From Fred Itua and Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday moved to
launch an investigation into the management and
status of monies contributed to the National Housing
Fund (NHF) by civil servants 23 years after its
The lawmakers also held that individuals with
contributions above 10 years should be allowed to
withdraw their money and seek for alternative
options to their housing needs due to the unrealistic
status of the funds in the hands of government.
These resolutions followed a motion on the “Need to
Investigate the Funds that have Accrued to the
National Housing Fund since Inception”, brought by
Johnson Odionwele (PDP, Edo).
The lawmaker, while leading debates on the matter,
told the House that since subscription to the NHF
commenced 23 years ago, nothing has been heard
from the government as to how the funds are being
managed and the status of monies so far
He said those charged with the management of the
Fund have maintained a blind eye to the plight of civil
servants, adding that most of these civil servants who
subscribed to this fund have died leaving behind
“As we speak, 23 years after the establishment of the
fund, there are no visible signs of the envisaged mass
housing project or any known beneficiary of the
scheme, yet the contributions have continued as
deductions are still being made at source,”
Contributing to the debate, Joseph Adelaja (PDP,
Ondo), said: “I support this motion totally and I urge
my colleagues to key into it that something must be
done about this issue. It is time to call the attention
of government as the peoples parliament that the
rights of Nigerians must not be trampled upon.”
Darlington Nwokocha (PDP, Abia), stated that many
people who have invested their money should reap
the benefit of their investment. “So I’m in support
that this Fund be investigated and those whose
money had been taken should be made to benefit
through government investment in the housing
sector to reduce the huge housing deficit in the
Another lawmaker from Edo State, Johnson
Agbonayiemen, told his colleagues that the
development must be looked into and examples
made of those responsible for the management and
delivery of the housing scheme for future reference.
“Mr. Speaker, for monies to be collected from
Nigerians for 23 years and not been put to use for
the benefit of the people is a total failure and
unacceptable to this House.
I support this motion wholeheartedly because this
motion stands to defend the people of this nation
that those who rob others of their legitimate rights
must be made to pay for their atrocities against the
people,” he said.
Chike Okafor (APC, Imo), said: “From available
records, we have about 6.7 million workers in
Nigeria. These workers have contributed parts of
their earnings to this housing fund. This amount has
not been accessed by these people, and we must
know what happened to this money over the years.
Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public
Affairs, Abdulrazaq Namdas, however, said: “I just
want to add that its like each time people want to do
things to better their future, the state sabotages
them. If I was a civil servant and I contribute to a
fund for 23 years without knowing the fate of my
money, then I wont be a happy man. So I urge this
House to look into this matter and do justice
The motion was amended and passed via voice votes
following question by Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.
From Fred Itua and Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
ABUJA—The Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC, yesterday, invited the All
Progressives Congress, APC, to forward a
replacement for Prince Abubakar Audu, its dead
candidate in the inconclusive Kogi State
governorship election, thereby throwing up fresh
legal and political firestorm in the state.
The INEC decision followed a pronouncement to
that effect by the Minister of Justice, Mallam
Abubakar Malami. While the APC welcomed the
decision, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party,
PDP demanded Malami’s resignation as it
described the decision as an affront to democracy
laced with mines to torpedo the democratic choice
of the people in Kogi State.
Meanwhile, APC, ahead of the December 5
supplementary polls to conclude the governorship
election, has proposed fresh primaries to throw up
a replacement for late Audu. At press time,
yesterday, the APC hierarchy in Abuja and Lokoja
were still undecided on the mode of the potential
There was also a cloud on whether it would be
restricted to only those who bought the initial
forms or opened up to new entrants, a possibility
that could draw in Audu’s running mate, Rep.
James Faleke and Alhaji Isah Jibrin Echocho who
recently defected from the PDP after a stormy
political battle with the incumbent governor,
Captain Idris Wada.
The seeming constitutional crisis in Kogi State was
opened after last Saturday’s governorship election
was declared inconclusive upon the fact that the
difference in votes between the late Audu and
Wada was smaller than the number of registered
voters in the 91 polling units where the votes were
cancelled. Audu died Sunday before the election
could be concluded, throwing up a legal storm on
the fate of the election.
Justice Minister on Kogi election
Malami, speaking at a seminar organised by the
Nigerian Law Reform Commission on the reform of
the National Environmental Standards and
Regulation Enforcement Agency (Establishment)
Act , said the Kogi gubernatorial election must be
concluded within the next 14 days.
Specifically, the AGF said his position on the matter
was fortified by a combined reading and
application of Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution
and Section 33 of the Electoral Act.
However, he failed to state whether or not the
deputy governorship candidate of the APC, Mr.
Abiodun Faleke, should be the proper person to
replace Audu for the purpose of the run-off poll.
He said: “The issue is very straightforward.
Fundamentally, Section 33 of the Electoral Act is
very clear that in case of death, the right for
substitution by a political party is sustained by the
provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act.
“And if you have a community reading of that
section with Section 221 of the constitution it
clearly indicates that the right to vote is the right of
a political party and the party, in this case, the APC
has participated in the conduct of the election. It is,
therefore, apparent that the combined community
reading of the two provisions does not leave any
room for conjecture.
“APC as a party is entitled to substitution by the
clear provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act.
Also, Section 221 of the Constitution is clear that
the votes cast were cast in favour of the APC.
“Arising from that deduction, it does not require
any legal interpretation. The interpretation is clear,
APC will substitute, which right has been sustained
by Section 33 of the Electoral Act. So be it.
“The supplementary election has to be conducted
along the line”, the AGF added.
Weighing in on the way forward following its
acknowledgment of a notice from the APC on the
death of Audu, INEC in a statement issued by the
secretary of the commission, Augusta Ogakwu, put
all the political parties on notice that the
supplementary polls would hold on December 5.
She added that the APC has also been offered a
window of opportunity to pick a new candidate for
The statement reads: “The Independent National
Electoral Commission, INEC, conducted
governorship election in Kogi State on 21st
November 2015, which was declared inconclusive.
“On November 23, 2015, the All Progressives
Congress, APC, notified the commission of the
death of its governorship candidate in the election,
Prince Abubakar Audu.
“The commission has after due consideration of
the circumstances, decided as follows: To conclude
the process by conducting election in the 91
affected polling units as announced by the
“To allow the All Progressives Congress to fill the
vacancy created by the death of its candidate;
“To conduct the supplementary election on
December 5, 2015.
“Accordingly, notice is hereby given to all the 22
political parties participating in the Kogi
Governorship Election that supplementary election
in the 91 affected Polling Units shall hold on
December 5, 2015”.
PDP slams INEC, AGF
The INEC statement was immediately strongly
condemned by the PDP.
Immediately INEC issued the statement senior
officials of the party in Lokoja huddled into a
meeting to review the situation. At the end of their
meeting, yesterday evening, party leaders refused
to comment, saying the party in Abuja would speak
The party, reacting through its National Publicity
Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement issued
in Abuja demanded the resignation of Malami as
Minister of Justice and Prof. Mahmud Yakubu as
INEC chairman as the party alleged a conspiracy
between the two to derail the democratic
“The party is shocked that INEC, a supposedly
independent electoral umpire could allow itself to
succumb to the antics of the APC by following the
unlawful directive of an obviously partisan AGF to
substitute a candidate in the middle of the ballot
We are all aware that the two legal documents
guiding INEC in the conduct of elections; the
Constitution and the Electoral Act, have provisions
for electoral exigencies as well as empower the
electoral body to fully take responsibility for any of
its actions or inaction without undue interference
from any quarters whatsoever.
“We are, therefore, at a loss as to which sections of
these two relevant laws, INEC and the AGF relied
on in arriving at their bizarre decision to substitute
a dead candidate in an on-going election even after
the timelines for such has elapsed under all the
INEC as a statutory body has the full complements
of technical hands in its legal department to advise
it appropriately and we wonder why it had to wait
for directives from the AGF, an external party, if
not for partisan and subjective interest.
Consequently, the PDP rejects in its entirety, this
brazen move by the APC and INEC to circumvent
the laws and ambush the yet-to-be concluded
election by introducing a practice that is
completely alien to the constitution and the
“The clear implication of this action of the AGF and
INEC is that the APC would be fielding two different
governorship candidates in the on-going Kogi
election, meaning that INEC would be transferring
votes cast for late Prince Abubakar Audu to
another candidate, scenarios that have no place in
the constitution of the land.
“Whereas the PDP, in honour of the sanctity of
human life and respect for the dead, had since
Sunday refrained from making comments on the
conduct of the election, we can no longer maintain
such in the face of the bare-faced attack on our
“This INEC under the leadership of Prof. Mahmood
Yakubu has shown itself as partisan, morally
bankrupt and obviously incapable of conducting a
credible election within our laws.
“In view of the foregoing, therefore, the PDP
demands an immediate resignation of the INEC
chairman, as the nation’s democracy cannot afford
to be left in the hands of an electoral umpire that
cannot exert its independence and the sanctity of
the electoral process.
“In view of the developments regarding Kogi
Governorship election, the National Working
Committee of the PDP has summoned an
emergency National Caucus meeting of the party
on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 (today), to take
a decision on this obvious threat to our
APC welcomes development
The APC on its part, however, welcomed the
development even as it proposed a primary among
interested contestants as a replacement for Audu.
It was learned, last night, that the APC National
Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, met behind
closed doors with some of the aspirants who
participated in the previous primaries yesterday.
Audu’s running mate in the election was also
invited to the meeting.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday, Odigie-Oyegun
said: “We lost our candidate for the election in Kogi
State on Sunday and since then, we have
concentrated as a party on paying him the right
respect that is due to a man of his calibre. Let me
take this opportunity to express the very sincere
condolence of the entire party nationwide to the
family of Prince Abubakar Audu and to the people
of Kogi State who have just gone through the
rigours of an election, indicated their preference
for Prince Abubakar Audu, only to lose him at the
very moment of victory. We were represented at
the funeral by almost the entire executive and that
is now behind us. Now, matters of state must now
come back to the fore.
“I want to underscore the fact that INEC is also
apparently in agreement with the views of the
Attorney-General because we have already
received a letter from them formally asking us to
find a replacement for the vacancy that has been
created by the passing on of Prince Abubakar
Audu, and that is what will now engage the APC
from this moment on.”
Asked when the primary election was expected to
hold, the chairman said all that was a matter of
discussion with the party stakeholders
“We just got notification from INEC today. So, we
will go into an emergency session to work out the
modalities and nature of the primary. We are told
that the supplementary election will be on
December 5. When that will be or who will be is a
matter of details. But it is going to be the
preference of the electors and we will respect that.
We are a democratic, law abiding party, and we are
going to proceed accordingly.”
On the fate of Audu’s running mate, Faleke, Odigie-
Oyegun decided that it was incumbent on the
people to decide whether he would join in the
“I said it will be the preference of the electors on
who the candidate that will replace Prince
Abubakar Audu will be”, he said.
On a similar stance, the national chairman also
refused to give details on whether it would sell
fresh expression of interest forms or work with the
former aspirants of the ticket.
Meanwhile, it emerged, yesterday, that Alhaji
Echocho, who crossed over to the APC from the
PDP after a futile bid to take the governorship
ticket from Wada, was inclining into the contest.
Echocho had reportedly been backed by Senator
Smart Adeyemi in the PDP primary and failing
which, his supporters and those of Senator
Adeyemi collaborated in the election to fight Wada.
On whether such new entrants would be allowed
into the APC contest, Odigie-Oyegun was yet
undecided saying: “So, we are going to do
everything as straightforward and simple, but
clearly above board in maintaining due process as
much as possible. I cannot give you that answer
now because we just got indication of the clear
direction from INEC within the last few hours.”
The INEC stance on a fresh election was also flayed
by the Progressive Peoples Congress.
Speaking to Vanguard, the Kogi State Chairman of
the party, Mr. Simeon Ojonuba said the electoral
body erred by arrogating importance to illegality.
He said the party was prepared to contest the
position of INEC in a competent court of
jurisprudence if the commission fails to retrace its
steps on the matter.
Ojonuba accused the electoral body of acting the
script of a political party, saying the party would
only favour an outright cancellation and rerun.
Several days after, the protests ignited by the
agitation for the unconditional release of Mr.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of
Biafra, IPOB, continue to gather momentum,
sweeping through the South East and parts of the
South-South like a hurricane. The protesters are
irked by the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu
by the Department of Security Services, DSS, even
after an Abuja Municipal Magistrate Court at Wuse
Zone 2 had granted him bail.
Although it started as a peaceful demonstration,
but within few hours after its commencement, one
of the protesters was shot dead by a local vigilante
operative attached to Ochanja market, Onitsha,
A source said the deceased who was harassing
some shop owners to close their shop or face the
wrath of the IPOB ignored several verbal and gun
shot warnings by the operatives before he was
Yet, other sources said on sighting the protesters,
the vigilante operative opened fire on them and
shot the deceased dead on the spot, adding that
even some policemen and soldiers on duty with
the vigilante operative blamed him for the action.
Currently, the protest appeared to have recorded
its biggest success in the commercial city of
Onitsha and other parts of Anambra State as
traders and other members of the public continue
to demonstrate solidarity with the protesters.
During the demonstration, the IPOB members
gathered at the Bridge-head end of Onitsha from
where they spread to other parts of the
commercial city and proceeded to Awka, the state
capital through Nkpor, Ogidi, Umunnachi,
Abagana, Enugwu-Ukwu, Amawbia and Awka and
as they patrol on foot, the police and other security
agencies monitored them curiously.
Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the
protests, especially its link to demand for the
resurrection of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
Among those who reacted over the development
were the Igbo Youths Forum, IYF, Concerned
Eastern Youths Initiatives, CEYI, the International
Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law,
Intersociety, among others.
The Campaign for Democracy, CD, in its own
reaction, called on the Federal Government to
release Kanu because a court of competent
jurisdiction had already granted him bail and as
such, his continued detention amounted to extra-
CD’s South East Zonal Chairman, Uzor A. Uzor,
reminded the Federal Government of the need to
be a respecter of law and not a violator of law,
adding that the violation of the court order was
capable of setting a bad precedence in future.
Intersociety, in its own statement, said: “Many
factors have made agitation for Biafra statehood
loud and unquenchable. Chief among them is
continued institutiona-lisation of triggers of divided
society and inability and unwillingness of past and
present governments in Nigeria, particularly the
Buhari administration to bind, heal and run an all
inclusive or pluralistic government”.
Intersociety’s statement signed by its Chairman,
Board of Directors, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi,
further declared: “Divisions abound deeply in the
country, day in day out. Lopsidedness also
abounds in all the appointments so far made by
Buhari administration. The federal public and civil
service appointments and promotions are deeply
lopsided and there are no signs of addressing
them; rather there are signs of deepening them
thickening everyday. In all, there are entrenched
structural imbalances, injustices and violence in
every aspect of the Nigerian polity.
“Totality of these is extensively responsible for the
increased agitation for Biafran Statehood; this is
more so when the agitators are the worst victims.
The gravest mistake of the 2015 presidential poll
was the emergence and resurgence of fanatics of
divided society who are unrepentant promoters of
ethnocentrism and primordialism,” the statement
“It is on all these premise that agitation for Biafran
homeland is built. As for whether the struggle will
materialise, there are internationally established
processes of struggle for self-determination,
particularly those involving non-violence. Of the
two newest independent countries of East Timor
and South Sudan, one was gotten violently and the
other non-violently. South Sudan got hers after 30
years of bloody civil war with mother Sudan, and
East Timor got hers non-violently from Indonesia
and after many years of non-violent struggle
powered by dictatorial governing styles of the
government of Muhammed Suharto.
stage of the non-violent struggle for self
determination or statehood is awareness
campaigns and local and international pressures
and the last stage is organisation by UNO of a
referendum for the agitating party and if the
majority vote for self-government, then the new
statehood is born. Countries have, in history,
negotiated and re-negotiated their instruments of
existence and togetherness and some have voted
to live apart (i.e. Czech & Slovakia) and others to
live together (i.e. United Germany). Former Soviet
Union got divided non-violently into 15 Republics in
1991, and Yugoslavia violently divided into six
Republics between 1995 and 2001.”
In their own reaction, the Concerned Eastern
Youths Initiatives, CEYI, cautioned IPOB members
and other pro-Biafra groups against attending a
recent meeting convened by Governor Rochas
Okorocha in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Coordinator of CEYI, Emma Powerful said: “IPOB
protests will continue until they release Nnamdi
Describing the exercise as legitimate, a legal
practitioner based in Onitsha and Chairman of
Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Idemili branch, Ben
Okoko, said the right to protest by the IPOB
members is guaranteed under the Constitution of
Nigeria, adding that if truth must be told, the
agitation is predicated on marginalisation.
According to Okoko: “If there is justice and equity
in sharing our natural resources, the struggle will
cease. Resources are not shared commensurately
according to revenues generated from the South
East and South-South zones of the country”.
He however cautioned against poor coordination
of the agitation, adding that its legitimacy should
not be abused with violence and criminal
tendencies. He also charged security agencies to
see themselves as unbiased umpires and as such
should not harass, molest or attack the protesters,
but rather monitor them and ensure that they did
He advised our elected officers like Governors,
National and State Assembly members and other
political appointees to tread with caution to avoid
either committing treason or attracting the wrath
of the agitators because, according to him, having
been elected under the Nigerian Constitution, if
they openly support the agitators, it would amount
to treason and if they support the government in
attacking the agitators, they might risk their houses
being torched or even their lives being threatened.
President of Igbo Youths Forum, IYF, Anunihu
Uzor, noted that traders supported the agitation to
the extent that most of them closed their shops,
while some of them even joined in the
demonstration because there is no motorable road
in the entire South East region, neither are there
Federal Government presence in the zone.
Anunihu noted that if government had addressed
these issues squarely instead of arresting,
detaining and refusing to release Nnamdi Kanu in
defiance of court order, there would have been no
need to agitate for Biafra restoration, not to talk of
embarking on the demonstration exercise.
Also in his own reaction entitled: “Biafra is on
course!!!”, Comrade Peter Okala, Former
Governorship Candidate of the National
Conscience Party, NCP in Anambra State and
President- General of Ndigbo United Assembly,
NUA, declared: “My take on the Biafran agitation is
positive in the sense that our colonial masters
knew our differences to have made a contract of
one 100 years known as amalgamation for us to try
if we could understand ourselves, but the fact
remained that till date, the centre could not hold
and the South is still hated with passion by our
Northern and Western brothers”.
According to Okala: “Today if one is asked to name
100 most corrupt people in Nigeria who have
stolen our treasury dry, hardly will an Igbo man be
among them. But we are abused in every part of
Nigeria as people who could do anything to get
money. Reason? Because the West is in control of
the media and the North has partnered with them
to marginalise the South East.
“ I advocate a peaceful agitation to achieve Biafra
because the North and West are going to become
our close neigbours when our prayers are
answered. The present structure of lesser states in
the South East which amounted to lesser number
of legislators and local government councils are
some of the glaring evidences of marginalisation of
“It is worthy of note that the present
administration is encouraging the secession of
every group by their unpopular policies and
programmes, a government that has no listening
ears to protests and popular agitations by its own
citizens could not be said to have a human face.
“The arrest and continued detention of a non-
violent agitator is a promotion to that course and
Nigeria is the one promoting the agitation by the
unprofessional use of security agents against the
agitators, which means that Nigeria is the one
promoting lawlessness by working against the
United Nations declaration on human rights which
she is a signatory to.”
Leader of Movement for Outright Discontinuation
of the Exploitation and Annihilation of Easterners,
MODEAE, Comrade Arinze Awogu, in his own
statement entitled: “Death and its harbingers have
ceased to frighten Biafrans: The True Leader of
Biafran people has finally emerged”, noted that “as
the Biafra protest rages, it is good that we remind
ourselves the purpose of this quest; what we are
struggling to safeguard and why we are so
determined to continue to fight for the release of
Nnamdi Kanu and the restoration of the
independence of Biafra”.
“We have borne the brunt of this quest, we have
suffered marginalisation, deprivation, ostracisation
and all manner of conceivable deaths in the hands
of an enemy that is so cruel, that is so wicked and
that has used all manners of weapons to not only
cage us as a people and stop us from developing at
our own pace-keeping us in a state of arrested
development, but has without respite hounded us
into detention and daily murdering us for daring to
ask for our freedom.
“But today we rise up to recite before the enemy
the portion of the Biafran Anthem that says: ‘if the
price be death that we owe to pay, so let us all die
without any shred of fear’. Death and its
harbingers have ceased to frighten us; they no
longer condition our thoughts. We have opted for
death instead. Life is now meaningless to us. We
consider ourselves dead already and as such we
are not afraid of dying for he that is on the ground
is no longer afraid of falling. This protest must go
on. It is a battle of homeland and we are putting in
In a slogan titled: ‘Release Lord Nnamdi Kanu Now!
And Give Us Biafra Or We All Die’, Awogu
declared:”Give us Biafra or we all die is the
expression on the lips of everyone; from Bayelsa
to Cross-River, from Akwa-Ibom to Rivers to Delta
to Anambra to Imo to Abia to Ebonyi to Enugu to
parts of Edo, to parts of Kogi, to parts of Benue
and to parts of Southern Cameroon, the frenzy is
rapturous, it is electrifying, it is a moving train,
nothing stands on its wake.
“In the words of George Orwell: ‘…if liberty means
anything at all, it means the ability to tell people
what they do not what to hear.’ President Buhari
and his likes must continue to be inundated with
the Biafra nightmare that is Biafra restoration.The
extra-judicially detained Director of Radio Biafra,
whom we now choose to refer to and call Lord
Nnamdi Kanu has proven to be the spark-plug for
an idea whose time has indeed come. He has
galvanised Biafrans the world over while in
detention far more than he was able to do before
his arrest through the IPOB. Across the globe, the
Biafran spirit and the longing for Biafra is more
than ever before revived.
“The Afarukwu-Ibekwu-Umuahia-born Lord
Nnamdi Kanu, a Prince from a Royal family, floated
Radio Biafra out of nothing to generate lots of
waves across the world which makes restoration of
Biafra a catch phrase among Biafrans and enemies
of Biafra alike. The second phase of the march to
Biafra restoration no doubt threw up characters
that at some point showed traces of the kind of
leaders needed to steer the ship of the Biafra
struggle to a safe dock.
“But many had found reason to doubt and
question the sincerity of the lot save for Lord
Nnamdi Kanu whose blistering campaign for Biafra
in less than three years has gotten global appeal
with a style that is so so irresistible and
captivating. He has gradually become a darling and
the most sought after Biafran campaigner
worldwide with many fearing that the accolade
might get into his head and make him drift away
like others before him by the time he regains his
freedom. But he had already in anticipation sworn
with his son and household never to betray the
trust placed on him by the Biafran people.
“Born in the thick of the genocidal war waged
against his Biafran people, Lord Nnamdi Kanu had
unapologetically affirmed that the ‘zoo’ referred to
as Nigeria only exists today because the White
Europeans said so, insisting that it was not created
by God the natural way all nations on earth came
into existence. But rather was conceived in the
heart of man to serve a purpose for which nation
states were not and could not be designed for. …
“He is the humble servant of the good people of
Biafra and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces of the Republic of Biafra. As a servant of the
Biafran people, he has remained a dutiful worker
for the Biafran cause and a vicarious pride and
source of inspiration to new generation of Biafrans
who see in him the bulwark that will crystalize the
independence of Biafra.
“The White man has a way of distinguishing a
special breed that achieved a special feat in
extraordinary circumstances from others. The
Director of Radio Biafra should have the toga
of’Lord’ to his name, for in detention as in
freedom, he has brought the people closer to
Biafra. The ongoing protest would have achieved
its main objectives with the unconditional release
of Lord Nnamdi Kanu and Biafran independence
restored; and will not stop save these two are met;
anything other than these two, the protest has to
continue unabated with a renewed vigour”.
…Ohaneze, Igbo statesmen in consultation
INDICATIONS emerged yesterday that the apex
Igbo socio-cultural organisation and some elder
statesmen of Igbo extraction have embarked on
consultation to come up with a common voice on
how to handle the ongoing protests across the
country by the Indigenous People of Biafra.
A source close the both camps told Vanguard
Features that Ohaneze ought to have called for an
end to the protests, but some Igbo elder statesmen
are of the opinion that issues that provoked the
protests are germane.
It was gathered given the sensitivity of the matter,
the apex group has commenced consultations with
prominent Igbo leaders on how to have a common
stand on the issue.
According to the source: ‘’Ohaneze and some
statesmen in Igbo land are being circumspect. But
I can tell you that they are trying to be on the same
page on this sensitive matter. The good thing is
that both want the country restructured in line with
the recommendations of the Confab. The South-
East deserves an equitable share in this country,
but as things are today, the zone is obviously
marginalised. That is what those boys are
protesting for. They want a country where every
region will be treated fairly. I can assure you that
Ndigbo, will speak with one voice on the issue in a
matter of days.”
Further findings, showed that the leaders are not
on same ground on the matter, as they differ on
whether to condemn the ongoing protests, for fear
of not incurring the wrath of the protesters.
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has pledged
$20,000 per goal as he urged the Super Eagles to
beat visiting Sihlangu of Swaziland in their 2018
World Cup qualifier in Port Harcourt.
The Super Eagles
laboured to a draw in the
first leg in Lobamba.
However, coach Sunday
Oliseh is hopeful that his
wards will be on top of
their game this afternoon
when they face the Swazi
team at the Adokie
“Rivers State Government
pledges $20k per goal
#SoarSuperEagles,” national team handle tweeted.
Secretary to the Rivers government Kenneth
Kobani who delivered the Governor’s message
urged the team during training yesterday to do all
it takes to ensure victory.
on revenue policy, says
From Ado Ekiti
EKITI State Governor Ayodele Fayose has said he will
not attend the meeting called by the Federal
Government with governors on the Treasury Single
Account (TSA), noting that his state was not
interested in the policy, which he said was fraud
against Nigeria and its people.
A statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public
Communications and New Media, Mr. Lere Olayinka,
the governor said: “The Federal Government should
rather remove the veil on the face of REMITA so that
Nigerians know the real owners, through whom the
All Progressives Congress (APC) is allegedly
siphoning Nigeria money to fund Kogi and Bayelsa
“From all intent and purposes, this TSA policy is
aimed at recouping money spent on the last general
elections by the APC, as well as raise money for
future elections, especially the Kogi and Bayelsa
states gubernatorial poll.
“It is also meant to enrich some individuals for doing
virtually nothing and that can be seen from the
discovery of N25 billion that already accrued to just a
single company in one month!
“How can the Federal Government justify a
transaction in which a single company gets one per
cent, amounting to N25 billion in one month?
“In this economic situation that Nigeria is, shouldn’t
the one per cent commission be negotiated
downward to like 0.1 per cent which would have
reduced the N25 billion to N2.5billion,” he said.
According to him, “even manufacturing companies,
with thousands of employees don’t make N25 billion
profit in one month. Therefore, what Nigerians are
expecting from the Federal Government is
explanation on the alleged N25 billion scam already
associated with the operation of the TSA, instead of
calling governors to a meeting that is aimed at
imposing the TSA policy on the states.”
Insisting that he will not attend the meeting,
Governor Fayose said the Federal Government
cannot force its policies on states that are the
federating units in the federation.
“Ekiti State is entitled to its own policies and it is not
under any obligation to accept Federal Government
policies, especially the TSA that is already robed in
the garment of fraud.
“I therefore, wish to state categorically that Ekiti State
is not interested in the TSA policy and since the state
is not interested, I, as the custodian of the popular
mandate of the entire people of the state, will not
attend any meeting called by the Federal Government
on the TSA,” he said.
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari on
Monday in Abuja that his administration was not in
a hurry to prosecute those suspected to have
stolen from the public coffers until verifiable
evidences were fully documented against them.
He said that everyone was presumed innocent until
proven guilty by the law, saying that Nigeria was
not under military rule where the law may be
According to him, the government was determined
to follow due process to give recourse to
The president who spoke while in audience with a
delegation from the Foursquare Gospel Church, at
the presidential villa however restated his
commitment to recovering stolen funds.
“Under military rule, people could be arrested and
held on the basis of suspicion, but in a true
democracy, anyone accused of an offense must be
presumed innocent till pronounced guilty by a
court of law,” he said.
He congratulated the Foursquare Church in Nigeria
on its 60th anniversary convention which was
concluded on Sunday.
In his remarks, the General Overseer of the
Foursquare Gospel Church, Rev Felix Meduoye
commended the Buhari administration for
initiating a full scale war against corruption and
insurgency in the land, pledging that the church
will continue to pray for the peace and prosperity
The United Nations has reported that the Boko
Haram sect spends as high as N2 billion to carry
out terrorists attacks just as the Senegalese
authorities have arrested two suspected Boko
Haram female members with 500 million CFA
(about N164 million) cash.
Deputy Director of Assessment and Technical
Assistance for the UN Counter-terrorism
Committee, Hassan Baage, told a gathering of
West African Security experts in Dakar, Senegal,
that the extremist sect’s annual budget was
believed to be up to $10 million.
The Associated Press (AP) which covered the
Dakar event quoted the UN official as calling for
closer scrutiny of the financing of extremist
groups, including Boko Haram.
“We must detect the flow of money that finances
their activities and measures must be
implemented to freeze the funds. According to
reports that we’ve consulted, the budget of Boko
Haram is around $10 million per year,” Baage
Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, a special envoy for
the African Union, said at the event that a
stronger institution was needed to police and
block the financing of extremism.
“The transfer of money through informal circles
means huge amounts of money can circulate in
these regions uncontrolled,” he said.
Boko Haram’s financing could come from crime
cartels, false charity organisations and blackmail,
said other experts at the forum on fighting
extremism. Other analysts said the militants are
known to have been paid millions for hostages,
mainly French and Cameroonians taken in
Cameroon, though Cameroon’s government
denies paying ransoms.
Also, a number of suspects have been reportedly
arrested in and around Dakar, the Senegalese
capital, in the past two weeks with links to Boko
Two women, according to Premium Times, an
online newspaper, were arrested in Guidiawaye, a
suburb of Dakar, on suspicion of links to the
Officials say the women popped up on the radar
of security agencies and were afterwards placed
under surveillance after authorities intercepted
their communication with a suspected Boko
Haram fighter in Nigeria, who was confirmed to
be the husband of one suspect and brother to the
Security forces also reported uncovering a
consistent number of money transfers between
the suspects and their alleged Boko Haram
fighter-relative for months.
After their arrest, a search was conducted on
their home and a cash of 500 million CFA Francs
(about N164 million) was found in their
possession, authorities claimed.
“The fact that such an amount was in their
possession instead of being in the bank further
goes to confirm ties with the alleged Boko Haram
fighter,” a security source said.
Also this month, two Imams were arrested
One of them was arrested in Ziguinchor, the
regional headquarters of southern Senegal, an
area known for its over 30 years of secessionist
wars with the Senegalese government.
In Kaolack, another suburban city, hundreds of
kilometres outside Dakar, an Imam was arrested.
The town is popular for being a base of the
Tijanniya Brotherhood, and home of the
renowned Islamic scholar, Sheik Ablaye Niass.
Authorities say the Imam, Alioune Ndao, had
been under security radar for months as a result
of his suspected links with Boko Haram.
“His sermons have been strangely inclined
towards “instigating” his congregation towards
Boko Haram ideologies,” the security source said.
Following his arrest, two satellite phones were
found in his possession.
Security insiders said a scrutiny of the call
histories of the phones showed consistent
communications with suspected members of the
Boko Haram sect.
In the capital city of Dakar itself, a young man was
arrested for alleged links with the terrorist group.
Security operatives say their investigations
revealed he was a next of kin to a confirmed Boko
Haram fighter in Nigeria.
“He has also been receiving a lot of money
transfers from Nigeria after the death of his
brother who was fighting for the group,” one of
the security sources said.
The Senegalese President, Macky Sall, told the
security conference in Dakar that terrorists
should not be allowed to “impose another form of
religion” that does not “correspond to our
traditions or our conceptions of Islam”.
Mr. Sall told the conference that brought together
about 800 security officials and analysts from
across the region to the Senegalese capital to
develop a coordinated response to mounting
jihadist threats facing the country.
He said Senegal must develop “a philosophical
and theological discourse, training imams with a
sense of a tolerant Islam”.
US President Barack Obama will hold talks with
Saudi Arabia’s KingSalman on Sunday, a US official
said, as world leaders seek a united response to
the Paris assaults claimed by Islamic State
The US and Saudi leaders plan to meet on the
sidelines of a two-day summit of the Group of 20
top economies in the heavily guarded Turkish
Mediterranean resort of Antalya where the battle
against jihadist violence is on the leaders’ agenda,
the official said.
The Paris attacks, which killed 129 people, have
sent a jolt through the gathering, where leaders
will try to forge a joint statement on the attacks
and narrow a deep divide over conflict-riven Syria.
Washington and Riyadh are part of a US-led
coalition that last year launched an air campaign
targeting the Islamic State jihadist group which
controls swathes of territory in Syria and
From Fred Itua, Abuja
ALL Progressives Congress (APC) Senators yesterday
shut down moves by the opposition Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) to summon President
Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the Minister of
Petroleum Resources, to appear before the Senate
over the biting fuel scarcity.
In a motion sponsored by Senator Barau Jibrin (APC,
Kano North) and co-sponsored by 23 others, the
lawmakers expressed worries over the endless fuel
scarcity and the hardship it has inflicted on
“We are worried that the scarcity is creating an
untold hardship to our citizens who have to pay
higher prices for these products especially petrol. We
are convinced that the current situation is not in tune
with the desire of the progressively-inclined
government to bring”, he said.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South), urged
the Senate to summon the President to tell law-
makers why the government was yet to resolve the
lingering fuel crisis, despite claims that the refineries
Abaribe’s amendment to the motion was defeated
when the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, put it
up for a voice vote. APC Senators who were obviously
more in number, drowned the voices of their PDP
Meanwhile, the Senate has mandated its Committee
on Petroleum Downstream to urgently examine all is-
sues associated with the current scarcity of
petroleum products and determine how the
legislature could collaborate with the executive to
bring a lasting solution that will prevent any future
problem of fuel scarcity. The committee is expected
to report back to the Senate as soon as possible.
Enugu – The 82 Division of the Nigerian Army has
warned agitators for Biafra that they are now
crossing the red line and that its officers and men
The Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) the
division, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, told
newsmen in Enugu that the army would not fold its
hands while such persons destroyed lives and
property in the country.
“The warning to the agitators is to tell them that
enough is enough,’’ Attahiru said, adding that it
was inexcusable for troops to stand aside and
watch the security situation deteriorate, leading to
loss of lives or damage to peoperty.
“The Nigerian Army would like to send an
unequivocal warning to all and sundry, more
specifically to all those threatening and agitating
for the dismemberment of the country, committing
treasonable felony and arson.
“Once deployed, the Nigerian Army shall apply the
rules of engagement to the letter in order for
peace to prevail,’’ he said.
He noted that the agitators had recorded cases of
lawlessness in Aba, Port Harcourt, Onitsha,
Abakaliki and Enugu.
Attahiru said that the army took its time to adopt
the present stand, saying that it was the primary
duty of the police to maintain certain levels of
security in the country.
The current hiking in the price of PMS in the country is really disturbing.
According to Nigerian Gossip investigation for the past weeks the price of petrol has really escalated from normal NNPC price 87 naira to 200 naira in so many states.
According to a motorist name withheld said that he bought fuel at the rate of 150 per liter in Aba and going back to the same filling station today fuel is now sold at 200 per litre.
From statistics around the country the average price of fuel in the country is around 200-250 per litre.
As at today,
most of the filling stations are selling for N200. Our
tolerance is being pushed to the wall. I voted for all
APC candidates but this is not the change I voted for.
It should not take the new government a whole year to make fuel to be regular and affordable.”- ugochukwu ( A motorist)
In the Northern states, such as Federal Capital Territory, and in Kaduna, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano and Nassarawa States, the average cost of petrol is N150 per litre.
Nigerians are calling on the federal government to do something urgently. “We voted for President Buhari
so that our lives would be better. This fuel scarcity must be tackled immediately by the government,”
Chidi Okonkwo, a businessman, told the reporter.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Gu
Xiaojie, on Tuesday said that the Chinese
government would henceforth sanction any
Chinese company that would disobey Nigeria’s
local content and labour laws. Gu made the
assertion in an interview with newsmen in Lagos
following complaints by some Nigerians that the
companies were not obeying Nigerian labour laws.
The Envoy, however, said that he was yet to get any
report from relevant Nigerian government
authorities of such companies that were violating
the laws. “As an Embassy, we have always urged
our companies in Nigeria to be law-abiding, as well
as engage in their Corporate Social Responsibilities
in their host communities.
“Specifically, I am not aware of these isolated cases
of complaints that Chinese companies are not
obeying Nigerian Labour laws. “We have always
reminded our companies that they should not put
profit above the well being and interest of
Nigerians working with them,’’ he said.
Gu also said that it was imperative for the
companies to obey Nigerian laws, just as the
Chinese government would want foreign
companies and nationals in China to obey its
laws. The ambassador noted that the existing
relationship between Chinese and Nigerians was
being hampered by language, culture and proper
understanding of themselves.
Gu said that the Chinese government was working
hard at eradicating the current challenges in the
people-to-people interaction between Chinese and
Nigerians. “Let me say that there is today much of
Chinese companies presence across Nigeria which
shows the existing relationship between China and
“Chinese companies are today providing so much
job opportunities to Nigerians in different parts of
Nigeria. “Let me say that China’s policy for Africa is
that of openness, transparency, friendliness and
win-win cooperation,’’ he said.