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118 Nigerians killed in xenophobic attacks in South Africa – Lawan

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, on Monday condemned the continuous killings of Nigerians in South Africa, warning that further attacks on Nigerians would no longer be condoned.

Mr Lawan expressed concern that about 118 Nigerians had so far lost their lives in different attacks over the years, out of which 13 were by the South African Police.

A statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mohammed Isa said Mr Lawan made this known when he hosted the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe.

Mr Moroe and his delegation paid the visit to brief the Senate leadership on his government’s investigations to unravel the causes of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and steps being taken to stop such.

The meeting, according to Mr Lawan, became pertinent considering the incessant attacks on Nigerians residing across cities in South Africa.

He said “We in the parliament must speak and prevent any further killings. These killings must stop.

“This is the era of social media where corpse of a victim may spark violence that may go beyond the control of government.

“The South African government must as a matter of urgency do whatever it takes to protect the lives and property of Nigerians living there, just as Nigerian government remain committed to the safety of South Africans residing here and their investments.

“I believe we have faced enough, we will no longer take it anymore. We want to write the names of Nigerians killed, and the South African parliament must act fast to put a stop to this menace.

“Over the years, 118 Nigerians have been killed, while 13 out of these were killed by South African Police.”

He also recalled the enormous contributions of Nigeria to South Africa during the apartheid rule.

“We must establish events leading into these killings, including the recent one of Mrs.Elizabeth Chukwu, who was killed in her hotel room,” he said.

While commending the High Commissioner for the updates, Mr Lawan noted that, “the update on the cause of late Mrs. Chukwu’s death is heartwarming. It is a sign that something has been done in this regards.”

Earlier, Mr Moroe expressed regret over the killings of Nigerians in his country.

He extended the country’s condolences to the families of the victims.

He said an inquest had been instituted to investigate all cases of xenophobic attacks in the country.

The inquest, he said would reveal the cause of the menace and find solutions across board.

He reiterated the commitment of South African government and its law enforcement agencies to get to the root of the matter while bringing to book perpetrators of the attacks.

“Our government will continue to be committed to the good relationship with Nigeria.

“Your sentiment has gone deep into our heart, and you will be happy that the same sentiment has been our concern in South Africa.

“On behalf of the government of South Africa, we express our sincere condolences to Nigerian government for this unfortunate incident”, he said.

(NAN)

Nigerians spent N3bn in cinemas in 6 months

Nigerians spent nearly N3, 124, 026, 959 to watch box office movies at Nigerian cinemas between January and June.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the figures are according to data provided by cinemas and gathered by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN).

The year opened with ‘Aquaman’, ‘Chief Daddy’ and ‘Up North’ sitting on the top three of the chart with an estimated combined earnings of 168, 263, 512.

The movies maintained their positions until the fourth week when ‘Glass’ debuted at number one with ‘Aquaman’ taking second place and ‘Chief Daddy’, third booting ‘Up North’ to fourth place.

This led to a combined earnings of N91, 409, 100, which fell to 77, 259, 811 million Naira as January closed with Kevin Hart’s ‘The Upside’ kicking ‘Chief Daddy’ to fourth place.

Infographic showing gross distribution (Source: NAN)
Infographic showing gross distribution (Source: NAN)

NAN reports that earnings remained low for February, making it the lowest grossing month with a total of N291, 843, 044.

Top spots were alternated between ‘Alita’, ‘Cold Pursuit’, ‘What Men Want’, ‘Escape Room’ and ‘The UpSide’.

By March, viewership picked up steadily and the earnings were almost doubled from that of February leading to a total of N434, 432, 431.

‘What Men Want’, ‘Alita’, ‘Hire A Woman’, ‘She Is’, ‘Us’ and ‘Babymamas’ enjoyed a relatively good run in March but a chunk of the earnings and viewership went to Marvel’s flick ‘Captain Marvel’.

At the beginning of April, ‘HellBoy’, ‘Shazam’, ‘Little’ and ‘Us’ continued to share the top spot with ‘Captain Marvel’ until the release of the much anticipated ‘Avengers:Endgame’.

NAN also reports that with ‘Avengers: Endgame’, earnings from April climbed from N186, 929, 188 in its third week to N342, 382, 389  in its final week.

The month, which is the highest grossing in 2019, closed with an estimated total earnings of  N734, 151, 060 due to major boost from Disney’s ‘Endgame’.

In May, there was a massive dip in earnings similar to that experienced in February. With ‘Endgame’, ‘The Intruder’ and ‘Longshot’, it earned a total of N367, 498, 554.

The fall in viewership is usual after a global holiday such as Christmas for December/January and Easter for April.

The numbers picked up in June with ‘John Wick’, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Aladdin’ leading the numbers. They were supported by ‘Anna’, ‘Men In Black’, ‘Dark Phoenix’ and ‘Bling Lagosians’.

June opened with N161, 132, 714 but closed with N100, 663, 647 leading to a total earning of N576, 322, 779.

Neymar back to PSG training amid likely Barcelona return

Neymar showed up for training at Paris Saint-Germain on Monday, according to French media reports, a week late and days after controversially claiming his best football memory was beating PSG when he played for Barcelona.

A video posted on the website of leading sports daily L’Equipe showed the 27-year-old Brazilian – his hair dyed peroxide blonde – getting out of a black Mercedes van at the club’s training ground in the suburbs of the French capital.

PSG officially began pre-season training last Monday but Neymar, linked with a move back to Barcelona, was not there with the player’s camp maintaining he had a prior agreement to stay away.

The French champions responded last week by threatening to take “appropriate action” against the world’s most expensive player, who said he had stayed in Brazil to attend a charity five-a-side football tournament run by his foundation, the Neymar Institute.

On Saturday, Neymar, who joined PSG for €222 million (Dh913m) from Barcelona in 2017, made a series of remarks that strained his relationship further with the club and sparked outrage on social media.

Asked by online sports channel Oh My Goal about his best memory in football, the troubled superstar cited Barcelona’s incredible 2017 Champions League victory over PSG when he was part of the team that overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit by winning 6-1 in the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Neymar posted a 10-second video of himself in a Barcelona shirt and a quote from the Bible: “No weapon turned against you will prosper.”

Neymar’s father, who is also the player’s representative, later defended his son in an Instagram post, saying: “At no point did my son show a lack of respect to PSG or the players who played in that game in 2017.”

“My son plays for PSG, but he can’t simply ignore his past. A past that led to him arriving at the French club,” Neymar Senior added.

I can no longer travel to my town because of kidnappers – Senator

Ajayi Boroffice, senator representing Ondo north senatorial district, says he can no longer travel to his hometown because of the fear of being kidnapped.

Boroffice, who is the deputy majority leader at the upper legislative chamber, said this during a visit to the Akure residence of Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere leader, whose daughter, Funke Olakunrin, was killed by gunmen.

Olakunrin, 58, was murdered along Benin-Ore highway while returning to Lagos after visiting her father in Akure, Ondo state capital, on Friday.

Boroffice called on the federal government to beef up security across the country.

“The government which I’m part of, should find a solution to this problem. The ordinary people in Ondo state will still carry out their businesses… you can’t ask them not to go out. In the senate, we discuss this issue of insecurity on regular basis,” he said.

“I’m here in Akure now, I would have loved to go to Oka, my hometown but the fear is that how do I move from Akure to Oka because their is a spot near Oba where these people (kidnappers) are. So, this issue is affecting everybody.

“It’s not something that we should feel unconcerned about. We are all concerned and I believe there is something going on on how to find a solution to this problem.”

After God, it’s Otedola in my life, says Christian Chukwu

Christian Chukwu, former Super Eagles coach, says he lack words to use in thanking Femi Otedola, billionaire businessman, for footing his medical bill.

Through the assistance of Otedola, Chukwu, who was down with prostrate cancer, underwent a surgery at Wellington Hospital in London.

Otedola had issued him a cheque of $50,000 ahead of the medical trip.

When he visited the billionaire upon his return to the country, Chukwu said after God, Otedola is the next person in his life.

“Otedola has made me, I can play football again. If you saw me before I left for London, you won’t believe I’ll be here talking to you. I think I won’t be making a mistake if I say after God, it’s Otedola in my life,” he said.

“I had many complications and I couldn’t walk. When I heard Otedola brought out money for my treatment, I marvelled because in my circle, we didn’t know him before then. We have people with us but maybe they forgot or it’s not in their character (to help). I don’t know how to thank Otedola enough, God bless him.”

Lilian, Chukwu’s wife, who was with him, said God used Otedola to bring her husband back to life.

Earlier, Otedola had said he was glad to have been of help to the sportsman, saying assisting people is his way of life.

He said while some of his friends could spend N50 million on champagne, he would rather spend money on people.

I slept with my brother-in-law thinking he was my husband, woman tells court

A trader, Mrs Ajayi, 52, told an Igando Customary Court that she slept with her brother-in-law because she thought he was her husband.

Ajayi’s husband, Akande, is seeking the dissolution of their 35-year marriage, accusing her of infidelity.

“I was in bed when my husband’s younger brother came to the house my husband rented for me.

“I thought it was my husband who normally comes to the house at that particular time between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. to play and sleep with me.

“It was after he finished making love to me that I realised that he was not my husband.

“When I queried him, he claimed that my husband had travelled that was why he came to have sex with me.

“I reported the case to my brother’s wife, who advised me not to tell my brother so that peace can reign in the family.”

The respondent said that her husband treats the children of the other wives better than hers.

The mother of four denied being fetish as claimed by husband.

Ajayi prayed the court not to grant her husband’s wish for the dissolution of their marriage that she still loves him.

The petitioner, Akande, approached the court to terminate his 35-year marriage accusing the wife of infidelity.

He said that his wife was wayward and adulterous that her man friend was claiming paternity of one of their children.

“When I married her, I rented an apartment for her because I have other wives and I don’t want them to live together.

“I started hearing from people in the area that my wife was having an affair with a man, initially I ignored it until her lover came claiming ownership of one of my children.

“The man eventually came to the house but I refused to open the door for him.

“When I questioned my wife, she confessed that the man slept with her but it did not result in pregnancy.”

The 71-year-old businessman said, “I once caught her burying something in my compound, I accosted her and tried to remove what she buried there but I could not.

“I went out before I returned, she had cemented the place.”

He begged the court to end the marriage that he was no longer interested that the love he once had for her had faded.

The president of the court, Mr Adeniyi Koledoye, urged the two parties to maintain peace and adjourned the case until August 22 for judgment.

(NAN)

NAN Board appoints Mammaga as Acting MD

The Board of Directors of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has approved the appointment of Ibrahim Mammaga as the Acting Managing Director and substantive Editor-In-Chief of the agency.

A statement by the agency’s Assistant Director, Administration and Human Resources Management, Moses Uzogba, in Abuja on Monday, said the appointment took effect from July 10.

Before his appointment, Mammaga was the Managing Editor in charge of states in 2019, and served as Head, Lagos Operations between April 2018 and May 2019.

He was also the Zonal Manager Kaduna between 2006 and 2012. He served as State Correspondent from 1990 to 1995 in Sokoto, and District Correspondent in Birnin Kudu between 1988 and 1989.

Mammaga is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He is a member of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors.
He succeeds Idris Abdulrahman who retired on July 9.

Obasanjo’s selfish letters landed him in prison, says Yakasai

Tanko Yakasai, a founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), says writing “unpatriotic” letters is a peculiar attitude of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Yakasai said this in reaction to the letter Obasanjo wrote to Buhari on the insecurity in the country.

But speaking to journalists in Kano on Monday, Yakasai said the content of the letter may cause unrest in the country.

He said all letters written by Obasanjo to past Nigerian leaders were never inspired by patriotism but selfish interests.

Yakasai said one of the letters Obasanjo wrote during the reign of late Sani Abacha, former military head of state, landed him in prison.

“The actions of General Olusegun Obasanjo are, indeed, an open invitation for disaster for this country with the kind of hate speeches and messages that are flying all over the country,” Yakasai said.

“I don’t see patriotism in General Obasanjo’s letters. In fact, all the letters written by General Obasanjo to all Military Heads of State and Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are not guided by patriotic considerations.

“My experience with Nigerian political situation is that the top echelons of the Military are always fighting one another, either when in the service or when on retirement.

“It is from this angle that I always view most of the writings of General Olusegun Obasanjo to any military officer who is a Head of State or President in Nigeria as unpatriotic. Even the ones he wrote to former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua were not patriotic. They were guided by selfish interest.

“General Obasanjo did it during Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s era. He did it during the late General Sani Abacha’s regime, which later resulted to accusations that he was trying to overthrow the government, which eventually led to his imprisonment.

“General Olusegun Obasanjo also wrote a number of letters during General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s regime; and he is still writing letters in this current presidency of General Muhammadu Buhari. So, this attitude of writing unpatriotic letters has been part of General Olusegun Obasanjo.”

Yakasai said there was nothing new raised in Obasanjo’s July 15 letter other than the call for a national conference.

He advised Buahri to revisit the recommendations of the 2014 national conference rather than calling for a fresh one.

“I am puzzled to read from that letter that General Olusegun Obasanjo is requesting or asking for the convocation of another National Conference at this critical moment in our national history,” he said.

“A National Conference, even if it is convened at this point in time cannot begin in peace and end in peace.”

Presidency kicks as CNN’s Isha Sesay releases book on Chibok girls

British Sierra Leonean journalist and lead reporter CNN Africa, Isha Sesay, in her first book titled Beneath the Tamarind Tree, explores the ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram’s 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok.

Sesay broke the story and followed it for years. For two years, 219 of the girls remained in captivity and 112 are still imprisoned.

In Beneath the Tamarind Tree, Sesay combines the released Chibok girls’ stories with her own journalistic experiences to powerful effect.

However, the Nigerian Presidency has reacted to the book, writing a long rejoinder to counter what the Presidency calls “A good book on Chibok, hampered by misrepresentations.”

Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, took to his Facebook page on Monday and wrote:

The Presidency wishes to seize this moment to reiterate the government’s unwavering determination to secure the release, by peace or by force, the remaining 110 Chibok girls, Ms Leah Sharibu and all other citizens held captive by terrorists.

It is imperative to do this at this time in view of the doubts that may possibly arise following the release of a new book, Beneath The Tamarind Tree, written about the kidnapping of 270 Chibok school girls, by Isha Sesay, the ex-CNN star and now a Child Rights activist.

This book should serve the useful purpose of spotlighting the crimes against humanity by Boko Haram terrorists, etching it permanently on the public mind.

In addition, the book should rightfully stir up interest and rally international support for the young girls on the continent who must stay in school and avoid early pregnancy and marriage, in order to actualise their God-given potential.

In her introduction of the book, Isha claims that she wants to “humanise” the girls, instead of them being seen as “mere headlines.”

She acknowledged the release from Boko Haram captivity of more than 50 percent of the girls under the Buhari administration, but says, very rightfully, that “we must not forget the 112 who are still missing.” On this, we share a common position.

In stitching together her compelling portrait of this unfortunate yet paradoxical incident, Isha, this terrific journalist, risks a negative judgment of history on a book that is a farrago of misrepresentation.

It is wrong of the author to say of the Buhari administration that “they don’t know who to negotiate with” because Boko Haram had split into factions.

This is a misrepresentation of the position of the government on split in the leadership of the terrorist group into two contending factions.

When government spoke on the issue, it was clear that this split had the effect of making negotiation and reaching an agreement a more difficult talk. Otherwise, this country and our international partners are still engaged through third parties with the terrorists.

While it is true that the government has no information on where the captives are held, otherwise it would have seized the location and recovered the girls using all means at its disposal, it is equally incorrect to say government had given up on the Chibok girls when the truth is that there is nothing on the ground to give that impression.

At the Ministry of Women and Social Development, there is a fully staffed government unit dealing with the Chibok abductions and its fallout.

This book asserts that the government and people of Nigeria no longer cared about the girls because “they are poor…they don’t have famous names; people just don’t care.” No. Nigerians care, and that is why the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG movement, was able to generate “the groundswell of public opinion “as acknowledged by the author.

Yes it is true that “the only reason“ the sitting government at that time “acknowledged fully what had happened” was due to the public outcry, but it is again unfair to lump criticism on the Nigerian Government without differentiating which of the two administrations that served Nigeria from 2014 to date.

The Buhari administration came in 2015 with a promise to recover the stolen girls and a milestone has indeed been achieved by bringing back and caring for the more than 50 percent of them, even though the job cannot be said to be complete.

No one here is giving up and we are happy that the individuals, groups and nations partnering with the administration have continued to show interest in securing the release of our daughters.

We are happy to partner with Isha on her charity that engages adolescent girls in West Africa (W. E. Can lead) and I write to invite her to visit Nigeria again for her continuing update on the Chibok situation and possibilities of partnership with our caring administration over the future of our youths, particularly of the girl child.

I’m worth over N48bn, says Seyi Makinde…lists assets

Following his promise to the people that he would make details of his assets public upon assumption of office, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde on Monday made public his asset, calling on any interested members of the public to verify the same with the Code of Conduct Bureau.

The Governor, who visited the Oyo state office of the CCB in Ibadan to receive a copy of the asset declaration form he submitted earlier said that his decision to make the assets public was in fulfillment of a personal promise he made during the elections and also give them a basis to crosscheck after he might have finished serving them as the governor.

Details of the assets as contained in the CCB 1 deposited with the bureau in the name Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde, which was declared at the High Court of Oyo State, on May 28, 2019, indicated that the Governor is worth about N50billion in assets.

The assets declaration form, marked OYSE/2019/001 contained details of cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), household items, share and bonds owed by the Governor, his wife, Omini Makinde as well as his companies.

According to details of the asset form made public by the Chief Press Secretary to Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, the Governor of Oyo State had cash at hand and in the bank worth N234, 742,296.01, as at May 28, 2019.

In dollar terms, the Governor has cash valued at $30,056.99 as at the same date.

Properties, including the developed and undeveloped as well as household items indicated on the asset forms, showed that the Governor is worth N2, 624,800,500 (two billion, six hundred and twenty-four million, eight hundred thousand, five hundred Naira) as at the date of asset declaration.

In Dollar terms, the Governor also declared properties, developed and undeveloped as well as household items valued at $4,400,000 (four million, four hundred thousand dollars only.

In South African Rands, the Governor declared buildings and household items worth four Million, four hundred and fifty-seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-four and four South African Rands.

The houses declared by the Governor include nine buildings in Nigeria, two in the United States of America and one in South Africa.

One of the properties in the United States is described as “jointly owned.”

The details showed the current value of Makinde’s companies stand at N48, 150,736,889 (forty-eight billion, one hundred and fifty million, seven hundred and thirty-six thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine Naira), with 33,730,000 units of shares as at May 28, 2019.

The Governor also has existing Bonds (Eurobond) worth $3,793, 500 as well as shares, debentures and other securities valued at N120,500,000 (One hundred and twenty million, five hundred thousand naira).

The companies listed by the Governor include Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited; Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited; Makon Oil and Gas Limited; Makon Group Limited, Makon Construction Limited and Makon Power System Limited.

The asset declaration form indicated that Governor Makinde’s four companies have additional assets denominated as loan notes including Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited (N1.7 billion); Makon Power System Limited (N148.4 million); Makon Oil and Gas Limited (N341 million); Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited (N1.159bn) totalling N3.389 billion.

The Governor who was at the CCB said he visited to get his copy of the form duly signed as an attestation that anyone could assess the document through the freedom of information Act on details of his asset, just like he promised to do during the campaign period.

Makinde said: “I came here to collect the photocopy of the form that I signed in fulfillment of my campaign promise to the people that I will declare my asset publicly and release the document to the public.

“I will encourage all the members of my cabinet to do the same thing but in as much as they stay within the ambit of the law, I will encourage them to do the same.”

‘We support Fatoyinbo’ – CAN backtracks on Dakolo’s rape allegation

The Christian Association of Nigeria has pledged support for Biodun Fatoyionbo, embattled pastor of the Commonwealth of Assembly (COZA) church, amid the rape allegations made against him.

This is a reversal of the Christian association’s previous stance on the rape scandal — having claimed that COZA is not a member and that getting involved in the case would be outside its jurisdiction.

In a video shared in the early hours of Monday and currently making the rounds on social media, CAN officials were seen at COZA’s Sunday service declaring solidarity for Fatoyinbo and the church.

Among them are Jonah Samson, FCT CAN chairman, and Israel Akanji, chairman of the north-central zone of CAN.

“It’s a pleasure being here and I assure you that we are with you and we will continue to be with you. We are in support of the church. We are in support of your pastor,” Samson said.

“We stand by him and this church will continue to march forward. I say and I declare, the gates of hell shall not prevail in any church in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.”

Akanji described the rape allegation as a ‘Jerusalem-Jericho road’ and added that he is obliged to take a supportive stance on behalf of the church and the concerned clergyman.

“How can I and then the FCT chairman hear that one church that God has a plan and purpose for is going through this Jerusalem-Jericho road and then we will walk away? We will not do such a thing. We are here to just let you know we are with you in prayer,” he said.

“The Lord will bring you out even stronger. Our pastor here, by the grace of God, will continue to be the voice of God to proclaim (to) the whole nations of the world the mysteries of Jesus Christ. You are not alone.”

Fatoyinbo has been in the centre of the rape scandal since Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer and wife of Timi Dakolo, Nigerian singer, alleged that the clergyman had sexually defiled when she was a teenager.

Tribunal grants PDP’s request to tender 48 video clips against Buhari

The presidential election petitions tribunal on Monday granted the application of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to tender 48 video clips.

Chris Uche, counsel to the petitioners, made the application to tender the video clips in support of the petition challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of February presidential election.

But the respondents – Independent National Electoral Commission, Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) – objected to the application.

Alex Izinyon, Buhari’s lawyer, described the move as an “ambush”.

“Your lordship they are not part of the documents listed,” he said.

Uztaz Usman, INEC counsel, argued that the presentation of the witness and evidence was not part of what the lawyers agreed on.

“What the media will be reporting will be another thing. We were taken by surprise. This does not comply with first schedule of evidence act,” Usman had said.

Thereafter, the tribunal stood down for 1 hour 30 minutes to decide on the ruling.

Upon, resumption, the five-man panel of judges led by Mohammed Garba granted the request of the petitioners.

The panel held that “no specific evidence is excluded from being tendered as an evidence.”

Fasoranti killing: Police say some suspects arrested

The Ondo State Police Command on Monday disclosed that it had made a number of arrests on the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

Olakunrin was reportedly killed by some hoodlums, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, along Ore-Shagamu expressway in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state, on Friday.

The police reiterated that its men were still in the forest, in the local government in search of the hoodlums.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Femi Joseph, said the command would not relent until the perpetrators were apprehended and brought to book.

He said, “We have made a lot of arrests on this matter, but we are doing the screening of those arrested to know who among them are the culprits.

“By the time we finish the screening, we will let the world know the perpetrators.”

On the number of the those arrested, Joseph said he would not be able to disclose the number for security reasons but said, “As I said a number of people have been arrested and when it is time we shall parade the suspects.”

In the same vein, the Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, said South West governors should be blamed more for the attacks by herdsmen in the region than the Federal Government alone.

Olajide, in a chat with journalists during his condolence visit to Pa Fasoranti in Akure, said state governors ought to have taken drastic action against open grazing.

Olajide said, “This is an unfortunate incident, it is a poison arrow to the Yoruba nation and I have listened to some of our leaders who have been here and I want you to know that most of the comments are mere platitudes, some of them are grossly insensitive and honestly offend human sensitivity.

“For me, there is much to this, it is a killing too many, this is a direct assault on the Yoruba nation and to the sensitivity of our people. It shows they have clearly taken us for granted and this has to stop but I’m quite uncomfortable because most of the time we lay the blame at the doorsteps of the Federal Government but I want to say that more is at the doorsteps of our state governors.”

In the same vein, a leader of the Afenifere, Pa. Ayo Fasanmi, decried the spate of insecurity in the country, calling on the governments at all levels to address the ugly development.

Full text of Obasanjo’s open letter to Buhari

I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.

One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove.

The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks. How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?

Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet. Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.

To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;

2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.

3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;

4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone. In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The mad men with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:

“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus. Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society. It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter its colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

July 15, 2019

Released by

Kehinde Akinyemi

Special Assistant Media.

Soyinka says Buhari can’t handle Nigeria’s problems

Prof Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says the problems confronting Nigeria are beyond President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Soyinka spoke when he played host to some students who paid him a visit on his 85th birthday.

The literary icon said while state governments differ in success rates, “central government has failed”.

He called on the federal government to shun partisanship and focus on delivering good governance to the Nigerian populace.

He suggested that a national conference be called where a debate on the situation of the country will be discussed.

“The problems of this nation are beyond the solution that can be offered by this government, that’s the first admission; they have to stop thinking in partisan government,” Soyinka said.

“There has always been a major problem with successive governments. It’s easier on the state level to say that a particular state is definitely doing better than another state. But the central government has failed, that’s my view in the main.

“There is a minimal level which any government which has been elected to power must achieve to be considered a true representative of the people.

“Look at what’s happening today with the cattle all over the place, that’s a security issue which should never have reached this level. That singular act has resulted in hundreds of people being killed, farms were taken over; it has wiped away a lot of the positive achievements of the government.

“They need to confront this nation as a habitation of human beings where very serious issues like economy, security, health, even threats of secession come up every day and convoke at the same time, a national conference, what I call an Indaba across all section which we will all meet and debate everything, including the economy of this nation.”

Obasanjo writes another letter to Buhari…says Nigeria endangered

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has written yet another letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

This comes more than a year after the letter he wrote to the president generated so much uproar. He had criticised Buhari, asking him not to seek another term.

In the new letter dated July 15, Obasanjo said he is very worried over the high level of insecurity in the country.

He called on the president to take decisive action to prevent the situation from escalating into a full-blown crisis.

“I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned,” he wrote.

“When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

“To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities: abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type.

“Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened. Similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom; Violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.”

BREAKING: Lagos resident shot dead by SARS

Men identified as members of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) of the Nigeria police force have shot dead a man in Ilupeju area of Lagos state.

A witness said that incident happened on Ajisegiri street in Ilupeju in Odiolowo Ojuwoye local council development area of Lagos.

The victim was simply identified as Francis, while residents said he had gone about his daily job of cleaning when he was killed.

“The guy was in the area to sweep the compounds of his customers,” a witness said.

“The Ajisegiri area is notorious because of these boys who come there to smoke, and the area has always been raided by police. But this morning none of the boys was there, just this man going about his business. He was shot and he died almost immediately.”

Army redeploys Adeosun, Yusuf, others in major shake-up

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai has approved new postings and appointments for officers of the Nigerian Army.

A statement by Col. Sagir Musa, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, on Sunday in Abuja, said the new postings was a routine exercise to reinvigorate the system.

Musa said the new postings and appointments involved the appointment of the newly promoted Lt.-Gen Lamidi Adeosun, the erstwhile Chief of Training and Operations now redeployed as Chief of Policy and Plans of the Army.

He said that Maj.-Gen A.O Shodunke from Army Headquarters Department of Army Standards and Evaluation was appointed as Chief of Defence Logistics, Defence Headquarters.

Maj.-Gen A.A Tarfa from Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre to Training and Doctrine Command Minna as Commander.

He added that Maj.-Gen E.O Udoh from the Army Headquarters Department of Army Logistics has been appointed Chief of Training and Operations, while Maj.-Gen. M.S Yusuf who was the General Officer Commanding 81 Division has become the Chief of Administration (Army).

Maj.-Gen J.I Unuigbe the former Corps Commander Ordnance became the Chief of Logistics (Army) while Maj.-Gen. O.F Azinta former General Officer Commanding 2 Division is appointed Chief of Army Standard and Evaluation.

“Others include; Maj.-Gen. A.B Omozoje of Army Headquarters Department of Policy and Plans is now the General Officer Commanding 2 Division Ibadan.

“Also, the newly promoted Maj.-Gen A.B Biu is substantive General Officer Commanding 7 Division Maiduguri while Maj.-Gen. J.J Ogunlade from Defence Headquarters becomes the General Officer Commanding 8 Division Sokoto.

“While Maj.-Gen J.O Irefin from Defence Headquarters Garrison is appointed General Officer Commanding 81 Division Lagos, the erstwhile Chief of Administration (Army), Maj.-Gen. KAY Isiyaku is now Commander Defence Headquarters Garrison Abuja.

“Maj.-Gen. A.A Jidda from Defence Headquarters is appointed Coordinator Peacekeeping Operations at the Ministry of Defence while Maj.-Gen J.O Oni from Army Headquarters Department of Army Administration takes over as Director Procurement, Defence Headquarters.

“Maj.-Gen. O.A Akintade who was Director Procurement, Defence Headquarters, becomes Corps Commander Ordinance Lagos, while Maj.-Gen O.W Ali from Defence Headquarters is now Director Army Physical Training Zaria.

“Maj.-Gen. E.N Njoku remains at Defence Headquarters and redeployed as Director Communications while Maj.-Gen. C.G Musa from Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches Limited is appointed Commander Sector 3 Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Monguno.”

He also disclosed that Maj.-Gen O.T Akinjobi from the Headquarters Sector 3 Operation LAFIYA DOLE would become the Director Standards and Evaluation at Defence Headquarters.

Musa further disclosed that Brig.-Gen K.A Kazir would remain in Army Headquarters Department of Projects and Programmes and appointed Acting Executive Director of Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches Limited.

He also said Brig.-Gen. A.E Attu moved from Nigerian Army Resource Centre to National Defence College as Acting Deputy Commandant while Brig.-Gen M.T Usman from Headquarters 28 Task Force Brigade moved to Headquarters Guards Brigade Abuja as Commander.

“Brig.-Gen U.T Musa, who was the Commandant, Headquarters Guards Brigade becomes Acting Commandant Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre Jaji, while Brig.-Gen G.O Adesina remains at the Department of Policy and Plans and redeployed as Acting Director, Policy.

“Similarly, Brig.-Gen L.A Fejokwu from National Defence College is now the Acting Director Personnel Services at Army Headquarters, while Brig.-Gen. E.A.P Undiandeye from Army Headquarters Department of Army Transformation and Innovation becomes the Acting Director Foreign Liaison at the Defence Intelligence Agency Abuja.

“Brig.-Gen J.Y Nimyel from Nigerian Army Resource Centre Abuja takes over as the Commandant Amphibious Training School Calabar from Brig.-Gen. O.O Oluyede who is now Commander 27 Task Force Brigade Buni Yadi.

“Brig.-Gen. P.P Malla moves from 82 Division Garrison Enugu to Headquarters 28 Task Force Brigade Chibok as Commander.

Brig.-Gen. O.M Bello of Headquarters 6 Division Port Harcourt becomes the Commander 1 Brigade Sokoto while Brig.-Gen. M.A Etsu-Ndagi from Army Headquarters Garrison Abuja becomes the Commander 9 Brigade Lagos.

Col. R.C Emeh from Defence Headquarters has been appointed Assistant Director Army Physical Training at 3 Division Physical Training Group Jos, while Col. M.O Erebulu who just completed a course at Higher War College Egypt was appointed Commander 2 Provost Group Ibadan.

Lt.-Col. S.A Abimbola from Nigerian Army Operations Centre at Army Headquarters was appointed Commanding Officer 343 Artillery Regiment Elele, Lt.-Col. S.M Ahmed from 375 Artillery Regiment Baga becomes the Commanding Officer 332 Artillery Regiment Shendam, amongst others.

Musa said that the Chief of Army Staff wished them well in their respective appointments and charged them to take their new responsibilities seriously and discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to Service and Nation.

He said that all the appointments take immediate effect.

JUST IN: Gunmen kidnap Samson Siasia’s mother

Gunmen have kidnapped the 72-year-old mother of ex-international Nigerian footballer Samson Siasia.

Three kidnappers took Ogere Siasia from the family home in Bayelsa state in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Her son appealed for her release, and said the gunmen’s motive was unclear.

Nigeria international Christian Obodo was abducted in Warri, southern Nigeria in June 2012.

A year earlier, the father of Nigerian footballer and Chelsea player John Obi Mikel was kidnapped in Jos, central Nigeria.

“I only beg them to please release her unhurt. I was told they shot sporadically into the air before taking her away on a motorcycle,” Samson Siasia told BBC Sport.

“We’ve not heard from them to know their motive, but right now I’m only concerned about her safety,” he added.

Siasia was in The Gambia at the time of the attack as the coach of the Nigerian Under-23 team, preparing for the Confederation of African Football Under-23 Championship in Senegal later this month month.

The Nigerian Football Federation’s president Amaju Pinnick also appealed for the kidnappers to release Mrs Siasia.

“Samson is on a critical national assignment presently and the last he needs is this kind of distraction,” he said.