Connect with us

Special Report/Investigation

ANAMBRA STATE: ABAKILIKI STREET STILL EXISTS IN AWKA.

Published

on

The Chairman of Awka South Local Government Area, Mr Leo Nwuba has confirmed that contrary to the recent uproar in the media over the renaming of Abakaliki Street in Awka, the Awka Capital City had long designated another street to be named Abakaliki Street within the Capital City.

The new Abakaliki Street runs from Club Road, across Queen Suites to Enugu-Onitsha Expressway at the Parktonia Hotel end of the road. The street has clear signs identifying it as Abakaliki Street on both ends.

Mr Nwuba expressed surprise that there was no attempt to balance the story of the renaming of the street with the announcement that another street had been also renamed as Abakaliki Street.

Explaining that the renaming of the former Abakaliki Street as ‘Club Road’ was part of the on-going efforts to interpret the Awka City Master Plan, the Council Chairman revealed that the plan was being tweaked to fit things into their proper places.

Mr Nwuba expressed shock that anyone could have read a malicious meaning into the renaming of the street and quickly dismissed the speculation that it was an attempt to discriminate against anyone as false.

Throwing more light on the development, Mr James Eze, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Anambra regretted that the renaming of the street had been given a wrong interpretation by some people.

“Governor Obiano is the last man to put down a fellow human being let alone his own Igbo brothers. It is totally inconceivable that anyone could assume that the renaming of Abakaliki Street was done with an intention to spite anyone. The question to ask is, to what purpose, really?” queried Mr Eze.

According to him, “Governor Obiano has always been clear about what he wants to do about the new Awka Capital City. The former Abakaliki Street and the surrounding area have been designated as the entertainment hub of the city. That is where you have the largest concentration of entertainment hangouts. It is also a part of the city that never sleeps. We have a 24 hours life there. Government has provided adequate security, streetlights, road markings and everything that would encourage a 24 hours life in that axis. That district is gradually evolving into what might be called the Las Vegas of Nigeria especially on Friday nights,” Eze further explained.

He revealed that when there was an effort to rename the old Abakaliki Street as ‘Willie Obiano Avenue’, the Governor had quickly turned it down because he wanted the streets within that entertainment circuit to bear names that reflect the offerings of the area.

“He is meticulous about what should be where. That is why he has mapped out an area that would be known as the Central Business District within the capital. Other areas are also being carved out and properly designated. So, there is really no such thing as an attempt to discriminate against anyone in Governor Obiano’s plan.

To underscore Governor Obiano’s openness to all, Mr Eze explained that recently, the Governor announced that he had set aside the sum of N765m for commercial motorcyclists in the state to enable them replace their motorcycles with shuttle buses following the policy to restrict them from operating in Awka and Onitsha respectively.

“The beneficiaries of this loan are indigenes of the five states in the South East, Delta and Kogi State who are mostly involved in the motorcycle transport business in Anambra State. This kind of initiative cannot come from a governor who has any intention to discriminate against people,” Eze further explained.

He wondered why anyone would associate Governor Obiano with discrimination of any type, pointing out that “Governor Obiano has always maintained the posture of a modern Nigerian leader who treats every citizen with equal respect and dignity.”

From the Office of the Chief Press Secretary, Government House, Awka

Continue Reading

News

Nigeria’s plan to redistribute recovered corruption money needs a rethink

Published

on

The Nigerian government has announced that USD$322 million (£244 million) stolen by Nigeria’s former military ruler, Sani Abacha, has been returned by the Swiss authorities. Abacha, an army general who was head of state from 1993 until his death in 1998, is suspected to have embezzled between USD$3 to 5 billion of public money.
Plans have also been announced to distribute the recovered loot to around 300,000 households in 19 of Nigeria’s 36 states. Under the plan each household would get around USD$14 a month. The handouts would be paid to poor Nigerians for about six years.
Roberto Balzaretti, one of the Swiss officials involved in the negotiations with Nigeria, reported that there would be strict conditions attached to the transfer of the money back to Nigeria. Nigeria has signed a memorandum of understanding with Switzerland and the World Bank agreeing the modalities for the return of the stolen funds.
The Nigerian government has opted for cash payments to be made to help poor families as part of the Nigeria National Social Safety Net Program. The money is to be paid in instalments and in small amounts under the supervision of the World Bank, which will also conduct regular audits. If the first instalment is not properly accounted for, subsequent payments will be halted. This is to prevent the funds from being stolen again.
But there are fears that this is not the best way to use the recovered funds and that the “distribution” is just a ruse to influence the Nigerian elections next year. Concerns have been raised that it’s an easy way for the ruling political party to score cheap points ahead of the 2019 polls. And there are strong views about how the money can be better spent, particularly on the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

Vote Buying?

The money is being returned to Nigeria at a delicate time. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that he will be seeking reelection next year. This despite his ill health and corruption scandals.
Nigerian politicians are infamous for buying votes.
Suspicions that the redistribution scheme is another vote buying ruse have been fuelled by the fact that the government plans to give money to only 19 states out of the 36. The government has said that 17 states where excluded from the scheme because they didn’t have the “appropriate platform” to implement the conditional cash transfers.
There are also fears that the recovered loot might end up in the coffers of ghost beneficiaries.
The Nigerian house of representatives – the lower house of Nigeria’s bicameral National Assembly – has passed a motion that the money must be distributed in line with the country’s revenue sharing formula for disbursing money to all 36 states.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, a Nigerian nongovernmental anti-corruption agency, has added its voice to criticisms of the plan. It has pointed out that the distribution of funds is mis-targeted and would not bring any tangible benefits to the beneficiaries.

The project argues that the president should renegotiate the memorandum of understanding with the Swiss authorities in consultation with the communities affected by grand corruption so that the recovered loot can be put to better use.

A better way?

Is there a better way to utilise the recovered loot?
Nigeria needs proper procedures to manage recovered money as it continues with its anti-corruption agenda. The government will be better placed in the future to manage recovered funds if it has a coherent plan detailing how they should be handled. The plan will need to be overseen by the country’s anti-corruption institution.
There’s a strong view that the recovered money should be used to foot the bill for infrastructure projects that would improve the lives of the victims of corruption and also help alleviate poverty.
Infrastructure projects, such as proper transport systems and power generation, also have the advantage of being highly visible and could be easily tracked through Budgit and Tracka. Construction projects would also create jobs.
There is a clear link between infrastructural development and economic growth – an area where Nigeria could really do with some help. The country struggles from infrastructure deficits, particularly in power generation, transport, education and health care.
Experts also argue that giving the money to poor households will only serve as temporary respite from poverty. Investing in infrastructure that can improve growth, employment, production, education and health care would create better and longer-term value.
The government might be wise to listen to these views.

 

Tolu Olarewaju
Lecturer in Economics, Staffordshire University

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Christians mark 150 days since Nigerian girl was held captive for her faith

Published

on

By Eno Adeogun

A protest outside the Nigerian High Commission in London was held on Wednesday to mark 150 days since a 15-year-old Christian girl was kidnapped by Boko Haram from Dapchi in Yobe state, Nigeria.
Leah Sharibu was one of the 110 schoolgirls abducted by members of the terrorist group on 19th February from the Government Girls Science and Technical College.
While five died during the ordeal and the rest were freed, Leah remained in captivity as she refused to denounce her faith.

LEAH

Speaking from the protest organised by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the charity’s CEO Mervyn Thomas  said what he hoped would be achieved.
“It’s very important to remember that this isn’t just a protest – this is prayer and protest. CSW believes in those two things going together.
“So we’re hoping first of all that God will answer prayer but we’re also hoping that the Nigerian government will take action.”

Mervyn Thomas, CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide delivering protest to Nigerian High Commission representative.

Mr Thomas handed a petition to a representative of the High Commission which called for urgent action to secure the release of Leah and other girls held in captivity.
The terror group has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in the country, famously kidnapping nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok four years ago.
Pastor and filmmaker Fred Williams lived in the northern state of Jos where he saw first-hand the devastation Boko Haram caused.

However, speaking at the protest, he told Premier he had faith Leah and other girls kidnapped would be released.
“My plea is that we continue to pray and we continue to be a voice for the voiceless and not keep quiet because it has taken so long to get a positive response.”

Christians have been urged to join in with others around the world marking 150 days since Leah was kidnapped by praying for her.

 

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Nigerian Police Arrest Suspects of Mass Abduction

Published

on

The Nigerian police reported today the arrest of eight suspected members of the Boko Haram group, linked to the abduction in April 2014 of 276 girls from a school in the eastern state of Borno.

Under strong police custody the detainees were shown in the streets of the state capital of Maiduguri.

According to a spokesman, the suspects were arrested in an operation conducted by officers of the Borno State Police Inspector General’s Intelligence Response Team, in whose forested areas Boko Haram has its headquarters, but also operates in Cameroon, Niger and Lake Chad.

Between 2014 and the next year Boko Haram vindicated the abduction of some 2,000 children, but the case of the school in Chibook received special attention because of the number of children.

In 2016, the Nigerian central government succeeded in negotiating the release of 22 of the abducted women, many of whom have now returned to their families after undergoing medical examinations and a psychological reintegration process at the request of Nigerian President Muhamadu Buhari.

According to estimates, Boko Haram, who has an Islamist ideological inclination and is loyal to the Islamic State, is holding 196 of those kidnapped in Chibook captive.

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Aviation Minister unveils new national airliner Nigeria Air

Published

on

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday unveiled the new National Carrier. It is called ‘Nigeria Air’.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, did the unveiling to investors at the ongoing Farnborough International Air Show in UK.
The colour is green white green.

The logo of the new national carrier

According to Sirika the new carrier will ply 81 routes, both local and international, after considering about a thousand destinations.
Ethiopian Airlines said it is in talks with Nigeria on the new national carrier.

 

NAN

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Major drugs gang caught

Published

on

AN international drug smuggling operation stretching all the way from Nigeria to Bahrain has been busted by police.
It was exposed when a drug mule arrived at Bahrain International Airport carrying 3.1kg of crystal meth, known locally as Shabu, and 177.4gm of marijuana in his luggage.
An investigation identified a Bahraini inmate at Jaw Prison, aged 30, as the mastermind behind the operation – who allegedly used his own father and brother to distribute the merchandise.
Seven defendants, five Bahrainis and two Nigerians, are now standing trial in Bahrain’s High Criminal Court in connection with the racket.
Six of them appeared before judges for the first time yesterday to plead not guilty, while the alleged mastermind was not brought from his cell to attend the hearing.
An investigating officer said police had been on the trail of the gang since last year and swooped when a man arrived at the airport in April carrying drugs.
Intercepted
The drugs were in the possession of a 27-year-old Nigerian, who was intercepted by police after arriving on a flight from Nigeria via Dubai.
“I received a tip that the 30-year-old in jail was running a drug smuggling ring from his cell,” said the investigating officer in his statement.
“My investigations led to a 43-year-old Nigerian, who was running the operation with him and arranging with people outside Bahrain to smuggle Shabu from Nigeria.”
The drug mule was detained at the airport on April 19 after police, who received word that drugs were on board, searched all Nigerian passengers.
One of the Bahraini defendants, 37, who was allegedly responsible for distributing the drugs in Bahrain was waiting in arrivals to meet him.
“He (the alleged drug mule) told us the 37-year-old Bahraini was waiting in the lounge to receive him,” added the officer.
“When we asked the 37-year-old why he was there, he panicked and admitted he was there to pick up the 27-year-old drug mule and take him to the 43-year-old Nigerian’s apartment.”
The 30-year-old alleged mastermind behind the smuggling operation is already serving a 10-year prison sentence on another drugs charge.
He is said to have overseen the trafficking of narcotics from behind bars using a mobile phone that was smuggled to him.
The 43-year-old Nigerian defendant told prosecutors he had been dispatched to Bahrain by a drug lord in his own country to meet the alleged mastermind.
“Last January the drug lord Ojay, in Nigeria, told me to go to Bahrain and give Shabu to the 30-year-old Bahraini defendant,” he said.
“I arrived in Bahrain with around 1kg of Shabu and was received at the airport by the 37-year-old Bahraini, who took me to Juffair and gave me $2,000 as commission and BD1,000 to wire back to Ojay.
“He then wired the other BD1,000 to him.
“In early April I was instructed by the 30-year-old to smuggle two to three kilos of Shabu, so I called Ojay’s brother Paul in Nigeria to make the arrangements.
“He informed me that a Nigerian, the 27-year-old, would arrive in Bahrain on April 19 with the drugs and that the 37-year-old Bahraini was supposed to pick him up, bring him to me and receive the Shabu.
“I was surprised when police burst into my apartment on April 19 at 10am and arrested me.”
The following day a sting operation was arranged near a school, in Isa Town, and an undercover policeman met a 31-year-old Bahraini defendant to sell him 250gm of Shabu, which was intended for resale.
He instead handed over a bag of white sugar and police swooped to make the arrest.
However, during questioning the alleged mastermind denied any knowledge of the drug smuggling operation.
He admitted the 37-year-old was a former colleague, but claimed neither he, his brother nor his father were involved.
“I’ve been in Jaw Prison on another drug dealing charge for the past five years and I’ve got around four and a half years left on my sentence,” he told prosecutors.
“I was in another trial for drug possession when my lawyer informed me that my brother and father were also arrested on drug charges.
“A few days after that he told me the 37-year-old Bahraini claimed I was involved in this case – and that I run a drug smuggling operation with my brother and father as distributors, which is not true.”
The two Nigerian defendants, 43 and 27, have been charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamines and marijuana.
Funding
The 43-year-old Nigerian was also charged with possession of pornographic material on his phone and failing to renew his residency permit.
The alleged mastermind’s 60-year-old Bahraini father has been charged with possessing and using methamphetamines and hashish, while his 29-year-old brother has been charged with possession with intent to distribute, as well as funding the operation.
In addition, the 37-year-old Bahraini arrested at the airport is charged with receiving narcotics with intent to distribute.
Meanwhile, the 31-year-old Bahraini arrested as he allegedly attempted to buy Shabu from an undercover officer has been charged with receiving narcotics with intent to distribute and possession of amphetamines and Diazepam.
The alleged mastermind is facing charges of possession with intent to sell drugs, inciting others to commit the crime and providing funding.
Their trial has been adjourned until September 9.

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Twitter to Purge Tens of Millions of Accounts

Published

on

They’re keeping it real. In a move the company says is aimed at “building trust,” Twitter announced yesterday it’s deleting tens of millions of accounts — about 6 percent of its current followers — that were deemed fake or suspicious. The sweeping measure, part of a concerted push to purge dubious accounts and curb malicious activity, means almost all users will see at least some decrease in their followings, while high-profile accounts could experience significant drops. During May and June, Twitter reportedly suspended more than 70 million accounts.

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Dino cries out as Senate demands protection for embattled senator

Published

on

Senator Dino Melaye has cried out over the alleged withdrawal of his personal security by the Police, stressing that he is “hanging his soul” in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Inspector General Police, Ibrahim Idris and the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello due to “threats” to his life.
The Senator who spoke while raising a point of order on Wednesday also lamented the deployment of 30,000 policemen ahead of the Ekiti State Gubernatorial elections slated for Saturday, 14th July, 2018.
According to Melaye, the huge deployment of security personnel will “militarise” the election while arguing that such large-scale security presence should rather be deployed to states that are faced with significant security challenges.
He said: “Election is a civic responsibility and we have consistently maintained as democrats that we need not militarise, scare or put fear in elections all over the world.
“As a Nigerian, I am appalled that the Nigeria Police can provide 30,000 policemen for a 16 local government state. One begins to wonder that to conduct a presidential election; we will need 30,000 policemen in 36 states, we will have to go to other West African states to hire policemen.
“I wonder why the crises in Zamfara, Dapchi, Chibok, Taraba, Benue, and Jos have not attracted 30,000 policemen.”
In his reaction, the presiding officer and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu explained that he is not against the deployment of 30,000 policemen to Ekiti state but expressed worry that such numbers might have been merely inflated on paper without corresponding presence on ground.
“The only concern I have is that in Anambra we had 25,000 policemen also in Edo we had about 26,000 policemen but we heard of instances where there were no policemen in some of the polling booths.
“My appeal is if we are deploying one million policemen they must be seen on the ground. We don’t want a situation where we have such numbers but we don’t see them on ground, we must be sure that those policemen are available to do the work.”
The Senate in its resolution rejected the motion’s prayer mandating the Police to furnish it with the Police service numbers and names of the 30,000 policemen, where they were deployed from as well as the locations they were deployed to in Ekiti state.
Nevertheless, the red chamber resolved that the Police and the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps to provide security for Senator Dino Melaye as his entitlement.

 

OrderPaperToday –

Continue Reading

Home

N100billion under-remittance by NNPC : House of Reps to Investigate Oil Sales

Published

on

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for under remittance of over N100Billion in the month of June.
An adhoc committee is to investigate crude oil sales from January to July 2018, as well as other sources of funds to NNPC for the same period.
The yet to be composed committee mandate includes; investigating the revenue template of the NNPC, exchange rate and cash haul of the state owned oil company.
The decision to investigate the NNPC followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), entitled: Urgent need to investigate NNPC’s current under-remittances to federation account.
While moving the motion, Ossai explained that monthly Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) could not hold because of the N100billion under remittance by NNPC.
He noted that the under-remittance which according to him is a recurring decimal has slowed down the pace of government businesses across the country.
Ossai raised concern that states and local governments that depend on federal allocations are unable to pay monthly salaries and allowances of its workers for the month of June.
He noted further that if the under-remittance is not checked, through investigation, the NNPC could be emboldened to declare no revenue from sales of oil and gas. He also accused the NNPC of usurping the powers of the National Assembly by spending without appropriation.
Speaking on the motion, Aminu Shagari (APC, Sokoto) admonished the House to produce the reports of previous investigations into the operations of the NNPC, adding that question of “gut” by the committee should be considered.
He said, “What happened to the reports of the other committees set up, in 6th and 7th Assembly, we must ask ourselves, these committees, do they have the gut to carry out the investigation?” Noting that “the members of these committees are picked apart, and they will start speaking from two mouth.”
Also speaking on the motion, Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC, Kano) stated that the investigation must be expanded to include issues volume of production and sales as he described the inability of FAAC to meet as a national security issue.
When the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, the “ayes” had it. The committee has 2 weeks to submit report.

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Anambra PDP Crisis : Court Orders INEC Chairman to Appear Before it over Contempt

Published

on

The Federal High Court in Abuja has again ordered the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Mahmoud Yakubu to appear before it to show reasons why he shouldn’t be committed to prison for contempt.

Justice Stephen Pam made the order on Tuesday after taking submissions from counsels in the contempt suit filed by Ejike Oguebego of the People Democratic Party in Anambra state.
Counsel for INEC, Adegboyega Awomolo sought for an adjournment to enable him reply to the applicant’s application seeking to commit his client for contempt. This was however opposed by the applicant’s counsel, Chris Uche who stated that the contempt or had repeatedly disobeyed the court order without any reasons
Awomolo informed the court that he has filed a notice of appeal against the ruling delivered at the last adjourned date to stay further proceedings in the matter adding that the objection filed by the plaintiff is an abuse of court process.
The court in its ruling held that the Contempt or cannot ask favours from the court while he continues to disregard court order, he urged counsels to refrain from giving advice that will ridicule the judiciary
The Plaintiff had filed a suit seeking the court’s determination on who the legal and validly nominated candidates of the party to stand for the Party’s last elections in the state.
The federal high court had earlier issued a notice of consequences of disobedience to court order against, INEC, and professor Mahmood Yakubu for failure to obey court verdict re-affirming the chairmanship of Ejike Oguebego as the authentic State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State.
The matter has been adjourned to 1st August, 2018.

 

Continue Reading

Special Report/Investigation

Speaker Dogara Urges Security Agencies on Inter-Agency Cooperation

Published

on

Turaki Hassan, Abuja:  Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has called on security agencies to work together seamlessly in order to overcome security challenges in the country.
He said this in Monguno, Borno state at the Mini Trade Fair and Military Equipment Exhibition organized by the Nigerian Army as part of the week-long Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2018.
“I must mention the very saddening and regrettable spate of killings and destruction of property of defenceless citizens by bandits and alleged herdsmen militia in various parts of the country, especially in the middle belt region. I am aware that the Army has often been involved in quelling these dastardly attacks.
This intractable internal security challenge is giving every well-meaning Nigerians and, indeed, the international community, very grave concern. I, therefore, wish to use this forum to call on all our security agencies to collaborate more closely in the areas of intelligence, idea and information sharing to provide a reliable security network for all parts of the country.”
Represented by Hon. Rima Shawulu, chairman House Committee on Nigerian Army, the Speaker further commended the Army for efforts towards defeating the deadly Boko Haram sect and urged them to do even more to restore peace to the North East region.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to commend the Nigerian Armed Forces for their efforts in containing the notorious Boko Haram insurgency, which has caused monumental loss of lives and economic ruins in the country, particularly in the North East axis.
Your sacrifices and commitment in this war, and the achievements you have recorded in degrading the insurgents are well acknowledged and commendable. Nevertheless, you cannot afford to rest on your oars until the insurgents are beaten to a state of total surrender, so that the nation can move forward.”
The Speaker, who said that progress can only be attained when the country is peaceful, also pledged the commitment of the National Assembly to helping security agencies tackle the spate of insecurity through appropriation.
“The theme for your celebration this year, which is “The Nigerian Army and National Security: A Panacea for Nigeria’s Economic Development”, aptly captures the importance of security as the bedrock for economic development. Progress can only thrive in an atmosphere of peace. This is why the nations of the world give priority attention to security in their planning and resource allocation.
“The Nigerian National Assembly has been taking due cognisance of the paramount place of security in our legislative activities, particularly in ensuring generous financial appropriation to the security sector, within the limits of the available resources. Let me assure you that we will continue to give our best support to the Armed Forces and other security agencies by working in tandem with the Executive Arm to always give them the maximum possible budgetary allocations.”
He also spoke on ongoing consultations with the Executive in order to provide a legislative framework for security reforms.
“On our own part, the Nigerian Parliament is already making concerted efforts in consultation with the Executive Arm to provide the legislative framework for a fundamental reform of our security system. We cannot afford to allow the insecurity in the country to degenerate beyond the present level.”
The trade fair was organised by the Nigerian Army in collaboration with Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
He urged those present to leverage on the gains of the exhibition to invest more in production of military wares and in other sectors such as health, agriculture and industrial production and to sustain the synergy for the overall benefit of the country.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending