Passengers Stranded As Arik Air Grounds Operation Over Fuel, Insurance Debts

Hundreds of air passengers across the country are currently stranded as one of Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air has grounded its operations.

Apart from the early flights on Tuesday, several other flights expected to take off across the country has not taken off.

Sources said the situation is due to the massive debts of the airline to major oil marketers who regularly supply aviation fuel

Other sources said the withdrawal of the airline’s insurance cover in Europe and other parts of the world also forced the airline to stop flight operations.

Meanwhile, the airline has issued a statement to announce temporary disruption to its operations.

“Arik Air, West and Central Africa’s largest airline has alerted all air travelers of a temporary disruption to its operations, pending approval of aircraft documentation related to insurance renewal,” read the statement issued by Ola Adebanji, Arik’s spokesman.

“The airline said that it was working around the clock to resolve the necessary documentation, which has been a challenge due to the long weekend holidays due to Ed al Adha.

“At the present time, all flights of the airline have been cancelled for Tuesday, 13 September 2016 and the airline has stated that it would be getting in touch with passengers to provide an update on rescheduling of their flights.

“This situation is likely to continue for the next few days until such time that NAICOM (National Insurance Commission) approves a waiver on a priority basis for the new insurance company to renew the policy.

“All customers are kindly advised to contact Arik Air’s Call Centre (01-2799999), Airport or City ticket offices or visit the airline’s Website (www.arikair.com) for further updates. Passengers are also advised to check with the airline regarding the status of their flights before proceeding to the airport.

“Arik Air’s Group CEO, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, wishes to advise and assure the public, its customers, stakeholders and partners that we are fully committed to returning to our normal operations and minimize any unfortunate inconvenience to our passengers. Where flights have been cancelled, the airline will notify passengers through SMS and in such cases, passengers will be accommodated on first available alternative flight as soon as normal flight operations resume.

“The Group CEO has apologized and appealed (on behalf of the airline) for the understanding of passengers while it works diligently to resume normal operations at the earliest.”

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SEC Issues Fraud Alert Over MMM Ponzi Scheme

The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (“SEC”) has been drawn to the activities of an online investment scheme tagged ‘MMM Federal Republic of Nigeria (nigeria.mmm.net).

The platform has embarked on an aggressive online media campaign to lure the investing public to participate in what it called “mutual aid financial network” with a monthly investment return of 30%.

The Commission hereby notifies the investing public that the operation of this investment scheme has no tangible business model, hence it’s a PONZI SCHEME where returns are paid from other people’s invested sum. Also, its operation is not registered by the Commission.

The general public is hereby advised to distance themselves from this online scheme.

Please note that anyone that subscribe to this illegal activity does so at his/her own risk.

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Abia Governorship: INEC Issues Certificate Of Return To Uche Ogah

INEC has issued the certificate of return to Mr Uche Ogah as the Governor of Abia State.

INEC’S Director of Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzi says this follows an order by the Abuja Federal High Court mandating  INEC to immediately issue Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah who came second at the last Peoples Democratic Party, PDP primaries in Abia State.

With this development, it is unclear if Okezie Ikpeazu will vacate the seat as the governor of the state.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has Monday annulled the election of Governor and ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Dr. Samson Oga.

The court also ordered Ikpeazu to vacate office immediately.

But the governor in his response to the court judgement maintains that he remains the Governor of the state according to law and will await the final determination of the matter by the appellate courts.

 

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Resolve All Pending Issues Or We Take Over, PDP Youth Threatens Party Leaders

A coalition of youth groups within the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has given leaders of the party seven days to resolve all pending issues relating to the ongoing crisis in the party or they would takeover.

Briefing journalists at the end of their meeting Tuesday, at the Wadata Plaza National Secretariat of the party, the chairman of the group, Aderemi Olusegun, said they were saddened by the “unabated internal wrangling” besetting the party.

He said as concerned youth, they found it necessary to come together to take a firm position in the interest of PDP members nationwide.

Mr. Aderemi said the youth had waited enough for the party’s leaders since the Port Harcourt convention to amicably resolve the lingering problem of leadership.

“We are giving the leadership of the party (which includes the BOT, Governors’ Forum, warring groups and other stakeholders) a 7-day ultimatum to resolve this intractable but avoidable rancour.

“However, if this is not resolved, we shall be compelled to mobilize all concerned youths nationwide to take over the affairs of the party, as we have started putting in place an effective structure to take over the party secretariat,” he said.

Mr. Aderemi said the PDP as a party is bigger than individuals and groups, adding that they youth had resolved to “henceforth not tolerate anyone to take the party for a ride”.

“We are therefore demanding the immediate withdrawal of all pending litigations in the court of law, so that we can amicably resolve all issues,” he said.

The PDP youth also said it was sad for the leaders of the party not to consider the effect of their actions on the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, which, they said, were likely to affect the fortune of the party.

“Our party members world over are seriously disillusioned and unhappy.

“We have therefore constituted an 11-man committee to liaise with all the parties concerned and stakeholders so as a matter of urgency resolve all disagreements in our party.

“We shall be making further demands known to all the stakeholders in order to reposition our party as a viable alternative for all Nigerians,” the youth said.

The PDP has been embroiled in crisis since May 21 when different factions emerged at two simultaneous national conventions in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and Abuja.

The party’s national chairman, Ali Sheriff, had announced the cancellation of the Port Harcourt convention citing court orders.

However, PDP governors and the BoT, went ahead to carry out the convention and announced the sack of Mr. Sheriff and all members of his working committee.

The convention also announced the composition of a caretaker committee to be headed by former governor of Kaduna state, Ahmed Makarfi.

At the Abuja convention, former deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, was announced the new chairman of the party.

The BoT and the Mantu group eventually recognized the leadership of Mr.Makarfi, but, Mr. Sheriff insists he remains the chairman of the party.

While Mr. Makarfi formally resumed duties last week, Mr. Sheriff on Monday led hundreds of his supporters and invaded the national secretariat of the party saying a court in Lagos had already confirmed him as chairman until 2018.

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Niger Delta Avengers Issues Fresh Threat As Bombing Of Oil Facilities Continues

The Niger Delta Avengers had earlier on Thursday threatened to secede from the country, saying that successive governments had been unfair to the people of the Niger Delta region.

It said that what the people of the Niger Delta had been asking for from successive governments in Nigeria was the provision of basic amenities and inclusiveness.

The group called on the international community, especially Britain, France, United States, Russia and China not to allow the region to go the way of Sudan.

In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Murdoch Agbinibo, the NDA maintained that all that successive governments wanted was the flow of crude oil from the region and not its development.

It vowed to remedy the age-long devastation against the region with every means necessary.

It said in the statement, “Since the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 to date, our resources have been used to sustain the political administrative livewire of Nigeria to the exclusion of the Niger Delta.

“Finally, we are calling on the international community to come and support the restoration of our right to peaceful self-determination from this tragedy of 1914 that has expired since 2014.

“We want our resources back to restore the essence of human life in our region for generations to come because Nigeria has failed to do that. The world should not wait until we go the Sudan way. Enough is enough.

“This history of terror, we the Niger Delta Avengers will resist and correct with every means necessary. We have nothing to lose in the battle ahead.”

It added, “Justice, they say, is only found within the structure of a nation state; rather than provide justice, the Nigerian government has decided to mobilise her military might to intimidate, torture, maim, victimise and bombard a section of the nation and her citizenry to allow the free flow of our oil.

“Since the day crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity and quality in Oloibiri in the present day Bayelsa State, what we have being asking from successive governments in Nigeria is potable drinking water, electricity, roads, employment, quality education, resource control and inclusive governance.”

Meanwhile, the attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta continued Thursday evening with the bombing of a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Sources said the incident happened at 7:40pm around the Shalomi Creek in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.

No group, including the Niger Delta Avengers, which has claimed responsibility for series of attacks on oil facilities in the past, has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s incident.

The commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, Commodore Riami Mohammed, when contacted at about 9:09pm, denied knowledge of the incident.

But a senior military officer, who spoke on condition anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, confirmed the development.

The source said details of the incident were still sketchy due to the time it took place.

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New Militant Group Emerges In Niger Delta, Issues 7-Day Ultimatum

Just as the Niger Delta militant group is wrecking havoc in the Niger Delta, a new group of militants has emerged in the oil region vowing to tea, up with the Niger Delta Avengers to stop oil production in the region.

The new group, Red Egbesu Water Lions, has also issued a seven day ultimatum to the Federal Government demanding the release of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

It is however unclear if the group was a resurrection of the Egbesu Mightier Fraternity Of Izon (Ijaw) Land and The Water Lion, a group which became prominent five years ago when its members threatened to eject people of northern origin from the region when the Boko Haram sect started attacking Christians in the North-East.

In a statement by its Creek Network Coordinator, “General” Torunanawei Latei, on Wednesday, the new militant group vowed to work with the Niger Delta Avengers and Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, to ensure that all their demands were met in the next seven days.

It also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to defreeze the bank accounts of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.

The Red Egbesu Water Lions, said to be an Ijaw group, threatened to shut down all oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta at the expiration of the ultimatum if the president ignores the group’s demands.

As part of its requests which must be met in the next one week, the group called for the “unconditional and immediate payment to victims of the Bonga Oil Spill and Chevron gas explosion in Koluama, Bayelsa state”.

While decrying the alleged lawlessness of the Buhari-led federal government, the Ijaw group argued that the government was becoming notorious for deliberate disobedience to court orders.

“It is extremely important to note that the engine room of the national interest is the executive obedience to court orders, protection and preservation of citizens’ constitutional liberties.

‘’Justification of executive disobedience to court orders as a protection of national interest is abominable.

“This is a deliberate ploy to bend the law and suspend the 1999 Constitution. We ask, does President Muhammadu Buhari have any legal capacity to declare anyone as a criminal? Disobedience to court orders is an act of executive rascality in the country,” the group contended.

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Choice Of Freedom Over Servitude: Issues And Concerns Over #145 Petrol Pump Price By AbdulRahman Agboola)

As core loyalists of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in the face of diverse reactions over the petrol pump price recently announced by the Federal Government, silence would have been golden, especially when other co-loyalists have declared their unalloyed support to the policy, but our background doesn’t permit neutrality, we strongly align with the maxim that states that the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.

Expressing views, thoughts and actions at variance with allies could be catastrophic to long built relationships, but leaning towards truth and conscientious deeds provides succor when arguments that could hamper friendship surface and the wave of the moment is a pointer towards that direction, but the beauty of the World is that, Allies today, Enemies tomorrow, the World is a complex place.

It is a common fact that most Nigerians don’t understand the workings of democracy, instead of dissecting issues as it relates to public good, they have too much respect for affinity with people in power and not to be regarded as antagonists, they often admit government policies hook line and sinker, mostly when relationship exist and the rest of the people are declared as opposition whose opinions doesn’t worth to be heard out.

The opposition party is nonexistent in Nigeria as of today, the Peoples Democratic Party is worth just a tissue paper, bunch of misguided elements with no analytical minds and sound intellectual prowess to oppose government policies, compared with what was witnessed when the ruling party was the opposition. In the old order, by now, the heat would have been very unbearable for the government and the best the PDP Platform could offer to the masses as opposition party, is to accuse the actors of the present administration of accepting the removal of subsidies they opposed years ago as opposition, what a shame to the shameless looters of our commonwealth that put us in the present economic mess.

APC emerged with promises of running a Peoples’ Government where the interest of the common man will be protected, it was on this premise that victory of APC was secured through all means possible at the last Presidential Election, it was more of struggle among gladiators backed majority of the electorates that secured the victory in a keenly contested Presidential Election where 31, 746, 490 electorates voted but with less than 3 Million marginal votes that secured the mandate in favour of the current administration and the rest of the populace, 120 Million or thereabout were not voters, let no one in government feels too important to take the masses for granted, yesterday has passed, today is the reality, tomorrow is either mere hope, dream or vision.

The reminder of the marginal victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the last poll comes to fore, just to caution some of his allies who are gradually growing wings and becoming arrogant, with their perfectionists stance to government policies and unfounded believe of riding on populace heavy strength to Aso Rock, there is a limit to every stretch, one Anti-Masses Policy today, others tomorrow, will fetch peoples anger as witnessed in the past.  To remain in the good book of the populace, their interest must be collectively ultimate in our minds; else the people have means of correcting their mistakes, even with worse mistakes, while they care less, in their carelessness.

Among the strong support base of the present administration before Presidential Elections and after, were key leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress and notable Civil Society Organisations but today, due to the opposition of the Nigeria Labour Congress to the new #145 petrol pump price announced by government, the Non-State Actors and other government frontiers have commenced actions to break the ranks of NLC over a call for Industrial Strike Action to call the government to order and seek a reversal of the new pump price.

It was the regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida that successfully weakened the strength of Nigeria Labour Congress before the emergence of Adams Oshiomole that restored the strength of the Congress, as platform for agitations in the best interest of the workforce primarily and the rest of the people secondarily. NLC Leadership has been alleged of several goofs and inactions in their line of duties and calls have been made to discountenance their moves to make the government accountable for the policy, but should we hold the new leadership of NLC accountable for the alleged errors of previous leadership.

In the same manner the adherents of the policies of this present administration strives hard to exonerate present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, from all the calamities befalling this Country inherited from previous administrations, in the same manner we must exonerate the present leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress led by Comrade Aliyu Wabba for inherited liabilities from his predecessors, except we chose to be hypocritical and the issue at stake is a ground for credible comparison.

Some voices resonate than others, the platforms of NLC and Coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the coordination of Joint Action Front have provided several candors for the oppressed citizens in the past, in my humble view, the only offence of present NLC Leadership could be their genuine reasons for craving of masses support for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari especially the Anti-Corruption Crusade, well applauded by government and their cronies, only to attempt to demonize NLC and denigrate their image, for opposing the government at this critical time they gladly offers their platform to agitate for the rights of the suffering and groaning masses. NLC must not be destroyed, they have outlived many admistrations and their importance to the polity outweighs their irrelevances, they are indispensable and their opinions matters greatly to the progress of this Country.

Where the opposition of a section of the public to the new petrol pump price is tied to the timing, they echoed that the present hardship will multiply with the policy, we respect their thoughts, though with reservations, others are pursuing vendetta over the roles of several actors of this government against same policy years ago, we respect their thoughts as well, but with deeper reservations. In our opposition to the new petrol pump price, we consider the fact that the full deregulation of the oil downstream sector is long overdue and no time is odd for such an onerous task, but the masses must not be exploited in that process.

We are not disputing the fact that Oil Subsidy amounts to fraud by the Independent Oil Marketers and we are aware that the 2016 Budget did not provides for subsidy, but our grouse with the new petrol pump price is the lack of sincerity by the Management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. NNPC claimed government have stopped payment of subsidy to oil marketers since January and Nigerians have groaned, but survived that era of intense scarcity and hording of Petrol, where black marketers reigned excessively without appropriate check by the government.

It is not the first time that the Minister of State for Petroleum will be drawing the irk of the masses against the government on petrol issue, but the latest petrol pump price is an abuse of the resilience of the masses that strained themselves and survive the onslaughts of the oil marketers that sold at a range of #190 to #290 per litre informed the decision of government to pronounce the new price regime of #145, with the mindsets that Nigerians can afford to purchase at that price, going the beer palour analysis of the President Obasanjo administration that: if Nigerians can afford to buy a bottle of beer for #150, then they should be able to buy petrol at same rate.

It is against common sense for NNPC to be selling Petrol at 145 Naira as control price and expects other filling stations to sell at the same price without strict monitoring on compliance. Deregulation or open market, it doesn’t make sense that black marketers are smiling heavily now, and for any person with affinity or link to this administration to feel the new price regulation is right, you need to think of posterity. Less than 2 hours after the announcement of the new Petrol Pump Price under the guise of deregulation, NNPC started selling at 140 and now 145 naira against 87 Naira. Is NNPC selling new stock or old stock to justify their pump price, we are sure NNPC sold fuel to Nigerians at 145 naira from an existing fuel bank sold at 87 naira before the pronouncement of the new price or how many new arrivals of fuel has occurred in the last few days to justify the action of NNPC, the worst scenario is the fact that most Filling Stations are selling at #160 and above without check by government. Petrol is now available but at exorbitant prices created by lack of machineries to enforce the regulated price with appropriate sanctions against defaulters.

Dear lovers of APC and President Buhari, tell Mr President the truth, the management of NNPC must not be shrouded in secrecy, Nigerians are been duped, the acclaimed peoples’ government acted wrongly by announcing that killing price, if truly the action was full deregulation, NNPC would have allowed market to determine the price itself. It is imperative for government to keep her respect or lose it wrongly with this policy, government only listened to the presentations of the Management of NNPC without considering other salient facts outside government scope, NNPC Management only expanded their profit range by announcing the new pump price of #145, was NNPC doing the masses favour from January till days ago that they sold at #87 or they were just managing the situation till they got stranded and took the hook off their neck and with faulty analysis attempt to coarse the general public to believe the best pump price is #145 per litre.

We need to know how much gain NNPC is making by selling at #145 or are they still selling at loss, so that we get prepared for higher price soonest, after all we have deregulated and the market can force the price to go as higher as #200 per litre. Some people with retarded knowledge on the crux of the issue at stake attempt to brainwash the general public by making reference to the price of Sim Cards at exorbitant rates years ago in comparison with oil deregulation, what a warped logic. If NNPC that regulated the petrol pump price at #145 per litre under a false claim of total deregulation failed to sell far below that price, then one of the core aims of deregulation is already defeated with the failure of NNPC to provide efficient leadership that can force the market towards a downward price.

The alibi of government is the newly passed Federal Budget which they believe will gain public support and sympathy, as they showcase projects executions and other productive actions of government before the general public, this ideology has its ferocious implication, if the mindsets of the masses don’t align with the projects eventually executed by government, this become sacrosanct with the lack of will by government to pronounce this policy since December 2015 that this crisis has lingered.

Our ultimate concern is that the secrecy shrouded in the operation and management of NNPC must be unraveled in the best interest of Nigeria, the Minister of States opined our refineries will function at optimal productivity level in six months time and he concluded that point will reverse the new price regulation and earn applause for government and if that fails and the exchange rates remain continuously high as present, then he might kill the good image of this administration by this uninformed and misleading policy.

Mass Action for God Governance and Grassroots Development in Nigeria strongly aligns with the call for Mass Actions and Industrial Strikes, by the fronts of genuine struggles- Joint Action Fronts, Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and frontline Civil Society Organisations, in the best interest of the masses. Government must be held accountable and responsible for their actions, the same manner government stakeholders met briefly to announce a new petrol pump price without respect for the concerns of the poor masses, that same way, JAF, NLC, TUC and the rest of us must demand explanations from government.

Contrary to our expectations that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would combat corruption without pity and imprison the looters of our common wealth, over 11 Months now, no one is found guilty yet, simply because the President is meticulous and doesn’t want to be labeled as Anti-Democratic or influencing the Judiciary, but that same government is courageous enough not to pity commoners,  I don’t blame Mr President as we remain very loyal, but we will resist any Anti-Peoples Policy.

 

Comrade AbdulRahman Agboola

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PDP National Youth Leader Speaks On Youth Inclusion In Govt, Other Issues

The National Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Abdullahi Maibasira in this interview barred his mind on a lot of issues concerning his party, including the 30 percent or nothing demand by some youth members f the PDP.

Excerpts:

During the 2015 general election, there was an agitation for the youths to have 30% representation in the new government with the harshtag #30%orNothing. With the appointments made by the APC led FG, do you think the youth are equally represented?

The call for 30% youth inclusion in governance was proposed and driven by PDP youths on behalf of young people since we were in government then. It was purely a PDP Youth agenda. I am not sure it was binding on the ruling party or whether their youth Wing was a part of it. We believed then and still do that though some progress were made (at that time) in appointing young people into some offices, there was the need to concretise and secure the buy in of the nation’s political leadership at that time to fast track leadership transition. And frankly, we pushed it through the Party, we worked on it with then Youth minister Boni Haruna, and way up to the former President who was equally disposed to it. So it became a campaign issue. There are two sides of the coin. One has to do with appointive positions and the other is for elective offices. The elective part purely has to do with how political parties can support and encourage young people to seek elective offices and make it through their primaries. Honestly, some Youth NGO and CSO also supported the idea, they worked with INEC but it was a bit too close to elections by which time primaries have been concluded.

If no what you think is responsible?

On the appointive side, we are not in government now so this onus does not lie on us at the federal level. It is up to youth movement in the ruling party to push it through more vigorously. I personally consider Youth inclusion an agenda of national and not partisan necessity especially giving the infinite potentials and possibilities of young people in entrepreneurship, governance, economy and innovation. On the elective offices part, if we pass our youth proposals embedded in the constitution amendment at the next convention, we are home but the struggle for implementation will now commence.

Do you think the youth department of the PDP has a chance to right the wrong of the party?

I don’t really understand your definition of “right the wrongs of the party”. First, there was an election – we lost and conceded. Second, we as a party undertook a painstaking nationwide assessment of the reasons why we lost the election. The Committee was chaired by the country’s Deputy President of the Senate. The report was submitted and it has already found its way to the public domain. The observations fully noted and recommendations proposed. Definitely, as a political party, there were some serious fundamental, institutional, mobilisation and organizational short-comings. Now these issues deserve corrective measures.

As for the Youth of the party, in October 2015; we assembled a Restructuring Committee to review our youth framework in its entirety and make reocmmendations on legal, operational and administrative steps forward. We appreciated ever before now that there was indeed the urgent need for reform. Unfortunately, we were delayed by the fact that we had to concentrate effort for preparations towards the 2015 elections and obviously that those principal reforms require constitutional amendments. Our proposals are simple: create a nationwide Youth Wing, include Youth representation in Key organs of the party, encourage and support young people to seek elective offices, creation of new offices for young people and the make the party more youth focused and oriented.IMG_20160314_143650

Your party is now in the opposition but many Nigerians think it is not doing well in the role and have called for the emergence of a new party which will check the excesses of the APC, Why is your party not performing its opposition role perfectly?

Our role as opposition is emerging, it will get better and with much humility, perfection is providential. I believe that the party is in a State of transition – from a party conversant with the role of governance to one faced with being in opposition. For a party that has been in government since inception, am sure you would agree with me that the unexpected change in role will require both strategic and structural adjustments which cannot just be immediate. But we have made real progress and we will continue to make progress. The best is yet come out of PDP. We will play opposition of constructive criticism, objective opinions and sound policy alternatives. But, it should be emphasized that the resilience of any democracy is tested on the premise of a strong opposition and liberty of opinions. We cannot afford to have a democracy in Nigeria without a vocal and visible opposition. The essence is to enrich discussion to make our country greater.

PDP is trying to rebrand itself, what do you think should be done if your party must regain power in 2019?

I am not sure politicians discuss strategy during interview sessions. But, I know and will trust that no effort will be spared, and all hands will be on deck for 2019. As I pointed earlier, the party received a 2015 post election report with a road map towards 2019 which was considered at NEC last year. We should implement the report. We should simply allow the popular person emerge, party must return to the people, internal democracy enhanced, free and fair primaries, we should make our processes more participatory and we should simply follow our constitution. A political organization should be dynamic and responsive.

The ultimate judge in 2019 will be the Nigerian people who at that appointed time will determine by the power of the ballot whether we are better off in terms of livelihood, opportunity, happiness, welfare, economic ranking, purchasing power and access to the basics of life than pre-2015 era.

PDP has consistently said the anti-corruption war of the government is targeted only at members of your party, don’t you think it will be so since your party formed the last government?

I will stand by the various comments of the party and our leaders relating to the enforcement of the rule of law.

Months into the Buhari government, what’s your take on the administration? Will it deliver its campaign promises?

The administration is given 4 years by the Constitution of Nigeria to implement the agenda upon which it was elected. As you said; it is 9 months now. My take is that the administration came into existence by first being in opposition and subsequently defeating us at the polls. ByMay 29 2017, I believe it would be time for a comprehensive mid – term reivew. I also know that daily – on the streets, in hospitals, schools, the financial institutions, formal and informal markets, at various public places, on online social media platforms, at newspaper stands and at homes, the Nigerian people are making their own assessments. What the 2015  elections further teaches us is that democracy has come to stay.

What are your take on the recent victory of the PDP at some national assembly election rerun and the Supreme Court ruling on some governorship elections?

We are delighted. We are definitely so grateful to the Judiciary especially the Supreme Court. As for the rerun; it simply passes a message to the world that PDP is still very much in the hearts and minds of Nigerians and the flame of power to the people will lighten the torch of Nigerian democracy in due course.

What would you like to see in the coming PDP national convention?

I am optimistic. From the ward level way up, we simply have no option than to work towards conducting transparent and credible congresses. There is a lot of interest in the party and it’s direction. We must honestly manage the process. We must simply get it right. I am sure we would have a successful convention.

What in your opinion is your lasting legacy or mark?

Well, one must leave trademarks or foot prints while in office and we should always plan for succession and transition. But I am hopeful that without bias posterity will mark us well for expanding the space for young people, for mainstreaming many youths into the PDP agenda, for organising many youth programs that were never held in the PDP, for the privilege of leading the youth campaign during the 2015 elections, for increasing the functionality of the office, for identifying and proposing lasting constitutional reforms that will guarantee the place of young people in the party, for bringing to the fore the need to amend the constitution to create the PDP Youth Wing, and for bringing the party closer to the youth movements operating outside the party.

We made it a cardinal objective to ensure that Youth leadership within the party should be truly by young people. So I was extremely pleased that NEC approved as part of our 2016 Electoral Guidelines that eligibility into the office of Youth Leader or Deputy at all levels must be 40 years of age and below.

On a final note, do you have any political ambition?

Every man has an ambition and it may not necessarily be political. But again man is a political animal. As for now, we are preparing for congresses and convention. My immediate ambition however is to see to my current mandate successfully. My general political ambition is to play a part in our country’s democratic process.

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Dogara Solicits Britain’s Support In Rebuilding North-East, Says The House Takes Gender Issues As A Priority

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has again solicited Britain’s support in resettling people displaced from their communities due to attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the North East of Nigeria.

Speaking when ?he received Britain’s minister of State, Baroness Joyce Anelay, in his office on Tuesday, Dogara urged Britain to consider convening a special aid conference for rebuilding the North East as was recently done for the victims of the civil war in Syria.

He added that as members of the global community, the displaced Nigerians? deserve global security and support.

?Dogara also thanked the minister of state for the tactical training and retraining of troops as it relates to the war against insurgency, as well as support through the DFID for the legislative process.

?Lamenting the plight of orphans and displaced people across the country, he said, “we will like to seek assistance from Britain, explore the possibility of convening an international donor conference just like was done recently in UK for Syria; it will be able to help us resettle these IDPs.”

“We all acknowledge that Nigeria is part of the global community, we are global citizens. It is not only citizens of Nigeria that are caught up in this unfortunate incident, but we are global citizens so I believe that the global citizens ought to offer some kind of support and security as well.”

“We are winning the war against terror, the problem is managing these victories and we have to settle them as soon as possible”, he added.

The Speaker also said that the House of Representatives has been gender friendly and takes gender issues as priority, a proof of which is their headship and membership? of committees of the House.

Responding, Baroness Analey noted the Speaker’s request, adding that she will convey his message to her home country.

“I hear so much from my colleagues and the secretary who have been here in the last year; they all come back with one message and that is to say that the people who are victims in any conflicts are the children?. So I note the point you made and I accept.”

The British minister of state was in the National Assembly to promote gender issues.

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Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Tope Aluko Over Ekitigate

Lere Olayinka, media aide to Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose stated on Wednesday that a federal high court in Abuja has issued a bench warrant for former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Scribe in Ekiti, Tope Aluko, for allegedly committing perjury over his role in the infamous Ekitigate scandal.

He stated this via his twitter handle moments ago.

According to him, a warrant of arrest has been issued for former PDP secretary in Ekiti state, Tope Aluko. This arrest warrant comes after he made allegations on the 2014 governorship election in the state while speaking on ChannelsTV on Sunday Janaury 31st.

Aluko alleged that the Ekiti state governorship election was rigged and that former president Goodluck Jonathan gave Fayose $35 million to rig the election.

The same Aluko had at a state election tribunal last year, testified that the election was free and fair, hence the perjury against him now…

More to come.

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N2.1b pension scam: INTERPOL Issues “Red Notice” For The Arrest Of Abdulrasheed Maina

THE International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) has issued a “Red Notice” on ex-Pension Reform Task Team Chairman Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, who is believed to be out of the country.

This will enable relevant security agencies to arrest Maina in any part of the world.

A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said Maina was wanted for his alleged role in the fraudulent biometric contracts through which he and ex-Head of Service Steve Oronsaye and two others allegedly mismanaged over N2 billion pension funds.

Maina was, on July 21, 2015, charged with Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited at a Federal High Court on a 24-count of procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence.

Whereas Oronsaye and two others were in court and pleaded not guilty, Maina had been at large.

However, on July 21 when the court heard the bail applications of the accused, Maina through his counsel, Esther Uzoma, told the court that he was not at large, claiming that the EFCC never invited him.

Despite his excuse, Maina has not appeared for trial from his alleged hideout.

Some reports said he was in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But his sympathisers claimed Maina was still in the country.

The situation prompted the EFCC to engage the INTERPOL to track him down.

It was, however, learnt from a top source in EFCC that the INTERPOL issued the notice, which would make his arrest possible in any part of the world.

The source said: “The INTERPOL has issued a world-wide red alert on Maina. The notice is based on a request from the EFCC, which on November 18, 2015, wrote to the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, seeking his assistance “to issue an INTERPOL Red Alert” on Maina, who was charged to the Federal High Court on July 10, 2015.

“In a response to the anti-graft agency’s request, Olushola Subair, commissioner of Police, INTERPOL, in a letter dated January 11, 2016, addressed to the Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, informed the agency that its request had been processed and a notice duly issued by the INTERPOL.

The letter reads: “Be informed that the bureau has taken necessary action on the wanted fugitive as requested with INTERPOL General Secretariat, Lyon, France. He has been published on the INTERPOL Red Notice accordingly.”

“The import of the notice is that there is no hiding place anywhere in the world for Maina, who was indicted by the EFCC for fraud and the theft of over N2 billion in pension funds at the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

“He is widely believed to be hiding in the United Arab Emirates. EFCC earlier declared Maina wanted after obtaining a warrant of arrest from court.”

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We Are Dealing With Issues Of Poverty With 2016 Budget Proposals, Says VP Osinbajo

AS the National Assembly begins debating the 2016 Budget submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari, there are specific provisions in the proposals that will confront poverty in the country in a bold and direct way according to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“We are dealing with the issues of poverty with the 2016 Budget that is currently being debated,” the Vice President says noting that in a country where more than 110 million Nigerians are extremely poor, we are bound to have such health challenges as having about 110,000 deaths yearly from Diarrhea.

All together there are 6 social protection programmes of the Buhari administration for which funds have been allocated in the 2016 budget. These are Teach Nigeria, where 500,000 graduates would be hired as teachers, Youth Employment and Empowerment-where between 300,000-500,000 youths would go through skills acquisition and vocational training, the Conditional Cash Transfer, where one million extremely poor Nigerians will receive N5000 monthly this year, Homegrown School Feeding where one meal a day would be served to public primary school children across the country, Free Education for tertiary education 100,000 students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the Micro-Credit Scheme that will give N60,000 one time soft loans to market women, and artisans.

The Vice President spoke during a courtesy visit by a delegation of Reckitt Benckiser West Africa, a household care products’ company lead by its West Africa Managing Director, Mr. Rahul Murgai and the Chairman in Nigeria, Chief Olu Falomo. The company had earlier discussed with the VP its Safe the Children Initiative, a Corporate Social Responsibility programme designed to curb the deaths of Nigerian children caused by Diarrhea.

While welcoming the initiative, Prof. Osinbajo explained that a lot has to be done in the country to confront poverty and its impacts on Nigerians.

According to him, “when you have the number of extremely poor Nigerians that we have in this country we are bound to have these kinds of health problems, “ adding however that the 2016 Budget proposals will deal with the overall problem of poverty.

He said for the first time in the nation’s history about half a trillion Naira is being provided for the six social investment programmes-(as listed above).

The Vice President commended the company for its intervention saying “this is the sort of thing we expect from those who have the resources.”

Speaking earlier, Mr. Murgai said Reckitt Benckiser which has been doing business in Nigeria for several decades wants to ensure that the people of Nigeria are healthier and happier. He said the company is worried about Diarrhea deaths and has set aside about N1.2 billion to fight the situation in Nigeria.

Also today the Vice President received a delegation from the Twelve-Twelve Polo and Turf Club, Abuja led by Mallam Murtala Aliyu, the Club’s Advisory Board Chairman.

Prof. Osinbajo while appreciating the visit and commending the efforts to set up such a club, urged the members to consider making polo, horse-racing and other equestrian sports open and available to young people who otherwise may not be able to afford playing in such expensive games.

“There would be many who can benefit from this sport, young people in colleges who might become great polo players, but won’t be able to afford it,” the VP noted.

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