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Daily Archives: December 3, 2019

We have power to impose fines, FRSC warns

The Federal Road Safety Corps has insisted that it has statutory powers to impose fines and other penalties for road violations.

Reacting to resurfacing social media posts suggesting that the sanctioning powers of the FRSC had been revoked by the courts, Corps spokesman, Bisi Kazeem, pointed out that superior judicial pronouncements had validated the agency’s constitutional powers.

The Social media posts come at a time the Lagos State government, again, released a long list of traffic offences publishable by stiff fines,  vehicle seizure, jail terms and or community service.

Below is the full statement by the FRSC:

RE: FRSC CAN NO LONGER FINE MOTORISTS:

The attention of the Federal Road Safety Corps has once again been drawn to a recirculated social media publications of a decision of Justice J.T. Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos in 2014 in Tope Alabi v FRSC Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1234/13 that FRSC had no powers to impose fines on road traffic offenders and that such would amount to a usurpation of the functions of the Court of law.

2. We want to make it clear, that the 2014 decision of the Federal High Court, Lagos in Tope Alabi v FRSC is no longer the law as several other pronouncements of the Court of Appeal have overridden that decision which was, with due respect, reached per incuriam.

3. In FRSC V Emmanuel Ofoegbu CA/L/412/ 2014 the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, overruled the judgment of the Federal High Court in Emmanuel Ofoegbu v FRSC and held that the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 and the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) 2012 were valid laws made pursuant to the 1999 Constitution and that the provisions of the NRTR, 2012 were enforceable from 1st October, 2013, the deadline earlier set by FRSC.

4. Also, in FRSC v Okebu Gideon Esq. v FRSC-CA/IL/50/2014, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin held that the Notice of Offence Sheet issued by FRSC does not run counter to Section 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

5. Also, in Barr. Moses Ediru v FRSC & 2 ORS-CA/J/226/2010, the Court of Appeal sitting in Jos held that the fines which the law gives FRSC the nod to enforce do not, in the least derogate from the judicial powers of the Courts as enshrined in Section 10(7)(a) of the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 and Regulation 113 of the NRTR, 2012.

6. We believe there are enough judicial pronouncements to the fact that FRSC has adequate legal and statutory backing to perform its functions as stated in the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007 and NRTR 2012. Those brandishing recycled news on the judgment in Tope Alabi’s case delivered in September, 2014 as against the more current position of the courts, more importantly, the Court of Appeal decision in FRSC v Emmanuel Ofoegbu to the effect that FRSC has statutory and constitutional powers to arrest, detain vehicles of road traffic violators are mischief makers and as such those people should be disregarded.

7. While assuring the public that FRSC and its operatives will continue to perform within the ambits of the law, we seize the opportunity to seek the understanding and collaboration of all citizens as we strive to evolve a safer road environment in Nigeria.

8. Finally, as the year winds to a close, the FRSC appeals to all road users to use the road carefully and wisely so that we can all have a crash free, peaceful and joyful yuletide.

9. Thank you.

Housekeeper arrested for allegedly adding sniper to 93-year-old woman’s tea

The police have arrested a Beninois teenage home help (name withheld) who allegedly attempted to kill a 93-year-old woman by adding a substance suspected to be sniper to her tea.

The spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, confirmed the arrest to the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect was employed by the daughter of the nonagenarian, Madam Christiana.

According to him, the alleged incident occurred on Saturday at Maryland, Lagos State.

The spokesman said that Madam Christiana lived in the same building with her daughter, who always instructed the teenager to stay with her mother anytime she went to work.

According to him, the employer lived downstairs while her mother lived upstairs.

The image maker said that the suspect went upstairs to stay with the old woman on Friday as usual and met her preparing tea in her sitting room.

He said that the woman closed the teacup for a while and went into her bedroom.

Elkana said as soon as the old woman left the sitting room for the bedroom, the suspect opened the cup and added a substance.

According to Elkana, the nonagenarian’s home help who was working in her kitchen came to the sitting room and saw the suspect adding the substance, and reported to the old woman, who threw the tea away.

He told NAN that the woman’s son, Abayomi, reported the case at the Anthony Village Police Station at 1.00 p.m. on Saturday.

“The police visited, searched the house, arrested the suspect and recovered an empty mug of the suspected poisoned tea.

“The suspect confessed to the offence.

“She alleged that the old woman always shouted at her; she said she was tired of her tantrums, so she decided to poison her tea that day.

“She laced her unsuspecting victim’s usual morning tea with sniper (Dichlorvos or 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate) but the victim was smart enough not to drink it. She will be charged to court soon,’’ he said.

(NAN)

US court orders banks to release Trump’s financial documents

A US appeals court ruled Tuesday that two banks must hand over documents about Donald Trump’s finances to Congress, in the latest legal blow to the president.

Two Democratic-controlled committees issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Capital One in April demanding that they hand over financial records related to Trump and his family.

Trump, who is fighting attempts by Democrats and a New York prosecutor to force him to release eight years of tax returns, sued to stop the banks from complying.

Two appeals courts have already ruled that he must make documents available, including information held by the accountancy firm Mazars USA, but decisions are pending in the Supreme Court.

In a 106-page decision released Tuesday, a New York federal appeals court said the banks must comply with the congressional subpoenas but introduced a caveat given the volume of documents requested.

The judges said the president could oppose the disclosure of certain documents that contain sensitive personal information that is not related to the ongoing investigations.

They added that the exceptions should be limited, however.

“The committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a chief executive’s distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions,” they wrote.

Trump is expected to challenge the ruling.

Last month, he said he would publish information about his finances before next year’s presidential election without specifying which documents he would release.

Trump broke with a presidential norm during the 2016 contest by refusing to release his tax returns as most presidents have done since the 1970s even though it is not required by law.

He claims that his tax returns are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service.

(AFP)

I won’t be Onaiyekan’s replica, says new Catholic Archbishop Kaigama

New Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, confirmed on Tuesday, that he won’t be a replica of Emeritus Archbishop of the Archdiocese, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, who was known for being a vocal and social critic.

He said his primary role as Archbishop of Abuja is perform his priestly, kingly and prophetic responsibilities as assign to him by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and not to be an antagonist who, perhaps, derive joy and pleasure in discrediting people, either in government or outside the government.

At his maiden press conference in Abuja, alongside Cardinal Onaiyekan, the former Archbishop of Jos Catholic Archdiocese, appreciated the great role played by Cardinal Onaiyekan, in uplifting the Catholic Church in Abuja and beyond.

He said: “I am primarily here as a Priest and not a political or economic analyst. I am also not here as a social critic. I am here to exercise my prophetic, priestly and kingly responsibilities as a Priest.

“I don’t intend to set out another government or believe that I can make everything right in Nigeria within a short time. But I will be concerned about what is happening in Nigeria and speak out when the need arises.

“Part of my prophetic work has to do with issues of social justice, equal opportunities, good governance, amongst others. I won’t hunt for problems but when they come, I will do my best to tackle them with my Priestly skills and experience.

“I must emphasis that I won’t be a replica of His Eminence, John Onaiyekan. He is John Onaiyekan and I am Ignatius Kaigama. We are two different people with our uniqueness and differences in age, status, experience and several other things. You don’t expect that I suddenly become a replica of His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan.

“In as much as I will rely on his counsel and already established platform, I will be myself, use my strength, experiences and potentials to make positive impact in the lives of people. People will be terribly disappointed if they want a replica of Cardinal John Onaiyekan in me.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Onaiyekan, in his remarks, congratulated the incoming Archbishop of Abuja, and expressed confidence in the capacity and experience of the new Archbishop to succeed beyond him.

He promised to support him in prayers and every other way possible for the good of Catholics in Abuja and beyond.

Staff strength of Nigerian banks reduce by 2,929 in three months

Even as the Nigerian government continued to promise to reduce unemployment, the workforce of Deposit Money Banks in the country reduced by 2,929 workers in the third quarter of 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics reports.

The figure is contained in a report on ‘Selected Banking Sector Data: Sectoral Breakdown of Credit, ePayment Channels and Staff Strength data’ posted on the NBS website.

According to the report, the staff strength of the banks reduced by 2,929 in the quarter with 101,435 total staff as against the 104,364 recorded in the second quarter of the year. This represents a 2.81 per cent decrease.

It also reduced by 1,386 when compared to the 102,821 staff recorded in the same period last year.

The report did not indicate the mode of reduction of staff and whether the staff were all sacked or if some had retired.

The report did not also name the banks most involved in the staff reduction.

Banking Transactions
The banking sector recorded a volume of 800,201,498 transactions valued at N42.76 trillion naira on Electronic Payment Channels within the three months of the third quarter (July – September).

“NIBSS Instant Payments (NIP) transactions dominated the volume of transactions recorded. 298,988,572 volume of NIP transactions valued at N26.18trillion were recorded in Q3 2019,” it said.

The report also recorded N16.25 trillion as the total value of credit allocated by the bank for the period under review.

It said Oil & Gas and Manufacturing sectors got credit allocation of N3.39 trillion and N2.57 trillion to record the highest credit allocations during the period under review

FG owes pensioners over ₦400bn – Senator

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Ibrahim Shekarau, has claimed that the federal government currently owes retirees over ₦400 billion in accrued pension, Punch newspaper reported.

Mr Shekarau said this at the second annual National Assembly retreat with the Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State on Monday.

He said the committee would work with the federal government to offset all the arrears, “even if it would be the only achievement that the 9th National Assembly would be remembered for.

“Government owes the accrued pension funds of over ₦400 billion,” Punch newspaper quoted Mr Shekarau to have said.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari “might not be aware of the huge debt” but pledged to make him address the situation.

“The committee has written a seriously worded letter to the Senate President, insisting that the Senate should take this up with Mr President to make sure this matter is addressed, otherwise it is one step forward, 10 steps backwards.”

Mr Shekarau said his committee would meet with key relevant government officials and agencies and pension operators.

He also decried the indebtedness of state and local governments to their retirees which he said is due to “lack of political will”.

To address this, he said, “We will initiate appropriate amendments. This is very important; otherwise, the pensioners will be suffering.”

In her address, the President of PenOp, Aderonke Adedeji, called for a working pension system to take the hand of corruption off pension funds.

“So, it is evident that a well-functioning, transparent and efficient pension system is critical for all groups of Nigerians and our nation at large. A well-functioning pension industry will reduce the menace of corruption; because individuals will be assured that they have funds they can fall back on during their retirement years.”

UNIBEN alumni honours UBA’s Uzoka;, Giwa-Osagie, others

The University of Benin Alumni Association, Lagos Chapter has honoured the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa(UBA), Mr. Kennedy Uzoka.

The honour which was conferred at an impressive Dinner held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja-Lagos at the weekend  was in appreciation of Uzoka’s ‘hardwork, diligence and continuous commitment to the values of excellence’ as a banker and head of the Pan-African financial institution with presence in 20 African countries.

Honoured along with Uzoka were Emeritus Professor, Osato Giwa-Osagie, a renowned professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Founder of OMNI Medical Clinic, Dr (Mrs) Rametu Omamegbe Momodu, Deputy Director, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others.

Responding to the honour, Uzoka expressed his delight at being honoured by the university he holds in high esteem, saying, “I am very proud of this great university which was very instrumental in moulding me to what I have become today, driving a financial institution with strong commitment to the development of the African continent,” Uzoka said.

He reiterated his personal commitment and that of the bank to continue to support the development of UNIBEN, adding that UBA has been showing deep interest and support to the institution, for instance, it recently built an ultra-modern ICT Centre at the Ugbowo Campus through the UBA Foundation among other things.

The Chairman of Occasion, Gen. Felix Edafioghor, who spoke at the occasion, said the dinner was in honour of the Alumni of the university who have contributed immensely to the development of the society and that of the university. He encouraged the alumni to show deep interest in the affairs of their alma-matter by giving back to the university that contributed to their  successes.

Also speaking, Mr. Stephen Onojomete, Chairman, UNIBEN Alumni Association, Lagos Chapter, noted that the award provides an “opportunity to showcase and celebrate our great mean and women who by hardwork, diligence and a continuous commitment to the values of excellence; have recorded major strides in their chosen profession thus contributing to national growth and development in general and projecting the good image of UNIBEN.”

Kennedy Uzoka is a distinguished African business executive, with vast experience in banking, business development, financial and business advisory, strategic planning and execution as well as human resource management. He is an advocate of disruptive technology and has led many game-changing innovations in the African banking industry over the past two decades of his career.

Uzoka holds a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN). He is an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) of the Harvard Business School, Boston USA, the International Institute of Management Development (IMS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the London Business School, United Kingdom.

DSS ‘uncovers plot’ to destabilise polity

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) said it has uncovered syndicated plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in various parts of the country including Abuja.

According to the secret police, the arrangement is to instigate protests, mass action and violence with a view to causing anarchy and destabilizing the country.

DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, in a statement issued on Tuesday said: “These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks. This is more so that the plotters are also targeting the yuletide seasons to accomplish their sinister motives.

“Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the Service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts.

“Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Similarly, Heads of academic and public institutions are to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order.

The statement said that the service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods. Law abiding citizens are equally encouraged to go about their normal businesses without fear but report any suspected persons or breach of peace to the nearest security office to them.

 

Immigrations stops 1,044 Nigerians from travelling, generates N39bn

No fewer than 1,044 Nigerians were stopped by the Federal Government from departing the country in 2018, The Punch is reporting.

The reason for the decision by the government could not be ascertained, but it was learnt that the affected persons might have been placed on the security watchlist for various criminal offences.

The action which was carried out under the Nigeria Immigration Service migration control and compliance also affected 22,889 foreigners who were refused entry into the country.

In 2017, 31,672 Nigerians who were placed on the watch list of the Nigeria Immigration Service were prevented from travelling out of the country.

Preliminary information from the NIS Annual Report, 2018, obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, also indicated that the NIS granted 15,186 temporary work permit visas to foreigners and generated over N39 billion.

The report further indicated that 17,616 Nigerians were deported from other countries last year while 339 others were repatriated from various countries.

“Thirty-three cases of stowaways were recorded in the same period,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the immigration service issued 1,227,158 passports and 63,816 residence permits in 2018.

The agency also issued 4,466 ECOWAS residence cards while 177,168 visas were issued at various Nigerian foreign missions.

About 4,529,158 international travellers crossed the nation’s borders, an increase of 22 per cent over the 2017 figure.

A breakdown shows that 78 per cent of the travellers came in by air, 21 per cent by land and one per cent by sea.

Police declare Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, others wanted

The Anambra State Police Command has declared Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu wanted.

The Commissioner of Police, John Abang, made the declaration on Tuesday in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Abang said the declaration of the lawyer and other IPOB members wanted, was in connection with the alleged murder of two police officers in Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state on Monday.

He said, “I’ll like Nigerians to know that Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a member of the proscribed IPOB, has been declared wanted.

“I’ll seek the cooperation of law-abiding Nigerians, East, West, North, and South that wherever they find this individual, they should report to the nearest police station for possible arrest and prosecution based on the rules and laws of Nigeria.”

The command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, had in a statement said two police officers were killed by the suspected IPOB members while others were inflicted with machete cuts in the incident.

IPOB had on Tuesday accused the police of setting fire on the home of Ejiofor in Oraifite, Anambra State.

In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group wondered why the Police would go further to raze the lawyer’s home even after killing two unarmed and innocent civilians.

It maintained that the carelessness of the police in handling the petrol they used to drench Ejiofor’s home and nearby businesses before setting them on fire led to the fire that gutted a police van.

The statement read in part, “The unprovoked Nigeria police and army invasion of the home of our lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, barely four days after the painful burial of his elder brother is proof that those running Nigeria have descended into the abyss of iniquity from which they may never recover.

“Not even during the darkest days of Abacha’s dictatorship did anyone witness such brazen intimidation of a legal counsel or the attempted assassination of a defence counsel in a high profile case.

“It is the golden rule of every legal system under the sun that defence counsel are not harassed, intimidated or killed but it seems nothing is sacrosanct in the present circumstance.

“We don’t expect the roundly docile and cowardly Nigeria Bar Association or their impotent and subdued National Judicial Council to rise up in condemnation of this contemptuous behaviour by Aso Rock in this latest attempt to kill Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor.

“This level of dictatorial impunity against the rule of law, judicial process and natural justice must not be condoned by any right-thinking person.

FG’s request for our transfer to prison, frivolous —Sowore, Bakare

Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-detainee, Adebayo Bakare, on Tuesday, described the Federal Government’s application for their transfer from the custody of the Department of State Service to prison as frivolous, vexatious and unarguable.

They said the fresh application filed by the government before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja was meant to frustrate the court’s order for their release from DSS custody.

They also described the application filed on behalf of the Federal Government by the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), as contemptuous for being a contravention of the order directing the DSS to release them from custody.

This is contained in their notice of preliminary objection filed before the court to challenge the Federal Government’s fresh application.

Sowore and Bakare are being prosecuted before the court by the Federal Government on charges of treasonable felony instituted against them in the wake of their call for #RevolutionNow protests across the country to demand better governance.

The DSS continues to hold them in custody since August when they were arrested, despite separate court orders directing their release from custody.

The latest of the court orders was the one issued by Justice Ojukwu on meeting the bail conditions imposed on them after their arraignment.

They argued, through their legal team led by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), that the application for their transfer from the DSS custody to prison, showed that there was no genuine interest to prosecute them.

Grounds of the application read, “The application was filed by the Complainant/Applicant to frustrate the execution of the order of release of the 1st and 2nd defendants/objectors from the custody of the State Security Service made by this Honourable Court on November 6, 2019.

“There is no genuine intention to prosecute the 1st and 2nd defendants by the complainant/applicant as the statement of witnesses this Honourable Court ordered to be availed the defence team is yet to be issued and served.

 

Buhari commissions military made-in-Nigeria war vehicle in Kaduna

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Kaduna State inaugurated the first-ever made in Nigeria military war vehicle otherwise known as ‘Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles.’

The vehicle is to be used for military operations in the North-East.

The war vehicle code-named ‘Ezugwu’ was manufactured by the Defence Industrial Corporation of Nigeria, Kaduna.

Apart from the commissioning of the war vehicle, the President also commissioned the ultra-modern Army Reference Hospital.

Buhari, who commissioned the war vehicle as well as the hospital at the opening of the 2019 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference, commended the Nigerian military for defending the territorial integrity of the country.

He also called on them to always respect human rights and international humanitarian laws in the conduct of their operations across the country.

The President said his administration would continue to support the military in its modernisation quest.

Buhari said, “This government is aware that activities of the army come with key consequences, with some personnel who have sustained various injuries.

“I once again send my condolences to those who have paid the supreme sacrifices in an effort to secure this country. May their souls rest in peace.

“I urge our soldiers to continue to abide by their ethics and keep to the rules of engagement and code of conduct while ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian laws are promoted and respected in the conduct of military operations,” he said.

“There is no doubt that a lot has been achieved by the Army since my assumption as the president.”

N2.5bn libel suit: Atiku files deposition against Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, appeared at the registry of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja, to sign and file his deposition in support of the N2.5bn libel suit which he instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, earlier in June this year.

Pictures of the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the last presidential election with his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and others in the legal team were sent to journalists on Tuesday.

In one of the pictures, Atiku was seen seated while holding a pen above a white paper with Ozekhome bent over the table beside him.

In the caption accompanying the pictures, Ozekhome stated, “Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, today, at the Central Registry of the FCT, High Court, Maitama, Abuja, with his client, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa.

“The former Vice President was physically at the Registry to sign his witness deposition (on oath) before the Commissioner for Oaths, on the case he instituted against Lauretta Onochie.

“The Waziri is claiming amongst others, the sum of N2.5 bn only, from the Presidential Assistant on Social Media, as general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages against her.

“Atiku is claiming this sum from her for her defamatory story published on her twitter handle and Facebook page, in which she stated that Atiku was on the UAE watch list, as a wanted man, asking, ‘shopping for terrorists?’”

Atiku had, on June 26, 2019, instituted the suit against Onochie for her alleged libelous tweet against him via her twitter handle on May 7, 2019.

The tweet allegedly suggested that Atiku was on the watch list of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates and had travelled to shop for terrorists in the Middle East.

Buhari commissions military made-in-Nigeria war vehicle in Kaduna
He prayed the court in the suit marked CV/2287/19, to order Onochie to pay him the N2.5bn as “general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages over the untold embarrassment, derision, public ridicule, odium, obloquy, marital disharmony, mental agony and psychological trauma which the defendant’s publications have caused the claimant.”

Denying the allegations in the said tweet, Atiku said it was “politically orchestrated” “solely to cause maximum damage” to his “high reputation” while challenging “the purported victory” of Onochie’s boss, President Buhari in the last presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 23, 2019 poll had, through a May 14, 2019 letter signed by Ozekhome, demanded from Onochie an apology, a retraction of the said post and a payment of N500m compensation to him “to assuage” the damage allegedly done to him by her social media post.

He also threatened to sue her should she fail to accede to the demand “within 48 hours”.

Justifying his suit, Atiku stated in his statement of claim accompanying his suit, that rather than show “remorse by retracting her earlier publication”, she further, on May 20, made “another derogatory publication and also published same online in the social and other print media” against his person.”

Police: IPOB members killed two of our men in Anambra

The Anambra state police command has accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of killing two of its officers.

In a statement on Monday, Haruna Mohammed, the command’s spokesman, said the officers were attacked while attempting to arrest one Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a lawyer, in Oraifite community in the state.

According to Mohammed, when the officers arrived at Ejiofor’s house, armed men descended on them and set a patrol vehicle ablaze.

“At about 11:30 am, there was a formal complaint against One Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor ‘m’ (a member of the proscribed IPOB) in Oraifite on alleged case of abduction, assault occasioning harm and malicious damage to property,” he said.

“Following the report, Police Patrol teams led by the Area Commander, Oraifite ACP Oliver Abbey mobilised and rushed to the scene in order to arrest the suspect who declined Police invitation.

“However, as soon as Police arrived the house, armed men suspected to be IPOB members descended on the Police, set ablaze one Patrol vehicle and attacked them with rifles and machetes. As a result of the attack, two Police officers whose identities are being withheld, were killed by the suspected IPOB members while others were inflicted with machete cuts. The injured personnel were rushed to the Hospital for medical attention and are presently receiving treatment.

“Consequently, the Command deployed reinforcements from the State Headquarters comprising of PMF, SARS and Special Anti Cult Units in conjunction with the Army/other Sister agencies who cordoned off the area in order to fish out the culprits, while Joint patrol are still ongoing in the town to prevent further breakdown of law and order.

“Meanwhile, some arrests were made and the Commissioner of Police John B. Abang, who is on his way to the scene has vowed to bring perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice.”

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader who is currently on exile, had earlier accused the police of killing three persons in Anambra.

Hate Speech bill impressive – US Embassy

Political Officer of the Embassy of the United States of America, Jerry Howard, on Tuesday described the Hate Speech bill before the National Assembly as an “impressive” piece of legislation needed to address issues of discrimination, hostility and violence in Nigeria.

Howard stated this during a meeting with the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate and sponsor of the Hate Speech bill, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, at the National Assembly, Abuja.

According to the United States Embassy official, the visit was intended to engage the sponsor of the Hate Speech bill and to seek an understanding into the proposed legislation under consideration by the Senate.

Following explanations by Senator Sabi Abdullahi on the bill, Mr. Howard described the response of the media as “misleading” and “hysterical” of the contents of the bill and what it actually seeks to achieve.

He, therefore, advised the sponsor of the bill to engage and educate Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations in the country on its proposed contents so as to muster support for the bill.

Speaking on the decision of the US Embassy to engage the National Assembly on the Hate Speech bill, Howard said, “We want Nigeria to succeed and we think a prerequisite for Nigeria’s success is successful democracy.

“For democracy to succeed, the people must have a house, the people must have a place where their representatives can argue and complain, come up with new ideas and come up with solutions to guide the executive branch and lead the country forward.”

He commended the lawmaker for the level of work and research carried out on the bill.

“I’m very impressed with the research you’ve done on the bill. The media has had a field day with this, really.

“You’ve thought it through. I was depending on the media for my education, and it was very misleading. You’ve done your research and it is very interesting.

“But you have a difficult job selling this to the NGOs, CSOs. You need to talk to them. You’ll need to talk to Civil Society Organizations, you need to educate them. You’ve educated me,” Howard said after Senator Abdullahi explained the contents of the bill.

Earlier, speaking on why he decided to introduce the bill, the lawmaker said, “Part of the reasons why violence takes place is attributable to discriminatory practices.

“It is discrimination that creates the socio-political imbalance that you see leading to a group feeling shortchanged and marginalised.

“Discrimination is also another very serious matter why I sponsored the bill. This bill basically is about preventing discrimination, and prohibiting people who incite violence,” he explained.

Abdullahi further stated that the bill’s introduction by the National Assembly has the backing of Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The Section states: “Nothing in Sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society; in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons.”

On measures in place to ensure that the bill is not abused by politicians, Senator Sabi explained that “an Independent Commission shall be constituted and whose membership will be restricted to persons without any history of promoting ethnic or religious causes, or anyone with political affiliations.”

He added that the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly into law will address all forms of discrimination, hostility and violence which are on the rise in the country.

 

NASS grants full autonomy to LGs, INEC to conduct council polls

 

The National Assembly on Tuesday, granted full financial and administrative autonomy to all the 774 local council authorities across Nigeria by amending section 124 of the nation’s constitution.

The section provides a consequential provision for the making of the local councils, a full third tier government without undue interference from the state governments.

The ammendment was one of the 22 others approved by the House of Representatives last week and ratified by the Senate on Tuesday.

Both chambers had through a conference committee harmonised versions of the ammendments into the constitution carried out by each of them last month.

By the development, the National Assembly had ratified all the 23 clauses and sections that had been ammended by both chambers.

The newly ammended document which would be sent to States Houses of Assembly, for approval, also approved the creation of the Office of Auditor General of the Local Government as well as the State Local Government Service Commission.

The section equally deleted the State
Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) from the constitution thereby vesting the powers to conduct council elections on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It however, retained the immunity clause in the constitution for the President and Governors by adopting the Senate version of the ammendments on the issue and rejected the House of Representatives version which removed the immunity clause.

The National Assembly also made provisions for Independent Candidacy in future elections in Nigeria by ammending sections 65 and 106 of the 1999 constitution.

NEWSSam Nda-Isaiah makes revelations about Buhari, Jonathan, Daura, TY Danjuma

The publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, has made some revelations about President Muhammadu Buhari, his nephew, Mamman Daura. among others.

In his latest article, Nda-Isaiah, stated that Daura anointed former minister of defense, TY Danjuma, to be President Goodluck Jonathan’s deputy, following uncertainties over the health of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

He also said Daura only nominated one junior minister for Buhari in 2015 and that the minister was not re-appointed by the president in 2019.

The publisher also disclosed that Namadi Sambo had lobbied for his predecessor, Ahmed Makarfi, to be appointed vice president but Jonathan instead chose him, following recommendation of Danjuma.

Sam Nda-Isaiah further revealed that Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was personally chosen by the president not Daura as widely speculated.
He said Danjuma interviewed and recommended former governors of Niger, Kaduna and Katsina, Babangida Aliyu, Namadi Sambo and Ibrahim Shema respectively.

The publisher recalled that Jonathan, however, dropped the Aliyu because the then Senate President David Mark was also from the North Central.

Sam Nda-Isaiah wrote: “When President Umaru Yar’Adua got terminally ill and it became apparent that the worst might happen, and fearing that the North was in disarray, and to avoid making the mistake of choosing a vice president without capacity when the inevitable finally happened, Abba Kyari and I decided to meet General TY Danjuma to convince him to chair a meeting of a select group of serious senior northerners to shortlist names of a possible vice president.

“M. Abba went to Kaduna to inform GMB, M. Mamman, Dr Tukur, M. Ahmed Joda and a few others. While in Kaduna, he informed M. Mamman first about the proposed meeting. Almost without thinking, M. Mamman said there was no need for such a meeting. The best thing that could happen to the North was for Gen. Danjuma himself to agree to be vice president. Dr. Tukur also said exactly the same thing. Except that he added that the only problem was that TY would say “rainin ya yi yawa!” — roughly translated, it means that TY would say the insult was too much to ask him to be vice president to Jonathan.

“GMB was to visit M. Mamman in the evening of that day, so M. Abba decided to wait for him to give him the message. When he came in, without knowing what M. Mamman and Dr. Tukur had said, he simply said that the only person he trusted to be vice president at that time was TY himself. M. Abba laughed and called me. He said something funny was happening and that he would give me details when he arrived in Abuja. M. Ahmed Joda also said the same thing.

“M. Ahmed Joda, another great mind who had operated at the highest levels with perpendicularity virtually all his life – in the civil service, in journalism and in the private sector — took it upon himself to make arrangements for the meeting in his house. But this time with TY as the proposed vice president. I didn’t hear anyone raise the issue that what we were discussing was in fact a Christian-Christian presidency. I was intrigued by what I was seeing and hopeful that there was nothing wrong with Nigeria that could not be solved with what was right with Nigeria.

“I was in fact the only one in that meeting that drew the attention of the house to the fact that what we were discussing was a Christian-Christian presidency which could pose a problem in a complex polity like Nigeria. I was told clearly that it didn’t matter and that “we all know TY very well”. At this point I knew that these people whom some people had fondly called “Kaduna mafia” had in fact earned their stripes. They represent what is good and what is right with Nigeria.

“The story eventually leaked in ThisDay. TY himself showed me the story and quickly said he was sick himself. I laughed and told him people who were discussing this didn’t think he was that sick. That discussion continued until our greatest fear crystallized, at which time the now President Jonathan himself invited TY to help him choose a vice president from among the serving governors.

“After interviewing a few of the governors, he gave Jonathan three names: Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Namadi Sambo of Kaduna State and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State in that order. Babangida Aliyu was disqualified on grounds of zoning, as Senate president David Mark and himself were from the north-central zone.

That was how Namadi Sambo, who was at that time mobilizing support for his predecessor Ahmed Makarfi to get the job, received a call from TY to see him. The rest, as they say, is now history.

“Now some home truths. Let me knock out the bottom out of some “received” opinions or rumours. First, M. Mamman does not control the president. That is not his style. Even if that were his style, it would be silly for anyone to assume that the president could be controlled. And, in fact, anyone who thinks PMB could be controlled does not know the first thing about him. One of the adjectives freely used to describe PMB for decades is “stubborn”. If M. Mamman had that kind of hold on the president, Sambo Dasuki would not be in detention today. Sambo Dasuki is M. Mamman’s brother-in-law and they are close.

“Another thing: M. Mamman did not appoint or recommend Abba Kyari to the president for chief of staff in 2015. The president called M. Abba and told him, and he in turn informed M. Mamman just about the same time the appointment was announced. I know this because I should know. In the entire first-term cabinet of PMB, M. Mamman had a hand in the appointment of only one junior minister, who is in fact no longer a minister in the current cabinet.

“Yes, the president and M. Mamman are close — in fact very, very close — and they have been so since they were children growing up together. They are a family but most importantly they are friends and confidants. The president is three years younger than him — he, the president, is the uncle; the older one is the nephew. And because of that, the president enjoys bullying him as his uncle, probably to leave no one in doubt as to who is the uncle. They have a complicated relationship and they are inseparable. Somehow, the president has come to depend on M. Mamman’s vast brain power over time.”