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How Nigerian Govt Officials Re-Looted ‘Nearly $900m’ Of Abacha Loot Through JPMorgan Chase

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 3:25am


Details have emerged of how Nigerian government officials extracted from funds looted during the regime of late General Sani Abacha, through JPMorgan Chase, an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York.

Nigerian government has, however, filed charges against the bank for working with the said government officials to “extract nearly $900 million between 2011 and 2013 from a government bank account in London”, according to a report by New York Times.

The $900 million is part of the billions of dollars looted by government officials during the regime of the late General Sani Abacha.

A report by New York Times, a version of which was published in print on April 1, 2019, noted that the case has been filed before a court in Britain although JPMorgan Chase has insisted that the withdrawal of the money followed instructions by certain “senior government officials” from Nigeria. This is in spite of the refusal of the two banks, to which the money was wired, to accept the transfers over concerns bordering on violation of money laundering laws.

Another major source of concern is why JPMorgan Chase went ahead to approve the release of the funds, despite the the issues it had with the request, which it reported to financial regulators. However, in spite of its suspicion that the request for extraction could have come from the basis of money laundering, it went ahead to make the transfers.

As a result, the Nigerian government is now requesting the court to compel the bank to pay up in damages. JPMorgan Chase has countered the suit with its own court documents, basing its position on the fact that the agreement signed between both parties was also subject to following instructions of the Nigerian government  even if the bank had its misgivings that the transactions “were not in the best interest” of the former.

However, the back-and-forth on the funds did not begin in 2019. Flash back 20 years ago, specifically in 1998, Sani Abacha had awarded an oil licence to Dan Etete, Nigeria’s oil minister at the time for $2million. However, the transaction was projected to yield billions of dollars in revenue, and there were unsuccessful attempts by the successive government to revoke the licence on the grounds of corruption.

Fast-forward to 2007, asides being convicted of money laundering in France  in an unrelated case, a deal was struck involving Etete, the Nigerian government and two oil companies, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni for sale of the licence. However, Etete and friends of former President Goodluck Jonathan were said to have benefitted more than $1billion in the deal and the case is currently on trial in Italy.

In February 2018, Bayo Ojo (SAN), a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, had admitted to the court that he received a “compensation” of $10million from Etete for his work as a legal adviser during the sale of OPL 245.

An account was opened by the Nigerian government officials with JPMorgan in London, and a subsidiary of Eni deposited about $1.1billion on May 25, 2011, of which a transfer-request to the Banca Svizzera Italiana, a Swiss Bank, was made. Howeverm the Swiss bank rejected the transfer request on the grounds of that it suspected that the funds would eventually find its way to Etete. These were presented in the documents made available to the Italian court. With the situation on ground, JPMorgan Chase also expressed reservations on the funds to financial regulators in Britain, but did not take any action to limit activity on the account.

Weeks later, in July of the same year, a transfer request was made for the bank to transfer the funds to a bank in Lebanon. A document on this request was made available to the British court, signed by Nigeria’s Attorney General. This was to enable release of the funds because some part of the funds were affected y a court-ordered freeze ruling. The judge approved the release of $800million of the said funds, but also expressed particular concern about the fact that the request may “a money-laundering exercise”.

However, the $800million was transferred as requested, but the Lebanese bank, Banque Misr Liban, rejected the transfer. After the rejection, a transfer request was sent to JPMorgan Chase to send the funds in two deposits of $400million each to two Nigerian bank accounts owned by Etete. While JPMorgan reported the transfers to the British Serious Organised Crime Agency (now the National Crime Agency) as suspicious, it went ahead to make the transfers anyway. In 2013, another $74million was requested to be transferred to a corporate account belonging to former oil minister based in Nigeria.

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Boko Haram Insurgents Raid Chibok Village, Cart Away All The Animals

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 3:11am


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Suspected Boko Haram terrorists have invaded a community in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State.

The incident happened in the remote village of Kontinyar, some kilometres from Chibok town at about 8:30pm on Monday night. Shooting sporadically, they looted the whole village.

According to a hunter in the community, the invaders went away with all the livestock in the village.

Narrating the incident, he said: "They came to Kontinyar village at exactly 8:30am last night and started shooting. We ran into bushes. When we came back, they had left with all the animals, including chickens. They equally burgled all shops and looted foodstuffs.

“We came back this morning and the whole village was empty; no single animal in the village. Shops were opened and emptied, although no life was lost. However, many of those who ran away are yet to return.”

In recent weeks, the insurgents have shifted their attacks to the southern part of the state.

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BREAKING: Court Sides With PDP, Refuses To Stop INEC From Collating Rivers Election Results

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 2:55am


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from collating results of the governorship election held in Rivers State on March 9, 2019.

Justice Inyang Ekwo's ruling on the suit, filed by the African Action Congress and three of its members, was that the court held that it lacked jurisdiction on the matter.

On March 18, the court refused to grant an ex parte motion filed by Biokpomabo Awara, governorship candidate of the AAC, seeking an order to stop the collation, announcement and conclusion of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). According to the judge, INEC should be put on notice.

However, in the ruling delivered on Tuesday, the Judge upheld the preliminary objection filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the court could not assume or exercise jurisdiction over such matters, as it is the duty of the Election Petition Tribunal.

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State House Medical Centre Reverted To Clinic

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 12:45am


President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reversal of the State House Medical Centre to a clinic to ensure that the establishment functions in the original capacity in which it was built.

Speaking before the Senate in Abuja on Monday, Jalal Arabi, the Permanent Secretary, State House, said the directive for reversal was from the presidency.

According to Arabi, the clinic will serve to provide primary health services to the president, his family and staff of the State House.

While presenting the budget for the medical facility before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, he said: "Without prejudice to what is currently obtainable at SHMC, the intention to revert to a clinic is a presidential directive. This is to make sure that the facility is functional and serves the purpose for which it was established, ab initio."

Speaking to reporters after his presentation, he added: ‘‘It was initially meant to serve the first and second families and those working within and around the Villa.

"Nobody was charging anyone for any services, and relying on appropriation means we will depend on subvention when it comes to run the centre.

"Whatever comes is what you utilise and if the last patient comes in to take the last drugs based on the last budgetary release, we have to wait till another release is done.”
 

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Saraki Explains Why Senate Refused To Confirm Magu's Appointment As EFCC Chairman

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 12:38am


Bukola Saraki, Nigeria's Senate President, has said the reason the 8th assembly, under his leadership, refused to confirm Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was because the presidency failed to lobby the Senate.

Saraki, on Monay, made the reasons for the  Senate’s refusal to endorse Magu’s appointment known while speaking at the orientation programme organised for senators-elect and House Of Representatives members-elect ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly in Abuja.

Saraki said Magu’s appointment would have been confirmed, but for the failure of the Presidency to explore the established channel of lobby. He insisted that the “political solution” should have been applied after the Senate rejected nomination twice.

He said: “When the executive makes an appointment, there is an issue of lobby; this is why we want a particular nominee. It is done even in America.”

He noted that the options are that the President can lobby the legislature or present someone else at the event of rejection of a nominee.

His words: “The truth really is that the issue of confirmation, whether ministerial or other appointments, is done by the entire Senate. Generally, we have an unwritten practice that we would get the input of senators from the state where the appointee hails from before we start the screening process in the Senate. By the powers of the Senate if such nominee is rejected, then it is upon the executive to find a new replacement. The issue really is that the Senate has the powers to reject ministerial nominees.

“In the case of the appointment of the chairman of the EFCC, the powers of the Senate are very clear in the constitution. For any nominee, we are guided by the constitution. It is an appointment made by Mr. President, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, which means the Senate has the powers to either say yes or no.

"In a situation where the Senate rejects, it is up to the executive at that time to send in a replacement or in some cases, when we have appointment rejected and the executive will re-present before the Senate, but if the senators again take a decision to reject the nominee, the appointment stands rejected.”

The Nigerian Senate rejected the appointment of Magu each time he was presented for confirmation by the President Buhari.

However, Magu remains in the office as the acting chair of the anti-graft agency.

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Purge Yourselves Of Bad Eggs, Obasanjo Urges PDP

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 12:34am


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to purge itself of “bad eggs and hypocrites” who “lack the commitment” to help the opposition party reclaim its lost glory.

Obasanjo lamented that many of the PDP leaders still preoccupy themselves with what ministers to ”their pockets and stomachs".

He wondered why some of them left the party and others lost hope as soon as the results of the 2019 presidential election were announced.

The former President spoke on Sunday evening when South-West PDP leaders, led by Eddy Olafeso, the party’s National Vice-Chairman (South-West), visited him at his penthouse residence within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Obasanjo told his guests that Nigeria’s situation demands a vibrant voice and opposition in PDP to engender a virile democracy.

The former president also bemoaned the failure of leadership in the country, saying Nigeria “can’t move forward if we continue the way we are”.

Speaking further at the meeting he urged PDP to purge itself of “hypocrites and bad eggs”, noting that the purge would put the party on a higher pedestal to scout for those he called “critical mass of committed people who would stand with the party come rain, come shine".

Obasanjo said: “I knew PDP would lose the election in 2015 because it was clear. And I knew PDP will need to be rebuilt after losing the election.

“You need what I call a critical mass of committed people and come rain, come shine, they are committed. With that, you can make Nigeria better.

“You see people’s beautiful faces but you don’t know what each person harbours inside of him. If you discover a bad egg, remove such a person. And if such a person has learnt his or her lessons, there can still be room to accommodate the person.

“Politically speaking, you can’t be my friend if you don’t buy into the Nigeria project. For me, till death, I will continue to push for a better Nigeria.

“I said if you compare the two of them, with what I know and all I have written about the incumbent, which they have decided to cover up, Atiku is better than the incumbent by far. That’s the point I am making and nobody is perfect."

In his remarks, Olafeso said the visit was to celebrate Obasanjo on his 82nd birthday, which he marked recently and to thank him for his support for the PDP presidential candidate in the just concluded elections.

Olafeso said: “You supported our presidential election and I know for sure that he won that election, even if the powers-that-be decided to write results for themselves in the North. It is certainly sure that it is the corner that you asked all of us to go that won that election and I know full well that God will take this thing back to our party.”

Present at the meeting were Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, former Lagos State Deputy Governor; Shuaibu Oyedokun, former PDP Deputy National Chairman and Eyitayo Jegede, Ondo State PDP governorship candidate in 2017, among others.
 

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Okorocha: APC Will Face Setbacks In 2023 If Oshiomhole Is Not Called To Order

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 12:31am


Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, says the All Progressives Congress (APC) could lose its bearings completely by 2023 if Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the party, is allowed to continue to run its affairs as things stand.

Okorocha claimed that Oshiomhole was responsible for the party’s failure to capture or retain some states during the elections that took place in February and March.

The Governor, who is yet to be presented with a certificate of return to the Senate by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) spoke with newsmen in Abuja after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Okorocha also called attention to the zoning of the principal offices of the 9th National Assembly, noting that failure to give key offices to the South-East would make it look as if the party had ignored the region.

He added that ignoring the South-East might be the beginning of real trouble for the APC ahead of 2023 elections.

Okorocha said: “I have been watching what is happening in the National Assembly; it is a very interesting drama. But all I ask of them is that they should consider the South-East in their calculations.

“This nation will not be properly balanced if the South-East is not carried along properly in the affairs of the National Assembly. Nobody seems to be talking about the South-East; it looks like the South-East doesn’t have a place anymore. That is wrong, politically speaking and that will not be good for the APC because there is going to be a bigger APC after President  Muhammadu Buhari must have left the seat.

“My fear now is that the APC may have a serious setback in 2023 because the  Oshiomhole-led executive is actually turning the APC into a regional minority party, which shouldn’t be. Right now in the whole of the South-East, we don’t have an APC governor. So, if there is any discussion in Nigeria now among the APC governors and President Muhammadu Buhari, there will be nobody from the South-East. This is what the APC has done in the South-East.”

Speaking on the governorship election that produced Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Okorocha faulted the declaration of Ihedioha as the winner and called the victory a form of “gangsterism” aided by INEC.

He added: “The governorship candidate of the PDP never won that election because the election flouted Section 179 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which says that you must have the highest votes and you must have 25 per cent in two-thirds of the Local Government Areas.

“Now the gentleman who was declared the winner by the same INEC had 135,000 votes from 24 local governments. Of course, you know, he didn’t win that election.

“But, even at that, we had the highest mark. The Returning Officer of INEC was never patient to even calculate to know there were 200,000 cancelled votes where there was supposed to be a rerun. That also flouted the basic constitutional provision, which says you must have 25 per cent in two two-thirds.”

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Nigeria’s Debt Profile Among Lowest In The World, Says Osinbajo

Sahara Reporters - 2 April 2019 - 12:24am


Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of Nigeria, says Nigeria’s current debt burden is one of the lowest in terms of ratio to the economy worldwide. 

The Vice-President made this claim on Monday while speaking at the 50th convocation of the University of Lagos in Akoka.

Speaking on the theme: 'Nigeria Rising: The Path to Prosperity', Osinbajo said inflation in Nigeria had stabilized at 11 per cent over the past six months.

He said: “We restored medium-term planning with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan which served as a useful loadstone in improving macroeconomic performance, boosting the real sector of the economy and building infrastructure. The decline in growth, which started at the end of 2014, has been reversed, inflated has stabilized at about 11 per cent over the past six months and our current account was in the surplus around 1.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product last year.

“Our foreign reserves can cover at least six months of import of goods and services and despite understandable concerns, our debt burden is only about 22 per cent of the size of our economy, which is one of the lowest ratios in the world.

“We have very clear objectives. As you know, the problem of our country is not planning or designing of great projects, it is in the actual implementation. We are fortunate that Muhammadu Buhari is not an orator, he is a doer.”

He said the next four year would feature reforms in the aviation, and export and import sectors, just as the regulatory agencies would broaden into business facilitators.

Professor Wale Babalakin, the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, said the whole essence of an academic environment was to display a diversity of knowledge, as he insisted that “only academics should be in the environment of academics, not a person that sees the academia as a last resort.”

Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe,  the Vice-President of the University, said the institution is growing and by the end of the year, UNILAG’s ranking would be higher because the university had done a lot of research with various grants received.

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Tension In Abuja As Shi'ites Honour 998 ‘Fallen Martyrs’ In Tears

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 2:46pm





Tears flowed freely on Monday in Abuja as thousands of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shiites, gathered to honour their “fallen heroes and martyrs killed by security operatives across the country”.

The event, which took place at 7 Uption Garden Garki, Abuja, was marked with sober reflection and emotions with portrait photographs of the deceased on display. The deceased include children.

Sheikh Abdulhameed Bello, the Chairman of Shuhada Foundation, who addressed a large crowd of supporters of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky during the Annual Yaumus Shuhada Foundation event, said the group had lost 998 members to the “brutality of the Police and Army”.

    

Bello stated that the Shuhada Foundation was formulated to cater to the orphans, widows, aged parents and family members left behind by the deceased. He added that the foundation sponsors the education of the children from nursery to university level.

"We take care of the medical bills of anyone of them that is sick and has health challenges. We also take care of their welfare like marriages and celebration of Salah programme. These martyrs as we are all aware are those that were killed by either by Nigerian Army and the Police," Bello stated.

He decried the attitude of security agencies toward the activities of the movement, stating that the group would not give up in its mandate to exercise its religious belief, despite the intimidation by security agencies.

The protesters, who displayed portraits of the “martyrs” and chanted anti-government songs, were drawn from Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Nasarawa and Kebbi states.

The injured members of the movement, particularly those with gunshot injuries, were seen walking with the aid of crutches.

The IMN has held series of protests to demand the release of El-Zakzaky, the IMN Leader, who has been in custody since December 2015, following a violent clash between the movement and the Nigerian Army, during which many people lost their lives.

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ALERT: 'Certain Persons' Want To Instigate Ethno-Religious Crisis In Kaduna

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 2:08pm


Charles Danladi, the Chairman of Sanga Local Government Area (LGA), Kaduna State, has alerted security agencies and the general public to plans to instigate religious crisis in the area.

Danladi stated this while addressing a press conference in Kaduna on Monday, during which he noted that he has credible intelligence that plans have been concluded to breach the peace in the LGA.

Some local governments in Kaduna State, including Sanga LGA, have been flashpoints of ethno-religious violence in recent times.

The Chairman said: "I wish to bring to your attention the deliberate plans by certain persons to instigate crises on ethno-religious lines in Sanga LGA and to request you to play your role to restore peace in the area.

“Those behind the plans to cause a breach and incite communal tensions met in Kaduna over the weekend under the auspices of a political party. By the evening of Sunday, 31 March, 2019, they had sent monies into Sanga LGA to fund a protest scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

“Information available to me indicates that these persons want to promote religious division among the people of the area, which is home to Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, the state Deputy Governor-elect."

Danladi said perpetrators had prepared a false campaign that the Deputy Governor-Elect was making moves to remove the Chairman from office because he is a Christian, just to cause riot in the area.

“There is nothing of the sort, and the masterminds know this, but they seek to deliberately perpetrate falsehood and cause trouble among the peaceful people of the area. As Chairman of Sanga Local Government Council, my duty is to ensure that nothing threatens the peace and security in my area. We have recently been confronted by violent attacks in parts of the area. In such circumstance, we are very vigilant against any incitement on ethnic and religious lines, as we are taking steps to bring to justice those found involved in spreading falsehood,” he said.

Danladi, who did not name the instigators, added that the local council and the state government had taken measures to prevent attacks as witnessed recently in Nandu community in the area.

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Shi'ia Woman Lost Five Children To Zaria Massacre — And A Sixth Still Has Bullets In His Chest

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 1:58pm


Hajiya Jumai Karofi, a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), has narrated how she lost her five children during the violent clash between the group and Nigerian army in Zaria Kaduna State in December 2015.

She narrated her experience on Monday in Abuja during a Shuhada Foundation Programme of the movement to honour deceased members.

Karofi stated that her five children were shot dead in cold blood during the Zaria massacre, adding that the sixth one was in the hospital as a result of the gunshot injuries.

She maintained that her faith in the movement remains unshakable despite the unfortunate incident that has befallen her.

Recounting her ordeal, she said: "There is no discouragement in the struggle. Even historically, when you read about people who stood against tyranny, even not religiously, once you take a step backwards, the oppressors get even stronger. So, the only way is to persist, stand firm and sacrifice everything and get what you want. 

"And for that, we shall live and for it we shall die. We will never take a step backward. This is a promise from us. 

"Today, we are commemorating and remembering our martyrs. As a mother, I lost five of my children during the Zaria massacre and one of my sons is carrying a bullet in his chest right now. Also, I have shot several times; as you could see, when I was coming, they had to hold my hands because of the extent of my pain.”

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Obasanjo's Increasing Age Has Blurred His Wisdom, Says Abubakar Tsav

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 11:27am

Abubakar Tsav, a former Commissioner of Police and Commissioner at the Public Complaints Commission, Abuja, says President Olusegun Obasanjo's continuing increase in age "has blurred his wisdom".

He said this in an opinion published by SaharaReporters on Monday, following recent comments in Johannesburg when interviewed by AFP that “if the youth think that they will get into power on a platter, they are not getting it right…They will have to snatch it, those (ageing leaders) will not go.”

Tsav criticized Obsanjo for brooking no opposition to his views, and parading a fake aura of superior wisdom, adding that “there is potent evidence that OBJ has wronged God and needs to plead for His forgiveness”.

“In Nigeria or African generally, septuagenarian or octogenarian ages are like a double edged sword,” he wrote.

“It could be a curse or a blessing to someone depending on how he utilizes this special favour from God Almighty in spending these rare years of grace.  So, both suffer either of these two afflictions.

“They can be treasures of wisdom in their communities or nations. But the worse experience is when such people bow to the strings of senility and the instinctual drive of incoherence. The latter category is the problem tormenting Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ). And his case seems on the wayward side because innately, he brooks no opposition to his views and parades a fake aura of superior wisdom.”

He berated Obsanjo for his restlessness on the political turf of Nigeria, “making pronouncements at every point and countering or reversing himself on national issues in a manner that belittles his status, as elder statesman”. 

“More than a few Nigerians believe Nigeria has found itself in the subsisting mess President Muhammadu Buhari has bent backwards to re-fix because the likes of the nation’s former leaders like OBJ fretted away the golden opportunities they had to consolidate on the foundation laid by the country’s founding fathers and nationalists,” Tsav argued.

“Therefore, the problems of Nigeria are created and nurtured to fruition by OBJ. But how he finds the conscience to exonerate himself and a heart to blame other leaders who are more transparent and honest with the leadership of Nigeria remains baffling. But it is not strange, if anyone is acquainted with OBJ’s obsequious character.”

Describing Obasanjo as a man in need of God’s forgiveness, he said: “Truth is sacred and it must be told, no matter who is embittered by it.  The series of gaffes committed by OBJ is an indication that he has more issues with ageing than President Buhari. 

“His inconsistency in actions and utterances have confirmed it indubitably. Conversely, Buhari has never changed, unlike OBJ, his accuser, who changes from time to time like a chameleon. He needs real help to overcome his multiple personality issues from his nuclear family, to politics and leadership, which many believe undoubtedly is as a result of his age, which has blurred his wisdom. 

“Those close to OBJ should begin to tinker with the idea of working on his senses and public outings. He is bringing too much shame on himself and his family for no justification. For all it takes, OBJ is not the only former President of Nigeria still alive. There are the likes of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. But none of them is this excited on checkmating every shadow of the occupant of Aso Rock. And until recently, when he joined his ancestors, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was choosy in commenting on national affairs. 

“There is potent evidence that OBJ has wronged God and needs to plead for His forgiveness. It is shameful that OBJ who is a supposed elder statesman will embark on such an empty voyage to satisfy his ego and pride.  A genuine Christian ought not to be as vindictive as OBJ portrays himself everywhere. He needs prayers and God’s attention urgently.”

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NNPC At Loggerheads With NANS Over Discrimination In Recruitment Process

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 11:18am


The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has rejected a statement by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) alleging discrimination in requirements for recruitment into the petroleum corporation.

On Sunday, NANS a statement by Adeyemi Azeez, its Public Relations Officer, rejected the “anti-poor and anti-masses” recruitment requirements of the NNPC.

NANS had also issued threats of mass action and shutdown of the corporation over the matter.

However, Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, said there was no discrimination in the various requirements of the corporation’s recruitment process.

The criteria for Graduate Trainee, among others, required applicants to have graduated from an accredited university/polytechnic/monotechnic not earlier than 2014 according to NAN.

Ughamadu said: “There was no discrimination in the criteria, If there is anything, the corporation is supposed to be commended now that it is trying to recruit to reduce the unemployment in the country.

“Our criteria were carefully thought out. We carried out a survey to arrive at all those criteria that were stipulated. There are many categories. There are four; if you didn’t meet one category, you move to the next; if you didn’t meet the second, you go to the third, and so on.

“For the graduate trainee, we put age level at 28 years, the second 34, the third 37 and the last 40. So, any Nigerian looking for employment that falls within any of the four categories is qualified.”

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Obasanjo and Buhari; Who Is A Victim Of Age? By Abubakar B. Tsav

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 10:50am


In Nigeria or African generally, septuagenarian or octogenarian ages are like a double edged sword. It could be a curse or a blessing to someone depending on how he utilizes this special favour from God Almighty in spending these rare years of grace.  So, both suffer either of these two afflictions.

They can be treasures of wisdom in their communities or nations. But the worse experience is when such people bow to the strings of senility and the instinctual drive of incoherence. The latter category is the problem tormenting Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ).  And his case seems on the wayward side because innately, he brooks no opposition to his views and parades a fake aura of superior wisdom.

While serving as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999-2003) Sen. JKN Waku (of blessed memory) saw the dictatorial personage of OBJ in democratic garbs quite early in the day. And he exposed and   demystified OBJ  in a lengthy  interview he granted, Crystal International Magazine, with the caption, “Obasanjo’s Days Are Numbered.” What has stamped on the psyche of many Nigerians is OBJ’s flaunted penchant of Mr. Know-All. He erroneously passes himself as an embodiment of the collective wisdom of over 200 million Nigerians.

So, OBJ, the former Military and democratic leader of Nigeria has been restless on the political turf of Nigeria; making pronouncements at every point and countering or reversing himself on national issues in a manner that belittles his status, as elder statesman. More than a few Nigerians believe Nigeria has found itself in the subsisting mess President Muhammadu Buhari has bent backwards to re-fix because the likes of the nation’s former leaders like OBJ fretted away the golden opportunities they had to consolidate on the foundation laid by the country’s founding fathers and nationalists.

Therefore, the problems of Nigeria are created and nurtured to fruition by OBJ. But how he finds the conscience to exonerate himself and a heart to blame other leaders who are more transparent and honest with the leadership of Nigeria remains baffling. But it is not strange, if anyone is acquainted with OBJ’s obsequious character.

His inconsistent utterances in recent years have earned him all manner of derogative epaulettes. But it appears, OBJ has no sense of shame. And so, he keeps parroting in Nigeria and around the globe on issues he embellishes to blend with his selfish agenda and egoistic pride.

A few days ago, OBJ  was in Johannesburg,  South Africa  at the launch of a book he  co-authored with Zimbabwe’s   opposition leader and former finance minister, Mr.  Tendai Biti and others titled,  “Democracy Works — Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage.”  But in an asinine twist during an interview he granted AFP, OBJ deviated from the core issues in a book he co-authored to innuendic references in acerbic tirades on the reelection of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari for another term of four years.

One would empathize with OBJ’s failing senses when what he said in the interview is analyzed. He spoke distastefully about African leaders who are septuagenarians’ and octogenarians’ clinging unto power and promoting the sit-tight syndrome, which he opined, has slowed down the progress of democracy on the African continent.  Good submission, to say, the least on face value.  

But read OBJ’s suggested panacea to the younger generation of Africans in solving the problem; “If the youth think that they will get into power on a platter, they are not getting it right…They will have to snatch it, those (ageing leaders) will not go.”

It’s really amusing;  but what good can anybody expect from OBJ, a leader without scruples? He imposed the politics of “do or die affair,” as serving President of Nigeria on the platform of the PDP.  OBJ introduced anarchy and chaos in Nigeria’s electoral system and by this utterance; by all nuances means he has refused to purge himself of such tendencies.  

Again, his words; “They will have to snatch it, those (ageing leaders) will not go,” is apt reference to the violence Nigerian people encounter during democratic transitions in Nigeria  today. It explains why the people perceive general elections like a war, instead of a peaceful exercise of electing and empowering fresh leaders through the ballot.

Signs that senility has heavily weighed down on OBJ, he tacitly lampoons President Buhari for insisting to remain in power at his age, but based on popular demand by Nigerians.  But in OBJ’s jaded perspectives, Buhari ought not to have sought reelection in 2019.

But who was OBJ’s preferred candidate against Buhari in the 2019 presidential contest on the platform of the opposition PDP? Shockingly, it was the septuagenarian Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his former deputy and a man he had several condemned, even in his published book, “My Watch,” as corrupt, dubious and someone “with shadowy ancestry,” at the expense of other younger generation candidates in the 2019 general elections.   Its not only when a man walks the streets naked that his insanity is confirmed. OBJ is a classic example.

Laughably, OBJ has forgotten that when he plotted his failed third term bid in 2006, on the eve of the expiration of his second term as Nigeria’s democratic President, he was in the twilight of his septuagenarian age. Yet, he dubiously and criminally sought to cause an illegal Constitutional amendment that would warrant him to contest the presidency for the third time.  Nigerians rejected the idea. And he has nursed the wounds eternally, which accounts for why whoever occupies Aso Villa Abuja, the Presidential seat of power easily incurs the wrath of OBJ,  if he fails to accept his besmirched counsels.  Buhari is such a victim.

OBJ  believes in his words or actions only when it serves his selfish agenda.  He may feel pained that Nigerians have overwhelmingly reelected President Buhari for another term.  But the difference between OBJ and Buhari is that the latter does not use his powers indiscriminately and dubiously to secure leadership unlike the former.

Buhari won his reelection on a clean slate, in free, fair and credible elections. Political spinners or jobbers couldn’t even buy car tyres off him in the guise of fixing his reelection victory.  It’s novel in the history of Nigeria’s electoral process.  OBJ’s lone desire cannot surpass that of millions of Nigerians who prefer President Buhari and, at this stage silence from OBJ would be more golden.

Truth is sacred and it must be told, no matter who is embittered by it.  The series of gaffes committed by OBJ is an indication that he has more issues with ageing than President Buhari. His inconsistency in actions and utterances have confirmed it indubitably. Conversely,  Buhari has never changed unlike OBJ,  his accuser,  who changes from time to time like a chameleon. He needs real help to overcome his multiple personality issues from his nuclear family, to politics and leadership,  which many believe undoubtedly,  it is as a result of his age which has blurred his wisdom.  

Those close to OBJ should begin to tinker with the idea of working on his senses and public outings.  He is bringing too much shame on himself and his family for no justification. For all it takes, OBJ is not the only former President of Nigeria still alive. There are the likes of Gen. Yakubu Gowon; Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. But none of them is this excited on checkmating every shadow of the occupant of Aso Rock. And until recently, when he joined his ancestors,  Alhaji Shehu Shagari was choosy in commenting on national affairs. 

There is potent evidence that OBJ has wronged God and needs to plead for His forgiveness. It is shameful that OBJ who is a supposed elder statesman will embark on such an empty voyage to satisfy his ego and pride.  A genuine Christian ought not to be as vindictive as OBJ portrays himself everywhere. He needs prayers and God’s attention urgently.

Tsav is former Commissioner of Police and Commissioner at the Public Complaints Commission, Abuja.
 

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Lagos Police Arrest Officers Who Shot Kolade Johnson

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 10:43am


Kolade Johnson

Officers suspected to be involved in the shooting of Kolade Johnson, a young man who died from a stray bullet in Lagos, have been arrested.

Johnson was shot in Onipetesi area of Lagos on Sunday, when a team of policemen from the Anti-Cultism Unit visited the area.

According to a statement by DSP Bala Elkana, Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, the officers are currently undergoing investigation and will face possible prosecution.

The statement read: “On 31/03/2019 at about 5:05pm, the Command received a distress call that Lagos-Abeokuta Express Way has been blocked by some angry youth who were protesting the shooting of one Kolade Johnson (m) of No.1 Beco street, Onipetesi, Mangoro Bus Stop by a team of Policemen from Anti Cultism unit.

“A team of policemen from the Rapid Response Squads and Metro patrol were promptly drafted to the scene. The account of eye witnesses helped in identifying the team which fled the scene immediately after the incident.

“Members of the team suspected to be involved in the shooting have since been arrested and are currently in Police custody undergoing interrogation. They will be subjected to internal disciplinary procedures, and may be prosecuted in conventional court if implicated by ongoing investigation.”

Meanwhile, Zubairu Muazu, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, has called for calm, giving the assurance that “justice will prevail in this case”.

“The Commissioner of Police also condoles with the family, friends and well wishers of Kolade Johnson. The CP has promised to initiate far reaching reforms to help in repositioning the Anti Cultism Squad for effective service delivery, particularly in areas of respect for Human Rights and proficiency in the use of firearms. Members of the public who have complaints on the activities of Anti Cultism Squad or any of our Police teams should call the following numbers 08063299264, 08065154338 and 08060357795, please,” the statement added.

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Five Nigerians Arrested For 'Stealing' Dh2.3million In The UAE

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 9:56am

The Police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) say they have arrested five Nigerians who "stormed a money exchange in Sharjah and fled with Dh2.3 million".

According to Dubai-based newspaper Khaleej Times, the men barged into the exchange and smashed the glass barrier between the customers and the staff, stole the money in multiple currencies and fled.

When converted, the money amounts N225.4million. 

Two employees at the exchange were injured as they resisted the robbers, one of them eventually managing to notify the Police. 

The paper aid the Sharjah Police coordinated with forces from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to nab the suspects from four emirates within 48 hours after the robbery was committed. 

The incident was reported at Al Ansari Exchange in Al Tawoon area, a top police official saying the suspects came to the UAE on visit visas on March 18.

For two days, they studied the exchange office before deciding to commit the robbery around midnight — just before the shop was to close. On March 20, four suspects stormed into the exchange office, while one waited in a car outside. After the four suspects rushed out with the money, they fled in a car.

Major-General Saif Al Zeri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, said the whole amount had been recovered.

"The police team reached the site within seven minutes after the robbery was reported,” Khaleej Times quoted the police officer as saying. “The injured staff members were rushed to the hospital, where they were discharged the next day.”

The police lifted forensic evidence from the site and formed a team to crack the case. "Arrest warrants for the suspects were circulated at all ports of the country to prevent them from leaving."

The police retrieved the number plate of the car in which the suspects fled. One of the suspects was arrested in Sharjah, after which he led the police to the others — two in Ajman, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Ras Al Khaimah.

All the suspects were said to have confessed to the crime.

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South African President Condemns Renewed Xenophobic Attacks

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 9:45am


In the wake of renewed Xenophobic attacks in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned attacks in the country.

Attacks on foreign-owned shops left three people dead, while many Malawians have fled their homes.

A statement iussued by Ramaphosa on Monday, read: "Today, our economy and society benefits from our extensive trade and investment relations with partners on our continent and many of our continental compatriots live in South Africa where they are making important contributions to the development of our country.

"African development depends on the increased movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit. We will not allow criminals to set back these processes.”

Three people died on Monday last week, when protests targetting foreign-owned shops in the southeastern KwaZulu-Natal province degenerated.

South Africa's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Luwellyn Landers said the incidents started off as a criminal event “and eventually ended up being xenophobic because 300 Malawians were displaced as a consequence".

Ramaphosa gave the assurance that the criminals would be identified and brought to book, so as to ensure the mutual benefit derived by both Malawi and South Africa is preserved. 

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Fintiri To Govern Adamawa With Few Political Appointees

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 9:25am

Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, Adamawa State Governor-Elect, says his government will not be overburdened with political appointments.

He dropped the news in Yola on Monday while inaugurating a 65-man transition committee to work towards putting forward a plan for a government that would not be top-heavy with political appointments, so as to deliver prompt socio-economic service for the people of Adamawa State.

He charged the committee to obtain details of assets and liabilities of the state, and to also work with a parallel committee to be set up by the outgoing government, with a view to obtaining an up-to-date general state of the financial stature of the state, which will help his government hit the ground running come May 29.

He said his administration would put pressure on local government administration in the state to work towards providing high quality service at the grassroots for the people of Adamawa.

"We expect the transition committee to proceed to recommend a functional, cost-effective structure and the composition of the in-coming administration,” he said.

"The recommendations should avoid making the administration top-heavy with political appointments at the expense of a modest-size cabinet to enable us deliver prompt socio-economic services to the people of the state.

"Considering the enormous work you are expected to do, we hope to receive as soon as possible an Interim Report so that, we can set the ball rolling. Our people expect so much from us and we will not delay in doing whatever we can to meet their expectations as soon as possible."

Fintiri told the committee to obtain detailed description of the structure of the government, its institutions, the number of its work force, those on the pensionable roaster, complete names of political office holders including members of the State Executive Council, Senior Special Assistant, Special Assistants, Advisers, Special Aides among others. 

"The committee is to obtain detailed list of general staff by their Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), including their date of first appointment, rank and date of last promotion, salary grade level and a remarks column which would reflect additional information such as in-service course and out of station among such information,” he added.
 
"The committee will be expected to work closely with a similar body, which I believe the outgoing administration will set up.You are expected to obtain detailed information on the assets and liabilities of Adamawa State to guide us on the necessary decisions that will be made as soon as we come into office.”
The committee is expected to end its work before May 29, 2019.

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Thinking With You... The North Should Rule Nigeria In 2023 And Beyond By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 9:14am


In every presidential election in Nigeria, “politics of tribe” has played a major role in our political calculations and tribulations. Ethnic politics in Nigeria determines the next president. Ethnic politics makes it possible for our presidents to channel government resources to their ethnic supporters in order to protect their political survival.

Nigeria has been a troubled nation since it was founded by the Brits. The British colonizers divided Nigeria into three major ethnic groups: Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. We were lumped together with little or no regard to our common characteristics such as language, religion, culture, tradition, customs, and values. Politics of ethnicity has become inter-tribal competition for representation in government and for resources. Because of this, it has become impossible to manage our ethnic diversity.

The consequences of our tribal politics are obvious and enormous – rampant corruption, marginalization, disfranchisement, lack of progress and prosperity, chaos and crisis, and unending violence. Our society is severely divided by ethnicity, religion, and language. Our democracy has been made difficult because our voting and other important policy decisions are based on ethnic politics.

Recently, President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) Yerima Shettima, warned South-East and South-West to stop dreaming of producing the next president in 2023. In an interview with The Sun, Shettima said: “Buhari's administration has not really benefited the north because we are yet to see meaningful development. What most northerners know is that they have a brother who is the president but that has not translated to anything meaningful to those down here.”

“As far as we are concerned,” continues Shettima, “President Buhari's administration is a government of the South-West because almost all the goodies were given to them. Already some South-Westerners are raising their heads to claim that it is their turn in 2023 but for us in the north, we would plead with the South to bear with us for another 12 years because we need to feel the impact of governance.” Shettima concludes: “In 2023, we will ensure that we present a credible Northern son to contest and we will also expect the Southern people to have the understanding on why they should support us.”

Shettima is very outspoken on sensitive and divisive national issues. Most of the times, he speaks like a man whose brain has long been vacated from birth. He is known to spew out cow dung from both sides of his mouth. However, I agree with him that the north should continue to rule Nigerian in 2023 and beyond. Why should the north rule Nigeria in 2023 and beyond? The northerners had long claimed birth right to rule Nigeria for life. And most importantly, of all  the three major ethnic groups, the northerners are the most skillful politicians. From the first Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to President Muhammadu Buhari, the northerners have proven to be the most intelligent, the most charismatic, the most creative, and the most savvy. The northerners are the best equipped with native intelligence to rule Nigeria. They have proven that they can rescue and save Nigeria from disintegration. 

The governments of Balewa, Abacha, Babangida, Y'Aradua, and lately Buhari to mention but few of the presidents from the north, Nigeria has witnessed unprecedented progress and development. They have been able to transform Nigeria into a civilized nation and industrial giant. They have proven that they are best prepared to govern and of course they make the best presidents. Under them, Nigeria has witnessed revolution in all areas. Our economy is the largest and the fastest growing in the world. Millions and millions of jobs have been created. Our infrastructure remains topnotch. We have enjoyed unhindered safety and security throughout the country. Our education system remains the envy of the Western world. Needless to say, our healthcare system is the best in the world.

Take a trip to the northern states of the country, you'll see how presidents from the north have turned their desert regions into paradise. It's the ninth wonder of the world. In terms of development, Dubai and Rwanda can't keep up with northern states. Their schools and hospitals are the best. I'm baffled why the president and other rich Nigerians keep going to abroad for medical treatment when they can get superb treatment in hospitals in Kano, Katshina, Kaduna, Daura, Adamawa, etc., for half price of what overseas hospitals will charge them. Truth be told, the Yorubas and Igbos don't have the capacity, capability, knowledge, drive, experience, creativity, innovative ideas to turn Nigeria around like people from the north had done in their years as presidents. The northerners are humble, submissive, gentle, respectful, conservative, and God fearing. Who will vote for the boisterous, rude, arrogant, disrespectful, radical, young and the restless trouble-maker Yoruba and Igbo infidels? God forbid!

Whereas the Yoruba Akindanidanis are the sick people of Nigeria. They have become cartoonishly immobilized. Among the three, only Yoruba Akindanidanis could not agree with one voice on where they stand on the future of Nigeria and what they want from Nigerian politics. To say they are cowards sounds generous. They are disunited, confused, retarded, dumb, and blind. They don't have the experience in governance and nation building. They cannot unify and rally themselves around a common cause. They are not as qualified and prepared as the northerners to rule Nigeria.

As cowards, they are happiest playing the better of two evils. They don't have the wisdom, the moral constitution, and the fire to resist or reject the Shettimas of the world and their agenda. With all their so called education, sophistication, brilliance, intelligence, and exposure, the Yorubas are satisfied by perching on the fringes of political power space granted them by the northerners. They don't know how and can’t agree on how to take the center. If they couldn't take the center, how could they govern from the center? Now you see the truth in Shettima's heresy that northerners will rule Nigeria till eternity!

As for my Igbo brethren, they only know where their bread is buttered. They are great opportunists. They never let any opportunity pass them. They are contended with the status quo as long as the plums continue to flow.  See why the Igbos and Yorubas are easy preys for the manipulations and political tricks of the northerners? Shettima was right after all. The Hausa-Fulani will rule Nigeria for life.  

God bless the Federal Republic of Arewa!

bjoluwasanmi@gmail.com

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Jones Abiri Regains Freedom From DSS

Sahara Reporters - 1 April 2019 - 8:50am


Jones Abiri, a Bayelsa-based journalist rearrested by officers of the Department of Department of State Services (DSS) on Saturday, has regained his freedom.

Abiri was re-arrested months after he was released after being illegally detained by the DSS for two years.

He was earlier arrested in 2016 on allegations of sponsoring militant activities. However, after outrage from local and international human rights organisations, he was eventually arraigned in court and subsequently released.

While in the illegal custody of the DSS, Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had filed a human rights suit on his behalf against the DSS. After his arraignment in court and subsequent release, in September 2018, the Federal High Court in Abuja awarded N10.5million in damages against the DSS.

But he was rearrested on Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

According to information made available to SaharaReporters, the new charges against him bothered on allegations of treasonable felony and terrorism.

Although the details of his release were not available at press time, SaharaReporters learnt that Sam Ogala, Abiri’s lawyer from Falana & Falana Chambers, was at the DSS office secure his release on Monday afternoon.

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