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Senators, Reps buy SUVs, properties at giveaway prices

Corruption allegations have continued to dominate the National Assembly (NASS) as another allegation of selling items at scandalously give-away prices to outgoing lawmakers has surfaced.

A report by New Telegraph has revealed that sales of most of the property of the NASS used by members of the 8th Assembly were sold with the connivance of the leadership and administration workers.

Some of the items sold to the lawmakers at very ridiculous amounts included Toyota Land Cruiser, office computers, photocopiers and refrigerators, among others.

It was learnt that the management gave out the Toyota Land Cruiser, a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), which was purchased between N24 million and N26 million each, to the senators and reps of the last Assembly for a paltry sum of N1 million.

It was also learnt that the NASS management collected the sum of N360,000 only from the lawmakers for two television sets, photocopier, desktop computers and a big refrigerator put together.

This happened at the tail end of the last Assembly when the management was taking stock of what they supplied to the lawmakers for their use in the dispensation spanning June 9, 2015 to June 11, 2019, in order to supply members of the current Assembly with basic working facilities.

All the items, which were given out almost free to the legislators of the last Assembly, would be purchased afresh and supplied to members of the Ninth Assembly, which was inaugurated on Tuesday, June 11.

A National Assembly source quoted in the report said the Toyota SUV, which was given out for N1 million only, was purchased at the contract sum of between N24 million and N26 million when it was supplied to the lawmakers in 2015.

The source also hinted that the contract price of each television set at the National Assembly was N2 million when the item was supplied to senators and members of the House of Representatives in the last Assembly.

This means that the cost of the two television sets mounted in each office of the lawmakers (one set in the politician’s office and one in the visitors’ waiting room) cost N4 million.

The National Assembly Management however, asked the lawmakers to pay N360,000 for both the television sets, musical system and other electronic gadgets installed in their offices.

It was learnt that the management wanted to sell the whole items for N540,000, but the lawmakers negotiated the price down and insisted that they would only pay N360,000.

A source said: “This practice of selling properties used by previous Assembly at give-away prices did not start today; that is how they used to do it, but the only difference is that the amounts collected from members of the 8th Assembly on those items appear to be the lowest and it is not helping our economy at all.

“Come to think of it, a Prado Jeep (SUV), which was supplied by contractors at the rate of between N24 million and N26 million was given out at N1 million only. It’s almost like dashing them the car.

“The most painful thing when you look at the matter very critically, is that the management is going to supply brand new vehicles to the lawmakers in the present Assembly and it’s going to be very expensive. Where will they get the money to do that, is it not from public fund?

“They should have collected more money from those outgone legislators and then make up the money to buy for those in the present Assembly. This is why the National Assembly budget will continue to go up because there is no prudent management.

“Again, look at the issue of the office equipment such as television sets, sound system, photocopier, computer sets and other facilities in their office, the management of the National Assembly gave it out at a paltry sum of N360,000. It was actually like giving those items out for free.”

Abductors demand N20m ransom for Kaduna pastor

The abductors of the pastor in charge of Nagarta Baptist Church Ungwan Makiri, close to Udawa in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, have demanded a ransom of N20 million.

He was abducted on Wednesday.

The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State confirmed the abduction of the pastor, whose name was given as Pastor Elisha Numan.

The Kaduna CAN’s Chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab, made this known in a statement in Kaduna, the state capital.

Our correspondent learnt that the gunmen numbering over 20 invaded the residence of the pastor around 2am on Wednesday, and forcefully made away with the senior pastor of the Nagarta Baptist Church, Ungwan Makere, near Udawa in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

His son, Emmanuel Elisha, who was taken away along with his father (pastor), was later released by the abductors to be used as negotiating contact.

It was learnt that the kidnappers threatened the son before releasing him to go and raise the money within five days or risk the father being killed.

It was also gathered that the heavily armed men wore military camouflage and forced their ways into the pastor’s house.

According to the CAN chairman, the association is yet to hear from him as of the time of filing this report.

Hayab said, “One of our pastors has been kidnapped early this morning. Pastor Elisha S. Numan of Nagarta Baptist Church Ungwan Makere near Udawa. Udawa is in Chikun Local Government of Kaduna State. We are yet to hear from him.

“They took him and his son at 2:00 a.m. this Wednesday morning from their home but later released the son.”

However, the kidnappers later made contact with the family and are demanding N20m ransom before the pastor could gain his freedom.

Emmanuel, while narrating his ordeal at the hands of his abductors, also said they carted away some valuables from their house.

He said, “About 20 armed men came to the village and started hitting and banging at doors but nobody opened.

“They forced their way into houses and vandalised properties and carted away some valuables, including mobile phones and clothing in my mother’s box(luggage).

“They(kidnappers) later picked me together with my father. But after we have moved a while in the bush, I was released and they went away with my father.

“One of them was dressed in military camouflage. As they released me, they threatened that if we didn’t bring money(ransom) in five days even though they didn’t mention the specific ransom, they will kill him(pastor).

“They later called us and asked us to raise N20m ransom so they could release him. We don’t have that kind of money but we are still negotiating with them.

“We are yet to report to the police because even when we had similar experience in the past and contacted them, they did not do anything about it.”

This was coming less than two weeks after the abduction of Pastor Jeremiah Omolewa of the Living Faith Church, Ungwan Romi also in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Omolewa was killed by his abductors and the wife kidnapped while the son escaped.

The kidnappers demanded a N50m ransom before they could release the pastor’s wife. She, however, regained her freedom after the payment of N3m ransom, according to a source.

As of the time of filing this report, the Kaduna State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Yakubu Sabo, did not respond to calls and messages sent to him.

Isheri killing: Police counter army, say soldiers stabbed patient in doctor’s presence

The Ogun State Police Command has said soldiers from the 81 division were involved in the killing of some residents of Isheri Olofin, a boundary community between Lagos and Ogun States.

The police spokesperson, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said statements from eyewitnesses revealed that the soldiers dragged a resident from the hospital where he was being treated and stabbed him to death with a bayonet.

Our correspondent had earlier reported that during the celebration of the Isheri Day Festival on Monday, a disagreement broke out among some residents.

In the ensuing fracas, some soldiers were reported to have shot dead three people at the party.

A statement by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Major Clement Abiade, had denied military involvement in the killing, saying instead a soldier was injured.

But the Ogun State Police Command in its statement by Oyeyemi said at least four soldiers were involved in the killings.

Read also: El-Zakzaky being treated like a criminal in India, IMN alleges

He said, “The Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, has ordered a full-scale investigation into the “Isheri Day” shooting incident in Ogun State on August 13, 2019, by suspected soldiers believed to be from Ikeja Cantonment, with a view to bringing the suspects to justice.

“Credible Information at the disposal of the command has it that on the said date, four men of the Nigerian Army believed to be from Ikeja Cantonment and posted to Kara Market, left their beats and went to Isheri Olofin, a border town between Lagos and Ogun State where the indigenes of the town were celebrating their annual “Isheri Day”.

“The soldiers, on getting there, had a minor disagreement with some youths which made the soldiers start shooting sporadically into the air.

“Consequently, one Damilare Adelani was hit by bullets and he died on the spot. The ugly incident infuriated the people at the scene who in turn reacted violently against the soldiers leaving one of the soldiers and three other civilians injured.

“The soldiers quickly took their injured colleague to a hospital where they met one of the injured civilians being attended to by a medical doctor on duty.

“The statement from the officials of the hospital reveals that the soldiers ordered the doctor at gunpoint to leave the injured man and attend to their colleague.

“They then dragged the patient out of the bed and subsequently stabbed him to death with a Bayonet attached to the muzzle of his rifle.”

Oyeyemi said the command had contacted the military authorities in Ogun State and efforts were on to bring the suspected killer(s) to book.

You are completely out of touch — Ezekwesili hits Buhari over directive to CBN

Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as a “completely out-of-touch leader” over his directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for food importation.

In a statement issued on Tuesday by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, the president said he had asked the CBN to stop issuing foreign exchange for food importation so as to stimulate the growth of agriculture and to ensure food security.

Some Nigerians have criticised the president’s directive. Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of CBN, said such an economic policy should not be imposed on the CBN by a political authority, and that the bank has lost its independence.

“Nigeria’s entire economy appears to have been sub-contracted to our central bank, including industrial and trade policy. In the process the economy has fared poorly and the Bank has lost its independence. This is sad,” he said.

Ezekwesili also lashed out on the president on Twitter, saying he is living in a bubble.

”A completely out-of-touch ‘leader’. He is cocooned away in the grandeur of@AsoRock where they serve him delicatessen and praise-sing to him: ‘ranka dede sir’, your agriculture policy is working wonderfully. All farmers in Nigeria are now billionaires & exporting to the US,” she said.

The CBN said it will proceed with the president’s directive and that the implementation of the forex ban on food import would be in phases.


We all know that @NGRPresident@MBuhari has absolute contempt for Data but we shall go ahead and put out here some of the Knowledge he should have had before making this latest blunder of ‘Directing’ what should be an independent @cenbank to “not give a cent for food import”.

— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) August 14, 2019

Oby Ezekwesili


I will share the latest information on Nigeria from FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which provides information and analysis on food insecurity around the world.
That our @NGRPresident thinks we have achieved Food Security says a lot about his Policy-Making.

Oby Ezekwesili


FEWS Net is Famine Early Warning Systems Network. It “uses an integrated approach that considers climate, agriculture production, prices, trade, nutrition, and other factors, together with an understanding of local livelihoods.”

Knowledge that helps Evidence-Based Policies.

32 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


In the next few tweets, I’ll share highlights of FEWS Net June 2018 to January 2019 Report on Food Insecurity in Nigeria for many reasons that any reasonable person will easily understand.

27 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


“Humanitarian actors have provided sustained food assistance delivery in 2018, reaching 2.5 million people in April 2018 across the 3 northeast states. In May, food assistance deliveries reached 15 percent fewer households, meeting targets closer to what was seen in March 2017”

Oby Ezekwesili


“With the continuing military offensive, new arrivals continue to be identified in the northeast. As of May, IOM identified 1.8 million people displaced by conflict in northeast Nigeria. Between late Nov2017 &April 2018 an estimated 100,000 new arrivals across Borno & Adamawa…”

27 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


“Outside northeast, the main agric season is progressing favorably in much of the rest of the country, &harvests are expected to be average to above-average. Most households will have seasonally typical access to food,income& remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity”

Oby Ezekwesili


“Various stages of cultivation activities continue throughout the country. In south &some central areas, they have begun harvesting early green maize&tubers. In other areas of central Nigeria, planting, weeding, &fertilizer application for maize, sorghum &legumes is underway.”

24 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


“Planting of staples such as millet, sorghum, and maize, as well as groundnut, cowpea, and sesame cash crops, is progressing in most northern areas. Government support through the Anchor Borrowers’ Program continues to contribute to farmers’ access to improved inputs.”

Oby Ezekwesili


“However, areas worst-affected by farmer/pastoralist conflict are facing greater difficulty accessing basic needs and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).”

17 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


”In displaced settlement areas and larger cities, affected populations have restricted access to land for cultivation. Additionally, ongoing insecurity is again in 2018 keeping many from engaging or participating fully in cultivation.”

Oby Ezekwesili


“Heavy conflict between pastoral and farming communities in central and northern areas of the country also continue. These conflicts have left hundreds dead and lead to the destruction of property.”

21 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


”These conflicts are also leading to the displacement of households and keeping many from their livelihoods. Both cultivation activities and pastoralists’ herd movements are affected.”

Oby Ezekwesili


“Main agricultural season: The agricultural season is expected to progress normally. The main season harvests will start normally in September/October across the country. Harvests are expected to be average to above average in most areas.”

17 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


”As with most years, it is also likely that there will be some crop loss due to excessive flooding along major floodplains.”

Oby Ezekwesili


I have put out highlights of FEWS Net Report on Nigeria up to January 2019.
As obvious from the Report, there are positives on Agriculture which for example include improved farmers’ access to input from the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
But, nothing of Food Security yet exists.

19 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili


What is Food Security, @NGRPresident ?
I will offer the universal meaning provided by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security because that should help a Policy Maker know easily whether such is the case in Nigeria before taking a major Policy stance in Agriculture.

Oby Ezekwesili


Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social&economic access to sufficient, safe, & nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

Buhari approves bill to change Nigerian Prison Service to ‘Nigerian Correctional Service’

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law, a bill changing the name of the Nigerian Prison Service to Nigerian Correctional Service.

Ita Enang, senior special assistant to the president on national assembly matters (senate), disclosed this in a statement.

Enang said according to the law, correctional service has two main faculties: custodial service and non-custodial service.

He said among the functions of the custodial service are: custody and take control of persons legally interned in safe, secure and humane conditions; conveying remand persons to and from courts in motorised formations; identifying the existence and causes of anti-social behaviours of inmates; conducting risk and needs assessment aimed at developing appropriate correctional treatment methods for reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration; implementing reformation and rehabilitation programmes to enhance the reintegration of inmates back into the society.

Others are empowering inmates through the deployment of educational and vocational skills training programmes, and facilitating incentives and income generation through custodial centres, farms and industries; administering borstal and related institutions; and providing support to facilitate the speedy disposal of cases of persons awaiting trial.

In a statement, Enang said: “The non-custodial faculty of the correctional service is responsible for the administration of non-custodial measures, namely: community Service, probation, parole, restorative justice measures and such other measures as a court of competent jurisdiction may order. Restorative Justice measure approved in the Act include victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, community mediation and other conciliatory measures as may be deemed necessary pre-trial, trial during imprisonment or even post- imprisonment stages.”

He said the president has also approved changing the name of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue state, to Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi.


‘The situation in India worse than Nigeria’ — El-Zakzaky raises the alarm

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), says the situation in India is worse than he experienced in Nigeria.

In an audio message released on Wednesday, El-Zakzaky described the situation as “worse than a prison setting”.

The IMN leader and his wife left Nigeria for the Asian country on Monday based on a leave granted by a Kaduna high court.

In the audio, El-Zakzaky lamented the security situation in the hospital, describing it as “pathetic and worrisome”.

“The hospital officials received us well they told us that they parked two ambulance vehicles, deceiving the crowd while taking us out through another way, saying that it was for our own safety,” he said.

“On getting to the hospital, we were placed under a tighter security situation worse than what we have been witnessed in Nigeria. We are currently more confined than when we were in Nigeria, worse than a prison setting.
Back home in Nigeria, they agreed that nobody should take us to any other hospital aside the hospital of our choice but we got to realize that the doctors they brought to us were there just to give advice.

“All what we have seen here, have shown us that there is no trust, they just brought us here for another detention. I have been in detention for about thirteen years but I’ve never seen this kind of security that I’m seeing here, even at the door of my hospital room, there are many security personnel waiting, heavily armed.

“They didn’t even allow me to go to the next room, I started asking myself, all these while I’ve been in detention, I’ve never seen this type. Even if I’m in the cell, they usually lock us up around 9pm and open the cell around 7am and they allow us to go anywhere we want in the area we are.”

Abdullahi Musa, secretary of academic forum of IMN, confirmed the authenticity of the audio .

Musa added that El-Zakzaky might return to Nigeria over a change in the medical arrangement with doctors in India.

“The audio is true. The federal government has connived with the Indian government to scuttle the treatment. They brought a new set of doctors instead of the ones the Sheikh (El-Zakzaky) made prior arrangements with,” he said.

“So, the Sheikh smelled a rat and refused to submit himself to the doctors to treat him. He asked them why they prevented him from seeing the doctors he had earlier made arrangements with? So he said he will not allow them to treat him.”

Musa said the group is making efforts to sort out the problem.

The group had earlier accused the federal government of frustrating the medical treatment of El-Zakzaky in India.

Nigeria restates commitment to.oil production quotas

Nigeria has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to production adjustments agreed upon under the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) between member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Non-OPEC Countries at the last Ministerial Meeting of what is known as OPEC Plus, held on July 2, 2019, Vienna, Austria.

Nigeria’s Representatives on the OPEC Economic Commission Board and Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, made this known in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the statement signed by the OPEC Representative, Nigeria is totally committed to full compliance with the agreement reached by the parties to the DoC.

“Right now we are not only committed to the agreement but we have elevated our attitude towards it to the point of complete devotion to the adjustments and we urge other parties to follow suit,” the OPEC Rep stated.

Kyari expressed strong optimism that the momentary and artificially induced bearish trends would naturally correct itself based on the strong market fundamentals which have remained steadfast despite the price slid.

He pointed out that with a visible steady decline in commercial stock overhang propelled by healthy demand, it is only logical for all advocates of oil price stability like the OPEC Plus allies to comply strictly with the agreed production adjustments.

He concluded that with the increasing volatility of the oil market, it has become commonsensical for Nigeria and all other parties to the agreement to entrench an attitude of unwavering devotion to the deal anchored on full and timely conformity to their obligations.

Shell wins Best Exhibitor Award, others at 2019 SPE conference  

Shell Companies in Nigeria have won the most coveted Best Exhibitor and eight other awards at the 2019 Nigeria annual international conference and exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) held in Lagos on August 5 -7,.

This comes barely a month after winning the Excellence Award, the highest industry recognition at the Nigeria Oil and Gas annual conference in Abuja on July 5. Shell had also won the Best Exhibitor award in the 2016 and 2018 editions of the SPE conference including other industry individual leadership trophies won by staff of the companies.

Shell exhibition combined illustrative and educative posters with learning sessions for young and student engineers and free medical services for conference participants where hundreds of persons received medical checks and drugs.

The SPE International President, Sami Alnuaim and the outgoing Chairman of the Nigeria Council of SPE, Debo Fagbami who made a joint presentation of the award described Shell as a leading light in the oil and gas industry providing direction and support particularly to indigenous companies in the industry.

Country Chair of SCiN and Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Osagie Okunbor and the Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Bayo Ojulari received the award on behalf of Shell companies.

Okunbor described the award as a reward for consistent excellence and diligence displayed by the hardworking staff of Shell in Nigeria adding that Shell companies would continue to invest in industry growth, new technologies and professional development and affiliation of its workforce.

“We recognise that being an industry leader puts on us enormous responsibility and we have continued to rethink and reshape our strategies in a manner that brings optimal value to Nigeria, our partners and the local service industry”, he said.

According Okunbor, Shell companies are up-to-date on the conference theme of ‘Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Mobile Technology: Changing the Future of the Energy Industry.

“We are leaders in deploying artificial intelligence and are using it in areas ranging from seismic analysis to drilling and predictive maintenance because we know that digitalisation has a big role in delivering all of Shell’s strategic goals”, he added.

A Shell Nigeria team of engineers led by Ogochukwu Benheogor won the Best Technical Paper award at the conference while Elisha Ezekiel-Hart won the technical award for projects, facilities and construction.

Other winners were Okenufowo Ojonah (Formation Evaluation) and Erasmus John Nnanna (Regional Production and operations). Stella Egwim Ogbodu won the Regional Director’s Recognition Award while Oghogho Effiom received the Award for Regional Service.

Earlier in the year, Shell companies in Nigeria emerged the international oil company with the most impactful local content initiatives in the upstream category at the 2019 edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair organised by the country’s local content regulator, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board.

The companies were also named the Local Content Operator of the Year at the 2019 Annual Oil Industry Achievement Awards by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN).

We enjoy power supply only when you are around, Daura leaders tell Buhari

Leaders from the five local government areas under the Daura emirate in Katsina state say the communities enjoy 24 hour supply of electricity only when President Muhammadu Buhari is around.

Buhari had gone to Daura for the Sallah celebration.

While hosting the leaders, they commended the president and also asked him to address issues plaguing the area.

“Anytime the President is around we enjoy 24 hours power supply. But if he is not around, the power supply is not always stable,” Mohammed Saleh, one of the leaders, said.

Responding, Buhari said he is set to improve the lives of Nigerians, as he is convinced that he got elected by Nigerians who understood his mission.

“Truly, the people know and understand my mission. This is what the votes showed. The administration will dwell on our campaign issues — security, economy and corruption. We will fight for the poor,” he said.

Umar Farouq, emir of Daura, called on Nigerians to support the president overcome current challenges.

The emir made this call during the Sallah durbar held in his palace.

“I pray to the Almighty Allah to grant good health to Mr President, give him the courage to lead the country right,” he said.

“I commend him for his endurance and patience on the challenges he is facing. A leader must possess two qualities of endurance and patience, may Allah guide and protect him from all evils.

“I am calling on Nigerians to continue to pray to Allah to enable the president succeed in improving their living conditions and move the country forward.

JUST IN: EFCC arraigns Atiku’s son-in-law, lawyer for money laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Abdullahi Babalele, son-in-law of Atiku Abubakar, for allegedly laundering $140,000 in the build up to the 2019 general election.

Uyiekpen Osagie-Giwa, Atiku’s lawyer, was also arraigned for allegedly laundering $2 million in connection with the elections.

The duo were arraigned before the federal high court in Lagos, on Wednesday.

Atiku contested the presidential election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

More to follow….

Don’t allow money bag succeed me, says Awujale

The Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebu land in Ogun State, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona (Ogbagba II), yesterday received thousands of sons and daughters of Ijebu extraction of the Yoruba race in Ijebu-Ode at this year’s Ojude Oba Cultural Festival/Carnival.

The eminent monarch advised his people to “go for a capable successor” whenever he joins his ancestors.

The octogenarian ascended the throne in 1960 at the age of 25 from the Anikilaya Ruling family.

There are indications that the ruling house to produce the next Awujale, when the stool becomes vacant, is the Fusengbuwa Ruling House, where the founder of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Subomi Balogun, is the Olori Ebi (family head).

Oba Adetona, apparently not desirous of having Ijebu land slide into retrogression after over five decades of monumental progress, development, peace and unity, urged his people to sustain the tempo by ensuring that the stool does not go to a money bag.

The revered monarch gave the advice while delivering his speech at the conclusion of the Ojude Oba festival.

He urged Ijebu sons and daughters to reject any candidate who could set Ijebu land backward, if enthroned the king.

Dignitaries at the event, where over 25,000 people participated in the carnival, included the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, his wife, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, Deputy Governor Noimot Oyedele-Salako, former Governors Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel, former Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun, Sir Kensington Adebutu (who was the special guest of honour), Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Olori Kemi Adetona, among others.

The Awujale, who spoke Yoruba, advised his people on how the process of selecting the next Awujale should go.

Oba Adetona said: “When I eventually go, please, go for a capable successor. Reject any candidate that will put Ijebu land into retrogression. Do not politicise the process of selecting my successor. Do not go for people that will draw Ijebu backwards.

“If the next ruling house does not present a viable candidate, please, reject them and go for the next ruling house with a capable candidate. Do not go for money bags that will destroy the achievements Ijebu land has recorded so far.

“My prayer is that Ijebu land will continue to grow from strength to strength. Call on God for direction when picking my successor. Ask God to guide you.”

Accept responsibility for killing our men, Police tell Army

The police yesterday dismissed a memo issued by the Nigerian Army warning officers and men to steer clear of police personnel over fear of likely reprisal in the wake of last week’s killing of three policemen by soldiers in Taraba State.

In the memo, the army had warned its personnel to be circumspect in their interactions with policemen and to travel in mufti.

But the police said the army should take responsibility for the actions of its men instead of alarming its personnel.

“That is not the solution. The solution is for them to accept that something has gone wrong and accept responsibilities and ensure that blames are apportioned,” the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, told ThisDay yesterday.

The police had reacted angrily to the killing of its personnel by soldiers attached to 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Takum, Taraba State and was further infuriated by an army statement that described detectives, who were shot dead while conveying an alleged kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, to the Taraba State Police Command for interrogation.

But in a circular issued Monday by Army Headquarters to military formations, the army also warned travelling personnel to embark on such trips in mufti to avoid confrontation with the police in view of the “inciting and inflammatory” comments made by the police on social media.

The circular dated August 9, 2019 and signed by Brigadier-General F.O Omoigui, noted that “in the aftermath of the unfortunate incident involving troops of 93 Battalion, Takum and members of the Intelligence Response Team of the NPF at Ibi LGA of Taraba State on August 6, 2019, inciting and inflammatory comments are being made by the NPF on the regular and social media platforms.

“This is capable of inciting the rank and file of the NP to exhibit aggressive tendencies against NA personnel. Accordingly, all troops on Internal Security duty as well as personnel travelling in and out of uniform are to be circumspect in their conduct to avoid escalation”.

The circular also directed formation and unit commanders to educate troops to be circumspect in their dealings with the Police.

“Consequently, formations and unit commanders are to educate troops to be cautious in their dealings with members of the NP in view of this development. Troops travelling on pass are to endeavour to do so in mufti,” Buratai said.

But the Police High Command has maintained that issues arising from the killing of police personnel in Taraba would not be addressed by such memos to army personnel warning them against interactions with the police.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said the army should take responsibility for its actions and apportion blames where necessary.

Speaking through Mba, the IG said such circulars would do little to address the challenge posed by the killing.

On reprisal by police personnel envisaged by the army circular, Mba said: “Police will not say anything further. We have said all we need to say. At the right time, we will give our response.”

Meanwhile, THISDAY gathered that most of the suspects involved in the shooting, including an army captain and some people that witnessed the shooting were moved to Abuja on Monday.

They are presently held in detention facilities as directed by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).

The shooting of policemen attached to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector-General of Police had engendered deep mistrust between the police and the army.

The killing of the detectives had also elicited wide condemnations from Nigerians. The policemen, who had arrested a suspected kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, and put him in handcuffs and manacles, had come under a hail of bullets from soldiers along Ibi-Jalingo Road while taking the suspect to the Taraba State Police Command in Jalingo.

The Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) operating from the office of the Inspector-General of Police was led by ASP Felix Adolije. Other members of the team include Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeants Usman Danzumi and Dahiru Musa and a civilian while others sustained gunshot wounds.

The DHQ and IG had set up separate panels to investigate the incidence, raising fears that the two might work at cross-purposes.

Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, had said the DHQ panel superseded the IG panel and had automatically collapsed.

Why Yahaya Bello Missed APC Governor’s Meeting With Buhari – Garba Shehu

The Presidency has explained why Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, missed the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Progressives Governors.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu  gave the explanation in a statement on Tuesday, shortly after the governors paid homage to his principal in Daura, Katsina State.

He noted that Governor Bello was absent at the meeting because of the burial of his stepmother who died recently.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, expressed sorrow on the death of Madam Rekiya Momoh Bello, the stepmother of Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State.

“The governor’s absence at the meeting of Progressive Governors with the President in Daura, Katsina State earlier in the day got the attention of President Buhari and was informed of the death of Madam Rekiya, whose burial made Governor Bello to stay back in his state,” the statement said.

The President, according to Shehu, expressed condolences to the family, the government and people of Kogi State over the irreparable loss.

He also wished peace for the departed soul and prayed to Allah to grant her bereaved families the strength to bear the loss.

Earlier, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and other governors elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s platform paid homage to the President.

Among the visiting governors were Babajide Sanwoolu (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).

Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has also commiserated with Governor Bello on the death of his stepmother.

“My heartfelt sympathy goes to the governor, his family, the State Government and people of Kogi,” the Senate President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi.

The Senate President prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for Allah to comfort the family.

Moghalu to Buhari: Leave CBN alone

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the apex bank discharge its mandate independently.

Moghalu, who was the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) in the last presidential election, said this in a series of tweets on his Twitter handle yesterday.

“@NGRPresident should leave @cenbank alone to discharge its mandate independently within the ambit of the CBN Act, and stop “directing” it. @cenbank should on its part assertive its independence (assuming it actually believes it should be independent, but the Act says so, clearly!”, Moghalu said in one of the tweets.

Buhari to CBN: No more forex for food import

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Daura, Katsina State, disclosed that he had instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to henceforth, stop the provision of foreign exchange for food importation.

The president who made the disclosure while hosting the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to an Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his Daura country home, said the decision was informed by the steady improvement in agricultural production, and eventual attainment of food security.

He said the nation’s foreign reserve would be conserved and strictly utilized for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food import bills.

“Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country,’’ he said.

According to Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, Buhari noted that states such as Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano had already taken advantage of the federal government’s policy on agriculture with huge returns in rice farming, and urged more states to also explore what he viewed as the ongoing revolution to feed the nation.

“We have achieved food security, and for physical security, we are not doing badly,’’ Shehu quoted the president.

The statement also said Buhari expressed happiness over the decision of young Nigerians, including graduates, to explore agric-business and entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments.

It also said the president pledged that the incoming ministers would be “taught’’ and thoroughly guided to ensure they meet the targets of the APC-led federal government for Nigerians by regularly monitoring their performances and scaling up targets by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).

“The President assured that he will attend the Presidential Policy Retreat organised for the ministers by the OSFG, and insisted on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that will directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.

“In his remarks, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, said the President’s sense of justice, fairness and forthrightness had turned a major inspiration to governors on the way forward for the country.

“He said the challenges faced by states ‘were enormous,’ but the governors had remained undaunted, assuring the president of strong support and ‘the very best effort’’ to overcome all the obstacles.

“The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, appreciated the President for the unique leadership style of maintaining a healthy relationship with governors on individual and collective basis, pointing out that they had been ‘energised,’ to do more in their states,” the statement added.

Furthermore, Shehu said Bagudu commended the president for making bold and courageous efforts to reposition the economy in the interest of majority of Nigerians through inclusive policies, observing that “the country is more secure than in 2015, and the country is more prosperous than in 2015 because you are working for the majority of the people.”

He also said the governor pointed out that the party had been repositioned, after the 2019 elections, to work for the benefits of the majority of Nigerians, noting that “there will be two elections this year and we need to work towards winning the two states.’’

Taraba Police killings latest: Army Captain had 191 phone chats with wanted kidnapper

The Nigerian Army Captain who allegedly ordered soldiers on security check-point along the Ibi-Jalingo Expressway in Taraba State, to attack and kill police operatives attached to the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, has been identified.

Vanguard gathered, yesterday, that police investigation carried out so far has revealed that telephone conversations between the kidnap kingpin, Wadume and the Captain , were about 191 within the space of one month between July 9, 2019 and August 6, 2019. The source explained that the police authorities believed that the army captain might have been providing cover for the kidnapper, who is said to have received hundreds of millions as ransom from his victims.

Army Captain Taraba

The paper gathered that the Army Captain , who is currently undergoing interrogation at the Defence Headquarters Abuja, was arrested alongside five other Army personnel, who were alleged to have taken part in the horrific killing of the three policemen and their two civilian agents in an operation to arrest a notorious kidnapper, Alhaji Hamisu Balla, alias Wudume, in Ibi area of Taraba

According to the report, the arrested solders confessed that they received orders to attack the policemen from the captain, whom they said informed them that Wadume had been kidnapped and was being transported in a silver-coloured Toyota Hiace Bus.

A source at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, ssid that the soldiers claimed that they acted squarely on the orders of the captain, being their superior officer, but Police sources at Force Headquarters Abuja, disclosed that the police authorities have established strong links between the army captain and the notorious kidnapper, alleging that the army captain was on the kidnapper’s payroll.

The source added further that its investigations have also revealed that the army captain, who was not present in Ibi Town at the time the IRT operatives arrested Wadume, might  have ordered his men to attack and kill the IRT operatives as well as rescue his friend, the kidnapper.

Petition against Wadume received

Meanwhile, Vanguard  also reported, yesterday, that the IRT’s manhunt to arrest and bring down Wadume’s kidnapping empire began in March 2019, when it received a petition from one Sheriff Umar of Kirikinua South Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

It was gathered further that the petitioner reported that his cousin, Usman Mayo was kidnapped on the 15th of February, 2019 at Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State and his kidnapper demanded the sum of N200 million as ransom for his release.

The source explained that the family of the kidnapped victim   negotiated and paid the sum of N85 million first, on March 11, 2019, but the abductee was not released. He said they paid an additional N15 million, on  March 16, 2019, making a total sum paid to the kidnappers N100 million and the kidnappers refused to release their victim   insisting that that the family must pay the N200million they demanded.

The source explained that the family reported to the police and the IRT was drafted to investigate and track down the suspects behind the kidnapping and rescue the victim. It was learned that while investigations into the matter commenced, members of the kidnapped victim’s family paid an additional N20m to the kidnappers and the victim was released,   but the police discovered during investigations that Wadume had strong links to the kidnappers, who got N120 million as ransom from their victim.

I sold 6 AK-47 rifles to Wadume — Ojomo

The police source, further disclosed that it investigations also revealed that Wadume, had bought several AK-47 rifles from a notorious trans-border arms dealer, Ojomo Adebowale Gbenga, who was arrested in May 2019, by operatives of the IRT for supplying heavy arms and ammunition to kidnappers and armed robbers.

Ojomo, 45, said to be a major arms dealer in the South-Western part of the country, made startling revelations about the fleeing Wadume during an interview.

Ojomo, who was earlier in the year paraded by police authorities over his criminal activities and later detained in Lagos, said that he met Alhaji Wadume four years ago in Benue State and had been selling arms to him under the guise of using them to fight terrorist Fulanis.

Speaking with the paper, Ojomo said that he got to know Wadume through his business partner, Moses in Benue State, and he told him that he needed rifles to fight herdsmen who were killing farmers in his community. The gun runner explained that he got all the rifles, which he sold to Wadume and his friends from Burkina Faso, Mali and Libya and he said he sold the arms to them because they told him that they were having community clashes.

He further disclosed: “I started selling fire arms since 1993 after my secondary school. I worked with a company that deals on licensed arms in 1993 and I left in 1996 and went to school but, I linked up with arms dealers in Ibadan, which is the headquarters of arms dealing in the south western part of the country. I started selling automatic firearms which is prohibited, then one of my friends who is now late, Moses led me to the north. He took me to Benue State and I sold arms to several people, including Alhaji Hamisu (Wadume). He came to me through Moses’ contacts and they identified him as a don. You know arms dealing is a cartel business. I knew very little about him and I sold eight rifles to him in 2015 and in January 2019, he called again and told me that he needed 10 rifles, but I had only six and because he was in hurry, I sold them to him at N800,000 each, and the bullets for N350,000 per can. But after my arrest, I gave information about him to the police. It was while in detention I heard he has been arrested.

Police inspector arrested, recants

Also, a Police Inspector who was accused of informing the Army that operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team that visited Ibi community in Taraba state, last week to effect the arrest of the suspected kidnap kingpin did not report to Police authorities, has been arrested.

Preliminary investigation, as reliably gathered, revealed that the policeman was cajoled to say so in order to cement evidences by troops of the 93 Battalion that the operatives were not only kidnappers but were there on an illegal duty.

It was also learned that one of the villagers who allegedly collected the firearms from the dead policemen revealed during interrogation that the weapons belonging to the slain police officers were collected from him by some soldiers.

Thevpaper reported that the Police inspector attached to Ibi Police Station confirmed that the operatives visited the station to inform the senior officer there that they had concluded their operations and were leaving with the arrested suspect.

Unconfirmed reports said the policeman was given an undisclosed amount of money to maintain his stand that he told the troops that the policemen did not report at the station.

However, sources said the Inspector denied during interrogation at Force Headquarters, Abuja, that he did not collect any money from the Army.

It was further learned that about three villagers collected the firearms that were flung in different places into the bush after the police team was shot, when their vehicle somersaulted. One of them was said to have taken the arms to his home from where it was collected by the soldiers.

A villager who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that the suspected kidnap kingpin who is still on the run, is a popular person in Ibi community.

He was said to have contested for the House of Assembly, Ibi constituency in the last election, under the Young Democratic Party, but lost.

The 35-year-old man, said to be a petty trader, was revered in the community, due to his philanthropic nature.

He was said to have bought motorcycles for some youths, some of who thronged the scene where the operatives were killed, jubilating that their benefactor’s enemies had been overpowered.

At the moment, villagers in Ibi community are said to be keeping sealed lips on what transpired during the arrest of the suspected kidnapper, last week, for fear of being attacked by loyalists to the suspect.

Some of those close to the kidnap suspects have taken to their heels, apparently to avoid being arrested over his whereabouts.

Widow to address press today

Meanwhile, widow of the slain Inspector Mark Ediale, who is yet to come to terms with the rude shock of her husband’s demise, has left Lagos for the Force headquarters, Abuja, where she was received by senior police officers who condoled her and other widows over the tragic incident.

But her late husband’s family, it was reliably gathered, will be briefing journalists in Abuja today, where some salient questions would be posed to killers of their son.

The family, Vanguard learned, is requesting an explanation on how Inspector Ediale died, when he was seen alive in a video clip that went viral.