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Nigeria: Lawmakers propose rotational presidency, 6-year single term

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On Monday, thirty-five members of Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber, the House of Representatives, introduced a bill that would limit the terms of the President and state governors to six years each.

The measure also addresses the rotation of the presidency among the country’s six geopolitical zones— the North Central also known as the Middle Belt, the South East, the North East, North West, South West, and the South-South.

The MPs asserted that the plan would reduce government spending under the banner of Reformed-minded Legislators. The group’s spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, further asserted that the action will ensure a seamless transition and unmatched progress for the nation while also uniting the country at a news conference held on Monday at the National Assembly Complex.

As Ugochinyere put it, “We should not be afraid to meet and discuss our problems, challenges, fears, aspirations, and prospects as a people,” he underscored the importance of critically examining the difficulties the Nigerian state faces. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it or to talk about it at all.

“On governance, we are proposing a constitutional alteration to provide for the rotation of executive powers among the six geopolitical zones to ensure equal representation and reduce the desperation and tempo of agitation for the creation of states,” Ugochinyere, who represents Ideato North/Idaeto South Federal Constituency of Imo State on the Peoples Democratic Party platform, said in response to a question about the bill. To recognize Nigeria’s separation into six geopolitical zones, we propose amending Section 3 of the constitution.

“And also, to amend the constitution to provide for a single tenure of six years for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the state governors. This will bring about a reduction in government spending and wastage; promote efficiency in governance, and national stability by providing a single term of six years for the President and the governors.”

Ugochinyere states that the Second Vice President will supervise the economy as a minister and the First Vice President will serve as vice president in succession. “A constitutional amendment to provide that the President and the First Vice President shall come from the same part of the country (North or South) and the First Vice President shall become President whenever the President becomes incapacitated,” he said, adding that the 35 lawmakers were also pushing for this change.

By establishing an independent Consolidated Local Government Council Account that is only overseen by Local Councils, the measure also aims to provide local government councils more financial autonomy and responsibility. For any misappropriation of local government funds, it calls for lengthy prison sentences.

“We are seeking an amendment to Section 162(5) of the 1999 Constitution to provide that where a state government fails to remit to the local government councils within its jurisdiction (or within the state), the amounts standing to the credit of that local government in the allocation from the Federation Account, such state government shall not be entitled to receive a future allocation from the Federal Government,” Ugochinyere added.

Discussion around terms structure around elective political officers is not new in Nigeria, in 2011 An executive bill sponsored by former president Goodluck Jonathan also proposed year terms but the bill did not scale at parliament.

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Economic reform won’t stop despite hardship— Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu

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Despite mounting difficulties that have stoked popular unrest, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu declared on Wednesday that economic reforms would go forward and pledged to quickly submit an executive bill to parliament establishing a new minimum wage.

After devaluing the currency and eliminating a long-standing gasoline subsidy, Tinubu, who took office a year ago, sent inflation skyrocketing to 33.69% in April—the highest level in over three decades—while also reducing earnings.

Tinubu acknowledged the difficulties brought about by the reforms—which also include higher lending rates and the partial elimination of electricity subsidies—during a televised broadcast on Democracy Day, but he insisted that these measures would strengthen the groundwork for future prosperity.

“Our economy has been in desperate need of reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil,” Tinubu said.

“As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you.”

Nigeria is experiencing its worst cost of living crisis in decades, and labour unions called off a walkout last week to put pressure on the government to set a new minimum wage of Naira a month.

In response to labour demands of 250,000 naira per month, the government has proposed to double the minimum salary to 62,000 nairas ($41.89) per month. Tinubu claimed his government had negotiated in good faith. In 2019, a new minimum wage was established.

“We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less,” Tinubu said.
He did not say whether the bill would contain the government minimum wage proposal or a new figure.

Before making any decisions, labour union officials have stated that they would like to hear back from Tinubu.

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Amnesty Int’l accuses Nigerian Army of unlawful detention of female terror escapees

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Rights organization, Amnesty International, has accused the Nigerian army of unlawfully holding young women and children who had escaped from Boko Haram’s captivity because the military thought they were affiliated with the Islamist militant group.

The human rights group claimed that the charges, which the military refuted in a statement, were based on 126 interviews conducted with female former hostages between 2019 and 2024.

According to research by Amnesty International, 31 people claimed that between 2015 and mid-2023, they were forcibly detained in military barracks for a few days to nearly four years, mostly due to their actual or suspected ties to Boko Haram.

The United Nations claims that Boko Haram’s armed insurgency in northeastern Nigeria has claimed the lives of over 35,000 people. The group has a nasty reputation and has been charged with rape, forced marriage, torture, and kidnapping. The most well-known incidence occurred in 2014 when 300 girls were abducted from Chibok.

More girls have been kidnapped since then, and many of them have lived with Boko Haram fighters for years. A few have managed to get away.

“The Nigerian government has failed to uphold their human rights obligations to protect and adequately support these girls and young women,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s regional director for West and Central Africa, in the report.

According to Major General Edward Buba, the defence spokesperson, the military adheres to humanitarian law and protects human rights. According to a statement from the spokesperson, Nigeria’s military “operates within the ambit of international law of armed conflict.”

The Nigerian military has counterattacked the Islamist organization, drawing condemnation for its harsh tactics. The military conducted a covert mass abortion program as part of its fight against Boko Haram, according to a Reuters report from the previous year.

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