Saturday 29 March 2014


National Conference Delegates to Delete Immunity Clause

The Delegates at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja are said to be inclined to the removal of the Immunity Clause from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 308 of the Nigerian Constitution prevents elected governors and politicians from being prosecuted or arrested even if they commit an offence while in office.

The section of the Federal Constitution particularly refers to sitting President and Governors. It bars the judiciary and anti-corruption agencies from prosecuting and passing judgment against those whom it protects. However delegates are said to be working in tandem to ensure that the clause is struck out of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A delegate representing the Civil Society Organizations, Auwal Rafsanjani has requested that the section be removes saying it was only in place to shield corrupt public officials. In his words: “It is so bad that the people who enjoy this immunity evade justice even after their tenure because of our weak and corrupt institutions’, he lamented.

“You can get away with acts of corruption especially if you are a member of the ruling party. In other words, immunity has served as an incentive for those who want to loot.

“The only reason some people are requesting that immunity be retained is to protect public office holders from being distracted. But anybody taking up public office must realize that if they do anything wrong, they must face the music”, he said.

Conversely, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, delegate representing Kano State, said he would vote for the retention of the Immunity Clause for the President and his vice.

He said, “I expressed the position of Kano State on the issue in the last exercise which is that immunity should be confined to the sovereign who should be the President and the Vice- President.”

Secretary General of the Middle Belt Forum, Mr. John Dara, said, “The President should still enjoy full immunity, while governors should be given partial immunity.

“An American governor was caught saying on telephone that he would sell a vacant senatorial seat. He was indicted and impeached. Governors should be protected from civil litigations (and) not from criminal offences which include corruption offences”, he opined.

The spokesman of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba organization, Yinka Odumakin said, “I back the removal of Immunity Clause because when you have a presidential system of government and you have Immunity Clause, you are building a monarchy.

“To that extent, immunity mandates corruption. For civil offences, immunity can stay; but for criminal offences, immunity must go.

“To tackle corruption in this country, you have to change the Constitution. When you concentrate power in the centre, it brings two things–corruption and inefficiency. The structure we run presently encourages and mandates corruption. Until we change that, we cannot move forward,’’ he said.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Interior Minister Accepts Blames for NIS Recruitment Tragedy

Interior Minister Accepts Blames for NIS Recruitment Tragedy


The Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, has expressed grief at the loss of lives during the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise and accepted full responsibility for the outcome. Comrade Moro made the remarks as he appeared before the Atiku-Bagudu led Senate Committee probing the tragic incidents.

Close to 20 young Nigerians lost their lives on Saturday the 15th of March 2014 during a shoddy recruitment exercise into the Nigeria Immigration Service.

The Interior Minister said a consultant was hired to carry out the recruitment exercise which eventually turned pear shaped, because his Ministry was hell bent on avoiding the job racketeering accusations of past recruitment exercises conducted by the NIS. He expressed his condolences to the bereaved families in these words:

“Mr. Chairman and distinguished senators, we are deeply grieved and saddened by the way events turned out. We express our sincere regrets once again. However, permit me to state that our patriotic desire was the pursuit of a more honest, a more transparent, a more cost effective, a more efficient and equitable platform. We sincerely made appropriate and adequate preparations for a hitch -free exercise, but as most things in administrative and human conditions, the yield curve of expected outcome is mostly undefined”, Comrade Abba Moro said.

The Interior Minister however said the NIS board and the Ministry were not involved in the collection of the N1, 000 fee from the over five hundred thousand applicants who showed up at the different stadia across Nigeria and reiterated his well worn line that the tragedy could have been avoided if those who made the shortlist were the only ones who turned up at the various centers. But he did say the buck stopped at his desk.

“My heart goes out to the families of those who have lost their dear loved ones. I sincerely sympathize with those injured. I share in their grief. I share in their pains. May I, at this juncture, assure you, distinguished senators and Nigerians, of my respect for the sanctity of human life.

“The loss of these young Nigerians, who are needed as a critical human resource factor for nation building, is most regrettable. As the Minister of Interior, under whose purview this unfortunate exercise took place, I cannot abdicate my responsibility. The buck stops here”, Comrade Moro admitted.

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr. David Paraddang, also told the Senate Committee that he was not carried along before the exercise. Exonerating himself he said, “On the 9th of September, 2013, the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prison Services Board placed advertisements in some national dailies for appointments into the Superintendent, Inspectorate and Immigration Assistant cadre signed by the then Board Secretary, Dr. Attahiru.

“I immediately placed a call to the Secretary that I am not aware that the Board met on this issue. I immediately placed a call to the Permanent Secretary too whether there was any decision of the Board to place an advert in the paper.

“I also placed a call to the two Commissioners that are seated before you here whether they were aware that the Board met and agreed for a publication to be made to recruit into the Service, but they all answered in the negative.

“I immediately wrote a letter to the then Secretary in which I expressed my dismay that as a stakeholder, as the Head of a Service that is supposed to recruit, I was not aware of this exercise. He pleaded with me that I should understand with him that he was under immense pressure to put that advert up.

“He said I should not write the letter but I said no, this is an official matter it is not an issue to do with Mr. David Parradang but with the Nigerian Immigration Service. So I wrote him a letter that I was not given any benefit of a reply….”

The Immigration Boss said he had suggested a staggering of the exercise and had objected the use of a consultancy firm (Drexel) in carrying out the exercise, but those suggestions fell on deaf ears.

“Along the line, the Committee of the Board met, we discussed this issue of Drexel being the service provider. I said look, I am not in support of anybody collecting money for recruitment…

“I remember suggesting that it is advisable for us to stagger the exercise and to go by states of origin. But when we appeared before this Committee of the Senate in one of the committee rooms here, we were all seated here and we got to know that we will be conducting recruitment exams on the 15th of March, 2014.

“That was the first day I heard that. I did not hear from any board; there was no board meeting to that effect. As a uniform organization, you follow the last order. Initially when people asked me when is Immigration recruitment, I used to tell them that I don’t know but subsequently anybody that asked me I will reply that the Minister has declared categorically that we will recruit on the 15th of March and that is what we are going to stick to”, Paraddang said, putting the blame on the Interior Minister.

The Comptroller General of Immigration reiterated that contrary to widespread reports, the death toll on the day stood at 16 and not 20.


National Conference Adjourns to Monday

 The National Conference on Wednesday adjourned until Monday, 31st March, 2014 for consultations on the contentious issue of the Mode of Voting.

The Chairman of the Conference, retired Justice Idris Kutigi, announced the adjournment after some select delegates and principal Officers of the Conference met to break the deadlock.

The media reports that Order VI Rule 3 of the Conference provides that any of its decision shall be decided by at least three-quarter majority.

Tuesday’s plenary was adjourned abruptly after a sharp disagreement among the delegates over the three quarter or two-third majority Mode of Voting.

A motion moved and passed by the delegates mandated the Chairman Kutigi to convene a meeting involving leaders of delegates across the country to resolve the deadlock.

At the resumption on Wednesday, the leadership announced the formation of a 50-man consensus group drawn from the six geo-political zones to look into the three-quarter and two-third majority dichotomy.

Immediately after the first debate, the Conference was adjourned to reconvene in the afternoon to enable the group to hold a closed-door meeting with the Chairman to resolve the impasse on the Mode of Voting.

When the Conference resumed in the afternoon, the Chairman announced that the meeting with the selected delegates would continue since “it is necessary to exhaustively discuss the issue”.

Justice Kutigi therefore announced the adjournment, saying the meeting had made tremendous progress.

“It was decided that the consultative meeting should continue for other outstanding issues to be resolved before plenary on Monday.”
Meanwhile, some National Conference delegates have complained that food on offer has not been going round.
The Conference takes a lunch break, but still as some delegates prefer to leave the venue of the conference for their lunch, the food on provided does not get to some other delegates. This situation has not gone down well with some delegates as they express dissatisfaction with the development in very unmistakable terms.
Thanks to the Secretary of the Conference, Dr. Valarie Azinge who formally addressed the food shortage crisis at the resumption of plenary on Monday.

In his words, “Honorable delegates, it has come to our notice that most of you did not get food to eat. We are very sorry about that. We promise that it will not repeat itself tomorrow”, the Conference Secretary pleaded. Billions of naira has been set aside for the National Conference.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

National Conference Delegates Root for Use of Consultation to Resolve Disagreement

National Conference Delegates Root for Use of Consultation to Resolve Disagreement

Some delegates at the ongoing National Conference have suggested consultation as the best way to resolve the disagreement on the voting mode to be adopted at the Conference.

The delegates told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday after an abrupt adjournment of plenary over disagreement on whether two-third or three-quarter majority should be adopted.

One of the delegates, representing Accord Party, Mr Muhammed Nalado, said the adjournment would allow for consultation and dialogue among delegates for easy conclusion.

Nalado said that the 75 per cent voting mode should be adopted on issues that affect the country as stated by President Goodluck Jonathan in his inaugural speech.

“Mr President’s speech has emphasised on consensus and the figure near to consensus is 75 per cent.

“What we want is general acceptance which is at least 75 per cent on burning issues that will show more acceptances, rather than two-third.

“Let us have one Nigeria and we can attain that through consensus or 75 per cent vote,’’ Nalado said.

Another delegate, representing Ogun, Mr Fola Adeola, suggested that group leaders should consult with delegates from their geo-political zones.

 “It is difficult for 492 people to negotiate and the longer we speak, the more emotional the issue becomes.

“Everybody comes from a group, if we get the group leadership to consult with their members, it will be easier to reach a consensus,’’ Adeola said.

An elder statesman, Amb. Yerima Abdullahi, appealed to delegates to talk more about Nigeria and the need to keep Nigeria as one.

“Sincerity should be used and I think it is right; lobbying and consultation should be done.

“You don’t come here with a pre-conceived idea or trying to outsmart somebody. That is not the way we are talking about Nigeria here,’’ Abdullahi said.

A delegate from Cross River, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa, stressed the need for consultation and dialogue to be employed by delegates.

Ita-Giwa said: “I am a nationalist, when I have the opportunity to move motion for mode of voting, I deliberately favoured the voice vote.

“At this stage, before tempers start rising, I deliberately said for now, we can use voice vote. This is because there are many issues and it is too early to have a division in the house.’’

Ita-Giwa said that delegates could not pass the drafted rules without indicating what method should be adopted to vote, saying “the basic method for now is the voice vote’’.

Mr Frank Nweke Jr., representing Nigerian Economic Summit Group, also called for consistency in provision for the deliberation of any matter at the Conference.

“It is important in my view that such decision should be consensual in nature,’’ Nweke said.

Nweke said it was unfortunate that there appear to be a lot of mistrust in the room as some of the delegates came with pre-conceived positions and ideas.

“They are already thinking ahead, suggesting that if certain things were adopted, it will be difficult for them to achieve or stop whatever it is here.

“I do hope that the Chairman or Conference officers will be able to guide us to an agreeable resolution of the issues in contention in the coming day,’’ Nweke said.

He said that the delegates must confront their problems and not to shy away from them.

Nweke said that the provisions were very clear, “if there is no consensus, then we must go to vote’’.

National Conference Delegates Support Media Reportage

National Conference Delegates Support Media Reportage

The National Conference on Tuesday supported the media reporting of delegates who were caught sleeping during proceedings at the plenary.

A delegate, Mahmud Aminu, representing Civil Society Organizations, had complained about what he termed “slanted” reportage of Conference proceedings by the media.

Mr. Aminu, particularly, queried the reports of requests by some delegates for aides and the publishing of “sleeping” delegates at Monday’s plenary on page six of Tuesday’s Leadership Newspapers.

“Mr Chairman, today on page six of Leadership Newspapers, you will see pictures of some delegates published by the paper. I think the media should be called to order.

“Some of us have observed slanted reports of the Conference by the media and we call on the press to be responsible in their reports,” Mr. Aminu said.

However, his observation was immediately rebuffed by most of the delegates, who said that the media had the right to report the proceedings of the Conference to the public in its whole truth.

Yinka Odumakin, a delegate, cautioned against any attempt to gag the media in its reportage
of the Conference.

“Mr Chairman, in as much as we are trying to ensure that the media reports accurately what is happening here, I think there should be no attempt to gag the media.

“I’ve seen the item he’s talking about; we have not been sent here to come and sleep.

“And if the media observe that people are sleeping, they have the duty to publish all the people that are doing that.

“So there is nothing to gag the media about; there is nothing assaulting the dignity of persons; they (media) are only doing their jobs,” Mr. Odumakin said.

Similarly, Dan Nwanyawu, the National Chairman of Labour Party, reminded the delegates that they were at the Conference for serious business and not to sleep.

“Mr. Chairman, we are here for serious business; anybody who has to sleep may take an excuse and climb the isles out to take a nap.

“But once you are here, your two eyes must be open; so if you decide to help yourself by sleeping, nobody should come here to gag the press.

“The press must report what they have seen and they are not lying by what is on page six of Leadership.

“They (media) have just said the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So if we are here to do business of nation building, we must be serious.

“With due respect to our elder statesmen; honestly, I see most of them awake.

“But if you have any reason to take a nap due to health challenges, please don’t do it here (in plenary) because the press will get you and they have the right to publish same.”

The submissions of the duo attracted a thunderous applause and were overwhelmingly supported by the delegates.

Monday 24 March 2014

National Conference Delegates Complain of Administrative Lapses

National Conference Delegates Complain of Administrative Lapses


The delegates to the ongoing National Conference on Monday in Abuja queued for about two hours before gaining entrance into the Conference hall, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Some of the delegates who commented on the development, expressed displeasure over the discomfort they were subjected to and urged the Secretariat to intervene to prevent a reoccurrence.

Some of the delegates, including Mr. Isa Aremu, Mr. Dan Iwuanyuanwu and Chief Femi Falana (SAN), drew the attention of the Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi (rtd), to the plight of the delegates.

“Mr. Chairman, what the delegates were subjected to this morning is a clear case of administrative lapse.

“Many delegates queued for hours outside before they could gain entrance into this hall.

“I think the Secretariat should do something about it,” Aremu, Vice-President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said.

Nwanyanwu, Chairman, Labour Party, complained that security operatives at the gate of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), venue of the Conference, wasted time in screening their vehicles.

“Some of us (delegates) got to the gate before 9.00 a.m. but could not leave there until after an hour.

“I hope this should not continue to be the situation; the security agencies should start controlling traffic early enough,” he advised.

Falana complained that after spending 30 minutes at the gate, the delegates spent another two hours before gaining entrance into the hall.

“We spent 15 minutes at the gate to register our cars, we spent another two hours queuing for papers and that is why many of the delegates are not here yet,” he said.

Falana suggested that papers for the proceedings should be shared to delegates inside the hall at plenary rather than queuing for them outside.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was unanimous adoption of all the observations raised by the three delegates with a call on the Secretariat to sit up.

The Chairman acknowledged the complaints and promised that the issues raised would be looked into with a view to addressing them.

The plenary which resumed at about 10.15 a.m. to debate the minutes of the inaugural meeting held on March 18, was adjourned shortly after the adoption of the minutes.

The National Conference Chairman, Kutigi said it was necessary to adjourn the plenary for 10 minutes to allow the delegates, some of whom were still struggling to enter, to come in.

The plenary later resumed at about 11.05 a.m.

The plenary is expected to debate and adopt the procedures and rules to conduct the business of the Conference. The delegates were discussing the rules that will guide the National Conference as at the time of filing in this report.

The rules when adopted will guide deliberations, conduct of delegates and organization of the Conference throughout the three months exercise.

The delegates are also expected to begin discussions on the Opening Speech of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan last Monday.

The Conference adjourned last Tuesday, a day after it was declared open, after delegates raised various questions on sitting arrangements, allowances, logistics, the mode of prayers to be adopted and similar matters.

In a press statement released Sunday, James Akpandem, Assistant Secretary, (media) said most of the contentious issues have been addressed ahead of today’s sitting.

According to him, faith-based prayers had been ruled out at the Conference.

“At the inaugural sitting presided over by the Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, delegates agreed that the second stanza of the National Anthem should be adopted as the opening and closing prayers for all sittings.”

He also said delegates were issued with and expected to study the various working documents supplied to them after the inaugural sitting, including the Draft Rules of Procedure for the Conference and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which were supplied to them on Thursday, 20 March, 2014.

Ahead of resumption of sitting today, delegates across the country have been meeting according to their geopolitical zones to solidify their positions on certain issues.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed surveillance equipment and monitoring vehicles in strategic locations of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as part of security measures for the National Conference.

The equipment which were recently provided by the Office of the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were for effective policing across the country.

While commending the effort of the Federal Government for the provision of the gargets, the Commandant General of the Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin disclosed that his agency has already deployed over 2,000 security personnel as well as sniffer dogs to beef up security around the venue of the National Conference.

Briefing some of the commanders of various units of the agency at the weekend, Dr Abolurin added that apart from protecting the venue of the National Conference, the agency is also tackling the issue of vandalism of Critical Infrastructure and National Assets of Government in various parts of the country.

The NSCDC boss said: “So far we are committed to national security with the strengthening of our special units including Counter-Terrorism Unit, The Armed Squad, Special Force, Special Weapon and Tactics Units (SWAT), Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Weapon Unit and the Anti-Vandal Unit of the Corps.

Sunday 23 March 2014

National Conference: Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps Deploys Surveillance Gargets

National Conference: Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps Deploys Surveillance Gargets

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has deployed surveillance equipment and monitoring vehicles at strategic locations in the nations Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. In a Press Release signed by CSC Emmanuel Okeh, Head, Public Relations, CDPRO, Sunday, the corps said that the new surveillance equipment could detect dangerous weapons or IEDs that may be orchestrated by enemies of the Nation. It added that already the agency has deployed over 2000 security personnel as well as sniffer dogs to beef of security around the venue of the National Conference; assuring delegates and various participants of their safety, reiterating that it will be a successful deliberation and there is no cause for alarm.

Full Text of the Press Release:

Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps
Press Release

In its preparedness against any untoward development at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed surveillance equipment and monitoring vehicles in strategic locations of the federal city.

The equipment which were recently provided by the Office of the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were for effective policing across the country.

While commending the effort of the government for the provision of the facility, the Commandant General of the Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin disclosed that his agency has already deployed over 2000 security personnel as well as sniffer dogs to beef of security around the venue of the National Conference.

Briefing some of the commanders of various units of the agency at the weekend, Dr Abolurin added that apart from protecting the venue of the National Conference the agency is also tackling the issue of vandalism of Critical Infrastructure and National Assets of government in various parts of the country.

As the lead agency shadowed with the responsibility of Protecting the Critical Infrastructure of government such as PHCN Cables, Telecommunication Installations, Oil Pipe lines and Gas, Railway, Transport Sector and other Assets, some of its new surveillance equipment could detect dangerous weapons or IEDs that may be orchestrated by enemies of the Nation.

The NSCDC said: “So far we are committed to national security with the strengthening of our special units including Counter-Terrorism Unit, The Armed Squad, Special Force, Special Weapon and Tactics Units (SWAT), Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Weapon Unit and the Anti-Vandal Unit of the Corps.”

While eulogizing the President and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces for his commitment to National Unity and indivisibility of Nigeria by forging ahead with the Conference, he assures delegates and various participants of their safety, reiterating that it will be a successful deliberation and there is no cause for alarm.

CSC Emmanuel Okeh
Head, Public Relations


NIS Recruitment Tragedy: Minister of Interior's Family Apologize to Nigerians

NIS Recruitment Tragedy: Minister of Interior’s Family Apologize to Nigerians

The family of Nigeria’s interior Minister, Abba Moro, has issued a passionate defense of its son, who is facing intense public fury over a deadly recruitment by the Nigeria Immigration Service, in which about 19 job applicants died.

A family spokesperson appealed for patience to allow investigations, but did not comment on calls for Comrade Abba Moro to step down.

More than 520,000 job seekers turned up for the screening at 37 centers across Nigeria, leading to stampedes a week ago. All the applicants were charged N1, 000 each to register for the examinations.

In Abuja, seven applicants were reported dead while many more were injured.

Outraged Nigerians blame the Minister and the head of Immigration, David Parradang, for the bloody screening, and have called for their sack.

The anger grew after Comrade Abba Moro blamed the victims for their deaths, accusing them of being “impatient”. He said a consultant firm handled the process and ruled out refunds of the more than half a billion naira collected from the poor applicants.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has yet ignored calls to fire the Minister and the Immigrations boss. The Federal Government announced jobs for three members from each of the deceased’s family.

In a statement Sunday, a spokesperson for Comrade Abba Moro’s family said it was clear “that no words, no matter how solemn, coming from the family will be enough to atone” for the losses.

The family said the Minister had done well in his previous assignments and would not deliberately orchestrate a process that would lead to deaths.

“We are worried that this singular incidence, though unintended appears to be overwhelming the numerous positive achievements our son has recorded in the ministry since his assumption of duty as Minister,” the statement said.

Mr. Moro’s family said the consultant drafted for the exercise did not give the true picture of events leading to the stampedes.

Read the full statement below:


The family of the Honourable Minister of Interior has watched the events that followed the stampede occasioned by the recent screening exercise into the NIS which led to the death of about 19 applicants across the federation and hereby makes the following comments:

  1. That we strongly share this moment of grief and pains with the immediate families of all those who lost their lives during the ill-fated recruitment exercise and beg Almighty God to comfort all parents, brothers, uncles and siblings of the deceased applicants while asking Him to give them eternal test in His bossom
  2. That the Honourable Minister has gone down in history as one of the best local government chairmen Benue state in particular and the country in general has had, having served as ALGON chairman in Benue and having received numerous awards as best serving local government chairman in the federation in the past.
  3. That the Honourable Minister has over time, been known as a man of integrity, honesty, dedication to duty, thoroughness, commitment and we are still at a loss as to what probably may have gone wrong with this exercise.
  4. That we urge all Nigerians to please exercise patience to enable the investigation panel come out with findings as to what really went wrong, the findings will be useful to us as country to avert reoccurrence in future.
  5. We know that no words, no matter how solemn, coming from the family will be enough to atone for these losses suffered by the immediate families of the deceased applicants but will still beg for the understanding of Nigerians to enable the ministry carry out proper investigation into this tragedy and tell Nigerians what really went wrong.
  6. We do not want to be in a hurry to indict the consultancy firm that handled the exercise in order not to preempt the investigative panel already in place but will at the interim condemns the shoddy and clumsy fashion with which the exercise was conducted.
  7. That if the consultancy firm had done its job properly, it would have carried proper online screening of the applicants with the aim to prune down the size that would be invited for the screening exercise having in mind the existing vacancies.
  8. That as the Head of the ministry, the task of overseeing the conduct of the exercise rested strictly with the Minister through the CG of NIS, what happened at the field did not reflect the numerous assurances received by the Honourable Minister from the consultants that all was going on smoothly.
  9. We thank the Federal Government for coming up with some form of palliatives ranging from employment opportunities for immediate family members of deceased people as well as automatic employment for all injured applicants across the federation even though we are aware that that cannot bring back to life, all those who died in the tragedy.
  10. That the Honourable Minister is a member of the family and known seriously for his respect for sanctity of lives of people and cannot in anyway, celebrate the death of any human being as being insinuated in some quarters, but will however show respect for the opinions of individuals who have painted him in different light other than what we know about him.
  11. We are worried that this singular incidence, though unintended appears to be overwhelming the numerous positive achievements our son has recorded in the ministry since his assumption of duty as Minister.
  12. Once again we plead for the understanding of all those who lost their dear ones in this incidence to show understanding as God knows better what has happened; our heart, as a family is with you and we strongly believe that God Almighty will comfort you during this period of grief, we are with you in prayers now and always. God bless Nigeria.


Major Agbo (Abba Moro’s Nephew) for the Family.


Saturday 22 March 2014

National Conference Delegates Get Paid N1.45m for a Week's Job

National Conference Delegates Get Paid N1.45m for a Week’s Job

The 492 delegates to the National Conference today got their first pay today. Each of the delegates got paid N1.45 million Naira after sitting for a week. The payment was made directly into the bank accounts of delegates.

This is the first week of the National Conference. The delegates spent the week squabbling over sitting arrangements, which prayers were appropriate and other mundane issues .They are expected to meet for three months and get paid every two weeks according to our sources.

The Federal Government has made available N7 billion (Naira) for the Conference. Each delegate is expected to be paid N4 million Naira per month, but it appears some of the funds will be applied to the Secretariat. Despite this huge amount, in a country where state governors are refusing to pay the minimum wage at N18, 000 per month, the delegates are still asking for more money to pay their aide. It could also be recalled that due to high level of unemployment in the country 20 young Nigerians died in Stampede at the employment test for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) conducted across the country Saturday, 15 March, 2014 while hundreds of others received various degrees of injuries.

According to Saharareporters’ columnist and satirist, Rudolf Okonkwo, "N1.45 million Naira for a week's job is not bad at all, especially when most of the delegates were just sleeping during their few hours of sitting."

Friday 21 March 2014

Draft Rules to Guide Conducts at National Conference Released

Draft Rules to Guide Conducts at National Conference Released

The prohibition of foul language, reaching a consensus on issues and a requirement that resolution can only be passed by two-thirds or 75 per cent of the delegates are some of the draft rules and procedures that have been released by the National Conference secretariat.

The rules, which were distributed to the delegates yesterday, 21st March, 2014 and will be deliberated and approved on Monday, 24th March, 2014 when they reconvene, also stipulate that where a resolution cannot be reached by a two-thirds majority, the delegates will be given an extra week to agree and pass a resolution on the issue.

A delegate, who made public some key highlights of the conference guidelines titled, “National Conference Procedure Rules, 2014”, said delegates would also be required to affirm the indivisibility and sovereignty of Nigeria.

He further disclosed that delegates who wish to address the session must stick to issues that are relevant to the subject of discussion at a particular session. Where a new issue is to be tabled, delegates would be required to write to the Secretary of the Conference, it will be gazetted and shared to delegates at every sitting.

The guidelines, he said, also requires every member to be present at each session, but in the event of ill health, the delegate must write to the Secretary to obtain permission to be absent.

Other rules include:

1.      A delegate risks being suspended for 14 days if found flouting the rules of proceeding of the conference.

2.      The federal government is also proposing to disallow members from addressing issues at hand without prior written notice to the Chairman of the Conference.

3.      Delegates are barred from assaulting or obstructing one another within the Conference room or precincts of the Conference room and or assaulting or obstructing any Officer of the Conference while in the execution of his/her duty.

4.      No portion of these rules shall be suspended except by a vote of two-third majority of the delegates sitting and voting at the particular time.

5.      A delegate may only read short extracts from books or papers in support of his argument and may refresh his memory by reference to notes.

6.      A delegate must confine his contributions to the subject under discussion and may not introduce matters irrelevant thereto.

7.      It shall be out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific question upon which the conference has come to a conclusion.

8.      It shall be out of order to use offensive and insulting language during sittings either at plenary or in committees.

9.      No delegate shall impute improper motives to any other delegate.

10.  Delegates are prohibited from smoking or drinking on the floor of the conference.

11.  The use of mobile phones shall not be allowed during sittings.

12.  A delegate desiring to speak shall submit his name to the secretary on a paper to be provided and if called upon shall stand and address his observations to the chairman or the chairman of committee.

13.  All committees shall forward their reports to the secretary at the conclusion of its sitting.

14.  The secretary shall at her discretion determine when such reports of a committee shall be brought up at plenary for deliberation.


Also, a statement issued by the Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications of the Secretariat, Akpandem James, said the rules would enable them to prepare for the debate, ratification and subsequent adoption on Monday when the plenary resumes.

According to the Secretariat, when adopted by the delegates, the provisions would form the official rules of proceedings for the Conference.

The statement also said a copy of the Constitution of Nigeria (1999) was made available to the delegates in keeping with the promise given during the inaugural sitting by the Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi.

According to James, “The Draft Rules and the 1999 Constitution have been ready since 6am this morning and we have made them available to the delegates to study.

“However, it is only a draft; it is going to be debated clause by clause by the delegates on Monday. If they (delegates) adopt it, then it becomes the rules guiding the Conference.

“But if there is any clause they feel should be amended or rejected, then they will decide at the plenary on Monday.

“What we are trying to do as a Secretariat is to make the delegates as comfortable as possible to ensure smooth proceedings throughout the Conference."

Some of the delegates collected copies of the draft rules and the 1999 Constitution yesterday.
They also said they had also begun studying the voluminous reports of previous Conferences that were given to them at their inaugural meeting on Tuesday.

Former Plateau Governor, Chief Fidelis Tapgun, who is a delegate to the Conference, said the delegates were already studying copies of the rules of procedures for the plenary and the Constitution.

Tapgun said the procedures would have to be debated and adopted first before the plenary could really commence business on Monday.

“The documents are the report of the Political Bureau and the past constitutional conferences set up by (Olusegun) Obasanjo, (Ibrahim) Babangida and (Sani) Abacha.

“We often see that committees are set up and nothing is done with their reports. But we think that this time around, the President is determined that we would look at all the past reports and put them in one paper that will be useful to this country,” Tapgun said.

According to him, the documents will be needed by the delegates as reference materials that would guide them in their proceedings.

“We are going to continue making references to them so that we are properly guided and not work at cross purposes.

“There were certain things that were raised in those reports that were not implemented in the past, which we feel if implemented, may help.

“We will also see their relevance and see if they are relevant to our present Conference. We will see how we can raise them again,” he said.

Meanwhile, northern delegates to the Conference yesterday agreed to appoint a former Inspector General of Police and Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Ibrahim Coomasie, and Prof. Jerry Gana as the co-chairmen of the Northern Delegates Forum.

After a closed-door meeting, which was chaired by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Alfa Belgore, the delegates in a communiqué said though they recognized that the north is diverse in culture, ethnicity and religion, as well as the geographical, historical and political ties, they would “work in harmony for the overall interest of the geographical entity called the north”.

The appointment of Coomasie and Gana as co-chairmen was seen as the tactical coming together of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) and the core north that make up the ACF.

According to the communiqué signed by Gana and Coomasie, the northern delegates said: “We reaffirm our desire and resolve to rekindle that spirit of togetherness, inclusivity and unity of purpose.”

They also agreed to work for the unity of the north at the Conference and beyond.
The communiqué further said: “The northern delegates shall work as a united delegation engaged in the pursuit of common aspiration and establish an umbrella called the Northern Delegates’ Forum (NDF) under Alhaji Ibrahim Commasie and Prof. Jerry Gana and therefore shall work and collaborate at the Conference for the common interest of the North.”

The communiqué said the NDF would reach out to other zones and groups with common aspirations with a view to solidifying the northern stand.

Thursday 20 March 2014


Life Is Cheap In Nigeria

It is a period of harvest of deaths; a sad period for the country. The Boko Haram’s bumper harvest of deaths in the northeastern States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have received national and international condemnations. The faceless Mercenaries who slaughtered over one hundred and ten people in Kastina villages have been called wicked. The Fulani herdsmen who continually massacre people in Benue, Kaduna and Plateau States have been described as callous. The stampede at the Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment test centers, which has claimed twenty avoidable deaths, was described by Mr. President as SAD. News of deaths is sad news indeed. It becomes very bad and worrisome when the deaths are avoidable; when the deaths result from human error and incompetence; it is also more disturbing when the deaths are caused by greed, selfishness and corruption.

The death of 20 applicants in Stampede at the employment test for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) conducted across the country Saturday, 15 March, 2014 has raised more questions concerning our value for life. Life is too cheap in Nigeria. Our value of life is still primitive and unreligious. Many Nigerians receive President Goodluck Jonathan directive that three employment slots be reserved for the families of those who died during the stampede with mix feelings. To some it is a good way of providing succor or relief to the bereaved family. To others, it is insulting. Must one loss a family member to get job, they queried?

Mr. President also directed that all those who sustained injuries and are currently hospitalized be given automatic employment in the Nigerian Immigration Service. He did well by ordering that the ill-fated exercise be cancelled. He also set up a committee led by the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, to conduct a fresh exercise. This committee has the Comptroller-General of NIS as well as representatives of the Inspector-General of Police and the Heads of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Nigerian Prisons Service, State Security Service and the Federal Road Safety Commission as members.

But, it is necessary to ask, what is the Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro still doing in the office? Is the blood and painful death of these young Nigerians, whose only offence is that they presented themselves to serve their fatherland, in his hands not enough to make him hit the door?

 Nigerians are still pondering why Abba Moro, thought the offence for which these Nigerians died and for which they stand liable and accused is “impatience” and “not following the laid down procedures spelt out to them before the exercise”. Are those words enough to explain away the life of 20 young Nigerians?

 He further blamed, “Many of them jumped through the fences of affected centers and did not conduct themselves in an ordinary manner to make the exercise a smooth one. This caused stampede and made the environment unsecure”. Is our Honourable Minister of Interior aware of what it means to be unemployed in Nigeria? If the Minister says that, for instance, the 67,000 people invited into the FCT, Abuja Center is not a crowd that requires proper crowd control and management, what then is his own definition of crowd? Because, if two is company and three is crowd, then 67,000 is a bigger crowd. Besides, if standard crowd control mechanism was too expensive compared to the life of thousands of Nigerians invited for the recruitment assessment test at various centers why was medical emergency personnel not on hand to handle the emergency situation? By bluntly refusing to put in place all necessary contingency plans, the Ministry of Interior and Nigerian Immigration Service violated the applicants’ rights to life and dignity. They also conspired and connived to kill them.

Our investigations have revealed that over N7billion was collected from 734,000 applicants for only 4,556 jobs; and that 520,000 job seekers were invited to write an assessment test for the only 4, 556 vacancies. Why should the Nigerian Immigration Service under the leadership of the Comptroller General of Immigration Service, David Parradang, exploit jobless Nigerians and supervise their murder in the name of recruitment test?  What are our expectations for including Davis Parradang in the new NIS Recruitment Committee?

Who is Drexel Nigeria Limited? What role did the company play in the whole drama? How was the company engaged? What are the terms of its engagement? What services did the company render to the Nigerian Immigration Service? Why was the company chosen above other qualify and competent firms?

The call on the Federal Government to institute a powerful Panel of Inquiry into the remote and immediate causes of the death of these innocent Nigerians is very necessary and timely. The world is watching us. Nothing should be swept under the carpet. Let human life be properly valued in Nigeria. The investigation should extend beyond usual rhetoric and jamboree to a full scale inquiry into the circumstances culminating in these avoidable deaths and those responsible in one way or the other should be brought to book