——-Accuses FG of paying N1trn for darkness By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – HUMAN Rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, Thursday said that it was the utterances of a one-time Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Prof. Ango Abdullahi over the brutal killings of four students of the university that allegedly led to the protests by the Nigerian students and the arrest of eight students of University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime and plan to sentenced them to death. Falana Falana who is the legal adviser to the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, also noted that the person behind the quit notice to the Igbos living in the 19 states of the north does not stay in the north rather he lives in Lagos. Meantime, the human rights lawyer has accused the Federal Government of paying about N1 trillion to Electricity Generating Companies, GENCOS, in what he described as paying for darkness.
The Acting President had on Tuesday disclosed that the Federal Government will soon release a second tranche of the N701 billion for Power Assurance Guarantee approved by the Federal Executive Council in March this year for the Bulk Electricity Trading NBET, Plc. The Acting President at the inaugural event of the Nigerian Renewable Energy Roundtable organised by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, said it was expected that the release of the funds would free up the value chain that had created several problems of its own. Speaking at the media briefing organized by the NLC on the raging agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and the quit notice given to the Igbos to vacate the 19 states of the north before 1st October by 16 northern youth groups which has the backing of Prof. Abdullahi, Falana said that it was the utterances of Prof Abdullahi that sparked off the nationwide students protest. He said, “The recently concluded election in the UK, two weeks ago, seven Nigerians emerged as Legislators, can we repeat that, can we look at the challenges before us and stop following those ones trying to divide us? “This information is very crucial to all of us and I want to say this publicly. The man who is giving quit notice (to the Igbos to leave north) does not live in the North, he lives in Lagos, he is a Lagos man. So to stay in Lagos and be giving quit notices is not the answer. “On May 23, 1986, young people, four of them were killed in the Ahmadu Bello University because somebody had said we are against coup… Ango Abdullahi was the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University when these students were killed by the Police, he came out and said only four students were killed. “That angered Nigerians particularly the Nigerian students and there were protests. One of the universities where that protest was very successful was the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Please listen to me, the man who led the protest was late Chima Ubani, what happened? The state did not like the case that it was a national protest against the killing in ABU. “What did they do? They didn’t arrest the students who were protesting in the North. They didn’t arrest the students who were protesting in the West, (Ibrahim) Babangida regime went for Chima Ubani and arraigned him and eight of his colleagues under a military rule that required that they be sentenced to death. “I left Lagos to go to Enugu to defend those men. We got them freed when they returned to campus, the Vice Chancellor expelled them. Again, I went to court and got them freed. Please this story is very important. “A Hausa Vice Chancellor invited the police and they killed young Hausa students, four of them. Nigerian students protested and an Igbo young man led that protest in the East against injustice, a Yoruba man in the West to free them. So we must look at those things that the elites are using to divide our people. Injustice is injustice, so there no nation without challenges.” Calls for economic restructuring Speaking on the implementation of the 2014 National Conference, he said, “Please those who are talking of restructuring, many of them are talking in the air. We must concretize this debate now. “You can’t have political restructuring without economic restructuring. If you are talking of restructuring you won’t be selling the assets of a country to individuals. How can a serious nation be giving serious items to individuals when states are broke? You are not giving what belong to the states to them, states are not buying the electricity companies. Nigeria paying N1 trillion for darkness “Please Mr. President, you have just informed us that what is owed to pension those who served our fatherland is N300 billion. Just this week, the Federal Government has just released N701 billion to those who bought our electricity companies, are you not aware? Initially they were given N300 billion, that’s over a trillion naira to manage darkness in our country. So let us begin to ask the relevant questions. “On the National Conference, I beg you, don’t be carried away. Power is not given without a fight. Those who want implementation of the recommendations should be prepared for struggle like the labour and the struggle by the civil society. “The most important recommendation is never touched by the ruling class, which is what the President of the NLC has just addressed our minds to. It is Chapter 2 of the Constitution that the fundamental objectives of the state shall be made justiceable in order words, right to education, right to life, right to employment benefits, right to living minimum wage. “These are all centre in that chapter. This who are talking of restructuring and federalism are not interested in these. But please all of us must remind them that the Awolowos, the Ahmadu Bello’s when we have the First Republic addressed social services of our people. That is no longer the case. “Please this talk about restructuring, we must concretize it, this talk about federalism, we must concretize it. You can’t be coming to Abuja every month to collect money and you are talking of true federalism. True federalism means you must produce what you need in your area ad they can ask everybody to pay tax.” Debate on State and Local Governments budgets: On his take on the 2017 budget, he said, “We only talk about the budget of the Federal Government, we don’t talk about the budget of the States and Local Governments. Whereas, the money that goes out of the federation account, while Federal Government takes 52 percent, the Local Governments and States take 48 percent. Just like we are debating the budget of the Federal Government, we must be debating the budget of the State Governments and the Local Governments.”