Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Headliners (1730)

•Facebook stalker, nephew found guilty of ex-general’s daughter’s murder

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Two of the four men tried for the 2012 murder of a general’s daughter, Cynthia Osokogu, are to pay the supreme price for the offence.

Okwumo Echezona Nwabufo and his nephew  Olisaeloka Ezike are to die by hanging, Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court said yesterday.

Justice Akinlade found them guilty of drugging, chaining and strangling Osokogu, who was a Nasarawa State University post-graduate student, to death at Cosmilla Hotel, Festac Town, Lagos, on July 22, 2012.

Orji Osita, 37, and Ezike Nonso, 29, were discharged and acquitted of the charge of recklessness, negligence and possession of stolen goods.

Osita, a pharmacist, had been accused of supplying Nwabufo with Rophynol, a sedative which was allegedly used on the deceased, without a prescription.

While Nonso was accused of buying her stolen Blackberry phones from Ezike.

Nwabufo, 37, Ezike, 27, Osita and Nonso were arraigned on February 8, 2013, on a six-count charge of conspiracy, murder, stealing, recklessness, negligence and possession of stolen goods.

They pleaded not guilty.

Delivering her judgment which began at 10:53am and ended at about 3:20pm, Justice Akinlade held that the state had proved the counts of conspiracy, murder and stealing beyond reasonable doubt.

She held that with its 10 witnesses and 17 exhibits, the prosecution’s case against Nwabufo and Ezike was uncontroverted and that the circumstantial evidence brought by the state was “cogent, complete, unequivocal and compelling.”

But the judge resolved in Osita and Nonso’s favour, doubts in the prosecution’s evidence against them.

Relying on the witnesses’ testimonies, Nwabufor’s and Ezike’s confessional statements and the circumstantial evidence, Justice Akinlade said: “The court has no doubt that the first and second defendants killed the deceased and if there are contradictions in their case, they are minor contradictions.”

Before passing judgment, the judge asked the defendants if they had anything to say.

Their counsel, Victor Okpara and Emeka Eze pleaded for mercy. Okpara added that Nwabufo was a first time offender who has “tremendous energy to do something worthwhile with his life. I urge this court to grant him a reformative sentence.”

In her response, Justice Akinlade said: “I have listened to the plea of counsel (allocutus). Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State says clearly that a person who commits murder shall be sentenced to death.

“In judgment, justice is required not only for the victim, but also for the society. In their attempt to steal Cynthia’s property, the first and second defendants stole her life. They were not even remorseful. But for the efforts of the police and the Ministry of Justice we wouldn’t have been able to do anything. This court cannot change the law.”

She sentenced Nwabufo and Ezike to 14 years imprisonment for stealing on the first count and three years imprisonment on the two counts of conspiracy to steal and commit murder.

On the second count of murder, Justice Akinlade said: “I pronounce the sentence of this court upon you, Okwumo Echezona Nwabufo and  Olisaeloka Ezike, that both of you be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may God have mercy on your souls.”

In reaching its decision, the court considered, among others, whether the prosecution proved that there was a murder, the cause of death and whether it was the defendant’s actions that led to Osokogu’s death.

The prosecution, the judge said, not only proved beyond reasonable doubts that the deceased died, it also showed that she did not die a natural death and that her death was the direct result of the first two defendants’ action.

She said the witnesses’ testimonies were corroborated by the exhibits, which included the first convict’s laptop containing nude pictures of the deceased and those of other victims.

Nwabufo, who disowned his confessional statement in court, stated that the deceased was his fiancée, adding that he did not know how she died.

He said: “The late Cynthia was my girlfriend; we were close as the way lovers are before they get married.

“I promised her that I would marry her and she accepted but told me it is still early that I should wait till Christmas when I would visit her parents in Delta State.”

But the court held, among others, that his failure to provide basic information about the deceased, such as her hometown, her university and course of study, the date he proposed to her and the fact that he had never met or spoken to her family, suggested that his answers were contrived.

Reading from Nwabufo’s and Ezike’s disowned confessional statements, which were admitted after a trial-within-trial, the judge said it was immaterial whether they intended to kill the deceased or not, because they could be taken to intend the natural consequences of their action.

On Ezike’s statement, the court said: “There is ample evidence that he participated in the crime. He assisted in tying down the deceased. He bought the chain with which the deceased was chained. He acted in concert with the defendant. In such a case, it does not matter who did what.”

Posted On Friday, 24 March 2017 02:11 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved N102.077 billion and $1.79 billion for roads projects across the country and rail project in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola and Minister of FCT, Bello Mohammad, spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

With them at the briefing was Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Fashola said N80 billion was approved for 12 roads and bridges in various states including Taraba, Adamawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Plateau, Osun, Kwara, Kano, Oyo, Enugu, and Kaduna.

He also said that there was approval of N150.84 million for the engineering and Consultancy design for access road 1 and 2 ?to link Asaba in Delta State and Onitsha in Anambra State to link the Second Niger Bridge project.

“Subsequent to the award of further works of the Second Niger Bridge we have started work now by this approval on the design of the link road that will connect the two states to the bridge.

“The design is expected to be completed in six months and we will start procurement and as the bridge advances, we can then connect the two states.” he added

Fashola said there were also approvals for power projects?, relating to the extension of the consultancy and project management contract for the Katsina Wind Energy Farm project.

He said: “It was awarded in 2010 and should have been completed in 2013. The expatriate who were implementing it were kidnapped and when he was eventually rescued he never came back and that delayed the project.

“But we have revived the project, a new contracting team is back on site. The contract of the consultants representing us has expired and so we are extending his contract to cover new period of completion.” he said

Another contract on power, which he said was approved by FEC, is the power sector recovery programme.

He said “It’s a programme that comprises many policy actions, operational and financial interventions that needs to be carried out by government to improve transparency, service delivery, performance of DISCOS, Transmissions companies, the entire value change in order to create more viable power sector that is private sector driven.

“Some of the highlights of the programme is how to simplify and reduce the cash deficits that have accumulated ?as a result of previous unilateral reductions of tariff by the last administration during the running of the elections, how to make the DISCOS viable, accountable, responsive to customers, ensure stability of the grid and expansion of the grid and transparency and communication within the sector.

“And also processes for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) debts? and how to improve sector governance, our roles in the business, the quality of personnel on the board of the DISCOS, it addresses access to renewable energy especially in rural areas using mini-grids and stand alone solutions and how we are going to carry out the solutions that have been developed for 37 federal universities and seven tertiary hospitals.

“And how to solve the Niger Delta problem and also how to ensure there is a stable and predictable foreign exchange policy for the sector so that it is somewhat protected from sudden head winds of the volatility of the foreign exchange market so that they can plan and deliver.

“Also how to address the issue of vandalization at consumer and production levels of pipelines and so on as this will help bring confidence to the market and stimulate the appetite that currently exists globally for Nigeria’s power sector.

“We see a lot of people who want to invest but some of them are tied to what other international financial institutions do? and the institutions are also waiting to see us commit to these things.” he said

The FCT Minister said the Council approved three key projects for the FCT.

He said N2.454 billion was approved for 5 kilometre road to link Ring Road III to Wasa Junction with Karshi -Ara-Apo Road.

Approval, he said, was also given for the award of contract for Phase 2 of the Abuja Mass Transit Lot 1B (26.77km) which is from Ring Road I, passing through Area 10 beside Wuse Market, Berger Junction, Jabi Motor Park, through Life Camp to Gwagwa and also covering the remaining part of Lot 1A (5.76km).

He said the contract also included rolling stocks, workshop equipment and three years management contract.

He said that FEC also okayed the$1.79 billion contract awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) yo be funded by China EXIM Bank.

The Minister said that FEC approved development of infrastructure at Jahi District at the amount of N19.473 billion

Posted On Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:30 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Dr Olakunle Churchill, the estranged husband of Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh, has blasted the latter, saying she abuses alcohol, marijuana and is temperamental.

Churchill, a Ghana-based businessman and owner of Big Church Group of companies said this in an interview with Media Room Hub TV published over the weekend.

About a fortnight earlier, Tonto had granted the same station an interview where she lambasted Churchill for domestic violence among other things.
Relaying the incident which happened in Ghana, Churchill said he picked her from the airport a day before her birthday in 2015. However, due to a misunderstanding she spent the night in a hotel. He said Tonto came to his house the next day in the afternoon and “started breaking everything in the house. Luckily for me, I switched off the electric fence wire before I left the house. So, she started from the electric fence.”
Churchill said she destroyed many things in his house.

“There is this thing about my wife. It’s just like crisis. It doesn’t stop for like two, two and half hours. I’m sorry about this but I have to say it.”
Explaining what he means by ‘crisis,’ Churchill said, “she gets too temperamental due to her negative intakes. I don’t know. I don’t want to say anything about that but it got to that point.”

Churchill however, continued and clarified, “alcohol abuse, negative, marijuana, negative, anything that has something to do with drugs. When you’re always on a trip.”

Churchill said her anger erupted as she was rude to the police officials and even spat on one of the police officers.
“When her anger starts, six men can’t hold Tonto down, talk less of me beating Tonto. It’s not possible. She uses everything she has. Everything I have, she destroyed everything to zero.”

Churchill also dismissed as lies that he didn’t buy Tonto luxury gifts, saying he had receipts to everything. Churchill revealed that he met Tonto about two and half years at his brother’s birthday party and they exchanged contacts. He said Tonto got pregnant for him six months later and he decided to marry her.

The couple have a one-year old son named King.
In February, Tonto revealed that there were cracks in her marriage via an open letter on Instagram.

Posted On Tuesday, 21 March 2017 02:06 Written by

•Police lead rescue operation

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: In what appeared to be a suicide, a medical doctor, Allwell Oji, jumped into the Lagos lagoon yesterday. The incident happened at 4:45pm on Third Mainland Bridge when Oji, 35, was on his way to Victoria Island where he was going to attend a Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) meeting.

Oji, who left from his house at Abule Ijesha in Yaba, was said to have told his driver, Henry Ita, to parked his Nissan Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) marked LND476EE at the Adeniji Adele end of the bridge on the excuse that he wanted to pee. As he came down, the doctor was said to have climbed the bridge’s rail guide and jumped into the ocean.

Oji is said to be a staff of the Isolo branch of Mt. (Mount) Sinai Hospital.

A commercial bus passenger, who gave his name as Uche Magnus, said the doctor jumped into the ocean immediately after he came down from his vehicle.

Magnus said: “I saw everything clearly from where I sat in the commercial bus I was in. The man came down from his jeep and jumped into the water instantly. We all screamed and begged the commercial bus driver to stop. I saw the man when he jumped but nobody could identify the spot where he drowned in the ocean.”

In the ensuing confusion, Ita was said to have called Oji’s mother and pastor. Both arrived the scene some 30 minutes after. It was learnt that the sympathisers at scene called the Lagos Police emergency unit, which deployed Rapid Response Squad (RRS) riders and marine police to the scene.

When The Nation got to the scene at 5:30pm, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), RRS Area Alpha Commander and Officer-in-Charge of Marine Police Team were coordinating rescue operation. The response team of the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) was also at the scene.

At 5:50pm, Oji’s SUV and his driver were moved to the Adeniji Central Police Station.

When asked to explain how the incident happened, Ita, who was yet to come to terms with the incident, said could not utter a word as he was being led into the DPO’s office. He folded his arms and looked at the floor.

Oji’s mother was restless, as she was being consoled by the pastor. The pastor came out of the DPO’s office to pray beside Oji’s SUV. 

The Nation was not allowed to speak to the driver. At the time of this report, operatives of RRS and Marine Police Unit were still searching for the victim.

General Manager Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Adesina Tiamiyu, confirmed the incident.

He said: “The Agency received a distress call about a man who parked his grey coloured Nissan Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) with registration number LND 476 EE at about 4.50pm today Sunday, (yesterday) around Adekunle, inward Third Mainland Bridge and jumped into the Lagos Lagoon.

“Preliminary investigation at the scene revealed that the man, said to be medical doctor named Orji, was driven by his driver. He suddenly ordered the driver to pull over, got out of the car and suddenly jumped into the water from the bridge.

“The vehicle and the driver have been taken to Adeniji Adele Police Station for further investigation, while effort is on going to recover his body from the Lagoon.

Posted On Monday, 20 March 2017 03:39 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Local lenders have opposed a proposal by Etisalat Nigeria to convert part of the $1.2 billion loan into naira. Rather, the lenders want its parent, Abu Dhabi telecoms group Etisalat, and its shareholders to recapitalise the telco, it was gathered yesterday.

A source privy to the negotiations said the seven-year syndicated loan, on which the telco defaulted in payment schedule, has a dollar portion of $235 million which the carrier wants to convert into naira to overcome chronic foreign exchange (forex) crunch at the interbank market.

“Etisalat is asking for us to convert the dollar component to naira but banks don’t want that option and have told them to talk to their parent to settle the loan,” Reuters quoted a banking source as saying. The source said the regulators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which had waded into theimpasse and prevented a possible takeover of Etisalat Nigeria are favourably disposed to the  naira conversion idea.

Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs at Etisalat, Ibrahim Dikko, said he would not be able to give update about the outcome of discuissions with the lenders. He promised to do that today.

The UAE’s Etisalat own 45 per cent of Etisalat Nigeria, while Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala owns 40 per cent of the company 

This meeting came about after the CBN and NCC agreed with local banks to prevent Etisalat Nigeria from going into receivership.

Global crash in oil prices has seen the country grappling with forex shortage since oil is the country’s major forex earner. The economy slipped into a recession last year for the first time in 25-years.

Most of the 13 lenders involved in the loan syndication had raised dollars abroad to participate, meaning that further naira weakness would see them receive fewer dollars.

The currency had lost half of its value since the loan, which matures in 2020, was made. Interest is due monthly and the next principal payment is due in May, the source said.

Etisalat, which generates 3.7 per cent of its revenues from the Nigerian business, has questioned the rationale of investing more in it and may sell its stake, sources say.

Etisalat had written down the value of Etisalat Nigeria last year to $50 million due to naira weakness, Moody’s said in a note, adding that the default at the affiliate company did not affect the parent’s credit profile.

Etisalat owes GT Bank N42 billion, and Access Bank N40 billion. It also owed Fidelity Bank N17.5 billion, the bank’s investor relations team told Reuters.


Posted On Friday, 17 March 2017 00:36 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Exactly three months after they declined to confirm Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), The Senate yesterday affirmed their December 15, last year’s position on the EFCC’s acting chairman. The Red Chamber relied on three-paragraph memo from the Department of State Services (DSS) dated March 14, affirming the Services’ earlier report on Magu. Below is the Report:

In August 2008, following a search at his residence during the tenure of Farida Waziri (AIG/rtd) as the commission’s chairman, some sensitive EFCC documents which were not supposed to be at his disposal were discovered. He was subsequently redeployed to the police after days of detention and later suspended from the Force.

In December 2010, the Police Service Commission (PSC) found Magu guilty of “Action prejudicial to state security, withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, unauthorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a police officer,” and awarded him severe reprimand as punishment.

Notwithstanding, sequel to the appointment of Ibrahim Lamorde as Chairman of the EFCC in 2011, he made the return of Magu to the EFCC a top priority. Both men had worked together at the commission when Lamorde served as Head of Operations of the agency. Magu remained a top official of the commission until he was appointed to succeed Lamorde.

Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40 million, at N20 million per annum. This accommodation was not paid for from the commission’s finances but by one Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/rtd), a questionable businessman and ally of subject who has subsequently been arrested by this service. For the furnishing of the residence, Mohammed enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed to lavishly furnish the residence at the cost of N43 million.

Investigations show that the Acting EFCC chairman regularly embarks on official and private trips through a private carrier, Easyjet, owned by Mohammed. In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri, alongside Mohammed and a third generation bank chief, who was being investigated by the commission over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison- Madueke.

Furthermore, the EFCC boss has so far maintained a high profile lifestyle. This is exemplified by his preference for First Class air travels. On 24th June, 2016, he flew Emirate Airlines’ First Class to Saudi Arabia to perform the Lesser Hajj at the cost of N2, 990,196. This is in spite of Mr. President’s directive to all public servants to fly Economy Class.

Investigation also revealed that Magu parades a twin personality. At one level, he is the czar who has no friends, no favourites and is ready to fight corruption to a standstill. However, with a key friend in the person of Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/rtd), a controversial businessman, he has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by the present administration.

Whereas Magu portrays himself as very secretive, he has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with Mohammed who, by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns. This was facilitated with official secrets divulged by Magu and from which dealings he is believed to have been drawing considerable benefits.

This was evidenced by the number of official and classified documents he made available to his associates, especially Mohammed. After a search of Mohammed’s premises, a forged letter of the Office of the Vice President, dated 20th May, 2016, was recovered. The letter was a fictitious investigation report from Vice President to Mr. President, requesting for approval to commence further probe into a matter allegedly involving Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum. Attached to the letter were two EFCC letters dated 13th April, 2016, and another 24th March, 2016, addressed to the vice president being investigation reports on the activities of Emmanuel Kachikwu and his brother Dumebi Kachikwu. Similarly recovered during the search were information on assets and personal details of Kachikwu.

Also, following the arrest of three former Airforce chiefs by EFCC, namely, Alex Badeh, Umar and Adesola Amosu from whom huge sums of money and property were recovered, Umar and Badeh were arraigned in court. It was only after the arrest of Mohammed by this service that the EFCC hurriedly arraigned Amosu. Mohammed later confessed that he never wanted Amosu tried, describing him as his former boss and he saw in Magu, a willing accomplice.

Furthermore, findings revealed that in a bid to settle some personal scores, subject placed one Stanley Inye Lawson on a Security Watch Action, while in actual fact, Lawson was working in the interest of the Federal Government. However, the action was later expunged following the discovery that Lawson was falsely accused by Magu for personal reasons.

The circumstances surrounding Magu’s return to EFCC at the instance of the former chairman, Lamorde, and their close working relationship ever since is a clear indication of his culpability in the allegations of corrupt tendencies of the Lamorde-led EFCC.

To cover his tracks, Magu uses only his police cronies to execute operations. This, coupled with discoveries that such police cronies have acquired a lot of landed property, lends credence to the questions about his integrity.

In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.

Posted On Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:36 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Who owns the N49 million “crispy notes of N200 and N50 denominations” abandoned at the Kaduna International Airport?
This is the puzzle the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is trying to resolve. The EFCC found the cash on Monday night, packed in sacks.

A man believed to be the owner ran away before EFCC operatives could question him.
The cash was discovered by EFCC Zonal Office in Kaduna in five large black 150kg sacks during routine baggage screening at the airport.

A top source in the commission said: “Upon careful scrutiny of the sacks, it was discovered that they contained fresh crispy naira notes of N200 denomination in 200 bundles totaling N40million and N50 denomination in 180 bundles totaling N9million.

“The bundles were all sealed, purportedly emanating from the Nigerian Security and Minting Company (MSPMC) as seen in the label on the packs.
“The five sacks were sighted unattended and without tags containing fresh bulk items suspected to be money from the aroma perceived from the sacks.
“The owner of the money later showed up but could not state the exact money in the sacks or present any document authenticating the genesis of the monies.

“However, his inability to give any concrete explanation made him become uncomfortable and he disappeared before the arrival of EFCC operatives.”
Another source said the EFCC was working on clues that the fleeing suspect might be a courier for a syndicate.

“We will get to the root of this crime. There is a way we can collaborate with some agencies to trace the source of the N49million.
“We will also deploy forensic equipment and retrieve CCTV footage at the airport to identify the suspect,” the source said, pleading not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation.

Posted On Wednesday, 15 March 2017 02:32 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: The new strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to meet all legal demand for foreign exchange (Forex) has led Money Deposit Banks to contend with expending all the dollars in their possession.

A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja showed that the banks had cleared all backlog of demands for foreign currencies for basic travel allowance, school fees and medicals.

A source in the United Bank for Africa, told NAN that UBA had so much dollars that the bank’s marketers had been asked to encourage customers to request for foreign currencies.

The source said that the bank wanted to avoid a situation where it was forced to return excess Forex to the CBN.

It explained that doing so would force the CBN to reduce the quantity of Forex it sold to banks.

Another source from First Bank said following the CBN intervention, the bank had succeeded in clearing all pending requests for Forex as far back as September, 2016.

Also, a source in Guaranty Trust Bank commended the decision of the CBN to flood the market with Forex, thereby allowing the banks to meet legitimate demands from its customers.

It was also gathered from Heritage Bank that prior to now, the bank published the names of individuals and companies it disbursed Forex to in a page of any particular newspaper.

“Right now, we take two or three pages in the newspaper to publish names of legitimate individuals and companies that we disbursed Forex to.

“We have more than enough foreign exchange to meet the request of our customers for school fees and others,” s0NAN was told.

In a data released by the CBN, the apex bank, within three weeks, injected more than 1.4 billion dollars for both wholesale and retail intervention into the interbank Forex market. (NAN)

Posted On Sunday, 12 March 2017 20:15 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, who returned to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday morning, will resume duties on Monday, just as he has revealed that he was critically ill and underwent blood transfusion for the first time in his life while he was in the United Kingdom.

The president is to transmit a letter to the National Assembly on Monday to inform the legislature of his return from vacation.

The transmission of the letter will signal his readiness to resume work.

His spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a tweet on his official handle on Friday.

“PMB will Monday transmit a letter to the National Assembly on his return to the country. That makes his return to work formal and constitutional,” he tweeted.

On his arrival, Buhari told a welcome party led by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo that he had never felt so sick in his life, not even during his military days which were more hectic.

The president, who cautioned against self drug administration, was grateful that he received the best of treatment and was feeling much better and ready to meet the aspirations of Nigerians.

He said: “I am very conscious of the economy. I have rested as much as humanly possible. I have received, I think, the best of treatment I could receive.

“I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, not even during the  military days  which were hectic.

“ I found out that technology is moving so fast.

“Blood transfusions, going to the laboratories, and so on and so forth. But I am very pleased that we, when I say we, I mean the government and the people all over are trying to keep pace with technology.

“I couldn’t recall when last I had blood transfusion, I couldn’t recall honestly.

“I think one of the terrible things we do is self drug administration. We have to trust our doctors more.

“Where I visited, they only take drugs when it is absolutely necessary. They don’t just swallow everything.

“Having said that, I am pleased that I am back. I am pleased that the vice president enjoyed this break and he has to do much more this time around.”

Buhari disclosed that he would be returning to London to do follow ups on his treatment and thanked Nigerians for praying for him.

He observed that their prayers for him was a demonstration of their support for government programmes despite the prevailing hard times.

According to him, “I am deeply grateful to all Nigerians, Muslims and Christians alike who have prayed and are still praying for my good health.

“This is a testimony that in spite of the hardship being experienced, Nigerians are supportive of the government in its efforts at tackling the country’s challenges.

“The best way for me to pay you all is to rededicate myself to serving you, protecting your interest and keeping your trust. I thank you very much.

“I feel much better now.  All I will need is to do further follow ups within some weeks.”

The president admonished Nigerians to refrain from sending delegations to Abuja to visit him but rather continue in their prayers for him.

“Rather than sending delegations to Abuja to welcome me, may I appeal to our people to continue to pray for the country’s unity, progress and prosperity. I thank you very much and may God bless our country,” he said.

The president stated that he arrived on a weekend so that he could continue to rest while Osinbajo would continue his work.

He added:”Youth and intellect are squarely behind him, age and purely military experience is behind me.

“Continue to do the work, Nigeria will continue whether we are here or not. The most important advice I have for Nigerians is that we take the issue of education  very seriously. We must do more on education.

“I deliberately came back towards the weekend, so that the vice president will continue with his work  and I will continue to rest.”

In his address of welcome to the president, Osinbajo conceded that he had a challenging time during the period the president was away because he went around in “borrowed robes.”

He thanked the president for the confidence reposed in him which led to the transfer of power to him as acting president.

The vice president observed that it was a demonstration of Buhari’s belief in the system of government operated by the country.

He expressed gratitude to God for enabling the president return to the country “hale and hearty.”

Osinbajo said: “Mr President, again on behalf of the Federal Executive Council, we welcome you back home. We are very grateful to God that you are back home, hale and hearty. Mr President, I must say that personally, the past few days have been very interesting.

“First,  I must say that I want to thank you very much for the confidence reposed in me by handing over the reins of government to me in the capacity of acting president.

“I think more important is that you demonstrated the belief in our system which is even more important than anything else.

“The constitution which we all swore to is important because it outlines the code of conduct. I want to say not only am I, but I am sure the entire nation is grateful to you.

“For me, I must say that it has been an interesting period going around the nation maybe because I have been going around in borrowed robes. I must say I had a very interesting and challenging time but above all, the president gave us the good support.”

Buhari’s return: APC, Fayose trade words

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State and the state governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, have exchanged verbal attacks over Friday’s return of President Buhari.

Ekiti APC, in a statement on Friday, congratulated the president for his return and taunted Fayose and also accused him of wishing President Buhari death.

But Governor Fayose denied wishing the President dead and even called for corporate prayers for the president’s quick and full recovery so that he can take Nigeria out of the present economic and development challenges.

Speaking through its state Publicity Secretary, Mr Taiwo Olatunbosun, the APC expressed delight over President Buhari’s successful medical trip to London.

It said Buhari’s return had vindicated its claim that the President was not terminally ill as being portrayed in some quarters opposed to the anti-corruption war of the APC-led Federal Government.

The party said: “With the President’s safe return after failure of Fayose’s death wish for him. The governor has been put to shame with Buhari’s arrival hale and hearty on Friday.

“We also commend the Presidency and the President for not dignifying Fayose with a response when he cynically requested Buhari to call him to prove that he was alive,” Olatunbosun said.

Reacting, Governor Fayose said: “Whether they say shame on us or they abuse me, goodluck to the President’s loyalists and APC. Nobody would wish President Buhari dead.

“What is important is that for the President to stay away for that long, anybody would feel concerned about it. So, we pray that may God give him the strength to do his job. He has a job to do, so we will continue to pray for him to be well to fix the economy, put food on our table, we cannot task a sick man on these challenges, we will continue to pray for him to be well and bring the  Dollar back to N200 or less.

“We don’t have power over life and we have to continue to thank God that the President is alive, strong and back.

“Anybody can be sick whether you are young or old. What is important is that God should give him the strength to be alive and do what we expect him to do for our country. I just leant that he said he would be going back in a few weeks’ time we have to keep our fingers crossed.”

Explainng his earlier critical position further he said: “There is no doubt that age is not on his side like every other person and there are many health challenges that comes with aging. What is best is that we continue to pray for him because the Holy books say we should pray for our leaders in authority.”

Governor Fayose, who spoke to newsmen while signing a condolence registrar in honour of  late General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo also spoke about the plan of the state to honour Adebayo but denied declaring a public holiday in his honour saying: “We are not declaring public holidays for mourning him(General Adebayo) but that does not mean we are not touched by his demise.

“At some point, we have to go, but the legacy that is left behind would leave on. His was a life worthy of celebration. He has left so many landmarks beyond our state and in the whole of the Western region.

“Also, he left behind worthy sons and daughters that Ekiti is proud of. So, he has done well and rather than mourning, we should celebrate such a man for a life well-spent.

“We are thinking and planning towards celebrating him in a grand way and in due time, we will roll it out, “ he said.


Atiku welcomes Buhari home, urges unity

Former vice president and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar expressed joy and relief at the return of President Buhari from the United Kingdom.

In a statement released in Abuja on Friday, by his media office, the former vice president said Buhari’s safe return was a happy moment for him not only as a fellow party member, but also as a Nigerian that had tremendous goodwill and best wishes for the president.

According to the Turakin Adamawa, the return of the president at this time would put to an end to the uncertainty and the conspiracy theories that attended his 50 days absence.


Buhari’s return: Nigeria’s hope for greatness rekindled —Oyo APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has described the return of President Buhari to the country on Friday, after his vacation in London, as a divine reassurance that the mission to reinvent Nigeria and make it a great nation would be achieved after all.

Reacting to the president’s arrival, the Oyo APC said in a statement by its state Chairman, Chief Akin Oke, on Friday, in Ibadan, that President Buhari remained undeterred in his mission to restore the country to the path of greatness.

“In Oyo State chapter of the APC, we have always believed in the sincerity, capability and competence of Mr President and this was why our state gave him the largest number of votes in all the 17 southern states in the 2015 general election.

“So far, we have not regretted our contribution to his victory at the poll and we will not only continue to identify with his policies and programmes, but we will also pray for his success since it is a general belief that he is on a rescue mission,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), has described President Buhari’s return to the country after 50 days of medical trip, as a prayer answered by almighty Allah.

NACOMYO’s National President, Alhaji Kama’ldeen Akintunde, in a statement, said that Nigerians, individually and collectively prayed for the restoration of Mr. President’s health.

The body, therefore, urged him to settle down on time and continue with the work of nation building, especially the reinvigoration of the ailing economy and other challenges confronting the country.

Posted On Saturday, 11 March 2017 19:52 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: The United States Embassy in Abuja said yesterday there was no reason for Nigerians with valid visas to postpone or cancel their travel to the United States.

The Embassy said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.

It explained that “Nigeria is not named in the Executive Order on Immigration issued on March 6.

“And there is no prohibition against Nigerian lawful permanent residents or persons with a valid visa or other U.S. Government authorisation from entering the U.S”.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Monday advised Nigerians to reconsider their travelling plan to the U.S.

Dabiri-Erewa said Nigerians with no compelling or urgent reason to travel to the U.S. should postpone their travel plans until the new administration’s policy on immigration became clearer.

She said her office, in the last few weeks received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry U.S. visas being denied entry and sent back home.

The special adviser said no reasons were given for the decision by the U.S. immigration authorities.

However, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, Foreign Affairs minister’s reaction on Tuesday while fielding questions from reporters in Abuja, corroborated the embassy’s claim.

Onyeama said no Nigerian with full valid entry visa had been denied entry to the U.S., adding that Nigerians are free to travel to U.S. as the country was not on the ban list.

The minister said he was constantly in touch with the Nigerian ambassador to the U.S. and the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, adding that there is no report on Nigerians being denied entry into the U.S.

“I can tell you to ignore any call or advice to reconsider travelling to the U.S. because there is no basis for that.

“We have absolutely no report whatsoever from the U.S. that people are being turned back from the U.S. or any of our consulate or any Nigerian that any of our people are being turned back,” he said.

The U.S. Mission to Nigeria earlier in February assured Nigerians the executive order on immigration would not affect Nigerians, noting that visa applicants will continue to get two-year multiple entry visas as before.

The mission clarified that the order would not affect the validity of visas held by Nigerians because its visa policy to Nigeria had not changed.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, and the U.S. Consular Chief, Meghan Moore, had explained in Abuja on Feb. 3 that the U.S. visa policy was based on reciprocity.

They promised that Nigerians would not be discriminated against.

The U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27, barring people from seven mainly Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the U.S. for 90 days.

It also stopped all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees permanently.

Posted On Thursday, 09 March 2017 02:49 Written by
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