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HURIWA Wants Imo Communities To Hold Top NDDC Positions

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria ( HURIWA) has urged the Federal Government to give top management positions in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to indigenes of Imo State communities.

HURIWA made the appeal during a press conference in Abuja. Below is a statement by HURIWA’s National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko:

“We have watched with considerable trepidation and disappointment, the enduring unjustifiable violations of the extant enabling law setting up the oil MINERALS producing areas development commission otherwise known as NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION(NDDC).

The law setting up the NDDC is known as An Act to provide for the repeal of the Oil, Mineral Producing Areas Commission Decree 1998, and among other things, establish a new Commission with a re-organised management and administrative structure for more effectiveness; and for the use of the sums received from the allocation of the Federation Account for tackling ecological problems which arise from the exploration of oil minerals in the Niger-Delta area and for connected purposes 12th day of July 2000.
Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Part I
Establishment, Etc. of The Niger-Delta Commission and the Governing Board
1.    (1)    There is hereby established a body to be known as Niger-Delta Development Commission (in this Act referred to as “the Commission”).

(2)     The Commission-
(a)     shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal;
(b)     may sue and be sued in its corporate name.
(3)     The Commission shall have its head office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and shall establish an office in each member state of the Commission.

2. (1)    There is hereby established for the Commission a governing Board (in this Act referred to as “the Board”), which shall consist of-
(a)     a chairman;
(b)     one person who shall be an indigene of an oil producing area to represent each of the following member States, that is,
(i)     Abia State,
(ii)     Akwa-lbom State,
(iii)    Bayelsa State,
(iv)    Cross River State,
(v)     Delta State,
(vi)     Edo State,
(vii)     Imo State,
(viii)     Ondo State, and
(ix)     Rivers State;

Gentlemen,  we are also concerned about the general state of infrastructural marginalization of the entire crude oil producing areas. The case of the Imo State Crude Oil producing areas is particularly humiliating and constitute the gravest violations of environmental and fundamental human rights. The state of degradation of the environment caused by the activities of the operators of the crude oil minerals drilling firms and the central government is to put it mildly, utterly despicable and reprehensible.

To now observe that these specific areas in Imo State that is statistically noted for being the home to some of the largest crude oil minerals deposits in the Country and holds the records as being the area in which the largest concentration of Gas deposits in Africa are found, but yet this uniquely gifted crude oil minerals producing area in Imo State has consistently got the short end of the stick in virtually all the previous strategic management appointments of the top three officers of the NDDC, is unjust, unconstitutional,  unfair and morally disgusting making it of the highest imperative need for us in the organised human rights community in Nigeria to appeal to Mr. President who is the appointing authority to do the needful by considering nominees from the Imo State crude oil producing areas to hold one of the top three executive positions in the NDDC so the longstanding injustices against these marginalized people from a place that is the hen that lays the Golden Egg for Nigeria ‘s sustainability for years, are carried along and adequately given their due rights and privileges.

“We do hope that President Muhammadu Buhari in his comprehensive drive to sanitise the management of the NDDC with the forensic auditing of the financial health of the NDDC, will inevitably see the  need for the correction of lopsided appointments in the leadership of the NDDC. This we think is the basic requirement of the fundamental principles of equity and fairness which the All Progressives Congress campaigned vigorously around these key thematic issues that won them the central government in the 2015 general elections. The general principle of equity says:

Principles of equity as adumbrated by Ananya Gaeg, a student at Chanakya National Law University (INDIA).

“The body of the Law of Equity is preserved in the following twelve maxims. These maxims are general principles adopted to administer justice and fairness. They govern the Law of Equity and are discretionary.

“Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy: This maxim, in Latin, is “Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium ” which means “where there is a right there is a remedy”. The maxim states that in situations where the common law confers a right, it also gives a remedy for infringement of that right.

“Equity follows the law; This maxim is also expressed as “aequitas sequitur legem”, which means that equity will not allow a remedy that is contrary to the law. This maxims lays down that equity supplements law and does not supersede it.

“He who seeks equity must do equity.This maxim states that the plaintiff is also subject to the powers of the court and is thus obligated to perform his duties following the principle of equity.
He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. This doctrine relates to the past conduct of the parties and states that the person who comes to the court seeking equity must not have involved in an inequitable act himself in the past.

This principle was upheld in the case of D & C Builders Ltd v. Rees where the claim of the plaintiff to apply promissory estoppel was rejected because he had taken unfair advantage of the poor financial position of the defendant’s builder company and thus had not come with clean hands.
Delay defeats equity.

The Latin maxim for this principle is “Vigilantibus non dormientibus aequitas subvenit” which means that Equity assists the vigilant and not those who sleep on their rights.

Equality is equity. This principle is expressed by the Latin maxim Aequitas est quasi aequalitas which means equality is equity.

Equity looks to the intent rather than the form. This is the maxim by the means of which an equitable remedy was established which allows for the terms of a contract to be interpreted by taking into account the intention of the parties.

Equity looks on that as done which ought to have been done. This maxim states that in cases where individuals are required, by law or by agreement, to perform any act of legal significance, equity will regard that act as having been done as it ought to have been done even before it actually happened.

“The bias appointment, which has persisted since the Commission came into existence over the years, has assumed a critical and sensitive dimension of great concern that if left uncorrected is capable of threatening the operations and truncating the activities of the Commission.

HURIWA is aware of a subsisting petition to Mr. President on this issue by the Urashi People’s Congress, an amalgamation of all crude oil producing communities in Imo State.  It has become expedient to bring to the notice of President Buhari, the continued violation of the Act establishing NDDC in the hitherto lopsided appointment of the management staff of the commission.
“Part IV of the Act, which defines the appointment of Staff, explicitly stated in 12.  (1) that; there shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas, starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of production.

(a) have such qualification and experience as are appropriate for a person required to perform the functions of those offices under this Act; and
(c)  be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and confirmed by the Senate in consultation with House of Representatives.

“It is pertinent to inform you that a compromise was reached where the position would be rotated within the nine oil producing states, namely: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
“However, the appointments into the key positions implicitly confirm that the position of Managing Director of the NDDC especially, has been skewed in favour of only four states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Delta states, out of the nine member states that made up the NDDC.

READ ALSO: Southern Govs Seek State Police, President From Region In 2023

“For the records, between 2001 and 2021 the list of managing directors and their states include :Dr Godwin Omene, Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, both from Delta state, Timi Alaible, Bayelsa, Chibuzor Ugwoha, Dr Christian Oboh, both from Rivers, Nsima Ekere, Dan Abia, both from Akwa Ibom, Nelson Brabaifa, Bayelsa, Joy Nunieh, Rivers, Kemebradikumo Pondei, Bayelsa, Okon Akwa, Akwa Ibom State.
“The crux of the matter is that this particular Act has not been obeyed since the past 21 years the Commission came into existence because only four states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa, have benefitted from the management positions stipulated by the law because the authorities have continuously done this without any member of the other five states complaining.

” Essentially, a cursory look into subsequent appointments made, will further confirm that nobody from the South East States of Abia and Imo has been appointed into the management positions either as a Managing Director, or the other two Executive Directors previously.

“The mood of South East members of the NDDC, caught up in this, is not only fast turning to frustration, helplessness, and despondency, but also that of anxiety borne out of the fear of a deliberate attempt to sideline the Igbo states in the NDDC from the mainstream scheme of activities in the Commission.

“It is also imperative to note that Ohaji Egbema and Ugwuta Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Imo State have the highest gas deposit in the whole of West Africa, currently explored by Seplat, Shell and these two LGAs in imo State house the highest number of Oil Wells and Flow Stations in Nigeria.

“This issue has crystalized into a disturbing extent that requires your urgent intervention before it escalates into an intolerable, disturbing extent capable of disorganising activities in the Niger Delta and derailing the successes the Commission has recorded so far.”

 

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Tinubu Approves N70,000 Minimum Wage

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BREAKING: Dogara, Babachir Lead Northern Christians Against Tinubu's Muslim-Muslim Ticket

By John Michael Ojo

The Federal Government on Thursday, pegged the new national minimum wage at N70,000.

This was made known by Mr Bayo Onanuga, a Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers with promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

“President Tinubu also promised to find ways to assist the private sector and the sub-nationals to pay the minimum wage.

“President Tinubu announced the decisions at the meeting held with leaders of TUC and NLC on Thursday in Abuja, the second time the parties met in 7 days,” the statement read.

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Olaopa Urges Youths To Shun Japa Syndrome, Prepare For Leadership

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Prof. Tunji Olaopa flanked by Hon Abike Dabiri (left )and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi , former Head of Service of the Federation ( right) at the event on Thursday.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has urged youths to prepare for leadership positions early in life instead of travelling overseas to seek opportunities, a development that is popularly known as the Japa syndrome.

The seasoned bureaucrat and former federal permanent secretary said that opportunities abound for youths but that they could only access them when they begin early .

According to Olaopa who spoke on Thursday during the 2023/2024 graduation of KIA Lakeside Academy in Abuja, these opportunities will elude the youths if they opt to go and wander on the streets of foreign countries. He said : ” In the civil service I am very familiar with, people grow old and retire every day. We need youths to fill such vacancies that the old people leave behind . If all the youths go abroad to be doing menial jobs, do we go to Ghana and other neighbouring countries to employ their youths?

Prof. Tunji Olaopa and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, former Head of Service of the Federation at the event.

He said that under his leadership of the Federal Civil Service, there is so  much hope for youths to access federal jobs. He said he had decided to maintain a policy of transparency and equity in making jobs in the civil service available for all eligible Nigerian youths through open advertisement.

He said in the area of political leadership, the older generation could not keep on dominating the sector. He said that the youths would be need to replace the old political leaders as they quit the scene.

According to him, the ability to prepare early for leadership goes hand in hand with a clear vision. He said nobody could prepare for anything if there is no clear vision of where they are going or what they want.

He said people who reach great heights in life always have a clear vision of where they are going early in life and they work towards it. He gave the example of former United States President Bill Clinton who as a youth had a clear vision of being his nation’s leader.

According to Olaopa, past and current leaders in Nigeria have had early in their youths clear visions of what they want in life. He said it was this clear visions early in life that made them trailblazers in different areas of life. In politics he cited Chief Obafemi Awolowo , Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others. He said that these were trailblazers in their youth. He said in business, young people have become trailblazers.

He said that because of the opportunities the current world offers, youths do not need to become old people before reaching great heights in life. According to him, youths have become trailblazers in technology . He mentioned the examples of Zuckerberg of Facebook, Elon Musk and a younger Bill Gates.

Talking about breaking the glass ceiling, Olaopa said that no gender barrier should stop anyone from reaching the summit of life. He said many women in the past and the present have been trailblazers. He mentioned Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Dora Akunyili,l and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He said unlike in the past , many bank CEOs in Nigeria are currently women.

However, Olaopa said that nobody could be a trailblazer without preparation. He said this preparation comes in the form of education. He quoted Nelson Mandela who once observed that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He said if in the past people we regard as great today could get education despite the huge barriers they were faced with, youths of today have no excuse. He said Awolowo was faced with a huge educational disadvantage which he overcame by studying at home . He said Azikiwe had to find his way overseas where he suffered to educate himself. According to him, one of the greatest lawyers today in Nigeria is Chief Afe Babalola. He said Babalola overcame his challenges by studying at home and that today he owns one of the best universities in the country.

According to him, youths who lack the opportunity of going to formal university classrooms can avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the open university system that the Federal Government supports .

He said that in fact President Bola Tinubu has demonstrated his interest in the education of the less-privileged through his government’s Student loan scheme. He said that youths who desire to acquire university education but have no sponsors can use that scheme.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Service As Yemi-Esan Retires

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Walson-Jack

As the current Head of Service Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, is due to retire on August 13, 2024, President Bola Tinubu has approved her replacement. She is Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack.

Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several Ministries.

While thanking Yemi-Esan  for her stewardship, President Tinubu tasked the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation.

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