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Updated: 7 hours 41 min ago

Man Stabs Friend’s Five-year-old Son To Death In Adamawa

25 February 2020 - 11:16am


 

A 35-year-old man, John Pwadon, is currently in police net for stabbing his friend's five-year-old son to death in Yola, Adamawa State.

Spokesperson for the police in the state, Suleiman Nguroje, confirmed to SaharaReporters that Pwadon had confessed to the crime.

The incident is said to have taken place last Friday when Pwadon spent the night at his friend’s house.

While waiting for breakfast in the living room, he was reported to have grabbed the child named David Tarfa and stabbed him with a knife on the neck.

Narrating how it all happened, father of the victim, Stephen, said his child's murderer visited their home after five years of last seeing each other.

Stephen said, “He has been my friend for the past 10 years but we've not seen for at least five years. 

“He came visiting last Friday and we accommodated him just the way anybody would to a respected old friend.

“The next morning, he was with my kids watching cartoon in the living room because it was their midterm break, so they didn't go to school.

“My wife was in the kitchen preparing breakfast and I was in the bedroom when my daughter’s screams caught our attention.

“I and my wife ran to the living room to find John stabbing my son repeatedly on his neck.

“I managed to wrestle him down but it was too late, my son was already dead then.”

After the boy’s burial on Tuesday, our correspondent gathered that Pwadon had only returned to Yola after the ban on commercial motorcycles in Lagos where he had resided all along. 

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Nigerian Senate May Consider Committee's Report On Security Next Week –Lawan

25 February 2020 - 10:43am


 

President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disclosed on Tuesday that the upper legislative chamber may next week consider the report of an ad-hoc committee on security challenges with a view to finding solutions to Nigeria’s security problems.

Lawan made the disclosure during the plenary sequel to the consideration of a motion brought to the floor by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC, Adamawa Central).

The Senate had on January 29, 2020, set up the ad-hoc committee chaired by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, to interface with security agencies on the level of insecurity in the country and report back to the upper chamber within two weeks.

According to Lawan, the Senate will engage with the executive arm of government on the resolutions of the committee as contained in its report.

He added that the upper chamber will also work closely with the House of Representatives and Nigerian citizens towards ensuring that solutions were found to the lingering security problems in the country.

He said, “The Senate discussed and debated so much on the insecurity in the country and set up an ad-hoc committee under the leadership of the Senate Leader.

“The committee is working very hard, we are trying to look for solutions to the insecurity bedevilling the country. We are not going to rest on our oars until we are able to provide solutions.

“This is the essence of our being in government. Of course, it will require that we work with the House of Representatives and executive, as well as the citizens because I believe that the citizens have to be taken into confidence in the fight against insecurity.

“So, we will not waste any time, as soon as the report is ready, I believe by next week, probably the report will be ready. We are going to look at the report of the ad-hoc committee and take those important and very viable resolutions, and engage with the executive arm of government.

“I think we are on the same page with the executive arm of government, everybody is worried, and we will do whatever it takes.”

Consequently, the Senate in a three-point resolution urged Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, to re-establish a military command base in Garkida and also all major settlements bordering Sambisa Forest.

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Nigeria Exempts American Citizens From Paying Biometrics, Service Charges For Visa

25 February 2020 - 10:37am


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Barely a month after the Nigerian Government introduced the $110 biometrics and service charge through the Nigeria Immigration Service, the authorities have now exempted the citizens of United States of America from the policy.

The government had in January reintroduced the $90 biometrics charge and $20 service charge for all foreigners travelling into Nigeria.

This was first introduced in 2018 but after much controversies, it was suspended.

A source confided in our correspondent on Tuesday that the US Government threatened to stop issuance of entry visas to Nigerians if the policy was not immediately reversed for its citizens.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, it was observed that citizens of the United States were only issued visas on arrival by officials of immigration, while those with prior visas were allowed into the country by the service.

The same was the case at the Lagos airport where US citizens were given free passage.

The source said, “I can confirm to you that the Nigeria Immigration Service has stopped the collection of biometrics and service charges from citizens of the US.

“As I am talking to you now, US citizens are entering the country without collection of the charges.”

There is however, concerns that while government may have dropped the policy for US citizens, nationals of other countries were still being charged the fee before allowed into Nigeria. 

 

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Why The Law Requires Pre-election Cases To Be Decided Before Elections By Femi Falana SAN

25 February 2020 - 10:22am


 

Introduction

In a unanimous judgment delivered on February 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria sacked the Bayelsa State Governor-elect, David Lyon and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo who had run on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC). The judgment was nullified on the grounds that Degi-Eremieoyo presented false information to the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) in his nomination form for the governorship election held on November 16, 2019. Consequently, the Court directed INEC to declare the results of the election following the cancellation of the votes scored by the APC in the election. Barely 24 hours later, INEC declared the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Senator Duoye Diri as the new governor-elect.

No doubt, the pre-election matter filed by the PDP against the APC and its governorship candidates in the Bayelsa Stare has been rested by the judgment

it has since continued to generate reactions from a cross section of the society. With respect, majority of people who have reviewed the judgment have not paid attention to the line of dichotomy which has been drawn between pre-election and election petitions by section 285 of the constitution as amended by Alteration Act No 8 of 2017. Contrary to the belief of some lawyers the said amendment has altered the electoral jurisprudence of the country. This review is essentially anchored on the implications of the effect of the amendment on pre-election matters.

Penalty for fielding unqualified candidates by political parties

By virtue of section 31 of the Electoral Act, disputes arising from the information contained in the nomination form of a candidate contesting any election shall be resolved before the election is conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission. In other words, it is a pre-election matter which cannot continue to be heard once the election has been held. Indeed, the penalty for fielding unqualified candidates by political parties has to be meted out to those who are found to have violated the provisions of the Electoral Act before the election. I am referring to Section 31(5-8) thereof which states:

“5. Any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by a candidate in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false may file a suit at the Federal High Court; High Court of a State or FCT against such persons seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false

6. If the court determines that any of the information contained in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false, the Court shall issue an order disqualifying the candidate from contesting the elections.

7. A candidate for an election shall, at the time of submitting the prescribed form, furnish the commission with an identifiable address in the State where the intends to contest the election at which address all documents and court processes from either the commission or any other person shall be served on him.

8. A political party which present to the commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in this section, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000.00”

Since an unqualified candidate is expected to be disqualified from contesting the election the pre-election matter praying for his or her disqualification has to be decided before the election. A candidate cannot be disqualified from participating in an election that has been held and concluded. Having regards to the fact that the nomination of governorship candidate and deputy governorship candidate is a joint ticket section 182 (1) of the Constitution provides that no person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if he or she fails to meet the conditions stipulated in the section including the presentation of a forged certificate to the INEC. The same prerequisites are applicable to a deputy governorship candidate pursuant to section 187 (2) of the constitution.

As far as section 285 of the Constitution is concerned a pre-election matter can no longer be turned into a post-election matter and determined after the election. Ex abudanti cautela, section 285 (14) of the Constitution as amended in 2017 defines a pre-election matter as a suit filed by an aggrieved aspirant or political party “….in respect of the selection or nomination of candidates for an election” or “……in respect of preparation for an election.” It is crystal clear from the novel provision of the Constitution that a pre-election case filed “in respect of preparations for an election” cannot metamorphose into a post-election case.

Right of appeal by parties in pre-election matters

It was generally believed in legal circles that a pre-election could be continued after an election being challenged has been held. The practice was questioned by the Supreme Court in the case of Toyin Obayemi v People’s Democratic Party (unreported Suit No SC. 308/2018) wherein the appellant had filed a pre-election case at the Federal High Court on 10th April 2015 to challenge the nomination of the 3rd Respondent on grounds that he forged the WAEC certificate submitted to INEC. Before the determination of the case the respondent won the election to the Ekiti State House of Assembly. Thereafter, the learned trial judge granted the relief sought by the appellant and ordered the appellant’s removal from the assembly. The appeal filed at the Court of Appeal by the Respondent was allowed. Dissatisfied with the decision the appellant filed an appeal at the Supreme Court on March 13, 2018.

In a judgment delivered on 18th January 2019 the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was filed after the 60 days stipulated by section 285 of the constitution notwithstanding that the said amendment which limits the time for pre-election matters came into force on June 18, 2018 i.e. during the pendency of the appeal. In fact, the amendment took effect three months after the filing of the appeal. In justifying the position of the Court, Tanko Muhammad JSC as he then was held that “Thus, once an appeal comes outside the time set out for its determination, the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. See Chigbu v. Tonimas (Nig.) Ltd. (2006) 31 WRN 179; (2006) 9 NWLR (Pt. 84) 189, Ogun State Govt. v. Dalami (Nig.) Ltd. (2017) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1035) 66. It is clear that this appeal has been caught up by the limitation of time in section 2 (13)) of the constitution afore stated. That section renders the appeal a nullity. By this reason alone, the appeal is rendered incompetent and it is hereby struck out.”

In applying the law with retrospective effect to the pending appeal the Supreme Court was desirous to put an end to the pre-election matter pursued after elections. It is on record that the definitive pronouncement of the Supreme Court in the appeal ended all pre-election matters pending in the various high courts and appellate courts at the material time. Even though the law did not extinguish the right of aggrieved persons to exercise their right of appeal to finality the Supreme Court did so in order to discourage them from turning such matters into post-election cases.

However, since section 285 (6) & (7) of the constitution provides that a court in a pre-election matter shall deliver its judgment within 180 days and an appeal arising therefrom shall be determined within 60 days from the date of filing the appeal it is submitted that any of the parties involved in the Bayelsa state pre-election case could have filed an application for interlocutory injunction restraining INEC from conducting the Bayelsa state governorship election pending the determination of the pending appeal in the matter. More so, that the Court of Appeal had granted a stay of the execution of the order of the Federal High Court which had disqualified the APC governorship and deputy governorship candidates pending the determination of the appeal. I am of the strong view that the application to postpone the election would have been granted in view of the position of the Supreme Court in the case of Obi v INEC (2007) 45 WRN 1.

But once an election has been conducted and concluded the results cannot be challenged in a trial court or appellate court via a pre-election matter. At that stage the challenge of the election could only be questioned at an election petition tribunal. No doubt, the appellate courts are empowered to exercise jurisdiction in respect of appeals arising from the decisions of the election petition tribunals. Hence, section 133 of the Electoral Act provides that “No election or return under this Act shall be questioned or in any manner other than by election petition complaining of an undue election or undue return (in this Act referred to as an “election petition”) presented to the competent tribunal or court in accordance with the provisions of the constitution or of the Act, and in which the person elected or returned is joined as a party.”

Indeed, the jurisdiction of any court to hear a pre-election matter has been completely ousted by section 285 (2) of the constitution which provides that the governorship election petition tribunal shall, “to the exclusion of any court or tribunal have jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions as to whether any person has been validly elected to the office of governor or deputy governor of a state.” Therefore, the election petition tribunal is the only judicial organ which has the competence to annul an election based on disqualification of an elected governor or deputy governor. If the election petition tribunal annuls an election on grounds of disqualification it shall order a fresh election so that the electorate can elect another candidate of their choice.

In Bayo v. Njiddah (2004) 8 NWLR (PT 876) 544 at 636-637 it was held by Ogbuagu JCA (as he then was) that: “Having nullified the election, it is now settled, that where the winner is disqualified because of the failure to fulfill any of the statutory requirements including the constitution as in the instant case leading to three(3) appeals, the candidate who scored the next in majority votes cannot be declared as the winner. See UNCP & 2 Ors. v. DPN & Ors. (1998) 8 NWLR (PT 560) 90 at 95 CA. Secondly, although where a disqualified person is elected (not as in the instant case,) the votes cast for him, are thrown away, and his opponent, is deemed to be elected, but this can only be so, if the facts giving rise to the disqualification, were so notorious as not to require proof and such facts were within the knowledge of the electorate.

In other words, where the disqualification is not notorious and depends on either legal argument or complicated facts, votes given for a candidate (even thought he might be unseated by reason of his disqualification), would not be thrown away, so as to give the seat to the candidate with the next highest number of votes. But instead there must be a fresh election. Put in another way, for the votes given for a candidate to be thrown away, the voters must before voting, either have had or be deemed to have had notice of the fact creating the candidate’s disqualification. See the case of Re: Bristol South East Parliamentary Election (1961) 3 All E.R 354 at 379 DC (1964) 2 Q.B. 257.”

In the same vein, in Mele v Mohammed (1999) 3 NWLR (Pt 595) 425 it was held that where a person is disqualified after being elected naturally the votes cast for him at the election would not count for any purpose whatsoever. However, the other candidate who opposed him at the election cannot be declared automatically without more and this is notwithstanding that he secured the next highest number of votes. He is required to further show that the electors were aware of the factors that gave rise to the disqualification.”

From the foregoing, it is indubitably clear that the decision of the Supreme Court in respect of Bayelsa state governorship election was anchored on the assumption that a pre-election could be heard and determined after the conclusion of an election. Although I fully agree with those who have argued that the Supreme Court is determined to halt the impunity of god fathers who impose candidates on political parties, the rights of voters which might have accrued ought to be considered.

In other words, in sanctioning political parties that breach the provisions of the Electoral Act or the constitution the verdict of the courts must not be substituted for the franchise of the electorate.

Power of Supreme Court to review its judgment

It is trite law that the Supreme Court has inherent powers to set aside its own judgment obtained on fraud or if it was reached per incuriam. In Johnson v Lawanson (1971) 7 NSCC 82 the overruled itself. In the leading judgment of the court, Coker J.S.C. said held that “when the court is faced with the alternative of perpetuating what it is satisfied is an erroneous decision which was reached per incuriam and will, if followed, inflict hardship and injustice upon the generations in the future or of causing temporary disturbances of rights acquired under such a decision, I do not think we shall hesitate to declare the law as we find it.”

However, it is pertinent to point out that the case of Johnson v Lawanson (supra) and similar cases are inapplicable where the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is ousted by any statute of limitation. Therefore, it is legally impossible for the court to review its judgment in the Bayelsa State governorship pre-election case after the expiration of the 60 days prescribed by section 285 (7) of the Constitution as amended. Politicians who planning to file all manners of applications for the review of the previous judgments of the apex court are advised to pay attention to the case of Professor Ugba v Suswam (2014) 14 NWLR (Pt 1427) 264.

In declining to review its previous judgment in that case the court held that its jurisdiction had been ousted by section 285 of the constitution. According to Mary Peter-Odili JSC: “For emphasis, when the constitution by the provisions of Section 285(6) and (7) imposed on this court and parties, the period within which whatever needs be done must be done and not outside that time frame, there is helplessness in those ouster clauses and nothing can be done about it. The implication is that the matter has died and is buried and attempting to go round that constitutional mortal blow is an act of desperation which only lead to embarking on an academic journey best left for the Ivory tower of knowledge which our universities are intended for and the court is not the right forum.”

Conclusion

A leading member of the APC and the Minister of State in the Labour Ministry, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), has rightly said that the ruling party has itself to blame for its electoral misfortune in Bayelsa State. More importantly, the APC deserves condemnation for its opportunism which has frustrated genuine electoral reforms. It is common knowledge that one of the principal recommendations of the Uwais Electoral Reform Panel is that all pre-election cases and election petitions be concluded before the inauguration of winners of elections. Before 2015, the APC was in the forefront of the campaign for the implementation of such electoral reforms. But upon assumption of power the APC has frustrated all efforts to reform the electoral process. By manipulating enormous powers of the state to win dubious elections the APC has continued to behave like the PDP which once believed, that it would rule the country for 60 years!

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RIP Justin Fashanu By Tony Ademiluyi

25 February 2020 - 10:16am


 

As a lifelong football fan, I am fascinated by superb goals. Goals are the life blood of the round leather game as is what drives most fans hysterical.

One of the best goals ever that the game has recorded was one of the ones scored by Justin Fashanu in 1980 while plying his trade with Norwich. The goal was against Liverpool and it shot him up to prominence as a star to watch out for. February 19, this year makes it his 59th posthumous birthday and it is necessary to dig into what made him tick. 

He made history in 1981 as the first black man to command a one million British pounds fee when he moved over to Nottingham Forest and pundits marked him as a potential great. He played for the English under 20 team between 1980 and 1982 with many analysts opining that he would end up playing for the Three Lions.

Tragically, he had little success after his record signing as he had a stormy relationship with the Nottingham Forest coach, Brian Clough and was only allowed to play for one season scoring a miserly three goals. He was later offloaded to Southampton on loan with his troubles never ending as a result of a nagging knee injury.

Another reason why he swiftly deteriorated as a star striker was as a result of his then rumoured gay sexual orientation. Clough made a huge jest of him as a result of it and he was the butt of cruel jokes by the fans and many of his team mates alike. A deep homophobia was in the air at the time in the United Kingdom and being black which was also another target for the racists didn’t help matters swing in his favour. Things were so bad for him that he was forced to take a break from the English league and seek solace playing in some clubs in the United States and later Canada.

While he was in Nottingham Forest, he made a famous visit to his Barrister Father who abandoned him and his equally popular younger brother, John Fashanu in England where he came to study law in the 1950’s. Sports journalists in Nigeria covered the visit and he was in the news and was given a hero’s welcome. The late Presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections and the then Pillar of sports in Nigeria, Chief M.K.O Abiola tried to convince him to play for the Super Eagles but he had other plans and was secretly nursing the ambition to play for the Three Lions.

In October 1990 while still playing in the English league a year after he returned back there, he granted an interview with the press where he came out as gay.

The backlash from the public was extremely harsh and even his family members didn’t find it funny. His younger brother, John publicly disowned him and it is on record that he tried to prevent him from coming out by paying a huge sum of money to him.

The image of footballers is one of macho and being gay at the time which was seen as feminine didn’t fit into the mores of the game. The British weren’t ready for him at the time and once more he hopped into exile by relocating to the United States where he got a job as a player coach. 

In 1998, trouble loomed large for him as a he was accused of raping a minor lad who passed the night in his house after a party. A bench warrant for his arrest was issued. He fled back to England and left a suicide note that he wouldn’t get a fair trial in the US because of his skin colour as well as his homosexuality and that the sex was consensual. He then sadly proceeded to hang himself.

His death jolted the entire sports community and the regrets began to pour out. Like medicine after death, he was posthumously honoured by being inducted into the National Football League of fame as well as a Netflix movie being made about him in 2017. His niece, Amal Fashanu, spearheaded the efforts to get him recognized irrespective of his minority sexual orientation. A song was composed in his honour by the London band – Elephants and Castles, as well as the creation of the Fashanu All Stars which was created to tackle homophobia in British football.

It is sad that the circumstances of the times pushed him to taking his own life. The story may have been different if he had been shown some more love and support. It is on record that no footballer in the UK has come out as openly gay perhaps for fear of the backlash that Justin suffered in a hypocritical and uncaring world. If only there was more understanding by the brutal society, he may have still being alive today.

May his soul rest in peace!

Tony Ademiluyi writes from Lagos

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It’s A Security Strategy To Involve Miyetti Allah In Amotekun By Fredrick Nwabufo

25 February 2020 - 10:14am


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

 

As I said in a column in June 2019, security is everybody’s business. No individual, group, institution or organisation is nugatory in matters of security. All efforts are needed and all hands must be forged into one fist in the pursuit of peace. In fact, it imperils security if any stakeholder to the peace is “quarantined” and stereotyped.

I believe, there will be more gains in the effort to wrestle down banditry and kidnapping if the people, who can prevail on, apprehend or sway these outlaws are involved in the “sumo”. It is the reason I am strained by the flurry of condemnation of the request by Miyetti Allah to help in fending off the brigands from the south-west.

That Miyetti Allah is seeking inclusion of its members in Operation Amotekun should not elicit wry excitement and suspicion.

On Monday, speaking at a public hearing on the Oyo State security network agency bill 2020, also known as the Amotekun bill, Yaqub Bello, a former Chairman of MACBAN in the state, said the incorporation of Miyetti Allah members will be beneficial for the development of peace in the state.

I agree.

At the event presided over by Abiodun Fadeyi, the deputy speaker of the state house of assembly, Bello expressed the support of Miyetti Allah to the Amotekun initiative, saying only “haters of truth” would oppose such a move.

“Some of us have been in Oyo state for over 40 years, cohabiting with the natives, married Yoruba women and have children. So, our request is to include Myetti Allah as members of Operation Amotekun to enhance the job of the outfit, since we know the terrain of where we rear our cattle,” he said.

“Having Fulani among the outfit will make it easier for Amotekun men to distinguish between genuine herdsmen and the criminals while on patrol. A Fulani man can also serve as an interpreter while interrogating any suspected herdsman.”

I believe the statement of the Miyetti Allah leader in Oyo is noble, passionate and well-intentioned, and should not be scorned.

Ordinarily, I see no distress in this imploration. To me, the hue and cry over Miyetti Allah’s entreaty – particularly on social media – are emotionally charged and sentimentally invoked. It should be considered as a gesture of good faith because it is commonsensical to fight criminality of this ilk with those girded with information and knowledge about the culprits.

On the one hand, there is an outrage over killings by strayed herdsmen and bandits in some parts of the south-west, and on the other hand, there is uproar over the entreaty by the monolithic association for herdsmen to help in checking this scourge. So, where do we go from here?

Although I understand the concerns of those remonstrating, is it not sagacious to involve some members of Miyetti Allah in Amotekun in securing the south-west? I think, the pickle is assuming that an entire group is a culprit or a complicit actor in the crimes of a few. This is the corollary of stereotyping and the concomitants of conspiracy theories of “Fulanisation and Islamisation”. These people have been profiled because of the crimes of a few, and now they are taking the pedal in the purge of their own; yet stereotyped and rebuffed?

With the frightening level of insecurity across the country, no region should rebuff a gesture of help from any party of interest. And with the current federal arrangement no region can secure itself well enough in isolation. I believe to secure all parts of the country, inter-regional associations, stakeholders, and all Nigerians must be involved because we do not exist in isolation – and we are still bound within a territory.

We must give no room for conspiracy theories of domination, invasion or conquest. These are the by-products of ethnic distrust and fear. And instead of running wild with emotions, let us give space to rational thinking and disciplined conversations.

As the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, said, “Policing is everybody’s responsibility.”

We need all the help we can get in keeping our community and country safe. Isolating key actors is a security risk in itself.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist

@FredrickNwabufo

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BREAKING: Currency Trader Killed In Rivers State By Task Force Officials

25 February 2020 - 10:09am


 

There is currently tension in the Rumuola area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, following the killing of a bureau de change operator by task force officials.

The victim was said to have been beaten to death by the task force officials trying to arrest street traders.

As a result of the killing of their colleague, other bureau de change operators around the area took to the streets to protest the incident.

This led to traffic around Hotel Presidential on Aba Road as vehicles and pedestrians could not easily navigate their ways around.

Police authorities in Rivers are yet to comment on the issue. 

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Businessman Accuses Eko Hotel Management Of Food Poisoning To Cover-up Fraudulent Act

25 February 2020 - 9:29am



Hospital bills paid by Chief Solomon Nwadiogbu


Hospital bills paid by Chief Solomon Nwadiogbu

A businessman, Chief Solomon Nwadiogbu, has accused the management of Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, of poisoning his food while he was a guest at the facility to cover-up fraudulent financial activities going on in the company.

Nwadiogbu told SaharaReporters that he was poisoned and left in a room without help for several hours.

The matter, according to the businessman, began in March 2017 when management of Eko Hotel approached him to join in the laundering of funds from the company.

It was revealed that top staff of the hotel, especially those occupying managerial positions, connive with employees to secretly syphon and divert funds from the hotel’s account for personal use.

They speak with premium guests to register like 10 rooms under their names but later use such to lodge normal guests, who pay full amounts after which the managers deduct the discounted rate and keep the rest for themselves.

Nwadiogbu, who is Managing Director of Emilinks Limited Door Company, was approached to join in the fraud but he turned it down, according to him. 

He alleged that the hotel’s management decided to poison him to teach him a lesson for refusing to cooperate with them.

Nwadiogbu said, “I was called to a meeting by management of Eko Hotel and discovered that I have 13 Premium accounts registered with my name, they have been using to check people in behind me.

“What they do is that they will convince people to pay cash, keep the discounted amount and share the proceeds.

“I rejected their offer but I didn’t know that Mr Danny Kioupouroglou, General Manager; and Noel Saade, Financial Officer; were not happy with my decision.

“A few days into my stay at the 9th floor of Eko Signature, I ordered for dinner but unknowing to me, the food had been poisoned.

“After eating the food, I went to sleep, and at about 2:00am, I began to feel uncomfortable and was vomiting and stooling.

“I called Danny, he did not answer, the front desk and other emergency number at the hotel but nobody showed up.

“It was in the morning that one Joquino, a staff of the hotel, rushed to my room and came to my aid.”

Nwadiogbu explained that he was rushed to Premier Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos, where he was admitted on emergency and stabilised.  Hospital bills paid by Chief Solomon Nwadiogbu

Nwadiogbu stated that after he became well, he visited the hotel to confront the staff but in a bid to get rid of all evidence, “Joquino, the chef that cooked that night, as well as the staff that brought the food to me, were all sacked.”  Hospital bills paid by Chief Solomon Nwadiogbu

He added that he had a meeting with owners and management of Eko Hotel where a resolution was reached that he would be allowed to come to the hotel with his personal chef to avoid a repeat of the threat to his life.

Reacting to the claims by Nwadiogbu, Company Secretary of Eko Hotel and Suites, Mr Samuel Alabi, in news reports, claimed that the businessman was ejected from the hotel because he was indebted to them.

Asked if indeed Nwadiogbu was poisoned, the management of the hotel refused to speak on the matter, stating that the case was before a court.

The case with suit nos. FHC/L/CS/630/2019, has not been put up for hearing and has continued to suffer several adjournments by the assigned judge, Justice Saliu Saidu.

The case comes up for hearing this Thursday.

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BREAKING: Court Sentences Olisa Metuh To Seven Years In Prison Over N400m Money Laundering Case

25 February 2020 - 7:25am



 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has sentenced former spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, to seven years in prison over a N400m fraud and money laundering case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. 

Justice Okon Abang, who delivered the ruling, had earlier found him guilty on all seven-count charge in the case that had been on for over four years.

The court held that Metuh had "actual and constructive" knowledge of the N400m that was transferred to his company, Destra Night Ltd, from Office of the National Security Adviser.

Abang said, "The fact of this case is that it is a story of shame and moral decay we live in this country by dissipating public funds recklessly. 

"It is endemic disease that has eaten deep into the fabrics of this nation. 

"There must be a change in the way we do things in this country."
 

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Iranian Minister Infected With Coronavirus

25 February 2020 - 7:13am


Deputy Health Minister of Iran, Iraj Harirchi, has been infected with Coronavirus, an official said on Tuesday.

According to AFP, there has been a major outbreak in the Islamic republic.

“The Coronavirus test for Mr Harirchi, the deputy health minister, who was on the front lines combating the scourge, was positive,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, a media adviser to the health minister, said in a tweet.

Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference on Monday with government spokesperson, Ali Rabiei.

At the conference, Harirchi denied a lawmaker’s claim that 50 people had died from the virus in the city of Qom, saying he would “resign” if the number proves true.

Iran confirmed three more deaths and 34 new infections on Tuesday, taking the country’s overall death toll to 15 and infection tally to 95.

The country has been hit by the deadliest Coronavirus outbreak outside China.

According to the health ministry, most of the deaths and infections outside Qom are among people, who had recently visited the holy city.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Kianoush Jahanpour, said 16 of the new cases were confirmed in Qom, while nine were in Tehran, and two each in Alborz, Gilan and Mazandaran.

The virus appeared to be spreading to new parts of Iran, as one new case was also reported in each of the provinces of Fars and Khorasan Razavi, as well as Qeshm Island.

Despite being Iran’s epicentre of the outbreak, Qom is yet to be quarantined.

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BREAKING: Anxiety As Court Finds Olisa Metuh Guilty Of Three More Counts In N400m Money Laundering Trial

25 February 2020 - 5:54am


Olisa Metuh in court today

Olisa Metuh in court today ChannelsTV

Former spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, has been found guilty of three more counts on charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

Metuh is standing trial in a N400m money laundering case.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, is yet to give his final ruling on the matter. 

More to come... 
 

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BREAKING: Consultant Doctors Declare Indefinite Strike Over NUC Academic Requirement

25 February 2020 - 5:24am



The Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria has embarked on indefinite strike action to protest the National Universities Commission’s requirement demanding that clinical lecturers must acquire a doctorate qualification in order for career progression in Nigerian university system.

Prof Kenneth Ozoilo, National President of MDCAN, announced the strike at a press conference in Jos, Plateau State, on Tuesday and directed all consultant doctors in the country to comply. 

He said, “The decision of the NUC to embark on this policy direction without due attention to the consequences and implications is to say the least embarrassing.

“Consequently, we are left with no further choice than to withdraw our services from the universities with immediate effect.”
 

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BREAKING: Former Egyptian Dictator, Hosni Mubarak, Dies At 91

25 February 2020 - 5:00am



Hosni Mubarak, former Egyptian dictator, has died at 91.

Mubarak was a career officer in the Egyptian Air Force before joining politics.

A former military and political leader, he served as fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011.

He was ousted as during the Arab Spring that spread across the region in 2011.
 

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EFCC Witnesses Say Shehu Sani’s Name Not On Bank Transaction Records, Judge Adjourns Trial Until Wednesday

25 February 2020 - 4:49am



The trial of former Nigerian lawmaker, Shehu Sani, which commenced on Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja has been adjourned until Wednesday because witnesses presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said Sani’s Name was not on the transaction record of Guaranty Trust Bank. 

After cross-examining the witnesses, Justice Ekwo offered Sani’s lawyers to do same. 

When they asked each of the witnesses if Sani was the name they saw on the transactions presented before the judge, they declined, saying they didn’t know him. 

The names were those of persons not identical or identified in court.  See Also Breaking News BREAKING: EFCC Arraigns Shehu Sani In Court After 28 Days In Custody 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

Sani, a vocal critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, is being tried for allegedly extorting $20,000 from Sani Dauda, owner of ASD Motors.

SaharaReporters findings however, showed that the EFCC arrested the former senator before seeking out his accuser to prove his innocence.

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BREAKING: Kaduna Assembly Speaker Resigns

25 February 2020 - 4:20am


Aminu Abdullahi Shagali, member representing Sabon Gari constituency, has resigned his position as Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly.

Shagali informed the House of the decision on Tuesday morning in a handwritten letter personally signed by him. 

In the letter, he cited personal grounds as reasons for his resignation. 

FLASH: Aminu Abdullahi Shagali, member representing Sabon Gari constituency, has resigned his position as Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. @KADAssembly pic.twitter.com/l0Zq2g8dae

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) February 25, 2020

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BREAKING: Court Finds Olisa Metuh Guilty Of Laundering N400m

25 February 2020 - 4:09am




Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has  convicted former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, on count three of N400m money laundering case against him. 

Metuh had earlier been found guilty on count one and two of the charges brought against him. 
See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Again, Court Convicts Metuh On Count Two In N400m Fraud 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

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BREAKING: Again, Court Convicts Metuh On Count Two In N400m Fraud

25 February 2020 - 4:02am




Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has again convicted former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, on count two of a N400m fraud and money laundering trial brought against him.

Earlier, the court had found him guilty of count one. 

More to come... 
See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Court Finds Olisa Metuh Guilty Of Count One In N400m Fraud 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

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BREAKING: Court Finds Olisa Metuh Guilty Of Count One In N400m Fraud

25 February 2020 - 3:20am


Olisa Metuh in court today.

Olisa Metuh in court today. SaharaReporters Media

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has found former spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisah Metuh, guilty of count one of seven charges filed against him in a N400m fraud and money laundering trial.

More to come... 
 

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Blyden Amajirionwu: Have Things Become This Bad For Imo State? (Part One) By Chibuike Onyeukwu

25 February 2020 - 2:09am


The final proof that things may have, within the last one month, actually become very bad for our dear state, Imo, is the “open letter” written by one Blyden Amajirionwu purportedly to His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON. Amajirionwu’s “open letter” entitled, “Putting Imo First Before Personal Interest, An Appeal To Ihedioha And PDP”, was published in some (Owerri-based) newspapers and on some social media platforms.

Apart from the fact that I am a personal aide to Ihedioha, I, a citizen of the state, feel quite ashamed that such trash could come out from amongst a people reputed to be one of the most sophisticated and cerebral in the entire country. I would have probably ignored Amajirionwu since a response would ordinarily mean giving some credit to his hog wash, however, I felt I should pose the following question to the good people of Imo state: Have things actually gone that bad that a Blyden Amajirionwu could weigh-in on serious issues concerning the state?

I am aware that Amajirionwu, who hails from the Ngor Okpala Local Government Area – easily home to some of the best brains in the state – parades himself as a politician. Of course, we know what such a claim means. Politics a serious venture, unfortunately, is today peopled by charlatans, the reason that noble trade is today seen by many as one made for idlers.

The last time I heard about Blyden Amajirionwu was about seven years ago when he was sacked from his position as Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party for anti party activities. I will neither discuss for now, how Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha facilitated his elevation to the position, nor reel out the patronage he got from His Excellency both in membership of Federal Boards and contracts. But he was able to get away with that because PDP did not bother to tell its faithful the type of anti party Amajirionwu was caught in. Amajirionwu, who parades himself as “Okenze” was sacked specifically because he was a mole working for the administration of former Governor Rochas Okorocha.

Before Amajirionwu’s so-called “open letter”, he had taken up not less than ten pages of advertorials in the local (Owerri-based) newspapers in which he praised Senator Uzodinma to high heavens, following the fatal Supreme Court judgment of January 14, 2020 that is still generating global outrage. In most of those advertorials, he portrayed himself as the “spokesperson” of the entire people of Owerri zone, not even for just APC. Inukwa Blyden!

This is the same Blyden Amajirionwu that had the temerity to write a letter to the people of the state since an “open letter” means that it is addressed to the entire people. I don’t know his academic background, though he does not come across as educated but I can state without any fear of contradiction that it is quite tragic if a Blyden Amajirionwu begins to be seen as part of the discourse on the current state of affairs in the state. Sadly the event of January 14, 2020 has again, elevated mediocrity.

Let me, however, but quite reluctantly, look at one or two of the issues raised by him in his purported letter. Of course, the reason is not to get even with him as that would be condescending for even my humble self. The thrust of Amajirionwu’s letter is that His Excellency, Rt. Hon Ihedioha, should withdraw his popular application, seeking to set aside the January 14, 2020 Supreme Court judgement obtained by fraud, on the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state . For the interest of those who did not read Amajirionwu’s letter – I believe that 90 per cent of readers in the state must have skipped the page upon sighting the name of the writer – let me quote aspects of it - “Your petition seeking for a review should forthwith be withdrawn more importantly now that the third respondent in the case, INEC had (sic) backed off from any form judgment review as it concerns Imo”. Yet, this same person claims to be the spokesperson of the entire Owerri zone. Again I ask: Have things really become this bad for the state?

Hear Amajirionwu:  “I advice (sic) even on withdrawal, that you render unreserved apology to the Supreme Court panel headed by CJN, Tanko Mohammed”.  This particular error occurred in more than five places in the letter. So, it is not a typographical mistake. My good people of Ngor Okpala, home of late Nnanna Ukaegbus, late Eze Kele Okerekes, Jude Njokus, Sam Amadis, Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, Soronnadi Njokus, Ethelbert Okeres, TOE Ekechis, Austin Uganwas etc, what is going on? 

Granted, Amajirionwu, true to his type, is desperately seeking recognition and attention. Nothing is wrong with seeking attention, but he would have done so with decorum - if he has any though. I pity what would become of him and his likes, when the Supreme Court, having seen clearly, the fraud in the purported results that misled them, reverses itself, based on the application before it on March 2, 2020.

As I noted at the beginning of this piece, though it is a fact that I am Governor Ihedioha’s personal aide and unapologetic loyalist, I make this response more as a citizen of Imo than in the former capacity. 

While his insinuation to things like His Excellency’s “business” and “source of income”, is one of the main things that made his letter very pedestrian and elementary, can Amajirionwu tell Imolites the business he was doing or source of income before his late father succeeded in pleading with His Excellency, Governor Achike Udenwa and His Excellency Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (then representing Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency) to appoint him the Coordinator for the Ngor Okpala North Development Centre in 2006? And since after his disastrous tenure, can he tell Imolites his other sources of income save politics. I learnt he was one of the revenue “consultants” for the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) towards the tail end of the Okorocha administration, a reward for being a spy for the administration as I earlier noted.

In his ill fated admonition to His Excellency to withdraw his current petition at the Supreme Court, Amajirionwu made reference to Ihedioha’s previous outing in the national assembly as well as his defeat of Senators Ifeanyi Araraume and Samuel Anyanwu in the 2014 and 2018 PDP governorship primaries respectively, as a basis for his warped “advice”.

Except that as I have repeatedly noted in this article, political issues in Imo have become an all comers affairs, to the extent that the likes of Amajirionwu can now claim to be experts, even the least discerning watcher within and outside the state knows that the cases he sighted are entirely different from the current one. In either of the cases (Araraume and Samdaddy), was it discovered, according to Uzodinma’s fake results, that votes cast were over and above the number of registered and accredited voters? Did any of the cases have to do with a situation whereby nonexistent votes purportedly garnered from 388 polling units were all allocated to one candidate (Uzodinma) by the Supreme Court when there were more than 60 other candidates that took part in the election? If these posers are the very things agitating the minds of learned men (lawyers) and informed observers across the country and in the diaspora, is it not curious that a near-illiterate is talking about them with such a tone of finality? 

Another reason Amajirionwu wrote his “open letter” and which is his stock in trade: Name dropping. He wrote: “You are aware of myself, your person and Gov. Hope Uzodinma having a cordial relationship in the past. This cordiality can still be revived this moment in the interest of Imo. I am still a ready willing tool to perfect reconciliation between you and Gov. Hope Uzodinma”. Poor Amajirionwu! He would have seized the moment to become a hero by asking Senator Uzodinma to stepdown forthwith, apologize to the entire nation and turn himself in for prosecution. I bet you, Amajirionwu would have gained the relevance he is seeking and posterity would have been so kind to him.  

Well, it is said that in the world of the blind, a one-eyed man becomes the leader. But Imo people are not yet all blind, but if a Blyden Amajironwu is a frontline negotiator with his political adversaries, then his imaginary political sagacity may become subject for further enquiry.

 

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Nigeria’s Electricity Problem: FG vs. DISCOs By Reuben Abati

25 February 2020 - 1:56am


Here is the main problem with Nigeria’s electricity sector: Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, but it has failed consistently to generate, transmit and distribute enough electricity to power its development process and accelerate economic growth. 

Between 1999 and 2007, President Olusegun Obasanjo focused on the reform of the electricity sector as one of the major priorities of his administration. Gas-powered plants were set up across the country under his watch, turbines and other equipment were imported. His government laid the foundation for reform in the power sector but could not complete the process, particularly the privatization of the power sector.  Obasanjo’s legacy includes the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP) of 2001, the National Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 which established the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the establishment of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), to replace the notorious National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA). The PHCN was later unbundled into 18 successor companies. By the time President Obasanjo left office in 2007, power generation in the country had increased from about 1, 200 MW in 1999 to 4, 000 MW in 2007. For a country of Nigeria’s size and population, this was not enough to transform the country.  Obasanjo was succeeded by President Yar’Adua.

In the course of his campaign for Presidential office, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua stressed the importance of the electricity sector as an engine of growth. He promised to declare a national emergency in the sector. He eventually didn’t declare an emergency but shortly after assuming office in 2007, President Yar’Adua established a Presidential Committee for the accelerated expansion of Nigeria’s power infrastructure with a mandate to ensure the delivery of 6, 000 additional megawatts within 18 months and an extra 11, 000 MW by 2011. By the time President Yar’Adua gave this directive, Nigeria’s power generation capacity was down to 3,000 MW per day. South Africa with a much smaller population was at the time generating 36, 000 MW. Egypt with a population of 78 million also had a generating capacity of 36, 000 MW. The Yar’Adua Committee which was given 18 days to do its work, submitted its report one year later! 

The House of Representatives also conducted a probe of the electricity sector. The House Committee on Power led by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu accused the Obasanjo administration of having spent over $10 billion on the electricity sector without having much to show for it. The Committee disclosed that between 2000 and 2007, the Obasanjo administration spent over $10 billion on various projects in the power sector. The Elumelu Committee raised questions and demanded answers. The Presidential Committee meanwhile recommended that the country would still need about $85 billion to meet the target of 20, 000 MW generating capacity as recommended by the Vision 2020 Committee. President Yar’Adua in the course of it all, ordered a probe of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). The Chairman of the NERC and six commissioners of the agency were suspended from office and invited for questioning. 

President Yar’Adua’s government soon entered into discussions with General Electric (GE) and later signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the German Government on power development projects in Nigeria. Siemens was one of the six German companies included in that MOU. The Government also launched a Gas Master Plan to address the problem of gas supply to the Papalanto, Omotosho and Geregu power plants built by the Obasanjo government. Contracts worth over $660 million were awarded, but despite all its good intentions, the Yar’Adua government could not make much difference. Power supply remained epileptic in Nigeria. There are many who believe that the efforts of the Yar’Adua administration were abbreviated by a lack of urgency occasioned by the President’s health challenges and the obsession of that administration with the past administration’s expenditure in the power sector. It was so bad that power equipment worth $5 billion that had been imported in 2, 500 (or 800?) containers by the Obasanjo administration, which arrived three days after President Obasanjo left office were abandoned at the ports for three years. Taxpayers incurred a demurrage of N4 billion! 

President Yar’Adua was succeeded by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. As former Chairman of the National Economic Council and former Chair of the National Council on Privatization, Jonathan was certainly privy to the Electricity Sector Road Map and the Power Sector Master Plan. He continued where his boss former boss stopped, but even more so, from where Obasanjo stopped, and by avoiding the ugly politics and blame game that had developed around the subject of electricity delivery in Nigeria, he was able to make significant process in the areas of accelerated reform, policy execution, provision of power sector infrastructure, public-private sector partnership and privatization. 

President Jonathan had threatened, right from his early days in power that he would privatize the PHCN, and reform the electricity sector. In due course, he launched a Power Sector Transformation Plan and gave full effect to the Nigeria Electricity Sector Regulatory Act of 2005. He commissioned and upgraded a number of power plans including the Azura-Edo power plant, the first fully privately owned Independent Power Plant in Nigeria. He re-organized the PHCN by selling off the Federal Government’s majority stakes in the 18 companies unbundled from PHCN in the shape of six Generation Companies (GENCOS), 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and a Transmission Company owned fully by the Nigerian government. Private sector investors in the GENCOs and DISCOs paid as much as $3.3 billion for the acquired PHCN assets in what was considered an open and fair process even by international observers. Nigerian banks supported the process, investments were also attracted to the gas sector.  By 2013, the power sector had resurrected with installed generation capacity at about 12. 910 MW, but available capacity nevertheless remained at less than 7. 652 MW. Transmission capacity was 8, 1000 MW while a distribution peak of 5, 375 MW was recorded. Thus, the problem of low capacity utilization persisted. 

President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Like other Presidents before him since 1999, President Buhari even as a candidate promised to transform Nigeria’s power sector.  In the run up to the 2015 elections, President Buhari in a document titled “Covenant with Nigerians” and also in the “APC Manifesto”, promised that “The APC government shall vigorously pursue the expansion of electricity generation and distribution of up to 40, 000 MW in 4 to 8 years.” The promised figure was twice the Vision 2020 Committee projection of 20, 000 MW by 2020. The reality is that the Buhari administration has not been able to deliver on that promise. In 2017, former Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Babatunde Fashola claimed that the government had achieved a record 5, 074 MW in actual power generation.  From 2015 to date, President Buhari has continued to give assurances that his administration will sort out the electricity sector crisis. 

The administration has reportedly spent more than N900 billion on the power sector as intervention fund. It has signed a six-year contract with Siemens of Germany for an upgrade and technical input across the value chain to generate up to 25, 000 MW in three phases. The Buhari administration accuses previous administrations – Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan’s of wasting Nigerian resources on the power sector without results and the Jonathan administration of mismanaging the privatization process. It is alleged that over $6.8 trillion has been spent on Nigeria’s power sector since 1999. Meanwhile, the country remains literally in darkness. Many companies have had to relocate from Nigeria. Businesses, homes and families are compelled to provide their own electricity. The cost of diesel is high. Many lives have been lost to generator explosions. There are communities in Nigeria that have not seen electricity for seven years, simply because they are not connected to the national grid! The House of Representatives has asked President Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the electricity sector. The standard response has been to blame either the former ruling party, the PDP (1999- 2015) or the Jonathan privatization process or more specifically, the power distribution companies. In 2017, the Buhari government mooted the idea of probing the power sector from 1999- 2015. 

Needless politicking, sentiments and emotions have proven to be the bane of the electricity sector in Nigeria. Every Minister of Power since 1999 has always been ready with an excuse for inefficiency.  Babatunde Fashola, as Buhari’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing heaped the blame on the privatization process. Buhari’s NERC blames the DISCOs and even threatened to revoke their licences. This blame game continued last week with Fashola’s successor as Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman threatening that the DISCOs are the problem of the electricity value-chain and if they do not sit up, their licences will be revoked. He says he has even sent a memo to the Federal Executive Council to that effect. The FEC should ignore his memo. Mamman doesn’t sound like he knows what he is talking about. Ignorance is bad in itself, but the kind of tripodal ignorance that has been demonstrated by the current Minister of Power is curious! 

It seems to me that government needs to go beyond scapegoating, passing the buck, sentiments and politics, to address fundamental problems of the electricity sector, and cross-cutting issues in the entire value chain. There are consequential steps that should have been taken after the privatization exercise of 2013/2014 to deepen the transition process away from PHCN which the current administration has conveniently ignored. This is in part responsible for the distortions within the entire value chain. If the Minister of Power does not know what these are, he should consult the Bureau for Public Enterprises, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Vice President’s Office which oversees the National Council on Privatization.  If he does not trust anyone in those departments, let him talk to Nasir el-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State who as Director General of BPE, at the time of the commencement of reforms in that sector can tell the story much better -  that is, if he doesn’t choose to play convenient politics. 

If el-Rufai plays politics with the matter, let him talk to Dr. Lanre Babalola and Bola Onagoruwa. For example, the Gas Production and supplies to the various Power Plants are still largely dependent on NGC/NNPC which are government-controlled and as usual cannot respond to the 24 hours need of the privatised power generating plants. Unfortunately, in the last 5 years, this critical component of the value chain of power generation has not been resolved by President Buhari’s Government. Gas Production and supplies is yet to be privatised and NNPC/FGN remain the major bureaucratic problem for the gas-based electricity generating investors. Even the gas price in USD has not been allowed to be translated into appropriate naira tariff for the entire value chain of electricity supplies.

Recently we read in the media, that the Federal Government has granted sovereign guarantee to NNPC to build gas pipeline from Ajaokuta to Kano (AKK) for $2.8 billion, with about two captive gas-powered generating plants along the gas pipeline. But any discerning observer of the industry will ask whether this AKK should be a priority now, when you can deploy the $2.8 billion to solve the immediate problems of the stranded 10 gas-powered generating plants in the hands of NIPP/Niger Delta Power Holding Company. It is certain that this $2.8 Billion project will not be completed in the next 3-4 years and may never get sufficient gas to reach Abuja or Kano, when even Kaduna refinery built since 1989 with Crude Pipeline from Escravos has never gotten enough to refine Nigeria’s export crude on a daily basis. These are the issues each of the Ministers has refused to look into, focussing instead on chasing the DISCOS as the weeping child.

Is Minister Mamman aware at all of the existence of 10 power plants that are being managed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), a limited liability company that is managed by public officers? The Minister of Power was quoted as saying Nigeria now has a generating capacity of 13, 000 MW in 2020. In 2013, Nigeria had a generating capacity of 12, 910 MW. What has been added since 2015? Even if 7000 MW is produced today, can TCN with its 330KVA/132KVA transmit that much to all the DISCOS? The answer is capital NO. The Minister pretends not to know that TCN is the weakest link between the GENCOs and DISCOs. The Minister should show us how much has gone into 330KVA/132KVA in the last 5 years across Nigeria. 

The Federal Government could have sold ten more power plants to increase capacity. It has not done so. Even then, the so-called claim of 13, 000 MW is at best academic and fictitious. Minister Mamman claims that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has a capacity to transmit 7, 000 MW but it actually transmits about 5, 000 MW out of which the DISCOs can only take about 3, 000MW. There is shortage of electricity in the country and so, high demand for limited supply has driven up prices and yet government is insisting on the withdrawal of subsidy and a hike in electricity tariffs by April 1. I don’t get it.  No wonder all the private sectors, industrial and commercial houses generate electricity at about 70-85 Naira per kilowatt hour for themselves, but this has disenabled them from competing with other manufacturers around the world. This is one of the major reasons that the private sector must be allowed to take over the entire value chain of the electricity industry. Since 2015 that Yola DISCO has been returned to the Federal Government, it will interest the general public to hear from the Minister, how much investment in 132KVA, 33KVA and 11KVA infrastructure has been provided in the entire North East that Yola DISCO covers.

The Buhari government simply needs to move beyond politics and sentiments. If President Buhari succeeds in solving the electricity supply conundrum in Nigeria, that alone will be enough legacy for his administration. He should listen only to those who know. Engr. Saleh Mamman has absolutely no clue. I hope the Minister knows he is a member of the National Council on Privatisation and therefore cannot take any policy decision without NCP approval first.

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