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Buhari signs law stopping VPs who complete president’s tenure

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a constitutional amendment that stops a vice president who completes the term of a president from contesting for the office of the President more than once.

The same is applicable to a deputy governor who completes the term of a state governor.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.

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Buhari signs law stopping VPs who complete president’s tenure

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a constitutional amendment that stops a vice president who completes the term of a president from contesting for the office of the President more than once.

The same is applicable to a deputy governor who completes the term of a state governor.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.

The term of a President or a governor can be aborted by virtue of death, resignation or removal, thereby paving the way for the Vice President or deputy governor to take over.

Enang said the President also signed an amendment to the constitution that grants autonomy to state judiciary and state Houses of Assembly.

According to Enang, the President also signed an amendment that reduced the duration for determining pre-election matters in courts to ensure that such matters do not get into the time of the elections and do not linger thereafter.

He added that another amendment increased the time the Independent National Electoral Commission has to conduct by-election in case of vacancy from the present seven days to 21 days.

Enang said, “I just want to inform you that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari today (Friday) assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill which grants financial authonomy and independence to the Houses of Assembly of the respective states and to the Judiciary of the respective states.

“Therefore, upon this signature, the amounts standing to the credit of the judiciary are to now be paid directly to the judiciary of those states and no more through the governors and from the governors.

“And then the amounts standing to the credit of the Houses of Assembly of the respective states are now to be paid directly to the Houses of Assembly of that state for the benefit of the legislators and the management of the state Houses of Assembly of that state. This grants full autonomy now to the Houses of Assembly and judiciary of states.

“Another Act which has come into force today is Constitution Amendment 21 which relates to the determination of pre-elections matters. It has reduced the date and time of determining pre-election matters to ensure that the pre-election matters in court do not get into the time of the elections and do not linger thereafter.

“The relevant section of the Constitution has also been amended by this Act, therefore amending the constitution.

“The other one is Bill 16 which is now an Act. The intent of that Act is to ensure that where a Vice President succeeds the President and where a deputy governor succeeds a governor, he can no more contest for that office more than one more time.

“The effect is that having taken the oath of President once, he can only contest one more time and no more. That is the intent of this amendment.

“The other amendment is Bill 9 now an Act which gives the Independent National Electoral Commission sufficient time to conduct by-election. It has increased the time from seven to 21 days and generally widen the latitude of the INEC to handle election matters upon vacancy.

“These four bills, added to the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act, have now been assented to by the President and have now become laws.

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House Okays N30,000 as New Minimum Wage

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The House of Representatives has finally approved N30, 000 as the New national Minimum Wage.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a N27, 000 minimum wage bill to the National Assembly last week Thursday.

But the lawmakers adopted the report by the ad-hoc committee set up on the New Minimum Wage Bill which held a public hearing Monday and presented the report to the National Assembly.

The bill has already been passed for the third reading.

The lawmakers were unanimously in support of the adoption of the N30, 000 recommendation by the committee, which labour leaders insisted was approved by the tripartite committee set up by the President.

Details later….

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Governors express concern over increase in arms ahead of elections

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has expressed concerns over the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country ahead of the February 16 general election.

The Chairman of the forum and governor of Zamfara state, Abdul’aziz Yari, said the governors were also alarmed over the spate of kidnapping across the country.

Addressing journalists at the end of an emergency meeting held with the Office of the National Security Adviser and head of security agencies on Tuesday in Abuja, Yari said the governors have recommended a stronger collaboration and intelligence sharing amongst security agencies to ensure that lives and properties are protected.

According to him, the governors have further resolved to collaborate with security agencies to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.

He said: “Governors as major stakeholders, they seek our cooperation so that their job would be easier. We promised to do our best and ensure the election is free and credible. Not only that, we came through the ballot box and we are going through the same process to seek reelection and make sure that the election is free and is commended by the international community as they did in 2015.”

Yari further absolved the presidency of the allegation that the present administration was planning to rig the election saying the president has promised that he is not taking the “election in any way as do or die”.

While speaking, the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu reassured Nigerians of a violence-free poll.

He assured further that the security agencies are ready for the election and would ensure that they mop up illegal arms in the system while saying the neutrality of the police shouldn’t be in doubt.

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Atiku writes UK, US others over Onnoghen’s suspension

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The opposition People’s Democratic Party presidential Candidate and former Vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar has petitioned the United Kingdom, United State of America, France and Germany over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as Nigeria’s chief justice.

“I have chosen to write this letter to Your Excellency for the enviable role that your country plays as champion of Democracy and the Rule of Law,” Abubakar wrote in the letter on Tuesday.

“As a Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming General Elections that will be conducted and supervised by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

“I feel the urgent need to share with you some of these key violations of the provisions of our constitution and to demand that you pile pressure on the Federal Government to desist from these violations and ensure a level playing field for the General Elections that are only a couple of weeks away.

Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari on Friday swore in Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria to replace embattled Onnoghen.

His swearing-in followed Onnoghen’s suspension by the president, who acted based on an order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Onnoghen is facing a six-count charge of non-declaration of assets when he became the chief justice of Nigeria. Buhari said the allegations against Onnoghen were “grievous enough”.

Onnoghen’s suspension sparked reactions from Nigerians including the U.S. and Uk government

Uk noted that the “timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern.”

“It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections,” the statement read.

“We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely,” the statement read.

While the United State, on the other hand, said it “is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections.”

“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of the government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful.”

The Nigerian government said the reactions of the two countries were hasty.

The government said it would welcome partnerships for successful 2019 general elections but would not condone unfair interference in matters that are specifically internal.

“Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all,”  presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement on Monday.

“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections,” he added

But the former Vice president in his letter insisted that the “attempt to muscle out the Chief Justice of Nigeria using phoney charges at a time when His Lordship was primed to play a central role in the fast-approaching nationwide electoral process represents the boldest steps in the march to undermine our democracy,”

“This is undoubtedly an anti-democratic act which my political Party and I reject without reservation and for which I urge Your Excellency to condemn unequivocally,” he added

Abubakar affirmed that the “brazen authoritarian and imperious stride of the President Buhari is the latest action in a series of carefully planned onslaught on our nation’s hard-earned democracy by an extremely power hungry and anxious President and the cabal that feeds fat around him as February 16, 2019, draws nearer.”

Nigerians will be heading to poll less than a month from now to vote in a new president.

Buhari is seeking re-election with Abubakar mounting a strong challenge.

Abubakar, a former vice president during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999 till 2007, is contesting the office of the president for the fourth time.

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Nigeria climbs up on Transparency International’s 2018 rankings

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Nigeria climbed four places on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2018.

In Transparency International’s report, Nigeria was ranked 144 out of 180 countries that were surveyed. In 2017, Nigeria was ranked four places lower sitting at 148 out of 180 countries.

Despite the four place jump, the nation’s 27/100 score shows no improvement as it is the same from the previous year.

Nigeria shares the 144th position with Kenya, Mauritania, Guatemala, and Comoros. Seychelles is the highest ranked African nation at 28th with a score of 66/100, while Somalia sits at the bottom of the list with 10 points.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest scoring region on the index with Nigeria listed as one of the countries to watch in the region.

Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage,” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International said.

In the report’s analysis of Nigeria, it noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration took a “number of positive steps in the past three years, including the establishment of a presidential advisory committee against corruption, the improvement of the anti-corruption legal and policy framework in areas like public procurement and asset declaration, and the development of a national anti-corruption strategy, among others.”

“However, these efforts have clearly not yielded the desired results. At least, not yet.”

Buhari was voted into power in 2015 with an anti-corruption war part of his key campaign promises. While there have been few convictions, critics say the anti-corruption fight of the president has been partisan.

Transparency International advised an improvement in the health of democratic institutions which includes supporting participation, transparency and trust, along with necessary checks and balances.

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

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