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Daily Archives: February 20, 2018

OAU striking staff shut school down again

A strike by the Joint Action Committee, at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has degenerated to a ‘total and comprehensive’ action, causing the blockade of the main roads and disruption of water and electricity supplies to the campus.

The JAC, consisting of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU; Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU; and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, had started their strike at the beginning of December last year after they disagreed with authorities over the sharing of the earned allowances between them and their teaching staff counterparts.

But with the commencement of the examinations in January, the action was reviewed to allow the school provide a limited level of service to the students studying.

With the examinations over last Saturday, the striking group said they are bringing the school to a halt.

“We held congress last week Friday and it was at the congress that we reached a resolution that we must shut the university this week,” said a staffer, Oyeleke Adelegan.

Mr. Oyelegan said: “The university management was given two weeks to conduct exams for students and they even went ahead to breach the agreement for making the exam last for three weeks and now that the students are done with the exam. We have to go back to our total and comprehensive strike,” he said.

The chairman of the NASU, OAU, Wole Odewunmi said the striking unions had earlier cooperated with the university basically, ”because of the students.”

“We agreed to reduce the ‘force’ of the strike because of the students’ examinations because we are also parents and we know that they are lagging behind. Now that they are done with their exams, we are going back to the total and comprehensive shut-down of the university.

“As you can see, the roads have been blocked and we can no longer guarantee electricity, water and others.”

Our correspondent saw how the roads on the campus, including the main Adesoji Aderemi Road, also known as ‘Road 1’, were blocked on Monday and Tuesday.

Man accuses wife of being pregnant for boyfriend, seeks divorce

A 34-year-old man has approached the Igando Customary court for dissolution of marriage after accusing his wife of being pregnant for her boyfriend.

Ola Ismaila, an indigene of Ede, Osun State, said he got to know about his wife’s supposed pregnancy when she started having stomach pains.

Mr. Ismaila said his suspicion was confirmed when he caught his wife, Aminat, patronising a midwife for a pregnancy test and possible abortion.

“I have not released in her whenever we have sex based on doctor’s advice,” Mr. Ismaila said.

“Right from the day I got married to her, her way has been questionable. She has a boyfriend. The boyfriend even called her right on our matrimonial bed around 7 a.m. How can an unmarried man call my wife around 7 a.m.?

“Her mother could testify to her infidelity. Even when I reported her to the mum, she corrected her and asked her to delete her boyfriend’s number from her mobile phone.”

Mr. Ismaila also accused his wife, who is his landlord’s daughter, of being fetish.

“When she was pregnant with her twins, she brought an oil from her mum telling me to use. After bathing and drinking out of the oil, things turned around. My job became so bad to the point I couldn’t feed my family.”

He further accused her of threatening his life with a knife.

But Aminat denied all the allegations but said she used the knife in self-defence.

“He brought out cutlass the first and second time, then the third time, I picked up a knife to defend myself,” she said.

“I have never cheated on my husband. The man that called me was my JAMB mate. I called him after missing his call the night before. It was around 9 am that I spoke with him.

“I was not pregnant for any man. I was only having pain below my abdomen after an operation I had while giving birth to our child. My husband was just being suspicious for what is not real.

“About the oil, it was given to me by my mum which she got from a church. Everybody that used out of the oil never complained except him.”

She further pleaded with the court not dissolve their four-year-old marriage, adding that she still loves him despite her husband’s “lack of love.”

Akin Akinniyi, the court president, ruled that the couple should be referred to the dispute resolution section.

He said they both lacked understanding, adding that the court was not just a dissolution centre but a reconciliation home.

He adjourned the case till March 6.

NAHCON refunds N820m to Hajj 2017 pilgrims

National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has released over N820 million (N820,283,965) as refund to state Muslim pilgrims welfare boards and agencies for 2017 Hajj operations.

The refunds consist of about N181 million for pilgrims and officials of states that could not travel for the pilgrimage and N209 million refundable deposits from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj.

It also consists of refunds for catering services that were either not rendered or poorly rendered for which the commission did not pay the service providers. This was about N46.1 million.

Other refunds, according to Adamu Abdullahi, NAHCON spokesperson, in a statement Tuesday, consists of “sums for poorly rendered tent-C services, faulty cooling systems at Arafat for which the total sum of N278 million was demanded and collected by the commission from the organisation responsible,”

The refunds, he added, also comprise N1.5 million for states that did not receive Zam-zam water.

“The refund, which was done in two batches, witnessed eleven state pilgrims boards receiving a total of N401,291,658.41 in December 2017, while 13 pilgrims boards and agencies received N418,992,307.77 as the second batch in 2018 after reconciliations,” Mr. Abdullahi said.

NAHCON advised all concerned pilgrims to check with their respective state pilgrims boards and agencies for collection.

“The refund exercise will be monitored by NAHCON and appropriate security agencies nationwide. NAHCON also directs that any refunds not collected should be returned to the Commission,” the agency said.

NNPC fuel import gulps $5.8bn — but scarcity persists

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Tuesday said it has spent $5.8 billion to import 9.8 million metric tons of petrol since late last year to combat the fuel crisis.

Mainkati Baru, NNPC group managing director, said at the public hearing held by the senate committee on public accounts in Abuja that the corporation had to carry out the massive importation after private fuel marketing companies abandoned the trade because of the high landing cost of the fuel.

This, he said, made cost recovery and profitability difficult owing to the regulated price regime.

“This is in fulfilment of (NNPC’s) statutory role of supplier of last resort to ensure that Nigerians do not suffer as a result of product unavailability,” a statement from the corporation quoted Baru as saying.

The NNPC boss, however, pointed out that cross-border smuggling owing to price disparity between Nigeria and neighbouring countries where a litre of petrol sells above N350 per litre as well as logistic issues in trucking products to different locations across the country remained serious challenges in the quest for fuel queue-free situation in the country.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producing country with over 2 million barrels per day of output, imports more than 85% needs of its PMS needs because of inadequate local refining.

Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, said on Tuesday the government was working on plans to bring in private sector investment in the repair and management of the refineries and get them up to about 90% of capacity.

“That process is almost completed now, probably in a matter of weeks, we will be announcing the winners,” he said.

“We want to get the private sector to be major investors in building new refineries.”

JUST IN: Dana aircraft overshoots runway in Port Harcourt

A Dana aircraft with registration number 5N-SRI performing a flight from Lagos to Port Harcourt has overshot the runway and ended up in the bush in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Passengers on board the Dana aircraft are currently being evacuated from a nearby bush in Omagwa neighborhood where the Port Harcourt International airport is located in Rivers state.

Emergency officials state that no one was injured as at the time of filing this report.

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Police arrest mastermind of Benue killings

Following strict orders by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to his Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and other operational apparatus of the police, the mastermind of the Fulani herdsmen responsible for the recent attacks in Benue State, was arrested by the police.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations, DIG Joshak Habillah, who made this disclosure on behalf of the IGP said the mastermind was arrested after deploying the most advanced technology and trailing him for more than three weeks.

The suspect, who was identified as 40-year-old Alhaji Laggi, was arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) at the Tunga Forrest in Nasarawa State.

Asides Laggi, the police authorities said four other principal suspects were arrested between February 16 to 19 also in Tunga town, Nasarawa State, in possession of AK47 rifles and other prohibited arms.

The four suspects were arrested in connection to the killing of Sergeant Solomon Dung, other police officers and many innocent citizens in Benue State.

While Laggi was fingered as the mastermind, the other four were identified as Mallam Mumini Abdullahi, 34, Muhammed Adamu, 30 and Ibrahim Sule, 32.

During preliminary interrogations, the suspects confessed to the killings and mentioned their fleeing gang members who are in possession of the police rifles they took from the cops they murdered.

Already the police said serious follow up is in progress in Benue, Taraba and Benue States.

It would be recalled that the IGP had given the Marching orders on Sunday by deploying three additional Police Mobile Force units (PMF) following the recent killings of citizens in the Zurmi area of Zamfara State.

The additional deployment brought to 10 the PMF units dispatched to the state in the recent time to augment the personnel of the Zamfara State Police Command, to maintain law and order and sustain the normalcy that has been restored in Zurmi and other parts of the state.

The IGPhad also dispatched a high-powered joint investigation team headed by an assistant inspector general of police.

He also ordered the arrest of the perpetrators just as he placed commissioners of police, assistant general of police in the state contiguous to Zamfara State on red alert.

According to the IGP, the mandate of the joint police investigation was to arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of the killings, investigate the incident in totality with a view to unravelling the remote and direct causes of the unfortunate killings and prevent occurrence of such in the future.

They were also mandated to arrest and disarm all suspected bandits, militias and criminal groups in possession of prohibited firearms and restricted weapons in the region.

Court dismisses corruption charges against Nnamani, ex-Enugu gov

A federal high court sitting in Lagos has dismissed the corruption charges against Chimaroke Nnamani, a former governor of Enugu state.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused Nnamani of laundering N4.5 billion while in office between 1999 and 2007.

He was to be re-arraigned before the court on Tuesday after he was first arraigned in 2007.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Rickey Tarfa, Nnamani’s counsel, informed the court of an application he had filed disclosing the result of the plea agreement, which according to him, led to the institution and determination of the charges against the defendants in July 2015

The lawyer said in view of the plea bargain agreement entered into by parties, there is no longer any valid charge pending before the court as Chuka Obiozor, the judge could not seat on an appeal of the previous one.

The EFCC prosecutor, Kelvin Uzozie, said after looking at the affidavits filed by the defendant, he is of the view that the entire proceedings should be expunged to enable the prosecution file fresh charges against the defendant.

In his ruling, Obiozor held that “in view of the plea bargain judgement of this court delivered on the 7th of July, 2015, there is no valid charge before his court”.

 

Adamawa monarch advises Buhari to ignore ‘empty barrel’ elite opposed to his reelection

Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu  Barkindo has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to listen to some “empty barrel Nigerian elite” opposed to his re-election bid.

Speaking when he hosted the president at his palace on Tuesday, the monarch said Buhari has achieved a lot and should proceed to seek for a second term.

“I am calling you to remain focus, stand firm and don’t listen to the empty barrel Nigerian elite who are calling you not to contest 2019 presidential election,” he said.

“They are burying their heads in shame and telling people that Buhari’s led government has done nothing.”

Barkindo said the elite had forgotten that Buhari implemented the treasury single account which has helped save  trillions of naira.

He listed some of the visible achievements of Buhari to include security, economy and fight against corruption.

Barkindo appealed to the federal government to look into the Chochi water and rice irrigation project which he said had been abandoned for over 20 years.

The monarch appealed to the president to intervene and reconsider the upgrading of Moddibo Adama University of Technology, Yola into full pledge conventional university with schools of management, information technology, health, among others.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military President Ibrahim Babangida are among those who have asked Buhari to leave office at the end of his first term.

We won’t sell the refineries, Kachikwu insists

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu says the federal government will not sell its refineries.

Rather, the aim is to make Nigeria the refinery corridor for the rest of the continent, he said.

The minister was speaking on Tuesday on the short and medium term priorities directed towards growing the country’s oil and gas industry at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja.

According to him, a dearth in oil and gas infrastructure had affected the sector’s refining capacity which birthed an infrastructural map by government to address all the defects in crude pipeline and their leakages, depots and all related aspects.

He reaffirmed that rather than selling off Nigeria’s ailing refineries, the federal government will ramp up investments such that new refineries will be built across the country.

“The President (Muhammadu Buhari) has made it clear that he was not going to sell the refineries, because if we sell them, we are going to be selling them as scraps,” he said.

“So the model we came up with is to bring in private sector investment in the repair and management of the refineries and get them up to about 90% of capacity.”

“That process is almost completed now, probably in a matter of weeks, we will be announcing the winners.”

The minister continued: “We want to get the private sector to be major investors in building new refineries.

“There are two or three modular refineries that are ready to come up.

“Agip is working towards final investment decision (FID) on 100,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in  Bayelsa state, and of course there is the Niger Republic Refinery that we are discussing- also a 100,000 bpd potential.

“The objective is to make Nigeria a refinery corridor in Africa.”

On Monday, Kachikwu had said that  Nigeria targets to raise its domestic refining capacity from 14% to 90% between the next 18 to 20 months.

He said the vision is to have Nigeria refine most of its crude locally rather than exporting them.

Hukunyi: I’ve forgiven el-Rufai for demolishing my property

Suleiman Hukunyi, senator representing Kaduna north, says he has forgiven Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, for allegedly pulling down his property.

The property which housed a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was demolished in the early hours of Tuesday.

This happened less than two days after the faction led by the lawmaker suspended the governor.

The Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS) had said the exercise was in line with his agency’s mandate to “restore order” across the state.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Hukunyi said if the building had violated any code, it ought to have been brought to his attention.

The senator explained that he gave the property to the APC as part of his contribution to it.

“As my own brother, I wish to let him know that I have forgiven him as a person,” the senator said.

The lawmaker said pulling down his property would not shut him up as it was not wrong to have a disagreement with the governor.

“Your own party, no matter the dispute, what will the military be doing in a location like that, to me if the intention of pulling down that property is to shut me down, it has given me more reason, strong reason to maintain my posture, my belief, maintain my direction in standing strongly with the electorate and my people in my own state,” he said.

“As I am standing here today, the 20th of February 2018, let that be an incident for the growth of democracy in that state, let it serve rallying point for those who have been shortchanged, pained in any way in my state by the leadership of Nasir El-Rufai. This is not too much for a price to carry for democracy to thrive, a price to pay to express the opinion of my teeming supporters.

“Let me also use the opportunity to remind Nasir el-Rufai there is another property which I housed him, which he slept in some many times in the course of bringing some many people together to elect him as governor on Queen Elizabeth road in Zaria. In case he forgets and in case he still wants to take it, I rest my case.”

INEC lacks capacity for credible elections – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission does not have the capacity to conduct credible elections in the country.

Wike, who made this remark on Tuesday when the German Ambassador to Nigeria. Dr. Bernhard Shlagheck, visit him at the Government House in Port Harcourt, called on the International Community to closely monitor the nation’s electoral process.

The governor explained that it was imperative for the International Community to monitor the 2019 elections in order to stop INEC from manipulating the process.

“INEC does not have the capacity to hold free and fair elections. See what happened in Kano State. INEC says it wants to investigate the under-age voting that took place last week.

“Who gave the children the voter cards? We will not allow anyone to manipulate the electoral system of the country,” Wike said.

He pointed out that due to the failure of the All Progressives Congress, the party was planning to use INEC and security agencies to create crisis and manipulate the electoral system.

The governor said that the cry over the order of elections by the ruling APC revealed their intention to manipulate the process.

Speaking further, the governor urged the German Ambassador to ensure that the Federal Government was committed to the development of the Niger Delta.

Wike explained that despite the resources produced in the Niger Delta, the people have been denied access to infrastructural development.

Earlier, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Bernhard Shlagheck, lauded Wike for his investments in infrastructural development.

Shlagheck pointed out that he was in Rivers State as part of his familiarisation tour of the Niger Delta, adding that he began the tour with the state because of the importance of Rivers in the structure of the region.

The ambassador urged political stakeholders to work for the success of the 2019 general elections.

Trump is the worst president in US history —Politics experts

Donald Trump is the worst American president in history, a panel of political experts has decided.

The current incumbent of the White House came last in the survey of political scientists, while his predecessor, Barack Obama, was in eighth place.

Abraham Lincoln was in first place, followed by George Washington in second and Franklin D Roosevelt in third.

The survey was based on the views of 170 members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents and Executive Politics section, and was published in the New York Times.

Mr. Trump has taken the place of James Buchanan – who was in charge when the US plunged into civil war – at the bottom of the list, which was last published in 2014.

Mr. Obama moved from 18th to 8th in the past four years, while Bill Clinton slumped from 5th to 13th. Andrew Jackson fell from 9th place to 15th.

“Trump’s initial rating places him in an ignominious category, but dozens of presidents have had slow starts and have course corrected to improve their public esteem,” the study said.

“Beyond his reputation or ranking, Donald Trump’s very presidency may alter perceptions of presidential legacies as his unique approach to the office continues to surprise.”

Furore in Anglican church over appointment of new Lagos bishop

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) on Tuesday denied media reports alleging that some bishops were financially induced to elect the Bishop of Osun North East, Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye.

He is to take over from retiring Most Rev. Adebola Ademowo as the Bishop of Lagos.

The clarification was contained in a statement made available to journalists by the church’s Episcopal Secretary, Rt. Rev David Onuoha.

Onuoha explained that an election was held on February 6 based on the constitution of the church after the concerned diocese had preferred the transition of a bishop from another diocese to the consecration of a new bishop.

He said after due nominations, the election was held between Olumakaiye and Most Rev. Michael Fape.

Onuoha said the voting was by secret ballot and  bishop Olumakaiye polled 109 against Fape’s 51 to emerge the winner.

He said it was therefore uncharitable to attempt to smear the image of the church’s Primate, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, instead of thanking God for the numerous blessings He has granted the church since the inception of Okoh’s administration.

The statement read, “The attention of the Episcopal Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has been drawn to publications in the social media about the February 6 election of a successor to the incumbent Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos, who retires in August 2018.

“These publications are obviously not intended to do any good to the church. They are in the least intended to misinform and mislead the unsuspecting public.

“This particular election was held alongside four others at the Cathedral Church of St. Barnabas, Ilorin in the Diocese of Kwara, Kwara State in accordance with the church’s laid down rules and regulations. The event was free and fair.

“A total of 161 bishops participated and pursuant to the provisions of Canon V of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria 1997 (as Amended), candidates were nominated after the advice from the diocese, which favoured translation, had been circulated and read. The procedure before every election in the House of Bishops is to appoint a team of returning officers to collate the results.

“This was strictly followed with the Rt. Rev Sosthenes Eze, bishop of Enugu North diocese, leading eight other bishops to perform this sacred duty.

Only two candidates, Most Rev. Michael Fape and Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye were duly nominated and seconded by highly respected members of the house without any objection raised against any of them.

“After the voting which was by secret ballot, the result was declared as follows: Most Rev. Michael Fape -51; Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye – 109; Absention – 1.

“By this result Rt. Rev Humphrey Olumakaiye, Bishop of Osun North East became duly elected for translation to the See of Lagos.

“The Primate as the President of the Episcopal Synod statutorily calls for nominations, and after the voting and counting of votes by those responsible, announces the results as submitted by the chief returning officer. Votes are cast, counted and results declared in the full glare of the general house.

“It is, therefore, uncharitable to attempt to smear the image of our beloved Primate, Most Rev. Nicholas D Okoh, instead of thanking God for the numerous blessings He has graciously granted His church since the inception of this administration.”

Fake policeman arrested while collecting N15,000 bribe

The Police on Tuesday arraigned a 34-year-old man, Prince Williams, in a Wuse Zone 2 Magistrates’ Court,  Abuja, for allegedly impersonating as a  police officer.

The defendant of 222 Road, House 555, 2nd Avenue,  Gwarinpa, Abuja, is facing a two- count of impersonation and extortion.

The prosecutor, Mr. Kufreabasi Ebong, told the court that the accused committed the offenses on February 11 at 10 a.m.

Ebong said that the accused disguised as a police officer and collected a valid driver’s license and N15,000 from an unsuspecting victim.

The offences contravened Sections 132 and 292 of the Penal Code.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges

The Magistrate, Mr. Taribo Jim, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N50, 000 with one surety in like sum, and adjourned the case until March 21 for hearing.

37% of privatised Nigerian firms are failing – BPE

About two in five companies privatised by the Bureau for Public Enterprises since inception are not performing, the agency has stated.

The agency said it has privatised 142 enterprises since inception in 2004 with 37 per cent of them (52) not performing.

The Director General of the privatisation agency, Alex Okoh, made these known while receiving members of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation, led by its chairman, Ahmed Yerima, who were on an oversight visit to the Bureau in Abuja last Thursday.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the agency said Mr. Okoh disclosed that out of the 142 enterprises, 94 have been monitored while the rest have not been monitored because “some were either assets sale or in the first phase of privatisation and as such did not fall within the BPE’s monitoring purview”.

He said out of the privatised enterprises, 63 per cent of them are doing well while the remaining 37 per cent are not performing.

The Director General attributed the poor performances of the non-performing enterprises to the operating business environment in the country in which many private or privatised public enterprises have either closed down or relocated to neighbouring countries.

Out of the 142 privatised enterprises, the Director General said, 63 were through core investor sale, nine through guided liquidation, one through sale to existing shareholders, five through public offer and two, through liquidation. He added that eight were privatised through private placement, 41 through concession, two through debt/equity swap and 11 through sale of assets.

Breaking down the enterprises by sectors, the director general said five were in agricultural mechanization, eight in automobiles, seven in banking and insurance, six in brick making and six in the cement sector.

The others he listed are: 10 in energy construction and services, 12 in hotels and tourism, eight in oil and gas, four in paper and packaging, 19 in solid minerals and mining, seven in steel and aluminium, four in the sugar sector, 26 in marine transport sector, 19 in power and one in telecoms.

The BPE boss informed the lawmakers that the Bureau has commenced a thorough review of the non-performing enterprises to ascertain the issues affecting their non- performance.

He listed the new initiatives embarked upon by the Bureau to include; the Afam Power & Yola Distribution Company privatisation, concessioning of the Terminal B of the Warri old Port, restructuring and commercialization of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), partial commercialisation of NIPOST, restructuring and commercialisation of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs), reform and commercialisation of three of the nation’s national parks and other initiatives in the power sector.

Earlier, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation, Mr. Yerima, said that the committee was at the bureau to have accurate information on its activities and to ascertain its compliance with the provisions of the 2017 Appropriation Act in line with the resolution of the House that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) complied with the Act.

Mr. Yerima assured that the committee would use its legislative powers to ensure that BPE’s mandate is not usurped by MDAs, adding that any attempt in that direction was an infraction on the constitution of the country.

Admit you have failed — Okogie hits Buhari

Former archbishop of the Catholic Church in Lagos, Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie has asked the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to “admit that it has failed”.

The vocal cleric made this statement six weeks after he advised Buhari to “respect himself and retire”.

Lamenting the high rate of insecurity and the level of unemployment, the fiery priest said the president should dedicate efforts towards finding a lasting solution rather than focusing on his re-election.

Okogie also wondered why Buhari was more interested in resolving the crisis within the All Progressives Congress (APC) and not the problems being faced by Nigerians.

“The truth is: Nigerians are not happy; Nigerians are hungry and angry. They are not happy because their lives and their belongings are not safe.  They work so hard while the value of the money they earn cannot make them enjoy basic things of life,” he said in a statement.

“Nigerians are unhappy because the economy has been so mismanaged that some cannot pay the school fees of their children. Nigerians are unhappy because they have not got jobs. Nigerians are unhappy because, instead of hope, they are offered propaganda and insults by the president’s men. Nigerians are angry because their loved ones are butchered by herdsmen while the response of government is woeful.

“The issue at hand is more serious than getting re-elected.  It cannot be resolved by way of a facile intra-party reconciliation.  Before it can succeed, this government must admit it has failed.  Before it can retrace its steps, this government must admit that it has strayed from the path of keeping the promises it made, promises that made Nigerians to vote as they did in 2015.

“Apart from seeking intra-party reconciliation, this government must first reconcile with Nigerians by treating them with respect.”

He added that the criticisms of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida must not be dismissed.

The elder statesmen had asked Buhari to forget about the 2019 election.

Going historical, Okogie said the late football commentator, Ernest Okonkwo, was fond of using an Igbo proverb while giving a minute-by-minute description of football matches on the radio.

“Anytime there was an infringement that escaped the attention of the referee, he would ask his colleagues, Sebastian Ofurum or Tolu Fatoyinbo, if they too saw the infringement.  If they confirmed what he saw, he would say in Igbo, ‘What two persons have seen and confirmed to be a boa must not be mistaken for a piece of diamond,’” Okogie said.

“One may apply that maxim to the situation in our country right now. There is anger in the land.  Many voices are echoing it. These voices of anger are so deafening that it can no longer be denied.  The level of discontent in Nigeria at this point in time is like the proverbial boa sighted by even more than two persons.  It would be unwise to mistake it for a piece of diamond.

“It has been sighted by retired Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, who have spoken of the anger in the land in clear and unmistaken terms.  It has been sighted by traditional rulers, who have called the attention of government to it.  It has been sighted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria when the bishops went to the corridors of power to speak to power in the way Biblical prophets directly confronted kings in Israel.

“This can no longer be treated as the cry of wailers. Even leading members of the party ruling at the centre have demonstrated commendable candour by openly acknowledging that the hopes of 2015 have been shattered by the disappointment of 2019.”

Quoting the late Raggae legend, Bob Marley, as saying ‘your worst enemy could be your best friend, and your best friend your worst enemy,’ Okogie said, “But presidential aides in our country do not seem to grasp the wisdom in those words.”

“By their own reckoning, anyone who raises doubts as to the rightness of government policies, actions and statements is an enemy of government.  He or she is ridiculed as speaking because there is no more access to ill-gotten wealth,” he said.

“A police officer, appointed to his office, demonstrated unspeakable insolence on television, calling an elected state governor a ‘drowning man.’  In other climes, he would lose his job. In Nigeria, he keeps it.”

He did not also spare Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, who taunted the Catholic bishops who visited Buhari recently.

The bishops had told the president that some Nigerians were not happy with him and that his goodwill was being depleted by “glaring failures”.

Responding to their statement a few days later, Bello jocularly said the unhappy ones are those who could no longer steal money which they use to pay tithe.

But Okogie lambasted the governor, saying he is known for being “notorious”.

“The bishops did the same thing a few days ago, calling the attention of the president to the anger and disappointment in the land. At the end of their friendly exchange with the president, some of his aides and friends resorted to name calling and gratuitous accusations,” he said.

“Anyone who has a faint idea of how the Catholic Church is run would know that the Catholic Church does not run on tithes. It has never taught that God’s blessings depend on tithes. No Catholic bishop in this country has a private jet.  Not even the Pope has one.

“But an uninformed state governor, notorious for being insolent, described the bishop’s intervention as the wailing of religious leaders who no longer have access to tithes because of this government’s anti-corruption fight.

“True friends tell each other the truth.  There cannot be sincere friendship where there is no truth.  Those who are telling our president the truth are his true friends.  Those who are shielding him from the truth, while insulting those who tell him the truth, are his real enemies.

“By insulting well-meaning Nigerians who happen to disagree with policies of government, they are not winning friends for the president.  They are in fact helping to grow the rank and file of the angry.  Whoever loves this President would want him to succeed.  Whoever wants him to succeed must tell him the truth.  For if he fails, Nigeria fails.”

We demolished factional APC head office to restore order, says Kaduna

The Kaduna state government has explained its reason for demolishing a building at 11B, Sambo close, on Tuesday morning.

A faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) used the building as its head office.

Suleiman Hunkuyi, senator representing Kaduna north-central, who is the leader of the group, had accused Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of being responsible for the destruction.

But in a statement on Tuesday, Ibrahim Husseini, director-general of the Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS), said the exercise was in line with his agency’s mandate to “restore order across Kaduna”.

Huseini said the building was removed for “flagrant violations of land use act”, adding that a revocation notice had earlier been issued.

“The Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KAPSUDA) is currently undertaking operations across Kaduna metropolis in compliance with its mandate. In partnership with sister agencies, KASUPDA is clearing illegal structures, tackling street hawking and restoring order across Kaduna,” he said.

“This morning a building on 11B Sambo close was removed for flagrant violations of land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010. This illegal violation of use had begun to distress neighbours who were being forced to endure an influx of thugs and blockage of the road.

“The Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS) issued a revocation notice of statutory right of occupancy No. KD. 16712, that covers 11b Sambo Close in the Ungwan Rimi area. The appropriate notice of revocation was delivered at 28 Inuwa Wada Road, the registered address of the company that held the title to the property.

“The notice was also delivered to the building in question, and sent by post to the registered address of the previous title holder. The land has now been allocated to KASUPDA for the purpose of developing and maintaining a public park that will provide a green aland-relatedrene place for recreation in that residential neighbourhood.”

Hussieni warned landowners to comply with the terms of their allocation, saying the agency would not hesitate to act if the need arises.

“KADGIS wishes to remind all title owners to be fastidious in complying with the terms of their allocation. The purpose of allocation of land cannot be wilfully altered; neither can title holders lawfully neglect to pay their ground rents,” he said.

“Since 2016, the government has been taking action on various land related matters, including revoking all undeveloped land titles in the state and directed that all abandoned buildings be developed within three months of the notice.

“The Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS), as the government agency charged with ultimate responsibility on land matters in Kaduna state, calls for the utmost cooperation by the public with all our agencies.”

Football is more than a religion in Nigeria – FIFA President

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has described Nigeria as a country with unquantifiable passion and love for football, and where football is more than a religion.

“I was told that in Nigeria football is passion, but it is a lie because it is more than that. In Nigeria I was told that football is love, but it is a lie it is more than that.

“In Nigeria, I was told that football is a religion, but it is a lie. It is more than that. In Nigeria, football is life,” he said in Lagos on Monday.

Infantino spoke at the maiden edition of the AITEO-NFF Awards, which was organised by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and bankrolled by oil giants AITEO Group.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event held at the Eko Hotels and Suites saw Chelsea FC winger Victor Moses winning the “Player of the Year” award.

Speaking also at the event, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, pledged his administration’s continued support to football and sports in general.

“We will continue to give our unrelenting support to football and sports in general, I want to assure the President of FIFA that whenever he is coming back, Lagos will be considered to host a FIFA tournament,’’ he said.

In his address, the Deputy Managing Director of AITEO Group, Francis Peters, said the oil conglomerate was happy to be part of football history in Nigeria in good times.

NFF president Amaju Pinnick, on his part, said the awards night was to celebrate Nigerian legends for their contributions to the development of football in the country.

He also said football administration was a journey and not a destination, adding “therefore, there must be a conscious effort to minimise errors for fear of losing the opportunity.

“In Nigeria, football is a way of life and everybody is a coach. So, we need to be very careful. Football teaches us ethics and how to live a normal life,” Pinnick said.

NAN reports that Moses got the award and recognition for his stellar performances for the national team, the Super Eagles, en route their qualification for Russia 2018.

He was an integral part of the side during the historic qualification matches where he played in four of the six matches scoring three goals in the process.

Moses also helped his Chelsea side reclaim the English Premier League title in the 2016/2017 season where he featured in 40 games.

The 27-year old also got CAF’s recognition by being among the nominees for CAF’s Player of the Year award eventually won by Egypt’s Mohamed Salah.

To win the AITEO-NFF award, he beat competition from Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Lobi Stars’ Anthony Okpotu.

NAN reports that other winners at the awards include Rasheedat Ajibade who claimed the “Player of the Year (Women)’’ award and Ikouwon Udoh who emerged “Young Player of the Year (Women)’’.

Ann Chiejine won the “Coach of the Year (Women)’’ award, while MFM FC’s midfielder Sikiru Olatunbosun took the “Goal of the Year’’ award.

Remo Stars FC won the Fair Play award, while the “Coach of the Year (Men)’’ award went to Kennedy Boboye, coach of 2017/2018 NPFL champions Plateau United FC of Jos.

Channels Television won the “Developmental Award”.

The “All-Time Legendary Awards” went to Chiejine, Christian Chukwu, Uche Okechukwu, Austin Eguavoen, Felix Owolabi, Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Segun Odegbami, Adokie Amaesimaka, Mercy Udoh and Thompson Usiyen.

The Platinum Award went to Infantino.

(NAN)

Horror as Abuja-Frankfurt flight drops 5,000 feet

Passengers on a Frankfurt-bound flight on Sunday were thrown into despair when the airplane suddenly came down midair from 35,000 feet to 5,000 feet.

It was gathered that the LH595 flight, operated by Lufthansa airline, left Nigeria’s capital Abuja for Frankfurt, Germany, at about 11.15 pm.

According to a report by Premium Times, trouble started shortly after takeoff when the plane suddenly descended as though it was about to crash, throwing the entire passengers into despair.

A passenger who craved anonymity said the aircraft crew, however, declined to make a stop at a nearby airport in spite of pleas from passengers.

The passenger explained that when the incident occurred about a few minutes past one hour into the flight, many passengers fell down, others were injured and many had some of their valuables fall from where they had them placed.

The passenger recounted that due to the fear, they could not be served food and drinks neither could the crew members attend to other welfare concerns.

The airline, he said, claimed the incident was due to a combination of bad weather and faulty engine, adding that it was not caused by human error.

Upon arrival in Germany, there were ambulances and fire fighters waiting to attend to the aircraft and its passengers who, according to our source, had become “almost dead”.

Efforts to speak to the management of the airline proved abortive Tuesday morning.

Several calls placed to the communication desk were left unattended to while no reply was supposed to an email sent to the airline.