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CISLAC URGES PRIORTIZATION AND REVISITING THE PASSAGE OF THE PIGB

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The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre has urged the National Assembly and the Executive to re-visit and prioritize the passage of the PIGB into law.

In a statement signed by the Executive Director CISLAC Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) on Sunday recalled that the National Assembly had passed the PIGB and sent it to the president for Assent. However, while the legislature was on recess, the president withheld his assent to the Bill raising some issues he was said to be uncomfortable with.

CISLAC recollected that the progress recorded so far in getting a law to regulate the oil and gas sector and deepen the reforms proposed by this administration has been a result of the initiative, proactiveness, doggedness and resilience of the two chambers of the NASS, which is quite commendable.

It is common knowledge that the PIGB being considered originated as a private member Bill. It is also on record that both Chambers had set up a Joint Committee on the PIB to fast-track the passage of the PIGB and other components of the PIB. The result is the successful passage of the PIGB. We however note that in spite of all the efforts that went into the Bill and the opportunities provided during the Public hearing, the president has raised some observations which made him withhold his assent.

CISLAC also noted that the president has returned up to 15 Bills to the NASS for review before assent. We note with delight that upon resumption on October 9, 2018, the NASS had commenced action on several of the returned Bills. The request for virement and funding for the INEC, as well as, the Electoral Act amendment, are worthy of note

” As we call on the NASS to also re-visit and prioritize the passage of the PIGB by addressing the genuine concerns of the president and re-sending it to him for assent as soon as possible, we also call on the President, through relevant channels to be proactive and liaise with the relevant Committees of the NASS, through constructive dialogue, to ensure that a Bill that will adequately address the challenges in the sector, serve the interest of Nigerians and receive presidential assent is passed” CISLAC said.

According to the statement This is not only because the Bill is a baby of the NASS which should not be allowed to die, but because of the damage its non-passage continues to cause in the sector upon which the nation’s economy is most dependent and it feeds perfectly into the president’s avowed commitment to stamping out corruption in critical sectors of our national life and his aspiration to mobilize sufficient revenues to fund development, diversify the economy and implement his administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. This will distinguish this government from all previous ones which only paid lip service to the promotion of transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.

The million being lost in revenues and investments and other positive multiplier effects accruable from the sector can be avoided though the passage and assent to the PIGB and all other components of the PIB. This is in the light of subsistent budget deficit, rising debt profile, wide infrastructural gaps and bleak future revenue profile from the sector.

CISLAC also called on the executive to engage with the NASS to expedite action on the outstanding components addressing fiscal frameworks, host and impacted communities and sector administration issues. This is so that they can become law before the elections in 2019.

CISLAC and all well-meaning stakeholders are optimistic that this session of the NASS will conclude what they have started and contribute to supporting the executive so that this government can fulfil its promise to the Nigerian people as it relates to the passage of the PIB.

“We call on all stakeholders not to relent until this become a reality and we are committed to sustaining the advocacy as our contribution to bequeathing to generations to come, a nation where resources from natural resources benefit all Nigerians” the statement said.

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Kano supplementary elections: CISLAC berates deliberate sabotage, unchecked intimidations, inefficiency of police

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The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) condemned in totality the open display of lawlessness and rascality involving indiscriminately massive deployment of hoodlums in the conduct of supplementary gubernatorial elections with resultant sabotage of electoral process and loss of lives in Kano state.

In a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) on Sunday said that while an election constitutes a formal citizenry decision-making process by which a population chooses a credible individual to hold public office, we find it disturbing that citizens’ choices and decisions were largely influenced and determined by high incidences of vote-buying facilitated by hoodlums and party agents, vote rigging and intimidations from various political parties in several Local Government Areas, including Gaya, Dala, Nasarawa and Karaye.

Rafsanjani said that we are not unaware of the arrogant and unchecked display of badges by the party agents and supervisors in many polling centres as an indication of their preferred political party—APC or PDP and outright prevention of photographic evidence which raise suspicious motives for rigging as extensively reported and narrated by independent observers.

The Executive Director said that ,they find it worrisome that without an iota of respect to the rule of law and democratic values, a larger population of hoodlums was unlawfully deployed to disrupt electoral process and deprive voters the right to exercise their electoral freedom through free, fair and credible process.

According to Rafsanjani, we are concerned that the deployment of violence and cruelty in electoral process as demonstrated in several polling centres without appropriate justice would without doubt widen the existing distrust by citizens in electoral body and security agents and amplify unwanted electoral apathy.

“We find the unprincipled decisions of relevant political parties to result in deployment of illegalities and destructive mechanisms in influencing voters’ decisions, instead of constructive proposal and realistic ideology, as despotic, undemocratic and unacceptable in our democratic system.

“We are seriously perturbed by the unwary decisions of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agents to continue with the election despite reported outcries and anticipated threat to peaceful electoral process as evident in some polling centres, constituting a total breach of Section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act which calls for immediate postponement of elections in such circumstance” he said.

Rafsanjani stated : We are surprised that even with the deployment of highly placed police personnel, the situation could not be managed and down-playing by the police of the obvious problems that arose is a source concern. The inability of the police to manage the situation leading to widespread violence and unchecked intimidation of voters is highly disappointing.

He was also surprised at a clear case of double standard reportedly maintained by both Kano REC and the State Returning Officer who had agreed and called for cancellation of the earlier result from Gama as thugs disrupted the collation process; and their present reluctant to cancel the latest results given despite widespread violence across all the 62 polling units.

Rafsanjani bemoaned a dishonest move by four presiding officers from Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state, who made away with the result of election to an undisclosed location. This hampers credibility and further justifies our call for discountenance of the supplementary elections

And therefore called on INEC to discountenance the supplementary elections and return to status quo prior to the 23rd March 2019. Anything of short will be setting a very dangerous precedent where the use of force to capture electoral gain will become the rule rather than the exception.

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NGOs advocate stronger protections against overuse, misuse of nation’s water supplies

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Two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), WaterAid Nigeria and the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) have called for stronger protections against overuse and misuse of water supply in the country.

Dr ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria and Dr Dara Akala, Executive Director, PIND, made the call in a statement to commemorate this year’s World Water Day on March 22.

The statement issued on Friday was signed by Mrs Oluseyi Abdulmalik, the Communications and Media Manager, WaterAid Nigeria.

“As the world commemorates this year’s World Water Day under the umbrella theme set by UN-Water: “Leaving No-one Behind’’, WaterAid Nigeria and the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) are calling for stronger protections against overuse and misuse of water supply.

“We are also calling for acceleration in the provision of sustainable WASH services for all, so as to reach everyone and ensure no one is left behind.

“Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in and should be normal for everyone, everywhere. Regrettably, the progress made since 2000 in delivering clean water to 1.5 billion people globally is now under threat,” the WaterAid Nigeria chief said.

He said that clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene are three things that should be a normal part of everyone’s daily lives but sadly, are not.

“WaterAid is determined to ensure everyone; everywhere has access to these essential human rights by 2030. Watch our SDG animation to find out why Goal 6 is key to ending extreme poverty and creating real change.

“This year’s World Water Day theme: “Leaving No-one Behind’’ could not have been more apt in recognising the reality that marginalised groups such as women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and the elderly are often overlooked.

“Sometimes, these marginalised groups face discrimination in their quest to access and manage the clean water they need to live daily.

“Even more sad is that most of the people affected live in hard-to-reach communities – riverine, uphill and interior areas that account for a significant percentage of the country’s total population,’’ Aniagolu-Okoye said.

He noted that poor access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene simply meant lost education, lost opportunities and hundreds of lost lives each year.

“We cannot let this happen as a country. We must act now and ensure that we protect our precious water supplies for the future, and that we reach everyone with these basic needs, leaving no one behind.

“We are more determined than ever to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone everywhere by 2030.”

On his part, the PIND executive director explained that the severity of water, sanitation and hygiene needs in Nigeria’s Niger Delta cuts across communities and institutions in urban, peri-urban and rural settings.

Akala said that these communities and institutions had largely dysfunctional and non-existent WASH facilities, and polluted water sources.

“This contributes very highly to WASH-related disease burden with consequent health, economic and education impacts.

“Unequal access to water fuelled by a growing demand on water resources and the impact of climate and population changes traps people in poverty and limits potential,” Akala said.

Our correspondent reports that the collaboration between PIND and WaterAid Nigeria in bringing together key stakeholders further re-enforces the need for actors in WASH and related sectors to work together to improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services in Nigeria.

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Bauchi Governor’s wife encourage women of reproductive age to access FP services

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The Wife Bauchi state Governor Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar has encourage women of Productive age to access Family Planning (FP) Services in their Health Facilities.

It’s reported that Five additional health facilities have undergone a 72 hour makeover renovation in Katagum Local Government area of Bauchi State
which was carried out by Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA) with support from The Challenge Initiative (TCI).

The Health Facilities renovated include the FP units of General Hospital Azare, Town Maternity, Makara Huta, Tàtari Ali and Bulkachuwa PHCs.

Mrs Abubakar made the called at the commissioning of 5 renovated health facilities in Azare on Wednesday, she called on women of reproductive age to access services provided by these FP clinics.

She said Family planning is arguably one of the most important public health advancements in the last century, and it is defined as a woman’s ability to decide if and when to have children.

Represented by the State Commissioner of Health, Dr Zuwaira Hassan, said the state government’s health agenda which include promoting Primary Health Care, maternal, child and reproductive health has trained health workers on long active reversible contraceptives.

Mrs Abubakar said the makeover is a good innovation towards promoting the uptake of family planning services.

Earlier, the Executive Chairman, State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Mr Adamu Gamawa said the makeover has provided quality and privacy to clients who come to seek FP services.

He said the facilities had their FP units renovated and provided with equipment and consumables, so also the maternity unit was equipped.

On her part the State project Coordinator TCI Mrs Rabi Ekele said the 72 hour makeover is not limited to the FP unit only, but covers the maternity section to provide qualitative services to women and encourage them to come back for child birth spacing after delivery.

Ekele added that TCI also provides technical support to the state to create demand for FP services by community members.

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