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After Supporting Buhari In 2015, 'Patriotic Lawyers' Say It’s Time For Change To Sowore

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 1:03pm

Abubakar Yesufu, Chairman of the League of Patriotic Lawyers Forum, has called on Nigerian youth to cast their votes for Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), in the February 16 presidential election.

Yesufu stated this during an interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday.

Yesufu, a former Student Union President of the University of Benin, said his group was significant to the victories of former President Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

His words: “I am excited about how he has promised to disrupt the status quo of this country as he has disrupted the media space. I have never met Sowore and I don’t intend to meet him but we believe in what he is doing, because it is important for our generation to come out and strengthen him

"We are asking all centre groups and Atiku to step down and cast their support for the African Action Congress party. We’ve been able to follow him closely and he is the only person that has the idea and exposure to take Nigeria to the greater level. When Jonathan was facing problem and came up with the idea of doctrine of necessity, we led a team of legal practitioners to support  Jonathan because we believe that's the man who doesn’t have shoes and the truth is that, he became the president.

"We now shifted ground to Buhari in 2015 and that is why on AIT and Channels, we supported him. However, weeks to the 2019 elections, we are not comfortable. So what we need to do now is to rally round Sowore; not only the youth but everybody. That can take us out from the pit we are in. I’m a lawyer and you can see what is happening in the judiciary.

"Right now, we are in between the devil and the deep blue sea with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I have nothing against Atiku though. But I believe the throttle-driving Atiku does not have the capability of delivering democracy. He has been on that road for the past 16 years.

"I have listened to these people and want to support AAC. He will become a great icon to reckon with. If we fail to support Sowore, we should be ready for four more years of hardship under Buhari.”

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JUST IN: Ganduje Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty In A Law Court, Says Buhari

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 12:09pm

President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to claims that he is shielding Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano State, from prosecution.

Ganduje was caught on camera pocketing wads of dollars, which appeared to be kickbacks from a contractor.

Although the Governor has claimed the videos were doctored, Jafar Jafar, publisher of Daily Nigerian, who shared the videos in public domain, insisted the videos were real.

Jafar was invited to face an investigative panel set up by the Kano State House of Assembly, but no major action has been taken against the Governor on the matter.

Similarly, when he appeared on ‘The Candidates’, a presidential town hall programme for politicians broadcast on live television, Buhari expressed doubt about the authenticity of the videos but stated that the law would take its course.

However, on Thursday, the presidential campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) berthed in Kano and Buhari was welcomed to the state by Ganduje, as well as thousands of party faithful. Buhari also endorsed Ganduje for reelection as governor of the state.

Responding to the reports that the corruption allegation levelled against Ganduje had watered down the President’s claim that he is fighting corruption impartially, a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), issued on Thursday, restated Buhari’s commitment to the fight against corruption.

The statement read: “President Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed claims that his association with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano has diminished his commitment to the war against corruption.

“The Presidency in a statement Thursday said that there is a difference between perception and reality. According to the statement, which followed comments after the proclamation by President Buhari of Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, at a rally in Kano, the presidency cited a number of high-profile prosecution of senior government officials that a former Secretary to the Government and a former state governor who is a party member and now serving term in jail as indications of will and determination to wage the anti-corruption war without fear or favour.

“It also added that the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, is currently on administrative leave as part of President Buhari's commitment to transparency and accountability. 

“The statement explained that despite some of the suspects being close to the President, he had not shielded them from investigation, administrative suspensions and prosecution.

“The Presidency added that it is sheer mischief to suggest that President Buhari is shielding anybody because of their closeness to him, explaining that no official under this administration would go unpunished once they break the law.”

On the allegations of corruption against the Governor, the statement added: “On the specific issue of Governor Ganduje of Kano State, the statement noted that Dr. Ganduje, as a sitting Governor, enjoys immunity from prosecution in his own right. Furthermore, under Nigerian laws, a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

“In the circumstances, the matter is in court and the President has no power to dictate to the court or the Kano State House of Assembly, which is already investigating the matter, about what to do with the allegations against Ganduje.

“The Presidency added that it is unfair to ignore the larger picture of the President's major successes in the war against corruption, including blocking leakages of corruption, which in turn, boosted government revenues.

“The statement challenged President Buhari's critics to prove that those facing corruption allegations are innocent, adding that the President's zero tolerance for corruption has boosted and remarkably improved Nigeria's image in the eyes of world leaders.”

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Isoko People Beg Uduaghan To Resolve Their 'Headache' Of Bad Representation At The Senate

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 11:47am

The people of Isoko nation of Delta State, under the umbrella of the Isoko Development Union (IDU), have lamented "poor representation" in the Senate.

James Manager is the current senator of the representing the Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko that make up Delta South Senatorial District at the National Assembly. Manager has been in the Senate for almost 16 years on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking during the week on behalf of Isoko nation, at a senatorial campaign/consultation visit to IDU in Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area of the state by Emmanuel Unduaghan, the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Iduh Amadhe, the President General of the Isoko sociocultural group, noted that Isoko nation is lagging behind due to poor representation.

Addressing Uduaghan, Amadhe said: "Our political representation quagmire at the Senate has been giving us headache. We need someone with proven experience to represent us. I don't need to make long speech, but Your Excellency, all I have to tell you is that when you get to the Senate, don't forget Isoko nation.

"From Uduaghan's well-articulated speech, all Isoko people who were already convinced about his political pedigree were left without an iota of doubt, that he will provide effective and results-oriented representation as the next senator. We therefore wish to assure you of the unalloyed prayers and support of the Isoko ethnic group in ensuring that you get elected as their Senator come February 16. We the Isoko shall vote for you; Itsekiri will vote for you and the Ijaw will not be left out too."

Uduaghan is running on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the candidate seeking to represent Delta South senatorial district at the National Assembly.

The IDU leader, however, enjoined Uduaghan to ensure that the Isoko social, political and economic development interests were protected when elected, urging him to, "radically help the Isoko address the challenges posed by increase in revenue accruing to the area from OML 30 oil prospect, and also the conversion of gas flares to boost electricity supply in the area”.

In his address, Uduaghan stated that his aspiration was premised on an issue-based campaign and not attacking personalities.

He promised to propose a bill seeking the transformation of illegal bunkering and refining of petroleum products into legal ventures that would provide jobs for the youth, and also formulation of laws to enhance environment protection and sustainable development of the area.

Uduaghan was accompanied on the campaign visit by Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, the APC Isoko Federal House of Representatives hopeful, as well as other party leaders.

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CSOs Ask LPPC To Withdraw Keyamo's SAN Rank Over Adeyanju’s Detention

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 11:05am

Festus Keyamo

Three Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) say Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has questions to answer on the illegal detention of Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians.

Therefore, they called on the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee respectively to withdraw the rank of SAN conferred on Keyamo as well as his licence to practise law in Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement signed by Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution; Adebayo Raphael, Co-Convener, Free Nigeria Movement and Moses Paul of MadConnect, made available to SaharaReporters on Thursday.

The groups lamented the “illegal arrest and detention” of Adeyanju, noting that Adeyanju has been in custody for more than six weeks now.

Highlighting the events that led to Adeyanju’s remand in custody, the groups said: “Adeyanju was first detained at a Police facility in Garki, Abuja, during which time he was deprived of access to his family members and lawyers. He was then secretly transferred to a police station in Kano and arraigned before a Magistrates’ Court. On 30/01/2019 he was arraigned before a Kano State High Court on charges of attempted murder.”

According to the groups, the charge for which Adeyanju has been held for the past 48 days relates to allegations for which he was tried and acquitted by a Kano State High Court in a trial that lasted from 2005 to 2009.

The statement read: “It is instructive to point out that Mr. Adeyanju was arrested, tried and acquitted along with three other people, none of whom have been arrested or invited for questioning in the course of the last 48 days.

“Mr. Adeyanju’s arrest, detention and arraignment on these charges constitute a blatant violation of the provisions of Section 36(9) the Constitution which stipulate that: ‘No person who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence or for a criminal offence having the same ingredients as that offence save upon the order of a superior court.’

“Mr. Adeyanju’s arrest and detention also constitutes a violation of his rights to dignity of his person, personal liberty and fair hearing. It is also important to note that during the course of his trial in 2009, Mr. Adeyanju was represented by Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), who is currently the spokesperson for the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari. This fact is important in the light of Mr. Adeyanju’s criticism of the Buhari administration over the last three years, which had resulted in several arrests and detentions. 

“It is instructive to note that Mr. Keyamo now works for the Buhari presidency which by all indications wants Mr Adeyanju out of circulation before, during and immediately after the 2019 general election for obvious reasons. Mr. Keyamo’s stoic silence is the matter, at the expense of the continued violation of the rights of a person he once represented, therefore fuels concerns in the thoughts of many Nigerians that he may have played a key role in the design and execution of the plot to keep Mr. Adeyanju out of circulation in order to protect their interests of President Buhari and his campaign.

“It is nearly impossible to escape this conclusion, seeing as a person of Mr. Keyamo’s standing in society and antecedents – especially as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) – who should have been at the forefront of demands for Mr. Adeyanju’s release, knowing the facts of his acquittal in that matter, has chosen to remain silent. It is nearly impossible to resist the conclusion that Mr. Keyamo may have chosen to sacrifice his professional ethics on the altar of regime protection and at the expense of justice.

“We reiterate our calls for Mr. Adeyanju’s unconditional release seeing as the allegations for which he is currently detained has been heard to a conclusion by a court of competent jurisdiction resulting in his discharge and acquittal.

“It is obvious that Mr. Keyamo indeed has questions to answer on issues related to the illegal arrest and detention of Mr. Adeyanju. We, therefore, call on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to conduct investigations into the circumstance surrounding Mr. Keyamo’s involvement in Mr. Adeyanju’s illegal detention. We also call on the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee respectively to withdraw the rank of SAN conferred on Mr. Keyamo as well as his licence to practise law in Nigeria. Justice must be upheld.”

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AAC Declares Sowore Winner Of ‘The Candidates’ Presidential Debate

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 11:02am

The African Action Congress (AAC) has given its verdict on the series of ‘The Candidates’, a presidential town hall co-production between Daria Media and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

Anchored by Kadaria Ahmed over the past four Wednesdays in January, presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), All Progressives Congress (APC), African Action Congress (AAC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have all featured on the programme.

A statement by Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi, Director-General of the Sowore 2019 Campaign, issued on Thursday, noted that “there was one winner from the series and that was Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress”.

The statement continued: “Although Buhari and Atiku have artfully dodged a frontal debate with Sowore, ‘The Candidates’ placed all the candidates on the same platform, with the same interviewer. And for two hours, Nigerians had the opportunity to hear the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the four leading political parties in the country talk about their plans and programmes for Nigeria, as well as answer questions about their past. The town hall series was revealing. Nigerians have now had an opportunity to weigh their candidates for the highest offices in the land.

“Buhari demonstrated a worrying cluelessness about many of the goings on in the country.  He frequently had to be prompted by his Vice President, as he failed to hear or comprehend most of the questions asked. Buhari seemed neither mentally present nor interested in Nigeria. The APC has no ideas for how to steer Nigeria away from the crippling problems of insecurity, power sector failures, growing unemployment, farmer-herdsmen conflicts and lack of affordable healthcare access that continues to plague Nigeria. One could almost be moved to sympathy for Buhari after his catatonic performance, if it weren’t for the vicious wickedness that is the intention of foisting a second term that would extend and double our misery, on Nigerians.

“Kingsley Moghalu and his running mate demonstrated that their ideas were as dated as those of the establishment they seek to replace. There were no bold plans to create jobs or to light up NIGERIA. There were no clear policy positions on how to address the challenges of insecurity and corruption. The town hall session also revealed the glaring lack of preparation of his vice presidential candidate. Suffice to say that his policies and heavy reliance on his previous stint as the deputy governor – a position that makes him complicit and responsible for a lot of the financial rot that Nigeria faces today – reveal him as being part and parcel of the establishment.

“Atiku and Obi proved yesterday, that all of our fears that electing the PDP would simply replace one layer of corruption with another more complex and pernicious one, were true.  Atiku could not satisfactorily explain his part ownership of a company that did extensive business with the Ports Authority when he was still in the Nigerian Customs service. He could not explain the money laundering indictments and allegations made by the US Senate Homeland Security Committee. Peter Obi squirmed and faltered as he attempted to convince Nigerians that he was doing Anambra state a favour when he invested billions of the state’s money in a venture in which his family’s NEXT International Nigeria, was a major shareholder. It is now clear that Atiku and Peter Obi complement themselves well. They are two vultures with the same corrupt feathers. They had no clear plans for any of Nigeria’s most pressing issues. They were clear on one point though - they were willing to offer amnesty to all corrupt persons.

“We are thankful that despite the attempts to prevent Nigerians from seeing and contrasting Sowore with Buhari, Atiku and others on the national stage, the NTA - Daria Media Town Hall series provided objective points of contrast. Sowore demonstrated a masterful grasp of Nigeria’s issues. He showed amazing clarity in his vision for the country. Nigerians were able to learn first-hand that Sowore has been involved in the fight to move Nigeria forward for 30 years. Nigerians saw the courage of his plans and the strength of his conviction. Nigerians were reminded that he is the only candidate that committed to increasing power by 17,000 MW, doubling Nigeria’s road network from 200,000 km to 400,000 km, boosting our rail system from 3,700 km to 8,000 km, creating 5 million new jobs, paying workers a living wage of 100,000 Naira and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

“Nigerians also got to see that in Dr Rabiu Rufai, Sowore has a running mate who equally understands Nigeria’s challenges and has the intellect, integrity and political will to be a strong partner in the task of positively transforming Nigeria.”

AAC went on to urge Nigerians to make a clear choice on the nation’s leadership, stating that “Nigerians now know what their options are. We have seen all of those offering themselves for the leadership of our nation. The choice is clear. There is only one team that can move Nigeria forward, and that is the Sowore-Rufai team of the African Action Congress!”

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Street To School: The Child Education Phenomenon In Sokoto State

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 9:34am

Mu'azu Abu was an arrant forager; from daylight till twilight, he would crawl — like a crab —  on the streets of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, begging and seeking aids for daily survival. But dynamically, he soon seesawed characteristically from being a street boy to being a school boy. Born handicapped — keenly cripple and physically deficient — the chap has turned his disadvantage to advantage. 

Sometime in 1997, in Gidan Doke Village, Abu was born in a community where only Islamic education was aggressively encouraged; he was brought up in a society where western education was highly discouraged and trained amidst many other itinerant children otherwise known as 'almajiris' in Sokoto State.

Conditioned to beg because of his physical disability, he had no choice than begging since he was not well-parented. Neglected and negated in the village, his parents would send him out to fend for his daily meal by himself and for himself, regardless of his physical challenge.

Meanwhile, while begging on campus, the academic breeze of the environment enchanted the helpless beggar so much that he fell in love with western education. He made a turnaround classically by learning elementary English from some of the students of the school who fell in love, in turn, with his rare interest in schooling.

The errant child enrolled himself in Gidan Yaro Model Primary School, Sokoto, where he learned the elementary basics of western education. Interestingly, when inquired from Abu, he gave a clear picture of what the term 'almajiri' means to him — having being one before now. 

"Almajiri is a name widely used for poor boys who carry plates all around in search of food. And the appearance of the boys, who always have rag clothes on them, shows they are in need of help. But the term 'almajiri' is originally meant for those students who are in search of knowledge," he said.

Like it or hate it: Abu was right in his definition of the term 'almajiri' — after all, he spoke from his personal experience as a one-time, street-gallivanting child in Sokoto state. Like many other states in northern Nigeria, Sokoto is bombarded with thousands of helpless and hapless children who wander the streets of the state, while their mates are in school.

Malam Abu Shekara, the Director General of Media and Publicity to Sokoto Governor Aminu Tambuwal, affirmed that at all levels of leadership, northern Nigeria has more than acknowledged the reality and serious negative impacts of child begging on the social and economic fortunes of this part of the country. And although the practice has religious antecedents, there is appreciable realization that it does not find Islamic sanction, especially in the form it occurs in contemporary times.

Education At All Cost 

In moments of torments, climes of hardship and restrictions of movements, poor Mu'azu Abu struggled to sponsor himself to school amidst lots of discouragement from friends and relatives. But, wait a second! What could have encouraged the courage of Abu to get education at all costs? "Because they say those that go to school have tendencies of having bright future. I feel for myself that if I don't go to school, I would beg all my life," Abu simply answered, wearing a smiling face for the first time in more than 30 minutes of interrogation between him and the reporter.

Chronologically, he recounted how he gathered a little capital to start up a recharge card business centre. "Not even a wheel chair could I afford then," he recalled. "I would crawl around the campus to beg students to buy my recharge card."

"I later worked with Airtel and UNICEF. What I did with Airtel was that I registered their SIM for people, so the more registration I did the more I gained. On each registration, the recharge card the person bought was my gain. Also I worked with UNICEF. The work I did then was PSG, that's what we called it. They gave us 10,000 at the end of every month. So during that time I was gathering money, before I finally established this business myself. And with this business, I like it than begging," Abu proudly added.

Amazingly, Abu is one of the doing-well entrepreneurs on the campus of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. He has apparently turned his acute disability to an ability as a phone repairer and petty trader of phone accessories. During the interview, the versatile chap was gallantly seated while his fingers perfectly pressed the keyboards of his laptop in his yellow-painted phone accessories kiosk. Obviously, this is the only job he does to support his schooling.

"Like I said earlier I was once a beggar on this campus before I stopped and focused on my study. Then, I accumulated money through Airtel and UNICEF jobs. Though, there are some people who believe that anybody that is physically challenged has to beg. And even if he doesn't beg in this life he will do so in the other life (heaven). I think what they lack is proper orientation.

"Though my parents are not among those who believe the first one, but I think they didn't realize quickly that I am not obliged to beg simply because I'm physically challenged. That's why I begged before I stopped it. Now, I'm happy to say that I'm the one paying my school fees myself," he told this reporter.

"When I was in Dundaye Secondary School, some people advised my father to let me stop begging so that I would focus on education. Among those who advised my father are: Professor Alli Muhammad Bunza, he is my father's customer; also Doctor Badamosi, HOD UDUS Clinic and  Professor Abdullah Abbas and some others. They advised my father and they encouraged me too. Even Professor Alli some times would carry me in his car to school. So, that was how I stopped Almajiri and focus on my education," Abu added.  

Apart from his physical challenges, little Abu also faced other challenges, especially from fellows who threw him hot words to discourage his courage.

"One of the challenges I've encountered so far were the words of some people when I first started the business.They were saying, it is better I go and beg than sitting here selling charger, and others. But, I thank God right now there's nobody that can see me now and say I should go back to begging.  

"I have graduated from secondary school and currently I'm in 200Level as a Diploma student of Mass Communication in Usmanu Danfodiyo University where I registered for part time studies," said, Abu, joyfully.

Islamic Versus Western Education

It takes Mallam Muktar Abdullahi a strong mind to survive the shattering criticism of his fellow Islamic clergies who from time to time look him with disdainful eyes for harbouring a boy under his tutelage who combines Islamic education with western education, simultaneously. But then, despite the grave reprehension, the 66-year-old Islamic mentor insists that there is nothing wrong in allowing his mentee go to school since the said boy can sponsor himself.

Ali Aliyu is now a grown up boy; he was too little to know his age when he was put under the tutelage of Malam Abdullahi for Islamic studies. But he once heard his master say he was just 4 when he was brought by his father to the cleric.  

As schooled as he is, the 24-year-old boy still lives — amidst others itinerant children — under the roof of the said Islamic tutor.  

For over 30 minutes of interactions between this journalist and the one-time 'almajiri' in front of the mini-mosque situated by the roadside at Bello Way in Sokoto, Aliyu muttered effortlessly correct English sentences, expressively. He chronicled how he was once a maid-of-all-jobs child before he was inspired to go to school.

"Up till now, I still help a lady in selling food. That is what I use to support my education," he said. "Whenever I returned from school, I would go and help her in serving customers and washing plates. I had been helping  Malama Inno since I was much younger. Then, I would go to her place to beg for food and help. And she said I should be helping her permanently."

According to him, he was simply motivated to leave the street for school because he was always moved whenever he saw children in uniforms, going to school. "I got interested in schooling because I  always loved to see people speak 'Turanci' (English) and when I was little, I was always moved whenever I saw children like me going to school in their uniforms," he said. "Because of that, I put myself in school. I attended Sultan Abubakar Secondary School and now,  I'm in Umar Ali Chinkafi Polytechnic, Sokoto."  

Through thick and thin, he said, he survived the threats of hunger and peasantry, coupled with lots of difficulties, especially while in secondary school.

Contrary to the expectations of what most Northern traditional Islamic tutors believe an 'almajiri' should be,  Malam Abdullahi said the term 'almajiri' is not tantamount to apt begging and illiteracy as many would think it to be. He added that 'almajiri' — in its real implication — means he who has journeyed from a far distance to seek knowledge and understanding. He insisted that the nomadic children should not be compulsorily subjected to suffering and gnashing of teeth.

"Anybody taking advantage of the kids because they are nobody is not a man of God; that person does not fear Allah," said,  Malam Abdullahi.

When a child is compared with another, one will definitely beat the other, brilliantly. Comparitively, Abu Mu'azu and Ali Aliyu have been able to stand out among other less privileged children who have taken the streets as their permanent abodes because they are not well cared for. While other children are natives of the streets, foragers of food and are filled with trepidation, Abu and  Aliyu are optimistic fortune seekers who strongly believe that being unparented is never an excuse for failure.

SDG 4 And The Child Rights Act 

Let's let aside the paranormal Sokoto wandering children who perspire and aspire against all odds to sponsor themselves to school, while other children stoop and stick to the street. What are  the rights of a child?
Man's inhumanity to man which is  extended to the-left-alone children; societal ill-treatment of the children; lack of parental care for so many of them and other factors are responsible for embracing the Child Rights Acts Bill in Nigeria, in 2003. But then, Sokoto — amongst many other states — are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Acts despite the high level of child begging, child labour, child marriage and other phenomena that violate rights of children in the state

The 'Almajiri' blues and other barbaric traditions are killers of the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which caters for equal, qualitative all-inclusive education for all.  

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Orgarnisation (UNESCO), the Sustainable Development Goal 4 has 10 targets encompassing many different aspects of education. There are seven targets which are expected outcomes and three targets which are means of achieving the other targets.

The 10 targets as stated by UNESCO are: Universal Primary and Secondary education; early childhood development and universal education; equal access to technical/ vocational and higher education; relevant skills for decent work; gender equality and inclusion; universal youth literacy; education for sustainable development global citizenship; effective learning environment; scholarships and, teachers and educators.

The aforementioned targets are what UNESCO wants the world to have achieved by 2030. But then, one would wonder if Sokoto and many other states in Nigeria could meet up with these, when thousands of street children are not made to see the reasons why they need to be in school.

Nonetheless, in a commentary essay written to respond to a story by Sahara Reporters, which centers on travails of the Sokoto forgotten children, Malam Abu Shekara addressed the issue of domesticating the Child Rights Act in Sokoto state.

"The passage of the Child Rights Act is indeed critical to the resolution of the almajiri menace. And Sokoto is among the states that have made significant progress towards its ratification. But again, religious and cultural variables are being addressed, through consultation with and involvement of traditional and religious authorities before the final adoption of the law," he said.

He however added that "policy initiatives that compliment the spirit of Child Rights Act are however, being vigorously pursued in the areas of education, healthcare and economic empowerment. The recent acknowledgement by UNESCO of the Sokoto State Government as a "champion of education" is an encouragement for greater commitment to the sector."


Reporting this story is supported by YouthHub Africa 

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NYSC Members Protest Gruesome Killing of Colleague By Soldiers In Abuja

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 9:26am

Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme on Thursday protested the gruesome killing of one of their colleagues by the Guards Brigade of the Nigerian Army during the Arbaeen Symbolic Trek.

The protesters, who are also members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), converged on the headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), wielding placards and demanding justice.

Speaking to journalists, the leader of the group, Sulaiman Alhassan, alleged that their colleague, Mustapha Ingawa, was arrested and tortured to death on October 27, 2018, by a combined team of the Guards Brigade and the Nigerian Police Force, during the Arbaeen Symbolic Procession.

Officers of the Nigerian Army had opened fire on the Shiites during the procession which held in October 2018. See Also VIDEO NEWS VIDEO: How Soldiers Killed Shi'ites On Their Way To 'Arbaeen Symbolic Trek' 0 Comments 3 Months Ago

According to Alhassan, the military ignored all entreaties made by the deceased, and even turned down Ingawa’s NYSC identity card which he presented to them, as he begged for his life to be spared.

Addressing newsmen, Alhassan said: "Mustapha Ingawa is a graduate of B.Sc. Business Administration and until his passing away, he was undergoing his service through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. Mustapha Ingawa was arrested alive and tortured to death by the Military and Police. His corpse had no sign of gunshots. He passed away and left behind his two-year-old son and wife.

"We condemn the killing of Mustapha Ingawa and request the National Human Rights Commission to take action seeking redress for this atrocity and also protect the right of Nigerians that are protesting against injustice and violation of human rights.”

Alhassan noted that officers of the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police Force killed more than 50 IMN members, including minors.

"The Military used guns and ammunitions that were not supposed to be used in public gathering and attacked the protesters, without using any alternative means of dispersing the gathering.

“We consider protest as our right, and all people of conscious and conscience are aware that the right of Sheikh Zakzaky has been violated. Therefore, from today, Thursday 31 January, 2019, the Concerned NYSC members resolved that we will continue to participate in Free Zakzaky protest and demand for unconditional release of our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.”

The group also demanded the end of “illegal protective custody and kangaroo Kaduna court case” against their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and his wife.

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BREAKING: Peter Obi Is 'Half China And Half India', Says Oshiomhole

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 9:23am

Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has described Peter Obi, presidential running mate of Atiku Abubakar, has “half China, half India”.

Oshiomole said this in Kano on Thursday at the Sani Abacha Stadium, venue of the day's presidential campaign rally of the ruling party.

The former Edo State Governor began his speech by saying it would be short, but he ended up speaking for nearly 15 minutes. He then went on to mock Atiku for once turning to an Obi, which resulted in failure, before turning to another one, which will likewise end in failure.

The first Obi mentioned by Oshiomhole is Senator Ben Obi, who was Atiku’s running mate when he contested the 2007 presidential election on the platform of the Action Congress (AC).

“Mr. President, you know I don’t like to make long speeches, but in a moment like this, I think the people have already spoken, and there is nothing to add. They have made up their mind; they ‘ve demonstrated it all over the state, so there’s nothing new to tell them,” Oshiomhole said.

“I think what I just want to do here… for the benefit of those who are detained or misled by other interests, we have a duty to make some clarifications.

“A moment ago, my brother, my friend, my comrade, the DG of the campaign, was lamenting how a former colleague of his whom he felt is a Cristian was lying publicly. He should have known that in the church, there are believers and there are unbelievers. And it is more so when they are very desperate.

“I was telling someone this morning: Atiku has made again another mistake of his life. The first time he contested for the presidency, he went for an Obi. After Obi, he failed; he returned to PDP. He tried again, he failed; he came back to APC. He tried again he failed; this time he went back to PDP and went to another Obi.

“This other Obi is half China and half India — because if he speaks three words, one will be Chinese, the second one will be Indian and the third one will be a mixture of Igbo and Yoruba. I have tried to teach him my own language but he is not likely to succeed.”

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BREAKING: CCT To Resume Onnoghen’s Trial On February 4

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 9:04am

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) will resume the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen on February 4, 2019.

Onnoghen is standing trial over allegations of fraudulent declaration of assets.

He was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 25, 2019 on a directive issued by the CCT.

Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad replaced him in acting capacity.

Onnoghen had filed a suit at the Court of Appeal challenging his trial but his case was dismissed on the ground that the suit was "brought in a vacuum". See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Appeal Court Rejects Onnoghen's Attempt To Stop His CCT Trial 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday, had dismissed Onnoghen's motion, seeking stay of execution on his ongoing trial at the CCT.

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INEC To Deploy 3,933 NYSC Members For 2019 Elections In Ondo

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 7:51am

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will deploy 3,933 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members as ad hoc staff for the 2019 elections in Ondo State.

This was disclosed during the visit of the management of the state NYSC to the commission’s headquarters in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The NYSC team was led by Mrs. Grace Akpabio, the Ondo State NYSC coordinator.

Reeling out the figures, Rufus Akeju, the Ondo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), said the corps members were picked based on competency and available spaces at their respective local governments.

Akeju revealed that the electoral body was prepared to ensure that the elections were hitch-free, hence the training for members of the NYSC who will be deployed for elections. 

He also noted that the commission would provide the necessary logistics for the corps members that would participate in the electoral process. 

He also explained that arrangements were being put in place to ensure the quick payment of all allowances of NYSC members that will participate in the polls.

“I want to inform the NYSC team that INEC has just finished the training for the security personnel that will participate in the elections. We engaged experts who took these officers on specialised areas of election monitoring, handling and supervision.

"But I want to assure you that corps members and NYSC staff would be adequately protected alongside other ad hoc personnel recruited for the exercise. The election duties honorarium would be paid directly to their banks upon submission of necessary details to the Commission through their Electoral Officers respectively.”

In her remarks, Akpabio appealed to INEC not to deploy corps members to flashpoints during the elections.

 “I want to make special appeal to INEC to provide tags and life jackets for corps members and NYSC staff that would be deployed to riverine areas. This is to forestall any untoward actions by scrupulous elements in the society as a result of non provision of such important items,” she said.

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'Bureau De Change': Riding On Tiger's Back To The Poll By Taoheed A. Adégbìté

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 7:49am

Whenever the pendulum of discourse swings to politics and another four years' fate yet decided, one should rather abstain from throwing the dice to a labyrinth, for it is crystal-clear the spider-tangle on the face of the poor still gives a requisite for a lensed-specs in assessing the government of yesterday, juxtapose today's evil despite the dearth of down-to-earth of the then jaw-dropping promises.

Going by the primordialism of politics in Nigeria, and on what ground many hope for a greater Nigeria got dashed to a trash bin. Of course, it was never a do-or-die affair due to the level of jingoism of the then chauvinistic chauffeurs of political reigns who blew the trumpet of governance, and from which the unfaithful fate of thousands of simpleton were dictated.

No doubt, the courageous and sweetened talks of pre-independence days' leaders made Nigerians believe self-rule has boon in bounties, having enmeshed in a free doom of modern-servitude. But ever since after independence, 'soldiers go soldiers come; barrack remains' – fowl keeps perching on the rope; neither the rope nor the fowl is at ease.

As we move to the polls, days chameleonize to night and cock keeps crowing intensely towards a decisive dawn. To the secularists, our problems have no stance being regarded as anathema. And of course, on this ground, Nigeria has a decimated number of people expecting a better Nigeria of the poorers. They have once held the 'powerfool-umbrella' which got lost to the whirlwind of poverty and insecurity. The change mantra has actually changed the status-quo, at least, every slight ailment whence power got thrust to the mire of incompetence have had its otherwise robustness – frolicking with our new so-called angels.

So it's now 'see and buy'. A semblance of bureau de change – "Your money; my PVC". The saga on the lips of many after the July and September (part 1 & 2) guber elections in Ekiti and Osun states have been of endemic vote buying or better called, voter inducement; an irrational tricky politics placing tapestry on our problems and the much ado behind its uneasiness to evacuate the land. This has indeed made politicians, turning supposed democratic dispensations to exploitation of opportunities. After all, you've taken a cumulative four years dividends at once.

Holistically, the eleventh hour initiative of the present government to eradicate poverty – as claimed – is nothing but an act of voter inducement. Should the discourse fall on its timing? Remember it was launched in Osun State at the 59th minute of the eleventh hour to the guber poll. Oh! Sorry! In Osun, poverty was like HIV/AIDS that "no dey show for face". It's no doubt a demagogic tactic, a 'pastoric' and saintly modus operandi of tackling the overnight infectious poverty disease in our land.

To save our democracy, it's high time we fought the menacing vote buying. It's time overdue we let our people be educated; move out from the mire of political naivety and to be rational enough on how long any amount of cash whatsoever collected in barter for one's decisive franchise could span, disappearing into a thin air of another four years of hardship and infrastructural kwashiorkor.

Until we realize ourselves as the instigators of a corrupt Nigeria, then there would be much more tendency to restore power back into the hands of the electorates, instead of hegemonic crumbs.

Crumbs? A semblance of riding on the back of a tiger, one would surely end in its stomach. Though, many have voted in the past out of own free will, and still, development found aggrandizement as the only pit-of-the-hell among the sins, and upon which many have either resolved to embrace aparthy or succumbed to a 'dollarized' poll. Do the voters even see their PVCs as power again? Question begging for answer.

To be candid, if the crowd pulled by each candidate of either of the two major contenders — PDP and APC — at campaign rallies should form the yardstick of measuring or undermining the chances of either of the two parties, then one is mistaken. Mind you, majority of those at different rallies aren't all party loyalists — many are ordinary spectators who are ready to succumb to whoever is convincing enough. Let's give a reminiscent of how incumbency spurred crowds to GEJ campaign rallies in 2014. Okay! Did those self-acclaimed mammoth PDP loyalists have their thumbs chopped off or amputated prior to the poll?

With utmost hutzpah, I'm not sorry to say I'm sorry for those feeding-bottle candidatures. Honestly, it can't work now – whodunit? Even the blind would see their chances of imminent subvert of the ruling APC/PDP as quite a miniature. Rather, the contenders are lucid, and until the ballot papers thumbed and boxes got filled; no pragmatic prognosis between the two.

Among other factors that need be addressed, with vote buying becoming endemic, is the reliability of the umpire. Whenever a body like INEC is dubious of a subterfluent preps to take side, then, no gospel can placate the electorates from pitching their tent with Joseph Stalin, who opined that "Those who vote decide nothing; those who count decide everything". Then, turning polling units to a parallel market of dollar for PVCs is inevitable.

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BREAKING: There'll Be War If They Rig This Election, Says Uche Secondus

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 7:02am

Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says there will be war in the country if the 2019 presidential election is rigged.

Speaking in Asaba, capital of Delta State, on Thursday at the party’s presidential campaign rally Secondus accused the Nigerian government of putting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under pressure to rig the election.

“Today, by your mandate, we warn INEC and we believe there are good people in INEC… we know that government is pressuring INEC to rig this election, but if they rig this election, they’re looking for war,” he said.

In pidgin, he asked the people if this was true, to which they replied in the affirmative.

Continuing, he said: “If they need peace, they must not rig the election — because everybody is ready for this election. 

“We want to also advise our security agencies — and we know there are good people there protecting lives and properties, which is their primary duty. We believe that they will obey the Constitution, not to break it like Mr. President is breaking our laws. They will obey the Constitution and be neutral, but if they don’t, if they join hands with INEC to rig this election, what are they looking for?"

“War,” the people chanted back.

Secondus then added: “Therefore, we advise all Nigerians, on that day on the 16th of February, let them come all out to vote and stand by their ballot boxes, and defend their votes — because the votes of all Nigerians must count. So that we can vote out a man who cannot interact, so that we can vote out a man that has brought disgrace to our nation.

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50 Days In Hell: We Must Not Forget Deji Adeyanju By Fredrick Nwabufo

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 6:33am

Fredrick Nwabufo

One thing is certain; tyranny will always have cheerleaders.  When Adolf Hitler was asphyxiating Jews in death chambers, there were people who cheered him on.  When General Sani Abacha was drawing blood from all who opposed him, there were people who kissed his bloody dagger, and even worked for him to become “eternal” president.

Deji Adeyanju has been in the fiery pits of hell for 50 days now.  Anyone who has been to a Nigerian prison knows that it is not fit for swine. This man, a lone voice of opposition, is languishing in prison for only daring to look in the eye of the cliques of doom.

Initially, he was arrested and arraigned on farcical charges at a magistrate court. He spent a week in Keffi prisons and was released. Unfazed, he resumed his activism, but the government rustled up extinct charges, of which he was discharged and acquitted, and hounded him into Kano prisons. And there he has been.

His case was up for bail-hearing on Wednesday, but the government threw spanners into the wheel. The regime crocheted another charge bordering on conspiracy and attempt to commit culpable homicide; all in a desperate bid to keep him in the gulag and fork his tongue.

I can say, there is a deliberate attempt to exploit the weaknesses of the judiciary to keep him locked up.

Deji is not without flaws. I may not agree to his approach to activism, but he is the most consistent voice of opposition today. Really, the “social media activism space” is not the same without him.

And with the regime's impassioned interest in keeping him shut out of the public, I have come to realise that Deji is the third most feared Nigerian after Dasuki and El-zak-zaky. Tyranny fears dissent, courage and “opinion”.

Deji is a victim of state terrorism; a prisoner of conscience. It is not surprising that some persons are endorsing this state-sponsored assault on a citizen. There will always be enablers of dictatorship, as I said earlier. But I know those who are against this inequity are more than those who are for it, or who are indifferent about it.

It is true the saying, if a regime wants you, they will get you. But it is also true that no regime lasts forever. Nigerians survived Abacha, they will survive President Buhari.

We must not forget Deji. We must not let tyranny win.


Fredrick is a media personality.

Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo, Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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JUST IN: Soyinka Urges Nigerians To Reject Both Buhari And Atiku

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 6:12am

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka says the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are only worthy of “absolute rejection” as the country needs a new direction.

He stated this at the Citizen Forum, an interactive session that was held at the Freedom Park, Lagos, on Thursday.

He also stated that he was open to supporting an “alternative” candidate.

His words: “It is time for a totally new direction, and when an alternative emerges, we will give the candidate our backing.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me make my position quite clear because I don’t want any ambiguity; I Wole Soyinka will not be voting for either the two so-called contesting parties. I find both of them worthy of absolute rejection.

“For a number of reasons which I will not go into here, I’m not interested in a comparative assessment. My position is simply that it is time for a totally new direction. And obviously, I’m not the only one; as I’m speaking, there is a coalition having its meeting in Lagos from which they hope to produce a consensus candidate.

“There is another group meeting in Abuja, also at the end would send us their consensus candidate. Things have been going on quietly in the background to try and change the direction of this nation in a very positive way, and to make the public understand that they do not have to be enslaved permanently to the old discredited order. It is my sole business in this election.

“I don’t believe in what is called negative vote, which means, for me, throwing your vote in a waste basket, I believe instead in a creative vote, not a protest vote, not a negative vote but a creative vote. And a creative vote means that the will to at least sow a seed through your vote that will germinate eventually. The pace of germination is beyond the control of everyone, but it is never too early to make a beginning. It has happened before in other societies. When a dark horse emerges from nowhere and trumps all the political juggernauts caterpillars and so on with their performers, worthless, their capacity for violence and treachery.”

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Nigerian Student Launches Media Hub On Campus

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 6:08am

A student journalist, Adejumo Kabir, has launched a media hub for training of campus journalists.

According to Kabir, the innitiave, 'CampusPress Hub', aims to oversee the training of students who have passion for journalism.  

Speaking on why it became necessary to embark on the project, he said: "We realise that many students want to practise journalism on campus but do not really have the proper training to take them beyond. Also, journalism itself is all about making impact in your community and I understand clearly that my community at this present time is campus."

Explaining how the training will be conducted, Kabir said it will be a two-day workshop on best practices of the profession where trainees will be taught about the ABCs of journalism and other core elements of the profession.

"The world has far gone beyond your course of study in school to become a journalist. There is need for proper training. Also, cosidering this era of fake news, if campus journalists are well-groomed, they will prove a vehicle of virtue, truth and love.  

"This is our aim and we believe that with the support of available platforms, we can build a better campus where student journalists can hold their authorities accountable as provided in the constitution. To perfect this, we are bringing mainstream journalists from different media organizations for the training."

Kabir started practising campus journalism during his first year at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He has recieved trainings and certificates in journalism.

He also has some awards to his name, including Alfred Opubor's Award for Best Investigative Student Journalist, Most Prolific Writer, and Best Nigerian male campus journalist.  

He was shortlisted among the for the Best Student Fact Checker in Africa at an Investigative Journalism conference that held in South Africa.  

Also, he is a beneficiary of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism Next-Gem programme where he reports for their Campus Reporter site.

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'Atiku A Candidate For The Future' — 13 Things 'The Candidates' Taught Us About Atiku And Obi

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 6:00am

Last night it was the turn of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi, vice-presidential candidate of the same party, to take centre stage and offer answers to questions on ‘The Candidates’. ‘The Candidates’— held at one-week interval for the past one month — is a presidential town hall co-production between Daria Media and the Nigerian  Television Authority (NTA), with the support from the MacArthur Foundation. 

These are 13 takeaways from the two-hour-interview:

Attack, The Best Form Of Defence  

Kadaria Ahmed, host of the town hall interview, asked Atiku why he threw his hat in the ring for the presidential race and the former Vice-President didn’t give a clear answer. Atiku, Instead of nailing his colours to the mast, unpacking his manifestos and political bona fides, launched an attack on the Buhari-led administration. Kadaria reiterated her question, though, to make him know that he had lost sight of the real question.

Atiku, A Candidate of the Future?

After straying from the question and being called to order by the moderator, Atiku said he should be voted as the next President of the country because he is a candidate for the present and the future. Future? A man born over 70 years ago who got his first job with the Department of Customs and Excise in 1969 when Kingsley Moghalu, one of the contenders for the same  post,  was still a kid and Sowore another presidential candidate was not even a foetus yet? Perhaps Atiku mistook the past for the future!

Atiku Defined Corruption

Atiku defined corruption as “the use of your privileged position to enrich yourself, your relatives or friends”. Is this not exactly what the former Vice President promised to do when he featured at a business summit in Lagos early this month? Atiku said “I am not going to enrich members of my family but my friends.” Atiku will need to expatiate on this statement. This is because Nigerians can not forget easily that as Vice-President he was the head of the National Council on Privatization which spearheaded the sale of several public enterprises that have not fared better — some are even faring worse — in the  hands of private individuals.

Abandon A Car, Take An Aeroplane

Accused of dumping the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), a fringe party in national politics and the party on whose platform he won the overnorship election to serve as Anambra State Governor twice, for Peoples Democratic Party, Obi claimed to have opted for a faster and better means of transportation using the analogy of a car and an aeroplane. It is yet to be known what Mr Obi will do should the aeroplane he had opted for land in a wrong destination.

Atiku Promised To Curb Corruption Using Automaton

Citing the example of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Atiku believes the only way to solve the national problem of corruption is through technology, automaton to be precise. 

Granting Amnesty To The Corrupt

Atiku said his government will not be jailing people as long as they are ready to plough back the proceeds of their  corrupt practices back into the economy. Is this not an indirect way of endorsing corruption? Is the former Vice President saying there will be no system of reward and punishment and impunity will be the order of the day should he win the presidential election and wrest the rein of leadership from the incumbent President? He cited the example of Turkey. However, it can be argued that Turkey only granted amnesty to tax evaders and not to corrupt public office holders. 

APC Is A Haven For The Corrupt

According to the gospel by Saint Peter Gregory Obi, APC is the haven for the morally bankrupt and when the corrupt run into the APC tent they become safe. Saint Peter said those in PDP till date are the righteous with moral rectitude. Indeed there is a difference between the two parties: The difference between six and half a dozen! Let’s not forget that Atiku, until the middle of last year or thereabouts, was a member of APC; he even donated, among others, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, to the Buhari administration. That only is sufficient to tell us the magnitude of the latitude and influence they gave him while still in the party.

Poor Students Are Now Teachers   

Again, Obi believes Nigeria should have borrowed a leaf from India on how they  were able to lift 100 million people from the abyss of poverty. He said we could learn from them but the present leadership of the country is constituted by terribly poor students who are in desperate need of dunce caps masquerading as teachers!. Is Mr ‘Okwute’ saying what you don’t have you can’t give? Is Nigeria now the headquarters of poverty because our leaders are mentally poor?

The Referee Has Checked VAR and Rescinded His Decision

What can be called the climax of this drama of an interview came when one handsome but ‘handful’ man in the audience decided to put the duo of Atiku and Obi on the spot. The man dug his hands into the archives, brought up a material that contains a laundry list of unprintable descriptions made by Obasanjo, Atiku’s former boss, and went the whole hog to reel off the content of the material. He later said the referee has revised his decision about him. Peter Obi came to his boss’s aid by saying the referee has consulted the Video Assistant Referee and found out that his initial decision was wrong and therefore rescinded his decision.

Atiku, A Record Holder As The Most Investigated Politician

“I am the most investigated politician or former public office holder.” These words were straight from the horse’s mouth. The question is: Why is Atiku always investigated and by his boss of all people? Why is somebody with whom together they were at the helm of national affairs for eight years bent on finding something incriminating about him? (Un)fortunately they seem to be back in the same ship.

Conflict Of Interest

Both Atiku and Obi were asked to explain how public property and investments were purportedly converted to theirs and they didn’t sound too convincing enough. Nigerians might have cause to worry considering the fact that Atiku has been harping on privatization, especially of our grand patrimony: the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Hope these duo will not supervise the killing of the goose that laid the golden eggs and parceled the juicy parts between them and their relatives.

We Have The Willpower

Kadaria the moderator averred that most of our national problems remain unsolved for lack of willpower; Atiku replied in the affirmative but said the willpower is now here, pointing to himself and Obi. He said their credentials as accomplished politicians who have made their marks as businessmen speak volumes.

Atiku ‘Borrowed’ EFCC N300 million

Atiku claimed to have come to the aid of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision with N300million naira when the agency was still a flegdeling organization struggling for survival and in dire need of money. Though he said the agency eventually paid back the money, some people may argue that — considering his 'rumoured' shady antecedents — Atiku tested the waters and used the money as hush funds in case they find a skeleton in his cupboard.

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Nigerians March Against Onnoghen In London

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 5:37am

Nigerians under the auspices of Arise for A New Nigeria stormed the streets of London, at 10, Downing Street, close to the Prime Minister’s office, to express solidarity with their President Muhammadu Buhari over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

They also presented a letter addressed to Prime Minister Theresa May, in which they urged Britain to support Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, especially concerning Onnoghen's suspension.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Andrew Kobani, President of the group, restated their commitment to supporting Nigeria’s present administration, as it has shown determination to “reduce corrupt practices”.

The letter read: "Madam Prime Minister may wish to note that Nigeria is experiencing a turbulent period in the fight against corruption as initiated by the administration of Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"Suffice to note that since 2015, the present administration has initiated measures aimed at reducing corrupt practices in the conduct of government business at all tiers of governance. This effort has yielded positive results to the admiration of the bulk of Nigerians and the consternation of a select few that have benefited from the rot in the system.

"Undeterred, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has carried on with enthusiasm and a determination to see that structural defects are fixed to curb the rot in the system for the betterment of Nigeria as a country.

"Madam Prime Minister may also wish to note that the bane of underdevelopment in Nigeria is as a result of the lackadaisical attitude of previous governments in the fight against corruption that has resulted in the wanton disregard for accountability and transparency in the conduct of government businesses and by extension governance in Nigeria.

"Since 2015 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari took over the affairs of the state in Nigeria, Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in governance evident in the dividends of democracy trickling down the ladder.

"Madam Prime Minister, however, the present administration has encountered numerous challenges from individuals and organisations that have subverted the system through nefarious ways and means all in the quest to portray the Muhammadu Buhari administration in poor light in an attempt to pitch the populace against the government to fulfil their personal agenda of causing unrest and disaffection in the country.”

Addressing Onnoghen’s suspension, the letter continued: “The recent case of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who violated the law in declaring his assets as stipulated by the law has further emphasized the level of rot in the system.

"A particular segment of the Nigerian society has cried wolf where none exists and painted a picture of political persecution, forgetting that Nigeria was on the brinks of imminent collapse due the activities of a few that have benefitted from the rot in the system.

"Madam Prime Minister, we are through this medium soliciting assistance from the United Kingdom in the war against corruption in Nigeria, as initiated by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in recent times.

"A vivid example can be seen in the instance where the Chief Judicial Official in Nigeria, either by omission or commission, failed to declare a part of his assets running into millions of dollars. The Chief Justice of Nigeria as the number one judicial officer in the country for inexplicable reasons did not declare a part of his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau in Nigeria. The CJN cited ‘forgetfulness and mistake’ as the reasons for the non-declaration.

"Madam Prime Minister, the non-declared items are bank accounts with balances that run into millions of pounds sterling and dollars. This is too much to be right in our considered opinion. As the number one judicial officer in the country, it is wholly untenable for such an excuse, unless for deliberate reasons.

"This untoward display of acts inimical to the progress of Nigeria has necessitated the kind and timely intervention of the Prime Minister and the British government is assisting Nigeria in the war against corruption. If, not, corruption will kill Nigeria at this rate. And that would not happen under the leadership of Madam Prime Minister.

"Madam Prime Minister may be aware that political jobbers and ethnic champions have given the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria ethnic and religious actions, but in truth, it was a timely intervention aimed at saving the judicial arm of government in Nigeria further embarrassment as a result of the unethical conduct of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.  

"This letter is an SOS, as well as a reminder to Madam Prime Minister, Theresa May, and UK Secretary for African Affairs, Mrs Harriett Baldwin, that Nigeria would return to the brinks if steps, just like this, are not taken to arrest the cankerworm of corruption that has eaten deep into governance in Nigeria.

"It is our considered opinion that the United Kingdom as an ally of Nigeria cannot afford to watch as Nigeria goes to the brinks. It must render that assistance to the government of Nigeria that has made substantial inroads in the fight against corruption.”

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29-year-old Dies After Delivering Quintuplets In Delta

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 4:17am

Chukwunonso Onyejekwe, a 29-year-old housewife, has died from complications hours after delivering five baby girls.

She gave birth to the children at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

She was said to have suffered acute respiratory failure and died on Wednesday, hours after undergoing a successful Caesarean Section (CS) delivery.

Dr. Emmanuel Ezunu, Head of Clinical Services and Training, FMC Asaba, confirmed the incident to journalists.

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Outcry At Lagos Airport Over Demolition Of FAAN, NAMA’s Structures By Chinese Company

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 4:17am

The ongoing construction of the new terminal by the Chinese company, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), is causing furore at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, as the contractor is accused of demolishing buildings without prior notices.

Last week, CCECC demolished the training school of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and kitchen hostels of some staff, without issuing notice to the occupants.

The demolition of the structures brought hues and cries from occupants who claimed that they were only issued 24 hours to evacuate their assets from the building.

On Thursday, the Chinese company continued the second phase of its demolition exercise. SaharaReporters observed that three block of flats belonging to a sister agency, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), was demolished by the Chinese company, even as the occupants claim that they were not issued quit notice.

The block of flats is occupied by Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), engineers, among other technical staff of the agency.

The occupants insisted that they were yet to get official notification from FAAN, the Chinese company or even NAMA, who they say was supposed to issue quit notice to its staff housed in the building.

One of the affected NAMA staff, who gave his name as Engr. Fapounda, said the attitude of the Chinese company is “wanton”, noting that none of the occupants was issued notice by government agencies or even the Chinese company.

Fapohunda said: “This exercise is being undertaken by the Chinese company with very wicked disposition and executive recklessness. The questions begging for answer are numerous; was there any notice to the occupiers of these buildings?

“No official notice from FAAN, our organization, NAMA, or even the Chinese company. Unless there is public information on this, the Chinese will continue in this callous exercise in the name of terminal building rehabilitation.”

However, a source close to FAAN confided in our correspondent that the demolished building was being used for the extension of the parking bay, taxiing for aircraft in the new terminal under construction.

The source added that several other buildings within the environment would still be demolished by the contractor, but confirmed that the contractor did not issue any prior notice to the occupiers of the buildings.

The FAAN source insisted that the buildings were not given to staff as rent, stressing that the staff complaining about the demolition should not have complained.

The source said: “The transit camp, which some of our workers stay at present, is just a temporal arrangement for staff. No one pays any amount of money to occupy the place.”

Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, the General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, could not be reached on phone when contacted to give official explanation on the demolition exercise, while the site engineer of CCECC when approached, directed our correspondent to their headquarters, possibly in China.

It would be recalled that the new terminal has been under construction since 2013 with the completion date set at 2015.

Several professionals in the industry had declared that the siting of the terminal was wrong and inappropriate as it nullified the airport’s master plan.

Stakeholders have said that with the sighting of the terminal, smooth flow traffic within the airport would be obstructed.

Human Rights LABOR/WORKERS' RIGHTS News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
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The Stranded Squirrels In Ezekwesili’s Party Azu Ishiekwene

Sahara Reporters - 31 January 2019 - 3:13am

I didn’t notice the squirrel until later. The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) actually has a squirrel as its logo, but I didn’t make out the silhouette until the leadership of the party showed its furry hand last week.

The founders of the party may have been thinking of an easily recongisable symbol when they chose the squirrel, but the party’s mascot is living up to it name. The squirrel is born toothless, blind and naked but transforms later in life to become one of the most capricious in the animal kingdom. 

As I watched the video of ACPN Chairman Abdulganiyu Galadima attacking the party’s former presidential candidate, Oby Ezekwesili, I saw the spirit of the squirrel in full play. 

Galadima did not wait for Ezekwesili to finish stepping down before he lined up members of his executive – the gang of four – to push her over the cliff. According to him, the party was tired of a presidential candidate who had not provided any evidence of how she would implement her programmes. She also had no “posters” or “billboards” only weeks to the election.

I still can’t figure out how Ezekwesili ended up in the same corner with these folks. Something is wrong with a party chairman who thinks it’s the sole business of its candidate to write the party’s manifesto, share the message and determine how it would be implemented. Didn’t the party file a manifesto with INEC?

Something is wrong with a party chairman who thinks that the poster is still a valuable campaign tool in 2019, when young people make up over 50 per cent of registered voters. Something is definitely wrong with a party chairman who makes reckless accusations against his own candidate without first exhausting the party’s internal mechanisms, and more important, hearing from the other side. 

How did Ezekwesili end up with these folks?

Galadima’s insinuation that Ezekwesili was running a one-woman show or that she wanted to use the party to negotiate a ministerial job was ridiculous, yet it was not even the worst manifestation of the squirrel spirit in the party. It was the party’s decision to announce, at the same press conference where it pushed its own candidate over the edge, that it was now backing the second-term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari, that rubbed salt in the public’s wound. That was the party’s lowest watermark.

It really doesn’t matter if ACPN decides to support Ishola Oyenusi Party of Nigeria – that is the party’s business and choice. What exposes the capriciousness of the squirrels in the party is their lack of decency. Why endorse another candidate even before hundreds of your members, volunteers and followers have had time to digest exactly why your presidential candidate is stepping down and what went wrong?

The tardiness was not an afterthought; it was mischief on stilts. Multiple sources indicated to me that the general impression among the party top brass when ACPN adopted Ezekwesili as its presidential candidate, was that she would use her considerable international clout to raise money for the party. Not just money, but truckloads of it from far and wide and in the world’s most durable currencies.

That expectation contradicts what Ezekwesili has stood for all her life and she wasn’t about to change her values after making a single-minded commitment to work with her party to disrupt the old, rotten order. 

But party dinosaurs would have none of it. They kept pressing her to call Hilary Clinton, call Michelle Obama, call Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, and to call Paul Kagame for money. These squirrels may have been born blind, toothless and naked, but their instinctive smell of money was formed long before all the other senses.

When pressure on Ezekwesili to find the money was not yielding fruit and instead she decided to crowd-fund her campaign and call for volunteers, the party honchos went mad. They would not listen to the argument that you cannot use corruption to disrupt corruption or enlist moneybags on your campaign and expect to run a decent government, if elected.

The Galadimas of the ACPN are too used to the old order to understand the d-word, much less the meaning of disruption. They decided to throw Ezekwesili under the bus for refusing to give them her back for a ride. 

Beneath the self-indicting accusation of incompetent campaign and dodgy party finances, desperation for money was the real motive for the shameful way the ACPN leadership treated its presidential candidate. With less than three weeks to election and Ezekwesili still adamant that she would neither be the party’s moneymaking machine nor its shakedown artist, the fellows couldn’t wait to dump her and jump on the gravy train. 

They could not – and will not – in a million years see the modest changes she has brought to Nigeria’s political campaign history. When Ezekwesili joined the party last year, it was virtually dead. She attracted a team of young professionals, with a passion, dedication and commitment to public life that soon made the public to begin to notice the silhouette of the squirrel in the party’s logo.

Ezekwesili may not be the first woman to campaign for the office of Nigeria’s president, but she’s the first to drive home the urgency of lifting at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty and laying out her plan with the clarity and presence of mind that forced many to take note.

Her campaign style was also different. She went to market shops, knocked on doors and met ordinary people on the streets and in their homes. She looked out for and spoke to the needs of the weak and vulnerable, as she listened to them. 

I’m told that on several occasions when ordinary people asked her pointedly for money, she responded that she was not in politics to share money but to help citizens find purpose and meaning. What difference has selling votes for between N1,000 and N10,000 tucked inside a slice of bread made to our lives in the last 20 years?

We will never know the hundreds of thousands who not only decided to register but also decided they would be voting, perhaps for the first time, just because Ezekwesili joined the race.

Thanks to Ezekwesili and the courageous, younger generation still the race, more and more young people have seen that it is possible to cultivate and deepen the spirit of volunteering, service and citizenship.

Galadima and his gang of four have their own reasons for being in politics, which may have nothing to do with disrupting the present system, as Ezekwesili erroneously thought. The party has been in the wilderness after Gbemisola Saraki passed it on to Galadima in 2011. The priority has been to find the crumbs at the table of any government in power, not to make any meaningful difference. 

At the height of the feud between Olusola Saraki and his son, Bukola, the old man formed the ACPN to teach his son a lesson but ended up with the short end of the stick after Bukola’s candidate, Abdulfatah Ahmed, defeated Gbemisola for the Kwara governorship. Bukola’s army crushed not only his father and his sister; it also vanquished the party, with its ghost occasionally showing up in Ondo and Ogun States.

With Ezekwesili out of their way, and the prospects of another four years on empty stomach too hard to bear, the stranded squirrels may now roam free, scavenging for nuts wherever they may be found.

But they didn’t need to throw mud for a place at the table. Galadima and the gang of four should have had the decency to let the dust from the exit of their candidate settle first before disgracing themselves publicly. 

I guess that’s too much to ask of squirrels desperate to survive another long harmattan.


Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Azu Ishiekwene Disable advertisements : 
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