Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Headliners

Headliners (1834)

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced on Saturday that Morocco has replaced Kenya as the hosts of CHAN 2018.

CAF’s Emergency Committee chaired by president Mr Ahmad Ahmad, met on Saturday in Lagos, Nigeria, and unanimously decided to grant the organization of the fifth edition of Africa second tier’s football competition to the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.

The cities of Casablanca, Agadir, Marakech and Tangier have been selected to host the biannual tournament.

Kenya was stripped of the hosting rights after failing to provide facilities vital for the competition, notably the stadia as promised in the beginning of the year and despite having numerous chances to make things right, there was no political will to make the competition a success and most of the process went dragged on as Goal.com reports.

The candidacy of Morocco was preferred to that of Equatorial Guinea, another country that had submitted a valid application.

The Ethiopian Football Federation which had also expressed its willingness to host the tournament, did not provide the government’s letter of guarantee, which is a mandatory document required as per CAF’s rules of application.

Next year’s competition is set for January 12 to 4 February and will bring together 16 national teams composed exclusively of players playing in the national championships of their respective countries.

Posted On Sunday, 15 October 2017 17:06 Written by

Prof. Tam David-West was minister of petroleum and energy when President Muhammadu Buhari was head of state. He tells OLUFEMI ATOYEBI that the office of the minister of state should be scrapped, among other issues

What is your comment on the recent $25bn oil contract controversy at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation?

When I first read it in the newspaper, I was flabbergasted. It is out of the question completely. I have said I will never comment on NNPC, but it would be irresponsible of me to keep quiet. It is dangerous. Despite the fact that I am no longer the oil minister, I know what is happening in the oil industry every day. I am still in touch with the system in Nigeria and even the North Sea Oil, Brent, I get the price every day.

I am interested in the oil industry just like any other Nigerian, for obvious reasons. Oil accounts for 80 per cent of the Nigerian budget and 90 per cent of its assets outside. The money we have outside and foreign reserves are mainly from oil. As someone from an oil-producing state, I am interested in what goes on in the industry. Thirdly, I have been there before and I know what is happening there.

I don’t know the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, or the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, but what is going on is very embarrassing to Nigeria. This has never happened before.

I had a misunderstanding with my managing director when I was oil minister, but it was well managed, although that case was different compared to what is happening currently. Fortunately for me, we both attended the University of Ibadan, so we were friends. But what is happening between Kachikwu and Baru is a misunderstanding over claims and circumstances that are beyond them.

When you say that a minister of state is the boss of the GMD of NNPC, it is wrong. That cannot be. People are making those claims because of misconception. The minister of state in the First Republic was a minister without a portfolio. He cannot be a boss of the GMD of an oil industry, who is the livewire of that sector.

Each time I read the newspapers about this issue, I am upset. An editor called me and asked me, ‘What is the duty of a minister of state?’ Some of these problems are caused by personality problems. Some of them have both bloated and ballooned egos. No one is indispensable in Nigeria because for every Nigerian holding a position, there are many others who are better qualified. No public servant can threaten the country. Nigeria is bigger than anyone, so whoever is in a top position should thank God and the country for the opportunity to serve. One million Tam David-Wests cannot threaten Nigeria.

When I read Kachikwu’s letter, I was flabbergasted. But I was relieved when the NNPC replied that nothing like that happened. There is a danger in having Kachikwu loyalists and Baru loyalists in the same sector. It is very dangerous for the nation.

When I wanted to recommend a managing director for Buhari as his minister when he was the head of state, three people who were qualified were vying for the position. I called them to my office at night after close of work and told them that they were all qualified but that I would choose Aret Adams.

Why did you do that?

One of them had contested the position and the other one was also interested in the position at a time in the past. They both had loyalists in the company. It would not augur well for the industry. That was why I chose someone who was fresh.

As a minister, Rivers State indigenes organised a reception for me, but I told them that I would not attend and that they should cancel it. I did that because I did not want to make myself a sectional minister. I was a minister for everybody. Buhari appointed me as a Nigerian minister and not as a Rivers minister.

Something must be done quickly before it puts the oil industry in jeopardy. The whole world is watching what we are doing in Nigeria. No one should do anything that will put the nation’s oil industry in jeopardy. If there is a problem in an industry, how can we attract foreign investors? They will be scared to come to Nigeria to invest in the country. No one wants to come to a country that is not safe. There must be a favourable atmosphere for them to come. If you give an impression that NNPC is not conducive, no one will come.

If you predict a bad thing and it comes to pass, you will be sad. But if you predict a good thing and it comes to pass, you will be happy. I am sad because I have predicted that something like this would happen one day.

When Rilwan Lukman was the Minister of Petroleum Resources and he carved out about 11 to 12 subsidiaries out of the NNPC, I said it was dangerous. I was supported by a prominent Nigerian oil technocrat, Chief Feide. I pointed out that what Lukman was doing was not good for Nigeria. I said it would be dangerous because what we are going to have are pockets of autonomies. Now it has happened. How can you refer to the NNPC as a parastatal? It is a parent body for all the subsidiaries carved out from it. It should not be under any ministry. Even now, it is not under any ministry.

But there is the Ministry of Petroleum Resource. Is the NNPC not responsible to it?

It is a ludicrous thing. The NNPC is a parent body. Was there a Ministry of Petroleum Resources in (Shehu) Shagari’s time and during Buhari’s first term in government? Let me clarify this, what we have is the ‘Department of Petroleum Resources’ and not a ministry.

But Kachikwu is today the chairman of the NNPC Board. Is there not a mix-up?

Buhari made him the chairman of the NNPC board. The chairman of that board does not have to be a minister.

Is Buhari not doing too much as a president and minister of petroleum?

People have forgotten what he said when he resumed as president. He said that he would hold that position for 18 months, during which he intended to straighten things up in the place. Actually, Buhari should be the chairman of the NNPC board and not Kachikwu, who is a minister without a portfolio in reality. It would be better if we scrapped the ‘minister of state’ which is superfluous and redundant.

Shouldn’t Buhari step down as minister since the 18 months have passed?

He will decide when to take that decision but that title of minister of state should be scrapped or called ‘minister without portfolio.’

Would you recommend he choose a substantive minister?

Buhari is a competent man when it comes to the oil sector. I learnt a lot from him when I became minister.

Don’t you think that based on his complaint, Kachikwu has been sidelined?

If he is complaining about being sidelined, maybe there is a clash between what he expected and what he has found. There is a fundamental problem there. But are his expectations valid? There are a lot of misconceptions and lies.

Another important thing is that you cannot be oil minister or the GMD and be an oil merchant. The two individuals should search themselves. Is there a conflict of interest in their activities? Baru said that Kachikwu recommended eight companies to lift oil but Kachikwu said it was a lie. The President must set up a panel to investigate this. In my time, I was offered things by oil companies that I rejected. King Ado Ibrahim in the Ebira land can bear me witness.

What is your comment on the restructuring agitations?

I am writing an article titled, ‘Restructure, constitution and scapegoatism.’ Fear is the cause of this agitation. (Charles) Darwin’s theory of organic evolution underscores that God restructures from time to time by restructuring the animals that inhabit the world from time to time. I am fully in support of restructuring. My only fear is that those who are clamouring for it are not sincere. They cannot define clearly what they mean by restructuring. It is hypocrisy and stupid.

People blame Lord Lugard for amalgamating the southern and northern protectorate. The company he represented asked him to do so because of administrative reasons. He executed the amalgam and it is left for us to form a nation. There is a difference between an amalgam and a compound. Lugard did the amalgam but it is left for us to create a compound out of it to form a nation. He has done nothing wrong. He did not come to create a Nigeria. If what he did was so bad, why did we celebrate 100 years of amalgamation?

Will the Petroleum Industry Bill see the light of day and will it have positive effect on Nigeria’s oil industry?

The PIB will make foreign companies investment in oil business in Nigeria difficult. The bill is meant to correct the oil industry but there are lots of taxes in it. It will not encourage what we call joint venture partnership. The taxes will chase investors away. They may not tell us the truth but the reality is that many oil companies are divesting from Nigeria secretly. They are taking their assets out of Nigeria without making a noise about it. Before now, many oil companies objected to a lot of clauses in it. They inject a lot of money into the industry, they pay royalty, they pay taxes and now you want to add more burden on them. The PIB has clauses that are burdensome. If you consider the politically unfavourable atmosphere in Nigeria, the electric car issue, alternative source of energy and so on, the future of oil business in Nigeria is in jeopardy. We will suffer more because we depend on oil. Nigeria depends only on oil. We only talk about diversification without acting on it.

What is your view on the search for oil in the northern part of Nigeria?

This is the typical Nigerian factor. They have made this issue political. Kachikwu assured the North that by January, he would strike oil in the region. I will continue to mention his name. Before I became minister of petroleum, a lot of money had been spent on the search for oil in the North and the search stopped. When I came, I called Aret Adams and told him that we should try again. He said a lot of money had been spent without getting even gas in that area. Adams was in charge of exploration at the time. I insisted that we try once more in 1984. I gave him six weeks to get me a rig. In four weeks, he got a rig for me and I bought it and took delivery of it at the Port Harcourt harbour. I took it to Gaji Gana to begin the search all over again. We started digging but we could not find anything. On my way to Maiduguri (in Borno State), I had an accident and almost died. I told Buhari what happened.

Before we left Gaji Gana, someone wrote in the newspaper that oil had been discovered in the North. I told my personal assistant to counter the report that it was not true. I said it would be better to use the money to build schools and hospitals for our people instead of wasting that money. That was the background to the search for oil in the North. I was shown two wells that were drilled but which were closed because they could not find oil there. It was like a wild goose chase. The search for oil has been made political. On the French side of Chad there is oil so, they said there should be oil on the Nigerian side. I alerted the nation that foreign countries were not willing to go to the North and start looking for oil. If there was oil there, they would have rushed to the place. Some read conspiracy theory to it but I said I and Adams are from the Niger Delta and we made so much effort to find oil in the North.

Why then is the search still going on?

Let us assume that there is oil there, is it in commercial quantity? If you say technically you have oil there, the only reason for anyone to go there and dig is if it is in commercial quantity, else, it is a waste of time and money. Some years ago, northern governors came together and said they would explore the possibility of getting oil in the North. It was a good move to jointly look for oil there. I have the record. They thought NNPC was not serious enough about it.

I wrote a three-page article titled, ‘Ankali, Ankali (be careful)’. I gave them the history of oil search in the Chad basin, the record of failures, how much was spent and how I bought a rig and took it there. I advised them to spend the money on education and health instead of spending it on the search. A professor from Maiduguri said I was wrong so they continued. I knew it was a chase that would not be fruitful.

More than a decade after giving refinery licence to investors, none has been built. What could be wrong with the initiative?

This is an interesting country. The first thing is that during Babangida’s era, they (the government) proposed to sell our refineries and (people) kicked against it. They changed it and said they wanted participation whereby someone would come and manage them for us. I said it was a risky move. They wanted to buy a refinery for Nigeria abroad and I wrote to Babangida (speaking) against it. They were beating about the bush. I said we were not facing the music. If we bought a refinery abroad, would it help our workforce at home? NNPC has competent staff in Nigeria.

Are private refineries the solution? They can only complement our own refineries. I wrote an article and said our refineries were sabotaged. Many years after, the Senate confirmed my claim. If our refineries are working, no one will import fuel. Fuel importation is a fraudulent business. The cabal and the unpatriotic people behind fuel importation know why our refineries were sabotaged. I conducted a study and found out that each time the refineries broke down, the same part would break down from each of them.

How can Nigeria stop the sabotage?

Except we stop importation of fuel, it will not stop. We had three refineries in my time and we never imported a litre of fuel. We were even exporting it. Private refineries are good but not the solution.

Why do you think those already handed licences to run private refineries yet to begin operations?

It is capital intensive and after you have built it you will have to get the crude from Nigeria. That is where the problem is. Our quota according to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is about two million barrels per day. Many with the licences did not study the implication. Is Nigeria ready to cut its exportation of crude and prefer to sell to the private refineries? Can we satisfy both markets without exceeding the OPEC quota? I once told the late MKO Abiola that with all his wealth, he would not be able to start oil business alone. You need foreign partners. It is attractive but when you get to the details, you will slow down.

But we have people who locally refine crude in the creeks. How are they finding it easy to do?

I am happy you brought that issue. The militants refine few litres for their daily use. That is not the type of quantity we need. They talk of modular refinery but even though that is easy to build, it cannot solve our problem. When we sit down to face the problem really, we will find a solution.

Can private refineries bring down fuel price in Nigeria?

The answer is yes and no. It will bring it down if the investors have enough crude to refine massively. But the question is that will they have enough because of the OPEC quota that we cannot exceed.

More than $153m has permanently seized from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke while $9.2m allegedly was found in the home of former GMD of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu. Is Nigeria actually monitoring its oil business the way it should be managed?

I am happy and I am sad over this issue. I am sad that a Nigerian public officer could have such amount of money at home. This is a country that cannot pay N18,000 minimum wage to its workers. I am vindicated because I have always challenged anyone to come out and prove me as a corrupt minister. I never took money from anyone I awarded a contract or involved myself in oil business. A former Inspector General of Police once told me that Babangida was always sending spies to trail me anytime I travelled abroad to know how I got money. He said Babangida suspected that I was making money outside. I have forgiven him. He jailed me for life for taking a wristwatch (as a gift). If I wanted to be corrupt, will taking wristwatch (as a gift) be my target? I occupied top positions and never corruptly enriched myself. All the charges were lies. As a minister, my signature could command multimillion-dollars. It is not how much wealth you amass but the legacy you leave behind.

I know Dieziani very well. She was in Shell before; so I was surprised that she did what she did. How could she enrich herself so much? The PIB that was proposed was personalised. It gave the minister more power in the sector and she made sure it was so while she was there. If without the PIB, she made billions, with it, she would have stolen trillions.

Posted On Sunday, 15 October 2017 14:35 Written by

A massive bomb attack in a busy area of the Somali capital Mogadishu has killed at least 30 people, police say.

Dozens more were wounded when a lorry packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel.

Police say two people were killed in a second bomb attack in the Madina district of the city.

It is not clear who staged the attacks. Mogadishu is a regular target for the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab group, which is battling the government.

After the first blast, police captain Mohamed Hussein told Reuters news agency: "It was a truck bomb. There are casualties but we do not know the exact amount as the scene is still burning."

Witnesses told the BBC they believed dozens of people were dead.

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 21:57 Written by

Jupp Heynckes made a perfect start to his fourth spell as Bayern Munich coach with a 5-0 thrashing of Freiburg at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

An own goal from Julian Schuster put Bayern in front on seven minutes, and a flying header from Kingsley Coman doubled the lead shortly before half-time.

A fine strike from Thiago Alcantara put the reigning champions 3-0 up on 63 minutes, just moments after they had been denied a penalty by VAR. Further goals from Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich completed a perfect start to Heynckes’ fourth reign.

The win saw Bayern move within two points of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga table, before the league leaders’ match against RB Leipzig later on Saturday.

Heynckes’ men are two points clear of third-placed Hoffenheim, who twice threw away the lead in a 2-2 draw at home to Augsburg.

After Michael Gregoritsch had cancelled out Benjamin Huebner’s opener 15 minutes from time, Mark Uth restored the lead with a curling strike into the top corner for Hoffenheim.

Augsburg, though, equalised once again in the 89th minute, with Kevin Vogt deflecting a Jeffrey Gouweleeuw cross into his own net.

At the other end of the table, Hamburg could celebrate scoring their first goal since August despite losing 3-2 to Mainz.

Alexandru Maxim’s second-minute opener for Mainz was quickly cancelled out by Walace, the Brazilian’s equaliser ending a five-game goal drought for Hamburg.

Stefan Bell restored the lead shortly after half-time, however, before a Christian Mathenia error allowed Danny Latza to add a third. A late penalty from Sejad Salihovic was not enough for Hamburg to avoid defeat.

Elsewhere, disciplinary mistakes saw Hertha Berlin suffer a 2-0 defeat by Schalke 04.

Genki Haraguchi was sent off before half-time, while Vladimir Darida conceded a penalty after the break. Leon Goretzka scored from the spot, before Guido Burgstaller added a second on 78 minutes.

Schalke moved up to fifth, after Hanover 96 were defeated 2-1 by a late Ante Rebic winner against Eintracht Frankfurt.

A Salif Sane header had cancelled out Sebastien Haller’s early goal in the first half, but Rebic struck on 90 minutes to inflict a first home defeat on Hanover this season.

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 21:43 Written by
A group, known as Concerned Professionals Initiative for Good Governance (CPIGG), is asking the Nigerian Senate to "totally and overwhelmingly reject the nomination of Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the grounds that she is not qualified  to hold that office since she is lacking in experience and  integrity.
 
The CPIGG, with its headquarters in the North-Central city of Jos,  is just one of the many voices that have so far spoken against last week's appointment of Mrs. Ahmad, a former staff of Diamond Bank Plc by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the position of deputy head of the country's apex bank.
 
"As responsible and law abiding citizens of Nigeria, who are fully conscious of the powers of the Senate as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, we are writing to draw the attention of the Senate to the abnormality surrounding the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)" and  "to appeal to  the Senate, through your good offices, to reject the nomination forthwith," it told the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in  protest letter submitted on Wednesday.
 
In the petition, titled "Wrongful Appointment of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad for the position of Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN): Appeal for intervention of the Senate,"  the group explained that as an organization committed to the promotion of good governance, equity, justice and fairness and the fight against corruption in the administration and governance of the country,  "we  are compelled to   seek the intervention of the Distinguished  Senate to reject the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad  pending before  Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of CBN."
 
According to the group, the petition, dated 10th October, 2017 and signed by its Convener/Chairman, Ebah A. Idikwu, Esq, was anchored on "the obvious aberration, fraud, injustice and abuse of office, which the  nomination of Mrs. Ahmad represents."
 
Outlining the "facts of the matter" for consideration by the Senate, the petitioners alleged that the nominee was not qualified for the exalted office of Deputy Governor of CBN because "less than a week before the announcement was made, the nominee was Head of Consumer Banking at Diamond Bank on the substantive rank of Deputy General Manager(DGM). The CBN Act however provides that to be appointed Deputy Governor of CBN, the candidate must have attained the rank of at least an Executive Director in a reputable financial institution. In the past, those appointed Deputy Governors were Managing Directors/ CEO of Deposit Money Banks. One example is Mr.  Tunde Lemo who until his appointment as Deputy Governor, of CBN was Managing Director of Wema Plc."
 
"Aware that Aisha Ahmad was not qualified for appointment as Deputy Governor, CBN, her sponsors hurriedly caused a highly fraudulent and unusual promotion to be made catapulting her from DGM Status to Executive Director on October 6, 2017by 5.22 PM, the same day her purported appointment was announced  by the Presidency (See attached circular marked Annex A). It means therefore, that the promotion was made after her appointment was made public, an after-thought to salvage a bad situation," the petitioner noted.
 
The petitioner further argued that the Diamond Bank Annual Report for 2016 contained the names and pictures of all Executive Directors on P. 32. "However, Mrs Aisha Ahmad’s name was conspicuously missing, which confirms that she was not an Executive Director of Diamond Bank and therefore, not qualified for the position of Deputy Governor of CBN for which she has been nominated."
 
"Our checks on the organogram of the Diamond Bank have revealed that apart from the seven superior officers of the bank, there are other seven Heads of Units and Departments placed in order of relevance and seniority out of which Mrs. Aisha Ahmad is the sixth. Therefore, it is unthinkable for Mrs Ahmad to overtake six other senior officers to be promoted to the rank of Executive Director. If the question must be asked, what special feat did she accomplish that merited her such an unusual promotion?," they added.
 
The petitioners further informed the Senate that Mrs Aisha Ahmad’s astronomical promotion at Diamond Bank was not approved by the CBN as required by law. "This evident is the circular announcing her appointment was fraudulently silent on CBN approval just as it was silence on whether the board of Diamond Bank sanctioned the applicant as required by the best corporate governance procedures."
 
"Most Importantly, the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad amounts to a gross violation of the Federal Character principle as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since Niger state where Mrs Aisha Ahmad hails from produced a Deputy Governor of the CBN in the person of Mr Maiyaki who served for 10 years. In addition, Mrs Aisha’s Mother comes from Kwara state which also produced a Deputy Governor of CBN in the person of  Mrs Sarah Alade, who also held the position for ten (10) years. Going by the Federal Character principle therefore, the other North Central states of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and FCT should also have the opportunity to produce a Deputy Governor of CBN," the petitioner posited.
 
The petitioners contended that from the foregoing, "it is clear that Mrs. Aisha Ahmad’s appointment as Deputy Governor of CBN was fraudulently conceived and made for purposes that are clearly far from the objective of ensuring the good management of the nation’s economy."
 
They warned that as a beneficiary of the skewed process of her promotion to qualify for appointment into the CBN, there was every reason to believe that Mrs. Aisha Ahmad would be morally unsound to defend skewed or corrupt process if allowed to function as Deputy Governor of CBN, saying, "she will be dangerous to the integrity of the CBN and the highly sensitive functions carried out by the apex Bank for the good of the economy."
 
"From the facts above, there are obviously very powerful interests behind the nomination of Mrs Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of CBN. If the powerful interests could influence her abnormal promotion at Diamond Bank to pave way for her nomination as Deputy Governor of CBN, the same interests would work though her to compromise economic policies. To put it succinctly, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad will be an economic Saboteur. Nigeria can do without her," the petitioners said.
 
Insisting that  te appointment of Mrs. Ahmad was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and must not be allowed under whatever circumstance, the petitioners warned that it would be a negation of the anti-corruption stance of the Federal Government if Mrs Aisha Ahmad is allowed to manipulate her way to attain the high office of Deputy Governor of CBN, and that it would  not only set a bad precedent, it will destroy the integrity of the CBN and by extension destroy the nation’s economy.
 
 
 
 
Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 11:42 Written by

Two protesters were shot dead Friday as opposition supporters clashed with police in western Kenya, with hundreds defying a ban on rallies to express their anger over an increasingly uncertain presidential election.

In the town of Bondo, the rural home of opposition leader Raila Odinga, a large crowd confronted officers outside the police station, scattering as live shots were fired.

Witnesses told AFP two people were shot dead. “One person had his head shattered by a bullet while the other was hit on the chest,” said eyewitness Sam Oguma.

Police commander Leonard Katana said the demonstrators were shot after attempting to “attack” the police station.

Regional security official Wilson Njega confirmed the two deaths, saying a full report would be issued once the circumstances of the killings became clear.

In the main western city Kisumu, 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Bondo, 20 people were admitted to hospital with serious injuries, four of them with gunshot wounds including one man in a critical condition who had been shot in the neck, said hospital chief Juliana Otieno.

Several nursery school children were also hospitalised after police fired tear gas into the Mt Carmel Academy in the Nyalenda slum.

“There was tear gas all over the school and more kept being fired by the police,” said Mary Ochieng, a witness.

The protests come as Kenya is mired in confusion over a presidential election that is due to take place in less than two weeks.

Friday’s violence was the worst since clashes in the days after the August election which left 37 dead.

A local human rights group said 35 of them were shot dead by police.

A new election?
In early September, the country’s Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 election — won by President Uhuru Kenyatta — citing irregularities in the counting process and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

And it ordered that a re-run of the vote be held within 60 days, with the date set for October 26.

But Odinga on Tuesday announced he would not take part, accusing the IEBC of failing to make fundamental reforms.

Odinga has argued that his withdrawal from the race should force the IEBC to cancel the election and begin the whole process from scratch — allowing more time for his reforms.

But the IEBC appears to be pushing forward with plans for the vote, saying only that Odinga had yet to submit the required form to officially pull out of the race.

Kenyatta on Friday signed a supplementary budget allocating 12 billion shillings ($116 million, 98 million euros) for the new election.

Chaos in Kisumu
The government ban on protests has further angered the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition.

Security Minister Fred Matiangi on Thursday banned rallies in the centre of Nairobi, Mombasa and the western city of Kisumu after property was destroyed, passers-by robbed or assaulted, and business disrupted.

However, the opposition pushed ahead with protests Friday, and plans to stage daily rallies next week.

In Kisumu, the main city in the west and Odinga’s stronghold, there were chaotic scenes as police fired teargas and gunshots rang out as protesters pelted them with stones.

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 01:28 Written by

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday responded to allegations that the Igbo were under-represented in his government, saying that the South East region was not marginalised in appointments into his cabinet.

Receiving some leaders from the region who visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday, President Buhari said there are “four substantive ministers” from the South East region while seven states in the North only got appointments as ministers of state.

Buhari said: “I gave the South-East four substantive ministers in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Science and Technology and Labour.

“Seven states in the North got ministers of state. And of the two ministries headed by your sons, I cannot take any decision on foreign policy and investments without their input.”

President Buhari also assured stakeholders from the South East, who were led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, that the region would benefit more from roads and coastal rail projects, which he said are of critical importance to the economy.

The President, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, declared that the 2nd Niger Bridge, the East-West Road and the Coastal rail project were receiving utmost attention from his administration.

He said that counterpart funding from the Chinese government would substantially fund the projects, which when completed would improve the welfare, well-being and economy of the people in the region.

The President said: “I know the Chinese are very competent in handling such projects and we will ensure that we get the money for the projects to take off.

“I thank you for articulating your demands, and I want to assure that we are doing our best for the country.

“If we can stop people from stealing, then there will be more resources to put into projects that will create employment for Nigerians.”

The President also promised the leaders, comprising governors and ministers from the region, the President of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo and representatives from the National Assembly, that he will visit the states in the zone soon.

“I want to assure you that I came into government with a clear conscience and I will also leave with a clear conscience,’’ he said.

Earlier, the President of Ohanaeze, while articulating the demands of the zone to the President, highlighted the issue of state creation, restructuring, federal projects in the South East, namely Enugu-Onitsha Road, Enugu-Port Harcourt Road and Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Road, among others.

Nwodo also demanded urgent presidential interventions on the Enugu Airport, reticulation of the gas pipelines in the South East and the standard gauge plan for railway construction.

Commending the President’s remarkable achievements on security and the fight against corruption, Nwodo said: “We are ready to work with you. We are determined to work with you. We know you are a decisive leader and we know God will continue to give you the wisdom to govern Nigeria.’’

Also speaking, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State expressed satisfaction on the outcome of their discussions with the President on critical issues and topics affecting the region.

“You have no hatred for any state. You have treated all states with equality. What one state gets in the north, the other gets in the south,’’ the governor said, referring to budget support facility and stabilisation fund released to states and local governments since the inception of the administration.

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 01:22 Written by

The Commissioner of Police in Abia, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said that lethal weapons, including petrol bombs and one double-barrel gun, were recovered during last Sunday’s raid on the residence of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Ogbizi said this on Thursday during an interaction with newsmen in Umuahia, adding that the items were recovered during a joint operation by security personnel in the state.

He said that the petrol bombs were found in buckets and incriminating documents and letters, concerning IPOB’s activities and plans, were also recovered during the raid.

He said that the raid was carried out based on an intelligence report, regarding the continued activities of some members of the group.

Ogbizi said: “We recovered many of Biafra’s insignia, staff of office and some of those items are being analysed.”

The police boss said that the operation also led to the arrest of one suspected member of IPOB.

He said that the team also discovered the telephone numbers of the group’s zonal coordinators adding that all the communications between the leadership of the group and their collaborators would be thoroughly analysed.

Ogbizi said that a Biafran flag was also found hanging on a telecommunications mast in the area.

According to him, the police will ask the Nigeria Communications Commission to sanction any telecommunication company that allowed its mast to be used to hoist Biafran flags.

He said that the activities of IPOB in the Southeast were “stirring insurrection” and that security agencies would not fold their arms and watch the group foment violence in the country.

He said that members of the group allegedly set a police station and van ablaze in Aba, and also attacked a military patrol team in Umuahia.

The police chief said that similar joint operations would be carried out intermittently in Kanu’s residence, anytime they received intelligence report that offensive weapons were brought to the place.

He said that it was wrong to say that the military was taking over the duties of the police rather the action should be seen as a synergy between the two organisations to check security challenges.

Ogbizi said that he would not hesitate to invite the army anytime the security situation in the state grew beyond the capacity of the police.

Posted On Thursday, 12 October 2017 19:52 Written by

The war of integrity between Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director (GMD) Dr. Maikanti Baru got more intense yesterday.

The oil giant faulted the Minister’s claim that he was not consulted on $10billion Crude Term Contracts.

The NNPC said Kachikwu made an input into the shortlisting of 40 off-takers for the Crude Term Contracts by recommending seven companies, which were engaged.

Also, the minister was said to have nominated two companies for the alleged Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) transactions, which Kachikwu claimed were worth $5billion.

The corporation said while the Minister was its GMD, he sent a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) seeking clarification on the status of the NNPC Tenders Board.

NNPC’s position is contained in a fact-sheet apparently prepared against the backdrop of the six posers raised by loyalists of Kachikwu for GMD Baru. The Nation published the posers exclusively yesterday.

Besides the posers, the minister had in an August 30 memo to President Muhammadu Buhari alleged that he was being sidelined by the GMD.

He said: “As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days, I learn of transactions only through publications in the media. The question is, why is it that other parastatals which I supervise as Minister of State or Chair of their Boards are able to go through these contractual and mandatory governance processes and yet NNPC is exempt from these?”

Sources, who spoke with our correspondent, with a fact-sheet said the “posers amounted to mere academic exercise and sheer deceit by the minister”.

They claimed that the minister was consulted on most of the transactions he listed in his memo to the President, including Crude Oil Term transactions, Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) contracts and Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline contract.

The fact-sheet said: “For record purposes, Nigerians should be aware that Kachikwu single-handedly superintended and approved the off-takers of Nigerian Crude Oil and gas for 2016/ 2017. There were no issues then.

“As for the off-takers for 2017/2018, the minister was consulted by the GMD. Out of a list of 40 off-takers, Kachikwu recommended seven firms, which were accepted by NNPC management without any issue. He initially nominated three and later added four. His judgment was respected, accepted and approved by NNPC management alongside 33 others.

“The seven off-takers he recommended are as follows: North-West Petroleum; Setana Energy; Emo Oil; Litasco Supply and Trading Company;   Voyage Oil and Gas; Levene International  and Cespa Trading. Since the Minister strongly recommended all these companies, we concurred with his recommendation which was based on a professional judgment. We also did not find any of the companies wanting and they met the criteria for crude lifting.

“On DSDP, the Minister also nominated two companies, Messrs Falcon Bay Energy Limited and Rain Oil Limited. The NNPC avoided all these details in its statement on Monday in order to protect the interest of these companies doing legitimate business. But Nigerians can appreciate that Kachikwu’s input was sought.

“Regarding AKK Pipeline contract, NNPC has explained that it is still in the works; it has not been awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“There was this $9.2billion Escravos Gas Pipeline Project which the GMD did not touch  in his memo to the President. Apart from discussing and reviewing it with the Board of NNPC, the GMD wrote a June 29, 2017 memo to the Presidency and after official process and consultations with the Minister, it was approved. In fact, the Minister gave the final approval in a memo of August 22, 2017, although with some reservations.

“Concerning sections 130(2) and 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Minister only alluded to the powers of the President. The NNPC GMD made it clear that he obtained the approval of the President on these transactions. If the President, as the senior Minister of Petroleum Resources, has exercised his constitutional powers, what else is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources after?

“It should be noted that NNPC and its GMD are only following the standards put in place by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Crude Oil Term Contracts and other transactions. NNPC is following the same rules which the Minister put in place. But the Minister is now criticising the same rules. The only thing that has changed is that Kachikwu is not the substantive GMD of NNPC again.’

“Nigerians need to know that the Minister (while he was the GMD of NNPC) wrote a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to seek clarifications on the financial limit of NNPC Tenders Board. And the BPP put the limit at $20million. This is what the NNPC management has been adhering to.”

When contacted, a top source in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who is in the position to know, said NNPC was lying.

The source said: “All of the above are lies. No official documentation backing this. This and possibly more to come are vain efforts to discredit Kachikwu and cover up the damning allegations he made.”

Posted On Thursday, 12 October 2017 01:42 Written by

Nigerian pop artist Davido has been invited again by the Lagos State command of the Nigerian police in connection with the death of his friend Tagbo Umeike.

The autopsy that was done on the deceased revealed that he died of suffocation.

The Acting Lagos Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, stated at a briefing that Davido has been reinvited for questioning.

According to Edgal, the information Davido gave them was different from what was found after their investigation.

Apart from the autopsy report revealing that Tagbo died of asphyxia or suffocation, investigations also revealed that he was abandoned in his car at the hospital by Davido’s driver and two of his friends: Agbeje Olaoye and Idris Busari.

The Lagos police chief said a CCTV footage from the General Hospital where Tagbo was dumped revealed that Davido’s escort Hilux vehicle driver, Tunde Usutu, and his two friends took him to the hospital and abandoned him there.

Davido, according to Edagal, had stated earlier, during a pre-investigation meeting with the police, the deceased’s family, friends and Caroline Danjuma, that he had left Shisha bar where he had been drinking with the deceased for DNA nightclub in Victoria Island and was only informed by mutual friends of his demise.

Before his demise, Tagbo was said to have consumed a huge amount of alcohol. The bartender and CCTV footage confirmed that Tagbo had drunk as much as 40 shots of Tequila and exhibited signs of drunkenness.

Two of Davido’s other friends, DJ Olu and Chime, were found dead in a BMW Saloon car in an underground garage days after Tagbo’s demise. The autopsy done on them to confirm the cause of death is yet to be concluded.

Posted On Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:00 Written by
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