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NHRC: In Most Cases, Police Lie About Sanctioning Officers Guilty Of Extra-judicial Killings

Sahara Reporters - 19 hours 52 min ago


Uche Nwokocha, South East Coordinator of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has accused the Nigeria Police Force of covering up for officers found guilty of extra-judicial killings.

She also decried the high level of impunity that exists within the Nigeria Police Force.

Nwokocha stated that the Police shield erring officers from prosecution and transfer them to another station instead of holding them accountable for their actions and prosecuting them, The Sun newspaper reported.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Public Tribunal on Police Corruption, Brutality and Abuse in Southern Nigeria in Owerri, Imo State, Nwokocha also said the zone has been experiencing an increase in extrajudicial activities.

She said: “There is a high level of impunity and extortion, with illegal checkpoints at every one pole, and those who refuse to give in to the extortion by these armed policemen would be severely manhandled.

“Some unfortunate ones have ended up being killed and, thereafter, framed as armed robbers.

“The extra-judicial killings by officers of the SARS is frightening and efforts by the NHRC and the Network of Police Reforms in Nigeria, to get the police accountable for these extra-judicial killings have failed.

“In most cases, the Police will lie that the culprit has been dismissed, when, in fact, they have been transferred."

She also revealed that in the zone, SARS officers are used as debt collectors, as well as for settlements of land and even family disputes, which are simply civil matters.
 

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Nigeria Has No Plan To Remove Fuel Subsidy, Finance Minister Insists

Sahara Reporters - 19 hours 53 min ago


Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, has once again reassured the Niegrisnd that the country has no plan to remove fuel subsidy.

This was said in a press statement issued to further clarify why the country cannot remove subsidy as advised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the just-concluded Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America.

She said: “NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum products, and so when they import it is the cost of business and they deduct that cost before they remit the little money to the federation account. So that is completely different.

“It is more cost effective, it is cheaper and what is being done now is easier to monitor what transpired.

“We are not there yet and we discuss this periodically under the Economic Management Team. But we have not found a formula that works for Nigeria and you know Nigeria is unique because what works in Ghana may not work in here.

“So, it is still work in progress and so there is no intention to remove fuel subsidy at this time.”

Ahmed pointed out that the problem plaguing the country is the inability to generate revenue to drive the economy.

She stated that when revenues perform at the aggregate rate of 55 per cent, it hinders the ability to operate in our budget while adding that efforts are being made to shore revenue.

The Finance Minister also said that Nigeria borrowing rate to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is still low when compared to other countries.

She asserted that the country is still within the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“In the borrowing, we are still at 19 per cent to GDP; our borrowing is still low.

“What is allowed by our Fiscal Responsibility Act is the maximum of 25 per cent of our GDP compared to other countries like Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Angola and Brazil and we are the lowest in terms of borrowing,” Ahmed said.

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Presidency Assures Nigerian Civil Servants On Implementation Of New Minimum Wage

Sahara Reporters - 20 hours 6 min ago


Senior Special Adviser to President Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate)

Senior Special Adviser to President Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate) propeller ng

The Presidency has advised civil servants in Nigeria to expect the full implementation of N30,000 as the new minimum wage.

This was the submission of Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), while speaking to the Punch newspaper in a report published on Wednesday.

He said: “For Mr President, he has signed the bill. Remember that the negotiations took place for over two years and all these things (funding) were taken into account and they were addressed by the committee.

“The governors and the local governments were all heard before eventually it was agreed that N30,000 should be the minimum wage from the initial demand of labour.

“I don’t think we should entertain any fears until there is any implementation problem.”

Enang, however, said that states that are yet to pass the 2019 budget might have some difficulty in paying the new wage.

“The only fear may be that some states may have already passed their budgets (2019) on the basis of N18,000, without the inclusion of the wage increase; in which case, they may have to consider a supplementary budget.

“Even the Federal Government today is still operating the 2018 budget, which had N18,000 as the minimum wage. The 2019 budget, which contains the provision for N30,000, has yet to be passed by the National Assembly.

“For the FG, it will only do adjustment of cost when the budget is passed without needing an additional appropriation."
 

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'Ayade Wants To Defraud Cross River With N648billion Highway Construction'

Sahara Reporters - 20 hours 12 min ago


BudgIT, Nigeria's civic tech organization, says Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State, is attempting to defraud the state of N648billion through construction of a “super highway”.

Ayade had proposed to construct a super highway and is bent on going on with the implementation despite disapproval from all angles.

The highway is to be funded through N648billion Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) fund that will cost the state to pay back N300million per month for 180 years.

A statement issued by Shakir Akorede, Communications Associate of BudgIT, noted that the highway construction is "misplaced priority and overly ambitious".

The statement read: “Suspecting an obstinate intention of the Ayade government to defraud the people of Cross River, we deem the project overly ambitious, superfluous and almost a misplaced priority especially – besides its viability to investors – when there has been hardly any explanation on ‘infallible plans’ to upscale the state revenue and clear cumulative debts let alone fix the human and environmental costs of the project.

“With a budget estimate of N648billion, the 275km Superhighway fails all tests of fiscal sustainability and proper procurement process, as the state government has unacceptably failed to name the investors, four years down the drain.”

Citing more reasons Ayade should not commence the project, BudgIT noted that Cross River has the fourth largest external debt among Nigerian states.

It added: “As of December 31, 2018, the state’s domestic debt stood at N167.96billion, according to the Debt Management Office of Nigeria (DMO).

“In the whole of 2017, Cross River was only able to generate total revenue of N41.6 billion, with its internally generated revenue accounting for 34.58% – N18.1bn. Yet, the government has come up with a proposed budget of N1.4 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year.

“The state government claims that investors will make returns on their investment through collected toll fees from vehicles and trucks that ply the highway, evacuating the proposed Bakassi deep sea port.”

BudgIT stated that after paying the debts, the state would take over 100 years for the funds to be recouped while urging Ayade to invest in more financially realistic projects.
 

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Lagos, Delta, Gombe Airports Risk Closure Over Debt To FAAN

Sahara Reporters - 20 hours 21 min ago


Nine airports across Nigeria risk closure over non-payment of workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) deployed to the various airports.

The airports are listed as Jigawa State Airport, Kebbi State Airport, Gombe State Airport, Victor Attah International Airport in Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa International Cargo Airport, Taraba State Airport, Delta State Airport, Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) and the Osubi Airport in Delta State.

It was gathered that a memo was issued dated April 22, 2019, notifying the airports management of the non-payment.

FAAN also stated that a previous memo directing the airports to pay its workers was discarded.

The memo read: “Following the notice of intention to sanction issued to owners/operators of private airports indebted to FAAN which lapses on Wednesday, 24th April 2019, FAAN hereby serves another seven days notice of grace till Tuesday, April 30, 2019, for them to settle the debts.

“In view of the above, the authority hereby notifies private airport operators that the services of our aviation security, as well as aerodrome rescue and fire fighting personnel, will no longer be available for operations of their airports with effect from Wednesday, May 1, 2019, as FAAN can no longer keep this personnel at airports without payment.”
 

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Buhari Sympathises With Victims Of Car Crash In Gombe

Sahara Reporters - 20 hours 24 min ago


Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the relatives of the youth that were killed by an officer of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who rammed into them.

SaharaReporters had reported that the Boys’ Brigade from the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Bamusa in Barunde and from St Peter’s Anglican Church were in a procession to Sabon-Layi Area of Gombe metropolis, where they were expected to celebrate Easter on Monday, when a car crashed into them.

Buhari described the killing as “very unfortunate” and wished those injured speedy recovery.

A statement issued by Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, read: “The President extends condolences to the families of the victims. Joining the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Gombe State chapter, and the state government in appealing for calm, President Buhari also decried the reckless driving as well as quick resort to self-help and mob action.

“We must always be mindful of the peaceful action of others while resisting the urge to take the laws into our hands notwithstanding the gravity of provocation.

"The President commends the leadership of the Police and the NSCDC for steps taken in bringing the situation under control, and promising investigations into the incident."

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Ogoni Community Leaders Give Cultists 14 Days To Surrender Weapons

Sahara Reporters - 20 hours 31 min ago


Ogoni elders visit Buhari

Ogoni elders visit Buhari

Leaders of Ogoni communities have read a riot act to cult groups, as well as leaders and monarch who are aiding their criminal activities.

The Ogoni leaders from Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme Local Government Areas (LGAs) made their position known in a communiqué issued after a meeting held in Tai LGA, Rivers State.

The leaders expressed sadness at the level of insecurity in the area, just as they condemned the spare of killings.

The communiqué read: “Having reviewed the current deteriorating security situation in Ogoniland, we express profound sadness over and wholeheartedly condemn the spate of killings, cases of cult wars and other criminal activities in parts of Ogoni, especially in Khana LGA, that have created a deep sense of insecurity,

“We hereby warn all those involved in such activities to put an end to such activities forthwith and surrender their arms and all instruments of violence and subject themselves to traditional oaths in their respective communities within 14 days.

“At the expiration of the 14 days, any person who fails to abide by the decision should be declared an enemy of the people and treated as such."

They also stated that leaders of the communities that “harbour these criminals or host their camp or fail to administer the traditional oaths on their subjects or fail to expose the identities of perpetrators of these crimes, would not only be deposed, but treated as accomplices".
 

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The Entire Northen Nigeria Is Under Siege, Shehu Sani Laments

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 4:06pm


Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central at the National Assembly, has urged the government to tackle the overwhelming security challenges facing the Northern part of the country.

He made the call while receiving groups from Birnin Gwari, Chikun Local Government Areas and representatives of Zamfara indigenes resident in Kaduna.

Sani said: “Today the entire northern Nigeria is under siege. In the North-West it is the armed bandits, the Nort- Central is experiencing herdsmen attacks and the North-East is ravaged by insurgents.

“In Kajuru, it is Muslims and Christians against one another, in Birnin Gwari it is banditry and kidnapping and along Kaduna Abuja Highway, it is kidnapping and raping. I have been visiting you regularly and this time you are in my residence. I have listened to your lamentation, tears, cries and appeals.

”I believe any conscious Nigerian is aware of what you are facing in Birnin Gwari. I must say the issue of Birnin Gwari reflects the fears and dangers we are facing in North West today. Kidnapping is what we used to hear of in Niger Delta. Today Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Niger and Zamfara States are under siege. The most ideal thing is to face the situation and question those that we have elected into positions of authority."

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'A Joke Gone Too Far' — ASUU Blasts Aisha Buhari's Plan To Name Private University After The President

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 4:01pm


The University of Ibadan chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday blasted the Federal Government over the proposed plan to establish a private university to be named after President Muhammadu Buhari.

The union described the proposed university by the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, as a disaster.

It said the plan confirmed why her husband has continued to reduce budgetary allocation to education since he assumed office in 2015.

Professor Deji Omole, the Chairman of ASUU UI, made the condemnation while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan.

“When I heard about the proposed private university to be named after Mr President, I just looked at it as a joke taken too far," he said.

"If we have a President in a country that has simply refused to fund public education and all we get from the first family is to establish a private university in collaboration with some foreigners, it is a disaster for this country and for a sitting President. The implication is that Nigerians should know that this leadership does not believe in public funded education."

At a town hall meeting in Yola over the weekend, Aisha Buhari had announced her plan to establish a private university to be named after President Buhari.

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Boat Driver Commits Suicide In Bayelsa After Disagreeing With His Lover

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 1:21pm



Alabo Enai, a 29-year-old boat driver from Kemme town in Twon-Brass area of Brass Local Government Council, has committed suicide over alleged deterioration of his relationship with his lover. 

The deceased was reported to have hanged himself with a strong fishing rope in his compound at about 1am on Easter Sunday. He was discovered by his lover.

His lover, identified as Blessing, an indigene of Ologbobiri in Southern Ijaw Area of the State, came back from an Easter party in Twon Brass and met the deceased hanging from the rope.

"Blessing started knocking from door to door with alarm that she did not know what his lover was doing with rope round his neck," a community source told SaharaReporters.

"People rushed out and met him dead. But there was no suicide note. We later gathered from her that they had been having issues over her decision to relocate to her community in Southern Ijaw.

"After he complained about her decision, she reportedly changed her mind and decided to stay. On the fateful day, she said she asked him to come along with her for the Easter show. He declined and told her to have fun."

The saddened lover, a salesgirl within the community, reported the incident at the police station in Twin Brass.

Samuel James, the Youth Leader of Kemme-town, also confirmed the development, saying although the deceased has been buried after necessary traditional rites, the incident remains a sad and mysterious one.

He said the family performed the traditional rite of hanging a white goat till it gave up the ghost as a sign of cleansing the land before the deceased was buried along with the dead goat. 

"It is believed that if the deceased boat driver is brought down and buried without the cleaning rite, other members of his family would die mysteriously," he said.

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Man Nabbed While Trying To Sell His Male Child For N200,000, Female For N150,000

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 1:01pm


Edet Essien Inyang, a 30-year old, has been nabed by the police in Calabar for attempting to sell two of his children to escape poverty.

Edet reportedly took his two children, one male and one female, to Murray Street where he sought buyers to enable him raise money.

An eyewitness identified simply as Ekem recounted his experience with Edet shortly before he was nabbed: “He came here with the children and asked after one rich man on this street and when he did not see the man we asked him what he was looking for the man for and he said was looking for someone to buy his two children. He said the male child is N200, 000 sand the female N150,000."

Shocked at Edet's disclosure, Edem said in order to stop him from taking the children somewhere to sell they had to “delay him while making efforts to contact the Police at Atakpa Police Station which is close by, and immediately sent a team to arrest him".

“He said he is from  Akwa Ibom State but resides in Using Inyang in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State," Edem added.

At the Atakpa Police Station, the Divisional Police Officer confirmed the arrest of the man, saying the matter had been transferred to the State Criminal Division at the Police Command headquarters for further investigations.

DSP Irene Ugbo, spokesman of the Police Cross River, said she was yet to be briefed on the matter.

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Pregnant Widow, Five Others Arrested With N7m Worth Of Adulterated Petroleum Products

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 12:32pm



Authorities of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have arrested and paraded a pregnant widow and five others over alleged illegal bunkering and sale of adulterated fuel, kerosene, and diesel in some parts of Bayelsa State. 

The suspects, identified as Mrs Udumudeno Omenuwome, a pregnant woman, and Messrs Yaya Anerohm, Lateefa Hamza, Ahmed Zibiri and Mr.Kelvin Owere, were arrested at Trofani in Sagbama and Okaki junction in Yenagoa, the Baylesa capital. 

They were arrested with illegal products stacked in sacks estimated to be 33,000 litres in volume with a market value of over N7million.

The arrested widow claimed she resorted to the sale of the adulterated product as a means of livelihood. 

While Oriade Clement claimed ignorance of the implications of their act on the unsuspecting Nigerians, the other suspects pleaded for leniency with a promise to turn a new leaf by engaging in a meaningful venture henceforth.

While parading the suspectsIdeba Pedro, the Bayelsa State Commandant of NSCDC, reaffirmed the command's readiness to flush out illegal bunkering activities in the state.

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Spoken Word: The Change We Need In Nigeria By Hannatu Musawa

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 11:36am


It’s amazing to think that four years ago, Nigerians were deep in the fray of politics and the opposition was chanting the change mantra. Since then, a lot has happened. Now that the APC ruling party has been in office for a full term, Nigerians are beating down the doors of government asking to see where the change is. As I, myself, reflect on where exactly that change is, I want to tell you a short story…

 “…Some time ago, back when there was rabid fuel scarcity, I did something that I am not too proud of.

Driving with a low tank of fuel, I was forced to head to a fuel station. Arriving at the fuel station, I met an incredibly long queue, of which I joined. With the queue not moving and having been there for a while, I concluded that queuing at the station indefinitely was not an option I was willing to embrace. So, I decided to leave the queue and drive up to the station. As I approached the station, lots of young men offering black-market fuel approached me. I thought about obliging the black-market trade fleetingly, but eventually decided against it. I settled on cutting my losses, going home and sending a driver to join the queue instead. But then, a well-dressed middle-aged man approached my vehicle and asked if I wanted fuel from the station.

“Yes,” I replied without hesitation…“But the queue is too long. I will just go home and send a driver to join,” I said.

“I work at the station and I can let your car in to fill your tank now, now Ma… for a small amount,” Offered the man.

I understood perfectly what he was offering and, I must admit, it didn’t take me long to decide whether I was going to accept his offer or not. Yes, I was going to get the tank filled now!

I had justified the trade in my mind; you see… It had been a long, tiring day and I had fasted. And paying extra to jump the fuel queue may have been a form of injudiciousness, but it was one I felt I deserved at the time.

So, it was! I followed the man with my car and he led me into the fuel station through a separate entrance. After some motor acrobatics, I aligned my car with the fuel pump and within a few minutes, I had a full tank of fuel in my car. The whole operation took less than ten minutes.

Satisfied and smug, I drove out of the station. Feeling a little guilty and sorry for those I had bypassed on the fuel queue, I turned to look at them. That was when I made contact with a woman in the queue sat in the driver seat. She had three young children in the back seat. The kids looked like they were all under ten years old. The one that looked like the youngest was crying non-stop and the two elder kids seemed to be fighting. Between trying to console the younger child and trying to mediate the fight with the older children, she turned and looked at me. She had the most desperate, forlorn and tired look on her face. She was sweating and looked overwhelmed. That was when a large surge of disappointment followed by utter guilt hit me.

Thinking that I had dishonestly paid a bribe, jumped the queue and shortchanged law-abiding Nigerians, while a woman in her situation had done the right thing by following the queue, despite her circumstance, made me feel so bad, guilty and disgusted with myself. It was then that I had an “A-Ha moment’ about what the change, that so many Nigerians fought to have was. What it symbolized!”

…By God’s Grace, as I sit here and watch my fellow countrymen and women ask where exactly the change is, I am reminded of my misadventure that day in the fuel queue. 
The question shouldn’t be ‘where’ the change is; it should be ‘what’ the change is.

So what is the change? Perhaps it is for every single one of us in this nation to commit ourselves to make a change for the better. As Mahatma Gandhi once advised, every single one of us has a responsibility to be the change we wish to see in our respective communities.

So, when we speak of Nigeria’s urgency to see ‘change,’ whom do we expect that change to come from? The expectation for change has been fixated on the government. A long to-do list has been placed at the foot of the President. But in reality, the wind of change that ushered in a new government in the last election wasn’t so much about voting one man into office. It was about the need of a people to see a change in the very fabric and marrow of their country. And if that is what it was, then it includes every single one of us that considers ourselves a member of the collective known as Nigeria.

We live in a time when people speak about requests in terms of needs, needs in terms of rights, and rights in terms of entitlements. Government, and government alone, is thought compelled to provide the expected change. And while such an expectation may be valid, to a large extent, we have to refer to the very concept of responsibility and accountability when we speak of the mantra of change that Nigerians yearn for.

To be responsible is to be answerable for one’s action. When one acknowledges a legitimate call to do something, one has a duty to react. Accountability rests not only on a genuine call for action, but also in the ability to heed the call. Just as the President, all those elected into office and the respective governments have a responsibility to us and to the nation, we each also have a responsibility to every other Nigerian and to the nation at large. Once both the government and Nigerians accept the call for action, which we did when we voted for change, then we all have that responsibility to heed its call. What happened in the elections of 2015 was Nigeria’s call. What we did in voting for change was to heed that call. Now we have a responsibility to follow it through.

Indeed, our democracy has seen a nation’s call for change. Nigerians heeded and opted for that change. But our responsibility doesn’t stop after the inaugurations.

Responsibility doesn’t usually come from one single establishment or one union. Individuals in a family or a community bear the responsibility to care for its members, in the same way that the friends, neighbors, leaders and governments do.

Although we should all have expectations for the government to implement policies, which will make our existence as Nigerians more comfortable, we should be aware that we each have a role to play in that journey to change. Every single Nigerian has a role to play in actualizing change.

While government has a great responsibility to attain the parameters needed for us to grow and flourish, one must be realistic and keep in mind that government isn’t solely liable for taking care of every single one of us in our communities, neighborhoods and families. That obligation is the responsibility of every single one of us as participants in a variety of relationships and overlapping communities. One will intrinsically be indebted to fellow members by a shared principle, which unites their community and, as members of a shared community, we must rely on each other to attain common objectives. That would entail making claims upon each other as we collectively strive to satisfy the ideals our society struggles to actualize.

A government safety-net is there to make available, liberty, service and social justice, but it cannot give personal attention, on-the-ground instincts, or the flexibility sometimes required in an emergency situation. Governments’ responsibility and accountability has to be met by each of our communities and each one of us individually.

The fact that we are aware of government policies being put in place to effect the much-needed change may work to our disadvantage if we don’t value the social contract we have with each other and our communities. Because it may lead us each to relax our own social responsibility in the misleading belief that someone else is holding the forte.

As a nation, we are persons existing in a community, not self-standing individuals. People are not islands and we deny an important feature of our humanity once we approach it as such. Each of us shares some manner of link to one another; every one of us exists in a human society. Our actions have a domino effect on Nigeria and, thus, each have central moral obligations towards our collective.

Part of the government's role is to employ public judgment when it comes to justice. The connection between government and its citizens is one of equal standing and protection under the law. We have got to understand that the government's responsibility is not to be the sole harbinger of change. We each have that responsibility also.

Let us say that the government is able to achieve some of its main objectives in its change manifesto and I, as a part of this huge collective, continues to jump the fuel queue, as does the next person and the next person, then the expectation of change is incapacitated and untenable; purely because we didn’t play our part. It is like a big jigsaw puzzle and we each represent a piece of it. Any of the expectations we have towards government, as far as change goes, has got to start with us… each one of us.

If every single one of us, in our capacity as Nigerians, can make a change that will make Nigeria better, then we will see the change we so yearn for. If not, then it doesn’t matter what policies the government puts in place; there will never be change.

I don’t believe that change only comes in the form of a rescue package by government nicely wrapped in a bow. It no longer only means a list of executives with the exquisite cerebral capacity to make decisions to transform the economy. It is no longer who makes or doesn’t make the Ministerial, Ambassadorial or Executive lists. It is about each and every single one of us doing the right thing by making a change in an area that we know disadvantages the nation.

As long as we are talking about government responsibility to deliver change, we must also examine our own personal irresponsibility, which has an effect on that change. Besides government, we also have a collective responsibility to provide a better example so that those who come after us aren’t propelled toward bad choices or precedents.

While I am waiting to see the government finish putting into effect its policies of change, I’m determined never to jump a fuel queue or any other queue again, by the Will of The Almighty.

When it is clear that Nigeria will never change if we sever our desire for change at the threshold of government alone; when we know that our self-destructive behavior batters the mantra of change that Nigerians chanted for one year ago, is it not time we end our own personal unprogressive conduct?

The change that Nigeria desperately needs starts when I, Hannatu Musawa, don’t pay a bribe to jump the fuel queue. The change starts with every single one of us… and it must start now!

Spoken Word Article Written by
Hannatu Musawa

I invite you to:
Follow me on Twitter- @hanneymusawa
Follow me on Instagram- hanneymusawa
Follow me on Snapchat- hannatumusawa
Send me an e-mail- hannatumusawaspokenword@gmail.com

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'We'll Change Our Style Soon', Shi'ites Warn Nigerian Govt As They Mark El-Zakzaky's Birthday With Protest

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 10:44am




Members of Islamic Movement Of Nigeria (IMN) on Tuesday in Abuja warned the Nigerian Government not to push them to the wall in their demand for the release of their spiritual leader, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky. 

The group disclosed this during a procession to mark the 68th birthday of El-Zakyzaky and 1,224 days of his detention.

According to Shaikh Sidi Munnir from Sokoto State, a member of the movement who spoke to journalists, the movement would change its style and move to another step if the government fails to release their leader. 

When asked what will be the next line of action of the movement if the government continues to keep him in detention, he said: "I am sure we will not be doing this kind of procession to call for the release of our leader; we will move to another step.

"If they push us to the wall, that means if they hold on to our leader and refuse to release him, the style will change. We will not only be protesting to call for the release of our leader. The story will change."

He expressed optimism that President Muhammadu Buhari, with his next level slogan, will rescind his decision and release him from the detention.

He also called on well-meaning Nigerians and International community to intervene as a matter of urgency and necessity. 

He added that the movement embarked on the rally to commemorate the 68th birthday anniversary of their leader even though he is in detention. 

Also speaking, Abdullahi Isa Mohammad, Secretary of the Academic Forum of the movement, said the refusal of the government to release El-Zakyzaky has further increased the popularity of the leader and the movement.  

He noted that the movement has achieved a lot with the protest by exposing the injustice being perpetrated by the government and creating awareness on the extrajudicial killings of their members by the security operatives. 

He added that the continuous violation of rule law by the President has launched the movement to reckoning within and outside the country. He said that the movement will not give up on its demand.

"He has violated all the laws of the land, including an order by the court of competent law which is the Federal High Court that ordered for the freedom of our leader," Muhammad said. 

"They are keeping El-Zakzaky in their custody but El-Zakzaky movement is at the doorstep of the villa and is on the streets of Abuja and everywhere in the whole world. They have done nothing but increase the momentum of the movement to the other level. 

"We have exposed the secrets of the government and told the masses what happened with this peaceful protest. So we don't care if it continues for another four years, but all we know is that Sheik Zakzaky is in their custody and is our leader and we are ready to die for this cause."

El-Zakzaky was born on 15 Sha'aban, 1372 (which corresponds to May 5, 1953) in Zaria. The word 'Zakzaky' means 'Man from Zazzau', and Zazzau or Zaria is an ancient City in Nigeria.

He attended prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, studying Economics and graduating with a First Class in 1979.

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Bindow Makes U-Turn, Files Petition At Election Tribunal After Congratulating Fintiri

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 10:33am


Jibrilla Bindow, the incumbent Governor of Adamawa State, has at last approached the Adamawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in a move to overturn results of the governorship election in the state.

Bindow rescinded his earlier congratulatory message to Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the Governor-Elect, and instituted a legal action challenging the latter's victory at the polls.

In a statewide broadcast on March 29, Bindow had congratulated Fintiri on his election as Governor-Elect after Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said he polled 336,386 votes compared to Fintiri's 376,552.

However, the latest twist is that Bindow is asking for an order of the tribunal to either declare him the winner of the governorship election or order a fresh conduct of the polls in the state. He premised his argument on the claim that results from seven Local Government Areas were marred with various electoral irregularities.

Umar Duhu, former All Progressives Congress (APC) National Vice chairman (Northeast), who is an ally of the Governor, announced Bindow's position in Yola on Tuesday.

"Yes, the Governor congratulated the PDP candidate, but new facts at our disposal signal otherwise about our purported loss," he said.

"There was over-voting in almost all the seven local governments, according to facts obtained from (INEC) records. We strongly believe that there were massive irregularities in those local governments, and I can assert that by the time the issues are properly determined we'll reclaim our mandate."

He attributed some of the party's ordeal to some members of President Muhammadu Buhari's immediate family, alleging thus: "Some members of Mr. President's family are romancing with the opposition here in the state.

"I can tell you that the so-called town hall meeting by the wife the President was all about conferring legitimacy on the so-called victory of the PDP Governorship Candidate."

Duhu further berated the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) for "undermining the unity of the APC as revealed in the proposed list of prospective appointees forwarded to the President for consideration into the new federal cabinet".

"From what we have learnt, all the 20 names presented to the President for consideration as ministers or other aides are people drawn from the defunct CPC bloc; and I think it is dangerous," he said.

"I therefore make bold to assert again that if Mr. President allows the trend, it will destroy the APC. We all labored to wrest power, therefore we should all be carried along."

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Pay Us Our Benefits Before You Leave, Radio Lagos, Television Retirees Beg Ambode

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 10:16am


Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State, has been implored to pay some retired workers of the Radio Lagos and Lagos television their benefits before leaving office on May 29.

The passionate appeal was made by Biodun Akinbusuyi, spokesman of the the group, on Tuesday while fielding questions from newsmen in Lagos. 

Akinbusuyi said that they were transferred from two parastatal-agencies to main service in 2016.

He added that the Lagos State Pension Commission returned the retirees’ files to the two parastatal-agencies and said their terminal benefits should  be paid by the organisations.

“We are appealing to Ambode to assist the parastatals-agencies by approving the terminal benefits, which is not up to N100 million, before the administration winds down," he said. “We are not more than 20 retirees affected by this development."

At the last congress of the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kehinde Bamigbetan, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, had promised the retirees that their terminal benefits would be paid.

He said the ministry would assist in ensuring that issues causing the delay in treating the files of the affected retirees would be sorted out.

He said though Radio Lagos/Lagos television are financially insolvent to pay the retirees’ terminal benefits, the Governor would do his utmost before handing over.

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Shari'a Court In Kaduna Jails Two Ladies For Two Months For Wearing Skimpy Dresses

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 9:47am


Two ladies, Farida Taofiq and Raihana Abbas, have bagged two months in prison each for wearing skimpy dresses.

The sentences were handed down to the 20-year-olds by a Shari’a Court II sitting at Magajin Gari, Kaduna State.

Before learning of their fate, the two convicts had pleaded for leniency, saying they won’t repeat the crime.

The ladies, who are residents of Argungu road in Kaduna, were convicted after they pleaded guilty to “constituting public nuisance and indecent dressing".

The judge, Mallam Musa Sa’ad-Goma, however, gave the convicts an option to pay N3,000 fine each.

Sa’ad-Goma also ordered them to return to their parents’ homes.

Earlier, the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Ibrahim, said that Taofiq and Abbas were arrested on April 16, at a black spot along Sabon-Gari Road roaming the streets in skimpy dresses.

“When they were asked where they were going, they said they were going to the house of a friend who had just put to bed,” the prosecution said.

Ibrahim said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 346 of the Sharia Penal Code of Kaduna State.

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Stella Oyedepo, Managing Director Of National Theatre, Dies In Auto Crash

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 9:44am


Dr. Stella Oyedepo, Managing Director of the National Theatre in Lagos, has died.

Until her death, she served was MD and the Chief executive Officer of the National Theatre.

She died on Easter Monday while returning to Lagos from an official trip. Her car was said to have rammed into an articulated vehicle in Sagamu along the Benin- Ijebu-Ode Expressway.

Abiodun Abe, the Director in charge of Business Development at the NT, confirmed the development to the media on Tuesday.

He said he and the Public Relations Officer of the NT, Steve Ogundele, and other management staff were taking the corpse of the deceased to Ilorin, her hometown.

Abe added that funeral arrangements will be released soon.

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NCAA To Demolish Globacom Masts, Others' After 30-Day Ultimatum

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 9:30am


The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued Globacom Limited and other Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators 30 days ultimatum to remove their over 7, 000 masts or risk seeing them demolished.

According to NCAA, the masts, erected at different locations within the country close to the nation’s airports, are obstructing flight safety and can cause accidents if not removed.

A statement by Sam Adurogboye, the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, stated that the regulatory body had written to the different GSM operators, including Globacom, to remove the masts, but they blatantly refused to do so.

Adurogboye also said the companies failed to obtain the statutory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) from NCAA, stressing that without AHC, all the masts and towers constitute danger to safety of air navigation.

He insisted that under the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, Section 30(3) (1), NCAA is empowered to prohibit and regulate the installation of any structure, which by virtue of its height or position is considered to endanger the safety of air navigation.

He added: “Furthermore, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) Part 12.1.7.1.3.1 stipulates that no person or organisation shall put up a structure (permanent or temporary) within the navigable airspace of Nigeria unless such a person or organisation is a holder of Aviation Height Clearance Certificate granted under this regulation.

“Consequent upon this provision, the regulatory authority requires an Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) approval for every tower installation irrespective of the height and location.

“Contrary to the above regulations, the promoters of GLO telecommunication and these other defaulters have failed to obtain the mandatory Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) from NCAA, which is considered as a violation of safety regulations.”

He declared that several letters and entreaties from NCAA to Globacom Limited and other GSM providers were not responded to, despite that they were duly received by the relevant executives and duly acknowledged.

He insisted that Letters of Investigation (LOI) were written and delivered to all the concerned organisations, but no response recorded till date.

The statement recalled that in a meeting with the Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, early this year, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) members were candidly advised to ensure they obtain Aviation Height Clearance.

Adurogboye said that this was to reiterate the need for all masts and towers erected in the country to adhere to safety regulation and ensure safety of air navigation.

“At the meeting, Globacom representatives were present and were asked questions concerning GLO’s refusal to obtain Aviation Height Clearance Certificate. In response the delegates demanded to be furnished with the location of the masts. A booklet containing the coordinates and locations of the masts has since been made available to the organisation," he continued.

“As a result of the meeting, other telecommunications providers have implicitly demonstrated considerable compliance by duly obtaining the requisite height clearance from the authority except for these few defaulters."

Adurogboye expressed that there are over 40,000 masts and towers in Nigeria, stressing that statutorily, all telecommunications operators should obtain AHC and renew their annual validity, but the owners of over 7,000 masts have refused to comply.

“What this means is that Globacom and these other defaulting GSM providers have been running their networks and providing interconnectivity to millions of subscribers without Aviation Height Clearance Certificate thereby jeopardising safety of air navigation.

“In Part 12.1.7.1.6. the authority shall use all legal means of ensuring the removal of any structure which are erected or constructed without compliance with the provisions of these regulations. A 30-day ultimatum has therefore been given to Globacom Limited and these other defaulters in Nigeria to regularise their operations with NCAA forthwith."

The statement hinted that if there was no response within the stipulated period, NCAA would immediately embark on mass decommissioning and demolition of all the masts and towers in Nigeria.

He assured that NCAA would continue to provide a level playing field for aviation and related services to thrive in Nigeria, without jeopardizing safety, which he described as critical

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New Minimum Wage; New Work Ethics By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Sahara Reporters - 23 April 2019 - 9:29am


The man who is now presiding over kaduna state amidst inter-ethnic and inter-religious turmoils, was once the beloved minister of federal capital territory. 

Although as the Abuja minister who gained notoriety as an Anti-poor bureaucrat, he was also praised in official circles for embarking on some policy implementation that at least on paper, made people to become conscious of not patronizing the many land speculators that flooded the Federal capital territory. 

Nasir El Ruffai who has so far proven to be a terrible choice of a governor in the complex state of kaduna, he was however the public office holder who made the shocking discovery that over 40% of the choice houses in Abuja belong to civil servants in the federal capital.

Ironically, soon after he left office, the national Assembly indicted him of a range of misconducts connected with land redistribution just as he was alleged to have coverted several landed property in Abuja to his cronies and family members. 

The senate also banned him from holding public office for ten years. 

Nasir El Ruffai fought this indictments in court. It would seem that he got a judicial reprieve. 

The kernel of making reference to the Nasir El Ruffai persona is to bring out the larger issue of poor work ethics and corruption amongst the top echelons of the civil and public service cadres who work in the diverse governmental agencies in Abuja. These sets of workers used to earn a national minimum wage ofN18,000 per month which isn't even enough to pay their transportation costs to their work places. But from this sane segment, you find a greater percentage of them in the directorate cadres owning virtually all the top notch housing assets in the Federal capital territory which are obviously proceeds of frauds. 

It was because of deep-seated corruption and the culture of bribery within the hierarchical structure of the civil service that has totally undermined the economic advancement of Nigeria. Nigeria is obviously a crippled clay giant. 

The diminished work ethics seen in the civil and public service of Nigeria is to be blamed fundamentally for why Nigeria does not work. However, the civil service ought to be the heartbeat of any nation and it is so in many foreign jurisdictions. 

In Britain, civil servants are some of the most respected citizens. 

During my recent visit to the United Kingdom, I picked up a book tittled “Dictatorland:The men who stole Africa", written by Paul Kenyon, a distinguished British Broadcasting corporation’s correspondent and BAFTA award winning journalist who had travelled all over Africa.

The chapter five of this beautiful book is devoted to the issues of underdevelopment of Nigeria even as he began the chapter five which he subtitled Nigeria with a rich demography of Nigeria, by recollecting the words of Ken Saro Wiwa who stated thus:” I am unfortunate to be a Nigerian. I would rather not be, but I am doing my level best to be one and a good one at that”. 

Recall that Mr. Saro Wiwa was killed by Sani Abacha, the military dictator at one time who had him and a few of his other environmental campaigners killed for opposing the devastation of their oil rich region of the Niger Delta by shell and a plethora of other multinational oil drillers. Due largely to corruption in the civil abd public service the remediation processes that would have addressed the environmental abuses suffered by the Niger Delta region couldn't be addressed and redressed till date. 

In this chapter five also, the author narrated how the bureaucracy of Abuja works and swims in corruption. 

Those experiences he narrated are very much alive as i write and have even escalated making life in Nigeria to become miserable, brutish, short and uninteresting.

He wrote thus: "In the 1990s, OPL245 was much coveted throughout the oil world, with shell and the Italian supermajor Eni emerging as the two frontrunners. The person who would decide the allocation was the Nigerian oil minister." 

He also stated that: "In a country where people joke that their leaders are ‘professional fraudsters playing at being politicians’, the oil job was open to abuse like no other. The ministry of Environment, or transport, was happy to skim off the conventional ten cent, but the oil ministry had the potential to catapult its boss into the realms of the fabulously rich. Fees to middlemen alone could amount to tens of millions of dollars, and to the minister himself, hundreds of millions."

To be very specific, the author stated further that: "Dan Etete was a boisterous cannonball of a man, who ricocheted around social gatherings, glasses of champagne in one hand, silver-tipped cane in the other, recounting tall stories about his shipping business or his connection in government, promising something to everyone and everything to someone. His tailor? Yes, he’d put you in touch. The wine? Always French, he had some properties there. The silk cravat? He knew a little shop in Abuja." 

He wrote that Etete was a social whirling, an honorary chief always looking for a deal, and precisely the kind of man who, in Nigeria, is destined to enter the political arena. \

Revealing that Etete took a seat in the senate, representing an area right in the heart of the oil producing delta, and soon began to attract the attention of the military chiefs who ran Nigeria, not just for his giant white checked suits, but for his eagerness to take part in illicit schemes, and to keep his nose out of other people’s. 

"When the big job finally came his way in 1991, it was the gift of military dictator General Sani. Dan Etete was to become oil minister.

The author narrated that an application for OPL245 landed on Etete’s desk at the oil ministry in Abuja sometime in April 1998, from a small start -up company no one had ever heard of. It was called Malabu, incorporated just days before specifically for the purpose. Malabu had no employees, no capital, no offices, just the names of three company directors on a sheet of paper. Its bid for what promised to be Nigeria’s richest oilfield was just $20 million. It was like trying to buy a Rolls Royce for the price of a hubcap".

Dan Etete he recalled had numerous options, and might have wished to discount Malabu and its three aspirant directors without so much as an interview. But Etete knew something about the company no one else did. Within a matter of days, he had chosen Malabu for ownership of OPL245. 

As can be attested to, the above celebrated or is it notorious story is still trending as i write. The matter has escalated to a level that the international police has been asked to pick up some of the suspects connected with the Malabu deal. The matter which started due to bureaucratic corruption in Abuja has seen many companies quized and litigated against in UK; France and Italy.

The bureaucratic corruption and bribery mentioned above are very much in widespread practice but amongst those supporting All Progressives Congress. 

It used to be Peoples Democratic party for the last 19 years until 2015 when Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress came on board after winning the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan who handed over without any fight. 

Corruption and bribery in Nigeria is turn by turn. 

As yours faithfully was picking up this book from the bookshelf somewhere in central London last week, the news from Nigeria emerged that the Federal government has Okayed the new minimum wage for all workers.

Relatively speaking, this is good news, but at the same time, it would seem that not much will change if the decadent work ethics of the public and civil servant do not change.

Nothing may change with the enforcement of the new minimum wage if widespread corruption, bribery and bottlenecks slowing down governance in Nigeria are not defeated. 

Nothing may change if the retinue of challatans recruited as special assistants by political office holders and these office holders who consume over 70% of annual budgets on salaries and allowances are not made subject to the application of the new national minimum wage.  

As I go through this book aforementioned, and reflects deeply about the numerous cash gulping political office holders in Nigeria, my mind raced through the essence of Nigeria enthroning a new work ethics by all civil and public servants. 

I say the above because, if you go through the gamut of the debates around the issues of the necessity or otherwise of a new national minimum wage, not one person has argued for a new work ethics. 

All that we have heard is contestation for cash and preservation of status quo. 

The governors who opposed the new minimum wage are mostly indicted of extensive theft of public fund. For them it is about having the biggest bite of the national cake and not about public good. 

The Unions demanding wage increase aren't worried about productivity but to preserve the privileges of their tiny working class that aren't more than five percent of the population but not about how to robustly improve the work ethics so the governmental policies and projects impacts the living conditions of the citizens most of whom are poor and unemployed or underemployed.   

For instance, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) had condemned the opposition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the existence of improved minimum wage across the world. ITUC alleged that International Monetary Fund (IMF) has continue to promote the unfounded claim that higher minimum wages prompt job cuts and hurt workers, putting at risk economic growth.

An article published in the IMF’s F&D magazine and shared on the IMF’s Facebook page claims, “an overly generous wage may prompt employers to cut jobs”. 

But the General Secretary of ITUC, Sharan Burrow thinks otherwise. 

She submitted: “It is disheartening to see that the IMF continues to ignore a large body of evidence on the benefits of minimum wages, for working people and the economy as a whole.  If the IMF is serious about addressing inequality, it should abandon policy advice and loan conditions that have failed to generate economic growth. 

The economic evidence they claim is simply not there. Also absent is an acknowledgement that IMF interventions including attacks on minimum wages have deepened economic and social crises not alleviated them.”

ITUC insisted that the article “Does a Minimum Wage Help Workers?” billed by the IMF as a ‘Back to Basics explainer’, is based on selective evidence that highlights the bias of the authors. 

ITUC maintained that the article recognizes that most empirical studies find a positive or at most a very small negative relationship between minimum wages and employment levels. 

“Despite that admission, the IMF economists base their recommendations on the assumption that higher minimum wages reduce employment levels. 

This ignores the larger body of evidence, which shows the positive effects of minimum wages on productivity, employment, reduced informality and overall economic growth.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on its own seems to have sounded positive when it said the proposed increase in minimum wage for Nigerian workers would stimulate output growth in the economy.

Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made this known in a communiqué published at the end of the 264th meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Abuja.

The communiqué read: “The MPC welcomed the moderation in inflation in October, reflecting declining food prices. The Committee believes that given the negative output gap, the proposed increase in the national minimum wage would stimulate output growth due to prolonged weak aggregate demand arising from salary arrears and contractor debt.

“Consequently, its impact on the aggregate price level would be largely muted, given that the monetary aggregates have largely underperformed in fiscal 2018. In addition, the prevailing stability in the foreign exchange market would continue to moderate pressures on the domestic price level.

It would seem that there is not yet a national debate on two key issues related to the soon to be implemented National minimum wage namely the necessity for a new work ethics and the urgency of the now to cut down significantly on the costs of governance. 

It doesn't make sense that Nigeria spends over 70 % paying salaries and spend very little on infrastructure and human capital development. The nation will not make any progress if we continue to upgrade salaries but fails to upgrade the general standards of living of the nearly 98 % of non public sectorised workforce. The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation commission needs to be inaugurated to watch over these abuses of privileges by the political class who pay themselves huge unbudgeted wages.

Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)  and blogs @www.huriwa.blogspot.com, www.emmanuelonwibiko.com, www.thenigeriaminsidernews.com. 

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