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Silence Is Not An Option: Protecting Freedom Of Expression In Nigeria By Osai Ojigho

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 3:19am

On 28 February 2018, officials of Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS) arrested and detained for seven days, Tony Ezimakor, the Abuja Bureau Chief of Daily Independent Newspaper for publishing a story on Boko Haram and alleged ransom payments for abductees. He had been interrogated about his sources which he declined to disclose. Similarly, Samuel Ogundipe, a journalist with Premium times was arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery squad (SARS) on 14 August for a story on the National Assembly invasion investigation which led to the dismissal of the former Director-General of the DSS. He refused to disclose sources of his story and was subsequently charged to court for criminal trespass and theft of police document. However, he was released on bail on 17 August.

With the backdrop of the fight against insurgency and insecurity in Nigeria, security agents have used the law, particularly the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act and the Terrorism Prevention Act (as amended) to target journalists, bloggers and other media practitioners. In January 1, 2018, Daniel Elombah, journalist and publisher of an online media site ‘’ and his brother Izuchukwu Elombah were arrested by Special Anti-Robbery squad (SARS) and detained for two days. Another brother Timothy Elombah who was also arrested was detained for 25 days. These arrests were linked to a story allegedly written by Timothy criticising the IGP which he denied. They were charged with cyberstalking, cyberbullying and terrorism. 

An investigative journalist, Ahmed Salkida, well-known for his reports on the insurgency in the north-east of Nigeria and Boko Haram, has been accused of links with the insurgent group and potential violations of the Terrorism Act. On 14 August 2016, he was declared wanted by the authorities after publishing stories on the Chibok girls and releasing a video on his website ‘’. He spent several months clearing his name and despite not being found guilty of any wrongdoing continues to suffer loss of work, stress and restriction due to his ground-breaking reporting and access to rare sources in Boko Haram. In June 2018, Salkida’s twitter account was locked down for five days and he could not access it during that period in a suspected attack to compromise his account.

Abiri Jones, the publisher of the Weekly Source, based in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State was released on bail on 15 August 2018, after being detained incommunicado and without trial for over two years on allegations of terrorism related crimes. He was arrested by the DSS on 21 July 2016 after a raid on his office. Fortunately, on 17 September 2018, all charges against him were dismissed and has won a 10.5 million naira award for his illegal detention.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitution, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant international treaties. Yet, these stories and more show a worrying pattern of threats, arrests, harassment and intimidation faced by journalists doing their work. Because ofthese attacks some media practitioners are no longer able to carry on.  A radio programme, hosted by Gloria Mabeiam, House of Justice on Liberty Radio 91.7 fm, Kaduna state ended its programming in March 2018 after six years of airing abuses suffered by victims of human rights, when the radio station faced threats too. To deprive journalists of facilities, their places of work have also been targeted. Breeze FM 99.5, Nasarawa and Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan, Oyo had their premises demolished in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Overall, such practices prevent the press from sharing information thereby depriving the public from being informed and empowered. According to Mandela, "a critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favour. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens." 

Journalists must also form a solidarity of raising their own issues as can be seen in the case of Tony Ezimakor where the Press raised the issue and others supported. It is also important that every person speaks up to demand for and join campaigns for a free press especially when media practitioners and media houses are attacked. Freedom of expression in Nigeria can be secured if the authorities stop the crack down on journalists, prevent further attacks and hold those abusing their power accountable when journalists are unduly targeted. 


Osai Ojigho, is Director, Amnesty International Nigeria.

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W’Bank: In 12 Years, 90% Extremely Poor will Live in Nigeria, Other Sub-Saharan Countries

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 3:00am


The World Bank has predicted that by 2030, about nine out of 10 extremely poor people in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Nigeria and others. In percentage term, this translates to 90 per cent of the population of the extremely poor people.

The Bretton Woods institution, which gave its forecast in its report named Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018, just released, affirmed that forecast for 2018 suggested that Nigeria would take over from India as the country with the most poor people.

According to the report, the rate of extreme poverty and the number of poor in South Asia, which been constantly declining, would continue, resulting in a shift in poverty from South Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa.

“In a sign of change, however, forecasts for 2018 suggest that India’s status as the country with the most poor is ending— Nigeria either already is, or soon will be, the country with the most poor people. The extreme poverty rate and the number of poor in South Asia have been steadily declining and are expected to continue that trend. The result of this trend is a shift in poverty from South Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2030, the portion of the poor living in Sub-Saharan Africa could be as large as 87 percent on the basis of historical growth rates,” the new report noted.

This publication is coming after a report by The World Poverty Clock released in June this year, which stated that Nigeria overtook India as the world’s poverty capital. Specifically, the report published by World Data Lab based in Vienna, Austria, revealed that, “At the end of May 2018, our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 million people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million. What is more, extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall.”

India with a population of 1.324 billion people, previously held the position, which is occupied with Nigeria which has a population of about 200 million.

The World Bank in this latest report with the theme, report, “Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle”, stated that, “Even if every other country in the world had zero extreme poverty by 2030, the average rate in Sub-Saharan Africa would have to decrease from the 2015 rate of 41 percent to about 17 percent for the global average to be 3 percent.”

In its analysis, the bank reckoned that, “That would require an unprecedented annual growth rate for the region. Stronger economic growth and renewed efforts to resolve violent conflicts will be crucial to speed up the rate of poverty reduction in Africa and elsewhere.”

However, pointing out that, business as usual will not be enough, the Washington-based global institution recommended that, “More needs to be done to ensure that growth is inclusive, with a stronger focus on raising the productive capacity of the poor. If Sub-Saharan African and other fragile countries are to have a chance of reaching the 3 percent goal, not only will their growth rates have to be high but incomes among the bottom 40 in their societies will also have to rise at a higher rate. “

“Yet, in two-thirds of the 13 extremely poor countries (with poverty rates above 10 percent) covered by the World Bank’s shared prosperity indicator, average incomes of the bottom 40 are growing at a slower rate than the global average of 1.9 percent per year. That is a worrying trend for the poorest economies and conflict-affected states, precisely the countries least likely to reach the 2030 target,” the report indicated.

“A second and crucial worry is that data needed to assess shared prosperity are weakest in the very countries that most need them to improve. Only 1 in 4 low-income countries and 4 of the 35 recognised fragile and conflict affected states have data that allow us to monitor shared prosperity over time. Because a lack of reliable data is associated with slow income growth for the poorest, the situation could even be worse than currently observed,” it added.

The World Bank lamented that, the huge progress against poverty in other regions contrasted sharply with the much slower pace of poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. It explained that, “Extreme poverty is becoming more concentrated there because of the region’s slower rates of growth, problems caused by conflict and weak institutions, and a lack of success in channeling growth into poverty reduction. “

“Sub-Saharan Africa now accounts for most of the world’s poor, and— unlike most of the rest of the world—the total number of poor there is increasing.

The number of people living in poverty in the region has grown from an estimated 278 million in 1990 to 413 million in 2015. Whereas the average poverty rate for other regions was below 13 percent as of 2015, it stood at about 41 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the world’s 28 poorest countries, 27 are in sub-Saharan Africa, all with poverty rates above 30 percent. In short, extreme poverty is increasingly becoming a sub-Saharan African problem,” the report noted.

“African countries have struggled partly because of their high reliance on extractive industries that have weaker ties to the incomes of the poor, the prevalence of conflict, and their vulnerability to natural disasters such as droughts.

Despite faster growth in some African economies, such as Burkina Faso and Rwanda, the region has also struggled to improve shared prosperity. The bottom 40 in the dozen sub-Saharan African countries covered by the indicator saw their incomes rise by an average of 1.8 percent per year in 2010–15 (slightly below the global average of 1.9 percent per year). More worrying, however, is that the incomes of the bottom 40 shrank in a third of those 12 countries,” it added.

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Omisore Tackles Ex-Running Mate Over Zoning

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 2:49am

A former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, and a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Adejare Bello, have sharply disagreed over which senatorial district in the state should produce the next governor of the state.

Bello was Omisore’s running mate during the 2014 governorship election in the state, but the two of them currently belong to different factions of the Peoples Democratic Party.

While Omisore is from Osun East Senatorial District, Bello is from Osun West Senatorial District.

Bello told SUNDAY PUNCH that any political party which chose its governorship candidate outside the Osun West Senatorial District would be rejected by the majority of the people of the state.

He said, “Osun West is the only senatorial district that has not produced a governor since the nation returned to democracy in 1999. Chief Bisi Akande and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, from Osun Central, spent 11 years as governors of the state. Governor Rauf Aregbesola is from Osun East and he will complete two terms of eight years by November.

“I believe it is just and fair to zone the PDP governorship ticket to Osun West which is yet to produce a governor.”

But Omisore claimed that Osun West was the first to produce a governor shortly after the state was carved out of the old Oyo State.

He cited the case of the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, a native of Ede, where Bello hails from, as the first governor of the state.

In a statement on his behalf by Mr. Idowu Afolami, Omisore said zoning system promoted mediocrity and deprived the people of the best leaders they need.

The statement partly read, “In Osun, if necessarily there must be zoning, it has to be done in a way that no zone would feel cheated or short-changed. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.”

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2019 Presidency: Father Mbaka Attacks Buhari, Atiku, Predicts Winner Of Election

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 2:40am

The Spiritual Director, Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has said that while President Muhammadu Buhari is “change,” former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is “bureau de change.”

Mbaka described Atiku as bureau de change, according to him, because of the foreign currencies that allegedly exchanged hands at the National Convention of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, before the ex-VP emerged the party’s presidential candidate.

Mbaka however predicted that Atiku will defeat Buhari in 2019 but warned him not to emulate Buhari if he is elected the president.

The fiery cleric said this while addressing his congregation at the Adoration Ground.

“So let the will of God be done in Nigeria. It is like what I have been saying Buhari change or you will be changed”

Mbaka said that Buhari had all the human and material resources at his disposal to make the country better but rather chose to play ethnic, despotic politics.

“What will it take you; change the Chief of Staff, change B, change C, change this and change that; even if it will take 20 Igbo men or 20 Yoruba men to change Nigeria; take all of them. Look at what (Chukwuma) Soludo did in the Central Bank; he has assured Nigeria and the whole world that there is nothing like bank collapse again.

“An Igbo man did this, why can’t Buhari take Soludo for the economic revival and revamping of Nigeria’s economy? And you are busy talking about corruption, playing game with the lives of Nigerians from the issue of Fulani herdsmen to Boko Haram to Jos killings. You said somebody stole, what did he steal?

“Someday, they said the government has spent trillions of naira on social investment scheme and I want to know who are the people they were spending the money on; the Vice President said they are giving N10,000 to small scale businesses and I asked, is this how they will transform Nigeria? You give somebody N10,000 for business, what type of business will N10,000 start?

“Somebody will have billions and want to take the one belonging to the public while hunger will be killing his people. Look at the type of money they shared during the primaries to the extent that they brought Bureau de Change. They said Buhari is change, but Atiku is bureau de change. They were sharing the money in dollars and it was going out in millions of dollars in Nigeria where hunger is killing people; where you don’t have food to eat.

“If they spend such monies to get ticket, how do you think that when they get into power they will rule, of course, they will first recover the money they have spent but the worst is that the money was not being shared to the poor,” he lamented.

Speaking further, the prophet described the cost of APC Expression of Interest and Nomination forms as outrageous.

According to him, if the leadership of the party had conscience, they would not have collected N24 million from people to obtain the forms.

“There are some people that sold their land to pay for this form because of the promise they were made. I don’t think these politicians were thinking of heaven that is why they are ready to kill anybody that stands on their way,” he said.

Mbaka said that Atiku may not be able to solve the problems of Nigeria if he emerged victorious.

“If anybody is thinking that if Atiku becomes the President of Nigeria things will get better, ‘who born you’ because for this country to be good it is easier for a carmel to pass through the eye of a needle than this country to be good,” he said, urging that Nigerians must do their part to make Nigeria the nation of their dream.

The fiery preacher predicted defeat for the APC but said that there was still opportunity for change.

“There are no people that will develop this country that are not in Nigeria. We have people who will develop this nation; but our President left the same type of people who don’t have the same type of vision around him and everything they do is in your head.

“After you are removed, they will bring people that will flog you because you messed up the opportunities because you didn’t listen to the word of God. You didn’t listen to the man of God you have and you were disobeying him.

“The price of disobedience is disgrace,” he declared.

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Beyond Fayose: The Future Of Ekiti By Reuben Abati

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 2:32am

Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati

I spent the better part of last Tuesday, October 16, focusing on developments in Ekiti State. It was the day of John Kayode Fayemi’s return to office as Governor of Ekiti State and his inauguration for a second-term, after an interregnum of four years, 2014-2018 during which former Governor Ayo Fayose reigned.  It was also on that day that Fayemi’s immediate predecessor reported to the Headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to submit himself for interrogation and investigation. For the people of Ekiti state, no other day could have been more melodramatic. I watched the Ekiti inauguration on television, beginning from the point where the new Governor, Kayode Fayemi arrived and he was taken  round the stadium in an open van to acknowledge cheers from the people. Fayemi had a unique style of greeting the people, throwing his hands in the air with some kind of bird-like movement. I really couldn’t figure out if he was waving or dancing. I was amused. I thought if his plan was to dance, he could have taken some lessons from you know who - the two Dancing Senators of the National Assembly!

Although the duo belongs to the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), they would have obliged him. In any case, Governor Fayemi pulled it off nicely, considering the excitement from the crowd. He is obviously not planning to spend his time in Government House, dancing. The ceremonies soon got underway with a colourful police parade, with Governor Fayemi taking the stand. It was a beautiful parade, and quite refreshing seeing the mobile police, the anti-terrorism unit of the police and others marching with so much discipline and confidence, in very neat uniforms, with symphonic unity – and two officers running a commentary to guide us. If the Nigeria police were to display that same level of dedication, discipline and preparedness in the course of their daily work and engagements with the public, no one would have any reason to complain about the many failings of the institution. Governor Fayemi enjoyed himself so much that even when the police commentator asked him to take his seat while the rest of the parade continued, he still spent a few minutes appreciating the men and women on parade.      

The Governor eventually went up to the VIP stand, he took a cup of water, and APC dignitaries from around the country took turns to have photographs with him and his wife.  I didn’t see members of the opposition party. Could it be that they were not invited? Or they were invited and they chose to ignore the ceremony? Or the planning committee chose to make the inauguration ceremony a strictly family affair? Or may be the cameramen chose to ignore the faces of opposition politicians at the ceremony. The high point, however, was the taking of the oath of office, and then the speech by the newly-sworn-in Governor.  It was a brilliant, thoughtful speech but it fell short in one major regard.  It began on an evocative note with a prefatory poem written by Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the Governor’s wife and Chair of the Ekiti Transition Committee (some people are of the view that the people of Ekiti are likely to be getting two Governors for the price of one!- but that is just by the way, afterall, there is something called the doctrine of the unity of spouse.). In clear, rhythmic and seductive prose, Fayemi set out the agenda for governing Ekiti state in the next four years, to wit: the restoration of values, people-centred social investments, promotion of a knowledge economy,  infrastructure and industrial development, and agriculture and rural development.  He paid homage to Ekiti ancestors, and called on the people to look toward the future with hope and confidence because the state under his watch, will be different. 

Whereas the Governor made it clear that he is not on a “revenge mission” , his entire speech however was packed full of bitterness –clearly evident in the choice of words and imagery.  Even the poem by Mrs Bisi Fayemi is suffused with telling metaphors. October 16 was meant to be a day of joy for the Fayemis but both husband and wife could not hide the pain and the feeling of hurt that they nurse. Their words gave them away. “This land is ours…” writes Bisi Fayemi, but the land has been overtaken, and “we see the blood on the lips of vultures who prod and peck at our throats/so they can suck even more blood.” Apparently, the Fayemis are convinced that there are political vampires in Ekiti state but Fayemi has returned to “reclaim what is ours with our voices/with our blood and with our souls/This land is ours, and it shall be free.”  This theme of freedom from despair and destruction and restoration of hope is sustained in the main speech. In six paragraphs sub-titled “NEVER AGAIN”, the newly sworn in Governor wrote off the last four years of Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose in Ekiti state, in words delivered with stinging brutality. And not once did he mention Fayose by name.  He tells the people of Ekiti: “Our reputation as a people has been sullied and we have become the butt of jokes due to the crass ineptitude, loquacious ignorance, and ravenous corruption masquerading as governance in our state during this past administration”. This bitterness is further reflected in such phrases as “Ekiti has been through a horrible wilderness”; “innumerable white elephant projects”, “state assets unaccounted for”; “those who do not understand what governance or development is all about”; “painful wound.” Wound? The nature of that “wound”, at a personal level, has been famously addressed in an op-ed by Bisi Fayemi when she wrote previously, about how her family was deserted by those who had wined and dined with them as soon as JKF, as her husband is called, lost his bid for a second term on June 21, 2014. She wrote that“it was a very bad day, one of those days that I referred to recently as Ojo buruku esu bu omi mu – the day the devil came to drink water”.  Those who came to visit, came to “mourn”, she told us, as if the loss of an election was the end of the world.   

Fayemi is now back to Government House, and on October 16, I didn’t see anybody mourning.  The guests at the inauguration – associates, friends, party chieftains, traditional rulers and the ordinary people in the stands, did not come to “mourn”, they came to celebrate with Fayemi and his wife.  Life is like that. At the risk of sounding trite, in life, there is a season for everything: a time to laugh and a time to mourn. Fayemi has had his own share but as he returns, he should place greater emphasis on healing, reconciliation, forgiveness and the agenda that he has eloquently set out. He should be magnanimous and extend his call for support and collaboration, not just to the ordinary people of Ekiti, but everyone, including those he may consider his arch-enemies. To dismiss Fayose so brutally is uncharitable. Fayemi has stayed long enough in politics to know that the enemy today may be a friend tomorrow. Bitter words are like bitter kola, they leave a stinging and prolonged taste in the mouth even when you choose to drink water. 

Fayose may have supported his protégé - Kolapo Olusola in the last Gubernatorial election in the state – I still insist that Olusola acted like a spectator at his own wedding and he did not deserve to win – but Fayemi himself must learn not to be over-triumphant. There was a hint of a threat that he will probe Peter Fayose. He doesn’t need that “revenge mission”. The new Governor of Ekiti State must eschew the APC mindset: the thinking that once you are given power, you must intimidate and humiliate people, or climb a holier-than-thou pedestal – as we have seen, constructed with ego, spittle and bitterness. The key take-away in Fayemi’s speech is that he is ready to work and he intends to move Ekiti state forward. He should focus on that.  

While Fayemi was savouring that new moment in his life, at the Ekiti Kete Pavillion (which he also used to settle scores, reminding everyone that he built the Pavillion!), Fayose was busy on twitter announcing to the whole world that he was on his way to the EFCC headquarters to turn himself in. At a point, he informed us that he would be at the EFCC headquarters within an hour. Notably, on October 16, Fayose refused to attend the inauguration of Fayemi as Governor. Fayemi may claim that the snobbery was mutual but he should see himself in his new role within the context of leadership, and not partisan politics or personal grievances. 

He should look at it this way: the day he returned as Governor, Fayose was on his way to a police station! He even went along with his clothes, knowing that he could be detained. It is now a matter of record that Ayo Fayose is the first Yoruba man to go to a police station decked out in “Aso ebi.” His supporters wore white T-shirts – “aso ebi” of sorts, even if they proclaimed that Fayose is “the conscience of the nation.” I was surprised that they didn’t have a musical band in tow!  The unnecessary drama that Fayose has constructed around his invitation and detention by the EFCC is typical of him, but by the time he spends a few days in the EFCC underground cell, he will surely realize that he is not in a five-star hotel and that the EFCC has well-trained interrogators who do not look at people’s faces. They will try to break his will, wear him out, test him, humiliate him. Fayemi should not do the work of the EFCC.

And of course, Fayose is not useless as Fayemi tries to make him appear. He is a gifted, street-wise politician. He ran a folksy, populist government. He had the common touch. The people hailed him: “Oshokomole, Ekun oko Oke, afinju Irunmole to n je salad!”  The EFCC will not offer him salad. I know that for sure. But the people of Ekiti will always remember him for the courage, the sass, the colour that he brought to governance, and the “stomach infrastructure” that he offered. The people may also not agree that his exit is “the end of error”. The difference between Fayemi and Fayose is in terms of substance, style and exposure and the people’s expectations. In terms of political destiny, both men also probably have something in common. In moving Ekiti forward, as he has promised, Fayemi should attempt a more dispassionate assessment of the past, the present and the future. He should not set an example that will come back to haunt him. Four years is a very short time.  Ekiti kete, “the land is yours…”   

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Former CJN, Idris Kutigi, Dies At 78

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 2:06am

Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, 78, is dead. Kutigi died in a London hospital on Saturday night.

The chief press secretary to Niger State governor, Jibrin Ndace, confirmed the death of the former Chief Justice in a telephone interview with THISDAY on Sunday.

Ndace said the jurist died in the United Kingdom on Saturday night after a brief illness.

Born on December 31, 1939, Kutigi served as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Niger State before he became a High Court Judge in 1976.

He joined the Supreme Court in 1992 and was appointed by former President Olusegun Obanjo to succeed former CJN Alfa Belgore in 2007.

Kutigi served as Chief Justice of Nigeria between January 30, 2007 and December 30, 2009.

Details later…

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Blame Military For Lopsided Political Structure -Akande

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 2:01am

Successive military governments in the country between 1966 and 1999 were the architects of the current lopsided political structure in the country,former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande,said yesterday.

Akande in a lecture “Devolution of Powers and National Restructuring” he delivered at the APC-USA Second Annual Convention in Washington DC, United States of America, said the various military regimes created states and local governments  solely  for selfish reasons rather than through any scientific political reasoning.

The effects of those decisions on the country and the citizens now necessitate a restructuring,he said.

The former Osun State governor said the military might have inequitably created more local governments per population per state in the North than in the South, thus giving the North an unfair advantage in revenue allocation from the national treasury.

Akande, who is also a former governor of Osun State, said  that the restructuring being canvassed would ensure “equitable rearrangement and redistribution of the existing states and local governments per population within the various ethnic nationalities.”

The former APC chairman, however, admitted it would be politically unwise to define the word equitable in such a way that it would be easy to convince those enjoying the unfair advantage at present to surrender such.

The former APC chairman also said constitutional amendments or not, Nigerians have begun to see themselves as belonging to geo-political zones-Northwest, Northeast, Northcentral, Southwest, Southeast and South-south.

He said the Southwest, on its own, has evenmoved ahead  to create a Development Agenda Commission for Western Nigeria   (DAWN)  to conduct research to generate advisory information for the benefit of the each of the South-west  state governments on integrated development programmes.

According to him, as a first step, the people of these Southwestern states are trying to key into the APC to back up the possibility of their governments to speak with one political voice, using one manifesto under one political party.

He recommended this initiative to other geo-political zones, saying it is an experiment worthy of encouragement and emulation for the strengthening of a federal political attitude towards physical and social development within each zone.

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Investigation: IGP Asked To Account For 56 Missing Police Rifles

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 1:54am

Ibrahim Kpotun Idris

Ibrahim Kpotun Idris

The office of the Auditor General for the Federation (OAgF) has requested the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to produce Police Investigation Reports with respect to 56 police rifles which got missing from different divisions in Anambra State between 2016 and 2017; investigation by Daily Trust on Sunday has shown.

This, according to our findings, followed an audit inspection conducted by the OAgF within the period under review which also revealed that the rifles went missing along with 2048 rounds of ammunition.

A total of 55 police rifles with 2048 rounds of ammunition got missing at different police divisions in Anambra State as at the time of the audit inspection. The report, however, said “neither a Police Investigation Report nor completed Part II and III of the Treasury Form 146” was forwarded to the OAgF’s office to inform it about the missing weapons, contrary to the provision of Financial Regulations 2604 and 2606.

“The Inspector-General of Police has been requested to produce the Police Investigation Reports and completed Part II and III of the Treasury Form 146 for audit verification. His response is still being awaited,” the OAgF said in his current Annual Report which was transmitted to the National Assembly on May 30, 2018.

“Neither a Police Investigation Report nor completed Part II and III of the Treasury Form 146 has been forwarded to my office to inform me about the missing arms and ammunition, contrary to the provision of Financial Regulations 2604 and 2606,” the OAgF added.

Also missing, according to the 2016 Auditor General’s Report, a copy of which Daily Trust on Sunday exclusively obtained, is one AK47 rifle with breech No. 04341 with 10 rounds of live 7.62x39mm ammunition lost by a police officer on July 10, 2016 through signal no CB:2310/IMS/W1/VOL.1/121, DTO: 250900/07/2016.

Although the officer alleged that he was attacked by hoodlums at the police station, Iho in Imo State, on July 10, 2016, there was neither a Police Investigation Report nor a completed Part II and III of the Treasury Form 146 presented for audit inspection, in compliance with the provisions of Financial Regulations 2504 and 2505, the report stated.

It was based on this that the Inspector-General of Police was requested to produce the Police Investigation Reports and completed Part II and III of the Treasury Form 146 for audit verification, even as his response was still being awaited, the audit report indicated.

It was not clear at the time of filing this report if the police IG had subsequently complied with the OAgF’s request and furnished the office with the documents.

The Force Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, did not pick phone calls or a text message seeking to know if the IGP had responded to the Auditor General’s request asking him to produce Police Investigation Reports on the missing rifles and ammunition for audit verification.

The report also frowned at the absence of reported cases of losses of cash and items arising from theft, fraud, negligence, death of government debtors, inadequate security and non-observance of existing regulations by government agencies between 2011 and 2015.

“The NIL position of reported cases over the last 5 years is a clear indication of the outright disregard of the provisions of chapters 25 and 26 of the Financial Regulations which enjoin all Accounting officers to render reports of any loss of cash, stores, plants, vehicles and equipment to my office, the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and to the Federal Civil Service Commission.  Losses of cash, stores, etc., were not officially reported by the MDAs to my Office during that period.

“No accident case involving any government vehicle was also reported during the year under review.  This is not to say that it was NIL situations with all the federal ministries if the Quarterly Returns on Government vehicles had been promptly rendered. This situation is quite worrisome”, the report said.

Missing vehicles

Among unreported loses incurred by MDA’s, according to the report, is a Toyota Camry 2010 model with registration number FG 02 43F, belonging to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe.

The vehicle valued at N7, 974,750.00 and attached to the Chief Medical Director, was said to have been snatched by armed robbers on August 27, 2015 around 7.45pm, between Shitu Aloa Barracks and Keffi Town.

However, correspondences between the hospital and the insurers were said to have revealed that the vehicle was under a Third Party cover and therefore not qualified for replacement as against Comprehensive Insurance cover for such a valuable asset, thereby exposing the vehicle to higher risk and total loss in case of eventuality.

Although the Chief Medical Director was requested to explain this act of negligence and report the loss formally on Treasury Form 146, as required by the Financial Regulations “He did not comment on this matter in his response to my audit observation dated June 13, 2017.  Consequently, he should justify why he should not be held liable and appropriately sanctioned for negligence,” the OAgF stated in his 2016 audit report.

At the Ministry of Information and Culture, three vehicles (Toyota Land Cruiser and 2 (two) Toyota Hillux pick up vans) were said to be missing as at July, 2017. Audit investigation was said to have revealed that the vehicles were in the custody of a former minister of the ministry and a female staff in Sure-P Office.

Following unsuccessful efforts to recover the missing vehicles which were also were said to have been boarded without compliance to extant regulations, the   Permanent Secretary was requested to recover the missing vehicles from the affected officers and forward recovery particulars for audit verification.

The Permanent Secretary was also asked to produce the individual vehicle files of 8 vehicles claimed to be boarded to the OAgF for verification

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that at the time of the current audit report, these requests were not complied with.

At the Federal Ministry of Interior a Toyota Avensis with registration number FG 522-A14 was allegedly stolen but the loss was said to be unreported and no Police Report was presented for audit examination, contrary to Financial Regulation 2606(ii) (a-h).

It was gathered that due to the poor state of vehicle records at the ministry, the engine and chassis number, date of purchase and cost of the vehicle could not be ascertained

“Although the Permanent Secretary was requested to formally report the loss in accordance with Financial Regulations and forward evidence of action taken for audit verification he did not comply, despite my reminder letter with Ref No. OAuGF/D&SAD/GC/VOL.IV/121A dated 9th March, 2017.  He should justify his inaction and why he should not be held liable for the loss,” the report said.

Similarly a Toyota Hilux 4/WD D/C with Registration Number FG22L45, Engine Number 2TR7556422 and Chassis Number AHTFX22GX0802152 which was purchased in September 2013, at the cost of N12, 716,667.60 (Twelve million, seven hundred and sixteen thousand, six hundred and sixty-seven naira, sixty kobo) and allocated to one of the directors at the National Library of Nigeria was said to have been snatched at gun point along Kano-Kaduna road.

However, the management could not provide evidence of any follow-up action on the missing vehicle: the driver of the vehicle had not made any official report about the missing vehicle; there was no police report nor evidence of any action taken by the management to uncover the full circumstances of the robbery. The driver was not queried to account for the vehicle under his custody and the loss has not been reported formally on Treasury Form 146, as required by the Financial Regulations.

Consequently, the driver and the management staff who served during the period of the incident should account for the vehicle or be surcharged accordingly.

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Tambuwal Gets Sokoto’s PDP Governorship Ticket

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 1:43am

The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has rewarded the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, with the party’s governorship ticket for the 2019 election, an investigation by SUNDAY PUNCH has revealed.

Tambuwal is on the list of the party’s 36 governorship candidates being prepared to be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Tambuwal was among the 13 presidential aspirants of the party, who contested the primary at the national convention of the party held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, between October 6 and 7.

The primary was won by a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, with Tambuwal coming a distant second.

A member of the NWC of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the party took the decision to reward Tambuwal with the ticket based on his loyalty and understanding with the members of the State Working Committee of the PDP.

He said the party had also reached an agreement with all other presidential aspirants that they would not be abandoned irrespective of the outcome of the last presidential primary.

He said, “We are forging ahead with our preparation and like we said, all segments of the party are being carried along.

“We have given the governorship ticket to Aminu Tambuwal to be our candidate in Sokoto State next year. He is a good party man and we also know that he will deliver the state to the PDP.

“We couldn’t have denied him the governorship ticket just because he wanted to be the presidential candidate, which he lost to another eminently qualified person, Atiku Abubakar.”

The governor paid the N12m, charged by the party for its presidential nomination and expression of interest forms.

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Obanikoro, Omisore Recover Passports From EFCC, Ex-Minister Returns To US

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 1:38am

Obanikoro, Omisore

Obanikoro, Omisore

A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has retrieved his passports from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Sunday PUNCH can report.

This is despite a directive by the Federal Government that 50 persons under investigations for fraud exceeding N50m are restricted from travelling.

An impeccable source in the EFCC told our correspondent that Obanikoro, who has an American passport and a Nigerian one, met certain conditions before his passports were returned to him.

He said, “Obanikoro was able to return over N100m out of the money he received from Dasuki. He showed genuine commitment to returning more money and assist the EFCC with investigations and his passports were returned to him.

“The fact that the commission returned the passports to him does not mean that he has been cleared.”

Obanikoro has been under investigation since 2016 for allegedly receiving N4.7bn from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), in 2014.

The former minister allegedly handed over about N1.3bn to former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and another N1.3bn to the then Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Osun State in 2014, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

After Fayose was arrested by the EFCC last Tuesday, however, it was learnt that Obanikoro travelled to the US.

“Obanikoro travelled out on Wednesday evening, saying he wanted to go for medical treatment. He gave no date when he would return,” a source said.

The former minister, who has defected to the All Progressives Congress, had declared his intention to run for the Lagos West senatorial district election but shelved his ambition at the last minute.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that Omisore had also recovered his passport from the commission.

The former federal lawmaker was arrested by the EFCC in 2016 for allegedly receiving money from Dasuki through Obanikoro.

He subsequently returned N300m to the EFCC but his passport was seized by the commission.

Omisore had written to the EFCC, requesting that his passport be returned to him so that he could travel for medical treatment but his request was turned down.

However, the Osun State deputy governor, who recently contested the governorship election of Osun State on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, entered into an undisclosed agreement with the APC when the election was declared inconclusive.

He was reported to have entered into a series of negotiations with the APC leadership to support the APC candidate in the poll, Gboyega Oyetola, but the details of the negotiations were never made public.

It was during the negotiations with the leadership of the APC that Omisore was said to have recovered his passport from the anti-graft agency.

Omsiore’s media aide, Mr. Jide Fakorede, had said recently that his boss was no longer under investigation by the EFCC and that he was free to travel.

He had said, “Senator Iyiola Omisore was wrongly accused in 2016 and he surrendered himself to the EFCC for investigation and was given a ‘clean bill of health’ by the anti-graft body after a thorough investigation.

“It is on record that no case was instituted against him in any court of our land and neither was he arraigned before any court either. He has been enjoying his freedom and has even presented himself for election into public office passing through all security screenings. So we ask, what is the noise about?

“The basis for placement on the watch list and travel ban is to ensure that those answering EFCC charges are held within the country and for someone not having a current case with the anti-graft agency, there may be no basis to restrict his movement.”

Attempts to speak with the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as he did not respond to phone calls on Saturday.

When contacted on the telephone, Omisore rejected our correspondent’s calls and subsequently sent a text message saying, “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.”

Our correspondent sent a text message to him on whether it was true that he had retrieved his passport from the EFCC based on his agreement with the APC but he had yet to respond as of press time.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the EFCC had slammed five charges against former Governor Ayodele Fayose.

Barring any last minute changes, the former governor will be arraigned in Lagos this week for allegedly receiving money from Dasuki through Obanikoro.

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APC Moves To Stop Further Defections

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 1:23am

Following the disaffection expressed by some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who lost out in the just concluded primaries, the party hierarchy may have begun behind-the-scene manoeuvres to stop more party chieftains from quitting the party. This is just at the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Comrade Shehu Sani, yesterday resigned his membership from the ruling APC following the submission of the name of his opponent, Uba Sani, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the APC senatorial candidate in the 2019 polls.  The APC, it was learnt, decided on the reconciliatory moves to forestall any more defection plans by its stalwarts, LEADERSHIP Sunday has learnt. The recent primaries held by the party in different states and zones had thrown up several contentious issues with party faithful threatening to dump the party and join forces with the opposition ahead of the 2019. LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that the APC had after the primaries inaugurated its national Appeal Committee headed by former governor of Edo State, Prof Oserheimen Osunbor.

According to a source who was privy to the decisions reached by the Appeal Committee which submitted its report to the National Working Committee (NWC) penultimate Monday, a lot of the party men who lost out in either the gubernatorial, senatorial or House of Representatives primary elections in their states were already poised to ensure that they take their own pound of the flesh on the party as they felt betrayed the process. For instance, the decision of the party to drop Senator Shehu Sani despite the appeal panel’s verdict upholding the choice of his candidacy for the Kaduna Central Senatorial District, the candidacy of Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law of the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, against the alleged winner, Senator Hope Uzodimma, and the case in Zamafara had all left a bitter taste in the mouths of party stalwarts.
In its report, the appeal panel held that the primary conducted by the electoral panel for Kaduna was done in contempt of a court order, adding that the only aspirant cleared by the party to contest the election was Senator Shehu Sani. The source was of the opinion that the party leadership would have to move in urgently to avoid its members defecting in their droves to the other various political parties, thereby weakening APC’s chances in the 2019 general elections.

“If they do not make moves to appease some aggrieved party men, what Shehu Sani did is just the beginning of many more to come,” the source added. Another party insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity stated that several of the petitions submitted to the Appeal Panel were either not entertained or were dismissed for lacking in substance and this did not go down well with many of those who felt they did not get fair hearing. It was also gathered that a majority of the petitions against the conduct of the Senate and House of Representatives primaries were not upheld for various reasons, ranging from lack of merit, lack of proof to lack of time for fresh primaries. No reasons were adduced for not upholding some others. Similarly, some petitions were upheld and some of the petitioners declared as candidates of the party either because they actually won the primaries and were substituted, or for other reasons, ranging from lack of clearance and others the committee did not explain. Senator Sani, who was reportedly earlier granted an automatic ticket by the leadership of the APC to recontest his seat in the 2019 general election, did not participate in the just concluded primary poll in which Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s political adviser, Uba Sani, defeated other aspirants and emerged winner.

Our correspondent gathered that the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) may field Senator Sani as its candidate for Kaduna Central zone, though political parties had already submitted presidential and National Assembly candidates’ names to INEC to beat the October 18 deadline.  The senator had been expected to leave the APC along with some restoration groups members, like Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi and Isah Ashiru, among others, but he was persuaded by national leaders of the party including Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, not to quit. It learnt that Senator Sani has tendered his exit letter to the APC chairman in ward 6, Tudun Wada. However, when contacted, his political adviser, Suleiman Ahmed, promised to confirm the development and made available the resignation letter, but he had yet to do so at the time of going to press. Meanwhile, Buhari/Osinbajo Support Groups have called on the APC leadership to flush out the bad eggs within the party in Kaduna State before the 2019 general elections. The coalition also appealed to the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to expel Senator Sani from the party over his past criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party.
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna, convener of the group, Abdulrauf Abdullahi, reiterated their full support for the APC and President Buhari’s developmental policies and programmes, saying only genuine members should be allowed stay in the party.

According to them: “As compatriots, we feel deeply concerned about the serial media attack against President Buhari and the APC by the senator after scaling to victory on the massive goodwill of the president and his party. “It is because of the need to set the records straight and expose the questionable, downright suspicious betrayal and barefaced hypocrisy that we embarked on the compilation of this compendium. It is a joint effort whereby each of the stakeholders in this coalition took divergent angles of the multiple news media coverage of the regrettable compromise by the incumbent senator.
“We are glad to inform the whole world that we have set aside today for presenting our humble research work for the records and to further enlighten the public on the kind of moles and untrustworthy people in the APC deliberately working in opposite direction. We are bold to say that this indecorous media attack on our president and the APC smacks of back-stabbing and ingratitude,” they wrote.
Meanwhile, the APC leadership has reacted to the reported defection of Senator Sani, saying that even though it got the news of the defection through media reports, it will give a befitting response after it has discussed the issue.

In a terse response, the national publicity secretary said, “We received the news of the alleged defection of Senator Shehu Sani through media reports. “The party leadership will relate with all the facts concerning the reported defection and react appropriately in due course.” LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that, in the course of the week, there was palpable tension among members of the governing APC as the leadership of the party left the national secretariat to submit the list of its presidential and senatorial candidates to INEC. The party’s director of organisation, Alhaji Abubakar Kyari, led other senior staff of the party in a branded APC bus to submit the list.  LEADERSHIP Sunday reports that many members of the party across the country, who were not sure whether the decisions of the appeal panel were in their favour, were seen nosing around the party secretariat to get a clue about their date. Some who got to learn their ill fate had already begun looking for other options to actualise their political aspirations.
Meanwhile, a source within the party told our reporter: “I can guarantee you that the leadership of the party is taking steps to ensure that we resolve all issues as a result of the primaries. We cannot afford to go into the general elections with a divided house.”

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2019: Fresh Trouble For Atiku In Southeast

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 1:16am

Southeast political leaders are accusing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of reneging on some pre-convention agreements reached with him.

And this is the cause of the bad blood generated in the zone by Atiku’s choice of former Anambra State governor Peter Obi as running mate for the 2019 election, The Nation can now report.

Particularly irked by the alleged renege are Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and some governors in the zone, sources said yesterday.

Associates of the Deputy Senate President and some PDP leaders in the Southeast are already putting pressure on Ekweremadu to review his status in the party.

His options are to defect from the party or remain in PDP to fight for survival.

The alleged agreements include consultation with Southeast leaders on how to pick vice presidential candidate; consensus on other positions conceded to the zone; finding a meeting point with the zone on Atiku’s idea of restructuring; need to spend one term in office and cede power to the Southeast in 2023; the offer of the VP slot to Ekweremadu (Right of First Refusal) before any other candidate.

Atiku had allegedly offered Ekweremadu the vice presidential slot a year ago.

Sources said the Deputy Senate President’s response had always been: “let us get the ticket first. I am interested in the Southeast being in the mainstream of power equation in Nigeria.”

As the PDP Port Harcourt convention approached, majority of the Southeast leaders in PDP were determined to work for Atiku, hence their decision to shun overtures from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to team up with Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

It was gathered that a few days before the convention, Ekweremadu and some Southeast governors shunned all the meetings convened by Wike.

Within a week of Atiku’s emergence as PDP presidential candidate, he named Obi as running mate, causing bad blood in some political quarters in the zone.

The first salvo was fired by Ebonyi State Governor  David Umahi who said Obi’s choice was made without consultation with leaders of the zone, although he was quick to add that he has nothing personally against Obi.

Obi himself has since launched a mission to douse the tension, moving round the zone to talk to those that matter.

But sources said the issue has continued to be a source of worry for  Atiku in the Southeast.

“All our leaders have no grudges against Obi but they are just unhappy about how Atiku reneged on some of the agreements reached with him especially the essence of carrying stakeholders along,” a well- placed source said yesterday.

“Shortly after he emerged as the PDP candidate, he has stopped consulting Ekweremadu, Southeast governors and leaders.

“The painful thing is that he bowed to pressure from outside the Southeast to pick Obi and he did not care to revert to these leaders and governors on his choice.

“For instance, Ekweremadu (the highest ranking political office holder in the Southeast) was not briefed and has not been briefed till today on why Obi was picked.

“Yet, it was Ekweremadu who coordinated and delivered the block votes from the Southeast to Atiku at the convention.

“The assumption is that if Atiku can treat South-East leaders and governors in this manner as a candidate, what if he becomes the President. It is just a matter of trust. When in need, he offered Ekweremadu the position of running mate. Courtesy demands that he should have also confided in Ekweremadu before choosing Obi.”

Another source confirmed that following pressure from his associates and PDP leaders in the Southeast, Ekweremadu has started weighing options on his next step.

Investigation revealed that the Deputy President of the Senate has to choose between remaining in PDP or defecting to prove a point that he is a force to reckon with.

The third option is to remain in PDP and sabotage Atiku by entering into an alliance with President Muhammadu Buhari on a good deal for the Southeast if he is re-elected.

The source added: “From the look of things, it seems there is a conspiracy within PDP to alienate Ekweremadu.

“Apart from Atiku, the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus has not deemed it fit to call the Deputy President of the Senate on why Ekweremadu was not invited to the meeting where Obi was nominated. Even after the nomination, Secondus has not met with Ekweremadu on the choice of Obi.

“The party and Atiku went ahead to constitute the Presidential Campaign Council without any input from Ekweremadu. This is an insult.

“Some powers that be are angry with Ekweremadu for backing Atiku and the same presidential candidate does not care a hoot about Ekweremadu.

“It is regretful that we all betrayed Wike and now Atiku is abandoning our leaders.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “With the choice of Obi, Atiku is going about as if he has the South-East in his pocket. Far from it, the scenario may be different during the presidential election.

“Atiku needs to sit down afresh with Ekweremadu and other leaders to win votes from the zone. These are matchmakers in their own right.

“The unfinished business includes the following:

*Reaching consensus on other posts to concede to the zone;

* Finding a meeting point with the zone on Atiku’s idea of restructuring;

*Need to spend one term in office; and

*Ceding power to the Southeast in 2023

“Without definite answers to these demands, Atiku should forget the backing of the Southeast.”

It was also gathered that  Senate  President Bukola Saraki, who is the Director -General of the PCC, has waded into the complaints  of the Southeast leaders.

A PDP leader said: “I am aware that Saraki has opened up talks with Ekweremadu."

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President’s Men, Governors Plot Against Oshiomhole

Sahara Reporters - 21 October 2018 - 12:57am

Disturbed by their inability to have their way, some members of the president’s kitchen cabinet and a host of governors are plotting against the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The governors, about 15 in number along side their allies in the presidency wants the chairman out of office as soon as possible and replaced with someone more amenable to their demands and interests. Their disaffection with their chairman stems from their inability to impose their candidates on the party to fly its flag in various elective positions.

The plot is thickening just as the president is taking steps to reunite the party following the disaffections and bad blood created by its recent divisive primaries.

However, Oshiomhole has fought back saying that everything he is doing is for the masses of the party and not about to pander to interests of a clique within the party who are driven by a sense of entitlement.

Oshiomhole was said to have clearly warned that he is not about to compromise his principle just to please a few.
THISDAY gathered that the outcome of the recent primary elections, which left the party more divided, had become a source of serious concern to stakeholders in the party. Oshiomhole is being accused of not playing fair thereby creating the mood for the divisions and defections that have plaqued the party.

Sources within the presidency alligned in the plot against Oshiomhole claimed that even when some of the challenges were seen ahead of time and brought to his notice, Oshiomhole mismanaged the situations, with grave consequences for the party and fear Atiku Abubakar’s growing momentum.

The sources noted that when the crises, which arose from the primary election, started, the president had personally given a directive to the national chairman about six times on what to do. But he disregarded the orders because of his personal interest and continued with what he thought was the best even when he was not getting results. The situation was said to have gotten so bad that Oshiomhole started avoiding the president and refused to honour his invitations. All these were seen as constituting great danger to the party.

THISDAY learnt that those to perfect Oshiomhole’s removal had already been deployed and they had commenced the task quietly, even though not necessarily to the knowledge of the president.

The president’s men were equally said to be worried about the role Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and some prominent members of the party had played which seemed to embolden the national chairman.

Oshiomhole’s Fight Back

Interestingly, multiple sources close to Oshiomhole confided in THISDAY that some of the governors are against Oshiomhole because they could not have their way with him, adding that contrary to insinuations, the national chairman had the backing of the president in all he has been doing in the party. For instance, the sources maintained that ahead of the recent primaries, some of the governors, apart from completely controlling the list of the delegates in their respective states, had approached Oshiomhole to have an idea of the panel members to be sent to their states, but Oshiomhole turned down the requests, telling them “you cannot have the players and the referee.”

According to the sources, Oshiomhole pointedly told the governors that they were the ones who made him chairman to clean up the Augean stable and that if things must change, they had to consciously change the approach. He also noted that if he had his way, there would be direct primaries in all the states to give every APC member a sense of belonging in the running of the party. He told them he was not going to pander to any interest other than the interest of the party. “And that he would not bend his principle to please them. Of course the governors interpreted this to mean that Oshiomhole was working against their interests.”

But in a related development, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, was said to have stopped Oshiomhole from accessing the president’s residence in Aso Rock. Mrs Buhari was alleged to have insisted that if the APC national chairman needed to see the president, he should meet him in his office, which is, however, still within the Three Arms Zone.
Mrs Buhari has not hidden her disgust over Oshiomhole’s alleged mismanagement of the party and she is said to be part of the plan to remove him. She is said to have passed an order to the president’s security personnel not to allow Oshiomhole come within the presidential residence.

It would be recalled that the First Lady had some weeks ago chided the APC leadership over the way it managed the party primaries and the aftermath, saying the party and its leadership have betrayed the very essence of democratic ethos and had descended into sheer fascism.

Aisha Buhari’s outburst, even though she was believed to have been irked over her brother, Mahmud Halilu Ahmed’s inability to clinch Adamawa State’s governorship ticket, had set the tone for the current move to finally get Oshiomhole out of the way. She is, apparently, cashing in on the general mood of other stakeholders in the party and the danger his disposition had put her husband.

Although the removal of a party’s national chairman is not easy, as it would require a long process, culminating even in a national convention, those pushing for Oshiomhole’s removal believe that he has become so unpopular among the top echelon of the party that his removal would be an easy ride.

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'FG Has Rehabilitated 254 Repentant Boko Haram Members So Far'

Sahara Reporters - 20 October 2018 - 1:43pm

At least 254 repentant Boko Haram members have so far been reintegrated into society by the Federal Government.

Major General Bamidele Shafa, Coordinator, Operation Safe Corridor, stated this during a town hall meeting and dialogue with residents of communities affected by Boko Haram on Saturday, in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

The meeting was organised by the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development, and was designed for the reconciliation and reintegration of repented Boko Haram members from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

According to NAN, Shafa noted that majority of the repented youth were victims of circumstances.

He said: “So far, the Operation Safe Corridor has treated no fewer than 254 repented Boko Haram members.

“Out of this number, 95 were already handed over to their respective states."

He explained that the remaining 157 reintegrated members would soon be dispatched as follows: Adamawa will receive three persons, Yobe seven and Borno 143. Three persons are from Chad Republic.

They have also benefitted from skill acquisition programmes such as tailoring, carpentry and shoe-making, and were provided with funds and business equipment for their business ventures.

According to the coordinator, the operation Safe Corridor is in collaboration with PCNI and National Directorate for Employment where tools and other small business entrepreneur equipment for the reintegrated members are distributed.

He solicited the support of the affected communities.

General Theophilus Danjuma, the PCNI chairman, said the initiative was in collaboration with various government and non-governmental authorities towards rehabilitation, resettlement and reintegration in the region.

Danjuma, who was represented by Asmau Joda, said the initiative had made major efforts in assisting and restoring the economic development of the area.

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After Capturing Farmers, Boko Haram Set Women Free But Butcher Men 'Into Pieces'

Sahara Reporters - 20 October 2018 - 12:58pm

Boko Haram terrorists have invaded Kuwa-Yangewa village on Maiduguri-Damboa Road in Borno.

The attack, which occurred on Saturday, was targeted at farmers in the area.

An eyewitness told NAN that when the insurgents attacked the community, they asked women to go while the men were macheted.

Recounting her ordeal, Ms Rachel Hassan, said: “I hired somebody, a displaced person residing at the Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), to work on my farm. The insurgents came and gathered us in one place. They asked women to go and macheted the males."

She also noted that some of the corpses were cut to pieces, and that she reported the case to the GRA Police Station.

Malam Ahmadu Salisu, a relative of one of the victims, said his brother and 11 other farmers of Maduganari area of Maiduguri went to work in their farms in the morning, but were butchered by the insurgents.

“So far, we recovered four corpses from the farms, while eight others are missing or abducted by the insurgents,” he said.

Another victim, Aisha Waziri, said she was informed by her neighbours that her husband was among the victims.

Although the Nigerian Army confirmed two persons killed by the terrorists, sources told SaharaReporters that at least 10 persons were killed.

Speaking on the attack, Brigadier General Abdulamalik Biu, Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, said: “Some people went to the farms and Boko Haram insurgents attacked them. They butchered an elderly man and a youth.

“The wife to the elderly man ran and informed the troops, who rushed to the scene to save them. The insurgents fled on sighting the approaching troops. Only two persons were killed and no abduction in the attack."

However, a source in the village told SaharaReporters that the attack happened around 9am on Saturday morning in the outskirts of Molai village.

SaharaReporters was informed that the insurgents rode on utility vehicles to attack the farmers.

"No fewer than 10 farmers were either shot or slaughtered, while more than a dozen were seriously injured by the invaders," the source said.

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Buhari On Abia Explosion: That Particular Pipeline Was Vandalised 684 Times In Six Months

Sahara Reporters - 20 October 2018 - 12:20pm

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed regrets over the pipeline explosion that occurred in Osisioma Ngwa community of Abia State on Friday, October 12, 2018.

Although he described the incident, which claimed more than 100 persons, as an "unnecessary loss of lives and property", he sympathised with those who lost loved ones.

A statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, on Saturday, read: "Preliminary reports by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) show that the incident was not an accidental explosion, but a result of vandals who pilloried the pipelines to scoop the products.

"Despite repeated warnings, these unscrupulous people have vandalised that particular pipeline 684 times in the last six months alone. Each time the pipeline is repaired, they resume their activities, even collaborating with security agents, who are reported to have set up toll gates collecting fees from the vandals. A fight broke out as a heist was going on and there was shooting, which is believed to have ignited Friday morning's explosion, during which three security personnel also lost their lives.

"President Buhari urges communities and state governments that host oil pipelines to be more vigilant and rise to combat the challenge posed by pipeline vandalism. The Enugu depot of the NNPC has been repaired and ready to function, but remains idle today because of the vandals.

"The President also appeals to host communities to collaborate with the NNPC to tame oil pipeline vandalism in their areas."

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Buhari Condemns Killing Of 55 In Kaduna Violence

Sahara Reporters - 20 October 2018 - 12:17pm

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest communal violence in Kasuwan Magani in Kaduna State, which claimed 55 lives.

Expressing worries over the frequent resort to bloodshed by Nigerians over misunderstandings that can be resolved peacefully, he said “no culture and religion support the disregard for the sanctity of life", adding that "peaceful coexistence is necessary for the progress of any society and its wellbeing".

He noted that without communal harmony, the environment for the conduct of "our everyday businesses would be impossible to achieve".

A statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity on Saturday, quoted Buhari as saying: "Violence cannot be an alternative to peace. On the contrary, reliance on violence leads to ultimate self-destruction. Violence is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Embracing peace is a necessity".

He also commended the Kaduna State Government for its rapid response to the crisis, and appealed to community leaders to engage in regular dialogue to nip imminent crises in the bud.

He further admonished the people to develop the spirit of tolerance and patience at all times.

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INEC, Security Agencies Robbed Buhari Of Bayelsa Votes In 2015, Says Sylva

Sahara Reporters - 20 October 2018 - 11:35am

Timipre Sylva, a former Governor of Bayelsa State, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies deployed to the state during the 2015 presidential election of working with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rob President Muhammadu Buhari of votes in his favour by people of the state.

According to Sylva, the actual results showed that Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) won in Bayelsa with a wide margin in 2015, but were denied their victory during collation and announcement of result.

The former governor and the leader of the APC in the state stated this on Friday at a rally held at the state secretariat to receive more than 2,000 PDP decampees from Otuan community in Southern Ijaw Local Government area. He also vowed that the APC will resist any attempt by the INEC, security agencies, and the opposition party to "rob President Muhammadu Buhari of his votes in Bayelsa".

He said: "In the morning of the election, the DSS accosted me and harassed me not to move. And we can see, individuals and results were being shunned out automatically by INEC.

"The Police also did not do the right thing. They accosted APC boys during elections. This time, we will resist such illegal actions. We will not give in this time around. Police should do the right thing. We want INEC to do the right thing because they did not do the right thing during the last election."

Sylva also alleged that PDP was "stockpiling arms to kill the same people they promised to govern".

He continued: "President Buhari loves Bayelsa people and that is why he is coming to the state next week. The last time, they did not allow some party members vote and feel secure. We are ready and we will resist them. We will show them that Bayelsa is an APC state.

"In the next elections, nobody can rob us of election victories again. We will show Bayelsa and Nigerians at large that Bayelsa is for APC. Buhari has done well for the people of Bayelsa State in the area of roads, agriculture and many others. Buhari loves Bayelsa people and the Bayelsa people love him."

He accused the present administration in the state of poor governance.

He said: "Armed robbers and armed gangs have taken over Bayelsa. This administration sacks at will and borrows huge amount of money, despite the huge amount that comes to the state. Very soon, they will borrow our soul.

"The only project they claim to be doing is the Cargo Airport project. They have been borrowing under the cover of the project. The project is the most expensive in the country. How many are we that the state government can not take care of its people? Bayelsa people should shine their eyes. We have to chase them out and we must be peaceful."

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Okoya Tasks Private Sector On Supporting Flood Victims In Bayelsa

Sahara Reporters - 20 October 2018 - 11:11am

Reuben Okoya, a frontline architect and philanthropist in Bayelsa State, has beckoned on well-meaning Bayelsans, both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, to contribute their quota to Bayelsans in distress by donating relief materials and other forms of comfort to victims of flooding in the state.

He said their contributions would also suppport governments' efforts.

Okoya, who made a cash donation of N1 million to some of the victims at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps he visited in Ogbia, Amassoma, Boro town Kaiama and Igbogone, observed that the flood water was gradually receding, noting that the next stage was how to ensure that those affected could be properly reintegrated into their communities.

He said: “In flood mattes, there are pre-flood issues, flood issues and post-flood issues. I think we have come to the point where we are dealing with post-flood activities. How do these people go back to their homes that were flooded?  If they go back and fall sick, how do they respond? The private sector needs to come in and help them sort out all these."

At Ogbia IDP camp, where he felicitated with six women who put to bed at the camp, he promised to do his best to contribute to their upkeep. He also sponsored some sick children and the elderly to be taken to the nearest hospital for urgent medical attention. 

He commended the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for coordinating the different camps in the state effectively and enjoined medical professionals and other relevant professionals in the state to render free services in the camps as a way of contributing to the relief of the people.

“I will try and see if I can meet some doctors and other medical professionals privately, who can visit these camps with some medications and medical services. I am going to organise that with SEMA to ensure that as we go into post-flood activities, everybody will be properly settled and return home safely without diseases.

“I want to specifically thank SEMA. They have done excellently well. Today I have taken time to go to Bayelsa East, Bayelsa West and Bayelsa Central as a private individual to see what is happening. It is tough when you see people suffering. In Ogbia, we saw babies being born in the IDP camp. Two were born today. But it is gladdening to see that government is doing something," he said.

On finding permanent solution to flooding in the state, Okoya said there has to be holistic approach where scientific studies would be commissioned for experts to brainstorm and proffer ideas. He also recommended the clearing of all drainages, while also stating that all natural waterways should be identified and made to flow uninhibited.

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Journalists’ Welfare Is Critical To The Growth Of Journalism In Nigeria By Alao Abiodun

Sahara Reporters - 20 October 2018 - 9:46am

Tibetan Journal

Without much ado, Journalism is neither a sinful act against God nor a criminal offence against the 'almighty' government. It is basically a duty the law imposes on those charged with the responsibilities of keeping leaders and administrators on their toes and also holding the government accountable.

No nation can grow or develop without objective criticism or appraisal — which also includes the right to dissent. The absence of this can inevitably plunge the society into a state of autocracy with dictatorship as the end product.

In most countries where giant strides have been made in terms of development — good government and improved accountability — the prioritization of journalists' welfare has been a cardinal policy. The enviable profile reflected in the quality of journalism over the years, especially in Nigeria, has impacted positively on the amount of sacrifices made for the betterment of the nation.

As a way of tilting towards the paradigm shift in journalism, valuing journalists paves way for improving their status — hence, media organizations should start thinking of paying journalists salaries that are commensurate with the status of this noble profession. However, respecting journalists is a sacrosanct baseline which goes a long way to improving the status of the profession to a large extent.

If Journalism is expensive, try gossiping — careful observation of the welfare situation of Nigerian Journalists both in public and private media organizations, shows there's a general lack of seriousness and sincerity towards these custodians of credible information dissemination.

High pressure, long hours and low pay

Critical scrutiny of the current plight of Journalism shows that it's currently faced with a double-barrel challenge which is ethics and funding, which in turn affect the credibility of the media and welfare of professionals in the system.

The spitefulness of awful remuneration, owing journalists salaries with uncertainties, welfare package — not to mention a befitting one — is non-existent. However, despite the gloomy welfare dilemma, these eagles eyes rarely embark on strike to push for better working conditions and welfare packages in spite of having a nationally recognized union in the country.

As time evolves, quality of journalism from both private and public media organizations is tied to the continuous improvement of journalists welfare, especially those who are in the newsroom and constantly on the field sniffing out controversial issues because this will go a long way in enhancing their confidence, discouraging and dissuading journalists from engaging in unwholesome sharp practices that bring disrepute to the profession.

Journalists welfare campaign - #JournalistsWelfareMatter

Many Journalists in both private and public media organizations are not getting a fair deal as their employers are taking advantage of them in the Nigeria to overwork and underpay them. However, the critical case of Nigeria demands close look and attention towards accountability, hence diligent journalists must continue to giving their best in their workplaces while agitating for improved welfare packages and conditions of service.

The launching of “Journalists Welfare Campaign” few months ago by Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism in partnership with Coalition of Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), supported by numerous News organization shows there's need to give an urgent priority to the welfare conundrum of journalists, it's therefore necessary for all journalists across Nigeria and beyond to participate actively in this campaign towards advancing the face of the profession.

Low wages and other sundry issues tempt journalists to engage in unethical practices that allow them to supplement their incomes, so they can feed their families and meet up with various expectational demands. There is need for employers to increase the pay of not just journalists but other administrative workers in media establishments.

Life-threatening challenges journalists faced in the course of this duty shows the profession is not an easy task hence the insignificant salaries of journalists when compared with allowances, end of service benefits and per diem of most workers in the executive, legislature and judiciary, shows there's a general imbalance.

Press Freedom

Beyond the journalists welfare, the Freedom of Press is still under incarceration, there's need for the government to understand that promoting good governance and socio-economic development of a nation is hinged on best journalistic practices which clearly echoes the word of Helen Thomas which opines that "We don't go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers". The freedom of press puts journalists in a better position to fulfil their constitutional responsibility of holding government accountable to the people.

Alao Abiodun, a Journalist, can can be reached via 

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