Ado-Ekiti—The founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola, SAN on Monday called for the postponement of the 2023 general elections and the introduction of a six-month interim government, after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure, Vanguard newspaper reports.
The legal luminary said the preoccupation of the interim government would be to produce a new constitution that would tackle insecurity, economic, political and other excruciating ills bedevilling the nation.
Babalola, who spoke at a press conference in Ado-Ekiti, warned that if the 2023 elections are conducted, it will recycle the same crop of leaders, who will plunge the nation further into bankruptcy, economic depression, and insecurity.
“To save Nigeria from nose-diving into irretrievable bankruptcy and poverty, irreparable economic and political damage brought about by the 1999 constitution and its beneficiaries, a new constitution is imperative before any election.
“I, therefore, strongly advocate that we should postpone the 2023 elections until the Interim Government put in place after the expiration of Buhari’s government has put in place a new truly People’s Constitution,” he said.
“I am not in doubt that any election conducted under the 1999 Constitution and under the prevailing economic depression and insecurity will lead to a return of most of the failed leaders who are responsible for the near bankruptcy of Nigeria today.
“No election under this constitution will bring about young men, brilliant and intelligent Nigerians who want to serve without taking money. I suggest that there should be a body at the local, state, and federal levels that will screen whoever wants to be elected not the so-called primaries they are doing now.”
On the state of the economy, the legal luminary berated the government for the increase in external debt due to more borrowing and spending with less revenue.
His words, “We have nosedived into that low ebb locally because of the mismanagement of the economy because of the wrong people you put there. If you put the right people there, they will not go about borrowing without thinking of how to pay it back.
“Anybody who wants to borrow must have a source from which he is making revenue to be able to pay the loan he took. Nigeria is already bankrupt. The government is borrowing more, spending more but earning less revenue. The worse thing is that the debt servicing level is also rising.
“The new constitution shall provide a true Federal System of Government instead of the rather expensive Presidential System of Government. I suggest the Parliamentary System of Government with a Unicameral Legislature.
“The new constitution should provide for part-time legislators and not full-time legislators where there shall be no salary but sitting allowances only.”
NSA Inaugurates Ndiomu as Chairman of panel to probe oil theft
Abuja—The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), on Tuesday, inaugurated an 11-man special investigative panel to probe oil theft in the Niger Delta region of the country, Daily Trust reports.
The panel, comprised of retired top military brass and police officers as well as some administrators, has the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu, as its chairman and Mr. David Attah as Secretary.
Inaugurating the panel in Abuja, Monguno said that Nigeria was facing a monumental loss of revenue that ought to have accrued from the sale of crude oil.
He noted that pipeline vandalism and theft of crude oil had led to a significant decline in production.
Read also: Cash withdrawals limits: PoS operators get waiver
The Terms of Reference (ToRs), according to NSA, are to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the illegal insertion into the Trans-Escravos Pipeline (TEP) around Yokri area in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Aliyu Yerro, said the menace of crude oil theft had greatly impacted the nation’s revenue growth.
Senate seeks clarifications on new cash withdrawal policy, set to grill CBN chiefs
Abuja—The Senate will on Friday grill two deputy governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the cash withdrawal limit policy unveiled by the apex bank on Tuesday, according to the Punch newspaper.
The red chamber planned to seek clarifications on the new directive which restricts over-the-counter cash withdrawal by individuals and organisations to N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, per week.
It also limits cash withdrawals via point-of-sale machines and automated teller machines to N20,000 daily and N100,000 weekly, respectively.
According to a memo signed Tuesday by the CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, withdrawals above the thresholds would attract processing fees of five per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, for individuals and corporate entities going forward.
In addition, third-party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for OTC payment while extant limits of N10m on clearing cheques still remain.
The circular also directed banks to load only N200 and lower denominations into their ATMs and restricted withdrawal to N20, 000 per day from ATMs.
The policy which will become effective on January 9, 2023, had generated criticisms but the CBN clarified on Wednesday that PoS operators could apply for waivers.
Deliberating on the policy on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, senators said there was a need to debate the policy on the floor of the red chamber.
However, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, directed the Senate Committee on Banking to grill the two re-appointed deputy governors of the CBN, Aisha Ahmad, and Edward Adamu, who will be screened on Friday, on the new cash withdrawal policy.
2022 Flooding: Bayelsa govt directs fresh distribution of items to communities, acknowledges donors
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State government has acknowledged donations from international agencies, state governments, political parties and their presidential candidates, individuals and corporate organisations in the wake of the 2022 flooding that ravaged the state.
Governor Douye Diri in his opening remarks at the weekly state executive council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, on Wednesday disclosed that the government received donations in form of cash, foodstuff and other materials from well-meaningful individuals and corporate organisations during and after the floods.
According to a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri restated his administration’s commitment to transparency and assured the people that they would not be left in the dark as regards the flood donations.
He listed the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom and Lagos state governments, which donated N100m and N50m respectively, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar (N55m), and his counterpart in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo (N10m) as some of the donors.
Other donors are Dr. Azibapu Eruani of the Azikel Group, who he said has started redeeming his pledge of N350million worth of items, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Century Energy Group, Chief Ken Etete (N50m).
The governor also disclosed that the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria donated $100,000, Access Bank N100m, Zenith Bank N20m, Linkage Assurance N20m, Sterling Oil N15m, Paache Construction N10m and AITEO N50m.
According to Diri, organisations that donated items include the Tompolo Foundation 440 cartons of noodles, 595 bags of 50kg rice, 35 jerrycans of 25kg palm oil, groundnut oil 180 cartons, garri 40 50kg bags, beans 20 100kg bags as well as 500 tubers of yam.
Others are Globus Bank 70 bags of 50kg rice and 100 cartons of noodles, Stanbic Bank 146 4×6’ mattresses, 148 pillows and 150 plastic buckets.
The rest are Julius Berger 100 bags of 50kg rice, Redeemed Christian Church of God 100 bags of 50kg rice, Brass Petrochemical and Fertiliser Company 100 bags of 50kg rice, 100 bags of 50kg garri and 100 bags of 100kg beans.
Diri directed the task force on flood mitigation and management and the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) to immediately resume distribution of items in the warehouse to all affected communities in the state.
He also assured that the donations will be prudently used and urged people of the state to exercise patience with the process of distributing the relief materials to victims.
He further stated that the process will be devoid of political colouration.
His words: “We never played politics with the flood and the relief items for victims. The whole world saw it. Those who came to play politics, the whole world equally saw them.
“In all that we did, we never discriminated against any political party. And we commend particularly our people that bore the brunt of the flood.
“As a government, we will take decisions in the best interest of our people. Everything should not be politicised.“