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EFCC Presents First Witness Against Babachir Lawal Over Grass-Cutting Scandal

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 11:22am


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has opened its case in the trial of Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), by presenting its first  witness, Hamza Adamu

The former SGF and three others involved in the infamous grass-cutting scandal  were arraigned before Justice Jude Okeke of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Maitama Abuja.
Lawal, along with his younger brother, Hamidu David Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar; Apeh John Monday and two companies: Rholavision Engineering Ltd., and Josmon Technologies Ltd, were re-arraigned on an amended 10-count charge bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N500 Million.

At the resumed hearing, Buwai, a civil servant with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Buwai, who was the Head of Finance, Presidential Initiative For North East, PINE, attached to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, OSGF, told the court that he was responsible for all payments made by PINE to contractors, consultants and staff payments.

According to him, Rholavision Engineering Ltd was the consultant for the removal of invasive plant species irrigation programme and construction of water gates along the River Kamadugu Yobe River, which is about 250km but awarded the contract to Josmon Technologies for the alleged clearance of the invasive plant species and the irrigation programme.

The witness further narrated to the court how he knew the companies, adding that after the approval of the procurement process to the companies, that the Consultant, Rholavision took the contractors, Josmon Technologies Ltd; to the site of the project, were they commenced work.

Buwai stated that when the project was almost completed, Rholavision issued Coalition Certificate to the government demanding  payment for the 95% of the job done, which was submitted to him, as the Accountant for payment.

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Niger Delta Leaders Urge Buhari To Appoint Deltans As NDDC Chairman, Managing Director

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 10:59am

Niger Delta leaders and President Muhammadu Buhari

Niger Delta leaders and President Muhammadu Buhari

Top Niger Delta leaders have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Deltans as Chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

They stated that the decision would help to consolidate the unity and political stability of the region.

In a letter to President Buhari, entitled “Letter establishing the fact on which state should produce the next Chairman and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)” the leaders said the consensus was reached to forestall any controversy due to the peculiarity of the circumstance surrounding the appointment of NDDC Chairman and Board.

Signed by the Convener, Enlightened Delta Forum, Bestman Odibo and Publicity Secretary, Christopher Orushani, the leaders urged President Buhari to consider fairness and justice in constituting the next board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). 

“Your Excellency, your stance on the Rule of Law and love for fairness and justice no matter the opinion of a few dissenting voices necessitated this letter of great importance from the people of Delta State and the Niger Delta at large. We were never in doubt as to where the pendulum would swing to, having seen the sincerity of your administration in fixing the problems inherited by your Government.

“Mr. President, Nations are built when existing laws are implemented in its entirety. As you apply the Law and zero on Delta State for the appointment of the Chairman and Managing Director, we plead with you to pick men or women who would further your Next Agenda, serve the interest of the country and the aspirations of the Niger Delta people.

“The ranking of the highest producing states is not in doubt and the state whose turn it is to be appointed the Managing Director of the next board for which Delta State comes top on all fronts and consideration knowing that Bayelsa State, Rivers State, and Akwa – Ibom State have completed their terms in successive ranking order."

They stressed that the scenario would not start and end with Delta State as the First beneficiary of this unique position of the Law but that other states would experience the same in future rotation.

“For the first time, Your Excellency, a peculiar but interesting and lawful scenario backed by the act establishing the NDDC Board on the next Chairman of the board which is rotated amongst member states in alphabetic order as stated in the Act establishing the board and also the Managing Director (MD) position which is appointed and rotated based on the “highest” quantum of oil produced amongst the states emanating from one state. In applying the law that supports quantum as the basis for succession, Delta State falls next in line after Akwa – Ibom.”


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SPONSORED POST: (T Pumpy Concept) Own A Plot Of Land In Abuja With Just N1.9m

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 9:47am

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Group Urges Nigerian Government To Give El-Zakzaky Access To Quality Health Care

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 8:58am

The Initiative For Conciliation And Right Protection has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to allow Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to attend to his deteriorating health condition.

The group condemned President Muhammadu Buhari and the Department of State Services for ignoring medical advice that El-Zakzaky and his wife, who are both in detention, need to be taken outside of the country for appropriate medical treatment due to their failing health.

Comrade Ahmad S. Isa, Convener of the group, in a statement said the Nigerian government should immediately heed to the medical advice and allow El-Zakzaky treats himself.

The statement reads, “We are displeased that the Sheikh and his wife are still under detention despite the gravity of their injuries and their deteriorating health condition, despite a Federal High Court judgment delivered in December 2016 by Justice Gabriel Kolawale that ordered for the immediate and unconditional release.

“We are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) led by President Muhammadu Buhari to allow Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife to be flown abroad for proper medicare due to the various injuries sustained during his ordeal in the hands of the military, medical experts who came to Nigeria to check his health, clearly stated the need for him to be taken abroad for adequate medical treatment, especially his left eye that is now riddled with bullet particles. The government must take this request very seriously.

“In view of the foregoing, it is mandatory for the Nigerian authorities under President Buhari to release Sheikh El-Zakzaky and his wife Zeenah Ibraheem immediately and unconditionally as the government have no single reason for detaining them any longer.”

The group is also urging the Nigerian government to respect international laws protecting the rights of every citizen.

“In accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Recognizing those rights derived from the inherent dignity of human person. (General Assembly resolution 39/40; 10-12-1983, Article 27 (1) Article 55, African Charter on Human and People’s Right,” Isa said that the Nigeria government signed, rectified and domesticated it as its own law.

He also noted that the Anti-Torture Act of Nigeria, 2017 states, “No Justification for torture – No exceptional circumstances what so ever may be invoked as a justification for torture. It prohibits secret detention facilities, solitary confinement, incommunicado detentions.”

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BREAKING: President Buhari Confirms Adamu Mohammed As Inspector General Of Police

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 8:38am

Mohammed Adamu, the acting Inspector General of Police has been confirmed by the Council Of State which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday as the new Inspector General of Police.

Mohammed was appointed as the acting IGP on January 15 to replace former IGP, Ibrahim Idris.

More to come.

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We Are Confused On How To Establish Nigeria Air Says Amaechi

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 8:30am

Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation has said the Federal Executive Council Is confused as to if establish a national carrier.

Amaechi made the announcement on Thursday during his valedictory press briefing in Abuja.

He said, “On national carrier, (the) cabinet is divided on the issue of modality. There are those who believe that the Federal Government should invest and then we can sell the equity later.

“There are also those who believe that no, and from day one they say let us get investors in and give them the franchise of Nigeria Airways or Air Nigeria or whatever is called. That is where we are and that is what held it down. But as for whether it is still in our plan, it is and has not been abandoned.”

More to come.

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Suspended Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia Still A Judge Says Senior Advocate

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 7:57am

Robert Clarke, a Senior Advocate representing embattled Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, has insisted that his client is still a judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria despite suspension by the National Judiciary Council (NJC).

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said this before Justice Ridwan Aikawa, the judge presiding over the money laundering charges filed against Ofili-Ajumogobia, at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on May 15, 2019, arraigned the embattled judge and Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, over alleged money laundering charges.

The commission charged Ofili-Ajumogobia and Obla on 18 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful enrichment, retention of crime proceeds and money laundering.

At the resumption of the hearing on Thursday, Ofili-Ajumogobia's counsel argued that his client remains a judge in the absence of a Gazetted pronouncement from the Presidency relieving her of the responsibility.

NJC recommended the dismal of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia to President Muhammadu Buhari, having found her guilty of misconducts.

The council then went ahead to suspend the embattled justice pending her removal from office by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Despite this pronouncement, the senior advocate argued that in the absence of an official announcement from President Buhari, his client cannot be said to have been relieved of her title as a justice of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

Consequently, he is asking the court to strike out her charges, as a serving judge cannot be tried except such judge has been relieved of his or her duties by the presidency.

He argued that only the president has the power to appoint a judge and only the presidency can sack the same.

Opposing this argument, Rotimi Oyedepo, the counsel for the EFCC, presented to the court, a true certified copy of a letter from the Presidency confirming the sack of the justice. 

He asked the senior advocate to tell the court if the indicted justice is currently presiding over any court as required of a judge.

Oyedepo then proceeded to present the letter to the court. 

With the evidence, Clarke requested an adjournment to enable him study the letter and reply accordingly.

The senior lawyer said he was only served the letter 48 hours ago, saying that he has not had time to properly study the letter.

He also told the court that he is intentionally meticulous so that he could have a solid case before the Appeal Court in the event there is a need to appeal the case.

"I am handling my case with appeal in focus" Clarke told the court.

Having listened to both parties, Justice Aikawa, in his ruling said the embattled judge is entitled to fair hearing, hence would hear the application.

He therefore adjourned the meeting to May 31 for hearing and ruling on the application.


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Southern And Middle Belt Leaders Reject Fulani Radio Station Funded By Federal Govt.

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 6:44am

Some Nigerians under the aegis of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum have rejected the announcement by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, that the Federal Government is setting up a strictly Fulani AM radio station which will broadcast in Fulfulde.

The Group in statement on Wednesday signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Senator Bassey Henahaw (South-South), Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle-Belt) and Professor Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) said it recieved the news with rude shock at a time when Nigeria was suffering from the militia activities of Fulani herdsmen.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who confirmed the acquisition of the licence in Abuja, on Tuesday said the radio service will operate on frequency of 720KHz, and will be strictly in Fulani language.

Rejecting the move, the group said: "He disclosed that plans are underway to secure funds for procurement and installation of requisite transmission equipment for the successful take-off of the radio station.

"He added that the station is part of the peace-building efforts of the government in addressing herders-farmers clashes (herders terror on farmers it is ).

"The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), Prof. Bashir Usman, explained that some veteran Hausa broadcasters have been contacted to develop programmes for the station.

"The announcement came at a time the Federal Government has been acting as the information arm of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen by dissing the correct interpretation of the groups activities by firmer President Olusegun Obasanjo as an  attempt to "Fulanise " Nigeria. 

"We totally reject this insensitive decision of the government on the following fundamental grounds:

"It smacks on hypocrisy and deception for a government that has in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of the Fulani herdsmen for crimes they even owned up to, to now tell us it wants to set up a radio for them to address the same issues.

"Section 55 of the 1999 Constitution recognises English,Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo as Languages in which the official business of the National Assembly can be conducted. There was no mention of Fulani which is not a language most northerners even understand. Why it's sudden promotion to a language the Federal Government will set up a radio to promote? Will it also set up radio stations for the officially recognised languages and the over 250 languages spoken in different parts of Nigeria?

"We fear seriously that the proposed radio will become a weapon of spreading hate propaganda against other nationalities in Nigeria given the kid gloves treatment with which the Buhari administration has handled the killings of thousands of Nigerians in the last four years. We are guided the genocide-aiding role radio played in inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan Genocide from 1993 to late 1994, RTLM was used by Hutu leaders to  propagate an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tusti disinformation by identifying specific targets and areas  where they could be found and encouraging progress of the genocide In 1994, Rwanda Radio began to advance the same message by issuing directives on where to kill Tutsis and congratulating those who had already taken part.

"Using the instrumentality of the Federal Government to set up a radio for Fulani herdsmen will throw a knife at the tiniest of the threads still holding Nigeria together as all illusions of an inclusive country would be removed and the rest of the country would conclude we are now under Fulani Government of Nigeria.

"We therefore demand that the Federal Government should perish the thought of a Fulani  radio sponsored by government if it cares in any form about the corporate existence of the country."

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Most Of Us Are Not Happy That You Have Moved From Your Autocratic Nature To An Extreme Democrat, Amaechi Tells Buhari

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 6:36am

Rotimi Amaechi on Wednesday thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for not converting him to Islam. He made the comment during the valedictory session  of the Federal Executive Council.

The former governor of Rivers State made the statement to spite the president's inverterate critics  who consider him a religious bigot. He said he was misunderstood and criticised for associating with the president.

At the valedictory session of the council, ministers in the cabinet took turns to narrate the lessons they learnt from the president as members of his cabinet.

Amaechi narrated how he was almost chased out of Christ the King Catholic Church in 2014 for supporting the president, whom they alleged was trying to Islamise the country.

“Mr. President, let me thank you for not converting me to Islam. I say that specifically because in 2014 when I walked into Christ the King Catholic Church, I was literally chased out of the church as a governor because I was accused of supporting a man whose agenda was to Islamise Nigeria.

“And in Rivers state they began to call me `Alhaji Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’. I thank you because they have dropped the `Alhaji’ and back to Mr Chibuike Amaechi,’’ he said.

Amaechi said some persons initially thought that the president would be an autocratic leader only for him to turn out to be an “extreme democrat".

“I was told in the course of the campaign that you were autocratic and therefore you would not be democratic.

“Most of us are not happy that you have moved from your autocratic nature to an extreme democrat that everything puts to test of the people, to the extent that the people now feel that the only way things can go on in this country is by the rule of law.

“We all know that the rule of law is the beginning and the end of this government. Talking about the financial impunity that we saw before, people were making money without having any productive capacity for that,’’ he said.

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IPOB’s Words Of Palm Wine: Stone Igbos Who Fail To Sit-At-Home By Churchill Okonkwo

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 5:25am

The diverse human experiences and artistic dimensions in Chinua Achebe’s works capture how Igbos distaste laziness and drunkenness. In the rich Igbo culture and tradition, for example, drunkards are not given a position of authority. They are laughed at for their buffoonery and refusal to work to discourage the young ones in the community from towing that line.

In Achebe’s Arrow of God, after Obika was whipped by the white man, Ezeulu, the Chief Priest accused his son of being “blind by palm wine when he left [his house] in the morning.” He added that “even when he came back a short while ago, it had still not cleared from his eyes.” Ezeulu’s good friend, Akuebue, reminded him that the story going around was that Obika did not strike the first blow in the fight.  The Chief Priest wanted to know whether Akuebue “would swear before a deity on the strength of what a drunken man [said].”

In the excerpts, above, Achebe was painting a picture of how unreliable drunks are in Igbo society.

In the real-life drama unfolding before us in Nigeria, Nnamdi Kanu was blinded by wine when he left the United Kingdom for Nigeria, in pursuit of the elusive, yet enigmatic Biafra. In Nigeria, he drugged himself with palm wine. The same palm wine was still not cleared in his eyes when he “resurrected” after he was “crucified” by Buhari, and returned to the U.K. via Israel.

From the comfort zone of Oyibo man’s land, Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB are now calling for the stoning of hardworking men and women of Igboland. This is a senseless and self-destructive utterance that best be characterized as words of palm wine.

A feature of alcoholism is deception. Once drunk, alcoholics start lying about the quantity they have drunk. They start lying about where they have been. Because alcohol has taken control, chaos and disorder reign. Those who live with an alcoholic will tell you that it is a rollercoaster ride.

Since we embraced IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu, our life has been in a rollercoaster ride. Here are some samples of their words of palm wine: "No referendum, no election”; It is either Biafra or death"; "President Buhari is Jubril from Sudan" "Atiku Abubakar is from Cameron"; "signed sealed and delivered." And the latest is “refuse to sit-at-home and be stoned.”

Here are some actions of an alcoholic and how IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu have exhibited them.   After drinking too much palm wine, you start making ridiculous claims like claiming that your president is an imposter from Sudan. You also start using abusive language: IPOB has abused all the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.

With additional palm wine, a drunk start acting like a complete idiot: It is idiotic for IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu to keep claiming that President Buhari is a Jubril from Sudan.

As it gets worse, you start peeing on yourself and your followers: IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu peed on themselves when they called for the boycott of the 2019 Presidential election, only to reverse themselves and declare support for Atiku.

Then, there is the hangover. For IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu, the hangover from all the hallucination and wishful thinking is that they remained lazy.

Laziness is often symptoms of a bigger problem. Having failed in the lackluster attempt to instigate conflict between different ethnic nationalities, IPOB’s default resort to issuing “Sit-at-home” orders is an act of laziness. Calling for the stoning of Igbos working hard to feed their families is a symptom to the bigger problem – inferiority complex.

Nigeria’s multicultural character is a permanent feature that is expanding exponentially. As such, promotion of isolationism by any group could be an act of fear, fear that is driven by laziness and absence of courage to embrace and compete in the inevitable cosmopolitan nature of our cities and even villages.

For Ndigbo to remain focused and competitive, we cannot make the mistake of having a drunk in charge of a motor vehicle when you have sober men around. Why have Igbos allowed men who do not understand the value of labor to keep manipulating the Biafran Spirit? How can we stop the derailment?

Some self-reflection is needed if we are to wiggle ourselves out of this. As Igbos, even though the palm-wine drinkers in IPOB have lost their senses, we as a tribe must remain wise and be faithful to our age-long traditional understanding that the medicine against palm wine is the power to say no.

So, we must say no to the weaponization of the Biafran Spirit against Igbos by IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu.  Igbos must start challenging IPOB’s ideology and strategy of misinformation. We must counter their buffoonery with sound and a superior argument backed by facts and not lies.

I will end this piece by returning to Chinua Achebe. In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo's father Unoka was a drunkard who owed money to everyone. Unoka was not a good provider, and his wife and children often went hungry. As Chinua Achebe narrated, Okonkwo was ashamed of his father and was determined to rise above his upbringing to become a successful citizen and brave warrior.

To rise above the increasingly shameful utterances of IPOB, Ndigbo must begin to distance ourselves from this plague that we embraced. If an arrow has not entered deeply, then its removal is not hard. Before this arrow called IPOB penetrates deep into the heart of Umu Igbo and cause collateral damage, we must pull it out NOW.

The antics of a village drunkard or a market buffoon will provide laughter, but nobody prays that his child becomes a drunk or a market buffoon. With the latest words of palm wine from IPOB that the hardworking Igbos who refuse to sit-at-home should be stoned, the buffoons we sent to the market square are turning to koboko wielding masquerades, threatening to flog us for exhibiting the Biafran Spirit.

The Biafra land is under attack by the self-acclaimed Supreme leader of Indigenous People of Biafra.

What an irony!

You can email Churchill at or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi


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Buhari: The Absentee President By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 5:02am

Of all Nigerian Presidents, President Muhammadu Buhari lacks relevant experience and subject expertise for the job of the president. Tragically, Buhari has failed to make up for his historical lack of qualifications. He has compounded the problem with his historical laziness.

Buhari is an absentee president who relish overseas jaunts instead of finding solutions to crippling socio-economic and political problems facing Nigeria. Nigerians don’t know exactly what Buhari is doing or would do as president. His plans, policies, and programs remain hazy and fuzzy in a country whose future is as uncertain and hopeless as its 200 million Akindanidani citizens.

In the midst of 500 billion Naira stolen by Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor and his three top staff, and with endless killings by both Buhari's Fulani kinsmen herdsmen terrorists and Boko Haram terrorists, Buhari jets out Nigeria to attend Umar Hajj (lesser hajj) in Mecca. 

Here's a summary of the countries Buhari has visited as president from 2015 to 2018.

2015: Niger June 3 (Anti-Boko Haram Summit), Chad June 4 (State Visit), Germany 7-8 June (42nd G7 Summit), South Africa 12-13 June (25thAfrican Union Summit), US 19-23 July (State Visit), Cameroon 29-30 July (State Visit), Benin 2-3 August (Independence Celebrations), Ghana 7 September (State Visit), France 14-16 September (State Visit), US 24-29 September (70th Session of the UN General Assembly), India 26-30 October (Third India Africa Forum Summit), Sudan 30 October (State Visit), Iran 22-24 November (3rd Gas exporting Countries Forum), Malta 28-30 November (2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit), France 30 November – 1 December (Paris Conference of Parties 21), South Africa 4-5 December (China Africa Summit). 

2016: Benin 8 January (11th Summit of the Heads of State of Niger basin Authority), United Arab Emirates 17-29 January (Wold Future Energy Summit), Ethiopia 26 January (26th Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government), Kenya 27-29 January (State Visit), France 2-4 February (Official Visit). UK 5-10 February (Vacation), Egypt 18 February (Sharm el-Sheikh “Africa 2016”) Saudi Arabia 22-27 February (OPEC Meeting), Equatorial Guinea 14 March (State Visit), US 30 March – 3 April (4th Nuclear Security Summit), China 11-14 April (State Visit), UK 13 May – 15 May (Anti-Corruption Summit), UK 6-9 June (Medical Visit), Chad 8 August (Inauguration of Idris Deby), Kenya 27-28 August (Tokyo Conference on Africa), US 11-15 September (71st Session of the UN General Assembly), Germany 13-16 October (State Visit), Morocco 14-18 November (UN Climate Chabge Conference), Senegal 5-7 December (Third Dakar International on Peace and Security in Africa), Gambia 13 December (ECOWAS Summit).

2017: Ghana 7 January (Inauguration of Nana Akufo-Addo). Gambia 13 January (27th Africa France Summit). 

2018: UK 16-20 April (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting). US 30 April (Working Visit). Poland 2-3 December (Working Visit).

If presidential success is determined by winning re-election, Buhari is unsuccessful because he failed to convince Nigerians to give him another four years in office which was why the election was massively rigged in his favor. Buhari came into office promising change. He did not advocate radical change or announce sweeping domestic reforms. 

Buhari lacks vision. A bad communicator, he has never communicated his approach effectively on how he'll tackle Nigeria's problems. As the nation spirals into economic depression and anarchy, Buhari remains stoic, aloof, distant, insensitive, missing in action, and always abdicates his responsibilities by traveling abroad.

Buhari has bluntly refused to authorize large-scale relief programs that might have alleviated suffering and hunger. He's unwilling to use significant federal spending to jumpstart the economy. Buhari never grasped the grave threat the economic crisis represents to the nation. These missteps were further complicated by his inept political maneuvering and frequent overseas trips. 
His questionable political judgment and leadership are in serious doubt. He displays little political acumen on issues. What emerges then for Buhari is a damning verdict of an absentee president – physically and mentally.

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Stop Get-Rich-At-All-Cost Syndrome, Magu Cautions Celebrities

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 4:32am

Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has called on Nigerian artiste and comedians to collaborate with the anti-graft agency in its fight against all forms of corruption.

In an interactive session on Wednesday with artists, comedians and On-Air-Personalities (OAP) which held at the EFCC Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja Magu said the celebrities had a very reach and their voice would be helpful in the commission’s fight against corruption.

“You have a very wide reach, so lend us your voices, please let your works propagate and promote integrity and the right values,”

“I urge you to raise a collective slogan against all forms of criminality among our youths, condemn in strong terms, ostentatious living without credible sources of income, particularly the get-rich-at-all-cost syndrome among the youths,” he said.

Speaking further, Magu expressed the readiness of the anti-graft agency to join hands with the creative industry saying the commission needs them “more than ever before to change the negative narratives about our country being havens of internet fraudsters”.

He said: “I have always stressed that we cannot claim to have the monopoly of knowledge of how to fight corruption at the EFCC.

“We are however, driven by the passion to explore all frontiers that will enable us achieve a better society for our children yet unborn – an egalitarian society and one which we all can be proud of. Let’s find a way to reduce or stop our teeming youths from engaging in internet fraud.”

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195 Nigerians Return From Libya, Recount Terrible Ordeal

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 4:21am

Returnees at Lagos airport

Officials welcoming returnees

Officials documenting returnees

Returnees at Lagos airport Sahara Reporters Media

The largest contingent of Nigerians on Wednesday night returned from Libya since the repatriation exercise commenced in 2017.

Among the returnees were seven heavily pregnant women and a 66 years old man, Evangelist Kehinde Gideon Obala from Badagry.

The latest returnees numbering 195 consisting of adult males and females and toddlers, were returned to the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The returnees were brought into the country by Al Buraq Air from Sabha area with flight number: UZ 389/22 and registration number 5A-DMG SEB at 8:20pm.

They were then received by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other government officials.

Returnees in temporary shelter facility Sahara Reporters Media

Mr. Idris Muhammed, the Coordinator of NEMA Territorial Office in Lagos, who received the Assisted Voluntary Returnees at the cargo wing of the airport disclosed that the returnees were the 69th batch brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in special intervention programme to repatriate stranded irregular migrants trapped in Libya with funding by European Union.

NEMA said that the returnees consisted 71 female adults, 25 female children and 17 female Infants 17.

Also, male adults were 60, male children 12, while male infants were 10.

In all, the females were 113, while males were 82 with adults as 131, children as 37 and infants as 27 including three males with minor medical issues and seven pregnant women.

Officials documenting returnees Sahara Reporters Media

Muhammed while welcoming the returnees back on arrival, urged youths to try and look inward and utilise the money they wasted foreign travels on something more fruitful.

He noted that since the EU had closed its borders for irregular migrants, the journey through irregular means had become wasteful and dangerous.

He noted that if the returnees had used the huge amount of money spent on these journeys in Nigeria for a business, they would have been very successful in their endearvours.

"Therefore, you need to strive and embrace Federal Government enabling initiatives to empower the youths,” he added.

The 66 years old, Obala from Badagry claimed that he had spent 10 years in Libya.

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He however regretted his sojourn in Libya, stressing that at first, he was a successful business man and artisan in Libya before the war broke out, thereby crumbling his businesses.

He said: “I sell tyres and motor spare parts and they liked my services. I also had a church over there, but everything I worked for were destroyed.

“Ordinarily, I never thought of coming back to Nigeria, but when I was assured and promised that I will be resettled when I return home that was why I came back. I have wasted my life except IOM and government are magnanimous enough to help me start from the scratch.”

Also, Qasim Apena from Ogun State, 55 years who showed how gunshot wounds on the ankles of his two legs disclosed that he was a painter in Libya.

He however lamented that he was shot in the two legs during a business he got for painting a house that would have fetched him 1,250, 000 Libyan money.

He narrated that the problem started when he demanded for his money half way into the job where he was reluctantly given N400, 000.

He added: “Immediately I got the money and at the weekend, my boys and I wanted to take a break to relax, the militants picked us up, collected all the money in our possessions, but I was dragging it with. It was then I was shot on the legs and dumped in dungeon where migrants are kept without medical treatment, but I was helped by other migrants inside the underground camp to remove the bullets in my legs and thanks be to God the wounds healed on it its own.”

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BREAKING: Court Convicts Former Maritime Director-General For Money Laundering Of N136 Million

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 3:35am

Calistus Obi, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has been convicted for knowingly converting and laundering N136 million meant for the corporation.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, the presiding judge, sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday, gave the judgement in a two-hour long ruling. 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Obi and his co-conspirators in 2016 for conspiracy, conversion and money laundering of the sum of N136 million. 

Obi was charged alongside one Alu Dismas, an aide to Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of NIMASA, on an 8 count charge of conspiracy and money laundering. 

Although, the court discharged and acquitted the defendants of conspiracy, for failure of the prosecutor to judiciously prove conspiracy, the court, however, convicted the defendants of conversion and money laundering.

Details soon...

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I Am Not Happy About Naira Marley’s Arrest Says Simi

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 3:34am

Since news broke about the arrest of Nigerian singer Azeez Fashola better known as Naira Marley several Nigerians and celebrities alike have given their opinions and reactions to his arrest but Nigerian Singer Simi who Naira Marley had earlier accused her of snubbing him at an event had chosen to stay quiet.

Before his arrest, Naira Marley had taken to his Instagram handle to call out Simi for allegedly snubbing him at an event over his stance on cybercrime. “@symplysimi I saw u at d homecoming last night, u look sad & upset.. why? Am I a yahoo boy?” he wrote alongside a picture of him on April 22. 

In an interview with Beat FM, Simi used to opportunity to clear the air saying “"To be honest with you, I have zero issues with Naira Marley, I don't have anything against him, he is not my enemy. We are not friends, we are not enemies. I saw him coming, we did not make eyes contacts, he did not talk to me, I did not talk to him. It is funny because he didn't do anything to me, he did not directly disrespect me...he is not the first person that would say what he is saying.”

"I'm not a stupid person, I'm not going to antagonize you because I'm not dumb. I like to mind my business. Probably he saw something and said something else. But he never spoke to me, he didn't approach me and I saw that and I said whatever makes you happy. And for me I'm a big picture person, I look at the big picture and if you are not in the picture, I'm not going to stress myself.” 

Yesterday, during a questions and answer section on her Instagram page Simi finally gave her reaction to the arrest of Naira Marley. “You happy Naira Marley is arrested yea?” one of her fans asked.  She replied “No”.

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Abike Dabiri Denies Report On Ethiopian And Egypt Airlines Running Drug Cartels

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 3:03am

The Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa has denied a media report title " Egypt, Ethiopian Airlines Running Drug Cartels in Nigeria" says Dabiri-Erewa."

The denial is contained in a press release signed by her Special Assistant on media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun and made available to journalists on Thursday in Abuja.  

Dabiri said that the report was incorrect and not a true reflection of what she said during the Senate committee public hearing chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya on Wednesday. 

The statement reads, "The attention of Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa has been drawn to some news headlines accusing some foreign airlines of running drug cartels in the country.

"The headline which reads "Egypt, Ethiopian Airlines Running Drug Cartels in Nigeria" says Dabiri-Erewa, is a figment of the Reporter's imagination.

"Dabiri-Erewa had during the hearing stressed the need for those two airlines to ensure compulsory baggage identification as all cases recorded on issue of drugs had been from both airlines.

"Luckily enough, the representative of Ethiopian Air, who was at the public hearing, promised that baggage identification would be strengthened."

Dabiri noted that the Senate public hearing was geared towards probing the circumstances surrounding the framing up and eventual arrest of Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia over allegation of carrying tramadol drug in her baggage.

She urged members of the public to discountenance the publication adding  that it does represent what transpired at the hearing .

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Academic Staff Union Of Universities Threatens Strike

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 2:36am

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said that it will embark on strike if the Federal Government of Nigeria does not show commitment to carrying out the 2019 Memorandum of Action.

Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President made the threat while giving an update on the ongoing renegotiation with the government and to clear the air over the N25 billion confirmed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to have been approved for universities.

Ogunyemi said said, “Since information on the amounts mentioned in the media went round, the ASUU has been inundated with enquiries on the union’s perspective to the story.

“Funding for the revitalisation of public universities has for years been of very high priority to ASUU.

“Reaching an agreement with the Federal Government has often been a frustrating journey for our union. It is often marked with protests, strikes and requires a conscious and focused engagement. The 2001 agreement, which gave birth to the 2009 agreement, was not an exemption. The exception here is the personality leading the government negotiation team.

“The current leadership of the government team clearly lacks the academic disposition and humility needed to undertake such task.

“Our members enjoy their work and hate to see any disruption in the smooth running of our universities. However, the level of frustration occasioned by the lackadaisical attitude of the government towards meeting the terms of the 2019 Memorandum of Action that was freely signed with our union is increasingly becoming unbearable.

“We, therefore, call on all Nigerian patriots, parents and students including the Nigeria Labour Congress to prevail on the government to keep to the terms of our agreement. Otherwise, our union should not be held responsible for any disruption in the system.”

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Why Wike is Chasing Shadows By Idoko Ainoko

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 2:10am

Anyone seeking to understand the concept of a tortured soul only needs to pay close attention to Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, whose every action in recent days seems to provoke his demons instead of pacifying them.  

Yet, Wike knows the solution to his problems, he has to stop chasing shadows and focus on the reality, the reality that he is fighting a lost war of attrition. He sowed the wind and he is now reaping the whirlwind, physically and politically.

That he is today the equivalent of a political orphan is of his own making, after all he actively partook in the destruction of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when he attempted to become the supremo of the dying behemoth once touted as Africas largest party. 

Had he been wise enough to not kill his own political party, perhaps he would have been able to go into the election with more confidence such that he would not have needed to rig the election, kill and maim the same people he is desperate to govern. The fanatical zeal with which he pursued that agenda is today directed at making Nigeria fail.

With a dead PDP, Wike was left with no other option but to unleash violence of industrial proportion to steal the election. But knowing that the law does not approve of violent behaviours, even from certified louts, he thought himself clever by dressing his thugs in military uniform. 

The idea appeared smart the time since it allowed Wike’s thugs to go about unmolested while soiling the image of the military, which was the only impediment to the criminality he was bent on imposing on Rivers state. But like every other crime, Wike has since realized that there are consequences.

Poor Wike has become a tormented soul since controversially winnning that election. He now presents with clinical manifestations of hallucination. He sees detractors even in the midst of his own family. If he is not talking about Amaechi he is talking about Buhari or attacking Federal Government institutions.

His troubled state of mind has not allowed him lock down on one strategy in pursuit of whatever it is he is so desperate to acheive. He has oscilated between attempting to advise President Buhair, when he clearly lacks the capacity to do so, and being belligerent towards the President once he realized that his poisoned chalice got not positive reaction.

The maniac tendencies of the Rivers State Governor makes no distinctions that would have intelligently recognize that Federal Government agencies are not meant to be his private property. 

Like a disoriented avian attacking its reflection in a glass panel, Wike has been hurling himself like a projectile against these organizations. If he is not fighting himself he is fighting the military. If his outburst is not directed at the Police then it is directed at the Army.

This brings us to how bad things have become for Wike in the last few days to the point of launching demented allegations against the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarhem. In the space of a few days, Sarhem, has in Wike’s troubled mind attempted an assassination bid on him, run an illegal oil bunkering squad with the objective of financing his drive to be made the Chief of Army Staff and possibly Sarhem even attempted to become the next Rivers state governor in Wike’s hallucination.

But the source of Wike’s disturbance is well known. He is his possibly the only one still in denial as to what truly ails him. Truth be told; Wike is afraid of the possible consequences of having rigged himelf in as the governor of his state for  a second time. 

He knows that organizations like the Army, Police and other federal agencies that were present during the polls have information that can sink him in the course of  judicial challenge to his victory in the election  in which he had rigged himself into office. For instance, he decided the GoC is an enemy after his offer of bribe was turned down.

The Rivers state governor is in need of help and urgently so. Those close to him have to do something to manage his delusional tantrums. They can start by reassuring him that a loss at the Election Tribunal would not be the end of the world.

They should also remind him that those whose elections have been nullified by the courts are fortunate enough not to be criminally tried for stealing the election in the first place. 

He should be told that the most of his phobias are unfounded since the Army and Police have more pressing issues than wasting scarce national resources on lowlife politicians, so they will barely have time to care about what happens to him after being sacked by the tribunal.

Instead of chasing shadows, Wike should productively engage himself, both as a matter of responsibility being the Rivers state governor and as an act of contrition, remorse and remediation. 

He should give law enforcement agencies the comprehensive list of the people he mobilized to unleash violence during the election for the purpose of their being demobilized and rehabilitated. He should also work with these security agencies to retrieve the firearms he provided to these people. The entire country may be facing one security challenge or the other but the one in Rivers will prove peculiar in the future because it is being inspired by one man’s unsettled mind.

Ainoko is a civil rights activist and writes from Abuja.

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Insecurity: 15,000 Displaced Nigerians Seek Refuge In Niger Republic

Sahara Reporters - 23 May 2019 - 1:15am

15,000 Nigerians, mainly comprising  women and children displaced by activities of insurgent groups, are currently taking refuge in Niger Republic.

Dr. Kofoworola Soleye, Head of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sokoto Operations Office, revealed this at the stakeholders’ meeting on disaster management organised by the agency in Gusau, Zamfara State.

He noted that data collected showed that the Nigerians were those who fled from Isa and Sabon-Birni Local Government Areas of Sokoto State as well as Shinkafi and Zurmi Local Government Areas in Zamfara, while adding that they are residing in nine host communities in Niger republic.

He said, “The assessment team discovered that following the bandits’ attacks no fewer than 15,000 Nigerians mostly women and children are presently taking refuge in neighbouring communities of Niger Republic.

“They are living in about 9 host communities and are willing to come back to their homes. They need humanitarian assistance as facilities there are overstretched,” he said. 

He also said that NEMA headquarters would visit the refugees with relief materials and he urged stakeholders to be abreast of disaster management issues in the state.

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Senator Adeleke Sues Inspector General Of Police Over Detention

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 11:01pm

Senator Ademola Adeleke has sued the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for his detention by the police in Abuja on May 6.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the September 2018 Osun State governorship election, on Wednesday through his lawyer, Kanmi Ajibola wants the courts to enforce his fundamental rights to personal liberty and right to freedom of movement at the Osun State governorship election. 

Joined in the suit are the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 11, Mr. Leye Oyebade; an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough;  and an Assistant Superintendent of Police, John Faluyi.

Adeleke, who has a case at the Court of Appeal over the declaration of Adegboyega Oyetola as the winner of the  Osun governorship election, called on the court to further press it on the respondents the earlier order made by the Federal High Court, Abuja,  on the matter.

Ajibola said, despite the fact that the respondents were duly served the earlier order of an Abuja Federal High Court, they still went ahead to detain the lawmaker.

In his ruling,  Justice S.O.  Falola gave the order to the police not to arrest or detain the senator pending the determination of the substantive case before him.

Making reference to the ruling of Justice I.E. Ekwor of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who granted Adeleke permission to travel to the United States on  May 7 for medical attention Justice Falola noted that the ruling of the Federal High Court had prevented the respondents from arresting or detaining the applicant.

The judge said he had to allow the order made by Ekwor J. of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in charge No, FHC/ABJ/CR/156/2018 on  May 3,  2019, to continue to operate.

Justice Falola subsequently issued Form 48 against the police, asking them to take notice of the consequence of disobedience of court order.

He adjourned the case to June 17, 2019.

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