges, other infrastructure and security.”

They also commended President Buhari for promoting sustainable growth and employability, strengthening the capacity and innovation of micro, small and medium enterprises and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture.

Speaking to the media after the meeting in Uyo, the Chairman, South-South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry said the leaders described names floated so far in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and others as men with no electoral values.

The leaders were also appreciative of Oyegun’s role in the development of Nigeria’s democracy.

“Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is a genius in the area of leadership” they said.

The leaders who ruled out plans to support the opposition parties in 2019 praised Oyegun for enhancing political discourse, maintaining a good working relationship with President Buhari, strengthening the democracy within the party, eliminating practices that suffocate the development of democracy in Nigeria and winning new electorate in order for APC to remain an important political force in the country.

“Oyegun’s grip on internal party matters is unique” the leaders said.

They regarded the moves of those against tenure elongation as a threat.

“The performance of the Oyegun –led NWC shows great hope for expanded democracy, reforms and coherent programmes. The tenure elongation is important for the party right now given the 2019 electoral challenges. Odigie-Oyegun has the right experience in the nitty-gritty mechanics of managing a political party during and after elections.”

Oyegun, a quiet leader with a unique affinity for building strong relationships, according to the leaders was instrumental in negotiating a peace agreement between the Presidency and the National Assembly.

“The friction between the executive and legislature has forced the party to rethink its role and to lay ground for healthy executive-legislature relationship.

They commended the ruling party for fulfilling key functions such as political recruitment, interest articulation and participation.

“The purpose of APC at the time of formation was not only to serve as electoral vehicle for major political figures or push PDP out but to guarantee good governance, grow the economy and sanitize the system.”

“APC is not a one person show. It represents citizens’ interests. The party is remarkable for internal unity, consensual decision making and strong clientelistic elements especially at the local level. PDP still suffers from factional divisions, problematic shallowness and lack of meaningful engagement with ordinary citizens. The party has lost its direction” the leaders added.

 

 

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BUSTED: London Wellington Hospital Disown Metuh’s Dr Casey

Posted on March 20, 2018. Filed under: news |

….  Says Not Our Employee!

WH PicturesIn a new twist, the doctor’s medical report which was tendered as an exhibit in an Abuja Court, a letter allegedly from the reputable Wellington Hospital in London on behalf of the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson, Mr Olisa Metuh has been disowned by the hospital.

Dr Adrian T. H. Casey had claimed that he is a Neurosurgeon working with Wellington Hospital in London. He therefore tendered a letter from Wellington Hospital to affirm that the former PDP spokesperson, Metuh needed to be treated urgently in the United Kingdom.

An investigation by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the United Kingdom revealed that the said Dr. Casey is not an employee of the hospital as claimed in the court proceedings.

In an email correspondence between the UK party anti-corruption unit and the Chief Executive Officer of Wellington Hospital, the hospital clearly disowned Dr Casey and went further to say that the hospital never employed consultants.

It is obvious that the hospital is not aware of letter tendered in Abuja court in its name and this suggests that Dr Casey appears to be just a private consultant to Mr Metuh and not employed by Wellington Hospital.

Mr Metuh who is facing corruption charges had arrived Abuja division of the Federal High Court, in a wheelchair for the continuation of his trial before the court.

The country’s corruption watchdog, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission had alleged that Mr Metuh had before the 2015 Presidential election, received N400million from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, without executing any contract.

According to Vanguard Newspaper, at the resumed proceeding on Wednesday, Metuh through his lawyer, Mr Emeka Etiaba, SAN, applied to be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.

Metuh’s lawyer told the court that his client’s health had deteriorated in the past two months.

He posited the worsening situation of his health would require urgent medical attention from his doctors in London, UK.

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Group wants FG to stop Rivers State Neighborhood Corps

Posted on March 18, 2018. Filed under: news |

*As Chidi Lloyd, others threaten counter armed group, says 200,000 cults, militia groups exist in Rivers

*Threatens to set up another safety corps

Some prominent sons of Rivers state, under the platform of Free Rivers Development Innitiative (FRDI) have called on the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to urgently stop the Rivers state governor Nelson Wike, from inaugurating the Neighbourhood Safety Corps in the state.

Recall that the governor on Thursday last week assented to the Rivers State Neigbourhood Safety Corps Bill 2018, which is meant to provide security across the state.

But the group alleged that the real intention of the governor was to use the Corps to intimidate his political enemies, adding that if the inauguration of the Corps is not stop they will rather set up their own and armed them to watch each other.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, President of the group Engr. Ngerebala Sampson, said already about 200,000 cults and militia with arms, groups of all shades, exist in the state, saying arming the youths under the guards of vigilante group was an attempt to create a private militia for political purpose.

He also said it was evident that the Governor of Rivers state “has no regards to Court processes; when in the face of the pending suits before the Federal High Court, he signed the Neigbourhood Safety Corps Bill into law.”

Engr. Ngerebala, who was supported by Hon. Chidi Lloyd, Hon. Asita Honourable and Prince Tonye Princewill on behalf of the group, said the recent history of vigilante activities and its aftermath in Borno, Bayelsa, Abia, Anambra and Ondo states are experiences that should not be repeated.

The strong support by Senate Minority Leader, Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio to the motion moved by Senator Dino Melaye against the establishment of similar vigilante group in Kogi state in the red chambers gives credence to our position

“We are calling on the Inspector General of Police and other Security Agencies to take steps and stop the River State Governor from inaugurating the Rivers State Safety Corps.

“Whereby our call is not heeded to, our reaction will be to also set up our own Neighbourhood Safety Corps to watch Wike’s neighbourhood Safety Corps. We shall cloth them with uniforms and apply for arms for them through the police, then the 2 Neigbourhood Safety Corps will police each other. We cannot allow what happened before, during and after the 2015 general elections in Rivers state to repeat itself in 2019.”

“You all know that before, during and after the 2015 general elections, Rivers State experience unprecedented number of political assassinations, were members of our party were gruesomely murdered in cold blood; their offence being that they were members of All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Those killings continued until recently, when the Federal Forces killed some of the death merchants of Governor Wike. The rate of violence and killings that occurred in Rivers state during the period under review, led to Rivers State being described as a theater of war.”

The group also said it raised alarm to the danger of such law when it was at the bill stage before the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“Rivers state has over 200,000 cults and militia with arms, groups of all shades, arming the youths under the guise of vigilante group is an attempt to create a private militia for political purpose.

“Despite all these concerns Governor was adamant and desirous of getting the bill passed into law as unconstitutional as it was. Two suits were filed at the Federal High Court Port Harcourt challenging the bill and seeking for an order of injunction restraining the governor from giving assent to the bill. The said suits were duly served on the governor, but governor ignored the suits and purportedly signed the bill into law.”

While narrating his experience, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, said the state government has tried several times to prosecute him but withdrawn it because the government could not substantiate any allegation against him.

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Princewill Reacts to Rivers PDP Chairman – Stop deceiving the Public and face the Law

Posted on March 2, 2018. Filed under: news |

… Releases evidence of Court documents

A statement by Mr. Jerry Needam, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity said reports which said that Obuah was summoned by a Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, in respect of the killings in Omoku were incorrect.

The statement said reports claiming that a court had ordered the police to arrest him were malicious and not a true reflection of what transpired in court.

The statement read:

“We hereby state that before Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the Rivers State High Court was an application for perpetual injunction to restrain the police from inviting, arresting or detaining Chief Felix Obuah on the strength of criminal allegations made against him by the respondents which the court described as premature at this stage.

“Also dismissed by the court was the separate notice of preliminary objections filed by the counsel to the police and the All Progressives Congress (APC) including Chibuike Amaechi as respondents challenging the competence of the suit and the legal capacity of Obuah to initiate the suit.”

The statement said the court rather than directed Obuah to appear before it cautioned the police against arresting and detaining him (Obuah).

It said the court warned the police against arresting Obuah having “noted earlier from overwhelming affidavit evidence by both parties that there were political ill-motive and vendetta in the threatened arrest and detention of the State PDP chairman, Obuah, by the police at the instance of APC and Amaechi in view of the criminal allegations made against Obuah at the eve of the re-run elections.”

While giving details of what transpired in court, Obuah spokesman said: “The court judgment that the police have a statutory right to invite anybody else in course of preliminary investigation if need be, does not amount to an indictment or a directive for the arrest of Obuah or an invitation to appear for police questioning.

“To put the records straight, Obuah was neither fingered in the Omoku killings, nor accused of neither gun-running nor sponsoring the Onelga killings- issues that were not before the court.

“But suffice to say that the Rivers State chairman of the PDP, Obuah was never, has never and will never be part of any of the allegations.”

APC Rivers State, Kalabari born Prince, Tonye Princewill on the other hand made available the concerned Court documents available to the Media while calling on the Rivers PDP Chairman to stop deceiving the public and face the law.

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Senatorial Aspirant offers solutions in reclaiming suppose Kogi Oil Well

Posted on February 23, 2018. Filed under: news |

Senatorial Aspirant offers solutions in reclaiming suppose Kogi Oil Well

By Shaibu Stephen Ojate

A America base and Kogi born oil and gas management expert, Abdullahi Okino has tasked Kogi State government to put aggressive step in recovering suppose Ibaji oil well ceded to Anambra State few years ago.

Honourable Abdullahi Okino, who is a Senatorial Aspirant in Kogi Central, made the call while addressing cross section of Journalists in Abuja yesterday. He noted that the fight to reclaim Kogi Oil well is not too late yet as something can still be done to correct the injustice done to the people of Kogi State.

He added that the unfair treatment meted out to the people of Kogi State on the issue of suppose Kogi Oil well prompted him to show interest in politics with a view to deploy his verse experience in Oil and Gas in correcting the wrong.

His words: ‘’Sometimes, we need people that are well experienced to handle issue of this nature, just like I have said; I have MBA in Oil and Gas Management. I know the integrity of Oil and Gas business and when I become a Senator, I know where to hit, what to say and also know what to do to correct this anomaly.’’

“The Anambra basin that has oil well cut across four States. Kogi State, Anambra, Delta and Imo State of which Kogi State has about 53% of the area. There are many physical evidences to show that the oil exploration by the Shell, Agip and others are done in Kogi State land. Now what Kogi State should do is to independently investigate the place and keep the data as against what the federal government is going to do. As it is now, Federal government is taking long year to resolve State problem.”

Okino hinted that the unilateral decision of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan in ceding Kogi Oil well to Anambra State was responsible for the challenges facing Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s administration in the State.

He maintained that Kogi State would have joined the league of oil producing State receiving 13% Oil derivation and this would have helped Bello led administration in getting enough fund to carry on the task of governance in the State.

“What comes to Kogi State as federal allocation in not enough and that is why Governor Bello is having little challenges in prompt and regular salary payment to Workers”, he said.

Commenting on why he decided to join politics than following the foot path of Aliko Dangote who only concentrated himself in Business and make his impacts felt by Nigerians in all angles.

He responded: “being an entrepreneur is to make profits or maximize profits for yourself and that is selfishness. We are talking about the masses. Having register and encounter success in business like Dangote and considering what is happening in our country, I expect him to replicate the success in the politics scene. “That is exactly what I want to do, he adde.”

More also, when our reporter demanded to know why he much emphasis on issues confronting Kogi East Senatorial District than Kogi Central he is planning to represent as there is Senator from the area who suppose to front such courses, he has these to say.

“The Oil in Kogi East is a National issue. As a citizen of this country, we need to take the right approach to solve a national problem. What I can see now is that just delay is just denied. This is taking so long to resolve this problem.”

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ROOSDORP Speaks on VPI Steering Committee Visit, Lauds Nigerian Authorities

Posted on February 19, 2018. Filed under: news |

ROOSDORP Speaks on VPI Steering Committee Visit, Lauds Nigerian Authorities

Current chair of the Voluntary Principles Initiative, Mr. Ronald Roosdorp said in Abuja on Saturday that the Nigerian Authorities showed great interest in the initiative.

“This field trip shows how the security in the mining and oil industry could be increased when companies, civil society and government cooperate together” he told news men in Abuja.

Roosdorp who spoke on the visit of the initiative’s steering committee to Nigeria said trust building through discussion was the fastest way to improve security.

“Trust building through discussion is the fastest way to improve security and also benefits local employment and foreign investment.”

Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is a multi-stakeholder initiative which espouses a set of principles designed to guide extractive companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respects for human rights.

Diligent implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights holds numerous potential benefits for Nigeria including peace-building; conflict prevention; enhanced governance of the extractive sector, promotion and protection of human rights; improving dialogue, cordiality, collaboration and problem-solving amongst stakeholders in the extractive sector with respect to issues of security and human rights.

In addition, it has the potential to contribute to an extractive sector that is conducive to trade and investment; where extractive companies can operate maximally, which would in turn enable the Nigerian government optimally generate revenues which can be deployed towards promoting the welfare of the nation and actualizing other national objectives.

The VPI is also an immensely useful tool for attaining the objectives of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, specifically in the area of security and human rights.

Countries that are signatories to the VPI include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Signatory extractive companies include: Seven Energy, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Statoil, Shell, Hess Corporation, Tullow Oil, Rio Tinto, British Petroleum; Anglo American, PanAust, ConocoPhillips, Goldcorp, Hess Corporation, Repsol, Barrick Gold Corporation, Glencore and BHP Billiton.

NGO signatories to the VPI include Lite Africa, COMPPART, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, Pact and The Fund for Peace.

The international observers participating in the VPI include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Council on Mining and Metals; Colombian Mining and Energy Committee on Security and Human Rights; The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association; Institute for Human Rights and Business; International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)

FG to VPI delegation: We’ll take decision on observer status soon

In a related development, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami Friday expressed deep appreciation to the steering committee of the Voluntary Principles Initiative for prioritizing and recommending Nigeria as one of the countries to be considered for free subscription at the plenary in March 2018 at Washington D.C, United States.

He also announced that Nigeria would soon take a decision on her observer status.

“In due course, the nation will take a decision to evaluate her observer status” Malami said during the visit of the VPI delegation to the Ministry of Justice.

Represented by the Director, Legal Drafting, Mamman Hamzat Takir, Malami assured the delegation of the commitment of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the enthronement of the rule of law and the delivery of fair and equitable justice to all Nigerians, foreigners and investors without fear or favour as they carry on business in a safe condition.

“Considering the need for the communal cooperation and coordination of security and human rights activities in the extractive sector, it has become increasingly necessary to come together to appraise the efforts at both the government, corporate and non-governmental organizations levels to achieve a safe, friendly, secured, business and human rights compliant environment. This visit therefore, would give us the opportunity to learn from each other, share ideas and identify roadmaps that would facilitate a justice system that meets the hopes and aspirations of our citizens particularly in the extractive zones” he said.

The Minister assured that the Justice Ministry would stick to its role of checking and balancing the supremacy of the laws of the land and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“As you are aware, the Federal Ministry of Justice is the legal institution of Government to create the necessary synergy between the Federal Government, corporate bodies and non-governmental organizations as pillars of the Voluntary Principles Initiative.”

Earlier, the current chair of the Voluntary Principles Initiative, Mr. Ronald Roosdorp informed top officials of the ministry of the benefits that would accrue to Nigeria as a signatory to the VPI.

“It is not an instrument or a binding law. It is to reduce security risk in the attractive industry through dialogue and cooperation. It is also to improve things on ground and assist governments, companies and communities in achieving their goals” he said.

Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is a multi-stakeholder initiative which espouses a set of principles designed to guide extractive companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respects for human rights.

Diligent implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights holds numerous potential benefits for Nigeria including peace-building; conflict prevention; enhanced governance of the extractive sector, promotion and protection of human rights; improving dialogue, cordiality, collaboration and problem-solving amongst stakeholders in the extractive sector with respect to issues of security and human rights.

In addition, it has the potential to contribute to an extractive sector that is conducive to trade and investment; where extractive companies can operate maximally, which would in turn enable the Nigerian government optimally generate revenues which can be deployed towards promoting the welfare of the nation and actualizing other national objectives.

The VPI is also an immensely useful tool for attaining the objectives of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, specifically in the area of security and human rights.

Countries that are signatories to the VPI include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ghana, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Signatory extractive companies include: Seven Energy, Total, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Statoil, Shell, Hess Corporation, Tullow Oil, Rio Tinto, British Petroleum; Anglo American, PanAust, ConocoPhillips, Goldcorp, Hess Corporation, Repsol, Barrick Gold Corporation, Glencore and BHP Billiton.

NGO signatories to the VPI include Lite Africa, COMPPART, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, Pact and The Fund for Peace.

The international observers participating in the VPI include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Council on Mining and Metals; Colombian Mining and Energy Committee on Security and Human Rights; The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), International Petroleum Indust1ry Environmental Conservation Association; Institute for Human Rights and Business; International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)

NGOs list ways to reverse Nigeria’s negative image

Similarly, non-governmental organizations in Nigeria weekend urged law enforcement agencies to integrate the voluntary principles in their training programmes, mobilization and deployment of personnel to security duties in critical national assets in the oil, gas and mining sector as this will guarantee that rights of local communities will be respected.

They also appealed to government agencies, particularly those responsible for registering, licensing and regulating private security firms to integrate human rights observance as a precondition as this will go along in entrenching core human rights values and the culture of respecting the dignity of the human person in the country.

At a world press conference in Abuja, Executive Director, Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE), Mr. Joel Bisina said the launch of the In-country implementation pilot group and the visit of the steering committee delegation to Nigeria remained glorious achievements of the Voluntary Principles Initiative.

Attention, the LITE executive director said, was focused on increasing knowledge base through training, dialogues and consultative meetings on the VPs at the highest level of government.

“The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights is anchored on three pillars. That is the Government Pillar, The Corporate Pillar and the NGO pillar respectively. As a multi-stakeholders initiative, the Voluntary Principles provide good sets of guidelines to companies in deploying security personnel to their facilities in ways that respects the rights of the communities in which they operate” he said.

Besides, he emphasized the role of NGO pillars in facilitating confident building dialogue when allegations of VPs non-adherence occur.

“NGO pillars are helping the government and the corporate pillars to identify areas that need improvement related to the VPs, support the development and roll out tools to improve implementation as well encourage participation in the implementation of the principles.

Bisina listed working singularly and collaboratively to advance and increase knowledge base in the country over the years as a major achievement of NGO pillar in Nigeria.

“The launch of the In-country implementation pilot group has further strengthened these efforts in bringing the pillars to a common room where they discuss security and human rights challenges creatively and collaboratively. This is clear departure from the past where it was a blaming and name calling game. The message is now ‘knowing and showing’ rather ‘them against us’ or ‘we against them’ this changing narrative underscore the power of the voluntary Principles in promoting consultations and dialogues among stakeholders in the extractive and mining sector through joint-problem solving.”

He urged the Federal government to sign-on to the voluntary principles.

“The visit of the steering committee delegation to Nigeria this week further reinforces the work the In-country Implementation Working Group has been doing, in bringing greater visibility to the VPs at a very high level of government. It will be a great outcome for the country to sign-on to the VPs” he said.

Credit:  Ebireri Henry Ovie

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