Fourteen members of the Nigeria Northern Governors’ Forum (NNGF) were absent from the group’s meeting in Kaduna State on Thursday, raising fears of crack in the body. Of the 14, three were absent without explanation, three sent apologies while others were either represented by their deputies or secretary to the government.
At the end of the meeting, governors of Kaduna, Yobe, Nasarawa, Jigawa and Niger states who were the only attendees urged political leaders to shelve their differences and instead focus on development issues and the solidification of the gains of democracy for the country.
According to Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu who read the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the nation is going through challenging times that require the forum’s unity.
Speaking on a wide range of issues, Aliyu discussed the draft white paper on the report of the Committee on Reconciliation, Healing and Security, urging each state to study the recommendations and promptly implement them as appropriate in the interest of the country. He also promised that the forum would continue engaging with the National Assembly for quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
In a related development, a Port Harcourt Federal High Court has declared itself competent to hear the suit of Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi seeking to void his suspension by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Presiding judge, Justice Emmanuel Ogbuji said his court has the jurisdiction to entertain Amaechi’s suit, following two separate motions filed by counsel to the PDP and the party’s chairman in Rivers State, Mr. Donald Den Wigwe (SAN) and Mr. Emmanuel Okala (SAN) challenging its jurisdiction.
Justice Ogbuji adjourned hearing on the case till 8th July 2013, saying both parties in the case must respect the status quo pending the determination of the motion on notice before the court.
Amaechi is in court in search of a declaration nullifying and voiding his suspension, which he branded illegal and a breach of the 1999 Constitution as amended, as he was not given fair hearing. He is also asking the court to set aside the suspension, and direct that he should not be deprived of his right to attend activities of the party.
The governor also sued the Rivers State House of Assembly, an action that Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari explained as an effort to restrain the lawmakers from illegally or unconstitutionally impeaching the governor.
Also, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, David Iyofor confirmed that the governor has no intention of quitting PDP.
“This is contrary to rumours been spread by the suspended Publicity Secretary of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Rivers State chapter, Jerry Needam,” he said in a statement.
“Governor Amaechi has no intentions of leaving the PDP. And everyone knows that he’s already fighting his purported suspension in court. He believes, it’s a PDP issue and in due course the matter would be resolved. He has never met with anyone to discuss his leaving the PDP to join ACN or APC or any other political party.”
Meanwhile, staff of New Nigeria Newspapers (NNN), the National Union of Textiles Garment, and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) protested for different reasons at Thursday’s meeting of the northern governors.
In a letter by Secretary-General Issa Aremu, the Textile Union lamented the continuous closure of Kaduna Textiles Limited since 2002.
“Even more worrisome is the continuous delay in settlement of the entitlements of KTL workers by its owner — 19 northern states of the federation.”
“KTL workers are suffering untold hardship due to the non-payment of their benefits since the unilateral closure of the factory in 2002. The union since September 2005 obtained a court judgment for settlement of the entitlements of the workers amounting to N687,073,346.00.
“Unfortunately, the management and owners of the company [19 northern states] have remained insensitive to the plight of these workers in spite of repeated appeals, prayers, rallies and protests by the union.
He recalled that in March 2013, the NGF set up a committee of five governors chaired by Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed with governors of Zamfara, Kano, Bauchi and Borno states as members to examine KTL and proffer recommendations on the way forward.
“The report of the committee is yet to see the light of the day. The union also visited Chairman of the Board of KTL, Gen. Wushishi (rtd) in March 2013 on the way forward; when the company would reopen or when the workers’ entitlements would be paid, but he could not give a concrete response,A” Aremu said, imploring the northern governors and the management of Kaduna Textile Limited (KTL) to settle the terminal benefits of KTL workers.
He also urged the management of other closed textile factories in the North, particularly Arewa Textiles Plc and Gaskiya Textiles, Kano to settle the entitlements of their workers without further delay.
Source: Huhu Online