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Saturday, August 29

Buhari defends recent appointments

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday defended the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal and five others.

The appointments, announced on Thursday, had sparked reactions, with reports of complaints in some quarters that they tilted in favour of the North.

Appointed alongside Lawal were Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President; Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Mr. Kure Martins Abeshi, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service; Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Hon. Suleiman Kawu, SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari’s political appointments will balance out soon.

Adesina spoke on a radio programme, Political Platform, on RayPower 100.5FM, monitored by our correspondent in Lagos.

Adesina said the President was aware of federal character and expressed the belief that there will be balance by the time he makes more appointments in September.

While admitting that appointments are Buhari’s prerogative, the presidential spokesman also said that nobody can fault the fact that those that have been named so far ?were appointed on merits.

He also said it would not be fair to blame the President for positions that were filled as a result of elections, like those of the National Assembly and appointments made on the basis of next in command, like those of the acting Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission and Chief Justice of Nigeria.

He assured all stakeholders that the President would keep to his promise of appointing the remaining aides and ministers ?in September.

Adesina said: “Nobody can fault the fact that the persons appointed were appointed on merits.

“In terms of the spread, the President has prerogative to appoint and he knows there is federal character. I am sure that there will be balance in the future.

“These are still early days. At the end of the day, we will have a balance.

“By the time more appointments are made, it will balance out. The President is trying to get the very best of Nigerians. The issue of key positions and no key positions should not be the issue.

“He gave a deadline of September for the appointment of ministers, ?and he will keep to it.”

The President’s Senior Special Assistant Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, also issued a statement yesterday urging critics of the President’s appointments to be patient with the administration over political appointments, adding that the appointments made so far constitute less than five per cent of the total that would be made.

Besides, he said, the people so far appointed by the President are mostly people acting as his staff or unofficial advisers, many of whom had been working with him in official capacities.

The statement reads: “Our brothers and sisters and fellow countrymen should bear with the new administration as it takes its measured steps towards an effective take-off.

“These appointments are just beginning. The ones down so far, apart from the security services, are mostly of people acting as unofficial advisers or staff of the President.

“They are mostly men and women who have been doing things for the President and the positions are being formalised.

“Statistically, the appointments don’t amount to five per cent of what is to come. There will be ministers, heads of government departments, federal boards and ambassadors.

“At the end of the exercise, no part of the country will be left feeling left out.”

Reacting to the appointments, a faction of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) had described them as an insult to the Igbo race whose members he said were not appointed into any top office.

The group, in a statement signed by its Director of Information, Uchenna Madu, said the actions of the president since he assumed office had shown that he is not a lover of Igbo people.

“The latest appointments and previous ones since Buhari’s administration should be an eye opener to Ndigbo that Buhari is not seeing Ndigbo as part of Nigeria.

“These appointments have further confirmed the fact that the present administration is against Ndigbo, despite the massive support some Igbo leaders like Gov. Rochas Okorocha, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Chris Ngige and Rotimi Amaechi, among others, gave to Buhari and the APC during the last general election. This is an insult to our people.”

In the same vein, the Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) expressed concern over the President’s latest appointments, saying it was regrettable that no south easterner was included in the appointments.

In a statement signed by the organisation’s President and National Public Relations Officer, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro and Hon. Obinna Adibe respectively, the group said the appointments were totally unacceptable to Ndigbo, adding that they violated the principle of federal character enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.

OYC said: “We stand to condemn the continuous exclusion of Ndigbo by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Before this time, he had appointed Service Chiefs without looking the way of the South East. To make matters worse, the position of the SGF, which was originally zoned to the Ndigbo, has been denied the region.

“We are indeed shocked by this turn of events, which are totally at variance with Mr. President’s earlier stand that he was for everybody and for nobody.”

However, another Igbo group, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), voiced its support for President Buhari.

The Chairman of the group, Mr. Augustine Chukwudum, who is also president of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Mandate, called on the Igbo, in an interview with our correspondent, to support the President for him to achieve his aim of transforming the country.

NUF said: “We have been watching all that have been happening in the past few weeks, all the talks about the president marginalising Ndigbo.

“We want to use this opportunity to inform them, if they are not aware or not enlightened enough, that the President has not appointed his cabinet. I don’t see where the marginalization of Ndigbo has come in.

“Some Igbo leaders are just making noise for nothing. After all, those people who are condemning Buhari should be ashamed of themselves.

“We want Ndigbo to have a rethink of what is happening now. He has not done anything wrong to them.

“As president of Ndigbo Unity Forum, I still maintain that Buhari has not done anything wrong to my people. Let Ndigbo count their teeth with their tongue.”

Commenting on the appointments in a media briefing at the end of the 55th National Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) yesterday, its president, Austin Alegeh, said he was convinced President Buhari was committed to the country’s growth.

He said: “Probably, these are key technical positions that are being filled by the most competent available persons. But, you can always compensate when you are making other ministerial appointments. I think we should all adopt attitude of patience, and should always have trust and confidence in the people we have elected.

“We must know that the president won this election with many people contributing to the election. So, let us look at the appointments he has made along those lines.

“I have listened to the President speak and I can see his conviction in a greater and better Nigeria.

“I am not a party man, and I am not his personal friend, but from what I have seen, I have no doubt in my mind that he means the best for Nigeria, that he will not do anything to infringe the Nigerian Constitution.

“But let us wait for all the appointments to be in before we start talking of federal character.”

Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Keyamo also issued a statement yesterday, saying that “the so-called ‘uproar’ over the perceived ‘lopsided’ appointments made so far by President Buhari is nothing but an orchestrated frustration of a few jobless politicians who depend only on government appointments as their means of livelihood and, of course, the noise of the latest opposition party in town.”

He said majority of Nigerians only want to see good governance and care less about the ethnic origin of those appointed into positions.

“My worry is that the decade-long general division of government positions into ‘juicy’ and ‘non-juicy’, and the mentality that these few ‘juicy’ positions must be shared equally amongst the major ethnic groups was nothing but a contraption of the old order from which we have just liberated ourselves,” he said.

“To my mind, all government appointments pose an equal challenge to those appointed as a call to higher service of fatherland.

“All public positions come with an equal responsibility to be honest, forthright and dedicated. To go further to classify them as ‘juicy’ or ‘non-juicy’ is just a euphemism for positions that have enough money from which to steal and those that are ‘dry’.

“Therefore, any agitation from a section of the country to get ‘juicy’ positions is only an agitation for their kinsmen to be appointed to steal enough from which they would benefit.

“I therefore unreservedly condemn, in the strongest of terms, the so-called ‘uproar’ about ‘juicy positions’ going only to a certain section of this country. All sections of this country should be happy and content with whatever positions the President deems fit, at the end of the day, to give to their kinsmen.

“After all, the President still has a long way to go with appointments. He has not even filled up to five per cent of available positions. Please, let the President be.”
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Why I have no respect for Obasanjo - Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laurette, Prof Wole Soyinka, has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as somebody who should not be taken seriously, adding that he has no respect for him.

Soyinka said this at the weekend during an event organised by telecommunication giant, Globacom, at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel and Suites, in his honour.

The event, gathering of the creme de la creme in the literary industry, was tagged, “An Evening With Soyinka”.

Responding to a question from Kunle Ajibade on Obasanjo’s judgment on him (Soyinka) recently as a political illiterate, Soyinka said Obasanjo has a right to his opinion, stressing however, that Obasanjo is a liar, as well as an ‘economic illiterate’.

“Obasanjo is entitled to his opinion. The question is ‘who can respect the opinion of a liar’? He is a liar and can prove that. He has been described as an economic illiterate. His book, ‘My watch’ is full of lies. In fact, he

began the book with a lie when he said that he deplores lies, and he repeated it several times. I’m not bothered when somebody like Obasanjo passes his opinion about me. I have no respect for Obasanjo. He is a liar.

I am writing a book titled, ‘Republic of Liars,’ and Obasanjo has a prominent place in it. The book will be out soon.”

The event was a celebration of the renowned dramatist, poet, critic, activist and humanist. The event, which was also a celebration of young literary stars – Seffie Attach, Tope Folarin and E. C. Osundu – was marked with performances. In attendance at the colourful event were Profs. J. P. Clark, Ebun Clarke, Akachi Ezeigbo, Duro Oni, Bode Sowande; General Alani Akinriade (retired); Mrs Francesca Emmanuel among others. Hollywood star Richard More Damijo was the compere.
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Hajj: Nigeria transports 18,909 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Saturday said it had transported 18,909 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2015 pilgrimage.

About 76,000 intending pilgrims from the 36 states and FCT are expected to participate in this year’s Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

The Director, Public Affairs of the commission, Alhaji Uba Mana, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the airlift had been hitch free since it began on Aug. 23.

He said the commission had so far recorded 49 flights of pilgrims mostly from Kaduna, Lagos, Sokoto, Katsina, Oyo, Lagos, Zamfara and Kogi.

The director also said most of the pilgrims were airlifted direct to Medina, where they were expected to spend seven days before proceeding to Mecca, while others were transported to Jedda.

“Buses are readily available at Jedda International Airport to transport pilgrims to Medina.
“Those airlifted to medina on Aug. 23, will move to Mecca on Aug. 29.’’

Mana said the airlift would be concluded on Sept. 15, adding, “ no pilgrim will be left behind.
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Fresh trouble for Jonathan, Alison-Madueke, CSO Obuah as Buhari probes $6.9million ‘mobile stage’ scandal

As president Muhammadu Buhari continues his anti-corruption fight, fresh trouble is already brewing up for the Goodluck Jonathan administration, as the probe of the past administration by President Buhari has indicted his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, and two of his former officials, over an alleged purchase of three mobile stages to the tune of $6.9million, a Presidency source has said.

The fund was said to have been withdrawn from one of the numerous accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

According to a document emanating from the presidency on Saturday, the deal, which had become subject of investigation, was allegedly carried out among Jonathan; his Chief Security Officer, Mr. Gordon Obuah; and former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The $6.9 million was said to have been withdrawn for the purpose of buying three units of 40-foot mobile stages for use by Jonathan during mass public speaking events.

According to the document, apart from the fact that the sum for the stages were “incredibly inflated,” there was currently no evidence that the stages were bought since the money was withdrawn.

“While the cost of mobile stages range in size and designs, only outlandish rock star musicians in Europe and the United States spend hundreds of thousands on their huge stages way bigger than the 40-feet stages.

“Even then, those musicians and superstars would not pay over $2m per stage, according to industry sources.

“The process of procurement of the three mobile stages was neither known to extant Nigerian laws and due process regulations, nor were the offices of the Auditor-General and the Accountant-General in the know, according to the investigators,” the statement read in part.

It added that the phony purchase was carried out late 2011, a few months after Jonathan won a general election for a full term after having completed the term of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Jonathan’s CSO was said to have initiated a memo to the former president on October 17, 2011, asking for the purchase of three mobile stages.

He was reported to have written in that memo to Jonathan that the memo was regarding “regarding my earlier discussion with Your Excellency on the security implication of your public appearances and your subsequent directive on the need to procure a secured presidential platform.”

The Presidency source said on the same day, without any financial advice or purchase order reviews, the former President minuted an approval of the request to buy the three stages to the then Minister for Petroleum Resources.

In his minute, Jonathan was said to have written, “we have discussed this, please deal.”

According to the document, on the same October 17, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administrative Matters, Mr. Matt Aikhionbere, did another letter on the strength of the President’s approval requesting the minister to take action on the request to purchase the stages for $6.9m.

It added, “By the next month, an NNPC payment voucher number 3840336 was already in place revealing that the money was released.

“NNPC directed that the money be taken from one of its accounts in New York CITIBANK, with sort code CITIUS 33, and Routing number 021000089.

“It was first routed from the US bank to an NNPC account in Zenith Bank, with account number 5000026593, Maitama branch in Abuja, from where the money was sent to a private account.

“The sum of $6.9m was then credited to a Sterling Bank account of one J. Marine Logistics Limited, Abuja, a company, investigators say, was registered by Obuah.

“The CSO himself, according to investigators, has not been able to show proof of the purchase and his memo irked his bosses at the SSS that he took the initiative to write requesting for the stages, an action which officials say was way above his pay grade.”

The document added that it was not the duty or responsibility of the CSO to make the determination on that purchase as he was meant to have informed the service, which will then review the situation and act accordingly.

It added that the $6.9million in question was promptly paid on November 29, 2011, into a private account belonging to the former CSO.
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Nobody has a right to pocket public money - VP Osinbajo

Press statement from the office of the Vice President

Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has declared that nobody has a right to pocket public money stating that corruption by its very nature is antithetical and inimical to the development of any nation. Prof. Osinbajo noted that everyone needs to uphold the virtues of truth and justice if the country must make progress in the anti-corruption campaign emphasizing that people should not give the anti-corruption fight any ethnic coloration in order to escape punishment.

He explained that ‘’when there is a fight against corruption, it is not an ethnic fight; it is not an ethnic battle. People can come up with all sorts of things and say it is selective. People say the reason why a man is being tried for corruption is because he is a Yoruba man, or he is from the North or from the South. We should not encourage this kind of ideas.’’ The Vice President disclosed this on Thursday, 27th August 2015 evening when he received in his office the delegation of the Yoruba Traditional Council in the Northern States and Abuja led by the Chairman, His Royal Highness, Ambassador Mohammed Arigbabuwo. Prof. Osinbajo observed that there is no country in the world that has become great through corruption noting that as a matter of fact ‘’the history of the world shows that corruption has ruined many empires.’’

‘’When those empires attain greatness and they begin to allow corruption, then they collapse’’, the Vice President noted. Stating the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to the fight corruption, Prof. Osinbajo said ‘’ President Muhammadu Buhari has committed this current government to a pathway of integrity. ‘’For the first time, I think in a very long time, the President is saying that this country can only move forward if we show ourselves as men and women of integrity’’, he noted.

The Vice President therefore sought the support of the traditional rulers in the crusade against corruption emphasizing that Nigerian cultures abhor corruption. While commending the representatives of the Yoruba communities from the Northern states for living peacefully with their hosts in their various communities, he implored them to imbibe the attributes of ‘‘Omoluabi’’ which he explains represents the positive virtues of forthrightness and integrity. [Omoluabi means a forthright, loyal and respectful person] He declared that ‘’ I think you have demonstrated clearly by living in the north, living in Abuja and making your home and businesses here, that you believe in this country.

That shows you believe in the unity of this country and I think that is very commendable.’’ In his own address at the occasion, the Chairman of the Yoruba Traditional Council in the Northern States and Abuja, who led the delegation commended the vision and philosophy behind the Change Agenda of the Buhari administration. While declaring the total support of his Council to the anti-corruption crusade, Ambassador Arigbabuwo acknowledged that the much desired change is already being felt.

‘’In the last three months, you will agree that many things have started taking positive shape for the people of this country such as constant electricity which has helped greatly to stabilize small scale and medium scale industries.’’

Laolu Akande Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President (Media & Publicity)
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Nigeria's Iheanacho makes English Premier League debut for Manchester City

Nigeria youth international, Kelechi Iheanacho, made his English Premier League debut for Manchester City in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Watford, reports.

He replaced England international, Raheem Sterling, in the 89th minute of the match.

Iheanacho has been an unused substitute in Manchester City’s three previous games this season.

Last season, he played for City’s developmental team before he was granted a work permit.
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Governor Amosun's wife rubbishes rumoured arrest for money laundering

Wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun has debunked the rumour on social media that she was arrested for money laundering in the United Kingdom.

She described the rumour as fictitious and was concocted by mischief makers.

She maintained that her moral upbringing and that of her husband, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, will never allow them to be involved in such despicable act.

In a chat with our correspondent early Saturday morning, Olufunso said God would forgive all the rumour mongers and idle minds that conceived and published the false information.

According to her, “I said it yesterday and I continue to wonder the kind of politics some people in this part of the world are playing. Why on earth would a right thinking person (s) or group of idle minds just sit around the corner of the room and concoct such a big lie against another human being?
“I have told the world nothing but the truth. I will never in my life do things that can stain my integrity while my husband,the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun is a man of honour and integrity and a God fearing man. Such will never be our portion in the name of Allah.

“I know what it took us to build this name and never in this life we will indulge in anything that will drag the name of the Amosun empire in the mud.

“We know where all these are coming from but God will forgive them and at the right time, everything will be clear to the people. But I want to reiterate that at no time I or my husband was arrested over money laundering. With what God has done for us, we are contented and will forever be grateful to Him and the good people of Ogun state for the trust they have in us.

“I want to thank you all for your support and prayers and want to, as Oliver Twist, ask for more as we are in the second and final lap so that the rebuilding mission will continue and the things that are still shaky now will soon be normalized.”

Olufunso had yesterday denied that she was arrested or detained anywhere in the world for money laundering offence or any crime by security agents.

The First lady debunked the rumour while speaking with newsmen at the State Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta, the state capital, shortly after distributing free milk and other items to expectant and lactating mothers.

She said the milk was donated by the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari to the 36 state governors for free distribution to expectant mothers and breastfeeding mothers at state hospitals across the country.

“The gesture can only come from a woman of passion and empathy in the person of the wife of our President, Hajia Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, who has decided to send milk which is called Frisomum which is actually like a nutritional milk for mothers because she likes breastfeeding babies.

“This particular milk is actually of nutritional value to expectant mothers and nursing mothers and she has sent this milk to all the wives of the governors across the Federation and asked the wives of the governors to deliver them to expectant mothers in state hospitals and this is what I’ve come to do here today.

“I feel that is a worthwhile and passionate programme. I am very appreciative of what she has done, but I am sure, knowing that she is a lady of compassion, she is compassionate about women in general and there will be so many other things that will follow this soonest,” Olufunso said.
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Amaechi denies criticizing Buhari over appointments

Former governor of Rivers state, Chibuike Amaechi has rubbished the rumour that he flew to London on Friday in rage because he was not appointed in any of the key positions announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a bid to dismiss the rumour peddled online the former Governor arrived Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital on Saturday.

Amaechi who is in Rivers on a private visit came to attend the opening of St. Vincent Due Paul Catholic Church, Elechi beach Port Harcourt.

The former Governor Amaechi was received at the airport by Dakuku Peterside, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) and other party faithfuls later in the day.

While speaking with journalists shortly after arriving the state, he expressed his disappointment that people were spreading false information without confirming the news.
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Nigerian Economy worse In 90 days of APC – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described as alarming, the “damage” so far done on the nation’s economy by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, since it took office at the center, three months ago.

The party said the “shambolic” state of the nation’s economy within the period is a direct fallout of uncertainty created by the inability of the Buhari-led government to chart a clear-cut economic policy, worsened by abuse of regulations, and flagrant violation of constitutional provisions.

Read statement from PDP below...

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decries as alarming, the damage so far done on the nation’s economy by the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) since it took office at the center, three months ago. The party said the shambolic state of the nation’s economy within the period, which represents the worst in the nation’s contemporary history, is a direct fallout of uncertainty created by the inability of the Buhari-led government to chart a clear-cut economic policy, worsened by abuse of regulations, and flagrant violation of constitutional provisions.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Saturday said instead of gains, official reports show that the last three months under the APC-led government have brought a sudden decline in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with attendant losses and hardship to the citizens, while the government embarks on propaganda of imaginary achievements, in addition to attempts to foist harsh economic regime to cover its ineptitude.

“If not for crass incompetence or a possible ulterior motive to subjugate Nigerians for selfish reasons, what else explains the adamant stance of this administration in running a government without the statutory components of a full cabinet and precise fiscal policy direction, even when the negative consequences of this strange totalitarian approach are taking serious toll on the economy and the polity in general?

“Whereas the APC led government is busy with its propaganda of imaginary achievements, official reports from the National Bureau of Statistics show that that the economy is being grounded with Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plunging with about 2.35%, while job creation has dropped by 69 percent.

“In the last three months under an inept and poorly coordinated APC-led government, our nation’s economy, which before now, held the record as the largest in Africa and one of the fastest growing in the world, suddenly plummeted as officially evidenced in the lull in the capital and money market sectors which have lost billions of naira; spiral rate of inflation, and stagnation in domestic and foreign direct investments, with investors scared away due to the uncertainty arising from lack of economic direction and apparent confusion in the polity.

“This is in addition to the halt in infrastructure development projects in most parts of the country with associated massive job loss, closure of auxiliary small scale businesses, low purchasing power of citizens, among other negatives that have bedeviled the economy since the coming of this government, despite the much APC celebrated promissory notes from the President’s diplomatic shuttles, especially his recent visit to the United States.

“Nigerians would recall that we recently raised alarm on the negative consequences of the recent foreign exchange transaction restrictions, wherein this government is making it impossible for honest Nigerians to engage in free trade and regulate their personal activities as guaranteed by the constitution.

“We also warned about the consequences of foisting a communist economic regime with bans and clampdowns on free trade and the freedom of Nigerians to freely open and operate domiciliary accounts as provided by the Foreign Exchange Monitoring And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, otherwise known as Decree No. 17 of 1995 and wondered whether the nation was not heading back to the era of import duty licenses and regulation of commodity prices.“Only recently, Fitch Rating, which, under the previous administration, affirmed Nigeria's long-term foreign and local currency IDRs as well as senior unsecured bond and Short-term foreign currency IDR ratings respectively at 'BB”s, had now alerted that Nigerian banks and other businesses in the sector would be adversely affected by the economic slowdown occasioned by the incompetence of the President Buhari-led APC government.

“This is more so as the absence of ministers have left the coordination of important government policies in ministries, departments and agencies in tatters, while creating loopholes for overzealous persons claiming closeness to the President to invade the system for inflated concessions, allocations, jobs and other financial sleazes, including misleading the President for approvals outside his limits.

“We invite Nigerians to note that whereas the Presidency has gone ahead to unilaterally deplete the funds inherited in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other government savings, as well as reports of engaging in discussions with the World Bank for loans without recourse to appropriate statutory arms of government, no corresponding improvement has been witnessed in the economy. Indeed, we are worried that the damage already done in the last 90 days may linger with us for years to come.

“Nigerians are no longer in doubt that they have been scammed with long list of empty promises which the APC government has no intentions or capacity to fulfill. The free meals for school children, allowances for discharged Corps Members, N5,000 monthly allowance for indigent Nigerians, free houses, bringing the dollar to the same value as the naira and other bogus promises for which they were voted into power, have become streams of mirage.

Instead, what we continue to witness is the outworn excuse of clearing the so-called Augean Stable, loud propaganda and artful move to appropriate the achievements made by the PDP-led administration; such as the effort in ending polio, the improvement in power supply, the reopening of the refineries, among others which are a dividend from numerous investments by the previous administrations.

“Finally, we state categorically that Nigerians are becoming tired and weary of the diversions and propaganda of creating imaginary achievements, dramatization of routine appointments, offering mundane excuses for crass incompetence and orchestrating a selective and witch-hunt of anti-corruption crusade.


Chief Olisa Metuh
National Publicity Secretary
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REVEALED: How Kaduna plane crash occured – Eyewitnesses

"Just before the flight crashed into my neighbours houses, I noticed that its noise was unusual. So, I came out to see what exactly it was, then, I saw the plane coming down, then it picked up again. But when it came down the second time, I didn’t see it go up again, the next thing I heard was a deafening explosion"

Nigerian Air Force Flight identified as Donnia 228 crashed in the early hours of Saturday into residential quarters at the old site of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna.

Seven persons on board the jet, including four crew members and three passengers died instantly.

The Nigerian Air Force authority confirmed the incident, saying, it’s Chief, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has constituted a panel to probe the crash.

When newsmen visited the scene of the crash few minutes after the accident, there was panic among NAF members in the military Cantonment.

Eyewitnesses said they saw the flight before it finally crashed.

An officer’s wife said, “Just before the flight crashed into my neighbours houses, I noticed that its noise was unusual. So, I came out to see what exactly it was, then, I saw the plane coming down, then it picked up again. But when it came down the second time, I didn’t see it go up again, the next thing I heard was a deafening explosion.

“Before I could say jack, it went up in flame and my neighbours’ houses were on fire. But thank God for timely intervention of men of the state fire service who came around early enough.

“We thank God that our neighbours are safe. But, they said all the passengers on board died. It’s very unfortunate.”

Similarly, a soldier who resides at Kotoko barracks was overheard telling his colleagues that the plane wobbled seriously over their roof, but he thought the pilot will eventually take control of the aircraft, until he heard that it later crashed.

However, it took the intervention of Kaduna State Fire Service and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to put out the fire, although, sympathisers had earlier made commendable efforts before the arrival of the agencies.
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Liverpool 0-3 West Ham: Reds suffer shock defeat at Anfield

The Reds suffered their first defeat of the season as first half goals from Manuel Lanzini and Mark Noble gave the Hammers a half-time lead.

Liverpool's improved defending this term has been a welcome boost to Brendan Rodgers, but West Ham capitalised on slack play at the back to register a clinical victory in an action-packed affair that saw Hammers goalscorer Mark Noble and Philippe Coutinho sent off.

On his Premier League debut, Argentine playmaker Manuel Lanzini set the visitors on their way to a first win at Anfield in 42 attempts, opening the scoring from inside the six-yard box. It was the first time Rodgers' defence had been breached this term but Liverpool fell further behind amid comical defending from Dejan Lovren.

Former Southampton man Lovren, whose recent improvements were hailed by Rodgers in midweek, inexplicably relinquished possession on his own byline and allowed Lanzini to play in Noble, who beat Simon Mignolet from 18 yards.

Coutinho's two bookings either side of half-time added to Liverpool's frustrations and, even when Noble saw red for a lunge on substitute Danny Ings, West Ham remained in control.

Diafra Sakho, arrested and bailed by police twice in recent weeks, coolly finished late on to add further gloss to a worrying scoreline for Rodgers.

Liverpool began with the confidence of a side that had shut out Bournemouth and Arsenal but fell behind to Lanzini's close-range finish.

After Martin Skrtel's clearance dropped for Aaron Cresswell, Lanzini stole ahead of Joe Gomez to prod the opener past Mignolet.

Liverpool played with greater urgency after falling behind and saw Roberto Firmino hit a post prior to Lovren's defensive gaffe.

Having given the ball away while looking to run through midfield, Lovren wasted two opportunities to clear his lines under pressure from Lanzini, whose attempted cut-back fell to Noble on the edge of the box and the away captain swept home a calm finish.

Lovren was lauded by Rodgers recently as having shown his potential to be "top class" but his lapse in concentration helped put Slaven Bilic's men into half-time with a comfortable two-goal cushion.

Things got worse for the hosts after the break when Coutinho was dismissed for a second booking.

Having been cautioned late in the first half following a foul on Dimitri Payet, Coutinho was shown a second yellow card for another mistimed tackle on the Frenchman.

The dismissal rules Coutinho out of a trip to Manchester United after the international break.

Rodgers introduced Ings for the largely subdued Firmino but West Ham's defending showed a marked improvement from the horror show in the 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth a week ago.

Bilic's midfield three of Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang and Noble helped deal with Liverpool's limited direct threat late on, although the latter's straight red for a challenge on Ings will have dampened West Ham spirits somewhat.

The midfielder's dismissal, West Ham's sixth red of the season, seemed harsh although Sakho was able to pounce on a loose ball and timid Liverpool play to compound a difficult afternoon for Rodgers and his defenders.

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DPC National Chairman, NEC members survive road crash

National officials of Nigeria’s newest political party, the Democratic Peoples Congress, on Saturday survived a traffic accident on Abuja-Lokoja highway.

National Chairman of the party, Rev. Olusegun Peters, who was among the victims, told newsmen in Lokoja that three officials were critically injured.

He said that the accident occurred when the Toyota Hiace bus conveying the officials summersaulted after its rear tyres bust at about 10am near Irehi village.

Peters said among those critically injured was the National Vice Chairman of the party, Mrs Comfort Effion.

He said all the victims were evacuated to a nearby hospital for treatment by officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission.

The national chairman, said the party had just inaugurated its first state executive committee in Kogi since it was registered by the Independent National electoral Commission on June 16, this year.

The DPC national chairman said the party would contest in the November 21 governorship election in the state.

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Chelsea stunned at home by Crystal Palace

Jose Mourinho suffered only his second home defeat in the Premier League as Chelsea manager as Crystal Palace shocked the champions with a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

Bakary Sako put Palace in front, finishing off a Yannick Bolasie cross at the second time of asking after a block by Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea looked to have snatched a point when second half substitute Falcao headed in a Pedro delivery.

But the Blues were level for less than two minutes as Ward headed in after more link-up play from Bolasie and Sako.

Shocking start for Chelsea, the worst start to a premier league season since 1995.
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Air Force to investigate Dornier-228 aircraft crash in Kaduna

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has set up a panel to investigate circumstances surrounding the crash of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Dornier-228 aircraft with call sign NAF030.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Air Commodore Dele Alonge, the Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters.

According to the statement, the panel is headed by an Air Vice Marshal.

The statement said the chief of air staff has aborted his official trip to Port Harcourt and would visit the crash site and families of some of the deceased personnel.

It said the chief would be accompanied by the Air Officer Commanding Training Command, AVM Alikali Mamu during the visit.

According to the statement, the aircraft crashed into a house at Ribadu Cantonment, Kaduna on Saturday killing all passengers on board.

“A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Dornier-228 aircraft, with call sign NAF030, has crashed into a house at Ribadu Cantonment, Kaduna.

“Though no casualty was recorded on ground, there were no survivors among the passengers on board the aircraft’’, the statement said.

It said the aircraft was Abuja bound and had taken-off at about 6.45a.m. from the Kaduna Military Airfield before the mishap.

Alonge said the bodies of the passengers had been recovered while fire fighters had been mobilised to the crash site to curtail fire from spreading to buildings. (NAN)
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Nigerian police to promote 40,000 officers in two months

The Inspector-General of Police Solomon Arase on Saturday said about 40,000 policemen between the rank of Constable and Inspector would be promoted in the next two months.

Arase, who disclosed this during his private visit to Lagos, noted that the rank and file were the officers doing the major jobs, including arrests, investigations and other special duties.

He noted that these officers were closer to the people than senior officers, stressing that due attention should be given to them by mitigating their burdens.

The I-G said as part of effort to encourage these officers, the police authorities had embarked on housing projects across the six geo-political zones to build two-bedroom flats valued at about N4 million each in collaboration with mortgage institutions.

“There have been a backlog of promotions between the constable and inspector cadre,involving about 36,000 of them. Two groups are already undergoing their promotional courses.

“Within the next two months, about 40,000 policemen between the rank of constable and inspector will undertake promotion exercises, and be moved up to the next rank.

“If we are able to solve the problem of the rank and file in the police, half of the issues we are dealing with, which is corruption would be resolved. Corruption is born out of insecurity,’’ he said.

Arase assured that those who would participate in the promotion exercises would be given allowances for feeding, transport and others.

He reiterated the need for police officers to develop themselves academically,:tressing that only knowledgeable and mentally mobile officers would do well in police operations in any part of the world.

On the dismantling of checkpoints across the country, the I-G said he insisted on their removal because they were not a veritable platform for good security, revealing that “Safer Highways’ Points’’ had since replaced them.

He said about 555 safer highways points had been created to aid policing of the entire highways across the country.

Arase added that officers assigned to these points were given some allowances to prevent them from engaging in corruption.

According to him, human rights violation by the police is not allowed, stressing that officers must have sufficient evidence before arresting anybody and such fellow must be charged to court within 48 hours of arrest.

The I-G urged members of the public to be part of community policing, saying one million policemen were not enough for the country.

“All community leaders should take interest in who comes to their domain, their family background and what the person does for a living.

“If people in all areas give regular information to the police, ensuring security would be better,’’ he said.

Arase warned police officers against illegal operations, whereby they attached themselves to some individuals, adding that any officer caught doing so would be arrested.

“Any individual who feels that he needs special protection should go and hire private security. The police is for all,’’ he added. (NAN)
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IN PICTURES: Nigerian Airforce plane crash in Kaduna today

Below are pictures from the crash site of the Dornier 228 aircraft belonging to Nigerian air-force that crashed at the Nigerian Defense Academy old site in Kaduna at about 6:45 this morning.

The plane was said to be on a routine training flight and was heading to Abuja from the Nigerian Airforce base in Kaduna, when the incident occurred.

All 7 people on-board, including the pilot, co-pilot, two engineers and three passengers all died.


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Cholera kills 20 in Bauchi

Twenty persons have died of cholera in Shira Local Government Area (LGA), Bauchi State.

This is contained in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria by the Information Officer in the LGA, Malam Danlami Baza, in Bauchi on Saturday.

The statement said 200 persons were admitted in the hospital.

It added that the Acting Chairman of the LGA, Alhaji Usman Mashema, called on the public to come out for treatment as soon as they noticed any sign of cholera.

The statement appealed to the Federal and State Governments as well as donor agencies to come to the aid of those affected.

It added that the affected communities included Bakul, Dunmagari and Gallari, among others.

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IAAF: Usain Bolt helps Jamaica win gold in the men's 4x100 final

(CNN) Usain Bolt surged to his third gold medal in under a week at the 2015 World Athletics Championships by anchoring Jamaica to victory in the men's 4x100 meter relay in Beijing Saturday in a time of 37.36 seconds.

A United States team featuring the fastest man in the world this year, Justin Gatlin, looked to have finished second in 37.77 but was later disqualified after a disastrous final changeover between Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers. TV replays confirmed the baton was not exchanged in time between the pair.

Bolt crosses the finish line to win Jamaica the 4x100 gold Credit: Reuters
China was confirmed to have taken silver as a result of the USA slip-up in a time of 38.01 seconds, to the delight of the Beijing crowd, while bronze was awarded to Canada which finished in 38.13.

As usual, however, all the post-race attention was on the "Lightening Bolt" who was quick to celebrate with teammates Nesta Carter Nickel Ashmeade and Asafa Powell.

The win marks the fourth straight occasion Jamaica has taken 4x100m gold at the World Championships.

Bolt himself, meanwhile, has now won a record 11 gold medals at athletics' premier event -- including two last Sunday and Thursday in the 100m and 200m respectively.
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Al Jazeera condemns Egypt verdict

Following today’s retrial verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera Media Network’s Acting Director General Dr Mostefa Souag said:

"Today's verdict defies logic and common sense. Our colleagues Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy will now have to return to prison, and Peter Greste is sentenced in absentia."

The whole case has been heavily politicized and has not been conducted in a free and fair manner. There is no evidence proving that our colleagues in any way fabricated news or aided and abetted terrorist organisations and at no point during the long drawn out retrial did any of the unfounded allegations stand up to scrutiny. A report issued by a technical committee assigned by the court in Egypt contradicted the accusations made by the public prosecutor and stated in its report that the seized videos were not fabricated,. Baher, Peter and Mohamed have been sentenced despite the fact that not a shred of evidence was found to support the extraordinary and false charges against them.

"Today's verdict is yet another deliberate attack on press freedom. It is a dark day for the Egyptian judiciary; rather than defend liberties and a free and fair media they have compromised their independence for political reasons."

“Al Jazeera Media Network will continue to call for their freedom and an end to the ordeal for Baher, Peter and Mohamed and the six Al Jazeera staff who were sentenced in absentia”.

“The support shown for Baher, Peter and Mohamed has been loud and unified and has come from every corner of the world, from world leaders, journalists, human rights organisations and the general public. Alongside demanding the release of our colleagues, Al Jazeera calls on every one to continue the fight for the freedom of speech, for the right of people to be informed and for the right of journalists around the world to be able to do their job.

“We will not rest until Baher, Peter, Mohamed and the six Al Jazeera staff sentenced in absentia are freed and formally and definitively acquitted from the trumped up charges against them.”

Journalism is not a crime.
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EPL: Arsenal relies on own goal to beat 10-man Newcastle

Aleksandar Mitrovic's first-half red card proved costly as Newcastle United suffered a 1-0 Premier League loss to Arsenal at St James' Park.

Booked within seconds of making his debut against Southampton, before earning another rash yellow card against Swansea City, the young striker was given his marching orders after just 16 minutes on Saturday for an apparent stamp on Francis Coquelin.

Arsenal, denied a penalty before Mitrovic's dismissal, initially struggled to make their advantage count, but broke the deadlock early in the second half when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot deflected in off Fabricio Coloccini and the far post.

It was only their third top-flight goal of the campaign, and a second to have come courtesy of an opposing player, but it transpired to be the winner.

Late efforts from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla failed to yield any further goals, which may have provided some concern for Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal manager had made three changes and opted for Theo Walcott over Giroud up front, despite the Frenchman having scored eight goals in six games against Newcastle, and the visitors started on the front foot.

Arsenal threatened inside the opening two minutes, but Aaron Ramsey overhit his attempted return pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain – in for the injured Mesut Ozil – when Newcastle looked vulnerable.

Tim Krul then had to be alert to snuff out the threat when Walcott looked to nudge the ball past him on the end of Hector Bellerin's cross.

Bellerin took a tumble in the box following clear contact from Florian Thauvin – making his first league start – after 13 minutes, but referee Andre Marriner was unmoved by Arsenal's protests.

The hosts already looked up against it before Mitrovic's match came to a premature end and Arsenal's dominance increased amid a restless atmosphere inside the stadium as the home fans felt a sense of injustice, though replays showed that the Serb's studs did scrape down Coquelin's shin.

As the interval neared, Krul kept out a long-range strike from Alexis Sanchez and then saw Walcott blast the loose ball over the crossbar, but the England forward was offside anyway.

It took just seven minutes of the second half for Arsenal to forge ahead, with Oxlade-Chamberlain's off-target effort finding the far corner via the unfortunate Coloccini and the woodwork.

With Arsenal having taken 19 points from the last 21 available on the road, the size of the challenge facing Newcastle was evident, but Steve McClaren's men stuck manfully to their task.

Wenger's side enjoyed plenty of possession, though rarely opened up their hosts, who showed a level of resolve so sorely missing last season.

Substitute Giroud and Cazorla tested Krul in the final 15 minutes, but Coloccini proved to be the unwilling match-winner as Arsenal made it eight consecutive victories over Newcastle.
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Egypt hands Al-Jazeera journalists three-year sentence

Three al-Jazeera journalists convicted in Egypt of “spreading false news” have been sentenced to three years in prison at their retrial in Cairo.

Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were in court to hear the verdict.

Australian Peter Greste was deported to Australia earlier this year and was on trial again in absentia.
They are accused of aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood group but they strenuously deny the allegations.

The three journalists were originally sentenced in July 2014, with Mr Greste and Mr Fahmy receiving seven years and Mr Mohamed getting 10 years.

But their convictions were overturned in January this year and they were freed in February to await retrial.

‘Shocked, outraged’

Giving the verdict on Saturday, the judge said the three men were not registered journalists and had been operating from a Cairo hotel without a licence.

He handed three-year sentences to Mr Greste and Mr Fahmy but gave Mr Mohamed an additional six months.

Mr Fahmy and Mr Mohamed were led away after the verdict but it is unclear how long they will now serve. They were in prison for about a year before being freed.

Mr Greste said in a tweet that he was “shocked” and “outraged” by the verdict, which he described as “so wrong”.

In a statement, al-Jazeera said it was “yet another deliberate attack on press freedom”.

“It is a dark day for the Egyptian judiciary; rather than defend liberties and a free and fair media they have compromised their independence for political reasons,” it added.
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Understanding Buhari in 100 days – Garba Shehu

THE ENORMOUSLY popular talk show,Berekete on WazobiaFM radio, Abuja station told the incredible, yet true story of the hardworking and respected school teacher somewhere in Plateau state who hanged himself.

He hadn’t been paid salary for seven straight months. He came home to find that no one had eaten and two of the children had medical prescriptions for which there was no money.
He sneaked out without talking to anyone.
After a long while, news came home that he had strangely been caught with a stolen goat.
On his day in court, the teacher confessed to the offense. The reason he stole, he told the local judge, was that he hadn’t been paid for seven months and when he got home to see what he saw, he just couldn’t stand it.
The judge allowed him to go home on bail on self-recognition given, as he said, the good impression the entire village had of the otherwise respected teacher.
All were shocked to find his body dangling from tree the morning after. He couldn’t live with the shame.
In the recommendations and notes the Ahmed Joda transition committee presented to him as President -EIect, Muhammadu Buhari was informed that a section of the Fedaral government as well as 27 states hadn’t paid salaries, in some case for up to a year.
The Joda committee advised that this was a national emergency and should be treated as such.
It is on account of this that one of theactivities- please note the choice of this word:activities, not achievements- of President Muahammadu Buhari in these past three months is the settlement of unpaid salaries. This is going on right now.
Like the proverbial blinking of the eye, Saturday September 5th will mark the 100th day of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC government which took office on May 29th after the new party became the first in opposition to unseat an incumbent government in an election adjudged by everyone as free and fair.
There are many out there who say that the performance of a president and his government in terms success or failure cannot be judged in 100 days and I agree with them.
But history will be written anyway. In the coming week or two, a rash of commentaries and analyses to commemorate the event will be made.
I myself don’t deny that 100 days is long enough to know and understand the man who is the head of a government.
Buhari arrived power with strong support from young men and women and this country’s poor. The new government was not favored at election by the monied power-brokers although that did not stop the President from taking measures such as improving security that are good for business and investment.
This government is business-friendly but not one that is for crony capitalism.
The new government inherited enormous problems created by the tainted PDP administration, largely caused by the lack of governance,corruption and lawlessness. This was mostly evident in the last two years of the Jonathan Goodluck administration. As the President continues to point out,the drift is most evident in the oil sector.
I believe that there is enough on the ground in those 100 days to understand President Buhari, his government and what it stands for.
I will cite a few of these.
Before I do that, I will make a little confession.
In the course of electioneering, the presidential campaign had so many centers of public communication which, for whatever reason were on the loose.
There is a certain document tagged “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and the other, “My Covenant With Nigerians.” Both pamphlets bore the authorized party logo but as the Director of Media and Communications in that campaign, I did not fund or authorize any of those. I can equally bet my last Kobo that Candidate Buhari did not see or authorize those publications.
As a consequence of these publications, expectations have been raised unreasonably, that as President, Muhammadu Buhari will wave his hand and all the problems that the country faces- insecurity, corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure would go away.
But that notwithstanding, President Buhari has given the job his best shot and the whole country is saying that we never had it so good. He has re-instituted the values of hard work and administrative efficiency. The President says times without number that this country needs to fix governance and that he won’t tolerate laziness.
Some of the other activities I wish to enumerate also include the fact of his taking relations with the country’s immediate neighbors to new heights. By their open admissions, this country’s neighbors did not have someone they could talk to on the deteriorating security situation in the Lake Chad Basin area in Aso Rock.
Buhari embarked on his foreign policy on Day Four of his administration.
When he met Barack Obama, the U.S president told the Nigerian leader that he was getting it right and that it is only when Nigeria gets it right that Africa will get it right.
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who came calling this week said that our president is “courageous, focused and firm.”
Relations with the “G 7″ group of industrialized countries have since been “reset” and the dividends of this have begun to flow inwards.
In the area of economic management, Nigerians are already seeing things happen that they thought were not possible in so short a time.
He didn’t put a Kobo to finance the power sector. Yet, reading his body language alone and knowing that there are things you cannot do and get away with under Buhari, electricity supply all over the countries has risen to unprecedented heights.
Actually, some cities are on the verge of calling 24-hour, round the clock power supply. The country generates more power than can internally be taken by the deplorable distribution system we have on the ground, which points to the next challenge that the country faces.
Framework for the management of the country’s finances has been put in place. The wobbly Naira is being stabilized and inflation is headed towards a single digit.President Buhari is keeping a close eye on the government treasury.
Agriculture is getting its own shot in the arm.
Rice importation has been curtailed and seven governors whose states are priming a massive local production of the commodity have had a strategy meeting with the President on the next steps that are coming. Americans say their intervention in our agriculture will come next year.
Boko Haram, which had more or less been allowed to fester for about five years is about being ended but what is even more interesting is that intelligence coming from the fired-up armed forces who now work in synergy with each other is raising hope that the Chibok girls may, repeat may be found in good numbers in a geographic location of interest somewhere in the North-East.
President Buhari is being praised at home and abroad for his ongoing fight against corruption. He said from the beginning that his government will not tolerate this vice.
Borrowing the words of India Narendra Modi’s, he said himself that “I won’t steal and I’ll not allow others to do it.” President Buhari has walked his talk since he come to office.
Himself and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have not only given up half of their salary, they have cut a good number of funding lines to their official homes and offices.
President Buhari also takes the environment seriously. He blames the lack of security in the Lake Chad region on the recession, almost drying up of the lake. He has undertaken to clean up the Ogoniland.
In this country, appointments and removal from office are done usually in accordance with a spoils system.
A new government sacks officials on the basis only that it did not appoint them, by the predecessor-adminstration.
President Buhari has shown that his government is different. He wants to look at each case on its own merit and it is clear by now that he is not ready to surrender the country to burnt out politicians. Technocrats will have a big place in his administration.
He has appointed no ministers yet, but the government is running smoothly.
In this period of three months, government certainly deserves a pat on the back for improved power, reform in the energy sector, foreign relations fight against corruption and insurgency and the fact of Nigerians being at peace, not only among themselves but with their neighbors and the rest of the world.
In think in summary, I would like to end this piece by saying that President Muhammadu Buhari will turn out to be a leader in the tradition of Lee Kuan-Yu and India’s current reform-minded Prime Minister Modi with strong and clear emphasis on detail and execution. He may however differ with them by not micro-managing things.

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Wole Soyinka to feature Obasanjo in new book, ‘The Republic of Liars’

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has disclosed his intention to feature former President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo prominently in his new book, ‘The Republic of Liars’

Soyinka who stated this while responding to questions at an event tagged: “An evening with Wole Soyinka” in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Friday, described Obasanjo as a shameless liar whom he has no respect for.

The event organised by the telecommunication giant, Globacom is geared towards celebrating Soyinka literary feat and the launch of Glo Literary Prize for Undergraduate Students.

Soyinka said even though he appreciated the fact that Obasanjo as an individual is entitled to his opinion about him, he is nonetheless bothered because “nobody has respect for liar”.

Soyinka while responding to a question asking him to respond to the view represented of him by Obasanjo in his memoir, “My Watch” also borrowed the language of Oyetunde Aboyade who described Obasanjo as an “Economic Illiterate”.

“Obasanjo is entitled to his opinion like everybody. But the question is: who respects the opinion of a liar? And I can prove he is a shameless liar. Like an economist once told him to his face. I mean Oyetunde Aboyade who told Obasanjo to his face that he is an economic illiterate.
“So if an economic illiterate call me political illiterate, no problem. Even in the book, he told the first lie when said he deployed liars. Anybody like Obasanjo saying he never plotted third term in office, who even as a writer, I know the word to call that.

“I have been talking to my publisher lately on a new work. It is titled tentatively: ‘The Republic of Liars’ and Obasanjo featured in it prominently. This is the last I would say about it,” Soyinka said.
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Chad sentences 10 Boko Haram fighters to death

A court in Chad on Friday sentenced 10 suspected members of Nigeria-based Islamist group Boko Haram to death in connection with a double suicide bombing in June that killed 38 people in the capital N’Djamena.

“The 10 Boko Haram defendants have been condemned to death,” declared the ruling in Chad’s first trial of Boko Haram members.

The defendants were accused of criminal conspiracy, murder, wilful destruction with explosives, fraud, and illegal possession of arms and ammunition as well as using psychotropic substances.

Chad as well as other Nigerian neighbours Cameroon and Niger have all been the targets of attacks by Boko Haram in recent months. Earlier this year they announced a regional force to end the militants’ insurgency that has claimed more than 15,000 lives since 2009 and displaced an estimated 1.5 million people.

The accused include Nigerian national Mahamat Mustapha, also known as Bana Fanaye. According to Chadian authorities, he masterminded the June 15 suicide attacks that struck a school and a police building in N’Djamena, killing 38 people and injuring more than 100.

Shortly after Fanaye’s arrest in late June, Chad’s top prosecutor, Alghassim Kassim, said the suspect was the “ringleader of a network smuggling weapons and munitions between Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad”.

Chad has beefed up security in response to the recent bloodshed.

The new regional force against Boko Haram is expected to number some 8,700 regional troops and police but has yet to go into action. The force missed its end-July launch date amid continuing political divisions among the nations involved, notably over the force’s right to cross-border pursuit.

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Diesel leak causes multiple accidents in Delta

It was a tragic Friday night along the Eku/Oviore road in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State as many people sustained various degrees of injuries while over 15 cars were damaged following multiple accidents that occurred on the road.

As at 7pm, it was reported that a minimum of 15 cars were seen damaged with some of them ramming into electric poles or nearby buildings as a result of the slippery state of the road.

The leakage it was gathered from residents along the road, was from an unidentified tanker conveying diesel which spilled along the road which was already wet as a result of an heavy down pour.

According to one of the residents who gave his name as Mr. Boyetie Ochuko, their attention was drawn to the state of the road when they started hearing consistent tyres screeching followed with several loud bangs adding that, that was when they realised the condition of the road.
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Plane crash in Kaduna

A plane belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) air crashed Saturday morning at the old Nigeria Defense Academy (NDA) in Kaduna also known as Ribadu Cantonment.

NigerianEye gathered that at least, Seven persons are reported dead in the Air Force Training flight which crashed into Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA Officers Quarters in Kaduna on Saturday morning.

Those on board the flight which crashed at about 6:47am included the pilot, co-pilot, two engineers and three passengers.

NigerianEye also gathered that the Abuja bound flight crashed about 10 minutes after take off from the NAF base.
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DSS nabs spy at Abuja airport

The Department of State Services has smashed a spying network mounted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Following the development, the service had stepped up security at all airports across the country to frustrate other criminal plots and protect lives and property.

The DSS in a statement on Saturday by an official, Tony Opuiyo, stated that it apprehended a 14-year old boy from Kogi State, Sulaiymon Abdulrahman (a.k.a Sunday Ajayi), who was monitoring travelers’ movements, passenger screening, boarding procedures and other processes at the departure and arrival halls.

It explained that on August 24, 2015, the agency, in liaison with NAIA aviation security, arrested Abdulrahman who confessed that he infiltrated the airport with the assistance of one Dauda Sadiq (a.k.a Peter) who is presently at large.

According to the service, Abdulrahman further revealed that Sadiq directed him to spy on the installation and pass to him information in respect of travelers’ movement, boarding procedures and other processes at the airport.

“With this knowledge, the service is working closely with major aviation stakeholders, especially the Aviation Security Department, to forestall any possible attack and to ensure adequate security at the airports.

“This is aside other measures which have been put in place to ensure protection of lives and property across the country,” the DSS stated.

The service reminded the public to remain vigilant and patriotic by being security-conscious at all times.

It further urged them to report all issues and suspicious persons to the nearest security agency.

“The public is further enjoined to assist with information that could be useful in stamping out insecurity with a view to making Nigeria safe,” the DSS said.
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The North divided over Buhari's appointments

Some Northern socio-political groups were on Friday divided over President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments, which have largely been criticised in the south as it has thus far favoured individuals from the northern part of the country.

Buhari had on Thursday approved the appointments of six persons including Babachir David Lawal from Adamawa State as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Mr. Abba Kyari from Borno State as his Chief of Staff.

The list takes the appointments made by the President so far to 29, with only seven of them coming from the southern part of the country and the rest from the North. (CLICK HERE to read more on Buhari's appointments)

Socio-cultural groups and people from the southern region of the country have been united in their outrage over the appointments, but northerners have been split over the issue.

For instance, while the Chairman of the Northern Elders Council, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, was critical of the President’s appointments, the convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Junaid Mohammed, said he was not in favour of zoning in the giving of political appointments.

Yakassai, in a telephone interview with newsmen on Friday, said the President’s appointments so far showed that he was favouring his section of the country, where he got the most number of votes.

Yakassai said, “If you look at the voting pattern, zone by zone, you will see that Buhari is compensating the zones that favoured him. It depends on the angle from which you look at it. If you are a patriotic Nigerian, you will see it from the patriotic angle, if you’re a parochial Nigerian, you will see it as right.

“We (NEC) are for Nigeria because if you read the oath of office that Buhari subscribed to as President, he said he would do justice to all manners of people without fear or favour. You just judge for yourself whether he has adhered to the content of that oath of office.”

The former Special Assistant to former President Shehu Shagari also dismissed insinuations that Buhari was more concerned about appointing competent persons into offices than making appointments based on sentiments.

He said, “In Nigeria today, we have competent people all over the country, no doubt about it. It is a matter of choice; you can get them from all over the country. We have people with university education and working experience all over the country. So, we are not in dire need of competent people because they are everywhere.”

Mohammed, however, said giving key political appointments to some certain sections of the country could endanger the unity of the country.

The second Republic lawmaker also said that northerners had previously been marginalised in the country by public office holders of Igbo origin, while denying the existence of a northern agenda being allegedly pursued by Buhari.

He said, “I’m not and I’ve never been a believer in zoning or rotation in giving key political appointments. I also believe that it is not in the national interest to zero in certain key appointments to certain sections of the country because it allows for further division of the country.

“Thirdly, I believe that if there had existed a so-called northern agenda, I would know about it because I’m smart. I don’t believe that any Nigerian whether Buhari, Olusegun Obasanjo (former President) or anybody could hoodwink 170 million people. And if that agenda existed, certainly, Nigerians would know and knowing Nigerians for who they are, they would kick against it.

“So the talk of a northern agenda or a Buhari’s agenda which is pro-north is utter nonsense. If there is a perceived lopsidedness in any appointments, the political situation must be looked at closely to ensure that justice is done.

“But in this, you also don’t look at immediate appointments; you look at previous appointments made over the last 16 years where a particular section of the country was deliberately marginalised.

“There was a policy of disenfranchising the north, marginalising the north and especially among Ibo political appointees, there has been a deliberate attempt to go out of their way to offend, disgrace and undermine northern political interest. When some of us were talking about this, I don’t remember a single Igbo voice supporting us, and most people in the south did not say anything.”

Mohammed, who said he did not know Buhari’s motive for making the appointments, however, added that he knew the President as someone who would place meritocracy above sentiments.

He said, “I don’t know what Buhari’s intentions are but one thing I know from his track record of over 45 years is that Buhari has never been caught making appointments on the basis of primordial sentiments.

“Those who were in the army would testify and those with who he worked as governor and in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the committees he headed as a serving officer. Nobody can come out to say Buhari showed primordial, religious or any other sentiments other than merit sentiments which are the most important on his mind.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the pan-Northern socio-political group, Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, called for patience over the appointments so far made by Buhari.

Coomasie described the condemnation that has trailed the appointments as uncalled for as “other appointments have yet to come.”

He also debunked insinuations that the President was executing a northern agenda, saying, “it is too early to judge the president. Let us wait and see other appointments.

“We still have other appointments like ministers, parastatals and boards that have yet to come. Let us wait before judging him. It is too early to do so.”

But on the contrary, the President of the group’s youth wing, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, who spoke to a newspaper (not Saturday PUNCH), described the situation as worrisome.

He said, “It is unfortunate the way the situation is, because one becomes worried. We must be seen to be nationalistic than being sectionalised.

“I am beginning to feel uncomfortable because the complaint is that the appointments are seen to be lopsided. I also do not think that is the intention of the government.”

In the south, however, Buhari’s appointments have been described as lopsided and sectionalised.

A leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, described Buhari’s appointments as worrisome, saying he was particularly worried that the latest appointments had not reflected the yearning of Nigerians.

Adebanjo said, “I am getting worried now; the whole thing is getting me worried. I want to see the clearer picture of what the President is planning to do. The step the President has taken in his latest appointments is worrisome.

“I want to see how the President will form his cabinet in September. What he has just done concerning the appointments of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and others are a source of concern to me.”

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said Buhari’s appointments would give him the identity of a sectional leader.

He said the President “may unwittingly be acting out the 97 per cent versus five per cent Freudian slip in Washington by concentrating most of his strategic appointments in his corner of the country.

“That may cast him in the mould of a sectional leader who is not seeing the whole country as his constituency. The “we” versus “them” which this pattern suggests can only further polarise a badly divided country which the map of the last election presented. What is required at the moment is leadership that is able to rise above the frays and bring all sections on board.”

Igbo socio- cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Youth Council, also lambasted the President, describing him as “an unrepentant tribalist and anti-Igbo.”

In a statement signed by the group’s National President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, and Public Relations Officer, Obinna Adibe, Ohanaeze accused Buhari of deliberately excluding the South-East from all the political appointments he had made so far.

The statement read in part: “We stand to condemn this glaring hatred for Ndigbo by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. We recall that apart from several other appointments, Buhari’s government has also appointed Service Chiefs and in a similar manner, he sidelined the South-East zone.

“As if that was not enough, the long-awaited position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has come at last and this government deemed nobody from the South-East qualified enough to occupy that position, which was earlier zoned to Ndigbo.

“Where is the justice; where is the equity; where is the one Nigeria? How long will Ndigbo be pushed to the walls?

“Tribalism has never paid Nigeria and this period will not make any difference”.

In his reaction, National Chairman of the Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalami, described the appointments as “unacceptable.”

He said, “The President didn’t take certain things into consideration. The appointments are not accepted to LP. If this is the All Progressives Congress’ concept of change, it is very unfortunate. The APC knows what to do. If at the end of the day, the party decides to toy with the likes of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (APC chieftain from the South-East), despite the commitment and sacrifice he has made for the party, it shows their chameleonic dynamics.”
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Fashola spent public fund on quality projects –APC

The All Progressives Congress in Lagos State has defended former Governor Babatunde Fashola over an allegation that the former governor misappropriated public funds.

The APC described the contracts awarded by Fashola while in office as a reflection of his love for quality jobs.

The APC spokesperson in the state, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, in a chat with newsmen on Thursday, asked the public to stop castigating Fashola for the amount of money he spent on execution of projects while on office.

Igbokwe described the recent criticisms trailing the contracts awarded by the former governor as the handiwork of the opposition.

He said, “Fashola is not a hut builder. So, he built a bridge for N29bn? You can decide to build a bridge for N5bn. Anybody who is interested in standards can build a bridge for N100bn.

“There are grades for everything; it depends on the way you want to look at it. It shows Fashola believes in standards.”

A report on the website of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency had stated that Fashola spent N139bn on two boreholes at the Lagos House; N175m to replace the railings of a pedestrian bridge on Carter Bridge from Ido to Idumota with concrete railings and N1.2bn on the construction of an unidentified multi-storey building in Onikan, Lagos.

Fashola also recently came under fire for spending N78.3m of taxpayers’ money on the upgrade of his personal website,
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NNPC shuts down Warri refinery over crude oil shortage

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, stated that it has shut down the Warri Refineries due to operational challenges.

Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, who disclosed this, noted, however, that the refinery is expected to be reopened for operations on Tuesday.
According to him, the decision to shut down the Warri refinery was taken because there was insufficient crude oil in the system.

“They are supposed to have at least a 25-day sufficiency in the supply of crude. So because of the depletion in the volume of crude they have had to temporarily shut down.

“It was shut down on Monday. This is a temporary measure and it should be up and running by Tuesday.”

The NNPC, had a few days ago, stated that after proper evaluation and in line with the terms of contract for the delivery of crude oil to the nation’s refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna, the Corporation has cancelled the current contract due to exorbitant cost and inappropriate process of engagement.

The NNPC had stated that this measure is aimed at reducing cost and strengthening the operational efficiency across its value chain.

As a stop-gap measure, the NNPC said it has engaged NIDAS Marine Limited, a subsidiary of the NNPC, to provide crude delivery service on negotiated industry standard rate pending the establishment of substantive contract.

The NNPC, however, explained that it resorted to the delivery of crude oil to the refineries by marine vessels following incessant attacks on the Bonny-Port Harcourt refinery pipeline and the Escravos crude pipelines by vandals and oil thieves resulting in the complete unavailability of the pipelines in 2013.

“We have also commenced a rigorous and transparent process of securing capable and competitive contractors for the delivery of crude oil by marine vessels to Port Harcourt and Warri/Kaduna Refineries pending the restoration of the crude pipeline infrastructure,’’ the corporation added.

The NNPC further disclosed that it had obtained the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to kick-start the tendering process for the 2015/2016 Crude Oil Term Contract for the evacuation of Nigeria’s crude oil equity from the various crude and condensate production arrangements.

According to the NNPC, the process which would commence with the advertisement of the Crude Oil Term contract in both National and International print media for a period of one month has been carefully structured to weed out ‘briefcase companies’ and rent seekers.
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