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Nigeria Ranked 3rd Most Terrorised Global Nation

Fri, 2018-12-07 12:49


Nigeria, for the fourth consecutive year, occupies the third position among countries worst hit by terrorism, globally, according to the 2018 ranking on terrorism. This has been blamed on the activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen.

Apart from 2014 when Nigeria was ranked fourth, it has remained in the unenviable third position in the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranking since 2015.

Mixed reactions have trailed the report. While former vice president and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said the country’s ranking in terrorism shows the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) failed promises, the APC said report was far from reality.

In the latest report released on Wednesday, Iraq, a country in the Middle-East, is ranked first, a position it has held since 2014. Afghanistan has ranked second since 2013. Syria and Pakistan are ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

Others among the top 10 countries worst hit by terrorism in 2017 are Somalia (6th), India (7th), Yemen (8th), Egypt (9th), and Philippines (10th).

The good news, however, is that there has been a reduction in the number of deaths caused by terrorism in Nigeria in 2017, just like the other three preceding years, according to the report

“When compared to the peak of terrorist deaths in 2014, the largest falls in
the number of deaths occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan, with falls of 6,466, 5,950, and 912 deaths respectively,” said the 2018 GTI report.

The report said deaths from terrorism in Nigeria fell to 1,532 in 2017, a decrease of 16 per cent from the prior year.

There were 63 per cent and 34 per cent drop in deaths in the country in 2016 and 2015 respectively, according to the report.

“This highlights the effectiveness of the counterinsurgency operations undertaken in Nigeria and its neighbours, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad,” the report said, adding that the world has also experienced a drop in deaths from terrorism in 2017.

The GTI, while analysing global trends in terrorism in 2017, described the reduction in deaths in Nigeria and Iraq “the most dramatic.”

Boko Haram attacks, the report said, have substantially reduced in Chad and other neighbouring countries; and Al-Shabaab, in 2017, overtook Boko Haram as the deadliest terror group in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The GTI report raised concern over the killings by herdsmen, saying terrorism was shifting from Nigeria’s North-East region to the country’s Middle-Belt.

The report said: “In Nigeria in 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in violence involving Fulani extremists even as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling.

“In 2018 alone, deaths committed by nomadic Fulani herders are estimated to be six times greater than the number committed by Boko Haram.

“In 2017, 327 terrorism deaths across Nigeria and Mali were reportedly committed by Fulani extremists, along with 2,501 additional deaths in the three years prior with the vast majority of these deaths being civilians.

“While deaths (killings) committed by Fulani extremists decreased following the peak of 1,169 deaths in 2014, violence from the group in 2018 is expected to surpass that peak. Nearly 1,700 violent deaths have been attributed to the Fulani Ethnic Militia from January to September 2018. An estimated 89 per cent of those killed were civilians.”

According to the report, two, out of 20 most fatal terrorist attacks, occurred in Nigeria. One was on March 20, 2017, when assailants identified as “Fulani extremists” opened fire at a market in Zaki Ibiam, Benue State killing 73 people. The other was on July 25, 2017, when Boko Haram terrorists opened fire on a Frontier Exploration Services team convoy at Jibi, killing 60 people.

The GTI, which is in its sixth edition, is produced annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank with offices in Sydney, New York, and Mexico City.

Reacting to Nigeria’s rating, former Vice President Atiku has described this as a function of the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to keep its campaign promises to Nigerians.

Atiku, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate for the 2019 polls, said it was unfortunate that the present administration could not deliver on its campaign promise to secure the country.

Speaking through his media aide, Paul Ibe, the former Vice President noted that that is the more reason Nigerians cannot take the APC serious in the run-up to the 2019 polls.

According to him, “it is very clear that this coincides with the era of the APC led administration. Again, it is also a confirmation of their failed promises. They have failed on economy. They have failed on alleviating poverty. They have again, failed on security. Then
you ask yourself without security, what can we do? That explains why every nook and cranny – the North West, the North Central, the North East, the South South – everywhere is a theatre of one war or the other.

He said: “It is not about promises. It is about policies. That is why we are different from them. You look at the well articulated policy, which Atiku has reeled out; it is a framework, and Nigerian are interrogating it. And security is an integral part of it.” In its reaction, the APC has dismissed the report, describing it as rating faraway from the reality on ground.

According to National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the rating was wrong, stressing that Nigerians who are on ground have the accurate rating.

Said he: “We cannot join issues with people far away from the reality. Nigerians have their own rating because Nigerians who could not move freely in Abuja before the APC came in have their rating. The residents of Abuja formerly perpetually under fears of insurgents attack have their ratings. People of the North East have their own rating because they understand the difference between when they could not even live in Borno or Yobe and Adamawa states and now. They know that insurgency has been degraded to the extent that they don’t have any community under their control.”

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Ambode’s Commissioner Was PDP’s Mole In Our Party – APC

Fri, 2018-12-07 12:45


 

The Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress says it had always known that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s commissioner, Wasiu Oluwo, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday, was a mole for the opposition party.

The party’s position was contained in a statement on Thursday by the state Publicity Secretary, Mr Joe Igbokwe.

It said Oluwo, who had since resigned from his position as the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, was a traitor.

The party said the former commissioner who was an ally of former lawmaker, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, had gone with Afikuyomi when the latter dumped the party to pursue his failed governorship bid in 2007.

It said when Afikuyomi returned to the party, he and Oluwo were reabsorbed into the APC and were given appointments under the former Governor Babatunde Fashola.

It said rather than remain loyal to the party for its magnanimity, Oluwo decided to return to his old ways.

The statement read in part, “It is necessary to put this in true context so as to dismiss the false and capricious insinuation that his resignation was in principled objection to the party’s last primaries. Far from it!

“He was only playing true to type, seeking as he had done in 2007 to reap from the primaries.

“He has further shown that he has been a mole of the PDP and has been working to undermine the APC.  His exit is a signal to other like minds who may wish to follow his trail.”

The party described Oluwo as an opportunist who only used the APC to achieve his selfish motives.

According to the APC, the former commissioner attempted to install his wife as a local government chairman by all means but was stopped by the party leadership.

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Catholic Bishops Ban Priests, Members From ‘Active Politics’

Fri, 2018-12-07 12:35


 

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has banned Catholic priests and faithful of consecrated life from engaging in partisan politics including becoming a member of any political party.

The Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, who gave the order yesterday in Abuja on behalf of the Catholic Bishops, frowned at the public altercation between Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka and former Anambra State Governor and vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi.

The altercation occurred recently at Fr. Mbaka’s adoration ground in Enugu.

According to the Rev. Fr. Madu, the Bishops condemn, the shameful scenario on an adoration ground, as contained in video recording that has gone virile on social media, and that without reservation the reported incident does not have the support of the Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

“As has always been our stand, the Catholic church in Nigeria as clearly stated in their August 7, 2018 directives, remains apolitical and does not support or subscribe to any political party. Our concern is for a peaceful election process seen to be free, fair, credible and just, and a democratic governance that guarantees peace, justice, equity, among others.

“On behalf of the conference, we wish to reiterate their obligation as teachers of faith and morals, to educate the faithful on their role in the political life of the country, mindful of the present charged political atmosphere of Nigeria. With the ongoing campaigns of political parties gathering momentum, we deemed it necessary to again remind all priests and religious to keep to the position of the church on the issue of nonpartisan politics,” Madu said.

While saying that they are sure that the Enugu diocese, where Rev. Mbaka is incardinated, is taking appropriate measures on the incident, they reiterated that no Catholic priest or people of consecrated life should be actively involved in partisan politics in obedience on the Canon Law of the Catholic.

“We also enjoined the lay faithful to play their roles in the forthcoming elections premised on good conscience, play their roles at the election within prejudice or inducement and ensure that their votes count and the right people votes into power for the common good,” he said.

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Saudi Arabia Donates 140,468 Bags Of Food Items To IDPs In Borno, Yobe

Thu, 2018-12-06 23:30


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, has donated 140,468 bags of food items to displaced victims of Boko Haram in Borno and Yobe states.

In his remarks at flag-off of distribution in Teacher Village Displaced Camp, Maiduguri, Borno State, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), disclosed that 125,317 baskets of food items will be distributed by the centre to 33,343 households in designated camps and communities in Borno State over the next four months.

According to a statement by Sani Datti, Head of Media and Public Relations issued on Thursday, Maihaja commended the effort of the Minister of Defence, Retired Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali, who facilitated food assistance to the North-East.

The statement read: "In Borno, a total of 125,372 bags of 25kg of rice and beans and 62,686 cartons of condiments with each containing 4kg semovita, two litres of vegetables oil, 29 sachets of tomatoes, 1kg of salt and two sachets of seasoning will be distributed directly through the combined efforts of NEMA, SEMA and critical stakeholders using the voucher system. Each household of six persons will get a food basket of 59.8kg for the period of one month.

"In Yobe, a total of 15,096 bags of 25kg of rice and beans with 7,548 condiments will be distributed to 3,774 households identified to benefit from the gesture, where the total food basket to be distributed was put at 225,685."

Leader of the team, Nasser Alsubaie, an Assistant Director of Emergency Aid From King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, said the generous donation would benefit more than 840,000 Internally Displaced People in the North-East, as the donation was a testimony of the humanitarian commitment of the centre.

"It will be recalled that early this year, Saudi Arabia pledged to donate the sum of $10m for capacity building to NEMA and relief assistance to the Federal Government to address the food crisis and resultant malnutrition caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East."

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BREAKING: After 'Collecting N2m Ransom', Kidnappers Release Pregnant Ondo Medical Doctor

Thu, 2018-12-06 22:38


Breaking News

Breaking News Sahara Reporters Media

One of the abducted health workers of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owo in Ondo State, has been freed, SaharaReporters can authoritatively report.

The heavily pregnant medical doctor was released on Thursday at about 2am on Owo road.

On Tuesday, workers of the FMC were abducted along the Owo road. See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Gunmen Abduct Three Health Workers In Ondo, Demand N50m Ransom 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

The kidnappers also seized a lecturer with the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in Owo (RUGIPO) in Ondo State, who was on his way to work. They demanded the sum of N50million as ransom.

Our correspodent learnt that the female doctor, identified as Mrs. Ayeku, was freed from captivity due to her condition. A source at the FMC, who confirmed her release, said the doctor was receiving treatment at a hospital in Akure.

The source, who preferred not to be named, said the doctor was released after the family paid ransom.

"Truly, I can confirm to you that one of our workers who was kidnapped on Tuesday has now been released. I gathered that she was freed due to her condition, but not until her family parted with the sum of N2million as ransom," the source said.

"She is currently receiving treatment in a hospital in the state capital, and I am aware the female doctor is doing fine."

Femi Joseph, Police Spokesperson at the Ondo State Police Command, confirmed the doctor's release via a phone call with SaharaReporters in Akure.

Joseph said the pregnant doctor was released on Thursday midnight along the Owo road after the Police combed the forest for several hours in search of the victims.

"Yes, one of the abducted victims was released today and she is the pregnant doctor," he said.

"They released her at the midnight when they noticed that the Police was close to them. We have received her, and she is currently receiving treament in the hospital due to the trauma that she faced in the thick forest. But let me assure you that we shall not relent in arresting the pepetrators of this crime and we will bring them to book, so they can face justice.

"The Ondo Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gbenga Adeyanju, has set up a rescue team to ensure that others still in captivity are rescued unhurt."

At the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the Ondo Police Commissioner had already summoned a meeting with heads of all security agencies in the state.

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Victory For Democracy, Sowore As Reps Approve June 12 As Democracy Day

Thu, 2018-12-06 22:33



Omoyele Sowore, human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner, who is also the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), has hailed the move by the House of Representatives to approve June 12 as Nigeria's new Democracy Day.

Video of Sowore Announces Plan To Make June 12 Democracy Day, 3 Days Before President Buhari's Decision Sowore Announces Plan To Make June 12 Democracy Day, 3 Days Before President Buhari's Decision

The move comes six months after Sowore made the promise, at a town hall meeting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on June 23, 2018, to formalise the date if he becomes President next year. 

Three days later, in what was deemed a political move, the President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration also announced plans to make June 12 Nigeria's new Democracy Day.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives announced that June 12 be commemorated as Nigeria's new Democracy Day with the last celebrated date, May 29 now, to be permanently replaced in the Public Holiday's act. 

In 1993, Sowore fought for the de-annulment of June 12 election while he was Student Union President of the University of Lagos. The election, referred to as Nigeria's freest and fairest elections, was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida.

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EFCC Arraigns Four Dangote Staff For 'Diverting' 800 Bags Of Cement Worth N15million

Thu, 2018-12-06 20:58


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned four Dangote staff — Adewale Dalmeida, Ibrahim Lawal, Afeez Olaniba and Lukman Adam — before an Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta for alleged conspiracy and stealing.

They were arraigned on a two-count charge before Justice O.J. Bamgbose on Thursday.

According to the anti-graft agency, the trio connived to divert nine trucks loaded with 800 bags of cements each.

Count on of the charges read: “That you Adewale Dalmeida, Ibrahim Lawal, Afeez Olaniba and Lukman Adam between May and August 2018 at Ibese within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony, to wit: stealing of the sum of N15,940,800.00 (fifteen million, nine hundred and forty thousand, eight hundred Naira) property of Dangote Cement Place.

"That you Adewale Dalmeida, Ibrahim Lawal, Afeez Olaniba and Lukman Adam between May and August 2018 at Ibese within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court stole nine trucks of cement valued at N15,940,800.00 (fifteen million, nine hundred and forty thousand, eight hundred Naira) property of Dangote Cement Place."

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

However, before the plea, a slight drama ensued as the defendants insisted they do not understand the English Language, necessitating the court to provide them three different persons who interpreted to them in Hausa, Yoruba and Pidgin English.

Following their not guilty pleas, counsel to the EFCC, Idris Mohammed, prayed the court to remand them in prison custody pending the commencement of their trial.

The defense counsel, however, made an oral application for their bail which the court rejected. 

The counsel urged the court to grant bail or remand them in the custody of the EFCC where they have been since September.

Justice Bamgbose remanded all defendants in Ibara prison custody, Abeokuta and adjourned till December 17, 2018 for hearing of bail application and commencement of trial.

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Atiku’s Cousin Umar Ardo Tipped To Leave PDP For Buhari's Party APC

Thu, 2018-12-06 20:26

Dr. Umar Ardo, an aspirant for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to contest the Adamawa State governorship election, is set to dump the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ardo, who is a cousin of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, was interested in the PDP ticket but withdrew ahead of the primary, alleging irregularities.

However, following the defection of Muhammadu Tahir, another aspirant, from the PDP to the APC, Ardo is being tipped to follow suit.

Tahir, who was Deputy Governor during the eight-month administration of Governor Bala Ngilari, defected to the APC on Tuesday, and then accompanied Jibrilla Bindow, Governor of the state, to the commissioning of Buhari's North-East campaign office in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

Sources close to Bindow have told SaharaReporters that Ardo may dump the PDP on Friday. 

“Ardo was to announce his defection on Tuesday but postponed it to Friday,” an aide of Bindow said.

Similarly, Bindow's second term bid got a boost during Tahir's defection, as Hassan Turaki, who is better known as Yedi and is a sworn enemy of the Governor, was also sighted on his entourage. 
 

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BREAKING: Imo Assembly Speaker, 17 Lawmakers Dump APC, PDP For AA

Thu, 2018-12-06 19:50


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Eighteen members of the Imo State House of Assembly have announced their defected from their political parties.

According to Channels Television, the Speaker, Acho Ihim, and 17 other lawmakers dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The lawmakers defected to the Action Alliance (AA).

Uche Nwosu, son-in-law to Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, who had been tipped by Okorocha to secure the APC governorship ticket, had also dumped the APC after issues that led to his losing the ticket.

On Tuesday, he had also announced his intention to run for Governor of Imo State on the platform of the Action Alliance, stating that “injustice, impunity, and lack of respect for party’s constitution” forced him out of APC. See Also Elections Okorocha's Son-In-Law Abandons Him In APC, Joins AA 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

The lawmakers' defection was announced on Thursday by the Speaker, during an emergency sitting at the State House of Assembly.

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If Buhari Will Reshuffle His Cabinet, These Ministers Shouldn’t Go To The “Next Level” By Fredrick Nwabufo

Thu, 2018-12-06 19:12


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

Sources at the presidential whispered to me that President Muhammadu Buhari is considering “reshuffling” his cabinet.

Since 2015, President Buhari has made no changes to his team. And despite demands for a rejigging of his players; he has kept them, even while some of them are conceding own goals like Manchester United.

However, it is refreshing to hear that the president is considering changing the line-up of his players. When this will happen is still a subject of speculation. But if he decides to take the action, some ministers ought not to follow him to the “Next Level”.

Top on my list of ministers, who should exit the federal executive council is Mohammad Bello, minister of the Federal capital Territory (FCT). I have lived in Abuja for years; I have never seen the city so dirty, ramshackle and unsafe before as it is now.

Abuja is now a safe haven for criminals. Car snatching, armed robbery, “one-chance operations”, and other criminality have become very common. The parlous state of insecurity is compounded by non-functional streetlights. At night, darkness envelops the city like a cumulus, giving cover to criminals to operate unchecked.

Also, the roads in the city have never been this deplorable. Pot-holes sprawl out on the roads and refuse litter the streets.

Really, I doubt if any road project has been completed by the FCT administration under Bello. For example, the Karshi-Apo road, which the minister promised would be completed this month, is barely done. As you read these words, nothing is cracking up on that road. The pain of residents, who endure traffic gridlock on the Nyanya-Keffi road every day, is unimaginable. As it is, there is only one entry into and exit out of the Abuja suburb.

Another minister, who should not go to the “Next Level”, with Buhari is Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications. Shittu has been in the news more for controversy than for performance.  

Recently, he admitted to have skipped participating in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme after he finished law school in 1979. He said he was elected a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly after law school, so he skipped the NYSC because being a "Honourable member" is already service to father land.

Imagine?

Meanwhile, he heads a ministry where an “ordinary Nigerian” cannot get a job if he does not have an NYSC discharge or exemption certificate.

 And on performance, Shittu cannot be argued for. Omobola Johnson, the immediate past minister of communications, left a record he appears too feeble to match.

If President Buhari will take these men to his Next Level; we already know what that would be like.

Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo, Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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'A President Who Doesn't Matter' — Buhari 'Clone' Mocked Again, This Time By South African Comedian

Thu, 2018-12-06 17:10

The notion of a cloned President Muhammadu Buhari has again become the topic of discussion on live TV.

Buhari had addressed the speculations on Sunday in Kraków, Poland, while answering questions, saying: "A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. It is real me."

He then became the subject of a joke on the matter during an episode of the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, an abridged recording of which was made public on Tuesday. See Also Politics 'Clone' Buhari Mocked On American Late-Night Show 0 Comments 5 Days Ago

In an abridged version of another comedy show, which went viral on Thursday, the subject also came up for discussion.

The Daily Show airs on Comedy Central and is anchored by Trevor Noah, a South African comedian.

Video of Cloned President: Buhari Once Again Mocked On International TV Show Cloned President: Buhari Once Again Mocked On International TV Show

In the clip published on December 4, 2018 entitled: 'The Seven-Year-Old Millionaire, Tumblr's Porn Ban & Racist Christmas Trees', Michael Kosta who spoke during the show started with "the President of Nigeria is having an identity crisis".

After a clip showing the tweets where Buhari responded to the "ignorant rumours", Kosta continued: "Even Nigeria's real news sounds like Nigerians' scam emails".

He then went into an accent that attempted to mock Buhari.

Noah was also present but mute during the show, as he had earlier said Kosta would be his voice for the show, having lost his ability to speak in undisclosed circumstances.

"We're supposed to believe he's not a clone but I don't know, because if you know, the CIA did have the technology, they are gonna test it on an African first. You don't just try that out on rich, white people. The CIA Chief is gonna be like 'This might not work the first time, so find me someone who doesn't matter. The President of Nigeria? Yes, that's perfect'," Kosta added.

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#ThrowbackThursday: 'Show Me Your Backside' — When Reverend Chris Okotie Was A Secular Musician

Thu, 2018-12-06 15:43


Born 60 years ago, not many people would have seen Kris Okotie exchange the secular music stage for the pulpit.

Once upon a time known as Kris, the now Reverend Chris Okotie has crafted a niche for himself in the Christian setting in Nigeria. His style of preaching is also such that listeners may be forced to consult their dictionaries anytime he mounts the pulpit.

“It was not an arbitrary whimsical or capricious act it was based on the claims justice being meant before the dispensation of grace could be released unto you. Are you still here?” are the words of Reverend Chris Okotie in his sermon on a Sunday in 2016.

Aside being a pastor, Okotie made the headlines on Sunday, June 24, 2012 when he decided it was time for him and his ex-wife, Stephanie, to say goodbye. His decision was met with heavy criticism as some questioned why a pastor would part ways with his wife.

He is also known as one of the Nigerians who have attempted to rule the country, having contested three times for the office of the President of Nigeria. In 2003, Okotie contested as the presidential candidate of Justice Party (JP), but lost to Olusegun Obasanjo. Again, in the May 2007 general election, he contested on the platform of Fresh Democratic Party, a party he founded. However, he lost to the late Umaru Yar’Adua. Not wanting to give up on his dreams, he tried his luck in 2011 when he contested against Goodluck Jonathan. He lost. On Sunday, July 16, he declared his intention to run for presidency in 2019 general election.

However, Okotie has not always been known as a 'master' of the English language on the pulpit. “When he was in the world” — as they say — his voice found its way into the heart of music enthusiasts for his pop style of music that brought freshness to the music scene of the 80’s.

Although he had been singing since he was younger, the big break came for him in 1980 when he met Odion Iruoje, a producer in Lagos. And so, the road to his stardom became a reality.

Here are a lists of some songs in his catalogue:

Show Me Your Backside: The song which eulogies a woman’s behind sees Kris Okotie trying to woo a woman by telling her to dance to the rhythm of his song. The song was recorded at EMI studios, Lagos and was produced by Odion Iruoje. It was released in 1981.

I Need Someone: This Funk/Soul/Pop rock song was released in 1980. The track was arranged by Odion Iruoje with the help of other co-producers like Berley Jones.

Carolina: Kris Okotie uses poetry in telling a story of a city in America, North Carolina where his mind resides. “I can feel the sun shine hit me from behind and I got North Carolina in my mind,” so goes the lyrics of the song.

Fine Mama: If all other songs have failed to get your attention, this pop song by Kris Okotie will definitely get you off your seat. In this song, Okotie skilfully praises the beauty of his mother. Some part of the lyrics are also rendered in his local dialect. “Fine mama loves me 1,2,3,4,5. My mama too fine,” the lyrics read.

Today, Chris Okotie, as he now refers to himself, spends his time spreading the gospel of Christ, as well as nurturing his dream of becoming Nigeria’s president.

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Buhari Mulls Cabinet Reshuffle Ahead Of 2019 Elections

Thu, 2018-12-06 15:36

President Muhammadu Buhari is contemplating rejigging his cabinet in a bid to bolster his chances of succeeding at the 2019 presidential polls, SaharaReporters has been told.

It is not exactly clear how soon the President would ring the changes, but a source in the presidency told SaharaReporters that it could happen at Friday’s emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), or it could be delayed for a few weeks. 

The emergency FEC meeting was primarily convened for approval for the 2019 Appropriation Bill, with the government hoping to present the budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly next week.

But the source told SaharaReporters that a cabinet reshuffle at a time like this, with elections approaching, should be no surprise.

“The President is considering dropping ministers with political baggage, and those contesting, and is also hoping to strengthen his campaign spread,” he said.

Since becoming President in May 2015, Buhari hasn’t altered his cabinet, the members of which he waited six months before announcing.

Aisha Alhassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba, is the most recent Minister to reluctantly bow out of office. She quit in acrimonious circumstances as Minister of Women Affairs in late September, after she was disqualified from contesting the Taraba State governorship election on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

That was two weeks after Kemi Adeosun, then the Minister of Finance, belatedly resigned following months of sustained public pressure after it was exposed that she did not undergo the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Kayode Fayemi, then Minister of Solid Minerals Development, left in May to contest the Ekiti State governorship election, which he won — he was sworn in in October — while Amina Mohammed resigned as Minister of Environment in February 2017 after she was appointed United Nations Deputy Secretary General.

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I'm Excited, My Next Album Is Ready, Says Asa

Thu, 2018-12-06 15:13


After a brief hiatus in the music scene, Bukola Elemide, popularly known as Asa, has announced to SaharaTV that she will release her next album early next year.

Four years ago, in 2014 precisely, was the last time the singer released a complete body of work. The project which was titled 'Bed of Stone' was well received as singles like 'Dead Again', 'Eyo', 'Satan Be Gone' and 'The One That Never Comes' became instant favourites with Asa's fans.

Asa has been going on a world tour which took place from 2015 to 2018. However, within that period, fans have called for new songs from the artiste.

SaharaReporters had earlier written a feature article asking the whereabouts of the singer. See Also Arts There's 'Fire On The Mountain'; Where Is Asa? 0 Comments 2 Months Ago

In an interview with SaharaTV on Thursday, she revealed that her next project would be early next year. Upon release, Asa said she will be going on tour.

“My next album is ready and I am excited. I think you’d like it because I enjoyed it. I love the songs in them and I am very excited to introduce it to people. So, early next year. There is going to be a tour definitely, Nigeria,” She told SaharaTV.

Speaking further, Asa who is in Nigeria, said her stay in Nigeria has been good. “It's home. I'm home with my family and friends. It's been good,” the soulful singer said.

Asa was born in Paris to Nigerian parents and she grew up listening to artistes like Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, King Sunny Adé, Diana Ross, Nina Simone, whom she learnt from. Her first album was self-titled 'Asa', which was released in 2007 with production credit to Cobhams Asuquo.

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Tahir, Ex-Adamawa Deputy Governor, Dumps Atiku For Buhari

Thu, 2018-12-06 14:47

Muhammadu Chubado Tahir, former Adamawa State Deputy Governor, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to lend support to President Muhamadu Buhari's re-election bid.

On Tuesday, he accompanied Governor Jibrilla Bindow to commission Buhari's North-East campaign office in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

Before his defection, Tahir, who was Deputy Governor during the eight-month administration of Governor Bala Ngilari, was a strong contributor to the support base of Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.

Addressing a cheering crowd, he said: "After carefully weighing the options, I came to a conclusion that APC is the party for all reasonable Nigerians.

“I can tell you without mincing words that PDP, in particular, is an assemblage of falsehood and lies.

“Here in our state, for instance, it is evidently clear that by reason of real dividends of democracy, the APC stands out and we can only give kudos to Governor Bindow.”

However, his defection may have been triggered by the governorship primary of the PDP, which he and Dr. Umar Ardo withdrew from on the eve of its conduct, alleging irregularities.

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Deji Adeyanju Granted Bail As Fani Kayode, Charly Boy Storm Abuja Court

Thu, 2018-12-06 14:00


Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians, has been granted bail.

He was granted bail on Thursday by the Magistrate Court sitting in Abuja.

Femi Fani Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation and Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, among others, stormed the Magistrate Court in Abuja on Thursday morning express solidarity with Adeyanju, who is standing trial on allegations of "cyberstalking, inciting disturbance and criminal defamation".

The offence is punishable under Section 391 of the Penal Code and Section 24(1) of the CyberCrime Prohibition and Protection Act 2015.

Idiat Akanni, the presiding magistrate, said the offence is bailable, noting that Adeyanju should not have been kept in custody. She, therefore, admitted him to bail on the condition that he must produce two sureties with N500,000 in like sum, and the sureties must not be less than Grade 12 in the civil service.

Adeyanju was rearrested on Monday December 3, 2018 after he was initially released from prison by the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) on offences bordering on "cyberstalking, inciting disturbance and criminal defamation". See Also Free Speech After Buratai's Petition, Police Rearrest Adeyanju For 'Cyberstalking' 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, had also written a petition against Adeyanju for "promoting terrorism on social media" regarding the attack on soldiers in Melete.

Speaking on the arrest, Fani-Kayode said: "The excesses of the Police have exposed the number of issues happening with the military and so on. That he should be locked up, charge to court, granted bail and rearrested. This is unacceptable and I will urge the government to reconsider the way they are handling this matter".

The case was adjourned till January 17, 2019 for hearing.

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The Scourge Of Teenage Pregnancy In Nigeria By Muniraht Olanipekun

Thu, 2018-12-06 13:49


face2faceafrica.com

Telling the truthful tales of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria might be both tasking and daunting, especially in the Northern part of the country, where people tend to trample upon the truthful once-upon-a-time-stories about how pregnant teenagers are vulnerable victims of tragedy of all sorts.

Pathetic enough, bathetic stories are told to deceive innocent girls on the scourge of teenage pregnancy and child marriage controversy. The reason for this is not farfetched — poverty and illiteracy have made many Nigerians have inaccurate impressions about 'teenage pregnancy'.

Meanwhile, teenage pregnancy, also called unwanted pregnancy has become a bane in the society. Underage girls are caught in the mess of being put into the family way. This has become rampant in the society, most especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. It has led many young ladies to early graves as a result of unsuccessful abortions; the youngsters also drop out of schools, consequently. In fact, teenage pregnancy is a costly mistake that leads to stigmatization.

According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria still has 10.5 million out-of-school children — the world’s highest number. Sixty per cent of those children are in northern Nigeria. About 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Many of those who do enroll drop out early. Truth be told, both unwanted and unwarranted pregnancies of teenagers are reasons behind the aforestated data.

By the way, who, by convention are teenagers? They are set of youngsters from age 13-19; therefore, they are considered minors. Most of the children who fall under the aforementioned age bracket are still very much under the roof  of their parents. If by means of involving in intimate affairs, they are put into the family way; in the case of a female, they find it difficult in raising these babies, for they are themselves being brought up. As a result, there is a defect in taking care and in the upbringing of the so-called children.

Teenage pregnancy will most likely result in single parenting, whereby a single parent, usually the mother, raises the child alone and sadly, the young individual will be raised without a male figure which is extremely important for the child’s development as this defect can result in behavioral and antisocial problems later in life.

Undoubtedly, child marriage is a core causality of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria, particularly, it is more or less a tradition in the Northern part of the country. As at today, child marriage is still widespread in the northern part of Nigeria, having the highest rate of child marriages and early pregnancies with one significant reason owing to the lower level of literacy.

The explanation given is that, the higher the level of education, the higher the level of knowledge of contraceptives use, awareness about risks and many complications associated with early pregnancy. Thus, often times, teenage pregnancy and early marriage go hand-in-hand and may be inseparable. It is well understood that teenage pregnancy is mainly amongst underage teens, who indulge in unsafe sexual practices that lead to unwanted pregnancy and chiefly, the girl child suffers the consequences in most cases. Sadly, the girl child suffers the stigma of the society when she carries around a protruding stomach amidst her peers. Worse still, stigma may come from friends, society and even her family members and relatives and eventually becoming a school dropout.

Aside the fact that this act is socially repulsive, it is also morally unacceptable. However, morals are sometimes relative just like religion. Nevertheless, these practices need to be curbed. Early marriage, most times, is done as a camouflage to minimize stigmatization for the female child.

For girls aged 15-19, risks are more associated with biological effects of age such as risks of low birth weight of the infant, pattern and prolonged labour, premature rupture of fetal membrane and more are observed in teen births, even after controlling for other factors such as accessing good pre-natal care. Also, post natal risks include complications, VVF (Vesicovaginal fistula), and in some cases, death during labour and more.

A depressed and naïve teenage girl who finds herself in this situation would do anything just to be relieved of the trauma of being pregnant with no opposite gender or relatives to take responsibility for the shameful pregnancy. She  might consider going for abortion, which may cause intense damage to her body system or even lead to her death.

Furthermore, teenage pregnancy and child marriage contribute rapidly to the robust population of this country. The reason behind this mindset is that statistics show disparities within the geo-political zones of Nigeria as follows: North-West (36%), North-East (32%), North-Central (19%), South-South (12%), South-East (8%) and South West (8%). This report shows prevalence of child pregnancy in the northern parts of Nigeria and it has a significant effect on the natality rate. Thus, considering the country’s economic status as at now, it is important to keep control of the birth-rate in the country.

For possible solutions, it is recommended that orientation agencies should initiate programmes aimed directly at sensitizing these minors on sex education and the dangers associated with it and more.

However, Nigeria is a closeted country; sexual issues are not discussed freely. Advocates of sex education in schools have met stiff resistance from teachers and religious leaders who say that such education would promote immorality. This should not be a factor of discouragement because this movement will help these youngsters learn that the future is more important than any other thing and can truly be enjoyed as an educated individual.

In conclusion, parents are advised to keep a close watch on their wards and render attention whenever it is needed of them from their children to prevent uneventful happenings. Parents should also monitor closely the level of exposure of their youngsters and the kind of company they keep. Promoting education of the girl child and economic empowerment of young girls will reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy and the high complication rate associated with it. Moral education should also not to be left out.

Olanipekun Muniraht is a student journalist from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto

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Oyedepo And The Perils Of Satire By Azu Ishiekwene

Thu, 2018-12-06 13:31


It’s difficult to say which one was worse: the original falsehood or the misinterpretation and rebroadcast of its parody as gospel truth. 

The fugitive and self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, is credited with inventing the fabulous tale that the real President Muhammadu Buhari died in London sometime in January or April, after a prolonged illness, and that the resident cabal in Aso Rock immediately replaced him with a body double, one Jubril al Sudaniya from Sudan. 

When the falsehood wasn’t spreading fast enough, Kanu shared pictures of the “former” right-handed Buhari, whose body double was now left-handed, and also highlighted facial differences, including those around the earlobes, to prove that the Buhari in Aso Rock today is not the Buhari that Nigerians voted for.

That withering creative madness was the tipping point. Over 500,000 people have now viewed the body double video and perhaps the 500,001th viewer was Bishop David Oyedepo, leader of one of the largest Christian evangelical denominations in Nigeria.

Oyedepo went further than just viewing the video. If there were any residual doubts in his mind about what he had seen and heard, they were settled by an article written by Professor Olatunji Dare in The Nation of November 27, entitled, “Buhari’s Double”, under a miscellany of short articles.

Oyedepo read Dare’s article in full to a church congregation of tens of thousands of worshipers on Sunday with thousands more logged on. As he read it aloud, carefully emphasizing the incredulous demand by the family of the fictitious Jubril of Sudaniya for a share of federal power in perpetuity, in addition to 50 percent of the country’s oil revenue and the threat to spill the world’s best-kept sordid secret if the demands were not met, the faithful ughed! and aahed! in fits of amazement and subdued rage.

Like a master puppeteer, Oyedepo maintained his cool. He gave the impression that reading newspapers was actually a waste of his time, but that he condescended to perform this task because the author, “one Dare”, had said the information was obtained “authoritatively.” Perhaps the bishop also thought that since the article said the UK authorities were already mediating in the matter, it merited his attention.

But there were two problems with Oyedepo’s sermon on the Buhari Double, taken from the Book of Kanu the Fugitive. The first was that anyone with a measure of educated skepticism who had looked even casually at the Kanu video would have seen it for the creative fudge that it was. It was a monstrous piece of fiction, which even Kanu knew it was.

The second problem was that the author of the piece which Oyedepo used as the final authoritative evidence of the authenticity of Buhari-turned-Jubril-al-Sudaniya story was not just “one Dare,” as he said. Olatunji Dare is a renowned professor of mass communication and one of satire’s all-time best gifts to Nigeria. 

Was it possible that Oyedepo, pro-chancellor of two universities, did not genuinely know that Dare’s piece was a satire or was he too blinded by his dislike of Buhari that the satire not only played to his instincts but also became a convenient tool to incite his base against Buhari?

As I watched the Oyedepo video again and again, it reminded me of how Donald Trump, then simply Celebrity Trump, retrieved from the gutter a despicable tale about Barack Obama not being an American and went ahead to launder and popularise it among a lunatic fringe called the birthers. The tale was later mainstreamed. 

Whoever heard of a “Barack Hussein” as anything other than a woebegone Muslim from a shithole country? Twenty-five percent of adult Americans actually believed this tale and, like Trump, propagated it. Not even when Obama took the unprecedented step of publicly presenting his birth certificate did the doubters give him a break.

There are other recent examples of tale-bearers remaking the world. Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson demonised immigrants as good-for-nothing spongers, saying that the National Health Service would be saving at least £350m weekly if Britain left Europe. Life would be so glorious that every true Brit would once again feel the sun rising over the Empire.

A good number of British people believed this fiction and voted Leave before finding out the morning after, that their leading politicians had sold them down the river. They didn’t know what they voted for.

I admit that in this age of cynicism worsened by growing, unmet expectations and low-performing politicians, fiction is seductive. For example, it’s easier for politicians to play the ethnic card than it is for them to accept that poverty cuts across ethnic groups and to find common sense solutions; it’s easier for politicians to create a false universe of “we” and “them” and to stoke images of a siege mentality than it is for them to accept that head or tail, they hardly lose. 

But fiction serves politicians well, because in politics as in religion, the masses have an increasing appetite for manufactured solutions, which celebrity politicians and rock star religious leaders have in good supply. Why think when someone else can think for you? 

So, when Oyedepo says that it would be irresponsible for Buhari not to respond to the tale that he is not Jubril al Sudaniya, for example, he is telling church members not to bother processing the fiction anymore. He, Oyedepo, with his education, enlightenment and exposure, believes the fiction – and that is enough. 

There’s a sense in which it might be argued that the official secrecy about the nature of Buhari’s illness could only have encouraged speculations about his health including, in fact, exaggerations about his death. But nothing in the realm of rational thinking or even common sense, can encourage any serious-minded person, not just to think, but to believe that Nigeria is being ruled by a character from Nnamdi Kanu’s book of fiction.

Yet, belief is a powerful thing. Those who doubt it only need to ask the talebearers whether Buhari’s refuttal in Poland has done anything to clear the doubts. An egregious aspect of modern politics is manufacturing discontent. And belief is a vital ingredient.

Oyedepo does not have to like Buhari – and it’s obvious that he doesn’t. Which is fine. But a man of his stature and learning ought to know better than to inflict on church members and propagate publicly a piece of monstrous fiction which, frankly, discredits him.

Those who accuse him of being a closet Buhari hater, citing his public appearance at the first Obasanjo-Atiku public meeting and the open-cheque lobby with a major Abuja-based Pentecostal pastor to prevent Godswill Akpabio from defecting to the All Progressives Congress, have Dare’s satire as more stick to beat him over the head.

And by the way, has the bishop seen Dare’s postscript? Will he also read it in full to the congregation on Sunday?


Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network

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Social Media Users And Information Poison: Buhari's Aide As A Case Study By Adejumo Kabir

Thu, 2018-12-06 13:24


Lauretta Onochie, social media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari

Lauretta Onochie, social media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari

"I will never know, because I will never be able to be in the position to witness those things. And I don't care to know something I myself cannot confirm. No one should care about this" - Maria Karvouni

The spread of fake information on social media has recently posed lots of threat to peaceful co-existence in the society.

While it is believed that sharing of false news did not just start in 2018, the fact-check project by different newsrooms is joyfully helping to point out erroneous reports of many social media users who engage in the habit of promoting falsehood.

In 1931, the Japanese army staged mock attacks on itself to justify its invasion of China, and then created the fake country of Manchukuo to legitimise its conquests. In 1969, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, said there is no Palestinian people and never was despite years of armed fight between Isreal and 'those that doesn’t exist.'

This has always been the trend but more popular following the advent of internet.

In July 2018, Nigerian government launched campaign against fake news, a decision linked to the possible effects of rumours towards escalation of crisis across the country.

In his speech, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the essence of the campaign is to sensitise all Nigerians to the dangers posed to the peace and security, and indeed the corporate existence of Nigeria by the phenomenon, and the fact that each and every Nigerian has a role to play in curtailing the spread of fake news.

"The timing is not unconnected to the role of fake news in aggravating the various crises in the country as well as the need to check this phenomenon ahead of the 2019 elections", he said.

Despite this sensitization, it is observed that many officials of the government are guilty of spreading fake news.

One of them is the media aide to President Muhammodu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, an "arrowhead" when it comes to dissemination of fake news all in the name of politics.

Just on Tuesday, she posted a picture on Twitter that the People's Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, distributed cash and food at his Sokoto rally held on Monday December 3 and was able to gathered over 2000 retweets for a picture later proved by a  fact check to have first appeared online in February 2017 when a Lagos-based Charity foundation, released photos from an outreach.

Buhari's aide who is not a first timer in posting images misrepresenting facts in September also posted a picture of a rehabilitated Nasarawa-Jos Road which was later found to be false.

A team led by Sinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in their journal of science that: “Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information”

“It took the truth about six times as long as falsehood to reach 1,500 people. And it wasn’t bots spreading most of the falsehoods, they found. It was real people doing most of it. Usually ordinary people, too, they found: so-called ‘verified’ users and those with many followers were not usually the source of some of the most popular untrue viral posts."

While citizens must see themselves beyond being mere readers of information on social media or as factual advocates not spreading loose information that may lead to mass violence, who will punish the president's aide for posting fake information to elevate his principal?

 

Adejumo Kabir, is a student journalist at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife

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Our Decision To Boycott 2019 General Elections Irrevocable – IPOB

Thu, 2018-12-06 12:06


The leadership of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) has re- iterated its decision to boycott the forthcoming 2019 general elections is irrevocable, saying that no amount of cajoling and criticisms of the decision as counter-productive would make it change the decision. Uche Mefor Deputy Leader of IPOB

In a statement issued yesterday by the deputy Leader of the group, Mr Uche Mefor, apparently in reply to a Niger Delta freedom fighter, Mr Askari Dokubo, who criticized the IPOB decision to boycott the forthcoming Nigeria’s 2019 general polls, IPOB, stated that injustice can never be erased in Nigeria.

“You cry everyday that the constitution is a fraud, the election rigged,  INEC  used as electoral tool to manipulate results and yet you senselessly or naively continue and want people to vote and yet you are a freedom fighter?

“Look, IPOB cannot mutate and certainly don’t change course midflight , IPOB remains ideologically consistent.

“Do your own and we do our own and in the end we take stock. IPOB refuses to betray the trust of her followers or sell them by joining Nigerian politics”, the IPOB leader stated.

The IPOB leadership even warned that the group might be forced to changing its tactics if its current modus operandi is seen not to be yielding the desired result, saying “Our demands must be met or we apply another sophisticated strategy if the anomaly subsists”.

He added, “In the final analysis , it is my considered opinion that those who are suggesting that we change course are at best insincere.

“They know right from the beginning that the end result in joining Nigerian politics is total failure with respect to BIAFRA .

“Bewarned, be focused, be vigilant for wolves are on the rampade. Rally round our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and together, we shall eventually prevail”, he stated

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