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The unseen hand of China in Africa’s largest economy

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Sometimes a throwaway sentence is more illuminating than it ought to be. A line in an article in Roads & Kingdoms in January about the Chinese in Lagos did just that. Near the end of the piece, the author wrote:

On my final night in Lagos, Fang invites me to the Huawei offices for dinner, handing me a guest pass and taking me through a winding corridor that opens out into a futuristic canteen. Staff can pay for their meal through Wechat, the Chinese social media app.

Being fairly acquainted with Nigeria’s tech scene and mobile money regulatory environment the last sentence jumped out at me—paying for things with WeChat is not something that is currently available to Nigerians as an option. I asked a couple of my friends in the Lagos tech scene how the Chinese were able to do this in Lagos and they simply shrugged and said “they are running their own little country here.”

It is not hard to come by data showing the scale of China’s investments and influence in Africa—the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University estimates that, from 2000 to 2015, the Chinese government, banks and contractors extended $94.4 billion worth of loans to African governments and state-owned enterprises. From a few million dollars in 2000, the amount of loans topped $16 billion in 2013 alone. Whether or not these loans are value for money or just a flow of money from the Chinese government to Chinese companies via Africa remains a matter of debate. A $600 million Chinese loan to fund the installation of CCTV cameras across the Nigerian capital Abuja has since been mired in corruption and scandal. It is hardly an isolated story.
But there is another part of the Chinese story in Africa that is rarely documented. That of the ordinary businesses who head to Africa, often without state backing, seeking to make a fortune. These businesses have mostly been careful to remain outside the spotlight and rarely ever speak to local media. A surprising McKinsey report from June 2017, based on extensive fieldwork, estimated that there were more than 10,000 Chinese owned firms operating across Africa, nearly four times what the numbers from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) showed. No one can say for sure—not even the Chinese government—how many Chinese businesses are in Africa, never mind what they are doing there.
One of the McKinsey report’s authors, Irene Yuan Sun, has however written a book—The Next Factory of The World: How Chinese Investment Is Reshaping Africa—that helps to illuminate the experience of Chinese businesses in Africa. Being of Chinese descent herself, she was able to get Chinese business owners in Africa to open up in a way that they almost never do to local media. What emerges is a surprising mix of success and failure with a good dose of fear and loathing thrown in. As someone who grew up in Nigeria until a decade and a half ago (and still maintains strong ties to the country), I found the book to be full of surprises and insights.
A broad pattern to these businesses can be sketched out—a Chinese business finds business increasingly hard to do in China, mostly due to rising costs and fierce competition. The business owner embarks on an exploratory trip to an African country and makes a decision to invest on the spot. In short order, they are pouring millions of dollars into building a factory in the African country. Beyond the narrow sectors of the economy in which they decide to operate, the Chinese businessmen remain almost completely out of sight to the local population. When Chinese businesses get reported on in the local newspapers, it is almost always about the maltreatment of local workers or a racist incident (often borne of misunderstanding).
In Nigeria, I am yet to hear of a marriage between Chinese and Nigerians in Nigeria and in my frequent visits to Nigeria, it is hard to recall bumping into Chinese revellers on a night out or sharing a restaurant or bar with them. Nigerians and Chinese in Nigeria are, to borrow Longfellow’s famous phrase, like ships that pass in the night and speak to each other in passing. This was comically illustrated by a line in Sun’s book where the author interviews a Chinese businessmen about the seemingly permanent tension between Chinese factory owners and Nigerian workers. In frustration, the Chinese businessman said, “Nigerians complain that Chinese people spit. But they pee in public on the side of the road all the time!”
Some of them have had spectacular success such as the Tung family who run a billion dollar steel business and sit on the board of one of Nigeria’s premier development finance institutions—Africa Finance Corporation. Then there’s the Lee family whose Lee Group produces everything from bottled water to bread as well as 1.2 million pairs of flip-flops everyday, retailing them for around a dollar a pair. They have practically a 100-percent market share of the flip-flop market in Nigeria and West Africa but this monopoly is not visible to most people purely because they have achieved it through very low prices making it impossible for smugglers to compete against them and crucially, dispensing of the usual practice of local businessmen to get the government to ban or impose tariffs on the competition for them.
Yet there is more to the story. The Tungs and Lees are only the surviving two families out of four that settled in Nigeria decades ago. The other two lost their businesses in one of Nigeria’s many economic shocks. There have been plenty of Chinese failures across the continent and in Nigeria, in particular. The stories of Jason Han and John Xue are particularly instructive. In their 50s and seemingly bored in semi-retirement in China, they heard about a Chinese company that was struggling to develop a free trade zone with a state government in Nigeria’s south west. They embarked on a week long trip to Nigeria, their first ever visit to the country, and while there concluded that they could help the state turn around the project. In a matter of weeks they had moved to Nigeria and taken over the running of the free trade zone. In four years under their management, the zone managed to attract 24 businesses and provide employment to 4,500 people, with only 200 of those being non-Nigerians. The zone was praised by the Nigerian and Chinese governments as a shining example of China-Africa relations.
And then the music stopped. The old management company which had been terminated still had friends in the state government and decided it now wanted the zone for itself again. A campaign of harassment and intimidation was launched against Han and Xue including the detention of one of their managers for two weeks. Jason Han appealed to the Nigerian president in an open letter about their ordeal but in the end, they were forced to abandon the zone and leave Nigeria. This illustrates a particular kind of risk faced by Chinese businessmen in countries like Nigeria—politicians are able to trample on their rights without consequence because the Chinese are still viewed with some suspicion by the average Nigerian. The Chinese are thus ever only one infraction away from being scapegoated by a politician seeking cheap popularity or votes (all Nigerian politicians are populists) and the Chinese government is always reluctant to come to the aid of private Chinese businesses in Africa, if it even knows they exist at all.

What then to make of all of this? The most obvious is that there are a very large number of Chinese businesses on the ground in Africa making their way in often impossible circumstances. Many of them have met with great success and many others have lost everything. Even after spending decades in the country, you often cannot find any meaningful reporting on them in the local media as is the case with the Lees and Tungs in Nigeria. Meanwhile the western media tends to focus, sometimes anxiously, on the government side of the relationship that comes in large dollar numbers but is often far less than meets the eye. The Chinese and their hosts continue to live side by side but far apart—the gap between them inevitably filled by mutual suspicion. The Chinese in Lagos retreat into their own world where they can make payments with WeChat, just like in China, thousands of miles away.
One can be optimistic or pessimistic about the future of this relationship. Much of it is useful in providing cheap products and employment while a lot of it remains frustrating borne of the seeming refusal of the Chinese to engage with their hosts creating a kind of standoff.
Even after many decades of doing business in Africa, Chinese businesses in Africa can hardly claim to be friends with their hosts. Like ships that pass in the night and speak to each other in passing.

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AGULERI CALLS ON UMULERI TO EMBRACE PEACE AND AVOID PROVOCATIONS

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Our attention has been drawn to two recent statements by two prominent members of Umuleri community in which they tried to disparage Aguleri. The first was by Elder Aniegboke Ndive, who is one of the Umuleri representatives in the current Aguleri/Umuleri Peace Committee, working on the modus for peaceful coexistence between the two communities, on the initiative of the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State. The other was by Chief Pius Okonkwo, the President-General of the Umuleri Town Union and one of the facilitators of the current Aguleri/Umuleri Peace Committee. He was also a member of the 2004-2010 Aguleri/Umuleri Peace Committee, which produced an agreement between the two communities in 2006, from the riverside to I.N.E.C. office at Otuocha, before the Umuleri community aborted the peace process, as a result of internal problems in the community.

Of course, we are not surprised at Aniegboke’s alleged attempt to denigrate Aguleri, as it has always been his pastime to insult Aguleri. However, we had thought that with the passage of time and his present assignment to help fashion out peace between Aguleri and Umuleri, that he would have been more educated on Igbo history by now, as well as shown more circumspection in his public statements concerning Aguleri. But, alas, he has not changed! His recent statement/interview on the celebration of Eri Day by the Eri clan, on 1st December 2018, at Aguleri, is a reflection of his previous publication in the Daily Sun of Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in which he said, among other things, that “it is these mercenaries from Aguleri and co that are forcing (these) names of different known and unknown communities on Eri, which the Aguleris don’t belong to”.

In order to set the records straight and educate people like Aniegboke on Igbo history, especially in relation to Aguleri and Umuleri, the people of Aguleri published a rejoinder to Aniegboke’s article, as an addendum, to an advertorial in the Daily Sun of Tuesday, July 15, 2014, captioned: ‘Aguleri Is The Ancestral Home Of The Igbos, Not Nri’. In light of continued exhibition of gross ignorance of Igbo history by Aniegboke and his ilk, that rejoinder is still relevant today, for the proper education of Aniegboke and people like him. As observed in the rejoinder, it is evident that Aniegboke’s dabble into Igbo history, especially as it concerns Aguleri and Umuleri, is “driven by a strong desire to re-write the history of Umuleri, recently changed to Umueri”.

And, of course, in doing this, he distorted a lot of historical facts and manufactured stories to fit his design. For example, in his previous publication, Aniegboke labored hard to assign to Umuleri a new founder, in the person of either Dabaw or Eri, as he appeared not to have made up his mind on which one to stick to. In one instance, he claimed that Umuleri “are direct descendants of Dabaw” and in another place, he referred to Umuleri as “the original Eri descendants”. His statements on historical issues are as confusing as they are full of inaccuracies and contradictions.

The truth of the matter is that Igbo history is short or silent on the historical paternity of Umuleri. Rather, there is historical knowledge that Adamgbo, the daughter of Eri, was the founder of Umuleri, hence Umuleri and Aguleri are regarded as related communities, since Adamgbo was the sister of Agulu, the founder of Aguleri. Another school of thought has it that Umuleri was founded by an itinerant woman, named Iguedo, hence Umuleri is a prominent member of the Iguedo clan, known as ‘Umu-Iguedo, till date. Not Umu-eri, as their recently adopted name suggests. As a matter of fact, the original name of Umuleri bore evidence of the above circumstances of its founding. The name then was ‘Umu-Ulu-Eri’ (i.e. children of profit to Eri), since they are the children/descendants of Adamgbo, the daughter of Eri, who was not known in history to be married. It was later shortened to ‘Umuleri’, and now ‘re-baptized’ to ‘Umu-Eri’.

We believe that it is an attempt to justify their new name and carve out a prominent role or position in Igbo history for Umuleri that is propelling people like Aniegboke to embark on the fabrication of history and the denigration of Aguleri. But this need not be, as Umuleri, being children/descendants of Adamgbo, the daughter Eri, are already connected to Eri. And we regard them with all the loving sentiments of our father, Agulu, the first son of Eri, for the children/descendants of his sister. This, indeed, has always been the moderating factor of the attitude and behavior of Aguleri to Umuleri, even when provoked. But, of course, as the saying goes, ‘there is a limit to human endurance’. We, therefore, call on Aniegboke and co to change their mindset and embrace peace with Aguleri. And work for it.

With respect to the statement credited to the President-General of the Umuleri Town Union, Chief Pius Okonkwo, at the Ofala celebration of the Traditional Ruler of Umuleri, Igwe Ben Emeka, on 29th December 2018, we are, indeed, surprised that, given his involvement in peace efforts between Aguleri and Umuleri, as well as his exposure, he could publicly refer to Aguleri as an intruder into Otuocha land. He also made reference to the Otuocha land case between the two communities in a manner that suggests that Umuleri was the winner. This impression is far from the true position. But it goes to show the mindset of some people in leadership positions in Umuleri, as well as how uninformed they are about the court’s decision on the Otuocha land matter. Perhaps, this was what the court anticipated when it specifically warned the Umuleri community against such attitude.

In the judgement of the Onitsha High Court on the land case, which judgment was restored by the Supreme Court as its decision on the case, the judge stated thus: “May l, however, sound a note of warning to the defendants (i.e. Umuleri community). In dismissing the plaintiffs’ case (i.e. Aguleri claim for exclusive ownership of the land), I have not decided that Otuocha land belongs to the defendants (Umuleri community). It is my view that neither side can establish exclusive ownership of the whole of Otuocha land. If on leaving this court premises, no doubt, jubilant, they (the Umuleri community) should go home to assert that Otuocha land belongs to them, defendants (i.e. the Umuleri community) and their leaders should take full responsibility for any breaches of peace that may occur). What a timely warning! But what we are witnessing today in careless talks and brazen actions by some leaders of Umuleri indicate otherwise. Else, how can the Umuleri President-General and Aniegboke respectively refer to Aguleri people as “intruders” and “mercenaries”?

We are also somewhat worried that Chief Pius Okonkwo, who was a member of the Aguleri/Umuleri Peace Committee of 2004-2010, which produced the 2006 agreement between the two communities, should talk about the Royal Niger Company in his statement in a way that leaves the impression that the ownership of the place is in issue, whereas it was one of the places clearly settled by that agreement. One of the Resolutions/Decisions of the Peace Committee states as follows: “the Umueri community hereby relinquishes its interest in the site of the Royal Niger Company, which area is otherwise known as ‘Company’, to Aguleri community, in the interest of peace.” Wherein then lies the basis for the apparent contention on the ownership of the Royal Niger Company created by the President-General in his statement? It is now becoming clear that the Umuleri community is pursuing a deliberate policy of discountenancing and dishonoring previous land agreements with Aguleri. The question for him is, how is it possible that his community Umuleri gave out their ancestral land to the royal Niger company and allowed Aguleri community to sign the lease agreement on their behalf? Does it not sound incredulous to even his fabricating mind?

Provocative activities from Umuleri continues unabated to date, while Aguleri continues to embrace peaceful coexistence. Aguleri sign-posts and structures in areas already settled by agreements to belong to Aguleri have been severally vandalized by Umuleri youths, apparently, with the support of the leadership of their community.Similarly, prominent Umuleri persons buy land in these settled Aguleri areas (especially in areas bordering Umuleri settled areas) and promptly and provocatively appropriate these areas by changing their sign-posts to prominently proclaim these areas as Umuleri areas.

Certainly, this is not the way to build and sustain peace. We, therefore, appeal to the Umuleri community to embrace peace with Aguleri by talking and acting in peaceful manners. And, of course, respect all peace agreements with Aguleri. The question truly is why and who in Umuleri is not happy with the recent positive developments taking place in our two communities? Why this move to choose inflammatory statements and provocative actions over peaceful co-existence?

Of particular note is the record high level of Umuleri provocation against Aguleri since the inception of Obiano’s administration. Aguleri have turned a blind eye to all their acts, as is in our character. But they have deliberately and consistently stepped up their provocative acts by the day even to the extent of coming right inside Aguleri villages to knock down buildings not situated in the contested lands. Our elders have continued to prevail on our youths not to retaliate. Just before the Christmas, Umuleri youths destroyed several signposts built by Aguleri World Forum for the Aguleri Beautification Project, even when they were installed right inside Aguleri lands. And just a few days ago, Umuleri youths, armed with machetes, guns, and all sorts of weapons, have blocked Dabawu road leading to Igboezunu, and burnt bushes, in apparent readiness to defend a fence they wrongly erected in disputed land that belongs to Adegbe-Umueze in Igboezunu.

This is just a few of their provocative acts, that include gestapo type invasions of some Aguleri homes in the middle of the night, where they have removed some of our elders, or beaten them up in their homes, and set fires on our farmlands. Each time the culprits were arrested, their community Leadership will immediately call for their release. Yet, our leaders keep on restraining our youths. Umuleri’s thirst for blood and disorderliness have also caused them to repeatedly harass Worshippers at St. Peter’s Anglican Church Aguleri. Even the worshippers at Odoziobodo Aguleri have not been spared of their wrath. The have sworn to terrorize Aguleri families living on that side of the road until they park out. They think by so doing, they will own that side of the road.

It is obvious Umuleri are using the peaceful tenure of our Son, Governor Obiano as a bait against us. It also appears that while Igwe Ben Emeka talks peace, he acts with aggression and his PG and others act with aggression, all orchestrated as their strategy. Perhaps they do this because they have the false notion that we will continue to turn the other cheek as long as our Son is the Governor of Anambra State so as not to embarrass him. However, while we are a Peace loving people, Aguleri cannot stomach that provocation forever. We are therefore crying out now, making every peace loving person aware of what is going on so that if and when peace breaks down the whole world would know that Umuleri have been the aggressor, and not that Aguleri likes to fight. We are being constantly provoked. And we need all peace loving people to take notice.

We do not need any more wars in our communities. A word is enough for the wise.

Long live Aguleri! Long live Eri Dynasty!! Long live Ndi Igbo!!!

 

Pastor Jossy  Akwuobi (PhD)

Chairman Aguleri World Forum (AWF)

 

Prof Mike Obiefune

Chairman Board of Trustees Aguleri World Forum( AWF )

 

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Presidential race: Ezekwesili flags off campaign in South West

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Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), says she would chart a new direction toward making Nigeria great if elected president in the Feb. 16 election.
Ezekwesili spoke on Tuesday in Akure while flagging off her South West presidential campaign that drew party members from Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states.
She said the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party had failed the country, arguing they lack the capacity take the country to the desired great heights.
The former Minister of Education, who described ACPN as a party of the people and committed to restructuring, said it would “steer the country out of the woods.”
“This is not a movement of politicians, this is a movement of the citizens. I am not running so that I will answer a title, I will mobilise the Nigerian people for us to do things differently.
“I will mobilise Nigerian people for us to form a government in the way that matters to the people, not for the politicians and looters but for the people; everyone in Nigeria that is tired of the situation will run with me, I am not running alone.
“We want a different Nigeria, a system that will make the child of the poor to have access to quality education.
“We will ensure that the private sector is part of the economic development of the country.
“Today, three to four million of our young people come out of schools and could not find job, that is horrible.
“The ACPN is a party that will bring new dawn on the country,” Ezekwesili said.
Earlier, Ezekwesili’s running mate, Alhaji Abdul-Ganiyu Galadima, had said that ACPN had always been strong in Ondo State.
He advised party members to avoid the pitfall of the past and work hard as a team to ensure victory for the ACPN in the forthcoming general election.
“Let us take our destiny in our own hands. With the unity of purpose and hard work, it will be a walkover for ACPN come election time,” Galadima said.

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Buhari presides over “ Special FEC ’

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a special meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FEC meeting usually holds on Wednesdays but late last year, a Special FEC meeting was convened on a Friday to discuss and approve the 2019 budget proposal.
However, the agenda of today’s meeting which started at about 3.20 p.m., is unknown.
Attending the meeting are Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Head of Service of the federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita.
Others are Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Munguno as well as cabinet ministers and some presidential aides.

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President Buhari decorates Acting Police Boss

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President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari has decorated the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammadu, who has been appointed to replace Abubakar Idris.
The ceremony took place on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when the new police boss came to the Villa, accompanied by Idris.
Speaking to State House correspondents after his decoration, Adamu thanked Buhari for considering him worthy to be the next Inspector-General of Police.
He said he would diligently work to tackle the Nigeria’s security challenges and fight violent crimes.
“We know that there are security challenges that we need to tackle in the country like the issues of kidnapping, abduction and other security challenges.
“From the strategies put in place by the former IGP, we will re-strategize and make sure that we tackle these challenges squarely.’’
Hitch-free elections
The Acting IGP said he would build on the strategies put in place by his predecessor to ensure a hitch free 2019 general election.
He also pledged to maintain neutrality and to be fair to all while carrying out his official duties before, during and after the general elections.
“Adequate arrangement has been made to make sure that free and fair and credible elections take place in Nigeria.
“We are going to build up on the strategies put in place to make sure that we have hitch-free elections in the country.
“We are going to stick by the rules, we are going to do the right thing. We will not go outside the ethics of our job to do things that are untoward, everybody will be given level playing ground to play his or her politics,’’ he said.
The out-going IGP, who also addressed the correspondents after the decoration of the new IGP by the president, announced his retirement from service.
“I want to inform Nigerians that today I am 60 years and I think I have reached the pinnacle of my career.
“So, I am going to handover to my successor, the incoming inspector General of Police.
“He is an officer I know very well. We knew each other in the past, we have worked together and I wish him success,’’ he said.
The Acting IGP, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, enlisted into the Force on February 1, 1986 as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police
Before his appointment as the Acting Inspector General of Police, he was a Directing Staff at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.
He was Commissioner of Police in Ekiti and Enugu States and also Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 5 Police Command Headquarters, Benin, Edo State.

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An Address Presented by the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day on January 15, 2019.

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Ndi Anambra today is a special day in the history of our country, Nigeria. Today, we join our fellow Nigerians across the country to reflect on the weighty issues of nationhood and honour the memory of our fellow compatriots who laid down their lives that we may live a more meaningful life of our own.

Fellow Nigerians, today, we remember all our fallen heroes and heroines, the unknown soldier, the Patriots who lie in unmarked graves and our brave veterans who live with mortal wounds sustained in defense of our Liberties and our ideals. We remember them in absolute fondness and we reassure them that the sacrifices they made for our lives and liberty were not made in vain.

Ndi Anambra, if we cast our minds back to this time four years ago, we may remember that we organized an epic event in memory of our heroes and heroines who fell to the Civil War. That epic ceremony is known as Ozoemezina (Never Again!)

Ozoemezina was a bold effort to confer dignity on all our brothers and sisters who were taken by the war and therefore experienced death without a proper burial. By holding a solemn memorial service in their honour, we brought closure to that sad episode of our national life and paved the way for a deeper healing among the living.

Ozoemezina was epic in its entirety. I implore everyone who wishes to know about Ozoemezina to visit my official YouTube Channel and watch the special documentary that tells that story in a profound way.

Fellow citizens, we must never fail to appreciate our service men and women. Or show gratitude to them for standing up in defence of our ideals, our Liberties and our lives. The Nigerian Armed Forces have continued to play their roles as the defender of our freedom and the ultimate pillar of our unity. Indeed, our service men and women have continued to inspire their counterparts across Africa for decades. The bravery of our military has always been the defining factor in all their peace-keeping operations across Africa and beyond. Fellow Nigerians, we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

Indeed, the Nigerian Armed Forces have risen above great odds to fulfill the mission that established them. The growing spate of unrest in different parts of the country has thrown up more challenges to the military than can ever be imagined. The battle against the proliferation of small arms as well as the war on terror have made enormous demands from our Armed Forces. The battle line has become unclear and it is almost impossible to tell who the enemy is. All these call for more support to the Nigerian Armed Forces.

For us in Anambra State, we are bold enough to say that we have cordial relations with our service men and women. My administration struck a perfect partnership with them in the early stages of inception and together we have created a peaceful and prosperous state. We have enjoyed peace like never before and our beloved state has become the safest state in Nigeria.

Ndi Anambra, we shall continue to enjoy peace and security in our beloved state by the Grace of God. We shall continue to appreciate our service men and women especially in these difficult times when our own brothers and sisters have become our country’s enemies. We shall continue to remember them and their families in our prayers. We shall continue to encourage them to do more, to fight more and to sacrifice more for the good of Nigeria and for the safety of Nigerians.

At this juncture, I’d like to invite everyone here to join me in observing a minute of silence in memory of our fallen heroes and heroines who gave their lives that we might live.

God bless Nigeria
God bless Anambra State

Thank you

Willie Obiano
Governor

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Ohaneze Ndigbo Condemns Trial of Onnoghen

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The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo has condemned the planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, describing the action as shocking, sectional and provocative.
The President of Ohaneze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said the pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation received with shock and disappointment, the decision of the federal government to prosecute Onnoghen.

“Legal opinion abound that the action is premature and ill conceived following an extant Court of Appeal decision which interprets the procedure for prosecuting judicial officers. This procedure has not been followed. The fact that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has been ignored is not just illegal but suggests deliberate court shopping and a predetermined objective.
“Secondly, the fact that one of the issues being canvassed by the CCB before the CCT is for an order of the CCT for the Chief Justice of Nigeria to step aside from his exalted office pending the conclusion of the trial contrary to the procedure for his removal from office as provided by the Nigerian constitution exposes the aim of the prosecution.
“A perusal of some of the depositions in the charge sheet also shows a completely distorted conception of the regulations pertaining to the declaration of assets. Assets acquired after assumption of office are declared at the end of a public official’s tenure in order to present a comparison with assets declared on assumption of office.
“The federal government is heating up the polity. Not long ago we were entertained with all sorts of interpretations of the Vice President’s powers while the President is on leave. The Group Managing Director of NNPC was accused of violating laws pertaining to the award of contracts. Because he comes from a protected ethnic group and class, no investigation was conducted.
“Fulani herdsman killed 110 natives of Nimbo in Enugu State. Police investigations led to the arrest of some of the herdsman with their telephone pictures of the carnage but not one has been prosecuted .
“The same carnage took place in Benue State. Pictures of the murderers wearing the uniform of the choir members of a Catholic church where they murdered their priests and members of their congregation were all over the social media. No one was arrested or prosecuted.
“Their sponsors, Miyetti Allah, addressed a press conference recently extolling their ethnic agenda and making decisive and inciting statements. Not one of them was arrested.
“The insensitiveness of the federal government to respect for our constitution and it’s patronage of double standards in the enforcement of the law is sickening and abhorrent,” Nwodo added.


Thisday

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Court Summons AG, IGP On Onnoghen

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed hearing for January 17, in a suit by the incorporated trustees of international association of student economists and management against the code of conduct tribunal, the code of conduct bureau and the Attorney General of the Federation.

Justice N.E Maha who heard the motion ex-parte by the organisation, on Monday, however directed that all the parties in the case, including the inspector general of police, should not take any further steps on the issue before that day.
The judge also directed all the defendants in the case to be served with the court papers to enable them to be present in court at the next adjourned date.

In the motion on notice, the applicant is contending that the arraignment of the CJN at the code of conduct tribunal is a violation of provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.

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Wike Bags NUJ Award

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has emerged winner of the Nigeria union of journalists NUJ prize for outstanding leadership and infrastructural development.

President of the NUJ, Chris Isiguzo says the union settled for the Rivers state governor because of the massive achievements recorded by his administration in the areas of infrastructural development, security, political tolerance and human capital development in addition to a cordial relationship with the media.

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INEC unveils election guidelines

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday released the regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the general elections.
The 33 page document obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja says Smart Card Readers (SCRs) and Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) would be used for the forthcoming elections.
“Voting shall be in accordance with the Continuous Accreditation and Voting System (CAVS) procedures as specified in these Regulations and Guidelines, the Election Manual and any other Guide issued by the Commission.
“No person shall be allowed to vote at any Polling Unit/Voting Point Settlement/Voting Point other than the one at which his/her name appears in the Register of Voters and he/she presents his/her permanent voter’s card to be verified by the Smart Card Reader (SCR), or as otherwise determined by the Commission.”
Each voter shall cast his/her vote in person at the Polling Unit/Voting Point Settlement/Voting Point where he/she registered or was assigned, in the manner prescribed by the Commission.
Separate queue shall be created between men and women, where the culture does not allow the mingling of men and women.
Presiding Officers would also create a separate queue for People Living With Disabilities (PWDs).
According to Section 10 (b) of the guidelines, “accreditation and voting shall commence at 8.00am and close at 2:00pm, provided that all voters already on the queue by 2:00pm shall be allowed for accreditation and voting.
“(d) The accreditation process shall comprise reading of the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and authentication of the voter’s fingerprint using the SCR; checking of the Register of Voter.”
Section 11 (v) of the guidelines also requested a voter to remove his/her cell phone or any photographic device before proceeding to voting cubicle.
Also section 11(c) states that “where a voter’s PVC is read but the name of the voter is not on the Register of Voters, APO II shall refer the voter to the PO or APO (VP) who shall politely request the voter to leave the Polling Unit”.
Section 11(d) also states that: “In the event that the PVC fails to be read by the Smart Card Reader, the APO I shall refer the voter to the PO or APO (VP) who shall politely request the voter to leave the Polling Unit.’’
Subsection (e) adds that “where a voter’s PVC is read and the SCR shows the details of another person, rather than the details of the cardholder as printed on the PVC, the APO I shall:
“(i) Refer the voter to APO II to confirm that the details of the voter in the Register of Voters correspond to those on the PVC;
“(ii) APO II if satisfied that the holder of the card is on the Register of Voters, shall record the phone number of the voter in the appropriate box on the Register of Voters; and
“(iii) Proceed with the accreditation of the voter.
“(f) In all cases from 11(b) to 11(e), the Presiding Officer shall fill the appropriate forms in the PU booklet and make a report.
“Affected voters in 11(b) and 11(e) qualify to be issued ballot papers after consultation with Polling Agents.


(NAN)

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IGP Idris retires, Buhari shortlists replacement

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The presidency has shortlisted an Assistant Inspector General of Police from Nasarawa State as a possible replacement of the retiring Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Idris, who clocks 60 years on Jan. 15 paid “a bye-bye visit’’ to President Buhari on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
NAN reports that the outcome of the closed door meeting between President Buhari and the IGP was not disclosed as at the time of filing this report.
According to reports, Idris is expected to retire from service on attainment of the mandatory 35 years in service or 60 years of age.
A source close to the presidency, who preferred not to be named, confirmed to NAN that a replacement to the retiring IGP would be named on Tuesday, among the shortlisted candidates.
One of the persons said to be on the on the shortlist is AIG Adamu Mohammed. If he gets the nod, it means the DIGs may be required to retire.
“Yes, the IGP Ibrahim Idris is retiring tomorrow and possibly an acting Inspector-General maybe named very soon.
“But I will advise that you wait for official statement to that effect,’’ the source maintained.
IGP Idris, who was appointed by President Buhari on June 21, 2016, replaced Solomon Arase, who retired from the police force on same day.

Idris enlisted into the Nigerian Police Force in 1984, after graduating from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture.

(NAN)

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