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I’m An ‘Elder’, Not A ‘Mister’ — PDP Deputy National Chairman Throws Tantrum On National TV

17 October 2018 - 11:53am

Yemi Akinwonmi, Deputy National Chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), caused a mild but lightning quick drama on national television on Wednesday when he delayed the take-off of his contribution because he had been introduced as a ‘mister’ rather than as an ‘elder’.

Akinwonmi was a guest on Channels TV’s ‘Politics Today’, alongside Bayo Oshinaga of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP). 

All three were to discuss the seeming inability of the CUPP to name a consensus candidate with just a day to the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for parties to submit the names of their presidential candidates and running mates.

Balewa, the first to talk, dwelled on the qualities the CUPP was looking for in the candidate to be picked.

When it was Akinwonmi’s turn to speak, he first took out a few seconds to protest his introduction as a mister.

“I am Elder Yemi Akinwonmi; I’m not a mister,” he said, his face contouring into a frown, before going on to add: ‘I am an elder, not a mister.”

Next was Oshinaga, who did not even identify himself by any title but gave a first name different from the one displayed on the screen.

“I am Segun Oshinaga,” he said, and promptly set about discussing why CUPP would not succeed in unseating President Muhammadu Buhari despite already forming an alliance with the PDP in private while pretending in public to still be on a search for a consensus candidate.


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'We 're Dying Of Hunger' — Ondo Pensioners Give Akeredolu Two-Week Ultimatum To Pay Salary Arrears

17 October 2018 - 11:22am

Government retirees in Ondo State have given Rotimi Akeredolu, Governof the state, a two-week umltimatum to address payment of their arrears and gratuities or vacate his office.

The retirees spoke during a protest at the government office in Akure to demand the payment of their accumulated pension and gratuties.

On Tuesday, the retirees had joined angry protesting civil servants in the state to demand the payments of their accumulated salaries and arrears.

Raphael Adetuwo, Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), who led the angry retirees, lamented that "old age with no money" had killed many of the former government workers.

He accused the state government of owing the retirees a total sum of N43 billion as gratuities from 2012 till date with unpaid pension.

Mr. Adetuwo lamented that the last tranche of Paris Club Refund paid to Ondo State government should have been used to offset and clear outstanding workers salary, pension and gratuities of the retirees. 

"The government is owing gratuities from 2012 to date and the pensions for the months of October, November and December 2016, as well as January 2017 and September 2018.

"If President Muhammadu Buhari rightly doled out Paris Club Refund to the state governors to enhance immediate payment of salaries and pension, then such money should be used for the purpose."

The NUP Chairman noted that the pensioners decided to speak out against the Governor because they were dying of hunger due to the non-payment of their gratuities.

The government, according to him, was shying away from all its financial responsibility on gratuities payment for the dying retirees.

"We can’t continue to keep quiet; the outstanding gratuities are getting too much," he said. "The government must do something to start paying deserving pensioners."

Sunday Akinzue, Secretary of the NUP in the state, accused the present state government of insensitivity to the plight of the retirees and former workers. 

Akinze said the retirees would be forced to relocate from their homes to the Governor's Office, and occupy all the premises if nothing is done before the end of October.

"Honestly, it's very saddening that the state government could allow pensioners to be suffering unjustly despite release of this Paris Club Refund by the Federal Government".

But, in his reaction, Mr. Akinsanmi, a representative of State Accountant General, said the state received an alert payment of N20.9 billion four weeks ago as the Paris Club Refund.

He added that the fund was meant for both the local and state governments.

"But the amount was withdrawn by CBN from the state coffers because the Federal Government said it wanted to verify the statement of account of the state, which will be presented to the Governor forum," he said. 

However, he hinted that only Lagos and Osun states had received their own payment of Paris Club Refund in the whole of the South.

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'APC Doesn't Deserve Anything Of Mine' — Aisha Alhassan Removes Rugs, Tables, Computers She Bought For Party Secretariat

17 October 2018 - 9:17am

Aisha Alhassan, Nigeria's former Minister of Women Affairs, has retrieved items she donated to the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat in Taraba State.

Following her resignation from the party after she was disqualified from contesting for the state governorship ticket on the platform of the APC, 'Mama Taraba', as she is popularly known, removed rugs, computer systems, tables, among other items from the state secretariat, insisting that "APC doesn't deserve anything of mine".

Condemning the development when he spoke to NAN on Wednesday, Aaron Artimas, APC Publicity Secretary in the state, said: "We find this development shameful, unfortunately it is true. The former Minister has emptied the office she furnished when she was a member of the APC.

"It is amazing to us because Aisha Alhassan was the highest beneficiary of the party in the state. It is a very shameful action, but we shall leave her to conscience."

However, Alhassan denied physically removing the items but said she supported those who did, as the party did not deserve them.

Her words: "I bought the items with my money. When my boys told me they were removing them from the party secretariat, I gave them the go-ahead because the APC does not deserve anything of mine.

“I could not have moved the items to Abuja. I merely gave my boys the nod to move them out because the APC was wicked to me. If I had left the party on my own, I would not have bothered about the items, but you know the circumstances that pushed me out.

“I bought the items to furnish the party secretariat, but since I have moved to the UDP, I did not see anything wrong with moving with all my belongings. They should buy their own furniture for the offices."

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NJC Counters CSNAC, Tells Buhari To Proceed With Justice Abba-Ali’s Supreme Court Nomination

17 October 2018 - 9:11am

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has told President Muhammadu Buhari to proceed on sending Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, a Federal High Court judge, to the Nigerian Senate for confirmation.

In a statement signed by its Director of Information, Soji Oye, the council urged the President to disregard the publication of the Civic Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) opposing the nomination of Justice Abba-Aji as a Supreme Court Judge.

CSNAC, a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organisations and individuals, had on Thursday opposed the recommendation Justice Abba-Aji on the grounds that the judge was under investigation for fraud.

CSNAC threatened to take lega actionl against the President if he proceeded to forward the judge’s name to the Senate for confirmation. See Also Corruption CSNAC Asks Buhari To Drop Abba-Aji's Nomination As Supreme Court Judge Over Bribery Allegations 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

The statement reads: “The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to a publication by the Civic Society Network Against Corruption urging President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, not to forward the name of Honourable Mr. Justice Uwani Abba-Aji recommended to him by the Council for appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court to the Senate for confirmation otherwise it would challenge the action in Court. 

“The Group premised its objection to the appointment of Hon Mr. Justice Abba-Aji to the Apex Court on the report of an online newspaper of 16th October, 2016, which featured his name as one of the Judicial Officers under investigation for corruption by Security Agencies for accepting bribe from a Senior Lawyer who is currently facing trial at the Law Court. 

“The Civil Society group concluded by imploring President Buhari, GCFR, to withhold submission of Hon. Mr. Justice Abba-Aji's name to the National Assembly until he is purged of the allegation of corruption.

“In as much as the National Judicial Council would not join issues with anyone on this matter, it is necessary to put the records straight. Members of the public would recall that sequel to the request of the Attorney-General of the Federation, in 2016, Hon. Mr Justice Abba-Aji and seven (7) other Judicial Officers were directed by the Council to recuse themselves from performing their judicial functions pending their investigation by Security Agency.

“However, Hon. Mr. Justice Abba-Aji and five (5) others were recalled as only three (3) out of the Judicial Officers then under investigations were arraigned in Court.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Hon. Mr. Justice Abba-Aji has since been sitting in Court and no Investigation Agency has filed any new allegation against His Lordship, in fact, his international passport had been returned to him and he had been travelling outside the country without any hindrance, signalling that the investigation agencies have nothing new against His Lordship.

“The law of the land remains that no one is to be punished except for an offence established by due process of law.

“The National Judicial Council hereby re-affirms its commitment to zero tolerance for corruption which is the stand of The Honourable, The Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the Council, Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON.”

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After 'Hobnobbing With The PDP For Long', Sokoto Lawmaker Dumps APC

17 October 2018 - 9:08am

Muhammad Bashir, a member of the Sokoto State House of Assembly who lost his bid to secure the All Progressive Congress (APC) ticket for the House of Representatives, has dumped the party.

Bashir made his defection known on the floor of the assembly on Wednesday in Sokoto. He said that he hds now shifted loyalty to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to NAN, Bashir was beaten in the primary election for Yabo/Shagari Federal Constituency by Abubakar Yabo.

“I wish to formally announce my defection from the APC to PDP as provided by Section 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.

Reacting on the development, Sani Yakubu (APC-Gudu) said the member had been hobnobbing with the PDP for long, “so this defection has not come to us as a surprise”.

Yakubu disclosed that even after Bashir lost the ticket for the federal constituency, the APC still gave him a return ticket to the state Assembly.

“We wish him well in his new political party, and want to assure APC members in his constituency that his departure will translate into huge success for our party,” he said.

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Sowore Vindicated As Canada Joins South Africa In Legalizing Marijuana

17 October 2018 - 8:53am

And so it came to pass...

Barely six weeks after presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) and pro-democracy campaigner Omoyele Sowore called the rise of cannabis as the "new oil" in global trade, Canada has legalised the use of the controversial plant, following the footsteps of South Africa and some states in the United States.

On Wednesday, Canada became only the second country in the world (after South Africa) and the first major economy to legalize marijuana use, as major world companies clamour to join what is known as "the green rush".

Sowore's prediction

On August 15, during an event on national health policy organized by the Centre For Social Justice, Sowore had said: "We have to start taking care of our weed, Igbo, such that we can also contribute to the GDP of the world, people who are...some of the best weed in the world is grown in Ekiti State and... I'm very serious. People are making billions out of that plant that is very potent in Nigeria, we should be focusing on it. Our NDLEA should get the memo that Nigeria will be exporting weed to cure cancer in other parts of the world instead of chasing after people who are growing weed when they are not chasing after politicians who are smoking cocaine in their own houses..."

He added in a separate interview, " I prefer an Ekiti State making N1.5 trillion from marijuana export to an Ekiti running to Abuja every month for crumbs from oil revenue."

The video went viral, and kick-started a conversation that divided opinions between the younger generation who seemed to think it is a great economic idea and the older ones who believed it was a sinful conversation that would spur the society to decadence.

Ajose Kuku, 25, said "For saying this he already has my vote. I have been saying this for a very long time, other countries are moving forward with ideas, this is one of the ideas we need...can you imagine? If we dress a certain way SARS will arrest us; NDLEA will be there also."

Benedette Okeke had also said: "Why will someone who wants to be President be saying things like ? I am shocked; is this what he will teach the younger ones? it's bad."

Aware of this generational divide, Sowore, in subsequent interviews, is quoted to have said: "Statistics have shown that 70% of Nigeria's population are young people; the ruling class, who do not make up to one percent, are old people who have analog brains and cannot think of innovative ideas and solutions that will resonate with the majority of people in the country and this is why, in 2019, Nigeria must elect a young person who has demonstrated capacity to be visionary and has digital solutions that can compete globally."

Put your money where your joint is

Notwithstanding this conversation, the earliest companies to get in the game are already making a fortune or planning to do so. For example, Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail has hired reporters and editors to produce "Cannabis Professional", a daily newsletter that will cost 2,000 Canadian dollars a year for the subscription.

Beverage company Coca-Cola is in multi-billion dollar talks with marijuana company Aurora Cannabis about developing cannabis-infused beverages.

The global legal cannabis market is expected to be worth a whopping $146.4 billion trade by 2025, according to Grand View Research Inc; Nigeria reportedly looses N1.5 trillion yearly to the destruction of its local cannabis growth, which is criminalized under the countries constitution.

Nigeria and revolutionary economic change

Even as the world moves on to find new products in global trade that will drive the world economy, Nigeria's 70% who will go to the polls are increasingly beginning to look for younger alternatives who will provide innovative economic solutions which are sustainable post 2019, a mental task Sowore says the current political class is incapable of.


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Sorry Atiku, You Can’t Buy Integrity, What is Rotten, Is Rotten By Churchill Okonkwo

17 October 2018 - 8:23am

In the masterpiece, satiric comedy, The Trials of Brother Jero, Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, captured religious hypocrisy in the form of a con, or fraud, named Brother Jero, who preaches to his followers on Bar Beach in Lagos. Brother Jero was an energetic rascal that mastered the art of manipulating his followers in an obedient position by simply convincing them that their quest for money, social status and power will be fulfilled “now”. This play that goes back to 1960s captured the exact replica that is being played out by the fraud and con politician named Atiku Abubakar.  

The political rascal Atiku have been attempting to convince Nigerians that if elected President, he will feed us from the nose while we relax at the foot of Adamawa mountain. After his selection as the PDP presidential candidate, the con artist wasted no time scouting for endorsement to boost his tattered integrity. His attempt to woo Soyinka and get an endorsement failed. The fraud politician quickly conned Rev Kukah and Sherik Gumi in the “reconciliation” with another rogue, Obasanjo where he manipulated them to be seen to have endorsed the presidential bid.

As to Bishop David Oyedepo’s role, I don’t believe he was conned. His appearance was out of pure desperation and corruption. After watching the pictures of David Oyedepo celebrating the reunification of dangerously corrupt men, I wept for Nigeria. It is corruption when Bishops surrenders their integrity, a sense of wholeness and moral character, and basic humanity for the sake of money and power. Bishop David Oyedepo in desperation to regain influence of Nigerian Presidency embraced corrupt Atiku. This demonstration of crude acceptance of corruption should be a source of concern to every Nigerian that is interested in this fight against corruption.  

Atiku Abubakar’s campaign strategy is to conjure up images of a man who after corruptly enriching himself, invested the embezzled public resources to create jobs. Take, for example, Atiku recently claimed that unlike Buhari, he is “an expert job creator who has founded many successful and thriving businesses including the American University of Nigeria, Yola.” What Atiku intentionally left out was that the reason he cannot go to America is the millions of Dollars he laundered to America for a direct license to use the franchise of the American University.

Under Atiku and Obasanjo’s watch, public universities collapsed. Atiku, Obasanjo and the likes of Bishop Oyedepo quickly filled the vacuum by establishing private universities that are beyond the reach of poor Nigerians. Corrupt, short-term gains might be huge, but the human costs of this corruption emerged later when children of rich parents started sending their kids to private schools following the near collapse of public schools. Sadly, the resulting poverty and uneven educational development between the rich and the poor has sharpened the incentives for further corruption.

The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity. Atiku knows clearly well that his integrity is rotten. As a con artist, therefore, he attempted to buy integrity by appointing Peter Obi as his VP. The problem with Peter Obi is that he is a hypocrite that lies with sincerity, but that’s a matter for another day. The unfortunate thing is that many Nigerians, especially the youths that have been lamenting bitterly about the endemic corruption in our polity are suddenly willing to excuse the con artist Atiku from a test of integrity. Their reasoning, all politicians are the same (corrupt) so let’s make sure our side wins. Atiku might be a corrupt idiot, but he’s our corrupt idiot. 

Ndigbo have a saying that not asking questions before eating causes death without illness. Some Nigerians might reason, why should all this corruption matter to me? One reason is that corruption's connections to poverty are far more numerous and pervasive. Beyond the effect on incomes, corruption undermines outcomes in education, health, public investment, and income equality. It thwarts development, including undermining public finances.

So, how bad will the effect of Atiku-era corruption be if elected president? The best guess is worse than you can possibly think. If Atiku and his Intels can withhold billion of Naira of revenue from Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) under Buhari, imagine, just imagine what Atiku will do to one of the biggest non-oil revenue agency in the country. And who’s going to check the established greed of Atiku when his Intels, as expected, starts defrauding NPA? Peter Obi? Don’t be silly.

To the extent that corruption undermines revenue, it adversely affects government efforts to reduce poverty. Money that leaks out of the budget because of corruption will not be available to lighten the burden of the poor. Corruption damages society. Corruption matters because corrupt people corrupt other people. Corrupt Bishops and pastors corrupt the congregation and the entire society. Corruption breeds mistrust. And when citizens don’t trust their government, they stop being interested in it, stop participating in it, stop voting and stop demanding that it get better. And that makes government less efficient, less responsive and less effective for all of us.

A strategic and sustainable response to corruption is public integrity. Integrity is one of the key pillars of political, economic and social structures and thus essential to the economic and social well-being and prosperity of individuals and societies. Atiku has been facing serious credibility problems especially in relation to integrity. He knows that his corrupt past and lack of integrity is harmful to a country’s economy, society, politics, and the overall environment. A President like Atiku Abubakar who lack this basic sense of integrity will undermine the fabric of our society and do great damage to our democracy.

Yesterday, a primary school social studies teacher decided to test his students’ awareness of political development in the country. What is 1 +1? The teacher asked Aisha. Two, responded Aisha. Good, said the teacher. What is the sum of Buhari + Osinbajo? Slow but steady, responded the student. The teacher then asked, what of Atiku + Peter Obi? Corrupt dude trying to buy integrity said Aisha. What? Asked the teacher. What is rotten is rotten, you can’t buy integrity, Aisha said, without a flinch. The moral of this exchange is that even primary school pupils know that if you don't have integrity, you have nothing. They know that integrity cannot be bought. As adults, eligible to vote in the 2019 election, we should not let these kids down.

So, as a Nigerian, I cannot in good conscience support Atiku even if he adds David Oyedepo and Apostle Peter as his VPs. Atiku is terribly corrosive and a master in the democratization of corruption that inclusion of Peter Obi in his ticket is irrelevant and deceptive. Do you believe Peter Obi can do what Obasanjo and the United States government could not? Think about it, deeply. You see, even “Saint” Peter Obi cannot restore Atiku’s battered integrity. What is rotten is rotten. 

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

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It's Now Legal! Canada Lifts 100-Year Ban On Use Of Marijuana

17 October 2018 - 8:10am

A marijuana prohibition that has lasted close to 100 years in Canada ended on Wednesday following the country's legalisation of the drug for recreational use.

Canada became the first major Western nation to legalise and regulate its sale and recreational use.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spoke on the eve of the reform, said: "We're not legalizing cannabis because we think it's good for our health. We're doing it because we know it's not good for our children.

"We know we need to do a better job to protect our children and to eliminate or massively reduce the profits that go to organized crime."

Under the new regulations, Canadians aged at least 18 or 19 will be allowed to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis, and grow up to four plants at home.

Announcing the legalisation on Wednesday via his Twitter handle, Trudeau wrote: "Profits out of the hands of criminals. Protection for our kids. Today #cannabis is legalized and regulated across Canada."

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BREAKING: Senate Asks CBN To Suspend ATM Card Maintenance Charges

17 October 2018 - 7:31am

The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to look into the suspension of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) maintenance and withdrawal charges by banks.

This was after a motion on "illicit and excessive charges by Nigerian banks in customers accounts" was raised by Senator Gbenga Ashafa during the plenary session on Wednesday.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu seconded the motion, saying: "The ATM charge is not the only charge we get from the bank, there are VAT charges and so on; this is unacceptable. We have the Customer Protection Agency in Nigeria, but they are not living up to expectations."

The issue generated much debate on the floor of the Senate and after much deliberations, a few resolutions were made.

The Senate directed the committees on banking insurance and other financial institutions and finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate.

It also mandated the committees on banking, insurance and other financial institutions and finance to invite the CBN Governor to appear before the body in order to explain why the official charges as approved by the CBN are skewed in favour of the banking institutions as against the ordinary customers of the banks.

The lawmakers urged CBN to suspend the ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers accounts, just as they called on the CBN to instruct the commercial banks to configure their machines to extend to N40,000 per withdrawal, pending the outcome of the investigation by the committees.

The Consumer Protection Council was called upon to be up and doing in taking up the plight of ordinary Nigerians by looking into the various complaints of excess and unnecessary charges by Nigerian banks.

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'Slow, Chaotic' Verification Exercise Leaves Aged Nigeria Airways Retirees In Pains

17 October 2018 - 7:12am

The ongoing verification and data capturing exercise of former staff of Nigeria Airways at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, has been chaotic.

When Sahara Reporters visited the processing and data capturing centre at the Sky catering Services within the airport, most of the retirees were yet to be attended to by officials of the President Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), which is saddled with the responsibility of disbursement.

Just as it happened on Monday, power supply and breakdown of server for data capturing had stalled the progress so far.

Out of the over 3,000 retirees expected to be attended to in Lagos, less than 300 of them had been processed and captured by the department.

At the venue on Tuesday, some of them with health challenges and had to be brought in on wheel chairs while others were partially blind, possibly due to old age.

One of the beneficiaries, Engr. Isaac Datti, lamented to our correspondent that he had been coming since on Monday, yet he hadn't been attended to.

He decried that power supply to the venue had been epileptic while officials of PICA too were naïve in handling the procedures, stressing that most of the retirees, especially those who came in from outside Lagos, were already stuck without money to buy food or make phone calls.

“I have been coming here since Monday when this exercise began. On Monday, only 250 of us were attended to instead of the estimated 500. The officials claimed it had to do with power supply to the area, while their server too has not helped matters.

“I just hope that the entire exercise will not be inclusive, again. We are really eager to get our money because we worked for it and for over 14 years; we have been suffering to get this thing done. About a thousand of our colleagues have since died without collecting their dues.”

Also, Mrs. Clara Iwara, who claimed to be an administration staff member before the airline was shut on September 30, 2004, decried the situation.

Iwara, like Datti, explained that she had been coming to the centre since Monday, but was yet to be attended to despite securing her name on the papers.

According to Iwara, her daughter, who equally works within the airport environment, had been bringing her since Monday without any success so far.

However, she exuded confidence that all the retirees would be attended to before the end of the exercise, but said less than 10 per cent of the total population had been attended to by the PICA officials.

“I have been coming here since Monday, but nothing tangible has come out of it. My daughter who works within the airport has been bringing me here and usually leaves after dropping me off. The situation is tedious for me at this my age.”

The exercise takes place simultaneously in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Enugu States while 50 per cent of them were expected to be processed in Lagos.

No fewer than 5,969 ex-workers of the airline were estimated to benefit from the exercise

Mr. John Waitono, Deputy Director, PICA, Ministry of Finance, led the team to Lagos.

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For The First Time Ever, A Woman Is Leading The US Army's Largest Command

17 October 2018 - 6:54am

Lieutenant General Laura J. Richardson has broken a major public record as the first woman to lead the largest command in the United States Army.

According to CNN, it's a first for the US Army Forces Command, or FORSCOM, for the command, which represents 776,000 soldiers and 96,000 civilians.

Richardson's records with the US Army date back to 1986, and in 2012, she became the first female Deputy Commanding General for the 1st Cavalry Division, known as 'America's First Team'.

She became second in command to Gen. Robert B. Abrams, when she was named the first female Deputy Commanding General of FORSCOM in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the US Army reported.

Her elevation to the current position comes after Abrams announced on Tuesday that he would be leaving his position to become Commander of the US Armed Forces Korea.

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Lagos Deputy Gov Constitutes Committee To Investigate Schools Indicted For Certificate Fraud

17 October 2018 - 6:06am

Barely a week after SaharaReporters and other news platforms published a multimedia investigation detailing certificate fraud within the Lagos State Ministry of Education and various malfeasances in both national and state Common Entrance Examinations in Lagos State, the Deputy Governor, Idayat Ranti Adebule, has set up a committee to investigate schools indicted in the report.

The Executive Chairman of Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Sopeyin Ganiyi Oluremi, disclosed this in an interview with SaharaReporters, on Tuesday.

According to Oluremi, although some of the schools are not government-owned, the Deputy Governor, who also doubles as the state Commissioner for Education, has saddled an enquiry committee with the responsibility of investigating the schools and making recommendations to the state.

He said: “Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor who doubles as the Commissioner for Education in Lagos State has immediately set up a committee to look into all of these reports and make appropriate and adequate recommendations. I am sure within the next one week, that committee would have come up with their report, and actions would follow.

Oluremi, however, disowned Ajenifuja Kazeem, the staffer who arranged a back-door First School Leaving Certificate for our correspondent, who had gone to SUBEB’s office to make an enquiry on how to get the FSLC.

He said: “We have searched through our records and it was discovered that no name like that appears on our database. We have a database for SUBEB, headquarters
or local government districts or schools under the purview of districts.

“SUBEB does not issue certificates, there is a body, that is, the Lagos State Exams Board, and I must tell you without being sentimental, Lagos State Exams Board will not issue certificates to people that do not sit for the placement examination."

On the evidence of mass cheating during the state organised Common Entrance Examination, he said the state would intensify its effort on securing the sanctity of its exams.

“A lot still needs to be done on security which is one thing the government is so much concerned about so that unscrupulous elements don’t have their ways into exams hall,” he said.

He extolled the government’s commitment to quality education and assured Lagosians of the state’s dedication to the education sector.

The investigation revealed how schools in Lagos State brazenly sell certificates and testimonials. It also revealed, among other things, how government invigilators connive with teachers and parents to aid and abet cheating during national and state Common Entrance Examinations.

At Government College in Victoria Island, one of the centres for the National Common Entrance, the investigation revealed cases of impersonation and mass cheating. See Also Education UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION: Forgery, Bribery, Exam Malpractice Are Booming At Lagos Primary Schools 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

The same malfeasances were unearthed at various centres, during the Lagos State organised Common Entrance Examination, also known as a placement test.

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Senate Blames NNPC For Abia Explosion Where 150 Humans Were 'Charred Like Rats'

17 October 2018 - 5:37am

The Senate has blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the explosion that occurred in Abia State on October 12, 2018.

At the plenary session on Wednesday, Senator Theodore Orji cited order 42 and 52 and spoke on the pipeline explosion, maintaining it was due to negligence on the part of NNPC staff.

According to him, the villagers had gone to scoop oil from the leakage when the explosion occurred.

Also addressing the Senate on the issue, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa said: "I want to say it was a gory sight. I saw human lives charred like rats. This is due to the negligence of PPMC and DPR. We have lost premium on human lives. This calls for serious investigation. The committee on downstream should investigate this.”

In his remarks, Senator Victor Umeh said: “It’s very regrettable because people have refused to do their jobs. NNPC and DPR are supposed to do monitor these issues. Scooping oil should not be allowed. From the incident, it is clear the leakages were reported but those in charge ignored these reports.”  

Addressing the eighth assembly on the incident, Senate President Bukola Saraki said: "As we go into the prayers to look into how we can truly come up with resolutions, we need to show that lives do matter in this country and make this a very good example of that, I say this to those committees we’ve referred this to because from the presentations and those who have contributed, this is just clear negligence on the part of those who are responsible and could have prevented the loss of lives of 150 people who have died.

“Those who will finally agree to look into this matter should treat it with the seriousness that it deserves. The Committee on Petroleum Resources and Police Affairs should perform a proper investigation and recommendation."

He directed the committee to report its findings to the house in two weeks.

The Senate resolved to direct the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to the affected individuals. The lawmakers also ordered depots to commence immediate repairs of the leakages.

The Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream was asked to conduct a proper investigation and make recommendations. 

One-minute silence was observed for the repose of souls and the Senate resolved to send a delegation to the Abia State Government and the community.

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Food Prices Rise In Nigeria As Global Costs Drop

17 October 2018 - 5:22am

The composite food index has risen by 13.31 per cent in September 2018 compared to 13.16 per cent in August 2018 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) monthly inflation report.

This rise in the food index was propelled by hike in prices of tubers, vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, bread, cereals, and fish. On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.00 per cent in September 2018, down by 0.42 per cent points from 1.42 per cent recorded in August. 

The average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending September 2018 over the previous twelve-month average was 15.92 per cent, 0.58 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in August (16.50) per cent.

In September 2018, five states did not record any rise in the cost of food products. They are, Katsina, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau. They all recorded food price deflation or negative inflation (general decrease in the general price level of goods and services or a negative inflation rate).

On a year-on-year basis, food inflation was most pronounced in Kwara (17.17%), Bayelsa (16.62%) and Abuja (15.70%). Plateau (8.82%), Abia (10.10%) and Ogun (11.11%) recorded the slowest rise in food inflation. 

Viewing from a month-on-month angle, hike in food prices remained highest in Kwara (3.39%), Adamawa (2.59%) and Kebbi (2.23%).

Conversely, all products in the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) basket, recorded a month-on-month drop with the exception of sugar that saw a 2.6 per cent rise.

FAO measures the price of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar.

When agricultural products are substituted from other products, it is called the All items less farm produce index.

This composition of prices dropped to 9.8 per cent in September 2018, down 0.2 per cent from 10.00 per cent in August 2018. 

On a month-on-month parameter, these basket of prices which is also called core inflation, increased by 0.64 per cent in September 2018. This was down by 0.14 per cent when measured against the 0.78 per cent recorded in August 2018.

The items with high price surges in this category were fuels and lubricants for personal transport, vehicle spare parts, dental services, tobacco, carpets and other floor coverings, furniture and furnishing as well as hospital services. 

The average 12-month annual rate of change of the core inflation index was 11.09 per cent for the 12-month period ending September 2018; this is 0.19 per cent points lower than 11.28 per cent recorded in August.

The calculation of inflation, however, is measured through the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and it rose from 11.23 per cent in August to 11.28 per cent in September.

According to the NBS, the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending September 2018 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period ending September 2017, was 13.16 per cent; 0.39 per cent points from 13.55 per cent recorded in August 2018.

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EXCLUSIVE: Wike Hit By ‘Certificate Forgery’ Scandal Ahead Of 2019 Governorship Election

17 October 2018 - 4:45am

Achinike William-Wobodo Esq., a lawyer in Rivers State, has sued Governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, for allegedly forging his Age Certificate in documents he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

William Wobodo instituted the law suit against Wike and INEC at the Federal High Court (Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1020/2018), pursuant to Section 182(1)(j) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

In the suit, he asked the court to disqualify Wike from participating in the 2019 Rivers State governorship election.

The complaint of the Applicant was that in 1999/2000, when Wike intended to contest for the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area Council (LGA) chairmanship election, he was less than 35 years, which was the minimum age qualification at the time for contesting the LGA Chairmanship. 

In order to qualify himself for that election, Wike allegedly got someone who deposed to an Affidavit that he was born on March 13, 1963, which made him eligible for that election. In the said affidavit, allegedly made in 1986, there was copious reference to Obio/Akpor LGA, which was not in existence as of 1986. The LGA was only created in 1989.

Curiously, the affidavit, titled ‘Statutory Declaration of Age’, was also allegedly deposed to at the High/Chief Magistrate Court, yet had a stamp, purportedly of the Probate Registry. There was no identification or stamp of the person who allegedly administered the Oath as Commissioner for Oath as required by Oaths Act 1963. The Applicant alleged that the Governor had reasons to have known that the age declaration, which he presented to INEC as his Age Certificate, was forged — because even his date of birth earlier submitted in his documentation with INEC was December 13, 1967.  

The applicant also claimed to have known the Governor from 1991, when they were both of the same Faculty of Law at Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt, and that the Governor had always presented his date of birth as 13/12/1967. This, he said, made the Governor 50 years of age in 2017, and this was consistent with the Governor’s 50th birthday celebrations last year in Port Harcourt. By Wike's age declaration to INEC, he would have been 54 rather than the 50 he celebrated in 2017. See Also Scandal Wike: Governor’s "50th Birthday" Celebration Shows He Submitted Forged Documents To INEC In 2015 0 Comments 10 Months Ago

It was alleged that in the buildup to the 2015 governorship election in Rivers State, some social media platforms published that the Governor had an unresolved conflict around his age and threatened to publish same. It was in a bid to maintain consistency in his age that Wike re-presented the allegedly forged Certificate of Age to INEC, which has now put him into a stronger dilemma.

The applicant gave particulars of alleged forgery, which include: (1) that the document lied against/about itself; (2) that the content was made of manifest inconsistent, inexplicable and irreconcilable falsehood; (3) that the information regarding the age of the Governor is false, and to the knowledge of the Governor; (4) that the Governor intended that INEC should act on the document as genuine; (5) that INEC acted on the document as genuine; (6) and that the Constitution of Nigeria talks about presentation of forged certificate, it will be immaterial that the Governor claims he did not forge the document by himself.

A very close source to Wike, who asked not to be named, revealed that the Governor and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were doing everything to suppress and frustrate the case. The source claimed that Wike admits that the case is a very bad one and that the timing has made the situation even worse. 

Our source also revealed that the Governor had hoped that the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) would not have been able to decipher a cause of action from the certificate saga. He expressed shock that Wobodo was able to weave a very strong case out of the situation.

Wike and his team have resolved that their strategy would be to frustrate the case; right now, he has directed his personal staff not to receive service of any court processes.

SaharaReporters called Wike on his mobile phone to get his reaction, but he neither answered nor returned the calls.

The applicant was also contacted, but he simply said it was not time to speak on the matter. 

“Please, this is not the time for me to speak about this matter,” he said. “My priority now is to serve the Governor and to have him appear in Court to respond to the issues. We can speak afterwards.”

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Ibori Loses Bid To Reverse 13-Year Jail Term By UK Court For £50m Fraud

17 October 2018 - 4:15am

James Ibori, a former Governor of Delta State who was jailed in Britain for laundering tens of millions of dollars in stolen public funds through British banks and properties, has lost an appeal against his conviction in London.

Ibori lost the appeal against his conviction on Wednesday.

He had pleaded guilty in a London court in 2012 to a 10-count charge of fraud and money-laundering involving sums amounting to at least £50 million ($66 million).

He received a jail sentence of 13 years, and served half the jail term as is common in the British system.

The former Governor, who is now back in Nigeria, appealed against his conviction, alleging misconduct by the British Police and prosecutors, which he argued, tainted the judicial process.

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Anti-corruption Crusaders Protest Non-passage of Whistleblower Protection Bill, Present 360 Whistles To Lawmakers

17 October 2018 - 2:56am

A coalition of anti-corruption crusaders led by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA)  has called on the National Assembly to work towards the passage of the Whistleblower Protection and other Anti-corruption bills. The group also presented 360 whistles to lawmakers.

The leader of the group, Sina Odugbemi, said they were at the National Assembly to remind the lawmakers of the need to join forces in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

He said: "You know as well as we do that corruption is an enemy to socio-political and economic development of any country. Corruption reduces public revenue with direct consequences to healthcare delivery, education and other social infrastructure. Corruption does not only serve to fuel the flame of terrorism, it most dangerously retards the wheel of peaceful coexistence among citizens."

Odugbemi applauded the House for its prompt response to the need to fight corruption in the country by initiating bills geared towards invigorating the ongoing war against corruption.

He, however, challenged the lawmakers to go a step further by ensuring that the bills were passed and signed into law before the end of this administration.

The protesters used the occassion to present  360 free brand whistles to each member of the House of Representatives and 109 red band whistles for each member of the Senate.

The House of Representatives Committee on anti-corruption, Hon. Kayode Ayodele, who received the protesters assured them that it will continue to work for the passage of all relevant bills that will give contribute to winning the war against corruption.

He further informed the protesters that the 8th Assembly has done a lot in the passage of the bills that will help in the fight against corruption, including the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill 2017 and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016 which he said are awaiting the assent by the president.

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Bayelsa Indigenes Accuse Govt Of Playing Politics With Suspension Of Traditional Ruler

17 October 2018 - 2:01am

Concerned Nembe Indigenes and Traditional Rulers from Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, under the aegis of the Opu-Nembe Council of Chiefs, have faulted the last week suspension of the traditional ruler of Oluasiri Clan, King Iyerite C Awululu, the Olua 1 of Oluasiri.

The group alleges that the suspension is politically motivated and a direct violation of the traditions and culture of the people.

According to the group, though the people of Nembe appreciate the need by the state government to resolve the slight friction in the clan, they expressed concern that the action overlooked the complexities, traditions, customs and values of the Opu-Nembe Kingdom.

A statement issued on Tuesday via email by the group and signed by the Opu-Nembe Chairman, Chief B.F. Amakiri Do and Secretary, Chief F.C.Y. Aperebo-Okpoama, noted that "as the fathers of the larger Opu Nembe Kingdom, whose right it is to install and oversee Mornachs in the tripod Clans of Ikeinsi, Obioku and Oluasiri, the action of the state government is unfortunately, not reflected the values and laws of the Opu-Nembe Council of Chiefs concerning the suspension of a monarch".

The statement read: "We understand that the state government might see a need in trying to resolve the slight friction in the clan, a gesture we appreciate. We are only concerned that the moves being taken has greatly overlooked the complexities, traditions, customs and values of the Opu-Nembe Kingdom.

"The government has acted within its wisdom, but it has, unfortunately, not reflected the values and laws of the Opu-Nembe Council of Chiefs concerning the suspension of a monarch. We wish to state that, until proven beyond doubt that the King of Oluasiri has faltered on the traditional laws, rules and rights governing his stool, for the avoidance of further breakdown of law and other in Oluasiri clan, we who installed him will regard him as the legitimate and serving King of Oluasiri Kingdom as well as the accompanying Development and Youth Organs.

"We are, by this statement, positing that the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council rescind its decision of attempting to suspend the King Of Oluasiri clan, the Oluasiri Development Union and the Oluasiri Youth Federation pending the outcome of the efforts of the Opu-Nembe Council Of Chiefs in resolving this issue amicably within its overseeing powers and rights."

"The Opu-Nembe Council of Chiefs is non-political, we are neither anti-government nor anti-genuine government policies. For almost two centuries, we have been bound and guided by a royal creed that ensures the unity, sustenance and advancement of our kingdoms. And so, we are deeply conservative towards politics, both state and partisan.

"Concerning this hurried purported suspension, we feel there is an ulterior motive, which may not be unconnected to the imminent elections. There is an attempt, we believe, in some quarters to exploit the paraphernalia's of government in creating artificial tension in preparation for the approaching polls. We urge the state government to be wary of those who may be sordidly extending the
governments arm into independent council affairs for sinister purposes.

"His Excellency Governor Seriake Dickson has declared in the past that he will not interfere in traditional matters and we fully believe him, so we are inclined to believe there are cynics who are trying to use state government influence in negotiating at the black market. In Nembe tradition, no king is removed in office while alive.

"This current event will only set a negative precedence that will remain disdainful to our values, customs and traditions as a people. Our position, therefore, as the parent body of the monarchies of the three clans within Opu-Nembe, is that the reign of the King of Oluasiri, the tenure of the leadership of the Oluasiri Development Union and the Oluasiri Youth Federation remains valid until the Opu-Nembe council of Chiefs concludes its findings and states its obligatory position over this minor matter which is steeped in economic anxieties."

The Ibeyanaowei of Oluasiri, HRH King Iyerite C. Awululu, who was crowned about 10yeara ago, was suspended by the state government over alleged flagrant abuse of the state government directive and threat to peace and security of the community.

The suspension of the Oluasiri monarch,  which was made known through the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Community Development and Chieftaincy affairs, Mr. Gibson Egbert, was followed with the dissolution of the Oluasiri Development Union and Oluasiri Youths Federation.

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APGA’ll Suffer Repercussions, Says Ojukwu’s Widow

17 October 2018 - 1:50am

The widow of the late Igbo leader, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Bianca Ojukwu, has said that the All Progressives Grand Alliance will suffer the repercussions of conducting skewed primaries against her and other founding members of the party.

In a press statement signed by her and made available to our correspondent in Awka, Anambra State, Bianca alleged that the party had been hijacked by those she described as mercenaries.

Narrating her ordeal at the APGA senatorial primary in the Anambra South district where she lost to Mr Nicholas Ukachukwu, Bianca described the exercise as horrible.

She, however, appealed to APGA members not to quit the party, saying that was not the solution to the problem.

Her statement read in part, “As a member of this party’s board of trustees, I am deeply concerned that mercenaries would appear to have hijacked the operations of our party machinery. APGA is today facing an existential threat and the overall image of our party is in tatters.

“This will certainly have serious repercussions going into the main elections.

“I would like to use this opportunity to reach out to all aggrieved members and aspirants who, like myself, have suffered grave injustices under a system which had an abiding responsibility to its members to create an enabling electoral environment.”

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Senator Jibrin Reveals How Bribe-Taking Videos Will Affect Ganduje’s Second Term Bid

17 October 2018 - 1:42am

Barau Jibrin, Senator representing Kano North, has said “agents of darkness” are out to tarnish the image of the state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, but warned it would not affect his second term bid.

Jibrin said this in reaction to the video of the Governor, allegedly collecting bribe from some contractors.

In a statement on Tuesday, the lawmaker said supporters of a former governor who is not on good terms with Ganduje, were behind the video.

“I have watched with great incredulity videos making the rounds in the social media from an online medium, Daily Nigerian, where technology was put to an ingenious devilish use by some agents of darkness masquerading as anti-corruption crusaders depicting His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Executive Governor of Kano State purportedly receiving bribe in his office.

“It amazes me how low we can go in this country to try to bring people down for very selfish political ends, else how does one explain this outrageous manipulation aimed at no other thing than to rubbish the good name and reputation of a performing Governor so loved by our people.

“Already, Video Tech Analysts have come up with a damning verdict branding the video as Fake owing to the manifest incoherence in the dates and time shown in the video as well as the use of technology to make the set up look real.

“I would not have taken the satanic video clips seriously but for the masquerades behind it, who are rabid supporters of a former Governor of the State who is at loggerheads with His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

“The same antics was used to malign and blackmail His Eminence, the Emir of Kano, Dr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi until the same source came to tell the world that the material so depicted was in fact cloned and fake.”

Describing Ganduje as a man whose integrity is “above board”, Jibrin said the scandal would not affect the second term of the governor.

“May I use this opportunity to state without mincing words that His Excellency, Dr. Ganduje is a Governor whose integrity is above board. As a Senator from Kano State, I have watched with amazement over the years his anti-corruption stance,” he said.

“What is playing out now is nothing but a failed attempt to destroy the image of the Governor, turn the citizenry of the state and his massive supporters against him, then reap political benefits in 2019! No way!! The evil plot is dead on arrival.

“I therefore call on the good, discerning people of Kano State to treat the fake videos circulating as nothing but trash.
Meanwhile, let it be made abundantly clear that Governor Ganduje is not distracted with this satanic conspiracy. Rather, he is busy implementing his robust development agenda for the State.

“As for 2019, Governor Ganduje’s sterling performance in office stands him, President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC candidates in the State in good stead for re-election before the Kano electorates, therefore no amount of subterfuge and blackmail can change this position.”

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