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Tinubu Supports Direct Election into ECOWAS Parliaments, Asks Member Statrs to be Unitedl



Tinubu Supports Direct Election into ECOWAS Parliaments, Asks Member Statrs to be United

By: Michael Mike

President Bola Tinubu has thrown his weight behind direct election of members of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, even as he emphasized the need for members of the subregional organisation to speak with one voice in order to cement the unity and prosperity of the area.

Members of ECOWAS Parliament have always emerged through selection from elected parliamentarians of member states. This has created endless agitation that they should instead emerge through specific direct election for places across the region.

Speaking at the inauguration of the sixth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja on Thursday, the Nigeria’s President and Chairman of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Thursday charged leaders in the Economic Community of West African States on the need to speak with one voice for the unity and prosperity of the region.

He said: “Honourable Members as we inaugurate the sixth legislature, it is evident that we are faced with profound challenges in our region that demand our unified efforts.

“Recent political development have consequential effect on each of our member states.The wider international context in terms of security, access to markets, and climate change also presents profound challenges.

“Three Member States considering withdrawal from the community is a challenge to us.

“We must preserve the unity and integrity of our organisation. The ball is in your court as well as mine.

“At this critical junction, regional solidarity is imperative to strengthening our resilience and effectiveness as a bloc, particularly against forces that aim to divide us.

“We must not allow this. We cannot afford to remain persive and ordinary spectators, while our Community faces the threat of disintegration. We stand united against such forces and are committed to ensuring that our unity remains unshaking.

“We must ensure that cooperation among us is strengthened with a view to building a sense of common destiny and purpose.

“No one can do this for us, we are the ones to do it, please.l take that seriously.

“In your legislative consideration and in your interaction it is very imperative that you take seriously that we have to build the economic prosperity of our region by ourselves.

“Let us forget what has happened to us in the past, we have matured and of age to build our intellectual curiosity to develop our region.

To this extent, reinforcing the legitimacy of decisions taken by authority of Heads of States, is key in sending a message that ECOWAS is one body.

“It is also very important that the executives, on the other hand, must show similar confidence in Parliament, respect the parliament’s resolutions, which will indeed deepen democracy in our region.

“Meanwhile, in the midst of ongoing challenges, our partnership can be a driving force for stability, growth and prosperity in our region.

“Like I said earlier on, it is upon us. It is upon us. It is our responsibility to speak with one voice and make African Union from ECOWAS a central point of economic reform and foreign policy achievement. “

Declaring his support for direct election of members of the regional Parliament, Tinubu said the process will help actualize the vision 2050, which will ensure the people involvement in decision making process in the region.

He said:Am aware that the ECOWAS parliament is seeking an enhanced powers primarily through the election of its members by direct universal suffrage.

“This will increase the role the parliamentarians must play and the responsibilities they will assume in advancing our regional development objectives, particularly in harmonising laws and regulations across the member states.

“Indeed, the practice of directly electing public officers aligns with the democratic principles that Nigerians upholds as it enhances the legitimacy of democratic institutions.

“This principle is also in line with the spirit of ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance. As one time legislature myself, I look forward to reviewing the proposal regarding this matter.
“We stand to support the election into the ECOWAS Parliament.
“We believe this will ensure that citizens have direct say in their representation and legitimacy and credibility it will provide.
” Thank you for thinking very carefully on this subject. “

The president also promised that Nigeria will continue to support the regional body.

“I want to assure you, that Nigeria as the host of this very important community’s institutions, will continue to support you to achieve your objectives.”

Tinubu also added, “I am aware of the plan to have all ECOWAS’s institutions in one complex and all the good progress that has been made, Nigeria is also working to meet its responsibility to construct the ECOWAS Parliament headquarters in Abuja at the same complex.

” In conclusion, I would like to emphasise that as you conduct the business of six legislature It is my hope that your discussions will provide me the opportunity to address the prime concerns of the region and come up with resolutions that will lead to the attainment of peace and the advancement of all.

“You can stand assured that Nigeria is always ready to support the ECOWAS. The parliament in particular will be made effective and democracy will flourish if we support it and we fight for it.

The inaugural session of the Sixth Legislature of the Parliament which formally marks the commencement of the business of the legislature, is being convened in pursuant to Article 28 of the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament of 2016, following the end of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament on March 8, 2024.

The president of the ECOWAS Commission Dr. Omar Alieu Touray raised alarm of danger of disintegration of the regional body, which he said will affect all facet of life of the community.

He also noted the amount of investment made by the regional body in the three want away countries-Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic which runs into $321 million.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio in his remark urged members of the regional Parliament to work in unity.

He saod, “Let us use ECOWAS to ensure that national boundaries are not Berlin walls separating kith and kin, but bridges of unity and progress.
“The road ahead is filled with new challenges and opportunities. Our task is to build upon the foundation laid by our predecessors and to forge a path towards a more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous future. We must strive to deepen regional integration, enhance trade and investment, and promote the free movement of goods, services, and people within our Community.
“Together, we can harness the power of collaboration, innovation, and dialogue to overcome the obstacles that lie before us. Let us remember that the strength of our Community lies in our diversity, and it is through unity and solidarity that we can overcome any adversity and achieve our shared goals.
“It is concerning that in spite of our region’s abundant natural resources and deep human capital, our region has not attained the heights envisioned by our founding fathers.

“I believe the time has come in ECOWAS and in the ECOWAS Parliament for us to play the role of Ghede, and show to each country her devil. This way we will drive all the devils of tribalism, corruption, nepotism, despotism, out of our region.

“Your participation and engagement are vital as we navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. I have no doubt that together, we will build a stronger, more prosperous, and more united West Africa.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar on his part stressed the role of the ECOWAS Parliament in fostering unity in the region.

He also urged members of the regional Parliament to ensure that their positions on key issues are harmonized with the decisions of the Authority of ECOWAS.

He said, “In the face of the various challenges confronting our region, including peace, stability, security, as well as the unity of our region, the role of the Parliament is more important than ever.

” The balance between executive, judicial and legislative arms is critical for effective, responsive and transparent governance. This was recently demonstrated by the key role played by Senegal’s judiciary in ensuring that national elections were not delayed. ECOWAS is no different. Let us remember that democracy is a process not an event. The Parliament, and other Community Institutions, are of vital importance in promoting democracy and regional stability.

” It is, therefore, imperative that the Parliament continues to work in synergy with the ECOWAS Commission and other Institutions that serve as the executive and judicial arms of our organization. Collaboration between the Commission, Court and Parliament is essential to ensure the smooth implementation of policies and programs that benefit our citizens. I encourage you to maintain constructive dialogue with other bodies and to align your efforts with the broader objectives of ECOWAS.

“Furthermore, I urge the new members of Parliament to ensure that your positions on key issues are harmonized with the decisions of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. Consistency in our collective stance will strengthen our voice on the international stage and prevent any perception of disunity within our organization.”

The outgoing Speaker of the 5th Parliament, Mohamed Tunis pleaded with the members of the Sixth parliament to pursue direct election of members.

He said, “While it is customary for each legislature to set its own agenda, I passionately appeal that the campaign for the election of Members into the ECOWAS Parliament by direct universal suffrage remains at the top of your agenda. The 5th Legislature raised a lot of awareness about the matter, and I can only hope that
the 6th Legislature will strengthen the fight for direct election, as it is a requirement for representative governance.”

Tinubu Supports Direct Election into ECOWAS Parliaments, Asks Member Statrs to be United

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Zulum Bags Champion Newspaper Visionary Leader Award 2023



Zulum Bags Champion Newspaper Visionary Leader Award 2023

By: Michael Mike

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, was honoured on Saturday with the Visionary Leader/Pillar of Democracy Award for the year 2023 by Champion Newspaper for his outstanding contributions to the development and progress of his state.

The award ceremony, held at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos, is an annual high-stake platform designed to celebrate outstanding Nigerians, institutions and companies for their excellent and profound contributions to Nigeria’s social and economic development.

Presenting the award, the chairman of the occasion, who is also the Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Rtd), described it as a worthy recognition.

He said, “ Borno has been faced with so many issues that are compounding for any governor, but I am happy to observe that Governor Umara Zulum is doing very well. So this award is well-deserved.”

Zulum, who was represented by Borno Deputy Governor, Umar Usman Kadafur, said, “On behalf of my governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, I appreciate the management of Champion Newspaper for recognising our effort in the development of Borno State.”

The governor added, “this award is a challenge to do more for the people of Borno State.”

Other prominent Nigerians and corporate organisations, including the governors of Akwa Ibom, Umo Bassey Eno, Enugu, Dr Peter Mbah, and that of Anambra, Prof. Charles Soludo.

Also awarded were the GCEO NNPCL, Mele Kyari, Rear Admiral Kasimu Musa, Dr Abije Dabiri, Fidelity Bank Plc, and First Bank Plc, among others.

Kadafur was accompanied by the member representing Konduga at the State Assembly, Bukar Modu, SSA on Media to Governor Zulum, Baba Shielh Haruna and that of New Media, Abdurrahman Ahmed Bundi, and other senior government officials.

Zulum Bags Champion Newspaper Visionary Leader Award 2023

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Paris-bound businessman excretes 111 wraps of cocaine at Abuja airport



Paris-bound businessman excretes 111 wraps of cocaine at Abuja airport

. As NDLEA busts drug trafficking syndicate at Lagos airport

By: Michael Mike

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a 48-year-old Paris-bound businessman, Emmanuel Okechuku Orjinze for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine.

This he excreted after days of observation in the agency’s custody following his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi said Okechukwu who also claimed to be a professional footballer in Europe was arrested last Tuesday during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 from Abuja to Paris.

He said after a body scan confirmed he ingested illicit drugs, he was taken into custody where he excreted a total of 111 pellets of cocaine that weighed 1.603 kilogrammes over a period of three days.

Babafemi said the suspect claimed he does business in the maritime sector while still scouting for any European football club to engage him.

NDLEA officers operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos in another clampdown have dismantled another drug trafficking syndicate at the airport.

According to Babafemi, this followed the arrest of four members of the network and the seizure of a total of 8 kilogrammes of methamphetamine and 7.6 kilogrammes of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis imported from South Africa.

He revealed that the lid was blown off the syndicate when an official within the airport system was intercepted with a backpack and a bag at the departure hall of Terminal 1 of the airport by NDLEA officers with the support of Aviation Security officers last Tuesday, with a search of the bags leading to the discovery of the illicit substances.

He said a swift follow-up operation at Ajao Estate area of Lagos led to the arrest of two other members of the syndicate: Chris Nwadozie and Chinedu Nwaosu.

Babafemi noted that further investigation led to the arrest of another member of the cartel working within the airport system last Saturday.

In a related development, NDLEA operatives at the NAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport have arrested a freight agent, Sonubi Abiodun over her attempt to cargo eight parcels of cocaine weighing 2 kilogrammes concealed in three out of six paint buckets containing shea butter packaged for export to the United Kingdom last Wednesday.

In Igbo Elerin in Ojo local government area of Lagos State, NDLEA officers on Tuesday 21st May arrested a suspect, Odumegwu Obijofor producing and distributing skuchies, a mixture of black currant and illicit drugs, Babafemi added that no fewer than 2,480 litres of the New Psychoactive Substance, NPS, were recovered from his clandestine factory when he was arrested.

In Cross River state, while Ogar Emmanuel, was arrested with 2.5 kilogrammes of cannabis at Ukpada Utugwan village, 29 sacks of the same substance weighing 290 kilogrammes were recovered from the warehouse of another suspect, Usani Ikpi, who is currently at large. Three suspects: Sa’adu Sule, 23; Mukhtar Nura, 23; and Hamza Nura, 18, were nabbed at Jabiri Funtua, Katsina state last Friday with 129 blocks of cannabis weighing 70 kilogrammes coming from Ogere, Ogun state.

The spokesman added that no fewer than five suspects including: Ezekiel Munda, 30; and Sule Mustapha, 21, were arrested by NDLEA operatives on Thursday 23rd May during raids at Karu Abattoir, Jikwoyi and Tora Bora hill area of FCT, Abuja, where 95.01 kilogrammes of cannabis and different quantities of opioids were recovered from them.

In Edo state, operatives arrested a physically challenged alleged notorious drug dealer, Zekere Sufianu, 45, at Auchi town on Wednesday 22nd May. At the time of his arrest, he was found with 751 grammes of Loud, 178 grammes of tramadol and pills of swinol.

He revealed that the various commands of the agency across the country
continued with the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy campaign in the past week.

Meanwhile, while commending the officers and men of the NAIA, MMIA, FCT, Lagos, Cross River, Katsina, and Edo commands of the agency for their outstanding feats in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) equally applauded their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures.

Paris-bound businessman excretes 111 wraps of cocaine at Abuja airport

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Governor Buni speaks on trade fairs and opportunities in Yobe



Governor Buni speaks on trade fairs and opportunities in Yobe

By: Yahaya Wakili

Yobe State Governor, Hon. Mai Mala Buni CON, has revealed that trade fairs are widely believed to provide access to research findings, new technologies, and ideas towards actualizing scientific and economic advancement for industrialists and policymakers through face-to-face interactions.

He highlighted some abundant and yet untapped resources in terms of solid mineral resources, deposits of oil, vast arable land suitable for both irrigation and rain-fed agricultural activities, and the highest livestock population in the country.

Governor Mai Mala Buni disclosed this at the Yobe State Special Day at the 15th North East joint domestic trade fair held at Bauchi, the Bauchi state capital.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Idi Barde Gubana, was impressed with the theme for this year’s event, “Combating security challenges and the way forward for Nigerian economic transformation.”

He pointed out that the diverse people of the state showcased their cultural heritage at the festival from all seventeen local government areas of the state.

Buni commended the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism contingent and state officials for showcasing the cultural heritage of the state.

Governor Buni expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Bauchi state governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, for hosting the event.

The North East Colliation of Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mine, and Agriculture presents an award to Governor Mai Mala Buni CON in appreciation of government support for the chamber of commerce.

Governor Buni speaks on trade fairs and opportunities in Yobe

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