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Tension as military helicopter hovers over Nnamdi Kanu’s house

 

Some supporters of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, have alleged that the Nigeria Air Force is monitoring the home of their leader in Umuahia, Abia State.

 

A member of IPOB identified as Kelechi, who spoke to our correspondent said the military helicopter has been hovering over Kanu’s country home since Wednesday morning.

He said the group was undeterred by “all the strategies being deployed by military” to disperse them.

He said, “If you stay here, you will see them threaten us with their helicopter, they are flying high and low, threatening innocent civilians.

“Do they want to bomb and kill us? If They want, let them kill us, we are here because we don’t have any other place to go.”

Another member of the group alleged that their members were attacked at Isi Alangwa on Tuesday, with many of them injured, while seven people are reportedly still missing.

The PUNCH

NNPC moves to fix refineries through private capital

 

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has inaugurated eight committees for the rehabilitation of three refineries in the country for optimum operation by 2019.

They are the Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries.

In a statement signed by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, Group Managing Director, Group Public Affairs division, on Wednesday in Abuja, it said that the idea was to ensure it met the presidential mandate.

“In line with the Presidential mandate of rehabilitating the nation’s three refineries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has inaugurated eight committees charged with returning the refineries to their nameplate capacities by the year 2019,” it said.

It quoted the group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru at the inauguration charging the committee members to deploy “out of the box solutions” to ensure that the refineries return to their good old days of top class performance.

“I am convinced that the teams we have selected here today will give the necessary direction towards returning the refineries back to their optimal levels of performance,” he said

The GMD explained that in executing the assignment, the Committees were expected to deliver well and within schedule as according to him, time was of the essence.

He added that the target for the refineries rehab was to return them to 90 per cent capacity utilisation before the end of 2019.

He said that with more commitment from the committees, 100 per cent capacity utilisation was achievable.

“We want to show everyone that we can fully run the refineries. You must all work together to operate them at 100 per cent capacity as this was the only way to ensure profitability,” Baru said.

He also emphasised the importance of the workforce in fixing the refineries.

“We can fix the refineries but without the right people to operate them, they will go back to where they were or even worse,” he said.

Earlier, the Chief Operating Officer, Refineries and Petrochemicals, Engr. Anibor Kragha, informed that the 2019 target was laudable as it was the first attempt in 20 years supported with political will to rehabilitate the refineries.

He further said that over 28 Expressions of Interest had been received so far for the financing of the rehabilitation project and that the goal was to get more by the end of the year.

Assuring everyone that the nation would not suffer financially from the project, the COO explained that the approved financial model would guarantee payment to partners only from incremental profits.

“Payment is therefore hinged on performance, ensuring a win-win situation for Nigeria,” Kragha said.

Also, the Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, reminded members of the newly inaugurated Committees that the rehabilitation of the refineries was one of the targets of the President Buhari’s administration.

Abdulrazaq expressed confidence in the members of the committees to deliver on their various tasks.

The Committees inaugurated for the rehabilitation of the refineries would be headed by a Steering Committee, chaired by the GMD.

Other Committees are: Rehabilitation; Stakeholder Management; Financing; Legal; Procurement; Pipeline and Crude Oil Supply and Security as well as Staffing and Succession Planning.

(NAN)

Alhassan gets warm reception as she attends FEC meeting with Buhari

 

Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, arrived at Wednesday’s meeting of the federal executive council (FEC) to a warm reception from her cabinet colleagues.

The meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, started at 11am.

A video of Alhassan in which she appeared to be campaigning for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar for president in 2019 went viral last week.

She later told BBC Hausa service that even if Buhari decides to seek re-election in 2019, she would campaign for Atiku.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for her sack while Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, said Buhari was advised against appointing her as minister.

But TheCable observed that she was the centre of attention before FEC meeting started, contrary to expectations that she would be given a cold shoulder.

Before entering the council chambers, she went to exchange pleasantries with Kayode Fayemi, minister of mines and steel, who was in company with Abba Kyari, chief of staff, and Jalil Arabi, state house permanent secretary.

Inside the chambers, she went around to greet some of her colleagues, including minister of state for health, minister of state for budget and national planning, minister of foreign affairs, minister of finance, and acting secretary to the government of the federation.

She later went to meet Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo when he walked in and spent a few minutes discussing with him.

Their tete-a-tete ended when Buhari walked in at exactly 11am.

Labour threatens to shut down oil, power, aviation sectors on Friday

Strong indications have emerged that the gale of industrial unrest in the country may worsen on Friday as affiliates of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, including Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, are set for a nationwide strike.

Among other affiliates of ULC that may down tools are National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE; National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Employees, NUBIFIE; Nigeria Union of Mine Workers, National Association of Aviation Professionals, Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria; Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria; Nigeria Union of Railway Workers; Private Telecommunications, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Shop and Distributive Employees.

ULC in a statement, yesterday, in Lagos by its General Secretary, Didi Adodo, gave the hint, noting that the Federal Government was yet to address the concern of its members, following a 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government through its Central Working Committee, CWC, which expired Friday, September 8, 2017.

He noted that in line with due process and in keeping with industrial relations’ best practices and traditions, ULC, had issued a final seven-day strike notice to the Federal Government to address its demands or face nationwide strike.

According to Adodo, the seven days notice which was contained in a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, would expire Friday, September 15, warning that after that it will lead to a nationwide strike without further notice.

The group lamented that the official response it received from the Federal Government on the matter, vide a letter from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, fell grossly short of addressing the issues raised, which warranted an ultimatum in the first instance.

ULC said mobilisation for the strike nationwide had begun, adding that state councils and affiliates were on red alert to ensure that if the Federal Government remained unyielding to members’ demands, they shall be compelled to embark on strike across the country.

Some of the demands being made according to the statement are: That Federal Government bans the stationing of the Army and Police in our workplaces and factory premises.

‘’This will stop employers who are now colluding with the Army and other security agencies from setting up their men in our factories for the purposes of intimidating and harassing workers in order to deny them their rights and privileges.

“The Army and the Police should immediately withdraw their men in the different workplaces where they are currently stationed.

“That the government should demand that the Federal Ministry of Labour sets up a task force immediately to carry out factory inspections as most of our factories are death traps.

“An immediate review of the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, to save Nigerians the agony of suffering under the suffocating darkness which the GENCOs and DISCOs have foisted on the nation among other demands.”

Efforts to reach the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, last night on the impending strike by ULC proved futile, as several calls pulled through his mobile phone were not replied. Also, text messages sent to his phone were not acknowledged.

 

 

Curfew declared in Aba over IPOB clash with soldiers

 

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has declared a three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew in Absolute, Abia State, following repeated clashes between Nigerian soldiers and separatist agitators.

The governor said the state will continue to subscribe to the supremacy of the Nigerian Constitution and work with the federal government to forestall seccessionist threats.

The governor also noted that the clash is directly linked to the deployment of soldiers across South-East as part of the rejuvenated Operation Python Dance.

The curfew begins at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday and will last until September 14.

The announcement comes amidst growing skirmish between Nigerian soldiers and pro-Biafra separatists led by Nnamdi Kanu.

Soldiers clashed with the separatists this afternoon, two days after similar clash left at least three persons injured, including a policeman and a soldier.

Mr. Kanu’s lawyers say the IPOB leader had been placed on house arrest in his ancestral neighborhood of Afaraukwu, a suburb of Umuahia, the state capital.

Below is the full statement as signed by the governor moments ago:

Abia State has for the past few days been the focus of security searchlight occasioned by the reported skirmish between some groups in the State, especially Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) with men of the Nigerian Army. Government notes and has observed the frenzy of activities of members of IPOB within Afara – Umuahia, the ancestral home of the leader of IPOB for some months now.

“Government is equally aware of the recent proclamation by the Nigerian Army of Operation Python Dance II within the South – East geopolitical region of Nigeria. The operation as declared by the Army is intended to check kidnapping, banditry, assassination, secessionist activities within the region, amongst other forms of criminal activities.

The recent confrontation between the Nigerian Army and members of IPOB on Sunday, 10th September, 2017, could presumably be attributed to the commencement of the said Operation Python Dance II. The Abia State Government unequivocally states that Abia is a component State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and subscribes to the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all other extant laws.

While the Government of Abia State recognizes the right of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, to perform their statutory duty of protection of lives and property of Nigerian citizens, such duties must be carried out within acclaimed Nigerian and international standards of engagement with the civil populace, with due respect to the human rights of citizens and sanctity of human lives.

Abia State Government is committed to the protection of the lives and properties of its citizens and others residing and doing business within the geographical entity called Abia State. Abians and others living within Abia, are advised to remain law abiding and carry on their lawful business without fear, as efforts by Government will be made to reduce friction between the civil populace and military personnel in the State. Meanwhile, Aba residents are advised to observe a curfew from 6pm to 6am fromtoday 12/09/2017 to 14/09/2017.

Persons residing within the State are strongly advised to remain law abiding, while going about their lawful business without fear of molestation, and, not engage in any form of confrontation with military personnel or other security agents.

The Government recognizes the constitutional Right to Freedom of Movement for all Nigerians, but objects to the influx of people into Abia State for purposes of unsettling the enduring peace in the State.

Finally, Abia State will co – operate with security agencies to maintain the rule of law and order in the State.
Okezie Ikpeazu PhD
Governor, Abia State
12/09/2017

Two feared dead as soldiers, IPOB members’ clash in Rivers

Two persons are feared dead, and several others injured following a clash Tuesday afternoon between Nigerian Soldiers and members of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), in Oyigbo Local Government Area.

Although there are different versions to the story, but a source close to the area told the Nation that trouble started when news broke at Oyigbo express junction yesterday afternoon that Soldiers allegedly ambushed and killed eight IPOB members at 44 Battalion Asa, Abaia State.

The members (IPOB) were said to had converges to travel to Umuahia, also in Abia state to honour the invitation by the second in command of the group, Uche Mefor, who reportedly arrived Umuahia from London and invited IPOB members to converge at the residence of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu in Umuahia.

The source said, in swift reaction to the call, the members mobilized and began to protest on the way as they go, with some of them attacking Hausa indigenes they met on the road.

Unconfirmed report had it that some IPOB members seized three rifles from Policemen and burnt a Police van at the junction (Oyigbo), forcing businesses and shop owners to lock up as motorists and commuters ran for dear lives.

Rumour mills also claimed that mosques and houses were burnt and persons killed, however a reliable source who is a Muslim said the mosque was not burnt but was ransacked and that nobody was also killed.

When contacted the spokesman of 6 Brigade, Col. Aminu Iliyasu denied the soldier was deployed to Obigbo to stop IPOB members from going to Umuahia, noting that they can only shoot if they are attacked.

Iliyasu said: “I am in Bayelsa now, but people have been calling, telling me that there is a situation in the Obigbo area. But I don’t know exactly where this is happening. But one thing is certain; no soldier was deployed to Obigbo and asked to stop IPOB members from travelling to Umuahia.”

 

Army apologises for invasion of Abia NUJ press centre

The Commander of the 14 Brigade Nigeria Army, Ohafia, Brigadier-General Abdul Kalifah Ibrahim has said that soldier who conducted the military invasion of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Umuahia on Tuesday would be punished.

The Army Chief who visited the press centre in company of the Naval Commander, School of Finance Logistics, Owerrinta, Capt Abdulahi Aminu, apologised for the attack, describing it as a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

General Ibrahim promised to fish out the soldiers who carried out the unauthorised operation with a view to sanctioning them and called on journalists not to allow the invasion of their office to cause any bad blood between the army and them.

While commending the journalists for their comportment and maturity during the invasion, the General promised to pay for the gadgets damaged by his men.

He also promised to pay for the cell phone belonging to one of the journalists which went missing after the attack and warned soldiers to respect the rights of civilians during the operation python dance.

After his visit, the deputy Director of Army Information, Col Musa Sagay  in Enugu came on behalf of the General Officer Commanding, 82 division of the Nigerian Army, Major Gen Adamu Abubakar and condemned the action of the soldiers.

Col Sagay said immediately his boss heard what happened, he was detailed to go to Umuahia to meet with journalists and appeal to them for calm as the Army is on top of the situation.

“It is regrettable that this ugly incident happened to a group of people I have known and worked with since 2010-2011 when kidnapping was at its peak in the state and I would not want that cordial relationship to be spoiled.

“I am in Umuahia on behalf of my boss Gen Abubakar who is the commander of 82 Div Enugu to express our concern over what happened on Tuesday which is not the normal way we operate.

“I want to assure you that all those who took part in the action against journalists will be fished out and dealt accordingly, the Operation Egwu Eke (Python Dance) will commence from 15th of September to 14th of October and the exercise is not targeted at any group.

“The exercise is targeted at all security flash points in the entire South East geopolitical zone which is the reason behind the army show of force but it is targeted at kidnappings, armed robbery, cultism, insurgency and session agitators,” Sagay stated.

Col Sagay insisted that there is no military siege at the home of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu as being reported in some sections of the media, adding that the issue of insurgency starts in a small way which the soldiers will not allow.

In his response Ezeogo Bonny Okoro said that it was a shame that the military would invade the NUJ state secretariat over the flimsy excuse that journalists were taking their pictures.

Okoro wondered why the soldiers will not want their pictures taken as journalists would have been doing their job if such action occurred on the side of newsmen, which never took place.

He said that he was slapped, gun cocked at him while his IPad and the phones of his colleagues were smashed by the soldiers and called on the military hierarchy to fish out those behind the dastardly act and deal with them accordingly.

Nigerians arrested in Germany over fake marriages

 

Police in Germany and Portugal have raided properties linked to a gang suspected of arranging fake marriages in order to make it easier for Nigerians to come to Europe.

 

Berlin police say they searched 41 homes and offices in the German capital early Tuesday, arresting five people.

 

Officers also seized passports, European Union residency permits, cell phones and storage devices.

 

According to Fox News, simultaneous operations took place in Portugal.

 

German federal police spokesman Jens Schobranski said the suspects detained are a 50-year-old Nigerian man, two Nigerian women aged 46 and 50, and two German women aged 55 and 64.

 

They are accused of selling certificates to Nigerian men documenting fake marriages with Portuguese women in more than 70 cases, taking up to 13,000 euros ($15,600) each time.

Director in Lagos State civil service commits suicide

A Director in Lagos State Ministry of Youths, Mr Oludare Buraimoh, has committed suicide by hanging in his room.

Buraimoh, who lives at Unity Estate, Phase II, Gbonagun, Abeokuta, took his life at about 4.00 p.m. on Monday after attending to his son Dotun, who was sick.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many sympathisers, who spoke in silent tones about the ugly incident, were seen in the compound.

Dotun told NAN that the incident happened around 4.00 p.m. after his father gave him a drug to treat malaria.

“We were both at home; he came to give me a drug and left me thinking he was going to retire to his room. But when I did not hear his voice I called him, but no response came.

“I, thereafter, went to his room only to find him hanging on the ceiling with a traditional Aso Oke tied to his neck and a stool with which he committed the suicide.

“I then alerted the neighbours, who in turn, told me to alert the police, which I did,” Dotun said.

The wife of the deceased said she was yet to come to terms with her husband’s despicable act.

“I don’t know what came over him, it is inexplicable.

“We have been surviving through the thick and thin and now that we ought to sit down and enjoy after all the years of toiling, he decided to take his life.

“He did not show any sign of depression at the time he committed suicide.

“He was in high spirits, what led him to this remained a riddle,” she said.

The Obantoko Police Station, where the incident was reported, confirmed the suicide.

DSP Rasheed Olaleye of the station confirmed the incident, but declined to give further comments, saying that the DPO would be in the best position to handle the case.

The body of the deceased has been deposited at General Hospital, Abeokuta, after clearance from the police.

NAN

JUST IN: Soldiers surround Nnamdi Kanu’s home, invade NUJ office

 

Tension has returned to Umuahia, the Abia State Capital, as a detachment of soldiers from the Nigerian Army has surrounded the Afaraukwu country home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

 

The soldiers stormed the community on Tuesday barely 48 hours after the clash between the Army and IPOB members on Sunday evening, which left three people injured.

The soldiers returned with about 10 Armoured Carrier Vehicles and seven Hilux vans.

The development has caused panic in the area, forcing shop owners to close immediately.

Some of the soldiers also invaded the Abia State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists on Aba Road, Umuahia, and destroyed laptops and other valuables.

According to journalists at the secretariat, the soldiers claimed they saw somebody taking photographs of them from the building.

The Chairman of Council Mr. John Emejor has confirmed the incident.

Emejor who expressed disappointment over the incidents said a National officer of the Union Ezeogo Bonny Okoro was slapped by one of the Soldiers.

He said, “Our press centre was invaded by soldiers, two Journalists lost their IPads and phones, while a national leader in the office was attacked.

“Our stand is that those involved in this attack on innocent Journalists should be fished out and punished in line with the constitution of the Country.”

When contacted the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi, confirmed the incident.

He said he had asked the chairman of the Council to send the photograph of the damaged office to him.

 

 

Centenary City: Court upholds indictment against Anyim, others’

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday dismissed a suit seeking an order to quash the House of Representatives’ report which indicted the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, and others over their roles in the Centenary City project in Abuja.

Delivering judgment in the suit filed by the Centenary City Plc, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, held that the allegation of denial of fair hearing by the House Committee on Federal Capital Territory during the proceedings leading to the report was not cogent enough to warrant the quashing of the report.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/258/2017, was filed on March 29, 2017 against the House of Representatives and the then Chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Mr. Herman Hembe, who was recently sacked as a legislator by the Supreme Court.

While summarising the facts leading to the suit, Justice Dimgba noted that the plaintiff, Centenary City Project, believed “the House of Representatives’ dim view of the project and the adverse conclusions and recommendations on same were not accidental but were all orchestrated by the second defendant (Hembe).”

The judge noted that the plaintiff believed that Hembe had “some legacy hatred against the chief promoter of the project, former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim.”

It was alleged that Hembe had sought to have personal meetings with the plaintiff ahead of the public hearing, “with a view to being compromised, all of which were rebuffed.”

It was also alleged that at the public hearing, the plaintiff through its lawyer had sought that Hembe disqualify himself from the committee’s sittings.

The request was reportedly refused.

The committee went ahead with its sitting and concluded its investigation.

The committee’s report was adopted by the House of Representatives but with a strong dissenting report issued by one of the committee members.

Justice Dimgba noted that “the majority report adopted by the whole House made adverse findings and recommendations on the project.”

In its suit, the plaintiff claimed that it was not afforded a fair hearing in the proceedings leading to the report by the House.

Delivering his judgment on Monday, Justice Dimgba held that the suit was one that was built on Section 36(1) of the Constitution whose “provisions are only applicable in the determination of the civil rights and obligations of persons before a court or other judicial tribunal established by law.”

He explained that quashing such a report issued and ratified by another arm of government “could portend danger for the stability of the political system in terms of the relations existing among independent and equal organs of government.”

He said the court needed “to tread very carefully here so as not to breed hostility among separate organs of government that should accord each other reciprocal respect.”

The judge also ruled that exceptional situations that could warrant quashing the report did not arise in the suit.

He held, “In all honesty, upon a full and dispassionate appraisal of what has been placed before me, I do not believe that a sufficient case has been made warranting the intervention of the court in the manner prayed for in the suit.

“First, this suit has been built on Section 36(1) of the constitution. A review of the said section shows that the provisions are only applicable, ‘in the determination of the civil rights and obligations’ of persons ‘before a court or other judicial tribunal established by law’.”

He added, “I do not agree that the defendants are acting as court or tribunal or performing a quasi-judicial function.

“I do not even agree that the defendants are acting in administrative capacity.

“All the conditions enumerated in Section 36 must co-exist in a given situation for the provisions to enjoy any relevance.”

The judge ruled, “I state for the avoidance of any doubt that the House of Representatives’ investigation of the Centenary City project, which the Senate has justified, might appear mischievous or driven by questionable motives or goals, as are alleged, but the investigation itself is not illegal since the Senate’s findings are not binding on the House of Representatives, being independent legislative facilities established by the Constitution.”

He said the Centenary City Plc failed to provide the court with relevant materials to prove that the House of Representatives’ committee was compromised by Hembe’s personal interest.

He added, “The evidence clearly shows that the plaintiff was invited to the public hearing as were other relevant stakeholders.

“The right to be heard, simply means the opportunity to be heard, not that one must be heard definitively even when you spurn the opportunity.”

The judge, however, held that with questions of credibility surrounding the report, especially as captured by the minority report jettisoned by the House of Representatives, the plaintiff, instead of rushing to court, should have impressed it on the government agencies the report was sent to not to implement it.

 

Hunger led to my re-arrest, says Dike, suspected ritual killer

 

 

The re-arrested ritual killer, Ifeanyi Dike, said on Monday that he played into the hands of security agents when he came out from his hideout in Jos, the Plateau State capital, in search of food.

Dike, who allegedly raped and killed an eight-year-old girl, Victory Chikamso Nmezuwuba, had reportedly escaped from police custody and moved to Barkin Ladi in Jos, before he was recaptured by security agents and brought back to Port Harcourt.

It will be recalled that Dike was first arrested in Eliozu, Port Harcourt, when he attempted to dispose the mutilated body of his victim after allegedly removing her tongue, two eyes, two fingers and one breast for suspected ritual purpose.

Saying he was sorry for his actions, the suspect disclosed that he stayed several days in his hideout without food and had to come out when he could no longer withstand the hunger.

He said the injuries he sustained before he was arrested in Port Harcourt in August made it difficult for him to move easily to search for food.

“When I got to Jos, due to my injuries, I was not able to go out and get better food to eat. I stayed for several days without food.

“When I decided to go out and get some food, I was caught. They (policemen) were interrogating me; and because I was fed up, I gave them my aunt’s phone number.

“When the policeman that was interrogating me called my aunt, my aunt told him that they had declared me wanted. My aunt went further to call the police; when she called the police, she handed my IPO’s number to him (the police).

“It was then the police now called my IPO to confirm if I was the person. When they now confirmed that I was the person, I was detained and then brought back (to Port Harcourt) on Sunday. So, today, I was brought here,” the suspect narrated.

On how he escaped from police custody, Dike exonerated the Investigating Police Officer (Johnbosco Okere) handling his case, adding that he grabbed the opportunity to flee when the IPO told him to enter police cell.

He maintained that the IPO, who had since been dismissed from the Nigeria Police, did not know when he ran away.

The suspect said, “At the State CID, after my statement, it was late. So, my IPO told me to go inside the cell. That was how I got the opportunity to run away. The IPO did not know when I ran away from the State CID. I am very sorry for what I did.”

Earlier, the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ahmed Zaki, while parading Dike, thanked the media for their endless coverage of the matter, adding that such efforts have helped in the re-arrest of the fleeing suspect.

“Today, with profound humility, I present to you the most wanted (suspected) ritual killer, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Maxwell Dike. His re-arrest was made possible by God almighty, through your numerous prayers and concerns, following his escape three weeks ago.

“I wish to assure you that justice will not only be done, but be seen to be done in the circumstance to bring the full weight of the law to bear on him or any other person implicated in the course of further Investigation.

“The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, is pleased with this achievement and wishes to register his profound gratitude to the members of the public for their resilience and rising up to the challenge that eventually led to his re-arrest,” Zaki said.

Also, the father of the eight-year-old girl victim, Dr. Ernest Nmezuwuba, narrated how he was informed by an operative of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Jos through the phone that his daughter’s suspected killer had been re-arrested.

Nmezuwuba pleaded with the police to carry out a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the gruesome murder of his daughter, insisting that Dike was not the only person involved in the ritual killing of his child.

He said, “I was the one that even called the DCP when SARS called me from Jos. I gave the name of the person (SARS operative) that called before they began to make moves. They had to take Ifeanyi Dike’s photograph in Jos, sent it to him (DCP) and forwarded it to me.

“I want the police to do a thorough investigation because in Ifeanyi’s statement, he said he was sent by a person and the person is in police custody now. The person is Ugochukwu. In all Ifeanyi’s statement, he (Ugochukwu) is the one he mentioned. The evidence is there and the DPO that has been making calls… all his calls are intact (recorded).

“It is not only Ifeanyi; a lot of things are coming. Whoever feels that what happened is okay with him, let him feel it too. What I need is justice. All those involved in this crime should be arrested. I thank God. This (re-arrest of Ifeanyi Dike) is the work of God.”

Jonathan believed Boko Haram was set up to bring down his govt – Obasanjo

 

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why the war against the Boko Haram insurgency has remained intractable, noting that the country needed to treat the root of the problem and not the symptoms.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC, Obasanjo noted that former president Goodluck Jonathan did not take the insurgency seriously in the belief that the terror group was a device by the north to bring down his government.

He recalled his visit to Maiduguri in 2011 where he learnt about the sect’s grievances which he took to Jonathan expecting him to address the issues.

He said, “I went out in 2011 to Maiduguri. I took great risk to find out what is really happening about Boko Haram, do they have grievances, if they have grievances, what are their grievances and I brought all that to Jonathan.

“Jonathan didn’t believe that Boko Haram was a serious issue. He thought that it was a device by the North to prevent him from continuing as president of Nigeria which was rather unfortunate.”

The former president observed that Boko Haram insurgency may not end soon, noting that it stemmed from under-development, unemployment and youth frustration in the north-east.

“Boko Haram will not be over; it started from a position of gross under-development, unemployment, youth frustration in the north-east. So we must be treating the disease not the symptom,” Obasanjo submitted.

I almost ran away from Nigeria – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says he is thankful for the improved rainy season in the country in the last two years, admitting that he would have run away from the country if there was no rain.

Buhari said this on Monday when he received the National Council of Traditional Rulers led by the Sultan of Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, in Aso Villa, Abuja.

He said, “We are lucky this year that last year and this year the rainy season is good. If it were not good, I must confide in you that I was considering which country to run to. But God answered the prayers of many Nigerians. The rainy season last year was good and this year with the report I’m getting is good. We thank God for that otherwise there would have been a lot of problems in this country.”

Buhari said the mismanagement of resources over the years was responsible for the current economic hardship.

The President said that he would continue to pursue programmes that would improve the lives of Nigerians.

Earlier, the Sultan of Sokoto, while thanking God for bringing Buhari back, urged him to act fast.

He said, “We will continue to preach peace and stability, justice, transparency and accountability and anti-corruption.”

Speaking for the South-West, the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunnusi, also thanked God for the safe return of Buhari.

Ogunwusi said, “From the South-West we thank God for your life and we pledge to support you from our communities because we are closer to our people. We will continue to preach to our people that we should continue to foster peace in our country, we will continue to caution our youths against hate speech.

“We cannot leave the development of the country all to the government but we have to work hand in hand. We assure you that we support all your initiatives.”

Speaking for the North-West, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the traditional rulers identified with Buhari’s commitment to national security.

Speaking for the South-South, Jaja of Opobo urged the President to quickly fix the economy.

He said, “We know there is tension here and there but as traditional rulers, we don’t eat politics. The economy has to be fixed. Coming from the region that produces the mainstay of the economy, even though the country will soon diversify the economy, before we diversify let’s protect the one that we still have. We are pleased to work for peace and stability of the region so that we can all see the benefits of the commodity.”

The Gbom Gwom Jos, Jacob Gyang, who spoke on behalf of the North-Central, also thanked God for bringing the President back to celebrate Sallah with fellow Nigerians.

He told the President that at least 20 people were killed in Plateau State on Friday

Gyang said, “Few days ago just when we thought peace had returned to Plateau, it was truncated with the attack on Ancha village in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State, leading to 20 deaths.”

He commended Buhari for ordering the security agencies to fish out those responsible for the attacks and the reasons for the attack.

Speaking for the South -East, Chairman of South-East Traditional Council, Eberechi Dike, said, “Our hearts are full of joy that you are back. You shook our hands when you came in and that shows you believe in one Nigeria. We prayed for you and you are back. We prayed for you because your agenda for Nigeria is good. “As your children when we cry it is for you to ask us to stop crying that you will fix whatever is making us cry like the bad roads.”

Speaking for the North-East, the Lamido Adamawa, Muhammadu Musdafa, said Nigerians were happy to have the President back.

 

Customs seize another 1,000 pump action rifles in Lagos

 

Operatives of the Nigerian Custom Service, Tin-Can Island Command have impounded 1,100 pump action rifles.

This brings to a total about 2,110 pump action rifles so far impounded in Lagos alone in the last seven months.

The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Custom Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) who confirmed the seizure said that the weapons were concealed in a 20 ft container.

He said that the weapons were discovered by custom officers who were carrying out 100% examination of the container.

The syndicate that specialises in smuggling weapons into the country was also nabbed. The weapons were brought from Turkey and concealed inside a container which Bill of Laden indicated it was conveying wash hand basins.

The Customs boss disclosed that, already, a Customs officer suspected to have cut the seal of the container without following due process, as well as a clerk at the command had been arrested in connection with the discovery.

Buhari to address UN General Assembly US next week – Presidency

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has been scheduled to address the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in the United States on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

The President of Nigeria is listed as number seven on the provincial list of speakers.

Buhari is expected to speak after the leaders of Brazil, the United States, Guinea, Switzerland, Jordan and Slovakia.

Since his return to Nigeria on August 20, 2017, after 103 days of medical leave in London, Buhari has not attended any public event outside of Aso Villa and his country home in Daura, Katsina State.

Also, he has attended only one Federal Executive Council meeting since he returned three weeks ago.

Acting on the President’s instruction, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo recently visited flood-ravaged Benue State where thousands have been displaced.

Osinbajo, while representing the President, has also received members of the United States Congress as well as the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and his team at the Villa.

The Vice-President has also presided over every economic meeting including the 15th Annual meeting of the Board of Governors of ECOWAS Bank Investment and the National Industrial Council Meeting which had in attendance Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and many other captains of industry.

However, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed to that Buhari would attend the UN General Assembly.

Shehu said, “I cannot tell you the time he will be going because it can change but I know he is expected to be the eighth speaker at the UN. So, he will be there and he will speak.”

We can’t disclose our allowances, says Senate

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, has lamented the constant harassment of the Senate by Nigerians, adding that the upper legislative chamber cannot disclose its salaries and allowances.

Abdullahi said this during a live programme on Channels Television titled, ‘Politics Today.’

The Senate spokesman also refused to state how much the lawmakers earned in salary and allowances.

When asked to say how much he earned, Abdullahi said it was rude of the presenter to ask him how much each senator earned.

Abdulahi said, “You don’t expect me to come out on national television to say this is what I earn. It is not done. I cannot ask you as a journalist how much you earn. It is not done.

“If anybody is interested in how much we are getting paid, you know where to get the information. The documents are available. If Nigerians won’t believe that, is it what I will say that they will believe?”

The Senate spokesman said the figures released by the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), were false, adding that the Senate’s budget was not even as high as what Sagay released.

He said Sagay was only trying to cause unnecessary tension between the National Assembly and the Presidency.

When confronted with the figures exclusively obtained by Channels Television which put the salary and allowances of each senator at N14m per month and House of Representatives members as N8m per month, Abdullahi said he could not confirm or deny the figures.

Abdullahi said the cost of democracy was not as high as the cost of not having democracy and Nigerians should look on the bright side.

He added, “This issue has become a recurring decimal. In the last two years people have been discussing this matter and I always ask myself, what do people really want to believe? I think if this subject matter has been discussed for two years and we are still looking at issues wrongly, then I think there is something wrong with us.

“The institutions that are responsible for providing this information are there. A law was promulgated on Top Salary Scale also known as TOPSA and it is based on this scale that everyone who holds one political office or the other gets paid.

“I want to also submit that I presume Prof. Sagay would have been paid based on the provision of this scale. For us in the National Assembly, the question needs to be asked ‘what is the cost of having democracy and what is the cost of not having democracy?’”

Sagay (SAN), had said last week that a Nigerian senator earns N29m per month.

“From the information I have gathered, a Nigerian senator earns about N29m a month and over N3bn a year,” the professor said.

He added, “Basic salary N2,484,245.50; hardship allowance, 1,242, 122.70; constituency allowance N4, 968, 509.00; furniture allowance N7, 452, 736.50; newspaper allowance N1, 242, 122.70.

“Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37; recess allowance N248, 424.55; accommodation 4,968,509.00; utilities N828,081.83; domestic staff N1,863,184.12; entertainment N828,081.83; personal assistant N621,061.37; vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12; leave allowance N248,424.55; severance gratuity N7, 425,736.50; and motor vehicle allowance N9, 936,982.00.”

Court dismisses Melaye’s suit, asks INEC to resume recall process

The Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has dismissed an application filed by the representative of the Kogi West Senaorial constituency, Dino Melaye, seeking to nullify his recall.

The judgment effectively terminated the earlier ex parte order made by another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice John Tsoho, on July 6, 2017, directing parties to maintain status quo.

Melaye had approached the court presided by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba ahead of his recall exercise earlier scheduled to begin in July.

Following Melaye’s application, the court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to halt the recall exercise, pending the determination of Melaye’s application.

But the Justice Dimgba, to whom the case was reassigned, ordered that the process shall only proceed with the recall process, subject to the service of the petition, the full list and signatures of persons in support of the recall process.

The judge noted that the 90 days period within which the Constitution ordered the INEC to conduct a referendum on receiving the recall petition had been paused since June 23, when Melaye commenced the suit.

He ordered that the period would only continue running from Monday.
But he ordered INRC to issue an amended recall timetable giving the senator a minimum of two weeks to equip him to defend against the recall process.

He ordered that the amended timetable should be served on Melaye.

In his judgment, Justice Dimgba held that contrary to Melaye’s contention, there was no provision in section 69 of the Constitution requiring his constituents to afford him fair hearing before sending such petition to INEC.

Justice Dimgba also admitted that although the Constitution did not expressly provide that the INEC must serve the affected legislator with the petition and the accompanying documents, it was required in the spirit of fair hearing so that the legislator could be equipped to fight the recall.

The judge described Melaye’s suit as “hasty, premature and presumptuous” as the INEC had already scheduled the exercise for the verification of the authenticity of the signatures in support of the petition being complained about by Melaye.

“He must first go into the verification exercise and only when he does not get justice that he can come to court,” Justice Dimgba ruled.

The judge also dismissed the argument that the the number signatures ‎did not meet the threshold stipulated in the Constitution.

He insisted that on the face of the statistical analysis accompanying the suit, the number of signatures to kick start the recall process in the Kogi West senatorial district was 188, 588 out of the 360,100 ‎registered voters in the district, had been met.

 

Panel begins investigation of military officers over alleged rights abuses

 

The Presidential Investigative Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement begins sitting in Abuja today (Monday).

The panel, led by a Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Biobele Georgewill, was inaugurated by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in his capacity as the Acting President on August 11 to, among others, investigate allegations of human rights abuses levelled against the military by Amnesty International.

Our correspondent, on Sunday, sighted an invitation sent by the panel to an author of a memorandum submitted to it, inviting him to attend the Monday’s hearing in Abuja.

The invite, jointly signed by Justice Georgewill and the Secretary to the panel, Mr. Suleiman Haliru, was titled ‘Invitation to the panel’s sitting/hearing in Abuja on September 11, 2017 at 1000 hours’.

According to the document, the sitting in Abuja is for the North-Central region and it will hold at the headquarters of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja, between September 11 and 15.

The commission is expected to submit its report to the Presidency in 90 days.

Members of the panel are Maj. Gen. Patrick Akem, Mr. Wale Fapohunda, Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim, Mr. Jibrin Ibrahim, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwakama and a representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The Amnesty International had alleged that the troops, involved in the counter-terrorism operations in the North-East, were engaged in extra-judicial killings, killings of innocent civilians and torture among others.

Osinbajo had, while inaugurating the panel, said all the allegations levelled against the armed forces and other security agencies must not go unaddressed so as to safeguard the good image of Nigeria.

He assured all the security agencies that the work of the investigative panel should not be seen as a witch-hunt or an act aimed at denigrating the laudable work of the military.

The VP had stated, “Failure to examine some of these allegations will also leave those who may have been victims of such abuses without any recourse to justice.

“And if history has taught us anything, it is that the failure of our justice system to adequately respond to crisis is usually a recipe for greater conflict.”

He gave the terms of reference of the panel to include “the review of the extant rules of engagement applicable to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the extent of compliance thereto.”

Others are “to investigate alleged acts of violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended); the Geneva Convention Act; the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Ratification and Enforcement Act and other relevant laws by the Armed Forces in local conflicts and insurgencies.

“To investigate matters of conduct and discipline in the armed forces in local conflicts and insurgencies;

“To recommend the means of preventing violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in conflict situations

“To make further recommendations in line with these terms of reference as maybe deemed necessary.’’

Osinbajo urged the panel to also look into the conditions of service of the armed forces or any other factors that might have hindered the performance of the military in the ongoing fight against insurgents, militants and other combatants with a view to addressing them.

Resident doctors refuse to call off strike

Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) yesterday failed to call off their strike, which enters the eighth-day today, in line with terms of settlement signed with the Federal Government.

The association signed a memorandum of terms of settlement with government four days ago.

After a meeting, which started at about 1.30pm on Wednesday and ended at about 3.30am on Thursday morning, the government and the doctors agreed that NARD members should hold their NEC meeting on Friday to call off the strike.

But 48 hours after the supposed meeting to call off the strike, the doctors have continued to keep silent about the industrial action, fueling speculations that they may have again rejected the terms of settlement signed with government.

One of the terms of settlement was for the doctors to meet on Friday once they started receiving alert for the shortfall in their salaries, which was one of their grievances.

As at 6.00pm yesterday, efforts to get officials of the association to comment on why they have not called off the strike failed as none of them respond to call put through to their phones.

Part of the resolution contained in the memorandum of terms of settlement was the payment of the shortfall of salaries, capturing the resident doctors on the IPPIS payment platform, implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme for members, among others.

The memorandum, which the doctors were to present to their National Executive Committee, was signed by Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of State, Labour and Employment Prof. Stephen Ocheni, National President of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Prof. Mike O. Ogirima, NARD President Dr. Onyebueze John and Chairman of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule.

Other signatories to the memorandum were representatives of Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Budget Office of the Federation.