Benue Crisis: Military Arrests State-Sponsored Armed Gang In Taraba

Troops of 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed in Takum, Taraba State, have arrested nine well-armed militia from Benue, claiming to be members of government sponsored security volunteers.

The armed gang were arrested at Arufu, a boundary town between Taraba and Benue States, a military intelligence source told told PRNigeria on Tuesday.

Five of the suspects were armed with AK-45 rifles fully loaded.

On their arrest, a reinforcement of a purported Civilian JTF Group came to prevent the troops from taking them to custody.

The military source further disclosed that when the soldiers stood their ground, the armed militia’s reinforcement later withdrew. The officer said: “During the preliminary investigation the arrested  armed gang claimed that the weapons were issued to them by one Aliyu Tashaku through an agent of government.

“The suspects also confirmed that they were 60 in number in their own camp located at Gbeyi, Benue State.

However, further investigation revealed that they were more than 700 and well-armed at the camp where they were trained by selected  ex-service men on a monthly allowance of N15,000.00 from their sponsors.”

Meanwhile, the suspects are cooperating with their investigators while security operatives are conducting further investigations to unravel the real sponsors of the armed gang and their motives.

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2019: I Have Confidence In President Buhari, Says Tinubu

Ahead of the 2019 Presidential election, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has restate commitment to support President Muhammadu Buhari should he intend to run.

Tinubu, in a statement signed by his media adviser, Tunde Rahman, disclosed that the issue of supporting Atiku Abubakar or not is a ‘moot point.’

He said: “Asiwaju Tinubu and former Vice President Atiku belong to two different political parties. Asiwaju will support his party and the party’s candidate any day. Moreso, Asiwaju’s position on the presidency is very clear. He has said time and again that for as long as that patriotic leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, is on the saddle or seeks to run, he would not contest against him.

“He played a yeoman’s role in bringing this government to power and he believes President Buhari is confronting the nation’s problems head on. He is not saying there are no challenges but he has always said he has implicit confidence in President Buhari to tackle these problems. “Those who are busy fishing for other reasons for this undiluted support for PMB are free to do so. It’s their opinion and they are entitled to it.”

But in his response, Atiku who also spoke through his media adviser, Paul Ibe, said he has become the issue in Nigerian politics because Nigerians have seen him as the best option in the face of the monumental challenges they are facing and for which the current administration has no solutions except blame gaming.

He said: “As such, he will be the subject of falsehoods and accusations. It comes with the territory. These conjectures are baseless and without foundation whatsoever and I will not dignify them with a further response. Nigerians are jobless; poverty and hopelessness is rife.

“Our own Nigerian Bureau of Statistics revealed that over 10 million Nigerians have lost their jobs under this administration even as unemployment currently stands at 18.8 percent. Meanwhile, the cost of everything from food, to petrol, to electricity has gone up.

“Waziri Atiku Abubakar knows how to create jobs and opportunities and his focus is to alleviate the pains of the long suffering Nigerian people who spent their Christmas at fuel stations and from all indications may spend the early part of the New Year also at fuel stations rather than with loved ones.”

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Buhari Rolls Out Ambitious Rail, Road, Power Projects For 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari has rolled out ambitious rail, road and power projects to be executed in the year 2018.

Speaking Monday during his New Year address to the nation, the president devoted his address mainly to informing Nigerians about the intense efforts his administration was making to address the country’s huge infrastructural deficit.

He assured that the federal government was going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.

The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“With regards to railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway,” the president said.

Buhari said the line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and would carry two million passengers per year. He said five million tons of cargo would be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.

The president said the construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. “By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.

“The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually,” he said.

He said negotiations would be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu.  The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri, he said.

Buhari said negotiations were also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.

“Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the ‘Coastal Rail’ through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar,” he said, assuring that in the next few years, all these Nigerian cities would be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of the citizenry.

“With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office.  Only test runs remain before start of operations”.

The president also said that the management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency had been reconstituted and charged with a 12- week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones.

According to him, the government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones.

“Twenty-five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:  Oyo – Ogbomosho, Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu,  Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,  Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way,  Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,   Kaduna Eastern Bypass,  dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road,  dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road,  and dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.

“In addition, the government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019.

He said more Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses.  However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply.

Buhari said: “The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.

Power generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.

“Several moribund projects have been revived.  Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.

“Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria.  It should be fully operational this year”.

The president said the Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019.  The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.

“A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off.  This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China.  Completion is targeted for 2023.

“As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated.  TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria”.

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Buhari Meets Jibrin, Promises To Look Into Issues Surrounding His Suspension

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday met with the Suspended Member representing Kiru-Bebeji Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin.

The meeting, which held eight (8) days after Jibrin and some social media users took to the micro-blogging site, Twitter to seek support for his constituency with the hashtag: #JudiciaryActOnJibrinKiruBebeji.

The hashtag, which apparently went viral since the campaign started go to the knowledge of the president who asked that a meeting between him and the suspended reps member be scheduled.

“President @MBuhari has heard about #JudiciaryActOnJibrinKiruBebeji, today, he granted Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin (@AbdulAbmJ) an audience to hear from his side,” Personal Assistant to the president on New Media, Bashir Ahmed posted on twitter.

The main thrust of the hostage according to Jibrin is to get the Judiciary to act on the case of his suspension which has lasted more than the 180 days as resolved by the House.

He was suspended by the House of Representatives September 28, 2016, for 180 legislative days in a motion recommended by House Ethics Committee chairman, Nicholas Ossai, and adopted by the whole House.

The Kano state politician was suspended by the House after he accused the speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and some principal officers of padding the 2016 budget, an allegation which those listed denied.

Apart from raising budget padding allegations, Jibrin had also ?said some lawmakers were not “worthy” to belong to the house.

“All we ask for from Chief Justice of Nigeria is a quick dispensation of justice on this matter of urgent national importance,” Jibrin said while calling for support with the hashtag.

Although, details of the meeting was not made available, a source who was privy to it told Abusidiqu that the president gave Jibrin a listening ear and allowed him to state his own side of all issues leading to his accusation on key members of the House and his subsequent suspension.

The source said President Buhari and Rep Jibrin spoke for about 30 minutes where the issues were discussed.

“The president assured him that he is going to look into the matter and ensure that the right thing is done,” the source said.

In what appears to be a confirmation of the outcome of the meeting, Jibrin himself tweeted to say the meeting was fruitful.

“Today, I had a private and fruitful meeting with our President, Muhammadu Buhari. Iam glad despite his busy schedule, he prioritized the quest of our people to have their representation restored. Thank you all for keeping this issue on the front burner, and thanks to Mr President for his listening ears,” he said.

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EFCC, ICPC Begin Probe Of Suspended NHIS Boss Over Alleged N919m Fraud – Punch

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has begun investigations into allegations of misappropriation of funds and abuse of office levelled against the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf.

The EFCC stated this in a letter dated December 21, 2017, which was addressed to the current acting Executive Secretary of the NHIS.

The investigations by the commission started five months after Yusuf was suspended by the Federal Ministry of Health.

The ministry, four months ago, submitted the report of a panel on the allegations against Yusuf to the Presidency. In its report, the panel accused the suspended NHIS boss of N919m fraud.

The EFCC’s letter was titled ‘Investigation into activities of Prof. Usman Yusuf –suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme’.

Besides the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission is investigating the suspended executive secretary and four other officials of the NHIS.

The ICPC, in its letter dated December 11, 2017, and addressed to the acting executive secretary of the NHIS, stated that the officers were being investigated for “alleged violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Act 2000.”

The ICPC added, “Pursuant to Section 45(3) of the cited Act, you are hereby directed to recover the money advanced to the five officers (of the NHIS) and two staff from the Ministry of Health for the aborted trip to the Netherlands.

“You are further required to furnish the commission with the evidence of compliance by each of the beneficiaries.”

On its part, the EFCC stated that it was investigating suspected cases of fraud and misappropriation levelled against Yusuf during his tenure as the executive secretary of the NHIS between July, 2016 and July, 2017.

In its letter, with reference number CR: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/CTGI.2/VOL.15/ 237, and signed by its Director of Operations, Umar Abba, for the Acting Chairman, the EFCC is seeking information on, “All necessary documents relating to local and international training programmes sponsored by the scheme from July 2016 to July 2017.

“All documents relating to payment made to Katamaya First Call Hospital.

“All procurement documents relating to the e-library project of the NHIS. Documents relating to all NHIS-sponsored foreign trips embarked upon by the suspended executive secretary.

“All payments relating to the fuelling of the suspended secretary’s official vehicles. Disbursement of NEED assessment funds between July 2016 and July 2017.”

The EFCC requested documents relating to the audit verification conducted during the tenure of the suspended executive secretary.

The commission also said the NHIS should confirm if four other persons it mentioned in the letter were members of staff of the scheme and their current status.

The persons are Nasir Shinkafi, Shuab Mohammed, Suleiman Ilu and Yusuf Abdullahi.

The anti-graft agency stated that it was making the requests “pursuant to Section 38 (1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.”

PUNCH

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“We Feel Your Pain, Fuel Scarcity Will Be Over Soon,” Say Osinbajo During Stopovers At Two Filling Stations in Lagos

The Buhari administration is doing everything possible to quickly resolve the fuel shortages experienced by Nigerians, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.

Prof. Osinbajo said this during an unexpected stopover to Oando Filling Station at Lekki area of Lagos State on Christmas Eve. He also stopped at Hayden Petrol Station on the Island.

In a chat with Nigerians from all walks of life on Sunday evening during the stopover, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government was moving as quickly as it could to solve the fuel crisis and reduce the difficulties Nigerians were facing as a result.

He said, “We are trying to move as quickly as we can. Obviously, people have gone through a lot of pain and anguish in the past few days, and that is deeply regretted. We were trying to do what we can to move as quickly as possible and there is certainly enough products to be able to solve the problem.

“We will be able to solve the problem; the short period of scarcity is quite a bit of burden, but we know that so long as products are enough and the trucks coming out and feeding the stations, this will be over very soon. I am going around with the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources here in Lagos to ensure that first, the trucks are being loaded from all the depots, and also looking at the filling stations to see that things are moving on very well.

“The GMD of the NNPC is also working in Abuja to see that that things are moving quickly and we are moving around the country. So we expect that it will be resolved very quickly.”

“It’s such a shame that Christmas has been, to some extent, with this sort of discomfort. This is deeply regretted, and l know that, despite the resilience and strength of people in Lagos and the Nigerian people, we would see ourselves through this and will enjoy our Christmas and have a great new year.”

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Fuel Scarcity: Marketers Mount Pressure On Buhari To Increase Fuel Pump Price

There seems to be an unending solution to the current fuel scarcity causing untold hardship on many Nigerians, as petroleum marketers are demanding an increase in petrol pump price.

According to report made available in The Nation, marketers are still unwilling to import products because of low or insignificant profit margin.

One of the sources said: “The key issue is price war. The marketers have made representation to the federal government and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to allow price hike of petroleum products and leave the sector to market forces.

“The President and senior government officials are however opposed to price hike because of its spiral effects on the socio-economic life of the nation. It also has grave political implications for the survival of the present government.

“In the last few months, the government has been trying to cope through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) until there was stress in the supply chain following threats by PENGASSAN and the challenge in Lagos.”

Another stakeholder, speaking on the price war, said: “We import refined products as a nation. Once the prices of crude increase at the international market, they have effects on the cost of refined products being brought into our country.

“The landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is between N165 and N170 per litre. The marketers are claiming that the profit margin is insignificant and they cannot recover cost, they say they need to top up prices since they no longer enjoy subsidy.

“Initially, the same marketers said they had subsidy arrears to collect from the government and they will not import products. The arrears have not been appropriated for by the National Assembly and there was nothing the government can do.”

But a government source said:  “To mitigate the issues raised by the marketers, this administration put some measures in place. For instance, the government created a special foreign exchange window for the marketers to enable them to import products.

“Instead of using the forex, some of them diverted it to other use. In order not to hold the nation into ransom by the marketers, NNPC in the last one and a half years has been importing 99.9% of products. This sole importation also drains the resources of NNPC but it has to sacrifice to ensure availability of products.

“And if NNPC imports, it sells to marketers but they are still complaining of low profit margin. The importation chain has its own stress because for the storage of the products, NNPC can only accommodate 55% of the products. The oil majors cater for 30% and independent marketers take charge of about 15%. So, at any point, these marketers are still needed.

“The alternative is for all the nation’s 23 depots to be operating at maximum capacity to check the antics of the marketers.”

An unnamed government official also attributed the present scarcity to sabotage and diversion of products by some stakeholders.

His words: “Before the present crisis, the nation used to consume between 30million to 35million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) daily but since this current challenge started, the consumption has  shot up to 80million litres per day.”

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Exclusive: Suspended NHIS Boss, Usman Yusuf In Top Level Scheme To Return To His Job

Information at the disposal of this medium indicates that the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Usman Yusuf has enlisted the support to two influential figures from the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari to help him return to his position at the NHIS.

A source in the corridors of power who pleaded anonymity disclosed that the suspended NHIS executive secretary have warmed his way into the heart of these two influential figures using the ethnic and religious cards.

“Prof Usman Yusuf has gotten the support of two powerful people from the hometown of Daura as Mr. President, and these individuals have been making moves towards ensuring that the president reinstates Prof Usman Yusuf back to the NHIS.”  Our source stated.

“I can confirm to you now that the pressure on the president is tremendous and it is likely that they may succeed given the fact that Mr. President has regards for both men.” He further added.

Another source in the know of events that lead to the suspension of Prof Usman Yusuf as the executive secretary by the minister of health revealed that since his suspension was announced, Prof Usman Yusuf has turned the president’s hometown into his abode. “He regularly visits Daura at the slightest meeting and pleading with all those that have the ears of the president so he can be reinstated. He has poisoned their minds to see his suspension as an insult to the authority of the president and also an agenda by the Yoruba to undermine President Buhari’s administration.”

The source also added that one of the persons pushing for this case heads an agency of government that has in their possession the report of the investigative committee set up by the ministry of health. “This agency had a member in the investigative committee that investigated Prof Usman Yusuf, and it did establish that all Usman Yusuf was accused off was indeed true because he violated all known procurement laws, he awarded dubious contracts to families and cronies, he collected monies for foreign trips he didn’t attend and many other infractions while he was executive secretary”.

In one of the documents seen by this medium, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) after due investigations, directed the NHIS management to recover monies meant for an aborted trip to the Netherlands. In the document with ref number ICPC/SDD/TB/53/2017 and titled” Investigation Activities” the management of the NHIS was mandated to recover monies illegally collected from the coffers of the NHIS and return same and also provide evidence to the ICPC that monies had been returned to the NHIS.”

It would be recalled that the investigative committee had found Prof Usman Yusuf guilty of gross abuse of office by awarding fictitious contracts running into hundreds of millions, violation of procurement process, spending without approval from the National Assembly, illegal recruitments, falsification of documents, conversion of office items into personal use, and a host of other anomalies.

A source added that it “would indeed be a great dent in the image of President Buhari if he allows himself to be used by some people in this case. “This is a clear case of corruption, and there are documents to that effect. This is not about religion or tribe, it is about making Nigeria work, and there should be no sacred cows” he stated.

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NHIS: Civil Society Organisation Director Alleges Threat To Life

Mr. Solomon Agbo, the Coordinator of the United Youths Alliance Against Corruption (UYAAC), has alleged that agents of the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Prof Usman Yusuf are after his life.

He made this assertion in a letter to the relevant security agencies in the country, which was availed to the media.

According to Mr. Solomon Agbo, “since Prof Usman Yusuf was suspended from office, I have received various threats to my life through text messages, phone calls and in some instances unknown faces lurking around my house.”

“I have it on good authority that Prof Usman Yusuf and his cohorts are not happy that the United Youths Alliance Against Corruption exposed the heist in NHIS, which eventually lead to his suspension from office” he stated.

Mr. Agbo, further averred that he is more than determined to continue the agenda of a better Nigeria without fear or favor.

“The task of making Nigeria great again is one that is a collective effort. No amount of threat to my life and that of my family can deter me. I am more than resolute in this fight, whether Prof Usman Yusuf and his cohorts like it or not”.

“I have been offered monies, and I have been abused, I have been threatened, my family has been threatened, even down to my ancestral home by people either sympathetic to the suspended executive secretary, or people he sent to cause bodily harm to members of my family and me.”

He further confirmed that he stands by his actions regarding the tenure of Prof Usman Yusuf at the NHIS.

“I stand by my actions concerning the heist perpetuated in office by Prof Usman Yusuf. I have no doubt whatsoever that the relevant security agencies would soon bring him to answer for abuse of office while at the NHIS.”

“I also wish to inform members of the general public and the various security agencies, that should anything untoward happens to me or any member of my family, Prof Usman Yusuf should be held responsible, “ he added.

It would be recalled that on 6 the July, 2017, the Honourable Minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole suspended Prof Usman Yusuf as executive secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), over allegations of fraud, nepotism and outright abuse of office for three months.

The suspension was further extended indefinitely pending the outcome of the investigative committee set up to probe the various allegations leveled against the suspended executive secretary.

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The True Story Of Alleged Gun Attack On Magu’s Residence

Nigerians on Wednesday woke up to the news of an alleged attack on the residence of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, where a policeman was said to have been killed.

But while the report of the attack is true, the report that it took place at the house of the anti-graft boss is false. The attack allegedly took place at a farm house in Karshi, a newly acquired property outside the Federal Capital Territory, where Magu does not reside.

Magu’s known residence is a luxurious apartment situated in Maitama District and another one in Karu, both in the FCT. The Maitama mansion was allegedly furnished for him by retired Air Commodore Umar Mohammed, who has been in DSS custody over some shady deals with Magu.

While reports attributed the attack on the farmhouse to unknown gunmen, sources in the know said the attack was an exchange of gunfire between operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

The source said operatives of the DSS had stormed the farm house allegedly on the suspicion that the EFCC boss is using the location to hide his loot. On approaching the place, the policemen drafted by Magu to guard the place opened fire on the DSS operatives and the operatives returned the fire resulted to exchanges that led to the death of a Police Sergeant who was hit in the process.

The source added that the cover up of the true story of the attack is an attempt by the EFCC boss to present a false narrative that he is under attack because of his refusal to bow to pressure from some high-profile suspects and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).

“All what Magu is trying to do is to continue to play on the sensibilities of Nigerians that he is a subject of attack because of his fight against corruption whereas he is one of those that should be tried for corruption.” the source said.

He said the claim by Magu that some suspected elements had been prowling his family house in Maiduguri and issuing threat to his mother is not true.

Mr. Magu has remained controversial since the rejection of his confirmation as the substantive chairman of the EFCC by the Nigerian Senate over an indicting report by the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

The DSS had in a report exposed Mr Magu as a liability to the corruption fight.

In the 16-paragraph letter, the secret police stated that the “corrupt” Borno police officer had “failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.”

Consequently, Mr Magu’s nomination as fourth chairman of the EFCC was rejected by the Senate on March 15.

Prior to his rejection by the Nigerian Senate, several report exposing the shady deals of the anti-graft agency boss  had been chronicled. One of such report led to the arrest of blogger, Abubakar Sidiq Usman for what was later termed “Cyber Stalking.”

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PDP Convention: Uche Secondus Elected As National Chairman

Prince Uche Secondus has been elected as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the just concluded National Convention of the party in Abuja.

Secondus, a frontline contender in the race, defeated Prof. Tunde Adeniran, and Dr Raymond Dokpesi.

Recall that some other contenders from the South-West like former Governor Gbenga Daniel, Chief Olabode George, and Jimi Agbaje, had withdrawn for Adeniran to represent the region.

The new national chairman reportedly enjoyed the favour of PDP governors for the party chairmanship. He also enjoyed the support of the National Caretaker Committee chairman of the party, Senator Ahmad Makarfi, who is said to be nursing a presidential ambition.

Secondus was declared winner of the election after polling 2,000 votes, compared to the 230 votes secured by Professor Adeniran and the 66 votes Dokpesi got in the election.

Consequently, he was declared winner of the election by the immediate past Governor of Benue State, Mr Gabriel Suswam, who is the Chairman of the Electoral Committee.

 

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How I Started My Business Investment In 1971 – Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar has revealed how he made his first business decision as far back as 1971.

The former Vice President made the revelation after receiving the Honourary Achiever Award, at the Africa’s Youth Entrepreneurs Conference and Award titled “A Stand With The Giants”, at InterContinental Hotel in Lagos on Thursday night.

Atiku dedicated his award as Honourary African Outstanding Entrepreneur to Nigerian youths, and urged the youth to have more drive towards entrepreneurship.

Hear him: “I came to Lagos on June 29, 1969 and after my two years training (with the Nigeria Customs Service); I was posted to the border station of Idi-Iroko. At that time, the Badagry Road had not been constructed and the only means of transportation to the rest of the West African corridor was through the Idi-Iroko border to what used to be called Dahomey and what is now known as Benin Republic.

“On getting to Idi-Iroko, my first posting, I was not married and what I discovered was that the most promising business was transportation. Many pickup vans were transporting women traders from Ajase (Port Novo) to Lagos every morning, and every evening from Lagos back to Port Novo.

“So I asked myself, how I can seize the opportunity of this moving business. I came over to Lagos and in those days SCOA were the sole distributors of Peugeot, so I went to SCOA and I signed a hire-purchase agreement and bought four of those pickups and gave them to four different drivers and every day they will bring their returns to me and at the end of the month, I will go to SCOA and pay them.

“I wasn’t married, so my salary was intact and in addition I was saving from what I was getting from my transport business. So, sometime, to be an entrepreneur you must have the ingenuity to be an entrepreneur.”

Atiku noted that the country’s education system in the early 1960s provided the Nigerian youths the opportunities to make diverse carrier choice.

According to the former Vice President, “the educational system we operated in the First Republic provided our students then the opportunity to either go to universities or go to technical colleges or to go to crafts schools. There was never a dropout in that kind of educational system. The dullest was trained on a skill and given the capital to start a business.”

Atiku Abubakar however regrets that “suddenly, Nigeria moved away from that to a system of education where you train only job seekers.”

He pointed out that the products of this educational system don’t know how to do anything else other than to seek for jobs, adding that they cannot self-employ themselves. “So, what I am trying to say is that my Nigeria is possible and your own Nigeria is possible”, he said.

The former Vice President urged the youth to take advantage of the rebound in railway infrastructure that was built by the last administration to start a business initiative of transportation of goods across the country and reduce the reliance on heavy duty trucks to convey those goods.

He paid glowing tributes to music art youngster, Wizkid for his besting some of the greatest in the industry to clinch the Best International Act at the MOBO awards.

“Wizkid’s international award is a victory for Nigeria. Art is important not only for the revenue it brings and the business around it but for the image of our country. A good image has the capacity to trigger investments. The investments will generate much needed jobs. The jobs will not only ensure the security of families but the security of our nation and engender progress and development”, he said.

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