Sahara Reporters Latest News Monday 24th December 2018

Sahara Reporters Latest News Monday 24th December 2018

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 24/12/18

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target=_blank>A Week After Killing 20 In Zamfara, Bandits Kill Another 17 In Fresh Onslaught

The remains of four residents killed by armed bandits at Nassarawa Gödel, being prepared for burial in the community in Zamfara State

The remains of four residents killed by armed bandits at Nassarawa Gödel, being prepared for burial in the community in Zamfara State

Daily Trust

Armed bandits have launched an atack on Magami community in Faru District of Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, leaving no fewer than 17 people dead.
Just last week, more than 20 people were killed in attacks on communities in Birnin Magaji.
In yet another incident, the Nigeria Police Force lost 16 officers in an ambush by bandits in Zamfara, which occurred on Thursday, November 29, 2018.

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According to Daily Trust, residents narrated how dozens of armed men arrived in the community, shooting sporadically and killing many people.
“They were chasing and shooting people dead on motorbikes, I saw them approaching and I tried to alert the other residents. Some were able to escape the carnage, but others were unfortunate and got trapped and killed,” a resident, Ali Hassan, said.
SP Muhammad Shehu, spokesman of the state Police Command, noted that the Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel, had deployed additional a tactical team comprising PMF/CTU/FSARS to Magami village to compliment the efforts of Police teams and other sister security services.
According to Shehu, the Police Commissioner alongside the scting Governor of Zamfara State, as well as heads of security agencies were at the scene earlier on Sunday to assess the situation.
Speaking on the incident, Shehu said: ”The unit of the PMF/CTU personnel has already arrived the village and they were directed to operate in collaboration with the military and other security personnel to restore normalcy and forestall any security threat by any disgruntled person or group of persons.
“While the Command condoles the government and people of Zamfara State over the unfortunate incident, it has also vowed to arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of this dastardly act. The Command in this regard appeals for continued collaboration with all the security agencies in the state to bring lasting peace in the community and security to Zamfara State.”
 

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target=_blank>The Nation Newspaper ‘Person Of The Year’ By Wole Soyinka

I cannot wait to congratulate The Nation Newspapers, and then the (Nigerian) nation herself, for  an invigorating decision on this year’s nominations for the ritual identification of individuals to whom honour belongs for the title of “Person of the Year”. I do not know the process by which the final decisions are taken. I have no idea if specific parameters of deserving are set for each annual exercise. If the process involves a specific theme, this year’s election exercise must have been set around evidence of “Nobility of Mind”. The decisions are, in my view, not merely appropriate, but universalist and unexceptionable. It redeems us, in a consoling measure, as responsive humanity. It offers a desperately needed salve of conscience for those to whom the abduction, and continued imprisonment of innocent children remain a dereliction in our moral existence and sense of civic responsibility. Some day, we know, this nightmare will be over. Right now, however, the nation is held prisoner and her collective pride severely bruised. We should feel unfit even to celebrate the award, feel inadequate to share it with Leah Sharibu’s family.  
It is a useful moment to drag public attention back to a recent call for public involvement by Senator Shehu Sani, who, like many of thinking citizens, had clearly taken stock of the recent reverses endured by the military – most especially with the infiltration of a military camp and the massacre – let us not mince words! – the massacre of numerous soldiers. He advocated the adoption of the orphaned children of those fallen soldiers by senators. My only difference here is that this reach-out to our military should not be limited to the elected arms of governance but to the entirety of the nation. Where the cause is just, where a response to crimes against humanity with state structured violence cannot be faulted in any way, then maximal public involvement becomes not only just but mandatory. Failure to involve the nation, as a profoundly affected entity in the war against Boko Haram, is a grave psychological omission. It is not often that a nation finds itself, without reservation, on the side of state violence – I believe this is one of those exceptions. The government has failed in this elementary appreciation, and that prospect of boosting military morale through public solidarity has been jettisoned quite unnecessarily and pointlessly. War was taken to the nation, not the other way around, and the nation has no option but to engage through all available means for her people’s survival – and in full freedom. This is a vastly different call from the “Troop Comfort Fund” co-option of the War of Nigerian secession!
To return to this Award, an expression of national – and humanist – resolve, signified in the chosen young school pupil, let me plead that, even as we battle on different fronts for her restoration to freedom, undue expectations be not placed on any one individual predicament. Concentration should be, firstly, on her release, next, ensuring that she regain the normality of development from which she has been so violently wrenched. I tried to enter this plea on the occasion of the 70th celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, where a world-wide reading was held both for that anniversary and in memory of the murdered journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. I cautioned that no attempt should be made to fasten on that fragile prisoner of conscience any public burden beyond recovering her persona as human being and citizen. With the conferment of this award, I repeat and reinforce that plea. Recognize, honour, but prepare to let her be. And it is in that connection that I fault the – probably unintended – intent to drag her into feminist prospectus, through the evocation of that combative, but misplaced confection: sheroes. There is no such word. Leah Sharibu is a heroine, a national heroine, a universal heroine. Or hero. That should be sufficient.
‘Shero’ is an ugly concoction that even the feminist movement quickly recognized as distractive and distortive – and abandoned.  Words sometimes go beyond mere meaning, they implicate history, just to complicate matters for unforeseen generations and other cultures and causes. Ironically,‘Hero’, for instance, was the name of a woman. In Greek mythology, she was a priestess of the deity Aphrodite. Imprisoned in a tower, she lit a lamp to guide her lover, Leandros, who swam the straits of the Hellespont for their nightly tryst. Hero is NOT a masculine word, it is not a candidate for gender emasculation.
However, we also must not be distractive, so permit me to end this little intervention with a few lines from my reading at that mentioned 70th Anniversary at Freedom Park, Lagos. May she gain freedom soon, and in sound body and mind, so that we also may relish ours:
                                                 Dear Leah,
Yours is yet pulsating rock, prospecting
Self-cognition. It may crack. Fissures
Will commence, the heart core melt, the weight,
The pressure take their toll with time, but –
This, your moment, stands outside time.
The voice endures, its echoes linger on.                       
                                   
                                                                                                            Wole SOYINKA                                   
                                                                                   
 
 
 

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target=_blank>Niger Delta Ex-Militants Call For Probe Of Presidential Amnesty Programme

Professor Charles Dokubo

Professor Charles Dokubo

Ex-Niger Delta militants from Bayelsa State have called for a probe into the office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
They are also calling for the sack of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Professor Charles Dokubo, over “monumental fraud and corrupt practices”.
A statement signed by their leader, General Eyerin Bature, obtained by SaharaReporters passed a vote of no confidence in Dokubo.
The statement read: “It is on record that the Amnesty Programme was created by late President Yar’Adua’s administration for the development, education and empowerment of hostile Niger Delta youth so as to create conducive environment for the production of oil which is the main source of Nigeria revenue. Since the creation of the Agency, it has recorded significant improvement in the lives of the people of Niger Delta region, mostly in the empowerment of the youth and the resultant peace created by the programme has no doubt resulted in the increase in the output of oil production and increase of the country’s revenue generation.
“Be that as it may, it seems that recent activities of the current leadership of the Presidential Amnesty Programme headed by Prof. Charles Dokubo is out to derail the gains already achieved by the Agency in the past. This is so because investigation has revealed that although Dokubo is learned in letters being a Professor with credible records, he knows little or nothing about the operation of the Amnesty Programme. Consequently, the operation of the Agency seems to have been hijacked by his cronies who took advantage of his weaknesses and ignorance to turn the office to a ‘House of Corruption’.
“Thus, instead of concentrating on the development of the youth who are supposed to be his core objective, Dokubo is seen flirting with all manners of people, both male and female who do not have any business with the Agency. Under Dokubo’s watch, the office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme has become what could be described as a ‘House of Horror’ for the youth and ex-militants who are the original reason for the creation of the programme It has been observed that since the coming of Dokubo, there have been several altercations and protests, because he has derailed in his primary assignment of paying attention to the ex-militants.
“There were the militants who gave up their arms in pursuit of peace for Nigeria economy to develop without hindrance. It is on record that recently, a coalition of Niger Delta militants has equally called on the federal government to investigate the current state of affairs in the Presidential Amnesty Office led by Prof. Charles Dokubo. The agitators demanded for probe into the activities of the department responsible for reintegration of ex-militants, alleging that some underhand dealings that is inimical to the progress of the objectives of the Programme is currently going on in the Agency.
“Although mischief makers may describe the various protest against Dokubo as witch-hunting, there could be an iota of truth in their various allegations against him. If the action of Dokubo is not checked at the appropriate time, one is afraid that the crisis in the Niger Delta may re-erupt very soon and God forbid, the consequences may be disastrous to the region, corporate organizations operating in the region and the economy of the nation.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to patiently take another look at the activities of the Amnesty Office, because the prevailing peace in the region is under threat by the mismanagement of Dokubo’s maladministration. A stitch in time they say saves time. Nigeria cannot afford a repeat of the crisis and pipeline vandalisation in the Niger Delta region which brought production of oil to its lowest ebb. Nigeria cannot afford this dangerous trend a second time. Therefore it is expedient for the Government to review the office of the Amnesty programme to checkmate its obnoxious activities.
“Investigators have equally alleged that Dokubo is on rampage of acquiring properties in Port Harcourt and Abuja through his cronies. Contractors are not paid as at when due, resulting in vendors and unregistered contractors flooding the office daily for funds. His relatives are alleged to be at the forefront of contract racketeering by collecting award letters and selling same to interested individuals who end up collecting the 15% mobilizations and disappear for fear of not been paid after completion of job and having access to his office to pursue payment after doing their jobs is an herculean task.”
The statement however, warned that failure to checkmate Dokubo’s non-chalant attitude may result in the ex-militants returning to the creeks, as some of the angry ex-warlords have vowed to go back to “vandalising and bursting of pipelines”. 

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target=_blank>Group Seeks Intervention Of NJC, Buhari Over Adeyanju’s Continued Detention By Police

Jude Imagwe (middle) and Dare Ariyo (left) during the press conference in Abuja

Jude Imagwe (middle) and Dare Ariyo (left) during the press conference in Abuja

A group of civil society organisations has called on the National Judicial Commission (NJC) and President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to obey the court order that granted the release of Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians.
The group made the appeal on Saturday in Abuja during a press conference on the continued detention of Adeyanju by the Police.
On Friday, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja had ordered the immediate release of Deji Adeyanju. However, in a separate ruling, the magistrate court sitting in Kano ordered that Adeyanju should be remanded in Police custody.

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Abuja Court Sets Deji Adeyanju Free But Kano Court Sends Him To Prison Till February

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Jude Imagwe, Coordinator of Advanced Initiative for World Peace and Human Rights Activist, asked the Police to respect the superior order by Justice Danladi Senchi of the FCT High Court which granted Adeyanju’s release, in a fundamental human rights suit filed Mike Ozekhome SAN and Tolu Babaleye.
Speaking on the matter, Imagwe said: “We invite the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Chief of Judge of Kano State and the entire bar and bench to take note of the wicked and malicious pronouncement made by Hassan Fagge of Magistrate Court 19, Sabon Gari, Kano, which is symbolic of the tyrannical days of military dictatorship. You cannot decline jurisdiction and still make an order remanding our brother in prison custody.
“If you declined jurisdiction in attending to somebody’s case, you equally do not have the power again to appropriate judgement, because your first decline of jurisdiction means that you have told the Police that brought that person to you that you do not have  power to hear this case.
“A country is sustained and strengthened if the institutions serve the citizens and not the government. The Police is to serve the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not the government of the country, because the government will come and will go but the citizens will always remain. So, we are appealing to the Inspector General of Police to demonstrate high level of tolerance and maturity when citizens, activists and civil society see things that are wrong in government and criticise government about it. If a government is not criticised, the government is being deceived.”
He pointed out that Adeyanju did not mean evil for the country by protesting against the government, adding that it is the government that is duty-bound to have a rethink on where it is getting it wrong on policy direction. He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter and prevail on the Police to obey the superior court order and ensure Adeyanju’s release.
“The manner in which the president demonstrated a high level of maturity during the budget presentation; the manner in which he tolerated every rancour that was displayed in the National Assembly, I appeal to him to carry the same maturity and tolerance into accommodation of people that criticise his government outside the National Assembly,” Imagwe stated.
Also speaking, Coordinator of the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, Dare Ariyo Atoye, added that the order of the FCT high court was the superior judgement on the matter.

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target=_blank>Army Restates Commitment To Peaceful Festive Season In Adamawa

Brigadier General Mohammad Bello, Brigade Commander of 23 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, has assured the public of peaceful festive season.
Bello gave the assurance during the quarterly show of force by the joint security agencies in Yola, amidst palpable apprehension, regarding the removal of all military roadblocks in the state.
In the recent past, kidnappings involving high profile personalities have taken place in the state, including the killing of Dr. Mwajim Malgwi and his wife.
However, the Brigade Commander noted that its officers were on top of the security situation and restated the Army’s commitment to ensuring peace during the festive season, as well as during the 2019 elections.
“As the 2019 general election and Christmas celebration are fast approaching, the Nigerian Army took it upon itself to make the environment peaceful during and after the celebrations,” he said.
He urged the public to go about their normal businesses, as the Nigerian Army is on alert to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians.

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target=_blank>Bankers Warehouse Demands Apology From EFCC Over Arrest Of Employees Carrying $2.8m Cash

Bankers Warehouse Limited has countered the claim by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the two men arrested at the Enugu Airport are criminals.
According to the anti-graft commission, its Enugu zonal office intercepted the men carrying $2.8million cash at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. A statement by the anti-graft commission last Friday gave the names of the men as Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel.

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Two Arrested At Enugu Airport For ‘Carrying’ $2.8m Cash For ‘Some Notable Banks’

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However, a statement by Bankers Warehouse Limited on Sunday, according to NAN, refuted the claims and called on EFCC to release the cash and its employees.
Bankers Warehouse is a company registered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to carry out cash movement as well as currency processing.
The statement read: “The document provided also included a covering note from the bank authorising the team to move the consignment which is the standard practice. We hereby state categorically that the movement of this currency was a legitimate business carried out on behalf of a legitimate financial institution.
“We emphasise that our employees are in no way criminals carrying out any act of illegality as the EFCC has tried to portray. These young men whose character and reputation have been deliberately soiled by the EFCC operatives were conducting their legitimate duties as requested bank customer of our company.
“We request for swift and immediate release of our employees and our customer’s currency both detained without proper cause. We also demand immediate retraction by the EFCC and and an apology issued to our company and our employees whose images have been maligned.”
The company also called for a special apology for the disclosure and damage to the image of their client.

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E2%80%99ll-report-amosun-okorocha-candidates-inec-fraud-%E2%80%93-oshiomhole target=_blank>We’ll Report Amosun, Okorocha Candidates To INEC For Fraud – Oshiomhole

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, says the APC will take action against the parties using President Muhammadu Buhari’s photographs for their campaigns.
Oshiomhole said this on ‘The Platform’, a programme on TVC on Saturday while reacting to the crisis in the party’s chapters in Ogun and Imo states.
He said the APC would write a letter of complaint to the Independent National Electoral Commission on the matter.
The governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun  and his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, had said they would continue to support Buhari but would work against the governorship candidates of the APC in their states.
Both governors were prevented from fielding their preferred candidates in the 2019 governorship elections in their states.
Although Amosun has remained in the APC, his candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, is contesting on the platform of the Allied People’s Movement while Okorocha’s candidate and son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, is contesting on the platform of Action Alliance.
Oshiomhole said, “If there is a person, including a governor, who wants to sell a distorted message, the party will stop him. That is the truth. We have also seen some situations which we are trying to draw the attention of INEC to as the regulator of political parties. You cannot have anyone putting the portrait of President Muhammadu Buhari as President and his own portrait as the governorship candidate on the platform of a political party that is not known to the people.”
The APC chairman also expressed his disgust over the refusal of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, to step down despite defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party.
He maintained that the APC remained the dominant party in the parliament, but not in control.
Oshiomhole, however, said removing Saraki and Dogara was no longer the priority of the ruling party.
Meanwhile, the newly constituted APC caretaker committee in Ogun State has said it will not take issue with Amosun.
The APC National Working Committee had set up the caretaker committee headed by Chief Yemi Sanusi with Mr Ayobami Olubori the secretary and Mr Tunde Oladunjoye named its publicity secretary.
The committee will report directly to the NWC led by Oshiomhole.
The NWC had sacked the party executives in both Imo and Ogun states for alleged anti-party activities.
Later on Friday, Amosun rejected the caretaker committee and insisted that the executive members of the party in the state would complete their four-year tenure.
Oladunjoye in a statement, said both the electoral law and the party constitution recognised only one APC.
According to him, the committee will breathe a new life into the party, promote peace and give its members.
The statement said, “We are all members of the same house under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, we will renew, realign, and rebuild our party for total victory at the 2019 polls, by God’s grace”.
Meanwhile, Okorocha has said he does not take the national chairman of the APC seriously again.
Okorocha, who was reacting to the statements made against him by Oshiomhole during a rally in Owerri on Friday, said he would not be distracted by Oshiomhole from ensuring victory for Buhari in 2019.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, insisted that the governorship candidate of the APC in the state, Senator Hope Uzodinma, did not have the capacity to garner the kind of support that would make him win the governorship election next year.
There are also indications that the national leadership of the APC has been under “intense pressure” to expel Okorocha and Amosun over alleged anti-party activities.
The two governors are believed to be close to President Muhammadu Buhari.
A member of the  NWC of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity,  told SUNDAY PUNCHin Abuja on Saturday night that there was no way the party would encourage the two governors to work against the governorship candidates of the APC in their states.
He said, “They are holding the party’s senatorial tickets. They want to hold on to the tickets and use the name of the President to win because they know that the Presidential and the National Assembly elections are to hold the same day.
“After using the goodwill of the President and the party to win, they will now go and mobilise against the party’s governorship candidates in their respective states. We won’t allow that. The best way is to show them the way out.”

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target=_blank>US Senators Move To Ensure Free Elections In Nigeria

Four United States senators; Jeff Flake, Cory Booker, Johnny Isakson and Christopher Coons came out strongly in the week and insisted that Nigeria must build off on the peaceful transfer of power she pulled off in 2015 as she gears up for the 2019 elections.
The senators, who showed their concern about some of the events culminating in next year’s general election in a letter to Tibor Nagy, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, however, said the United States government was determined to help the country consolidate her democratic gains, noting that the 2019 elections must meet expectations and international standards.
The Senators’ joint letter of concern about Nigeria’s 2019 election came to fore about the same time another US congressman, Christopher Smith took a swipe at President Muhamamdu Buhari’s government especially over alleged crack down on the opposition, saying as Africa’s largest democracy and economy, his concerns were understandable.
Yet, in the same breath, a former presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe has declared that Nigeria was in a perilous time and that only God and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could save the nation from total collapse.
In their letter dated December 19 and obtained exclusively by THISDAY, the US senators said to Nagy, “As you know, Nigeria’s next presidential and National Assembly elections are scheduled to take place on February 16, 2019.
“As the largest democracy and economy in Africa, Nigeria’s ability to hold peaceful and fair elections is of paramount importance to maintaining democratic legitimacy and stability in the region. Nigeria completed a peaceful transfer of power in 2015 and it is important that the country build off this progress and momentum in the upcoming election.
“With the election approaching, the United States must reaffirm its support for democracy in Nigeria by calling on all parties to refrain from violence, harassment or intimidation of political opponents, and from impeding the electoral process in any way.
“We urge you to speak out against any efforts to interfere in the electoral process in a timely manner to reinforce the US government’s support for elections that are credible, transparent and peaceful,” they stated.
The lawmakers however stated with emphasis that, “What happens in Nigeria will set example for other African nations to follow and it is critical for the United States to focus on helping that country consolidate its democratic gains. We encourage you to take all actions you deem to be appropriate to ensure that Nigerian elections meet the expectations of its people, as well as international standards.”
On his part, Smith, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, who issued a statement with regards to presidential and National Assembly elections in the country particularly, with respect to cases of violence that is largely attributable to Fulani extremists, said there might be a serious crackdown on the opposition.
“I am very concerned by the current trajectory in Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy and economy, and President Muhamadu Buhari’s apparent crackdown on non-violent protests and harassment of opposition leaders, such as freezing the assets of opposition vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi and the raiding of the home of two sons of opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar.
“I call upon the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that elections will be free and fair, and for the Commission to remain impartial. I further call upon President Buhari to use his authority to end the violence perpetrated by Fulani extremists, particularly in the Middle Belt region, and question why he has failed to do so.
“I also urge the Trump Administration to monitor the evolving situation closely, and not to hesitate to use its sanctioning authority to hold accountable any officials, who subvert the electoral process or foment violence against citizens,” he said.
Smith, who chaired a hearing on Nigeria on December 13, 2018, titled: “Nigeria at a Crossroads: The Upcoming Election,” had repeatedly called attention to extremist violence and appealed to President Buhari to use his authority to put a stop to it.
As if cashing in on the mood of the concerned US lawmakers, Okupe, who spoke on Friday while speaking on Arise Television, the broadcast arm of THISDAY newspaper, said the economic situation in the country has become terribly bad due to the fact that President Buhari was not in charge of governance of the country and therefore advised Nigerians not to vote for a president, who they are not sure of being in charge of the economy and affairs of the nation.
Okupe, a former governorship aspirant of the PDP in Ogun State, said the president’s wife, Aisha Buhari had made it clear to Nigerians that her husband, Muhammadu Buhari was not in charge of the nation’s affairs.
“His wife came out on television and said the president is not in charge. Mrs. Buhari said two men are the people that are running the country”.
Contending that it would be unwise for Nigerians to still vote the same president whose wife openly told the whole nation that just two men had hijacked his government, Okupe said, “Mrs. Buhari came to the Nigerian public and said you guys have to fight for yourselves because right now, my husband has lost the grip on this administration, and some two people, who we do not know, are the ones running the economy”.
The PDP stalwart also lamented the untold suffering being experienced by Nigerians due to poor economic policies of the president, and expressed shock that the presidency seemed completely unaware of the grinding poverty foisted on the citizens by APC government.
“The presidency is totally unaffected; they are unconcerned and totally disconnected from the suffering of the masses. The president does not know about many things going on.”
He advised Nigerians, particularly the unemployed youths to salvage the nation’s situation by voting for a president that would be in charge and be fully aware of happenings around him.
“Is that what we want to vote for – the same government that you don’t know who will run the administration – a country of 200 million people with so many youths? We are in dangerous and perilous times, and only God and PDP will save this country in 2019”.
The medical doctor turned politician said the APC government has brought indecency into Nigeria, and has continuously peddled lies, adding that the Buhari administration has not created 12 million jobs as claimed, but contended that Akinwumi Adesina, the erstwhile Minister of Agriculture during Jonathan’s government evidently had over 10 million farmers on his mobile wallet data base.
According to him, although the Buhari government might have added two million farmers to what Adesina had verifiably done, it was however saddening that the government could come out to openly celebrate 12 million jobs that they never created.

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E2%80%93-militants target=_blank>Politicians Stockpiling Arms In Niger Delta – Militants

The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators has accused some politicians in the country of stockpiling arms and ammunition in the oil producing region ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The militants said the move was aimed  at creating  mayhem  in Niger Delta states, particularly in Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom.
A statement  by leaders of the coalition  claimed that within the last four weeks over 48,000 AK-47 rifles  and ammunition had been moved to different parts of the  region.
Among the    signatories of  the statement issued via electronic mail on Thursday are John Duku of Niger Delta Watchdogs and Convener of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; Jomo Gbomo (Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta), Mudoch Agbinibo (Niger Delta Avengers), Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers), Simple Benjamin (Bakassi Strike Force) and Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors).
Others are Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters), Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters), Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice) and  Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network).
The statement read, “The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators wishes to use this medium to draw the attention of the general public and the International Community to the mass movement of sophisticated arms and ammunition to the South-South zone of the country.
“This is for the sole purpose of distributing same to already recruited thugs/youths. Within the last one month, over 48,000 AK-47 rifles, pump action shotguns, pistols, ammunition and other weapons have been moved to different locations in the Niger Delta region.
“There is the proliferation of dangerous weapons in the Niger Delta region brought in by politicians to cause mayhem in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.”
The groups explained that one of their ‘Generals’ had been contacted by a top official of a political party to “supply boys” that would be co-opted into the 3,500 thugs to be used for election violence in Niger Delta.
They disclosed that the sum of N100,000 had been earmarked for each thug while the ‘Generals’ would get N1m  each  on election day.
“Already, one of our Generals has  been contacted by a top official of a political party to supply about 150 of his boys who will be part of the 3,500 thugs they want to use in each state of the Niger Delta region for  their nefarious activities during the forthcoming elections.
“The negotiators have agreed on the payment of N100,000 per thug on  election day, while the leaders (Generals) will earn N1m each.
“They have also procured fake military and police uniforms, which these thugs will wear. They are all out to foment trouble  in the area, particularly in Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states.”
The coalition expressed concern  that innocent people  could be affected by the presence of arms and ammunition in wrong hands during the 2019 elections in Niger Delta.

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All PVCs Ready For Collection – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has printed Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for all new registered voters between 2017 and 2018 and they are ready for collection. 
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja after the swearing-in of the new Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
Yakubu also said that all the PVCs of those who requested for replacement and relocation of their cards ahead of 2019 general elections, had also been printed and ready for collections.
”The commission has printed all PVCs for new registrants between April 27, 2017 and Aug. 31, 2018.
”We have also printed all the requests for replacement of lost cards, all requests for transfer and relocations.
”The last batch that we printed were for those who applied for transfer and relocation, and those who applied for replacement of damaged and defaced cards.
”This will be delivered immediately after the Christmas break. So we are happy to say that all 14.5 million or so new registered voters have their cards printed and delivered to the states. So we are good to go on that,” Yakubu said.
Yakubu, who also spoke on the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and its implications on the 2019 general elections, said that the commission would meet with union leaders in tertiary institutions for a way forward.
The INEC Chairman said that the ongoing strike was worrisome as the commission also sourced some of its election ad hoc staff from the tertiary institutions.
”The bulk of the ad hoc staff will be drawn from the National Youth Service Corps members but where there is shortfall, and obviously there would be shortfall, we rely on the universities.
”Remember we also rely on the universities to draw our collation and returning officers. ”So the ongoing strike is worrisome in case some of them say because of the ongoing strike they will not participate in the elections.
”But the ASUU has been good friend of the commission and we intend to meet with the President of the ASUU next week so that we can discuss and iron this out.
”We will also extend it to the lecturers of polytechnics and colleges of education so that we will meet with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and all other unions in the tertiary education sub-sectors,” the chairman said. (NAN)

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