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SERAP wants Niger Delta rights to healthy environment upheld



The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Federal Government to put in place a legal framework to ensure that oil and gas companies would recognise Niger Delta people’s right to a healthy environment.

SERAP made the advocacy at an interactive session with journalists on: “Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Use of Public Funds in Nigeria With Focus on Niger Delta.”

The event took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja.

A lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Dr Bunmi Afinowi, who spoke on the topic, urged the government to ensure  actualisation of the framework first in Niger Delta and later in the entire country.

Afinowi said that this had become necessary in order to ensure that when violations of the rights of Niger Delta people would occur, individuals, communities and civil society organisations would be able to seek redress in both local and international courts.

According to  her, there was no reason the Niger-Delta region, which produced much of the resources on which the country was dependent, should be poor and the rights of the people violated by oil and gas companies.

Afinowi recommended periodic engagements of legal and environmental experts and policymakers to review and strengthen existing laws, regulations and policies related to the oil and gas sector in terms of resource management and extractive activities.

She also urged the Federal Government to create a platform or avenue for sharing information related to oil and gas activities, revenue distribution and environmental impact assessment with local communities.

“There is need to also develop and distribute educational materials to raise awareness about the industry’s effects on communities and the importance of transparency,” Afinowi said.

The President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Eze Anaba, in a goodwill message, said that there was need to ensure that resources from the Niger  Delta  were used to develop the region.

He reteirated the need for transparency and accountability in government at all levels  to promote good governance and respect for the rule of law.

Anaba said that the media had roles to play to achieve the objective.

“Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, stated the roles that members of the profession are expected to play in contributing to efforts in promoting transparency and accountability in Niger Delta in particular,” he said.

The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reform, Dr Dasuki Arabi, said that the strategic importance of the Niger Delta could not  be overrated.

He noted that different administrations had taken bold steps to ensure development of the region.

According to him, one of the bold steps to address the issues in the region was the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission to drive sustainable development.

Mr Solomon Funkekeme Solomon, who represented Rivers Gov. Sinminalayi Fubara, said that protection and safety of the region was important.

He added that the terrain in the region was different and difficult,  saying that the amount spent on constructing a road in Abuja, for example,  was lower that what  was spent in the Niger Delta.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, in his welcome address, said that  about 122 million  Nigerians were living in poverty.

Oluwadare said that corruption contributed in making Nigeria one of the poorest nations.

He urged that the administration of Bola Tinubu should demonstrate the political will to fight corruption by going after the ‘big fish’ in government circles.

He also urged the administration to guarantee freedom of expression and uphold the rule of law.


Nigeria committed to ensure security, peace in West Africa – Akpabio



The President of the Senate, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has restated Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring peace and security in West Africa.

Akpabio said this on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the international roundtable on Parliamentary Security Sector Governance.

The roundtable was organised by National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

The roundtable drew lawmakers from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Sen. Daniel Gbenga, Akpabio recommend synergy among countries in the sub-region to address insecurity.

“Nigeria is a country that is willing and determined to ensure that the West Africa sub- region enjoys peace, security, shared prosperity in our developmental goals.

“In order to mitigate the challenges already identified, it is important to properly address insecurity in the West African sub region.

“This can be done through deep cooperation and deliberate policies and laws by our parliament, as well as empower the parliament to assume full legislative powers,” he said.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, said the security sector plays a pivotal role in ensuring peace, stability, and development within any nation.

Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, Abbas said effective governance and reform of the security sector were essential for upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights, and safeguarding democratic principles.

“In this regard, the role of parliament is indispensable as it serves as a key institution for oversight, legislation, and budgetary control over the security sector.

“I urge all stakeholders present to consider practical strategies for enhancing parliamentary engagement in security sector governance.

“This may involve developing specialised training programs for parliamentarians on security related matters, establishing robust mechanisms for information sharing between security agencies and parliamentary committees.

“Also for fostering a culture of dialogue and cooperation between the executive and legislative branches on security policy formulation,” he said.

The Director-General, NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman said that in recent times, West Africa faced a scourge of terrorism, insurgency, and transnational crime.

He said that the menace presented formidable threats to the collective peace and stability of the region.

According to him, security issues, including illicit trafficking and the movement of armed groups, further compound the complexities.

“We must confront these urgently; internal conflicts, driven by various factors, pose additional challenges that require our immediate attention.

“More recently, the series of military coups that have taken place in and around our region which remains a threat to peace, the rule of law and democratic stability within the region.

“As legislators, you stand at the forefront of crafting responses to these challenges.

“The laws and policies you shape must not only address the immediate threats but also lay the foundation for sustainable security sector governance and reform,” he said.

Sulaiman said the roundtable provided an opportunity to pool insights, share best practices, and develop legislative frameworks that are responsive to the unique security dynamics of West Africa.

Peran said that there has been a spread of terrorism and violent extremism with terrorist groups becoming more and more sophisticated.

“Wave to try to understand better why the security situation is so complex and what can be done to improve it in a sustainable fashion said the Resident Rep of KAS, Ms Marija Peran.

According to her, security sector reforms and governance plays a vital role in stabilising the region.

She said they had also been recognised as an essential precondition not only for conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building but in general for good governance.

“Security sector reforms, repurposing of security institutions and agencies, improved interagency cooperation and effective oversight of the security sector are critical enablers to create the peaceful and secure Africa,” she said.

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Senate threatens to step down NCoS budget over insufficient information



The Senate has threatened to step down consideration on the 2024 budget of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) over insufficient information

Sen. Adams Oshiomhole, the Chairman,Senate Committee on Interior, Sen.Adams Oshiomole, said this said this at the 2024 budget defence of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Interior on Thursday in Abuja.

Oshiomole said he was unhappy with the services being rendered to inmates by the NCoS.

“Your organisation has transformed from Nigeria Prison Service to Nigerian Correctional Service but you have yet to change in your attitudes toward inmates.

“It’s not just your fault because the government appropriates little money for you, it is either you don’t feed the inmates or you feed them only once and even at that, very miserable food.

“This is why they have completely emaciated and some can never live a decent life again even when they did not commit an offence.

“You all know the price of food items in the market, so how can you look us eye to eye and tell us that you feed a man in Nigeria with N750 a day, how much is a bottle of water,” he said.

He said that the committee would not be in a haste to approve any budget for the service until it received satisfactory answers.

He requested for a breakdown of the number of inmates and security dogs at the correctional centers and how they were fed daily.

“I would like to see a breakdown of how you feed the inmates. If you say you feed inmates three times a day with N250 each.

“How many dogs do you have and how much does it cost to feed them daily,” he said.

Responding, the NCS Comptroller General, Alhaji Haliru Nababa, said the service had a total of 81,358 inmates nationwide, saying that 53,362 of the inmates were awaiting trial.

“We feed each inmate with N750 daily and they are fed three times daily (N250 for each square meal).

“We have 900 security dogs and to feed a dog each day we spend N800,” he said.

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Army Chief tasks NASS on funding



Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff, has appealed to the National Assembly to review the current envelope budgeting system of the Federal Government to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army.

Lagbaja said this when he appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committee on Nigerian Army on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that the envelope system had led to inadequate funding for the Nigerian Army, especially its anti terrorism operation and other operations across the country.
Lagbaja also called on the national assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund Bill, saying that the passage would enhance the operations of the Armed Forces, through improved funding.
The Chairman, of the Joint Committee, Sen. Abdulaziz Yar’ adua assured of transparency in the handling of the Nigerian Army 2024 budget.

He comended Lagbaja for taking responsibility for the bombing of Kaduna villagers and taking steps to investigate the matter.

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