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AAC Members Storm Venue Of Vice Presidential Debate To Demand Sowore's Inclusion

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 1:39pm

Members of the African Action Congress (AAC) on Friday staged a protest at the vice presidential debate in Abuja to demand the inclusion of their candidate, Omoyele Sowore, and Ahmed Rufai.

The event, which is holding at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton, was disrupted for a few minutes when the protesters besieged the entrance of the hall, despite the presence of armed policemen at the venue.

The protesters carried placards and chanted solidarity songs. They arrived the venue of the event at 6:45pm.

Jude Eya, who led the group, said they were protesting to show solidarity and ask for the inclusion of Sowore in the election debate.

"We are here to demand the inclusion of our vice presidential candidate, Dr. Ahmed Rufai, and presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore. Our party should be included in this debate. This debate is a national exercise. AAC is registered party in Nigeria. We the young people are not happy with the way AAC and our candidate Omoyele Sowore has been excluded from this exercise."


He accused the organisers of "bias", stating that "the process of  selection would have been made open to allow every candidate see that it was not manipulated".

Eya demanded for the documents contianing the criteria for selection of candidates, adding that AAC was rated third in the poll that was conducted online.

"Surprisingly, there was an online poll that was conducted to test our popularlity and AAC came third. So, if there is any party to be put in the third position after APC and PDP, then it should be AAC," he stated.

In his address, Ina Okopi-Agu, Assistant National Secretary North Central of the party and Director of Special Duties of the #TakeItBack Movement, vowed that the party would continue with the protest until the issue is addressed.

"We would have expected a situation where the others who were invited turn it down, but to our shock even the other parties who are not at the mainstream are represented here.

"We expected that they would have acted on this and refused to show up for this event. Right now, I see some of them on the screen and we want to assure the people who have put this together that we are coming for you. The youth of this country will take back their country in 2019."

Okopi-Agu demanded that the next debate slated for January 2018 be put on hold, adding that the country is "bigger than anybody trying to hold it to ransom".

He said since the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) is a public organisation funded with tax payers' money, the group would continue with the protest and not give up on its demand for justice.

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Under Buhari, Nigeria Awaits Final Burial, Says Ex-Delta State SSG

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 9:58am

Ovuozourie Macaulay, former Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), has said with the current situation of the economy, Nigeria is "a country waiting for her final burial".

Speaking on the state of the nation with journalists during the week in Isoko, Delta State, Macaulay said he had "prayed for somebody who can come and salvage us from our present woes as a nation, because the country as it is today is only waiting for its burial, because it is a dead country economically, security-wise, and otherwise".

According to the one-time Delta State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the present administration is "a monumental failure".

Speaking further on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, Macaulay, a member of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, said: "It is only a lazy man that complains of his bad tools. Jonathan has done his best and he's gone and you told us Jonathan was not doing well and you want to come and make things better. The bottom line is that the current APC government should admit that they have failed.

"Let me remind President Buhari of one thing. As a Christian — and I believe it is in the Koran too — the power of life and death is in the tongue. Let him search his mind if he ever said he was going to do one tenure to correct things and go away. Let him stick to that. Buhari's government has performed far below expectations and the country is dying. We are appealing to the APC government to be democratic and ready to accept defeat. We must all defend our votes come 2019 and the security agencies and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) must not allow themselves to be used.

"You cannot be going after everybody for saying the truth and telling your government the truth of what you are doing that is wrong. Obama took over the affairs of the United States at a time their economy was crumbling, and what he did when he came in was not to crumble it further but stabilized it where he met it and from there they started building on it and took it back before he left office. In this case, four years the economy has worsened, so you didn't have the solution, so, in the first place you lied when you said you have the solution.”

On PDP’s 16 years of governance, Macaulay stated that: "When they say PDP wasted 16 years, the first question you ask is ‘who were those in the PDP that they are talking about and where are the people now?’ Adams Oshiomhole cannot write his history without giving some credit to the PDP as it were, because the PDP governor in Edo State handed over to him. So, if PDP was that power drunk, it would not hand over to him.

"Show me those in the All Progressives Congress (APC) today who do not have a link to the PDP. There is none. Is it Rotimi Amaechi? All his life has been PDP. In the House of Assembly, he had eight years and as governor, he also had eight years. This is his first time in APC so we don't even have his records as an APC member. Yet, the records available to history today are his 16 years in PDP, because he has not finished his tenure in the APC so, he cannot write his history in APC.

"Godswill Akpabio has just gone to meet them in APC. All his life as commissioner, governor was with PDP. We can go on naming all of them as products of PDP so, if they are accusing PDP of bad administration then they themselves are the first people to be punished for it. How do you compare a bad administration and a good administration?

"The impunity in PDP that killed the party then has been taken over by the APC and multiplied. PDP is having the mass support today because people now see that we have learnt our lessons. APC is in disarray today and the people have now built more confidence in the PDP."

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For ‘Sabotaging Counter-Terrorism Operations’, Military Sacks UNICEF From North-East

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 9:25am

The Nigerian Military has announced the suspension of the operations of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) from the North-East.

According to a statement released on Friday by Onyema Nwachukwu, a Colonel and Deputy Director of Public Relations, Theatre Command, this was because UNICEF had “abdicated its primary duty of catering for the wellbeing of children and the vulnerable through humanitarian activities and now engaged in training selected persons for clandestine activities to continue sabotaging the counter terrorism and Counter insurgency efforts of troops through spurious and unconfirmed allegations bothering on alleged violations of human rights by the military”.

Mwachukwu said the Theatre command would not tolerate “this kind of sabotage from any individual, group of persons or organization”, and urged all NGOs and members of humanitarian agencies to keep to their legitimate norms in the discharge of their acclaimed humanitarian duties. 

“The Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE has observed with dismay that some of the activities of international humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organisations’ operating in the North East have left so much to be desired,” read the statement.

“There is credible information that some of them are indulging in unwholesome practices that could further jeopardise the fight against terrorism and insurgency, as they train and deploy spies who support the insurgents and their sympathisers. 

“It is baffling to note that some of these organizations have been playing the terrorists’ script with the aim to continue demoralizing the troops who are doing so much to protect the lives of victims of Boko Haram Terrorism and safe guard them from wanton destruction of property and means the of livelihood. The Theatre Command considers the actions of these organizations as a direct assault and insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians, as they tend to benefit more from expanding the reign of terror on our people. 

“Consequently, the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE is suspending the operations of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North East theatre until further notice. 

“This has become inevitable since the organization has abdicated its primary duty of catering for the wellbeing of children and the vulnerable through humanitarian activities and now engaged in training selected persons for clandestine activities to continue sabotaging the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts of troops through spurious and unconfirmed allegations bothering on alleged violations of human rights by the military.
“Information within the reach of this Command specifically indicates that the organization commenced the said training on Wednesday 12 December 2018 at the Ministry of Finance Conference Hall, Musa Usman Secretariat, Maiduguri and ended on 13 Thursday December 2018. The Theatre command will not tolerate this kind of sabotage from any individual, group of persons or organisation. 

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Court Removes Donald Duke As SDP Presidential Candidate, Installs Jerry Gana

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 9:12am

Professor Jerry Gana, a former Nigerian Minister of Information, has been declared the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The declaration was made in a ruling by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday.

Donald Duke had been declared as the presidential candidate of the party after the primary election held in October 2018.

However, Gana had instituted a case against the result in court, basing his case on the zoning and rotation formula of the party.

Giving his ruling, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf said: “In this instance, the party’s Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, is from the South and Duke is from the South too; the law is clear; there is nothing to write in-between.

“The law has crystallised that political parties should abide by the regulations which they have made by themselves. The claimant laid sufficient evidence to have the judgment in his favour; it is a clear violation of the party’s constitution; the court cannot wave right over illegality."

Duke's votes were declared null and void and the judge declared that Gana was the winner of the election. The SDP was also ordered to forward Gana's name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its candidate for the 2019 general election.

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JUST IN: Air Peace’s Lagos-Enugu Flights Disrupted As Aircraft Suffers Depressurisation

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 9:08am

Flights of Air Peace on several routes were on Friday disrupted over depressurisation to one of its aircraft, which the airline claims has rendered the aircraft "unserviceable". 

The flight disruption led to some of its passengers stranded in several airports. 

As a result of the incident, the airline grounded the aircraft in line with the safety standards as entrenched by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). 

A statement issued by the airline’s Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah, confirmed that some of the carrier’s scheduled flights were disrupted due to a depressurisation challenge on its Lagos-Enugu flight.

However, he expressed regrets about the resultant delay of flights on several routes that the aircraft was scheduled to service.

He assured members of the public that the airline had made arrangements for other aircraft in its fleet to salvage the situation.

“On Friday, December 14, 2019, our Lagos-Enugu flight had a depressurisation challenge, compelling us to declare it unserviceable upon safely landing at destination in line with our strict safety standards. Although depressurisation is a common occurrence in aviation, we sincerely regret that the incident led to the disruption of our Enugu-Lagos service and other flights the aircraft was scheduled to operate. We are indeed sorry for the resultant inconvenience caused our esteemed customers.

“We have, however, made alternative arrangements to ensure the operation of the Enugu-Lagos and other services the aircraft was scheduled to do, while our team of engineers conduct proper checks on the aircraft, which has since been ferried to our base.

“We assure members of the flying public and our crew that we will continue to accord their safety a prime place in our operations and always act in their best interest. We urge our valued customers to continue to trust us to deliver the best flight experience to them.

“We quite understand the expectations of our esteemed customers, especially during the Yuletide, and we wish to assure them that we will neither disappoint nor take their patronage and loyalty to our brand for granted.”

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'Tweets Are Cheap' — Sowore Asks Ezekwesili, Moghalu, Durotoye To Boycott NEDG/BON Debate

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 6:47am

The African Action Congress (AAC) has urged Fela Durotoye, Oby Ezekwesili and Kingsley Moghalu — presidential candidates of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Action Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) and Young progressives Party (YPP), respectively — to boycott the presidential debate scheduled for January 2019.

In a move that has been widely criticised by Nigerians, the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) had selected five political parties for the vice-presidential debate scheduled to take place later today, and the presidential debate which will take place on January 19, 2019. See Also Elections JUST IN: NEDG, BON Pick Only Five Political Parties For Presidential Debate 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

Ezekwesili, Moghalu and Durotoye had also taken to Twitter to add their voices to the calls for the inclusion of more presidential candidates in the debates.

However, a statement by Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi, Director General of the Sowore 2019 Campaign/TakeItBack Movement on Friday, called on the presidential candidates to show integrity, decisiveness and courage by shelving plans to attend the debate.

According to Fabiyi, the plan to exclude Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the AAC, from the presidential debate is a "deliberate attempt by the establishment to exclude the leading generational voice of Nigeria’s youth in a debate about Nigeria’s future".

The statement read: "After the massive outcry that greeted the exclusion of Sowore from the presidential debates organized by NEDG, BON and Channels TV, Fela Durotoye, Kingsley Moghalu and Oby Ezekwesili sent Twitter messages asking for transparency in the selection process and requesting the inclusion of Omoyele Sowore in the debate.

"While we salute them for their tweets, we ask them to do more. Tweets are cheap. Now that they have talked the talk, the question is will they walk the walk? These candidates know that their questions will not be answered simply because they asked nicely on Twitter. They know that they must act — with integrity, decisiveness and courage. If they claim to be part of a youth vanguard for change, this is their test of character.

"For Moghalu, Ezekwesili and Durotoye, this is the first test that they will face as voices of the new political generation in Nigeria. Each of them has acknowledged that the process that saw their emergence as debate participants was flawed. The question is this: will they be a part of this debate travesty? Will they affirm and endorse corruption by standing on a stage that was designed to fraudulently exclude authentic voices like Sowore’s from the debate about Nigeria’s future?

"Each of these presidential candidates knows that Sowore’s AAC polled ahead of them in the survey that Channels TV commissioned for selecting participants. Each of them knows that Sowore’s exclusion is a deliberate attempt by the establishment to exclude the leading generational voice of Nigeria’s youth in a debate about Nigeria’s future. Each of them knows that a debate stage that does not include Sowore is one that has been forged in deception, manipulation and lies.

"While we are not surprised that John Momoh, Channels TV, NEDG and BON will be on the side of ignominy and falsehood, by kowtowing to the APC and PDP in excluding Sowore from the debates, we wonder what the response of those who claim to offer a different and viable political alternative for Nigerians will be.

"Will Moghalu, Ezekwesili and Durotoye stand up for truth by boycotting a debate that is non-inclusive and obviously flawed? Or will their introduction to the Nigerian people be one that is aided by grand fraud and deception, enabled by the same system they claim to want to change?

"Later today, the Vice Presidential debates will hold. If the VP Candidates for the ANN, YPP and APCN get on that debate stage tonight at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, we will have our answer about what moral character these youth candidates are truly made of. We will finally know whether they are authentic voices for transformation and change, or whether they are puppets, and mere tools, in the hands of the old political order.

"The struggle to reclaim Nigeria will continue. We will know tonight, whether we can count on Moghalu, Durotoye and Ezekwesili to be part of that historic train. Nigeria MUST progress."

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EXCLUSIVE: Kogi Lawmaker Lawal Idris Sued For Presenting ‘Forged Documents’ To INEC

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 6:23am

Mohammed Lawal Idris, the lawmaker representing Ajaokuta Federal constituency of Kogi State at the House of Representatives, has been sued before a Federal High Court in Abuja for allegedly submitting falsified documents to the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC).

Court documents exclusively seen by SaharaReporters show that INEC and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are joined as defendants in the suit with idris, who is the APC candidate for Ajaokuta Constituence House of Reps election in 2019.

Ahead of hearing in the matter, which kicks off on January 8, 2019, the court has invited the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force CIID Headquarters, Abuja, and Abutu Yaro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), General Investigation Department, Force CIID Annex, Alagbon, Ikoyi, to “tender documents and to give oral testimony as it pertains to presentation of false information to INEC by the third defendant and falsification of National Diploma result/certificate in Business Administration from Yaba College of Technology, which the second defendant (INEC) acted upon as genuine to conduct the 2015 National Assembly general Election”.

In October, SaharaReporters had reported how Idris allegedly forged a certificate from Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech). The certificate was investigated by the Police and dismissed by the institution itself. See Also Exclusive EXCLUSIVE: How Lawmaker Lawal Idris Forged YabaTech Certificate To Win House Of Reps Seat 0 Comments 2 Months Ago

In early 2017, the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section, Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Police at Alagbon, Lagos, had received a complaint of forgery of institutional certificate/documents, attempted murder and threat to life against Idris. Acting on this, it wrote the Registrar of Yabatech for advice. 

A letter on behalf of the Commissioner of Police by DCP Yaro, exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, read: “This Office is investigating the above mentioned case reported through petition by Mr. Aloysius A. Okino.

“You are kindly requested to furnish this office with the following:

"I. Confirm if Lawal Mohammed Idris was actually a registered student of your institution and his Matriculation No. before being awarded a National Diploma Certificate in BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION with LOWER CREDIT on the 26th day of June 1987.

"II. Confirm the authenticity /genuinety or otherwise of the attached certificate awarded and duly signed on 20th of October 1990 to the aforementioned candidate, and 

"III. Any other relevant information that could enhance our investigation in this case.

"Your prompt response will be appreciated, please.”

Attached to that letter was a document purportedly from Yabatech, which read: “This is to certify that Lawal Muhammed Idris, having passed the prescribed examinations, has on the 26th day of June 1987 been awarded the NATIONAL DIPLOMA In Business Administration Lower Credit.” 

The certificate was supposedly signed by the Registrar and the Rector. It was dated October 20, 1990.

On April 10, 2017, the Police followed that up with an invitation the Yaba Tech Registrar. This second letter, also written by Yaro, read: “This office is investigating the above mentioned case reported through petition by Mr. Aloysius .A. Okino, in which your office features prominently.

“In view of this, you are therefore requested to report for an interview with the Commissioner of Police, General Investigation Section, Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon Close Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday 12th April, 2017 at 1000hrs in connection with a case under investigation.

“You are to report to the Officer-in –Charge ‘LEGAL. SEC GI’ who will take you before the Commissioner of Police.

“This request is compelled by urgent law enforcement requirement and you are kindly further requested to treat with utmost urgency.

“Accept the esteemed regards of the commissioner of police please.”

The following day a letter from Adenuga Adijat on behalf of the Registrar, addressed to the CP and titled ‘Re: Authentication of Certificate: Lawal Mohammed Idris’, disowned the said certificated.

“Your request on above refers,” Adijat wrote. “Please be informed that Lawal Mohammed Idris was not a registered student of the college and the attached certificate which was said to have been issued to him did not emanate from Yaba college of Technology. Kindly discountenance his claim. Thank you.”

Yabatech then embarked on its own internal investigations, and fished out its member of staff who allegedly helped Idris forge the certificate.

In September 2017, Charles Oni, its Director of Public Relations and Media, disclosed the name of the dismissed staff member as Seun Adekoya. He said Adekoya, a registry staff member who was involved in sale of certificate to the serving federal lawmaker, was arrested by the State Crime Investigation Division (SCID) and detained but later granted bail. 

When operatives of the SCID searched Adekoya’s house, blank Yabatech certificates, statement of results, stamp pad and other college items were found. After his release on bail, Adekoya, who was queried by Yabatech management and later dismissed from the institution, also jumped bail.  In his statements to the Police, Adekoya, 35, confessed to forging a 1987 National Diploma certificate for Idris.  See Also Corruption Those Who Said I Forged My Certificate Have 'Serious Symptoms Of Typhoid', Says Lawal Idris 0 Comments 2 Months Ago

Idris, though, denied the allegations. Responding via a statement by his lawyers, he described “the author of the said publication” as having “serious symptoms of typhoid fever or mental imbalance”, and claimed that the Police had cleared him.

“For clarity and professional purpose, we wish to use this forum to put some issues straight to the entire Nigerians, Ajaokuta Federal Constituency people of Kogi State and the management of Sahara Reporters in particular that; the authors of the said publication, without any iota of doubt, may indeed have serious symptoms of typhoid fever or mental imbalance. In fact, a good political analyst may even be right to call them as political jobbers,” his lawyers have said. See Also Elections CONFIRMED: Lawal Idris, Kogi APC House Of Reps Candidate, NOT CLEARED Of Certificate Forgery 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

However, shortly after, when SaharaReporters visited the General Investigation Section, Force CIID at Alagbon, DCP Yaro, who conducted the investigation into the forgery case, confirmed that Lawal had actually not been cleared.

“To the best of my knowledge the man has not been cleared of the criminal offence," Yaro said.

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Re: "It Is Not Nigerian Govt’s Problem If Nigerians Lack Electricity”

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 4:36am

Sir, it is sad to say to that you do not know that the federal government of Nigeria has 40% stake in  Disco, Genco and 100% stake in TCN which is the major stumbling block in the power sector.

Sir, the problem is shared 60/40 ratio with the businessmen leading the front but what about the government angle? 

The only thing you have shared in your three-year stay as PW&H is false narratives as regards the power sector. 

Sir, you have never bothered to speak on a tariff which is the real issue affecting the power sector. 

Sir, you forgot before PHCN was sold followed by devaluation of Nigerian Naira, energy was sold between N25-N36/kWh which is equivalent 18.4¢/kWh which is at par with many countries on Earth.

Sir, you forget to inform Nigeria that the Nigerian power sector is 100% import dependent, hence devaluation will have a devastating effect on the sector but nothing changed despite the devaluation 

Today Energy is sold between N25-36/kWh which is now equivalent to 8.4¢/kWh that is over 54% loss against a business which is 100% import dependent. How will they survive?

Sir, I agree the owners ain't technically savvy but this single issue will kill any form of investment in the sector as they will be struggling to recoup their earlier investment. 

Sir, you have do not have the solution to metering or energy theft but you love cosmetic facelift of the actual event which is NOT okay one bit.

Sir, I can not question your jurisprudence prowess but a critical sector like power sector needs a more qualified hand preferable an Electrical Engineer,  I believe this is the main reason why you have kept pushing false narrative of 2000MW stranded power which is non existent or 7000 MW generated power whereas we had capacity to generate 6.2GW as at 2014 but gas constraints and weak wheeling network which has not improved one bit in the last  4 years.

Sir, as at 2013, Nigeria was wheeling 3000MW + on the grid the same thing we are  wheeling  in 2018.

Sir, it is instructive to say Nigeria has NOT wheeled 4000MW averagely  in our 58yrs of existence. 

Sir, The data of the wheeled and generated energy since 2013 is available on NERC website capitioned as daily energy watch which has been discontinued. 

Sir pls find listed below links and data pulled from Nigeria Electricity Regulatory commission "Daily Energy" watch which was discontinued by NERC in Jan 2017 and the Energy report for 2017 and Q1 of 2018, NNPC monthly report and TCN System operators daily report from 2014 contradicts all you have pushed to the Nigerian Populace in three years.

Sir, you cannot know more than the Regulatory Commission, hence I implore you to stop sharing false narratives. lol

Sir, any other figure other than the Statistics listed below is wrong and misleading. 


Nigeria as at 2013 was wheeling 3292MW averagely that is 28,837,920MWh of Energy in 2013.


Nigeria as 2014 was wheeling 3330MW averagely that is   29,170,800MWh of Energy in 2014


Nigeria as at 2015 was wheeling 3529MW averagely that is 30,914,040MWh of Energy in 2015


Nigeria as at 2016 was wheeling 3188MW averagely that is 27,926,880MWh of Energy in 2016


Nigeria as at 2017 was wheeling 3619MW averagely that is 31,702,440 of Energy in 2017


Nigeria as at March 2018 wheeled 3942MW averagely that is 8,514,720MWh which has since returned to the same position in 2014.


Our Electricity Consumption per capita has dropped because it is recorded against our Population. 

Pls, note there are Losses associated with Wheeling and Distribution and we also export Electricity.

There is at least 8% loss on wheeling and distribution and another 10% is exported to our neighbours leaving Nigerians to battle with less than 3000MW after 58 years of independence.

Anyone that tells you making power is rocket science is NOT okay. 

All over Africa Power Plants, they build power plants in record time and Egypt just unveiled a 14.4GW in 27.5 months for less than $6.5 billion. 

Sir, I beg you to stop pushing false narratives to the Nigerian Populace.



Ettu Mohammed.



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Bravo To EFCC For Charging NBA President Paul Usoro By Chuks Nwosu

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 4:30am

Mr. Paul Usoro SAN is indeed a lucky guy. Otherwise, nemesis would not have caught up with him this late. Recently, Justice Agbam was removed as a judge for collecting bribe from Mr. Paul Usoro SAN and a few other senior lawyers to influence his judgments in favour of their clients. The National Judicial Council (NJC)  did not recommend the trial of Mr. Usoro for bribing the judge. Was it not the same NJC that had requested the Nigerian Bar Association to try Mr. Kunle Kalejaye for exchanging sms with a judge in an election petition tribunal? Has Mr. Joseph Nwobike SAN not been convicted for bribing a judge with less amount of money?

Instead of thanking his God (if he believes in the Almighty) Mr. Usoro SAN confidently colluded with an ICT company to manipulate the election of the Nigerian Bar Association. Thus, through electoral fraud by electronic means, he emerged as the President of the law body last July. Up till now, Mr. Usoro SAN has not challenged the serious allegations that he engaged in electoral fraud. Hence, he has been filing frivolous objections to postpone the trial of the case filed against him by a fellow contestant, Mr. Okafor SAN. The agenda of Mr. Usoro is to follow the bad precedent of Mr. A. B. Mahmoud SAN who deliberately delayed the trial of the case filed against his own fraudulent election until he completed his 2-year tenure!

No doubt, Mr. Usoro SAN  has successfully played on the intelligence of Nigerian lawyers. When he was challenged for engaging in money laundering during the NBA election Mr. Usoro dismissed the allegation. With stolen fund he campaigned with private jets all over the country and bribed corrupt lawyers to become their leader. Notwithstanding his new status, the Economic and Financial Commission continued the investigation of money laundering of the sum of N1.4 billion. Since he has no defence Mr. Usoro has decided to incite Nigerian lawyers against the EFCC. He is currently mobilising fellow corrupt lawyers to rise up against the plan of the EFCC to breach client-lawyer confidentiality.

In its reply, the EFCC has denied the porous campaign of calumny and instigation of lawyers by Mr. Usoro. EFCC has stated very clearly that Mr. Usoro never handled a case for the Akwa Ibom State government to justify the payment of N1.4 billion and that the case involved was an election petition of a governorship candidate. The six Senior Advocates hired by him have been interrogated. Knowing the criminality of the action of Mr. Usoro the senior advocates told the EFCC interrogators that they never knew that the fee to each of them was from the coffers of the Akwa Ibom state government. 

Let the 700 lawyers being assembled to defend Mr. Usoro stop blackmailing the EFCC. Let them be prepared to defend the allegations of money laundering and bribery of the Akwa state attorney-general with N65 million by Mr. Usoro. Let the gang of corrupt lawyers be reminded that the 90 SANs who were similarly assembled to defend Mr. 

 Ricky Tarfa SAN has disappeared from his defence team. That is going to be the fate that would befall Mr. Usoro very soon. 


Chuks Nwosu


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Counterfeited Dubiousness And Public Amnesia By Nat Adojutelegan

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:56am

Who is fooling who? When two individuals with good eyesight viewed a black object but one individual said it was black, and the other said it was white, we might reasonably conclude that the person who described the black object as white was being dubious. We could say that the individual was simply mischievous about the description or grossly dishonest. Our description of the individual would certainly be different if the circumstances involved over one hundred persons and only one person described the black object as white. The singular description of the black object as white by the individual would certainly transcend dubiousness. His dubiousness would most probably be overreached by the wonderment of his ashamedness and untruthfulness and become a false dubiousness. The state of false dubiousness is the state where I say dubiousness translates to counterfeited dubiousness. Every counterfeit is driven by false pretence or with an intent to defraud. Thus, the behavioural attitude of counterfeited dubiousness typifies circumstances where dubiousness is driven by an intent to knowingly deceive others or the public.

When we talk about aggrieved aspirants, there are different colourations of aspirants. I characterize the aggrieved aspirants in APC, Ondo State as (a) genuine, (b) dubious, and (c) counterfeited dubious. To understand these characterisations, we need to revisit the background and the events leading to the crooked APC primary elections in Ondo State. Prior to the primary elections aspirants could be grouped under three main blocs at the state party level, namely, (a) those supported by the Party’s State Executive, (b) those supported by the “authentic” Party’s State Executive, and (c) those who considered themselves as independents but craved the support of the Party’s State Executive and the members of the Party. At the national party level, there were two major power brokers – the national power brokers represented by the Party’s National Working Committee (NWC), and the state power brokers represented by the State Government. It is noteworthy that some aspirants across the three main blocs at the state level are influential and enjoyed the sympathy of the national power brokers, some had the total backing of the state power broker, and some were totally dependent on the party delegates and were “god fatherless.”

Early in the year there was a confluence of power brokers in the state. The national power brokers and state power brokers had unity of purpose and unity of outcome. This was the case during the state’s Party congresses. The state power brokers were able to select, monopolise and entrenched their “own men and women” as members of the Party’s Executive Committee at the ward, local government and state levels. Given the confluence of power brokers over the affairs of the Party, the state power brokers had mainly and prematurely selected and monopolised all the elective positions at the state and national levels for the forthcoming general elections in favour of some of their preferred aspirants. These preferred aspirants had taken their candidatures for granted whilst some disfavoured aspirants had decided that it was not even worthwhile to contest the primary elections. However, a new Sheriff came to town along the line, and there was a whole new ball game. The unitary cords of the national and state power brokers was consequently disentantled. There was no longer unity of purpose and unity of outcome among the national and state power brokers. The absence of confluence of understanding between the national and state power brokers offered two of the three main blocs (the blocs supported by the “authentic” Party’s State Executive and those who considered themselves as independents) at the state level a temporary political life line.

To the innocent bystander, the protracted argument about the electoral procedure or mode of election to be adopted for the APC primary election was a mere democratic debate made in good faith. The contrary was the case. The Party’s State Executive wanted “indirect primary election” to concretise the gains made during the congresses. The “authentic” Party’s State Executive favoured “direct primary election” to negate the gains made by the State Executive during the congresses. The national power broker had sympathy for the sponsors of the “authentic” Party’s State Executive because of the ruthless one sidedness of the State’s Executive Committee and the apparent willingness, if not desperation of the state power brokers to dislodge those who were perceived as their political enemies from their existing elective positions or prevent them from opportunities to secure elective positions on the Party’s platform. The third bloc was at the mercy of the Party’s delegates. At the end of the day, the national power brokers attempted to protect all the three main blocs by adopting direct primary election for the state in the interest of fairness and justice. That was, nevertheless, not the end of the story. While the national power brokers had the final say concerning the decision making, the state power brokers had the the final say concerning the implementation of the decision.

Upon the realisation by the national power brokers that the state power brokers had planned to employ the machinery of the Party’s structure in the state to influence the primary

election and impose their original will to select and monopolise the Party’s candidates for the national and state elective positions the national power brokers reacted. They moved fast to counter the state power brokers by presenting the serving senators with automatic tickets. It should be noted that it was cleared that if the national power brokers had not done so, the state power brokers would have had their way and imposed their preferred aspirants on the other aspirants. The national power brokers, however, did not want to be “selfish” and decided to test the water by attempting to organise direct primary elections in respect of the House of Representatives and House of Assembly. The outcome of the test was that the state power brokers bitterly and ruthlessly local enforcement agencies and political thugs to bulldoze all other aspirants except their favoured aspirants from the electoral space and declared all their preferred aspirants as winners. The national power brokers rejected the illegal results and balkanized the House of Representatives and House of Assembly’s positions between the favoured aspirants of the national power brokers and the preferred aspirants of the state power brokers. The third bloc comprising the independents who were “god fatherless” became the overall losers.

When we talk about the aggrieved aspirants in APC Ondo, the “genuine aspirants” are those who were independent and “god fatherless.” The dubious aggrieved aspirants were those who expected to be favoured by the state power brokers but were disappointed. The “counterfeited dubious aspirants” were those whose names were originally presented as winners by the state power brokers through a blatantly rigged pseudo electoral process but were removed by the national power brokers. They knew they were blatantly imposed on other aspirants and fraudulently presented as winners by the state power brokers, and unashamedly insulting the national power brokers. They claimed the national power broker imposed candidates on the Party in circumstances in which they were prepared to benefit from acts of impositions by the state power brokers.

Presently, some of the genuine aspirants, dubious aspirants and counterfeited dubious aspirants have left the APC for another political party to fulfil their political aspirations. Some with equanimity and others with mischievous tantrums. Unfortunately, it is the counterfeited dubious aspirants that are most vociferous claiming that they were robbed of their impending “victories” at the botched primary elections as if their expected “victories” were not a product of undemocratic blatant planned imposition.

The bottom line is that the counterfeited dubious aspirants’ claim of victimization is counterfeit. It is plainly false. Are you awake?

Nat Adojutelegan, PhD

APC, Ondo North Senatorial Aspirant

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Nigerian Women In Politics: Biases, Barriers, Solutions By Vweta Chadwick

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:51am

During a visit to Nigeria in January this year, the UK special envoy on gender equality, Joanna Roper told journalists 250 million pounds has been earmarked by the British government towards getting more Nigerian women get into political offices, mediation and conflict resolution roles.

Laudable gestures like this risk the unintended effect of the average Nigerian thinking the UK has achieved gender equality in politics. Not quite. Though women are more than half the population, UK has less than a 3rd women MPs and ranks 38th globally for parliamentary gender equality.

No doubt there are lessons to learn from the UK, however, if we really want to see a marked change, we must cast our gaze homewards, to Rwanda.

49 percent women 6 percent representation

Every four years,I pretend I've woken up to a different world where gender equality is now the norm rather than the exception, where women have an equal chance of being elected as the flag bearer of one or both major political parties in Nigeria and where they have all the support they need and deserve to mount a sustained campaign well into the elections and where they have a genuine chance of winning. Every four years, I am awakened from my slumber.

How did the world's most populous black nation and Africa's largest economy miss the zeitgeist of the mid-2000s as 12 sub-Saharan countries elected more than 30 percent women to legislative houses, five elected more than 40 and Rwanda elected more than 60 percent?

Women account for almost 50 percent of the Nigerian population, however, only 6 percent of federal legislative positions are occupied by women. Nigeria currently ranks 183rd on parliamentary gender equality index, with only 10 non-African countries trailing behind.

There's no denying Nigeria and Nigerian women need every help available to bridge the gaping inequality that exists in politics, however, a pause for thought is needed as we contemplate what barriers stand in women's way, what are the most sustainable solutions in surmounting them and whom we should model when crafting those solutions.


According to Social Psychologist Alice Eagly, "The female gender role is based on the stereotype that women are nice, kind, compassionate. While we expect leaders to take charge, be assertive, tough". Ingrained stereotypes like these could leave women torn between being the stereotypical woman and be seen as nice but weak or leader and risk been seen as competent but unlikeable. This no-win dilemma is called 'the double bind'.

Well entrenched gender bias in politics makes it difficult for women to be nominated/selected/elected as flagbearers of their political parties. When they do get elected, they are often held to higher standards and are expected to prove they can do the job as a man would, effectively denying her ability to lead, setting her up to fail.

Women are more likely to be judged unfairly, harshly and inadequately for failing, thus, the vicious cycle of not daring to put ones head above the parapet is complete. Those who dare walk against the crowd are seen as stepping out of their traditional gender roles, this may lead to harassment or overt violence, more so in countries like Nigeria.

Then there's the money problem. Campaigns are expensive, fundraising requires skills some women may not have and can't afford to hire due to intersecting inequalities such as economic inequality, social inequality and structural inequality. Women may not be as forthright in asking for donations and may not have built the social capital needed for a successful campaign.  

More women in politics? Why?

When tempted to ask why we need women in politics or what impact more women in political offices has brought/can bring, we may want to rephrase and ask instead: what gains has there been since half of the population has held on to power for so long, denying the talents and skills, richness of solutions women can bring to leadership.

Politics, governance is not a birthright or privilege reserved for men. In a country where almost half the population is female, the abysmal number of women in political offices is certainly not representative of the reality and is definitely not indicative of modern day democracy.

Research shows when women are involved in conflict resolution processes, agreements reached are 35 percent more likely to last at least 50 years. In countries with a high number of elected women such as Ecuador, Senegal and Rwanda, women are more likely to introduce bills promoting education, health, safety and the environment.


If there's ever a nonfiction story of a country reinventing itself and picking itself up from the ashes of all the things it once held dear, it is Rwanda.

The president recognised that rebuilding the country from the destruction the genocide left in its wake would require not just men, but also women. When a new constitution passed in 2003, 30 percent of parliamentary seats were reserved for women. Rwanda has since seen an increase in laws on violence against children and laws allowing women to inherit land have been passed. It is currently one of the most stable countries in Africa.

A 2018 report by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) recommends Nigeria introduce electoral gender quota for the recruitment and elections of women, with strict sanctions for parties who don’t comply. There is merit to this, nine of the top 10 countries on the parliamentary gender equality list have legal or voluntary quotas in place. Some have adopted positive discrimination in ensuring more women are elected.

We need more stories of women told by women in the media. Though it may take another 217 years to close the economic gender gap globally, women, Nigerian women are leading businesses, charities, media corporations and representing their constituents as elected or appointed officials, these success stories need to be told, spotlighted, celebrated.

It is not enough to show up and vote for female candidates, supporting them all the way matters - donating our time, skills and resources as volunteers, donating to their campaign fund, setting up fundraising and social events, getting others involved too. 

Perhaps equal representation should not be expected to happen in one fell swoop, maybe it is about chipping away at the bias and barriers in women's path, deliberately, consistently, like the waves eat away at the immobile rocks in its path. And maybe, this is where the 250 million pounds could be useful: promoting or creating new media narratives about female leadership, where the stories of women leading in their communities, businesses, companies, in politics are told the way they deserve to be. Stories like these reinforce women's leadership capabilities and could begin to dislodge deep-seated biases.

By electing more women, Nigeria will be tapping into previously unrecognised and untapped, intellect, solutions, ideas. Every successful company knows these are goldmines.

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National Debates 2019: A Betrayal Of Nigerian Youths? By Adebayo Raphael

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:43am

Adebayo Raphael speaking at a public function.

Adebayo Raphael

One of the fervent yearnings of Nigerians concerning the forthcoming general election in 2019 is a national debate between all the presidential and vice presidential candidates in Nigeria. 

Among others, Nigerians, on the one hand, want to see the vice presidential and presidential candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) participate in the 2018/2019 Vice Presidential and Presidential debates respectively - representing the old order; and on the other hand, Nigerians especially want to see representatives from the wing of the new order politicians - the promising block of young Nigerians who are determined to rescue Nigeria from the manacles of gerontocracy. 

It is, however, disheartening that the body that has been saddled with the responsibility of organizing this widely-anticipated debates, has become somewhat impassive to our present realities. It is, in fact, somewhat confounding that the National Elections Debates Group (NEDG) would select candidates to participate in the national debates and exclude candidates that matter without telling the Nigerian people their reasons for doing so.

To be candid, I consider it a great disservice to the electorate, and also a betrayal of our democratic process, that Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye and Kingsley Moghalu will be included in the national debates, but Omoyele Sowore, Tope Fasua, among others will be excluded. The exclusion of Sowore, in particular, is a serious lapse in judgement on the side of the organisers. It is a fact that Omoyele Sowore, aside the huge amount of resources, time and energy he has so far spent on his campaign, has propagated a messaging of hope and possibility to his mostly youth audience. Sowore’s message of enforcing a political revolution and upending the empire of gerontocracy in Nigeria’s politics resonate not only with Nigerians at home but also with Nigerians living in the diaspora. 

The exclusion of Sowore from the national debates is an embarrassment to the collective aspiration of young Nigerians. It is a subtle perversion of Nigeria's democratic process and a blatant disregard for the future of our dear country. This exclusion is similar to, for instance, inviting Huawei, Gionee and Palasa to an event for Tech Giants and excluding heavyweights like Microsoft, Apple and Samsung. It is ridiculous and laughable. It is a shame on our collective sensibility.

For a fact, it is alone an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerians that we do not know the criterion used by the NEDG in selecting the candidates to participate in the debates. What will not be condoned, however, is the exclusion of the man who is arguably the most credible face among the host of candidates from the new order. Whatever may be the criterion, I am certain that Omoyele Sowore is well-qualified - and may even surpass them.

Also, I must mention, that courtesy demands that the currently enlisted participants join their voices with the numerous Nigerians demanding the inclusion of Omoyele Sowore and his Vice Presidential candidate Dr Rabiu Rufai in the forthcoming national debates. Anything short of this would be complicity in this sordid show of shame by the NEDG. 

As I bring this piece to an end, I must emphasise that the NEDG, in the interest of our presently battered democracy and the future of our country, must include Omoyele Sowore and his Vice Presidential candidate in the forthcoming national debates. Not only that; the body must also maintain a stance of neutrality and fairness to all candidates and participants. Sadly, this exclusion is a serious red flag on the credibility of the NEDG.

Nigerians are watching. The world, too, is watching. 


Adebayo Raphael is the National Secretary of the OurMumuDonDo Movement. He writes from Abuja and can be reached on Twitter via @Asorosobioro.

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Signing Of Peace Pact Unnecessary, Says Donald Duke

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:43am

The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Donald Duke, on Thursday, said there was no need for the peace accord currently being signed by presidential candidates.

He said there were enough laws in Nigeria that made provisions for punishments for electoral offenders.

Duke, a former governor of Cross River State, spoke at the public presentation of a book titled “The coming revolution: A manifesto for national greatness,” written by Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher.

He said, “There is really no need for peace accord because we have laws.

“We just want to show that we are coming into the race.

“There are laws that deal with those who don’t want to respect the norms of the society. In a sane society, it ought not to be so.”

Duke, who had earlier in the day signed the peace agreement, however, commended the process. He said the peace pact would stop political leaders from orchestrating violence in next year’s elections.

He said, “The peace accord is necessary. It is one of the fundamental things to do. You can’t have elections of violence. INEC must do the right thing by increasing voter education.

“INEC should live up to its responsibility by sanctioning candidates involved in vote buying so that everybody will fall in line.

“Until we do that, people will continue to do whatever they like.”

The SDP presidential candidate stressed that the continuous migration of Nigerians to other countries in search of greener pastures had made them “endangered species not just to the neighbouring countries but the world.”

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I’m Glad Senate Didn’t Confirm Me, Says Magu

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:42am

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, said on Thursday that he was glad the Senate refused to confirm him as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency.

Magu said if the Senate had confirmed him, perhaps he would not have been able to perform as much as he had done.

The acting chairman said this before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja where he was testifying in a libel suit he filed against The Sun Newspaper.

Magu had sued publishers of the Sun Newspaperfor a series of publications which he described as libellous and injurious to his character.

The EFCC boss who sued the publishers before Justice Doris Okuwobi claimed N5bn damages and also demanded that The Sun Newspapersshould publish an apology and retract the alleged libellous publications.

Magu, under cross-examination by the respondent’s counsel, Charles Enwelunta, said he was not worried that he had been rejected by the Senate twice.

He said, “I have been rejected by the Senate twice and it does not worry me that I’m not confirmed; I’m not bothered. It’s good that they did not confirm me, I may not be able to work very well as we have been able to get over 700 convictions.”

He claimed before the court that he had only one house in the Karo area of Abuja as against the publication of The Sun Newspaper alleging that two houses were traced to his wife by the Department of State Services.

Magu dismissed as false The Sun Newspaper’spublication of March 25, 2017, titled ‘Magu under fresh probe,’ which claimed that two houses located in a highbrow area in Maitama, Abuja were traced to his wife and that he was under discreet investigation by the DSS.

He said, “Since I came to the EFCC, nobody has investigated me. I am not under any probe, the publication is totally false. Even if I have the money, I wouldn’t buy houses in Maitama.

“My wife is a civil servant. We only have one house sold to us in Karo, Abuja. The publication is completely untrue.

“I want to tell you the damage it has done to me. It was not done to me alone, it has gone down my lineage, the entire family, and it has done so much wrong. It has done so much damage.”

Justice Okuwobi adjourned the matter till February 28, 2019 for further proceedings.

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EFCC Files 59 Charges Against Doyin Okupe​

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:42am

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed 59 charges against a former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe.

The Guardian learnt that the charges bordered on alleged fraud, and arms money he received from Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Sources disclosed yesterday that he would be arraigned at the Federal High Court 7 in Abuja.

The EFCC granted bail to him on the conditions of depositing his international passport and producing at least two directors from the civil service.

Okupe, who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2012 to 2015, had admitted on social media that he received N10million monthly from a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, based on the instruction of Jonathan.

According to him, the money was meant for a programme on NTA known as ‘Insight,’ which showcased the achievements of Jonathan.

In his statement, Okupe said: “The initial N50million was approved by the president to be paid to me from his security vote. N10million was to furnish my rented living apartment and another N10million for my office. The balance N30million was approved as takeoff grant.

He further said: “The N10million I received from the ONSA monthly was to run my office, pay salaries of staff, including overheads, expenses for our numerous press conferences, publications in newspapers, magazines, local and foreign, television programmes, bulletins, and media consultants who assisted and facilitated our work.

He said he had about 23 staffers, 11 of whom were graduates, out of which five were Master’s Degree holders.

Okupe explained that he paid for tapes and editing per programme, besides paying honorarium for guests either directly by way of transportation, or in form of hotel bills for those outside Abuja.

He disclosed that the expenses cost an average of N500, 000 weekly or about N2million monthly. In all, we spend about N4million monthly on the programme.

However, Sola Atere, who was the Executive Director (News) of the NTA, denied that the station received any money from Okupe.

According to him, the programme was done free of charge, as part of the station ‘s corporate social responsibility.

Atere said initially, external persons anchored the programme, ‘Insight,’ but later on, NTA presenters took over.

He told the EFCC: “Two external persons anchored the programme at the inception but midway, they were not forthcoming. So, NTA presenters were detailed to anchor it. No money was charged for production and transmission of the programme.”

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Nigeria Owes IOCs $5.1b, Says NNPC​

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:23am

Ibe Kachikwu

Nigeria indebtedness to International Oil Companies (IOCs) stood at $5.1 billion, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) told the Senate yesterday.

The $5.1 billion, according to the Corporation, was accumulated from the Joint Venture Cash Call (JVC) business arrangement the country has with IOCs on oil exploration.

But the NNPC denied allegation of mismanagement of $3.2 billion said to have been withdrawn from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) account between 2015 till date.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of NNPC, Isiaka Abdulrasaq, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Gas explained how the debt was incurred.

Abdulrasaq told the panel that the JVC is a business arrangement between the Federal Government and the IOCs, explaining that Nigeria controls 60 per cent of the business venture and the IOCs the remaining 40 per cent.

He NNPC official said: “The problem, however is that before this government came on board in 2015, Nigeria which holds 60 per cent of shares in the joint business, for many years did not contribute its own required capital into it.”

Nigeria, he said, was “only collecting its equity share inform of revenues which made the country as at 2015, to have $6.8 billion unpaid capital into the venture.”

He further explained that “the present government in 2016, succeeded in getting 35 per cent discount from the unpaid capital amounting to $1.9 billion from the unpaid capital, making the country to still owe the IOCs $5.1 billion outstanding.”

On the alleged $3.2 billion reportedly withdrawn from the NLNG account by the NNPC within the last three years, the CFO insisted that there was no mismanagement in any of the withdrawals made.

He noted that based on available records with NNPC, only 13 withdrawals were made from the account amounting to $1.2 billion.

The official said that more than seven IOCs dealing with the NNPC have expressed concern about the continuity of their business operations as a result of bogus figures being bandied about withdrawals from the NLNG account.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, asked the NNPC CFO to submit approving documents for all the withdrawals by Tuesday next week.

Akpan said: “We are not saying any money has been stolen. What we are doing is clarifying the processes of expenditures made from the account with a view to making management of the account more transparent and beneficial to Nigerians.”

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FG Panel Probes David Mark’s Offshore Assets

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:14am

Former Nigerian Senate President David Mark

The Federal Government, through its Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, has started investigation into the ownership of some offshore companies allegedly linked to a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark.

The PUNCH learnt on Thursday that this followed a prior investigation conducted by the National Intelligence Agency in collaboration with the SPIPRPP.

It was gathered that the investigation was informed by the revelation in Panama Papers linking Mark and other top Nigerian former and serving public office holders as well as prominent business and political leaders around the world to some companies and other assets held offshore.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the Panama Papers containing details of financial and lawyer-client information for hundreds of thousands of offshore entities in May 2016.

A source familiar with Mark’s case told our correspondent that “the former Senate President was invited for questioning by the SPIPRPP in respect of 20 companies in British Virgin Island and other tax havens.”

It was learnt that Mark was originally invited to appear before the panel for questioning on December 11.

The ex-Senate President wrote a letter dated December 11, 2018 to the panel indicating his readiness to appear for the planned probe.

Our correspondent sighted a copy of the letter by a law firm, Kenetch C. Ikonne & Associates, sent on Mark’s behalf to the Chairman of SPIPRPP and Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, pleading for the rescheduling of the questioning to December 21.

The letter signed by Mr Ken Ikonne stated that although the invitation letter addressed to the clerk of the National Assembly for onward transmission to Mark, a serving Senator, was dated November 29, 2018, it was only brought to his attention at about 4pm of the same day, December 11, 2018.

The letter dated December 11, 2018, the day he was expected to appear for the interrogation, read in part, “Our client wishes to reiterate his readiness to honour your invitation and make the necessary clarification due to the utmost regard in which he holds your panel.

“However, our client is presently ill and undergoing treatment and has accordingly requested us to apply for a new date to enable him to appear.

“Accordingly, we are, subject, of course, to your overriding convenience, suggesting the December 21 as the new interview date at the suggested venue to enable our client to fully recover from his illness.”

The SPIPRPP is also seeking to recover from the official residence of the Senate President which the panel alleges was acquired in violation of the laws and regulations.

Mark had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the planned recovery, insisting that due process was followed in his acquisition of the property located in the Apo Legislative Quarters in Apo, Abuja.

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OPL 245: FG Sues Shell, Eni For $1.1bn​

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:10am

The federal government Thursday filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in a commercial court in London over a 2011 deal involving Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245.

The OPL 245 oilfield is also at the heart of an ongoing corruption trial in Milan in which former and current Shell and Eni officials are in the dock.

Milan prosecutors alleged that bribes totalling $1.1 billion were paid to win the licence to explore the field which, because of disputes, has never entered into production.

The main trial – which besides Eni and Shell also involves Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and four ex-Shell managers including former Shell Foundation Chairman Malcolm Brinded – is expected to drag on for months.

The new London case also relates to payments made by the companies to get the OPL 245 oilfield licence in 2011.

“It is alleged that purchase monies purportedly paid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria were in fact immediately paid through to a company controlled by Dan Etete, formerly the Nigerian minister of petroleum, and used for, among other things, bribes and kickbacks,” Reuters quoted a government statement as saying.

“Accordingly, it is alleged that Shell and Eni engaged in bribery and unlawful conspiracy to harm the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that they dishonestly assisted corrupt Nigerian government officials.”

The office of Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice did not respond to Reuters’ phone calls and messages seeking comment.

But Shell said, “The 2011 settlement of long-standing legal disputes related to OPL 245 was a fully legal transaction with Eni and the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the most senior officials of the relevant ministries.”

Eni said in an emailed statement it rejected “any allegation of impropriety or irregularity in connection with this transaction.”

“Eni signed a commercial agreement in 2011 for a new licence for OPL 245 with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company and the consideration for the licence was paid directly to the Nigerian government,” it said.

The federal government had filed a London case against United States bank, JPMorgan, for its alleged role in transferring over $800 million of government funds to Etete, who has been convicted of money laundering.

In another separate trial, a Milan court in September found a middleman guilty of corruption after prosecutors alleged he had received a mandate from Etete, who had denied any wrongdoing, to find a buyer for OPL 245, collecting $114 million for his services.

An Italian judge sentenced Nigeria’s Emeka Obi to jail in the first ruling on the controversial OPL 245 deal, the oil industry’s biggest graft scandals.

Obi, accused of being middleman and taking illegal kickbacks, had asked for a separate fast-track trial which, under Italian law, allows sentences to be cut by a third.

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for Shell had said neither Obi nor Di Nardo worked on behalf of the company.

“Based on our review of the Prosecutor of Milan’s file and all of the information and facts available to us, we do not believe that there is a basis to convict Shell or any of its former employees of alleged offences,” it said.

Also in emailed comments, Eni reiterated it had acted correctly in the purchase of OPL 245, saying it had worked directly with the federal government.

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Buhari Okays 65-year Retirement Age For Teachers, Says Minister

Sahara Reporters - 14 December 2018 - 12:03am

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on Thursday, said that President Muhammadu Buhari was in support of increasing the retirement age for teachers from 60 to 65 years.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Adamu made this known during a public hearing on the need to insulate teachers from the retirement age for public servants organised by the House of Reps Joint Committee on Basic Education and Public Service.

Adamu informed the committee that the Nigerian Union of Teachers had submitted the new retirement age proposal to the ministry and the National Assembly for approval.

He said that the drive was based on the need for a better performance by teachers and the desire to have quality teachers in Nigeria’s primary and secondary schools.

“Nigerian teachers to some extent require a reasonable retirement age like their counterparts in India, Canada, Belgium that have increased the retirement age for teachers to 65 years.

“We are appealing to the House to approve the bill because the ministry is in support of increasing the retirement age of teachers,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairman House Committee on Basic Education, Rep Zakari Mohammed, said that the bill was being considered for passage.

He said the bill sought to absolve teachers from the public service rule, which fixed the retirement age for government workers at 60 years, and set for them a new retirement age of 65.

Mohammed said that since teachers were the bedrock of any nation, their wealth of experience must be tapped into to enhance the well-being of the Nigerian society.

He also said that House was considering an amendment of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria Act to strengthen its regulatory powers to promote professionalism and eradicate quacks.

Also, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Public Service, Rep. Adekoya Abdel-Majid, described teachers as professionals who laid the foundation for any nation’s economic, technological and social development.

Abdel-Majid said that if teachers were given more time to spend on the job, they would most likely deliver better services to the learners based on experiences gathered over the years and the wisdom of age.

The stakeholders present at the hearing organised to support the passage of the bills were the Parent Teachers Association, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Teachers Institute and the Universal Basic Education Commission.

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Politicians Responsible For Election Violence, Says Bayelsa CP

Sahara Reporters - 13 December 2018 - 11:44am

Joseph Mukan, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, has said Nigerians should hold politicians responsible for violence during elections.

He, however, expessed optimism that the 2019 general election in the state would be peaceful, noting that the outcome would depend largely on the stakeholders.

According to Mukan, the stakeholders — including the political class, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, media and the electorate — must collaborate to ensure the outcome is not characterised by violence.

He made this known on Wednesday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, during a visit by the members of the Federated Correspondents Chapel (FCC) of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, led by the Chairman, Comrade Osaro Okhomina of Leadership newspaper.

Speaking on the violence recorded during the party primaries and the 2016 governorship elections in the state, the Police Commissioner said: "When the political class and their supporters see politics as not a do-or-die affair, the outcome will be peaceful. The political gladiators hire thugs and these and many others were responsible for the wave of violence during elections in the state.

"When things are done properly, we will get it right one day. If INEC gets it right; if the security gets it right; if the political class gets it right, and with the objective reportage of the media we will get it right also.

"We have been talking with the political gladiators on why there should be peaceful and transparent elections. The political class should be held responsible for violence for seeing elections as a do-or-die affair, forgetting that the contest is between themselves and not with foreigners."

On the FCC lecture series to hold on December 20, 2018, Mukan declared his support for the event.

In his remarks, Osaro Okhomina, the FCC Chairman, commended the new Commissioner of Police for the successes recorded in reducing the rate of crime in the state.

He also commended the Police over the speedy response to the extrajudicial killing of a youth in the state capital.

Okhomina also used the opportunity to formally invite the Commissioner of Police to the Fifth Annual FCC Lecture series with the theme: 'The Quest for a People's Governor, The Case for Bayelsa State'.

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