Deeper Christian Life Ministry is set to host youths, numbering 50,000, from all over Lagos State, in a one day program designed to inculcate the noblest and the highest of virtues in the youths, and steer them away from the swarm of anti-social and push-pull tendencies that are causing great distractions for them especially in this era of unbridled exposure to the social media
A former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has urged the Secretary-General of the United Nation, UN, Antonio Guterres to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from addressing the 73rd General Assembly. Frank attributed his reason to what he called, “anti-democratic posture, disdain for the rule of law and very dismal […]
Exactly 35 days to his leaving office, outgoing Ekiti state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose on Sunday says his handover note is ready for the scrutiny of people making enquiries about his government.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the governor did not cooperate with the Transition Committee set up by Incoming-Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Fayose snubbed the request by the committee, for certain records of his tenure.
He claimed the committeee is illegal.
Fayose, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, urged the Governor-Elect to stop spreading falsehood about him or the finances of his administration.
He described as mere fabrication, the claim that his government had accumulated a debt of N117 billion as against the N18 billion it inherited.
Fayemi was “already preparing excuses for his impending failure at the tribunal”, Fayose said.
Fayose insisted that the State Government under him has no obligation to relate with any committee not empowered by law, stating that the governor-elect should wait for the handing over note that will be handed to him on October 16.
He said it was funny that the same Transition Committee that claimed it did not get any information from the State government estimated the state debt at N117 billion.
He reiterated that his government only received N10 billion grant from the Excess Crude Account, which was released to all States for capital projects as well as Budget Support fund released to states by the Federal Government.
“It is on record that Ekiti State Government was indebted to the tune of N86, 013,689,097 as at October 16, 2014 that Governor Fayose took over.
“The debts are broken down as follows: Bank Loans; N15, 831,613,425.62, Bond; N26, 749,796,784.75, Outstanding Warrants; N15, 522,552,900.76, Outstanding to Road Contractors; N21, 286,126,749, Outstanding Remittances to FG; N709, 883,656.75, Outstanding Remittances (State Govt); N592, 995,374.89 and EKSG Public Servants Outstanding Emoluments; N5, 137,888,224.37,” he said.
The governor counselled Fayemi to face the task of “defending the mandate that he stole and his fraudulent emergence as the APC candidate instead of treading the usual path of deceiving the public to cover up his failure”,
Abuja – Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take measures to end the incessant killing of Nigerians in parts of the country.
Falana made the call at the National Honours Investiture for heroes of democracy, especially late Chief MKO Abiola, acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election in the country, at Aso Villa, Abuja.
The president had on Wednesday announcing the national honours award to Abiola and his running mate in the election, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe and late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi.
He also declared June 12 as new Democracy Day in the country in place of May 29.
Falana said that killings in the country were beginning to escalate and called on the president to urgently address it.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) assured that Nigerians, especially human rights group, would support the government in the effort to quell the acts.
According to him, human rights community in the country will work assiduously with your administration to put an end to the reckless killing of our people.
Falana also requested the President to direct security forces in the country, including the police, to respect fundamental rights of every Nigeria in the spirit of June 12.
He deplored the rampant incidents of flagrant abuse of rights of Nigerians by security operatives without cause.
The human rights lawyer also advised Buhari to engage Nigerians in meaningful fight against poverty in the country.
“Let me tell you what late Abiola would have wanted you to do. We want you to engage Nigerians to wage a meaningful fight against poverty in the country.
“We have enormous resources to make Nigerians happy.
“Section 16 of the Nigerian Constitution ensures that the collective wealth, commonwealth of Nigerians remains in the hands of the masses and not in the hands of a few.’’
He commended Buhari for the posthumous award conferred on Abiola and recognition of June 12 as democracy day.
“Mr President, we want to thank you very tremendously for recognising June 12. Some people are saying you should declare the result; you have declared the result.
“We now know the winner of that election officially, who is now being honoured with the order of GCFR reserved for Heads of Government in Nigeria.
“Before this regime, we have had seven governments that pretended that June 12 never existed. In the words of Abiola, we were clapping with one hand, but today, we are clapping with two hands,” Falana said.
On his part, renowned labour leader, Chief Frank Kokori, said that Buhari as the least person expected to honour late Abiola, but that honouring him had confirmed that he (Buhari) had a great soul.
“If this is coming 25 years later, it means one day your country will remember you because some of us felt “what sort of country is this?’’ when we came out of Abacha’s gulag and were not recognised.
“Like my personal experience as one of the most famous prisoners of conscience in the world, I saw that my country did not even appreciate the four years I spent in one of the worst cells in the world.’’
Former governor of Ogun, Chief Olusegun Osoba, expressed gratitude to the president for recognizing June 12, and described his apology to the nation and Abiola’s family as “the greatest joker’’.
Osoba urged him to do more by building on the larger indications of the June 12 elections by implementing sustainable development.
“We are prepared to march behind you on any legacy you want to construct on the foundation that you have laid,’’ Osoba promised.
A former Speaker of House of Representatives, Chief Agunwa Anekwe, said the honour was not just on late Abiola but on every Nigerian who died in the struggle for June 12.
He said that June 12 had been troubling the nation for long but that Buhari had put the struggle to rest.
Anekwe noted that the president had tried in the fight against Boko Haram, but urged him to give more attention to addressing security challenge in the country. (NAN)
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has appealed to the Federal Government to address the issue of inequality and poverty in the country in order to abolish child labour.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, made the appeal in an interview with Newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has declared June 12 of every year World Day against Child Labour Day.
The ILO has also estimated worldwide that 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment, while 152 million are victims of child labour and 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.
The ILO also estimated that in absolute terms, almost half of child labours (72.1 million) were to be found in Africa.
According to Wabba, we have about 218 million of these children working under very precarious condition. They ought to be in school and not actually working.
“Therefore, there are two conventions that actually try to address these issues of which Nigeria is trying to domesticate the conventions.
“One of them is convention 138, which deals with the minimum age for anybody to be employed to work, that is 18 and above and therefore from five to 17 years old anybody that is between that age group is hacking on child labour.
“We also have convention 182, which deals with the worse form of child labour where we have children working in very dangerous working environment.
“We have most of these occurrences in sub-Sahara Africa and some part of Asia where there is issue if inequality and poverty,” he said.
The NLC president said it was necessary for the government, worker groups, among others to collaborate in ensuring that these children were not out in the streets working in precarious situation.
He said that the government must ensure that the youths are developed and engaged in order to become responsibly citizens of the country.
Wabba added that the issue of child labour is something that we have given a lot of attention and it is something that the ILO is very passionate about.
“That is why these two conventions is very important and strategic because we cannot address the issue of inequality without quality education to the youths which is a very important instrument.
“Therefore, we have to use a lot of platform to actually do policy engagement, and if you remember, we have the child right act, though not too many states have domesticated the act.
“If the act is domesticated, it will go a long way, that is if all the states are able to domestic it. We must also make the domestication a central policy in our development,’’ Wabba said.
He, however, called on government at all levels to embrace free education from primary to tertiary level and other benefits such as scholarships and bursary as it would encourage the children of the poor to continue to access education.
He also noted that the best way to address the issue of inequality and poverty was to give the children of the poor quality education.
“Because by the time they are educated, they would find their level in the society but if we denied them education and make them to work under precarious conditions then their situation becomes worse in the society.
“Like in the Nigeria context, children are seen hawking not because that is what they want to do but because there is extreme poverty and these children are used to augment the family income, ’’ he said.
He also called on the government to address the issue of social justice, inequality, social security as this was the only way to ensure abolition of Child Labour in the country.
Wabba said that labour would do a lot of advocacy and policy engagement to ensure that the abolition of Child Labour was achieved.
He also noted that part of the labour law being reviewed by the National Assembly was also to address the age bracket that ILO has raised in its Committee of Expert report since 2012, saying that Nigeria should review its laws.
According to him, the review will also crimainalised all employers that employed children between the ages five and 17 except possible farming.
The President of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki will be addressing the Russian Parliament during an exchange visit between June 19th and June 22, 2018.
Saraki who announced the visit on Thursday at plenary, told his colleagues that he would be addressing a special plenary session at the Russian Federal Council.
“This is to inform the distinguished Senate that i will be leading a delegation of the Senate to the Federal Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on an exchange visit from the 19th to the 22nd of June 2018.
“During the visit, i will address a special plenary of the Federation’s council,” Saraki said.
Speaking to our correspondent on the visit, Special Assistant to Saraki on Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Bamikole Omishore said that the visit is sequel to the meeting of Saraki with the Chairperson of the federal council Madam Valentina Matviyenko at the 2017 Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU).
“They exchanged ideas and she invited the Senate President to deliver a speech during a joint special session.
“The event will also have a wreath laying ceremony at tomb of unknown soldier and other meetings to strengthen parliamentary relationship between both Russia and Nigeria.
At the 2017 IPU, Saraki also began negotiations for a better trade relationship between Nigeria and Russia.
Omishore disclosed that Saraki will also make out time to support the Super Eagles during one of their games at the World Cup.
He listed those that would be accompanying Saraki on the trip to include: Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Majority Whip, Senator Adeyeye, Senator Danbaba, Senator Sunmonu and others.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday warned President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to address Nigerians on Tuesday during the occasion of the 2018 Democracy Day. PDP claimed that in the last three years, such addresses had contained deceits, falsifications and unfulfilled promises. The former ruling party gave the warning […]
In the event of death, it is always a herculean task for beneficiaries to access pension benefits of the deceased. Ronke Adedeji, Managing Director of Leadway Pensure Limited, a Pension Fund Adminstrator, PFA, in this interview harps on the need for pension contributors to always update their information. Excerpts.
By Rosemary Onuoha
WHAT are the challenges people confront while trying to access death benefits?
The most important thing about death benefits is knowledge. Most of the time when people are registering on the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, the last thing they are thinking about is death. They are not even thinking about retirement because sometimes people still have years to go. So people complete the information without really thinking about the end.
So, they may use a next-of-kin that is not really the ideal. Another issue that happens is that, overtime, you can put a next-of-kin today but maybe a few years down the line, that person is no longer your ideal beneficiary. The person may even pass away, so that comes down to the issue of data update. Clients are obligated to keep their information up to date with us, but that does not happen.
So what will now happen is that a few years down the line when the unexpected happens, families are left with a mess on their hands. It is rather unfortunate because we see many instances where, maybe the next-of-kin is somebody who, had the person really taught about it, wouldn’t have been put down as the beneficiary.
The best the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, can do really is to engage the family. We have had situations where we had to engage the entire family, make them sit together, discuss and make them come to some kind of arrangement or understanding.
Arrangement or understanding
At the end of the day we will follow the law. So the next-of-kin has the right to go and begin the process of getting the Letter of Administration, LoA, if there is no will. Then whoever comes out as the administrator on the LoA now has the authority to administer the estate or whatever funds are there.
Yes, it can be very challenging, it is usually very traumatic, very sad, and there are too many examples. I had a police widow with so many children, and the next-of-kin, her brother in law refuse to give her any of the money. And she was so distressed because she did all the running around to process it because we put her through, we helped her.
When you have situations like that it can be very disturbing. At the end of the day, it is really enlightenment that people need to take these things seriously and take ownership and make sure that they keep their affairs in order.
What does the law say about LoA?
With the law you can have a next-of-kin, hence the next-of-kin is who the PFA will contact. The next-of-kin has the authority to prepare the LoA. At that point an administrator will be stated in the LoA in the event that there is no will which is usually the case. So it is the name on that legal document that we will pay the money to.
How does PFAs assist a retiree collect his entitlements in the event of shortfall?
We usually come in, particularly on the private sector side. With the public sector PenCom assist with that. We just follow up with PenCom but PenCom will follow up on the government to get any shortfall on accrued rights. On the private sector, we follow up on the employer. But most employers, at the end of the day all we can do is hand them over to the recovery agent that PenCom has if they refuse to remit.
If the person is not deceased, fine. Because then you will go and face the employer and say, ‘look, you owe me money, can I have the balance of my account’. We follow up with visits, letters, but sometimes it can be very difficult to get that money from the employer, the best time to get your money is when you are working.
Do you abandon the retiree to contend with the employer alone?
We join. Really, the employee or beneficiary or the account holder is the best person to get that money. It is better to get it when you are working because when you stop working it becomes hard and the employer can just treat you anyhow. Then, it is a difficult situation. But we definitely get involved. We get involved when the person is working because we have a way of ascertaining if you have registered with us and your account is not funded. We know and we report to PenCom and we follow up. Don’t forget we have interest in the account being funded. So we follow up very actively. So for us the work is even when the person is working and not when you have gone. It is harder when you have left work.
Still in the private sector, how do you get those that are not yet registered in the scheme to do so?
It is an ongoing process but it is getting better. It is slow but it is an ongoing process. People are beginning to know their rights because the law requires that employers must fund RSAs. So more people are getting enlightened and are even registering, not even asking their employers.
In the early days, people were taking permission from their employers. These days, people will register and demand contribution from the employer and we also will turn up to say, ‘look, people have registered, can you please fund these accounts.’ So it is an ongoing process. Hopefully as the economy improves, businesses get better, there will be more compliance.
PenCom recently enhanced pension payment for retirees, who are those excluded?
The way that works is that it is not automatic. It depends on how long you have been on the scheme and how your account has grown. So what PenCom did was just to look at peoples balances and found that with a number of people, because they have been on the scheme a long time and their account have earned income, the balances have increased appreciable.
So based on that, PenCom was able to increase their pension benefits. But it is an ongoing process. Over the years, I don’t know how often they will do it, but from time to time, they will go back again. People who didn’t qualify, maybe because they just joined, will qualify.
Even somebody who is already enhanced can in a few year from now, come back and take another enhancement because the income have been growing on their account so their funds are growing. We find that sometimes, people have just been drawing from their income without even touching their principal. So there is room for people to take more.
That is what PenCom has tried to do. I believe that is an ongoing process. Anyone, who has not qualified should be patient and the likelihood is high that overtime, they will eventually qualify.
More retirees are embracing annuity against programmed withdrawal, is that a threat to programmed withdrawal?
To some extent you could say it is. But what you will find is that the two products are different. I always tell my customers that it depends on your risk profile. At a certain level, it is important for you to know that you have pension for life.
But if your RSA account is one of the sources of your retirement income, then you are happy to leave it on programmed withdrawal because with programmed withdrawal you can actually see the balance.
You can monitor it, you can see the income, whereas with annuity, you cede the balance over to the insurance company, you no longer have access to that money. Whether it is growing or making plenty money, you cannot do anything about it. Whereas with the programmed withdrawal, we are talking about enhancement, I don’t see how annuity can enhance. Am sure they are thinking now of how they will do it.
How they will find a way, I don’t know. But with programmed withdrawal, you see your money and you see the income on it, you see that it is growing and you are drawing from it. So it depends on your risk profile, appetite as person and how you want to position. So we have people who embrace programmed withdrawal very well and you can’t convince them to go to annuity.
With aim geared towards addressing climate changes on induced conflicts as well creating sustainable development goal through constructive argument, Babcock International Model United Nations. BIMUN is set to host the second edition of the largest Model United Nations conference in West Africa.
The event endorsed by the United Nations Information Centre and Babcock University, involves both high-school, college students, graduates, post graduates, working class and self-reliant youths with a passion for international affairs, high level debate and global problem solving.
According to the Executive Director, BIMUN, Chiemela Samuel, “With the support of Babcock University, United Nations Information Centre Lagos (UNIC), Savanna Centre for Diplomacy, Development and Governance, other sponsors and partners and our dedicated team, we are launching the second session of the BIMUN conference filled with exciting surprises and heated debate which would help pass workable and practical resolutions.
“BIMUN’18 constantly strives to embody the educational and diplomatic spirit that inspired the creation of Model United Nations several decades ago. Our commitments to substantive excellence, diplomacy, and service to our delegates are all in the name of fostering greater global cooperation. Despite that, we simulate real-world decision-making bodies; we strive to model the ideals of multilateralism and diplomacy.
“The theme for BIMUN 2018 is “Addressing Climate Change-Induced Conflict: A Roadmap for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. By this theme, the conference will concentrate on how individuals, communities, organizations could be strengthened to maintain successive nationally determined contributions.
“We will subject the various targets of the SDGs to critical analysis with emphasis on climate change (SDG’13) and discuss how those targets could be achieved. It is an opportunity for young people to also add their voice to the call for the advancement of the human race.
“As BIMUN moves into its second session, we are redoubling our commitment to being not only the premier collegiate model UN experience in Africa, but also the leading international relations forum for high school and university students across Africa. It is our mission to bring together and educate the next generation of leaders in international affairs and, indeed, to bring together and educate students who are already outstanding leaders.
“It is therefore with multiple uniformed zest, we welcome all persons to be part of the 2nd session of the BIMUN 2018 conference in Babcock. Application ends June 15, 2018.”
BIMUN is a project which uses the ‘learn by doing’ approach which means delegates acquire various practical skills such as public speaking. Heightens the capacity to draft official international documents (position paper and UN resolutions), team building as delegates work in blocs to find solutions and create resolutions.
The conference will also seek to enhances leadership ability as the lead blocs of nations who share a common stance, research skills (research done before and during the simulation) and encourages working in a multicultural environment given that there are delegates from different countries.
Kabiru Marafa, Senator from Zamfara State on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the crisis trailing the congresses of the All Progressives Congress, APC, across the country. Marafa, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) warned that the crisis emanating from the ward congress was capable of scuttling the party’s chances […]
Abakaliki – The Ohaneze Ndigbo says secessionist agitations will be addressed through a well restructured federal system, anchored on justice, equity, rule of law and equal opportunity.
Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, the Deputy National President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, stated this on Wednesday in Abakaliki, while delivering a speech at a town hall meeting.
Ogbu, former Deputy Governor of Ebonyi, said that secessionist agitations in some parts of the country, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), began due to alleged perceived marginalisation, occasioned by imbalance in Nigeria’s federal structure.
He said that the agitators were fed up with Nigeria, and the alleged perceived marginalisation of Igbo nation and decided that they did not want to belong to Nigeria.
Ogbu, who is also the Acting Vice Chancellor, Ebonyi State University, noted that Ohaneze Ndigbo dialogued with IPOB and other pro-Biafra groups to dissuade them from secessionist agitations.
“Some of our sons and daughters who have gotten sober with Nigeria and decided that they don’t want to belong to Nigeria any more, maintained that Igbos have no reason to belong to Nigeria, formed these secessionist groups.
“But we have looked at that very carefully, and found that achieving an independent Biafran State is ‘non starter,’ given processes involved unless through war.
“The only thing that may take you even there is war and nobody here who witnessed the civil war will ever wish war for Ndigbo anymore.
“So, we dialogued with them, we talked with them and said to them let’s start with restructuring, let’s get it right this time, may be with time we can have plebiscite to determine whether we can have Biafra or not.
“So, people should understand that Biafra is not feasible at this time if you analyse all the processes involved.
“They are talking about referendum; referendum is not contained in the 1999 Nigeria constitution.
“Let those who interact with them tell them that Igbos should not short change themselves; we are trying to see how we can right some wrongs done to Igbos and I think we will achieve that if we work together, ” Ogbu said.
Ogbu said that the town hall meeting was convened to articulate the position of Ebonyi on some key issues of restructuring, ahead of the Igbo Summit holding in Awka, Anambra on May 21.
He said that the present leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo had succeeded in bringing about a united Southern region, where all the zones in the region could speak with one voice on national issues.
He said that the South-West and South- South, had adopted positions on restructuring, stressing that the views of the three geo-political zones would help to achieve a stronger position in the restructuring debate.
The town hall meeting afforded participants opportunity to contribute to issues articulated by Ebonyi, to be presented at the forthcoming Awka summit. (NA