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Is Organising Protests Now Big Business? By Fredrick Nwabufo

21 March 2019 - 2:24am

Fredrick Nwabufo

You must understand that some things do not happen naturally here. Protests, in particular, are not organic or “an act of God”, at least not now; there is usually a “mighty hand” in the shadows pulling the strings. 

Unlike in the past, when men of good conscience like Gani Fawehinmi, Wole Soyinka, Chima Ubani, Richard Akinnola and Femi Falana, led mass movements against tyranny on principle, protests here are now monetised and deployed to achieve the insular ends of the “backer”. In fact, they form the core part of planning for any political activity. And there is a handsome budget for them. For example, if a certain “big shot” senses that the EFCC dragnet is closing in, he finances a protest through “groups” to demand, 'leave our daddy alone'; 'EFCC go after other looters'.

I recall in May 2014 when a mercenary “civil society” group protested against the Bring-Back-Our-Girls group at the Unity Fountain in Abuja and sent in its thugs to disrupt the sit-in. I also recall other protests after 2014, solidarising with the government and demanding the expulsion of perceived enemies.  The truth is, the government is the biggest enabler of fraudulent protests. And it is also the greatest danger to civil advocacy.

Have you wondered why some civil society groups that were ferocious before 2015 suddenly appear to have a canine extraction? Of course, you guessed right. 

Really, some of these civil society groups survive on “protest money” and other largesse from politicians. As a matter of fact, most of them are set up specifically for this purpose. Sadly, organising protests is now a political strategy through which corrupt money flows to the gatekeepers of society.

Although this phenomenon is not new, it has metamorphosed into a grandiose and prodigal enterprise since 2012. Organising protests has become a big business.  You see a group organise a protest against a particular issue, and then hold another one in favour of it afterwards. It all depends on who is paying the bigger bucks.

Surprisingly, groups which claim to be non-partisan or politically neutral are bottom-deep in the business of organising protests for money. 

Recent allegations by Deji Adeyanju, a former stakeholder in the Our-Mumu-Don-Do group, against the honcho of the movement, accent this style of "chop, chop activism". 

Sometimes, being politically neutral or non-aligned is not about having integrity, but about protecting the belly so as to “chop” from both the good, the bad and the ugly.

However, the role of civil society groups cannot be obviated or diminished.  There are still a good number of genuine groups. In fact, we owe our democracy to some activists and leaders of civic groups who even in the fiery furnace of Abacha stood like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Also, protests are an instrument for checking abusive governments. This tool cannot be retired because of a few rotten eggs.

But the civil society must save itself from this moral declension. I think, it is time to self-regulate.


Fredrick is a media personality.

Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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Gbenga Daniel's Defection: Treachery Like None Other By Law Mefor

21 March 2019 - 2:19am

"The evil that men do lives after them" - William Shakespeare 

Here is the first thought that crossed my mind when the dirty news that Gbenga Daniel was leaving Atiku Abubakar and PDP for the APC in the middle of the struggle to claim the presidential mandate: God, save me from my friends; let me take care of my enemies. 

The only adduced reason for the inglorious departure was that Gbenga Daniel was not happy he was replaced as Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign when it was enlarged after the PDP Presidential Primaries. And that he also expected that Atiku’s running mate would come from the South West and preferably himself. His anger simmered despite that he was still Deputy DG (South) of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Council.

Let us deal with Gbenga Daniel’s expectations on their merit. Yes, he was the Director General of the Atiku’s Campaign when the latter was still an aspirant. After the Party Primaries in Port Harcourt, where 12 other solid aspirants took part, the losers, magnanimously, turned over their campaign structures to Atiku and as a matter of process and tradition, the Party was expected to take over the Campaign and own and run it.

In this enlarged campaign where every Party stalwart was expected to bring both mettle and substance to bear, Gbenga Daniel still believed it was best to have him as the Director General. With Atiku now the PDP candidate and Gbenga Daniel remaining the Director General, what then would have changed even in public perception? Was he expecting that the remaining aspirants would just be hangers-on and still pull their weights?

This false sense of entitlement is rather ill-starred and may have caused the PDP the Presidency. For a fact, posts at campaign level are never ends in themselves but means to the ends and are filled with utmost strategic insight. 

Who knows the extent the treachery actually played out while Mr. Daniel hung in there pretending to be with Atiku? He may all along be playing a fifth columnist. And do not be surprised if he emerges a minister in the coming Buhari cabinet, as a reward for inimitably being a mole in the main opposition campaign. 

One also understands that Gbenga Daniel, while positioning himself to become SGF, also wanted the VP slot zoned to the South West. In other words, Peter Obi was chosen by Atiku against his advice and wish.

One wonders what magic he would have pulled when he lost even his own ward to the APC in the Presidential Election. This man is greed personified.

Beyond doubt, the secrets and strategies of Atiku and PDP both in the Campaign and the legal challenge are now with the opposing camp. How on earth can Atiku hope to make progress in the Tribunal if his strategies are now in the market place? There cannot be a greater perfidy and betrayal.

What honourable men in his shoes would do was to resign when the reshuffle was made and another zone produced the VP to Atiku and somebody else appointed the DG. It takes a traitorous mind to pretend to be working for success while harboring such level of negative energy.

Truly, may God save us from our so-called friends and loyalists; we can take care of the enemies, to avoid this Cassius’ (Daniel’s) dagger on Caesar’s (Atiku’s) back.

• Dr. Law Mefor, a Forensic/Social Psychologist, writes from Abuja; e-mail:

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Lightning Strikes, Kills Ex-Delta Councillor, Two Others

21 March 2019 - 1:53am

Three persons, including a former councillor, we're struck dead during a thunderstorm at Otu-Jeremi town in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

According to Punch newspaper, the incident took place at about 4pm on Tuesday during a downpour.

At least one other person was injured at a different location in the area by the thunderstorm.

The casualties were said to be waiting for the heavy rain to subside when lightning struck, killing three of the four persons in the building.

The casualties were recognised by the people of the community as Mr. Matthew Utuama, a former councillor in the community, Gabriel Djoma and a motor mechanic, whose name could not be ascertained at the time of the report.

The trio died on the spot.

The mechanic, who was not an indigene of the community, travelled all the way from Onitsha to the community to repair a tipper engine owned by one of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the corpses of Utuama and Djoma, both indigenes of Otu-Jeremi, have been deposited in the morgue in the community, while that of the motor mechanic was taken to Onitsha on Wednesday for burial.

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My Opponent Is A Cockroach That Is Already Finished In APC, Says Ebonyi Gov

21 March 2019 - 1:40am

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi

Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebony State, who has won a second term in office on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has dismissed the claims that he has dealings with the All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to the Governor, Sonni Ogbuoji, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who has been accusing him of plans to defect is a "cockroach", who has no future in the party.

He stated this in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, published on Thursday.

Speaking on the claims that he was working for the APC, he said: "I never had a deal with anybody. I have sense of my own. But what I said all along, I campaigned for Atiku and I stood for Atiku. But I kept saying that the President is my friend. He is not a political friend. He is my boss and that I was not going to castigate him and nobody from Ebonyi will castigate him; even his party we did not castigate when we were running.

"It is only the cockroach that ran against me that was worrying us, but because of the respect for the President, we did not castigate the APC. This is very important. Now it is the same Ogbuoji that is afraid of himself and his shadows that is castigating us. He is afraid that if I come into APC, I will displace him.

"Tell me, should my coming into APC not be a plus for the party? Why is he worried about my coming into APC? The important thing is that, I don’t move unless God asked me to move and God would have brought me to governance through APC but he never did.

"So, I am still a PDP member. I never thought of leaving PDP. I never contemplated leaving PDP, but he is afraid that if I come into APC he is finished. But he is finished already because he has no future at all. I told him when I was campaigning that he will never be governor all his life. I am still very busy with my projects and he is talking about jumping into APC.

"I want to say that those that jump from one party to another have no integrity. Whatever God wants to make you, he can make you and it does not matter where you are or the political party you belong."

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PDP Has Slipped Into Severe Depression And Post-Defeat Hallucination, Says APC

21 March 2019 - 1:34am

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has mocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the claims by Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate, that he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari by 1.6 million votes. 

Sympathising with PDP on its defeat at the presidential poll, APC commended Nigerians for their support. 

A statement by Mallam Lanre Issa Onilu, issued on Wednesday, noted that PDP's plans to discredit the electoral process as reported before the elections, had been confirmed.

He also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to be on the alert against alleged plans by PDP to "jeopardize" the commission's database.

The statement read: “Following the outcome of the presidential election, during which a vast majority of Nigerians reaffirmed their unshaken belief in President Muhammadu Buhari to continue to steer the affairs of the country for another four years, we have watched in disbelief and utter amusement how the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have engaged in series of circus shows to cheer up their crestfallen and disillusioned members.

“While the APC is not oblivious of the PDP’s antics to discredit the credible presidential electoral process, acknowledged by local and international observers, we sympathise with Atiku for the crushing defeat handed him by President Buhari through the votes of Nigerians.

“Judging by Atiku and PDP’s recent utterances and actions, it is now clear that they have slipped into severe depression and post-defeat hallucination that have left many Nigerians questioning their current state of mind.

“After weeks of dilly-dallying, the PDP has woken up to the stark reality of its electoral defeat and decided to follow the constitutional path of filing a petition at the Election Tribunal. However, of all the prayers of Atiku before the Election Tribunal, which are at best hollow, the most ridiculous is his claim that the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicated he ‘won’ the Presidential Election by 1.6million votes.

“A few questions would suffice: Is this phantom figure of 1.6million votes Dubai-invented? Was the result sold to Atiku by his numerous marabouts, who we understand, had assured him that the last election was a done deal for him?

“Most importantly, we note Atiku’s consistent reference to the 'INEC server' as if he is the custodian of that platform. Indeed, Atiku’s constant reference to the INEC server should raise concerns as it is becoming apparent that he and the PDP are up for some dastard activities that are targeted at jeopardizing the INEC database and internal storage system.

“We recall the widespread reported cases of several programmed card readers that were retrieved from some PDP agents and their failed attempt to hack the INEC database in the lead up to the then postponed presidential election. We remind the Atiku and PDP that Nigerians saw through the devious schemes aimed at thwarting their will. Consequently, majority of the voters handed them a harsh verdict — that verdict remains sacrosanct.

“We call on the INEC and the security agencies to be on red alert to ensure that Atiku and the other desperate characters in the PDP are not able to execute their evil plans.”

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NSE Suspends Diamond Bank's Shares

21 March 2019 - 1:23am

Diamond bank

The sanctioning of the Diamond and Access bank merger by the Federal High Court Tuesday has signed off on the 29-year life of the latter.

Trading on the shares of Diamond Bank, which was founded on 20 December 1990, was also suspended on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE).

Diamond Bank’s shares will hence be dissolved without being wound up and delisted from the Exchange afterwards.

The merger will see the dissolution of 19 per cent of the now absorbed bank’s share portfolio.

Diamond Bank will transfer all its assets, liabilities and undertakings to Access Bank and the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank will be cancelled and the Bank will be dissolved without being liquidated.

Diamond Bank’s shareholders will get a cash consideration of N1 per share and two ordinary shares of the enlarged Access Bank for every seven ordinary shares of Diamond Bank held as at the effective date. All these are in line with the terms of the merger, which was sealed with the FHC approval.

Emerging from the union is an expanded Access Bank, headed by an unchanged Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe.

“The suspension is required to prevent trading in the shares of the bank in order to determine the bank’s shareholders who will qualify to receive the scheme consideration,” NSE said, referring to the ‘cash consideration."

The fusion of both money lenders is expected to form a leading Tier 1 Nigerian bank and the largest bank in Africa by number of customers, with networks across three continents, 12 countries, 3,100 Automated Teller Machine (ATM), over 33,000 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, 27 million clients and over 10 million mobile customers.

There is a challenge of economies of scale, however, which may inevitably lead to the firing of staff.

At a press conference in December, Herbert Wigwe said staff of Diamond Bank would not be laid-off, but re-skilled. That will be one word to watch out for in the coming months. What is evident no doubt, is that only one management team will be in place for the purpose of efficiency and overlapping branches and departments will have to be collapsed.

Based on year ending financial statements for December 2017, Access Bank, the ‘absorber,’ has 3,190 staff in over 300 branches, while Diamond Bank has 3,280 in 279 branches. Its number of branches was reflected in its nine-month result for 2017. With a staff difference of 90, experts expect some haircut on the Diamond Bank side of the deal.

Diamond Bank is not the first money lender gobbled up by Access bank. Following the absorption of Intercontinental Bank in 2012, over 1,000 of the now defunct bank’s staff were laid-off and branches were closed.

Experts also say quick-fire retrenchments will not be the mode of operation, due to the workers' unions in the banking sector.

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Okorocha Takes INEC To Court For Withholding Certificate Of Return

21 March 2019 - 1:19am

Rochas Okorochas, Governor of Imo State, has filed a suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Okorocha took the commission to court to seek an order compelling it to issue him the certificate of return as the senator-elect for Imo West senatorial district.

INEC refused to issue him the certificate of return after the Returning Officer for the February 23 election, Professor Francis Ibeawuchi, said he announced Okorocha as the winner of the senatorial election "under duress".

In the suit filed by Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), the plaintiff made INEC the sole defendant in the suit.

However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, the presiding judge, by the agreement of the counsels involved in the case, made an order permitting Jones Onyeriri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election and Senator Osita Izunaso of the All Progressives Grand Alliance to be joined as the 2nd and 3rd defendants.

Both candidates of the other parties were represented by their lawyers: Nwafor Orizu for Izunaso, Emeka Etiaba (SAN) for Onyeriri. INEC was represented by Mrs. Wendy Kuku.

Justice Taiwo ordered the defendants to file and exchange their processes within 10 days, while the plaintiff's counsel was given three days to respond to them.

The judge adjourned the matter till April 5.

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My Re-election Ambition Not Worth Anybody's Life, Says Ortom

21 March 2019 - 1:14am

Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, who is seeking reelection, says his reelection should not bring about bloodletting and loss of anybody’s life.

Ortom implored the people of Benue State to embrace peace and eschew violence in Saturday’s supplementary governorship election.

Ortom, who was represented by Benson Abounu, the Deputy Governor of the state, spoke on Wednesday at a stakeholders' meeting at the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

He said the electorate should be allowed to elect their leaders and that their votes should count.

Abounu said: "The Governor is concerned about the violence in our electoral process. It is totally unnecessary and completely unwarranted because we are not at war.

"The essence of having an election is to allow the will of the people to prevail. The people are supposed to decide who will govern them and that is all. At the end of the electioneering, we would come back again as one state, as brothers and sisters.

"All that bothers the Governor is ’Allow the will of the people to prevail.' That is all. But you saw what we experienced in Guma and Gwer Local Government Areas. There was violence that resulted in the loss of human lives. This is completely unnecessary.

"The Governor said his election does not warrant the loss of one single life. That is what should bother all of us who are political leaders, security operatives and even religious leaders. The important thing is that there should be no loss of any human life. The idea is to allow the will of the people. Let them decide for themselves who will govern them.

"As far as the Governor is concerned, he is not ready to force anybody to have him reelected. He is not ready to buy any vote whatsoever and he will never encourage such.”

However, Dr Nentawe Goshwe, the state Resident Electoral Commisioner, in his remarks said the commission was ready to conduct free, fair credible and transparent supplementary election on Saturday.

Goshwe, however, made it known that the commission had stopped two electoral officers in the state from participating in the supplementary election.

Benue State is one of the six states in the country where the March 9 governorship election was declared inconclusive.

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Buhari’s Victory Will Be Short-Lived, Says Saraki

21 March 2019 - 1:13am

Bukola Saraki, Nigeria's Senate President, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection as the President of Nigeria would be short-lived.

Speaking at the opening session of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, Saraki dismissed Buhari’s triumph at the polls as “purported victory”, adding that the PDP must defeat Buhari at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

Saraki, who also doubled as the Director General of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, said the election revealed the true character of the PDP.

“First of all, the true reflection of the presidential election showed the kind of character that the PDP has. I think that is something that we should build on.

“My own appeal to everybody is to say this victory that the other party has seen is going to be short-lived. We have  a great future ahead and I believe we will start that on Saturday, to make sure that we defend those five states that are declared inconclusive.

“If anybody believes that it is a loss to PDP, it is a loss to the country that history will not forgive. We said many times here, that the worst to do is to do an election that as a country, Nigeria will not be proud of.

We have done an election that no doubt anybody and even those that think they have won are ashamed of the kind of election we did.

"I think it is a shame to the country and those that were given that reponsiblity to do. We are setting a bad example not only in Nigeria but in the continent, when we bring militriasation into our election."

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Akeredolu Creating LCDAs To Share Ondo’s Resources Among Cronies, Says Group

20 March 2019 - 12:48pm

A human rights group, the Sunshine Liberation Front (SLF), has kicked against the plans of Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, to create Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

According to the group, the idea proposed by Akeredolu was to "play politics and score cheap political points" in the bid to “curry undeserved political favours and share the finances of the state among cronies penned for the slots”.

A statement signed by Akinyele Akinwale, coordinator of the group, and obtained by SaharaReporters in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Wednesday, rejected the proposal, noting that the creation of the LCDAs in addition to the existing 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, is a “mischievous" act.

He said Akeredolu was planning to create LCDAs in the state, but has failed to conduct local government election, despite pledging to do so before clocking two years in office.

The statement read: "Sunshine Liberation Front (SLF), a nonpartisan group projecting and promoting the welfare, well-being and interests of the good people of Ondo State, rejects the proposed plan by the Governor of the state, Arakunrin ’Rotimi Akeredolu, to create Local Council Development Area (LCDAs).

“The proposal viewed by all political watchers as politics taken too far, is coming a few months after Arakunrin Akeredolu and his government failed to conduct the council polls slated for December 1st, 2018 and a total of N2billion was earmarked for in the 2018 Appropriation Bill signed into law by the governor.

"Would the governor now abandon the elections that the prospective candidates had parted with huge funds in mobilizing their supporters and getting nomination forms? This is a plot by the governor and his advisers to curry more political favour, score cheap points, and share our limited funds among his party faithful at the expense of suffering Ondo State indigenes.”

The group, however, vowed to resist the proposed creation of the LCDAs in the state, adding that such move was only to “compensate the few awaiting the sweet juice in Akeredolu’s government.

"Isn't it incredible and mischievous that the state governor, who has continued to abandon and starve Local Councils of funds and deny them of autonomy for several years, now remembers to create LCDAs out of them? Would these LCDAs not be given same treatment by the current government and the subsequent ones?

"SLF, therefore, will not look away while our political system, which should benefit the ordinary people, is rendered powerless to compensate a few, who worked and will be ready to work for their own political goals.

"The group rejects, in totality, the unreasonable plan by Arakunrin Akeredolu to create LCDAs, while our legally recognized local councils, under the illegal chairmanship of committee caretakers, remain underfunded and largely unrecognized.”

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'I've Never Received A Dime' — Obasanjo Denies Earning N40,000 Annually As NOUN Instructor

20 March 2019 - 12:48pm

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has debunked the report that he receives N40,000 annually as a facilitator at the National Open University of Nigerian (NOUN).

He stated this in response to a report quoting Professor Abdalla Adamu, Vice Chancellor of Noun, as saying he received N40,000 annually as a supervisor in the school.

A statement issued by Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo's spokesman, on Wednesday, said the former President's services to the university were offered free of charge.

According to Obasanjo, he offered the services “pro bono” as contained in the letter he wrote after he was offered part-time appointment at the school as an instructional/tutorial facilitator and project supervisor.

The statement read: “The attention of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has been drawn to a newspaper report, published on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 with the headline ‘Obasanjo earns N40,000 as NOUN lecturer –VC'.

“Ordinarily, this will have been unnecessary exercise, if it has been the usual shenanigans of the media to sell their newspapers, but, the very clear quotation of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Abdalla Adam on the headline made this clarification imperative and to set the records straight on His Excellency’s engagement with the University.

“In putting the records in right perspective, His Excellency which to draw the attention of the Vice Chancellor to his letter dated 12 April 2018, which was written to the University Registrar, Mr. Felix Edoka, when the Council offered him a Part-Time appointment as an Instructional/Tutorial Facilitator and Project Supervisor in the Faculty of Arts at the Abeokuta Study Centre.

“Specifically in Paragraph 3 of the letter, President Obasanjo wrote: ‘I will gladly undertake any of the functions mentioned in paragraph two of your letter pro bono and I hope that the functions will be flexible enough to accommodate my rather tight schedule.'.

“The former President affirmed that he has not received any dime either as salaries or otherwise from the university and not planning for such now or forever, as stated in his letter that the appointment was received with ‘pleasure and duty to give back to others out of what God and NOUN have given me'.

“The publication, which has generated mixed reactions from the general public and calls from far and near on the elder statesman expressing concern, is to say the least, embarrassing, uncharitable, mischievous and in bad taste, with an immediate demand for a retraction and apology from the Office of the Vice Chancellor.”

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After Two-Year Tests, Forensic Experts Indict Oil Multinationals For 'Oil Terrorism' In Bayelsa

20 March 2019 - 12:32pm

Foreign and indigenous forensic experts engaged by the Bayelsa State government have indicted oil multinationals operating in the state over alleged serial pollution of the waters and creeks of the state, leading to poisonous substances and untimely deaths among indigenes of the state.

Mrs. Funkazi Koroye Crooks, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Trade and Investment, and Mr. Ebi Epiangolo, the state Commissioner for Environment, made this known on Tuesday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, during a media briefing on the new campaign, tagged ‘Rise for Bayelsa’ to tackle environmental terrorism and devastation by oil multinationals due to massive environmental pollution along the water and creeks in the state.

According to Mrs. Crooks, the forensic scientists engaged by the state government investigated the destructive effect of oil multinationals’ operations on the lives of the people of the state.

“The test has been on for over two years under the state Ministry of Health and it was able to estimate the time a spill occurs and the effect on the lives of the people,” she said.

In his remarks, Epiangolo said instead of the state and its people to benefit from oil exploration by oil multinationals, "the reverse is the case in Bayelsa.”

“The oil companies are not investing in the state, but engaged in oil terrorism and destroying the state and the people. You will shed tears if you know what they are doing. If a spillage occurs in the state, the oil multinationals will set up a joint investigation team and term the spillage as sabotage. They don't pay compensation. Since I have been commissioner, no compensation has been paid. They destroy the environment and refuse to pay compensation. Our water has been destroyed. Our people are dying. Our life expectancy has been reduced drastically. That is environmental terrorism,” he added.

Also supporting the 'Rise for Bayelsa' initiative, Nollywood actor, Francis Duru, actress Tamara Eteimo and musician, Timi Dakolo, declared their support to join the state in battle against the "wicked and parochial" conduct of oil multinationals in the state.

In his speech, Honourable Daniel Alabra, Special Adviser to the Bayelsa Governor on Media, explained that the new campaign is to attract global attention to the ravaging effects of oil spills, pollution and environmental degradation in Bayelsa State.

“It is an international campaign supported by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, which focuses on the plight of oil-bearing communities across the state. The launch will feature the screening of a short documentary that showcases the devastation caused by oil companies operating in the state. Apart from speeches by government officials, environmental activists and community leaders, there will also be a performance by popular Nigerian musician, Timi Dakolo, the Bayelsa Cultural Troupe, as well as guest appearances by some Nollywood artistes, who support the campaign,” Alabra said.

Alabra, a member of the media and publicity committee of the campaign, noted that oil spills in the western world rightly cause global outrage.

“In Bayelsa, spills happen daily and nothing is being done to put a stop to it. The people of Bayelsa are suffering from the effects of these spills and the environmental hazards they cause. The ‘Rise for Bayelsa’ campaign, therefore, aims to compel those responsible to take action,” he noted.

He said the demands of the ‘Rise for Bayelsa’ campaign include calling on multinational and local oil companies operating in the state to clean up spills immediately, provide swift compensation for impacted communities, provide long term sustainable solutions to avoid spills, as well as invest in sustainable projects in communities in which they operate.

"Bayelsa has the record of being the state where Nigeria's first oil well was drilled by Shell in 1956. Some of the big oil multinationals today have operational bases in the state and it produces about 40 per cent of the country's oil and gas resources. However, Bayelsa continues to suffer vast environmental and human damage due to the exploration activities of the oil firms.

"The campaign noted that oil spills had resulted in lifetime exposure of communities to contaminated air, water sources, soil and sediment, as well as put life expectancy in the Niger Delta around 10 years lower than the national average, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

"It also stated that flaring of gas, the process by which natural gas associated with petroleum extraction is burned off in the atmosphere, has had significant negative impact in the Niger Delta, leading to environmental problems, such as acid rain, as well as generating greenhouse gases.”

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VIDEO: Bus Catches Fire At UNILAG — The 4th Tragedy At The School In Three Weeks

20 March 2019 - 11:34am

Around 4pm on Wednesday, a commercial bus caught fire opposite the Faculty of Environmental Science, near the Multipurpose Hall of the University of Lagos.

No one was injured, but there was tension in the air as students scampered away from the scene of the fire.

There have been series of unfortunate incidents in the school during this week, according to students who expressed shock at the incident.

One of the students said an uncompleted library in the school collapsed this week, and there were at least three fire outbreaks within the school premises.

According to a student, just in March alone, there have been fire outbreaks at the Faculty of Social Science, Faculty of Science as well as the Computer Science department.

Video of VIDEO: Bus Catches Fire At UNILAG — The 4th Tragedy At The School In Three Weeks VIDEO: Bus Catches Fire At UNILAG — The 4th Tragedy At The School In Three Weeks

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Tinubu Goofed Yet Again... Lagosians Deserve Government-Funded Mass Housing By Ayowole Sanyaolu

20 March 2019 - 11:10am

For the past few days now, Nigeria has been thrown into a mournful mood. From the return of Buhari as President to the tragic death of Prof. Pious Adesanmi. No sooner had we recovered from these pathetic occurrences than we have been confronted with an avalanche of other tragedies. My prayers and heartrending condolences are with the families of young pupils who are victims of the Ita faaji and the Lagos Island building collapse. Yet again, our children, the future of our dear country, have been sacrificed on the altar ineptitude and crass irresponsibility of the Nigerian ruling elite.

For the records, the categories of persons who are being mourned in the past few days did not meet their deaths by sheer force of fate or destiny, they were killed and made victims of systemic failure. And there have been many more who have died under worse circumstances. Scores of promising Nigerians have lost their lives to our poor health system. LUTH and LASUTH are both embarrassing eyesores. Both hospitals have been more magnificent in taking lives than efficient in saving them. Our roads are death traps with potholes already assuming the size of very large drainages.

Without losing sight of subject of discourse, Bola Tinubu, in his response to the recent tragic occurrences of collapse of buildings, advised the Lagos State government to fast-track the process of demolishing marked buildings. This statement would have hoodwinked the unsuspecting few into the false assumption that Tinubu's statement was coming from the part of his heart that houses empathy for the victims of this tragedy. On the contrary, beneath the facade of sympathy lies his real intent, which is centred at attacking the livelihood of poor and hopeless Lagosians. This is not to say that I intend that government continues to indulge defective buildings. Not at all. However, can someone just help ask Tinubu whose responsibility it is to provide adequate shelter? Unlike Lateef Jakande whose administration built several low-cost housing and tertiary institutions, all of which are still in existence today, Tinubu and his proteges who succeeded him couldn't build a single tertiary institution neither did they lay a foundation for low-cost housing.

What they have been doing instead has been to commercialise our universities as Fashola did with LASU in 2011. Fashola's so-called low-cost housing remains till date unaffordable to an average Nigerian worker.

From Tinubu to the regime of Fashola and down to the administration of Ambode, the Lagos State government has rather been in the business of demolishing houses of poor Lagosians. Ambode in 2017 alone demolished several houses and market places, including Otodogbame, Ilubirin, Sabo and several others. These inhumane actions perpetrated by the government remain one of the worst humanitarian disasters witnessed in our country in recent times. Several persons were killed, while scores of others recorded unbearable property losses to the tune of millions. In all of this, government saw no reason to compensate persons it rendered homeless overnight and neither has it devised any initiative to compensate scores of others whose means of livelihood were permanently destroyed through the demolition of market places where our most vulnerable citizens are known to make a living.

As moribund as the Nigerian constitution may seem, it nevertheless spelt out some very cogent responsibilities of government to its citizens. Chapter 2 Section 14 of the Constitution stated unequivocally that security and welfare of the citizens shall be the exclusive responsibility of government. Proceeding to Section 16 Subsection 2d, it was boldly written that government shall provide good and adequate shelter for its citizsns.

This is the position of the Constitution. And now that Tinubu is proposing that government speed up the process of demolition, is he also proposing that government also provides alternative homes for persons who would become homeless? Is he also proposing that government begins building low-cost housing on a massive scale? A kind of housing in which an average worker that may soon be earning a paltry N30,000 minimum wage can conveniently afford? Lagos has always prided itself as the fifth largest economy in Africa with GDP higher than the economy of five neighbouring African countries put together. The government, in fact, recently announced a rise in GDP by a whopping sum of N32.99billion. This new development has placed the Lagos State economy far higher than that of 33 states combined. 

This remarkable economic stride has only found relevance in the bank accounts of Tinubu, friends, families and proteges. While Tinubu and friends get richer with increased Lagos GDP, Lagosians have in fact become poorer; more Lagosians have become homeless, more Lagosians have become Jobless, more students have become dropouts with rising number of out-of-school children. Despite remarkable economic strides, this glorified slum according to the economists, is the worst city to live in the world next to Damascus in war torn Syria.

It is therefore very expedient at this moment that we all rise as citizens to demand that this new rise in the GDP should henceforth be put to the construction of mass housing, funding/building of new hospitals of modern standards, building of schools of modern categories, modern transportation, roads and support for free health and free education at all levels. Lagos money should be put into such relevance rather than saving it in Tinubu's private vault where some of it would find its way into bullion vans in the course of the next elections.

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Fayose's Aide Told Me To Lie In My Statement To EFCC, Lebanese Confesses

20 March 2019 - 10:45am

The N2.2billion fraud trial of former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose progressed on Wednesday with the prosecution fielding four additional witnesses.

Among the four witnesses were three Lebanese — Goshen Joseph, Joseph Mechleb and Maroun Mechleb — who are working in Nigeria as building and construction engineers.

Mechleb, whom prosecution fielded as number 10 witness, is the Chief Executive Officer of a construction firm, Samchase Nigeria Limited, based in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

While being led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mechleb told the court that he had done various jobs for both the Nigerian government and some states, including Ekiti State. He said he executed jobs for Ekiti State in 2006, 2014, 2015 and 2016 when Fayose was governor of the state.

Mechleb told the court that the jobs he did for Ekiti State were facilitated by Abiodun Agbele, an aide to Fayose.

He said there was an agreement that he would “appreciate” Agbele for every contract he facilitated for Samchase Nigeria Limited. Mechleb said though the "appreciation" was not specified, it was usually about 10 per cent of the contract sum.

The Lebanese, who told the court that he could neither write nor read English language fluently, said the scope of the contracts was usually communicated verbally.

"We agreed that when he got jobs for me, I will appreciate him. We did not specify but it's around 10 per cent,” he said.

Mechleb told the court that he once lied to the EFCC about owning a property on Agbele’s instructions, noting that he falsely claimed ownership of the property in order to help Agbele, whom he described as a friend.

The Lebanese was asked by Jacobs if he knew of a company, JJ Technical Services Limited, to which he replied that the firm belongs to his younger brother and brother-in-law, Maroun Mechleb and Joseph Mechleb, respectively.

He said his brother once approached him to help get some jobs for JJ Technical Services Limited, because since the company was incorporated in 2007, it never got any job. Mechleb said he collected the firm’s documents and gave to Agbele to find jobs for it, but Agbele did not. The Lebanese said at a time Agbele approached him and asked if he had a company which could be used to get a contract. He said he then nominated JJ Technical Services Limited. The Lebanese said Agbele later bought a property in the name of JJ Technical Services Limited and brought the deed of assignment for him to sign, noting that he signed the document not knowing that it was in respect of a property.

“At the beginning, I didn’t know it was document of a property but I later got to know when the EFCC invited me and I had to contact Mr. Abiodun Agbele,” Mechleb said.

The Lebanese said Agbele instructed him to tell the EFCC that he owned the property, which he said he told the EFCC while dictating his statement on July 28, 2016. He said when he left the interrogation room, he told his lawyer who was with him that what he told the EFCC was not the truth, rather what Agbele instructed him to tell the anti-graft agency. Mechleb said his lawyer was angry with him and told him to go back and tell the anti-graft agency the truth. He said he went back immediately and dictated a second statement, in which he denied ownership of the property in question.

During cross-examination, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), the second defence counsel, asked Mechleb: “As an adult, will you tell a lie, if you are told to lie?”

Responding, the Lebanese said: “In the first statement, I didn’t say the truth because of the relationship between me and the person (Agbele).”

“If you are told not to say the truth, you will not say the truth?” Ojo asked.

“I was trying to help a friend. I lied to help a friend at the time. But when the lawyer asked me, I went back to say the truth based on my conscience,” he responded.

Earlier, Goshen Joseph and Joseph Mechleb, who testified as PW8 and PW9, respectively, denied knowledge of the property bought in the name of their company.

 Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned further proceedings till April 15.

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VIDEO: Group Protests Govt’s Sudden Demolition Of Buildings On Lagos Island

20 March 2019 - 10:28am

The Lagos Anti-Demolition Movement has protested the misinformation of statistics of the "carnage that happened at Ita Faji", when a building marked for demolition collapsed, killing school children.

The protest, which took place at Massey Street, Lagos Island, was led by Barrister Dotun Hassan and Barrister Ayo Ademiliyu.

Addressing journalists at the protest on behalf of the group, Ademiluyi said: "We are here to protest the killing of about 61 children by nobody else but the Lagos State government.”

The group, he said, "put the criminal burden on the Lagos State government”.

Citing two reasons, he continued: “One, the Lagos State government has neglected its constitutional duty to its people by refusing to demolish his building. The corruption and bribery of the Lagos State government has finally been exposed to the whole world.

"Two, we want to debunk the false information being circulated by the government, which has in its payroll mainstream editors, that just four or eight children died, but the real truth by our independent investigation is that more than 61 children lost their lives.”

On the ongoing demolition embarked upon by the Lagos government, the group presented its position thus: "The Lagos State government has embarked on an unscientific and unempirical demolition of 200 houses. In front of me is a building being demolished with residents in neighbouring buildings still inside; no evacauations.”

He cited Section 55 of the Lagos State Urban Renewal and Policy Development Law enacted by the Lagos State government, which "provides for urban renewal strategies for scenarios thrown up by dilapidated infrastructure; to guarantee loans for property owners within area improvement areas, and also to uphold right to fair hearing in dealings with affected residents before dealing in any dislocation operation”.

The group accused the Lagos State government of brashly breaching the provision of its law by undergoing demolition without compensation and resettlement.

Video of Group Protests Govt’s Sudden Demolition Of Buildings On Lagos Island Group Protests Govt’s Sudden Demolition Of Buildings On Lagos Island


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INVESTIGATION: Many Crises Tearing Apart Federal University Oye-Ekiti (1)

20 March 2019 - 9:32am

National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi.

Eight years after it was established, the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) in Ekiti State is still struggling with the teething problem, and more recently, the university is enmeshed in crises that are already holding down its progress, The ICIR investigations have revealed.  

The soul of the university is torn in the hands of two forces—the management that’s wielding unrestricted and absolute power—and the leadership of the academic union that is striving to check the excesses of the former.

By fiat and force, the university management has spent the past one year or so silencing those considered its critics.

FUOYE  was one of the nine Federal Universities established by the former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2011 to address the national problem of lack of access to tertiary education. Since its creation, the University has grown to host five Faculties and 45 departments.

The frosty relationship between the management of the University headed by Kayode Shoremekun,  its Vice Chancellor, and leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) under the chairmanship of Akinyemi Omonijo is already having consequences. There are accusations and counter-accusations between the two parties— more or less washing the university’s dirty linen in public.

How management suspends ASUU chairperson over letter to Minister

Omonijo is currently serving an indefinite suspension slammed on him by the Governing Council of the University. His suspension came after two other senior academic staff of the university had their appointment terminated by the university management.

While Omonijo was suspended for his role in a report the academic union sent to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu titled : The State of Federal University Oye -Ekiti: Matters Arising, which detailed the state of infrastructure at the university as well as administrative issues and corruption in the system, the two senior lecturers—Oniyide Akingbe of the Department of English and Literary Studies and Oluwagbemiga Adeyemi of the Department of Demography and Social Statistics —were sacked over allegation of gross misuse of  Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) research grants.

The university had in a letter titled: “Termination of Appointment, dated October 31, 2018 and signed by the then Acting Registrar, Oyeyimika Koyejo-Fasakin, said that the university management at its meeting held on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 considered the report of the Staff Disciplinary Committee on TETFund Intervention Grant and decided that your services are no longer required by the University.”

Both Akingbe and Adeyemi denied any wrongdoing when contacted by The ICIR, even as they kicked against the termination of their appointment. The matter is already before the National Industrial Court. Hearing on the matter has been fixed for March 26, 2019.

State of FUOYE Report— the real reason Omonijo was suspended

Omonijo received his letter of suspension sent to him by the university’s Acting Registrar, Olayinka Adeniran-Ajayi through a WhatsApp attachment.  He actually received two letter of suspension dated 14 and 15 February respectively.

The first letter dated, February 14, 2019 was sent to him barely 24 hours he appeared before an investigative panel. He was expecting to appear before the panel for another interaction as was told during the February 13 session when his suspension letter got to him.

The ICIR gathered that his suspension was a fall out of months of union activities that led to the preparation and submission of the now controversial “The State of FUOYE Report to the Minister of Education.”

In the said report, which was also submitted to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti, the union painted a gory picture of the state of the university, under seven different headings comprising: Physical Facilities and University’s Edifice, Restructuring of the University, Recruitment, Appointment and Promotion, Admission Process, Students’ Welfare, Staff Welfare, Official Communication.

The content of “The State of Federal University Oye -Ekiti: Matters Arising”, was so damning that the Minister reportedly issued a query to the Vice Chancellor of the university, a top official of the Federal Ministry of Education confided in our reporter.

The query, an official of the university explained, unsettled the management, particularly when the Minister reportedly rejected the VC’s response to the query and gave a matching order to the FUOYE’s Governing Council, to investigate and submit a report on all the allegations contained in the ASUU’s report.

The 16-page document obtained by The ICIR, which was prepared by a five-member ASUU Committee on Staff and Students’ Welfare, was submitted to the Minister of Education by the National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi. It was signed by Omonijo and Akinsorotan Ademola, acting Secretary of the union.

“Sequel to the adoption of the report by both the Committee and the leadership of ASUU-FUOYE, we hereby forward the report on the State of FUOYE: Matters Arising to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairperson of Governing Council of FUOYE as directed by the Congress of ASUU-FUOYE held on 11th May 2018 for necessary action,” they noted in the forward to the letter.

But the ASUU chief was axed for his action—suspended without pay—“no query was issued to me,” Omonijo said. This followed his invitation by the Investigation Panel constituted by the University’s Governing Council to investigate issues raised in the State of FUOYE, as directed by the Minister of Education.

The four-man panel was chaired by Sambo Inuwa, an engineer and external member of the university’s Governing Council—Fasina Sunday, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university (whose matter is among those raised in the State of FUOYE Report) and Aganga A.A, a professor in the university are members of the party. L.A Ani, a lawyer was the secretary of the panel.

On 11th February 2019, Omonijo was summoned via a letter to appear before the panel for an interactive session with members of the panel to explain and defend his position as contained in the report. The panel was fixed to sit on Wednesday, February 13, 2019.

“They invited me for interaction session and within 24 hours of interaction I was suspended without pay,” he said. “The Council was told to investigate allegations in the petitions but they did another thing,” Omonijo added.

Meanwhile, investigations by The ICIR revealed that the suspended ASUU chairman and his members were initially invited to face the panel on January 23, 2019, but the ASUU group declined. According to Omonijo, FUOYE ASUU members “were invited in their personal capacities to appear before the panel,” and not as ASUU members and whereas the controversial report was done on behalf of ASUU, they argued.

“And we responded that we cannot be invited in our personal capacities because we worked for the Union and not for ourselves,” he added.

Some union members claimed the Council sent SMS that they must appear before the panel and they should know that the Council is their employer.

This, our Correspondent learned prompted the ASUU National Chairman to direct the branch body to seek the services of a lawyer to prepare a defence and submit to the panel.

The lawyer appeared before the Panel to submit the letter as required and to speak to the letter but the Panel did not allow him to talk, a union member who declined to be mentioned told The ICIR.

However, the Panel received the letter from him without acknowledgment; he also submitted the same at the VC’s office.

When Omonijo and his fellow unionists who produced the report with him eventually faced the panel on February 13, they were asked to provide the source(s) of attachments in the State of FUOYE report, a demand that was promptly turned down by them.

“I told them that we cannot disclose the source(s) of our information,” Omonijo said.

In what Omonijo described as an apparent move to stifle the union from exposing rots in the system, the panel also castigated him for addressing a press conference on October 4, 2018, where again the State of FUOYE was the subject matter.

While the press conference was addressed by Akure Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, and Chairperson of Ekiti State University (EKSU), Olu Olufayo, a professor, the panel insisted that it was Omonijo who pressurised him to address the press conference.

The panel also demanded evidence to show that ASUU National President gave approval to the zone to address a press conference on State of FUOYE.

While winding off the interaction, members of the panel told Omonijo that some members of the Executives of ASUU FUOYE disowned the report on the State of FUOYE and that some Committee members that prepared the report also denied it. The panel said there would be another round of investigation, but that never happened.

FUOYE Management’s claims laughable- ASUU Zonal Coordinator

Contrary to claim by the panel that FUOYE’s chapter of ASUU pressurised ASUU’s Zonal Coordinator to address the press conference on October 4, 2018, on the State of FUOYE, The ICIR confirmed that the branch actually got an approval. The leadership of the union also met with the Vice Chancellor of the university on two occasions before the compilation of the report to no avail, it was gathered.

The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Olu Olufayo maintained that Omonijo and his executive members were given the go-ahead to address the press on the state of FUOYE report. In a letter dated July 17, 2018, addressed to the National President of ASUU through the office of the Zonal Coordinator, Akure Zone, the FUOYE chapter of the union had requested for permission to address a press conference on the state of the university.

The letter was jointly signed by Omonijo and Akinsorotan Ademola, chairperson and acting secretary respectively. Ademola would later deny being part of the report, telling the panel that he was not in his right senses when he signed the document.

The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU described as laughable, claim by members of the Investigative Panel that he was pressurized to address the press. “In ASUU, the chairperson has no control over the Zonal Coordinator,” he said. “All the universities are under him and he gets instruction from the National President.”

Olufayo told The ICIR in an interview that “no chairperson can influence the decision of the Zonal Coordinator.” According to him, the management of the university has succeeded in cowing all its critics, including heads of departments and deans of faculties, all of whom, he insisted made inputs into the State of FUOYE report into silence.

“We have evidence to show that some of the HODs and Deans signed the documents and forms on the state of infrastructure in the university,” he said. “It sounds funny to me that those deans denied the report.”

And for his role in the raging crisis, Olufayo is also not in the good book of the university’s authorities. The Forum of Concerned Academics led by Sola Omotola, and spokesman, Wasiu Alli has passed a vote of no confidence in him. The Forum accused him of meddlesomeness in the affairs of FUOYE.

The union leader in his response urged the Federal Government and other relevant agencies to caution the FUOYE VC, Kayode Soremekun, over gross abuse of office.

Olufayo also alleged threats to the life of some members of the union by the VC and his cohorts. He lamented that Soremekun, who was accused of turning the institution to mafia community, resorted to violence, harassment, intimidation and other acts of impunity to repress the union.

An impending sack of Omonijo

Except a miracle happens, Omonijo may have been penciled down for a sack by the Governing Council of the university. His letter of suspension had stated that the action was pending the final determination by the appropriate organs of the university. But the tone of the message in his suspension letter that he has been suspended without pay forecloses any possibility of a fair hearing.

A top management staff of the University who would not want his name mentioned in this report confided in The ICIR that “the management had threatened to sack the embattled ASUU chairman when the panel report is presented at the next Governing Council meeting.” The only way for him to escape the dangling axe of the sack is to tender an apology to the University Vice-Chancellor.

“A member of the panel wants him to send an apology letter to the VC,” the staff said.

No Vice Chancellor can gag us— ASUU president, Biodun Ogunyemi

National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi.

There may be no end in sight yet to the crisis. President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said his members and indeed the union cannot be gagged by any government or a Vice Chancellor as the management of FUOYE has attempted to do.  Ogunyemi’s ASUU’s is quite not nonchalant about happenings at the ivory tower.

“No VC can tell ASUU when to speak, no government can gag ASUU either at the local or national level,” Ogunyemi, who personally submitted the State of FUOYE report to the Governing Council of the University and the Minister of Education said.

“The VC and members of his team can see what they are trying to do at that university. They want to gag the ASUU, they want to suppress critical unionism but our members know that that will not be in their interest. Our members know that submitting to intimidation, oppression, and subjugation is not going to be in their overall interest.”

As would be expected, the academic union seems poised for a showdown with the university’s management. Ogunyemi warned that “A word is enough for the wise,”— that the union is monitoring closely what is happening at FUOYE.

“We are advising the administration, particularly the Vice Chancellor to reverse themselves and follow the part of righteousness and it is very simple, a university governed by law and an administration that thinks it can suppress us or subvert the law, in the long term, nemesis always catches up with them.”

For him, the argument by the management that the union in the university did not exhaust all the internal mechanisms to resolve the problem was a way to gag critics. “It is a way of gaging people and ASUU as a union, we don’t encourage that.  We don’t encourage any university administration to gag our members,” he said.

He insisted that the union has the right to raise the alarm whenever it observes that the university is not run well.  According to him, “If people say they have seen what is wrong and they have their evidence, we can’t stop them from saying it the way they see it. That’s the first principle.”

On Omonijo’s suspension without salary, Ogunyemi faulted the university’s management arguing that due process was not followed at arriving at such decision. He vowed that at the appropriate time “that matter will be fully addressed.”

He opined that such suspension without salary has sealed the fate of the person involved whereas the suspension created an impression that the matter would be further decided.

“In any university system, you don’t suspend somebody and you say no salary. You have conclusively determined the fate of that person because the essence of suspension, as they are saying, is to enable them to exhaust the processes involved in determining the case.

“The assumption again is that the matter is not foreclosed but if you say you suspend me and you stop my salary whereas the law says I’m entitled to the half of my salary. It is symptomatic of not just an act of dictatorship but it is an act of impunity; nothing will happen and that is what we are beginning to see at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti,” he said.

An insider within the university told our Correspondent that the Vice Chancellor has been advised to reach out to the National leadership of ASUU on the crises. But it is not clear if the VC will heed the advice before the matter gets worse.

FUOYE Management’s defence

When contacted for reaction, Godfrey Baji, the Public Relations Officer of the university defended the actions of the university’s management. He specifically presented a document issued by the Forum of Concerned Academics of FUOYE as the position of the university’s authorities on the crises. The Forum is led by Shola Omotola, a professor and Dean of Faculty of Science.

According to him, the document was a text of a press conference addressed recently by Omotola in response to what he described as ‘falsehood and blackmail being peddled by the union against the management of the university. The Forum alleged the branch and zonal leadership of ASUU of an evil plot to destabilise the university and to keep benefiting from the crisis.

The management of FUOYE, Omotola said, viewed the press conference of Wednesday, October 4, 2018, by the Zonal Executives of ASUU under the leadership of Olufayo as an agenda”utterly aimed at destroying, if not kill, our university.” “Everything about the press conference was wrong,” he said.

He argued that the union did not authorise the conference while the contents of the press conference ‘were entirely almost unfounded,’ except for the question of staff and infrastructural deficits, which Omotola said is not peculiar to FUOYE.

In the document, he explained that the crises rocking the university had their roots in what he described as “the convoluted manner in which the last branch election was hijacked by the zonal executive and a local cabal to ensure a predetermined outcome.”

Speaking on the suspended ASUU chairperson, Omotola said the Forum had earlier pointed out that Omonijo was running the union like a  ‘cult’ or his personal estate. “Yes Omonijo has been suspended without pay and deservedly so,” Omotola told the press conference. He said his failure to defend himself before the panel about his role in the press conference and inability to disclose sources of all the information released to the public earned him the suspension.

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Senators Almost Exchange Blows Over 'Extreme' Military Involvement In 2019 Elections

20 March 2019 - 9:29am

It was a chaotic session at the plenary of the Senate on Wednesday during deliberations on allegations that there was use of “extreme military force” during the 2019 elections.

Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, had raised a motion alleging the militarisation of the elections, as well as the “inconsistent application of electoral laws by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”.

Seven other lawmakers — senators Mao Ohabunwa (Abia North), Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East), Ahmed Ogembe (Kogi Central), Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central), Matthew Uroghide (Edo South), Clifford Ordia (Edo Central) Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) — supported the motion.

According to the motion, the lawmakers expressed concerns that “this extreme militarization of a democratic electoral process and the inconsistent application of electoral laws by INEC in matters of national elections pose serious threats to our democracy, and has serious implications that must be nipped in the bud”.

Tempers flayed during the debate as the senators, based on their party loyalties, shouted at one another and almost came to exchanging blows, but for the intervention of Senate President Bukola Saraki.

“Those contributing must restrict themselves to the prayers in the motion,” he said.

After much deliberations on the issue, the Senate resolved to “condemn the massive use of military forces in the national electoral process of the nation; urge INEC to ensure the unrestricted and consistent application of all electoral laws without bias to a candidate or a party in all elections; direct the Senate Committee on INEC to investigate all perceived inconsistent application of electoral laws by INEC in 2019 elections".

They also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “give assent to the recent Amendment to the Electoral Act to ensure a level playing field and adoption of equal standards in national elections for a strong and peaceful democracy in Nigeria”.

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BREAKING: Policeman Kills NSCDC Officer In Abuja In The Presence Of His Wife, Children

20 March 2019 - 7:30am

Breaking News

Tragedy struck in the early hours of Wednesday in Nyanya, Abuja, when a policeman allegedly beat up and killed one Ogar Jombo, a two-star officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), for violating traffic rules.

The incident happened near a branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) around Nyanya market, when the deceased was driving his two children and wife. His children were on their way to school. It was gathered that he made a U-turn at the wrong spot, but was flagged by the police officers on duty in the area.

Findings revealed that Ogar pleaded that he was rushing to drop the children in school. Ogar was in uniform and also identified himself as an officer.

However, all entreaties made by the deceased fell on deaf ears, as one of the police officers jumped on the bonnet of the vehicle, while the other one descended on him with a baton. At this point, his wife and children intervened and pleaded on his behalf. He was, however, allegedly beaten to a stupor and died in the process.

One of his children was quoted as saying: "Please, don't kill my father; leave my father alone.”

When SaharaReporters visited the Asokoro General Hospital, the remains of the deceased had been deposited at the morgue, while his wife and some sympathisers were seen weeping profusely.

Efforts to get a word from his wife, identified as Ada, proved futile as she was very emotional.

According to passers-by, the Police had attempted to take the corpse away with a view to dumping him somewhere, but they intervened and followed them to the hospital where the corpse was deposited.

Bala Ciroma, the Commissioner of Police of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who was at the General Hospital to console the family of the deceased, has ordered the arrest of the officers who committed the crime.

There is palpable tension in the area as youth and relatives of the deceased have vowed to burn down Nyanya Police Station if the officers involved in the act are not arrested and prosecuted.

The slain officer hails from Otukpo in Benue State and was recently promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Corps (ASC).

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BREAKING: Court Declines To Stop INEC From Announcing Rivers Governorship Election Result — For Now

20 March 2019 - 7:13am

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday declined to order the Independent National Electoral Commission to stop the planned collation and announcement of the results of the Rivers State governorship and house of assembly elections held on March.

A disruption of the collation process at some collation centres led to the suspension of results of the elections, with Biokpomabo Awara, candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), maintainig an early lead in the governorship race. 

INEC subsequently announced it would issue "detailed timelines and activities" for the completion of the governorship and state house of assembly elections in Rivers State on March 20.

However, an ex parte application filed by counsel to the AAc candidate prayed the court for "an order of Interim Injunction restraining INEC from resuming, collating or announcing the result of the suspended elections in Rivers State in respect of the election to the office of Governor and the Houses of Assembly".

Ruling, on Wednesday, on the ex parte motion filed by the counsel to the AAC candidate asking the court to prevent INEC from resuming collation and announcement of results, Justice Inyang Ekwo refused to grant the order, instead asking the plaintiff to put INEC on notice to show cause why the order should not be granted.

He adjourned the case to Monday, March 25.

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