Thursday, January 26, 2017

Buhari, Babachir, Magu and the Senate

President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-nomination of Ibrahim Magu for Senate confirmation as chairman Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC) and his letter asking the Senate to reconsider its stance on Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. David Babachir Lawal is a good opportunity for the Senate and the executive arms to turn a new leaf in their relationship. Equally, it has presented to Bukola Saraki President of the Senate a unique opportunity to further cement his relationship with the President. Furthermore, it is also an opportunity for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and new senate leader Ahmed Lawan to initiate a new bi-partisan approach for smooth approval of any request by the executive.

For Ibrahim Magu, it is another important chance for him to clear his name and sell himself to the senate; informing them and the nation of his plan to take the EFCC to a new level as an institution responsible for fighting the war against corruption. Many Nigerians are in support of Magu because in him, they see the zeal to employ international multilateral technical co-operation on corruption to develop a mechanism that will help Nigeria have a system that discourages outright stealing of public funds, and develop an anti-corruption war that relies on forensic evidence, well-trained personnel and free of unnecessary controversies.

The Senate needs to accept President Buhari’s request on Magu in good faith, while encouraging him to drive the anti-corruption war in a new approach that is multifaceted, multidisciplinary and knowledge-driven; an approach that would assist all institutions of government in re-establishing norms and standards of governance, assist the public, NGOs and even the legislature in monitoring of compliance with the standards. The core of the ‘new’ EFCC should be centered on restoring social order especially to governance; and promoting advocacy and capacity building among genuine whistleblowers.

For Babachir, the senate should as a matter of new legislature-executive relationship, reconsider its December 15, 2016 recommendation that the SGF should resign and be prosecuted by relevant authority. This is for Buhari, not for Babachir. Buhari is a man that keeps his confidence and trust in people until such a person exhausts all avenues of trust. But Buhari is sometimes unlucky, some of the people he trust, betray the trust and the friendship he bestows on them.

However, Babachir should amend his way of relating with other arms of government and his style of politics- it is pathetic that Babachir failed to get any meaningful public sympathy nor concrete defense from the political class, even his primary constituency- the north, northeast and Adamawa state, let alone other parts of the country. This is a big lesson for Babachir. You cannot be the Secretary to the Government of the Federation of Nigeria and behave like the secretary of a hamlet’s cultural association.

The whole scenario is a challenge to the ruling APC – the party must work hard to enjoy the fruits of it being majority in the senate. It is also a test for Senate President Bukola Saraki’s capacity to harness senate-executive rapport in a critical situation. For the new senate leader Ahmed Lawan, it will be his first litmus test in his ability to consolidate on bi-partisan approach to important national issues. For Magu, it is an opportunity to further win the hearts of more Nigerians and convince the Senate of his capacity to lead the EFCC in line with senate’s expectation of anti-graft war. While for Babachir, it will be of great help to him for the senate to overlook one of his 2016 lows. For President Buhari, this is a proof that the Senate still sees him in high esteem.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dogara and Local Govt Autonomy

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara is championing a worthy but difficult cause- amendment of the 1999 constitution to grant political and financial autonomy to the 774 local governments in Nigeria.

Dogara and his colleagues’ efforts are coming at the right time because the local government system in Nigeria is not working. The reason is mainly due to state governments’ overwhelming control of this third tier of government through the operation of the unpopular joint accounts, bribery, extortion, embezzlement, graft, nepotism and political patronage prevalent in the system.

The founders of the Nigerian local government system and the crafters of the Nigerian constitution envisaged a local government system that will bring development along the local people’s culture and expectations. But sadly, the system is today a true reflection of the decay in the Nigeria state. It has been forgotten in Nigeria’s development equation- Nigerians put more expectations and emphases on the President and the Governors, rather than the local authorities.

Dogara was quoted to have said that the ongoing constitution alteration is the only way to guarantee development at the grassroots. However, the fourth schedule of the 1999 Nigerian constitution coupled with some important judgments made by the Supreme Court on issues affecting the local government system are good enough to strengthen the local government system.
The fourth schedule of the Nigerian constitution has clearly spelt out the functions of a local government council, but they have been abused and neglected. Imagine the local councils performing some of their functions as stated in the Nigerian constitution, for example: provision of some basic services.
Dogara has heard the cry of the people to grant local government councils political and financial independence. This will checkmate state governors’ abuse of local government authorities and bring sanity to the administration of local government councils.
The local government system has failed not only because of corruption, but also because of the negligence of the public and civil society organisations. A saying goes thus: ‘The less involved we are in our local community politics, the less aware we are of corruption in the system.’ Instead of serving as channels through which development and government's policies impact on the local people, as well as serve as a political training centre to afford future leaders opportunity to learn the art of good governance, the system has been transformed into breeding ground for bad leaders.

Dogara and his colleagues’ determination to grant the local government system financial and administrative autonomy will reinvigorate it. Most importantly, the elimination of the joint accounts will bring relief to the councils and enhance their capacity to perform. It will also reduce the burden of public expectation on governors and make local councils to be responsive to their constitutional duties.
Due to the operation of joint accounts, most local councils in Nigeria cannot pay salaries. And when they are able to, what is left is always too small to spend on development and it ends up in some officials’ personal pockets. Though, the idea behind the joint account was to eliminate corruption in the local governments, it has eventually turned out to be counter-productive to the local government system.

So many Nigerians are delighted with this landmark initiative from Dogara and his colleagues to grant full autonomy to the local council. Nonetheless, while granting autonomy to local councils is laudable, there are other variables that are pertinent if the local government councils must be effective. These include, having responsible people vie for local council positions; better attention from the public and NGOs; holding the local authorities to a set of standards based on their respective cultures. With these, among others, the local government system will start working.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tinubu’s Private Plane Flies Jammeh into Exile

More details of the peaceful battle to restore democracy in The Gambia became known yesterday.

After days of stand-off, former President Yahya Jammeh suddenly agreed to quit office, yielding to last-minute pressure from Guinean President Alpha Conde and his Mauritanian counterpart Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, who were with him between Friday and Saturday.

After agreeing to leave and save The Gambia from a major crisis, Jammeh was confronted by big challenge – how to fly out.

The leaders, The Nation learnt, reached out to All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who authorised his private aircraft to be used to fly Jammeh out of Banjul, sources said.

Jammeh’s exit paved the way for the return of President Adama Barrow to take office after he was sworn in on Thursday in Dakar, Senegal.

Tinubu’s VP-CBT Falcon Jet had been with President Conde, who is a close friend of the leading politician.

It was not until late on Saturday night that Jammeh agreed to go. Sources said Tinubu was contacted to allow the use of his jet to fly Jammeh out of Banjul.

He reportedly gave a condition: it should only be used “if it will facilitate the quick exit of Jammeh and lead to the restoration of peace and democracy in The Gambia”.

The plane eventually flew out with Jammeh, his wife, mother and President Conde on board.

Senegal, it was learnt, insisted on knowing those on board before allowing it to overfly its airspace. This wish was granted. Jammeh was flown to Equitorial Guinea where he will be on exile

Jammeh arrived at the airport amid a large convoy of vehicles and throngs of cheering supporters.

He stood on a small platform to hear ceremonial music performed by a military band and then walked down a long red carpet, surrounded by dignitaries.

He climbed the steps to the plane, turned and kissed and waved a Qur’an at those assembled.

It was an emotional farewell. Many soldiers, supporters and dignitaries were crying. Others in The Gambia were glad to see the end of a 22-year dictatorship which had little respect for human rights and freedom of speech.

Buhari Writes Senate, Appeals for Magu’s Confirmation

resident Muhammadu Buhari has urged the senate to confirm Ibrahim Magu, an assistant commissioner of police, as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), TheCable understands.

In a letter sent to Senate President Bukola Saraki on Sunday night, Buhari was silent on the allegations levelled against Magu by the Department of State Services (DSS) which the senate said it relied upon to halt the confirmation in December.

The details of the letter are expected to be read at the senate plenary on Tuesday, TheCable was informed.

DSS accused Magu of flying first class against government regulations, living in a house paid for by “corrupt” businessman and being in possession of classified documents 10 years ago.

These were dismissed as trumped-up allegations by sources close to Magu, who said his first class ticket was personally paid for by the EFCC chairman.

It also emerged that the house where he currently lives was paid for by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

The confidential documents he was accused of possessing were reportedly those indicting prominent politicians whose investigations he led as the head of EFCC’s economic governance unit before he was unceremoniously removed under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2008.

TheCable reported that the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, in a memo dated December 19, 2016, asked Magu to respond to the DSS allegations – which he promptly did, denying all the accusations.

Saraki and Buhari have met several times after that, during which Magu’s confirmation was discussed.

Magu also worshipped with Buhari at the presidential villa mosque early January.

There were then reports that he had been redeployed out of EFCC, but presidential spokesman Garba Shehu described the stories as “speculative”.

Magu was appointed acting chairman of EFCC in November 2015 but the letter for his confirmation was sent to the senate only in July 2016 by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo while the president was on a 10-day vacation in the UK.

The screening was postponed several times before it was put off in December because of the DSS report.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

ECOWAS Troops Disarm Gambia’s Army, Takeover Jammeh’s Village

The ECOWAS Military Intervention in The Gambia (ECOMIG) has disarmed some Gambian soldiers, and taken over the military installation in Yahya Jammeh’s home village of Kanilai.

Kanilai came under heavy shelling from ECOMIG troops on Thursday.

The troops have been reported to have seized the military barracks in the border town of Farafenni as part of strengthening security across the country.

AP quoted reliable sources as saying ECOMIG forces are disarming soldiers as part of their operational mandate ordered by the regional bloc to resolve the political crisis in the country.

According to the sources, the mopping up operation is being carried out mainly by Senegalese troops.

“They entered the town early on Sunday morning, occupied the military barracks, ordered Gambian soldiers there to lay down their arms before proceeding to dismantle its defensive fortifications,” a source was quoted as saying.

Some Gambians have also taken to social media to confirm the sighting of ECOMIG troops in parts of the country, including the coastal village of Kartong, bordering Senegal’s southern region of Casamance.

The movement of ECOMIG troops is necessitated to neutralise deployments by a section of the Gambian military on the orders of Jammeh, who initially resisted intervention of the regional group that was aiming to forcibly remove him from power.

Jammeh flew into exile late Saturday, ending a protracted political crisis caused by his dramatic U-turn, despite initially conceding the election to President Adama Barrow.

The head of the Ecowas Commission, Marcel de Souza, said the mopping up operation will clear the way for Barrow’s eventual return to Banjul from Senegal, where he has been taking temporary refuge since last week.

Barrow took his oath of office in the Gambian embassy in Senegal.

According to de Souza, the ECOMIG troops are also mandated to search, find and neutralise secret weapons depots Jammeh had built over the years.

“We will look for hidden weapons and mercenaries will be arrested to create a true situation of tranquillity, secure the return of populations who fear reprisals and to ensure that the country regain its national unity” he said.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has emerged the new Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum,.

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, announced this to journalists in Abuja on Thursday night.

Addressing journalists shortly after the Forum’s meeting, Mr. Dickson stated that the forum decided to settle for Mr. Fayose based on his record of performance and as the most Senior governor under the platform of the party.

Flanked by other governors present at the meeting and the leaders of the party, Mr. Dickson said that the choice of Mr. Fayose was a collective one among the governors.

Mr. Dickson played glowing tributes to the outgone chairman of the forum, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, for his immense contributions for the development of the party during his tenure.

Also speaking, the National Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Party, Ahmed Makarfi, the Chairman Board of Trustee, BOT of the Party, Wali Jibril, and the leadership of the party in the National Assembly, Ike Ekweremadu, endorsed the choice of Mr. Fayose.

They described Mr. Fayose as a real party man who would boost the growth and development of the party.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Fayose who succeeded Governor Olusegun Mimiko described his election as call to service and promised not to let the party down as the Chairman of the Forum.

Mr. Fayose said that he was out to pull down the wall of Jericho surrounding the party with a promise to embark on total mobilization of party members nationwide ahead of the 2019 general elections.

He assured that the PDP would work very hard to reclaim its lost states and as well form the government at the centre come 2019 .

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Senate Approves Buhari’s Fiscal Plans it Once Rejected As ’empty’

The Senate has approved the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF/FSP, submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari last December, in readiness for the consideration of the 2017 budget.

The Senate on Wednesday adopted almost all the proposals sent by the president, contradicting its earlier ruling in December, when it dismissed the documents as “empty”.

Its decision followed the recommendations of its committees on Appropriations, Finance and National Planning,

It adopted the oil production projection of 2.2 mbpd for the 2017 Budget, which it said is achievable, “though dependent on the ability of the Federal Government to curtail the Niger-Delta militant activities in order to halt the drop in crude oil production”.

Following attacks of oil and gas installations, the Senate observed that oil production “declined from 1,912mbpd in January 2016 to 1,818mbpd in June 2016 and thereafter to 1,721mbpd in October 2016.”

It also adopted the exchange rate of N305/1USD as proposed by the executive.

The Senate however warned that the Central Bank of Nigeria should initiate measures that would close the gap between the parallel market and the official exchange rate to prevent corruption.

For non-oil revenue, the Senate also adopted the projected N5.122 trillion in 2017, lower than N5.749 trillion approved in 2016 on account of lower Corporate Tax, VAT and Customs revenue collection in 2016.

Similarly, it approved the N807.57 trillion projected as independent revenue for 2017, significantly lower than the highly optimistic N1.505 approved for 2016.

The reduction, the Senate said, reflected the poor level of collection and remittance or inefficiency in the collection and management of independent revenue by MDAs and state-owned enterprises.

The planned borrowing of N2.321 trillion, comprising N1.253 trillion (domestic) and N1.067 trillion (external) in 2017 was also approved, however on project-tied basis.

The Senate also approved the N500 billion (N350 billion, recurrent; N150 billion, capital) for Special Intervention Programme in 2017.

However, the lawmakers slightly increased the benchmark price for crude oil in 2017 to USD44.5 from USD442.5 per barrel.

Projected GDP growth rate and inflation growth rate stand at 2.50% and 12.92% respectively.

The Senate recommended that the government should implement “drastic measures to achieve self-sufficiency and become exporter of certain agricultural and mining products.”

In his remarks after the passage, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided in place of Bukola Saraki who was in court for his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, sought the cooperation of the executive bodies when consideration of the 2017 budget commences to ensure expeditious passage.

Accidental Bombing: Buhari Cancels FEC Meeting, Sends Delegation to Borno

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sent a delegation comprising top government officials to Borno State, following an accidental bombing that took place on Tuesday in Rann.

The President’s team on condolence visit to the state include his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and service chiefs.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, confirmed the visit in his Twitter handle.

A scheduled weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council was also called off on Wednesday.

Although no official reason was given for the cancellation, some government officials said the accidental bombing could be responsible for the development.

Adesina had, on Tuesday in a statement, quoted the President as regretting the accidental bombings by the Nigerian Air Force, engaged in the final phase of mopping up insurgents in the North-east.

While wishing the wounded divine succour leading to full recovery, the President had also sympathised with the Borno State government.

Buhari pledged federal help for the state government in attending to what he called “regrettable operational mistake.”

He pleaded for calm and prayed God to grant repose to the souls of the dead.

Tragedy had struck on Tuesday when a fighter jet involved in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East fired at aid workers, soldiers and displaced persons in error, killing no fewer than 100 persons on the ground.

Aid workers confirmed to have been killed in the bombing included the officials of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), International Committee of the Red Cross and some refugees.

But the Nigerian Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it had begun an investigation into the accidental air strike.

The NAF Director of Information and Public Relations, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, said, “We are saddened by today’s accidental air strike by our fighter jet at Rann, in which innocent lives were lost. While available information is still sketchy, the loss occasioned by this unfortunate incident is deeply regretted.

“We commiserate with the affected families and would update the public as soon as detailed facts emerge from the investigation.”

It was learnt that the accidental air strike happened at about 9am in Rann, in the far north of Borno State as aid workers distributed food to Internally Displaced Persons.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Importers to Receive Vehicles at Near Locations – Customs

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said it will create bonded vehicle parks and terminals nationwide and licence major dealers to operate same and facilitate the creation of more jobs for the automobile industry.

The acting Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the service, Mr. Joseph Attah, told Daily Trust yesterday in an exclusive interview that such terminal operators will neither pay duties for the imported vehicles nor pay demurrage for a period of 28 to 30 days after manifesting the vehicles at the seaports.

He said: “Customs is going to grant licences to genuine car dealers to operate bonded car terminals. What this means is that they will not necessarily need to go to Lagos to clear vehicles.

“When a dealer imports his vehicles and he manifests them for the destination in the inland areas, the dealer will only provide some logistics and the Customs will escort them down to the terminal without paying the customs duty yet.

“Of course, there will be Custom outpost around the terminal and the vehicles will stay in the terminal between 28 and 30 days without paying the duties yet.

“If such dealer is lucky and buyers come for the vehicles, they could sell and then go to the Customs desk, pay the duty, get the genuine Customs papers and drive off without being stopped for issues,” Attah explained.

Dissecting the impact, the Customs’ spokesman said it helps the end users to buy genuine cars without going outside the borders; the car dealer will have his job strengthened by having a terminal.

The elimination of demurrages for about 30 days will translate in lower cost of buying vehicles, and ancillary services, banking, mechanic villages, vending points, and others will spring up around every bonded terminal in many parts of Nigeria to create more jobs and drive the Nigerian economy, Attah noted.

On affecting the services’ revenue generation, the Customs spokesman said the restriction of vehicles importation to the seaports will boost its revenue earnings because false declarations, smuggling and informal trade patterns typical of the old land border system will be curbed.

Mr. Attah said similar policy on rice boosted local production, disclosing that the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria team led by its national president visited the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), retired Col. Hameed Ali and appreciated the policy banning the importation of vehicles through the land borders.

He said the bonded terminal operation will also boost the collaboration of Customs, the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in unifying vehicle duty payment and registration of imported vehicles which is slated to begin by March 2017.

24-hour Curfew Restored in Zangon-Kataf after Attack

The Kaduna State Government has restored the 24-hour curfew in Zangon-Kataf local government area, following attack on the area.

A government announcement said the 24-hour curfew is with immediate effect, from tonight, Tuesday, January 17, until further notice.

The restoration of the curfew follows renewed security threats in Samaru-Kataf where the market was attacked by hoodlums. Security forces have taken steps to restore order and vigorously enforce the curfew.

Government urges that all citizens should cooperate with the security forces as they restore peace and order.

UPDATE: Unpaid Salaries: Adamawa Teachers, LG and Health Workers Will Wait for Longtime

There are strong indications that Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrila Bindow of Adamawa state is perfecting plans on how to utilize the funds from the Paris Club Debt Refund.

Adamawa state Government has on Sunday 8th January 2017 received from the federal government the sum of N4,894,877,111 as refund from the Paris Club Debt.

Sources have informed this blog that there are three ‘game plans’- Plan A, B and C.

The plan A which is already in the execution is, the Adamawa state government will hold on to the funds in a bank account for long period of time so as to generate good interest. If the government didn’t face any strong resistance from the labour unions or public scrutiny- the governor will go ahead and utilize the entire funds for other purposes, roads construction in particular, rather than utilize the bulk of the funds in the payment of the outstanding salaries for primary school teachers, local government and health workers including pension arrears. This plan, according to the sources, was hatched on the premise that, on many occasions, the government failed to fulfill its promises and it didn’t encounter strong public outcry or labour union strikes.

If plan A fails, plan B is to keep on promising the workers that their outstanding salaries will be settled until the general public forgets about it- the main purpose of setting up the 'committee' to supervise the payment of the salaries was merely to perfects plan B.

If the Plan A and B failed, plan C is to pay very few workers, while those wokers with any issue- BVN, irregular bank account number, NUBAN and minor administrative issues will not be paid.

Governor Bindow has continue to maintain that he will ensure payment of all outstanding salaries the Adamawa state government owes it workforce- especially primary school teachers, local government and health workers who have unpaid salaries running to several months. However, Many workers in Adamawa state are still skeptical that Mr. Bindow will fulfill his promise to pay the outstanding salaries as the Governor has on several occasions promise to pay the outstanding salaries but failed.

Lagos Gets New CP

Four days after his promotion to the rank of Commissioner of Police (CP), the Officer in Charge of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) monitoring unit, Mr Garuba Umar, has been posted to take charge of Lagos Command Headquarters.

Umar, who once served as Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Ikoyi, in Lagos, and Mobile Police Unit 19 Commander, in Port Harcourt, will succeed the incumbent CP Fatai Owoseni.

Meanwhile, Owoseni has been posted to the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, in Jos.

The IGP, Ibrahim Idris, had on Friday decorated the Force Public Relations Officer, Don Awunah and eight other promoted senior police officers with their next rank.

Nigeria’s Military Sails To Gambia Amid Rising Tension

Nigeria’s military says its newest warship, the NNS Unity, is sailing to Gambia for peacekeeping, as tension has continued to mount due to President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to accept the result of December 1 election which he lost.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had promised to explore all options including the use of military to ensure that President Jammeh stepped down.

The country’s army is said to be no match for regional powers.

The president has been promoting his loyalists in recent years including Army Chief Ousman Badjie, to ranks beyond their competence.

Senegal, on the other hand, is preparing ground troops ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Meanwhile, barely 48 hours to supposed presidential inauguration, President Jammeh, has declared a 90-day state of emergency.

The president made the announcement on national television, where he said any acts of disobedience to the laws of Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace, have been banned under the state of emergency.

Adama Barrow, a property developer, won the December 1 presidential election, but President Jammeh has refused to accept election results.

He had initially declared his willingness to hand over power if he lost, but later changed his mind after Mr Barrow was declared winner.

The state of emergency banned “acts of disobedience” and “acts intended to disturb public order”.

Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994 as only the second president since Gambia’s independence in 1965 and his government gained a reputation for torturing and killing perceived opponents, rights groups say. In 2015, he declared that the country was an Islamic Republic.

Pro-democracy activists across Africa welcomed his defeat and his refusal to step down has provoked an internal crisis as well as a test of courage for regional leaders.

Gambia’s top judge on Monday declined to rule on Jammeh’s election petition and in a political blow to the president, the ministers of finance, foreign affairs, trade and the environment have resigned, according to ministry sources.

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and some other West African nation’s leaders had made attempts to convince Mr Jammeh to hand over power to the president-elect, but not headway was made.

Monday, January 16, 2017

N4.9B Money Laundering: Fani-Kayode's Lawyer Wants to See Judge in Private

Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos who is the presiding judge in the trial of Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Aviation minister and two others over N4.9billion alleged money laundering charge, on Monday declined an application for a private meeting in his chambers on the matter.

Fani-Kayode,Nenadi Usman, a former finance minister and one Danjuma Yusuf were on June 28 arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on the alleged offence.

The anti-graft agency had preferred a 17 count charge on unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of the said money.

At the resumption of trial on Monday, counsel to Fani-Kayode, Norrisson Quakers (SAN) told the court that he had an application to meet with the judge together with the prosecutor because he would want
to discuss certain issue on the matter which is not for public consumption.

Quakers,argued that he do not want to be seen as embarrassing the court because there were ‘facts’ in the application which could embarrass the court if he said them openly.

The senior lawyer had earlier told the court that he was just coming into the matter, saying he was briefed by his client on Sunday night and needed time to prepare for the case.

Quakers is taking over from Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), who represented Fani-Kayode when he was arraigned.

But EFCC’s prosecutor, M.I Anana objected the application, saying he had his witness in court and urged the court to allow the trial to continue.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Hassan declined to grant the application and adjourned the matter till Tuesday.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bomb Blast At The University Of Maiduguri Mosque

A bomb explosion has occurred in a mosque at the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria's troubled northeastern state of Borno. Eyewitnesses told Saharareporters that an explosion rocked the university during early morning while some students and staff of the university were observing prayer at 6:30 am. Security forces have been mobilized to the scene of the attack. Our sources said several persons have been killed, but there is no official confirmation of casualties.


President Muhammadu Buhari warmly congratulates elder statesman and founding Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Abdukareem Adebisi Bamidele Akande, as he turns 78 years on January 16, 2017.

President Buhari joins all members of the APC, friends and immediate family of the eminent leader in celebrating the former Governor of Osun State, 1999-2003, who had meritoriously served as Deputy Governor of Oyo State, 1979-1983.

As one of the pillars of the opposition party that successfully ensured a round victory and smooth transition to unseat an incumbent president in 2015, the President believes Chief Akande's wisdom, sacrifices, patriotism and commitment to the unity and development of Nigeria will always be remembered by posterity.

President Buhari affirms that Akande's present role in the APC as a strong, visionary leader, a reconciling voice, strategist and stabilizer has paid up substantially in the enormous challenge of healing the ruling party, and the country.

The President extols the passionate and relentless efforts of the statesman in ensuring the entrenchment democracy in Nigeria, and the sustenance of the rule of law.

He prays that the almighty God will grant Chief Akande longer life, more strength and wisdom to continue serving the country he loves, and humanity.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
January 15, 2017

Is Gov Bindow Committed to Education?

Why the strike in Adamawa state university? Is the Governor funding the institution? What is Adamawa state Government's financial commitment in funding/running the university? Why should the staff of the institution stay months without salaries? Is the Adamawa state government serious and sincere with education issues in the state? Why are responsible people in the state closing an eye to the destruction on education in Adamawa? What do we do to salvage our educational institutions from the lumpen rag-tag posture of Governor Bindow? Must he hates education for the simple reason that he lacked it? When we answer these questions, we would then develop paradigms of solving our educational malignant issues in the state.
Abubakar Mohammed Sambo


CIA head John Brennan Warns Trump to Watch his Tongue

Outgoing CIA Director John Brennan has warned US President-elect Donald Trump to avoid off-the-cuff remarks once he takes office.

He said spontaneity was not in the interests of national security.

Mr Trump is known for regularly making broad pronouncements on issues of national importance on his Twitter feed.

Mr Brennan also said that Mr Trump did not fully appreciate Russia's capabilities or intentions.

"I think Mr Trump has to understand that absolving Russia of various actions that it's taken in the past number of years is a road that he, I think, needs to be very, very careful about moving down," he said.

Mr Brennan's remarks, in an interview for Fox News Sunday, come a week after the release of a US intelligence report which said Russian President Vladimir Putin had likely attempted to influence the election.

Mr Trump is considered to have underplayed for months the conclusions of the intelligence community that Moscow hacked Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign. He only accepted them at a news conference on Wednesday.

Meanwhile both the Kremlin and Mr Trump's team have denied reports in the Sunday Times newspaper that the two sides were planning a summit between Mr Trump and Mr Putin in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik.

Reykjavik was the venue for a summit in 1986 - near the end of the Cold War - between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the then US and Soviet leaders.

Mr Brennan said "talking and tweeting" was not an option for Mr Trump, who takes office next Friday.

"Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests and so therefore when he speaks or when he reacts, just make sure he understands that the implications and impact on the United States could be profound," he said.

"It's more than just about Mr Trump. It's about the United States of America."

The CIA director also took Mr Trump to task for accusing the intelligence services of leaking an unverified dossier which suggests Russian security officials have compromising material on him, which could make him vulnerable to blackmail.

"What I do find outrageous is equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany," he said, referring to a tweet by Mr Trump last Wednesday.

"There is no basis for Mr Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly."

But Mr Trump responded with tweets quoting veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, who told Fox News Sunday that the dossier should never have been presented at an intelligence briefing and that the intelligence services should apologise for their mistake.

The media should also apologise, Mr Trump added.

The president-elect has described the claims as "fake news" and "phoney stuff".

Russia also denies the existence of the dossier and says allegations that it ran a hacking campaign to influence the elections are "reminiscent of a witch-hunt".

Gov Bindow Sacks Revenue Board Chair for ‘stubbornness’

The Adamawa state governor, Bindow Jibrilla, has sacked the state’s chairman of Internal Revenue Board, Ahmed Tuta over alleged non-performance and obstinacy.

Mr. Tuta’s dismissal came just weeks after some lawmakers in the state assembly accused him of “stubbornness”.

The decision was announced at a state executive council meeting where some of the government’s policies were reviewed.

Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting Saturday, the commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ahmed Sajoh, said the removal of the board’s chairman along with some top officials was as a result of the agency’s inability to realize the revenue aspirations of the state.

He added that a committee, to be headed by the state’s Attorney-General and commissioner for Justice, Silas Sangah, was formed to reposition the revenue board for efficient service delivery.

“Government is not satisfied with what is happening in the board,” he said, adding that the government “is going to look at cases of financial irregularities of the board for the past three years”.

Meanwhile, at the meeting, the state commissioner for Solid Minerals, Victoria Sashe, also announced that the government has signed an investment deal with Smart Group which has interest in Guyuk cement.

Gambia President-elect Barrow 'to stay in Senegal until Inauguration'

The Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow is to remain in Senegal until his planned inauguration on Thursday, state media in Senegal say.

The move was requested by West African leaders after a summit in Mali, Senegalese news agency APS said.

President Yahya Jammeh is currently refusing to step down until the supreme court can hear his challenge in May.

Regional bloc Ecowas wants the UN to approve military action if Mr Barrow's inauguration is blocked.

On Saturday leaders repeated their calls for Mr Jammeh - who initially accepted the result - to go voluntarily at an Africa-France summit in Bamako.

Mali's president Ibrahim Keita called for "proverbial African wisdom" to prevail to avert a bloodbath and there are growing fears that the uncertainty could cause a refugee exodus.

Thousands of Gambians, mostly women and children, have already crossed the border into neighbouring Senegal and further afield to Guinea-Bissau, where they do not require a visa, officials say.

Mr Barrow, who beat Mr Jammeh in last month's election, was at the Bamako summit and was referred to as the president.

FG Rejects BBOG’s Conditions for Sambisa Tour

The federal government has rejected the conditions given by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement for embarking on a trip to Sambisa forest and some parts of the north-east.

In a letter dated January 11, the ministry of information and culture invited the movement to the north-east to see first hand efforts being made to rescue the Chibok girls.

But in a reply, the BBOG movement proposed a pre-tour meeting with the chief of army staff, chief of air staff and chief of defence staff before it would embark on a trip to the north-east.

They also asked Tukur Buratai to apologise for “endorsing” a group which labelled the movement to be embarking in “advocacy terrorism.”

However, in a letter dated January 14, the government said the trip could not be postponed.

It said the request for a meeting with certain top officials of the army and demanding an apology were irrelevant to its request for the BBOG to join in the search mission.

“Thank you for your letter, dated Jan. 13, which is in response to ours of Jan. 11, requesting that we change the date of the proposed guided tour of the north-east to accommodate a pre-tour meeting between your organisation and some top officials of the federal government,” the letter signed by Lai Mohammed, the information minister, read.

“We have also noted the conditions you gave for embarking on the trip which include the said pre-tour meeting and the retraction of some remarks allegedly made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. – Gen. Tukur Buratai, which the #BBOG finds to be slanderous.

“We regret, however, to inform you that we are unable to postpone the trip as scheduled.

“We hope that the BBOG will drop its conditions and join the trip which shows the commitment of the federal government to securing freedom for the Chibok girls and its transparency in handling the issues of the girls.”

The government said payment for the satellite downlink streaming of the mission had been made for the day and shifting the date will require another round of booking to secure such a slot.

It said apart from BBOG members invited, local and international journalists had been invited for the trip, while some preparations had been made by the military.

State Governors Responsible for High Number of Condemned Inmates – Prison Service

The Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) has accused state governors of being responsible for the high number of condemned inmates in prisons across the country as they were unwilling to approve the execution of inmates on death penalty.

The Service Public Relations Officer (PRO), Francis Enobore stated this at the weekend in Abuja during a parley with journalists.

While revealing that 1,640 condemned persons were presently in prison formations across the country, Enobore appealed to the state governors to do the needful by either signing the condemned persons death execution or commuting their death sentences to terms of imprisonment.

"The problem of condemned prisoners is still a very big challenged to NPS and we have been appealing to the relevant authorities especially to the Chief Executives” he said. “When someone gets to his last bus stop and is condemned to death and he has exhausted his appeal to the Supreme Court, the only opportunity he has to escape the death is the Chief Executive commuting his death sentence to a term of imprisonment or sign the death warrant for this person to take his last breath.

"But there is a kind of silent moratorium that most governors are not too willing to endorse death sentences.

“You are not signing their execution, yet you are not commuting their death sentences to terms of imprisonment, so that we can get them transferred to a place where they can be remodelled or rebranded for the society.

"So they create a very big problem for us. But we keep appealing that governors to do the needful so that we will be able to really manage these people effectively."

While disclosing that the present management of the NPS was ready to take the Service to greater heights, Enobore said apart from massive promotion of personnel, the government had provided more logistics to the Service.

“10, 979 officers across board who were stagnated for several years have been promoted. As a result, there is high motivation now in the Service.

“Government provided 400 vehicles and infrastructure. We are currently expanding cells too,” he said.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Osinbajo to Visit Oil Producing Communities in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta

ice President Yemi Osinbajo will from Monday visit some communities in the Niger Delta region to begin consultations in further demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s readiness to comprehensively address the Niger Delta situation.

A statement from the Vice Presidential Spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, on Saturday in Abuja, said Osinbajo would visit a number of oil-bearing communities in some Niger Delta States starting with Delta on Monday.

He said that at a date to be announced soon, the Vice President would visit Bayelsa and Rivers.

Akande said that in all the visits, the Vice President would lead high-level delegations of the Federal Government that would interact with leaders and representatives of the oil-producing communities.

He added that the visit was in continuation of ongoing outreach efforts of the Buhari administration toward a long-lasting and permanent resolution of the Niger Delta crisis.

“The Buhari presidency is fully committed to having an effective dialogue and positive engagement that will end the crisis in the oil-producing areas,’’ he said.

He expressed the administration’s belief that the visits would further boost the confidence necessary for the attainment of peace and prosperity in the areas and the Nigerian nation.


Thursday, January 12, 2017


Following the dislodgement and subsequent occupation of Boko Haram stronghold at Camp Zairo, Sambisa forest, the terrorists have been escaping the theatre to avoid capture and prosecution.

It is in this vein that troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE intensified searches, patrols, raids and mop up operations.

During one of such patrols to Madaki village in Biu Local Government Area, Borno State, troops of 27 Task Force Brigade stationed in Bara arrested 4 suspected fleeing members of Boko Haram terrorists on Wednesday afternoon whose names were given as Muazu Gogobir, Mamman Shuaibu, Muhammadu Muhammadu and Isah Ibrahim.

They were intercepted along with 100 concealed motorcycles at the outskirt of the town. The suspected Boko Haram terrorists are undergoing preliminary investigation.

Thank you for your kind cooperation.

Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman
Director Army Public Relations

Breaking: Gov Bindow May Not Pay Outstanding Salaries from Paris Club Refund

A reliable source closed to the government of Adamawa state has informed this blog that Governor Muhammadu Jibrin Bindow’s plan in the utilization of the N4,894,877,111 Paris Club Refund is to pay between 45% to 50% of the outstanding salaries of workers in the local governments, primary healthcare, teachers and pensions arrears

There are indications that workers with unresolved issues of BVN, Account Number and other related issues will not be paid.

Governor Bindow has promised that a committee will be set up to ensure payment of all outstanding salaries the Adamawa state government owes it workforce- especially primary school and health workers who have unpaid salaries running to several months.

Adamawa state Government has on Sunday 8th January 2017 received from the federal government the sum of N4,894,877,111 as refund from the Paris Club Debt.

Many workers in Adamawa state are skeptical that Mr. Bindow will fulfill his promise to pay the outstanding salaries as the Governor has on several occasions promise to pay the outstanding salaries but failed.

Mr. Bindow’s critic are of the view that the governor’s concentration on construction of roads only to the detriment of other sector has some hidden motives, but Mr. Bindow supporters are of the view that Adamawa state has for long time suffered neglect in the provision of basic infrastructure- the governor moves are in the right direction.

Court Rejects Nyako's Application to Recover Seized Properties

A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused an application by former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako and seven others challenging the forfeiture order of their properties.
An associate of Nyako, Nengofori Jumbo, brought the fundamental rights application before seeking to quash the interim forfeiture order granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) to seize their properties pending investigation.
Nyako is already facing a 37 count charge of conversion of public funds totalling N29billion alongside his son, Abdulaziz Nyako, and his two aides; Zulfikk Abba and Abubakar Aliyu.
In his ruling, Justice Okon Abang held that the EFCC did not err by attaching the properties based in Section 29 (d) of the EFCC Act.
"The court cannot restrain EFCC or any statutory body from carrying out its lawful duties," he said.


President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstitution of the Executive Management of River Basin Development Authorities under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

The appointments are with immediate effect.

Rev. Michael Nwabufo -- Managing Director
Engr. (Dr.) Michael C. Nwachukwu--Executive Director, Engineering
Dr. Nweze B. Obasi -- Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Dr. Benjamin Aneke -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Mrs. Ngozi C. Uche --Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Engr. Saliu O. Ahmed -- Managing Director
Engr. (Mrs.) Modupe V. Olalemi – Executive Director, Engineering
Agbetuyi O. Bamidele -- Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Olumese E. Charles -- Executive Director, Planning and Design,
Akinya Folorunsho Samson – Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

Engr. Abba Garba -- Managing Director
Engr. Babagana Uroma -- Executive Director, Engineering
Dr. Abdu K. Tashikalma -- Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Modu Surum -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Falmata Maina Dalatu (Mrs.) -- Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Engr. Bassey E. Nkposong -- Managing Director
Engr. Esin Winston Mosembe -- Executive Director, Engineering
Dr. U.A. Essien-- Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Mr. I.I. Udoh -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Mrs. Okpata Egbe -- Executive Director, Administration and Finance

Dr. Ado Khalid Abdullahi -- Managing Director
Engr. Abubakar Mohammed I -- Executive Director, Engineering
Ma'amun Da'u Aliyu-- Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Mohammed Umar Kura -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Mohammed Awwal Wada -- Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Engr. Mahmoud O. Adra -- Managing Director
Engr. Mathias U. Udoyi -- Executive Director, Engineering
Engr. Samuel J. Ochai, E.D. Agricultural Services,
Engr. Emmanuel Yepwi, Executive Director, Planning and Design
Richard N. Ndidi -- Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

Dr. Adeniyi Saheed Aremu -- Managing Director
Engr. Abdulkarim Mohammed Bello -- Executive Director, Engineering
Engr. Tajuddeen A. Affinih – Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Olawale Victor -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Abu Atsumbe Abdullahi -- Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Engr. Tonye David-West -- Managing Director,
Engr. Okwonu Benson -- Executive Director, Engineering
Ikuromo E. Joshua -- Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Dr, (Engr.) Austen A.T. Pabor -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Mr. Isaac Akpoede Otuorimo -- Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Olufemi Olayemi Odumosu -- Managing Director
Engr. Iyiola Rufus A. -- Executive Director, Engineering
Dr. (Mrs.) Bolanle A. Olaniyan – Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Engr. Adesanya Mutiu Omoniyi -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Olayiwola A. Baruwa – Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

Engr. Buhari Bature Mohammed -- Managing Director
Engr. Jafar A. Sadeeq, Executive Director, Engineering
Engr. Sanusi Mai-Afu – Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Engr. Murtala Dalhatu -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Faruk Madugu Gwandu – Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Engr. Abubakar Muazu -- Managing Director
Engr. Mukhtar Umar Isa—Executive Director, Engineering
Dr. Abdulhameed Girei – Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Engr. Yusuf Daniel Ajemasu – Executive Director, Planning and Design
Mr. Haruna N. Musa – Executive Director, Finance and Administration

Prof. Abdulkarim M. Ali -- Managing Director
Engr. David Emmanuel – Executive Director, Engineering
Dr. Abdu Aminu Omar – Executive Director, Agricultural Services
Engr. John Bature Gimba -- Executive Director, Planning and Design
Alhassan Bawa Ugbada—Executive Director, Finance and Administration

SSAP (Media & Publicity)
January 12, 2017