Playing Politics with Boko Haram: How Terrorists Killed Hundreds In Dikwa After Nigeria Stalled Chad’s Advance

NR-Dozens of defenseless Nigerians were massacred by Boko Haram in Dikwa and Kala Balge towns in Borno state after Nigeria chased out Chadian forces from their successful operation there.

Chad took control of Dikwa Monday this week, a strategic town that Nigeria had hoped to be the one to liberate.

Nigeria has been reported to be stalling the Chadian war against Boko Haram because president Goodluck Jonathan is allegedly embarrassed that the Chadians spearheaded the efforts against the terrorists this January and are claiming vital victories in a war Nigeria’s president finally engaged in for desperately needed political re-positioning purposes.

According to reports from the region, after the Nigerian army told the Chadians to leave Dikwa, citing Nigeria’s plans to bomb terrorist positions in the town, the Chadians were forced to exit the mission leading to Boko Haram making a deadly run back through the town, massacring dozens of innocent Nigerians as they did so.

The Chadians had earlier killed over 100 Boko Haram terrorists hiding from their forces, many in a wardrobe in Boko Haram’s Dikwa command control mansion, and chased the terrorists out of Dikwa before the Nigerian army told them to quit.

Boko Haram command and control mansion in Dikwa where Chadian troops defeated the terrorists

Reuters describes of Chad’s operations “… the tide finally appears to be turning against them as Chad has spearheaded a regional push against the group and Nigerian forces notch up some military gains as well. Chad’s victory at Dikwa is one that Nigeria would have like to have called its own. Its army chief previously said his soldiers listed Dikwa as a town that troops wanted to recapture before elections, due to have been held in February but pushed back to March due to insecurity.”

Chad TV Video shows Chad Army Victory In Dikwa

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 Nigeria reportedly pushed out the Chadians and stopped their successful mission at Dikwa and terminated their advances against the terrorists, also hindering their pursuit of Boko Haram leader, “Abubakar Shekau” who according to Idriss Deby of Chad, fled them in Dikwa. But without replacing the Chadians, the Nigerian army under command of General Tobias Minimah, left the Dikwa residents exposed and Boko Haram returned, massacring dozens there and in Kala Balge before fleeing. Many fled to Gamboru.

Chad has recently accused Nigeria of having stalled the war against Boko Haram for months since the Paris summit and continuing to do so again, apparently for political purposes and out of embarrassment.

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Change is Inevitable, Former Army Chief Declares, Urges Military to Stay Away from politics

Former Chief of Army Staff and Chairman of SURE-P retired Gen. Martin Luther Agwai has said change in leadership is inevitable, declaring that the country’s leaders must accept it and move with it.

Gen Agwai also cautioned the military to stay out of partisan politics if they should win the war against Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges.

He made the assertion yesterday in a speech at the 78th birthday anniversary celebration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.

“In life,” he said, “you find out that everything needs change, if that is what the community wants, what the people want, you must give it to them and as such, it becomes inevitable.”

He added: “You can have everything nice, but, if you don’t have the right leadership to propel it, it cannot go anywhere.

“Integrity matters, doing what is good for the larger society, and not just what you want to do for a narrow society to please yourself.”

In a lecture titled, “Imperatives of a National Security framework for the development and progress of Nigeria,” Gen Agwai said the involvement of the military in politics would retard the growth and development of the country.

He said the military should remain professional, adding that integrity also matters in providing quality leadership.

Agwai described Gen Obasanjo as an inspiration to a generation of military officers in the country, adding that they should always be appreciative of his contributions to their lives.

The chairman of SURE-P said the former President has been a source of inspiration for him and others, particularly from the minority ethnic group.

“I for one, from somewhere (small) ethnic group in Nigeria; from a small village to have become Chief of Staff. I will always remain appreciative of this,” Agwai said.

Ogun state governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun in his remarks described Obasanjo as a special breed of specie for Nigeria and Africa.

He said the All Progressives Congress (APC) “will give the desired growth and development of your dream when the party is elected come March 28.”

National Leader of the APC, Sen. Bola Tinubu, in a goodwill message, eulogised the virtues of Gen Obasanjo.
Also, the National chairman of the APC Chief John Oyegun described Obasanjo as a statesman with genuine and committed dream for the country.

He recalled that when the former President gave his PDP card for someone to tear, the APC had wanted to come and offer him a replacement, “but, we had a rethink.”

“We reasoned that this nationalist and statesman has crossed the threshold. He has become truly the father of the nation and it would be demeaning by going to present APC card to him.

“Nigeria and Nigerians have an icon now, a nonpartisan man has arrived, somebody we can all go to and if you do well he tells you and if you have not done well, he can look at you in the eyes and say you can go to hell.

“Baba Obasanjo, you are the only symbol of this country everybody can now run to meet. We know where you are and we know your views too.

“You have done great service to APC, you have done great service to the politics of this nation. We know you desire change, rather than continuity of nothingness.”

Obasanjo thanked all those present for being his guests, noting that all issues raised in the papers presented were not new “and they are issues we have been saying needed to be attended to.”

The event was attended by guests, including former Osun state governor and National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), now APC stalwart, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Ekiti state governor and now South West chairman of the APC, Segun Oni.

However, as at the time of this report, no top member of the PDP was in attendance, except an ally to the celebrant, who is a member of board of trustees of the party, Chief Tunde Oshunrinde.

The event also coincided with the annual summit of the Centre for Human Security of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).

 

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The Leader Nigeria Needs Now – Obasanjo

Why is Nigeria so troubled? How do we resolve this country’s problems?

These were some of the questions yesterday at an intellectual exercise to mark former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s 78th birthday.

Two distinguished citizens  – former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Martin Luther Agwai and National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion Director-General Dr. Umar Bindiri – tackled the topics of the day.

But it was Obasanjo himself who summed it all up. The problem, according to him, is leadership.

The lectures were delivered at his Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The former president, who praised his guests for coming to honour him, reiterated that his loyalty to the country comes first and cannot be undermined.

He said once Nigeria gets it right by putting the correct leader in place, the nation’s thirst for greatness, all-round growth would be fulfilled.

He said it would take one person – the leader –  to make the positive difference everybody is yearning for, adding that Nigeria has not got every other aspect of her life right because the leadership question has not be addressed.

Obasanjo said: “Loyalty to Nigeria should not be undermined by anything, except the truth; what is right and what is in the best interest of this great country of ours. May God continue to bless Nigeria.

“We have listened to two beautiful lectures, presentation or what you will call them. For me, it has been very instructive and I have not been disappointed by either of the presenters and they have met the expectations.

“But you have seen that they haven’t presented us with magic as solutions to our problems and there is nothing they have told us that is impossible but all they have said boils down to one thing and one thing only – leadership.

“And until we get it right, anytime we do not get it right, we cannot get any other thing right, don’t let us deceive ourselves, whether it is security, science and technology or innovation or the development of the economy or education they all boil down to leadership and at all levels.

“May God give us the leadership that occasions like this deserve in Nigeria. Because when we have that, we will get there. I’m an incurable optimist about this country, and may be because I have seen in a little bit in my short span of life, a little bit of what is possible and a little bit of what can  go wrong and what can be made to go wrong.

“And may be that is why I am, incurable optimist and I believe that all will be well in this country. We have no choice anyway, all has to be well.

“We are about 180 million now, our brothers and sisters in West Africa are worried, and when they talk to me and I said why are they worried, they said, ‘if  half a million Nigerians go to Republic of Benin, we will overwhelm them; if two million go to Ghana. That is a big problem.

“Even Britain is worried. They are worried. They said the problem is that if one million Nigerians go to Britain, they said in 10 years time, there will be 10 million Nigerians in Britain and they will rather keep us here.

“There is no reason why any Nigerian child, at this point in  time should not have a basic education, food and nutrition, not only Nigeria child, any Nigerian should not go to bed without food.

“We have the resources to achieve all that, that we are not achieving it does not mean we don’t have the resources. It is because we haven’t manage our resources well.

“Employment. If all other things are right, there should be no reason for any Nigerian who wants to be employed not to have the opportunity for employment. And if the things that all the young ones are expecting are not there, in 15 years time, they will be good recruits for Boko Haram or its equivalent. Do not let us deceive ourselves.

“You can suppress but if other things that are supposed to be there are not there, you will only suppress. Sooner than later, it will rear its ugly head, and what should be done, you should remove the  root, stem and branches and I believe that too can be done.”

Chief Odigie – Oyegun said the APC was on the verge of issuing the former President a membership card after he shredded his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) card, but changed its mind.

He said the tearing of the PDP membership card via proxy was a significant milestone, causing Obasanjo to cross the “threshold” and making him to qualify fully as the “true father of the nation” that anybody can now run to for guidance.

According to Odigie-Oyegun, issuing the former President with the APC membership card would be “demeaning” to a man who should now be seen as “true nationalist, statesman and non- partisan icon”.

The APC National Chairman said Obasanjo stood out as the “only symbol of this country everybody can run to” whenever the need arises.

Odigie-Oyegun said: “Speaking seriously, a few weeks ago, we saw somebody tearing a party card on his behalf and we all went ecstatic, fantastic! So, leaders of the party quickly conveyed a get together and authorised me if we should issue him a fresh card.

“But we sat down soberly and discussed the issue and at the end of the day we said, we use this word, nationalists and statesman very loosely in this country and a wise counsel prevailed and we said this event is more significant than we think, this man has crossed a threshold; he has now become truly father of the Nigeria nation.

“We will be demeaning him if we went to him now and said ‘Baba this is APC party card’. We thought we would be demeaning him by issuing him a card and we said finally, what Nigeria never had; an icon, a father, a non partisan person, the very first in the history of this nation, finally has arrived, somebody we can now all go to; everybody. He will just be open to all of us.

“And what is important was that given the nature of the man, if he says well done, you can go back home, buy a bottle of champagne and toast because if you have not done well, he will equally look you straight in the eyes and tell you to go to hell.

“This is the kind of man General Obasanjo has become and I want to say, thank you very much, may God grant you very long life to enjoy your new status.

To Tinubu, Obasanjo is one man who has great passion for the country. He recalled when he and a delegation of APC members visited him in Abeokuta, the former President assured them if they do the right in the interest of the nation, he would set aside partisan politics to assist them.

Tinubu said: “You trapped me innocently with a great wisdom of a 78-year-old. I’m honoured to be here and many of you will see this as a rare occasion but this is an opportunity to pay tribute to a nationalist, a teacher, a disciplinarian and a tutor in dignity and boldness.

“Yes, it is true, there are no permanent friends or Permanent enemy in politics. What is common is common interest. Once upon a time, some nine years ago, I went to the Villa.

President Obasanjo asked me to walk out.

“And he was just abusing me in the newspapers and I said, ‘Baba, you are a tenant here. This house (Aso Villa) belongs to Nigeria. If I get to Ota, you can send me out. I brought a file about Nigeria’ and he said, ‘that is true, sit down’.

“If I would tell you several events that occurred between the two of us in the interest of the nation, I would write an epistle but today is not for that. But how do you celebrate, truly and honour a man who has kept you on your toes?

“No matter what,  between Baba Olusegun Obasanjo and myself, what I can say is a gratitude to you because you kept me on my toes.

“Each time we disagreed on things, on principle, I took him to court one time as the President and he saw me and said, ‘you took me to court, we can’t be friends after the court’ and I told him, ‘I didn’t take you to court, I took Nigerian President to court’ and he said, ‘get off my way’ and I told him, ‘I wouldn’t get out of the way, until I get what I want.’

“And one morning, very early, Professor Mabogunje was there and we were discussing and it was about the development of the country, there’s no doubt about that, it was about rail line and urban development, very serious matter, and I dialogued with him and Prof. Mabogunje was  asking me to keep quiet, and Baba said, ‘get out of here.

“And I said, ‘Baba, I am not going out, you asked me to come and we are talking this matter.  You love Nigeria. I love Nigeria. You brought a professor of great reputation and he said, ‘sit down, if you want me to do that thing. I am the President, you must also listen to me.’ And I saw that it wasn’t just an emotional thing, it was a passion for perfection at that particular time.

“And then when we started this present regime of merger and alliances, and we visited him and we told him we wanted him to be a navigator, he said, ‘navigator?

“I will try to avoid it because of Nigeria, but if you people put a good team for the sake of this country together, I will give you wisdom.

“And if you look at what has been happening since then, Obasanjo is an open book, you read a line, you pick a paragraph, you learn, you comply, if you drink from that fountain of wisdom, you will see value in it, he is very committed to Nigeria .

“As we were talking earlier, I said Nigeria is the giant of Africa and he said, ‘I hope you will remove the k-leg’ and I said, ‘the elephantiasis would be killed’. He said by what? And I said by APC.

“And the change that is necessary for now was the day I saw him instructing that shredded umbrella card be torn into pieces, and I said what is happening?

“There’s nothing Obasanjo would have wanted in terms of material, oil well, oil lifting, whatever  – from Jonathan that he wouldn’t have got or what from PDP that he wouldn’t have got as a retention service.

“But he puts all of that aside, believes in the unity, cohesion, and progress of this country in order to free himself from that bondage of commitment to one partisan politics that is probably drifting in the middle of the storm of a political change, he, will rather be afloat and chat a new course.”

At yesterday’s lecture at his presidential library in Abeokuta were, among others, Obasanjo’s wife Bola, All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman John Odigie – Oyegun, National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Amosun, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Ekiti State Governor Segun Oni and Akwa Ibom State APC governorship candidate Umana Okon  Umana.

There were also representatives of 34 universities at the ceremony.

 

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Chad Unilaterally Intervened In Nigeria On Its Initiative To Reverse Boko Haram’s Growing Threat Says Idris Deby

Chadian president Idriss Deby has claimed that Chad unilaterally decided upon the much celebrated committed war against Boko Haram this January, the resolute action not being the decision of Nigeria’s Jonathan and with the Nigerian president even stalling the process at every turn.

Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan had claimed that after five years of tolerating the sect that killed thousands, he finally this January embarked on the serious effort to defeat Boko Haram to make him more electable and to allow voting in occupied territory; however the Chadians have said that this real war against the terrorists was decided upon unilaterally by Deby in reaction to Boko Haram obstructing Chad’s trade routes with Nigeria and the economy of the landlocked nation.

Quoting from Reuters’ report:

Officials from Chad, Niger and Cameroon say lack of cooperation from Nigeria has for months hampered efforts to put together a regional taskforce against Boko Haram. Chad was compelled to take unilateral action in January, under a deal that allows it to pursue terrorists into Nigeria, after Boko Haram violence started to choke off imports to its economy.

But for a country proud to be a major African power, it would be an embarrassment to President Goodluck Jonathan as he seeks reelection for a smaller nation to tackle Nigeria’s security problems, diplomats say. 

Chad has been ready to press deep into territory controlled by the Islamist group but Nigeria refused to let them. 

We turned back because Nigeria did not authorise us to go any further,” army spokesman Colonel Azem Bermandoa said. 

But the Chadians say there have been no joint operations between the two forces. 

Nigeria has for months hampered efforts to put together a regional taskforce against Boko Haram. End quote

Nigeria’s military spokesperson, General Chris Olukolade Wednesday denied the Chadian claims of Nigeria stalling Chadian aggression against the terrorists, stating that the Nigerian side has no qualms with the Chadians but leads the mission to liberate the nation.

The revelations from Chad appear to be fueling distrust, suspicion and tensions between Nigeria and its neighbors and discredits the leader of Africa’s most populous nation and a nation that was prior credited as having one of the best armies in Africa.

President Jonathan is yet to react to Chad’s claims of the small country having been unilaterally behind the the drive to liberate Nigeria from the grasp of Boko Haram.

After Chad engaged Boko Haram in Dikwa, Nigeria chased Chad out with the excuse that the Nigerian side planned to drop bombs on Boko Haram in Dikwa. Chad later claimed Boko Haram leader, “Abubakar Shekau” escaped at Dikwa with the Nigerian intervention, and Chad’s president personally warned Shekau that the Chadians knew where he went to and will soon get him.

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Chibok Girls Are Still Alive – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday revealed why he believes the over 250 kidnapped school girls from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, are still alive.

Though the kidnapped schoolgirls have spent more than 300 days in captivity since they were abducted in April 14 last year during their West African Examination Council final papers, Mr. Jonathan’s claim that the girls were alive, well and still being kept by Boko Haram.

The claim by Jonathan contradicted Abubakar Shekau’s statement in a video released in October 2014 to the media that he had married off the pupils.

In a previous statement, the group’s leader had threatened to sell the girls as slave brides.

However, Jonathan argued during an interview with the African Independent Television during a current affairs programme, Kaakaki that if the schoolgirls had been killed, the Boko Haram insurgents’ commander, Shekau, would have released a video showing how they the girls were murdered.

According to the President, the Nigerian security forces are also wary of storming the main stronghold of the terrorists because they fear the insurgents may use the girls as shields.

He said, “Because they may use them as shields so we are working with the global best practices. We can’t just move in with artillery and clear the place. The good story is that they’ve not been killed. They are still alive because when terrorists kill they display.”

 

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Alleged Defamation: Tinubu Sues AIT for N150 billion

A former Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has formally sued African Independent Television (AIT) for the sum of N150 billion over an alleged defamatory documentary being aired on the station.

The decision of Tinubu to sue the station followed the refusal of AIT to meet the conditions set out in a letter by his lawyer Tunji Abayomi, to the broadcast station asking it to stop further airing of the documentary titled “Unmasking The Real Tinubu.”

Mr. Tunji Abayomi, had few days ago written to the Daar Communications, demanding an apology for the contnt of the documentary and further airing by the AIT.

The letter which also demanded for N20billion (Twenty Billion Naira) as cost of damage done to the reputation of its client failing which the client will sue the company, stated that the documentary was pre-occupied with political resentment and hatred neither warranted, necessary, proper, or justified.

But in its response, Daar Communications Plc rejected in their entirety the demands of Tunji Abayomi and co on behalf of Bola Tinubu and instead demanded a complete withdrawal of the letter under reference, which must be given wide publicity as that accorded the letter from the chambers of Tunji Abayomi.

Mike Ozekhome’s chambers on behalf on behalf of DAAR communications declares that AIT, in transmitting the documentary was only carrying out its constitutional responsibility to uphold the fundamental objectives of the constitution.
But not satisfied with the response of Daar Communications, Tinubu’s counsel, Tunji Abayomi proceeded with the filing of a suit demanding for a damage of N150 billion.
Although, details of the suit are still sketchy, Abusidiqu gathered that no less than four senior lawyers, including  Wole Olanipekun, Femi Falana and Tunji Abayomi are all line up behind Tinubu to prosecute the case.

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President Jonathan and Diezani Madueke Crowned World King And Queen of Corruption Respectively

I address you once again in the course of our nation’s history. I am disillusioned, disenchanted, disturbed and disorganized by the magnitude and intensity of corruption exhibited by the Jonathan’s administration.

I am bold to say without reservations that the government of Gooduck Ebele Jonathan is the most corrupt in the history of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I give you reasons why any Nigeria who has got blood flowing through his veins and not kerosene should not commit the satanic sacrilege of voting for Jonathan or the PDP.

These economic cankaworms, financial scavengers and national devourers have succeeded in rewinding our national life by 20 years. The anointing of Diezani Alison Madueke (Minister Of Petroleum) by president Jonathan as the untouchable, uncrowned Prime Minister of Nigeria elucidates the degree of the looting of national treasury. This messenger of Mr president (Deziani) has been indicted by six(6) reports namely:

1- The Farouk Lawal Report
2- The Senate Report on Subsidy
3- KPMG Report on the oil sector
4- The Aik Imuokhode Report
5- The Ribadu Report
6- The NEITI Report

Despite all these indictments, the darling favourite of Mr president is every Wednesday immaculately attired and cosmopolitantly fashioned in DIAMONDS attending the Federal Executive Council Meeting under the watchful eyes of an unperturbed and conquered president.

Suffice me therefore to explain why the almighty petroleum ministry under Jonathan have neither minister of state or Special Adviser. FCT ministry as small as it is have a Minister of State. The same petroleum ministry under president Obasanjo had four(4) ministers namely:

The substantive Minister, the Minister of State, Minister of State Gas and Minister of State Energy. Yet with a special Adviser ( Late Alhaji Rilwan Lukman) today, Deziani is the alfa and omega in the petroleum industry and the national treasurer of PDP and the presidential campaign.

Now with this massive irredeemable and record breaking looting of our common patrimony, who ia that sane Nigerian who support a man who on national TV defended his demented proposition that stealing is not corruption? Nigerians must come out of their gullible cocoons and operate in an active mileau.

Say NO to the man who meet dollar at #119 and today is #225. Vote out the man who petrol at #65 and is today sold for over #90. Resist the party that says 16 is great than 19.

Sweep out the man who granted clemency to corrupt Nigerians and villified the honest. In 2010, lagos-Abuja by air is #15,000, today is #35,000 by Arik.

Femi Fanikayode, Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe should all learn from the experience of Labaran Maku. No amount of pacakaging, window dressing, boju-boju and bolekaja politics will redeem or sell rotten eggs.

Good rediance to bad rubbish. Mr president, Otuoke by road, safe journey.

– Otunba Dino Melaye.

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Chad President Reveals Location of Boko Haram Leader Shekau, Urges Him to Surender

President Idriss Deby of Chad has revealed that his forces know where Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau is hiding telling him to surrender in his best interest.

Deby told journalists during a press conference that the Chad military and government has narrowed down the location of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

“He was in Dikwa two days ago. He managed to get away but we know where he is. It’s in his interests to surrender,” President Deby said during the international press conference.

President Deby added that “?Abubakar Shekau must surrender. We know where he is. If he doesn’t give himself up he will suffer the same fate as his compatriots.”

The Chadian military has been part of a transnational military campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency originating from northeast Nigeria, and has been the target of Boko Haram’s violence in the past.

This news comes as the one year anniversary of the mass abduction of 250 girls from Chibok, Nigeria nears. Boko Haram has been responsible for the death of thousands of people, mostly from Nigeria’s northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe. The threat from Boko Haram was used by Nigeria’s Security Services to postpone Nigeria’s presidential elections.

Neither the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan or any other government official have commented on President Deby’s statements.

 

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2015 Election: Military Breaks Silence, Explains Why It Suggested Postponement of Polls

LAGOS — The military, yesterday, broke its silence on the controversy surrounding the shift in election date, saying its position had no political undertone.

Rather, it said the reason for its suggestion for a shift was to enable it take delivery of the long awaited weapons with which to tackle terrorists in the North eastern part of the country.

Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, gave the explanation while receiving drugs and other items worth over N70 million donated by the Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria, APIN to assist the Nigerian Armed Forces in the war against insurgents.

He attributed the delay in the delivery of the weapons to the seeming prolonged action in tackling the Boko Haram insurgents, boasting that since the arrival of the weapons, the military had made visible head way.

He said: “I do not want to bring politics into it, whoever wants to bring politics into what we are doing, it’s left for him. I want whoever is saying that to know that war machines are not picked up from the shelf, if it were, we would have got them.

“When you make orders, it takes time to produce and it takes time also to train on them. So, we did not place the orders today, we had placed orders before now and when they started coming, we asked for more time to combat the insurgents before the elections. I can guarantee you that there is no politics in the demand for shift in date, it is just because we were receiving the equipment.”

Calling on the need for the civilian populace to support the military in the ongoing fight against insurgency, Badeh said: “Part of the overall strategy of tackling insecurity is to build synergy with the civil populace, especially for support and vigilance in reporting the activities of suspicious elements and the movements of insurgents.

“This is borne out of our strong conviction that the war against insurgents is not a war for the armed forces alone. As I have always said, when the military is at war, it is not the military alone that is at war, rather it is the entire nation.

“Accordingly, all instrument of national power, ranging from diplomatic, informational, military to economic are employed to ensure that threats to national security are contained and defeated.”

Commending the APIN and other companies who earlier made similar donations to the military, Badeh noted that such gesture was a clear demonstration of concern and support for the military in the ongoing war against terrorists, despite antics of some unpatriotic persons.

Earlier, President of the APIN, Sir Nnamdi Obi, disclosed that the association was “making available to the Nigerian Armed Forces over N70 million worth of drugs that cut across various therapeutic class.

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Okonjo-Iweala, PDP, PPPRA Gives Conflicting Reasons for Fuel Scarcity

Nigeria’s finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), have all given conflicting reasons why the nation is currently faced with fuel scarcity which has seen long queue in petrol stations.

While the PPPRA the government agency responsible for pricing and regulation of petroleum products blamed the scarcity and long queues on the failure by the government to pay fuel marketers who import the product into the country, the finance minister said the scarcity is as a result of “disruption of pipelines and logistical issues.”

The PDP on the other hand accused the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) of sabotaging fuel supply to humiliate the government weeks before national elections.

The PDP said the opposition All Progressives Congress of compelling marketers to either divert or refuse to sell petrol to embarrass the government.

At a meeting with the Senator Committee on Petroleum, the PPPRA said the scarcity was a result of issues in the sector which led to the devaluation of the naira, and confirmed that the claim of fuel marketers about subsidy backlog was correct.

“What actually complicated it was the devaluation of naira twice,” the agency’s Executive Secretary, Farouk Ahmed, told lawmakers. “The first one that took place on November 28 devalued naira from N155 to N168 to $1 while the second one that took place on February 18 brought the exchange rate to N199 to $1.”

“Marketers were not sure of the actual delivery cost and we had to draw a new template as advised by the CBN. The delay we have now is caused by the November devaluation.”

But Okonjo-Iweala at a news briefing Tuesday, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala strongly denied any link between the scarcity that has left long queues at filling stations across the country, and a failure by the government to pay fuel marketers.

“I want to emphasize that contrary to some unfounded speculations, the queues are not caused by payment issues,” Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said.

The minister strongly rejected suggestions that the fuel shortage was triggered by payment issues, describing that claim as “unfounded speculations”.

“As you know, we paid the marketers a total of N320.8 billion from the Excess Crude account in two instalments in December last year. This underscores the fact that we are taking payment of marketers very seriously indeed. We’ve been in constant touch and talking with the marketers and a week ago we reached an agreement with them on their core concerns which we have addressed.

The contradictions notwithstanding, the petroleum marketers who are at the centre of it all stated last week Friday that the government’s failure to clear subsidy backlog, made worse by the recent devaluation of the naira, was behind the crisis.

This position was reiterated on Tuesday by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, who warned that the scarcity would persist until the government facilitates payment subsidy claims.

 

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Plot To Use RECs To Pass No Confidence Vote On Jega Suffers Temporary Setback

Alleged plots to recruit Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, to instigate a no-confidence motion against the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega today came unstuck after a meeting of the RECs scheduled for today was shifted.

Jega was expected to meet with the 36 state reps to review the commission’s preparedness for the March 28 and April 11 election, a meeting the presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will see Resident Electoral Commissioners on its side passing a vote of no confidence on Jega.

Abusidiqu had reported last week that the commission has been hit by crisis following the backing of some of the commissioners by the presidency and the PDP to insist on the use of Temporary Voters Card (TVC), against Jega’s insistence of using the Permanent Voters Card (PVC), which he said will help to check rigging.

READ: Crisis Hit INEC Over Use of PVC as Presidency, PDP Back Commissioners to Insist on Use of TVC

The meeting scheduled for today in Abuja has been shifted to next week. The shift, it was gathered, was to enable the RECs prepare for and monitor Saturday’s test run of the card readers to be used for the election.

Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu said that since the commission had already planned to carry out a mock election, where the card readers would be used, it was decided that the RECs meeting be put off till after that exercise.

“As you already know, this weekend we are going to 12 states to demonstrate how the Card Reader works. We have chosen two states from each of the geopolitical zones; we will be at any ward the REC of the state will select for the exercise. It is on that strength that the RECs meeting was shifted”.

Today’s meeting was to evaluate the preparation of the commission ahead of the March 28 and April 11 polls with a special focus on the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) across the country.

 

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Reps Pass Resolution Asking Jonathan Not To Sack Jega

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution against any plan to remove the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Attahiru Jega ahead of the general election on March 28.

The House also warned President Goodluck Jonathan against such moved which it said could derail the nation’s democracy. It resolved to subject anyone involved in moves to remove Jega to judicial prosecution in Nigeria or at the International Criminal Court, ICC.

The House resolution that was pushed through by the All Progressives Congress, APC, majority was despite strong objections by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, caucus in the chamber.

The House resolution came as Speaker Aminu Tambuwal told a civil rights group that any premature removal of Jega could derail the country’s democracy.

The motion to sanction anyone involved in the alleged plot to prematurely nudge Jega out from the country’s election management body was brought to the House floor by Rep. Ali Ahmed (APC,Kwara).

Moving the motion titled: “Threat to further tamper with the status quo arrangement for the 2015 general elections”, Ahmed noted that “the initial postponement of the general elections for the six weeks due to the security concerns related to the Boko Haram insurgency has further heightened the tempo for pre-election violence.”

He stated that there were already threats and insinuations about further alterations to the status quo arrangements and regulations for the elections, arguing that “any alteration in the status quo arrangements in whatever form at this crucial stage would invariably lead to further postponement of the dates of the elections”.

According to him, the “threat to tamper with the status quo may take several forms including but not limited to illegal removal of the current INEC chairman”.

He further submitted that “there is already documented evidence from several sources that any change in status quo arrangements, especially removal of the INEC chairman, “presents a possibility of violence” and would occasion the sowing of seeds of major crises”.

Ahmed reminded the House that civil society organizations and some notable Nigerians have already sounded “a note of warning”, and threatened a “showdown” should the Federal Government go ahead to remove Jega.

Quoting Section 157(1) of the 1999 Constitution, he said that Jega could only be removed from office on only two grounds based on “his inability to discharge the functions of the office or for misconduct as determined by two-thirds majority of the Senate”.

 

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