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Nigerian Government Doesn't Understand Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement -AfDB

16 June 2019 - 2:08am


Director, Industrial and Trade Development of AfDB, Dr. Abdu Mukhtar

Director, Industrial and Trade Development of AfDB, Dr. Abdu Mukhtar BE Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed optimism that Nigeria, the largest country on the continent will soon ratify the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement.

The Director, Industrial and Trade Development of AfDB, Dr. Abdu Mukhtar, said this in an interview with journalists on Sunday.

The CFTA was adopted on March 21, 2018, and has presently been ratified by 22 African countries.

It seeks to create a single market for goods and services and movement of persons to deepen the economic integration of the continent among others.

According to Mukhtar, Nigeria is an important country for the CFTA and for the agreement to be effective useful and really worthwhile, Nigeria has to be part of it.

He said: “From what we are hearing, I think Nigeria is finalizing their discussions with key stakeholders.

“I understand the Nigerian government has been making consultations with the private sector, manufacturers association and so on. I have been talking to some of these people in Nigeria and I think the reason why they have been skeptical is that they don’t understand what is in it for them.

“So, what we could also do as a bank to provide that support to the Nigerian private sector is to organize a session for them. We did that two weeks ago in Abidjan as a test case, brought all the business people in Cote d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries and basically explained to them what the CFTA is.

“The private sector is the engine of growth in any country, so it is natural that they are apprehensive about what it means for them. They are apprehensive of whether it will benefit them or whether their market will be swollen by companies from other countries.

“So, I think that is the issue, but we are very confident that the Nigerian government will conclude on this consultation very soon and officially join.’’

Mukhtar, however, said that the AfDB was working at ensuring the success of the CFTA and had gotten approval from its Board of Directors to support submission of the CFTA secretariat.

He said the location for the secretariat was still being deliberated upon by the African Union adding that the AfDB had already secured the finances to support the secretariat where ever it was situated.

The director said the African Union was aware that establishing the secretariat as soon as possible was very important while expressing optimism that it would be concluded by this year.

On integrating the continent through trade, Mukhtar said it was important to ensure the right policies were put in place.

He said the bank was working on that and also providing a lot of advisory services to countries in their trade policy agenda.

He said integration also required adequate infrastructure, building the right roads and so on and also custom reforms.

Mukhtar said AfDB had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korean Customs Service to work with a number of countries to help them organize their customs services.

He said the bank was looking at selecting six countries in the first phase, adding that he would be in South Korea soon to finalize the discussion on the countries that would benefit from this.

On the bank’s project in the aviation sector, Mukhtar said it was still ongoing as the bank would not relent in its effort to support the expansion of airlines.

He said “The project is still ongoing, we have supported air links , we are doing it in two ways , one is to establish the basic infrastructure, supporting airport that will act as house in various regions.

“And secondly, working with airlines that will connect effectively across the continent and one good example is the Ethiopian airlines.

“The bank has actually supported the expansion of Ethiopian airlines, we have recently supported air Cote d’ Ivoire which is also expanding its routes, the linkages to various places across the continent.

“We are playing and will continue to play a great role in this because for the bank, integration is really important.’’

He urged business owners and entrepreneurs on the continent to ensure they trade within the continent to increase our rate of trade to meet up with the Europeans and Latin Americans.

On AfDB’s involvement with Nigeria, Mukhtar said the bank was doing a lot of projects in Nigeria, adding that Nigeria was an important member of the bank.

He said the bank was positive about Nigeria and its entrepreneurs and urged it to take advantage of the bank when necessary.

“Nigeria should see it as their own bank, come to us whenever they have good projects that they want financing, especially on the private sector side.

“People think the AFDB only work with government but the key message I will like you to pass on is that we do a lot of private sector business as well .

“And we will like to work more with the private sector business and support their expansion.”

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Why We Must Not Give Up On Nigeria -Sowore

16 June 2019 - 2:05am



Omoyele Sowore, human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner, has warned Nigerians against seeking instant gratification from politicians at the expense of building a country that works for their future.

He made the call while speaking to Nigerians a townhall meeting organised by the Take It Back Movement in Greece.

Sowore who ran for Nigeria's Presidency in the 2019 general elections said his experience with Nigerians both young and old during the campaign prove that the immediate need to benefit for politicians was holding the country back.

He said, "Anytime you meet Nigerians, the question they will ask you is what do you have for us? Do you have money, land or anything to promise us and even if you promise them something bigger for the future, they will still want instantaneous gratification and it is not only the youth who do it, older people do it too. 

"It might get to a point where you want to get discouraged about Nigeria. This is the experience we had this last election but because of the fact that this is a country of two million people, it's very important that we do not give up for Nigeria and for Africa."

Sowore attributed the unwillingness of Nigerians to participate in the electoral process or encourage young people who do to internalization of Inferiority complex due to oppression. 

"Do not give up regardless of what you hear from home. Part of what you hear when people say go and start from the local government is the mental conditioning of oppression, just like in the days of slavery.

Slaves were made to feel that those on the fields were inferior to house slaves but until everybody became free, they didn't realize that slavery was slavery and there is no category. 

"It's the same with Nigerians, they have been mentally battered and conditioned over the years to be questioning even their own humanity and competence to lead anything because their leaders keep telling them they are not good enough."

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2,000 Nigerian Children Petition State Governors To Pay Attention To Safety, Quality Education

16 June 2019 - 2:04am


 

Today, on the Day of the African Child, about 2000 youth across 10 Nigerian states - including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja - presented petitions to their governors, parliamentarians, policymakers and other influential persons in a mass effort to draw attention to the need to act on commitments to increasing access to safe, quality education for all children, especially girls.

The action, supported by UNICEF, comes as the world celebrates the Day of the African Child, commemorating the day in 1976 that hundreds of students were shot in Soweto, South Africa, while demonstrating for their right to quality education.

The Nigerian campaign for access to quality education will hold the newly-elected government officials at all levels accountable for their campaign promises to provide equitable access to free, safe and quality education for every child, especially the girl child, in Nigeria.

The 10 states where the mass actions are taking place, Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, and the FCT, have about eight million children not in school and, an average enrolment rate of only 57 percent.

The global theme for this year’s Day of the African child is child rights in all situations, including during humanitarian crises.

In Nigeria today, over 10.5 million children are unable to access safe and quality education, including due to the ongoing crisis in the north-east, which has left schools destroyed, teachers unavailable, and parents terrified to send their children to school due to insecurity – especially for girl children, who have been the victim of kidnapping while at school.

“Schools should be a safe place for children – one in which they can get a quality education that will put them on the path to a secure future,” said Peter Kawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

“Sadly, the demand for quality education by children in Soweto, South Africa in 1976, is still valid today, in too many countries around the world. The youth actions we are seeing today across several states is a wakeup call for leaders to act on their commitments to provide quality education for all children, in all situations.”

The engagement seeks to secure commitments from national and state governments to prioritize children’s rights to education in their governance agenda, including through budgeting, in their states and at the national level.

“This engagement creates an opportunity for Nigerian youth to advocate policy and decision makers and urge them to commit resources to education, without which the substantial number of out-of-school children in Nigeria will not be reduced,” said Peter Hawkins.

The action is calling for improved school infrastructure, a massive enrolment campaign to bring all children to school, and targeted investments to ensure an uninterrupted 12 years of schooling for girls. In addition, it hopes to extract a commitment for a 10% increase in budgetary allocation and release of funds for education, with 50 percent of the total budget to basic education, recruitment, deployment and provision of incentives for 1000 female teachers per year and recruitment and deployment of 1000 qualified teachers per year, especially to rural areas, where they are most needed.

The action comes as the world celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The Convention is the most widely-ratified human rights treaty in history and stipulates that every child has the right to education. It has helped to transform children’s lives; inspiring legislative changes to protect children and enabling them to participate actively in their societies. Nigeria ratified the CRC in 1991.

As part of the commemoration, UNICEF has released a “Passport to Your Rights” – a copy of the CRC in child-friendly language, in pocket format. UNICEF aims that every child in Nigeria has a copy by 2030 – the deadline for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The CRC ‘passport’ is also available in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin languages, helping to ensure access by millions of Nigerians.

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Buhari To Nigerian Universities: You're Still Slow In Discoveries, Inventions After 58 Years

16 June 2019 - 1:53am


President Buhari with his children L-R: Miss Zahra Buhari, Halimat Buhari Sheriff and Yusuf Buhari as he celebrates with hem on their graduation and Call to Bar in Statehouse

FILE PHOTO: President Buhari with his children L-R: Miss Zahra Buhari, Halimat Buhari Sheriff and Yusuf Buhari as he celebrates with them on their graduation and Call to Bar in Statehouse

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerian universities to intensify efforts at making discoveries and inventions that can assist the development of the country as he lamented their slowness in making discoveries and inventing things.

Mr. Buhari made the call on Saturday in Dutsinma, Katsina State, in his address at the fourth convocation of the Federal University, Dutsinma (FUDMA).

"It is not heart-warming that in our over 58 years of independence, Nigerian universities are slow in discoveries and inventions,” he said.

The president, represented by Hafiz Abubakar, a professor, the former Deputy Governor of Kano State, said part of the speech would serve as a wake-up call to the nation’s universities.

“Research, critical thinking, moral dispositions, discoveries, and inventions should find natural habitats in our universities, as they do in several other universities in the world.

“Universities are supposed to be strong drivers of the country’s development initiatives for sustainable development,” he said.

He, however, said that his administration would continue to do everything possible to improve structures and facilities in the institutions and to enhance learning by training the required manpower through various interventions like TETFUND.

Mr. Buhari also urged FUDMA to partner with Sokoto River Basin Development Authority to produce improved agricultural varieties and give the required scientific and extension support to the local farmers.

He said this would enhance the farmers’ productivity and economic viability.

In his remarks, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the university, Adamu Baba-Kutigi, a professor, said 430 students were graduating from the institution for the 2017/2018 session.

According to him, the university, whose vision is to be among the top-ranking universities in the world, has seven faculties that run about 40 programmes.

He said the institution had established microfinance bank, university farm, printing press, and a shopping mall to enhance its internally generated revenue.

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2019 Elections: Nigeria's Electoral Body, INEC, Blames 91 Political Parties For Its Failures

16 June 2019 - 1:32am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said a large number of political parties that participated in the 2019 general elections caused it a lot of logistics problems.

Mohammed Haruna, the National Commissioner in charge of Kwara, Kogi and Nasarawa states, said this on Saturday in Ilorin while speaking with journalists.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that INEC organised a workshop in Kwara to review the 2019 general elections.

According to the National Commissioner, there was 799 litigation from the 2019 general elections across the country.

He said that Jigawa had no petition from the election, Kwara had only three petitions and that Imo topped the list with 77 petitions.

Mr. Haruna said there were over 800 million pre-election cases across the country that arose from political parties’ primary elections.

“So you can see that with these kinds of problems we had, there is really a need to look at the number of political parties.

“We really need to do something about the 91 political parties, not just the quantity which generally speaking the public have begun to complain that 93 political parties are on the high side,” he added.

He noted that 76 political parties contested for the Presidential election, adding that this was the source of the serious logistics problem that the commission had.

“We underestimated the kind of logistical problem that implied the size of the ballot papers, result sheets and so on.

“By the time these materials started arriving, we realize that it was a huge logistical problem.

“We are lucky, we had the Nigerian Air Force to help with the movement of the materials, they have always been helping us,” Mr. Haruna said.

The commissioner said the Electoral Act and the Constitution have to be reviewed to curb the increasing number of political parties.

According to him, the Constitution and the Electoral Act made it easy for anybody to register a political party once the person has an office in Abuja and its executive officers that reflected the Federal Character.

Mr. Haruna said the workshop was to review the 2019 general election to see what went wrong, and how to make sure that similar mistakes are not repeated in future elections.

He said the review would help the commission to do better during off-season elections coming up in Bayelsa and Kogi later in the year. In his remark, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Garba Attahiru-Madami, said the workshop was mainly to review the activities of the last election and proffer solutions to identified lapses.

Mr. Attahiru-Madami, who was represented by the Administrative Secretary, Martins Chiroma, advised participants to contribute meaningfully to the sessions.

“We want to receive inputs from you that will help INEC to overcome challenges identified during the last general elections,” he said.

NAN reports that the workshop was attended by Electoral Officers, Assistant Electoral Officers (AEO) in charge of Operations and RAC from the 16 local government areas of the state.

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Apapa Gridlock: Container Falls On Two Vehicles

16 June 2019 - 1:32am



At least two cars were destroyed after a container fell on them around Tin Can Island port in Apapa, Lagos, on Saturday.

It’s not clear if there were casualties but the affected vehicles were badly damaged.

Heavy-duty vehicles are scattered across Apapa due to the location of different ports in the area. To reduce traffic congestion and possibly minimize accidents, the federal government recently set up a task force to restore sanity to the roads in the area.

Here are some pictures from the scene of the accident:

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Herdsmen From Burkina Faso, Mali, Other Nations Taking Over Nigeria's Forest Reserves -Nigerians In Oyo, Ogun Cry Out

16 June 2019 - 1:27am


 

Residents of towns and villages along the Opara Forest Reserve in Oyo State and Imeko Forest Reserve in Ogun State are living in fear following the invasion of the two reserves by herdsmen from African countries like Burkina Faso, Mali among others.

Some residents of Imeko, Iwoye and Jabata told SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday that the development had been a major source of concern them, alleging that the herdsmen allowed their animals to destroy people’s farms while grazing in the areas.

One of the residents of Iwoye, Adeyemi Olaosebikan, told our correspondent on the telephone that inhabitants of Jabata village in the Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State had deserted their community following the killing of some indigenes during an attack.

He said residents fled the community in May after four persons were killed in the community, adding that residents of other border communities were now living in fear.

Olaosebikan stated, “Herdsmen from many countries in West Africa have taken over the Opara Forest Reserve in Oyo State and Imeko Forest Reserve in Ogun State. Their presence there is causing fear among the people.

“In fact, resident have deserted Jabata Village which is in Imeko Afon. Imeko Forest Reserve should be twice the size of Ibadan. It is 378 square miles. The Opara Forest Reserve is almost three times bigger than Imeko Reserve.

“Government is watching herdsmen from Burkina Faso, Mali and other countries taking over an area that is that large. The forest reserves belong to the Federal Government but state forest guards are the ones taking care of them. However, it is obvious that the forest guards are not doing anything there. So, this invasion is a time bomb.”

Corroborating the claim, a resident of Imeko Afon, Joseph Ogunwale, said the herdsmen, who invaded and occupied a tomato factory, being built by the Oodua Investment Company Limited had yet to vacate the place almost two months after.

“Government took over the forest between 1908 and 1930. The forest reserves are in the Nigeria-Republic of Benin border. These two reserves are very large. Imeko Forest Reserve is bigger that Ibadan and Opara Forest Reserve is almost three times bigger than Imeko Reserve,” he said.

One of the prominent sons of Imeko, Prof. Anthony Asiwaju, a former lecturer at the Department of History, University of Lagos, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the occupation of Imeko Forest Reserve by foreigners was a security threat.

Asiwaju said, “Many of them have taken residence in uncared for, unguarded forests reserves along the international boundary. They cross from the northern part of Benin Republic to Nigeria. The government there does not allow them to stay and they cross to Nigeria and move into the fore

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EU Didn't Question Results Of Nigeria's Presidential Election -President Buhari

16 June 2019 - 1:27am


 

The Presidency has welcomed the report of the European Union (EU) on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, promising to analyze it fully and act on the recommendations, claiming that the EU did not question the results of the presidential election.

In a statement by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, President Muhammadu Buhari's government noted that the EU observers had been invited to the country by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The statement said: "This was a clear indication of the administration's good intentions, commitment to a pure democratic process, and desire to improve for the next elections. The EU noted in their report that there were marked improvements from previous elections, although stating that more work needed to be done.

"The administration of President Buhari will work with all Nigerian citizens, state institutions, parties, civil society, the media, and other experts to make sure that the improvements recommended by the EU are implemented, and that these areas of concern are addressed."

According to Shehu, it is noteworthy that INEC is in receipt of a number of recommendations that form a part of the EU report.

Shehu, therefore, stated that commission is in safe hands and "happy that they are currently engaged in root and branch reviews of the 2019 general elections and will input lessons learned into its recommendations for electoral and constitutional reforms".

He added in the statement: "We believe that the commission conducted a good election and will continue to improve on its processes and procedures. While it is regretted that the elections in a few parts of the country witnessed some violence, among other shortcomings highlighted by the EU, we note however that none of these hitches affected the overall outcome of the elections.

"Thankfully, the EU did not question the results of the presidential election. For instance, on page 3 in its Executive Summary, the EU said: “positively, the elections were competitive, parties were overall able to campaign and civil society enhanced accountability," Shehu claimed.

"The report also acknowledged that INEC made a number of improvements, including making electoral participation more accessible through simplified voting procedures." 

According to the report, INEC made efforts to strengthen electoral integrity by issuing regulations making smart card readers mandatory, the statement added.

On page 4, the EU noted that the elections were competitive with a large number of candidates for all seats although the competition was primarily between the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party.

According to the report ‘‘parties and candidates were overall able to campaign, with freedoms of assembly, expression and movement broadly respected.’’

It said further that on Page 5, the report noted that the EU EOM media monitoring over 46 days showed federal government-owned Radio’s commitment to balanced election coverage.

"It said that positively in almost all observations party agents received copies of the results forms, adding that the National Collation Centre for the presidential election was open to party agents and observers, and was continuously televised

"Again on page 37, the report said the national collation Centre for the presidential results was open to party agents, observers, and the media with each state’s results projected on a large screen. 'There was continuous live television coverage and the media published the results as announced by INEC, thereby increasing access to results information'.

"Page 41 under section Results and Stakeholder Reaction, EU said: ‘‘YIAGA Africa announced that the results were consistent with its parallel vote tabulation that INDEPENDENTLY projected the results based on a sample of 1,515 polling units. The two leading parties won 96.8% of the valid votes between them,’’ the statement explained.

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Banditry: Motorists Shun Ife-Ibadan Highway

16 June 2019 - 1:18am


Vehicular movement on the Ife-Ibadan Expressway was noticeably light on Friday and Saturday, a development attributed to the incessant attacks by armed bandits on commuters and motorists on the highway.

Going from Osogbo to Ikire on Friday, our correspondent observed fewer vehicles on the ever-busy road which connects the South-West region to other parts of the country.

From Gbongan Junction to the boundary of Osun and Oyo states, there were four police checkpoints manned by heavily armed riot police.

Before Wednesday’s attack, which claimed the life of an employee of the Atakumosa West Local Government Area, Adenipekun Samson, who was shot in the neck by some gunmen suspected to be Fulani bandits, there had been an increase in the cases of kidnapping and armed robbery on the road.

The deceased, who was confirmed dead in a hospital as a result of the gunshot, was said to be travelling in an unregistered Toyota Corolla car driven by one Ismaila Olayiwola, going towards Ibadan, Oyo State, when the incident happened.

Two commercial drivers, who spoke with PUNCH on the issue at Naira and Kobo Junction, Ikire, attributed the light vehicular movement on the road to the frequent robbery attacks.

One of the drivers, identified simply as Adenekan, said the reduction in the volume of traffic was as a result of the increase in the attack on travellers by bandits.

He said, “The number of vehicles coming from Osogbo and Ife towards Ibadan has reduced. The attacks by bandits cause this. We can only hope that the perpetrators will be arrested to restore people’s confidence. Despite today being a weekend, people are not travelling through this route. People are afraid to use this road.”

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We Would Have Struck And Put An End To Herdsmen In South-West But Yoruba Leaders Stopped Us -Oodua Peoples' Congress

16 June 2019 - 1:17am


The OPC led by Aare Gani Adams has said it was ready to flush out armed herdsmen kidnapping and perpetrating criminal activities in the region.

The Ondo State Coordinator of the group, Mr. Victor Olayemi, said this during a summit organized by South-west governors to discuss the rising spate of violence and crimes in the region.

Olayemi, however, added that the group was waiting for a directive from the governors in the region, saying it needed their backing before it could launch any successful operation.

The OPC leader said the group would have struck against the criminals terrorizing the region but they were being checked by some leaders in the region.

He said, “We would have struck and stopped the herdsmen terrorizing the South-West but we are waiting to be given a go-ahead.  We will be happy if the government is ready to partner us to tackle the bandits.

“On the summit, we have not heard anything from the governors about it, but if they want our inputs, we will be happy to join them. Herdsmen cannot be holding us to ransom in the South-West; we have what it takes to stop them.”

The Coordinating Supervisor of the OPC in Osun State,  Adedeji Aladesawe, said the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland who is also the National Leader of the OPC wrote letters to governors in the region about eight months ago on the infiltration of the region by herdsmen.

He said, “Aare (Gani Adams) wrote to the governors and prominent traditional rulers in the region eight months ago, informing them of the infiltration of the region by the bandits.

“When he did not get any response from them, he wrote a reminder. Yet no action was taken. He (Adams) requested a security summit that would involve all stakeholders on the matter, but nothing was done, despite the warning.”

Meanwhile, governors of states in the South-west have reached out to the army, police and other security agencies on the need to redouble their efforts to stop atrocities being perpetrated by armed herdsmen and other criminals in the region.

The Commissioner for Information in Ekiti State, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, told one of our correspondents on Saturday that Governor Kayode Fayemi had reached out to the police and other security agencies in the state on the issue.

The Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, has also told the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, on the need to assist in flushing out kidnappers from the state.

The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, said governors in the region in conjunction with all stakeholders would hold a security meeting on the rampaging armed herdsmen in the region.

Olumilua told SUNDAY PUNCH that Fayemi was determined to end the crisis.

He said, “Only on Thursday, the Nigerian Army, 323 Brigade in Akure said they were going all out to stamp out insecurity in Ondo and Ekiti states.

“Less than three weeks ago, the governor summoned all the traditional rulers in the state to warn subjects in their domains to become security conscious, report unusual activities that can help police foil crime and possible arrest of criminals.”

The Chief Press Secretary to Osun State Governor, Mr. Adeniyi Adesina, told one of our correspondents that the state would use an all-encompassing approach to end insecurity in the state.

Meanwhile, the Afenifere led by Senator Ayo Fasanmi has said it will hold a mini-security summit on insecurity in the South-West on June 19.

The spokesperson for the group, Mr. Abiodun Akin-Fasae, who said this in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the group was worried by the insecurity in the region.

Also, the Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the group was concerned about the rising insecurity in the region.  He said leaders of the group would attend the security summit being proposed by the South West governors if they were invited.

He said, “The issue of security is a concern of everybody. Though we have not heard anything about the summit other than what we are hearing from the governors. If they invite us to participate, we will but the summit should be organised with all sincerity. It should not be politicized. “

The Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, said the summit would involve all stakeholders in the South-West, maintaining that the summit would not have anything to do with politics.

He said, “The venue and time of the summit would be decided by the governors but I want to assure you that the summit would not be based on politics. Lagos, Oyo, and Ondo had organised security summits before and they were all successful, I believe based on this, the proposed security summit will be successful.

“When it is time, all the stakeholders in the South-West would be involved in the security summit, none will be left out.”

In a related development, the President of a faction of OPC, Prince Osibote, has called on the Federal Government to check the criminal activities of armed Fulani herdsmen in Yoruba land before the situation degenerates.

The group also warned armed herdsmen and all criminals in the region to relocate or be ready to meet their Waterloo.

Osibote, who succeeded the late Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, gave the warning in a statement on Saturday.

He said, “We are watching the unfolding ugly developments with keen interest. Yoruba and other residents in the South-West should not panic. We are however calling on the Federal Government to quickly address this insecurity problem before it further degenerates. OPC leaders will not watch helplessly or fold their hands while some criminals are making life difficult for people and behaving as if they are above the law.

“Enough is enough. Yoruba are peace-loving and hospitable. We welcome everybody with open arms, but the OPC will not allow any individual or group to make the South-West unsafe or turn Yorubaland into a den of criminals. Time is up for these criminals abducting people. This is the final warning to them; they should stop now or relocate elsewhere outside the South-West. If they fail to do so, they will soon meet their Waterloo.”

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It's True Tinubu Begged Abacha To Be Commissioner In Lagos -Bode George

16 June 2019 - 1:09am


Bola Tinubu

Bola Tinubu

A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Bode George, has commended Kola Abiola, the son of the late MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the Jun 12, 1993, election, for exposing former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and other “June 12 opportunists.”

George said this to PUNCH while reacting to Kola’s allegations that after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, Tinubu approached the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, and begged him for a commissioner appointment in Lagos State.

According to Kola, it was after Tinubu had lost out that he decided to join hands with the National Democratic Coalition to fight for the actualization of the June 12 mandate.

George, who is also a former military administrator, hailed Kola for stating the facts even as he lamented that many opportunists were seeking to twist history.

He said, “It is true that Tinubu went to beg for a commissioner position. He was in the Villa and Gen. Oladipo Diya is a witness. He (Tinubu) said he wanted to be a deputy to a military administrator and when all that didn’t work, he went into his activism.”

The PDP chieftain hailed Kola for deciding to make a documentary of the June 12 saga.

George said Kola must not be victimized for saying the truth since, as the first son of MKO, he was an insider.

He said, “Most of what Kola said is true. He spoke from the heart and he was trying to set the records straight in the face of the many narratives. He had been looking for who would help to recognize the June 12 saga so that his father wouldn’t have died in vain.

“In the course of this, he had bottled up so much. He went through a lot, having lost his mother and family businesses during the struggle. So, he was setting the records straight so that people would not rewrite history.”

The PDP chieftain, however, said Nigeria had yet to learn from the June 12 saga.

George said, “Now, June 12 has been adopted as a national holiday but have we learnt any serious lesson from it? Have we done anything to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated? “Yes, people are pontificating and trying to use it as a political tool but believe we have not learnt anything.”

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Zamfara Boils Again: Bandits Kill 34 People In Three Villages

16 June 2019 - 1:04am


At least 34 people have been killed after suspected bandits attacked three villages in Shinkafi local government of Zamfara State.

The attacks were reported to have taken place on Friday.

The affected villages are Gidan Wawo-Katuru, Tungar Kaho-Galadi, and Kyalido-Katuru.

A source told TheCable that the attackers, who came on motorcycles, set many houses on fire and shot at those within their sight.

Mohammed Shehu, police public relations officer (PPRO) in Zamfara, confirmed the attack but said normalcy had been restored in the villages.

“In order to forestall future occurrence in any part of the state, the Zamfara State Police Command in collaboration with other security agencies have made adequate security arrangement to ensure adequate protection of all villages and communities in the state,” he said in a statement.

“Today being 15 June, 2019, the Commissioner of Police Zamfara State Command, CP Usman Nagogo, joined the delegation led by the deputy governor to the affected villages for the burial of the deceased.

“The CP has directed the combine security personnel deployed to the area to improve and sustain the ongoing bush combing of the affected area and its environs for possible arrest of the perpetrators of this dastardly act.”

Efforts of the government to contain attacks in Zamfara have not yielded the desired result.

Two months ago, the federal government banned mining, citing it as a major cause of banditry but several attacks have been recorded after that action.

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We Saw Systemic Failures In Nigeria's 2019 Elections -EU Observers

15 June 2019 - 11:29pm


 

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in Nigeria has said Nigeria's presidential, governorship, federal and state parliamentary elections were characterized by systemic failures. 

It also said the EU observers knew nothing about the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)'s server that was allegedly used to transmit results of the 2019 general elections.

Briefing journalists in Abuja on the EU EOM’s report, the Deputy Chief Observer for the EU, Hannah Roberts, said the Mission relied on results that were released by INEC.

Roberts, while fielding questions,  noted that the EU Mission in Nigeria was unaware of an INEC server by which results were transmitted during the election.

“The EU had to rely on INEC’s explanation in result transmission,” she said. 

The main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had claimed that an INEC server was used to transmit results of the election.

Maria Arena, the EU Chief Observer, had earlier presented a final report with recommendations for electoral reforms.

She said the EU EOM had 91 observers on the ground for the presidential and federal parliamentary elections across Nigeria.

Arena added that 73 observers were deployed for the governorship and state parliamentary elections while only 20 observers were used for the supplementary elections.

Following its observation mission, she said the EU EOM had 30 recommendations on how to improve future electoral processes in Nigeria.

“The mission concluded that the systemic failings seen in the elections, and the relatively low levels of voter participation, show the need for fundamental electoral reform.

”The EU report prioritized seven recommendations of the 30, one of which was that Nigeria to Strengthen INEC procedures for the collation of results to improve integrity and confidence in electoral outcomes.

Another recommendation was that electoral tribunals cover pre-election cases in order to improve access to remedy and to avoid petitions being taken to different courts at the same time.

However, Festus Keyamo,  spokesman for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, who addressed journalists afterward, faulted the EU EOM for not coming to a conclusion in its report.

He said: “The result reflects the overall wishes of Nigerians, that was the report by so many observers, if you are an observer you should come to a definitive conclusion; don’t be dodgy about it; don’t run away from that fact because we have 120,000 polling units across the country and in all their reports I don’t think they discussed at most 500 polling units.

“If you observed certain anomalies, it could not have been more than 500 or 1,000 polling units and if you do observe anomalies in those polling units, how does that substantially affect results coming from 120,000 polling unit?

“So it is not enough for you to discuss the anomalies, they must discuss the overall results coming from the entire country and whether it did reflect the wishes of the people. This is what we want to know because they have problems in the US elections, there are problems in the EU and even UK elections.

“For Christ sake, we need a detailed analysis to come to a definitive conclusion about the overall result of the election.”

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Asset Recovery Panel: Former Gombe Governor, Dankwambo, Wanted For Questioning In Gombe

15 June 2019 - 11:26pm


 

The Gombe State Assets Recovery Committee has urged the immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Ibrahim Dankwambo, and his aides to appear before it.

The committee said the invitation was for the past administration to account for properties it disposed of illegally.

The chairman of the committee retired Group Capt. Peter Bilal, made the call while briefing journalists on Saturday in Gombe.

He said if they failed to appear, the committee would resort to legal actions to recover the state assets that were disposed of without due process.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya had set up the committee following his inauguration to recover alleged government property improperly disposed of by his predecessor, Dankwambo.

He alleged that a lot of government property worth billions of naira were improperly disposed of during Dankwambo’s tenure.

“We call on  Dankwambo, his former commissioner of finance and appointees, including his aide-de-camp, principal permanent secretary chief of staff, to respond to the directive.

“Also, the former security adviser is to appear before the committee and surrender government property in their possession with immediate effect,” he stated.

Bilal also called on any persons in possession of government property to return them as soon as possible.

He alleged that all efforts to get Dankwambo and his aides to account for how the state government's property was disposed of and some cash withdrawn from government coffers at the twilight of his administration had failed.

According to him, the committee has recovered some and some beneficiaries voluntarily surrendered theirs.

“So far the committee recovered some property including lands, vehicles among other things,” he said.

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Nigeria Is One of The Least Peaceful Places on Earth, Says Global Peace Index

15 June 2019 - 11:08pm


Nigeria is one of the least peaceful places on earth, says 2019 Global Peace Index (GPI) report, despite claims by the All Progressives Congress-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari that the country is better than they met in 2015.

The country, battling with banditry, economic stagnation, insurgency, kidnapping and an increasing rate of suicides, is ranked 148 out of 163 countries in the world.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria sits among the top five least peaceful countries in the region alongside, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Somalia, and South Sudan.

The GPI measures peacefulness across three domains: safety and security, ongoing conflict, and militarization. It pointed out that while the world has become less peaceful over the last decade, there have been some notable improvements in peace.

The GPI also analyzed the potential long-term impact of climate change on levels of peacefulness. An estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards.

Of this number, 400 million or 41 percent, reside in countries with already low levels of peacefulness. Climate change can indirectly increase the likelihood of violent conflict through its impacts on resource availability, livelihood security, and migration.

Eight of the 25 least peaceful countries have ten percent or more of their population in high climate hazard areas, amounting to 103.7 million people at risk. These countries are South Sudan, Iraq, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, North Korea, Nigeria, and Mexico.

Yet, the report recorded some cheering news for the so-called African giant, saying: “Nigeria’s improvement was based on a reduction in deaths from internal conflict.

According to it, safety and security was sub-Saharan Africa’s least peaceful domain and recorded the largest deterioration last year. While 18 countries improved, 24 deteriorated. The likelihood of violent demonstrations deteriorated most significantly, followed by the impact of terrorism. The incarceration rate rose on average last year, as did the homicide rate and perceptions of criminality.

However, the report stated that in a place like Nigeria, “experiences of sadness, stress, and worry are on the rise regardless of peace levels”.

It added: “In the past decade, 77 countries experienced increased sadness whilst only 20 decreased in experiences of sadness. Of those that increased in sadness, 44 had a corresponding deterioration in peace level.

“Of those that decreased in sadness, 60 percent recorded a corresponding increase in peacefulness. Less than half of the countries that improved in stress and worry levels had corresponding improvements in their GPI scores.” 

The report noted that the world is considerably less peaceful now than it was in 2008, with the average level of country peacefulness deteriorating by 3.78 percent over the last decade.

It added that peacefulness had declined year-on-year for seven of the last 10 years.

“Since 2008, 81 countries have become less peaceful, compared to 81 that have improved.

It admitted that most of the deterioration in peacefulness over the last decade occurred in the MENA region. If this region was excluded from the analysis, the average level of peace in the world would only have deteriorated by 0.95 percent.

“Even within the MENA region, the deterioration in the last decade was concentrated in a handful of countries, most notably Syria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and Bahrain,” the GPI pointed out.

Results in sub-Saharan Africa were mixed last year across both indicators and countries. Twenty-seven of the region’s 44 countries deteriorated in peacefulness, leading to a weakening of all three domains of the GPI, while 12 of the region’s 23 indicators improved and eight deteriorated.

The region’s five largest country improvements were in Rwanda, The Gambia, Djibouti, Eswatini, and Somalia. Improvement in internal conflicts fought boosted Somalia by one place in the 2019 GPI to rank 158, lifting it out of the five least peaceful countries in the world. The five worst deteriorations occurred in Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Namibia.

Militarisation was the region’s most peaceful domain and the only one in which it outperforms the global average, although it deteriorated slightly last year because of reductions in UN peacekeeping funding and increases in nuclear and heavy weapons and the armed services personnel rate.

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DSS Denies Recruitment Rumour, Warns Job Seekers Of Fraudsters

15 June 2019 - 10:55pm


 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has denied the report that the service is recruiting through an advertorial been circulate in the social media.

The service disclosed this on Sunday in Abuja in a press statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya and made availed to journalists.

The statement said that the  information is not correct and should be treated as a scam by fraudsters to swindle unsuspecting members of the public, particularly job applicants.

The statement said: "The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to a false advertisement being circulated on social media platforms that it is recruiting. The Service wishes to state that the information is not correct and should be treated as a scam by fraudsters to swindle unsuspecting members of the public, particularly job applicants.

"This statement, therefore, serves as an advice to potential victims to be wary of the misleading advertorial so as not to fall into the hands of unscrupulous persons that may defraud them. Those seeking information on recruitment into the Service are advised to verify such from its State commands and other formations."

Afunanya warned those behind the advertorial to desist from the inglorious act noting that the service will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law to bear on perpetrators.

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BREAKING: Boko Haram Attacks Nigerian Soldiers, Military Base In Damasak, Borno State

15 June 2019 - 10:49pm


 

Boko Haram terrorists have attacked Nigerian troops in Damasak town of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State.

SaharaReporters had authoritatively detailed plans of the attack on soldiers by the insurgents, calling on the government to act fast.

A top military source who confirmed the incident said the attack was carried out on a military base at about 7 pm on Saturday.  See Also Exclusive EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian Soldiers Face Impending Attacks In Damasak, Mallam Fatori, Magumeri, Gubio And Fuchimiram In Borno State 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

The insurgents launched the attack on the Special Forces Base from the Southern part of Damasak while exchanging fire with troops for about an hour.

SaharaReporters on June 14 detailed plans of an impending attack Nigerian soldiers in Damasak, Mallam Fatori, Magumeri, Gubio and Fuchimiram areas of Borno State.

The exclusive report revealed that the Boko Haram terrorists who are planning the attacks are currently taking refuge in Fuchimiram village, 6 kilometres West of Kareto Village where they carried out a deadly attack on June 12, 2019.

Military intelligence seen by SaharaReporters shows that the leadership of the Nigerian army and President Muhammadu Buhari were notified in advance of the democracy day attacks.

Intelligence of the possible attacks in the affected area's was dispatched on the 6th and 7th of June, 2019.

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UPDATED: Gunmen Kill Ambulance Driver, Injure Police Escort Conveying Lassa Fever Relief Materials

15 June 2019 - 1:22pm


The Ondo State Health Commissioner, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, has confirmed an earlier report by SaharaReporters that there was an attack on an ambulance travelling along the boundary between Ondo and Edo states on Friday.

Adegbenro said some health officials in the ambulance were attacked. 

He told SaharaReporters on Saturday that the attackers shot dead the ambulance's driver and wounded a police escort. 

"What actually happened was that a convoy was coming from Port Harcourt via Benin to bring some consumables and ambulances to the state (Ondo) donated by the NDDC. 

"The commission lost a driver and a policeman was shot. They were attacked somewhere around Benin and Ifon in Ondo State," he said.  See Also CRIME Gunmen Attack Ambulance, Kills 2 On Ondo-Edo Boundary 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

According to the Ondo commissioner, the armed bandits had attempted to abduct all the occupants of the ambulance but were not successful and shot at the ambulance which had a police escort.

"The tendency was that maybe they wanted to kidnap (the people in the ambulance). But they were not successful because the entourage had police back-up. 

"But during the mayhem that ensued, one driver was killed and a policeman was injured. But they did not succeed in taking anyone away. That was the incident. It was an unfortunate one. I think the police are investigating the issue because it was in the Edo axis.

"We hope, if they are lucky, they would be able to apprehend them (the gunmen)," Dr. Adegbenro added. 

Sahara Reporters had reported how the ambulance conveying medical materials was attacked on the Ondo-Benin road by gunmen.
 

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AAC Expels Former Ogun Chairman, Gubernatorial Candidate For Anti-party Activities

15 June 2019 - 12:27pm



The African Action Congress (AAC) in Ogun state has expelled it gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 general elections, Mrs. Otasanya Martins as well as the former state chairman, Francis Abayomi, for anti-party activities and gross misconduct. 

Ifemosu Michael Adewale, AAC Secretary in Ogun state in a statement on Saturday said the duo were suspended for their role in the "unconstitutionally and unlawfully pseudo-NEC Meeting" to suspend its national chairman, Omoyele Sowore. 

The statement read, "This is to notify the General Public, Members of the African Action Congress AAC and Take it Back Movement that Mrs. Otasanya Martins and Engineer Francis Abayomi has been expelled from the Party due to their anti-progressive politics, which they displayed on the 13th of May, 2019.

"Engineer Francis Abayomi unconstitutionally and unlawfully partook in a pseudo-NEC Meeting to suspend our National Chairman. Mrs. Otasanya Martins, the 2019 AAC Ogun State Gubernatorial Candidate and Engineer Francis, former AAC Ogun State Chairman, has been expelled for gross misconduct and anti-party activities.

"Their expulsion became necessary when a Certain Publication by Punch Newspaper on the 14th of May 2019 mentioned Engineer Francis Abayomi as the National Deputy Chairman of the African Action Congress by an unduly and unconstitutional NEC meeting which in actual fact is illegal.

"The expulsion motion which was moved by Comrade Bashiru Hammed (Labash) and seconded by Comrade Samuel from Remo North."

The party warned members of the public to steer clear dealing of the suspended members.

"We hereby call on the General Public to Dissociate itself from Mrs. Eniola Otasanya Martins and Engineer Francis Abayomi as a member of the African Action Congress.

"Mrs. Otasanya Martins and Engineer Francis Abayomi should know that they cease to be a member of AAC with Immediate effect starting from Today 15th June 2019 and an attempt to continually use anything pertaining to AAC from today 15th of June 2019 is an act of impersonation and we won't hesitate to get them arrested.

"We are reiterating our Total Support for Comrade Omoyele Sowore as the Authentic National Chairman of the African Action Congress," it added.
 

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Murder, Kidnapping: Army Court-martials 14 Officers, Soldiers

15 June 2019 - 9:11am


The Nigerian Army said on Saturday it has begun proceedings to court-martial 14 officers and soldiers accused of murder, kidnapping and desertion, among other criminal offences.

Inaugurating the court proceedings in Port Harcourt, General Officer Commanding Army 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sarham, said the suspects were officers and soldiers of the division.

Sarham said the General Court Martial was convened in compliance to Section 131 of the Armed Forces Act guiding the professional conduct of the nation’s military.

“The offences for which the accused persons are being tried range from murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, (and) desertion. 

“Others are offences in relation to public and service property, disobedience to standing orders and conducts to the prejudice to service discipline.

“All the offences are punishable under the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004,” he said.

The GOC said the army has zero tolerance for indiscipline, adding that it would never shield any personnel, no matter how highly placed from the law.

He said the armed forces hold personnel in high esteem, and as such, would not put personnel on trial unless the matter was thoroughly investigated.

According to him, the trial was not only aimed at prosecuting the suspects but to discourage others from indulging in criminality.

“To this end, each accused person was thoroughly investigated to ensure that an innocent person is not wrongly tried and punished.

“The headquarters 6 division has painstakingly selected credible officers with in-depth knowledge and outstanding experience of military law and duties as members of the court-martial to ensure fair hearing and justice.”

The accused personnel include three officers and 11 soldiers, including a major, two captains, two staff sergeants and one sergeant, among other ranks.

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