Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday gathered the 36 deputy governors and the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to the Presidential Villa, Abuja over boundary disputes among different states.
The meeting took place at the Old Banquet Hall in Aso Rock.
At the meeting, Osinbajo told the deputy governors that only bold, fair-minded, courageous, and patriotic leadership is required to settle border disputes without politicization and heightened tensions.
The vice president said that the meeting was conceived from discussions he had at various times with several deputy governors.
He said that deputy governors were concerned that NBC’s potential to settle disputes and minimize inter-state rancor and instability would be greatly assisted if the commission interacted directly with responsible state functionaries.
“I fully agreed that such an interaction was necessary and important after all, the users of the services of the commission are best suited to give useful feedback.
“And in any event, such an interaction would be an opportunity to jointly review the work of the commission so far and to chart a pathway to peaceful management of our inter-state boundaries; and we cannot stress this enough: the attempt to try and resolve boundary issues as peacefully as possible.
“Land is an emotive issue, and this is so, not just in our country, but everywhere; it accounts in many cases for the mindless violence and sometimes fatalities that result from border disputes and clashes.
“ For many of our people, it is the very essence of their identity; in some cases, it is tied to ancestry and ancient unresolved rivalries.
“But lost on many combatants is the fact that many of these boundary lines are in many cases merely for administrative convenience; the sorts of disputes we have, even if there are, shouldn’t result in violence and dislocation of so many of our people.’’
According to Osinbajo, who is also Chairman of the NBC, handling border disputes requires a good knowledge of the issues, and sincerity of purpose and sensitivity.
He said it could only be effectively done at the highest levels of governance which was why the NBC (Establishment Act) 2006, provided organs at all three levels of government to establish State Boundary Committees.
Osinbajo said the committees were under the chairmanship of the deputy governors across the states of the federation and the permanent secretary at the FCT.
“While the vice president chairs the internal National Border Commission, (the apex body for resolving border disputes), I believe that bold, fair-minded, just, courageous and patriotic leadership is required to settle border disputes without politicization and heightened tensions.
“ Very often you find that where politicians play ethnic or religious games, it merely exacerbates otherwise straightforward issues, and may frequently result in violence and death.
“I believe it is responsible leadership that can sit at the table with other leaders and agrees to give and take, make concessions that are often difficult and be able to communicate the issues to their constituents and populace.
“ It is that kind of courageous leadership the Law had in mind when those of us who are put into positions of responsibility with respect to border disputes are placed in those positions.
“In that difficult but crucial enterprise, the commission has a vital and sensitive role to play as an expert body, and as an honest and trustworthy broker.
“It is supposed to be balanced, which is why we have the members of the commission who are from all the six geo-political zones and they have introduced themselves already.’’
He said the commission was a public resource, which credibility in dispute resolution was fundamental; therefore, all had a duty to support the commission.
Osinbajo said the commission had to be kept honest and on its toes, all the time as its role was central to everything done in border dispute resolution.
“So I hope this interaction will help the process of achieving some of these objectives.
“This meeting is not meant to review specific border disputes or issues otherwise we would not leave here till the end of the month.
“We have provided just for your information, a list of the current status of border disputes and the list of all border disputes,’’ he said.
Osinbajo assured the participants at the meeting that the board of the commission would give urgent and full attention to all recommendations that were made at the important meeting.
Kalu meets Abdulsalami Abubakar
Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, on Saturday night paid a private visit to former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
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Kalu who made the announcement through his verified Facebook page, revealed that his discussion with the former president centered on national issues and peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.
He wrote: “ Tonight, I paid a visit to the former President of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to greet him for the new year. We also discussed major national affairs and peaceful coexistence of our nation.”
Lagos police arrest NURTW members amid calls for ban
By Moses Omorogieva/Lagos
The Police Command in Lagos State on Saturday said that its men arrested some members of the National Union of Transport Workers ( NURTW) who clashed on Lagos Island on Friday.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) , CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday.
Ajisebutu did not mention how many people were arrested and where they were being detained.
He added that normalcy had returned to the Island as more operatives had been deployed there.
“The police have quelled the crisis. Sufficient facilities were deployed in the area immediately we received a distress call and normalcy was restored.
”Investigation into the crisis is ongoing,” he said.
Two factions of the NURTW clashed over the control of some motor parks on the Island on Friday.
The videos of the clash went viral showing the hoodlums using dangerous weapons against each other
The arrests come amid call by Accord Party for a ban on the notorious union in Lagos.
Lagos State chapter of the Accord Party called on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to proscribe the union following repeated violence by its members.
The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Dele Oladeji, in a statement on Saturday called on Sanwo-Olu to tame the members of the NURTW by proscribing the union with immediate effect.
“Again, the members of the NURTW were enmeshed in a deadly fight on Lagos Island which was reported to have resulted in the untimely death of some four youths.
“This deadly clash created a security scare, in which innocent and hardworking residents of Lagos had to scamper into shops, crevices, under table and inside gutters for dear lives.
“Many rushed into shops and were locked in with the shop owners, just to stay away from stray bullets or being caught up in the fracas.
“Traders were forced to shutdown their businesses, which led to the loss of transactions running into billions of naira.
“We advise the Lagos State governor to, with immediate effect, proscribe the NURTW for a peaceful and safe Lagos city.”
The spokesman said that the recent violence was one too many among the members of the NURTW in Lagos State.
Oladeji said that though members of the union were always in the habit of killing themselves during such fracas, their action had always defied the security set up in Lagos State and had always created a state of insecurity among residents.
“Ask an average resident of Lagos, and they will tell you they live and commute in utter fright of these ‘union boys’ daily on the streets and roads.
“Gov. Sanwo-Olu should rise up in service to residents of the state and proscribed these lawless group for a safer Lagos State,” he added.
He said that NURTW factions were known to frequently engage in free-for-all over power tussles at different locations and parks.
Pakistan proud of pig-to-human heart transplant pioneer
Friends and former classmates of the Pakistan-born surgeon behind the world’s first pig-to-human heart transplant say they earmarked him for greatness from his medical school days.
Karachi-born Muhammad Mansoor Mohiuddin made headlines last week as the co-founder of the US university programme that successfully transplanted the heart of a genetically modified pig into a gravely ill American man.
While hailed as a medical breakthrough, the procedure also raised ethical questions — particularly among some Jews and Muslims, who consider pigs to be unclean and avoid pork products.
None of that worried Mohiuddin’s friends and former colleagues in Pakistan, who remember him as an ace student with a passion for medicine.
“He would be so interested, always there, always available and always ready to get involved in surgery,” said Muneer Amanullah, a specialist who attended Karachi’s Dow Medical College with Mohiuddin in the 1980s.
College vice-chancellor Muhammad Saeed Qureshi said pride in Mohiuddin’s achievement had flooded the campus.
“There was exhilaration that this has been done by a graduate from this college,” he told AFP.
Mohiuddin was quick to share the limelight with a team of 50 from the University of Maryland Medical School.
“They were all experts of their respective fields,” he told AFP by phone.
“They are the best surgeons, the best physicians, the best anaesthetists, and so on.”
While the prognosis for the recipient of the pig’s heart is far from certain, the surgery represents a major milestone for animal-to-human transplants.
About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die each year before getting one, according to official figures.
To meet demand, doctors have long been interested in so-called xenotransplantation, or cross-species organ donation.
“We were working on this model for 18 years,” Mohiuddin said.
“Those 18 years were dotted with different phases of frustration — as well as breakthroughs — but finally we have done it.”
The surgery is not without controversy, however, especially given Mohiuddin’s Islamic faith.
Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims and Jews — and even some Christians who follow the Bible’s Old Testament literally.
“In my view, this is not permissible for a Muslim,” said Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, a prominent Islamic scholar, in a video blog where he discussed the procedure.
But another Islamic scholar in Pakistan gave the procedure a clean bill of health.
“There is no prohibition in sharia,” Allama Hasan Zafar Naqvi told AFP, calling it a “medical miracle”.
“In religion, no deed is as supreme as saving a human life,” added Mohiuddin.
In Karachi, the surgeon’s fellow alumni feel their former colleague may now be destined for even greater glory — medicine’s top prize.
“I think… the whole team is in for it, in for the Nobel Prize,” said vice-chancellor Qureshi.
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