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Govs Agree To Implement Autonomy For State Legislature, Judiciary In May

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 Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Conference of Speakers of State Leg­islature and other stakeholders have reached an agreement on the implementation of the financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.

The chairman of the Nigeria Gov­ernors’ Forum, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State made this known to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting in Abuja on Monday.

The meeting was presided over by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

He said: “We are here for legislative and judicial auton­omy and governors, speakers of state Assemblies and the judges of the states are on the same page as far as this issue is concerned.

“We just emerged from a meeting with the Solicitor General of the Federation, the representatives of the ju­diciary and those of the Con­ference of Speakers and we are all in force, an agreement has been reached.

“The issue is about imple­mentation. There has been no objection from governors on judicial and legislative au­tonomy.

“As a matter of fact, it would not have passed if governors were not in sup­port in the first instance. So, that issue has been fully and holistically addressed,” he said.

Fayemi maintained that modalities were being fine-tuned and the implementa­tion of the agreement would begin in May.

He said: “We don’t just want to agree to something on paper without working out the modalities for imple­mentation.

“Thankfully, the meeting we just emerged from with the Chief of Staff to the Presi­dent chairing, has worked out the modalities, to the satisfac­tion of all the parties.

“As soon as the final doc­ument that is being cleaned up emerges, it will be imple­mented as soon as possible and that will be definitely not later than the end of May.”

He, therefore, called on striking judiciary workers to call off and resume work in the interest of the nation.

“In the interest of the nation, we believe that the striking workers should re­turn to their offices because as far as this has gone, we have met with all the parties concerned and the president, through his Chief of Staff, has been monitoring what has been happening.

“And I think we are rea­sonably at a position where whether you speak to the Conference of Speakers chairperson, or you speak to me, or you speak to the repre­sentative of the judiciary or the Solicitor General of the Federation, you will hear that we are speaking with one voice on the implementation.

“And no later than May, you will start seeing the im­plementation of the agree­ment that we have reached,” he said.

Those who attended the meeting included Gover­nors Bagudu Atiku of Keb­bi, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Simon Lalong of Plateau,

Others were the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Akpata, as well as the leadership of the Conference of Speakers of States Legis­lature and that of states judi­ciary.

Earlier, the Senate on Mon­day said that the indepen­dence of the judiciary was non-negotiable.

Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, said this while reacting to the protest by members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at the National Assembly, Abuja, in solidarity with striking Judi­ciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) protesting financial autonomy.

JUSUN began a nation­wide indefinite strike on Monday, April 6 over the non-implementation of ju­dicial financial autonomy as enshrined in the constitution.

President Muhammadu Buhari had signed an Execu­tive Order granting financial autonomy to the judiciary and State House of Assem­bly in May 2020, after several agitations.

However, the gazetting of the order was suspended after Buhari met with governors, who later expressed concern over its constitutionality.

Reacting to the develop­ment, Bamidele who said that the independence of the judiciary was non-negotiable added that no democracy could survive without rule of law and independence of the judiciary.

“For me as a Nigerian, it is laughable that we still need at this point, to be grappling with the need to grant judicia­ry independence at whatever level be it at the federal, state and local government level.

“Our laws are very clear on this,” he said.

He said that the National Assembly had guaranteed the independence of the judiciary at the federal level calling on state Houses of Assembly to do same.

“For the National Assem­bly, we have done the needful by making necessary laws that can guarantee indepen­dence of the judiciary at the federal level. So for us, it is not an issue because we have done the needful.”

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Banks’ CEOs Hold Emergency Meeting Over BDCs’ Forex Ban 

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Bank Chief Executive Officers on Thursday, held an emergency meeting on how to ensure compliance with the new forex directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

After the meeting, they spoke during a webinar organised to give an update on the banks’ preparedness to be the main channel of forex distribution, following the recent discontinuity of forex supply to the BDC operators by the CBN.

The executives assured the public that banks would make forex available to customers in accordance with the CBN’s directives.

After the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

Speaking at the webinar, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The banking industry as a whole was willing and ready to carry out this function. The banks have very strict compliance measures, in terms of verification and making sure that people who do apply are eligible.

“All Nigerian banks will be able to meet these requirements. If you look at all the branches nationwide, you will know that the banks have more than enough capacity to do this.”

He said if the banks saw any compliance issues, or people attempting to do things cunning, they would be reported to the CBN because the banks would ensure full compliance with the order.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, while speaking on the capacity of the banks to meet the customers demand, said, “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund the market; the banks also have the resources to meet the demand, and we have agreed collectively that it will start immediately.”

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Nigeria Needs $2.3tn To Address Infrastructure Deficit, Says FG

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Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the country need $2.3tn to address its national integrated infrastructure masterplan.

He said this in Abuja on Thursday at a town hall meeting themed: ‘Nigeria’s infrastructure revolution: Road to a new future’, organised by Business Hallmark.

According to him, the 23-year masterplan (2020-2043) is for the development of infrastructure including roads, railway network and maritime sector.

The event was chaired by a former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress and former governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

Mustapha said, “Conscious of the economic disruption caused by 2016 recession and COVID-19 as well as challenges of previous reforms, the Federal Government revised the 23 year (2020-2043) national integrated infrastructure masterplan that identified critical enablers.

“For the 23-year period, $2.3tn will be required, translating to about $150bn annually and the private sector and other partners have to provide 56 per cent, while Federal Government and state governments will provide 44 per cent of the share of the investment.

“The Federal Government has made important strides towards providing much of our infrastructure and has, in recent years, conducted several infrastructural reforms.

“Specifically, we are extending and upgrading the nation’s railway network and introducing more locomotive couches. The port sector has been converted to landlocked model and terminal.

“Similarly, Public Private Partnership style infrastructure company with an initial seed capital of N1tn envisaging to grow over time to N6tn in assets and capital has been established and will soon commence operation.

“It will be one of the premier finance entities in Africa and will be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

“The reduction in Nigeria’s infrastructural gap will also give the country a competitive advantage under the newly signed Africa Free Continental Area Trade Agreement.”

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, deplored the water crises in Nigeria saying no community in the country enjoyed water supply always.

He said, “In 1992, 30 per cent of the Nigerian population was enjoying pipe-borne water and as of 2015, it had dropped to seven per cent.

“In 2015, we were at 68 per cent national coverage for access to water and as of today, we are at 70 per cent and maybe by the time the result for 2021 comes out, we might be at 71 per cent to 72 per cent.

“As for water quality, 90 per cent of water consumed, including water from the boreholes, are contaminated and water is the basic necessity of life.”

Oyegun, in his contribution at the event, said six years going, the performance of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been mixed.

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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