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Dozens Shot As Bandits Attack Jigawa Village

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 5:52am

Bandits on motorcycles invaded Abaya village along Wurma Road in Dutse LGA of Jigawa State on Thursday night, shooting at dozens of people.

Details of the attack are still sketchy as of yet, but a security source told SaharaReporters that one person died while several others sustained varying degrees of injury.

Details later...

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Nigerian Govt To Introduce Solar-powered Tricycles In 2019

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 2:13am


The Nigerian government has announced plans to introduce solar-powered tricycles and motorcycles into the Nigerian transport system.

Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria's Minister of Transportation, said this while swearing in some newly elected executives of the Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle & Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) in Abuja.

The minister, represented by Anthonia Ekpa, Director, Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration of the Ministry, said the introduction of the tricycles will help to reduce the fuel challenges. It has already be included in the budget that would be passed in 2019.

“What we have done is to ensure that we introduce into the Nigeria environment, solar-powered tricycles. We are going to introduce into the sector tricycles that will not need to use fuel and also electric tricycles.

“I want to use this opportunity to also say that we have put it in the 2018 budget to be implemented in 2019, because in the 2018 budget, we have what we called green transportation, which under it we have the solar-powered tricycles.

“We also have in the 2018 budget what we called amphibious vehicles, which is going to be in form of a tricycles which can be used on water and on land for those of you in the riverine areas. We hope to purchase that in 2019."

In his remarks, Gbenga Ashafa, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, congratulated the new president and advised him to coordinate his members to be decent while driving and obey all the laws.

He said the association is playing a vital role of providing affordable transportation in the country, adding that members must work towards reducing carnage on the road.

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Two Die In Ibadan Petrol Tanker Explosion

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 2:10am


Two people were burnt beyond recognition in an inferno caused by explosion from a tanker carry petroleum product on Thursday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

This happened in Onipepeye area, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan, Oyo State, when a tanker spilled its content on the road which led to the explosion.

It was gathered that no less than six vehicles and 10 motorbikes were also burnt in the fire incident.

Olugbenga Fadeyi, Oyo State Police Command’s spokesman, confirmed the accident.

“Preliminary reports say two people were burnt beyond recognition, with four vehicle and two motorbikes also affected," he said.

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Buhari: We'll Not Allow Merchants Of Evil Overwhelm Nigeria

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 2:09am


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will ensure that "merchants of evil" do not overwhelm the country.

Noting that the country is “currently gripped with gloom over unfortunate killings, kidnappings and violence", he assured Nigerians of his administration's determination to address insecurity.

In his Easter message to Nigerians issued on Thursday, he expressed optimism and called for a stronger bond among Nigerians.

He said:  “Let us use this auspicious season to show love to our neighbours, and cater to the needs of the less-privileged in our midst.

“Our nation is currently gripped with gloom over unfortunate killings, kidnappings and violence, as seen in the recent tragic incidents in some states of the Federation. This should not be. We must reinforce the bond of brotherhood and good neighbourliness that citizens of a cohesive country must share. We must not allow the few bad elements in our communities to put asunder our communal tendencies and chords of unity.

“I know from my regular interactions with security chiefs, state governors, victims and members of communities caught up in the unfortunate cycle of violence, that Nigerians are united against the evil minority.

“This administration will do all it takes to adequately equip and motivate our armed forces and other law enforcement agencies to enable them successfully confront these security challenges. We will not allow merchants of evil and death to overwhelm the nation. Under my watch, the nation will triumph over them – terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and the like.

“On this holy occasion, I enjoin all Nigerians to intensify prayers for peace and security to return to all parts of the country. I also urge you not to lose hope of a brighter and greater future for the country when we do the right things in love.

“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I do not take the import of my re-election for granted, especially the expectations of majority of Nigerians towards providing adequate security, fixing the economy and fighting corruption.”

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Zamfara LG Vice Chairman Arrested For Serving As Bandits’ Informant

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 2:05am


Troops of the 'Operation Sharan Daji' in Zamfara State have arrested Yahuza Wuya, the Vice Chairman of Anka Local Government Area of the state, for alleged link to bandits.

This was made known in a statement issued on Thursday by Clement Abiade, the acting Information Officer of the operation.

Abiade said the arrest was the result of an intelligent report linking the vice chairman to bandits, who operate at Sunke community. Wuya was picked up on April 13.  

He alleged that Wuya “seamlessly assists in selling rustled/stolen cows and donkeys, as well as giving information about troops, other security agencies and vigilantes’ movement to the bandits.”

The acting information officer also alleged that the suspect aided “the release of a notorious gun runner (Sani Yaro) from the Gusau prison".

In a related development, Abiade confirmed the arrest of two suspected informants along Burukusuma-Sabon Birni road in Sokoto State. 

The name of the suspects, according to Abiade, are Mallam Ibrahim Bangaje and Mallam Ado Bayero. The officer added that they would be handed over to the relevant security agency for possible prosecution after completion of the investigation. 

Meanwhile, Major General Hakeem Otiki, the Force Commander, Operation Sharan Daji, restated the commitment of troops toward ensuring peace in Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto states.

Otiki, who is the GOC 8 Division Sokoto, has urged the public to report activities of the bandits to the nearest security office for proper action to take place.

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PDP Blames Jimi Agbaje For Embarrassing Defeat In Lagos Governorship Election

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 2:01am


The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has blamed Jimi Agbaje, its governorship candidate, for the defeat the party suffered at both the presidential and governorship elections in the state.

Taofik Gani, Publicity Secretary of PDP in Lagos, stated this in an interview with The Nation newspaper, published on Friday.

He blamed Agbaje and the overwhelming presence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state for the party's loss of the elections in Lagos.

He said one of the reason for the “embarrassing” defeat of the PDP, particularly during the governorship election, was because Agbaje decided to handle campaign logistics single-handedly, barely 72 hours to the election.

He said: “We were faced with situations where we could not get to campaign or reach out to people in some areas. For instance, some royal fathers and chiefs were very hostile to many of our candidates for fear of being witch-hunted by the ruling party. Indeed, some government functionaries and royal fathers were bold enough to give support to some of our candidates. But, generally what played out was obvious desperate preparedness and bulldozer-like style of the APC in Lagos, which overwhelmed our own planning.

“About 72 hours to the presidential election, actions and inactions that were obviously reactionary and defeatist cropped up. I will say that the last straw that broke the camel’s back was the happenings in the last 72 hours wherein the PDP governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje, alienated some members and leaders of the party from the final disbursement of logistics. This action consequently reflected in the participation of voters for the PDP.

“If Agbaje is still trying to rationalise his apparent misdeed, then, he is not doing himself any good. I will advise him to accept that he committed a big blunder to have unilaterally disbursed logistics provided by the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the extent that neither the state chairman, Dr. Adegbola Dominic, nor the party leader, Chief Bode George, knew anything about the manner of disbursement. I’m also aware that other leaders like Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, Chief Mrs. Aduke Maina and Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele are still shocked that Agbaje could be that unilateral.

“As the image maker of the party, I’m still struggling to defend the issues surrounding the disbursement of the election logistics, because the action was such that can destroy loyalty, commitment and selflessness top the party. I will reiterate that Agbaje should find a forum to publicly apologise to the party for the manner he influenced the last actions of the presidential elections. But for the fact that Agbaje is the governorship candidate, one would have hastily declared him as a saboteur in Lagos PDP.

"The money in question was not near what we knew the APC spent in Lagos. But the sum was enough to compliment the ready-made votes for the PDP. The manner of disbursement adopted by Agbaje leaves much to be desired. The problems created by the recent governorship election in Lagos PDP are such that the national headquarters must act swiftly to forestall complete disaffection within the party. Lagosians have been disappointed. Efforts must be made to restore the love and confidence of Lagosians in PDP.”

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Onnoghen Should Have Resigned Honorably Instead Of Fighting Dirty, Says Sagay

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 2:00am


Itse Sagay

Itse Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption, says Walter Onnoghen, the convicted former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) should have resigned earlier, instead of fighting dirty.

In interview with New Telegraph, Sagay said Onnoghen should not have allowed some senior advocates and judges to deceive him into thinking he could win the trial.

Onnoghen was convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on the charges of fraudulent asset declaration.

In his reaction to Onnoghen's conviction, Sagay said: “These Senior Advocates and some of these judges wanted to create a privileged class who has powers to judge others and send them to prison, but they commit crimes and find immunity for it. I find that absolutely unacceptable.

”We can see from what has happened the quality of some of these senior lawyers. Once adversity started, once it was clear that the Chief Justice was going to lose the case, did you see them with him again? They stopped going to the court with him; they are all opportunists. They are people who want to be seen in the public, so that they can be recognized and remembered when money is being shared and so on.

“It’s a shame, but I think the principle has been established and that is nobody is above the law. I also think we can admit that there is serious problem with our judiciary and there is need for cleaning. If that level is not clean, then the rest of the country will remain unclean.

“What has happened is that somebody in a high position has not met the standard of that position. When these charges were first brought against the CJN, what happened was scandalous.

“His friends and acolytes started jumping from one court to another, seeking unnecessary injunctions; they even went to the National Industrial Court. They even went to the Appeal Court when there is nothing to appeal. So, they didn’t handle the matter with dignity and respect that his office demands.

“At the time he should have resigned honourably, he decided to fight dirty with all these Senior Advocates pushing him on and misleading him. But now they have all deserted him.”

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Buhari Gave Me Go-ahead To Run For Senate Presidency Long Before Elections, Says Ndume

Sahara Reporters - 19 April 2019 - 1:56am


Ali Ndume, the lawmaker representing Borno South senatorial district, says he sought the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to run for Senate President, long before the February 23 elections.

He also said he did not rebuff any persuasion from Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice-President, to abandon his ambition in the Senate, because he was never persuaded to do so.

Ndume, an aspirant for the office of Senate President in the 9th National Assembly, said this in in reaction to allegations that he was being persuaded by the Vice-President to give up on running for the position of the Senate President.

His party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has, however, endorsed Ahmed Lawan, the Senate Majority Leader, as Senate President.

Speaking on his recent visit to Osinbajo, on which there were speculations that the meeting was about his aspiration to run for Senate President, a statement by Ndume read: “It was a misinformation. The truth is it is usual for me to meet with the vice-president to discuss issues of common interest, especially the humanitarian crisis in the North East, of which the vice-president has shown exceptional interest in helping out.

“I normally go there to brief him on developments in the region, especially the performance of the orphanage scheme, which he initiated in Borno that is accommodating over 1,200 orphans – their education and welfare.

“And then, we also discussed general issues that affect the country as well as the way forward on the humanitarian crisis especially the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and not just in Borno State but also IDPs situations all over the country.

“I think it is a spin from a well-known quarters. Personally, l am a committed Buharist. Whether I become the senate president or not, I will continue to stand by him, defend his policies because I see him as a mentor. And I believe that Mr. President has nothing against my aspiration for the office of the senate president because I sought his permission long before the general election and he gave me his go-ahead. I have not heard anything otherwise from him.

“I believe he will not go against my aspiration, because as he said, he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody. And he sticks to that. I am sure that the least he can do is to allow the constitution, which he strongly believes in, and the rule of law to prevail in the emergence of the senate leadership.

“So, I want to use this opportunity to clear the air as to those that are trying to cause disaffection.”

Ndume assured the APC leadership of his commitment to party ideals and doing what is right, in line with the party's constitution and the constitution of Nigeria.

He added: “What I am doing now is to strengthen democracy, to, in fact, improve on or deepen democracy and to stand by what APC believes in. Mr. President stood for election. It was open. He contested against three people. And even when it was zoned outside our zone, Mr. President allowed a level playing ground. Okorocha contested.

“During his second term, he subjected himself to the process of democracy that led to his emergence. During our gubernatorial elections, he came clearly to say people should be allowed to elect persons of their choice even in his own case. So, I will be surprised if anything otherwise comes from him."

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Onnoghen Appeals Conviction By Tribunal, Lists 16 Reasons Why He Should Be Acquitted

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 2:32pm

Walter Onnoghen, former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has appealed his conviction for fraudulent assets declaration by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

On Thursday, having found Onnoghen guilty, the three-man panel of the tribunal chaired by Justice Danladi Umar removed him from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, as Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

It also said Onnoghen is to forfeit the money in his five bank domiciliary accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally, and as well barred him from holding public office for the next 10 years.

However, in a notice of appeal filed at the Registry of the tribunal shortly after the judgment, Onnoghen faulted the judgement on 16 grounds, and urged the Court of Appeal to set it aside.

He asked the Court of Appeal to hold that the CCT lacked the jurisdiction to hear the charge and that the tribunal ought to have recused itself from the trial.

He also prayed the Appeal Court to set aside all the orders made by the tribunal in the judgment, including that of forfeiture of his five domiciliary accounts to the Nigerian government.
 
“The lower tribunal erred in law when it refused to recuse itself from the proceedings in view of the open declaration by the Chairman of the tribunal that he is only accountable to the President, who appointed him and nobody else, because he is not a judicial officer and thus, occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice,” he said.

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that the appellant confessed to the charges framed by admission and used that as a basis to hold that the appellant did not declare his assets from the year 2005 when he became a justice of the Supreme Court and thus occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that the appellant is guilty of counts 2 – 6 of the charge in view of the fact that the appellant made an admission that he did not declare the Standard Chartered Bank account numbers in the 2014.

“The lower tribunal erred in law when it held that the appellant made false statement by the omission to declare the account numbers in Standard Chartered Bank in 2014 declaration, the same way he did in the 2016 declaration and held counts 2 – 6 to be proved.”

Earlier, Okon Nkanu Efut, Onnoghen’s lead counsel, had reacted to the judgment by branding it “unconstitutional and out of order”.

“The journey has ended today because everything that has a beginning must have an end. So this day, we have heard that the Chief Justice of Nigeria has been convicted and sentenced,” Efut had said.

“The conviction is out of order, it is unconstitutional. It is a breach of fair hearing because before this day, on the January 23, the same judgement had been passed before now, removing the CJN without a fair hearing. So it was a fait accompli, it was premeditated gas judgment had been passed before today.

“So today’s judgement is just a formality and we hold the view that the tribunal has not only breached the constitution of Nigeria, it has breached the fundamental principles of natural justice, equity and good conscience.

“It has not only not been able to pass judgement, it has convicted for an offence that was never charged and this is an erosion of the fundamental principles of our constitution. Until some questions are answered, for instance, why is it that the due course of justice was not allowed to flow? Why was judgement passed on January 23 before today, removing the CJN?

“Why is it that today, even after the CJN had tendered his notice of voluntary retirement and the NJC has taken a position, why is it that the tribunal has gone ahead to pass a judgement in total disregard of the independence of the NJC, in total disregard of the powers of the Senate in this matter?

“We hold a view that the tribunal in reversing itself in the case of Ngwuta, has breached the principle that hold us together. This is a sad day in our nation’s democracy and we know that all is not over with this matter. The wheel of justice grinds slowly but surely. This is not a matter that will end here.

“We shall avail ourselves of all the processes, the hierarchy of the judiciary and we know that the judiciary will redeem itself even though seriously battered and bruised. The judiciary will do justice. Justice has not been done today, but it will surely be done tomorrow. If not by the tribunal, but by our God. Justice will be done by our God.”

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'Don't Give Up On Our Nation' — Jonathan Sends Easter Message To Christians

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 2:07pm

Goodluck Jonathan, former President, has urged Nigerians not to give up on their nation.

Jonathan said this on Thursday evening in his Easter message to Christians.

“Easter is a time Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who offered Himself as a sacrifice for the remission of the sins of the world. Christ's resurrection as a testimony of the new covenant is the justification for Christians’ commemoration of the triumph of life over death, freedom over bondage and hope over despair, at this time,” he said in a brief statement he released on his official Facebook page.

“I, therefore, urge us not to give up on our ourselves and our nation no matter the challenges that confront us today. At all times we must remain resolute on our love for God and our nation and work towards building a country that we can all be proud of.

“Through our faith and collective actions, we will overcome the tempests of violence, misery, and insecurity that threaten our nation. We are more than conquerors and the future of our nation is bright, if we work as one.

“May God fill our homes with peace, love, and joy even as we enjoy the abundance of Grace that Easter brings. Happy Easter! –GEJ”

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'North Has Already Produced The President' — 164 APC Lawmakers-Elect Back Gbajabiamila For Speaker

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 1:43pm


About one 164 newly-elected lawmakers of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in House of Representatives have expressed support for the speakership ambition of Femi Gbajabiamila, who is the party leadership's choice for the position.

According to the members, it would be diffficult to go against the party and President Muhammadu Buhari.

The members said it would be lopsided for the North to produce the President, the Senate President and also demand the Speaker of the lower chamber.

The lawmakers-elect, who  formed a group known as the 'Forum of newly elected APC members of the House of Representatives', said the South must produce the Speaker for the sake of fairness.

In a statement jointly released to newsmen by Hon. Tunji Olabunmi Ojo and Hon. Dunkwu Nnamdi Chamberlain,  the Chairman and Director-General of the Forum, respectively, the forum said: "APC zoned President to the North, the Vice President to the South, Senate President to the North and now the Speaker to the South. It would be difficult to go against the wishes of the party and President, Muhammadu Buhari."

It added that  those from the North-Central agitating for the speakership were insincere, as the North cannot produce the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives at the same time.

"Every member of the party is a product of the party; the party gave everybody the platform to contest and apart from giving the platform, the party also gave assistance to members before, during and after elections," the group said.

“So, it is expected that as a loyal party members, we are supposed to toe the line of the party and now that the party and Mr. President have spoken that Femi should be supported for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, we expect every party faithful to toe that line and support Gbajabiamila to emerge as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“We believe he has the experience; more experience than other people that are contesting the position. It is not just enough for you to bring out posters. Femi is very qualified, eminently qualified more than any other person. Let's just forget about geopolitical zone; we are talking about competence; we are talking about Nigeria; we are talking about the interest of the downtrodden.

“Femi would be able to articulate policies that would benefit the generality of the Nigerian masses to compliment the next level agenda of Mr. President. Right from the time, it has always been North/South. The Presidency is zoned to the North, while the Vice President is to the South.

“Now, Senate President has been zoned to the North and speakership to the South and when it comes to the South we decide where it should go. Politics in this country is played along the line of North and South. North Central is North, North West is North and North East is North.

“So, the speakership has been zoned to South. When we zoned the Presidency to the North, North West produced the President. So, for those talking about zoning, zoning in this country is done North/South."

On the influence of the forum to install the Majority Leader as the next Speaker, it  said: “Well, the Forum of the newly elected APC members has 164 representatives; then we have members of other political parties who are also affiliated to this Forum of new members irrespective of their political parties.

“Some of them were originally APC but because they could not get ticket during the primaries to contest, they moved to other parties.

"So, we have the same ideology, they are just there because they went to look for a platform to contest. They are all with us in this struggle to make sure that Femi emerges as the Speaker of House of Representatives.”

The group claimed the election of Gbajabiamila would prevent what happened in the 8th Assembly, where the policies of the government and that of the party were frustrated.

“We want to ensure that what happened in the 8th Assembly would not repeat itself, where party loyalty was thrown to the dustbin. People went there to fight for their individual pockets," it said.

“We are in this 9th Assembly to fight for the interest of Nigerians. Nigerians are suffering. How can Mr. President present a budget and for 7 months the budget was still being kept on hold — frustrating the good policies of Mr. President, frustrating the good policies if the party?”

While the backing of the Forum will be good for Gbajabiamila, the group still does not hold the power to wholly ensure he gets the position, as its number, 164, is well short of half the required votes in a chamber comprising 360 members.

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Our Democracy Is Faulty, Says Gbenga Daniel

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 1:25pm

Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has faulted the kind of democracy practised in Nigeria as a system that cannot bring about the best in all spheres of our national interest. 

Speaking as the Special Guest of Honour at the 2nd Annual Lecture of a media outfit, Freedom Online, held at the Alvan Ikoku Hall, Radisson Blu, Ikeja on Thursday, Daniel lamented that Nigeria is still operating a system that has been in practice since 1960 without a change which, he opined, cannot bring about any meaningful development. 

He argued that no nation can thrive on a static ideology especially in this modern age with its attendant global evolution in all indices of development.

"That is why our democratic system has to be reviewed by way of restructuring or else it will give more room for constitutional crisis, inequity, mediocrity, injustice and corruption," he said.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the dropping of the Iron Curtain, the former governor said doors were closed against communism and socialism as political ideologies opening a new vista in the socio-political economy of the respective countries which paid off as their economies rose tremendously. Even China, he stated, has joined the fray and is now about the biggest economy in the world. 

"What I am saying in essence is that if we continue to practise democracy without a drastic change, it cannot work," he said.

"It will only make people poorer and hopeless. This is why the progressive minded politicians like myself and political pundits are clamouring for restructuring, which will address the challenges facing us as a nation and proffer meaningful solutions for the betterment of the people."

On his retirement from partisan politics, he stressed that he thought it was better to leave the stage early enough for the younger generation to come up with fresh ideas and contribute their own quota towards developing the nation instead of the older ones sitting tight and counting years, which most African leaders have been accused og.

Daniel said he thought he should be praised for this bold step but was surprised when people reacted by saying he shouldn't go into retirement that soon. 
 
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by Akin Oyebode (Jnr.), delivered the lecture titled 'Fixing The Economy, Less Politics More Substance', while former Governor of Abia State and Senator-elect Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu was the Chairman.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, was the Guest of Honour, while auniversity don, Professor Akin Onigbinde, delivered the keynote address.  

Dignitaries at the event, hosted by the publisher of Freedom Online, Mr. Gabriel Akinadewo, include the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland,  Oloye Gani Adams; former Minister of Special Duties, retired Navy Captain  Caleb Olubolade; Mr. Dotun Oladipo and Nollywood actor, Bolaji Amusan among others.

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After Onnoghen, SERAP Asks CCB To Provide Asset Declaration Details Of All Presidents, Governors Since 1999

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 12:59pm


In response to the judgment delivered by the Code of Conduct Tribunal convicting Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to Dr. Muhammed Isah, Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), urging him to use his “good offices and leadership position to urgently provide information on specific details of asset declarations submitted to the CCB by successive presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999".

SERAP is seeking information on “details of asset declarations by successive presidents and state governors between 1999 and 2019, including details of declarations made immediately after taking offices and thereafter, and for those who have left public offices, at the end of their term of office".

"Information is also sought on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the CCB and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, by the Bureau," SERAP added.

Onnoghen, who was standing trial over allegations bordering on fraudulent declaration of assets, was convicted on Thursday after he was found guilty of the offences.

He was removed from office as CJN, as Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC). Onnoghen will also forfeit the money in his five bank domiciliary accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally.

The tribunal also barred him from holding public office for the next 10 years.

The FOI request, dated April 18, 2019, and signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP Deputy Director, read: “While we welcome the judgment by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Justice Walter Onnoghen, we now urge the CCB to extend its mandates to enforce constitutional provisions on asset declarations by public officers to cover elected officers and to vigorously pursue the prosecution of any such officers who use their powers either as presidents or state governors over public funds to enrich themselves.

“While judicial corruption is bad, the level of corruption involving many politicians since 1999 and the entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators is equally appalling. Publishing the asset declarations of elected public officers since the return of democracy in 1999 to date would improve public trust in the ability of the Bureau to effectively discharge its mandates. This would in turn put pressure on public officers like presidents and state governors to make voluntary public declaration of their assets.

“SERAP is concerned that many politicians hide behind the fact that members of the public do not have access to their asset declarations to make false declarations, and to cover up assets illegally acquired in corruption or abuse of office. The CCB can use the opportunity presented by the Onnoghen judgment to increase the accountability of politicians through the asset declaration provisions if it is not to be accused of witch-hunting the judiciary.

“The grim condition of many of our citizens since 1999 has been worsened by the deterioration of public services, whereby access to clean water and affordable health-care has become a pipe dream and the supply of electricity became epileptic and irregular due to years of grand corruption by many politicians at the highest level of government."

Issuing an ultimatum to CCB, SERAP added: “We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal action under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.

“The persistent refusal by successive presidents and state governors to make public their asset declarations is entirely inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution, and has been particularly harmful to the country and its people, especially given the widespread evidence of grand corruption among politicians holding public offices in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) seeks to prevent corruption and abuse of office through its provisions on the declaration of assets not just by judicial officers but by all public officers including elected officers like presidents and governors.

“Nigerians can longer accept the excuse by high-ranking government officers that declaring their assets before the CCB is enough, as such pretext is not supported by the oaths of office by elected public officers. The failure by successive presidents and state governors to voluntarily make public their asset declarations would seem to suggest that they have something to hide.

“Given that many public officers being tried for or convicted of corruption are found to have made a false declaration of their assets, the CCB should no longer allow politicians to undermine the sanctity and integrity of the asset declaration provisions of the Constitution by allowing them to continue to exploit legal gaps for illicit enrichment.

“SERAP believes that while elected public officers may not be constitutionally obliged to publicly declare their assets, the Freedom of Information Act 2011 has now provided the mechanism for the CCB to improve transparency and accountability of asset declarations by elected public officers.

“Asset declaration forms are public documents within the meaning of section 109 of the Evidence Act, and therefore, Nigerians are entitled to have access to such information. SERAP urges the CCB to vigorously push for change in law to provide penal sanctions for politicians that fail to make public their asset declarations.

“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the asset declarations by elected public officers since the return of democracy in 1999.

“SERAP notes that provisions on the declaration of assets by all public officers in Nigeria are entrenched in the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, contained in Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. The primary objective is to prevent corruption and abuse of office and to ensure transparency in public officers.

“SERAP also notes that public officers for the purposes of the Code include the president and the vice-president of the federation, state governors and their deputies; the President and Deputy-President of the Senate, the Speaker and Deputy-Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speakers, the Chief justice of Nigeria, justices of the Supreme Court, the President and justices of the Court of Appeal, and other judicial officers and all staff of courts of law.”

SERAP therefore urged the CCB to: 

"Disclose, including by publishing on a dedicated website, details of asset declarations submitted by presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999;

"Disclose details on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the CCB and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by the Bureau;

"Immediately take cases of false asset declarations to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for effective prosecution of suspects, and include banning the politicians involved from holding public offices for at least a period of 10 years and seeking refund of stolen public funds as part of the reliefs to be sought before the Tribunal."

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Wike Suspends 12 Local Government Chairmen

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 12:36pm


Nyesom Wike, Rivers State Governor, has suspended 12 local government chairmen for their failure to attend official state functions.

Announcing the sanction through a statement released by his office, Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, said the suspension took effect immediately.  

"Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has suspended 12 Local Government Council Chairmen. The suspension of the council Chairmen is with immediate effect," he said. 

Those affected are chairmen of Okrika, Emohua, Abua/Odual, Degema, Khana, Gokana, Ahoada East, Ikwerre, Eleme, Andoni, Omuma and Ogu/Bolo local government areas.

The suspended council chairmen are Philemon Kingolo, Okrika LGA; Tom Aliezi, Emohua; Daniel E.O. Daniel, Abua/Odual; Tony Phimoore, Degema; and Lahteh Loolo, Khana.

Others, according to the statement, are Paul Kobani, Gokana; Ben Eke, Ahoada East; Samuel Nwanosike, Ikwerre; Philip Okparaji, Eleme; Paul L. Paul, Andoni; Christian Nwaiwu, Omuma; and Erasmus Victor, Ogu/Bolo.

Meanwhile, Wike has notified the Rivers State House of Assembly of the suspension of the 12 council chairmen.

In a letter to the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly titled, ‘Notice of Suspension of the Chairmen of 12 local government council chairmen,’ he premised his action on Section 64 (3) of the Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018.

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Middle-Aged Man In Prison For Defiling Two Male Minors — And Infecting Them With HIV

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 11:52am


Adamu Abdulrahman, a middle-aged man, was on Thursday denied bail by a magistrate court in Yola, Adamawa State, for defiling two boys and infecting them with HIV.

He was arraigned on April 4, 2019, before the magistrate court for allegedly Kidnapping and repeatedly raping Sani Fidelis and Martin Cosmos, 14 and 13 years respectively, through the anus.

According to Police First Information Report (FIR), Adamu allegedly abducted his victims with intent to commit culpable homicide and wrongful confinement on 4/4/3019.

The FIR, which SaharaReporters obtained, further reads in part: "One Sani Fidelis of Muchalla in Mubi South LGA of Adamawa State reported to the Police that sometime in March 2019, at Unguwa Magaji Ward in Yola town, (one Adamu Abdurahman) abducted him and Cosmos Martins to an unknown destination and offered them intoxicated drugs and had carnal knowledge of them through their anus. 

"Few days later, Sani Fidelis was found sick and admitted into the Specialist Hospital in Yola, while Martins Cosmos is missing. Adamu Abdurahman was arraigned in court on 10/4/2019.

"The boys met their ill-fated encounter with randy Adamu, after travelling about 100 miles from their Muchalla village in Mubi South Local Government Area, to Yola, the state capital, for greener pasture."

Recounting their ordeal in hausa parlance, Sani told SaharaReporters: "We left our village, Muchalla, in Mubi South and came to Yola, the state capital, to fend for themselves.

"We had no particular destination, so we unfortunately landed at a neighborhood called Anguwan Magaji, where we were to be offered a place to pass the night. While we waited for our prospective host, a man came by, pretending to be the head of the neighborhood and took us in with him.

"He offered us some drugs, explaining that the tablets would help take care of the pains we incurred during our long journey. But in the night, he pounced on us through the anus, alternating between us throughout the night."

"After like a week, he went out with Martin and returned alone. When I enquired about Martin, he explained that he took him to our village but I didn't believe him."

Corroborating his claims, Phillip Wasa, a resident of 'Anguwan Magaji, confirmed that someone drew his attention to the ugly sodomy, and in turn he alerted community leaders who eventually invited the Police to arrest Mr. Adamu.

"Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) later took the victim for medicals and a case of rape through the anus was diagnosed, sadly also HIV screening conducted on him showed the boy is positive," he said.

At the court sitting attended by our correspondent, Adamu's bail application was rejected by the magistrate, Hon. Jummai Ibrahim, who upheld the objection of the prosecution Counsel, ASP Abdullahi Abubakar.

She held that the offences allegedly committed by Adamu were capital ones, and therefore ruled that the bail application was rejected.

Meanwhile, the actual whereabouts of the second victim, Martin Cosmos, is unknown.

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Africa’s Rwanda, Nigeria’s Zamfara By Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 10:48am


Twenty years ago, the world was greeted with the horror of people turned against one another, with one group aiming to exterminate the other from existence. Rwanda, the stage where this conflict holds, differs from others in that the Rwanda issue was not even one of outright tribalism but an economic distingushing which revolved around cattle ownership. 

The Tutsi were those who had a certain number of cattle while the Hutu were those who did not. This was the only distinguishing necessary between both groups. It was not a difference of colour or race or religion or real tribal affiliation. It would be condemnable too were the other reasons responsible. However, the Rwandan genocide was an event totally unwarranted.

It is quite needless to go into details of the genocide. The foundation for the Rwanda crisis was laid when a minority in possession of more cattle conflicted with a majority that did not. The political landscape also reflected a tussle for power and a desire to maintain economic status which led to one of the worst occurrences in the history of man.

The scale of tragedy in that conflict was rather much with the figures ranging between 500,000 and 1,000,000. Few of these deaths came fast and honorably as cutlasses were the main weapon of the killings. 

Humanity was called into question by that sad chapter where a man would lift in the most crude and brutal manner a tool to hit another or thousands of others repeatedly in order to ensure death for no reason of personal nature. Just a desire to eliminate. 

The genocide was plain evil with no clear foundation for such except that international and local interests of ambition collided. From the importation of cutlasses to the Radio stations that broadcast the hate. The fingerprints of ambition, imperialism and lust for power are all over the genocide. 

With the issue past and the crisis gone, Rwanda is emerging as the flower of Africa with several giant strides accomplished in a while. There are controversies all the same especially from those who dispute the progress the country has made and others who claim it is due merely to the support of China. However, Rwanda has made some laudable achievements and improvements which are lacking in other African countries.

The lessons of that episode continue to play in our minds across Africa. In various African countries, the possibility of such a scale of violence have been doused by the Rwandan lesson. People across Africa have learnt that their brotherhood should not become an item for commercial purchase by the local and international merchants of death. It is the slogan whenever crisis is envisaged in any country to take the minds and brains of those there back to the Rwanda genocide of 1994. 
The horror has been documented in movies such as Sometimes in April and Hotel Rwanda. Anyone who sees any of those movies would understand why we must banish hate in Africa and the world. We are kept in check to a large extent by realizing a repeat of history anywhere else will be disastrous and of a totally unnecessary nature.

Rwanda like several other cases of large-scale violence had a political element but largely a resultant effect of the ability to spread hate. Unlike the case for other African countries, Rwandan genocide was not even a tussle for resource control which was the case with diamonds, oil, gold and other resources.

In Nigeria, the resource “curse” seems to be repeating itself in Zamafara state where gold has since been discovered in commercial quantity but the discovery has largely remained secret with the resource being exploited by groups known simply as bandits and reported by the press as bandits. There is no visible face for their operation not any sort of organization.

The said bandits have been responsible for the death of several with a high casualty toll given as 4,000 by the government. It is trite to note that these bandits are not just ill-motivated people. They are surely sponsored by the important people in Nigeria who are financial beneficiaries of their actions in illegal mining. 

In the underground, there are strong and influential Nigerians who are benefiting economically. The bandits are mere tools. Like the cutlasses in Rwanda. The bandits are a mere surface. Deeper economic interests motivate the violence. 

An allegation has been made  by the Minsiter of Defence insinuating it is connected with the traditional leaders in Zamfara. 

The discovery of gold in an area such as Zamfara with a population of 3,278,873 should actually be good news for people of the state. Especially when you consider that the same state has the Lead resource which led to a different “curse” of lead poisoning in the state in 2011. Zamfara state has gold and has lead and yet has so much underdevelopment and poverty.

The reason why such resource value would not lead to happiness for the people of Zamfara revolves around the greed of exploiters along with the Nigerian laws that ensure such mining can only be undertaken by the Federal Government of Nigeria which may mean less economic value for locals as it is with oil in the Niger-Delta. They resort then to silent secret illegal mining. While at it, we hear their noise through the death tolls of people who should enjoy wealth instead.

Nigeria needs to consider strengthening her federalism so that states can exploit their local resources. The present arrangement where only the Federal Government can tap mineral resources has created land pollution with insurgency in parts where oil is being exploited. There are unending complains from those who live in the Niger Delta who like those in Zamfara should rather be beneficiaries of the wealth created by the availability of a treasured resource in their area.

The reasons for the Zamafara crisis are much identical with that of Rwanda. Behind the stage, there are the hidden sponsors of violence. On the stage, there are victims who have been taught to hate each other despite their shared state of suffering. In these conflicts, there can only be one beneficiary who is the sponsor of violence and hate. 
The beneficiary is that underground Lord that arranges how gold reaches Europe or where it is bought at a costly price. The one who arms the bandits to kill his own people. The one who gets so much and shares little to maintain the loyalty of the bandits. 

Behind the term “bandits”, we find the politician or someone with a public identity shielded from his underground activity. The beneficiaries are those who buy the resource caring little from whence it came or knowing fully and consenting to the theft, murder, robbery and illegal exploitation.

It is time for Nigeria and other countries of Africa to resolve the local challenges that have caused crisis, violence, deaths and other tragedy with the restoration of Rwanda as a model.

Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa writes from Obafemi Awolowo University. He writes for several reputable print and online media in Nigeria. He is a member of several volunteer organizations and human rights bodies. He can be reached on koyetolu@gmail.com or on Twitter @Koye_tolu.

Linked In: Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

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Court Seizes Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia's Passport International But Grants Her N10m Bail

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 10:31am


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Justice Rita Ofili Ajumogobia on an 18-count charge preferred against her and Godwin Obla (SAN) before Justice Rilwan Aikawa sitting in Federal high court Lagos. 

EFCC is accusing the embattled former judge of money lundering and conspiracy alongside former EFCC prosecutor Obla. 

The anti-graft agency, through it's counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, alledged that the defendants conspired to indirectly conceal, procure and retain the sum of N18m, $170,000 in Diamond Bank account no, 0032091183.

The agency said defendants ought to have known that the sum formed part of proceeds of unlawful activities, punishable under Section 15 (3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

Justice Jumogobia pleaded not guilty to all the 18 counts charge pressed on her

She was granted bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum. 

The court said the surety must have a landed property in Lagos and must also not be below Grade Level 16 in the federal or state civil service.

The presiding judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, also held that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia should deposit her passport with the Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the court on/or before 6pm today (Thursday) and that the DCR should make himself available to receive same.

According to the judge, Ofili-Ajumogobia has 10 days to fulfill the bail conditions or have the bail revoked.

It is believed that because of the Easter holidays, she will be released to her lead counsel, Wale Akoni (SAN), on Thursday, should she fulfill the bail conditions.

Ruling on Obla, the second defendant who was not present in court, the judge made an Order for the Issuance of Summons compelling him to appear before the court on May 15, 2019, for the purpose of the trial.

Consequently, the court adjourned proceedings on the matter till May 15.

Ofili-Ajumogoboa's rearraignment came after the EFCC rearrested her on Tuesday soon after an Ikeja High Court struck out a previous charge of money laundering levelled against her by the commission.

The Ikeja High court had struck out the EFCC charges over lack of jurisdiction.

But in the fresh charge numbered FHC/139C/19, EFCC accused Ofili-Ajumogobia and Obla, a former EFCC prosecution counsel, to have conspired on May 21, 2014, to indirectly conceal N5 million in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd., which they “reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of unlawful act”.

It argued that the alleged offences contravened Sections 15 (2) (a) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

The anti-graft agency further accused the former judge of indirectly concealing N12 million in the same account, adding that she wrongly claimed that the money was payment for a sold property.

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Danjuma Goje Survives Petition Seeking To Upturn His Senatorial Election Victory

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 10:10am


Justice Raphael Ajuwa, Chairman of the Gombe State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, has granted the prayers of Lamido Umaru Chikaire, candidate of the People Redemption Party (PRP) in the election, to withdraw his petition against Danjuma Goje, candidate of the All Progressives Congress who was declared winner of the Gombe Central senatorial election. 

Granting the prayers of the petitoner, Ajuwa said: “Going by the date for election petition and having heard the pleas of lawyers of the litigants, this panel will grant the motion for the withdrawal of this petition." 

Mohammed Babangida and A.M Inuwa, lawyers to the petitioners, had cited three reasons for the withdrawal: that the petitioners filed the petition on grounds as stated in the petition, that the petitioner was summoned to a family meeting during which his uncles pressurised him to withdraw this petition and focus on his business, and that the petitioner heeded this advice hence this application to withdraw.

Goje and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were the respondents in the case.

The  petitioners had asked the tribunal to overturn the results of the election, which INEC had declared Goje the winner of.

Reacting to the withdrawal, Haruna Luka, lawyer to the respondents, said: "The case was vague. This has once again cemented the victory of Danjuma Goje, who got overwhelming votes."

INEC declared Goje winner for the Gombe Central National Assembly election, saying polled 110,116 votes to defeat Chikaire who garnered 8,397 to place a distant 3rd.

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Jilted By Lover, 100-Level Female Student Commits Suicide By Drinking Sniper

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 8:25am


 

Ayingba Rebecca Michael, A 100-level student of the Kogi State University (KSU), committed suicide on Wednesday after her lover broke up with her.

The deceased was a fresh student in the university's Department of Philosophy.

She was reported to have ended her life by taking sniper, an insecticide, when the lover, said to be a famous disk jockey (DJ) in Lokoja, informed her that he was no longer interested in the relationship. 

According to a source, she committed suicide in their 200 housing unit residence, in Lokoja, the state capital.

All efforts to save her life after taking the poisonous substance turned vain, as she was certified dead on getting to Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, where she was taken for medical intervention.

She was later buried on the same day at the Lokogoma Cemetery, Lokoja.

The late Rebecca was in her 20s.

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VIDEO: Laughter At Tribunal As Onnoghen Asks Photographer: ‘Hope You’re Not Taking My Pants’

Sahara Reporters - 18 April 2019 - 8:08am

Walter Onnoghen, the sacked Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), caused quite a stir at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Thursday with a remark just before the commencement of the judgement that caught everyone’s attention.

The tribunal found him guilty of false declaration of assets in breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) for public officials. 

Delivering its judgement, the three-man panel chaired by Danladi Umar said the prosecution proved Onnoghen's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Therefore, it convicted him and removed him from office as Chief Justice of Nigeria, as Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC). It also said Onnoghen is to forfeit the money in his five bank domiciliary accounts that were not declared to the Nigerian Government because they were acquired illegally, and barred him from holding public office for the next 10 years.

Video of I Hope You Are Not Taking My Pant, Onnoghen Asks Photojournalists In Court I Hope You Are Not Taking My Pant, Onnoghen Asks Photojournalists In Court

Moments before then, though, Onnoghen, sat in the front row, smiled as numerous photojournalists beamed their cameras on him. However, when he noticed a particular journalist was bending down while taking his shots, Onnoghen jokingly asked him: “I hope you are not taking my pants.”

It was a remark that sent many in the court into fits of laughter before a policeman came to drive the journalists away.

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