Arrest plotters of interim government, APC, PDP tell DSS - OPID News

Our people in Diaspora News



Friday, 31 March 2023

Arrest plotters of interim government, APC, PDP tell DSS

 Arrest plotters of interim government, APC, PDP tell DSS

The presidential campaign councils of the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party have challenged the Department of State Services to get tough with plotters of the interim national government.

The councils, in separate interviews with The PUNCH on Wednesday in Abuja, said the push for the ING was unconstitutional, adding that the plotters should be arrested.

They spoke against the backdrop of a statement issued by the security agency that some people were plotting the ING.

The DSS had earlier on Wednesday raised the alarm over a plot by some Nigerians to thwart the  May 29 inauguration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The DSS, in a statement in Abuja by its Spokesman, Dr Peter Afunanya, alleged that those behind the plot planned to undermine civil rule and foist an interim government on the country.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had on March 1 declared Tinubu the winner of the February 25 presidential election.

The APC presidential candidate polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who got 6,984,520 votes and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi that had 6,101,533 votes.

Commenting on the plot, the Director of Strategic Communications for the APC PCC, Idris Mohammed, said the DSS should arrest the plotters.

Mohammed warned that the APC PCC would go all out to ensure nothing hinders a smooth swearing-in of Tinubu.

He said, “The APC PCC is aligned with the position of the DSS, which we believe is doing its job. If this statement is coming directly from the DSS itself, it means that it is not an empty allegation. In any case, we believe the security agencies are also there to deal with this kind of situation. That is why they are there. Their duty is to thwart any threat against the Nigerian nation. They should react to it and go the extra mile to pin down those also responsible.

 “We are seeing a pattern which we believe the DSS is also seeing. Otherwise, you cannot as far as call for a coup d’etat and pretend to still believe in democracy.”

APC backs DSS

His position was shared by the Chief Spokesman for the PCC, Festus Keyamo, who noted the statement released by the DSS was not different from an earlier alarm that he raised on potential incitement and subversive plot of some interim government proponents last week.

“The DSS is the super spy of the nation and has a duty to do their work. As you can see, their statement confirmed the alarm I raised earlier about incitement and treasonable felony. This is just to confirm what the APC PCC brought to the notice of the public last week.

 “Therefore, it is good that the DSS is even the one raising the alarm about the subversive activities of these people so that when they arrest anybody, no one should start screaming ‘persecution.’ These are people who are too young to know what we passed through at the hands of a military regime. They will see the very thing they think they are fighting against in a military regime. The constitution will be suspended. Fundamental human rights would be non-existent. These kids really don’t understand the gravity of what they are trying to do,” he stated.

Also, the PDP called on the DS to immediately pick up for questioning, the elements pushing for an ING.

The party, through its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, expressed worry that the security outfit had yet to arrest such persons for “treason” against the backdrop of the unconstitutionality of an interim government.

Speaking with The PUNCH, Abdullahi said, “They should immediately go after such persons because it is the right thing to do. What are they still waiting for? The interim national government is alien to our constitution and there is no basis for anybody no matter how highly placed to contemplate it.

“Elections have been successfully held both nationally and sub-nationally. Those that are being disputed are already before the courts. So why should anyone come up with this at this material time? The DSS owes Nigerians a duty to act and the time to do so now.

“They should be arrested for treason because that is what it is. Arresting those concerned will act as a deterrent to those with a negative and dangerous mindset for our country.”

Chinese lover admits stabbing Nigerian girlfriend, denies killing her

A 47-year-old Chinese national, Frank Geng-Quangrong, who is standing trial for culpable homicide, on Thursday, admitted before a Kano State High Court that he stabbed his Nigerian girlfriend, Ummukulsum Sani, 22, with a knife but had no intention to kill her.

Geng-Quangrong, who resides in Railway quarters, Kano, under cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, Kano State Director, Public Prosecution, Aisha Mahmoud, told the court that on that fateful day, a lot transpired.

Geng-Quangrong, who arrived in Nigeria in 2019 to work as a marketing and sales manager at the BBY Textile Company in Kano where he earned N1.5m monthly, told the court that on that fateful day, Sani pushed him onto the bed, and he stabbed her without the intention of killing her.

“I escaped from the room through the window because the door was locked from the outside and wanted to take Sani to the hospital but the police promptly arrived and arrested me,” Geng-Quangrong said.

However, it should be recalled that Geng-Quangrong earlier told the court that Sani injured him on his genitals.

The defence counsel, Muhammad Dan’azumi, presented a urologist, Abdullahi Abubakar, as a defence second witness.

Abubakar told the court that he had been a practising urologist for over 30 years and he taught at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital for 13 years.

“I retired in 2018 but I am still in active practice. In the human body, the testicle is more sensitive because it has sensory nerves when it is pulled, fright, fight and the flight will occur and cause inflammation problems and may cause erectile dysfunction and urinary problems.

“As a result, the blood pressure will drop, there will be a low level of oxygen in the brain and the patient may faint or get shocked, so in order to survive the action, you try to fight the situation,” he said.

Mahmoud alleged that the defendant, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, on September 16, 2022, stabbed the deceased with a knife in her house at Janbulo Quarters, Kano.

According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened the provisions of Section 221(b) of the Penal Code.

Justice Sanusi Ado-Ma’aji, who ordered the defence counsel to furnish the prosecution with their witness list and a medical dictionary, adjourned the matter to April 6, 2023, for cross-examination and continuation of defence.

Ayu: PDP nullifies Anyim, Fayose’s suspension, sanctions ward exco

The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party led by the acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, has reversed the suspension of the party’s chieftains including a former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose and an-President of the Senate, Pius Anyim.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the suspension of other party leaders such as a former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema; a Benue State chieftain, Prof Dennis Ityavyar, and Dr Aslam Aliyu of Zamfara State, was also reversed.

Skip Ad

Also on Thursday, the Benue State Working Committee of the PDP suspended the executive of the party in the Igyorov ward of the Gboko Local Government Area of the state.

Before the February 25 presidential election, five PDP governors, known as G-5, had insisted that Ayu must resign to pave the way for a southerner as the national chairman.

They subsequently withdrew their support for the party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, thus leading to his defeat in Rivers, Oyo, Enugu, Abia and Benue states during the election.

But on Thursday, the Damagum-led NWC, in its first major decision reversed the suspension of the party chieftains.

The PDP spokesman, Ologunagba, in the statement it issued, stated “The NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.

“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.

“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of Ibrahim Shema, Katsina State; Ayodele Fayose, Ekiti State; Senator Pius Anyim, Ebonyi State; Prof Dennis Ityavyar, Benue State and Dr Aslam Aliyu, Zamfara State. “

The party’s spokesperson noted that the decision was without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).

According to him, the NWC charged all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of the party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity and harmony in our Party at this critical time.

The PDP said its supporters must remain focused as “they continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to their party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. “

Also on Thursday, the Benue State Working Committee of the PDP suspended the executive committee of the party in the Igyorov ward of the Gboko Local Government Area of the state.

The party, in a statement the state Chairman, Isaac Mffo, and other 12 state officials signed, said the suspension was necessary to forestall violence that led to the suspension of Ayu.

Earlier on Wednesday, the party’s Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, in a statement in Makurdi, accused the former chairman of the state Internal Revenue Board, Terzungwe Atser of threatening some of the Igyorov council ward executive members, who suspended Ayu.

Ward exco

The state Chairman, Mffo, noted that the Igyorov council ward executive was suspended for one month to allow for peace to be restored in the area.

He added that the state working committee would henceforth take charge of the political affairs of the party in the Igyorov ward.

Mffo stated, “The executive committee of the PDP in Igyorov council ward is hereby suspended for a period of one month pending necessary action which shall be taken to restore sanity, harmony, law and order in the party in the area.

Senate spokesman dissociates self from Facebook post celebrating Adeleke

The lawmaker representing Osun Central Senatorial District, Senator Ajibola Basiru, has dissociated himself from a Facebook account which made a post celebrating the victory of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State.

Basiru, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, made the rebuttal in a statement he issued on Thursday.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had in a unanimous judgment on an appeal filed by Adeleke declared him as the winner of the governorship poll.

In the statement titled ‘APC Must Go to the Supreme Court,’ Basiru accused the PDP and Adeleke administration of being behind the post.

He said, “My attention was called to a Facebook account under the name Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru with my pictures wherein a post stated thus: ‘Buga judgment has been finally laid to rest!!! Alhamdulilah’.

 “The said Facebook account is obviously part of the mischievous handiwork of the rudderless Peoples Democratic Party government of Jackson Adeleke in Osun State, seeking to validate the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which was the result of their appeal against the judgment of the tribunal nullifying the purported election of their party in the July 2022 general(sic)  election.

“It seems that there is desperation by the PDP to seek dubious validation of the said judgment of the Court of Appeal stemming from apparent fear that the judgment may not stand the test of review by the Supreme Court.”

But reacting, the Director of Media of Osun PDP, Oladele Olabamiji, dismissed Basiru’s allegations, saying the party or Adeleke would never engage in such an act.

He said, “Who is Ajibola Basiru? Someone who will soon become just an ordinary member of the public after he was roundly defeated by our party!

“If we have any headache at all, he is not among our worries. We cant reduce ourselves to the level of creating a psudo-Facebook account and start putting materials. To achieve what? He doesn’t even have any political value to warrant such a move and more so, we don’t do such a thing.”

Woes iminent as national debt hits N46tn - OPS predicts

The Debt Management Office, on Thursday, revealed that Nigeria’s total public debt stock increased to N46.25tn or $103.11bn in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The latest figure has made members of the organised private sector and economists to predict that tougher days are ahead for Nigerians and firms.

The national debt as of September, 2022, was put at N44.06tn.

According to the office, the new figure consists of the domestic and external total debt stocks of the Federal Government and the sub-national governments (36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory)

The latest figure was disclosed in a statement by the Debt Management Office..

The DMO stated that the comparative figure of public debt as of December 31, 2021, was N39.56tn or $95.77bn.

This means that the country’s debt increased by N6.69trn or $7.34bn within one year.

Reacting, the Director, Center of Promotion for Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, expressed concern over the multiplier effect of the latest debt figure, stating that the country would continue to struggle with servicing of debts if drastic steps were not taken.

He said, “What this means is that the country will continue to struggle with servicing of debts. Already, debt service is close to 80 per cent of our revenue and it is likely to increase with the new figure.

“The implication is that we are likely to get ourselves into a vicious cycle of debt, like a debt trap because the higher debt service burden is, when your revenue is low, the more you continue to borrow to be able to sustain the system. Remember that the N23tn from the CBN Ways and Means is not part of this. If we add that, it will make it almost N80tn.

On possible solutions, Yusuf stated that removal of fuel and foreign exchange subsidy would increase the nation’s revenue.

“A possible solution is to increase our revenue through the removal of fuel subsidy and foreign exchange subsidy. This will bring relief of N8trn. We also have to address increasing oil production, curb leakages, cut our spending,” he added.

On his part, a professor of Economics at the University of Uyo, Akpan Ekpo, “Those figures are worrisome because our revenue base is very low. I just hope the borrowing was for infrastructure and the government is transparent on what it was spent on.

“Those debts should not be on recurrent expenditure because that is a waste. Borrowing to fill up the deficit is not good for our economy either. If it was spent on capital projects, can the projects pay the debts back? The debt is for future generations. We need to get information on debt servicing revenue ratio or debt revenue because our revenue base is not healthy at all.”

Cleric advises Muslim couples to get intimated after breaking fast 

An Imam at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, mosque, Isale-Igbein, Prof Sherifdeen Kareem, has explained that Muslim couples can have sexual intercourse during the month of Ramadan, but only after they have broken their fast.

The cleric, who spoke with our correspondent in Abeokuta, explained that it was only illegal for unmarried couples to have sex.

According to him, Islam only allows legally married couples to have intercourse, between mogrib and Solatul Subh (after breaking of fast and after the pre-dawn meal) during Ramadan.

He said, “Muslims can copulate by the time they’ve taken their iftar, that’s after Solatul Mogrib. As long as they could eat, they are allowed to interact with their spouses till the time of Fajr.

 “They are allowed to have intercourse with their wives or their husbands as long as they have the right to eat and drink.

“This is particularly about married men. If they are not married, intercourse is unlawful at any time. So, Islam only allows legally married couples to have intercourse, between Mogrib and Solatul Subh.”

The cleric, however, advised Muslim couples to stay away from each other while fasting (during the day), in order to prevent being carried away by their emotions.

He said that prophet Muhammad (SAW) kissed his wife during Ramadan. He, however, advised Muslim couples to refrain from such acts if they know it would lead to having sexual intercourse.

He said, “During the day, Muslim couples should try and maintain decorum, so they wouldn’t be carried away by emotion.

“The husband should not engage in close interaction like hugging and the like so that temptation won’t overcome him.

“It was reported that the prophet used to kiss his wife but the scholars of Islam have explained that if the kiss would lead to higher emotional gestures, then they should avoid kissing.

“If the hugging also would lead to further action, then they should resist.”

Nigerian Elections: APC-USA faults planned protest at White House

The United States chapter of the All Progressives Congress on Thursday condemned the proposed political demonstration that would be held by some Nigerians in front of the White House on Monday.

The condemnation is coming a day after authorities in the United States granted permission to supporters of Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, to use its park on April 3 to protest the outcome of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.

The permit, which was sighted by The PUNCH, allows only a hundred protesters to converge at the iconic Lafayette Park in Washington D.C. for just four hours.

There was a clear warning on the permit that the participants must “comply with all of the conditions of this permit and with all reasonable directions of the United States Park Police.”

The demonstration would be led by a group in diaspora under the aegis of Nigerian American Coalition for Justice and Democracy Inc., under the leadership of Franklin Ekechukwu.

Ekechukwu had disclosed in a memo that the demonstration was their own way of protesting INEC refusal to “follow their guidelines and rule of law in accordance to democratic principles.”

It further read, “We in the diaspora are demonstrating to call the attention of the US government and Biden administration to not recognise the projected winner.”

Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the LP candidate, Obi, who got 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes respectively.

But Atiku and Obi rejected the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, with each claiming at separate press conferences that the election was allegedly fraught with violence and massive rigging.

Both politicians have since petitioned the presidential election tribunal to register their displeasure over the outcome of the poll.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Chairman of the United States chapter of the APC, Prof. Tai Balofin, disclosed that many Nigerians in Diaspora were unperturbed by the proposed protest because they knew the presidential poll was free and fair.

He said, “We wish to inform the public that a group of the Nigerian 2023 Presidential election losers are currently protesting at the park in front of the White House. It is important to note that the US government is not involved or in support of the protest, as anybody can get approval for a peaceful protest.

“It is our belief that the Nigerian presidential election was free and fair, and Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu won the election. The majority of Nigerian voters gave him their mandate, and no propaganda, manipulation or tissue of lies can stop his inauguration.

“The APC-USA assures Nigerians not to be perturbed by the actions of the protesters. We want to assure Nigerians that Nigeria will not secede, and it will remain united. We must work together to salvage it.”

While urging Nigerians living in the United States to remain calm and peaceful, Balofin told journalists on Thursday that the opposition who lost will meet the winner at the protest ground on April 3.

Matawalle laments, says new naira policy cost him re-election

The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has blamed his failure to secure second term in office on his opposition to the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress was defeated by Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party  in the March 18 governorship election in Zamfara State.

Speaking  in an interview with DW Hausa, on Thursday, the governor said,  “What’s being said is that we went to the court over new naira notes redesign. They said myself, Ganduje and El-Rufai would be punished accordingly.”

Furthermore, he fumed that more military personnel were deployed to Zamfara State during the elections than when bandits held the state by the jugular.

 “We have had security challenges in Zamfara State, and we’ve been asking them to send soldiers to us, but they didn’t.

“But three days to the (governorship) election, they sent over 300 vehicles conveying soldiers into Zamfara. Such a high number of soldiers! If they could send them to us to fight insecurity, it would be better. But they only sent them during elections.”

The governor accused the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), of bullying the Zamfara electorate into voting for the opposition party, PDP through heavy military presence.

“There were over 50 soldiers in our polling unit in Zamfara. They were even straight about it that those voting for APC would not be allowed to vote.

“When I saw that (the heavy deployment of soldiers), I knew they were up to something. That was why it didn’t bother me because I received intelligence report on what they were going to do against me. Not only myself but other governors that did something that is considered wrong.

“People were harassed and beaten because they wanted to vote for the APC. We all have this evidence on video. When we called soldiers to come to our aid, they didn’t come. But I have left everything to God,” Matawalle said.

He, however, said despite his loss at the poll, the victory of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, was enough consolation for him.

“We delivered Zamfara State for the APC during the presidential election. But we lost the governorship.  Nevertheless, we are happy about his emergence. If he didn’t win it would have been more painful for us. But I am not worried at all,” he said.

As of the time of filing this report, the President’s Special Adviser and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, respectively, could not be reached.

Election tribunal: Tinubu receives Atiku, Obi’s petitions

The camp of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has disclosed that they were officially served on Tuesday with copies of the petitions filed at the election tribunal by Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi and his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.

The development is coming one week after Obi and Atiku formally filed their petitions to the elections tribunal to protest the outcome of the February 25 poll.

Their petitions came four weeks after the contentious presidential and National Assembly elections that produced the President-elect.

Both the PDP and LP candidates had accused Tinubu of deliberately avoiding being served the petitions.

In the complaints filed before the tribunal, they alleged that several attempts made to serve the petitions on the APC candidate proved abortive.

The Legal Director of Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Babatunde Ogala, also admitted in a phone chat on Monday that his principal was not served with any notice before he travelled out of the country for vacation in France last week.

In a phone chat with our correspondent, the spokesman for the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, had lamented that, “That man (Tinubu) practically ran out of the country after evading being served the notice. But our party will serve him the notice through the APC. I am sure they must have received it by now.”

Speaking with The PUNCH on Thursday, Ogala disclosed that the camp of the President-elect officially received the notices on Tuesday.

“Yes, we received copies of both Atiku and Obi’s petition yesterday,” he said.

On when they hope to file a response in preparation for a hearing date to be given by the court, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria maintained that there was no need for them to rush.

“Go and look at the laws. It says we have up till take 21 days to respond. You journalists shouldn’t put unnecessary pressure on us. I mean, how can they serve me on Tuesday and you are asking when I will file my response when I have a whole 21 days to do that?

“I will suggest that you wait for the day we will file it. You will surely get to know about it,” he stated.

The Spokesman for the APC PCC, Festus Keyamo, also told our correspondent that: “We are working on it.”

First Bank rejects forgery charge by FG, says ‘allegation spurious’

First Bank has dismissed the charge against its institution by the Federal Government, describing the allegation as an attempt to smear its reputation.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that FG charged the bank’s managing director and three others over allegations bordering on forgery.

The charge sheet, marked CR/266/2023 before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, also includes two lawyers, Muftau Ande and Dibiaezue Chuks, as well as the Utako Branch Manager of First Bank, Abuja.

In the charge sheet filed by the Federal Ministry of Justice, the five defendants were accused, among other things, of forging a “tripartite legal mortgage without the consent of the proprietor of Whiteplain British School, Mr Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, with intent to commit fraud.”

The defendants were also accused of dishonestly dispossessing Nwufor of his property using the forged tripartite legal mortgage.

Reacting in a statement on Thursday, the bank said the reports were sponsored by its detractors.

First Bank also said the matter is sub-judice, adding that the basis of the charge was a false allegation made by “a delinquent debtor”.

MC Olumo ends driver-agbero clash, bans tax collection in parts of Lagos

The Chairman of the Lagos State Parks and Garages Association, Musiliu Akinsaya, popularly known as Mc Oluomo, has intervened in the conflict involving commercial drivers and highway tax collectors who target commercial drivers, popularly known as agberos in the state.

He has also banned collections of illegal taxes levied by agberos in some part of the state, FIJ reports.

Recall commercial bus driver had taken to the streets of the state to protest extortion by the agberos on Thursday.

 “Mc Oluomo told us Thursday afternoon when we held a meeting with him at the state council that no driver from Oshodi to Tollgate must be compelled to pay illegal agbero taxes anymore.

“We are only to buy two tickets in a day, after which we will not pay anything aside from loading fees.

“The normal ticket sold and approved by the Lagos State Park Management is just N800.

“Afterwards, we will buy the council ticket and booking for security, which is about N500,” a driver disclosed to FIJ.

He added that MC Oluomo has said the drivers would no longer pay for tickets on Saturdays and Sundays.

“For weekend jobs, Mc Oluomo has mandated that no driver should be made to buy tickets on Saturdays and Sundays,” he said.

“The union should only compel us to buy tickets from Monday to Friday. We should be given the chance to take something home to our families.”

He added that MC Oluomo also donated N1 million to those who were injured during the attack on protesting drivers

He expressed gladness as dreivers resume work today “with minimal agbero disturbances.”

“There are no more unbearable taxes. All we have to pay in a day is a little below N2,500 compared to the N20,000 we paid previously,” he added.

Trump indicted over 130,000 hush money, first US ex-president to face criminal charges

A New York grand jury on Thursday indicted Donald Trump over hush money payments made to a porn star during his 2016 campaign, making him the first former US president to face criminal charges.

The historic indictment of the 76-year-old Republican – who denies all wrongdoing in connection with the payments made ahead of the election that sent him to the White House – is certain to upend the current presidential race in which Trump hopes to regain office.

And it will forever mark the legacy of the former leader, who survived two impeachments and kept prosecutors at bay over everything from the US Capitol riot to missing classified files — only to land in court over a sex scandal involving Stormy Daniels, a 44-year-old adult movie actress.

Trump’s lawyer Susan Necheles told AFP she expects he will be arraigned on Tuesday next week.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office confirmed that it had contacted Trump’s lawyers Thursday evening to “coordinate his surrender” in New York — with the felony charges against him to be revealed at that point.

Trump slammed the indictment as “political persecution and election interference,” raging against prosecutors and his Democratic opponents and vowing that it would backfire on his successor, President Joe Biden.

Surrendering for arraignment over what CNN has reported could be as many as 30 counts related to business fraud would normally involve being fingerprinted and photographed, potentially even handcuffed.

In predicting his indictment, Trump also issued a call for demonstrations and dark warnings that it could lead to “potential death & destruction” that “could be catastrophic for our Country.”

His statement set New York on edge for possible protests but the prospect of a quick indictment appeared to recede as the grand jury panel continued to hear witnesses — until Thursday.

A media scrum quickly gathered outside the district attorney’s office, along with a handful of anti-Trump protesters — but the situation was calm overall.

Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, who has testified before the grand jury, told Congress in 2019 that he made the payment to Daniels on Trump’s behalf and was later reimbursed.

Prosecutors argued the checks were not properly registered, and the jury was asked to consider if there had been a cover-up, intended to benefit Trump’s campaign by burying the scandal.

The New York investigation is the first to reach a decision on charges out of three major probes into the former president.

CCB ready for Atiku probe, invites Keyamo

The Code of Conduct Bureau will begin investigations into a petition alleging that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar used  a Special Purpose Vehicle to divert funds between 1999 and 2007.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, had filed a  petition against Atiku at the Federal High Court, Abuja  joining CCB, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants respectively, while Atiku is the first defendant.

In the suit, Keyamo sought a declaration of the court that Atiku was legally obligated to make available to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants information in respect of a bank account belonging to a company – Marine Float.

To aid the investigations, Keyamo also sought a declaration that the former VP

was under legal obligation to make available information in respect of accounts of certain  companies which  he disclosed to one  Michael Achimugu, as to how the said accounts were used as a “Special Purpose Vehicles” to secretly divert and misappropriate public funds between 1999 and 2007 when the 1st Defendant served as Vice President of Nigeria.

The CCB, on Tuesday, formally confirmed receipt of the petition and extended an invitation to Keyamo.

Festus Keyamo Chambers confirmed the invitation on Thursday in a press release signed by John Ainetor, Assistant Head of Chambers, in Lagos.

Man, 43, arraigned for stealing Ghanaian cedis worth N350,000

A 43-year-old man, Benjamin Osobagie, has been arraigned before the Ogba Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, for allegedly stealing Ghanaian cedis which when converted to Nigerian currency amount to N350,000.

Osobagie is also facing a trail for stealing one SIM card cutter and charger in the Ikeja area of the state.

Osobagie, who was arraigned on March 29, 2023, before Magistrate O.A Ogunjobi, is facing two-count bordering on committing a felony to wit stealing preferred against him by the police.

The prosecutor, John Christopher, told the court that the offence committed by the defendant is punishable under Sections 411 and 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.

The charge read in part, “That you, Benjamin Osobagie, and others now at large, on the same date, time and place, in the aforesaid Magisterial District, did steal 24 Ghanaian cedes that when converted to Nigeria currency is N350,000, one SIM card cutter and charger and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 280 and punishable under Section 287 of Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.”

Magistrate O. A Ogunjobi granted the defendant bail in the sum of N75,000 with two responsible sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must be a blood relation of the defendant.

The case was adjourned till April 19, for mention.

At Last: Ogun police arrest Portable to face assault charge

Sensational singer, Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable, has been arrested by the Ogun State Police Command following the expiration of a 72-hour ultimatum given to him to turn himself in for refusing to honour police invitation over alleged assault.

Our correspondent gathered that the singer would remain in police custody till Monday when he would be charged to court.

Reacting to Portable’s arrest on Friday, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed to The PUNCH that the controversial singer had been arrested and was cooling off his feet at the State Police Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta.

The PUNCH reports that earlier on Tuesday, two videos surfaced on the Internet showing the musician raining curses and manhandling some police officers at his Odogu bar located in the Sango Ota area of Ogun State.

This was immediately followed by a press statement by the spokesperson for the Ogun State Police Command, Oyeyemi, asking the singer to either turn himself in at any police station in the state within 72 hours, or face police arrest once the ultimatum elapsed.

However, in both videos, Portable claimed that an alleged Internet fraudster had brought the police officers to his bar to arrest him and his staff members “for no reason.”

Oyeyemi explained that the police moved to arrest Portable after five invites were sent to him and another through his father, but he never honoured any of the summons.

 He further said the Zazu crooner was invited following a petition by a young studio owner who claimed that Portable together with his aides beat him up to stupor and locked his studio.

Nigerian Tweeps react as musicians Falz, Vector slam INEC chairman, Yakubu in new song over alleged manipulation of 2023 election results

Nigerian rappers, Folarin Falana, commonly known as Falz and Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, also known as Vector, have slammed the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in a new song titled “Mr Yakubu” over alleged manipulation of the 2023 presidential election results.

The song's lyrics capture some of the reasons given by INEC for why the February 25 presidential election results were not posted in real-time on its website.

The music video also depicted security flaws and indiscipline among security personnel during the election. The rappers also mentioned how youths were shot during the 2020 #EndSARS protest.

Falz had earlier taken to his social media to express his displeasure with the declaration of Bola Tinubu as the ‘president-elect’ by the electoral commission, INEC.

The rapper addressed the failure of the electoral commission to abide by the newly set laws a year before the elections.

He had equally told the Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu that he was not elected, saying he selected himself during the state governorship election which was held on March 18, 2023.

“You were not re-elected. You selected yourself. Everybody saw it unfold. You are only deceiving yourselves,” the singer told Sanwo-Olu on Twitter.

Display in Video Section


Reacting to the new song, another singer, popularly known as Charly Boy praised the artistes for tackling the INEC chairman in the song.

“Falz the bahd guy song for Mr Yakubu. Oya, guys let’s put songs together for our INEC chairman wey wan scatter us,” he said.

“Falz didn't just make Yakubu Mahmood's evil known all over, he just put the judiciary on the spot. That guy is the African Giant. My respect to Vector. All eyes on the judiciary. Thanks Falz,” another user, @Novieverest also commented.

For SportsDokita, the song truly represents the bad performance of the ruling party, APC and how its government has allegedly aided brutality and impunity.

He said, “In the "YAKUBU" video, Falz replaced the broom in APC logo with a GUN and he's 100% CORRECT. The innocent blood, APC as a party has shed since they came into power is UNPRECEDENTED!!! And instead of APC, he used “OLE”, mandate stealers, that's what they are, THIEVES!!!”

However, Olufemi Oluwatobi criticised Falz for not waiting for a competent court to rule on the petitions which had been filed to challenge the results of the election before releasing the song.

He said, “But I think he is a lawyer by profession right, and he knows the case is in court, no matter how bad you seem to paint the election, we still had a credible one. I just hope you see the light, even in well developed countries, we do have glitches. Grow up y'all.”

Daniel Regha accused Falz of holding only the INEC chairman responsible for the failures witnessed during the elections.

“Falz called out "Mr Yakubu" in his new song ft Vector but didn't address candidates, their aides, Men of God, traditional leaders & others who in one way or another contributed to the political instability plus electoral violence; Enough with the bias, hold everyone accountable,” he said.

Group gives police, DSS, 48 hours to arrest Fani-Kayode for ‘Posing threats to national security’

Acivil society organisation under the umbrella of Save Nigeria Democratic Movement (SNDM), has given the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba and the Department of State Services (DSS) 48 hours to arrest the Director of New Media of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Femi Fani-Kayode, over his recent ‘inciting comments’.

The group gave the ultimatum on Thursday at a news conference in Abuja.

Addressing the newsmen, SNDM President, Dr. Danjuma Garba, and the Secretary, Cmr. Olubankole Peters Adeniyi, said Fani-Kayode's ethnic profiling and inciting statements fuelled widespread violence across the nation including attacks on non-Yoruba voters in Lagos State during March 18 governorship election.

Condemning Fani-Kayode's recent threat that the country would be ungovernable if the ‘President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the APC was not sworn in on May 29, SNDM said Fani-Kayode poses a grave danger to Nigeria's democracy, unity and security.

The group said, "The Save Nigeria Democratic Movement is disturbed by the recent inciting comments by a former Aviation Minister and Director of News Media, All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Femi Fani-Kayode.

"Recently, the media has been awash with reports of Fani-Kayode's inciting rhetoric targeted at causing ethnic disharmony and widespread violence across the nation. We can no longer continue to ignore his excesses as they pose a grave danger to our democracy, unity and security.

"Recall that his ethnic profiling and inciting statements fuelled unprecedented violence against non-Yoruba voters in Lagos State at the just-concluded governorship poll. We find it totally unacceptable, his recent threat to make the country ungovernable should Bola Ahmed Tinubu not be sworn in.

"This is a threat against national peace and security and should not be ignored by all relevant security agencies. Already, his rancorous and misguided outbursts had attracted the attention of the international community.

"A British envoy addressed him and pointed out the dangers of his inciting statements. However, instead of retracting his statements, he went wild against the envoy with derogatory remarks and tirades unbefitting of a supposed statesman.

"Femi Fani-Kayode is infamous in Nigeria for his opportunistic political misadventures. He is a rabble-rouser whose only political value is the noise he makes and the ripples of disaffection it causes.

"He has never contested, won or lost an election. His is to parasitically attach himself to the winning side and look for any available financial opportunity to sustain his extravagant and drug-ridden lifestyle.

"He is a craven man who rides behind the trails of valiant men to glean the spoils of war. And while waiting for the spoils, he can go to the extremes of verbal assaults, name-calling and denigration of opponents."

The group noted that Fani-Kayode's method of political engagement "is crude, savage, hostile and barbaric. He does not spare vices however indecorous in his quest to appear loyal to his paymasters. He is a known groveler who does the ‘dirty jobs’ for his paymasters in return for ‘food’.

SNDM pointed out that as a result of Fani-Kayode's "unprincipled" approach to life in general, and to politics in particular, he has no allegiance to any political party or ideology.  

"And when he is done eating, he scatters the table and spites the host. His eloquence is fuelled by the sight of food rather than being inspired by a cause, reason or logic. He is a political pariah who, like a hawk, flies about looking for only what to eat.

"Femi Fani-Kayode is such a despicable figure that is awful and abhorrent in private life and unfit for public offices.

"We, therefore, call on the ruling party to amend their initial mistake of appointing Femi Fani-Kayode into their campaign council by distancing themselves from his inciting and bigoted comments.

"Already, he is trying to cause a diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Kingdom with his recent tantrum against the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, who tried to address his excesses.

"We would be forced to believe that Femi Fani-Kayode is doing the bidding of the ruling party to destroy Nigeria if drastic punitive actions are not taken against him.

"Finally, we call on the Inspector General of Police, and the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to arrest within 48 hours, Femi Fani-Kayode for posing a grave threat to national security with his ceaseless inciting statements and ethnic profiling. This is to serve as a deterrent to other tribal bigots and overzealous politicians," it added.

EXCLUSIVE: Immigration officers abandon duty posts, plan protest over non-payment of election allowances

Some officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) are currently planning to hold a protest over the non-payment of their election duty allowances, SaharaReporters has gathered.

The protest is expected to be held simultaneously at all state headquarters of the service.

According to multiple sources, some officers have already abandoned their duty posts.

“Most of us are angry that they are yet to pay us the duty allowances for the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections,” an immigration officer told SaharaReporters.

“We are not paid our allowances and as we are talking, there is a planned protest by these angry personnel of the service.”

Another immigration officer said, “Immigration officers are planning to protest and strike over unpaid election allowances, the immigration CG is about retire any moment and he is planning to walk away with our money.”

SaharaReporters earlier reported the non-payment of duty allowances to NIS officials for the 2023 general elections, including for the 2019 elections allowances.

“The Nigeria Immigration Service has refused to pay us election allowance even when all other agencies have paid,” one of them had said.

 “Many of us paid for hotel and other expenses during the just concluded presidential election, but all we get is that they are working on the payment.

 “But I tell you sincerely that few bigwigs in Abuja will gather to share the money and victimise anyone who tries to raise his or her head up. We are calling on the authorities to pay our allowances and let it not be promise and fail as usual.”

Another official had said, “The allowances for election duties were supposed to be paid before February 25 into our accounts but nobody has received a dime.

 “The officers among us are entitled to N70,000, while the rank and file are entitled to N30,000. We have done all they asked us to do and everybody is already fed up.”

Police begins investigation on death of Yul Edochie's son

The police in Lagos say they will forward the reported death of Kambilichukwu Edochie, son of Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie to the State Criminal Investigation Department on Friday [today] for investigation.

The actor had lost his first son, Kambilichukwu.

Edochie was rushed to the hospital after falling unconscious.

The deceased was said to have played football before he had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital where the 16-year-old later died. 

Meanwhile, the actor has reported the death of Kambilichukwu to the Lagos State Police Command.

Confirming the development to Daily Post, the spokesperson for the state police command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the matter would be forwarded to the State Criminal Investigation Department on Friday [today] for investigation.

Yul Edochie and his first wife, May, celebrated their first son and second child when he turned 16 two months ago.

 “My first son just turned 16. Happy birthday to you Kambi Leo Yul-Edochie. Many more great years I wish you with loads of accomplishments and greatness. May God be with you always. Daddy loves you,” his father wrote on Instagram.

Suspected internet fraudsters,two women, 20 others nabbed with exotic cars, 40 mobile phones, other items in Oyo

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, arrested over 20 suspected internet fraudsters in Oyo state, southwest Nigeria.

The EFCC in a statement on Friday said the suspects, who include two females, were arrested in an intelligence-driven operation at Agbowo, Akobo and Idi–Ishin areas of Ibadan, the state capital.

The suspects include Abdulsalam Yusuf Olamilekan, Henry Ugochukwu Ike, Sobowale Tolulope Enoch, Franklin Ibeh Kelechi, Aderoju Hammed Akande, Afolabi Mayowa Akinbobola, Emmanuel Victor Oluwasegun, Odidwe Victory Okwise, Okeke Hycent Obina, Ibelih Powel Theophilus, Anifowose Dolapo Praise, Balogun Oluwatobi Ayodeji and Ayoade Rofeek Mayowa.

Others are Samuel Shuaibu Adavize, Damilare Olaonipekun Gbolahan, Tajudeen Opeyemi Quozim, Lawal Opeyemi Quwwatullah, Adebisi Olaide Idris, Abiola Toheeb Olawale, Olanrewaju Hammed Rafiu, Olayiwola Toheeb Olanrewaju and Nikoro Elizabeth Temitope.

Upon their arrest, the EFCC operatives recovered various items including five exotic cars, two brand-new motorcycles, 40 mobile phones, 15 laptops, three 4G routers, one Apple Watch, several MTN SIM cards, and one passport.

 The anti-graft commission said the suspects will be charged once investigations are concluded.

Court rules against Assets Management Company, AMCON in Arik Airlines' takeover

The Federal High Court in Lagos State has ruled against the appointment of Kamilu Omokide as Receiver Manager Arik Air Limited by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) after it took over the firm.

AMCON took over the airlines in February 2017 and appointed Omokide as its receiver manager with the mandate to turn around the fortunes of the then biggest private carrier within a short period of time.

However, Arik founder, Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, kicked against the decision and approached the court.

The defendants in the matter are Kamilu Alaba Omokide (First) , Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Second), NG Eagle Limited (Third), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (Fourth) and Super Bravo Limited (Fifth).

Delivering judgement on Friday, Justice Lewis-Allagoa ruled that the transfer of Arik Air Limited assets to the 3rd Defendant and/or 5th
Defendant by the 1st Defendant was done in bad faith and “a violation of the 1st Defendant's fiduciary duty to Arik air Limited as a whole as imposed by Section 553 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.”

It also granted an order directing Omokide and AMCON to render accounts or deliver returns to the Corporate Affairs Commission covering the entire period of the receivership over Arik Air Limited within 14 days.

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AS FOLLOWS: That a Declaration is made that the duty imposed on the 1st Defendant by Section 553 of the Companies and Certified Truecopy Allied Matters Act 2020 to act in the best interest of Arik Air Limited as a whole includes the duty to act in the best interest of the Plaintiffs as members of Airk air Limited.

“That a Declaration is made that by transferring or attempting to transfer Arik Air Limited assets to the 3rd Defendant and/or 5th Defendant, the 1st Defendant did not act in the best interest of Arik Air Limited as a whole and thereby failed in his duty to act in accordance with Section 553 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.

“That a Declaration is made that the 1st Defendant is liable for any losses suffered by ArikAirLimited and/or its members as a result of the transfer of Arik Air Limited's assets to the 3rd Defendant and/or 5th Defendant.

“That a Declaration is made that by virtue of Section 553(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 the 1st Defendant is an agent of the 2nd Defendant.

“That a Declaration is made that the 2nd Defendant is vicariously liable for the acts of the 1st Defendant. That a Declaration is made that in spite of the appointment of th 1st Defendant as Receiver/Manager of Arik Air Limited, the organs of Arik Air Limited including directors and shareholders subsist.

“That a Declaration is made that the directors nd shareholders of the Arik Air Limited, including the Plaintiffs still have rights and powers regarding Arik Air Limited save as regards to the day to day management of the Plaintiff.

“That an Order is granted setteing aside the teansfer of Arik Air Limited's assets by the 1st Defendant or 2nd Defendant to the 3rd Defendant and/or 5th Defendant.

“That an Order is granted directing the 1st and 2nd Defendants to allow the Directors and shareholders of Arik Air Limited unfettered access to their offices, premises of the Plaintiff, facilities and staff required for the discharge of their functions.

“That an Order is granted directing the 1st and 2nd Defendants to render accounts and/or deliver returns to the Corporate Affiars Commossion covering the entire period of the receivership over Arik Air Limited within 14 days of the making of this Order.”

Police, National Assembly Officials chat over alleged N500m misappropriation

Operatives of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) have quizzed top officials of the National Assembly branch of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) over alleged financial misappropriation to the tune of about N500million.

It was gathered that three affected officials were grilled for several hours on Wednesday by the FCID and were granted administrative bail on self-recognition.

The police invitation letters to the officials were sent through the office of the Permanent Secretary, Human Resources and Staff Development of the National Assembly, Daily Trust reports.

The letters were separately addressed to Chairman, PASAN, National Assembly Chapter, Sunday Sabiyi; Financial Secretary, Stacy Nwodo and Treasurer, Samtiya Daniel, inviting them to appear at the Police Department on Wednesday.

The invitation was sequel to a petition jointly written against the affected officials by nine suspended officers of PASAN who accused the executive of financial misappropriation.

The Assistant Public Relations Officer of PASAN in the National Assembly, Amos Enobong, confirmed the development in a message titled ‘Police Invitation to PASAN Executive, National Assembly Chapter’, and sent to PASAN members yesterday.

The message, sighted by Daily Trust, read in part, “After interrogations and other processes were carried out, the union executives were granted administrative bail, on self-recognition, and to report back on Tuesday, 4th April, 2023, for further questioning.”   


Efforts to get the PASAN chairman’s reaction were not successful as his phone number was not reachable.

Misappropriation Of Tetfund Scholarship Grant: Vice-Chancellor, others risk jail terms for contempt of law 

For the disobedience to lawful court order on the alleged misappropriation of a Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) grant, the Vice-Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Prof Mojeed Olaide Liasu, and other principal officers of the institution risk imprisonment.

SaharaReporters gathered that the TETFund grant was issued to a lecturer of the institution, Dr Adewale Taiwo Olasumboye for his doctoral programme at Howard University in the United States.

Unfortunately, after he had travelled to the US for the programme, the university authority started mismanaging the fund and refused to release the full grant to the lecturer, a development that trapped him in the US.

Following his overstay as a result of the non-payment of credit borrowed to complete his programme, the institution reportedly started deducting the salary of his guarantor.

The development forced Olasumboye to file a suit at the National Industrial Court to stop the institution from deducting the salary of the guarantor, comply with TETFund guidelines and also pay the balance of the grant held by the school, which the court granted.

Unfortunately, the vice-chancellor of the school and his principal officers deliberately ignored the judgement of the court and continued to deduct the salary of his guarantor.

Sequel to the impunity, Drs Olasumboye and Mudashiru Lateef Owolabi filed a committal proceeding before the National Industrial Court, Ibadan Judicial Division, against the Vice-Chancellor Prof Liasu, Registrar, Dr K. A. Ogunleye; Bursar, Mr Abayomi Okediji; Legal Administrative, Mr Bayo Adeyi; and Chairman, Governing Council, Prof Ayodeji Omole as contemnors.

The claimants, Olasumboye and Owolabi, are asking the court to commit principal officers of the institution for disobeying an order of the court made on December 8, 2022.

They sought in their reliefs among others: “An order for the Committal to prison of the 1st to 5th contemnors for having disobeyed the order of this Honourable Court made on the 9th day of December, 2022, restraining the Claimant, whether by itself, its servants, privies or agents from further deducting the salary of the 2nd Defendant pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit herein.”

“And the 1st to 5th contemnors/claimant despite having notice of the said subsisting order made on the 8th day of December, 2022 by this Honourable Court proceeded to deduct the salary of the 2nd defendant on the 20th day of December, 2022, in flagrant disregard of the Order of the Honourable Court,” the application also reads.

Meanwhile, the court has mandated the defendants to appear before the court at the next sitting to show cause why the committal order should not be entered against them.



Olasumboye, in 2014, a lecturer at LAUTECH applied for TETfund Academic Staff and Development Training Intervention Fund for him to embark on a doctoral degree at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

The sum of N26 million was approved for his academic pursuit, which was to be released in two tranches of N17,826,600 and N8,249,155.

According to Olasumboye, LAUTECH did not follow TETFund guidelines in releasing the approved grant, which include the school opening a domiciliary account for living expenses and paying the tuition directly to the school.

Rather, LAUTECH refused to open the domiciliary account and paid naira to the salary account of the lecturer, an act that led to him running into a loss and almost forfeiting his doctoral degree.

He said he had to apply for credit through the US Credit System for him not to forfeit his degree and be deported to Nigeria.

“The payments were made without compliance with TETFund guidelines. My tuition and living expenses were paid by the school into my salary account in naira. The school also deducted N97,138 from the fund.

“I incurred further losses while personally changing the money to dollars through Bureau de Change. Due to the delayed payments and loss of naira value at the time of payment by LAUTECH in 2016 and 2017, I had an extra semester and could not finish my programme in three years.

“As a result, I had to look for money out of budget and through alternate means in order to finish in December 2017. I also had to do that to prevent further indebtedness to Howard. I had to take loans to be able to foot my bills. There were a couple of credit cards and a few people helped me too. If there was no system put in place to help me, I might have forfeited the programme at Howard. I might have been homeless and lived like someone waiting to be deported,” Olasumboye said.

He further explained that despite being unable to pay a loan of $79,324 arising from the mismanagement of LAUTECH, the institution is forcing him to return to Nigeria.

He also stated that the school began deducting the salary of his guarantor as part of moves to force him to return to Nigeria.

Olasumboye, however, noted that he cannot return to Nigeria without repaying the loan, hence, he would be labelled a criminal and banned from entering the US again.

To stop the deduction of the salary of his guarantor and intimidation, Olasumboye filed a suit at the National Industrial Court to stop the institution from deducting the salary of the guarantor, comply with TETFund guidelines and also pay the balance of the grant held by the school.

Ex-minister says naira redesign policy failed to checkmate vote buying during general elections

Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, a two-time Minister of Finance, has stated that the recent Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was unable to checkmate vote buying during the just concluded general elections.

Dr Kalu who made this known while featured on the IkengaOnline monthly town hall meeting said the currency change was not even a monetary policy, while calling for purposeful planning to avoid plunging the country into economic confusion.

He described the policy as useless and ill-advised, lamenting that the policy instead of achieving any good objective brought misery to Nigerians.

The elder statesman while speaking on the topic: “Nigeria’s incoming Government: Prospects & Challenges”, the former Minister tasked the incoming administration with purposeful planning as was the case in the early 80s.

He strongly advocated a drastic slashing of the cost of governance for Nigeria to survive. Decrying the high cost of governance in Nigeria, the former World Bank Consultant said that for the global community to take Nigeria seriously, the jumbo salaries and allowances of political officeholders in the country should be slashed.

He explained that there was so much wastage in the Federal, State and Local Government Areas as a result of financial recklessness which must be plugged by the incoming government. He stressed that substantial funds could be saved from the high cost of governance and deployed to the development of infrastructure, education and the health sector.

”We are so far below what we should be in terms of infrastructure and safety nets. If we reduce the cost of governance, we save funds to grow the economy, develop the education and health sector; and also attract foreign investors. Nobody takes you seriously when you waste resources on the high cost of governance.

”Therefore, for us to move forward as a country, the in-coming Government must cut down the cost of governance.”

The former presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, further regretted that “Nigeria borrowed so much from the US constitution but failed to borrow enough from her accountability system.”

He advocated the establishment of the Office of Accounting in the country that would not be subject to political manipulations so it could independently investigate any financial misconduct of any Government official.

The elder statesman further advised the incoming government to spend more on critical sectors like education, infrastructure, health and job creation which would have a multiplier effect on the economy.

Kalu who strongly condemned the burning of Igbo-dominated markets in Lagos in the aftermath of the general elections described the ugly development as disturbing, and a dangerous signal.

He said that Nigerians must agree to peacefully co-exist or split peacefully instead of stoking the embers of ethnic tension and conflict. He noted that the Igbo had no apologies for their political choice, and should not be made targets of political persecution.

He called on the authorities to quickly fish out the masterminds of the barbaric attacks and apply adequate sanctions.

Kalu, however, advised Ndigbo to be more subtle considering their peculiar circumstances in Nigeria.

Crude oil thief jailed two years in Rivers 

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, in Rivers State has convicted and sentenced an oil thief, Alu Isaac, to two years in prison.

The judgement was delivered by Justice P. I. Ajoku on Wednesday.

The judge ruled that Alu Isaac was found guilty of unlawfully dealing in petroleum products without the requisite licence.

Alu Isaac was charged before the court by the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on one count bordering on conspiracy and illegal dealing in petroleum products.

Meanwhile, for a long time, crude oil theft has been a part of Nigeria's exploration history. However, with the damage done to the national economy and its impact on Nigerian sub-nationals in recent times, this issue has taken on dangerous dimensions.

Experts say that Nigeria loses about 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day to oil thieves. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) however admits losses of 470,000 barrels per day. While this discrepancy exists, what is, however certain, is that much of our crude oil is stolen on a daily basis.

According to NNPC estimates, approximately 700 million dollars in crude oil is lost each month due to oil theft.

Between January and July 2022, Nigeria lost 10 billion dollars to this crime, which equates to 4.3 trillion Naira (at the official exchange rate of N430 to the dollar), or more than half of Nigeria's foreign reserves.

In addition, the figure is more than double Nigeria's total revenue between January and April 2022. During this time, Nigeria's total revenue was insufficient to service its debt. Nigeria had to borrow for everything, including salary payments.

How hundreds of abandoned mines endanger lives of Nigerians

Coal was first discovered in Nigeria in 1909 at Udi in Enugu, south-eastern Nigeria. The country’s first coal mine, the Ogbete mine, opened six years later. The Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) was formed in 1950, taking on operations of Ogbete and other major coal mines across the country.

Coal was one of Nigeria’s primary exports for much of the 20th century. However, significant changes in the Nigerian energy market increased the utilization of petroleum as a fuel source. Further disruption to the coal industry due to the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967 and the Nigerian Enterprise Promotion Decree in 1972, which sought to transfer business ownership to Nigerians, contributed to significant declines in foreign investment and many foreign mining companies left the country.

The Nigerian Coal Corporation eventually went bankrupt in 2002, leaving many of its mines abandoned without proper closure. The country has considerable remaining coal reserves. Production has dwindled over the past 20 years, hitting a record low of 40,000 metric tonnes in 2012, Olajide Adelana reports.

Enugu - A once-forested valley sits silently as a graveyard. The scars left by heavy machinery on the swaths of forest are still evident, with chunks of coal waste littering the ground. Once seething like a beehive, the now abandoned Onyeama Coal Mine in the south-eastern Nigerian city of Enugu, has become a shadow of itself.  The coal mine is one of Nigeria’s derelict coal fields which was closed in 2002 when the Nigerian Coal Corporation went bankrupt. Now the area is mostly farmland.

But the land is not fertile.

Sunday Okeke, a farmer, walks along one of the narrow paths into the mine looking very upset.  The maize he planted sprouted into healthy green stalks, and there was hope for a moment –until the stalks started wilting. Unemployed and with dim prospects of getting a job, Okeke and some residents of Onyeama, who once worked in the mine resorted to farming to feed their families. This decision was their own undoing as they rarely make profit.

“The land is not very fertile. I only plant vegetables and some crops that are not deep rooted, because they do not require as much nutrients and fertilizers,” he says. “I tried planting maize and I am disappointed at the outcome.”

Many farmers in the areas are unaware that mining activities in their community years ago removed the topsoil, which contains much of the moisture and nutrients that crops need. They end up spending money on fertilizers, which reduces their profit. The Onyeama mine also polluted the water used for farming and household use. Bright-orange runoff from tunnels at the abandoned mine drains into local water sources.

Communities across Nigeria face danger and pollution from abandoned mines

As of 2017, Nigeria had an estimated 1,200 identified abandoned mining sites—sites where mining activities ceased without proper closure or reclamation and continue to degrade the environment and pose physical dangers in the form of weakened and collapsing mine shafts, sinkholes, and water-filled pits.

The 2007 Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, requires “progressive reclamation” – reclamation activities carried out simultaneously with mining operations – in newly approved industrial mining projects. The act also calls for mining companies to establish a reserve fund for environmental protection, mine rehabilitation, reclamation, and closure costs.  Although most of the now-abandoned mines in Nigeria, including in Enugu, predate the 2007 legislation, there have been few material changes in practice since the act was passed.

Section 30 of the Act stressed that “a tax-deductible reserve for environmental protection, mine rehabilitation, reclamation and mine closure costs shall be established by companies engaged in the exploitation of mineral resources.”

Reclamation includes filling depressions or hollows with soil or rock removed during excavation and planting trees to stabilize and restore the mined area. Best practices also include repairing wildlife habitats; removing office buildings, processing facilities, and transportation equipment; and sealing mine shafts and other openings.

In Akwuke community, Enugu South Local Government Area (LGA), Enugu state, close to Okpara Mine, there is a complete collapse of mining infrastructure years after mining activities had taken place. The mining site was abandoned by the operators without efforts to address impacts on the community, residents alleged.

“With the exception of those who were employed when the coal mine was still active, there is no tangible benefit our community has gained from mining,” says youth community leader Sunday Nsude, pointing to an untarred road that has deteriorated due to flooding and poor maintenance.

Simon Ude, a resident, was worked as a security guard at the mine from 1996 and 2006, says he was laid off the mine closed and given no severance pay.

“I was not compensated and I am not the only one. I have a friend whose years of service was just 9 years and 9 months and he was also laid off without pay.”  Nigerian labor laws require compensation for laid-off employees based on the length of their employment.

“I had to restart my live from scratch. I started firewood business, but the income is not sufficient to take care of my family needs,” Ude says with a tinge of regret in his voice.

Since the Onyeama, Iva Valley, Ribadu, Okpara and Ogbete Mines (all located in Enugu) were abandoned, locals have had to contend with varying degrees of environmental and physical hazards.

Mike Achio, who once worked in the Onyeama Coal Mine and now heads a community-led security team, says that abandoned mine is now a hideout for criminals.

“We regularly contend with criminal elements who have mastered the art of coming into the community to inflict pain on residents and escape through the abandoned mine,” he says. “Recently, we arrested some people at night peddling hard drugs, including cocaine and heroin, in the community.”

Achio, pointed out that respiratory diseases —including coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, commonly known as black lung disease —are also common among miners, due to long-term exposure to airborne coal dust.

 “Although I am lucky and have no issues with my health, many of my colleagues are not,” says Achio. “They are battling with different health problems such as chest pains and breathing problems. The majority of them were left to bear the consequences of long years of working at the mine without any help.”

Dr. Onwubere Basden Jones, a medical expert specialized in cardiovascular and congestive heart diseases, says that elderly people in mining communities are likely to have co-morbidities associated with mining.

“Years back when mining was still actively going on in these communities, there was an upsurge in the number of patients seeking medical attention for different diseases, including respiratory diseases,” he says.

A city on the verge of collapse

Communities along the mining corridors in Enugu are also facing a range of environmental challenges, including flooding and landslides and significant erosion. Residents of Enugu-Ngwo, Amuzam, Agbaja Ngwo, and Nsude said that houses and properties have been washed away by gully erosion caused by heavy rains and landslides.

Despite these challenges, little research has been conducted on the impact of these abandoned mines on the environment.

“A lot of people do not really know the extent of the damage mining did to Enugu,” says Chinedu Nwafor, executive director of the Africa for Africa Initiative. He adds a warning about the state’s capital city of Enugu: The city is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If nothing is done, Enugu might collapse. “I don’t know why the government is yet to see this as an emergency.”

In particular, the network of underground mining tunnels in Enugu is poorly mapped so no one knows their full extent or how it may be exacerbating flooding and erosion issues. The local media have reported that the area is at risk of cave-ins. “Sometimes in the city, you will notice a lot of earth movements and the land will collapse inward. This shows that that place is empty below,” says Nwafor.

Local sources including former miners estimate that the underground tunnels from Onyeama and Ribadu mines lead to Nsude (18 miles) and Abor (12 miles) respectively.

Lack of government action

State and federal officials have paid some lip service to the impacts of abandoned mines on human health and the environment but have made little effort to address them. Ayodeji Adeyemi, a special adviser to the minister of mines and steel development, did not respond to requests for comment, despite promising on several occasions to forward queries to the appropriate desk and provide a response.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and one of the three senators representing Enugu State in the National Assembly did not respond to multiple emails. His personal assistant, Mr. Uche Anuchukwu, acknowledged receipt of the inquiries made but did not reply.

Enugu State Environment and Mineral Resources commissioner, Mr. Chijioke Edeoga denied knowledge of any challenges posed by abandoned mines in his state. He maintains that his office has never received an official complaint about the matter.

“I am not aware. There is no official complaint from these communities to my office. “The state government cannot be blamed, as the mining sector is under the federal government. They (federal government) should be the one to put things in order.”

The federal government is undertaking some interventions to mitigate the impacts of abandoned mines in Enugu State as part of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), but experts say that an expansive and thorough environmental audit needs to be conducted across the entire mining corridor in Enugu to inform strategies for long-term, sustainable solutions.

“Any palliative or reclamation done without a comprehensive environmental audit to ascertain the level of devastation and the funding required to remedy it is unlikely to be a sustainable solution,” says Nwafor. “It is superficial and amounts to poor utilization of funds.”

Residents consider government’s efforts to be merely cosmetic. A resident of Enugu- Ngwo, who identified himself as Chinedu acknowledged the efforts but said more funding and commitment are needed given the number of affected sites.

Nigeria's Small-Scale Mines Leaves A Legacy Of Ruin In Ebonyi, Enugu, Plateau, Nasarawa, Others

Nigeria also has many artisanal and small-scale mines that provide a livelihood for thousands of people, most of them mining gold, gemstones, and cassiterite (a tin oxide mineral). This segment of the extractives industry employs an estimated 400,000 and 500,000 people and currently accounts for more than 90% of solid mineral extraction in the country.

However, this activity is poorly regulated by the government. Most of these miners operate outside the formal regulatory regime, without licenses or permits.  As a result, communities suffer from environmental degradation and negative health consequences. These mines sites are rarely properly closed or remediated, creating hazards for communities long after miners have moved on.

In Ebonyi state, the landscape is punctuated with pockets of abandoned mining pits. Two kids while away time in one of them near the town of Ihotor-Ameka, singing as they run in circles and then collapse on a heap on the muddy soil, giggling.

Okeh Gloria, a resident, recalls the day in 2019 when her third child, 2-year-old Sylvanus, was in pain and fighting for his life. His eyes had rolled back in his head, his mouth closed. His muscles tightened and he struggled to breathe. Gloria and her husband were distraught.

Jittery, Gloria squeezed his jaws open and poured palm oil down his throat. She had seen many others in the community use this remedy and thought it might help. But Sylvanus’s conditioned only worsened.

“I cried and prayed when I saw him convulsing. I could not believe what I was seeing,” says Gloria. Sylvanus was later rushed to hospital, where he stayed for six days before he regained consciousness and began his journey to recovery. The family had to pay N50,000 for his treatment.

The couple suspected heavy metal poisoning as the cause of their child’s sickness. Ihotor-Ameka has huge deposits of minerals, notably lead and zinc, and is littered with mining pits from both abandoned and active artisanal and small-scale mines.

When the pits are flooded after heavy rains, the miners pump the water into the surrounding environment, including rivers and streams. The risk of water and soil pollution with heavy metals is high.

“Although we could not explain it, we knew the reason for his ailment cannot be dissociated from our environment,” Gloria says. Several weeks after her son became sick, other residents began to show similar symptoms.

“My neighbour’s son was sick and convulsing,” she says. “Two days later, he died. He was only 3 years old.” 

Water samples collected from the area and tested at the Institute for Agricultural Research, Zaria and the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) had lead (Pb) concentration of nearly 408 parts per million (ppm); for reference, a U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule requires systems to monitor drinking water if lead concentrations exceed 0.015ppm.

Heavy metals can harm the body even in small doses. Lead exposure can be especially dangerous for children, causing damage to the brain and nervous system, stunted growth and development, behavioral and learning challenges, and hearing and speech problems. Seizures and convulsions are among the more severe neurological symptoms associated with lead overexposure.

Diagnostic capacity is a challenge in Nigeria, including testing for heavy metal poisoning. People come down with strange illnesses that often are left undiagnosed, even after evaluations by experienced physicians.

But this is not news. In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported high incidence of convulsions and death in young children due to lead poisoning in five mining villages in Zamfara State. The number of children affected continues to grow.

Many blame the informal and unregulated activities of artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) who make up 85 percent of miners in Nigeria’s extractive industry according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Artisanal and small-scale mining differs from medium and large-scale mining. There is limited available information on production, revenues, operations, and location of their activities.

“The havoc that these artisanal and small-scale miners cause is often overlooked because they don’t necessarily carry heavy machinery to the site,” says David Bade, a farmer whose land is threatened by abandoned mining pits in Yelwa community, Kokona LGA, Nasarawa State.

“They came in droves, took over our farmlands and started digging for tourmaline, a gemstone,” he adds. “Several months later, they vacated the site and moved elsewhere.”

Bade says he has noticed a sharp decrease in his harvest because his farmland is no longer fertile. As lead deposits are common in the area, it is also possible that the miners may have kicked up lead-contaminated soil and dust in their search for gemstones.

“Before, I used to harvest up to 300 bags of maize; now I rarely get up to half of that. I have also been attacked by snakes and other reptiles that hide in the holes. I have lost two of my dogs to snake attacks.”

This is not unexpected, says Ibrahim Yahaya, an official of Nasarawa State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. “Mining can severely alter the soil and reduce its fertility. When miners dig into the earth for these minerals, they inadvertently dump the excavated materials on the topsoil. This is called over-burden and it makes it more difficult for crops to access nutrients,” he says.

Soil samples collected from Bade’s farmland and tested at the Institute for Agricultural Research and the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology showed levels of metals that are poisonous to plants, including 1,350 ppm of copper. According to the U.S EPA, normal soil has a copper content of 1 to 200 ppm. The concentration of zinc in the soil was 2,090 ppm, also much higher than normal levels. The concentration of lead was 1,560 ppm; the EPA recommends avoiding growing vegetables in soil with lead concentrations of more than 400 ppm.

How large companies enable informal mining

Artisanal and small-scale miners operate as part of a broader mining ecosystem in Nigeria. With limited access to capital, they are often financed by sponsoring companies that take a large cut of their profits. The sponsors have mastered the art of profiteering from Nigeria’s weak mining regulations and enforcement. In the states visited, the number of artisanal and small-scale miners continues to grow due to the availability of a ready buyer. 

Some larger mining companies have reportedly given artisanal miners access to concessions that they are not actively mining. A Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit report covering activities in the extractive sector from 2007 to 2010 found that only 30 per cent of the companies holding mining titles were engaged in active quarrying, mining, and exploration.  

In Ebonyi State, most big mining companies with or without licenses grant access to their mining site to artisanal miners, often members of the local community. The company pays negotiated fee to the landowner and local authorities but retains exclusive rights to the mined commodity. One source noted that many of these companies are Chinese.

“They send scouts to the community to negotiate with individual landowners who believe they have mineral resources underneath their properties. Afterwards, they agree on fees to be paid to the landowner and local authorities in the area, often the traditional heads,” says Chikezie, a miner in Ameka.

The government has signaled intentions to formalize the sector, improve revenue collection, and increase the contribution of solid minerals to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). But progress has been slow and uneven, complicated by a lack of geological information and limited government capacity. Mine closure and remediation do not appear to have featured heavily in discussion about formalization.

One small-scale granite miner in Umuogharu, Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, who declined to give her name for security reasons, said the state government is aware of their informal mining activities.

“We pay the necessary levies and go about our activities,” she says, adding that discussions on abandoned mines and proper mining site closure were rare in their interactions with the state government.

In Wamba community, Nasarawa State, large mining corporations and the locals agreed on a sharing formula for the proceeds from mining activities.

One of the locals, Kasim Usman said, “When they (mining company) came in 2019, we agreed that a certain percentage of the mineral resources mined would be given to the community. One-third is paid to the local government as royalty, one-third is paid to the owner of the land owner where the resources were mined, and one-third is paid to the community.”

Neither the mining companies nor the artisanal miners take responsibility for the proper closure and reclamation of mining sites. They simply move on to another location.  The exploitative behavior of these large scale companies is often the root cause of community corruption and violence, and it results in a huge loss of revenue to the government. In turn, poor revenue from the sector make budgetary allocations and funding for reclamation of abandoned mines difficult for the government.

Lives lost, livelihoods affected in Plateau, Nasarawa, others

In Plateau state, years of complaints by mining communities about the wreckage caused by abandoned mining pits have fallen on deaf ears. Belied by its beautiful scenery, abandoned mining pits in Jos city are now potential death traps for residents of the area.

Tin was discovered in Jos plateau at the turn of the 20th century and colonial mining began soon thereafter. These tin mines were largely abandoned following the 1972 nationalization policy, which broke the monopoly of foreign interests, particularly of British firms. Decades later, tin mining communities are still struggling with the negative effects of mining on human health and the environment.

Today, informal artisanal and small-scale miners operating on meagre profit margins work in these abandoned mines. This carries a unique set of risks and dangers.

In December 2019, an inactive mining pit in Zawan community, Jos South LGA, collapsed, killing six people who were illegally prospecting for tin and other minerals. Eyewitnesses said that more than 50 people were in the pit before it collapsed.

In Sabon-Barki, Jos South LGA, residents are fearful when it rains because of how abandoned mining sites channel floodwaters. In April 2021, a 4-year-old girl was swept away after a heavy downpour.

“She was returning from school alongside her brother when the flood carried her from Dadin Kowa to Muchogopyeng,” says Belinda Yusuf, a resident of the area.

In Keffi, Nasarawa state, the Five-Star Mining Company allegedly vacated its mining project without reclamation after an outcry by residents of the area over incessant blasting of rocks. The abandoned site sits behind Keffi Secondary School.

“Each time they blasted the rocks, strong vibrations reverberated throughout the entire area,” says local resident, Garakuwa Zubairu. “Our buildings began to crack from the foundation.”

He said residents complained to the company and asked them to reduce the blasting activity, but to no avail. The company maintained that it was licensed by the federal government to carry out its activities. They brought their complaints to state government authorities, who inspected the site and directed the company to stop work. The company then vacated the site without doing reclamation work.

Checks at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), showed that the company is inactive and was incorporated on January 6, 1993.  The company is headquartered in Calabar with Janet Okok, Effiong Effiong, George Effiong, and Nkoyo Effiong on the board of directors.



Slow progress on reclamation

Government remediation efforts dates back to 1955, when the federal government reclaimed abandoned mining sites managed by Northern Regional Government at the time. Reclamation of several other abandoned sites followed in 1980.

In 2017, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), which oversees the solid minerals subsector in Nigeria, said it would spend N1.67tr to reclaim more than 1,600 abandoned mine sites across the country.

A total of 32 mining sites were reclaimed between 2007 and 2019 at a cost of N2.39 billion naira, or about N75 million per mine – less than the amount originally projected.  (In 2014, a ministry official named Salim Adebgoyega,  had put the reclamation cost per abandoned mine at N80m to N100m , depending on the  size of the site.*

Progress has been much slower than expected. The ministry initially projected that 100 sites would be reclaimed annually between 2007 and 2020. An inventory of abandoned mines and quarries commissioned by the ministry in 2017 to evaluate the environmental and social risks associated with past mining activities is yet to be released officially. The Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Fund (EPRF) called for in the 2007 Nigeria Mining Act is not fully operational.

The ministry did not respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted on September 29, 2021, asking for specific details about progress on mine remediation and closure – including a list of all abandoned mining sites identified by the ministry, reclaimed abandoned mining sites, the cost of the reclamation of the sites, and the status of the EPRF. The ministry acknowledged receipt of the request and asked for ample time to compile the required information, adding that the process of revalidating abandoned mines and quarries was ongoing.

The federal government has allocated significant funds to the reclamation of abandoned mines but has achieved little in terms of value for money. Analysis of the ministry’s budget showed that at least N2.43bn was spent on activities related to reclamation between 2015 and 2020. A further breakdown revealed that N1.90bn was budgeted for actual reclamation of an unspecified number of abandoned mines during the same period. In 2018 and 2019, the government spent N78.3m on revalidating abandoned mining sites nationwide and a whooping N463m on logistics support for a special mines’ surveillance task force in 2020.

One of the reclaimed sites in Barkin Ladi area of Plateau state, is still prone to flooding and ecological problems years after the purported reclamation in 2017. Residents who spoke with this newspaper were critical of the work done.

“We cannot farm on these sites. The land is not fertile. No bioremediation was carried out,” says Dafum Chung, a resident. “They just came to sand-fill the site and went away. Although the gully erosion subsided, the problem of flooding is still persistent.”

He adds: “I used to farm close to my house until flooding and erosion caused by mining destroyed my farmland. Although I have relocated to another area to continue my farming, my friends who still farm there are always complaining of poor harvest.”

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development acknowledged receipt of a FOIA request for procurement records, including budgetary allocations and lists of contractors engaged but request was not fulfilled by publication time.

Can communities sue?

Nigeria has a federal system of governance but state have limited power. Mining is on the exclusive legislation list – a list of issues over which the federal government has exclusive legislative powers. This means states cannot advance their own legislation governing mining-related issues, including mine closure. State governments cannot enforce federal legislation.  

“You really cannot blame the state governments,” says Abiodun Baiyewu, Nigeria country director at Global Rights. “The federal government is quick to remind you that the benefits of the minerals primarily belong to the commonwealth at the federal level. It was not until 2017 that benefits started to trickle down to the local communities. Even so, the benefits have been negligible because the government still earns so little from solid minerals due to massive hemorrhages in revenue.”

However, one potential avenue for states to regulate their mining sectors remains unexplored. Section 19 of the Mineral and Mining Act of 2007 provides for a state-level governance apparatus for mining, known as Mineral Resources and Environmental Committee (MIREMCO). To date, this apparatus is yet to be fully explored.

Communities that have been negatively impacted by abandoned mines have limited avenues for recourse, including through national legal systems. Chinedu Bassey, a program manager at the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, argues that several international human rights instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory are yet to be properly legislated in the country. These include the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Ten years after endorsing them, Nigeria is yet to develop a national action plan to implement the principles, which allow aggrieved communities to seek redress in court.

Hamzat Lawal, chief executive of Connected Development (CODE), a nongovernmental organization that works to empower marginalized communities in Nigeria, says the real question is whether the Nigerian justice system is reliable. “If we’re being realistic, these communities do not have the resources to pursue a case against the government, and while that reflects the weakness of our judicial institution, it also shows the extent of failure of leadership in the country,” he says.

Regardless of the challenges, human rights lawyer and activist Inibehe Effiong believes that mining communities can sue the government or businesses if they can provide evidence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt of their culpability.

Effiong is right. There are quite a few justiciable clauses to rely upon. Beyond the Mineral and Mining Act of 2007, Section 17 (2d) of Nigeria’s constitution states that a community’s natural resources must not be exploited except for the good of the community.

Some international avenues are also available, particularly if a multinational mining company has violated the rights of communities through inadequate mine closure. For instance, communities could file a grievance with the National Contact Points (NCPs) that are responsible business conduct in the company’s home country or they could request a UN Special Rapporteur investigation.

These avenues are rarely explored, however, due to lack of information and low literacy levels amongst residents of these communities.  Communities can only seek redress if they are aware of their rights and are empowered with the information, they need to demand justice, accountability and transparency from government entities and other stakeholders in the extractive industries.

For this to happen, knowledge and participatory dialogue platforms are important, says Baiyewu.

 “Let’s start with providing a basic knowledge of what mining entails, the likely impacts, and the rights of mining host communities,” she says. “Mining host communities need to access information on how to air their grievances, and ensure ease of access to the relevant agencies of government.”

Lawal has a similar view. Rather than sue the government, he says, leaders of mining communities would do better to learn how to engage the government as partners.

“It’s the first step in the right direction, and it disarms a government that is quick to defend itself against its own citizens.”

Randy don docked for demanding sex, money from student for marks

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned one Dr. Balogun Olaniran, a lecturer of the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, for sexually harassing a female student and demanding money from her.

Olaniran was arraigned before Justice Osinuga of the Ijebu-Ode High Court sitting in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State on one count for violating Section 8(1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Counsel for the ICPC told the court that Olaniran, as the Head of the Department of Religious Studies at TASUED sometime between October and November 2021, demanded sexual benefit or the payment of the sum of N100,000 from a female student with a promise to alter her academic grades.

Part of the charge stated that “(Dr. Balogun Olaniran), within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, corruptly demanded for sexual benefit or payment of the sum of N100,000 for himself from … (name withheld), a female student, on account of a favour to be afterwards shown her in the discharge of his official duties as a lecturer and Head of Department of Religious Studies at the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu Ode, to wit, offering to alter her academic grades from fail to pass in courses with codes EDU 311 and EDU 312”.

But the defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him, hence, the trial judge admitted him to bail of N500,000 with a surety in like sum.

Justice Osinuga also ordered that the surety must provide evidence of 3 years of tax clearance and evidence of means.

The judge adjourned the matter to May 11, 2023, for the commencement of trial.

Timipre Sylva resigns as Nigerian Minister Of State For Petroleum

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has reportedly tendered his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), undisclosed sources said the minister submitted his resignation to President Buhari last week.

However, the Senior Adviser to Sylva on media and communications, Horatius Egua, reportedly said that he could not deny or confirm the minister's resignation.

Egua said Sylva had not officially informed him of his resignation nor had he seen the letter.

Although his reasons for resigning from office have not been clearly ascertained, it could be connected to his political ambition.

Sylva had declared interest in participating in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The APC primary election will be held in April while the governorship election will hold in November 2023.

Police denies reported invasion of Oyo school by herdsmen

The Oyo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force has denied an alleged invasion of the Community Secondary School in Alaropo Nla in Orire Local Government Area of the state by herdsmen.

The police said no such incident occurred as reported by the media on Thursday.

It was reported that suspected herdsmen with their cattle invaded the school farm on Thursday morning, injuring some of the school teachers and students who attempted to prevent their cattle from grazing.

The incident was debunked by the command's spokesman, SP Adewale Osifeso, in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.

According to Osifeso, no such incident occurred at the school and no one was injured as claimed.

He said the herders peacefully grazed their cattle outside the school, and that the alarm raised by people was false.

According to Osifeso, there is peace in the area, and the state is still enjoying the peace that was witnessed during the 2023 general elections.

He stated that the state police commissioner, CP Adebowale Williams, had dispatched the Divisional Police Officer to the area, who confirmed that the incident did not occur and that the area was peaceful and calm.

Imo traditional ruler arrested for sharing report against Governor Uzodinma on WhatsApp

The Imo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force has arrested Eze Ekene Obinali, the traditional ruler of Umucheke in Umuobom, Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo State.

The monarch was arrested on Wednesday by operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the command for allegedly sharing on a WhatsApp platform a write-up that was said to be very critical of the state governor, Hope Uzodinma.

The embattled traditional ruler on March 20 reposted the write-up on a WhatsApp group platform called Ideato Voice.

Confirming the arrest of the monarch, the administrator of the platform, Vitus Ezenwa, told SaharaReporters that the monarch was arrested and detained by the police on Wednesday.

Ezenwa said that he was first arrested by the police and was later granted bail after the police apprehended the traditional ruler.

He told our correspondent that the media content for which the monarch is being held in police custody had the headline, "Gov Hope Uzodinma in a fresh scandal.”

The said report talked about the role of the late Ahmed Gulak during the 2018 Imo State governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress that produced Uzodinma.

Ezenwa said, "My name is Nze Dr Vitus Ezenwa. I am the publisher of Ideato Voice newspapers. Quote me if necessary. I am the witness to this. I was arrested by the police over the post because I am the administrator of the platform where it was made, Ideato Voice platform. I was detained until the royal father was arrested and currently detained.

 “He is currently at Anti-Kidnapping Unit. Tiger Base. The post was made on March 20. The Police granted me bail after the traditional ruler was arrested. I was asked to be reporting at the police everyday till further notice.”

The command's spokesman, Henry Okoye, also confirmed the arrest of the traditional ruler.

He, however, did not provide details as he told SaharaReporters that the matter was under investigation.

Two Chinese men jailed six years, each over N50m bribery

Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Sokoto State Division has sentenced two Chinese nationals - Meng Wei Kun and Mr. Xu Kuai, to six years imprisonment each for N50million bribe.

Justice Talba on Friday found the two Chinese nationals guilty of the two-count charge bordering on Conspiracy, Money Laundering and attempted Bribery to the tune of N50 million brought against them by the Sokoto Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The conviction was sequel to the EFCC's appeal brought against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto, which discharged and acquitted the accused persons on all the count charges.

It was gathered that Justice Talba while delivering the judgment on Friday berated the respondents for trying to frustrate the appeal through maneuverings.

He stated that "Gone are the days of technicalities in law" and therefore emphasised that going forward, courts must allow cases to be heard on its merits.

The judge also explained that the EFCC had proven counts one and two of the three count charges before the Federal High Court beyond reasonable doubt but agreed with the lower Court on count three and therefore struck it out on the ground that a similar charge is pending before the High Court of Justice Sokoto State.

Justice Talba said that "The respondents are charged with Conspiracy and making a cash payment in excess of the threshold provided by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended in 2012 to Abdullahi Lawal (then zonal head of EFCC Sokoto) which was established beyond reasonable doubt before the lower Court. But surprisingly, the trial judge somersaulted in his judgement and recanted.

"I regret to say that the judgment is like a fiction by the trial judge who created doubts in his mind while discharging his responsibilities. Without doubt, the trial judge grossly misconceived that no offence was committed.

"Conspiracy is a distinct offence even if the commission of the actual offence is aborted, and in the instant case, there exists positive cogent inescapable evidence the offence was committed."

The judge maintained that the appeal was "immensely meritorious", hence, he convicted and sentenced the Chinese nationals to three years on each of the two counts with an option of N10million fine each on each count.

Justice Talba in his final note said, "Before I draw the curtain, the respondents are Chinese and an offence of this gravity in their home country attracts the death penalty, yet here they are corrupting our country.

"The courts of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not condone corruption in any way; as President Muhammadu Buhari has said 'if we don't kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria."

Ex-Labour Party chairman reveals why Lagos LP guber candidate, Rhodes-Vivour lost

Kayode Salako, the former chairman of the Labour Party in Lagos State, has said the state party’s governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour became arrogant and too full of himself after the party won the state during the February 25 presidential election.

Salako who said this in an interview with News Central TV mentioned that Rhodes-Vivour began to believe he would be the next governor of Lagos State and this made him (Rhodes-Vivour) publicly endorse candidates from the opposition party, PDP, an act done without the approval of the party’s leadership.

He claimed that despite their efforts to warn the LP candidate about his behaviour, he showed a significant degree of defiance toward them, adding that this was the reason most of the members of the party eventually worked against him at the poll.

He said, “When Labour Party won Lagos State during the presidential election and National Assembly period, all of us were involved. It was a game of all of us. Our passion was there. Everybody was involved. But immediately after the victory of the party at the presidential election, then that tug of pride came to Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, he started seeing himself as the governor of Lagos State already.

“You know he is a youth; he is young. And then tug of youthful exuberance. People already calling him His Excellency; he thought because the party has won the presidency. Then automatically, the same thing would be repeated for the governorship. He would not have made some of us angry if he didn't come out openly to start endorsing the candidates of PDP which is an opposition party to our party.

“He started endorsing the candidate of the party he came from which he claimed he had left. He started publicly to come out to say he is now with PDP. He said, it is my PDP people that I am banking on to vote for me,” the former chairman said.

Enugu INEC: Presentation of Certificates Of Return suffers setback after bang sounded in hall

Enugu state governor-elect, Peter Mbah, Commissioner of Police and a host of others scampered for safety, on Thursday, after a loud bang sounded in the hall where the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC)was issuing Certificates of Return to those, who won various electoral positions, in the last polls.

Mbah, his deputy, Ifeanyi Ossai, 23 members-elect of the Enugu State House of Assembly and hundreds of supporters and security chiefs had gathered in the hall of Bon Platinum Hotel, Enugu where the presentation took place.

Halfway through the presentation, there was a loud bang in the hall which sent the people scampering out of the hall, causing a stampede.

Sources who witnessed the incident told SaharaReporters that after an interlude of about 30 minutes, the exercise resumed but many stayed outside for fear that the building might collapse.

"I myself didn't go back to the hall. The bang was much that everyone thought that the building would not stand for another next minute. I haven't witnessed such a thing in my entire life. We thank God that the worst didn't eventually happen," an eyewitness said.

The unusual interruption turned what could have been a joyous moment into anxiety on an occasion witnessed by prominent personalities including the outgoing deputy governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, among other dignitaries.

Speaking at the occasion, the INEC National Commissioner for Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states, Mr Kenneth Ukeagu, urged the elected persons not to disappoint the people who gave them the mandate.

He said the commission was resolute in conducting credible elections using modern gadgets such as the BVAS (Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System) to ensure that the people’s expectation was met.

19 Shi’ites protesting against illegal seizure of El-Zakzaky, wife’s  passports arrested in Abuja

No fewer than 19 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, have been arrested by the police over having a procession.

A combined team of policemen and soldiers on Thursday dispersed protesting members of the group with teargas in Abuja, the nation's capital.

The Shi’ites on Thursday continued their protest to demand the release of the passports of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, who had been acquitted and discharged by a Kaduna high court.

 The protest, which kick-started at Federal High Court in Maitama was abruptly terminated at Eagle Square near the Federal Secretariat when armed security operatives arrived and attacked them.

The incident led to pandemonium in the area as passers-by were seen scampering to safety.

Many protesters sustained varying degrees of injury while others were seen lying unconscious on the ground after being hit by teargas canisters.

The Federal Capital Territory Police Command on Thursday in a statement signed by its spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh, confirmed the arrest of some of the protesters.

"IMN members numbering over 400 staged a protest from Federal High Court to Eagle Square blocking roads following the court’s ruling on the passport of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.

"The protest was after the court rejected an application filed by El-Zakzaky asking the Department of State Services (DSS) to release his passport and that of his wife.

"However, Justice Obiora Egwuatu in his ruling said El-Zakzaky failed to prove that the DSS took the passports away, after his return from India.

"IMN members threw stones and other dangerous objects at the police officers and they were, however, dispersed with 19 of them arrested and will be charged to court," the police said.

Okowa's N25m Honorarium: Sharing formula scatter journalists in Delta 

Acrisis is said to be rocking the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists following the alleged "misappropriation and fraudulent" sharing formula of the N25 million honorarium given to journalists in the state by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

SaharaReporters gathered that the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, on Monday, March 13, 2023, during the inauguration of the new government house press centre, promised to release an honorarium to the Michael Ikeogwu-led NUJ council in the state.

After several days, the sum of N25 million was released but according to some members, the honorarium was allegedly misappropriated and fraudulently disbursed.

Condemning the alleged fraudulent manner by which the Ikeogwu-led NUJ council disbursed the N25 million honorarium to members of the union, the executive council, members and Board of Trustees of the Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF), a CAC-certified body of online newspaper publishers in the state alleged that the fund was misappropriated with a larger chunk plundered by the leadership of the state NUJ council.

A press statement signed by the chairman of DOPF, Emmanuel Enebeli and the secretary, Shedrack Onitsha on behalf of the body, frowned on the Ikeogwu-led NUJ council's lack of transparency and accountability in the disbursement of the fund which was given in appreciation of publishers and journalists in the state who had worked to promote the programmes and policies of the state government.

The statement reads, "While we appreciate the state government for the kind gesture, particularly when the governor specifically acknowledged the role of the media in promoting his policies and programmes, we take exception to the Ikeogwu-led NUJ Delta council entitlement mentality as if the fund was exclusively for Ikeogwu and his executive to administer and appropriate to whosever they wish.

“To set the record straight, the Delta Online Publishers Forum, (DOPF) as a registered body of journalists who are publishers of various Delta-based online platforms, was invited to the programme like any other body, including the NUJ Delta state council through the office of the Public Relations Officer (PRO) government house, Asaba. The invitation, as extended to us has been the tradition between us and the state government in the past.

"As a body of online publishers that have no affiliation with the NUJ Delta council, we thought the Ikeogwu-led Delta NUJ council would be transparent enough to call the leadership of the DOPF and other stakeholders concerned to come out with a modality on how the honorarium would be disbursed so that every concerned stakeholder does not feel cheated but to our chagrin, Ikeogwu and his cohorts sat over the fund and came out with a disbursement formula that is smack of their corrupt tendency.

“It was also on record that right after the media briefing, journalists had expressed fears and apprehension about what will become of the honorarium, considering the antecedent of the current leadership of the NUJ Delta state council which had over time shown avarice to divert and embezzled finances of journalists.

"To the best of our knowledge, the NUJ Delta state council, after much delay from 13 March 2023 to March 22, 2023, released a disbursement formula where the correspondents chapel, Asaba got N3.2 million; Warri correspondents chapel got N2.2 million; Indigenous correspondents chapel, Asaba got  N750,000; Ughelli correspondents chapel got N750,000; Sapele correspondent chapel got N400,000; Association of Community Newspapers of Nigeria got, N300,000 and DOPF got a meagre N300, 000 only. This we consider cheating, belittling and insulting to the DOPF and its members.

"From the above which was the only disbursement formula made known to us, we discovered that NUJ Delta state council didn’t disburse up to N10 million from the N25 million hence we rejected the money for the Ikeogwu-led NUJ council, through the Chairman. Based on the above, DOPF executive council and Board of Trustees after extensive deliberation, passed a vote of no confidence on Michael Ikeogwu-led NUJ council and vehemently condemned his actions in totality.

“We have lost confidence in the Ikeogwu-led NUJ council in handling anything duly meant for DOPF coming through the Council. We have also directed our members to henceforth shun Delta government briefings, press releases and other media-related activities until this anomaly is addressed."

Meanwhile, a statement signed by the Delta state chairman of NUJ, Ikeogwu and chairmen and secretaries of correspondents’ chapels who are members of the state executive council of the NUJ, on Wednesday passed a vote of confidence on the Ikeogwu-led State Working Committee.

SaharaReporters gathered that some chapel chairmen and secretaries who were also not happy and had condemned the manner by which the N25 million was disbursed were bribed with N50,000 each to influence the vote of confidence passed on him by the state executive council on Wednesday in Asaba.

No comments:

Post a Comment