El-Rufai, Two Others Await Clearance as Senate Approves 45 Ministerial Nominees; FG Drops Contempt Suit Against NLC and TUC | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • El-Rufai, Two Others Await Clearance as Senate Approves 45 Ministerial Nominees
  • FG Drops Contempt Suit Against NLC and TUC
  • ‘Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right,’ Cross River Gov. Appeals To Striking Doctors
  • ICPC Launches Investigation into Corruption Allegations Against Malami
  • WAEC Releases 2023 WASSCE Results

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

El-Rufai, Two Others Await Clearance as Senate Approves 45 Ministerial Nominees

The Nigerian Senate has granted its seal of approval to the appointment of 45 ministerial nominees, out of the 48 submitted by President Bola Tinubu. The nod of confirmation was pronounced on a consequential Monday evening, marking the culmination of an extensive and meticulous screening process conducted by the upper legislative chamber.

Three nominees, however, remain under the watchful eye of the Senate, as they await the necessary security clearance to pave their way into the esteemed cabinet. Among them, the notable former governor of Kaduna, Nasir el-Rufai, along with Stella Okotete from Delta and Danladi Abubakar from Taraba, stand in anticipation of the final green light.

“Pending the outcome of security clearance,” Senate President Godswill Akpabio, announced, while the gallery of approved nominees received accolades from the chamber.

This development follows a series of events, including a petition lodged by Senator Sunday Karimi of Kogi West against el-Rufai during the scrutinizing process. Similarly, a petition against Okotete was also tabled, emphasizing the thoroughness of the evaluation process.

The wheels of nomination were set in motion on July 27, when President Tinubu submitted an initial list of 28 individuals for rigorous vetting by the Senate. Swiftly thereafter, an additional 19 names were added to the roster, bringing the total number of ministerial nominees to an aggregate of 47. In a final flourish, the President introduced a substitution and inclusion—Mairiga Mahmud replaced Maryam Shetty from Kano, and Festus Keyamo’s name was appended, culminating in the final tally of 48 nominees.

Senate-Confirmed Ministerial Nominees

Among the notable figures who have received the Senate’s endorsement are:

  1. Abubakar Kyari (Borno)
  2. Abubakar Momoh (Edo)
  3. Nyesom Wike (Rivers)
  4. Joseph Utsev (Benue)
  5. John Eno (Cross River)
  6. Bello Mohammed (Sokoto)
  7. Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa)
  8. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar (Bauchi)
  9. Uju Ken Ohaneye (Anambra)
  10. Olubunmi Tunji Ojo (Ondo)
  11. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia)
  12. Betta Edu (Cross River)
  13. Imaan Suleiman (Nasarawa)
  14. David Umahi (Ebonyi)
  15. Adebayo Olawale Edun (Ogun)
  16. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa (Katsina)
  17. Uche Nnaji (Enugu)
  18. Dele Alake (Ekiti)
  19. Waheed Adebayo Adelabu (Oyo)
  20. Muhammad Idris (Niger)
  21. Ali Pate (Bauchi)
  22. Doris Uzoka (Imo)
  23. Lateef Fagbemi (Kwara)
  24. Ekperikpe Ekpo (Akwa Ibom)
  25. Annatu Musawa (Katsina)
  26. Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe)
  27. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger)
  28. Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa)
  29. Alkali Ahmed Sa’eed (Gombe)
  30. Yusuf Tanko Sununu (Kebbi)
  31. Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi)
  32. Bello Matawalle (Zamfara)
  33. Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun)
  34. Simon Bako Lalong (Plateau)
  35. Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo (Kano)
  36. Bosun Tijjani (Ogun)
  37. Mariya Mahmoud (Kano)
  38. Isiyaka Salako (Ogun)
  39. Tunji Alausa (Lagos)
  40. Lola Ade John (Lagos)
  41. Tahir Mamman (Adamawa)
  42. Zephaniah Jissalo (F.C.T)
  43. Uba Maigari Ahmadu (Taraba)
  44. Shuaibu Abubakar Audu (Kogi)
  45. Festus Keyamo (Delta)

FG Drops Contempt Suit Against NLC and TUC

In a surprising turn of events, the Federal Government has decided to abandon its pursuit of the contempt suit lodged against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). The decision comes after a tumultuous period marked by nationwide protests orchestrated by the labour movements, in response to perceived “anti-poor” and “insensitive” policies announced by the government.

The NLC had issued a stern ultimatum on July 26, demanding the reversal of policies such as the recent petrol price hike and sudden public school fee increments. This ultimatum was followed by a threat of strikes and mass demonstrations unless the government acceded to their demands.

Despite the government’s assertion that a national industrial court order restrained the unions from engaging in any industrial action regarding the petrol subsidy removal, organized labour persisted with widespread protests on Wednesday.

The federal government reacted by initiating contempt proceedings against the unions for allegedly flouting the court order. A “notice of consequences of disobedience to order of the court,” known as “form 48,” was filed before the national industrial court in Abuja, highlighting the alleged disruptions caused by the protests.

However, the tide took a new direction when leaders of the labour unions met with President Bola Tinubu at the presidential villa, leading to the suspension of the protests on Thursday. Subsequently, the solicitor-general of the federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba, conveyed in a letter addressed to Femi Falana, NLC’s counsel, that the government had opted to halt the contempt proceedings.

Jedy-Agba cited the intervention of President Tinubu and the unions’ decision to call off their industrial action as pivotal factors in this decision. The letter underscored that the initiation of “Form 48” was merely the preliminary step in contempt proceedings, which would have culminated in “Form 49” and a consequential committal order. However, given the altered circumstances and the suspension of the protests, the federal government chose not to proceed further with the contempt proceedings.

‘Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right,’ Cross River Gov. Appeals To Striking Doctors

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has issued a heartfelt appeal to the protesting members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to resolutely return to their solemn duty of preserving lives. Amidst a prevailing atmosphere of uncertainty caused by the abduction of one of their colleagues, Prof Ekanem Philip Ephraim, Governor Otu assured the medical fraternity of his administration’s unwavering commitment to securing the safe return of the kidnapped doctor.

Addressing the gathered members of the association during their peaceful protest for the immediate and unconditional release of Prof Ephraim, the Governor conveyed his deep concern and empathy. Emmanuel Ogbeche, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, reported that Governor Otu earnestly entreated the doctors to embrace their primary calling—saving lives—even in the midst of their anguish.

“I want to plead that while we still continue to work for the release of your colleague, please let doctors do the best that they can to save lives, because your main call is to save lives,” Governor Otu expressed. He acknowledged the profound pain that the medical community was experiencing and emphasized the futility of two wrongs attempting to right a grievous situation.

Governor Otu reassured the doctors of his commitment to fostering an enabling environment for them to fulfill their essential duties at all times. Amid the turmoil of the abduction, he underscored his administration’s shared distress and urged for the resumption of medical services that are vital to the community.

In addressing the pressing issue of kidnapping that has plagued the state, Governor Otu underscored his administration’s resolute stance in collaboration with security agencies to decisively combat and ideally eliminate this criminal scourge. The Governor’s assurance was punctuated by his unwavering dedication to ensuring the abducted doctor’s safe reunion with her family and professional colleagues.

Amid these challenges, Governor Otu lauded the dedication and sacrifices made by doctors across the state. He affirmed his administration’s commitment to prevailing over adversities posed by malevolent activities, while praising the resilience of the medical community.

ICPC Launches Investigation into Corruption Allegations Against Malami

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has initiated an inquiry into allegations of corruption and abuse of office against the immediate-past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. A memo, dated July 19, 2023, and signed by the Petition Registrar, H.S. Folaranmi, on behalf of ICPC Chairman Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, confirmed the commencement of the investigation.

The investigation comes in response to a petition filed by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), which accused Malami of corruption and high-handedness. The memo conveyed that “necessary action is being taken on the matter,” affirming the ICPC’s commitment to addressing the allegations.

HEDA’s petition, submitted on July 10, 2023, outlined a series of corruption allegations against Malami. Notably, it highlighted the reported distribution of 30 car gifts, valued at over N1 billion, to supporters in Kebbi State. These gifts allegedly included 14 Mercedes Benz, eight Prado SUVs, four Toyota Hilux, and four Lexus LX vehicles. Beneficiaries of these gifts reportedly encompassed social media influencers, executive members of Malami’s foundation, and women’s support groups.

Furthermore, HEDA pointed to the alleged illegal auctioning of sea vessels holding seized crude oil, in contravention of the EFCC Act 2004, as reported by TheCable Newspaper in July 2020. The group also raised concerns about the authorization of vessel sales by companies under EFCC prosecution for similar offenses, attributing these actions to Malami.

In a separate claim, HEDA referenced the purported duplicity of a $16.9 million fee payment to two individuals as new lawyers for the recovery of funds linked to former Nigerian Head of State, Sani Abacha. This payment allegedly transpired after Swiss lawyer Enrico Monfrini, engaged and compensated by the previous government for recovery assistance, had fulfilled his role.

The ICPC’s decision to initiate a formal investigation underscores the significance of these allegations and reinforces the commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability within Nigeria’s governance framework.

WAEC Releases 2023 WASSCE Results

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has officially unveiled the outcomes of the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), signaling a noteworthy surge in the pass rate among candidates and a substantial decline in reported cases of examination malpractice.

In an announcement made on Monday in Lagos, Patrick Areghan, WAEC’s Head of Nigeria’s Office, disclosed that out of the total 1,613,733 candidates who sat for the examination, an impressive 91.5%, equivalent to 1,476,565 candidates, have had their results fully processed and released.

While the vast majority celebrated their achievements, 137,168 candidates, constituting 8.5% of the total, found themselves awaiting the complete processing of their results. This minor delay was attributed to factors such as procedural shortcomings, non-compliance with rubrics, incomplete CASS uploads, and other issues tied to the schools and students involved.

Efforts are already underway to expedite the resolution process, ensuring that all concerned candidates swiftly receive their fully processed and released results within the coming days, as confirmed by Areghan.

The highlight of this year’s WASSCE results is the notable upswing in the pass rate. A substantial 84.38% of candidates, specifically 1,361,608 students, secured credit and above in a minimum of five subjects, with or without English Language or Mathematics. In an even more remarkable achievement, 79.81% of all candidates, totaling 1,287,920 individuals, achieved credits and above in a minimum of five subjects, which included both English Language and Mathematics.

In a promising trend, WAEC noted a decline in reported cases of examination malpractice. A total of 262,803 candidates, accounting for 16.29% of the total examinees, have had their results withheld due to suspicions of malpractice. This figure represents a notable decrease of 6.54% from the 22.83% recorded in the previous year’s WASSCE for School Candidates.

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