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Monthly Archives: July 2019

APC warns Atiku against posing as shadow president

The All Progressives Congress has accused the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of making public statements on issues constitutionally reserved for the duly elected head of government or his designees.

The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said Atiku as a former Vice President ought to understand the workings of the government.

Likening his action to felony, the party warned him against making such utterances in the future, saying security agencies would not be prevented from doing their work irrespective of the class of anyone that committed the act.

The statement said, “As a Party, we would have thought that Alh Atiku, who in the past occupied such high office as the country’s vice president, would clearly understand the workings of government, particularly as it bothers on national security, foreign policy and our international engagement.

“We have noted Alh Atiku’s incessant habits of releasing statements on public issues as if he were an alternative President of this country and with a clear intention to undermine President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC-led government.

“In recent times, Alh Atiku has demonstrated lack of regard for the sovereignty of the office of the President and Nigerian government through condescending statements. He has made several of such statements regarding the activities of the Nigerian military, issues of national security, and international relations.

“The latest of such statements is the one he made on the emergence of Mr. Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain even when our duly elected President, who has the responsibility of making an official statement on such matter, has made the position of our country known.

“We note with serious concern that Alh. Atiku has been throwing himself around as a shadow President of Nigeria. We would like to state clearly that such position could only be found under the parliamentary system; it does not exist under the Presidential system of government that we practice in Nigeria.”

The APC advised Atiku to note that being a candidate for an elective office, including that of the President, did not confer on him a sovereign status.

“Alh. Atiku’s continuous portrayal of himself as a shadow President under our system borders on felony and makes him a patent impostor.

“There can only be one democratically elected and legitimate government at a time in this country. That clearly is the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is important to remind Alh. Atiku that issues of national security, foreign policy and international engagements are not matters to be exploited to achieve mischievous political ends

Senate seeks return of January-Decenber budget cycle

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said on Tuesday that the desire of the ninth Senate and indeed the National Assembly is to have the budget cycle return to January to December.

Lawan spoke shortly before the Senate adjourned for a two-month recess which was initially delayed to allow for the confirmation of the 43 nominees of the President for ministerial appointments.

The screening exercise which started last Wednesday was concluded on Tuesday with the confirmation of all the 43 nominees.

“The budget 2020 is going to be part of what we want to do differently from the previous sessions of the Senate,” Lawan said.

Lawan said the expectation of the lawmakers is that the 2020 appropriation bill will be presented to the National Assembly on their return from the recess in September.

“It is our prayer and hope. It is desirable that that is done,” Lawan said.

“Once that is done, it is our intention in the Senate and in the entire National Assembly that we devote a month of, possibly, October for budget defence only.

“In a situation that we are able to achieve that, no more budget defence after October.

“Any ministry or agent of government that fails to appear to defend it’s budget, the National Assembly will take an appropriate action so that we are able to have November and a week or two in December to process and pass the budget and send it to Mr President to sign in December before Christmas.

“We believe that if we are able to do that, our budget will go back to that regular cycle, that desirable cycle of January to December and that will enhance the budget performance of this country.”

Lawan commended his colleagues for their sense of patriotism and commitment to duty in the prompt confirmation of the ministerial nominees.

He said the Senate is prepared to work with the executive for optimum performance but warned that the ninth Senate will be stiff when it comes to discharging it’s oversight functions.

“We are going to take our oversight very seriously because we will devote our time here to do the right thing and we expect that ministers and heads of government agencies will also do the right thing.

“Nigerians are desirous of going to the next level and we can only go to that next level when we are able to work together to make Nigerians and Nigeria better in terms of service delivery,” Lawan said.

The Senate President advised ministers to always respond to any invitation by the National Assembly adding that “while we are not going to be frivolous, we are going to be firm and serious with our oversight.”

Signed:

Media Office of the
President of the Senate

30 July, 2019

Lawan names Senate committee chairpersons (FULL LIST)

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has named the chairpersons for the Senate’s 69 standing committees.

The announcement was made shortly after the lawmakers unanimously voted to embark on the Senate’s annual recess.

As expected, some senators loyal to the Senate president were given committees that are considered to be key.

Generally, the Appropriation Committee, which deals with federal budgets, is considered as the most important committee. Senate Services is also highly ranked as it takes care of Senate and members’ affairs.

Committees on petroleum and gas as also important, while public accounts is traditionally headed by the opposition as it provides checks on public spending.

The committees, their chairpersons and vice-chairpersons are as follows:

1. Agriculture – Abdullahi Adamu, Bima Enagi.

2. Airforce – Bala Ibn Na’Allah, Michael Nnachi.

3. Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes – Suleiman Kwari, Aliyu Wamakko.

4. Appropriation – Barau Jibrin, Stella Oduah.

5. Army – Ali Ndume, Abba Moro.

6. Aviation – Dino Melaye, Bala Na’Allah.

7. Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions – Uba Sani, Orji Uzor Kalu.

8. Capital Market – Ibikunle Amosun, Binos Yero

9. Communications – Oluremi Tinubu, Ibrahim Bomai.

10. Corporation and Integration in Africa and NEPAD – Chimaroke Nnamani, Yusuf Yusuf.

11. Culture and Tourism – Rochas Okorocha, Ignatius Longjohn.

12. Customs, Excise and Tarrifs – Francis Alimekhena, Francis Fadahunsi.

13. Defence – Aliyu Wamakko, Istifanus Gyang.

14. Diaspora and NGOs – Bashiru Ajibola, Ibrahim Oloriegbe.

15. Downstream Petroleum Sector – Sabo Mohammed, Philip Aduda.

16.Drugs and Narcotics – Hezekaiah Dimka, Chimaroke Nnamani.

17. Ecology Climate Change – Mohammad Gusau, Olubunmi Adetunmbi.

18. Education (Basic and Secondary) – Ibrahim Geidam, Akon Eyakenyi

19. Employment, Labour and Productivity – Ben Umajumogwu, Kabiru Barkiya.

20. Environment – Ike Ekweremadu, Ibrahim Hadejia.

21. Establishment and Public Service – Ibrahim Shekarau, Barinadas Mpigi.

22. Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions – Patrick Akinyelure, Ahmed Babba-Kaita.

23. FCT – Abubakar Kyari, Tolu Odebiyi.

24.Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs – Danjuma Laah, Yahaya Gumau.

25. FERMA – Gershom Bassey, Kabir Barkiya.

26. Finance – Adeola Olamilekan, Isa Jibrin.

27. Foreign Affairs – Mohammed Bulkachuwa, Ignatius Longjohn.

28. Gas Resources – James Manager, Biobaraku Wangagra.

29. Health (Secondary and Tertiary) – Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Betty Apiafi.

30. Housing – Sam Egwu, Lola Ashiru.

31. ICT and Cybercrime – Yakubu Useni, Abdulfatai Buhari.

32. INEC – Kabiru Gaya, Sahabi Ya’u.

33. Industries – Adebayo Osinowo.

34. Information and National Communication – Danladi Sankara, Aishatu Ahmed.

35. Interior -Kashim Shettima, Diri Douye.

36. Interparliamentary Affairs – Godiya Akwashiki, Abba Moro.

37. Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters – Michael Bamidele, Emmanuel Oker-Jev.

38. Land Transport – Abdulfatai Buhari, Nicholas Tofowomo.

39. Legislative Compliance – Oriolowo Adeyemi, Sabi Abdullahi.

40. Local Content – Teslim Folarin, Sabi Abdullahi.

41. Local and Foreign Debts – Clifford Ordia, Bima Enagi.

42. Marine Transport – Danjuma Goje, Adebayo Osinowo.

43. Media and Public Affairs – Adedayo Adeyeye, Akwashiki Godiya.

44. National Identity and National Population – Sa’idu Alkali, Suleiman Kwari.

45. National Planning – Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

46. National Security and Intelligence – Abdullahi Gobir, Chukwuka Utazi.

47. Navy – George Sekibo, Elisha Abbo.

48. Niger Delta – Peter Nwabaoshi, Bulus Amos.

49. Petroleum Upstream – Albert Akpan, Ifeanyi Ubah.

50. Police affairs – Dauda Jika, Abubakar Tambuwal.

51. Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Program – Lawal Gumau, Michael Nnachi.

52. Power -Gabriel Suswam, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

53. Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases – Chuwkuka Utazi, Sadiq Umar.

54. Privatisation – Theodore Orji, Oriolowo Adeyemi.

55. Public Accounts – Mathew Urghohide, Ibrahim Hassan.

56. Public Procurement – Shuaibu Lau, Lola Ashiru.

57. Rules and business – Sadiq Umar, Yahaya Abdullahi.

58. Science and Technology – Uche Ekwunife, Robert Boroffice.

59. Senate Services – Sani Musa, Lawal Hassan.

60. Solid Minerals, Mine, Steel Development and Metallurgy – Tanko Almakura, Oriolowo Adeyeye.

61. Sports and Social Development – Joseph Garba

62. State and Local Government – Lekan Mustapha, Francis Onyewuchi.

63. Special duties – Yusuf Yusuf, Biobaraku Wangagra.

64. SDGs – Aisha Dahiru, Lekan Mustapha

65. Tertiary Institution and TETFUND – Ahmed Baba Kaita, Sandy Onor.

66. Trade and Investment – Rose Oko
Francis Fadahunsi.

67. Water Resources – Bello Mandiya, Christopher Ekpeyong.

68. Women Affairs and Youth Development – Betty Apiafi, Aishatu Dahiru.

69. Works – Adamu Aliero, Emmanuel Bwacha.

626 killed during 2019 Nigeria elections — Report

An estimated 626 persons were killed across Nigeria in the six months between the start of the election campaign and the commencement of the general and supplementary elections, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has said.

The electioneering campaigns began in October 2018 while the last of the elections were held in March.

The Coalition observer group disclosed this on Tuesday at the released of its final report on the 2019 general election in Abuja.

The group said the number increased compared to the 106 killed in the 2015 general elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23, while governorship and state assembly elections were held on March 9.

Supplementary elections in five states were also held in March.

The organisation in its report on the elections listed the numbers of deaths per the six geopolitical zones in the country.

”Situation Room is deeply worried about the spike in politically motivated killings in the period leading up to the elections,

”At least, 626 people were said to have been killed between the start of the campaign in October 2018 and the final election in March 2019, ” the coalition observer group said.

According to the report, the North-west region recorded the highest number of deaths with 172 killed during the elections, while the North-east followed with 146 fatalities.

Also, the report revealed that the South-south and North-central had 120 and 111 fatalities respectively.

Sixty-three people were killed in the South-west, while 14 were killed in the South-east.

The organisation also revealed that Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Rivers, and Zamfara led with the highest casualties during the elections.

Media had reported election violence in states like Benue, Ebonyi, Imo, Lagos, Kano, Rivers and Akwa Ibom.

Only a few of the perpetrators of the violence were arrested by security agencies who seemed overwhelmed.

Rivers State has been notorious for electoral violence since 2011. There were also reported attacks on National Youth Corps Service members in Etche local government. the casualty included soldiers who engaged in shootouts with armed political thugs.

According to a report by the Rivers Commission of Inquiry, a monthly average of 19 killings occurred in the state in election violence between November 2014 and April 2015.

The commission instituted by Chibuike Amaechi, the former Rivers State governor, noted that out of the 97 allegations of killings it received, 94 of them occurred between November 15, 2014, and April 11, 2015.

Apart from killings that occurred during the 2019 polls, there were also many incidents of ballot box snatching, assaults, abductions, and harassment.

Also, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in its 2019 election report published in June, said about 150 people were killed in election-related violence in different parts of the country.

”The elections became increasingly marred by violence and intimidation. This harmed the integrity of the electoral process and may deter future participation.

”Around 150 people died in election-related violence during the campaign period and over the election days. INEC reported attacks on its offices, and also fatalities, abductions and sexual assault against its officials.” the EU report stated.

The report said besides the number of killings, the elections at both the federal and state levels witnessed problems such as thuggery, rigging and vote-buying. While the federal elections witnessed a voter turnout of 35.6 per cent, the state-level elections saw an even lower turnout.

“The inability of the political parties to play by the books contributed in no small way to heating up the polity during the elections,” it said.

The organisation, however, suggested that INEC and security agencies should ensure accountability for acts inimical to the integrity and credibility of the polls especially individuals complicit in the burning of INEC offices, election materials, snatching of ballot boxes and other electoral offences.

I might be a mother someday —Naomi Campbell, 49

Veteran model, Naomi Campbell has revealed that there was still a possibility that she might become a mother someday.

In an interview with Paris Match, Campbell, who is 49 years old, was asked whether she missed being a mother.

She replied, “No. By the way, who said I would not be a mother someday?”

Meanwhile, she also revealed her experience of racism during the last Cannes Film Festival held in France.

She revealed she had been invited to an event at a hotel in the south of France but wasn’t allowed in because of the colour of her skin.

Campbell said, “I was recently in a city in the south of France, at the time of the Cannes Film Festival, where I was invited to participate in an event in a hotel whose name I will not mention. They did not want to let my friend and I in because of the colour of my skin. The guy at the entrance pretended that the place was complete. But he let other people pass.”

She added, “It is for these kinds of shocking moments that I will continue to express myself and make myself heard.”

Supreme Court sacks Adamawa APC Rep for skipping NYSC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sacked Mustapha Usman, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member of the House of Representatives, representing Yola South/Yola North/Girei Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, for forging documents and not participating in all processes leading to the election.

The five-man panel of the court, led by Justice John Okoro, ‎held that Usman did not participate in all the stages of the election.

He therefore ordered that the person who came second in the election and met the constitutional requirements, should be issued certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Supreme Court held that, besides the fact that Usman forged his credentials, he also did not participate in the National Youth Service Corps scheme.

BREAKING: FG gazettes court order proscribing Shiites movement

The Federal Government has published in its Official Gazette the court order proscribing the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shiites.

The gazetting was done on Monday.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, which issued the proscription order on July 26, ordered the Federal Government to publish the order in its gazette and also in two national dailies.

The newspaper publication in the two dailies has since been done.

My grandson once asked why people call me a liar — Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, ministerial nominee from Kwara state, says his seven-year-old grandson once asked him why people refer to him as a liar.

Critics of Mohammed, especially on social media, are fond of replacing his first name with “liar”.

Speaking when he appeared before the senate for screening on Tuesday, the former minister of information said he had ignored his critics until his grandson brought the issue to his attention.

“My name as appeared on the CV is my correct name, which is Lai Mohammed. Don’t believe what they say on social media,” he said.

“They call me all sorts of names and I used to ignore it until one day when my seven-year-old grandson called me and said ‘grandpa, tell me the truth, why do they call you lair Mohammed’?

“I looked at him. What do you say to a seven year old? How do you explain politics to him? So I told him don’t mind them, they are bad guys.”

Prior to his appointment as minister in 2015, Mohammed had served as the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He is among the 13 ministers reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mohammed had submitted himself for questioning at the screening but some senators hailed him as a loyal party man and requested that he should “take a bow and go”, a plea granted by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

I won’t groom a successor, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the calls to name the person whom he prefers to succeed him.

Speaking while receiving members of the group known as Progressive in Academics (Pro-Acad) at the presidential villa, Abuja, Buhari said naming his preferred successor now will create problems for him and those making such calls.

The group had asked him to start grooming a youth who will replace him when his tenure expires in 2023.

But Buhari said becoming a president is not an overnight job but a painstaking process.

“Succession? To me, this is very funny. If I find anybody, I will create more problems for him or her. Let those who want to be president try as much as I did,” he said.

“I believe those who are interested need to know that I tried three times and the fourth time, I thank God and technology. Before they announced the result on radio and television, we got the results and those who disagreed were asked to go to court. Most of my supporters are looking for next day’s meal, they don’t have money to give to lawyers. So I said God dey!

“So, the fourth time because of technology they couldn’t rig the elections, so I won. So this time around I tried to work hard. I think you have more to do as intellectuals to make sure you correct Nigeria’s intellectual development, it is very important for the next generation.

“A lot of our young people are taking things for granted. Imagine to contest elections three times and ending up in the Supreme Court, it takes a lot of conviction and hard work. But people take things for granted, they say I want to be the president. As if I just to closed my eyes and opened and I got it.”

Otedola fulfils AFCON $25,000 per goal pledge to Super Eagles

Femi Otedola, billionaire businessman, has fulfilled his $25,000 per goal pledge to the Super Eagles.

Otedola had pledged the sum of $25,000 for each goal scored by the Eagles during the just concluded 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

He made the promise alongside Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote Group, who doubles as Africa’s richest man, before the Eagles’ semi final clash against Algeria in Egypt.

A brilliant free kick from Riyad Mahrez, however, ensured that Algeria defeated Nigeria 2-1 in the semi final at the Cairo International Stadium.

On Tuesday, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) took to its Twitter page to announce that the business mogul has made good his pledge to the Super Eagles.

“Business mogul Femi Otedola has fulfilled his pledge of $25,000 to the @NGSuperEagles for their one goal against Algeria in AFCON 2019 semi final,” the NFF wrote.

The NFF 🇳🇬

@thenff

Business mogul Femi Otedola has fulfilled his pledge of $25,000 to the @NGSuperEagles for their one goal against Algeria in AFCON 2019 semi final. Seen here on Tuesday with defender @omeruo22 (r),Team Administrator Enebi Achor (second l) and Equipment Manager Chidi Ngoka (l)

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Otedola has constantly proven to be a man of his word and this was evident recently when he assisted Christian Chukwu, former coach of the Super Eagles, who was in need of medical attention.

Femi Ote$

@realFemiOtedola

Integrity is keeping your word. I redeemed my pledge of $25000 per goal to representatives of the Super Eagles (L-R) Chidi Ngoka (Equipment Manager), Enebi Achor (Team Manager) and Defender Kenneth Omeruo today in my office ⚽️ …F.Ote💲

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The business tycoon, who had previously pledged to foot his bill, presented Chukwu with a cheque of $50,000.

On July 21, the philanthropist, and former chairman of Forte Oil PLC, also promised to take care of the medical expenses of Sadiq Daba, an ailing nollywood actor.

Edo assembly crisis: I won’t issue a fresh proclamation, Obaseki dares senate

Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, says the senate has gone beyond its constitutional powers in giving him an ultimatum over the state assembly crisis.

On Tuesday, the senate gave the governor a week ultimatum to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the state house of assembly.

A misunderstanding between Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Obaseki had led to the factionalisation of the state assembly.

Nine lawmakers loyal to Obaseki were secretly inaugurated on June 17, leaving their colleagues in the camp of Oshiomhole stranded.

In a statement Osarodion Ogie, secretary to the state government (SSG), issued on his behalf, the governor said he would not issue a fresh proclamation.

He described the action of the senate as an illegality that cannot stand.

“The Edo state government watched with alarm today as the distinguished senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a step that was not totally unexpected, purported to pass a resolution in the following terms: – Directing the Governor of Edo State to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the Edo state house of assembly, and ordering a fresh inauguration of the Edo state house of assembly within one (1) week from the date of the said resolution,” he said.

“As earlier mentioned, this move was not unexpected in the light of the enormous political pressure which had been brought to bear on the officers and members of the distinguished senate by the highly-placed and powerful persons who are intent on foisting their will and choices on the good people of Edo state.

“This is borne out by the recorded statements made by one Seid Oshiomhole (a member-elect and younger brother of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress Comrade Adams Oshiomhole) wherein he boasted that both the senate president, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the speaker of the house of representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila have been instructed on what to do in this matter.

“The government of Edo state wishes to observe that the chairman and members of ad-hoc committee of the senate which visited Edo state were made aware of the existence of at least three (3) suits pending before various courts wherein the factual and legal dispute regarding the Edo State House of Assembly inauguration have been submitted to the courts by both contending parties for resolution.

“It is unfortunate that the distinguished senate would act in flagrant breach of these various court crders and purport to come to factual and legal conclusions concerning a matter in which the parties are already before the courts and therefore sub judice.

“The Edo state government maintains that there is nowhere in the constitution particularly Section 11(4) which enables the national assembly to take over any house of assembly or in this respect, the Edo state house of assembly.”

FG asks ICPC, EFCC to go after AMCON’s top 20 debtors

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government has set up a task force to monitor the top 20 debtors on the list of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

According to a statement released by Laolu Akande, the vice president’s spokesman, the federal government said it has renewed efforts to recover the N5 trillion debt owed by the debtors.

The agencies tasked to go after the debtors are Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the permanent secretaries of the justice and transport ministries.

At a meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Osinbajo told all the agencies to re-strategize to achieve the desired results.

“The key is collaboration. We need a small team comprising these agencies to look at the next steps that we need to take, especially the criminal aspect, forfeiture, and all of that,” he said.

According to Muiz Banire, AMCON chairman, 67% of the N5 trillion debt is owed by the top 20 debtors.

Some of the stakeholders present at the meeting were Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC; Bolaji Owasanoye ICPC chairman; Modibbo Tukur, NFIU director; Sabiu Zakari, permanent secretary at the ministry of transportation,.

Boris Johnson appoints 39-year-old British-Nigerian as minister

Boris Johnson, British  prime minister, has named Kemi Badenoch, a UK-born Nigerian, a minister in his cabinet.

Badenoch was appointed minister of children and family affairs.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, the 39 year old spent part of her childhood in Lagos.

She was elected to parliament in 2017, having previously served for the conservatives in the London assembly.

At the parliament, Badenoch talked about her experiences of poverty in Nigeria, including living without electricity or functioning water supply.

She also narrated how she had to do her homework using candles.

Returning to the UK at 16, she studied systems engineering at Sussex University, she also later got a degree in law, and has worked in the IT and banking sectors.

In a tweet, she said her appointment is a huge privilege to make a positive difference.

“I’m humbled to have been appointed a junior minister at the DfE.  A huge privilege to be able to serve and make a positive difference on a number of issues close to my heart. I look forward to working with the ministerial team and everyone at @educationgovuk,” she tweeted.

Kemi Badenoch MP

@KemiBadenoch

I’m humbled to have been appointed a junior minister at the DfE. A huge privilege to be able to serve and make a positive difference on a number of issues close to my heart. I look forward to working with the ministerial team and everyone at @educationgovuk …(1/3)

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Buhari: Religious tension would have been minimal if Abiola had been president

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the late MKO Abiola as a “bridge builder” who could have prevented the religious and tribal issues besetting the country from happening.

When he received elders from Ogun state at the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday, Buhari said had the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election been allowed to rule, Nigeria would have been better for it.

The delegation led by Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun state, had visited Buhari to thank him for honouring Abiola with the title of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

Buhari had conferred the honour on Abiola on June 12, 2018.

The delegation, which presented a big talking drum to the president, also used the opportunity to solicit the rehabilitation of some federal roads as well as other critical infrastructure in the state.

They explained that this will decongest the gridlock occasioned by the movement of consignments along the Apapa – Oshodi expressway and also improve the standard of living of Nigerians.

Responding, Buhari expressed appreciation to Abiodun for “mobilising such a strong delegation to thank him for the gesture towards their illustrious son”.

The president also said he named the national stadium after the late Abiola because he knows the youths would want to find out why such an important national institution was named after him in future.

“If MKO Abiola was allowed to rule, the religious and tribal issues now in Nigeria would not have been as strong, because he ran on a Muslim-Muslim ticket, chose his deputy from the Kanuri, a minority tribe and because of his personality, he went across Nigeria and was accepted,” Buhari said.

“He used his resources and energy to convince Nigerians that all he wanted was a solid Nigeria and nothing else.”

Buhari meets with Abiodun, Osoba, Daniel, others in Aso Rock

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with elders and leaders of thought from Ogun State.

The meeting started around 3.04pm at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja.

Those at the meeting include the Governor Dapo Abiodun, former governors, Olusegun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel.

Also at the meeting are Segun Awolowo, traditional rulers and members of the National Assembly from the state and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

The meeting was still in progress at the time of filing this report.

Details shortly…

South Africa court approves $353 million settlement for gold miners

A Johannesburg High Court has approved a historic five billion rand ($353 million) class action settlement between gold mining companies and law firms representing myriads of miners who contracted the lethal ongoing lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis.

The agreement affects workers who contracted the malady during or after being employed in gold mines dating back from 1965.

The settlement is between the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group, which represents African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater, and the settlement classes’ representatives, as well as the settlement classes’ law firms Richard Spoor, Abrahams Kiewitz and the Legal Resources Centre.

The settlement is anticipated to bring an end to the drawn-out class action case, with Luzipo affirming on Friday that the settlement “should set an example for future claims to be expedited because the current victory came after many of the workers have died”.

“We believe that justice has finally prevailed and that, going forward, mining companies should always put the safety of workers first in order to prevent diseases that could potentially occur long after retirement,” Luzipo said while commending the efforts of the legal team that represented the victims and families of the deceased according to the Creamer Media.

Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter, in a separate statement, said the settlement agreement was “a product of more than four years of engagement between the parties”.

While Baxter quoted the settlement as a “historic outcome”, he said that continuing to ensure that no employee contract silicosis, while implementing intensive programs to identify and treat TB, as well as ensuring that the statutory compensation under the MBOD was accessible and paid timeously, was “even more important”.

The court found that all the parties made an effort to ensure that the settlement was sensible, adequate and fair.

“All the parties made an effort to ensure that the settlement agreement is reasonable, adequate and fair,” the High Court said in its judgment according to Reuters

All the parties made an effort to ensure that the settlement agreement is reasonable, adequate and fair.

The gold producers consented in May last year to the settlement but it needed to be approved by the Johannesburg High Court before being implemented.

The class-action suit was initiated in 2012 on behalf of miners suffering from silicosis, an irremediable malady caused by inhaling silica dust from gold-bearing rocks.

It causes shortness of breath, a persistent cough and chest pains, and also makes people highly susceptible to tuberculosis.

Mineral Resources Portfolio Committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzi and the Minerals Council South Africa embraced the approval by the Gauteng High Court of an R5-billion settlement between gold mining firms and former employees who have contracted silicosis and tuberculosis (TB) after working in the country’s gold mines.

The alignment of mineworker compensation systems and the execution of the settlement trust would also be prime concerns

Election petition: INEC’s refusal to call witnesses proves Atiku won, says Shettima

The National Chairman of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima has called on the presidential election tribunal to declare the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, the winner of the February 23 presidential election.

Shettima’s call came on the heels of the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission to call any witness to defend its case against the petition filed by the opposition PDP, on Monday, at the presidential tribunal sitting on Monday.

Atiku and the PDP are challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner by INEC.

Shettima, who spoke with our correspondent on the issue, said the refusal of INEC’s lawyers to provide witnesses to debunk Atiku/PDP’s claims was enough for the tribunal to declare Atiku the winner of the election.
He added that beyond the activities at the tribunal, Nigerians were already clear about the “fact that INEC wrongly declared Buhari the winner.”

He said, “I am just concerned if the Presidential tribunal will declare the rightful winner of the election. Nigerians already know what transpired during the elections, before the case got to the tribunal. But now that the case is at the tribunal we hope that justice will be done as expected by everyone.

“Today now, we all saw what happened at the tribunal. And we all know what that implies. I wish the court will do the right thing. However, whatever they do, the consequence is awaiting us in the future. I would tell them to be careful not to allow a repeat of what happened during the 1993 election between MKO Abiola and Bashir Tofa.”

Shettima said whatever happened, while the tribunal sittings last, would forever remain in the history of Nigeria’s democracy, adding that the next generation would never forget whoever participated in rewriting history.

He said, “For INEC not to bring a witness simply means that they know the truth. It also means that what PDP brought forward was the true picture of what transpired during that election. And if that be the case, the court should not delay in doing justice to the matter by declaring Atiku the winner of the election.”

When the tribunal called INEC to open its case, on Monday, the electoral umpire’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), affirmed before the tribunal that it would not be necessary on the grounds that the evidence extracted from the petitioners’ witnesses during cross-examination was in support of the commission’s case.

Atiku vrs Buhari: INEC declines to call witnesses

The Independent National Electoral Commission said on Monday that it would not call any witness to defend its case in respect of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Atiku and his party are by their petition challenging the outcome of February 23, 2019 presidential election which INEC declared was won by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress.

The petitioners had rested their case with 62 witnesses on July 19 after which the five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba adjourned further proceedings till Monday for INEC to open its defence.

But when called upon by the tribunal to open his case on Monday, INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), said it would not be necessary on the grounds that the evidence extracted from the petitioners’ witnesses during cross-examination was in support of the commission’s case.

He said, “We have painstakingly reviewed the evidence of petitioners’ witnesses.

“We have also painstakingly studied the petitioners’ evidence under cross-examination, which supports our defence and our denial in consonance with our pleadings.

“My lords, we do not see the need to waste your lordship’s precious time by repeating what their witnesses have repeated under cross-examination.

“In that circumstance, we will not call any witness to help them prove their case.

“We, therefore, rely on the evidence of their witness under cross-examination.”

Responding, Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), requested to be allowed to open his client’s case at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said his decision on whether or not to call witnesses would depend on the case to be presented by Buhari’s legal team.

On his part, the petitioners’ lawyer, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), thanked INEC’s legal team for not calling witnesses.

“I profusely thank my brother and friend for deciding not to call any witness,” he said.

The hearing has been adjourned till Tuesday.

Why I prefer World Bank loans – Obaseki

Any interest rate above five per cent is not suitable for development, Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki said in Lagos on Saturday, while answering questions from journalists that that explained why he was sticking with the World Bank loans.

“I get a moratorium. I get an interest of less than one per cent and it is like a grant. have to ensure that whatever you borrow, you ensure that you spend it well, to enhance development,’’ he said.

On security, Obaseki said like Politics, it was a local issue.

“If you have Federal Security Agents, you must also have State Security Agents, as well as Local Government Security Agents. You can call them anything.’’

The governor disclosed that his administration was registering and gathering the biometric data of all vigilance groups in Edo, with a view to coordinating them better.

“The Citizens’ Response Centre is in my Office. If you allow them to operate from the Police Headquarters, they will operate the way the Police operate. I want to be able to take charge of their activities,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Oluwole Iyamu, Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Edo State, also answered some questions at the briefing.

Iyamu said that those accusing Gov. Obaseki of manipulating the activities of the House may not be aware that prior to the inauguration, the Clerk is the Chief Executive officer of the House.

He said that the 12 outstanding members-elect of the 7thEdo House of Assembly who have yet to present themselves for inauguration are free to do so whenever they complete their documentation procedures.

Recall that the Edo Assembly was inaugurated on June 17, 2019 with nine of its elected 24 members.

He explained that three more have so far presented themselves for inauguration, in addition to the previous nine.

“There is no law that says that all members-elect must be inaugurated at once because there are procedures that members-elect have to go through before they are inaugurated as members of the House.

“If you have yet to complete those formalities, you cannot be inaugurated. Some of those members-elect said they were not around when they were asked to come for inauguration because they had not completed their documentation procedures.”

The Solicitor-General, however, said that there was a subsisting court order on the matter, hence the state government was restraining itself from commenting on the issue.

“The matter is before a competent court of law whose business it is to adjudicate in such situations of dispute,’’ he said.

No going back on Lagos-Ibadan road four-month closure – FG

The Federal Government has said there is no going back on the four-month planned partial closure of sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for reconstruction.

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos State, Adedamola Kuti, said on Sunday the planned partial closure starting from August 3 would not be postponed even with the next month’s Sallah holiday trips and other religious activities that would increase traffic on the road.

According to him, the aim is to complete that portion of the road before Christmas when the traffic is expected to be heavier.

“What we are doing is to finish the project before Christmas when more people will be travelling. We are not closing the road totally; we are providing routes where people will follow and once everyone is patient, everything will go well,” he said.

The Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC had last week notified the public that Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the construction company handling rehabilitation work on Section 1 of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, had given notification of its plan to commence intensive work on the Berger-Kara end of the road on August 3, and would close some sections for four months.

Ogun Sector Commander of the FRSC, Clement Oladele, said at the weekend that the partial closure of the 1.4 kilometres portion of the road had been postponed before and any further delay would affect its delivery date.

“The project is expected to be delivered by 2021 and any further postponement will affect the date,” he said.

He urged motorists to use alternative routes such as the Lagos-Ota-Itori-Abeokuta and Ikorodu-Sagamu roads during the period.

According to Oladele, palliative work is also ongoing under Ogun River Bridge at the popular Kara Cattle Market to help improve traffic flow.

He stated that the FRSC had made plans to deploy more personnel to the area for 24-hour patrol, while the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA and other security agencies would be available to help with traffic control.

“Our plan is to make sure we reduce the discomfort that motorists are expected to face. It is a huge challenge to them and to us as enforcement agents as well but we are setting up camp in the area. We are bringing in personnel from other parts of Ogun State and some from Lagos State to help with traffic control,” he said.

Oladele, however, stated that indiscipline might compound the challenges on the road and cautioned motorists to obey traffic rules by reducing their speed to 50 km/hour and avoid driving against traffic.

The General Manager of LASTMA, Wale Musa, said officials of the agency would ensure effective traffic control as well as assist in the evacuation of faulty vehicles.

“Fifty per cent of vehicles that break down along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway are evacuated by our officials; so, traffic control won’t be a problem. Although a good portion of the road is in Ogun State and so by law, it is not under our jurisdiction; the part under Lagos will be handled effectively,” he added.

The President, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said the closure would have adverse effects on commuters and cargoes coming in and out of Lagos, and advised that adequate plans for alternative roads should be made.

He said for ease of traffic, the Ikorodu-Sagamu road, a suggested alternative route, should be put in good condition and dedicated to heavy-duty trucks.

The Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, while welcoming the rehabilitation of the road, said the government needed to start thinking of constructing a new bypass because of the level of development going on around the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

He said, “All over the world, as cities grow, the road network is increased. The capacity of Nigerian roads has been overstretched and there is a need to increase the number of roads and build byways.

“Even if they complete the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, there will still be the need for a bypass because of the level of development along that axis. People waste a lot of time there as a result.”