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As Orji Uzor Kalu Goes To Jail, FFK And Patience Jonathan Should Be Next By Churchill Okonkwo

ven, 2019-12-06 09:29


The crucial element that has been missing in the fight against corruption in Nigeria is the absence of a high-profile conviction that will deter offenders from engaging in corrupt acts. And what better way is there to cross that threshold than sending one of the symbols of corruption in Nigeria in the 4th Republic, Orji Uzor Kalu, to prison. 

With this conviction, which, hopefully, will be upheld by higher courts, you can now understand why those of us that voted for President Muhammadu Buhari, though disappointed with the lackluster start in the fight against corruption, are tickled. Though we are thrilled, we are also cautiously optimistic, conscious of the fact that tackling corruption in this present Nigeria is a tall order. 

However, we are confident that the right steps can and should be taken to convict other high profile political elites like Bola Tinubu, Patience Jonathan, Olisa Metu, Femi Fani-Kayode, and co. 

Before Orji Uzor Kalu joined the All Progressives Congress from the Peoples Democratic Party, he turned Abia State to a wasteland. He gave Abia State the worst governor in the fourth Republic in the person of Theodore Orji. 

What is interesting in this case is that Orji Uzor Kalu claimed in a Facebook message that he joined the APC because “Buhari personally promised me that all the contractors in the South-East will return to sites before the end of November. I joined the APC because President Buhari has fulfilled the promise he made to me and we are hopeful he will do more.”

As a reward for joining the APC, President Buhari awarded several Federal Road contracts to his construction firm SLOK Holding. Also, the Niger Delta Development Commission recently awarded and funded SLOK Holdings to reconstruct the Umuahia-Uzuakoli Road as well as Uzuakoli-Ozuitem Road. 

Unfortunately for Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, his court case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission did not drag out forever as he expected. With this conviction, too, his 2023 APC Presidential ambition is now dead. With this conviction, too, Nigerian are expecting the light of the fight against corruption to be turned on in the dark alleys on all pending corruption cases against former and serving public officials. 

Now that Kalu is going to prison, the likes of Tinubu, Patience Jonathan, Olisa Metu, Femi Fani-Kayode should be made to account for their stewardship in public office. Sending Senator Kalu to prison will also, hopefully, deter Buhari’s aides from engaging in corrupt acts.

With the conviction of Kalu, Nigerians are expecting and demanding for the recovery of the $1.1bn paid to the London account of Malabu Oil and Gas by Goodluck Jonathan. A court of competent jurisdiction recently ordered the final forfeiture of N9.2m and $8.4m belonging to Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan. The question for EFCC is why did they not ask the judge to put her in jail for enriching herself through corrupt means?

Mrs. Jonathan had ridiculously claimed that the monies were proceeds of goodwill donations from Nigerians, which she enjoyed as wife of a deputy governor, governor, and president. What a joke. 

It is also a big joke that the EFCC is not taking seriously the petition against Tinubu’s display of two cash-laden bullion vans on his premises on the eve of the 2019 Presidential election in February. Is EFCC afraid of investigating Tinubu for money laundering?  

Also, the N4.6bn money laundering case preferred against Fani-Kayode, who was Director of Publicity to the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015 has been dragging on forever. Why are these high-profile cases still pending? 

Our courts have been sending petty thieves to jail every day. So, it’s not a case of the judicial system. Rather, it is a case of corrupt judges, Attorney-General, and others bribed to stupor that they turn a blind eye. 

With Senator Kalu’s conviction however, the corruption cases of former governors (now distinguished senators) that has been ongoing for “eternity” should be expedited and offenders convicted and jailed. Most importantly, the EFCC should be re-organised and re-engineered as a matter of urgency. 

Finally, as Senator Kalu goes to prison, the cases against Femi Fani-Kayode, Patience Jonathan and Tinubu should be expedited. If convicted, they should be made to refund all monies accumulated through corrupt means and made to enjoy a couple of years in jail. That is the real first step to purge the Nigerian system of endemic corruption.

On Twitter @Churchillnnobi

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Churchill Okonkwo Disable advertisements : 

Deji Adeyanju Hails Sowore's Release, Says Nobody Can Imprison Truth

ven, 2019-12-06 09:22



National Coordinator of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, has described the release from detention of pro-democracy campaigner, Omoyele Sowore, as a refreshing twist in the people's march towards total freedom. 

Sowore alongside Olawale Bakare popularly known as Mandate, were released on Thursday by the Department of State Services after four months in detention despite two court orders calling for their freedom in that period. 

The two men were arrested on August 3 and 5, 2019 respectively for urging Nigerians to demand a better country from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking on their release, Adeyanju told SaharaReporters that Sowore had showed the world that nobody can cage the truth. 

He said, "Nigerians have missed Sowore. His release shows that nobody can imprison the truth.  

"I urge him not to give up his right to freedom of speech as guaranteed by Section 39 of the 1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

"Also, we must all be vigilant as there are forces that intend to destroy, derail and sink our democracy. 

"Nigerians must not allow this to happen particularly all lovers of democracy." 

Sowore, whose trial continues at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday (today), is being accused by the Nigerian Government of insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and planning to bring down his regime. 
Legal experts from around the world have described the charges as frivolous and lacking any merit. 
 

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NFF Denies Owing Super Eagles Coach, Rohr

ven, 2019-12-06 06:40


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The Nigeria Football Federation has denied owing Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, three months salaries.

Rohr had in an interview with insideworldfottball.comclaimed that the NFF owed him $100,000 in bonuses and allowances.

But debunking that claim, President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, has said that the federation pays the coach his emoluments regularly.

He said, “We don’t owe you (Rohr), you cannot come out to say that we owe you salary. 

“We pay you, an employee, and you must respect the employer because we pay you salary religiously.

‘’If they pay you, you don’t come out to say they pay you. There are some things you don’t say.”

Rohr’s present contract is set to expire in June 2020.

 

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After Weeks Of Shoddy Performances, Everton Finally Sacks Silva

ven, 2019-12-06 02:59


 

English Premier League side, Everton, have finally sacked manager, Marco Silva, after 18 months, which brought some of the worst results for the club.

The management of the club took the decision to relief Silva of his job after they were pummelled by city rivals – Liverpool – on Wednesday 5-2, leaving them languishing in the relegation zone on the league table.

Silva won 24 and lost 24 of his 60 games after taking charge of the team in May 2018.

Everton are now searching for their fourth permanent boss since Roberto Martinez was sacked in May 2016.

Former manager, David Moyes, has been considered as a potential interim successor, but the suggestion has sparked a largely negative reaction from supporters.

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BREAKING: I Can’t Wait To Have My Husband Back Home, Says Sowore’s Wife

ven, 2019-12-06 02:22


SaharaReporters Media

 

Opeyemi, wife of pro-democracy activist and Publisher of SaharaReporters, a pioneering online news platform – Omoyele Sowore – has said that she and their children cannot wait to have the 48-year-old back home.

Since August 3, 2019 when the outspoken social crusader was arrested in Lagos by the Department of State Services for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to demand a better country from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, life had not been the same for the quick-smiling mother of two and all those around her.

From partaking in walks and events turning global attention to the illegal detention of Sowore in the facility of the DSS at the time to appearing at revered television programmes demanding justice on his matter, Opeyemi indeed went the mile in telling the world, who the man she was married to truly was.

But against widespread expectations, things took a different twist on Thursday.

Hours after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the DSS to release him within 24 hours after twice meeting his bail conditions, the secret police and their collaborators in high places budged – Sowore walked out of the dreaded facility a free, liberated man.

Though his trial in the case brought against him by the Nigerian Government commences on December 6 (Friday), his release on bail marks an entirely new journey in his bid for complete freedom.

Reacting to the development on Thursday, Opeyemi said that despite the delay in the release of her husband after two court orders to that effect, they look forward to his safe return home.

She said, “After 125 days of his illegal detention, my husband was released on bail for conditions he met weeks ago.

“While I am grateful for his long overdue release, I remain concerned for his safety and resolute on him being cleared on all charges.

“I look forward to his safe return home to our family in New Jersey.”

Described in some quarters as one of Nigeria’s genuine last remaining advocate of the masses, Sowore over the years has faced all sorts of hostile treatments from the government for choosing to stand by the people.

An advocate of equity and justice, those around him say he conquered fear and banished intimidation away from his domain long before now.

Celebrated globally for exposing Nigeria’s corrupt and ruthless politicians, Sowore will beginning from December 6, 2019 (Friday) defend himself in a case brought against him by the government.

He is being accused of insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and attempting to bring down his regime – charges experts and observers around the world have described as baseless and laughable. 

 

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Sowore's Release, A Big Relief, Says Shehu Sani

ven, 2019-12-06 01:36


 

A former federal lawmaker and rights activist, Senator Shehu Sani, has hailed the release of pro-democracy campaigner and Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, by the Department of State Services on Thursday evening.

The lawmaker described the 48-year-old’s release in compliance with the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, after more than four months in detention, as a big relief for the entire country and welcome development.

Sani attributed Sowore’s long walk to freedom as a product of resilience and courage demonstrated by the trial judge and defendant’s legal team led by Femi Falana (SAN).

The former lawmaker added that Sowore's ordeal and detention by the DSS had tainted the image of the Nigerian Government on human rights and respect for the rule of law.

He called on Nigerians to stand up against any anti-people policies of the government that may stifle their rights to free speech.

Sowore was released by the secret police alongside his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare popularly known as Mandate, few hours after a ruling by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordering the DSS to set them free within 24 hours.

Sowore was arrested in Lagos on August 3, 2019 for calling on Nigerians to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to demand a better country from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Famed globally for exposing Nigeria's corrupt politicians through his pioneering online news medium – SaharaReporters – Sowore is being accused and was held by the government for insulting Buhari and planning to bring down his regime – charges observers around the world have described as baseless.

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Sowore's Long Journey To Freedom After 125 Days In Detention

jeu, 2019-12-05 23:04



Pro-democracy activist, Omoyele Sowore, has been released from the detention of the Department of State Services where he has been held for 125 days following his arrest on August 3.

Sowore's eventual release came hours after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja gave the secret police 24 hours to release him.

The court had granted bail to Sowore on two different occasions but the DSS refused to let him go. 

The DSS filed a seven-count-charge bordering on treasonable felony, cyberstalking among other offences.

The agency had earlier obtained an ex-parte order allowing it hold Sowore for 45 days while it investigated the charges preferred against him. 

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who granted the ex-parte order, later ordered the DSS to release the pro-democracy activist.

He ordered that Sowore be released to his lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN).

However, rather than release him, the DSS hurriedly arraigned him before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the same court.  See Also Breaking News BREAKING: You Cannot Have a Parallel Court, Justice Ojukwu Tells DSS Over Sowore’s Continued Detention 0 Comments 2 Days Ago

Not comfortable with Sowore's prolonged detention, his lawyer filed a 19-ground application asking the court to set aside the ex-parte order.

The case was assigned to Justice Nkweonye Maha of the same court. 

Maha however, declined to hear Sowore's motion on August 28 on the ground that she did not have jurisdiction to review the decision of Justice Taiwo, who granted the ex-parte order.

She declined all applications made by Falana and sent the case back to the administrative judge.

Falana, again filed another motion on September 13, asking the court to grant his client bail on self-recognition or upon any condition the court may reasonably deem appropriate.

Following the arraignment of Sowore and Bakare before Justice Ojukwu, the court granted him bail but with stringent conditions.

Justice Ojukwu granted Sowore N100m bail with two sureties in like sum. 

The sureties must have landed property within the court's jurisdiction and evidence of tax clearance. 

One of the sureties must deposit N50m in the account of the court as security. 

Justice Ojukwu also barred him from travelling out of Abuja during his trial.

She granted Bakare a N50m bail with one surety in like sum, adding that the surety must have landed property in Abuja.  See Also Human Rights Sowore, Bakare Object Plan By DSS To Transfer Them To Correctional Centre 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

Bakare popularly known as Mandate was also restricted from travelling out of Oshogbo, Osun State, during his trial.

Falana soon applied for the variation of the terms and asked the court for leniency.

On October 21, the trial judge set aside the previous conditions of N50m security deposits by one of the sureties.

She also reduced the N50m bail of the second defendant to N20m. 

Justice Ojukwu however, refused to vary all other bail conditions.

When the matter came up for trial on November 6, Ojukwu issued a release warrant ordering the release of the activists from DSS detention.
Again the secret police refused to let them go. 

The DSS in one of its press statements, asked  Sowore's sureties to come forward for verification.  See Also ACTIVISM Sowore’s Mother Stands By Him, Says “My Son Is Not A Criminal, Speaks Against Injustice” 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

In another statement, the service said that Sowore may be knocked down by a moving vehicle if released by the agency.

At the resumption of hearing on Thursday, December 5, Justice Ojukwu lambasted the DSS for flouting orders court orders.  
The visibly angry judge awarded N100,000 as damages against DSS for disobeying her order. 

She also ordered the release of the activists from DSS custody within 24 hours.

Trial of the case against Sowore and Bakare continues on Friday at the same court.

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BREAKING: DSS Releases Sowore After 125 Days Of Illegal Detention

jeu, 2019-12-05 21:38



Rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner, Omoyele Sowore, has regained his freedom more than three months after he was arrested by the Department of State Services in Lagos.

Sowore was arrested and charged to court by the Nigerian Government for planning a nationawide protest tagged #RevolutionNow. 

He was released on Thursday evening after the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered his release for the third time.

Sowore is expected to appear in court on Friday for the commencement of his trial.

The Nigerian Government is accusing Sowore of insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and planning to bring down his regime.

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BREAKING: Police Officer Who Killed Truck Driver Surrenders Self For Prosecution

jeu, 2019-12-05 20:13


Idowu Omosuyi, the police officer that killed a truck driver along the Akure-Owo Expressroad, Ondo State has finally surrendered himself to the police authorities.

Sergeant Omosuyi showed up at the Ondo Police Command headquarters on Thursday, barely twenty-four hours after he was declared wanted by the police authorities.

Omosuyi, who is attached to the Federal Highway Patrol, had on Monday shot Ado Saleh on the head at a security check point after the latter refused to pay him a bribe. 

Saleh died on the spot.

Several residents who spoke to SaharaReporters had earlier accused the state police command of trying to shield the erring policemen.

The Police Spokesman in Ondo state, Femi Joseph, who confirmed his appearance at the police headquarters said that the police officers would face a disciplinary panel.

Joseph explained that the Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Udie Adie, had already set up a panel to investigate and also prosecute the erring officer.

"The officer (Sergeant Omoniyi) would now have to face a panel of investigation that was set up by the Commissioner of Police on the case. 

"We have repeatedly said that the case would not be swept under the carpet and just as we have assured members of the public that the Nigeria police shall continue to abide by the laws and protect the lives and properties of the people," he said.

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Senate Increases Capital Expenditure In 2020 Budget

jeu, 2019-12-05 19:08


 

The Nigerian Senate has increased the funds to be spent on capital projects in the 2020 budget from N2.14trn to N2.46trn.

If the estimates proposed by the Senate are maintained in the bill that will be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari, the country will still spend more on servicing debts than building infrastructure.

According to the spending plan presented by the Senate appropriation committee headed by Barau Jibrin, N2.73trn will be used to service borrowed funds.

Reuters reckons that Nigeria has so far made six trips to the Eurobond market, netting $2.86bn in its last outing.

The Senate increased the projected revenue that should come to the government from N8.18trn to N8.31trn, living a deficit of N2.28trn.

This deficit was created without any adjustments made to the oil benchmark and production volume, both were left at $57 and 2.18m barrels a day.

Overall, the Senate decided on a spending chest of N10.59trn, slightly below the N10.60trn approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

In the country’s 2018-2019 spending plan, President Buhari noted that the government achieved just 58 per cent of its revenue projection.

The long-standing trend of revenue over-projection will continue on the oil axis unless Saudi Arabia ignores the country’s expressed intent to produce above its 1.744m barrels a day OPEC quota, or if it pumps out enough condensates to cover for the 440,000 barrels per day shortage.

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58 Die As Europe-bound Boat Sinks In Mauritania

jeu, 2019-12-05 18:39


 

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 58 persons died attempting to enter Europe through the Canary Islands route.

The sea-unworthy vessel was said to have been crowded by about 150 persons when it ran out of fuel off the Mauritanian Coast.

According to reports, 83 persons swam to shore where they were discovered by the Mauritanian military police.

The survivors said the vessel left the West African coastal country of Gambia on November 27.

"It speaks really to the callousness of the smugglers who of course have made their money and disappeared into the wilderness.

“That's the problem here, people are being exploited, people are looking for a better life," IOM’s Leonard Doyle told Al Jazeera.

This route has not been a preferred passage for boats trying to smuggle desperate Africans into Europe since Spain began policing it in the mid 2000’s.

The IOM however, notes that the route is dangerous, meaning many vessels never make it and are never found.

IOM said the survivors are likely to be returned home to their country, thwarting their dream of reaching Europe.

"We can imagine that they're deeply traumatised. People will need some medical care and our staff will need to establish their origin and try to help them return in the most dignified way as possible.

“The tragedy in all this is there is no happy solution for people who take these routes.

“Once things like this happen, they eventually end up back where they started. The only winner is the smuggler," Doyle added.


 

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Sowore: DSS' Incompetence And The Docility Of The National Assembly By Martin White-Ufuah

jeu, 2019-12-05 17:50


 

With DSS' bold outlaw, subnormal intelligence, defective disposition, and outright violation of different court orders, it has become indisputably clear that Nigeria's democracy has been militarised.

The 9th rubber-stamp National Assembly that is supposed to restrain the overreaching extents of the executive has openly obliged to doing the bidding of the executive.

Obviously, the legislative arm of government in Nigeria has transformed itself into a branch of the executive.

Today, the only distinguishing characteristic of our bogus democracy from the military dictatorship is that we waste tax payers’ money to service an institution (National Assembly) that is tractable to executive rascality.

Our democracy is a charade!

If it isn't, the illegal detention of Omoyele Sowore and other Nigerians by the DSS should have been a topical discourse in the National Assembly to check the excesses of the executive.

Nigeria is currently perplexed, bedevilled and overwhelmed by the lethality of human right abuses that ridicules and exposes our own brand of democracy as a fraud.

Instead of a vibrantly energetic and engaging legislature that imposes a legislative sanction on the DSS' boss and the country's attorney-general over the illegal detention of Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, they are vigorously pursuing bills on hate speech and social media regulation.

The National Assembly is sleeping on duty!

The DSS should be publicly condemned for its chronic law-breaking antecedence.

By the unlawful gestapo arrest, clandestine and illegal detention and persecution of Omoyele Sowore, the Department of State Service, has shown that it is markedly subnormal in function, flawed in intelligence and rascal in behaviour.

The criminal-classed elements sponsored by state actors that took up arms against the Nigerian state during the Kogi and Bayelsa elections were never seen to have committed treasonable felony.

But Omoyele Sowore who only sued for peace by calling on Nigerians to pour out in their numbers to protest against misrule and corruption is being accused of plotting to unseat the government.

What a joke of a country!

Obviously, the DSS is merely a political stooge that react against voices of truth that attempt to call the government to order.

Instead of a vibrantly energetic and engaging domestic intelligence agency that functions as the source of reliable information for mitigating our various internal security challenges, our moribund DSS is all about the pettiness of political arrests and illegal detentions of honourable citizens.

The calculated use of violence against our country by Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram members and other criminal groups with felonious intent have never for once been comprehended by the radar coverage of our so-called DSS domestic intelligence.

Isn't that a big shame?

The DSS has shown that it does not have the structural competence and expertise for espionages and information gathering. That is why the agency relies on online gossips and maliciously divulged information to clamp on citizens.

Domestic intelligence service is also supposed to be responsible for identifying foreign spies employed by foreign services against a country.

Every day we hear of other countries exposing and apprehending foreign spies and agents employed by foreign intelligence services against their government.

Please, how many has the DSS caught? None! Why? They think their job is to go after Omoyele Sowore.

If the DSS understand the danger foreign espionages poses to our country, they'd resign from their pettiness and become serious for once.

Some foreign espionages have access to our country's internet space without anyone knowing their identity.

They are sometimes the ones spreading propagandas and disinformation on our local internet space to cause dissension and unrest.

We are presently under the attack of cyber espionages, but because the DSS do not have the structural competence to checkmate the economic security threat of foreign espionages in our country's internet space, they do not know the danger their activities portend for our country.

I'm writing this to tell the DSS to release Omoyele Sowore right now with an apology to him because he is not a terrorist.

Martin White-Ufuah, a writer and columnist, writes from Abuja. He is the publisher, Ecumenical Review

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Identity Of Ondo Killer Cop Revealed, Police Arrest Colleagues Over Death Of Truck Driver

jeu, 2019-12-05 17:39


 

The identity of the policeman, who fired the shot that killed a truck driver along Akure/Owo Expressway in Uso Town on Monday has finally be revealed.

The suspect is identified as Sergeant Idowu Omosuyi, findings by SaharaReporters revealed.

Ado Saleh, the truck driver, was shot dead by Omosuyi after refuse to give a bribe when stopped at a police checkpoint.

Though other policemen on duty at the checkpoint at the time of the incident had been arrested by the Ondo State Police Command, Omosuyi, who delivered the deadly blow, has remained on the run, our correspondent found.

Spokesperson for the police in the state, Femi Joseph, disclosed that the command was on the trail of the fleeing policeman and would bring him to book.

He said, “The full names of the suspect is Sergeant Idowu Omosuyi but we are yet to arrest him because he is currently on the run.

“But we have arrested five members of the team who were manning security on the federal highway and they have been placed under custody at the command.

“Were able to gather from the team that he was the one who shot the driver with his rifle and he ran into the bush immediately after committing the crime.

"In fact, he dropped his gun but we are going to arrest him because we shall be declaring him wanted if he fails to turn himself in.”

 

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Court Orders El-Zakzaky’s Transfer To Correctional Facility

jeu, 2019-12-05 17:10


 

A High Court in Kaduna State on Thursday ordered that leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife Zeenat, be transferred to a prison facility in the state.

Justice Gideon Kurada said the couple should be moved to the Nigerian Correctional Centre to allow him gain easy access to his lawyers.

The trial had been held up for eight months following Kurada’s service in the presidential and National Assembly election tribunal.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the judge’s directive was the offshoot of an application by El-Zakzaky’s counsel, Haruna Magashi, at the resumption of hearing since its indefinite postponement on April 25.

Zeenat and her husband have been in the care of the Department of State Services since an attack on his home and other Shia sites in Kaduna in December 2015.

They are being accused of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace, among other charges.

The couple made a botched attempt to get treatment from lead poisoning as a result of gunshot wounds in India but were immediately brought back home over claims that El-Zakzaky was trying to jump bail.

Since his arrest and the proscription of the movement in Kaduna, there have been several fatal clashes in Abuja, much of it triggered by the police.

One of such led to the death of a journalist from Channels Television.

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DSS: Tyranny Of Unelected Government... Justice Ojukwu’s Ruling Too Little Too Late! By Bayo Oluwasanmi

jeu, 2019-12-05 17:08


Bayo Oluwasanmi

Bayo Oluwasanmi

 

Few hours ago, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the Department of State Services to release Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare within 24 hours. Justice Ojukwu also awarded N100, 000 against DSS for the continued detention of Sowore despite being granted bail by two court orders.

In my opinion, the ruling of Justice Ojukwu is too little, too late. In a civilised democracy where the rule of law drives governance, Justice Ojukwu should have released the defendants when they first appeared before her many weeks ago by effecting the first court bail order by Justice Taiwo Taiwo. Once, the honourable judge missed the historical moment to set historical precedent, she should have released them today without the 24-hour condition. In addition, Justice Ojukwu should have awarded punitive damages in the millions against DSS for flouting two court orders.

The greatest threat to our democracy in Nigeria is the unfettered extra-judicial powers of DSS, which has constituted itself into unelected government. The incorrigible Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesperson, like the blind man in the fable, who tried to describe an elephant by feeling different parts of its body, regurgitated erroneous and frivolous reasons why Sowore and Bakare were not and should not be released.

DSS is a government within a government run by President Muhammadu Buhari and the twin demagogues Yusuf Magaji Bichi and Peter Afunanya. DSS assumes powers once claimed only by kings. In place of royal decrees, DSS sets aside court rulings and issues its own rules and judgments.

DSS as an unelected government not only write its own laws, it also interprets laws, judgments, and cherry picks which law or judgment to enforce in its own court. The DSS subverts our constitution, arrogates to itself the power to incarcerate and the power to jail, the power to grant life and the power to take it. DSS uses its administrative powers to overrule judgments of competent court of law and eliminates our fundamental procedural freedoms granted by our constitution. The DSS is the torture chamber that re-legislates and rewrites our laws.

Since the time of Herodotus, democracy has meant the rule of the people. But in the case of Nigeria, the reverse is the case. DSS as an unchecked powerful agency is the enemy of liberal democracy. If a democracy does not preserve liberty and law, then it is not a democracy: It’s tyranny of the minority.

This is 21st century. We live in a democratic age. Flip through the pages of world history, you’ll discover that citizens’ life and liberty have forever been in danger because of absolutism of monarchies, the dogma of churches, and the terror of dictatorships. There is no acceptable substitute to democracy. Our democracy has become a tyranny of unchecked unelected government agency made possible by our castrated and undermined National Assembly. Our democracy is in danger!

Let’s hope DSS will not go back to its vomit by insulting our sensibilities why Sowore and Bakare would not be released within the 24-hour deadline.


 

Opinion AddThis :  Original Author :  Bayo Oluwasanmi Disable advertisements : 

Don’t Handcuff Me In Public, Ex-Abia Governor, Kalu, Begs Prison Warders

jeu, 2019-12-05 17:03


 

Former Abia State Governor, Orji Kalu, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud, pleaded with officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service not to handcuff him in public.

Kalu, who appeared shaken, said, “Where are you taking us to now? Please don’t handcuff me. I will follow you.”

A short while earlier, Kalu wiped tears from his eyes with a white handkerchief as Justice Idris Mohammed Idris began reading an abridged version of the 228-page judgment, a report by TheNation said.

Kalu’s associate, Udeogu, was sentenced to 10 years in prison while the company, which was used in perpetrating the fraud, Slok Limited, was ordered to be wound up by Justice Mohammed.

The case began in 2007, 12 years ago, when they were first arraigned for the offences but before a different judge.

In an amended 39 counts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission proved that they conspired and divert N7.65bn from the coffers of the Abia State.

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Questions Amaechi Should Answer On Transportation University By Olabisi Deji-Folutile

jeu, 2019-12-05 15:59


Olabisi Deji-Folutile

Olabisi Deji-Folutile google

 

I never believed Nigeria was serious about starting a Transportation University until Monday when President Muhammadu Buhari and other government officials commissioned the project in Daura, the President’s home town. The university, according to Transportation Minister, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, is a response to the question of how Nigeria would maintain and manage its railway infrastructure. The reason given notwithstanding, the whole gamut of excitement that characterized the groundbreaking ceremony, suggests something else.  Going by the way the minister resorted to insults and vituperation on Nigerians that dared to query the rationale for establishing the university in the President’s home town; it appears the project was borne out of political contingency than any other reason.

Besides, Amaechi stole the show at the ceremony that ordinarily should have been organised by the ministry of education and the National Universities Commission in conjunction with the Transportation ministry. From the minister’s excitement, it is as if the transportation university is the best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria in recent times. He boasted about how he forced the China Civil Engineering Construction Company to undertake the project by refusing to sign the contract for Lagos/Ibadan Rail project and how he also forced the company to take some Nigerians to China for training in railway technology. The minister spent more time justifying the establishment of the university in Daura, than he did on the usefulness of the institution. The Director of Rail Services of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mohammed Babakobi, didn’t help matter, as he too, was more concerned about why the university must be in the President’s town.    

Amaechi’s action, reminds me of the popular Yoruba adage that says forcing a man to get married is not a big deal, but making him to make provision for the family is the real work. Beyond constructing a university structure, there are numerous questions that Amaechi must answer to convince Nigerians that he understands what he is doing. For example, he needs to come clear on who owns the university and the institution that is funding it. Is it to be fully funded by the Chinese government or partly funded by the Federal Government? The only reason why anybody should be excited about a transportation university in Nigeria at a time like this as far as I am concerned is if the CCECC is fully running it as a gift to Nigeria. But, if all that CCECC is doing is to construct a university as part of its corporate social responsibility, then Amaechi’s display of a sense of achievement is totally misplaced.  Having a Transportation University is the least of Nigeria’s problems. If government wants to develop transportation, what stops it from expanding transport departments in existing universities?  The Institute of Transportation in Zaria is there as well as many others. The Federal Government could   have simply increased the capacity of existing institutions to provide better manpower and training in the sector.  

For me, it doesn’t make any difference where the university is sited. I believe the current administration has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that it does not have any iota of regard for federal character.  President Buhari showed the direction his administration would follow with his very first set of appointments and he has continued on that path ever since.  So, there is no point dissipating energy on something that is not likely to change.

The reason given by President Buhari for establishing the Transportation University is even more interesting. According to him, the university will bring rapid development to the nation’s transport sector and generate both academic and non-academic employment opportunities to Nigerians. How can a Federal Government struggling to fund its 43 universities be on an adventure of establishing more?  A lot of people, including our leaders, know that Nigeria’s federal universities are nothing to write home about. This is one of the reasons why you are not likely to find children of the President, governors and other political leaders in these universities. Many of the university administrators are struggling to cope.  Recently, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, revealed that what the university was getting as overhead was less than N100m, whereas it needs a minimum of N800m for overhead. The VC wondered where universities were expected to get money from when reacting to lawmakers’ call for cancellation of admission fees in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. The VC said what the university gets from the Federal Government in one year is not enough to fund it in a month.   

How soon can this Transportation University catch up with the rest of the world on rail technology? When several countries are operating driverless trains and efficient underground rail system, Nigeria is still struggling to construct surface rail systems. The coaches here still run on the oldest technology and unfortunately for the country, its President thinks the aim of creating a university is to get people to be employed. The Texas Central train will soon be transporting riders on the 240-mile trip from Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston in less than 90 minutes, making it the fastest train in North America. Going by the way we develop in Nigeria, it could take forever for the university to be relevant to the rail business. Technology will definitely keep evolving and it is almost certain that our leaders won’t do what it takes to make the university relevant.

Engaging in high research and experimentation is one of the hallmarks of universities all over the world. How much budget does Nigeria devote to research in its universities? As of today, Africa, as a continent, produces one per cent of research technologies in the world. Tackling this problem should be of more importance to the giant of Africa than turning universities to a constituency project. As rightly noted by the African Research Universities Alliance, Africa can’t speak about development until it has the capacity to generate its own knowledge.

The rest of the world is concerned about how African universities are preparing students for the   4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) calling for more doctoral training. The challenge is lack of innovation and technologies that can solve the continent’s problems. For those who will argue that this is the essence of establishing Transportation University, I challenge them to tell Nigerians where they hope to get the academic staff that will run the university from. Are they going to be sourced from this current university system that is suffering from dearth of academic staff? There are reports of universities renting staff to get their courses accredited by the National Universities Commission. The NUC cannot claim to be ignorant of this phenomenon. A lot of lecturers in public universities work in private universities and vice versa. The NUC, for instance, has a template for the minimum number of PhDs that universities should have in each department, how many Nigerian universities meet this requirement?  How many universities in Nigeria are producing PhDs on annual basis? I know UI produces the highest number of PhDs annually but I doubt if it could produce up to 500 per annum. The last figure I knew was around 250 per annum.

Honestly, Nigeria should concentrate on building its research capacity and developing innovative curricula that will help its students develop the crucial skills of creativity and critical thinking. These are some of the things that can make Nigeria relevant in the development space. China is one of the few countries in the world controlling over 80% of research innovations. The Federal Government should commit more resources into funding research activities and capacity building. Universities are not secondary schools. We don’t need this proliferation!

Olabisi Deji-Folutile is a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. Email: bisideji@yahoo.co.uk

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Recalling Tai Solarin’s Prediction By Edwin Madunagu

jeu, 2019-12-05 15:46


Edwin Madunagu

Edwin Madunagu

 

Nigeria’s 2019 elections, particularly the recent governorship contests in Kogi and Bayelsa states, have forcefully brought back a prediction which the late Tai Solarin made about 40 years ago in the aftermath of the 1979 elections. Of course, recalling this prediction is also recalling my response to it at the time. I was then 33.

It is appropriate to begin any story I might wish to tell here by introducing Tai Solarin to young Nigerians who were not born when the prediction was made. This set of Nigerians now constitutes the majority of the Nigerian population. Tai Solarin was a prominent Nigerian male from South-Western Nigeria who was a secular humanist and educationist, but whose humanism was exceptional because it was all-round (that is, in thought as well as in action), consistent, courageous and well-informed.

Tai Solarin was not a Marxist, not a communist and not a worker by class placement. But he was a proletarian in lifestyle. In politics he would be described as a progressive, but not a progressive in the mould of the present-day Nigeria’s neofascist “progressive”. Tai Solarin was a progressive in the original sense of being located in the Leftist ideological and political universe. He was, in general, a “social critic” and, in particular, a critical, popular and respected newspaper columnist.

Now to the beginning of this piece. We may recall that Nigeria’s Second Republic began on October 1, 1979 after a 13-year period (1966-1979) of military rule that witnessed a civil war. In the general elections that ushered in the Republic, Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) emerged as (Executive) President and Obafemi Awolowo of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) emerged as the second strongest presidential candidate. The result was, to say the least, very contentious—as we can recall or research. But the issue here is neither the contentiousness of the result of the presidential contest nor the side which Tai Solarin supported. (He was a member of the UPN). Rather, we are concerned with his prediction five weeks into the new Republic.

On November 4, 1979, 34 days after the installation of President Shehu Shagari, the Sunday edition of the Tribune newspaper carried a column by Tai Solarin titled The Stolen Presidency. In it the columnist wrote: “If this government lasts four years … the four-year-old NPN will have been firmly planted as Government Party everywhere, and the UPN, the GNPP, the NPP and the PRP will have been drained to annihilation, both in membership—it is already starting—and in morale. The 1983 election would therefore be between the NPN and the Revolutionary Party which, having studied how the NPN came to power knows exactly what to do to supplant the NPN for the presidency. There would then be a confusion on the national raft. Then a splash. Then commotion among the sharks. And we, the common people, will have, as victims, paid the supreme sacrifice”.

My comment on this prediction was immediate—as was expected in those days. It appeared in an edition of the Nigerian Chronicle, a daily newspaper owned and published by the Cross River State government. The comment was later revised and included in the text of a lecture I delivered at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in November 1980 under the auspices of the institution’s Alliance of Progressive Students (ALPS) on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the killing of Nigerian miners at the Iva Valley Mines, Enugu, by the colonial police. And later still, in May 1981, the comment was included in a book which emanated from the lecture. The lecture as well as the book that emanated from it were titled: Human Progress and Its Enemies: The Struggle for a more humane social order in Nigeria.

In the book, I said, “Tai Solarin’s prediction is unusual in two ways. In the first place, Tai Solarin was predicting the disintegration and demise of his party, the UPN. In the second place he was predicting that it would require a Revolutionary Party to dislodge the NPN from power: a type of prediction that normally comes from a revolutionary and not a liberal. We may ignore Tai Solarin’s scenario—for the Revolutionary Party, when it emerges, will not fight according to the rules fashioned by the enemies of progress. But we agree completely that the NPN, as a political party, is today the best organization of the Nigerian bourgeoisie and the most accurate reflection of Nigerian bourgeois interests. So long as the bourgeois social order remains so long will the NPN (or a new monster it may give birth to) continue to be the dominant political organization of the bourgeoisie.”

It follows from above that “only a revolutionary agency, representing the true aspirations of the popular masses (the workers, the peasants, students, etc.) and fighting consistently for an entirely new social order, can ever dislodge the NPN from power. To that extent—and to that extent alone—we agree with Tai Solarin. But we do not share his pessimism. A revolution cannot be conceived in a pessimistic perspective. A revolution—to use the words of Leon Trotsky—is incompatible with pessimism and other forms of spiritual collapse. Tai Solarin’s pessimism arose from the fact that he made a separation between the people and the Revolutionary Party—a type of separation that exists between the people and the existing political parties. A genuine revolution can only be made by the people under the leadership of their revolutionary organization, and such a revolution demands the highest forms of optimism and moral courage.”

Looking now at this nearly 40-year old “exchange” between Tai Solarin and myself, it strikes me that I could myself not have realized its full import. Tai Solarin said only a Revolutionary Party could dislodge the NPN from power. I agreed with him but amended the proposition by replacing “NPN” with the phrase “NPN or a new monster it might give birth to”. This suggests that I had a “flash” that NPN could be succeeded by another party—or another entity—but nonetheless, a “monster” (such as a military junta) organically emerging from NPN. But the “flash” was not pursued.

It is clear that the class perspective was missing from Tai Solarin’s analysis and prediction. This is explicable, given that he was not a Marxist. But my response was also not sufficiently ideological. Let me explain. In political-ideological contestation, even in our own context, the terms “bourgeois” and “capitalist” are not simply interchangeable. The absence of “capitalist” in my “disquisition” qualifies it as petty-bourgeois, even if revolutionary. If I had adopted a more appropriate ideological posture I would have stated explicitly that what I was alluding to was the removal of the capitalist class, as a class, and not just its political organisations like the NPN.

Having said this, the questions now are: Why is it that for almost 40 years, I have periodically—after every major election or change of government—felt the way I felt following the 1979 general elections and Tai Solarin’s prediction? Why is it that despite the Nigerian Left’s insistence, at least since 1979, on the inevitability and irreducibility of a Revolutionary Party, the party has not emerged? Why should we find ourselves repeating the same theses and propositions after every bloody and farcical display called “election”?

Does it mean that nothing has changed fundamentally in Nigeria’s social order or in the Leftist challenge to it, or both? How has Nigeria’s ruling capitalist class been able to periodically renew itself, assume new organizational forms and continue its rule? Put differently, why has it not been possible to overthrow Nigeria’s ruling capitalist class, as a class, or dislodge it as the dominant political force?

Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State.

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Experts Canvass Use Of Modern Technology To Provide Healthcare For Nigerians

jeu, 2019-12-05 15:41


Leading experts in the health sector have strongly called for more investment in modern technology in order to provide quality and affordable healthcare services for Nigerians especially those in rural areas.

The experts, who made the call in the face of rising mortality rate as a result of poor health facilities in the country said that there must be concerted efforts by all to reverse the disturbing trend.

According to John Enoh, Founder and Chief Executive of BeepTool, the firm behind Lafiya Telehealth platform, investment in modern technology would not only prevent avoidable deaths in the society but also make Nigeria’s healthcare system the envy of others on the continent.

Enoh, who said that BeepTool was looking forward to deploying Lafiya Telehealth to every city and rural community in Nigeria and Africa, explained that through technology, the platform has been able to bring quality healthcare services and professionals to the people at convenient rates.

He said, “Through this technology, Lafiya Telehealth has been able to bring quality healthcare services and professionals to Nigerians via its web, mobile app, smartphone, tablet and virtual healthcare kiosk that virtually replicates the in-clinic primary care experience.

“It utilises voice and video chat consultations, quality diagnostic tests, genuine medications, and specialist referrals through an affordable subscription plan that requires no out-of-pocket payment.

“With this technology, ordinary citizens no longer need to worry about access to genuine medications. They send your prescriptions to pharmacies near you and text you when they are ready for pick up.

“It is however, disturbing that 50 per cent of Nigerians, which encompasses over 90 million people, do not have access to quality medical care.

“Current statistics for medical assistance access in the region are terrifying, especially in this era of technological innovation.

“Though Lafiya Telehealth is a great answer in this regard, there is still a huge need for more investment in this type of technology to bridge the gap in quality healthcare delivery in Nigeria.”

Also calling for more funding for the health sector in Nigeria and introduction of modern technology in closing the gap in this area, Kemi Olasunloye, a medical practitioner, said that all hands must be on deck for this to be achieved.

She said, “All over the world, technology is changing the way people access healthcare services and Nigeria must take advantage of this to improving things in this regard.

“It is commendable what firms like BeepTool are doing but government needs to invest more in the health sector to reduce mortality rate in the country.”

 

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Two Persons Killed In Idimu Pipeline Explosion

jeu, 2019-12-05 15:09


 

Two unidentified individuals burnt to death in the pipeline explosion in Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area were having a spiritual cleansing bath when petrol from the ruptured pipeline went up in flames and consumed them.

A third person, who sustained ‘70 degree’ burns, was rushed to the Igando General hospital.

The pastor, who was conducting the holy bath, abandoned the victims upon sighting the fire, according to a report by PUNCH.

The pipeline was punctured by vandals tapping fuel from the equipment owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The fire raised four locations in the area due to the continuous spewing of fuel from the ruptured point.

“Two people were burnt to death, and another victim who sustained 70 degree burns had been taken to Igando General Hospital for treatment,” Nosa Okunbor, the Public Relations Officer for the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency said.

“What we gathered from bystanders was that the victims were performing spiritual cleansing when the fire met them there and burnt them but the pastor ran away.

According to LASEMA, rescue operation is still ongoing at the scene of the tragedy.

 

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