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Daily Archives: February 1, 2018

Benue Killings: Your observations are “incorrect”, Buhari tells Saraki

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a swipe at Senate President Bukola Saraki in a recent letter to the top lawmaker on the lingering crisis in Benue and other states in central Nigeria.

In the January 25 letter addressed to Mr. Saraki, Mr. Buhari enumerated the actions so far taken by his government towards resolving the crisis that has left hundreds dead within the past one month alone.

The president said his government has taken a series of actions that included ordering security chiefs to move to the epicentre of the crisis while senior cabinet officials were asked to find political solutions where possible.

Mr. Saraki had earlier last month led the Senate to reach a string of strongly-worded resolutions about the crisis and the failings or outright inability of the Buhari administration to forestall it.

The lawmakers’ resolutions followed the spate of killings in Benue State, including the January 1 suspected herdsmen rampage that left more than 70 villagers dead and the January 8 killings of police officers in the state.

On Wednesday, Governor Samuel Ortom imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew following police’s confirmation that seven Fulani travellers had been lynched and set alight in Gboko, an industrial town about 90 kilometres southeast of Makurdi, the state capital.

After listing all his interventions, which ranged from a deployment of special forces and a broad-based consultation with key parties to the violence, Mr. Buhari said it was wrong for the Senate to accuse him of doing too little about the crisis.

“To infer, therefore that nothing has been done is incorrect,” Mr. Buhari told Mr. Saraki in the letter which was read on the floor of the Senate Thursday. “The police are strenuously working to apprehend the rest of the culprits of these heartless killings.”

A spokesperson for Mr. Saraki, Yusuph Olaniyonu, declined comments about the president’s jab at his principal Thursday evening.

“There is no question I can take on that,” Mr. Olaniyonu said. “The letter was read on the floor of the Senate and the appropriate response has been issued.”

The president first ordered the Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris to move to Benue in the second week of January, a directive he emphasised in his letter to Mr. Saraki.

“Furthermore, I have instructed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State, redeploy forces to the most sensitive areas.

“The Federal Government is initiating additional measures to address these and other security challenges, alleviate the consequences of these attacks and forestall reoccurrence,” the president said.

Still, the president said, key elements of the Senate’s resolutions would be looked into for prompt action.

“The Senate Resolutions itemised in your letter will be taken into consideration and I am instructing all relevant MDAs to factor them in their work,” the president said in the letter which was made available to journalists by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina Thursday afternoon.

Lagos City Marathon 2018: LASTMA announces traffic diversion

As part of efforts to ensure a hitch-free Lagos City Marathon scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 10, 2018, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has announced traffic diversion on the affected routes during the race.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the Authority, said that the event will kick-off at 6am from the National Stadium, Surulere and terminate at Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, thus necessitating traffic diversion.

The statement advised motorists and commercial vehicles to use alternative routes as listed below:

•        From Eko Bridge, motorists shall be diverted through Costain to connect Ebute-Metta, Orile, Nigerian Breweries and Bode Thomas through Apapa Road (now Moshood Abiola Way).
•        From Alaka Estate, motorists shall be diverted through Iponri or Iponri Estate.

•        Motorists from Masha inward journey to Stadium shall be diverted to Shitta Roundabout for onward movement through Falolu and Adeniran Ogunsanya Roads to their various destinations.

•        Motorists from Apapa/Orile-Iganmu to Funsho Williams shall be diverted through Apapa Road to continue their journey.

•        On Ikorodu Road, traffic from Ojota inwards Fadeyi, Funsho Williams is allowed; there will be a restriction for motorists who want to link Gbagada through Town Planning Way, Ilupeju to Third Mainland Bridge (Marathon Route).

•        From Apapa – Oshodi Expressway (i.e from Mile 2) motorists shall be diverted through BOC Gases/Armed Forces Resettlement Center on the service lane through Agege Motor Road. Traffic will also be diverted through Town Planning Way before Anthony–Oke. (Note that Gbagada inward 3rd Mainland Bridge will be closed to traffic from Anthony–Oke).

•        From Old Toll Gate to Alapere, Ogudu, motorists shall be diverted through Gbagada, Oworonshoki-Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and navigate their journey to destinations.

•        From Ajah to Ozumba Mbadiwe Road through Lekki, traffic shall be diverted through Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase I.

•        Motorists shall be diverted through Alexandra Road from Cable Bridge while Bourdillon Road will be temporarily closed to traffic.

•        From Awolowo Road, motorists shall be diverted through Falomo Bridge to connect Ozumba Mbadiwe Road while Falomo Roundabout inwards Bourdillon will be temporarily closed and Akin Adesola Street inwards Bar Beach will also be temporarily closed to traffic.

•        From Bonny Camp to Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, traffic shall be diverted through Old Mr. Biggs Junction to Kofo Abayomi Street.

The statement added that all adjoining streets and feeder roads to the dedicated routes of the race would be temporarily closed to ensure the safety and security of participants.

It also implored Lagosians plying the affected routes to exercise patience and obey traffic management officials deployed to the identified routes for a successful exercise.

900 workers trapped in South African goldmine

 At least 900 miners have been trapped down a goldmine in South Africa’s Free State province, a union said on Thursday.

The miners got stuck on Wednesday night due to a power outage, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said, calling on the company involved, Sibanye-Stillwater, to step up rescue efforts.

Forty miners have since been rescued, but 900 remain underground, the statement said.

Sibanye-Stillwater features among the world’s top 10 gold producing companies, according to its website.

Its Beatrix mine, where the trapped workers are, has shafts at depths of between 700 metres and 2,200 metres below the surface.

“Mining is very unsafe and mine workers risk life and limb daily,” the AMCU said.

“AMCU views this incident as extreme given the sheer number of workers involved.”

Calls by dpa to Sibanye-Stillwater went unanswered on Thursday.


Lagos inaugurates Nigeria’s first sexual offences court

The Lagos state government on Thursday inaugurated four special courts for the prosecution of sexual offences and corruption cases.

Two of the courts will adjudicate on economic and financial crimes, while the other two will try sexual offences.

The sexual offences court is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

While inaugurating the courts, Akinwumi Ambode, the state governor, lauded Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria, for initiating the project at the federal level.

Ambode, who was represented  by Oluranti Adebule, his deputy, said the establishment of the courts would facilitate expeditious hearing and trial of sexual and financial related crimes.

According to Adebule, the state had recorded over 400 sexual related cases in the last three years.

She added that the cases would get proper attention with the newly-inaugurated courts.

Adebule said the state was collaborating with the British Council under the rule of law anti-corruption programme to provide technical support for the anti-corruption fight.

“I am particularly glad about the designation of two courts to handle sexually related offences as it complements our fight against sexual abuse,” Adebule said.

“These sexual offences courts will have trained and experienced prosecutors to interact with survivors, provide support and ensure timely prosecution of the cases.

“Between 2015 and now, the DSVRT and Mirabel Centre have handled over 400 cases of sexual offences while 376 cases are being prosecuted in the various courts.

“With a dedicated court now in place to handle these cases, l am sure that these cases will get the attention they deserve.

“We have awarded the contract for the expansion of the operations of the DNA and Forensic Centre and Chemistry section.

“This will automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for forensics in Africa.”

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was among dignitaries present at the inauguration.

South Korea Winter Olympic sets record for free condoms

This month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea will set a record even before the first athlete comes out of a starting gate, organisers said Thursday — for the largest number of free condoms handed out at a Winter Games.

Over little more than two weeks from the opening of the Olympiad next Friday, a total of 110,000 contraceptive sheaths will be distributed, 10,000 more than at Vancouver in 2010 or Sochi in 2014.

With 2,925 athletes taking part, it equates to an average of 37.6 condoms per sportsman and sportswoman.

But they will be made available to all participants.

“Baskets with condoms will be placed at both men’s and women’s toilets” at athletes’ villages in Pyeongchang and Gangneung, the main press centre, the media village as well as medical centres, the organisers said.

Rubber manufacturer Convenience Co has donated 100,000 of the condoms, saying it did so for “a successful hosting of the Winter Olympics and the prevention of the spread of the HIV virus”.

But spokesman Chung Geun-Sik said many of them would be taken home unopened as souvenirs.

“We don’t expect the athletes to use them all,” he added.


Obasanjo releases more details about Coalition for Nigeria — FULL STATEMENT


Ladies and Gentlemen and members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, I welcome you to this simple but important ceremony of my registering as a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement and I thank you for being here.

Last week, I issued a statement which I did not do lightly or frivolously but out of deep concern for the situation of our country. I gave an expose on some aspects of our situations as I have observed them. I also took liberty to offer advice politely knowing fully well that my advice could be heeded or may be ignored.

However, heeded or not, I strongly believe that Nigeria cannot continue with business as usual. So, I proffered a way out or a way forward.

If the instruments we have used so far in our nation-building and governance since independence have not served us well, it is imperative that we should rethink and retool. It was Einstein who stated that it would amount to height of folly for anybody or any group to continue to do things in the same way and expect different results.

Coalition for Nigeria Movement is proposed as the new direction to mobilise our population for unity, cooperation, development, rule of law, employment, law and order, justice, integration, peace, security, stability, welfare and well-being. In these regards, special attention and space must be given to youths and women, who in most cases, have been victims and underlings.

I am particularly happy that yesterday, men and women (of all ages) of like minds joined hands to launch Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM). Among many other things that CNM will do is to raise standards generally but particularly standards of political leadership and governance.

Like all countries, Nigeria has many challenges. That, by itself, is not what we should worry about. What should matter is how, when and with what instruments we address or fail to address these challenges or create more problems.

Let me emphasise important areas, programme, priorities, or processes for improved attention. To start with, we seem to have taken nation-building for granted. Nation-building must be given continued attention to give every citizen a feeling of belonging and a stake in his or her country. For instance, the federal character principle, as espoused in our constitution, was to guide the leadership to search for competent holders of major offices to be distributed within the entire nation and avoid the concentration in a few ethnic hands or geographical places as we currently have in the leadership of our security apparatus. To avoid such non-integrative situation, we have the National Assembly and the Federal Character Commission, both institutions which must raise alarm or call for correction of actions by the executive that violates the spirit of our constitution. In like manner, the spate of violence, criminality, organised crime, insurgency and terrorism have not received sufficient proactive ameliorative responses through transformational leadership – a determined leadership that brings cohesion and wholesomeness to the polity. Nobody and no group should feel excluded in his or her own country. Inclusion and popular participation must be visibly pursued in terms of politics, the economy and our overall social life.

I am happy to be a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement. The movement is a pressure point towards good governance. This is the commencement for our popular and grassroots association. Of course, the membership will be free to collectively decide on whether CNM becomes a political party. If the Movement decides to transform itself and go into partisan politics, I will cease to be a member. And as a member for now, I accept all the conditions attached to membership of the Coalition.

We must promote the CNM and mobilise membership all over the country including membership from the Diaspora.

This is an opportunity for women and men, especially youths who have hitherto been feeling marginalised and helpless to go all out and bring friends and families into the CNM fold.

The CNM will remain a popular socio-economic Movement open to all Nigerians who believe in the greatness of Nigeria and are ready to contribute to it.

Some people have started worrying about the problem of personalities, in which some, in other efforts allocate positions to themselves. This Movement is not about personality or personalities; but about platform and system. Our system so far has not given us what we must have. For the first time we are building a platform from bottom-up. The Movement’s base is the grassroots and the people – all the people. When the platform is formed and the new system is put in place, the Movement may decide to sponsor/support candidates or transform itself into a political machine for that purpose.

A socio-economic popular Movement needs to be the new vehicle to give hope to the youths, dignity and encouragement to women and security, confidence, and a promising future to all Nigerians. It must work to bring about a new democratic and efficient Nigeria. The Movement must speak up boldly and bluntly about the truth but politely in accordance with African culture. The Movement will also act collectively with political awareness, social responsibility, sustained and sustainable economic development and progress. Timidity and cowardice must not be part of its make-up or culture and neither must there be indifference. He who keeps quiet, inactive and indifferent in the face of bad act is an accomplice to that act. Self-interest, self-centredness and selfishness must be put aside. National interest must be paramount. The Movement will teach what it believes and practice what it teaches.

It is necessary to make it clear that this movement does not regard itself as a third force. It sees itself as a popular movement that can accommodate all Nigerians irrespective of their political interest or affiliations and will propel Nigeria forward. Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians to be made right and the Coalition with others of the same view and like minds will leave no stone unturned to actualise God-given potentials of our country. The Movement will spearhead process, programme, policies and priorities to make Nigeria a great country playing its expected roles within West Africa, Africa and the world.

Nigerian youth will be emboldened, empowered, have employment, and play meaningful and responsible roles in the leadership and governance of the country in all ramifications. Nigerian women will have dignity, responsibility and equal consideration with men in the affairs of Nigeria.

The Movement is a means to an end. The end is Nigeria, unshackled, united, dynamic, strong, secure, cohesive, stable, and prosperous at home and respected outside, and as result, able to play decisive roles assertively within the comity of nations. A Nigeria of hope, aspiration and assurances which belongs to all with no sacred cow nor sacrificial lamb is what we want. My Nigeria, your Nigeria and our Nigeria with enchanting present and secure and glorious future.

Join the Movement to build a new Nigeria that will be in the hands of God.

I see a new Nigeria in the hands of God, says Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he has seen a “new Nigeria in the hands of God”.

Obasanjo said this on Thursday when he registered as a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM).

The elder statesman said the movement would raise the standard of political leadership and governance.

“Coalition for Nigeria Movement is proposed as the new direction to mobilise the country’s population for unity, cooperation, development, rule of law, employment, law and order, justice, integration, peace, security, welfare and well-begin,” he said.

“I am happy to be a member of the Coalition for Nigeria  Movement. The movement is a pressure point towards good governance. This is the commencement of our popular and grassroots association.

“It is necessary to make clear that this movement does not regard itself as a third force. It sees itself as a popular movement that can accommodate all Nigeria irrespective of their political interest or afflictions and will propel Nigeria forward.

“Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians to be made right and the coalition with others of the same view and like minds will leave no stone unturned to actualise God-given potentials of our country. The movement will spearhead process, programme, policies and priorities to make Nigeria a great country playing its expected roles within West Africa, Africa and the world.

“I see a new Nigeria in the hands of God and we will all be witnesses of the emergence of a new Nigeria.”

The former president said he would withdraw his membership of the movement, if it decides transform into a political party.

“If the movement decides to transform itself and go into politics, I will cease to be a member. And as a member for now, I accept all the conditions attached to membership of the coalition,” he said.

Obasanjo hinted about the coalition in the letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

Implementation of APC restructuring report will move Nigeria forward, says Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the sincere implementation of the recommendations of the All Progressives Congress (APC) restructuring committee will move the nation forward.

The committee led by Ahmad Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, submitted its report last week.

Speaking when Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa, led a delegation to the former president on Thursday, Jonathan said the implementation would also encourage inter-ethnic harmony.

According to Fidelis Soriwei, spokesman of Dickson, Jonathan said the issues which the committee deliberated upon were exhaustively treated during the 2014 national conference.

He said it is a good idea that the APC set up a committee to look into the grey areas which featured prominently in the deliberations of the 2014 conference.

He commended Dickson for playing the role of coordinating the thoughts of the Ijaw people on the sensitive issue of restructuring.

The Nigerian leader said the governor must be appreciated for ensuring that the Ijaw nation did not speak with discordant tones on the issue of restructuring.

“I am pleased with the caliber of people who came with the governor to brief me on the issue of the recommendations of the APC committee on restructuring,” he said.

“I must say that I am happy with the role being played by the governor on this issue of restructuring.

“Ethnic nationalities must not speak with discordant tones on such pertinent issues. I am pleased that Dickson is coordinating the Ijaw nation.

“I am also pleased that the APC set up a committee to look into the grey areas to come up with these recommendations. When we were in government, we came up with a confab and several issues were addressed which if sincerely implemented would encourage relationship in the country. A sincere implementation of the recommendations on these grey areas will make the country to move forward.”

On his part, Dickson said he led the delegation for a consultative meeting and to brief him on the steps the Ijaws had taken to build bridges of understanding in the pursuit of what is right in the country.

He explained the meeting focused on the issue of restructuring and the moves being made to bring about a just, fair and egalitarian Nigerian society.

Dickson noted that the recommendations contained in the report of the APC committee were the same as those contained in the 2014 confab.

“As you all can see, this is a high-powered delegation of Ijaw elders and leaders from all the zones from Ijaw nation,” he said.

“I am leading them to meet and consult with our respected leader, the former president and also to brief him on steps we are taking; steps we will continue to take to unify our people to build bridges of understanding and to support all that is right and good, not only in this region, but across the nation.

“As you are aware, there is a raging issue of restructuring and moves made to bring about a fairer, egalitarian, stable and prosperous Nigeria. And here, in this state and in this region, we are proud to have our leader, the former president and so today we came to brief him about the steps we are taking to study all the reports, including, the reports of the 2014 Confab which was rightly empanelled by Mr. President and it is gratifying to note a number of the recommendations given by the APC panel are the same conclusions that the 2014 Confab arrived at.”

The meeting was a follow up to an earlier one at Kiagbodo, the country home of Edwin Clark on January 20, 2018.

Buhari nominates Edward Adamu as CBN Deputy Governor

President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and forwarded same to the Senate for confirmation.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, said the nomination was in accordance with the provisions of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) (Establishment) Act 2007,

The statement reads: “This was contained in a letter dated January 26, 2018 to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

“Mr. Adamu, from Gombe State, replaces Mr. Sulaiman Barau, from Zaria, Kaduna State, who retired in December 2017.

“The nominee, who has spent 25 years in the CBN, was appointed in 2012 as Director of Strategy.

“He became Director, Human Resources in 2016, from where he was nominated as Deputy Governor.”

Nigeria, Niger to build oil refinery ‘to tackle smuggling’

In a major bid to frontally tackle the menace of cross-border fuel smuggling, Nigeria and the neighbouring Niger Republic plan to build an oil refinery.

Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum resources,  led a Nigerian government delegation to Niamey, the Nigerien capital, on Wednesday to discuss a firm agreement for the design and construction of the refinery to be strategically located at a border town between the two countries.

Kachikwu, according to a statement by his ministry, said the move would be “in line with the commitment to collaboratively work across the region to ensure definitive solutions to [oil] sector challenges”.

The collaboration, according to Kachikwu, willbe “expressed through the construction of a refinery in the border town between the Republic of Niger and Katsina State, Nigeria and a crude oil pipeline from the Republic of Niger to the new refinery”.

He held talks with president of  Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, and the country’s energy minister Foumakoye Gado.

“Bilateral and technical agreements will be signed in coming days,” the statement revealed.

The capacity of the proposed refinery was not made known.

The group management director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru, had recently raised the alarm that the rising fuel smuggling across  Nigeria’s borders was negatively impacting on availability of petroleum products in the country.

According to Baru, even with petrol supply across the country averaging 55 million litres a day since the beginning of December 2017 — well above the projected consumption rate of 35 million litres per day — the country still experienced shortages because much of the volumes were being smuggled out of the country, as smuggling syndicates cashed in on the obvious petrol price differentials between Nigeria and neighboring countries to make illicit profit.

Nigeria is Africa’s top crude oil producer with output averaging around 2.05 million bpd including condensates.

The OPEC member country has four state-owned refineries with combined nameplate capacity to refine 445,000 bpd of crude, but the poorly maintained facilities hardly produced above a quarter of their capacity.

Niger Republic, on the other hand, sits on some of the world’s largest uranium deposits but has few oil producing fields located in the southern part of the country.

In November 2016, NNPC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with with Savannah Petroleum Company, a UK-based independent oil producer, to supply crude from the latter’s Agadem oil field in Niger Republic to Kaduna refinery.

The agreement then envisaged that an 800-km pipeline will be constructed to transport  crude from Agadem field to Kaduna refinery.

The deal came at the height of militancy in the Niger Delta which saw many pipelines transporting crude to the 110,000 Kaduna refinery in the north, bombed.