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Saturday, September 24

Militants kill six soldiers in Bakassi

Militants kill six soldiers in Bakassi

Armed militants on Saturday killed six unidentified soldiers in the Esighi axis of Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State.

The gunmen were said to have struck around 1am.

Five soldiers were said to have died instantly, while a sixth one died at about 7am, according to a village source

Army troops from the 13 Brigade in Calabar had recently cordoned off the residence of one of the most wanted militants, identified as ‘G1’, after the arrest of ‘G2’ and ‘G3’who are currently providing useful information to security operatives.

The most wanted militant, G1, is said to be at large.

According to one of the village heads in the neighbouring community who craved anonymity, the militants came in from the creeks near Esighi and engaged the soldiers in gun battle.

“The militants went to invade the home of their leader which has been taken over by the military. We heard gunshots for more than three hours and at the end of it I can confirm that five soldiers were killed while another one died later in the morning.

The attack started around 1am and lasted for over two hours.

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Buhari's government will collapse if he sacks these two 'special' ministers - Primate Ayodele

Buhari's government will collapse if he sacks these two 'special' ministers - Primate Ayodele

Popular Nigerian cleric, Primate Elijah Ayodele has revealed that Buhari's government will collapse if he sacks these two 'special' ministers.

Speaking with reporters, Primate Ayodele said, “Do you know why the government is still holding? God revealed to me that it is Amaechi and Fashola that are holding this government; they are the ones helping Buhari.”

Addressing President Buhari, the clergyman said, “I said it in the papers that despite all, put Fashola and Amaechi in your government. I don’t know them, I have never met them before, I am just saying what God has revealed to me. The moment he removes them, the government will collapse.”

“You know, there are some people you put in the system that will help you. So, he has done the right thing by putting them, that is why we are still moving.”
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Nigerian armed forces now respected globally - UK admiral

Nigerian armed forces now respected globally - UK admiral

Simon Ancona, UK’s assistant chief of defence staff, says the success of the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency has put it on a “positive radar of global assessment index”.

According to Rabe Abubakar, Nigeria’s defence spokesman, Ancona made the expression when he led a delegation of the UK ministry of defence on a courtesy visit to Gabriel Olonisakin, Nigeria’s chief of defence staff.

The UK general commended the military and allied security agencies for their doggedness and sacrifice that have led to the decimation of the sect, and called for sustenance of the onslaught to wipe out insurgency.

He pledged that his country’s armed forces would continue to work closely with its Nigerian counterpart to strengthen capacity.

Ancona explained that the delegation was in Nigeria as a follow-up to variety of regional and global security matters discussed at a peace keeping conference which held in the UK earlier in the year.

He said the visit would further strengthen and improve the harmonious bilateral relationship between the two nations.

Olonisakin expressed profound gratitude to the UK government for all the assistance it has rendered the Nigeria, and solicited stronger tie in intelligence sharing, military hardware, manpower capacity building and training in counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and deep penetration detection devices (DPDDs).
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BREAKING: 4 people die in Tompolo's father's burial

BREAKING: 4 people die in Tompolo's father's burial

Four people were feared dead in Warri River on Friday in a boat mishap involving the funeral party to the burial of late Thomas Ekpemupolo, father of Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo).

A community leader in Gbaramatu Kingdom, who craved anonymity, told newsmen on Saturday in Warri that the victims included a man and three women.

He said that two of the female victims were from Kurutie and Ogulaha communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the victims boarded the ill-fated speed boat at the Miller Waterside in Warri to attend the weeklong funeral which commenced on Friday.

“We were already at the funeral celebrating Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo when we got news of the accident.

“Initially, we were told only two persons died, later we heard that the victims were four.

”The male victim, who was apparently from the northern part of the country, was on a mission to sell some wares at the funeral ground,” he said NAN recalled that Late Ekpemupolo died on Sept. 7 at Lily Clinic, Warri.

Delta Police spokesperson, SP Celestina Kalu, who confirmed the incident, said the number of casualties were yet to be ascertained.

”I was regretfully informed that AW-19 boat mounted with 115 horsepower Yamaha engine capsized at Warri river.

”My patrol team rescued 11 persons; searching and investigation is ongoing. ”For your information, there is no manifest to show the number of passengers in the boat.

”So the number of deaths is not certain yet, the bodies will float by tomorrow,” said the Delta police spokesperson.
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Avengers ‘blow up’ Bonny export line, say ‘this is just a wake-up call’

Avengers ‘blow up’ Bonny export line, say ‘this is just a wake-up call’

Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a militant group, says its men have blown up the Bonny 48 inches crude oil Export Line.

According to a statement released on the NDA website on Saturday by Mudoch Agbinibo, its spokesperson, the attack was executed at about 8:40pm on Friday night.

“On the 23rd September 2016, our strike team at 20:40PM hours time has brought down oil productions activities at the Bonny 48 inches crude oil Export Line,” read the statement.

“This action is a signature to the over-dramatisation of the so-called dialogue and negotiation process on the side of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government.

“Since, the cessation of hostilities and the commitment of the PAN Niger Delta Elders and stakeholders team, the Nigerian government and her agents are turning the expectations of the Niger Delta to shameful scenes obtainable in Nollywood acts and as well intimidation, blackmails and continuous profiling of Niger Delta sons and daughters. This is only a wake up call; we may not have other way to say it better.

“We are still in favour of the dialogue and negotiations but we are warning against the peace of our time! We want the peace with honour. We will resist all actions undermining the ceasefire from side of the government and it security agents/ agencies. The world is watching, time is running against the Nigerian state.

“While we were promised that the concerns of Niger Delta will be addresses once a truce is declared, the activities of the government and her agents are not assuring enough, there has been no progress and no breakthrough.

We cannot be continuously fooled, the government cannot justify the indiscriminate targeting of Niger Delta youths while glorifying on these victimization of law abiding citizens of the region.”
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Why sleeping on your back is the best position

Why sleeping on your back is the best position

The body needs sleep to revitalise and re-energise, so it’s essential that the hours devoted to sleeping should be worth it.

Sleeping position is a vital aspect of our sleep as it is the position we employ that determines if we’re maximising the best of those hours.

The most preferable sleeping position, according to researchers, is the back position.

Sleeping on the back enables the mattress give the spine maximum support while the neck is also placed in a neutral position.

Back sleeping leaves the face out in the air, allowing enough air to brush through it all night long. This enhances a skin devoid of wrinkle as the face doesn’t have to brush against a pillow.

The most common sleeping positions include side and stomach positions; however, their cons far outweigh their pros.

For stomach sleeping, it helps ease snoring but it is the worst sleeping position. Flattening of the natural curve of the spine has been traced to this sleeping position which results in pain in the lower back.

Meanwhile, stomach sleepers tend to position their head on one side which strains the neck. This could result in pain when one wakes up.

For side sleepers, it is better adopted during pregnancy to aid blood circulation to the heart for the benefit of the mother and child.

However, sleeping on the left side could put pressure on the lungs and equally the stomach. It also results in arm numbness because the weight of the head has rested on the arm all through the night.

The weight of the head or the head on a single arm affects the muscles in the body, squeezes the nerves and impedes the flow of blood.

What you experience in the morning is a rubber-arm which comes with a pain that’s like being pricked with needles or pins.

Ultimately, sleeping on your back is generally considered to be the best position to adopt as it ensures good positioning of the spine and the neck.
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Sale of national assets needed to fund 2016 budget – FG

Sale of national assets needed to fund 2016 budget – FG

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma

The Federal Government on Saturday said the proceeds from the sale of some of the country’s national assets would be used to fund the expenditure of government as contained in the 2016 budget.

It said while the government had mapped out key infrastructural projects that would support its economic diversification agenda, the shortfall in revenue had made it difficult for these projects to be executed.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma who stated this in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr Akpandem James, explained that the government had lost almost half of its expected revenue this year.

The minister explained that the unfortunate scenario was what prompted the Economic Management Team to urgently work out a fiscal stimulus plan to generate large funds to be injected into the economy.

The funds, he noted,would be injected through proceeds of asset sales, advance payment for license rounds, infrastructure concessioning, use of recovered funds, among others, to reduce the funding gap.

He said the primary objective of government’s fiscal stimulus plan is not to sell off all major critical national assets,but to source immediate funds to reflate the economy to the path of recovery.
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Falana wants EFCC to probe Sanusi, Soludo

Falana wants EFCC to probe Sanusi, Soludo

A senior Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC, to promptly investigate a range of dealings involving alleged diversion of public funds over the years by government establishments, including the central bank, under former governors, Chukwuma Soludo and Lamido Sanusi.

Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, had not taken steps to recover billions of dollars “either criminally diverted or illegally withheld” from government account.

He said the EFCC needed to act now given “the increasing pressures being mounted on the Federal Government by the parasitic faction of the ruling class to auction the remaining assets of the nation”.
The comment followed calls by businessman, Aliko Dangote, and the senate president, Bukola Saraki, for the government to sell national asset to stem recession.

Mr. Falana listed the following cases for investigation:

1. By a letter dated January 27, 2016 the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) disclosed to us that from five cycles of independent audit reports covering 1999-2012 it had confirmed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, some oil companies and certain agencies of the Federal Government had withheld $20.2 billion from the Federation Account. Despite repeated requests of some civil society organizations the Federal Government has refused to recover the said sum of $20.2 billion.

2. Sometime in 2006, former Central Bank Governor, Profesor Chukwuma Soludo removed $7 billion from the nation’s external reserves and doled it out to 14 Nigerian banks. Two years later, the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (the current Emir of Kano) also gave a bailout of N600 billion to the same banks.

The request of some civil society organisations for the recovery of the huge loan of $7 billion and N600 billion from the commercial banks has been ignored by the management of the Central Bank.

3. On September 6, 2016, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced that arrangements had been concluded to recover the sum of $9.6 billion in over-deducted tax benefits from joint venture partners on major capital projects and oil swap contracts. Although the NNPC has recovered the said sum of $9.6 billion, it has failed to remit same to the Federation Account without any legal justification.

4. In 2009, Mobil Oil Producing Nigeria Unlimited applied to the Federal Government for the renewal of three oil blocks. Upon granting the application, the NNPC asked Mobil to pay the sum of $2.5 billion for the renewal of the licenses.

While Mobil made a part payment of $600 million it undertook to invest the outstanding sum of $1.9 billion in the energy sector. But as Mobil did not invest the said sum in the energy sector the Civil Society Network Against Corruption has requested the EFCC to investigate the fraudulent transaction.

5. From 1998-2014, the Federal Government successfully recovered over $4 billion from the Abacha loot. However, based on the refusal of the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to account for the recovered loot the Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) applied to the Federal High Court for an order of mandamus.

Even though the Court granted the order the Federal Government has failed to account for the recovered loot. In the circumstances, we have submitted a petition to the EFCC to investigate the alleged criminal diversion of the recovered loot.

6. In the Appropriation Act, 2011, the sum of N245 billion was earmarked for fuel subsidy. In violation of the Act, the Central Bank of Nigeria headed by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi paid the sum of N2.5 trillion to a cabal of fuel importers. Following our petition the EFCC conducted an investigation into the fraud but the exercise was compromised due to pressure from the former Jonathan administration.

Even though the EFCC has charged some of the suspects to court the investigation ought to be reopened with a view to getting to the root of the monumental fraud.

Mr. Falana offered to “provide all relevant documents to facilitate your investigation of the serious economic and financial crimes disclosed in this petition”.

“In view of the foregoing we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to recover the aforesaid sums of money and proceed to prosecute the corporate bodies and individuals involved in the economic sabotage which has contributed to the nation’s economic recession,” he said.

Messrs. Soludo and Sanusi could not be immediately reached for comments.
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Nigeria will come out of recession before December – CBN Governor assures Nigerians

Nigeria will come out of recession before December – CBN Governor assures Nigerians

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, has expressed optimisms that Nigeria will come out of the current economy recession the fourth quarter of this year.

His said this could be only possible when the result of the various measures put in place by the Federal Government and the monetary authorities become manifest.

According to him, one of such result is the decision of the CBN to establish a bridge fund for the government to utilise to stimulate the economy whenever there is a need for it.

The apex bank boss had earlier warned Nigerians to stop blaming the current economic mess on President Muhammadu Buari.

Emefiele, who spoke to media executives in Lagos on Saturday, said, “We are already in the valley, the only direction is to go up the hill and the government is doing everything possible to ensure that we move up the hill. I am optimistic that based on the actions being taken by the monetary and fiscal authorities, the fourth quarter results will show evidence that we have started to move out of the recession.

“The worst is over. The Nigerian economy is on the path of recovery and growth. So, please if you are a bystander or sideliner, you are losing; join the train now before it leaves the station.”

Continuing, the CBN boss said “Both the monetary and fiscal authorities are working together and that is why you can see a situation where today, even when we have revenue shortage or deficit, the monetary authority is trying to bridge the gap.

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Shocking Revelation: How Robbers Now Pose as Taxi Drivers to Attack Residents in Abuja

Shocking Revelation: How Robbers Now Pose as Taxi Drivers to Attack Residents in Abuja

Abuja taxi drivers

As the much anticipated ember month started this September, the evils and crimes in our society escalates and even have even gone a step further as a new investigative report conducted in the federal capital territory, Abuja, reveals.

When Jennifer waved down a cab at Sheraton Junction in the Wuse district of Abuja that fateful night, she never imagined the trouble that loomed ahead of her.

A hairdresser at a salon in the prestigious hotel that the junction is named after, the young woman usually works late and would trek the short distance to the junction to connect a taxi to Berger Junction for another vehicle to take her home.

When the car stopped that night, she thought nothing of the fact that it was not painted in the colour of the city’s registered taxis. It was about 10.30pm.

Jennifer told the driver where she was going and he asked her to get in the car. But a short distance later, the taxi took an unusual turn off the route.

“When he diverted from the main road, I asked him why,” the hairdresser, who refused to give her second name, narrated to Premium Times.

“He said he was avoiding the cops ahead on the road. The street that he took was dark and lonely. So when he parked at the end of the street, I became terrified. Suddenly, he brought out a knife and asked me to surrender all the things I had on me.

“‘Why are you doing this to me?’ I asked him. But he said if I said anything again, he would slice me. He took everything on me. My iPad, handbag, phone and money. He then kicked me out of the car and drove off.”

Jennifer was just another victim of hoodlums who are daily devising new ways to rob in in the Federal Capital Territory.

Such incidents are reported in the city almost on a daily basis. Sometimes, the criminals do not pose as taxi drivers.

One happened a week before Jennifer’s experience, near Silverbird Gallery. On this occasion, the victim, also a lady, was stripped naked after she had been robbed.

According to our findings, the robbers work as a gang in many instances. Posing as a taxi driver specializing in hire service, or “drop” as it is known in Abuja, a gang member would hide in the boot of the car, until an appropriate spot when the driver would pull over and pretend to check something in the boot.

The other gang member would then spring out and they would proceed to overpower and rob the unwary passenger.

In a particular incident in the Abuja metropolis, armed men who robbed a lady one night, took her at gunpoint to a nearby ATM machine to withdraw more cash from her account.

The story was told also by Jennifer. “The man who helped me the day I was robbed told me about a lady who was robbed and was forced to use the ATM to withdraw all the money in her account”, she recounted.

This new way is different from the more familiar “one chance” and Advanced Fee Fraud (419) techniques commonly known to many passengers.

Premium Times spoke to some taxi drivers about why some of their colleagues are taking to crime. One of the respondents, Jeff ID, however argued that the robbers were either not genuine taxi drivers or were people with criminal tendencies before taking to the commuter service trade.

Jeff said he has a job that gives him monthly salary, he only engages in driving after work hours to supplement the salary. “It is greed and selfishness that make those people who use taxis to rob to do that”, he said.

He advised commuters to always be very careful with taxis, whether the cab is painted or not. “Commuters should be very careful when boarding any car. It is not about colour taxi. Stealing is a thing of the mind”.

But Chinedu Nwaba, another taxi driver, insisted that those robbing passengers usually drive unpainted taxis. He said the painted taxis are registered and can easily be traced when involved in criminal activities.

“They are not our members. Our members drive registered painted taxis. Those who do such things are the unpainted taxis. We have advised passengers not to be (patronizing) unpainted cars to avoid this kind of thing because all painted taxis are numbered and can easily be traced”, said Chinedu.

In the recent past, Abuja has recorded many forms of criminal activities like car snatching, kidnappings and assassinations.

This is giving residents serious concerns. But the police said they are aware of the development and are on top of the situation.

FCT Command spokesperson, Mr. Awunah, a deputy commissioner of police, urged people against patronizing unpainted taxis and that they should board from designated stations.

“The FCT Command has come up with strategy in curbing the situation and has even made some arrests in connection to that. Most of the victims of such crime are those people who usually board unpainted cabs. They don’t enter the cabs from the right bus stations”, he said.

Source: Premium Times
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Economic Recession: Governors Lavish Billions of Naira on Bulletproof Cars for Selves and Family

Economic Recession: Governors Lavish Billions of Naira on Bulletproof Cars for Selves and Family

Even in the face of the biting economic crisis that has ravaged the Nigerian State, Governors have continued in their life of profligacy as they squander public funds.

There are indications that some governors, their wives and deputy governors have continued to ride in expensive bulletproof vehicles in spite of the biting economic recession in the country.

Saturday PUNCH investigations revealed that the number of bulletproof vehicles in the convoy of 14 state governors, their deputies and wives is close to 100 while the citizens have been struggling to enjoy daily meals.

Findings by some correspondents revealed that the average cost of an armoured vehicle is about N75m. The cost could be more, depending on the level of armour recommended or requested by the buyer, and such depends on the location of use and the type of threat the owner is guarding against.

According to JPA Armouring Group, an armoured vehicle manufacturer in Germany, the cost of a bulletproof 2014 Lexus LX 570 starts from €192,000 (N89.3m), an armoured 2015 Toyota Prado starts from €125,000 (N58.1), while the cost of an armoured Toyota Land Cruiser starts from €149,000 (N69.2m), excluding shipping costs.

Another armoured vehicle manufacturer, Texas Armoring Corporation, in the United States, says armoured vehicles needed in West African countries tend to be more expensive and buyers from the region are often advised to adopt the T6 protection level because high-powered rifles are the predominant weapons used by criminals there.

Interestingly, many governors that have yet to pay their workers’ salaries for many months and who are blaming their inability to pay them on the dwindling monthly federal allocation have enough money to buy these vehicles for themselves and the use of their wives.

At the beginning of the year, the Federal Government and states recorded a drop in allocation from N387.77bn in December 2015 to N370.38bn in January 2016 when oil prices fell from $43.4 per barrel to $39.

In March 2016, allocations from the Federation Account to the three tiers of government declined by a whopping N18.2bn – from N299.74bn to N281.5bn, according to the Federation Account Allocation Committee.

But in spite of this, it was learnt that some of the governors, their deputies and wives still maintain ostentatious lifestyles.

Saturday PUNCH investigations showed that Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, and his deputy, Mr. Nuhu Gidado, have three bulletproof cars. A security source attached to the state Government House told one of Punch correspondents that while the governor uses two bulletproof cars, his deputy uses one.

The source said, “I can confirm that Governor Abubakar has two bulletproof cars while the deputy governor has one. The governor inherited two bulletproof Prado sport utility vehicles from his predecessor, Isa Yuguda.

“But just about a month ago, a new bulletproof car was acquired by the state government. The newly acquired bulletproof car is a Mercedes Benz 4matic. This car has yet to be put into use.”

The security source, however, said the governor and his deputy might need the bulletproof cars because of the precarious security situation in the state.

He said, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the governor and his deputy using bulletproof cars. Definitely, they need these special cars because of the security situation in the country.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the Bauchi State Governor on Media, Sabo Mohammed, admitted that both Abubakar and his deputy, Gidado are currently using bulletproof vehicles but said the cars were inherited from the past administration.

He, however, denied the recent purchase of a brand new Mercedes Benz 4matic bulletproof car by the state government.

When asked about the newly acquired bulletproof car by the state government, he laughed saying “how did you know that?”

“I can tell you without mincing words that the state has not bought any new bulletproof car for the governor. It is not true. I only read that of Kogi State recently but not in Bauchi,” Mohammed said.

Also, Saturday PUNCH learnt that there are no fewer than six bulletproof vehicles in the fleet of the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.

A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, listed the vehicles as three Mercedes Benz product, a bus, G-Class, and a 4matic and two Toyota Land cruisers.

It was also gathered that the state deputy governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, has one armoured Toyota Land cruiser.

But the Consultant on Information to Osun State Government, Mr. Sunday Akere, said he doubted that the governor had armoured cars in his fleet.

He said, “I can’t confirm that the governor has bulletproof cars. If at all there are bulletproof cars among his vehicles, they might be the ones he met in the Government House before he became the governor.”

Findings also showed that Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has at least four bulletproof vehicles. This is in addition to four others used by his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, and the wife of the governor, Dr. Lynda Ayade.

Investigations revealed that the bulletproof cars in the pool of the governor’s convoy include a 2015 Range Rover Vogue, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (2015), BMW 7 series (2015) and Toyota Sequoia (2012).

The deputy governor uses a Range Rover Vogue (2015) and a BMW 5 series (2014), while the governor’s wife has a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (2015) and Lexus jeep (2010) bulletproof vehicles.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Ita, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his mobile telephone.

A security expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that it was imperative for the governor and his deputy to use bulletproof vehicles because of criminal activities in some parts of the state.

He listed dangerous spots where the governor would, as a matter of necessity, visit periodically to include Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas where activities of militants had posed security threat for some time.

Findings also showed that two bulletproof Ford Expedition SUVs were among the fleet of the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari.

It was learnt from a source in the government that the two vehicles were bought last year shortly after the governor’s inauguration.

The source said the condition of Nigerian roads and the general insecurity in the country might have informed the governor’s choice of the vehicles.

Investigation, however, revealed that the governor’s three wives were not permanently resident in Katsina, but stayed in Kaduna and Abuja and used to visit the state during important celebrations.

Findings further showed that no official vehicle was attached to the three wives, but it was learnt that they use three vehicles, namely: Mercedes Benz “C’’ Class, Honda (End of Discussion) and Peugeot 607.

A Government House source told a correspondent that the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, and his wife, Olukemi, have three bulletproof SUVs.

He said, “The governor and his wife often use the bulletproof vehicles when they travel out of the state or to attend social and official functions.

“The governor was initially using a Toyota bulletproof car during his first term, but later added the Lexus Jeep to his fleet after he was inaugurated for a second term in office.”

The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, and his wife were said to have two bulletproof vehicles in their fleet.

The Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Jide Orintusin, confirmed to one of our correspondents that the governor was using the Toyota Land Cruiser bulletproof car he inherited from his predecessor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu.

Orintusin, however, said that buying a new bulletproof car was not the priority of the governor now.

He said, “We are interested in the well-being of our people especially in this economic recession that is affecting the country. We do things in order of importance; the happiness of our people is our concern.”

Similarly, it was gathered that two armoured Mercedes Benz G-wagons were in the fleet of the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Of the about five exotic cars the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, is using, the Range Rover and E-Class Mercedes Benz car among them were suspected to be bulletproof cars. His wife, Omolewa’s Lexus SUV and Prado SUV were also suspected to be bulletproof vehicles.

The Governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, declined to comment on whether any or all of the vehicles had bulletproof facility.

“For security reasons, I cannot answer that question,” he said.

In Benue State, Saturday PUNCH found that the number of bulletproof vehicles currently available for the use of the state governor, Samuel Ortom, his deputy and their spouses are 12.

A correspondent gathered that while Ortom and his wife are using five of the cars, the deputy governor and his spouse use three.

A source at the Government House said the immediate past governor, Gabriel Suswam, left six bulletproof cars for Ortom, while Suswam inherited two from the erstwhile governor, George Akume.

Investigation revealed that the model and year of each of the bulletproof vehicles belonging to  Ortom are 2012 Mercedes Benz S550; 2015 Mercedes S550; two 2014 BMW 7 series; 2015 Lexus LX; two Toyota Land Cruiser and two 2013 Escalade.

A Government House source said that each of the bulletproof vehicles cost between N70m and N120m.

The source added that Ortom bought two of the vehicles in addition to the eight purchased by Suswam.

The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase, declined to comment on the bulletproof vehicles.

He said, ‘The question you put before me is purely security matter. Therefore, I cannot comment on that because if I do, it means I am exposing my boss to danger. It is not proper to ask me to tell you what kind of cars my governor is using. So, it is not right for me to disclose such information.”

The situation is the same in Enugu, Abia and Anambra states. It was gathered that the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has three armoured cars in his fleet. His Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu, has two armoured cars in his fleet.

Ikpeazu, whose convoy moves without siren, has one 2016 LX Lexus car, a Toyota land cruiser XXRL 2016 and Toyota Land Cruiser XXL 2015, among others.

Reacting to the development, the Special Assistant to the Enugu State Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Louis Amoke, said Ugwuanyi had been using the vehicles he inherited from the previous administration in the state.

Amoke said the governor had not bought any official vehicle for himself since he came into office.

He added that the need for bulletproof vehicles was a security matter that concerns the Office of the Governor, and not necessarily the holder of the office.

James Eze, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Media, neither answered calls made to his mobile telephone nor replied a text message sent to him.

Investigation also showed that Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has 10 vehicles in his convoy.

A Government House source said eight of the vehicles are Toyota Prado SUVs.

It was gathered that the governor’s main vehicle, a Toyota Landcruiser 2014 model, and his backup car, are armoured.

It was also learnt that Governor Mohammed Bindow of Adamawa State and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, have many armoured vehicles in their fleet.

While a source said Bindow has two bulletproof Lexus LX cars in his fleet, Okowa is said to have four.

A correspondent gathered that of Okowa’s four bulletproof cars, three were bought in 2015 after his inauguration.

His wife, Edith, is also said to be using a bulletproof Lexus 570 jeep, which Okowa was said to have bought before he was elected as governor.

While giving the breakdown of the numbers, our sources said the governor has Benz 550 and Lexus 570 Jeep as official bulletproof vehicles.

An ex-security aide to a former governor in the state said two other bulletproof cars aside the four mentioned by Okowa’s aides were usually stationed in Abuja and Lagos.

The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, said he was at a meeting and could not speak on the issue.

Security chiefs in the state also declined comment. They described the issue as classified information.

But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, explained that the vehicles were not meant for luxury but to provide security for the governor. He explained that presidents, governors and ministers are expected to have bulletproof vehicles to safeguard their lives.

Aniagwu added that the governor did not have more than the number of bulletproof vehicles he was required to have, but declined to give the number.

Yohanna Mathias, Chief Press Secretary to Bindow, said visitors to the state are being chauffeured in one car because the former administration left only two Toyota Prado (bulletproof) SUVs, two Hilux vans and one 406 Peugeot vehicle, which it uses to convey guests.

He also said the wife of the Governor does not have any bulletproof vehicle assigned to her, adding that the case was pathetic because the previous administration had boasted of over 60 vehicles, but that the current administration had inherited not more than seven vehicles.

A security expert, Patrick Agbam, says governors do not need more than two bulletproof vehicles in their fleet even if the economy is prosperous.

Considering the increase in poverty and hunger, he added that it was immoral for the governors to have spent huge amount of public funds on acquisition of bulletproof vehicles.

He said, “I don’t think the current economic reality requires governors to spend so much on acquiring bulletproof vehicles. I wouldn’t know how their security advisers convinced them to acquire more than two bulletproof vehicles.

“In security analysis, when poverty and hunger increase, there are bound to be increase in security threats, but that doesn’t mean they should spend so much money to acquire such vehicles. They could have used the money to cater for the citizens.

“If they do this, hunger will decrease and when hunger decreases, there will be decrease in security threat. Governance is about serving people. Even if we have a buoyant economy, governors and their deputies shouldn’t have more than one bulletproof vehicle each.”

An economist, Dr. Babatunde Abraham, referred to the governors’ action as economic sabotage.

He said, “It is not only when vandals destroy pipelines that we have economic sabotage. Spending state resources extravagantly is also economic sabotage. Even if there is no hunger, it is wasteful for any governor to have more than one bulletproof car, if they need it at all.”
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See Two Deadly Armed Robbers Shot Dead During Night Operation In Abuja (Graphic Photo)

See Two Deadly Armed Robbers Shot Dead During Night Operation In Abuja (Graphic Photo)

Two armed robbers operating in 5th Avenue Gwarinpa residents in Abuja have paid dearly with their lives after engaging the police in a shootout.

Policemen have shot dead two armed robbers during an operation at 5th Avenue, Gwarinpa area of Abuja. It was gathered that the hoodlums had gained entrance to a building and started to rob flat by flat before a distress call was put out by a resident to the police.

The police responded immediately and engaged the criminals in a gun battle. Two were gunned down while two others escaped.

"Ok everyone, these guys showed up in the dead hours of the last night at 5th avenue Gwarinpa with two others and dealt with a security man and his family, they had their way in and started robbing each flat.

"I will have to commend the police for showing up not too Long after a my friend place a distressed call to policemen at Gwarinpa police station. Two escaped while this two paid for it with their lives. I am full of Joy, and I bless God because my friend's flat was the only one they couldn't break into.

"His call put an end to it and saved the whole house and sent this two who have refused to repent to where they belong. Thank you so much Jesus, I am grateful." an eyewitness wrote.
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Pastor Refuses To Wed Couple Because Of This Dressing

Pastor Refuses To Wed Couple Because Of This Dressing

Apostle Michael Canty of The Truth Ministries Holiness Church recently angered an entire wedding party and might have damaged his new ministry’s reputation after he refused to allow a bride wed her husband on her wedding day because he felt her dress was too sexy.

Lisa Washington said ‘she’s never been more embarrassed then Saturday’ when a local pastor refused to officiate and allow the bride to wed her husband on her wedding day in his facility.

Both families were present and the food was waiting to be served at the bride’s aunt house. Family members flew and drove long distances to be present for the couples special day.

Upset and frustrated, guest at the wedding practically ‘begged’ the leaders of the church to reconsider but to no avail, not a budge.

“I can’t believe this! I flew here to attend my cousin’s wedding and now I have to put up with this crap.
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Meet Nigerian doctor Oladotun Okunola, who’s Hillary Clinton’s Personal Doctor (Photos)

Meet Nigerian doctor Oladotun Okunola, who’s Hillary Clinton’s Personal Doctor

This man goes to every where with her, you can hardly see Hillary Clinto anywhere without him and she just gave him a shout out after the media started questioning his identity.

US Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has openly appreciated her US-based Nigerian doctor, Dr. Oladotun Okunola who helped her recover from her recent health challenge.

Clinton, who had to leave a 9/11 memorial event in New York recently after stumbling, took to her Twitter handle to express her gratitude to Doctor Oladotun with the sweetest words:

“I want to give a big THANK YOU to my Doctor who travels everywhere with me, Dr. Oladotun Okunola. I wouldn’t be here without him! Literally.”

Meet Nigerian doctor Oladotun Okunola, who’s Hillary Clinton’s Personal Doctor

According to records, Dr. Oladotun Okunola joins the prestigious Neurology group, Neuroscience Center of Northern New Jersey, to provide a variety of specialized care. He specializes in epilepsy, clinical neurophysiology, and sleep medicine.

Dr. Okunola completed medical school at Howard University College of Medicine. He stayed and completed his internship and neurology residency at Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC.

He received fellowship training in epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC. He also completed a sleep medicine fellowship at Norwalk Hospital, Connecticut.

As part of his fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology/epilepsy, he focused on intraoperative and epilepsy monitoring; EEG and EMG.

As a sleep specialist, he diagnoses and treats sleep related disorders such as daytime sleepiness (hypersomnolence), insomnia, narcolepsy, obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea, etc.

Meet Nigerian doctor Oladotun Okunola, who’s Hillary Clinton’s Personal Doctor

Dr. Okunola is board-certified in both adult neurology and clinical neurophysiology. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Neurology.
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Battle Of The Ripped Jeans: Who Bows Oge Okoye Or Rukky Sanda?

Battle Of The Ripped Jeans: Who Bows Oge Okoye Or Rukky Sanda?

If you follow these ladies regularly, you’ll agree with me that they are not just talented actresses but also gorgeous power dressers

Battle Of The Ripped Jeans: Who Bows Oge Okoye Or Rukky Sanda?

Oge Okoye

Battle Of The Ripped Jeans: Who Bows Oge Okoye Or Rukky Sanda?

Rukky Sanda

We have brought a casual photo each of these beautiful ladies and thankfully, they are both rocking ripped jeans. They both are lovely in ‘dem jeans’ but who rocked it better?

Who bows?
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Charly Boy Weighs In On The Patience Jonathan Saga

Charly Boy Weighs In On The Patience Jonathan Saga

The eccentric entertainer is back with another piece. Read his article after the cut

The latest unconfirmed gist heating up the social media is about former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who is spitting fire on EFCC for freezing her accounts containing 6.3Billion Naira as she claims that she is being deprived of her right to her hard-earned money.

Yes o, however you wan look am, she worked for that money! Why are people suddenly upset?

Isn’t it the same Naija people who have been shouting, “bring back our corruption”, since the country slipped into recession?

Dia ris God ooooo!!!

Since 1978 or so, we have been living on corruption money, and hailing the thieves.

Haba Naija, I tire for una.

Abegi make we hear word and make we read something useful on this social highway. Una dey provoke say dem see billions for Mama Peace account. And so? When will we ever learn?

Yes, a country deserves the kind of leadership it gets because those who rule us are from amongst us; they are not from Ghana or Togo. How many times will we let a thief into our house? The first time should be enough. The second time let’s take that as one chance.

The third time means we are stupid. If we, the followers are not like our leaders, why haven’t we done anything to stop the looting of our resources?

Countries that don’t have brave youths, prosecutors, fearless judges, good policing and fearless citizens will instead, have plenty of thieves, many killers and even stupid leaders.

Since we have settled for people deceiving people and it has become our way of life let’s roll over and die or accept everything we see that assaults our intelligence and impoverish us.

For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?

We have been living on corruption money long before now and we didn’t care. I know that looters will be looted, while time and tide will make most of us mercenaries.

For long, our leaders have used deception and misdirection as their tools. We don’t believe in hard work, when a false face and a good line of bullshit can do so much more.

As for us the masses, we are all waiting for our turn to steal something from some place, Kai, our mumu is vexing me joor. So how can we effectively create this new dawn when most of us are all guilty?

Now Baba has come to fight corruption, but I can swear that he is alone in this fight. Because most of the people in his kitchen are corrupt. Yes o.

Till there are grave consequences for people who break the law, people who steal public funds, known corrupt people who are till today in leadership positions, nothing will change. This too will come to pass and nothing go happen. Dem go settle, and back to business as usual.

Has anyone one been thrown into prison since this war on corruption started?

My people, abegi, make we use our brain.

I just pray that one day one day, there will be no hiding place for people who ruined this country. For those who took what they didn’t earn, may judgment await them!

It is only from then that things will begin to truly change.

The injustices stink…tufiakwa!!!

I don talk my own sha

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21 Nigerian women — forced into prostitution by Eiye Confraternity — rescued in Ibiza

21 Nigerian women — forced into prostitution by Eiye Confraternity — rescued in Ibiza

The victims, one as young as 16, were lured to Spain with false promises of a job and were forced to work for 14 hours a day.

Dailymail reports that the women were flogged with sticks and brooms for not meeting the target set by their employers.

“If they didn’t earn 1,000 euros a day, they would be forced to kneel for hours and beaten with sticks and brooms,” a police spokesman said.

“The network captured very young victims among the lower classes of the major Nigerian cities, deceiving them with false job offers in Spain.

“Once in our country, they were forced into prostitution in marathon days, being beaten if they did not earn the money demanded by the gang.”

21 Nigerian women — forced into prostitution by Eiye Confraternity — rescued in Ibiza

The ladies were lured with job offers that were “too good to refuse” and were smuggled into Europe on boats and planes.

The true nature of their job was revealed on arrival in Spain and they were told that they would only regain freedom after paying £50,000 through prostitution.

They were kept in an apartment and were allowed to go out occasionally to buy food or meet a client for an appointment.

The girls were subjected to rituals and sworn to loyalty with threats of killing their family members.

A member of the human trafficking gang was arrested in Germany and it was reported that five others belong to a cult – ‘Supreme Eiye Confraternity’.

Investigators said Ibiza is the destination of choice for summer prostitution because of the high influx of tourists and the gang controls the exclusive streets of the city.
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Please Forgive My Son - Yaya Toure's Father Begs Guardiola

Please Forgive My Son - Yaya Toure's Father Begs Guardiola

Yaya Toure's dad has pleaded with Pep Guardiola to forgive his son and allow him play football for Manchester City Football club.
Speaking to THE SUN, Yaya's father Mory said, “I’m worried about him.

It’s a problem. We ask Guardiola to come down to earth. He’s the boss. I ask him for forgiveness, to let my son do his work.”
''Yaya loves the club a lot, he’s a good player for the team. He has the morale to play.

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Three killed in US shopping Centre shooting

Three killed in US shopping Centre shooting

Three people have been shot dead at a shopping centre in Burlington, Washington state, police say.

The Cascade Mall and nearby shops have been sealed off and a search is under way.

It is not known if more than one person fired the shots, and the motive is unclear.

However, a suspected gunman was seen heading towards a nearby motorway, Interstate 5, the ‘Seattle Times’ reported.

Washington State Patrol spokesman Mark Francis said on Twitter that emergency medical teams had entered the shopping centre and that people were being evacuated to a nearby church. It is not known how many people, if any, were wounded.

He described the suspect seen walking towards the motorway as a “Hispanic male wearing grey”.

Francis said the gunman, or gunmen, had left the scene before police arrived, reports the BBC.

Burlington is about 65 miles (105km) north of Seattle.
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‘Call for Buhari’s resignation, ploy to reinstitute corruption’

‘Call for Buhari’s resignation, ploy to reinstitute corruption’

Osita Okechukwu is the Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON) and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with JOHNCHUKS ONUANYIM, the VON DG faulted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s call on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, among other issues. Excerpts…

Why is APC against the PDP’s call for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari?

They want us to forget yesterday, they want us to forget the gross corruption that they masterminded that led the majority of Nigerians into hungry in the last 16 years, that made our youths to be unemployed, that led to the decayed infrastructures, because if they are able to push us to forget that they put us in a horrible condition where we have found ourselves, then they would be presented again to be voted for to bring back corruption. Forget! Forget! Forget! Forget what we did and don’t mind us.

That’s what they want, but Nigerians are not fools. They cannot forget the locust years; we can’t forget the squandermania; we can’t forget the empty promises; we can’t forget May 13, 2010, when they promised us that they have awarded contracts to the tune of $53 billion for the construction of three greenfield refineries; one in Bayelsa, one in Lagos and another in Kogi. Nigerians cannot easily forget. Yesterday is today’s architecture.

PDP members have argued that when they came into power in 1999, there was nothing in the government coffers but former President Olusegun Obasanjo was able to reposition the economy for growth. Do you agree?

It is still on record that Obasanjo did not complete any federal road even the one that passed through Abeokuta. It is also not yet completed up till date. Jonathan did not complete any federal road, even the one that passed through Niger Delta, called East-West Road. It is on record.

The two railway contracts that they gave were riddled with corruption. The Lagos-Kano railway line of 1,300 and something kilometres was for $8.6 billion. The Abuja- Kaduna rail line was awarded for about $1.6 billion.

The Chinese they gave the contracts awarded Lasar, the capital of Beijing of 4,000 kilometres of modern rail line at $4.2 billion, while we awarded 1,300 kilometres for $8.3 billion. Was that a good contract arrangement for people to talk about.

Don’t you think the country would have been better off if the PDP had won the 2015 presidential election?

We are planning to fix the country and we are fixing it. We don’t have to do it like PDP going to public coffer and start sharing money. Buhari doesn’t want to share money. We want to obey the rule of law. It would not be like the PDP way any more.

The rue of law is the backbone of democracy and democracy everywhere is incremental. Whatever PDP is saying, they are saying because they want to bring back corruption.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan recently reeled out his achievements saying that Nigeria was the biggest economy in Africa by the time he left office. Would you disagree?

Nigeria as the biggest economy, this is what the students of political economy would look at to study the 16 years of the economic nexus of the PDP regime that drove more Nigerians into economic poverty and produced the richest African. The para- dox has to be studied.

On one hand they produced the richest African and on the other hand most Nigerians went into poverty. So, it has to be studied. Does it have a pass mark?

How could you convince Nigerians that Buhari should not to resign despite the recession?

Number one is transparency. A transparent culture, that is what PDP is fighting. Buhari is laying a transparent culture. This is the first time in the last 17 years when the budget of the NNPC, CBN, FIRS and one other agency that had not been presented to the National Assembly was presented. If you look at this, it is a great achievement.

Under Obasanjo, he never allowed the NNPC or the CBN or the FIRS budget to go to the National Assembly. Late President Umar Yar’Adua did not allow that and Jonathan did not allow that. Nigerians must take note that it is a key achievement of this regime.

It is the road to a transparent accounting process so that if you have N10,000, you know that it is prudently accounted for. So far, nobody has heard that the NSA is sharing money to people. It is an achievement. Look at the Tenders Journal, why is it bulky now? It is bulky because Buhari said that every Ministry, Department and Agency must follow the procurement Act. They must do advertorial and other requirements before you can open the tender paper.

This also is a major achievement. For me it is better that Nigerians are criticising Buhari today instead of criticising him in 2019. That is the position that we have taken. Let us slow and steadily build a foundation of transparency and accountability. That is what Buhari is doing.

Are you saying that if Nigerians should open the books of the APC government, they would not find corruption anywhere?

Please, Nigerians should do so. It is left for them to do and that is why we are challenging people. We are saying that two years ago, you can’t probe Osita Okechukwu in the Voice of Nigeria, but today you can probe me.

That is our position because when you raise the benchmark of fighting corruption, whether you like it or not you should also be aware that that benchmark is not selective. It is for everybody.
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Five states for Igbos is cheating – Nwodo

Five states for Igbos is cheating – Nwodo

Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo was the first civilian governor of Enugu State and one of the founders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was the pioneer National Secretary and later became the National Chairman of the party. In this interview with CHARLES ONYEKWERE, he spoke on sundry issues. Excerpts…

Enugu State is 25-year-old, what informed the quest for the creation of the state?

Enugu State or old Enugu Wawa state was actually created after 30 years of struggle by the Wawa-speaking people of Igboland to herald a state of their own. What informed this struggle was simply that the northern Igbos embraced western education much later than the southern Igbos.

So, at the time we were having first generation of doctors, engineers and lawyers, our southern brothers were already in their fourth generation of such people. So, they had a good head start on and because of that, they occupied the principal positions in the government of Eastern Nigeria and southern states when it was created and later on, old Anambra State.

So, in all of these different administrative set up, the Wawa-speaking people were always seen as wood fetchers such that if you wanted an honest domestic worker; its either you go to Nsukka, Abakaliki or Afikpo to get such a person. Our southern brothers did not believe that we were endowed as they were to sit at the same table with them.

Well, our pioneer leaders who had also acquired western education like Chief C.C. Onoh, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Martin Elechi, Chief Nwodo, Chief Charles Abangwu, Chief Enechi Onyia, Mgbada, just to name a few; started to spearhead the agitation that we should have equal treatment as the other people especially as the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, began to help us produce a lot more younger graduates.

We felt that our people also needed to participate in equal proportions in governance. But getting the state was not easy. One of the big problems we had was the experience of the Igbo and the issues of their abandoned properties in the southern states of Rivers and Bayelsa in particular where a lot of properties of the Igbo were confiscated and said to have been abandoned to the people of those areas after the Biafran War.

A lot of the properties in Enugu were owned by these very people we are complaining about that were marginalising us and since they had more riches than our leaders, they were able to stop the creation of Enugu Wawa State for a long time because they were afraid that their properties will be declared abandoned and the people of Wawa State are going to take their properties and so on and so forth.

So, a lot of misgivings delayed this very important developmental agenda that our people had. Since that state was created, there is no doubt that there had been monumental progress in the Wawa-speaking part of this country.

And by the grace of God, General Sani Abacha, went ahead to give the people of Abakaliki what is now Ebonyi State with headquarters in Abakaliki, and as we speak now, the people of Nsukka are agitating for Adada State.

State creation in Nigeria today is the biggest catalyst for development because the state headquarters with all the government apparatus have to be built and there is the tendency that more money will come into the area.

If you have Adada State now, they will have their own allocation every month as well as what will become now as old Enugu State again will have their own allocation and then the local governments and so on. So, these are indices of development in our country for today.

We believe that as long as Igbos have five states, they are losing one governor; they are losing three Senators as well as about seven to eight members of the House of Representatives. They are losing manpower that is critical at the centre as well in the states in terms the members of House of Assembly.

So, that is why the South East is still agitating for one more state to be at par with others so that when we vote at the National Assembly, our votes will count and not when a state like the Kano State votes in the North, it will cover the entire votes of the people of the South East. We think that, that is not fair. So, this is the background for the creation of our state.

What is your take as regards running of the affairs of our local government councils?

When I was a governor, the revenue allocation favoured federal, state and local governments. Less than six (6) months into our governorship, the federal government, (then military) without consultation with the governors changed the revenue allocations in favour of local governments.

At that time, the Babangida administration made us (the governors) to believe that those who will manage local governments were people who are retiring as permanent secretaries and going back home with wealth of experience to put the local areas into serious developmental purposes.

They wanted to make sure that they have money to do what we had in the mind of doing. That was the first time we had the governors’ forum and we went to see the President and we said to him what you are saying is right but if you come to Enugu and jump into a pothole the thing that will come out from your mouth is Nwodo.

If you go to school and there is no chalkboard to write, you will say Nwodo, and if you go to the hospitals, and there is no drug, you will also say Nwodo. So nobody talks about local government chairman. We are having the responsibility and you are giving the local government people the money. That was our first problem.

The second problem we had less than six months from then was the devaluation of the currency, our budget became nonsense. If you are going to do a project of one million, you are going to look for about 1.7 million to do the project. And then they increased in the wages of civil servants without increasing the money that was given to us and most state could not pay salaries.

The former government had savings which they called “stabilisation fund”, so if you make a strong case, that, this is what you are getting and this is what you are spending, they will give you money from the stabilisation fund, may be, to help you sort out salaries for three months and you come back to beg again. So it was that difficult.

The point is that, at that time, no governor is even crazy enough to touch the money going to the local government; the money goes straight to them. At that time we had a holistic plan that supervises what the local government does and concentrate on the ones we can do.

But the difference is that, today the governors have access to the money meant for local governments. They don’t take it for the actual development of the local areas but rather take it for other reasons and the people in the local government will be forced to sign that the money has been used for the local areas which is a general problem in Nigeria today.

So it is too hard to get a local government in Nigeria that is doing well in primary health, primary education, and primary agriculture and so on because the fund is not there. It is either we don’t want it and we scrap it, or we want it and empower it.

What is your advice on how to handle the consistent attacks by Fulani herdsmen?

One of the issues with the Fulani herdsmen is that they feel that their own man or brother is the president. It is not that the president asked them to be doing that but the notion that my brother is in charge what can you do to me, is the major factor fueling this menace of herdsmen.

And therefore looking at it as it is happening, the security agencies, that is the police, and the army cannot do better than the local vigilance because the local vigilance group knows the hideout of those Fulani herdsmen and can even help them to escape if they want.

I therefore advise the state governor to make sure that the local vigilance groups are up and doing. If they apprehend these people and the state knows these are the people who did these acts, it is now the duty of the state government to make sure that the full wrath of the law is meted on them.

There must be a point at which we are going to take the destiny and the responsibility of ourselves in our own hands for the country as at it is now is becoming more polarised. The law in this country does not allow an individual to purchase an AK47 riffle without licence but these said herdsmen carries it around without anybody questioning them; it is worrisome.

I believe we need to be up and doing and if eventually we catch one of these people, we hold him down till the governor comes, our press will make a noise about it with our radio stations until the law catches up with the person and they will know that they cannot do this anymore in Enugu State.

I equally advise that those who have basic knowledge of security to draw up a plan as to how our local vigilances can be trained on how to protect themselves so they don’t just get killed because they are doing vigilante.

They will be given basic education and training on how best to catch the perpetrators and then hand them over to the police. In the course of doing this, we will be helping ourselves and helping the governor too; so that these wouldn’t happen again for our good and that of the government.

How were you able to manage the state when you became the governor?

When the state was created and I became the first elected civilian governor, I sponsored two policies. The first was policy of triangular equilibrium because I felt that any part of Nsukka, Enugu, Abakaliki and Afikpo should not complain of marginalisation as was done in the previous 30 years.

So at that time, the only part of Wawa that is not in the state was Afikpo. The three senatorial zones were Nsukka, Enugu and Abakaliki and I made sure that whatever we are doing in the government, these three senatorial zones were carried along.

As the Chief Executive of the state from Nsukka and my deputy from Abakaliki, I made sure that the third most important position in government which was Secretary to the State Government (SSG) was given to Enugu senatorial zone.

Now in the three arms of government, I headed the executive and I made sure that the Chief Judge of the state came from Enugu senatorial zone in the person of Justice Eze Ozubulu and then insisted that the third arm of government should go to Abakaliki which was the Speaker who hailed from Abakaliki.

The same thing went on even in the distribution of principal officers in the House of Assembly; the Speaker was from Abakaliki; the Leader of the House was from Enugu and the Chief Whip was from Nsukka that is for the N.R.C party. For SDP we did the same thing, the Deputy Speaker was from Nsukka, the Deputy Leader was from Abakaliki and the Deputy Whip from Enugu.

So, this was how we went about the government in Enugu. When we came to appoint the members for the constitution of the boards, if Nsukka produced the chairman of a board, Enugu will produce two members and Abakaliki two members.

If Abakaliki produced chairman, the other two senatorial zones will produce two members each. If we are going to renovate secondary schools; we take two schools each from each senatorial zone. If we are going to renovate general hospital, we will do same thing.

If we are going to build road, we do same thing except that Enugu as the capital had more need for roads to be rehabilitated than the others. Now, when we come to the second policy of my government, I named it Meri-Quotocracy.

I just coined that word to represent two things, namely Merit and Quota. I believed that I should not sacrifice merit on the altar of quota, because if you don’t use the most qualified people to do the most difficult task and assignment, then you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Do you think Enugu State has fared well after 25 years of its creation?

Yes, Enugu State in my view has moved on since its creation. I think that every government that has lead the state prioritised her programmes and tried to do the best they could. And therefore, there has been steady improvement in infrastructure and in the empowerment of the people.

The creation of Ebonyi State helped a lot in the development of the Wawa in so many ways. The only fault I have in our progress is as it is the order of the day in Nigeria for successive governments to believe that the government before them had nothing to offer and they abandoned projects initiated by the predecessors and then they start new projects which within their own tenure might also not be completed.

So, you have all over the place littered with abandoned projects. For instance we spent a lot of time, to engage one Mr. Arthur Ugwu from Akagbeugwu or somewhere here in Enugu and his team to produce 20 years master plan for ESUT; the main campus in Awkunano where Jim Nowbodo started it and the Adada campus.

If you look at this two master plans, you will be shocked if there will be any university in Nigeria that will meet the quality of those drawings and of course there will be no governor that will stay for 20 years in office at most eight years; but I felt that any government that is coming doesn’t have to think about what to do in these campuses.

With the master plan, all you just need to do as a governor is to find out what is the need of the campus at the time you are the governor and you deal with those ones and the university will keep growing at the end of the day. The infrastructures we are talking of in the master plan were roads, the gardens, and then the buildings wherever they were supposed to be were intact.

The drawing of all the buildings to my knowledge met the standard as at that time. Now, these were abandoned at the end of the day and the university was moved to Agbani, the teaching hospital was moved from Ugwu- Queens Nsukka to Parklane Hospital.

Again, we the people of Nsukka were not receiving the radio channel in Enugu, so we started a transmission station at Ugwu- Queens Nsukka to make sure that we are heard not only in Nsukka but in Kogi and beyond and in spite of all the money we invested there, the project was almost 80 per cent concluded and 24 years down the line it is still abandoned.

It required just the last payment to complete that project. You see the road that the governor is doing now between Opi-Nsukka, we designed that road exactly as it is being built now and it’s the same contractor that is doing that job, the R.C.C. that we gave the job.

When I was removed as governor, I had paid them N6 million plus just about a week before I was removed and when I left, RCC left the site. I went to their office in Lagos to complain and they said to me that when Senator Jim Nwobodo was the governor, they were building the road from Oghe to Uzo-Uwani and Jim’s government owed them before they were removed and that they were not paid; so they took the money my government paid them for that. Since then, it took 24 years for us to go back to that drawing board. If you drive on that road now, you feel very happy.

So, this is why I am complaining that government should not feel that whatever their predecessor started is stupid, especially when it is targeted at the good of the people and when you are going to spend more money changing the goalpost to fit your own whim and caprices.

If we had given in on those master plans, I am sure that ESUT will be a different ball game than what it is today. So, I will advice the current governor to try as much as possible to complete whatever we left undone or uncompleted.

Whatever Chimaroke left uncompleted, whatever Sullivan left uncompleted that will be cheaper to complete and in the interest of the people of this state, the current governor should look at them and try and complete those projects. My condition on this is those abandoned projects that are germane to the people, please, please complete them.

What is your take on the growth of infrastructure between your time as governor and Enugu now?

Well, there has been a lot, like I said, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani did a lot in terms of road network especially in Enugu East senatorial district, he touched a lot of roads in that area and also built the state university and also his own private university, the law school and all that.

All these are indices of development. Sullivan Chime did a lot in the areas of roads in the state capital. There are few state capitals that can boast of good road infrastructure like Enugu State and in the last phase of his administration, he tried to move out of the state capital; like the road going through Nike Lake Hotel to Opi, the four-corner road and other few like that.

So he did quite a lot in road infrastructure. Ugwuanyi is equally trying to do the same thing on the other important roads that have not been touched especially the by-pass in the 9th Mile corner which is a major nightmare during Christmas, Easter and other festivities.

If he is able to complete that project which was started by Chimaroke, it will help a lot and what he is doing in Abakpa, is going to break the bottleneck experienced often by those going through Nike Lake to Abakpa down to Nsukka.

At least the university town is being given a face lift. For almost 24 years, you can’t drive into Nsukka and this is where we have the first indigenous university named after the country founded by a great Nigerian, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. I think that by-and-large in terms of rural electrification, they can do exactly what we did.

You know I got ADB loan for 70 communities and we finished the electrification and we applied for another 74 communities and because of the speed we used in completing the first phase, they approved the second phase immediately and I wanted even to do it faster than the first one because what I did now in the second one was that I bought all the foreign components, I forced the contractors to give us all the foreign components and to nominate their source of supply and I made sure the bank paid the suppliers directly and the suppliers shifted everything to us and they were emptied in the government house where we thought it will have maximum security, so that all the contractors needed to do was to put the poles and come there and take the components and fix them.
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IPOB sit-at-home order paralyses activities in Anambra, Rivers

IPOB sit-at-home order paralyses activities in Anambra, Rivers

Imo records partial compliance

Enugu, Delta, Ebonyi ignore order

Group congratulates members

Partial compliance across the South- East States yesterday greeted the sitat- home-protest order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the region. While economic activities in some states and its surroundings were grounded, others states recorded partial compliance, a development which prompted residents to begin to have a rethink.

But while IPOB congratulated all its members worldwide, the exercise was deemed a flop in Delta State, while reports from several cities showed that most Biafrans adhered to the protest directive. The IPOB slated yesterday, to embark on a protest to drive home their demand for the sovereign state of Biafra and unconditional release of the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

The group, to symbolise the release of its leader also released a pigeon with the colours of Biafra – red, yellow, black and green.

Markets, schools, banks shutdown

in Onitsha All markets, schools, banks and other activities were shut down in the commercial city of Onitsha in total compliance to IPOB order in Onitsha, Anambra State. Saturday Telegraph correspondent who monitored the sit at home compliance reports that the compliance commenced as early as 6am as all the streets were deserted and movement of people and vehicles were restricted by unseen IPOB members.

Meanwhile, security were beefed up in and around the commercial city to forestall any violence protest as a combined team of Police, Army, Navy and others are patrolling all nooks and crannies of the city. Saturday Telegraph gathered at the press time that no person has been arrested or shot while the Police public Relation Officer Anambra State Police Command, ASP Nkiru Nwode, confirmed that the sit at home was very peaceful as everybody went about their normal business without molestation. On his path the Chief Security Officer of the Anambra Vigilante Services, Chief A. Okpompi, told our reporter that the protest was peaceful when this reporter visited Onitsha Main Market.

Owerri records partial compliance…

In spite of the massive deployment of security personnel and strategic positioning of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) in Owerri, the Imo State, it was evident that the sit-athome directive issued by IPOB recorded substantial success though not total.

By Thursday evening, there was already apprehension in the air and most parents eventually did not allow their wards to go to school or leave the house yesterday to avoid any confrontation until there was a clearer picture of the scenario in town.

Apparently, massive compliance was registered among craftsmen, traders, artisans and small businesses. Civil servants in the state who already had the option of either going to work or going to farm due to the three-day working week policy of the governor, conveniently sat at home and complied with the directive; a situation which left the state secretariat deserted.

In the early hours of the day it was clear that people were in doubt whether to come out or stay at home which led with many of them inadvertently complying with the sit-at-home directive. Within the period, the relief market was almost empty while operations at the New Market were scanty.

It was, however, around 1pm that near normalcy returned to the city with human and vehicular traffic increasing substantially. In the Orlu area of the state, most traders sat at home until about mid-day while banks did not throw their gates wide open but opened the gates only for customers and then lock it thereafter.

MASSOB, BIM disown directive

in Delta In Delta State, commuters and proprietors of businesses flouted the directive. The failure came after the Zonal Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation and Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) in Delta North (Ibo speaking axis of Delta state), Chief Chinedu Amaifeobu, supported by Chief Felix Ugorechina and Pastor Boniface Amosite Onyenwe, Regional Administrators, Ukwuani and Aniocha South respectively, disassociated their groups from violent agitation. Also, the failure was unconnected with the signal from the police headquarters in the state on September 22, warning supporters of the group to steer clear of the state.

Although, there were suspicious movement of miscreants within Asaba metropolis, owing to its nearness to Onitsha, Anambra State, stern looking security operatives, including men of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS), Anti-Riot Squad and Anti- Kidnapping Squad, took strategic locations at the Asaba end of the River Niger Bridge and along the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway, to forestall break down of law and order. Banks, schools, petrol stations and other private and government institutions opened for business transactions.

Business grounded

in Port Harcourt Economic activities in Port Harcourt and surroundings were grounded yesterday following the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous Peoples of Bi- afra, IPOB. Although, there were no protests across the state as was the case last year, but yesterday’s sit-at-home order curtailed the movement of goods and persons, especially in Port Harcourt.

At the Ikoku area of Port Harcourt where security operatives made arrests during previous IPOB protests, there was a large deployment of security operatives, who had taken over the adjoining spare parts market, which operators were at home.

Some Biafra flags that had been mounted in parts of Ikoku were brought down by the security operatives who were armed and combat ready. While some markets opened for business, and entertained sellers and buyers who carried out transactions, most of the shops along the major roads were shut, with some areas deserted, just as only a handful of commercial vehicles were on the road.

The sit-at-home order by IPOB also forced some private school owners not to operate, as their pupils stayed at home.

Residents defy order

in Enugu Residents of Enugu metropolis did not obey the sit-at-home call yesterday made by pro-Biafra groups, Indigenous people of Biafra(IPOB)and movement for the actualisation of sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) as markets, shops, banks, schools and offices were opened for business as gathered by Saturday Telegraph. Although it was observed that some people in obedience to the call did not open their shops, it was clear that the Coal City residents defied the stay at home appeal.

From Garriki in Enugu South to Ogbete, all business premises were open for business and children went to school unmolested. Transporters carried on with their businesses as if nothing happened. Saturday Telegraph Investigation shows that the second largest city in Enugu State, Nsukka did not obey the call either as people went about their normal businesses.

“There is nothing like sit-at-home here. People are going about their businesses,” a resident of Nsukka told our correspondent. In anticipation for a possible protest or riot over the call, police and soldiers were seen stationed at strategic positions in Enugu metropolis with unsmiling faces.

Non-compliance in Ebonyi

However, the order recorded non-compliance with normal activities unstopped in Abakiliki, the Ebonyi State capital. When Saturday Telegraph visited some major markets and motor parks, normal activities were seen. Public and Civil Servants were also seen on their duty posts when our correspondent visited.

There was serious presence of police in strategic locations, including the popular Nkaliki where MASSOB office is located as policemen took over the area. However, at Water Works and Ogoja roads, teargas was thrown by security agents to disperse some groups suspected to be members of IPOB and MASSOB.

Speaking to Saturday Telegraph from his base in Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state, the state Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Ugochukwu Nweke, described the people of the state as myopic and coward in the Biafra struggle.

“Ebonyi residents are myopic but we the IPOB are resolute, we cannot succumb to all manner of threats, intimidations and harassments by security agents and the Nigeria government. “We are unstoppable and we cannot mind Ebonyi people who are not concerned on Biafra course, they have never behaved like Igbos,” he said.

Business activities paralysed

in Aba Business and commercial transactions in Aba was paralysed following the sitat- home order by IPOB. The usual traffic jam at major roads in the city was conspicuously absent.

Apart from the few tricycle operators residents of the city would have found it difficult to move from one place to the order. Traders at the Ariaria International observed the order as many market shops were under lock and key. Also, most shops in the area were closed as the traders strictly obeyed the order.

A trader along Pound Road, Mr. Okoh Vincent, said: “I decided not to open for business for fear of being attacked or caught in the web of pro-Biafran security operative confrontations.”

Efforts to speak to various chairmen proved abortive as the situation was same at the Ngwa Road market popularly called Ahia Ohuu and the shopping complex along Aba Owerri Road. Some of the commercial banks in the city were closed while few attended to customers amid tight security.

IPOB congratulates members worldwide

Meanwhile, IPOB having come to the conclusion of its sit-at-home protest, yesterday congratulated all its members worldwide. The IPOB said it appreciates all members, lovers of freedom and friends of Biafra all over the world for their support towards a successful sit-at-home protest in solidarity for the unconditional release of its leader Nnamdi Kanu.

The group said: “The Indigenous people of Biafra IPOB worldwide and the Directorate of State DOS congratulated the people of Biafra worldwide, friends of Biafra, lovers of freedom all over the world for their supports towards the successful sit at home order and successful protest across the globe in solidarity for the release of our leader prophet Nnamdi Kanu and for restoration of Gods nation Biafra.”
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