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Pantami frowns on Ganduje, 13 other govs for raising tariff on telecoms infrastructure

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Nasiru Yusuf

The federal government has expressed dismay over the decision of some states to increase the ‘Right of Way’ charges in disregard of the resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC).

Kano Focus reports that 14 states including Kano, Lagos, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe, have hiked the cost of Right of Way (RoW) for telecoms infrastructure.

Although, the cost of RoW on federal roads is N142 per linear metre, many states have increased the cost of RoW from the initial fee of between N300 to N500 per linear metre to between N3,000 and N6,000 per linear metre.

This newspaper understands that one of the agencies responsible for the increase in the RoW charges is the Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA).

The implications

Telecoms operators across networks had blamed the poor telecoms service currently being experienced by subscribers on the refusal of state government agencies to grant the operators the RoW licence to lay more fibre optic cables in cities.

Telecoms subscribers have continued to face networks challenges, ranging from incessant drop calls and poor connectivity, to delays in delivering text messages, among others.

A statement issued by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami on Tuesday called on state governors, especially those that have made public their decisions to increase the RoW charges, to reconsider these decisions in the interest of Nigerians as well as for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.

Mr Pantami noted that, these decisions, if implemented, will result in an increase in the costs of operations of the telecoms operators which will naturally be passed to the consumers.

The minister recalled that in 2013, National Economic Council (NEC) set up a committee comprising state governors and ministers to review the issues of multiple taxation in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria and its impact.

He said the Committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonize the taxes applicable to broadband-related activities and streamline the taxation management processes across the federation, specifically, to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the Country.

The committee according to the minister agreed to the uniform Right of Way (RoW) charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.

Mr Pantami recalled that in October 2019, the ministry had written all the state governors, drawing their attention to these resolutions and soliciting their support and collaboration towards the realisation of the National Digital Economy by fast-tracking the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of affordable internet services to under-served and un-served areas.

“It is true that the digital economy today is strategically dominating the world economy. Oxford Economics puts the current value of the digital economy at $11.5 trillion which is about 16% of the world economy.

“Furthermore, the World Economic Forum revealed that 60% of the global economy is expected to be digitised by 2022. With the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as well as the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy by Mr President, we are on the path of realising the potentials of the digital economy.

“It is, however, disheartening to hear that some States have decided to disregard these resolutions and have, in some cases, increased the RoW charges by over 1,200%. This will no doubt impact negatively on the efforts being made by the Federal Government. It is established that there is a strong correlation between a country’s broadband penetration and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An ITU study on Africa indicates that a 10% broadband penetration would result in an increase of 2.5% of GDP per capita,” the minister lamented.

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Kano emirate tussle: Police ban Sallah durbar

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Kano State Police Command has prohibited the planned Durbar celebrations by both dethroned Emir Aminu Ado Bayero and reinstated Emir Muhammad Sanusi ll.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Durbar, a traditional ceremony typically held a day after Sallah, involves the Emir riding on horseback through major areas of Kano city.

Despite both Emirs having made preparations and requested security permission from the state police command, the police have denied their requests due to potential security concerns.

The Kano State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Kiyawa, confirmed the ban in a statement issued on Thursday.

The statement, titled “Ban on Durbar Activities and Other Security Restraints During Sallah Festivities,” emphasized that the police command has issued security advisories to residents in preparation for the forthcoming Sallah celebrations.

The police decision aims to prevent any potential conflicts or security breaches that could arise from the ongoing emirship dispute.

The Kano State Police Command congratulates Muslim faithful and all law-abiding residents of the State for witnessing yet another Eid-El-Kabir Sallah period and assures that adequate security deployments have been put in place to ensure no breakdown of law and order in all parts of the State before, during and after the festive period.

SP Kiyawa added “This is part of the commitment to sustenance of the peace by the Kano State Police Command in conjunction with all the relevant security stakeholders.

He state that “in furtherance, a ban has been placed on ALL DURBAR activities throughout the State for the upcoming Eid-El-Kabir celebrations”.

This measure is taken as a result of series security reports obtained and wide consultations made with relevant security stakeholders to ensure the safety of the larger community.

However, worshippers are advised to conduct their normal Eid Prayers at the various designated Eid praying grounds, traditionally done in the past.

On a final note, the Command encourages continued collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders to collectively work together to build a safer and more secure environment.

The Command also urges everyone to keep reporting any suspicious movement of person(s) or item(s) they come across to the nearest Police Station or through the following Kano State Police Command emergency contact numbers:- 08032419754, 08123821575, 09029292926.

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Kano Emirate tussle: Court confirms jurisdiction to hear rights violation suit

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Aminu Ado Bayero

Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Kano, has ruled that it has the jurisdiction to preside over the case of human rights violation brought by deposed Kano Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero, and a senior councillor, Aminu Babba DanAgundi, following the reinstatement of Emir Mohammadu Sanusi II.

KANO FOCUS reports that the court had granted an ex-parte order stopping Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano from reinstating Sanusi pending the determination of a substantive suit filed against his reinstatement.

The order also kicked against the abolishment of four emirates – Bichi, Gaya, Karaye, and Rano – in a bill earlier passed by the State House of Assembly.

It directed all parties involved to maintain status quo ante pending the determination of the suit filed by Sarkin Dawaki Babba and Aminu Babba-Dan’Agundi.

Justice Liman granted leave to the Plaintiff/Applicant to issue and serve their concurrent originating motion as well as all other court processes on the 6th defendant (IGP) in the FCT, Abuja, and outside the jurisdiction of the court.

The defendants in the suit include the Kano State Government, the Kano State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the State Assembly, the Kano State Commissioner of Police, the Inspector General of Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Department of State Security.

Justice Liman said all parties are ordered to maintain status quo ante in the passage and assent of the bill.

“That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante pending hearing of the fundamental rights application.

“In view of the constitutional and jurisdictional issues apparent on the
face of the application, parties shall address the court on same at the hearing of the fundamental rights application which is fixed for the 3rd of June, 2024.

“That in order to maintain the peace and security of the state, an Interim Injunction of this Honourable Court is granted restraining the respondents from enforcing, executing, implementing and operationalizing the Kano State Emirate Law Council (Repeal) Law.

“That parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante the passage and assent of the bill into pending the hearing of the fundamental rights application.”

However, when case resumed on Thursday, Justice Liman, relying on Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution, said the court has powers of jurisdiction to hear the case.

The judge noted, “What I find intriguing is the respondents total reliance on this case of Gongola, where as Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the Constitution has clearly spelt out the jurisdictional powers of the Federal High Court to preside over such case.

“My respectful view is that the case of Tukur against the Gongola is indistinguishable with the present case. Section 42 Sub-section 1 and Section 32 of the Constitution has vested a power on our court to decide on this matter.”

In continuation of the case the plaintiff counsel, Barrister Chukwuson Ojukwu, argued that the matter is ripe for hearing as to the main issues of the invalidity of the reappointment of a new Emir and the deposition of 15th Emir Aminu Ado Bayero.

But Barrister A. G Wakil insisted that the new motion seeking to continue hearing on the Chieftaincy Affairs issues was not part of the original summons and is a different application outside the matter of Human Rights Violation and the jurisdictional powers of the court, which the court had decided.

The judge explained that the matter was adjourned to Thursday, 13th June 2024, for only ruling and nothing else.

Justice Liman adjourned the case to 14th June, 2024, noting that the matter was too sensitive to linger.

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2024 Democracy Day:Gov Yusuf highlights his significant achievements over the past year

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has expressed that Kano State has made significant achievements in various spheres of human endeavor over the past year.

This was contained in a statement issued by the governor’s spokesperson, Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, on Wednesday.

Addressing the people of Kano during a Democracy Day celebration at the Kano Government House, the governor remarked on the challenges posed by certain detractors who sought to contest the divine will and the support of the majority of Kano State residents who voted in favor of his leadership.

Governor Yusuf mentioned that his administration faced numerous legal obstacles, spending over eight months navigating various court proceedings to safeguard their mandate.

Nonetheless, he emphasized the considerable successes attained in different sectors throughout the year.

In the domain of Human Capital Development, the government prioritized skills acquisition, empowering the youth and women, and promoting high-level manpower advancement.

As part of their electoral commitment, the administration initiated monthly empowerment initiatives for women and youth, providing each beneficiary with a capital injection of N50,000 to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises.

Presently, 5,200 women from all 44 Local Governments have benefited from this program and will continue to do so regularly.

Youth Empowerment programs, including support for Traffic Traders/Hawkers, have also been launched, with each recipient receiving a capital injection of N50,000 to bolster their trade.

These empowerment schemes are ongoing on a monthly basis and are intended to encompass all deserving individuals in the State.

Furthermore, the governor approved the reactivation of the 21 Skills Acquisition Institutes, initiating training programs to young individuals with both soft and hard skills across various trades and enterprises, promoting an ethos of entrepreneurialism.

The government allocated significant resources to sponsor 1,001 first-class graduates to foreign universities, enabling them to pursue advanced degrees in diverse disciplines. These students are expected to complete their post-graduate education by the end of this year.

Additionally, the administration extended support to Kano State natives studying in tertiary institutions in various states, covering their registration fees as an act of compassion and support.

Recognizing the weight of accumulated pensioner debts, Governor Yusuf authorized the disbursement of 11 billion Naira, distributed in two install to over 5,000 pensioners in the initial phase. The second tranche, totaling 5 billion Naira, is set for imminent distribution, offering substantial relief and positively impacting numerous households in the State.

Moreover, as a fulfillment of a campaign pledge, the administration organized and sponsored a mass wedding for ,800 couples, providing each couple with essential provisions for their new life together.

In response to prevalent poverty exacerbated by inflation and escalating commodity prices, the government implemented measures to alleviate the hardships experienced by the populace.

A defining characteristic of the administration has been its compassionate approach, exemplified by the distribution of rice and assorted grains on five separate occasions to the most vulnerable members of society.

The State Government procured over 270 trailer loads of rice and 70 trailer loads of maize, distributing the supplies to all polling units in the 484 across the 44 Local Government Councils.

Approximately 820,600 households benefited from these palliatives.

Furthermore, the State Government sponsored the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration for approximately 6,000 students and covered the registration fees of over 121,687 Kano State students National Examinations Council (NECO) and the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS), incurring costs exceeding 2.9 billion Naira.

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