Friday, 19 January 2018

NEWS AND STORIES

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Former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu has alerted to plans to take over his Hardley Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos.

He said although the matter is in court, an agency is about to “forcibly seize” the property.

A statement yesterday by Kanu, the initiator of the Kanu Heart Foundation, lamented that the property, which is a growing concern in the hospitality industry, was put under the temporary possession of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) by an ex-parte order on account of a purported indebtedness which is yet to be proved. The statement claimed that there were plans to sell the hotel under a secret arrangement.”

Kanu said: “While I remain resolute in my decision to respect the sanctity of our law courts, I am however constrained to issue this statement to call on well-meaning Nigerians and all men/women of good conscience around the globe to prevail on AMCON to do same. This has become necessary in the light of some bizarre actions of self-help embarked upon by AMCON in vandalising/stripping the assets, under the guise of renovations, but ostensibly with a clandestine design to brazenly sell or hand it to a third party under secret terms and thus complicate/further stall this matter.”

Kanu said he felt pained that his prized possession was at the risk of being taken away. He said funding for surgery and treatment of many heart victims by the Kanu Heart Foundation had come from his earnings at the Hardley Apartments.

The matter will come up for hearing before a Federal High Court on February 14.

Posted On Friday, 19 January 2018 02:15 Written by

Ten people were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday in a double suicide-bomb attack in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a civilian militia leader and a resident told AFP.

The blasts happened in the Muna Garage area of the Borno state capital, in a market used mainly by internally displaced people (IDPs) from a nearby camp.

“I can confirm that 10 people have died in the attack,” said Ibrahim Liman, of the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), which assists the military with security against Boko Haram.

Liman initially gave the death toll as three but he added: “Seven more bodies were brought in from the UMTH (University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital).

“Now the number of injured is 52,” he said.

“Two under-aged girls, aged about 13, struck at the market at about 4:10 pm (1510 GMT) — a peak hour. The first bomber set off her explosives in a sparsely populated part of the market.

“Moments later, the second bomber set off her explosives in the crowded part of the market. That was where most of the casualties were recorded.”

Liman’s account was supported by local resident Dahiru Bulama, who said soldiers had cordoned off the area as the injured were evacuated to hospital for treatment. 

“The attack was really bad. The casualty toll could be high. We were not allowed to go near,” he added.

“But I saw one car parked across the road that was splattered with blood and flesh.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but Boko Haram has repeatedly used young girls and women as suicide bombers to attack civilian “soft targets”.

IDP camps, including the one at Muna Garage, markets and mosques have been hit. Army and CJTF security posts have also been targeted.

Twelve people were killed on November 15 when four suicide bombers — two men and two women — blew themselves up in the Muna area of Maiduguri.

Wednesday’s attacks comes after Boko Haram jihadists killed nine people on Monday in two separate attacks — one in the Ngala area of Borno and the second in neighbouring Adamawa.

The attack in Ngala saw six people shot dead as they collected firewood to sell to IDPs.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the casualties in the nearly conflict, with at least 20,000 killed and more than 2.6 million others made homeless since 2009.

Posted On Thursday, 18 January 2018 04:11 Written by

‘I’m worried, concerned’

Ortom insists no land for cattle colony in Benue

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed security agencies to fish out the herdsmen who killed no fewer than 73 farmers in New Year’s Day in Benue State.

Victims of the incident were buried last Thursday in Makurdi amid a nationwide outrage.

Governor Samuel Ortom told reporters that the President gave the order during a meeting with the state’s leaders of thought on the security situation.

At the meeting were Deputy Governor Benson Abounu, Tor Tiv Prof. James Ayatse, Ochi Idoma, former Senate President David Mark, Senator George Akume, Senator Barnabas Gemade, Gen. Lawrence Onoja (retd.), Speaker Terkimbir Kyambe and Senator Joseph Waku, amog others.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina quoted President Buhari as telling the delegation:

“Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.

“I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your country men. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation.’’

The President told the delegation that his administration had already begun a process of finding lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country.

The Tor-Tiv, said his domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks.

“We want you to put an end to the gruesome situation.’’

Ortom said Benue leaders demanded that the killer-herdsmen be arrested and prosecuted.

His words: “The situation as at today is relatively calm, although there are pockets of issues. For the past five days we have witnessed two killings compared to what was happening before. Other places are relatively calm. The security men and the IGP and the Benue State Government have been working day and night to ensure that we bring the situation under control and stop the killings.

“There are still security issues from one town to the other, like some few  days ago we had an uproar in Makurdi Local Government, headquarters of Benue State where some hoodlums wanted to take advantage. That is one of the things we have discovered in trying to create confusion so that they can go in there and loot.

‘We have made it known that for us in Benue State is that there is no room for anyone taking laws into his hands. It is expected even when you are offended or someone violates the law, the best thing to do is to report, by that we will be able to meet our sanctions on such people. But when you take laws into your hand,  you are inviting anarchy and we will not accept this.

“So we are here to appreciate Mr. President for providing security. Yesterday (Sunday), we also received relief materials based on his directives to NEMA and is being shared among the five IDP camps that we have in Benue State.

“But beyond that we made strong appeal to Mr. President to arrest those people that perpetrated this act, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, because they are not above the law. They made inciting statements against our people and they came and perpetrated this act. We are law abiding citizens; we are not going to let our people go out of control.”

The governor was full of praises for Buhari. He said: “We believe in the leadership of Mr.  President because he is disciplined and is an upright man and we believe he will be able to sanction this people and he did assure us that there is no room for impunity, the law of the land must take its cause. So, those perpetrators…; the IG was at the meeting; he directed the IG to arrest those who perpetrated this act and prosecute them according to the law.

“And he assured us that he would do everything possible to ensure that Benue State lives peacefully and there are no further killings. So, basically, that is why we came to see Mr. President.”

Asked if the issue of arming militia groups came up, Ortom said that the allegation was false.

He said: “It is not true. I see that as distraction, completely from the main issue that we are talking about. These people were not even arrested in Benue State. If we are being killed in the magnitude that we saw and we had weapons of what I saw in the media, I know that five AK 47s can sack a whole community. So if we had such weapons and I as governor my local government had been attacked and people killed, property destroyed and so on, so will I go and sponsor militia in Taraba State? I organised an amnesty programme, which saw  the disarmament of over  800 youths and more than 700 weapons were turned in which were destroyed in the presence of security men and the UN and the committee on small weapons and light arms from the Presidency.

“So it is not true; it is false. It is meant to turn facts away from the reality that is happening on ground.”

Ortom said the meeting with the President was at the instance of Benue State as he defended the anti-open grazing law made by his administration but which the Fuluni are opposed to.

“The law is a win win; it provides security for  the herdsmen and the farmers. And as far as we are concerned the implementation of the law is going on smoothly.

“We have also arrested more than 18 herdsmen who violated the law and they were arraigned before the court of law.”

Ortom said that the state  is open to suggestions from the Federal Government on finding a lasting solution.

“The Minister of Agriculture happens to be a son of the soil. There are many options that are put on the table.

“Like I told you the last time I came here, I did not understand what cattle colonies meant. Today, I was privileged to meet him and he did explain to me that a colony is many ranches in one place, restricted in one place. So, for us in Benue State, there is no 10,000 hectares; they are looking for 5,000 hectares, we have no 10,000 hectares to allow it for that kind of a thing to take plac.”

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said the Federal Government had very clear plans to end herders/farmers clashes in the country.

The governor told reporters after laying a wreath to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Kaduna that the issue was being tackled head-on.

“We met with the Minister of Interior. There are very clear plans to curtail these issues. I  want to assure everyone, the President and other security agencies are doing their best.’’

 

Posted On Tuesday, 16 January 2018 02:48 Written by

On Saturday January 13 2018, all roads led to the ancient town of Oyo as eminent Nigerians gathered at Durbar Stadium, Oyo, venue of the installation of the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111.

The occasion which was witnessed by a mammoth crowd was the first of its kind in recent times as many of those would have loved to witness the event were asked to go to adjourning venues installed with viewing screens. Despite heavy security presence, pick pockets had a field day as many people lost valuables like phones, ipads and other items.

Trdaitional rulers and chiefs, numbering over 200, witnessed the historic event. However, the Ooni of Ife, and some other notable monarchs in the South West were conspicoulsy abscent. Among the traditional rulers in attendance were: Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Ogungunniso 1, who led the Olubadan-in-Council, His Highness Oba Rilwan Akiolu, who was represented by a delegate of high chiefs in Lagos led by Chief Adesoji Ajao, the Oyo Mesi, and some of the twenty-one Ibadan Obas newly installed by the Oyo State Government, Oba Arigidi, Dr. Yisa Olanipekun, Olofa of Ofa, Oba Mufutau Muhammed Oloyede Gbadamosi, Elese of Igbaja, Oba Ahmed Awuni Arepo, the Olubaka of Okaland,Oba Yusuf Adebori Adeleye, and the Ahaba of Ajagba, Oba Thomas Oluwole Adesayo.

Also in attendance was the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who arrived at the event at exactly 1:50pm, Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr Agboola Ajayi, representing Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon. Suraj Adekunbi, representing Governor Ibikunle Amosunm

Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan representing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode,and Osun State Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti representing Governor Rauf Aregbesola, former governors of Oyo, Ondo and Delta States; Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, and Mr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator Monsura Sumonu representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, Elder Stateman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, activist and spokesperson of the Pan Yoruba Socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Mr.Yinka Odumakin, Chief Yemi Elebunbo, and Yeye Oge of Kwara and Osun States.

New Aare Ona Kakanfo holding staff of office.

Others were: Chairperson of Nigerian Tribune and former Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dr. Tokunbo Dosunmu-Awolowo, former Oyo State Chief of Staff, Professor Adeolu Akande, a spiritual leader, Sat Guru Maharaji, President of the National Union of Road Transport Workers,NURTW, Alhaji Gidado Hamman, religious traditional organizations including Osugbo, members of Nollywood including Lere Paimo popularly known as Eda Onileola, and Segun Akinremi, alias Chief Kanran. Adding colour to the event were: cultural troupes from Oyo, Ondo, and Osun States, juju and fuji maestros including Pasuma, Sir Shina Peters and Adewale Ayuba.

In his welcome address, Chairman, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland Central Installation Committee, His Grace, Most Reverend Ayo Ladigbolu said, “the modern Kakanfo does not need bows and arrows, guns and daggers, but he requires courage, boldness, bravery, focus, application of native intelligence to international issues, and the brilliance and adaptability to response to the myriads of challenges facing our nation and our world today. He requires the agility of youth, and the stamina of a long distance runner, as well as the wisdom of Solomon to be all things to all people both in season and out of season. While it is true that the times have changed, but human beings and their basic needs and aspirations remain basically the same. No wonder, therefore, that the mystique of the office of Aare Ona Kakanfo and his installation rites needs to be preserved. The Aare does not need all the immunisation of the 17th Century to perform his task, in these frightened and most challenging days. But apart from the visible and tangible paraphernalia of office, he has been given the cultural, traditional, customary and contemporary tools essential for his effective performance in the field of service”.

Aare Ona Kakanfor, Otunba Gani Adams and his wife.

He added, “His seclusion, retreat, and induction have been completed. Once he is installed, any one who deals too familiar with a corpse may find himself stripped naked by a ghost. The fact not withstanding, the 19th Century Aare Onakakanfo chieftaincy metamorphosed to peace making…. I will conclude this welcome speech by re-stating Iku Baba Yeye’s statement about the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland: “I picked him because he loves the Yoruba Race and all the culture and tradition of our people. He contributed immensely to upholding them. He has shown enough charisma to deserve the honour. He may be young but he is also very bold and courageous. These are traits synonymous with Aare Onakakafo. Gani Adams is a cultural enthusiast. He projects and defends our race wherever he goes”.

In a statement signed by Oba Adeyemi titled, “The Making of New Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland”, the monarch noted that since the demise of Aare Moshood Olawale Kasimawo Abiola, there have been numerous pressure from different quarters to install another Aare. He said that he took his time to look for another war hero known in Yoruba language as ‘Akinkanju’ pointing out, “After years of searching and consulting, it gives me great pleasure today to announce that we have finally zeroed our dragnet on a distinguished son of Oduduwa, a Yoruba in whom there is no guile. He is equipped by God with the vitality of youth, and the agility of the long distance runner, unblemished patriotism, and the wisdom of Solomon. His antecedents in the promotion of Yoruba culture are unquestionable, and he has a clear vision of where the nation should be in its cultural reawakening both at home and overseas. The Aare Onakakanfo is Otunba Gani Adams, National Coordinator, Oodua Progressive Congress, OPC, Founder and Promoter of Olokun Festival Organisation, and Founder of Odua Progressive Union with active branches in Africa and about 80 other countries of the world”.

Alaafin, who prayed never to witness the successor of Gani Adams, urged for the unity among the people of the South West said, “Today, Gani Adams has been rechristened and henceforth, he shall be known as, “Aare Ona Kakanfo”.

In his acceptance speech after completing all the rites and his installation, Adams, who noted that there could not be a more humbling occasion for him than his installation as Aare Ona Kakanfo said, “my installation as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo is a challenge that has made all past challenges seem like a child’s play”.

“Though I am just stepping into the office, past occupants of the seat, especially the 13th and 14th occupants – Aare Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Aare Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola – brought so much power and glamour to the office that it is obvious I have a lot of work to do. As astute businessmen and politicians of note, they raised the profile of the office.There is no doubt from the reactions that followed my pronouncement by the Alaafin of Oyo as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo that the power and prestige of the office has not waned since it was created centuries ago by Alaafin Ajagbo. In fact, the epoch-making event of today is symbolic as 2018 marks the 558th anniversary of the installation of the first Aare Ona Kakanfo – Kokoro Gangan of Iwoye. It is of interest to note that the military, political, traditional and cultural symbolism of the title to the Yoruba Empire, about 600 years ago, is still of strategic importance in the 21st Century. This attribute reveals the uniqueness of the Yoruba race and shows that so much is still expected of the occupant of the post, despite the fact that physical and armed wars are no longer the order of the day”.

He continued, “In fact, despite the fact that I am an holder of 52 traditional titles, none has drawn as much comments and commendation by way of letters and visits. The import of the Office still stands: protection of the interests of Yoruba race, both within the country and everywhere else people of the race exist. While it is estimated that there are 60 million Yorubas within Nigeria and about 200 million others scattered all over the world, as a starting point, the preservation of the culture of the race will occupy my attention. Pitiably, as a race, we are gradually losing our culture. In fact, from my travels around the world, it has become obvious that people of other races are taking more interest in our culture than we the owners of the culture, with Americans, Europeans and Asians now earning Degrees in the study of our culture, beliefs and what they have come to term Doctrine. We need to preserve our culture to fully realise the potential of the Yoruba. Though with an activist background, it is now clear that I have to do more as a bridge builder with this new responsibility”.

The new Aare Onakakanfo promised to work with Yoruba traditional rulers, grassroots leaders and have good rapport with all stakeholders, no matter the differences of the past, for the unity, progress and advancement of Yorubaland and Nigeria assuring, “The office of the Aare Ona Kakanfo will project the Yoruba culture and tradition by promoting and sustaining our identity globally. The office will equally ensure unity of all Yoruba sons and daughters all over the world. Also of strategic importance to me is research and documentary to sustain the ideals of our founding fathers. To ensure the continuation of the leadership role the Yoruba is known for educationally, I will give scholarships to our sons and daughters because education is light and power. Also, I will collaborate with security agencies and stakeholders to ensure that Yorubaland is effectively secured through our various organisations. I want to assure this August gathering that given the fact that the Oodua Progressives Union (OPU), which I am also the Convener, is now established in 79 countries, I will use this Union and other pan-Yoruba groups abroad to invite our sons and daughters with exceptional abilities, who have distinguished themselves in various fields, to come home and help in our quest to ensuring that our country takes its rightful place in the comity of nations”.

Aare Ona Kakanfor, Otunba Gani Adams taking a group picture with dignatries.

Adams appealed to Yorubas in Diaspora not to forget their home by investing in the Yorubaland and not to give the race a bad name. He reiterated, “I am not pleased with the level of Yoruba unity today and I am very concerned. Therefore, my greatest priority is the unity of the Yoruba race at home and in the Diaspora. I will, therefore, spare no effort in ensuring the unity of Yoruba race within the contemporary Nigeria body polity. I will, after this installation, launch the Aare Ona Kakanfo Foundation. This will further promote the culture of the people and document the history of the Aare Ona Kakanfo title. Since we are now in the era of Information Technology, we will be unveiling historical documents obtained from the Iku Baba Yeye on the Aare Ona Kakanfo title to a website”.

He stated further, “2018 makes it the 30th year that the last holder of the title, Aare M.K.O. Abiola, stood before you for his installation. He died on July 7, 1998 and the post was vacant for almost 20 years. Same happened when the 13th holder of the title, Aare S.L. Akintola, died on January 15, 1966. It took more than 22 years before his successor took over. Why? There is the myth that holders of the title will always die a violent death. But, this is not so because many holders of the title lived to be more than 100 years. So, apart from setting aside the myth and projecting the image of the office, documenting the Aare Ona Kakanfo title will also let people know that a child born of humble beginning like me can make it. From the extreme North of Yorubaland, Arigidi-Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government the rural area of Ondo State, here I am emerging as the Aare Ona Kakanfo”.

The new Aare Onakakanfo appealed to the Federal Government to attend to some of the major roads in Yorubaland that are critical to its citizens including Lagos-Ibadan, Oyo-Ilorin, Lagos-Badagry, Sagamu-Benin, Badagry-Lusada-Sokoto, Ibadan-Iwo-Osogbo, Osogbo-Ilesa, Ilesa-Akure-Owo-Lokoja and Lagos-Abeokuta.

“It will also be a major plus if the government, as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari in his January 1, 2018 speech, attends to rail transportation as fast as possible. The issue of power is also critical. This will empower artisans more. Security is equally important. All these would aid the development of the tourism potential of the country. Several countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, UAE, Britain, Turkey, Singapore, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Israel have diversified their economy to tourism. I want to assure you that I will work with various stakeholders to turn our land into a viable tourist destination. To our esteemed Governors in the South-West, I call for cooperation, no matter the party line. The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, Commission, should be empowered. And I want you all to see me as a partner in progress”, he stated.

He concluded, “I offer myself for service once it is for the advancement of the Yoruba race. The various groups in the South-West should also resolve their crises. I will also persuade seven of our elders, who are not partisan, to work with me in uniting all Yoruba and resolve differences wherever they may arise. I want to assure all that as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo, I will use my position, God willing, to protect the interest of our land and our dear country Nigeria”.

Aare Ganiyu Adams was born on April 30, 1970 in Arigidi-Akoko in Ondo State. He attended many primary schools due to the nature of his father’s job. His education exploits started at the Army Children’s School, Oturkpo, Benue State, where he got as far as primary 3 before his father was transferred to Lagos, where he completed his primary School education at the Municipal Primary School, Surulere, Lagos in 1980.

He proceeded to Ansar-Ud-Deen Secondary School, Randle Avenue, Lagos, for his secondary education before picking interior decoration job at an Italian Construction Company, Visinoni Stabilini, Apapa, Lagos, from where he voluntarily resigned after some urge to establish his own interior decoration business, Gadson Interior. He became an active pro-democracy activist in 1992. He pitched his tent with the Campaign for Democracy in the struggle to end military rule in Nigeria and install participatory democratic governance. In 1993, he became the Public Relations Officer, PRO of Mushin Local Government Chapter of CLO and member of Oodua Youth Movement, OYM, a Pro-Yoruba self-determination group.
He was a foundation member of OPC when it was formed in 1994 where he rose to the position of the first Deputy National Coordinator and now the National Coordinator of the group.

Thirstying for self-improvement, Gani Adams returned to school to bag a diploma in Tourism Management from the International Aviation School, Tema, Ghana in 2003. He went further to obtain another diploma in International Relation and Strategic Studies from the Lagos State University, LASU, and capped it with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the same university.

As a culturalist, he has carried his cultural crusade to different parts of the world including Europe, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. On October 14, 2017, Adams was declared as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland by Oba Adeyemi III, The Alaafin of Oyo. The title was last held by Moshood Abiola before his death in 1998.

The previous 14 Aare Ona Kakanfo were: Kokoro Gangan of Iwoye, Oyapote of Iwoye, Oyabi of Ajase, Adeta of Jabata, Oku of Jabata, Afonja of Ilorin, Toyeje of Ogbomoso, Edun of Gbogun, Amepo of Abemo, Kurumi of Ijaye, Ojo Aburumaku of Ogbomoso, Latoosa of Ibadan, Ladoke Akintola of Ogbomoso, and Moshood Kasimawo Abiola of Abeokuta

Posted On Sunday, 14 January 2018 16:17 Written by

The case of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, has been transferred to the Federal High Court in Lagos.

It has been re-assigned to Justice Muslim Hassan.

Akinjide was charged along with former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is said to be at large.

Others named in the charge are Senator Ayo Adeseun and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart Chief Olarenwaju Otiti.

They were accused of conspiring to directly take possession of N650million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

They were arraigned last June before Justice Joyce Abdulmalik in Ibadan.

It was learnt that the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Adamu Kafarati, moved the case to Lagos at Akinjide’s instance.

The former minister was granted bail on self-recognition when she was arraigned in Ibadan. She was also asked to submit her international passport.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo confirmed to our correspondent yesterday that the former minister would be tried in Lagos.

“Yes, we have been served with a Hearing Notice by the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, that the case is coming up before Justice Hassan next week,” he said.

The defendants allegedly received the money from Mrs Alison-Madueke in the build- up to the 2015 general election.

It was said to be part of the $115 million allegedly disbursed by Mrs. Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

One of the charges reads: “That you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olarenwaju Otiti on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of the N650 million which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

“That you, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti on or about the 26th day of March, 2015 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: making cash payment of the sum of N650 million which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law without going through financial institution and you thereby committed an offence.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty.

It was learnt that Akinjide held plea bargain talks with the EFCC. The case may come up before Justice Hassan on Tuesday.

Posted On Thursday, 11 January 2018 04:38 Written by

• Returnees relive suffering, hunger, say no place like home
• Fish out ISIS infiltrators first, security expert tells govt

Nigeria migrants evacuated from Libya by the Federal Government on Sunday have described their experiences as “hellish.” On arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport on Sunday, one of the returnees shouted, “see food oh” when he sighted Federal Government officials serving plates of rice with water to the victims.

Six-month pregnant Lewisa Comfort, 23, narrated her experience to The Guardian. She said: “The Nigerians who collected money and took us to Libya usually betrayed us. They did sell Nigerian ladies to Arab men for about N200,000 and the Arab men would use the girls as sex machines and for house cleaning jobs and with all these, we would only be given one dry bread to eat per day without water.

“If you were sold to a black man, it was a continuous sale, because the black men kept selling and re-selling the individual, just to make money. Human trafficking is the only lucrative business in Libya. 

“The situation there is very bad, so pathetic that it is not an experience one would wish his worst enemy. The desert experience is worse than the sea experience. In my set, 14 Hilux vans carrying 27 passengers each left Nigeria but only 10 people survived. More than 1,000 died.”

The pretty lady, who hails from Edo State, disclosed that some of them paid between N600,000 and N800,000 to cross over to Italy but regretted that their hopes were dashed when they were left stranded in Libya.Lewisa said when they arrived in Libya, some of them were arrested, while some were sold out. Others were moved from prison to prison with severe toture. “No water or food,” she said.She said the hellish experience forced most of them to fast and pray, seeking divine intervention for rescue.

According to her, “When we were going through all these experiences, we decided to turn our hunger into fasting and prayers .We fasted and prayed for three days and we saw ourselves as one; there was unity (of mind) among all of us in Libya.

“It was on the third day when our fasting ended we heard the cheering news that our President Muhammadu Buhari, has sent some delegations to come and evacuate us out from Libya and we were very happy, we are so glad that finally, we are back to our country and we have our freedom.”

She advised those nursing the idea to travel out of the country through illegal means to have a rethink, warning that it is better to learn skills and work with freedom in Nigeria than to be a slave in a foreign country.

She lamented that she left the country due to frustration, saying the educational system in Nigeria is very costly with no jobs at the end.
“As a graduate, I was earning N8, 000 monthly where I was teaching and before the month ran halfway, the money would have been exhausted. At a point, I was tired and decided to go look for greener pastures.”

Lewisa also urged the Federal Government to create the enabling environment that would help people learn skills, trade, work and become useful to society.

Another returnee, Shedrack Lagarde, said he was happy to return to Nigeria alive, noting that six of his friends died in his presence due to hunger and severe torture.On his part, Harry Musa said, “it feels very good to be home,” adding, “one does not know what he has until he loses it. Now we know that there is no place like home.”

While disclosing that he ate only two spoonfuls of indomie for two months, he advised people not to travel to foreign countries illegally.Meanwhile, the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has advised the Federal Government to ensure proper vetting and documentation of the Nigerian returnees from Libya before releasing them to society.
 
This is to detect ISIS fighters who might be masquerading as Nigerian returnees.In a statement yesterday, Ekhomu said that given the threat of infiltration into Nigeria of ISIS fighters, it is prudent to carefully prove the identity of each of the returnees before releasing them.“Some of these people might have pledged Bayat (loyalty or oath) to ISIS.  They need to be separated from those who migrated for economic reasons,” he added.He observed that there was no way of knowing a Nigerian by face.  And it is presumed that most of the returnees do not have travel documents.It is therefore, merely assumed that they are Nigerians.

A questionnaire must be quickly drawn up to enable the returnees to prove their national identity.  These should include questions about their date of birth, place of birth, LGA, name of  town, traditional ruler, primary and secondary school attended, ethnic nationality and native language spoken.

In order to discern their purpose for migration, Ekhomu suggested that they should be questioned about the source of funds for their trip to Libya, while all information provided must be quickly investigated (verified) and each individual cleared to enter society.

Ekhomu commended Buhari for ordering the repatriation of the Nigerians: “As a responsible government, the Federal Government did the right thing by bringing back ‘fellow Nigerians’ to our country.The security expert noted: “Nigeria currently has too many active killing fields, and does not need the threat of ISIS infiltration.”

 
Posted On Tuesday, 09 January 2018 05:09 Written by
A Houston-based couple was ordered at the weekend to pay more than $121,000 in restitution to a Nigerian nanny who worked in their home.

The couple had pleaded guilty to federal charges related to forcing the woman to work nearly 20 hours a day, taking care of their home and five children without pay for two years, authorities said.

Besides, Chudy Nsobundu, 57, and his wife Sandra, 49, were sentenced to seven months in jail and seven months of home confinement, plus three years probation.

The couple, who are Nigerian-born, naturalized U.S. citizens, recruited the woman by promising her a $100 monthly wage. Instead, they abused her physically and verbally while she worked at their home in the Houston suburb of Katy from September 2013 to October 2015, authorities said.

Chudy Nsobundu pleaded guilty to visa fraud in 2016 while his wife pleaded guilty to unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of forced labour.

According to court documents, the nanny worked every day from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., with no breaks, and no fresh food, and at times was allowed to drink only the milk left in the children’s cereal bowls.

The Nsobundus prevented the nanny from leaving their employment by withholding her passport and by threatening her with physical and mental abuse, authorities said.

The nanny reached out for help and was rescued following a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Centre.

Prosecutors also say the couple knowingly submitted false application to the U.S. State Department for the woman’s visa application.

Posted On Sunday, 07 January 2018 03:07 Written by
Advocates of another term for the President are getting more serious. Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu told reporters yesterday after a meeting with the President at Aso Villa that he had been appointed to lead a group in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 election.

According to him, the Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group will on January 20 inaugurate its Southwest zonal office to launch the President’s reelection battle.

He said for Buhari to seek a second term “goes without saying”.

“I know he has not made up his mind but I can say that some of us can assist him in making up his mind so that Nigeria can continue to enjoy stability and progress.

“I mean if you have a child who goes to primary school, does well, proceeds to secondary school, does well, and you keep asking, is he going to university? It goes without saying. By the grace of God, we his ardent supporters who appreciate his worth on behalf of millions of Nigerians would urge him to recontest.”

Asked whether campaigns for 2019 elections had begun, Shittu said: “Everyday since he came into office, all his activities are geared towards letting Nigeria know they have a saviour, a rescuer, somebody who is committed to providing relief to Nigerians in all respects.

“In the area of fighting corruption, insurgency, whether in the Northeast or the Niger Delta, in the area of repairing the economy and providing jobs and providing social stability in the society. You will agree with me that today but for Buhari, Boko Haram would have invaded even Lagos.”

Shittu, who hails from Oke Ogun, Oyo State, plans to run for governor in 2019, having previously failed as the governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011.

The President has not spoken about his interest in 2019.

During the last National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, an attempt to move a motion on his 2019 candidature was stopped.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said on New Year’s Eve that ”nobody knows whether or not the President will seek reelection. About four groups have come to the President, asking if he will go for second term. The last of such groups was Good Governance Support Group, but the President has not said anything.”

However, in October, last year, the Buhari Support Organisation inaugurated its office in Abuja to campaign for Buhari’s second term.

Buhari’s men and many public office holders gathered at the event which enjoyed wide publicity.

Customs Comptroller General Col. Hamid Ali, the chief speaker at the event, urged the President to reward those who worked for his emergence but still left in the cold more than two years into the four-year tenure.

Members of the group-led by Senator Abu Ibrahim, later visited the President at the Villa.

The President himself gave a subtle hint that he would run when he told Nigerians in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire when met with them after attending an African Union/European Union Summit, that he might need Nigerians’ vote in future.

Posted On Thursday, 04 January 2018 00:52 Written by

I join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.

Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.

The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.

Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity.

My address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this Administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit.

We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.

The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

With regards to Railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway.

The line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.

Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.

The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.

At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri.

Negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.

Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.

With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office. Only test runs remain before start of operations.

This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system. Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change.

Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12 week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones.

Twenty five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:

a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,

b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu,

c. Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,

d. Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way,

e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,

f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,

g. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road,

h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road,

i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.

In addition, Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019.

More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply.

The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.

Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.

Several moribund projects have been revived. Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.

Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria. It should be fully operational this year.

The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.

A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China. Completion is targeted for 2023.

As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated. TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.

This Administration is working with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution.

These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment. You will recall that it was not until last year that we got out of the economic recession into which the country had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic policies which projected short-term illusory growth.

The government is slowly stabilizing the economy.

It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance.

We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business, as usual, are numbered.

Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to restructure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on.

By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.

In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.

We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies, these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.

However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better. I assure you that government is ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance and contribute to the country’s peace and stability.

As the electioneering season approaches politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all costs if we are to live in harmony.

In this respect, the rest of Nigeria could learn from the South Western States who have successfully internalized religion, ethnicity and politics.

Political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner. We all have a collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law. We should draw encouragement from the series of bye-elections conducted by INEC last year which were generally violence-free and their outcomes adjudged to be free and fair.

Before I conclude my address I must reassure my fellow citizens that security of life and property is still top of our government’s agenda. We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.

Our government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with our election pledge and promises. On behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the Police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities who are working round the clock to ensure that you and I go about our normal business in reasonable safety.

Terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and our security forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.

With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, we are taking immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies. Tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.

With respect to Niger Delta, Government is still engaging the responsible leadership of the Communities to help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up programme in collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory progress.

I am grateful to all the Governors and other Political & Community leaders of the Niger Delta States for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas.

Finally let me again express my heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who prayed for me during my illness last year. I feel deeply humbled by your prayers and good wishes and I am more determined than ever to serve you to the best of my ability.

Good morning. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Posted On Tuesday, 02 January 2018 00:54 Written by

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on Saturday said there is something rotten in the state of ‘Naija’ (Nigeria) following persistent fuel crisis and the blame passing of those in authorities who are supposed to remedy the situation.

Soyinka, in a statement lamented that Nigerians were being frustrated and made to undergo excruciating pains and sufferings due to ongoing fuel crisis in the land.

The Nobel laureate said even before the current edition of the fuel crisis, other challenges, requiring immediate fix, had begun to monopolize national attention, relegating to the sidelines the outcry for a fundamental and holistic approach to the wearisome cycle of citizen trauma.

“This has been expressed most recently, and near universally in the word “Restructuring”, defined straightforwardly as a drastic overhaul of Nigerian articles of co-existence in a more rational, equitable and decentralized manner. Such an overhaul, the re-positioning of the relationship between the parts and the whole offers, it has been strongly argued, prospects of a closer governance awareness of, and responsiveness to citizen entitlement. An overhaul that will near totally eliminate the frequent spasms of systemic malfunctioning that are in-built into the present protocols of national association.

“I recently ran the gauntlet of petroleum queues through three conveniently situated cities – Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan – deliberately, this Friday. Even with ‘unorthodox’ aids of passage, this was no task for the faint-hearted. Just getting past fueling stations was traumatizing, an obstacle race through seething, frustrated masses of humanity, only to find ourselves on vast stretches of emptied roads pleading for occupation. As for obtaining the petroleum in the first place – the less said the better. I suspect that this government has permitted itself to be fooled by the peace of those empty streets, but also by the orderly, patient, long-suffering queues that are admittedly prevalent in the city centres.

“It is time the reporting monitors of government move to city peripheries and sometimes even some other inner urban sectors, such as Ikeja and Maryland from time to time to see, and listen !Pronouncements – such as the 1977 above – again re-echoing by rote in 2017– are a delusion at best, a formula that derides public intelligence. Buying time. Passing blame. Yes of course, the current affliction must be remedied, and fast, but is there a dimension to it that must be brought to the fore, simultaneously and forcefully? This had better be the framework for solving even a shortage that virtually paralyzed the nation,” he said.

Read Soyinka’s full statement below:

BLAME PASSING – The New Year Gift to a Nation

In the accustomed tradition, I wish the nation less misery in the coming year. A genuine Happy New Year Greeting is probably too extravagant a wish.

The accompanying news clipping from June,1977 came into my hands quite fortuitously. It is forty years old. It captures the unenviable enigma that is the Nigerian nation. It is however a masterful end-of-year image to take into the coming year, not only for the individual now at the helm of government, General Buhari, but for a people surely credited with the most astounding degree of patience and forbearance on the African continent – except of course among themselves, when they turn into predatory fiends. When many of us are blissfully departed, an updated rendition of this same clipping – with a change of cast here and there – will undoubtedly be reproduced in the media, with the same alibis, the same in-built panacea of blame passing.

Let this be called to our collective memory. Even before the current edition of the fuel crisis, other challenges, requiring immediate fix, had begun to monopolize national attention, relegating to the sidelines the outcry for a fundamental and holistic approach to the wearisome cycle of citizen trauma. This has been expressed most recently, and near universally in the word “Restructuring”, defined straightforwardly as a drastic overhaul of Nigerian articles of co-existence in a more rational, equitable and decentralized manner. Such an overhaul, the re-positioning of the relationship between the parts and the whole offers, it has been strongly argued, prospects of a closer governance awareness of, and responsiveness to citizen entitlement. An overhaul that will near totally eliminate the frequent spasms of systemic malfunctioning that are in-built into the present protocols of national association.

I recently ran the gauntlet of petroleum queues through three conveniently situated cities – Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan – deliberately, this Friday. Even with ‘unorthodox’ aids of passage, this was no task for the faint-hearted. Just getting past fueling stations was traumatizing, an obstacle race through seething, frustrated masses of humanity, only to find ourselves on vast stretches of emptied roads pleading for occupation. As for obtaining the petroleum in the first place – the less said the better. I suspect that this government has permitted itself to be fooled by the peace of those empty streets, but also by the orderly, patient, long-suffering queues that are admittedly prevalent in the city centres. It is time the reporting monitors of government move to city peripheries and sometimes even some other inner urban sectors, such as Ikeja and Maryland from time to time to see, and listen !Pronouncements – such as the 1977 above – again re-echoing by rote in 2017– are a delusion at best, a formula that derides public intelligence. Buying time. Passing blame. Yes of course, the current affliction must be remedied, and fast, but is there a dimension to it that must be brought to the fore, simultaneously and forcefully? This had better be the framework for solving even a shortage that virtually paralyzed the nation.

Just to think laterally for a moment – what became of the initiatives by some states  nearly two decades ago – Lagos most prominently – to decentralize power, and thus empower states to generate and distribute their own energy requirements? Frustrated and eventually sabotaged in the most cynical manner from the Federal centre! The similarity today is frightening – for nearly four days on that earlier occasion, the nation was blacked out near entirely. We know that one survival tactic of governments is to keep their citizens in the dark over decisions that affect their lives but, this was literal! And yet each such crisis, plus lesser ones, merely reiterate again and again that this national contraption, as it now stands, is simply– dysfunctional!. What this demands is that, in the process of alleviating the immediate pressing misery, we do not permit ourselves to be manipulated yet again into forgetting the MAIN issue whose ramifications exact penalties such as petroleum seizures and national power outage. These are only two handy, being recent symptoms – there are several others, but this is not intended to be a catalogue of woes. Sufficient to draw attention to the Yoruba saying that goes: Won ni, Amukun, eru e wo. Oun ni, at’isale ni. Translation: Some voices alerted the K-Legged porter to the dangerous tilt of the load on his head. His response was – Thank you, but the problem actually resides in the legs.

The providential image above sums up a defining moment for both individual and collective self-assessment, places in question the ability of a nation to profit from past experience. Vast resources, yes, but proved unmanageable under its present structural arrangements. As the tussle for the next round of power gets hotter in the coming year, the electorate will again be manipulated into losing sight of the BASE ISSUE. Its noisome claque in the meantime, the automated mumus of social media, practiced in sterile deflection and trivialization of critical issues, unwittingly join hands with government to indulge in blame passing and name calling – both sides with different targets. From the anguished cry of Charley Boy’s Our Mummu Done Do! to expositions from academics such as Professor Makinde’s recent intervention, the public is subjected daily to a relentless barrage of awareness, underlined in urgency. Nobody listens. One wonders if many people read. And certainly, very few retain or relate – until of course the next crisis. The Labour movement declares that it awaits a guarantee of the ‘people’s backing’ before it embarks on any critical intervention. Understandably. There is more than enough of the opium of blame passing on tap to lull mummus into that deep coma from which – give it a little more time – there can only be a rude awakening.

Sooner than later, but not as soon as pledged, the fuel crisis will pass. And then of course we shall await the next round of shortages, then a recommencement of blame passing.  What will be the commodity this time – food perhaps? Maybe even potable water? In a nation of plenty, nothing is beyond eventual shortage – except of course, the commonplace endowment of pre-emptive planning and methodical execution. Forty years after, the same language of re-assurance? “There is something rotten in the state of Naija!”

-Wole SOYINKA

 
 
Posted On Saturday, 30 December 2017 21:13 Written by
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