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Remembering Those Bleeding Tales By King Owen-Cambel Ogu (I)

19 October 2018 - 7:59am


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“If I were Nigeria,” my father said to me as we had a long-delayed conversation on the veranda of his single-storey house, “I will colonise São Tomé and all the islands up to Gabon; because the west could use those areas to destabilise us.”

That frank view expressed by my dad who schooled in Japan in the seventies and not in any western state like his peers, has some merit. It speaks to what type of voice Nigeria has or does not have, in the global jungle of diplomacy, where ‘survival of the fittest’ is truly enacted. If I was called out to explain what type of creature Nigeria is in the diplomatic wild, here is what I will say: "Nigeria is from a species of elephants that are so tame, they run for cover in times of danger and turn on their own in times of anger."

This image of sheer helplessness, utter abandonment, has been bludgeoned into my hair-covered skull many a bloody time. A lot of it was imagined until I stepped into the reality of a refugee camp for the first time in my drab existence.

"If it bleeds, it leads," is one expression that has made a usage tour of journalistic endeavours, chiefly in the academic arc of the profession. Eric Pooley expressed that feeling to speak of the media’s love for the grim.

My interpretation has a detour from the generally held view though. The media bleeds in order to shine its amber lights, believing that concerned officials will rise to the rescue. Among these much-hoped leaders are numbered three chief strata; those who would see the amber lights, hear the shrill cries and see the gory images, yet remain passive. There are the canine masters; holding dogs that strain on their leash, waiting to create more gore for the screens to magnify. There are the ‘game makers', rolling down huge slabs of ice, torching one gnarled tree, releasing the odd floodgate.

Of those passives, there are two shades. While one remains genuinely non-committal, the other welcomes the stranded victims in its bowels, then sneezes them out at the slightest tickle, most times, out of a selfless attempt to remain non-aligned. That is the reality spun by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. The pleading voices of some of his victims have been with me for almost a year now and I remember when it all started.

He walked into the building, lured by the belief he was scheduled to be interviewed. Heck, he was desperate, searching for a platform in his land of refuge to tell his bleeding tale. The safety he felt he had, was a thin one. He was one of the organisers of demonstrations that snowballed into persecution in Southern Cameroon between December and January of 2017. The Nigerian government were trying their desperate best to be welcoming, but still non-aligned with the English-speaking tribe of 20 million people forced by the global front of the ’game makers’, the United Nations to live what has turned out to be an interminable life of oppression under a different tribe of persons colonised by the French in a territory known as Cameroon.

I was already buried deep in the unfolding crisis, before a confused colleague came to inform the production lead that a man claiming to be from Southern Cameroon was here seeking to be interviewed. He had been mistaken for a pastor, who was scheduled for a studio session.

I recall convincing my lead to give him a hearing. He hands over his phone to me that I may record the ensuing conversation between me and the hunted Southern Cameroonian. I step into the lounge and cozy up to the stranger that the phone might pick up as much of the fright, terror and escape he endured to reach Lagos. I have never understood what it means to see since I knew my name, but, I remember his smell; the nauseating reek of tablets. One more thing, he wore a suit or maybe a jacket. When I reported the entrails of my discourse, the running dissident got his time on air. Take away the horrid tales he told, like, a woman losing seven children, some claimed by the river as she crossed into Nigeria, persons sleeping in bushes, villages severed like dried branches and you will remember he called the African Union "a toothless bulldog", if you watched the interview that is.

I was no journalist without a heart like I was trained to be after hearing all that. I pressed the office for more support, a campaign to get the passives in Abuja to rise from their comfy chairs, like Théoden, Lord of Rohan in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings did when his neighbours called for help.

All my pleading found me in Cross River, speaking and engraving in my heart, the words, losses and voices of beings displaced by their should-be government.

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2019: Why Women Matter By Emmanuel Onwubiko

19 October 2018 - 7:58am


Few hours back, I strolled into one of the key offices under the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria with a singular matter for constructive dialogue with a friend who is a senior aide of President Muhammadu Buhari.

My concern was on the observed lack of observation by the mainstream political parties of the policy framework that greeted the 1995 Fourth United Nations women conference in the Chinese capital of Beijing which basically recommended certain percentages of women inclusion in all aspects of political governance globally. Under the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) out of the seventeen key goals, the number five demanded gender equality in terms of appointments into decision making process. 

Given the lack of adherence by the major political parties to the basic imperative of observing gender mainstreaming in deciding aspirants to run for public offices in the forthcoming election, i was seriously worried by the decline in the number of women that emerged from the fratricidal warfare that was termed the party primaries of such major political platforms of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the leading opposition party of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Of the two mainstream national parties, only the All Progressives Congress (APC) picked very insignificant percentage of women aspirants to run for the available slots in the forthcoming elections in 2019. Adamawa has two women who got tickets to stand for office of Senators out of the three slots.

On the other hand, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which for over the decade respected the mainstreaming of women participation in governance, unfortunately ,did very badly. 

Take for instance the Federal government that was administered by the former university don Dr Goodluck Jonathan between the year 2011 to 2015, made sure that women got a greater chunk of the top flight federal appointments. Women got 33 percentage of top appointments made by the administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan according to a statistics made available by the Nigerian Institute of management. 

Women for instance headed both the petroleum and the national economy portfolio for the duration of the President Jonathan’s era. Jonathan also gave unfettered opportunities to his wife to engage constructively in pro-women projects which to a very large extent achieved a lot of mileages for the advancement of the rights of women and children. The current government of Muhammadu Buhari is reported to have offered only a paltry 19 percent of such appointments to women which is like 50 percent decline from the benchmark made by the immediate past administration as claimed by Professor Olukunle Iyanda, the respected President of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). Indeed the NIM accused President Muhammadu Buhari's administration of sidelining women. 

Ironically, the list of those to run for elective offices in the coming election amongst the women members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has significantly declined compared to the All Progressives Congress which is accused of marginalizing women.

The party that is affiliated to the current president known as All Progressives Congress (APC) looks set to present more women to run for offices than any other political party of national significance. For instance the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) schemed out the wife of the renowned South East legend the late Ikemba of Igboland Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu was rigged out of the Senatorial Primary in Anambra state by a political party that rode on the good name of her late husband to gain tremendous acceptance amongst Igbo. These scheming out deliberately of women by political parties preparatory to the 2019 poll is worrisome.  

So this friend I met in the presidency also expressed shock and disappointment with the turn of events which according to her will not augur well for the advocacy for gender equity in governance that has gone on in Nigeria for so long.

She was rather sad that Nigeria instead of making progress in this area has suddenly declined.

She referred this writer to the practice in a place like Rwanda where by in the parliament, women make up over fifty percent representation.

Whilst still lamenting over the unfolding scenario, yours faithfully then flipped through a copy of the day’s newspaper only to behold a very sad story about a couple in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, who sold their week old baby boy for N200, 000 to human trafficking syndicate so they can relocate from a part of Ngwa land in Abia State to Port Harcourt in Rivers State or any other urban center.

The couple, who hail from Isiala-Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State, confessed to the crime, saying it was hard times that forced them into the decision.

Narrating her part in the deal, the wife said: “I have given birth to four children, one is late. I have two now. So when I became pregnant I told my husband that we would sell the baby and use the money to relocate from my village to township to start a better life. He refused but I forced him into agreeing with my plan.

“My husband is a labourer, he is a wheelbarrow pusher. I owe debts everywhere and I needed to settle them. So, we sold the baby for N200, 000 but I later learnt the baby was sold for N500, 000.”Her husband, Richard said: “We were owing N10, 000 and the hardship was too much for us to bear. I went round seeking for help but no help came. We wanted to relocate to the township for a chance of a better life, that was why we sold the baby to enable us raise money and rent an apartment in the city.”

Parading the suspects alongside other seven child traffickers at the IGP complex in Aluu, Ikwere Local Government Area of Rivers State, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the IGP Monitoring Team, DCP Benneth Igwe, disclosed that the team rescued six pregnant women and arrested seven child traffickers in connection with the business.

He said: “Based on reliable intelligence about a notorious child trafficking cartel operating in Obigbo-Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Area and Omagwa, Aluu, the operatives burst into Afrique Hotel in Oyigbo and rescued six pregnant women awaiting delivery.

“The hotel is used as a harbinger by suspected child traffickers. Information further revealed that on October 7, the victims, one Richard Benson and his wife, Chidinma Benson, delivered a baby boy at Grace Land Maternity Homes, Afam Obigbo.

“The maternity is owned by a quack nurse called Grace Daniel. After delivery, the parents were paid N200, 000 by one Mrs. Rose Onyia and the baby was later sold to Mrs. Eucharia Jaja of Omagwa for N500, 000 and thereafter, the baby was resold by Mrs. Jaja to her potential client in Lagos. Operatives are on a trail to recover the baby.

“The cartel pay N150, 000 for a girlchild and N200, 000 for a boy to the mother. The baby is later trafficked to an unknown destination for amounts between N1 million and N1.5 million,” he said. Meanwhile, another couple, Eucharia Ihunna, aged 48 and her husband confessed that they have been in the business for four years and have sold over four babies. 

Not long ago an ugly story also trended about the sexual slavery of Nigerian girls to some European nations just as international news channels found a notorious forest in France whereby Nigerian girls who are trafficked into sexual slavery are engaged in forced prostitution.

The US based Cable News Network reported only last month about the discovery of the forest in France and further reported that the trafficking of Nigerian women for prostitution began in the late 1980s, according to the UN, when women were sent to Italy and forced into sex work. Returning home, they became the first generation of madams. They, in turn, made other young women suffer as they did.

Aurélie Jeannerod, who works with NGO Aux Captifs, la Liberation, which visits and supports prostitutes in the Bois de Vincennes and other parts of Paris, says there are also men involved with the networks.

Happy Iyenoma, aka "Mama Alicia," the head of a Paris-based network called the Authentic Sisters, was jailed along with her husband Hilary in May.

They were both sentenced to 10 years in prison for charges including human trafficking. In total, 15 members of the network were found guilty of trafficking roughly 50 women.

A charity that was a civil party in the case said one of the victims claimed the network assaulted her parents in Nigeria in 2015. She claimed her father died of his injuries.

In France, the maximum sentence for human trafficking is life imprisonment. But their juju oath forbids the women from speaking to authorities, making it more difficult for police to take down the networks.

And some of the women on the streets have asylum documents, says Jeannerod. Being a prostitute isn't illegal in France, only paying for sex is. "What do you want [the police] to do with the girls?" she says.

Besides, says Nadège, "The people who are doing the real business, the real human traffickers, they are in Africa."

The head of the Paris police department in charge of prostitution and trafficking described the difficulties in fighting the crime. "As soon as you dismantle a network, you see the effect in the street," he told CNN, "but that only lasts, at most, 24 hours, because we create a vacuum for another network to set up."

What the two stories relayed above show is that Nigeria is experiencing unquantifiable degree of problems associated with promoting, protecting and nurturing the human rights of Nigerian women and babies.

This therefore dovetails into the next area of concern which is the necessity for demanding from all aspirants to political offices in the coming election to swear to a court affidavits explaining to the electorate what programmes and achievable projects and timelines they would implement in the next four years if they are elected with specific and unique reference to addressing the fundamental developmental issues affecting women and children. 

If truth be told, the current government has not done well in the area of protecting the human rights of women and children.

Women and children have in the last three years suffered the most from the numerous criminal acts of terrorism and bloody violence unleashed by armed bandits including armed Fulani herdsmen.

Also, the different levels of government administrations have yet to vigorously implement and enforce laws against human trafficking and the emerging phenomenon of babies’ factory.

On the issue of healthcare for women, it is a notorious fact that most public hospitals are dysfunctional even as Nigerian women have become victims of maternal deaths.

The British Guardian recently reported this ugly incident of high maternal mortality of Nigerian women.

According to the latest UN global estimates, 303,000 women a year die in childbirth, or as a result of complications arising from pregnancy. This equates to about 830 women dying each day – roughly one every two minutes.

The majority of deaths are from conditions that could have been prevented had women received the right medical care throughout their pregnancies and during birth. Severe bleeding and infections after childbirth are the biggest killers, but high blood pressure, obstructed labour and unsafe abortions all contribute.

Accurate maternal mortality figures require strong in-country data collection, which is often unavailable in developing countries, so the number of deaths is likely to be underreported.

The overwhelming majority of maternal deaths occur in developing countries. About two-thirds of all maternal deaths take place in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria and India alone account for one-third of global deaths.

The maternal mortality ratio in the world’s least developed countries stands at 436 deaths for every 100,000 live births, which is in stark contrast to the corresponding number – just 12 – in wealthy countries.

In 2001, UN member states agreed the millennium development goals, which included a call for the number of maternal deaths to be cut by three-quarters by 2015. While the MDGs boosted efforts, the goal was not met in the countries with the highest death rates. In fact, it was the target that made the slowest progress. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 1990 and 2005, maternal mortality rates decreased by an average of 2.3% a year – way below the 5.5% needed to achieve the MDGs. And now the decline seems to have plateaued.

The electorate in Nigeria should therefore demand clear pro-women agenda from candidates running for all offices in the 2019 poll and the presidential candidate who has the most convincing pro-women agendum should be considered and voted for by the majority of Nigerians who are youngsters. Women by the way constitute over 50 percent of Nigeria's current population computed by standardized agencies locally and internationally. Women therefore should exercise their powers during the election to elect candidate whose blueprints include the issues of women and Children. 

This is precisely why civil society groups should mobilize Nigerian youngsters who have already enrolled to vote to resist the tendencies to mortgage their votes to the highest bidder but should look at the developmental blueprints of each candidate before casting their votes in 2019. 

Recently, the United Nations population agency told us that majority of Nigerians are youngsters going by the current statistical evidence. These youngsters must demand from political office seekers for a clearly implementable agenda for women and children.

The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, said that Nigeria’s population is 195.9 million at the moment.

UNFPA also stated that 76 percent of Nigerians are between ages 0 to 24.

In its UNFPA state of world population report themed “The power of choice: Reproductive rights and the demographic,” the UN agency further said that 148.8 million Nigerians are under the age of 25.

The UN report goes in contrast with National Population Commission, NPC, figures, which claimed that the country’s population was at 198 million as early as April 2018.

The UNFPA report added that 44 percent of Nigeria’s population is aged 0 to 14, while 32 percent are aged 14 to 24.

The UN agency also revealed that Nigeria has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, with less than 20 percent of married women in urban communities using a modern contraceptive method.

In rural communities within the country, less than 10 percent of married women use a modern contraceptive method, UNFPA added.

“No country can yet claim to have made reproductive rights a reality for all. Choices are limited for far too many women,” the report read.

“And this means that there are still millions of people who are having more—or fewer—children than they would like, with implications not only for individuals, but also for communities, institutions, economies, labour markets and entire nations.”

These are exactly why women matters must matter in the year 2019 elections.

*Emmanuel Onwubiko heads the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @www.emmanuelonwubiko.com; www.huriwanigeria.com; www.huriwa@blogspot.com.

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I’ll Continue Holding Jonathan In High Esteem, Says Buhari

19 October 2018 - 7:23am

President Muhammadu Buhari has again reiterated his respect for former President, Goodluck Jonathan, for accepting the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Speaking on Thursday evening while hosting some entertainers from Kannywood, the North’s movie industry, to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Buhari said: “I will continue to hold former President Jonathan in high esteem as a result of that singular act.

“He was in power as Deputy Governor (Bayelsa), Governor (Bayelsa), Vice-President and President, all for about 10 years, and he voluntarily accepted defeat and surrendered power to me.”

He urged the entertainers to continue using their talent to promote the culture of peaceful co-existence and unity among the diverse socio-political groups in the country.

Also at the programme, Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said fans of the entertainers would guarantee Buhari at least five million votes in the 2019 presidential election.

He implored them to use their social-media platforms to promote the achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari administration ahead of the election.

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Nnamdi Kanu Is like Ojukwu Who Fled The Country After Causing Many Deaths By Fredrick Nwabufo

19 October 2018 - 7:22am


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

I just watched a video of “Nnamdi Kanu in Israel”.  And truly, it was him. In the video, he stands before the Wailing Wall, “wailing”; a voice in the background spits platitudes as the “supreme leader” prays. He then terminates his ritual and turns to the camera to affirm his “invincibility”.

Choreographic marvel!

But many young Igbo lives were lost because of Kanu. When he was incarcerated in Nigeria, young, impressionable men and women staked out relentless protests across the south-east for his sake. Some of them died in the struggle.

When Kanu effectuated an insurrection in Abia state after his release from prison, many young men paid with their lives - all for his “ego agitation”. Operation Python Dance was launched in the south-east because of him. No doubt, the operation led to the loss of some innocent lives and property.

But where was Kanu in all of these? He was in a safe place; totally unscathed.

Obviously, there is an umbilicus of cowardice connecting the late Emeka Ojukwu with Kanu.

Ojukwu started a war unprepared. Besides other genuine reasons for his action, ego took the better part of his thinking. More than a million Igbo sons and daughters died in the war; most of them of starvation. But Ojukwu and his family were not hungry. He fled the country with his family afterwards to Ivory Coast, far away from the death and destruction in the land he gambled to “liberate” from Nigeria.

I doubt if Ojukwu suffered any loss in the war.

Kanu has taken the same path. After many deaths resulting from his agitation, he flees to Israel.  He is safe. And home and dry.

“Aspiring” revolutionaries or liberators must be sincere to their struggle. They must be ready to go the whole hog. Che Guevara died in the struggle to free Bolivia from anti-progressive forces. He had teamed up with Fidel Castro to oust the corrupt government of Fulgencio Batista before the Bolivian quest.  But even after breasting victory in Cuba, he was not sated. He dreamt of liberating all of South-America from capitalist vultures. However, he died in the pursuit of that “glory”.

There is just something revolting about people who lead other people to battle only to flee to safety in the heat of it.

And by the way, why is Kanu revealing himself now, a few months to the general election?

I do not know though. But I am suspicious of that bolt out of the blue.

Fredrick is a media personality.

He can be reached on Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo; Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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Aside 400 Bags Of Rice, FG Has Done Nothing For Bayelsa Flood Victims, Says Dickson

19 October 2018 - 7:15am


Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has said the Federal Government has not rendered any financial assistance to alleviate the plight of those affected by flood.

He also said the state had spent about N500 million on the upkeep of displaced persons.

Dickson disclosed this in a statement, where he noted that the state has only received around 400 bags of rice as intervention from the Federal Government in the raging flood that has sacked about 70 per cent of communities and destroyed properties worth billions of Naira in the state.

According to Dickson, the state government was struggling with the responsibility of ensuring the maintenance of those internally displaced by the flood and ensuring they return to their homes afterwards.

“Other than receiving about 400 bags of rice for thousands of displaced people, I cannot point to any concrete help the Federal Government has rendered. No cash support, not even in 2012 did the state government receive any monies from the Federal Government. I know that we raised some money on our own and some agencies and philanthropic individuals and companies came to our rescue," he said.

Dickson called on public-spirited individuals, organisations and donor agencies to come to the aid of the victim, noting that while the state government was doing its best to alleviate the suffering of the displaced persons, there was the challenge of inadequate funds to deal decisively with the situation.

His words: “I want to use this opportunity also to call on public-spirited individuals and organisations, partners and donor agencies to please come to the aid of the people of my state. People in the state are terribly displaced and are living in very terrible conditions. How many IDP camps can we build?

“We are trying our best to help them manage a very bad situation. We've got two issues to deal with — taking care and ensuring that the IDPs are managed for as long as the flooding situation lasts, and also the challenge of helping them to return to their homes in order to be resettled to continue with their lives after the flood. It is truly challenging considering that we are still in a recession.

“The state government doesn't have funds for most of these. We have spent over half a billion now in the area of giving support to these IDPs, the construction of the various centres, providing relief materials, medical care, support to law enforcement agencies to assist in evacuation and maintenance of law and order in the IDP camps and so on and so forth."

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CONFIRMED: Lawal Idris, Kogi APC House Of Reps Candidate, NOT CLEARED Of Certificate Forgery

19 October 2018 - 6:09am



Mohammed Lawal Idris, the lawmaker representing Ajaokuta Federal constituency of Kogi State, may been announced candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the House of Representatives election for the constituency, but he still hasn’t been absolved of the certificate forgery scandal he has been battling for almost two years. 

During the 2019 general election, Idris will be re-contesting for his seat in the lower chamber despite forging the Ordinary National Diploma certificate he is claiming to have earned in 1987 from the Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech).

Last month, SaharaReporters had reported how Idris connived with one Seun Adekoya of Yabatech’s Department of Exams and Records, forged an OND certificate which the lawmaker presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the buildup to the 2015 general election. The certificate was already investigated and dismissed by the institution itself. See Also Exclusive EXCLUSIVE: How Lawmaker Lawal Idris Forged YabaTech Certificate To Win House Of Reps Seat 0 Comments 3 Weeks Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Your prompt response will be appreciated, please.”

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

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

“Your request on above refers,” Adijat wrote.

“Please be informed that Lawal Mohammed Idris was not a registered student of the college and the attached certificate which was said to have been issued to him did not emanate from Yaba college of Technology.

“Kindly discountenance his claim. Thank you.”

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

In September 2017, Charles Oni, its Director of Public Relations and Media, disclosed the name of the dismissed staff member as Seun Adekoya.

He said Adekoya, a registry staff member who was involved in sale of certificate to the serving federal lawmaker, was arrested by the State Crime Investigation Division (SCID) and detained but later granted bail. 

When operatives of the SCID searched Adekoya’s house, blank Yabatech certificates, statement of results, stamp pad and other college items were found.      

After his release on bail, Adekoya, who was queried by Yabatech management and later dismissed from the institution, also jumped bail.  

“After he was released on bail, he resigned his appointment but the college rejected it and dismissed him.”

Response from Idris
Idris responded to our publication via a statement made by Danladi Adams and Co.(Legacy Chambers), the law firm representing him. In the rejoinder, issued on October 2 to supposedly debunk our story, Mohammed described the author of the publication as having “serious symptoms of typhoid fever or mental imbalance”. 

Apart from that name-calling of a response, the statement also claimed that the Nigeria Police had cleared and exonerated him of any wrongdoing, after due investigation into the case. 

“The police haven [sic] taken all the necessary steps after comprehensive investigations, cleared Honorable Lawal Idrissu of every wrongdoing and stated categorically that he was charged to court concerning the certificate forgery and was acquitted. They further went on to encourage him to go on with his political ambition and every other things he may choose to do with the said alleged forged certificate,” the statement read.

The statement went further to claim that the management of Yabatech had absolved the lawmaker of any crime bordering on certificate forgery. It even claimed that the school management presented Lawal’s examination number to the Police.

“In the course of their investigations, the management of the school hinted on the Nigeria Police force that Honorable Lawal Idrissu actually graduated from Yaba Tech. they further went on by presenting to the Nigeria Police the Examination Number of Alhaji Lawal Idrissu concerning the alleged forged certificate,” said the statement.

However, the statement did not disclose or publish the said Mohammed’s examination number the school management presented to the Police.

Verifying Idris' claims 
On Thursday our reporter visited the General Investigation Section , Force C.I.I.D at Alagbon Close in Ikoyi, Lagos State,  to speak with Abutu Yaro, the Deputy commissioner of Police who conducted the investigation into Lawal’s forgery case. When the DCP was asked if Honourable Lawal had actually been cleared, the man replied in the negative. See Also Corruption Those Who Said I Forged My Certificate Have 'Serious Symptoms Of Typhoid', Says Lawal Idris 0 Comments 2 Weeks Ago

“To the best of my knowledge the man has not been cleared of the criminal offence, I have been following you guys online and I must confess that you are doing a great job. However, you guys know how you get your information,” he said.

“You can contact the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Abuja for more detail. But as far as my office is concerned, there is no new development on Lawal’s case.”  

He then added “You guys don’t know you are dealing with shameless criminals.”

SaharaReporters also called the office of the Registrar at Yabatech. A worker in the office picked the phone and handed it over to a man who said he was a ‘senior worker’ there. When the man was asked about Lawal’s case, he said he was not permitted to speak to journalists on the matter and we should call back after 15 minutes to speak with the Public Relations Officer of the school. When we called the registry’s line at exactly the agreed time, the phone rang and nobody picked.

When Lanre Issa Onilu, the All Progressives Congress Publicity (APC) secretary, was contacted, he said he was not aware of the case, as he was just settling into the office. 

“I am not aware of the matter, to be honest with you. I just assumed this post some days ago,” he said.

“I am still trying to familiarize myself with everything here. You know all these post-primary crises we are dealing with for now. Once, we are through I will find out.”

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FG Cuts 2019 Spending, To Focus On Revenue Generation

19 October 2018 - 6:02am


Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, has said the country will focus on getting more funds from oil revenues and increasing non-oil revenues in 2019.

While presenting the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2019-2021 on Thursday, the former Senator said a budget proposal of N8.6 trillion has been planned for next year, as against the N9.12 trillion approved by the National Assembly and signed by the president for 2018.

He also noted that the government will borrow less in 2019 and improve the tax to GDP ratio as well.

“In 2019, we will concentrate on getting more revenue, oil and non-oil, by squeezing the maximum from oil, and build up non-oil revenue by an average of 30 per cent up from the previous figure.

"Here, we all know that the rate of tax to the GDP is still very low. We can do much better than we are doing. So, going forward, we will rely less on borrowing and debt, but do more on revenue build-up so that debt service to revenue is brought down," he said.

The presidency projects an oil output of 2.3 million barrels per day at the cost of $60 per barrel. It had also made a similar oil production average for 2018. However, the country's production has so far hovered between 1.9 and 2.02 million bpd.

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EXTRA: Kano Assembly To Investigate 'Video Cliffs' Of Governor Ganduje

19 October 2018 - 5:43am



The Kano State House of Assembly has written to invite Jafar Jafar, the editor of Daily Nigerian, over the publication of a video of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje receiving kickbacks from contractors.

In the letter, which was dated October 18, the state assembly said it is inviting the editor in relation to the “video cliffs”, an obvious error that might have arisen from accented pronunciation of ‘clips’.

The letter read: "I am writing on behalf of the committee to inform you that you are required to attend an investigatory hearing relating to your publication and video cliffs, showing the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, been caught severally on spy camera receiving bribe from contractors.

"All hearings will be public and you will be asked to talk through your recollections of the above incident(s), you will also be given opportunity to offer your perspective, tender exhibits and ask questions."

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 26, 2018 at the Kano State House of Assembly lobby.

The videos of Governor Ganduje receiving bribes from alleged contractors went viral on social media over the weekend. The Kano State government has since denied the video, claiming it was doctored.

”We wish to state that there is no iota of truth to these allegations and if indeed there is any such alleged video, it is at best cloned,” Commissioner for Information in the state, Muhammad Garba, said in a statement.

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Delta Former Speaker, Ochei Drags APC, INEC, Ogboru To Court Over Gov Primary

19 October 2018 - 5:09am


Victor Ochei, Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, has dragged the All Progressives Congress (APC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the winner of the controversial state APC governorship primary, Great Ogboru, before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Ochei, a governorship aspirant of the APC in a suit with case No FHC/ABJ/CS/1085/ 2018, is seeking among other things, the nullification of the governorship primary election conducted in the state, as well as the declaration that the APC governorship primary election held on September 30, was illegal and unlawful, on the ground that delegates not known to law were used for the exercise.

It would be recalled that during the governorship primary held at the College of Education (Technical), Asaba, factional APC governorship fly bearer, Great Ogboru and the Senator representing Delta Central senatorial district in the National Assembly, Ovie Omo-Agege, had hijacked the primary process, characterised by crisis. Armed thugs suspected to be working for Ogboru and Omo-Agege were seen with guns shooting sporadically at the venue.

The All Progressives Congress, (APC), Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), and Great Ogboru are defendants in the suit.

Ochei, through his legal counsel, Ahmed Rahi (SAN), noted that a judgment that was delivered by Justice Anwuri Chikere on June 19, authenticated a list of APC delegates in Delta State, alleged that the national leadership of the party sidelined the said list during the primary election.  

Ochei, who is the plaintiff in the case, told the court that contrary to the judgment, the APC leadership used unknown delegates for the primary poll and therefore urged the court to nullify the primary election.

The immediate past speaker also prayed the court for an order compelling the APC to immediately conduct a fresh primary election with the list of delegates endorsed in the consent judgment of the Federal High Court. as well as an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC or its agents from accepting, recognising or utilising the name of Ogboru as winner of the election.

In his 40-paragraphed supporting affidavit, Ochei told the court that he was denied fair participation in the primary election, despite paying the sum of N22.5 million for expression of interest and nomination forms.

Ochei, however, insisted that the court’s order was brazenly violated by the national leadership of the party in the conduct of the primary poll, stating that unless the court intervened, the governorship election in Delta State would "be a product of fraud".

Our correspondent reliably learnt that both the APC and Great Ogboru, through their lawyer, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), have since filed preliminary objections to challenge the competence of the suit.

Meanwhile, the presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba has adjourned the case till November 13 for adoption of all processes filed in respect of the case.

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Ganduje-Gate In Kano! By SOC Okenwa

19 October 2018 - 4:44am


Kano is a city-state up north just like Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Ekiti etc. A cosmopolitan city just like Lagos in the south-west the city-state is reputed to be the economic nerve-centre of the north. In the south-east you have Onitsha in Anambra state. Densely-populated like Lagos Kano is rich in her cultural and academic heritage. It hosts the famous prestigious Bayero University. The late Nigerian crude and rude dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha hailed from Kano. Kano has had great Governors and Emirs. The late handsome Abubakar Rimi was one of the best Governors the state had ever produced. But the state had equally had the misfortune of having had as Governor one executive 'imbecile', the late Aliyu Sabo Bakin Zuwo for whom the mineral resources of the state meant "fanta, coke and sprite"!

Kano city was the place where the Inspector-General of the Nigerian Police Force, Ibrahim Idris, had ignominiously acted out his famous or infamous "transmission" drama some months ago. And it happens to be the place where the incumbent President and his handlers had often boasted of having '2 million votes' safely in the electoral bank as it were. That claim could be in their wild imagination but with IGP Idris as the then Commissioner of Police in Kano state the then opposition APC presidential candidate (and now President) pulled out a massive electoral 'monkey business' that permitted him to beat ex-President Goodluck Jonathan silly in the last presidential poll of 2015. The opposition PDP had accused the APC of importing foreign voters and manufacturing fictitious 'voters' to swell the number in Kano!

When the late goggled kleptocratic Abacha was in power following the criminal annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll won fair and square by the assassinated Bashorun MKO Abiola (distinguishing himself along with Gen. Ibrahim Babangida as professional coup-plotters) some investigative American journalists had 'invaded' the Lagos MMA with a hidden minute camera in their lenses with which they recorded obscene scenes of corrupt bribe-taking at the Mutala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja.

When the video was published it had elicited a national outcry, a scandal that saw some implicated heads rolling. Abacha fired those involved even though after his timely demise we have learnt about the sleazy "Abacha Loot" (billions of Dollars and Pounds hidden in offshore bank accounts!) In Igboland it is often said proverbially that one who strikes with a cutlass does not allow such dangerous object to pass behind him!

Corruption in Nigeria is never a new phenomenon. It is as old as the controversial Lugardian amalgamation of 1914. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida had been accused by critics of generously democratizing and instutionalising corruption during his giddy years as a military despot decades ago. Today Nigeria bleeds to death as a result of passive and active corruption permeating every facet of our national life. Some foreign leaders had disrespectfully described the country as "fantastically corrupt"! And majority of Nigerians agreed with such description.

Way back in 2015, prior to the presidential election of that year, the then opposition candidate (Buhari) had promised to wage an unrelenting war against graft in the event of his victory at the poll. Of course, three and half years down the line President Buhari has fought graft and billions of Naira and millions of Dollars siphoned by our crafty politicians had reportedly been recovered yet the cankerworm cannot be said to have been conquered substantially. It has been fought more on national TV and pages of newspapers. When you use propaganda to prosecute a battle against corruption then there is bound to be controversies generated by such tactics and methods.

Today in Nigeria new ways and strategies are being deviced by our devious politicians to steal the state resources and go scot-free. They hide the filthy lucre these days in pit latrines, huge water reservoirs or their grandmothers' dilapidated abodes in the hinterland! Some smartly dig holes inside their homes and hide theirs and others simply open up the ceilings in the apartments and tuck theirs away in safety! They do these in order to avoid the prowling eagle eyes of the EFCC operatives or the traditional banking exposures.

Recently the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, was involved in a graphic executive corruption captured live on video! The trending video that had since gone viral online was made available by an online media portal (Daily Nigerian). In the video Ganduje was seen clearly receiving 5 million Dollars as kickback from a contractor in the state. The Abuja-based journalist, Jafaar Jafaar, is said to have gone into hiding following the publication of the video in his website. He said he had received countless death threats from unknown people! Let him not end up like the late Dele Giwa or Godwin Agbroko please!

A hard look at the video revealed the trapped executive APC Governor of Kano state enthusiastically receiving bundles upon bundles of crisp Dollar bills -- hiding some inside his flowing 'babanriga' and concealing others inside a big envelope! The state government had issued a damage-control press statement in which the Governor denied the visual allegation and blamed his political opponents for sponsoring the "serial blackmailer and extorter" behind the video exposé. The press release went on to say that the video was doctored or cloned, one primarily aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Governor ahead of the gubernatorial election of nert year in the state.

While we may not disagree to some extent that political motives could be imputed to the sting graft operation mounted by a disgruntled contractor perhaps working in cahoot with vested political interests in the state the authenticity of the video had been vouched for by some professionals who should know better. So the veracity of same could not be dismissed with a wave of the hand.

Governor Ganduje cannot claim to be guber paragon in every stretch of imagination. Besides, he cannot lay any claim to being pious. Simply dismissing the video as the handiwork of his political adversaries cannot possibly stand any hard scrutiny. A trap was set for him in the spirit of cupidity and fell to it hook, line and sinker! The ramifications could turn out to be dangerous for his future political career. Ganduje is like every other Governor in Nigeria: corrupt and inept!

Kano is famed for infamy indeed! Some years ago a federal lawmaker, Farouk Lawan, was captured collecting a hefty bribe of about $500,000 dollars from an oil magnate, Femi Otedola. Legislator Lawan was leading a House of Representatives panel investigating illicit fuel subsidy payments in 2012 when it was discovered that he sought and obtained a 'settlement' a la Babangida in order to clear Otedola's company of any wrongdoing!

Unlike Ganduje however Lawan never denied the authenticity of his own 'Lawan-gate' at that time. Rather he had said he recognised collecting the bribe-money but only as a 'set-up' for Otedola. But the oil big man based in Lagos countered such 'Lawanian' balderdash by saying that he was the one that organized it all in order to expose Lawan for whom he was.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should get cracking by doing the needful in this regard. The Magu-led anti-graft agency ought to have swung into action upon this disturbing revelation coming to light by dutifully launching an investigation into the Ganduje-gate with the sole objective of getting to the root of the matter. In other climes where corruption is not as rampant as ours and where same is not institutionalized the anti-graft agencies yonder do not wait for any 'order from above' for them to do their jobs.

 

SOC Okenwa
soco_abj_2006_rci@hotmail.fr

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PDP Calls For Immediate Reconstitution Of Osun Election Tribunal

19 October 2018 - 4:34am


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Appeal Court to reconstitute the Osun State governorship election petition tribunal.

The party's position was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP’s National Publicity Secretary,.

PDP warned that any further delay would jeopardise the course of justice in the matter, noting that disbanding the panel, if not quickly addressed, would send a wrong signal regarding the integrity of the judiciary.

Earlier on Thursday, members of PDP in the state had stormed the premises of the state high court to protest the disbandment of the three-man election petition tribunal, on the premise that no reason was given for the disbandment.

The panel was set up to adjudicate complaints arising from the conduct of the September 22 governorship election.

The statement read in part: “We invite Nigerians to note that in our lawful effort to reclaim our stolen mandate, PDP duly filed its petition on Tuesday, October 15, 2018, in accordance with Section 285 (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which prescribed that judgment must be delivered on or before 180 days.

“While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was served, the APC and its candidate [allegedly] evaded service.

“Consequently, the PDP on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, applied for substituted service, which was slated for hearing today, Thursday, October 18, 2018, only to be informed that the panel has been disbanded on Wednesday without any reason and without providing a new panel to hear our matter.

“Election petition matters are sui generis, with specific timeframe allotted to various stages up to the final determination.

“The failure to set up a new panel to timeously hear our application for substituted service on APC and its candidate smacks of a shenanigan to deny our party full justice in the matter.”

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After Two Failed Marriages, Oni Of Ife Unveils 25-Year-Old Prophetess/Evangelist As New Queen

19 October 2018 - 2:05am


Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunmusi, has announced Miss Naomi Oluwaseyi as his new Queen.

Naomi, 25, is based in Akure, the Ondo State capital, and is an evangelist.

The new Queen is also the Founder/President of EN-HERALDS, a prophetic mandate and an interdenominational ministry based in Akure, the Ondo state capital.  

The monarch took to his Twitter page with handle @OoniAdimulaIfe to announce envagelist Naomi as the new bride.  

She will now replace the erswhile Queen, Wuraola.

The Ooni wrote: “I waited patiently upon the Almighty the King of kings, he eventually did it in the midst of many trials.  

"Shilekunola, Moronke, Naomi; the greatest Arsenal you can apply on this highly revered throne with many rules and regulations in the midst of undiluted tradition, heritage and culture is the 'Fear Of God In You'.  

"It is the beginning of your wisdom on this throne of Oduduwa. You are welcome home my beautiful and adorable queen, #OoniOfIfe #Otisese", he wrote. 

I waited patiently upon the Almighty the King of kings, he eventually did it in the midst of many trials.

— Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi (@OoniAdimulaIfe) October 18, 2018  

It is the beginning of your wisdom on this throne of Oduduwa. You are welcome home my beautiful and adorable queen.#OoniOfIfe #Otisese pic.twitter.com/0zOCRYMaKX

— Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi (@OoniAdimulaIfe) October 18, 2018

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Security Agencies Biggest Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy, Say Clerics

19 October 2018 - 12:56am


Some church leaders in Abuja have berated the Nigerian security forces for their partisan posture and dastardly behaviour during elections, saying they are the biggest threat to the nation’s democracy.

The clerics numbering about 150 made the assertion yesterday at a one-day training programme for Christian leaders on credible elections in the country.

They specifically chided the military, police, Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for conniving with politicians and corrupt officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to subvert the people’s popular choices during elections.

This was part of resolutions at the end of a training organised by Priests Peace Justice Initiative (PPJI), the social arm of Palace of Priests Assembly (PPA), which recently embarked on a nationwide campaign tagged #THESHUNCORRUPTION PROJECT with the theme: Mobilising Christians Against Corruption in Nigeria, supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

While commending INEC for improving on the conduct of elections in the country, a facilitator at the training, Ezenwa Nwagwu, noted that from 2015 to 2018, the commission conducted 191 elections with only three of them reversed by the courts.

The technical sessions of the training covered The Role of Christian Leaders in the Electoral Process, Voter Education, Election Observation/Monitoring, as well as Christians and Demand for Accountability from Leaders.

Speaking earlier, General Overseer of PPA, Otive Igbuzor, said God gave the church the vision to mobilise Christians, especially Pentecostals to join the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

Otive said corruption poses a huge threat to the world even as several scholars and development experts are beginning to focus more attention on the scourge.

However, traditional religion adherents under the aegis of Ancient Religion Societies of African Descendants International Council (ARSADIC) have predicted peaceful polls in the country next year.

They, however, warned against doomsday prophecies and urged all Nigerians to be optimistic of better days ahead.

The group stated this while revealing some of the messages from Ifa to the country ahead of the 2019 general elections at the second Annual General Meeting (AGM) and peace prayer for Nigeria and the Diaspora organised by ARSADIC at the Oba Okunade Sijuwade Memorial Hall, Oke Mogun, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has warned against the use of public funds to induce voters during the 2019 general elections.

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Ogun Domestic Debt Hits N106b Amid N7b Monthly IGR

19 October 2018 - 12:51am


vGov Ibikunle Amosun

vGov Ibikunle Amosun

The Ogun State domestic debt profile stands at N106 billion while its monthly average Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is also N7 billion, it was learnt yesterday.

The Commissioner for Finance, Adewale Osinowo, who broke the news in Abeokuta, the state capital, said of the N106 billion debt burden, N14.5 billion was reportedly incurred from the bailout funds.

He was being grilled by members of the House of Assembly, presided over by the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Victor Fasanya.

The commissioner said the Ibikunle Amosun administration had paid all the state and local government pensioners till date.

On the finances of the state, he said the government would soon access N17.3 billion, the fourth tranche of the bailout fund, as the process for its release was being perfected.

According to him, the fund, which is domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), will be released as all conditions for its disbursement were being finalised with relevant agencies.

Osinowo assured the lawmakers that the government would continue to promote accountability and transparency in its activities.

The commissioner said 60 per cent of the bailout fund would go into the payment of workers’ salaries, gratuities and severance allowances, which he said are beyond the initial 50 per cent agreement with the Federal Government, while the remaining would be expended on social services.

He added that Ogun State had not accessed the N17.3 billion bailout funds, contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the government had misappropriated it.

Oshinowo reiterated that the previous bailout funds were used to offset cooperative deductions and other arrears of all categories workers in the state public service.

Listing the amount so far received, the commissioner said the state got N10.6 billion as first tranche; N5.7 billion for the second tranche and another N5.7 billion as the third tranche of the bailouts from the Federal Government.

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David Mark’s Daughter, Blessing Onuh Dumps PDP After Losing Reps Ticket

19 October 2018 - 12:45am


Blessing Onuh-Mark, one of the daughters of immediate past President of the Senate, David Mark, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

DAILY POST reports that her defection came barely two weeks after losing the party’s ticket for Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency to her uncle, Johnson Egli Ahubi.

Ahubi is the current Deputy Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly.

It was gathered that Blessing, who is wife of the former Local Government chairman of Otukpo, Innocent Onuh, was advised to step aside for her uncle, Ahubi, but she refused.

Before the party’s primaries, Mrs. Onuh pitched her tent with Chief Mike Onoja, who also lost the Benue South Senatorial district ticket of the PDP to Abba Moro, former Interior Minister.

Few weeks after losing the PDP ticket, Onoja joined the Social Democratic Party where the former party’s senatorial flag bearer, Adakole Ijogi, stepped down for him.

A source hinted our reporter on Tuesday that Mrs. Onuh had equally picked the SDP ticket to slug it out in the 2019 general elections with his uncle, Ahubi, and other contenders.

“The truth is, Blessing was not happy with the whole drama that played out. She is also not happy because her father did not use his influence to get her the ticket.

“But (Okpani) Mark told her to wait until 2023 but she refused. Senator Mark doesn’t want to impose his daughter on the people. Now, she has picked the SDP ticket with Mike Onoja who also decamped from PDP last week,” the source hinted this reporter.

A chieftain of the party in Benue South, who pleaded anonymity, described her exit as ‘immaterial’

“She was not known before now as a member of the party, she was only riding on her father’s influence. Her defection is immaterial and we don’t care if she’s leaving or not.

“Well, it has not been made known but I don’t think it is worth discussing,” the PDP chieftain told our reporter in Otukpo.

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Amosun, Sani, Others Lose Out As APC Submits Candidates’ List To INEC

19 October 2018 - 12:38am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) thursday made good its resolve not to extend the deadline for the submission of political parties’ lists of candidates for the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for the first quarter of next year as it ended the exercise last night.

The International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja, which the electoral body used as the collection centre was full of activities as political parties’ officials made frantic efforts to beat the deadline.

THISDAY gathered at press time that 84 parties had submitted their lists.

For the All Progressives Congress (APC) that was plagued by large scale disputes following its primaries, it was judgement day for the protesters as the party decided on whom to allot its tickets.

The party, said the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lanre Isa-Onilu, fielded candidates for all the states, including Zamfara, which INEC had said would not be allowed to present candidates because its primaries were not conducted within the stipulated time by the electoral body.

“We submitted applications for all the positions in all the states, including Zamfara,” he told THISDAY on phone last night, adding, that he could not give details of the list for the state.

Many heavyweights fell by the way side as their wishes were not met.

Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was met half way by the party as he got his senatorial ticket while his preferred governorship candidate, Mr. Adekunle Akinlade, lost out to Chief Dapo Abiodun. The party’s appeals committee threw out Akinlade’s petition against Abiodun’s nomination.

In Plateau State, former deputy governor of the state, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, who was also a former minister, lost her bid to pick up a senatorial ticket.

In Kaduna State, although the appeals committee upheld the nomination of Senator Shehu Sani as saved by the National Working Committee (NWC), THISDAY sources said his name was eventually not on the list submitted to INEC by the party.

The appeal panel also dismissed the petition written against the emergence of Mr. Tonye Cole as the APC’s gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State.

This meant that Senator Magnus Abe would have to wait a bit to realise his ambition to govern the state.

THISDAY also gathered from a source that was privy to the decisions reached by appeals panel, which submitted its report to the NWC on Monday, that it upheld the candidacy of Mr. Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law of Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha.

An intriguing verdict was the decision of the appeal panel to uphold the choice of Senator Shehu Sani as the candidate of the party for the Kaduna Central Senatorial District.

In its report, the appeal panel said it held that the primary conducted by the electoral panel for Kaduna was done in contempt of a court order, adding that the only aspirant cleared by the party to contest the election was Sani.
Yet, THISDAY reliably learnt, Sani’s name did not make the party’s list.

A reliable information on the report of the APC’s appeal panel showed that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Uguru Usani, was a loser in the highly intricate struggle for the governorship ticket of the APC in Cross River State, losing his appeal against Senator John Eno.

The appeals committee, which considered petitions from the aspirants for the various offices, rejected many of the petitions while upholding the results of the primaries in the various states.

Among other big losers who also lost out in the governorship race according to the committee’s report include a brother to the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari, Alhaji Mahmoud Halilu, popularly known as Modi, and President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Bala Bobboi Kaigama.

There was tension within the national headquarters of the party as aspirants for the Senate and House of Representatives besieged it to know the outcome of the screening and probably the list of candidates sent to INEC by the party.

The leadership of the APC had made the list of candidates a top secret and would not even let those who lost at appeals level know their fate until the last day of submission.

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‘60m Barrels Of Crude Oil Stolen From Nigeria’

19 October 2018 - 12:14am


Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) yesterday said about 60.2 million barrels of crude oil were stolen from the country between 2011 and 2014.

Speaking at the 40th anniversary of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Falana noted that the stolen product passed through the Philadelphia Port in the United States of America (U.S.A.).

Also, National President of PENGASSAN, Olabode Jonshon, said the union would engage the Federal Government and legislature on how to evolve a new beginning for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“We supported the new Joint Venture (JV) cash call framework and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) reforms. Currently, we are engaging the executive and legislature on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB),” Johnson said.

On the revenue losses to crude oil theft, Falana said: “The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) commissioned a study about seven years ago concerning millions of barrels of crude oil that leave Nigeria unaccounted for.

“The study found that between January 2011 and December 2014, 60.2 million barrels of crude oil left Nigeria that were not recorded, but were recorded to have been discharged at the Philadelphian Port in the U.S.

“It revealed that the value of the stolen oil amounted to $12.7 billion. That was oil discharged in just one port. We have identified the oil majors that were involved and we have also identified the shipping company.

“But since 2014, we have been begging the Federal Government to recover the money and nothing has been done. The money lost in U.S, India, China and other ports where our oil is discharged exceeds $100 billion.

“We wrote a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that while they are busy recovering small money from politicians, this is the real money available to Nigeria, but unfortunately, no action has been taken,” he stated.

While urging the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the labour movement to lead the battle for recovering outstanding crude oil proceeds, Falana said Nigeria is also losing huge revenues due to the non-implementation of Offshore and Inland Sharing Formula Act enacted in 1999 but was backdated to 1993.

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UN Puts Nigeria’s Population At 195.9M

19 October 2018 - 12:09am


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says 76 percent of Nigerians are between ages 0 to 24, as the country’s population hits 195.9 million.

In its UNFPA state of world population report, with the theme: “The power of choice: Reproductive rights and the demographic,” the UN agency revealed that 148.8 million Nigerians are under the age of 25.

This is in conflict with the National Population Commission (NPC) figures which put Nigeria’s population at 198 million as early as April 2018.

NPC Chairman Eze Duruiheoma said this in New York, the United States of America, when he delivered Nigeria’s statement on sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration at the 51st session of Commission on Population and Development.

Said Duruiheoma: “Nigeria remains the most populous in Africa, the seventh globally with an estimated population of over 198 million.”

He hinged the figure on urban population growing at an average annual growth rate of about 6.5 per cent.

But, the UNFPA report added that 44 percent of Nigeria’s population is aged 0 to 14, while 32 percent are aged 14 to 24. The UN agency also revealed that Nigeria has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, with less than 20 percent of married women in urban communities using a modern contraceptive method.

In rural communities, within the country, less than 10 percent of married women use a modern contraceptive method, UNFPA added.

“No country can yet claim to have made reproductive rights a reality for all. Choices are limited for far too many women.

“And, this means that there are still millions of people who are having more—or fewer—children than they would like, with implications, not only for individuals, but also for communities, institutions, economies, labour markets and entire nations,” the UNFPA report added.

Nigeria’s population is expected to double between now and 2050.

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Fayose To Explain ‘$5.3M He Got From Obanikoro’

18 October 2018 - 11:57pm


Former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose is telling the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives all he knows about the N4.685 billion allegedly withdrawn from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Fayose spoke yesterday after 72 hours in detention. He admitted knowing a former Minister of State (Defence) Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, who ferried N1.299billion slush funds to him in a chartered jet.

He also said he has links with Abiodun Agbele, who allegedly bought six choice properties for him in Lagos and Abuja.

But the ex-governor added  drama to his grilling when he wrote the EFCC to demand an additional mattress in his cell.

He said sleeping on two mattresses will be more comfortable for him. The EFCC was looking into his request as at the time of filing this report.

The governor, who had vowed not to speak, made a U-Turn, The Nation learnt.

Agbele and Obanikoro are central to the disbursement and receipt of N1.299billion and $5.377million to him.

“The $5, 377,000 was handed over in cash by Obanikoro to Fayose while the N1.299billion was received by Agbele on Fayose’s behalf in the presence of the ex-minister’s Aide-de-Camp who also accompanied them to the bank,” a source close to the investigation said, adding:

“From the $5million, Fayose gave his Personal Assistant Agbele about $1million which he exchanged to Naira and paid for properties on behalf of the governor.

“These assets include four in Lagos (N1.1billion) and two in Abuja worth about N500million to N700million.

“The properties, worth N1.8billion, were purchased with the said proceeds of crime.”

Fayose has been asking the EFCC to take him to court.

The source said: “Fayose will still undergo another round of grilling on Friday (today). We cannot just arraign him in court without obtaining a statement from him.

“By Friday, he has to explain the following:

Did Obanikoro hand over cash to him and Agbele?
What was the N1.299b meant for?
Did Agbele buy properties for him? How did his associate acquire the six properties for him?

“So far, Fayose remains in custody till he is able to respond to issues isolated for him.”

Fayose wrote a letter to the EFCC demanding an additional mattress to sleep on.

He said one mattress was too flat to accommodate his frame in the cell.

”He has demanded for a second mattress from the anti-graft agency and I think they are looking into his request.

“They want to find out from him the type of mattress needed to make him comfortable in custody,” the source said.

Fayose’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said efforts had begun to secure his release from EFCC custody.

Ozekhome told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that “Fayose’s lawyers are already taking steps to enforce his fundamental human rights by getting him released.

”Yes, his lawyers will go to court to enforce his fundamental human rights.

”The EFCC has no right to keep him for over 24 hours.

“If they have done that by obtaining a Magistrate Court’s Order that will be in the form of “holding charge” which has been declared unconstitutional and illegal by the Supreme Court. Holding charge is illegal. It is unconstitutional.’’

Ozekhome said that the section of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) permitting a magistrate to detain a suspect for 14 days was illegal.

According to him, any action outside the provisions of Section 35 of the Constitution, which specifically provides for 24 hours, is illegal and unconstitutional.

The EFCC, also yesterday disowned a tape in which its Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu is said to have claimed that nothing would happen should Fayose die in detention.

The Head of Media Wilson Uwujaren said the purported audio tape was fake.

The statement said: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission wishes to alert the general public about an audio recording of a conversation currently circulating in the social media in which the Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu, purportedly made comments to the effect that nothing will happen peradventure Ayo Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State, dies in custody.

“Interestingly, the audio tape did not disclose the place where the conversation occurred and the person that Magu was supposedly talking to.

“Purveyors of this fake news especially a former spokesperson of a leading political party, are warned to desist.”

Corruption The Nation Newspaper AddThis :  Original Author :  Yusuf Alli, The Nation Newspaper Disable advertisements : 
Categories: audio

APC Defies INEC, Submits Zamfara Candidates’ List

18 October 2018 - 11:51pm


The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday submitted the list of presidential and senatorial candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a bid to beat the October 18 deadline.

The Guardian learnt that the APC’s director of organisation, Alhaji Abubakar Kari, led other senior staff of the party in a branded vehicle to submit the list around 3:00 p.m.

Dozens of party bigwigs from across the country were seen at the secretariat speaking in hushed tones, uncertain if their names were on the list. The party was also said to have defied INEC’s order by going ahead to present a list of candidates from Zamfara State.

INEC had banned the APC from fielding candidates, after the expiration of the stipulated time.

But a deputy director of information in the commission, Aliyu Bello, said: “As far as we are concerned, the issue of Zamfara is foreclosed.

We are not collecting any list from them, as they failed to meet up with the required standard.”

He added that INEC could not be held liable for the failure of the party to comply with constitutional provisions.

All efforts by The Guardian to see the list proved abortive, as party officials ensured it remained a closely guarded secret.

Among those at the scene was Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central), who belongs to a faction of the party in Delta State.

The crisis rocking the APC in the state took a turn for the worse, as a Federal High Court in Asaba restrained the National Working Committee (NWC) from submitting any list from the state to INEC.

In the ruling, Justice Toyin Adegoke had ordered the parties to maintain the status quo till the substantive suit was heard.

The Chief Cyril Ogodo-led State Working Committee (SWC) and others had instituted an interlocutory injunction restraining the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, from submitting a list of candidates from the Prophet Jones Erue faction.

Adegoke said: “This matter shall be given an accelerated hearing owing to the fact that it is a pre-election matter.

All defendants are to take note of the tendencies of this suit. Parties shall maintain status quo as at today, the 17th day of November 2018. That is the order of this court.”

Also, a group, Benue South APC Justice and Equality Movement, staged a peaceful protest, accusing the minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, of allegedly substituting the names of elected candidates with those of his cronies.

Led by its coordinator, Mr. Akor Ikwuocha, the group urged the NWC to call the minister to order and ensure that candidates who won the primaries were allowed to participate in the general elections.

This came as the National Security Council disclosed plans for a trouble-free election.

Public Relations Officer to the Minister of Defence Colonel Tukur Gusau said the council called for concerted effort from all security agencies and the need for continuous sensitisation of the public by the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

It also called for regular meetings by stakeholders including INEC, local and international observers and the media.

He said: “The meeting recommended the deployment of security agencies to the states to enable the elections to be conducted peacefully and douse tension created by the outcome of political parties’ primaries.

“Another area of security concern includes post-election violence, as desperate politicians may whip up ethno-religious sentiments to create security situation in the country. Also of concern is the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements with a desire to take the law into their hands at the slightest opportunity.”

In a related development, an Oyo State monarch, the Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola, implored INEC to remain unbiased before, during and after elections. He gave the advice during an election stakeholders’ meeting organised by INEC at Eruwa town hall, Ibarapa zone.

Earlier, Mr. Mutiu Agboke, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, solicited the support of the Eleruwa in reaching out to owners of unclaimed PVCs.

According to Agboke, 787,930 PVCs were still in the custody of the commission, awaiting collection. “Out of this number, owners of 29,565 PVCs uncollected are residing in the three local government areas in Ibarapa zone.

The Ibarapa zone consists of Ibarapa East with 15,587 PVCs, Ibarapa North with 6,558 PVCs and Ibarapa Central with 7,420 PVCs.

I appeal to our traditional institutions and politicians to assist the commission in sensitising owners of these cards to come forward for collection.”

Politics News AddThis :  Original Author :  By Adamu Abuh, Kanayo Umeh,and Sony Neme, The Guardian Nigeria Newspaper Disable advertisements : 
Categories: audio