Sahara Reporters Latest News Tuesday 5th February 2019
Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 05/02/19
target=_blank>Sylva, Lokpobiri Lead APC Members To Protest Killings In Bayelsa
Timipre Sylva, former Governor of Bayelsa State, and Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture, on Monday, led supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa on a march against killings of their members.
Marching through streets of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the APC leaders and members took off from their party secretariat and marched to the state Police headquarters.
On Saturday, Braye Embikoro, an APC supporter in Bayelsa State, was killed during a clash between rival political parties. The incident occurred at a campaign rally of the APC Bayelsa West senatorial candidate, Captain Karimu, at Tungbobiri-Sagbama, a distance from Governor Seriake Dickson’s country home.
Breaking NewsBREAKING: APC Supporter Killed In Clash At Campaign Rally In Bayelsa0 Comments2 Days Ago
The APC members, however, embarked on a protest on Monday, chanting war songs, just as they accused Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, of being behind the killings.
While addressing party faithful during the march, Sylva said the killing of an APC member at a rally in Sagbama was “one too many”.
He claimed that the party campaign rallies had been riddled with several attacks by members of rival political parties, while their perpetrators have not been brought to book.
He said: “We have been watching the scenario where members of our party are being attacked while canvassing for votes. Two of them were killed recently in Nembe, and we reported the incidents but the Police is not doing enough.
“We are here to send a strong message to the Police High Command and Inspector General of Police that the persecution and killing of our members in Bayelsa is not acceptable.
“On Saturday, one of our members, who was attacked during a rally in Sagbama died, and we are here today to register our displeasure and demand that just as the Police is providing security for those in PDP, they should protect us also.
“We demand that the Police should be fair in their duties to avoid a situation where those denied security would be compelled to seek self help.”
Also speaking, Lokpobiri urged the Police to be thorough in investigating the cases reported by the party as members were awaiting justice.
He said APC in Bayelsa was conducting its campaign across the state in a peaceful manner, but have come under attack by rivals resulting to death of many, adding that as a law-abiding organisation, the party leaders have been urging members to exercise restraint and report issues of violence to law enforcement agencies.
In his response, Aminu Saleh, the Bayelsa Commissioner of Police, dismissed the allegations that the Police in the state was biased.
Speaking on the incident, he said: “The Nigerian Police is a federal institution and the Command under my watch in Bayelsa is poised to be fair to all in the discharge of our duty, I am aware of the allegations and counter-allegations even before my deployment.
“We shall look into the cases, even the ones reported before my arrival. The problem we have is that while a case is being investigated, it is not strategic to keep it in public domain, but it does not mean that we are not working.
“On the killing which occurred on Saturday, we are already working on it and arrests have been made. I hereby assure you that once we conclude our investigation, we shall brief the general public about it.
“It is our duty to provide security cover to all political parties and the presence of our men deployed to Sagbama prevented the breakdown of law and order.”
SaharaReporters, New York
E2%80%94-after-enjoying-good-times-him target=_blank>APC’s Obanikoro ‘Reluctantly’ Testifies Against Fayose In Court — After ‘Enjoying Good Times’ With Him In PDP
Former Minister of State for Defense, Musiliu Obanikoronow on the run
Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, has expressed his reluctance to testify against Ayodele Fayose, a former Governor of Ekiti State, in court.
Fayose is standing trial over allegations of benefitting illegally from state funds.
The trial continued before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday.
Obanikoro had earlier testified that he gave Fayose the sum of $5million from the imprest account of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
At the last hearing, the court had adjourned trial to allow Fayose’s counsel cross-examine the former minister.
However, while being cross-examined by Olalekan Ojo (SAN), the second defence counsel, Obanikoro told the court that he was testifying against Fayose reluctantly, noting that they enjoyed a good relationship while they were both members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obanikoro has since defected from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC), while Fayose remains a member of the PDP.
In court on Monday, Obanikoro said despite testifying against Fayose, he wouldn’t want their relationship to be destroyed.
At a point in the course of being grilled by the defence counsel, Obanikoro blurted: “I’m trying to restrain myself from saying things that will further damage our relationship!”
Probing further, Ojo, asked: “So, will it be correct to say that you are giving evidence in this case reluctantly?”
Answering, Obanikoro said: “It’s painful for me to give evidence against him (Fayose); no doubt about it. It is indeed very painful.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Fayose for allegedly taking N2.2bn from the office of the National Security Adviser to prosecute his governorship election in 2014.
The EFCC said Fayose received the N2.2bn from then NSA, Sambo Dasuki, through Obanikoro.
At the previous hearing, Obanikoro had admitted taking N2.2bn from Dasuki for onward delivery to Fayose in Ado Ekiti, adding that on Fayose’s instructions, part of the money was changed into US dollars before delivery.
Under cross-examination by the second defence counsel on Monday, Obanikoro affirmed that he took the money to Fayose in Ado Ekiti as a PDP leader, who was carrying out a mission for his political party.
Earlier, while cross-examining Obanikoro, the first defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), asked the ex-minister if he was earlier treated as a suspect by the EFCC while investigating the case.
In reply, Obanikoro said: “I don’t understand; come again.”
“You were yourself investigated?” Agabi insisted.
“Correct,” Obanikoro replied.
“You made your statement (to the EFCC) in defence of yourself?” Agabi asked.
“You can say that,” Obanikoro replied, adding that, “My statement was what transpired and that’s what I gave evidence to.”
Asked whether investigation by the EFCC led to the seizure of some of his properties, Obanikoro responded: “No. Not at any time to the best of my knowledge.”
“But there were news reports at the time that some of your assets were seized,” Agabi said.
“They were selling their papers; why should I take issues with them?” Obanikoro queried.
But when later asked if he made a refund of N200million to the EFCC, the ex-minister admitted.
“By making this admission of refund, your being treated as a suspect was justified,” Agabi said.
“You are wrong sir; very wrong,” Obanikoro replied.
He maintained that he did not use any part of the money for personal purposes, adding that he made the N200million refund reluctantly.
“I said I deserve a medal of honour for the protection of Lagos State which we did,” Obanikoro said.
When Agabi suggested to him that he would not have taken up the assignment of delivering the N2.2billion to Fayose if he knew that the transaction was not legitimate, Obanikoro said, “Correct.”
Then Agabi said, “Those who brought you under suspicion were acting in bad in faith.”
“Yes,” Obanikoro said.
Agabi also asked him if the statement he made to the EFCC on October 17, 2016, was in response to a petition against him by the NSA, and Obanikoro responded in the affirmative.
The cross-examination continued:
Agabi: That petition complained, among other things, that you collected money from the office of the NSA, for projects you did not execute?
Agabi: Did you say, in the course of your examination, that it was the NSA that instructed you to furnish your account?
Agabi: If that was so, why will the NSA then turn around and write a petition against you?
Obanikoro: Don’t let us confuse the current NSA with the past NSA. It was the current NSA that wrote the petition against me.
Obanikoro told the court that the N2.2billion he took from Dasuki on Fayose’s behalf was paid into the account of a firm, Sylvan Mcmanara Ltd, owned by one Taiwo Kareem.
Asked what informed the choice of that bank account, Obanikoro said: “We came about that company based on the fact that they made a presentation to then NSA when the issue of security arose in Lagos and he was convinced that they had the capacity to do the job.”
He said it was Dasuki that appointed Kareem as the sole signatory to the account.
“Do you know Gbolahan Obanikoro?” Agabi asked.
“That’s my son,” Obanikoro said, adding that he is 33 years old.
“Are you aware that he made a payment of N20,000 into the account of Sylvan Mcmanara Ltd?” Agabi asked.
Obanikoro, who was confronted with the account statement of Sylvan Mcmanara Ltd, said, “That is correct. But it was on May 18, 2012.”
“That was actually the first payment into that account,” Agabi said.
“Correct,” Obanikoro admitted.
“The second payment of N5million was made by your own self,” Agabi said, to which Obanikoro replied, “Correct; September 2012.”
When shown two N5million transfers made to unidentified individuals, Obanikoro said he could not recall who the beneficiaries were and the purpose for the payments.
He was also shown a N50million transfer to Rehoboth Homes and Development, to which he admitted was done on his instructions, but said he could not recall the purpose of the transaction.
“I can’t recall; it must have been one of the sources to get dollars for Mr Fayose because the money was meant for that purpose. I can categorically say that the N50million was for the benefit of the 1st defendant (Fayose),” Obanikoro said.
Further proceedings were adjourned till tomorrow.
SaharaReporters, New York
target=_blank>Police Decorate Newly Promoted DIGs
The newly decorated DIGs
Some of the newly decorated DIGs
Mohammed Adamu, the acting Inspector General of Police, has decorated the newly promoted Deputy Inspectors General of Police.
The ceremony took place at the Nigeria Police Force International Peacekeeping Centre, Abuja, on Monday.
Congratulating the officers, Adamu charged them to rededicate themselves to the Force and see the promotion as a call to national duty.
Adamu said the new DIGs are “not only professionally, but also intellectually deep” and possess the wealth of experience that will move the Force forward.
In his remarks at the event, he said: “To the new DIGs of Police, as we celebrate your professional feat today, you must see your elevation as a call to national duty. It is also a clear statement that under my leadership, merit shall be the overriding standard that will guide promotion.
“You need to, therefore, rededicate yourself to service to the Nigeria Police and the nation. The task of policing a complex nation like ours is undoubtedly arduous. But with your individual and collective experiences, I am confident that together, we can surmount the challenge.
“On behalf of the Nigeria Police Family, I congratulate you and your family on your well-deserved promotion and wish you God’s guidance, strength of character, and wisdom in the performance of your schedules.”
The acting Inspector General of Police also advised all members of the Force to uphold ethics, and stressed the need for re-strategising and embracing new thoughts.
He continued: “Let me clearly emphasise that policing standards and practices have to change in Nigeria if only we want to restore citizens’ trust and attain our mandate in the most effective manner. We, therefore, need to re-strategise and take the Police back to the community. We have to also evolve new thoughts and embrace new orientation as a Police organisation, to work with the citizens, neighbourhood, and other strategic security actors as a pathway towards addressing communal crimes.
“Henceforth, therefore, Community Policing strategy shall drive policing functions at all levels under my leadership and I look forward to working with the new Force Management Team towards giving effect to this policing vision.”
He added that the Force would inaugurate a Community Policing Implementation Steering Committee, composed of seasoned Nigerians and experts on community policing.
SaharaReporters, New York
E2%80%8B target=_blank>In The Name Of Our Own Dear Native Land By Aroghalu Chidozie Law
For many persons, this period is a critical time that will define many things for Nigeria.
So we won’t be forgetting easily, the general election is around the corner, a ritual we perform every four years.
Today, I have tried to reflect on the different angles surrounding the election. In Churches and Mosques, prayers are ongoing about the Unity of Nigeria, in the creeks, Militants have warned that any attempt to rob the region off any shine by the virtue of the election will be stiffly resisted. IPOB has announced referendum for February 16, 2019.
Investors are very careful at this moment, the European Union have come out to condemn justice Onnoghen suspension, the United States and United Kingdom has towed the same line.
The average man on the street has started debating the legality of collecting money for votes while some say it is national cake.
With thirteen days left to the general election, trains have become very free and constructions are springing up.
In the name of our dear native land, I should emphasize and again urge everyone to understand that though tribe and tongue may differ, before, during and after, we must remain in brotherhood.
Nigeria remains our sovereign motherland and strength.
What do you say about a country with rich human resource and population that has a rich culture and richly blessed.
Many events are taking place right now that even some have threatened to break-up but we must begin to go beyond words for the election to start orientating everyone on why the election needs to be peaceful.
After this opinion, we will start counting down to fewer days to the Presidential election and we will see several Army officials on the streets who will be out to keep the streets ‘clean’ , we must ensure that they only remain on the streets during the election and not remain fully on the streets after the election, the best way to do this is to ensure that violence does not reign.
Every parent must call their wards and enlighten them on why peace is essential, why Democracy is the best and why they should not risk their lives for little amount of money.
Nigeria must not be giant of Africa by population alone but by every intellectualism available and organization in doing things.
I must also in this piece urge the Independent National Electoral Commission to shun all activities that may irk the masses and lead them to the streets.
I remember after the 2015 general elections when the incumbent as at then, Goodluck Jonathan lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, he conceded defeat and has remained a man of honor till date, the candidate who ends up not emerging from this general election should either approach a competent court of law or concede to losing the elections , any candidate can only contest elections if there is Nigeria.
The future of Nigeria is now, people must be able to carry out their duties of voting without any intimidation.
The instances of the Osun and Ekiti states election where observers, journalists and independent eyewitnesses alleged foul play must be stopped.
Many persons have called the Osun and Ekiti state elections street election, Nigeria may not survive a street election even if Osun state managed to survive.
The pride of our forefathers must be retained, in the name of our dear native land, I seek that everyone sees Nigeria as his or her concern. This election may go on as the most interesting one since 1999, but let us not take it beyond the borders of interesting so our efforts as a country will amount to nothing.
As we go to the polls, I am very hopeful that we will all serve our fatherland with love, strength and Faith.
Aroghalu Chidozie Law Writes from AbujaChidozie.email@example.com
Aroghalu Chidozie Law
target=_blank>Onnoghen Saga: A Call for National Reflection By George Anyiam-Osigwe
The Justice Walter Onnoghen saga is yet another interesting development in the national psyche of our country. In tandem with the developmental trend of our country, the public space suddenly witnessed a brouhaha arising from the announcement that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Onnoghen is in possession of some huge sums of money in his account. In the initial announcement, the numerous assets of Onnoghen was not emphasised. Even if the government referred to estates owned by Onnoghen, the immediate attraction was the huge sums of money found in Onnoghen’s possession. When it is mentioned that sums like $700,000, $3,000,000 were found in an individual’s account, there is bound to be a national uproar. It was not unusual for the Onnoghen saga to attract as much of attention as it has done. Even when it is a matter of turnover, with the figures of $1,922,657 and £138, 439.00 being sums transacted through Chief Onnoghen’s accounts from 2012 to 2016, a lot of questions and concern is bound to be elicited. When this is juxtaposed with the sum of N91, 962.362.49 transacted in his Naira account from September, 2005 to October, 2016 and 55,154.00 Euro left in his Euro Account as at September 30, 2016, the Onnoghen saga, perhaps “the Onnoghen gate” could not have generated less concern.
With the request sent to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit among others, no doubt, more provoking facts are bound to emerge about the Onnoghen assets issue. One primary fact that came with the Onnoghen saga is the impartation that the Nigerian people are no longer moved about embezzlement by public officials. The level of defense that Onnoghen has attracted makes one scared about the future of our country. The odious orgy that goes with corruption has become normalised in the Nigerian space. The amount of money involved in the Onnoghen probe has become less the issue. The elites are latching on legal quibbles to give positive coloration to a heinous crime in ordered societies.
I would proceed to address the points at issue on the Onnoghen saga as I see it. First, the President is accused of not following due process in the suspension of Onnoghen. This matter is taken by its proponents in isolation of other developments that preceded the president’s action. It is reported and has, in fact, become public knowledge that the body constitutionally positioned to interrogate the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the event of a query or a petition against the Chief Justice is the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC). With the awareness that the state is prying into his accounts and he is to be interrogated on the amounts and dimension of transactions in the said accounts, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Chief Walter Onnoghen suspended the sitting of the NJC indefinitely. This becomes very weighty when it is acknowledged that a meeting of the NJC is not possible without the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In the enabling act of the NJC, it is stated that “the council shall hold meetings at such times and place as the chairman may appoint”. Where it applies, “a meeting of the council shall be convened if five or more members make a request to that effect, in writing to the chairman, specifying the business to be transacted”. When this is placed side by side the provisions for membership of the NJC, through which over 2/3 of its members are selected by the NC, it indicates that Onnoghen has actually performed a coup against any attempt to question his weird indulgences.
If Onnoghen was not guilty, why would he suspend the sitting of the NJC indefinitely? Having done that and knowing that the NJC is the only body through due process and constitutional conformity by which he could be questioned, Onnoghen had subverted justice and crippled the capacity of the Nigerian state to check his misdemeanours. Therefore, the President acting through a motion ex parte of the court might not have had a better option to rescuing Nigeria from the evil claws of Onnoghen.
The response of the bar further to the suspension of Onnoghen is not unexpected and is not unpatriotic. It is purely professional. It is the fear that a precedent as such if tolerated could be exploited by ill intended leaders in future to perpetuate patently evil intentions. However, in trying to defend the legal profession or the bench as it were, it was proper for the lawyers to appreciate the damage that Onnoghen has done to the image of the bar and the bench. Meeting a point of balance in calling the president to order was most important for the totality of the mass to be carried along.
It is obvious in the argument of our lawyers that the emphasis is the point of law. But the Onnoghen saga is not as simplistic as that. There is a legalistic dimension to the matter as there is a moral dimension. I note that the question of the preservation of our democracy and the legal institutions remains fundamental but in this case, it begs the question. It is submitted here that people must find the basis to stay together before they start to talk about the law.
The basis for community and social cohabitation does not begin with the law. It begins with the moral integral. People will find the need to come together and cohabit with an inherent or deduced understanding that they will be truthful to one another – the moral premise. The early human communities did not begin with the law. They derived from the moral foundation. The law is a secondary layer engagement in sustaining community as it gives juridical executive enforcement to laws which themselves derive from the moral cannons.
Therefore, with Onnoghen trying to subvert the institutions of due process of the country, in running accounts that do not reflect what he earns in salaries as a judge, Onnoghen has infringed on the moral premise; the foundation of community, the primary pillar from which everything about our coexistence devolve. Onnoghen has endangered the basis for our coexistence as a people. Meandering through the provisions of the law and emasculating this more devastating evil was the point of error on the part of most of our commentators. For democracy to exist, community must first exist. Also, for the judiciary to exist, community must be in existence. Thus, to destroy the basis of community inadvertently negates the institutions we claim we are protecting. Onnoghen was and is the problem. The errors of the executive were enabled by or incidental to his subterfuge. The primary issue is the moral ethos and not its legalistic underpinning.
This Onnoghen matter remains very sensitive on the eve of election. But we will not for the fear of being branded, fail to provide a rudder for our country in her quest for continuing development. While many have found the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration unsatisfactory, the reality is that something is being done. The dangerous impact of corruption on our underdevelopment cannot be overtstated.. It could be selective as criticised. It could also be vindictive as criticised. But the truth is that something is being done. We have always spoken about corruption and the need to curtail corruption in Nigeria. In this regime there is a scathing resolve to curb the orgy of corruption in our country. Without doubt, that strong resolve is contesting with the nuances of bourgeois politics and finds itself limited by the internal contradiction within the democratic process.
It is painful that the structural limitation of our country hampers the extent that we can go with anticorruption initiatives. It is painful for communities and ethnic nationalities to defend their so-called sons when they are accused of corruption. Communities mobilise their natives to Abuja to protest and threaten government when their sons and daughters are accused of profligacy, and other forms of corruptive indulgences perpetuated as officers of state. Sadly, the people who are hired for these protests are the core poor who are also the most affected by this odium. In the case of Onnoghen, we watched the quick move to brand it as a reflection of Buhari’s nepotism. The Niger Delta people were being sensitised to an ethnic solidarity for Onnoghen. The issue here is that a Nigerian who has been entrusted with managing the image and offices of this country has perverted trust and appropriated illegitimate benefits that endanger individuals privately and the country generally.
How many Niger Delta people have had their cases traded away by bribed judges from the Niger Delta and had ended up with suicide deriving from the severe injury it had inflicted on them? If the monies found in Onnoghen’s accounts actually comes from bribes in handling judicial cases, then he would have caused so many terrible infractions some of which might have led to untimely death.
It is appreciated that we are in a political era, more so an election period. People with deepened political biases would exploit any point to sell their candidates and bring down the acceptability of their opponent. But in doing this, we must place the interest of the country above all subjective interests. The performance or otherwise of the Buhari regime does not excuse the tolerance of the moral decadence of Onnoghen. This separation must be made and very clearly.
Finally, I note that rather than finding faults and calling for solutions that will further heat up the polity, it is important for us to look at the constitutional provisions that placed us on this pedestal and take steps to forestall future reoccurrence of this kind of development. If the Nigeria Judicial council is the only body that can try the Chief Justice of the country, then he cannot solely hand pick nearly every member of the body and at the same time chair the body. Furthermore, he holds the sole authority to permit the sitting of the body. No doubt, Onnoghen was sure that he had all the powers to protect himself within the bounds of the constitution of our country and brazenly indulge in his nefarious activities sure that nobody can check him.
In the NJC act of the 1999 constitution as amended: The constitution says the NJC shall have power to, among other things: recommend to the president the removal from office of the specified judicial officers and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers; recommend to the governors the removal from office of the judicial officers in the states, collect, control and disburse all moneys, capital and recurrent, for the judiciary; advise the president and governors or any matter pertaining to the judiciary as may be referred to the council by the president or the governors; appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over members and staff of the council. The composition of the council according to the 1999 constitution is skewed as such: The chief justice of Nigeria who shall be the chairman, the next most senior justice of the supreme court who shall be the deputy chairman, the president of the court of appeal, five retired justices selected by the CJN from the supreme court or court of appeal, the chief judge of the federal high court, five chief judges of states to be appointed by the CJN from among the chief judges of the states and of the high court of the FCT, Abuja one grand kadi to be appointed by the CJN from among grand kadis of the Sharia courts of appeal to serve in rotation for two years; one president of the customary court of appeal to be appointed by the CJN from among the Presidents of the Customary Courts of Appeal to serve in rotation for two years, five members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who have been qualified to practise for a period of not less than 15 years, at least one of whom shall be a SAN, appointed by the CJN on the recommendation of the national executive committee of the NBA to serve for two years and subject to re-appointment, provided that the five members shall sit in the Council only for the purposes of considering the names of persons for appointment to the superior courts of record, and two persons not being legal practitioners, who in the opinion of the CJN, are of unquestionable integrity.
By this composition, the problem is explicit. Rather than cry war and destabilise the polity, endangering the same institutions we are claiming to defend, the point at issue is actually a constitutional reform to save the judiciary at least from the hands of the Chief Justice who is the chief executive, judge and financial director of the body as chairman of the NJC.
Georgeis the President of the Mission for Democracy in Africa Project, an initiative of the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation
E2%80%8B-0 target=_blank>February 16 Is A Referendum On Buhari By Peter Claver Oparah
In less than two weeks, Nigerians will go to the polls to elect new sets of leaders to pilot the affairs of the country for the next four. Never has the choice before Nigerians been so neatly divided as in this election. Never has the lines been so clearly spelt out. Whichever way one looks at it; it is a choice between two divergent options, two opposites that have no meeting points. President Muhammadu Buhari is on the ballot. He leads a government and party that believes in frugal and transparent management of Nigeria’s available scarce resources to tackle the multifarious problems wracking the Nigerian nation. His is an honest, Spartan and scorched-earth effort to take Nigeria from the corrupt, byzantine era that saw Nigeria decay abysmally even in the midst of tremendous earnings from oil; the sole revenue earner that country knew till Buhari came to power.
On the other hand, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar leads a challenge from the school that sees corruption as a driver of growth, even when Nigeria had a decrepit picture to tell when corruption reigned supreme before 2015. He is the main challenger to Buhari’s inclination to zip up the treasury to sundry predatory influences and ensure that every kobo in the treasury is utilized for the benefit of all. Curiously, Atiku and the spectrum he leads so believe so much in the productive capacity of corruption that they have made no effort issuing a rejoinder to the widely-held belief that they deliberately see corruption as a way of life. In fact, Atiku has said, without qualms, that if he becomes president, he will not only not trouble treasury looters but will offer them amnesty so they will invest their loot in the economy!
So, the coming February 16 presidential election leaves no blurred lines for Nigerians. The choices are clearly distinct. They are two parallel lines that don’t have a point of convergence.
In choosing to elect Buhari, Nigerians would be voting to continue his policies of the past four years, which has elicited wild, angry and noisome opposition from those that benefitted from Nigeria’s defenestration till he came in 2015. On the other hand, if Nigerians choose to elect Atiku, they would have voted to bring back the era of licentiousness that Buhari replaced and liberalize the kind of plunder that saw Nigeria regress even when oil money was flowing in abundance. If Nigerians elect Buhari on February 16, they would have reaffirmed their readiness to continue with him on his mending task of fixing a nation that was left a carcass after a sumptuous feast by all manners of predators and ghouls. They would have elected to continue with him on the straight and narrow way he had charted since May 2015. They would have elected to continue with his gigantic building of infrastructures across all sectors, fixing multitudes of decayed and abandoned infrastructures across the country and his careful reflation of the economy through measurable and trackable re-building processes, his ambitious social intervention programme that has dealt so well with the age-long afflictions of the downtrodden, the neglected, the vulnerable and the powerless cadres of the population.
If Nigerians decides to re-elect Buhari, they would have boldly voted to continue with his on-going war against corruption and decadence, which remains the greatest single atrophy that has held down the growth and progress of Nigeria. If Nigerians –re-elects Buharfi, they would have thumbed up his diversification efforts aimed at finding and developing new fonts of revenue for the country and plug the precarious over-dependence on oil. Sure, this dependence is responsible for the internment of other viable sectors and the exposure of the country to the precarious fluctuations of oil prices. Nigerians know quite well that the drastic fall in oil revenue plunged the country, and indeed other oil-dependent nations that believe in plundering their oil wealth into the kind of recession that happened here as Buhari came in. So voting for Buhari will mean that Nigerians approve his efforts at forging new areas of revenue to curtail the aftermaths of oil price fluctuation and place the country’s economy on sounder footing.
Voting for Buhari on February 16 would mean that Nigerians align with Buhari’s agricultural revolution which had seen the ban on imported food items and the deliberate policy of encouraging and financing massive local food production such that today, Nigeria has achieved near-sufficiency in food production, unlike the period before Buhari came. Of course, voting for Buhari will mean that Nigerians agree with his bold policy of curbing importation of freebies and non-essentials. Voting for Buhari will mean that Nigerians indeed agree and attest that he has curbed the security quagmire he met when he came; where a sizeable portion of the country was under the direct control of terrorists and every part of Nigeria was subjected to ceaseless bombings, killings and other forms of insecurity. Voting for Buhari in the coming election will mean that Nigerians are on the same page with the impeccable leader on his insistence that Nigeria is for all and not exclusively for a select few that had wangled their ways to the corridors of power. It would be a vote that Nigerians agree with Buhari’s frugal attitude to state treasury, his intolerance for free loading, his deliberate investment in regenerative capital, building up the plundered foreign reserves and every other measures he had taken to pull Nigeria from the woods.
On the other hand, if Nigerians decide not to re-elect Buhari and go for Atiku, it would mean that Nigerians want to return to the byzantine era of free looting of the commonwealth, the state of terror where sundry terrorists ravage the country and kill and maim at will. A vote against Buhari and for Atiku will show that Nigerians are tired of Buhari’s frugality, his impeccable honesty and careful attitude to the treasury. They want to return to the era of free-sharing, the era of bizarre stealing and uncurbed access to the treasury which reigned before Buhari came and which fires most of the angry tirades of those that benefitted from that rotten order against Buhari. If Nigerians vote against Buhari and for Atiku, it means that Nigerians are in love with sleaze, which Atiku, as a person, signifies and which reigned unfettered when Atiku was in power as Vice President. If Nigerians vote against Buhari and for Atiku on February 16, it means that Nigerians truly believe that a state of wanton corruption which Atiku personifies serves better benefits to them.
A vote for Atiku shows that Nigerians want to continue in Egypt, with the attendant appurtenances of slavery and bondage just because they relish the meat of slavery they were fed with during their years in captivity. If Nigerians vote for Atiku, it then means that they prefer that all their infrastructures die while they gobble the morsel of stolen resources pilfered from the state till. These were the story for the period Atiku was Vice President and thereafter when his PDP was in power before Buhari came in 2015. As I have said earlier, Atiku typifies this era so a vote for him is an approval to return to this epoch. So far, Atiku and PDP have shied away from the challenge thrown to them by Nigerians to list their achievements for the 16 years in power especially the eight years Atiku was Vice President as a way of advertising his competence to be president. Instead, Atiku and PDP have generated a list of Eldorado they say they will do if they come back to power, carefully ignoring the atrophy that marked their debilitating rule for which the PDP has offered a tepid apology but Nigerians know that they will not get anything different from this era of liberalized stealing and decay if they elect Atiku as President on February 16.
As a sitting President therefore, the February 16 polls is a referendum on Buhari. A re-election means approval and voting him out means rejection of all he stands for. So the choice is not between two candidates with similar or near-similar attributes, potentials, promises. The two candidates are diametrically separated from each other. What Atiku is contrasts sharply with what Buhari is and what they do both in and out of office. Buhari’s governance style of restricting access to state treasury and rather investing the country’s resources to critical infrastructures fuels all the bricks and bats the opposition has thrown against Buhari since he came. He ignited what should be seen as a revolution with his war against corruption, which has taken a huge toll on the activities and survival of a huge cartel of parasites that live freely off the commonwealth.
Even among some people that initially supported him, his blunt refusal to latch open the state coffers for their nestling has sparked a huge revolt that had seen many of them ditch him and pitch tents with the other side of the divide. Nothing had been spared by those who are directly targeted in the war against corruption, their beneficiaries and cronies from attacking Buhari these last few years. In equal fashion, the age-old dependence on corrupt freebies by sundry genres of the population; religious leaders, traditional rulers, socio-cultural groups, ethnic interests, contractors, hirelings, cronies, speculators and all manners f predators have been curbed and this curbing has elicited wild reactions against Buhari by the displaced vermin. He had been called unprintable names, he had been placed on uncountable death wishes, he had been personally attacked, slandered and abused; all because he adamantly refused to throw the treasury open for free-feeding as was the case before he came. We had heard from many desperate quarters how his efforts to zip up our treasury had led to the death of the economy, inflated poverty and caused several problems for Nigeria and Nigerians. What even ignites the fury of his opponents is that he suffers these tantrums and desperate symptoms silently and continues in his mission. What more, Buhari makes no effort to tell his story. He has a stoic aversion to the press and doesn’t believe in lobbying anybody to push his story. Buhari has threaded the path no Nigerian leader has ever threaded. He has marched where angels fear to tip-toe. He marches on the feet of the sacred and untouchable people that believe that Nigeria is theirs to do as they like with glee. He tramples the sacred coven of the corrupt with relish and these have accounted for the enormous gang-up against him. Buhari faces the most formidable gang-up by Nigeria’s elite from every sector and class than all other Nigerian leaders combined. That is the direct pay-off for trying to stop corruption, which runs at the blood vein of majority of Nigerians. This is the reason no past leader has gone any appreciable distance in squelching this monster. But Buhari, by taking it on all fours, has dared the kind of insurrection that has been raised against him. By February 16, we shall know if indeed the common Nigerians whose fates and lives were directly affected by the actions of both Buhari and the principalities fighting him, want to go with Buhari or those he is fighting for. We shall know if all the darts and arrows that have been thrown from very many angry quarters on Buhari for four whole years have hit target. We shall know if Nigerians want to continue their march to the Promised Land or execute a quick return to Egypt. By February 16, we shall know if the ordinary Nigerians; the last bastion in a democracy have been seduced to abandon Buhari or they have merely endured the tantrums of the displaced free-loaders and just waiting for such events as the one of February 16 to just show these desperate coyotes that are mindful of the turns in their destiny. So whichever way it goes, February 16 is a referendum on Buhari and Nigerians will eagerly speak through that referendum. Peter Claver OparahIkeja, Lagos.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Claver Oparah
target=_blank>In Kano, Politicians, Thuggery Fuel Addiction
A governorship candidate of one of the leading political parties in Kano just finished a rally in Tudunwada area of the metropolis and the convoy was driving back to the city when some hoodlums, who seemed to have laid an ambush, attacked.
A pandemonium ensued, and by the time calm returned, not less than six persons were severely injured. At the scene of attack were broken pieces of bottles, substances and a trail of blood. But the police on the convoy made arrests. A few hours later, those arrested were released at the request of some influential politicians in the state.
“The politicians are contributing to the problem of drug abuse because they’re the ones buying it for them and using them for campaign. And when we arrest them, you’ll start getting calls,” said Magaji Musa Maji, spokesman of the Nigerian Police Force, Kano State Command.
In 2017 alone, the Command said it recorded 601 major crimes, which included 334 cases of rape, 35 armed robberies and 52 kidnappings. In the same year, 497 members of different Yandaba(miscreants) gangs were arrested on allegations of violence. In 2018, the Command arrested over 3,400 alleged criminals.
According to Maji, 90 percent of those arrested confessed to using drugs and psychoactive substances “There is a 100 percent linkage of drug and substance use to crime in Kano because 90 percent of those we arrested for various crimes admitted using drugs,” Maji revealed.
The prevalence of violent thuggery in the state was corroborated by Dr. Ibrahim Abdul, a Narcotic specialists and Kano State Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
Abdul revealed that the Command arrests not less than 30 suspected drug dealers or users every other month in a state noted for high prevalence of drug and substance abuse. In 2018 alone, 502 suspects were arrested and five of them were females.
“There is lack of cooperation with the agency in Kano because some people come in to our facilities to forcefully rescue suspects. Three of our officers were injured in some of those incidences. There could have been more injuries if not because they had been trained in drug policing strategies. But some of our Area Command offices were burnt,” Abdul revealed, adding that politicians are part of the problem.
The NDLEA Commander was a guest at a one-week education programme on drug abuse hosted at the ‘American Corner’ of the Murtala Muhammed Library Complex in Kano. The event tagged: ‘Reclaiming Futures In Northern Nigeria (REFINN)’ was funded by the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund of the U.S. Department of State with support from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
Dr. Abdul was delighted that the project was brought to Kano at a time campaigns for election had intensified, and “some misguided politicians use the youths to perpetrate thuggery.” He warned that unless something drastic was done to stop the trend of drug abuse, it may plunge the country into more chaos because “all the crimes of terrorism, robbery and so on are committed by people who abuse drugs.”
REFINN, according to Ejikeme McBishop Ogueji, Leader of the alumni team behind the project, was conceived to halt the trend of drug abuse among youths in Northern Nigeria. The project, which took off from Kaltungo, Gombe State, would also be taken to Kaduna State and the Nation’s capital, Abuja.
“The project is to expose the youths, those living with addiction and those who’re not, to the dangers, risk factors and impact protective and life skills that would ensure they don’t succumb to the menace,” said Ogueji, adding that the project was already showing significant signs of success.
The project is designed to be interactive, relying on what the participants already know and further exposing them to current realities. Questions that form the basis of the daily interactions include: “What do you know about drugs?’, “what is drug abuse?”, “what happens to you when you abuse drugs?”, ”what are the symptoms of drug abuse in a user?”, “ What would you do if you think someone is abusing drugs?,” and “ can you tell if someone is having substance use disorder?”
Na’ajatu Abdullahi, a student of the Federal College of Education, Kano who attended the programme for one week, said she had never engaged in any form of drug abuse. “But we see people in our community- little children and youths-using drugs every day. I have learnt a lot here to refrain from drug abuse and I also learned how to talk to others about it.”
But Adam Adam, a commercial motor cyclist who’s just 23, said he’d abused not less than seven different types of drugs and substances, including diazepam and cannabis. He was invited to the programme, as all the 55 participants, by the Kano-based Youth Awareness Forum on Drug Abuse (YAFODA) at a time his mother’s worry over his life had reached fever level.
“When I came here and heard what everyone said, honestly I was encouraged and motivated, and now I’m sure my recovery has begun,” he said in Hausa.
But for REFINN to succeed, youths recovering from addiction must be kept busy. “This is why we’re also planning to have another project on skill acquisition and empowerment so that these youths would no longer be idle and go back to drugs,” explained Mr. Ogueji who is also the Founder, Life Challenge Intervention Outreach, a Non-Governmental Organization with interest in youth empowerment.
Drug abuse or addiction is a menace in Kano where the population of unemployed youths are said to be very high. Quite a number of these are turning to drugs. The NDLEA in the state said it confiscated 9,607.722 kilograms of hard drugs and other prohibited substances in Kano state between January and December 2018. This include 1,697.744 kilograms of Cannabis, 27.7 grams of Cocaine and 10.9 grams of Heroin. Other substances intercepted were 1,760.08 kilograms of Codeine; 5,886.454 kilograms of Diazepam; 149.453 kilograms of Pentazocine and 343.7 kilograms of Rephynol.
The NDLEA Commander disclosed that only drug dealers and traffickers are prosecuted while users caught are sent for rehabilitation in line with the new “paradigm shift” in drug policing. In 2018, Kano convicted 92 drug traffickers, while 55 cases are still pending in court. Abdul added that 157 drug users were referred for a brief intervention and 43 of them were counselled and would engage in skills acquisitions in order to earn a living.
target=_blank>Chaos At Lagos Airport As Operators Bill Foreigners N10,000 Over $20 Service Charge
There was chaos at the arrival terminals of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, on Sunday night, following the insistence of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) that each arriving foreigner should pay the sum $20 as service charge.
The chaos at the terminal led to rip-off of some of the foreign travellers by business centre operators at the arrival hall of the terminal, who charged each foreign traveller between N7,000 and N10,000, before they could fill the form for them online.
New Port is a concessionaire to NIS on service charge.
Before now, foreign travellers or Nigerians with foreign international passports were made to pay the sum with their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, or pay prior to their arrival in the country.
For those who chose to pay the charge in Nigeria, Point of Sale (POS) machines were deployed for them at the immigration desks. However, over the weekend, the concessionaire suspended the POS payment policy and asked the travellers to register for the form online, while payment was done with their ATM cards.
This abrupt change in policy caused chaos at the airport, as many travellers had to spend extra hours at the port of entry before they could be allowed into the country.
Curiously, one of the affected travellers from Qatar observed that the payment of the $20 did not reflect among the series of payments he made, and queried why this was so.
The immigration officer at the desk referred him to the concessionaire, New Work, who could also not give a satisfactory answer to his enquiry.
A source confided in our correspondent that the new policy runs contrary to the Nigerian government’s Executive Order policy, which canvasses smoother movement of travellers and business persons into the country.
The source said: “These concessionaires of immigration are making rubbish of the government’s policies. They are only concerned about revenue generation and care less about the services rendered to travellers.
“On Sunday night, passengers, who arrived the country via Turkish Airlines, could not regularize their entry into Nigeria until 10pm, which was about three hours after they arrived the country.
“New Works, the concessionaire of immigration, charged them $20 each as service charge, irrespective of country of origin. They said they should raise the identity card themselves, while they still paid with their credit cards. The $20 is a flat rate for all foreign travellers, except those in transit. Even if you are to pay $1 as visa on arrival, they still charge you extra $20 as service charge, which is a huge exploitation.
“Several of the passengers were making wrong payments to the platform. The concessionaires are just exploiting people. The business centres within the airport that most of them thronged to charged them between N7,000 and N10,000, which is apart from the $20 service charge.”
Before a foreigner is allowed into the country, they require a letter of approval from the Comptroller-General of Immigration, with visa payment either done from the country of departure or on arrival in the country.
The service was sometime in the news for the wrong reasons in 2018.
The service had introduced the collection of $90 biometric visa-on-arrival policy, but had to suspend it due to the outcry that followed the implementation.
The command, through its concessionaire, Online Integrated Service (OIS), had introduced the $90 biometric visa on arrival, and additional $20 as service charge processes for foreigners who were entering the country, despite the fact that they had already paid for visas from their respective countries.
SaharaReporters, New York
E2%80%98they-give-us-weekly-targets%E2%80%99-%E2%80%94-policemen-reveal-why-they-exploit-suspects target=_blank>‘They Give Us Weekly Targets’ — Policemen Reveal Why They Exploit Suspects
Officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have revealed that their decision to exploit members of the public by demanding “bribes” in various guises is subtly encouraged within the Force.
An officer attached to Sango Ota Police Division, who spoke to SaharaReporters, said policemen were given “targets”, as a directive from the state Police Command on the amount to remit weekly.
Ajuwon Division, Ojodu-Abiodun Division, Sango Division, Ifo Division, Ewekoro Division, Igbogu Division and Itele Division were mentioned as the divisions where the act is grossly encouraged. He added that the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in Ogun State work together in agreeing on a uniform figure every team is expected to remit weekly.
“In my division, each team was given a target of N20,000 to remit every week. We are subjected to this task and there is nothing we can do about it, except we are ready to suffer the consequences,” he said.
Another officer in the Ogun State Police Command revealed that one of the Area Commanders who wanted to buy a television set for the Police Commissioner, Ahmed Iliyasu, tasked all officers under him to get the money for the TV set.
“The Area Commander of Sango Ota promised to buy a television set worth N900,000 for the Ogun State Commissioner of Police. As we speak today, the money has been shared around the divisions under Ota Area and the amount shared to our team was N20,000. Each team is expected to bring N20,000 and it is to be paid within the next two weeks,” he said.
Another officer under the Sango Ota Area said his team had been tasked to remit N7,000 as contribution for the wedding ceremony of the son of the Ogun CP.
“Aside the N20,000, the Police Commissioner’s son is getting married in Kaduna State and they also said they are going to raise N500,000 from each area command under Ogun. The money has been divided to each division and the money that was shared to each team is N7,000.
“You can imagine how this will make officers desperate to meet the target. It has become a tradition now, as it must be complete. The only way to meet this target is to extort and arm-twist innocent Nigerians on the street.”
A recruit expressed dissatisfaction with the extortion by Lagos policemen, stating that the rot in the Police Force “cannot be cleansed because it comes directly from the top”.
“When I joined, I saw that the DPOs and Area Commanders back and support the act,” he said.
“They even go as far as telling the officers how much to bring daily and how to go about it. The DPO of Oworonshoki Police Division is one of the key culprits, as he always gives high targets daily. He sometimes asks for N150,000, N200,000 and more when weekend approaches.”
It was gathered that some of the officers who refused or were unable to meet the target risked being sanctioned by the DPO of the station.
An officer, who had been sanctioned because he failed to participate in the extortion, said he was removed from his post and made to open the gate for vehicles in the station.
“Officers who failed to meet the target are penalised and sometimes given bad posting, especially to a place where they will feel the heat of the job. I was once sent to become a gateman and this can be done to anybody, regardless of rank or years in service.”
The officer also referred to another instance when a two-star officer was made a guard room officer.
“One of my colleagues was demoted and made to work as guardroom officer, a post meant for an inspector. The DPO was boasting that he would bench anybody who fails to meet the target and make them suffer,” the officer said.
Police Maintain Stand against Extortion
The Nigeria Police Force, however, has continued to kick against extortion of the public by its officers across the country.
On January 18, 2019, Adekunle Oladunjoye, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), said the Force would not hesitate to punish and dismiss any officer caught in any misconduct or negative actions that could tarnish the image of the force.
“For your information, some policemen are in prison today because of the way they behaved which is against the police law,” he said. “Therefore, you must be conversant with police law and guidelines. You must be incorruptible in your daily duties and must not extort the public for whatever reason.”
Similarly, the Police recently sanctioned 28 officers in Anambra State for various offences, including the bribery and extortion.
SaharaReporters, New York
Three persons lost their lives when hoodlums said to be working for Evelyn Oboro, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Delta Central, clashed with thugs allegedly working for Henry Baro, the sacked Chairman of Uvwie local government council and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in collaboration with Ovie Omo-Agege, senator representing Delta Central in the National Assembly.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that three political thugs were gunned down around Jakpa area, near Effurun market on Friday at about 11:30pm in Uvwie local government council of the state. More than 10 people were also injured and rushed to the Ekpan General Hospital and Central Hospital, Warri.
It was gathered that after the Friday night incident, the crisis resumed the following day with sporadic gunshots renting the air in the night.
Sources, who witnessed the bloody clash, told SaharaReporters that guns and other dangerous weapons were freely used by the thugs.
Narrating the incident, a source said: “Thugs from both sides were armed to the teeth. The thugs working for Oboro killed three thugs belonging to the Baro and Omo-Agege camp. The battle was so bloody that people started running for their lives. They also succeeded in inflicting severe injuries on thugs working in Oboro’s camp.
“I was made to understand that the cause of the bloody battle was on who controls the local government council between Oboro and Baro. During elections Uvwie local government council is always a battle ground and so many persons have lost their lives as well as properties worth billions of naira since the coming of democracy in Nigeria. The February 16 election is the main reason for this current battle, which has lasted for almost three days now since Friday.”
In a telephone conversation, a strong member of the Baro/Omo-Agege political family confirmed the incident, stating that: “The people of Delta Central have vowed not to have Evelyn Oboro as their representative in the red chamber, because of her antecedent which has always portrayed the Urhobo nation in bad light. Urhobo nation and even her PDP family have rejected her and, as a result, she has decided to unleashed terror on the people.
“Evelyn is a failure. She is too small to face Omo-Agege in any election. Frankly speaking, both camps suffered during the bloody clash. Oboro’s camp lost men, so also our camp too. As I said, Evelyn is too small for Omo-Agege to handle. Don’t forget, Urhobo nation will never send a woman without a husband to represent in the Senate. Omo-Agege has done enough and the Urhobo have agreed in one voice to return him for the next four years.”
Speaking with our correspondent, one of Oboro’s media handlers, who preferred not to be named since he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said: “The clash is unfortunate and shows Omo-Agege and Baro’s do-or-die kind of politics. My principal is equal to the task and whatever form they will design to prosecute the election, our principal, Evelyn Oboro, is ever ready for them. All we want is nothing but free and fair elections.”
Andrew Aniamaka, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), confirmed the incident, but refused to speak further, stating that investigation has since commenced and those involved will be brought to book.
SaharaReporters, New York
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