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Benue State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of a school teacher, Mr Terseer Maikyo for allegedly raping a JSS 1 student in Ukum Local Government Area of the state.

Maikyo’s arrest was contained in a press statement on Friday, signed by the Command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Sewuese Anene.

The statement stated that Maikyo was arrested on Oct. 8, and would soon be charged to court.

It said that another man, Nelson Omanka from Obi Local Government, who was also arrested on Oct. 9, for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl, had been charged to court.

The police added that two people had been apprehended by detectives on Oct. 7, in connection with the murder of one Fidelis, a student of University of Science and Technology Calabar, Cross-River State.

The suspects were named as Emmanuel Williams and James Ulem.

“Two white and blue coloured axes, one machete, a bottle of concoction, five handsets and wraps of dried leaves suspected to be Indian-Hemp were recovered from them.”
“Five robbery suspects – Lubem Tseer, Tertsea Ephraim, Peter Yaigh, Joseph Gyan and Aondaana Tarhembe – were apprehended in their hideout in Gboko with a single barrel gun, one cartridge and assorted charms,” he said.

According to the command, two Toyota Corolla vehicles and assorted phones were recovered from five robbery and kidnapping suspects operating along Ugbema/Adikpo road.

It gave their names as Nanen Targba, Gabriel Mbakighir, Aondofa Doaior, Aondohemba Torkwembe and Atsor Abeda.

“Again, Suleiman Abdullahi was arrested in possession of one locally made revolver pistol with an expanded 9mm ammunition, four rounds of live AK 47 ammunition and 126 wraps of dry leaves suspected to be Indian hemp.”

“Benue State Police Command has continued to intensify efforts towards the fight against crime as evident in the recent special deployments and arrest of suspects in connection with heinous crimes.

“Within the last three weeks, Police Officers deployed to strategic points have been able to foil kidnap/ robbery attempts among other crimes,” NAN quoted the statement as saying

Saturday, 26 October 2019 12:00

Kidnapped Kaduna schoolgirls, teachers freed

 
 

Six students of Engraver’s College, a private secondary school in Kaduna who were kidnapped along with their teacher on Oct. 3, have regained their freedom.

The victims were kidnapped in Kakau Daji Village in Chikun Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State by gunmen.

 

The state’s Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan confirmed their release in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Saturday.

“We are relieved that this criminal violation of the right to liberty is over and that they are all back safely,

“The victims, most of whom are minors, and their families will now be focusing on recovering from this undeserved trauma,” he said.

 

Aruwan did not state how they were released.

“As we continue to combat banditry, kidnapping and other crimes, the Kaduna State Government urges all our communities not to give comfort to criminals by dividing victims and inserting ethno-religious narratives for the activities of ruthless miscreants.

“Government calls for vigilance in all our communities and continued cooperation with security agencies in this battle to secure our state and all who live in it,” he said.

Saturday, 26 October 2019 11:50

EPL: Mourinho to become Arsenal manager

 

Former Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho could reportedly be back to the Premier League as Arsenal manager, according to The Times.

The former Chelsea manager’s last job was in Manchester United where he was sacked last November.

 

The Portuguese, however, could return to the Premier League as several reports are linking him to Arsenal.

The 56-year-old was seen at the Gunners Europa League match against Vitoria SC
Arsenal are having a difficult start to the Premier League this season as they are currently 5th in the table.

The newspaper reports that manager Unai Emery could be sacked if the North London club don’t make the Champions League next season.

 

The Kogi state police command has arrested Mr. Omoyele Fatoye, the Director of Child Welfare at the Kogi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development over an alleged sexual harassment of a 25-year-old lady identified simply as Blessing. 

 

Mr Omoyele had reportedly tried taking advantage of the lady whose mother reportedly abandoned her day-old baby in a refuse dump in Otokiti area of Lokoja.

 

The state police said the Director of Child Welfare was caught red-handed in the act following a distress call they received. 

 

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ishaya Pam told newsmen “We caught him in the very act, with one of the children of the very woman whose child is in the custody of the government and under his care, being the director of child welfare in the ministry.

“I was coming from NUJ, then, I saw a missed call (unknown number to my phone). As DPO, I have to return missed calls. I called back and the person introduced herself as Blessing, a daughter to the mother of the abandoned child; that she is in distress, and in a house near Pati Guest Inn, here in Lokongoma, which is under my area of jurisdiction (AOR).

“Thereafter, I went there with two of my detectives around 21:45 hours (9.45pm). I saw Fatoye, the director and the girl, and we brought them to the station.

“We are investigating him on attempt to commit an offence and gross indecent assault, after which he will be charged to court.”

 

He further disclosed that Blessing was met with her blouse already removed by the director and hung in his wardrobe after the police team arrived. 

 

On her own part, Blessing said to be a wrestler who was part of Kogi State contingent to last year's National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State disclosed that Mr Omoyele began pestering her for sex after getting her number from her mother, Mary James. 

 

“On the day they arrested my mother, when I got to state CID, I found out that they were going to the ministry of women affairs, and I went with her. It was there I saw him (director). He said that he needed my contact; if I wanted to see the child that I’ll see through him. I gave him my contact number.

“They asked what I will say about my mom, and I said after everything she’s going to the village (in Jos). The woman (commissioner) said that she was angry with my mom, and that the child is not hers; that any child you turn your back on, is no longer yours. That, it belongs to the government and we left.

“When we got to where we were to sign, my mother said that she was not signing. The man said that if she liked the baby, why she didn’t stay to look after her.

“I called my auntie in Jos, to speak with him, but he said that nobody is talking to anybody on phone; that he doesn’t want to hear anybody on the phone. He now brought out ink pad for thumbprint, saying if she did not append, she’ll not leave there. He had to force my mom to thumbprint, after which he said I should sign.

“He threatened that the whole blame for whatever happens will be on me. I had to sign the paper. He said that I should take my mother to anywhere I wanted.

“I traveled on the time they found the baby, and when I came back, I met all these on ground. My mother pleaded with me to forgive her; that she did not know why she did that, that she was afraid. And, I forgave her.

“He (director) was calling me, saying he wants to see me that anywhere I am, I should come over. That time, I was so angry. I told him I’ll get back to him, but I did not. He kept calling. Thursday he called me and I said I was at home, and he said that I should meet him at Pati Guest Inn, and when I got there he took me to his house, which is not far from there. I was scared.

“When I got there, he now started touching me; robbing my breasts. I now asked him how much he was going to give me. He then pulled my blouse and hung it in the wardrobe. I imagined myself. I asked, what is his problem?

“He now told me that anytime I want to see the baby, I can come through him after then that he is going to give me N2, 000 next week…that he doesn’t want to take me like a prostitute, but only wanted to keep me for himself anytime he wants me. I wanted to go but he ordered that I stayed till the next day. I now said well…

“After then, I called the DPO. He called back, but he said I should call the next day, and I now said that I am in trouble. After that, he asked of my location and I described the place to him" she said. 

 

The Nation reported that the Director of Child Welfare who was brought out from the police cell where he slept overnight, prostrated over and over when ushered into the office of the DPO where he was pleading for forgiveness. 

 

Commenting of the missing baby incident, the state commissioner for women affairs and social development, Bolanle Amupitan disclosed that they have already spent N100K in taking care of the baby which she said is their duty. 

 

According to her, the mother of baby who is a widow with three children will be prosecuted after the police concludes its investigation. 

Saturday, 26 October 2019 09:59

As the South East Mourns - Okey Ikechukwu

South Eastern Nigeria lies prostrate and without dignity today. It has been thus for a long time now. Enveloped by an incubus of snarling befuddlement as it is dragged towards a benighted terminus, the region has become a metaphor for how to exist (without really living) in a federation of supposedly equal partners. It twists and turn piteously in subdued pain. There is an unvoiced gnashing of teeth and a bitter forbearance. Denuded, ridiculed, swindled and roundly scandalised on all fronts by an elaborate pretense at nationhood that has been to its detriment for far too long, the South East Nigeria is at best a metaphor for nominal and fraudulent citizenship. Its gifted, energetic and bold youths are forced to scavenge around the fringes of morality and legality.

That is because they have found themselves in a system that excludes them from what their peers and supposed fellow citizens take as a matter of course; and regard as their entitlement. There is, for people of the South East, an unnamed fear here and a semi-uncertain confusion there. There is also a semi-real trembling yonder. Anon, it is as if there is always some creeping, inexplicable, yet ever-present, but clearly unhealthy quivering of political and economic nerves. Perplexity walks the land – and with bold, intimidating steps.

But, being a people resolved not to dissolve under inclement currents and the unrelenting assaults of a merciless state that seems determined to annihilate them, Ndigbo remain resilient in the face of inhuman political and economic odds. But does the rest of the Nigerian federation really know, and to its fullest measure, that thralldom and misery have taken permanent residence in the entire South East? Put differently, does anyone really care what people of that region feel, or do not feel, about everything going on around them – and sometimes in their name? I think not. And that is because everyone has been living with a badly treated South East since after the civil war in 1970. It has become normal to reckon without the people in every way.

 

The failure of the post-war rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes, the decades of burgeoning neglect by the central government, the lack of group cohesion among the people themselves, the curse of poor strategic group leadership, the political incompetence of new “Igbo leaders” and an emergent attitude of presumptive preeminence by most eastern Nigeria’s public office holders of today, have taken their toll. That is why the land and the people now bleed from all pores. Yes, the South East mourns. And so might the rest of the nation if things are not put right and in good time.

It is a matter of fact, and record, that the South East region has remained sidelined in federal developmental projects for decades. The nation has lived with this reality for very long before the current government. The region lacks relevance in the siting of impactful institutions and major drivers of our economic environment. It is mocked by the wretched profile of its most visible political actors. Its sons and daughters in national public positions mostly live to survive their tenures. They sneak off to some recondite and narrow existence, or to their villages, once out of office. Not so for their peers, contemporaries and supposed equals from other parts of the country.

Look around you calmly and you must conclude that there is really nothing happening in the South East to warrant serious national human, economic or political traffic in that direction. It boasts the most dilapidated federal roads in the nation. It is the least considered in the new epidemic of rail projects springing up all over the nation. The second Bridge over the Onitsha end of the Niger was on the cards for decades. It became a metaphor for what should have happened immediately after the civil war, but which did not happen. The over 30 years of traffic nightmare for travelers on that route lingered and became the norm. Local economies even sprang up around the area; which have thrived for decades.

When finally approval was given for the Bridge to be built under the PDP government of yore, it turned out to be a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement. In other words, the bridge was approved to be built by whoever was willing, able and available to put down his money for it. Yes, the builder will fund the project and then later recover the money by putting up toll gates on both ends of the new bridge. It is those using the bridge that would pay for the cost of building it; and it was not to be handed over to the government to be used free of cost, until the number of years stipulated as adequate for the builder to recover his cost, along with the accruing profit. And, mind you, there was no case of national bankruptcy; or a dearth of projects of even higher net value being executed all over the nation at the time.

But the bridge was still not built. Had it been built as initially planned, it would most probably have been the only spot in the federation where toll gates were erected so that users of a public, land transport, facility like a bridge would pay for using it. And this was at a time the federal government banned and dismantled all toll gates in the country. It does not matter now, as observed earlier, that projects of higher value have been, and are still being, built all over the federation at government expense. Only the South East must moan, groan and bleed through the nose for a bridge that should have been constructed over 40 years ago.

Now that work has finally commenced on the bridge, thanks to the Buhari government and after a protracted toing and froing on several fronts, the euphoria of this “breakthrough” has, again, exposed the myopia and infantilism of South East political leadership. An elite that clamoured, and still clamours, for an inland port in Onitsha is blind to the fact that this new bridge has been deployed as undertaker for the port project. Go on, take a look at the main frames of the ongoing construction on the second Onitsha Bridge. What type of ship will pass under it? With what type of cargo, if any, or finished products will the ship pass? What in the current specifications show that it is being constructed with a contiguous inland port facility in mind? Who will now stop the work, given the stage it has reached and the amount of money already spent on it, to raise the beams so ship can pass under it?

To be fair, there is enough head room for, crabs, swimmers, speedboats and rafts. For good measure, it may even endure a flat-bottomed steamer ferrying sand around the now-dry banks. But that would be all. So we can at least commission the Onitsha inland port for some form of retail shipping, using canoes, fast swimmers and speedboats between the creeks of the South South and Onitsha. The South East mourns!

Which brings us to the recent presidential intervention on the rehabilitation of the Enugu airport, which was shut down some two months ago. It was with relief and gratitude that many people noted President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the sum of ten billion Naira be released for rehabilitation work on the closed airport to start. This was after the South East governors, accompanied by the President General of Ohanaeze, the region’s foremost socio-cultural organisation, paid him an all-important visit. It was like a trip to a shrine to appease a mighty oracle. The issues were presented. The pleas were made. The period of pensive waiting, with bated breath was not missing. Then came the magnanimous pronouncement of a reprieve. Phew! Hurray! But, that is because the South East is involved.

The plan to shut down the airport should ordinarily have been on the table along with the plan for its rehabilitation and re-commissioning. The aviation minister’s explanation, that there was no budgetary provision for the project, thus that it just could not be taken on and executed after it was shut down, begs the question. Does it not? So it was actually the visit to Aso Rock that suddenly, magically and perhaps miraculously, put the rehabilitation of the Enugu airport in the budget? It was also the visit that mysteriously, worked out the cost of the project and ferreted out the funds? So should we then assume that the figure magnanimously announced by the president was advised by actual verifiable calculations, or was it just announced on a whim? Whichever way we choose to look at it, there is cause for misgivings about public administration in Nigeria, the concept of “national emergency” and much more. The South East mourns!

Sorry to those who on seeing the title of this article easily assumed that it was to address the recent series of misfortunes, including fires, avoidable deaths and loss of property, in the South East? No, the misfortunes of the South East are much more than that. Many of them are self-inflicted. The misfortunes are there alright. So are the fires and the avoidable deaths and other losses. But over and above all these stand in bold relief the sustained diminution of a region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through deliberate government gymnastics and the political illiteracy of its own ruling elite.

Yes, it has the largest population per square kilometer. But it also has the lowest number of local governments, based on population density. It has records of exceptional performance in all competitive examinations, but the lowest representation in federal institutions. It has the highest number of dilapidated federal roads, no place in the national gas plan and no mention in the epidemic of rail series springing up everywhere else in the country. That is the South East for you. The region mourns today!

Fellow Nigerians permit me to say, it is no longer a secret that the former Governor of Lagos State and easily one of the most influential politicians in Africa, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has his gaze firmly fixed on the Nigerian Presidential seat in Abuja. Let me put it more frontally, Tinubu will love to drop the Chieftaincy title, Asiwaju, for that of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Who wouldn’t, anyway? I once tried my luck despite not having ten percent of Tinubu’s stupendous resources, extensive networks, public service experience and achievements and so on. I know that some will think it is too early to be talking about a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari given that his second term is barely six months old. Nevertheless, the political gladiators are already baring their fangs and showing their hands and flapping their wings. It would be silly of anyone to shut their eyes to such developments. 

The debate is already raging, as always. We love to talk. Don’t we? That’s our pastime, sadly or joyously. The naysayers  are having a field day with a plethora of reasons and questions on why he cannot succeed. What does Tinubu want again? He can’t win! He is not fit enough! He is too tainted and tarnished! The Hausa-Fulani will never give him power. How can he think he can attain what Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Moshood Abiola failed to get? Why can’t he field one of the people he empowered in the past? Too many questions begging for answers. 

I often wonder what exactly the matter is with us we practically groan and grumble over anything and everything. Someone once wrote that we all have the Abacha traits in us. We are all autocratic and oppressive in nature, the reason Democracy is not working here and may never work in most parts of Africa. We are just too intolerant and too dismissive. But for me and my house, I’m a consummate Democrat. I believe everyone has the right to aspire to any height in life, especially in politics. Political leadership is not the personal property of any person, dynasty or group!

If you ask me, I will tell you, unequivocally,  and repeatedly, that Tinubu is eminently qualified to contest. If you ask me if he is a saint, I will say no. None of us is. Not even Buhari. Not you, not me. Nations are not governed by saints but by performers. That is one of the recurring theses that I regularly propagate in my musings and reflections. I have no illusions that Tinubu will definitely perform as President of Nigeria, if he ever contests and wins. He has a knack for identifying brilliant minds and fertile brains, and the ability to nurture them to greatness. He has demonstrated this repeatedly and almost endlessly. Examples abound without doubt.

Does Tinubu suffer from excesses and shortcomings? Perhaps, again like all mortals, he does. This does not diminish his greatness. His excesses are mitigated by several strong and positive qualities. He is generous to a fault. He has lifted many souls, old and young, from penury and perdition. He is a classic example of the Good Samaritan. We all have our shortcomings and why should Tinubu be an exception. Too many unprintable rumours, myths and comments have been circulated in writing and also spoken about him, some bordering on character assassination and unverifiable vilification, but God chooses and anoints those he wants. And no one can challenge God. It is obvious that Tinubu has been richly blessed, despite his apparent foibles. Such is life.

I have followed his trajectory for close to three decades. His story is a stuff of fairy tales. All those who have disparaged, derided, denigrated and despised him have not been able to bring him down, despite their monumental efforts to achieve this. When you think he is supine, broken and out, he rises, like the Black onyx and soars again. I witnessed this, live and direct, during our exile days. Many times, we all felt down and out but Tinubu’s passion and influence re-engineered things and made us redouble our efforts. The reason is simple. Tinubu has an uncommon audacity. I believe his bravery has taken him beyond his own imagination. A man who has survived too many tribulations like him cannot be an ordinary soul. God must love him dearly and extraordinarily. He has fought many battles that he won, spectacularly. He is naturally smart and adequately fearless. A mutual friend once told a few of us that he is very sure Tinubu would still take the risk even if you say a particular venture will kill him. He has such  kamikaze instincts. You can’t go far in life, if you’re too squeamish and Tinubu is a living proof that courage conquers all.

It is wrong to say Tinubu has no right to run for the Presidency in 2023. Who are those who will run if he does not? How are they better? What qualifies them to run that disqualifies him from running? Yes, I may prefer younger people to take over but many of them we have seen have not justified the noise about “not too young to rule,” by ruling senselessly and recklessly. I’m now convinced that age should not be a deliberate barrier; track record of achievements should be the priority. I welcome all those who want to run and believe that they should be allowed to run without hindrance. It is wrong to muzzle the opposition, or even an opponent, because any nationalist and patriot will want the best for Nigeria and so long as the people express their preference for that person, he should be given the opportunity. Nigeria has suffered and continues to suffer because Murtala Mohammed, Chief M. K. O. Abiola and, to a lesser extent, Chief Obafemi Awolowo were not allowed to rule Nigeria by the selfish manipulations and evil machinations of incurably selfish and obviously misguided elements.

Let’s now take on the issues I earlier mentioned,  one by one. Those who are petrified, or just being cheeky, that the Hausa/Fulani will never hand over power to the South and, by extension, to Tinubu, and others, really baffle me. Self-doubt is one of the biggest afflictions of the Southerners. Too many people suffer from inferiority complex. They have resigned themselves to slavery and servitude, voluntarily, in their own country. This is one of the reasons the  Tinubu experiment and controversy is ‘sweeting’ me. If Tinubu cannot be supported by the North, despite all he did for Muhammadu Buhari to become President, after chasing the shadows for three record times, then there is no hope for Nigeria. In any event, I must stress that it is an insult to other parts of Northern Nigeria to suggest that there is a monolithic and homogenous North. We all know that is far from the truth.  There are diverse and disparate tribes in the Middle belt.  Even within the core north there are several minority tribes who do not share the same aspirations as their more visible and vociferous neighbours. We must discourage the notion of master-servant relationship in this country. We must promote unity and uphold the rights of every Nigerian citizen. Personally, I don’t care where the next President comes from, North, East, South or West. All aspirants are welcome. The more, the merrier.

That is why I’m not for zoning, in any form. I want aspirants to contest on their disastrous or meritorious records. Let the electorates be the judges. But to say someone is automatically disqualified on account of ethnicity, or even religion, is so unfortunate and so not right and definitely unacceptable,  at this time and age. It is one of the reasons that we have been robbed of stellar leaders in the past and the present. Are we not tired of this intractable backwardness?

 

On Awolowo and Abiola, it was the same myopia that made some powerful forces to gang up against them. What did the enemies of progress then gain after all? Let’s concede that Awolowo did not win, what of Abiola who was robbed in broad daylight and even paid the supreme price! Who knows if Tinubu will finally cross the bridge and finish the final lap of this marathon? No one knows God’s plans. Goodluck Jonathan never dreamt of being Deputy Governor, talk less of becoming President of Africa’s most populous country. Yemi Osinbajo had resigned himself to Law and Pastoral work but suddenly and unexpectedly became Vice President, almost effortlessly. He was probably home, arms akimbo, when he was called and annointed from the blues. Also, his helicopter crashed one terrible afternoon on his way to some political rallies in Kogi State, yet none of the passengers died. Many have died in less chaotically dangerous circumstances, and not a scratch on these children of God. Was that not a powerful sign and testimony that these are not mere mortals to be rubbished or traduced.

Some contend that Tinubu should not contest but instead allow one of his proteges to run instead. However, it is my belief that such a decision is solely his. It must always be remembered that he had the chance to be Vice-President and could have put his foot down to make the coalition work. On that occasion, for the good of his Party and the Nation, he gave up his dream and ambition and put forward another spectacular candidate, Professor  Yemi Osinbajo, who has not let his mentor down and has shown admirable comportment and grace. I believe there must therefore be some cogent reasons why he feels the time has come to be the king rather than a Kingmaker in perpetuity. There is nothing wrong in him making such an informed decision. He should be allowed to exercise his franchise and bet on himself again. Tinubu is an enigmatic calculator who knows how to permutate the game and stun his opponents. Like Buhari, I want to assume that Tinubu had planned this journey for a very long time. All the steps he has taken since 1999 obviously point to this fact.  The kind of political and social machinery that he has built is probably only matched and surpassed by those of great leaders that nurtured and forged our Independence, like the Owelle of Onitsha, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Odole of Ife, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Moshood Abiola. The rest is in the hands of God.

For me, Tinubu’s ambition is not an impossible mission. He is a master strategist who has acquired the templates of others like Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Chief Moshood Abiola, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, plus being one of those who ran Buhari’s campaigns, substantially. He knows the Nigerian terrain very well and even his enemies respect him tremendously.

For me, what gives Tinubu pre-eminence over most of the others who are contending for the crown but presently hiding behind one finger is his glittering records and achievements in both the private and public sectors. I really do not care about his past because as a Christian, none of us can judge anyone, and I have ample examples of the possible transformation and transfiguration of human beings, as the Lord pleases. That is a long time ago and gone with the winds. He has done more than enough to remove that from his narrative. Whatever his background was, he cannot be robbed of his victory and glory perpetually. Yes,  it is clear that he came from very humble beginnings of deprivation and chronic need but he sought to improve himself by seeking the golden fleece. He succeeded in his quest attaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. His success in this regard can be measured by the fact that he was head hunted by top accounting firms like Arthur Andersen and Deloitte, Haskins and Sells. He eventually joined Mobil in Nigeria where he excelled spectacullarly and rose to become a top executive in the company. His should thus be a veritable inspiration to majority of those in similar circumstances today, that anyone can rise up from the pit of hell to any heights, by dint of hard work and uncommon sagacity and determination.

His political career started in 1992. He was elected to the highest legislative house in the Nigerian Senate. When that ill-fated experiment by General Ibrahim Babangida went the way, it was programmed to go, Tinubu fled Nigeria and regrouped with like minded patriotic Nigerians to form the external wing of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). After the death of General Sani Abacha, Tinubu returned home to contest as Governor of Lagos State and won a convincing victory. 

It is Tinubu’s achievements as a two-term Governor of Lagos State that has projected him to the prominent and exalted position that he now occupies in the Nigerian political sphere. He began the systematic and robust increase of the internally generated revenue of Lagos State which his successors have had no choice but to emulate, and sustain incrementally thus making Lagos State one of the richest self-sustaining ‘governments’ in Africa. His indomitable and indefatigable spirit led him to challenge the Federal Government headlong and succeeded in standing tall as he fought President Olusegun Obasanjo to a standstill. Despite not having access to funding for his local governments, Tinubu single-handedly revived and revamped Local Governments in Lagos State and brought tremendous developments to practically every part of Lagos State. His other great political prowess is in identifying quality and talented leaders from hitherto political obscurity and foisting them on the people to great effect. 

I strongly believe that Tinubu should be given a chance on the merit when, and if, he eventually proclaims his candidacy. Others will eventually come forth and should also be considered on their merits. As they do, we will have cause to revisit their suitability. Our country can only gain from such robustly healthy competition. We have a preponderance of brilliant men and women who can take Nigeria to the zenith of greatness but they are usually wasted on the altar of greed and selfishness.

What is clear to me is that it is only a matter of time before events begin to unfold. 

In the meantime, I can only wish Tinubu all the best in his appointment with destiny.

 

 

All Progressives Congress governors have held a closed-door meeting with the leaders of the National Assembly over the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit’s guidelines barring governors from tampering with local government area funds.

A source at the meeting, which held recently, told one of our correspondents that among other issues discussed at the meeting, the governors, under the aegis of Progressives Governors’ Forum, were seeking the support of the National Assembly over their objection to the guidelines released by the NFIU regarding the funds accruing to the councils from the federation account.


The NFIU on May 6 issued the ‘guidelines to reduce vulnerabilities created by cash withdrawals from local government funds throughout Nigeria’, which stopped governors from tampering with funds meant for the LGAs. The guidelines took effect from June 1.

The body said, “The Unit also maintains its understanding of the 1999 Constitution that no debit is allowed on any local government funds unless and until the funds are credited to and reach the bank accounts of a local government in any state of the federation.


“No transaction shall be permitted on a local government account until all salaries of local government staff, primary school teachers, traditional rulers and all other staff are removed.”

In a follow-up statement, the NFIU added, “The provision of the cumulative cash withdrawal not exceeding N500,000 per day is also firmly in place effective (from) June 1, 2019.”

It said any other transaction must be done through valid cheques or electronic funds transfer.



The 36 governors, acting under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, had rejected the instructions, saying the agency was dabbling in a matter that was “beyond its mandate”.

In a letter to the President by then-NGF Chairman, Abdulaziz Yari, the governors said the NFIU’s action was a “brazen attempt to ridicule” their collective integrity and “show total disregard for the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended”.
The governors also approached the Federal High Court in Abuja for an order stopping the implementation of the NFIU’s instructions in furtherance to their efforts, arguing that the NFIU Act 2018 lacked the power to issue guidelines on council finances, especially imposition of sanctions.



But the court rejected their request.

Justice John Tsoho declined a request by counsel for the forum to restrain the NFIU from implementing the guidelines pending the determination of suit No. FHC/Abj/CS/563/19 before the Federal High Court 2, Abuja.

To fully implement the directive, the NFIU warned that any bank that allows any transaction from any council account without the money first reaching a particular LGA account would be sanctioned 100 per cent, both locally and internationally.


The NFIU also said it was monitoring the implementation of the directive.

But at the closed-door meeting between the APC governors and the lawmakers, the source said the governors were passionate about the issue.

He said, “The governors lamented the lack of synergy and cooperation between them and the legislators and urged us to buy into their agenda for a smooth relationship between the two arms of government.

“Both parties deliberated on the report of the APC Governors Forum’s sub-committee on legislative matters, chaired by the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari.

“The governors specifically urged the APC caucus in the National Assembly to cooperate with them on issues that touch on their constitutional roles.

“The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, took time to explain the issues relating to the NFIU financial regulations to the governors and the roles that the National Assembly could play on the issue.”

The source said Masari, during the presentation of the governor’s agenda, accused the lawmakers of not according to issues relating to them the importance they deserved.



The source said, “The governors noted that the fact that they had gone to court on the matter did not mean that the National Assembly leadership should not employ legislative means to save them from the NFIU.

“Although the governors spoke with confidence at the meeting, the fact that they are seeking the lawmakers’ support is an indication that the NFIU guidelines are giving them serious concerns.”

The source noted that the absence of coordination between the governors and the lawmakers had created distrust capable of destroying the party.



He said both Lawan and Gbajabiamila, who spoke on behalf of their colleagues, promised to look into the APC governors’ proposal, urging them to put their house in order.

Meanwhile, the National President, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Mr Alabi David, declined comment on the matter.

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He said, “I have not been able to get the details of the discussion between the governors and the leadership of the National Assembly. However, until I have the details, I do not want to react because it is based on speculation. When I get the details of what they discussed, I will give you the feedback.”



But a top council official in Cross River State said it would be inconsiderate for the National Assembly to reverse the NFIU decision on LG funds.

He said, “I think the National Assembly will be inconsiderate to attempt to reverse the NFIU guidelines. It will be anti-democratic. Unfortunately, our union leaders do not want to comment on the matter. We, civil servants, are constantly being haunted for commenting on this matter.”

A former Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Amb. Yerima Abdullahi, has said the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1912-1966), knew about the deposits of oil in the North but didn’t explore it.

Abdullahi said Balewa’s intention was to allow the younger generations to explore the oil.

He said the discovery of oil in the North, particularly the recent one in the Gondola Basin, had shamed those who tag the region as a parasite on Nigeria.

 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation recently announced the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-Eastern part of the country.

Based on this discovery, Abdullahi said those describing the North as a parasite on others have to eat their words.

He said, “The future is now. Fortunately, the oil was found in Bauchi, which is our home. We expect many other mineral resources such as gold and copper to be discovered, and not just oil, in the North.

 

“Oil and gas existed before we were born. Even our elders, including the Tafawa Balewa government, knew but decided not to make so much noise about it, but to leave it for the younger generations.”

Abdullahi did not state if the latest discovery would spark self-determination as pursued by other regions but said the North had never denied any part of the country the right to control their resources.

“We are glad that oil has been found in the North and it will add to Nigeria’s wealth because we believe in the unity of the country. We don’t begrudge any part of the country or Nigerians from partaking in the wealth God has given us,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bauchi State Governor Inuwa Yahaya, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ismaila Misilli, has welcomed the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough of the Gongola Basin.

He said, “The development will change the economic fortune of the state and the North-East geopolitical zone, stimulate job creation and ultimately lead to job creation and wealth for the people.

 

“The North is not bothered about resource control. An average Northerner believes everything in the country belongs to the whole country. That is why you see us (Northerners) accommodating people coming from far and near. This (oil discovery) will not change our mindset.”

 

 

Punch

The owner of the NIGAS Rehabilitation and Skill Acquisition Centre, Dr Lawal Muduru, also known as Malam Niga, has alleged that none of the 19 northern state governors is serious about the fight against drug abuse in the region.

Muduru, who stated this in a chat with select journalists in Kaduna against the backdrop of a raid on his rehabilitation centre recently, said the governors cared less about the crisis rocking the North.

 

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, last Saturday led some policemen to raid the NIGAS centre at Rigasa in Igabi Local Government Area of the state, where 147 inmates held at the centre were rescued.

The state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hafsat Baba, said 22 inmates were females while four were foreigners. Some were said to be mentally unstable.

Muduru, though arrested, was later released on bail.

 

Explaining the rationale behind chaining inmates, he said the idea was to not allow the inmates brought by parents to go violent, saying they had issues of drug abuse and mental illness.

He rebuffed reports that the centre was a torture chamber, claiming that notable people in the society also brought their children to the centre to be rehabilitated.

He said the state government could not have claimed ignorance of the centre because the state Ministry of Youths and Sport and other government agencies sent mentally unstable people to the centre for rehabilitation.

 

He said, “Still, last Saturday, the governor (el-Rufai) came in a convoy of security men to my centre interrogating me why I was chaining children and I  explained to him that all I do is teach the inmates trade.

“I showed them everything. I explained that some inmates do run away from the centre and never return home to meet their relatives and if they run away from the centre, the parents confront me.

“I also explained that in most cases, the inmates usually run into trouble once they are not within the rehabilitation centre’s premises. Some may even lose their lives and the relatives take me to court if I can’t provide their children.”

 

According to Muduru, drug abuse and related crimes are prevalent in the North but the governors are not serious to tackle the vices.

He said, “We all know that drug abuse is prevalent in the North and in Kano and Jigawa states alone, people consume many bottles of codeine daily.

“What I observed is that in all the 19 Northern states in the country, none of the governors takes the issue of drug abuse seriously. The future of the youth is of less concern to them. And that has been the reason we have so many restive youths and crises in the North.”

 

Meanwhile, the National Youth Council of Nigeria on Friday called for urgent implementation of the report submitted by the Presidential Committee on the Eradication of Drug Abuse in Nigeria chaired by Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd).

 

Punch

 

Federal Capital Territory High Court has set aside a bench warrant issued for the arrest of a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.

The court had on April 17 issued the warrant against Adoke; a former minister of petroleum, Dan Etete, and four others over the OPL 245/Malabu affair.

Justice Danlami Senchi, while nullifying the warrant of arrest issued on April 17, 2019, said the application was meritorious.

He agreed with the applicant’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), that the order was issued without jurisdiction.

He held that the defendants had not been served with the information charge when the order was made.

However, efforts to get the court to strike out the names of the 4th to 9th defendants from the charge proved abortive as the judge refused their prayer.

Ozekhome had asked the court to set aside the order on the grounds that the court was misled.

 

He also asked the court to strike out his name in the suit the Federal Government filed against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others.

Ozekhome had submitted that the order for Adoke’s arrest was issued in breach of his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the Constitution.

He added that Adoke was neither served with the charge sheet and proof of evidence nor any other summons in respect of the criminal charge pending before the court.

 

He submitted that the warrant for the former AGF’s arrest was issued without jurisdiction and ought to be set aside.

 

PUNCH.