Thursday , 19 July 2018
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FG unveils new national carrier, Nigeria Air

Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, has unveiled the name and logo of the new national carrier, Nigeria Air.

Speaking on Wednesday in London at the ongoing Farnborough International Airshow, Sirika said the government will not own more than five per cent of the airline.

“This is an important day for Nigeria. The largest economy in Africa, largest population, GDP of around half a billion dollars, and the only true aviation player in West and Central Africa,” he said.

“Nigeria has unfortunately not been a serious player in Aviation for a long time. We used to be a dominant player, through Nigeria Airways, but sadly not anymore.

“This will be a national carrier that is private sector led and driven. It is a business, not a social service. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this.

“The Nigerian government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new national carrier. The government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it.

“New terminals in Lagos and Abuja Airports will add 11 million passenger capacity in each of the two airports.

According to the minister, the airline will have flights on 81 domestic, regional and international routes.

Operations are scheduled to begin in December 2018.


Fayose says he is being harassed, security detail withdrawn 

Ayo Fayose, Ekiti state governor, says he is being harassed and that his security aides have been withdrawn.

The governor said the Ekiti government house was invaded after the gubernatorial election of Saturday, July 14.

Fayose made the claim on Tuesday after a one-man roadshow which he ended at the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, oba Adeyemo Adejugbe.

According to NAN, the governor complained to the traditional ruler that he and his supporters were still being hounded after the election.

He said: “I have come to officially tell your Kabiyesi, as the Paramount Ruler of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, that the Government House was invaded by the police, even after the election was over.

“Over 400 of our members are still being detained as we speak now. After the poll on Saturday, my wife was prevented from entering the Government House for about 45 minutes.

“Since last Wednesday, security agents have continued to lay the siege to the Government House, and are subjecting people to untold hardship coming in or going out.

“My concern is, the poll has come and gone irrespective of what we went through. The constitution says I am still the governor till October 16 this year.

“Our state radio and television stations had been shut down. And there has been no means of getting across to our people. It was only this morning that security agents at the entrance of the Government House were withdrawn.

“If we have been robbed I still have a right to life and my family has a right to life too. The man that won has three units of the police protecting him. All my security men have been withdrawn since last Wednesday and not restored yet. I am only left with just a few.

“Harassing me is not in the interest of democracy. People must intervene before things get out of hand. I don’t know why we should be in this situation in 2018.”

Kayode Fayemi, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, defeated Kolapo Olusola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win the Ekiti governorship election.

Katsina-Alu, former CJN, dies at 76

Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu, a former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), has died.

Katsina-Alu, 76, died in the wee hours of Wednesday at Chida Orthopaedic Hospital, Gudu, Abuja.

Katsina Alu was from Ushongo local government area of Benue state.

He succeeded Idris Legbo Kutigi as chief justice of Nigeria in December 2009.

He was sworn in by Kutigi because former president Umaru Yar’Adua, who was ill at the time, had failed to hand over to his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan.

Katsina-Alu remained in the position until August 2011 when he was succeeded by the late Dahiru Musdapher.

Police arrest eight ‘kidnappers’ of Chibok schoolgirls

The police on Wednesday paraded eight persons suspected to be involved in the kidnap of the 276 students from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok Borno state.

One hundred and twelve of the captives have been released while the remaining are still in captivity.

The suspects were said to have been arrested by operatives of the inspector-general’s intelligence response team (IGP’s IRT) in Borno, Adamawa and other adjoining communities.

They reportedly masterminded over 50 suicide bomb attacks within Maiduguri and Adamawa.

Damian Chukwu, commissioner of police in the state, said the suspects were arrested in different locations across Borno And Yobe states.

“Irked and worried by the persistent suicide bombings and killing of innocent citizens in the north-east by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group, IGP Ibrahim Idris equipped and deployed the Special Operatives of the IGP intelligence response team IRT with enough credible technical intelligence to Maiduguri Borno state,” he said.

“Between 04/07/18 and 09/07/18, IRT special teams with support from SARS/CRACK team of Borno state command swung into action and eventually succeeded in arresting 22 confirmed Boko Haram Terrorists who confessed to several suicide bomb explosions within Borno and Adamawa states, kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls, invasions Of Bama/Gwoza among many other crimes. Suspects narrated various roles each of them played.

“Amongst them are the Commanders and Coordinators of Suicide Bombings in Borno State, Coordinator and members of the Chibok School Girls Kidnapping, Ambushes on Security agents, Logistics Suppliers and their receivers of gold, international currencies and cows.

“Suspects arrested are; Mayinta Modu AKA Abor 23yrs from Bama LGA Borno State: He confessed to being one of the Boko Haram Commanders who coordinated and led the kidnapping of the Chibok School Girls in 2014 and Several Attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Mubi towns in Borno and Adamawa States.

“Adam Mohammed 20yrs, from Bama LGA Borno: Confessed to have Participated in Chibok School Girls Kidnapping and Coordinating Suicide Bombings, Gujja Jidda 21yrs from Bama LGA Borno State: Confessed to have Participated in the Chibok School Girls Kidnapping and Coordinating Suicide bombings and Mamman Wardi 25yrs from Bama LGA Borno State: Confessed to Participating in the Chibok School Girls Kidnapping and Coordinating Suicide bombings.”


Why we stopped southern elders from flying to Benue – NAF

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has explained the reason it prevented a chartered aircraft meant to convey some southern and middle belt elders from Abuja to Makurdi, Benue state capital.

Some members of the southern and middle belt forum led by Edwin Clark, Ijaw national leader, and John Nwodo, president-general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, were on Monday stopped from traveling to Makurdi, to attend the middle belt summit on restructuring.

Nwodo said after spending at least five hours at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, trying to obtain a landing clearance for the journey, the commandant of the Makurdi airport turned down their request.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja after they were disallowed from flying, Nwodo accused the Muhammdu Buhari-led administration of running a military system.

But in its reaction, the air force said the group was prevented from flying after it sought to travel with another aircraft other than a previously approved one.

Olatokunbo Adesanya, the force director of public relations and information, said the elders’ application to use the airport through Benue state government with a chartered plane was approved

He added that they were however, going to fly with another plane with details different from the one approval was given for.

He explained that they could not allowed to fly until another approval process is followed and approved for the new plane

Adesanya added that NAF does not concern itself with politics or religious issues.

Below is his statement:

There is absolutely no iota of truth in the allegations that NAF’s decision was politically motivated. To start with, the runway at NAF Base Makurdi is not a dual user facility but one constructed strictly for military purpose.

Accordingly, in line with global best practices, there is a clearly established procedure for non-NAF aircraft to operate into and out of the runway in Makurdi, and that procedure is well known to all qualified pilots in Nigeria.

Indeed, many airlines had in the past adhered to the stipulated procedure and therefore successfully landed and taken off from the NAF runway in Makurdi. The procedure includes a written request to NAF headquarters Abuja for permission for a specific aircraft to operate into its airfield on a specific date and time, including the names of passengers and other necessary details.

In this case, there was indeed a request for permit by the Benue state government, dated 16 July 2018, for Aircraft with Registration Number 5N-FCT to land at NAF Base Makurdi on 16 July 2018. Although requests for landing permits are expected to reach NAF headquarters not later than two days before the desired landing date, the NAF went out of its way to expedite the process and accordingly granted the permit for aircraft with Registration Number 5N-FCT to land at NAF Base Makurdi on 16 July 2018.

However, at about 5pm on 16 July 2018, the NAF was verbally informed that there was a need to change the aircraft for which permission had already been issued, reportedly because the aircraft had developed snags. The NAF, therefore, asked for another written request, in line with the established procedure.

As at date, the NAF headquarters is yet to receive a written request for the replaced aircraft with Registration Number 5N-IZY to land at its Base in Makurdi.

“The NAF remains a highly professional and apolitical organization that would rather focus on its military duties. Consequently, the NAF wishes to implore all concerned to desist from dragging the name of the NAF into partisan politics.

Fayose breaks silence on Ekiti poll, asks Buhari to bury his head in shame

Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to bury his head in shame over the outcome of the governorship election in Ekiti.

Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated Kolapo Olusola, Fayose’s preferred candidate in the election.

Olusola ran on the platform of PDP.

Reacting to the election in a series of tweets on Monday afternoon, the governor alleged that the federal government used security agencies to rig the poll.

He expressed optimism that his party would retrieve its “stolen mandate”.

“Buhari should bury his head in shame for using the police, army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and INEC to snatch the mandate given to Olusola and deliver it to Fayemi whom Ekiti people rejected,” he said in a statement which Idowu Adelusi, his chief press secretary, issued on his behalf.

“I am Peter Ayodele Fayose , I hold with my head high . I can never be suppressed. I don ’ t lose battles and I will not lose this. I will laugh last .

“The president should note what the Bible says which applies to him . ‘He that wears the armour should not boast as he that removes it.’

“It is only Buhari that will pride himself with the security shooting sporadically at polling centres, scaring people to pave the way for the APC thugs to snatch ballot boxes.”

Fayose said what Buhari had won as referendum from Ekiti people , Nigerians, and international community “is shame .”

He added “If APC has truly won, why is it that there is no jubilation in Ekiti ? The victory of Kayode Fayemi is pyrrhic. We will reclaim the stolen mandate in the court by the power of God.”

“The president should bury his head in shame for using the police, army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and INEC to snatch the mandate given to Olusola and deliver it to Fayemi whom Ekiti people rejected.”

‘I’ve been given a red card’ — Ortom pulls out of APC

Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, has quit the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ortom disclosed this in Makurdi, capital of the state, after swearing in Jerome Shimbe, his special adviser on bureau for local government and chieftaincy affairs.

Shimbe’s appointment followed the dissolution of cabinet by the governor on July 8.

The governor said APC had given him “red card” and this would enable him to join any political party that has an ideology worthy of being adopted by his administration.

Ortom left the APC one week after TheCable reported that he, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara would quit the ruling party.

“Many people have been asking that after dedicating the state to God we are still facing challenges, but I know that the God that saw the Israelites pass through the wilderness, and took them to the promised land will also see us through our difficult times,” he said.

“I know one thing, all these challenges that we see today, we shall see them no more. All that we are required to do is not to begin to be wayward in our conduct but to move to the righteous side of God. Once we do that, things will work out for our good.

“Looking at what is happening to us, sometimes am tempted to think that we are dying like people who do not have God. But we must choose the path of working with God, obeying and serving him. If we do that and ensure that his values get into our hearts and we work with him, development will be inevitable. Let us work and encourage those things that can develop us.

“As for party, I have been given red card and I’m outside the pitch. So, if I have been given red card and I’m standing outside, I’m a free man. So I don’t know what will happen next but I’m waiting. If others approach me, then I will tell the Benue people that I’m joining another football club. I’m a child of destiny and it’s only God that will decide what I will be.”

Buhari orders repatriation of Nigerians stranded in Russia

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the repatriation of Nigerians stranded in Russia after the World Cup.

Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, disclosed this on Monday.

There have been reports of scores of Nigerians who travelled to the country for the World Cup but were unable to leave, having discovered that they were swindled.

Shehu said the president has directed Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs; and Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, to commence the process of repatriating the Nigerians.

Steve Ugbah, Nigerian ambassador to Russia, also confirmed the development to TheCable.

Ugbah said plans were underway on how the repatriation would be carried out.

He said: “I and the foreign (affairs) minister discussed that earlier today. He went and conferred with the president and the president has agreed to sent a plane, either military or chartered plane, to come and evacuate the stranded Nigerians.

“But we are still waiting for the details of that directive and how to implement it.”

Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, reportedly paid for the return tickets of 50 Nigerians stranded in the country.

’23 soldiers’ missing in Boko Haram ambush

At least 23 soldiers are yet to be accounted for after Boko Haram insurgents ambushed a military convoy at Boboshe village in Bama local government area of Borno state.

Five officers, 18 soldiers and 8 trucks were missing after the attack which occurred early on Saturday.

The military, acting on intelligence, mobilised troops in a convoy of 11 trucks to clear the insurgents from the deserted village.

The attacking insurgents were believed to have been those who escaped the ongoing offensive by the military to flush out Boko Haram insurgents in the fringes of Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region.

NAN quoted a military source, as saying the insurgents in their hundreds ambushed the troops and in the process many of them have been missing.

The source reportedly said only three of the 11 trucks deployed to the area returned to their base in Maiduguri, after suffering huge loss in the battle with the insurgents.

“There was a quick response by the army when they received reports that hundreds of the insurgents gathered at Boboshe on Maiduguri-Konduga-Bama road,” he was quoted to have said.

“The gallant soldiers were ambushed by the insurgents, only three of the 11 trucks returned to the base.

“It is not clear what happened but it was assumed the soldiers were missing following the ambush,” he added.”

Meanwhile, residents of Jilli community in Gubio local government council of Borno, on Saturday fled the town sequel to an attack by Boko Haram insurgents.

The insurgent reportedly attacked the area from the axis of Lake Chad.

Malam Bukar Mustapha, one of the residents, told NAN that he and other villagers fled their homes when they received report that the insurgents were coming to attack them.

“In the afternoon on Saturday, we heard that the insurgents gathered in the nearby bush preparing for the attack,” he said.

“I am one of those who ran to Maiduguri, which is about 45 kilometres from my village.

“On Sunday morning, I called Gubio and I was told that the insurgents had attacked the town during the night time. I do not have the casualties because the situation is still not clear at Jilli.”

Another resident who pleaded anonymity said troops had been deployed in the area.

I won the election overwhelmingly, says Fayose’s deputy

Prof Kolapo Olusola, deputy governor of Ekiti state, has rejected the results of the governorship election announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The electoral body declared Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressive Congress (APC) winner.

But Olusola alleged that intimidation, oppression and inducement by security agents which he claimed aided and abetted APC’s alleged manipulation of the electoral process that all gave Fayemi the victory.

“You are all aware of the unfortunate and dangerous events of the past 24 hours, in which our governorship election was hijacked by political desperadoes leveraging on “Federal might” to pervert the electoral process, subvert the will of Ekiti people, and viciously steal the mandate willingly and freely given to me on a massive scale by our people,” he said

“PDP and I won the election overwhelmingly, receiving more than 70% of lawful votes cast and winning in almost all of the state’s 16 local government areas. I therefore reject the falsified results being bandied by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which purportedly gave the election to the All Progressives Congress and its Candidate; Dr. John Kayode Fayemi.”

The aggrieved politician accused INEC of conspiring with APC to thwart the exercise.

”On Saturday, July 14th, the security agencies and INEC upped the ante, threw all caution to the wind, went back on their promises to be impartial and to conduct credible elections; they sided with APC and Fayemi to the chagrin of our party, myself, and the good people of Ekiti state,” he said.

“Despite the alarm we had earlier raised, the security agencies not only supported but also supervised the indiscriminate arrest of our party leaders and agents, the harassment and brutalization of voters on a massive scale, especially in Ado-Ekiti, Ikere and the suburbs, giving cover, tacit as well as active support to thugs imported into Ekiti by APC to snatch ballot boxes, create confusion, cause mayhem, and drive away voters in PDP strongholds, giving cover to APC agents as they financially and openly induced voters and bought votes at polling stations; and driving away our polling agents from collation centres and illegal seizure of documents and materials in their possession, among many other infractions.”

“Without doubt, what has played out in Ekiti is the APC template for the 2019 General Election, where they have mapped out Rivers and Akwa Ibom as States they must capture at all costs, like they are now trying to do Ekiti. It is now left for the opposition and opposition figures, most especially presidential hopefuls in 2019, to stand up to be counted in the struggle to roll back President Muhammadu Buhari’s creeping fascism, or throw in the towel without a fight.

“This is not just a sad day for Ekiti but also for democracy in Nigeria. Nothing demonstrates this better than the gloom that has enveloped our dear State since they announced their convoluted result. Ekiti mourns! But I ask our people not to be despondent but to keep hope alive, quoting the inimitable Chief MKO Abiola. This is another battle we will fight and win.”