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PDP Submits Saraki’s Name To INEC As Its Senatorial Candidate For Kwara Central

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 11:42pm


The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has sent the name of the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, to the Independent National Electoral Commission as a senatorial candidate.

The name of Saraki was among the list of candidates submitted to the commission in Abuja on Thursday night.

Saraki, who represents Kwara Central District in the Senate, was among the 13 presidential aspirants of the party.

He came third at the party’s national convention which was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The PDP had held the senatorial primaries before that of the presidential primary.

While Saraki paid for the PDP nomination and expression of interest forms,  it was however not clear if he paid for that of the Senate as well.

Investigations by one of our correspondents in Abuja showed that Saraki’s name was used to replace the name of one Ope, whose name was initially filed as the PDP candidate for the senatorial district.

It had initially been speculated that the former governor of Kwara State was among the suspected presidential aspirants in the party who had another plan since they knew they could lose the PDP presidential nomination.

It was learnt that Saraki is being positioned to return as the President of the Senate in 2019 by the PDP, if former Vice President Atiku Abubakar wins the presidential election.

The source said, “Bukola Saraki’s name is there (in the list). He’s returning to the Senate on the platform of the PDP.”

Investigations by one of our correspondents in Abuja showed that Saraki’s name was used to replace the name of one Ope, whose name was initially filed as the PDP candidate for the senatorial district.

It had initially been speculated that the former governor of Kwara State was among the suspected presidential aspirants in the party who had another plan since they knew they could lose the PDP presidential nomination.

It was learnt that Saraki is being positioned to return as the President of the Senate in 2019 by the PDP, if former Vice President Atiku Abubakar wins the presidential election.

The source said, “Bukola Saraki’s name is there (in the list). He’s returning to the Senate on the platform of the PDP.”

Meanwhile, the tension among the All Progressives Congress aspirants heightened on Thursday as members who aspired for governorship and National Assembly seats inundated the party’s Director of Organization, Altai Abu-Bakr Kari, with calls in a bid to know their fate.

Kari, who led some party officials in an APC branded coaster bus held tightly to a bunch of files on one hand and struggled to answer calls to his mobile phone with the other.

It was gathered that aspirants for national assembly seats were especially eager to find out the outcome of their petitions to the Prof. Osariemen Osumbor-led APC Governorship and National Assembly Appeals Committee.

This was against the backdrop of the party’s last minute effort to beat the 12:00 midnight deadline set by INEC for the submission of the list of all party candidates for the 2019 elections.

A summary of the panel report document obtained by one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Thursday, indicated that all petitions against the Senate and House of Representatives primaries were rejected.

In Delta State for example, eight petitions were upheld by the committee which agreed with the petitioners who argued that they won the primaries but that their names were surreptitiously replaced.

Seven petitions were rejected for lacking merit.

In the South-West zone, six petitions were received and treated by the panel from Ekiti State. The petitioners faulted the conduct of the National Assembly primary held in the state but their petitions were thrown out.  A similar fate befell three petitions filed against the conduct of the House of Representatives primary in Osun State.

In Ondo State, the panel upheld three petitions for Senate, referred one to the National Working Committee; rejected two and upheld the five petitions for the House of Representatives.

The five argued successfully with documentary evidence that they won the primary but their names were substituted.

Of the two petitions received from Lagos, one was rejected for the Senate, while the one for the House of Representatives was upheld.

The panel also rejected two senatorial petitions from Ogun State and recommended that the third petitioner be adopted as the candidate, saying stakeholders of the party in the areas agreed to adopt him as a sole candidate.

The Osunbor-led APC panel equally upheld the disqualifications of some of the party’s aspirants by the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC and its decision to grant automatic tickets to serving governors and some lawmakers.

Some of the prominent members disqualified are a former Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, and the Political Adviser to the Kaduna State governor,  Mallam Uba Sani.

From the panel’s report and recommendations, it became obvious that pressure mounted by some state governors, especially the Kaduna State Governor, El-Rufai, as well as the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, did nothing to influence the committee.

In the North-West, the panel upheld the automatic ticket given to Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central), after rejecting petitions filed by Senator Mohammed Saleh, Usman Ibrahim and Samsuddeen Giwa challenging the decision of the APC NWC to disqualify them from contesting the primary.

It also threw out a petition by Dr Abba Ibrahim who cited irregularities in the party’s decision to grant Sani an automatic ticket.

For Kaduna North, the APC panel threw out the petition filed by Senator Aliyu Lawal who also complained about alleged irregularities in the conduct of the primary in the area.

A petition filed by Ahmed Munir, who contested the Lere Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, asking the panel to declare him as candidate was upheld.

Munir had petitioned the panel alleging that the aspirant who won the contest was indicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for an unspecified offence in 2008.

The panel found merit in his petition and declared the petitioner as the party’s candidate.

A petition filed by Ahmed Shuiabu Adda’u who contested the party’s ticket for the Makarfi/Kudan Federal Constituency challenging his alleged wrongful disqualification, was thrown out for lacking merit.

Another aspirant, Rufai Chanchangi, who contested the Kaduna South Federal Constituency, petitioned the panel, citing irregularities but his petition was equally rejected.

For the Sokoto State governorship, petitions filed by two aspirants, Senator Abubakar Gada and Faruk Yabo, citing the refusal of the APC election committee to follow guidelines for the conduct of the exercise were also rejected.

The Osumbor-led panel also held that the petition filed by a Kebbi State governorship aspirant, Alhaji Ibrahim Mera, challenging his exclusion from the contest was “not competent.”

Similar petitions by senatorial aspirants for Kebbi Central and Kebbi South, Aminu Shamaki and Sule Sami respectively, were also dismissed.

The panel also dismissed a petition filed by Abdullahi Sura who contested the Sum/Bagudo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

It, however, referred a petition by Abdullahi Faruk , the member representing Birnin Kebbi/ Kalgo/ Bunza Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, whose petition was a “Plea for fulfilment of promise of automatic ticket for loyalty to the party,” to the APC NWC.

In Jigawa State, the panel dismissed petitions filed by Hashiru Yusuf and Allhaji Hashimu against the conduct of the governorship primary on the grounds that the petitions had been overtaken by INEC’s guidelines for the conduct of fresh primaries.

Former IGP, Suleiman Abba, who petitioned the panel to protest the removal of his name from the ballot in the contest for the party’s ticket for Jigawa South Senatorial district also failed to gain the panel’s sympathy.

The case of Abdullahi Gumel, a sitting senator who lost the primary was referred to the NWC for further action after he petitioned the panel, citing irregularities in the conduct of the primary which he lost.

In Kano, the case of the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Suleiman Kawu-Sumaila, was also referred to the NWC for further action.

Similar cases referred to the NWC included those involving Suleiman Halilu, Laila Buhari and Senator Isa Zarewa who contested the Kano Central Senatorial ticket.

Petitions against the conduct of the governorship primary in Katsina State were also referred to the NWC. The two petitioners were Alhaji Garba Sani and Abubakar Isa.

The panel also dismissed petitions by a senatorial aspirant for Bayelsa Central, Barry Indutimi.

It also dismissed appeals by Mr John Odey, Chief Edem Duke and Chief Eyo Nyong, who demanded a fresh governorship primary in Cross River State.

The panel also held that the petition filed by Prof. Pat Utomi challenging the validity of the governorship primary in Delta State had been overtaken by events.

It, however, upheld an appeal by Halims Agoda who won the primary for Ethiope Federal Constituency but had his name replaced.

For Rivers State, the appeals by Senator Magnus Abe and Chief Dumo-Lulu Briggs against the conduct of the governorship primaries were rejected.

For Akwa Ibom State, appeals by Bassey Dan-Abia, Senator James Udo-Udehe and Dr Edet Efefuei against the conduct of the governorship primary were similarly thrown out.

It, however, upheld the appeal by Robinson Uwak who won the primary for Oron Federal constituency but was denied victory. Similar petitions by Iquo Inyang and Mrs. Glory Ekpo who contested and won the primaries held for Ikono/Ini and Etinam Federal Constituencies were also upheld.

The party’s primaries held across the country were marred by allegations of irregularities and disqualification of aspirants.

Several of these issues led to a series of meetings between the party leadership, some aggrieved governors and President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president’s wife who felt slighted by the party for failing to support the emergence of her brother, Mahmoud Halilu, as governorship candidate in her native Adamawa State, took to her twitter handle to register her displeasure.

She tweeted, “It is disheartening to note that some aspirants used their hard earned money to purchase nomination forms, got screened, cleared and campaigned vigorously yet found their names omitted on election day, these forms were bought at exorbitant prices.”

However, aspirants whose petitions were not treated voiced their opposition to the panel’s handling of their petitions.

One of such aspirants, Mr Adaze Wilson Imafidon, who was seeking the party’s ticket to contest the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde House of Representatives Federal Constituency seat, submitted a petition to the appeals committee through his lawyers, describing the purported primary election held in the constituency as a sham.

He said any attempt to present any of the aspirants to INEC as the winner of the botched APC primary election of 6th October 2018 “would be illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.”

Party supporters from Benue State, under the aegis of Benue South APC Justice and Equality Movement, protested to the party headquarters, on Thursday, asking the NWC to caution the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, for allegedly substituting the names of elected candidates with those who did not participate at the primary.

The coordinator of the group, Mr Akor Ikwuocha, told newsmen that they were surprised that after the emergence of a winner from the party primaries and names submitted to the approximate authorities by the electoral committee, “the minister allegedly called a meeting of a few persons while overseas and announced that he was substituting names of most of the candidates because they were not his choice.

“Today, there is no single campaign billboard of President Muhammadu Buhari in the whole of Benue South Senatorial district, despite the fact that the Benue South has a cabinet member in the person of Chief Audu Ogbe.”

The protesters said the attempt to change the names of elected candidates across Benue South may put the APC at a serious disadvantage in the zone.

The protesters appealed to the NWC to caution the Minister and ensure that all those candidates that won the primary elections are allowed to go for the general election as party’s candidates.

Elections Politics PUNCH NEWSPAPER AddThis :  Original Author :  John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Punch Newspaper Disable advertisements : 
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FG Bars FRCN From Holding Scheduled Interview With Sowore

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 1:44pm


In apparent fear of exposing the corruption and rots in the present administration, President Muhamadu Buhari on Thursday ordered the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) to stop the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, from speaking in an arranged and agreed radio interview.

Sowore was billed to have a one-hour interview with the radio, but a few minutes to the talk show, it was announced that there was order from “above” for the interview to be stood down.

The African Action Congress (AAC) candidate took to social media to express his disappointment of the last-minute cancellation.

He tweeted: “FLASH: Bigwigs at Radio Nigeria Radio Nigeria (FRCN) @frcnnews @radionigeria today canceled my 4pm interview at the Radio station in Abuja after they belatedly found out I was the one and that standing “orders from above” forbids having me on live radio. We will #takeitback through #sowore2019."

FLASH: Bigwigs at Radio Nigeria Radio Nigeria (FRCN) @frcnnews @radionigeria today canceled my 4pm interview at the Radio station in Abuja after they belatedly found out I was the one and that standing “orders from... https://t.co/rRmSrcukoZ

— Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) October 18, 2018

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Zambia: Various Ways of Observing National Prayer Day By Leo Igwe

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 1:43pm


The web site has a bold inscription on its page “Start Planning” with a sub title: “Prayer Day Zambia”. This site lists October 18 as a national public holiday in the Republic of Zambia. The page goes on to provide a justification for this National Day of Prayer and Fasting:  “Zambia is a much more religiously inclined nation than most others in the rest of the world, and it is also a nation with a large Christian population. In fact, about 75 percent of Zambians are Protestants and 20 percent Roman Catholics”. Zambia has a state ministry for religious, or better Christian religious, affairs that oversees this prayer day event.

Since 2015, this southern African nation has observed a national day of prayer. In the same year, its current President Edgar Lungu led the entire nation to pray for the appreciation of the value of the Kwacha, which is Zambia’s national currency. This year’s Prayer Day has a different focus: Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation in Zambia. The state’s Ministry of Guidance and Religious affairs is planning an event at the Lusaka National Prayer Site. The agency has urged Zambians to face the future as a reconciled, united and prosperous nation under god’s guidance.

So, October 18 is a Prayer Day in Zambia. But it is important to ask: do all Zambians pray or plan to pray on this day?

Interestingly, despite the portrayal of Zambia as a religious nation, there have reported cases of apathy and low turn out to the prayer day events in the past. Last year, President Lungu led the prayer day ceremony at the Nkana stadium and only hundreds of attendees were there. Hundreds of attendees in a country where over 70 percent profess Christianity.

So what could be responsible for the apparent indifference to the Prayer Day event in Zambia? Recently I interviewed some Zambians and they told me what they plan to do on the prayer day.

Sara lives in Kitwe where she works with a car company. A self styled atheist in the closet, Sara thinks that the whole idea of a prayer day is “useless considering the state of the economy”.  She plans to go to the office on that day because she has an online training”. Another Zambia said he would “devote the day to blaspheming on face book”, that is, posting comments that are critical of religious beliefs.  While this Zambian said: “I think many on this day will not care about it as much as atheists, given the current state of economy. I personally will be reading or having a laugh with my family or friends. It will be like any other day for me”. Others outlined their plans as follows: “It will be a day like any other for me... It's not my program”. "I will work on that day", “I will be drinking my beer”. “I will be doing some ungodly stuff”. “I will be out drinking with my hypocritical religious friends. I know they won't go to church. Some Zambians offered their thoughts regarding the prayer day program: “I wish it would be a day of reason; to protest the mental enslavement and colonization by religion. I wish it to be a day to put up billboards showing the absurdity of prayer days with statistics showing the zero impact of previous national days of prayer. So while Zambia may be one of the most religious nations in the world, there are a variety of ways that the people observe the national prayer day. Indeed on this day, Zambia prays but also Zambia works. Zambia thinks. Zambia drinks. Zambia doubts. Zambia blasphemes. 

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BREAKING: Kaduna Govt Imposes 24-Hour Curfew On Community In Kajuru LGA

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 1:33pm


Breaking News

The Kaduna State government has imposed a 24-hour curfew on the Kasuwan Magani community.

Kasuwan Magani is situated in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.

According to Samuel Aruwan, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor (Media and Publicity), the imposition of the 24 hour curfew is with immediate effect.

Although the state government did not state any reason for its decision, SaharaReporters understands it is to forestall possible breakdown of law and order following to a disagreement between some youth in the area.

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Letter To Pastor Poju By Chinasa Ikelu

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 1:15pm


Dear Pastor Poju,

I’m a big fan. I think there is a lot to admire about your hard work in recent years especially in building The Platform brand, driving civic conversations and sharing of ideas. When you announced recently that The Platform will be organizing three debates this political season, it sounded like the next logical step for a brand that has thrived on serious ideas and insights over the last 11 years.

So you can imagine my disappointment when we began to hear that you are actually working towards having just the current two biggest parties on the stage for the debates. We shrugged it off because we had not heard you say it publicly, but then you began to lay the groundwork for that announcement when you tweeted on Wednesday that you “believe any political party serious about governing in this democratic system at federal level must be fielding candidates in at least two-thirds of NASS seats. At state level must also [field candidates in] 2/3rds of house of assembly seats. The way we organize shows our seriousness.”

There’s so much wrong with your logic, Pastor Poju. I suspect you did not think it through before tweeting. And there is even much more wrong with your ill-advised attempt to organize a debate that features only the candidates of the PDP and APC.

In 1998, a third party candidate, Jesse Ventura ran for governor in the US state of Minnesota. His party had no elected official anywhere, yet he defeated the candidates of the two major parties in that year’s election. How did it happen? Ventura was included in a series of governorship debates alongside the candidates of the bigger parties. At the time of the first debate, he was not even polling up to 10 percent. Yet, he rode on his fine performances from those debates and his brilliant ideas to win that election. If you were in charge, Pastor Poju, would Ventura have been given that chance?

You are not in a position to judge any party’s seriousness based on the national assembly seats it chooses to field candidates for. You know nothing about their strategy or their resources. You have the opportunity, at least, to hear about their ideas, but not when you conspire to exclude them. Any debate for next year’s elections that excludes nationally known candidates of parties outside the major two is a farce. You have to be careful about setting a terrible democratic precedence.

For a very long time in America, presidential debates were organized by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, a group that was particular about inclusion, hearing diverse views, opening up the space and giving choice to the electorate. The two main parties did not like that, of course. When Independent Candidate John Anderson was included in the debate between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in 1980, the president was so outraged that he refused to participate. He believed that if people heard Anderson’s ideas, it may take away from his own base. Not long after that election, the two major parties hijacked the debate process, forming a commission which now organizes the debates. That move was described at the time by legendary American broadcaster, Walter Cronkite, as “an unconscionable fraud.” It is worrying that in Nigeria’s case, it is you, Pastor Poju - the leader of a private organization that supposedly champions free expression - who is hoping to lead this “unconscionable fraud”, not even the political parties. Other organizations that have organized debates in Nigeria over the years - whether owned by government or not - have tried to maintain a level playing field. With all due respect Pastor, your thinking on this matter raises questions about your understanding of what a fair democratic process should look like at best, and it raises questions about your motives and agenda, at worst.

Dear Pastor Poju, beneath your tweet is your unstated belief that no third party candidate can win a presidential election. It is a fallacy, but for the sake of this argument, let us concede it. However, have you thought about the fact that these other candidates could be fertile sources of new policy ideas and programs which Nigerians need to hear, if only to enrich the national conversation and force the major candidates to contend with those ideas? In America, some of the most consequential policies that are now mainstays of the polity were first proposed by third party candidates - ideas like women’s suffrage and direct election of senators. Even in the current Nigerian election season, some of the boldest ideas - from the minimum wage to an equity fund to building pipelines conveying water from Calabar to Lake Chad and piping flared gas to provide as subsidies to companies - have been pushed by third party candidates. This theology which makes all effort only about winning is a problematic one, Pastor Poju. It fails to see the empowerment that a voter gets from being able to symbolically vote for a candidate who represents a value or champions an idea that one fervently believes.

Millions of Nigerians are disillusioned with the political process and are actively considering a vote for a third party candidate. That is enough reason to include them in debates. Shouldn’t Nigerians hear from viable alternatives like Kingsley Moghalu, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Omoyele Sowore, among others, in an election where the major candidates - Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari - are so unlikeable? In those two old men, the two main parties have chosen the most disliked major presidential nominees in modern times, and you are attempting to foist on Nigerians the unacceptable impression that there is no alternative. That’s ridiculous!

Pastor Poju, consider the tens of millions of Nigerians who choose not to vote in every election (more than 50 million). You must know that a big reason for the apathy is that voters are not excited about their choices. They would rather sleep in at home than vote for the status quo. Debates stimulate voter interest and could lead to greater participation. Importantly, the option of a third party gives those disaffected in the process a voice and a reason not to completely disconnect from the political process. A good case is the 1992 US presidential debate which drew the largest debate audience in history largely because a third party candidate was included.

The argument you make about seriousness has another major flaw. What you fail to understand is that the PDP and the APC have a head-start over the smaller parties. They have the financial resources - a lot of it stolen from the commonwealth - which gives them an undemocratic advantage. A presidential debate is a leveler. It provides an opportunity for the other candidates to reach millions of Nigerians with their message and stake a claim to legitimacy. You cannot on the one hand argue that the smaller parties do not have a large enough spread and are thus unserious, when you exclude and delegitimize them with your tweets and actions. You are perpetuating a vicious cycle where hardworking third party candidates with odds stacked against them are deemed unimportant because they don’t get enough coverage, and then they do not get enough coverage because they are deemed unimportant. You - and large sections of the media - are perpetuating a socialization effect that this election is a two-horse race, stamping it into the psyche of voters who then run to the two status-quo parties in order not to “waste their votes.” You are trying to use this debate to further subsidize the two biggest parties. Pastor, you all have to end this fraudulent subsidy.

The 2017 French presidential debate had five candidates on stage. Up to 11 candidates were on stage during the Republican primaries debate in 2016. We can have something similar. The presidential candidates can be divided into two or three tiers with 5 - 7 debating on stage per time. You can commission an opinion poll asking Nigerians about which candidates should be on the stage. The 5 – 7 candidates with the highest votes will square off at primetime, then the next set afterwards. It is possible and it has been done in other climes. There is no reason why we shouldn’t. Now, that is how to show that you are serious, Pastor Poju!

Chinasa Ikelu

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Political Appointees, Civil Servants, Students To Undergo Compulsory Drug Test In Kano

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 1:12pm


The Kano State Government has granted approval for compulsory drug test for political appointees, civil servants and students in the state.

Mallam Muhammad Garba, the Commissioner for Information, said the decision was taken at the State Executive Council meeting held in Kano on Thursday.

According to NAN, Garba said the policy was adopted to address drug abuse in the state.

He said: “All political appointees, civil servants particularly the ones that are due for promotion and students seeking admission will henceforth undergo compulsory drug test in the state."

He also noted that the council had approved N332 million for the treatment of malnourished children for the period of six months in 2018, just as N67.3 million was approved for the construction of drainages in Warkai village in Warawa Local Government Area to avert flooding.‎

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ALERT: Chinese Drugs Containing Human Foetuses, Hepatitis B Could Be In Circulation

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 12:59pm


The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has siezed 2,751 Chinese drugs/capsules containing remains from foetuses, infants and flesh imported into the country by Chinese nationals.

The seizure was done by the South Korean Customs Service on September 30, 2018, according to a Nigeria/China/South-Korea/Multilateral/Social document prepared by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Abuja and obtained by SaharaReporters.

The document, dated October 12, 2018, noted that the manufacturers claimed that the drugs/capsules could boost stamina, cure cancer, diabetes and some other diseases, and were smuggled in suitcases and through international mail.

Also found in the capsules were 18.7 billion viruses, including Hepatitis B.

The NIA has alerted the Federal Ministry of Health, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Standards Organisation Of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Customs and other relevant agencies to step up efforts in monitoring the importation of drugs from China into Nigeria.

The statement read: "The South Korean Customs Service on 30th September, 2018, revealed that it had seized two thousand, seven hundred and fifty-one (2,751) Chinese drugs/capsules, containing human remains from fetuses, infants and flesh imported into the country by some Chinese nationals.

"The manufacturers claimed that the drugs/capsules can boost stamina, cure cancer, diabetes and some other terminal diseases. The capsules were smuggled in suitcases and through international mail.

"South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety indicated that eighteen billion, seven hundred million (18.7 billion) viruses, including hepatitis B virus, were found in the capsules. It stressed the making of the human-remain drugs and consuming them are crimes against humanity, which can also lead to serious health challenges.

"The Agency is monitoring the situation for detailed information. However, it is important for all relevant health regulatory agencies in Nigeria, especially the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, NDLEA and SON, to sensitise Nigerians of this development and warn them of the inherent dangers of patronizing drugs imported from China. The Customs Service, NIPOST and other mail delivery services, should also step up monitoring of cargoes and packages with drugs imported into Nigeria."

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Yaba Residents Groan As Lagos Govt Refuses To Open Closed Roads Two Months After Renovation

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 12:38pm





Residents of Tokunbo and Ishola streets, off McEween Road, Yaba, in Lagos, are unhappy with the continuous closure of the roads two months after their construction was completed.

According to residents, who spoke with SaharaReprters on Wednesday, the roads were completed in August but the Lagos State Government blocked all entrances to the road to deter residents and motorists from using it, pending the commissioning by the state.

SaharaReporters found out that the roads are part of the 181 roads the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, promised to construct across all the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state.

Speaking about the continuous hardship faced by residents due to the closure, Johnson Shodipe, a resident of Tokunbo Street, expressed gratitude to the state government for renovat the road but the post-renovation closure as “unnecessary”.

“We were very happy when they came sometime in January to construct this road, but they have completed construction about two months ago and they still will not allow vehicles to pass," he said.

"We understand the stress we had to go through while the construction was going on, but what do we call this one? We heard they are keeping people away from the road until it's time to commission it. I think that is very unnecessary. If they are stopping people from using a small road like this one because of commissioning, what will they do when they build bridges? I don’t know but closing this road is inconveniencing people.”

Another resident, who simply identified herself as Alhaja, decried the inaccessibility of the road, stating: “This is Ishola Street, and as you can see, they have used those heavy concrete block and chains to stop vehicles from entering. Those with cars have to park very far way and trek to their houses. We have had issues where things were stolen from people’s cars because they parked in unsafe places."

Businesses on the streets too share in the undue difficulties caused by the blockage. Taiwo Okunuga, one of the engineers at a mechanic workshop along Tokunbo Road, said the closure had greatly impacted on the businesses that come into the workshop.

He said: “We were happy when they came to construct the road because we thought more vehicles would now come in for us, but since they finished the road, they have locked it, not allowing any vehicle to come in. Even people who have cars on the street have to park them elsewhere.

“Now, we meet our customers outside or go to their houses if their vehicles have serious issues and cannot move at all.”

Similarly, Promise Alashi, a worker at a hospital on Tokunbo Street, said the rate of patronage had reduced since the renovation started, but they were hopeful that things would improve once the work is completed. However, he lamented that two months after completion, the road was still barricaded.

He complained that patients had to park miles away from the hospital and trek or be carried by hands into the hospital.

A staff of a nursery and primary school on Ishola Street, who preferred not to be named, corroborated Promise’s complaint, saying parents had to park their cars miles away from the school and bring in their kids by trekking down to the school.

When SaharaReporters contacted the Lagos State Ministry of Works to know why the road was still inaccessible, the ministry declined to comment, stating that the road is under the control of the Yaba Local Government.

SaharaReporters also visited the local government for comments, but an official of the information unit and the director in-charge of the roads in the LG, whose full names were not disclosed, both refused to comment.

One of the staffers in the office said: “Oga said he cannot address the press until he gets clearance from the Chairman.”

A staffer at the information unit identified simply as Alhaja, threw her hands in the air to suggest there was nothing she could do until there is a clearance from the LCDA chairman, Kayode Omiyale.

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Lagos Assembly Tells PSP Operators Disengaged By Ambode To Resume ‘Full Operations’

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 10:35am


The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday mandated local government executives in the state to call on the Private Sector Partnership (PSP) operators in their areas to resume picking up refuse.

Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of the state, had disengaged the PSP operators last year and introduced the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, through the Visionscape Sanitation Solution Limited, in their stead.

However, on Thursday, the House denied knowledge of Visionscape Sanitation Solutions Ltd. 

The resolution to recall the PSP operators followed an urgent matter of public importance raised by Gbolahan Yishawu, Chairman of House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, over heaps of refuse scattered all over the state.

Yishawu complained about the several heaps of refuse on Lagos roads, saying: “Some refuse are being taken to Epe and Ikorodu but these places are a bit far now.

“We used to dump the refuse in Olusosun, but the place was gutted by fire. We can give the place to private companies.

“The sanitary land fill in Epe is not being utilised and the transfer loading stations too are not working effectively, with the turnaround time of collecting the refuse not being utilised. It is not all the PSP operators that are working. Maybe we can recall the PSP operators and reopen Olusosun and the land fill sites should be operated properly,.”

Sanai Agunbiade, Majority Leader of the House, said that heaps of refuse were worse in Ikorodu.

Agunbiade argued that for the state to have good sanitation, a law on environmental sanitation was passed in the state, but things have not been properly done since then.

“The refuse on the roads and on the streets are hazardous to the people. Flies from the refuse perch on the food people are eating exposing to health hazards,” he said.

“One day, Olusosun will not be able to accommodate refuse any longer. It will be better if we can change our policy on refuse disposal.

“I will suggest that we should invite the people in the Ministry of Health and those in the Ministry of the Environment to know their challenges. The refuse situation has become an eyesore in Lagos State. We should invite the people in charge.”

Also, Bisi Yusuff, representing Alimosho Constituency 1, observed that Visionscape lacks the competence to do the job, and urged the House to look at the situation critically and urgently.

The lawmakers took turns to decry the poor state of refuse management across the state.

In his ruling, Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the House, directed to Chairmen of the 20 local governments and 36 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to engage PSP operators to resume full operations.

Obasa also directed Azeez Sanni, the Clerk of the House, to invite the Commissioner for the Environment, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, to appear before the House on the matter next week.

He said the Lagos State Government does not know anything about Visionscape, lamenting that the executive did not consult with other arms of government before engaging Visionscape.

“We insist that we don’t know anything about Visionscape because we were not consulted before they started work,” he said.

“We once wrote the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade, not to pay Visionscape again and that he would return any money he paid to them after our instruction to the coffers of the government.

“We will go to that when the time comes but we have to do the needful now. We call on the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs to have meetings with the PSP operators to go back to work and they should start paying them and make the residents to start paying the operators. We have to avoid epidemics and be proactive.”

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Policemen In Ibadan Brutalise Driver, Break His Leg

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 9:55am

Some personnel of the Nigeria Police Force have injured one Toluwalase Abimbola Owolabi, a driver with Globacom Company in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Narrating the ordeal, Muyiwa Owolabi, brother of the victim, stated that Toluwalase was heading home after close of work when the incident happened.

“My brother works as a driver for Globacom and drives one of the top personnel at Glo. They had a dinner that very night and he went to drop his boss at his house around 10pm," he said. 

"On the way to his house, he saw the policemen and they flagged him down. He couldn’t stop the car immediately, so he drove to the front, parked and went to meet the officers.”

He said the Police asked why his brother didn’t stop immediately he was flagged down and began to harass him, noting that the officers started beating him to the point that he was unable to walk.

“They began to harass him. They beat him to the extent that his limb got broken and he was unable to walk. The other people in his car ran away from the scene when they saw that the other officers were moving towards them. But, as the driver, he could not abandon his car.”

According to Muyiwa, the Oyo State Police Command is trying to cover up the excesses of their officers by protecting the identity of the officers involved in the incident.

     

He said: "I called the DPO of Mokola division, Mr Kolawole, who narrated the story to me. He knows the policemen are guilty and the boys on duty didn’t do anything right to deserve the uniform of the Nigeria Police.

“It is quite unfortunate that the Police are trying to cover up the whole issue and are shielding the officers who were involved in the inhuman act.”

When contacted, the Divisional Police Officer of Mokola Police division confirmed the incident, but refused to give further comments.

Video of #SARS: Police Breaks Leg Of 24-Year-Old Man #SARS: Police Breaks Leg Of 24-Year-Old Man #SARS: Police Breaks Leg Of 24-Year-Old Man

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BREAKING: Ondo Assembly Sacks 18 LG Caretaker Chairmen — The Second Time In Five Months

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 9:36am

 

The caretaker committee chairmen in the 18 local government areas of Ondo State have again been dissolved by the Ondo State House of Assembly.

The committees were sacked on Thursday by the lawmakers following a unanimous decision at the day’s plenary.

This is the second time in 2018 that these caretaker committee chairmen would be dissolved during the administration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

Bamidele Oloyelogun, Speaker of the Assembly, announced the dissolution at a plenary, following the expiration of an additional six months to the tenure of the caretaker committees.

Segun Ajimatokin, a lawmaker representing Irele Constituency I at the House of Assembly, moved a motion for the dissolution of the committees. 

Hon. Ajimatokin's motion was also immediately seconded by Jamiu Maito, who is representing Akoko North West Constituency I at the state parliament house. 

The two lawmakers argued at the hallowed chamber of the Assembly that the tenure of the caretaker committees had earlier been elongated for a period of six months, which lapsed on Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

They explained that since the issue had been extensively debated at the parliamentary meeting of the house. It was, however, resolved that the 18 caretaker committees be dissolved.

"Today, at the parliamentary meeting, members of this honourable house extensively debated the tenure of the local government caretaker committees and resolved that they be dissolved. I hereby move a motion for the dissolution of the committees across the 18 local government areas of Ondo State with immediate effect,” Ajimatokin had said.

The affected 18 local government caretaker committees have been directed to immediately hand over to the directors of Local Government Administration in their respective LGAs.

The last sack of caretaker committee chairmen in April was to pave way for the conduct of a substantive poll “around May or June”; but five months after, the election still hasn’t been held.

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NDLEA Arrests Woman Whose Husband Hid Over 200kg Of Indian Hemp At Home

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 8:59am



Yakubu Kibo, Commander of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Adamawa Stste, has revealed that his command has confiscated 200.7 kilogrammes of a substance suspected to be Indian hemp.

Kibo, disclosed this to newsmen in Yola, saying "the prohibited drug was seized from one Alhaji Ali Lafiya, whose wife, Aisha, was arrested in his stead".

Kibo said the suspected drug baron was at large during the seizure at his residence in Anguwar Waji area of Lafia, Lamurde Local Government Area of the state.

”At about 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, following an intelligence report, men of a Special Squad of the NDLEA stormed the house of one Alhaji Ali Lafiya at Anguwar Waji in Lafia town. A total of 200.7 kg of substance believed to be Indian hemp was seized," he said.

“Although, the suspect was at large during the operation, his wife, Aisha Ali, 30 years old, was arrested."

According to the Commander, from intelligence gathering, Lafia town in Lamurde is becoming a den of drug dealers.

He assured the public that the suspect was being trailed and would be apprehended soon.

When interviewed, Aisha told newsmen that she had been married to the suspect as second wife for the past seven years.

She confessed that she was aware of the illicit business of her husband.

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BREAKING: Buhari Meets With Security Chiefs

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 8:37am


President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with Security Chiefs at the State House, Abuja.

Present at the meeting, which held on Thursday, were Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali; Chief of Army Lieutenant General T.Y. Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, among others.

More to follow...

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Bayelsa Social Media Group Donates Relief Materials To Flood Victims

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 8:32am



SAYELBA, a Facebook platform in Bayelsa State, has concluded plans to donate relief materials to flood victims in Bayelsa State.

The group, which comprises volunteers from the Niger Delta,  took the decision following an initiative by a broadcaster, Tari Joshua, to raise funds from fellow SAYELBANS and ameliorate the suffering of fellow Bayelsans who have been affected by the flood. 

Fortune God'sSon Alfred, SAYELBA's Principal Administrator and Coordinator of the Group said the group had received a total of N422,000, four bags of garri, 55 bags of sachet water as well as two packs of Vitamin A tablets from members of the public.

Fortune disclosed that the Committee, which has been receiving freewill donations from a cross-section of well meaning individuals from all walks to life have procured relief materials such as bags of rice, garri, palm oil, salt, tomatoes, bathing soaps, washing soaps, disinfectants, toiletries and mosquito nets, which it intends to distribute to the camps on Thursday, October 18, 2018.

Other items include cereals, milk, beverages as well as medical supplies like Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits, anti-malaria drugs and mosquito nets.

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BREAKING: Usman Yusuf, Executive Secretary Of NHIS, Gets Fresh Suspension

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 8:19am

Usman Yusuf, a professor and Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has been suspended.

A source very close to the NHIS told SaharaReporters on Thursday that the suspension was ordered by the NHIS board chaired by Dr. Enyantu Ifenne, a paediatrician with an impressive track of academic, professional and public advocacy accomplishments.

Thursday’s action from the NHIS board marks Yusuf’s second suspension in a little over a year, as Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, first suspended him in June 2017, after an administrative panel found him guilty of allegations of gross misconduct, nepotism, financial recklessness and theft of public funds to the tune of N919million.

In October, Adewole made the suspension indefinite pending action from President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, in February 2018, the President reinstated him. The reinstatement was confirmed by a letter to the Minister, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, which made no mention of the allegations against Yusuf but simply urged him to “work harmoniously with the Minister”.

“Yusuf was not at the meeting where his suspension was announced,” the source told Saharareporters. “Apparently, he has been undermining the board, feeling no one can touh him due to his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari and the people running his government.”

Yusuf’s latest suspension will be made public any moment from now, the source added.

Ifenne subsequently confirmed the suspension to journalists, saying it was for financial improprieties, and adding that Mallam Sadiq Abubakar will now act as Executive Secretary in the interim.

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Motorcycle Rider To Spend Four Years In Jail For Having Anal Sex With Six Boys

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 7:06am


A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Minna, capital of Niger State, has sentenced a 23-year-old commercial motorcyclist, Adamu Mohammed, to four years in prison for having anal sex with six boys, all aged between 10 and 2.

Mohammed was docked on the charge of an unnatural offence, in contravention of Section 284 of the Penal Code.

Daniel Ikwoche, the police prosecutor, told the court that one Yusuf Buhari reported the matter at the Chanchaga station on October 6.

Ikwoche said the complainant accused Mohammed of luring his 10-year-old son into his room at Korokpa village, Minna, where he had sex with him through the anus.

He said further investigation revealed that the accused person also committed the act with five other boys between the ages of 10 and 12 years, all of Korokpa area.

When the charge was read to him, he pleaded guilty and begged for leniency.

The prosecutor thereafter prayed the court to try him summarily in line with Section 157 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The presiding magistrate, Nasiru Muazu, sentenced the accused to four years in prison with hard labour without an option of fine.

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Senate Confirms Buhari's NPC Nominee With 'Questionable Certificate'

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 6:22am


The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Dr. Abdulmalik Mohammed Durnnguwa as a Commissioner at the National Population Commission (NPC).

The Senate had previously rejected Durnnguwa and stood down his confirmation for allegedly possessing a questionable West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate.

However, in its plenary session on Thursday, the Senate confirmed his appointment as one of the commissioners who will be heading the NPC. See Also Corruption Senate Rejects Buhari's Nominee Over 'Questionable' WAEC Certificate 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Durnnguwa is one of 23 nominees appointed as commissioners by the Federal Government into the NPC.

The 22 others confirmed as commissioners are: Nwanne Nwabuisi, Dr. Clifford T.O. Zirra, Dr. Chidi Christopher Ezeoke, Barr. Isa Audu Buratai, Navy Captain Charles Iyam Ogwa, Sir Richard Odibo, Okereke Darlington Onuabuchi, Mr. A.D. Olusegun Aiyejina, Ejike Ezeh, Hon. Abubakar Mohammed Danburam, Prof. Uba S.F. Nnabue and Suleiman Ismaila Lawal.

Others are Professor Jimoh Habibat Isah, Dr. Sa'adu Ayinla Alanamu, Nasir Isa Kwarra, Barr. Aliyu Datti, Yeye (Mrs.) Seyi Adereinokun Olusanya, Prince (Dr.) Olanadiran Garvey Iyantan, Senator Mudasiru Oyetunde Hussain, Mrs. Cecillia Arsun Dapoet, Dr. Ipalibo Macdonald Harry and Sale S. Saany.

While presenting the report of the Committee on National Identity Card and National Population on the screening of the nominees, on October 11, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi had said "Dr. Abdul Malik Mohammed Durnnguwa’s nomination was stood down due to questionable certificates".

While Senator Ali Ndume noted that “When you have questionable certifications, it is the duty of the Committee to verify", Senator Sam Egwu said: “These screenings were done for months and now it is not right to give an individual another two weeks. We cannot function that way".

Senator Gumel Abdullahi stated that his concern was whether the nominee wrote Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and passed.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, suggested that the committee be given four weeks to make its findings and then report back.

Durnnguwa's confirmation on Thursday happened just seven days after. As of the time of filing this report, it wasn't immediately clear if the said certificate had been established to be credible.

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BREAKING: ‘Entire PDP Ward’ In Akwa Ibom Defects To APC

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 5:27am

The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it has welcomed the “entire chapter and ward exco” of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Obot Akara Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State into its fold.

Making an announcement on Twitter, the party said the defectors were received to their new party by Abom Tony Esu, Director-General of the campaign organisation of Nsima Ekere, the governorship candidate of the party in the 2019 election. 

“The entire Chapter & Ward Exco of the PDP in Obot Akara LGA in Akwa Ibom State have decamped to the APC alongside thousands of their members. They were received into the APC by the DG of Nsima Ekere 2019 Governorship Campaign, Abom Tony Esu, on October 17, 2018,” it said.

The political terrain in Akwa-Ibom has seen some mini-defections since Godswil Akpabio, a two-time former Governor of the state, crossed from the PDP to APC.

The entire Chapter & Ward Exco of the PDP in Obot Akara LGA in Akwa Ibom State have decamped to the APC alongside thousands of their members. They were received into the APC by the DG of Nsima Ekere 2019 Governorship Campaign, Abom Tony Esu, on October 17, 2018 pic.twitter.com/xmyu3VQQMF

— APC Nigeria (@APCNigeria) October 18, 2018

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19,000 Rice Farmers Lose N27.5bn To Flood In Sokoto

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 5:15am


Rice farmers in Sokoto State have lost an estimated 61,197.5 tonnes of rice valued at N27.5 billion due to flood.

Alhaji Ibrahim Salihu, the state Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) stated this on Thursday when the association visited some of the affected farms.

Salihu also noted that the flood affected 19,000 rice farmers across the 23 local government areas of the state, NAN reported.

He said: “Based on the estimates, the cultivated farms’ yields lost to floods are 61,197.5 tonnes, because farms were submerged by rainwater and crops destroyed before harvest.

“Yields lost can be quantified to be 3,059,875 bags, while if converted to money each bag of 100kg is N9,000 at open market, therefore, at least about N27,538,879, 000 was lost."

Noting that the farmers had reached out to the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Company (NAIC) for remedy, he appealed to the Federal Government to come to the aid of the affected farmers.

Officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, Unity Bank, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, NAIC and RIFAN National President, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo were part of the inspection team, which visited Goronyo Dam, Takakume, Falaliya, Lakoba  and Wurno Rice Farms, among other affected areas.

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Unknown Gunmen Kill APC Treasurer In Ekiti

Sahara Reporters - 18 October 2018 - 4:44am


Gunmen have killed Moses Adeoye, the treasurer of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State

Adeoye is also the immediate past Chairman of the APC in Moba Local Government Qrea.

According to Caleb Ikechukwu, Public Relations Officer of the Police in the state, Adeoye was murdered on Wednesday evening at his residence in Otun, Moba Local Government Area of the state.

“The state police headquarters is aware of it already and we have started our investigation to make sure we apprehend all the perpetrators of this act,” he said.

“We commiserate with his family and assured the people of Ekiti State that the Police is on top of this matter.”

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