Utomi, Jega , Others Form Third Force Ahead Of 2023 Elections
Prominent Nigerians have formed a third force ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The third force, known as Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP) is aimed at giving Nigerians an alternative to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Founders of RNP include former Governor of Kwara State, Ahmed Abdulfatai, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke,
They also include Senator Lee Maeba, Usman Bugaje, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Yomi Awoniyi, Dr. Rose Idi Danladi, and Dr. Sadiq Gombe .
Delivering his keynote address, Abdulfatai lamented the state of the nation, noting that the high level of nepotism and lack of inclusiveness have given rise to agitations by different ethnic groups.
He recalled that in 2015, Nigerians embraced change, adding that today, “that change appears to be what we didn’t expect, as insecurity has taken over the nation.”
He said :“It is based on this that we decided to set up this Rescue Nigeria Project. We want to salvage this country and see how we can fix the mess. We want to set a template and key criteria leaders must have before they can attain any political position.
“Despite the great opportunities of the past, Nigeria has failed to live up to the dreams of its founding fathers and the hopes of successive generations of its citizens.
“Perhaps, at no other time have these failings become more apparent than in the past decade or so.
“In 2015, Nigerians overwhelmingly embraced the promise of change. These hopes have not only been dashed, but they have arguably turned out to be the worst political statements ever to be made in this country. Nigeria today appears set to fulfill all the prophesies of doom.”
He further noted that “Unprecedented nepotism and political exclusion have left the country more divided than ever as evident in the various separatist agitations that are threatening the corporate existence of the country itself.”
Adeniran noted that there is disaster at hand, hence the move to rescue the nation.
He said: “You only rescue when there is disaster and when you fail to rescue during disaster, it is more dangerous.
“We have a disaster in our hands and we need to rescue the country. We need to look back and see how we get here. We know where Nigeria was before now. We know the task is not going to be easy, but we have to determine how to rescue the nation.”
In his opening remarks, the RNP national coordinator, Usman Bugaje, explained that the Rescue Nigeria Project was founded on the premise that the challenges bedeviling the country were largely derived from poor leadership.
Chiding the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government Bugaje said, “when you reduce the problems of this country to what they are, ultimately, it all comes to leadership.
“We have been unable to exit the leadership conundrum precisely because the leadership recruitment mechanism in our political parties is so flawed that, except for accidents, they are incapable of producing competent leaders with the requisite knowledge, discipline and commitment to make a difference. We are living with, or better still, groaning under the consequences of this folly.
“What this means is that any attempt to rescue this country from its troubles must first rescue it from the current leadership recruitment mechanism that seems to leverage on money and connection or ethnic sentiments and no premium on knowledge or competence.
“The challenge is how to introduce a set of criteria or better still re-calibrate the recruitment mechanism in our political parties to prioritize knowledge, competence and character. The deepening crises in the political parties are all the more reason this re-calibration is necessary.
“We must change the conversation about leadership. The first thing we should want to know about our president is not which part of the country he or she comes from, rather how competent is he or she? What is the content of his policy document? What is his team made up of?
“We also seek to ensure a seismic shift from the politics of big men to the politics of big ideas. The empty politics of big men have not taken us anywhere but down the drain. We simply can’t continue this way.”
RNP’s vision is “to reconcile and re-unite our country, win and deploy political power for the purpose of nation building and national development, achieving prosperity for all, and the protection of life and dignity of every Nigerian citizen.”
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Senate Bill Prescribing Life Jail For Kidnapping Passes Second Reading
A bill meant to check the spate of abductions in the country passed a second reading at the Senate on Tuesday.
The bill proposes life imprisonment for the offence of kidnapping or any form of abduction, wrongful restraint and confinement .
The bill was sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central).
Leading the debate on the bill, Senator Amosun observed that kidnapping is a major security challenge confronting Nigeria in recent times.
According to the lawmaker, the light punishment for the offence has continued to make it grow and assume horrendous dimensions with a negative impact on the economy.
“The impact of kidnapping on both economic and daily life has been devastating.
“For many Nigerians, kidnapping is far more devastating than the carnage of Boko Haram in the northeast, or the carnage in the middle belt over land, pasture and water use between farmers and herders.
“In the rich oil south-south, kidnapping is often seen as a manifestation of the insurrection over how oil revenue is distributed.
“Overtime, the pool of potential victims has shockingly been expanded. No, most victims are often poor villagers, sometimes kidnapped indiscriminately, a departure from the targeted kidnapping of wealthy people. They struggle to pay ransoms because of their relative poverty; and this has resulted in many victims being killed in the process”, he said.
Amosun lamented that, “Nigeria has one of the highest rates of kidnaps for ransom of both locals and foreigners in all of Africa.”
He added: “While the insurgents in the North East now thrive on the proceeds of kidnappings, criminal elements in the South East and South West are also having a field day. In fact, kidnapping has now become a big and lucrative business.”
Citing recent statistics released by Neil Young Associates International – a specialist crisis prevention and response consultancy group – the lawmaker noted that Nigeria accounted for 26 percent of kidnapping and ransom incidents globally.
Similarly, Amosun said that a newspaper report published online on July 13, 2021, states that an average of 13 persons were abducted daily in Nigeria in the first half of 2021, bringing to 2,371 the number of reported persons kidnapped in the country within the first six months of the year.
He bemoaned the worrisome development, warning that the trend has the potential of negatively affecting Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment.
The lawmaker stated that the bill, therefore, seeks to introduce stiffer punishment for the offence of abduction, wrongful restraint and confinement for ransom.
“This bill also provides more punitive measures for ancillary crimes flowing from the commission of the crime of abduction, like death or grievous harm.
“To achieve the deterrent effect, life imprisonment is proposed for the offence of kidnapping, particularly where death results from the act.
“The law is made stricter by ensuring that recipients of any proceeds of the act of kidnapping are heavily sanctioned with a term of imprisonment of up to 30 years”, Amosun said.
The bill, according to him, also proposes to give the inspector general of police wider powers to enable adequate policing of the crime of kidnapping.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill after it was exhaustively debated, to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
The committee which is chaired by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.
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Govt Wants Supreme Court To Dismiss Rivers’ Bid To Stop Ceding Of 17 Oil Wells To Imo
The dispute over the gownership of 17 oil wells has deepened as the Federal Government, on Tuesday, urged the Supreme Court to dismiss a suit that the Rivers State government filed to stop it from ceding the oil wells to Imo.
In processes it filed through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the government further prayed the apex court to vacate an order of injunction it issued on July 14, which stopped the process of ceding the oil wells located at Akri and Mbede, to Imo State.
The apex court had in an earlier chamber ruling it delivered in the matter, ordered the FG and its agencies to halt actions pertaining to an alleged plan to cede the oil wells to Imo state, pending the determination of the suit that was brought before it by the Rivers state government.
The ruling followed an ex-parte application Rivers State argued through its lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN.
The Supreme Court specifically restrained the AGF and the Attorney General of Imo state from taking any further action on the ownership of the disputed 17 oil wells, pending a resolution of legal issues sorrounding its ownership.
It further barred the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and the Fiscal Commission )RMAFC) and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation from approving, implementing, or giving effect in any manner to a letter from RMAFC office, with reference number RMC/O&G/47/1/264, dated July 1, 2021, which canceled the equal sharing of proceeds from the 17 oil wells by Rivers and Imo states.
At the resumed proceedings in the matter on Tuesday, FG’s lawyer, Dr. Remi Olatubura, SAN) and that of Imo state, Chief Olusola Oke (SAN) who are 1st and 2nd defendants in the matter, made their formal appearances in the case.
While FG said it filed a counter-affidavit against the writ of summons, Rivers State lodged with respect to the disputed oil wells, on its part, Imo state said it also filed a motion on notice to query the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to hear the case as a court of first instance.
Counsel to Imo state, Mr. Oke, SAN, contended that since Rivers State brought the suit to challenge the action of some federal government agencies and not the FG itself, the matter ought to have been instituted before a Federal High Court instead of the Supreme Court.
Responding, lead counsel to Rivers state, government Mr Joseph Daudu (SA), asked for seven days to file his reply on points of law to the motions by the two defendants.
Consequently, a seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court led by Justice Kekere Ekun, adjourned the case till November 1 to hear all the pending motions.
The panel directed all the parties to ensure that they filed and exchanged all relevant processes before the next adjourned date.
Rivers State is in its suit, seeking a declaration that the boundary between it and Imo State, as delineated on Nigeria administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations, are inaccurate, incorrect and do not represent the legitimate and lawful boundaries between Rivers and Imo State.
The plaintiff is further seeking a declaration that as far as Nigeria’s administrative map 10, 11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations, relate to the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, the said maps are unlawful and void, cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers state and to determine the revenue accuring to Rivers state from the federation account, including the application of the principle of derivation and other revenue allocation principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution.
It further applied for a declaration of the Supreme Court that the correct instrument maps and documents to be relied on in determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo States, are those used by the plaintiff in delineating the boundary line between Rivers and Imo states.
The plaintiff is also seeking a declaration that all the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities are wrongly attributed to Imo State and that they are all oil wells within the territory of Rivers Statet
It maintained that only Rivers State is entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil wells on the basis of the 1390 derivation as contained under section 162 of the 1999 constitution.
The plaintiff is urging the court to issue an order of mandatory injunction, directing the AGF to calculate, to its satisfaction, and refund to it all revenue that has been wrongly attributed to or paid to Imo state on account of the limit or extent of their territories, including earnings due to it from revenue derived from Akri and Mbede oil wells.
It further wants an order of injunction directing the AGF to withdraw from circulation its administrative map 10,11 and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the purpose of determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo state.
As well as an order of mandatory injunction directing AGF to produce administrative map bearing the correct boundary between Rivers and Imo state.
Rivers State is equally praying the apex court to award it the sum of N500million as litigation cost.
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