Alleged Assault: Oshiomhole Suspends Ojuromi For One Year
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Ojuromi of Uromi land in Esan North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, His Royal Highness, Zaiki Edenojie II, has been suspended for one year for failing to apologise within the stipulated period to one Ms Betty Okoebor, whom he allegedly assaulted.
The state government had earlier suspended the monarch for seven days and was directed to apologise to the woman and the government, but he reportedly ignored the warning.
Miffed by this, the state Governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, approved the suspension of the traditional ruler for one year and stripped him all the privileges and rights of the Ojuromi of Uromi in accordance with Section 28(1) of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979) and.
A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Peter Okhiria, on Friday night, also announced that the Edenojie II’s remuneration from the five percent monthly allocation to the local government “shall be appropriated and donated to orphanages” during the period.
The statement, signed by by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, noted that the traditional ruler’s suspension will take effect from Monday.
Trouble started for the Ujuromi, according to the state government in a letter, when he allegedly left his palace during the last governorship election, moving from one polling booth to another, campaigning and trying to coerce voters to vote for his preferred party and candidate.
It was alleged that the traditional ruler assaulted the woman when she refused to yield to his “threats,” adding that the matter, which was reported at the Uromi police station, was under investigation by the police as a criminal act.
It was also noted that Mr Oshiomhole had observed that his (Edenojie II) activities since he was initially suspended from office as Ojuromi of Uromi had raised “issues that require further determination”.
The letter read in part, “You went to a polling booth which was not where you registered to vote and tried to compel others to vote for your preferred candidate. When one of the voters, Ms Betty Okoebor, refused to yield to your threats, you assaulted her causing grievous bodily harm.
“Following from this, the government, viewing your conduct as utterly embarrassing, disgraceful and unbecoming of a traditional ruler, issued you with a query and directed that you reply within 72 hours.”
The state government alleged that Edenojie II “trivialised” the gravity of his misconduct in his apology letter dated October 28 by describing the September 28 incident as an “altercation” and a “family affair,” adding that he also organised a “forgiveness session” for the victim of the said assault to “ridicule” the government.
It explained, “To ridicule the Edo State Government and deride the directive that you apologised to Ms Okoebor, you proceeded to organise a ‘forgiveness session’ in your palace, in your capacity as Ojuromi, wearing a crown even when you were still suspended from office, purporting to be ‘forgiving’ Ms Okoebor.
“At the said ‘forgiveness session,’ you compelled the victim of your assault to apologise to you for the assault against her person, while on her knees and made to remain in same position while being interviewed by journalists.
“You had the embarrassing session videoed and aired repeatedly on television, subjecting Ms Okoebor to double jeopardy and double disgrace by expanding the frontiers of her embarrassment to a global level, through the electronic and social media. This represents nothing short of a deliberate effort to further aggravate the pain and humiliation of your victim.
It continued, “You claimed in your letter that Ms Okoebor had ‘reconciled herself to the throne,’ which conveys the impression that you still represented the throne from which you had been suspended, and further stated that she is your ‘subject’ and you had ‘forgiven’ her.
“This was in gross violation of the terms of your suspension from office as provided for in extant laws. The government of Edo State does not accept that there are ‘subjects’ in Nigeria but citizens of the federal republic.”
The state government further noted that it had received official security of alleged high-handedness against the Onojie, in addressing relations with operators of a cattle market in Uromi.
It listed the offences to include “unilaterally dissolving their association, appointing your preferred person to head the association, banishing their elected leader from Uromi” and “illegally taking over the cattle market and stalls that they built themselves”.
Others allegations, according to the state government, are “banning about eight butchers from doing business in the Uromi market and assigning the responsibility for collecting revenue for the local government council to your own preferred person, even without authority from the council” and laying “claim to ownership of the land, which was legally allocated to the cattle marketers in the year 2000, among other infractions”.
The statement added, “The government of Edo State has high regards for traditional institutions and for the values and customs of our people. However, the government, shall under no condition tolerate indiscipline, reckless abuse of traditional privileges, disrespect for its pronouncements, and flagrant humiliation of law-abiding citizens of the state.
“In view of the facts established above, taking cognisance of your letter of apology that falls short of the public apology expected from you within the stipulated time, and the earlier suspension letter which had specified dethronement after seven days, in exercise of its powers, the government of Edo State hereby commutes your dethronement to a one-year suspension from office as Ojuromi of Uromi, in accordance with Section 28(1) of the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law (1979), with effect from November 7, 2016.
“During this period of suspension under extant laws, you are hereby stripped of all the privileges and rights of the Ojuromi of Uromi and barred from performing any duties whatsoever in that regard. By virtue of this suspension from office, your remuneration from the five per cent monthly FAC allocation to the local government shall be appropriated and donated to orphanages during this period.”
US Threatens Sanctions Over Voter Intimidation at Lagos Guber, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United States government has condemned the disturbing acts of violent voter intimidation and suppression that took place during the governorship polls in Lagos and 27 states in Nigeria on Saturday, March 18.
The world power also said it would consider all available actions, including additional visa restrictions, on individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Nigeria.
In a statement on Tuesday, the US diplomatic mission in Nigeria said it observed the elections in Lagos and elsewhere and witnessed some of these incidents first-hand.
It condemned “The use of ethnically charged rhetoric before, during, and after the gubernatorial election in Lagos,” which it said “was particularly concerning.”
“We commend all Nigerian political actors, religious and community leaders, youth, and citizens who have chosen to reject and speak out against such violence and inflammatory language, affirming Nigerians’ commitment to and respect for the democratic process.
“We call on Nigerian authorities to hold accountable and bring to justice any individuals found to have ordered or carried out efforts to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the election process.
“The United States likewise will consider all available actions, including additional visa restrictions, on individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Nigeria.
“Following the February 25 national elections, the United States joined other international observers in urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve voting processes and technical elements that experienced flaws in that voting round.
“The March 18 elections appear to have had significant operational improvements, as polling stations generally opened on time and most results were visible on an electronic viewing platform in a timely manner,” the statement read.
The United States used the opportunity to call on those dissatisfied with the outcome of the exercise to go through established legal processes to reclaim their mandate.
“We further call for Nigeria’s people to work together as they participate in and continue to strengthen the country’s vibrant democracy,” the statement added.
Business Post reports that the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the governorship election in Lagos, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivior, has promised to approach the court to challenge the exercise.
Nigeria Picks 95th Position in Global Happiness Ranking
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria has been ranked as the 95th country out of 137 with the happiest population based on six variables, including GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption.
The report, World Happiness Report 2023, showed that Nigeria scored 4.981 out of a possible 10.
The report was written by experts including John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Lara B. Aknin, and Shun Wang.
In the piece, the experts noted that, “Once happiness is accepted as the goal of government, this has other profound effects on institutional practices. Health, especially mental health, assumes even more priority, as does the quality of work, family life, and community.”
Finland continues to occupy the top spot, for the sixth year in a row, with a score that is significantly ahead of all other countries.
Denmark remains in the 2nd spot, with a confidence region bounded by 2nd and 4th. Among the rest of the countries in the top twenty, the confidence regions for their ranks cover five to ten countries. Iceland is 3rd, and with its smaller sample size, it has a confidence region from 2nd to 7th. Israel is in 4th position, up five positions from last year, with a confidence range between 2nd and 8th.
The 5th through 8th positions were filled by the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland. The top ten were rounded out by Luxembourg and New Zealand.
Austria and Australia follow in 11th and 12th positions, as last year, both within the likely range of 8th to 16th. They were followed by Canada, up two places from last year’s lowest-ever ranking.
The next four positions were filled by Ireland, the United States, Germany, and Belgium, all with ranks securely in the top twenty, as shown by the rank range. The rest of the top 20 included Czechia, the United Kingdom, and Lithuania, 18th to 20th.
The same countries tend to appear in the top twenty year after year, with 19 of this year’s top 20 also being there last year. The exception is Lithuania, which has steadily risen over the past six years, from 52nd in 2017 to 20th this year.
Throughout the rankings, except at the very top and the very bottom, the three-year average scores are close enough to one another that significant differences are found only between country pairs that are sometimes many positions apart in the rankings.
War-torn Afghanistan (137) and Lebanon (136) remained the two unhappiest countries, according to the survey.
Others at the bottom of the list were Zambia 128, Tanzania 129, Comoros 130, Malawi 131, Botswana 132, Congo Democratic Republic 133, Zimbabwe 134, and Sierra Leone 135.
The researchers said people’s evaluation of happiness had remained “remarkably resilient’’ in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, with global averages from 2020 to 2022 just as high as those in the pre-pandemic years of 2017 to 2019.
SLB Opens New Regional Office in Lagos
By Adedapo Adesanya
Global technology company, SLB (formerly known as Schlumberger), has officially opened its new West Africa regional office in Lagos, which the firm says embodies its bold sustainability roadmap through daylight harvesting, interactive and collaborative hotspots for employees, disability access, and other exciting features that bring forward the company’s evolved identity and culture.
SLB stated that the new West Africa office reflects this new identity and will optimize employee experience and create a sustainable business environment for all stakeholders.
Speaking at the office’s opening in Lagos, which coincided with the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of SLB’s presence in Nigeria, Mr Sopiribo Ideriah, managing director for SLB in West African countries, said, “As a technology leader, our unmatched market breadth, differentiated performance, and unique portfolio of products and service, has always positioned us for growth and advancement in the energy industry.”
“All of this is owed to our people, who are the backbone of our organization. I would like to thank all SLB staff – past and present – for their commitment and passion in delivering high-quality services to our customers.
“For seven decades, SLB has worked in Nigeria as a local company. In 1952, SLB logged Nigeria’s first commercial oil well in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, and has since logged several other historic wells in the country.
“Our ability to continuously drive technology innovation has led to the development of new oilfield technologies that enhance our customers’ operational performance while maintaining the highest standards in HSE, ultimately delivering value to all our stakeholders.
“Investing in local socio-economic projects and developing local talent through our borderless career culture, we have significantly contributed to the capacity development of Nigeria and are confident that we will continue to do business in ways that benefit our people, society, and the country,” Mr Ideriah added.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Wallace Pescarini, president of the Offshore Atlantic Basin at SLB, said “I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our various stakeholders for their support over the years, including our clients, suppliers, contractors, and other business partners.
“We are thrilled to live our purpose of creating amazing technology to unlock access to energy for the benefit of all and could not have achieved this without your trust. As we look to the future and its evolving energy landscape, we remain committed to creating value for our customers and key stakeholders in Nigeria.”
Recall that in October 2022, the company launched a new identity focusing on energy innovation and decarbonization to address the world’s energy needs today and to forge the road ahead for the energy transition.
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