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EFCC Explains Reasons For Rearresting Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia

16 April 2019 - 12:46pm


Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia in court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it rearrested Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, a former judge of the Federal High Court, in order to file a fresh criminal charge against her.

Ofili-Ajumogobia was rearrested right on the premises of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, by operatives of the EFCC on Tuesday just after Justice Hakeem Oshodi had struck out corruption charges against her.

In his ruling, the judge struck out the 31-count charge bordering on an alleged perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment and forgery filed by the EFCC against Ofili-Ajumogobia and Godwin Obla, on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.

Oshodi also said the EFCC violated the procedures set by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in disciplining erring judicial officers

Citing the case of Nganjiwa V FRN as precedent, he ruled that the High Court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit as the EFCC "jumped the gun" in filing the first amended charge. 

“As at Monday, December 11, 2017, the EFCC was aware of the decision reached by the court of appeal in Nganjiwa vs FRN,”

“As of that date, the amended information was yet to be filed and the 12 prosecution witnesses were still giving evidence.”

However, in a statement on Tuesday, Tony Orilade, EFCC’s spokesperson, said in view of Oshodi’s ruling and having complied with the NJC procedure, the commission is set to prefer fresh criminal charges against the 59-year old judge.

A statement released by the EFCC read in part “The Commission rearrested Ofili-Ajumogobia in line with the decision of the Appeal Court, Lagos Division, in a case involving Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, where it said that a judge could not be prosecuted until he or she had either been dismissed or compulsorily retired by the National Judicial Council, NJC. 

“Consequent upon the fact that the Commission had presented Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia before the NJC for disciplinary action and that the NJC had taken a position, the Commission would now approach the court to prefer fresh charges her.”

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Atiku Releases Details Of INEC Server 'Proving' His Victory Over Buhari In Presidential Election

16 April 2019 - 12:15pm

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has released further details about the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to back up his claims of his victory over President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the February 23 presidential election.

INEC had declared Buhari winner of the election, saying he polled 15,191,847 to defeat Atiku, who scored 11,262,978 votes. However, Atiku has since claimed he actually polled 18,356,732 votes to Buhari's 16,741,430, citing figures from INEC's server.

In his submission to the Presidential Election Tribunal, the former Adamawa State Governor-Elect had given the “unique MAC address and Microsoft product ID of the INEC server” from where the results were obtained. INEC, though, said the result being paraded by Abubakar is fabricated and not from its website.

But responding to the INEC’s submission in a document seen TheCable, Abubakar and the PDP said the address of the server from which the results were obtained is unique to INEC.

“The Servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15t Respondent’s Server,” they said.

“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the Petitioners. The figures are factual. The Spokesperson for the 2nd Respondent’s Campaign Organization openly admitted that the data in question was in the first Respondent’s Server when he wrote and submitted a petition to the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) asking the Security agencies to investigate the 2nd Petitioner herein for allegedly hacking into the Server of the 1St Respondent and obtaining the data in question.

“Specifically, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Spokesperson of the 2nd Respondent claimed in the said petition that it was the first Petitioner who smuggled the data into the Server.”

Atiku and the PDP also alleged that Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC chairman, “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr. Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze".

“The grave errors referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 above were under the hands and signature of the first Respondent’s Chairman, (who was also the Returning Officer) in the conduct of the final collation of the results of the Presidential Election,” they added.

“The Petitioners state that the final results as declared by the first respondent are those that were transmitted online to the website of the first Respondent (www inecnigeria)."

While Atiku continues building his case on his access to the INEC server, the APC has already taken a different course, instead telling the tribunal Atiku shouldn't have been eligible to contest the election in the first place because he was not born a Nigerian but a Cameroonian.

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BREAKING: INEC Suspends Further Action On Inconclusive Imo North Senatorial Election

16 April 2019 - 11:39am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is suspending “all further proceedings and actions” on the Imo North senatorial election, which it earlier declared inconclusive in March.

According to Mallam Mohammed Haruna, National Commissioner and Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC made the decision in compliance with an ex-parte order mandating it to do so.

“Further to our statement of 4th April 2019 on the setting up of a committee by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to investigate the veracity or otherwise of allegations of misconduct in the Imo North Senatorial Election, the Commission wishes to inform the public that the Committee has completed its assignment," the commission said in a statement.

“However, the Commission has been served with an ex-parte order halting further action on the matter.

“The order, issued by the Federal High Court Abuja on 9th April, specifically ordered the permission to stay ‘ALL FURTHER PROCEEDINGS AND ACTIONS by the Respondents (INEC) pertaining or relating or connected with the declaration of Imo North Senatorial District election results of 23 February and 9- March, 2019 pending the determination of the application for prohibition’.

“The case, which was instituted by Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, against INEC a day after it set up committee, has been adjourned to 30th April 2019 for hearing.”

In February, two days after the INEC office in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area in Imo North Senatorial District was set ablaze by persons suspected to be political thugs, INEC declared the senatorial election inconclusive, citing allegations of ballot box snatching, kidnapping of electoral officers and manipulation of the process.

A rerun was held on March 9, but INEC still hasn’t declared a winner.

Before the rerun, Ndubueze Patrick, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was leading Uwajumogu, his closest challenger who is also the incumbent senator and the APC candidate.

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'We Didn't Beg Buhari For One Million Immigrants' — Canada Tells Nigerians To 'Shine Your Eyes Well'

16 April 2019 - 11:22am

The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has warned Nigerians to “shine their eyes” concerning reports that Canada is voraciously seeking millions of Nigerians to take up permanent residency in the North American country.

Newspaper and magazine publisher Dele Momodu had tweeted the link to a story by CBTV claiming Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to allow one million Nigerians enter Canada under a new Employment and Migration Programme designed for immigrants.

Canada’s Prime Minister begs Nigeria President for one million immigrants https://t.co/mgqDHJaY0J via @Latest News

— Dele Momodu Ovation (@DeleMomodu) April 15, 2019

The report quoted Trudeau as saying “we can’t undermine or overlook the contribution of immigrants in Canada’s development especially our brothers and sisters from Nigeria”, and a spokesperson for the Canadian Labour Department, Shadrack Scott, as adding: “The programme’s website will be launched next week and all available jobs will be listed. Currently there are over 6 million vacancies and we are hoping that Buhari allows at least one million people from Nigeria."

However, the Canadian High Commission has denied the report.

To Momodu’s tweet, it wrote: “This particular story is FALSE.  Nigerians are welcome to apply to immigrate to Canada.  For the real information on how to apply, go to http://www.cic.gc.ca.”

This particular story is FALSE. Nigerians are welcome to apply to immigrate to Canada. For the real information on how to apply, go to https://t.co/nvOkvSQzt4

— Canada in Nigeria (@CanHCNigeria) April 16, 2019

And on other online reports, it said: “If you've seen this link on your social media timeline, don't fall for it.  This story is not true.  For REAL information about travelling to Canada, go to http://www.cic.gc.ca.

“Over 4,200 Nigerians were approved for permanent residency in Canada in 2017, which is almost double the number from the year prior.  Nigerians in Canada make important contributions to both countries.

“If you see a story online about moving to Canada that seems too good to be true - shine your eyes well-well o!!!”

If you've seen this link on your social media timeline, don't fall for it. This story is not true. For REAL information about travelling to Canada, go to https://t.co/nvOkvSQzt4. pic.twitter.com/ct2CIqaj05

— Canada in Nigeria (@CanHCNigeria) April 16, 2019

Over 4,200 Nigerians were approved for permanent residency in Canada in 2017, which is almost double the number from the year prior. Nigerians in Canada make important contributions to both countries.

— Canada in Nigeria (@CanHCNigeria) April 16, 2019

If you see a story online about moving to Canada that seems too good to be true - shine your eyes well-well o!!! @PremiumTimesng @MobilePunch @vanguardngrnews @daily_trust @HOTFMNIGERIA

— Canada in Nigeria (@CanHCNigeria) April 16, 2019

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Nigeria: How Not To Fight Corruption By Godwin Onyeacholem

16 April 2019 - 10:44am


Between fighting corruption with bare knuckles in an inspired manner and wearing well-padded gloves to do half-hearted battle with a monster that has literally crippled the country, the Buhari administration has to make up its mind on which style to adopt. And because time is not on its side, it had better do so now.

Although Buhari says he is fighting corruption, the question to ask is, how is he fighting it? It is true that waging war against corruption was at the top of his agenda in 2015 and he set up a think-tank of seasoned eggheads as well as introduced a couple of novel anti-corruption strategies to match the resolve. But it is also true that in spite of these supposedly virtuous schemes, corruption in various shades, propelled by its more virulent evil partner, impunity, is still rampaging through the land.

A more dispassionate scrutiny of the ongoing anti-corruption campaign would undoubtedly reveal a huge gap between the performance of government and perception. Such awkward disproportions should not be the case in this matter of prosecuting the anti-graft war. What ought to be happening—at least as an enduring index of the promised change—is that citizen perception would largely correspond with the government’s side of the story. That is, government should be seen to be genuinely dealing hard blows on corrupt people and corrupt practices in the country. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Government says it is winning the war, but a large segment of the populace doubts this assertion.

The problem is that the political will mobilized to fight corruption is itself severely enfeebled by the corruption it is summoned to confront. There is no way corruption can be defeated when Buhari seems to be engaging with it wearing blinkers. In all honesty, his fight is puerile; lacking all the firmness, decisiveness and, more importantly, the even-handedness required to secure confidence and belief.

Given Buhari’s reputation for toughness, who could have thought that reports of investigation of alleged corruption would be lying on the desk of whosoever in the presidency or outside of it for ages, gathering dust in a Buhari presidency? Has he, all of a sudden, forgotten that his lead campaign promise to fight corruption to the bitterest end, not to mention his acclaimed integrity, is the major reason the people elected him in 2015?

Sometime in October 2017, Abdulrasheed Maina, the civil servant who absconded after being declared wanted for corruption, suddenly surfaced and was reinstated and promoted to a higher position in the civil service. The news of the recall reverberated across the country and was accompanied by widespread condemnation. Seemingly furious, Buhari, on October 23, directed Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Service of the Federation, to submit a report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall to the office of Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President, before the end of that day. That report indeed got to the table of Abba Kyari before the end of that day.

In another six months, it will be two years since the report of that investigation was received at the presidency. But, up till now, no word has come from the presidency regarding the report. It must be on somebody’s desk or shelf, submerged in cobwebs perhaps. No one needs be told that this sends a wrong message about the fight against corruption.

The fury of what the media aptly dubbed “Mainagate” promptly spread to the National Assembly where the House of Representatives launched its own investigation by setting up a 10-man ad hoc committee headed by Aliyu Sani Madaki, a member of the ruling APC from Kano State. At the end of two weeks, the committee laid a report at the plenary which indicted Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. The report said Maina’s recall was “fraudulently masterminded” and that Malami “pressured all that mattered” to force Maina back into the service.

As the Senate was also plunging into an investigation of the scandal, Malami rushed to court to stop the probe, showing clearly that he had something to hide. But what do you make of Attorney General, the chief law officer of a country who held secret meetings with a wanted citizen outside the country? Ordinarily, anyone would think this is a fugitive whose extradition Malami should be working hard to perfect.

Even Itse Sagay, professor of law and chairman of Presidential Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), was horrified by Malami’s action and urged Buhari to do something about it. Nothing happened. Not one person among all those found culpable by the House of Reps probe in the reinstatement of a fugitive into the civil service has been punished by this government. From the AGF, to officials of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and the permanent secretary, all are still sitting pretty in their cozy positions, none visited with the consequences of such grievous wrongdoing. Again, a wrong signal in the fight against corruption.

And there is yet another. Also in six months’ time, it will be the first anniversary of the presidency’s announcement of investigation into allegations of infraction and financial malfeasance levelled against Usman Yusuf, professor and head of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), by the governing council. Yusuf, according to a statement by the presidency, was directed to proceed on administrative leave November 5, 2018, to make way for an investigation by a 7-man panel headed by Hassan Bukar.

Although the panel had two weeks to submit its report to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the report was not turned in until seven and a half weeks later on December 24, 2018. It is about four months now since that report was submitted but nothing has been heard about it. Recently, one top official of the office of the SGF said government was unable to release the report because of the general election that was just concluded. Pray, what does election have to do with making public the report of an investigation into allegations of corruption against the NHIS boss?

There are many allegations of corruption involving top government officials, including those very close to the presidency, among them a serving governor and even Buhari’s chief of staff, where the president blatantly refused to take action, or reluctantly did so after intense public outrage, as in the case a former secretary to the federal government, Babachir Lawal. This, certainly, is not how citizens expect that corruption would be fought anywhere in the world, least of all in Nigeria under a Buhari presidency.

Only recently, at the request of Ade Ipaye, deputy chief of staff in the presidency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) sent to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo a preliminary report of its findings on allegation of corruption against Marilyn Amobi, MD/CEO of Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc. (NBET). Limited as it was in its findings and conclusion, the report dated March 6, 2019 indicted the NBET boss and said the Commission would prosecute her and others for violating the Procurement Act 2007 and ICPC Act, 2000. Significantly, the report stated that two whistleblowers who reported Amobi’s corrupt practices—Waziri Bintube, former head of finance and Abdullahi Sambo, former head of audit, were wrongfully dismissed.

Since December 2017 these officers have not been paid their salaries and entitlements even after Raji Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing whose office supervises NBET, had directed Amobi to reinstate the officers and pay their salaries and entitlements. That is just one of the many instances of insubordination she had shown to Fashola.

It is more than five weeks since the presidency received the Commission’s report on the NBET boss but nothing has been done. You would wonder why the presidency is still sitting on the damning report. With it, a government that is really committed to fighting corruption would promptly direct Amobi to step aside as MD/CEO and encourage the Commission to begin prosecution. In addition, that government would also immediately direct that the whistleblowers (Sambo and Waziri) return to work and all their outstanding salaries paid without any further delay.

Clearly, this government realized, and rightly so, that it can never make meaningful headway in the fight against corruption without the input of the citizens. That must have informed the introduction of the whistleblower policy in December 2016. Yet, it cannot claim to be seriously fighting corruption when whistleblowers are not protected; and so far, there is no demonstrable political will to hold wrongdoers accountable.    

Godwin Onyeacholem, a journalist, is with the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL).

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University of Ibadan, Are you Guilty or Not? By Olabiyi Richard Aremu

16 April 2019 - 10:09am


A big mark – a big question that lands students in trouble in the disciplinary council: the senate would turn down the explanation if the defendant says “no my Lord, with explanation” or even “yes my Lord, with explanation”. 

There have been cases of crime committed by an individual based on several incidents, and in a University where a disciplinary committee is grounded, it has been confirmed that this committee does not go out of its way to make any finding but feels cool at punishing students with any stereotypical method that fits in.

When a student is being summoned to the students’ affairs division by the University of Ibadan Central Students’ Disciplinary Committee, it is rare for the panelists to ask him to explain his case, rather they ask him a polar question without giving him a fair hearing. There have been cases of unjustly withdrawing a student’s certificate, punishing students for protesting, and for writing articles which could have challenged the institution to be better, but all seem like a war between the tongue and the throat. The tongue exposes the ills while the throat swallows the tongue and the ills. It is gainsaying that students of University of Ibadan have blanketed into silence because of an untold fear. Since the judgment had been passed on the recently rusticated students, silence has been the only defensive which we think is the right weapon. No one wants to be indicted anymore and it seems like this school management is not worth fighting. We should appreciate the institution for planting fear in her students.

For years, it has appeared that the school anthem of the institution should be reviewed or covered for a while until repentance takes dwelling at the Senate arm. When the school speaks about character and learning, it becomes a question of who should disciple who, because even the touts believe in social justice and equal chance order than those in the gown. Leadership and followership shouldn’t be measured by age but by the level of rationalization, level of ability to lead without a title and level of trust by the people.

The polar question to be asked a student summoned by the management is – are you guilty or not? Such student can pick one, but his questions that will deal with his conscience await him. For example, in 2017, a student was invited by the Disciplinary committee to defend himself from a case of rape. After exonerating himself from the case, the school still dealt with him. The lady that was affected pleaded that he wasn’t among the culprit, but it was too late. The victim of injustice stayed in the next room to the room where the incident occurred and was asked why he acted as if he wasn’t concerned.

In November 7, 2015, two halls of residence on campus engaged in a hate, Zik Hall and Queen Idia Hall were not agreeing. From Zik Hall, girls were molested with songs of what they call “Aro”, but during a program at the female hall, Zik Hall went to witness the program and from there, hullabaloo was the atmosphere. Meanwhile, on the second day on this event, Philip Olatinwo – A Zikite, who wasn’t in the Hall anymore at that time, went to a place called Idia Village for a shopping. Succintly, he was roped into the case, dealt with, and this made him to reach out to the Dean of Students was invited by the disciplinary council. What led to his expulsion was his fault because whoever is justified does not raise collar but waits till the end of n argument to be heard clearly.

During the protest of 2017, it started from the administration of an erstwhile President of the Students’ union, Ojo Nifemi. While students were on vacation, a students’ meeting was called where the media also got their way into the Students’ Union Building. Several issues were discussed and among were the issue of half back graduate that the institution is producing. In University of Ibadan, a first class is most vulnerable than others because this one faces his book squarely without even seeing the world and hence many of them become half baked. This administration transferred the resolution of the conference to the incoming administration which was taken up after 24 days in office, when Ojo Aderemi became the President. The school management met with the elected executive members where the Vice Chancellor and the Dean of students said they would be available at the congress to be called by the union. Unfortunately, these ones didn’t appear, thereby forestalling the impossibility of protest to come up. Those that knew expected these two to be around, but they were not. Are you not guilty?
 
In 2016, the interim process audit report of the University of Ibadan – a six years financial report (2010 – 2015) presented by the OS Professional services – a firm hired to conduct it according to a report by Saharareporters. The audit was done in November 10, 2016 and it was said that there was an overfunding of #5.95 billion for 2010 – 2013 carried out by the management without relevant government approvals. The report also stated that “despite spending #12.5 billion between 2010 and 2015 on capital assets financed through federal government budgetary allocation, Tertiary Education Fund and Internally Generated Revenue, the University could not boast of a fixed asset register for its fixed assets”. The OS Professional services also explained that the University’s asset register was not updated and asset evaluation was never carried out – all these in a school that ranks the best (any school can be the first).

Starting from March 2018, private hostels in the University of Ibadan: CMF, AOO, 77 Palms, A Six 2 Bedroom flats – Senior Staff quarter have been commissioned, but “despite the impact on students-related income and the IGR generation of the institution, despite the fact that these PPPs would say “it was their contribution to the institution in appreciation of what it has offered them in the past, the Auditor said “the Bursar of the institution failed to make available any of the Public Private Partnership agreements for review. The OS Professional Services emphasized that what was found during the review of financial information was overspending on a number of vote items. Meanwhile, after this finding was made, the only solution was to kill the kindling under the carpet armpit even though the investigation was ordered from the office of the Account-General of the Federation.
Recently, another scam of #1.98bn rocked for a good time on campus which out the University Bursar in a hot run. Anyone that enters University of Ibadan today would feel how the system has rot: from the laboratory equipments in the sciences to other facilities that are archaic and not presentable to the Times Higher Education that ranks the institution blindly. It is a crime for the University to expect the students to always speak well of it when their lives are getting knottier each day, when the only focus of the institution is to camp everyone to only follow the la cram la pour technique and pass excellently. Anyone can visit the institution and access her properties for rating, and whoever succeeds from the citadel of learning was his own effort to beat the reach. The Postgraduate school complains, medical school despite the increment of professional levy still complains, and even the interactive boards are placed in some classes, they have always been there useless and wasting.

Are they not guilty?

Here is a University that punishes a student because he is not worthy in character and learning. It is still questionable as to who should improve his character and learning, but who cares? Even parents would tell their children to end their education in peace and come home, such a futuristically insolent conclusion. In a bid to defend herself, the Vice Chancellor has always beaten the drum that the students broke the glass of a lecturer’s care. How is it possible for students protesting peacefully along the school gate to break a glass at a physics department very far from the protest take off point? Are you not guilty?

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20 Elderly SANs Warn Buhari: Onnoghen's Resignation Is Not Enough

16 April 2019 - 10:03am


A 20-man group of aged Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) under the aegis of the Justice Reform Project (JRP) on Tuesday said Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen’s resignation is not enough in view of “the grave nature of the allegations” against him.

The group said justice should run its course in the Onnoghen matter, and also urged the Nigerian Government to sanction other judges whose legitimate earnings are not commensurate with their wealth, 

According to JRP, extending the anti-graft exercise to other judges will restore confidence in the Judiciary and debunk the impression that the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) was being victimised.

The group, set up to push for reforms in the judiciary/legal profession, is led by one of the oldest SANs, Ebun Sofunde, with Jibrin Okutepa, Dr Babatunde Ajibade, Prof Ernest Ojukwu, Osaro Eghobamien, Mrs. Funke Adekoya, Kayode Sofola, among others, as members.

In a statement, JRP said it noted Onnoghen’s resignation “with concern”, but added that the matter should not end there. 

The group said “his resignation/voluntary retirement is not an answer to these allegations", adding that it expects that justice, which is no respecter of persons or position, will be allowed to take its course". 

JRP urged the Federal Government to look beyond Onnoghen for three reason main reasons.

It said: “Beyond Honourable Justice W. S. N. Onnoghen, however, the JRP believes the revelations that have been made in the course of this affair necessitate that urgent steps be taken to identify and sanction all other Nigerian judicial officers who are found to possess inexplicable wealth that cannot be reconciled with their legitimate income or their asset declarations, two of the allegations made against Justice Onnoghen.

“These steps are necessary for a variety of reasons. First, to restore public confidence in the judiciary and disabuse the notion that all judicial officers in Nigeria are corrupt and that justice is for sale.

“Second, to disabuse the notion that Justice Onnoghen’s travails are a mere witch-hunt motivated by ethnic and political interests rather than the result of a genuine concern for sanitising and reforming the Nigerian judiciary.

“Third, to eliminate the suspicion that the Executive arm of government is using the information it has access to by virtue of its control over the apparatus of the state to take selective action only against those judicial officers that fail to do its bidding.”

Besides, the group said Onnoghen’s response to allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the National Judicial Council (NJC) raises significant questions about how heads of courts manage judiciary’s funds.

“Without prejudice to the legitimate clamour for increased budgetary allocation to the judiciary, its financial independence and improvement in the working conditions of service of judicial officers, all of which JRP wholeheartedly supports, there must be better management of that which is currently allocated.

“The JRP calls on everyone with a stake in our judicial system (the public, the Bar, and the bench), to report their concerns, if any, to the relevant regulatory agencies so that they are investigated.

“The legal profession is a self-regulating one, so it behooves all its members to take an active interest in maintaining the standards of rectitude and integrity expected of judicial officers and legal practitioners.

“In making this call, the JRP merely exhorts every member of the legal profession to act as they are expected to act. If the profession does not regulate itself effectively, incidents such as those involving Justice Onnoghen will remain a fixture in our judicial system.”

On Thursday, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) will give judgement in the trial of Onnoghen for a six-count charge of fraudulent declaration of assets.

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Ekiti Assembly Bans Former Deputy Speaker For Six Months For Interrupting The Speaker

16 April 2019 - 9:45am


 

The Ekiti State House of Assembly on Tuesday banned Segun Adewumi , a former Deputy Speaker and the Peoples Democratic Party member representing Ekiti West Constituency 1, for six weeks for unduly interrupting Speaker Adeniran Alagbada.

The suspension followed a heated verbal exchange between the Speaker and the former Deputy Speaker at the plenary, prompting the Speaker to exercise his powers with which he banned him in accordance with Section 17 of the House Standing Order.

Following the suspension, the Speaker said Adewumi would be prevented from participating in any plenary session, but could only be involved in off-plenary activities of the House.

Alagbada said: “I am still the presiding officer of this House and it constitutes an infraction for any member to interrupt me when I preside, except you have an observation to make.

“But with what transpired today, it seems Hon. Adewumi did not make any observation, but only wanted to stall this proceeding and he is hereby banned for six weeks.”

Other lawmakers, in their submissions regardless of political parties, agreed with the action, saying the Speaker did not breach the Constitution and standing order in arriving at the punitive measure against Adewumi.

Also at the plenary, the Assembly passed a bill to repeal Ekiti State Official Logo Amendment Law No. 28 of 2014, as well as the bill to re-enact Ekiti State Government Official Logo Law 2011.

The lawmakers also considered Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency Bill 2019 and fixed another legislative day for further legislative processes.

However, the screening and confirmation of some political appointees earlier fixed for Tuesday was shifted on the request of the Executive.

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'I Was The First To Flag It’ — Nnamdi Kanu Claims Credit For ‘Atiku Is Not A Nigerian’ Debate

16 April 2019 - 9:28am

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), says the resurgence of the argument that Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not a Nigerian but a Cameroonian, is proof that whatever he says on Radio Biafra is nothing but the truth.

One of the hottest topics of Nigerian politics of the moment is last week’s claim by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that Atiku should have been ineligible to contest in the first place because he is not a Nigerian by birth.

The party made this argument in its reply to the 139-page petition filed by Atiku and his party before the presidential election petition tribunal in Abuja. 

In the reply, filed by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), its lead counsel, the party said Atiku was born in Jada, now Adamawa State but then in Northern Cameroon as of his birth in 1946, and is therefore a citizen of Cameroon. It accused the PDP of fielding a non-Nigerian as its candidate, and also faulted the competence of the petition.

Atiku discussed the matter in a somewhat tenuous response, saying: “The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019. 

“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian.’”

Contributing to the talk via his latest Radio Biafra broadcast, Kanu said, “The headline ‘Atiku Is Not a Nigerian, APC Tells Tribunal’ is vindication that everything I say on Radio Biafra is the truth. It may appear outlandish and unbelievable at first, but eventually history always vindicates me.

“As everyone can see very clearly, it is unambiguously stated that for you to become the President of Nigeria, you must be born a Nigerian. Simply put, your birth certificate or any official notation must say clearly that you are a Nigerian. As at the time Atiku was born, his citizenship on his birth certificate read Cameroonian.

“The incontrovertible truth is that His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar the former Vice President of Nigeria for eight years, became a Nigerian by virtue of the referendum of the 11th of February 1961. He was not born a Nigerian and as such he became a Nigerian as a result of the British organised plebiscite held in British Cameroons to give the people of Adamawa, where Atiku comes from, the opportunity to choose where they would like to belong.

“When I first raised this issue, which incidentally has been ignored by all arms of government including INEC whose duty it is to ensure that candidates meet all stipulated constitutional requirements, it was not to insinuate or imply that Atiku is not a Nigerian, but rather to highlight the very constitutionally critical point at the heart of IPOB agitation for Biafra independence; which is that asking for a referendum is never a crime in any law known to man.

“Therefore if Adamawa people can be allowed to freely choose where they wish to belong, then justice and equity dictates that we the people of Biafra must be allowed to do the same. This point that is lost on Justice Binta Nyako and numerous other semi-literate judges handling IPOB cases today in Nigerian courts.”

Kanu criticized Atiku’s defence team over its “weak and porous argument” that if Atiku was not a Nigerian he wouldn’t have become the country’s Vice-President, while living, investing and paying tax in Nigeria. He argued that by virtue of relevant sections of the Constitution, anybody born in Adamawa between 1946 when Atiku was born, and 1960, was not qualified to contest election as President of Nigeria.

 “This is a wholly unnecessary digression that failed to address the constitutional question of place of birth as key qualification for anybody seeking to become the President of Nigeria,” he said.

“That Atiku was the Vice President is not the issue at hand but rather his suitability as defined by the constitution of Nigeria. With this ridiculous born in Nigeria requirement, nobody born in present day Adamawa before 1961 or those of us born in Biafra from 1967 and 1970 can ever vie for the office of the president of Nigeria.

“Atiku Abubakar was born on November 25, 1946 in Jada, now Adamawa State, then in Northern Cameroon, was a citizen of Cameroon but now a Nigerian by plebiscite. This information has always been in the public domain. What I did was just to flag it. The only part that can be said that I pioneered is that Atiku became a Nigerian citizen by the sheer force of Referendum which is what I want for Biafra. I wanted to prove to some ignorant Nigerians and their quack judges that asking for a referendum is not treasonable felony.”

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Court Frees Gwarzo, The SEC DG Accused Of 115m Corruption By kemi Adeosun

16 April 2019 - 8:52am


Mounir Gwarzo

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja, on Tuesday dismissed corruption charges involving alleged mismanagement of about N115m public fund levelled against Mounir Gwarzo, the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Zakwanu Garuba, a commissioner of the commission, 

In November 2017, Kemi Adeosun, the former Minister of Finance, had suspended Gwarzo over allegations of financial improprieties, part of which formed the basis for the charges brought against him and Garuba.

But, in a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf discharged and acquitted both Gwarzo and Garuba of the charges in all the five counts preferred against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission(ICPC).

The judge upheld the defendants’ no-case submission by dismissing the case mid-way into trial, as he held that the prosecution failed to lead credible evidence to warrant the two men to open their defence.

According to the judge, the SEC Board had, by its resolution, approved the payments which the prosecution had alleged to be illegal and dishonest.

‎He noted that by virtue of the Investments and Securities Act, the resolution by the SEC board was not subject to a review by any person or authority.

Ruling separately on each of the five counts, three of which related to Gwarzo and two others to Garuba, the judge held, “No prima facie case has been made out by the prosecution in this count, the defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted on this count.”

The judge repeated the same line in his pronouncements on each of the five counts.

The ICPC had filed five counts accusing Gawarzo of receiving, between May and June 2015, the sum of N104,851,154.94 as severance benefit when he had yet to retire, resign or disengage from service; and also the sum of N10,983,488.88 as car grant” he was not entitled to.

In two of the five counts, ICPC accused Garuba, a former Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services of SEC, of conferring corrupt advantage on another public officer in the person of Gwarzo by approving the payments to the suspended SEC boss. 

Accusing them of “criminal breach of trust” by “dishonestly misappropriating” public funds entrusted to them, conferring corrupt advantage on Gwarzo, the ICPC accused them of violating provisions of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and section 312 of the Penal Code Cap 532 Vol. 4 of FCT, Abuja, 2007.

However, they both pleaded not guilty to the charges following which the prosecution called five witnesses to prove its case.

Upon the completion of the prosecution’s case, the defendants, through their lawyers, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) and Robert Emukpoeruo, filed their no-case submissions, insisting that the prosecution had failed to make out a prima facie case against them warranting them to open their defence.

Ruling on Thursday, Justice Baba-Yusuf upheld their no-case submissions, holding that they had no case to answer given that the evidence of the prosecution was contradictory and manifestly discredited under cross-examination.

“‎There is no evidence that the 1st defendant (Gwarzo) used his officer to confer advantage on himself,” the judge. "The evidence of criminal breach of trust was not established and the evidence of the witnesses was discredited under cross-examination."
 

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BREAKING: Imo Assembly Recalls Five Lawmakers Suspended In 2018 For 'Unparliamentary Conduct'

16 April 2019 - 8:45am

The  Imo State House of Assembly has recalled the five lawmakers suspended in October 2018 by unanimous house resolution for their "unparliamentary" conduct.

The lawmakers — Chiji Collins (Isiala Mbano), Uche Oguwuike (Ikeduru), Ifeanyi Nnataraonye (Mbaitoli), Donatus Onuigwe (Oru West) and and Kenna Nzeruo (Oru West) — were recalled during a plenary on Tuesday, which was presided over by Acho Ihim, the Speaker of the House.

While announcing their recall, the Speaker said the lawmakers were pardoned after having an interaction with them during an executive session.

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Nigerian Businessman Igho Sanomi Forfeits Private Jet, Three London Homes To Swiss Bank Over $3m Debt

16 April 2019 - 8:28am

Igho Sanomi, a Nigerian oil trader, is set to lose his three apartments in London to a Swiss bank over $3million debt.

Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank, has already seized Sanomi's private jet, and has gone ahead to put it up for sale.

According to Bloomberg, Sanomi was guarantor for a credit facility extended to one of his companies by Credit Suisse Group AG. 

Aside the Swiss Bank, Banque Cantonale de Geneva has already made a freezing order against the London properties, just as ING Groep NV has also filed a suit against Sanomi for Taleveras’s unpaid debts.

In a written submission to a London court last week, Andrew Brown, counsel to Credit Suisse, said "three properties owned by Sanomi, including apartments in Chelsea, West London, and Belgravia, in the heart of London’s diplomatic quarter, have already been identified as assets that may have to be forfeited if he loses".

Sanomi wasn't represented in court, and his lawyers at Clyde & Co didn't respond to request for comments, but affirmed knowledge of the case.

According to the bank's lawyer, Sanomi “has not put in any defence or objection to the charging orders".

Sanomi’s company, Taleveras Energy, trades more than 100 million barrels of crude oil annually and is targeting investments in biofuel.

In June 2017, Sanomi had granted an interview to Bloomberg, disclosing that Taleveras Group, the African oil trading company, was making moves to set up a joint venture to build a biorefinery in the US with Global Green Development Group.

“The world is changing. People are getting more aware on the climate, so cleaner fuels are the future. This should form a very significant part of how we look at things going forward," Sanomi had said.

Born in Agbor, Delta State, in 1975, Igho Charles Sanomi II is the son of a retired Assistant Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force. He is a graduate of Geology and Mining from the University of Jos.

He co-founded and held the position of Executive Director with Sarian Oil, an Oil Trading Company with its core activities in West Africa.

Sanomi is the Chairman of Taleveras, founded in 2004. He is also Chairman of the Dickens Sanomi Foundation's Board of Trustees — a non-profit charitable organization that he founded in memory of his late father.

He also sits as Chairman and Co-Chairman of the board of directors of various organisations involved in activities such as telecommunicatioms, shipping, aviation and real estate investments worldwide.

Taleveras has offices in London, Geneva, Cape Town, Dubai, Ivory Coast, Abuja and Lagos.

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Lagos: Keeping Humanism Alive By Leo Igwe

16 April 2019 - 8:20am




A humanist meeting organized on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, happened at a very short notice and brought out the best in Lagos. One of the council members of the Humanist Association of Ghana (HAG) was visiting and the event was to welcome her. So it was planned as a meet-up, an evening get-together. A talk on Pant Money Rituals and Superstition was added to spice the meeting and give attendees a common theme for discussion, something to talk about apart from Jollof rice!

With the combined efforts of the Atheist Society of Nigeria (ASN) and Humanist Association of Nigeria (HAN) media teams, the event was announced and circulated online. The online publicity happened few days to the event. On the Facebook pages of the ASN and HAN, the post had a few likes and three to five people confirmed attendance. When contacted, the organisers said that they were expecting about ten persons. Given the short notice, that was a good number for an evening with our humanist friend from Ghana. 

Again it was a working day and then the traffic in Lagos could be challenging. All these would make it difficult for some to attend. 

I can recall one person stating that she could attend if she was able to close early from work and another saying that he would try and beat the traffic by coming early into Lagos Island. 

I traveled to the event from Ibadan and luckily arrived the venue, the national stadium at Onikan, by 5 pm, that was an hour earlier. Not too long after my arrival, the coordinators from the ASN and HAN joined.  Soon few more persons arrived. By the time we started there were about fifteen persons. I overheard some people calling the organisers and indicating that they were on their way. In fact a humanist colleague from Calabar who was in Lagos for another event could not make it to the meeting due to traffic. The talk on Pant Rituals was well received and occasionally people chuckled at the bizarre thoughts and actions of persons who engaged in money rituals. 

The humanist colleague from Ghana spoke on the situation of humanism in her country, the challenges that humanists faced and the progress that they had recorded. Like Nigeria, Ghana is one of the most religious nations in the world and non religious persons are in the minority. There was a very vibrant questions and comment session. In all, there were four main categories of comments. In the first category, we had the first timer comments. Some persons expressed delight in physically meeting for the first time atheists, humanists and freethinkers. In fact one person said that he came purposely to see what atheists looked like and to know what atheists do whenever they meet. 

In the second category, there were comments that the humanist/atheist movement was not active enough given the religious devastation of the society. One person was visibly frustrated at the slow pace of action and intervention by humanists. He suggested that the humanists and atheists should stage a campaign to counter religious indoctrination in the society. In fact, he noted that the situation had reached a point that he would like to be handing out flyers on the streets with bold inscriptions such as: JESUS IS NOT COMING SOON. There were further suggestions to counter religious indoctrination in families, in schools, and to explore ways of undoing the damage that had been done by the local movie industry, the Nollywood. 

In the third category of comments, people urged caution in challenging religious brainwashing in the society and in the promotion of critical thinking. One of the participants urged that children be exposed to all the options – religious and non religious- while growing up. Another attendee pointed out that promoting critical thinking would be difficult especially in many parts of Northern Nigeria where, according to her, people were not encouraged to think. Others drew attention to the risks and challenges that could go with campaigns to promote critical thinking and secular values including the risks of ostracisation, persecution and loss of jobs and businesses.

In the fourth category were suggestions and propositions on what could be done to address the challenges including the involvement of humanists in humanitarian and emergency services in the country. One participant said that humanist volunteers should have been on ground when the building collapsed in Lagos and suggested that atheists and humanists in the state should be meeting more often. In the same vein, a participant announced another meeting to further explore strategies of strengthening organized humanism in Lagos. 

At the end of the event, the number of attendees far exceeded the expectation. The organisers said 27 people were at the meeting. In fact as we were leaving the venue, somebody arrived for the event. He said he was delayed by the traffic. With a population of over 6 million persons drawn from different parts of the country, there are huge prospects and possibilities for humanism in Lagos. The nation’s former capital is keeping humanist hopes alive.

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Outrage On Twitter As Omotola Jalade Says Nigeria Under Buhari Is 'Hellish'

16 April 2019 - 7:58am


Veteran Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for running a hellish country.

Tweeted via her official handle @Realomosexy, she wrote: "The country under your watch is Hellish! @YOsibanjo @MBuhari @NGRPresident The lack of Money in circulation, Now coupled with the Continuous Assault n Killings by Uniformed men will make this Country implode!!! It is Unbearable! Do something!Insecurity!Fear n Desperation everywhere".

The Country Under your watch is Hellish! @YOsibanjo @MBuhari @NGRPresident The lack of Money in circulation,Now coupled with the Continuous Assault n Killings by Uniformed men will make this Country implode!!!It is Unbearable! Do something!Insecurity!Fear n Desperation everywhere

— Omotola .j. Ekeinde (@Realomosexy) April 14, 2019

The tweet has since gone viral, prompting Personal Assistant to the President on New Media, Bashir Ahmed, to fire back at the actress in a counter-tweet.

Writing via @BashirAhmaad, she said: "Madam Omotola those who are working for CLEAN money are not complaining and will never refer our dear country as ‘hellish’. In Kano State alone, from 2015 to 2018, no fewer than 200 medium and small scale rice milling centres emerged. For that, billions circulated among millions."

Madam Omotola those who are working for CLEAN money are not complaining and will never refer our dear country as ‘hellish’. In Kano State alone, from 2015 to 2018, no fewer than 200 medium and small scale rice milling centres emerged. For that, billions circulated among millions. https://t.co/nWprKIgpLC

— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) April 15, 2019

Omotola, seemingly disgusted by the backlash she received from the government, tweeted @RealOmosexy: "Now you see why people will rather just go on with their own business and not speak up? Lol... Thank God for grace. We do it for a better tomorrow. If the country totally breaks down everyone suffers irrespective of how rich, poor, whatever party, exposed or retarded you are....so." 

Now you see why people will rather just go on with their own business and not speak up? Lol... Thank God for grace. We do it for a better tomorrow. If the country totally breaks down everyone suffers irrespective of how rich,poor,whatever party,exposed or retarded you are....so https://t.co/PVKD5CpN38

— Omotola .j. Ekeinde (@Realomosexy) April 15, 2019

She also replied Ahmad, saying: "As long as you're not insinuating that I am not working CLEAN for my money... I hear you. Its good that there are some progress... Do you truly want to say you dont see all that's really wrong? Can we fight for our future in truth for once? Without being partisan?"

As long as you're not insinuating that I am not working CLEAN for my money... I hear you. Its good that there are some progress... Do you truly want to say you dont see all that's really wrong? Can we fight for our future in truth for once? Without being partisan?

— Omotola .j. Ekeinde (@Realomosexy) April 16, 2019

Omotola's tweet sparked outrage on Twitter, with users of the social media platform arguing for and against her claims.

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Ondo REC Rufus Akeju Removes Gatekeeper's Tooth By Punching Him In The Face

16 April 2019 - 7:25am


Geroge's Ala, the security guard tooth removed by Mr. Rufus Akeju

Rufus Akeju, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ondo State, is embroiled in a case of assault, battery and molestation of a gatekeeper simply identified as George Ala. 

Akeju, who heads the INEC office in Ondo State, was accused of punching Ala, consequently removing his tooth.

SaharaReporters gathered that Ala, a civil servant, was recently posted to man security at the Igbatoro residential quarters of INEC in Akure.

An insider who confirmed the case to our correspondent said Akeju (pictured below) beat the gatekeeper to a pulp before removing his tooth with his fist.

The insider, who pleaded not to be named, said: "The Ondo REC removed the tooth of the gatekeeper. This was after he had assaulted the man severely by also puching him in the face. He turned himself into a Lord and Mike Tyson by punching the poor gatekeeper. Just imagine, the character of such man who called himself the REC in Ondo State, and the offence of this gatekeeper was that he could not turn on the electrical generating set on time," he said.

"This whole issue started when electricity supply was interrupted, so the gatekeeper was instructed to put on the Perkins Generating plant. Unfortunaely, the security man had the problem of starting the engine, and while attempting to find the solution, Akeju was already at his back and with provocation, he hit him in the face and blood gushed out. The gatekeeper lost a tooth, and what was painful was that Akeju didn't allow him seek medical attention throughtout that night, yet he was in serious pain.

"Also, Akeju arrested the gatekeeper after acusing him of insurbodination. I don't know if you have engaged with Akeju before; he calls himself a former ambassador but he is very wicked and treats many of his staff like animals and slaves.

"If you have ever come across him, you would see all these talismanic rings on his fingers; he slaps, beats, punches and molests the staff of the commission at the Akure office with these rings." 

However, family sources very close to Ala told SaharaReporters that he had already been treated, hence he was unwilling to speak about the matter.

"We have take care of him but i just know he is not willing to talk on the issue becuase of his job," one said. 

Some staff of the commission told SaharaReporters that they had been suffering in silence.

"See, it true that the incident happened, but we cannot talk about it for fear of losing our jobs," an INEC staff member said.

"This REC is a complete disaster and the worst person ever posted to the INEC office in Akure. He assualts us virtually every day by beating and telling us to kneel down like primary or secondary school students. He is an emperor and no one can dare question his authority in the office. 

"It is journalists like you who can help us out of this suffering in silence. The man cannot deny that he is not molesting his staff here at the INEC office in Akure; and if he does, we are ready to open the books for him so far our jobs will still be guaranteed."

When SaharaReporters contacted Akeju on phone, he said: "Well, I don't understand what you are saying and I believe this is still a rumour becuase I did not assault or brutalise anyone. So, I will advise you come over to my office to seek further talks and investigation, or go and write what ever you like."

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Unity In Diversity By Hannatu Musawa

16 April 2019 - 7:09am


Fostering unity in diversity should be a key feature for a country such as Nigeria, which has a rich ethnic and tribal diversity. Accord, acceptance and understanding are necessary to counter conflictual division. Every so often, the camaraderie of Nigerians is tested by the very diversity that defines us.

We saw a case in point recently when social media literally went up in flames over the news report of five Nigerians that were arrested in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, for allegedly stealing Dh 2.3 million Dinars (N225m) from a Bureau de Change. The five-man robbery gang reportedly robbed the Bureau De Change of cash of different currencies just two days after two of them arrived on a visiting visa.

The misfortune here was the manner conversations on social media have been tilting to, since the news broke. Conversations on various social media mediums began to assume an ethnic coloration due to the fact that all the accused were from a particular region or tribe of the country. All of a sudden, the fact that they are Nigerians didn’t matter anymore.

This has been a recurring phenomenon on issues in Nigeria. We tend to view and assess issues based on ethnic coloration. Stereotyping has gradually become a mainstay of our lives and discourse. And this stereotypic nuance has been amplified particularly by the advent of social media. “He is from a particular ethnic group that is why he behaved the way he did. She is from a particular tribe that is why she acts in a certain way.” These are just some of the many comments you see on various social media platforms.

Over time in Nigeria, the attribution of a person’s behavior to his or her particular ethnic nationality has reached vast proportions. Let me say it as it is; those from one part of the country are largely seen as illiterates, uneducated and unrefined. Those from other origins are viewed as greedy and have an insatiable appetite for money and wealth. The Nigerians from some other part of the country are largely seen as fearful and two-faced. There are so many prejudiced and needless stereotypes.

They are just some of the banal manners that some Nigerians label other Nigerians. However, when we travel abroad and we are stereotyped and labeled, we hit the roof. Many Nigerians who have travelled out of the country have one or two stories to tell about being stereotyped. Even within countries in the African continent, just because you are a Nigerian, you are stereotyped in some places. It is not a hidden fact that Nigerians around the world are stereotyped as scammers, loud, arrogant, and violent or linked with prostitution and drug trafficking.

The world right now is rife with prejudicial sentiments. Islamophobia is abound and Muslims are largely seen as “potential terrorists” and are treated as such. A black man in many parts of the world is still looked upon and treated with disdain. Women are still generally viewed and treated as the weaker sex, only to play second fiddle to men. Africans are still accorded disrespect and treated with contempt. The list goes on and on…

It should be categorically stated that the actions of these five NIGERIANS in Dubai is shameful and condemnable. It doesn’t matter which part of the country they are from, as long as they carry a Nigerian passport. We might stereotype them as people from a particular area but the outside World, particularly the country where the crime was committed, sees them as Nigerians and only Nigerians.

If their actions should have a negative effect on Nigeria, it is Nigerians that will pay the consequence not Nigerians from a particular region of the country. If the United Arab Emirates decides to make it difficult for Nigerians to get a visa in going to their country, it is highly unlikely that they would have the leisure of denying visa’s to Nigerians from a particular ethnic group. To them and every other country in the world, a person possessing a Nigerian passport is a Nigerian, not an Igbo man, or a Yoruba woman, or a Hausa child or from the Ijaw ethnic group.

It is also pertinent that we need to begin to do away with negative stereotyping of ourselves as Nigerians. It is enough that many a “white man” has prejudicial contempt towards us, as Nigerians or black people, and are treated in degrading and derogatory manner. One shouldn’t be in his or her country, and experience such treatment. During the just concluded elections, our stereotypical and prejudicial contempt for one another reared its ugly head in many parts of the country.

While negative stereotypes exists around the world, as a people, we need to come together as a nation and with a single voice condemning the actions of these five Nigerians and many other Nigerians that are committing crimes in other countries, soiling our name and giving the country a bad reputation. We need to project the image that, for every five Nigerians who decide to rob a bank, fifty other Nigerians are doing great things in their host nation. For every drug peddler out there, there are many other Nigerians who are contributing positively towards the development of their host country.

While the government’s strategy of naming and shaming the wrongdoers, to serve as a deterrent is commendable, it also has a major role to play, such Nigerians abroad are recognized and celebrated irrespective of creed or tribe. Perhaps the National Orientation Agency needs to do a lot more in this regard. The likes of boxing champion Anthony Joshua, the new chess whizkid, Tanitoluwa Adewunmi, the literary giant, Chimamanda Adichie, the OPEC boss Mohammed Barkindo, the late Pius Adesanmi and so many others should all be projected as role models who are doing great things on the global stage, as Nigerians.

We must stop giving life to the stereotyping we are being lumbered with. Stereotyping is illogical, politically incorrect and morally repugnant. It is illogical because the chance that any given Nigerian of a particular tribe is an unsavory sort is only marginally greater than the chance that anybody else who is Nigerian and from a different tribe is also an unsavory sort. One needn't be an ethicist to realize that it is unjust to slap such a noxious label on a whole group of people on account of the misdeeds of a few.In other words, unsavory sorts can and do come in every color of the tribal and ethnic rainbow.

As a people, we will continue to fail to come together on anything big if we keep slicing ourselves into smaller factions and identifying ourselves as such. We must embrace the necessity of standing together as one people united. We cannot do that if we linger on fracturing ourselves, and our identity. Nigerians need to rebuild trust in each other and see each other as one, and the best place to start is in our homes, where we can talk about the higher vision we hold for this nation.

A full comprehension of unity speaks to the willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to thrive. In practice, unity in diversity includes accepting both agreement and disagreement; it leads to methods that embraces consensus, while accepting contestations in ways that do not entertain far-reaching, negative stereotypes that develop into enemy images.

In this country, we must continue to work towards exploring approaches to fostering unity in diversity, while embracing all the individualistic characteristics that makes all the ethnicities of Nigeria parts of a one whole. In order to live together across ethnic and tribal differences, it is essential for us to nurture that very important concept of unity in diversity by accepting the characteristics of every one of ‘us.’ Unity in diversity, then, requires a recognition of unity without uniformity, and diversity without fragmentation. The idea builds on an understanding that stretches beyond mere tolerance of difference. It is an acknowledgment that, as Nigerians, we share the key dimension of identity.

Every Nigerian outside the country is essentially an ambassador and has a duty to project the country in a positive light. As a Nigerian abroad, your conduct and actions matters as it might impact positively or negatively on the country as a whole. However, what is more important is that as we celebrate and commendour own when great strides are achieved, so also we need to come together as a people and condemn negative acts, regardless of the part of the country the person is from.

 

Spoken Word Article Written by
Hannatu Musawa
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Train Crushes Two Lying On Rail Track To Death In Kano

16 April 2019 - 6:25am


A moving train has crushed two persons to death in Kano.

According to a witness, the tragic incident occurred very early on Tuesday along a rail line behind Kano Club in Nasarawa Local Government area of the city. 

The witness also said the victims of the accident were lying down on the rail trail and oblivious of the approaching train until it crushed them. 

A statement by the Kano state Police Command Spokesman, DSP, Abdullahi Haruna said: “Tuesday at about 8:00hrs, report received by the Police, that two yet to be identified persons, who were lying on the rail track, were crushed by a moving train behind Kano club.

“The Police’s visit showed that one of the victims was cut into two parts. The bodies have been evacuated to the hospital.”

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El- Rufai Sacks All Political Appointees In Kaduna

16 April 2019 - 6:19am


Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor, has instructed all political appointees in the state to submit their resignation letters on or before April 30, as he prepares for his second term in office.

This decision, it is believed, will afford the Governor the opportunity to select the team for his second term in office.

Also, the decision is in accordance with his constitutional prerogative, which allows him to decide on re-appointments while giving the Kaduna State Ministry of Finance adequate time to compute severance payments and reconcile any liabilities.

According to the directive, each notice of resignation must be submitted along with a handover note, signed by the political appointee on behalf of the MDA or office to which he or she had been appointed. All resignation letters should be properly addressed to the Principal Private Secretary to the Governor.

In a statement by Samuel Aruwan, his spokesman, el-Rufai thanked all political appointees for their contributions and service to the state during his first-term

He said: “As he constitutes the team that will assist him in his second-term, the Governor said he expects the process to be enriched by the handover notes from the political appointees, and the report of the Transition Committee headed by the Deputy Governor-elect, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe.

“The following appointees are expected to comply with the directive: All Commissioners in the State Executive Council, All Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Directors-General, Executive Secretaries, Managing Directors, General Managers and other Heads of Agencies, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants and Technical Assistants to the Governor, other than the Kashim Ibrahim Fellows.

“Excluded from compliance with this directive are full-time Commissioners of certain State Executive bodies who retain their tenured appointments in the following agencies: i. Fiscal Responsibility Commission

Civil Service Commission

iii. Judicial Service Commission

iiii. Assembly Service Commission

The State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECOM)

The Peace Commission

vii. Public Procurement Authority

viii. Water Regulatory Authority

“Due to recent adjustments in roles within the government, the occupants of and recent appointees into the following offices are also exempted from the directive to resign: a. Commissioner of Finance

Principal Private Secretary

Accountant-General

Special Adviser, Intergovernmental Relations

Managing Director, Kaduna Markets Development Company

Managing Director, Kaduna Investment and Finance Company, and

Any other political appointee sworn-in or appointed to their current role within the last six months.”

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BREAKING: Nigerian Government Agency Demolishes AIT's 'Gate House'

16 April 2019 - 5:44am

The Gate House, a building within the premises of DAAR Communications — owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM — is currently being demolished, SaharaReporters has been told.

According to a staff member of AIT, who spoke with SaharaReporters on the phone, demolition of the building was being handled by officials of the Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCDA).

“It is true that a demolition is going on but it is the Gate House for the security officials, and it is a little away from the main building,” said the AIT official who asked not to be named.

“Yes, it’s an AIT property but the good thing is, it's not an operational building, so its demolition will not affect the core of what AIT does”.

Raymond Dokpesi, founder of DAAR Communications, is standing trial for alleged involvement in the diversion of N2.1 billion security funds by Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA).

He was arrested by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, last month on his return from medical treatment at the American Hospital, Dubai, with AIT quoting an immigration officer as saying Dokpesi is on the Federal Government's security watch list, and that there were instructions from above to arrest him on arrival.

Dokpesi subsequently hosted a question-and-answer session on the arrest, during which he spoke on what transpired when he was questioned at the NIS, and confirmed that there were "altercations and tempers went very high".

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Labour Union Kicks As LASPOTECH Management Arrests Union Members

16 April 2019 - 5:14am


The Joint Action Front (JAF) has condemned the arrest of eight union leaders of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos, by the Police on the orders of Samuel Sogunro, Rector of the polytechnic.

The union leaders were arrested on Monday while continuing with their demand for the reversal of the de-migration of their salary structure.

They were also alleged to have attacked staff of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) during the mock exercise.

Those arrested, who are members of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), are Salami Olugbenga, Seye Ero-Phillips, Muinat Ogunbmbi-Ibrahim, Alawada Abimbola, Semiu Fasasi, Abiodun Awoyemi, Tobi Oremule and Ayanda Rauf.

Describing the arrest as an act of "intimidation and brutality", Oladipo Fashina, JAF Chairperson, said the institution is bent on punishing the uncooperating members of the unions.

He maintained that the university management had been using security agencies to attack union members, the latest being the case where an “armed Task Force stormed the institution at night to cart away all the staff union buses to their premises and deflated their tyres".

Fashina said: “We hold that a tertiary institution environment should ideally run as an administration. 

“The aberration of authority and management paradigms are alien to academic culture, hence the urgent necessity for the Lagos Government to act now to end the unacceptable reign of authoritarian rectors and vice chancellors in the tertiary institutions where the Governor statutorily should be the Visitor and should do his duties as such.”

He also demanded the immediate release of the eight union leaders arrested, stating that “holding them on framed-up charges in order to keep them out of circulation and undermine their struggle for justice on issues of their rights to collective bargaining and defence of collective agreements, will not stand”.

Fashina urged the Lagos State Government to call LASPOTECH management to order, and also urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to intervene and ensure the institution respects the rights of every staff member.

“We demand that the Lagos Government has a responsibility to arrest the degenerating violent reign of terrors in LASPOTECH now before more staff and students become victims of framed up attacks," he said. 

“We urge the Nigeria Labour Congress and all workers to rise in defence of the 8 union leaders and the three unions in LASPOTECH.”

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