Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sanni in his opening remarks stated the purpose of the gathering which was to screen the nominees of Mr. President for reappointment to the positions of Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Aishah Ndanusa Ahmad and Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu. He said that the committee would be engaging the nominees on several issues relating to their background, qualifications, experience and CBN policies, especially the cashless policy and newly introduced cash withdrawal limits. Thereafter, he requested the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, to introduce the nominees.
Senator Omoworare stated the purpose of the gathering and requested Mr. Adamu to introduce himself. Mr. Adamu stated that he was the current DG of Corporate Services at the CBN and an indigene of Gombe State, presenting himself for consideration for the position nominated.
Thereafter, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad introduced herself as the DG Financial System Stability at the CBN, adding that the directorate was responsible for ensuring a safe and sound financial system and credible efficient payments system, a core mandate of the CBN. She thereafter requested the permission of the Chairman of the Committee to address his comments on the cashless policy.
In her response, Mrs. Ahmad gave an overview of the cashless policy in Nigeria, stating that it was first introduced over 10 years ago in 2012 starting in Lagos State. In 2013 the policy was later extended to 6 additional states and the FCT.
Since then, Nigerians have continued to embrace the cashless policy by using electronic channels for their transactions, whilst the Nigerian payments system and telecommunications infrastructure continued to develop.
She spoke of the significant growth in the variety and number of financial access points expanding from just bank and MFB branches to include agents.
She stated that agents could perform an increasing variety of transactions including cash in cash out, bill payments, and even account opening. Under the CBN’s SANEF initiative, the agent network had grown to 1.4m agents which agents available in every local government in Nigeria.
She stated that whilst the growth in the network was not even, there was representation in every state.
She added that in furtherance of its mandate to develop an efficient payments system, the CBN had continued to license more financial institutions including allowing the telcos to participate in financial services through the Payment Service Bank license, recognizing their extensive technology platforms and wide agent network.
The DG reiterated the various options open to Nigerians to perform financial transactions including mobile money, USSD, Internet banking, mobile apps, e naira, agents and mobile POS, etc. All of these would ensure that Nigerians would seamlessly adapt to the cashless policy to enable financial inclusion and economic growth.
In her closing remarks, she pledged the CBN’s commitment to ensuring that Nigerians in the rural areas and informal sector are not disenfranchised, stating that the Bank would be flexible in its monitoring and implementation of the new cash withdrawal limits. She reminded the committee that indeed the cashless policy had been amended in the past in response to feedback from stakeholders and that the January 9 date was set to enable such engagement and feedback to be held.
Thereafter, another member of the committee stated that the nominees had been in their positions and performed creditably well. He proposed that the committee approve that they took a bow. He said, “Fortunately she’s a woman and the rule is that if the woman takes a bow the man must also be allowed to follow and do the same!”
Senator Sani Musa of Niger East Senatorial zone related a message from the people of Niger state stating: I bring a message from the people of Niger state concerning our daughter and sister Aishah Ndanusa Ahmad.
“We are Proud of Aishah and consider her a jewel the financial system has benefitted from her varied experience in the banking sector. She has put her critics to shame as they are unable to find her wanting in any area.
She has done us proud and we thus pray the committee grants her an opportunity to continue to serve the Nigerian economy.
Senator Goje also relayed a message from the people of Gombe state stating that they would like to simply commend their son, Edward Lametek Adamu for his performance and request that he and his colleague be asked to take a bow.
The Chairman of the Committee put the motion to a vote and it was unanimously carried.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance & Other Financial Institutions is expected to present its report to a full plenary session of the senate next week.
Stakeholders Call For Repositioning Of Police Duty Solicitor Scheme
Stakeholders have asked for the repositioning of the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) so that Nigerians everywhere in the country can have effective access to justice.
The call was made at a stakeholders meeting at the weekend in Abuja to commemorate the International Human Rights Day.
Experts at the occasion called for renewed understanding among police officers on how the PDSS supports the Police Force from investigation to court appearance.
Among those who spoke at the event include the former Inspector General of Police and Chairman, Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,, Lateef Fagbemi SAN; Director General, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Aliyu Abubakar; Project Manager, Criminal Justice Reform, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC Phase II) Programme, Dr. Oluwatoyin Badejogbin among others.
The event which marked the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender Based Violence 2023, was organised by the European Union-funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (RoLAC II) of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) in collaboration with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON).
In his opening remarks, the Director General, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Aliyu Abubakar highlighted the benefits of the Scheme to include: fosterimg community policing and strengthening service delivery by the Police; increase protection and promotion of the legal and human rights of suspects and detainees; improve accountability and transparency in the Police Force; promote access to justice for the poor; vulnerable and marginalized persons; improve the quality of legal assistance and justice delivery in Nigeria and increase Nigeria’s compliance with her international human rights obligations.
He asked for cooperation from the Police hierarchy ahead of rolling out of the Scheme nationwide.
Delivering his keynote address, Arase noted that the introduction of the PDSS, in response to the imperative outlined in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), was a watershed moment in our commitment to safeguarding the rights of individuals in police custody.
According to the Police Service Commission boss, the gains achieved through the PDSS have been transformative, not only in principle but in tangible, life-changing ways.
He however called for a more comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses systemic issues within the country’s criminal justice system.
He said: “Historically, detainees faced prolonged periods in police facilities without access to legal representation, leading to routine violations of their rights. The PDSS, driven by a commitment to justice, has become a mechanism through which lawyers provide free legal services to detainees across Nigeria, ensuring that their rights are not only protected on paper but upheld in practice.
“While the success of the PDSS is evident in specific regions, there is a need for widespread replication and adoption. The lessons learned in Anambra, Edo, FCT, and Lagos should serve as a blueprint for other states, fostering a culture of legal responsibility and collaboration that transcends regional boundaries”.
On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,, Lateef Fagbemi, represented by Gladys Odigbaro, Director of Solicitor Department, Federal Ministry of Justice pointed out that the enforcement of Force Order 20 and other relevant provisions of Administration and Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) are commendable milestones in the concerted efforts to address the crisis of arbitrary, irrational and interminable pretrial (awaiting trial) detentions in the country.
He noted that the Scheme also comes with the advantage of preventing undue congestion of inmates in correctional facilities with the consequential benefit of saving government the resources required to maintain a large population of inmates or detainees.
The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, who was represented by AIG Shehu Gwarzo, said the Police Duty Solicitor Scheme as captured by Force Order 20, aims to contribute to the realization of the ongoing reform programme of his administration.
He said: “Force Order 20 addresses ‘free legal services for arrested and/or detained persons in police formations’ and institutes the PDSS as a country-wide mechanism for its delivery. It expands the provision of legal services in police stations by ensuring prompt access to Duty Solicitors for suspects. It implements the constitutional promise of access to counsel in police stations in Nigeria.”
On what informed the event, Dr. Oluwatoyin Badejogbin, Project Manager, Criminal Justice Reform, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (Phase II) Programme of International IDEA said it was aimed at establishing renewed commitment of the IGP to grant duty solicitors access to police detention centres as well as initiate renewed understanding among Police on how the PDSS supports the Police Force from investigation to court appearance.
Police spokespersons from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were among participants at the event.
Nigerian Govt, UN Agencies Urged To Scale Up Funding For SGBV
The Nigerian Government, United Nations and all relevant stakeholders have been advised to step up fundings and investment in the ongoing battle against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in order to consign the malady to history.
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Women Aspire Empowerment Initiative (WAEI) gave this advice at the weekend in Abuja as part of it’s activities to commemorate the 2023, 16 days activism.
Making the appeal at a summit set to establishing grassroot women advocacy and activism movement to stop Violence Against Women and Girls in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Founder WAEI, Dr. Bibiana Okereafor stressed the need to address the socio-economic demands of survivors of SGBV, by empowering women and girls to reduce the inequality that exists in the society, and also continue to advocate for the reduction of gender based violence through the implementation of laws and policies to stop Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWGs).
Okereafor said: “Practical evidence shows that strong and independent women movements are the most important force to drive policy change in GBV. Unfortunately, such women entities and movements that are key drivers of mobilization/recruitment are not being funded.
“Increasing funding sources that are long term in nature to finance Women-focused rights organisations is key to funding solutions and response to VAWGs in Nigeria.”
She added that: “We are calling on the federal government through the office of the Women Affairs Minister, Barrister Uju Kennedy to push for the inclusion of Funding Organisations that are involved in the fight to prevent VAWG, as well as the rehabilitation of existing victims/survivors and reduce incidents of future violence.
“We also call on Federal Government organizations, states, international bodies, UN Women & Corporate organizations, high net-worth individuals within and outside Nigeria to give financial support to stop continued VAWG in Nigeria.
Okereafor further questioned the intentionality of government about ending VAWG, noting that the poor distribution of amount allocated to the nation through international funding as well as the distribution of generated funds among organisation’s working to stop Violence Against Women and Girls.
She also called for the speedy legislation of the 5 Gender Based Bills thrown out by the 9th Assembly, and the creation of a one stop centre for the victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, medical, psychosocial and counselling for female survivors of Sexual Assault.
Delivering his keynote Address, Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) Tijani Ahmed
noted that violence against women and girls is a pressing global issue that requires collective attention and action, lamenting that human lost due to violence against women and girls is incalculable and an unfortunate reality that continues to persist.
He however commended the call for establishment of a grassroots women’s advocacy and activism movement stating that “it is an essential step. Such a movement aims to empower women and girls, provide them with a platform to raise their voices and promote gender equality in all aspects of life. By mobilizing at the grassroots level, we can ensure that the voices of marginalized women and girls and their specific needs are addressed.
Ahmed, who was represented by an Assistant Director in the Commission, Comfort Sanni said: “To establish a successful grassroots movement, we need to focus on key areas, awareness and education: This movement should start by raising awareness about violence against women and girls.
“We need to educate communities, both rural and urban, about the various forms of violence and their detrimental effects on individuals and society as a whole. By dispelling and challenging stereotypes, we can change attitudes and foster a culture of respect and gender equality
“In the FCT, we must take a firm stand against such acts of violence and work towards creating a safer and more inclusive society for everyone. This is the bane of this year’s commemoration,” he said.
Also, Women and Children’s rights activist and Public Analyst, Nana Kazaure reiterated that violence meted to women have grave consequences on their well being, stating that it is a greater cause of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.
Kazaure also stated that “as troubling as these incidents are, they do not evoke in Nigerians, the needed empathy to prompt them to action. Instead, a pervasive culture of silence pervades the land as everyone stuck in our traditional “siddon look” or “waka pass mode re-in forced by our see no evil, hear no evil mindset.
“Traditional attitudes of hostility and discrimination against women underpinned by mindless stereotyping, have been exacerbated by violence perpetrated by corporate non-state actors and individuals across all the geopolitical zones of the country with hundreds of thousands of women and their children uprooted from their homes and handed off to Internally Displaced Persons camps where the majority of them become victims of rape of camp officials in order to obtain favour.”
CLO To Honour Obi, Umeh, Moghalu, Others At 75th UDHR Celebration
By Chuks Eke
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Anambra State Branch is set to bestow meritorious services award to five prominent citizens who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of human endeavours and at the same time rendering selfless services to humanity.
State Chairman of the organization, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme who disclosed this yesterday in a press statement he issued in Onitsha, said Distinguished Beacon of Democracy Award would bestowed on the Presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP in the last election, Peter Obi, while
Human Rights Personality of the Year” Award would be bestowed on Hon.Justice Veronica Ngozi Umeh (retd.)
Flanked by the state Secretary of CLO, Chidi Mbah, Ezekwueme further disclosed that Human Rights Ambassadors Award would be bestowed on Chief Dr George Moghalu, immediate past Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, just as “Human Rights Defender Award would given to Nze Emeka Umeagbalasi, human rights activist, criminologist and social crusader.
He noted that the event which will take place on Sunday, December 10 at the Basilica of St Andrew Hall Odoakpu Onitsha by 12 noon, under the distinguished chairmanship of Most Rev. Dr. Bishop Moses Ezedebego Chairman Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeriia, PFN, ,Anambra State Branch, has Governor Chukwuma Soludo as Chief Guest o Honour.
He noted that the awardees were nominated based on meritorious services, impeccable character, integrity, patriotism, uprightness and selflessness.
adding that the award wining and outstanding DPO Central Police Station, CPS, Onitsha CSP Rabiu Garuba will deliver UDHR @75th lecture with the theme “The Roles of Civil Society Organizations in Nation Building”.
According to him, among other prominent Nigerians expected at the event include Senator Dr Victor Umeh, Senator Dr Uche Ekwunife, Publisher Realnews Magazine Chief Mrs Maureen Chigbo, Senator Dr Tony Nwoye, Bishop Dr.Owen Nwokolo, of the Anglican Diocese on the Niger; Chief Val Ozigbo, Chief Moses Aniemenam,Hon.Jude Umennajiego,Hon. Fred Ezenwa, Dr Chibueze Oforbike T.C.Aguata, Barr.Ada Ikedunu,human rights activist and National President Women Arise for Change Initiative Dr.Joe Odumakin among others.
Also contributing, Chairman of organizing committee, Comrade Damian Ogudike stated that necessary arrangements have been made to ensure hitch-free, successful and memorable event where the presentation of 75th Anniversary Of Universal Declaration of Human Rights state of the nation of 1948 address would be read by himself, Ezekwueme.