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Lamin Sanneh: A Foremost African Theologian From Gambia

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By Prof Anekwe Oborji

Lamin Sanneh (1942-2019), a foremost African theologian of our time from Gambia in West Africa, was called to great beyond on January 6, 2019, the Feast of Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ to the gentile world. Sanneh suffered a stroke and died at the age of 76, in his place of abode, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut in the United States of America. Until his sudden demise last January, Professor Lamin Sanneh was the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School and Professor of History at Yale University. Sanneh is internationally, respected and acknowledged as the world’s foremost theologian of World Christianity and Islam.
He was also a co-founder and joint convener of the Yale – Edinburgh Group on the History of Missions and World Christianity. The Group’s annual Conferences, meeting in Yale and Edinburgh alternately, have been an input feature of the academic contribution of this illustrious son of Africa to the world. And as one of the tributes in his honor rightly notes, “the title of Professor Sanneh’s autobiography (“Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African” (2012), appropriately states, Sanneh’s felt “summoned from the margins” in a small island on the Gambian River in West Africa.” From his Gambian environment in Africa, Sanneh was transformed by his Christian faith, embarked upon a distinguished career in the academy, and leaving behind an extraordinary scholarly legacy.

Professor Sanneh also taught at the University of Ghana, Accra, where an Institute, “Sanneh Institute” was established last year in recognition of his illustrious academic career and strive to continue his mission of offering scholarship as a tribute to God with the other within hearing distance. John Azumah, professor of World Christianity and Islam, Colombia Theological Seminary, and director of the Sanneh Institute at the University of Ghana in Accra, shared the following words from Sanneh’s last but one email to him, days before his sudden death last January:

“When I was thwarted in my wish to study theology and be ordained, I went through a terrible period of confusion and doubt. It was like a sickness in which I wondered whether God really wanted me. I started to emerge out of that hole when I saw that I could offer my training and scholarship as a small tribute to the God of Jesus, with Muslims within hearing distance.
Call it a sense of vocation if you like, but I was determined to do the best I could to appeal to Muslims not to dismiss Christians when they give evidence that following Jesus does not mean speaking or thinking ill of others. The resulting proximity should make Christ less a stranger to all of us when his spirit moves in our midst.”
Professor Lamin Sanneh was supposed to present his keynote paper “Themes in Reconciliation and harmony with Reference to Contemporary Africa” at the International Harmony Conference organized by Bishop Prof. Dennis T.W. Ng in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 7 January 2019. It turns out to be his last paper and was read out at the conference after a moment of silence and prayer.
Tributes have been coming from far-and-wide since the sad news of the demise of this great son of Africa, Professor Lamin Sanneh. Many professional associations, academic institutions, research institutes, libraries, editors of Journals and international Newspapers like New York Times and Washington Post, as well as professionals of all classes have all published in their platforms, tributes of landmarks in honor of this great African scholar of our time. These are colleagues and groups, Professor Lamin Sanneh had in one way or the other interacted with and influenced positively while with us in this mortal world.
As expected, most of these tributes in honor of Professor Sanneh highlighted his contribution to dialogue between World Christianity and Islam, an area he had dedicated much of his life and publication since his conversion from Islam to Christianity as young adult, and all through his university teaching profession.
However, the purpose of our present tribute is to highlight the African dimension of Professor Lamin Sanneh’s writings and theological thought. Although, he worked at the limelight of international stage in the world of academia, Professor Lamin Sanneh had always written and lectured from an African perspective and context. Africa remained the animating spirit and goal of his theological writings and engagements from time immemorial till death snatched him away from us last January.

Who is Professor Lamin Sanneh?
Professor Lamin Sanneh was born and raised in Jinjanburch, Gambia (West Africa). He descended from the nyanchos, an ancient African royal line. His earliest studies in Gambia were with fellow chiefs’ sons. He was born into and raised in an orthodox Muslim family and grew up practicing Islam as his religion. However, as divine providence would have it, he converted later in life to Christianity. He became first a member of the Methodist Church and later moved into the Catholic Church, where he remained a practicing member until his demise on January 6, 2019.
Lamin Sanneh was married to Sandra Sanneh, who is a Professor of isiZulu at Yale University. They are blessed with a son, Kelefa Sanneh, who writes about culture for “The New Yorker”, and a daughter, Sia Sanneh, who was a Research Scholar in Law, Senior Liman Fellow in Residence, and lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.
Professor Lamin Sanneh was educated in four continents, namely, Africa, America, Asia and Europe. He studied precisely in Gambia his native land, University of Birmingham, The Near East School of Theology, Beirut and University of London.
He went to the United States on a U.S. government scholarship to read history. After graduating, he spent many years studying classical Arabic and Islam, including a stint in the Middle East, and working with churches in Africa and international organizations concerned with inter-faith and cross-cultural issues. He studied classical Arabic and Islam for his M.A. and subsequently received his Ph.D. in African Islamic history at the University of London.
A seasoned scholar, highly busy and committed Professor, Lamin Sanneh was Honorary Research Professor in the School of Oriental Studies, University of London, and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He was Chairman of Yale’s Council on African Studies. He was an editor-at-large of the ecumenical weekly “The Christian Century” and a contributing editor of the “International Bulletin of Missionary Research.” He served on the editorial boards of several academic journals and encyclopedias, and was a consultant to the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Professor Lamin Sanneh is listed in “Who’s Who in America.” He was an official consultant at the 1998 Lambeth Conference in London and was a member of the Council of 100 Leaders of the World Economic Forum. In 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed him to the Pontifical Commission for the Historical Sciences, and Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims.
He had received an award as the John W. Kluge Chair in the Cultures and Societies of the South by the Library of Congress. For his academic work, he was made Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Lion, Senegal’s highest national honor, and is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. His other academic awards include: Carneige Trust of the University of Scotland, 1980 and the Pew Scholars Program, University of Notre Dame, 1993.
As a professor, Lamin Sanneh had taught and worked at the University of Ghana, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, eight years in Harvard University and since 1989 took the position of the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity, Professor of History and, also Chair of Yale Council on African Studies at Yale University.
According to the Yale University website, “He was an Honorary Research Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He served on the board of Ethics and Public Policy at Harvard University, and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama.”
Professor Lamin Sanneh had delivered a series of lectures in different parts of the world. In fact, Joel A. Carpenter on pages 25-26 of International Bulletin of Missionary Research, vol. 37, no. 1 of January 2013, described him as “one of the most original and influential Christian thinkers of our time … whose “intellectual biography is thus one long tale of his finding occasions to look across the grain of conventional wisdom and come to conclusions. He has enjoyed the combined gifts of a relentless critical curiosity and a very different cultural vantage point from that of most Western scholars. Those gifts prompt him to see things that others do not.”
In all his writings, lectures and inter-personal and communal encounters, Professor Sanneh always brought with him his magnanimous spirit. What is most evident in such encounters is his great contagious humanity, humility and friendship. This is most apparent in all his works and writings, which he always did from an African perspective on the North-South global dialogue. He proved himself really, an authentic ‘African ambassador’ in the world of academia and theological studies.
Lamin Sanneh was the author of several books and over a hundred articles on religious and historical subjects. He wrote mainly on the relationship between Islam and Christianity and the study of World Christianity as well as Missions. His books include, “Encountering the West: Christianity and the Global Cultural Process: The African Dimension” (1990); The Jakhanke Muslim Clerics: A Religious and Historical Study of Islam in Senegambia (c. 1250-1905)”,(1990); “Religion and the Variety of Culture: A Study in Origin and Practice” (1996); “Piety and Power: Muslims and Christians in West Africa” (1996); “The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West, and the World (co-edited with Joel A. Carpenter”, (2005); “Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity” (2008).
Among his first works I read and which made me fall in love with his writings include, his Magnus opus, “Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture” (1989/2009); and his, “Whose Religion Is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West” (2003).
Finally, I was glad to read his masterpiece autobiography, “Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of An African” (2012). It was a parting gift of this great African scholar to the world. There are other countless works of his, too numerous to mention here, all bordering on his favorite subjects, World Christianity, Islam, History and Missions, all of which he discussed always from an African perspective for cross-cultural encounters and inter-faith dialogue.
My first contact with Professor Lamin Sanneh was through his writings. Before then, however, we have admired each other’s academic commitment of African scholarship from long distance. He later invited me to the Yale Divinity School to participate as a resource scholar for that year’s annual “Yale-Edinburgh Conference”, which he organized together with Professor Andrew F. Walls of the Edinburgh University. However, because of pressing academic loads at the time, I could not honor this last professional invitation from Professor Sanneh at the Yale University. He was gracious enough to understand.
Professor Lamin Sanneh had been a great source of inspiration and model scholar to many young African theologians and beyond. My consolation here is that through my suggestion and under my direction, one of my students in Rome, in 2017, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the thoughts of Lamin Sanneh on the theme of “transcultural and translatability of the Gospel in missions.” Again, Sanneh’s life experience, his religious and conversion journey from Islam to Christianity, and from one Christian denomination to the other, had singled him out as a unique figure and man of rare faith.

Sanneh’s Theological Thoughts from an African Perspective
Lamin Sanneh was born, brought-up and studied earlier in life as a Muslim in his native Gambia in West Africa, and from there, converted to Christianity. In Christianity, he was first a Methodist before becoming a Catholic. He studied in four continents and specialized in many fields of studies. He also travelled wide, spoke many languages and interacted with different cultures.
All these experiences put together helped to shape his theological perspective. His theological perspective, reflected in his writings, covers two major areas, namely, the relationship between Christianity and Islam, and the study of World Christianity and Missions. He wrote always from an African perspective, highlighting the place of Africa in the emerging world Christianity and in the increasingly globalizing world.
In this way, Western scholars and Asians as well, were able to identify easily with his writings and recognize him as a theologian of class of all seasons. This is the most distinguishing aspect of him in comparison with some other African theologians that have remained at the level of critical analysis of the activities of the past colonial Christianity in the continent. Professor Sanneh wrote for post-colonial and post-modernity Africa.
In addition, he had an ecumenical and interreligious theological perspective. He was an ardent apostle and advocate for the timely acceptance of cultural plurality. He maintained that cultural plurality is a fact of historical and religious experience of humanity. God created people differently in many ways and as such gave room for cultural plurality. He held strongly that the incarnation is a defining event in human history that showcased the importance of culture in the lives of peoples. He was an advocate of “mutual respect, mutual understanding and co-operative existence between adherents of different religions of the world because all believe and call on the same God who is Creator of all.”
However, Lamin Sanneh’s writings were all African contextualized and homemade, even though, during most of his adult life, he operated from North America and Europe. His writings portray the effort of an African theologian who wanted to show how the two religions, Christianity and Islam, could live side-by-side with the religious traditions and cultures of African people, in spirit of dialogue, respect, mutual enrichment, encounter and tolerance.
He wrote extensively about the translatability of the Gospel into African culture. Sanneh contends that the translatability of the Gospel into local cultures, different contexts and languages, is something very unique to Christianity, among the other world religions. This can’t be found in Islam since only in Arabic it was believed, Allah spoke to Mohammed. Therefore, translations of Quran into other languages and cultures, is considered anachronistic in Islam.
Sanneh used this argument to explain why Christianity made more inroads in those places in Africa where traditional religion was strongest but very little progress where Islam had been planted during the Arab invasions of the continent:
“Africans best responded to Christianity where the indigenous religions were strongest, not weakest, suggesting a degree of indigenous compatibility with the gospel, and an implicit conflict with colonial priorities… Muslim expansion and growth, which occurred, were most impressive in areas where the indigenous religions, particularly as organized cults, had been vanquished or else subjugated, and where local populations had either lost or vaguely remembered their name for God. For this reason colonialism as a secularizing force helped to advance Muslim gains in Africa. The end of colonial rule inhibited the expansion of Islam in Africa, whereas the opposite seems to have happened with Christianity.” (Lamin Sanneh’s “Whose Religion Is Christianity: The Gospel beyond the West” (2003, 18-19).
Speaking further on the importance of African local languages in spreading the Gospel, he writes that:
“Christianity has felt so congenial in English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Russian, and so on, that we forget it wasn’t always so, or we inexcusably deny that the religion might feel equally congenial in other languages, such as Amharic, Geez, Arabic, Coptic, Tamil, Korean, Chinese, Swahili, Shona, Twi, Igbo, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. Our cultural chauvinism makes us overlook Christianity’s vernacular character.” (Lamin Sanneh’s “Whose Religion Is Christianity” (2003, 105). See also chapter three of his “Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture” (1989).
Furthermore, Professor Sanneh advances the argument of the significance of Africa of the new southward shift in Christian landscape. In this context, he argues that the significance of Africa of the new southward “shift” must be located within the global transformation of the Christian landscape by the new centers of Christianity in the southern continents. He adds that the growth of Christianity in the southern continents does not mean a displacement of the “old centers” of the faith. It does not also mean a redefinition of the missionary concept or goal. Rather it is a confirmation of the history of Christian mission that faith travels through the missionary movement of believing community:
“When the Christian faith first traveled from Jerusalem to Athens, North Africa and then to Rome, none of the previous centers was displaced by the new ones. And none of the new centers was considered inferior to the “old centers” of Christianity. Each encounter was, rather, a manifestation of how the evangelizing church was fulfilling its mission in the world.” Indeed each encounter was a demonstration of Christianity’s universal appeal. Moreover, none of the centers, “old” or “new”, considers itself the sole bearers of the Christian mission. Each center sees itself as a full participant in the evangelizing mission of the church. (cf. Lamin Sanneh’s “Whose Religion Is Christianity”, 36ff.).
Seen from this perspective, the new southward shift in Christianity is not a matter of worries but the triumph of its universal expansion and adaptability to all peoples of the world. Sanneh adds that the history of Christian expansion and adaptability enabled Christianity itself to break the cultural barriers of its former domestication in the Northern hemisphere to create missionary resurgence and renewal that transformed the religion into a world faith. He opines that there is much to be gained by respecting this historical missionary paradigm. Modern African Christianity provides us with an indispensable example of what is at stake.
In this context, Sanneh presents an argument about the limitations of the concept of mission as one-way traffic, from the West to the rest of the world. In fact, his critique of the idea of Christendom advanced at the Edinburgh 1910 Missionary Conference. He makes the case most forcefully in connection to African experience:
“African Christianity has not been a bitterly fought religion: there have been no ecclesiastical courts condemning unbelievers, heretics, and witches to death, no bloody battles of doctrine and polity, no territorial aggrandizement by churches; no jihads against infidels, no fatwas against women, no amputations, lynchings, ostracism, penalties, or public condemnation of doctrinal differences or dissent. The lines of Christian profession have not been etched in the blood of enemies. To that extent, at least African Christianity has diverged strikingly from sixteenth and seventeenth-century Christendom.” (Lamin Sanneh, “Whose Religion Is Christianity” (39).
This is the perspective from which Sanneh advances his basic argument on intercultural process in the history of Christian mission. In the first place, he acknowledges that statistical weight has moved Africa firmly into the Christian orbit, and that happened only a few years ago, which is why the notion “Africa is a Christian continent” is so novel and dramatic. But we should bear in mind that Christianity from its origins was marked by serial retreat and advance as an intercultural process. Bethlehem and Jerusalem were superseded by Antioch and Athens, while Egypt and Carthage soon gave place to Rome. Rival centers multiplied the chances of further contraction and expansion. Then it was the turn of the North Atlantic world to inherit the mantle before the next momentous phase brought the religion to the southern hemisphere, with Africa representing the most recent continental shift. Sanneh writes:
“These developments went beyond merely adding more names to the book; they had to do with cultural shifts, with changing the books themselves. This serial feature of the history of Christianity is largely hidden from people in the West now living in a post-Christian culture. Even in Africa itself the churches were caught unprepared, and are scarcely able to cope with the elementary issue of absorbing new members, let alone with deeper issues of formation and training” (“Whose Religion Is Christianity” (36-37).
The point here is that the concept of Christendom (“mission as one way-traffic”) imprisons the study of non-Western Christianity within a Western theological framework and thus impoverishes understanding of its nature and significance. It entrenches the notion of Christian missionary movement as “one-way traffic”, as a movement from the “old Christendom” (the West) to the so-called “non-Christian land” (or “mission land”).
The missionary significance as well as the real Christian identity of Christians from the former “non-Christian land” or (“mission land” – southern continents), is thus suppressed by the concept of “Christendom” – mission as one-way-traffic. Moreover, the experience of Christendom perhaps predisposes Westerners to think of religious phenomena in terms of permanent centers and structures of unilateral control.
These were some of the strands in contemporary missiological thinking, Lamin Sanneh, masterly discussed in his writings from an African perspective. They all constitute the strength of his scholarship and contribution to mission studies, World Christianity and Islam.

Conclusion
In Professor Lamin Sanneh’s religious itinerary, life experience and scholarship, whether as a Muslim or Christian, we meet an example, a model of what a typical African scholar is likely to undergo. That is, whenever he comes to grips with the religious and cultural layers that underpin our African cosmology and religious worldview amidst other world religions and cultures in our increasingly pluralistic and globalizing world.
His, was the effort of an African scholar, struggling to reclaim his colonial dispossessed cultural and religious identity, and contribute to African renaissance in theological and missiological scholarship. It was an effort aimed at overcoming the crisis of cultural and religious identity of African people, and rediscovering the riches of African religious and cultural traditions after over five-hundred years of colonialism, the Western and Arab conquest of the Black continent.
Professor Lamin Sanneh had been on international scene for most part of his adult life and scholarship itinerary. It is not surprising therefore, that most of the colleagues evaluated his scholarly contribution to World Christianity, Islam and Missions, sometimes with the lens of Western scholarship other than African that it truly was.
However, as we have tried to demonstrate in this tribute in his honor, the fact remains that, beneath Professor Sanneh’s writings, is the effort of an African scholar. His was an effort of a former African Muslim, now converted to Christianity, doing a dialogue with his African reality and background. From that baggage of his religious experience and itinerary, he grappled with the question of the place of his people in the increasingly globalizing pluralistic world of different religions, cultures and philosophy of life. In his scholarship of dialogue with religions and cultures, World Christianity and Islam, his African experience, always loomed large.
Over his 30-year at Yale Divinity School as well as stints at the University of London and two Pontifical Commissions, Sanneh brought World Christianity and African presence to the forefront, drawing a global network of scholars and friends around his scholarship in the fields of study and research.
My condolences to his widow, Sandra Sanneh, their son Kelefa, and daughter Sia, as well as to his numerous friends and students in the world of academia and sciences. With the demise of Lamin Sanneh, Africa has lost one of his greatest scholars and theologians of our time. May God receive his good soul and strengthen the family he left behind. Adieu Professor Lamin Sanneh!
Francis Anekwe Oborji is a Roman Catholic Priest. He lives in Rome where he is a Professor of missiology (mission theology) in a Pontifical University.

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British aid worker Faye Mooney ‘killed by kidnappers in Nigeria’

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A British aid worker has been killed in Nigeria, the High Commission has confirmed.
Police said kidnappers killed Faye Mooney, a University College of London and London School of Economics graduate, as well as a Nigerian man and abducted three others in the northern city of Kaduna.
Ms Mooney travelled from Lagos as a tourist and was attending a party before the incident happened, police said.
The British High Commission named the woman as MS Mooney and said it was aware of the incident that happened late on Friday.
However, it would not speculate on the motive or nature of attack.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the incident and the kidnappers have yet to be identified, police said.

Ms Mooney was employed in Nigeria by a non-governmental organisation called Mercy Corps.

Her next of kin have been notified, the British High Commission said.
“Some suspected kidnappers armed with dangerous weapons gained entry into a recreational resort called Kajuru Castle in Kajuru local government area shooting sporadically and in the process shot dead two persons, including an expatriate lady, and took away three others,” a Kaduna state police spokesman said.
Police did not name the other person killed.
A statement from Mercy Corps said: “On Friday 19 April, 2019, Faye Mooney, a Mercy Corps team member in Nigeria and British national, was tragically killed when gunmen stormed a vacation resort in Kaduna State, Nigeria, where she was visiting on holiday.
“We are utterly heartbroken. Faye was a dedicated and passionate communications and learning specialist who had worked with Mercy Corps for almost two years, devoting her time to making a difference in Nigeria, supporting our teams and the communities we work with to tell their stories of impact, and leading efforts to counter hate speech and violence.”

 

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Atiku: I was born by Nigerian parents from Sokoto, Jigawa

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Abubakar Atiku, the defeated presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party has debunked notions that he was Cameroonian by birth and thus not qualified to contest the election of 23 February, 2019.
Atiku who was born in Jada in 1946, in present day Adamawa state, but then part of Northern Cameroon, said he was born by Nigerian parents and therefore ‘a citizen of Nigeria by birth”.
According to his response to the All Progressives Congress filing before the Presidential election tribunal, Atiku said his father, Garba Atiku Abdulkadir was a Nigerian by birth who hailed from Wurmo in present day Sokoto State, while the mother, Aisha Kande was also a Nigerian who hailed from Dutse in present day Jigawa State.
“The parents of the 1st Petitioner(Atiku) are both Fulani, a community/tribe indigenous to Nigeria”, his lawyers, an array of senior advocates said.
“The birth of the 1st Petitioner in Jada, in present day Adamawa State of Nigeria was occasioned by the movement of his paternal grandfather called Atiku who was an itinerant trader, from Wurmo in present day Sokoto State to Jada in the company of his friend, Ardo Usman.
“That in Jada, Atiku, the grandfather of the 1st Petitioner gave birth to Garba who in tum gave birth to the 1st Petitioner and named him after his own father Atiku.
“The 1st Petitioner’s mother, Aisha Kande was the grand-daughter of Inuwa Dutse who came to Jada as an itinerant trader too from Dutse in present day Jigawa State.
“That all averments concerning Germany, British Cameroons, League of Nations and Plebiscite are false and misleading in relation to the 1st Petitioner and therefore completely irrelevant more so that the 1st Petitioner is a Nigerian by birth within the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic ofNigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“The averments in the aforesaid paragraphs are indeed fabricated, contrived, made in bad faith and designed to embarrass the 1st Petitioner.”
Abubakar said that the votes he secured in the presidential election were not wasted votes, and still claimed that he got more votes than President Buhari.
To buttress his Nigerian citizenship, Atiku listed his career path and political activities and the awards and honours that he had received.
These included his being a civil servant in the Nigerian Customs Service for over 20 years, retiring as a Deputy Director; a politician for about 30 years, who in 1992 contested the Presidential Primaries under the platform of then Social Democratic Party (SDP) alongside the late Chief M.K.O Abiola and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe.
He also mentioned his participation in the 1999 governorship election in Adamawa State in 1999, which he won and the presidential elections of 1999 and 2003, which he won as running mate to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mentioned also was his being a recipient of the National Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) and holder of the traditional title holder of Turakin Adamawa from 1982 to 2017 when he was elevated to Wazirin Adamawa.
“In 2007, the 1st Petitioner contested Presidential election under the platform of Action Congress (AC) and the 2nd Respondent contested under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP).
“In 2014, the 1st Petitioner and the 2nd Respondent contested the Presidential Primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the 3rd Respondent for the 2015 Presidential Elections”.
Atiku’s response was signed by Dr. Livy Uzuokwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria on behalf of 20 other SANs.
They are Kabiru T. Turaki, Chief Chris Uche, Pius A. Akubo,
Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, Adebayo 0. Adelodun, Saka Abimola Isau, Isiyaku Ibrahim,
Paul Erokoro, K.C.O. Njemanze, Eyitayo Jegede, Sebastine T. Hon, Dr. Mike Ozekhome,
Chukwuma-MachukwuUme, Prof. Maxwell Gidado, Dr. Akinpelu Onigbinde, Emeka Etiaba, SAN,
Chief Gordy Uche,Dr. Mrs. V.J.O. Azinge, Emeka Okpoko, Olalekan Ojo.
Other lawyers listed in the petition are Ebenezer Obeya, Emmanuel Enoidem. Peter Afuba,
Prof. Yusuf Dankofa, Prof. Lanre Adeojo, Ahmed Tijjani Uwais, Alexander Ejesieme, Abdulaziz Ibrahim, Chike Okafor, Shikammah K. Sheltu, Jabiro Bashir Mohammed, Silas Joseph Ono,
Dr. Jennifer Abubakar, Jude Daniel Odi and Mohammed Malabo.

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Second chance for Buhari to shine

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  • The drama of the Nigerian Presidential elections have come to an end, yet the myriad of issues that have bedevilled Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation still remain. Can Buhari do better the second time around? Analysis by Lagun Akinloye.

 

The resounding victory of incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over his closest challenger Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), means that Buhari has been given a second chance at turning around the fortunes of the country after a lacklustre and relatively forgettable first term.
The elections were marred by a one-week postponement, hours before the polls were set to open, a lower than expected voter turn-out at 36%, allegations of voter suppression by state security agencies in regions not favourable to the President and constituent inflation in his strongholds.
Pockets of violence were also recorded which led to the death of 67 people on the day of voting. Yet the margin of Buhari’s victory was conclusive, with the President polling 15.2m votes against Atiku’s respectable 11.3m.
Atiku and the PDP rejected the election results outright, describing their conduct as a “sham election” and a “throwback to the jackboot era of military dictatorship” whilst vowing to seek recourse in the courts. Election challenges that have followed Africa’s largest democratic exercise are common, but have never succeeded in getting the results overturned.
The onus is now on Buhari to hit the ground running and repay the faith that has led to his re-election. “President Buhari needs to reenergise his sclerotic governing,” says Matthew Page, former US State Department expert on Nigeria and currently a Fellow at the Centre for Democracy and Development. “Whilst pushing through meaningful institutional reforms that will remake Nigeria’s bloated, inefficient and corruption-prone government structures.”

Free and fair?
The highly anticipated Presidential elections got off to a turbulent start with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the country’s electoral authority, delaying the Presidential and National Assembly elections by one week, five hours before the polls were set to open.
They cited their inability to get ballots and results sheets to all parts of the country as the reason, despite the prompt release of INEC’s election budget by the National Assembly of N189bn ($520m) and previous assurances of the Commission’s preparedness.
The opposition candidate Atiku lamented that the Buhari administration had had “more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections” and accused his opponent of delaying the vote in “hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turnout is low” on the new polling date.
The elections finally took place on 23 February, amid reports of technical difficulties, with the card readers that authenticate voters being unable to scan fingerprints in various polling stations throughout the country; and PDP allegations that the deployment of the army and police force to their strongholds of the South South and the South East regions of the country was aimed at voter intimidation.
The eventual results saw Buhari win 19 of the country’s 36 states, dominating in the north of the country, whilst putting up a strong showing in North Central and the South West, the Yoruba- dominated region which includes the commercial capital Lagos. His overall percentage of 56% to Atiku’s 41% dispelled the notion that the President had lost the magic that brought him to power four years earlier.
But with voter numbers decreasing from 45% in 2015 to 36% in 2019, voter apathy and the disillusionment of many with the political and electoral process in the country was apparent. In their resounding rejection of the results, Atiku and the PDP questioned how states in the Northeast, which have been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency, had generated much higher voter turnouts than peaceful states, declaring, “It is clear that there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states which negate the results announced,” before heading to the courts.
Clashes were reported between supporters of the APC and PDP during the polls with the Situation Room, an umbrella organisation of various civil society groups, putting the figures of those killed on election day at 67. “Conduct of the election was acceptable by historical standards, but minimally so. It was disorganised and discombobulated when compared to the 2015 polls,” says Matthew Page, and whilst international observers have not disputed Buhari’s victory, they have stated that the conduct of the elections was widely flawed.

Unfulfilled promises
Upon confirmation by INEC of his election victory, Buhari told his supporters at the campaign headquarters of the APC in the capital Abuja, that “the new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption.”
Yet, these were the promises that went unfulfilled in his first term. Under Buhari, Nigeria slipped into recession for the first time in 25 years, the country’s stock market was rated the world’s worst- performing over a four-year period, unemployment rose from 18.2% when he took office to 23.1% as of December 2018, and Nigeria overtook India as the ‘poverty capital of the world’, with an estimated 87m Nigerians believed to be living on less than $1.90 a day.
“All countries have gone through a recession at one point or another,” says Bashir Ahmad, Personal Assistant to President Buhari on New Media. “But Nigeria is now back to steady levels of growth and areas such as agriculture, rail and road construction are making significant progress.”
The government has pointed to projects such as the completion of the $6bn Lagos-Kano rail project, the rehabilitation of the Eastern railway and Lagos-Calabar railway, and the ongoing construction of the second Niger Bridge as signs that they are making headway. T
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – the nation’s anti-corruption agency – also touted the effectiveness of the current government by stating they had recovered an estimated N500bn ($1.3bn) from looted funds since the inception of the Buhari administration.
Gains have also been made against the Islamic sect Boko Haram. The army has recaptured large swathes of territory seized by the insurgents, and thousands of displaced people have returned to their homes, though the militancy still remains active in contained pockets.
Sola Tayo, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, believes there is still much to be done. “There are many outdated bits of legislation, hanging over from the past four years that could boost the economy and if the government remains committed, Nigerians may soon see some of what they had hoped for in Buhari’s first term.”
Pushing through legislation and policies in Buhari’s second term should be less cumbersome and combative with the ouster of Bukola Saraki, the former Senate President, who lost his seat in local elections. Saraki dominated and effectively controlled the Senate over the past four years, at first as a member of the APC, eventually decamping to the PDP in September last year.
Bitter disputes with the Presidency saw Saraki often working to frustrate bills, appointments and budgets proposed by Buhari. A more amiable Senate president is likely to be picked from the APC Senate caucus, thereby creating a stronger synergy between the executive and the legislature, thus streamlining government policies and objectives.
“Nigerians re-elected President Buhari because of their belief in his integrity, the need to retire the old PDP politicians who have looted the country dry and his vision for a better nation,” says Ahmed. But after an uninspiring first term, rhetoric must finally translate into tangible action to repay a country that has given the President a second chance.

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Meet Obi Okeke, The Nigerian Who Has Sold Over 39 Luxury Cars To Boxing Champion, Floyd Mayweather

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His real name is Obi Okeke. He is a Nigerian. He was born to a Nigerian father and an American mother. At age 5, he sojourned to the United State as a refugee during the Nigerian Civil war.
He came back to Nigeria after the war and later traveled to Switzerland for his high school education. While in Switzerland, he developed a love for exotic cars.
Today, Obi Okeke, more popularly referred to as “Dr. Bugatti” transverse the American landscape as one of the top dealers in luxury automobiles in the United State.
Dr. Bugatti has, on several occasions, made headlines for his business of buying and selling top- of-the-range cars to and from celebrities.
Among his numerous transaction with celebrities was a recent deal where he purchased a Bugatti Veyron for N900 million ($2.5 million) from film star and politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Other celebrities that Dr. Bugatti has sold luxury cars to include Chris Tucker, Ellen DeGeneres, Jessica Simpson, Floyd Mayweather and many others.
It is on record that he has sold 39 cars to Floyd Mayweather. And they include 3 Bugatti Veyrons valued at $6.2 million and a $3.2M Ferrari Enzo. He has also sold to Mayweather several Rolls-Royces and Bentleys.
Obi Okeke started his car sale career started in 1987 as a Chevrolet dealer and eventually moved on to manage stores for Ferrari, Maserati, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz before starting out on his own.
He later co-founded Fusion Luxury Motors in North Los Angeles with a man named Yoel Wazana. His Fusion Luxury Motors has cars with price ranges from $49,000 to $3.8 million.
His car shop, Fusion Luxury Motors, is a popular destination for many celebrities in the US.

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Obiano’s Easter Message: Touch your Neighbour with Love – Obiano

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As Christians all over the world mark the feast of Easter, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has urged them to reach out and touch their neighbours with love.

In a special Easter Message delivered in Awka the state capital, Governor Obiano observed that there is no greater manifestation of unconditional love than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind which the feast of Easter represents.

Said he, “The esssence of Easter is love. There’s no incident in known history that is higher than a man laying down his own life for his neighbours. This is why Easter is about the love we show to our neighbours, no matter who they are.”

According to him, “In dying on the cross, Jesus Christ demonstrated sacrificial love. In rising from the dead, he gave us hope and sealed our salvation. So, there can be no doubt that it is only love that can heal our broken world. And with love, we can make the society a better place for everyone.”

Speaking further on the significance of Easter to Nigeria’s national dilemma, Obiano observed that “We are at a point in our political development when some of our most intimidating challenges can be solved by a simple act of love. Love for our country and love for our neighbours and fellow citizens. We must demonstrate that love today. That is the spirit and essence of Easter.”

Governor Obiano therefore exhorted Christians to live out the full meaning of Easter by eschewing those tendencies that endanger love and touching their neighbours in the same way that Christ touched mankind with love.

The Governor who has just resumed work after a little holiday explained that he purposely came back to celebrate Easter with Ndi Anambra because his heart belonged with the people.

Signed:
James Eze
Chief Press Secretary

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Nigeria issues arrest warrants for ex-ministers over Malabu oil deal

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ABUJA/LONDON  – A Nigerian judge issued arrest warrants for two former ministers and an Eni manager over the sale of offshore oilfield OPL 245 by Malabu Oil and Gas in 2011, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Dan Etete, former petroleum minister, ex-attorney general Mohammed Adoke and Eni manager Roberto Casula “are to be arrested anywhere they are found”, the EFCC said in a statement. It said it followed a ruling by a judge in the capital, Abuja.

Eni called the move “disproportionate and detrimental” to the rights of its manager.
“These warrants seem to have originated from the failure by the Nigerian Judicial Authorities to notify and serve the pending proceedings to the Eni managers as per international procedure for the last two years,” it said in a statement.

Reuters was not able to immediately reach Etete, Adoke or Casula for comment.
The $1.3 billion deal has spawned legal cases spanning several countries and involving Nigerian government officials and senior Eni and Shell executives.
Eni and Shell jointly acquired the field from Malabu, which was owned by Etete. An ongoing case in Milan alleges that roughly $1.1 billion of the total was siphoned to agents and middlemen.

The Milan court has already convicted middlemen Emeka Obi, a Nigerian citizen, and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo, of corruption. Shell and Eni have denied all wrongdoing.
In a statement, the EFCC said the defendants had repeatedly failed to appear before the court in Abuja and that the Nigerian police, INTERPOL and any other law enforcement agencies would have the authority to arrest the men.


Content provided by Reuters

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Willie Obiano’s strides

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It is said that a people get the type of leadership they deserve. This axiomatic saying holds true in the case of Anambra State. Today the State is not just living up to its motto:
The Light of the Nation, but also bears itself out as a befitting epithet to the memory of the great freedom fighter Nnamdi Azikiwe, former commonwealth secretary general, Emeka Anyaoku and the intrepid novelist and raconteur par-excellence, Chinua Achebe. Expectedly, a state that has produced those revered personages deserves to be led by a politician who possesses exceptional leadership quality and probity.
Fortunately, the State is currently blessed with a good leader whose model of leadership is comparable to very few in the country. No doubt, Governor Willie Obiano’s sojourn in the oil and banking sectors prepared and imbued him with experience and leadership qualities for the arduous task of piloting the affairs of the State. So when providence thrust the affairs of Anambra in his care, he did not let Anambra people down. He was adequately prepared.
He hit the ground running and left nobody in doubt that he wanted to make impact. Conscious that absence of anarchic situation and crimes will give fillip to the rapid industrialization of Anambra State he unveiled measures to rid the state of crimes. What is more, the State ranks today as one of the safest states in Nigeria as kidnappers, armed robbers, and pick-pockets had fled Anambra. Night life has since returned to major cities in the state.
With the State safe and secure, industrialists who once fled it because of insecurity returned in their numbers, building industries that employ hundreds of employable but unemployed graduates in the State. In addition to that, the industries have increased the volume of trade in the state with corresponding revenue yields to the coffers of the government. That explained why the Governor was not caught in the national economic recession that forced many a governor to go cap in hand, begging for financial assistance from the centre.
Infrastructural development of the State is another area where Governor Obiano has done very well. He built long bridges across rivers in Ayamelum local government area, Anambra East and West to connect the oil rich areas of the State as well as its agricultural base. Not long ago he completed the Nengo Bridge in Nteje. This all-important bridge serves as a bypass to the treacherous Enugu-Onitsha expressway at Umunya as well as an access to Nteje town, stretching down the Omambala region. There are also the three bridges at Aroma, Akwata and Amawbia junctions in Awka, the State capital.

The three bridges are adorned with flood lights both for illumination and aesthetics. These bridges help immensely in easing traffic congestions during rush hours in those places.
Old roads were repaired and new ones constructed to facilitate the movement of people within the state. Residents as well as visitors can attest to the presence of street lights which make night drive in the state a pleasurable experience. One very important aspect of road construction, apart from ease of movement, is that it alleviates the pains of transporting farm produce to ready markets. Note that agriculture has since received immense boost from the Obiano administration. He implemented measures that boosted the practice of agriculture in the state. He gave farmers in the state financial incentive, improved seedlings, and fertilizers. Expectedly, Anambra has achieved food sufficiency within five years of his administration and has moved further on to export surplus to foreign countries.
Perhaps that explains why the State finances are in a very fine-fettle. While some other states in Nigeria go cap in hand, begging for financial help from the centre, Anambra executes capital projects and meets its obligations to its workers. The third phase of the community-choose-your- projects has already started. By the end of this phase every community in the state would have received sixty million Naira for any project of their choice. All these do not detract from prompt payment of workers’ salaries.
The Governor not only pays promptly, but approves training workshops for qualified workers. Pensions and gratuities are not paid any less. Promotion interviews are organized for qualified civil servants and promotions effected. No doubt, the Governor places high premium on making the civil service effective, conscious perhaps of its overriding values in policy formulation and implementation.
Civil servants on their part have not failed to show gratitude by casting their votes overwhelmingly for him during the last governorship as well as the State House of Assembly elections. It is a proof that they repose trust and confidence in his leadership abilities. And so far, it does not seem the Governor is in a hurry to betray this confidence. Since he returned to the leadership saddle for his second term in office, he has sustained the tempo of development in the state. Awka is gradually wearing a new look with charwomen everywhere, sweeping and cleaning streets and government offices. The State Secretariat, built by the previous APGA government, is not spared the effort at being spruced up. The parking lawns are now paved with interlocking stones while the entire buildings are being repainted to give the workers’ office a befitting look.

To the credit of the Governor the state is in a hurry to wear a new look. Within the Government House itself efforts are made to recreate the environment to befit the status of a government. A new International Conference Centre is also ongoing.
The people of Anambra state are thankful to God for giving them a governor who is imbued with probity, leadership qualities, humanness, and political sagacity. It is the prayer of many that he does not let up on the momentum of development within the next three years when he will be handing over to a successor. It is expected that if his successor keys into his development vision the road to an Anambra of our dream will be trod faster than thought possible. And Obiano will be joining the pantheon of Anambra greats.


Ezeani writes from Onitsha South

 

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SENATE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ORDER PAPER Wednesday, 17th April, 2019

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8TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 220 FOURTH SESSION NO. 98

SENATE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ORDER PAPER
Wednesday, 17th April, 2019

1. Prayers 2. Approval of the Votes and Proceedings 3. Oaths 4. Announcements (if any) 5. Petitions

PRESENTATION OF A BILL

1. National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 736) – First Reading Sen. Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai (Borno Central).

PRESENTATION OF A REPORT

1. Report of the Committee on Land Transport Labour Transportation Bill, 2019 (SB. 25) Sen. Olugbenga Ashafa (Lagos East) -That the Senate do receive the report of the Committee on Land Transport on the Labour Transportation Bill, 2019 (SB. 25) – To be Laid.

ORDERS OF THE DAY
MOTION

1. Withholding of Assent.

Senate Leader

The Senate:

Recalls that the President C-in-C had signified the withholding of his assent of the following Bills pursuant to section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended):

i. Petroleum Industry Governance) Bill, 2019;

ii. National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Bill, 2019;

iii. National Research and Innovation Council Bill, 2019;

iv. Stamp Duties Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019;

v. National Agricultural Seed Council Bill, 2019;
221 Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 98

vi. Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2019; and

vii. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2019;

Notes that the rational for withholding the assent borders on the observation of Mr. President on some clauses in the Bills;

Aware that a Technical Committee of the Senate had worked on Mr. President observations and have re drafted the affected Clauses;

Relying on order 88(b)(c) of the Senate Rule,

Accordingly resolves to:

Refer the Bills to the Committee of the Whole for consideration and passage.

CONSIDERATION OF BILLS

1. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 8) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 728) – Second Reading Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West). 2. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 15) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 729) – Second Reading Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West).

3. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 20) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 730) – Second Reading Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West).

4. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 22) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 731) – Second Reading Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West). 5. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 24) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 732) – Second Reading Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West).

6. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 28) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 733) – Second Reading Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West).

7. National Assembly Budget and Research Office Bill, 2019 (SB. 736) – Second Reading Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central).

8. A Bill for an Act to phase out Petrol Vehicles in 2035 and introduce Electric Cars and other matters connected thereto, 2019 (SB. 726) – Second Reading Sen. Ben Murray- Bruce (Bayelsa East).

9. A Bill for an Act to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow persons of African origin to acquire Nigerian Citizenship for purposes of re-integration and development and for other matters connected thereto, 2019 (SB. 727) – Second Reading Sen. Ben Murray- Bruce (Bayelsa East).

98 Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 222

10. A Bill for an Act to establish the Federal College of Forestry Technology and Research, Akamkpa, to provide full-time courses in Forestry Technology and other fields of studies and to make provisions for the general administration of the College and for other matters connected therewith, 2019 (SB. 707) – Second Reading Sen. Gershom H. Bassey (Cross River South).

11. A Bill for an Act to provide for the documentation and protection of Domestic Workers and Employers of domestic workers in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and for other related matters thereto, 2019 (SB. 696) – Second Reading Sen. Magnus Abe (Rivers South-East).

PRESENTATION AND CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS

1. Conference Committee Report Conditions of Service for National Assembly Staff Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central) -That the Senate do receive and consider the Conference Committee report on the Conditions of Service for National Assembly Staff.

2. Reports of the Committee on Police Affairs Police Reform Bill, 2019 (SB. 683) Sen. Tijjani Yahaya Kaura (Zamfara North) -That the Senate do consider the report of the Committee on Police Affairs on the Police Reform Bill, 2019 (SB. 683).

3. Report of the Committee on Health National Health Insurance Act 2003 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 278) Sen. Olanrewaju A. Tejuoso (Ogun Central) -That the Senate do consider the report of the Committee on Health on the National Health Insurance Act 2003 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 278).

4. Report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND Federal Colleges of Education Act 1986 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 562) Sen. Barau I. Jibrin (Kano North) -That the Senate do consider the report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND on the Federal Colleges of Education Act 1986 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 562).

5. Report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND JAMB Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 625) Sen. Barau I. Jibrin (Kano North) -That the Senate do consider the report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND on the JAMB Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 625).

6. Report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 172) Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central) -That the Senate do consider the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service on the Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB. 172).

7. Report of the Committee on Gas Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 337) Sen. Bassey A. Akpan (Akwa Ibom North-East -That the Senate do consider the report of the Committee on Gas on the Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 337).

8. Report of the Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters and Anti-Corruption & Financial Crimes Proceed of Crimes Bill, 2019 (SB. 376)

223 Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 98

Sen. David Umaru (Niger East) -That the Senate do consider the report of the Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights & Legal Matters and Anti-Corruption & Financial Crimes on the Proceed of Crimes Bill, 2019 (SB. 376).

9. Report of the Committee on Appropriations 2019 Appropriation Bill (SB. 721) Sen. Goje M. Danjuma (Gombe Central) -That the Senate do receive the report of the Committee on Appropriations on the 2019 Appropriation Bill (SB. 721) – To be Laid.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

No. Committee Date Time Venue

1. Ethics, Privileges and Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 3.00pm Committee Room 120 Public Petitions Senate New Building

2. Petroleum Sector Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 2.00pm Suite 3. 13 Chairman’s (Downstream) Office New Building

3. Petroleum Sector Thursday, 18th April, 2019 12.00non Committee Room 117 (Downstream) Senate New Building

4. Banking, Insurance & Other Thursday, 18th April, 2019 2.00pm Committee Room 211 Financial Institutions (Screening) Senate New Building

5. Banking, Insurance & Other Mon. 29th – Tue. 30th April, 2019 12.00noon Committee Room 211 Financial Institutions (Budget Defence) Senate New Building

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ICPC to appeal ruling on suspended SEC Director General

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) plans to appeal the ruling on the No Case Submission in the trial of suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Mounir Gwarzo and Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services, Zakawanu Garuba.
The duo were arraigned in June 2018 before Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf of Court 4 of the FCT High Court in a 5-Count charge bordering on fraud to the tune of about N115 million when Gwarzo was the DG-SEC.
ICPC alleged that Gwarzo received the sum of N104, 851,154.94 as severance benefits and N10milion excess car grant which he was not entitled to and therefore committed breach of trust and conferred a corrupt advantage upon himself. Garuba was accused of allegedly conniving with Gwarzo to commit the fraud because he approved the monies for him as an Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services in SEC then.
The defence counsel A.U.Mustapha (SAN) and Robert Emupkoeruo filed for a No Case Submission after the prosecuting counsel had brought forward their witnesses. The defence urged the court to hold that the prosecution was unable to prove the case against their client.
The court then upheld the No Case Submission of the defendants on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove the elements of the offence in that the Board of SEC was the highest authority in SEC and had by resolution approved the severance benefit and the car grant.
Further, the court finally discharged and acquitted the defendants on all the charges against them.
Meanwhile ICPC is dissatisfied with the judgment on the grounds that the Board resolution the trial judge relied on did not decide severance benefit but retirement and resignation benefit. The Notice of Appeal will be filed very soon.

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Five years on, 112 Chibok schoolgirls still missing

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MAIDUGURI. – The sleepy town of Chibok in Nigeria’s northeast continues to grapple with the seemingly endless wait for the return of more than 100 schoolgirls who were abducted by the armed group Boko Haram, five years ago on Sunday.
Life has not remained the same for the community, which still feels haunted by the April 14, 2014 kidnappings.
The town attracted international attention after Boko Haram fighters forcibly removed at least 276 girls from the government secondary girls school in Chibok town, prompting global outrage with various organisations and celebrities calling for their release.
In the first frantic minutes of their ordeal, 57 girls managed to jump from the trucks in which they were transported, and escaped. The remaining 219 were taken away by the fighters.
A social media campaign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls went viral and celebrities, leaders and activists across the world joined the campaign to free the kidnapped schoolgirls.

Five years after the Boko Haram attack, more than 112 girls are still missing.
Over the years, a total of 107 girls have been found or released as part of a deal between the Nigerian government and the armed group.
“They (the government) are not talking about our girls anymore. They are acting as if they are happy about what happened to us,” Enock Mark, whose two daughters are still missing, told Al Jazeera.
“We have lost hope in the government helping us. They have not shown any serious interest in ensuring that our daughters are found. It looks like it was done intentionally. They don’t care about us anymore,” he said.

“We won’t give up. Even in a hundred years, we will keep believing that our daughters will return home. Until we all die, we won’t stop believing that our daughters will come back.”
Mark and other parents of the missing girls still regularly make the difficult journey of nearly 900km to the nation’s capital, Abuja, for updates about their daughters.
The road leading to Chibok is often being targeted by Boko Haram with very little done by security agencies to protect commuters. The town has also come under repeated attacks by gunmen with buildings burned and some residents killed.
In recent years, the Nigerian government has come under immense criticism for doing very little to free the Chibok girls.
Some of the parents have died waiting for their daughters to return. Local media reports say they died of heart attacks and grief-related ailments. Others are still grieving and hoping their children will be found.
“There is great pain in our heart every day when we remember our missing daughters. We leave it to God to help us,” Mark said. “My wife has been finding it so difficult to cope without her children. She keeps crying every time she remembers her missing daughters. I have to keep consoling her,” he added.

At least 20 of the girls who escaped from Boko Haram have since moved to the US to continue their education. The remaining girls may have been forced to integrate with Boko Haram, Chibok community leaders say, adding that some may be ashamed to return home because they were forced to marry the fighters and have babies.
Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to “Western education is forbidden”, has waged an armed campaign in northeastern Nigeria since 2009. The group wants to establish an Islamic state, following a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
More than 27,000 people have been killed by the group and over two million others displaced from their homes. Over the years, the group has kidnapped thousands of adults and children. Most of those abducted are women who are used as sex slaves, while the men are often forcefully recruited as fighters.
The group has repeatedly attacked schools, churches, mosques and markets, but state institutions such as police stations and military facilities have remained primary targets.
They have used minors and veiled women for suicide bomb attacks, attacked people with car bombs and opened fire on civilians at public places. Boko Haram allegedly operates its largest camp in the vast Sambisa forest in Nigeria’s northeast.
The forest stretches for about 60,000 square kilometres in the southern part of the northeastern state of Borno, which has borne the brunt of Boko Haram’s violence. In August 2016, the group split into two after long-time leader Abubakar Shekau rejected an attempt by the a branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group’s Abu Musab al-Barnawi to replace him.
Al-Barnawi is believed to be the son of late Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf and used to be Boko Haram’s spokesperson. There are reports that Al-Barnawi has been removed as the factional leader.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised to crush Boko Haram during his first term election campaign in 2015.

But his administration has failed to end the decade-long violence, with increasing attacks on military bases and strategic towns.
Since 2014, Chibok has hosted hundreds of journalists, activists, security operatives and government delegations. Most of the advocacy groups that pleaded for the release of the girls have however gone quiet.
Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) has kept the campaign going, but the group has become smaller, seemingly having lost its punch. “It is quite challenging to sustain a singular core demand – #BringBackOurGirls – when facing a government that has taken up a disinterested and hostile stance for almost five years,” spokesperson of the Bring Back Our Girls group, Nifemi Onifade, told Al Jazeera.
“The drain of standing for the Chibok girls is real and heavy and so, many may have had various reasons over the years for their reduced commitments,” Onifade added.

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Aguleri , The Citadel Of Igbo Civilisation

 

Five years after Boko Haram kidnap, 112 Nigerian girls still missing

Announcements, Arts & Books

Driving Job Creation for Africa’s Youth:  Mentor to Watch.

Ada Osakwe, CEO of Agrolay Ventures

Ada is an award-winning food entrepreneur and investor. She was also a lead in the launch of the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) that supported the rise of a new cadre of food-entrepreneurs in Nigeria through training, mentorship and financing. Ada is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow.

In 2016, she was Entrepreneur of the Year and featured on Choiseul 100 Africa list consecutively from 2016 to 2018. She received the ‘Achiever in Agriculture’ Award and was on the 2014 Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa list. She is also a mentor on the Future Global Leaders Fellowship.

People

Uzodinma Iweala : CEO of The Africa Center in New York.

Uzodinma is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. He is the CEO of The Africa Center in New York, promoting a new narrative about Africa and its diaspora through a focus on culture, policy and business. He is the author of three books: Beasts of No Nation (2005), a novel also adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People (2012), a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about coming-of-age in Washington, D.C. His books have been mentioned by Time Magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Times and Rolling Stone. ‘Uzodinma Iweala completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and he earned a medical degree at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.’

 

 

ENTER NIGERIA Winning Sunday with The Young Netpreneur for the Week :Ken Nwadiogbu @kennwadio

 

Ken Nwadiogbu (b. 1994) is a Nigerian born Multidisciplinary Artist, popularly known as KenArt, whose practice is primarily centered around hyper-realistic drawings and works on paper.
Nwadiogbu believes that the society speaks- This voice inspires his art, which evaluates, interrogates and challenges socio-political structures and issues within the society. In his reply to this society, he is able to inspire one or two people to also re-valuate their socio-political structures as we know it. The desire to change his society and the way people think is what drives him to create art every day. Gender equality, African cultures, and Black power are a few aspects of his current research and artistic practice.
Nwadiogbu was born in Lagos, Nigeria and holds a B.Sc in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. His art career started in the university, and with no formal training, has pushed him to become one of the most interesting young contemporary artists from Nigeria, creating works that question life- calling out some of the problems and becoming very grounded in human consciousness..
Nwadiogbu has been featured in lots of local and international group exhibitions and fairs, including the Insanity exhibition, sponsored by Frot Foundation, in Omenka Gallery, Nigeria; the TMC’s It’s Not Furniture, curated by Winifred Okpapi; the Artyrama’s group exhibition curated by Mr Jess Castellote; Art X Lagos, sponsored by Artyrama Gallery, in Lagos, Nigeria; the Moniker Art Fair, sponsored by Creative Debuts, in Brooklyn, NYC; the Anti-Trump show organised in UK; the Afriuture Exhibition by Ramati Art Africa in association with Commonwealth Africa Summit, in Toronto, Canada; amongst many others. He has been televised and publicized on different platforms like Guardian Life, Tush Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Candid Magazine, Bored Panda, BBC, CNN, and more as well as inspiring and encouraging young creatives through public speaking appearances like TEDx. He co-founded Artists Connect NG, the largest Nigerian artist gathering that took place at Lekki Leisure Lake, in Lagos, Nigeria.
To Nwadiogbu, Art is indeed timeless, it is his solace and hiding place, a safe haven he has found to be devoid of restrictions, boxes and boundaries.

 


 

 

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