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Our Law Books Still Contained Pound Sterling, The UK When We Took Over Says Dogara

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 10:36pm


As Nigerian Government officials continue their preparation for handover and inauguration on May 29, speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has given his verdict on the performance of the eighth House of Representatives.

Dogara on Wednesday said that the house, under his leadership, has cooperated fully with President Muhammadu Buhari’s led executive arm of government in ensuring the progress of the country.

The speaker noted that the eighth House of Representatives always gave speedy consideration and passage to legislation and other requests forwarded by the President.

Dogara,  according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Turakhi Hassan, stated this in Abuja when he received the Euro Knowledge Award in recognition of his exemplary leadership.

Dogara said, “We have done exceptionally well. It is on record that this has been the most productive National Assembly ever, as well as unparalleled House in the history of the House of Representatives.

“We hope that those who are coming after us, those who will take over from us will do better and be able to rededicate themselves and to achieve the ideals they set out for themselves.

“When we started out, it was our desire and thank God we can say today that we have cleaned up virtually all laws we inherited from even 1800.

“Before we embarked on this massive exercise, some of our law books were still containing Pounds Sterling, in some laws, some addresses in the United Kingdom were even mentioned.

“To the credit of the eighth assembly, all those things are no longer reflected in the body of our laws.

“Anyone who thinks we have not supported the Federal Government enough in the bid to create a conducive business environment to attract better investment into Nigeria should check what we have done in the area of the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“There were times when we ensured that within days or weeks, we passed these bills that were required to jumpstart this process to bring Nigeria out of recession and prosper.

“This made Nigeria jump about 24 places in the Global Index of the world ranking of nations in the Ease of Doing Business.” 

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I Respect The Judiciary Says President Buhari

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 10:23pm


Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has said that he respects the Judiciary and is willing to abide by its decisions at all times.

Speaking at an Iftar dinner with the representatives of the third arm of the government at his official residence on Wednesday, President Buhari took his guest down memory lane on how he was in court three times during his journey to become president.

He said believes that the judiciary should be independent and respected because their words on any issue are the last words.

Buhari said:  “I respect the institution. I have come before you three times before I got here on the fourth run for the office. Your word is the last word on any given issue.”

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President was full of praise for the capabilities of Nigerian judges, saying that “your training and experience has earned you respect”.

In his remarks in appreciation of the Ramadhan fast-breaking, the Acting Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, leading retired Chief Justices, some Justices of the Supreme Court and heads of courts in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, expressed confidence and assurance that the judiciary will continue to do its best in safeguarding the country’s democracy.

 

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Pick Substance From Obasanjo's Comments On Boko Haram, Soyinka Advises Federal Government

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 10:13pm


Noble Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka has advised the Nigerian government to stop worrying about the language of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s when he made comments about insecurity but rather focus on the substance of the statement.

Obasanjo, during the second session of the Synod of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, said that every insecurity challenge in the country must be taken seriously and addressed without favouritism or denial.

He said: “It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as, it is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.” See Also Sahara Reporters 'Boko Haram Is For West African Fulanization, African Islamization', Says Obasanjo 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

The Federal Government in its reply on Tuesday rebuked the former President for his state saying it was tragic for someone like Obasanjo who fought for Nigeria during his days in the military to be making such “offensive and divisive in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria”.

However, speaking yesterday in Lagos at the Africa Day 2019 organised by United Bank for Africa (UBA), Soyinka cautioned the government against overlooking Obasanjo’s advice.

The Nobel Laureate, who spoke on the theme: “Africa’s history redefined: Our past, a path to the future”, observed that Nigeria was going through “horrendous descent into the abyss”.

The literary giant said: “We should be careful not to be too dismissive over the matter. The Federal Government is leaving aside the substance, which is the high level of kidnapping, youth suicide, and terrorism in the country. I support unity in Africa but we need to particularize the area of unity we seek. Even Boko Haram also tries to unify everybody. See Also Sahara Reporters 'Boko Haram Spread Under Your Watch', Lai Mohammed Blames Obasanjo 0 Comments 4 Days Ago

“When you talk about Uthman Dan Fodio, what comes to people’s mind is a threat to dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean. There are many people in this controversy. My feeling is that the response of Minister of Information shows that they are leaving behind the substance, and worried about the language.

“Obasanjo was calling for a meeting to tackle some the serious issues in the country, including youth suicide. He said there are immediate needs to sit down and discuss these issues. And I am saying there are more immediate needs to do that.”

Other speakers at the event are Afrobeat musician, Femi Kuti and Samia Nkrumah from Ghana, among others.

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Amidst '500bn' Scandal, Emefiele Says Nigeria Must Prepare For Next Global Economic Crisis

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 9:57pm


CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, has said that although the country is lucky to have exited recession, Nigeria must brace itself for the next global economic crisis.

The CBN governor said this while delivering a lecture titled: ‘Beyond the Global Financial Crisis: Monetary Policy under Global Uncertainty,’ at the University of Benin, Benin, Edo State on Wednesday.

SaharaReporters had in a report over a week ago revealed audio details of a frantic effort by Mr. Emefiele to find the money which he and other top CBN officials stole (N500bn), to restore to the bank before it becomes obvious to shareholders and the government. Although the CBN confirmed the authenticity of the audio, no investigation was carried out by the apex bank or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In the audio, Emefiele can be heard lamenting the implication of the stolen money on the economy, "the implication for the economy is no no no".

Speaking at the lecture, Emefiele said: “From some of my concluding remarks, you may have observed, whether you like it or not, there is global uncertainty that will, unfortunately, most certainly lead to another crisis. See Also Breaking News CAUGHT ON TAPE: How Central Bank Governor Emefiele, Deputy Adamu And Top Officials Discussed How To Cover-Up N500bn Which They Stole From The CBN 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

“The question could be, how are we as Nigerians, particularly our leaders, I am talking of monetary and fiscal policy authorities, how are we preparing our country for the next crisis?

“We have luckily exited recession; we have seen recession pending downward to about 18.72 per cent in 2017 to about 11. 37 per cent today.

“We have seen the reserve moving up but unfortunately we still have issues and those issues border on the unemployment rate and those issues border on how we prepare our country,” 

Eulogising on the moves made by the CBN to stabilise Nigeria’s economy, Emefiele  said the introduction of the investors and exporters’ window had helped in growing the country’s external reserves.

He said the turnover in the I&E FX Window had reached over $48bn since the inception of the window and that the nation’s foreign exchange reserve had risen to $45bn in April 2019 from $23bn in October 2016.

As a result of availability of foreign exchange, the CBN governor said that the exchange rate at I&E FX Window had been stable over the past 24 months at an average of N360/$, and the parallel market exchange rate had increased from N525/$ in February 2017 to N360/$ today.

“After five consecutive quarters of negative growth beginning in the 1st quarter of 2016, a coordinated approach by the fiscal and monetary authorities supported a rebound in the nation’s economy during the second quarter of 2017.

“The recovery has been driven largely by improved non-oil activities especially the agriculture sector which expanded consistently by about 3.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent reflecting government’s efforts at diversifying the economy,” he added.

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Any Governor Saying He Can Tackle Insecurity Is Lying Says Taraba Gov Ishaku

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 9:49pm


Darius Ishaku, the Governor of Taraba State has called on residents of his state not to believe any governor who says they can tackle insecurity. 

The Governor stated this on Wednesday in Jalingo while speaking with journalist immediately after he kicked off the distribution of fertilisers, seedlings and agro-chemicals for Tarawa farmers for the 2019 farming season. 

According to Ishaku, who is preparing to kick off his second term in office come May 29, Governors's lack of control over the place or the army makes it “virtually” impossible to do anything about insecurity.

He said: “If any governor tells you that he will do anything about insecurity, such a governor is lying. As governors, we don’t have control over the police or the army and virtually there is nothing we can do about security.

“We have been calling for the establishment of state police, but nobody seems to consider our position, but state police remains the only viable option to contain insecurity across the country now.

“The constitution does not place the security architecture of the country in the hands of governors. I am praying myself for peace and I have also asked the people of the state to pray for peace in the state.”

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To Hell With Self(ish) Interest, Outside The Box By Alex Otti

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 1:01pm


"Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles; the conduct of public affairs for private advantage" - Ambrose Bierce

As is usual in Nigeria, the word ‘interest’ has been bastardised but I will come back to that shortly. Take the expression ‘PR’, which has acquired such notoriety that the actual Public Relations practitioners think twice before using that expression to describe what they do. When a Nigerian tells you that he’s not ‘being carried along’, you must think twice to realise that oftentimes it has a deeper sinister meaning than just not being briefed on areas relevant to him. He may not be aware of the dynamics of a transaction he should be on top of, and yet be ‘carried along’, when the due share of the loot comes his way.

In the same light the word ‘interest’ has become a much purloined and desecrated word in its Nigerian parlance. It has become a popular saying in Nigeria that in politics, there are no permanent friends nor enemies but permanent interests.

This quote was adapted from Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865). Lord Palmerston, as he was popularly called was a two time British Prime Minister in the 19th century.

He had said “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests. We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and these interests, it is our duty to follow”.

What Lord Palmerston meant is very different from the context that we use it in Nigeria today. When you listen to a typical Nigerian talk about interest, you will get the feeling that he is talking about the general good of the nation or better still, his constituents.

Sadly, you will be mistaken big time. Our politicians actually mean self or better still, selfish interests. For them, it is not about the people they represent. It is about themselves, family and friends. They also employ this expression to explain their legendary ability to camp in one party today, decamp tomorrow and “recamp” the next day. Of course, it has been proved time and time again that our over 90 political parties are just mere platforms to stand for elections, believing in nothing in particular.

There is virtually no difference between one and the other. There is no ideological orientation in practically all the parties. Even when they proclaim such, their actual practice demonstrates that they go where the money, better still, interest, dictates. The fact that there exists a humungous number of parties, including those that exist practically inside the suitcases of their sponsors, only creates room for the confusion. Even the simple issue of ballot papers has become so cumbersome as all the political parties that sponsored candidates be they contenders or pretenders must be accounted for on the ballot sheet, otherwise, the election would be subject to cancellation.

From the people we copied democracy, political parties have clear distinguishing characteristics based on what they believe in. So, it is unimaginable that someone who is a conservative today would suddenly become a liberal tomorrow, only to swing back the day after, with no modicum of shame or conscience. It seldom happens that someone would be a Democrat today and tomorrow pitch his tent with the Republicans. In Nigeria, these things don’t matter. The end justifies the means and the Maradona politician is hailed as being smart.

In recent times, there had been reports of politicians attempting to hijack the patrimony of their electorate for personal interests. The first notable case was that of Bayelsa State house of Assembly members, passing a law to appropriate funds to themselves as pension on leaving the House of Assembly.

A document titled, “Pension Bill for Governors, Deputy Governors and Members of the State House of Assembly” released recently, generously awarded a retired Speaker a monthly pension of N500,000; a retired Deputy Speaker N300,000; House Leader and the Whip, N250,000; Deputy Leader N200,000 and other retired members of the House, N100,000. In addition, former lawmakers, including persons of Bayelsa origin, who served in the old Rivers State House of Assembly, would enjoy life pensions as applicable to former presidents, vice-presidents, governors and deputy governors across the country.

This new bill was to replace the “Bayelsa State Pensions for Governor and Deputy Governor Law” passed in 2003. Apparently, the 2003 law did not make provisions for law makers, so this new bill was to include the lawmakers in the looting game. After all, they are the ones that make the laws and should not have been left out in the first instance, so it seems. For the new bill to be attractive to the governor whose signature would make it a law, there was something in it for him also.

He needed to be ‘carried along’, obviously. The new bill consequently increased the allowances for both the governor and his deputy in tow. In the new law a governor’s monthly allowance is put at 8 per cent of his Annual Basic Salary (ABS); wardrobe allowance, 50 per cent of his ABS; entertainment, 40 per cent of his ABS; transport allowance, 50 per cent of ABS and utilities, 80 per cent of ABS. Deputy governor’s allowances were also enhanced as follows: monthly basic, 8 per cent; wardrobe, 25 per cent of ABS; entertainment. 20 per cent, transport allowance 30 per cent and utilities 40 per cent. But where the governor and his deputy successfully served a second term of office, they would be guaranteed,150 per cent of their ABS.

As if all those were not enough, a governor is also entitled to seven bedroom duplex and a three-room boys quarters in any location of his choice in the state. A deputy governor exits with one five bedroom duplex and a two-room boys quarters in any location of his choice in the state. In addition, they were to receive two cars and one backup car, and one car and one backup car to be replaced every five years respectively.

The pension includes three drivers, a cook, a steward and a gardener, who shall also be pensionable and two drivers, a cook and a gardener between the governor and the deputy respectively. Both of them will also enjoy paid vacation of 60 per cent of ABS for and 40 per cent of ABS, respectively. Holy Macro!

The action of the Bayelsa State house of assembly generated so much condemnation and pressure from citizens that the governor withheld accent to the bill. This is probably one of the few terrible things that happen in the polity that had attracted this kind of attention. A lot of bills that get approved at the state assemblies seem to be shrouded in secrecy such that people hardly know before they are smuggled through, given assent and implemented without recourse to how it affects the populace.

While we were trying to settle down from the ‘Bayelsa war’, news filtered in that the Kano House of Assembly had also passed its own version of the Pension bill and had sent it to the governor for assent. The Kano Assembly is known for passing bills with jet speed like the recent one that was passed within 48 hours to split the Kano emirate into five small units. As if the house of assembly was seeking compensation for a job well done with the “Kano Emirs Appointment and Deposition Amendment Bill 2019”, the Assembly quickly packaged and passed the “ Life Pensions Bill for Speaker and Deputy Speaker 2019”. The bill grants Speakers and their deputies pension for life by the state, provided that such person were not impeached.

“There shall be paid pension to persons who held office as Speaker and Deputy Speaker equal to the emoluments of a serving Speaker and deputy speaker, provided that either the Speaker or the Deputy do not hold any paid elective or selective appointment.”

“Where the speaker or deputy speaker dies in office before the expiration of the term of his tenure, he shall be paid pension pro-rata the number of years he spent in relation to his tenure of office. This provision needs to be explained as our understanding is that the House wants to pay a dead Speaker or Deputy. I hope they would be required to sign for the money!

The bill continues, “there shall be provided for the speaker and the deputy speaker a brand new vehicle to be bought by the state government every four years. “There shall be provided for the speaker and the deputy speaker medical expenses either home or abroad depending on the nature of the illness,”.

Again, this bill has attracted the attention of civil society organisations and organised labour who have mounted resistance asking that the governor withholds accent.

While all these were on, the National Assembly, in approving this year’s budget, approved a staggering sum of N23.678 billion as severance package for Senators and members of the House of Representatives.

We wish to put it stridently that this column condemns this self-serving attitude of our law makers, both at the national and state levels. Our laws are very clear about who fixes salaries and allowances for public officers. In the 1999 Constitution, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is responsible for fixing salaries and allowances of public officers including lawmakers. It is a breach of our constitution for the law makers to hijack the job of RMAFC. It is also against the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances for law makers to be fixing their own emoluments.

We also worry about the state of the economy. Like we had said in this column over and over, we run a very expensive public sector at all levels, such that over 70% of our budget goes to recurrent expenditure. It is a known fact that all tiers of government have been borrowing to pay salaries. It is sad that the same people who should worry most are the ones who pass laws that enhance their self-interests and put further pressure on our earnings and our collective interests.

Related to this is the clear insensitivity to the plight of workers and the real people who should actually be entitled to pensions; namely the real pensioners. In some of the states paying jumbo salaries and allowances to both the executive and legislator, salaries of poor workers have been in arrears for several months. One would have expected these ‘elected representatives of the people’ to show greater empathy and  concern for such people who need the money more, rather than approving jumbo packages for already well-off people in government.

We are also of the opinion that it is very inappropriate for someone who offered himself for public service to spend his or her valuable time discussing pension.  Frankly, we should begin to do everything possible to make public service very unattractive to people who see it as an avenue to make a living. Elsewhere, people offer themselves for such services when they had been successful in other walks of life. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case here in Nigeria.

It is also the main reason why our elections have turned into banditry and war. It is up to us to sit down and change this deplorable situation. I believe we all know what to do, if we don’t do it voluntarily, the realities of the economy would force us to do it. Even then, these are the more palatable choices facing us. It is difficult to contemplate worse, but not impossible scenarios. The French monarchy and aristocracy had its comeuppance in this manner about 200 years ago. If we let that happen here, the consequences could be too dire for all of us.

There are a lot of cases where governors and other public officers receive jumbo packages called pension on leaving office. Some like we had seen, are entitled to mansions in their states and elsewhere, in addition. Meanwhile, many of them, surprisingly, do not retire. Many of them end up in the Senate or the House of Representatives while others get appointed to ministerial and other juicy positions. So, they end up collecting salaries twice or even more. This also applies to retired military officers. This is simply unfair and dishonest, but more importantly, dangerous in a society like ours where the poverty levels are rising daily. By the way, have you bothered to find out how much your governor draws as monthly ‘security vote’? Is the information classified?

I also want to put it on record that I do not believe that pension should apply to temporary positions of 4 years, 8 years or even more, in the case of legislators. We must let our public officers know that they are not employees of the government. My understanding is that pensions apply to employees and today, we have all adopted the contributory pension scheme. Let it be known that anyone who is interested in receiving pensions should approach pension funds administrators and work out an arrangement for payment as required by the pension reform act, which interestingly, was also passed by the National Assembly a few years ago. I believe it is an insult on our collective intelligence for someone to offer himself for a 4 year or 8 year service and on expiration of his tenor, want us to put him on the payroll for the rest of his life.

Finally, I call on citizens to become more vigilant and show interest in how our commonwealth is used. It is our responsibility to know and we should be asking questions. As they say, the rat cannot steal from the hands of someone who is alert. Our leaders are bound to take us for granted if we do not ask questions. We must learn to hold them accountable because they are actually our servants and not our lords.

That many of them are pulling in the same direction is understandable, but just like Edward Abbey wrote “One man can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothing that can beat team work”. The choice is ours. We can decide to be collectively dumb or collectively wise. We must thank organisations like the CLO and SERAP for rising to the occasion. We must emulate them and help raise this public alarm. They also deserve our support. We must do these yesterday.

email:alexottiofr@gmail.com

 

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Egypt, Ethopian Airlines Running Drug Cartels In Nigeria, Says Dabiri-Erewa

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 12:45pm


Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NDC), has accused Egypt and Ethiopian Airlines of running drug cartels across Nigeria’s international airports.

She made the disclosure on Wednesday during an investigative hearing by an ad-hoc Committee of the Senate set up to look into the circumstances leading to the arrest last December of a Nigerian lady, Zainab Aliyu by Saudi Arabian authoritiesDabiri-Erewa told the committee that, “We have other foreign and local Airlines operating at our Airports. But Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines have drug cartels operating at our International Airports. They operate alongside local collaborators. It is not Air Peace, not Arik Air, but Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines”.

Mr. El-Yakub Usman Lamir, the Airport Chief of Security at the Federal Airport Authority(FAAN), however, made a shocking revelation that scanners at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, were not configured to detect drugs.

He made the revelation in response Senator Kabiru Gaya, Chairman of the adhoc Committee, who demanded to know the status of the scanners at the nation’s airports across the country.

Lamir added that there were 15 security agents involved in checking luggage at the point of entry and exit but that the number had been reduced as a result of frequent complaints by air travelers.

On his part, Mr Mustapha Abdallah, who represented the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), also disclosed that the agency did not have enough German trained sniffer dogs.

Abdallah said, “Throughout the federation, NDLEA only has 14 sniffer dogs stationed in Lagos and we don’t even have one to detect drugs at the Aminu Kano International Airport at all.

The committee chairman, Senator Gaya, charged the officials of the NDLEA to increase the number of sniffer dogs in all the international Airports across the country.

Gaya also directed the officials of the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) to upgrade such sensitive equipment like scanners at the various Airports to ensure that the country did not become a transit camp for hard drugs.

The senator however, commended Zainab’s father for providing the information on the arrest of his daughter by Saudi Arabian authorities to the Social Media from where the federal government got wind of her arrest and detention.

The committee is expected to submit its report to the Senate upon conclusion of the investigative hearing.

 

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Six Days To End Of Tenure, Yobe Governor Approves N6bn For Upgrade Of ‘Non-existing Airport’

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 12:38pm


Barely six days to handing over as Governor of Yobe State, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has approved the sum of N6,067,305,786.91 for the upgrade of design of Yobe International Cargo Airport.

The money would also be used to cater for the bill of quantity for the completion of the International Cargo Airport.

Gaidam approved the money at the State Executive Council meeting that held on Wednesday in Damaturu.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Alhaji Mala Musti, State Commissioner of Information, said N127,187,270.00 was earmarked to cater for operational expenses of 2019 Hajj.

He added that the monies approved were to ensure the deadline of May 30, 2019, fixed for the completion is done.

“This is in a bid to meet the deadline of May 30, 2019, for the final remittances of 2019 Hajj fares by the states pilgrims agencies, boards and commissions in Nigeria to NAHCON,” Musti said.

It could be recalled that in November 2018, Gaidam had set aside N4.2 billion for the completion of the international cargo airport.

Also in June 2018, the sum of N1.760 billion contract was awarded to United Aviation Services for the supply and installation of communication gadgets at the Damaturu International Cargo Airport under construction.

In 2017, Gaidam awarded the contract for the building of airport at N11.3 billion and he promised to complete the cargo airport with the commissioning slated for or before May 29, 2019.

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Pro-Biafra Anniversary Turns Bloody As Police Open Fire On MASSOB Members

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 11:56am


The 19th anniversary celebration of the Chief Ralph Uwazuruike-led Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) otherwise called Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) turned fatal on Wednesday when police opened fire on members of the movement.

Two members of the movement were reported killed while no fewer than 10 members of the movement were arrested and 15 sustained serious bullet wounds.

Addressing newsmen in Onitsha, Ogbaru Regional Administrator of BIM-MASSOB, Mr. Amadi Ifeanyi (aka Ochiagha), wondered why police would open fire on a non-violent organisation.

He said: “We were hoisting our flag at about 2 am yesterday morning at Upper Iweka axis in preparation for the anniversary when the police stormed the place in three Hilux vans and allegedly opened fire on us at a close range, which resulted in the killing of the two members instantly.

“They arrested 10 of us and over 15 got bullet wounds, even when they knew that we are a non- violent organisation struggling for a Biafran state”.

Amadi, who spoke through his Director of Finance, in Ogbaru, Ezeaka Martins, identified those killed as Innocent Okoye and Uche Ezinwanne, demanding the release of their corpses.

Also speaking, Chuks Nnaedozie, the Ogbaru Director of Security, gave the names of those injured and hospitalised as Clifford Nwankwo, Ndubuisi Ikpeazu Aloy Ibeh, and others yet to be identified.

On his part, Regional administrator for Onitsha North, Christian Umeaka revealed that one of his members had not been seen since he was arrested by the police when he went to hoist the flag.

“No amount of intimidation would stop us from struggling for a Biafran state,” he vowed.

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FULL VALEDICTORY SPEECH: Be Proud You Were Part Of A Government That Ended Boko Haram, Buhari Tells Outgoing Ministers

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 11:45am



President Muhammadu Buhari has told the outgoing members of his executive council to be proud for being part of the administration that 'liberated' Nigeria from Boko Haram insurgency. 

He made the comments when he spoke at the valedictory meeting of the Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday. 

Read full remarks.
CLOSING REMARKS BY H.E. PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE VALEDICTORY SESSION FOR MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (2015 – 2019) AT THE STATE HOUSE COUNCIL CHAMBER ON 22ND MAY, 2019.

Today’s Federal Executive Council meeting is the last time we will meet as a cabinet before the commencement of the second and final term of this Administration.

2. Our first meeting in this chamber was in November 2015. Over the past three and a half years, we worked together to deliver our campaign promises. I strongly believe that it is this team work that led to the successes recorded during our first term.

3. Some of our colleagues, with whom we started this journey, unfortunately are not here to join us in celebrating our successes.

4. Specifically, I must recognise our late brother, James Ocholi, SAN who passed away in a fearful motor accident with his wife, Blessing, and son, Joshua, only four months after being sworn in as a minister.

5. I want us to all put him, and, indeed, his family, in our memory. He was a true patriot committed to our change agenda.

6. I also acknowledge the contributions of other council members who resigned before the completion of our tenure to pursue other opportunities.

7. You will recall that when we started this journey, our country was facing numerous challenges.

8. We inherited a broken economy which eventually went into recession in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016. The situation was further compounded by insecurity and massive corruption.

9. Many would have given up. Indeed, many outside commentators said our situation was well nigh hopeless. However, we all came together and pushed forward to deliver our campaign promise to rescue our country from its parlous state.

10. Although we all had a common vision, we frequently had heated debates in this room on the best way to achieve our goals. These differing views are what made the decisions we took all the more rational.

11. It is this quality that made me retain my cabinet for the full term. Each of you in this room has a unique skill and strength. We are a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve. A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered.

12. I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability.

13. You should be proud to have been part of the Government that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.

14. You should be proud to have contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy

15. You should be proud to have been part of the team that developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.

16. You should be proud to have introduced the social investment program that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.

17. You should be proud to have participated in settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears.

18. And, of course, you should all be proud to have overseen the most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programs in the history of our country.

19. I want to put on record, that your achievements in the last three and a half hears has guaranteed your position in the history books of this nation. You have certainly built the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government.

20. Although today is our last council meeting, I expect all of you to continue working until Tuesday, 28th May 2019 when you will officially hand over your schedules to your respective Permanent Secretaries. Your handing over letters should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

21. I want to conclude by thanking all of you for agreeing to serve our nation during these difficult times. I want to use this opportunity to recognise the silent partners to this cabinet, your spouses, families and friends, who supported you through these years.

22. I wish you the very best of luck and pray for your successes, for dear families and our for country in the years ahead.

Thank you and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(NAN)

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Apologize to Nigerians For Lying About Coup Plot, PDP Tells Lai Mohammed

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 11:32am


Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has been asked by the People's Democratic Party (PDP) to tender an apology for heating up the polity with baseless security breach allegations against the PDP and Atiku Abubakar, it's presidential candidate in the February 23 elections.

Lai Mohammed had earlier leveled an allegation that bordered on treason on the PDP and Atiku alledging that were trying to scuttle the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari come May29.

The former APC National Publicity Secretary, however, on Monday assured world leaders invited for the inauguration of their safety on the shores of the country.

Reacting to the contradiction between Lai's allegation and the assurance he later gave the world leaders across the globe, Kola's Ologbodiyan, the PDP spokesman, said the Minister's doublespeak has shown him to be a man given to fabrications in order to win popular sympathy for Buhari-led administration.

The PDP stated that for the Minister to turn around to assure that the country was safe after raising the initial false alarm, showed that his claims were not based on any concrete evidence other than having “no reason to doubt” claims by other individuals.

The statement said, “Moreover, the Minister’s claims that he relied on certain alarms fell flat as no agency in the country had ever accused the PDP, as a political party, or our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, of ‘doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable’ as claimed by Lai Mohammed.

“It is now clear that the whole essence of the misleading allegation was to heat up the system, attempt to cow democratic voices, divert public discourse from the rigging of the presidential election and scare the PDP and our presidential candidate from pursuing our stolen presidential mandate at the court.

“We also have fears that Alhaji Lai Mohammed could have made those wild claims in a bid to pave the way to frame, harass, arrest and detain some opposition figures on trump-up charges.

“Such antics have failed as Nigerians have seen through them and are resolute, behind Atiku Abubakar, in the determination to retrieve his mandate in the court, and no form of blackmail and intimidation will detract from that resolve.

“By his fabricated claims, the Information Minister only succeeded in further demarketing our dear nation in the international arena, causing more damage to investors’ confidence in our system and exposing this administration as purveyor of fake news.

“The PDP therefore invites Alhaji Lai Mohammed to apologise to the nation and desist from such acts of incitement”.

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FULL STORY: Real Reason Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Stepped Down From Presidential Election Tribunal

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 11:17am


The President of Court Appeal,  Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself as the Chairman of 2019 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Bulkachuwa voluntarily withdrew from participating in the hearing of the case shortly after the unanimous decision of the panel dismissing the application filed by the petitioner.

The ruling was delivered by a member of the panel, Justice Peter Ige.

She said that she took the decision for personal reasons and to avoid a situation where another female Justice will  face same issues presented to the court. 

She said that the four man panel will continue with the case pending the announcement of the new chairman of the panel.

But the tribunal held that the petitioners have not placed enough materials of evidence before the court that the president of court of appeal will be biased in the matter.

The remaining four members of the panel have continued with case.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it's Pesidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar on 16th of may 2019 filed a motion asking an order to ensure that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa be recused from further sitting of the tribunal or participating in the proceedings in the petition and be replaced by another Justice of the Appeal Court.

They also averred that Justice Bulakchuwa is the biological mother to Aliyu Haidar-Abubakar a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress.

It further averred that being the wife and mother of prominent card-carrying members of the APC which is the third respondent in the petition before the tribunal, there is every likelihood of bias if Justice Bulkachuwa remains as a member of the panel.

They also asserted that at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the president of the appeal court while delivering her speech said "elections are held in Nigeria every four years into elective positions, no matter how well the election is conducted there are bound to be complaints."

Her decision to step down is seen as a test of transparency of the process.
 

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Categories: audio

FULL STORY: Real Reason Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Stepped Down From Presidential Election Tribunal

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 11:17am


The President of Court Appeal,  Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself as the Chairman of 2019 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Bulkachuwa voluntarily withdrew from participating in the hearing of the case shortly after the unanimous decision of the panel dismissing the application filed by the petitioner.

The ruling was delivered by a member of the panel, Justice Peter Ige.

She said that she took the decision for personal reasons and to avoid a situation where another female Justice will  face same issues presented to the court. 

She said that the four man panel will continue with the case pending the announcement of the new chairman of the panel.

But the tribunal held that the petitioners have not placed enough materials of evidence before the court that the president of court of appeal will be biased in the matter.

The remaining four members of the panel have continued with case.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it's Pesidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar on 16th of may 2019 filed a motion asking an order to ensure that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa be recused from further sitting of the tribunal or participating in the proceedings in the petition and be replaced by another Justice of the Appeal Court.

They also averred that Justice Bulakchuwa is the biological mother to Aliyu Haidar-Abubakar a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress.

It further averred that being the wife and mother of prominent card-carrying members of the APC which is the third respondent in the petition before the tribunal, there is every likelihood of bias if Justice Bulkachuwa remains as a member of the panel.

They also asserted that at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the president of the appeal court while delivering her speech said "elections are held in Nigeria every four years into elective positions, no matter how well the election is conducted there are bound to be complaints."

Her decision to step down is seen as a test of transparency of the process.
 

Legal Politics News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
Categories: audio

FULL STORY: Real Reason Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Stepped Down From Presidential Election Tribunal

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 11:17am


The President of Court Appeal,  Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself as the Chairman of 2019 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Bulkachuwa voluntarily withdrew from participating in the hearing of the case shortly after the unanimous decision of the panel dismissing the application filed by the petitioner.

The ruling was delivered by a member of the panel, Justice Peter Ige.

She said that she took the decision for personal reasons and to avoid a situation where another female Justice will  face same issues presented to the court. 

She said that the four man panel will continue with the case pending the announcement of the new chairman of the panel.

But the tribunal held that the petitioners have not placed enough materials of evidence before the court that the president of court of appeal will be biased in the matter.

The remaining four members of the panel have continued with case.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it's Pesidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar on 16th of may 2019 filed a motion asking an order to ensure that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa be recused from further sitting of the tribunal or participating in the proceedings in the petition and be replaced by another Justice of the Appeal Court.

They also averred that Justice Bulakchuwa is the biological mother to Aliyu Haidar-Abubakar a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress.

It further averred that being the wife and mother of prominent card-carrying members of the APC which is the third respondent in the petition before the tribunal, there is every likelihood of bias if Justice Bulkachuwa remains as a member of the panel.

They also asserted that at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the president of the appeal court while delivering her speech said "elections are held in Nigeria every four years into elective positions, no matter how well the election is conducted there are bound to be complaints."

Her decision to step down is seen as a test of transparency of the process.
 

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Categories: audio

Former Nigerian Bar Association Chairman Collapses In Court During Trial For Alleged N20m Fraud

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 10:32am


Adesina Ogunlana, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, has collapsed in the dock during arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday.

Ogunlana collapsed, when the EFCC prosecution, Samuel Daji, asked the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, to remand him in prison custody after he pleaded not guilty to a 30-count charge alongside other defendants.

Daji was, however, lent a helping hand by his colleagues and offered a seat for the court proceedings to commence; the cause of his collapse could not be ascertained.

The EFCC had arraigned Ogunlana, for alleged stealing and money laundering alongside his predecessor, Yinka Farounbi and immediate past treasurer of the association, Aderinola Kappo.

According to the charge, the three defendants collectively allegedly stole a total sum of N20 005, 000 belonging to the association.

They were alleged to have committed the offence between 2016 to 2018 by converting the said amount to personal use.

EFCC alleged that the money was paid into Ogunlana’s First bank account through issuance of cheque ‘ without authorisation’.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecution counsel led by Samuel Daji urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody pending the court’s ruling on their bail application.

Daji said: “We urge the honourable court to grant us accelerated hearing in this matter and also to remand the defendants in the prison custody.

“My lord the first and third defendants are flight risk. They jumped the administrative bail granted them by the EFCC and the third defendant even gave us the address of the house she has left two-years ago and the landlord is also looking for her.

“They were supposed to be reporting at the EFCC office every Friday but they didn’t comply.

“These defendants have also been threatening our witnesses as well as operatives of the EFCC by agents of the first defendant.

I urged the court to remand the defendants accordingly, after all, governors are being kept in prison custody. There is no big man in where to keep defendants.”

The defence counsel, Mr. Akin Olatunde, however, urged the court to grant the defendants bail on liberal term.

"We literally fought the prosecution to prosecute this matter and they have been coming to court since Monday.

“The court is at discretion to admit the defendants to bail after their arraignment. The essence of bail is for defendants to be present in court. They are responsible personalities who are ready to come for the trial anytime as demonstrated in their coming since Monday,” Olatunji said.

After listening to both parties, Justice Dada granted bail to the defendants as requested.

The judge said: I have considered the case of the matter and considering the fact that the defendants are ex-officials of the Nigerian Bar Association, the court will be granting them a temporary bail.

Justice Dada ordered the defendants to submit their international passports to the court registrar pending the determination of the bail condition.

She thereafter adjourned the matter till June 3, 2019, for hearing of bail application and opening of the prosecution case.

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Categories: audio

Former Nigerian Bar Association Chairman Collapses In Court During Trial For Alleged N20m Fraud

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 10:32am


Adesina Ogunlana, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, has collapsed in the dock during arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday.

Ogunlana collapsed, when the EFCC prosecution, Samuel Daji, asked the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, to remand him in prison custody after he pleaded not guilty to a 30-count charge alongside other defendants.

Daji was, however, lent a helping hand by his colleagues and offered a seat for the court proceedings to commence; the cause of his collapse could not be ascertained.

The EFCC had arraigned Ogunlana, for alleged stealing and money laundering alongside his predecessor, Yinka Farounbi and immediate past treasurer of the association, Aderinola Kappo.

According to the charge, the three defendants collectively allegedly stole a total sum of N20 005, 000 belonging to the association.

They were alleged to have committed the offence between 2016 to 2018 by converting the said amount to personal use.

EFCC alleged that the money was paid into Ogunlana’s First bank account through issuance of cheque ‘ without authorisation’.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecution counsel led by Samuel Daji urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody pending the court’s ruling on their bail application.

Daji said: “We urge the honourable court to grant us accelerated hearing in this matter and also to remand the defendants in the prison custody.

“My lord the first and third defendants are flight risk. They jumped the administrative bail granted them by the EFCC and the third defendant even gave us the address of the house she has left two-years ago and the landlord is also looking for her.

“They were supposed to be reporting at the EFCC office every Friday but they didn’t comply.

“These defendants have also been threatening our witnesses as well as operatives of the EFCC by agents of the first defendant.

I urged the court to remand the defendants accordingly, after all, governors are being kept in prison custody. There is no big man in where to keep defendants.”

The defence counsel, Mr. Akin Olatunde, however, urged the court to grant the defendants bail on liberal term.

"We literally fought the prosecution to prosecute this matter and they have been coming to court since Monday.

“The court is at discretion to admit the defendants to bail after their arraignment. The essence of bail is for defendants to be present in court. They are responsible personalities who are ready to come for the trial anytime as demonstrated in their coming since Monday,” Olatunji said.

After listening to both parties, Justice Dada granted bail to the defendants as requested.

The judge said: I have considered the case of the matter and considering the fact that the defendants are ex-officials of the Nigerian Bar Association, the court will be granting them a temporary bail.

Justice Dada ordered the defendants to submit their international passports to the court registrar pending the determination of the bail condition.

She thereafter adjourned the matter till June 3, 2019, for hearing of bail application and opening of the prosecution case.

CRIME Legal News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
Categories: audio

Former Nigerian Bar Association Chairman Collapses In Court During Trial For Alleged N20m Fraud

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 10:32am


Adesina Ogunlana, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, has collapsed in the dock during arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday.

Ogunlana collapsed, when the EFCC prosecution, Samuel Daji, asked the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, to remand him in prison custody after he pleaded not guilty to a 30-count charge alongside other defendants.

Daji was, however, lent a helping hand by his colleagues and offered a seat for the court proceedings to commence; the cause of his collapse could not be ascertained.

The EFCC had arraigned Ogunlana, for alleged stealing and money laundering alongside his predecessor, Yinka Farounbi and immediate past treasurer of the association, Aderinola Kappo.

According to the charge, the three defendants collectively allegedly stole a total sum of N20 005, 000 belonging to the association.

They were alleged to have committed the offence between 2016 to 2018 by converting the said amount to personal use.

EFCC alleged that the money was paid into Ogunlana’s First bank account through issuance of cheque ‘ without authorisation’.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecution counsel led by Samuel Daji urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody pending the court’s ruling on their bail application.

Daji said: “We urge the honourable court to grant us accelerated hearing in this matter and also to remand the defendants in the prison custody.

“My lord the first and third defendants are flight risk. They jumped the administrative bail granted them by the EFCC and the third defendant even gave us the address of the house she has left two-years ago and the landlord is also looking for her.

“They were supposed to be reporting at the EFCC office every Friday but they didn’t comply.

“These defendants have also been threatening our witnesses as well as operatives of the EFCC by agents of the first defendant.

I urged the court to remand the defendants accordingly, after all, governors are being kept in prison custody. There is no big man in where to keep defendants.”

The defence counsel, Mr. Akin Olatunde, however, urged the court to grant the defendants bail on liberal term.

"We literally fought the prosecution to prosecute this matter and they have been coming to court since Monday.

“The court is at discretion to admit the defendants to bail after their arraignment. The essence of bail is for defendants to be present in court. They are responsible personalities who are ready to come for the trial anytime as demonstrated in their coming since Monday,” Olatunji said.

After listening to both parties, Justice Dada granted bail to the defendants as requested.

The judge said: I have considered the case of the matter and considering the fact that the defendants are ex-officials of the Nigerian Bar Association, the court will be granting them a temporary bail.

Justice Dada ordered the defendants to submit their international passports to the court registrar pending the determination of the bail condition.

She thereafter adjourned the matter till June 3, 2019, for hearing of bail application and opening of the prosecution case.

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Categories: audio

BREAKING: Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Steps Down From Presidential Election Petition Tribunal

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 9:48am


BBC

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself from the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The People's democratic party had asked Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself because she is married to a senator-elect of the All Progressives Congress.

Counsel to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, Livy Ozuokwu asked the Chairman of the tribunal to recuse herself on the grounds that she will be biased in the case.

On Wednesday, Justice Bulkachuwa recused herself after a prolonged sitting.

More to come.

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Categories: audio

BREAKING: Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Steps Down From Presidential Election Petition Tribunal

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 9:48am


BBC

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself from the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The People's democratic party had asked Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself because she is married to a senator-elect of the All Progressives Congress.

Counsel to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, Livy Ozuokwu asked the Chairman of the tribunal to recuse herself on the grounds that she will be biased in the case.

On Wednesday, Justice Bulkachuwa recused herself after a prolonged sitting.

More to come.

Legal Politics Breaking News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
Categories: audio

BREAKING: Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Steps Down From Presidential Election Petition Tribunal

Sahara Reporters - 22 May 2019 - 9:48am


BBC

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself from the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The People's democratic party had asked Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself because she is married to a senator-elect of the All Progressives Congress.

Counsel to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, Livy Ozuokwu asked the Chairman of the tribunal to recuse herself on the grounds that she will be biased in the case.

On Wednesday, Justice Bulkachuwa recused herself after a prolonged sitting.

More to come.

Legal Politics Breaking News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
Categories: audio