Connect with us

Inside Nigeria

Citizens Giving Up On Nigerian Project, Onaiyekan Warns

Published

on

Cardinal John Onaiyekan

Emeritus Archbishop of Catholic Diocese of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, on Thursday in Enugu lamented the general despair in the country, saying that long delayed and unfulfilled hopes are making people to give up on the viability of the Nigerian project.

Onaiyekan noted that things were not getting better and people were generally lamenting the state of things in the country.

Delivering a convocation lecture at the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, entitled, ‘The Catholic Church in Education in Nigeria: Between Public and Private’, the cleric singled out the education sector as of the sector where things were not being done right, even as he stressed the crucial role of education in nation building.

The situation, he said, was not good for Nigeria as a nation.

“There is a disturbing pessimism blowing across our nation in our days, almost bordering on generalised despair. This is not good for any nation. Long delayed and unfulfilled hopes are leading many to give up on the viability of the project called Nigeria,” he said.

Onaiyekan, however, faulted the clamour in some quarters for separation of Nigeria by some ethnic groups and other elements, saying the proposal seems a gamble that may not be as simple as it appears.

“Building together a greater nation comes at a great cost, which we must all be ready to pay.

“I am quite convinced that those costs, high though as they may be, are much less than what it will take for us to disintegrate.

“Almost every aspect of our national life is calling for drastic and radical renewal. If we cannot tackle everything at once, may be, we start with education. The arms of the Church must continue to be stretched out for collaboration with other stakeholders, including and especially the government,” he said.

Onaiyekan noted that the nation’s education system has not been the best as it is “afflicted by gross neglect and mismanagement.”

Stressing the importance of education in the development of a nation, he called for well-funded education system and insisted that “we need to convince ourselves that without good education, there can be no serious development in the nation.”

He said that denial of education to Nigerian children is grave injustice to them.

“Good education is the right of every child. It is the responsibility of government to make this available. Otherwise, this basic right becomes futile and a grave injustice. This is the strong conviction that I wish to proclaim in this convocation lecture,” Onaiyekan said.

He also made case for private universities, saying that government should extend funds to them because they are involved in training Nigerians who help in nation building.

He equally called the National Universities Commission (NUC) to stop regulating private universities, calling rather for a separate body to regulate private universities to enable them develop at their pace.

The occasion was graced by the new Archbishop of Abuja Catholic

Diocese, Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, who is the chancellor of the university; the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Callistus Onaga, among others.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Inside Nigeria

Bill To Strip The President Of Powers To Order For Forfeiture Of Assets Of Accused Persons, Scales Second Reading

Published

on

A bill seeking to strip the president of the powers to order for forfeiture of assets of accused persons has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The discretionary power previously granted to the president to order for forfeiture of assets was on Thursday, July 2, transferred to the judges of a High Court.

The bill, which was passed in plenary, yesterday, July 2, is sponsored by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Ahmed Wase and is entitled “a bill for an act to amend the currency conversion (freezing orders) act cap. C.43, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to give discretionary powers to the judge of a High Court, to order forfeiture of assets of affected persons and for related matters.”

Presenting the bill, the deputy speaker said, “It is noteworthy that the provision for forfeiture in our laws is geared towards ensuring that persons found guilty of offenses do not benefit from the proceeds of those offences.”

He said the discretionary power previously granted to the president by the Principal Act is hereby being replaced by that of a High Court Judge to bring it in line with the spirit of the constitution.

Wase argued that the provision, which vest in the president the power to order forfeiture of property (both movable or immovable) “is not in spirit with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and hence the need for its amendment.

“Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantees the fundamental right of individuals to movable and immovable properties, which shall not be deprived except in specified circumstances which include the ‘imposition of penalties or forfeiture for the breach of any law whether under any civil process or after conviction for an offence’. (S. 44 (2) (c).

“Mr Speaker, colleagues, it is our submission that such breach, can only be determined by the judge of a court and should never be at the discretion of the president.

“It is further noted that the discretion of the president to order the forfeiture of property of an accused person can be subjected to executive abuses and recklessness. Section 9 in the Principal Act does not provide any mechanism (whether legal or administrative) through which the President may exercise this power. Instead the power is left solely at the discretion of the President.

“In a country that has witnessed reckless abuse of political and administrative powers, it will be dangerous to allow such unchecked arrogation of powers to determine the forfeiture of a person’s properties.”

“Such discretion to be exercised by the president can be contrary to the natural doctrine of fair trial as it amounts to the executive being a prosecutor and a ‘Judge’ in its own case.

“This negates the spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) specifies the conditions under which a person can be deprived of movable or immovable properties and that is: ‘under any civil or after conviction for an offence’ after a fair trial.

“The president cannot therefore, usurp the powers of the courts for such will run foul of the doctrine of Separation of Powers.

“Vesting in the president the power to make forfeiture order smack of the era of military dictatorship where the Head of State and Head of the Supreme Military Council and unilaterally order the forfeiture of properties of persons without recourse to any judicial mechanism. This cannot be allowed to exit in a democracy. I therefore urge you all to support this amendment bill.”

Continue Reading

Inside Nigeria

NCDC Blames Youths For Rapid COVID-19 Spread In The Country

Published

on

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has blamed youths for the rapid COVID-19 spread in the country.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the NCDC Director-General stated this during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday, July 2, in Abuja.

He said youths between the ages of 20 and 40 were responsible for the spread of COVID-19, while the majority of those who succumb to the killer disease are older people from 50 years and above.

He said, “As more people are infected across the world, you would have seen the numbers; it is increasingly obvious that transmission among younger people really, not children, but people aged between 20 and 40 as far as we know, are really driving the spread of this virus, but those that are bearing the brunt of it are people age 50 and above.

“Three out of five people who died from COVID-19 are 50 years and above; so we have to work harder, all of us collectively, to protect our elderly. We are on the verge of opening our airports, we have relaxed intercity travel.”

As of July 2, there are 27,110 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country. 10,801 patients have been discharged and 616 deaths have been recorded.

Continue Reading

Inside Nigeria

US COVID-19 Assistance To Nigeria Hits N15.5 Billion

Published

on

The United States’ COVID-19 emergency aid to Nigeria rose to 41.3 million dollars (N15.5 billion) as of Thursday, according to the Department of State.

This represents an additional 11.3 million dollars (N4.2 billion) compared with the 30 million dollars (N11.2 billion) assistance to Nigeria announced by the U.S. in May.

In a statement on Thursday, the department said the amount was part of a 1.3 billion dollar (N488.8 billion) COVID-19 aid so far announced by the government for 120 countries.

It gave a breakdown of Nigeria’s share to include 3.3 million dollars (N1.2 billion) for health assistance.

According to the statement, 34 million dollars (N12.7 billion) is meant for “humanitarian funding for risk-communications, water and sanitation, infection-prevention, coordination and emergency food assistance”.

It added that 4.1 million dollars or N1.5 billion is reserved for humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people, including internally displaced persons.

“This assistance joins more than 8.1 billion dollars (N3 trillion) in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years, including more than 5.2 billion dollars (N1.9 trillion) for health”, it said.

The department said the total 1.3 billion dollar package was in addition to not less than 100 billion dollars (N37.6 trillion) in global health funding by the U.S. in the last 10 years.

It added that the country had also dished out nearly 70 billion dollars (N26.3 trillion) in “overseas humanitarian assistance” within the period.

As of Tuesday, Nigeria had 26,484 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 603 deaths and 10,152 recoveries, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Continue Reading
Advertisement

HOTTEST TOPICS