NEWS

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The Federal Government has mapped out modalities to implement sanctions against erring companies in the areas of environmental degradation through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy as parts of efforts of the government to create healthy and sustainable environment

This, it said is part of efforts to ensure that companies cooperate and keep to the end of their bargain of acquiring their end products from the consumer.

As part of the sanctions, firms will be made to pay fines or face court sanctions, the Director General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Dr. Ngeri Benebo,said.

The EPR programme was set up to ensure that companies buy back the end products from their users to ensure the sanitisation of the environment. A procedure that is tuned towards ‘the polluter pays’ principle.

It is also an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle.

The EPR policy is characterised by: the shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities; and the provision of incentives to producers to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products. While other policies may target a single point in the chain, EPR seeks to integrate signals related to the environmental characteristics of products and production processes throughout the product chain.

By placing the responsibility for a product’s end-of-life environmental impacts on the producers, the EPR policy is also expected to push them to redesign their products for a friendly environment. Such change, while reducing waste management costs, should as well reduce materials use and enhance product reusability and recyclability.

Hence, the Programme will ensure that companies producing bottled water, drinks, sachet water etc, buy back the empty containers after the products have been consumed.

Speaking in an interview with journalists, Benebo, said all companies with products that have end products have been asked to set up collection centre where they can buy back their end products.

She noted that government had given the companies enough time to set up collection mechanisms as well as infrastructure that will take off some of the burden of cleaning up as government cannot do all alone .

“There are sanctions in place but we have not started applying it, we are giving them till next year to be able to put everything in place. But before the end of this year you must have your producer responsibility organisation. There are people that they can contract to do it for them, that is their umbrella name. So you can decide to do it on your own or a group of you can decide to do it, but you must have an outfit, either directly from your facility or external to your facility to carry out this activity for you. We are looking at January next year to kick off the sanctions”.

Benebo further noted that discussions with companies have been going on for a while now, giving them enough time to put in place all they needed for the EPR, hence sanctions were stalled.

“They are doing some corporate social responsibility here and there, but they are not doing the buy back of their products, because that is what gives a toll on our sanitation in the country. Because you take your yoghurt you throw the pack away, you take your coke you throw the pet bottle away, bournvita, the can is thrown somewhere. Outside that we talk about electronics, everyday there are new models of phones coming in, you are discarding it, atleast opportunity your phone gives problems, you just buy another one and throw it away, you can imagine how many of such batteries you throw away everyday” she said.

She further stated that government is now “saying that enough is enough, let people be responsible for the end results of their products, it is a part of polluter pays principle and that is what is done globally”.

She however noted that already, some companies are already buying in to the programme after initially dragging feet over gathering end products from far places where they are consumed.

“So where ever you have a distribution network use the same distribution network to collect and evolve a safe and environmentally sound method of disposing those products.
“So that in that way the burden of the waste is taken off a little bit from the municipality, because government cannot do all this alone” she said adding that “So it is a matter of polluter pays principle and everybody should be accountable for their wastes”.

Insisting that every company, small or large, whose products are consumed in Nigeria must strictly adhere  to the EPR policy of government she said “for the smaller companies, if you are small your products can’t go far, so you can easily retrieve your products, because you don’t have the distribution networks. Since you don’t have the distribution network your products in Abuja cannot get to Borno state and if you are small what you are even going to produce will not cause such a menace to the society. Unlike when you get to everywhere you find coke, everywhere you find telephones”.

She added that for the sachet water packs , a lot is currently being taken off the streets while unfortunately more was being thrown back in, however in some states some cottage industries have mandated people to go round picking the empty sachets and they pay them. This, she said is later recycled into smaller balls which is used for some other products.

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The co-convener of the #BringBackOurGirls group, Hadiza Bala Usman has taken a swipe at the some principal officers of the Federal Government for criticizing her membership of the #BringBackOurGirls group.
Mr Usman, who is a member of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), an incidentally a con-convener of the group advocating for the release of the over 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram has been a subject of negative campaign by agents of the government for being a member of the opposition party in the group.

The FG views her presence in the movement as one sponsored by the APC to discredit president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

But Mrs Usman in her response said she is not in the group as a member of the APC, but as human bieng, a woman, a mother and as a Nigeria.
Her statement reads;
I have watched, with keen interest, recent attempts by some principal officers of the Federal Government of Nigeria to discredit me and the #BringBackOurGirls group. This is not new. It has been the case since we commenced our citizens-driven advocacy movement, which explains why my initial reaction was to ignore the chatter and concentrat…e on the noble work of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Unfortunately, my humble silence is being taken as license to further dissuade and divide the populace by spreading inaccurate information, through advertorials, thereby tagging the #BringBackOurGirls group as an affiliate of the APC.I, Hadiza Bala Usman, the Convener/Initiator of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, is a member of the APC, and there has been no time I have hidden this fact or tried to mask it. But let’s be clear, when I worked to mobilize women, men, and Nigerians at large to come out on April 30th to protest that the Government should intensify efforts to #BringBackOurGirls, I did so not as an APC member, but first as a HUMAN BEING, as a WOMAN, a MOTHER, a NIGERIAN and an AFRICAN. It was never about politics and/or my political affiliations; it was rather about our shared humanity as human beings. As a mother, I have experienced the trauma of not knowing where my child is for few minutes; does it then surprise many why I would be moved to act on behalf of mothers who are yet to see their daughters for 2 weeks (at the first instance) and now over 189 days after?

I came out as a concerned citizen of Nigeria, one that is very interested in the unity, growth, and development of this nation; one that knows the important role an educated girl-child would play in contributing to the success we all anticipate for our dear country. That these girls dared education in the face of terrorism, intimidation, insecurity, and other life-threatening circumstances, is a rare display of courage, doggedness, and hope. This is why I, alongside other #BringBackOurGirls campaigners, daily advocate to make sure these girls are not forgotten, but that they come home to contribute their quota to national development.

I came out as someone who, from a very young age, watched my (late) father always advocating and standing up for what is right, no matter the cost. These are values he passed down to me and there was no way I was not going to stand up and demand for the rescue of the Chibok girls. My father would have done the same if he were here.

No one should be made to make the choice of being a member of a political party and being empathetic towards issues that bother on our shared humanity; neither should any citizen be denied the right and opportunity to express their natural humanistic tendency of compassion, on the premise of divisive sentiments, interests, and affiliations. When we allow such divisive narratives as that being peddled by people paid with taxpayers’ money to fester in our national discourse, we must see that rather than gain, we lose instead. Rather than come united, we become disunited.

This moment therefore offers for us a unique chance to stand united as a nation, whether you are in PDP, APGA, APC, or any political party; Christian or Muslim; from the North or the South. The issue of the abducted Chibok girls is an opportunity to UNITE and not DIVIDE – to unite against insurgency, terrorism, and every common enemy that seeks to divide us as a people. We must unite to ensure that every girl and boy in Nigeria has equal access to education. We must unite to change the narrative that no matter one’s tribe, gender, religion, social strata, interests, and political affiliations, we can all come together as one to transform our beloved nation for the best.

I, Hadiza Bala Usman, choose to tow the path of UNITY. I will not be intimidated by anyone, and I will continue to stand for the Chibok girls regardless of my tribe, religion and political affiliation.

SIGNED

 
Hadiza Bala Usman

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A chieftain of the the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Audu Ogbeh has apologised to the BringBackOurGirls Movement over his recent statement linking the group to the party.

In a letter personally signed by him, Chief Ogbeh said his statement was not intended at painting the group as a sub-group of the APC.

Chief Ogbeh had during the formal declaration of the former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari said the BringBackOurGirls campaign is led by “members of our party, the APC.”

He commended the movement, hailing them for sustaining attention on the missing Chibok girls. To him, the campaigners remain “the only living witness that Nigeria still has a conscience.” He said that if the federal government goes ahead with its rumoured attempt to arrest the campaigners, they would have to arrest “all of us.”

His comment drew the immediate reaction of former World Bank VP, Obiageli Ezekwesili, who is a leader of the group.

She said on Twitter: “I take very strong exception to what is being credited to Mr. Audu Ogbe of APC. Another tragic low in making #ChibokGirls political pawns.

“I am neither covertly or overtly a member of teh APC, PDP or any other party. It is false and wrong to say @BBOG_Nigeria is led by members of APC.

“If Mr. Ogbe is being correctly quoted, he can only be referring to those of their members who are part of @BBOG_Nigeria as are PDP members.

“Yesterday one of our most vexed speakers on our #ChibokGirls is a staunch PDP member who said he was responsible for PDP’s only seat in Borno. Never has there been any speck of political party consideration in anything that the strategic team of the group that I chair does.

The Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party have also cashed in on the comment to sponsor propaganda against the group maintaining that it is a political movement of the opposition aimed at discrediting President Godluck Jonathan.

But in his letter of apology which also clarifies his statement, Chief Ogbeh said he did not implied that the group is an APC grouop.

The letter reads in part:

“I feel obliged to let you know that my statement at our function last week was not intended to paint your group as an APC sub-group.” “This is because, from wjat we know, less than 2% of the group are our party members, but members we value highly”

“The rest of you are not and may not belong to any political association whatsoever. This is not to say you have no right to be if you choose to”

If my statement caused you discomfort, I do apologise, but reiterate that I have nothing but respect for you for keeping a six months vigil and telling the world that Nigerian conscience is not entirely dead. The world is watching and making judgment.

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In a related development, the Nigerian military has reactivated its alert level in order not to allow what it has described as criminal elements or disgruntled terrorist cells taking advantage of the ceasefire to wreak havoc on the North-east or seize territories.

According to a security source, the military rather than being on the offensive in violation of the ceasefire agreement has adopted a self-defence strategy aimed at protecting lives and properties of Nigerian citizens as well as defending the territorial integrity of the country.

The source also revealed that the military has come under tremendous pressure from the government to refrain from going on the offensive against the perpetrators of the recent attacks in Borno and Adamawa, even though there have been adequate response and return of fire when troops came under attack.

“The self-defence strategy the military has adopted is not just defending themselves but also defending Nigeria’s territory. The ceasefire is not about ceasing fire when an enemy is invading your territory or killing your citizens and you keep quiet. No, it is not done that way.

“There is also enormous pressure on the military from the political class for restraint in the face of provocation by some criminal elements acting as Boko Haram members or those trying to truncate the ceasefire agreement. However, this does not mean that military should not defend themselves, the Nigerian territory and its citizens,” the source said.

The new approach was also supported by a security analyst and former Director in the Department of State Security Service (DSS), Mr. Mike Ejiofor, who said the federal government and military should ensure that the country’s territorial integrity is preserved.

“I think despite the need to sustain the ceasefire agreement, the position of the federal government and in fact that of the military is that the country’s territory must be defended if or when attacked,” Ejiofor said.

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General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, yesterday, defended the national president of the Christian Association, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, following the controversy surrounding the seizure of $9.3 million arms purchase funds by South Africa.

Pastor Adeboye who spoke in London during an ecclesiastical visit said, “Pastor Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor is a man of God I trust and I can personally vouch for him. I believe on the issue of his aircraft being chartered and the purpose it was used for he had no prior knowledge. I’m sure God will continue to build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail in Jesus name. One anointed cannot attack another anointed. A pastor cannot attack another pastor. Touch not my anointed is what God said. Some Nigerians have questioned the use of Pastor Oritsejafor’s private jet by the Federal Government to convey the money to South Africa, accusing him of involvement in money laundering.”

The Federal Government had to come out in defence of the CAN president, arguing that Oritsejafor who is also the founder of Word of Life Bible Church has no hand in the deal. The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan (Public Communication), Dr. Doyin Okupe, told newsmen in Abuja: “Oritsejafor is the President of CAN and head of all Christians in Nigeria who is representing at least, 50 per cent of people in this country. When it comes to a man like that, people should be cautious and circumspect.”

Okupe also advised Nigerians to stop playing politics with every issue of national concern, saying it is not in tandem with patriotism.

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President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday met behind closed doors with the former Borno State Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

Their meeting may not be unconnected with the ceasefire agreement reached with the extremist Boko Haram sect. Abusidiqu had reported in the wake of the ceasefire announcement by the military how the President and Sheriff influenced the ceasefire deal.

READ: How President Jonathan, Ali Modu Sheriff Influenced Ceasefire Deal with Boko Haram

Sheriff, who has been fingered as one of the sponsors of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, declined to speak with State House correspondents at the end of the over one hour meeting.

Dressed in a cream coloured ‘Agbada’ Sheriff said to journalists: “No time today. I’m going to see the Chief of Staff.”

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Nigeria’s former leader, His Excellency, Gen. (Dr.) Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has being described as an integral part of Nigeria’s political history whose towering sense of  patriotism and nationalism is simply outstanding.

Former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, in his goodwill message on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the reputable elder statesman  said Dr. Gowon’s place in the nation’s  history is not in contest as  it is replete with awesome records of achievements both in and outside power. “From his early life which reflected an all-round school boy who excelled both in academics and sports, Dr. Gowon’s fine military career capped by his ascent to the exalted position as the Head of State at a very ‘tender’ age of 31 was a story of a rare personality on who leadership was trusted upon at a crucial period in a nation’s history”.

“Navigating the country through the dark days of civil war, his philosophy of ‘No victor, no vanquished’ and the subsequent rehabilitation, reconciliation and reconstruction project revealed a personality with unflinching commitment to the unity of the country”.
“It is on record that the unprecedented developmental projects executed during his regime marked the golden era of our national life. Dr. Gowon is indeed a phenomenon”.

According to Otunba Daniel,  “rising form the ashes of the civil war, Dr. Gowon was able to put the nation together and rallied political leaders to achieve the much wanted unity in the country”

His deep humanism, Otunba Daniel said, reflects in his involvement in the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme as well as the HIV Programme. It was also in fulfilment of his unflinching commitment to a peaceful and united Nigeria, free of disease and poverty, where every citizen has an opportunity for self expression and the realization of their full potentials that he founded the Yakubu Gowon Centre to work on issues in Nigeria such as good governance as well as infectious disease control including HIV/AIDS, guinea worm, and malaria.

His ‘elder statesman’ role in African politics also underscores his phenomenal posture in and beyond the continent” making him one of the greatest and most celebrated Nigerians of all times.

 

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After weeks of shock over the defection of Chief Peter Obi to the Peoples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s widow, Bianca, has lambasted the former governor of Anam­bra State for his actions.

Bianca, who is Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, had told Daily Sun on the eve of the day Obi dumped the All Progres­sives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the PDP that the ex-governor would never leave the party believed to be the rallying point for the Igbo because of the vow he made before Ojukwu. Thus when Obi dumped APGA, Bianca was shocked beyond words, as the former governor had reas­sured her over time that he would remain in APGA and help to sustain the party.

As he left, Obi, oblivious of the “injury” he had caused Bianca, decided to look for an opportunity to placate her and found one last Friday, October 17, which, how­ever, turned to be a shocker also for him.

Obi had trailed Bianca to the Nether­lands where she was being honoured by The Voice Newspaper, as the Outstand­ing Ambassador of Africa, but Bianca declined all the entreaties made by Obi at the event.

The organisers of the award had penciled down Obi to present the award to Bianca but when it became obvious that the ambassador had made up her mind never to have anything to do with him, they quickly drafted an ambassador from the country to do the presentation.

In this exclusive interview with Daily Sun, Bianca looked at the relationship between the late leader of APGA, Ikemba Nnewi, saying Obi had betrayed him, APGA and Ndigbo, even when he was the greatest beneficiary of Ojukwu and APGA influence in Igbo land.

She, therefore, described Obi’s defec­tion to the PDP, as a “betrayal and unimaginable breach of trust,” saying though his exit was a big loss to the party, APGA, nevertheless, would continue to hit successes without him.

 

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It appears the Nigerian military has also violated the ceasefire agreement reached with the Boko Haram insurgents group as Nigerian troops battle insurgents in Damboa Borno State.

Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh had on Friday announced that the Nigerian military and Boko Haram sect has reached a ceasefire deal.

“Without any prejudice to the outcome of our three days interactions, and the conclusions of this forum, I wish to inform this audience that a ceasefire agreement has been concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Allul Sunna Li Daawa Waj Jihad.

“I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development in the field,” Badeh said.

The announcement of the ceasefire deal was however followed by violent attacks in Borno and Adamawa States at the weekend, where no less than 30 persons have been killed and 40 women abducted in Adamawa village.

But while the Nigerian government claims the truce is real and it is keeping to its own side of the bargain, military officers on the frontline claimed that they were yet to receive operational order that they cease hostilities. As a result, the troops from the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army on Sunday fought dozens of suspected members of Boko Haram in the town of Damboa in Borno state, witnesses and security sources said.

“Honestly, we are yet to receive any operational order on the ceasefire.As such, we are battle-ready and would confront the terrorists if we see them,” a senior military officer told the AFP.

Another senior intelligence official in the region also indicated to AFP that he had not received word about the purported ceasefire.

The vigilante group who have been involved in the fight against the insurgents also engaged the sect in a battle saying the ceasefire appears to be a sham.

“We all heard of the ceasefire over the radio but it seems the insurgents are not perturbed at all,” a resident, Mallam Babagana, said on Sunday.

“To me, they (the militants) don’t even care about it because they increased their attacks from Friday, the very day the ceasefire was announced. By Saturday, they hoisted their flags.”

Babagana said local hunters on their way to recover the bodies of the eight fought battles with militants on Saturday in Azul, also in the Hawul local government area.

“The unrelenting terrorists waylaid our members at around 9:00 am and serious fighting ensued,” said Babagana, who heads a local vigilante group.

“We lost four of our members and we killed three terrorists.”

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