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28-Year-Old Arrested For Buying N150,000 Laptop For N5,000

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 9:49am

Paul Ofia, aged 28, who hails from Ikwo village in Ebonyi State, has been nabbed by the Police over allegations of trading in stolen goods.

He was said to be a specialist in buying stolen electronics and was apprehended by the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service.

He was caught with a stolen laptop with a market value of N150,000, and claimed to have paid N5,000 for the item.

Parkins Ogede, Chairman of the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service, said the trader has been handed over to the Police for further investigation and prosecution.

Ogede urged residents to be careful and enquire properly before purchasing anything.

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BREAKING: Police Arrest Melaye At Abuja Clinic

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 8:30am

Officers of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) have arrested Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West Constituency at the National Assembly.

He was allegedly taken away from the Police Hospital in Garki, Abuja, where he was receiving treatment, on Friday.

He had surrendered himself for arrest after a one-week stand-off with the Police. He, however, suffered an asthma attack and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Although, the Police had insisted that the lawmaker was fit to stand trial for his alleged culpability in the shooting of an officer, Melaye had said he needed more time to recuperate.

The Police had not issued any official statement at the time of this report.

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'Four-Year Tenure, Three Years Holiday?' — Falz Aims SLy DIg At Buhari In New Single

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 7:29am

Folarin Falana, son of human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, popularly known as Falz, seems to have taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari in his new single, entitled 'Talk'.

He also targeted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) that had threatened to sue him over his previous video, 'This is Nigeria', saying: "Boda MURIC shout finish we no see am for court."

The song was released late on Thursday and already has more than 60,000 views on Youtube.

'Talk' is the lead single off his 'Moral Instruction' album scheduled for release on January 15, 2019. The cover art of the album was designed by Fela's arts designer, Lemi Ghariokwu.

In the video, Falz said: "Four-year tenure, three-year holiday...," which was depicted by a man wearing a flowing blue traditional outfit and entering a door marked 'London' — an apparent reference to the President's lengthy medical vacations to the UK.

Falz also commneted on the conduct of lawmakers at the National Assembly and their numerous altercations, lamenting: "Our Senators don dey fight Kung Fu again."

The rapper also commented on allowances of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), questioning while they were still paid such just over N19,000 in 2019.

Pastors and clerics were not left out, as he questioned why they would buy private jets that their members could not fly.

Finally, he spoke on jungle justice and wondered why people who steal petty things are roasted like animals, while those who steal Nigeria's resources at government level are spared.

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HEDA Asks ICPC To Prosecute Ex-Delta Deputy Speaker Who Forged His NECO Certificate

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 7:17am

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda  Resource Centre (HEDA), a non-governmental organization and non-partisan human rights and development league, has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission  (ICPC) to investigate and prosecute Mr. Osanebi Friday, the member of the Delta State House of Assembly representing Ndokwa East constituency over allegations he forged his National Examination Council (NECO) certificate. 

In a petition forwarded to the ICPC and signed by HEDA' s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the resource centre said its requested action is pertinent, to serve as deterrent to future lawbreakers, especially amongst the elites and supposed leaders who ought to lead by example. 

HEDA said it took its cue for the investigation of the ex-lawmaker, who is a former Deputy Speaker of the assembly, from an exclusive report in the publication of Sahara Reporters, an online Newspaper, dated the 24th day of December, 2018, where it was reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had withdrawn the Certificate of Return issued to Osanebi, and re-issued it to Ozegbe Emeka, who was validly nominated as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 elections.

The petition reads: "It was reported that in April 2018, a Delta State High Court, presided over by Honourable Justice V.I. Ofezi declared that Mr. Osanebi Friday lied on oath by submitting a forged NECO certificate and ordered the immediate swearing in of Mr. Ozegbe Emeka into the Delta State House of Assembly. See Also Elections INEC Withdraws Certificate of Return From Delta Deputy Speaker Who Forged His NECO Certificate 0 Comments 3 Weeks Ago   

"The report under reference stated that Mr. Osanebi Friday appealed against the judgement of the Delta State High Court to the Court of Appeal, Benin Judicial Division and the Court of Appeal ruled in upheld the decision of the High Court Judge, in favour of the respondent. It is further stated that he appealed to the Supreme court and the appeal before the apex court is yet to be heard."

Quoting a section of the nation's ground norm, HEDA said: "It is pertinent to state at this juncture that Section 106 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) provides for the requisite conditions to qualify an individual to be elected as a member of a State House of Assembly. Specifically, Section 106 (c) states that 'he has been educated up to at least the School Certificate level or its equivalent'...

"It was presumed that all the qualifications in Section 106 (a-d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 was duly complied with, which was why he was successful elected in as honourable member of the Delta State House of Assembly. And it was believed that Mr. Osanebi Friday was not in breach of the provisions of Section 107 (1)(a-I) specifically, Section 107(1)(I).

"Section 107(1)(I) states that 'no person shall be qualified for election to a House of Assembly if he has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission'. Mr. Osanebi Friday was elected during the 2015 general election to the Delta State House of Assembly as an honourable member based on the information he presented to the INEC, and INEC believing same to be true.

"And as reported under reference, Mr. Osanebi Friday did present his NECO Certificate but same is alleged to be fake and it is also alleged that no such certificate was found in the Secondary School he claimed to have attended, Orogu Grammar School, Orogu, Ughelli North local government area. 

"The law is not silent on the offences alleged; forgery and perjury are encapsulated in the Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The Criminal Code Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 in Sections 463-466 defines the forgery as an offence while Section 467 prescribes the sentence of three years imprisonment; Section 117 of the same law defines the offence of Perjury and Section 118 prescribes the punishment to be 14 years imprisonment.

"We are an organization desirous to see transparency, accountability and good governance in our nation. We are therefore keen on seeing the law not only obeyed to the letter but also diligently enforced in the case of breach, which is why we believe critically that an immediate investigation should be carried out in this particular case.  The case is said to have moved from the High Court to the Supreme Court hence, a public record which can be searched and obtained to aid investigation. 

"Your Commission is empowered to investigate and prosecute suspects for alleged offences within the purview of the law. Based on the foregoing, we request that you use your good offices to investigate Mr. Osanebi Friday for corruptly manipulating the system through forgery, perjury with the view to prosecuting the stated offences and recover all monies and benefits received by him as a honourable member and Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly. We therefore demand that the law takes its full course.

"The requested action is pertinent to serve as deterrent to future law breakers, especially amongst the elites and supposed leaders who ought to lead by example. This is with a view to stemming the menace that rapidly ravaging our political landscape and society."

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Isoko Traditional Rulers Get N20m 'In Small Nylon Bags' For Endorsing Okowa For 2nd Term

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 6:08am

Traditional rulers of Isoko ethnic nationalities of Delta State and their communities' Presidents-General on Thursday endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as their sole candidate for the 2019 governorship elections. 

The endorsement, it was reliably gathered, earned the traditional rulers and the Presidents-General the sum of N20 million as a 'kola' from the Governor as a sign of appreciation for a job well done.

The endorsement, which was made on Thursday during an emergency national conference of the Isoko nation convened by the Isoko Development Union (IDU) held at Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, coincided with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship campaign rally in Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area.

The amount of the money making up the 'kola' was not disclosed to the entire conference but a President-General of one of the communities who pleaded for anonymity confided in our correspondent that the cash, which was arranged in small nylon bags, was N20 million.

"Yes its N20 million, because I overheard one of the traditional rulers disclosing it to a colleague of his at the venue shortly after the Governor and his entourage left for the PDP campaign rally at the Oleh township stadium. The traditional rulers took the lion share as it were, while a part went to the IDU and the Presidents-General of the various communities that participated in the endorsement," he said.

"But frankly speaking, I have my fears, because the traditional rulers and we, the Presidents-General, are supposed to be neutral, not to be involved in partisan politics. There are several other governorship candidates from other political parties for this 2019 elections and now we have endorsed Okowa of the PDP and if tomorrow, Great Ogboru of the APC emerges the Governor, what will then be the fate of the Isoko nation."

Giving reasons for the Governor's endorsement, the traditional rulers noted that the only way they could reciprocate Okowa's good governance in Isoko land was to re-elect him to continue with his good works.

The Ovie of Oleh Kingdom, Anthony Ovrawah, Omagha I, who is the Chairman of Isoko Traditional Council of Traditional Rulers, led the over 19 traditional rulers to pray for the Governor, assuring him that all Isoko sons and daughters would cast their votes for him.

Earlier, the President-General of Iyede Kingdom, Jerry Okokowa moved the motion for Isoko people to collectively cast their votes for the return of Okowa to government house, Asaba till 2023, saying: "We have no other option than Governor Okowa; he has executed a lot of projects in Isoko land, including the construction of this edifice, the Isoko house and he will do more for us in the next four years."

The motion was seconded by the President-General of Oleh Kingdom, Believe Alakri.

In his response, Okowa thanked the Isoko people for their love for him and his administration.

"I am surprised, I am excited at what you have done this afternoon; It is a great honour that you have done to me and I must thank the Isoko people for the love you have for me and my administration," he said.

"What is happening here today convinces me that you have accepted me as one of you; it tells a lot of story that you are not ashamed to identify with me. I thank you for the peace you have continued to give to us as a government, which has given us the enabling environment to carry out development projects.

"Thank you for the partnership, which will make me relate more with the Isoko nation; in the next four years, a lot more will be done for the Isoko nation because the Isoko people truly deserve it. With the pronouncement of the traditional rulers, this is a total support, which will give me more votes than what you gave us in 2015."

Okowa used the medium to plead with the traditional rulers and the Presidents-General of the various communities to vote for all the candidates of the PDP, especially Atiku Abubakar for President, Senator James Manager and Leo Ogor, for house of Representatives, adding that "since you have shown love to me, show love to other candidates of the PDP because, the success of the PDP in the February 16 elections will make the March 2 elections easier".

Speaking earlier, the President-General of the Isoko Development Union, (IDU), Iduh Amadhe, said: "What is happening in Isoko has never been done for any man, Isoko people are not sychophants but when we heard that you (Governor Okowa) and your entourage were coming to Isoko nation for campaign rally, an emergency national conference was called for you; 19 traditional rulers are here, the Presidents-General of different kingdoms are here and whatever we have done today will be translated to all the villages in Isoko and it will be respected; you will get the votes of Isoko people."

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Ailing Leo Ogor Wants To Retain His Reps Seat But He Can't Even Climb A Podium At PDP Rally

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 4:49am

Leo Ogor at the center flanked by James Manager and former acting Governor of Delta state, Sam Obi during the PDP campaign rally held at the Oleh township stadium

Leo Ogor, the House of Representatives Minority Leader and member representing Isoko Federal Constituency, could not come up stage to address a mammoth crowd of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday, as he is incapacitated by stroke.

During the party's governorship campaign rally in Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area, the Delta State PDP Chairman, Kingsley Esiso, had called up on stage Ogor; the senator representing Delta South in the National Assembly, James Manager; and other candidates of the party for the 2019 general election to address the people.

But it was observed that several minutes after Manager and other candidates of the party had mounted the podium, Ogor, who was earlier aided to his seat on arrival at the venue of the campaign rally, could not find his feet to the stage.

It would be recalled that last week in Oghara, headquarters of Ethiope West Local Government Area of the state, Ogor could not move from his seat to receive his PDP flag during the official flag-off of the party's campaign rally. Instead, his flag was received on his behalf by the member representing Isoko South constituency 2, Johnson Erijo.

Following the incapacitation of Ogor, resulting to his absence from plenaries, Isoko people had advised him many times to quit politics and concentrate on his failing health.

Addressing the mammoth PDP crowd at Oleh Township Stadium, headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area, the state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, urged members of the party to translate the massive turnout at the rally to actual votes at the February 16 and March 2, 2019 elections.

"We are here to say thank you, to thank God for the joy He has brought to Deltans within the last three years; we are happy that our traditional rulers, our President-Generals have spoken with one voice that we should continue with this partnership of collective delivery of good projects to our people till 2023. Thank you because, in another four years, we shall have more reasons to smile, more reasons to thank God for good governance," he said.

Meanwhile, the two suspended leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Isoko Federal Constituency of Delta state, Joe Arausi and Abikelegba Odhegolo, who endorsed Okowa on Tuesday for a second term in alleged exchange for contracts running into millions of naira formally defected to the PDP at Thursday's rally.

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Adamawa Gladiators To Mobilise 1million Votes For Sowore ‘Without Expecting Any Personal Reward’

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 4:20am

A group known as the Adamawa Political Gladiators (APG) is mobilising one million votes for Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC).

Speaking on behalf of the group to newsmen in Yola on Friday, Tony Sudan Gompwel said he had also printed campaign materials and branded a vehicle towards actualising Sowore's presidential bid in 2019.

"We're targeting one million votes for Sowore, and we're canvassing those votes on a wide range social media platforms,” he said.

"We're developing the Sowore followership, using pyramid styled network of down-line supporters.

"For instance, if I steer 50 people, I expect them to steer 50 each; and so the chain goes on till we are able to raise one million votes and even surpass it for Sowore.”

Gompwel further said he had printed “14,000 posters, 12,000 stickers, 12 large-format size banners and branded a vehicle with pictures of Sowore and his running mate”.

“We're doing all these things not expecting any personal reward, because I believe Sowore embodies the yearnings and aspirations of many young Nigerians,” he said.

On the chances of Sowore’s victory at the polls, he said: “We keyed into the AAC candidate because we believe in his vision for Nigeria. And make no mistake about this, Omoyele Sowore is going to win and he is the next President. 

“I say this because I know it very well that Buhari and Atiku are going to be voted out next month. Both men are predators, out to destroy our economy. On the other hand, people are getting to know the man Sowore, and I bet you he is going to emerge victorious.”

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Fashola Wants To Divert $600m From The 3050MW Hydropower Project To His Pet Project By Leno Adesanya

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 3:14am

January 10th 2018

Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN,

I read the Daily Trust newspaper of January 2nd 2019, and I watched your recent TV interviews on Channels, and NTA, aired in December 2018. Your alarming and continuous fabrication and distortion of facts about ongoing loan negotiations between China Eximbank and the FGN in respect of the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project continues to baffle me because you have persisted with the tale of lies. 

I wonder why you would not tell Nigerians that loan negotiations with China Eximbank have stalled since 2017 because of your attempt to divert about $600 million from the 3050MW hydropower project to a pet project not hitherto considered by the FEC, and the Chinese Contractors, and Eximbank are insisting on full compliance with the terms of the EPC signed in November 2017. It was in anticipation of your covert operations to subvert the 3050MW power project, that I wrote my initial petition to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR 20 months ago; about your  attempts to frustrate the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project. 

Why must you run to NTA or the Press if you are not guilty?

Your said interviews to the press on the above subject was malicious and reckless with the sole objective to mislead the public. As a lawyer and indeed a Senior Counsel you ought to have exercised restraint in granting interviews on this subject matter which is still under adjudication in Paris; bearing in mind that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) through the office of Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has entered appearances/defence.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), you must stop peddling falsehood and check your facts before opening your mouth to speak. First point of correction is that, I have never been convicted of any crime in my life, so it is perplexing that you would go to any length to discredit those who, as it would seem, stand against your pecuniary interest. I really don’t know where you heard your MT Tuma CRIME SCENE story; but I am sure you will publish the case file for Nigerians to read. Mr. Fashola, the law profession is for honorable and honest individuals, and being a Senior Advocate (SAN) requires more of you.

I, therefore, challenge you, Babatunde Fashola, to publish ANY criminal conviction(s) against Leno Laitan Adesanya or ANY of my companies within 7 days, failing which you are advised to go back to NTA and Channels TV to apologise if you don’t want my trouble.

Now, let’s deal with the facts of the Mambilla Project. Recall that in your quest to stop the Mambilla project, you discussed and encouraged the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, to remove Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited from the project; as reflected in his memo of 22nd May 2017. Furthermore, you then advised COS that Sunrise should to go to Court if we felt aggrieved; knowing full well that any litigation would affect the ability of the FGN to fund the project.

As we have argued for years, and long before you became involved, the 3050MW power project, when completed, would power thousands of industries in the northern part of Nigeria, and create at least 5 million direct and indirect jobs. Despite the compelling nature of the project for Nigeria however, you have chosen to undermine President Buhari and the North by consistently doing everything possible to stop the actualisation of the Mambilla project. By extension, you are misleading His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, into believing the project can commence without a resolution of ongoing legal process. The motivation for your insidious acts has left many puzzled, but one has to fear that Nigeria may once again end up with yet another inordinately expensive judgement debt issued against it. 

In my recent letter to His Excellency, I requested, amongst others, that both the EFCC and ICPC be present at our meeting, because I wanted to expose wicked intents emanating from your office that have been frustrating the execution of the 3050MW Mambilla project. I can however only imagine that, afraid of your deeds, you chose instead to run to the national networks to, once again, do what you know best to do - distort incontrovertible facts; but you should not be allowed to continue to get away with these activities that undermine Nigeria.

Nigerians have mistaken your eloquence for honour not realizing perversion of the truth is now a recurring pattern to your diatribe against hardworking entrepreneurs. One must wonder why it is not only us that describe you as a subversive individual - as a similar claim is made by virtually all Genco and Disco operators in the Power Industry. 

Beyond your treacherous act to your erstwhile political benefactors, in your characteristic manner, you are also now being ungrateful to the those who gave you a chance to serve in this government; as you have done everything possible since early 2016 to undermine all the good work being done by long term sponsors of the Mambilla Project. You refer to us as ‘middle men’ who add no value, but I ask the more germane question, where were opportunists like you when those you describe as middle men put capital at risk to fund activities that moved the project forward over almost 2 decades? You appear to want to take credit for other people’s years of investments and toil when in reality we made progress in spite of your machinations and not because of your cooperation. 

1. Recall that while President Buhari was on a State visit to China in April 2016, you refused to put the Mambilla project on the Bilateral Discussion Agenda; until I appealed to Governors NASIRU El Rufai and Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, as well as Agriculture Minister, Chief Audu Ogbe to place the Mambilla project as priority. Rather than tell His Excellency that you did not believe in the Mambilla hydropower project, you expressed extreme anger at being humiliated in front of other Governors and Ministers; and blamed Leno Adesanya for promoting a project I had nurtured since 2000.

2. On the 20th Of May 2016, and as a follow up to Beijing, President Buhari directed you, through the Honourable Attorney General Of the Federation (HAGF) to execute the 3050MW Mambilla hydropower project in compliance with existing legal agreements (Settlement, and GPE Agreements Of November 2012) between FGN and Sunrise;

3: His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, instructed me personally on the 30th of June 2015 to report any act of corruption that may stall the execution of the Mambilla project, and this is what I addressed in my recent letter “WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR OF ANYONE”. In my letter, I informed His Excellency of your insidious attempt on the 16th of August 2017, to get the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to approve a multi billion Solar Power project WITHOUT any feasibility studies, EIA report, budget approval by NASS, No Due Process Certificate. Fortunately for our country, this attempt  was detected by FEC members, and your attempt at deception was squashed. Suffice to say that this is what has now provoked you to label me a fraud. 

Mr Fashola, next time you are sent on an errand that requires you to lie or fabricate untruths against someone - or are motivated to do so on your own - just so that you may look good, you must tell them to deliver the message themselves or be more honest with yourself. People in Glass homes don’t throw stones.

Our prayer is that, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari will not, once again, be misled into allowing another avoidable judgment debt to be registered against the Government of Nigeria. No one’s personal interest or motives should be allowed to reign supreme over the Sovereign’s interest. For all the diversionary tactics of rushing to the Press to make up phantom allegations, the information shared within this letter, as you well know, is the real issue, Mr Fashola.


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We Did Not Endorse Atiku, Says Ohanaeze Ndigbo

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 1:00am

Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an Igbo socio-political organisation, has clarified the notion that the organisation endorsed Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Chuks Ibegbu, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the organisation said this at a news conference in Enugu.

He said the organisation as a body has not endorsed any particular candidate or party because Ohenaeze Ndigbo children are scattered across all political parties.

He said the Ohanaeze needed to be circumspect, “as our children are in all the political parties”.

Ibegbu continued: “It is erroneous to say that we endorsed Atiku. Ohanaeze Ndigbo did not endorse anybody. That meeting at Nike Lake Resort was organised by friends of Atiku.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo has been canvassing for our people to identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria if voted into power."

Some Igbo leaders had met on November 14, 2018, to endorse the candidature of Atiku, who is running for president on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.

At the November 14 meeting, elder statesman Ben Nwabueze called on the Igbos to honour him by ensuring the emergence of the Atiku/Obi presidential ambition.

“We must ensure the survival of the Igbo race in Nigeria and it is only through the success of that ticket that we can get it," he said at the meeting.

The Igbo leaders present at the meeting agreed to “identify with the Atiku/Peter Obi ticket on the restructuring agenda as has been reiterated by four zones of the country".

However, the spokesperson to the organisation said the resolution at the meeting was their position.

"We still stand on that and in the next few days, we shall meet to take a holistic position on the elections. However, due to our peculiar circumstance in the country, we will identify with candidates that will restructure Nigeria if voted into power.”

On the achievements of the group in office, he said: “Within these two years, we have given our modest contribution to the re-jigging of Igbo leadership and leveraging of Igbo issues in Nigeria.

Some of our modest achievements serially include: The restoration of the dignity of the Igbo race in Nigeria and across the globe; the building of bridges with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria; the initiation and pursuit of the restructuring of Nigeria, a position that has now become a national mantra; the promotion of Igbo language culture and heritage; the establishment and promotion of Ohanaeze Ndigbo activities at local, state, national and diaspora levels; the diplomatic and deft handling of such explosive issues as ‘Quit Notice’ to Ndigbo by Northern Youths, the pro-Biafra agitation, the Fulani Herdsmen/Farmers crisis in Igbo land, the Operation Python Dance issue and many other threatening issues that would have snowballed to a national disaster."

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Truck Carrying Unused 2015 Ballot Papers Nabbed In Rivers​

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 12:58am

Ballot Papers

Ballot Papers

A truck carrying unused 2015 ballot papers has been nabbed by some task force officials in Ogota Local Government of Rivers State.  

According to eyewitnesses, the truck was intercepted on Thursday during a routine check by the task force with the help of some youth in Egbung community. When interrogated, the driver claimed to have authorisation from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to move the ballot papers from Calabar

“After being interrogated by the task force, the driver said he was not certain of his destination and this raised suspicion so he was apprehended and the police were invited."

Frankland Briyai, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), confirmed the incident and said he would report to the appropriate authorities.

He, however, refused to speak on the particulars of the issue, stating that he would give further information upon completion of an investigation by security agencies. 

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China Donates N2billion To Nigeria To Support Fight Against Insurgency​

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 12:29am

Buhari With President Xi Jinping

Buhari With President Xi Jinping

The Chinese Government has promised to assist Nigeria in its counter insurgence efforts with the sum of N2 billion (50 million Yuan) to get more military equipment.

Zhou Pingjan, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, said this on Thursday at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Defence Minister Brigadier General Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali and the Ambassador on behalf of the People’s Republic of China at the Ministry of Defence.

He explained that the support is part of the military-to-military cooperation consummated between the two countries during their bilateral agreements, last year.

“In September 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari led a Nigerian delegation to China to attend the Africa-Chinese forum. At the forum, he held bilateral discussions with President Xi Jinping on several areas of cooperation, particularly in the area of military to military relations," Pingjuan said. 

“At the meeting in China, an initial pledge of six million Yuan was made in support of the Nigerian military. now, another 50million Yuan (about N2 billion) has been made to support the counter-insurgency operations of the military.”

Noting that Nigeria and Chinese bilateral relations have continued to grow from strength to strength in economic and other areas of interests, Pingjuan said the implementation of the peace and security agreements contained in the MoU would further cement the relationship.

Meanwhile, the defence minister lauded the Chinese government for standing by Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, stating that the cankerworm has today become a global problem.

“Insurgency is no longer a country’s problem alone. It is now a global problem. So countries must join hands together to fight and defeat this problem," he said.

He expressed Nigeria's commitment to a strong and lasting relationship with China.

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Any Wise Person Should Know Where I Belong, Says Omisore​

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 12:23am

Senator Iyiola Omisore, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate at the Osun governorship election, has declared his support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming general election.

Omisore made the declaration on Thursday at a gathering which the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola, attended at the Ife Country house, to clarify reports claiming he had reneged on his part of the alliance to support APC after he failed the clinch the Osun State governorship seat.

Following the September 22, 2018 gubernatorial election in Osun state where Omisore polled a massive number of votes that ranked him third in the race, but nonetheless adjudged as the dividing vote between the two prominent parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the APC, Omisore reached an alliance with the APC to support its candidate.

Speaking on his support for APC, he said: “There is no rumour about where we are and where we are going. What the APC chairman in Osun State, Gboyega Famodun, said was instructive and correct.

“God made the relationship between me and the APC possible. Osun is one now and Ife remains the source from where all of us draw our strength.

“I don’t have to tell anybody that I am with the party. Any wise person should know where I belong.”

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Journalist Imprisoned For Sporting Dreadlocks​

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 12:18am

Yinka Badmus

Yinka Badmus Vanguard Newspaper

Yinka Badmus, a photojournalist with Talk Village International, has been remanded in prison custody after he was arraigned in court by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for sporting dreadlocks. 

He was arraigned at Ojudu Magistrate court on January 4, 2019.

Badmus was arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command Anti-Cultist Unit for wearing dreadlocks, a kind of hairstyle common among youth and celebrities.

Badmus’ boss, Stephen Oguntoyinbo, Chief Executive Officer of Talk Village International, explained that Badmus was arrested on December 31, while eating noodles in the community he lives. He was arrested by policemen from Anti-Cultism Unit, Pedro Bus Stop, Gbagada. It was learnt that after Badmus was detained, the policemen refused to allow him to contact anyone.

He claimed that he received reports from the prison alleging that Badmus had become sick following the beating he received from other inmates. 

Oguntoyinbo explained that the family members of the 24-year-old photojournalist do not know his whereabouts as police officers barred him from making any phone calls.

He said the family only knew about Badmus’s arrest when another detainee who was released on bail contacted his family members.

At the time, Oguntoyinbo said Badmus had spent three days in custody, a flagrant disregard for the law that says detainee must not be held for more than 24 hours in Police custody. 

“After days in detention, Yinka was able to send a message to a close relative on January 3. He was found at the station. The information given by the Police was that he was arrested at Surulere, Lagos because of his hairstyle. I was asked to come to Gbagada Police Station on January 4, to bail him and see the officer in charge of his case," Oguntoyinbo said.

Okechukwu Nwanguma, National Coordinator of the Network for Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN), said: “Two things; the Police officer was quoted as saying the guy was arrested because of his hairstyle. Where in the law is a hairstyle a crime?”  

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), CSP Chike Oti, confirmed Badmus’ arrest.

“Badmus was arrested along with others for unlawful gathering. They were arrested with a bag of Indian hemp,” he said.

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INEC To Conduct Drug Tests On Ad Hoc Staff​

Sahara Reporters - 11 January 2019 - 12:18am

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will employ the services of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to test its ad hoc staff for hard drugs.

It also debunked rumours that the commission’s database has been hacked.

Abduganiyu Raji, Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, said this in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Thursday, at an INEC stakeholders’ meeting.

He claimed that the commision's network is highly protected from external threat, stating that this would greatly disappoint those who have allegedly been cloning the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

“Even our workers who are working in the ICT have limitations; there is a limit to which they can go. In clear terms, the cloned PVCs can’t work with our smart card readers," he said.

“We heard people are selling their PVCs; this would not help anybody. But how can people be selling their future? Even if you are given a sum of N20,000, would that be enough to take you throughout four years? So, our people must stop selling their future."

He also bemoaned the high number of uncollected PVCs still in INEC’s custody, stating that 256,648 out of the 921,027 total registered voters in the Ekiti state are yet to collect their PVCs.

He added that the commission was hiring the services of the Police and the NDLEA. While the Police would determine if adhoc staff had criminal records, the NDLEA would determine if the staff were users of hard drugs.

"We can’t use criminals to conduct elections or drug abusers and be expecting good results," he said.

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POLL: Will You Accept Money Before Voting At The 2019 Elections?

Sahara Reporters - 10 January 2019 - 11:02am

How do you intend to treat politicians who offer you cash in exchange for votes during the 2019 general election?

1. Will you collect money and vote for the candidate who pays the highest?

2. Will you collect money but vote only according to your conscience?

3. Will you reject money no matter how much?

Please let us know.

#Thread How do you intend to treat politicians who offer you cash in exchange for votes during the 2019 general election?

Please let us know.#NigeriaDecides2019

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) January 10, 2019

1. Will you collect money and vote for the candidate who pays the highest? #NigeriaDecides2019

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) January 10, 2019

2. Will you collect money but vote only according to your conscience? #NigeriaDecides2019

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) January 10, 2019

3. Will you reject money no matter how much?#NigeriaDecides2019

— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) January 10, 2019

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Remi Tinubu's Office Burgled

Sahara Reporters - 10 January 2019 - 10:35am

The office of Lagos Central senator Remi Tinubu, at the National assembly, has been burgled.

Nifemi Aje, Tinubu's aide, said on Thursday that the incident was discovered on Wednesday when staff resumed the day’s work.

He said the burglars destroyed the CCTV and carted away some important items, adding that the incident had been reported to the National Assembly Police.

“Items removed include an HP laptop computer, Smile internet device, machine box attached to CCTV HP screen and some copies of Laws of the federation,” Aje said.

“Traces of footsteps were discovered on the office rug. The wall cabinet was left disorganised.

“A report of the incident has already been lodged at the Police Post at the National Assembly and we are assured that the investigation has commenced into the matter.

“We do not know those who perpetrated the burglary or those who sponsored them. We are, however, waiting for the outcome of police investigation into the matter.”

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APC-Led Coalition Joins Conspiracy To Exclude Sowore From Presidential Debate

Sahara Reporters - 10 January 2019 - 9:56am

The African Action Congress (AAC), the political party of presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore, has fingered the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the ongoing plot to exclude its candidate from the presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).

According to the party, the United Party of Nigeria (UPN), which is a member of the APC-led Coalition of Progressives Political Parties (CPPP), is set to file a motion at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja seeking to be joined as a party in the Sowore suit.

AAC said the aim of UPN’s suit is to throw impediments in the way of a timely ruling on the case, so that there will be no resolution before January 19, when the debate will hold.

“The African Action Congress and the Sowore 2019 Campaign has been notified of a plot to use frivolous law suits as a salt tactic to prevent a timely ruling on the case instituted by our party for the inclusion of Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the party, in the January 19th NEDG/BON 2019 debate,” read a statement released on Thursday by Dr Malcolm Fabiyi, Director-General of the Sowore 2019 Campaign.

“We have made it clear to Nigerians that we believe that our party’s exclusion from that debate was orchestrated by the ruling party. Now, in a fit of desperation, the masquerades have been forced to take off their masks. 

“We have it on good authority that the UPN, a member of the APC led Coalition of Progressives Political Parties (CPPP), will file a motion at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja seeking to be joined as a party in the suit which was filed in December 2018 by the National Legal Adviser of the AAC, Inibehe Effiong.

“UPN will, in its motion, ask that its presidential candidate, one Alhaji Ahmed Sakil, also be allowed to participate in the January 19, 2019 presidential debate organised by the NEDG and BON. 

“Nigerians will recall that the CPPP openly declared support for the re-election of Buhari after a meeting at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja in July 2018. How then can a candidate from one of the coalition partners of the CPPP be filing a suit to be included in a debate which their adopted candidate, President Buhari, will be participating in? 

"Concerned by the obvious progress that our case is making in the judicial system, the APC/CPPP coalition is now resorting to desperate measures in their attempt to prevent the most authentic voice for the New Nigeria that we are all yearning for, to be a part of the debate about its future. The legal strategy that the APC-CPPP-UPN team is banking on is one of delay. The goal, as we have reliably learned is to throw impediments in the way of a timely ruling on the case, so that there will be no resolution before January 19th, when the debate will hold.”

Fabiyi asked Nigerians to ask themselves the following questions: Why would UPN, a political party that has publicly endorsed the ruling APC, suddenly seek to be joined as a party in the case just few days to the debate? Why did the UPN not file its own case to demand inclusion in the debate but had to wait till a few days to the presidential election debate before seeking to be joined in the AAC's case?

“They are afraid. But what is the APC afraid of? Why is there such an obvious fear of allowing the participation of Omoyele Sowore in the presidential debate? What does the ruling establishment have to hide? We know they do not want us to reveal to Nigerians that the Next Level that they are seeking, is a worse level of depravity, ineptitude, nepotism and corruption,” he added.

“They are afraid that what they tell themselves behind closed doors, as Nigerians learned from the revealing confessions that Amaechi made about Buhari and the APC’s views about Nigeria, will be openly exposed to the Nigerian people, on prime time TV.

“Our concerns are being validated and confirmed. Our party’s selection as only one of four political parties in Nigeria selected for the MacArthur Foundation sponsored Town Hall series is further evidence that the NEDG and BON working in concert with others rigged the AAC out of the debate. The MacArthur foundation is one of the most respected organizations in the world. Their selection process mirrored in many parts the process that NEDG and BON claimed to follow, yet the outcomes were different. We reiterate that even the process that the NEDG, BON and Channels TV used returned the AAC as one of the top three parties in Nigeria. To those who seek to exclude us we say: truth can never be silenced. We will prevail!!”

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EXCLUSIVE: How Nigerian Soldier Killed More Than 14 Boko Haram Insurgents Before He Was Gunned Down

Sahara Reporters - 10 January 2019 - 8:59am

Boko Haram insurgents may have been gaining ground recently in their onslaughts against the Nigerian Military, but the deaths of soldiers in battle are usually laden with untold stories of the heroics of Nigerian troops.

As Saharareporters has now found out from a firsthand witness, when Boko Haram raided the Army’s base in Monguno, Borno State, in the last week of 2018, the soldier who was killed, lost his life in the most heroic of circumstances — and not until he had killed at least 14 Boko Haram insurgents.

“We were on ground when Boko Haram surprised us with a strike,” a soldier who escaped the attack unhurt told SaharaReporters on Thursday. 

“The first thing we did was to run for cover. We ran until we arrived a location fenced with transparent barbed wire. The place was locked.” 

The soldier driving the vehicle disembarked and fired at the padlock, paving the way for others to charge through the gate and run until they got to a parapet — “a straight, deep hole that you can take cover in” — where the assailants were hiding in their dozens.

“The Boko Haram insurgents were hiding inside,” said the soldier.

“That was how the driver came down from his own vehicle, collected his rifle, jumped into the parapet and started shooting those guys inside [the insurgents].

“He killed more than 14 Boko Haram insurgents before he died — more than 14. He was killing them and advancing. But there was one insurgent that he shot and thought had died; it was that one who eventually managed to shoot him in the back as he was advancing, otherwise he would have killed many more. He killed many of them already, more than 14.”

Only one soldier — that driver — died in that attack, while another was injured. But in an attack the same week when insurgents overtook Baga, killing many soldiers, with some 700 more missing, the story was entirely different. See Also Exclusive EXCLUSIVE: ‘About 700 Soldiers Missing, More Than 2,000 Trapped’ As Boko Haram Takes Over Baga 0 Comments 2 Weeks Ago

“Nobody stood to fight. People ran away — because Boko Haram came with enough weapons. Those guys were holding good weapons. All those things that the Army says about weapons are fake; they are lying. They don’t have what Boko Haram has,” the soldier added.

“You cannot compare yourself holding a blunt knife and trying to fight someone with a sharp cutlass. Imagine, your knife is not long; and it’s not sharp. Now, your opponent has a long and sharp cutlass. The person will surely defeat you. 

“So, that is the problem we’re facing; we don’t have weapons. Look at Baga, Boko Haram collected it from the Army. The most painful thing is that the brigade there had a guard room where both soldiers and Boko Haram were locked. When Boko Haram chased everyone away, they opened the guard room. What do you think they would have done to the soldiers in that guardroom? Kill them, of course!”

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Bayelsa Assembly Speaker, Deputy, Accountants Accused Of Embezzling N1billion

Sahara Reporters - 10 January 2019 - 7:45am

There is rising tension in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly over a petition filed before the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) by the member representing Brass Constituency 1, Hon. Isreal Sunny-Goli, against the Speaker, Hon. Kombowei Benson (pictured middle, with Dickson), the Clerk of the House, Mr. Aaron Timiye (pictured left) and two other accountants over alleged diversion and embezzlement of over a billion naira in allowances, constituency tour and office maintenance allowances in the last four years.

Sunny-Goli stated in the petition that although he endured the show of disdain to his office as an Assembly member and his constituent in Brass Constituency 1 by the Speaker on the direct orders of the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, the alleged diversion of his allowances started from 2015 and has continued till date.

He condemned the grand conspiracy by the Speaker, Clerk, Head of Account Department, Mr. Koroye Stephen and Former HOD, Accounts, Mr. Thompson Tamaradubo, to intimidate him and deprive him of his legitimate financial benefits from the Assembly, and further perpetrate largescale financial fraud on the funds belonging to the Assembly.

According to the petition, signed by his legal counsel, Ochu Chukwuma, Esq.: It is also very pertinent to state that from 2015 till date the Speaker of the House of Assembly and his co-travellers in the disastrous financial misadventure have refused to pay our client his furniture allowance but have appropriated the same for themselves.

"Sometime in 2016, our client was deliberately left out of an approved trip for all members of the House of Assembly to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Assembly in Mauritius. While every member of the Assembly was paid, our client was refused payment and consequently the trip. The approved money was taking, withdrawn and spent by the persons mentioned.”

“Sir, it is of paramount importance to state that the approved sum of money for member’s constituency tour during the annual assembly recess, which money is usually paid to members’ salaries account, have never been paid to our client. This money was paid to other members from the Assembly Sterling bank account and that of our client has been embezzled jointly by the afore-mentioned persons. While in June, 2018 the approved N8,000,000.00 (Eight Million Naira) only usually paid as constituency Office Maintenance Allowance to members were transferred from the Assembly Sterling Bank Account to the Assembly Zenith Bank Account and paid to all the other members’ salaries account except that of our Client.”

“Most worrisome sir, within this month of August, 2018 our client was paid the sum of N10,000,000,00 (Ten Million Naira) only as Constituency Tour Allowance for the annual assembly recess. This money was consequently and surreptitiously reversed from our clients salary account on the request of the Accountant acting supposedly on the orders of the Speaker of the Assembly. These acts and many more have been going on in the Assembly from inception and our client have drawn the attention of the Speaker to the anomalies but the same and all efforts by our client have been rebuffed without remedy, the Speaker citing 'Order from above' as excuse.

“Let it be stressed that the Assembly is an arm of Government with its operations distinct and separate from the other arms of government hence, it will be ridiculous for the perpetrators of this financial fraud to cite 'Order from above' as an excuse. It has become very urgent to checkmate this untoward financial recklessness being perpetrated against our client on one hand and the funds of the Assembly on the other hand hence this petition against the principal actors. You are, therefore, invited to use your good offices to properly investigate this matter with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Several attempts to get the reaction of the Speaker proved difficult as his Media Aide, Mr. Aotendeike Boloigha, pleaded on Tuesday for 48 hours to allow his principal respond to the allegation. 

“I have just spoken with my principal, the Speaker, can you kindly just hold on a bit till tomorrow so we can conclude on the petition?" Aotendeike Boloigha said. Seventy-two hours later, teh Speaker's reaction is still being awaited.

Other sources within the state assembly told our correspondent that the Speaker is seeking an audience with Governor Dickson in order to ensure his response to the petition is not misconstrued.

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To ‘Redefine Public Transportation’, Ambode Injects 820 Buses Into Lagos

Sahara Reporters - 10 January 2019 - 5:42am

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday said plans have been firmed up to roll out the Bus Reform Project of the state government in March with 820 high and medium capacity buses.

According to the Governor, the initiative would “redefine public transportation and make the state globally competitive".   

Speaking during an extensive inspection tour of ongoing projects across the state, which lasted from morning till late in the night, Ambode said the initiative was basically designed to inject 5,000 buses, modern terminals, facilitate ease of mobility for residents and also rev up the Lagos economy, among others.

While inspecting the assembling plant at Awoyaya in Ibeju Lekki area of the state, which is also serving as the temporary holding bay for 500 out of the 820 buses, he expressed optimism that the buses would be rolled out after the elections, while the next phase of the project would be to assemble the buses in Lagos.

"This is an assembling plant. The dream is that beyond the procurement of 820 buses by government, the next set of buses in the vision should be assembled in Lagos in this assembling plant and another one in Epe,” he said.

"That is the dream and the whole project is scalable and in this scale right now, we would run with the 820; you have seen the maintenance workshops and all that, and then the next scale, which is the next phase, is for Nigerians to be able to assemble the buses in Lagos and then we create employment opportunities and also allow the GDP of Lagos to grow. The buses are ready and we think with everything we have done, we should be able to roll out these buses maybe immediately after the elections.”

Ambode explained that although the 5,000 buses would not be enough for the state, the government was showing good example and creating the conducive atmosphere to allow the private sector come in and participate in the whole arrangement.

“What has happened is that government has gone ahead to procure these buses using its funds and the buses are being owned by a government company called Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL). So, the LBSL will lease these buses to operators who would use the three depots at Oshodi, Anthony and Yaba to ensure that the buses are sustained and maintained properly so that they don't get wasted before their lifespan expires,” he said.

"The idea is if we are able to show good example — and we have procured these buses with our own money — the private sector can join hands with us and start to procure those additional buses that will take it to 5,000, while government can also procure more and by so doing, we would have had assembling plant in Lagos and create job opportunities for our people.

"By the time you put these buses on the road, it will create jobs for drivers, engineers, technicians, and so on, thereby growing the economy of Lagos coming from the transport sector in addition to 100 bus stops being constructed simultaneously across the State with attendant positive impact on the economy. So, the idea is: create jobs, grow the economy, make the city globally competitive and then make life comfortable for the people."
The 820 buses, which have already been delivered, are equipped with cameras, USB point, internet, television, and special spaces for physically challenged, pregnant women and the aged, among others.

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