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Market Digest Nigeria

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Nigerian Newspaper Headlines (8th October, 2019)

poverty

According to the world poverty report released yesterday, over 94 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty as the poverty index in the country has worsened.

Major Nigerian Newspapers have more on this story:

poverty

Sun Newspaper: 94m Nigerians live below poverty line – Oxfam

Nigeria’s poverty index has worsened as no fewer than 94,470,535 people are said to be living below the line of extreme poverty, according to the latest World Poverty Report released yesterday.

Oxfam International country director in Nigeria, Mr. Constant Tchona, made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday at the organisation’s Programme Quality Review and Planning meeting, with the theme “On the Road To Becoming an Influencing Hub.”

The figure represents the number of people living below the benchmark of N684 per day. “The number of people that live below extreme poverty level as at April was 91,501,377, making Nigeria the World Capital of Poverty. “As if that was not bad enough, at the moment, six months later, the number has jumped up to 94,470,535 people. “What this means is that we have added 2,969,158 people more into extreme poverty. By comparison, this number is more than the population of Gambia and Cape Verde combined. “At the current rate, Nigeria is not only off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but many now believe that up to 25 per cent of the world’s extreme poor will live in Nigeria by 2030. “Nigeria’s total population is 200,963,599 people, according to the Worldometer, and is to become the world’s third largest country by 2050,” he noted.

By December 2018, the population of Nigerians living in abject poverty was put at 91 million. While describing the burden as pathetic, the country director noted that Nigerian government was aware of the rate of poverty in the land. Tchona quoted President Muhammadu Buhari’s intention to “lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years and set them on the path to prosperity’’ to “fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place it among the world’s great nations.’’

According to him, if this is achieved, Nigeria would shock the world to achieve the SDGs. “Now the question is, what is the role of the citizens and how that role will be played in supporting both elected and appointed officials in achieving this lofty goal. “What could be the role of International NGOs like Oxfam on that journey?” he asked.

He noted that in order to effectively make impact in poverty reduction, the organisation would have to assess its programmes to ensure they were not against Oxfam’s established quality standards. He stressed the need to expedite action, adding that more people were getting into extreme poverty as at the moment. Tchona explained that the meeting was to reflect on what the role of the organisation could be in support of government and citizens in order to reduce the burden of poverty. He said that the meeting was also to explore ways to strengthen business support to power up Oxfam execution capability while ensuring operational excellence.

poverty

Punch Newspaper: Governors confirm crisis in APC, states threaten showdown

State chairmen of the All Progressives Congress are threatening a showdown with the national leadership of the party over recent appointments at the federal and state levels.

The PUNCH learnt on Monday that the state chairmen were becoming frustrated over the failure of the leadership of the party to reward loyal party members with appointments. The chairmen expressed their grievances as the governors elected on the platform of the party on Monday warned that the internal crisis in the APC could destroy the party and the political process.

The renewed agitation of the chairmen followed the expiration of a 10-day ultimatum issued to the National Working Committee of the party under the leadership of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. Recall that the Forum of APC State Chairmen had on September 23 issued an ultimatum to the NWC to address their perceived concerns. Among their concerns are failure to secure appointments for party loyalists and fill vacant leadership seats in the party.

The position of the National Secretary had become vacant following the swearing-in of the last occupant, Mai Mala Buni, as Governor of Yobe State. Also, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was recently appointed as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. Their chairmen alleged that they were being treated as outsiders in the party they toiled day and night to secure victories for in the last general elections while those who worked against the party were being rewarded.

Prominent among state where core party members were neglected included Ogun State, where two loyalists of ex-governor Ibukunle Amosun, clinched federal appointments. During the 2019 elections, Amosun supported the Allied Peoples Movement governorship candidate, Mr Adekunle Akinlade. The ultimatum has expired without the chairmen getting any concrete response from the party national leadership.

One of the state chairmen, who spoke with one of our correspondents in confidence said the state chairmen were angry because their concerns had not been addressed despite the letter to the national leadership. He said, “It is unfortunate our efforts are not being recognised by the party we have all laboured for while those that did nothing were getting rewarded because of their closeness to some powerful forces in government. “There is a limit to everything because we are fast losing grip of our members at states who feel the party is not carrying them along.”

Another state chairman from the North said, “The situation is getting critical and our members are becoming disenchanted and losing faith in us for something that it is not our fault. We don’t know what to tell them again because it is getting to a stage they can no longer understand the direction of the party.”

However, the Secretary of the forum, Dr Ben Nwoye, told The PUNCH that they were not relenting in their efforts as there was no going back on their demands. He said, “There is no response yet, but when it is time you will hear from us. You will hear from the party faithful; those who believe they worked hard for the party and have been left behind and out of the system while those who worked against the government and the party have been rewarded. “You will hear from those who participated in putting the government in place in various states and have been abandoned.”

Nwoye, who is the Enugu State APC chairman, said the state chairmen would meet in the next few days to review the development. “Discussions are going on.  We are planning and we are organising ourselves. Whatever that will be done will be a collective decision of all of us and it will be made public; it won’t be in isolation,” he said

Speaking on their grievances, Nwoye said, “The chairmen are speaking the minds of the people, those who sacrificed, worked hard and promoted the cause of the party but have been left behind. “We are speaking the minds of the contestants who have promoted the image of the party and have been neglected. The minds of the people who nurtured the party in the non-APC states but have been left behind while the PDP people are rewarded.” Efforts to reach the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, proved abortive as he did not answer calls placed to him. He had also yet to reply to a text message sent to him on what the APC had done to address the issues raised by the forum of state chairmen in their letter to the NWC as of 7:53 pm.

We are looking into chairmen’s grievances – National Vice-Chairman

But the APC National Vice Chairman (South-South), Hilliard Eta, said the concerns raised by the party leaders at the state level were being looked into. He assured the public that the party had the capacity to deal with its internal issues noting that all issues that fell within the purview of party leadership would soon be resolved.

He said, “You cannot take concerns of our state party chairmen as a storm in a tea cup. I’ve always said that politics is all about conflict resolution. “It encompasses conflict resolution and when there are no conflicts then what is there to resolve? These are conflicts that are within the orbit of the party to be resolved; I believe the party will resolve these conflicts. “We have internal conflict resolution mechanisms and I can assure you that all of these issues will soon be resolved.”

Buhari’s friend’s son pursuing pre-election case against Masari

Besides the chairmen’s grievances, a top member of the National Assembly said the party was battling with many problems. The source said, “We have internal problems. Some were inherited while some are just coming up. “Recall the issue of the Deputy National Chairman (North), Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, and his letter. There is also the case of our National Vice-Chairman (North-West), Inuwa Abdulkadir, who has taken us to court. Now the state chairmen are threatening “This is aside from the crisis in some of the states we control. The split judgment in the governorship election tribunal case in Katsina should tell you something. “A son of a friend of President Muhammadu Buhari, Isa Funtua, Abubakar, is pursuing a pre-election matter against Governor Aminu Masari in Katsina State. He is challenging Masari’s educational qualifications.”

Governors confirm internal crisis in APC, seek N’Assembly support

But members of the APC Governors’ Forum, during a courtesy call on the leadership of the 9th National Assembly in Abuja on Monday, lamented the lack of cooperation between elected members of the executive arm of government and the legislature.

The APC governors were led to the parliament by their Chairman, Atiku Bagudu, of Kebbi State. They were received by the leadership of the 9th National Assembly led by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan,  and the Speaker,  House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. Bagudu told their hosts that they were in the nation’s apex legislative institution to present the report of the forum’s sub-committee on Legislative Matters,  chaired by the Governor of  Katsina State, Aminu Masari.

Addressing the gathering,  Masari lamented that all efforts by his panel to come up with an acceptable mutual relationship between the governors and the National Assembly had not achieved the desired results. He noted with concern that the absence of coordination between the elected state executives and the federal parliament had produced crisis of trust which could destroy the party.

Crisis can destroy our party, Masari warn

Masari said, “The absence of coordination (between the executive and the legislature) has produced crisis of trust which if care is not taken can destroy our party and the political process. “So as leaders, we need to make amends especially in the area of management of political relations among all the party stakeholders. We need not remind ourselves of what happened between 2015 and 2019. “The Progressive Governors Forum has a standing subcommittee on legislative matters that started in the last Assembly. But unfortunately, no success came out for obvious reasons. “So we thought that we should contact you (National Assembly) early enough so that we put  machinery in motion in making sure that this time round, we are on the same page, that is,  the Progressive Governors’ Forum and the National Assembly.

“In doing so, we want to use this opportunity to address some fundamental issues that do not only affect the APC  as a political party but the whole nation. We have itemized some areas which we want to discuss for the purpose of this courtesy call. “The details will come when your subcommittee and our subcommittee meet and discuss in detail. “We can recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently reminded us of our responsibilities in providing leadership to  and prioritize building of strong relationships between all elected representatives both in the executive and legislative arms of government, as well as our party leaders.”

He further noted with regret that the avoidable circumstances were preventing the elected officials of the  ruling party from providing the necessary leadership. He said, “Unfortunately, we allowed avoidable circumstances to give new life to our political opponents, especially parties in opposition to the APC, like the PDP.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila,  expressed dismay over the way the Edo State Government frustrated the House efforts at resolving the crisis rocking the state Assembly. Gbajabiamila lamented that despite the fact that the PDP government in Bauchi State supported the National Assembly peace efforts in resolving the crisis in the state legislature, the Edo State Government frustrated its moves.

He, therefore, said that the National Assembly would appeal the judgment obtained by Edo State, preventing the nation’s parliament from performing its constitutional roles. The Speaker said, “ I’m not sure of the legislative agenda that the Governors’ Forum are bringing but let me seize this opportunity to say that our  legislative agenda would be unveiled on Friday which we hope to get across to you. We are also using this opportunity to invite the governors to the event. “Whether or not we need to take it and amend it later before Friday, would depend on the presentation you are going to make today. We want to be working in unison, together as one party and as one government. “While addressing the issue of one party and one government, my big brother ,the Senate President, and I will want  to the draw our attention to the issue of the crisis in Bauchi and Edo states. “Whilst we were able to successfully resolve the issue in Bauchi State, which is an opposition state, unfortunately, we are unable to resolve that of Edo State, I think this is what we have to look at and prioritise.

“We should consider how to constitutionally address the issue. For those of us on this side,  the National Assembly, we are surprised that the exclusive constitutional roles given to us as prescribed in section 12 of the constitution which is written unambiguously clear was being tested. “We are a bit concerned  about that. Of course, we have three arms of government and on the basis of that,  we will be going to court on this matter to resolve not just the judgment but to ensure that any other related issues like that do not come up again. “The House of Representatives has adopted a theme, “The nation building is a joint task”, that is how we are operating in the National Assembly irrespective of our political party divides. “We have resolved to come together when it comes to national issues. We believe that since there is one government, there should be a symbiotic relationship between the governors and the legislators. We are going to have a robust conversation after the press would have gone out.”

Gbajabiamila and Lawan commended the governors for the role they played in their emergence as Senate President and Speaker respectively. The Speaker said, “The leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives are very appreciative of the roles that the APC governors played in our emergence as Senate President and Speaker of the 9th National Assembly. “The roles in no middle way,  played a major part in the success we recorded at the elections and we are very grateful to you for this.”

Lawan said, “It is a fact and a truism that our party, particularly our governors did so well; they worked so hard and assiduously to ensure the leadership of the National Assembly emerged with little or no hitch in the 2019 leadership contest. “We thank you for that show of trust. We believe that you have done your part by giving us all the support that we needed. “The ball is now in our court to take this leadership in trust and we intend to remain resolute. We intend to remain very loyal to the party and the principles that we stand for; we intend to remain committed and dedicated to the Nigerian ideals of making sure that the country provides all the necessary services to citizens.” “It is necessary that all the levels of government work together. We have certain issues that we cannot do alone at the National Assembly when we have up to 14 million children out of school on the street. “We cannot do it alone. This is something the states and the Federal Government would have to work together and partner the National Assembly. We believe that we can do more working together; we are here representing the states.”

poverty

Guardian Newspaper: Outrage as sex-for-grades scandal rocks UNILAG

Nigerian universities caught global attention yesterday. But this was not because of academic breakthroughs that earned them some laurels. Rather, it was because of the escapades of randy lecturers.

The focus on the nation’s universities was triggered by yesterday’s release by BBC African Eye of a video allegedly showing academics propositioning undercover female reporters. Wearing a secret camera, a reporter, Kiki Mordi, had allegedly visited Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, a lecturer of the Department of European Languages and Integrated Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos (UNILAG), posing as a 17-year-old admission seeker. The clip went on to show the lecturer allegedly making sexual overtures to the reporter.

A lecturer at the institution’s faculty of science who pleaded anonymity told The Guardian that many of his colleagues had become jittery, fearing that their sexual escapades might be blown open. The lecturer noted that the advent of social media had made it more difficult for randy lecturers to hide. Last Thursday, at Bayero University Kano, Ghanaian investigative reporter, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, had told participants during a workshop on journalism “On Monday, October 7, the BBC African Eye will show another film on Nigeria. The lecturers seated here today might not be happy about this. The film is about sex for real and some Nigerian universities are featured in the film.”

Barely hours after the video went public, reactions took the online world by storm. Thousands vented their indignation on Twitter, with many hinting that the revelation is only a tip of the iceberg. The Foursquare Gospel Church issued a swift denunciation thereafter, asking Igbeneghu, said to be one of its pastors, to “step down from all ministerial assignments.” A statement by National Secretary Rev. Ikechukwu Ugbaja, reads: “The general public is hereby informed that as holiness and Bible-believing church, we do not condone such heinous and unscriptural act among our ministers. We totally dissociate ourselves from the purported conduct of Dr. Igbenoghu and promise to take appropriate measure as soon as the ongoing investigation is concluded.”

Similarly, the University of Lagos in a statement by Principal Assistant Registrar (Communication Unit) Mrs. Taiwo Oloyede said the “management today (yesterday) suspended Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu who was caught in a sting operation by the BBC.” It said: “The University Management has ordered the shutdown of the Staff Club ‘Cold Room’ mentioned in the documentary for further investigation. The so-called ‘Cold Room’ is a Functions Room that may have been abused because this is a deviation from the purpose for which it was created (meetings, seminars, events, etc.).” The institution assured members of the public: “Any other lecturer mentioned in the full version of the operation, which is to be aired later today, will also be suspended to ensure a proper investigation is carried out.”

In a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), UNILAG Vice-Chancellor Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe maintained that the institution has “zero tolerance for the ugly trend.” He said: “Currently, there are cases that we are looking into and I want to say that we will not compromise standards, as we will ensure that we take appropriate actions.”

Ogundipe said an investigation was ongoing on the case reported in 2018 by a blogger on alleged sexual harassment by a professor in the English department. He said a high-level probe committee made up of senior lecturers had since been set up and that the only setback was the inability to get the victim to show up. “All efforts to reach her through the telephone lines made available to us proved abortive. The case is still open and ongoing, pending when we get all these facts. We are not going to cover anything up. As soon as she appears before the committee with established evidence, we will conclude the case and come out with a firm position.”

UNILAG don, Prof. Gab Babawale, told The Guardian that the university has a strong policy against sexual abuse and harassment and that anyone who violates the rules must face the penalty. Also, Prof. Muyiwa Awodiya noted that the lecturer’s alleged action is “shameful and condemnable”.

Reacting, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday joined other Nigerians in calling for an end to the sex-for-grades phenomena. Atiku on his Twitter handle said: “This is unacceptable and requires systemic strategies to put a deterrence to such behaviour. As a society, we cannot allow a trend that is psychologically abusive to young women to thrive. In fact, that’s a direct opposite of what a sound educational system represents.”

Saraki, on his part, wrote: “As a father, I’m appalled by the actions of lecturers captured in the exposé. We cannot allow this sort of deplorable behaviour to fester.” He appealed to the Ninth Senate to revisit the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill “so that we can implement the institutional reforms necessary to safeguard our children.” He also urged affected institutions “to conduct robust investigations, not only on the accused, but also for all other reports and complaints that come in. We need to believe victims and make institutions safer for our students.”

Meanwhile, Igbeneghu has reportedly declined comment on the matter, urging inquiries to be directed to UNILAG’s information department in accordance with established rules. This came as another lecturer at the University of Ghana threatened to sue the BBC. Ransford Gyampo, according to the video, had allegedly made sexual advances to an undercover journalist. Gyampo was reported to have said: “I am suing the BBC for defamation tomorrow. I have not involved myself in the BBC’s so-called sex-for-grades and will never do so. The lady involved in my informal conversation was not my student and she wasn’t also a student from the University of Ghana where I teach. I therefore cannot decipher how I could manipulate the grade of a non-student.”

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