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Nigeria Needs Parliamentary System Of Government, Says Fasanmi

Sun, 2019-04-21 11:08


Ninety-three-year-old Senator Ayo Fasanmi, a leader of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, says the parliamentary system of government is the most appropriate system of government for Nigeria.

He said this in an interview the Punch newsapaper published on Sunday, adding that the system is cheaper for the country.

According to Fasanmi, the parliamentary system of government is preferable to the presidential.

He said: “In the first Republic, we practised the parliamentary system and in the Second Republic, we practised the presidential system of government. I think the parliamentary system of government is better, or let me say I prefer it to the presidential system of government.

“It is cheaper to run than the presidential system of government. But I think the system was bastardised when the military came into government. That mentality is still there. I will go for the parliamentary system of government. We need to save as much as we can save now. Parliamentary system of government is less expensive; it is very cheap and that is the kind of system that we need now.”

When asked if the nation should consider part-time legislature as a way to reduce cost, Fasanmi said it can be considered but money should not be a motivating factor. 

He said: “When I was in the House of Reps in 1964 and the Senate in the Second Republic in 1979 and 1983, money was not the motivating factor. It will be a nice idea if we take a second look at the way we do certain things.

“In our time, the love to serve prompted us to come out and contest elective offices and that was why the nation had competent and honest people in offices then. Part-time legislature was done before and it worked, so, there is nothing wrong if we consider it. The interest of the people should be paramount; it is only then that we can get competent people to serve in public offices.”

On the conviction of Walter Onnoghen, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Fasanmi went on to say that “whoever will be nominated as a judge is not a corrupt person. Judges should be carefully selected to avoid putting corrupt persons on the bench. One cannot have a corrupt person to dispense justice. There will be no justice; there will be no fairness. Only people of integrity should find their way to the judiciary.

"It is unfortunate that the former Chief Justice of Nigeria found himself in this situation, but we must make sure that people with proven track of integrity are the ones dispensing justice. If we put the right people there, Nigeria will soon become a shining example for other nations to emulate in Africa. Nigeria was a great country in the days of Obafemi Awolowo and others.”

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EFCC Investigates N8.7billion Fraud In JAMB

Sun, 2019-04-21 11:04


Ishaq Oloyede

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun investigation into an alleged N8.7billion fraud in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) between 2010 and 2016.

According to TheNation, about 15 suspects have been shortlisted for trial in relation to the fraud. Some zonal heads and state coordinators are listed for trial. 

In 2018, Philomena Chieshe, a female accountant and one of the suspects, had claimed that a snake swallowed N36million, which was funds from the sales of e-facility cards. 

A document which contains all the details of the alleged fraud revealed that money from the sales of e-facility cards and change-of-course cards ended up in the pockets of private individuals.

The report read: “The remittance of over N8billion by Oloyede to the Federal Government as revenue led to the forensic investigation of financial activities of JAMB between 2010 and 2016 by Faithpro Consulting Auditing Associate (Financial and Management Consultants).

“The forensic investigators came up with N8.7billion shortfall within the same period which the EFCC has been investigating. There are about 15 suspects who may face trial in the first batch.”

Benue, Nasarawa, Kano, Kogi, Plateau, Gombe, Yobe and Edo are some of the states where the fraud was said to have taken place, while Chieshe and Sale Umar (Benue), Labaran Tanko (Nasarawa), Daniel Agbo (Kogi), Yakubu Jekada (Plateau), Patricia Ogunsola and  Cyril Izireim Imoukhuede (Edo), Murtala Abdul (Gombe), Aliyu Yakubu (Kano), among others, are names of some of the suspects under investigation.

The report continued: “In Benue, out of the expected revenue of N124,180,000 from e-facility cards, only N88,700,000  was remitted, leaving a balance of N35.48million.

“The JAMB office in the state also received 10,210 change of course cards and instead of remitting N8,025,000, about N7million was paid into the designated account. About N1,025,000 is missing till date.

“Although JAMB’s preliminary findings claimed that Chieshe confessed that a snake swallowed the N36m unremitted cash, she told the EFCC detectives that the shortfall was an I-Owe-You advance to cash-strapped staff that are yet to refund same.”

For Yobe state, JAMB employees arguments was that they had “lost sale records because of attacks on Damaturu by Boko Haram".

Edo State employees had similar claims “where N26,400,000 is missing. Out of the expected revenue from e-facility cards of about N123,933,000, only N97,533,000 was paid into the relevant account.

“In Gombe, about N40,004,000 sales revenue was realized but only N29,073,000 was remitted leaving a balance of N10,269,000.

“An officer in Kano, in his efforts to cover up for 20,000 unaccounted cards, worth N20million, cut carbon papers in the form of e-facility cards and returned these cards as unused.

“Investigation revealed that Mr. Labaran Tanko was the JAMB State Coordinator of Lafia Office, Nasarawa State between 2011 and 2016.

“Investigation revealed that within the period of his tenure, Nasarawa State Office revealed a total of 24,882 e-facility cards out of which 24,037 were unsold, while 845 were sold at the rate of N1,000 each. The expected revenue was N845,000 realized  and remitted to JAMB.

“However, he claimed that the remaining 23,147 cards got burnt in an accident he had along Lafia-Akwanga Expressway, while 890 cards were missing.

“Meanwhile, contrary to his submission, forensic evidence obtained from the IT Unit of JAMB showed that the cards were sold and utilized by candidates within Nasarawa State and its environs.

“This forensic evidence showed the name, phone number and purpose for which the cards were used. The expected revenue from the claimed burnt/missing cards was N24,037,000. The revenue from the cards, which were actually sold and utilized based on forensic evidence, was never remitted to JAMB.

“Also investigation revealed that 2,000 CBT cards were supplied to Nasarawa State Office which were never sold. Rather, the State Coordinator claimed that the said 2,000 CBT cards were among the cards that got burnt in a road accident along Lafia-Akwanga Expressway.

"Contrary to the claim, investigators recovered forensic evidence which showed that the cards were actually not burnt, but utilized by candidates within Nasarawa State and its environs. This forensic evidence further revealed the details of candidates that used the cards, such as name, phone number and purpose for which the cards were used.

"Further investigation revealed that 4,589 change of course cards were supplied to Nasarawa State Office of which they sold 1,426 at the rate of N2,500 each, while 3,163 cards were unused and same was remitted to JAMB. However, the State Coordinator claimed that the remaining 3,163 cards got burnt in the same road accident."

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Atiku Has Never Won Any Contest Against Me, Buhari Tells Tribunal

Sun, 2019-04-21 11:01


Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to the claims by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he lost the February 23 presidential election.

In a response to the petition filed before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja by Atiku and the PDP, challenging the outcome of the February 23, 2019, presidential election, Buhari said the claims made by PDP and its presidential candidate were laughable.

The President said he is more popular than the ex-vice president and that he proved it by defeating him at his polling unit in his home state of Adamawa. 

The President is listed as the 2nd respondent in the petition marked: CA/PEPC/002/2019. His team of lawyers is led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

The response read: “At every previous instance, whether at intra-party or inter-party contests, where he and the 1st petitioner (Atiku) had vied, he has always been the preference of the electorate and/or delegates.

“In particular, at the primary election conducted by the 3rd respondent (APC) in 2014, to pick its presidential candidate for the 2015 election, the 1st petitioner and the respondent (Buhari), amongst others, were the candidates; and while the respondent polled 3,430 votes, the 1st petitioner came a distant third with 954 votes.

“The 1st petitioner was at all material times prior to his decamping to the 2nd petitioner (PDP), shortly before the presidential election, a member of the 3rd respondent (APC).

“The 1st petitioner contested the presidential primary election of the 3rd respondent with the respondent in 2014 and after the respondent (Buhari) defeated him to a distant third place, the 1st petitioner joined the campaign train of the respondent immediately after the primary election, traversing all over the country and rightly declaring to all and sundry that the respondent was the best choice available to the country for the position of President.

“On joining the 3rd respondent, the 1st petitioner consigned the 2nd petitioner to the grave, describing it as a dead party that is beyond redemption.

“The 1st petitioner could not have won the presidential election under the platform of a political party, which he abandoned and described as having gone beyond redemption.

“The respondent enjoys a wide acceptability across the federation and is more popular and acceptable to the electorate than the 1st petitioner, leading to the respondent securing more votes than the 1st petitioner, even at the latter’s polling unit in Adamawa State.

“In the polling unit where the 1st petitioner registered for the election, while the 1st petitioner polled 167 votes, the respondent scored 186 votes.”
 

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APC Desperate To Subvert The Will Of Osun People, Says PDP

Sun, 2019-04-21 10:59


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the All Progressive Congress (APC) is "too desperate" in its attempt to subvert the will of the people in Osun State.

Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, said this in a statement issued on Saturday.

He also said the party had fine-tuned plans to come up with a “new set of fabrications and allegations", to discredit Senator Ademola Adeleke, its 2018 governorship candidate in Osun State.

Ologbondiyan said since the APC and its leaders operating from Lagos had failed to prove that Adeleke’s school certificate is fake, the party is “knitting a very ludicrous allegation that Adeleke’s school testimonial was forged, with a view to smearing his image in public.”

He said: “The PDP already has information on how the APC used a former commissioner in the state to reach out to certain top security officers to use the fabrications to arrest and embarrass Adeleke and the principal of his school, Ede Muslim High School, Ede, Mr Kadili Abass.

“Our party has also been fully informed of how huge sums of money had been forwarded as a bribe to the compromised security agents to arraign and humiliate Adeleke and Abass on fabricated charges, even when they know they cannot prove any case.”

He said PDP has reports from its sources about plans by APC to infiltrate the school files and cause damage to relevant academic documents, in order to get at Adeleke, disregarding the harm such will have on other students of the school.

“Such wickedness can only come from depraved and decadent individuals who are desperate to subvert the will of the people at all costs," he added.

He called on the APC to accept its defeat in the Osun governorship election and stay clear of mischief against Adeleke.
 

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Process For Forfeiture Of Onnoghen’s Funds To Begin On Tuesday

Sun, 2019-04-21 10:57


The process of taking ownership of the funds lodged in five bank accounts opened in the name of Walter Onnoghen, former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), is set to begin on Tuesday.

Onnoghen was convicted last Thursday by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on charges of breach of the Code of Conduct for public officers.

He was found guilty of fraudulent asset declaration.

The three-man tribunal, led by Danladi Umar, ordered Onnoghen’s removal as the CJN, and as the Chairman of both the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission as punishment for his alleged offences. 

Onnoghen was also banned from holding any public office for a period of 10 years.

Furthermore, the tribunal also gave an order that funds in the five bank accounts, which the defendant failed to declare as part of his assets in breach of the Code of Conduct for public officers, should be forfeited.

Umar Aliyu (SAN), the prosecuting counsel, said the tribunal would file an order of forfeiture and the Nigerian government would pass on the order to the bank, Standard Chartered Bank (Nig.) Ltd, on Tuesday.

He said: “The order of the court will have to be served on the bank.

“In line with the judgment of the tribunal, an order will now have to be drawn from the judgment to the effect that the money in the accounts should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

“Without that, the bank will not accede to any request by the Federal Government for the forfeiture of the accounts.

“We expect that after the Easter break (which ends on Monday), the order will be drawn up by the tribunal and would be subsequently served on the bank.”

Ibraheem Al-Hassan, Head of Press and Public Relations Unit of the CCT, also said the order would be ready for service on the bank on Tuesday.

According to the Punch newspaper, Al-Hassan said the order had not been drawn up from the judgment because there was no time to do so since the verdict was delivered late on Thursday.

Al-Hassan said: “The order would be ready by Tuesday. If you recall, the judgment was delivered late into the closing time on Thursday, so, there was no time to draw the order from the judgment. Friday and Monday are public holidays.

“So, the next work day is Tuesday. By Tuesday, the order will be ready for service.”

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Politicians Who Spend More Than !2 years In Public Office Are Social Parasites, Says Pat Utomi

Sat, 2019-04-20 22:59


Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy and management, has described politicians who spend more than 12 years in public offices as social parasites.

The creator of Patito's Gang, a television talk show, made this comment on Saturday while being Intervied on ARISE TV.

“I despise people who live on politics. I think that people who make a career in life based on politics are doing society a disservice,” he said.

“I have said that nobody should hold public office for more than 12 consecutive years. You go from a commissioner to the governor, senator; you are a social parasite.

“You should come out of your hard work, make a difference for four to eight years and go back to what you do. If it’s not like that for you, you are a parasite to society. The characters making it

difficult to make progress are social parasites who call themselves politicians.”

Utomi, who contested who contested for the Delta State governorship ticket under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 and also had a shot at the presidency in 2011, said Nigeria needs a national redemption mission.

He said for the  country to make political progress, the President must form a cabinet constituted by competent and patriotic citizens regardless of their political affiliations.

“You should create a cabinet of rivals; Yakubu Gowon did it," he said.

"He built a cabinet of people who were more capable than himself: Awolowo, Enahoro, Shagari and co. We don’t need warlords trying to take advantage; our country is dying. We need people who have love in their hearts for the people of this country. Instead, we get these warlords who are trying to exclude.”

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Expatriate Killed, Three Abducted During After-Party At Kaduna Resort

Sat, 2019-04-20 22:25


Two people were reported killed and three kidnapped after a group of suspected kidnappers armed with dangerous weapons invaded Kajuru Castle, a resort and holiday centre in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The incident was said to have occured around midnight on Friday. 

DSP Yakubu Sabo, the Public Relations Officer of the Police in Kaduna, confirmed the incident in a statement he issued in Kaduna, saying the bandits shot sporadically after they had stormed the castle. 

He added that an expatriate was one of the the two persons killed.

“At about 0020hrs, we received an information through DPO Kajuru that at about 23:40hrs, that some suspected kidnappers armed with dangerous weapons gained entry into a recreational resort called Kajuru Castle in Kajuru Local Government Area, shooting sporadically and in the process shooting dead two persons, including an expatriate lady and taking away three others,” the statement read.

The victims were said to be among 12 others who came to the castle from Lagos.

Sabo said those who sustained injuries had been evacuated by the patrol team led by the DPO that rushed to the scene and taken to St. Gerald Hospital.

“Normally, whenever such social events would happen, the organisers used to inform the Police for security coverage; but the party was done without the knowledge of the Police in the area," he said.

“However, intensive efforts are being made by the Command to rescue the kidnapped persons, apprehend the fleeing culprits and bring them to justice.”

He said the Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, appealed to members of the public to assist the Police with relevant information that would help in the arrest of the perpetrators.

 

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Power Outages Are A Thing Of The Past In Zambia — And Supply Could Even Become Surplus Soon

Sat, 2019-04-20 21:54

The African Development Bank Group has celebrated the success of Zambia in eliminating frequent power outages, which used to be a regular feature of the southern African country.

‏Using its verified Twitter account @AfDB_Group, the bank tweeted on Saturday: “Power cuts are now a thing of the past in #Zambia! A major boost in electricity production - thanks to a robust hydraulic and solar power generation industry - means the country is now self-sufficient in energy.”

Power cuts are now a thing of the past in #Zambia🇿🇲! A major boost in electricity production - thanks to a robust hydraulic and solar power generation industry - means the country is now self-sufficient in energy. 💡
Read on for more 👉🏿https://t.co/8xUjpP84de pic.twitter.com/udCmVDM5eS

— African Development Bank Group (@AfDB_Group) April 20, 2019

The bank shared a previous piece breaking down how Zambia overcame its constant power cuts, largely due to a robust hydraulic and solar power generation industry in recent years.

“And, there is even better news for citizens of the South African nation — electricity production could soon be in surplus,” the bank said.

Zambia generates practically all its energy production from its own primary resources: biomass, coal and hydroelectricity, with flagship plants such as the power station near the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam, in the south-east of the country, taking centre stage.

The $375 million Itezhi-Tezhi hydroelectric generating station became operational in 2016. The plant has a 120-megawatt capacity and is the fruit of the first public-private partnership project in the Zambian energy sector. Its primary objective has been to produce enough power to end the crippling daily blackouts and meet consumer needs of the country’s 17 million inhabitants.

Itezhi-Tezhi power plant has already increased the country's power generation capacity by 7.5% and supplied an extra 50,000 people with electricity. In the first quarter of 2018, and for the first time in its history, Zambia stopped importing electricity from neighbouring countries such as Mozambique.

As far back as September 2017, national operator Zesco's head of power transmission, Webster Musonda, told Ecofin agency: "Zambia's power generation capacity has improved and will now be able to largely meet its energy needs. Overall, we will be able to meet demand and routine energy imports will cease [...] but we will continue to import energy to meet occasional peaks in demand."

According to the piece, the next step for the Government of Zambia includes plans for an energy surplus over the next two years. To meet this goal, it is exploring renewable energy, such as solar power.

The country’s new hydropower stations at the Musonda, Lusawaki and Kafue Gorge dams are important developments and in September 2018 the government inaugurated a 50 MW power plant at a cost of $60 million. An even more ambitious programme is under way, involving the construction of mini solar plants with an eventual overall capacity of 600 MW at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

The AfDB, which is championing its High 5 development priorities, such as the ‘Light up and power Africa’ Initiative under which this project falls, contributed $55 million to the Itezhi-Tezhi plant.  Additional funding has been provided by international donors including the Netherlands Development Finance Company, the Development Bank of South Africa and Proparco France.

The bank’s portfolio in Zambia currently includes 23 ongoing projects, amounting to an investment of one billion dollars, in three main sectors: transport, water and sanitation and agriculture.

A strong partnership with Zimbabwe has also been the key to Zambia’s success, the two southern African neighbours working on a major energy project on the Zambezi River, which marks their common border. The 2750 km long river is the fourth-largest on the continent.

The project, which has a projected output of at least 2400 MW, is to be built upstream of the Kariba dam, close to the famous Victoria Falls, at a cost of $3 billion.

Electricity output will be shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe, with excess production sold on to other member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SACD), according to the project's initiators.

Zambia’s electricity progress will be a subject of jealousy back in Nigeria, the self-styled Giant of Africa, where decades of electricity outages has still not been resolved despite the supposed investment of billions of dollars.

Only in the buildup to the February 23 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari said the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has questions to answer on the “irresponsible expenditure” of $16billion on power when the party was in government for 16 years without a corresponding increase in power supply.

Buhari also reiterated his resolve to probe the $16billion spending, saying at a presidential campaign rally in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, in March: “The previous government mentioned on their own that they spent $16billion on power, but you are better witnesses than myself; where is the power? Where is the money? We will follow them; eventually, God willing, we will catch them and get our money back.”

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Ijaw Youth Council Vows To Take Control Of Oil 'Even If It Means Being Killed By Trigger-Happy Soldiers'

Sat, 2019-04-20 20:54



The Ijaw Youth Council (IJY), the umbrella body of the Niger Delta youth, has demanded for amendment of the Constitution to allow each region harness its resources and contribute to the centre.

The group expressed it's readiness to do this "even if it means to be killed by the trigger-happy and the Niger Deltaphobe military Joint Task Force in the region".

According to IYC, the call has become imperative due to the aspiration of the Niger Delta people to control the resources in their lands since solid minerals in the North are now reduced to individual ownership in spite of the enabling laws in the country vesting ownership of natural resources in the Federal Government.

Pereotubo Oweilaemi, IYC President, said they won't lay low when aware of the illegal mining activities in the North where powerful individuals are allowed to tap the natural resources in their domain.

”If the Nigerian laws did not mean anything to the illegal miners of solid minerals in the North, then Niger Delta people will also take control of all petroleum resources in the southern region notwithstanding, the constitutional provisions. Niger Delta oil cannot be subjected to family ownership to Nigeria, while solid minerals in the North are being extracted by those concerned as individual ownership," he said on Saturday.

”It's either the government restructures the country by allowing states to harness and control the resources in their domains or we will take every step necessary to exercise control of the resources in our fatherland.

”Despite the fact that illegal mining activities are causing a bloody crisis in the North, the Federal Government has not deemed it necessary to set up a military joint task force to checkmate the illegal mining activities because the solid minerals in the country are seen as private ownership to the feudal Lords. There cannot be one Nigeria if everybody in the country is not treated with the same measure.”

”Every day, people have being killed and property worth billions of naira destroyed in the name of illegal oil bunkering activities by the marauding Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta region. The FG chose to protect the oil facilities at the expense of the oil-bearing communities because crude oil is seen as a national property, while solid minerals in the North belongs to the individual persons. Is this the one Nigeria they are preaching?

”President Buhari and the National Assembly should, as a matter of national importance, initiate the amendment of the Constitution by allowing states to harness and control the resources in their domains. That is the only sour path to peace in Nigeria. Anything short of that will be disastrous to our economic survival as a nation. Niger Delta people will control her resources even if it means to be killed by the trigger-happy and the Niger Deltaphobe military Joint Task Force in the region.”
 

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PMB's Second Term: Looking Back, And Looking Forward By Femi Adesina

Sat, 2019-04-20 20:42


To borrow the words of colourful First Republic politician, Chief Ozumba Mbadiwe, "come has finally come to become" for President Muhammadu Buhari, as he has won election to serve a second term in office, after a pulsating contest. The country, nay, Africa, and the world looks forward to the inauguration on May 29, 2019.

What will be the priorities of the Buhari administration in second term in office? Before we look forward, let's first look back, as the future is often embedded in the past. The key to unlocking the future is usually in the palm of the past.

What did President Buhari do in the first four years? What did he promise, and what did he achieve?

In 2015, the President pledged to secure the country, revive the economy, and fight corruption. These were the three focal points, the fundamentals on which the administration was pedestaled. And what is the report card?

When the government took the reins of power in May 2015, the security of the country was in tatters. Insurgents ran riot, and bombs went off like firecrackers in many parts of the country. North-west, North-east, North-central, including the Federal Capital Territory, were beleaguered. The insurgents were on their way to the southern part, and the whole country would have become history.

But the tested retired Army General took the war to Boko Haram. Stressing that you can't efficiently manage a country until you have secured it, he relocated the command centre of the war to Maiduguri, which is the epicenter of the insurgency. Steadily and progressively, the insurgents were beaten back, till they got circumscribed in Sambisa Forest. Even that was taken away from them, till they became like sheep without shepherd, mingling with the civilian population to attack soft targets. Today, the insurgency is terribly degraded. Though not totally conquered, it is only a matter of time. The situation today can in no way be compared to what we had in 2015. President Buhari is winning the security war.

Other theatres of insecurity like kidnapping, armed robbery, attacks by violent herdsmen on farmers, and other civil strifes, are also being addressed. Eventually, calm will suffuse the entire country.

The economy was comatose in 2015, and it was no surprise that it went into recession the following year. Throw up the hands in resignation and bemoan the tough luck that saw oil prices plunging from above 100 dollars per barrel to below 30 dollars? Not the Buhari administration. It rolled its sleeves, and set to work. Massive investments were made on agriculture and infrastructure, so as to jumpstart the economy. And truly, it roared to life, and recession lasted for only a year. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was enunciated, launched and vigorously executed, and by the fourth quarter of 2018, things were looking positive. Inflation had dropped for more than eleven consecutive months, and the impact was beginning to be felt in the prices of commodities. Importation of rice and other grains had almost stopped completely, and millions of dollars were being saved daily.

On corruption, there was a new reality in the country. There was a time we'd been told that stealing was not corruption. But behold a new dawn. Every form of stealing was being punished, and all malefactors, both high and low, were being hurled before the courts, and thrown into jail.

What shall we say of massive infrastructure works round the country? Roads, bridges, rail, power, and many others. Nigeria had never seen it in that fashion.

Now, to look forward. What will the Buhari administration do in its second term? Many things, in fact, a basket of goodies. It is a term of consolidation, a term of legacy building, as encapsulated in the Next Level road map. Progress and prosperity for Nigerians at many levels.

The three fundamental areas will continue-security, economic revival, and fighting corruption-but there will be some other definite deliverables. What are they?

Education will be refocussed, with the curriculum tweaked to place more emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. These will surely launch Nigeria into a new realm, positioning her with the developed world in the not too distant future.

Health care will come under focus, with the intention of building a healthy populace, who can hold their own in different areas of endeavour.

Infrastructure development will continue. Roads, rail, bridges, housing, and many others. The country will become one giant construction site, and this will further unlock economic development, and improve the quality of life.

Government will be inclusive. The boundless talents of Nigerians will be harnessed for national development. More women and youths would be brought on board.

Poverty reduction will be a deliberate policy. The Social Investment Program, already described as the largest and most successful in Africa, will be strengthened with the introduction of Monibank for traders and artisans, while an Entrepreneurs Bank would also be established to take care of small and medium scale enterprises. Home Grown School Feeding Program, catering for the needs of about ten million pupils now, will be given a fillip, engagement of unemployed graduates, and conditional cash transfer to the poorest of the poor, would also continue. Millions of Nigerians would be taken out of grinding poverty in the next four years, no doubt.

Power. Billions of dollars had been expended on this in the past decades, but where is the power, as the President would ask. Emphasis would be on power generation and distribution as to make a difference in the next four years.

Agriculture would continue to have pride of place in terms of funding. Lip service had been paid to diversifying the Nigerian economy for decades, but now, it is reality. Food security will be achieved in the second term. About eight million jobs were generated from the sector in the first term, many more millions are sure to come.

Anti-corruption? No joke. People with itchy fingers, past and present, will continue to fall in trouble, and probity and accountability will remain the order of the day. Honesty remains the best policy.

All these, and more are what Nigerians can look forward to in the legacy epoch, which is the second term of the Buhari administration. And by the time the term ends, the country would never be the same again. The joy kiln will be kindled in the hearts of the people, and they will leap for joy. These are promises you can take to the bank.

.Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

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Buhari Speaks On Tiv-Jukun Killings In Taraba, Fulani-Genjon-Bachama In Adamawa

Sat, 2019-04-20 20:21

The recent violent clashes between Jukuns and Tivs in Taraba State, and the Fulani, Genjon and Bachama in Adamawa State are needless and saddening, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

The Jukun and Tiv communities Wukari Local Government Area in southern Taraba State have been at war in the last three weeks, resulting in the loss of lives and property. In the latest installation of the killings, at least 22 persons were feared killed on Friday, according to residents and local officials.

Similar occurrences in Adamawa have resulted in the killings of dozens of late.

Responding via a statement on his official Twitter handle on Saturday, Buhari said the military had restored calm to the troubled areas, and urgen emergency agencies to step up the delivery of aid to the victims.

“The recent violent clashes between Jukuns and Tivs in Taraba State, and the Fulani, Genjon and Bachama in Adamawa State are needless and saddening. Violence cannot be the solution to the resolution of misunderstandings among people,” he said.

“Once we abandon reason and good judgement, we‘re giving violence the chance to take over and make a bad situation more complicated,and difficult to resolve. The primary initiative for ending violence once and for all must originate from the local actors involved in these clashes.

“The military has restored calm to the affected areas, and will not relent. The National Emergency Management Agency and the National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons will also scale up their efforts in bringing succour to all the displaced people.”

The recent violent clashes between Jukuns and Tivs in Taraba State, and the Fulani, Genjon and Bachama in Adamawa State are needless and saddening. Violence cannot be the solution to the resolution of misunderstandings among people.

— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) April 20, 2019

Once we abandon reason and good judgement, we‘re giving violence the chance to take over and make a bad situation more complicated,and difficult to resolve. The primary initiative for ending violence once and for all must originate from the local actors involved in these clashes.

— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) April 20, 2019

The military has restored calm to the affected areas, and will not relent. The National Emergency Management Agency and the National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons will also scale up their efforts in bringing succour to all the displaced people.

— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) April 20, 2019

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Bayelsa APC Attacks Dickson For Describing It As 'Not A Political Party But A Killer, Terrorist Organisation'

Sat, 2019-04-20 18:59


Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has described criticised Governor Seriake Dickson for his recent comments describing the opposition in the state as not a political party but a “killer, terrorist” organisation.

According to Doifie Buokoribo, Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Dickson’s comments are crude, infantile and extreme vituperations that are completely unbefitting of a high-ranking officer of state.

In a statement released in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Saturday, Doifie noted that the party was not surprised by Dickson's comments, but urged him to be decent and stop living in denial.

“But then, we are not surprised at all that Dickson could use such gutter words to describe a rival political party. We have always known him to be a colourless, uninspiring and cretinous politician," read the statement.

“Dickson and his gang in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have always proved to be a club of visionless little minds with neither programme nor strategy, save crude mudslinging against APC and its leaders.

"If not, why would a responsible party on the eve of a crucial election make the campaign of falsehood and slander against a rival party the highpoint of a meeting of its most important members? As if that was not ridiculous enough, Dickson and gang went ahead to delude themselves with a lie that the party that was virtually the only newsworthy issue at the PDP meeting on Monday was of no consequence.”

“Governor Dickson is free to continue to live in denial. But we know that his days and that of his party in our state are numbered. For almost eight years, Dickson subjected the people of Bayelsa State to a regime of fear, war and terror. He spread hunger, pain and poverty in the land.  The Bayelsa State Government House is now a place where criminals, cultists and other lawless elements are harboured."

APC also cricisised Dickson for "appointing known criminals, cultists and militants as council chairmen", while "denying civil servants their legitimate wages and allowances.

"He even made the state incommodious for business by refusing to fix electricity, water and other basics. The once beautiful land of Yenagoa became known as the garbage capital of the world under his watch. Our people are waiting with their PVCs for Dickson and his anointed candidate on Election Day," it added.

“In his anxiety to hide his insensitivity, Governor Dickson has now lifted the ban he placed on promotions and the payment of promotion benefits in the state civil service. But that would not save him. He has reached the end of the road, and no amount of petty mudslinging or denial of reality will change the people’s stand against him and his party.”.

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Pandemonium At Abuja Airport As Huge Smoke Emanates From Terminal

Sat, 2019-04-20 18:28

There was pandemonium at the departure wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, on Saturday following a huge smoke that emanated from the terminal.

Upon seeing the thick smoke and fire alarm system, passengers and other users of the airport scampered for safety in different directions, fearing that it may have been another fire disaster.

But a source close to the terminal told our correspondent on phone that it was the fire alarm system that triggered off, causing huge smoke to ooze out from the terminal.

According to the source, the fire alarm system, which was fixed with power substances, might have detected “something like fire,” which made it to trigger off immediately.

However, when the engineers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) got to the scene of the incident, there was no fire in the terminal.

The source said: “I am still at the Abuja airport now and I want to tell you that there was no any fire incident at the terminal.

"What happened was that the fire alarm system triggered off, may be it detected smoke within the vicinity, but nothing untoward happened at Abuja Airport.”

As of the time of filing this report, sanity had returned to the airport, as airlines, passengers and other users of the terminal continued with their duties.

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…Because We Are Nigerians By Sanni Oluwaseun

Sat, 2019-04-20 17:23


“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of” - Confucius

Nigeria is the "giant of Africa"; a self-given title we take so much pride in and always in a hurry to rub on the faces of other African countries when necessary, and when not. We remind them of our population strength, huge land mass, natural resources and various past glories. But we know what it is; a PR strategy championed by our leaders to give a good impression of the country to the outside world. However, we come back home to face the reality; we are just another African country, though with large population and natural resources, yet struggling with providing the most basic things to the citizenry. In reality, we are not the giant of Africa and we know it. If anything, we are a major African dwarf.

Being born in a country in most parts of the world is a blessing. I’m sure an average Nigerian has a different opinion. I know because of the rate at which many expecting mothers rush to give birth in the US and UK just so their babies could be citizens of those countries. The risk, cost and stress notwithstanding. On the other hand, I don’t see or hear of people coming to give birth in Nigeria to claim Nigerian citizenship. Or do you know anyone? I see how many Nigerians on social media rush to indicate interest on any post that has something like “how to migrate to Canada/US” as its title.

I was born in Nigeria in the early 90’s to a typical Nigerian home. Growing up was tough but my parents were on top of their games to make sure we got all we needed. That’s why I had a little problem with that Ozzy’s tweet. From a young age, I understood that it’s the responsibility of the citizens to protect themselves. Yes, we all know God is the protector of everyone. But we as humans have to put in some efforts too. But as a tax-paying citizen, that effort becomes the responsibility of government in saner climes. Nigeria definitely doesn’t fall in that category. I know this because I grew up seeing my parents pay a stipulated amount every month to the Vigilante group responsible for securing our street. How this is not the responsibility of the government through the various security agencies didn’t occur to me then until later. With time, I came to realize that I’m a Nigerian and it’s my own responsibility to protect myself. The recent killings and kidnap in Zamfara and the resignation of the governor as Chief Security Officer of the state say it all. Does anyone know why he has not been impeached already? I guess it’s because we are Nigerians and we don’t exactly have the power to decide who rule us.

it’s also in Nigeria that we have trigger-happy, “blood-sucking” vampires as policemen. The recent killing of Kolade Johnson and several other similar cases in recent past attest to this. I’m probably the only Nigerian youth that has never been harassed or assaulted by men of the Nigerian Police. This is most likely because I don’t drive, don’t stay out late, I have no dreads, no tattoos, no earring and other Nigerian police red flags. Should we now tell every Nigerian to live the life I personally chose for myself just to avoid Police harassment? Certainly not, because the last time I checked, none of these contradict any part of our constitution.

Power is still a major challenge for the "giant of Africa". Sometimes, I imagine how hard it would be for me to adjust to staying in a place where there is constant power supply. I’m sure an average Nigerian on the street would think that should only be possible in heaven. But no, you don’t need to embark on a journey to the world beyond to see uninterrupted power supply because that is the reality of most countries around the globe, including Ghana. Ghana here o. Whereas, here in Nigeria I constantly have to choose between enduring the noise from generator or sleeping in the heat. I have to choose to either spend my money to buy fuel to watch a football match or go out to watch it at my own risk.

It’s such a shameful thing that a country which prides itself as “African Giant” can’t provide these basic amenities to her citizens. Talking about shame, I wonder if Nigerian leaders understand that word. Sometimes I feel this second-hand embarrassment for our leaders when they are in one of those comity of nations’ meetings. How they don’t feel nothing themselves still beat me.

I reside in Lagos, the undisputed headquarter of traffic jam in Nigeria, or Africa, or the world. An average Lagosian spends 2-hours in traffic every weekday. Let’s do the maths. There are about 22 weekdays in a month. 2-hours multiplied by 22 days gives you 44 wasted hours on the road every month. The legendary Mike Okri’s song “Time Na Money”, a metaphorical expression of the significant role of time in making money comes to mind at this point. Going by that, only God knows how much money Lagosians lose everyday to traffic.

Lagos is broadly divided into two – Mainland and Island. Every morning, millions of Lagosians move from either of these “Lands” to the other using three major bridges – Third Mainland Bridge, Eko Bridge and Carter Bridge. These bridges are not enough, but manageable. But because we are Nigerians and we deserve hell as far as our leaders are concerned, they thought there is no better location to use as trailer parks except these bridges. I guess this is part of the plan as contained in the famous blueprint of Lagos by the “head nigga” in charge. So buses struggle for space with static trailers everyday, wasting time and energy on the road and causing extremely low productivity at work. Many have joked that most Lagosians work on the road and rest at work.

Talking about joke, we are Nigerians and we joke with everything. We were once named the happiest people in the world and there is no doubt about that. We find funny angles to everything and situation. Good as that is, it’s one of our problems. Most tweets on twitter are to ride on a trend, get likes, retweets and followers, and not a genuine attempt to address situations. Since that is the intention, our youths focus energy on sounding savage and creating memes to get the gratification they desire. The result of it is we have people talking about issues on social media but no corresponding action to back it up in real life.

As Nigerians, it is bad to be rich. Poverty is such a good thing for members of the public. We have leaders who constantly remind us of this with statements like “I’m poorer now than before I got into power”, “Nigeria should live within their means” and the likes. They constantly give the impression that anyone who is rich must have made the money through illegal means. Ironically though, they look away when there are clear indications that their allies are perpetrating the same corruption they claim to be combating.

The fight against corruption is arguably the biggest political scam in Nigeria since we spent billions generating darkness. No doubt, corruption is one of the major problems of Nigeria. But should we now focus on that one thing and forget about everything else (the economy especially)? Maybe the real question is are we even sincere in this "fight"?

It is clear at this point that it’s the fault of our leaders that we find ourselves where we are today. However, I think it’s high time we moved past expecting them to fix things for us; “that meins we will sleep dia”. The state of things now favours them so they are not going to try to fix it. The question is does it favour you, the ordinary citizen? I know your answer is no. I know because I feel exactly what you feel. Since we are all on the same page, then it’s about time we took the fight off social media and get serious. Unlike some guy in Zamfara who claimed to be “getting a little pissed”, me “I’m Seriously pissed” and I’m sure you are too. The time is now. No sidon look.

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Sanni Oluwaseun Disable advertisements : 

After Dispossessing Him Of N400,000, Hoodlums Beat Jigawa Imam To Death With Sticks

Sat, 2019-04-20 16:58


 

Alsheik Idris Musa, the Chief Imam of Kwara Village, Kiyawa Local Government Area of Jigawa, has been killed by suspected hoodlums.

The tragic incident happened about 1:30am on Saturday.

The Islamic cleric was said to be 65-year-old as of the time of his gruesome death.

Confirming the incident to newsmen, SP Abdu Jinjiri, spokesman of the Jigawa State Police Command, said the deceased cleric, a resident of Kwara, was attacked by hoodlums at his residence after he sold his farmland for N400, 000 to one of the construction companies in the state.

Jinjiri explained further that the suspects allegedly hit the deceased several times with cudgels, which led to his death.

He added that the suspects took away a sum of N400,000, proceeds of the sold farmland.

"The suspects also beat up the wives and children of the deceased," he said.

"The deceased was said to have sold his farmland to one of the construction companies in the state at the cost of N400,000, It is suspected that the transaction took place in the presence of the unidentified hoodlums who later trailed him to his residence.

“The village where the incident took place is a remote area. The distance to our station is two hours’ drive. So the DPO in charge of the area got the information at about 1:30 am. and proceeded to the scene immediately, but he got there after 3am.

“When he got there, the victim was already dead, but he was able to rescue the family members beaten by the hoodlums. They were taken to hospital for medical attention."

He added that the remains of the deceased had been released to his family for burial, while the Police had commenced investigations into the matter with a view to arresting the fleeing suspects.

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INVESTIGATION: How Bribe-Taking Security Operatives, Gangs Force Nigerians To Pay Dearly For Food (I)

Sat, 2019-04-20 16:40


Truck boys on top of the truck trying to control the cows after loading them.


A deserted military checkpoint in Adamawa State





Checkpoint by youth gangs in Cross Rivers State


Sagir Musa, Army Spokesman.


Frank Mbah, Police PRO.

After passing six empty checkpoints in Adamawa, the truck conveying dozens of cattle slows down at a checkpoint a Mataba Appawa Gida in Lau, Taraba State, and the driver sprightly looks down and chats with the policemen at the road-side. The dialogue lasts 15 seconds.

Turning to the fixer, he says, “Give me one thousand naira,” and the amount was thrust into his hands.

Then, the driver hands the note to the armed officers and a barricade is removed for him to continue his journey.

The driver, a tall and skinny man, is flagged down at yet another checkpoint, 200 metres away, and he pays N500 after begging the Nigerian Immigrations Service (NIS) officers who are armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

At the next checkpoint 50 metres away in this restive state beset by herdsmen clashes, the truck-man doubles his pay-out, this time, to policemen.

Less than 10 kilometres into the journey, over N2, 500 had been paid. But this is a 900 kilometre journey from Adamawa in Nigeria’s far north to Akwa Ibom in the south.

The charges are illicit, and are hardly receipted. Security operatives manning roadblocks across the country routinely collect bribes from all classes of travellers.

But just how high the amounts could go for traders on the north and south routes, and most importantly, how such brazen illegality can practically push the prices of goods up, has never been documented.

Working undercover for weeks, our reporter obtained first-hand evidence that proves the shocking scale of corruption and extortion by the nation’s security forces on federal and state roads, and how this has significantly tuned up the cost of food and goods, leaving average Nigerians to pay dearly for them.

In the journey undertaken in January, this newspaper found that traders conveying foodstuff and livestock between northern and southern Nigeria spent a minimum of N300, 000 per trip on extortion by security operatives and criminal gangs parading as state and federal agents.

When this amount is added to the N550, 000 paid for truck hire, a minimum of N842, 000 is spent to convey foodstuff and livestock between Northern and Southern Nigeria, we found.

Traders expectedly transfer this cost on ordinary Nigerians. This has seen cattle that should sell for N140, 000, sold for between N180, 000 to N200, 000 down in southern Nigeria.

Also, 20 litres of cooking palm oil that should sell in the north for N7, 000, goes for almost double the amount for the best quality.

In interviews, traders shared with this newspaper, their templates for arriving at the final sale price for their goods, depends on the amount they pay security operatives, fake revenue officials and gangs.

The implication is that with the attendant hike in cost of goods, an average family that earns N80,000 monthly can buy far less food than they should be able to afford had the illicit charges on the highways been waived.

Our correspondent, who joined a truck from Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, to Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, counted a total of 154 checkpoints.

The investigation was carried out a few weeks after the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police ordered the dismantling of checkpoints across the country.

The order followed an earlier report by this paper, which showed how bribe-taking security operatives pushed petrol and food to Boko Haram and sabotaged the war against terror.

A few days after the report was published, the leadership of the Nigerian Army came hard on some of its operatives identified in the story.

It also ordered all checkpoints to be dismantled across the country while it invited some of the commanders involved in the crime to Abuja for interrogation.

A week after the military ordered its operatives off the country’s highways, the former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, issued a similar order to the police. Idris directed that operatives should set up observatory posts and should not be found mounting checkpoints.

Making the trip

To carry out the investigation, our correspondent contacted the Adamawa State Chairman of the Amalgamated Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria (AFCDAN), Inua Abubakar, and asked for assistance to start a cow-selling business.

Our correspondent told Mr. Abubakar of his desire to buy cows, goats and rams from the Ngurore Cattle Market for sale in Nasarawa Cattle Market in Uyo.

The cattle dealer, who is also a transporter, therefore, assigned his aides to assist our correspondent in buying the animals and foodstuff needed to start the business.

On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, our correspondent, assisted by two of Mr. Abubakar’s aides, bought two cows, a ram, 10 goats and assorted foodstuff at the busy Ngurore Cattle Market in the outskirts of Yola town.

The cows cost N130, 000 each while the 10 goats cost N12, 000 each and the ram, N25, 000.

As a beginner, he reasoned that it was impossible to pay a whopping N550, 000 to hire a truck to Akwa Ibom. He, therefore, advised our correspondent to wait for South-south-based cattle dealers, who would be coming to the market the next market day (Wednesday).

The animals were moved to one of the Fulani herders, who operate a holding farm near the cattle market until there was a truck loading for Akwa Ibom.

The farm owner charged N3, 000 for the one week the animals were kept and fed.

On Thursday, December 20, 2018, a cattle dealer from the South-South, Ibrahim Dada (not his real name) accepted to load the animals and foodstuff alongside his 32 cows and four goats for the trip to Uyo.

Dada, who was introduced by a kind-hearted cattle trader at Ngurore Market, also gladly accepted to serve as a fixer for our correspondent in the course of the investigation.

He has just paid N550, 000 and hired a DAF truck that would convey the animals and foodstuff, including Irish potatoes, tomatoes, onions and vegetables, to Akwa Ibom.

As the animals and foodstuff were loaded by the truck boys who our correspondent later learnt received N25, 000 each on a single trip with the duty of protecting the animals and ensuring they do not fall on another.

Even with their attention, two of the goats bought by our correspondent died when cattle fell on them as the truck hit dangerous potholes during the long journey.

What every apprentice must know 

Truck boys on top of the truck trying to control the cows after loading them.

Dada opened up on the ordeal of traders on the nation’s highways as a way of introducing his apprentice to the business.

While applauding security operatives for doing a “good job” by reducing the cases of armed robberies on the roads, he said traders and drivers, especially those conveying livestock and foodstuff pay outrageous sums in bribes.

According to him, every truck conveying livestock and foodstuffs pays a minimum of N500 at every checkpoint.

“In fact, they demand N1, 000 at every checkpoint and youth gangs demand more. You dare not try to give them anything less,” he narrated.

“If you run away, security operatives will allow you go but no matter the distance you cover, they will pursue you with a motorcycle and force you to make a U-turn and drive back to the very spot you were supposed to pay the money.

“Sometimes, they will give the driver the beating of his life and then delay the vehicle for hours before collecting double of what they initially demanded.

“But if they don’t want to come after you, they will alert the next checkpoint and you will be forced to go back and pay double of what you were asked to pay,” Dada said.

The long and tortuous journey

Truck boys on top of the truck trying to control the cows after loading them.

The DAF truck took off at 10.45am from the loading bay near Ngurore Cattle Market with 34 cows, 14 goats, a ram and the foodstuff.

Before boarding, the fixer had struck a deal to allow his apprentice (our correspondent), to occupy the sleeping bay located directly behind the truck driver.

The driver, Isa (not his real name), a petit Fulani man in his early 30s, was friendly and could speak pidgin English.

When our correspondent informed Isa that he (the reporter) would be taking pictures along the way including how he bribes security operatives, he responded jovially, “Oga you no get any trouble at all. You go see everything and Insha Allah; we will get to Uyo tomorrow.”

Between Ngorure and the border between Adamawa and Taraba states in Mayo Belwa, the truck passed six checkpoints – four were manned by police and the remaining two by soldiers.

A deserted military checkpoint in Adamawa State

Curiously, there were no security operatives in sight when the truck passed the six checkpoints.

After Zing, the next checkpoint was located near the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Unit Command in Lau Local Government Area of Taraba State.

The FRSC operatives merely signalled the driver to go on when the vehicle got to their observatory post.

A flurry of checkpoints and bribes

The floodgate of checkpoints opened in Lau Local Government Area of Taraba State and continued to Cross River State.

The first bribe paid was at a police checkpoint in Maraba Appawa Gida and the police sergeant was not discreet about his intention as he simply greeted the truck driver and added, “Malam where is my N1, 000,” and the driver handed him the money.

He thanked the driver and handed him a stick of sugarcane, ordered the barricade removed and waved the vehicle on.

During the trip, which is approximately 900 kilometres on one of the most deplorable federal highways in the country, policemen and soldiers shamelessly flouted the directives of their leaders.

Our correspondent saw first-hand, how armed gangs, Nigerian Police, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIA), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) used checkpoints to fleece traders.

Fake federal revenue officials and others purporting to work for Benue, Taraba and Cross River states, also created barricades along the route to charge traders.

The only agencies whose operatives did not extort from the truck throughout the journey were the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

Benue State recorded the highest number of checkpoints with 84, followed by Taraba with 36 and Cross River with 24, Adamawa with seven and Akwa Ibom with only three.

While all the four other states collected revenue for livestock and foodstuff transported through federal highways passing through their domains, Akwa Ibom charged nothing and had no revenue agent or gangsters on the roads.

Adamawa State did not have any revenue agent on the highway but sundry revenues were collected at the truck’s point of departure.

Out of the 154 checkpoints recorded across the five states the truck traversed, the Nigerian Police had the highest number with 91, followed by criminal gangs with 18, some of which created barricades less than 200 metres from police and military checkpoints.

The Nigerian military came third with 17, followed by the NIS with six, while the FRSC had four and the NCS and the NDLEA had three checkpoints, respectively.

Madness on the highway

While the police had the highest number of checkpoints and caused the most delay, the youth gangs, which brandished dangerous weapons, however, extorted the largest amount of money in the course of the trip.

The driver and fixer occasionally argued with the policemen and got rebates which enabled the payment of N500 instead of the fixed N1, 000 bribe, but the gangs were mostly not open to negotiations.

Apart from the few instances where they escaped into the bush at the sight of revolving lights from approaching police vehicles, the gangs were brutal and unkind in their demands.

Just as the security agencies kept vigil to extort mostly truck drivers, the gangs never missed an opportunity to get their own share.

There were no gangs’ checkpoints anywhere in Adamawa and Akwa Ibom states.

Our correspondent reported a few checkpoints after the vehicle exited the Jalingo city gates, but ran into multiple checkpoints while approaching Wukari.

From Wukari, the checkpoints were endless and some were located less than 200 metres apart.

This newspaper learnt that the duplication of checkpoints along the highways is a deliberate ploy to extort more money from truck drivers who travel mostly at night.

For instance, when a team of policemen consisting of between four to five operatives are assigned to a checkpoint, they break into three different teams and recruit local youth to help them extort from motorists.

That explains why it was commonplace to find teams consisting of two policemen and three local youth manning checkpoints about 200 metres apart.

Curiously, some of the gangs that operated within the Taraba, Benue and Cross River states created barricades less than 300 metres from checkpoints manned by Nigerian security operatives.

Findings by this newspaper showed the gangs work for local politicians, a situation that made the police and the military turn blind eyes their criminal exploits.

Even when our correspondent complained to the police and the military about the activities of the gangs, they instead demanded their share of the bribe than take action.

At 1.22 am, the truck got to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture Quarantine Service post in Katsina-Ala where the truck stopped and paid N18, 000 and got government’s official receipts.

While the movement inspection form carried the correct date, with the authorizing officer’s phone number indicated as 07031198950, the inspection fee receipt with No. 2549 was, however, dated December 18, 2018.

At 1.23 am the truck got to the NDLEA checkpoint in Katsina-Ala, whose officials never checked the truck for drugs but insisted the driver pays N1, 000 and vowed to delay the vehicle until the money was paid.

At 1.47 am, about one kilometre after the Katsina Ala Roundabout, the truck got to another police checkpoint and they demanded N1, 000. The driver and the fixer begged but they would not budge.

After waiting for over five minutes, our correspondent personally got down the vehicle and introduced himself as a lecturer from the AUN Yola on an experimental trip and begged them to acceptN700.

“Sorry Oga,” the inspector responded, “Your driver lacks good manner of approach. He was telling us he paid money to soldiers instead of begging us to consider him.

“When I asked whether soldiers are supposed to collect money on the road, he turned around and asked whether the police are supposed to collect money. What kind of insult is that?” he asked, fuming.

“I am sorry he asked whether the police are mandated to collect money on the road. He doesn’t know how to respect officers. I’m sorry about everything. Kindly let us go, so the animals don’t get fatigued,” our correspondent said to the officer.

At 3.41 am, another drama ensued when the truck got to a police checkpoint on the side of the Benue border.

When they demanded N1, 000, the driver told them he just paid the same amount to soldiers less than 600 metres away.

The officers flew into a fit of rage, querying why the driver bribed soldiers instead of them and the leader of the team ordered the fixer to come down and offer explanations.

“Oga come down. Come down now. You said you paid money to soldiers. Are they supposed to stand on the road and collect money?” he asked angrily.

“I don’t know. But the truth is that we have been paying money to your people, soldiers, Immigration officials, NDLEA and even touts since we left Yola yesterday,” the fixer replied.

“You shouldn’t have paid them. They are not supposed to stand on the road and collect money. That is not their job,” the policeman continued.

From the cabin of the truck, our correspondent asked him, “Are you saying it is the duty of the police to stand on the road and collect money from motorists?”

“Of course,” he said confidently, adding, “between soldiers and police who get the work?”

“What work are you talking about,” the fixer asked him, “Are you saying that collecting money from drivers is work?”

“Yes, of course, it is the duty of the police to maintain internal security and not that of the military. We can collect money on the road but the military cannot. Abeg bring our money,” he replied.

“Don’t disgrace yourself here oga,” the fixer told him, adding that we have been on the road since Thursday morning and have a long way to cover before we arrive Akwa Ibom.

With that, the policeman addressed the fixer in Ibibio, “Oh, mbufo edo okop usem,” meaning, “You people speak my language.”

When our correspondent spoke more of Ibibio language with him, he directed his men to clear the barricade and waved the driver to go.

While approaching Ogoja, the driver, who was engaging in a lively conversation, suddenly became uncomfortably quiet and was hitting more craters and applying the brakes carelessly.

At 4.52 am, the driver suddenly pulled over, went down with sachet water and washed his face, sneezed several times, climbed back to his seat and took three long puffs from his snuffbox.

It was obvious he was tired, sleepy and struggling to stay awake as he pulled the truck on the road again at 5.07 am so as to move away from the part of the road considered risky and susceptible to robbery attacks.

At 5.14am, when the truck got to Ogoja Junction, the driver pulled over and slept for about two hours while the truck boy refuelled from a diesel reservoir.

Back on the road, another drama unfolded at Mbok village in the outskirts of Ikom when NIS operatives flagged the truck to stop at 8.21 am and demanded N1, 000 bribe.

The driver offered N500 and the operatives got angry and ordered the vehicle to park by the side of the road.

The driver cleared the vehicle and for over 30 minutes, they returned to the roadblock to extort other truck drivers.

It was at that point our correspondent approached one of the operatives and requested to know the leader of the team.

“Go there and talk to our oga (leader),” he responded, pointing to a man in mufti sitting on a white plastic chair.

“Good morning Sir,” our correspondent greeted.  “Yes, what can I do for you Mr. Man,” he replied angrily. “Your officers have kept us for over 30 minutes and haven’t told us our offence,” the correspondent told him.

“As you can see, we are all Nigerians and I don’t seem to understand why Immigration would be interested in collecting money for animals on transit.”

He blurted, “What are you talking about? Are you saying we don’t have the right to stop you? Is that what you mean?”

“I didn’t say so but I want to know why you stopped us because as it stands, there is no illegal immigrant among us,” the undercover reporter replied.

“Who are you? May I know who you are to challenge me in my office? What gives you the nerve to tell our officers how to do our job?” the officer, who appeared drunk and pale, barked.

After he saw the American University of Nigeria’s identity card held by our correspondent, the immigration officer said the reporter was under arrest because a staff of AUN was previously arrested with the Nigerian and Cameroonian passports and he was allowed to go on self-recognizance but would not return to settle them.

“You are under arrest and will not be allowed to go until you produce the AUN staff that ran away. You think you can teach me how to do my job. I will show you something today,” the angry officer said.

The truck was parked for over 30 minutes until our correspondent threatened to call the NIS headquarters that some junior officers came over and whispered to the team leader to free the journalist and the truck and he obliged.

After the arrest, the trip became smoother and less bribes were paid until the truck got to Uyo at about 8 pm on Friday, December 21, about 35 hours after the journey began.

Checkpoint by youth gangs in Cross Rivers State

How cattle dealers battle the menace

The National President of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria (AUFCDAN), Maina Abdul, corroborated our findings, saying his group has been fighting the menace with little or no success.

He told our correspondent that AUFCDAN has engaged with the Presidency, the military and police high command and the state governors in a bid to halt the trend.

Abdul insisted that the divisional police officers (DPOs), military commanders, council chairmen, governors, the military and police high commands and President Muhammadu Buhari were aware of the matter.

“We have met and discussed with all of them but the extortion is still continuing. Governors will tell you they are not aware of youth extorting money from the highways but that is not true.

“We have written, and had meetings with the inspector general of police, the chief of army staff and even President Buhari and they promised to stop it but the extortion has continued.”

He argued that when traders spent so much on the road while conveying livestock and foodstuff to where they are needed, the cost is passed onto the consumers.

Also speaking, the Adamawa State chapter Chairman of AUFCDAN, Mr Abubakar, said many dealers have gone out of business, adding that only butchers were now doing the business.

He said the problem of extortion and multiple taxes started in 2015, adding he has personally fought the menace right from the beginning.

“As soon as I was appointed the chairman of the association, I went to the then Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 3, Lawan Tanko.

“I sat with him and discussed the implication of extortion because the police and other security operatives do it openly. Everybody sees it.

“He told me he has heard and knows about the practice and was fighting it but added that nobody has ever complained to him directly about the unwholesome practice until I approached him. I had also met the Commander of the 23 Armoured Brigade in Yola and told him about the extortion,” Abubakar said.

Inua said security agents started extorting from traders when it was rumoured that some livestock and foodstuff dealers were fronting for Boko Haram.

To address the problem, he said AUFCDAN created a clearance receipt to enable its members move foodstuff and livestock within the country.

Even with the receipt which was approved by both the military and police high commands, the extortion continued.

As IGP, he said Solomon Arase had donated a van and assigned an assistant commissioner of police to work with the union, adding that after he retired, the situation has worsened.

How consumers pay for the crimes they didn’t commit

This newspaper found out that every kobo spent in multiple taxes and extortion is ultimately borne by Nigerian consumers.

For instance, when the fixer added N550, 000 cost for truck hire to the N292, 100 paid in bribes, the total expenses on the road got to N842, 100.

With the N842, 100 spent on the road, each cow in the truck landed in Uyo with an additional cost of 20, 000 while N1, 000 was charged for each of the goats and the ram.

Therefore, when N20, 000 transport cost and another N20, 000 being profit are added to the N130, 000 used in buying one cow, the final cost of the cow in Uyo becomes N170, 000.

The same applies to goats, rams, foodstuff and other goods which are transported from northern to southern Nigeria and vice versa.

Inua, who is also a transporter, said the high cost of truck hire is attributable to the bad road and delays at checkpoints which increase the travel time by over 11 hours.

The truck driver, Isa, said the cost of the truck hire could have been between N250, 000 – N300, 000 if the roads were good and the travel time not unnecessarily extended due to the close to 150 checkpoints along the way.

“Normally Oga, we would charge between N250, 000 to N300, 000 on the route but we cannot because of the bad roads that destroy our trucks and the time we spent at checkpoints.

“We spent more than four days to get to Akwa Ibom and return to Yola and we normally don’t have any load on the return trip. We also spent a lot to service the vehicle each time we return from a trip and that is why we charge N550, 000,” he said.

State of denials

Speaking on the multiple checkpoints and extortion by youth gangs in Cross River State, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Christian Ita, said the government does not collect revenue on federal highways anywhere in the state.

Reminded that all the receipts from the gangs carry imprints of the state government, he said the documents were faked.

“I can tell you that the Cross River State Government does not collect revenues on federal roads. So any person collecting revenue on federal roads and issuing receipts is fake and should be arrested,” Ita said.

He, however, noted that the state government collects levies from heavy-duty trucks plying its roads as part of measures to ensure such roads are properly maintained.

“The state government has not authorised any person or company to collect revenue for the government on federal highways.”

When the Chief Press Secretary to the Benue State Governor, Terver Akase, was told the state had 82 checkpoints and extorted so much from traders, he said he could not speak on the issue until he was fully briefed by the relevant officials of the government.

Akase never got back to our correspondent at the time of publishing the report.

On his part, the Special Adviser to the Taraba State Governor, Bala Dan Abu, admitted the government was aware of the extortion on federal highways in the state.

Abu, however, said the state government does not collect revenue from federal roads and has not appointed agents or persons to do so, adding the problem has persisted because of the failure of security agencies.

“The government is not unaware of the extortions that are going on but the security agencies like the police and the military who own and man checkpoints should do something about it,” he said.

“You know that the legal and illegal checkpoints are not far from each other and they are aware of what is happening. So why are they allowing the gangs to operate freely on the roads?

“The roads are very insecure, not only in Taraba, Benue and Cross River. It is everywhere. The roads are not safe. It is the duty of the security agencies to tackle these issues.

“State governments don’t own security forces and they don’t control the police or the army or what happens on federal highways. The whole thing boils down to the failure of the federal government to do what is necessary to secure the roads.

“We are concerned about what is happening because our people are also victims but there is very little the state government can do about it because it cannot force the army or the police to do what they are supposed to do. It is indeed a sad truth.”

We are fighting it but… 

Sagir Musa, Army Spokesman.

Weeks after this newspaper completed this investigation; it was difficult to get the spokespersons of the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Immigrations Service, to speak on it.

However, after several attempts, our correspondent secured an interview appointment with the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa.

Speaking on the finding of our investigation, Mr. Musa, a colonel, said the army has made concerted efforts to stop the menace and has engaged with key stakeholders on how to tackle what he described as an “ugly trend.”

“As you might be aware, there have been sincere efforts on the part of the leadership of the Nigerian Army to ensure that the ugly trend of extortion and the violation of human rights by personnel are drastically curtailed if not completely stopped,” he began.

“We’ve had engagements with traders and transporters including those buying cows and foodstuff cross the nation. Like you rightly observed during your undercover investigation across five states of Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Cross River and Akwa Ibom, you saw only seventeen checkpoints.

“Again, like you observed, some checkpoints just waved to show appreciation without asking you for anything. But wherever extortionist tendencies were observed, I can tell you it is not allowed by the military.

“We have made it consistently clear the army does not encourage or condone unprofessional conducts as reflected in the extortionist tendencies you witnessed.

“It is illegal and wherever we are able to get reports, and especially when they are confirmed, the leadership applies sanctions maximally. The essence is to ensure the ugly trend is completely wiped out of the Nigerian Army.

“With your investigative report, I assure you serious measures will be taken to ensure the illegal action stops. We will also alert the local commanders and I assure you Mr. Ibanga that those commanders are not aware of what is happening on the roads.”

He, however, noted that despite the COAS’ directive for checkpoints to be dismantled, the need to maintain military presence in trouble-prone areas has made it necessary to allow checkpoints in some areas of the country.

The spokesperson of the NIS, Sunday James, rebuffed every attempts to get him to speak on the findings of this report.

During the three weeks of constant attempts, James would not pick calls or respond to several text messages from this newspaper.

However, on Wednesday, one of our correspondents visited the NIS headquarters in Abuja and sought an audience with him. After filling the visitor’s slip and it was passed onto James, the reporter waited for over two hours without being attended to.

While waiting, our correspondent called James’ number twice and also sent a short message indicating his presence at the facility.

Unable to wait any longer, the reporter made to take his leave but one of the officers on duty approached and urged him to wait a little longer while he made efforts to get the PRO to attend to him.

For close to an hour, nothing happened until the reporter took some shots of the NIS headquarters’ reception desk to trigger an alarm by the NIS security camera operators. Immediately, the operatives swopped on the reporter, forcefully seized his phone, break into the picture gallery and deleted the pictures before asking him to leave.

Frank Mbah, Police PRO.

On his part, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the Nigeria Police is committed to stopping extortion on the highway and called for collaboration with the media.

According to him, while it is good to report, he argued it would be better for the media and the police to work together to find a solution not only for the problem of extortion but other security challenges in the country.

“If the purpose is to just to report, then we will not achieve the desired change we are looking for. I think the media should do more and collaborate with us to find solutions to some of the problems instead of merely reporting to shame,” he argued.

Corruption Military Police News Reports AddThis :  Original Author :  ICIR Disable advertisements : 

Herdsmen 'Kill 15' Including Aged Couple In Raid On Three Adamawa Communities

Sat, 2019-04-20 15:34



Suspected herdsmen have launched fresh attacks on three communities in Adamawa State, killing 15 people and injuring three others.

Among the dead are an elderly couple and their two granddaughters.

Survivors said their village of Bolon in Drmsa Local Government Area and neighbouring Bolki and Bujum villages within Numan Local Government Area were overrun on Wednesday night by heavily-armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

The assailants were said to have pounced on Bolon at about 10pm, shooting sporadically and torching more than 10 thatched houses, forcing surviving residents to flee for their lives.

Robinson Filgona, Village Head of Bolon, told SaharaReporters: "At about 10 pm, some Fulani militants descended on our community, heavily armed and started shooting indiscriminately.

"Over 100 households in my community are now homeless because their houses have been burnt down. Our foodstuffs have also been burnt to ashes just like that; if you go round the village, you will see several of our houses are still on fire. My people need help, their food have been burnt and there is nothing to fall back to."

Kwamoti Laori, lawmaker-elect for Numan/Demsa/Lamurde Federal Constituency, has lamented the frequent attacks and called on the authorities to restore security to the area.

In the same vein, Kate Mamuno, lawmaker-Elect for Demsa Sate Constituency, visited the community and faulted the lack of prompt response from security operatives. 

"This is the third time this community has been attacked by this murderous group, yet they go away without being apprehended by the security," Mamuno said.

"Almost three-quarters of the village has been burnt down. These people need shelter, clothing, food, among other basic necessities because everything they have has been destroyed."

Narrating his ordeal, Alex James, a survivor, said: "I have been physically challenged, so I could not run. This place where you met me is where I was seated when the attack started and ended.

"At about 10pm, I started hearing gunshots all over the town and it kept coming closer; there was nothing I could do. About four of them came some few metres to my house but as God would have it, I heard one of the attackers calling on them to leave; that was how they left and I survived."

The police has confirmed the attack, as Othman Abubakar, its Public Relations Officer in the state, said: "The Police have been informed of the situation but we are yet to get details of the attack."

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Even The Pope Fears A Messiful World! By Kunle Wizeman Ajayi

Sat, 2019-04-20 15:04




Capitalism is very lucky! The system of greed and power. While it continues to put the world into crass barbarism, many wonders emerge within the globe as animals, plants, and humans greasing our pains and making our ribs dancing.

One of these wonders is sports. Many people find great succour in sports, away from the hustling and bustling which the capitalist system has imposed on us. And in sports, football remains the most massive.

Many adverts place football over politics in terms of the role it plays in uniting the world. You hear phrases like "nothing unites more than football" and many more.

But this piece will focus on the player that is so genial and thrilling the world with his arts and skills. That player has been compared to Pele and Maradona. 

Rivaldo, one of the greatest attackers the world has ever seen, has posited that Messi already deserves the Ballon d'or even if he doesn't win the champions league as he has scored 45 goals playing 41 matches.

I agree with Rivaldo. Many football fans tagged the last Champions League encounter between Manchester United and Barca as Messi vs Man Utd! In fact, the popular gospel comedian, Woli Arole dramatically organized prayers for Man Utd before the match. And expectedly, he had to comically admit himself in a literary hospital to satirize the outcome of the match.

One thing was distinguished as the match came to an end. Both Messi and his biggest rival C.Ronaldo had scored in the separate but simultaneously played matches. CR7 scored a brilliant header against Ajax but his side Juventus lost. Messi got a brace but Barcelona won. While CR7 was the top striker for Juventus in that encounter, Messi played deep in as a roving playmaker. The Argentine wonderkid is more of a team player than CR7; the modelling player whose signature individualism wrecked Real Madrid after his exit last season. The Bernabeau has been solely built around CR7 and the team concentrated much on him. This has affected Juventus too. A ball-keeping team excels more on collective method of play than on individualism. This is the brilliance that the youthful team of Ajax displayed from start to finish in that legendary encounter.

Leo Messi has almost all the traits of a footballer and he has them exceptionally. 

He is a very meticulous defender. He joins the defence especially during counter attacks. 

A fantastic midfielder. Messi has 20 assists this season alone and has always been competing with greats like Xavi; Iniesta; Ozil and Eriksen for the past decades in the number of passes. 

Leo is also in the class of Okocha; Maradona; Ronadinho; Neymar; George Best; Denilson, and other legends when it comes to beating other players while holding the ball. He is a great dribbler who combines speed and  cunny body movements with his dazzling artistry.

Leo is also a freekick specialist whose signature panenka freekicks amazes the world generally. When the goals from the freekicks were turning the lionic player into a god, Pope Francis immediately cautioned against the goddification of the enigma on the green grasses.

One would have to conclude that Messi is a talent that is human. He smokes and drinks. He loves tattoos and also party. He plays computer games and also mingles with politicians. His dedication to Barca is very exemplary. He, like other Barca greats, supports the quest of the Catalans for self determination. 

On the field of play and outside, Messi is very tolerant. He plays for others and the team. Selfless and very fair. He is an embodiment of many positives. His modesty and humility is also exceptional. This does not take his ruggedness off. He fights ruthless and unfair defenders. Unlike Mohammed Salah who wept after his arm was injured by Sergio Ramos at the last Champions league final, Messi would have fought back or protest.

While I want tikitaka to win the next champions league, I am happy that Messi has vindicated we who love him by capping the great exploits for the past three seasons snubbed, with a victorious momentum.

The world is in pains and at war. The people have the right to their joy and happiness. They need to be drawing inspirations from the great exploits of a player like Messi so that they would be as resilient and skillful in smashing the old and building the new. And just as that Nubian Queen Alah Salah is inspiring Sudan to real change, poets and other talents need to brace up to so same in South Sudan, ignoring Pope Francis' kissing the legs of President Salva Kiir.

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Kunle Wizeman Ajayi Disable advertisements : 

BREAKING: Buhari Extends Tanko Muhammad's Tenure As Acting CJN

Sat, 2019-04-20 14:49

President Muhammadu Buhari, with the approval of the National Judicial Council (NJC), has extended the tenure of Justice Tanko Muhammad as Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by another three months.

Soji Oye, spokesman of the NJC, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday while reacting to a report that council would meet to deliberate on extending Muhammad's tenure.

Oye said the council met and approved Buhari’s request to extend the appointment of Muhammad.

“The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to an online newspaper and daily newspaper report stating that the council would meet next week to deliberate on the extension of the Acting Appointment of Honourable Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria,” he said.

“Contrary to the above, the Council actually met on Thursday 18th April, 2019 and at the 88th Meeting considered and approved the request of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the extension of the Appointment of Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria for another three (3) months and Council has since forwarded its approval to the president.”

Buhari appointed Muhammad acting CJN in January after suspending Walter Onnoghen, the then CJN, who has now been convicted of fradulent assets declaration by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and has been barred for holding any public office for the next 10 years.

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Military Airstrikes Cannot Kill Us Because We Get Information Ahead Of Attack, Bandit Reveals

Sat, 2019-04-20 10:05


Nigerian soldiers

Bandits ravaging Zamfara communities have disclosed that they have information feeding them with every move of the military against them.

This was disclosed in a tape recording the conversation of a bandit (yet to be identified) with an emir in Zamfara, obtained by the Punch newspaper.

During the phone conversation, the bandit also claimed that there would continue to be bloodshed as long as the Nigerian government continues to send in more troops to the state.

The bandit said: “God has already given you a position (as an emir) and when you talk, people listen. You have some poor masses in the bushes. This violence started happening in our state about six years ago or so.

“They killed my people; they killed my relations; they killed my wives, my children. They killed some of my cows. I ran away when they killed my people. Then I involved myself in the activities of these terrorist groups. Now, I have escaped and back in my community. Will you not accept me as a member of this community?”

The emir replied, “Aka ne (yes, that is it).”

The bandit continued: “You should call your chiefs and bring your people from the bushes and from the village. Anywhere you meet us, advise the people of the community to join hands with the Miyetti Allah association. This land will be peaceful.

“If they make it this way, peace will reign. But to say you will call police and soldiers to Zamfara, this will not bring peace. It will continue to cause more bloodshed.”

The emir replied again, “Aka ne (yes, that is it).”

The bandit said: “Sometimes, you hear that they bombed a place where the bandits are camping. But the next day, the bandits will still come and strike in another place, close to where they bombed.”

The emir responded: “We also are not in support of the bombings.”

The bandit continued: “The reason why their bombing will not work is because before their helicopter comes around, information has already reached us. Before the helicopter leaves any base, the information will reach us, and even where it will land. If they bomb any place, they will kill only birds and animals, which are there.

“Also on land, soldiers were sent to attack us. But before they come, information has reached us. We know how we will attack them and know all areas where they will follow. We want you to ban anything vigilante.

“People are surprised that they use airplanes to attack us but we are just like ants. They can’t see us; it is God that is helping us.”

The emir replied: “Killing human beings is not good. I have heard your grievances and it is a load on me and I will try to unite the people of the community. We will still call you together to deliberate on it. I will try to ban vigilantes in any other place and I will give the feedback to the government.”

The Nigeria government had earlier in the week claimed that some Zamfara chiefs and monarchs were conniving with the bandits.

The chiefs dispelled the claim, alleging that the military airstrikes have been targeted at homes of innocent villagers.

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