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Bandits Have Taken Over Parts Of Katsina, Governor Laments

11 April 2019 - 1:17am

Aminu Masari, Governor of Katsina State, has lamented the high presence of bandits in some parts of the state.

The Governor, represented by his deputy, Mannir Yakubu, at a stakeholders' forum in the state, told this to Muhammed Adamu, the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), on Wednesday.

According to the Governor, aside from the presence of bandits, kidnappers also constituted a menace to the state.

“These bandits strike at will, maim at will, destroy lives and property at will. In other parts of the state, we also have kidnappers who not only take people on the road but in the comfort of their homes,” he added, citing the “unfortunate incident of the Governor’s in-law who was taken in the comfort of her home".

He said government officials have met with eight front-line local government chairmen to keep them abreast of the security situation. He also gave the assurance that government would do all possible to see to the final onslaught on the bandits and kidnappers in the state.

The eight LGs are Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Dan-Musa, Faskari, Sabuwa, Dandume and Kankara. Some of the LGs share boundaries with Zamfara State, which is under constant attacks from bandits and kidnappers.

In his remarks, the IGP said he was in the state to look into the security challenges, especially the activities of kidnappers and bandits.

He said the Police needed information on activities of “these miscreants”, noting that the latest strategy of the Police is to take the fight to the kidnappers by identifying them, occupying their location and camps.

Meanwhile, Manir Muazu, the Caretaker Chairman of the Batsari Local Government Area, revealed that bandits killed five people at Garimi/Magaji Ado ward along Jibia/Batsari Road, on Tuesday. 

The council boss said the bandits also injured 10 people while shops and vehicles were set ablaze.

Adamu assured the forum that his squad meant business and would flush out the bandits.

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Italian Murders Nigerian Prostitute For Failing To Satisfy Him, Dumps Her Body In A Ditch

10 April 2019 - 1:29pm

The Police in Italy have taken in Leopoldo Scalici, a 40-year-old from Palermo who confessed to murdering a Nigerian prostitute identified as Benedita Dan.

According to Italian newspaper Modena Today, Denebita operated as a prostitute in the industrial area of Modena Nord, but her body was found on Sunday morning lying in a small moat by Toni, in the countryside of Albareto.

Between Saturday and Sunday, Scalici approached the prostitute on the streets and loaded her on board the van on which he was travelling to reach a secluded place where they were believed to have had sex. The vehicle in question, identified and seized by the Carabinieri, was not owned by the 40-year-old but by an acquaintance who had lent it to him to carry out some work. 

Not everything is known about what triggered the aggression, which occurred immediately after the sexual relationship, but the paper said it it there was some hypothesis of a sense of dissatisfaction on the part of the client, who reacted badly in a fit of rage.

Scalici said he hit the stranger on the head with a heavy workbench vise — a blow that would have been lethal.

The exact place where the crime took place has not been disclosed, but it can be assumed that it took place in one of the various secluded pitches used by African prostitutes practising in the industrial area of Modena Nord. From there, the man would then reach stradello Toni, where he declared that he had thrown the woman's naked body and clothes, as found by investigators.

An autopsy  is scheduled to be conducted to verify all the claims made so far by Scalici.

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Executive-Legislature Clash Looming As Senate Resolves To Go Against Buhari’s Decision On Bills

10 April 2019 - 12:40pm

A last-minute clash between the executive and the legislature is looming in the about-to-expire life of the current political dispensation, as the Senate has resolved to overrule President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto on two bills.

The two bills in question are the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 28) Bill, 2018 and the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Amendment Bill.

The first bill seeks to mandate the President and state governors to present annual budget estimates before legislature at most three months to the end of a financial year. It also seeks to encourage early presentation and passage of Appropriation Bills.

Buhari declined assent to the bill on the argument that it did not take cognizance of the provisions of Section 58(4) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Development Amendment Bill 2018 aims to enable companies that expand their operations in pioneer industry or product to apply for a new pioneer status. The President declined assent to the bill on the argument that ongoing inter-ministerial consultations would be affected if the bill is signed into law.

The Senate took the decision to overrule the President on Wednesday after its Technical Committee on Declined Assent to Bills by the President present its report, which was adopted.

Dabid Umaru, Chairman of the committee, had told the upper chamber that his panel scrutinised the 17 bills, and came to the recommendation that 15 of them should be reconsidered and passed by the National Assembly.

The bills are National Research and Innovation Council (Establishment) Bill, 2017; National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Establishment) Bill, 2018; National Agricultural Seeds Council, 2018 and Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, 2018.

Others are Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Chattered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Establishment) Bill, 2018; Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The remaining five are constitutional amendment bills, namely bills No. 8, 15, 22, 24, and 28.

“The National Assembly even if it considers Mr. President’s observations or not, must pass the bills again and be assented to by Mr. President or override the veto, in which case, Mr. President’s assent would not be required,” said Umaru, who argued that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives the Senate the right to override the President in the event that a bill is vetoed.

In 2019 alone, the President has vetoed at least 15 bills passed by the National Assembly. 

To override the President, the Senate needs at least two-thirds majority, which is at least 73 senators, to endorse the action.

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How School And Schooling Fuel Poverty In Nigeria: An Addendum To GaniuBamgbose’s Submission By Ridwan Adigun Sulaimon

10 April 2019 - 11:27am

It is time to stop pretending! A worse advice to give to any child in Nigeria today is to give that ages-long advice that: “go to school (that is, higher institutions of learning), get good grades, so that you can get a good job.” Although this advice is originally defective, but it has worked for an era, at least, so I will not focus on its original defects here.

Information gleaned from the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Brochure, 2019, indicates that Nigeria currently has at least 556 higher institutions of learning – 172 universities, 7 other degrees awarding institutions, 129 polytechnics, 90 monotechnics, and 160 colleges of education. This means that, on the average, since Nigeria has 774 local governments, then in every seven local government, there are at least five higher institutions of learning. Just enough to go around! Sounds great, yet so sad!

So sad that, today, even if you go to school and get a good grade, whether a good or a bad one, the jobs are not even there. Thousands of graduates are churned out of these institutions every time and majority of them are unemployed; and majority of the majority are now even said to be unemployable. No wonder, Nigeria, according to the World Poverty Clock, overtook India as the country with the highest number of poor people in the world. In Nigeria today, it might be better to tell a child that, if you don’t want to be poor, don’t go to school (that is, don’t go beyond basic education or secondary school); Or rather, if you want to be rich, drop out of school. That’s on one hand.

On the other hand, after religions, schools have become the second Nigerian ritual that has little or no positive effect on the health of the Nigerian society; and yet, many people believe that life is incomplete without it. Just as you would see that majority of religion faithful in Nigeria are completely unfaithful in everything else apart from regular visit to places of worship, so also you would find that majority of those who have also gone to school have also remained uneducated; the saddest thing is that many even graduated as schooled illiterates.

During my one year National Youth Service for instance, I have seen graduates who cannot construct two English sentences without breaching the very basic rules of grammar. And there are many of them out there. The least that schools should be able to offer is literacy, if not a complete package of education; and now, it has even failed in that. Then one wonders how and why many people managed to scale through schools despite such a level of illiteracy which brings one to tears.

In his piece titled: “Have I told you School is a problem in Nigeria,” Ganiu Bamgbose aptly captures the scenario when he said: “Schooling in Nigeria has lost its evaluative potency. Any averagely rascally young person can dumbly yet successfully go through all stages of schooling in Nigeria. If not, how else do we explain the case of undergraduates of computer science who cannot tell the function of Ctrl V? What should we say of undergraduates of English who cannot construct simple and grammatical sentences? Now, are you a Nigerian? Do you think any Nigerian learning hairdressing can go through apprenticeship for one year without being able to, at least, make “washing and setting”? I am sure you know it’s a NO! The boss would have contacted the parents for a spiritual intervention. But school children can be in Commercial department at SS2 and be unable to define partnership after four years in secondary school. Maybe we should ask, what then is the problem with schools and schooling in Nigeria?”

I have seen a postgraduate student who does not know what an hypothesis is and I can bet that, that student is in the majority if we test other post graduate students. This may seem like an unpopular assertion, but we all know the truth, even if we won’t admit it. These days, people who cannot contribute any meaningful thing to the society with their first degrees are rushing to second degrees and others.

Just as peer pressure has led many young people to go to higher institutions when they would have fared better as artisans and the likes, there is now a growing peer pressure not to stop at first degree but to proceed to post graduate levels, as if to increase the individual’s years of poverty.

Look around you, it’s as if schooling is breeding poverty as the number of poor graduates keeps increasing; after all, you are trained to “look for jobs”; then it seems like: if you want to close your mind and growth, just go to school.

Look around you, while you spent four or five years in higher institutions, one year youth service and two years of looking for jobs (while you waste away in a private primary or secondary school where you are underemployed), your friend whom has gone to learn a craft or trade since you finished secondary school has passed the stage of setting up and has settled down. Then age and responsibilities keep telling on you; then the same society that pressurised you to keep schooling will come asking you to do something with your life. They will advise you to learn a craft or follow a trade line if you can’t get a decent job, then you will start doing what you should have done ten or more years ago. That’s where you actually belong, but you missed the road initially!

Many graduates today find themselves in this situation and many of them are now going back to learn tailoring and the likes, the smarter ones are using holidays and the usual strike periods to do this. But my question is: if you will fare better as a tailor for instance, why stressing yourself acquiring certificates that you may never need. In fact, if you cannot speak good English after your basic education or secondary school, higher chances are that you may not be able to speak any better English even if you attend a university in Nigeria; at best, you might develop some level of confidence at speaking your poor English. So, why waste your energy?

As Bamgbose puts it, “Going to school is one of the several things a child can do in life. Schooling is one of the many routes to being useful in life; there are other ways. Quite unfortunately, school is one of the things children in Nigeria do without their consent. How dare you tell your Nigerian parents that you don’t want to go to school! You just must! Realistically however, compulsory schooling ends in JSS 3. This is why it is called BASIC 9. This basic education equips young ones with basic literacy and numeracy skills. Young people, after this compulsory schooling, should be helped to determine what they want to do in life based on their passion and ability.

“Those who can use their “head” (cognitive domain) should proceed to the senior secondary school. Those who can use their “hand” (psychomotor domain) should proceed to technical and vocational schools or to learn a trade or to do whatever their creativity can give birth to. 

“School, which is called formal education, is just one of the forms of education which should be compulsory up to the end of its basic stage which is JSS 3 or Basic 9 in Nigeria. Afterwards, attention should be given to the potentials of young people in their career path.”

Make no mistake, I love education too and I admit that schools are very important to the society, but the point is for us to change our orientation. Let’s educate young people and their parents that being successful or useful is not tied to going to school at all, but rather, schools is one of the many paths to success or usefulness, it is a CHOICE! It should be a choice! School, after basic education, should be strictly for those who have business with it.

Dear young people, if you bow to societal pressure and you choose an education path that conflicts with who you are, you will suffer it alone. Find your passion, find where you belong, find your own path. Retrace your steps, drop out of school if you have to, stop learning that craft if you have to. Do it for yourself and the advancement of the society. “What will people say?” is one question that has killed many dreams and impoverished many great minds. Stop looking at people and start looking at you. Anything you do is good enough as long as it’s legal and decent.


Ridwan Adigun Sulaimon, a youth and leadership tutor, human rights campaigner, writer and social researcher, writes from Lagos. Email:; Twitter: @SulaimonRidwan

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Lagos SUBEB Hides From Its Responsibilities, Says Schools Indicted In Exam Malpractice Scandal Not Under Its Control

10 April 2019 - 11:21am

The Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has deflected its supervisory roles, claiming that schools indicted of compromising the state-organised placement examination are not under its control.

Six months ago, the Chairman of the board, Ganiyu Oluremi Sopeyin, said the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Idayat Adebule, had set up a committee of enquiry to investigate schools indicted in the SaharaReporters investigation. See Also CRIME Lagos Exam Board 'Cannot Guarantee Authenticity' Of Fake Certificate Obtained From SUBEB 0 Comments 6 Months Ago

However, the board took a U-turn on Tuesday when it told SaharaReporters that Lagos State private primary schools are not under its control, hence it cannot sanction any fraudulent school.

The board’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Seyi Akintoye, said this when SaharaReporters visited SUBEB’s office for an official statement on the outcome of the alleged enquiry committee.

Akintoye said private schools are not under the purview of the board, hence could not sanction schools who compromise the integrity of the state-organised placement examination, also known as common entrance.

This is a deflection from the responsibilities of SUBEB as a supervisory unit.

One of the mandates of the board as listed on its website is to “Prescribe the minimum standards for the basic education programme throughout the State in line with the National Policy on Education on the advice of the National Council for Education and ensure effective implementation of the standards in line with Government policies and programme.”

As a board, Lagos SUBEB also has the mandate to set up supervisory units in the implementation and monitoring of basic education in the state.

The placement examination is the final examination written by final year pupils in basic class in preparation for secondary school.

But the board’s PRO argued that SUBEB is not the only agency in charge of the placement examination and cannot be solely held responsibility for the malfeasance discovered during the examination.

SaharaReporters had detailed how schools in Lagos State connived with Lagos State invigilators to compromise the state’s secondary school entrance exams. See Also Education UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION: Forgery, Bribery, Exam Malpractice Are Booming At Lagos Primary Schools 0 Comments 6 Months Ago

In one of the revelations, an invigilator identified as Toye Lukmon of Yufaith Private School was captured on camera dictating answers to the pupils during the placement examination held at Tulabville Private School at 53 Omidindun Street, Lagos Island area of Lagos State.

Similarly, at Wesley Girls Senior Secondary School, Yaba, another centre for the Lagos State Placement Examinations, pupils were captured cheating during the examination while Lagos State designated invigilators looked away as many of them had been bribed by school owners.

The investigation also revealed the ease of enrolling children for the examination in different primary schools in Lagos State.

As part of the multimedia investigation, Ajenifuja Kazeem, a staff member of SUBEB, was also indicted as he organised a fake First School Leaving Certificate For the undercover reporter.

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DPR Kicks As Pump Price Of Petrol Rises To N160 And Above In Bayelsa

10 April 2019 - 11:11am

Mordecai Ladan DPR Director

Irked by the sudden increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N145 to N160 per litre and above in the Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has vowed to shut down erring marketers.

Arising from a meeting with independent and major marketers in the state, on Tuesday, DPR's Head of Operations, Ibinabo Jack, warned that the abrupt increase in price was not justifiable, as it was not approved by any regulatory body.

Bayelsans woke up last week to see that the pump price of petrol had risen from between N142 and N145 to N160 per litre in most filling stations in the state, prompting outcry from motorists and residents.

But DPR held a meeting with the product marketers and select journalists, and urged them to immediately revert to the original price of N145 per litre or be sanctioned, as they have no reason to increase the price.

"I personally went round and discovered that all the filling stations were selling above the pump price. They were selling at the rate of N160 naira for PMS. We frown at that and condemn it," Ibinabo said.

"The sudden rise in pump price is not advised and not welcome by DPR. DPR has not noticed any form of price increase and there is no directive for fuel pump increase; the pump price still remains N145 per litre.

"From now, after this briefing with the marketers, the DPR will not hesitate to impose stringent penalties upon anyone found selling above the pump price. PMS at the depot as of the beginning of the week still remans N133, and so we are saying that marketers have no reason to say they have written to the authorities or that they were granted by someone to sell above the pump price approved by the Petroleum Products Regulatory Agency (PPRA)."

In there response, the Bayelsa state Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Erefemota Peters, said the increase was due to price increase at the depots.

He said marketers in Bayelsa had to source products from the Warri and Port Harcourt refineries at prices above N142 and considering the transport cost, there was no way the marketers in the state could sell at the government price.

Also speaking, Indutimi Komonibo, an independent marketer, urged the Federal Government to build a refinery in state, as the peculiar nature of state makes it difficult for petroleum marketers.

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More Woes For Okorocha As Judge Accused Of Bias Withdraws From His Certificate Of Return Case

10 April 2019 - 11:00am

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednessday recused himself from the suit filed by Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, in respect of his Certificate of Return.

Okorocha had gone to court seeking an order compelling the Indepedent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a Certificate of Return as the Senator-Elect for Imo West Senatorial District.

Justice Taiwo announced his decision on Wednessday when the case should have come up for hearing.

He said his decision to withdraw from adjudicating on the matter was based on allegations of bias against him.

He said the case file would be returned to the Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, for reassignment to another judge.

The judge made it clear that the decision was premised on allegations of bias made against him by Jones Onyeriri and Senator Osita Izunaso, candidates of the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progresssives Grand Alliance (APGA) respectively for the February 23 national assembly elections.

In his petition, Onyeriri had asked the Judge to disqualify himself from the suit because of the utterances he made in court.

Onyeriri said the utterances clearly prejudged the substantive issues that will be resolved in the matter and clearly shows he had taken sides with Okorocha.

An affidavit deposed to on his behalf by Mr Chijioke Nzekwe, a lawyer, stated that Justice Taiwo had, on Friday, told counsel to INEC, Wendy Kuku, that the commission was responsible for the problems in the election.

Nzekwe made his claim based on the previous statements of the judge, which claimed that he had read through the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and found nothing in it that  robs him of the jurisdiction not to hear the suit.

"This pronouncement shocked all the counsel who were present in court and even members of the public and the Press who were in the gallery," he said. "This is because the second and third defendants (INEC and Onyeriri) have notices pof Preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear this matter."

Izunaso, on his part, asked the court for an order transferring the suit to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for reassignment to any other judge.

In the motion filed by Orji Nwafor-Orizu, his counsel, an order of the court was sought to disqualify itself from further hearing the suit.

He premised his motion on the grounds that there was a likehood of bias on the part of the court to continue to hear the suit since the presiding judge, without hearing the suit, had expressed an opinion favourable to Okorocha.

"The said utterances were made on April 5 and they clearly pre-judged the substantive issues that will be resolved in this matter," Izunaso said. "It clearly shows that the presiding judge has taken sides with the plaintiff."

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Bereavement Prevents Metuh From Appearing In Court For N400m Fraud Trial​

10 April 2019 - 10:43am

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the ongoing trial of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman, Olisa Metuh, over a letter presented by his counsel to inform the court that he is bereaved.

Metuh is facing trial trial alongside his company, Destra Investment Limited, on a seven-count charge which involves laundering $2million.

He is also charged with fraudulently receiving N400 million from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Counsel to Metuh, Mr Abel Ozioko, informed the court in a letter that he would be absent because he was bereaved and prayed the court for an adjournment.

Rulling on the matter, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang said that he was inclined to grant the application for an adjournment for the reasons stated by counsel.

Abang adjourned the matter until May 13, May 14 and May 15, saying the court was billed to commence Easter vacation on April 22.

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Imo Tribunal Grants Nwosu Permission To Inspect Election Materials, Including Card Reader Data

10 April 2019 - 10:38am

Imo State Election Tribunal has granted Uche Nwosu, governorship candidate of Action Alliance (AA), leave to access the materials used during the governorship election on March 9, 2019.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party winner of the election with 273,404 votes over Uche Nwosu, who polled 190,364 votes.

Nwosu, the son-in-law of Rochas Okorocha, Governor of the state, approached the tribunal, claiming the PDP candidate did not meet the constitutional requirements.

At the hearing on Wedneday, the panel ordered INEC to permit Nwosu to check every copy of the electoral materials, including the voter register and ballot papers.

The tribunal also granted Nwosu leave to inspect “Forms EC8A, EC8B, EC8C, EC8D, EC8E, EC 17A, EC 25A, EC 25B, EC 40A, EC 40G, EC 40H; all the incident forms filed by voters in all the polling units in the election; the list of permanent voter cards collected and used in the election; all the card readers used in the election; data of accredited voters as captured by all the smart card readers deployed during the 9th March, 2019 governorship election conducted in all the polling units in Imo State, sorted out into Local Governments, Wards, Polling Units and voting points; record of ballot paper allocation to all the polling units in the election; the list of all presiding officers for all the units in the election".

Nwosu's access also extends to “INEC manual and guidelines; the list of the polling agents submitted to INEC by all the political parties and every other electoral material used in the conduct of the election for the purpose of instituting, maintaining and prosecuting the petition and for the purpose of presenting same at the trial”.

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EXCLUSIVE: How Top Officials Of Nigerian Export Authority Plan To Embezzle N42bn Special Economic Zones Funds

10 April 2019 - 10:03am

A deliberate plot hatched by some top officials of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) to corner over N40billion meant for the establishment of Special Economic Zones in the country has been unearthed, raising contrived dust over the plan of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to create Special Economic Zones targeted for the rapid industrialisation of the country.

When, Okechukwu Enelamah, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, recently presented the ministry’s 2019 budget details to the relevant Senate committee, questions where raised about the creation of a limited liability company with 25% federal government interest, the retention of three federal government officials as directors, and the allocation of government’s funds to the company.

But sources explained that the senators involved were only acting on information provided by NEPZA officials to deliberately mislead them into concluding that the said funds belonged to NEPZA, and not to the limited liability company formed specifically for the purpose, that is the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Investment Company.

According to a top government official involved in what seems like a presidential review of the unfolding controversy, “the Federal Government adopted a model to speedily and rapidly develop the Special Economic Zones using a PPP model as was done in other countries like China and a number of African countries.”

"The strategy involved the setting up of a limited liability company that included the Federal Government and some institutional investors such as African Development Bank (ADB), the African Finance Corporation (AFC), the Bank of Industry (BOI), AFREXIMBAMK, and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in a 25% —75% Federal Government and institutional investors ratio," the source said. "And to secure FG’S interest, three government officials were put forward in the interim as directors in line with the usual practice when such companies involving FG are set up.”

Another industry source said: “Using government officials, including aides, is nothing to worry about since they are there to protect government interests at the take-off stage, pending when a proper board can be in place and the company ready to go full throttle.

"Besides the people chosen as interim directors are those who are driving the project and are knowledgeable within the ministries involved being Finance on the one hand and Industry, Trade and Investment on the other."

Besides, as is done elsewhere around the world, such government representative directors are not entitled to any beneficial interests in the company shares. “Bringing up the issue of these directors was simply a mudslinging attempt to mislead the public, but it has no fuel at all, considering that it is a global practice and the directors are interim and non- beneficiaries," the source explained.

Investigations however revealed that Emmanuel Jime, the immediate past Managing Director of NEPZA, and T. D. Nongo, the acting Managing Directr, to whom Jime handed over, devised the entire plot to ensure that the N42billion allocated for the development of the Special Economic Zones be controlled and disbursed by NEPZA instead of the Special Purpose Vehicle established by a presidential directive straight from Buhari’s desk.

But, in order to ensure this, they needed support in the National Assembly. According to a top official of one of the investigating agencies of the government, “this was how the top NEPZA hierarchy sold a carefully designed package of outright falsehood and suppression of relevant facts to the National Assembly and decided to smear the President’s plan in order to corner the funds and control disbursement of the money instead of allowing the limited liability company formed for that purpose to be in charge".

"What we now know is that while Jime went to run for Benue State governorship election, for which he had to resign as NEPZA MD, the most senior officer to whom he handed over the reins of NEPZA is actually also one of the main fund-raisers/coordinators of his governorship campaign.”

The source added that “therefore the campaign of calumny against the President’s industrial plan and against the Industry, Trade and Investment Ministry is being fuelled by both Jime and Nongo.

“At stake is the control of Project MINE, the name of the plan to speedily industrialise the country through the promotion of made-in-Nigeria goods for Export, for which MINE is an acronym" he said. “They are both bent on controlling the N42billion approved in the budget."

The NEPZA officials started with the argument that the agency is the one through which the Federal Government can make investments in the Free Trading Zones. So, the matter was referred to the Attorney-General of the Federation for legal advice. And it was after the AGF advised that NEPZA is a regulatory agency and not the exclusive implementing agency for such projects that the officials, determined not to let go of the funds, connived to develop a plot to smear the whole effort by raising questions and provoking sensational narratives around a model that is best global practice and that enjoys the support of major international institutional investors.

“If this were indeed, fishy how do you think such institutional investors whose global operations depend mainly on their transparency and credibility be part of it, considering that the institutional investors are coming up with 75% of the money?" an industry source wondered.

Between the Federal Government and the institutional investors, the investment company, the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Investment Company, NSEZCO is expected to raise $500m in equity by 2023.

While many of the strategic investors have already signed on, the MINE project that NSEZCO will be delivering has secured significant international partnerships already. For instance Shandong Ruyi, the leading textile and garment group in China has already announced its commitment to invest $2billion to the cotton, textile and garment industry for the Special Economic (free trading) Zones that NSEZCO will put up in Abia, Kano and Lagos states.

Equally, CCCG Industrial Investment Holding Company (CIHC) of China, which is ranked 91st in Fortune 500 and is the third largest international contractor in the world, has also signed a letter of intent to invest in the forthcoming Special Economic Zone in Lekki, specifically in the areas of power, water, access roads and bridges.

“These are some of the critical and significant plans that few NEPZA officials are trying to scuttle," said a government official aware of the presidential review of the controversy sparked last week when Enelamah briefed a senate committee on the project.

Some of the Special Economic Zone projects are the much talked about Enyimba Economic City in Abia, the Lekki-Epe Model Industrial Park, Funtua Cotton Cluster, and several others being planned for Edo, Kwara, Sokoto, Ebonyi, and Benue States.

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Broken Bottles In The Air, One Killed In Supremacy Battle Between Two Lagos Cult Groups

10 April 2019 - 8:32am

Two cultist groups in the Fadeyi area of Lagos clashed on Wednesday, resulting in the death of one plus commotion that prompted the closure of shops and other businesses in the area.

At about 12:38pm when SaharaReporters arrived the vicinity to monitor the situation, some street boys had blocked the Ikorodu Road under the bridge at the old Fadeyi Bus-stop.

A resident also working with the Bussed Rapid Transport (BRT) told SaharaRepporters that the fight had been in the offing for a while.

”They are fighting over supremacy; we had been hearing they wanted to fight for quite a while," he said.

"The cause of this fight is that the two sides of Fadeyi want to know who is supreme over the other. They started fighting at about 10:00am."

An official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) who asked not to be named told SaharaReporters that the fight initially started on Ikorodu Road, with the two warring factions throwing bottles at each other.

"Before you knew it, they started bringing out guns" he said.

He and other residents confirmed that a man, identified to be motorcycle rider for a logistics company, was killed at Shiro Street.

SaharaReporters observed that shops that initially opened in the morning had been locked, with their owners fearing for the worst.

Two Police vans were parked at Adewusi Street and one at Shiro Street beside Oando filling Station, with officers of the Police sighted at strategic points in a bid to restore calm and order to the area.

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Traditional Ruler, Cleric Among Nine Sentenced To Prison For Defecating In Public

10 April 2019 - 6:39am

An Ekiti Magistrates' Court has sentenced nine people, including one traditional title holder and a cleric, to six months in  prison for open defecation. 

The sentence was pronounced on Wednessday.

Those convicted were arraigned  for various sanitation offences, including non-availability of toilet facilities in their houses, non-availability of waste bins, and defecating in the open.

While delivering the judgement, Adeosun Abayomi, the Magistrate, lamented the environmental nuisance caused by open defecation.

However, he made options of fines ranging from N5,000 to N15,000 available to the convicts.

The Magistrate court also issued a bench warrant for the arrest of nine other persons who failed to honour the court's summons for similar offence.

He ordered the Police to present them for prosecution on April 25, 2018.

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BREAKING: Anambra Assembly Passes Bill Reducing Cost Of Burial, Duration Of Mourning

10 April 2019 - 6:36am

The Anambra State House Of Assembly has passed a bill that seeks the reduction in the expenses of organising funeral and burial rites in the state, and to prosecute offenders.

Sponsored by Hon. Charles Ezeani, the member representing Anaocha 11 constituency, the bill was passed after due consideration by House during Wednessday's plenary session.

The just passed bill provides that in the event of death, no person shall deposit any corpse in the mortuary or any place beyond two months from the day of the death.

The bill also noted that from the commencement of the law, no person shall subject any relation of the deceased person to a mourning period of more than one week from the date of burial ceremony.

Apart from the number of days recommended for burial ceremonies, the bill equally frowns on other flamboyant means of celebration that may cause destruction of property, gunshots, praise-singing, blocking of roads and streets during burial ceremonies; it also states that defaulters shall be punished in accordance with the law.

It further states that burial ceremonies in the state shall be for one day.

The bill further stipulates that during burial and funeral ceremonial activities, the family of the deceased shall provide entertainment for their kindred, relatives and other sympathizers at their own discretion.

Speaking further on the signifance of the  bill, Charles Ezeani, the sponsor of the bill who represents Anaocha 2 Constituency, maintained that the bill also made provision for a monitoring and implementation committee that would enforce the law as well as their responsibilities.

The lawmaker described  the bill as "an important and great achievement by the 6th Anambra Assembly", as it had put to rest the high cost of burial and funeral activities in the state.

Rita Maduagwu, Speaker of the Assembly, commended the lawmakers on the quick passage of the bill, saying it would "moderate burial expenses in the state".

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After Four Years, Police Arrest 'Most Wanted Armed Robber-Kidnapper' Terrorising Kogi-Ondo-Edo Travellers

10 April 2019 - 6:12am

Shehu Usman, a daredevil armed robber and kidnapper wanted by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), has been arrested in Ondo State, SaharaReporters can report. 

Usman, who had been on 'watchlist' of the security agent for a long time, was nabbed by crack of detectives from Ondo State Police Command, Akure. 

The 30-year-old 'notorious criminal' was paraded on wednessday before journalists in Akure, the capital city. 

He was nabbed alongside members of his robbery and kidnap gang at a hideout in Edo State fours year after he had been declared wanted. 

Usman belonged to a six-man gang of armed robbers and kidnappers networking between Kogi, Ondo and Edo states.

SaharaReporters gathered that the notorious kingpin with members of his gang always terrorised travellers on Auga (Ondo), Kabba (Kogi) and Ibilo (Edo) area of the three states. 

The other members of the gang are 19-year-old Ismaila Wakili, 33-year-old Abdullahi Sanni, 36-year-old Muhammed Abdullahi with 25-year-old Umoru Usman.

Both Usman and Ismaila Wakili are the two most dreaded members of the gang and always negotiate with other robbery and kidnap syndicates for information even on the Benin-Ore axis of Edo and Ondo borders. 

The six-man gang had sent many of their victims to their early grave and also left many family members with a tale of tears, sorrow and blood. 

Although, a police source told our correspondent that th 'ring leader' of the gang is currenly on the run, he expressed optimism that he would soon be arrested, paraded and prosecuted. 

While speaking on the arrest of the gang, Undie Adie, Commissioner of Police in Ondo State, said his men apprehended Usman and his group at their hideout in Edo State.  

Adie explaned that the gang had been terrorising motorists on the roads by robbing and kidnapping their victims for heavy ransom. 

He said the last straw that finally broke the camel's back was when they abducted one Prince Omoghae Igbegbon of A3 Senior Staff Quarters, Nifor, in Edo State, on Akunnu/Auga Akoko Road in Ondo State. 

"The hoodlums robbed Igbegbon of a cash in sum of N180,000 and also abducted him to the bush," he said. 

"The abductors later demanded sum of N30million as ransom for his release. On April 3rd 2019, a team of policemen with some members of the vigilante group trailed the kidnappers to their den in Ibilo in Edo State.

"After an exchange of gunfire, these kidnappers fled to an unknown area and destination while the victim too escaped to a community in Ibilo. The Police placed the communities on red alert to watch out for strange face. Thereafter, one Ismaila Wakili from Niger state was arrested. 

"The victim was able to recognise Wakili's face as part of those who robbed and kidnapped him, so he was handed over to the Police. Upon interrogation, the suspect confessed to the crime and mentioned other members of his gang. He later led a team of detectives to the hideout of the hoodlums at the Aduwawa area of Benin City in Edo State where members of the gang were arrested."

Adie, however, mentioned some of the weapons seen with the gang to be one pump action, a double barrel and two single barrel guns including charms noting that they would be arraigned in court soon. 

Confessing to the crime, Usman and Wakili said they always pretended as labourers to get information about their victims.

Both men claimed that, though, they had not been making big money in the kidnap business, they had been terrorizing people on major roads of the three states.

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Refuses To Let Saraki's Loyalists Regain Control Of Kwara APC

10 April 2019 - 5:35am

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour has struck out an appeal by members of the sacked executives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Ishola Balogun-Fulani.

In a unanimous ruling on Wednessday, the panel of the Apex court held that the appeal was without merit.

In the lead ruling delivered by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the court said since the appeal was on an interlocutory decision of a High Court in Ilorin, the record ought to be compiled and transmitted within 14 days as required under Order 7 of the Supreme Court's Rules.

Justice Ariwoola thereby held that the appellants, having failed to comply with the court's rules when they transmitted the record of appeal outside the 14-day period, rendered their appeal incompetent.

In December 2018, Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the APC, had dissolved the BalogunFulani-led executive, following the defection of Senate President Bukola Saraki to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and installed another state executive under the chairmanship of Bashir Bolarinwa.

Balogun-Fulani headed to court, insisting that the executive was constitutionally constituted.

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Blood Thirsty Demons Of Zamfara (III): Displaced And Abandoned, The Story Of 30,000 Zamfarans

10 April 2019 - 5:20am

Aisha coiled up on a mat spread over unlevelled concretes in an uncompleted building. She and her mother share this space with others rendered homeless by banditry. She had been sick for weeks without recourse to serious medical attention. Her mother, Fatima, bent over a pot placed on a homespun cooking apparatus fashioned from tripod stones and faggot. She fanned the dying embers to flame; the ignited fired leaked the pot and heated up its contents. She was making herbal concoction for sick Aisha.

Aisha’s father, and the breadwinner of the family, was killed on his farm in Mallamwa two years ago. With the fall of the village, Fatima took her daughter and the little things they had left and migrated to the town of Anka LGA to live with a relative. But her relationship with the relative soon turned sour and she, together with her daughter, left  the relative’s house.

With nowhere to go and no relative around, Fatima took abode in an uncompleted building. “We have lived here for three months. It is all we can afford because we don’t have to worry about paying rent,” Fatima says, justifying living in an unroofed, uncompleted structure with a sick child.

Aisha, eight, was severely sick but the mother said she could not afford to take her to the hospital.

There are thousands of Aisha and her mother in different abandoned and shanty structures all over Zamfara. There are about 30,000 Internally Displaced Persons in the state, according to state emergency management agency.

The state government has no readily-available space to receive the hundreds of victims who flee their villages every day. Of the three known makeshift IDP camps in the state — the uncompleted emir’s palace in Anka LGA, the abandoned government quarters in Maradun LGA, and a primary school in Tsafe LGA — none has the facility to adequately support the traumatised persons who take abode there. Also, the camps cannot sufficiently accommodate the IDPs at the rate people flee their villages.

These three camps, already overpopulated, have no facility to address health emergencies. There are no clinics in the designated camps. Neither are there schools for the thousands of children who wander around the camps.

At abandoned government quarters converted into a camp in Maradu LGA, over 50 are cramped in a bungalow with six rooms. There was no portable water, no school or clinic for more than 500 people who have taken abode in the crowded resident.

“At least more than 500 people are living in this house,” says one of the residents of Maradu camp. “In each bungalow there are more than 50 people, and the quarters have 10 bungalows.”

Those in the camps in Anka and Maradu received almost no succour from the government. They are left in porous vicinities with no security. An occupant in the camp in Anka said they merely received some grains from the government four months ago. The women in Maradu camp said the building was the only assistance they got from the government; they provide their own water, food and other needs for sustenance.

25 people sleep in a single room

Without sufficient spaces to cater to their housing needs, displaced victims take abode in uncompleted buildings or are forced to take up rents in overpriced apartments that provide nothing commensurate to the amount paid.

In Zurmi LGA, there is no recognised state camp. Shamsiyya Muhammadu, an internally displaced widow, pays N4,000 monthly for a room shared with 25 other people. Shamsiyya has 10 children, which costs her double as she and her children occupy more space.

Shamsiyya left her village after the demise of her husband in December 2017. He died of depression after his ban was burnt with all his harvest for the year.

“My husband died because he lost his farm. The bandits came and burnt all our maize and millet because they said we should not farm," she says. "He was thinking too much and he died one night. After my husband’s death, I was struggling to do petty business so that I can feed my children but then they [bandits] attacked our village again. People were leaving, so I left too.”

The mother of 10 says she pounds grains in return for some money, just to raise money for her rent.

Musa Kima, another displaced person, lamented how hard it is for fleeing villagers to get apartments in the relatively safer parts of Zurmi.

“You can’t even migrate without renting an apartment,” Musa says. “We meet the village heads and talk to them to help us find for a place to live. I met the village head of Dauran to help me search for a house to live so he is the one that helped me search for the house I am living in. At least 25 people are living in a single room and each of us must pay a rent of N4000 monthly.”

In the store-like, 6 by 7 cuboid shaped room that Kima shares with 25 others and pays N4000 a month for, there was no fan, neither was the room painted. Fitting 10 grown men into the room for a night'x sleep does not look physically possible, but Kima said 25 sleep in there, shoulder to shoulder, every night.

When these issues were put before Zamfara State Emergency Management Agency (ZEMA), the organisation denied culpability. Sanusi Muhammadu Usman, ZEMA’s Executive Secretary, said the agency routinely takes food and clothing material to the various IDP camps in the state.

He claimed that not only does the state government provide reliefs for those in the camps, it also gives succour to families who house displaced persons and those in uncompleted buildings, such as Aisha and her mother. But Aisha’s mother said she received no such help from the government.

Nonetheless, ZEMA admitted that the agency is unable to keep up with the rate of displacement in the state. He said it appears the agency is not doing much because of the fluid nature of the residents.

“As people leave the camp, more people come in,” the ZEMA boss laments. “Just last week, I received a message that we had about 10,000 IDPs in Anka, so the food I took for maybe 2,000 IDPs can sustain them for four months. And now that there is another displacement, about 30,000, they can finish the food anytime."

Riches to Rags

“I had three farms, about 5 hectares with which I can have more than 100 plus bags of millets and guinea corns at the end of every raining season. Now, I don’t have anything, I don’t have a cup of millet to feed my wife and children now. Everything I have is gone.” These were the agonising words of Usman Namairo.

Namairo was a successful farmer in Tungar Kolo. He had one of the biggest farmlands. On the day the Tungar Kolo was burnt, alongside Namairo’s farmland, he and two of his friends had heard some distant sound of gunshots from a nearby village. The three friends then decided to find out how close the danger was, so they could alert other villagers. The bandits caught them on their way, and all they could do was run for safety.

Namairo is 63 years old — age has started taking its toll on his agility — and could not keep with the pace needed to save himself from the impending danger. He was shot and left to bleed out.

“When we came out to see what is happening,” Usman says, "we suddenly met with them. We were three in number but the two were stronger than me because they ran away easily. I looked for where to hide but unfortunately they saw me and followed me with their motorcycle and started shooting but I kept running.

“They shot me in my shoulder. They kept following me while I fall and stand. When I was about to enter into the town, I fell and couldn’t walk. One of them came down and shot me again. They thought I was dead, so they left me and entered into the town and burnt the whole town.”

As Namairo narrated his ordeal, his face was permanently contoured in a frown. Namairo was lucky to still be living. After the bandit left him thinking he was dead, he struggled to pull himself up and crawl to the nearest village. He didn’t remember much after that. He woke up days later in the hospital to hear his farm was burnt.

Namairo asked that he be discharged from the hospital even though his wounds were still fresh. He did not want to become a burden to his benefactors who had taken him to the hospital and paid for his medical bills. With the kaftan given to him to change his blood soaked clothes, he left the hospital and headed for the state capital, Gusau.

In Jairu, a small community in Gusau, this once upon rich farmer, now sells cooked cassava. That is how he feeds himself and send crumbs of money to his  wives and kids who live with his relatives in Niger.

Good mallam and vengeful politician

Call Mallam Yahaya a god-sent, it won’t be a lie; at least to the 1000 internally displaced persons living in his houses in Dauran village, Zurmi.

Yahaya, an old, wrinkled octogenarian, sat on a tarpaulin spread under an almond tree as he shared the difficulties of IDPs seeking accommodation in their host communities.

 Yahaya coiled his left foot under his buttocks, as he ran his frail hands over his right shin. The intensity in his voice echoes the frustration of hundreds of IDPs he has had to play host to. In the last seven years, Yahaya said IDPs kept trooping into his house.

“The government should help these people,” the old man appealed. “The bandits have set fire on their villages, kill them and also kidnapped some. The government should help them and provide security for them.”

Yahaya has no political ambition; neither does he expect to curry favors from the government. He simply does it for “Allah”. This kind act of humanity robes Yahaya in the celestial clothing of an angel when compared with Sani Shinfaki, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), who evicted all IDPs from his Shinkafi houses for voting President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.

Yussuf Anka, the founder of Zamfara Charity, a non profit organization that gives succor to displaced person in Zamfara, said the failure of the government to shelter and provide aides for the displaced persons in the state is “unacceptable’.

 He said residents of Zamfara flee to neighboring states like Sokoto, Kastina and Niger every day, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuses.

“The government needs to wake up to its responsibilities,” Anka said.

Snubbed by their governor

Between December 2018 and January 2019, banditry attacks in Zamfara rise  through  the roofs. Report of killings and decimated villages was in the media almost every other day. The marrying of the festivities was laced with bitter ale of horrendous killings and senseless destruction of valuables coming out of Zamfara.

On December 21, twenty-five people were killed in Birinin Magaji, the LGA of Nigeria’s minister of defense, Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali. Two days after, 17 were killed in the same region. The police admitted that 16 of its men were killed in an ambush and the army confided its men were injured in a separate ambush within same months.

All these attacks made the Federal Medical Centre in Gusau filled to the brim with patients having varying degrees of gun wounds and burns.

Salihu, indigene of Gidan Dawa in Birinin Magaji  LGA, was lying down on one of the beds. He had his legs ridged with irons. He had sustained multiple gun injuries from the attack that killed three others in his clan. 

Also, 25-year-old Musa also narrowly escaped death, but not without bullet lodged in his leg and left hand. Musa was coming from the outskirt of Gidan Tsaka village in Zurmi LGA, when he unknowingly walked into the gathering of some bandits going on an attack mission to the village.

The two banditry victims had spent hundreds of thousand on medical bill. Therefore, when the State Governor visited the hospital to condole with the injured soldiers who were at the time receiving medical treatment from the hospital, Salihu and Musa thought they would enjoy some benevolence from their governor. They were unpleasantly surprised.

“The state governor came here recently to greet the soldiers that were shot but he did not talk to us, let alone give us relief,” an angry Salihu said. “We did not receive any help from him when the bandits came to kill us. Many people died, our cattle were taken away. Some people were even kidnapped. The governor cannot even sympathize with us. He greeted the soldiers and did not come near our beds. It is very bad.”

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Looking For A Country Whose Builder Is Gone By Adedokun Seyi

10 April 2019 - 4:53am

During the Spartans and the Athens days: the world of warriors, democratic world and a world of the thinkers, the Spartans were warriors and in their setting, male babies were tested if they are good or not. One shocking idea of the Spartans was that if a baby was not good after been tested, either living or dead, they had a dumping site where they were dumped to die.  The Spartans were great at war: at seven, male children were taken away from their parents to be trained for war at the Agoge which is a state-sponsored education system emphasizing obedience, endurance, courage and self-control. They were trained to kill, steal to survive and when they fight during such training, anyone could be killed in the process and that was the end of the person. A Spartan knew that he had to be loyal to the state before any other thing in the ancient Greece.

A part of the belief in a continent of the Spartans and Athens was that these ones, in the Greek land, have a complete planet of humans. Athens was known for the germination of great philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Democritus, Pythagoras, Thales and scientists like Hipparchus, Hero of Alexandria, Eratosthenes, Euclid and the Sparta has giant creatures like Leonidas I of Sparta, Attila the Hun, Gaius Julius Caesar, Spartacus, Hannibal Barca, General Lysander, King Agesilaus II, King Agis I and II and Alexander the Great from the curtain of Greece.

There are many countries in history that have no trace in the story of this age, but many of these countries have given many states their foundational believe, ethical understanding, confidence and references. Most women gathered strength from the Gorgo Queen of Sparta, the daughter of King Cleomenes I who became wife to King Leonidas I. 

Gorgo was later conceived of a son for Leonidas – Pieistarchus who became king after his father. The mother’s fame in Sparta was set before Persia invasion which was a warning to Sparta by Demaratus who was later trapped in Persia. The message was covered in wax so that the Persians would not see it, relayed in a wooden tablet. The purpose of the tablet remained unknown until Gorgo suggested that the wax be removed for the message to be clear.

Part of the renowned strong women in Sparta was Cynisca. She was a princess, first woman to win in the Olympic Games and daughter of Archidamus II. The event won was a four horse chariot race where she competed with team of men.

To have picked women above men in the above story was just to show how there was no need to be a feminist or fight for right before you can get it right. These are countries where freedom was borne out of hunger of greatness. The Athenians are educated and gave their best to what needs to be researched, in which through them we’ve had enough time to steal sentences and quote their words dry. Arachidamia was a figure of empowerment. During the siege of Lacedaemon in the third century BC, she empowered the women of the ancient state. Had it been she won the fight with the sword in her hands during her expression when the Gerousia decided to take them to Crete for safety, women would have had fully fledged confidence in their own strength.

Perhaps, the war between the angels and demons of Africa would encounter a kind of revolution; it would still be unlikely to yield a good greener pasture. Many countries of Africa are in a good state of disarray. In 2008, BBC reported that 2.3M have left since 2014 making 7% Venezuelan’s population. It has become one of the largest mass population movements in the history of Latin America: the menace being political instability, hyperinflation, food shortage, price increase to thousands of percentage. When oil price fell, the oil-reliant nation clicked on its struggle and ran government mismanagement criticism hovering over the country. Over a million have entered the Colombia and thousands have made their ways into Ecuador and Peru. In 2018, more than 500,000 have entered Ecuador. Asylum applications have nearly tripled in Peru. Some of them have crossed into Brazil where some of them have been attacked. Countries are now tightening boarders over increasing pressure and a state of emergency declared in some countries. All these are happening in Countries where there is no natural disaster, religion crisis or ethnic crisis, but economic depopulation and poltroon.

The economy of a sister nation - Nigeria, blessed with all resources and capacities has also been taking reckless slip since 1995 and probably enjoying the cruise till date, including when we thought things were fine, cool and great because of the chips we got at kiddies classes. World Bank on April 9, 2019 during a report on regional economy titled “Africa’s Pulse” did an analysis on the macroeconomic variables of 44 Sub-Saharan African countries from 1995 to 2018 categorizing economic growth performance into five groups: falling behind, slipping, stuck in the middle, improved and established. Afterwards, the analysis re-categorized the group into three groups: top tercile, middle tercile, and bottom tercile. The elucidation being that a country categorized under bottom tercile growth includes an economy “falling behind” and “slipping”. If the country remains stagnant between 3.5 and 5.4 per cent in the period of 1995-2008 and 2015-2018, then it falls to them middle tercile and above 5 per cent increase is found an economy of the top tercile class which is the improved and established economy.

In the categorization, 19 countries are found swimming in the bottom tercile: Angola, Burundi, Botswana, Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Lesotho, Mauritania, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Eswatini, Chad, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe: the growth projection of Nigeria rising from 1.9 per cent in 2018 to 2.1 per cent in 2019.

Can we go back to the beginning and start all over? Dedicating ourselves to the natural resources and building a wall against any treasury theft? From the history down the lane, experience of freedom and the heart of abiding by the law was not a foundational problem; it was gradual by the growth of government miscreant and inhumane heirs. If the Spartans would have gone beyond boundary, all Athenians were not meant to live because of their strength in war but a country which stands against itself: its citizens, builders, protectors, developers is only destined to be destroyed by its own hand.

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Boko Haram Insurgents 'Meet Their Waterloo' In Damaturu

10 April 2019 - 3:23am

Boko Haram insurgents have suffered yet another heavy loss in their planned attack on Damaturu, Yobe State, the Nigerian Military has said.

On Tuesday evening, the Military ambushed and killed scores of the terrorists who had planned to launch an attack on Yobe State capital.

According to Lieutenant Njoka Irabor, Acting Assistant Director Army Public Relations, Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole, the troops ambushed Boko Haram around Maisandari village and neutralised several of its fighters.

"Following credible information of planned efforts by Boko Haram terrorists to attack Damaturu, troops of  Sector 2, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, successfully laid an ambush which led to the extermination of many Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), that attempted to attack Damaturu, Yobe State at about 5:15 pm, Tuesday the 9th of April 2019.

"The vigilant troops effectively ambushed the criminals few metres ahead of Maisandari community on the outskirts of the city of Damaturu.

"The terrorists were overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the gallant troops and the well-coordinated air support, from the Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. 

"Consequently, many terrorists met their waterloo, some were also wounded and the following items/equipment were recovered: two Gun Trucks, 2 Anti Aircraft Guns, 1 60 Millimetre Mortar, 4 AK 47 Rifles, 1 General Purpose Machine Gun and 1,245 Rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition (NATO)."

Irabor further said: "Troops have embarked on hot pursuit of the fleeing terrorists, mop-up/combing of the general area is ongoing."

He assured the public that further details and possible recoveries would be provided upon completion of the mop-up operations.

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Lagos Fire Service Chief, Six Others Regain Freedom From Kidnappers

10 April 2019 - 3:10am

Rasaki Musibau, Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, and six others kidnapped have been released.

Rasaki and other victims were released on Tuesday night after spending three days with their abductors.

Musibau was kidnapped alongside six others persons along the Epe-Itokin Road, Ikorodu, Lagos, on Saturday night, while they were returning to Lagos from Epe.

SaharaReporters had reported on Monday that the kidnappers contacted the family of Musibau to demand a ransom, but they did not want to reveal the details in order not to jeopardise his freedom.

According to DSP Bala Elkana, spokesman of the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Musibau and others have been released by their abductors.

Elkana said: “On 09/04/2019 at about 11.45pm, the Director of Lagos State Fire Service, Rasaki Musibau and 6 others kidnapped on 06/04/19 at about 8.00pm, at Ketu-Ereyun, Ikorodu were released unhurt by their abductors. The Victims have since reunited with their families.

“The Command’s Tactical teams are still in the creeks and forests combating the hoodlums.” 

Elkana stated that “a water-tight security measures are emplaced across the State to forestall future occurrence” while appreciating everyone who gave the force needed information to facilitate the rescue of the victims".

He did not mention, though, whether a ransom was paid to free the Fire Service Chiefs and others abducted along with him.

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'This Is Betrayal' — Corps Members Angry With INEC Over Non-Payment Of Allowance Weeks After Election

10 April 2019 - 2:53am

Corps members on election duty

Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who worked as ad-hoc staff for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the the 2019 general election are yet to receive their allowances.

SaharaReporters gathered that while most of the corps members were not paid at all, some of them received part payment weeks after the election. Also, while some are yet to be paid for the March 9 governorship election, some are yet to receive for both February 23 presidential election and the governorship.

The ad-hoc staff who spoke to our correspondents lamented the "cold-heartedness of the commission" for not duly paying them for their work in making the electoral process successful.

INEC had announced that each ad-hoc staff deployed from NYSC scheme is entitled to N30,500 as allowances.

Some corps members in Ogun State who preferred only one of their names published for fear of victimization stated that they risked their lives during the elections, as they could have been attacked and killed in places where the vote was marred by violence.

Smith, a corps member who worked as a presiding officer, said that he is yet to receive payment for both presidential and governorship elections.

He explained how he lost his personal belonging to an an attack by thugs at his place of deployment.

"I lost two phones (one smart phone and a small phone for back-up) to the touts in Ijoko on the day the presidential election was postponed," he said.

“After the postponement was announced, we were left alone by the Police and we had to struggle for survival. I had to leave early to have a proper sleep; but while returning, I was attacked by the touts in Ijoko and got robbed of two phones.”

He lamented that the only payment he got was N4,500 as training fee. 

He also said he had to rush back to his Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) when the election was postponed by INEC.

"After everything I've gone through, N4,500 training fee is all I have received. Most of my colleagues have left but I had to wait not because of the payment but because I wanted to participate in my school's forthcoming inter-house sports."

Another corps member who simply identified himself as Israel and worked in Atan said he only got payment for the presidential election, describing the non-payment by INEC as "an act of betrayal".

"Out of the two elections I worked in as an ad-hoc staff member, I was only paid for presidential. Despite all the challenges we went through, they still postponed the presidential election. As of then, some had not collected their training allowances, but we still came out en masse to conduct the election.

"Now they betrayed us, the money we all worked for, our entitlement, to get it is like a war. I feel so bad. We corps members volunteered to serve our fatherland; we don't deserve this from INEC.”

Some corps members in Abia State who are yet to be paid by the commission also voiced their anger.

One of the corps members said: “Unfortunately, despite our commitment and dedication to ensuring a hitch-free election, all we can get as compensation is to keep waiting hopelessly for the payment of our election duties, and the possibility of getting incomplete payment. 

“While some states have paid their corps members, those of us in Abia are in anguish anticipation for our election allowance, which has created a negative and extortionate intention in our hearts towards the INEC officials in Abia State.”

Another corps members serving in Abia who worked as an ad hoc staff member pleaded with the commission to immediately begin the payment of corps members who sacrificed their time and risked their lives for the smooth conduct of the 2019 elections.

Similarly, some corps members in Anambra State lamented the same fate. 

A female corps member in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra said: “None of us in this Orumba North that worked for INEC at the election is yet to be paid. 

“We all risked our lives in this dangerous state to work for INEC and we have not been paid.”

A corps member in Enugu State, who simply introduced herself as Daniella, bemoaned the lack of coordination by INEC regarding the payments.

She revealed that instead of the N30,500 announced by INEC, corps members in Enugu State were receiving N9,000 as allowance.

“Enugu State corps members are not happy because INEC has refused to pay them after the election, after all they went through during the election," she said.

“We were told that our entitlement is N30,500, so why is Enugu State paying N9,000 to corps members? Perhaps most corps members haven't seen the N9,000, which they claim is for the governorship election. How about the presidential election, the transportation and feeding allowances?”

Another corps member in Enugu said: “It is so sad to see that after all what we do and went through as INEC ad hoc staff, there is nothing to show for it. 

“I want the INEC Chairman to please intervene because corps members serving in Enugu State feel if we don't stand up for our right and nothing is done, some people out there who lack conscience will divert this money for themselves.”

In the same vein, in Kebbi State, corps members expressed dissatisfaction at the commission for paying different fees as allowances to corps members. While some were paid N20,000, some received N25,000.

“Why would INEC decide to create a disparity between the rate of pay for some ad hoc members of staff and others? Why would INEC decide to pay some N24,500 and others N20,000?" asked a male corps member who worked as a presiding officer.

Speaking for the commission, Rotimi Oyekanmi, INEC Chief Press Secretary, blamed human errors for the non-payment and disparities in payment in some states.

He said some corps members gave the wrong bank account details while some gave account number of their relatives.

"The information at our disposal is that all corps members are supposed to have been paid by now,"Oyekanmi explained. 

“Some of them gave wrong account numbers; some of them gave the account number of their siblings and with the payment system of the Federal Government, once your account number does not match with your name, the money will bounce back."

Still, he assured the corps members that the commission was working on paying all ad hoc who worked during the elections.

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