Ask Your States, LGs How They Spend Ecological Fund—FG Tells Nigerians
By Dipo Olowookere
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, has revealed that every Nigerian has the right to demand the judicious use of the Ecological Fund, which is distributed among the three tiers of government from the Federation Account.
Speaking at the weekend on Hannu Ya Dawa, an audience participation programme on FRCN Kaduna, Mr Shehu also said President Muhammadu Buhari will ensure the timely release of the fund to states to address pressing ecological challenges in their localities.
He said the Buhari administration would continue to assist flood victims across the country.
“The Buhari administration will under no circumstance abandon its humanitarian obligations to alleviate the distress of flood victims.
“In spite of Nigeria’s technological limitations and the paucity of funds to handle or manage large scale and complex emergencies, the APC administration will leave no stone unturned in offering succour to victims of natural disasters across the country,” he said.
On the Ecological Fund, Mr Shehu said it is the right of citizens to demand the judicious use of the fund, which is distributed among the three tiers of government from the Federation Account.
“The largest chunk of the fund goes to the states and Local Governments. Every month, states and Local governments receive 1.4 percent from the federation account as Ecological Fund, compared to the Federal government’s share of 1 percent.
“From the one percent the FG gets, NEMA takes 20 percent for its operation,” he said.
The Presidential aide noted that lately, disaster management in the country is gradually being ceded to the Federal Government by other tiers of government.
“Whenever there is an emergency from natural or man-made disasters, all you hear is ‘where is Buhari, what is he doing? What happens with the other tiers of government?”
“Nigerians, at the state and local governments should demand transparency and accountability in the management of ecological funds by their Governors and local government chairmen.
“Without accountability by local political leaders, the Federal government would continue to be the scapegoat for the failure of states and local governments to use ecological funds for the purposes they were released,’’ he said.
Mr Shehu said the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation has also been mandated to step up the provision of relief infrastructure to those in need.
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.
Sanwo-Olu Assures Lagos Residents Dividends of Democracy
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised to continue to deliver dividends of democracy to residents of the state after getting re-election.
On Monday morning, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of Saturday’s governorship elections in Lagos after it was announced that he polled a total of 762,134 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, who scored 312,329 votes.
Professor Adenike Oladiji, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTA) Akure, the Returning Officer, during the announcement, said the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Abdul-Azeez Adediran garnered 62,449 votes to come a distant third in the election.
She listed votes garnered by other political parties in the contest as A (800), AA (904), AAC(627), ADC (6,078), ADP(2833), APM (884), APP (259), BP (616), NNPP (1,583), NRM (340), SDP (1,746), YPP (461) and ZLP (1,635).
She put the total number of registered voters at 7,060,195; total accredited voters at 1,182620; total votes cast at 1,173,631, total valid votes at 1,155,678 and rejected votes at 17,953.
Prof. Oladiji said: “I declare that Sanwo-Olu Babajide Olusola of APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law by scoring 25 per cent in two-thirds of the local government areas in the state and also scoring the highest number of the vote cast, is hereby declared the winner and he is returned elected.”
The APC won in 19 Local Government Areas of the state; the LP won in one LGA, while the PDP did not win any.
In his remarks, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, noted that some of the allegations of manipulation levelled against him were a fallacy.
Mr Agbaje, however, said that such allegations were not strange in a clime like ours and decried the poor turnout of voters.
Assessing the process, Mr Olusegun Mobolaji, Lagos state Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), decried the pockets of violence experienced in some parts of the state as well as vote buying and apathy.
He urged the candidates to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and accept the outcome of the elections in good faith.
Mr Mobolaji urged INEC to improve on the shortcomings in future elections.
Regardless of this, Business Post spoke to voters over the weekend who were disenfranchised on account of their ethnicity by elements that were believed to be working for the ruling party, with tribal slurs and stereotypes hurled at them.
On his part, the re-elected governor on Monday said his re-election for a second term has reaffirmed that Lagos has chosen competence and experience on the march to true greatness.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said this at the Lagos House Marina while giving the victory speech for his re-election, following the official announcement by INEC.
He said that elections were over now, and governance must continue, and the dividends of democracy must continue to be delivered, as there must be no break and no time off.
According to him, his government will keep all the promises made to the people of Lagos state.
“Lagosians, you did not just vote for Babajide Sanwo-Olu. You voted for a greater Lagos. I promise that together we shall achieve this. This is a promise that shall not be broken. A greater Lagos shall be ours.
“Let me boldly and proudly say that we are already well on the way to that greater Lagos, and we now have four more years to join hands to advance in ways that will pleasantly surprise even the most sceptical amongst us,” he said.
“Lagos is what it is today because of each and every one of you, regardless of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender, or age.
“We are a vibrant and thriving hub of commerce, finance, entrepreneurship, innovation, and culture because of the diversity that has come to define us over the decades and the centuries. Thank you,” he said.
He said that during the course of the campaign, sadly, there was a lot of divisive rhetoric used, as some tried to make the elections about ethnicity and religion when in fact, they should only have been about capacity, competence, and experience.
“We saw hateful and hurtful ethnic profiling by fellow citizens – which is totally out of place for us as Lagosians, the proud residents of West Africa’s pre-eminent melting pot.
“I want to recognise and salute all of the multitudes of residents who refused to succumb to those who sought and still seek to divide us with their unguarded and inciting comments.
“Unfortunately, there are reports of skirmishes in some local government areas wherein some citizens were reported to have been injured. We strongly condemn these reprehensible incidents – that is definitely not who we are as a people.
“The relevant law enforcement and security agencies have been directed to investigate these breaches of the law and to ensure that those found culpable face the full wrath of the law.
SERAP Takes Buhari, NBC to Court over Threats
By Adedapo Adesanya
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The organisation explained that the suit was for “the arbitrary use of the NBC Act and broadcasting code to sanction and threaten to revoke the licences of broadcast stations in the country and shut them down over their legitimate coverage of the 2023 general elections.”
Joined in the suit as the defendant is the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.
The NBC had last week reportedly sanctioned 25 broadcast stations and issued ‘final warnings’ to 16 others for allegedly violating provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code during the February 25, 2023, presidential and National Assembly elections.
But in the suit number FHC/L/CS/469/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, SERAP is asking the court to determine “whether the broadcasting code used by the NBC to sanction some broadcast stations and threaten to shut down others was not in inconsistent and incompatible with freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
SERAP is asking the court for “a declaration that the sanctioning of some broadcast stations and threat by the NBC to revoke the licences and shut down other stations for their lawful coverage of the general elections is unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
SERAP is seeking “an order of interim injunction restraining President Buhari, NBC and Mr Mohammed from threatening and sanctioning broadcast stations in the country simply for carrying out their constitutional duties, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed contemporaneously in this suit.
In the suit, SERAP argued that: “It is a travesty of justice to punish and threaten broadcast stations seeking to promote election integrity and citizens’ engagement and participation while allowing perpetrators of electoral violence and grave human rights violations escape accountability for their alleged crimes.”
According to SERAP, “Rather than promptly investigating allegations of election-related violence and other infractions of the Electoral Act and the Nigerian Constitution, and going after suspected perpetrators, the Nigerian government is scapegoating the media by targeting and punishing broadcast stations.”
SERAP noted that “the use of NBC Act and Code in this case would open the door to arbitrariness and fundamentally restrict freedom of expression that is an integral part of the public order protected by the Nigerian Constitution and human rights treaties to which Nigeria is a state party.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, Ms Adelanke Aremo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, pointed out that, “The sanction, ‘last warning’ and threat by the NBC would seem not to meet the strict requirements of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations. In particular, it is unclear the scope or object of what these wordings seek to prohibit.”
“Under the constitutional and international requirement of legality, it is not enough that restrictions on freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom are formally stated in press releases and regulations.
“The requirement of legality also serves to define the scope of legal discretion conferred on implementing authorities in order to provide adequate protection against arbitrary implementation,” it added.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
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