I didn’t ban ‘Isese’ practice in Iwo – Oluwo

The Oluwo of Iwoland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Abdulrosheed Akabi, on Sunday, denied allegations that he banned Isese celebration in his kingdom.

While he stated that he’s a custodian of the Yoruba culture, the king said he only cautioned against the restriction of movement on people by the traditionalists, adding that “such will not be entertained in my domain.”

“There was never a time I banned Isese in Iwo except imposition of curfew to restrict people’s freedom of movement.”

Oba Akanbi said, “My point is, any deity restricting human movement is anti-progress. It should be done in the bush where no one leaves.

“Oro worshippers in Iwo should change their mode of engagement to exclude restriction of people’s movement. Such will not be entertained in my domain.

“It is banned in Iwoland and that’s it all.  Other Oro done in moderation and not placing restrictions on human freedom is permitted. Individuals are free to engage in their family deity as much as  people’s freedom is not hindered.”

The King cautioned, “I didn’t ban Isese. I’m an ancient traditional ruler, custodian of Yoruba culture, customs and traditions. I’m a father to all including the traditionalists,” adding that some members of the public “misconstrued” him.

He noted that even though he wasn’t in town, he financed the Egungun celebration in the town.

“I would have joined the annual Egungun celebration but was out of town for an important assignment. I mobilised financially  for the Egungun celebrants before I left home.”

To further justify his position, the Paramount Ruler of Iwoland questioned the effects of movement restrictions in the name of celebrations when there are cases of emergency.

“If I may ask, what will be the fate of an emergency patient being rushed to hospital? Of what justification is movement restriction to a student going to an examination hall at a particular time?

“Of what moral excuse is a restriction of movement in the name of Oro to an accident victim in urgent need of emergency medical attention?”

“You can do yours without disturbing others. No curfew should be imposed in an environment where people stay,” he ordered.

(Punch)

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FG’s N5bn subsidy removal palliative to states is a loan – Report

The relief aid given to the states by the federal government to cushion the effects of the removal of the petrol subsidy is a loan, TheCable can report.

Earlier, the federal government announced a N5 billion relief package for each state of the federation, including the federal capital territory (FCT).

Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno, who spoke on Thursday at the end of the national economic council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima, said the palliative would enable state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.

However, in a memo to governors entitled “Re: Distribution of Palliatives – Terms of FG Facility”, Asishana Okauru, director-general of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), said states might opt out of the offer and return a sum of N2 billion already given to them.

“I have been directed by the Chairman, H.E. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to forward the terms of the facility as follows,” Okauru said in the memo.

“Facility size: N4,000,000,000.00
Loan (48%): N1,920,000,000.00
FGN Grant: (52%)
N2,080,000,000.00 Beneficiary each state government
Tenure: 20 months
Interest Rate: Nil
Moratorium: Three months
Repayment Mode: Monthly
Repayment Amount: N120,000,000.00
Security Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO)

“Your excellency is invited to note that this offer is optional and states that do not wish to participate may opt-out and refund the N2 billion already disbursed to them.”

(Cable)

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N180bn palliatives to States: Govs will frustrate programme, says Labour Union

The organised labour has knocked the Federal Government for releasing a N180bn palliative package to states to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress insisted that the governors could not be trusted, noting that politicians and not the poor would benefit from the N5bn largess given to each state government for disbursement to the citizens.

The Federal Government on Thursday announced an N5bn palliative for each state of the federation and 180 trucks of rice as part of measures to assuage the pains of the subsidy removal.

The policy, which led to sharp and multiple increases in fuel pump prices, has driven up the prices of goods and services, pushing millions of Nigerians into poverty and worsening the socio-economic situation in the country.

The development also triggered nationwide protests by organised labour which insisted on the repair of refineries as a precondition for the subsidy withdrawal.

But announcing the release of the palliative at the end of the 135th National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima in Abuja, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, disclosed that the N5bn was to enable the state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.

He added that considering the urgency in meeting the need to mitigate the skyrocketing food prices across the country, the Federal Government had last week released five trucks of rice to each state of the federation.

Shettima explained, “NEC met today and expressed serious concerns as regards increasing cost of food items, increasing cost of transportation amongst others as a result of subsidy removal. In order to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, the federal government released five trucks of rice to each state last week.

“Furthermore, in order to cushion the effect of food shortages across the country, the Federal Government has approved the sum of N5bn to be given to each state for the procurement of 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize, and fertilizers.

 “This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52 percent of this money is given to states as grants, while 48 per cent of the N5bn is to be paid back on an installment basis within a period of 20 months to the CBN by the states and the local government areas in Nigeria.

“The council commended the efforts of the Federal Government under the leadership of President Tinubu as well as the CBN. We have also commended the efforts of NEMA in cushioning the effects of the subsidy removal.

“Council has taken bold decisions in order to ensure speedy release of grains and other items in order to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on the less privileged in the society.’’

He noted that the council took bold decisions in order to ensure the speedy release of grains and other items for immediate distribution to the less privileged in society.

Shettima added, “The council has also taken note of the $800m loan and insists that it be strictly used for the intended purpose and based on an accurate and acceptable register. The $800m announced by the president will go to Nigerians in accordance with an accurate social register.

“Furthermore, the council has also noted the package that was announced by the President in order to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, amounting to about N500bn.

“This fund has to be distributed to the following sectors: MSMEs, industrial sector; about N125 billion will go for cash transfers, agricultural sector as well as gas expansion for buses.

“And because of the increasing cost of fossil fuel, the federal government intends to establish more gas stations in Nigeria and procure more gas-powered buses, CNG buses as well as electric buses.”

He said the council commended the efforts of the Federal Government and the CBN in addressing the current situation in the country.

NEC’s committee

In a bid to create a forum for dialogue towards resolving issues surrounding the petrol subsidy removal across the states, the NEC which is made up of governors of the 36 states, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and other government officials, constituted an ad hoc committee to engage with the leadership of labour unions.

According to a statement released by the Office of the Vice-President, the committee comprised the Nigerian Governors Forum Chairman, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo; Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; PDP Governors Forum Chairman, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, and Abia State Governor Alex Otti.

The VP said the committee would liaise with the leadership of labour unions in the country to find a way forward on the emerging issues in the interest of the nation.

The council also received progress reports on the ongoing nationwide distribution of rice, grains, fertilizer, and other items to states and N5bn financial support, provided by the Federal Government and commended the Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Emergency Management Agency for their interventions.

It also noted the various interventions by state governments and urged them to upscale the distribution of palliatives towards alleviating the suffering of citizens, especially vulnerable groups.

The statement read, ‘’During the meeting, details from some accounts of government were revealed such as Excess Crude Account from 19th July to 14th August 2023, $473,754.57; Stabilisation Account from 18th July to 14th August, N30,346,557,405.12 and Natural Resources Account from 18th July to 14th August 2023, N115,175,616,159.65.”

 Similarly, the NEC assessed the state of the economy, particularly investment, and the forex crisis, among others.

It stated, “Investment inflows have dwindled since 2019, likewise the country’s investment/GDP ratio; Crude Oil exports and refined petroleum products imports dominate Nigeria’s trade structure; Nigeria’s Naira position against major trading currencies deteriorated; Weak FX supply and heightened demand for imports remains core drivers of exchange rate instability; market volatility persists despite recent FX alignment, driven by pressure on FX demand that widens the gap between official and parallel market rates due to inadequate supply and speculative tendencies; external reserves remain under pressure as external reserves fell by 8.3 percent from 37.1bn in January 2023 to 33.9 billion in July 2023.”

 But reacting to the government’s interventions, the Assistant National Secretary-General of the NLC, Mr Chris Onyeka, wondered why the FG was releasing money to governors, many of whom he said had refused to pay the minimum wage.

He dismissed the palliative fund as paltry, noting that it would not get to the intended beneficiaries.

“The money will not get to the people, let them share the money as they want but what the NLC agreed with them were certain milestones. The NLC will close its eyes to what the Federal Government is trying to give to the governors.

 “To us as far as we are concerned, NLC will still stick to the milestones that we have agreed on, we will insist that those things are discussed and implemented to the letter.’’

“When the Federal Government wants to subvert the instrument of dialogue, it intentionally creates problems. The Federal Government had already started engaging using this instrument when they engaged the NLC; for them now to go and sit down at the level of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and to go and pretend to give them money is a subversion of social dialogue, subversion of peace, and a subversion of democracy because it is not democratic.”

TUC slams govs

Speaking in the same vein, the TUC Deputy National President, Tommy Etim stressed that governors could not be trusted with the implementation of the palliative funds.

“It is one thing to make pronouncements, implementation is another thing. I am sure you remember what happened to the COVID-19 palliatives in 2020 when foodstuffs were stored in warehouses and kept from hungry citizens. Same thing with the issue of the Paris Club relief fund that some governors went to hide in the bank so that they could get some from it while citizens were starving.

“We need a body that will follow up on the implementation because left to the state governors, the palliatives may not get to places where it should get. We need a body that will make them accountable. We need the citizens to be aware. The body should let everyone know when each state gets its own relief (package). Everyone should know the details that are received by each state, how the packages were distributed,’’ he suggested.

Also,  the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said the Federal Government was about sharing N2,000 and a cup of rice to poor people across the country.

He also stated that the governors could not be trusted, as most of them were not paying minimum wage, adding that no committee was established to ensure the successful implementation of the initiative.

 Ajaero said, “N5bn multiplied by 36 states is going to give you N180bn. So if you divide that with the official figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, which says that 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor, and calculate it, you will get about N2,000 each for those who are poor.

“That is the official statistics of the government, but you and I know that the actual figure is more than that. So is that what to celebrate? And then, five trucks or there about, of rice to a state. The poor people of these states cannot get one cup of rice. It will not go round.

“Even if you pick them from the poverty bracket, it will be difficult for them to get one cup of rice. Is that the best we can do?  Is that the best approach to governance? So do we look at our people as people we should give one cup of rice and N2,000? Is that palliative?”

He said the government should be serious with governance that served the interest of the people.

“Who are governors you are giving it to? Is the governors who have not paid minimum wage? Is there any committee to ensure the effective disbursement of that which is very insufficient?

‘Repair refineries’

The Deputy Secretary General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Mr Erazua Oniha, was opposed to release of money to the states, pointing out that rehabilitating the refinery was a better idea.

He added, ‘’We feel repairing the refineries will be a better deal for all of us. The promise by the government to ensure that the Port Harcourt refinery is working is a deal for all of us, for me as an individual and a concerned citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because when you multiply the amount by the number of states, it can repair some of the refineries and solve all these problems.’’

 The Nigeria Governors Forum could not be reached for comment on the allegations that state governors would frustrate the palliative programme made by the organised labour. Its spokesperson, Abduleazaque Bello-Barkindo, did not respond to calls and he had yet to reply to a text message on the issue as of the time of filing this report last night.

In acknowledgment of the current hardship brought about by his policy, the President has again appealed to Nigerians to bear the pains caused by the removal of petroleum subsidy, saying ’’the hardship of today will give way to a better tomorrow.’’

The Commander-in-Chief stated this at the public presentation of the autobiography of elder statesman, Edwin Clark, in Abuja on Thursday.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, Tinubu urged Nigerians to be patient saying the palliatives being rolled out by the Federal Government would soon cushion the effect of the hardship.

He said, “Solutions to the challenges of subsidy removal are being churned out daily but they are not immediate. The hardship is but for a moment. Palliatives have been rolled out and more are still being rolled out and there is hope that tomorrow will be better than today.”

Akume noted that Dave Umahi’s appointment as the Minister for Works was an indication that “the President is a rewarder of those who work diligently in service to their people.’’

(Punch)

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Adeleke hoarding FG palliatives sent to Osun – APC

… allegations untrue, we are waiting for last batch, says govt

Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has accused the state governor, Ademola Adeleke, of refusing to distribute bags of rice received from the Federal Government as palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on the people.

The APC said Adeleke received the consignment from the FG twelve days before Thursday, and noted that Adeleke was playing a dangerous game by refusing to disclose or distribute the items.

The party further said five trailer-loads of rice with other items donated by the FG were sent to Osun as the state’s shares of the people’s palliatives to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.

A statement signed by APC state Chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, however, wondered that the state government, after receiving the items, refused to announce to the people of Osun that it has taken possession of the FG’s palliative.

It further read, “I can’t fathom the reason why Governor Adeleke is finding it difficult to announce the arrival of the federal government palliatives to the state and also why it has been pretty difficult to distribute same. Is Governor Adeleke waiting for the people of the state to die of hunger before he deems it fit to make the palliatives available to serve its purpose at the right time?

“All genuine stakeholders in the Osun State project should plead with Adeleke to release the rice palliatives sent to the state by the Federal Government to get to the needy on time as the purpose for sending it down is not to be locked up in a hidden warehouse in the state.

“The diversion of the rice palliatives by the state government as it is being touted by some concerned discerning minds in the state would have a debilitating effect on the image of the reigning state government. Again, if the news spreading like a wild fire across the state that Adeleke is trying to play a fast one on the palliatives from Abuja by inscribing ‘Imole De Rice’ on it is anything to go by, it shall be resisted by all legal means.”

But responding in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Engagement, Mr. Kolapo Alimi, the state government while describing APC’s claim as propaganda, said m last batch of the palliatives was still being expected before distribution will commence.

Alimi, who assured people that Ademola Adeleke administration would not deny them of the palliatives, also urged them to disregard APC’s claim regarding alleged hoarding of the items.

“Federal government approved a total of three thousand bags of rice palliatives to Osun state. Six hundred bags were loaded per each truck and disbursed through four trailers: making two thousand and four hundred received so far. Out of the five trailers of bags of rice palliative to the state, we are waiting for the completion of the palliative supply before the announcement and distribution.

“Cushioning the effect of the subsidy is a necessity, our government will not withhold what belongs to the citizenry from them.

The rice palliatives will be distributed as soon as the last tranche comes into the state by today or tomorrow.

“We assure the good people of Osun that the government of Ademola Adeleke will not deny them of the rice palliatives, and we urge all to disregard the propaganda of the APC. This government is a responsible one, we are not hoarding the rice palliatives but waiting for the supply to be completed by the agency of the federal government before we commence distribution.

“Osun people know that the Adeleke family even before being elected into office has always shared thousands of bags of rice to the populace during an emergency. Now in Government, this administration can never and will never divert 2hat belongs to the people,” Alimi said.

(Punch)

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Osun to create diaspora office for indigenes, says Adeleke

Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has disclosed plans by his administration to create a diaspora office that would attend to the needs of Osun indigenes living outside the country.

A statement by the spokesperson to the governor, Olawale Rasheed, on Sunday, said Adeleke disclosed the plan while receiving Osun indigenes who came for the Sallah celebration from some West African countries.

Adeleke, who said his government was desirous of tapping into the many potentials of the diaspora population to enhance the development of the state, further said the office to be created would document and relate with Osun indigenes living outside the country.

“Tell our people from Cotonou to Abidjan, from London to Atlanta that we have plans to integrate them into our good governance agenda. I am working on the creation of a diaspora office to document, engage and involve our people.

“I know our people across West Africa are mostly artisans and small-scale business people. The proposed office will capture their data to see where to come in to assist and support them. I may even appoint a liaison officer to be based in Abidjan.

“I know of some towns in Osun where almost every household has several family members, of several generations in Abidjan, Cotonou, and others. I want to put up formal structures to address these various categories of our people,” the statement quoted the governor to have said.

(Punch)

Court remands man over ‘refusal to pay for N1k doughnuts’

The magistrate court in Ile Ife, Osun, has remanded one Taofeek Ahmed for allegedly assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest over refusal to pay for the doughnuts he bought.

According to NAN, Sunday Osanyintuyi, the prosecutor, told the court on Wednesday that the defendant committed the offences on June 19 at about 4:00 pm at Sabo Market in Ile-Ife.

He added that Ahmed conducted himself in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace when he refused to pay for N1000 worth of doughnuts he bought from one Mary Afolabi.

The prosecutor alleged that the defendant  assaulted Afolabi and snatched her pause — containing N6500 — after she demanded her money.

Osanyintuyi said Ahmed, in an attempt to resist arrest, also assaulted Odusina Olawale, a police sergeant, the following day.

“The defendant bought doughnuts worth N1000 from one Miss Mary Afolabi without paying her,” the prosecutor told the court.

“He assaulted the 17-year-old by slapping her when she demanded payment for the doughnut.”

The prosecutor added that the defendant also hit one Alaba Afolabi, injuring her in the right eye.

He told the court that the offences contravened the provisions of the criminal code, laws of Osun state, 2002.

However, the defendant, who did not have legal representation, pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge bordering on breach of peace, assault, snatching and resisting arrest.

Abosede Sarumi, the magistrate, told the defendant to apply for bail formally and ordered that he be remanded at the Ile-Ife custodial facility pending the outcome of his bail application.

(Cable)

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