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IDUAI Day: Goodluck Jonathan Emphasises Need For Open Governance

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As the world mark this year’s International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, GJF, has called on stakeholders to promote the right to know and ensure that it is enforced in all strata of the society.

This, the foundation said is to build an inclusive society and rekindle the spirit of patriotism among citizens.

The theme for this year’s celebration is: ‘The Right to Know – Building Back with Access to Information.’

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A statement by the Foundation’s Communications Officer, Wealth Dickson Ominabo, noted that access to information is essential towards attaining good governance and sustainable development.

While describing right to know as important democratic element that fosters inclusivity, the statement noted that access to information is essential towards building trust and curbing other challenges of the era such as misinformation, hate speech and trust deficit.

“For Nigerians, this year’s celebration is significant as it marks a decade since the passage of the Freedom of Information Act.

“As we celebrate , we call on all stakeholders , especially those in positions of authority to realize that public access to information is critical for open governance, transparency and accountability and good governance.(sic).

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READ ALSO: Bayelsa: Tarabina Tasks Contractors On Project Completion Deadline

“The right to know is a very important democratic right that fosters inclusivity, promotes justice and peace as well as rekindles the spirit of patriotism among citizens.

“The right to know re- emphasize the point that information is a public good and today serves as a reminder to policy makers and others in positions of trust that denial of public information is an attack on media freedom and democracy,” the statement reads.

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Exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa, Not Pardons, Foundation Replies Buhari

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The Ken Saro-Wiwa Foundation has said it wants exoneration and not pardonn to be granted to the late environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others executed by the Nigerian military dictator, Sani Abacha.

The Foundation was reacting to a statement attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari saying he was considering granting a state pardon to Saro-Wiwa and others executed at the height of the Ogoni crisis in the 1990s.

A statement signed by Dr Owens Wiwa, brother of Ken Saro-Wiwa, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Foundation and obtained by SaharaReporters on Sunday, however, said the late activist and the eight others who were murdered by the Abacha regime were not criminals.

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The group, which became known as Ogoni 9, were activists from the Ogoni region who opposed the operating practices of oil companies destroying their area.

They were author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.

They were tried by a special military tribunal for allegedly masterminding the murder of Ogoni chiefs at a pro-government meeting, and hanged in 1995 by the military dictatorship of General Abacha.

The statement titled, ‘Exoneration Not Pardon For Ken Saro-Wiwa,’ reads: “The Board of Directors of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Foundation (KSWF) have received and read the statement from Mr (Femi) Adesina, the Special Adviser on Communications to the President of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), in which the President conveyed his willingness to grant clemency or pardons to Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni activists illegally executed by the Nigerian Military Dictatorship of Sani Abacha on November 10, 1995, after a sham trial.

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“Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other Eight Ogonis were not criminals. They were innocent activists unjustly murdered for fighting for a just cause on behalf of their oppressed community. The path to true peace in the region begins with justice. The cleaning up of the environment for which they campaigned and died for is a first good step.

“The exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists, judicially murdered on November 10 1995 is another step towards peace.

READ ALSO: Ogoni 9: Buhari Considers State Pardon For Ken Saro-Wiwa, Others

“The family of Ken Saro-Wiwa have made a request for the exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa to the President in the past and are still waiting for a response. We urge the President to again consider this request as a path to justice and peace.”

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The statement added that the “family and the Foundation have not asked any individual to ask for pardon or clemency for Ken Saro-Wiwa on our behalf, nor are we aware of any group of Ogonis making such a request”.

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Drama As Ortom Busts Illegal Revenue Checkpoint In Benue, Arrests Operators [PHOTOS]

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Luck ran out on a gang of illegal checkpoint operators at Abinsi, Guma Local Government Area of Benue State on Sunday, October 24, 2021, when Governor Samuel Ortom busted their operations.

Governor Ortom’s attention was drawn to the activities of the illegal revenue operators when he noticed the harassment of heavy-duty vehicles that were detained at the checkpoint on his way from Kwande Local Government.

He then ordered his convoy to stop to find out why many vehicles were parked at the checkpoint.

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As soon as he alighted from his car, some of the youths at the checkpoint took to their heels.

He discovered, during an interaction with drivers of the vehicles, that the checkpoint operators were collecting money from motorists without issuing them receipts, a development that prompted the Governor to order the arrest of four of the operators who could not run.

The Governor directed that those who fled should also be apprehended and thoroughly investigated alongside the four suspects to unravel benefactors of the proceeds from their illegal collections.

He explained that within a very short time, the checkpoint operators collected more than N20,000 from the commuters without issuing them receipts.

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Governor Ortom lamented that despite the collections, nothing goes to the government as such monies are diverted into private pockets for individual use.

READ ALSO: Ortom Vows To Drag Akume To Court Over Allegations

DAILY POST reports that he vowed to sanction the management of the Board of Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, for failure to supervise and ensure the right thing was done.

Governor Ortom said he will henceforth, personally carry out surprise checks on the activities of checkpoint operators in the state.

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The four suspects were then handed over to the Police for further investigation.

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EFCC Grills Ex-Senate President

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A former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, is currently being grilled by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a case of corruption and diversion of public funds.

Anyim who arrived the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in Jabi, Abuja at about 3pm, is currently being grilled by a team of operatives.

Though details of the specific allegations against the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, were sketchy as of press time, a source familiar with the case informed that, it is tied to the corruption and money laundering case involving former Aviation Minister and serving senator, Senator Stella Oduah.

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Part of the rehabilitation funds to the tune of N780 million were allegedly traced to a company in which Senator Anyim has interest.

READ ALSO: Varsity Graduate Awaiting NYSC Mobilization, Allegedly Raped To Death

When contacted, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman said he has not been briefed.

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