National Council of State Thursday ratified the pardon granted to a former governor of the defunct Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli, and three other citizens convicted for attempted coups.
The council also approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s prerogative of mercy to pardon 39 prison inmates.
Ali, who governed the old Bendel State, now split into Edo and Delta states, from 1979-1983 in the Second Republic, was convicted during the military rule of Buhari in 1984 for alleged misapplication of over N983,000 in funds for a road project.
Although the late professor returned the money, the military tribunal, which tried him for the offence, nonetheless sentenced him to 100 years in prison. He later became blind before his eventual death.
Aside Alli, the council also approved presidential pardon for 44 others, including two military officers said to have been convicted for attempted coup during the military regime of former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), and a civilian.
The three men are: Col. Moses Effiong, Major E.J Olarenwaju, and Ajayi Olusola Babalola.
Briefing reporters after the virtual meeting, presided over by the president, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the ratification of the presidential pardon followed the presentation of a memorandum from the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy to the council.
According to him, in accordance with the constitutional requirement, which empowers the president to exercise prerogative of mercy to pardon prisoners, the council ratified presidential pardon for two inmates and clemency for 39 others, bringing the total beneficiaries of the president’s prerogative of mercy to 45, including Alli and the three alleged coup plotters.
He said the prerogative of mercy granted inmates was part of the efforts to decongest correctional centres to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “The memo presented for consultation in line with one of the constitutional requirements and consideration of grant of pardon to 45 persons, two inmates for pardon, 39 inmates for clemency and four ex-convict for presidential pardon.
“To further clarify on the prerogative of mercy, Mr. President, with COVID-19 pandemic, has directed the decongestion of our correctional centres across the country. And by way of collaborative action, the governors, heads of courts across the nations, have worked assiduously in collaboration with the presidential committee on decongestion of our correctional centres and at the end of the day we have succeeded in taking out over 4,000 inmates out of our correctional centers across the country.
“What we have today is a consolidation of what has been done and the strategies put in place to see to the decongestion of our correctional centres.
“As you are aware, more than 70 per cent inmates in our correctional centres were awaiting trial across the country and a lot of considerations were put in place to ensure our correctional centres are decongested, the prerogative of mercy was one of such considerations by Mr. President.”
Malami added that the council approved the appointments of two lawyers as members of the Federal Judicial Service Commission in line with the power conferred on the president to appoint members of the commission, subject to consultation with the Council of State.
“The exercise this morning relating to the presentation of the council memo was for the purpose of fulfilling the constitutional righteousness relating to the appointment of the two new legal practitioners, in essence it is to consult with the Council of State out of desire for compliance with constitutional requirements.
“The two members to represent Nigerian Bar Association on the Federal Judicial Service Commission are: Namoso Ekanem (SAN), from Akwa Ibom State, representing the South-south geo-political zone; and Mammud Abubakar Mogaji (SAN) from Niger State to represent the North-central geo-political zone,” he added.
In his own briefing, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who also participated in the meeting, said apart from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, all former Nigerian leaders participated in the meeting.
Mustapha said the council commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for its job in combating the pandemic and noted the impact of the pandemic on the economy and how it has exposed the weaknesses of the health system.
He said the council appealed to Nigerians to continue to adhere to COVID-19 protocols until vaccines would be available to treat the disease.
According to him, the meeting also approved the nominations of members of the National Population Commission (NPC).
He listed members of the commission whose nominations were approved as Muhammed Chuso A. Dottijo (Sokoto); Alhaji Razaq Gidado (Kwara); Ibrahim Mohammed (Bauchi); Joseph Kwai Shazin (FCT); Mr. Bala Almu Banya (Katsina); and Mrs. Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin (Lagos).
On his part, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Mungonu (rtd.), said he briefed the council on the security challenges facing the country, adding that the council approved the establishment of National Centre for Control of Small and Light Weapons to be domiciled in NSA’s office.
However, while Obasanjo was absent from the meeting, only former President Goodluck Jonathan, among the former leaders, was physically present with the president in the State House.
Other former leaders who attended the meeting virtually were: General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
CGI Babandede Bows Out With Glorious Light, Global Acclaim
The 11th Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, MFR, was pulled out from Service Monday in grand style, razzmatazz and pageantry, after a transparent and diligent service to his country – Nigeria.
The occasion took place at the NIS Parade Ground, Sauka, Abuja, and was graced by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was Special Guest of Honour; Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, MON, mni; Service Chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, IGP Alkali Usman Baba and other heads of sister security agencies. Also at the occasion were top traditional rulers, Captains of industry, community leaders, youth groups, women groups and members of the diplomatic corps.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, paid glowing tributes to CGI Babandede for rebranding and repositioning the Nigeria Immigration Service as a top class migration management agency globally.
Continuing, Ogbeni Aregbesola, enjoined Babandede’s successor and NIS management to effectively harness and utilize the ultra-modern technological infrastructure established by Babandede for continued policing and surveillance of Nigeria’s borders, adding that the innovation is world-class and must be properly maintained at all times.
The Minister of Interior poured encomiums on the out-going CGI, applauded the gigantic transformational milestones and legacies left behind by the outgoing CGI
In the same vein, the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Badaru lauded the sterling leadership qualities of CGI Babandede, patriotism and monumental achievements of the outgoing CGI, noting that he is a shining ambassador of Jigawa State, whose footprints are written on the sands of time in building a harmonious relationship with sister agencies; was unparalleled and must be exploited to the fullest for enhanced productivity and service delivery.
He enjoined other chief executive officers to borrow a leaf from the mercurial service record of CGI Babandede who has made Jigawa State proud.
Meanwhile, other stakeholders are also unanimous that CGI Babandede will continue to be a reference point, in the annals of efficient service delivery, transparency and patriotism in Nigeria, alluding that he has changed the narrative and paradigm shift of the NIS in compliance with best international practices.
Also, a prominent civil society group, Guild of Civil Societies and Media Executives for Equity, Justice & Transparency (GOCMEJ), was full of praises for CGI Babandede for redefining service delivery, accountability, transparency and patriotism in Nigeria’s public service. The organization, which is an amalgamation of over 350 CSOs, NGOs and media executives, recommended the outgoing CGI for higher national office, stating that his invaluable service record must not be sacrificed on the altar of officialdom. Emphasizing that CGI Babandede is brimming with resourcefulness, youthful energy and zeal for service to humanity and his fatherland.
NDDC: GPMI Hails Sen. Akpabio , Says Detractors Should Leave Him Alone
The Global Peace Movement International UK has described the Niger Delta Minister, Sen. Godswill Akpabio as a man who claimed fifteen story building without a steer case.
The group also said Senator Godswill Akpabio is a proven performer. Since he became the Minister of Niger Delta, he has been working diligently to develop the region. It is on record that massive work is going on in the region in different sectors.
In a press statement signed by the media officer, Augustine Aminu (KSM) on behalf the President General of Global Peace Movement International UK, Dr. Mike Uyi who currently lost his sister, Pastor Rose Uyi.
He said, prior to the minister’s assumption of office at the Niger Delta Affairs ministry, activities at the ministry were in dire need for reformation. Therefore, it took the frugality in his resource management and political determination to turn around the entire gamut of the Niger Delta community for the better within his short stay in office.
According to Uyi, the mandate of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is to formulate and execute plans, programmes, and other initiatives as well as coordinate the intervention activities of agencies, communities, donors, and other relevant stakeholders involved in the development of the region. Akpabio has promised never to deviate from the mandate.
“NDDC was meant to address the development challenges in the Niger Delta region but the commission has only enriched a few people in the past leaving the mission and vision not actualized. Faceless contractors have pocketed funds for projects and were never executed”.
“Akpabio is tested and trusted. As commissioner, senator and governor, he performed excellently. Unarguably, Akpabio is among the ministers that would perform very well in this administration and should be allowed to concentrate on transforming NDDC. GPMI believes that he will do greater things if given a higher national assignments”.
Under the supervision of Senator Akpabio, a forensic audit was carried out to unravel corruption and bad corporate governance in the commission.
“The Minister as we know him has been a detribalised and generous individual. His personal aides and workers hail from different states in the Niger Delta region and the country. Besides, the minister is known for presenting opportunities to people based only on their competencies”.
“He has carried all stakeholders in the Niger Delta along and that is why the region has remained peaceful since his emergence as a minister”.
Less Than 3 Percent Of Kaduna Residents Have Health Insurance – KADCHMA
Less than 3 percent of people out of about 9 million are covered by medical insurance under the Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Agency (KADCHMA) it has been revealed.
The revelation was made during a stakeholders meeting organized by the Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM) with Partnership to Engage and Learn (PERL-EC) and Lafiya Programme.
Speaking on the matter, the representative of KADCHMA and Director of Operations, Dr Juliana Bungon said that apart from the state government employees only about 2000 individuals from the informal sector are registered with the scheme.
She added that getting the informal sector to participate in the scheme had been difficult because they are not organized as the organized informal sector who are part and parcel of the trade unions.
She however added that the state government is making arrangement with farmers in the rural area to batter harvested food items with relevant agency so that they can be captured in the scheme.
” we are also going to vigorously involve cooperatives, desk officers in local governments as well as embark on massive sensitization with media to drive home the matter, ” she said.
Speaking earlier, Mal Mustapha Juma’are said that people must be part and parcel of the scheme so that the issue of out of pocket expenditure which hitherto had been a stumbling block to Nigerians resident in Kaduna state can be minimized.
Mal Juma’are who frowned at the paltry percentage of residents who have embraced the scheme called on participants to help in galvanizing the populace so that they can embrace it and make it their own.
Also speaking, the Co-Chair of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Hadiza Umar said that action in the area of sensitizing and enrolling the people of Kaduna state is necessary in order to curb or reduce the number of people dying daily from treatable diseases.
She said that Kaduna State will remain open in all its activities as she urged participants and stakeholders to share the information especially in the informal sector.
Mr Abel Adejor, on behalf of PERL-EC and Lafiya programme said that the aim of the meeting is for associations and organizations that are in the informal sector to be properly mobilized with adequate information for them to key into the scheme.
He further said that the civil societies and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) will continue to give support to program for it to succeed in the state.
The meeting was made possible by the KADMAM in collaboration with KADCHMA and support from PERL-EC and Lafiya programme in partnership with UKAID.
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