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Biafra freedom and the quest for Igbo independence

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Osita Ebiem

There are renewed calls for an independent state of Igbo people, but what form would Biafra of 2018 look like? The author shares his thinking.
Since the last 19 years, there has been a revival of the quest for the reestablishment of the defunct Republic of Biafra. Between 1967 and 1970 Biafra existed as an independent state apart from Nigeria. The boundaries of the new country were based on the colonially created former Eastern Region of Nigeria. Igbo national people were the dominant ethnic group in the region. But there were many other non-Igbo ethnic or national peoples in the new country. Because of the circumstances that necessitated the independence declaration of the country it was natural for this Biafra of 1967 to include the dominant Igbo nationals and others who are Igbo neighbours living in the contiguous surrounding lands.
Just like they did in the dysfunctional greater Nigerian country, the European colonialists who created the former Eastern Region had insensitively mixed up all the different national ethnic groups in the region for their governing convenience. Because this hotchpotch arrangement helped to minimise the running cost of the colonial outposts by cutting down on the number of staff and other incidentals it made a sound commercial sense for the non-indigenous Europeans. So, the Europeans maximised profit from their colonial venture while the indigenous peoples suffered from avoidable endemic interethnic internecine conflicts that would frustrate and stunt any form of progress.
As soon as the colonial Europeans left when they granted independence to the natives, the hitherto simmering dormant crisis busted out into uncontrollable flames. Up till now, as I write this piece, since the departure of the Europeans, interethnic and interreligious killings have constantly erupted among the native peoples who were forced by the exigencies of colonialism to exist as citizens of the same country. This is what led to the declaration of Biafran independence from Nigeria in 1967. Islamic dominated Nigeria had embarked on the mission to wipe out the Christian dominant Igbo people from the Earth. Igbo people resisted the genocidal move by declaring an independent state of Biafra from Nigeria.
This is 2018 more than half a century after, the various peoples are still engulfed in an unnecessary progress-arresting and human-lives destroying crisis because the lazy inheritors of this unviable European creation have continued to avoid facing the realities of their so-called Nigerian country. The only sensible solution to the seemingly unending Nigerian crisis is to divide the country along the existing ethnic and religious divides.
However as we stated earlier, there has been a renewed interest in carving out of Nigeria a new independent Biafra. With the new agitation came the controversy surrounding the authentic identities, territorial boundaries and social and political structures of this new quest. As all will agree, both those involved in the struggle to free Biafra from Nigeria and those watching the developments from any angle, there is no way the Biafra of 2018 will look anything like the Biafra of 1967. Nothing in this world remains static and time, it is said, changes everything. Fifty years have passed since 1967 and the truth is that the conditions and circumstances that produced the first Biafra and this new Biafra are not the same.
Therefore the human identities, national boundaries and political and social structures of this new Biafra cannot be the same as those of 1967. Every new generation must fight their own wars and win or lose their own battles on their own terms. Agitating for a new Biafra based on the 1967 identities, boundaries and structures will amount to an intellectual laziness on the part of the agitators and spell the doom of the proposed new country. A new Biafra as agitated for by the Igbo does not and cannot include any non-Igbo ethnic nationals. This position cannot be overemphasised because going against it will be nothing different from the extant Nigerian disaster – the mixing of different incongruent peoples in a country that cannot work. That mistake was made by foreign powers and we rightly blame them for it. But we cannot afford to make the same mistake in the new Biafra. Doing so will be like creating a new Nigeria by another name, Biafra. The same crises that have bedevilled the present Nigeria will also dog such Biafra and destroy it.
Such a disaster can easily be avoided by creating a brand new country by Africans and for Africans based on their own native experiences and anticipations. It will be a country for the first time created by Africans and for their people on their own terms. When this is done, if the new country fails or succeeds, it will be the shame or pride of the creators – Igbo people. There will be none else to blame but the indigenous people themselves. There will not be any foreign input by sheepishly following the moribund foreign concept boundaries of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria. The absurdity of adopting the map of the old Eastern Region as the boundaries of the new Biafra is the fact that almost half of Igbo population and land on the west bank of the Niger were not included in the 1967 Biafra. There are also several Igbo populations and lands that extend beyond what many people today know as traditional Igbo land. No Igbo anywhere should or will be left behind in this new quest to re-establish an independent Igbo state.
These truths and facts serve as fundamentals that need to be clearly defined for all who care to join this Igbo liberation business so that from the onset they will have a clear picture of what they are getting into, what they should and what they should not do. With that said it does not mean that in the process of doing that that we should produce a document that is perfect and immutable. We should aim for a living document that is dynamic and in tandem with the times, events and current circumstances. Since events, circumstances and experiences seem to change very rapidly these days we can keep up by constantly reviewing and updating the contents of the working document to always reflect in real time the prevailing realities, which we encounter along the way.
At this moment all those who are involved in this business need to recognise that we are at the cusp of bringing into being a brand new society, country or nation. As such, we seem to have been involuntarily positioned by providence to play a special role in the history of Igbo people. We can voluntarily choose to re-enact the convoluted grandiose “Zik of Africa” pipe dream by pursuing to build another clay-footed giant in the new Biafra of 2018 and jumble up a mixed bag of incongruent peoples in the name of inclusiveness. If we did this we would have fallen into the same sin we accuse Lugard, Zik and others of. Or we can choose to unashamedly reinvent our ancestral Igbo nation and proudly turn it into a viable, progressive, peaceful, prosperous and manageable modern country that is successful and serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world. Such a modern and ideal Igbo country will attract other people from around the world who would come and proudly take up citizenship in this Igbo country and will be self-propelled to honestly pay patriotic allegiance to their newly adopted country and Igboness.
It will be foolhardy of us who have the luxury of time (relative to the 1967 Biafrans) as it is, to carelessly, even naively adopt the same unworkable one-Nigerian pattern to which we are all witnesses of as a woeful epitome of a futile doomed enterprise.
At this stage (maybe at no time at all) we cannot afford to have anything to be written in stone – unchangeable and final. In the popular saying it is said that only God and fools do not change their minds. 1967 Biafra was the concept and dream of our fathers but the 2018 Biafra must be the concept and dream of the present generation of Igbo people. I personally was a firm believer in one-Biafra that would be made up of both Igbo and their neighbours (an all-inclusive Biafra.) In my simplistic thinking I believed that the so-called south-south or Niger Delta political zone should naturally be a part of the new Biafra because 1967 boundaries included those places. I wrote passionately in favour of such political arrangement in the new Biafra we are founding. I had even used such fanciful phrases like “United States of Biafra” to describe the envisaged new creation of another one-Nigeria only with a different name “Biafra.”
But such phrases are thoughtless and full of “beautiful nonsense” as my friend Festus Afamefule would put it. In the last few years after some time of impassioned personal interrogation and honest empirical contemplation I concluded that in the interest of the future generations of our people that we cannot afford to construct a new country for our people whose foundation and modus vivendi is not firmly anchored in our Igboness (in who we are.) For a society to work, the people are expected to have common historical experiences, common cultural practices, common linguistic history and some other things that help to hold a people together. The saying in Igbo is that na izu ka nma na nne ji.
Some people have come up with the question about what happens to the rest of the peoples some of whom also fought and died in the effort to free the first Biafra from Nigeria. Such people will need to be reminded that these other nations of indigenous peoples are capable of forming their own independent countries without Igbo as a part in their destiny. The populations of most of these ethnic nations run in several millions with so much natural and human resources that can easily sustain and make them successful. It will be stupid for any Igbo to think that they have been placed in the position of the “redemptive saviours” over these peoples who have their own innate redeemers. Everyone or ethnic people that fought under the banner and name of Biafra in 1967 and onwards are also equally entitled to adopt the name as their redemptive symbol of resistance, freedom and independence. Today that is what that name has come to represent for all peoples and persons – a universal symbol of resistance against genocide, injustice, oppression, persecution and domination. Any people or person anywhere in the world can adopt that name as their symbolic avatar in their quest for redemption, liberation, freedom and independence from anything, person or institution.
Perhaps the reason why this confusion has festered is that this movement for a new Biafra has remained like a moving train, which stops to pick up all willing passengers without discrimination. Of course there should be no discrimination against all those who want to get in but the danger we have faced is that most of those who are joining the train (the Biafran train) come with so many wild, dangerous and hideous (sometimes fraudulent) notions. All come with preconceived parochial opinions on what Biafra is or what it should be. And all claim to be the final authorities in the subject. But unfortunately many of these individualised ideas about Biafra are flawed. Yet this has not stopped these misled individuals from holding very tight to their version of personalised wishful and impractical opinionated Biafranism.
Having observed this dangerous trend it has become necessary that the Igbo must get together to reinvent and refocus their own standardised unique and workable Biafranism and anticipated Biafran or Igbo country. It doesn’t matter, when independence is won the new state can stick with Biafra or change its name. The other emerging new countries can also adopt the Biafran name or something else as it suits them. More than one country can go by Biafra just like Sudan and South Sudan.
In the end a more sensible and ideal new Biafra or Igbo state should be aimed toward success. It should be one that while being careful to preserve all the great conservative aspects of Igbo cultural heritage and traditions, is also dynamic – readily embracing change and willingly directing the society to seamlessly transit into newly discovered lights with little or no frictions. If this generation followed their hearts and are willing to do the right things, this new society can work if it is founded on a non-sentimental and well-considered uncompromised realism.
On the contrary if we want to follow the fad and adopt the “pretty boy” posture of the current wave of indiscriminate and unrealistic world dream then we will be headed for trouble. Sadly, it is this prevailing unregulated sentimental liberal ideology that has created the greatest danger that is facing our world today. It is the indiscriminate senseless implementation of this innocent-sounding idea that is threatening to revert all the progress, prosperity and freedoms, which the world has thus far enjoyed to the level of the dark ages. This sentimental liberalism if left unchecked will send the world to the darkest abyss, the type that it has never seen before.
To prove the danger inherent in this psychedelic self-defeating indiscriminate all-inclusiveness; apart from the perfect example of the one-Nigerian disaster, the reader can take one hard look at Europe in its current compromised state. With the trend and rate at which Europe is traveling along this uncensored inclusiveness, Europe will be doomed. The only hope that is still open to Europe is that the current generation of Europeans must stand their ground and push back the coming darkness of religious fundamentalism. Otherwise, if nothing is done to stave off this wave of absolute evil, in the next few years Europe as we know it will be completely engulfed in a total hopeless darkness of the worst kind.

* Osita Ebiem is a social affairs commentator and rights advocate.

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

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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

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

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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.

 

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Nigerian Police Arrest Suspects of Mass Abduction

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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.

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Aviation Minister unveils new national airliner Nigeria Air

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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

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Major drugs gang caught

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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.

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Twitter to Purge Tens of Millions of Accounts

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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.

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Dino cries out as Senate demands protection for embattled senator

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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 –

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

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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.

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

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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.

 

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Speaker Dogara Urges Security Agencies on Inter-Agency Cooperation

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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.

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