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BREAKING: Council Of State Recommends New Minimum Wage — But It's Lesser Than N30,000

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 16:22

The National Council of State has recommended a new monthly minimum wage of N27,000 — a figure N3,000 short of the demand by organised labour, led by the NIgeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The body made the recommendation at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday — the first in the year and only the third in the current reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, said the N27,000 was for workers in states and the private sector, but the recommendation for federal workers was N30,000.

The proposal, he said, will cover employers of labour with a minimum of 25 workers adding that a bill would be transmitted to the National Assembly for that purpose before close of business on Wednesday.

While presenting the 2019 approrpiation bill to the National Assembly, Buhari had passed up the opportunity to definitely endorse or reject calls by organised labour for the implementation of N30,000 as national minimum wage.

Instead, he said he would refer the proposal to a technical committee to work out the challenges around the labour’s demands.

“I will be sending a bill to the National Assembly,” he had said.

“However, in order to avoid a fiscal crisis with the Federal Government as well as the states, it is important to devise ways to ensure that its implementation does not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.

“I am, accordingly, setting up a high-powered technical committee to advise on ways of funding an increase in the minimum wage and the attendant wage adjustment without having to resort to additional borrowings.

“The work of this technical committee will be the basis of a finance deal, which will be submitted to the National Assembly alongside the minimum wage bill. In addition, the technical committee will recommend modalities for the implementation of the new minimum wage in such a way as to prevent its inflationary impact as well as ensure that its introduction does not lead to job losses.”


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Detained Ex-Security Adviser To Bayelsa Govt Alleges Plot To Kill Him In Prison

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 16:05

Perekeme Kpodoh, former security adviser to the Bayelsa State Government, has filed a petition before the Nigerian Prisons Service authorities over an alleged conspiracy between the state Prison Controller and the state officials to kill him in prison custody by denying him proper medical care as ordered by the court.

Kpodoh is standing trial for the rape of a 26-year-old (name withheld), who claimed she was invited by the accused to his office in the hotel at about 8pm, after which he locked the doors and forcefully overpowered and raped her. See Also Sahara Reporters 26-Year-Old Narrates How Sylva’s Security Adviser 'Raped' Her 0 Comments 4 Months Ago

He is being detained at the state medium prison in Okaka, Yenagoa, over allegations of rape.

Kpodoh accused the Bayelsa Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service, led by its Controller of Prison, Chiabua Uche, of colluding with the special prosecutor appointed by the state government, A.S. Athur, of intimidation and attempt to kill him while in prison custody.

In the petition dated January 11, 2018 and addressed to the Assistant Controller of Prisons, Zone E, Owerri, Imo State, Kpodoh noted that despite the order by Justice Eradiri of the state High Court for him to get proper medical care, the state prison authority had frustrated the process.

The petition, made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, was signed by his counsel, Julius Iyekoroghe.

"Despite the known health challenges of our client and the order of the Court for proper medical care, he was discharged from the Federal Medical Centre on the 24th August, 2018 and taken back to the Yenagoa prison owing to intense pressure from the controller of prisons, Bayelsa State in connivance with A.S. Arthur," a part of it read.

"Upon his return to prison, his condition worsened and it became necessary to seek urgent medical care. Our client then approached the prison authorities on the need to allow him to receive urgent medical treatment, but he was told the approval of the prison controller is needed, even in the face of substituting court order. We applied to the controller of prison with a letter dated 25th September, 2018.

"The Prison comptroller reluctantly agreed after several days and directed an official to take him to FMC, but our client declined for fear that he may be killed with lethal medication due to the alleged shady behaviour, and all along doing the bidding of the government special prosecutor, who is bent on ensuring that our client remains in prison. The action and inactions of the FMC that arouse suspicion is its refusal to furnish our client with his medical report, in spite of repeated demands in two separate letters. Our client wants to use the report to pursue his case for bail before the court."

The petition continued: “When I was taken out of court and back to prison, A.S. Arthur ordered the Controller of Prisons to search for me due to his allegation that I am being taken to another destination other than prison custody. Instead of the prison controller to investigate, he rushed down to the prisons and threatened to pull down the heaven. He was dumbfounded when he saw me in the prison. It is without doubt that the prison controller has compromised his duty and has reduced his duty and rank .He has jettisoned professionalism and is at the beck and call of a government prosecutor, A.S. Arthur.

"Since his protest, the prison controller has singled him out and continually subjected him to inhumane, degrading treatment on the instruction of A.S. Arthur. Our client now feels his life is in grave danger. Our client is calling on the Nigerian Prison Service Authorities to call the Bayelsa Prison Controller to order, as his conduct is unbecoming of his office and a serious breach of extant laws and public trust.”

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Court Halts Attempts To Remove Bayelsa Monarch

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 15:45

A Bayelsa State High Court of Brass judicial Division sitting in Yenagoa has stopped the attempt by some Indigenes of Sangana community in Brass Local Government Area of the state to remove the Paramount Ruler of the area, HRH Ibiware Gambia Kponisei Kaiko, over alleged wrong selection and undue nomination to occupy the throne.

Action was insittuted against the Monarch, who is of the classified second class category, before the State High Court in a suit numbered BHC/06/2018 by members of the Sangana National Council of Chiefs, led by Chief Owolo Okujah Oweiga, Chief Endurance J.P. Didiri and Chief Iwoine Yebeiha Igboigboi.

In the Suit, the claimants sought five prayers from the court, including an order that the recognition of HRH Ibiwari Gambia Kponisei Kaiko by the State Governor is unlawful due to the alleged undue selection and presented to the Sangana National Council of Chiefs for their acceptance and his installation as Amanayabo of Sangana as required by the Akassa Native Law and Customs.

But in his ruling on Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Okara struck out the suit, declaring that the claimants lack the locus standi to challenge the emergence of the Monarch.

In his comment on the ruling counsel to the Paramount Ruler, Barr. Fedude Zimughan said the court has ruled and encouraged the Monarch to go back to his kingdom and reach out to those aggrieved and accommodate them.

Zimughan, who is also a Commissioner, said though people can challenge the kingship, the Paramount Ruler should have a large heart to bring peace to the domain.

In his comment, HRH Kaiko described the rolling of the court as that of "no victor, no vanquished".

"The kingdom needs peace for development to take place," he said. "I'm calling on the Indigenes of the Sangana kingdom to come and assist in the socio-economic and infrastructural development of the kingdom.

"Our kingdom is facing various development challenges, including erosion, poor power supply, poor health faciliy and water and we need our people to come together to solve these challenges. I also called on the oil companies operating in the area to come forward to assist and employ our youths to reduce unemployment."

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PHOTOS: After Exchanging 'Sick' Letters, Buhari, Obasanjo Banter At Council Of State Meeting

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 14:49

Less than two days after exchanging heated letters during which each called the other "sick", former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari have met at the National Council of State meeting currently going on in Abuja.

In stark contrast to the pre-meeting events, the two leaders were photographed exchanging smiles on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Obasanjo had released a statement titled ‘Points for Concern and Action’, in which he likened Buhari to late dictator Sani Abacha over his alleged intimidation of the opposition and critics of his government.

Obasanjo had submitted that the people should not allow themselves to be deceived by Buhari for a second time.

However, Buhari responded via his spokesman Garba Shehu, saying Obasanjo needed the help of a "doctor" so he "could get well soon".

Obasanjo returned the fireworks on Monday, telling the BBC: "Buhari is sick in the spirit, body and mind."

In attendance at Tuesday's meeting are former Heads of State Ernest Shonekan and Abdulsalami Abubakar, as well as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and governors of Lagos, Borno, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Plateau and Kebbi states.

Former chief justices of Nigeria and Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, are there as well.

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FLASHBACK: Five Times Obasanjo 'Worshipped' Buhari Before Embarking On Letter-Writing Spree

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 14:13

One vitriolic letter after another since early last year, Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has refused to cut Muhammed Buhari, the incumbent President, some slack. These missives are not just well-meaning; they are jeremiad of sorts detailing the seeming failures of the Buhari-led administration. Buhari and his loyalists have not been taking the criticism from the Ota farmer lying down too. Every letter is often met with a rejoinder dripping with equal measure of bile if not more from Buhari’s camp too.

Yesterday, Obasanjo  wrote another condemnatory open letter to Buhari. But it wasn’t always that way between the duo. These are five good remarks Obasanjo made about Buhari before a wedge was driven into their relationship by God-knows- what. See Also Sahara Reporters FLASHBACK: 'Sick And In Need Of A Doctor'? Eight Times Buhari Spoke Glowingly About Obasanjo 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

Buhari is a reformed Democrat

Prior to the 2015 general election, Obasanjo who had dramatically torn his membership card of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) disowned Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, his former political son and PDP candidate for the election, to throw his weight behind the candidaturd of his fellow retired general, Muhammadu Buhari. While making his support for Buhari public, he said: “The circumstances he [Buhari] will be working under if he wins the elections are different from the one he worked under before, where he was  both the executive and the legislature — and he knows this very well.” Has Buhari unlearned all the democratic ethos Obasanjo claimed he had learned prior to the 2015 general election?  Why does Obasanjo’s keep faulting the democratic credentials of the current administration?

Buhari Is Smart, Educated And Experienced Enough

In the same interview where obasanjo declared his support public for Buhari, Obasanjo said Buhari has everything it takes to lead the country in terms of smartness, education and experience toward the right direction. He said: “Buhari is smart enough. He is educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?” Why, then, does Obasanjo keep questioning the competence of Buhari to retain the No.1 seat in the country letter after letter? Why did he ask him to get people to read and explain the message to him in one of his letters?

He Is A Trained Soldier, I Have Confidence In Him          

Obasanjo called Buhari a trained soldier whose word is always his bond prior to 2015 elections. He said: “I have confidence in him. He is a trained soldier.” Has that confidence fizzled out? Has Buhari brought his military training to bear on the security challenge confronting the country? Is this one of the reasons Obasanjo keeps serving him letter after letter or there is more to soured relationship than meets the eye?

Buhari Has Not Disappointed Me, He Has Proven Me Wrong On Foreign Affairs

Barely two years ago Obasanjo said publicly in an interview at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, that Buhari had not disappointed him and that he even needed to  revise his opinion which he expressed about him on foreign affairs in his book 'MY WATCH'. His words: “Whatever anybody says, President Buhari has not disappointed me from what I know of him.” He continued: “In my book I have said that Buhari is not strong on the economy and I did not write this to run him down. I used to think he is not strong in the area of foreign affairs but I have realised that he has improved very well." How come Saint Mathew has failed to single this out for commendation in his series of epistles?

Buhari Has Delivered On His Core Areas Of Strength And Ability

Obasanjo claimed in the same interview that Buhari delivered on his core areas of strength, which are, in his words, “particularly in the anti-corruption crusade and the war against insurgency”. How come the old General has never mentioned this in all his missives?

We Should Shun Outright Condemnation

Obasanjo insisted that though Nigeria had not reached the promised land, we should be grateful and not condemn always. “Whatever you might see as bad in Nigeria, other societies have gone through the same at some period in their history," he said. "It is not for us to begin to condemn but to join hands together and consider how  we can make the best out of our present.”

But Obasanjo ever since he started writing his letter has never seen anything praise-worthy about Buhari’s administration. His has been a blanket condemnation of the current administration. Why has he refused to join hands with Buhari like a statesman that he often claims to be and heed the advice he gave sometime ago to work together so as to steer the ship of the state to the promised land? Why can’t he walk into Aso Rock and advise Buhari on the state of the nation rather than writing letters?

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BREAKING: Onnoghen Shuns Code of Conduct Tribunal Sitting Again

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 13:30

Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), on Tuesday failed to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja over allegations of fraudulent declaration of assets.

The tribunal has begun the day’s sitting in Onnoghen's absence, with a consortium of senior lawyers again appearing for him. 

The defendant had approached a Federal High Court to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case. His counsel also told the court that the defendant was not properly served with court summons. 

Detail soon....

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'Please Say Something', Family Of Captain Missing Since Metele Attack Begs The Army

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 13:06

Relatives of Captain Ogbonna Akpa Nwota have raised the alarm over his whereabouts after the Boko Haram attack in Metele, Borno State, in November 2018.

Although the Army claimed only 23 soldiers were killed in the attack, security sources told SaharaReporters that more than 120 men, including soldiers and Civilian JTF members, had indeed been killed while about 200 more were still missing. See Also Sahara Reporters Corpses Of Soldiers, JTF Members Killed By Boko Haram Still Not Evacuated 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

Nineteen of those soldiers wwre buried in December 2018. However, family members of Nwota of Amikpa, Umudomi, Onicha, in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State say Captain Nwota was in one of the units involved in the fight against Boko Haram in that attack. See Also Sahara Reporters Metele: Tears Flow As Army Buries 19 Soldiers 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

Grace Nwota, a widow and mother of the soldier, who is in her 60s, lamented her frustration at not being able to say exactly what happened to her son.

"I am just praying to God to let this cup pass over me," she said.

"As you see me here, I am finished; my blood pressure has not come down since we heard of the attack in that place. Our problem now is that nobody is talking to us. Even our village union has gone to Enugu to see the Army people but they didn’t tell us anything. So, I’m begging that they should tell me if my son is dead or alive.

“I am also praying that nothing bad should happen to my son, because his children are still very small and I don’t want my daughter-in-law to suffer my fate because my husband died very early in our marriage.”

Similarly, Chief Agom Okorie, Chairman of ADU, stated that a letter had been forwarded to the Nigerian Army on December 19, 2018, but they had not received any positive feedback on the matter.

His wife, Nneka, said the last time she spoke to her husband was in November 2018.

Meanwhile, the family through its counsel, Ugochukwu Ezekiel-Hanks of E.H. Ugochukwu Chambers, has written to the Army on the soldier's whereabouts, but he has not received any feedback.

According to a family member, Nwota should have gone to the Command and Staff College, Jaji, this month, but was sent on special posting to the North-East. He is also said to have been in the North-East region for four years, participating in the battle against insurgency.

Dr. Laz Ude Eze, a family friend to the Nwota's, also confirmed the report to SaharaReporters.

Noting that the soldier had not been heard from since November 18, 2018, Eze said: "I know Captain Nwota and his family personally. We attended GSS Afikpo together. The pain the family and his loved ones have gone through over the past two months is better imagined than experienced. The silence of the military authorities is sheer wickedness, to say the least! Captain Nwota and no soldier or the family deserve to be treated this way."

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The Obasanjo Bombshell By Reuben Abati

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 11:28

“Former President Obasanjo is a courageous patriot and statesman who tells truth to power when he is convinced leaders are doing wrong” – Muhammadu Buhari, March 4, 2015. 

“Buhari is sick in the spirit, body and soul. Let’s beg him to go and rest…Let’s give chance to another person” – Olusegun Obasanjo, January 21, 2019.

On Sunday, President Olusegun Obasanjo addressed a press conference at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta where he gave the equivalent of a state of the nation address which was essentially a testimonial on the performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, an assessment of the integrity and credibility of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) vis-a-vis the upcoming 2019 general elections, and a general commentary on recent developments in the country and the tactics and methods of the incumbent administration. This is the second time in the last one year that President Obasanjo would be taking on the Buhari administration in an extensive and provocative expose. In his 2018 intervention, Obasanjo had advised President Buhari not to bother to run for a second term in office because his performance was disappointing and even more importantly, he would need more time to go and attend to his failing health. 

He accused Buhari of cronyism, nepotism, incompetence and failure to bring about the change that he promised Nigerians. The former President’s advice was ignored at the time. Professor Itse Sagay, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption who hijacked the job of the President’s spokesmen launched an attack on Obasanjo. He told Nigerians that Obasanjo is “irrelevant” and he needs to show President Buhari ‘some respect.” Titled “The Way Out: A Clarion call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement” (January 23, 2018), the Obasanjo letter then generated ripples within the polity and energized those seeking a third force as an alternative to the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress. 

We should all take special notice of the fact that this was all in the month of January 2018, precisely in the third week. On the anniversary of that very episode, almost exactly to the day, President Obasanjo has intervened again. If his January 2018 letter to Buhari was hot, this one of 2019 is explosive. The 2018 letter was 13 pages long; the 2019 contribution titled “Points for Concern and Action” runs into 16 pages. But the key difference is not in the additional three pages; it can be found in the fact that Obasanjo’s tone in this latest one is not advisory at all. This is a brutal, dismissive, utterly condemnatory commentary which seeks to consign the Buhari administration to the ugly chapters of Nigerian history. The style of writing is lucid, frank, assertive, no one is left in doubt that Obasanjo considers the Buhari administration a mockery of sorts, some of its programmes such as TraderMoni “idiotic”, and its management of the country’s security situation, utterly laughable.  

Having once declared that this government does not deserve a second term in office, and having shown his preference for the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obasanjo, without an obvious hint of partisanship, tells us that the Buhari administration is adopting desperate tactics to rig the 2019 general polls. He takes on the Independent National Electoral Commission and accuses it of crossing the “redline” with  “blatant partiality, duplicity, and imbecility”. Imbecility! Now, that is a very strong word.  According to Obasanjo, INEC can only convince us otherwise if it redeploys Ms. Amina Zakari, the INEC commissioner in charge of the collation of results who happens to be related to President Buhari by marriage, and by conducting free, fair and credible elections.   

The big take-away from the 16-page commentary is Obasanjo’s concern about how the Buhari administration seems to have compromised all institutions of state, and how in recent times, it has also taken on the task of humiliating and denigrating the Nigerian judiciary. The unkindest cut is the comparison of President Buhari to General Sani Abacha. This comparison is not helped by the fact that President Buhari himself once described Abacha as a “hero”. Many Nigerians consider Abacha a villain. He presided over a period in Nigerian history, 1993 – 1998, regarded as the “years that the locust ate”. When he died, there was ‘dancing in the streets”. The people jubilated and said: “Never Again”. When President Obasanjo says we are back to the Abacha era, he is clearly saying that Nigerians are currently under a military dictatorship. He notes quite instructively, that “criticism, choice and being different” have become near-impossible under President Buhari. These are very carefully chosen phrases. They constitute the very essence of democracy and fundamental human rights -  to deny citizens the right to speak, the right to choose, and the right to be different is an assault on everything that makes us human or a nation. Why for example should an Igbo person not be good enough for the position of Inspector General of Police or any other security chief position? Why must everyone who criticizes the government consistently suddenly have a problem?  Why should the membership of the ruling party become a form of life insurance? Obasanjo makes a strong case for democratic principles, and the urgent need to protect those principles from being violated by those who are committed to self and selfish interests. 

Obasanjo is so impressively quotable, virtually every line from his pen drips with venom and journalistic topicality, his words sound like stones, hitting their targets with devastating force, drawing “blood” and pain. He does the job of the opposition in this January 2019 piece, barely 28 days to Nigeria’s general election, better than the opposition itself. Obasanjo may not always be right, and he has had cause to revise his assessment of people and circumstances when confronted with a different set of facts and variables, but his timing is always carefully chosen, his courage to speak up is unmistakable, and he is probably the only Nigerian statesman alive today who speaks, whenever he does on public issues, with a startling combination of poignancy, histrionics and a ricocheting effect. For this reason, he manages to capture the attention and imagination of  both local and international audiences. 

His blistering, bleaching, blinding attack on President Buhari is the last thing a sitting President seeking a second term in office, wants or needs at this time. Obasanjo has just told the whole world that Buhari is planning an “electoral coup” against the people of Nigeria: their right to choose, their right to differ, their right to be different.  In addition, he says: “It is clear from all indications that Buhari is putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the judiciary to cow them to submission.” So, who is left? Perhaps, the media, wrongly omitted by President Obasanjo.    

Whatever happens, Obasanjo has achieved his objectives. One, he has managed to put down the Buhari administration. The last time he did that to a sitting President, the opposition quickly rushed to him and made him the arrow-head of the “anybody-but-Goodluck Jonathan” coalition. Their conspiracy succeeded and Jonathan lost the Presidency.  The myth that Obasanjo can make and unmake any Nigerian President became part of the national folklore, and it continues to flourish. The flip side of that however, is that if Obasanjo fails this time around and Buhari for any reason whatsoever wins the 2019 Presidency, and the myth thus evaporates, he, Obasanjo and others who are staking everything on Buhari leaving Aso Rock, may be the ones who may have to leave town. This is what their characterization of the Buhari administration tells us. 

Two, whatever happens, Obasanjo and others who share his views have already raised very serious legitimacy questions about President Buhari and his party. Less than a month to Nigeria’s 2019 Presidential election, they are already hacking down any claims to legitimacy in the event of an APC victory. The APC can claim all the votes, but the election will be dismissed as fraudulent. Ahead of the elections, the APC has been set up for a post-election legitimacy crisis, the implications of which no one can fully imagine. But if the APC loses, that may well not be an issue. The result will be praised as a true reflection of the people’s wish. You may not like Obasanjo, but he is not just another voter with a PVC, the way many of his critics respond to him simplistically. He has a voice, a voice that resonates across continents. He has international credibility, the kind of credibility that transcends local bickering. The relationship between him and President Buhari has been a stuff of classical romanticism. With his latest commentary, that has ended in a bitter, feuding divorce. 

Three, his statement is couched in the language of statesmanship. He is raising “concerns” and calling for “action.” It is not a crime under any jurisprudence for a former Head of State and a former President who is also a global eminent person to raise such concerns about his country. The world will listen. And Obasanjo knows. 

However, the standard response from government spokespersons is to dismiss every piece of criticism as sour grapes and to impugn the integrity of the critic. This is a default position in the government-public communication process. It is so, I must explain, because what is called criticism in Nigeria can be sometimes biased, uninformed, partisan, sponsored or downright malicious. This in itself is a reflection of the level of our development. In Third World politics, the stomach rules the head, emotions suppress reason, idiots become kings, imbeciles pose as wise men. In practical politics, every political leader believes his own vision of reality. In his mind, he wants to do his best for his people. He wants them to love him. From the little that I have seen, there is no political leader who wants to be disliked. Power is like an injection: people react to it differently. 

It is something about the DNA. It is also something about the level of exposure, belief-system, competence, knowledge, strength of character and the quality of the environment in which the leader finds himself. Nonetheless, when someone comes along and sticks a pin into that balloon, and bursts the bubble, those who protect the leader, and the leader himself are bound to fight back, oftentimes viciously. To that extent I can understand the viciousness with which President Buhari’s handlers have gone after President Obasanjo in the last 72 hours. I have been through that route before. When President Obasanjo attacked President Goodluck Jonathan under similar circumstances a few years ago, it was my duty to put out a quick rebuttal. I dismissed the attack on President Jonathan as “mischievous and reckless”. The President himself later took on the battle and responded to every point raised by President Obasanjo in what became a famous epistolary war in Nigerian politics. That war produced at least three books! 

Both Presidents have since reconciled, and have been visiting each other, but there are persons in Abeokuta who have not forgiven me till today for responding to Baba because as far as they are concerned, it was wrong of me to support a man they regard as a “kobo-kobo” against a man they consider an icon.  The Jonathan administration’s crisis with President Obasanjo had its long-term effect, but when the fire burned, it was Mrs. Patience Jonathan who stepped in to stop further responses from our end. The only witness to that story is Senator Andy Uba. I will tell that story some other day. 

Despite that experience, I must confess that I am shocked beyond words by the official responses to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s January 2019 state of the nation statement. The counter-attack is pointless, for it is exactly the kind of tonic Obasanjo needs. It will be difficult to convince anybody locally or internationally that Obasanjo is uninformed or that he has some ulterior motives, or that he is sponsored. The man has earned a global reputation that grants him the privilege to pronounce on world matters with the credibility of an oracle. The totality of his public career has brought him to that place of security, and that is why his almost life-long spat with his arch-rival, Professor Wole Soyinka has not had any effect on either of the two well-placed gladiators’ reputation. INEC promised to study Obasanjo’s submissions and has offered a polite, reassuring re-affirmation of its resolve to be independent and run a free and fair election.  In comparison, the Presidency has embarked on a name-calling offensive as various officials and party chieftains raise questions about Obasanjo’s moral integrity – his record as military Head of State, and later as President – the usual things – Third Term, Odi massacre, and anything else that can be thrown into the net. They forget that Obasanjo is not running for President. By calling him names, they merely reinforce his claims and the more they abuse him, the more they give further credence to his declaration that the Buhari administration does not tolerate “criticism, choice and being different.” Obasanjo set a trap for them. They have walked into it, so unwisely.   

In a strange twist, Garba Shehu, the alternate Presidential spokesman, in a written response even suggests that President Obasanjo is sick, and he should “please get well soon”. He refers to him as a “coward” and a “90-year old liar.” Garba Shehu was a Presidential Assistant during the Obasanjo years (1999- 2007). Obasanjo was his boss and benefactor even if he worked directly with Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Now, the same Garba Shehu says Obasanjo is sick! Does he have a medical report to confirm that?  Who really should get well soon? Garba Shehu’s current boss or Obasanjo? 

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In Politics, Only One Thing Is Permanent By Abdullah Abdulganiy

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 11:22

With the current trends in the Nigerian political terrain, it must have been clear to fellow countrymen especially the discerning ones like the fourteenth moon that there is neither permanent foe nor friend in politics, particularly Nigerian politics. Only one thing is permanent, and that is interest. Personal and selfish interest! Interest against the masses! Not even a politico can be exempted for this generalization.

It must have come as a rude shock to everyone as it did to myself the statement attributed to the national chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomole. Oshiomole was reported to have said that opposition elements are free to join the APC. They will not only enjoy freedom of association, but also immunity: they will be cleansed of their misdemeanors and then be told to sin no more. Nauseating, isn’t it? Is this not the same APC that rode to power on the altar of integrity? Now toeing the path of the PDP of yore. More disgusting to hear is that whenever the APC fall short on moral standards, it will refer us to how the act is justified because the PDP had done something similar. This is surely not what it promised us.

What is it that the PDP of yore had done that the present APC has not replicated? Talk of lopsided anti-graft war. Talk of imposition of flagbearers in party democracy. Talk of disrespect for the entire citizens. If there is any difference between the duo, it will be in terms of the nomenclature. They are birds of a feather!

Back to my discussion. In politics, only interest matters and prevails. It doesn’t add up whether these personal interests are at the detriment of the masses. Take for instance what Obasanjo attributed to Tinubu – I may not be in bed with the personality of the former C-in-C, but there is surely sense in nonsense. In 2003, Tinubu was reported to have thrown several salvos at Buhari. Hear him: "Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.”

In 2015 however, when Tinubu foresaw that his personal interest was in jeopardy if he didn’t form a synergy with Buhari, the rather agent of destabilization, he quickly humbled himself and embraced a Buhari presidency to satiate his selfish interest. Today, the erstwhile “ethnic bigot” and “religious fanatic” is now the only option for Nigeria.

Let’s take on Baba Iyabo and call it a day. Another pointer to the fact that in politics only interest is permanent is how Obasanjo had not only turn a “devil” to a born again, but had also vouched for his presidency. Pa Obasanjo was formerly known for his fierce critiques and diatribes against the person of Atiku. Deep-seated was he in this enterprise that he even said that God would not forgive him if he supports an Atiku presidential bid. Today, the erstwhile corrupt man is now the only one that understands the economics of Nigeria. What an irony! The rest, as they say, is history.

I can go on and on to cite examples adducing to the fact that there is no permanent friend or foe in politics. What is permanent is interest. Politicians are one big family. Forget what transpires in the open. They are sheer manifestations of the assumption of dramaturgy. Imagine an Amosun who is for the APC at the federal level, and something else at the state level! It would have been better if these interests appeals to those of the masses. But hell nay. However, here we are throwing jibes at ourselves because of these politicos. At the backstage, I am sure these people will just guffaw at us and tag us “mumus”.

Ruminate over relationships that had been put to a halt in the name of politics. A friend of mine once removed me on facebook because my commentaries doesn’t meet him well as a Sarakite. Is that supposed to be? I have Sarakites as friends, mentors, teachers, admirers. Matching the towering intellectualism of a Bolaji Abdullah, a Femi Akorede and a host of others won’t be a bad idea. The masses just need to wake up. The political elite are one. They only become divided when their interests clash. If Saraki should go back to the APC today, he would be accepted wholeheartedly and absolved of his undoings. That is politics. A dirty game. Ruin not your relationship because of it.

Abdullah is of the better-by-far University of Ilorin. Reach him via 08090637356.

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Ngige Says Buhari ‘Greatly Worried’ About ASUU Strike

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 11:08

Ngige addressing the press

Ngige addressing the press Channels TV

Chris Ngige, Nigeria's Minister of Labour and Employment, has said President Muhammadu Buhari is not happy with the situation of the country’s university system. 

The minister said this on Monday when negotiation between the government and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resumed. 

Ngige said he was given a directive by the President to reach a conclusion between the union and the government in order for the strike to come to an end. 

He said: “The President has directed me to pass the night here until all issues that have kept our children away from school are resolved and strike called off. He has also directed me to impress upon you, the imperative of little sacrifice from all sides, knowing full well that the revenue of the federation has dwindled from what it was before the present administration assumed office.

“President Buhari is greatly worried about the situation in the university system, hence, his steady and holistic approach to tackling the rot through adequate funding, notwithstanding the dwindling revenue accruals.

“The President told me to assure you of his determination to reposition our universities as he would do everything possible to cast the present challenges in our tertiary education to the dustbin of history.”

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Opposition Politicians Have Mobilised Boko Haram, Bandits To Disrupt 2019 Elections, Says Lai Mohammed

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 11:06

The Nigerian Government claims credible intelligence has it that opposition politicians have engaged bandits and Boko Haram insurgents ahead of the 2019 general election. Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, made this known at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.

He said: "As you are aware, Nigeria goes to the polls just 27 days from now. However, the Federal Government is in possession of credible intelligence to the effect that widespread violence being orchestrated by the opposition is threatening the 2019 general election. You have definitely seen the massive and warm reception that President Muhammadu Buhari has been receiving across the country, compared to the thinning crowds that have been attending the opposition rallies.

"The desperate opposition is orchestrating widespread violence with a view to truncating the elections, thus triggering a constitutional crisis that could snowball into the establishment of an interim government."

Lai Mohammed went on to give specifics about the allegations.

He continued: "We have credible intelligence that bandits and Boko Haram insurgents have been mobilised to engage in massive attacks and other acts of violence in several states across the country.

"The states include: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara. The Benue-based armed criminal group, led by Terwase Akwaza, also known as Gana, has been commissioned to strike soft targets in Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba States.

"In Kano State, a group of notorious miscreants have been mobilised by some prominent opposition leaders to provoke massive chaos before, during and after the elections. Some armed mercenaries from Niger Republic have been contracted to attack top government functionaries, including state governors, across the North-West between now and the elections."

The minister said the Nigerian government would not fold its hands and allow this happen as they are taking every possible measure to tackle the situation.

He called on Nigerians to "shine their eyes" in the coming days and that “the punchline of our long running campaign on security – if you see something, say something – remains relevant, perhaps even more, at this time".

Lai Mohammed also urged the media to help in educating the public on possible threats that are capable of disturbing the smooth run of the election.

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It’s Bloody Nonsense To Perpetuate Corruption Under Religious, Ethnic Guise, Says Buhari

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 11:03

President Muhammadu Buhari says the act of perpetuating corruption and injustice under the guise of religious and ethnic affiliations is "bloody nonsense".This was contained in a statement by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, issued on Monday.

According to Adesina, Buhari made the remarks at the Presidential Villa on Sunday night, when he hosted his former staff who worked with him when he was military head of state between January 1984 and August 1985.

In his remarks during the visit, the president went down memory lane, drawing lessons from his electoral battles at the courts in 2003, 2007, and 2011, where those who ruled against him were Moslems from the North, but those who defended him were Christians from the South.

His words: "I was recently forced to talk to somebody I respect a lot about Nigeria. I said in 2003, when I started out, complaints about presidential election used to start from the Court of Appeal.

“The president of the court then was my classmate in secondary school for six years. Himself, myself and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, were classmates. My lawyer, Mike Ahamba, was Roman Catholic and an Igbo man. My first witness was in the box. Ahamba said he needed the register of voters in certain constituencies and states to prove that votes were just allocated, and not a true reflection of what existed in the constituencies. He asked them to record his request and sign. They did so.

“When they came to give judgement later, the matter was not mentioned at all. In the panel was another Roman Catholic and Igbo, who raised his hand and said, this is what Buhari’s lawyer had said. Did we write to those constituencies and states to submit the register? If so, why is it not in the judgement? They just shut him up. He had to write a minority judgement. Of course, he’s now our ambassador to United States.

“I petitioned the Supreme Court. Who was the Chief Justice? A Moslem, probably a Fulani, from Zaria. After 27 months, Ahamba addressed the court for two hours and 45 minutes. They went in, came out after about 45 minutes, and said they were proceeding on vacation the next day. They were away for three months, making it 30 months in all. When they came back, they dismissed the case within 45 minutes.

"In 2007, they repeated the same thing. Who was the Chief Justice? A northerner and Moslem. After 18 months, they dismissed the case.  

“The third time, who was Chief Justice? A Moslem, a Fulani man from Jigawa. After eight months, he dismissed the case. This bloody nonsense about Nigeria on ethnicity and religion is just corruption, pure and simple. Wherever we find ourselves, let’s pray to God that we maintain our faith. That’s all we have. I try to do my best, and pray to God to help me. May God Almighty give us the ways and means to continue to do our best for the country. Whatever religion we follow, let’s do it seriously, as at the end, we would appear before God. Whether we believe it or not, it will happen. So, we better continue to behave ourselves.”

President Buhari did not mince words in praising Major General Tunde Idiagbon, his second-in-command whom he said showed courage, loyalty when his administration was removed. 

"He (Idiagbon) was in Saudi Arabia, performing the hajj, when we were removed.The Saudi king said the coup was not just against us, but also against him, since Idiagbon was praying with him. He asked him to send for his family to join him in Saudi until it was clear where I was. Idiagbon said 'No, I want to go back, Your Majesty. If they kill him, let them kill me also'. He joined the next flight and came back. I think there’s no way you can describe such loyalty, such courage. May his soul rest in perfect peace," Buhari said.

The President also commended the efforts of Mustapha Jokolo, his former aide de-camp who organised the reunion saying the meeting was an “emotional one” for him.

In his remarks, Kokomo recalled the experience they all went through when the government was toppled. He said although their removal from office was “unexpected and disappointing, if not regrettable, they had since moved on with their lives, though painfully aware that they were victims of misplaced aggression".

"The fact that among us today are highly respected royal fathers, businessmen, captains of industry, lawyers and other specialists in the professions, and a university professor, speaks volumes that God is good and that values of discipline and perseverance that we imbibed under Your Excellency’s tutelage had not been in vain," he added.

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Obasanjo Is An Expired Politician, Says Tinubu

Sahara Reporters - Tue, 2019-01-22 11:00

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), says former President Olusegun Obasanjo is an expired politician, who is known for his trade.

On Monday, while speaking at a campaign rally in Maiduguri, Tinubu advised the people not to believe the former president who is  “known for his trade".

"Obasanjo is expired. Ota is enough a place to keep quiet,” he said.

According to the former Lagos State governor, Obasanjo failed the Yoruba people by not recognising the June 12, 1993 mandate of late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola. 

“Yoruba won’t forget in a hurry that Obasanjo could not actualise and recognise the mandate given to MKO Abiola. We waited in 2003 and 2007, but Obasanjo failed to recognise the June 12 struggle. But, President Buhari came and recognised our aspiration in June 12; within three years of his government,” Tinubu said 

Tinubu further described Obasanjo as the brain behind rigging in the country. He asked: “Who can recall the 2003 rigging? Who can recall Obasanjo’s rigging in 2007? Who knows rigging better than him?” 

Over the weekend, Obasanjo released a scathing letter in which he criticised the president and his administration. 

Also speaking at the campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated his commitment towards enhancing security in Borno. He affirmed the need to do more in the area of security.

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The Stone Thrower From Glasshouse: Discussing Obasanjo’s Activism

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 23:31

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings”- Theodore Roosevelt 

5 years ago, I was glued to the newspaper that contained an 18 page release from former President Olusegun Obasanjo which sought to raise among other issues the failure of the Jonathan regime, his failure to tap into some opportunities across Africa, and other issues which made the former President run an 18 page address. 

The piece addressed to Goodluck Jonathan was titled Before It’s Too Late and the present state of the nation address is titled as Points for Concern and Action.

The essential content of the 5year old letter issued to former President Goodluck Jonathan is strikingly similar to his state of the Nation address which was made hours ago. In both addresses, the former President paints an urgency of the situation and why the leadership should be changed. In both addresses too, he makes reference to the similarities between the present regime and the Abacha regime. His frequent reference to Abacha understandable because former President Olusegun Obasanjo suffered quite much including sharing prison facilities with a nearby asylum during the Abacha regime. 

It is important to note that both the address to Goodluck Jonathan and the one to President Muhammadu Buhari were issued at few months interval to the general election of 2015 and 2019 respectively. The Jonathan 18-paged letter came in December 2014, 3 months to the General elections while the Buhari-targeted address came one month to the elections. 

There is virtually nothing new in the state of the nation address which was made hours ago that has not already been stated by analysts and political commentators. Social media is awash with several of the issues Olusegun Obasanjo has raised. Ranging from his complain on the mental and physical fitness of the President to his fear that INEC would not conduct credible elections. Everything has been said already. Like it was some years ago, President Obasanjo only aligns himself with what has already become popular view. 

What is most amazing about Obasanjo’s critic of different regimes is that he has had his own stint in office for a combined period of 12 years(along with the controversy of if he sought tenure elongation by amending the constitution) and he did not emerge from office as a hero of any sort. The way former President Obasanjo critics people in power after his era, a person who does not know his antecedent would think he left the Presidency as a darling of everyone who was very successful as President.

In truth, for the average Nigerian, the Obasanjo image is more of that of a villain than of any hero. Several books have been written with the Obasanjo character being the central theme and how his failures in leadership have stunted the growth of Nigeria. He is not loved enough to be a critic himself. The records are to be found in the present terrible national condition and how it is a result of years of bad leadership of which Obasanjo has been in charge for 12 years out of it. 

It is necessary to state that one finds the complains raised in his address very truthful and reflective of reality. The argument is not to the content of his complain. It is the concern that that they are coming from an image that has been accused of all sorts ranging from corruption (with billions appropriated for power and nothing visible as outcome) to allegation of Human Right abuse such as operating a secret prison at Ita Oko. There are several printable and unprintable complains on the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo as both military and civilian President.

Where Obasanjo finds the courage to preach a type of leadership he did not exhibit himself as President during his two tints in office is a mystery. He seems to ignore all the blame at his doorstep and yet exiting his house through the backyard heads to put blames at the doorstep of others.

Of course, his administration might have recorded certain achievements. But there remains records of documented material that raise concern that he may not be the one without sin that should cast the stone. There is still no official conviction but there are several unresolved allegations which his influence in government may be responsible for their douse.

In past instances of his complains against leaderships, it would be noticed that the issues raised against people in his letters, books and state of the nation addresses are not what founds his actual grudges. His critic comes up usually after he is not granted audience or the relevance that he desires as stated in the letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan “none of the four or more letters that I have written to you in the past two years or so have elicited an acknowledgement nor any response”.

He would also usually pick a timing that indicates his complains are being made with the elections in mind and are of a nature that show he has already taken sides with another candidate and like a promoter is defacing the other brand to make his own prominent. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently remarked about his involvement in the emergence of the Buhari administration (even though he regrets it) and this may be interpreted as the motivation for his long epistle on Jonathan in 2014. 

The fear expressed towards the conduct of the 2019 elections is not fitting for the person who oversaw the 2003 and 2007 elections where a lot of the cases that got to the court where upturned as rigged including gubernatorial elections. Former President Musa Yar’adua of blessed memory would describe the election that brought him in as rigged and the Supreme Court judgement was quite close with 3 of the Judges doubting the outcome of the election. 

It seems Olusegun Obasanjo believes we are suffering from amnesia as a nation and he forgets his own records. Were the 2003 and 2007 elections not conducted under his Presidency? Elections where the prime winner himself acknowledges that it is was flawed.

As it is obvious, the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar is the one already endorsed by Obasanjo. A deduction that can be reached from his statements after a reconciliation meeting where those purported to have initiated reconciliation denied their involvement. 

The former President’s statement of condemnation is more in a bid to promote the candidature of Atiku Abubakar than in a bid to offer Nigeria any real selfless advice. 

Olusegun Obasanjo has had his time on the saddle and he has several complains to effectively address from his time in office rather than continue to appear activist when in fact, the surrounding circumstances indicate his aim is political.

We should beware of the sudden activism of Obasanjo and his gifts to replace his gifts. He is a giver of bad gifts as evidenced by his support for Musa Yar’adua who turned out sick and unfit to lead, his support for Goodluck Jonathan who he came back to describe in unprintable terms. His support for Buhari is not out of recent memory. Now that the respected elder statesman is here again, one needs to watch carefully. Observing with due diligence. Lest in some years, he addresses us again like he has done over and over claiming his choice for Nigeria was a regret. 

It is actually time that Nigerians consider the individual worth of candidates and not who backs them or not. It is recurrent that the choice of leadership turns out as more terrible than the previous.

Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa is a student of the Obafemi Awolowo University. He has a passion for Actividm and Human Rights. He is a frequent opinion writer with reputable print and online media. He can be contacted on koyetolu@gmail.com or on Twitter @koye_tolu.

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35-year-old Man 'Defiles' Neighbour’s Four-Year-Old Daughter After Luring Her To Toilet With Biscuit

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 22:54

Taofeek Egunleye Babajide, a 35-year old man, is currently in the custody of the Nigeria Police Force for allegedly defiling a four-year-old girl at Oriokuta in Ikorudu area of Lagos State.

Babajide was arrested by policemen from Owutu Police Station in Ikorodu on Saturday, January 19, 2019, after a complaint was lodged on the same day by the little girl’s father, identified simply as Abdul, to protect the underage girl.

According to Abdul, his daughter was defiled on Thursday, January 17, 2019 by Babajide, who lured the girl with biscuit away from the public and into a toilet where he allegedly had carnal knowledge of her.

“She (the victim) said it happened when she went to ease herself and also drink water at the mosque behind the Arabic lesson. On getting to the mosque was when the idiot called her. She said when he called; he told her he would buy her biscuit. He then took her to the toilet, open her 'bombom' and started licking it. She also said he inserted his fingers into her…”

Abdul narrated that the toddler first complained of leg pains when her mother was bathing her on Friday, January 18, 2019, but later in the day, when she saw Babajide, she remembered and informed her mother that he had removed her underwear, when she went to Arabic school on Thursday.

“She did not make the report immediately on Thursday. Maybe the guy threatened her not to tell anyone, but the next day when her mother was bathing her, she complained about pains in her leg.

“Her mother asked her what happened, but she said she fell down. Later in the evening, when she saw some labourers in the same street we were, she called her mother’s attention saying: ‘mummy, mummy, see the man who pulled off my pants yesterday’.

“Her mother then pulled her aside in other not to scare her and asked her how it happened. She narrated the story to her mother. Her mother then called me because I was not around. I told her to go to our family doctor to confirm if it was true before raising the alarm. The doctor confirmed that it was true."

After the confirmation from the clinic, Abdul proceeded to file a complaint against Babajide at Owutu Police Station, where he has been kept for interrogation since Saturday.

The officer in charge of the case at Owutu Police Station confirmed that an arrest was made and that the culprit is currently undergoing interrogation.

He, however, said the station has requested that the child be examined at a government-approved hospital.

“We have told them to go and test the girl so that we can be sure. I have given medical paper for the child so that we can confirm whether there was actual penetration so that we can know the next step to take. Once we confirm, it is either we charge to court or refer to the gender department of the state command. We don’t compromise or settle such a matter. But the case is still under investigation; we are waiting for the outcome of the test so that we know the next step to take," he said.

Noting that although the suspect has been sick since he was brought into the station, he was not released because of the sensitivity of the case.

There were speculations that Babajide might be released on Monday, so that he can seek medical attention, as it is unlawful to keep a sick man in detention.

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Shi'ites 'Not Planning' Violence In Cahoots With ISWAP, As Alleged By The DSS

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 22:42

Abdullahi Musa addressing Shiites in Abuja on Monday.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as the Shi'ia sect, has denied the allegations by the Department of State Service (DSS) that the leadership of the group is planning a massive violent protest with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the country.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, Abdullahi Musa, Secretary of the Academic Forum of the movement, said the allegation is "malicious and unfounded, and aimed at maligning the sect with a view to painting it in bad light".

He said the movement managed to get a copy of the memo dated January 1, 2019, from the DSS entitled: 'Planned Massive Violent Protests By the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN)' and addressed to the head of operations of all security agencies in the country.

The letter read: “Intelligence availed this service revealed plans by the leadership of IMN to mobilise its membership in large numbers for a massive protest and other hostile activities, including the use of explosives and firearms in the days ahead. It was gathered that the group intends to besiege some major Northern cities and towns in Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the planned attack.

"The planned attack is to be carried out in league with members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), some opposition elements and a section of human rights movement, with a view to providing massive violence and attracting the attention of the International Community ahead of the 2019 general election.

"Given the foregoing, there is need to initiate pertinent measures to pre-empt and frustrate the latest plot by the subversive group. Whilst this is forwarded for your information and further necessary action, please accept assurances of the esteemed regards of the DG.”

However, Musa said there is no iota of truth in the letter, adding that it is just mere fabrication to justify the killing of members of the movement.

"They are just trying to look for excuses to justify the killings of innocent citizens and that is why they are doing all these things. People should know that this is what President Muhammadu Buhari is planning," he said.

"It is either they cannot win the election or they want to cause violence in Nigeria. One of these is going to happen, because they have nothing and that is why the President is avoiding presidential debate; he has nothing to tell the citizens. Is it extrajudicial killing of innocent citizens?”

He explained that the movement is not concerned about who wins the elections, but about the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

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Obasanjo Tells BBC: Buhari Is Sick In Body, Mind And Spirit

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 22:30

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says President Muhammadu Buhari is "sick in the body, mind and spirit and should be allowed to rest".

He stated this in an interview published by BBC News Yoruba on Monday evening.

According to the former President, Buhari has performed to the best of his ability and should take a rest.

He also urged Nigerians to take advantage of democracy and exercise their freedom of choice.

"Buhari is sick in the spirit, body and mind," he said.

"Let's beg him to take a rest. He has performed to the best of his ability. Some people have asked me about the person we're supporting if we're not worried that he won't perform. That's what's good about democracy."

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Deji Adeyanju’s Prison Stay To Continue As Presiding Judge Returns Case File To Chief Judge

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 21:25

Ruling in the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of Deji Adeyanju, convener of Concerned Nigerians, at the High Court in Abuja was stalled as presiding judge, Justice Danladi Senchi, returned the case file to the Chief Judge.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the court varied its ruling, which was granted on December 21, 2018, for the immediate release of the activist.

The judge said the issues before him were misrepresentation of the fact.

Senchi said he would refer the case file to the Chief Judge for reassignment after his role as vacation judge in the matter came to an end.

Mike Ozekhome (SAN), counsel to Adeyanju, who was absent in the court, had filed a suit seeking the enforcement of Adeyanju’s fundamental human rights.

A Kano Magistrate Court on the same day ruled that Adeyanju be remanded in prison custody after declining jurisdiction to hear the case. The ruling, however, contradicted the ruling of the FCT High Court that set him free.

Justice Sandhi ruled that the allegations brought against him do not warrant his being kept in detention, and therefore ordered his immediate and unconditional release by the Police. See Also Sahara Reporters Abuja Court Sets Deji Adeyanju Free But Kano Court Sends Him To Prison Till February 0 Comments 1 Month Ago

Speaking to journalists at the court, Dare Ariyo Atoye, Coordinator of the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution and member of the Free Deji Campaign movement, said the movement would not be perturbed with the setback on the matter. He said they were aware that there would be challenges on getting freedom for Adeyanju and restated the group's commitment to securing his release.

"We are not perturbed and we are not worried about the outcome of this ruling because there will always be challenges in this journey to see our brother released," he said. "It's part of the challenges we just have to face. We are grateful to the court one way or the other, but we will consult with our lawyers to know the next thing to do."

Atoye urged the judiciary to remain focused, saying tyranny is unfolding in the country and it is only the judiciary that can reverse the ugly trend. He regretted that the country is sliding into police state and therefore encouraged Nigerians not to give up."

He noted that despite being in detention, Deji Adeyanju has continued to receive awards from different organisations. He said he won the Most Courageous Activist of the Year 2018 award by DAAR Communication and another award by Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

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FLASHBACK: 'Sick And In Need Of A Doctor'? Eight Times Buhari Spoke Glowingly About Obasanjo

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 21:16

They say “there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests in politics”.

This saying is especially true for Nigerian brand of politics where there are no clearcut ideologies on which most political parties are built. Nigerian politicians, like birds of passage, often flock from one political party to another in search of favourable season. See Also Sahara Reporters VIDEO: We'd Be Fools If We Let Buhari Deceive Us The Second Time, Says Obasanjo 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

President Muhammadu Buhari and Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo are at loggerheads now. Obasanjo it was who fired the first salvo, likening Buhari to late military dictator Sani Abacha, and warning the people that they must not be fooled a second time by voting for him. Buhari's response was the more epci, though, as hestpped short of calling the former president sick, telling to "get well soon" after finding a doctor.

But did Buhari always considered Obasanjo sick? Of the numerous cases that can be cited, below are eight of Buhari thinking very highly of OBJ: See Also Sahara Reporters 'Get Well Soon' — Buhari Says 90-Year-Old 'Liar' Obasanjo Needs A Doctor 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

February 2016: A Tolerant Leader

Contrary to what Muhammadu Buhari and his party — All Progressives Congress (APC) — are saying now that Obasanjo is an intolerant and self-opinionated person who doesn’t listen to others views, Buhari once called the Owu-born retired general, who was his senior in the military “a tolerant leader”. He made this remark on February 3, 2016 during the 40th anniversary of Ogun State. Buhari said: “I express my thanks to General Obasanjo who, as head of state, made me Minister of Petroleum and tolerated me for three-and-a half-years."


February 2016: 'I am a Lazybones; Obasanjo Is A Hardworker'

Speaking further on that occasion, Buhari had also said: “He tolerated me because God knows and he knows that I am not used to working as hard as he used to, but he allowed me to last that long and allowed me to work”.

February 2016: A Political Reformer

At the same occasion, Buhari went down the memory lane and reel off the impressive feats achieved by Obasanjo, which subsequent administrations after him refused to build on. Buhari said: “If you go into the records, that government made so much investment and infrastructural development in the petroleum industry. Two refineries were built, Warri and Kaduna. More than 20 depots were built; more than 3,500 pipelines were laid, and we were exporting refined products of 100,000 barrels per day.”

Buhari then paused and asked a rhetorical question “But what do we have today?"

March 2015: He Tells The Truth To Power When Things Are Going Wrong

Buhari and the APC have used numerous unsavoury adjectives to describe Obasanjo ever since things went awry between them. They have described him as a leader who loves passing the buck and not owning up to his mistakes in office. However, in a statement issued on the occasion of Obasanjo’s birthday, Buhari called Obasanjo “a courageous patriot who tells the truth to power when things are going wrong”. Why the anger now when again the courageous patriot is at what he knows how to do best — "speaking truth to power?” you may wonder. Perhaps things are going wrong again and Buhari doesn’t want accept the home truth.

March 2015: 'His Voice Is The Conscience Of Leaders'

Contrary to their — Buhari's and the APC's — claim now that Obasanjo is a disgruntled old man who cannot stand the impressive performance of Buhari, Buhari once called Obasanjo “a nationalist whose commitment to democracy and good governance are worthy of recognition and praise”. He further said “Obasanjo is a true stateman and nationalist who doesn’t abandon his country when it needs his voice to jolt the conscience of leaders to listen to those they govern”. Can we say that’s what 'Baba Iyabo' is doing now?

March 2015: Obasanjo’s Legacy Will Outlive Him For His Leadership Qualities

Still paying glowing tribute to Obasanjo, Buhari in the buildup to the 2015 general election said Obasanjo would remain indelible in the sand of time. Buhari said: ”Obasanjo’s name will be cast in stone as one of those Nigerian leaders that served their country with passion."

March 2015: 'Obasanjo Knows More Than We All Know'

Prior to the 2015 general election when Buhari was trying to win Obasanjo to his camp, he called Obasanjo a repository of knowledge on national issues beside whom his own knowledge pales into insignificance. He said: “Sir, it’s a fact that you know more than all we know about the problem we are in. But what we will do is try to convince you to believe us that we are going to do better”. Why Is Buhari not ready to learn from his teacher again you may ask?

April 2016: Obasanjo's Vision Grew Nigeria And Africa

In a message to Obasanjo by Femi Adesina on the occasion of his 79th birthday, he called Obasanjo a man who improved the Nigerian economy during the time he presided over the affairs of the country. Then, Buhari praised Obasanjo "for your vision and commitment to the growth of Nigeria and Africa, which translated into a historical growth of six percent for the Nigerian economy after a long period of slow growth and also created  a rippling effect that buoyed other African economies”.

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After 11 Years Of Trial, Court Now Ready To Deliver Judgment In Ladoja's N4.7bn Fraud Case

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 20:03

The 11-year-old trial of Chief Rashidi Ladoja, a former Governor of Oyo State, over allegations of benefitting illegally from the sum of N4.7billion came to a close on Monday, with the court reserving judgement. 

Ladoja has been on trial on an 11-count charge, accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of N4.7 billion fraud. He was charged alongside Waheed Akanbi, who was Oyo State Commissioner for Finance during the former’s administration.

On Monday, the prosecution and the defence adopted their final written addresses and canvassed closing arguments.

Ladoja's lawyer, Bolaji Onilenla, contended that the charges filed by the EFCC against his client were defective and were bound to be dismissed by the court. Onilenla argued that in filing the charges, the prosecution not only muddled up offences which ought to have been charged separately, the charges did not also disclose any substance, just as they contained non-essential elements.

"Where the essential elements of a charge are missing, such a charge is a nullity because in the first place, there is no charge and not even an amendment can cure it. So, we urge Your Lordship to, on the basis of these objections, quash the charges. The court is urged to discharge and acquit the 1st defendant," Onilenla said.

He argued that EFCC failed to adduce any direct or circumstantial evidence to show that Ladoja's former Senior Special Executive Assistant, Chief Adewale Atanda, acted under Ladoja's instructions to meet with stockbrokers, who sold shares belonging to Oyo State.

"Though PW2 (Atanda) described the proceeds of shares as impeachment funds, PW3 and PW4 denied this. PW4, Oba Kola Daisi, said there was never any impeachment fund," Ladoja's lawyer added.

On the allegation that Ladoja used N77.1million out of the shares' proceeds to purchase a property, Quarter 361, Onilenla said Atanda had stated in his testimony that a loan was taken to purchase the property.

"So, that means it (Quarter 361) could not have anything to with the issue of shares," he said.

He added that the EFCC failed to prove its allegation that Ladoja sent £600,000, from the state coffers to his daughter, Bimpe Ladoja, who was in London at the time.

"Vital witnesses were not called; all the issues raised as to the competence of the charges, none has been addressed. I sympathise with the prosecution. On the whole, the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, the 1st defendant has discharged the burden placed upon him by this court. The prosecution has proved nothing," Onilenla said.

Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), Akanbi's lawyer, argued that the case presented before the court by the prosecution was fraught with inconsistencies, adding that the testimonies of the third, fourth and sixth prosecution witnesses were contradictory.

Olumide-Fusika accused the prosecution of desperately searching for non-existent evidence to "do my client in," noting that even the prosecutor, Olufemi Olabisi, knew and had admitted that there was no case against Akanbi, but because the case file was only handed over to the prosecutor, "he found it difficult to advise them (Federal Government) to withdraw the charges because there is no case”.

"Your Lordship will see the weakness of their case, which they themselves were conscious of and it reflected in their submissions. If you do not have evidence against a party, why drag him to court. I am urging Your Lordship to courageously do justice between the parties and say if you don't have evidence, don't charge people to court,” Olumide-Fusika said.

According to him, Ladoja's ex-aide, Atanda, whom the EFCC converted to a witness, was supposed to be the one on trial rather than Ladoja and Akanbi.

He described as "the height of attempt at injustice to leave Atanda" and prosecute Ladoja and Akanbi.

"You decide that they (Akanbi) are innocent in your office at the EFCC; they are good Nigerians. It is the height of injustice. I urge Your Lordship to discharge and acquit my client because there is no shred of evidence against him. He is guilty of nothing," Olumide-Fusika said.

However, the prosecutor, Olabisi, urged the court to hold that "the prosecution has proved the essential elements of the offences charged”.

"We pray the court to convict the defendants guilty as charged," Olabisi said.

After hearing all the parties out, Justice Mohammed Idris thanked them "that this matter has been finally concluded”.

"The burial is the judgement. It will be buried finally," the judge said, noting that the judgment day would soon be communicated to the parties.

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