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Sudan Varsity Bars Kano Students From Classes Over Fees

13 November 2018 - 12:56am


Nigerian students sponsored by the Kano State Government to study in Elrazi University, Sudan have been barred from attending classes over failure of the government to pay their fees and other allowances.

Daily Trust obtained a letter of notification to that effect, dated 15th Oct 2018, which was addressed to the state government through the State Scholarship Board.

It reads: “It is important to notify you that from today 15/10/2018 none of your students will be allowed into their normal classes failure to settle their outstanding Fees.”

It further said: “It may interest you to know that being absent for a month will affect their attendance and chance of graduating.”

The President of Kano State Sponsored Students, Sudan, Saddiq Abdullahi Ubajalli who confirmed the situation to Daily Trust said: “Please we need help in our situation, till now the Government hasn’t done anything and I swear to God the students are in hardship situation.”

He said Elrazi University barred Kano Scholarship students from entering even the university compound.

“The university sent them a lot of notifications before they finally took the decision, the Government did not respond to even a single letter that is the reason they barred the students.”

He said: “Government now owes the students 21 months Upkeeps and 11 months accommodation fees, the students are in critical condition.”

He disclosed that 10 female students that already graduate since August from Omdurman Islamic University were denied their result because the government did not settles their fees.

However, Daily Trust saw letters of notifications dated 24/8/2018 addressed to Kano state scholarship board, Executive Governor Office, Commissioner of Education and the Commissioner of Finance notifying them of the need to clear the outstanding fees.

Responding, the Kano State Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba confirmed that Kano State government is owing the students some allowances, but said that their school fees had been paid up to the time they would graduate.

He said though they were not the only students being owed by government efforts were on to offset their allowances.

He said, “This is a problem we inherited from previous government and I can tell you we have so far offset over N5bn pending school fees and other allowances for Kano indigenes studying in various private universities in Nigeria.

“About two weeks ago, we paid over N500m as allowances to such students. So, I can assure you government will do everything possible to address this problem very soon.”

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Magu Snubs Question On Ganduje Bribery Video, Speaks On Alison-Madueke’s Extradition

13 November 2018 - 12:49am


EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu

EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu PM News

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday refused to answer a question on bribery allegations against the Governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje.

In different videos widely circulated online, Ganduje was apparently captured collecting kickbacks from contractors.

At a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, Magu refused to respond to a question on the video.

When asked to speak on the issue, he responded: “Next question please”.

Magu, however, said the agency was seeking to extradite former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, because the UK authorities failed to take legal action against her.

“It has taken so long and it is very unreasonable that she is not being tried there.

“So, we are tired of waiting and that was why I said if you cannot prosecute her, bring her and we will prosecute her. There is no prosecution going on in the UK.

“We are involved in the investigation in this country and outside the country including America and London. I have been there. We have worked and sat together. We cannot wait endlessly. I think three years and above is sufficient for you to take her to court. There is no court process against her in the UK. Nobody is prosecuting her there,” he added.

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EFCC Gets Ultimatum To Probe Ganduje​

13 November 2018 - 12:45am


The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin an investigation into bribery allegations against Kano State Governor Umar Ganduje.

Videos online purport to show the governor taking bribes on different occasions.

Yesterday, a Kano High Court restrained the state House of Assembly from further investigating the matter pending the determination of the originating summons. It adjourned hearing till November 21, 2018.

The umbrella organisation of all registered political parties said: “The burden of proof that the President Muhammadu Buhari government is covering corrupt members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is heavier now with the Federal Government’s continued silence over the allegations against the governor.”

In a statement by CNPP Secretary General Willy Ezugwu, the organisation said: “We are left to believe that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari and the EFCC under Mr. Ibrahim Magu only fight corruption in states with opposition leadership. Not a few Nigerians have argued that the APC is a hiding place for corrupt politicians and a cover for looters who want respite from the anti-graft agencies under the current Federal Government.

“We are totally behind the position of the state House of Assembly that the courts cannot stop it from carrying out its legislative duties and urge the lawmakers to conclude the investigation without fear or favour.

It is shocking that instead of taking advantage of the fair hearing offered the governor by the state Assembly, Governor Ganduje chose to approach the court to stop the probe.

“Even when the Assembly offered the governor the liberty to appear before its seven-man investigative panel, the governor chose the dishonourable path by going for a black market order from the Kano State High Court, instead of proving his innocence before the committee.

“We are more worried that the EFCC has turned the other way while the presidency has said that the issue didn’t bother it. We therefore demand an immediate commencement of a full investigation into the allegations by the EFCC within 14 days or (it would) be legally compelled to do so.”

But Magu at a press briefing yesterday evaded a reporter’s enquiry on the videos. Asked what he made of them, he replied: “Next question, please.”

Also queried about the source of the wealth of APC National Leader Bola Tinubu, he said: “If you are really interested, write a petition and see whether I won’t act. It is not for us to listen to people on radio and begin to act. Yes, we have intelligence but the surest way to get action is to go and write a petition and substantiate the contents of the petition and see whether I will not act.”

On why the commission failed to prosecute the former board chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme, over allegations of fraud, Magu said: “Olojeme escaped to South Africa because she has multiple passports and the EFCC has so much to handle.”

He however condemned alleged delay by the United Kingdom government in prosecuting a former Minister of Finance, Diezani Alison-Madueke. According to him, “We are tired of waiting. If you cannot prosecute her, bring her to Nigeria, so that we prosecute her because there is no prosecution going on there. Though we are involved in the investigation in this country and outside this country we cannot wait endlessly. Three years and above is sufficient enough to prosecute her.”

Magu, who reeled off the achievements of his agency in the last three years, disclosed: “We have recovered over N789 billion, over N206 million from within the country including Abacha loot, €8,168 million, £1,15 million, and Fr86,000 in three years.”

On the number of convictions scored by the agency, he said: “In 2015, we recorded 103 convictions. In 2016, we recorded 194 convictions. In 2017, the convictions were 189. From January 1, 2018 till date, we got 217 convictions.”

He said property recovered by the commission included: filling stations, petroleum products, lands, automobile, mansions, machinery and broadcast equipment.

“Mansions (407) were sized while 136 have been forfeited finally to the Federal Government. Nine filling stations were seized and placed under entry forfeiture; 98 pieces of land were seized, of which 56 are under entry forfeiture, while others have been forfeited finally to Federal Government.

“Also, 259 automobiles have been seized. Ninety-five are under entry forfeiture, while 224 have been forfeited finally. Saint Solomon Healthcare Centre, which is a very big diagnostic hospital located at Number 24 Street, Ikeja, Lagos, has also been forfeited finally.”

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30% Of Nigerians Suffer Mental Illness – FG

13 November 2018 - 12:39am


The Federal Ministry of Health says about 20 to 30 per cent of Nigerians suffer from mental illness.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, said this at the Mental Health Action Committee and Stakeholders’ Workshop in Abuja on Monday.

Abdullahi said with a population of about 200 million, Nigeria had a high rate of mental illness. This implies that Nigeria has about 60 million persons with mental illnesses.

He said, “There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations. They are generally characterised by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others.

“Mental disorders include: Depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders including autism.

“In Nigeria, an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of our populations are believed to suffer from mental disorders. This is a very significant number considering Nigeria has an estimated population of over 200 million.

“Unfortunately, the attention given to mental health disorders in Nigeria is inadequate. The level of awareness of the Nigerian public on mental health issues is also understandably poor, and with lots of misconceptions.”

Also speaking, Director of Public Health, Dr Evelyn Ngige, said mental illness could destabilise a person more than HIV, heart disease, accidents, and wars combined.

She said Nigeria’s mental health statistics was too bad, adding that the high rate of suicide in places like Lagos may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Ngige added, “In Nigeria, an estimated 20 -30 per cent of our populations are believed to suffer from mental disorders, which is a very significant number. Considering the current economic situation in the country, the above statistics are damning and in the light of the recent suicidal episodes recorded in parts of Lagos (which are obviously a tip of the iceberg), it forces a rethink in our general attitudes to mental health and questions our current maintenance of the status quo.”

The director said the committee on mental health had failed to achieve its goal because of lack of funds.

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UI International School Shut Over Hijab Crisis​

13 November 2018 - 12:36am


The management of University of Ibadan International School, yesterday, closed the school over wearing of hijab by the Muslim students.

The management put the classrooms under lock and key, following the appearance of some female students in hijab against the school’s dress code.

The development followed a letter received by the school on November 9, 2018, from the International School Muslim Parents’ Forum (ISMPF), signed by Abdurrahman Balogun (chairman) and Bilikis Badiru (secretary).

The letter, entitled: ‘Notice of of the resolution on the rights of our female children to commence the use of Hijab from this academic session of 2018/2019’, was addressed to the Principal, Mrs Phebean Olowe, and the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof, Abideen Aderinto.

“Hijab wearing for young Muslim girls, apart from the fact that it is part of their religious belief, is part of their God-given fundamental human rights as well as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” ISMPF said in the letter.

Aderinto, in his reaction, said: “I’m the chairman of the Court of Governors and I’m a proud Muslim. ISI is a private school.

“UI does not fund it. It is funded by the fees collected. It is unfortunate that this is coming up now. Even the Parents’ Teacher Association (PTA) is not aware of the idea by this group. Indeed, some other Muslim parents expressed shock when they heard about this forum.

“Since its establishment in 1963, the school has not experienced any religious crisis and we would want to guard against it. The Muslim and Christian students have a place to worship in the school. Whoever desires to change the rules should go through the process.

“The teachers do not feel safe and so could not have taught anybody because it is a strange development.

“I appeal to these people to stop their action and allow peace to reign in the school. It is even strange that this matter was not discussed at the PTA at all, headed by another Muslim and lawyer, Kazeem Olaniyan.”

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Govs Against LG Autonomy Are Nigerians’ Enemies – Obasanjo​

13 November 2018 - 12:32am


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said some state governments in the country are using joint account to incapacitate and steal local governments’ funds.

Obasanjo also accused the state governments that were opposed to local government autonomy of being responsible for this financial incapacitation of the local governments.

The former President spoke on Monday while playing host to members of a Non-Governmental Organisation, Friends of Democracy, at his residence inside the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

The group had sought the former President’s support for the Local Government Autonomy Bill which had been passed by the National Assembly but still requires the nod of not less than 24 state Houses of Assembly.

According to Obasanjo, the local government reform carried out in 1976 was meant to make the councils as third tier of government and not an appendage of either of the two tiers of government.

 He expressed regret that state governments, which he said were autonomous, had been opposed to the agitation for LGs autonomy.

Obasanjo lamented that the present situation in many local governments in the country was so pathetic that “they can no longer perform their functions particularly  payment of their workers’ salaries.”

He wondered why the Federal Government continue to allow the states to enjoy their autonomy except during  emergency situation.

Obasanjo, however, asked the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, and the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees to demand LG autonomy in the interest of the people at the grassroots.

He said, “When in 1976, we brought in Local Government Reforms, it was meant to be the third tier of the government and not meant to be subjected to the whims and caprices of any other government; just the same way that the state government is autonomous from the Federal Government. Local Government is meant to be autonomous from the state government.

“But from what we know, by design, most states have incapacitated the local government system. They have virtually stolen the local governments’ money in what they called Joint Account. They were to contribute 10 per cent but they (state governments) never contributed anything.

“So, what we have across the country are Local Government Areas that have functions, but cannot perform the functions. They have staff but most of them cannot pay the staff, and we keep getting excuses upon excuses.

“And I see no reason if the Federal Government allows the states to enjoy their autonomy except in the case of state of emergency.”

While speaking on the failed attempt to grant autonomy to the councils, Obasanjo said, “The Bill passed by the National Assembly which requires 24 state Houses of Assembly and like I am told only nine states have signed it.

“I am proud of those states because they are what you will call progressive states that really believe in democracy.

“My own state (Ogun) is one of them. I will say kudos to Ogun State. In the South-South, only Bayelsa and Cross River states have signed it; kudos to those two states. In the North-East, it’s only Bauchi; in the North-West, it’s only Sokoto; and in the North-Central, we have four states, Kwara, Niger, Plateau and Benue. I will say kudos to the executives and the legislatures of those states.

“But we must say those state executives and the legislatures that have prevented the bill from being passed, they must be taken as the enemy of the people and they should be treated as such. Because if you enjoy autonomy from the Federal Government why don’t you want local government to enjoy autonomy?

“Again, I will say the leadership of the NLC and NULGE who have always fought for the interest of the people should know that the interest of the people at the local government will be best served if the LG has autonomy which is meant that they should have.”

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Minimum Wage: Labour Gives President Two Weeks To Submit Bill To N’Assembly ​

13 November 2018 - 12:29am


The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said the organised labour expects President Muhammadu Buhari to submit the new national minimum wage bill to the National Assembly for passage into law within the next two weeks, explaining that it was prepared to constructively engage the federal legislature to ensure quick passage of the bill.

Speaking to THISDAY on telephone last night, the General Secretary of the NLC, Mr. Peter Essom, said labour expects speedy transmission of the outcome of the negotiations to the legislature without further waste of time, warning that any delay could attract a reaction from workers.

“We insist that a bill reflecting the agreement reached at the tripartite negotiations be forwarded to the National Assembly as soon as possible; that is what we are standing on. If that is not done within a reasonable time, then you will hear from us,” he said.

On what would amount to a reasonable time for the organised labour under the circumstances, Essom said, “We will determine what reasonable time is; remember that the NLC President had indicated that within a period of two weeks, we expect this bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly. So let us wait and see. When we believe that there is an unnecessary delay in the process, we will take decisions need to be taken and we will communicate to members of the public,” he said.

The NLC scribe said that labour was appealing to President Buhari to kindly expedite action on the proposed new national minimum wage by transmitting it to the National Assembly in good time.

He said the Tripartite Committee on the New National Minimum Wage had concluded its meetings and a report on N30,000 minimum wage agreed upon, adding that the ball was now in the court of government to do the needful.

“We all signed up on the N30,000, so why should there be any controversy. The report has been submitted to Mr. President and what we expect now from Mr. President is to do justice to that report, by quickly raising an executive bill on the new National Minimum Wage. And when that bill gets to the National Assembly, we want to assure Nigerian workers that we will be ready to engage them constructively,’’ he said.

The Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage concluded its negotiation process on November 5 and submitted the report to Mr. President on November 6.

Before then, the federal government had offered to pay N24,000, while the organised labour had agreed with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to stand on N30,000 as the new National Minimum Wage.

President Buhari while receiving the committee report, said: “In a way, both arguments are valid. I want to assure you all that we will immediately put in place the necessary machinery that will close out these open areas. Our plan is to transmit the Executive Bill to the National Assembly for passage within the shortest possible time. I am fully committed to having a new National Minimum Wage Act in the very near future,’’ he said. 

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Uzodinma Appears Before FG Panel Today​

13 November 2018 - 12:27am


Imo State Governorship candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Hope Uzodinma, is to appear today before the Special Presidential Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) in connection with the $12 million contract for the dredging of Calabar channel.

He was arrested on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by operatives of the panel for the failure of his company to execute the said contract, which was awarded by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

He was, however, allowed to go home and report to the panel yesterday (Monday) at 10 am, but he failed to show up. Irked by the development, operatives of the panel yesterday stormed his Abuja residence where he was re-arrested.

Confirming the incident to Daily Sun, Chairman of the panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, stated: “We arrested him yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for the failure of his company to execute a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel. However, because we allowed him to go and report to our office today (Monday) by 10am since we do not have a detention facility.

“He agreed to make himself available and we allowed him to go. But surprisingly, we waited for him but he did not show up.

“We drove to his Abuja residence today and re-arrested him but he pleaded with us that he is a high blood pressure patient and that he will make himself available to our office today (Tuesday) at 10 am. So, we left him with the hope that he will honour the appointment.”

Meanwhile, Uzodinma has accused Governor Rochas Okorocha of sponsoring the story of his purported arrest by SPIPRPP, saying that there was no iota of truth in the sponsored story.

A statement signed by the Director of Media and Special Duties of the Hope Uzodinma Campaign Organization, Declan Emelumba, said the story was planted by Okorocha and his cohorts out of their desperation to tarnish the image of the distinguished senator before the Imo electorate who are poised to vote for him in 2019.

He said that Okorocha has refused to come to grips with reality that his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, will not be his successor in 2019, and that he is, therefore, out to damage APC and its governorship candidate in Imo State.

The statement wondered when it became the duty of the Chairman of the panel Chief Obono-Obala to send messages to correspondents directly and just to punchng.com. alone. According to him, “if there was any arrest, is it not the press department of the panel that will issue such a statement to the entire media and not just to punchng.com?

“It is very obvious that Okorocha and his people are behind this evil story. They have planned so much against the APC governorship candidate, from the phony dud cheque issue to a non-existent non-assets declaration charge. Their latest plot is this Calabar dredging contract. However, they should know that the company handling the Calabar dredging contract is Calabar Channels Management Company in which Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has 60% equity shares. So, if there is anybody to be arrested for anything, then it is the Managing Director of NPA and not a minority partner, Niger Global, in which Uzodinma is a shareholder.”

Emelumba maintained that there is clear evidence that this is a failed plot by the governor and his men.

He said: “The fact that simultaneously as they planted the Punch online story, their own so called state publicity secretary of APC Imo State, Onwuasonya FCC Jones, issued a press release celebrating the false arrest and even said in the statement that it was from their investigation that they found out about the “arrest” of the senator, shows clearly that they are behind the whole plot.”

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Presidency Identifies Owners Of Cattle Causing Problem In Nigeria

13 November 2018 - 12:21am


The presidency on Monday revealed the identity of the real owners of cattle allegedly destroying farmers’ crops and causing major crisis in some part of the country, especially in the North Central.

It said the real owners of the cattle were the pastoralists themselves and not some wealthy individuals as popularly held in many quarters.

Reacting to a question at a pre-event press conference on ‘Insights and Conversations with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’ in Abuja,’ a Senior Special Assistant, Agriculture Policy to the Vice President, Andrew Kwasari said 70 per cent of the cattle found in the troubled areas were owned by the pastoralists themselves, and not by wealthy Nigerians as claimed.

According to him, "It will interest you to note that cattle owned by these so-called rich people are highly secured and protected. They do not roam about. The truth is that the pastoralists themselves own most of the cattle that are causing trouble. In fact, I had met a particular herder who owns 6000 cattle".

He added that efforts were in place to tackle the situation, especially now that the dry season was here.

On what the government is doing to address the continuous farmers/herders’ clashes in the country, Kwasari said a 10-year-plan had been mapped out to tackle the situation.

He said the federal government was engaging the local people in various communities to understand how best to tackle the situation, saying "The federal government has set up a committee to work with local communities in order to proffer a permanent solution to the clashes. A 10-year-plan has been proposed and a long-term sustainable solution is the target. 7 key states for the implementation of the 10-year policy have been identified and we have gone round most of the states and we have found interesting ways to tackle the situation.

"‘’The people are also insisting on the implementation of the recommendation from the last national economic council. A conflict resolution mechanism has consequently been put in place and the people are at home with that. If we are going to succeed in implementing the 10-year plan, then we need the support of all stakeholders, including the media in order to change the narrative.

"I’m happy that the people are willing to resolve the problem. The people have agreed to work jointly.

"It’s very important that we are looking into this problem as this is the first time in the history of our country where we have this type of problem on the eve of a national election. Very soon, politics will set in. So what we need to do is to ensure the community work together to stop this menace.

"From our findings, the people are also interested in proffering solution by themselves. They want the federal and the state government to recognize their institution and their community leaders. For instance, about 256 routes paths have been identified by the local people in Nasarawa State. Foreign herdsmen are believed to come in through those routes and they are working with the security agencies to stop illegal movement along those paths," he said.

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Corruption As An Economy By Olorunfemi Adeyeye

12 November 2018 - 12:18pm


 

Any serious political leader who wants to fight corruption sincerely must first be intellectual enough to understand that corruption is an economy, just like poverty is an idea created by the ruling class.

In fact, corruption is a trillion dollar economy especially in Nigeria. It has a long chain of distribution and I would try to transcribe it the way I have it in my ever-busy head.

There is a civil servant who has had to falsify his age so as to elongate his stay in the civil service in almost every family in Nigeria. Anyone is free to contest this, but I know many of my lecturers who sit in class because they are already weak due to old age. They are 70+ physically but 60 on paper.

There is this contractor who collects mobilisation fee for a job but does not mobilise anything. He gets the fee, sends part of it to his old woman in the village to share among his 'village people' who can die for him to live.

Because he has 'money', he was ordained an elder in church and all his 'generous' donations towards the work of God earned him the front seat and all the youth in church want his phone number.

His brother calls every weekend from UNILAG and sister from Covenant University for allowances. His younger brother has a girlfriend who is threatening to leave him if he is not 'man enough' to buy her iPhone X. That then became the reason the UNILAG school fees changed to N150,000 on his own portal.

For supporting a politician during elections, this man was given 10 job slots at the Federal Ministry of Works. He got the slots and filled all of them with people who don't come to work but they get salary alerts first, even before those at work. They have families to cater for too.

There is this big club on the Island that would be out of business if this big man does not show up at least once in a week. The manager has his number on his 'favourite list' to secure his own survival and his family. Banks give him loans without any collateral and he dictates when to even pay.

And the chain continues like that. Most times, one can't state the end of this 'economic distribution'.

It would then be impolitic of any leader to fight this robust 'economy' by just jailing the direct thief (contractor) and not creating an ALTERNATIVE ECONOMY and IDEA for the 'indirect thieves'; those who are mere benefactors of the loot, and are admirers of the looter. They would surely fight back.

By creating an alternative economy, you would be making automatic whistle-blowers of the 'indirect thieves'.

Let those who gain from the direct thief be able to feed well, enjoy basic things of life without sweating, work and get paid living wage promptly, enjoy the best infrastructure --- roads, schools and bridges --- so that their life spans aren't shortened by excessive traffic jam. 

Let all these be in place and people would point to thieves in the area.

Of course, all of these require enough intellectual capacity and not 'Buhari'.

 

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Atiku And Obasanjo To Blame For Nigeria's Current Problems, Says Group

12 November 2018 - 10:54am


The New Nigeria Initiative (NNI) has said Nigerians are still suffering from the rot of 16 years of misgovernance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is planning to come back and regain power in 2019.

Idoko Ainoko, Chairman of NNI, stated this while addressing journalists over the state of affairs of the country ahead of next year's general election.

Ainoko noted that the duo of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who both ruled on platform of the PDP, caused the problems currently bedeviling the country’s economy.  

He said that Nigerians must shine their eyes and reject the dark days of the PDP, noting that the event leading to the general election will be a hot race.

“By the time the party, PDP, was done after spending 16 continuous years in power, our country was left with degraded infrastructure, poorly motivated and poorly equipped military, a dwindled federal reserve, poor health-care system, abysmal educational system, and epileptic power supply," he said.

“Almost all sectors of the Nigerian architecture were in shambles and the fascinating thing is that those 16 years were the moment when the country made unprecedented record revenue from oil sales.

"Waziri Adio, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative NEITI, had said Nigeria earned $592 billion from oil and gas sales alone within that period yet the lives of the people were not any better than prior to 1999.

"The figure quoted will definitely be in excess of $600 billion if we consider what accrued in the first quarter of 2015 as well. These are humongous figures that exceeded what we made altogether as a nation in the years preceding 1999 and those years were our golden years.

“Those were the years when our universities were rated higher than many American Universities and when we had railways functioning almost across all geopolitical regions of the country. We had manufacturing industries littered across the country.

“By 2015, we had become a shadow of ourselves as a country. Refineries collapsed, schools and hospitals were operating far below the standard of what is expected of a developing nation.

"Power supply was below 3,000 megawatts, despite claims that over $16b had been expended in the 1999-2015 period on the power sector. We were low on almost all development indices. It was definitely a 16 years of colossal failure."

Whilst acknowledging the right of the former Vice President to seek political office, Aidoko said it would be sheer evil to ask the people to vote for those who, for 16 years, manipulated all the processes of government and converted same into their own personal good.

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Former Kaduna Governorship Aspirant Dumps PDP

12 November 2018 - 10:43am


Dr Muhammad Sani-Bello, a former governorship aspirant seeking to contest on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State, has formally dumped the party.

Announcing the decision at a press briefing on Monday in Kaduna, Sani-Bello said he left because of "unending mistrust" between him and the state leadership of the party and its governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru.

“Based on consultations with my supporters and other stakeholders, I have decided that from today November 12, 2018, I Dr Muhammad Sani-Bello cease to be a member of the PDP,” he said.

Noting that the mistrust emanated from the refusal of the party leaders in the state to put the term of consensus, which led to his stepping down for Ashiru, into writing prior to the party’s governorship primaries, he added that he was also not comfortable working with Ashiru, whose academic credentials were said to be in question.

“Based on my findings, the documentation of the candidate contains certain flaws, which remain unexplained,” he stressed.

According to NAN, Sani-Bello added that all efforts made by him and other “discerning and concerned party members” for the state PDP leadership to address areas of friction were rebuffed.

He said he would announce the decision after consultation with his supporters and other stakeholders.

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Akeredolu Declares War On Media, Expels Channels, AIT From Govt Office

12 November 2018 - 9:38am


Akeredolu addressing journalists in the state

Embittered by unfavourable press coverage, Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has barred some media stations from covering his activities and that of the state government, Sahara Reporters has learnt.

The media outlets include the Channels Television, the African Independent Television (AIT), Raypower and Core Television.

They have been instructed to drop all the state government property in their possession, which include the state house media identity cards printed for them by state government through the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.

It was reliably gathered that these blacklisted media stations have been stopped from accessing the facilities of the Alagbaka 'Press Crew' office of the Governor in Akure.

Government office sources told Sahara Reporters on Monday that reporters and cameramen with the affected media stations were given “quit notice” to vacate the office of the Governor with immediate effect.

One of the sources, who pleaded not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the journalists were asked to “pack their load” and leave the government office because their services were no longer needed.

He revealed that the journalists with the affected media stations were accused of reporting the activities of the government in “bad light” while ignoring the development stories that could attract investors to the state.

“The main issue that the government has with these affected media stations is their critical reportage on government activities in the state," he said.

“And I am aware that they have once be warned, sanction and threatened with expulsion by the Commissioner of Information, Yemi Olowolabi, but it seems the media managers of these stations have an axe to grid with the state government and the Governor Akeredolu himself."

But another source explained that the media stations were barred from the government office because the Akeredolu-led government could not afford the “heavy fund” been paid to the media stations on quarterly basis that was inherited from the past government.  

“Yes, I know they have been expungeg from the list of media stations being housed in the Government Office and I am aware the decision is final unless the government renegotiates with their managers if they are ready to listen," he said.

“The issue is that the amount the state government spends on paying the media organizations on quarterly basis, particularly Channels Television, is enough for us to equip and upgrade our own media stations here in Ondo state.

“In fact, despite such payments, which I know the past government did before leaving office, these media stations don’t still report us well and in good light. We feel we can’t continue to retain them and we have told them we no longer need their services in the government house."

A journalist with one of the affected media organizations confirmed their expulsion from the government office to Sahara Reporters via the phone.

“It is true. They told us to leave the government office on the pretence that they could no longer accommodate us and retain the quarterly payment," said the journalist.

“We have passed the message to our office in Lagos and we are awaiting further directives for possible redeployment. Some of us are not surprised because since the inception of this APC-led government of Akeredolu, they have declared war on journalists.

“I am sure you have witnessed two attacks on us by thugs of the NURTW for doing our job and these people were sent by the machineries of the state government. So they knock the ones that do not carry out their biddings or refuse to praise-sing them in their stories.”

Mr. Oluyemi Olowolabi, the Ondo State Information Media Manager, did not respond to calls when contacted, and he refused to reply our correspondent's text to his mobile phone.

Since Akeredolu's emergence as Governor, his government has been battling with “bad press” as a result of his disposition to journalists and media professionals in the state and beyond.

In early 2017, he was quoted at a public event inside the International Event Centre, DOME, in Akure, as telling journalists: “I don’t care about whatever you guys write about me but let me tell you, I have become this governor and nothing or nobody will change me. So, you can continue to write whatever you like."  

Sahara Reporters had noticed that the coverage of the activities of the state government, since the beginning of year 2018, had been restricted to only select media stations, mostly the state-owned media outlets.

Our correspondent has repeatedly observed that the coverage of major news events involving the state government were taken over by Akeredolu’s media handlers.

These media handlers, with a background touch of censorship and vetting, produce only pro-state government stories on their social media pages before emailing them to journalists.

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JUST IN: ‘30,000’ APC Members From Atiku's Senatorial District Join PDP

12 November 2018 - 9:15am

Reverend Habila Istifanus, a popular politician from the southern senatorial district of Adamawa State, has led 30,000 supporters from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 

Adamawa South Senatorial District is the home of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP.

Speaking to newsmen in Yola on Monday, Istifanus, who lost the APC National Assembly ticket to Abdulrazak Namdas (Toungo/Ganye/Jada and Mayo-Belwa Federal Constituency), condemned APC’s nomination process, describing it as a charade.

“I spent over N25 million on the nomination process but surprisingly, the party hierarchy hijacked the process only to award the ticket to their preferred candidate,” he said.

“Now we have decided to leave that party of impunity; and with a support base of over 30,000 people, we'll work for all PDP candidates at state and national levels.”

Ahmed Umar Fintiri, PDP Governorship candidate who received Istifanus on behalf of the decampees, urged the electorate to vote out the APC government.

"I'm a certificated candidate,” he said, alluding to Governor Jibrilla Bindow's raging certificate controversy.

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EXCLUSIVE: Ad Agencies Turning Down Atiku Adverts For Fear Of Buhari Backlash

12 November 2018 - 8:35am


Sanwo-Olu on a billboard

Advert agencies in Nigeria are turning down offers from Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for fear of backlash from President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, SaharaReporters has been told.

Although the official window of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for commencement of political adverts is November 18, politicians have been staying ahead of the game by using third parties, such as pressure and support groups, to place adverts at strategic points in their cities. 

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been doing a lot of this, for instance. Sanwo-Olu on a billboard

However, speaking with SaharaReporters, an ad agency executive in Lagos said the fear of the government of the day is preventing them from accepting promotional materials from Atiku.

“The Atiku campaign is in soup,” said the executive, who asked not to be named.

“The problem is that every advert agency the Atiku team has approached, the ones that I am aware of, they turned down the offer because of the fear that the government would move against them. I turned them down myself, both cash and cheque offers to have Atiku featured on billboards in Lagos.” 

SaharaReporters understands that at least 12 advert agencies — five in Abuja and seven in Lagos — have rejected ad requests by Atiku’s campaign team.

“In Abuja, I’m sure five of my colleagues turned them down just as I did,” the source continued.

“In Lagos, I know six of us have said no to Atiku. Add me to the list then you have seven. We all are afraid. We don’t want to be seen as taking sides. Of course it is revenue for us, but we don’t want to do it. It’s not about using our avenues to propagate falsehood; it’s purely that we don’t want to be seen by the government as identifying with the opposition.

“Some of us are waiting to get Buhari adverts. It’s not like Buhari’s campaign team will pay us more than Atiku’s is offering; it’s just that it’s safer for us than what the Atiku guys are offering.”

SaharaReporters contacted Segun Sowunmi, spokesman of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCO), for comments but he declined to speak on the matter, saying: ‘For now, I have no comments on this.”

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Man Arrested For 'Attacking' Bayelsa APC Members Who Defected To PDP

12 November 2018 - 7:46am


The Bayelsa State Police Command has arrested one person for allegedly attacking members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Clement Atonyefa, the suspect who is also known as 'Black Arrow', was said to have been held down after he attempted to shoot at some of the persons who defected from APC to PDP.

It was gathered that the suspect accosted some of the defectors on their way home after a brief ceremony organised by the Brass Caretaker Chairman, Victor Isaiah, to receive them.

However, his loaded pistol was said to have malfunctioned when he attempted to pull the trigger; in the process, he was overpowered by the youth, who were assisted by the Brass volunteers.

Atonyefa, said to be an APC member, was immediately taken to the Police station in Brass. The suspect and the pistol were reportedly handed over to the Police for interrogation and further investigation.

He was said to have been transferred to the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Yenagoa, the state capital.

Another version of the incident stated that though some miscreants attltacked the defectors after being allegedly paid by the council boss, Hon. Victor Isiah, the suspect had walked into the scene when a desperate search was being made for the culprits.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Butswat Asinim confirmed the arrest but said it was a case of illegal possession of firearms.

Asinim said youth from the community brought Atonyefa to the Police Station in Brass with a pistol, which they said they recovered from him.

He said though the suspect claimed that the riffle was planted on him by the youth, the police had commenced investigation to determine the truth.

"The suspect was brought to the state headquarters and the Police have commenced investigation into the matter," he said.

"Those, who handed him over to the Police said they found him with the pistol. But the suspect said the gun was planted on him. We have commenced investigations to determine the truth. It is only investigations that will determine whether the suspect is culpable or not."

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'You're All Bastards' — Aremu Afolayan Tears Into Buhari, Ambode, Ethiopian Airlines

12 November 2018 - 7:02am

Nigerian actor, Aremu Afolayan, has called out President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Ethiopian Airlines and Murtala Muhammed Airport officials for frustrating travellers.

In a video post on his social-media handles on Sunday, the Yoruba actor expressed displeasure with the "unprofessional attitude" of Immigration officials at the airport.

He questioned why immigration officials would conclude that a passport is fake without even making attempts to verify. 

In the video, a visibly-angry Aremu said: “First of all, in my entire life, I have never seen a country as useless as this country in my entire life. How can I come to the airport and you are telling me to pay for my family to come into airport? You are telling me that you cannot allow my family to come in because of security [issues]?

Video of 'You're All Bastards' — Aremu Afolayan Tears Into Buhari, Ambode, Ethiopian Airlines 'You're All Bastards' — Aremu Afolayan Tears Into Buhari, Ambode, Ethiopian Airlines 'You're All Bastards' — Aremu Afolayan Tears Into Buhari, Ambode, Ethiopian Airlines...

“What security do you have in Nigeria? Tell me the security? If the bad people are going to come to this airport, won’t they destroy the airport? What security? They should fire all those useless immigration bastards or whoever they are on that door step. Why will I come to the airport with my family and I'm not able to go into the airport? It is so frustrating and alarming. When are you going to change everything? What is wrong with you people? 

“My sister here is about to travel. She is not a citizen of Nigeria. Her French passport was given to her by the French embassy and you are telling me the passport is fake. How can you say a passport is fake when you can verify the passports from your f**king office? Why do you do this to Nigerians? Are we all that stupid and dumb? Is it because we didn’t go to school? 

“Why will you frustrate everybody here? And you call yourself a president of a country and you cannot do anything to your country? Why are you allowing people to be frustrated? Why will I give Immigration money for crying out loud? Why will poor people come to the airport and they won’t be able to find solution to their situation? Why do you have to allow this to happen and you call yourself a f**king Buhari? Who are you? What kind of president are you? What kind of mayor of a state are you Ambode or whoever is there? Who are you for crying out loud? Why can’t you find solution to the situation of Nigeria? What is wrong with you people? Why do you cause trouble and cause somebody pain?

“Ethiopian Airlines is the most rubbish airline in the world. Why would they not pick someone and they’ve delayed and now they're asking us to pay N100,000 to change tickets.

"You are all bastards including the mayor, the president and the airline. All of you are bastards for frustrating us. We are not animals. Look at the airport you built; it is not even up to a train station. There is no A/C in the elevator. Nothing. Shame on you and shame on all your government. Shame on all the people you’ve governed and cannot talk. Aye gbogbo yin o ni da.”

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Elephants, Women... Five Things You Should Know About World War I — 100 Years After

12 November 2018 - 6:38am


Buhari at Paris Peace Forum

On Friday, President Muhammed Buhari left Abuja for Paris to participate in the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum, scheduled for Sunday. While in Paris, Buhari he joined other world leaders to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Armistice signed on November 11, 1918, between the Allied Forces and Germany in the forest of Compiegne in France to end the First World War, which lasted four years (1914-1918).

A hundred year is a long period of time in history; definitely most of the people alive today were not alive then. Here, we serve you five things you need to know about the World War 1.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Since war often happens when seething mistrust and bad blood is brought to a head, the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife, Sophie struck the spark that eventually ignited the World  War 1. This is because before the war, there had been brewing tension across Europe, especially in the Balkan region of southeast Europe, which made it easy for  Austro-Hungarian Empire to sense foul play. The Empire believed the killing of the heir and his wife was premeditated. The identity of the man who pulled the trigger compounded the problem. The man who fired the bullets that killed the Austro-Hungarian heir and his wife was Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist. Princip, for being one of the Serbian ationalist agitating for an end to Austro-Hungarian rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina made the Empire believe the supposed assassination was national rather than personal. And it is often expected in a full-blown war on that scale, alliances were formed. This led to the collapse of the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers. It also resulted in a divide that saw Great Britain, France, Russia, and Italy (the Allied Powers) on one side backing Serbia, and Germany, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) on the other side supporting the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On July 28, 1914, a month after the supposed assignation of Franz and his wife, an Armageddon of a war started.

WOMEN TOOK UP ARMS TOO

Call them the heir apparent to Joan of Arc, a national heroine of France who, at the age of 18, led the French Army to victory over the English at Orleans and you will not the wrong. The Russian forces enjoined to enlist female shock battalions in order to boost morale later in the course of the war. Some of the women were so intrepid that even after when the discontinuation of the practice was announced publicly, they continued to fight for the regular units.

An Elephant Lent A Helping Hand

For conveyance of much-needed munitions, animals were deployed into services in the war. Remarkable among these animals for the way she was dressed and for her doggedness was a Lizzie, an Indian elephant, who wore a pair of rugged boots as she conveyed food and other necessities in the town of Sheffield.

Countries Gained Their Independence After The War

Nine countries like a phoenix rose out of the ashes left in the crucible of the war: Latvia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Estonia. These countries were able to exist independently after the collapse of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. Two of these countries — Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia — were entirely new.

It Gave Birth To The League Of Nations, Forerunner Of United Nations

To forestall recurrence of a war on the scale of World War, at the end of World War 1 in 1918, the league of nations was created. Conspicuous in the charter of the organization is that it was created to “promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security”. However, the rise of Hitler caused the organization to be disbanded, making way for the United Nations.

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Revolution Without Ammunition By Bayo Oluwasanmi

12 November 2018 - 6:00am


Beginning next week, I will write a new column under the name Revolution Without Ammunition. The column will have a short life span of five months – from now till the end of 2019 presidential elections. The column will focus on Nigerian youths who make up 70% of Nigeria's population. There's strength in numbers. Politics is a game of numbers. Our youths have the singular power to change the cause and course of our history at the polls in 2019.

A revolution without ammunition is a revolution powered by ideas and executed with ballots at the polls. The French Revolution was about ideas. Based on universal civilization, it transcends cultural, national, ethnic, social, and racial boundaries by proclaiming the fundamental inviolable rights of all peoples of the world to freedom and equality.

Youth political participation is at the heart of any vibrant and relevant democracies. Elections remain the key instrument for citizens to make their voice heard in politics. A low and failing voter turn out of our youths will undermine the revolutionary change we seek without ammunition.The youths have the power to effect a generational shift in our political leadership. They have the power to end the politics of corruption, looting, oppression, disenfranchisement, exclusion, division, manipulation, and marginalization. So this seems an ideal moment to launch a new column to educate, inform, enlighten, and guide our youths to make informed and intelligent decision by voting wisely for the right party and for the right presidential candidate that will fight their cause. The stakes cannot be higher.Political parties are the gateway for political leadership in democracy. It's also the path to creating a new nation. A casual glance at APC and PDP and their candidates for political offices reveals an almost total exclusion of youths especially at the top. Only AAC - African Action Congress – can boast of a youth as it’s presidential candidate. The inclusion and participation of youths contesting for various political offices on the platform of AAC cannot be matched by either APC or PDP.

The best APC and PDP have done in terms of youth participation and representation is having the so called youth wings with no power, no input, and no relevance to the overall agenda of the parties. Both parties believe the youths are too young to run. They believe they are lazy. They believe they are “leaders of tomorrow.” No wonder, the youths are priced out from running for top political offices by prohibitive fees for nomination forms. It is deliberate act to make it impossible for youths to contest for various political offices of their choice.Democratic elections change government office holders and policies. The most dangerous creation of any society is for its youth to be politically dead. The column will ignite and energize our youths through reasoning and persuasion and to convince them that they are the architect of their own political destiny. Their future is in their hands. APC and PDP ruined the past for them. They cannot restore or re-invent the future for them. A vote for Buhari or Atiku is a vote for the oppressors and a vote for a doomed future.

As Buckminster Fuller will like to remind the youths: “We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.” Youths need to rethink and reassess their imporverished and hopeless situation brought upon them by their native oppressors. If millions of our youths are armed in the holy cause of ideas, they'll be invincible and no force of the oppressors and other champions of status quo can overrun them.

History has never guaranteed progress, peace, and prosperity for the weak or timid. Enlightened youths know how to fight and secure their future, illiterates and ignoramuses of unexamined life do not. Which are you?

I'm thrilled about the column. Come ride with me... Let's go there!

bjoluwasanmi@gmail.com

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BREAKING: Man Climbs Telecom Mast To Protest ‘Land Encroachment’ By Atiku’s AUN

12 November 2018 - 5:48am

One Musa Inuwa Wakatu on Monday climbed a telecommunications mast in Abuja to protest alleged land encroachment by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, six years after he embarked on the same mission.

He climbed the mast at 9:40am at Nicon Junction in Maitama, causing an unusual scene that attracted a large crowd who thronged the area to catch a glimpse of the man.

A commercial driver, Yakubu Idris, said he saw the man while ascending the mast but thought that he was a site engineer who had come to do some maintenance work.

Musa, who climbed the mast halfway, distributed leaflets from the height, alleging that the former Vice President, through his American University of Nigeria (AUN), encroached and fenced his landed property of (300 feet by 100 feet) with structures inside at Bajabure in Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

He said he had protested on the same matter when he climbed a mast at Federal High Court in Abuja on 14th March 2012. 

In the leaflet, he said: "I wrote a complaint letter to the former I.G. Mr.Hafiz Ringim and delivered to force headquarters on 5th December 2011, with visitor tag No.054 without any positive result.”

He explained that he was lured to collect money as compensation from AUN, which he rejected, but was later locked up in the cell by one Mr. Ibrahim Iro AC CID of Nigeria Police Yola Command.

He stressed that he had sold his inherited house to prosecute the case in the court of law without any result. He added that he was ready to pursue the case to the world court in order to get justice. 

"Yesterday, someone's right was illegally taken, today mine is about to be taken.  The next person right to be taken illegally tomorrow might be yours," Wakaltu stated. 

The leaflet also contained his bank account name and number seeking financial assistance from Nigerians to enable him get lawyer for the case.

Wakatu therefore appealed to well-meaning Nigerians, civil society organisations and International communities to come to his rescue. 

A detachment of armed policemen has arrived the area talking to him via his mobile phone but he has insisted that he won’t descend from the mast.

 

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