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Legal Practitioners In A Militarized Democracy And What I Don’t Know By Timothy Ola Bamgboye

12 January 2019 - 7:37am


I honestly don't know why any legal practitioner would vote the ruling party in the coming election, or propagate the bad news of Next Level despite the brazen disregard of this Government for all known tenets of democratic rule.

While the right to vote may be every adult's inalienable right that he may exercise as He deems fit, I do not know how a legal practitioner would ever forget his moral responsibility to be the conscience of the society and be the vanguard of democratic ethos.

I do not know why any legal practitioner will hail this Government when its Head could assault their sensibilities at their single largest Assembly with the notion that the rule of law should be subservient to national security. Knowing that the implication of this is that this Government is determined to fuse both judicial and executive powers and arrogate same to itself, I do not know why any legal practitioner would applaud this Government for such acts of brigandage.

I honestly do not know why any legal practitioner would vote this Government to power or propagate the bad news of Next Level while Sambo Dasuki and El Zakzaky rot in jail despite multiple Court orders admitting them to bail.

I do not know why lawyers would drum support for the return of this Government to power while Deji Adeyanju who had been acquitted of a charge is unconstitutionally detained for the same offence.

I do not know.

I do not know if these lawyers missed the classes on Rule of Law as espoused by A.V. Dicey and co or Separation of Powers as explained by philosophers like Baron de Montesquieu. Or do they think the essence of lawyering in a democracy is not altogether lost if these twin pillars are broken and dismantled like this Government currently audaciously does?

I do not know if they know the characteristics of a fascist, dictatorial, or totalitarian government and if they think these do not define this Government, despite its disguised, democratic costume.

I honestly do not know why a professor of Law still remains Vice President in a militarized democracy, and is leading the campaign for the return of his Government, apparently to continue its assault on democracy. I do not know why the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation would escape being stripped of his Silk or summarily disciplined for not turning in his resignation in the face of the constant disregard for court orders and ridicule of the judiciary.

I do not know why a Senior Advocate is the one championing the re-election bid of a party with a Government that openly triffles with due process, rule of law, and all the trappings of a democracy.

I do not know of any just cause why every single lawyer in Nigeria today would not vote against the ruling party in protest and exhort others to do the same.

But what do I know?

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Nigeria's Chief Justice Onnoghen To Face Corruption, Assets Declaration Charges

12 January 2019 - 7:10am


Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has filed corruption-related charges against Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The charges were based on fraudulent declaration of assets, and the trial is set to begin on January 14, 2019.

According to a statement by the CCT, the trial would take place at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The statement read: “Service of summons has been effected to the defendant. The three-man panel led by Justice Danladi Y. Umar, will commence the trial on Monday, 14th January, 2019 at its courtroom, situated at the headquarters, along Jabi Daki biyu, Saloman Lar way, Abuja, at about 10:00am.

“The application was filed yesterday by the operatives of CCB, dated 11st January, 2019 and signed by Musa Ibrahim Usman (Esq) and Fatima Danjuma Ali (Esq), containing 6 count charges all bothers on non declaration of asset.”

The six-count charge document, dated January 10, 2019 and signed on Janauary 11, 2019, listed offences against the judge, among which were his "failure to declare and submit a written declaration of all your assets and liabilities within the prescribed period of three (3) months after being sworn in as the justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 8th day of June 2005 and you hereby contravened the provisions of section 15(1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap c15 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 23(2) a, b and c of the same Act".

Onnoghen was also accused of failing to declare domiciliary US Dollar account, a domiciliary Euro account, a domiciliary (Pound Sterling) account, an e-saver savings (Naira) account and a Naira account, all maintained with Standard Chartered Bank (Nig.) Ltd in Abuja.

A civil society group, the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), had petitioned the CCB, in a document dated January 7, 2019, accusing Onnoghen of owning "sundry accounts primarily funded through cash deposits made by himself up to as recently as 10th August 2016 which appear to have been run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials”.

According to the petition, Onnoghen was alleged to have made five different cash deposits of $10,000 each on March 8, 2011, into Standard Chartered Bank Account 1062650; two separate cash deposits of $5000 each followed by four cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 7, 2011; another set of five separate cash deposits of $10,000 each on June 27, 2011, and four more cash deposits of $10,000 each the following day.

Onnoghen was also accused of not declaring his assets immediately after taking office, contrary to section 15 (1) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, as well as not complying with with the constitutional requirements for public servants to declare their assets every four years during their career.

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After Refusing To Enter DSS Medical Facility, Police Move Melaye To SARS Office

12 January 2019 - 6:14am


Dino Melaye at the Police Hospital, Abuja, on January 4, 2019.

Officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have taken Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West District at the National Assembly, to the office of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) in Abuja.

Melaye was moved from the Police Hospital in Abuja to a medical facility at the Department of State Security Services (DSS) on Friday. The lawmaker, however, refused to enter the building and passed the night on the floor.

According to a source, he was taken by armed policemen to the F-SARS office in Guzape District, Abuja.

The source, however, refused to disclose the next line of action on the lawmaker.

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Months After Describing Him As 'Dictator', Yari Rushes To Greet Oshiomhole At Abuja Airport

12 January 2019 - 5:36am


Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was reunited with the Abdulaziz Yari, Governor of Zamfara State, on Friday, as the duo shook hands at an airport in Abuja.

Yari had threatened fire and brimstone when he told the members of National Working Committee (NWC) of the party who were sent to Zamfara State to conduct the primaries that he could not guarantee their safety.

In October, he had called on his supporters to protest against the primaries, stating that: "Our issue is with the national secretariat of APC where Adams Oshiomhole continues to be a dictator to party members; he acts as a mini-god".

The event took place at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, as they prepared to embark on different journeys.

It was gathered that while Oshiomhole was waiting at the VIP lounge for his flight, the Governor heard that the National Chairman was around, and quickly rushed to meet him.

They were said to have had a brief chat, before parting ways. People in the vicinity of the airport were said to have been surprised by the development.

When they wanted to take photographs, Senator Adamu Aliero took position in the middle.

This is the first time the duo will be seen to have mended fences, after the conduct of the controversial APC primary elections in Zamfara State.

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Melaye Passes Night On The Floor At DSS Medical Facility In Abuja

12 January 2019 - 4:25am


Dino Melaye on Saturday morning at the DSS medical facility.

Dino Melaye on Saturday morning at the DSS medical facility.

As the drama between the Police and Senator Dino Melaye continues, the lawmaker is said to have passed the night on the floor outside the building housing the Department of State Security Services (DSS) medical facility in Abuja.

Melaye was whisked away from the Police Hospital in Abuja on Friday afternoon and brought to the DSS facility. See Also Police Melaye Refuses To Enter DSS Hospital, Sleeps On Bare Floor In The Premises 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

While the Police is insisting that the lawmaker is fit to stand trial, Melaye insists he needs more time to recuperate after suffering an earlier asthma attack, when he turned himself in to the Police.

The Police wants Melaye to stand trial over allegations of his culpability in the attack of an officer in July 2018.

The senator has said will not enter the DSS medical facility, until he is told why he was moved from the Police Hospital in Abuja.

A Police source said the Force will ignore his feigned illness, and the senator may be taken to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, any moment from now.

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Atiku Denied Lagos When Approached Over Seized State Allocation, Says Tinubu

12 January 2019 - 2:10am


Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and co-chairman of the APC Campaign Council, has disclosed that Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), abandoned the state when he was approached over allocation of the state seized by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when the duo were in power.

Tinubu said this when he received Yoruba traditional rulers in Abuja, on Friday.

Tinubu claimed that Atiku, who was the vice-president to former President Obasanjo, did nothing when N250million was reduced from the state’s allocation when he (Tinubu) was the governor of Lagos State.

“Atiku was vice-president of this country when the local government allocation for Lagos State was seized. When we led a protest to Atiku then, he said go away, go and comply.

“They were taking away N250million from our allocation every month for being innovative and creative. Everywhere we turn, they rejected us and punished us. But we never gave up," he said.

Tinubu lauded the royal fathers for suppoting Buhari, stating that: “Thank you for not looking back. Thank you for visiting and encouraging him. I am very happy and proud of the very promising situation. When you have the endorsement of your royal fathers, it means you have the people with you and the voice of the people is the voice of God. I am elated.”

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, who led the kings promised that the kings would work towards ensuring that the forthcoming elections were devoid of violence.

"My message to Nigerians at this time of election is peace, peace and peaceful coexistence all the way. The power of every Nigerian and every electorate lies in the thumb. As traditional rulers, we are fathers to all and in playing that role, we pray that there should be peace in this country," he said.

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MASSOB: Our Members Will Not Boycott 2019 Elections

12 January 2019 - 1:45am


The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) says its members will participate in the general election.

This formed part of the resolutions after the group's National Executive Council meeting in Enugu on Friday.

A communiqué issued by its spokesperson, Samuel Edeson, after the meeting noted that the group would not stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting elections in the region.

While recognising the freedom of choice of other Biafran groups, the communique read: “Other pro-Biafra groups that planned to boycott the elections are entitled to stay at home during elections days. We declare that this year’s general election in Nigeria will not be stopped or boycotted in Biafra land.

“Our people that still believe in the Nigerian project are free to participate in the electoral processes of Nigeria, including this year, as we will allow INEC to conduct elections in Biafra land.

“MASSOB, having realised that Biafrans cannot forcefully impose our desirable interest on the people of Nigeria, also having understood the principles of non-violence, unanimously agreed and resolved that the Nigerian state will independently and internally observe and conduct their political exercises, including general election.

“Nigeria elections will come and go. Irrespective of whoever wins in both national and state elections, we must continue with the Biafra project of actualisation, irrespective of both internal and external distraction.”

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Talk By Falz: A Review

12 January 2019 - 1:44am


“Music is the weapon of the future”- Fela Anikulapo Kuti 

Music has been one of the archives where humanity stores what is happening to her at a particular period. Going through songs that were recorded several years ago, one finds that particular songs refer to events that were ongoing at that particular time or even before the time of the composition. Ranging from Peter Tosh’s Equal Rights to Fela’s Beast of No Nations to Bob Marley’s Redemption Song to several other musicians who reigned in the past, one always finds that the musicians drew inspiration from their immediate environment and the conditions of that environment to make the music.

Folarin Falana aka Falz has shown just this sort of musical activism with several of his songs especially Child of the World which discusses sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS stigmatisation, This is Nigeria(which of course generated an invisible court action from Muslim Rights Concern agency MURIC) and the present rave of the moment- Talk.

Folarin lives up to his family tradition of activism by being a socially conscious activist whose songs discuss social ills and revoke memories of Fela’s daring. Talk seems like a follow-up to This is Nigeria. It is amazing how the combined length of both songs do not exceed 6 minutes and yet they have critically raised issues that have taken several pages of books from separate authors on the Nigerian topic.  

In the 6 minutes of both works, Falz raises what it would take a journalist several opinion pieces to do same. It is the power of the musician to be able to do so much with so little time. Little wonder why Fela described music as the weapon of the future.

The song follows the talk-talk chorus style of Fela. “Anything I talk make you talk am again” is similar to how Fela used to request that the audience do a call-and-response repeating certain words to sing along to the song. This style strives towards participation and mass involvement in decrying the national condition.

At the start of the song, Falz continues from the controversy of religious pundits on his use of hijab to reflect the condition of ladies captured by Boko Haram. He throws the first ‘yab’ in the song at MURIC wondering why they did not make any court appearance despite so much threats and media noise.  

He refers in the next line to the election and says “election don dey come dem go need your support“.  The campaigns for the 2019 election are in full swing and one understands that this is a warning against electoral violence. Dem go need your support. (Would you offer it?) He introduces the electoral aspect of it very early because the rest of the complains in the song can be addressed by voting the right persons in elections.

Falz moves on to the issue of yahoo boys. Falz has been very vocal on the issue of internet fraud. He again refers to the recent arrest of suspected yahoo boys in a popular club in Lagos. “Since EFCC bust in, we no Dey see you for club/ And you get legit work Na wetin you talk”. The menace has become very rife of late with increased crime to go alongside it.

“4 year tenure, 3 year holiday” is an obvious reference to the medical tourism that has continued over Nigeria with several politicians flying out of the country to treat themselves and for other reasons that remain undisclosed. This menace was condemned in the song with this line.  

“Our senator don dey fight Kung Fu again/Shey dem never tire dem wan continue the race? We buy your story but dem no give us change”. These lines reflect the degradation of Nigeria’a National Assembly into a fighting ground. It goes on to throw a subtle pass at the Presidency asking if at the present age, he is not tired to continue the race. “We buy your story but you no give us change” is a subtle pass at the APC which is the ruling party. Having received their mandate, the “change” slogan of their campaign is invisible.

“Month don end Oga pay salary/ In 2019, 19800 alawe/ Instead make you talk you dey find Alhaji”.  He refers here to the minimum wage tussle and how workers have not gotten their payment in several states despite their work. For some, they still receive modulated salaries. He also lends his voice to the increment of the minimum wage and claims it is in appropriate for 2019. He decries commercial sex work among ladies too, an area where he has shown interest often in other songs like Child of the World.

“3 private jets you say you buy am for church/ but your congregation no Dey follow fly am of course/why your people still dey carry carry eye for someone/ shey I no be person cause no be your tribe I come from?”

Falana would not end the song without taking a swipe at Pastors at least having introduced the song with MURIC. He is just being fair. He decries the purchase of several private jets in the name of the church and other assets such as Univeristies and costly schools that the children of the poor cannot attend or even members of the congregation. It is wonder why church funds then provide services for corrupt people and a few that made the wealth through clean means.

He addresses tribalism too and pushes humanism instead of the tribal inclinations of Nigerians. He implies that being human is worthy of more consideration than belonging to any particular church.

“Small man thief for market we set fire for him Body/ big man thief money we dey hail am like dummy/ we dey suffer we dey smile, we dey fear to talk/ my people no get chop/ my people no get work/ these days we no know if authority Dey for office cus the yawa wey we see no be security wey you promise/  and the cup e don full/ we don tire for all the rubbish and the punishment/ Na me talk am o!”

Fela discusses the menace of setting fire on poor petty thieves in his song ITT and other interviews claiming that those who should be burnt are the thieves in power. Falz goes on to decry the fear of Nigerians and says we suffer and smile. An allusion to Fela’a Shuffering and Smiling. He decries the rate of unemployment too and finally laments on security.  

At the tail end of the song, Falz makes a reference to revolution. He claims the cup is full which of course means the suffering of the people has come to a brim. He claims the people are tired of this condition. Then he owns up to the earlier lyrics which up till then had been “Na you talk am o/ no be me talk am o”.

He rounds it up by stating clearly.  

Na me talk am o!

This is a song that will be relevant in several years to come.

Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa is a student of the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University. He has a passion for activism and human rights. He is a frequent opinion writer with reputable print and online media. He can be contacted on koyetolu@gmail.com.

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Ooni Of Ife Leads Yoruba Traditional Rulers To Meet Buhari In Abuja

12 January 2019 - 1:14am


Prominent Yoruba traditional rulers have met with President Muhammadu Buhari to pledge their support ahead of the 2019 general election.

The kings met with the president on Friday at the State House in Abuja. 

They were led by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who is also the co-chair of traditional rulers of Nigeria.

Other monarchs present at the meeting included: Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi; Olukare of Ikare Akoko, Oba Akadri Momoh; Oba Michael Ademolaju; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Oludotun Gbadebo; Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi and a few others.

Buhari tasked the kings to ensure peace in the coming elections, stating that some candidates will rely on perpetuating electoral violence to influence the outcome of the election.

He urged the kings to ensure youth are not used as political thugs during the election exercise.

“Our young people must not be left to those who will instigate violence and cause others to lose their property or lives. We are determined to keep order and I hope Your Highnesses are on the same page with us," he said.

The President also spoke of the infrastructural projects embarked on by his administration across the nations.

He promised to complete the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and also the first phase of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project before the end of January 2018.

The traditional rulers commended the president for his efforts and urged the president to embark on more projects in the South-Western part of the country.

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Police Deny Conniving With Thugs To Attack Saraki In Kwara

12 January 2019 - 1:06am


The Nigeria Police Force has denied the claim by Senate President Bukola Saraki, that its officers connived with thugs to attack him and members of his family in Kwara State.

A statement by Jimoh Moshood, spokesman of the Force, on Friday night was in response to an earlier claim by Saraki that thugs assaulted him and his family members.

Addressing newsmen, Saraki had said: “After the APC concluded their campaign in Ilorin, some of their supporters and thugs moved around town and in areas like Adewole/Adeta, Ile Otan and Ubandawaki/Pakata where they saw our people gathered holding their weekly ward meetings. They disrupted the meetings by shouting their party slogan and when our people responded by mentioning our own slogan, they fired gun shots into their midst in Adewole/Adeta.

“The APC supporters also inflicted machete cuts on some of our supporters. As a result of this attack, two people suffered bullet wounds.”

Continuing his narration, Saraki said the thugs proceeded to his family quarters in Ilorin and vandalized houses, shops while also attacking people with machetes.

However, in response to the Senate President's claim, the Police statement read: "All the Police personnel attached to the person of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, his office and family are intact and all the statutory security protection on the person of the Senate President are also accorded him all the time and there was no complaint from the Senate President before now to the Police on this.

"The Nigeria Police Force wishes to categorically state that all the allegations in the statement of the Senate President are incorrect, misleading and false and should be disregarded and discountenanced by the general public.

"The Nigeria Police Force did not give any protection to any political thug or shield any APC thug to go to the family quarters of the Senate President in Agbaji, Ilorin and vandalize houses, shops and inflict wounds with machete on three (3) people as claimed by the Senate President. The Police did not receive any complaint or report of gunshot and wounding as claimed by the Senate President in other areas he mentioned such as Adewole/Adeta, Ile-otan and ubandawaki/pakata.  

"For avoidance of doubt, there was no complaint reported at any Police division within Ilorin metropolis or any other Police Division on the 10th January, 2019 to today 11th January 2019 of any attack, wounding, shooting and destruction of any property by any individual(s) or any political party on their members. However, security within Ilorin metropolis and other locations in Kwara State has beefed-up to ensure security of all Nigerians living in the State. 

"It is incumbent on the Force to set the record straight and correct the wrong impressions that must have been created in the minds of the general public and the international community from the misinformation and misleading account from the Senate President.

"The Inspector General of Police did not try any trick to implicate the Senate President in some criminal charges; the facts are in the public domain about the suspects of the Offa Bank Robbery now being prosecuted who implicated the Senate President in the matter. 

"The Nigeria Police Force is hereby assuring all Nigerians that the Nigeria Police Force has no any undisguised hostility to the Senate President or his supporters in Kwara State or to jeopardize or undermine his personal security and that of his immediate and larger family. The Force will continue to be apolitical and will ensure adequate security throughout the country for all political parties, their members and supporters before, during and after the 2019 general election."

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INEC: Collection Of PVCs To End February 8

12 January 2019 - 12:50am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set February 8, 2019, as the deadline for collection of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

This was disclosed in a press statement by Festus Okoye of INEC's Information and Voter Education Committee, on Friday.

He urged eligible voters who are yet to pick up theirs to do so before the said date.

The commission also said in order to make the collection easy, voters can now pick their PVCs at their Registration Areas/Wards.

“Collection of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by members of the public, which is being done presently at the commission’s Local Government Offices’, is to be devolved to the 8,809 registration areas/wards from 16th to 21st, January 2019 including Saturday and Sunday.

“After 21st January, 2019, collection of PVC will revert to the Commission’s Local Government Offices and other designated centres to be determined by the states until 8th February 2019, being the last day for collection."

The commission maintained that there would be no extension of date and PVCs not collected would be returned to the commission until the exercise begins afresh.

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JUST IN: NNPC Petrol Tanker Catches Fire In Ogudu, Lagos

11 January 2019 - 1:15pm


A petrol tanker belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) caught fire in Ogudu area of Lagos State on Friday evening.

The tanker was loaded with petrol when it burst into flames along the Ifako Bridge inwards Ogudu.

Officers of the Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) were on ground to arrest the situation.

The route was cordoned off and motorists were initially advised to re-route through Gbagada if they were already on the Third Mainland Bridge, or take the Eko Bridge in the alternative.

As at some minutes after 7pm, the fire had been put out and the burnt tanker was towed off the road. The road was afterwards opened to traffic.

At the time of this report, there was still heavy traffic in the area.

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Dickson, Sylva Exchange Verbal Jabs In Bayelsa

11 January 2019 - 1:09pm


The political strife between Timipre Sylva, erstwhile Governor of Bayelsa State and Seriake Dickson, the incumbent Governor of the state, has taken a new dimension with the duo renewing their frequent resorting to name-calling.

While Sylva accused Dickson of plotting fake negative news reports to discredit Abba Kyari, Nigeria's Chief of Staff, and other officials of the presidency with the intent of linking him (Sylva) to the reports, Dickson, on the other hand, referred to Sylva as an "unpopular and desperate politician whose conscience remains his greatest threat".

A statement by Julius Bokoro, spokesman to Sylva, read: “The Dickson government has been built on layers of empty propaganda that he has sustained with robotic consistency. His habitually high-sounding claims and promises have not produced tangible results to uplift the people he has impoverished for close to eight years.

“Having pursued efforts to discredit Sylva as his best public policy since assuming office in February 2012, to no avail, Dickson has now settled for a dangerous fake news campaign, the be-all and end-all of hazardous publicity stunts, to try to cover his mess in power and give himself a soft-landing. But, as usual, he has failed from the start.

“Unknown to Dickson, what the people of Bayelsa State need are imaginative economic strategies and tangible deliverables, not glib publicity stunts. At the national level, Sylva unmistakably and unequivocally emphasises that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is one he, along with other patriots, helped install in 2015. He is all too enthusiastic to repeat this gesture come this February. Sylva is not in the business of unhelpful, petty rivalries in this same government, as the darkest side of Dickson's generally dark imagination is dreaming to manufacture."

On his part, Fidelis Soriwei, Special Adviser, Media Relations to Dickson, said Sylva cuts the "gnawing image of a troubled man screaming and fleeing at the sight of nobody".

The statement by Soriwei read: "This type of report falls short of the standard of a story that should command a place in our respected media space. Somebody of the exalted status of a former Governor is crying wolf where there is none and hallucinating that the Governor reputed to be his political nemesis is after him. The point to note is that the Governor is too busy with the execution of the mandate given to him by Bayelsans in place of Sylva to be bothered by anticipated clashes between Sylva and the President’s Chief of Staff.

“This comic claim by Sylva and his minion is a classic example of the wicked on flight at the sight of nobody. The fact is that Sylva is so scared and intimidated by the shadow of Dickson, that his nightmares about him occur in the day time."

Sylva had ruled Bayelsa under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 2007 and 2012, and later joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014. He was APC's governorship candidate in the 2015 election and lost to Dickson.

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Police: We Moved Melaye To DSS Facility For Further Medical Attention

11 January 2019 - 12:33pm


The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) says the reason behind the movement of Senator Dino Melaye, representative of Kogi West District at the National Assembly, from the Police Hospital to the medical facility of the Department of State Security Services (DSS), was to for further medical examination to confirm his claims that he still wasn't well.

Jimoh Moshood, the Force Public Relations Officer, disclosed this in a press statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Friday.

According to the Police, the lawmaker had been certified "well and healthy" by the Police Hospital, but since he had insisted he wasn't well, he was brought to the DSS medical facility for further medical attention.

The statement read: "Senator Dino Melaye, under investigation and currently in Police custody on a fourteen (14) day remand warrant obtained from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on 9th January, 2019, for the offence of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide, committed on 19th July, 2018, when Senator Dino Melaye and his armed thugs attacked Police personnel, shot and wounded SGT Danjuma Saliu on stop-and-search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State, has been taken to another government hospital for further medical attention.

"Senator Dino Melaye was taken for medical attention at the Police Clinic, Abuja, after he surrendered himself for arrest on 4th January, 2019. The Police medical team at the Police Hospital, Abuja certified that Senator Dino Melaye is well and healthy to stand trial after treating him. However, due to the complaint from Senator Dino Melaye that he is not well, the Police Investigation Team has taken him this afternoon to another government hospital, DSS Medical Facility in Abuja, for further medical attention.

"The Police Investigation Team obtained a Fourteen (14) day Remand Warrant from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on 9th January, 2019, to keep Senator Dino Melaye in Police Custody for investigation into the case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide against him till 23rd January, 2019."

Moshood denied reports that Melaye was arrested by masked men and taken to an undisclosed location.

He added that Sgt. Danjuma Saliu who sustained gunshots injuries during the attack is yet to recover and still under intensive medical care in the hospital, adding that Melaye will be prosecuted along with other suspects on completion of investigation.

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Melaye Refuses To Enter DSS Hospital, Sleeps On Bare Floor In The Premises

11 January 2019 - 12:12pm


Senator Dino Melaye lying on the floor at the DSS medical facility in Abuja.

After he was forcefully moved from the Police Hospital in Abuja to the Department of State Security Services (DSS) medical facility still within Abuja, Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial DIstrict in the National Assembly, has refused to enter the main building of the DSS centre.

Instead, he took position on the floor within the premises.

It was gathered that senator demanded from the security operatives the reason for bringing him to the DSS medical facility.

Afterwards, he refused to enter the hospital, since he claimed not to have been told the reason for his transfer from the Police hospital to the DSS quarters.

As such, he decided to stay put on the bare floor in the compound of the hospital.

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Oyinlola To Buhari: Tinubu Should Be APC Presidential Candidate Instead Of Leading Your Campaign

11 January 2019 - 12:08pm


Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Chairman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), has berated President Muhammadu Buhari for handing over his campaign activities to Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He stated this when he addressed a press conference in Abuja on Friday.

Oyinlola accused APC of planning to "unleash lawlessness" during the 2019 elections, and dared Buhari to lead his campaign if he is not afraid of facing Nigerians.

His words: "APC has been a lawless party and we are aware of its plans to unleash that lawlessness on the nation during elections. This country needs peace and we as opposition will make it impossible for APC to plunge the nation into chaos with its plan to use raw state power to rig elections and give itself undeserved victory in the coming polls.

"We promise to engage bumper to bumper anyone who wants to rig the elections. We also deplore the tardiness and lack of political will on the part of President Buhari to make far-reaching and long overdue reorganization of the security architecture of the country. This, especially, is a key reason for the deteriorating condition of the nation’s security and the fight against terrorism. Specifically, we ask President Buhari to read what the ECOWAS protocol says on the role of armed forces and the Police in elections."

He also called on Buhari to “inject fresh blood into the military and curb the excesses of the Police”.

He continued: “They are even reportedly planning what they describe as low-key campaigns as they plot how to insulate their candidate from campaigning and debating with opponents and tell Nigerians why they must trust him with their lives for another four years. President Muhammadu Buhari has, indeed, said Senator Bola Tinubu would do the campaigns on his behalf. We hope that he was misquoted.

"Otherwise, Nigerians should simply ask him to step back from the contest and let his party put Senator Tinubu forward as its candidate. President Buhari would go down as the first candidate in history to hire a proxy in a presidential contest. He is the one contesting. He should not be afraid to interface directly with Nigerians."

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We Are Through With The Kidnapper, Now We Want An Armed Robber By Elias Ozikpu

11 January 2019 - 10:46am


Nigeria’s tragedy going into the 2019 General Election is that the existing political class in the country has systematically created high rates of poverty and illiteracy as weapons that must be unleashed at a time such as this to permanently muffle any counter reactions that may arise from a people whom they have so raped and continue to rape with stupendous impunity. The result is that the people are docile and are therefore unable to hold their thieving political ‘leaders’ accountable for their numerous atrocities. It is for this reason that most Nigerians have resorted to advocate for the presidential aspirations of the catastrophic Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, two individuals who historically participated and continue to participate in the decimation of Nigeria’s development.

However, their reasons for supporting Atiku or Buhari are far from competence and credibility. They are based on the spurious claim that other candidates stand no chance of winning the 2019 Presidential Elections because their political parties are by no means ‘popular’. In fact, a comment made by a young Nigerian on a WhatsApp group on how he arrived at his choice of candidate is particularly significant and lays bare the monumental defect in the Nigerian psychology. Hear him:

“I can't be so daft not to admit that we have been failed severally (sic) by the leaders in whom we had banked our trust. Neither do I intend to argue whether a change of familiar faces is necessary at this point. However, I don't like deceiving myself at all. It is crystal clear that NO OTHER CANDIDATE other than Buhari or Atiku shall be the winner of this February elections. So, as far as I am concerned, there are only two options from which to choose one and I chose (sic) Atiku.

Mind you, I did not say Atiku is a saint or the best option amongst all the candidates contesting. But man, I do not believe any of these other candidates from unpopular (sic) parties stand a good chance of winning the election. That's my stand and it remains.”

Therein lies the reasoning capacity of a young Nigerian in the 21st century. He admits that Atiku Abubakar, his preferred choice for President of Nigeria in the 2019 election, is a criminal and certainly not the best option Nigeria has in the 2019 polls. In the same breath, however, he proceeds to tell us that the other competent choices deserve no vote because they do not stand a good chance of winning the election. Summarily, the young man with the quoted submission is not willing to cast his vote for a competent or credible candidate but for the candidate whose face is more familiar.

Not only is it a herculean task to salvage a people who are strongly in love with their slave masters, it is equally an uphill task to salvage a people who have a thin knowledge about their recent history. Not so long ago, specifically in 2015, Nigerians deprecated the PDP for their dismal performance in office after sixteen years of maladministration. What then has changed between 2015 and 2019?

The ruling elites have mastered their game so well that they can return to power at will, knowing how easy it is to outsmart or bamboozle the Nigerian electorates who have refused to learn a single lesson after two decades of uninterrupted democracy. For instance, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Tambuwal, former Governor of Kano Sate Rabiu Kwankwaso and Atiku Abubakar, now presidential candidate of the PDP were all at the APC convention held in Lagos in 2014 as party chieftains. The same men seamlessly switched to the PDP in 2018 and were at the party’s convention in Port Harcourt as chieftains. Where then lies the difference between the APC and the PDP? Party names?

Nigeria’s fundamental problem going into the 2019 Presidential Election is not the dearth of a credible alternative, but the pervasive ignorance of the electorates who have been disarmed through the withdrawal of a sound educational system which ought to enhance their thinking capacity such as to understand that an electorate ought to cast his vote based on his conscience and not necessarily on the basis that one of the candidates is more ‘popular’ and should therefore be voted for. Sadly, however, what most Nigerians are saying at this juncture is that: “We are through with the kidnapper, now we want an armed robber!”

Not so long ago, Oxfam International published a report which it titled:

NIGERIA: EXTREME INEQUALITY IN NUMBERS

The report had this to say in part:

“Between 1960 and 2005, about $20 trillion was stolen from the treasury by public office holders in Nigeria. This amount is larger than the GDP of United States in 2012 (about $18 trillion). Poverty and inequality in Nigeria are not due to a lack of resources, but to the ill-use, misallocation and misappropriation of such resources. At the root is a culture of corruption combined with a political elite out of touch with the daily struggles of average Nigerians.”

From the above report by Oxfam, the question to be asked is this: who are the public office holders who stole the $20 trillion from the Nigerian treasury during the period under reference? In which political party (or parties) can they be found? Etc.

Nigeria may remain an underdeveloped nation not because of the nation’s chaotic leadership but because of the docile and imbecilic followership that jumps in defence of their oppressors at the slightest criticism. But like I wrote elsewhere, if the Nigerian electorates for the umpteenth time decide to choose between an armed robber and a kidnapper, they all will be here to reap the bitter reward of their decisions. None will relocate to the sky. Certainly none!

 

Elias Ozikpu is a professional playwright, novelist, social commentator, activist and polemicist.

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Directors Resign As Lufthansa Sells Shares In Troubled NAHCO

11 January 2019 - 10:38am


Barely three weeks after Idris Yakubu, Managing Director of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, was eased out of office, one of its major shareholders, Lufthansa Airlines, has sold its shares in the company.

SaharaReporters had reported on December 22, 2018 about the departure of Yakubu from the company, some five months after his confirmation by the board. See Also International NAHCO Gets Four Managing Directors In 16 Months As Yakubu Resigns 0 Comments 3 Weeks Ago

It was also gathered that its directors have resigned from the company, as their shares have nosedived in recent weeks.

A source close to the company confided in SaharaReporters on Friday that NAHCO issued a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) informing the organisation of the divestment of the investment of Lufthansa Airlines in the company.

It was gathered that Lufthansa had six per cent stake in NAHCO before last week's sales.

The shares, which stood at 97.5million, were transferred to a local firm, Godsmart Nigeria Ltd, allegedly owed by one of the major shareholders in the company.

Before the acquisition, Godsmart had about 20 per cent stake in NAHCO and this latest transaction increased its shares in the company to 26.95 per cent, making it the largest single investor.

The German carrier was the only foreign airline that had shares in NAHCO. As a result of its shares, the ground handling company handles all its operations in the three airports it operates in Nigeria: Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos; Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Omegwa and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

There are fears that with the divestment of its shares in NAHCO, the airline and some of its partners, including other foreign carriers, may terminate their handling contracts with the company.

If such happens, the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc, which commenced the sales of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 406,074,000 ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each at N44.65 per share last November, may gain more of NAHCO’s clients.

Besides, apart from sales of Lufthansa’s shares in the company, it was learnt that another institutional investor, Aviance from France, may also divest its shares from the company. Also, all the directors of the ground handling company have been forced out of NAHCO by the Board of Directors. At present, there are only four management staff in NAHCO, apart from the Group Managing Director, Mrs. Olatokunbo Fagbemi.

The management staff are Head Corporate Services, Mr. Ahmed Gulma; Chief Finance Officer, Mr. Bamidele Ademola Adelaja; Head Internal Audit & Compliance, Mr. Anthony Eromonsele Iyayi and Cargo Services Manager, Mr. Enenamah Chukwuemeka.

“All is not well in NAHCO. As it is, its shares have continued to drop in the stock exchange. As at last Wednesday, its shares had dropped to N3.65 from N5.00 almost a year ago. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. No one’s job is guaranteed at present. More clients may leave NAHCO for SAHCO in the next few weeks," the source said.

When contacted the spokesman for NAHCO, Mr. Tayo Ajakaiye, declined to comment on the issue. He said that the company would issue a statement at a later date.

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Open Letter To OAU Vice-Chancellor (II) By Adejumo Kabir

11 January 2019 - 10:14am


Dear Sir,

In my earlier letter to you on 23rd of June, 2018, I made it known that I was delighted to write you but since even as a father, you refused to attend diligently to issues earlier raised, I find it appalling but necessary this time to write again even if you don't accept it in good faith.

Aside from the dismissal of Richard Akindele, a Professor, who was involved in sex-for-mark scandal with a female student and reinstatement of some suspended students of the university, nothing 'spectacular' has really come from your office to help the students. In fact, your administration has blocked more students' portals afterwards and the slogan among the students when issues affecting them are raised is "your portal may be next". 

This is happening in the 21st century Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Indeed, there was a school for under your watch, students say they now have a "glorified tutorial".

I am certain that nothing will change even after this letter because no amount of words can change your love for a stable academic calendar amidst irregularities in the system. However, it is expected for some of us (as a student-journalists) to inform you about the plight of other colleagues at this present time

Examination:

It is important to note that ASUU strike started at a period when students have not started receiving full lectures on this campus. Nobody is against stable academic calendar, but from survey, students are demanding additional lecture weeks and lecture free week as provided by regulations and antecedents. 

The university may be bent on starting examination on Monday, January 14, but the system should also be ready to take the responsibility of mass failure as it is not expected to ask people what they have not been taught. It is no longer news that on this same campus, there are departments where lectures have been shut since the beginning of the strike. Conducting exams therefore is equivalent to producing half - baked graduates that will cause more harm than good to the nation.

Sir, it is important to note that the argument by  some lecturers that students would not be examined on what they were not taught is faulty because there are required outlines for different courses. If those outlines are not met, then, there is a breach. 

Maybe you don't know that some courses have been cancelled already.

Once again, I am not writing this to change the decision of the management, but to remind you that the university's stand is disastrous and deadly. If many of our lecturers were not taught the necessary during their time, the university will not be a place of work for them. In fact, the students are stakeholders and they must at all time be put into consideration. These students are adults and should not be taken for granted by a 'single adult' or 'some adults' at the helm of the affairs.

Insecurity on and off campus:

While I am not expected to speak for the university security team because he that pays the Piper dictates the tune, it is my obligation to inform you about the porous security situation in our environment.

Perhaps, you are not informed that one of our colleagues was kidnapped in late 2018 with his car driven away by the evil men. Many students are not even aware of this incident because of the usual manner of burying cases in this part of the world. 

Mr. Vice Chancellor, students maintained that their colleague who died after robbery attack in December would not have died if there were proactive measures from the end of the security team. However, after proper investigation, it was realised that university did not even have 'sound vans' to combat thieves. Eyewitnesses narrated how the CSO of the school was forced to use his personal van to convey the deceased. This is sad and it won't be out of place if the students and parents of the deceased hold the university responsible for the death of Babatola.

After the robbery attack, there have been series of robbery cases even till late last night. It appears that the university prefers the decongestion of hostels than the lives of these students. 

Others: 

Because I know the university will not change from being autocratic, I will quickly highlight other issues under this paragraph.

The students of Alumni hall did not have water in their hostel since last year. They went home and returned to realise that nothing has changed. If the university is not aware, I think they are now aware. Our Queens cannot continue to walk down to Awolowo hall to fetch and we won't love to perceive them smelling in the class.

The issue of delay in the release of students results still persist, and continue to make students have automatic 'extra year' as many have to spend semester(s) without knowing their fate as regards previous papers written.

Also, the university keeps collecting N500 each from students every session without issuance ID cards. So, the school is proud to see students harrassed by SARS.

I won't discuss the students union reinstatement here because students already know that  it is not the wish of every oppressive authority to have a vibrant students' body. 

Yours Faithfully,

Signed,

Adejumo Kabir, a student-journalist at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife

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Tonye Cole Campaign Blames Magnus Abe Group For APC’s Exclusion From Rivers Election

11 January 2019 - 9:57am


The Tonye Cole campaign organisation has blamed the Senator Magnus Abe faction for the exclusion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the governorship election in Rivers State.

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on January 7, 2019 had nullified the primaries conducted by the two factions of the party in Rivers State. The court also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting Tonye Cole, Magnus Abe and other candidates of the APC in the 2019 governorship election in the state. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Court Stops INEC From Recognising APC's Two Rivers Governorship Candidates 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Cole’s faction stated that Abe’s group should not have approached the court, having written a petition to the National Executive Committee of the party. The group claimed that petition led to the party’s exclusion from the 2019 elections in the state.

A statement by the organisation read: “Fortunately for the petitioners, the NEC of APC on the 18th of May granted their relief of cancellation of the congress on the 5th, 12th and 19th of May 2018 and was rescheduled to the 19th, 20th and 21st of May 2018. However, before the APC NEC could reach a decision on the petition, the petitioners had gone ahead of the body to seek for the same reliefs at the Rivers State High Court."

Cole’s group maintained that the party had intervened and waived the requirement for congress, which was part of the concerns raised with all aspirants allowed to contest the congresses without nomination forms.

According to the Tonye Cole organisation, the petitioners, in their hastiness to file a suit to the High Court, failed to exhaust the internal dispute resolution procedure, making the suit incompetent from the moment it was filed. It also added that in the originating processes of the suit in the court, the petitioners did not set out the wrongful act of the party that had warranted them to sue.

It maintained that the petitioners had, therefore, gone against the rule of the Supreme Court by undermining the process of redress of their party.

“It is for the reason that a person does not undermine the process of redress by an organisation to which he belongs by seeking same remedy in court once he has invoked the Remedial Authority of that organisation, that the Supreme Court set the rule and need for such a person to exhaust the internal dispute mechanism of the party, before approaching the court," the organisation added.

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