The Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has signed the 2020 Appropriation Bill into Law after the State House of Assembly had on Tuesday passed into law the sum of N137, 419, 617, 116 (One Hundred and Thirty Seven Billion, Four Hundred and Nineteen Million, Six Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, One Hundred and Sixteen Naira) as next year’s budget for the State.
Signing the Abia State 2020 Appropriation Bill christened “Budget Of Economic Repositioning” into law at Government House, Umuahia, Ikpeazu lauded the leadership of the State House of Assembly for the expeditious passage of the Bill.
The Commissioner of Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu in a release on Wednesday while quoting the governor stated that it was the first time since he (Ikpeazu) assumed office in 2015 that he is signing an Appropriation Bill before the commencement of the financial year and assured that his administration would do all within its powers to implement the budget.
According to the governor, the budget aims at supporting the rapid development of the State as well as impacting on the lives of Abia people, especially those living in rural areas and promised to ensure timely execution of projects captured in the budget.
Ikpeazu went further to express hope that there will be further improvements in the performance of the budget and advised various Ministries and implementation units to adhere strictly to the budget provisions.
Presenting the approved 2020 Appropriation Bill to the Governor, the Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chinedum Orji, stated that members of the 7th Assembly worked hard to ensure the early passage of the Bill in order to support the realization of the development agenda of the Governor.
Other members of the state executive council, including the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu, Secretary to State Government, Barr. Chris Ezem, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hon D K Uduma, Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, his counterparts in the Finance and Special Duties Ministries respectively, Dr Aham Uko and Chief Chimaobi Ebisike, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr A. C. B. Agbazuere among other top government functionaries including the Permanent Secretary of the State Planning Commission, Dr Nnenna Chikezie, Special Adviser to the Governor on Legislative Matters, Hon. Tony Mezie Nwubani were present at the event.
Members of the Abia State House of Assembly who accompanied the Speaker to the signing ceremony include the Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Uchendu, Majority Leader, Honourable Solomon Akpulonu, Minority Leader, Honourable Abraham Oba, Member representing Isiala Ngwa North, Honourable Ginger Onwusibe, Member Representing Ohafia North, Honourable Mandela Obasi and member representing Bende South, Honourable Emmanuel Ndubuisi along with the Permanent Secretary/Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Sir John Pedro Irokansi.
Senator Gaidam Finally Reveals Why He Sponsored Bill For Creation Of Boko Haram Agency
Yobe-born Senator, Ibrahim Gaidam has revealed why he sponsored a “Bill for an Act to establish a National Agency for the education, de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant insurgents”.
The lawmaker who addressed a press conference in Abuja, said the bill was sponsored to help repentant insurgents re-enter mainstream politics, religion and society.
Gaidam wrote: “Bill for an Act to establish a National Agency for the education, de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant insurgents would promote reconciliation and national unity.
“The agency when established will provide an avenue for rehabilitating, de-radicalizing, and reintegrating the defectors, repentant and forcefully conscripted members of the insurgent group Boko Haram to make them useful members of the society.
“Provide an avenue for reconciliation and promote national security.
“Provide an-open-door and encouragement for other members of the group who are still engaged in the insurgency to abandon the group, especially in the face of the military pressure.
“Allow the government to derive insider-information about the insurgency group for greater understanding of the group and its inner workings.
“Gaining a greater understanding of the insurgents will enable the government to study the needs of de-radicalization effort, improve the process and address the immediate concerns of violence.
“Enable Government to use the defectors to fight the unrepentant insurgents.
“Help disintegrate the violent and poisonous ideology that the group spreads as the program will allow some repentant defectors or suspect terrorists to express remorse over their actions repent and recant their violent doctrine and in the long run, re-enter mainstream politics, religion and society.
“If defectors told their stories and were made more public, their experiences would play a key role in countering Terrorist propaganda, which in turn would lessen the appeal of joining the group.”
The Senator representing Yobe East further stated that establishment of the agency will help the Federal Government cut the cost of incarceration, render extremist movements obsolete by undermining the foundations upon which the movements were built and also make repentant terrorists become useful members of the society.
Gaidam added: “In view of the fact that the Boko Haram insurgency is becoming increasingly aggressive since its inception in 2009, marked by extreme brutality and explicit targeting of civilians…it has become necessary for us to go back to the drawing board and adopt an alternative approach, in addition to the military option which has so far performed significantly well.
“There is no doubt that many members of the insurgents’ group have defected and many more are willing to repent given a window of opportunity and this is confirmed by many organizations including NGO’s that have unalloyed access to the Boko Haram.
“There is the need for a more strategic and comprehensive approach to entice those members of the group who, after realizing the futility of the course they are pursuing have eventually decided to voluntarily lay down their arms and chose the path of peace.
“Hence, the need for the establishment of the National Agency for the Rehabilitation, De-radicalization and reintegration of repentant insurgents to accommodate the defectors.
“The agency when established shall be charged with the responsibility of the planning, designing and organizing specialized programs aimed at deradicalizing, rehabilitating and reintegrating defectors and repentant insurgents.
“Those who have become weary of the perpetual violence and have voluntarily laid down their arms and defected from the group will be accepted and rehabilitated using various tools of deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration.
“In contrast, those captured active in the battlefields will be required to, in addition to the psychological therapy, participate in the criminal justice process.
“In dealing with the insurgency, Nigerian Government needs to introduce both preventive and corrective measures in addressing violent extremism.”
Presidential Committee Seeks Scrap Of Alcohol Adverts
The Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse has recommended thay the adverts on alcohol and other recreational drugs be scrapped to discourage its use.
Chairman of the Committee, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa made the announcement while appearing on Channels Television “Sunrise Daily”.
He said the recommendation of scrap of such adverts which is contained in the 2019 report the committee submitted to President Buhari, will discourage its use.
Marwa said, “You really can’t say zero-alcohol because people have the rights. But when you consume more than is required and perhaps you are caught driving drunk, you know there is a penalty. So these penalties also have to be enforced. The drug control scourge in Nigeria, unless it is tackled, we are finished.”
He further disclosed that the second committee is expected to meet later this week and he would be “surprised” if the recommendations in its report does not “start in another month.”
BREAKING: Court Strikes Out Charges Of Non-Declaration Of Assets Against Ekweremadu
The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, struck out charges of non-declaration of assets instituted against a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.
The dissolved panel then led by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla had in 2018 instituted the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/62/2018 against Ekweremadu, alleging that, “without reasonable excuse”, the serving senator refused and neglected to declare his assets upon being served the panel’s “notice to declare”.
The AGF office took over the case and other suits being handled by the SPIP upon a presidential directive dissolving the panel in 2019.
On Monday, Justice Binta Nyako struck out the case against Ekweremadu after the prosecuting counsel from the AGF office, Mr Pius Akutah, said the former lawyer handling the case for the panel had disappeared with the case file.
Akutah pleaded with the judge to order the former counsel to release the file to the AGF office but the request was declined by the judge.
But Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the judge to strike out the case.
Responding, Justice Nyako dismissed the prosecution’s request.
She said, “You are attorney general (referring to the lawyer as representing the AGF), you should know what to do.
“You should not be waiting for me to make an order against an individual.”
Justice Nyako added, “So, as it is today, you don’t know the case against the defendant since you don’t have the file. I am going to strike out the case, when you are ready you can come back.
“The case is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution. The prosecution is allowed to come back whenever they are ready to proceed with the case.”
The PUNCH reports that Ekweremadu was present in court and stood in the dock while the proceedings lasted on Monday.