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Three Nigerians Wanted By Police In Ghana Over Kidnap Of Estonian Diplomat

Sahara Reporters - 22 April 2019 - 1:40am


Efia Tenge, Ghana Police

Efia Tenge, Ghana Police

The Ghana Police Service has declared three Nigerians wanted for allegedly kidnapping Nabil Makram Basbous, the Consular-General and Head of Mission of Estonia to Ghana.

The 61-year-old foreign envoy was allegedly kidnapped in the early hours of Thursday, during his regular morning walk in his neighbourhood in Accra.

According to Efia Tenge, the Public Relations officer of the Accra Regional Police Command, Basbous was abducted by three gunmen suspected to be Nigerians.

The ambassador was held hostage in an unknown location until he was rescued by the Police.

In a statement, the police spokesman revealed that the police foiled the kidnap through intelligence report it received from the neighbours of the three Nigerians.

Tenge disclosed that the SWAT Unit of the Accra Regional Police Command got information that some Nigerians residing at NTHC Estates, Vivian Farms, in Lashibi, Accra were engaged in suspicious activities.

The information the Police gathered was that the suspects were always indoors during the day and only went out at night.

The Police swooped on the house, but the suspects escaped by scaling a fence.

Tenge said: “While Police were still at the scene, Hon. Nabil Makram Basbous, 61 years, a Lebanese, Consular-General and Head of Mission of Estonia to Ghana came out from one of the rooms in the house.”

The envoy had recounted to the Police, how he was kidnapped by three armed men.

He was on his usual morning walk in his neighborhood on Thursday morning, when 10 minutes into the walk, a white Hyundai Elantra pulled up beside him.

“One of the occupants came out, pulled a pistol on him and ordered him to enter the car or risk being shot if he resisted. He obliged, entered and was driven away with the kidnappers pointing a pistol and an axe at him. He could not see his way till they got to the location and he was detained in the room and held hostage for the payment of ransom,” the police said.

After searching the house, the police found a Retay brand pistol loaded with five rounds of 7.65mun ammunition and two axes. The car has also been impounded.

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Steer Clear Of Kaduna, Shehu Sani Warns Tourists

Sahara Reporters - 22 April 2019 - 1:35am


Shehu Sani, the Senator representing Kaduna Centre at the Senate, has warned tourists and any adventurer thinking of visiting Kaduna to stay away, at least for now.

Sani made this known via his verified Twitter handle, @ShehuSani, on Sunday; just as the Kaduna State Government announced its partnership with the World Bank Group and the Rockefeller Foundation to launch the @ClickOnKaduna — a set of digital programmes designed to train youths aged 18-40 including women and disadvantaged groups with digital skills and digital entrepreneurship skills.

He said his advice was prompted by the desperation of armed bandits, who seemed to have laid siege to the state. 

The lawmaker insisted that the gunmen had shown they meant business.

On Saturday, two people were shot dead by persons suspected to be terrorists, while three others were abducted during a social gathering at Kajuru Castle, a popular resort in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna.

Sani tweeted: “All those una wey wan come up here do tourism, [excursion] or sightseeing, make una chill, these gunmen no dey joke, life no get double.”

All those una wey wan come up here do tourism,escortion or sight seeing,make una chil,this Gunmen no dey joke,life no get double.

— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) April 21, 2019

Kaduna State Police Command said one of the persons killed at Kajuru Castle was a British female expatriate, and identified her as Miss Faye Mooney.

However, when the dust had yet to settle on the Kajuru incident, at about midnight on Sunday, suspected gunmen stormed Rariya community near Kabala and allegedly kidnapped some people.  

This led to protests by irate youth in the community who felt Police intervention was delayed.

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Made In China By Alex Otti

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 2:43pm


“When I was growing up, my parents told me, 'Finish your dinner. People in China and India are starving.' I tell my daughters, 'Finish your homework. People in India and China are starving for your job.'” - Thomas Friedman

The story is told of a woman who came to her younger sister’s house to commiserate with her over the untimely demise of her little son at the age of 6. As other sympathizers wore a mournful look and were discussing in low tunes, this woman started shouting to the consternation of everyone in the room “ I knew it! I knew it!! I knew it!!!”. Another woman rushed to her, feeling she was almost losing it, out of the shock of the loss and asked, Aunty, what is it? What do you know? She went on, I warned my sister about marrying this her Chinese husband, but she wouldn’t listen. The inquisitive lady then retorts “what has your sister’s husband got to do with her son’s death? Her response shocked everyone in the room. “Chinese products don’t last”. Many of the people had to temporarily suspend their grief to manage a laugh.

The preceding Thomas Friedman quote and the morbid humour that followed it should not be seen as Sinophobic slurs but instead a compliment to the amazing transformation that has become the Chinese story.  Poor quality products, imitation of original products, fake products, cheap and inferior products were until very recently, associated with China. The truth, however, is that China has made a lot of progress from the above characterisation. 

Before we dwell further on China, it is apposite to briefly look at the experience of Japan. Those who are old enough would remember that this was exactly how Japanese products, including cars, were derided in those days when Europe and America dominated the manufacturing sector of the global economy. At the end of the 2nd World War, following the crushing defeat of Japan, the hitherto warmongering nation was banned from keeping any significant army not to talk of waging wars. Japan was forced to become a pacifist nation and its hitherto world dominance waned. Japan was forced into industrialisation as a way of lifting its economy and reasserting her pride in the world. Diverting her warring skills into manufacturing, it began making a range of items, largely for domestic and personal use. The first wave of such products were met with derision worldwide as the sobriquet, ‘Fabrique au Japon’ became synonymous with imitation and inferior products. This did not deter the resilient Japanese and with people like Akio Morita of Sony, Honda, Toyota and Suzuki leading the charge, it did not take long before, the hitherto substandard Japanese products became the dominant brands in the world. The Hondas, the Toyotas, the Nissans and the Mitsubishis took over the market. They went further into the luxury premium brands like the Lexus, Infiniti and Acura to give Mercedes and Bavaria Motor Works, a run for their money. As if that was not enough, other counties like South Korea started making their own vehicles. Until very recently, the market did not place a lot of premium on Korean cars. Their brands like the Hyundai, Daewoo, Kia and Ssangyong have become popular not just because they come in cheaper than the more popular brands, but because they are also efficient in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance

Back to China; a country, which has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a dizzying annual growth rate of close to 7%. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Analysts had predicted that 2018 GDP growth figures would be lackluster. This is because of the US trade war. China, however, defied the projections of analysts throughout 2018 with average quarterly growth of 6.6%. Even though this was the worst performance in about 30 years, it was still better than analysts’ expectation.  Note that the US grew at an average of 2.9% in the same period. 

So, how come China’s economy defied the prediction of experts by recording such spectacular growth even in the face of sustained aggressive US tariff warfare? One needs to look more than four decades back to know why. During the Mao era, China embarked on a cultural and economic revolution that was fundamental and comprehensive. It gradually turned the socialist supertanker into a nimble capitalist freighter. While the world overlooked the changes, China dug deep into her capitalist past and prepared her society and people for global competition. By the time Carter was making approaches to open up the Chinese economy to the West, it was ready. The latter day leaders like Deng simply keyed into the reform blueprint that had been laid out years earlier to create an economy that the West could not overrun even in the area of free competition. 

The first thing that the managers of the economy in China did was to roll out a stimulus package that focused on infrastructure projects. They prepared their workforce for manufacturing and globalization. They also invested in 5G telecommunications and encouraged investment in real estate. All the investments yielded fruits as more money found their way into the hands of the people which in turn energized consumption. The result is a consistent GDP growth, even in the first quarter of 2019. 

China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP since 2010 as it has remained the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP) since 2014. China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. In the area of armaments, China is already a nuclear power, maintaining the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It is also the most populous country in the word with over 1.4 billion people, occupying a land space of about 9.3m square KM, second to Russia with a land size of 16.3m square KM.

China is obviously a behemoth of a country and you ignore it only at your own peril. China’s position has been consolidated in the international financial market. As at the end of February 2019, the United States owes China a whopping $1.13 trillion. This figure is 28% of the $4.02 trillion US Treasury bills and bonds held by foreign countries. China is closely followed by Japan which holds $1.07 trillion.  The rest of the $22 trillion US National debt is held locally. It is clear that this kind of country is a big challenge to the hegemony of the United States. Again, cheap labour and efficiency have made the US and some parts of Europe outsource a large chunk of its manufacturing to China. Between 2001 when it joined the World Trade Organisation and 2013, China sucked up about 3.2 million jobs from the US. 75% of those jobs were in manufacturing. Trump had accused China of unfair market-distorting trade practices, manipulation of its currency to make exports cheaper, suppression of labour rights and state enforcement of lower wages. We shall leave the argument of whether Trump is right or wrong for another day, but one must point out that those are some of the challenges of the market economy which China had adopted.

Let us examine the state of Nigeria-China relations. Formal diplomatic relationship started in 1971, during the military era. The Nigerian regime found common interest in the Chinese regime which, at that time, was also unpopular with the international community. Strategic partnership did not start fully until 2005. Trade between Nigeria and China had steadily been on the increase. From $7.8 billion in 2010, it rose to $12.5 billion in 2017 and further rose to $15.3b in 2018. At the moment, Nigeria is the biggest Chinese investment destination in Africa, the second largest export market and the third largest trading partner of China in the whole of Africa.

Chinese banks and contractors have helped to fund and construct the 186 KM Abuja - Kaduna rail line which was delivered in 2016. Less than a year ago, we signed a contract of $6.68b with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for the construction of the Ibadan -Kaduna segment of the Lagos-Kano rail line. Meanwhile, a $1.685 billion contract was signed in 2016 to link Kaduna with Kano on the standard gauge rail system. The 156KM Lagos - Ibadan segment started in March 2017 would be delivered this year at the cost $1.5 billion. The total cost of the entire 2,733km project is $11.12 billion

Again, Chinese companies are working on the International terminals of four of our airports. Additionally, they are handling roads, bridges, power and agriculture projects. With funding of $4.4B, the Chinese are involved in the Zungeru hydro electric power project, fiber cables for internet infrastructure and Lekki Deep Water Port Project.

There is no doubt that China has a lot to offer an infrastructure-deficit nation like Nigeria. It has technology and  skilled manpower, in addition to excess industrial and manufacturing capacity. Most importantly, China has funds, which it is willing to release to needy economies at a reasonable cost. However, there have been concerns over increasing loans from China. One major area of concern is what happens in case of default. People always point to Zambia as a case in point, where default has led to asset swap also known as takeovers and seizures. The fear is that most of the infrastructure built by Chinese are at the risk of being taken over if there is default in meeting the terms of the loans. Zambian authorities have continued to deny these allegations. For what it is worth, we should not ignore this concern as it is always a possibility with loans. Again, it is important that we use our clout to ensure we negotiate favorable conditions given how important we are to our partners in the global arena. The second fear is that of dumping and crowding out of domestic manufacturers by cheap and sometimes poor quality goods. This fear is not unfounded as it is on record that the entry of China led to the closure of about 65 textile mills in Nigeria over a period of 10 years and the loss of over 150,000 jobs. There is also the security concern. It is alleged that the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa built by the Chinese was bugged as construction was going on. There is no confirmation of this allegation and China has come out to vehemently deny it. Furthermore, the Chinese are known to export their goods and technology with their people. Partnership, to them requires that virtually everything including manual labour and basic raw materials which can be sourced locally are hardly allowed from the host country. Closely related to this is that there is hardly any room for “technology transfer”and the partner country would depend on China even for routine maintenance. 

As we were completing this piece, news came in that at the just concluded Spring meetings of the World Bank/IMF, Tobias Andrian, a director of the IMF warned Nigeria and other emerging markets taking loans from China to consider the terms of such facilities especially their compliance with the Paris Club of Creditors conditions. Even though he did not condemn borrowing from China, he was emphatic that the terms of loans from China are always questionable. His worry was that if there is any debt restructuring in future, the Chinese may just take a pound of flesh. According to Andrian, “Nigeria had been borrowing from international markets which gives the IMF some worries. At the moment, funding conditions in economies such as Nigeria and other sub Saharan African countries are very favourable, but that might change at some point. And there is risk of rollovers and whether the need for refinancing can be met in future”. We consider the advice a good one even though one can argue that it is laced with some subtle political considerations. In the first place, following the trade war between the US and China, the latter has to look for alternatives to compensate for the $500B trade with the US which had been placed at risk. Africa provides that alternative as total trade between Africa and China is already heading towards the $200B mark. With the right incentives and planning, Africa can replace US in China’s trade equation, soon. Africa also holds additional promise of being in a position to sell agricultural products to China, replacing its reliance on the US and its partners. So, there is a perfect match. Recall that China has over $1trillion low yielding investment in US treasury bills and bonds. It can comfortably reduce that and swap same for investments in Africa. This cause of action gives it two advantages. The first is that China has been enduring low US interest rates for a long time now, obviously because of the trade opportunities with the US. Africa has the appetite for funds at higher rates and can comfortably absolve the $1 trillion investment. Secondly, if it is true that China deliberately reduces prices of its goods to dominate the the US market, a reason the US imposed the 25% tariff on Chinese goods, then it can comfortably channel the same goods to Africa with a population four times as large as that of the US and still come out much better. Africa, particularly Nigeria has a lot of natural resources waiting to be tapped and exploited and China has both the skills and technology to take full advantage of that.

Given all these, my take is that while we appreciate the “brotherly” advice of the IMF and should do everything to ensure that we are not left with the short end of the stick in our relationship with China, there are mutual economic interests in dealing with China. China provides us with opportunities to trade, provides us with funding and is also in a position to provide us with technology, manpower and infrastructure to support our own growth. As a former lender, I can understand how it feels when disruptive competition is contemplated. On the part of China, their President,  Xi Jinping, had pleaded their innocence thus “Some foreigners with full, (read, pot) bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us. First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?” 

Email:alexottiofr@gmail.com

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Husband Hacks Wife To Death For Saying She'd Remarry If He Died

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 1:39pm


Uwani Danjuma, a 30-year-old man, has killed his wife for planning to remarry after his death.

The incident occurred in Uddu Village in Rijau Local Government Area of Niger state.

According to Danjuma, his wife had told him when he was sick weeks earlier that she would get married to another man if he died.

Angered by his wife's declaration, Danjuma hacked her to death with a machete when he recovered from the sickness.

Confessing to the crime, the suspect said his wife was sleeping when he carried out his heinous crime, saying he purposely killed his wife because of her comment.

“I can’t imagine my own wife telling me that if I died, she would remarry," he said.

"I lost my temper and inflicted injuries on her neck with machete which led to her death. I am not regretting killing her since she wanted me to die; I killed her so that she will not remarry.

"She should not have said that to my hearing; there is power in the spoken words, so let her go. Allah will send her to hell fire for that unguarded comment.”

Mohammad Abubakar, spokesman of the Police in the state, said the suspect was arrested based on a tip-off, adding that the suspect would still be charged to court.

 

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Aiteo Declares Force Majeure On Nembe Trunk Line

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 1:26pm


Aiteo Oil Company, operator of OML 29, has declared a force majeure on Nembe Creek Trunkline due to a fire incident around NCTL RoW near Awoba area, Rivers State.

The force majeure clause is a standard clause in most contracts and it includes events such as natural disasters, wars and other occurrences not within the power or control of the executing party, that make the implementation of the contract impossible.

According to Aiteo, security agencies have been informed of the fire outbreak by the surveillance team.

Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) is a 97 kilometre, 150,000 barrels of oil per day pipeline which leads to the export terminal at Bonny Island, Rivers state .

A statement by Aiteo spokesman, Ndiana Matthew, claimed the incident was a third-party interference.

"We have been informed of a fire outbreak by our surveillance team comprising the JTF, FSS around NCTL RoW near Awoba today, 21 April 2019," read the statement.

"Our Operations Emergency Response team was immediately activated and following its urgent intervention and containment action, we are constrained to shut in injection as well as other related operations into the NCTL. In accordance with standard procedure, we requested the other injectors to do same.

"The NCTL has, hitherto, enjoyed smooth operations preceding this incident, founding suspicion that this fire may have occurred through an illegitimate, third-party breach of the functionality of the pipeline, critical national asset. In the meantime, the relevant investigations are continuing while further information about the remote and direct causes of the fire will be communicated as soon as these become available. We ask our stakeholders to await further, detailed briefing in due course."

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Tinubu Accuses Ex-Party Members Saraki, Dogara Of Budget Padding

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 12:46pm

Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC),  has accused Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, both former members of the party, of budget padding.

Saraki, President of the Senate, and Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, were members of Tinubu’s party until they defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2018 in the thick of pre-2019 election permutations.

Dogara will return to the House when the next lower chamber is inaugurated in June; however, Saraki’s eight-year run in the Senate will be interrupted next month, having lost the Kwara Central senatorial election to Ibrahim Oloriegbe of the APC.

Still, Tinubu is keen to avoid the kind of fractious executive-legislature relations that dominated the outgoing political dispensation. On Sunday, while responding to mounting claims of his intention to run for President in 2023, he could not help recalling how Saraki and Dogara manipulated the budget.

“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years,” he said in a statement released by Tunde Rahman, his spokesman.

“National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them. Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.
 
“If we are truly committed to optimal governance, then we also must be equally committed to ensuring that the National Assembly leadership be competent and experienced as well as imbued with a progressive mindset and a desire to work in close cooperation with executive. This is all Asiwaju has hoped to achieve. There are no ulterior motives. Everything he has done is in concert with and in furtherance of the wishes of President Buhari and the party.”
 
On his remoured presidential ambition, Tinubu said, in part: “We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Asiwaju Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the National Assembly leadership. The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwaju’s effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle. Not only are these reports utterly false, based as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, they are injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria. It is for this latter reason that we find cause to speak out where otherwise we would have continued to watch on in silent amusement.
 
“Nigeria has barely emerged from President Buhari and the APC’s resounding victory in the last election. The President, with the support of an APC majority in both chambers of our National Assembly, is now preparing to lead the nation forward for the next four years. Instead of covering the President’s exciting Next Level agenda and what it promises in terms of economic and social growth & development, these people want to skip ahead to the next election as if they can cast aside the next four years. 
 
“However, the Nigerian people do not elect politicians to office simply to watch on as they maneuver and jostle for position at the next election. The people elect those who they believe will be the best public servants, committed to the national wellbeing. This is why they reelected in President Buhari while rejecting the horde of political jobbers that constitute the PDP.  
 
“The peddlers of these rumors have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwaju’s mind more than he himself can know it. They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019. If these people would only enlist their uncanny talents in the service of the nation instead of in the service of political intrigue and gossip mongering our country would be much the better.
 
“This attempt to caricature Asiwaju as if his words and actions are all aimed at grabbing power will fail because this portrait distorts the plain truth. While the headlines are sensational they are also senseless because they are not grounded in fact. Asiwaju has not run for elected office since 2003. He last held office in 2007. He has never vied to become chairman of the APC nor has he tried to insinuate himself into any major government office.” 

Tinubu’s budget-padding allegations are nothing new, particulalrly in the House of Representatives, where Kano lawmaker Abdulmumin Jibrin blatantly fingered the Speaker and other principal lawmakers as culprits, only for him to be suspended for 180 legislative days — more than a calendar year.

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EFCC Takes Battle To Jail Goje For 'N5bn Fraud' To Appeal Court

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 12:20pm


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a cross-appeal at the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos, Plateau State capital, against the judgment of a Federal High Court in Gombe that partially upheld a no-case submission by former Governor Danjuma Goje.

The commission tried Goje and two others — Alhaji Aliyu El-Nafaty and Dokoro Gombe (alias S.M Dokoro) — on an amended N5billion fraud charge.

Making his claim through Wahab Shittu, the EFCC prosecuting counsel, the commission said Goje, between September and November 2010, allegedly forged a document titled 'Resolution authorising His Excellency the Executive Governor of Gombe State to acquire loan of N5,000,000,000.00 only', with Ref. No: GM/HA/RES/VOL. 1/17.

The commission said the resolution was purportedly signed by Shehu Atiku, Clerk of the Gombe State House of Assembly, with the intent that it be acted on as genuine by Access Bank Plc.

The N5 billion facility was obtained from Access Bank by the Goje administration for infrastructural projects.

EFCC said its investigations on the loan revealed that the purported House resolution authorising it was forged; the approval did not pass through the right processes.

Ruling on Goje’s no-case submission on March 22, Justice O. B. Quadri dismissed 19 of the 21-count charge.

Goje filed an appeal to challenge the court’s refusal to up-hold his no-case submission in its entirety.

In its cross-appeal, EFCC faulted lower court ruling on several grounds.

The commission said the lower court embarked on extensive evaluation of evidence, including the credibility of prosecution witnesses in its ruling.

“The court at the stage of no-case submission is not expected to consider credibility of witnesses or evaluate the evidence,” Shittu said.

Also cited as evidence against the ruling of the lower court was that it ignored prima facie evidential materials contained in several exhibits tendered before it.

The EFCC counsel added that the court failed to consider that the N5 billion facility did not comply with rules for capital expenditure.

He said the court also ignored the fact that the purported resolution authorising the loan was forged.

After highlighting several other errors by the lower court, Shittu urged the Court of Appeal to set aside aspects of the ruling sustaining Goje’s no-case submission, and also asked for an order directing the defendants to enter their defence in respect of the counts for which they were discharged.

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Rivers Now Almost Always In The News For The Wrong Reasons, Laments Amaechi

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 11:39am


 

Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, has lamented that Rivers State is now "almost always in the news for the wrong reasons".

Amaechi stated this in his Easter message on Sunday, and implored the people to "find our way back to the path of a glorious future".

He also urged Rivers people and other Nigerians to have hope and a renewed commitment to wait till the resurrection morning.

”In a season like this when we mark the most important festival in the Christian calendar, it is wise that we don’t forget there are people we owe love, care and understanding,” he said.

”No doubt, our state has endured a tortuous political season, which saw political parties jostle and cajole Rivers people to make choices. Our state, which was known and respected as the Treasure Base of the nation, is now almost always in the news for the wrong reasons. This is not the Rivers State of our dreams. We must find our way back to the path of a glorious future. I am one of you, therefore, as your father, son and brother, i beseech you to be of good courage and join hands to build and restore the glory of our state.”

He urged people of the state to imbibe the lessons that the Easter season brings, such as the transformation of Christ from betrayal, torture and death to a glorious triumph on the Resurrection Morning.

"Let’s also remember that one of the lessons that we can take out of the Easter experience is the suffering, shame and despair of the Apostles, yet they were resolute in truth, bound by love and remained a united family until the morning of resurrection. Surely and truly, there is hope for all our hopelessness as the Cross of Christ, which represents His sufferings and death, an atonement for our sins for the sake of love are all virtues we all must imbibe this season,” he said.

”For us as Rivers people, this is a moment for sober reflection and forgiveness. I will not hesitate to implore that we all ask God for forgiveness and mercy for all the things done or left undone and from the citizens for the pain and anguish that they have brazenly suffered which most times are unreported. The persistence of gang violence, kidnappings and killings in parts of the state has dealt a telling blow on the psyche of the people. People no longer feel safe or sleep with their two eyes closed.

”For those of us who feel a sense of personal loss as a result of the last electioneering in the state, I say 'don’t despair, you have vital work to do in the Rivers project'. Believe me, with wisdom and patience, you will own the future.

”Always remember that the task of enthroning a party into power is not as high a calling of patriotism than the task of making personal sacrifices for the peace and general good of the state. Therefore, I appeal to all who truly love our dear Rivers state, to join hands in building the state irrespective of their party affiliations.

”No amount of provocation or even threats should challenge the Rivers spirit of oneness, unity and harmony in you. To the youths, I urge you not to see crime as an escape route from the difficult times we are going through in Rivers state today. I am confident that with resilience and prayer, you can always pull through. Remember, resurrection comes in the morning, therefore have hope and a renewed commitment to wait till the resurrection morning.”

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APC Youth Ask Buhari For 40% Of Appointments In Second Term

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 11:23am


Youth in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfil one of his campaign promises by giving 40 percent of his administration's appointment slots to youth in the country.

The youth, coming together under the aegis of 'APC Youth Organisation', made this demand at the weekend during the Inaugural meeting of the group in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

Speaking at the event, Samsideen Ogunolu, convener and acting President of the group said the fulfillment of this promise would give the youth a sense of belonging and compensation for their contributions towards the President's victory.

The meeting was attended by representatives of youth from south-west, south-east, north-central and north-west deopolitical zones.

Ogunolu urged the President to priortise the welfare of the teeming youth in the country by coming up with youth empowerment schemes like N-Power.

“We want President Buhari to make the youth self-reliant by providing excellent empowerment schemes like N-Power programmes for graduates as a means of volunteering for the success of youth," he said.

“However, we appeal to the President to create more opportunities for our teeming youth being churned out of the various institutions of higher learning across the country. This can be achieved by creating more entrepreneurship programmes and equipping our universities to ICT-compliant.

“Similarly, we want to honestly appeal to the President to improve on free education, as that will help indigent students and serve as indirect empowerment to widows who cannot afford their wards' school fees and reduce the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.

“We equally want to remind the President of his campaign promise, 'Not too young to run', to support the emergence of youthful candidate in the next presidential election, and implore the youth to always vote beyond ethnic sentiment and religious lines.

“The future of Nigeria and Africa at large rests in our hands and we need one another irrespective of political differences to accomplish this task. All positive contributions are needed to bring positive transformation to our fatherland."

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After Playing President On TV, Comedian Zelensky Becomes Ukrainian President-Elect In Real Life

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 10:53am

Volododymyr Zelensky, Ukranian comic actor and showman, has defeated Petro Poroshenko, the incumbent President, in an election in Ukraine on Sunday.

Zelensky, a 41-year-old comedian whose announcement of his ambition to run for the nation's highest office on the New Year's Eve was initially dismissed as a joke, beat the incumbent 53-year-oldPoronshenko in what analysts have described as a "crushing  defeat". 

The comic shunned traditional campaign rallies and instead performed comedy gigs and used social media to appeal to voters.

Before now, Zelensky's only previous political role was playing the President on television, but he trounced incumbent Poroshenko by taking 73 percent of the vote, according to exit polls conducted by several think tanks.

Poroshenko lost to the television star across all regions of the country, including in the west where he traditionally enjoyed strong support.

The 41-year-old star of TV series 'Servant of the People' will now take the helm of a country of 45 million people beset by challenges.

Earlier on Sunday, Poroshenko had warned Ukrainians against taking a chance on Zelensky "because this is not funny". 

"Well, at first it can be a bit funny and then it might hurt afterwards,” he said after casting his ballot.

 

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Zamfara Governor Yari Reveals How Emir Of Zurmi Told Him To ‘Wipe Out’ Entire Village

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 7:44am

Abdulaziz Yari, Governor of Zamfara State, has revealed how the Emir of Zurmi once asked him to “go and wipe out” Dumburum Village because it has been a hideout for bandits for over three years.

 

 

Yari said this while insisting that the government will not apologise over allegations by council chiefs in the state that villagers were killed during aerial bombardment of suspected bandit camps in Dumburum village, Zurmi Local Government Area of the state, by the Nigeria Air Force (NAF).

Speaking on Saturday receiving a seven-member investigative team on the matter at his private residence in Talata-Mafara, Yari maintained that the NAF had only targeted bandits.

“As far as I am concerned and as the head of government in the state, l haven’t seen anything wrong done by the Air Force; l haven’t received any brief on such matter,” he said.

“Dumburum has been a criminal hideout for over three years and the Emir of Zurmi has once asked me to go and wipe out the area saying all those residing there were bandits, so l am surprised that the Emir will be part of those saying innocent people were killed in an encounter in the area.

“Some people will stay in Abuja and fabricate things against the operations in Zamfara in order to distract the operation, this we must not allow.

“Please, all security agencies, especially the Air Force, should continue with your usual constitutional duties and the state government will give you all the support to facilitate your concentration in trying to bring back peace, which has eluded the state since 2007.

“You should continue with the firepower to show the criminals that there is a government in place and we won’t negotiate with them again because when we did that in the past; the leaders pretended as if all was well while they allowed their boys to continue to lay siege on the communities.”

Idi Lubo, leader of the investigative team, handed over a letter of condolence from Sadique Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff, to Yari, and promised to “unravel the truth” about the killings.

“The chief of air staff has directed us to properly investigate the matter in order to unravel the truth,” he said.

“We have visited other stakeholders and discovered that there was misinformation which we have now resolved and wish to assure the people of the state that we shall continue to discharge our assigned responsibilities in protecting the innocent with professionalism.”

While in the state, the team also visited heads of security agencies, traditional rulers and government officials.

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The Assassination Of Common Sense By Senami Kojah

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 6:46am


Senami Kojah

Senami Kojah

Two hundred million pulsating sticks thrash about daily in unending objurgation of the conditions of their green patch yet life continues unhindered by this fearsome lashing.

Resigned to the bin that recycles their hope, they reduce in discourse and rhetoric. 

2023...

Now street talk has begun for the next electoral cycle in Nigeria. Yes, street talk. How else does one qualify the disgusting blabbering on zoning, old gods and painfully inept political parties and systems that keeps churning out dunderheaded leaders?

Boko Haram is festering, Bandits are slaying, Killer Herdsmen are advancing, SARs are maiming, Secessionist are agitating, Militants are emboldened, Young people are idle and Hunger is killing you, yet you muse on base things. 

"Few Nigerians understand that our chaos, our urban rot and rural decay, our decrepit roads, hospitals, and Universities, our power failures and water shortages, and our fuel scarcity are collective consequences of our wanton embrace of the unthought and unreflected society". -Pius Adesanmi

This unreflective nature of some Nigerians on issues that make the field a palatable patch like Education, Power, Health, Infrastructure, Security and so on is not unconnected to the death of common sense.

Wrapped around a barrel of dwindling oil, common sense hung lifeless, jeered by skeletal looking onlookers who had no jobs to return to.

It's offence had been a poking of 200 million conscience to reason.

Tell me, is it not blaring insanity to talk about national integration on paper and zone political offices and appointments without consideration for capacity, character and courage?

Has this foul conversation of great national irrelevance not taught us a lesson yet? Why do we reinforce it?

I will tell you that there are no manuals or manuscripts of conversations on self preservation; critically think about this and live.

Like a Phoenix, common sense is buried somewhere in the ashes of this national mediocrity and it's resurrection which will lead to an insurrection is at hand.

Receive sense.

Senami Kojah is a Writer, Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst who writes from Lagos.
Kojahs2000@gmail.com 

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Islam, IG Wala’s Sentence And The Indictment Of Hajj Commission By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 6:36am


Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
 “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by hating it and feeling that it is wrong] – and that is the weakest of faith”

The above hadith by the noble prophet of Allah is a direct instruction to every one of us to always strive to correct the ills in our society in the manner convenient for us and to my understanding; this is what propelled the Human Rights Crusader, Ibrahim Garba Wala to embark on a mission to hold the National Hajj Commission accountable to the numerous corruption allegation leveled against the institution over the years.

On the 16th of April 2019, an Abuja court sentenced Human Rights Activist Ibrahim Garba Wala popularly known as IG Wala to 7years imprisonment and since that fateful day, many opinion articles have flooded the media, both conventional and social. 

Some of the op-eds are well thought out, others full of fabrications and some are outrightly sponsored. What is important here is that IG Wala has succeeded in achieving the first phase of his advocacy, which is to focus the searchlight on the National Hajj Commission, a government agency for Muslim pilgrims, alleged to be extorting the Muslim Community.

Before we all get carried away by the paparazzi of joining a popular narrative, let us pause and ask again, what was Wala’s crime? Like many before him, he was said to have uncovered monumental acts of corruption, running into billions of naira in National Hajj Commission (NAHCOM) against the Muslim Ummah of Nigeria and he took action to stop it.

Contrary to reports by several media agencies, IG Wala didn’t only go on the social media to accuse the Chairman of NAHCOM, that’s a false narrative. He actually petitioned the relevant agencies, which include but not limited to the Nigerian Senate, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others and all pieces of evidence at his disposal was presented to these statuary agencies for further investigation. If i am not mistaken, it was a portion, from the petition submitted to these agencies that IG Wala posted on the social media.

For many years now, Nigeria has remained one of the most expensive places on earth to travel to hajj, even though the country is not among the most distant places to Saudi Arabia. Countries that are more distant than Nigeria to Saudi Arabia are said to be paying less and it continued to remain a misery, why Nigeria’s hajj fare is so exorbitant.

After the Nigerian Senate received IG Wala’s petition with all the supporting evidence, they set out to investigate the claims.

The Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Accommodation, Logistics and Feeding sent some delegations to Saudi Arabia to verify some of the claims in Wala’s petition and when they returned; they also held series of public hearings in which IG Wala and the Chairman of Hajj Commission were given an opportunity to present their case. Those who witnessed the public hearing gave accounts of what transpired.

Consequently, having  properly investigated the matter with both parties presenting what they have, the Senate established the facts and made its report public on 19th October 2018 and in Vanguard Newspaper, the  headline screamed ‘’ Senate panel indicts NAHCON in hajj extortion, fee hike probe’’

In the report also carried by several national dailies, it was said that:

The Senate had on July 20, 2017, resolved to conduct the probe following the adoption of a motion moved by Senator Ibrahim Dambaba, titled, ‘Extortion of Monies from Nigerian Pilgrims by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.

The report partly read, “The committee has observed that the commission’s procurement processes on the annual hajj operations were marred by many contraventions and infractions as it flagrantly breached the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, the Public Procurement Act 2007, and the Federal Government’s Financial Rule and Regulations in the conduct of its role as mere regulator of hajj operations.

“Similarly, it was also observed that under the normal circumstances, Saudi Arabian authorities recognize two institutions as far as hajj is concerned: the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the (Nigerian) Civil Aviation Authority. The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s recognition was based on the international laws under the Vienna Convention on Consular Matters. The role of hajj commission is limited to national issues.

“However, NAHCON has usurped the responsibilities of these agencies and deals directly with Saudi Arabian authorities without recourse to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In fact, the committee has realized that the Nigerian Consular General in Saudi Arabia has been turned into an employee of NAHCON. This explains why there is a conflict of interest in almost all the offshore transactions engaged by NAHCON.” The committee also accused NAHCON of “over bloated charges,” onshore and offshore, saying, “The charges escalate the cost of pilgrimage,” it said.

NAHCON was further accused of short-changing and extorting Nigerian pilgrims, intending air carriers, and service providers “through spurious charges without regards to the Second Schedule of the Utilities and Charge Commission.

The committee added that “ the so-called revenues realized by the commission were not paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, contrary to Section 80(1) of the 1999 Constitution. “Just as in the same manner,  the commission generates its revenues with total disregard to extant Acts, so it expends them without following the provisions of the Constitution. “Similarly, NAHCON often goes on spending spree from the said generated revenue, quite beyond the approval threshold of the Accounting Officer, which is a breach of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation’s circular with reference number SGF/OP/S.3/XI/894, dated 14th January, 2016.”
The above indictment against NAHCOM wasn’t done by IG Wala, but by the Nigerian Senate through evidence provided by IG Wala and subsequent investigation of the matter. 

So, what I am driving at here is that, even if we remove IG Wala from the equation, the corruption allegation against NAHCOM is still very valid and it is only a matter of time before the NAHCOM chairman is prosecuted unless those in charge choose not to.

However, rather than for our Muslim Ummah, whom IG Wala is trying to protect from extortion to see this as something worthy of attention and ask relevant questions, our leaders are looking the other way, as if IG Wala who made the Senate report possible has committed a crime by trying to protect the Muslim Ummah against possible extortion and make hajj more affordable. 

One must then ask, where are the so-called Muslim organizations always claiming to be fighting for the interest of Muslims? Have they not seen the Senate indictment on NAHCOM about possible extortion of the Muslim Ummah? What has been their contribution in ensuring everything is corrected?

In all honesty, the judgment against IG Wala wasn’t strange to him. Long before now, Wala had revealed several times that he has been promised jail by hook or by crook and he vows never to back down, even if it means going to that jail. The first time he was sent to jail, he saw it as a learning opportunity and this will not be any different. However, he is certain that the truth, which he stands for will prevail, now or later. 

Many had accused IG Wala of turning down out of court settlement, but what is there to settle really? 

Will settlement between IG Wala and NAHCOM suddenly bring justice to NAHCOM over the senate indictment or will the settlement make NAHCOM chairman saint?
If you ask me, IG Wala’s case can be equated to that of Yusuf in the Holy Quran.  In Suratul Yusuf, Prophet Yusuf prefers prison against the temptation of compromise.
In verse 33 of that chapter, Yusuf said, ‘My Lord! The prison is DEARER to me than that to which they invite me” and like Yusuf, IG Wala refused to negotiate if that negotiation would mean rejecting the truth.

Sometimes last year, a colleague narrated how he came in contact with an individual working in one of the anti-graft agencies and the hajj commission matter came up. 
The gentleman narrated what he heard, which according to him was frightening, though cannot be verified.

According to the person he met, IG Wala made the biggest mistake of his life by trying to expose corruption in Hajj Commission. The person, who is not even a Muslim, pointed out that, even in his office, there are several petitions against hajj commission, but he dare not act on them. He said, rather than act, he will rather resign and walk away in peace than incur the wrath of the hajj commission cabals. 

Curious to know why it is so, he said as an activist, you can fight corruption in NNPC and succeed, you can even fight corruption in CBN and succeed, but there are places you dare not go to fight corruption and one of such places is hajj commission. According to this information, if you dare do that, you will be dealt with and nobody can save you, not even the president. This revelation shocked many greatly, but the fellow isn’t done. He went on to explain that, when the cabals in hajj commission are ready to deal with anyone, they will get their own police that will arrest you, get their own judge that will sentence you and still get their own prison official that will ensure you are feeling the heat of the prison. 

This person asked those close to IG Wala to advise him to settle out of court no matter what.

IG Wala became aware of this information and he laughed it off. He made it clear that he knows the capability of those against him, he knows what they can do, but rather than negotiate with an evil prophet Muhammed asked us to reject, he decided to face the consequences of the truth, knowing fully well that no matter how fast falsehood runs, truth will eventually catch up with it.

Yes, IG Wala maybe arrogant, but his arrogance is usually against corruption and bad governance. He may be proud, but only against injustice and he may be accused of taking activism too personal, but that is because he personally feels the effect of lack of good governance.
Although, for IG Wala, activism is an act of worship to Allah. It is in furtherance to the observation of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (S.AW) and he is very convinced that even if he dies in the course of activism for a better society, Allah if not the society, will give him his reward.
Let me therefore conclude by saying that, IG Wala has been sentenced to prison for daring to fight corruption, not for stealing, not for committing any crime, but for observing the Sunnah of prophet Muhammed which says, “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by hating it and feeling that it is wrong] – and that is the weakest of faith”.

But according to Sheikh Adam Abdullahi Al-Ilori (May Allah continue to be pleased with him), when you are down, (like IG Wala is currently is), nothing worse can ever happen to you than rising up. I believe strongly that IG Wala shall rise again. 

#IStandWithIGWala
Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

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Niger Delta Development Commission Chairman Brambaifa Denies Nursing Any Political Ambition

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 6:30am


Professor Nelson Brambaifa, Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has denied the claims that he has a political ambition to contest for elective position in Bayelsa State, saying he cannot play politics with the mandate handed to him by President Muhammad Buhari for the improvement of the Niger Delta region.

Brambaifa made this known during a call on him by Paramount Rulers and respected elders from across the state under the aegis of Bayelsa Elders Consultative Council.

He said his office, unlike that of a Governor, is not limited by any political association, adding: "I am not nursing any political ambition of whatever nature, therefore I have the zeal and will to only work for the improvement of the Niger Delta for which I was appointed by the President".

According to a statement made available to newsmen by Igbeta Ayebakuro, the Special Adviser Media/Publicity to the Ag.MD/CEO NDDC, Brambaifa used the forum to urge the various Niger Delta governors to look beyond all political sentiments and join hands to bring development to the region/

"For me, I cannot play politics with his job of making the lives of the ordinary people better," he said.

On the proposed development plan for the region, Brambaifa assured the people of Bayelsa, especially the dwellers of the interior axis of the state, that the Commission under his watch is poised to bring the much needed infrastructure and development to the state.

He assured the visitors that under his stewardship, Bayelsa will not take back seat even though he was sworn to provide even development of the region without sentiments.

He promised to ensure that because of their importance as economic hubs, and the associated capital involvement, the commission had ensured that the Yenagoa-Oporoama-Ekeowei road project, as well as the Nembe–Brass road projects, together with other viable projects, are all captured in its 2019 budget.

”These are very huge projects that are also capital-intensive that warrant the dedicated attention of the NDDC, if only the state government is willing to corporate with us," he said.

“Also, the Commission has just recently provided various post-graduate scholarships for Bayelsans to study both within and outside of the shores of the country. In the same vein, to support the education in the region, this administration has concluded plans to rebuild and renovate dilapidated school buildings and provide such education support projects and Programmes as the Commission deem necessary within available resources from time to time.”

Brambaifa thanked the elders and rulers for the time in the meeting and promised to submit to their wise counsels in order to leave an indelible footprint as the most successful administration.

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Nigerian Woman Arrested In Hong Kong ‘With Cocaine In Condoms Hidden In Her Vagina’

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 4:42am

Customs officials in Hong Kong have arrested a Nigerian woman who landed at the Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday with more than half a kilogramme of cocaine hidden in her body, South China Morning Post is reporting.

According to the Hong Kong-headquartered Asian paper, the 37-year-old, who claimed to be a businesswoman, arrived in the city on a flight from Lagos via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She was said to be acting suspiciously, shortly after her arrival on Thursday, hence she was taken to hospital for a check-up that confirmed she had foreign objects in her body.

“She was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for a check-up and confirmed to have foreign objects in her body,” the paper said.

“Officers first recovered 215 grams of cocaine contained in condoms and plastic bags found in her vagina. She later discharged 24 capsules of cocaine, each weighing 14 grams, from her body.

“The haul, weighing 550 grams in total, was estimated to be worth HK$522,000 (US$66,900). The authorities said the woman, who was detained for inquiries, may discharge more drugs.”

Under Hong Kong’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the maximum penalty for drug trafficking is life imprisonment and a HK$5 million fine.

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Spoken Word (Tribute To Justice Mamman Nasir) By Hannatu Musawa

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 2:01am


Last week Katsina State stood still as it mourned the passing of one of its most illustrious and respected sons. Born on July 2nd, 1929 in Katsina, Justice Mamman Nasir, a former Minister of Justice and Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, passed away on April 13th, 2019 after a brief illness. With his death, Nigeria has truly lost a treasure.

The day that Justice Nasir died was a day that saw less love, less compassion, less light in Nigeria. He leaves us a solid message of service, virtue, duty and solidarity. The witness of his life was a model of integrity, kindness, simplicity, humility, piety and charity. He was part of the incorruptible generation and popularly known for his stern defense of his honor and principles.

In his lifetime, he had a successful, accomplished and distinguished career. As a student, he went to Kaduna College and later attended the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a certificate in Latin. He then embarked on a Bachelors degree in Law at the Council of Legal Educationin 1956. In that same year, after he was called to the Bar, he was appointed a Crown Counsel.

From 1961 to 1966, he served as Northern Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and as Solicitor-General for the North Central State Government. In the aftermath of that, he became the Director of Public Prosecution, Northern Region in 1967, the same year he was appointed Solicitor General, North Central State. In 1975, he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as Justice. He then went ahead to become President of the Nigerian Court of Appealin 1978. He retired in 1992 and ascended to the throne of Galadima of Katsina, which was conferred on him on May 9, 1992.

The news of Justice Nasir’s death is very sad. Nigeria shall miss him, with his warmth of spirit, his ability to talk about duty to country, faith and the prayer life, which brings God so close to us. At the same time we give thanks to Allah for the wonderful examples and memories Justice Nasir leaves us: his commitment to daily prayer and his selfless duty to his beloved country. He leaves to all of Nigeria a legacy of faith and love and of concern for the people in the name of The Almighty. He will be deeply missed in our efforts to build national peace, and a just, caring and equitable Nigeria. This was a feat that so bothered and moved him.

All the life of this great man was the bright incarnation of service to the high humanitarian ideals of goodness, compassion, selflessness and faith. 

During the cause of his life, he never ceased to remind us that the greatest poverty of all is to live and to die without faith, with no integrity and unloved. The simplicity of his lifestyle and the singlemindness of his dedication will serve as an example for generations to come. Believing in the power of Allah’s grace, which directed his life, each of us, relying on the same grace, can reach so many of the achievements that he achieved.

He was a humble man with unbelievable generosity toward mankind; an accomplished public servant; and a dedicated, tenacious, and brilliant legal mind, who spent his entire professional career working for the betterment of his country.

Justice Nasir's life proved that the only real revolution in human affairs flows from service to others and self-sacrifice out of love for country and unconditional devotion to The Almighty. He was a champion of truth and an example of selfless devotion to charity. He was the genius of the little way of doing great things. Above all, he was, in every sense, a man of tremendous faith: strong in forgiving, tender to the poor, in love with his Deen, and a servant of Allah. We must give thanks for having had Justice Nasir among us.

Today, on the occasion of his passing into eternal life, we are moved to remember the impact of those achievements he had in life, the moments he spent with us, and how his living example will continue to resound in our history books for all time. Justice Nasir’s brilliant and good work will always be remembered, everyone must know and admit that, but more deeply still, we will remember the abundance that shone from within him and his service for his beloved country; service that was fueled by absolute dedication to His Maker.

Summing up his life, those who knew him will always reiterate and come back to one thought. Never will you meet a man who more faithfully lived his values. His kind was rare. He was a teacher of all things. His method was simple. He taught by example. His character is the foundation of the conscience of many of those who came into contact with him, who worked with him and who were part of his life. His teachings are endless. He was strong in body, in spirit, and in commitment. He fulfilled every obligation he ever undertook. His word was his bond, and everyone knew it. He was loyal. His faithfulness to the people he interacted with during his lifetime could be seen in the way he steadfastly maintained ties with anyone he ever knew. He had a quiet dignity, respecting himself the way he respected others. Although he is no more, today, however, we have the privilege of celebrating someone who epitomizes leadership; someone whose life reflects a heart of service and commitment to faith, family, friends, and certainly those who strive to follow his example.

Justice Nasir will long remain an inspiration to those who would serve their country, and we are blessed to have shared the gift of his life with us all. I am so proud to come from the same State as him. He makes Katsina proud and he will always make Nigeria even prouder. He will not soon be forgotten. His reward will be great in Heaven. We pray for him and for those who knew him.

To all who loved him; his staff, assistants, neighbors, colleagues, admirers, friends and family:

“May the Almighty reward you and help you to apply patient endurance and appreciation. Indeed our spirit, possessions and families are magnificent gifts, which God has loaned us for a period and he takes them away after the termination of that period. Gratitude becomes necessary when He gives, and patience is mandatory when He takes. Justice Nasir, your boss, neighbor, friend, colleague, brother, father, husband and son was from among that great gift which God allowed you to enjoy in a way that was fortunate and gratifying. Although you loved him, his place is with his maker now. As he has gone home, it is your duty to show patience in his death and gratitude for his life. 

May the Almighty augment your recompense, be kind in your misfortune, forgive the deceased, encourage you with endurance and give you peace. I pray you have the fortitude to bear his loss.”

As we witness another twilight for Nigeria and the death of another sitting Nigerian president, I pray that God forgives and has mercy on the soul of Justice Nasir and makes honorable his reception. May Allah keep him safe and sound, protect the place where he has rested and make his entrance wide; bless him for his good deeds and surround him with a garden filled with beauty. May he receive the gentle blow of a cool breeze, be washed with snowflakes, ice, sleet, water and everything pure and cleansed of sin as a white cloth is purified perfectly. I pray Allah admits him to Paradise and may his grave be spacious and filled with light: Amen.

Spoken Word Article Written by
Hannatu Musawa
I invite you to:
Follow me on Twitter- @hanneymusawa
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With Buhari, Osinbajo, Lawan, Gbaja, Igbo Presidency In 2023 Is Now A Moral Burden On Nigeria By Fredrick Nwabufo

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 1:49am


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

We have always pledged to Nigeria’s unity. But we have not gone beyond this ritual and work at it. How can we assert, “Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable”; yet we constantly chip away at the umbilical cord that holds us together?

It is obvious that the southeast has been politically quarantined.  I think this is deliberate. Traditionally, the leadership of the three arms of government is dispensed on a “Wa-zo-bia” basis; that is, on the tripod – north, east and west – the country reclines.

Political balance is a sine qua non for national equilibrium. We cannot pontificate on unity and be insensitive to issues of political equity. The fons et origo of strife in society is inequity and imbalance. We talk of gender inequality today, which is unjust and unfair, political inequity is as much ghastly.

It is convenient to rationalise the political imbalance of this time because it indulges the sentiments of those it serves and those who feel it serves them. As it is, with Buhari and Osinbajo in the executive, and with the APC picking Ahmed Lawan for senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila for speaker, and with Justice Tanko as the acting head of the judiciary, the government as we know it is in the paw of two sections of the country. Where is the place of the southeast, south-south and north-central in all of these?

How do we build an inclusive country with this kind of imbalance? How do we foster oneness with this depressing level insensitivity to matters of national unity? This is an issue too critical to ignore.

Some persons have argued that the regional background of the heads of the government is unimportant because, most times, the living conditions of people who have sons and daughters in political offices are not improved. I agree. But this argument fails completely when tested in the lab of equity. An organisation that is completely filled with males where females can functional effectively as well will naturally be termed gender-insensitive and discriminatory.  

The point is, there is no excuse for inequity, in whichever form or place. Equity is not about niceties or farcical and politically correct arguments; it is about inclusion and being sensitive to divergences and interests. And besides, there is a psychological warmth people get from knowing that someone from their axis is at the decision-making table, who they can cry to, summon to village or group meetings for censuring when necessary.

As I said in a previous article, a country as enormous, diverse and delicate as Nigeria cannot evolve organically when a part of it is marooned and confined to the fringes of political exclusion. The argument has always been, “the Igbo are not ready”, and “they are not playing the right politics”. But this argument is classically insipid and hollow.

Some people have also argued that the Igbo are “putting their eggs in one basket”.  This is also a moot point. The Igbo are no different from the Yoruba, the Hausa and the Fulani in the game of politics.

A plethora of interests has always driven the politics of these ethnic groups. If we are agreed that interest is the highest common factor in the political calculations of these groups, then we cannot berate the Igbo for choosing to swing whichever way they want to.

It is now a moral burden on Nigeria that a president of Igbo extraction emerges in 2023. If we are serious about our unity, then we must take cognisance of the country’s sensitivities. Our unity becomes truly not-negotiable, when all Nigerians matter.

Fredrick is a media personality.

Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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'Over Four Million People Are Jobless In Kano’

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 1:28am


Professor Murtala Sagagi, Dean of the Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, says there are currently more than four million jobless people in Kano due to the poor development agenda of successive governments.

In a paper he presented at a forum organised by the Kano Concerned Citizens Innitiative (KCCI) on Saturday in Kano, he stressed the need for more efforts to ensure development in the state.

According to NAN, Sagagi also noted the need to do more to improve the agricultural sector.

He said: “The inability of politicians, communities, academicians and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate in comprehensive strategies for economic development and prosperity of the state has made the state to remain backward.

“Over 500 industries are currently shut down in Kano due to lack of consensus for development and effective implementation of government agendas and policies."

According to him, the state has done nothing much to set the agricultural sector in the right direction.

In his speech, Alhaji Aliko Dangote advised the Nigerian government to review its policies on agriculture and industries to provide enabling environment for job creation.

He also called for intensified efforts on power generation, noting that although government alone could not meet the job needs of all citizens, it was necessary to create enabling environment for people to engage in self-employment.

Alhaji Bashir Uthman-Tofa, Chairman of KCCI, lamented that Kano State called on key stakeholders to work towards improving the economy of the state.

Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, frowned at the current condition of the city wall, which have been encroached into corner shops being constructed and urged Dangote and Uthman-Tofa to urgently find a way to rebuild the city walls because of their historical significance.

Sanusi also spoke on the high rate of drug abuse in the North and its attendant consequences on peace and stability of the region, adding that rampant drug addiction was a result of mass poverty, broken homes, high divorce rate, among others.

He also explained that the Kano Emirate Council had set up a committee which came out with suggestions on how to tackle the issues of divorce and abandonment of women by their husbands.

“The Emirate Council is working to present a bill to the state government for the state assembly to enact a law that will enforce the responsibilities of the husbands on their wives and children,’’ Sanusi said.
 

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There Were No Elections In 2019, Says Falae

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 1:10am


Former SFG Olu Falae

Olu Falae Sahara Reporters Media

Olu Falae, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), says the 2019 elections was a charade.

Speaking in an interview with the Sun Newspaper published on Sunday, the 1999 presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) said there was no election in Nigeria but a charade and political market where votes were been bought openly by politicians.

According to him, politicians no longer focus their attention on manifestoes. He said the politics being played now is not focused on service.

He said: “We will never have a democracy if we continue this way. Now, the question is once you have over-monetized politics, what will be the basis of choice of leader? The more money you have and given out, the brighter your chances. So, it’s no longer politics of service. What we have is what I call monetics; this is what we are playing now, not politics.

“Do you hear about any manifesto anymore? In the past, every political party will tell you what they will do for the country or for their people in education, health, culture, infrastructure, etc., if you vote for them. Not anymore. Many of them that are contesting, ask them of the manifesto, they won’t understand what you are talking about. All that matters is money.

“Of course, money is always important for everything that is important. In anything good, some money is required, for food, housing, education, etc., we know, but the way they are going about it now is disgusting; it's sickening. Of course, you know that I ran for the presidency. When I ran for the office of the president in 1999, I spent money, I raised almost N600million in Eko Le Meridian Hotel in Lagos in public and we spent that money on logistics, advertisement on radio and television; we printed posters, went on political rallies, funded people going to canvass and all that.

“You need money for logistics, but not money for buying voters. There is a big difference; not billions for bribing INEC officials, police people, and security officials. That is where the money goes now and the political leaders; they simply take the money and pocket it. So, as I said what we have now is no longer politics but monetics, for the higher bidder rather than for those with the passion to serve.”

Falae blamed the politicians desperate desire to win as the cause for illegal activities during the last elections.

He said: “They want to win by all means, so it is the desperation not to lose the election that is driving them to do the unimaginable; the unthinkable things that we are witnessing today. So, the question is: why are we so desperate? Why are they so desperate as if, when you don’t win the election the world will come to an end? 

“The issue is the desperation in Nigeria politics and I suspect that the desperation is due to the fact that it (politics) is now viewed solely as a business venture. It is a situation like: I am investing my money and I cannot afford to lose. They are ready to borrow and borrow more or even print more money where they can and spend it and win the election and recoup the money after.”

He also expressed concern about Nigeria's rising debt profile, which now stands at N24.4 trillion according to the Debt Management Board, stating that "We are mortgaging the future. That is the truth of the matter, and to the extent that this debt is a substantially foreign debt, you must earn the foreign exchange to be able to service the debt and to repay it eventually. So, if you don’t do that, as I said, you are just mortgaging the future. It means you are making the future more difficult than the present.”

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Nigeria Needs Parliamentary System Of Government, Says Fasanmi

Sahara Reporters - 21 April 2019 - 1:08am


Ninety-three-year-old Senator Ayo Fasanmi, a leader of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, says the parliamentary system of government is the most appropriate system of government for Nigeria.

He said this in an interview the Punch newsapaper published on Sunday, adding that the system is cheaper for the country.

According to Fasanmi, the parliamentary system of government is preferable to the presidential.

He said: “In the first Republic, we practised the parliamentary system and in the Second Republic, we practised the presidential system of government. I think the parliamentary system of government is better, or let me say I prefer it to the presidential system of government.

“It is cheaper to run than the presidential system of government. But I think the system was bastardised when the military came into government. That mentality is still there. I will go for the parliamentary system of government. We need to save as much as we can save now. Parliamentary system of government is less expensive; it is very cheap and that is the kind of system that we need now.”

When asked if the nation should consider part-time legislature as a way to reduce cost, Fasanmi said it can be considered but money should not be a motivating factor. 

He said: “When I was in the House of Reps in 1964 and the Senate in the Second Republic in 1979 and 1983, money was not the motivating factor. It will be a nice idea if we take a second look at the way we do certain things.

“In our time, the love to serve prompted us to come out and contest elective offices and that was why the nation had competent and honest people in offices then. Part-time legislature was done before and it worked, so, there is nothing wrong if we consider it. The interest of the people should be paramount; it is only then that we can get competent people to serve in public offices.”

On the conviction of Walter Onnoghen, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Fasanmi went on to say that “whoever will be nominated as a judge is not a corrupt person. Judges should be carefully selected to avoid putting corrupt persons on the bench. One cannot have a corrupt person to dispense justice. There will be no justice; there will be no fairness. Only people of integrity should find their way to the judiciary.

"It is unfortunate that the former Chief Justice of Nigeria found himself in this situation, but we must make sure that people with proven track of integrity are the ones dispensing justice. If we put the right people there, Nigeria will soon become a shining example for other nations to emulate in Africa. Nigeria was a great country in the days of Obafemi Awolowo and others.”

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