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N2.5bn Fraud: You Have Case To Answer, Appeal Court Tells Suspended NBC Boss, Kawu

1 December 2020 - 3:07am


The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Ishaq Kawu.

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has dismissed an appeal filed by the suspended Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Dr Moddibbo Kawu, challenging the decision of the Federal High Court, to dismiss the no-case submission he filed at the lower court.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission had charged Kawu, Lucky Omoluwa (late Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Ltd) and Dipo Onifade, Chief Operating Officer of the same company, before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, on a 12-count charge of money laundering.

Is'haq Modibbo Kaw THISDAYLIVE

The suspended NBC boss and his co-accused then approached the appellate court to reverse the judgment of the Federal High Court.

The appellate dismissed the no-case submission filed by Kawu and his co-accused and held that they had an explanation to give when he elected to facilitate the payment of N2.5bn to a private company against the provisions of Section 13 of the government white paper guiding the operation of the Digital Switch-Over Programme.

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa, while delivering her ruling in February 2020, held that the ICPC had established a prima facie against Kawu, Onifade and Pinnacle Communications Limited, and ruled that they have a case to answer.

The anti-graft agency said Kawu and others allegedly paid the sum of N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over project to Pinnacle Communications Limited.

ICPC arraigned them for abuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the Federal Government, in contravention of Sections 26 (1) (c) and punishable under the Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Kawu, through his counsel, A. U. Mustapha, had filed a no-case submission in December 2019 at the close of the prosecution’s case, praying the court to discharge and acquaint him of the charge brought against him by ICPC.

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"We Deserve Apology Over Your Reckless Comments" – Zabarmari Residents Tackle Garba Shehu

1 December 2020 - 3:01am


Garba Shehu

Residents of Zabarmari, Borno State have lambasted the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, over his comments on the gruesome killing of over 43 rice farmers in the community, saying he should tender an apology.

A former Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association in Zabarmari, Mallam Hassan, said it was rather unfortunate for the president's spokesman to make such claims.

Garba Shehu Classic FM, Abuja.

See Also Sahara Reporters Did Farmers Killed By B'Haram Get Military Clearance Before Resuming Farming Activities? Garba Shehu Asks During BBC Interview 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

Shehu had said in an interview with the BBC World Service, on Monday, that the killings occurred because the farmers "did not get clearance from the military before they went to the rice fields."

He had said the government was worried that 43 innocent farmers were slaughtered, but that residents should avoid places that may be dangerous.

VIDEO: Nigerians Hit Out At President @MBuhari's Spokesperson, Garba Shehu, Over Comment Blaming Victims Of #ZabarmariMassacre@GarShehu
WATCH FULL VIDEO: https://t.co/k5mKp1YcxX

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) December 1, 2020

According to Daily Trust, reacting to Shehu's claims, a former Chairman of Rice Farmers Association in Zabarmari, Hassan, said, "The dead deserve respect; Malam Shehu should have reserved his comments because of the tense situation. We have never collected any clearances from the military or any security operatives. We have been farming in these areas since when I was a child; these places are not far from Maiduguri.

"We have never been exempted from farming. We planted our seedlings during the rainy season and took care of the fields up till this moment without taking any permission from anyone."

Another resident, Abdullahi Yahaya Ali, said, "It is the responsibility of the government to provide security for us, but we are left helpless. We are surprised that someone living in Abuja would come out and discredit us; he should apologise to us instead of trying to justify the killings.

"We are not going to allow these people to change the narratives; they have failed, so he needs to tender an apology to all of us, the relations of the victims," he said.

The Chairman of the Civil Society Organisation in Borno State, Ambassador Shehu Ahmed, said the statement credited to Garba Shehu was uncalled for.

"For the past eight months, these people have been farming. I think it would have been better for him to have kept quiet. What he said was like accusing the dead of exonerating the government."

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FLASHBACK: In 2015, Osinbajo Said President's Failure To Secure Lives And Property, Impeachable Offence

1 December 2020 - 2:56am


Screengrab of Buhari/Osinbajo campaign poster in 2015

Nigerians have dug out a 2015 tweet by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo where he described the failure of any president to protect the lives and property of citizens as an impeachable offence.

Nigeria, under the leadership of Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari, is experiencing arguably the worst form of insecurity with killings and kidnappings at an all-time high across the country.

Screengrab of Buhari/Osinbajo campaign poster in 2015

Peaceful protests against insecurity, police brutality and unfair living conditions have been resisted by government forces just as the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, banned protest against police brutality in the country.

Osinbajo, in a tweet on February 8, 2015, said, "If the president says I've lost the capacity to guarantee the security of lives and property, it's certainly an impeachable offence.- PYO"

Meanwhile, the vocal vice president has been away from public view for more than three weeks.

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Residents Flee As Gunmen Invade Taraba Community, Kill Four

1 December 2020 - 2:45am







Gunmen suspected to be Jukun militias have invaded Tor-Iorshaer community, Rafinkada ward in the Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State, killing at least four persons who had just returned to their community based on the state government's directive.

The gunmen, who set fire to several houses, attacked the community at about 11.20 pm on Saturday for more than 30 minutes, without being checkmated by the police or military personnel.

Survivors of the attack, who spoke with SaharaReporters, lamented that many of the residents had returned to the community, based on a directive of the State Governor, Darius Ishaku, that normalcy had returned to the areas and that the security agencies would ensure the protection of the lives and property of the indigenes.

The gunmen, however, struck on Saturday, sacking the Tor-Iorshaer community without any visible presence or intervention of the security agencies.

The deceased were identified as Godwin Meer, Oryina Sunday Mdooga, Alfred Sylvanus Mchivga and Ayar Chia.

A resident, who gave his name only as Bitrus, told SaharaReporters, "This attack is one of several attacks in the past that made us, the indigenous people of the community, to flee our homes to neighbouring states for safety. No security agent seems to be in view despite a military camp within the community.

"Many of us are returnees. We acted based on the Taraba State government's directive that the crisis was over, that all displaced people should return. But on returning home, we were suddenly attacked again and killed by the Jukun militias."

Another survivor noted that the community forwarded the letters of their return to all the relevant security agencies in the state, requesting for security presence, but got nothing.

"We had been displaced for close to two years without the government's intervention. Meanwhile, it was the Taraba State Government, who issued the directive for the displaced persons to return home to their ancestral land that the crisis was over," the survivor said. 

A government official said the only way to resolve the crisis was to ensure that the security agencies do their work and do not take sides with any ethnoreligious interests in the state.

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Nigerian Traders In Ghana Raise Alarm Over Fresh Closure Of Shops

1 December 2020 - 2:25am


Nigerian traders residing in Ghana under the auspices of National Association of Nigerian Traders have called on the Nigerian government to take urgent action, following reports that Ghanaian authorities were embarking on a fresh round of closure of shops belonging to them.

The National President of NANTS, Ken Ukaoha, stated this while condemning the maltreatment of Nigerian traders in Ghana.

Ukaoha said that the development affects the economic integration process in the West African region.

He, therefore, urged the Nigerian Government to take drastic actions and urgently present the maltreatment of Nigerians in Ghana to the Council of Ministers and the Authority of Heads of State.

Hundreds of shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana have been under lock and key since September 2019.

“As at today, November 30, the Ghanaian Authorities, led by security agencies, have started another round of closure of shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana.

“The notice placed above the padlocks on each of the locked shops informs owners to come to their Ministry of Trade and Industry with evidence of payment of one million dollars.

“It is indeed a complete dent on the face of ECOWAS and a bold question, perhaps asking the Nigerian Government ‘What would you do?’ or ‘Do your worst,’” Ukaoha noted.

He recalled that a few weeks back, the traders had begged the Federal Government to begin the procedure of evacuating them to Nigeria while expressing their displeasure and the insecurity of their wares and livelihoods in Ghana.

 

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Buhari Should Engage Mercenaries To Clear Sambisa, Defeat B’Haram – Zulum

1 December 2020 - 2:17am


Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum

Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, seemed to have lost faith in the Nigerian armed forces when he stated on Monday that one of the major recommendations to end the Boko Haram insurgency was for the President to engage the services of mercenaries to clear the entire Sambisa Forest.

Zulum stated this when a Federal Government delegation led by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, paid him a condolence visit over the Zabarmari killings of at least 43 rice farmers.

Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum

According to the Nation, Zulum recalled that the former Goodluck Jonathan administration contracted a private army from South Africa, which helped in the recovery of some territories taken over by the Boko Haram terrorists in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.  

He advised the government to take more serious measures to bring the crisis to an end.

The governor said, “One of our recommendations as possible solutions to end the insurgency is the immediate recruitment of our youths into military and paramilitary services to complement the efforts of the Nigerian forces.

“Our second recommendation is to engage the services of our immediate neighbours, especially the government of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding in the shores of Lake Chad.  

“Our third recommendation is for the President to engage the services of mercenaries to clear the entire Sambisa forest.

“Our fourth recommendation is for him to provide the police and the military, with armed resistant armoured personnel carriers and other related equipment.

“We are also soliciting the support of the Federal Government to support the Borno State repatriation of our displaced persons currently residing in Cameroon and the Niger Republic.”

The governor called for a more coordinated approach in the fight against the insurgent.

According to him, there is a need for increased federal support for traumatised residents of Borno.  

To Zulum, many of the attacks would have been avoided “if adequate support and infrastructure had been provided for the Northeast and the military”.

Borno roads, he said, have not been rehabilitated by the Federal Government in the last 25 years.  

“If the Federal Government can fix the bad roads in Borno and the North-East, the insurgency would be reduced by 60 per cent,” he said.  

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Inside Nigeria’s Killing Fields By Reuben Abati

30 November 2020 - 10:58pm


Reuben Abati
Reuben Abati

On Saturday, November 28, about 43 farmers who had gone to their farms during the current harvest season were attacked by Boko Haram terrorists.

They were tied up; their hands behind their backs, one after the other their throats were slit. The United Nations puts the number of casualties at 110, not 43. Amnesty International says over 10 women and others are missing. The people of Zabarmari were so outraged they refused to bury the dead. They asked that the Governor of Borno State, Professor Baba Gana Zulum, must show up to witness the tragedy that has befallen their community. Zabarmari, in Jere Local Government Area, is about 20 kilometres out of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. Two weeks earlier, terrorists had also attacked and killed members of the community. Maiduguri and the entire Lake Chad region have remained the hotbed of terrorism in Nigeria. In September, the state Governor’s convoy was attacked by insurgents during a visit to Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad. A death toll of 30 was reported. Several policemen and soldiers posted to that axis to help combat the menace of terrorism have also fallen victim, and died in the hands of terrorists. Many have had to lay down their arms and remove their uniforms. The security situation in the North Eastern part of Nigeria is proving intractable despite the Nigerian government’s repeated assurances that the Boko Haram has been technically defeated and degraded.   

The wanton killing in Zabarmari is a clear affirmation of the reality we live with: Nigeria has not defeated or degraded the terrorists, and if anything, the country’s security problem has worsened between 2015 and now. The lie has been further put to all claims of achievement of peace and stability through all kinds of military operations and initiatives - Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Safe Corridor, the establishment of super camps, OperationYancin Tafki. Last week, Nigeria was named the third most terrorized country in the world in the Global Terrorism Index, after Afghanistan and Iraq. Governors of the North also cried out about the spate of insecurity in their region. They asked that the Attorney General of the Federation should grant their state Attorneys General the fiat to enable them prosecute terrorism-related cases at the state level. It was in the same week, that the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, speaking at a meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) declared that the North is the most unsafe part of Nigeria, and the most difficult place to live in. Zabarmari is a tragic reminder of the truthfulness of this statement. The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development share the same view. 

Reuben Abati

It should therefore make sense that as youths protested in October against police brutality in Southern Nigeria under the banner of #EndSARS, the protest slogan in the Northern states was tagged #EndInsecurityNow. As has become traditional, the slaughter of 43 or more farmers in Zabarmari has been greeted with expression of outrage, anger and disappointment. President Muhammadu Buhari through one of his spokespersons, says it is “senseless and insane”. It is indeed barbaric and horrific. What manner of men would tie up their fellow human beings and slaughter them like rams? The cruelty is unspeakable. For every act of this nature that is reported, there are many other incidents that are never reported. The biggest cost of the insecurity in Nigeria is the devaluation of human lives. Look at how Nigerians often argue over the number of casualties. It is 43, no, 45, actually UN says 110, as if not every single life matters. 

On October 31, we all witnessed how the United States sent the elite SEAL Team Six special forces unit to rescue a Catholic priest and farmer, Philipe Walton (27), who had been kidnapped at the Niger-Nigeria border and kept in Northern Nigeria. It was a “precision” hostage rescue operation which was instructive for all it said about citizenship and state responsibility. The abductors didn’t know what hit them. Six of them were killed and the American was rescued. Over 40 Nigerians have been slaughtered and yet there has been no serious feeling of accountability and empathy on the part of government. Everyone was shocked yesterday when Garba Shehu, Presidential spokesperson reportedly told the BBC in an interview that the 43 farmers whose throats were slit didn’t have clearance from the military before going to the farm. So it is their fault that they got killed? Zabarmari is 20 km away from Maiduguri – should such an area so close to the state capital be an ungoverned space?  Garba Shehu has since back-tracked a little. He was only explaining “the military’s mode of operation”, he says. The survivors insist that they alerted the military! Does Garba Shehu now speak for the Nigerian military?

In some other countries, the authorities would have deployed an elite counter-force to track down the murderers. But here, it is convenient to give excuses. One excuse is that the terrorists are now attacking “soft targets” and that is because they have been weakened. Only the wicked will refer to the waste of 43 lives as a “soft target”! Another excuse is that terrorism does not have a specific end-date; after all in Afghanistan and elsewhere, terrorism remains a problem after so many years. But how about demonstrable capacity to “downgrade, degrade, and defeat?” Where is the value of all that attempt to engage and rehabilitate the insurgents? And of what use is the store of intelligence about the enemy that is available?  In another statement, the Federal Government says the military has been given “needed support to take all necessary steps to protect the country’s population and its territory”.  Really? Where is the evidence? In August, President Buhari gave the service chiefs marching orders to “rejig their strategy” and address the security problem in the country. He needs to summon them to another meeting.  

Terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, drug addicts and all kinds of violent characters including criminally-minded herders have constituted themselves into overlords across Nigeria. It is not only the North that is unsafe; the entire country has become a killing field.  This is not new. President Buhari did not create terrorism and banditry, but the insecurity problem has worsened under his watch, and that is ironic considering the fact that he was the “expected messiah” who most Nigerians believed would put an end to insecurity in the country. Northern Nigerians voted massively for President Buhari in 2015 and 2019. If they also ever thought that having a Northerner in power would translate into special advantages for the ordinary Northerner, that has not happened. Not even in Katsina, the President’s home state is life safe.  Nigeria’s insecurity crisis explodes the myth of the politics of proximity, the thinking that having “one of our own” in charge automatically confers advantages on the group or community. Northern Nigerian remains strictly divided along ethnic and religious lines; essentially, the significant war in Nigeria is between the rich and the poor. The latter are united by “their thingification,” that is the manner in which they are treated as worthless by a self-seeking aristocracy of power, and their own counter-response of anger and protest. 

There are killings in every part of the North: Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Southern Kaduna, Adamawa, and in the Middle Belt/North Central Nigeria: Benue, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi. Life has become so short in many places, even luxury bus owners from the East announced that they may suspend trips to certain parts of the country. The Abuja-Kaduna highway has become a risky route either by road where bandits lie in wait, or by rail – a scary route where the Chinese trains Nigeria procured, often break down in the middle of nowhere. Many of the Governors and “big men of the North” have since relocated to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. They visit their states of origin, under the protection of heavily armed escorts. Even incumbent Governors are on exile in Abuja. One Governor was accused of abandoning his state for the Federal Capital Territory. His response was that he visits home four times a month, and why should anyone complain about that? It would be interesting to study this phenomenon of distance-governance and its value.  

In the South, kidnapping is on the rise. Bandits have also taken over the roads. A day before the Zabarmari killings, bandits, identified as kidnappers, attacked and killed a traditional ruler, Oba Adegoke Israel Adeusi, the Olufon of Ifon, as he returned from a meeting in Akure, Ondo State. On Monday, November 23, during the debate of the #EndSARS October protests in Nigeria and the aftermath by the Petitions Committee of the UK House of Commons, there were references to killings by state authorities in Obigbo, Rivers state, the persecution of Nigerian Christians in the Middle Belt, and the abuse of human rights by state actors in Nigeria. In the Niger Delta, a coalition of nine militant groups has now served notice of a new round of attacks on oil and gas installations. They identify themselves as Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA). The reign of insecurity places Nigeria in great difficulty. The country suffers a revenue problem, given the volatility of oil prices, occasioned by COVID-19, the disruption in demand and supply chains and declining national productivity. The country is in recession, the second time in five years. Poverty is galloping, seated as it is astride a sturdy horse. Many are jobless. This has deepened the insecurity challenge in the country. The population of angry and hungry men and women has increased, creating a complex situation in which social, economic and political problems hold a rendezvous of violence. 

But one unmistakable aspect of this dilemma is how insecurity up-ends everything else, particularly agricultural productivity, and job creation. Food security is one of the major cardinal targets of the Buhari administration. When the Federal Government decided to close down Nigeria’s borders with its neighbours in August 2019, the plan was to encourage food production within Nigeria, check food importation and encourage in particular rice production, in which Nigeria is said to enjoy a comparative advantage. At the time, the Minister of Agriculture, Muhammmad Sambo-Nanono even boasted that there is no hunger in Nigeria. Agricultural productivity also formed the kernel of the administration’s plan to diversify the Nigerian economy. But national insecurity is an antithesis to food security. What is curious is that bandits and terrorists seem to target agricultural production deliberately as a way of inflicting pain. In 2018, about 73 farmers were killed in two local governments in Benue state in what was described as a farmers-herders clash. The same 2018, a farm in Ondo State, belonging to Chief Olu Falae, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and a Yoruba leader was attacked by bandits. Three years earlier, Chief Falae was also kidnapped on his farm. A week ago, the bandits returned to Chief Falae’s farm again. They set it ablaze. In the evening, they launched an attack on the workers as they slept. Chief Falae is calling on the “Amotekun” to help save his farm and workers! 

Incessant attacks on communities and farmlands in Southern Kaduna have reduced food production in that part of the country. Fishing and farming around the Lake Chad Basin have been halted due to insecurity. In both the North East and the North West, farming communities have been displaced. The most affected states in fact represent the food basket of the nation. Zabarmari where 43 -110 farmers were killed on Black Saturday, is well known for the good yield of its rice fields. Now that terrorists have taken over those fields, surviving farmers would be afraid to go to farm. They may be peasant, subsistence farmers but they contribute to the country’s food output, and the agriculture value chain. Food transportation has also been affected. Even where farmers are still able to produce, they have to contend with the insecurity on Nigeria’s highways and the high cost of transportation. Why are farmers being targeted in the North and the South? The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has warned of an imminent food crisis. The crisis is already here. Food inflation in Nigeria is over 17% according to the National Bureau of Statistics. COVID-19, and the flood that disrupted food production in the Niger River basin may have been part of the problem, but insurgency and banditry pose the biggest threats to agricultural production in Nigeria. Food insecurity can in turn worsen the country’s public health crisis. The growing combination of poverty, hunger and insecurity in the land is a national emergency. 

Security was projected as one of President Buhari’s legacy issues. Incidentally, that - combined with people’s welfare - is the original purpose of government. Rediscovering that purpose while eschewing the temptation to offer excuses, is the way forward. 

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Intelligence Operatives Arrest Ex-Pension Boss, Maina In Niger Republic

30 November 2020 - 10:26pm


Abdulrasheed Maina

Operatives of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency and the Niger Republic Intelligence Service have arrested a former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who is facing a 12-count money laundering charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Intelligence sources confirmed that Maina was arrested on Monday evening somewhere in the Niger Republic and would be brought into Nigeria Tuesday or Wednesday.

Abdulrasheed Maina

"He has been arrested in the Niger Republic, but we have not yet brought him into Nigeria. He is going to be brought in Tuesday or Wednesday. But he has been arrested," one of the sources said.

According to the EFCC, Maina is facing money laundering charges to the tune of about N2 billion, part of which he allegedly used to procure land properties in Abuja.

He has fled trial and his whereabouts unknown since his prosecution resumed on September 29, 2020, a development which made Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court order Senator Ali Ndume's remand last Monday.

Ndume was Maina's surety. The Federal High Court in Abuja only on Friday granted bail to the Borno South Senator. See Also Sahara Reporters Federal Court Orders Remand Of Senator Ndume Over Disappearance Of Maina 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Maina last attended court on July 2, 2020, during the cross-examination of the sixth prosecution witness by his legal team.

He failed to show up in court since September 29, 2020, prompting the judge, Justice Okon Abang, to adjudge him as having jumped bail in a ruling delivered on November 18, 2020.

The judge, in the November 18 ruling, revoked the bail earlier granted him. He ordered his arrest and directed that his trial would proceed in his absence. See Also Sahara Reporters Court Commences Trial of Maina In Absentia As Ndume Passes Night At Kuje Prison 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

There was also no lawyer to represent him or his company charged along with him as his second defendant.

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Court Martial Convicts, Demotes Major-General Adeniyi Over Leaked Video

30 November 2020 - 10:23pm


A Court Martial in Abuja has convicted the former Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi.

The tribunal on Monday found Adeniyi guilty of violating military social media guidelines and ordered his demotion by at least three years.

Adeniyi's aide, Private Tokunbo Obanla, who was prosecuted alongside the general, was also found guilty and sentenced to 28 days in jail with hard labour.

Both convictions are subject to confirmation by the military authorities, Punch reports.

Sources said Adeniyi pleaded guilty to three-count of unlawful use of social media, and damage to service property amongst other issues.

The verdict came eight months after a video of Adeniyi complaining about a lack of military equipment to combat Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East went viral.

He also complained that insurgents were outgunning troops, noting that intelligence failure was responsible for an attack by insurgents that claimed dozens of soldiers.

Embarrassed by the revelations, the major-general was removed from the front and also suspended by the military authorities.

The Nigerian Army subsequently filed charges of military social media guideline violations against him.

Adeniyi had denied any wrongdoing, stating that he did not leak the video, adding that his phone was in Obanla's custody at the time of the incident.

Obanla had in his statement allegedly admitted to posting the video on social media in error.

Adeniyi's lawyers have vowed to appeal the judgment.

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Gani Fawehinmi Third Integrity Awards Holds In Lagos December 10

30 November 2020 - 10:21pm


The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) will on Wednesday, December 10, in Lagos hold the third edition of Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards.

HEDA instituted the award in memory of the late anti-corruption icon, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who died of lung cancer on September 8, 2009.

The Nigerian military government incarcerated Fawehinmi.

The 2020 edition of the awards will feature a lecture which will be delivered by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, according to HEDA.

"This year's edition features the First Gani Fawehinmi Awards Lecture themed: 'Recognition and celebration of exemplary performance, transparency and accountability in service delivery," the statement read.

Other discussants include Olumide Fusika, Monday Ubani, Yemi Adamolekun, and Sylvester Odion Akhaine.

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Falana-led Coalition Asks Buhari To Sack Service Chiefs Over Failure To Secure Nigeria

30 November 2020 - 10:21pm


A new civil society coalition, Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, has said that Nigerian military leaders have failed and should be relieved of their duties over their failure to protect Nigerians from Boko Haram.

Reacting to the massacre of farmers in Borno by the insurgents, the group said the mass murder was a sign of incompetence and ineptitude by those who head Nigeria's military formations.  

In a statement by its chairman, Femi Falana, the group wondered why the killings which could have taken the perpetrators less than four hours drew no aerial or land response from all the security operatives especially when the killings took place in broad daylight.

"We commiserate with the victims of these savage killings. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the victims and their families at this gory moment of grief. The Federal Government must take drastic action. This should include changing the Service Chiefs," part of the statement read.

"On June 18, 2020, President Buhari finally admitted that the efforts of Nigeria's security chiefs against insurgency were not enough. He expressed this in a meeting held with the service chiefs at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

"Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno (retd) said that President Buhari told the security chiefs that he would no longer take excuses from them and that he expected them to henceforth live up to expectations."

The group, however, said that the security situation has not improved as terrorists, bandits and kidnappers have since been unleashing violence on Nigerians, adding that kidnappers and armed robbers equally terrorise people living in southern states.

"No doubt, the service chiefs have tried their best to secure the country's population and its territory. But since President Buhari has concluded that the service chiefs are not doing enough to secure the country, he ought to relieve them of their appointments and appoint new ones in the overall interests of the people of Nigeria."

The group said the mass burial of the farmers massacred by Boko Haram did not show honour and respect for the dead, suggesting that the victims deserved monuments to serve as a reference point for the grief that has shaken the entire world.

The group also is worried that such killings of farmers could cause food insecurity in the country.

"While the Federal and state governments are asking people to go back to the farm to boost the domestic economy, the killings of farmers will certainly imperil community and individual interest in the agrarian economy."

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Uganda To Compensate Victims Of Violent Riots – Museveni

30 November 2020 - 10:19pm


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the government would compensate victims of the violent protests that left several people dead following the arrest of an opposition presidential candidate. 

In a televised address, Museveni said the government would compensate the families of the victims, the injured, and those who lost property during what he called "senseless riots" over the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi.  

"The government will compensate all those who lost their lives but were not rioters. 

"The government will also compensate those who lost their properties if it can be verified," said Museveni. He said the death toll from the Nov. 18 -19 sporadic protests in some parts across the country had risen to 54, as more people succumbed to the injuries sustained. 

"Unfortunately, 54 people died in this confusion, 32 of them were rioters according to the report I got. 

"The 32 rioters died in confrontations with security forces, 20 people were hit by stray bullets, and two victims were knocked by the vehicle that lost control after stones hit the driver by rioters," Museveni added in a report by Xinhua. 

Museveni directed police to carry out comprehensive investigations on alleged stray bullets fired by security personnel during the riots, which killed people and injured others. The arrest of Kyagulanyi, an opposition presidential candidate, in the eastern district of Luuka for allegedly flouting COVID-19 campaign guidelines, sparked sporadic protests in some parts of the country. 

Uganda's electoral commission earlier this month identified 11 presidential candidates, including incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, and his primary challenger, Kyagulanyi, to run in the 2021 general elections. 

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Kano Assembly Okays Ganduje's N20b Loan Request

30 November 2020 - 10:16pm


Kano State House of Assembly has approved the request of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to access N20 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the United Bank for Africa (UBA).

At its sitting on Monday, the Speaker, Abdulazeez Garba-Gafasa, who read the governor's request letter, said the infrastructure loan had a 9 per cent interest rate payable after ten years.

Garba-Gafasa said the loan would go a long way in revamping the state economy devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the single-digit interest rate would make it more realistic to liquidate.

Governor Ganduje in the letter told members that a similar facility was earlier obtained in 2016 which was successfully liquidated.

The majority leader, Kabiru Hassan-Dashi, while deliberating on the request urged members to consider the governor's request after having challenges to access it from the capital market due to worsening economic conditions.

He said the loan was to cover up the economic breakdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. After deliberations, the assembly unanimously agreed and approved the request, DailyTrust reports.

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#ZabarmariMassacre: 38 More Corpses Recovered On Monday, Army Stopped Us From Taking Photos — Eyewitness

30 November 2020 - 2:09pm


About thirty-eight more corpses were on Monday recovered from the scene of Saturday’s onslaught on farmers by Boko Haram Insurgents in Borno State, sources told SaharaReporters.

The deceased were slaughtered at a rice plantation in Kwashabe village, about 20 kilometres north of Maiduguri. The insurgents were also said to have destroyed the rice plantation after killing the farmers.

The Defence Headquarters had claimed only 43 people were killed, but a source told SaharaReporters that the death toll had risen to 81 as 38 more bodies were recovered by search and rescue teams on Monday.

He said, “The army restricted us from capturing the scene with our phones; they know what they are doing, and they know they will be exposed. Today alone, 38 bodies were recovered and it will continue tomorrow.

“What happened here was a human harvest, not massacre, the story media and the government is just lying. They did not even talk about the farm produce and rice plantation that was razed ablaze by Boko Haram. Some bodies can never be recovered because flowing water went away with them.”

The killing of the rice farmers has attracted condemnations with some Nigerians calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the country’s Service Chiefs and overhaul the security architecture of Nigeria.

See Also Insecurity We Informed Military Before The Attack But Nothing Was Done, Zabarmari Residents Say 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

 

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Bandits Kill Seven Farmers, Abduct 30 Villagers In Katsina, Says Lawmaker

30 November 2020 - 2:00pm


Hours after members of the Boko Haram terrorists beheaded over 30 farmers in Borno State, gunmen suspected to be bandits have slaughtered seven farmers, including a nursing mother, across three communities of Tashar Bama, Dogun Muazu and Unguwar Maigayya villages of Sabuwa Local Government Area of Katsina State, The Sun reports.

A member of the House of Assembly representing the area, Ibrahim Danjuma Machika, confirmed the killing on the floor of the House on Monday while sponsoring a motion on the need to reinforce security in some of the villages in his constituency.

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Apart from the people killed, he said that the bandits abducted a total of 30 other villagers from the affected communities.

According to him, the hoodlums may have changed from their previous method of launching their offensives on villages at night as they now attack the people in broad daylight.

“Our people now live in fear as the bandits now carry out attacks in our villages in broad daylight.

“They kill the people, cart away their property and kidnap as many people as they can. There is no day bandits don’t attack one community or another and the people no longer sleep in their houses,” he said.

Machina described the three affected areas as the ‘gateway’ to Faskari and Sabuwa towns, the notorious haven of bandits and kidnappers in Katsina State.

Contributing to the deliberation, a member of the House representing Dutsinma constituency, Mohammed Khamis, and his colleague from Safana constituency, Abduljalal Haruna Runka, said the attacks by bandits across several other communities in the state had become worrisome.

At the end of the deliberations, the Speaker, Tasiu Zango, directed the Clerk of the House to forward the position of the members on the need to reinforce security in parts of the communities to the governor.

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Policemen Who Should Be Fighting Bandits Carry Bags Of VIP Wives —El-Rufai

30 November 2020 - 1:48pm


Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has lamented that a sizable number of officers of the Nigeria Police Force who should be fighting criminal elements in the country are involved in non-police duties like carrying the bags of the wives of Very Important Personalities.

El-Rufai said he is frustrated over the killings in his state, adding that the situation at hand had overwhelmed the police.

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai

He urged the National Assembly to see to the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution to give states control of the police.

The governor argued that the state governments are presently responsible for the day-to-day operational cost of the police, insisting that the states can run the police.

El-Rufai spoke on Monday night while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme monitored by The PUNCH.

He said, “We’ve always made a very strong argument that one centralised police in a federation does not work. Nigeria is the only country in the world that is a federation that has only one police force.

“We have made the argument that states should be allowed to have their police and that even local governments should be allowed to have their community policing.

“The number of policemen we have in Nigeria is inadequate; it is less than half of what we need, and a lot of them are engaged in non-police duties like carrying the handbags of the wives of very important people.

“We need to have a large footprint of policing in Nigeria and the only way to achieve that in a fast-track manner is to amend the constitution and put police on the concurrent list as recommended by the APC True Federalism Committee so that we have more police.

“In any case today, more state governments are responsible for the running cost of the police. The Federal Government only pays the salaries of the policemen, but the running cost, the logistics, their vehicles, their fuel are all the responsibilities of state governments.

“So, what are we afraid of? Let us amend the constitution and allow state policing and in fact, go further and allow the local governments to have their police. That way, we will have more security footprints.”

There are over 300,000 policemen in the country, but a number of them are attached to VIPs and government officials.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in an apparent move to boost the Force responsiveness to crime, had earlier in the month ordered the withdrawal of police personnel attached to 60 VIPs.

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Soldier Writes On Injustice In Army Promotion Exercise, Says Officers Denied Promotion Because They "Have No Connection"

30 November 2020 - 1:41pm


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A soldier of the Nigerian Army believed to be serving in the North-East has written the Chief of  Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, over injustice in the recent military's promotion exercise.

The soldier lamented that the army authorities failed to promote soldiers and officers who are due for it and even injured in the ongoing Boko Haram war since 2018, simply because they have "no connection."

File Photo

The soldier, in an open letter to the army chief, decried the high level of injustice in the promotion exercise carried out by the army – the list of which was released last Friday by the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Abuja.

The personnel in the letter noted that the army surprisingly failed to comply with the Harmonised Terms and Condition of Services which was promulgated by Nigerian Armed Forces and which regulates a "smooth and well-deserved promotion exercise as and when due among the other rank cadres."

The soldier said, "It is disheartening that while other members like the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force adhere strictly to the policy, the Nigerian Army never deemed it fit to do the right thing. This nonchalant attitude of Nigerian Army has rendered many senior soldiers, who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the policy, irrelevant in their various units, including some soldiers who were wounded in multiple operations in the course of defending this nation.

"Sir, Chapter 4, Paragraph 2 of HTACOS states clearly the years which a soldier would spend on a rank before he or she would be promoted to the next rank as shown below. But the policy is rather demoralising soldiers because every year when the army headquarters requests every unit and formation to forward the names and particulars of soldiers that are due for promotion, the army would purposely send back lesser number of vacancies.

"Thus, senior soldiers with no connection and injured ones suffer innocently because oftentimes, junior soldiers who are influential in terms of religion and ethnicity are more and always favoured. A critical example was what happened in the last promotion where senior and injured soldiers that are due for promotion for the past two years and this year respectively were denied of promotion in some units because they don't have anybody to speak or stand for them.

"Sir, in view of this, I urge you as a matter of urgency to look into these irregularities and do the needful so that the Nigerian Army can uphold its humble status."

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Nigerians Should Call For Independent Panel To Assess Buhari's Mental, Physical Health — Ezekwesili

30 November 2020 - 1:32pm


Oby Ezekwesili

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has called for an independent mental and physical assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari to ascertain his ability to govern the country in the face of growing security challenges.

Ezekwesili said a medical panel must be set up to assess the President, adding that the security situation in Nigeria was becoming too critical for Nigerians to sit and watch.

Oby Ezekwesili

The former minister stated these on her official Twitter page, stressing that the state house physician cannot be trusted hence the need for an independent panel.

Her posts reads, "As an extremely concerned citizen, I hereby demand a medical panel on Buhari since we obviously cannot trust the State House Physician to provide us with accurate information. It is reasonable to demand now for citizens to have full disclosure on the state of health of Buhari.

"I think that at this stage and depth of fragility of Nigeria state, Privacy has to yield ground to our right to know as citizens, the state of health of Buhari. We really must assess the physical or mental capability of the Nigerian President to carry on the duties of his office.

"Citizens can collectively push for an independent panel to help us make the critical medical determination of the state of mind and body of our President, Buhari. The conditions of Nigeria have become too grave for us all to sit still and watch a train wreck in the making."

As an extremely concerned citizen, I hereby demand for a #MedicalPanelOnBuhari since we obviously cannot trust the State House Physician to provide us accurate information.

It is reasonable demand now for citizens to have full disclosure on the state of health of @MBuhari ✍🏾

— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) November 29, 2020

I think that at this stage and depth of fragility of the Nigeria-State, Privacy has to yield ground to our Right-to-know as citizens, the state of health of @MBuhari .

We really must assess the physical or mental capability of @NGRPresident to carry on the duties of office.✍🏾

— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) November 29, 2020

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Three Dead, Houses Razed As Cult Members Clash In Delta State

30 November 2020 - 1:25pm


Three persons have been killed and no fewer than four houses razed in a suspected clash between two cult groups in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

Residents accused the Delta State Police Command and the leaders of the area of folding their arms while the cults Aye and Mafia engaged in a battle of supremacy on Sunday.

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In another fighting at Oghenevweta and Oseri areas of Ekuigbo community, two persons were allegedly killed as the cultists battled on Sunday night and Monday morning. 

Both clashes occurred less than a week after a related incident between Aye and Aro Baggers cultists resulted in the death of eight persons in one week.

One of the victims, Oghenero Oke, also known as the Last Card, who is allegedly a member of the Mafia confraternity, was killed around Oteri Old Road in Oteri community, Ughelli by a resident of the community identified as Eloho, while two others sustained gunshot wounds.

A security source from the Ughelli Police Area Command told SaharaReporters that the victim had an altercation with Eloho who was having an intimate relationship with his elder sister.

"Angered by the death of the victim, his friends stormed the family house and shop of Eloho's parent who pulled the trigger and burnt it down," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. "The prime suspect and his gang members have since fled the community immediately news of Oghenero's death filtered into the community."

President General of Oteri community, Efe Odibo, described the incident as unfortunate and uncalled for.

"While we condemn the loss and destruction of properties, the Oteri community has decided to impose a one-week curfew starting from Monday between the hours of 8 pm to 6 am," he said. 

"A combined team of security personnel made up of the army, police and local vigilante operatives will be on the ground to effect the curfew, and if anyone is caught flouting the order, such a person would be made to face the wrath of the law."

 

 

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Buhari's N66 Million Aso Rock Rent, N45 Million Sewerage Charges Raise Eyebrows In 2021 Budget

30 November 2020 - 1:21pm


President Muhammadu Buhari

The State House, which includes the offices of the president and vice president, has earmarked N66.6 million for the payment of Aso Rock rent and N45 million for sewerage charges. 

These reoccurring and unexplained expenditures have again been captured in the 2021 budget.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Other expenses in the State House budget include over N116 million for vehicle tyres while N436 million was earmarked for the phased replacement of vehicles and spare parts.

The sum of N67.9 million was budgeted for motor vehicle fuel.

Despite making a provision for over N10 million for the "purchase of giant HD copiers for the library and archive", the State House would spend N46 million and N22 million for the printing of non-security and security documents respectively.

 The 2021 budget dubbed "Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience" captures N13.08 trillion expenditure and N7.886 trillion revenue.

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