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INEC: Campaigns For Presidential, National Assembly Elections Begin Sunday

Sahara Reporters - 5 hours 53 min ago


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that campaigns for presidential and National Assembly elections will begin on Sunday, November 18, 2018.

This was disclosed in a statement by the commission on Saturday.

According to INEC, campaign for governorship and state Houses of Assembly will commence on December 1, 2018.

The statement read: "Political parties who have fielded candidates for the February 16th, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections will by Sunday, 18th November 2018, commence campaigns across the country.

"This is in line with the Timetable and Schedule of Activities issued by the Commission and in accordance with Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which provides that 'the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day'.

"Political Parties are expected to conduct their activities in an organized and peaceful manner, devoid of rancor, hate and/or inflammatory speeches.

"Campaign for Governorship and State Houses of Assembly will commence 1st December 2018."

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My Presidential Ticket, A Victory For North-East, Says Atiku As He Arrives Adamawa

Sahara Reporters - 6 hours 28 min ago


Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) arrived Yola, the Adamawa State capital on Saturday, and was welcomed by a crowd consisting of supporters of various political parties.

His supporters were only allowed to queue at the area from the airport gate to PZ roundabout, as officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and security operatives barricaded the entrance into the airport, and allowed only selected persons access.

The former vice-president was driven in a convoy to his Dougirei residence, where he addressed a crowd on the need to vote for the PDP.

"My victory at Port Harcourt is your own victory and the North-East. But the task is far from over; you have to vote for PDP from top to bottom. Vote for me, our governorship candidate and other candidates of our party," Atiku said.

Immediate past chairman of the PDP in Adamawa, Chief Joel Madaki, confirmed to newsmen that the crowd was constituted by members of various political parties.

He also dismissed the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari was more popular in Adamawa, stating that those who thought so "must be day-dreaming".

"From the calibre of the people you see in this place, it clearly tells what Adamawa people will be doing on February 16 next year," he said.

Our correspondent sighted several aides of Governor Jibrilla Bindo at the airport and later at Atiku's residence.

Meanwhile, one Sabiu Dahiru arrived Yola on bicycle after cycling for two weeks from Suleja in Niger State to express his solidarity with Atiku.

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I'll Be Your Zombie For Life, Peter Of PSquare Tells Wife On Fifth Wedding Anniversary

Sahara Reporters - 6 hours 55 min ago


Peter Okoye, a member of the former P-Square music sensation, has taken to Instagram to celebrate his wife, Lola Omotayo.

P-Square announce their decision to seperate in September 2017, after series of conflicts. See Also Entertainment Double Trouble: P Square Splits 0 Comments 1 Year Ago

His wife, Lola Omotayo, came under fire as being behind the group's split.

However, in the light of the celebration of their fifth wedding anniversary, Peter decided to write about his wife, Lola.

A series of posts alongside pictures of him and Lola on Instagram read: "A best friend isn't someone who's just always there for you. It's someone who understands you a bit more than you understand yourself and today I’m happy and have no regrets that I married my best friend; the one I laugh with, live for, dream with and love. Most people don't really know who you are or what you represent. l have seen them insult you, call you all sorts of names, 'She’s Yoruba', 'She's too old for you', 'She's biracial', bla bla bla!!! Like I didn't know all this before I married you.

"They even came up with stories of how our late Mum never liked you, but God knows that a few weeks before she died, you were the one getting up early to go stay with her at St. Nicholas hospital, even keeping her friends and pastors at your place for weeks because we were living on the mainland then. She always called you 'My Daughter'. RIP Mum.

"Maybe divorcing you to make you a baby mama will make some people happy and me unhappy; sorry that is not our portion.'Tufrakwa'! Remember love sees no color, love has no age limit nor race. But one thing is sure, I am here to protect and defend you from all those insults. I took a vow to defend and protect you and our beautiful children on this day five years ago, and no matter what happens, you and the kids come first. Maybe that's what makes me different from other guys; you guys are my priority. So, let’s cut all that 'blood is thicker than water' BS. Obviously you guys are not the water. Let's not forget that Blood makes you related and loyalty makes you family.

"You've been through a lot because of me and I know how bad it hurts. So, please forgive those who insult you, attack you, battle you or take you for granted. More than this...forgive yourself for allowing them to hurt you. Continue being the strong woman our daughter Aliona has as a role model and our son Cameron will know and understand what to look for in woman when he’s grown.

"We’ve been together for over 16 years and married for five years. You are still the same woman and I will never forget the day I met you. How you used to book shows for us and all due to the fact that you worked in an agency (FKG2). I remember how our former manager Howie-T used to tell us how nice you were to us getting us shows and all. Today the world doesn’t know all that. Instead they call you gold digger. If anyone should be called gold digger here, it should be me."

He went on to narrate how they started building a family together even before they were married.

He continued: "l remembered you gave me your official car few weeks after we moved into lagos and started dating. That was the first time in my life experiencing a car with air conditioning and every night, I would sleep inside the car. You made me a better man Lola, and I owe you nothing but love and loyalty. Let me stop here because it's our wedding anniversary. No need for too much talk. Happy Wedding Anniversary to us Lola. We are so blessed and should be grateful to God for keeping us alive and together; failure is not our portion.

"Thank you for accepting me as I am, flaws and all. Thank you for the greatest gifts, our children. Thank you for helping me (us) through our career; for all the gigs, free consultations, etc. Thank you for standing by me regardless of all the untruths spread about you. Thank you for caring for my mother till her final days, even accommodating her church pastors in your home for weeks.

"Thank you for being an exceptional model to our kids and being the best partner for me. I'm thankful for you, you get me, specially made for me till infinity. Oh lest I forget, thank you for my first air-conditioned experience as I love you Madam Kofo (Snr). Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary Babe. I go be your Zombie for Life."

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After 2019 Election, I'll Return To You, Tunji Abayomi Writes Akeredolu On Defection

Sahara Reporters - 7 hours 21 min ago


Dr Tunji Abayomi, an aggrieved senatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, has written to Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, stating that he will defect from APC and contest for a seat in the Senate the 2019 election on the platform of the Action Alliance (AA).

His decision was as a result of the automatic ticket for Ondo North Senatorial District given to Senator Ajayi Boroffice

In a letter obtained by SaharaReporters, entitled 'They Just Injured our Collective Rights and Now I Must Find A Way Out', Abayomi noted that although "the national leadership has appointed its candidate", "people in the North Senatorial Zone must have a chance to choose their candidate against Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s appointed candidates".

He also said he had written to the chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomole and the NEC, but got no response.

Although, the letter was dated October 16, 2018, our correspondent learnt that Abayomi had been nursing plans to leave the APC for AA, after the disputed party primary election.

THE LETTER IN FULL:

Dear Mr. Governor,

THEY JUST INJURED OUR COLLECTIVE RIGHTS AND NOW I MUST FIND A WAY OUT

In a democracy, eligible members of our party are expected to vote or agree through consensus who the candidate over them should be in any election. It is NEVER the leaders who at any rate are expected to be chosen by the people that impose candidates in democracy.

This is why the Constitution of APC defines candidates as 'any person who has been nominated at a primary or party election to contest at a general election'. Nomination for elections is always the prerogative of the electors or the people. It is NEVER that of the leaders.

The APC Constitution in section 20 provides two (2) types of primary elections for the nomination of candidates for the Senate, that is 'through direct or indirect primary election to be conducted at the appropriate level'.

I regret to inform you that the present leadership of APC at the national level has decided to take away your right to nominate candidates, as well as my right to be nominated by its unlawful 'automatic ticket' for all present Senators from Ondo State.

The national leadership has appointed its candidate but NOW our people in the North Senatorial Zone must have a chance to choose their candidate against Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s appointed candidates. We are Ondo State people; our character is to fight for our rights and insist on these rights.

You may wish to note that on the 3rd and 4th of October, after following all party processes including all payments, and expenses at various party levels. I wrote to the National Chairman of APC and APC NEC as the Constitution of APC requires to allow fair play, but got no reply.

In keeping with long standing determination to fight for my right and your right, I will run for Senate in Ondo North Senatorial Zone on the platform of Action Alliance, since the national leadership of APC under Adams Oshiomhole has unconstitutionally blocked my chance by forcing its candidates on us all.

My decision to detour this time has been difficult. Since 2003 I have been with you. In spite of the many challenges we faced together, I have not retreated. I have not equivocated. I have not moved an inch because there was always a chance at redemption.

Today the chance is unconstitutionally totally blocked. In my interest and in your interest I must keep the chance open. After the next Senatorial election which I hope to win, I will return to you.

In Thankful Appreciation.

OLATUNJI O. ABAYOMI
APC Leader, AKNWLG

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I Have Not Collected Salary Since I Became Governor, Says Aregbesola

Sahara Reporters - 8 hours 43 min ago


Rauf Aregbesola, outgoing Governor of Osun State, has said he did not earn salaries throughout the eight years of his administration.

Speaking during an interactive programme tagged ‘Ogbeni Till Day Break’ on Saturday in Osogbo, the governor said since the state was responsible for feeding him, fueling his cars and providing him accomodation, there was no need for him to be paid.

According to NAN, Aregbesola also said he didn't operate any bank account anywhere in the world.

His words: "I have not collected salary since I became the governor of the state. The state feeds me, fuels my car and provides me accommodation. With all these, I don’t need money.

”I have no money and bank account anywhere.
 I have no house except the one I built before I became the governor. Anyone can go out there to investigate if I have bank account."

Aregbesola is expected to hand over Gboyega Oyetola, the Osun Governor-elect on November 27, but he has said he would vacate the Government House on Monday, November 19.

According to Aregbesola, the decision to leave the Government House earlier than expected was to give his successor enough time to do necessary renovations.

Stating that he had no regrets being governor, he said: “If you give me another four years to rule again, I will still do what I did before and I will not do anything differently”.

On his next plans after office, he said it was time to rest for a while.

”l had been in politics since my secondary school days. I have been an absentee husband for many years because of politics but for now, i want to be with my wife,” Aregbesola said.

On his achievements, the governor said he was happy that his social investment programmes supported and transformed the lives of the people in the state.

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'It's A Big Slap On Our Faces' — Mystery As Impounded Vehicle Disappears From Ondo Police Station

Sahara Reporters - 9 hours 2 min ago


Gbenga Adeyanju, Ondo State Commissioner of Police

Gbenga Adeyanju, Ondo State Commissioner of Police

The Ondo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has been thrown into confusion after the disappearance of an impounded Toyota Corolla vehicle, parked in the custody of the police.

SaharaReporters learnt that the Toyota vehicle was impounded and parked within the premises of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Ondo State Police Command in the Alagbaka area of Akure.

The stolen Toyota vehicle, impounded a month ago and parked within the premises of the police station, had no battery but appears to have been mysteriously driven away from the station by yet-to-identified persons.

SaharaReporters authoritatively gathered that a newly re-deployed police sergeant, who was transferred to the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Command and was on duty when the car was stolen, has been arrested in connection to the incident.

This police sergeant, whose name has not been revealed, is currently being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Office in Akure, and helping with investigation into the stolen Toyota vehicle.

Police sources who briefed our correspondent on Saturday about the case said the disappearance of the vehicle had remained a "mystery" to the officers in the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Police Command.

One of these sources, who preferred not to be named, disclosed that other police sergeants, who were also on duty, have been arrested and are undergoing interrogation.

He said: “My brother, the disappearance of this vehicle (Toyota Corolla) looked mysterious to the officers in the station, because it was impounded and parked in the custody of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad as an exhibit. And I am aware that the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr. Onabanjo, has been summoned to give account of how the vehicle disappeared from his station.

“I learnt there was this particular sergeant that has been suspected in the case, because he was newly transferred to the station and a day after his assumption of office, the Toyota Corolla vehicle was stolen from the station. Mind you, this particular vehicle had no battery when it was parked in the station, which means the person or those who perpetrated the crime must have come along with a battery to be able to drive the car away.

“So, all the Police Sergeants that were duty on the very day the vehicle was stolen from the station, particularly the ones on ‘counter-duty’, have been arrested and have been helping their superiors with the case. In fact, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gbenga Adeyanju, has shown interest in the case because it is a big slap on our faces. How can a thief enter into a station that is fully armed with officers and make away with the car?

“Definitely, the operation has the hand of an insider, which could also be a policeman within the unit of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, but I am sure we are going to unravel the person behind this mysterious disappearance. The Commissioner of Police has asked the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the command to take over the case and ensure that the vehicle is recovered and the perpetrators are also arrested."

Femi Joseph, Spokesperson of the Ondo State Police Command, could not be immediately reached at the time of filing this report as his official lines were not connecting.

A text message sent by our correspondent to his official line did not also deliver, but a source in his office confirmed the incident via phone.

The source said: “It is true the incident occurred, but the CID has taken over the case with a view to unravelling those who might have pepetrated this cime as it is a slap on our faces that a Toyota Corolla was stolen from our station".

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2019 Elections: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1) By Senami Kojah

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 12 min ago


Dazzling commercials, hip catch-phrases and unredeemed promises bombard the media space in Nigeria ahead of the 2019 general election, but none of them hint the cautionary note of what is to come.

The Arab Spring; Parallels with Nigeria

The greatest and most powerful revolutions in history often start very quietly and in Nigeria, all the indicators of a revolution are blinking the green, red and amber all at once. However, the traffic of politics and politicians keep moving, ignoring the malfunctioning lights.

When the Arab Spring began, the reasons echoed by the protesters and revolutionaries at the time was dissatisfaction, particularly of youth and unions, police brutality, insurgency, wide margins of inequality between the rich and the poor as well as low income levels.

In Nigeria, especially on social media, there is smoke. It is rising out of posts on Facebook and Hashtags on Twitter fueled by reports of inequality, statistics of poverty and the reality of this paperwork on the daily life of Nigeria’s largely youthful population, just like it happened with the Arab Spring before Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation which catalyzed the revolution.

In June 2018, Nigeria overtook India in the sickening race to become the nation with the highest number of extremely poor people in the world according to a report by Brookings Institution; solidifying the blow, the report adds that six people become extremely poor every minute.

In Egypt one of the events that led up to the revolution was an attempted workers' strike on the 6th of April 2008 at state-run textile factories of al-Mahalla al-Kubra just outside Cairo. The government tried to break the strike action by compromising the union and it proved successful for a while until young people affected by that action took to Tahrir Square on the 25th of January 2008, demanding a revolution.

Here, on November 6th, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the umbrella body for Nigerian workers, almost commenced a shutdown of government institutions to pressure the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to accept and implement the payment of a new N30,000 minimum wage proposed by the union. The government, in a last-minute attempt, accepted to look at the proposals followed by denials and distancing by the Federal Government from the initial promise to “look and implement” as Nigerian workers look on with disenchantment.

Tunisia’s turn came after Mohammed Bouazizi burned himself on the streets after his vegetable cart and the only source of livelihood which he resorted to due to high unemployment levels in the country. His action triggered the Arab Spring and led to the end of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 23-year rule.

Of Nigeria’s active labour force consisting about 85.08 million people, a total of 16 million people are unemployed according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). To this worrying statistic, there is no seemingly sustainable plan to engage Nigeria’s enviable labour force consisting of mostly young people and just like in Tunisia, if they are not engaged and quickly in factories and industries, they will be engaging themselves in the streets.

The Revolutionary Innocence of Nigerians

Despite being poked and prodded for 58 years, some Nigerians have, over the years, exhibited what Afrobeat Legend Fela Anikulapko-Kuti described as “suffering and smiling”, but the smoke which was described earlier is reaching fever pitch. This means the blaze will soon be visible, like it was in Tunisia. Who would have thought then that of all the civil and properly organised pressure events, it was the self-immolation of Bouazizi that would trigger a revolution?

The organised calls for a new minimum wage, the endless protests to end insurgency and bring back our girls, the rising unemployment and cost of living, the senseless attacks by herdsmen going unchecked and the disturbingly long list of our malaise we have written as a nation all signal that our Mohammed Bouazizi is just by a street corner, bearing a revolutionary innocence waiting for time and chance to upset the unsustainable system that is Nigeria.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

“…the first change that takes place is in the mind, saying the revolution will not be televised is saying the thing that is going to change people, no one will ever be able to capture it on film, it will just be something that you see and all of a sudden you realize.” -Gil Scott Heron.

So while some Nigerians are disenchanted with the system and leaving the country in droves, while the socio-economic challenges persist and the senseless bloodletting continue, the political class seem blinded, their condition aided by the media.

The mainstream media, in an unholy alliance with the impregnated pockets of the 'ruling party and the opposition', glaze over the issues and are currently presenting to Nigerians only two political parties ahead of the 2019 general election, while interestingly dismissing the emergence of a new generation of candidates challenging the old order.

The memo has been served and the revolution has begun. It is not being reported in the news so you cannot see it. There will be no repeat broadcast, because the media is busy televising mediocrity, and it will manifest so quickly that you, money-bag, will not make it in time to the airport. It would have happened.

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NAFDAC, Customs Seize Tramadol Worth N193bn In One Year

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 18 min ago


The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control says it has confiscated containers of tramadol with a street value of N193bn.

In a statement by the Director-General of the agency, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the seizures were made during a joint examination of containers at the Apapa Port, Lagos which was coordinated by the Nigeria Customs Service.

According to Adeyeye, about 23 out of 80 40ft containers on the agency’s watch list since November 2017 were examined on Wednesday, November 14 and Thursday, November 15 and it contained tramadol.

The statement read in part, “These examined containers consist of 128,922 cartons of high strength of tramadol (120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg), which was estimated to be worth about N6,446,100,000 in addition to 321,146 cartons of other unregistered pharmaceutical products. The worth of tramadol on the street is estimated to be at about N193,383,000,000 on an average cost of N1,500,000 per carton of tramadol.”

She said the drugs emanated from India, adding that the seizure was an outcome of previous communications with the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service in September 2018 about containers suspected to be conveying tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceuticals as well as other NAFDAC regulated products.

She said about 23 40ft containers examined so far were loaded with tramadol of various strengths from 120mg to 250mg and other unregistered pharmaceutical products that are known to be injurious to the health of the public, most importantly the youth.

“Since then, the Port Inspections Directorate of NAFDAC has been tracking these containers with daily update on the progress,” Adeyeye said.

Adeyeye said the prevention of these dangerous drugs from entering into the Nigerian markets would protect millions of youths from hazards of drug addiction which can pose threat to families, Nigerian workforce and the security of the nation at large.

“Of course, this would have increased the number of casualties from insurgency, armed robbery and other social vices which are known to be the aftermath effect of use of illicit drugs,” the NAFDAC boss said.

She thanked Customs for cooperating with the agency, adding that strengthening the synergy between them was the best way to boost effectiveness.

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Our Fears For Buhari – Malam Daura, President’s Cousin

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 38 min ago


President Muhammadu Buhari’s cousin Malam Adnan Nahabu Daura has said that the number of bad people who surround the president is giving his government an ugly image and his family cause for concern. He said Buhari needs to urgently flush them out to give Nigerians sense of belonging in his administration. He dismissed claims by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu that the president is not the original Buhari elected into office in 2015, saying two different family meetings held with the president recently in Daura, Katsina state proved the allegation wrong. Daura spoke further on various issues including the chances of Buhari winning the 2019 poll in this interview conducted by ABDULLAHI HASSAN in Zaria.

President Muhammadu is facing serious political challenges in his struggle to be elected for a second term especially with the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential flag bearer of PDP. What do you think are the chances of Buhari in 2019?

Let me start by telling you that the chances of Buhari winning a second term in office is sure by God’s grace. It is a matter of time; all indicators are there on ground to pave way for the president’s continuity in office after 2019 elections. It has always been the case in party politics; you find sharp competitions among contestants and the incumbent must be ready to face challenges from the opponents. Remember our president is a General in the Army; he is used to all sorts of rigour and counter challenges. So, I believe he is still equal to the task.

Are you saying the defections from the ruling party to the main opposition party are no signs of threat to Buhari’s re-election bid?

There is a clear demarcation between politicians and the electorate. The politicians who defect from one party to another are doing so for selfish political interests but the masses don’t care about that; their concern is only who appears to be credible and competent. In this case, the Nigerian masses who constitute majority of the electorate are with President Buhari. So, defection or no defection, Mr. President remains the most credible of all contestants including Atiku Abubakar himself whose greed for power and records are well known by Nigerians. So, I assure you that Buhari will win with wider margin.

Many Nigerians believe that the greatest weakness of President Buhari is the way he allows some of his aides to abuse their positions by engaging in massive corruption and pursuing self seeking agenda. What is your reaction this?

I don’t know who specifically you are referring as aides. But the fact is that there are bad elements in this government and such kinds of people are everywhere. Let me share with you what happened to me recently in Abuja. I booked to see one of the presidential aides to brief him on a very important and burning political issue but you can’t imagine how he treated me. First, I did not go for contract and I am not a partisan politician neither did I go there to beg for a favour. In fact, I left a note in his house before going to his office. Surprisingly, when he saw my note, according to his secretary, he tore it to pieces without reading it. And he later refused to grant me audience. So, you can see that there are these kinds of people in Buhari’s government. In the real sense, such people are not supposed to be found in authority or power cycle. They don’t care what happens to Mr. President, his politics and success of his policies. It is true that some of them have dominated Buhari’s government, and it is really sad to have them in this administration. I believe there should be some corrections in the way and manner these people operate under the leadership of a good man and committed person like Muhammadu Buhari. This is because these aides do not have listening attitude and feelings for people; instead, they are concerned about their selfish gains and aggrandizement.

With your observation, one wonders why the president still keeps them close to himself. Is it their fault to remain in government or the president’s fault for keeping them in his cabinet?

Most of the things that are happening, the president doesn’t know. But some good people who have access to him, I believe they must be telling him about these people. Sometimes, the president puts them on watch before he takes action. It is unfortunate, that Mr. President assumes that these people are good and not knowing they are too bad and corrupt. Unless these people are fished out and thrown out of the system, Nigerians would continue to suffer. Thank God Nigerians are beginning to know them one by one as enemies of Buhari’s administration. I cannot keep quiet; I must tell Mr. President the truth about these kinds of people that he works with so that he would be careful.

Another criticism against President Buhari is the way he allows himself to be influenced by some governors and former governor of Lagos State, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, especially on issues that relate to the APC and its policies. What can you say on this?

That is not true my friend. People should understand that Mr. President is well aware of the demarcations between policies and party matters. There are constitutional issues that must be shared concurrently between state and the federal. Therefore, Mr President cannot overlap into state powers. What is happening in states are mostly issues that are within the responsibilities of the governors. I don’t see a reason why people should be relating states’ issues to Buhari. I think it’s wrong. Though, if they are talking of monitoring of policy, of course, from time to time and when it is absolutely necessary, Mr. President can go into the matter, like bail out, Paris Club refund, salary and wages increment etc.

But if it is on politics, the matter is entirely different. Mr. President, despite the fact that both governors and any other elected officer enjoy the popularity and political patronage of President Buhari during elections, yet there are limitations to which Mr. President can intervene. Of course, his intervention on issues has to be clearly defined by nature and circumstances of the issue, because there are state crises that President Buhari can venture into. For example, the Kano crisis where Governor Ganduje is facing charges of bribery based on one journalist’s revelations. How do you expect Mr. President to intervene in that crisis when the State House of Assembly is already investigating the matter. On Asiwaju Tinubu, the relationship is just political. More importantly, Tinubu is a major stakeholder in APC, the party that brought this government to power.

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader alleged that the current president, Muhammadu Buhari is fake and that the original Buhari has died since January this year. He said the sitting president is one Jibril from Sudan and as Buhari’s blood relation, what is your take on that?

It is really a funny and sad thing. Nnamdi Kanu has a chicken brain, otherwise how can he transmit this kind of thought and information to Nigerians who are intelligent , brilliant and exposed to life. The president cannot just die and information about him would be kept secret for more than a year, looking at the inquisitive nature of Nigerians. In fact, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was reported dead before his natural death. Even President Buhari was last year reported to have died until when a video showed him and his family live before Nigerians believed that he was alive. And everyone saw how he was received from medical trip and how he resumed work up to this year when he decided to visit his doctor in London after he returned from China. He was physically healthy at the time he left Nigeria. There is no any abracadabra that you can do to hide the death of Mr. President. Kanu made the absurd statement after he drank to excess, or was afflicted with all sorts of frustrations. This Kanu is a rebel and enemy of the law of Nigeria who is condemned by his own people. As a blood relation of Buhari, we are telling Kanu that he is a blunt and shameless liar. Anybody in Nigeria that knows Buhari 20 years ago, and sees him now , knows he is the same man with the same height, colour and all characteristics.

To prove Kanu wrong and that he is a shameless liar; the family held meetings with Mr President twice this year precisely during Eid el- Kabir Sallah celebrations in August this year. We chatted, discussed and he recounted past and other memorable events in the family that involved each and every one of us. The question to ask is when did this Jibril learn everything in the family that could make him to be our Muhammadu Buhari. I think Kanu should know that we are not illiterates, nor barbarians that he can make these kinds of silly statements to. Let him fool his fools, certainly not Buhari’s relations or Nigerians. The only thing that changed in Mr. President is his physical structure, and this is because he is ageing. Apart from that, there is nothing missing or part of his structure or attitude that has changed. He is the same Buhari we knew long time ago. So, he is just talking nonsense.

Don’t you think that Kanu’s allegations will make a serious impact on Buhari’s campaign for 2019 elections?

No, not at all; I told you that the statement was nonsensical and foolish; that is why only few cynics of Buhari’s administration pay attention to it. Buhari has recently overcome many character assassinations like the one by Kanu. There was a sickness saga, later WAEC certificate. We have tolerated this Kanu a lot, he has insulted our country, we kept mute; he has insulted our culture , still we kept quiet and now he is insulting our patriotic leaders and we will not keep silent again. It is only in Nigeria you will find this rubbish happening and citizens will not take any action because of the acclaimed – democratic rule. I think breaching the rights of other citizens in a country like Nigeria is unconstitutional and undemocratic. As such, Nnamdi Kanu must be brought and punished accordingly.

With Buhari’s record so far especially with complaints of ravaging poverty in the land, do you think he deserves a second term?

To be specific, more Nigerians especially our teeming youths have been employed directly or indirectly through various programmes. Needless to talk about agriculture. More than ever before, Nigeria has produced the highest agricultural output. Farmers have access to loan and input freely. Security is another indisputable achievement of Buhari administration; road construction, and power sector rehabilitation as well as labour especially with the acceptance of N30,000 minimum wage. It is part of the good records of this administration.

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N30,000 Minimum Wage: We’ll Shut Down States, Labour Leaders Warn Governors

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 41 min ago


Following the claim by the Nigeria Governors Forum that the only way they can pay the minimum wage of N30, 000 to workers is after downsizing, labours leaders across the country have said that there is no going back on their demand. The labour leaders said that would ground the country if the governors carry out their threat to sack workers as our Correspondents found out in this report.

Imo State We will shut down the government that refuses to pay N30, 000 – TUC

The leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Imo state has declared that any government or administration that refuses to pay the agreed N30, 000 minimum wage will be inviting trouble from Organised Labour. The Imo State Chairman of the TUC, Paul Akalazu, said that beyond mobilising the Nigerian workers to vote out such leaders, any nonconforming administration that survives election would be shut down by Nigerian workers through a mass action to press home the N30, 000 minimum wage demand. He said: “The position of the Organized Labour on this issue is the same at all times and will continue to be. Negotiations have ended, we are not going into any further negotiation with any group or individual over N30, 000 minimum wage. The tripartite committee has agreed on the payment of N30, 000 minimum wage and any state government that refuses to pay it, we shall mobilise our workers and vote them out in 2019. And any that survives the election; we shall shut down with protests. “They cannot continue to subjugate the Nigerian workers that generate the revenue while they sit back and live beyond their means. We know how much that accrues to every state in this country on the average and we know the little percentage of those accruals they deploy to the development of the state, paying of salaries and pensions. We insist that Nigerian workers and the Nigerian people must begin to matter. Nigerian workers must be given priority consideration in the policy formulations of this country.”

Ekiti State ‘Let them set their priorities right’

In Ekiti State, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ade Adesanmi, said there is no governor in Nigeria that should say N30, 000 minimum wage is too much, saying it is a matter of getting their priorities right. “They are just playing to gallery, if they set their priorities right, they can pay. After all, the governors in Nigeria obtain the same amount to pay salaries. “The amount is even ridiculous, because by calculation, it means about N1, 000 per day, so working for eight hours, it means N159 per hour. So if any governor says he cannot pay, workers are not going to succumb until the amount becomes a reality.”

Osun State

It’s joke of the century Following the threat of state governors that they would have to downsize to be able to pay N30, 000 as minimum wage to Nigerian workers, leadership of Osun State workers yesterday kicked against the claim describing it as a joke of the century. The state Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Jacob Adekomi who spoke with our reporter said that, anything less than N30, 000 from the state government as minimum wage would be rejected. Comrade Adekomi affirmed that on N30, 000 minimum wage, the state labour leaders stand and that there would not be retreat, no surrender on the matter which he said, is paramount to them for now in the state. He maintained that, is either the state government pays the money as minimum wage or see the other side of labour. While speaking on the issue of downsizing, Adekomi said that, he could not see reason for that when in the actual sense, political office holders know how they take adequate care of their own. He however said that there is no cause for alarm as all hands will be on deck to see that the payment of the said N30, 000 as minimum wage is implemented in the state.

Adamawa State

‘No going back on N30, 000’ In Adamawa State, the NLC described as funny and child play the decision of the Nigerian Governors Forum to downsize the workforce in order to pay the N30, 000. The State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Dauda Maina, who could not be reached for comment was said to have attended a meeting with the Head of Service on the issue of the national minimum wage. However, a staff in the Chairman’s office who prefers anonymity said the issue of the new minimum wage had been settled and the governor’s forum has no right to discuss what was agreed upon by the tripartite committee and the government. According to him, “there’s no going back as far as the N30, 000 minimum wage is concerned.” He added that the action of the governors is to thwart the intention of the federal government. He however maintained that despite their unnecessary disposition, about three or four states in the country had shown interest to pay even above the agreed wage; these states are willing to pay N32, 500 N35, 000 and even N37, 000. Meanwhile, the general view from the labour leaders in the state is that President Muhammadu Buhari should first give assent to the document and that any state governor that is unable to pay should as a matter of fact resign.

Bayelsa ‘NGF not recognised by law’

Bayelsa State Labour leader John Ndiomu said that Labour did not agree to downsizing. He said: “The governors forum is not a legal body and the process of coming by the minimum wage is not determined by the governors forum. “There is a process to be followed and that was why the presidency inaugurated a tripartite committee in 2017 and the committee has been working. “That is the constitutional process and that is the only way that we can get the minimum wage not governors forum. “Is that body a recognised body by law? You can imagine that for ordinary N30, 000 to be paid to poor workers in the country, governors are refusing. “It is quite unfortunate and we know that labour will stand by the truth. “For Bayelsa State, I will not speak for the governor but all I know is that he has said that whatever agreement that is reached he will pay even if it is 30,000 Also TUC chairman Bayelsa State, Tari Daunanagha, said: “I can’t support downsizing. Nobody will support downsizing. They should look at the realities and know that leadership is a privilege and implementing minimum wage is one of that privilege. “But in the other way round the revenue sharing formula should be looked into. Look at the way the revenue is being shared. The Federal Government takes 60 percent while the state and local governments take 40 percent. “The sharing formula should be adjusted. But that does not mean the N30, 000 minimum can’t be implemented. They are just using this to see how they can get a very good bargain regarding the sharing formula.”

Delta State It smacks of lack of governance

The Delta State chairman of NLC, Comrade Jonathan Jemiriyigbe, who spoke on the threat by Governors’ Forum to downsize workers to be able to pay the N30, 000 being demanded by the NLC as minimum wage in Asaba yesterday said it is an indication of an absence of government in the country. He said the threat is an indication of absenteeism government, maintaining that as far as workers in Delta State are concerned, Governor Okowa has made his position known on the demand. He said, “Our amiable Governor did not fall for anything, he has fallen for something. He said the state will pay whatever that is agreed as minimum wage. He said if it is N1 million per month, he will pay and if it is one kobo, the state will also pay. Presently, he is one of the governors out of the 36 states in Nigeria that is paying workers’ salaries regularly. Any other position from the Governors’ Forum is from the evil one.” His counterpart in the United Labour Congress (ULC), Comrade Ogbaloi Kelly, said the Governors that are paying lips service to laws on workers’ welfare, will soon get their mouth burnt on the matter. As according to him, any form of modern day slavery and oppression of workers will be resisted as from December deadline for implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage. “It is obvious that the Federal Government and the governors have settled for mischief. While some governors have gone extremely loquacious over the minimum wage; the Federal Government has not conducted its affairs with honour. We will justify our struggle when we get to the bridge.” Ogbaloi said.

Edo We won’t accept anything less than N30, 000 — Edo NLC Chair

Smarting from the threats by NGF to downsize the number of workers in their various states to be able to pay the latest N30, 000 minimum wage, the leadership of the NLC Edo State chapter said yesterday that there is no going back in regards to the tripartite agreement reached over the matter. Chairman of the NLC in the state, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun said: “The position of the workers umbrella body is clear, we have given the Federal Government two weeks minimum to meet with the decisions reached by the tripartite committee. The governors forum that is making noise now they were party to that tripartite committee that met; about six governors were members of that committee. They submitted their intents before the committee submitted its report. Take note that we actually bargained for about N65, 000 minimum wage but when the tripartite body met we descended so low to accept the N30, 000 minimum wage because the private sector said we should agree to a figure where even the governors and the private sector can pay. “So, based on that report from the private sector, the labour keyed in and the majority must have their way while the minority must their say. But the issue of governors forum threatening that they would downsize and all that, we are used to that language, let the Federal Government approve the N30, 000 minimum wage for workers and let them go and tell their workers in their various states that they cannot pay. We cannot be deterred by that their threats. For us, forward we go, backward never. The tripartite committee had agreed on N30, 000 and there is no going backward on it. We are not going to accept anything less of that N30, 000.”

Kaduna Governors who cannot pay should resign – Kaduna NLC boss

Following the controversy generated by the proposed increment in the National minimum wage in the country, the NLC Kaduna State chapter has vowed that they will not entertain any retrenchment of its members in the state. In a direct reply to the position of the Nigerian Governors Forum that the proposed N30, 000 agreed by the tripartite negotiation committee is not plausible except they have to retrench, the Kaduna State chapter of the NLC told Saturday Telegraph that they are solidly behind the National headquarters of the NLC against sack of any of their members. Speaking through their Chairman, Comrade Adamu Ango, the body said, any governor that cannot pay the new minimum wage should resign. He said the NLC is ready to vote for those that are also ready to pay the new minimum wage. In a terse message to new Saturday Telegraph, Adamu said, “I have the same decision with the NLC headquarters. Any governor that can’t pay should resign and allow someone that can pay to come in”, he said.

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70 Million Nigerians Live Below Poverty Line – Osibogun

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 47 min ago


Former chief medical director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Public Health Expert, Prof Akin Osibogun, has said that about 70 million Nigerians live below poverty line.

Osibogun, stated this at the MDCAN 2018 Public Lecture and Award, with the theme “Politics and Health: Implications of Nexus To The Nigerian Citizen,” in Abuja.

Osibogun, who was the guest speaker at the event said, “health-related data show that about 70 million Nigerians live below the abject poverty line.

“The poor are more likely to be sick and when sick, least likely to access health services promptly. The cost of illness is not just the cost of treatment, but includes the cost of treatment-seeking activities such as transportation to the hospital.

“Poverty remains a most important determinant of ill-health as it contributes significantly to increased exposure to disease-causing agents and also prevents access to health care services once disease has occurred.”

He noted that in the Human Development Index, the United Nations ranked Nigeria as 187 out of 191 countries, adding that the fall in living standards and relative scarcity of resources have negatively impacted on the delivery of and access to health services by the people.

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What Buhari Told Islamic Clerics In Aso Rock

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 48 min ago


President Muhammadu Buhari has again, given assurances of his determination to ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2019.

Responding to a speech by a delegation of Imams and senior Islamic scholars from the 36 states of the federation at the State House on Friday, President Buhari said that a number of measures put in place have seen the gradual improvement of elections, as in Edo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States from what he described as “dismal and unacceptable levels witnessed in Rivers and Kogi States.”

According to the President, “What I want to assure Nigerians is that I will continue to pressure the Police and other agencies to do their best to ensure a conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections.”

On the issue of security raised by the religious group, President Buhari said he will continue to push security agencies to find lasting solutions, stressing, however, the need for community and religious leaders to play a part in identifying criminals in their midst.

The President thanked the Muslim leaders for recognizing the various achievements of the administration especially, in dealing with security, fighting corruption and progress in agriculture.

“I am not satisfied with the reporting of agriculture. Millions of our citizens have returned to the farms with many leaving white collar jobs for opportunities in agriculture,” he noted.

The leader of the delegation, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, who is the Secretary-General of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, had lavishly praised the President’s achievements in key areas of his campaign in 2015 namely, security, corruption and the economy.

According to him, “So far, so good, government has gone a long way in meeting its promises.”

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Election: FG Orders Security Agencies To Begin Search Of Private Jets, Passengers

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 50 min ago


Vista Jet 9H-VFA

The Federal Government may have ordered security agencies to begin search of private jets and their passengers as the 2019 campaigns and other electioneering activities begin.

It was learnt that security agencies including the operatives of the Department of State Services, Immigration, Customs and the Special Task Force on Currency at the nation’s airports and private terminals would soon begin to search every private jet and their occupants before departures and after arrivals.

Multiple security sources at the Lagos and Abuja airports confirmed the development.

They were told that as the 2019 elections were drawing near, intelligence reports had shown that politicians might be trying to move funds both in local and foreign currencies via their private jets or hired planes to prosecute the campaigns and elections.

They said the development informed the decision to search the private jet of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, at the Abuja airport last Sunday shortly after his arrival from Dubai where he had gone for vacation.

It was, however, learnt that the decision to search Atiku’s jet was a specific order from the Federal Government, even though the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, claimed it was a routine search usually conducted on all arriving passengers.

“Even though it is within our laws that security agencies can search private jets and their occupants, security agencies have not been doing this. It may be because there were no threats in the past. What I can say is that the search of Atiku’s jet is political because it is not the usual practice; the chief executive officer of an Abuja-based charter flight operator told our correspondent under condition of anonymity.

NCAA beef up security at private jet terminals, hangars

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation industry regulator, Capt Muktar Usman, has said the Federal Government will beam its searchlight on all private jet terminals and private jet flights as campaigns towards the 2019 elections begin.

He said every election season was usually characterised with increased level of activities in the private and charter jet segment of the aviation sector and the agency would ensure no infraction is committed by any politician, party or charter operator.

Usman said, “We are all aware that as we are approaching the election season, there would be more movements in the private and charter flights segment. We are aware there are more movements, so the monitoring should be more. We are taking all those things into consideration. It’s part of our own oversight responsibility and we are taking things very seriously. So, we are monitoring to ensure that standards are met and adhered to.

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EFCC: How N1.7 Billion Akwa Ibom Funds Were Diverted For Personal Use

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 51 min ago


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has narrated how the sum of N1.7 billion was withdrawn from the Akwa Ibom state government’s accounts and diverted for personal use, stating that it necessitated the freeze action on the state’s account.

In a statement of defence filed before the Federal High Court in Uyo and seen by SaharaRepoters on Friday, the commission indicted Emmanuel Udom, Akwa Ibom State Governor, the Accountant General of the state, Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Commissioner of Finance, Nsikan Linus Nkan, one Margeret Thompson Ukpe and a company, Paul Usoro & Co.

In August 2018, the anti-graft agency had placed a freeze order on all bank accounts controlled by the Akwa Ibom State Government. This led to a N50 billion law suit filed by the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, against the commission.

In the suit, Akwa Ibom claimed that the 72-hour freeze order placed on its accounts paralysed state’s activities and brought it ridicule. The Attorney General noted in the statement of claim that “there is no basis even in the Constitution of Nigeria or any other enabling law made by anybody whether the National Assembly or the state Assembly or any other convention that authorises any federal agency or any agency to shut down the account of a state government as done by the EFCC.

“I want to state clearly that even if there was to be an investigation that the EFCC was carrying out about whether there was any fraud committed against Akwa Ibom State in that circumstance, it should be the government of Akwa Ibom that should be the victim, so there was no basis for freezing the accounts.”

However, responding to this claim, EFCC said it acted within the purview of its enactment act that empowers it to place a stop order on any account suspected to be involved in any crime.

Giving instances of suspicion, EFCC said on March 10, 2016, the sum of N700 million was withdrawn in cash from the state’s Accountant General’s imprest account.

EFCC stated further that “out of the said N700,000,000.00, the sum of N300,000,000.00 was deposited in cash to the Zenith account No. 1014604466 belonging to Paul Usoro & Co on the 14th of March, 2016 without any contractual relationship between Akwa Ibom State and the said Paul Usoro & Co.

“That the 1st defendant (EFCC) invited Paul Usoro (SAN) who volunteered extra judicial statement confessing that the said N300,000,000.00 was his professional fees for handling Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s personal matter before the election tribunal. That the remaining N400,000,000.00 was also diverted to private use.

“That in similar vein, the total sum of N1,100,000,000.00 was also removed from the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Justice account No. 1011191486 domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc and lodged in the Paul Usoro & Co’s account number 0690123425 domiciled with Access Bank Plc without reasonable justification."

The anti-graft agency claimed that out of the N1.1 billion, Uwemedimo Thomas Nwoko received an alleged kickback of N65million from Paul Usoro.

The Akwa Ibom State government had also claimed that EFCC did not give any notice before freezing its account. Responding to this, the commission said it extended invitation to the signatories of the accounts and the “state government officials who made the said cash withdrawal”, but there was no acknowledgment.

EFCC averred further “that the various officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government who were involved in these alleged fraudulent transaction still exercise control over the account of the state; that it was in the course of the exercise of its statutory fffunction, that the 1st respondent took meansures to prevent further fraudulent and suspicious transcation on the accounts of Akwa Ibom State Government by the various officials of the state that letter of investigation activities were sent to the 3rd – 5th defendants herein on the 8th day of August, 2018 to place and lift no debit order on the accounts".

EFCC, thereby, prayed the count not to restrain it from performing its statutory functions as it acted in the overall interest of the state.

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Alleged Party Primaries Bribe: DSS Submits Report On Oshiomhole To AGF

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 52 min ago


The Department of State Security Service, DSS has submitted a report of its findings on its investigation of the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) for review, Saturday Sun reliably gathered in Abuja yesterday.

The embattled party chairman was recently summoned for interrogation by the leadership of the secret police following allegations financial inducement and compromise in the conduct and outcome of the recently held APC primaries. The party leadership was accused of collecting bribes in millions of dollars to favour particular aspirants who eventually emerged as candidates particularly in Imo and Ogun states among others.

After being granted bail, Oshiomhole traveled out of the country and returned on Friday last week and thereafter granted media interviews to deny the allegations against him. Some of his friends and supporters have fingered some aggrieved APC governors like, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun; Rochas Okorocha of Imo; and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo among others as the brains behind the DSS probe, an allegation the governors have equally denied.

A reliable government official familiar with the probe told Saturday Sun in Abuja yesterday that the DSS has since submitted the report of its findings to AGF Malami for review and appropriate legal advice.

According to the source, “I’m aware the Minister of Justice, is on the case. He may take it over or die naturally. The outcome of the review of the DSS investigative report by the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation in few days ahead, will decide Oshiomhole’ s faith.”

When Saturday Sun contacted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC late yesterday to confirm whether it has also gotten a copy of the report for further investigation, the anti-graft agency through its spokesman, Tony Orilade said the Commission is not investigating Oshiomhole on the bribery allegation.

“We, therefore, don’t have a say as to the status of the allegations or the stage the investigation is at the moment, if at all there is such. If and when we are availed with such petition of financial impropriety, the EFCC, being a responsible anti-graft agency, will surely do the needful,” the agency’s spokesman stated.

Efforts to speak with the AGF on the probe report up till 9:30pm yesterday proved abortive as his phone numbers were switched off while text messages sent to him were also not replied.

It was however gathered that some of the aggrieved governors are still pressing on with their plan to oust the party chairman, a plan President Buhari and some other APC leaders may not be favourably disposed to because of the instability that will cause three months to a general election in which the president is standing for re-election. One of the governors accused of being behind the plot had told Saturday Sun the allegation is baseless. “No doubt, we have been having meetings with the president but our visits have nothing to do with Oshiomhole’s probe. We are only interested in securing the president from some deadly traps because what is happening now is of serious concern to the president. For instance, if we allow them to undermine Amosun in Ogun, fine, Amosun may lose but the president will also lose. This is their game plan. That was the same mistake President Jonathan made and we are trying not to allow President Buhari fall into the same trap”, the governor had stated.

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti had also dismissed the allegation against some of them as baseless. “We have nothing to do with his ordeal, nobody should link us to it please”, he stressed and pleaded to be left out of the conversation.

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FG Okays N60bn For Rice Subsidy

Sahara Reporters - 12 hours 55 min ago


The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh on Friday disclosed that the Federal Government has approved N60 billion subsidy to support rice industry in the country.

He briefed State House correspondents after a meeting of the National Food Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ogbe who was flanked by the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu explained that the purpose of the subsidy was to help bring down price of the commodity in the country.

He said “There is a subsidy programme coming up. Government has approved some money N60 billion to support the rice industry to bring down prices. But we are going to handle it differently.

“We don’t want to get into petroleum subsidy problem. So, a committee is looking at it with the Ministry of Finance.

“We think that it is better for us to loan money to the millers, farmers and distributors at a very low interest rate, so that the capital doesn’t disappear, so they have cheaper credit to do their business that should impact on the price of rice in the market.

“When we are ready we will let you know,” he added.

On the plan to ban fertilizer NPK 151515 which has been in use in the country for many years, he said that the ban became imperative because it adds no value to crops.

He said “We call for the ban of fertilizer NPK 151515 which has been used in the country for many years but recent research revealed it’s not useful for any crop or any soil.

“Soils differ and so do crop, to believe there is one uniform fertilizer you can spread for every crop is a fallacy.   And it’s because we have done soil test and change the formulations of fertilizers, local blenders that some of the yields we are getting now are rising from two tonnes per hectares to five and six.

”So the president is looking into that and to how we can deal with it,” he said

On his part, Governor Bagudu said the council’s attention was drawn to the report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which suggested that Nigeria remains a heavy importer of rice despite government’s claim to the contrary.

He said: “We drew the attention of the council to a report by the US department for agriculture which suggested that Nigeria has been importing rice or about to the tune of about three million tonnes.

“We informed the council that contact has been made with the US agency to tell us the basis for the report because it’s not consistent with the report available to us.

“The only official importation in Nigeria is about 4,000 metric tonnes of rice. Secondly, the biggest exporter of rice, Thailand exported 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice to West Africa  between January to October this year and India exported 402 million metric tonnes of rice to West Africa between January to end of July this year. That is a total of 1.5 million metric tonnes.

“Even if all was smuggled into Nigeria, that was the total amount of importation one could attribute to Nigeria.

“So, the US authorities responding by saying that their assessment  was based on satellite imaging of flooded areas and consideration that we are about to enter electioneering period and that demand for rice by politicians or for political purposes will increase.

“Thirdly, that most West African countries depend on Nigeria. So, because of the flooding, they concluded based on those assumptions that Nigeria will import more.

“Certainly, that is an erroneous report. Even in spite of the flooding, the upland rice production has been quite strong this year. Even though prices have increase in response to flooding, we still have adequate paddy rice in Nigeria.” he said

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We Never Endorsed Anyone – Ohanaeze

Sahara Reporters - 13 hours 32 min ago


Ohanaeze N’digbo has denied adopting any candidate for the 2019 presidential election.

Reacting to the reported endorsement of the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday in Enugu during a gathering of Igbo leaders, the group said it was yet to meet and decide on whom to support in the election.

The organisation in a statement signed by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, dismissed reports on  the gathering of the Igbo leaders in Enugu, and the endorsement of Atiku.

The group, although admitted that its President General, Chief John Nwodo, attended the Enugu meeting, it was not the position of Ohanaeze.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo has not yet adopted any presidential candidate as some media houses recently reported. The visit of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, to some Igbo leaders in Enugu was not facilitated by Ohanaeze N’digbo, though the president general and some chieftains of Ohanaeze Ndigbo were present.

“It was a town hall meeting organised by some friends and associates of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, his running mate and Ohanaeze leadership was invited. We are elated, however, by the promise of Atiku Abubakar to restructure Nigeria and address the visible marginalisation of Ndigbo in Nigeria.

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PDP Is Unfair Party With No Conscience, Says Ayade

Sahara Reporters - 13 hours 34 min ago


Smarting from the fallout of last primaries, Cross River Governor Ben Ayade, has described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a party that is unfair with no conscience.

Ayade, who was bitter over the disqualification of his friend, Mr. Chris Agara from the Cross River Central senatorial primaries by the PDP opened up on the primaries for the first time at a recent launch of the State Microfinance Bank in Calabar.

Ayade said: “I have spent more money than any other candidate in the state. PDP is a party that is so unfair and has got no conscience. A man came ready for election and you take out his name from the ballot paper.

“You take out his name because you know he is too powerful. When people use God’s given opportunities to do injustice, injustice would wait for them. So for my brother, I asked you to be strong and abide in the faith of God, because it is God’s will. But for those who the devil has used to stop the instrumentality, challenge and direction of God at the fullness of time, Holy Ghost would visit them with their own mighty fire”.

Ayade who was excited that Agara did not defect to another despite pressure said, “let us shame the devil. Let us shame the enemies. Let us shame all those who thought that they can put a fight between two brothers. We have conquered. We are the richest Cross Riverians in the oil and gas industry.

Our politics has no business with our brotherhood. My brother you are welcome.

“This is a brother indeed. He is the only brother that can also give his right eye to protect me. It is my brother that even in pains, with all enemies gathered in his house. Instead of me to hurt my brother, I would rather not be in politics. This is politics with ethics.

“This is true brotherhood. My brother who has said, he would rather forget politics and stand by his brother. But you will be shocked that people we have literally helped in the days of their poverty, they connived to conspire and carry rumours and stories to destroy brotherhood of over 30 years.”

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Buhari Can’t Double As Petroleum Minister – Court

Sahara Reporters - 13 hours 48 min ago


The Federal High Court in Abuja has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot legally double as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The court made the declaration on Thursday while giving judgment in a suit filed last year by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN).

Agbakoba had, in the suit, urged the court to restrain Buhari from continuing to hold the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The SAN had contended that Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution forbids the President from “holding any other executive office or paid employment.”

In a statement on Friday by his office, Agbakoba said the court in deciding the case held that Buhari had not violated Section 138, since he is not directly in charge of the day-to-day running of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The court, according to the statement, said there would have been a violation if Buhari had not appointed someone else – Dr. Ibe Kachikwu – to oversee the day-to-day running of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The court explained that the phrase “hold” in Section 138 of the constitution “meant to preside, act, to possess, occupy or conduct the actual day to day running of the office.”

“Merely proclaiming/announcing that he (the President) was the Minister of Petroleum is not enough to conclude that he holds the office of minister,” the court reportedly declared.

In the suit, Agbakoba had said as a legal practitioner with 40 years experience and having checked the Constitution, he was convinced that “Buhari cannot legally hold the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources” and thus urged the court to sack him.

He contended that Buhari was not screened for the ministerial job by the Senate as required by the constitution.

He urged the court to determine “whether, by virtue of Section 147(2) of the 1999 Constitution, the President can hold the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, without confirmation by the Senate of the National Assembly?”

In a 14-paragraph affidavit, which he personally deposed to in support of his suit, Agbakoba explained that the lawsuit was informed by the recent management crisis which engulfed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, on account of disagreements between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

I verily believe that the governance chaos in the NNPC could not have occurred if the President is not also the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

“I am aware that the NNPC provides up to 90 per cent of the revenue accruing to Nigeria.”

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Prove Your Integrity By Asking Amaechi To Resign, PDP Tells Buhari

Sahara Reporters - 16 November 2018 - 12:41pm


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate his “touted integrity” by demanding the immediate resignation of Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation.

A statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, on Friday accused Amaechi of using government funds to campaign for the Buhari for the 2019 general election.

According to PDP, Amaechi’s action demonstrates the height of corruption.

The statement read: "The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenges President Muhammadu Buhari to demand the immediate resignation of Rotimi Amaechi as the Minister of Transportation to demonstrate his (Buhari) touted integrity.

"The party says Amaechi, as Minister of Transportation and Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, is using  government fund to campaign for Buhari. PDP notes that this action of Amaechi demonstrates the height of corruption both in Buhari administration and the person of his campaign DG.

"The party further wondered how Amaechi will compare failed President Muhammadu Buhari to the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who has been generally accepted as the next President of Nigeria, stressing that Amaechi has finally lost touch with Nigerians."

The party went on to do a comparison between its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Buhari, referring to the tenure under the present administration as one that "has stood down all known democratic virtues, and relishes in violation of human rights, disobedience to court orders, disdain for constitutional order and condoning extra-judicial killing".

The statement continued: "If Amaechi has not lost touch with reality, how would he be comparing Atiku Abubakar, who is widely celebrated by Nigerians across board, due to his integrity and proven competence in managing resources, to a failed President Buhari, who Nigerians know is responsible for the grinding hardship, hunger, starvation and escalating insecurity in the nation in the last three and half years?

"How can Amaechi compare Atiku Abubakar, a known and tested nationalist, who has become the rallying point for national rejuvenation and reawakening to President Buhari, who has sunk the nation deeper into the sea of nepotism, divisiveness, dissentions and agonizing despondency?

"How can any one compare Atiku Abubakar, an epitome of wealth creation and youth empowerment to President Buhari whose tenure will only be remembered by Nigerians for hardship, unemployment, job losses, wealth destruction, economic frustrations and destruction of institutions that engender good governance and freedom?

"Is it not an aberration to attempt to compare Atiku Abubakar, who played key role in a government that paid our nation’s foreign debt, to President Buhari, whose administration specializes in accumulating debts, borrowing money to service debts and plunging our generations yet unborn into bondage?

"How can Amaechi compare Atiku Abubakar, a promoter of democracy and fundamental human rights to President Buhari whose administration has stood down all known democratic virtues, and relishes in violation of human rights, disobedience to court orders, disdain for constitutional order and condoning extra-judicial killing, harassment and illegal detention of citizens as detailed in reports by international bodies?

"While it is a settled fact that President Buhari cannot be a match to Atiku Abubakar, we understand Amaechi’s frustration as a beleaguered salesman of a derelict product, but he should have known that for Nigerians, Atiku Abubakar represents light and a brighter future whereas President Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) represent a national misfortune.

"Amaechi is aware of the murmurings and frustration even in the Presidency regarding President Buhari’s failures in governance and that most of his ministers, aides and political associates no longer believe in his re-election since Atiku Abubakar emerged as PDP Presidential candidate."

The party concluded the statement by calling on Amaechi to "prepare to return to Rivers state to face his multiple corruption indictments instead of trying to promote a failed candidate".

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