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UK Parliament: Killings in Nigeria disturbing, must stop

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THE United Kingdom Parliament has described recent killings by Fulani herdsmen and other violent acts in the North Central states of Nigeria as deeply disturbing urging President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to stop the carnage.

Lord Alton of Liverpool raised the Nigerian security issue at the House of Lords on Thursday drawing support from members across party lines.

The verbatim report of the debate of the Nigerian security challenges by the UK House of Lords are contained in the Parliament’s records website: hansard.parliament.uk.

A cross section of the UK lawmakers who spoke on the killings in Nigeria described the scale and the frequency of the attacks as disturbing and alarming.
Lord Alton who raised the issue, spoke on “the more than 200 people, mostly women and children, who were killed in sustained attacks on 50 villages by armed Fulani militia just this past weekend” adding that “People are dying daily.

“This alone should serve as a wake-up call. Are we to watch one of Africa’s greatest countries go the way of Sudan? Will we be indifferent as radical forces sweep across the Sahel seeking to replace diversity and difference with a monochrome ideology that will be imposed with violence on those who refuse to comply? We must not wait for a genocide to happen, as it did in Rwanda. Ominously, history could easily be repeated,” Alton warned.
Another parliamentarian, Lord Suri said: “The situation has been exacerbated by inadequate government action which has enabled attacks to continue unabated. Beyond intermittent words of condemnation, the Government has failed to formulate effective strategies to address this violence. This has entrenched impunity and emboldened perpetrators even further, leading to a growth in vigilantism and periodic retaliatory violence, as communities conclude they can no longer rely on government for protection or justice. However, this retaliatory violence is by no means symmetrical—the first quarter of the year saw 106 attacks by the herder militia in central Nigeria, while seven attacks within that timeframe on Fulani herders or communities claimed 61 lives.
“The number of attacks and casualties is staggering, and our Government must recognise the considerable escalation in the regularity, scale and intensity of the attacks by Fulani militia on these communities in central Nigeria. We must commit to doing more to encourage and support the federal and state governments to provide protection to those who live in constant threat of attack by a force that constitutes a major threat to national security. As a matter of urgency, we must encourage the formulation of a comprehensive and holistic security strategy that adequately resources the security forces to address this and other sources of violence. Can the Minister provide assurances of action? Will the UK Government do all they can to work with the Government of Nigeria, encouraging them to be more proactive in ending this appalling violence and to protect these vulnerable communities living in constant fear for their lives?”

Other lawmakers spoke along the same line with Baroness Goldie summing up the debate and asking the Buhari government to halt the “deeply troubling situation.”

She said “It goes without saying that the Government regard the situation in Nigeria as both challenging and deeply disturbing. There are a number of issues at play which are having serious humanitarian consequences. The first are the actions of Boko Haram, of which many noble Lords will sadly be aware. Boko Haram claims to represent Islam, but its interpretation could not be further from the spirit of that peaceful religion. It attacks Nigerians of all faiths who do not subscribe to its extremist views. Its activity—the abduction of schoolgirls and the killings in which it has engaged—is appalling. Its actions have caused immense suffering in Nigeria and neighbouring countries in both Christian and Muslim communities. We assess that the majority of its victims are Muslim. Nearly 2.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Boko Haram and its splinter faction, Islamic State West Africa, remain a threat to regional security. Achieving a long-term solution requires non-military measures to improve security and enable economic growth.
“The other worrying issue to which many noble Lords referred and the noble Lord, Lord Alton, particularly covered in his speech, is the violence between farmers and herdsmen in various areas across Nigeria, and in the Middle Belt in particular, where attacks are carried out by herders on farmers, and vice versa. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, raised the question: does the description “farmer-herdsmen” suffice? This was a point also raised by the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, and the noble Baroness, Lady Cox. The description “farmer-herdsmen” is broadly correct, but it does not fully represent the complexity of the situation. Violence has escalated over the past year—the reasons for this are many—but we are not aware of evidence to support the view that religion is driving this conflict.

“The other worrying issue is the extent of recent attacks. In an attack by farmers on herder settlements in Mambilla Plateau in June 2017, over 800 people were killed—the majority of them women and children. We are concerned by the increasing violence in recent months. Just last weekend reprisal attacks by herdsmen on farming settlements resulted in at least 86 fatalities—it may be more than that. My noble friend Lord Suri and the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, very poignantly described the horrific nature of this violence.

“As my noble friend Lady Berridge described eloquently, this is complex and it is far reaching. My noble friend Lord Ahmad noted in this House on 26 March that the causes of these clashes are complex. They relate to land, farming rights, grazing routes and access to water. The situation is not helped by a narrative which overplays the ethno-religious dimensions and oversimplifies a complex picture, conflating criminal violence, caused by cattle rustlers and bandits, for example, with community clashes.
“The noble Lord, Lord Alton, asked where the weapons are coming from. Regrettably, one suspects there is a widespread availability of weapons; I thought that my noble friend Lady Berridge encapsulated the extent of that problem, as did the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey. In reality, religious extremism or sectarianism is not a key underlying cause of this violence and it would be wrong to conflate these land and water disputes with Boko Haram’s actions.
“As Nigeria prepares for elections in 2019 there is a real risk that, without serious effort being made to stem the violence and address the root causes, the conflict between herders and farmers will worsen and become increasingly politicised, threatening peaceful solutions and elections in some states. That is why it is so important that Nigeria not only works to improve the situation in the north-east, but also works to address the causes of the violence between farmers and herders. It is imperative that there is a de-escalation of violence across all affected states. In this context, we welcome President Buhari’s recent commitment to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians and prevent the stoking of religious conflict.
“My noble friend Lady Berridge specifically asked about a ranch plan and whether the UK has been engaged with this aspect. We are aware of the Nigerian Government’s proposals for creating cattle ranches for Fulani herdsmen and we are encouraging them to respect the rights and interests of all parties in finding solutions to this conflict.
“As many, if not all, contributors have identified, all of this is causing a humanitarian crisis. In north-east Nigeria, 7.7 million people are in need of urgent, life-saving assistance and 1.8 million are displaced. This humanitarian crisis is a direct result of the fragile security situation caused by Boko Haram. My noble friend Lady Stroud spoke with authority on the levels of privation and the challenges that poses.
“Very specifically, the noble Lords, Lord Alton, Lord Tunnicliffe, Lord Chidgey, and my noble friends Lady Stroud and Lord Suri, all raised the issue of UK action. The United Kingdom is playing a leading role in helping the Nigerian Government to address immediate humanitarian needs. We have increased our aid funding to £300 million over the next five years. We provide assistance on the basis of need, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, and in line with the international humanitarian principles. Last year our support reached more than 1 million people, including children, women and the disabled. We are also fully committed to supporting Nigeria’s efforts to tackle Boko Haram. We have provided intelligence analysis and training for the Nigerian military. With regard to farmer-herder violence, we encourage and support mediation by the state, local government and traditional authorities to defuse community tensions.
“The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry referred to education and its importance. I could not agree more. DfID programmes are supporting improvements in the quality of education and increasing access for disadvantaged boys and girls to get education, focusing on three states in the north of the country where human development outcomes are particularly poor.
“A number of contributors, not least the noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, and my noble friend Lady Stroud asked what the balance is between humanitarian and development programmes from that spend. As I said earlier, DfID will spend £273 million this year, balanced between shorter-term humanitarian aid and longer-term support to help the Government of Nigeria to improve basic services, and to increase levels of prosperity and standards of good governance. For example, 1.8 million people gained access to clean water and/or sanitation between 2015 and 2017 through DfID programmes and 260,000 additional women and girls are using modern methods of family planning.
“The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, and my noble friend Lady Stroud also asked what assessment has been made of the UK’s capacity to provide additional assistance. I think I have covered that with my response in describing what that £273 million is intended to support.
“The noble Lords, Lord Alton, Lord Chidgey and Lord Tunnicliffe, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry and the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, all asked what representations the Government have made to Nigerian counterparts in the light of recent events and allegations involving the country’s military. The military training and assistance provided by the UK for the armed forces of Nigeria have consistently emphasised the importance of adherence to internationally recognised rules of engagement as well as the importance of international human rights and international humanitarian law. All our military capacity-building support is delivered in line with HM Government Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance to mitigate the risk of human rights violations. We are concerned about Amnesty International’s report alleging sexual abuses by members of the Nigerian security services. We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities the importance of protecting civilians in conflict and detention.
“The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, and the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, also asked whether this conflict and its impact were discussed when the Prime Minister met President Buhari in April. They discussed a number of issues, including security threats faced by the Nigerian people. The focus of these discussions was the conflict with Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa in north-east Nigeria and the abduction of the Chibok and Dapchi girls.
“The noble Lord, Lord Tunnicliffe, also raised climate change and the argument that the conflict is being exacerbated by droughts. Climate change is having a negative effect in Nigeria, particularly in the north, where desertification is increasing. We are currently reviewing the support we are providing to help Nigeria to tackle the effects of climate change.
“A final couple of points were raised by my noble friend Lady Berridge and the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, about freedom of religion and belief, and by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Coventry and my noble friend Lady Stroud. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have also raised this issue and tensions between religious communities specifically with state officials in Borno and Yobe during a visit there in May.
“The noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, and my noble friend Lady Berridge referred to the Commonwealth. I understand that there is no involvement with the Commonwealth at the moment. The Nigerian Government have not asked for assistance from the Commonwealth or from other countries.
“It is imperative that the Nigerian Government address the violence and instability in both the north-east and the Middle Belt areas of the country. They need urgently to put in place long-term solutions that lay the foundations for a sustainable and peaceful future for all communities. The United Kingdom will continue to provide support to the Government of Nigeria in their efforts to build that future. I thank noble Lords for ensuring that this deeply troubling situation remains the subject of continuing discussion.”

 

Tribune

Special Report/Investigation

I Will Honour Invitation By Police, Says Melaye

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The lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye, says he will honour the invitation by the police.
He disclosed this in an interview with Channels Television on Saturday, a day after the police accused some persons in his convoy of attacking their personnel in Kogi State.
“The account of the police is false and illogical,” the lawmaker said, adding, “I will honour the invitation of the Kogi State Police Command on Thursday, despite the attempts on my life.”

Senator Melaye had accused the police of shooting at his convoy on his way to inaugurate a project at his constituency on Thursday in Kogi.
He explained that he was riding in a convoy of about 20 vehicles headed for the scheduled event and his cars were the second and third, having being led by the out riding Hilux vehicle of the personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The lawmaker noted that the police claimed that the vehicles at the back shot at them and wondered why “they shot at my cars which were in the second and third on the convoy.”
He alleged that the incident clearly indicated an attempt on his life if not for his bulletproof vehicles, claiming that the gunshots were directed at the owner’s sitting side of the cars.
Melaye purported further that after the scenario which played out on the road, there was another attack on his house in Aiyetoro where gunshots were fired sporadically.
He also said he had written to the police and the NSCDC through his lawyer, to seek protection for his planned visit.
The lawmaker claimed that while the NSCDC deployed some personnel to escort him, there was no provision made by the police.
On the other hand, the police said they were aware of the senator’s visit and had already deployed personnel to strategic points in the state.
The Commissioner of Police in Kogi, Mr Ali Janga, told reporters on Friday that part of the personnel deployed were those involved in the incident in which an officer was fatally injured.
He insisted that Senator Melaye was not attacked, but the police repelled an alleged initial attack by some individuals on his convoy.
“Unidentified civilians inside (a vehicle in the convoy) decided to open fire on my policemen. You don’t expect the police to fold their arms; eventually, they replied and opened fire too. Nobody attacked Dino but rather, his convoy attacked by policemen and they repelled,” Janga had said.
He said they had invited the lawmaker for questioning, noting that the police would not hesitate to declare Melaye wanted should he ignore their invite.

 

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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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