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Emmanuel Ekon Empowers 50 Constituents on Livestock Production

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Boosting the participation of youths in agriculture, Chairman House Committee on Local Content and honourable member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency Hon. Emmanuel Ekon has partnered with the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science to train and empower 50 of his constituents to become agro-preneurs in livestock farming.

Prof. E. A Iyayi. Photo Credit: Ekon Media Centre

The beneficiaries, who are mainly youths and women drawn from the federal constituency, benefitted from the training and empowerment programme on how to rear chickens like broilers, layers and cockerels for local consumption and export.

Speaking at the two-day training held at Abak Local Government Council Secretariat, the Coordinator of the training programme, Professor E. A Iyayi said that the institute’s collaboration with the lawmaker was a way of curtailing the menace of youth unemployment in the society. Stressing the essence of agriculture to food production and nation building, the scholar commended the lawmaker for empowering youths and women in poultry farming. “The oil sector is failing, we must resort to agriculture which is emerging as the mainstay of our economy” he added.

Barr. Imoh Williams, the Chairman of Abak Local Government Area represented by the Supervisor, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Emem Westgarth noted that engaging the youths positively in such initiative, will considerably enable them to utilize their innate abilities for profitable ventures in agriculture and thereby prevents restiveness in the constituency. He tasked the participants to take the training seriously and focus on multiplying the impact to the ward level.

Responding, the lawmaker represented by Mr. Ubong Affia said he has taken steps to engage his constituents, especially the youths, frequently, through skills acquisition, capacity building and educational development; and more importantly, to key into the industrialisation drive of Governor Udom Emmanuel.

The lawmaker noted that he decided to train them on livestock production in his first phase project because the business is lucrative and will add more value to their lives and also bolster economic diversification which is the cardinal project of this administration.

“We as lawmakers should not fold our arms, but support the Governor in this agenda. He wants to diversify the economy and our youths must be empowered and encouraged to embrace agriculture,” he said.

Ekon added that the youths were being trained and financially empowered to start the business without any challenge.

The participants were given startup funds and operational guides worth millions of naira.

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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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