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Updated: 7 hours 11 min ago

President Buhari To Address Nigerians Via TV Broadcast

30 September 2020 - 2:42pm

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has made a u-turn on his decision to address the country on October 1 in commemoration of Independence Day from Eagle Square, venue of a planned parade.

Buhari will now address Nigerians via a television broadcast at 7:00am before proceeding to the venue at 10:00am for the parade to mark the country's 60th independence anniversary.

The change, SaharaReporters, gathered was not unconnected to nationwide protests planned across the country including in the capital city, Abuja.

Femi Adesina, media aide to the President, said, “As part of activities commemorating the 60th independence anniversary of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari will broadcast to the nation on Thursday, October 1, 2020, at 7:00am.

“All television, radio and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to network services of the Nigerian Television Authority and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria respectively for the address.

“The President will thereafter, proceed to the Eagle Square, Abuja to review the anniversary parade and participate in other activities beginning at 10 am, which will be covered live by major television and radio stations.

“This updated statement supersedes our earlier one indicating an open-air live presidential address on October 1.”

See Also Sahara Reporters Group Urges US, UK, EU To Issue Visa Ban On IGP, DG SSS, Army Chief If Protesters Are Harassed, Arrested On October 1 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

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BREAKING: Ogun State Governor Imposes Curfew, Ban Statewide Independence Day Protest

30 September 2020 - 2:30pm

Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Ogun State Government has imposed a curfew to commence from 10pm on Wednesday while also banning all public processions and protests in the state.

Kunle Somorin, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun, made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday night.

Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

It reads, “There will be a curfew in Ogun State, effective tonight (Wednesday) from 10:00 pm to tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 6:00am.

“This curfew will again be effective tomorrow (Thursday) at the same time, 10:00 pm-06:00 am.

“Restriction of operations of commercial motorcycle riders, popularly called Okada, from all major roads in the state from 10:00pm tonight (Wednesday) all through to 6.00 am on Friday.

“Operations of all commercial buses are also suspended from 10.00pm tonight till Friday morning;

“Taxicabs are permitted to operate within the hours outside the daily curfew period. However, the number of passengers remains limited to a maximum of three only.

“All forms of gathering in the state, except the State announced Independence Day Anniversary programme, are restricted to a maximum of 20 persons from 10.00 pm tonight till 6.00 am on Friday.

“No procession whatsoever is allowed.

“Owners and operators of hotels, suites guest houses, motels, and such establishments providing accommodation should note that the restriction on operations has not been lifted;

“All residents are to monitor and report any suspicious movements and activities in their neighbourhood to the security agencies.”


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Right To Protest Is Fundamentally Backed By Constitution, CORE Tells Police

30 September 2020 - 2:22pm

The Coalition for Revolution has stated that the right to protest was a fundamental one guaranteed by the constitution of the country.

CORE said this in reaction to the ban on protest on October 1 by the Lagos State Police Command.

Different civic groups and bodies had slated a protest on the day to express anger at the degrading state of the country.

Baba Aye and Gbenga Komolafe, Co-conveners of CORE, said the group will go on with its scheduled protest and urged other civil society groups to embark on their respective protests.

“We want to make it clear that we remain undeterred and the protest cannot be stopped.

“When in our national anthem it is said "the Labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain" we remember clearly that the labour of real heroes of independence was struggle: protests that were not deterred by the colonialists repressive tactics.

“We salute Michael Imoudu, Raji Abdallah, Mokwugo Okoye, Margaret Ekpo, Mallam Aminu Kano, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Nduka Eze, Baba Omojola, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Wahab Goodluck.

See Also Human Rights Police Warn Against October 1 Rallies, Protests In Lagos 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

“These and the thousands of working-class class people and youths who took to the streets and downed tools in the workplaces are the heroes of what was won 60 years ago but which was bastardized by the thieving elites who took over power.

“We take the liberation struggle forward towards our total and lasting self-emancipation. Come out one and all, rise and reclaim your dignity and win a better life. Down with all forces of oppression and their tools of repression.

“We call on all Nigerians not to succumb to intimidation. Our peaceful protests against the elites' corruption, our state of poverty and underdevelopment of the country shall proceed as planned and the take off point remains the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota in Lagos and at all points in our posters across every state of the federation. Take-off time in all the states' capitals remains 8am prompt,” the statement reads.

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Nigeria At 60: Prepare To Fight Unjust Policies, Falana-led Group Tells Nigerians

30 September 2020 - 2:15pm

Femi Falana (SAN)

The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond has asked Nigerians to use the 60th independence anniversary to reflect on the state of the nation and commit themselves to reject economic policies that impoverish them.

The group in a statement by its Chairman, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), urged Nigerians to express themselves in a peaceful and coordinated manner.

Femi Falana (SAN)

Falana stated that the group endorsed and fully supported any peaceful protest against fuel price, electricity tariff hike on Thursday.

He added that ASCAB will provide free legal services for any Nigerian arrested in the cause of protesting the fuel and electricity tariff hike.

He said, "We express full support for peaceful protests against the harsh economic conditions in Nigeria. We are a people united by common economic afflictions. Irrespective or ethnic, religious or cultural barrier, we should work together to end the era of profit of the few as against the livelihood and prosperity of Nigerians."

He asked the police not to use force but to protect and defend the constitutional rights of the protesters. 

He said the protesters by the civil society groups will be conducted in a peaceful manner, adding that their demands for economic justice was legitimate.

“We call on the police to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of Nigerians to peacefully protest against injustice and bad policies. The police should not molest protesters but rather protect them as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution,” Falana said.

He also called on the government not to arrest the protesters but to ensure the immediate release of those being held by the central or state governments.

 He said the continued incarceration of some Nigerians for expressing their belief was against local and international conventions of which Nigeria was a signatory.

“We call for the release of all political prisoners. We ask the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari to release the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore, without any strings attached.

“It has become clearer to local and international community that his detention is politically motivated. He is a prisoner of conscience being held because of his campaign against corruption and injustice,” Falana said.

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N3.1bn Fraud: Again Court Adjourns Five-year-old Trial Of Former Benue Governor, Suswam

30 September 2020 - 12:53pm

Gabriel Suswan

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has again adjourned the trial of former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam.

Suswam is being tried alongside his Finance Commissioner, Okpanachi Okolobia, for allegedly defrauding Benue State Government to the tune of N3.1bn while in office.

Gabriel Suswan EFCC

The case had been on since November 10, 2015 when they were first arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on a nine-count of financial impropriety and money laundering.

The case has since gone through a series of adjournments that had made the trial last for five years.

The case again suffered the same fate on Wednesday at the resumption of the trial before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja.

The court adjourned the case until October 15, 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari had recently said that the slow pace of court trials in Nigeria was one of the areas that must be urgently reformed for the sustenance of law and order.

He then proposed a limit of 12 months for the prosecution and trial of criminal cases.

He said, “My question then is why can’t we have a time limit for criminal cases? Why can’t we have a rule that will say a criminal trial all the way to the Supreme Court must not exceed 12 months?"

See Also Exclusive EXCLUSIVE: How Senator Gabriel Suswam Bribed Federal High Court Judge To Quash Pending EFCC Fraud Case 0 Comments 1 Year Ago

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Group Urges US, UK, EU To Issue Visa Ban On IGP, DG SSS, Army Chief If Protesters Are Harassed, Arrested On October 1

30 September 2020 - 12:38pm

Concerned Nigerians Group has called on the United States, United Kingdom and European Union to issue visa ban on the Inspector-General of Police, Director General of the Department of State Services, Chief of Army Staff and other heads of security agencies.

Coordinator of the group, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, made the disclosure in a statement on Wednesday.

According to Adeyanju, security agencies have criminalised the act of protest, an otherwise constitutional right in an attempt to shield the government of the day from criticism. 

He said, “It is no longer news that Nigeria is increasingly becoming a repressive state, and the security agencies have surrendered their constitutional responsibility and made themselves a tool in the hands of the government. These security agencies have criminalized the act of protest, an otherwise constitutional right, in an attempt to shield the government of the day from criticism. 

“Sadly, the Nigerian judiciary has not been able to stand up and be counted. The citizens are, therefore, left at the mercy of state actors who have developed the penchant for indiscriminately arresting protesters. 

“As members of the civil societies get ready to lead a citizen movement against bad governance in Nigeria, tomorrow, it is imperative to call on the United States of America, United Kingdom and the European Union to place visa ban on any member of the security agency who makes himself available to the government of the day, tomorrow, for the purpose of suppressing the protesters. This visa ban should equally be extended to their family members.

“This call is made with deep sense of responsibility, as it appears that the only wedge between state actors in Nigeria and totally  authoritarianism is visa ban.”

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Nigeria Has Sunk In Pandemic Corruption In Last 60 Years –Okei-Odumakin

30 September 2020 - 12:21pm

Joe Okei-Odumakin

Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise and Centre for Change, has said that 60 years after independence, Nigeria has sunk in pandemic corruption.

In a statement to commemorate the 60 years anniversary of Nigeria, Okei-Odumakin said the country still has a long walk to freedom as every sector was in shambles.

Joe Okei-Odumakin

She noted that beyond the celebration and goodwill messages, Nigerians should “reflect on where we are as a nation, so as to collectively chart a way forward for ourselves as a people”.

She added, “There is no doubt that in the last 60 years of our Independence, our country has sunk in pandemic corruption, social crises, and economic dilapidation - all of which have led, year-in, year-out, to a systematic decline in the living standard of our people.

“Our much respected values of patriotism and uncompromising emphasis on integrity and honesty have been thrown to the dogs by the corrupt elements that have seized leadership positions at various levels in our country.

“Education is in practical ruins, just like critical infrastructures are in shambles with healthcare virtually in peril.

“Security of life and property is no longer guaranteed as lawlessness pervades everywhere, even among the law enforcement agents.

“Nigerians live in frustration, agony, hopelessness, misery, pain, and suffering.”

See Also Sahara Reporters Fuel Hike: Nigerians Must Say No To Further Hardship --Joe Okei-Odumakin 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

Okei-Odumakin lamented that about 70 of Nigerians today live in abject poverty while a few are super rich at the expense of the downtrodden.

She added that Nigerian youth were continuously faced with uncertain future because of the greed of a privileged few. 

She stated that the time had come for the country to be rebuilt.

“We call on government at all levels to make the welfare of Nigerians top priority as well as earnestly begin a process of rebuilding hope, which is already nearly lost in the minds of Nigerians.

“We also demand that the government must do all within its powers to ensure the rescue of the remaining abducted Chibok and Dapchi school girls just like the other women, men, and children in the captivity of terrorists must be liberated.

“Inependence anniversary is also an auspicious occasion to demand an end to all forms of violence against women in Nigeria.

“We can only hope that, henceforth, the dreams of our founding fathers shall become a reality.

“It is then that Nigerians will have their hope rekindled that they would be free from the social and economic slavery they have wallowed in despite the 60 years of Independence,” Okei-Odumakin added.

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United Arab Emirates Lifts Visa Restriction On Nigerians, Says Government

30 September 2020 - 10:45am

The United Arab Emirates has agreed to resume visa issuance to Nigerians, the government has said.

Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, announced this via his Twitter handle on Wednesday.

He disclosed that the move was to allow Emirates Airlines resume operations in Nigeria

He said, “UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria.

“Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation. Many thanks.”

See Also Sahara Reporters UAE Orders Nigerians With Expired Visas To Leave Country In Three Weeks 0 Comments 2 Months Ago

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Police Warn Against October 1 Rallies, Protests In Lagos

30 September 2020 - 10:10am

Lagos CP Hakeem Odumosu.

The Lagos State Police Command has warned against any rallies and protests in the state on October 1, 2020.

Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu, directed police officers in the state to clampdown and disallow any form of rally in the state.

Lagos CP Hakeem Odumosu.

See Also Sahara Reporters CORE Asks President Buhari To Resign, Fixes October 1 For Nationwide Protest 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Describing the rallies as unlawful, Odumosu in a statement by SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, spokesperson for the police in the state, urged parents and guardians to warn their children from joining any rally or risk being prosecuted.

The statement reads, “While the Commissioner of Police announced the cancellation by the Lagos State Government of the ceremonial parade to commemorate Nigeria's 60th independence anniversary, he warned that the command will not allow any gatherings, rallies or protests against the sovereignty of Nigeria in the state.

“CP Hakeem Odumosu similarly warned parents and guardians to warn their children and wards to desist from any rallies, protests or be mobilised to wage war against the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or else they (parents or guardians) of any youths arrested for such act will be prosecuted.

“The Commissioner of Police, however, appealed to the general public to be law-abiding, desist from violence and any act that is capable of disrupting the sovereignty of Nigeria.”

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Christian Man Alleges Plot By Lawyer To End Marriage To Muslim Wife In Adamawa State

30 September 2020 - 9:49am

A Christian man, Istifanus Umaru, has petitioned the police, Department of State Services and Chief Judge of Adamawa State alleging conspiracy to end his marriage to his Muslim wife.

In the petition, Umaru alleged that one Bello Bakari, a Muslim lawyer, had disrupted his marriage with a view to taking over his Muslim wife, Amina.

He further alleged that Bakari being a Fulani man had openly threatened to unleash the Fulani militia on him in a bid to end the marriage; insisting that he was not entitled to marry Amina on the grounds of religious difference. 

The petition seen by SaharaReporters reads in parts, "I am the husband of Amina Istifanus Umaru to whom I am legally married under the marriage act for the period of four years. The marriage was consummated at the Marriage Registry in Yola.

"That my wife had been into extramarital affairs with Bello Bakari for quite a long period of time and it came to my knowledge recently when I caught them making suspicious phone calls."

Umaru further said following this incident, he confronted Bakari on why he was making night calls with his wife, to which he apologised but invited him to discuss the matter.

He said, "At his office on September 21, 2020, Bakari told me he was engaged by the Muslim Council to interfere in my marriage with Amina and that the Christian Association of Nigeria was aware of the move.

"I replied that my marriage was needing no intervention from any of the two religious bodies he mentioned; I also told him our marriage was done at a court and if there were any problems only a court can address it.

"Yet he threatened and intimidated me to give up the marriage on account of my religious difference with my wife. He cited the violent clashes between farmers and herders, stressing that the Fulani race was ready to end my marriage at all cost.

"As it is, Bakari has forcibly taken away my wife and despite the provocation, I refused to react because of the religious coloration the matter was taking."

He revealed that both the police and DSS had declined to act on his petition despite its potential to ignite religious tension.

He has also accused Bakari of forging a court order restraining him from interfering with his wife's life and privacy.

When contacted, Bakari denied the allegation, explaining that he was briefed by the lady's relations, who informed him that both Umaru and Amina were not legally married but merely cohabiting.

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Buhari-led Government Committed To One United Nigeria, Says Boss Mustapha

30 September 2020 - 3:41am

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has said that he did not suggest that Nigeria will break up.

Mustapha in a statement on Tuesday said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government was committed to a united Nigeria.

Recall that the SGF, who represented Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, during Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary service in Abuja, was quoted as saying, “Fortunately for us, our walls are not yet broken but have cracks that could break if not properly addressed. We need to seek the face of God to address the broken walls.”

But Mustapha said he was quoted out of context in some media reports.

He said, “I have observed with concern the apparent sensationalisation of the remarks I made at the 60th Independence Anniversary Church Service where I stood in for His Excellency, the Vice President.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I want to affirm that His Excellency, the Vice President and I remain very firmly and irrevocably committed to the ideal of one indivisible Nigerian nation.

“We are also deeply appreciative of President Muhammadu Buhari's consistent efforts to strengthen the unity of the Nigerian nation.

“Any suggestion to the contrary is a clear misrepresentation of our common position as a government.”


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Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Suspends Electricity Tariff Hike

30 September 2020 - 3:31am


The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has finally issued an order suspending the September 1, 2020 hike in electricity tariff for two weeks.

The commission’s suspension order of the Multi Year Tariff Order 2020 signed by NERC’s Chairman, Prof James Momoh, was released on its website on Wednesday.


The suspension is in line with the agreement reached with the organised labour on the suspension of strike over the hike in electricity tariff and increase in pump price of petrol on Sunday night.

See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Labour Calls Off Planned Strike, Nigerian Government Suspends New Electricity Tariff For Two Weeks 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

The order by NERC said that from Sept 28 to Oct 11, the DisCos must revert all charges to the tariff existing as of Aug 31.

The suspension of the hike in tariff for 14 days in the first instance is to enable wider consultations between the government and labour with a view to reaching a compromise and resolution of the contending issues involved.

“This means that for the next two weeks, electricity consumers having power above 12 hours who were affected by the over 100 per cent tariff hike would revert to their old charges,” the order reads.

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Osun Governor’s Deputy Chief Of Staff, Binuyo, Charged With $120,000 Fraud

30 September 2020 - 2:45am

Abdullahi Binuyo

The Office of the Inspector-General of Police has dragged the Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Abdullahi Binuyo, to a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, over alleged fraud involving $120,000.

The case marked CR/975/2020 contains four charges of conspiracy, fraud, cheating and forgery.

Abdullahi Binuyo

Rimamsomte Ezekiel, a lawyer in the Legal Prosecution Section of the Force Criminal Investigation Department at the Force Headquarters, alleged that Binuyo in January 2017 in Abuja defrauded one Tunde Ajala and his company, BMA Nigeria Limited.

It was also alleged that he forged and signed as Hakeem Thanni for Ahad International FZC company in an investment agreement with BMA Nigeria Limited and Tunde Ajala.

The Oyetola aide was also alleged to have cheated Babatunde Ajala and his company BMA Nig. Ltd of $120,000.00.

The offences were said to be punishable under various provisions of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences and the Penal Code Law.

SaharaReporters, however, gathered that political pressure was being mounted on the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, to drop the charges against Binuyo.

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EFCC Arraigns Education Secretary For Fraud In School Feeding Programme

30 September 2020 - 1:53am

Ishaka Abdullahi

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned the Education Secretary of Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, Ishaka Abdullahi, before Justice Malami Umar Dogondaji of the state high court for fraud.

Abdullahi was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N429,000.

According to a statement by Head of Media and Publicity of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, Abdullahi is facing trial for alleged fraud in the school feeding programme.

Ishaka Abdullahi EFCC

Uwajaren said the commission’s investigations revealed that one Hassi Abdullahi, who was appointed one of the cooks in the programme and had a Union Bank account number 0077129142, died on March 18, 2019, yet funds were still being channelled to her account from the HGSFP account, totalling N429, 000 which was fraudulently withdrawn.

The statement reads, “Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Ishaka Abdullahi on or about the 16 November, 2018 at Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did obtain the sum of N135,000.00 (One hundred and thirty-five thousand naira) from Hassi Abdullahi’s account No. 0077129142, domiciled in Union Bank Plc by false pretence.”

Abdullahi, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge following which prosecution counsel, S. H. Sa’ad, asked for a trial date and for him to be remanded in prison custody, while defence counsel, Ibrahim Abdullahi, prayed the court to grant the defendant bail on the grounds that he was standing trial in the same court on a different charge.

Justice Malami Dogondaji granted the accused bail on the same conditions that were applied in the earlier charge for which he was facing prosecution in the same court and adjourned the matter till October 12, 2020, for the commencement of trial.

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'We Can't Afford It Any Longer': Nigerians Lament As Prices Of Staple Food Nearly Double

30 September 2020 - 12:17am

As prices of staple food hit the roof across the country, Nigerians are complaining that they can no longer afford balanced diets and regular meals for their families. 

Findings by SaharaReporters in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, showed that the prices of staple food have increased by more than 90 per cent.

The prices of beans, rice, yam, garri, onions, tomatoes, pepper, fish, vegetable oil, palm oil, flour, and others have gone up beyond what many Nigerians say that they can afford.

Those who spoke to SaharaReporters pointed out that they had been struggling to feed since the coronavirus pandemic. 

In Ondo State, for instance, a 'mudu' of local rice is sold at N850 while that of foreign is between N1000 and N1,200 with a bag going for N30,000 at the popular Oja Adedeji market in Akure.

At the Shasha market of the town, a rubber of white beans, which used to be sold at N18,000, is now N22, 000.

A schoolteacher, Bisi Ige, who is a mother of six children, said she could not afford to buy a bag of rice as she used to, due to the recent price hike. 

"Before we used to buy a bag of rice which would last us for some time but now, we can't afford any longer. Even the bread that we depend on solely, its prices have increased," Ige, Akure resident, said.

"We have to resort to local rice," she continued. "My children have even abandoned the rice for yam, but it is still costly."

Tayo Adelaide, an Abuja resident, said the increase in the prices of staple food was an attempt to annihilate both the poor and vulnerable in the country.

"Just visit the Wuse market," Adelaide said. "You would notice that things are costly now. My wife used to buy bags of rice and half a bag of beans and garri in the house. But these days, we can't afford it any longer. Now, we only take home what we see and would eat, and this is frustrating and saddening". 

A medical doctor in Osun State, Tunde Akinlaja, blamed traders for the skyrocketing food prices, adding that some of them are using the opportunities of the coronavirus pandemic to exploit Nigerians. 

Similarly, Maxwell Ogene of Port Harcourt said many business owners indiscriminately increased the prices of food items.

He urged the government to come to the rescue of Nigerians by looking into the increase in the prices of essential commodities. 

"We can't continue to blame our problems on inflation," he said. "Are we saying the increase in dollar rate is the reason why prices of yam and cassava flours were increased too?

"A farmer who planted cassava would also come to tell you that the dollar has increased, hence the reason why the paint or rubber of garri is costly. I feel we are just the problem to ourselves, and this is why we need to call the attention of our government to this. Nigerians are suffering."

An economist, Ayodeji Eniayewu, said the government should rise and address the yearnings of Nigerians over the cost of necessary commodities. 

Eniayewu said that all the stakeholders in agriculture needed to come together and address the challenges of the hike in food prices, which is being attributed to COVID-19. 

He explained that the surge in food prices might also threaten the nation's food security if the government decided not to intervene. 

"If people said we should not blame the government for this, then who else should we blame and that is why we need those who understand how to run our economy in power,' he said.  

"There are no clear-cut policies put in place by our government to assist citizens, and that is why people said we are being affected by the rise in dollar price. I know the statistics are there and we are running to another inflation that would also make things worse than the one we are currently experiencing."

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SDP National Chairman, Prof Tunde Adeniran, Quits Politics

30 September 2020 - 12:15am

Prof Tunde Adeniran

The National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, on Tuesday announced his retirement from partisan politics.

Adeniran said this in a letter titled, 'Disengagement from Partisan Politics', dated September 29, 2020, which he signed and addressed to the party headquarters.

Prof Tunde Adeniran

The former education minister said, "Having briefed the critical stakeholders of the party and some well-wishers who believe in the party's prospects, I wish to inform the general public that I'm with effect from today, disengaging from partisan politics.

"This implies relinquishing my present position and abstaining henceforth from political activities that are purely partisan."

Adeniran explained that he was not unmindful of the enormity of the task before the political class at this time but that he has reached a point where he will better serve the nation as a statesman.

"There is a need for all committed patriots to rally around the vision of a secure and fulfilling future for them. My disengagement is therefore not from involvement in the political affairs of our dear country but in partisan politics," he added.

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Yoruba Will Be At War For Another 100 Years If Nigeria Breaks Up – Bisi Akande

30 September 2020 - 12:14am

Chief Bisi Akande

Chief Bisi Akande, a former Governor of Osun  State and pioneer Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, has appealed to those agitating for Nigeria's break-up to bury such a thought. 

Akande made the appeal on Monday in Ibadan during the inauguration of a project owned by Chief Adebayo Adelabu, a former CBN deputy governor and APC governorship candidate in the 2019 elections. 

Chief Bisi Akande

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that Akande, alongside other prominent Nigerians, were in Ibadan for the 50th birthday anniversary of Adelabu. 

He said allowing Yoruba to break away from Nigeria might lead to bloodshed and avoidable civil war that would further decimate the people. 

Akande called on those agitating for the Yoruba nation to bury the idea, saying the nation couldn't afford to witness another war. 

He said, "Those agitating for the Yoruba nation should have a rethink. This country must remain united to save it from war. 

"Yoruba will be in a war for another 100 years if Nigeria is allowed to break.

"Those tormenting Nigeria are doing so because they are products of failed states. It is a difficult task to stop crimes, particularly in a corrupt society. 

"Now that some Nigerians are talking about breaking away because of difficulties, they didn't know that a man who can not endure will collapse and die. Only enduring countries can stay," he said. 

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President Buhari's Performance Poor, Unimpressive, Says Junaid Mohammed

29 September 2020 - 11:53pm

Former Nigerian lawmaker in the second republic, Dr Junaid Mohammed, has rated the Buhari Muhammadu administration as very poor and unimpressive.

Mohammed told SaharaReporters that most Nigerians are not happy with the current government.

He said: "It is clear to me, for example, that General Buhari has not performed. Now, it is questionable whether one can honestly compare his performance when he was the Head of State from January 1984 to August 1985. With his performance, when he came as a dictator through a military coup, whether he was an active participant or just a beneficiary of the mood of the army officers that staged the coup in 1984 is one point.

"But the fact that matters is when you compare that performance of the government in which he was the head with the performance of this present government in which he's also the head, you have no reservation than to say he hasn't performed.

"We have a government which is supposed to be democratic, but it doesn't believe in listening. If you have a government which doesn't believe in listening, it's a very sensitive situation. Because, if you want to have a take and which can be made logically, lucidly, responsibly and which can be persuasively made, that government must come out honestly and sincerely."

Mohammed said Nigeria had not made significant progress since independence as the country is still dependent on oil revenue.

He said, "Over the years, from 1958 till date, Nigeria has not succeeded in diversifying the national economy. We, still, are a one-commodity economy. And anytime that commodity goes through rashes in the capitalist market, we go to very dire circumstances, and that is the situation now. 

"It could be said that is essentially our fault, the fault of those leading us. But, the fact is that some people in other countries of the world have been able to manage this difficulty we are in. So, in an overview, democratically or legitimately, Buhari is in power, and he's not performing.

"The idea of performance is fundamental. Democracy is just a system of government. It is not a mechanism in solving all problems. We believe in this concept that when we have democracy, our problems will be solved. This is not true. I think what we need is to have the right tools. So, we have to erase the idea that democracy will solve all economic problems and the country will be rich, and poverty and management issues will disappear.

"All I can say now is that Buhari is now enjoying his second mandate. Since he has not completed his tenure of office, we cannot talk about his overall performance as best or worst. The fact of the matter is that we cannot pass the buck of saying the worst or best president until he has the full tenure and we assess his government."

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National Assembly Has Until December To Amend Electoral Act, Says Not-Too Young-To-Run Convener

29 September 2020 - 11:52pm

Convener of the Not Too Young To Run Movement and Executive Director of Election monitoring group YIYAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, says the National Assembly is moving too slowly with returning the electoral amendment to the president for assent.

Itodo told SaharaReporters that the lawmakers have till December to get the bill signed by the president.

If delayed, he said, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might be unable to implement all necessary changes to ensure that the 2023 elections are conducted smoothly.

"If we want any meaningful reforms between now and 2023, the time to do the reforms is now. These reforms should be completed before December because by then we are already two years to the 2023 elections."

Itodo said that the ninth Assembly had promised to implement the needed changes before December.

He said if the legislators failed to start the process of ensuring the bill becomes law before December, then the country would be moving at a very slow pace towards reforms.

President Muhammadu Buhari refused to give consent to the amendment sent to him before the 2019 elections for three reasons, according to Itodo.

He said some of the changes in the electoral act could have to affect Buhari's chances of winning the presidential election.

He said that the eighth Assembly was viewed as an anti-Buhari legislature, making the president biased towards bills that emanated from it, even though they are of national interest.

Itodo pointed out that the Assembly members had not presented a perfect bill, giving the president an excuse to refuse assent.

Section 52 of the rejected amendment gave INEC the power to carry out electronic voting and any other progressive method it deems fit going forward.

Section 65 of that same bill mandated the commission to create a publicly accessible digital archive of results on a polling unit by polling unit basis.

This would have meant that digitally transmitted results were acceptable as well, stopping the desperation from waylaying returning officers and snatching ballot boxes.

Although INEC is still barred from adopting the digital measures, the commission created an election result portal that allowed registered users view results uploaded at polling units.

Itodo said this innovation made the Edo governorship election more credible.

"The deployment of the result viewing portal is fantastic and is unprecedented in our election process," he said. "What INEC has done is to allow the people to provide oversight on the collation process. The commission also tried to create positive provocation to get the National Assembly to accelerate the amendment of the electoral act."

Although Itodo says the integrity coefficient of the Edo election is higher than any other recent elections in the country, it was still fraught with incidents of vote-buying.

The Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) pronounced vote-buying as an act of corruption in 2018 and INEC had proposed a 3-year jail term for persons caught in the act.

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COVID-19: Civil Society Leaders Blame Nigerian Government For Public Disbelief

29 September 2020 - 11:47pm

Leaders of civil society groups have attributed the current mistrust and disbelief in the reality of the coronavirus pandemic to an inadequate response from the Nigerian government.

They expressed their opinions during a webinar on "COVID-19 and Accountability" organised by the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Foundation.

Busayo Morakinyo, who represented the Chief Executive of Connected Development, said that Nigerians no longer trust the government both at the federal and state levels.

Morakinyo added that the pandemic had further worsened conditions in the country, especially the health care sector which was already in comatose before the pandemic.

"Citizens do not believe there is anything like COVID-19 due to the way the government poorly handled the virus, especially the mismanagement of funds," Morakinyo said.

He condemned the secrecy by the government in handling COVID-19, adding that some state governments inflated the number of cases to receive more funds from the federal government and individual donors.

However, Awele Okigbo, CEO of Credo Advisory and communication consultant to Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the government through the PTF on COVID-19, had done much in carrying the people along in responding to the virus.

"We have engaged with the media. We have done about 91 press briefings. We answered questions, and we tried to be as collaborative as possible," Okigbo said.

Florence Kayemba of Stakeholders Democracy Network blamed the mistrust between the people and government on the poor handling of the virus in the Niger Delta region, pointing out that the pandemic had provided an opportunity for the government to learn some lessons.

Kayemba called on the Niger Delta Development Commission to be more accountable to the people on how funds were disbursed for COVID-19 response.

"When we talk about the release, I will like to believe that is what is given to extremely vulnerable people or people who are in the place where they need assistance. However, if the money were shared among them for whatever reason, I think the public has a right to know."

Describing the intervention of the NDDC as disturbing and disheartening, she said the government has to strengthen transparency and accountability, adding that the people must hold the government and institutions accountable to avert continuous misuse of public funds.

Also speaking, Kathleen FitzGibbon, United States Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, called for more social engagement and risk assessment to be carried out to enlighten the people on how to deal with the virus.

"As people start seeing how deadly the disease was, it helped us on the social engagement side to convince people on what they can do to prevent themselves," FitzGibbon said.

She said that many Nigerians do not believe the virus is real, which makes it hard to convince people to take personal responsibilities in staying safe.

She urged the Nigerian government to have a core group that monitors the spread of the virus and ensure that the country keeps fighting the pandemic.

FitzGibbon advised the Nigerian government to invest in risk communication to deliver the right message to the people.

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