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NEWS / Pirates Attack Agip Tug Boat, Abduct Engineer, Captain in Bayelsa
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:28:47 AM »
Pirates Attack Agip Tug Boat, Abduct Engineer, Captain in Bayelsa.

 Dare-devil pirates operating along the creeks and waterways of the Niger Delta struck again over the weekend when a tug boat belonging to the Nigerian Agip Company (NOAC) was attacked along the Nembe Waterways in Bayelsa State  and   the captain and engineer aboard the vessel abducted.

 The incident, which occurred on Saturday evening was carried out by seven armed pirates operating from a speed boat. The incident occurred at an area known as Peter's town in Nembe Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.

 The  whereabouts of the abducted men is still unknown as at press time.

NEWS / Chinese Contractor Killed, Two Others Injured in Plateau Attack
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:25:24 AM »
Chinese Contractor Killed, Two Others Injured in Plateau Attack

 A Chinese railway contractor has been confirmed killed and two of his associates seriously injured after unknown gunmen attacked them in Atakar village, Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.

 The injured are currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in the state.
 The spokesman for the Special Task Force (STF), Captain Salisu Mustapha, confirmed the attack but said his  two associates  were  taken to the hospital alive.

 Mustapha said: "The victims were attacked at the weekend  in a village bordering Plateau and Kaduna States.
 Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Olakpe, yesterday also confirmed the death of the Chinese contractors to BBC Hausa service, adding that the attackers injured a police officer who was escorting the foreigners and confiscated his gun.

NEWS / Tinubu Eulogises Monarchs for Growing Yoruba Tradition
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:24:14 AM »
Tinubu Eulogises Monarchs for Growing Yoruba Tradition

 In order to achieve continuous growth of the Yoruba culture across the globe, traditional rulers have been urged to brace up to the challenges of their positions by ensuring that they contribute to nation-building, given the fact that they are custodians of the historical relics of the society.

 A former Lagos State governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was chief launcher at the launch of an ultra-modern palace of the Olubadan in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Sunday commended traditional rulers in Yorubaland for playing vital roles in protecting the region from assaults and intimidation in the past.

 According to him: ?The Yoruba nation remains till today the most sophisticated of all the peoples and this is with great validation and justification. Our culture and tradition are rounded, grounded and well rooted. Our culture spreads across Nigeria, the West African sub-region and as far as South America and Latin America. For instance, in Cuba, our educational prowess, political sagacity and oratory excellence places us miles ahead of other groups and sets us apart from them. Yet, we remain very cosmopolitan, accommodating and respectable.?

 He said the attainments of the race would not have been possible if the traditional rulers who are the custodians of the culture and tradition have not played their roles.

 ?They stood up to assaults and wars from other tribes. They engaged the colonial agents and never for once allowed the subjugation of the Yoruba nation nor its values and cultural heritage,? he said.

 He specifically noted that the Olubadan of Ibadan was one of the most outstanding institutions in the country in the past, which today is still held in high esteem among the people.

 ?I am glad and indeed proud as a Yoruba son and second as a Nigerian, to be part of this initiative to erect a befitting palace for His Imperial Majesty, the Olubadan of Ibadan. The Olubadan literally means ?Lord of Ibadan Land? and is central to the emergence, establishment and growth and the continued relevance of the Yoruba culture and tradition.
 ?Since 1820, under Oba Okunade till 1930 under Olubadan Abbas and till the current reign of HRH Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade, the role and activities of the Olubadan as an institution is central to the history and development of the Yoruba nation and indeed of Nigeria as a country,? he said.

 He noted that traditional institutions, part of which the Olubadan is central, stood against the ?marauding? forces of destruction and confusion, even when they were not politicians by remaining steadfast and committed to democratic principles.
 Tinubu, however, prayed that the Yoruba nation would continue to enjoy the leadership of the monarchs, saying: ?The Yoruba nation is proud of all of its leaders who have since departed and who passed the torch to the likes of the Olubadan.?

NEWS / Fayemi Declares Interest to Run for Second Term
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:23:35 AM »
Fayemi Declares Interest to Run for Second Term

 Barely 72 hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the timetable for the governorship election in Ekiti State, the state  Governor, Dr.  Kayode Fayemi, Sunrday  confirmed his interest to run for a second term in office. Fayemi, in a statement he personally signed in which he gave reasons why is seeking another term in office, also announced the constitution of his campaign committee, which will be headed by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bimbo Daramola.

 The governor, in the statement issued in Ado-Ekiti, said: ?Following the groundswell of support by leaders and members of our party as well as the generality of Ekiti people from the nooks and crannies of Ekiti State and in the Diaspora, it is with a profound sense of gratitude and responsibility that I today accept the calls by our people to seek re-election for a second term in office.

 ?You have made the calls, and today I have opted to act in deference to those sacred calls by throwing my hat into the ring for a free and fair contest  for the exalted office for a second term.?
 Explaining why he decided to heed the calls to seek re-election, Fayemi said: ?Our people can faithfully testify that together the Collective Rescue Mission we promised at the outset of our first term in office has crystallised.

 ?Indeed our people can testify to how we have rescued Ekiti State from the years of locusts and returned our dear state to the path of respectability, stability and development.
 ?Our people can affirm that we have kept faith with the Roadmap to Ekiti Recovery - our eight-point agenda. Every stratum of Ekiti State can see our footprints on those key sectors we promised to touch.

 ?My readiness to heed your calls today is therefore a demonstration of our collective commitment to continue the good work we have begun.?

 During the third anniversary of the Fayemi administration, various interest groups, women, youths, artisans as well as leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC ) from the 16 local government areas of the state had called on the governor to seek re-election to continue the recovery and restoration work he had begun.

 Referring to his endorsements by the various interest groups in the state, the governor said his desire to run again should not be misconstrued that it would be a lone race as he called on other aspirants not to let his declaration scare them away from actualising their ambitions.
 ?My decision to heed the calls of our people, following the plethora of endorsements I have received from the leaders and members of our party does not translate to the closure of the political space for contest.

 ?I, therefore, look forward to fair competition from my co-aspirants within and outside our party. I look forward to very robust debates and issue- based campaign,? he said.

 Announcing the constitution of his campaign committee, the governor said it would be headed by Daramola, who would serve as the director-general, while Hon. Biodun Omoleye, the currently Special Adviser (Policy and Strategy), in his government would be the deputy.

 Other members of the campaign committee are Mr. Sanmi Omiata, who would serve as the in-house Communications Director, Mrs. Bunmi Adelugba, Director of Finance and Administration and Mr. Dimeji Daniels, Campaign Spokesperson.

 According to him, ?my reason for the appointment of these illustrious citizens of Ekiti State who are professionals with impeccable credentials to stir the process of our campaign is to enable me keep my eyes on the business of governance while we run a truly professional and edifying campaign.?

NEWS / New Constitution to be Ready by July, Says Mohammed
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:13:06 AM »
New Constitution to be Ready by July, Says Mohammed

 The Chairman, House of Representatives? Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, Sunday said the country?s new constitution would be ready by July.
 Mohammed in Okuta, Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State, said the delay in producing it was as a result of wide consultation.

 According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he said the task of amending a constitution was a tedious job and not a job, which people would sit down and conclude easily.
 ?But we are looking at the month of June or July as when we are going to have a clean copy of the new constitution for Nigeria.

 ?For what we did in the House of Representatives, we went to the 360 federal constituencies and, as much as possible, we were able to gather the views of the people.
 ?What we have reported is exactly what we pushed forward for them, and what we are saying is that at the end of the day, we are going to have a constitution that is workable for the Nigerian people,?? Mohammed said.

POLITICS / PDP: Mu?azu is Not Under EFCC Investigation
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:10:47 AM »
PDP: Mu?azu is Not Under EFCC Investigation

 The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday denied that its  National Chairman,  Alhaji Adamu Mu?azu, was under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  for alleged misappropriation and embezzlement of the funds during his tenure as the  Governor of Bauchi State.

 Reacting to news reports, PDP said the  publications were completely false and baseless and part of the vicious scheme by the opponents of the party to distract the  national chairman from his determination and commitment to rebuild and reposition the PDP as the pre-eminent party in the country.

 The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, said in a statement that "the  true position is that at the end of his tenure as governor of Bauchi State, Mu?azu, like many other governors, who had completed their tenures, was invited by the EFCC to respond to some petitions.

 "Mu?azu was never invited again by the EFCC on any other issue. The succeeding government, elected on the platform of the defunct opposition party, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007 instituted a Panel of Inquiry which went ahead to issue a White Paper against Mu'azu, despite the fact that he did nor appear before it.

 "In the exercise of his lawful rights, Mu?azu challenged the entirety of the White Paper in suit no BA/295m/2009 at the Bauchi State High Court, No. 1.

 ?The suit was heard by no other judge than the Chief Judge of Bauchi State, Justice Mohammed Ibrahim Zango, who after hearing all the arguments, set aside the whole findings and quashed it into the dustbin of history.

 "Consequently, Mu?azu remains cleared of all the allegations as contained in the said White Paper. It is then highly misleading for any person to make statements or sponsor publications purporting that Mu?azu is under investigation or any form of trial whatsoever," PDP said in the statement.

 In view of this, Metuh said: "We urge those behind such statements and publications to desist from such, bearing in mind that there is divine judgment for those who bear false witness against the innocent.

 "Mu?azu, is duly appointed as the National Chairman of our great party and he is totally committed to performing his duties irrespective of any attempt from any quarter whatsoever to distract or detract him from focus."

NEWS / Northern Govs Urge Security Agencies to End Boko Haram Violence
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:08:49 AM »
Northern Govs Urge Security Agencies to End Boko Haram Violence

The Northern States Governors? Forum (NSGF) has called on security agencies to do all within their powers to end the killing of inocent citizens, especially in the North-east geo-political region where gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect have continued to kill people since 2009.

 Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu?azu Babangida Aliyu, who gave the charge yesterday in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Danladi Ndayebo, and made available to THISDAY, said members of the forum were seriously concerned by the renewed attacks on innocent citizens, following the gruesome murder of 18 persons in some farming communities around Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, at the weekend.

 ?The forum is particularly alarmed that the killings of 18 persons in Njaba, Mude, Kwaljiri and Kaya villages in Borno villages followed the same pattern as previous midnight attacks on towns and villages in the region,?  the statement added.
 The forum described the fresh attacks as horrendous, callous and inhuman.

 It also called on security agencies to halt the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the region.

 While commiserating with the families of the victims and prayed God to grant eternal rest to the deceased and quick recovery to those who sustained injuries during the attacks the forum called on security agencies to do more to protect the lives and property of the citizens and also ensure that those perpetrating violence in the region were brought to justice.

 The state governors reiterated their pledge to continue to work with other tiers of government to bring an end to the security challenges confronting the nation.

NEWS / Nigeria Will Overcome Its Challenges, Says Jonathan
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:06:53 AM »
Nigeria Will Overcome Its Challenges, Says Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan Sunday  assured the people that Nigeria would overcome its challenges and get to the Promised Land.

 The president, who spoke during a church service at Living Faith Church Worldwide  (Winners?  Chapel), Goshen City, Nasarawa State, urged the the church leadership to continue to pray for the country, as there was no alternative to prayers.

 He said: ?I assure you this country will cross the bridge. Yes, we have challenges as a nation, even the most developed nations pass through stages sometimes even more challenging than we face today; but what happened yesterday (Saturday) in South Africa  will be the story of this nation.

 ?Those of you who watched that match (Super Eagles)  will know that it is not easy at the beginning, it was as if Nigeria was to be demolished but  all of a sudden, the young men came very strong and we won. That is how it will be with the story of this country.

 ?With your prayers and commitment we will get to the destination. The Promised  Land has never been an easy one for any nation; it was not easy for the Israelites and I promise that myself and my colleagues will continue to do what is right for this country.?

 The president restated the commitment of his administration  to do what was right at all time.
 ?We will do our best but like I always say, whatever I do, I should be able to tell God why I did it. All what we require is your prayers, and Nigeria will get to its destination. I wish you a prosperous 2014,? he told the congregation.

 Earlier, Bishop David Abioye, said prayers played major role in ensuring that leaders abide  to the will of God.

 ?We keep praying: God keeps guiding our leaders. When we pray, they gravitate towards what is good; that is why the church must keep praying. They are guided by our prayers. They are the targets of the enemy.

 ?When a leader makes a wrong decision, the whole people will be affected. Our leaders will not make wrong decisions,? the bishop said.

 He  also commended Jonathan for signing the Anti-gay Bill into law and urged other African nations to emulate Nigeria on same-sex marriage.

NEWS / IG: Nigeria Not Ripe for State Police
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:01:37 AM »
IG: Nigeria Not Ripe for State Police

The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has expressed his opposition to the clamour for the decentralisation of the police,  saying the country is not yet ripe for the establishment of state police as being canvassed for by proponents of the idea.

 Abubakar, who marked two years in office at the weekend, said in an exclusive interview published in the latest edition of Chief Detective magazine that although he was not against the idea, the proponents should exercise more patience.

 He said: ?We are not yet ripe for the state police. I am not saying there shouldn?t be state police; we are not yet ripe for it.

 ?I will cite several examples. Check countries of the world, which are operating the state police. How many years have they had their independence? Take Britain. Take the United States, and take any European country that you can call. We are talking of 2,000 years in the United States. How old are we? Do they have the challenges we have? Do they have the issue of where are you from? Do they have the challenges of ?I was born in Lagos, but I?m not a Lagosian?? Do they have the religious crisis that we have: I?m a Muslim, you?re a Christian? Do they have the level of tribal differences in the states; that I?m Ijaw, you?re Itsekiri, you?re Igbo, or you?re Eka-Igbo? Do they have such challenges? So, these are issues that should be put into consideration.

 ?Do they have the same political issues that we have; the same political problems; that I want to contest as president, but because you are not from the North, you cannot contest, or because you?re not from the South or West or South-south or South-east you cannot contest, or it?s not your turn? And I continue to ask questions. Tell me one state in Nigeria today, where you have ?A? party in power and local government election is conducted and ?B? party wins all the seats. Why is it so?

 ?It?s not state police. Now what happens, when you have a Commissioner of Police appointed by the state governor? We just concluded Anambra election. In Imo state, we arrested 230 persons from Osun State with voter cards, with ID cards of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Commissioner of Police arrested them, went to a hotel, based on intelligence information; searched for them; got them: rigorously.

 ?Tell me what would have happened if the Commissioner of Police was appointed by the governor of Imo State. Would he have arrested them? Would he have prosecuted them? These are germane issues that we should consider very seriously.?

 Speaking on the way forward, Abubakar said: ?What we need to do is to continue to build on our community policing projects. When it is time for state police, it will come to happen.
 ?And that is when, I?m born in Lagos; whether I?m from Sokoto or Zaria, or from Maiduguri; I?m born in Lagos, therefore I have the right to contest with anybody in Lagos. The constitution says 10 years. If you have stayed 10 years, you can contest.

 ?Today, most people who live in other states are not treated as citizens of that state. Is that the kind of country we want? So, which means you have been denied your fundamental rights. But, nobody is talking about it. I?m sure a time will come for state police. And what do you do, if you have ethnic crisis in the state?

 ?If in my state, I?m a Hausa man, and I have Fulani, Ibo, and Yoruba people, and I?m the governor of the state. I appointed the Commissioner of Police in the state, who is a Hausa man like me, and Ibo people are fighting with Hausa. What will happen?
 ?The Commissioner of Police is Hausa, because it?s a Hausa state. The DC is Hausa, the AC is Hausa, the DPOs are Hausa, all the policemen are Hausa; so what will they do with the Ibo, whether they are right or wrong??

 Abubakar added that several factors should be taken into consideration, concerning the issue of the federal police force, in terms of decentralisation of powers, pointing out that most of the problems have been addressed by the Dan Malami and M.D. Yusuf reform, in which the government accepted certain number of suggestions made.
 He also added that the Jonathan administration has completed all the police aspect of the reform.

NEWS / Police Arrest 320 Boko Haram Suspects in Rivers State
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:00:29 AM »
Police Arrest 320 Boko Haram Suspects in Rivers State

 Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu

 By Ernest Chinwo   

 There was tension in security circles in Rivers State as the state police command Sunday arrested about 320 persons suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect.

 THISDAY gathered that the suspects, men and women, were arrested in the early hours in a convoy of 17 buses at the border between Rivers and Imo States.

 The convoy was said to be led by one Bala Mato Dambam.
 The source also said the buses belong to a transport company owned by a former Inspector General of Police (IG) and had taken off from Jigawa State.
 Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, confirmed the arrest of the suspects but would not state if they were members of Boko Haram until investigations were concluded.

 He said the security of the state was a top priority of the police in Rivers, adding that the command would not take anything for granted.

 ?It is a top security issue, I don't know how you got the information and I won't ask you, but there cannot be any comment now from the Rivers police command until we finish the investigation. I will make no comment,? Mbu said.

 When THISDAY visited the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Port Harcourt where the suspects were detained, many of them were sighted sitting in front of the office.

 The police did not allow journalists into the premises as tight security was maintained around the police station.

 The army high command had last year raised the alarm that members of Boko Haram were infiltrating Rivers State but the state government refuted the claim, stating that the information was capable of creating anxiety in an already tensed state.

 Aside Lagos and Ogun States where suspected members of the Islamic sect have been sighted and arrested, their scourge has been restricted mainly to the northern states, particularly in the North-east region.

POLITICS / PDP Senators May Defect to APC This Week
« on: January 27, 2014, 08:58:35 AM »
PDP Senators May Defect to APC This Week

?  Saraki: I am not after Mark?s seat, but?

 By Hammed Shittu 

 Dozens of senators from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have concluded arrangements to leave the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC) this week.

 The affected senators, according to THISDAY checks, are primarily from three geopolitical zones of the North-central, North-east and North-west.

 It was gathered that the senators had signed their defection letters that would be delivered to Senate President David Mark this week on their desire to leave the PDP for the APC.

 Sources also informed THISDAY at the weekend that the delay in the senators? defection was not because of the alleged threat from the leadership of PDP that they would lose their seats, but was attributed to the fact that the senators had been consulting with their constituents on their planned defection and needed their final approval before they could move.

 Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, confirmed the planned defection of the PDP senators to reporters in Ilorin at the weekend.

 He said: ?It would surely happen this week on the floor of the Senate. It is not a matter of maybe. It?s going to happen and it will surely happen this week and not in a month. Nigerians already know that all this is not about personal interest, but pure sacrifice.

 ?You know we were part of the PDP and it?s because we did not make any headway and that we needed to rescue the nation and put some things right and save the country from further disintegration in the hands of the ruling government.?

 Saraki dismissed insinuations that the senators would lose their seats if they defected to APC, saying, ?None of the defecting senators would lose their seat.?
 He added that a court action had put the issue of loss of seats by defecting lawmakers at bay.

 The former Kwara State governor made it clear that his action and comments in the Senate now or in the future of the 7th assembly were borne out of his passion and commitment to good governance, rule of law, equity, fairness, adherence to the constitution, sustenance and protection of our democracy.

 Saraki explained that he would continue to speak and voice out his beliefs, opinions and thoughts and ensure that what is right, just and fair in the interest of the Senate and the nation are entrenched.

 During the chat, Saraki also made it clear that he was not after Senate President David Mark?s seat, saying, ?It would be unfortunate for anyone, in any quarters to state that I want Senator Mark?s seat. I do not want his seat, but I will not be blackmailed in not doing or say what I feel is right because I have been down this road a number of times while standing strong on not only what is right but in the best interest of our great country.

 ?Therefore, I will not succumb to cheap blackmail that all my intent was all about naked ambition or personal interest.?

 To buttress his point, Saraki stated that in ?September 2011, I stood up then to demand transparency and accountability in the management of the fuel subsidy scheme, where I voiced out the ongoing massive fraud in the scheme which posed great threat to our economy.

 ?Then I was called names and told that I did not like Mr. President and that it was about 2015 election and that my figure was grossly inaccurate and no such mismanagement took place. Now the facts have shown otherwise.?

 He further pointed out that during the PDP crises, when some governors and national members rose up to challenge the impunity of the then PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and the running of the party, he and others were called names but have now been vindicated by the turn out of events, even after they left the party.

 Saraki said: ?For me to dissipate my time and energy seeking Senator David Mark?s seat with a year to the election and likely possible only six months of active legislative activities, it will be illogical. But as leaders, there will be issues that I will continue to speak and stand for what I believe, which is in the interest of the Senate and in my view, the interest of our nation.?

 Referring to Section 215 (4) of the 1999 Constitution which clearly stipulates the power and authority of a state governor as the chief security officer of the state, whereby he can give orders and instructions to the Commissioner of Police of his state within the confines of the constitution but where such commissioner of police disobeys the governor?s instructions, like in Rivers State, Saraki said he could not keep quiet because what had happened in Rivers State was in breach of the constitution.
 ?We all recall that the present IG was a former Commissioner of Police in Kwara State under Governor Mohammed Lawal where he had an experience tougher than that of Amaechi of Rivers State.

 ?The present Inspector General of Police as Commissioner of Police then, created an enabling environment, peaceful atmosphere and stabilised the state for all in that matter and I was able to win my election under a free and fair atmosphere, which would not have been possible without the commitment of the IG towards entrenching security of lives and property in the state.

 ?It is believed that the Inspector General of Police has the experience, capability and maturity to manage the crisis, except if there are factors above him that impede his abilities to discharge his duties. As lawmakers and leaders, it is incumbent on us as part of our oversight functions to assist the IG to make sure that this issue does not engulf Rivers State or spread to any other state.

 ?It is a known fact, practice and procedure that the Nigerian police authorities under the IG have more than hundreds of Commissioners of Police, which he could move or redeploy as we have seen him do in other states, especially where a governor of a state requires a Commissioner of Police to be moved in view of their inability to work together in the interest of that state, it is expected of the IG to reason with such state governor.
 ?And if after such redeployment, the state governor further complains, then we all know where the problem is,? he said.

 In the same vein, Saraki expressed his delight that the Senate had undertaken to look into the controversial issue of the unremitted billion of dollars of oil revenue into the Federation Account.

 He said he was convinced that the Senate would do a thorough job and get to the bottom of the matter to unravel the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of huge amount in the interest of the nation, adding, ?It is our duty to ask for accountability, we do desire accountability by all agencies of government.

 ?When we members of the upper chamber shy away from this responsibility, then the country is in trouble. In doing this, we are not for or against NNPC, CBN or Ministry of Finance but for a better Nigeria.?

POLITICS / APC Disagrees With Critics over Blockage of Executive Bills
« on: January 27, 2014, 08:55:04 AM »
APC Disagrees With Critics over Blockage of Executive Bills

?  More defections to hit party as Sheriff, Yerima prepare to jump ship

 By Onyebuchi Ezigbo   and Ibrahim Shuaibu
 The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described critics of its directive to its National Assembly members to block all legislative proposals as those who are either ignorant of the workings of democracy or those who have chosen to play to the gallery for pecuniary gains.

 In a statement issued Sunday by its interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, APC said the directive was already yielding result, as members of the Save Rivers Movement (SRM) were able to stage a peaceful rally on Saturday without molestation.

 APC?s directive had attracted criticism from various quarters, including a recent one yesterday by a group known as the Youths for Ebele Jonathan (YEJ), which described it as amounting to blackmail and legislative recklessness.

 Similarly, a northern elder, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, yesterday described the directive by APC to its members in the National Assembly as an action capable of truncating Nigeria?s nascent democracy and dragging the country into chaos.

 However, in the statement, APC said there was nothing anti-democratic, anti-people or inciting about the directive, which was aimed at ending the alleged reign of impunity in Rivers State.
 It said the party's action had become necessary so as to arrest the situation before it spreads to other parts of the country and truncates the nation's democracy, wondering why it had been so difficult for President Goodluck Jonathan to act for almost a year, as a part of the country he was elected to govern goes up in flames.

 ?Ether way, these critics have rushed to judgement without even taking time to study the directive, without understanding that governance is about people, and without caring about the principles of fairness, justice and equity, and they should cover their faces in shame,? the party said.

 ?They say the non-approval of the 2014 budget will pauperize Nigerians, as if the yearly ritual of budget passing since 1999 has benefitted anyone but the fat cats.
 ?In any case, of what use is a budget when the lives of citizens are at stake? Are budgets not made for the people? Do they understand that even the budgets are based largely on earnings from oil, which we cannot even produce if the violence in Rivers escalates and spreads to other oil-producing states?

 ?They say our directive is anti-people without understanding that those who are being daily intimidated, beaten and shot in Rivers are also Nigerians. They say we are anti-democratic without understanding that democracy cannot thrive in an atmosphere of impunity, the like of which we have in Rivers.

 ?Where were these same critics when the impudent police commissioner in Rivers, egged on by a conniving presidency, thumbed his nose at the constitution by turning himself to the de facto governor of the state and is refusing to subordinate himself to the elected governor who is the chief security officer of his state?

 ?Where were these critics when a serving senator was shot perhaps by the police? Where were these critics when women and children were tear-gassed and innocent civilians beaten black and blue? Did they raise any voice against the attack on journalists whose offence was that they went to cover a rally?? asked the party.

 APC said there have been attacks and intimidation of its members which have been launched by the government and the police in Gombe, because they have been watching the impunity being committed in Rivers.

 ?All over Gombe, our party flags, billboards and posters are being vandalised by hoodlums aided and abetted by the police. Our youth supporters are being arrested while our members are being threatened by the police and the state government officials.
 ?From Rivers, this reign of impunity has spread to Gombe. Who knows where the train of impunity is heading to next? Yet some so-called fickle analysts, some chameleonic activists who willingly pit their tents with the highest bidder, some increasingly irrelevant organisations and some political parties who are content with the crumbs that fall off the table of the ruling party have the temerity to condemn a directive they do not understand.

 ?The APC, as a party, cannot be intimidated by the antics of those who will have no qualms elevating self-interest above public interest, by those who believe their cheap criticism will help insert their snouts into the nectar of filthy lucre,? it added.
 The party said while it acknowledges critics? rights to express their opinions on our directive, it disagreed with them on the grounds of its own rights and reiterated its earlier directive to APC lawmakers to block executive bills.

 ?We hereby reiterate the directive, which is a product of deep thinking and robust debate within our party?s NEC to save our democracy, and we commend our members in the National Assembly for their unequivocal support for our stand, and for understanding that filibustering or legislative non-cooperation are veritable tools of democracy,? it said.

 APC added that it had been vindicated over its move to shoot down executive bills as the police provided security for the members of SRM who held a peaceful rally last Saturday.

 ?For the first time in a long time, members of the Save Rivers Movement (SRM) were able to stage a peaceful rally, without being attacked by hired ex-militants, because the Inspector-General of Police directed the police to provide protection for the rally,? it said.

 ?This is exactly what we are saying, that Nigerians, irrespective of their party leaning, who wish to stage a peaceful protest anywhere in the country must be able to do so without the police looking away while hired goons attack them.

 ?It is all about justice, fairness and equity, without which democracy will not thrive. We will be watching to see if what happened on Saturday represents a paradigm shift in Rivers or if it was just a flash in the pan,? the party said.

 Despite the party?s stand, it came under renewed attacks yesterday when Yakasai described its directive to its members in the National Assembly not to pass the 2014 budget as capable of truncating the country?s nascent democracy and causing anarchy.

 Yakasai said: ?I pray that this country will not reach a stage where the recklessness of some members of the political class will lead to the truncation of our nascent democracy. The nation has suffered enough of such recklessness, enough is enough.?

 Addressing reporters in Kano, Yakasai added: ?For the opposition to direct its members in the legislature not to carry out their constitutional duties, the job they have sworn to do, will be carrying it too far, beyond the limits of political decency.?

 He said such recklessness could result in unpleasant things, which the whole nation would have to put the blame on the door of those who do not play the game according to the rules.

 The elder statesman noted that the leadership of APC knows very well what happens in any country, be it Nigeria or any other country, where a budget is not passed.

 ?The consequence of such a scenario would lead to shutting down the government of such a country. Failure to pass a national budget in any country will not affect the Office of the President alone, it will affect the running of the National Assembly itself, the entire judiciary and all government parastatals,? he warned.

 He also appealed to APC legislators to discharge their duties to the nation for which they were elected, saying they should be guided by their conscience, common sense, patriotism and the need to cater to the welfare of the Nigerian people.

 Meanwhile, there are indications that more cracks developed within the ranks of the APC, leading to the possible defection of two more prominent leaders ? former Governors of Zamfara and Borno States, Senator Sani Yerima and Senator Modu Sherif ? from the opposition party.

 The duo are expected to join two other former Governors of Sokoto and Kano, Attahiru Bafarawa and Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, whose disenchantment and possible exit from the party was reported at the weekend.

 A party source, who yesterday confirmed the latest major defections to THISDAY, said the leadership of APC had blamed both Bafarawa and  Shekarau for the lack of progress in the efforts to reconcile them with the incumbent governors of their states ? Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto ? who recently defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to APC.

 Shekarau and Bafarawa had insisted that the interim executive formed by the three legacy parties, the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), should be allowed to continue to oversee the affairs of APC in their states, a position that the party's national leadership rejected.

 Shekarau, who is leading a predominantly ANPP group, has been having a running battle with his successor in office, Kwakwanso, over the control of APC structures in Kano.

 In the protest letter, which Shekarau and his group submitted to the interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, he had complained about many issues ranging from the move to hand over the APC structure to Kwakwanso, the non-commencement of membership registration, and formation of state interim management committees.

 However, a top party source who spoke on the condition of anonymity blamed the misunderstanding on Bafarawa and Shekarau?s egos, which have made it impossible for them to agree to work under the incumbent governors.

 ?It is still uncertain that Shekarau will leave APC, but I can confirm that of Bafarawa, that he is leaving. Both of them could not reconcile with the governors due to their personal egos which the party cannot help.

 ?As for Bafarawa, all we can say to him is that we wish him the best wherever he decides to move to,? he said.
 A member of the seven-member reconciliation committee had also told THISDAY that their assignment had become very tough and that they were yet to achieve full reports from the affected states.

 ?It's a tough one, it?s not been easy. But all I can say is that we have a 50-50 chance of restoring normalcy in the affected states. We were in Abuja to continue with the reconciliatory talks and I hope everything will go well at the end of the day,? he said.
 The source said APC was not worried about the defection of the politicians from Sokoto and Kano since, according to him, they are considered as not too influential as far as the grassroots support is concerned.

 However, as the defection fever looms over APC, THISDAY gathered that two other bigwigs ? Sherrif and Yerima ? were being tipped to leave the party if last minute peace efforts failed.

 Although the grouse of the two highly influential politicians were not clear, THISDAY learnt from sources that issues relating to the setting up of party structures in their states may have also been the subject of dispute.

 Also in contention are the modalities for the registration of members, which is expected to kick off on February 5.

 A source recalled that Sheriff had once shown interest in becoming the Chairman of Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, which the party's inner caucus considered as a no-go area, and was reserved only for leaders like Senator Bola Tinubu and Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.

 Apart from their grievances, it was further learnt that the two politicians have never really impressed the strategists within APC and are suspected of harbouring a hidden agenda.

 Specifically, an inside source said APC had identified some top politicians regarded as agents of the presidency and the PDP, but that the party had been waiting for the right time to boot them out.

NEWS / Security Screening Begins for Next CBN Governor
« on: January 27, 2014, 08:35:02 AM »
Security Screening Begins for Next CBN Governor

 ?Onasanya, Aganga, Chike-Obi, Aig-Imoukhuede, Peterside on list

 By Steve Omanufeme

 The race for the successor to the outgoing governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has kicked off in earnest with the commencement of security screening of five possible candidates for the job, according to sources close to the presidency.

 THISDAY gathered at the weekend that the Managing Director/CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mr. Stephen Olabisi Onasanya; serving Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga; immediate past Managing  Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; founder and pioneering Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Plc, Mr. Atedo Peterside; and current Managing Director of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi, have been discreetly screened by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) for the job.

 Peterside is a member of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and Chairman of the NCP's Technical Committee. He is also a member of the National Economic Management Team, which is headed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
 In addition to his current positions, he has served as chairman of the board of directors of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc since 2007. Prior to this, he was Managing Director of the bank, which he founded, in 1989.

 He holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from City University London and a Masters degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also a member of the Board Nominations Committee.

 Analysts however say Peterside may not take up the position if he is eventually selected, going by his antecedents of rejecting government appointments in the past.
 His preference is to serve government on an ad hoc basis, hence his membership of the NCP and Economic Management Team, which are not full-fledged appointments.
 Until now, many names had been touted for the job, following the declaration by Sanusi last year that he was not seeking a second term as governor.

 Other contenders for the job include CBN Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Sarah Alade; Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu; and the immediate past Deputy Governor Operations, Mr. Tunde Lemo.

 THISDAY had exclusively reported the growing list of possible candidates for the job and the rift between the central bank governor and the presidency.

 But the selection process, which would have commenced later in the year, may have started earlier in order to have a replacement by March 1.

 Whoever succeeds Sanusi will be the 11th central bank governor in Nigeria, following in the footsteps of Roy Pentelow  Fenton  (1958 - 1963); Alhaji Aliyu Mai-Bornu (1963 - 1967); Dr. Clement Nyong Isong (1972 - 1975); Mallam Adamu Ciroma (1975 - 1977); Mr. Ola O. Vincent (1977 - 1982); Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed (1982 - 1993); Dr. Paul A. Ogwuma (1993 - 1999); Chief (Dr.) Joseph O. Sanusi (1999- 2004); Prof. Chukwuma C. Soludo (2004 - 2009); and Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (2009 to date).

 As specified in the CBN Act 2007, the central bank governor is in charge of the official bank of the Federal Government of Nigeria and provides economic advice to the federal government.

 Apart from appending his signature to every denomination of Nigeria?s currency, the governor among other duties, oversees the country?s banking sector.
 Alongside the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN, the governor also determines the monetary policies of the country, which have an impact on the financial system and the macro-economy.

POLITICS / Ekiti 2014: Disquiet Over PDP Governorship Ticket
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:57:37 AM »
Ekiti 2014: Disquiet over PDP governorship ticket

Who will be the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State? This is one of the most frequently asked questions among  politicians and observers in and outside Ekiti State as preparations for the number one seat gathers momentum.

The first cause of the anxiety, knowing who PDP will present as candidate came out of the fact that the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has declared publicly several times last year that the incumbent Governor, Kayode Fayemi, is its candidate. In spite of intrigues by those who do not want Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB), to contest the governorship election, it is obvious that since he left the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN, now APC) and revived the Labour Party (LP) with some aggrieved politicians and his admirers from the APC and PDP, it is obvious that he is the stanfard bearer of the Labour Party, at least, for now. Similarly, the Accord Party (AP), which is now in the fourth position of reckoning in the state already, has Barrister Kole Ajayi as its candidate.

Consequently, Ekiti people, looking at the strength of each party in the state, see the trio of APC, PDP and LP as the main forces to reckon with in the coming election. But while political observers and people in the state can easily rate Fayemi and Bamidele as two elephants in this contest, the absence of PDP standard bearer is still making the political calculations difficult for them to know which party is likely to win the contest.

Of course, the party that prides itself as the biggest in Africa (? at least before APC hurricane caused a serious crack in their camp recently) has a lot of people with high profiles like: former governors, ministers, Ambassador, former senators, former deputy governors, ex- House of Representatives member, ex-State Assembly Speakers, among others, in the race.

Other cause of anxiety in the state was the prophecy by the wife of former Governor Ayo Fayose on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, that her husband?s victory in the next election is certain and ordained by God. The cause of serious concern on the prophecy was that some people said the woman had earlier predicted the removal of her husband from office as governor in 2006, which came to pass when her husband was impeached on October 16, 2006 as Ekiti State Governor.  Fayose, while responding at the 50th birthday ceremony of his wife which was used as a forum to convey the message at his campaign office in Ado-Ekiti that day, said he does not joke with anything that has to do with spiritual matters again, especially when it is coming from his wife, having prophesied his impeachment which came to pass. He added that when hegan to pray on the issue, he discovered that the contest is going to be between him, Bamidele and Fayemi. He told people at the gathering that he would definitely emerge as the flag bearer of the PDP.

This was however, described as an illusion by another PDP governorship aspirant, Hon Oluropo Ogunbolude, who told DailySun in an interview that, ?Anybody can say whatever he or she likes. She has said it. We have had prophecies here and there. What do you expect her to say? Do you expect her to say that her husband will not emerge or what? Naturally, she won?t say that. Ekiti people are not gullible. He had become Ekiti State governor before, and had fulfilled his own term. I am not saying he can?t become governor of Ekiti State again, but not 2014. The ticket is going to Ekiti South Senatorial District and he is from the central. If anybody is talking of Ekiti Central or Ekiti North in PDP, the person must be joking, because it is something that cannot happen.? He pointed out that all the aspirants have held a joint meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the leader of the party and he has told them that he had not anointed any candidate and instructed them to go and get a consensus candidate among themselves.

Four other governorship aspirants who spoke with Daily Sun in separate interviews on the issue were of the same view. Former Deputy Governor during Fayose era, Chief Abiodun Aluko, Ambassador Dare Bejide, Dr Peter Obafemi and Hon Adewale Aribisala said they (all PDP guber aspirants in Ekiti State) held a meeting with the President and agreed that there would be no primary election. They agreed to come out with a consensus candidate that will be acceptable to all Ekiti people. Amb. Bejide and Chief Aluko, like Oluropo, said that the PDP ticket is going to the South Senatorial District, saying that it is the only zone in Ekiti State that has not produced a governor since the state was created over 17 years ago. They argued that Ekiti Central produced Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Mr. Ayo Fayose while Ekiti North produced Engr. Segun Oni and Dr Kayode Fayemi, saying for justice and fair play, it is time for Ekiti South. They added that the zone is the largest in population, size and number of local government areas and wards.

Contrary to this however, Aribisala said it is better the party considers a consensus candidate from the North Senatorial District where Fayemi comes from so that through that, they can share the votes from the zone with the incumbent governor and wrestle for votes from other parts of the state with other parties for them to win. The former House of Representatives member, however, added that though he is from the North, he has no objection to whatever the party agrees upon.

Speaking with Daily Sun on the new agreement to use a consensus candidate, Chief Aluko said: ?We were with Mr. President in Abuja on Saturday, January 4, 2014, where we all agreed with him to use a consensus candidate. There was no dissenting voice. I was there. Fayose was there. Adeyeye was there. The minister (Caleb Olubolade) was there. We all agreed that we should make it transparent. No single person opposed this. All of us agreed to the consensus arrangement as proposed by Mr. President that there is not going to be primary election. All the aspirants were invited. Even Prof Tunde Adeniran, Senator Awoyelu were all there. However, Aluko said the issue of zoning was part of the consensus arrangement.

By the end of this month, January, our candidate will emerge.  On what will happen if somebody who feels he would emerge as candidate doesn?t emerge, the former deputy governor said: ?We have all agreed that whoever emerges as the flag bearer, we will all work together with him to ensure that the party wins the governorship election. Senator Ayo Arise was there. Yinka Akerele was there, Peter Obafemi. Bejide, Olowoporoku, Ogunbolude, Bimbo Owolabi, Senator Gbenga Aluko, Femi Bamisile; all of us were there. Nobody was left out. You can quote me, nobody objected. We all agreed.?

The list of PDP gubernatorial aspirants include: (from Southern Senatorial District) former Deputy Governor, Chief Abiodun Aluko; former Nigeria?s envoy to Canada, Ambassador Dare Bejide; former deputy governor Bisi Omoyeni; former deputy governor, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi; former National Assembly member, Senator Gbenga Aluko; former Afenifere chieftain, Prince Dayo Adeyeye; former minister, Chief Bode Olowoporoku; former Speakers, Rt. Hon Femi Bamisile and Tunji Odeyemi; Mr Bimbo Owolabi; and Hon Oluropo Ogunbolude. Among aspirants (from Central Senatorial District) are former Governor Ayodele Fayose; Police Affairs Minister, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade; and former President Olusegun Obasanjo?s aide, Mr. Bodunde Adeyanju; Contenders from the Northern Senatorial District are former National Assembly members, Senator Ayo Arise and Hon Adewale Aribisala; a businessman, Dr Peter Obafemi; former commissioner, Mr. Segun Olanrewaju; and Mr. Davies Olaosebikan.

When should people be expecting the consensus candidate to emerge? The PDP State Chairman, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe told Daily Sun that he was still awaiting the directive from the leadership of the party in Abuja, ?Only the national leadership of the party can give directive. No State Chairman of the party can give directive on this in our party, going by the constitution of our great party, which I respect so much. I have no favourite among the aspirants. On the time the primaries will be held or our candidate will emerge, I want to tell you that in politics, 24 hours is a long time. That is the answer. Only God and leaders of our party can determine when we will get the candidate. As I am talking to you now (Sunday January 12, 2014), we are still expecting directive from Abuja.?     On whether the ticket will go to the South zone or not, Ogundipe said: ?If you have a product you want to sell to people and you advertise it, you don?t restrict the people you are going to sell it to. It is only the national leadership of the party that can determine that.? On the prophecy from the former first lady on Fayose?s ordained victory, Ogundipe said: ?unfortunately, I am not a prophet.

So I don?t give comments on prophecies. We are only to live according to the word of God. And that is the only thing I can say on that.?    Going by the electoral law with which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) operate to regulate the conduct of election and electoral activities in Nigeria, the primary election of each party can only be held three months before the general election to elect the candidates, except where the party has consensus candidate, who can emerge before the stipulated period of three months.

It would be recalled however that it was the clamour for zoning to the south that led to serious crises in the party in mid July 2013, when six out of the14-member executive of the party issued a press release and suspended the Chairman of the party, Mr. Ogundipe, for one month over sundry offences to allow for a full investigation of allegation of corruption and bribery leveled against him. There was also counter suspension of those who first carried out the early suspension by the party chairman when he returned from his Abuja trip, until the leadership of the party had to intervene.

In spite of all these however, people are eagerly waiting for the person the PDP will present to Ekiti people to face Fayemi and Bamidele in the struggle for number one seat in the state.

NEWS / Govs Express Concern Over Postponement Of NEC Meeting
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:18:43 AM »
Govs express concern over postponement of NEC meeting

A faction of the Nigeria Governors Forum under the leadership of Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi  has again  expressed concern over the postponement of the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC). The meeting, which was expected to hold yesterday was  cancelled by the Presidency.

Rising at the end of its meeting on Wednesday night, the governors, in a communique signed by Rotimi Amaechi, noted that the meeting has been cancelled for five consecutive months. ?As co-managers of the Nigerian economy, the forum expresses deep disappointment at yet another postponement of the National Economic Council meeting.

The forum is concerned that a pattern is emerging where the National Economic Council meeting has been postponed for five consecutive months. It has become disturbing that governors are invited to Abuja for National Economic Council meetings only to be told of its cancellation usually on the eve of the meeting after the arrival of the governors without any reason; yet there are issues of urgent and utmost national importance that ought to have been addressed at the meeting.

Consequently, we have a 2014 national budget without input from the states resulting in a lack of sense of ownership of the budget process.?

The governors further claimed that the Presidency has been frustrating the NEC meeting from holding in order to deny the governors an avenue to formally ventilate their position on the  $49.8 billion, which the governor of the Central Bank had alleged was not remitted into the Federation Account by the NNPC.

?The forum reiterates that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Finance are obliged to brief the governors formally on the non-remittance of 49.8 billion dollars into the Federation Account.

In the absence of the National Economic Council meetings, the platform for resolving these issues becomes non-existent,? the governors? statment said.

POLITICS / 2015: Forget Ballot Snatching, Jega Tells Politicians
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:18:26 AM »
2015: Forget ballot snatching, Jega tells politicians


Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attairu Jega has warned politicians to rule out the possibility of snatching ballot boxes in the 2015 general elections, saying such will render votes of erring political parties invalid.

Jega gave the warning yesterday at the closing ceremony of a three-day retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and other management staff of the commission held in Kaduna.

According to him, the era of ballot box snatching had gone in the Nigerian electoral system. ?The new system of digitised electoral procedure has made it impossible for carrying ballot box from one polling station to another, because henceforth every polling booth will have a spe...ed digital number and all voting cards for that particular station will carry the digital number.

?When you register in booth ?A?, your registration number is one, everybody that registered there will carry number one, which means that polling unit is ?A1?. If your polling unit is ?B? you have ?B1/1-500?. If your voting card is registered under ?B? unit and it finds its way into ?A? unit box, that vote automatically becomes invalid.

?It pays for people contesting election to ensure that they play by the rules of the game, because when you snatch box from one polling unit to another, you stand the chance of losing the votes cast as they will all be declared invalid. With this new system and other initiatives put in place by the commission, 2015 will witness a hitch-free election, even though I cannot assure you of absolute perfection as we are learning day by day,? he said.

The INEC boss, however, expressed his commission?s readiness to be an unbiased umpire in the 2015 elections and ensure that everybody plays by the rules of the game.

He said the retreat was put in place as a means of deliberating and finding a way to correct the past mistakes the commission encountered during previous elections.

?We came together to brainstorm on problems encountered by the commission in previous elections and after three days? deliberation, we concluded that some of the major problems facing the commission include the delay in the supply of voting materials to polling units, competent personnel and security coverage for the staff,? he noted.

Jega, however, said the commission alone could not deliver the desired free and fair election without the collaboration of other agencies and stakeholders.

?We, in the commission, cannot solve this problem alone, we need the collaboration of other agencies like the security and the presidency to ensure that funds are made available at the right time for the right purpose,? the INEC boss stated.

NEWS / Court Remands Pastor In Prison
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:12:17 AM »
Court remands pastor in prison


A 47-year-old Pastor in Gbongan headquarters of Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun State, Julius Adepoju was yesterday ordered by an Osogbo Magistrate Court to be remanded in prison custody for allegedly killing a fellow pastor, Julius Oguntoye inside his church at Oke Ola area of the town.

Adepoju was alleged to have stabbed a co-pastor, Oguntoye, to death after an argument had ensued between them at the premises of the church.

The police prosecutor, Mr. Oladoye Joshua, a sergeant, told the court that the accused person used a knife to stab Oguntoye after an argument had ensued between them.

He informed the court that the two pastors had engaged in a fight over an issue before the accused person eventually stabbed the victim to death.

The prosecution maintained that the accused person was responsible for the death of Pastor Oguntoye, stressing that the offence was against the law of the land.

According to him, the accused person committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. II, Law of Osun State of Nigeria, 2003.

However, counsel to the accused person, Mrs. Nnenna Ngwu, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy and grant his client bail in the most liberal term. But, the presiding magistrate, Mr. Adebayo Lasisi, in his ruling said the accused person committed a capital offence and ordered him to be remanded in Ilesha Prison.

The case was adjourned till March 7 for mention.

NEWS / Civil Society Groups Call For Sanusi?s Removal
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:09:43 AM »
Civil society groups call for Sanusi?s removal

A coalition of civil society organisations in Abuja, Centre for Conscious Living Against Corruption in Nigeria, has called for the resignation of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi  over what it described as incessant violations of ethics of public conduct, fiscal responsibility and due diligence in the discharge of his duties as the chief banker of the nation.

Spokesman for the Centre, Dr. Gabriel Nwambu, who spoke at a press conference in Abuja, cited some donations made by the CBN governor as well as untrue statements allegedly made by him as constituting acts of abuse of office and negligence.

Some of the donations allegedly made by the CBN governor for which the coalition seeks his exit include the donation of N4 billion to Bayero University, Kano; N10 billion to Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; N135 million to Niger and Kano states; N500 million to University of Benin.

Nwambu said: ?2 sub sections a-e of the CBN Act (2007) clearly spells out the functions of the bank as: (a) ensure monetary and price stability (b) issue legal tender currency in Nigeria;

(c) maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency;

(d) promote a sound financial system in Nigeria and (e) act as banker and provide economic and financial advice to the Federal Government.

?In view of the clearly spelt out functions of the CBN in the legal instrument that set it up, it is clearly illegal and unlawful for Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to have paid out public funds as donations in the stated manner.?

Also citing the recent allegation by the CBN governor that $49 billion was missing from the national treasury, a claim which Sanusi later described as an error, the non-governmental organisation said Mallam Sanusi displayed gross incompetence  which was unbecoming of a person of his status.

In the words of the coalition spokesperson: ?Such an ?error? (if it was indeed one), should never have come from a CBN governor worth his salt! It was the expectation of most Nigerians that Mallam Sanusi would have done the needful by honourably tendering his resignation letter upon the occurrence of such a major mischievous statement capable of running down Nigeria?s economic standing in the eyes of the international business community.

? It is in the light of these developments and in our utmost desire to protect the integrity of the nation?s apex bank that we demand that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi should immediately tender his resignation as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.?

NEWS / Dickson Hails Mu?azu, Tukur?s Appointments
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:04:55 AM »
Dickson hails Mu?azu, Tukur?s appointments

Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, has described the emergence of the immediate past civilian governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu?azu as the new national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the appointment of erstwhile chairman of the party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur as chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) as a positive development for the NRC and the PDP.

The duo, according to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso Markson would bring their wealth of experience to bear in their respective positions.

?Mu?azu, during his tenure as Governor of Bauchi State did not only reposition his people for greater economic and infrastructural development, but laid the foundation for the PDP to remain the dominant party in the state.?

While commending President Jonathan for the appointment, he expressed the hope that Tukur would  bring his long standing experience in the private and public sectors to bear in his new position.

?The revival of the rail transportation is so dear to Mr. President and the transformation agenda of the Federal Government and with the massive investments in the sector and a capable hand like Dr. Bamanga Tukur, we are sure to have things working in record time.?

Governor Dickson, who spoke on the heels of Tukur?s new appointment, noted that the decision was not only a wise one, but one that would give the sector the needed boost and make life more meaningful for Nigerians and the economy in general.

Dickson also commended the elder statesman for his dedicated, selfless and committed service to the ruling PDP and the nation in general, describing him as a faithful and progressive party man, who has at various times jettisoned selfish motives and worked diligently for the overall benefit and progress of the party and the country. According to him, in every circumstance and situation, the elder statesman has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the PDP and always placed it above every other consideration.

?It is a thing of joy that, as a political party, we have people like him, whose maturity and loyalty to the party has continued over the years. We are proud of him and our prayer is that, God Almighty will continue to grant him good health and wisdom to render quality service to the nation.

NEWS / Wike: FG to Employ 1,000 Teachers for Unity Schools
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:45:04 AM »
Wike: FG to Employ 1,000 Teachers for Unity Schools

 Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike

 The federal government is to employ 1,000 additional teachers for Federal `Unity? Colleges, the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said.

 Wike disclosed this Monday at a meeting with principals of the federal colleges in Abuja.

 According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the minister said the aim was to address the deficit of teachers in the schools to improve learning and teaching.

 Wike, who also stated that government was making efforts to improve technical and vocational education, directed the principals of Federal Technical Colleges to submit the lists of requirements in their schools.

 He said they should make their requests in the area of physics, chemistry and biology laboratories as a first step in developing technical and vocational education.

 ?For those in technical schools, submit to us just two departments that can be immediately furnished,?? he said.

 Wike said the essence of the meeting with the principals was to explore ways of improving quality of teaching and learning in schools.

 He said there would be no technological and economic advancement without technical and vocational education.
 ?This is a serious drive to revive the sector,?? he added.
 The minister later presented six technical colleges from the geo-political zones with some science equipment.

 The principals listed the problems and needs of their various schools which the minister promised to address urgently.

NEWS / Rivers Crisis: NUJ Condemns Attacks on Journalists
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:42:06 AM »
Rivers Crisis: NUJ Condemns Attacks on Journalists

 The Rivers State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned violent attacks on journalists covering the state and warned that it might consider the withdrawal of services of its members if the trend continues.

 The union was reacting to the attacks on journalists working for Channels Television at the botched rally of Save Rivers Movement  (SRM) in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area of the state last Sunday.

 In a nine-point communiqu? issued at the end of an emergency meeting of the state executive council of the union yesterday, the NUJ expressed concern over the political situation in the state and the increasing attacks on journalist covering the state.

 The communiqu?, signed by Chairman of the state council of the NUJ, Mr. Opaka Dokubo, and the Secretary, Stanley Job Stanley, noted that journalists were not interested parties in the political crisis currently rocking the state, but were merely carrying out their professional duties.

 The union said: ?We condemn the attack on journalists working with Channels Television on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, during the botched Save Rivers Movement rally.

 ?We recall similar attacks on journalists working with TV Continental, Sun Newspapers, RSTV, Rhythm 93.7 FM, among others.
 ?We find this situation unacceptable and urge political parties, groups and their followers to engage in their activities and leave journalists alone to practise their chosen profession.?

 The union also condemned the involvement of policemen and other security agents in the violence against journalists and innocent people in the state.

 The union said: ?We also condemn a situation where policemen and other security agents, attack journalists or even stand-by and watch while journalists are being attacked by hoodlums.

 ?We call on the police and other security agencies to ensure the safety of lives and property of all Nigerians in Rivers State, irrespective of their political affiliations.

 ?We also call on the police and other security agencies to ensure the protection of journalists operating in the state, in the discharge of their professional responsibilities.?

 The NUJ warned that if the attacks were not stopped and the safety of journalists guaranteed in the state, it would withdraw the services of its members in the state.

 ?We wish to warn that should these incessant attacks continue on journalists in Rivers State, the state council of the NUJ shall take appropriate steps, including the withdrawal of our services,? it warned.

NEWS / Finally, Lagos Unveils Electronic Certificate of Occupancy
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:41:17 AM »
Finally, Lagos Unveils Electronic Certificate of Occupancy

 The Lagos State Government Monday finally unveiled the electronic certificate of occupancy (e-C of O), which it said, would phase out the yellow paper format that had been in use since the enactment of Land Use Act, 1979.

 Also, the state government said the electronic format, which has technology-driven security features, would prevent unauthorised access and other unlawful tempering with the stored electronic documents and information.

 The Permanent Secretary of state Lands Bureau, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, made the disclosure at a news conference he addressed alongside the bureau?s Executive Secretary, Mr. Aina Salami and Registrar of Title, Mrs. Dayo Akintoye, among others.

 At the news conference, Muri-Okunola said the processing of the electronic certificate of occupancy ?incorporates technology-driven security features,? which he said, made it extremely difficult ?to clone or forge the paper on which the certificate is printed.?

 According to him, the commencement of the new process marks the gradual phasing out of the yellow paper certificate of occupancy, which until the formal notice from the state government was still a valid legal title document.

 He added that the process of conversion from the yellow paper format to the electronic format ?is an ongoing exercise and until further notice by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), the yellow paper duly issued remains valid.?

 The permanent secretary disclosed that the state government would publicly present the first batch of electronic titles to their holders next week, noting that the original copies of the electronic titles would not be collected by proxy.
 He, therefore, reeled out key innovation and changes on the electronic titles, explaining that the paper used for the electronic certificate of occupancy ?was specially designed for the Lagos State Government by a world-renowned security expert.

 "The yellow form A3 size paper used in printing the yellow paper format is being replaced with a user-friendly secure A4 paper, which enables automated processing of the C of O.?

 He said the introduction of the e-C of O gave the opportunity to revise some of the clauses and contents of the certificates, taking cognisance of current trends and development and ensuring compliance with relevant laws.?

 He added that the sun print survey plan in the yellow paper ?is being replaced with an ?as-built? digital survey plan obtained from the Lagos State Geographic Information System, which is accurate to 10cm. The digital survey plan will now be electronically signed by the Surveyor-General of Lagos State within the automated system of processing.?

 He cited another major innovation to better secure the e-C of O document, which he described as the document features encrypted with enhanced 2D barcode that will appear on the electronic format.
 He said the barcode contains security information that can only be viewed with an enabled barcode reader.

NEWS / Gay Marriage is Taboo in Nigeria, Says Uduaghan
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:39:52 AM »
Gay Marriage is Taboo in Nigeria, Says Uduaghan

 Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said the marriage between same-sex is not only  a taboo  but against the African culture
 Uduaghan, who stated this  in Dublin,  Ireland,  while receiving  an  international leadership award,  stoutly defended the bill forbidding gay marriage in Nigeria and signed into law by President Jonathan.

 The governor added that  gay marriage was  pedophilia, a psychiatric disorder, in which an adult had sexual interest in children and hence a taboo.

 Uduaghan during the award ceremony given by Metro Eireann, Ireland?s major multicultural newspaper, told the international community, which had Ireland?s Minister of Trade and Foreign Investment, Mr. Joe Costello, in attendance, that gay marriage offended the cultural norms of Nigerians and that it could be likened pedophilia.

 The governor, while reacting to comments during the ceremony, maintained that the law was popular and that Nigerians accept it.
 ?I am sure no one here in this country would accept a condition in which an adult can sleep with a 10-year-old girl. If that situation is not acceptable, we in Nigeria view gay marriage as such,? he said.

 Uduaghan, who received thunderous applause for his strong position on this issue by a large Nigerian audience, explained that marriage in Nigeria was viewed as union between families.

 ?In Nigeria, marriage between two people is usually between a man and a woman and not just between them but between their families too,? he said.

 ?Whenever a couple come together, they are not coming together by themselves, it almost involves their different families and if it is known that in that family there are married gays, the danger is that the taboo emanating from that might even affect others who are straight and that is not right,? the governor emphasised.

 Giving a personal example, he said: ?In marrying my wife, it was the coming together of her family and my family and the blessings of the two families that made it happen.?

 Accusing the international community of double standards, Uduaghan said he was surprised by their reactions, saying: ?There was a public hearing by the National Assembly and we are not aware of their opposition to this bill. What happened was that a lot of Nigerians appeared and made submission in favour of it. So, it is a surprise that after the bill has been passed, we are now facing this opposition by the international community.?

 Concluding his remark, governor insisted that anyone who wishes to be married to a gay is free to migrate to the country, where it is acceptable.

20 Civilians, Five Soldiers Killed in Renewed Fulani Attack on Agatu

 About 20 civilians and five soldiers attached to the 72 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Makurdi, Benue State were believed to have been killed on Sunday by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Agatu Local Government Area of the state.
 According to a source, the herdsmen, who came in their numbers, attacked the villages in Oweto and Utuluewu in broad daylight, killing about 20 persons including five soldiers keeping peace in the area.

 The spokesman of the state police command, Daniel Ezeala, confirmed the killings of the people but said they were only 12, stressing that situation had been brought under control.

 "Twelve persons were killed on Sunday in Agatu. The situation is under control now with the deployment of enough policemen to the affected places just as investigation into the matter has commenced," Ezeala said.

 Speaking on the development, the state Commissioner for Works, John Ngbede, who hails from the troubled area, alleged that the Fulani attackers in their usual style, invaded some communities in Agatu at 10a.m. on Sunday.

 Ngbede said the attackers killed seven of his kinsmen in Oweto and Utuluewu villages in Agatu while various others sustained different category of injuries even as countless level of destruction was done to properties.

 Similarly, the legislator representing the area in the state House of Assembly, Hon. Sule Audu, expressed disgust at the continued attack on his constituents' without any seeming solution in sight.

 Meanwhile, the state secretary of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)  Garus Gololo, said he was depressed over the killings of the people at a time when measures were in place to end the incessant crisis between the farmers and cattle breeders in the area.

 According to Gololo, the attackers must have gained entry to the affected places through Loko in  Nasarawa State to carry out their evil plan as no herders to the best of his knowledge are currently resident in the Idoma speaking communities of Agatu.
 He urged security men to go after them and ensure that the culprits are arrested and brought to book to serve as a deterrent to other invaders.

 "I'm so sad over the killings in the area. I'm also told that the soldiers fell in the middle of the crossfire between the Agatu and Fulanis. The killers should be arrested and prosecuted," Gololo added.

NEWS / ?National Conference Will Set Agenda for New Nigeria?
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:36:43 AM »
?National Conference Will Set Agenda for New Nigeria?

 Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation,  Chief Edem Duke

 Nduka Nwosu in New York
 The Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation,  Chief Edem Duke, has said the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the opposition were free to hold their opinions on the proposed national dialogue, adding that whatever views anyone held, the outcome will set the agenda for a new Nigeria

 Duke, who said the proposition was a master stroke that had left the original critics of the president in disbelief, was speaking to journalists on Sunday, at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel Washington DC, after the 23rd annual edition of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Legacy Award for International Service presented to Ambassador Ade Adefuye, Nigeria?s Ambassador to the United States (US).

 According to him, who brought a goodwill message from President Goodluck Jonathan to the organisers and participants at the award ceremony, Jonathan should not be taken for granted because he was humble, non-eccentric and not vindictive, referring to his critics and the NEF, who asked him to resign if he must be taken seriously on the outcome of the conference.

 The minister said rather than acknowledge the president for his brave decision to convene a national conference, the opposition and the NEF were singing a different and new song.

 Duke said:  ?It is unfortunate that the same people who were busy mouthing the need for a national conference of ethnic nationalities are now going about thrashing the president for taking the wind off their sail. The president?s initiative caught them pants down and to their disbelief they are now singing a new song while condemning  the noble proposition of Mr. President.
 ?The fact that this president is not vindictive and eccentric is no reason any one must take him for granted and write off his honest desire to move the country to the next level.

 ?As for those who proclaim doomsday as a consequence of the national conversation,  they will be disappointed because we are already demystifying the steps that lead into disintegration and make no mistakes about it, Nigerians are great advocates of progression.?

 On the importance of the national conference, Duke said there was need for this to cut across all interest groups with a yardstick that defines the conversation, saying the idea was designed to ventilate ?our thoughts and ideas from the various geographical, ethnic and interest groups, an expression of belief in the country?s corporate unity.

 On NEF?s demand that it did not have faith on the outcome of the conference but instead that the president should resign and allow an independent group with an interim president to steer the conference, Duke disagreed, insisting that the North needs not agree with the modalities for the conference but that one thing was certain, ?the North agrees Nigeria must remain one corporate entity.?

 Duke who commended the organisers of the King Award, said Adefuye deserved high commendation for his Diaspora crusades, which he noted, have continued to add value to the initiatives of the Jonathan administration, aimed at creating global benchmarks for the country?s development and growth.

 Adefuye, he said, had excelled in this directive, which was why he rightly earned the King Legacy Award for International Service.

 ?We know Adefuye?s effort in positioning Nigeria on the global village has been phenomenal especially in helping to include Nigeria as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We must continue to encourage him through our efforts at the culture ministry,? he stressed.

 On the Centenary celebration, which he said, was the baby of the culture ministry, Duke added: ?We hold great expectations on the outcome of the celebration because we have to crow and count our successes as a nation. Many such experiments collapsed before the attainment of the age of 50 and here we are discussing 100 years as a people.

 ?Our common heritage as a people is our greatest collateral advantage. The centenary initiative is being championed by Mr. President and the aim is to create national harmony, a greater achievement of goals aimed at stimulating growth and development in the future. Of course the initiative was that of the culture ministry. The Centenary team is made up of ministers of the Federal Republic.?

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