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CONFIRMED: Why Buhari’s South-West Campaign Office In Ibadan Was ‘Shut Down’

6 November 2018 - 9:47am

The South-West office of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, in Ibadan, is no longer operational, but this is no indication of a rift between the President and Adebayo Shittu, his Minister of Communications and Information Technology, SaharaReporters has been told.

The APC launched the office in January, with its top members — such as Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health; Ken Nnamani, former Senate President; and Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State — in attendance.

However, just 10 months down the line, the campaign materials dotting the building, located along Mokola-Ojoo Road in the centre of Ibadan, capital of Oyo State capital, have been removed, prompting insinuations in some quarters that Shittu had “abandoned” the Buhari/Osinbajo campaign and “shut down” the building.

According to Saheed Oladele, Director, Media and Strategy, for the Adebayo Shittu Governorship Campaign Organisation, the rent for the building had only expired, and Shittu, unable to immediately afford the N3million annual rent, had to vacated the premises. 

Oladele explained that the building, owned by Hon. Ajibola Muraina, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, was rented for Shittu by Engineer Tola Ajala, one of his political associates. 

“When we begged them and they said they had other people who wanted to rent the place, we had to give it up,” Oladele said. 

“It was Engineer Ajala who paid for it, which is why the Minister called him to pack his belongings from it. We are now looking for a better place when we have the money. The Minister is taking steps to bring the Buhari campaign to South-West as he did in 2015 when he was the coordinator in the South-West.”

Reiterating that Shittu remains with Buhari, Oladele added: “How will Shittu shut down Buhari campaign house in Oyo State when he was with Buhari just yesterday? 

“Engineer Ajala was the one who paid for the house, so that the Honourable Minister could use it as Buhari’s campaign office in the South-West. But now that the rent has expired and we’re still unable to pay, obviously we had to leave.

“There’s no talk of crisis. Not at all. We don’t have any crisis with Buhari — because the Minister is ever grateful to Buhari. He made him Minister from nobody.”

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BREAKING: Buhari Endorses N30,000 New National Minimum Wage

6 November 2018 - 9:19am

President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the new national minimum wage of N30,000 proposed by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage.

The President gave the approval on Tuesday shortly after the report of the committee was presented to him.

While promising to forward new minimum wage bill to National Assembly for action, he urged Nigerian workers against being used as political weapons. 

Details soon…

 

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Melaye’s Trial Fails To Proceed Due To Mistake By Prosecuting Counsel

6 November 2018 - 8:41am


Dino Melaye

 

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Tuesday stalled the trial of the Kogi East senator, Dino Melaye, after the testimony of the first prosecution witness.

Melaye was earlier accused of giving false information to the Police to implicate the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Edward Onoja David, in an alleged assassination case that has to do with his (Melaye) life.

On March 1, 2018, Melaye pleaded not guilty of the allegations against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Meanwhile, when the case hearing was resumed on Tuesday, the prosecution called David, who is the nominal complainant, as its first witness.

Led by the prosecuting counsel, Chika Nnana, David was cut short by the defense counsel, Olusegun Jolaawo, while in the witness box.

Jolaawo raised an alarm of objection, saying he had searched the proof of evidence and could not find David’s statement. He argued that allowing the witness to continue his testimony without the defence having prior knowledge of his evidence would violate Melaye's right to fair hearing.

"From the copy of the proof of evidence, there is no statement on him on record as required in the extant provision of the Constitution, Section 36( 6) thereof, and section 397 of ACJA to the effect that defendants must give all materials necessary to enable him to conduct his defence. This is the position of the law, ” he said.

The judge, Justice Olasunbo Goodluck, also noted that the said copy of the statement was not included in the court’s copy of the proof of evidence.

Nnana, the prosecuting counsel reacted, said that although she had a copy of the statement in her file, the non-inclusion of the statement in the proof of evidence was an error of omission.

She therefore requested that the matter be stood down for five minutes to enable her serve the document on the defence.

Jolaawo did not hesitate to opposingly frown the application for a stand down., arguing that the proper thing the prosecution needed to do was to file a motion seeking the court's leave to file additional proof of evidence in which the statement could be included.

The defence lawyer said that would take more than five minutes requested by the prosecuting counsel. Nnana was then forced to ask the court for an adjournment.

The judge nonetheless expressed dissatisfaction over the attitude of the prosecution but agreed to adjourn the matter till December 5 and 13.

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Boroffice's Opponent, Abayomi, To Quit APC As Akeredolu Seeks To Spite Buhari, Oshiomhole

6 November 2018 - 7:39am


Tunji Abayomi, the All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant in the Ondo North Senatorial District of Ondo State, has threatened to dump the ruling party. 

Speaking with journalists in Akure on Monday, Abayomi noted that he was cheated by the party in an "act of illegality" by the party's National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

The Okeaagbe-born human rights activist said he was battle-ready to drag the party's National Working Committee (NWC) led by Oshiomhole to court for allegedly substituting his name for another. 

He argued that he won the October direct primary election conducted by the party, but was surprised that it was incumbent Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice whose name was sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Already, sources close to Abayomi have told SaharaReporters that Abayomi had already concluded plans to defect to the Action Alliance (AA). One of the sources, who pleaded not to be named, said the defection plans were still being kept secret. He added that Rotimi Akeredolu was being carried along in the desperate bid to leave the APC for the Action Alliance (AA), as Akeredolu was himself aggrieved and "willing to spite Oshiomhole and President Muhammadu Buhari".

"On October 6, 2018, I participated in my ward in the APC primary with other senatorial aspirants and came first and was declared winner by the party," he said. 

"It is therefore strange that my brother Senator Ajayi Boroffice, who did not win in the APC primary, will wrongly, improperly, unlawfully, unjustly and unconstitutionally be declared a candidate for the Ondo North Senatorial zone by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. I found it also disappointing that Senator Borofice would accept an unjust and unfair victory."

Abayomi specifically lashed out at Oshiomhole and accused him of not having respect for constitution of the APC by imposing candidates on the people. He argued that the constitution of the party does not give room for an "automatic ticket" for candidates vying for any elective position. 

"With regard to the present issue, the constitution of APC forbids 'automatic ticket,'" he said.

"A candidate, according to the constitution, means 'any person who has been nominated at primary or party election to contest at the  general election'. You must first be nominated at a primary election under APC constitution to become a candidate. 

"In section 20 of the APC constitution 'Nomination of candidates for Senate shall be through direct or indirect primary election to be conducted at the appropriate level'. No option is given to APC Chairman of NWC to force any direct primary on any state. It is not like a pool that can be fixed. 

"The APC Chairman and his National Working Committee have become very notorious for false claims, wrong assumption of power and unconstitutionalism. They have become government of persons and not of the law. They have become an unregulated government over the members of the party."

Abayomi declared that he is the winner of the primary election and asked the Oshiomhole-led NWC to do the needful by adhering strictly to the party's constitution. 

"In my view, power to propose granted to the NWC of APC defeats, power to declare, assume or enforce," he said.

"So, it is today that my party APC is headed by a Chairman that cannot even obey APC constitution. Do you then wonder why we have crises everywhere?"

Noting that he is in a "serious pain", Abayomi said that he had protested to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu over the unfavorable action of the party's National Chairman, Mr Oshiomhole.

He said he was the real "authentic" candidate of the APC in the North senatorial district of the state and having participated in the primary election and won with wide margin. 

The constitutional lawyer later hinted that despite the "injustice" he would still join in the 2019 race and contest in the election from another platform. 

“I am the authentic candidate and they have failed to pick me, in violation of my right. 

"Therefore, I will run for APC, but I might run on a different political platform in order to protect the right of the people.

"With the regards to the closure of candidature, we have up to November 17 for substitution. 

"If I now decide to run on a different political platform for APC in the north senatorial zone, that I will let you know. 

"I will come back to you, you are my friends, you should all know my decision. I will still see you again on this issue, certainly, before November 17.”

“In Ondo north senatorial zone, I am the only candidate. And since Adams Oshiomhole has pushed in a sole candidate, contrary to the will, approbation and wish of our people, it means that there is no candidate as at now before INEC" he added. 

However, Mr. Abayomi added that he had begun consultating with members of his senatorial district on his next line of action to defect, since the Oshiomhole-led NWC had decided to block his way. 

"Oshiomhole and his NWC members have blocked my right to political participation as a winning candidate," he said.

"In consequence, I will not relent in demanding immediate remedy that conform with the constitution of the constitution of Nigeria and that of APC. 

"In the meantime, I have begun consultation with the party members in Ondo North Senatorial Zone to explore all remedies that are available and allowable, taking into consideration the interest of our people." 

 

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Why Did HSBC, UBS Quit Nigeria? And What Might Their Exits Portend?

6 November 2018 - 7:09am


On Friday, the  Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) announced in a report that global banking giants HSBC, a British multinational banking and financial services holding company, and UBS, a Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company, have closed their representative offices in Nigeria.

While the report from the apex bank did not give reasons for the decision of the two global banks to close their offices in Nigeria, the development has generated reactions from Nigerians across various strata. Some believe it is good riddance to bad rubbish since the banks, especially UBS, have been a conduit for siphoning our common wealth by most of our corrupt politicians into foreign financial vaults and these foreign countries use the money to run their economies.

There is another group, which is of the opinion that the banks' decision to close shop in Nigeria was informed by our bad economic situation and this might send unpleasant signals to the international community and spell economic doom for the country.

POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THE EXIT

HSBC Accused Buhari Of Presiding Over A Strugglling Economy

The two foreign banks, HSBC in particular, have not been in good terms with the Nigerian government recently. Sometime in July, HSBC made a sort of political prognostication that a second term for the sitting President, Muhammadu Buhari, risked prolonging the economic quagmire of the country. It even said the President’s approval ratings sat near all-time lows. In a report by HSBC on Nigerian economy titled, ‘ Nigeria: Papering Over The Cracks’, the global bank graphically painted the picture of a struggling and basket case economy of Nigeria whose consequence is a record-high unemployment and which in turn has given rise to an alarming number, 87 million, of poverty-stricken Nigerians.

The government dismissed the report and labelled HSBC as one of the killers of Nigeria’s economy that aided the unbridled looting of Nigerian resources by corrupt leaders. The Presidency asked the bank to return stolen assets allegedly stashed away in their vaults. HSBC and UBS might have revised their predictions, seen the possibility of a Buhari win in 2019 and so decided to sever business ties with Nigeria before what they see as an economic calamity is foisted on the nation.    

The CBN And MTN Case

Investor confidence in Nigeria has been ebbing since the central bank, in August, ordered MTN to bring back $8.1 billion, part of profits which the South African telecoms firm sent abroad, to the country. Other firms too might be afraid of having the same fate befalling them.

Fall Of Foreign Direct Investment

The fact that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Nigeria, as announced by the CBN, fell to N 379.84bn in the first half of the year from 532.63bn a year earlier might be a cause for concern  for foreign investors and hence the decision of HSBC and UBS to close their branches in Nigeria; and when this is coupled with the fact that the economic outlook of the country has every tendency to be dwarfed by  the 2019 election, then the decision of foreign investors to close shops until the coast is clear might be wise and understandable.

The Introduction Of BVN

Despite the unpleasant status of the Nigerian state in the international community, it seems the country redeemed itself a bit with the introduction of Bank Verification Number (BVN). The introduction of BVN has made it easier for the financial regulatory bodies to monitor outflow and inflow on every account. Perhaps this has been a great obstacle to the smooth running of the operations of the global banks, which one of their major purposes is to help customers who can afford their services, an easy way to transfer funds overseas. 

The Possible Implications For The Economy

HSBC and  UBS were not set up for regular banking. While their operations lasted in Nigeria, they never ran salary accounts, neither were they set up to give loans to customers. However, the exit of two of the bulge-bracket firms, as they are called in investment banking, from the country will negatively affect the confidence of foreign investors to come to Nigeria. This is because when foreign financial institutions are operating in a country, it becomes easier for investors from their local environments to navigate and invest their resources in such a country.

Also, this will negatively affect this administration’s rating in the ease-of-doing business rankings.

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Keyamo Lists 20 Reasons Why Atiku's N97/Litre Fuel Price Is Impossible

6 November 2018 - 6:23am


Festus Keyamo, Director, Strategic Communications, of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, on Monday night criticised ATiku ABubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Pary (PDP), over his claim that he would lower the pump price of petrol to N77/litre if elected President.

According to Keyamo, there is no chance any President could sell the product for any price in the region of what is being mentioned by Atiku, as the landing price is alone if N205/litre. 

"Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the PDP a few days ago that its presidential candidate, H.E. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will, if elected President, crash the pump price of petrol to N97 per litre. However, there is no better evidence of desperation and phantom promises by the main opposition’s candidate than this statement," he said.

"At today’s international price of gasoline, no supplier will ever contemplate any scheme that will deliver products at such ridiculous price. Those in the sector reading this must be having a good laugh at the opposition. A simple check at the international prices will show that even at the world market where gasoline is procured, it will cost not less than N158 to procure a litre of crude oil. When you add the cost of refining, plus freight, finance and port charges (premium), there is no magic that one would employ to supply the finished product at N145 a litre. Presently, the landing cost of the product in Nigeria hovers around N205 per litre.

"The claim by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is opportunism of the highest order. Nigerians are aware that higher crude oil prices will translate to higher government revenues and a prudent administration will convert the resources to the benefit of the common man.

"This is exactly what President Muhammadu Buhari has done since he mounted the saddle in 2015. The President has worked out a transparent system whereby the whole subsidy regime and scam has been totally eliminated. There is no cash incentive or payment again to middlemen."

Keyamo then went on to itemise the President’s "transparent policy", in 20 points showing the impossibility of Atiku's postulations, as follows:

(1)         What obtained under the past government was the ABUSE of the subsidy regime.

(2)         The system under the past Government was that independent marketers and all sort of persons were allowed to import petroleum products on their own, declare non-existent volumes of these products and get paid for these non-existent volumes.

(3)         In addition, government would then pay them cash for the “loses” (subsidy) in selling at fixed market price.

(4)         Under this old system, more than N3trillion was lost.

(5)         However, when these independent marketers could no longer bring in products due to high prices of crude and make profit at the fixed market price of N145 to a litre, President Buhari refused to further raise the price of petroleum products beyond the N145 per litre. The President was also not prepared to go back to the subsidy regime. Therefore, President Buhari stopped the scam of overblown volumes and subsidy payments to middlemen.

(6)         As a result, NNPC took full charge of getting products for consumption.

(7)         Under this arrangement, NNPC would swap crude oil for the exact value of finished products in refineries anywhere the products are available around the world.

(8)         Middlemen are only allowed to go and ferry the products and bring into the country and hand over to NNPC.

(9)         NNPC will only then pay them for the cost of the logistics of bringing the products in (this is what is called premium).

(10)     Even this cost of logistics is now subject to competitive bidding unlike before.

(11)     In the past, marketers used to charge $86 per metric ton as cost of logistics (premium) to bring in products.

(12)     Under Buhari’s regime when it was subjected to competitive bidding, the highest the government got was $7 per metric ton as cost of logistics to bring in products. More than N3billion has been saved by this bidding process.

(13)     Having gotten the value of the crude oil back in terms of finished products, NNPC will now sell at government controlled price which is far lower than the landing cost.

(14)     Presently, the landing cost is around N205 per litre, but government sells at N145 per litre.

(15)     Therefore, Government just records a loss in NNPC instead of paying cash to middlemen. That loss it suffers is fully reflected when NNPC pays money into the Federation Account.

(16)     This also further affects the money accruing to States monthly from the Federation Account.

(17)     As a result, this loss that NNPC suffers, (which is recorded as cost of operation of NNPC) is fully subjected to scrutiny by the National Economic Council which also includes the PDP Governors and the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), which includes Commissioners of Finance from PDP States.

(18)     If anybody alleges a scam in the process, then the PDP Governors and the States would also be involved because they are involved in jointly scrutinizing the records of NNPC at NEC and FAAC.

(19)     No cash settlement for any under recovery is involved, therefore there is no basis for any subsidy payments which is the avenue for fraud.

(20)     Therefore, it is true that Buhari is not paying subsidy to anybody.

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Stone Is The Weapon Of Anyone Who Is Unarmed, Says Shi'ia Movement

6 November 2018 - 6:05am


Leader of the group, Abdullahi Zango ( middle ) at the press conference

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) says the throwing of stones and soldiers and policemen by Shi'ites is proof that members of the group were not armed during last week's conforntations, desite a contrary claim by the Military  

The movement also said it had spent N8million on the treatment of the members who sustained gunshot injuries during a violent clash with the military in Abuja last week.

It disclosed this in Abuja on Monday, at a press conference on the attack on the movement by the security operatives.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Sheik Abdullahi Zango said they had paid the a whopping of N8million as hospital bills for 106 followers of Shaikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, who are currently receiving treatment at various hospital in Abuja.

He noted that additional N25million will be needed to cater to other casualties who are still recuperating in their hospital beds.

Zango explained that the statement issued by the Military and Police in respect of the attacks, that they blocked road for vehicles conveying arms at Zuba axis, were fabricated. He accused the Military of attacking the peaceful procession, opening fire on defenceless protesters and cooking up lies in defence.

Zango maintained that the group was pushed to the wall, which provoked the members into hurling stones at the soldiers.  He stressed that resorting to stones by the group proved that the protesters were not armed.

"But the situation of throwing stones at them; yes [stone] is the weapon of somebody who is not armed. When they started opening fire on us because they had been commanded that they should  kill us, we had nothing to do than to throw stones at them and this is the proof that we were not armed.

"How can somebody with gun be shooting you and you are throwing stones? If you are armed and somebody is shooting you, won't you shoot back? Why should you use stone? Stone is the weapon of a person defending himself against attack, because stones are found everywhere."

He said the allegations by the military  that the group is armed is a diversionary to cover the atrocity of killing 46 innocent Nigerians. 

"They continue to say that we are armed; this is a blatant lie," he said.

"I swear to God before all of you here, If we were armed, Nigeria army cannot face us. If we have weapons with us, Nigeria is too small to face us. With our courage and bravery, with empty hand they are running away from us talk less of when we have arms. They know that we are not armed, because they are cowards. How can you go and attack people with our wives and children?"

"If the Police actually found anything incriminating against the group then it must have been those planted by the Police to infiltrate and blackmail the group. If they should show you people that we have arms, it is a lie. Yes, it  is some people whom they have planted among us to use those guns against the security agents to blackmail us, if at all we have such situation."

Zango added that  Imrana Abdullahi, a member of the group who is receiving treatment at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, due to injuries he sustained from the attack of the Military and Police, had just passed away, bringing the total number of people killed by the security agents to 47.

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BREAKING: Four House Of Reps Members Dump APC

6 November 2018 - 5:14am

Four members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the House of Representatives have dumped the party.

According to Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the house, who announced their defection during plenary on Tuesday, the lawmakers are: Adedapo Lam-Adesina (Oyo State), Dada Awoleye (Oyo State), Segun Williams (Ogun State) and Lawali Hassan (Zamfara State).

Details soon...

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A Country Without “Rubber Bullets” By Reuben Abati

6 November 2018 - 3:08am


Many years ago, I was in Abuja to attend an international workshop on one of those human development issues that used to engage a lot of attention in those days: sustainable development goals, maternal mortality, maternal morbidity, adolescent sexuality, women’s political representation, the Beijing declaration, HIV/AIDS reporting… Those were hot topics in those days as Nigeria tried to grapple with the challenges of the return to civilian rule and seek the consolidation of democracy and its ethos. I don’t remember what the topic was on that particular trip, but Nigeria owes many of the international agencies which at the time helped to mobilise civil society beyond elections to realise that every country needed to focus on both human development and human rights issues and mainstream same into the current of prevailing thought.  But after such conferences and workshops, often attended by persons from other African countries and visiting technical experts we usually found a way of unwinding by exploring the cultural delicacies that Abuja had on offer. Abuja was much safer, much cleaner, far more innocent and politically saner then than it is now.  Nightlife in the city was also busy. Obasanjo was President.

So, this night in question, we ended up in one of those bubbling nightclubs in Abuja. I don’t remember the name of the club anymore, but I know the location. The year was 1999. The month was either November or December. Glitzing lights, heavy-pounding music, generously made women and girls with heavenly features whose presence alone was an overdose of aphrodisiac, cigarette smoke wafting skywards, a mixture of scents: perfume and body sweat producing a peculiar smell you can only find in a nightclub, so much fun in the air, every one appearing to be happy even if the world outside by dawn would confront every dancing, smoking, drinking acolyte at the shrine of Bacchus, with sober realities. I didn’t mind.

Somehow, I got drafted to the VIP section. Most nightclubs have a quiet corner, where the big boys relax, away from the din, in the company of all the best things on offer. I was dragged there by a guy who said he had recognized me, and he had been looking for me. He turned out to be a military officer, a Captain or something close to that.  I detached myself from the group and joined him. He was in the company of other soldiers, also out in the evening to enjoy a break from the hard task of soldiering for Nigeria.

“Abati”, the guy called out as soon as we took our seats and a bottle of chilled Star Lager beer was presented before me. 

“Well done, my brother. Nice meeting you”,  I said, with my eyes and mouth focussed on the sweating bottle before me. As the bottle struggled to free itself from the imprisonment of a cruel refrigerator, my throat waited in anticipation.

“Abati. Why is it that you civilians can’t understand us, the Nigerian military? You don’t seem to get the point. I read this your article on the Odi massacre and you were blaming the Nigerian Army.”

My heart sank. After a long day discussing ideas at a workshop, I was certainly not in the mood for an evening of further talk about Nigeria, its many troubles, and human development. When the Captain saw me and he started talking about how such a big fan of my writings he was and he invited me to join him and his friends, I should have known that there was something else beyond free beer and specially barbecued fish. Indeed, I had written about the Odi massacre, yes, the killing and rape of defenceless persons by the Nigerian army, yes. I took a sip of the beer. That felt good but not what the man said next.

“Abati, do you know much a bullet costs?”. He answered his own question.

“A bullet is very expensive. When you go about writing that soldiers should not kill anybody and that extra-judicial killing is wrong, I just laugh. I even saw you on television talking about extra-judicial killings. Which extra-judicial killing? We had to do what we had to do in Odi. It is not a massacre. You see all these guys here, they are all soldiers. You may not know the value of a bullet. But every soldier knows that every bullet that is assigned to you must be accounted for. Once you send a soldier on assignment, he must match every single bullet with a dead body, otherwise, he is not a good soldier. Nigerians must know that you don’t ever confront a soldier.  You confront a soldier, behave in any aggressive manner, you will take a bullet in your head.”

Not being a soldier, I could not argue. The only thing I knew about soldiering came from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, a couple of books on the British at the battle front, action movies, Winston Churchill’s essays on war, and those famous battle-front comics we all read as secondary school children. Even if I had any counterargument, it was wise under the circumstances to keep quiet. It was not the first time I would be meeting soldiers, and in previous conversations of this nature, I suspected that they always held their guns by their side. I didn’t want a bullet in my head.

“We are not policemen”, he continued. “Those ones are trained to waste bullets. They train them to maim or appeal to people. The Nigerian military is a serious arm of the security services. If you go to the war front and you miss targets and waste bullets, you can get killed.  Our job as soldiers is to account for every bullet. Nigerians must decide whether they want the armed forces or not. If you call us out, we will kill.”

The beer was no longer tasting fine. But I recall this past encounter in great detail, in the light of the recent confrontation in Abuja between members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and a combined team of the Nigeria Army and Nigeria Police. The Shi’ites as they are known were celebrating the annual ceremony in honour of the great grandson of the Prophet (SAW), Hussein. It is called the “Arbaeen”. They were also protesting the continued incarceration, since 2015, of the leader of the Shi’ites movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife, both of whom remain in custody in open defiance of court rulings. .

The Nigerian Army, purportedly acting on “orders from above” opened fire on the protesting Shi’ites. About 49 of them were killed. Undeterred, the Shi’ites reorganized and launched another protest. The killing of their men had radicalized them. On the second day of protest, they threw stones and set police vehicles ablaze. More than 400 of them were reportedly arrested by the police. The Shi’ites claim the number is as high as 1, 000 members of their sect. This has generated international concern. Amnesty International and others have since condemned what appears to be an organised assault on fundamental human rights.

However, the Nigerian Army’s response has been stereotypical. First, we were told the Shi’ites had to be killed because they threw stones at soldiers and the military had to act in self-defence. It is curious that in response to alleged stone-throwing, our soldiers responded with live ammunition! The additional defence is that even the United States acts in the same manner – a subtle response to the killing of Mexicans throwing stones across the border in the Southern parts of the United States. US Border guards this year alone have killed about 93 Mexicans, but the difference is that the case of 16-year old Jose Antonio Rodriguez is back in court and it may trigger a re-assessment of the rights of persons killed across the border, and the rights of the families of such persons to seek justice and be heard.

The New York Times picked up the comparison attempted by the Nigerian army and did a story out of it. This was important enough to force President Donald Trump to quickly auto-correct and say that those who throw stones should be arrested. This is understandable, in the face of a mid-term election that starts today in the United States. President Trump certainly cannot afford a human rights scandal about him being a source of inspiration for reckless conduct in a country he once dismissed as “a shithole country” and its President as “lifeless”.

The Nigerian military quickly deleted the comparison with America. But further asked why it should use live ammunition against protesters, the Nigerian military speaking through Brigadier-General Joseph Agim, took us back to that night in 1999.  He told his interviewer, “we don’t have rubber bullets when we are sent on assignments. So, if any person that is not happy with the government wants to take on the military, then they should be ready for the consequence(s)… Nobody can take on the military and they will not have casualties.” On the back of this statement by the army, a female Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police has also posted a famous message on Instagram to wit: “If you throw STONE, expect a bullet! Squad on mission! #Bosslady #protectiveservice. If you feel like joining the squad, say Hi.”

What other evidence do we need, then of the disorientation of the Nigerian state and the cruelty of its officers? The army says it is licensed to kill. The police insist they too will kill, if any citizen does as much as throw a stone. We must seek recourse to the Constitution.

The primary job of the military is properly spelled out under Section 217 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution: “(a) defending Nigeria from territorial aggression; (b) maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on borders from violation on land, sea, or air”.  Section 217 (2) (c) further says the Armed Forces of Nigeria can be called in tsuppressss insurrection and “act in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the president, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly ..” Section 218 provides a caveat by stating expressly that “the powers of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall include the power to determine the operational use of the armed forces of the Federation”. Was the National Assembly involved in the recent declaration of war against the Shi’ites by the Nigeria Army? Is or was Nigeria facing the threat of war from the Shi’ites? Could the “orders from above” have come from the highest levels?

Was it right to invoke Section 217 (2) (c )? I will argue that whereas Nigeria is meant to be under a democratic dispensation, the presence of the military, pointing to a covert re-militarization has been pervasive. Whereas Nigerians fought for civilian rule, the soldiers have remained in their face: in politics, at police checkpoints, virtually everywhere, even on election days. They don’t help to keep the peace internally. They shoot to kill. The police whose responsibility it is to protect lives and property in Nigeria are helpless: they are under-staffed, under-equipped, and demoralized. It is a tragedy that they are now beginning to sound like soldiers.  

The position of the law is that Nigerians have the right under Section 40 of the !999 Constitution to assemble and associate freely and peacefully. They don’t even need a police permit to do so as proclaimed in All Nigeria People’s Party vs. Inspector General of Police (2008), 12 WRN 65. Nonetheless, the Nigerian government continues to defy this law, “orders are continually issued from above” to frustrate not just Section 40 of the Constitution, but also Section 33 on right to life, Section 38 on right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Section 39 dealing with the right to freedom of expression and the press, Section 42 on the right to freedom from discrimination, and Section 44 on the right to dignity of the human person. The rights of members of the Shi’ite movement in Nigeria have been violated on all of these counts. The vengeful use of live ammunition against them is condemnable and barbaric. This was how Boko Haram began. Shi’ites crave martyrdom. It is a fundamental precept of their faith. Live bullets can only strengthen their resolve. The sustained attack on them in Nigeria has obvious implications: Nigeria must not on any account become a playfield for the global, sectarian war between Sunnis and Shi’ites or a theatre of live bullets against every little protest by ordinary citizens.

All things considered, Nigeria is in a sad place. The citizens of a country that has no rubber bullets are endangered. It is a country under the weight of self-imposed terror, misrule and poor governance, indeed, a country against its people. In the last three years, Nigerians have been targets of live bullets in every aspect of their lives. Each time they complain, they get shot in the head. Poverty is widespread. Salaries are not being paid. Foreign investors are fleeing. Local investors are groaning. Workers are going on strike. The great art of living is dying. When the people groan, they are reminded that this government has no rubber bullets! A country where a bullet is valued more than human lives is sick.

I panic. The Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police are scheduled to provide security during the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. Will this translate into more casualties in 2019? The international community should advise the incumbent Nigerian government not to give “orders from above” for indiscriminate killings and the use of live bullets during the 2019 Nigeria elections. On that may well rest the future stability of Nigeria. 

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FG Feeds Pupils With Six Million Eggs, 594 Cows Weekly

6 November 2018 - 2:48am


Maryam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on the National Social Welfare Programme, has said the Federal Government feeds pupils with six million eggs, 594 cows on a weekly basis on the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

She also noted that the programme has captured nine million children in 26 states.

According to NAN, Uwais disclosed this in Abuja on Monday, when she received a delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on a study tour of Nigeria to learn from the social intervention programmes in the country.

She said: "Presently, each child eats at least an egg in a day, adding up to 6.8million eggs being consumed weekly by children under the programme in just 26 states. So, the poultry farmers are now doing so much to provide eggs for the schools because every meal is a balanced diet and every child must have at least one egg.

“We need to slaughter 594 cows every week for the pupils and 83 metric tonnes of fish is consumed weekly in just 26 states and more states are coming on board.

“Farmers are growing and requesting for rice meals now because they are saying I was growing 20 bags but because of the programme, I now provide more so I need a rice meal.’’

Uwais said farmers were now requesting government support on mechanised farming.

Adesanmi Abimbola, Programme Manager; National Home Grown School Feeding Programme said 95,000 cooks had been employed so far, adding that mechanism had been put in place for the maintenance of quality standard.

John Mugabushaka, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Social Affairs, DRC and head of the delegation said they were sent by the DRC government on an experience sharing tour.

“We have been sent by our Ministry of Social Affairs through the DRC government with the purpose of learning how Nigeria runs its social programme," he said.

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INEC Deletes 300,000 Names From Voter Register

6 November 2018 - 2:23am


This is just as the commission revealed that from today, November 6, to November 12, it would display the voter register in the 120,000 polling units nationwide for Nigerians to scrutinise and raise objections, if any.

INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this when he received a delegation of ECOWAS Pre-Election Fact Finding Mission, led by the chairman of Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission, Mohamed Conteh, yesterday in Abuja.

Yakubu  said that the names were removed from the register after Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) was carried out on the biometric data of registered voters, noting that the commission had started the cleaning up of the register.

“For the registered voters, we have been cleaning up on our own, using the AFIS.  As at last week, before I travelled, I was told that over 300,000 names were dropped via the automatic fingerprints identification system.

“But the cleaning of the voter register is not the sole responsibility of the commission; it is also the responsibility of every Nigerian. That is why the law says that we should display the register for a period of six days between November 6 and November 12. We will display the voter register in 120, 000 polling units nationwide,” he said.

The INEC chairman urged Nigerians to make use of the opportunity to assist the commission to identify names of other persons who are ineligible to vote for further clean-up.

Yakubu told the mission that INEC was well prepared for the 2019 general elections, saying it had passed the planning stage, and was now on implementation of the line-up activities for the elections.

“In fact we can say that the 2019 general election is perhaps the most deliberately well planned election in our history.

“We have finished the strategic planning; we have finished our strategic programme of action, and we have completed the election project plan. We have issued the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections,” he said.

Yakubu also disclosed that the commission would by November 9 or November 10 release the statistics of political parties that nominated candidates for governorship elections coming up in 29 states and the State Houses of Assembly in all states.

Speaking earlier, leader of the mission, Conteh, said that they were in Nigeria to gather relevant information and see how prepared INEC was for the general elections.

“This is a fact-finding mission to the Federal Republic of Nigeria ahead of the elections.

“As you are aware, it is common that before we start any election, organisations such as ECOWAs come and see the condition under which election is conducted and gather information in respect of the elections

“More importantly, meet with you as a major stakeholder, as election management body that is responsible for the conduct of election to discuss with you and see how prepared you are for the election,’’ he said.

Conteh thanked ECOWAS, ECONEC and the federal government for the assistance rendered to Serial Leone during its elections in April.

Another member of the delegation and former chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission,  Dr Remi Ajibewa, said that the mission would use the visit to meet with other electoral stakeholders in the country.

These, according to her, include security agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and political parties to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2019.

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UPDATED: Alleged Bribery: Court Stops Kano Assembly From Investigating Ganduje

6 November 2018 - 2:13am


Kano State Governor Ganduje

Kano State Governor Ganduje

The court presided over by Justice A. T Badamasi, also ordered the seven-man investigative committee set up by the assembly to maintain the status quo ante.

A group of constitutional lawyers, “Lawyers for the Sustainable Democracy of Nigeria”, had dragged Kano State House of Assembly to court and sought for an order to stop its committee from further investigation into the matter.

The National President of the group, Barrister Muhammad Zubair, who read the court order to newsmen today, said the investigation contradicted the law that separates powers among the three tiers of governments on how to operate.

He said, the case was criminal, hence only a competent court of law could entertain it.

“Though the house relied on Sections 128-129 of the Assembly in conducting its investigation, however, the assembly can only do so if there is any petition to that effect from someone,” he said.

The order of interim injunction reads, “Upon carefully running through the ex-parte application dated 5th day of November 2018 filed by the Counsel for the plaintiff accompanied by a 23-paragraph affidavit duly deposed by Muhammad Zubair, the Court granted the order”.

The court said the respondents, Kano Assembly, Chairman of the Committee Baffa Babba Danagundi and the Attorney General should be served before closing hours of Monday, November 5, 2018.

“And that accelerated hearing is hereby ordered and the respondents are given 4 days to respond to this application after serving,” it said.

The court also ordered that parties should maintain status quo ante pending the hearing of the motion on notice, and adjourned the case to November 12, 2018 for hearing.

When contacted, the chairman of the Kano Assembly seven-man Committee, Hon. Baffa Babba Danagundi, said the committee had not been served with the order, hence nothing could stop them from discharging their responsibility.

He, however, said when they were served, they would respect the rule of law as lawmakers.

“We have promised to do justice to the case and we will do justice to whoever deserves it. So, if we are served, we will abide by the court order and we will wait to see the outcome of the court judgement but I can assure you, we will follow this case to its logical conclusion,” he said.

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Oshiomhole Blackmailing Me Over Imo Catholics –Okorocha

6 November 2018 - 2:09am


Former Edo State governor Oshiomhole, who distanced the APC from Okorocha’s alleged disrespect for the Roman Catholic community in the state,  apologised to the Archbishop of the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Most Reverend Anthony Obinna for the governor’s “sin”.

But Okorocha, who has been at loggerheads with Oshiomhole over the Imo State APC primaries, in which his son-in-law Uche Nwosu lost the 2019 governorship ticket to Senator Hope Uzodinma, said in  a statement  by   his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo,  his party’s  national chair’s  apology  to Obinna was  “a deliberate blackmail”.

The statement read in part,  “In responding to that deliberate blackmail, we won’t toe the part of Comrade Oshiomhole. We recognise the fact that he is the National Chairman of a ruling party,  which President Muhammadu Buhari is the leader, and we would not, therefore, throw caution to the wind like he did, when he was abusing or attacking governors in his party as if he is the publicity secretary of any of the opposition parties.

“If he had asked questions, he would have discovered that members of the Catholic Church in the state constitute the bulk of Governor Okorocha’s supporters,  especially at the grassroots.  They voted for him overwhelmingly in 2011 and 2015 respectively. And he has never taken their support for granted.  He has shown gratitude in several ways which cannot be catalogued in this response, including making them the majority in his cabinet.

“The man has put himself on trial and that is the reason since that woeful and awful outing, he has made more than nine claims to see how he could recover but all to no avail. He murdered sleep and would remain awake.”

The statement said   Okorocha demonstrated maturity by avoiding abuse and name-calling when he spoke to the media after meeting with Buhari recently, urging Oshiomhole to emulate the governor.

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Buhari Yet To Receive Electoral Act For Assent

6 November 2018 - 2:03am


President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to receive the latest version of the amendments made to the 2010 Electoral Act by the National Assembly, Daily Trust has gathered.

Daily Trust reports that the both chambers of the National Assembly had weeks ago passed the amendment made to the latest version of the Electoral Act before proceeding on two weeks recess for oversight.

The lawmakers adopted the use of card reader for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

The Senate was first to approve the fresh amendment on October 23, this year and a week later, the House of Representatives adopted the same document passed by the Red Chamber.

‎Our correspondents report that the approval for the use of the card reader came less than four months to the 2019 general elections.

The amendment showed that the card reader would only be deployed for accreditation of registered voters at the various polling units across the country.

Where the card reader malfunctions and another one is not deployed within three hours to the end of voting, the Senate said‎, election in such a polling unit shall be cancelled and a new card reader be deployed within 24 hours for a fresh election.

The fresh amendment was as a result of certain observations made‎ by President Buhari in the earlier bill passed and transmitted to him by both chambers of the federal legislature.

‎When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity Yusuph Olaniyonu referred our correspondent to the Senate spokesman, Sen Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger).

But Sabi could not be reached as his mobile phone was switched off at the time of filing this report.

However, House spokesman Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) said the two chambers have since harmonised their positions on the bill and will soon transmit it to the president for assent.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang told our reporter that: “I will need to relate to the National Assembly to be able to answer your question.”

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Gana Seeks Donald Duke’s Nullification As SDP candidate

6 November 2018 - 1:57am


Former Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana has approached the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama, seeking Donald Duke’s nullification  as Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) presidential candidate.

They argued that the process that produced the party’s flag bearer violated the SDP constitution.

Duke,  a former Cross River Governor, polled 812 votes to defeat his closed rival, Prof. Gana, who polled 611 votes at the party’s national convention held at Old Parade Ground, Abuja, on October 7.

The matter, which was slated for mentioning yesterday, was stalled due to the indisposition of the judge, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, owing to ill health.

However, the claimant, Prof. Gana, who was present in court yesterday, was represented in the proceeding by Pius Akubo (SAN), J.A. Abraham (SAN), Joshua Musa (SAN) and Innocent Daagba, among others.

The first to fifth defendants were represented by Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN). No counsel announced appearance for the sixth defendant, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Akubo informed the court that the counsel had conferred and agreed that a short adjournment be granted to allow the judge recover fully and to enable the claimant counsel respond to the processes served on him by the defendant’s counsel last Friday.

The parties agreed to come back on November 13 for hearing.

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Sowore Dismisses Facebook Economists, Unveils Salary Calculator On Minimum Wage

6 November 2018 - 1:54am



In solidarity with Nigerian workers, Omoyele Sowore, Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), has unveiled a salary calculator on his campaign website, which compares the salary of Nigerian workers with that of serving Senators.

The calculator, which evaluates how long it would take a worker in Nigeria to earn an equivalent of the monthly allowances of lawmakers of the National Assembly Members comes on the heels in the conversation on how much Nigerians should earn as the new minimum wage.

Labour unions had shelved plans to embark on an indefinite industrial action earlier scheduled to begin on Tuesday on the new national minimum wage. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Labour Calls Off Nationwide Strike At The Eleventh Hour 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Speaking on the minimum wage at the Independence Day rally at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Lagos, Sowore said: “When they want to receive allowances, there is money but when Nigerian workers who create the wealth demand for a fair wage for their labour, Facebook economists will tell you it will cause inflation. How will investing in your human resources cause inflation? How come the salary of our Senators who do nothing have not caused inflation?”

He went on to propose N100,000 minimum wage, which he called "living wage”, adding that “what this will do is that it will empower civil servants with purchasing power, and they will stimulate the market through demand and supply and this will grow local businesses, but they say this is not possible because they want you to remain where you are”.

On sourcing the funds to finance his proposal, Sowore said: “There are uncollected royalties from oil companies, who are making a kill from our oil blocs. A fraction of this money alone can pay the Nigerian worker without the government breaking the bank".

Oke Temitayo Ezekiel, who stated his experience using the tool, posted on Facebook: “And this is what I got: it will take you four years, 10 months to earn Nigerian Senators monthly allowance. Wahala Deh!”

“It will take me 11 years, three months to earn a Senator's monthly salary,” Folorunsho Williams said, after using the salary calculator tool.

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100 Aspirants In Ondo Sue Oshiomhole, INEC, APC

6 November 2018 - 1:50am


The grouse of the aspirants, led by former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Kenneth Olawale, was that there was no primary election in the state through which the candidates of the party could have emerged for the next year’s general elections.

 

Through the counsel, Mr. Wale Omotoso, other aspirants, including Eni Omosule, Mukaila Ayorinde Ajakaye, Coker Malachi, Ayodeji Arowele, Dele Ologun, Olaposi Joe Babatunde and Agunloye Taiwo, among others, asked the court to declare that the ruling APC did  not have candidates for the National and State Assembly elections in the state.

Pointedly, the aspirants said the ruling party violated the 2010 Electoral Act and the constitution of the country by presenting candidates for the forthcoming election without the conduct of party primaries which is one of the prerequisites for the emergence of candidates.

 

Aside Oshiomole, the suit has as defendants the APC, the National Legal Adviser, Mr. Babatunde Ogala, the state chairman of the party in Ondo State, Mr. Ade Adetimehin and INEC.

 

The aggrieved aspirants asked for: “A declaration that the subversion of the Electoral Guidelines of the APC as stipulated in its constitution by the party machinery in Ondo State in respect of the House of Representatives and House of Representatives primaries purportedly conducted on the 5th of October, 2018 in their failure to give the claimants opportunity of being voted for by the members of the party as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, is illegal, invalid, unconstitutional, null and void.

 

“A declaration that the hand picking of preferred candidates without conducting any primary election in any of the ward and constituency in Ondo State with non-presence of any officials of INEC and members of the National Electoral Committee of the party amounting to pre-arranged choice of candidates is illegal, contrary to the Electoral Guideline of the APC and the express provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended in 2015.

 

“A declaration that the harassment, molestation and intimidation of the claimants in their various units leading to their being forcibly chased away and embarrassed from all venues designed for the purpose of the primary elections with machetes and Dane guns by hired thugs and hoodlums of the preferred candidates, thereby ensuring that no primary election was held, amount to gross flagrant breach of Electoral Guideline of the party and the express provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended in 2015.”

 

Apart from saying that the attempt by the Electoral Committee to send names to INEC amount to breach of the constitution and the Electoral Act, the aspirants prayed for an order voiding the act of hand picking of preferred candidates without due process of the law. When the case came up for hearing yesterday, the Presiding Judge, Justice F. A. Olubanjo ordered that all the defendants must be served and fixed the hearing of the case for November 12.

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Consul-General: $1.3bn American Businesses In Nigeria under Threat

6 November 2018 - 1:44am


Bray has called also for increased investment in the education of the girl-child and greater political participation of women in Nigeria.

Bray spoke in Lagos at the 2018 International Investment Conference with the theme: “Promoting Investment, Connecting Business,” organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

He said American investors have issues with how policies are made and changed, noting that it has the capacity to discourage investors in the country.

The envoy said the development has the capacity to discourage any investor as there is no clear-cut obedience to rule of law to protect investors.

He argued that the country has image problem which needed to be addressed urgently.

Bray noted that though security concerns remain an issue, it is not enough to discourage genuine investors as what they need to do is just to take care of their personal or corporate existence.

On infrastructure, he advocated the building of competitive infrastructure and stressed the need to connect cities and states for easy movement of goods and services.

In another development, Bray has called for increased investment in the education of the girl-child and greater political participation by women in Nigeria.

Bray in his keynote address on the second day of the 17th Annual Conference of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) in Lagos recently said: “Nigeria cannot achieve its dreams of a prosperous and inclusive society without reinventing its approach to how it is treating the overwhelming majority of the women and girls living in this country.

“It may be up to you to change the tenor of the national discourse and prod Nigeria to place education and health, as well as the status of women and girls higher on the national agenda.”

A statement by the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the US Consulate General said Bray spoke on ‘Unstoppable You: Reinvent and Reinvigorate’ at the event attended by leading women from both the private and public sectors, and encouraged the women leaders to continue working to promote gender equality in Nigeria.

He lamented that Nigeria is reportedly home to the largest number of out-of-school children in the world, and many of them girls.

“If Nigeria properly invests in the education of women and girls, how many more Amina Mohammeds will represent this country on the world stage? If more women and girls are given equal opportunities, how many more Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies will be able to tell stories that enthrall the world?” Bray asked.

He challenged the conference participants to press for greater involvement by women in the country’s politics, noting that removing the barriers to women’s full economic participation is important to an inclusive and prosperous Nigeria.

He said: “WIMBIZ and various Nigerian women’s organizations can help Nigeria decide the course of its future and chart a course that will lead to a democratic and prosperous nation. You can start by working to ensure that the 2019 elections are free, fair, credible, and peaceful. That would be a great start,” the Consul General added.

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Okorocha Loses Again As Court Nullifies Suspension Of 5 Imo Lawmakers

6 November 2018 - 1:36am


Justice Anunihu, who is the administrative judge of the state High Court, also, awarded a cost of N8 million against the state Assembly.

Five members of the Imo State House of Assembly, perceived to be loyal to the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, were suspended, indefinitely, in what the Speaker, Acho Ihim, had alleged to be “unparliamentary conduct” unbecoming of legislators.

 

The affected lawmakers were Chiji Collins, Isiala Mbano state constituency, Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, Mbaitoli (deputy Governor’s LGA), Uche Oguwuike, Ikeduru state constituency (deputy governor’s in-law) and Ikenna Nzeruo, representing Oru east state constituency.

They were members of the coalition alliance, who had refused to join in the impeachment plot against the deputy governor and the alleged N50 million oath taking and endorsement of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor in 2019.

In his judgement, the presiding judge described the purported suspension of the lawmakers as an act of impunity of the highest order by the leadership of the state Assembly.

Justice Anunihu also restrained the leadership of the Assembly, its agents, privies, servants from interfering, stopping, impeding in a manner, whatsoever, in the rights of the lawmakers as members of Imo State House Assembly.

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Cambridge: Why We Can’t Authenticate Buhari’s Result

6 November 2018 - 1:31am


The attestation of result, which was delivered to Buhari last Friday sparked a fresh controversy with some Nigerians alleging fraud and demanding further proof from Cambridge Assessment, the original body that was in charge of conducting school certificate examinations across West Africa in the 1960s. In a response to one of the requests to authenticate the controversial certificate yesterday, Cambridge said on its website: “We can only confirm or verify results at the direct request of or with the permission of a candidate.

 

“This is in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulations, Data Protection Act 2018 and section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.”

 

However, the organization confirmed that according to the Regulations for 1961, African Language papers, including those for Hausa were set for the West African School Certificate while examination results were classed in grades by 1 to 9. “1,2,3,4,5 & 6 indicate a Pass with Credit; 7 & 8 indicate a Pass; 9 indicates a Failure. To pass the School Certificate, candidates had to pass examinations in a variety of groups.

 

It was compulsory to pass English Language, but not Maths, in order to gain the Certificate,,” the examination body said. Cambridge disclosed that a total of 152 candidates sat for the WASC Hausa examination in 1961 and that Hausa language was one of the subjects set in the Northern Region that year. It however failed to confirm if there was any Muhammadu Buhari among the candidates.

 

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Secondary School Certificate has been a subject of controversy since 2015 when it was found missing in the forms he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the purpose of the presidential election. At that time, Buhari had through a sworn affidavit claimed that all his credentials were with the Secretary of the Military Board. Several lawyers filed suits in different courts challenging his claims and seeking his disqualification.

 

Many of these cases were stalled following several long adjournments where other plaintiffs were forced to withdraw their suits due to intense pressure from forces sympathetic to Buhari.

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