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Thursday, 17 December 2020

 Kankara abduction: CAN calls for protection of schools


FILE PHOTOS: Katsina protesters protesting against the abduction of schoolboys from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.

The Christian Association of Nigeria has called for the closure of boarding facilities in all private and government schools in the Northern part of the country.

The organisation also advised the Federal government to direct the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to provide protection for schools and colleges nationwide especially in the areas where security appears compromised.

While describing the abduction of 333 students of Government Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State as “another tragic chapter in the history of the country occasioned by the criminal activities of some hoodlums”, CAN said the criminals operate in Nigeria with impunity “as if our security agencies are on holiday”.

According to CAN, the daring posture of the criminals on the day the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), touched down Katsina State has sent a strong message to him that the security architecture of Nigeria has been compromised under his watch.

The President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, stated these in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Adebayo Oladeji, titled, ‘Kankara Abduction: Governments have learnt nothing nrom previous kidnappings – CAN’.

The statement partly read, “The fact that the unfortunate incident happened while the Chief Security Officer of the country and the President, Muhammadu Buhari, is in his home state means these criminals have sent a strong message to him that the security architecture of the country has been compromised under his watch.


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“The abduction has also exposed the failure of both the government and the security agencies to learn from the abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls in 2014 in Borno State and 110 schoolgirls at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in Dapchi, in Yobe State in 2018.

“It also means all stakeholders in the Education sector have learnt nothing from the two historic tragedies despite the fact that our security agencies have failed to secure the release of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls and the only Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who is still wasting in the den of the terrorists.

“From all indications, our governments are not bothered about the security of the people despite all the killings that are being recorded daily. The President turned down the invitation of the House of Representatives to explain and rob minds with the legislators on the way out of our deplorable security situation in the country.

“What an attitude of ‘I don’t care!’ President Muhammadu Buhari should remember that history is being written about him with the way he is addressing all these security challenges just as we are talking about the Chibok schoolgirls and the Jonathan administration.


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“This was what CAN foresaw long before now when we were calling on the President to sack the service chiefs and by extension to overhaul the security architecture. But he was not ready to listen to the Voice of Wisdom.

“We advise President Buhari to revisit all his electioneering promises on the security and compare them with what the security has become under his watch. We urge the President to disregard the bad advice from the cheerleaders around him who are saying that all is well so that they might keep their jobs.

“Is there no government in place anymore? Is this the way other governments of the world respond to life consuming threats like we have?

“The leadership of CAN calls on all relevant security agencies to rise up and liberate all these innocent students before those who are holding them captive begin using them as suicide bombers.

“We also call on the international community to come to our aid in Nigeria and help put to a permanent end the siege of terrorists, bandits and criminal herdsmen masquerading and causing mayhem in our country. They shouldn’t wait till when the situation snowballs into a civil war.


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“Our hearts go out to the parents of those innocent students, and we pray that very soon, they will reunite with their children in Jesus’ name. It is regrettable, disturbing, disheartening and unfortunate that despite the menace of insecurity and its attendant consequences, there’s no one who has conscience to follow the path of honour.

“CAN calls for the suspension of the boarding facilities in all the private and government schools in the Northern part of the country until the security situation improves.

“We equally advise the Federal government to direct the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to provide protection for schools and colleges nationwide especially in the areas where security appears compromised.

“May the Lord divinely intervene in the affairs of our nation which appears to be irredeemable by man.”


NNPC speaks on gas pipeline leakage


A NNPC gas pipeline being laid

Be calm, no cause for alarm.

This was the message of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to Nigerians Wednesday, as it gave an assurance on their safety around the scene of a gas pipeline rupture along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

A press release by the NNPC spokesperson, Dr. Kennie Obateru, stated that the pipeline break which was caused by a construction company carrying out excavation work in the area.

Obateru said the leakage was promptly contained through the efforts of NNPC Team, officials from the Lagos State Government, and other stakeholders.

“The impacted section of the pipeline has been isolated and the pipeline depressurized such that it poses no danger to the public,” the Managing Director of the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, Engr. Faruk Usman, was quoted as saying.


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The Corporation urged members of the public to go about their duties normally as all safety measures have been put in place to avert any danger.

NNPC added that repair work has commenced with a view to restoring gas supply as soon as possible.


Reps wants extension for SIM registration


Rep. Ndudi Elumelu

By Femi Ogunshola

Members of the House of Representatives have called for 10 weeks extension of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration with the National Identification Number (NIN) to allow Nigerians enough time to participate.

Rep Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) on Tuesday moved the motion on the need for the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to give Nigerians reasonable time to submit their NIN for SIM registration.

Elumelu, who is also the minority leader of the House of Reps, said that the two weeks deadline given by the NCC for all Nigerians to register would bring untold hardship.

He said that though the idea of SIM registration with NIN was a noble and laudable exercise, the two weeks deadline would not augur well.


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Elumelu said that the timing was wrong because Nigerians had not been properly sensitized, as only a few educated persons who bothered to read the dailies might have heard about such instructions.

“Therefore, trying to enforce this policy in a period where most Nigerians are gearing up for Christmas festivities may lead to stampede in the process of rushing to get registered,’’ he said.

This, according to him, can lead to unnecessary death and injuries and if the NCC is allowed to carry out this directive, it will bring untold hardship.

According to Elumelu, millions of subscribers would be disconnected this yuletide which could cause more pains, hence, the need to halt the plan.


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He said that if the NCC was not urgently called to halt its plans, there could also be unnecessary panic in the country, saying that it could lead to the exploitation of vulnerable Nigerians.

Therefore, the house called on the NCC to give 10 weeks to enable Nigerians to meet with the instruction of submitting their NIN to service providers, and not the two weeks were given.

Dr Isa Patami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, had stated that any telecom subscriber who failed to submit NIN to its network provider within two weeks would be blocked from Dec 31.


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NAN


Military dismantles illegal refineries in Rivers, Delta


Military destroy illegal refinery in Rivers State

The Defence Headquarters said troops of Operation Delta Safe have dismantled several illegal refineries in Rivers and Delta State respectively.

Also, DHQ impounded large quantities of stolen products within two weeks.

Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operation, announced this while giving an update on the military operations across the country on Wednesday in Abuja.

Enenche said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria in conjunction with other security agencies recorded huge successes while carrying out comprehensive anti-illegal refinery and anti-oil theft operations in the region between Dec. 2 and Dec. 15.

He said that the operations led to the discovery and dismantling of several illegal refineries and forestalling of other activities of economic saboteurs.

Earlier, the troops of 103 Battalion had on Dec. 3, dismantled eight illegal refineries at Iyalama and Jellikiri areas in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers.

Troops of 29 Battalion also immobilised an illegal refinery containing more than 5,000 litres of illegally refined gas at Rumuekpe Community in Emohua Local Government Area of the state.

According to him, troops of 146 Battalion also immobilised three reactivated illegal refinery sites, containing six boilers and 12 storage tanks around Opokiri and Ijawkiri in Bonny Local Government Area.

“More so, on the same day, troops of 103 Battalion immobilised a warehouse containing 53 jerry cans of illegally refined gas along Abonnema-Obonoma Road in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area.

“On Dec. 5, troops of 29 Battalion discovered and immobilised 3 illegal oil refinery sites around Bolo 1, 2 and 3 as well as Tupsoi in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area.

“Troops immobilised illegal refinery sites around Ikata and Edeoha in Ahoada East Local Government Area on the same day’’ he said.

Furthermore, Enenche disclosed that troops of 146 Battalion intercepted and immobilised four wooden boats and an unspecified quantity of crude oil around Orutoru and Peterside in Bonny Local Government Area.

He added that troops of 103 Battalion had on Dec. 6, immobilised three wooden boats mounted with 40 Horse Power outboard engines around Sama Creek in the state.

According to him, troops of 146 Battalion has demobilised illegal refining sites containing seven boilers, two reservoirs and storage tanks laden with illegally refined petroleum products around Orutoru and Oputumbi in Bonny Local government Area on Dec. 7.


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Enenche said the troops of 19 Battalion also intercepted and destroyed two wooden boats laden with illegally refined AGO along Otunana Creek in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta.

He said the troops of 3 Battalion, same day, arrested four pipeline vandals with three gas cylinders, one local boat, one sledgehammer, one nozzle and a hose at Kusumi Community in Warri South-West Local Government Area.

He explained that on Dec. 3, some repentant cultists surrendered weapons to troops of 29 Battalion and Nigeria Police at Bodo Community in Gakama Local Government Area of Rivers.

“The weapons surrendered include, four AK47 rifles, five G3 rifles, two Pump action guns, two locally made pistols, one Dane-gun, one K2 rifle, one pump machine rifle, 13 magazines and 240 rounds of ammunition,’’ he said.

In the South West, Enenche said that troops of Operation AWATSE had on Dec. 2, arrested two suspected drug peddlers with 59 bags of Indian Hemp along Ala road in Ondo State.


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He also noted that troops of Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base Igbokoda, Ondo State, arrested a suspected kidnapper at Asere in Ese Odo Local Government Area of the state.

According to him, the suspect has since been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for necessary action.

“The military high command encourages the troops and personnel of other security agencies to remain determined and sustain the tempo in all the joint operations areas.

“The high command also reassures the public of its untiring dedication towards securing the country.

“The public is enjoined to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the military and other security agencies for prompt and effective action,’’ he said.

NAN


Buhari opens border posts at Seme, Illela, Mfun, Maigatari


Buhari opens Nigeria’s border posts

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate opening of Nigeria’s border posts at four entry points.

Minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed listed the entry points as Seme near Badagry in Lagos State and Illela in Sokoto State.

The other two are Maigatari in Jigawa state and Mfun in the south-south.

Ahmed announced this at the end of the 28th virtual FEC meeting on Wednesday.

She said other entry points will be opened by December 31, 2020.


Obaseki loses critical case at Appeal Court


Obaseki loses case at Court of Appeal

Governor Godwin Obaseki has lost his legal bid to stay proceedings at Federal High Court in a case of certificate forgery.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed Obaseki’s application.

It ordered him to return to the lower court for the hearing of the suit, which was adjourned indefinitely on Tuesday.

At the lower court, the APC and William Edobor are praying for an order disqualifying Obaseki from contesting the Edo governorship election on the grounds that he forged his certificate.

The plaintiffs, apart from Obaseki, joined the Peoples Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission.


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The plaintiffs also claimed that there are discrepancies in the subjects Obaseki claimed he passed in the WASSCE conducted by the West African Examination Council.

Obaseki had initially challenged the competence of APC’s counter-reply to his defence.

He asked the court to remove some paragraphs in the plaintiffs’ statement.

But in a ruling delivered on December 2, the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, dismissed the governor’s motion.

Obaseki appealed the judgement, causing the judge to suspend the case at the lower court indefinitely.

In a short ruling on Tuesday in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the suit on the grounds of an appeal filed by Obaseki at the Court of Appeal.


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Justice Mohammed opined that since there was an interlocutory appeal pending at the appellate court, the trial court had to tarry awhile since it had been notified of the pendency of the appeal.

He said moreso since  the record of appeal had already been transmitted and served on all the parties.

He added that the trial court had to await the decision of the appellate court in order not  to embark on a collision course with it.

“Where a lower court is aware of the existence of an application for stay, it will be wrong for the trial court to proceed to hear the suit the application is seeking to stay proceedings on.


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“In the instant case, in addition to the interlocutory appeal, there is an application to stay proceedings.

“The suit is hereby adjourned sine die (indefinitely),” the judge said.


Rep. Adefisoye dumps SDP for APC


Rep Tajudeen Adefisoye.

By Femi Ogunshola

A member of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Adefisoye, on Wednesday defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Announcing the defection, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives said that Adefisoye attributed his defection to the crisis rocking his party.

Gbajabiamila added that the lawmaker also cited protracted court cases that had negatively affected the party as the reason for his defection.

However, sounding derisively jocular, Gbajabiamila asked Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, the minority leader of the House if he had anything to say over the defection.

But Elumelu described the defection as unconstitutional.

NAN


Jonathan delivers verdict on Buhari as he clocks 78


Jonathan and Buhari

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

President Muhammadu Buhari’s life has been a record of steadfast service to the nation, former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan delivers his verdict on the president on Wednesday.

Jonathan’s verdict on Buhari came on the eve of the president’s 78th birthday on Thursday.

Jonathan, in a statement felicitated with Buhari on the occasion of his 78th birthday, wishing him God’s blessings as he leads the nation.

He acknowledged Buhari’s long-standing commitment to the country, adding that he had previously held key positions of leadership in service “to our dear nation.”

“I join your family, friends, political associates and all Nigerians to congratulate you on the occasion of your 78 birthday.


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“Yours has been a record of steadfast service to our nation at different political eras; having served as a military officer, military governor, minister, Head of State and now President of Nigeria.

“As you celebrate, on behalf of my family, I pray that God will keep you in perfect health and grant you the wisdom and strength to steer the ship of our nation to more enviable and loftier heights of peace and prosperity for all. Happy Birthday Your Excellency,” he said.

Buhari was born on December 17, 1942.

Buhari is a retired Major General of the Nigerian Army and served as military head of state from 1983 to 1985 and became civilian president from 2015 till date after he won a re-election in 2019.



Lawyer Obasa, four others charged with fraud in Ibadan


Lawyer Adesile Obasa, temitope Akintunde, Omotayo Fasuhanmi

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday arraigned an Ibadan based lawyer, Adesile Obasa, and four others on an 11-count charge of conspiracy, forgery, and obtaining money under false pretence.

The other accused who were docked before Justice Omolara Adeyemi of the Oyo State High Court were Temitope Akintunde, Fasuhanmi Omotayo, Batom Golden Links Service Ltd and Mekash Intergrated Ventures Limited.

The EFCC accused them of conspiring to defraud several investors of N2.4 million.

According to the EFCC, the unsuspecting investors were told to invest in a lottery in the company Batom Golden Links Service limited and Mekash Integrated Ventures for a 50 percent monthly returns.


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All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The defence counsel applied orally for the defendants’ bail but prosecution counsel, Murtala Usman, opposed the application and asked for a trial date.

However, the court granted them bail in the sum of Two million and two sureties in like sum.

The sureties are to provide valid means of identification which will be verified by the EFCC. The sureties must have evidence of landed property in Ibadan and submit their International passport with the court.

The judge adjourned the case till 15 February 2021 for commencement of trial.

Trouble started for the defendants following a petition from Pralarg International to the EFCC, alleging that Akintunde along with four others, sometime in 2017 approached the complainant to invest in the company with an agreement to pay 50% return to the investors at the end of every month.


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In the course of investigations, the EFCC discovered that Obasa, who claims to be the chairman of the Young Lawyers Association, Oyo State chapter, prepared the agreement form given to the investors.

The EFCC said Obasa failed to carry out due diligence to verify the registration status of the company with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission.


How Alfa impersonated Femi Adesina, GMD NNPC


Alfa Jamiu

The trial of a self-styled herbalist, who allegedly impersonated the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina and a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, has resumed.

At the resumed trial, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recalled its star witness, Dare Folarin who explained how Alfa Jamiu Isiaka defrauded a South Korean National, Keun Sig Kim of N30million.

Alfa, 31, deceived the foreign national to collect various sums of money to the tune of N30million under the pretext of securing for him an NNPC approval/ marketing form and license certificate to buy crude oil in Nigeria.

In the course of interrogation, Alfa Jamiu claimed that he used the money to conduct sacrifice for the petitioner.

According to him, part of the money was used to buy vulture, elephant skin, elephant intestine, the skull of a lion and liver of gorilla.


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EFCC, Ilorin zonal office, had on June 14, 2019, arraigned Alfa Jamiu on a four-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence, impersonation and forgery of documents before Justice Mahmood  Abdulgafar of the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin.

The court, however, turned down his bail application and ordered his remand at the Nigerian Correctional Centre,  Mandala.

Earlier, the EFCC presented witnesses and tendered various documents which were admitted in evidence by the court.

Consequently,  the prosecution closed its case, setting the stage for the defendant to open its defence.

However, the Commission received fresh intelligence on the matter, which led to new discoveries.

Hence, the prosecution sought leave of the Court to tender in evidence records of its new findings. The application was graciously granted by the court.


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Counsel to the EFCC, O. B Akinsola said: “My Lord,  you will recall that this court had earlier granted our application to recall the officer who investigated this case. The witness is in court, ready to testify.”

Testifying, the witness, Dare Folarin, narrated how intelligence received shortly after the Commission closed its case led to new discoveries on the matter.

According to him, further investigations on the intelligence received revealed that the defendant, among other things, used part of the money he fraudulently collected from Keun Sig Kim to acquire properties in Ilorin.

“My Lord, after the Commission closed its case, based on intelligence reports, we discovered a mighty residential building built by the defendant, Jamiu Isiaka, at Oke-Fomo area of Ilorin.


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“We were able to establish that Alfa Jamiu is the original owner of the said property. Part of the money he collected from a South Korean National, Keun Sig Kim was used to build the house”, Folarin stated.

Pictures of the said house were tendered and admitted as exhibits by the court.

Thereafter, Justice Abdulgafar adjourned until January  21, 2021, for the defendant to open its defence.


‘How Saraki, others milked Kwara to complete hopelessness, standstill’



Lawal, Saraki and Ahmed

The Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to probe into sales of public assets has delivered a damning report on how former governors, including Dr. Bukola Saraki allegedly milked the state to complete hopelessness and standstill.

The governor inaugurated the panel on August 11 to investigate the sales, disposal or unlawful acquisition of government properties from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2019.

Governors who had governed Kwara during the period are Mohammed Lawal (1999-2003), Bukola Saraki (2003-2011), Abdulfatah Ahmed (2011-2019).

The Judicial Commission was chaired by retired Justice Olabanji Orilonishe, who submitted the report of the commission on Wednesday.

According to him, several of the government properties disposed by the past administrations were undervalued and sold at giveaway prices while deliberate policies were made to “enrich some individuals and syphon money out of the state.

Presenting the three-volume report to Governor AbdulRazaq on Wednesday in Ilorin, Orilonishe said discoveries during their assignment showed that the state was milked “to complete hopelessness and a standstill.”

He said many policies related to sale or management of public assets offered “avenues for reckless expenditure to enrich some individuals’”, lamenting that the state, owing largely to such practices, is the least developed of the 12 states created in 1967.

“This sad situation must change. The time to change it is now and not later,” he said, urging the new administration to muster the political will and courage to challenge some of the actions while only those found to be in order should stand.

The report is divided into three volumes, comprising the main report and recommendations; exhibits; and minutes of meetings and visitation report.

The panel visited Lagos, Abuja, and Kaduna in the course of its assignment, observing in part of the report that the sales of several public properties were often done in “secrecy” with only a few officials being privy to the deals.

AbdulRazaq commended the panel for their patriotic duties to the state, saying nothing could compensate for their sacrifices.

He said the need to visit the past was not to hound anyone but to ensure that such mistakes or excesses were not committed in the future, adding that the revelations so far from the past were enough reasons for the present public officials to act properly in the handling of public resources.

AbdulRazaq observed that members of the panel were subjected to social media blackmail during their assignment, saying there was no need for anyone to get jittery if they had not committed any grievous crimes against the state.

“We know some of your members were facing a lot of blackmail in the social media. We know we’ve done the right thing and selected the right people. That doesn’t matter. Fact and figure speak for themselves and the truth will also prevail. That’s where we stand. Essentially, justice will be done for the state,” he said.

“You have done a very good job for the state and we are happy to receive the report. On our part, we did not interfere in any way or manner in the way you did your job. We are not out to witch-hunt anybody. We just want the right thing to be done in the state and we want proper templates set so that in future such things do not reoccur.

“We will also learn from this so that we don’t do the same thing. We appreciate you for the work you have done. I can assure you that your work is not in vain.

“Financially, we cannot pay you for what you have done, especially with the time line within which you have done the work. It is an assignment that ordinarily should take a whole year. We are grateful,” AbdulRazaq said in a release by Rafiu Ajakaye, his Chief Press Secretary.


Tragedy as two workers get electrocuted at Lagos Boulos



Boulous Limited in Lagos

Two staff of Bel Implex, a subsidiary of Boulos, have reportedly died of electrocution due to faulty electrical conveyor belt.

The electric power accident at Bel Implex, a Nigerian distribution company for motorcycles, power bikes, tricycles, and outboard motors, involved 3 workers.

PM News exclusively gathered that the incident involving three workers occurred in the company at Acme Road, Ogba, Lagos.

One of the workers identified as Osas died on spot, another one died before getting to Aderemi hospital while the third is unconscious at the time of filing this report.


Obaseki’s APC members formally join PDP



Barr. Anselm Ojezua, Edo State APC factional Chairman

Members of the Edo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday announced their resignation from the party and formally join the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Recall the the party was divided into two factions in the twilight of Obaseki’s first term, with Anslem Ojezua leading the faction loyal to the Governor, while Col. David Imuse (rtd), leading the faction loyal to former national chairman of party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The Ojezua faction continued to lay claim to leadership of Edo APC, even after Obaseki defected to PDP and was re-elected on the platform of his new party for second term of office.

But, following the dissolution of all state chapters of APC by the party’s National Caretaker Committee, the Imose faction of the party was recognized and appointed into the state’s caretaker committee now in charge of administering the party.

During their defection on Wednesday, Obaseki’s loyalists, who were led by Ojezua,  cited loss of confidence in the national leadership of APC and disobedience to the party’s constitution as their reasons for dumping the party.

Ojezua who further announced their intention to join the ruling PDP in the state said the resolution was reached at an enlarged meeting of the State Executive Council (SEC) of APC Committee members and the chairmen of all the local government area chapters and all leaders of the party in the state.

The resolution which was signed by 22 executive members of the of the party, led by Mr. Ojezua and chairmen of the party across the 18 LGAs, said over 150, 000 their members and supporters have concluded plans to defect with them.

“Having reviewed the said activities, particularly the romance between the National Caretaker Committee and leaders of a parallel group called the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), who have been parading themselves as members of the All Progressives Congress in the state, in spite of their suspension from the party.

“It is hereby further resolved that “all our members should join other leaders and members who have earlier relocated to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with His Excellency Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki and his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shahibu.

“Consequently, we encourage our teeming members and leaders at all levels of the party numbering over one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) to also renounce their membership of the All Progressives Congress”, the resolution said.



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