Three people were on Tuesday shot dead just as over 20 trucks laden with petroleum products and granites were set ablaze by angry youths at Otovwodo, in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State as the anti-EFCC protest embarked upon by some irate youths turned bloody.
The protesting youths who alleged their incessant arrest by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission had earlier barricaded the Otovwodo axis of the East/West road thus disrupting vehicular movement and economic activities.
It was gathered that the Ughelli protest was ongoing just at the same time as scores of other placard-carrying protesters besieged Effurun roundabout near Warri as they showed grievances against the arrest and detention of some youths in the state by the EFCC operatives.
The protesters who had mobilised as early as 8 o’clock in the morning were calling for the scrapping of EFCC alleging that operatives of the anti-graft agency had virtually turned themselves into vendetta mafia.
One of the Ughelli protesters who identified himself simply as Johnson stated that even though they want peace in Nigeria, “they are using EFCC to disorganise and prevent the youths from voting at the 2023 general elections and we will not accept it from anyone.”
Another protester who gave his name as Christian decried what he tagged as the overbearing posture of EFCC officials.
He said, “The activities of EFCC are becoming too much. We do not have good roads, schools are on strike, even after graduating, no jobs and they are here chasing shadows.
“After which, one old man will shake into position and tell us rats ran away with monies. Tomorrow, another will enter and tell us that mosquitoes fly away with monies. Is their money missing, or is it their fathers’ money?”
Also speaking with journalists, one of the protesters at Effurun Roundabout who would not want his name in print alleged that the EFCC operatives were “demanding as much as N2million each from any of the youths captured.
“Those who cannot afford the money, his or her assets such as car will be seized,” he further alleged.
The protesters further accused EFCC of “illegally entering Ughelli doing the same to youths since the 2nd of October, 2022 without proper investigation of what these youths do for a living.”
Recall that EFCC operatives stormed Warri last week, and reportedly arrested no fewer than 95 suspected internet fraudsters during a sting operation carried out by personnel of the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the anti-graft agency on Thursday, September 29, 2022.
The suspects who were reportedly nabbed at Adesa Ughonton and Jedda axis of Warri for suspected fraudulent internet-related activities were later remanded in EFCC custody.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujeren, stated that phones of different brands, laptops and 15 vehicles of different brands were among the items recovered from the arrested suspects just as he explained that they would be charged to court once investigations are concluded in their respective matters.
The Police Public Relations Officer for Delta State Command, DSP Bright Edafe, could not be reached for comments on the incident as of the time of filing this report as repeated calls to his phone were not answered.
NACCIMA, Nigeria’s Road To Prosperity – SDP Presidential Candidate, Adebayo
The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Prince Adewole Adebayo, has said that the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through The Nigeria Association of Chambers and Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Adebayo who spoke at the 4th quarterly meeting of NACCIMA in Enugu assured that the SDP, if elected into power, would not be a lawbreaker government but a law abiding.
He added that one of the difficulties facing the industry is that government does not respect contracts.
He posited that times have changed because in the past before government presents the country’s budget, captains of industries are always consulted, and the government doesn’t take decisions without considering the effects.
Adebayo driving his point and acknowledging the importance of NACCIMA said ‘In the past when you see presidential candidate, governorship candidate, senatorial candidate, you in NACCIMA will say he’s my boy, he use to work for me, he’s a good boy.
He added that Nigeria must return to such lifestyle, because the road to prosperity in Nigeria is through NACCIMA.
True Federalism: Expert Wants NULGE Join CSOs, Others For Constitutional Amendment
Professor Festus Imuetinyan, federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission, Abuja has called on the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to join hands with other unions and civil society organizations working for the amendment of the nation’s constitution to make the constitution truly federal.
Imuetinyan made the call on Wednesday in Benin City at the Edo State chapter of NULGE 2022 week celebration with the theme,”Sustaining an autonomous local government as a catalyst for national development: The role of NULGE”.
The university don opined that local governments will only become catalyst for national development when they are put in firm control over local affairs as well as encourage the emergency of local solutions to local problems.
He advocated that the local government matters must be removed from the national constitution and placed within the purview of the states to save them from the challenge of forced uniformity in the face of endemic diversity of local problems.
He added that NULGE, as the major trade union in the local government system in Nigeria, has a duty to ensure that the present unified local government system which is unwieldy is jettisoned.
“Unfortunately, many local government staff are beneficiaries of the present system and do not see any urgent need for changes.
“Your members are the ones that are made sole administrators when elected council heads are illegally sacked by state governments. Many enjoy posting to areas that they are not conversant with the custom and tradition of the people whose problems they are called upon to solve.
“Others are promoted in the face of inadequate utilization of available resources to manage waste and protect public utilities within their jurisdictions.
“It is often alleged that many of your members extort money from members of the public and that they enrich themselves at the expense of the development of the communities”, he said.
He further opined that the present local government system is not patterned to achieve any developmental goal rather than a smooth vehicle for the transfer of centrally collected funds to the pockets of States’ political elites.
Imuetinyan emphasized that the 1999 Constitution makes it possible for state governments to cripple Local Government Councils financially by routing the amount of money standing to the credit of Local governments in the Federation Account (FA) through a joint State Local Government Account rather than directly to local councils.
He asserted that the arrangement adversely affects the fiscal autonomy and viability of most local governments.
According to him, some state governors make inexplicable deductions or unduly delay the release of funds from the joint accounts to local government chief executives.
“Local government chairmen are bullied by state governors to surrender much of their statutory allocations under duress. When they fail; they find other ways to replace them with caretaker committees of selected loyalists.
“Expenditure and project discretion had become a thing of the past. Most states expect their Local governments to seek and obtain permission to embark on projects. Local government projects are inspected periodically by officials of state governments.
“More financial load has been placed on Local governments’ share of the Federation Account. For example, funds for primary school teachers’ salaries and pension charges are now charged centrally to the Local governments.
“The central deductions at source of these charges and several other unfunded mandates in environmental and social spending by the State Governments tend to leave many Local Governments with little funds.
“And unfortunately, many Local governments especially those in the rural areas have limited access to productive tax bases”, he added.
Governors’ Domineering Treatment Of Local Govt Councils Unfair – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has criticised State Governors, over what he described as unfair treatment meted out on the third tier of government.
Buhari who has been strengthening advocacy and autonomy for local government administration in the country alleged that such a domineering stance of state governors was counterproductive to the entire country.
The President said it beats one’s imagination how some state governors will collect, N100 million from the federal allocation and then go around to present N50 million to the Local Council Chairmen then cap it up by compelling the Council boss to sign that he or she collected N100 million.
Buhari warned that such actions are rather despicable and speak of the height of corruption in Nigeria.
The President made the allegation on Thursday, at the Presidential Villa Abuja, while speaking at a Presidential Parley
with participants of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru.
His words, “I feel it is necessary to digress after this speech and this digression is a result of personal experience.
“A Chief Executive of a state, a qualified lawyer, trained. The treatment of local governments, what he did, this is my personal experience. If the money from the federal government to state governments, let’s put it at N100 million (naira). N50 million will be sent to the chairman with a letter that he will sign that he received N100 million.
“The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants. And then the chairman of the local government will be struggling to pay salaries, and what goes into development?
“Money for salaries will be given, someone will put it in his pocket, this is happening in this Nigeria and its a terrible thing. You cannot say the person doing that is not educated. He is a qualified lawyer. He is experienced and is participating in this type of corruption.
“It’s a matter of personal integrity. Whichever level we find ourselves, the elite has to sit and make all the sacrifices for the country. This is why we are putting you through institutions and getting you ready to lead. The fundamental thing is personal integrity”.
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