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Nigerian Army Must Fortify Combat Strength To Defeat Boko Haram, Says Babangida

15 January 2019 - 2:14am


Ibrahim Babangida, a former military President, has asked the Nigerian Army to fortify its combat strength if it intends to defeat Boko Haram and other insurgent groups in the country.

In a statement released on Monday, Babangida maintained that the military must also develop a new strategy in the fight against insurgent groups ravaging the North-Eastern part of the country.

He also commemorated with the Nigerian Army on the celebration of the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

The statement read: "As we prepare to celebrate this year’s Remembrance Day, we should not be oblivious of the fact that our military is presently faced with horrific challenges in the crucial counter-insurgency war and activities of other blood-thirsty armed groups.

“To say the least, these ugly circumstances are not only heart-rending but unacceptable. We, therefore, seek to consolidate our gains and also fortify our combat strength.

"He urged Nigerians to always support the military and saluted the bravery of those who have “paid the supreme price in their quest to defend our fatherland".

He continued: "Let me also commend our armed forces for their resilience over the years in maintaining peace in Nigeria, United Nations Missions, African Union and regional interventions.

“While identifying with the officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces on the momentous occasion of this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I wish all Nigerians happy new year.”

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Civil Society Groups Demand Probe Of Akpabio Over False Asset Declaration

15 January 2019 - 2:12am


The Civil Society Groups for Accountability and Probity stormed the Abuja office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday to request an investigation into the financial activities of Godswill Akpabio, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

The civil society group asked the anti-graft agency to investigate Akpabio for unlawful acquisition of properties and false declaration of assets.

Leading the protest against the former governor, Jonathan Ogwuche maintained that the assets declared by Akpabio in 2007 and 2011 did not seem different.

“Contrary to claims by Senator Akpabio, the ‘following outlandish properties located at the under-listed addresses could also be traced to him as follows: Plot 5, Ikogosi Spring Close, off Katsina-Ala Crescent, Maitama-Abuja; Plot 28, Colorado Close, Maitama; 22, Probyn Road, Ikoyi, Lagos and Plot 23, Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview, Lagos.”

The group stated that the properties are missing from the asset declaration of the former governor.

The group also referred to an investigation by SaharaReporters that revealed Akpabio also owns properties in Dubai, which the governor was said not to have declared.

While spotting discrepancies in the number of cars owned by the governor, the group said with the exception of a Bedford armour bus, which he claimed to be a gift, cars declared in 2007 were copied and pasted in 2011. 

The civil society group further stressed that Akpabio transferred some of the state’s funds to his family, with one of his children owning a property in the Federal Capital Territory valued at N16.9million.

"The source of the house is questionable. We can incontrovertibly submit that Senator Akpabio freely dished out the finances of Akwa Ibom State to his children, friends and other family members, while corruptly enriching himself with same at the detriment of the state," Ogwuche said.

The Civil Society Groups for Accountability and Probity ended the procession by submitting a petition to EFCC, urging the commission to act swiftly on it as it was done to the petition written against Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of Nigeria.

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MAN: Textile Apparel, Footwear Top List Of Produced Items In Nigeria In December 2018

15 January 2019 - 1:14am


sunflag-ng.com

The December 2018 edition of the Purchasing Managers Index report published by the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) has revealed that textile apparel and footwear came tops on improvement in production.

The report also showed that despite government’s efforts to tackle smuggling and counterfeiting, the two factors have slowed down the production of electronics and electrical products. According to the report, the Electrical and Electronics sub-sectoral group was the only group to suffer a decrease in its basis point out of 10 groups that were considered in the report.

The one-page report released by the association revealed that nine other groups — food, beverage and tobacco, 6Ps, Motor Vehicle and Miscellaneous Assembly, Wood and Wood products, domestic/industrial plastic and rubber, textile apparel and footwear, chemical and pharmaceutical, non-metallic products, basic metal, iron and steel — showed marked improvements in their basis points, with Textile Apparel and Footwear Sectoral Group (TAFSG) registering the highest improvement with a basis point of 13.6.

This improvement comes as a result of improved fiscal support, increased patronage in Nigeria, financial grants for cotton farmers, and the concessional gas pricing mechanism which was recently approved.

Surprisingly, however, the Motor Vehicle and Misc. Assembly (MVMAG) posted an increase in basis point, despite an unfriendly market for locally assembled automobiles and flagrant disregard for the Automotive Policy by portfolio investors which aids importation of automobiles and vehicle parts.

While lamenting the various challenges the manufacturing sector faces, MAN stated that generally, the manufacturing sector showed relative improvement from last month’s report in the face of increased government support for local manufacturers, a slightly better environment and government’s economic policies aimed at stabilizing the economy.

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Five Men Sentenced To Death For Armed Robbery

15 January 2019 - 12:10am


The Osun State High Court has sentenced five men to death by hanging for robbery and unlawful possession of firearms.

Justice David Oladimeji found the defendants guilty of a three-count charge preferred against them by the state.

The defendants are Ifedayo Adebiyi, Semiu Taofeek, Afolabi Ogunwale, Oyeleke Mukaila and Ogunbayo Joshua.

The offences are conspiracy, armed robbery, unlawful possession of firearms, which contravened Section 6(b), 1(1) and (2)(a) and punishable under Section 1(1) Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap R.11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014.

They were said to have robbed one Fabiyi David of his valuable belongings and snatched his Lexus Jeep, which was recovered by the Police.

The defendants were arrested along Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Having listened to the lawyers of both parties, with the prosecutor calling ten witnesses, including Police officers to testify against the convicts, Justice Oladimeji found the defendants guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging.

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Atiku Campaign Group Rejects New Lagos CP

15 January 2019 - 12:08am


The Coalition of Ethnic Nationalities for the Atiku Agenda (CENTAA), one of Atiku Abubakar’s campaign groups, has kicked against the replacement of Imohimi Edgal, the former Lagos Police Commissioner, with Kayode Egbetokun, former Chief Security Officer of Bola Tinubu.

Edgal was redeployed to the force headquarters in Abuja on Sunday with an instruction to resume at his new post immediately. 

A statement by the group on Monday noted that the change in guard of the Lagos State Police Command was insensitive.

Adeoye Jolaosho, president of the group, said the appointment of Egbetokun is aimed at "rigging the forthcoming elections in favour of the ruling party".

His words: “While not taking anything away from the new commissioner, we must, however, express our opposition to this posting because the officer involved was at one time the CSO to a chieftain of the APC, former Governor Bola Tinubu, between 1999 and 2007.

“While we concede that the top Police hierarchy has the prerogative to deploy and assign portfolios to its personnel as it deems fit, we, however, believe that such a power must and should be exercised with caution in a manner that would give confidence to all segments of the society."

CENTAA maintained that Imohimi was carrying out his duties well and there was no basis for his redeployment.

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Wife Of Late NAF Pilot Gets Govt Job

15 January 2019 - 12:01am


Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, has offered automatic employment to Diepreye Inokoba Jacob, wife of one of the five Nigeria Air Force pilots killed during a raid of Boko Haram hideouts in Borno.

Dickson made the promise during a visit to the widow.

According to Fidelis Sorowei, Media Special Adviser to the Governor, Dickson also offered a job to the widow of another officer, who died in 2016.

Dickson lauded the late heroes, stating that the state will continue to remember their deeds.

“We are very proud of the services and the sacrifices that our departed young heroes made. We hereby announce automatic employment for the wife. This is our modest way of encouraging our people in the service of this nation. Our people, from the beginning, have stood for Nigeria," he said.

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INEC To Deploy One Million Ad Hoc Staff

14 January 2019 - 11:59pm


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says not more than one million ad hoc staff will be deployed for the coming elections.

This was disclosed by Malam Mohammed Haruna, the Commissioner for North-Central, in Ilorin, on Monday.

He reminded the candidates that only 1,504 of the 22,643 persons contesting would emerge.

According to Haruna, the ad-hoc staff would be sourced from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), federal tertiary institutions and Ministries Departments and Agencies.

“1, 886 candidates would contest the 109 senatorial districts in the country and 4,634 candidates contesting for the 306 House of Representatives seats. 14,643 candidates would contest for 991 posts in the various State Houses of Assembly," he said.

He confirmed that governorship elections would hold in 29 states, excluding Kogi, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun States.

The commission urged all eligible voters who are yet to pick up their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to do so before the deadline, February 8, as there would be no extension.

Haruna also urged all residents to embrace peace before, during and after the elections exercise.
 

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BREAKING: Ibrahim Idris To Quit As Buhari Picks Adamu As New IGP

14 January 2019 - 1:19pm


There are indications at the Force Headqaurters in Abuja that a new Inspector General of Police (IGP), AIG Abubakar Adamu Mohammed (pictured right, with Governor Serikae Dickson) from Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, has been appointed to replace Ibrahim Idris, who is scheduled to retire from office.

Adamu was AIG in charge of Zone 5 Benin before he was sent to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru in Plateau State.

He was said to have been sent on the compulsory course on the suspicion that he was pencilled down by the presidency to succeed the outgoing IGP.

Many Nigerians have kicked the against an alleged move by President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the tenure of the outgoing IGP, basing their allegations on the notion that there are plans to use Idris's influence to manipulate the presidential election scheduled for February 2019.

SaharaReporters gathered that Idris had made frantic efforts to get his tenure extended but was unsuccessful. Also, pressure mounted by the opposition parties contibuted to the President's eventual decision to rescind the original extension plan.

The mood at the Force Headquarters was calm when the news of the replacement filtered in. It was also gathered that the outgoing IGP  had been quietly removing his personal effects from the  office since last Friday.

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VIDEO: Olanipekun Shuns Journalists After Representing Onnoghen At CCT

14 January 2019 - 12:50pm

Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), declined questions from newsmen after the first hearing of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) against Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Onnoghen is standing trial over allegations of fraudulent declaration of assets.

Olanipekun had led the defence team who stood for Onnoghen at the court hearing on Monday.

Video of Olanipekun Shuns Journalists After Representing Onnoghen At CCT Olanipekun Shuns Journalists After Representing Onnoghen At CCT

Onnoghen was not present in court, an action Olanipekun attributed to the failure of the prosecution tea to serve him personally.

The defence team also challenged the CCT on jurisdiction to hear the case. After deliberations, the hearing on jurisdiction was adjourned till January 22, 2019.

After his appearance in court, Olanipekun was asked repeatedly by journalists for his comments on the case, but he declined to make any comments.

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Ogun PDP Guber Ticket Back In Kashamu's Hands As Court Strikes Out Adebutu’s Suit

14 January 2019 - 12:27pm


An Abuja High Court has dismissed the suit filed by Ladi Adebutu challenging the nomination of Buruji Kashamu as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State.

Adebutu had approached the court seeking a declaration of his candidature for the governorship election on the platform of the PDP.

Ajoke Adepoju, the presiding judge, ruled that the primary election that saw Adebutu emerge as the governorship candidate was conducted while there was a subsisting court judgment.

According to the judge, the choice of Adebutu by the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) flouted the earlier court judgment.

The suit was dismissed, and as such, Kashamu and candidates that emerged through the primary election conducted by the PDP faction led by Adebayo Dayo, remain the party’s flagbearers for the 2019 elections.

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Onnoghen Must Stand Trial, Says APC

14 January 2019 - 12:25pm


The All Progressives Congress (APC) has insisted that Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, accused of false declaration of assets, must stand trial.

Onnoghen was scheduled to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday, but was not in court. His defence team, led by Wole Olanipekun (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), said the CJN could not appear in court as he was not served the court summons personally. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: CCT Begins Sitting In Onnoghen's Absence 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

Onnoghen’s defence team had also challenged the CCT on jurisdiction for the case and the hearing was adjourned till January 22, 2019. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Trial Till January 22 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

An earlier statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had accused APC of “desperation to replace Justice Onnoghen with a pliable CJN, who will execute their plots to use the courts to detain opposition leaders as well as vocal members of civil society during the elections”.

The APC, however, urged Nigerians to ignore the PDP, just as the party denied that Onnoghen’s arraignment was not based on ethnic or religious sentiments.

A statement by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary, read: “We wish to put on record that the virulent attack that has come from the PDP in the wake of the trial of the CJN over alleged false asset declaration is particularly worrisome and suspicious when the PDP has in fact called for the removal of virtually all heads of government’s arms, particularly the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Inspector General of the Police over frivolous issues.

“While the will not be drawn into debates on the legality and sponsored conspiracies of the CCT trial, we insist that our democratic and constitutional institutions must be allowed to operate without interference and undue pressure from partisan and sundry interests as being done by the PDP and its cronies.

“The CCT trial is a legal matter, let the law run its course. The CJN must go through the instrumentalities of the courts, more importantly as an institution he represents. Indeed, this is the true test of our constitution, rule of law and will deepen democracy.

“Where there are contestations on institutional procedures, we must allow same institutions perform their functions unhindered, autocorrect if necessary and set good precedence on future matters. This is the only way we can build strong and lasting institutions.”

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LAUNCHED: One Website Where You Can Know All About 2019 Election Candidates

14 January 2019 - 9:52am


As part of its efforts to drive citizen engagement in the democratic process and promote an issue-based presidential campaign, Civic Monitor — a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organisation — has launched its Know-Your-Candidates (KYC) tool: www.kyc.civicmonitor.com.

KYC uses technology to present information on various presidential candidates, their positions, promises and profiles, all in one place, to enable voters make more thoughtful and informed choices at the polls.

“The most exciting thing about the KYC tool is the fact that voters can directly compare any two candidates on any issue of their choice, and the positions of the candidates would appear side-by-side for ease of comparison,” said Stanley Azuakola, the Founder and Executive Director of Civic Monitor.

According to Azuakola, an ignorant electorate is a danger to democracy, which is why KYC is committed to “improving voter knowledge at scale".

“With over 90 registered political parties in the country and more than 70 fielding presidential candidates, it can be overwhelming for voters to keep track of where candidates stand on the most important issues. In addition, some political parties/candidates have more resources than others do, and this gives them an advantage in communicating their programmes and ideas. KYC levels the playing field, such that every candidate has a chance at being heard."

The tool collates data on the positions of the presidential candidates concerning 15 issues. These include security, power, education, healthcare, corruption, job creation, debt profile and the economy. Others are herders-farmers clashes, restructuring, federal character, state police, job creation, NNPC reforms and inclusion of women and youth.

Temilorun Olanipekun, a data associate with Civic Monitor, added that “the team presented its KYC data using the words of the candidates themselves, and mostly avoided editorialising".

"We wanted this to be all about the candidates and the voters — no intermediary, no spin, no bias," he said.

KYC is also a powerful resource for journalists, researchers, fact-checkers and activists, as it aids their efforts to hold political leaders accountable. Featured media partners include Premium Times, The Cable, Sahara Reporters, YNaija, Silverbird Television, and The Guardian.

KYC is now live at www.kyc.civicmonitor.com and on social media.

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Four Civilians Shot As Zimbabweans Protest 150% Hike In Fuel Price

14 January 2019 - 9:17am


Series of protests have rocked parts of Zimbababwe with citizens taking to the streets to march against the recent hike in the price of fuel.

The protests are coming two days after Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe, announced a 150 per cent increase in the price of fuel.

A statement by Dominic Manyangadze, President of the Zimbabwe Revenue and Allied Workers Trade Union (ZIMRATU), dated January 13, 2019, read: "We the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Allied workers Trade Union (ZIMRATU): Having collated experiences and submissions from our membership across the country. Noting the concerns and grievances raised in those submissions and the recommendations thereof.

“Concerned about the rapid deterioration of conditions of work of our members across the country and the effects thereof, inter alia; a) The bus fare to work is $10 return trip being paid by the employer. b) Systematic erosion of the value of our members' salaries; c) Sharp rise of prices of basic communities and transport fares yet salaries remain static despite the decline of their value and d) Charging of prices of certain commodities in hard currency (USD) such as medicines; e) Fuel increases at 234% inter-alia.

"For the above reasons, the workers can no longer virement funds to subsidize the employer on transport. Now, therefore, given the following, it is thus declared as follows: Most of our members are unable to report for duty with effect from the 14th of January 2019 due to incapacitation."

However, according to The Guardian, in recent developments, Police in Zimbabwe fired live ammunition and teargas when they clashed with groups of young people during the protest.

There were clashes in the capital, Harare, and in Bulawayo, as police engaged the youth who had started bonfires, and erected barricades as well as, in some cases, looted shops.

“Others blocked highways and taxis, or tried to force companies that had remained open to comply with the shutdown. In Chitungwiza, a satellite town of the capital where anti-government feeling runs high, a police station was reportedly besieged and automatic gunfire was heard. In the poor neighbourhood of Mabvuku, witnesses said they had seen four civilians shot and injured by police,” the report read.

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JUST IN: Okupe Docked For ‘Diverting’ N702million From Arms Fund

14 January 2019 - 8:59am

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned Doyin Okupe, a former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, on a 59-count charge bordering on “money laundering and criminal diversion of funds” to the tune of N702million.

According to Tony Orilade, acting Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Okupe was brought before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court, Maitama, along with two companies — Value Trust Investment Ltd and Abrahams Telecoms Ltd — allegedly involved in the commission of the fraud.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr. Doyin Okupe, being the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan from July 2012 to May 2015, and being the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, and a signatory to the bank account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd, on or about the 3rd October, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N35 million, transferred to the account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria purporting to be for special services when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.”

Okupe pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Upon his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Ibrahim Audu, asked for a date for “commencement of the trial”.

However, Okupe’s counsel, Tolu Babaleiye, through a motion on notice dated December 17, 2018, prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail.

“The defendant will in no way tamper with evidence since the proof of evidence is before the court that means investigation has been concluded,” he said.

Babaleiye further urged the court to admit the defendant to bail on self-recognizance, adding: “he will not jump bail as he is well-known”.

While responding to the application, Audu argued that “the defendant was given administrative bail after he volunteered his statement thereafter, he was nowhere to be found until December 2018 in Lagos”.

He further said that “there was nothing substantial in the defendant’s affidavit” adding that there is nothing to show that the medical certificate is authentic and nothing to show it meets the requirements of the evidence act as it was electronically generated.

“The court should exercise its discretion judicially and judiciously based on materials supplied before the court,” he added, stressing that the court should take into consideration, “the gravity of the punishment in the event of conviction on the charges brought against the defendant”.

After listening to all the arguments, Justice Ojukwu granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N100 million with one surety in like sum.

He said the surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court, and must depose to an affidavit of means, must have landed properties which must also be within the jurisdiction of the court; must submit to the court tax clearance papers from 2016 to 2018, also have recent passport photograph. The surety and defendant must also deposit their international passports with the Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation, of the court.

Justice Ojukwu thereafter adjourned to February 27, 28 and March 6, 2019 for trial.

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Mambila Hydro Project: A Case Of Comedians Who We Have As Leaders By Ettu Mohammed

14 January 2019 - 8:14am


Mambila Chronological Timeline.

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Did you know a German company  #Laymeyer was awarded a contract to conduct feasibility studies on the multi-billion naira Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project collected N369 million as mobilization fees in 2005 and failed to fulfil its contractual obligations? They were asked to refund the money paid in addition to the interest accrued on it. No one knows if they ever returned the money

Ref: http://allafrica.com/stories/200803120467.html

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Did you know Obasanjo requested permission from Nigeria's Senate August 2006  to accept a US$2.5 billion soft loan from China that would be used to invest in Mambila, as well as railways and the rural telephone network?  

Obasanjo had said US$1 billion of the financing facility would go towards building the first phase of the hydroelectric plant.

Ref: http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2007/02/nigeria-awards-us146-billion-contract-for-2600-mw-mambila.html

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Did you know  Energy Minister Edmund Doukoru announced the approval of Mambila hydro project after a February 7, 2007 council meeting led by President Olusegun Obasanjo. He said the work would be performed through a strategic partnership with Chinese companies that are expected to complete the work in five years.

Ref: http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2007/02/nigeria-awards-us146-billion-contract-for-2600-mw-mambila.html

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Did you know November 2009 Nigerian Govt opened a bid for the EIA for Mambila Hydro project in two lots

With the  scope of work listed as 
SCOPE OF WORKS

LOT 1- EIA study for the proposed Transmission line routing from the Abong Switchyard to Makurdi

LOT 2: EIA study for the proposed Transmission line routing between Abong Switchyard and Jalingo.

Ref: http://www.confabee.com/confabee/tenders-bids-nigeria/government/proposal-for-environmental-impact-assessment-eia-consultancy-services-for-transmission-lines-at-mambilla-project-management-committee/

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Did you know In 2007 Lot 1 of the 3 Lot of the Mambila Hydro plant was awarded for $1.46b which covered the civil works construction of the 2600-MW Mambila hydroelectric project on the Donga River in Taraba State.  

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Did you know the Yar-dua govt canceled the earlier awarded Mambila Hydro project and the CGGC/CGC had before the termination presented its 10% bank bond for the advance payment guarantee, spent money on drawings, engineering works and staff mobilisation to the Nigerian government.

$146m entered voicemail.

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Did you know over the course of the years the Mambila  project was reviewed to 3050MW.

A French consultant got over N2bn as professional fee the project that was lumped and rewarded to the Chinese which held us to random after we canceled the first contract.

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Did you know the project was later re-awarded by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration and split with another Chinese Firm, Messers Sinohydro, which was awarded 70 per cent of the contract scope, while CGGC/CGC was left with 30 per cent scope

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Did you know on  re-awarding the project by  GEJ the contract was  rejected by CGGC/CGC and the Chinese government insisted it would not proceed with the planned 75 per cent counterpart funding to the tune of $3.2 billion on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement, unless the Nigerian government reverses to the original Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

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Did you know the The feasibility study has been done and so too the Environmental Impact  Assessment but we  

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Did you know the  Mambilla  project was reawarded at $3.2bn by GEG under (75-25)% funding  and as usual we played azonto and the project variation went up by $2.5bn making it a total of $5.7bn under (85-15)% Pmb govt  and we are to pay $855m as our contribution in 2017

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Did you know President  Muhammadu Buhari met with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria and the managing directors of CGGC/CGC at the presidential villa, where the long standing crisis was resolved.

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Did you know August 2017  Nigerian Government approved Mambila hydro Project. it's been 1year 5 months since Federal Executive council of Nigeria approved Mambila Hydo Project.  We are yet to move an inch, all we hear is on the pages of newspaper and Facebook.  

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Meanwhile in Egypt Siemens built a 14.4GW plant in 27.5 months for $6.5 billion and our leaders would be telling us we have a bigger Economy than Egypt or South Africa. 

To match the Electricity Sector in Egypt or South Africa we need to invest at least $110bn where will Nigeria get such fund?


Ettu Mohammed

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The Debate Before The Debate: What Are You Afraid Of President Buhari? By Bayo Oluwasanmi

14 January 2019 - 8:09am


January 10, SaharaReporters published a story headlined “APC Coalition Joins Conspiracy To Exclude Sowore From Presidential Debate” In a statement issued by Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi, Director-General of the Sowore 2019 Campaign says “The African Action Congress and the Sowore 2019 Campaign has been notified of a plot to use frivolous lawsuits as a salt tactic to prevent a timely ruling on the case instituted by our party for the inclusion of Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the party, in the January 19th NEDG/BON 2019 Debate.”

“According to the party, the United Party of Nigeria (UPN), which is a member of the APC-led Coalition of Progressives Political Parties (CPPP), is set to file a motion at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja seeking to be joined as a party in the Sowore suit.” 

The exclusion of Sowore from the debate has become the debate before the presidential debate. Nigerians are flabbergasted, scratching their heads why the hell Sowore who has proven to be a great communicator on the campaign trail, a tireless campaigner, a charismatic crowd puller, and a brilliant debater who explicates the great issues of our time for ordinary Nigerians was yanked from the debate.

The new plan of APC as a co-conspirator in the plot to disallow Sowore from participating in the debate make President Buhari an accomplice. In nearly four years of his presidency, Buhari has totally disengaged and distanced himself from Nigerians given his aloofness and spectating position on important and controversial national issues when he should have addressed the Nigerian people. 

Buhari has remained dangerously reticent, wickedly reclusive, sneakily elusive, and a terrible taciturn who fail to use the bully pulpit to connect with Nigerians. For example, it took him four days as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to issue a terse statement after 100 of his soldiers were butchered by Boko Haram.

Mr. President, you're employed by the Nigerian people. Sir, you're duty bound to feel their pulse on any issue by talking to them and getting feedback. As president, you cannot choose to remain silent. Right now, there's a rumor making the rounds that your handlers have surreptitiously scheduled your next doctor's appointment in London to coincide with the date of the debate so a proxy will fill in for you.

The question that agitates the minds of Nigerians is: Why would President Buhari through his party APC join the conspirators to exclude Sowore from the debate? Who is afraid of Sowore? What are you afraid of President Buhari? Why do you want to deny Nigerians the opportunity to hear from Sowore? Why are you scared of being on the debate stage with Sowore? Nigerians are dying to hear from Sowore why he wants your job. 

In fact, you should insist on debating Sowore so you can amplify your achievements as president in the past four years live on a national TV. If you ever go on stage with Sowore, we promise you our eyes will be stuck to the screen like peanut butter on bread. Please don't let this rare opportunity pass you!

The importance of presidential debates cannot be stressed enough. Debates force candidates to discuss issues they would rather not discuss. Debates allow candidates to deny or confirm some of their bogus campaign claims and exaggerated promises. Debates allow voters to assess men and women running for office without the usual filters. Debates provide opportunity for candidates to defend their cagey positions and irritable repudiation of the other's views, record, and ability. 

Debates will reveal to Nigerians who among the candidates is well groomed, prepared, and ready to govern through display of confidence, construction of logical arguments that make sense, the opportunity to hear and see audience's reactions, and the humility to listen and respond to others' arguments. Debates also guarantee the freedom of speech by allowing people with whom we disagree to speak.

If we examined, scrutinized, and grilled our presidential candidates and see who is best fit, best prepared for the job, who demonstrates sound judgement, ability and intelligence, superior analysis, mastery of the problems and proffered solutions, the debate will recommend for voters who they'll cast their votes for The debate will prove who is the dead dog and the living lion... Let's go there!

bjoluwasanmi@gmail.com

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By This Time Four Years Ago By Peter Claver Oparah

14 January 2019 - 8:03am


Peter Claver Oparah

This is an election year. In fact, the general election s barely one month away. Yes, by February 16, Nigerians will troop out to the polls to elect a President that will take charge of the fate of the 200 million Nigerians for the next four years. That same day, they will elect members to the country’s National Assembly. Two weeks later, Nigerians will elect state governors and members of state assemblies across the states of the federation. But then, you can hardly believe that an election, indeed a general election is just by the doorsteps.

Sure, there is enough cacophony of disparate political noises here and there but then all the features that had previously marked elections in Nigeria are not there. And these are features Nigerians in their arcane understanding of politics usually look for every election period. The trailer-loads of political parties at play in Nigeria have struggled through various processes of primary election and have selected motley crowd of candidates for the various posts. The usual heightened claims, promises, boasts and promises that usually follow an election are here but many decisive features of Nigerian elections are missing.

You may be wondering what really Is the heart of my narrative. You don’t need to so do. Simply flashback to four years ago when we last had a general election. You are not still connecting with my positions that the real features that mark Nigerian politics are missing? Okay, let me help my readers. By this time four years ago, monies, real monies were flying around. Yes, by this time four years ago, the party that was in power then, the PDP had opened the national vaults and money was flowing in all known currencies. Contractors, political chieftains, apex leaders, and various forms of political predators were smiling home with huge sums of monies for election purposes.

Yes, it was an election year and who cared if Nigeria was bankrupted for the ruling party to remain in power? By this time in 2015, the Nigerian space was reeking so heavily with the money unleashed for the purpose of securing continuity for the ruling party! This was when humongous tranches of money were moved from the country’s treasury to procure continuity for a sitting government. This was the source from which the infamous Dasuki bazaar involving a hefty sum of $2.1 billion was placed under the custody of the then National Security Adviser to do as he deigns best, as reports from investigations from that sordid case showed.

By this time four years ago, sundry politicians were smiling to the bank. Yes, election was around the corner and the feeling of the party in power was that everything humanly possible must be done to stay in power. By this time four years ago, various interests were being seduced and patronized with money salted from the commonwealth to lend support to the party in power. Traditional rulers were subjected to such huge inducements as to sell their support for money. By this time four years ago, the media was awash with stolen fund and with the feeling that it had never been so good, they offered their spaces for perhaps the most absurd abuse the fourth estate of the realm had ever been subjected to.

The ubiquitous social media was even trapped in this miasma as the aficionados of the party in power tracked this elusive and new section of the media and unleashed byzantine monetary influence on it to bow to their bottomless influence. By this time four year ago, the print and electronic media had completely surrendered to the firepower of the huge chunk of our national resources that was deployed to procure continuity for the then sitting government. They sold off their spaces to bizarre partisan interests that were ready to offer any sum for such spaces and the media became central in the forging, marketing and sustenance of a hugely corrupt message that failed to seduce Nigerians in the long run but sowed enough hatred, intolerance, bad blood that outlived that ghoulish period.

By this time last four years, majority of the nation’s human rights and political activists, social pundits and hitherto acknowledged voices of reason havesuccessfully been recruited to promote the corrupt gospel of lucre as a basis for electoral support. These armies of converted activists became evangelizers of base messages of hate and division along religious and ethnic lines and became zealous disciples of the desperate efforts of the party that was then in power to secure continuity. Sure, the resources unleashed on then were so irresistible that most of them went extra miles to embrace self-immolation and self-denial of the causes they had pretended to fight for decades. It was as astonishing as it was revealing! 

By this time last four years, various ethnic groups, socio-cultural groups and interests have been recruited through huge monetary deployment to champion the cause of the continuity of the then government. Their leaders and promoters had, by this time four years ago, been so heavily pampered with money salted from the country’s treasury that they became dangerous purveyors of threats to those that refused to join their gravy train.

By this time last four years, pseudo contracts and multi-billion Naira inducements have been provided to various illegal militias and violent ethnic groups to supply the illegal force the erstwhile regime needed to stay in power. It was so bad that by this time last four years, these ethnic groups were carrying violent street actions to force the postponement of the 2015 general election on the fear that their efforts were not moving Nigerians to approve a fresh term for their patronizing regime. By this time last four years, the national space was awash with diets of threats by various monetized violent groups against Nigerians should they vote against the regime in power then. 

By this time last four years, various degrees of leaders of the PDP were being allocated huge sums direct from the nation’s coffers. The Central Bank doors had been latched open for all manners of freeloaders that promised PDP continuity, the directive principles of state police had, by this time last four years, been directed exclusively to satiating all interests that promote PDP’s continued stay in power. By this time last four years, all leaders of PDP had ben armed with raw cash to go to the streets and buy off voters in a manner that jangled all that was decent and normal in the Nigerian society. It was so bad that even the then President relocated to some parts of the country where he was directly dishing out cash to voters for the purpose of buying them for his re-election. 

By this time last four years, all manners of phantom contracts, where monies were paid upfront and jobs never done, were being given to PDP leaders all over the country for the purpose of the 2015 election. This criminal act was to ensure that money for election were provided sufficiently for party leaders to ensure they deliver their respective areas to the then ruling party.

So it is now easy to catch my drift on why this year’s election seems abnormal. Money has dried up. A Pharaoh who knows no Joseph and who brooks no stealing of public funds for the purpose of securing re-election is on the throne. What more, every kobo is channeled into a closely-guarded national treasury where they are disbursed for critical national spending. We have a President that has warned his appointees that they would be fired and prosecuted if they as much as channel public money towards his campaigns. We have a President whose campaign suffers from dearth of resources and who draws from voluntary massive support he enjoys from the masses and not the state resources he unleashes to continue in office. Sure, the old order has changed; yielding place to the new and the new does not tolerate the past prebendal order where state resources were wholesomely deployed to finance the election of an incumbent.

This is what is making the 2019 election so dour, uninteresting and uninspiring in a country where election is all about opening the national treasury to ensure that an incumbent remains in power. Indeed, Nigeria has never been the same with the advent of President Buhari and politics in Nigeria will never be the same with Buhari in power! Money is what is not happening in 2019 because the incumbent is averse to using money to bribe or entice voters. What more, the opposition that is in possession of huge tranches of stolen Nigerian resources cannot spend freely because the eagle-eyed anti-corruption agencies are awake and watching. This scorched earth regime of electioneering is not what Nigerians are used to but they must endure it because a regime that believes that stealing is corruption is in charge. 

So, with the government in power not ready to spend public resources to procure re-election, Nigerians are being forced to see politics in different and vastly improved light and this will greatly re-shape our politics along the proper and rightful course in the years to come. There is no doubt that as Buhari’s prudent means have so annoyed many citizens of a country where corruptly living off the state is norm, so will his tight-fisted approach to politics so annoy most Nigerians who look up to election year to make kills. It is not in doubt that both Buhari’s political foes and supporters are peeved by this scorched-earth resolve but we have no choice than to re-direct our putrid ways and perspectives of politics and election vis-à-vis their relationship with the public purse. 

Sure, this is an election year with a difference. The monies are not flying around. State influences are not peddled and flaunted around. We see more of saber rattling and noisome boasts but no huge movement of cash to buy voters. Nigerians will do well to imbibe this new culture as best for our country and its citizens. 

 

Peter Claver Oparah

Ikeja, Lagos.

E-mail: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com

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Lord Of Ajasa 'Critically Ill' And 'In Need Of Funds' For Peptic Ulcer Operation

14 January 2019 - 6:53am



Rotimi Martins, Nigerian singer popularly known as 'Alariwo of Africa', has revealed that the pioneer of Yoruba rap, Segun Osaniyi, popularly known as 'Lord of Ajasa', is critically ill and needs funds to undergo a peptic ulcer operation.

The Afrobeats singer made this known in a post on his Instagram handle on Sunday, where he said although the rapper is currently receiving treatment at Ikorodu General Hospital, it is important to move him to a better facility. 

Alongside pictures of the rapper on a hospital bed, Alariwo of Africa wrote: “My dear colleagues, our brother, Legendary Nigerian Afro hip hop artiste and pioneer of Yoruba rap, Segun Osaniyi, a.k.a. Lord of Ajasa, is criticality ill and needs funds to undergo a peptic ulcer operation. He's currently at Ikorodu General Hospital, where he's receiving treatment. However, he needs to be moved to a better and more equipped hospital so as to get the BEST medical attention.

"I got a message from his wife begging me to speak to his colleagues to save her husband. When I called Ajasa earlier today, he (Ajasa) confirmed that the story is true. Let's all come together as fast as we can to help out as nothing is to small. Supporting him financially to stay alive is the best remedy than saying sorry, which we reject in JESUS name. Send your donation to his account details: 0015198342; Osaniyi Olusegun; GTB. GOD Bless us all."

Lord of Ajasa is widely referred to as the pioneer of Yoruba rap in Nigerian, a title that has often been contested by fans of Nigerian rapper, Olamide Adedeji, popularly known as Olamide.

Lord of Ajasa is notable for hit singles such as 'Mai Lo', 'Ara Awe', 'Otiya' and most recently 'Le fe nuso', in which he featured Nigerian singer, Abolore Akande, popularly known as 9ice.

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BREAKING: Court Stops CCT From Trying Onnoghen

14 January 2019 - 6:24am

A Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has halted the arraignment and trial of Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged fraudulent asset declaration.

The Code of Conduct Bureau had filed a six-count charge bordering on fraudulent declaration of assets against the CJN at the CCT, after receiving a petition from Dennis Aghanya, Executive Secretary of the Anti-corruption Research Data-Based Initiative (ARDBI).
 
However, on Monday, Justice N. E. Maha ordered the parties to maintain status quo until January 17, ruling that the defendants should be served with all the papers filed and they should appear in court at the next hearing.

The judge ruled on two suits — one filed by incorporated ‎trustees of the Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative, and the other by the incorporated ‎trustees of the International Association of Students Economists and Management.

Onnoghen’s arraignment at the CCT commenced earlier on Monday in his absence, with Danladi Umar, Chairman of the tribunal, granting the wish of the defence consel led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) for the defendant to be served personally. 

He adjourned the matter till Tuesday January 22

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Lawyers Protest At Onnoghen's CCT Trial, Say It's 'Dead on Arrival'

14 January 2019 - 5:49am

A group of lawyers held a protest in Abuja on Monday to express dissatisfaction with the charges filed against Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Onnoghen is standing trial over charges related to alleged fraudulent declaration of assets. He was scheduled for arraignment on Monday, but wasn’t in court.

The protest held outside the premises of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

According to the lawyers, “due process” is required before Onnoghen can be arraigned.

They also noted that the charge against Onnoghen is “dead on arrival in view of the case of Nganjiwa v FRN (2017) LPELR 43391 wherein the Court of Appeal held that a judicial officer who has not been investigated by the National Judicial Council and sanctioned for misconduct cannot be arraigned in any criminal court in Nigeria”.

The lawyers accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “planning to rig the election in his favour by removing those perceived to be stumbling block”.

Earlier, another group under the auspices of Advocate for Peoples' Rights & Justice ( APRJ) also protested at the court, warning the government not to truncate the democratic process in the country.   

The Coordinator of the group, Barr Victor Giwa, maintained that the petition should be sent to the National Judicial Commission (NJC), the body who is constitutionally empowered to discipline and sanction any judicial officer. 

He noted that if NJC finds him guilty then a disciplinary action would be taken before a criminal charge can be instituted against him.

He said that the  government should do the right thing and stop violating the laws of land. 

While addresing journalists to the security operatives moved in and asked him to leave the court premises.

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