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Fashola Asks Court To Dismiss Falana’s Suit Compelling Nigerian Govt To Fix Oshodi/Apapa Expressway

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 21:36

Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works, Housing and Power, has urged the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to dismiss the fundamental right suit filed by leading human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) challenging the failure of Nigeria's Federal Government to remove the gridlock on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway.

A counter-affidavit deposed to by one Ayodele Otedola, a litigation clerk at the Federal Ministry of Works, on behalf of the Minister, noted that the gridlock on the road “is always caused by tanker drivers who normally follow the route to NPA for the purpose of loading and offloading their goods” and that the Minister’s “effort to clear the road and remove the trailers and tankers has not been easy but that effort has been redoubled to achieve this goal”.

In his preliminary objection against the suit, Fashola contended that the failure to repair the road has not in any way restricted or breached Falana’s freedom of movement. He also challenged Falana’s locus standi to file the suit, since he has not shown that he has suffered over and above other motorists or people who use the road.

In the suit, Falana argued that the state of the road constitutes a threat to his life and violation of his fundamental right to move freely in Lagos guaranteed by Sections 33 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Articles 5 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. In the substantive case, the rights lawyer is also seeking the following reliefs:

“1. A DECLARATION that the refusal or failure of the Respondents to remove obstructions, repair and maintain the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway is illegal and unconstitutional as it constitutes a threat to the fundamental right to life of the Applicant guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"2. A DECLARATION that the failure or refusal of the Respondents to make the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway safe for motorists is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates the Applicant’s fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"3. A DECLARATION that the parking of tankers and trailers on the overhead bridges in Lagos is illegal and unconstitutional as it constitutes a threat to the fundamental right to life of the Applicant and other motorists guaranteed by Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"4. A DECLARATION that the Applicant is entitled to his fundamental right to economic, social and cultural development guaranteed by Article 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

"5. AN ORDER directing the Respondents to remove all obstructions, repair and maintain the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway forthwith.”  

The Federal High Court has fixed January 19, 2018 for hearing the substantive suit and the preliminary objection.

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How Saraki, Melaye, Dogora, Tambuwal Lured APC Lawmakers To PDP

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 21:27

Bode Ayorinde, a member of the House of Representatives representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency of Ondo State at the National Assembly, has given insight into how federal lawmakers elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) dumped the party for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ayorinde spoke on Tuesday at a stakeholders meeting and flag-off ceremony for his campaign in Owo area of the state.

According to the lawmaker, a series of meetings were held at different locations in Abuja where they perfected their defection from APC to PDP. He also explained that the meetings were planned by the duo of Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogora.

Speaking on the moves that led to the defection of the lawmakers, Ayorinde said: "We held a series of meetings on how to move this country forward since the 'Change' agenda that the APC-led goverment promised the people of this country seems to be a total scam and nothing is working.

"Senate President Bukola Saraki chaired the meeting; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogora was there, as well as the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and many other former senators. They felt the need to change the man in government, who is not making things work perfectly.

"Later, they called about 34 of us at the House of Representatives to come into the meeting where a group was formed, while they also called on 15 rebel senators to join us. We held no less than 59 meetings, planning and strategising on our breaking away from the ruling APC. We all contemplated on whether to form a new party or join an existing one."

The Ondo Federal Lawmaker, who is also the candidate of the PDP for the same Owo/Ose federal constituency, said three political parties — Social Democratic Party (SDP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — were suggested to them during their meetings.

He continued: "We called on the leaders of these political parties to come and talk to us on how they can develop the country if we moved en masse into their fold. It was Professor Adediran who led those from SDP to come and convince us that we should defect to their party while talks were ongoing. It was Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who led those from the camp of the ADC, and he begged us to join because it is Baba Obasanjo's political party and that if we join, we can join them to move Nigeria forward.

"And for the PDP, it was the National Chairman of the umbrella party, Mr. Uche Secondus, who led the team of about 20 people to convince us about the PDP. We now sat down and looked into the strengths of these parties, then we asked them what they would do for us if we joined them. However, they asked us to pen down what we wanted from them. Then, we went back and wrote that we wanted the security agencies to be more strengthened, so as to tackle the security challenges in the nation such as the herdsmen crisis, Boko Haram and others, for peace to reign.

"We also demanded that they provide jobs/employment in all senatorial districts of the nation in order for the youth to be gainfully employed and leave the streets. Also, we told them that we hoped they would give all of us — serving Senators and the House of Representatives members — automatic tickets, if we defect from APC to their own party. They said they were satisfied with all our demands and they shall do as we asked. We documented these demands and both parties signed the the six-point agreement."

According to Ayorinde, the federal lawmakers decided to form the R-APC within the ruling party, when they were still strategising on their next move from APC to PDP.

"We later got back to the National Assembly and we gave ourselves a name, which is the Reformed-APC. I was the Chairman of the House of Representatives, while Senator Dino Melaye was Chairman of the Senate House. While others in the group were still afraid to announce their defection, I was the first person to announce my exit from the APC to the PDP on the floor of the National Assembly.

"After our announcement, we travelled to our constituencies to register as bonafide members of PDP, and we were all accepted into the umbrella party with the aim of winning the election for our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar."

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We Chose Debate Candidates Based On Their Character And Popularity, Says NEDG

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 20:25

The Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG), organisers of the presidential debate in collaboration with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, has revealed that it selected five candidates were selected based on “character, conduct and other things of the candidates".

Eddi Emesiri, Executive Secetary of the NEDG, made the revelation during a telephone conversation with one Issac Obasi, a Lagos-based human rights activist, about why some candidates were excluded from the debate.

In the four-minute 53-second conversation between the duo, when queried on the narrow selection of candidates especially to the detriment of more popular candidates, Emesiri said: “Popular where? We did research from September to November this year in the six zones of the federation. We did vox pop; we did social media and also voting, and then we also have character conduct and other things that we are looking at. So, we matched this and this and this and we arrived at this conclusive report."

Queried further as to why the result of the research purportedly conducted was not made public, Emesiri said: “We based our research on the whole of the country. Please, we are taking a totality of the reports we got from across the country. Everybody has his area. This is the 13th call I’ve received today."

Interrupting, Issac Obasi said: “Oh you see, people are calling because they want to find out."

Responding, the Executive Secetary said: “That is why I am taking my time to explain to you. We had to put all the information together and that is why we said if we had to select, we will select only five."

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An Open Letter To Bianca Ojukwu By Law Mefor

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 19:02

Since you walked the red carpets as a beauty queen, many of us have followed you. Though beauty contest is a mere competition that has traditionally focused on judging and ranking the physical attributes of the contestants, most contests have evolved to also incorporate personality traits, intelligence, talent, and answers to judges' questions as judged criteria.

So, becoming the African queen of your time, and even now, was no mean feat. It comes with real beauty, brain and brawn, no doubt.

You really didn’t need any contest to prove you are one of the most beautiful women to walk the face of mother Africa. Ikemba, while still wooing you confirmed my position when he said in the book, Because I am Involved, “To say that Bianca Onoh is beautiful is like standing before the Eifel Tower and be shouting that the building is tall”.

You later became his wife and sadly, now his widow. And here lies the reason I am writing you. I am of a very considered view that Emeka Ojukwu’s widow does not need partisan politics. You do not have to agree with me. But the bruises you so easily suffered since you ventured into partisan politics were not a coincidence.

Politics is like that. It is adversarial in nature and takes no prisoners. Even being the widow of Emeka Ojukwu will not be armor strong enough to shield you from its vagaries. And that is why many people who may want to serve still shun it; certain persons occupying certain positions do not go into contests for political positions also. They don't need the heat, so they stay away from the kitchen.

Like observed already, partisan politics everywhere, not just in Nigeria, is deep murky waters. Nobody swims it and comes away clean. And because we are living in an imperfect world, there is always a nasty story to tell about someone, especially when they are determined to tell such a negative story. And to show how inescapable, these stories do not even have to be true to be believed. That is why, in politics especially, facts and truths are not exactly the same.

If you recall, when Femi Fani-Kayode made a reckless amorous claim against you, many of us rallied and fought him off. He apologized to you, and because his claim bellied your stay in UK or something like overseas studies, some of us insisted it shouldn’t count.

Many naturally gravitate to your rescue and defence in such hostile circumstance not so much for you as it is for Emeka Ojukwu and here is why. Let us face it: Ojukwu lived and died the symbol of the Igbo race and the struggle for the emancipation of Igbo people. He played certain inimitable roles culminating, ultimately, in leading the Biafra struggle and heading the Republic of Biafra for 30 solid months.

While the Biafra war lasted, it was so brutal that genocidal measures and actions were clamped on Biafrans. Otherwise, what was the intendment of hunger as war weapon used by the federal government against Biafrans during the war if not for their extermination?

In a deft response to the attendant starvation, many Biafra women took harrowing risks to keep the soldiers, their husbands and children alive (watch the documentary 'Afia Attack' produced by Ujuaku Akukwe and refresh on this).

Your late husband and arguably the greatest Igbo man ever lived, Emeka Ojukwu, bore all that on his then young shoulders, barely 33 at that time. The need for the survival of Ndigbo and Biafrans at large deprived him much of his youth and full settled life until you came to fill the vacuum and provide him the much needed succor. He was driven into exile and he stayed away for 13 years. Later he returned, having been pardoned by the Shagari government.

When Ikemba returned home, many of us also were of the opinion that he shouldn’t join politics and that if he must, he needed to join forces with NPP. Ikemba joined the ruling NPN instead and gave his reason as the need to lead Ndigbo back into the mainstream Nigeria polity and politics. He got thoroughly messed up and demystified, to the point that it was claimed that one nondescript Dr. Edwin Onwudiwe(no offence intended) defeated him in a mere senatorial election. Sometimes I wonder what image Ojukwu would have carried if he did not go into politics.

The rest, as they say, is now history. And that is politics for you and a further confirmation that certain persons for some circumstances should not join partisan politics. Or are you not aware that the Queen of England and her family do not vote let alone contest for offices?

Recall also that in the wake of the present democratic dispensation, 3 legacy political parties emerged – PDP, AD and APP (as it then was; it later became ANPP). Soon after, some Igbo leaders felt there was a need to raise a political party where Ndigbo could have unfettered access and expression. By then, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme of blessed memory had been manipulated out of the PDP presidential ticket (I will do a full piece on the emergence of APGA in due course).

I believe the reason APGA was formed, not necessarily as Igbo party, but one where Ndigbo can beat their chest and say it is one they inspired into existence, made Ikemba to accept to be the APGA presidential candidate. As at the time Ikemba joined APGA and became its flag bearer, his majestic and emphatic entry into the fray was such a welcome development and symbolic gesture. He came third in the first presidential poll. Not that Ndigbo deluded themselves that Ikemba would win.

As shown in the relatively paltry number of votes garnered by Ikemba, many Igbos who loved and revered him didn’t even vote for him. They followed their head or heart and entrenched interests in the PDP. Many more Ndigbo, as usual, did not even bother voting at all.

What am I saying? I am only drawing your attention, o our queen mother, to the rugged nature of the struggle, which you now symbolize. It is a role imposed upon you by both choice and destiny. The moment you accepted Ikemba’s hand in marriage, you equally accepted, wittingly, to share his fate. He didn’t co-opt you. And departing, he left the rest of the struggle, as it were, to you.

You can see why I cried when I heard you were contesting to go to the senate? If you were not the widow of Ikemba, may be. But you could see how the race abruptly ended for you, for the very reason I have tried to draw out here.

Whoever advised and goaded you into the risky senate race was unkind to you and demeaned your exulted position. A queen mother cannot bring herself so low as to contest with her subjects. Forget  how young you are. It is beyond age. It is about the stool you sit on as Ojukwu’s widow. The more you contest (and lose or even win) you end up debasing your hallowed stool the more.

In APGA, your place ought to be assured. Anything short of chairman Board of Trustees is not for you. But do you really need additional position? I don’t think so! You are Bianca Ojukwu. No position is higher than that in the eye of the Igbo man and woman. Kindly regain this perspective and hold the dream and promise Ikemba left behind.

Dr. Law Mefor is a concerned APGA member. +234-803-787-2893; e-mail:lawmefor@gmail.com.

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Presidential Debate: Who Is Afraid Of Omoyele Sowore? By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 18:22


The long awaited 2018 presidential debate schedule was released yesterday by Eddi Emesiri, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON). Five political parties will take part in the presidential and vice-presidential debates for the 2019 race for Aso Rock: Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Oby Ezekwesili, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) Fela Durotoye, All Progressives Congress (APC) Muhammadu Buhari, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, and Young Progressive Party (YPP) Kingsley Moghalu. The vice-presidential debate is slated for Friday, December 14, from 7 pm at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. The Presidential debated is scheduled for Saturday, January 19, 2019.

African Action congress (AAC) and its presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore not among the five political parties listed for debate.

The exclusion of AAC from the presidential debates is not only a travesty of justice, but day light robbery of our democracy, the constitutional and legal rights of AAC, Sowore, and Nigerian voters. The non-inclusion of AAC by the so called NEDG and BON didn't come as a surprise given the history of election rigging in Nigeria. It is under statement to say that other parties are hell scared of AAC and Sowore. The entry of Sowore to the Nigerian political space was sudden and unexpected, by the god fathers of Nigerian politics and the well entrenched parties of corrupt cowards and thieves. They were not prepared for hurricane Sowore which completely altered the political rigging paradigm of APC and PDP.

NEDG and BON owe Nigerians some explanations: Who and who constitute the members of NEDG and BON? What's the constitutional mandate given to NEDG and BON? What's the criteria of choosing the five parties for the debate? Who funds NEDG and BON? Of all the five parties chosen for the debate, none has campaigned so hard, forcefully, so extensive, so intense, and so consistent, over a longer period of time and throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria. Sowore has been to all the 36 states. He has met and dialogue with the Nigerian poor of different shapes and sizes. He has gone where none of the five candidates selected for the debate has gone. He has broken the record for interviews on TV, radio, talk shows, newspaper, and social media. AAC has more candidates contesting for different political offices than ACPN, ANN, and YPP combined. AAC's name recognition towers and swallows all the new parties.

Who is afraid of Omoyele Sowore? Obviously all the five presidential candidates for the debate are afraid of Sowore. Sowere is a unique candidate with a unique revolutionary message. He's driven by fearless ideas. His willingness and audacity to say and do things that have never been done before by any presidential candidate of our era, things that other candidates would never dream of saying or doing make Sowere inherently a threat and a present danger to the reactionary, old, and expired politicians of the status quo. Since his debut as convener of TakeItBack Movement and lately as presidential candidate, Sowore had ignited Nigerian politics known for bereft of ideas with fearless ideas. Sowore is no stranger to controversy. He's never been scared or deterred standing alone against the tide of popular opinion. He has met with the often ignored Nigeria's large constituent: the poor, the disenfranchised, the excluded, the forgotten, the abandoned, the neglect, and the underrepresented. Initially, Sowore was written off as “slacktivist.” But within a short time, he has redefined the boundaries of political creativity, innovation, and audacity in Nigeria. Sowore has proved his critics wrong and he's determined and passionate to free Nigerians from what activist David Hogg calls “the safety of inaction.”

It is instructive to remind Emesiri and others who selected the five parties for the debate that the future of creative and innovative leadership is about having the humility to respect and recognize the experience and views of others, and not to retreat into fear of defensiveness. For the election to be held at all, and for it to be credible AAC and Sowere must be included in the debate. We'll fight for this constitutionally by all the legal weapons at our arsenal. No retreat no surrender!

The presidential debate is very important to the future of our country and democracy. Presidential debates affect outcome of elections. Candidates will have the opportunity to do their best to dispel negative images of themselves while reinforcing negative images of their opponents. For example, Sowore will have the privilege to dispel the often maliciously cited his inexperience and too young to run. Buhari will have the time to convince Nigerians why he should be re-elected for second term in spite his corrupt, inept, and ineffective administration, and of course inform Nigerians on the state of the economy, and indeed show case his achievements if any for the past four years.

Atiku will be too happy to debunk corrupt allegations against him, and why PDP that looted our treasury for 16 years should be allowed to rule Nigeria again. The debates present a rare opportunity for Nigeria to introduce the challengers – the presidential candidates of the new parties. Most importantly, presidential debates will let Nigerians make two simultaneous judgments: (1) Whether or not the candidates seems “big enough” to be president. (2) Whether or not one of the candidates is a better choice. Debates are more powerful in terms of voters' learning about candidates... Let's go there!



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Towards Workable University-Industry Linkage By Ayobami Salami

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 18:19

At the heart of the rot that currently ails the nation’s universities is the embarrassing gulf between our tertiary institutions and the organized corporate sector. Ordinarily, the fact that the ivory trains the workforce for the industry should naturally propel a symbiotic relationship between the two, but that isn’t the case in Nigeria, sadly. What is certain, however, is that no nation that can reach her full developmental potentials when it lacks such dimension of synergy between both ends. 

Universities, by their very nature, are a sacred temple of experimentation and knowledge production for development. On the other hand, the organized private sector and by extension, the public sector, exist to put to work, ideas founded on sound theoretical frameworks. Universities serve as inspiration and solution centers for growth and development. Therefore, having entrenched synergy between both the town and the gown, is to run a society that benefits from the dynamic cyclical flow of explanations and well-thought-out perspectives to presenting development challenges. 

In many ways, we can argue that the reason why the nation has found herself at the backwaters of development is largely traceable to our uninspiring attitude to knowledge production. By extension, also, the helplessness of our industry is traceable to the weakness of the university. It is high time we realized that working together would mutually benefit both divides, leaving lasting impact on our society. 

Statistics consistently show that there is an alarming paucity of capable hands to train Nigerian undergraduates. This is made even more disturbing by the fact that, based on the NEEDS Assessment Report of Nigerian Public Universities in 2012, Nigerian Universities have a shortfall of well over 30,000 experts to man the various disciplines in universities. This still remains a huge problem begging for attention. This accounts for the widening ratio between facilitators and students in our ivory tower. This shouldn’t be the case were we to have deepened partnership between our learning institutions and the industry. It is certain that there are is a lot of intellectual resources that can be leveraged upon by the ivory tower that have remained dormant, because of the gulf, and perhaps, inflexibility of managers of our higher institutions. 

There is no doubt that a key factor that has kept our institutions at bay and manifestly deficient, is the poor funding structure model. This, chiefly, among several others banes, have turned us into laughing stocks among the comity of nations. A visit to any of our institutions today is bound to leave any visitor stunned and disappointed, considering the profile of dilapidated structures, acutely archaic laboratories and decrepit facilities that litter the campuses. Whereas the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) has consistently clamored for an increase in the allocation made available to Universities in the country - except for little drops here and there - this has not yielded much results. It is yet to be seen how the ongoing –strike, now in its second month or so, would pan out. 

Be that as it may, while we must insist that it is right and necessary to demand that government increase its funding of education in the country, it is also wise that we consider additional funding model. In this regard, the linkage between the town and the ivory tower becomes critical. Like it exists elsewhere world over, the industry should reconsider how to support tertiary institutions in the country to deliver on the mandates of engaging in relevant, purposeful, qualitative research and the production of adequately trained workforce to support. Ultimately, it is a win-win situation, if this happens. 

Of course, we must note that the kind of partnership academics crave for, will not happen automatically. For instance, as regards funding of researches, the ivory would have to consistently deliver alluring values that can attract the interest and financial commitment of the industry. The secret is in seeking to meet the urgent needs of the industry, particularly in in terms of seeking solutions to issues that inhibit organizational productivity and buoying of the bottom line. In doing this, accountability, transparency and speed, which are some of the key values cherished in the organized private sector, must be taken seriously. 

In this connection, also, the ivory tower should aggressively pursue synergies with professional organizations. The goal of this is the absorption of informed professional perspectives that can readily advance integrative and blended learning. Nothing should stop us, really, from appointing professionals who have distinguished and have impacted the field of practice in significant ways. This model, referred in some quarters, as the scholar-practitioner model, certainly promises to help our institutions negotiate a radical departure from the theory-suffused model currently prevalent in our institutions. 

Entrenching the culture of endowed professorial chairs in our universities is another sure way of deepening the relationship. Through focused funding of key research areas of immediate relevance to societal development, organizations and indeed privileged members of the society can support scholars and research in targeted areas. Kudos should go to such organizations and individuals such as Shell, UBA, Pastor E.A Adeboye, Mike Adenuga, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona for their leadership in this regard. It would be gratifying to have more Nigerians of means come in into this space and expand it. 

Often times, we are quick to talk and admire the models of development in Europe, America and other developed climes. What we, however, fail to take into consideration is the value of shared responsibility that exist in those climes. Take for instance, the lure of the Silicon Valley, reputed as the foremost tech innovation hub in the world today. There is a need for critical rethink on the part of all stakeholders so that we forge a robust linkage between the industry and University in Nigeria.


Professor Ayobam Salami is the Pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Nigeria’s premier Technical University, First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan, established by the Oyo State Government.

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JUST IN: Atiku Signs 2019 Election Peace Accord

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 15:55

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has signed the peace accord ahead of the 2019 general election.

He signed the document on Wednesday at the Bishop Kukah Centre, Abuja.

Accompanied by Uche Secondus, the PDP National Chairman, Atiku was received by General Abdusalam Abubakar, Chairman of the National Peace Committee.

Atiku had been absent from the sgning on Tuesday, stating that he wasn't "officially invited".

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NFVCB Boss Thomas Adedayo Arrested For 'Stealing' Generator Worth N30m, 'Siphoning' N150bn

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 14:48

Thomas Adedayo, Executive Secretary, National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB)

One of the Turban generating sets recovered

Another Turban generating sets recovered

Thomas Adedayo, the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), has been arrested by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) over allegations of stealing government property and fraud.

A source told SaharaReporters that Adedayo will be arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 6 Abuja, on Wednesday. The panel was said to have recovered a stolen Turban generating set in Lagos on November 13, 2018, from where he sold it. The money paid was also traced to his personal account.

Other items recovered from him include Plasma TV sets, air conditioners and computers set, which were alleged to have been stolen from the central store of the Abuja office of the board.

Investigations revealed that he was first arrested on November 9, 2018 by the panel, but could not be arraigned immediately. He was later granted administrative bail.

In July, SaharaReporters reported a story on a petition accusing Thomas of fraud and converting the board’s assets into his private use.

Aside allegations of having sold two official vehicles belonging to the board at the headquarters in Abuja to himself, and converting two buses for field operations in Lagos to his personal use, he was alleged to have forcefully gained entrance into the main store of the Abuja and Lagos offices, ransacking and carting away television sets, refrigerators, air conditioners and other valuable items.


He was said to have forged an official licence number plate bearing 'PRESIDENCY NFVCB O1A' when the board is just a parastal under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

Adedayo was also accused of breaking the fence of the Lagos office and making away with a Turban generator worth millions of Naira belonging to the board, a case which is still being investigated by the Alagbon Close Police Station, Ikoyi, as a result of his use of fake auction papers to sell the 300KVA generator for N30million to a company in Lagos, and paying only N20,000 into the account of the board.

The Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) overhead and capital fund received last year running into over N150billion was also said to have been siphoned through cronies and fake field operations.

Some female staff members of the board also accused him of sexual harassement and using their bank accounts for cash lodgement, without rendering any service to the board.

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64-Year-Old Carpenter Arrested For Defiling Neighbour’s 6-Year-Old Daughter

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 14:00

Habib Abdullahi

Habib Abdullahi

One Habib Abdullahi, a 64-year-old carpenter, has been arrested for defiling his neighbour’s six-year-old daughter.

Abdullahi was one of the 59 suspects paraded by Imohimi Edgal, Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, on Tuesday at the command’s headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos State

Among the 59 suspects were 47 cultists including two females, who were arrested in different locations of the state.

Speaking on the case of defilement currently investigated under its ‘Gender Unit’, Imohimi said one Mrs Obinna, aged 37, of Salewu, Ikorudu reported a case on behalf of her six-year-old daughter against one 64-year-old Habib Abdullahi, who is a carpenter on the same street.

“During investigation, it was revealed that on 03/12/2018 at about 1000hrs, the suspect took the survivor into his room and inserted his finger into her private part. However, her mother noticed that her daughter was unnecessarily irritated and withdrawn, so she began to ask her questions and she revealed to the mother what ‘Uncle Abdullahi’ had done to her,” he said.

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EFCC Arraigns Bank Directors Over $153million Linked To Diezani

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 13:32

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to arraign Nnamdi Okonkwo, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, and Dauda Lawal, First Bank's Executive Director, for allegedly helping a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to conceal a total of $153.3million in Fidelity Bank in 2015.

Okonkwo and Lawal, alongside Lanre Adesanya and Stanley Lawson, have been charged before the Federal High Court in Lagos. Their arraignment, which was originally scheduled for Monday before Justice Muslim Hassan, has been adjourned till December 17, 2018.

On Monday, the prosecuting counsel for EFCC, Wahab Shittu, sought an adjournment to serve the charge sheet on Okonkwo and Adesanya. Lawal's lawyer, Hassan Liman (SAN), told the judge that his client had been in the custody of the EFCC since November 29. He prayed the court to admit him to bail.

However, Justice Hassan, in a bench ruling, said he lacked jurisdiction to grant Liman's request as the defendants were yet to be arraigned. While adjourning till December 17 for arraignment, Justice Hassan directed that Lawal should be taken back to the custody of the EFCC.

In the charge sheet marked FHC/4419c/18, the EFCC accused Okonkwo and Lawson of conspiring with Diezani, said to be at large, and a former Group Executive Director of Finance and Accounts, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ben Otti, also at large, "to conceal in Fidelity Bank Plc, a total of $153,310,000".

The anti-graft agency claimed that the defendants ought to have reasonably known that the money "formed parts of proceeds of unlawful activity: to wit: corruption". It said the defendants committed the offence sometime in 2015, adding that they breached sections 18(a) and 15(2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended, and were liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

In count three, Okonkwo, Lawal, Adesanya, Lawson and the allegedly fleeing Otti, were accused of "aiding the use of about $25m for the acquisition of a property known as Meridien Ogeyi Place Hotel, located at Tambia Street, GRA Phase 2, Port Harcourt".

According to the charge, the EFCC said the defendants ought to have reasonably known that the $25m "formed part proceeds of the corruption perpetrated by Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke whilst serving as the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources and Ben Otti, who was then the Group Executive Director of Finance and Account, NNPC".

The EFCC claimed that on May 13, 2015 Okonkwo "procured Dauda Lawal (First Bank ED) to take possession of $65million" out of the $153.3million allegedly concealed in Fidelity Bank by Diezani.
Okonkwo, Lawson, Adesanya and Diezani were alleged to have on April 20, 2015 "procured one Adewale Fayemi to take possession of a total of $8.31million".

The same Adewale Fayemi was allegedly "procured" to take possession of another $80million on May 29, 2015, which was Democracy Day, when ex-President Goodluck Jonathan handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari, and Diezani left office as petroleum minister.

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You Couldn’t Have Dared To Run If You Weren't Handpicked, Jimi Agbaje Tells Sanwo-Olu

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 13:16

Jimi Agbaje, Lagos governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) wouldn't have "dared" to contest in the 2019 governorship election if he wasn't "handpicked".

Sanwo-Olu had featured on a television progamme on Monday, where he spoke on his plans for Lagos State if elected.

However, Jimi Agbaje expressed his reservations on Sanwo-Olu's position on various subjects on the television programme and he took to Twitter, where he punctured holes in Sanwo-Olu's comments.

His words: "In an apparent response to my outing on leading TV station on Sunday night, a hurried arrangement was made to feature the panicky opposition candidate on TV. Clearly a rehashed session, here is a dissection of what he talked about.

"Continuity in Government: We will be innovative and improve all of our processes. Innovative? An attempt at innovation is what has caused the incumbent a second term. Your imposition is not on your own terms. You will not be allowed to think freely and run a government.

"Lagos deserves a free hand and independent mind; someone who is not tied to the apron strings of a Godfather. On running mate, Dr Obafemi Hamzat: Lagos is getting an amazing deal, two governors wrapped in one. Two governors wrapped in one as presented by you is an elixir for anarchy in governance. You were billed to be Obafemi Hamzat’s Chief of Staff in his attempt to run for office in 2014. He cannot and will not truly see himself as your deputy. With two powerful energies, the ego battles can only be imagined.

"On my campaign promise — we will see significant developments in waste management, education, transportation management, health, etc. You have clearly admitted that your current boss failed on the indices you listed above. As an appointee in his government, you had the opportunity to offer your two cents on how things could be better but you did not. Understandably, you cannot give what you do not have. In the inner most recesses of your heart, you know that you cannot rock the boat of the establishment that has propped you up.

"On my readiness for governance: I have been preparing for this all my life. It will be nice that you parade a list of your achievements in the public and private sector to buttress the claim that you have been preparing for this all along. In your previous roles, what were your achievements? As MD of LSDPC, how many housing units were added to solve the housing challenge? As Commissioner to Establishment, how did the lot of civil servants improve? As Commissioner for Commerce, what did you do to improve the ease of doing business? What successes can be attributed to you — Babajide Sanwoolu.

"On Lagos and the Igbos: The narrative that Lagos dislikes the Igbos is extremely false. Oh yes, Lagos does not dislike the Igbos, your political establishment does. The royal utterance of 2015 is still fresh on the mind of the entire electorate. He now works with the presidency. You must have been too busy or completely oblivious to be referring to him in present tense.

"On Technology: I believe technology will play a big part in solving a lot of problems, from modelling plans to making informed predictions and then to actual solutions. These are buzz words used at Monday morning meetings. The Lagos electorates are not docile thinkers. Technology is an enabler that is available to everyone. It is a leveler and people can no longer be bamboozled. On Sanwo Free Wifi: We are going live this week in some of these locations. Internet for knowledge, research, empowerment and ultimately for solutions. This is merely political gimmick. Lagosians know better than to be swayed be such Greek gifts. The voting populace is not data hungry. They want freedom; to live a decent life in the city they have come to know as home.They are not cheap skates to be swayed by cheap data.

"On freedom: For anyone to imply that Lagosians are slaves is just plain mischief. We will rank high in parts of the world. We will rank high? If we have not ranked high in about two decades of which you and your cohorts have been in government what can you possibly do to make such happen? Freedom is an opportunity for Lagosians to elect a governor that they can hold accountable, a governor that they can question and on whose table the buck stops. Freedom is running an open government where the finances of the state are not opaque. Freedom is allowing Local Governments to run as they should (a true third tier of government) and not as a mere appendage of the state.

"Freedom is domestication [of] the freedom of information bill. Freedom is the ability of an elected leader to choose his own cabinet. Let us not trivialize our lives and make negative assertions about ourselves. Slavery was a reality that our forefathers had to live through. You make a very good point that we should not trivialize our lives. However, in all of your public statements in recent times, you have paid homage and obeisance not to Lagosians but to whom you refer to as National Leader for the opportunity to be a candidate. In effect, you couldn’t have dared to run if you were not handpicked to be endorsed."

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Re: Nigeria's Total Earnings From Sale Of Crude Oil Was $383billion From May 2010 To May 2015 By Ettu Mohammed

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 12:37

Dear Professor Osinbajo, GCON,
Vice President of Nigeria,
Abuja, Nigeria.

Re: Nigeria's Total Earnings from Sale of Crude Oil was $383billion from May 2010 to May 2015.

Sir, I think there is a mix-up in your lines here. You must have assumed revenue is the same as earnings.

Sir, Nigeria never earned $383 billion from sale of crude oil during the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan era. In fact, Nigeria as a country has not earned a total of $383 billion from the sale of oil in the last 19 years.

Sir, if you say the total revenue accrued to Nigeria and her partners is $383billion that will be factual. Revenue is the amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned merchandise, while earnings are the amount of profit that a company produces during a specific period.

The total revenue accrued to Nigeria is inclusive of the share of all the major players in the oil sector. When the sharing formula and all necessary deductions are applied, we will be left with a very little fraction of what you quoted, sir.

This shows clearly sale of crude oil cannot rescue Nigeria. This is a clear pointer that Nigeria has to look inwards for other sources of revenue.

Sir, between May 2010 and May 2015 the USD was averaging between N150, N155, N166 to $1 and climaxed at N218 by February 2015. It means the total crude oil lifting value without any deductions in Nigerian Naira is equivalent to N59.4trillion in five years, which means the total revenue from oil annually was N11.9trillion using N155 to $1, which was CBN official rate.

As at today USD is averaging N305-$1. It rose from N218-N288-N400-N500, before we got to N360 to $1, but the CBN retained its official rate at $1-N305.

The parallel market sells for N360+ for $1. According to the record of NNPC, the total revenue from crude oil accrued to Nigeria and her partners between June 2015 and July 2018, which is a three-year period is $113.2billion.

It means the total revenue accrued to Nigeria and her partners in the last three years is N34.6trillion using N350 to $1 official rates (June 2015-June 2018). This means Nigeria's total revenue from sale of crude oil annually from June 2015 till date is N11.5trillion.

Sir, between May 2011 till date, Nigeria's total revenue from sale of crude oil when converted to Nigeria Naira is at par.

Sir, I think you didn't take note of the fact that we will have more Nigerian Naira against fewer Dollars, all thanks to devaluation, the same mistake you made when you spoke on Nigeria's debt profile.

Sir, I think it is necessary to put the record straight since we are in the electioneering season — wrong information will be pushed to the public space by politicians all in a bid to sway the general populace.

Ettu Mohammed.

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Suspected Kidnapper 'Sunday Dagboru' Shot, Two Others Arrested In Lagos

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 12:14

A suspected kidnapper identified as Sunday, a.k.a. 'Sunday Dagboru', has been shot by officers of the Lagos State Police Command, during an exchange of gunfire at the gang's hideout in Imota, Ikorodu, Lagos.

Narrating the incident, Edgal Imohimi, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, said Sunday, alongside other members of his gang, had invaded the state in the attempt to kidnap notable persons in the Iba area of Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

"On the 9th of December, 2018, I received credible intelligence that kidnappers wanted to kidnap in Iba area and I directed my squad to swing into action immediately. We were able to locate their hideout at Imota, Ikorodu on 10th of December, 2018," he said.

According to Imohimi, on sighting the operatives, the suspected kidnappers opened fire, which led to exchange of gunfire that resulted in the death of Sunday and the arrest of two others.

“During the exchange of fire, one Sunday a.k.a. the dreaded Dagboru was gunned down, while two others — Ebi Gabriel (aged 29) and Promise Ajele (aged 19) of Arogbo, Ose-Odo, Ondo State — were apprehended."

Items seized from them are one locally cut-to-size double barrel pistol, one expended cartridge and three live cartridges.

Efforts are also ongoing to arrest those on the run and on completion of investigation, the suspects will be charged to court.

The Police Commissioner urged Nigerians living at riverine communities, especially those staying in Ondo and Ogun states, to be vigilant and report suspicious activities.

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'They Used An Alarmingly Secretive System' — Nigerians Criticise NEDG, BON Over Candidates' Selection For Presidential Debate

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 11:31

Nigerians have taken to social media to express reservations over the selection of only five political parties in the vice-presidential and presidential debates scheduled for December 2018 and January 2019, respectively.

Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), had been excluded from the list of those selected to participate in the debate organised by the Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

On Tuesday, Eddi Emesiri, NEDG Executive Secretary disclosed the participating candidates in the presidential debate as Oby Ezekwesili of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Fela Durotoye of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Kingsley Moghalu of Young Progressives Party (YPP). See Also Politics JUST IN: NEDG, BON Pick Only Five Political Parties For Presidential Debate 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Since the announcement, Nigerians have taken to social media to express concern over the selection of candidates expected to participate in the debate. Nigerians are also demanding reasons Omoyele Sowore and other presidential candidates have been excluded from the debate.

Other candidates excluded from the debate are Tope Fasua of Abundant Renewal Nigeria Party, Fagbenro Bryon of Kowa Party, Ahmed Buhari of Sustainable National Party, Eunice Atuejide of National Interest Party, Yunusa Tanko of Nationalist Congress Party, among others.

In his reaction, @patrickomitoki wrote: "Uncle JD, it's important that all the aspirants should be invited for the debate because all the presidential candidates have equal rights and picking only a few shows inequality and unfairness."

@ClassicFM973 #FPN Uncle JD it's important that all the aspirants should be invited for the debate because all the presidential candidates have equal rights and picking them only few shows inequality and unfair

— Patrick Omitoki (@patrickomitoki) December 12, 2018

@G_naike wrote: "AAC party was excluded from the signing, they don't also want him to participate in the Presidential debates. A whole presidential candidate? Claimed he's out of control and he'll spill what he knows.#SoworeMustBeincluded"

AAC party was excluded from the signing, they don't also want him to participate in the Presidential debates. A whole presidential candidate? Claimed he's out of control and he'll spill what he knows.#SoworeMustBeincluded

— Professeure (@G_naike) December 12, 2018

@segalink wrote: "They made a mistake with the listing. It would have been more interesting to have @YeleSowore included in this. There are five here and it could very well have been six. One will certainly be absent."

They made a mistake with the listing. It would have been more interesting to have @YeleSowore included in this. There are five here and it could very well have been six. One will certainly be absent. https://t.co/5DVVSPVeUM

— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) December 11, 2018

‏@EmhiseeMicheal posted: "Why will NEDG shortlist presidential aspirant debate to just five are the rest not relevant and if I may hear you clearly Sowore of AAC is not included. This is curious."

@RaypowerNetwork Why will NED shortlist presidential aspirant debate to just five are the rest not relevant and if I may hear you clearly Sowore of AAC is not included. This is curious

— Folajimi Micheal (@EmhiseeMicheal) December 12, 2018

@topefasua wrote: "Channels TV coalition chose the path of exclusion, and opted to muffle the voices of vibrant political parties and their candidates using a very opaque and alarmingly secretive system in a time when every Nigerian platform is learning to be more open, inclusive, accountable."

/Channels TV coalition chose the path of exclusion, and opted to muffle the voices of vibrant political parties and their candidates using a very opaque and alarmingly secretive system in a time when every Nigerian platform is learning to be more open, inclusive, accountable and

— Tope Kolade Fasua (@topefasua) December 12, 2018

@Folababs1 wrote: "With over 70 presidential candidates, 5 of them to a presidential debate isn't really the best we can do. It isn't that we expect the entire 70+ on the stage but 5 will completely not suffice! #Presidentialdebate"

With over 70 presidential candidates, 5 of them to a presidential debate isn't really the best we can do. It isn't that we expect the entire 70+ on the stage but 5 will completely not suffice! #Presidentialdebate

— Fola Babsalaam (@Folababs1) December 12, 2018

@MayorBalogun wrote: "I am not rooting for @YeleSowore and @Donald_Duke, but it is very unfair not to include them in the Presidential debate. Let BON and the rest organizer(s) receive sense! Include these guys too!"

I am not rooting for @YeleSowore and @Donald_Duke, but it is very unfair not to include them in the Presidential debate. Let BON and the rest organizer(s) receive senses !
Include these guys too !

— Balogun 'Mayowa (@MayorBalogun) December 12, 2018

@DrealTve wrote: "All the candidate in that @channelstv Presidential debate are all @APCNigeria sponsored except @atiku. And that's why they don't want someone like @YeleSowore who's going to hit all of them hard. We say no to @CTVpolitics debate. #SoworeMustBeIncluded"

@sorjeh wrote: "It is such a shame that @channelstv will allow themselves be used to execute a total assassination of our democracy. So unpatriotic at this point we all should be about how we get better as a country. @topefasua of ANRP should be included in the presidential debate"

It is such a shame that @channelstv will allow themselves be used to execute a total assassination of our democracy. So unpatriotic at this point we all should be about how we get better as a country. @topefasua of ANRP should be included in the presidential debate

— Alabi Soji (@sorjeh) December 12, 2018

@Babatunde_Mac wrote: "Can BON tell us why other political parties are excluded from the presidential debate? We need to know; and this election is for every Nigeria. There should be free hearing as the 1999 constitution "as amended" has stipulated."

Can BON tell us why other political parties are excluded from the presidential debate? We need to know; and this election is for every Nigeria. There should be free hearing as the 1999 constitution " as amended" has stipulated

— Babatunde (@Babatunde_Mac) December 12, 2018

@Handruler posted: "We demand #SoworeMustBeIncluded in the presidential debate..."

We demand #SoworeMustBeIncluded in the presidential debate...

— Yęle Deyęle (@Handruler) December 12, 2018


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58-Year-Old Man Defiles 14-Year-Old Daughter In Lagos

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 10:53

Johnson Okon

Johnson Okon

One Johnson Okon, aged 58, has been accused of defiling his 14-year-old daughter.

Edgal Imohimi, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, stated this on Tuesday, at a press conference highlighting the activities of the command.

According to Imohimi, aside the father, a security guard and commercial motorcyclist, also defiled the minor. She reported the incident to her mother, who refused to believe her and instead warned her not to tell anyone.

The victim, however, ran away from home and sought refuge in the home of her father's friend.

“According to the survivor, after her father, a security man/Okada rider, had also defiled her. She reported to her mother who did not believe her and warned her not to tell anybody. The survivor ran away from home and sought refuge in the home of father’s friend because of her mother inaction to intervene," Imohimi stated.

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Gunmen Abduct 18 Passengers In Rivers​

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 10:09


Suspected gunmen have hijacked a commercial bus and abducted all the 18 passengers on board of the vehicle in Rivers State.

The Guardian gathered that the gunmen struck at about 6:58 a.m. yesterday close to Evekwu area of Emohua Local Council of Rivers state.

The bus was said to be travelling along the East-West Road from Ahoada town to Port Harcourt when the incident occurred.

Having successfully intercepted the bus, the gunmen then diverted all the 18 passengers into the bush.

The incident, which caused pandemonium in the area, forced motorists travelling to and fro the East-West Road to congregate around Emohua until the arrival of security agents an hour later to clear the way for them.

The Rivers State Police Command Spokesperson, Nnamdi Omoni, said he was not yet aware of the incident as at press time.

In another development, to curb kidnapping activities in Ondo State, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Owo Branch, has warned lawyers from the branch to refrain from defending anybody that is alleged of kidnapping a fellow citizen.

The NBA Branch Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Olutope Ahmed, who led a protest yesterday in Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Council of the state, made the declaration and reeled out sanctions against defaulters.

Members of the association, who marched through the major streets of the ancient Owo town with various placards: “Kidnapping Is A Crime Against Humanity,” among others,” said that all routes were no longer safe for commuters in the area.

Ahmed, who stated that government had failed in its responsibility of providing security to citizens, said the NBA was worried and disturbed that the police could not give a correct account of the citizens that were kidnapped recently on the Owo-Akure Road.

“We, therefore, call on the police authorities to wake up to the present security challenges in Owo,” he said.

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‘We’ll Disgrace Governors Owing Salaries At Airports’​

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 10:06

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is to liaise with the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) to place names of governors in the states where workers are being owed salaries and pensions for several months on a “watch list”.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba disclosed this while addressing the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) at its 17th anniversary yesterday in Abuja.

He said that aside “naming and shaming” these governors, the NLC would soon direct Nigeria workers to monitor various airports in the county to stop such governors who may have completed their term from fleeing the country

“We will instruct workers at the nation’s airports to disallow and disgrace any governors trying to leave the country in order to enjoy themselves overseas.

“We have issued statements to these governors owing salaries, informing them that they cannot go anywhere to enjoy the monies they have carted away.

“They will be disgraced and chased away,” he said.

Wabba, however, assured pensioners that the NLC would not relent in its effort to ensure the issue of minimum pension alongside the minimum wage was addressed.

He said that if the government must address the issue of pensioners, it must address the welfare of pensioners. cent pension increment.

Earlier, NUP National President Dr Abel Afolayan called on the federal government to intervene and prevail on all state governors who are owing pensioners pension arrears.

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Explosion Rocks Umuahia Catholic Cathedral

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 10:05

An explosion on Tuesday rocked the diocesan headquarters of the Catholic Archdiocese of Umuahia, popularly called Mater Dei Catholic Cathedral, on Azikiwe Road in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.

It was gathered that the explosion, which occurred on the church premises at about 2.45pm, caused pandemonium in the area as residents, who were taken by surprise, ran for safety, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Sources at the cathedral revealed the explosion was caused by an old abandoned petrol tank, which had been buried underground and long forgotten.

The church gardener, after his routine clean-up, was said to have unknowingly set fire on the heap of refuse collected while cleaning the compound directly where the tank was buried.

The heat from the fire was said to have triggered the explosion, which affected roofs of houses around the cathedral.

No life was lost to the incident.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Chris Ezike, told the NAN correspondent that personnel of the Explosive Ordinance Department of the State Command were moved to the scene of the incident.

He said in a telephone conversation, “A cleaner in the church, after sweeping the compound, set fire to the waste and the fire spread to a disused underground fuel tank, which exploded, bringing down part of a nearby fence and shattering a vehicle parked in the next compound.

“As I speak to you, the Explosive Ordinance Department and the Bomb Disposal Unit of the command have been moved to the place to ascertain that there is nothing much more than the facts that we know now.

“By tomorrow (Wednesday), when they come out with their scientific report, I will also update members of the public.”

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Obasanjo Slams Nigeria, African Countries Over Delayed Ratification Of AFCFTA​

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 10:01

Nigeria’s former president and chairman of the Advisory Board of the first Inter- Africa Trade Fair, (IATF), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday in Cairo, Egypt, decried the lethargic disposition of some African leaders including Nigeria, towards the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA).

In his keynote address at the opening session of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) holding in the North African country, the former president lamented that trade between African countries stands at a paltry 15 per cent, compared to 59 per cent with Europe and 51 percent between Africa and  Asia, as well as 37 percent with North America, while most of its leaders are sleeping over the situation.

This is coming as several key African countries are yet to sign the AfCFTA document more than nine months after the African Union heads of governments adopted the initiative in Kigali, Rwanda.

He, however, expressed optimism that the IATF currently ongoing in Egypt would raise Intra Africa’s poor record to about 22 per cent by 2021; and move it even higher with subsequent engagements.

Obasanjo said the economic integration policy remains a veritable platform for transforming the African economy through economic integration and trade improved relations.

According to the former Nigerian leader, the trade fair is one of the strategies that the AU heads of government had adopted to promote economic integration of the continent, making it imperative for all African governments to sign and ratify the document. He argued that doing so would help standardise the African markets, identify their locations and also create avenues for enabling operators to key into the value chain of global trade to become more competitive.

He said the event provides a platform for information sharing that would enable buyers and sellers investors in the various countries meet, and discuss and conclude deals in excess of $27billion.

This, he said, would, in turn, raise Afreximbank’s goal of increasing Intra Africa Trade from $170billion in 2014 to about $250billion by 2021.

Obasanjo also touched on the issues issue of transactions settlement among the 55 African countries in the region which he said a common currency would be strategic to achieving the goals of economic integration.

“African leaders who have not signed the AfCFTA should know that there is no value in potentiality. Africa must be competitive and proactive to be able to count in the global economic order, not as “aid takers” but as people that matter economically”.

Let us know ourselves better so that we can make AFRICA part of the global powerhouse,” he said. A minimum of 22 ratifications are required to enable the AfCFTA to come into force, while 15 ratifications for the protocol on free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment are required.

The AfCFTA will be the largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, according to the AU.

It could create an African market of over 1.2 billion people with a GDP of $2.5 trillion:

In his address at the occasion, President Mr Benedict Okey Oramah’ commended the advisory committee and other stakeholders for their commitment in driving through the project despite the huge constraints. He said that Africa had made history with the hosting of the first Intra  Africa Trade Fair and Exhibitions in the land of the Pharaohs and the cradle of civilization

“ We are gathered here over this week united. We will say never again will the limitations imposed by over a century of colonialism divide us as we can now look inward with pride. We are looking across our bothers to embrace change as we begin to dismantle the obstacles to economic integration and development mounted by centuries of colonialism “ Oramah said.

For his part, Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Siri, pledged to continually provide the enabling environment in support of Afrexim developmental initiatives in boosting  African businesses in their effort to become more competitive on the global stage

The exhibition is expected  to attract over 70000 visitors from Africa and across the world and would include about 1100 exhibitors with 4500 buyers and sellers.

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Secondus: More Nigerians Killed Under APC’s Watch Than Civil War

Sahara Reporters - Wed, 2018-12-12 09:59

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, yesterday carpeted the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government’s security records, saying under its watch, more Nigerians had been killed than during the Civil War that ended in 1970.

Secondus spoke as a guest of ‘Morning Show’ programme of Arise TV, a broadcast arm of THISDAY, and said, “More people have been killed in the last three years than the Civil War that took place in 1967 to 1970, yet we are not at war.”

The main opposition party chairman lamented the state of insecurity in the country, saying President Muhammadu Buhari had failed the nation in that regard.

Noting that one of the cardinal programmes of the Buhari administration was security, Secondus said with a low score, the APC should yield ground to the PDP, contending that the way out of the country’s insecurity situation is for the people to vote for his party in 2019.

He stated that his party’s 16 years of experience in government was the best teacher that provided it with the needed capacity to rescue the country from the misrule of the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that the party also learnt from its mistakes for which it had apologised to Nigerians.

“When you made mistakes, you must be bold enough to come out and apologise like what happens in the advanced countries. We were not perfect 16 years ago. We know there were areas we defaulted. But we have apologised to the people so that we can start all over again.

“Of course, we have rebranded PDP and by the special grace of God, we have repositioned the party. That was why you witnessed the entire National Assembly collapsed into PDP. We also had three governors. We have learnt from our 16 years of experience. Experience is the best teacher. We are surely gradually moving to rescue the nation from hunger and insecurity. More people have been killed in Nigeria in the last three years than the civil war that took place from 1967 to 1970 and yet we are not at war,” Secondus explained.

Speaking on the refusal of Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, Secondus said the bill was not about PDP or APC but about Nigeria, stressing that the country should continuously improve on the standard and quality of the delivery of the best elections ever.

“Take Ghana for instance; there is a lot of improvement in their electoral process and you don’t hear parties complaining because they are almost perfecting a system of free and fair elections. You know that whenever there is not free and fair election, it is a recipe for crisis. And so, the aim of the amended bill is to improve the electoral process and stop all forms of rigging so that there could be transparency in terms of transmitting the results from the polling units to the wards and to the local governments and states,” he said.

He faulted the drafting errors cited by President Buhari as one of the reasons for refusing to assent to the bill, stressing that such errors could be corrected.

Secondus also rejected the excuse by the president that the time was too short for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adapt to the provisions of the new bill.

According to the PDP chairman, INEC’s preparation for the 2019 elections has always been in line with the new amendment, adding that the electoral body has always been carried along in the amendment.

Secondus insisted that the National Assembly should override the president’s veto.

When asked how PDP could secure the support of the majority of the legislators to override the president, Secondus stated that his party would get the number from both the PDP and APC.

“We are going to get the number from both sides,” he added.

Also when reminded that INEC had promised to use the Smart Card Readers for the 2019 election despite the non-passage of the amended bill, Secondus said his party did not believe in the electoral body any longer because they made similar promises in the previous elections and still manipulated the elections to favour APC.

“In all the re-run elections, INEC and the police were the problems and that was why we asked the chairman of INEC and the Inspector General of Police to resign.”

According to him, re-run was designed for rigging the elections.

Buhari is Protecting Corrupt Relatives, Says PDP

In a related development, the PDP Presidential Campaign Council yesterday said the Presidential Villa stinks of corruption, challenging the president to showcase his much-touted integrity by allowing an open investigation of his associates and close relatives who were mentioned in alleged serial looting of public resources.

The main opposition party also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of its chieftain, Dr. Doyin Okupe, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This is coming as the party’s presidential campaign train will berth in Gombe State on tomorrow for its North-east zonal political rally as it continues in its quest to assume power in 2019.

But responding to the alleged bias against the opposition in its anti-graft war, the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has advised Nigerians not to listen to some sections of the public, which habour the feeling that the anti-corruption fight is a witch-hunt carried out by the Buhari administration to fight its perceived enemies.

But the PDP alleged that in a bid to further conceal the sleazes of the Buhari-led government, the presidency had gagged one Amina Mohammed paraded by the Department of State Services (DSS), who it said, revealed in her open confession recently that persons close to the president were involved in serial frauds and looting of public resources under official cover.

Spokesman for campaign council, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday stated in a statement in Abuja that “having reviewed all these issues, including the lame denials by those mentioned by the suspect, as well as the failure of the security agency to allow the suspect to complete her open confession, the PDP challenges President Buhari to order an open hearing into the matter if indeed the presidency has nothing to hide.’’

The party also challenged Buhari to immediately make public the report of the investigation of the former aide of the First Lady, Mr. Baba-Inna, who was arrested in September this year over accusations of receiving N2.5 billion as donations from politicians, businessmen and other women on behalf of his wife, Aisha.

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