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House of Reps Passes Bill Establishing Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria

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On Thursday July 23, 2020 a bill seeking to establish an Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria scaled 3rd Reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB. 353) is sponsored by the lawmaker representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Livinus Makwe.

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According to the lawmaker the idea for the bill was borne out of the critical need to respond to issues of climate change which according to him is something that Nigeria must take very serious as there are already serious scientific evidences that climate change may in fact, be the greatest challenge confronting humanity. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Speaking further, Makwe told EPARLIAMENT that the bill when it eventually becomes law will help different sectors of the Nigerian society to “protect our environment, which is our most enduring resources as the Bill seeks to establish an Institute charged with the responsibility of regulating and managing environmental practices in Nigeria.”

Makwe said that Nigeria is already facing series of environmental challenges ranging from desert encroachment, erosion, oil spillage, flooding and many other environmental issues that pose serious threat to the economy and lives of Nigerians.

Explaining how the bill will work when it eventually becomes law, the lawmaker said that the “Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria will regulate the way human actions affect our environment.’ According to him, just like other professional bodies, the Institute will ensure that people respect the laws that regulate all manner of constructions, agricultural practices, and activities of extractive industries as well as individuals in relation to sustainable alteration of the natural environment.

The Institute according to the lawmaker will operate independent of the government, but will have representatives of various government ministries and agencies including, representatives of the Ministries of Environment, Health, Petroleum Resources, Agriculture and Works and Housing.

Other agencies of the government that will be part of the Institute’s board are Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria and the National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency of Nigeria (NESREA). Nigerian Environmental Society and the Waste Management Society of Nigeria will also be part of the institute’s council for effective environmental management action.

The passage of the bill for 3rd reading followed the unanimous support of the bill by lawmakers in the House who had earlier on Tuesday July 21, 2020 when the details of the bill was considered and unanimously approved at the House’ Committee of the Whole.

The Green Chamber will now proceed for other legislative actions on the bill for it to get the concurrence approval from the Senate in readiness for its presentation to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent to become a substantive law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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OPHK North-East: Air strike Targeted ISWAP Camp Not Fishermen – Defence

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The 2th September 2021 Air Strike by Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) troops around the Lake Chad area targeted at the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, not Fishermen, The Defence has said.

The Acting Director Defence Media Operations, Brigadier-General Benard Onyeuko, made this know as he debunked the misguided media reports trending on the social media alleging that Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) troops killed 20 Fishermen in an Air Strike in Kwatan Daban Masara on Sunday 26 Sep 21, around the Lake Tchad area of North East Nigeria. “Contrary to the report, the interdiction targeted and neutralized clearly identified ISWAP terrorists and not fishermen”. he said.

In a press statement which was made available to our correspondent in maiduguri the Borno state capital, said “It is thus pertinent to make clarifications on the air interdiction recently conducted in the general area by OPHK”.

“Responding to credible Intelligence report on the movement and operation of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists massed up within the forested area, thorough analysis of the intelligence report was conducted between 19 August and 23 September 2021. Special Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission was also carried out, which confirmed the area as the terrorists’ staging area.”

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Further confirmatory reconnaissance revealed that the observed movements and
activities were of ISWAP, dressed in the usual ISWAP-styled uniform.

The terrorists used the thick foliage for cover and concealment to carry out their
nefarious activities. They disguised as fishermen, with canoes loaded with unidentified items, berthed along the river bank”.

“They were however observed not engaging in any fishing activity, but loading their canoes with unidentified items to be ferried to other locations”.

“It is also very essential to point out that the ban on fishing activities within that general axis is still in force. It is equally of importance, to note that there was no
presence of women and children in the area. Troops also ensured that civilian
settlements were not in any way along the line of fire and strikes in order to prevent collateral damage that may arise in the conduct of the air strikes”.

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“It was after all these considerations that an air interdiction was carried out on the terrorists’ camp on Sunday, 26 Sep, 2021”.

“The Defence Headquarters therefore wishes to unambiguously state that necessary steps were taken to ascertain the presence of the terrorists before the interdiction.

He added that OPHK will continue to safe guard lives and property of innocent civilians. We urge members of the public not to be swayed by the trending misinformation”.

“It is crucial to reiterate that the mandate of OPHK remains to conduct Counter
Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations against all adversaries fighting the nation in North East Nigeria”.

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Statement added that “we will continue to remain focused and dedicated to that mandate in defence of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country, Nigeria. We call on the good people of Borno state, and the north east in general to continue to avail troops with credible information for operational enhancement”.

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Drug war: Assets confiscation will weaken cartels – Marwa

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Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) has charged other Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa to consider targeting the assets of drug cartels as a veritable tool that will weaken criminal narcotics networks.

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He gave the charge while delivering Nigeria’s statement at the virtual extraordinary session for Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies to share experiences and best practices in efforts to address and counter the world drug problem, on Tuesday, September 21.  

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According to him, the disruption of the traditional criminal trafficking routes means that law enforcement personnel must be familiar with new technologies, techniques and strategies employed by organised criminal groups and traffickers. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

In order to proactively deal with these new challenges, there is therefore, an urgent need to strengthen international cooperation in identifying and managing evolving challenges in drug trafficking. 

“We must continue to weaken criminal drug networks through effective asset tracing and confiscation.” Marwa said.

The NDLEA boss added, “We should therefore, deepen international cooperation to address the increasing links between transnational organised crime, corruption, illicit financial flows, trafficking in drugs and related crimes. Let us not spare any effort in eliminating barriers to effective collaboration as we demonstrate commitment to our shared responsibilities.”

While stating that Nigeria has remained dynamic in her counter narcotic operations in line with the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire by drug trafficking cartels to explore new markets and routes in furtherance of their criminal activities, Gen. Marwa told the global audience that;

“We are taking steps to tackle the online distribution of narcotic drugs, which has become prevalent among organised drug trafficking criminal groups, particularly since the global shut down last year. “In the last eight months, Nigeria has made over 8,634 arrests with 1,630 convictions.  Over two million kilograms of drugs seized with over N100billion in cash and seized drugs.” He said.

He listed other proactive steps taken by Nigeria to address and counter the various aspects of the drug problem. “We have developed the 4th edition of our National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025, with four strategic pillars namely: Supply reduction, Demand reduction, Access to Controlled Medicines for medical purposes, Governance and Coordination. 

“As part of our control programmes, the country recently launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) to further amplify the national drive on both drug supply and drug demand reduction. As a result, we are collaborating with all levels of government, civil-society groups, Non-governmental Organizations, schools and relevant institutions, he added.

He emphasized the importance of strengthening international cooperation in addressing drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organised crimes, especially on the African continent. “Nigeria is committed to strong regional alliances which in the short term could be fostered through Memoranda of Understanding between our different agencies in the African Continent and beyond. 

A good example was the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Drug Law Enforcement Agency of the Gambia (DLEA), he assured his counterparts.

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UNILAG Crisis: FG Dismisses Media Report Indicting School’s Management

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The Federal Government has dismissed media reports that a visitation panel report had indicted the management of University of Lagos (UNILAG) following the leadership crisis that engulfed the university in 2020.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal ministry of education, Arch Sonny Echono, during a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, dismissed the allegations.

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He stated that the Federal Government was in the process of issuing a white paper on the regular visitation panel committees to address all findings and recommendations, including that of UNILAG.

Echono explained that the Federal Government had earlier issued a White Paper on the report of the 2020 Special Presidential Visitation Panel to UNILAG which brought about the dissolution of the former Governing Council and the reinstatement of the Vice Cancellor, Prof. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

He said that the claims in the media was false, unfounded and mischievous, as they have no bearing with the report submitted by the Panel.

“When government sets up panels, they are usually for a specific purpose articulated in the terms of reference of each panel which guides the direction the panelists are to carry out their functions.

“In 2020, there was a crisis in UNILAG and a special visitation panel was set up to look at the issues.

“The Federal Government had removed the Vice Chancellor and was given 10 terms of reference to establish the removal of the Vice Chancellor and the appointment of an acting Vice Chancellor.

“The special panel submitted its report which the government considered for a white paper,” he said.

Echono added  that the report of a special visitation panel was submitted to the ministry on Aug. 31, adding that the report in the media was distraction, unnecessary and a complete forgery.

“It is unfortunate this is coming from the media, we do not deserve this distraction. We should be allowed to focus on restoring our university systems.

“The white paper for the special visitation panel to the schools in the public domain and the media can request for it,” he said.

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