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EFCC Aiding Lawmakers To Deduct From Our Pay, Says National Assembly Aides

Sahara Reporters - 20 April 2019 - 12:01am

Some aides of lawmakers of the 8th National Assembly have alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is conspiring with lawmakers to deduct from the payments entitled to them.

The aides, under the auspices of the Concerned Legislative Aides of the 8th National Assembly, said they have sent a petition to the EFCC, but the anti-graft agency is yet to take any action in investigating the petition.

In the statement, which was jointly signed by  Chinedu Nwokeukwu and Sunday Chuba, the group singled out the Clerk to the National Assembly and the presiding officers of the Senate and House of Representatives as the main culprits in the entitlement deduction.

The statement read: “The non-investigation has clearly emboldened our traducers in making the final kill before the end of the 8th National Assembly on 10 June, 2019.

“Concerned Legislative Aides are reliably informed that plans are afoot to tamper with the May 2019 salary – being the last salary of 8th Assembly aides – and deductions of up to N100,000 and above are being planned on the severance package of each legislative aide.

“We hereby implore the EFCC to take the bull by its horns and speedily investigate the said allegation and ensure that the diverted monies are duly refunded and paid to 8th Assembly aides before the expiry of the 8th National Assembly.”

Giving a breakdown of some of their entitlements, the aides mentioned that each lawmaker is entitled to five aides, each totalling 2,345 aides.

They continued: “Part of the allowance is the Duty Tour Allowance (DTA). Each SLA from Level 15-17 is entitled to the sum of N100,000, while other categories of aides receive the sum of N75,000 every quarter.

“We are hereby alleging criminal diversion of these yearly appropriated legitimate entitlements.

“Out of the 13 quarters DTAs owed legislative aides of the 8th National Assembly since June 2015, only two quarters have been paid to us."

The aides also alleged that they have not participated in any training, despite the budgetary allocations for it.

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Four Akwa Ibom Varsity Students Face Expulsion Over Rape

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 11:58pm

Four students of the Akwa Ibom State University are on the verge of being rusticated after their involvement in the rape of a female student.

The students, Akpan Matthew, Essien Fidelis, Bassey Joseph and Bassey Columbus, have been suspended from the school and under investigation by the Police.

On March 23, the University received a security report that four male students allegedly raped and caused severe bodily harm to a female student of the Department of Performing Arts and Mass Communication.

Akaninyene Ibanga, Head of Directorate of Information, Public Relations and Protocol of the University, told newsmen that the university would take appropriate steps, if the Police confirms that the students are involved in the act.

He explained that the action of the students has caused embarrassment to the university community.

Ibanga said: “The students were first suspended by the university authorities as normal procedure to allow them attend police interviews as part of investigations to establish their level of involvement in the crime.

“There is no way the police will exonerate them, because the victim had obtained a medical report to back up police findings.

“Once the police conclude their investigation and send the report, the university would expel them."

According to the PRO, the studentship of the indicted students have been suspended indefinitely for “gross misconduct which constitutes a breach of the matriculation oath".

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Policemen Should Undergo Mental Assessment Immediately, Group Tells IGP

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 11:54pm

Gavel, a civic tech organization aimed at improving the pace of justice delivery through technology, has called for the immediate mental assessment of all personnel of the Nigeria Police Force.

Nelson Olanipekun, Team Lead of Gavel, decried the incessant killings of Nigerians by officers of the Nigeria Police Force, attributing the killings to lack of discipline.

Olanipekun urged Adamu Mohammed, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), to be proactive in ending the series of extrajudicial activities being carried out by the Police.

He said: “With the increase in police brutality, police extortion and extra judicial killings across Nigeria, we cannot afford to keep waiting until the next incident happens before action is taken. 

“We need to be proactive and stop sacrificing the lives of promising Nigerians on the altar of system inefficiency and lack of accountability.

“While we commend the obvious efforts of the acting Inspector General of Police in trying to fix the system, it is seeming that the lack of discipline is long entrenched in the veins of police personnel and this begs for an urgent need for a massive overhaul of the system.”

Olanipekun called for mental test of officers in order to sieve the force of “bad heads”.

He said: “It is high time that the leadership of the police began a mental assessment and other forms of relevant assessment to remove the bad heads from the system.

“The implementation of the directive that heads of unit must be accountable should begin immediately, since no one can better be held accountable for the actions and inactions of an officer, other than the immediate supervisor of such officer.”

He added that the assessment must commence immediately in order to prevent anarchy in Nigeria.

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Politicians Have Destroyed Institutions In Nigeria, Says Sanusi

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 11:52pm

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano, has indicted politicians on the growing rate of insurgency in the country, claiming that the political class is aiding kidnapping and thuggery.

Speaking at the Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria’s 9th triennial national conference on Friday, Sanusi also stated that the political class has destroyed the health and judiciary system of the country.

“The political class has destroyed so many things in this country. The health system has been destroyed. People now travel abroad for medical attention.

“This political class has instituted thuggery, election malpractices, corruption. They have also destroyed the judiciary. Institutions have been destroyed,

"The unfortunate thing is that it is meant to be perpetual and the manipulation of these things has been the source of criminal violence, insecurity in our society, tribal clashes, religious crises. One crisis will reduce, another one will spring up.

“There is now kidnapping, among other crimes as a result of the elite. This has to change. We should learn from our creator."

He also called for deliberate actions to save the country from imminent destruction, adding that Nigerians must always support those championing for justice and fighting against corruption in Nigeria.

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NAF Deploys Team To Investigate Zamfara Killings

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 11:49pm

The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) team has sent a team to Zamfara to investigate claims by traditional rulers that airstrikes by NAF resulted in the death of innocent villagers.

The team, headed by AVM Idi Lubo, arrived Zamfara on Friday and promised to meet stakeholders in the state, as well as visit the affected communities.

Speaking to journalists at the 307 Quick Response Group headquarters in Gusau, Lubo said: “As concerned Nigerians and part of those charged with the responsibility of ensuring the peace and safety of Nigerians, we are here to verify the claims made by the traditional rulers of Zamfara.

“We will meet with all stakeholders in the matter, especially the state government, security chiefs and even the affected community members before filing our report.”

Traditional rulers in Zamfara had claimed that the NAF's airstrikes were targeted at innocent villagers, instead of bandit camps.

NAF initially denied claims. However, Alhaji Hassan Attahiruof the State Council of Chiefs presented a list of those that were killed and those injured.

Those killed are: Mai Daji Barau, Na Dumburum, Suwaiba Alka, Yar Guru Na Dumburum, Maryam Shafiu, Dahe Malan Sule, Buhari Dan Kurma, Zaliha na Dumburum, Aisha Akilu, Alamin Alka and Fati ‘Yar Gum.

Those who sustained injuries are Haruna Kusu, Muhammad M Sani, AbdulRazak Abubakar, Yakubu Yunusa, Dan Diyya, Sa’a Dayyabu, Yar’wargi Mamman, Gwamna na Dumburum, Rashida Alka, Maryam Akilu and Sadiq Sukuranu.

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Nigeria Drops In World Press Freedom Ranking

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 11:46pm

Police preventing journalists from covering the trial

Nigeria has dropped further in the ranking of countries that support press freedom.

The ranking, which was conducted by Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), saw Nigeria drop a place from 119 in 2018 to 120, among 180 countries.

RSF bemoaned the incessant harassment and intimidation of journalists by military officers and politicians in the country.

Unveiling the ranking, RSF also stated that journalists in Nigeria experience obstacles when reporting stories that have to do with politics, terrorism and financial embezzlement.

RSF said: “The defence of quality journalism and the protection of journalists need to be priorities during Buhari’s second term. 

“Africa’s most populous nation has more than 100 independent newspapers and yet covering stories involving politics, terrorism or financial embezzlement by the powerful proves problematic. 

“Journalists are often threatened, subjected to physical violence or denied access to information by government officials, police and sometimes the public itself. The all-powerful regional governors are often the most determined persecutors and act with complete impunity. 

“In 2018, one governor had the premises of a radio station razed after a series of reports criticizing his handling of local affairs. The police also detained a journalist for several days in an attempt to identify his sources.

The organisation also condemned the 2015 cyber-crime law which seemingly supports the arrest and prosecution of journalists and bloggers “in an arbitrary manner”.

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EXCLUSIVE: APC Suspends Ondo Governor Akeredolu For Anti-Party Activities

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 11:43pm

Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has been suspended from the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the national leadership of the party, multiple sources within the party have confirmed to SaharaReporters.

SaharaReporters learnt from several sources that Akeredolu was suspended by a party committee set up to look into his case. 

On March 1, SaharaReporters had reported how the NWC of APC queried Akeredolu over his “glaring anti-party activities, which greatly affected the fortunes of our candidates in the recently-conducted presidential and national assembly elections in the state".

On Friday, a high-ranking member of the APC in Ondo State confirmed the suspension to SaharaReporters, although he asked not to be named since the party was yet to make a formal announcement. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: APC Queries Akeredolu For Working Against The Party In National Assembly Election 0 Comments 1 Month Ago  

"It is true; the Governor has been suspended from the APC due to anti-party activities after he was issued a query by the national leadership of the party over anti-party activities,” he said. “Although the APC at the national level has not made an official announcement, we are 100 percent aware that he has been suspended.”

A second APC source in Akure, capital of Ondo State, who also requested not to be named, confirmed the suspension, telling SaharaReporters: “I can confirm to you that Akeredolu has been suspended from the party over anti-party activities and many of his commissioners in the state are aware of this already.

"Well, maybe they don't want to tell you the truth or they are all afraid of losing their positions, but it is true; he has been suspended from APC.”

Also speaking, a leader of the party, who asked for anonymity, said: "I am aware that Governor Akeredolu was queried over anti-party activities, so it might be very possible that he has been suspended as almost everyone in the party is already aware of this.”

When contacted by SaharaReporters, a fourth source, who currently works in the government of Akeredolu, said he would not like to talk on the suspension.

"Well, I don't and would not want to talk about it because I feel that this Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who is National Chairman of our party is the problem we have.

"How will you suspend a Governor in the party and you refuse to listen to explanation from us? Oshiomhole is just too rigid and cannot manage the party well. 

"He has shown that the best way to govern the party (APC) is to push out those who are against him and his decisions, but he will soon fail as people are already tired of him. So, the suspension I think was like a week ago but already we're doing everything at our end to resolve it and we shall get over issues which led to this very soon.”

When SaharaReporters contacted Mallan Lanre Issa-Onilu, National Publicity Secretary of the party, he neither confirmed nor denied it.

"I am not aware of that and several people have called me to confirm this,” he said, “but I cannot talk on it since I am not aware of it.”

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UAE Sentences Eight Nigerians To Death Over At Least Four 'Highly Organised' Robberies In 2016

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 2:40pm

Eight Nigerians have been sentenced to death in the United Arab Emirates for "a string of robberies at money exchanges and cash machines".

Twenty suspects were arrested for attacking security guards in four incidents of violence at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016. Nine of the suspects were convicted.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Nigeria's Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, confirmed it on Friday in a statement describin the death sentence as "unfortunate". She also expressed concern over the development, stating that the incident is not an actual description of personalities of people of Nigeria.

"It is an unfortunate incident, but it is not an incident that defines who we are as a people," she said.

"If a few Nigerians have committed a crime for which they are being punished, thousands of Nigerians are doing great in that same country and are being appreciated and celebrated. Mr President, who meets Nigerians every time he goes on official trips outside the country, always appeals to Nigerians to be good ambassadors wherever they are.

“I must commend millions of our brothers and sisters excelling all over the world. Bad news travels fast and I appeal to the media to help spread the good news about Nigerians and not concentrate only on the once in a while negative stories."

Two UAE newspapers Gulf News and Khaleej Times reported the trial, but neither revealed the identities of the convicted Nigerians.

However, in its report, Gulf News said a ninth man was sentenced to six months followed by deportation for possession of stolen money. He denied the charge against him and said that one of the accused’s brothers asked him to transfer Dh60,000 to an account in his home country.

A total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at ATMs and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016. Out of 20 suspects, nine were convicted.

The verdict was handed down by Judge Majid Al Muhairi of Sharjah Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The paper said the eight-member gang attacked security trucks and entered establishments by force and threatened and assaulted staff and members of the public with bladed weapons in a spate of robberies, three of which were carried out in the same day on December 18, 2016.

The gang — who were all in the UAE on visit visas — were said to be highly organised and plotted a string of orchestrated attacks to ambush security trucks that were transporting money boxes to and from ATMs, and at least one money exchange in Sharjah.

The first robbery took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street where Dh340,000 was stolen, then two days later they attacked an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda fleeing with Dh700,000, and an ATM in Muweilah where they stole Dh710,000. A fourth attack at a money exchange office near National Paints was foiled by Police.

The gang of 20 were arrested in record time but Police confirmed that only a portion of the stolen money — almost Dh1.8 million — had been recovered, as the gang members had divided the money among themselves and transferred it to their home country.

The development comes roughly three weeks after the Police in UAE said they had arrested five Nigerians who "stormed a money exchange in Sharjah and fled with Dh2.3 million".

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13-Year-Old Boy Killed As Police Fire Bullets At Protesters In Rivers

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 1:23pm

Precious Gladstone, a 13-year-old boy, has been killed by a policeman in Rivers State.

Gladstone was allegedly hit by bullet when some youth protested the killing of one Nyebuchi Jeremiah by a police officer identified as Sergeant Chinedu, attached to Rivers State Police Command.

He gave up the ghost at the hospital due to pains from the gun wounds.

Narrating the incident, a Twitter user @AskPHPeople said Jeremiah was stabbed at Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

The account tweeted: “Police officer by the name Chinedu stabbed & murdered an innocent man named Nyebuchi at Atali/Elimgbu, Obio/Akpor LGA. Rivers State. 

“When the youths of the area went on protest at the station, @PoliceNGshot sporadically at unarmed civilians.

A 13 year old by the name Precious Gladstone & Turuchi (27) were shot by men of the @PoliceNG when youths went on protest against the murder of Nyebuchi.#JusticeForTuruchi#JusticeForNyebuchi#JusticeForPreciousGladstone#EndPoliceBrutality

— Port-Harcourt People (@AskPHPeople) April 18, 2019

“A 13 year old by the name Precious Gladstone & Turuchi (27) were shot by men of the @PoliceNGwhen youths went on protest against the murder of Nyebuchi.”

It was later gathered that Precious died at the hospital while Turuchi suffered a serious injury that would lead to the amputation of his leg.

“The boy is dead and Turuchi lost his leg,” SaharaReporters was informed.

Galdstone's killing stokes the growing demand for the scrapping of the department of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Police as well as a total reform of the Police.

Commenting on the incident, Segun Awosanya, popularly known as Segalink, the leading activist behind the #EndSARS movement, said the officers had been arrested and will be duly prosecuted.

@segalinktweeted, “The officers involved in this case are all in custody. The Sgt. that stabbed and the one that shot at the crowd. The IGP is aware and will bring them all to book. None of the superior officers will be spared. We are monitoring.”

The officers involved in this case are all in custody. The Sgt. that stabbed and the one that shot at the crowd. The IGP is aware and will bring them all to book. None of the superior officers will be spared. We are monitoring. @citizen_gavel @RuggedyBaba @Okeynwanguma

— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) April 19, 2019

Frank Mba, Police Public Relations Officer, was not reachable for comment as of press time.

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'Withdraw From Election Work' — Shehu Sani Tells Lecturers To Stop 'Smearing The Ivory Tower With Faeces'

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 1:11pm

Shehu Sani, the lawmaker representing Kaduna Central in the Senate, has urged university lecturers to uphold the sanctity of the ivory tower by pulling out of the conduct and coordination of  national elections.

He made the admonishment on Friday on his official Twitter handle.

His words: “In the light of the new revelations, University lecturers should pull out from participating in the conduct of national elections to save the reputation & protect the moral sanctity of the academia. The Ivory tower shouldn’t be smeared with political faeces."

In the light of the new revelations,University lecturers should pull out from participating in the conduct of national elections to save the reputation & protect the moral sanctity of the academia.The Ivory tower shouldn’t be smeared with political feaces.

— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) April 19, 2019

Sani's statement came few days after Profesor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electroal COmmission (INEC), fired barbs at university dons for colluding with politicians to undermine the integrity of the 2019 general election. 

INEC typically hires senior lecturers, including vice chancellors, as collation and returning officers during elections.

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In Rare Moment Of Praise, Omokri Thanks Buhari For Signing N30,000 Minimum Wage Bill

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 12:45pm

Reno Omokri, the self-confessed “Buhari tormentor” has praised President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the N30,000 minimum wage bill into law.

Omokri, media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, is one of Buhari’s most unrepentant critics, and hardly does a day pass without the pastor dishing a tweet of criticism against the President on his widely followed Twitter handle.

On Friday, though, he had rare words of praise for the President. He wrote: “I commend President @MBuhari for signing the Minimum Wage Repeal and Reenactment Bill into law. He had no need to do it, since the elections are over (but the court case is NOT), but he did it all the same. That is an act of good leadership on his part and I appreciate him for it.”

I commend President @MBuhari for signing the Minimum Wage Repeal and Reenactment Bill into law. He had no need to do it, since the elections are over (but the court case is NOT), but he did it all the same. That is an act of good leadership on his part and I appreciate him for it

— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) April 19, 2019

Buhari signed the bill approving N30,000 as the new national minimum wage into law on Thursday, following passage by both chambers of the National Assembly, after agitation by labour unions and further work by a tripartite commit on the matter.

Just two hours before making that tweet, Omokri had criticised the president for promoting illiteracy, writing: "Yet @MBuhari HAS NOT built even one new school. This is why I agree with @fkeyamo that Buhari loves the poor. He knows that illiteracy is conducive to poverty, so he promotes illiteracy by building prisons and not building any school #BuhariFriendofPoverty."

Yet @MBuhari HAS NOT built even one new school. This is why I agree with @fkeyamo that Buhari loves the poor. He knows that illiteracy is conducive to poverty, so he promotes illiteracy by building prisons and not building any school #BuhariFriendofPoverty

— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) April 19, 2019

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EXCLUSIVE: Oyo APC Leaders Angry As Adelabu Omits Ajimobi In First 'Thank You' Message Since Election

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 11:45am

Leaders of the All progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State — including Abiola Ajimobi, Governor of the state — and their aides are unhappy with Adebayo Adelabu, governorship candidate of the party, following his first public statement since losing the election, SaharaReporters can report.

Adelabu lost the March 9 governorship election to Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winning only five of the 33 local governments in the state while Makinde won all the rest.

The PDP candidate won in Ibadan North West, Ibarapa East, Atiba, Kajola, Ido, Lagelu, Iwajowa, Afijio, Orelope, Ibadan North East, Ibadan South East, Ibarapa North, Atisbo, Ibarapa Central, Ogbomoso South, Ibadan North, Egbeda, Itesiwaju, Saki West, Saki East, Oyo West, Oyo East, Oluyole, Olorunsogo, Ona Ara, Akinyele, Iseyin and Ibadan South West LGAs.

Meanwhile, Adelabu won in Orire, Ogooluwa, Surulere, Ogbomoso North, and Irepo LGAs of the state.

At the end of the race, Makinde scored a total of 515,621 votes while Adelabu polled 357,982. Olufemi Lanlehin, candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), came third in the governorship poll with 12,375 votes, although he had stepped down a few days before the election in order to support Makinde.

As previously reported by SaharaReporters, Adelabu's post-election reaction has included abusing leaders of the party and blaming them for his loss — a disposition some sections of the party reacted to by revealing how Adelabu “carrying himself like a governor-in-waiting” from the moment he won the governorship primary of the party in 2018.

SaharaReporters understands that Adelabu subsequently travelled to the US and the UK to reflect on events; and following his return to the country on Thursday April 11, he penned a public statement on April 17 in which he "profusely" thanked "my people" and "our supporters" for their "uncommon support" but curiously made no mention of the party's leaders.

Also, his promise to pay "thank you" visits to "all our party members, stakeholders, supporters and fans across the length and breadth of our state to intimate them of our plan going forward" also made no mention of the leaders who were instrumental in his emergence as APC governorship candidate in the firts place.

Adalabu posted the message on his official Facebook page, as well as numerous Whatsapp groups to which he belongs.

"The party leaders, the Governor, his aides and some other people are angry," a source told SaharaReporters.

"Did he single-handedly emerge the party's candidate? In fact, the Governor's aides have been talking about how they warned the party not to use the 'arrogant' Adelabu as the candidate."

Reproduced below, verbatim, is Adelabu's message:

Good day to you my people. 2019 elections have come and gone. I want to thank you profusely for the uncommon support, morally, financially and spiritually that you showed me during the last Gubernatorial election. I'm eternally grateful and indebted to you and I believe it's only the Almighty Allah that can pay you back and in folds too. Once again, God himself knows the sincerity of our intentions and genuineness of our purpose, so our sacrifices are not in vain, but remain an innocent investment in the desired prosperity of our dear state. Whatever happens to a man is either a blessing or a lesson. However in this case, it's both a blessing "in disguise" and a lesson to come out a better and stronger person.

Electoral losses, as read in history, have made great leaders come out stronger, better and more successful and never to depress or discourage them. I take solace in the persistence and tenacity of our 357,000 strong genuine voters (which is larger than what ushered in the last three successive governors) and kindness of history and posterity. The devil is in the details like they say, as a first timer, with 357,000 genuine votes, we remained the single strongest candidate in the 2019 Guber elections claimed to be displaced by the conspiracy or coalition of five other Guber candidates. This also gave out our party as the single strongest and most popular party in the last elections. All these should not go unnoticed and should prepare us better for challenges ahead. My apology for the delay in reaching out, being close to 40days now after the elections. 

Like everyone of our supporters, I personally had to struggle for some time to come to terms with the realities of the disappointing results of the election and just returned from a two weeks vacation abroad, where i took some time to rest, spent time with my family and reflected on the way forward. Notwithstanding the shocking and unfavourable outcome of the elections, i still thank the Almighty Allah for seeing us through a well orchestrated electioneering campaign devoid of casualties, which I believe will go down in history as one of the most flamboyant, issue based and all inclusive campaign ever in the history of Oyo state politics. A lot of hitherto politically apathetic and indifferent personalities, showed a lot of active interests and unprecedented supports toward our aspirations to serve our motherland and see to the progress of our dear state, simply for the singular reason of my involvement. Through this, our conscience is clear and our emotions fulfilled for having participated and showed interest in the determination of who runs the affairs of our state. Posterity and history, I believe will be kind to us as having chosen not to ignore the process of choosing those who paddle the canoe of our state to progress. Like they say, the joy of the Olympics is not just in winning medals but in the fulfilment of our participation. And I also know that Politics they say is not a 100mtr dash but a marathon which we know always starts with a single step. 

That heavy and decisive step has been taken through the process of this last election and we wont stop until we reach our desired destination. While I believe the results came out the way it was destined, the adduced reasons notwithstanding, our party is collectively convinced that the election was marred by various electoral irregularities and malpractices ranging from front loading of votes to multiple voting cutting across same and multiple polling units, hence the petition submitted at the Tribunal presently being prosecuted and this is left for the Judges to determine. Notwithstanding the outcome of the Election petition tribunal, I'm personally of the opinion that we need not be stagnant in our electoral quest and planning for the next election should start in earnest. Our political structures across the state remain intact while our supporters remain undaunted. We intend to keep and maintain these structures and regularly reach out to our fans and supporters who till date are still left gapping wondering why the results came out the way it did. 

The reflections are all over the state as everywhere seems to be in a state of mourning and no signs of celebrations or jubilations ushering in a popularly elected new government. We will be embarking on "Thank you" visits to all our party members, stakeholders, supporters and fans across the length and breadth of our state to intimate them of our plan going forward. We are still thankful to God that our party still occupies the Federal Govt and the National Exco of our party has assured us of consistent and special support to enable us bounce back being the only state in the South West now in opposition. I also want to let you know that I will soon reach out to you on specific plans, programs and activities in our camp and plead that you should not relent in your support for this cause and very soon, we will reach our destination. It is worthy of note that one or two lessons have also been learnt and all these will guide our actions and activities going forward. Thank you and God bless.

Adebayo A. Adelabu FCA, FCIB

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UNCOVERED: 769 Civil Servants Working With 'Fake And Forged Certificates' In Osun

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 10:49am

The Osun Government on Friday said it had discovered 769 workers in the state’s civil service who were working with fake and forged school certificates.

Adelani Baderinwa, who is supervising the Information and Strategy Ministry, said in a statement that the discovery was made after five years of screening carried out by a consultancy firm employed by the state government.

"A consultancy firm, The Captain Consultants, engaged five years ago by the state government to verify the results and other necessary documents of the workers in the state has completed its assignment and submitted its report," read the statement.

“The screening of the workers’ credentials came on the heels of controversies and reported forgery of results with which some of the workers allegedly used to secure job in the Osun civil service. At the commencement of the screening exercise in 2015, all the civil servants in the state were asked to submit their credentials in their personal files from which the Captain Consultants firm got access to their results and began the verification exercise.

“Each and every result submitted by each of the workers was verified in their various secondary schools, post secondary schools and tertiary institutions. Some of the workers who were suspected to have forged/fake results were summoned by the firm and asked to present original results or go to their various schools for either attestation or re-confirmation.

“The firm, on its own, approached the schools for ‘confirmation of results’ of the affected workers for which they were obliged. The verification process uncovered serious certificate infraction on the part of some of the workers across Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government.

“In some cases, as discovered in the verification process, some of the affected workers used another person’s result, while some forged their secondary and post secondary schools results to secure job in the civil service.

“In the case of some people employed as drivers in the service, it was discovered that they forged the O’Level results they submitted for their appointment. However, the firm in its report recommended that some of the civil servants caught in the certificate infraction be pardoned, while some should not be pardoned.

“Recommended for pardon are 102 drivers and 30 other workers who are to be pardoned on compassionate ground. A total of 586 workers are not pardoned, while the case of some 51 workers are still pending. While the exercise was on, some of the workers who were cleared and pardoned were receiving their salary while those that are yet to be pardoned have their salary suspended.

“A complete list of all the workers involved in the certificate infraction has been pasted at the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Civil Service Commission and Local Government Service Commission. Affected workers should check their names in the aforementioned places,” 

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Two Black Snakes Sack Liberia President George Weah From Office

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 10:31am

George Weah, President of Liberia, has been sacked from his office by snakes and is now forced to work from his private residence.

According to Press Secretary Smith Toby, who spoke with the BBC, two black snakes were found in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building housing Weah’s official place of work.

Since Wednesday when the snakes were discovered, all staff have been told to stay away until Monday, April 22.

"It's just to make sure that crawling and creeping things get fumigated from the building," Toby was quoted as saying. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosts the office of the President, so it did an internal memo asking the staff to stay home while they do the fumigation.”

The office of the President has been based in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since a fire in 2006 gutted the nearby presidential mansion.

A FrontPage Africa news website video shows workers trying to attack the snakes when they appeared near the building's reception.

"The snakes were never killed," Toby said.  "There was a little hole somewhere [through which] they made their way back. That building's been there for years now, and [because of] the drainage system, the possibility of having things like snakes crawling in that building was high.”

Police and presidential security were seen guarding Weah's residence in the capital Monrovia. A fleet of vehicles including escorts jeeps were parked outside.

Toby said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started to fumigate on Friday, and that the President “is definitely returning to his office on Monday after the fumigation whether or not the snakes are found and killed.”

The Liberian situation slightly mirrors that of Nigeria in August 2017, when presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said President Muhammadu Buhari, fresh back home from a lengthy medical vacation in the UK, would be working from home due to damage to his office by rodents during his absence.

“Following the three months period of disuse, rodents have caused a lot of damage to the furniture and the air conditioning units,” Shehu said.

Despite Shehu saying the maintenance company overseeing the renovations had been asked to expedite action, Buharii didn’t return to that office until another 11 weeks.

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Court Sacks Ebonyi Senator Ogbuoji For Defecting From PDP To APC, Asks Him To Refund Salaries

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 9:55am


The Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki has declared the Ebonyi South Senatorial District seat being occupied by Sonni Ogbuoji vacant and ordered him to vacate the seat immediately.

The judgment was delivered on Thursday by Justice Akintola Aluko of the Abakaliki Division of the court.

Delivering a 71-page judgement, Justice Aluko held that that Ogbuoji, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2018, flouted Section 68(1)g of the 1999 Constitution.

The said section 68 (1)g bars elected lawmakers from defecting to another party except if the party on whose platform they were elected is divided or in crisis

The court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to the senator and to conduct a fresh election to fill the seat.

Also, the court ordered the lawmaker to refund to the coffers of government all monies, be it salaries, allowances or any order form of payment, he may have received as benefits from the position from the date of his defection.

The judgement was in respect of suit number FHC/AI/CS/44/2018 filed by Evo Ogbonnaya Anegu, Oti Ama Ude, Uche Richard Ajali, Una Sunday Okoro and Simon Ajali Ogbadu for themselves and on behalf of the members of the PDP in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.

They had sued Ogbuoji and INEC (2nd defendant), asking the court to declare Ogbuoji’s seat vacant for defecting to the APC when there was no crisis or division in the PDP.

Reteirating the position of the law on the matter,the judge said: “Section 68 (1)g says that 'a member of Senate or House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the house if being a person whose election to the house was sponsored by another political party'.

“The person shall vacate his seat if he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which he was elected, provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party, which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.

“In other words, any lawmaker who defects to another political party when the party under whose platform he was elected was not undergoing any form of crisis or was not part of a merger with two or more political parties shall vacate his seat."

The plaintiffs contended that Ogbuoji’s conduct, if not condemned, would encourage political prostitution and legislative rascality.

But in his defence, Ogbuoji claimed that he resigned his membership of the PDP and defected to APC on Jan. 27, 2017 and not January 2018 as claimed by the plaintiffs.

He also said that the crisis in the party was finally resolved in July 2017 by the Supreme Court but that before then, he had resigned his membership of the party via a letter he submitted to the PDP

Secretary of his Ebunwana Ward, Mrs Ragina Agwu, on Jan. 27, 2017.

However, the plaintiffs punctured Ogbuoji's defence by providing evidence that the said Agwu was not the secretary of the ward at the time the said letter was allegedly given to her.

The plaintiffs claimed Mrs Agwu was expelled by the party on January 23, 2017.

They also argued that Ogbuoji, who claimed to have defected from PDP to APC in January 2017, took active part in the non-elective and elective congresses of PDP in August and December 2017 as a delegate.

The court, in its findings, said there were discrepancies in the pieces of evidence provided by Ogbuoji, which, it maintained, rendered them unreliable and doubtful.

The judge said: “There is no basis to attach any probative or evidential value to the said exhibits," the judge said.

“What that means is that the defendant’s claim of resignation on January 2017 is shrouded in inconsistencies, contradictions and suspicion."

The court, therefore, held that the plaintiffs proved their case beyond reasonable doubt, “adducing credible evidence to establish that Ogbuoji defected to the APC in January 2018 and not January 2017 as he claimed in his defence.

“It is also said that at the time of defection, there was no division or faction in PDP to warrant such defection as permitted by section 68 (1)g of the constitution.

Therefore, giving his final verdict the Judge said: “By the evidence before me, I find that the 1st defendant is guilty of unholy political flirtation and coquetry which the makers and drafters of the constitution resolved to outlaw by the enactment of section 68(1)g of the constitution.

“Having failed to vacate his seat in the Senate, following his unconstitutional defection in a manner that suggests that he ate his cake and still wanted to have it, he is liable to be forced out and refund to the National Assembly.

“He is therefore to refund all monies in form of salaries, allowances, or whatsoever paid to him by virtue of his unconstitutional holding on to the position as a senator beginning from the date of his unconstitutional defection to date. Consequently, I hold that the case of the plaintiffs has merit and hereby succeeds.” 

The court awarded the sum of N500,000 in favour of the plaintiffs.

Ogbuoji contested the 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi on the platform of APC and  lost to the incumbent Governor, David Umahi

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Ex-Bayelsa Security Aide Kpodoh Granted Bail After Nine Months In Prison For 'Rape'

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 9:31am

Perekeme Kpodoh, former Bayelsa Security Adviser, has been granted bail over alleged two-count charge of rape filed against him by the state government.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, granted Kpodoh his bail condition after several attempts failed in Bayelsa state.

In suit case CA/PH/17CR/2019, the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice M. Mustapha, ordered his immediate release from the Okaka Medium Prison custody, having met the bail condition in the sum of N2million and a surety of a Civil Servant of Level 14 grade.

Kpodoh was arrested by the men of the Bayelsa Police Command on July 26, 2018, but was denied bail by the State High Court sitting in Yenagoa headed by Justice E. Eradiri in spite of the plea of innocence and on health grounds.

Kpodoh, in his bid for bail, also filed a petition before the Bayelsa Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, on the need for case transfer to another court based on alleged suspicion of bias and government involvement in seeing him jailed. 

But Justice M. Mustapha, in his ruling on Thursday in the Appeal filed by Kpodoh on March 18, 2019, with suit number CA/PH/17CR/2019, answered all four prayers sought by the accused/Applicant for bail. 

According to the Court of Appeal, in the ruling witnessed by the counsel to the Applicant, D. D. Federekumo and J. Iyekoroghe and counsel to the State Government, Raymond Olorogun, "the prayer for extension of time for bail is granted pending the determination of his trial at the State High Court".

"Leave is granted for the accused to apply for bail pending determination of trial and he is granted bail pending the trial at the determination of the alleged offence of rape at the trial court in the sum of N2milliom with surety in the like sum."

Speaking after the ruling and release of Kpodoh, his counsel, Iyekoroghe commended the judicial processes that granted their prayers.

"The court has done justice. Ordinarily, bail should have been granted by the State High court. It is a clear case of freedom and constitution guaranteed. We wonder why he was denied bail at the trial court," he said.

"it is a thing of joy that in criminal jurisprudence, the trial court is not the final. We had expected that the trial court should grant bail as the charges are bailable. We went to the Appeal Court and they agreed with us. We thank the court and by our client pedigree, we know he would abide by the bail conditions."

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One Soldier Killed, Six Injured As Seven Zamfara Bandits 'Bow To The Army's Superior Firepower'

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 9:02am

The troops of the Nigerian Army, on clearance operation, have killed seven marauding bandits in Aljumana and Ketere Villages in Zamfara.

The Nigerian Army, working in collaboration with the Nigerian Army Deep Blue Special Forces, the Air Force Component, and Local vigilantes, engaged the armed bandits in a fierce battle that

lasted for hours on Thursday.

According to a statement released by Major Clement Abiade, the acting Information Officer of Operation Sharan Daji (OPSD), the success was recorded by troops of the operation and those

deployed in Operation Harbin Kunama III of the Nigerian Army.

However, Abiade said one soldier was killed while six others and a vigilante member sustained various degrees of injuries during the operation.

He said the bandits, who  were armed to the teeth, displayed grit and desperation but in  the end they bowed to the superior firepower of the troops.

His words: "The bandits were armed with sophisticated automatic weapons but conquered by the superior firepower of the troops."

The OPSD spokesman also noted that some of the bandits fled with gunshot wounds, abandoning their camp and logistics which were destroyed by the troops.

Major Abiade said troops also arrested three suspected informants who furtively provide information to armed bandits during a separate sting operation at Kara market in Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state. 

Also recovered during the operation were 934 rounds of 7.62mm(NATO) ammunition, one AK47 rifle, one steel chain used by bandits to restrain kidnapped victims, and seven motorcycles

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With N30,000 Minimum Wage, Buhari Has Fulfilled Another Election Promise, Says APC

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 7:08am

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari on his assent to the new and improved N30,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

Buhari signed the bill approving N30,000 as the new national minimum wage into law on Thursday, following passage by both chambers of the National Assembly following agitation by labour unions and further work by a tripartite commit on the matter.

Commenting in a statement released on Friday by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, its National Publicity Secretary, APC praised Buhari for matching his words with action.

“Truly, our workers deserve a new, improved and implementable minimum wage in view of current economic realities. Commendably, the welfare of workers has remained a top priority of the President Buhari-led APC administration as exhibited in the federal government bailouts to state governments to pay workers salary, housing schemes for civil servants among other welfare packages,” read the statement.

“We congratulate stakeholders that ensured the achievement of this laudable feat, particularly the National Assembly, state governors, the Amma Pepple-led tripartite committee, labour/trade unions and indeed Nigerian workers.

“This is another solid demonstration of a President who matches his words with action. Nigerians will recall the President had severally assured of a new and improved national minimum wage for workers. The assent of the N30,000 minimum wage by the president is indeed another election promise delivered.”

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'Private NEPA' — Subsistence Electricity Sharing Centres On The Rise In Bayelsa Due To Persistent Blackouts

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 6:45am

New local power distribution centres colloquially called 'Private NPEA' are emerging in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, to solve the persistent power outage and blackout in most areas in the state.

NEPA, in full the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), is the defunct organisation that governed the use of electricity in Nigeria.

Investigations showed that those operating the local power distribution centres are private business owners who own lister diesel power generating sets and are willing to share with residents at a cost depending on your needs.

Some residents of Azikoro Village, Ekeki and Azikoro road, who spoke with newsmen, said although the owners of the local power distribution companies did not start with the intention of distributing power "they were prevailed upon to help their neighbours".

SaharaReporters gathered that most residents have started patronising the local operators due to the spate of violent crimes arising from the abysmal failure of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) to supply power to homes.

For example, areas such as Imgbi Road, Ekeki, Azikoro Road and other parts of the state have been in total darkness for five days without proper explanation from PHED.

Others have even taken to town criers to urge residents not to pay any bill brought to them by the power distribution company. They threatened to deal with any PHED official who approaches their streets.

Another factor responsible for the patronage of local power distribution outfits is the illegal increase in pump price of fuel and man-made scarcity created by petroleum marketers in the state. A litre of fuel in the Bayelsa capital now is N160 and it is not easily available.

The patronage of these local power distribution companies is rising by the day, with small business operators and private resident owners struggling to be connected.

It was gathered that while some local distribution centres take between N2,000 to N6,000 per week for private and commercial use, others have taken advantage of inflating cost of issuance of forms, weekly payment and connection fee to N20,000.

A man, who identified himself as James, told SaharaReporters that he patronises the local distribution company known as 'private NEPA' in his area due to the convenience.

"They distribute power at your convenience," he said. "If you operate a business, they connect you for a fee between 8am to 6pm. If it is private, you can negotiate for 7pm to 6am. Itsaves you stress."

Attempts to get one of the operators close to Ekeki Park failed, as everyone refused to comment. But one of his agents told SaharaFReporters that the distribution of power to neighbours is not a crime.

"We're only helping our neighbours," he said.

"And fees taken are just for running cost of diesel and maintenance. If the federal and state governments have failed to supply power and Bayelsa is in perpetual darkness, what do we do? In some areas, people are gathering money to buy diesel generator to power houses on their street. They don't even bother to pay light bill and they asked Power Holding to disconnect them."

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Soldiers Arrest Five Kidnappers Terrorising Ondo People During 1am Raid

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 5:58am

The Nigeria Army (NA) from the 32 Artillery Brigade in Ondo State has announced the arrest of five suspected kidnappers terrorising locals. 

The hoodlums were arrested in Owo Local Council Area of the state. 

Captain Victor Olukoya, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, confirmed the arrest of the five kidnappers to journalists in Akure, saying the hoodlums had first abducted some farmers and also demanded some huge ransom. 

Acccordin to Olukoya, five victims abducted and held hostage by the kidnappers were later freed through the raid on the den of the kidnapper.

“We made the arrest when we carried out a raid on at about 1:00am on the kidnappers’ hideout at Jugbere village in Owo LGA," he said.

“The operation was based on a tip-off that suspected kidnappers had kidnapped nine farmers on a farm belonging to one Mr. Godwin Ugu. During the raid, troops were able to rescue five of the hostages while four others escaped from the kidnappers den.

“The rescued hostages and some of the suspects who sustained minor injuries are presently undergoing first aid treatment at the 32 Artillery Brigade Medical Centre. Items recovered from the hoodlums include, a dane gun, axe, cutlasses, live cartridges, ring charms."

The Army spokesperson disclosed that the arrested hoodlums will be handed over to the security agents after preliminary investigation.

He however added that surveillance would now be enhanced across the state towards curbing activities of criminal mind persons.

“The commander 32 Artillery Brigade, Brigadier General Zakari Logun Abubakar has ordered for intense patrol to be carried out in both Ekiti and Ondo states to rid the states of hoodlums," he said.

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