Nigerian-American Murdered In Florida

16.06.6.15hrs.Daily News Headlines

 
A Nigerian American, Oluwatoyin Salau, a 19-year-old Black Lives Matter (BLM) protester, who begged for justice in the wake of Black lives lost, has been killed.

Police and her family confirmed the death Monday morning.

Salau was found dead Saturday night after she went missing more than a week ago, on June 6, family members told the Tallahassee Democrat, part of the USA TODAY Network.

Salau was one of two homicide victims discovered Saturday night in southeast Tallahassee, a couple miles from where she was last seen at a library.

Victoria “Vicki” Sims, 75, who also had been reported missing, was the second victim. She was a retired state worker and grandmother well-known for her volunteerism and work in local Democratic politics.

Aaron Glee, arrested for killing Oluwatoyin Salau

Police identified the suspect as Aaron Glee Jr, 49, who had been arrested twice recently for violent offences.

However, investigators have not released a motive or any other details about what led to the double homicide.

“There is no justice that can be served that will replace my sister’s life,” her brother, Oluwaseyi Salau said.

Oluwatoyin Salau was reportedly active at all demonstrations before she was declared missing.

She recited the names of Black people killed, such as Tony McDade of Tallahassee and George Floyd of Minneapolis.

“I don’t want their names gone in vain,” she said during one protest in front of the Tallahassee Police Department last month.

Though she went missing June 6, newly surfaced surveillance footage shows on Wednesday, June 10, Oluwatoyin Salau walked into Big Easy Snowballs in Tallahassee, according to owner of the ice cream shop. She asked to use the restroom.

That was the last known day she was seen alive.

The suspect in her killing, Glee, a black man, was arrested May 29 on a charge of aggravated battery after an officer stopped at a light spotted him kicking a woman in the stomach, according to police reports.

The victim in that case was neither Sims nor Salau.

The woman told police she and Glee had been drinking alcohol together and were walking down the sidewalk when he propositioned her for sex.

“She told him no. So Glee became angry, shoved (her) to the ground and began kicking her in the abdomen,” the police report says.

Online Leon County Court records show a misdemeanor battery charge filed against him June 6. However, those reports were not immediately available.

Glee was arrested last year on a charge of possession of marijuana. However, prosecutors dropped it, according to court records.

However, it is not yet clear whether Salau’s murder has to do with racism, especially considering that the arrested suspect, Glee, is also a black.

 

 

German Government Bails Lufthansa
26.05.20.1.08hrs

THE German Government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, both sides announced on Monday.

The deal, which provides for aid and equity measures worth nine billion euros ($9.8 billion), is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

The German government said that Lufthansa had been profitable before the pandemic, but is now facing the biggest financial crisis in its history.

The pandemic has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes.

At one point, the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

The stabilisation package takes into account the needs of the company, as well as the needs of taxpayers and its employees.

The status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo, was a major factor in talks.

The German economic stabilisation fund, set up by the government during the coronavirus crisis to be able to acquire stakes in important companies in an emergency, approved the deal earlier on Monday.

Lufthansa’s executive board also approved the deal.

As part of the bailout, the government would receive a 20-per-cent stake in the company.

Some of the conditions, Berlin has set before it will take part, include more stringent environmental protections.

The stabilisation fund will also make a silent capital contribution of up to 5.7 billion euros in Lufthansa’s assets.

The interest rate is planned to increase from an initial four per cent to 9.5 per cent.

A loan of up to three billion euros is also planned with the participation of the state-owned KfW bank and private banks with a term of three years.

According to the announcements, conditions will include a waiver of future dividend payments and two supervisory board seats will be filled in coordination with the government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government had been in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take-off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authority plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa.
Merkel is reported to have said “this will be a hard struggle’’.

Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, said on Monday that a number of questions still needed to be clarified with the European Commission regarding the deal and that Berlin would “fight and work” to ensure that Lufthansa could continue to operate as before in Germany.

European Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the deal would be subject to special conditions.

However, a spokeswoman for the watchdog did point out that the rules for coronavirus aid in cases such as that of Lufthansa provide for “additional commitments to preserve effective competition’’.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.

Source:DPA/NAN

 

 

 

Odu'a Investment Board Dissolved

17.04.20

THE governors of Southwest Nigeria on Friday announced the dissolution of the board of Odu’a Investment Limited.

Odu'a Investment is a group of companies jointly owned by the six southwestern states of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo. Itis the single largest public conglomerate in the region; perhaps the largest and oldest of such public conglomerate in the country.

Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, who announced the dissolution on friday, said it took immediate effect.

Group Managing Director of the group has been directed to overse the functions of the board.

The governors also jointly resolved to isolate the entire region by closing all the entry points to the region with a view to containing the spread of coronavirus, although the region has the highest number of cases in the country.

Governor Akeredolu’s statement reads in part:
“The South West Governors at its virtual meeting held on Thursday, April 16, resolved as follows:

“That as Owner State Governors, we dissolve the Board of Directors of ODU’A Investment Limited with immediate effect.

” The Group Managing Director should take charge of the conglomerate affairs pending the constitution of a new board.

“That the entry points of our six states be closed forthwith to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

“That the state governors agreed that people involved in essential services or dealing in medicine, water and consumable items, in particular traders and market men/women, should endeavour to wear nose masks while outside plying their trade to minimise the spread of the deadly virus.

“The governors further agreed that wearing of nose masks will be made compulsory for everybody coming out of their homes effective from Friday April 24 in their respective states,” the statement said.

 

 

PDP Raises Alarm Over Importation Of Chinese Doctors

09.04.20

NIGERIA’S opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has questioned the wisdom behind Federal Government’s importation of medical doctors from China, the origin and epic centre of coronavirus.

A total number of 15 Chinese medical doctors arrived Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Wednesday contracted by the presidency to assist the country in curbing the spread of the disease in the country.

The opposition PDP has therefore called on Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible if any upsurge in the rate of COVID-19 infection and death in the country is experienced.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by the party’s national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said it was alarming that Buhari ignored the protests by Nigerians including such professional bodies as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and went ahead with the importation of the Chinese doctors in spite of warnings that the action could worsen Nigerian situation.

The statement reads in part:

“This is even as Nigerians across board have continued to question the status, identity and interest of the Chinese doctors as well as the safety of kits and equipment from China, particularly following scary reports of escalation of the scourge in certain countries reportedly after the arrival of Chinese medical personnel in those countries.

“Moreover, our doctors and nurses have been on top of the situation with records of recoveries and less casualties, thus raising questions about the real intentions of bringing in doctors from China.

“The situation is even more distressing as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had been making frantic effort to exonerate itself from the decision to bring in the Chinese doctors into our country.

“The PDP wants President Buhari to note that Nigerians already know the pace, intensity and trajectory of COVID-19 statistics at the time the Federal Government, which he leads, gave passage to these Chinese doctors.

“Our party, therefore, calls on the entire world to hold President Buhari responsible should there be any sudden upsurge in COVID-19 infection and deaths in our country, now that the Chinese doctors have been brought in despite protests by Nigerians.

“The PDP however charges Nigerians to be extra vigilant at this time as our party also demands that the Presidential Task Force outlines the states and local governments where the Chinese doctors are expected to operate, to enable Nigerians monitor their activities as well as the aftermath of such activities,” the statement said.
The index case of the disease was reported late last year in the Chinese city of Wahum in Hubei province.

Although reports said there has not been further spread in Wahum and some infected persons cured, a whopping 81802 cases were reported in China. Of the figure, 77279 patients reportedly recovered while 3333 died.

Although thebspread of COVID-19 in Nigeria is low and limited to a few areas while many states are undergoing lockdown, there is the fear that things might get worse in days ahead.

 

 

Inflation, Fleecing Rise As States Enforce Lockdown

03.04.20

Authorities of some states have eventually locked down social and even economic activities in their respective states as total number of patients with the pandemic coronavirus increased to 184 on Thursday.

In Lagos where the index case was recorded plus seven new cases, enforcement of the sit-at-home order appears effective as vehicular and pedestrian movements are quite sparse with occasional marked vans on the roads.

Some centres like Ojuelegba,  Mishin-Isolo intersection, Computer village in Ikeja; Obalende, Idumuota, Alaba International and Oshodi  known for high human density and economic activities are deserted last Thursday; wearing war-time atmosphere. “People are complying,” said a policeman on duty at Obalende in Lagos Island.

“It was difficult at the beginning of the lockdown but now they are complying because many people are now aware that it (lockdown) is for their good,” he added; but wouldn’t say if anyone was arrested.

“Only Oduduwa (Lagos Police Command Information Office) can give you such information,” he politely replied to inquiry.
According to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in its tweeter handle on Thursday 10 new case emerged, increasing the total to 184 in the country.

“Ten new cases of COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria – seven in Lagos and three in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“As of 08:00 pm on 2nd of April, there are 184 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. Twenty have been discharged with two deaths.

“Currently, Lagos has 98 confirmed cases, FCT- 38, Osun – 14, Oyo- eight, Akwa Ibom- five, Ogun- four, Edo- four, Kaduna- four, Bauchi- three, Enugu- two, Ekiti- two, Rivers- one, and Benue- one,” NCDC said.

However, 11 COVID-19 patients were discharged on Thursday in Lagos according to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this on his tweeter handle, even as seven new cases were reported same day in the state.

“The (discharged) patients include two females and nine males. Their results came out negative in two rounds of tests,” said the governor. “I want to use this opportunity to, once again, thank our frontline health workers and other professionals for their service.

“Let me reiterate that this is not the time to relax, but to maintain our vigilance because of the community infection that we are beginning to see. I assure you that in the end, we will hoist a flag of victory – with your cooperation and by the grace of the Almighty,” Sanwo-Olu added.

In Delta and Anambra states where no positive case has, so far, been reported, enforcement of the declared lockdown by the respective state governments appeared quite strict but less effective,

Though the popular Onitcha market in Anambra State was shut while a few vans were occasionally sighted, a few traders still stole into their shops with police connivance. Some traders in Onitcha who reside in Asaba and its environs returned on foot on Wednesday, the first day of the lockdown in Delta, as there were no commercial vehicles to ferry them across the states.  Some interstate travellers who arrived state boundaries were allowed in by the police after allegedly collecting sums of money ranging from 3,000NGR to 10,000NGR.

In Warri, southern Delta, a-28-year old man, Joseph Pessu, was shot dead. A local said he was shot dead by a soldier during argument but the local could not confirm if the argument was over the sit-at-home order by the state government.

The state’s information commissioner, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, who confirmed the incident, said Delta State Government had ordered an investigation into what he described as “alleged killing,” even while aware that the state government had sent condolences to the family of the murdered man. 

Aniagwu in a statement in Asaba said government was worried about the report of “the alleged killing by security agencies on regular patrol duty.”

The Commissioner said the state government had sent a delegation to the deceased family to condole with them over the loss of their son.

He stated that the military authorities had been contacted to carry out an investigation into what led to the killing of the man. 

He however called on the people to remain calm without taking laws into their hands while the government would conduct an investigation into the killing.

There are also allegations that police in parts of Delta were arresting people on the streets and extorting money from them.

Responding to inquiry on the phone, the Public Relations Officer of the state police command, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya said the situation is a lockdown as she appealed to people to comply with the order.

Onome spoke like someone inundated with unpleasant reports while expressing disappointment at people’s failure to comply with the order. She however did not comment on the alleged fleecing by the police.

She explained that people were not suposed to drive to the filling stations but could walk to nearby stations if need be.

Cars and motorcycles were impounded on Thursday by the task force.

The Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, in harmony, said the situation was stricter than a curfew adding that the action of the government was in the best interest of the people. He appealed to local council chairmen in the state to monitor strategic neighbourhood markets to ensure compliance while major markets and departmental stores in the state remain shut.

Although by the arrangement of the state government, some strategic markets could operate under the supervision of council chairmen between the hours of 8AM and 4PM, a few only opened in the evening ostensibly to avoid a repeat of molestation suffered last Wednesday.

However, three feared cases reported last weekend in Delta have been tested and returned negative, even as the state government formicated the state last Tuesday, the second time in two weeks.

Cost of living has risen by more than double in some states of the federation as authorities in such states enforce the lockdown orders.

“If this thing (lockdown) goes beyond a week, people will die of hunger,” a passerby, who attempted but failed to buy domestic kerosene in Issele-Uku in Aniocha North Council of Delta, was heard lamenting last Thursday.

The National Coordinator for the campaign against COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, Thursday said businesses exempted from the lockdown also included markets, supermarkets and food stores which he said could open for four hours daily.

“The decision of the PTF is that satellite markets will operate every other day from 10 am to 2 pm. This does not refer to the main markets that are already closed and neither does it refer to markets that had been closed by local authorities. We do not expect them to open.

“But for markets that supply neighbourhood, we will allow them to operate for just four hours every other day.

“I need to re-emphasise to shop owners, particularly those operating supermarkets and food stores,  that they are allowed to operate only if they are dealing with food and perishable items, including pharmaceuticals,” said Aliyu.

 

 

 

IOC Postpones 2020 Olympic Games

24.03.20

ACCEPTING the request of the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has postponed the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Though Abe had requested that the Games be postponed by one year, IOC said the games would be held before summer 2021.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” said IOC in a statement after its meeting with Japanese authorities on Tuesday.

The rest of IOC statement reads:
“The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“They were joined by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.

“President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.

“In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.

“The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘accelerating’. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

“The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

 

 

Country Music Legend, Kenny Rogers Dies At 81

21.03.20

COUNTRY music legend Kenny Rogers, whose career spanned six decades, has died at the age of 81, his family said late Friday.
“Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” they said in a statement.
The family said they were planning a small private service “out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.”
A three-time Grammy winner, Rogers was known for a string of hits including “The Gambler,” “Lucille” and “Islands in the Stream.”
In 2018 Rogers scrapped the final dates of his farewell tour due to health concerns.
Born in Texas, Rogers started his career in the late 1950s and quickly became active in rockabilly, jazz and other genres that he brought into his country style.
He went on to have 24 number one hits, was a six-time Country Music Awards winner and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
His easygoing ballads and constant touring won him mainstream pop appeal, as have his popular takes on Christmas standards.
Rogers also came to prominence through his collaboration with Dolly Parton and appearances on films and television programs including “The Muppet Show.”
(AFP)

 

 

 

American Dies From COVID-19 In Nigeria

19.03.20

EKITI State, southwest Nigeria, has recorded the first casualty to the endemic coronavirus (COVID-19) with an American visitor to the country suspected to have been killed by the virus last Wednesday.

The State’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, said the driver, who drove the American and his female caretaker from Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos also tested positive to the virus.

She added that though the female caretaker returned negative, she had been put under self isolation for two weeks, stressing that test on the dead American was inconclusive, perhaps due to the hazards involved.

The text of Yaya-Kolade runs thus: “The confirmed case is suspected to have been infected while driving an American Caucasian, male, 27 years old, who was visiting Nigeria from Richmond, Virginia, USA in the company of his caregiver, a Nigerian female Age 31, of Ekiti Origin.

“The American male and his Nigerian female caregiver arrived Nigeria on 3rd March 2020 through the Muritala Mohammed International Airport Lagos. Preliminary investigations revealed that the pair were driven by our confirmed case to Ibadan, where they stayed for two weeks, and arrived Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State on 13th March, 2020,” she explained.

“A day after their arrival, the American male fell ill and he was taken to a private hospital where he was referred to a tertiary hospital. Unfortunately, he died from complications of his illness.

“The hospital authorities alerted the State Taskforce and samples were taken from the American male as well as his two companions. The test for the male driver came back positive; the test for the female caregiver came back negative while the test for the American male was inconclusive.

“We have commenced the process of contact tracing, working with the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) following the team’s itinerary since they landed in Nigeria on the 3rd of March 2020. We have also contacted the Oyo State Government since it was recorded that they stayed in Ibadan for two weeks before arriving Ekiti State.

“The confirmed case is very stable and not showing any symptoms while NCDC will repeat the test for the caregiver who is also in self isolation. The Ekiti State Task Force on COVID-19 is following the NCDC Case Management Protocols with diligence. We want to urge Ekiti residents to stay calm and ensure they observe the prevention steps that are being publicized on all credible media.

“It is important to state that this likely index case was on a short visit and had not been in Ekiti State for up to 72 hours before his death. The Ekiti State Taskforce on COVID-19 advises residents to continue to take self-preventive measures by washing their hands with soap and water, covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, observing social distancing and to alert the authorities of any suspected case by calling the 112 Emergency Number or 09062970434, 09062970435, 09062970436.

“The Government of Ekiti State will continue to update the public on new developments as necessary in our commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of all Ekiti residents.”

By last Wednesday, seven cases had been confirmed in Nigeria. With the first death in Burkina Faso reported last Wednesday, the death of the American in Nigeria brings to two in sub-Saharan Africa, though WHO African Region Office last week said there were 147 case in over 15 updated to 30 African countries.

 

 

 

 

Oshiomhole Gets Reprieve From Appeal Court

16.03.20

THE embattled national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, Monday, got a reprieve as Appeal Court ordered a stay of execution of the Abuja High Court’s judgment which suspended him as the national chairman of the party.

A-three-man panel of the court, led by Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaha unanimously granted the reliefs as contained in an ex-parte motion argued by the lead counsel to Oshiomhole and the party, Mr. Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

Earlier on Monday the Appeal Court had postponed indefinitely hearing in Oshiomhole’s case against his suspension by the High Court.

However, later same day, the court reversed itself and heard the relief sought by Oshiomhole in the evening.
The court also restrained the respondents from taking any further action relative to the earlier order by Justice Danlami Senchi of the Abuja High Court.

Justice Yahaya appealed to politicians to device internal means of resolving their differences without having to stress the courts.
President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja met with state governors under APC last Monday where it was resolved that the meeting of National Executive Committee of the party originally scheduled for this Tuesday be postponed.

It was speculated that the major item of the postponed meeting was to decide the fate of Oshiomhole.

 

 

 

Delta Ends School Sports Festival, Gears For Edo 2020

12.03.20

AHEAD the National Sports Festival coming up in Benin-City, the Edo State capital beginning March 22, Delta State concluded its annual School Games Festival last Wednesday at Steve Keshi International Stadium in Asaba with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa pledging maximum support for sports development in the state.
 
At the colorful ceremony performed by school children federated across the 25 council areas of the state, Governor Okowa of Delta State said his administration would continue to develop school sports to ensure that sports talents in the state are harnessed for maximum benefits.

With St. Patrick College Asaba providing a masterpiece band, College of Commerce Warri lifting the trophy, Government Model Secondary School Asaba performing Olympic-standard acrobats for the closing ceremony and young sprinters creating new records, Basic and Secondary School Education Commissioner, Chief Patrick Ukah said he didn’t miss the target.

“It is successful. I am quite happy. We have prepared our children; and we look forward to harvesting gold medals at Edo 2020; and present talented Deltans for future international sports competitions,” the elated Ukah told CourtlyNews.

At the end of the championship, College of Commerce, Warri, clinched the first position; followed by Government Model Secondary School, Asaba and West-End Secondary Schools also in Asaba taking the bronze.

In his speech, Governor Okowa noted that school sports continue to be a foundation of grassroots sports in any society while the individual schools are the driving force.

Part of his statement: "From inception, this administration became committed to the development of grassroots sports; as there are countless raw and budding talents that abound in our schools across the nooks and crannies of the State which are wasting, but waiting and begging to be tapped which is why my administration is unequivocally committed to the provision of sports equipment and facilities in all schools across the State.

"We will continue to do this until every school, even in the remotest community in the State, is provided with standard sporting equipment and facilities. This is part of our ‘Stronger Delta’ vision and agenda of this administration.

"This sports festival is designed as one of the numerous sporting events to provide another opportunity in shaping the future of our youths. Participation in sports, especially athletics, is one sure way in which our youths can learn various significant life skills like team work, leadership, responsibilities and discipline.

"Here in Delta State, our people are very passionate about sports, which is an impetus for our ceaseless efforts to maintain the State’s dominant position in all sports.

"Our world today shows that school sports can become a foundation on which our future in sports is built and my administration is steadfast on youth empowerment hence its commitment to also improve on sports and the facilities at all levels.

"Today’s event is therefore in line with our goal of providing opportunity to every youth to avail them very conducive atmosphere to exhibit their talents and this sports festival is coming at a most auspicious time when sports in general has become both major recreational and career pursuits attracting greater economic attention worldwide."

Governor Okowa who congratulated those who participated in the festival, called on well meaning individuals, corporate organizations and non-government organizations, including international bodies to partner with his administration in sponsoring sporting events. He observed that no government could single-handedly shoulder the huge financial responsibility of organizing sports.

Earlier in his address, Basic and Secondary Education Commissioner, Chief Patrick Ukah said over 2000 schools participated in the athletic events for Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools categories in the state.

He commended the governor for reviving school sports including the Headmasters and Principals Cup, as well as the compulsory annual school inter-house sports competition in all public schools in the state.

The coach representing Zone F comprising Uwvie, Warri South and Okpe council areas, Mr. Ebikueluye Benedict, told CourtlyNews that they went round the schools in the zone testing and picking talents for the festival and 70 percent of the participants from the zone were first timers.

He said his school, St. Peter Clevers, Aghalokpe, made good outing in all the indoor events losing in only table tennis. He vowed to pick gold at the next edition of the festival.

The captain of the team, Mr. Bedi Aghogho said though he took a bronze home from the festival, he had just begun and that he would make it to the Olympics in the next couple of years.

“We will take gold next year; and our name at the next national sports festival shall be written as ‘Delta State Team,” Bedi said in his aspiration.

Johnson Wilson of Oyede Comprehensive High School, Isoko North also told CourtlyNews that his aim was to become a star in sports. “I’m here to become a star someday,” he said, nodding affirmation; “the festival presents a platform for attaining the dream,” he added.

The coach for the Zone C comprising Isoko South, Ndokwa East and West, Mr. Orogun Efemena also noted that “the festival is a platform for hunting new talents,” to replace the aging ones.

He noted that it was not easy bringing up the children from various schools amidst challenges ranging from inadequate facilities and difficulty in convincing parents to release their children for training and for the festival.

In a similar development, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare has noted that Delta State Government had been playing a leading role in sports development in the country.

Dare who made this remark same Wednesday during a courtesy visit to Governor Okowa at Government House, Asaba, noted that the state had been making great exploits in sporting activities.

According to him, the state performed excellently well during the National Youth Sports Festival held in Illori, Kwara State.

The Minister noted that he had seen consistency in sports development in Delta State since Okowa became the governor of the state.

He stated that his team was in the state to identify with Governor Okowa's efforts towards sports development.

"As a country and as a Ministry, all our plans are going on smoothly for the 2020 Olympics," the Minister said, pointing out that a good number of the athletes that they were preparing for the world sporting events were from Delta State.

The Minister who was accompanied by the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, commended Okowa for making the NYSC orientation camp in the state one of the best in the country.

Receiving the Minister and his entourage, Governor Okowa said that the state was very passionate in promoting sporting activities through sports development.

He stated that the state government had institutionalized Headmasters' cup, Principals' cup and school sports festival with a view to harnessing the sports potentials in the state.

While expressing hope that everything was ready for the 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo State, the governor said the state would give the needed support to its team to enable them excel during the festival.

"We are going to give the needed support to our team. It is our hope that Delta State would host the next edition of the National Sports Festival," the governor stated, even as he expressed hope that the country would do better in the 2020 Olympics.

At the end of the visit, the minister and his entourage moved to the Stephen Keshi stadium, Asaba where they were conducted round various facilities at the stadium by the Chairman, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick; Chief Solomon Ogba and the Chairman, Delta State Sports Commission, Chief Toniobok Okowa.

Earlier, Governor Okowa received the torch of unity for the 2020 National Sports Festival at the Stephen Keshi stadium, Asaba.

 

Okowa Restates Commitment To Child's Rights Protection

05.03.20

DELTA state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, on Wednesday reaffirmed his administration’s continued commitment to protecting the rights of the child.

The governor gave the assurance in Asaba while receiving Chief Field Officer of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, Dr. Guy Yogo.

The governor commended UNICEF for challenging governments at different levels in paying special attention to the welfare of the child, adding that his administration had always engaged in programmes on child's rights protection.

Governor Okowa maintained that the state government believed that the child had certain inalienable rights, which he said the government would continue to defend.

The governor expressed gratitude to UNICEF for its sustained effort at ensuring that children were protected through programmes like immunization.

According to him, when one imparts on the mother and the child, it is an impact on the future of the people given that children represent the future. Anything that happens to them tends to create a block in our progress, he noted.

The governor’s speech reads in part: “In our state, we are paying special attention on the rights of the child and we are bringing it to the fore as they have a right to exist; that is the major drive that has brought us to the state health insurance programme.

“Since 2004, the National Health Insurance Act was founded and there have been challenges which have made it not to attain the level it ought to be nationally due to low advocacy.

“There is no buy-in from state governments but in Delta, we are trying to provide basic healthcare of which 50 per cent of the funding is to be covered by the government.

“We are taking the insurance scheme serious as we have ensured that children under the age of five and women are covered. We have taken a holistic approach to ensuring the welfare of our women and children.

“We are also trying to engage everybody with the healthcare scheme which will ensure that both men and youths are also covered; families will be covered; so, we are doing a lot of advocacy to get Deltans interested in this scheme.

“To a large extent, the civil servants are already enrolled in the scheme; local government councils are already coming on board as we carry the advocacy to the grassroots.’’

“With sustained advocacy, Delta would set the standard for other states to emulate, because a success story here will definitely create an effect, which I believe other states will see and be able to buy into the scheme.

“Whatever area UNICEF will offer technical assistance and other forms of assistance such as mobilization, will be accepted by us; because in the last three years, a lot has been done and a lot more is yet to be done.

“We hope to keep up with the standard which we have set because nationally we are still the leading state.

“As a state, we are mindful of the fact that unemployment rate is at an all time high and youths who have graduated still look for jobs.
“We believe that the best way to ensure employment for our people is to ensure that right from school days, our children should be imparted with skills so that they can have something to think through.

“We are trying to strengthen technical education by making sure that all local government areas have one technical school and we have revamped six technical schools in the state which are currently active and functional.

“We have set up empowerment and entrepreneurial programmes which cover women and youths; a lot more has to be done. In spite of the limited resources, we will continue to do our best to impact positively on our people.

“With support from organizations like UNICEF, I believe that we can achieve greater things.”

Earlier, the UNICEF national boss had commended the governor for the successes recorded by his administration.

He said that the UN body would partner with the state to achieve more results in health insurance programme as a pathway to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the state.

Yogo added that UNICEF would help the state in building transformative partnerships to accelerate results for children and women in the state.

 

 

 

Nigerian Health Facilities Placed On Alert Over COVIP-19

28.02.20

FOLLOWING the discovery of an Italian victim of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lagos, Friday morning, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said Nigerians required information but not fear concerning the situation and the diseases itself.

The Centre’s director-general, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it had deployed its rapid response team to Lagos to support the State Government in managing the first case of the disease.

Ihekweazu advised managers of health facilities in the country to remain on high alert, while assuring Nigerians of their safety against the disease.

”The NCDC will continue to keep Nigerians informed. It is important for them to be focused on facts and not fear.

”Nigerians should protect themselves by staying calm, drink lots of water,” he added.

He further advised Nigerians to frequently wash their hands, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, practice respiratory hygiene and if anyone have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, they should seek medical care early.

He assured Nigerians that with appropriate information, treatment and precautions, Nigeria will beat COVID19 like Ebola.
However, World Health Organization (WHO) has produced a health guide against common infection of contagious diseases.

They include:
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand. Rub or wash them with soap and water.

Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least one metre (three feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance

Follow the directions of your local health authority.
National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves

WHO further advised that one stay at home if he or she begins to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and a slight runny nose, until recovery to avoid complications. “Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses,” WHO stated in its recent bulletin.

 

 

 

Review of Imo Gov Ruling: Supreme Court Adjourns

18.02.20

NIGERIA'S Supreme Court has adjourned the review of its January 14 ruling on the governorship election of Imo State considered by the legal prefesion and general public as the most controversial of the time.

The Court had ruled that Hope Uzodinma won the election after it had excluded votes authenticated by the electoral commission and added some votes rejected by the commission.

When the matter came up Tuesday morning for hearing, Counsel to Emeka Ihedioha, Kanu Agabi (SAN), applied for adjournment as he told the Court that he was awaiting further processes.

“My lords, processes are still coming in. Up till this morning, we were still receiving processes,” Agabi told the Court; “we therefore apply for an adjournment to enable all the processes to come in.”

Counsels to Uzodinma, APC and INEC; Damian Dodo (SAN) and Taminu Inuwa (SAN) respectively, did not oppose the application; Dodo represented Uzodinma and his party, the APC.

However, there was drama shortly before the sitting. It was observed that Justice Inyang Okoro whose name appeared in the scheduled list for February 18 review did not eventually sit with the Panel while Justice Paul Galumje whose name was not in the cause list sat in the Panel. Justice Aminu Sanusi who was a member of the Panel which delivered the January 14 ruling also did not sit.

Those who sat in the Panel are Justices Tanko Muhammad, the CJN; Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the January 14 lead judgment; Sylvester Ngwuta; Olukayode Ariwoola; Uwani Abba-Aji; Amina Augie and Galumje.

 

 

 

Buhari Arrives Maidugiri Over Auno Massacre

13.2.20

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari flew in from Addis Ababa, landing Maidugiri, Borno State capital, to condole with the people of the state over last Sunday’s killing of over 30 persons by the terror group, Boko Haram. His presidential jet touched down Wednesday at 12.43pm.

The killed persons were travelling along Auno-Maidugiri Highway when they encountered a road block and attack by the terrorists who also burned hundreds of civilian vehicles on the highway. Military men arrived the scene hours after the attack.

While addressing participants at the AU summit last Monday before news of the killings got to him, Buhari had promised that all children kidnapped by the terrorist Boko Haram would be released during his tenure as president.

He didn’t give the actual time. Buhari was sworn in last May 29 2019 for another four years in office, after competing his first tenure in office.

The killings in northeast and other parts of Nigeria, mostly targeted at Chrisitans and farmers, have been ongoing in the past decade. Some of the captives of the terror group have been in captivity for more than two years, using Leah Sharibu as an example. She was kidnapped in February 2018 with about 110 students of Daptchi Government College in Yobe state northeast Nigeria. Some of the victims died in captivity, others released but the Islamists refused to release Leah on account of her refusal to renounce her Christianity.

A pictorial release by the Islamists last month showed doubtful picture of Leah in hijab. The Islamists claimed that she had renounced her religion, married to one of the commanders of the Group and delivered a baby boy in captivity.

Christian groups reacted and charged President Buhari and the nation’s service chiefs with insincerity of purpose. They rather declared fasting and prayer on the security situation in the country.

Regional groups across the federation also lost confidence in Buhari as they began to form regional security outfits in reaction to what critics called failure of the federal government to protect lives and property in the country. Northern Elders Forum early in the week said the situation had been compounded by Buhari’s mindset on the security realities in the country. They avowed their support for ‘Shege Ka Fassa’, a regional security outfit earlier announced by Arewa Consultative Group, another regional group in the north.

However Buhar repeatedly claimed he has been doing enough in accordance with his oath of office. He also commended his service chiefs even while he spoke last Monday in Addis Ababa.

 

 

 

Nigerian English Adopted At World Standard

25.01.20

NIGERIAN English words have found way into accepted world English lexicon as Oxford University Press (OUP) has added 29 words peculiarly used in Nigeria and parts of West Africa into the English Lexicon.

Published in its latest edition of Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the official developers of English Language identified the addition as ‘West African English’. This brings the number of accepted dialects of English in the world to 15.

OUP announcing this in a release entitled ‘West African English Pronunciations’, said it begun an expansion of English Language in the past four years.

The Release signed by OUP World English Editor, Danica Salazar, reads in parts: “We have been expanding our representation of written and spoken pronunciations from an increasing number of global varieties of English since 2016.

“Besides British and U.S. English pronunciations, which are given for all non-obsolete entries, words and phrases from specific World English (dialects) are given additional written and spoken pronunciations in the relevant variety.

“Our practice when working on World English is to review current scholarship and liaise with consultants and native speakers to develop a pronunciation model suitable for OED’s purposes. The model is used in transcribing researched pronunciations for both the new additions and existing OED entries which fall into the same category, so that coverage is achieved across the entire dictionary. These transcriptions then steer live voice recording sessions with native speakers to create our spoken pronunciations.”

Consultants on ‘West African English’ include a Nigerian academic, Kingsley Ugwuanyi, who lectures in English Language at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a doctoral student at Northumbria University. Another consultant is a German author, Ulrike Gut, a research fellow in Nigerian English.

Oxford University Press in its Release added that domesticating English in Nigeria, the country has continued to contribute to the development of English Language as a global language.

 “By taking ownership of English and using it as their own medium of expression, Nigerians have made, and are continuing to make, a unique and distinctive contribution to English as a global language.

 “We highlight their contributions in this month’s update of the Oxford English Dictionary, as a number of Nigerian English words make it into the dictionary for the first time. The majority of these new additions are either borrowings from Nigerian languages, or unique Nigerian coinages that have only begun to be used in English in the second half of the twentieth century, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Danica Salazar in the Release

.The additions of Nigerian words are as follows:
Agric (adj. & n.); barbing salon (n); buka (n); bukaretia (n); chop (v.); chop-chop (n.); danfo (n.); to eat money (in eat v.); ember months (n.); flag-off (in flag. v.); gist (n./3); gist (v./2); guber (adj.); kannywood (n.); K-leg (n.).

Other include: mama put (n.); next tomorrow (n. & adv); non-indigene (adj. & n.); okada (n.); put to bed (in put, v.); qualitative (adj.); rub minds together (in rub, v./1); sef (adv.); send-forth (n.); severally (adv.); tokunbo (adj.); zone (v.); zoning (n.).

The researchers have begun an interesting scholarship which will expand not only the English Language but has also begun a course of scholarship in Nigerian English. It will lead to the acceptance of certain expressions of English words in Nigeria, hitherto regarded as bad English.

However, observers note that the addition of Nigerian pidgins will create problems for examination agencies which may face future challenges in English as an official language in the country. For instance, the word “mama put” is a pidgin for certain class of food or restaurant, spoken among the uneducated folk largely in pedestrian settings.

Critics say the recognition of English nouns or verbs used in Nigeria as other terms would have been the standard in language development.

For instance, the recognition of ‘zone’ which is a noun but used also as a verb in Nigeria would have been a good standard in language development.
Again, addition of such word as ‘k-leg’, which is not only an adjective but also idiomatic in Nigeria, would have been well developed and explained in the new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Good additions are the words coined from local languages as in ‘tokunbo’ which is accepted to mean any foreign-used import.

Many of such words are however lacking in the new edition of the English Dictionary. For instance, Kenyan and Egyptian athletes who visited Nigeria during the 2019 All African Games were everywhere in Asaba scouting for ‘jollof rice,’ which they saw as a special delicacy. The word made headlines in the Kenyan and Egyptian newspapers after the programme.

No doubt, the researchers have opened a vital scholarship in Nigerian English which young undergraduates and post graduate scholars in the field are expected to explore.

 

 

 

 

 

CAN Rejects Sultan Abubakar's Claims, Cites Instances

29.12.19

THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar 111, ought to have maintained silence as he did while genocide and killings of Christians in parts of Nigeria were going on instead of cooking up stories now.

In a statement issued by its director of legal and public affairs, Samuel Kwamkur, CAN cited among others the invasion of churches where 11 worshippers were killed on Christmas Day, the killings of Priests and invasion of churches in Southern Kaduna and Benue, the beheading of an early hour preacher on duty in Abuja by the operatives of Islamic State in West African Province.

Some glaring cases included the murder of Eunice Olawale and David Tanko. Eunice was a Nigerian Christian female preacher, who was murdered by suspected Islamic extremists in the early hours of July 9, 2016 while on morning cry; while David, a Catholic priest, was killed and burnt in Benue while on a peace mission.

Part of the statement issued on Saturday runs thus:
“It was painful reading in the media that the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III, said there was no case of Christian persecution in the country where Christians are being killed on a daily basis and their landed property confiscated.

“It would have been better if the Sultan had remained quiet the way he did when those killings were taking place.

“According to a highly respected organisation, the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, a British non-profit organisation run by a member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Cox, no fewer than 1000 Christians were killed by the Fulani herdsmen this year alone while about 6000 have been killed since 2012 and 12000 displaced. If this is not persecution, what is it?

“If those who were responsible for the genocide in the Middle Belt were Fulani atheists ‘whose main interest is to protect their cattle,’ what stopped him (Sultan) from condemning the unprecedented genocide?

“By the way, if Fulani atheists took it upon themselves to be killing Christians the way they did in Benue, Southern Kaduna and Plateau, will it still not be called Christian persecution? Do the Fulani atheists have the right to kill people the way they did and are still doing in some states?”

Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar 111, the 20th sultan of Sokoto, is the President-General of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria. His recent claims and argument, to which CAN is reacting, seemed to have given credence to the allegations and claims by Christians, critics and rights groups that the killings of Christians in parts of northern Nigeria and Abuja were orchestrated.

 

 

Okowa Sings 2020 Budget; Govt to spend N395.47bn

13.12.19

DELTA State Government has approved the sum of N395.47 billion for the 2020 fiscal year; N6.28billion more than the earlier projected N389.19 billion proposed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in the Appropriation Bill presented to the state’s House of Assembly on November 6, 2019.

According to the bill signed last Thursday by the governor, the government will spend the sum of N172.15 billion on recurrent expenditure while the sum of N223.32billion is budgeted for capital expenditure.

While assenting to the Appropriation Bill, the governor promised to fast-track infrastructural projects for the benefit of Deltans during the period.

The governor signed the bill in Asaba in the presence of the Speaker Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, who presented it to him. Others include Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Christopher Ochor; Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Peter Mrakpor; Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owhefere and Clerk of the House, Barr. Lyna Ocholor.

The governor stated that in spite of the trying times in the nation, his administration would do its best to work with the budget to achieve its goals.

“With the Appropriation Bill signed into law today (December 12), it has become obvious that we as a government now have the financial document with which we can work and hit the ground early 2020,” said the governor.

“It is very instructive for us members of the executive arm of government that we pray that God will provide the resources projected within the budget in terms of internally-generated revenue.

“This is because if the resources do come from our IGR we will do the best that we can to execute projects and programmes in such a manner that it will be very impactful on the lives of our people.

“There is no doubt that despite the fluctuating price of oil, Nigeria still depends a lot on oil for the purpose of funding its budget both in the oil-producing and non-oil producing states and the Federal Government.

“As a state we have tried to be very reasonable with our budget size and I believe that it is the right thing for us to do because the budget itself is supposed to be a document in which we have a pact with the people of Delta, so if we have projections, we must put down those projections that we think are achievable.

“In the budget we have ensured that some key projects have been provided for which includes the construction of new technical colleges in all 25 local government areas in the state because as a government we believe that acquisition of technical skills will go a long way in equipping our youths to face the challenges ahead.

“The completion of all drainage projects as well as road projects will be seen too; our health sector will also receive more attention as well as other sectors,” the governor added.

He commended members of the legislature for the speed with which the bill was considered. “I truly thank Mr. Speaker and the House of Assembly for being very diligent in the course of their duties in handling the Appropriation Bill,” the governor said.

 

 

 

IPOB Attack Amaechi In Spain

07.12.19

NIGERIA’S Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, was attacked last Friday in Madrid but was rescued unhurt by the Spanish Police.

Amaechi who was in Spain for the climate change conference (COP 25) was attacked by members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who claimed the attack was part of their agitation against bad governance in Nigeria.

In a statement last night by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, the IPOB claimed responsibility for the attack on the minister, saying the group warned Nigerian bad politician whom it said brought hardship on the people.

The statement reads in part: “Yes, IPOB beat Amaechi the Transport Minister base on the standing order given by our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to reprimand those politicians who think they have arrived. IPOB Spain, precisely Madrid, beat Minister of Transport Chibuike Amaechi in Spain. The order was there before the attack on former Deputy Senate President Dr. Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany.

“IPOB is warning all those corrupt politicians who brought hardship to the people that we are waiting for them anywhere we meet or see them. We are telling the whole world why they must be dealt with because they are not sincere to the people, to the suffering citizens.

“We ask to retrace their steps otherwise IPOB in the Diaspora will continue to treat their foolishness anywhere around the world,” said the statement.

Explaining, using his twitter handle, @ChibuikeAmaechi, the minister said he was attacked by those he called “misguided Nigerians” but was rescued by the Spanish Police.

A similar attack was launched on former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu in August, this year in Nuremberg, Germany, while attending the Ndi-Igbo Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention in Germany.

Ekweremadu who acknowledged legitimate struggle for one’s human rights, said he was wrongly identified, especially at a time he was prosecuting the cause of Ndi-Igbo around the world.

“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency and the media as well as rallied the South East Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East. I nevertheless do not hold this to heart against them, for they know not what they do,” said Ekweremadu after the attack in August.

Members of IPOB do not believe that there could be any portion in Nigeria for the Igbo race, recalling events which led to the three-year civil war and events since the war ended in 1970. They therefore advocate for outright severance from the rest of the country. But their map of the touted Biafra has continued to attract mixed reactions from other parts of the former Southeast and Midwestern regions which the agitators include as parts of the proposed Biafra.

Many critics of the political structure of Nigeria have consistently argued that dismembering would bring endless anarchy in the West African most populated country; they rather advocate for a true federalism, stressing the need for stronger regions.
Several national conferences held since the war ended endorsed adoption of a true federalism, but no government has been sincere at implementation.

 

 

Knights of St. Mulumba Task FG On Security, Nationhood

02.12.19

ORDER of the Knights of St. Mulumba (KSM) Nigeria has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to decentralize all agents of government for effective implementation of federalism, economic growth, security and justice in the country.

The Order, after its 40th Supreme Convention in Jos, north central Nigeria said it aligned with the Synod of Catholic Bishops in the country to demand and stress the need to improve existing bonds of nationhood rather than tearing the country apart as the seeming actions or inactions of the government may have tended.

“We wholly align with the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in calling for decentralization of all agencies of government for effective results and the urgent necessity to pursue national integration through judicious and equitable sharing of appointments, resources and social amenities. We admonish our political leaders to at all times put on the toga of nationalism and ensure equity, fairness and that national interest trumps other political considerations.”

While briefing newsmen after the convention, the Supreme Knight, Sir Diamond Ovueraye, who made the above assertion, added that there was the need to continue to hold government accountable for its actions or failures, especially realizing that no one in the country would say things were improving after 59 years of political independence of the country.

“We will continue our advocacy for good governance and holding government accountable for their actions. At 59 years of nationhood, who can thump his chest and say all is well? Is it our educational system, our hospitals, roads, our political system, our youths, or our basic infrastructure? Is the dire employment situation improving? What of security of lives and property? Is the poverty level improving?” he queried.

The Knight of St. Mulumba is not sure that government has, or is making sincere efforts to improve on the economy and safety of lives in the country.

“Are there attempts at improving the bonds of our nationhood or are the seams that hitherto held us together, knowingly and flagrantly being torn apart? Is there any sign that our usually violence-prone elections and our do-or-die politics abating? The xenophobic attacks in South Africa, aptly illustrate how low we have sunk as a nation, terrorized at home and unwanted outside our shores. How sad?” he further wondered.

“Perhaps more intriguing and damning is our parlous security as bandits, kidnappers and killers, terrorize, rape, kill and are now coveted, settled and rehabilitated.

“We are deeply saddened with these happenings. It is on these glaring inadequacies and challenges of the current policing efforts that we advocate state or regional police that comprise people from that region, known to the people, conversant with the territory and not acting as an occupational force.”

The Knights have just added to the legions of concerned Nigerians worried over the state of insecurity and comatose status of the economy. Some states like Zamfara state having lost faith in the federal security apparatus, recently entered into agreements with bandits operating in the state.

The Army joined the conventional civil security institutions to curb banditry and kidnap. It commenced nationwide ‘Operation Positive Identification’ last month to flush out illegal aliens believed to act as terror mercenaries, having infiltrated the population.

Despite civil society outcry against such operation, the National Assembly permitted the Army, believing that anything to solve insecurity situation in the country must be deployed.

 

 

 

Okowa, Clergy Condemn Death Penalty In Hate Speech

25.11.19

GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and many clergymen, Sunday, joined the rest of Nigerians in condemning the proposed death penalty in the Hate Speech Bill currently before the National Assembly.

Okowa who spoke in Abuja during the 2019 General Harvest of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Anglican Communion, said in as much as hate speech is condemnable, death penalty as proposed was outdated and barbaric.

“I condemn hate speech in totality, but we shouldn’t be moving in that direction; it is not the right part.

“More so, when people could misjudge the intentions of whosoever is making a speech, we may not know who will be the determinant at the end of the day and what will constitute the entirety of the hate speech.
“So, you may just find innocent souls dying for nothing and these are souls created by God and not by man,” said Governor Okowa.

Concerning various crises in the country, on which basis the proponents of ‘Hate Speech’ relied, the governor who turned a fine preacher said whosoever had trust in God should have nothing to fear.

“We must take fear away from our lives, we must also submit totally to God and whatever the situation is, God will resolve it and answer our prayers.

“There are lessons to be learnt for this period that God has taken us through. If we can recall those lessons and go back to God, He will definitely bless Nigeria again,” the governor assured.

The Delta State governor was not alone as the Anglican Primate of Nigeria, Right Rev. Nicholas Okoh, also condemned the death penalty clause in the bill, wondering whether drafters of the bill did it to spite the people of Nigeria. He reminded them that power is ephemeral just as anyone could be victim of laws enacted in anger.

 “We should not make laws to spite the people. Law is a social science that should organize the society and not to destroy the society,” he said.

In the same vein, Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Kaduna, Rev. Yusuf Jafalan called on the National Assembly to remove the death penalty clause in the bill. He argued that almost everyone would be victim if enacted into law. He also supported the call for the establishment of state police to effectively manage banditry, terror and kidnap in the country.

The Vicar of All Saints Anglican Church, Rev. Ernest Onuoha, Vicar also advised the National Assembly to remove the proposed death penalty clause.

The clergy said there were many other serious things bothering the people of Nigeria to which hate speech could be traced. He was of the view that government should tackle such issues in the country to be able to remove hate speeches in Nigerian parlance.

”We have other things bothering the nation: people are suffering, roads are bad, people are unemployed and electricity is not working. These should be the focus of the government; not hate speech.

”If the people are not disappointed in the government, they will not go out of their way talking the way they are talking.

”The people are speaking out this way because there is an indication of failure to address the problem of the masses.

”Rather than enact the death penalty for hate speech, the government should make policies and pass Bills that will enhance the quality of life of Nigerians,” the clergy said,

The clergy is optimistic that hope abound where there is God.
”I believe strongly that God will heal, revive and restore Nigeria back to its glory. So the youths should continue hoping and looking on to God, who, in His time will intervene,” he added.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi was quoted by reports as saying that the death penalty clause would be removed during debate. But rights activists are worried that muzzling the media is the target of the government, seeking a legal alibi to clamp down on certain media platforms that are critical of the government.

 

Okowa restates confidence in the Judiciary

19.11.19

DELTA State Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has restated his confidence in the nation’s judiciary while commenting on the recent confirmation of his victory in the March 9 Governorship election.

Ogboru and his party, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), had gone to the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the election of Okowa for a second term as governor of Delta State.

INEC had declared Okowa and PDP winners of the March 9 governorship election in Delta State, having obtained majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.

The appellants in 37 grounds of appeal filed by their counsel, Nicholson Ichekor, asked the Appeal Court to void the entire judgment of the tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal erred in law when it dismissed their petition for lack of merit.

The three-man panel led by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had in September dismissed Ogboru and APC’s petition against the re-election of Governor Okowa on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove the cases of irregularities and malpractices as claimed in their petition.

Governor Okowa in the recent statement said the petition was “needless,” as his re-election was incontrovertible.
In the appeal against the decision of the tribunal, Ogboru and APC argued that the lower court erred in law when it relied on the issue of over-voting instead of allocation of votes as canvassed in their petition to dismiss their petition.

The appellants in urging the court to nullify Okowa’s re-election, claimed that in some polling units, the total number of votes cast at the election exceeded the total number of voters who were accredited to vote. The appellants also claimed that there was non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act relative to accreditation of voters.

In response to the appeal, Okowa and the PDP urged the Appeal Court to dismiss Ogboru and APC’s appeal for being incompetent and unmeritorious.

In their brief of argument by Mr. Damien Dodo, SAN, and Mr Akinlolu Kehinde, SAN, for Okowa and PDP respectively, the respondents submitted that the appellants failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

The respondents maintained that they had led cogent, credible and reliable evidence to show that they won the governorship election held in Delta on March 9.

They submitted that the appellants, on the other hand, failed to prove how their claims of over-voting and non-compliance affected the results of the election.

Adopting his brief of arguments, PDP’s counsel, Kehinde, faulted the claim of the appellants which they said was based on reports from the smart card reader.

“Regardless of the fact that the total number of accredited voters recorded on the smart card reader report is less than the total number of votes cast on the election day, the appellants have failed to prove their allegations of over-voting.

“The reliance of the appellants on the smart card reader report is fatal to their case and this Honourable Court is humbly urged to so hold and resolve this issue in favour of the 2nd respondent” Kehinde submitted.

Moreover, the lawyer argued that appellants’ case at the tribunal was one of over-voting and noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act on accreditation.

PDP further claimed that appellants failed to prove their allegations of over-voting and noncompliance with the Electoral Act polling unit by polling unit.

“The appellants failed to prove that the allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act substantially affected the result of the election”.

The appellants called a total of twenty (20) witnesses and tendered a total of 4, 523 documents in evidence during the trial, while the first respondent called seven witnesses and tendered 94 Exhibits. The 2nd respondent called three witnesses and tendered six Exhibits.

The 3rd respondent did not call any witness, but tendered two Exhibits.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Habeeb Abiru, the appellate Court upheld the judgment of the tribunal which dismissed Ogboru’s petition for lacking in merit.

Before its ruling on Friday November 15, 2019 in Abuja, the Court had earlier reserved a date for the judgment.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Friday in Asaba, the governor said the judgment was a confirmation of the popular mandate given to his party, the PDP, by the majority of Deltans. He thanked them for their continued support

The statement reads in part:
 “Let me congratulate Deltans and our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for this great victory.

“This judgment is victory for democracy because, the Judiciary has always proven that they are just and always committed to the course of justice and equity.

“It is also a confirmation of the popular votes given to us by the majority of Deltans who voted in that election.

“Our administration will remain committed to the development of our dear state in spite of the litany of court distractions from a needless electoral dispute.

“Let us continue to pray for our dear state and our country because we believe that your prayers have continued to pave the way for our serial victories and achievements.

“Let us continue to have trust in the Lord, our God, to be with us in the time of our needs so that we will continue to remain peaceful and united as we strive to build a Stronger Delta of our dream,” Governor Okowa said in the statement.

 

 

APC, Groups intensify protests against Akpabio

04.11.19

FEDERAL Gvernment of Nigeria will open a new account into which all failed contractors of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be required to refund all mobilization funds released to them at the time of commissioning the various projects which were eventually not executed or uncompleted, according to minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.

Akpabio who made the disclosure at the weekend while receiving a concerned group from the Niger Delta region vowed that no “campaign of calumny” by those he classified as “faceless individuals” would stop his ministry from achieving the focus of the government for the programme, founded in 2000 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The group was led by Alfred Etuk.

The minister lamented that there was little or nothing in the region to show for the huge funds expended by the government over the years.

Some other groups which include Akpabio’s ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) in the region had criticized Akpabio, saying he had personal agenda. Some alleged he fraudulently collected money from a former managing director of the Commission Nsima Ekere.

But Akpabio dismissed the allegation describing it as “spurious and part of the conspiracy of those,” whom he said, had “been milking the resources meant for the development of the Niger Delta for the past 19 years.”
In a statement which he issued Sunday, he added: “It is part of their effort to frustrate the forensic audit of the accounts of the NDDC ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari. I did not receive any kobo from anyone in the NDDC or any other agency of government and would want anyone who has any claim to the contrary to come out openly to lay the fact bear before the public.”

However, another group, the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC) is urging President Muhammadu Buhari to order a probe into contract award for the clearing of water hyacinth by the Commission.
Its chairman, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, said “alleged existential fraud and corruption” were “associated with the award of the contracts.”
Another group, the Niger Delta People Confederation (NDPC) also rejected the interim governing committee set up by the minister and demanded the removal of Akpabio as minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, accusing him of interfering in the management of the Commission.
A group of APC leaders in the region led by the party’s South-South national vice chairman, Hillard Eta, is also protesting Akpabio’s actions, adding that his utterances had been insulting to the party in the region.
“Akpabio should not be embarrassing us. The president has set up a governing council and Akpabio would come and set up an interim management committee. It is unacceptable to the stakeholders of the Niger Delta.
“It is our position that the NDDC should be removed from the Ministry of Niger Delta and brought back to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), under the Presidency where the Niger Delta people can have maximum benefit,” said Eta.

Since he was appointed minister mid this year, Akpabio has never hidden his feelings and views about what he regarded as massive fraud in the management and awards of contracts by the Commission, prompting the president to set up a forensic audit of the Commission.

 

 

Police in Abuja parade 81 kidnap suspects

22.10.19

IT was victory for security operatives in Nigeria last Monday in Abuja, when they paraded 81 kidnap suspects among them were nationals of Chad and Niger. Others among them were suspects for cybercrime, robbers and other related crimes.

According to Nigeria’s Police spokesman, Mr. Frank Mba, the suspected were apprehended in Kaduna, Taraba and other parts of the country.

Mba, said the Chadian and Nigerien among the suspects arrested by the Intelligence Response Team and the Special Tactical Squad of the force were six ex-convicts who abducted a Sokoto businessman and lawmaker.  

Mba named the Sokoto abductors, who formed their gang while serving jail terms in Katsina prisons, as Rufai Muhammed, Isah Abdullahi, Abdulrasheed Labaran, Abba Zayyanu, Ayuba Awwalu, and Rabiu Ibrahim.

 Rafiu Mohammed said members of the gang met while serving jail terms in Katsina prison. He said they shifted from robbery to kidnap because they realize they would make more money through kidnap. According to Mba over N10 million was recovered from the gang.

A member of another kidnap gang, Imuranu Ibrahim who usually dressed in military camouflage, said his gang had carried out six robberies on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway

Speaking through an interpreter, he said, “I am a farmer and also an armed robber. I have engaged in six robberies before I was arrested. He said other horrible things which Courtly editors consider too offensive to readers.

 Banditry mainly in parts of the north in the past five years reached alarming state, forcing the police to set up various security squads to combat the menace. Nigeria’s immigration authority replied by closing its borders with some countries including Niger and Benin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nigeria's Senate Takes Case To God

17.10.19

NIGERIA’S Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, says the nation requires prayer to manage its many unfettered national crises.

“Given the situation we are in today, the various challenges that Nigeria and its people face, we even need to pray more,” Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, told a delegation of Christian Legislators’ Fellowship of the National Assembly, Wednesday.

“I believe that this country needs prayers, and that this country needs unity amongst all faith.

“We all worship one God, and he is the only way through which we can have our country led properly.” Lawan added.

Led by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and the Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the Christian lawmakers said they were on a visit to invite the Senate President to the 10th National Prayer Breakfast coming up on October 31, 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

The Senate President said the Prayer Breakfast was timely and urged all to first seek the face of God for answered prayers ahead of the programme.

“Today, we face serious security challenges. Where we have security agencies who are mandated to ensure that we are secured and protected; if nothing, we should pray for them that they are able to perform well.

“It is not only in empowering them with weapons; the power of God is beyond weapons.

“I am sure that all people of faith will continue to pray for our security agencies to protect us,” Lawan added.

He noted that to be able to continue as leaders, there was the need to be honest and accountable.

“As leaders, we have the responsibility to ensure that we continue to provide leadership, to continue to seek the intervention of God in the way and manner that we lead our people.

“We have to do whatever we can to be as truthful, transparent and accountable to our people. This requires the guidance of God.”

 

Minimum Wage; Confusion As Talks Resume

16.10.19

It was confusion this morning at public workplaces across states of the federation arising from the inconclusive negotiation on the ‘New National Minimum Wage.’

In Delta State, students of some public schools reported for classes but found the gates locked. At Government Model Secondary School, Asaba some of the students who massed at the gate complained that they had assignments to submit and that no one told them there was holiday when they closed the previous day. “No school; go home,” the security guard told them. He didn’t give reason for the closure of the school.

Students of such other public school in Asaba as West End were seen in groups by the school gate and the environs discussing the situation. One of them told courtly that there was no information about the strike the previous day. “We were in school yesterday (Tuesday); nobody told us there would be no school today,” a female student said.

Some public schools around the state capital opened for studies. At Okpanam High School and Oluchi Comprehensive School, Okpanam, teachers and students were seen filing into the school about 7.50 this morning. “We were told yesterday that the earlier scheduled strike had been suspended,” a female teacher told courtly at the gate of Okpanam High School. “If we receive contrary directive this morning, we might go home,” the female teacher added.

In Lagos, Abeokuta, Akure and Benin-City many public offices visited opened for routine duties. Reports from Awka, Anambra state capital; and Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State capital; also confirmed that many offices visited opened for routine duties while students of some public schools were returned home by the school authorities. Similar situations were reported about Kwara, Kaduna and Gombe states.

After the meeting on Tuesday between the organized Labour and government, the earlier scheduled strike was suspended. Both parties agreed to continue negotiations today (Wednesday).

Such knotty issue as documentation of the adjustments on the New National Minimum Wage could not be resolved at the time the meeting ended late yesterday about 7.28PM.

Before yesterday’s meeting, minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, had told Labour that its original demand would shut down the economy if workers insisted on such adjustments of their salaries.

“I am your friend and friend of government. In fact, government feels I am not doing enough. That is why I am talking to you so that you can talk to your people. We cannot allow the government to shut down the economy because it wants to pay salaries and wages.

“The 2020 budget of N10.3tr has N3.8tr as personnel cost without overhead. If you add running cost and other incidental costs, the total recurrent budget as presented to the National Assembly has taken 76 per cent. Where do we get the money to build roads, airport, rails, health centres, schools and others?” Ngige queried.

Although both parties shifted their earlier positions, no consensus was reached at the time the meeting ended.
Until yesterday’s meeting, Labour demanded an upward review by 29 per cent of salary for officers at grade levels 07 to 14; 24 per cent adjustment for officers at grade levels 15 to 17, but the Federal Government offered 11 per cent increase for officers at  grade level 07 to 14   and  6.5 per cent for workers at grade level 15 to 17.

Also before yesterday’s meeting, Labour rejected government’s offer. It is not clear what their position was yesterday but an aide to Ngige said Labour shifted their ground, hoping that agreement would be reached today when both parties would reconvene.
After the meeting, Ngige told newsmen that he was neither on the side of the government nor for Labour “I serve as the conciliator so I am not on any side. I belong to the two parties. As you can see, there was no fight and no walkout. That shows that things are going on well. We will continue tomorrow (today) because of areas that we could not touch.”

Labour Congress Deputy President, Amaechi Asugwuni told newsmen that all their predictions failed and that negotiations would resume today,

“For us at labour, the matters are straightforward but negotiations are still going on. We thought the meeting would be concluded today (Tuesday) but prediction was not successful. Therefore, adjournment became necessary. The struggle will still continue,” Asugwuni said.

Speaking for government negotiation team, head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, confirmed that grounds were really shifted and that there was hope that agreements would be reached today.
“We have worked together and both sides have made a lot of concessions but we discovered that there are areas to be ironed out. There are some documents and information that are being sought and which we are providing. We will continue tomorrow (today) with the belief that we will reach an agreement,” Yemi-Esan said after the meeting.

 

 

APC Govs Express Fear Over Cracks In Their Party

08.10.19

GOVERNORS elected under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) platform, Monday, confirmed internal crises rocking the party in most states of the federation.

They also lamented what they described as division between the chieftains of the party and the executive government on the one hand; between the legislature and the executive on the other. Led by their Chairman, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, the governors expressed worry at the development during their courtesy visit to the National Assembly last Monday in Abuja..
Bagudu told the legislators that they were on a visit to present the report of the forum’s sub-committee on Legislative Matters, chaired by the Katsina State governor, Aminu Masari.

While addressing the legislators, Masari complained that his panel made various efforts to achieve an understanding between the governors and the Nnational Assembly but achieved little or no success. The governor expressed fear of continued crisis in the face of continued mutual suspicion between the governors and the legislators elected from their respective states, a situation he lamented could destroy the party.

“The absence of coordination has produced crisis of trust which if care is not taken can destroy our party and the political process,” Masari said.

He suggested that fence mending was vital, in order that being the ruling party since 2015 might not become a curse in disguise for the party and for the country.

“So, as leaders, we need to make amends especially in the area of management of political relations among all the party stakeholders. We need not remind ourselves of what happened between 2015 and 2019.”

“The Progressive Governors Forum has a standing subcommittee on legislative matters that started in the last Assembly. But unfortunately, no success came out for obvious reasons.

“So we thought that we should contact you (the leadership of National Assembly) early enough so that we put  machinery in motion in making sure that this time round, we are on the same page, that is,  the Progressive Governors’ Forum and the National Assembly.

“In doing so, we want to use this opportunity to address some fundamental issues that do not only affect the APC as a political party but the whole nation. We have itemized some areas which we want to discuss for the purpose of this courtesy call.

“The details will come when your subcommittee and our subcommittee meet and discuss in detail.

“We can recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently reminded us of our responsibilities in providing leadership to and prioritize building of strong relationships between all elected representatives both in the executive and legislative arms of government, as well as our party leaders.”

Masari further expressed the fear that the situation is being explored for strength by the opposition parties.
 “Unfortunately, we allowed avoidable circumstances to give new life to our political opponents, especially parties in opposition to the APC, like the PDP.

In his reaction, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said he was not sure that he understood the Forum’s agenda but that everything would be clearer by Friday when National Assembly’s legislative agenda would be unveiled. He expressed embarrassment at what he called “the way” by which the Edo State Government frustrated the National Assembly’s attempts to resolve the crisis rocking Edo State’s House of Assembly. The State House of Assembly went to court challenging the power of National Assembly to take over the State House of Assembly. It obtained judgment, to which Gbajabiamila said the National Assembly would appeal.

He wondered that if opposition party, the PDP, could be matured enough to cooperate with the National Assembly to resolve similar crisis among legislators of Bauchi House of Assembly, a better understanding would have existed among legislators elected on the same APC platform as in the case of Edo State and the National Assembly. His statement reads in part:
“I’m not sure of the legislative agenda that the Governors’ Forum are bringing but let me seize this opportunity to say that our legislative agenda would be unveiled on Friday which we hope to get across to you. We are also using this opportunity to invite the governors to the event.

“Whether or not we need to take it and amend it later before Friday, would depend on the presentation you are going to make today. We want to be working in unison, together as one party and as one government.

“While addressing the issue of one party and one government, my big brother, the Senate President, and I will want to draw our attention to the issue of the crisis in Bauchi and Edo states.

“Whilst we were able to successfully resolve the issue in Bauchi State, which is an opposition state, unfortunately, we are unable to resolve that of Edo State. I think this is what we have to look at and prioritize.

“We should consider how to constitutionally address the issue. For those of us on this side, the National Assembly, we are surprised that the exclusive constitutional roles given to us as prescribed in section 12 of the constitution which is written unambiguously clear was being tested.

“We are a bit concerned about that. Of course, we have three arms of government and on the basis of that,  we will be going to court on this matter to resolve not just the judgment but to ensure that any other related issues like that do not come up again.
“The House of Representatives has adopted a theme: ‘Nation Building Is A Joint Task’, that is how we are operating in the National Assembly irrespective of our political party divides.

“We have resolved to come together when it comes to national issues. We believe that since there is one government, there should be a symbiotic relationship between the governors and the legislators. We are going to have a robust conversation after the press would have gone out.”

It is not yet known what came out of the “robust conversation,” but the Speaker thanked his guests for what he called “show of trust.”

Meanwhile the crisis in Edo State deepened early this week when Governor Godwin Obaseki mobilized against splinter group of APC in the state towards next year’s governorship election in the state. It is believed in Edo Government House that the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, Obaseki’s predecessor, is behind the splinter group. Oshiomhole repeatedly denied the speculation, albeit his expressions of dissatisfaction with Obaseki.

In June the APC Governors’ Forum also visited President Muhammadu Buhari canvassing a similar understanding.

 

 

 

 

Nigeria To Appeal All Rulings For P&ID

03.10.19

 The Federal Government of Nigeria is returning to London with a team of local and foreign lawyers to appeal recent ruling of Justice Christopher Butcher of the Industrial and Commercial Court over the execution of earlier judgment involving the country’s case with Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).

The court had ordered Nigeria to pay $9.6billion to P&ID in its August ruling but halted execution late last month. In the latest ruling the court ordered Nigeria to pay, within 60 days, the sum of $200million as a security fee pending consideration of the substantive appeal. By the court’s order, the government of Nigeria would also pay $250,000 to P&ID if the appeal succeeded
According to Nigeria’s information and culture minister, Lai Mohammed, the country is not comfortable with the ruling and is seeking leave for appeal to squash the latest order of the court.

He disclosed that the government retained international legal firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, for the appeal.
The minister in his Wednesday’s briefing in Abuja said the government had a good case. His words: “The Federal Government has a good chance of being successful in its impending appeal, otherwise the Commercial Court would not have allowed the appeal.

“Please note that Nigeria will be able to demand a refund of the 250,000 GBP payment to P&ID where the government wins on the appeal. This fact is being hidden by those who have been spinning the London judgment in their own favour.
“On the $200m payment as a condition for the granting of the stay of execution, Nigeria has instructed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal against that payment.

“Nigerians should remain assured that the Federal Government is taking all necessary steps to strongly avail itself of all defences customarily afforded to sovereign states under the United Kingdom Sovereign Immunity Act to fight and upturn any enforcement of the award.

“In the words of Mr President at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, we are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars.”
He added that the government’s team of lawyers succeeded in proving that P&ID was a fraud but the company last month described government’s argument as a “red herring.”

 “For those who may still not understand the gravity of the judgment of the Commercial Court in London last week, let me say that had we lost our quest for a stay of execution and application to appeal in London last week, P&ID would by now be attempting to seize our assets all over the world.

 “Remember they boasted before the judgment that they had started compiling a list of our assets which they would attach. But now, that’s an empty boast, thanks to the successes recorded in the court of law and the court of public opinion last week,” he added.

The minister maintained that that government’s delegation to London last week achieved all its three objectives.
“First, we took London by storm, taking our case to international media outlets and Think Tanks like AP, AFP, Reuters, Bloomberg, BBC, Financial Times, The Economist, The African Confidential, Royal African Society and the Red Lions Chambers, a leading Barrister’s Chambers in London, among others.

“We also met a group of experts and stakeholders. Our message was simple: P&ID, a company without a physical address and no known investment anywhere in the world, set out to dupe Nigeria from day one, with the connivance of unpatriotic, corrupt and greedy Nigerians. The entire Gas Supply Processing Agreement, which P&ID entered into with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, is nothing but a fraudulent contraption with no chance, or expectation, of success.

“We then said the unprecedented $9.6bn in arbitration award to P&ID constitutes an unreasonable reward to a company that has done nothing more than to engage in fraud and economic sabotage. This runs contrary to the course of justice and is capable of bringing harm and hardship to Nigeria, and indeed the wider region.

“The P&ID never kick-started the construction of the project facility, despite its claim to have invested $40m in Nigeria. It also never acquired any land to build the gas processing plant.

“There is no proof of any financial commitment by the P&ID towards the execution and implementation of its own obligation as stipulated in the 2010 agreement. Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria confirmed there is no trace of any funds brought into Nigeria by P&ID.

“Two directors of P&ID Nigeria have been convicted of charges of money laundering and economic sabotage. They are Mohammed Kuchazi, a Director of P&ID BVI, and Adamu Usman, a Director of P&ID Nigeria.

“Suspicious payments were made to Mrs Grace Taiga, the Legal Director in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Mrs Taiga was supposed to ensure that the interest of the country was adequately protected. Of course, the payment, transferred in three tranches, could only have been made in appreciation of the ‘good deed’ done to P&ID by Mrs Taiga. Also, billions of naira in suspicious cash transfers were made by P&ID. Investigations continue into these transfers.

“According to the contract, the gas for the project was expected to come from OML 67 operated by ExxonMobil and OML 123 operated by Addax. But none of the two companies was even aware of the agreement.

 “And finally, for such a supposedly important project, there was no budgetary provision for the implementation of the GSPA in the budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in 2010, and P&ID did not obtain the necessary licence to deal in petroleum products from the Department of Petroleum Resources as stipulated by extant laws. The firm also neither filed tax returns nor paid VAT to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as required by law.”
It is not clear when the appeal will begin.

 

 

Nigeria marks 59 years of Independence

01.10.19

Nigeria’s Independence Day Speech By President Muhammadu Buhari
Published October 1, 2019
Kindly Share This Story

Nigeria marks its 59 years of political independence amid criticisms over widespread poverty and poor governance. Below is the broadcast by the nation’s leader, President Muhammadu Buhari:
INDEPENDENCE DAY SPEECH
BY
HIS EXCELLENCY MUHAMMADU BUHARI
PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
ON THE
OCCASION OF THE 59TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY
1st OCTOBER, 2019
Dear Compatriots,
1st October each year is an opportunity for us to reflect and thank God for his endless blessings on our country.

  1. It is also a time for us, collectively, to:
  2. Remember the sacrifices made by our Founders and great leaders past; by soldiers, by distinguished public servants; by traditional leaders, by our workers —- sacrifices on which Nigeria has been built over the 59 years since Independence in 1960; and
  3. Rededicate ourselves to attaining the goals which we have set for ourselves: a united, prosperous and purposeful nation in the face of 21st century opportunities and challenges.
  4. In the past four years, the majority of Nigerians have committed to Change for the Better. Indeed, this Administration was re-elected by Nigerians on a mandate to deliver positive and enduring Change – through maintaining our National Security; restoring sustainable and inclusive Economic Growth and Development; and fighting Corruption against all internal and external threats.
  5. This Change can only be delivered if we are united in purpose, as individuals and as a nation. We must all remain committed to achieving this positive and enduring Change. As I stated four years ago, “Change does not just happen… We must change our lawless habits, our attitude to public office and public trust… simply put, to bring about change, we must change ourselves by being law-abiding citizens.”

SECURITY:

  1. Good Governance and Economic Development cannot be sustained without an enabling environment of peace and security. In the last four years, we have combatted the terrorist scourge of Boko Haram. We owe a debt of gratitude to our gallant men and women in arms, through whose efforts we have been able to achieve the present results. We are also grateful to our neighbours and allies – within the region and across the world – who have supported us on this front.
  2. The capacity of our armed forces to defend our territorial integrity continues to be enhanced by the acquisition of military hardware as well as continued improvements in the working conditions of our service men and women.
  3. The Ministry of Police Affairs has been resuscitated to oversee the development and implementation of strategies to enhance internal security. My recent assent to the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act has created a legal framework to support our Police with increased fiscal resources to enhance their law enforcement capabilities.
  4. These initiatives are being complemented by the ongoing recruitment of 10,000 constables into the Nigeria Police Force. This clearly demonstrates our commitment to arrest the incidence of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes across our nation.
  5. We remain equally resolute in our efforts to combat militant attacks on our oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta and accelerate the Ogoni Clean-up to address long-standing environmental challenges in that region.
  6. The recent redeployment of the Niger Delta Development Commission from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs underscores our commitment to enhance the living standards of our communities in the Niger Delta, through coordinated and appropriate programmes.
  7. Our attention is increasingly being focused on cyber-crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive material being propagated on social media. Whilst we uphold the Constitutional rights of our people to freedom of expression and association, where the purported exercise of these rights infringes on the rights of other citizens or threatens to undermine our National Security, we will take firm and decisive action.
  8. In this regard, I reiterate my call for all to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing their grievances and frustrations. Whilst the ongoing national discourse on various political and religious issues is healthy and welcome, we must not forget the lessons of our past – lessons that are most relevant on a day such as this.
  9. The path of hatred and distrust only leads to hostility and destruction. I believe that the vast majority of Nigerians would rather tread the path of peace and prosperity, as we continue to uphold and cherish our unity.

ACCELERATING SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE ECONOMY GROWTH

  1. This Administration inherited a skewed economy, where the Oil Sector comprised only 8% of Gross Domestic Product but contributed 70% of government revenue and 90% foreign exchange earnings over the years. Past periods of relatively high economic growth were driven by our reliance on Oil Sector revenues to finance our demand for imported goods and services. Regrettably, previous governments abandoned the residual Investment-driven Non-Oil Sector, which constituted 40% of Gross Domestic Product and comprised agriculture, livestock, agro-processing, arts, entertainment, mining and manufacturing activities that provide millions of jobs for able-bodied Nigerians and utilize locally available raw materials and labour for production.
  2. To address this imbalance, our commitment to achieving economic diversification has been at the heart of our economic strategies under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which I launched on the 5th of April, 2017.
  3. This medium-term development plan charted the trajectory for our economy to exit from recession and return to the path of sustainable, diversified and inclusive growth for Nigerians. Pursuant to these reforms, the economy has recovered and we have had 9 successive quarters of growth since our exit from recession. The exchange rate in the last 3 years has remained stable, with robust reserves of US$42.5 billion, up from US$23 billion in October 2016.
  4. Learning from the mistakes of the past, this Administration is committed to responsibly managing our oil wealth endowments. We will continue to prudently save our oil income and invest more in the non-oil job-creating sectors.
  5. In this regard, we are significantly increasing investments in critical infrastructure. Last year, capital releases only commenced with the approval of the Budget in June 2018. However, as at 20th June this year, up to N1.74 trillion had been released for capital projects in the 2018 fiscal year.
  6. Implementation of the 2019 Capital Budget, which was only approved in June 2019, will be accelerated to ensure that critical priority projects are completed or substantially addressed. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has been directed to release N600 billion for Capital Expenditure in the next 3 months.
  7. To maximise impact, we shall continue to increasingly welcome and encourage private capital for infrastructural development through Public Private Partnerships. Through the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, which I initiated in January this year, we are giving incentives to private sector inflow of over N205 billion in 19 Nigerian roads and bridges of 794.4km across in 11 States of the Federation.
  8. As we push to diversify the economy, we still remain focused on optimizing the revenues generated from the oil and gas sector. We will, working with the Legislature, soon pass the Petroleum Industry Bill and amendments to the Deep Offshore Act and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act into law, to ensure Government obtains a fair share of oil revenues, whilst encouraging private sector investment.
  9. We will also continue our fight against illegal bunkering of crude oil and the smuggling of refined petroleum products across our borders, including the diligent prosecution and conviction of offenders found guilty of these acts. Whilst Nigeria remains committed to free and fair continental and international trade, we will not hesitate to take all necessary steps to tackle illegal smuggling, transshipment and other predatory trade practices that destroy jobs in our country.
  10. We are resolute in reforming the power sector. In August this year, we launched the Presidential Power Initiative to modernize the National Grid in 3 phases: starting from 5 Gigawatts to 7 Gigawatts, then to 11 Gigawatts by 2023, and finally 25 Gigawatts afterwards. This programme, in partnership with the German Government and Siemens, will provide end-to-end electrification solutions that will resolve our transmission and distribution challenges.
  11. The programme will also look to localize the development and assembly of smart meters as well as the operations and maintenance capabilities of transmission and distribution infrastructure.
  12. I am pleased with the improved inter-agency collaboration between the Ministry of Power and the regulators in the banking and power sectors to ensure that electricity sales, billings and collections are automated and become cashless.
  13. These initiatives are important to ensure that the technical and collection losses in the sector are substantially reduced. I remain confident that Nigerians will have affordable and uninterrupted electricity supply in the not too distant future.
  14. Our efforts to improve the power sector will complement other infrastructure investments projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, which is investing in the Mambilla Power Plant project, as well as key economic road infrastructure such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kano Expressway. The first set of these projects remain on track to be completed by 2022.
  15. Our journey to food security and self-sufficiency is well underway. We have made remarkable progress in almost all segments of the agriculture value chain, from fertilizers to rice, to animal feed production. We shall sustain these policies to ensure additional investments are channeled, thereby creating more jobs in the sector. We must not go back to the days of importing food and thereby exporting jobs.
  16. Our commitment to achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification, has been underscored by the merger of the Ministry of Finance with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
  17. This combined Ministry has the important mandate to enhance the management of domestic and global fiscal risks; coordinate policies with the trade and monetary authorities; raise and deploy revenues to fund budgeted expenditure; and integrate annual budgets and medium-term fiscal strategies.
  18. With this, our revenue-generating and reporting agencies will come under much greater scrutiny, going forward, as the new performance management framework will reward exceptional revenue performance, while severe consequences will attend failures to achieve agreed revenue targets.
  19. I recently constituted an Economic Advisory Council to advise me on inclusive and sustainable macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policies. This independent body will work with relevant Cabinet members and the heads of key monetary, fiscal and trade agencies to ensure we remain on track as we strive for collective prosperity. However, we are also committed to ensure that the inconvenience associated with any painful policy adjustments, is moderated, such that the poor and the vulnerable, who are most at risk, do not bear the brunt.
  20. Our ongoing N500 billion Special Intervention Programme continues to target these vulnerable groups, through the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and social housing scheme.
  21. To institutionalize these impactful programmes, we created the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which shall consolidate and build on our achievements to date. To the beneficiaries of these programmes, I want to reassure you that our commitment to social inclusion will only increase.
  22. Our population growth rate remains amongst the highest in the world, presenting both challenges as well as opportunities. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we provide adequate resources to meet the basic needs of our teeming youth.
  23. Accordingly, we shall continue to invest in education, health, water and sanitation, as well as food security, to ensure that their basic needs are met, while providing them with every opportunity to live peaceful, prosperous and productive lives.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION AND RESTORING GOOD GOVERNANCE:

  1. On fighting corruption, our institutional reforms to enforce the Treasury Single Account policy, introduce the Whistle-blowers’ Initiative, expand the coverage of the Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System as well as the Government Integrated Management Information System have saved billions of Naira over the last four years, and deterred the rampant theft and mismanagement of public funds that have plagued our public service.
  2. The Ministry of Justice, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will continue to address this menace. We are determined to ensure that transparency and good governance are institutionalized in public service.
  3. We must commit to installing a culture of Good Governance in all we do. This Administration has fought against corruption, by investigating and prosecuting those accused of embezzlement and the misuse of public resources. We have empowered teams of prosecutors, assembled detailed databases of evidence, traced the proceeds of crimes and accelerated the recovery of stolen funds.
  4. Furthermore, we partnered with our friends abroad to combat tax evasion, smuggling, terrorism and illicit financial flows. In June 2018, I assented to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, to provide a domestic legal framework for obtaining international assistance in criminal matters.
  5. This measure has already strengthened our law enforcement agencies in obtaining evidence, investigating suspects and facilitating the recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of property implicated as proceeds of crime.
  6. An example is the US$300 million recently identified as part of the Abacha money-laundering case, working closely with the Government of the United States of America. The Federal Ministry of Justice is working with the US Department of Justice to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to expedite the repatriation of these funds.
  7. The P & ID Arbitral Award has underscored the manner in which significant economic damage has been caused by the past activities of a few corrupt and unpatriotic Nigerians.
  8. The policies that we are putting in place today are to ensure such criminal and unpatriotic acts do not go without consequences. Our renewed partnership with the 9th National Assembly will facilitate the swift passage of enabling laws that will institutionalize these anti-corruption efforts in our criminal justice system.
  9. In this connection, I call upon our States to intensify their own efforts to instill greater fiscal transparency and accountability. And to ensure greater fiscal efficiency and optimum use of our very scarce resources.
  10. The blight of Corruption is fighting back. Nevertheless, this is a battle that we shall see through and this is a war, which we shall win by the Grace of God.
  11. I will also call upon all Nigerians, from every walk of life, to combat Corruption at every turn. By choosing to question and confront corrupt practices, by reporting unethical practices or through whistle-blowing. Together, we can overcome corruption and will no longer be a country defined by corruption.
  12. Fellow Nigerians, let me reiterate my call for unity across our dear nation.
  13. Nigeria will emerge from our present challenges stronger and more resilient than ever – but only if all of us join hands to entrench Good Governance, foster Inclusive Economic Development, and defend and protect our Nation from all those who would wish us ill.
  14. I thank you most sincerely and wish you a Happy Independence Anniversary.
  15. May God bless you all, and may He continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

 

 

UK Court Halts Nigeria's Pay Of $9.6bn To P&ID

24.09.19

FEDERAL Government of Nigeria, Thursday, secured a preliminary judgment of the United Kingdom Commercial and Arbitration Court halting execution of its earlier judgment to pay Process And Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) a whopping sum of $9.6billion damages for failing to supply gas to the latter as agreed in what turned out a controversial contract.

Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, alleging serious fraud in the contract debacle, had vowed last month to appeal the court’s judgment secured by P&ID.
Before last Thursday’s judgment local courts in Nigeria had found P&ID guilty of fraud, maintaining that the said company fraudulently claimed it had secured land from Cross River State government for the contract earlier entered into with the Nigerian Federal Government, whereas the principal company lacked the capacity it claimed in its application for the said contract.  

However, P&ID said in a statement posted in its public relations site that the fraud story is an after-thought, calling it “a mere red herring” and “a political theater designed” by the government “to deflect attention from its own shortcomings.”
Malami in Abuja said the Thursday’s judgment was a confirmation of hid belief in the sacrosanct of justice, adding that the government was prepared to pursue the appeal to the British apex court if need be.

In its Thursday’s judgment, Nigeria’s government is required to pay $200 million security deposit within 60 days to the court pending the determination of the substantive appeal over the last month’s judgment.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Video