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Special Report/Investigation

Three days behind bars for the ‘crime’ of journalism: Diary of a Nigerian journalist

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On August 14, 2018, Nigerian investigative journalist Samuel Ogundipe was detained by Nigeria’s Special Tactical Squad after refusing to name his sources for a story concerning the Nigerian security service’s involvement in preventing officials from entering the Nigerian National Assembly in early August 2018.
Ogundipe, who works for the privately-owned Premium Times online newspaper, spent three nights in detention and was then arraigned without his lawyers present. He was released on bail on August 17 at his lawyers’ urging. The following is an abridged first-person account of the incident, written by Samuel Ogundipe and originally published by Premium Times. This version was edited and published by Global Voices as part of a republishing agreement with Premium Times.
For three days, I lay on a rough blanket in a cell inside the police Special Tactical Squad (STS) detention centre in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
I sweated profusely as I read an old copy of a Christian daily guide, printed by Paul Enenche’s Dunamis Gospel Centre—a book precisely written to prevent people from finding themselves in a spot like this. But for three days, this mouldy, fetid cage — shared with dozens of violent crime suspects — was my reading, eating and sleeping corner.
The book, which had been smuggled in by a Dunamis devotee, was my first encounter with the work of Mr. Enenche and his ministry, and I tried to savour it. I read a passage that preached about the value of freedom, and what believers must do to avoid any form of incarceration. Where individuals find themselves in custody through no fault of their own, it recommended holding on strongly to faith.
It was a striking sermon, one which bore relevance to my case, and gave me confidence that justice would ultimately prevail.
I spent three days behind bars for the crime of journalism. During that time, I heard from several others how people had been in and out of STS detention due to sloppy investigation by the police. Their tales provided mental fodder that helped me endure my first experience in custody.
My experience with STS left me with a sense of a police unit more restrained than others, although some of its tactics still mirror the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The STS facility is housed in a bungalow inside the larger SARS compound for hardened criminals — gives the impression that it is only for temporary custody, but this does not seem entirely true.
As with SARS, STS detainees are condemned from day one, starting with the archaic prejudicial method of interrogation and unbearable living conditions. And also
like SARS, the STS seeks to psychologically torture detainees, to make them give in by isolating them in an attempt to crush their spirit and weaken their will. Many succumb. The only difference is that STS personnel appear more tidy, educated and less crude than their SARS colleagues, whose notoriety has made Abuja residents dub their premises an “abattoir” or “slaughterhouse.”

How it began
My journey through police detention began on August 11 when my colleague, Premium Times’ reporter Azeezat Adedigba, received a call from a police superintendent telling her she was being investigated for criminal offences. She alerted our office,and our managers advised that she proceed with caution.
Two days later, at her request, police delivered to our office a formal letter alledging that Ms. Adedigba had committed criminal conspiracy, cyber crime, attempted kidnapping and fraud, and ordering that she turn herself in by 10:00 a.m. on August 14.
My colleague honoured the invitation that Monday as instructed, accompanied by our Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed. As they waited to speak with police superintendent Emmanuel Onyeneho, a fully armed junior officer confiscated Ms. Adedigba’s mobile phone and then detained her.
Hours later, Mr. Oyeneho appeared, returned Ms. Adedigba’s phone and asked her to dial a number on it. The number turned out to be mine. The detective then asked that I join them. I was halfway through a piece of choco pie when the call came in. I devoured the rest before reaching for my keys.
I was halfway through a piece of choco pie when the call came in. I devoured the rest before reaching for my keys.
I arrived at about 2:30 p.m. to a barrage of questions from Mr. Oyeneho, all aiming to find out the source of our story about Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris’ interim report to then-acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the State Security Service’s siege on the National Assembly on August 7.
I’d written the piece on the night of August 9, after receiving the report from a trustworthy source and getting it authenticated by two high-ranking police officers. The police had no complaints about the accuracy of the story. They only assumed it was not meant for public consumption. In fairness to the police chief, the five-page document, aside from being clumsy, contained too many errors that cast him in a bad light.
On my arrival, Mr. Oyeneho released Ms. Adedigba. “We only used you as a soft target to get our main suspect,” the officer told her.

‘Mr. Oyeneho could not get me to reveal my sources on the spot’
It soon became clear that Mr. Mojeed and I were going to be detained. An officer in jeans and a t-shirt suddenly took a seat beside us, blocking all pathways The officer was slightly dreadlocked and wore a yellow jungle boot. He kept a straight face and was completely attentive to our conversation.
Mr. Onyeneho demanded my phone when he came to collect me at the entrance, but I told him I didn’t have it. He was curious, and ambled around me to make sure. My editors had advised I should never take my phone if I was called in for questioning, because the operatives might end up finding details unconnected with their investigation, and also bugging the device.
Just before Mr. Oyeneho started interrogating me, he boasted that my salary account with Ecobank had been frozen hours earlier. My mind immediately dashed to a transfer that failed to go through on my bank’s mobile app, just before I received the call to turn up at the station. Before I could ask whether he procured a court order before taking this measure, he started growing increasingly furious about the source of my story.
When Mr. Oyeneho could not get me to reveal my sources on the spot, the police superintendent informed his superior at the STS and sought the next move. The administrative officer in charge of the STS detention centre said we should proceed to the Force Headquarters for further interrogation.

‘He tried many times to tell me what to write’
Four plainclothes officers, the administrative officer and Oyeneho drove us into the bowels of the Force Headquarters.
We arrived at the office of Sani Ahmadu, the police commissioner overseeing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit, of which the STS is a department.
As we took our seats, Mr. Oyeneho tried to boast about the “intelligence operation” they executed to arrest me, but Mr. Ahmadu interjected, apparently feeling it was too much information for Mr. Mojeed and me.
Mr. Ahmadu told us the story Premium Times published had violated the law, but assured us his men would be civil in handling the matter. They gave me a pen and two sheets of paper to write a statement.

As I wrote, Mr. Oyeneho was interrupting. He tried many times to tell me what to write, but I declined each time. He insisted I state the number of times I had written unfavourable stories about Mr. Idris, Nigeria’s police chief, or the police as an institution, or even the Nigerian government in general. I paid no heed.
While I was writing my statement, an officer assisting Mr. Oyeneho whispered that I was “in trouble”.
After about one and a half hours of back and forth with the officers, I turned in my statement, just as Mr. Ahmadu’s early evening meal was delivered. We would have to wait, I signaled to Mr. Mojeed, who was seated about a metre away.

‘Everyone brought in for interrogation is a “prime” suspect’
As we waited, I saw Mr. Ahmadu working the keypad of his Samsung phone. He was shopping for a warrant to keep me in custody. Another officer also could be heard discussing efforts to convince a magistrate to issue a warrant. About 45 minutes later, a police prosecutor attached to the STS arrived with some paperwork.
He pulled out a document and showed it to Mr. Ahmadu and other officers. Mr. Mojeed signaled to me that it was a warrant, and asked me to stay calm nonetheless.
We heard the officers saying the warrant would be valid from August 15 until August 25. By then, Mr. Ahmadu was through with his meal. He had also read my statement, and was ready to conclude the session.
Then Mr. Mojeed’s phones started buzzing non-stop. Apparently, Azeezat and Tosin Omoniyi, another colleague who was also at STS before Azeezat was freed, had broken the news to other colleagues at the office. Halfway into my statement, Mr. Oyeneho had already started receiving calls from our lawyers and other concerned persons.
Just before I was returned to the STS by my minders, Mr. Ahmadu asked for the last time if I could reveal my sources. I turned him down yet again. As we made for the exit, Mr. Mojeed turned and told him:
“I just want to let you know that this action you are taking, this attempt to lock up a reporter for writing a story, would embarrass this country seriously.”
“I do not care,” Mr. Ahmadu said meekly before snapping: “Go and tell that to those who are afraid of the media. We are not!”
“I do not care,” Mr. Ahmadu said meekly before snapping: “Go and tell that to those who are afraid of the media. We are not!”
As we made our way down the stairway from Mr. Ahmadu’s office, the officers were asking Mr. Mojeed how detaining a journalist for publishing a confidential document would embarrass the country.
“Your question shows that you people do not understand the implication of the assignment you were given,” Mr. Mojeed answered.
Before they were able to give any coherent response we reached the car park. The same Hiace bus did a pirouette to take us back to the STS detention centre.
Within minutes, we were back at the detention centre. Mr. Oyeneho quickly prepared a docket for my detention.
He asked me to remove my wrist watch, belt and shoes as he prepared to move me into the cell. Though obviously angry and disturbed, Mr. Mojeed remained level headed, and he admonished Mr. Oyeneho on the need to ensure I was not physically tortured or hurt in detention.
“Okay, I will tell the guys in cell not to touch him,” the officer responded, to my relief. “That would go a long way,” I said.
“Okay, I will tell the guys in cell not to touch him,” the officer responded, to my relief. “That would go a long way,” I said.
A female officer taking records of inmates gave Mr. Oyeneho the key to the cell and pointed me in the direction of the cell. “Follow him,” she ordered.
Everyone brought in for interrogation is a “prime” suspect in this centre and treated with disdain, and it is even worse if you are being detained.

‘I will tell the guys in cell not to touch him’
Around 5:30 p.m., I was escorted into the cell. As the iron bar door opened, a musty odour oozed from the room. Mr. Mojeed was asked to step back while the officers pushed me in. For nearly a minute, Mr. Onyeneho called out the leaders of the cell and warned each of them to ensure my safety.
“President, IG, OC Torture,” he said, addressing various prisoners by their “roles” in the cell, “this person is a journalist and a visitor of the Inspector General, (referring to Nigeria’s police chief, Mr. Idris ), he did not come in here the same way the rest of you came here,” Mr. Oyeneho said.
“If he complains about any of you, the person will pay seriously for the offence, is that clear?”
“Very clear,” they chorused.
He then pointed to a blanket in a corner of the cell and said a space should be created for me there. Before I could whisper my appreciation, the officer had disappeared and the cell door slammed shut.
I had been told how new prisoners are usually tortured, especially those who came in with nothing. It is a form of ritual aimed at weakening a newcomer into submission to the existing authority in the cell.
“Who be that?” a sleepy voice mumbled from a mound of filthy football jerseys.
“Na one oga oh and dem don talk say make we no touch am,” the cell president responded. He’s a big man and we were told not to touch him.
“So person wey just come today now go dey siddon for president side, they sleep for president bed and e no bring anytin for president?” So this person that just arrived today will sit by the president’s side, sleep on the president’s bed and he did not bring anything for the president? another guy fumed.
“My people wan know whether you bring bread come, oga?” My people want to know if you came with some bread, boss, the president asked me.
“No, I no carry bread come but I get small change for my pocket if una wan buy anytin.” No, I did not come with bread but I have some small change in my pocket, in case you need to buy anything.
The whole cell erupted in ecstasy.
“This our new journalist e weigh so?” Is this our new journalist up to the task?, the president asked rhythmically.
“E weigh!” He’s weighty! He is up to the task.
“If una sure say e weigh make una give am seven gbosas!” If you’re convinced he’s weighty, then give him seven gbosa (greetings), the president said.
“Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa! Gbosa!”
I’d had about N6,000 (about USD $17) crammed in my pockets. Mr. Mojeed had advised that I should take only half into the cell. Even if I’d had no cash on me when I entered, the president would still have covered me from harm strictly on the basis of Mr. Oyeneho’s warning.
I learnt there are worse cells in the facility where people could be moved to. The president asked that I hold on to my cash until the next morning, when they would need to place an order for food.
I had barely spent 15 minutes in the cell and my head was already hot. 34 of us were packed in the 12×12 room. Inside the bare concrete cell, dozens of young men sat in rows, some with unshaved beards and dusty heads, laid out like an orchard plantation in the harmattan. It was difficult to imagine how they sleep at night in such a compressed setting.
Amongst the 34 men I met in the cell were kidnapping, armed robbery and even Boko Haram suspects. They had not been moved to the “condemned” suspects’ jail because they were providing intelligence to the police, and some were already negotiating their way out.
“I have been in this situation since February ending,” the president told me. “The former president smuggled this blanket in May and I inherited it from him when he was moved out.”
It was at this point that I realised the blanket I was sitting on had not been laundered for three months.
It was at this point that I realised the blanket I was sitting on had not been laundered for three months.
“I go bring clothes now make you use am do pillow, dem dirty small but you fit manage am.” I’ll bring some clothes that you can roll up and us as a pillow, they’re a little bit dirty but you can manage it, the president said in a bid to help me adjust to my new reality.
He was here on car-jacking allegations. An accomplice with whom he was arrested had since left after ‘bailing’ himself. But the president had no resources to extricate himself from the charges.
“Dem no even gree carry me go court again,” They don’t want to take me to court again, he said. “My mama and brother no get enough money wey dem fit use fight for me.” My mother and brother don’t have enough money to use in fighting for me.

Just add 18 minutes
It was already 7:30 p.m., and we were being called for Christian prayers; Muslim inmates had already concluded theirs. A digital wristwatch owned by the president read 7:12.
“We know say e no correct, but e get as we dey use am.” We know it’s not correct, but we use it like that.
“Why you no fit correct am?” Why can’t you correct it? I asked. He threw the watch at me, and I immediately noticed the crown was broken.
“Just add 18 minutes to anytin wey you see for the screen,” Just add 18 minutes to anything you see on the screen, he said.
After prayers, which lasted about an hour with songs of praise, it was time for dinner. And strong vexation rent the air. The cell president had ordered food at 4:40 p.m., but the vendor was yet to deliver.
“Cell guard!” he called out, trying to get the police officer on duty to look for the food vendor.
“Oga journalist, na so dem dey treat us for here.” Boss journalist, that’s how we are treated here.
The guys knew exactly which officers behaved well and which are unkind. They were taking mental notes.
The guys knew exactly which officers behaved well and which are unkind. They were taking mental notes.
At about 9:00 p.m., dinner arrived. The president, assisted by the IG and OC torture, served packs of food to 26 cellmates. Some had noodles, while others had ordered porridge beans. The food was divided, with each person getting not more than a small portion.
More than a dozen had only garri (cassava flour cereal) and kulikuli (a peanut-based snack) for the night. I was told these were inmates who had run out of money and had no family or associates that cared enough to visit them in jail, much less replenish their pockets.
As the others were eating, I quickly fell asleep. Luckily—and strangely—there were no mosquitoes. It was 5:00 a.m. before I woke up. By 6:40 a.m., both Muslim and Christian brothers had concluded prayers.
At 7:00 a.m., the cell guard came in for his routine counting of inmates. The others knew the officer was coming, so they were already standing.
“Who dey sit like chief for there?” Who is sitting like a chief there?, the officer said as he flashed a powerful torchlight into my eyes.
Of all the inmates, I was the only one the cell guard, who resumed shift that morning, was meeting for the first time. He asked that I join others on one end of the open concrete. One after the other, we were asked to move to the opposite side and given numbers as we obliged.
At some point, I pushed the OC Torture forward. “Na your turn,” It’s your turn, I said.
“Na you dey sleep for Aso Rock, make you go first.” You are the one sleeps in Aso Rock, so you have to go first, he replied. Aso Rock is what inmates call the cell president’s blanket area—a tongue-in-cheek reference to Nigeria’s presidential villa, which bears the same name.
Aso Rock is what inmates call the cell president’s blanket area—a tongue-in-cheek reference to Nigeria’s presidential villa, which bears the same name.
Before the counting session was over, I was already blending in with my fellow inmates, my remarks frequently eliciting cheers from many of them.
The impression I had of prison cells was one of violence and exploitation. But I realised within one day that inmates, no matter how long they had been behind bars, could also be persons of candour.
We fraternised and discussed our individual ordeals without fear. Some talked openly about their offences in the cell, admitting things about which they had kept investigators in the dark. An unwritten convention says cell mates should not divulge confessions shared, and flouting it could be costly.
Some said they had already confessed to the police and were waiting to be arraigned. The police often promise to help them through trial if they confess, but since such arrangements are seldom done before a lawyer, they are difficult to enforce. Yet the court continues to admit verbal confession of suspects as evidence.
I had a slight share of this one-sided practice in my own case, when I was secretly and hurriedly driven to court on the afternoon of August 15. The prosecutor and officers promised to let me call the office or our lawyers if I cooperated with them but this turned out to be a ruse.

Alone in the courtroom
Mr. Ahmadu, came to the detention centre to interrogate me a second time.
The commissioner’s expectation was that I would divulge the source of my story because I had become isolated from Mr. Mojeed. He also promised that I would be released immediately, and receive some unspecified benefits. But I dug my heels in, and it ended up being a wasted 40 minutes for both of us, or mostly for him.
Around 11:00 a.m., my breakfast arrived, brought in by Premium Times’ Administrative Manager, Williams Obase-Ota. He came in with one of our lawyers, and the two ensured I started eating before they left around noon.
By 1:00 p.m., I was being told preparations were underway to take me to court, and I started asking that I be allowed to call Mr. Mojeed or our lawyers. They declined. By 1:30 p.m., I was ordered into a Nissan light truck that would take me to court in Kubwa, about 25 minutes away. I insisted on being permitted to make calls, but I was denied yet again.

The prosecutor called me aside, saying I should not resist because he would allow me to make a call along the way, and he had no plans of submitting any application to further detain me, anyway.
I got into the vehicle with three officers. The prosecutor went ahead in his own car. We arrived at the magistrate’s court in Kubwa around 2:30 p.m. The prosecutor asked that we wait inside the car, and went into the chambers to meet the magistrate.
We were eventually called in around 3:45 p.m., after the discussion between prosecutor and the magistrate had dragged on for well over an hour. As we stepped into the courtroom, I was immediately put in the dock. While we were waiting outside, I repeatedly asked the prosecutor to live up to his words and allow me just a telephone call, but he declined repeatedly.
I was alone in the courtroom. The prosecution side had the prosecutor, another lawyer whom he had called to meet him at the court, and two of the three police personnel who had accompanied me. The charges were read: violation of sections 352, 288 and 319A of the Nigerian penal code, offences related to sexual assault and murder, not trespassing and obtaining police document, as the police officers had originally accused.
Even though I had not studied the charges closely, I entered a not guilty plea. The prosecutor who had promised not to seek my further remand demanded that the magistrate keep me in custody so officers could continue their investigation.
The magistrate immediately granted the relief, saying I should be kept in custody for five more days and returned to court on August 20.
Having listened to the charges and after the curious meeting the two held in camera, the prosecutor had stripped my identity and I needed to clarify this before the magistrate.
Just before the magistrate hit the gavel and retreated into his chambers, I quickly informed him that I was a journalist with Premium Times. I told him I did not burgle the Force Headquarters to steal documents from the IGP’s office, as the prosecutor implied in the first information report.
The magistrate was stunned, and looked right into the eyes of the prosecutor, apparently feeling a sense of manipulation. I needed to make a call, I told him. I had been denied access to my office and lawyers.
The magistrate was stunned, and looked right into the eyes of the prosecutor, apparently feeling a sense of manipulation. I needed to make a call, I told him. I had been denied access to my office and lawyers.
The magistrate initially said the prosecutor should allow me to make a phone call later. Then he changed his mind on the spot, demanding that the court registrar bring his cell phone to me so I could call whoever I wanted.
The entire court proceeding lasted about 10 minutes. I called Mr. Mojeed to brief him about it afterwards, passing across enough information before I was whisked back to detention.
I returned to detention devastated, unnerved at the thought of staying through the weekend. I wondered why I was denied access to my office or lawyers.
‘They want to break your spirit as much as they can’
The next day Mr. Mojeed visited and urged patience, saying I would soon be out. It was at that time that he first hinted that my arrest had sparked even bigger anger amongst freedom lovers in and out of Nigeria.
“You will be very proud of yourself when you come out,” Mr. Mojeed said. “Just be patient and continue to endure whatever treatment you get in here, because you will soon be out.”
Just before Mr. Mojeed came in, an officer had denied me a chance to brush my teeth outside the cell, to say nothing of having a shower. I had now spent two full days without bathing, and brushed only once.
I whispered this to Mr. Mojeed inside Mr. Agu’s office. “I understand everything, it is all part of their tactics,” he responded. “They want to break your spirit as much as they can. Just hold on and do not let them succeed.”
Some minutes later, just before Mr. Mojeed turned to Mr. Agu to discuss my welfare, the senior officer offered both of us akara and water. That was my first meal for the day.
After discussing with Mr. Agu for about half an hour, Mr. Mojeed was ready to go. Mr. Agu asked that I remain at his office for some fresh air, but this was only a face-saving gesture. A few seconds after Mr. Mojeed exited the building, a personnel officer was called in to usher me back to the cell.
That was already past 7:00 p.m., and the president was preparing Christian inmates for prayer. The akara I had was too heavy in my stomach, knocking me straight to sleep in the middle of the evening prayer.
When the cell guard arrived for the routine count of inmates at 7:00 a.m. on Friday, he asked me to step outside and gave me a seat at the front desk.
“If you get anything for inside, make you go carry am.” If you have anything inside, go and collect it, he said.
I had nothing in there — I had been wearing the same clothes since Tuesday.
“Call that your oga make he come sign for your bail.” Call your boss, let him come and sign your bail, the officer said.
I called Mr. Mojeed, who was already on his way to the station. I later learnt that my release had been concluded the night before, but it was too late to take me to court at that time. I had to be taken before the magistrate who ordered my remand until Monday before I could be released on Friday.
“What if the magistrate denied me bail again?” I asked an officer.
“No be him put you for cell, e no fit talk say make we no release you.” He is not the one that ordered your detention, so he has no right to tell us not to release you.
Adding my experience before the magistrate two days earlier, I began to appreciate the domineering influence police and other law enforcement agencies wield over magistrates across the country. Magistrates are often said to cluck under police officers like hens, but I did not know much about this until now.
Just before Mr. Mojeed stepped in, the cell guard asked me to go and take a shower. There had been an order from above that I should not be allowed to leave the station in the tattered way I had been for days. Some of the kidnapping suspects in my cell were called out to fetch water from a nearby well.
I had my shower and put on new clothes my colleague brought the day before, but which I was denied from putting on because I could not shower.

Free on bail
I met Mr. Mojeed at the front desk as I emerged from the bathroom. “You are free now,” he said to me gleefully. “Amen, thank you sir!” I responded reservedly.
At about 10:00 a.m., we arrived at the court. Our lawyers were already present, and it was not long before the magistrate arrived.
The seats and the floor were filthy. A dirty quilt was abandoned on the floor between the dock and the wall. Not a single computer or clock in the room. The ornamental bulbs and blinds were also broken.
Magistrate Abdulwahab Mohammed took his seat around 10:15 a.m. My case was listed at number four, but the magistrate moved it to number one, seconds after the registrar had already called the first case on the list.
I entered the dock before being prompted. It was a bail hearing, so our lawyers were called on first. The application for my bail was moved and the prosecutor raised no objection. It was already a done deal.
The prosecutor even sought lenient bail terms for me, even on self-recognisance, he said.
The suave magistrate, likely in his thirties, found this funny, and he first concealed his chuckle with his pen before using the sleeve of his jacket.
“Is he the acting president?” he asked the prosecutor. “He is a known journalist, your lordship,” he responded.
The magistrate approved the November 7 adjournment sought by the prosecutor and agreed to the motion by our lawyers and the hearing quickly wrapped up. In less than half an hour I was a free man. The entire hearing and tidying of paperwork for my bail were concluded within 20 minutes.
The officers who brought me to court were the first to request selfies with me. I was reluctant at first, then one said the picture was only an innocuous way of showing that I had no personal reservations towards them. I obliged.
I also posed for photographs with our lawyers and Mr. Obase-Ota who was in court to drive me to the office. But just as we were about driving away, I saw a news item pop up on his phone, saying the police had accused me of violating the official secrets law.
Why would they charge me with violating official secrets when I am not a public official? What I could immediately think of was that the government was out to muzzle the press, and it would stop at nothing, no matter how ridiculous. Even then, it would be difficult to describe the document as secret because nothing in it warned it was, a fact widely observed.
Moreover, Premium Times later learnt separately, days after my release, that Mr. Idris was angry about some of my stories in the past. This is understandable, especially as the factual bases of my work were not in dispute. But this was not enough grounds to lock me up for days, one would imagine. Then again, there have been several cases of journalists being hounded in the past three years, some of which I chronicled here only last year.

The precarious work of journalism, with elections on the horizon
With the 2019 elections in view, there are fears that journalists may be deliberately targeted, or, like me, made scapegoats. It was in the car that my colleague informed me that another journalist, Jones Abiri, had been released after two years in custody. He was freed on August 15, a day after my arrest.
I also began noticing the magnitude of support and how big the story of my arrest was, when my colleague at the digital strategy desk would not allow me to get to the office before taking new pictures of me to upload with the breaking story of my release. Mr. Obase-Ota quickly parked at a safe compound and took pictures in the specified resolutions. The picture was everywhere before I got to the office, and both the management and I had to put together separate statements of gratitude.
The Buhari administration understands the critical role the media will play in the upcoming election, just like those before it, including the one that brought him to power three years ago. And, as The Punch noted in an August 24 editorial, Premium Times has been playing a leading role in unearthing the missteps of this administration, making the investigative newspaper a prime target for harassment.
Babajide Otitoju, a political analyst, also saw my arrest as part of a desperate strategy by state actors to instill fears in journalists ahead of 2019, describing it as an “elevated exaggeration.”
Babajide Otitoju, a political analyst, also saw my arrest as part of a desperate strategy by state actors to instill fears in journalists ahead of 2019, describing it as an “elevated exaggeration.”
Early last year, it was the leadership of the Nigerian Army that was uncomfortable with our journalism and goaded the police into arresting publisher Dapo Olorunyomi and Evelyn Okakwu, my colleague at the judiciary desk. They were released the same day and the matter was never brought to court, apparently because, as with my case, they had no serious complaint at the time.
I spent three days in detention. But it was enough time for me to appreciate the precarious fate of journalism in Nigeria, despite nearly two decades of uninterrupted civil rule.
I felt terrible to have been incarcerated and isolated and accused of crimes that were clearly unfounded.
But I remain eternally grateful to everyone around the world who pushed for my release. The unbelievable magnitude of support my organisation and I enjoyed during this episode has strengthened my resolve to always be a voice for the voiceless, while also pushing for the people’s right to know and holding our leaders accountable.


 Guest Contributor

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Special Report/Investigation

Okowa Calls For The Abolition Of Death Penalties

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…Says Prisons Should Be Reformatory Centres

Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has called for the abolition of death sentence in Nigeria.
Governor Okowa made the call yesterday (18/10/18) in Asaba when he received members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy led by Mr William Alo.

Nigeria is a major player in the International community, “we need to ask ourselves if death sentence is still relevant in our society? In many states, many Governors are not ready to sign the death warrant, why are they not signing the death warrant? The world is moving away from death sentence.”

While decrying the overpopulation of Nigerian prisons, Governor Okowa urged the federal government to improve on the facilities in the prisons.
“We need to evolve measures that will make Nigerian Prisons reformation centres, so that ex-convicts can be better citizens”. He said

“There is no doubt that most of our prisons are crowded, even in Delta State; there is therefore a need to have reforms that will change the mind of the prisoners for them to be useful to the society; I pray that the committee keeps this advocacy on what to do to carry out reforms to make prisoners come out as better persons,” he said.
Governor Okowa further stated “we need to make them see life differently and acquire skills to live better life after imprisonment, we need to have a total rethink to carry out a total reformation of prisoners because if we reform their lives and does not provide skills, many of them will return to their old ways.”
Earlier, Mr Alo had said they were on advocacy visit to prisons in the state, adding that it was important for suggestions to be made on how to improve on the services in the Nigerian Prisons.

PRESS UNIT
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ASABA
OCTOBER 18, 2018

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Special Report/Investigation

Fayose: EFCC digs deeper, releases photos of houses

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As the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) digs deeper into the graft accusation against ex-governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, it has released photos of his properties.

The Spokesman for the Commission, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, released copies of the pictures on Wednesday.

According to him, the properties were uncovered while the anti-graft agency was investigating the allegations of corruption against the former governor.
He alleged that Mr Fayose purchased the property with the money he purportedly received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

“In the course of investigating corruption allegations against ex-governor Ayodele Fayose, especially the N1.3billion which he collected from the office of the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, the Commission unearthed evidence that he laundered the funds into the acquisition of properties in choice locations in Abuja and Lagos,” Mr Wilson alleged.

The EFCC released the pictures a day after the former governor arrived at its head office in Abuja, in company with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and a former minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, among other well-wishers.

Fayose had in September promised to report at the anti-corruption agency’s office after handing over government to his successor, Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Mr. Lere Olayinka, the media aide to Fayose, says his boss has since denied the allegations and insisted that he should be charged to court.

“Today is his second day in EFCC custody and I can say that his spirit is high, and his will remains very strong,” he said on Wednesday.
Olayinka: “The commission has started its usual lies by claiming that it discovered houses bought by Fayose with public fund.
“Nigerians should recall that in 2016, operatives of this same EFCC attempted to seal up a guest house located at Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, claiming that it belonged to Fayose. Whereas, the building belonged to a retired Army general.”

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EFCC: Buhari, APC under criticisms for detaining Fayose

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A former aide to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has scolded President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC, for the detention of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose by the EFCC.

Fayose who made himself available to the EFCC office in Abuja yesterday, has been kept on detention after his refusal to return the fund which he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser.
I wonder why the EFCC would detain Fayose while Gov. Ganduje, who was recently caught on camera allegedly taking bribe, was still moving freely, Omokri said.

That is who Buhari really is. If the members of the APC forge certificates, they are escorted to the airport to escape, like Kemi Adeosun.

But the police will escort you to court if you are a member of the PDP, just like Senator Adele.”

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Azibola Denies $40M Fraud

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A cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibola, on Tuesday, told the federal high court Abuja, that he is being defamed by the present administration for serving his country.

Azibola made the claim as he and his company, one plus holding ltd opened their defence on the allegation by the federal government of conversion of 40million Dollars received from the office of the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki to personal use.
Led in evidence in chief by his counsel, Goddy Uche, SAN, Azibola told the court that apart from being the founder of the Niger Delta Human and Environmental Rescue Operation, he has championed several crusades on behalf of the federal government in the past.

Prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir raised an objection and asked the court to expunge Azibola’s statement from its records since the charge he is facing is in relation to money laundering and has nothing to do with pro-democracy activism and environmental crusade.
However, in his ruling, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba dismissed the objection for lacking in merit.
The court had on March 29, 2018, discharged and acquitted Robert Azibola’s wife, Stella of all the nine count charges but held that Azibola and his company have explanations to make in respect of two counts.

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NNPC denies holding $3.5bn subsidy fund

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NNPC GMD, Dr Maikanti Baru

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has denied claims that it has in its custody 3.5 billion dollars Subsidy fund.
NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
He explained that at the hit of the shortage of products supply at the close of last year, the National Assembly asked the NNPC to do everything possible to stem the hiccups.
Ughamadu said the corporation initiated the move to raise a revolving fund of 1.05 billion dollars, since the corporation was, and still the sole importer and supplier of white products in the country.
He noted ever since, the fund had been domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that at no time was it in the custody of the NNPC.
Ughamadu said the fund, called the National Fuel Support Fund, had been jointly managed by the NNPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) andthe Federal Ministry of Finance.
Other manager include the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OGF), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF).
He further clarified that NNPC did not independently spend a dime of the fund which he said was to ensure stability in the petroleum products supply in the country.
He added that the corporation was fully aware that it was only the National Assembly that has the statutory responsibility to appropriate on petroleum subsidy matters.

(NAN)

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Special Report/Investigation

Senate Begins Investigation into $3.5billion Unappropriated ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’

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Today, the Senate began an investigation into the $3.5billion spent under the ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’ of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
A point of order raised by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, cited a ThisDay article on the $3.5billion earmarked as subsidy recovery funds by the NNPC.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi

The Senate Minority Leader said:
“I bring before this chamber this very important issue of national importance. It has to do with an article published in today’s ThisDay newspaper and it deals with the $3.5billion earmarked as subsidy recovery funds by the NNPC.
“Mr. President, since 1999, there has always been a budget for subsidy, however, this has been jettisoned by the current government, which leaves this administration in a very dire strait.
“What is happening now is that there is a fund named the ‘Subsidy Recovery Fund’ and it is being managed by only two individuals in the NNPC: the Managing Director and the Executive Director on Finance.
“This fund is too huge for two people to manage, and right now, the $3.5billion is too huge to be managed without appropriation without recourse to any known law of the land.
“You remember Mr. President that following the passage of the budget, you mentioned in your remarks, that there should be a budget for the subsidy and it should be brought before the National Assembly — that has not been done.
“What has happened is that by the report of ThisDay newspaper, it is almost certain that $3.5billion is a slush fund which is just being managed by just two individuals — and that is not correct.
“I want to urge the Senate to cause the Committee on Downstream, Chaired by Senator Marafa, to compel the NNPC to come before the Senate Committee and explain why this is so. Nigerians need to know what has happened to the funds that have been used so far — and the new terminology that is being used under subsidy recovery,” Senator Olujimi said.

Senate President

Responding, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, reminded the Senate that he had called for the executive to submit its petroleum subsidy budget to the National Assembly, when the 2018 budget was passed in May.
“Distinguished Colleagues, when we passed the budget, I said that there was a need for the executive to bring forward the budget for the subsidy.
“In light of the enormity of the issues before us — where we are talking about a subsidy of almost $3.5billion — I would like to direct that the Senate Leader and the Chairman of the Committee of the Downstream, should urgently summon those in NNPC who are responsible for this. We must look into this matter and report back to the Senate plenary by next week, where the Committee will have a report that we can debate.
“On this issue, I do not want us to be speculative. Let us go by the facts, so that our contributions are not seen to be partisan. This matter is too serious for us to be partisan about it.
A lot of us have been around long enough to know how this matter should have been treated. Now, it has gotten to a level where it involves over $3billion — which is not a small amount of money.
“With the leave of my colleagues, if we all accept, we direct the Leader and the Chairman of the Downstream Committee, to look into this matter and report to the Senate by next week,” the Senate President said.

 

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Chief Judge of Anambra State kicks against holding charge

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“There is no such thing as holding charge in the law books and Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) should stop accepting any person as an inmate without proper documents from the court.’’

“There is no such thing as holding charge in the law books and Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) should stop accepting any person as an inmate without proper documents from the court.’’
Justice Peter Umeadi, Chief Judge of Anambra, gave the warning in Awka at a workshop organised by Uchefem Consults, for officials of the Nigerian Police, NPS, and the judiciary.
The chief judge said that it was wrong to detain suspects on whom nothing implicating was found under `holding charge.’
“I will always defend magistrates who discharge a suspect on whom nothing implicating is found, provided the magistrates acted according to law.’’
Mr Uche Owete, Chief Executive Officer of Uchefem Consults, the organisers of the workshop, said the workshop was aimed at streamlining the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015)
Owete said the implementation of the law required active synergy and streamlining of roles of the various law enforcement agencies.
“This training is aimed at bringing together the police investigation and prosecution segment.
“The lower courts particularly magistrates where the bulk of criminal cases are tried and the prisons where persons are held for a long time without trial, and where human rights violations are likely to occur.
“It will increase cross -sectional coordination, competence and capacities of the actors in criminal justice to effect serious and durable changes in the overall benefit of the NPS and justice system,” he said.
Earlier, the Comptroller-General of Prisons, Mr. Ahmed Ja’afaru, said the Aministration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, was a holistic attempt made to put down law that would enhance dispensation of justice and protection of suspects.


 

(NAN)

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Lawyer Otike-Odibi killed by wife found with genitals, intestines cut

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By Chinyere Omeire/Lagos
Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, the 50 year-old lawyer who was allegedly stabbed to death by his wife, Udeme, also a lawyer, was found on his matrimonial bed with his genitals and intestines cut off.
Two siblings of the lawyer and his friend gave the graphic details in testimonies before the court on Monday.
Udeme Otike-Odibi, a 48-year-old lawyer, was on June 13, arraigned by the Lagos State Government on a two-count charge of murder and misconduct with regard to a corpse before an Igbosere High Court in Lagos.
She pleaded not guilty and was remanded in Kirikiri Prison.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, Symphorosa’s friend and neighbour, Mr Stanley Grange-Koko, was led in evidence by the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem (SAN).
He told the court how the deceased’s younger sister, Dr Anwuli Akwukwuma, called him at 2.00am on May 2, to go to the deceased’s (Symphorosa) house and check what was happening.
Grange-Koko said he rushed out of his car but could not gain access to the compound because no one answered when he knocked the gate and called out the deceased’s name several times.
Grange-Koko said he went back to his house but rushed back to the deceased’s house the second time when Akwukwuma called him back.
“Dr Akwukwuma called me back and said I should go back to the deceased house because it seems life is involved.
“At this point, I went with my wife, also called the estate security men, we had to climb the fence into the deceased compound.
“We also broke down the front door to gain access to the house because no one answered our several knocks,” he said.
Grange-Koko said that he ran upstairs and saw blood on the floor, adding that he followed the blood trail to the bathroom and to the deceased room.
He said both he and the security men had to break the door to the deceased’s room.
“I saw the deceased lying on his bed with his wife (the defendant) lying beside him and there was blood everywhere.
“The deceased intestines were outside, I ran out and met the deceased sister coming up to the room, I tried to stop her from entering the room but she ran past me and entered,” Grange-Koko said.
He said the deceased sister ran out of the room shouting that her brother was dead but the defendant was breathing.
Grange-Koko said the defendant was however taken to hospital for further valuation.
After Grange-Koko’s evidence, the second witness, Dr Akwukwuma was called.
She narrated exactly what Grange-Koko had told the court but added that she called Grange-Koko because he was living in the same estate with the deceased and was a family friend to the deceased.
Akwukwuma also added that she got the information about the problem through her mother whom the deceased called earlier to complain that his wife was hitting him and had a knife.
She added “when I got to the deceased house and saw him lying on his bed with his intestines out, I checked him and saw that he was already cold and stretched out.
“I noticed that he had died for hours and he was holding something in his arm but I couldn’t see what it was because he was already stiff.
“The police told me that it was his genitals that he was holding and asked me if there was another person in the room when I got there, I answered no,” Akwukwuma narrated.
The prosecutor also called a third witness, a younger brother to the deceased, Mr Andrew Otike-Odibi, who narrated the same story.
After listening to the three witnesses, Justice Adedayo Akintoye adjourned further hearing until Oct. 10.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the prosecutor had during arraignment told the court that the Udeme committed the offences on May 3, at Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos.
He said that Udeme stabbed her husband and mutilated his corpse by cutting his genitals.
The offences contravened Sections 165 (b) and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Section 165 (b) provides five years imprisonment while Section 223 stipulates death penalty for offenders.

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Special Report/Investigation

Ambode and the Godfather’s Rage

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The Verdit By Olusegun Adeniyi, Email: olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

…When in 2014, he was asked about his successor, Fashola said he was not worried yet at the same time expressed concern. “I hope, firstly, that the next person is a lot better than me. I hope that he can do in four years what we did in eight years, and that can only be beneficial to all of us. We want somebody who can do these things in a shorter time and make all of the things we have done child’s play. That is why I said I don’t want to be the best governor of Lagos State. The best governor of Lagos is a futuristic idea. Every governor of Lagos should be better than the last one. My innermost interest in the next election is for who will best protect and advance the interest and the course of the state,” he stressed.
No doubt, the emergence of Ambode against Fashola’s preference had put the former governor in an uncomfortable position but he nonetheless campaigned for the man who is now his successor. The challenge of the moment is that Ambode’s handlers are trying to use Fashola as a distraction. The response of my friend and current Lagos State Information Commissioner, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, to a recent critical story published by “The Economist”, is to say the least, very unfortunate and rather unhelpful in the circumstance. I wonder why government spokespersons believe that abusing people would win the argument (or support) for their principal.
I have never met Ambode before but I have no doubt that he will eventually come good if he takes a lesson from Tinubu who himself spent the first year in office being compared to his predecessor, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (rtd) and falling short in the estimation of most Lagosians at the time. But Tinubu did not try to find fault. He accepted his mistakes, challenged himself and his team and he eventually did well. What that teaches is that Ambode should accept that right now, Lagos is not working, what with soaring crime rate and traffic chaos. But the governor has time on his side to fix the problems. That is the best way to respond to his critics, not by abusing them or taking potshots at his illustrious immediate predecessor. It is important for Ambode to see the bigger picture…

================================================================
The foregoing excerpts is from my column, ‘Tinubu, Fashola, Ambode and Nigeria’ published on 19th November, 2015 and it serves as a background to the defeat on Tuesday of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries in the state. While most people may be surprised, I am not. Although it is commendable that the governor finally yielded to common sense yesterday by gracefully accepting defeat, he must, on introspection, realise that he is the architect of his own downfall. I knew as far back as March this year that Ambode would find it difficult securing a second term.
Following public outcry over provisions of the 2018 Land Use Charge (LUC), I wrote a piece titled “Between Ambode and Lagos Landlords” where I warned about the underlying subterfuge in the repeated use of ‘law’ to legitimize extortion as taxation in Lagos State. “In history, some of the greatest outrages against humanity have been committed under ‘laws’ passed by manipulated parliaments. But history is also replete with empires that crumbled under the weight of their own contradictions” I wrote before I concluded that “The glaring abuse of the legislative process (with names of private companies even being written into laws) in a revenue-generating gambit that fails to take into account the prevailing economic situation in the country can only lead to one inevitable conclusion: Hubris!”
Quite naturally, I expected reactions from Lagos. What I did not bargain for was the nature of the reactions. From close associates of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to senior government officials and party leaders in the state, my critical appraisal of the tax administration in Lagos did not elicit the negative response I expected. More shocking was that all the people who should ordinarily be angry with the piece were actually praising me for being ‘bold to tell the governor the home truth’. Almost everybody who called put the blame on Ambode who was said to be running a one-man-show in the state and would not listen to any advice. One particular refrain that kept coming from the reactions was “If he (Ambode) thinks Asiwaju can save him, he is making the mistake of his life”.
What the responses suggested was that Ambode was behaving like the foolish Yoruba wife who goes into marriage with a “me-and-my-husband” attitude that discounts the in-laws. In the event of crisis, such a wife will have nowhere to run for succour. But even at that period, I could also sense a feeling of frustrations from the camp of the godfather. I tried to gauge the mood in Bourdillon and the feedback was that Ambode “is a loudmouth, always bragging that he is now in charge. He sidelines any official known to be connected to Asiwaju (Tinubu) like the SSG and Chief of Staff among others and any commissioner known to be visiting Bourdillon regularly is in trouble”.
Until then, I had assumed the relationship between Tinubu and Ambode to be very cordial but the governor must have been given a false sense of security. I was therefore not surprised when the story broke recently that a certain Jide Sanwo-Olu had been endorsed as the preferred APC candidate in Lagos ahead of Ambode. By then, the governor had not only lost many of the critical constituencies in the state, he had become more a political liability than an asset to Tinubu. There are several stories of a governor who would sack officials at the slightest provocation and gloat about it with the refrain, “Mo bee lorun” (I cut off his neck). From the LASTMA boss to 18 permanent secretaries, Ambode spent his first weeks in office dismissing Lagos State officials he suspected were loyal to Fashola without any evidence.
Ambode’s human relations is another issue altogether. Generally regarded as arrogant and distant, even by peers, there is hardly any prominent citizen in Lagos who speaks well of him. Besides, unlike most other states where commissioners are glorified errand boys, Lagos has always been different with commissioners that had the authority of their ranks. That was until Ambode came. A commissioner told me as far back as March this year: “Our Exco meetings are nothing but a joke. The governor is the only thinker and he doesn’t like debate. He comes with pre-conceived ideas and any contrary opinions would be met with a stern ‘I am the governor here’ rebuke. The person I pity most is the deputy governor. Contrary to what has been established over the years in the state, it took Asiwaju’s intervention for her to be given approval to control the education ministry. But she can’t go beyond that ministry so effectively, the governor has reduced her to a commissioner.”
As if all these were not bad enough, Ambode dared his godfather by dissolving the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG) structures. Incidentally, several of the experienced officials who were posted out of these agencies were trained by the governments of the United States, Finland, Netherlands and Germany, including those that had become experts in pollution and toxic waste management. These officials, mostly domiciled in the ministries of works and environment, were punished for being part of ‘Fashola’s crowd’.
Unfortunately, the multi-million dollar Visionscope deal under which the state has been subjected to a monthly Irrevocable Payment Order (IPO) running to hundreds of millions of Naira, has not worked. Lagos is now an environmental nightmare, a city littered with refuse. So, invariably, he is paying more than he would under the old arrangement and there is no result. But that is not even his sin. By uprooting the Private Sector Participation (PSP) in waste management started by Tinubu and continued by Fashola, which empowered political leaders at the grassroots and yet delivered on refuse collection, Ambode had dug his own political grave.
In Lagos, the PSP is more than just a waste management outfit; it is an elaborate political patronage system that took care of thousands of party supporters and kingpins from the ward level to local government. Yet, by the stroke of his pen, Ambode took food out of the mouths of381 powerful PSP operators each of whom also had hundreds of people under them. With that, he also dismantled a thriving economy in the state. Many of the ‘Area Boys’ displaced from Oshodi and other areas as well as influential market women were absorbed under this programme as drivers, sweepers etc. When the pleas of the PSP operators fell on deaf ears, they sent a petition to Tinubu, who forwarded it to the governor, asking that the issue be resolved because of its political implications. Ambode ignored his godfather. On Tuesday, these injured politicians came out in full force to deal a fatal blow on the governor who does not understand the significance of ‘Jeun Soke’!
In all, Ambode did not lose the primaries because of his performance in office. But it is difficult to isolate the fate that ultimately befell him from what is happening all over the country vis-a-vis the role of godfather and its implications for the future of our democracy. While the governor may have congratulated the new godson, I am concerned about the manner in which Sanwo-Olu emerged because it suggests the same under-hand method of imposition that could also backfire with the people left to bear the brunt somewhere along the line. I am particularly not impressed by what I have seen so far. Sanwo-Olu’s response to Ambode’s desperate and ill-advised press conference of last Sunday was good on message but I could count up to ten grammatical/typo errors in the statement which betrayed a clear lack of attention to details.
Whichever way one looks at it, all the contradictions that define politics in Nigeria are in full display in Lagos. A fairly enlightened electorate that votes according to the dictates of one man and a governance standard that is measured by its municipal efficiency have been the essence of its stability since 1999. Yet the leadership selection method is in accordance with a rule book that could have been written by some Sicilian Families in the heydays of the Italian mafia. For those who choose to play the game, those rules are pretty clear: know the godfather and his political family; understand the meaning of loyalty and most importantly, the price tag of that loyalty and the consequences of deviant behaviours.
As it would happen, Ambode spent his first year in office pursuing his predecessor instead of learning the ABC of power politics and paying attention to the signals from Bourdillon. He is so naive that on Tuesday, he even thought he could outfox his godfather by hijacking the ‘Seven Wise Men’ from Abuja sent by the APC leadership. At the end, whatever the deal he might have struck with those politicians, it was a waste of time and efforts.
The lessons of Ambode’s defeat are too many and a day will come when we will appraise them. But we must be very clear about it: at the centre of it all is the role of patronage politics that has in turn empowered a few individuals to decide the fate of others at every election cycle.
That then brings me to my final word which is for the emperor of Lagos who, feeding on the frustrations of his starved subalterns, eventually got his way; leaving no one in any doubt as to who calls the shot in the state. But this is his stiffest fight so far, and an intimation that even his hold, repeatedly under threat across the South-west, will eventually fade away. No empire lasts forever. Therefore, there is wisdom in a Yoruba adage that will also serve him: When the talking drum is sounding too loudly, the signs are ominous. So, as there is a deep lesson for Ambode, there is even a bigger one for the Lion of Bourdillon. In his own interest, he must reinvent his politics that has become the leitmotif for godfatherism in Nigeria today.


• You can follow Olusegun Adeniyi on my Twitter handle, @Olusegunverdict and on www.olusegunadeniyi.com

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Court Orders IGP Idris To Honour Senate Invitation

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A federal high court in Abuja, has struck out the suit filed by the inspector-general of police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris challenging the power of the senate president, Bukola Saraki and the senate to summon him over national issues relating to his office.

In a judgment delivered by Justice John Tsoho, the court held that the IGP’S suit amounts to abuse of court process.
Justice Tsoho said he did not see any harm that would have been caused if the police IGP had honoured the invitation of the senate, adding that the IGP’S action he said amounted to an abuse of court process and deserved to be struck out.

Justice Tsoho also held that the IGP ought to have honoured the second invitation of the senate to him, having failed to respond to the first one as he was on an official assignment to Bauchi state with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Justice Tsoho also returned another suit the IGP filed against the senate and its president to the chief judge of the federal high court, Justice Abdu Kafarati for re-assignment haven noticed that it’s similar to the one he just dispensed with.
In the suit filed by his lawyer, Alex Izinyon the IGP had urged the court to declare that the senate letters inviting him by the senate dated April 25, 2018 and April 26, 2018, relating to pending criminal proceedings against Senator Dino Melaye in court of law is beyond its powers under section 88 of the 1999 constitution and same is contrary to the senate standing order, 2015.

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Can’t get on ANSSID?
If you have been having challenges getting your Anambra State Social Service number, here is what to do:
• send an email and ANSSID login details to: info@airs.an.gov.ng for immediate assistance.
• Visit the ANSSID HELPDESK or call HELPLINES: 07066727750 or 07033822851

Young N Legit: The Eagle Pick for the Week – Uchenna Onwuamaegbu

Uchenna Onwuamaegbu – Founder Uchesilver , Edufun Technik, a Social Enterprise implementing Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics, STEM education for young Nigerians between 3-18 years old in underprivileged communities.
Uche Onwuamaegbu , the leader of Regina Pacis Golden girls that recently conquered the world in USA. The lady is vibrant, brave & bright.
Just think about Jessica Osita( Silicon Valley Golden girl) who five months ago had never used a computer, sent an email or even browsed the internet, now she is part of a team of teenagers who just won a major Silicon Valley contest.

#YoungNLegit: TheEagle Pick for the Week -Nina Ogechukwu Mbah

#YoungNLegit: #TheEagle Pick for the Week – Nina Ogechukwu Mbah @MbahNina founder @DTalentios, an initiative to develop young talents in Nigeria aimed at bridging skill gap in the “growing after school workforce”. She is a graduate of the Federal University of Technology Minna.

 

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