Abu Sidiq Declares For APC National Publicity Secretary, Says He Is The Man For The Job

Popular blogger, Abubakar Sidiq Usman, who is also known as Abu Sidiq has declared interest for the position of the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Abu Sidiq, who is an Urban Planner by training but has been in the media profession as a result of his love and passion said he is running for the position of National Publicity Secretary so project the party in a way that it will ”continue to hold sway at the centre and win even more states, the national and state assemblies and the local government.”

In his declaration address, the current head of Digital Media of the Buhari Media Organisation who was a member of the media committee of the APC Presidential Campaign Council in the 2015 elections said he will reposition and digitally transform the communication arm of the party if elected at the forth coming national convention of the APC.

His declaration statement read in full:

More than five years ago, political actors and gladiators from different parts of the country put heads together to birth what is known today as the All Progressives Congress. The purpose of that creation is “to construct a progressive state anchored on social democracy, where the welfare and security of citizens are paramount.” While the party has faced some challenges in achieving this well thought out objective especially coming into government at a time the nation was on the brink of collapse, there is no doubt that the governing All Progressives Congress is making a steady and sustainable progress in the nation’s development.

As the governing party makes progress in this direction, everything must be put in place to ensure that the process is not truncated. Doing this, will require that the party continue to hold sway at the centre and win even more states, the national and state assemblies and the local government. While this can be achieved by managing the process that enthrones efficient relationship with the Nigerian public, equally important is a highly skilled and experience person to drive that process.

It is on the basis of the above that I have decided to be of service to the party with the intent of joining hands with other officials to move it forward. It is therefore my pleasure to formally declare my intention to contest for the position of the National Publicity Secretary of our great party, the All Progressives Congress in the June 2018 national convention. 

I offer myself for this position with the readiness to deploy a different but an all-encompassing approach towards propagating the party’s values and ideologies. Over the years, I have demonstrated the ability and the capacity of a reputable media practitioner and this I have used to the great advantage of my party, the All Progressives Congress.

Having held the position of Communication Director of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF), served as a member of the media committee of the 2015 Presidential Campaign Council of our great party and currently head the digital media unit of the Buhari Media Organisation in addition to my vast experience in managing media for individuals and organisations, I have the requisite knowledge to function effectively in this office.

I am convinced about my active involvement in the formation, growth and success of our great party and believe that I am committed and loyal enough to join others to further reposition our Party for the tasks ahead especially in the management of her image.

My mission is to introduce a political public relations mechanism that encompasses a two way process that will be both beneficial to the party, her members and the Nigerian public. Information on happenings in the party will be passed to the public and in return give the party insights into public opinions about its plans, programmes and activities. In addition to that, I intend to synergise the media and communication relationship between the party organs at the national, state, local government and ward level on one hand and the various arms of government on the other hand.

I shall also use my years of media experience and expertise to employ relevant and target based communication techniques that will spread the political influence of the party. A good example will be in the usage of famous and successful people to speak on critical issues of the party.

With a good understanding of the place of media management for a political party, I will strive to set agenda that will maximize positive press coverage and minimize the negative ones for the party. I will also manage the political image of the party in a manner that will promote trust and match the interest of the party with that of the public.

My intention to run, having received the endorsement of young members of the party and other critical stakeholder cutting across class and demography, is not only an advantage to the party, but also an opportunity to revive the hope of Nigerian youth who may have lost hope in participating in activities that defines their future. Apart from my resolve to reposition and digitally transform the communication arm of the party, I believe that my election as the National Publicity Secretary will satisfy the call for youth inclusion in politics and governance and encourage young people to join the APC.

As I take on this bold step, I express my commitment to be an engaging National Publicity Secretary that will work to create transparency about how the party operates and be an advocate for all party members. I will use my position to engage Nigerians and initiate engagement with the Nigerian youths on ways to galvanize actions towards moving Nigeria forward.

Long live the All Progressives Congress (APC)

Thank you and God bless

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Kwara Murder Gang: Police Warn Saraki Against Plot To Frustrate Investigation

The Police, on Wednesday, urged the public to disregard allegations made by Senate President Bukola Saraki against the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris that the latter is trying to “frame and implicate” him.

Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, in a statement distributed to pressmen expressed “shock” at the “unbelievable claims, unverifiable allegations and unfounded accusations being peddled against the IGP by the Senate President”, stating “categorically” that there is no iota of truth in them.

Recall that Saraki, at the plenary of the Senate on Wednesday morning, stated that some cultists who were arrested in Kwara State, and linked to strings of killings in the state, were transferred to Abuja, in a sinister plan allegedly orchestrated by the IGP to implicate him.

However, Moshood, in the statement, warned the Senate President against frustrating raising false alarm, stating that “Until investigation is concluded, any person (s) or group(s) who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence.”

According to the Police, the suspects were arrested in Kwara State and paraded before the press in Ilorin, the state capital, last week Friday.

“The suspects admitted and confessed before the press and the public to have killed Eleven (11) innocent persons in kwara State and other States of the country,” it added.

Mr Moshood listed the suspects arrested and paraded in Ilorin before being moved to Abuja today as follows: Abolaji Safti Ojulari of Kankatu area, Ilorin; Lanre Mohammed Soliu a.k.a Askari of Ile Nda Compound, Ilorin; Azeez Moyaki of Moyaki Compound, Gambari Area Ilorin and Suleiman Babatunde of Gambari Area, Ilorin.

Yusuf Habeeb of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin and Umar Yahaya of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin are also amongst the suspects arrested.

Those allegedly killed by the “assassin gang” according to Mr Moshood included: Bukola Ajikobi, killed on 18/01/2016 at Ajikobi area in Ilorin; Azeez Lawal, killed in February, 2018 at Oja Oba area of Ilorin; Lateef (Surname unknown) killed February 2018 at Ode Alfa Nda area of Ilorin; Jamiu (Surname unknown) killed in February 2018 at Idi Ape area, Ilorin.

Others were: Segun (Surname unknown) killed in September, 2017 at Kankatu area of Ilorin; Wasiu (Surname unknown) killed in September 29, 2016 at Shao Garage of Ilorin; Musiliu (Surname unknown) killed in February, 2018 at Shao Area Ilorin; Bayo Ajia, killed in January 18, 2018 at Taiwo Road, Ilorin; Another Lateef killed in January 2016 at Baboko Area of Ilorin; Abbey a student of Kwara Polytechnic killed in April, 2017 at Niger Road, Ilorin and Lanre (Surname unknown) killed on 23rd August, 2015 at Isale Aluko Area of Ilorin.

Mr Moshood said there was nothing particularly curious or special about the transfer, saying suspects arrested over the mayhem and killings of innocent people in Ile-Ife, Osun State and those arrested in Southern Kaduna crisis and Zaki-biam killings in Benue State were all transferred to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation before they were arraigned in court.

The full statement:

RE: STATEMENT BY SENATE PRESIDENT INTIMATING SENATORS OF PLOT AGAINST HIM BY IGP IBRAHIM K. IDRIS, NPM, mni

“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to Press Statement credited to the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON of PLOT AGAINST HIM BY IGP’.

“The Nigeria Police Force is shocked at the unbelievable claims, unverifiable allegations and unfounded accusations being peddled against the IGP by the Senate President, accusing the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris, NPM, mni of plot and strategies against him to settle scores.

“The Force therefore wishes to categorically state that, there is no iota of truth in the allegation and false assertion by the Senate President of plot against him by the IGP to implicate the Kwara State Government and the Senate President in any criminal matter. Until investigation is concluded, any person (s) or group(s) who tries to interfere in the investigation process by action or utterances is committing an offence.

“To set the records straight, the Kwara State Police Command on the 11th of May, 2018, paraded the following suspects before the Media and the Public, namely;

i.      Abolaji Safti Ojulari of Kankatu area, Ilorin.

ii.      Lanre  Mohammed Soliu a.k.a Askari of Ile Nda Compound, Ilorin.

iii.      Azeez Moyaki of Moyaki Compound, Gambari Area Ilorin.

iv.      Suleiman Babatunde of Gambari Area, Ilorin.

v.      Yusuf Habeeb of Kangile Village, Kulende, Ilorin.

vi.      Umar Yahaya of Kangile Village, Kulende,  Ilorin.

“The suspects admitted and confessed before the press and the public to have killed Eleven (11) innocent persons in kwara State and other States of the country. The victims according to the suspects were targeted and killed on the instructions of their sponsors. Find attached names of victims killed in cold blood (i) Bukola Ajikobi killed on 18/01/2016 at ajikobi Area in Ilorin (ii) Azeez Lawal killed in February, 2018 at Oja oba area of Ilorin (iii) Lateef (Surname unknown) killed February, 2018 at Ode Alfa Nda area of Ilorin (iv) Jamiu (Surname unknown) killed in February 2018 at idi ape area, Ilorin (v) One segun (Surname unknown) killed in September, 2017 at kankatu area of Ilorin (vi) Wasiu (Surname unknown) killed in September 29, 2016 at Shao garage of Ilorin (vii) Musiliu (Surname unknown) killed in February, 2018 at Shao Area Ilorin (viii) Bayo Ajia killed in January 18, 2018 at taiwo Road, Ilorin (ix) Another Lateef killed in January 2016 at Baboko Area of Ilorin (x) Abbey a student of Kwara Polytechnic killed in April, 2017 at Niger Road, Ilorin (xi) Lanre (Surname unknown) killed on 23rd August, 2015 at Isale Aluko Area of Ilorin.

“Consequent upon the public confessions of these vicious and notorious killer squad to the killings in cold blood of more than Eleven (11) innocent people in Kwara State and other States of the Federation, the statutory procedure and practice in the Force is that such a heinous crime and capital offence is transferred to the Force Headquarters for further investigation. This is to enable a thorough and discreet investigation into the crime.

“However, it is pertinent to state that, there is no vested interest by the Inspector General of Police in the ongoing investigation into the several murders committed by this killer gang, other than ensuring that justice prevails in the matter. Nobody, no matter how highly placed would be allowed to interfere or obstruct Police investigation to pervert the course of justice.

“It is also imperative to let the public know that last year, suspects arrested over the mayhem and killings of innocent people in Ile-Ife, Osun State and those arrested in Southern Kaduna crisis in Kaduna State and suspects arrested in connection with Zaki-biam killings in Benue State were all transferred to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation before they were arraigned in court of competent jurisdiction. Therefore, transferring this hired assassin gang masquerading as cultists in kwara State to Force Headquarters, Abuja for further investigation is in accordance with Police investigation procedures.

“It is also important to underscore that the statement credited to the Senate President can dissuade and discourage living victims/deceased families of those who must have been killed by this vicious hired assassin gang from coming forward to give evidence against them.

“The Nigeria Police Force hereby implores members of the general public to disregard and discountenance the claim of plot by the IGP against the Senate President as a ruse, unfortunate and an attempt to divert Police investigation into the killings of more than Eleven (11) innocent people from kwara State and other States of the Federation in the recent past by the killer squad who operate under the guise of a cult group.

“The Force will leave no stone unturned and will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure justice in this matter, no matter whose ox is gored.

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Group Urges US Govt To Investigate Saraki’s Aide, Wife Over ‘Multi-Million-Naira Ghost Worker Scam’

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Center), has asked the United States Dept. of Justice in Washington DC, to investigate an alleged ghost worker scam by the wife of an aide to the Senate President, Mr. Bamikole Omishore.

In a petition sent to the US Department and signed by Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, its Chairman, HEDA said it had attached necessary documents to the petition, urging the US to carry out an investigation of fraud and money laundering into the above mentioned case.

The petition read: “According to the PUNCH report of April 22, 2018, it was reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has begun ‘taking necessary action’ on a petition against Mr. Bamikole Omishore, the Special Adviser on International Relations to Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, and his wife, Abiola Aiyegbayo-Omishore, over an alleged ghost worker scam.

“Documents submitted to the EFCC showed that Omishore, who has been working with Senator Saraki since 2015, allegedly listed his wife as a Grade Level 12 employee of the National Assembly, though she is confirmed to be a nurse in the United States. The petition, signed by Abba El-Mustapha on behalf of Youths United against Corruption in Nigeria, claimed that Omishore’s wife had been collecting salaries to the tune of N150,000 for nearly three years through her Guaranty Trust Bank account 0147896921 with the name ‘Abiola Aiyegbayo’.

“Documents made available to SUNDAY PUNCH showed that most of the salary payments were made on the same day, thereby arousing suspicion. For example, the salaries for January, with file number S0723 and February 2017 also with file number S0723, were paid on April 10, 2017. The petition read in part, “Documents made available by a whistle-blower showed that Mr. Bamikole Omishore, one of the aides to Senate President Bukola Saraki, has made millions of Naira through the complex but criminal scheme

“Omishore registered his US-based wife, Abiola Omishore, on the payroll of the National Assembly, using her maiden name, Abiola Joy Aiyegbayo. Her social media accounts and even posts by her husband proved that she is not based in Nigeria.”

The petitioner was said to have further alleged that Omishore’s wife had an identity card showing she was an employee of the National Assembly, while all her profiles online never reflected that she had worked with the Assembly.

The petition further stated: “On this account, HEDA is calling on you to carry out an investigation of fraud and money laundering into the above mentioned against Mr. Omishore and Mrs. Abiola aiyegbayo- Omishore. It is important to investigate into how Mrs. Abiola Omishore is able to maintain full employment in two different countries and draws monthly salaries in both countries.”

 

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Delta APC Ward Congress: How Kutugi, Mahmud Allegedly Cart Away 100 Result Sheets

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Ward Congress may have come and gone, but the aftermaths of the party’s congress has left chaos, irregularities, kidnapping, and alleged case of conspiracy and theft within its members.

In Delta State, the ward congress was scheduled to commence on Saturday May 5 at 9am, but in the process of sorting out the electoral materials for distribution to the 270 wards in the state for conduct of the congress, Chairman of the Ward and Local Government Congress Committee, Alhaji Sani Dododo discovered that 100 out of the 270 Ward Result Sheet Booklets were stolen.

Abusidiqu gathered that the electoral materials were kept in the custody of the Committee’s Secretary, Mr Usman Kutugi at his hotel room in Orchids Hotel, Asaba, to the exclusion of any other person.

While at this, State Chairman of the Party, Prophet Jones Ode Erue, reportedly received WhatsApp messages and pictures from one Godwin, revealing pictures of the booklets which were allegedly in possession of Engineer Sam Adjogbe, Executive Director, Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The messages also revealed how Adjoge transferred the electoral materials to another Engineer Leo Obobi, Acting State Publicity Secretary, some other unidentified persons in a hotel in Ugheli Local Government area of the State

To unravel the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of the booklets from Kutugi’s hotel room in Asaba, to another hotel in Ugheli, a one hour drive from Asaba, the Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Mustafa, dispatched a team of Crime Detectives to the scene of the missing items.

The process to unravel the missing 100 results booklets recorded a violent reaction from opposition camp allegedly sponsored by Olorogun Otega Emerhor and Hon. Victor Ochei, as over 400 heavily armed thugs laid siege on Orchids hotel, demanding that the remaining congress materials be released to them.

Abusidiqu gathered that the refusal of the Congress Committee Chairman to yield to the thugs request left many injured including Dr. Janet Oyubu, State Women Leader;  Comrade Chuks Erhire Director General of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege’s Constituency Office; Mr Julius Akpovoka Efeni, and Barrister Ejiro Etaghene.

However, the immediate deployment of mobile forces by the State’s police command restored peace and security to the hotel and environs.

Due to the missing electoral materials, the Committee Chairman, rescheduled the congress for Sunday May 6, which was duly observed by officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and was reported peaceful except in Ugheli South Ward 10, where a Chairmanship aspirant was allegedly murdered by unknown gunmen.

While waiting for the collation of results from the field, Chairman of the Congress Committee discovered that two members of the congress committee, Mr. Kutugi, and Kassim Mahmud, a member of the committee were nowhere to be found. It became a cause of concern as both were in possession of the remaining sensitive materials which include the summary result sheets.

Again, the Congress Chairman, Mr. Dododo reported their sudden disappearance to the Police and the Department of State Security Service (DSS). The deployment of tracking devices to monitor their phones revealed they were in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State while they were supposed to be in Asaba, Delta State, for the APC ward congress.

Meanwhile, the police incident report on the disappearance of the missing booklets, exclusively obtained by Abusidiqu read: “We note that preliminary findings at Orchids Hotel where the Committee was staying revealed that the Secretary’s (Kutugi) room was not burgled or broken into. The hotel’s Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) camera footages showed that the Secretary (as the last occupant of the room) left the room with a big loaded Ghana-Must-Go bag and returned to his room with the bag empty.”

The police report added that Mr. Kutugi and Mr. Mahmoud absconded to unknown destination with all the necessary and sensitive election materials till the end of all the ward congress in the state without any explanation.

“From the investigation carried out, it’s clear that Mr. Usman Kutugi and Mr. Kasheem Mamoud have been bought over to compromise the result of the ward congress. A case of kidnapping cannot be established against Mr. Kutugi and Mr Mamoud.

“Based on the sudden disappearance of Mr. Usman Kutugi. The Chairman of the Congress Committee applied doctrine of necessity to collect the result from all the Wards in the presence of the State Party Chairman and all other Stakeholders involved in the exercise and declared the result on Monday 7th 2018,” a report signed by the Delta State Police Commissioner reads.

It added: “It is evidently clear that Mr. Kutugi and Mr. Mamoud were not kidnapped but compromised their responsibilities and a case of Conspiracy and Stealing of the Congress sensitive materials have been established against them.”

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Diezani, Omokore, Aluko Stole $3bn From NNPC – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last night named those whom he alleged stole $3 billion from oil lifted in a strategic alliance contract by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Osinbajo, in a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, named them as a former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison-Madueke, Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko.

The Peoples Democratic Party had last Wednesday challenged Osinbajo to name the three persons he claimed to have stolen the money.

The vice president said Diezani, Omokore and Aluko made away with the money, and that royalties and taxes were also not paid, adding that none of them had come out to make any denial.

“We all know about the $2.1 Billion arms equipment scandal that was investigated, it is being used in the case against the former NSA, this also happened under the previous administration.

“We have released a number of names of people who have been found with questionable funds, allegedly looted from the public till, and some of them, in some instances have actually refunded money that they couldn’t explain where it came from. We have tons and tons of evidence of how under the previous administration grand corruption was the order of the day,” he said.

Reacting to the warning by the PDP that he should stop tagging its leaders and members as thieves, he said it was “a show of shame to have a group of politicians trying to confuse Nigerians and trying to shift the blame. Nigerians are well aware of their antics, and Nigerians have a right to demand accountability from the government, and we’ll not relent until justice is gotten for the Nigerian people on this matter…So, the PDP folks cannot fool Nigerians, they can fool themselves, but Nigerians know what the truth is, and they know who to believe.

“And so any attempt to try to confuse Nigerians is a wasted effort, because Nigerians know exactly who to trust and who to believe. It is a shame that the PDP thinks they can fool Nigerians; it is not going to happen.”

The vice president said Nigerians cannot be fooled by the calculated attempt befuddle the issues, deny and deflect the weighty allegations and the hard facts of grand corruptions and crass stealing that went on under the past administration.

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China Seals 15 bln Yuan Currency Swap Deal With Nigeria

China’s central bank said on Thursday it has signed a three-year bilateral currency swap agreement with Nigeria worth 15 billion yuan ($2.36 billion).

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said on its website the swap deal will facilitate trade and investment, and safeguard stability of financial markets of both countries.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping back in 2016.

Confirming the swap, which has taken two years to negotiate, a statement released Thursday by CBN spokesman Mr. Isaac Okorafor said the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, led CBN officials while PBoC Governor, Dr. Yi Gang, led the Chinese team at the official signing ceremony in Beijing on Friday, April 27.

The transaction which is valued at Renminbi (RMB) 16 billion, or the equivalent of about $2.5bn, is aimed at providing adequate local currency liquidity to Nigerian and Chinese industrialists and other businesses, thereby reducing the difficulties encountered in the search for third currencies, said the statement.

Nigeria’s central bank has said it plans to diversify its foreign exchange reserves away from the dollar by switching a stockpile into yuan. It converted up to a tenth of its reserves into yuan five years ago.

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How Jonathan’s Aides Embezzle $6m Yearly From NPA – Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has revealed how some powerful aides of immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan embezzle $6 million yearly from the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) charges.

In her recently released book, “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines”, Okonjo-Iweala said she became a target of very powerful interests after she sought and got approval from Jonathan for the implementation of the ports reforms, which include the abolishing of a Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) a regime which importers argued added costs to them for duplicate services.

Excerpts: “During my second month in office in September 2011, the issue of port congestion Okonjo-Iwealawas brought to the attention of the Economic Management team by members of Nigeria’s organised private sector, especially the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) as a serious impediment to doing business. Importers were irate about a Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) regime which they argued added costs to them for duplicate services.

“They said that their cargos were already being tracked by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) from origin to destination, so then; there was no reason for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to collect this charge. Upon enquiry, we learned that charges totalled about $6 million a year, so this was consequential. I had never seen this money remitted to the treasury and, in fact, had not known of the existence of the CTN. We recommended that the CTN be abolished immediately.

“On October 14, 2011, the Minister of Transport and I sent a memo to the President that outlined the short, medium and long term problems of Nigeria’s ports, proposed solutions and requested approval for implementation shortly thereafter. Then the problems began. I received an anonymous text telling me the port reforms were bad and harmful and I should rescind them. I learned that some agencies such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and others that had been told to develop alternative collaborative arrangements with the Customs to take care of their responsibilities while staying out of the ports were not happy and were lobbying to be let back into the ports.

“About six weeks into the implementation of the port reforms, in early December 2011, I received a message that a top-ranking presidential aide wanted me to stop by his office anytime I was in the Villa.”

The former Director of World Bank further disclosed that she was locked out of the Villa for refusing to obey the order given by the unnamed influential aide in Jonathan’s administration to restore the CTN with immediate effect.

 

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Ekiti Workers Resort To Begging Over Unpaid Salaries

Civil servants in Ekiti state are currently in a state of distress and poverty due to nonpayment of their salaries and bonuses by the state governor, Ayodele Fayose.

Workers at the state level are owed six months while local government workers and primary school teachers are yet to get September 2017 salary making it eight months of no pay, Radio Nigeria reports.

This development has however turned many of the serving workers and pensioners to beggars while majority of them could not feed well, pay house rent and school fee of their children.

At every bus stop in Ado Ekiti, particularly in morning and during close of work, civil servants were always stranded begging for lift to their destinations due to lack of money for transportation.

President Nigeria Union of local government Employee (NULGE), Mr Bunmi Ajimoko said the union had recorded untimely death of members while the health of majority of them had deteriorated due to depression and lack of balance diet.

Some other labour leaders who spoke on the development said it was unfortunate that workers who were the engine room of government could be treated with so much disdain.

In an interview, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Ekiti State, Mr Raymond Adesanmi lamented that aside the backlog of unpaid salaries many workers have been denied promotion appealing to Governor Ayodele Fayose to attend to their plights before leaving office.

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FLASHBACK: “The Trouble With Our Youths Is That They Sleep Too Much” Late OBAFEMI AWOLOWO’s Speech In 1974

“We are all gathered here this morning to witness the launching of Gani Fawehinmi’s new book People’s Right To Free Education At All Levels.
It is not my place to review this book: this is a task reserved for literary critics, one of whom I am not. But after a careful study of the book, I feel able to say, in all seriousness and truth, that PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO FREE EDUCATION AT ALL LEVELS is not only extremely readable and instructive, but also a very timely and telling contribution to a long-drawn debate on a great national and ideological issue which now appears to be approaching the happy climax of unanimous acceptability.

I strongly commend this book to every Nigerian, indeed to anyone m the so-called under-developed countries, who wants to take part in the debate on, or who merely desires to educate himself as to, why education at all levels should be free to all.

The author, Mr. Gani Fawehinmi deserves to be warmly congratulated for the industry and diligence which he has put into researching for and writing this valuable book.

As is well-known, Gani is a brilliant and busy advocate as well as a jurist of growing reputation. That he is able to MAKE THE TIME, I repeat MAKE THE TIME, in the midst of his exacting and crowded professional activities, to write a scholarly and thoughtful book like this, should be an object lesson to all those young people who work for only about 8 hours a day, and still complain of lack of time to devote to study and creative sidelines.
Says Napoleon: ‘Three hours’ sleep is enough for any man’.

The trouble with many of our youths is that they sleep too much; play too much; and indulge too much in idle chatter and gossip.

In is connection, my advice to every educated young Nigerian is that he should take each day as a sacred unit which must not be misused or dissipated, and see to it that, out of the 24 hours available to him, he spends at least 8 concentrated hours on work, plus at least 8 hours in serious study, creative leisure and self-development. Eight hours are enough for feeding, relaxation, and sleep.

On an occasion like this, when the platform is People’s Right To Free Education At All Levels it is appropriate to say a few words on some of the weightier aspens of the Compulsory Universal Primary Education which the Federal Military Government has decided to introduce in the near future.

The inalienability of free education as a fundamental human right, and the economic, political, and other advantages which are accruable from education for all our citizens have been fully and competently dealt with by Gani. I do not, therefore, want to take any of your time to restate these points.

But there are three important aspects of this matter which I would like to take this opportunity to stress.
The first is that, whatever may be our beliefs, predilections or ideological orientation in the matter, once we accept Compulsory Universal Primary Education as a necessary national policy and are desirous of raising the standard and quality of teachers and teaching in all our primary schools, we must, as wise and practical people, realise that free education at the other two levels (that is, secondary and post-secondary levels) ipso facto becomes an inevitable and indispensable prerequisite of the successful launching and operation of the CUPE.

In this connection, having regard to the experience acquired from elsewhere and, in particular, from the preparations for and operation of free primary education in the Western State during the past 20 years; and, in any case having regard to the need to raise the quality of teachers and the standard of instruction in all our primary schools, I am assuming, among other things, (i) that only teachers not below Grade II would be allowed to teach, in future, in all our primary schools; (ii) that candidates for a two-year teacher training course would only be those who have already gone through a Secondary Grammar or Secondary Technical course and have passed the School Certificate Examinations; (iii) That about 60,000 additional teachers (that is double our present rate of annual output of teachers and three times the number of annual passes in the West African School Certificate Examinations) of the requisite qualifications would be required on the introduction of the CUPE scheme; (iv) that the headmasters of every primary school would be a university graduate in education, or holder of National Certificate of Education; and (v) that, to ensure, as much as possible, a uniform quality among the products of all our Secondary Schools and Teacher Training Colleges, only university graduates in education, or holders of National Certificate of Education will be allowed to teach in any of our Secondary Grammar and Secondary Technical Schools, and Teacher Training Colleges, throughout the country.

If Nigeria sincerely intends, firmly and consistently, to tread the path of economic development, it must seek deliberately to reduce the number of people working in the agricultural sector as well as modernise the means and improve the terms of employment in this sector; it must also, simultaneously, provide sufficient employment of the opportunities in the manufacturing and services sectors for the labour force displaced from the farms; and, in order to ensure efficient performances in all the sectors of the economy, it must also educate and train the reduced labour force in the primary sector as well as the released labour force which is being absorbed into the secondary and tertiary sectors.

All these can only be done by embarking on Free Education at all levels NOW.

We have told ourselves, again and again, that we are a people in a hurry. Indeed we are. And, thank goodness, that we have the manpower and natural resources to accomplish, in the economic-development race, such shining records as have been set by Japan and the USSR.

In other words, it is within our power to transform this dear land of ours into a developed country within the next twenty-five years at the most.
However, we must not be deceived. Unless we introduce free education at all levels NOW, this great objective would elude us: The majority of our people would, in spite of our oil boom, continue to wallow in abject peasantry and poverty; and, at the turn of the century, we would probably still be numbered among the most poverty-stricken of the under- developed nations of the world.

Full text of the address delivered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo at the launching ceremony of Mr. Gani Fawehinmi’s new book, entitled ‘People’s Right To Free Education At All Levels’, which took place at Ondo Town Hall on Saturday, 27thJuly, 1974, at 11.00 a.m.

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Saraki, Dogara, Adeosun, AGF In Alleged N10 Billion Fraud – Premium Times

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, in collusion with the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, are engulfed in a mess with an illegal withdraw of N10 billion from the nation’s treasury and shared among Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yaubu Dogara.

In an exclusive report by Premium Times, the N10 billion was not appropriated, and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, an affront on the anti-graft war of the Presidency.

Recall that the National Assembly already budgeted N125 billion in the 2017 fiscal year for recurrent and capital expenditures.

Apart from the N10billion cash given to the two leaders of the National Assembly, another N485million was released for a project conceived by Mr. Saraki – construction of model junior secondary schools across Kwara Central Senatorial District.

Four hundred and fifty million naira (N450million) was approved for the project in the 2017 appropriation law. But an additional N35million cash was released for its execution, in clear breach of the law, Premium Times reported.

To take possession of the illegal N10billion cash given to them by Mrs. Adeosun, Messrs Saraki and Dogara submitted a list of 82 contractors which they claimed the National Assembly was owing and the amount due to each contractor. It was based on that single document that the cash management office at the finance ministry funelled the huge cash to the lawmakers.

Mrs Adeosun failed to do further due diligence such as asking the lawmakers to provide award of contract letters, Certificates of No Objection issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement and job completion certificates issued by the National Assembly.

Finance ministry insiders described the action as deceitful and illegal, saying since the National Assembly has its own budget, which is usually a first-line charge on the federal treasury, any other cash released to it is extra-budgetary and unlawful.

Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES showed that at least 44 of the 82 contractors Messrs Saraki and Dogara claimed they were owing were not registered on the National Database of Contractors, a database of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). That means they are not eligible to be awarded federal contracts. A further check by this newspaper revealed that 17 of the 44 firms were not even registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

National Assembly sources said the contractors were indeed awarded jobs but that some of them had already been paid while while pending payments were already provided for in the federal legislature’s own budget.

When contacted for explanation, Mrs. Adeosun referred Premium Times enquiries to the Accountant-General, Mr. Idris. After three days , the accountant-general sent the medium a written response saying the controversial payment was sourced from a N20 billion service-wide vote “provided for local contractors’ liabilities under the 2017 Appropriation for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and institutions of Government.”

But while it is true that N20billion was appropriated for the payments of local contractors, experts say it was illegal to pay those hired by the National Assembly from the funds.

Messrs Saraki and Dogara declined to comment for this story. Their spokespersons, Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan, directed all enquiries on the matter to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori.

But Mr. Sani-Omolori did not answer multiple calls made to him. He also failed to answer a text message sent to him by Premium Times reporter.

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Exclusive: How Suspended Staff Made Away With Billions Of NEMA Funds – FG Source

As the controversy trailing the suspension of seven staff of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) by the agency’s governing board continues to generate varied reactions, details of how the indicted officials misappropriated sums totaling over a billion naira, about $284,000 and £95,000, are emerging.

Indeed top government sources disclosed last night that the suspended officers had hurriedly and illegally taken the matter to the House of Representatives in a pre-emptive move designed to stonewall the ongoing EFCC investigations in the hope that they could possibly cover up their misdeeds.

But an authoritative report on the matter submitted to the Presidency over the matter by agencies involved in the investigations and activities of the suspended directors point to ” clear cases of abuse of office, graft and collusion on the part of the NEMA directors.

This is in direct contradiction to the impressions of innocence created last week regarding the 7 suspended staff of the agency by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

Said an informed source in the case  “the indicted officials indeed have genuine cases to answer, actually some of the officers have made confessional statements, while others could simply not explain the money and properties already traced to them.”

The source added: “Based on the facts contained in the report, their claim of innocence cannot be substantiated and the presumed understanding they are getting from the House of Representatives is indeed a true reflection of the current state of affairs in Nigeria, where the most corrupt often seek to cover their misdeed by pointing accusing fingers at others.”

Details of the report revealed that the affected persons, in league with the former Director General of NEMA may have formed an alliance with certain already identified House Committee members and illegally procured and stole various papers from NEMA files in their bid to exonerate themselves and challenge their suspension, claiming they were innocent whistleblowers being victimized by the board.

While the impression at the House last week presents the indicted officials as victims of circumstance, “the reality is rather different and there is evidence now accruing to government that the action of the some in the House may be an attempt to protect the suspended directors in an unwholesome deal, which is already causing ripples even in the National Assembly.”

A query being raised in the Presidency is about the need for some in the House to be involved in what is certainly an illegal removal of official documents through the staff and their acceptance by some in the House, when the House had  “the constitutional powers to access the document but resort otherwise.”

The report submitted to the Presidency shows the enormity of the crimes committed by the officials which comprised misappropriation of public funds, frivolous claims of personal emoluments and conspiracy with the other officials to short-change the Federal Government of due revenues, among others.

Regarding the former NEMA DG, Mr. Sani Sidi, for instance, it was indicated that he maintained 20 different accounts in various banks, despite his public servant status.  “EFCC found suspicious deposits amounting to 164,000 US Dollars in his domiciliary account at Standard Chartered Bank alone, all within 18 months, i.e., between January 2014 and June 2015.

This almost averages out at $10,000 per month. At the same time, he had up to £58,000 in his Pound Sterling Account. He faces allegations of misappropriation of public funds, frivolous claims of personal emoluments and conspiracy with the other officials to short-change the Federal Government of due revenues.

Also indicted and suspended is the Director of Finance and Accounts, Akinbola Hakeem Gbolahan who also maintains many bank accounts with questionable transactions. EFCC, the report indicated, has noted in particular his account in GTBank where suspicious deposits were found, totaling N27, 650,000 which is, in addition, the over £37,000 and $120,000 found in his domiciliary accounts, and his Naira account which has several suspicious deposits in excess of N50 million, much of which flowed directly from NEMA.

For the Ag. Director of Special Duties, Mr Umesi Emenike, findings from the report revealed that funds meant for programmes and maintenance of the South-South Zone operations of NEMA under his supervision were paid directly into his personal accounts (14 of them have been discovered by EFCC in various banks), instead of the Zonal Office Account.

And he was found to have withdrawn freely in cash, by electronic transfers or through ATM Machines, without any evidence of the money being used for NEMA activities.

Also according to the report, his subordinate, the Zonal Accountant, also made several cash lodgements into the personal account of Mr. Emenike. About N238, 000,000 has so far been traced from NEMA directly to Mr. Emenike’s personal accounts which were placed in fixed deposits and used freely by the Ag. Director.

The report also revealed that the Director of Risk Reduction, Mr Alhassan Nuhu, also maintained 5 bank accounts which were apparently used as conduits to receive and distribute money from NEMA coffers.

According to the report, so far, Mr. Nuhu has not been able to give satisfactory account of the transactions, including NEMA Funds moving through him to a company called Dambo Farms Limited.

The case of the Pilot in charge of NEMA’s Air Ambulance is especially interesting. His name is Mamman Ali Ibrahim. On his own, he commercialized both the NEMA Air Ambulance and Helicopter. The report further indicates that EFCC traced at least N285 million to him, of which only N63 million was paid to the Accountant General’s Office and another N11 million was paid to NEMA, but the rest cannot be accounted for.

According to the report, some of the money was however channeled to his family members through his company, Aerocare West Africa Limited, while others in foreign exchange were directly traced to the former DG’s accounts.

The report also indicted the Chief Maintenance Officer; Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji who was in charge of fuel supplies to NEMA Generators and was found to have been receiving regular returns into his personal account from the supplier, Rekimat Global Resource Limited. It was also noted in the report that since Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa was suspended, the fuel that used to last for one week now lasts for more than a month.

There is also the case of M. Kanar Mohammed, the Director of Welfare. His six bank accounts were found to be replete with NEMA funds, including a N214 million meant for displaced traditional rulers in the North East, N184 million paid by him to one Crystal Chambers and N29.5 million paid by him to a former Minister, Abdul Bulama.

The report, however, indicated that all the indicted officers are still under investigation mainly by EFCC and their suspension was obviously to ensure they don’t remain in office to tamper with evidence in the process of due investigation.

It is therefore expected that the final report of investigation will soon be ready, following which the 7 NEMA suspended directors will face “for sure criminal prosecution.”

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Only 15 Of The Remaining 113 Abducted Chibok Girls Are Still Alive, Journalist Reveals

Ahmed Salkida, a Nigerian journalist who has reported extensively on the Boko Haram insurgency has revealed that only 15 of the remaining 113 Chibok girls still in captivity are alive.

Salkida stated this in a series of tweets on his twitter account on Saturday while explaining the present circimstances surrounding the whereabout of the girls.

According to him, many of the girls “died as a result of cross fires and bombardments of the security forces that no doubt were intent on rescuing them.”

He said the remaining ones are no longer under the control of the factional leader of the Boko Haram insurgents group, Abubakar Shekau, but has been married off to some of the leaders of the sect.

More than 270 girls were kidnapped by the group from a school in the north-eastern town of Chibok. In September 2017, a group of more than 100 were reunited with their families at a party in the capital Abuja.

A separate group of 21 girls were freed in October 2016 after negotiations with Boko Haram.

More than 50 managed to escape on the day they were captured, mostly by jumping off lorries and running off into the bushes.

Narrating how the girls were abducted from their school and the failed efforrs by the Jonathan govt to rescue them, Salkida said only the husbands the girls are married to can decide their fate.

“Four years ago, a middle ranking BH commander led dozens of fighters in search of food and other supplies in the remote town of Chibok, like an afterthought, they saw a chance to abduct school girls in GSS Chibok, the girls at the time were preparing for their exams.”

“The dozens of BH fighters faced no opposition during the abductn, as they struggled to convey their captives to the forest of Alagarno, the insurgent’s first war capital, which they named Timbuktu. It was in Timbuktu that they organised most of the horror we experience today.”

“Some of the girls were lucky to have escaped on their way to Timbuktu that night, because there were fewer fighters to hold more than 200 girls. At the beginning, the group didn’t know what to do with the girls, at least, not in the first one month of their captivity.”

He said the Jonathan government got in touch with him two weeks after the abduction to help negotiate the release of the girls, but lacked the political will to see it through.

“However, what many people did not know was that two weeks into the abduction, the Jonathan administration was already in touch with me for the peaceful release of the girls. By the way, I was in self-exile after pressure from the same Govt.”

“I took an excuse where I was doing a menial job in the UAE (but still reporting the insurgency), to see the president, which was facilitated by Aliyu Gebi and Labaran Maku. By the 3rd of May, I was already on my way from Abuja to Madagali, Marwa and finally to a BH camp.”

“I got a proof of life for the president and another for the media in case I didn’t get back. The demands of BH then were simple, they wanted detained members taken to Damaturu and they will move the girls to Buniyardi for swap somewhere in between. There was no word on ransom.”

“I was provided with full military escorts frm Abj to Damaturu, Govt was supposed to make sure that 70 detainees were ready on my arrival in Damaturu to meet 30 there. The rest of the negotiating team was in Abj making sure the prisoners were on a plane before my arrival…”

“On arrival in Damaturu, the military commander there was not briefed about my work. He was merely told to expect a VIP? At that time, the girls have been moved by BH, but there was no prisoners for exchange and I got a call from the former CDS to abort the operation.”

“The president later said before me that he did not call off the swap. There was a credible window, but zero Will to rescue the girls. BH were angry. I returned to the UAE to continue my hustle, but received invitatns not only by the former administratn, but the current govt.”

“4 out of 5 process that I was involved in, we came close to a swap deal, but Govt in most instances did not provide the platform I presented with the required expertise. And whenever Govt dragged its feet, Shekau will shift the goal post.”

On the status of the remaining girls aftwr the Buhari govt had suceeded in rescuing about half of them in captivity, Salkida said only about 15 of them are still alive and cannot be rescued under a peace settlements unles their husband to whom they have beem married aceept to give them up.

“I regret to state here that only 15 out of the 113 #Chibokgirls are alive today, based on my investigations in the last 3 months and we have already seen some of them in a video, which I exclusively obtained and was published on SR website.”

“What is the status of the remaining 15 girls as far as negotiations are concerned? My investigations also revealed that, they are no longer under the control of #AbubakarShekau. According to sources, they are now ‘married’ and only their ‘husbands’ can decide their fates.”

“If they are divorced or the men are killed that is when Shekau’s decision takes precedence, and in this instance, since the girls have been indoctrinated, their leader has no right to negotiate for their release, no matter the ransom offered, reliable multiple sources said.”

Salkida said it will be unbearable to share the names of rhe remaining 15 girls, stating that it is the responsibility of government.

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