Sunday, 21 January 2018
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (743)

Manchester United inflicted a seventh straight Premier League defeat of the season on Crystal Palace with a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford to move top of the table.

United needed just three minutes to break the deadlock, with Juan Mata edging them ahead with a close-range finish after being set up by Marcus Rashford, before Marouane Fellaini met Ashley Young's cross at the far post to make it two after 35 minutes.

Manchester UnitedManchester United
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace
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Fellaini netted his second and United's third of the afternoon just after the restart, heading home Rashford's free kick into the box to make sure of the result, before Romelu Lukaku made it four four minutes from time, slotting in Anthony Martial's pass.

The victory saw United leapfrog rivals Manchester City, who play Chelsea later on Saturday, while Crystal Palace remain pointless and goalless at the the foot of the table.

Another Harry Kane brace steered Spurs past Huddersfield as they maintained their 100% away record this season.

Harry Kane struck a brace as Tottenham eased to a 4-0 victory over Huddersfield at the John Smith's Stadium to move up to third in the Premier League table.

Kane opened the scoring inside the ninth minute, slotting into the bottom corner after Kieran Trippier had headed into his path, before Ben Davies added a second seven minutes later following a Spurs counterattack.

Huddersfield TownHuddersfield Town
Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
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Kane then made it three for the visitors shortly after, bending a strike into the far corner from the edge of the box, with substitute Moussa Sissoko netting a fourth late on, scrambling the ball home from close range after being teed up by Davies.

English Premier League: Abdoulaye Doucoure (37') West Brom 2-1 Watford

Richarlison salvaged a late point for Watford as they came from behind to draw 2-2 with West Brom and move up to fifth.

West Brom took the lead through Salomon Rondon after 18 minutes, with the striker outmuscling his marker before firing into the back of the net. Jonny Evans then made it two three minutes later with a header from a corner.

West Bromwich AlbionWest Bromwich Albion
WatfordWatford
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Watford pulled one back in the 37th minute as Abdoulaye Doucoure broke free and struck past Fraser Forster, before Richarlison headed into the corner deep into stoppage time to equalise for the visitors.

West Ham and Swansea looked primed for a nil-nil draw at the London stadium, until Diafra Sakho's dramatic late winner.

Diafra Sakho struck in the 90th minute to secure West Ham a 1-0 win over Swansea at the London Stadium and move them out of the drop zone.

West Ham came closest to scoring in the first half with Michail Antonio seeing his volleyed effort from Aaron Cresswell's cross saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

West Ham UnitedWest Ham United
Swansea CitySwansea City
1
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Andy Carroll hit the crossbar in the 86th minute for the Hammers, before Sakho popped up a few minutes later to finish at the far post to claim the three points for the home side and push Swansea into the relegation zone.

Peter Crouch came off the bench to secure a 2-1 win for Stoke against Southampton.

Peter Crouch netted the winner for Stoke as they defeated Southampton 2-1 at the bet365 Stadium.

Stoke broke the deadlock five minutes before the break with Mame Biram Diouf heading in a Xherdan Shaqiri corner, but they were unable to add a second two minutes later when Saido Berahino saw a penalty saved by Fraser Forster after Diouf was fouled in the box.

Stoke CityStoke City
SouthamptonSouthampton
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Stoke were made to pay for that miss by the visitors 15 minutes from the end as Maya Yoshida struck in off the bar following Shane Long's flick to level proceedings, but Crouch had the final say five minutes from time as he poked home from close range.

Bournemouth dominated the Foxes at the Vitality Stadium but couldn't find a way past them in their Premier League match.

Bournemouth and Leicester played out a goalless draw at the Vitality Stadium.

Jermain Defoe was inches away from putting Bournemouth in front in the first half but struck the bar after being picked out in the box by Joshua King.

AFC BournemouthAFC Bournemouth
Leicester CityLeicester City
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Leicester had a great chance of their own to score in the second half when Jamie Vardy poked the ball back to Shinji Okazaki, but he was unable to find the back of the net from inside the box.

Posted On Saturday, 30 September 2017 16:04 Written by

Reports from Kaduna state in northwestern Nigeria say a deputy police commissioner and his wife have been kidnapped. The officer works in neighbouring Zamfara State but was abducted from his car.

This incident happened as security agencies say they are taking steps to address the security situation in the state.

The Kaduna state police command has yet to confirm the abduction but a security source in the state told the BBC that the deputy commissioner was kidnapped near a forest between Funtua in Katsina state and Birnin Gwari town in Kaduna state.

Recently kidnappings have become commonplace along the Abuja-Kaduna road as well as in other locations around Kaduna.

In November last year former Nigerian foreign minister Bagudu Hirse was kidnapped in Kaduna state.

Posted On Thursday, 28 September 2017 23:48 Written by

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday in Abuja said 37 political parties would be presenting candidates in the Anambra governorship election scheduled for Nov. 18.

The Commission, in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, released a list of the candidates, with five women vying for the governorship seat.

The list also have eight others vying for the office of Deputy Governor.

The candidates included Mr Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor, with his deputy Nkemakonam Okeke, vying under the flag of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Also on the list are Mr Oseloka Obaze of the PDP, with Chidi Onyemelukwe, a woman, as his running mate.

It also has Mr Tony Nwoye of the APC, with Dozie Arinze, a woman, as his running mate.

Others on the list are Nwezi Amechi and his running mate Okeke Njideka, a woman, for All Grand Alliance Party (AGAP).

Oby Okafor and her running mate Onyekwuluje Uzoma as candidate for Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) also made the list.

Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, is also carrying the flag of United Progressive Party (UPP), with Okeke Ogbonnaya as his running mate.

The rest of the political parties with candidates on the list include Alliance Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Alliance (AA) and Action Democratic Party (ADP).

Others are APDA, African People’s Party (APP), Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Democratic Alternative (DA), Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Hope Democratic Party (HDP) and Kowa Party.

The Labour Party (LP), as well as Masses Movement Of Nigeria (MMM), Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP) and United Democratic Party (UDP) also have candidates.

Candidates of National Conscience Party (NCP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Nigeria Peoples Congress (NPC), National Unity Party (NUP) and People for Democratic Change (PDC) were also successful.

Also listed as parties with candidates are the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and United Progressive Party (UPP).

The rest are Young Democratic Party (YDP) and Young Progressive Party (YPP).

The Commission, in the statement, also disclosed that it had approved the applications of 44 observer groups, comprising 38 domestic and six international groups, to observe the election.

The international observer groups are the British High Commission, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), American Embassy Abuja, European Union, High Commission of Canada, and African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council.

The domestic groups include African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Centre for Credible Leadership, Citizens Awareness, and the Initiative for Promotion of Civic Obligation Sustainable.

Similarly, the Commission approved the change of name and adjustment of logo of the All Democratic Peoples Movement (ADPM) to AGAP.

The Commission added that it had also approved the issuance of a Certificate of Registration in the name of AGAP to the party.

Meanwhile the Commission has fixed Thursday for a meeting of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Sept. 29 for the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Electoral Securities (ICCES) meeting.

Similarly, the Commission would meet with leaders of the political parties on Tuesday and conclude its series of meetings with the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meetings are normally held to brief all critical stakeholders on key activities of the Commission.(NAN)

Posted On Thursday, 28 September 2017 00:58 Written by

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said on Wednesday the Federal Government has approved the payment of N45billion severance package to former staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways.

The national carrier was liquidated by ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 2005, and the workers had been embarking on protests nationwide over their unpaid entitlements.

Sirika told State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that money has been approved for the settlement of the entitlements.

“Governments, in the past, decided just to liquidate Nigeria Airways without tending to the issue of the entitlements of the workers and they have been struggling to get that paid. We came in and took it very seriously.

“I’m happy to announce that Mr. President has approved N45 billion which has been confirmed to be the entitlements of these workers and Ministry of Finance has been instructed to pay the money. The ministry wrote to me last week that they have received the instruction to pay these workers, and therefore, they are setting up the modalities to pay.

“You should know it won’t be paid through my ministry before somebody will say I take some of it. It will be paid by finance through a process, and that process will commence very soon,’’ he said.

The minister disclosed that the Council approved the procurement of operational vehicles for Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

NAN

Posted On Thursday, 21 September 2017 02:28 Written by

Northern governors have blamed Igbo politicians for the problems of infrastructure and underdevelopment in the South East.

They insited that the por paerformance of the zone’s men in positions of authority in the past was responsible for the situation and not because of marginalisation

The visiting governors led by Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, who is also chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum, decried the poor state of major roads in the Southeast, but said politicians from the zone “are only interested in pocketing the resources that would have been used in developing the zone at the detriment of the people”.

They spoke in Owerri, the Imo State capital, during a meeting with Igbo and Hausa leaders at the Government House.

The governors rounded off their truce tour which took off in Port Harcourt on Monday, moved to Umuahia, the Abia State capital, before arriving in Owerri.

They met with Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).

They noted that the challenges in the Southeast was not as a result of marginalisation as erroneously believed, arguing that Igbo had occupied exalted positions like Secretary to the Government (SGF) of the Federation, Senate President and many others but the occupiers of those positions rather used them for ephemeral and selfish gains.

“You can take for instance the case of Nnamdi Kanu who is an ordinary criminal. When he was arrested, senators from the Southeast were falling head over heels to bail him for what they could gain at the detriment of national unity and peaceful coexistence”, Shettima stated.

The governors who were on tour of South-South and Southeast states to douse the tension created by the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the quit notice on the Igbo by the Arewa youths, insisted that the challenges confronting the country were created by the elite for personal aggrandisements.

With Shettima were: Governors Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Bello Masari (Katsina).

Shettima added: “The problem of Nigeria is we the elite who are fanning the embers of hatred and disunity for selfish reasons. The country is passing through a grim and sober moment and by working together, we can get Nigeria to work again.

“We are here to thank our colleagues in the Southeast for standing on the part of peace and national unity. All we need is tolerance, justice and generosity of mind to move the country forward”.

The Northern Governors commended the Imo State governor for his “uncommon and consistent” support for the unity of the nation. They described him as a detribalised Nigerian.

“Governor Okorocha has been dehumanised and branded all sorts of names for insisting on one indivisible Nigeria but he has remained unshaken in his faith in the unity of the country. We salute his sense of patriotism and his style of leadership, he is the kind of leader that Nigeria needs.”

Tambuwal said “Nigeria is not a mistake. Nigeria is a special creation we all must continue to strive to make it work. And for us to continue to coexist harmoniously, we must have respect for each other. We must respect each others’ culture because respect begets respect”.

 
Posted On Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:34 Written by


• As Citizens Battle To Dethrone Eyadema Family’s Stronghold
• Abuja, France Should Step In

The Togolese seem to be protesting the hegemonic rule by the Gnassingbe Eyademas. Did you see this coming?
It did not come as a surprise, because succession crisis in Togo is as old as the country itself. Remember that the first President of Togo, late Sylvanus Epiphanio Olympio, was assassinated in a military coup that brought late Gnassingbe Eyadema to power, who was then a sergeant. Late Eyadema got to power after serving in Indo-china and during the war of independence in Algeria, as well as Vietnamese independence war against French colonial rule. So he came home after working under French military rule and later when Togo became independent, he continued to work with Togolese armed forces. But he carried out a coup with others that resulted in Olympio’s death. However, in that coup, just like what happened in France under Napoleon, the leaders could not settle for who should head the country’s leadership. So, he organised his own coup and became Togo’s head of state. Since then, the late Eyadema ruled Togo under a one party regime (PRT), even when there was a multiparty system in 1990 he continued to win elections.

He got into power during the cold war, when military take-over was the norm in Africa, though supported by the Western world. At the end of the cold war, multi-party democracy became the order of the day and France, the former colonial power and at the same time provider of military, economic and commercial activities for francophone countries under the Canal France International (CFI) policy, said all colonies must undergo multi-party democracy. Togo had a one party system before the multi-party policy, but after the policy was implemented, election was organised and the late Eyadema won. And he consistently won the elections thereafter, because he had so managed the electoral process that he could not see himself losing elections and this continued until he died suddenly.

Upon his demise, West African leaders said election must be held, after protests against the son taking over automatically. So, election was held with all the electoral processes in the hands of Eyadema’ family. Though there was internal fighting in the family, but Faure Eyadema won. He came into power, when many West African countries had keyed into the culture of two terms for elected officers. He has been there for two terms and he has not made any one pronouncement as to the political future of the country. A constitution review was done in 2016, which recommended two terms and multi-party system for the country, but that constitution is yet to be approved by Togolese Assembly. So, the people felt the only thing they have to do is to go on the streets, and that is where we are now in Togo. Of course, repression and trying to neutralise the opposition is the order of the day.

The French government wanted multi-party system across its colonies in Africa. Why did Togo miss that mark and the attendant reforms that came with this policy?
Togo missed it because the late Eyadema was considered a very faithful partner of France in Africa. So, he had been able to entrench and endear himself to leaders of all political parties in France, to the point that he was able to win all elections. So, you have multi-party democracy, but he constantly won the elections, though they were not transparent, free and fair. There is this contradiction in France foreign policy to its colonies. On one hand, French leadership supports multi-party system and rule of law, but on the ground in the colonies, those principles are not implemented. And because the late Eyadema had friends across different political formations in France, he was able to get away with it, which is why they are in this crisis now.
Is the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) not a contributor to the crisis, as one would have expected that they would step in to ensure compliance with the 2016 constitution review and getting the Assembly’s backing?

Of all ECOWAS countries, Nigeria is the most influential. It has the biggest economy; biggest military force and you see what Nigeria did in The Gambia. But Nigeria has never done that for Togo. Ghana wanted to, but it does not have the political and military clout to deal with Togolese succession crisis. Nigeria has always been silent. The little Nigeria did was to say that election must hold, when Obasanjo was in office. It did not go far to say that a constitution must be in place for a two-term maximum. If that had been done, the issue would not have happened.

In the geo-political configuration of ECOWAS, members will only go the way Nigeria goes and this has been demonstrated. Nigeria is the highest financial contributor and ECOWAS headquarters is in Nigeria. It is only when Nigeria moves that others follow and that is what happened with The Gambia. Senegal could not do anything.

Are you saying some forces within Nigeria are contributing to the crisis in Togo?
Yes, I will say so. This is because unlike in The Gambia’s case, when we said no, we didn’t want this, no action is being taken on Togo. We intervened in Liberia and Sierra Leone, when their internal crises was about to spill over, but when it comes to Togo, there are some internal forces in Nigeria that are friendly and in support of Eyadema’s regime.

And what do you think is the interest?
There is a very powerful Togolese political lobby in the Nigerian political landscape. And do not forget that the late Eyadema was one of the founders of ECOWAS. He had been friends with Gowon and successive governments after Gowon. Maybe, his son does not have that influence, but the father had.
What is the future of Togolese political landscape? There was a time the father had issues just like the son is having now, but the former got away with it.

Are we going to have a repeat?
When a crisis starts and it is not resolved fundamentally, it disappears temporarily, but reappears again. That is what is happening in Togo, and if care is not taken, that country will go into a civil war. It is time for ECOWAS to step in, to say look, let us do this: Faure Eyadema is at the end of his second term, so let us have a new constitution that says any president can stay in power for a period of five years and not renewable after a second term. If this is done now, they can now negotiate a settlement for Faure to contest again, but will not re-contest again after this last outing. This could be done as a middle of the road agreement and then the place will calm down. And it will be made clear that, if he contests and wins, he will not return again and this will break the Eyadema’s family stronghold on the country. If not, the crisis may become so bad that the country may implode. There is need to have a middle of the road agreement.

The sit-tight syndrome is the norm in Africa. Looking at Faure’s reformation posture, when he assumed power, don’t you think seeing previous leaders before retained power at all cost encouraged him to also want to stay put?
He deceived the international communities and Africa. He gave the impression that one of the things he wouldn’t do is behave like his father. But you only know people when they get to power, and not before. A man or woman becomes a liberator or an oppressor, when he gets to power, and that is when you know the nature of his regime. Also, in many African countries, incumbent presidents don’t have the intention of leaving. The only opposition to a life president is death.

What geo-political setting gave the Eyadema family the upper hand to have remained in government for over 50 years?
If you look at Africa’s post independence history, the late Eyadema was one of the few leaders that captured power and stayed in power. In the 50s and 60s, the notion of spending two terms in power and leaving was not there. You stayed in power as long as you wanted. And if you look at Nigeria, it is the internal dynamics and contradictions that forced some people out of power. Gowon did not want to leave, Shagari was removed by a coup, Babangida did not also want to leave, when election was conducted, he scuttled it. That culture of you must spend two terms was not yet ingrained into Africa’s political culture. I do not see why the likes of Paul Kagame and Museveni are still in power. It retards progress and promotes under-development, because the resources meant for education and vocational training is spent on promoting dictatorship.

The biggest problem Africa is facing since 1492, when it had contact with Europe, is that we have simply remained a continent that supplies raw materials and nothing else. The transformation of these raw materials in Africa has not been realised simply because, even after independence, African leaders have not invested heavily in education and vocational training, like it is done outside. If you invest three or four percent of the budget on education and vocational training, what are you going to achieve?

This is what is happening in Nigeria, with almost ten million out-of-school children, which is one of the highest in the world. This is aside the fact that half of our population cannot read and write. These are potentials for economic development. You can only reverse it, if you invest heavily in education and vocational training, just like in South Korea. We are not doing that; we are only perpetuating leaders, spending money to perpetuate rulers. That is the tragedy of Africa.

And Togo is an example; it spends about three percent on education and vocational training, but look at the money it spends on armed forces, which is about 50 percent of the budget. So, there cannot be development.

Do you see external forces’ conspiracy in this? What sense is in it, if you spend less on education and much on military and security, which is sourced externally?
Yes, a bit of foreign conspiracy, but mainly because African leaders have decided to under-develop Africa. We need to be saying that, because this is 50 years after independence. And they are under-developing Africa to promote their longevity in power.

Ironically, in spite of the huge budget on security, Africa states are not able to fight terrorism because they are under-equipped and the armies are like that of the 60s, while the terrorists are very sophisticated, in terms of intelligence and arms. And we are now being haunted by the neglect and under-funding of education and vocational training. This is what is playing out.

If you look at the education and vocational budget of those countries that are helping us, it is very high. They have well-equipped personnel, as well as well-funded armed and ammunition institutions that are up to date.

Are Togolese not also guilty, especially for being so tolerant of tyrants and sit-tight leaders’ excesses?
I would not agree, because from time to time, there have been protests and revolts over corrupt and indolent leadership. Citizens have not considered these leaders as people that cannot be changed. There have been crises, showing displeasure for leadership styles on the continent.

Unfortunately, however, when you switch on the television, you see hundreds of African youths wanting to leave the continent to go to Europe. This is a product of leadership failure, because they cannot see hope in their countries. This is a continent that is one of the richest in the world. There is no type of raw material that is not in abundance in the continent, but what are our leaders doing about them?

Yes, there might be followership conspiracy, but fundamentally, the buck stops at the doors of our rulers. Look at how our revenues are being stolen and taken abroad.

You talked of revenue, which is about the economy. If you look at countries with sit-tight leaders, they rely on external assistance for sustenance of their economies. Is the unhealthy state of the economy not playing a role in all of these crises?
We need to move away from those classical theories. In the 1960s, South Korea and Nigeria were at the same level of development, but South Korean leadership, without any political revolution, decided that they must spend a huge sum of their budget on education and vocational training and it has moved from four per cent to about 56 per cent. And the result? We have Kia, Daewoo and industrial gadgets, among others. Since 1960, Nigeria is still a country of raw materials with mono economy.

In that kind of situation, you cannot industrialise and become independent of external forces. If you have money and don’t spend it on education and vocational training, definitely you will not reap where you didn’t sow. If you spend three per cent of the budget on education and 60 per cent on the political class, what do you expect to get? You only get under-development.

But I want us to move away from the thinking that it is external forces. Yes, they exist, but the internal forces must be the engines for development. If a leader says, as recommended by UNESCO, I will spend 26 per cent of the budget on education and vocational training; 10 years after, you will see the result.

We are just stagnating. And because we fail to do the right thing, our future generation is doing anything possible to go to Europe that is in crises. This is because we have refused to do the needful. It is pathetic for a continent that is so rich. I won’t even accept all these claims that Niger and Chad are very poor, because there are human beings living there, just like there are material resources in the countries. It is because of the way the resources are being managed that is responsible for their being qualified as poor countries.

African leaders meet at different occasions, whether on regional basis or centrally, yet its structure, including the Africa Peer Review mechanism, has not been able to check their excesses…
To really evaluate the political system in Africa, we need to look into the percentage spent on education and vocational training. It is a very important index. If you spend 15 per cent on education and vocational training and increase it every year, it means you are moving into production of the much-needed manpower to transform raw materials into industrial finished products. Right now, we are not adding wealth to what is on ground. What is the whole basis of exporting gas and petrol to South Korea, when we were at the same level in 1960? It is simply that we have not got it right and not invested in education and vocational training.

This, for me, is a big indication. As long as we do not invest in education and vocational training, we cannot maximally exploit the benefits of our raw materials. We only wait for transfer of technology, which is propaganda. Send your people to school, invest heavily in education and vocational training and you will see people performing wonders. This century is driven by knowledge of economy and digital revolution.

The whole idea of education has dramatically changed. You go to school to acquire knowledge, as well as for skills. You are studying physics, but you must also learn how to be either a carpenter or hairdresser or mechanic, so that you realise your full potentialities as a human being. You have a skill and your brain is functioning, that is the modern concept of education. Korea and Japan are doing that. China and Germany are also doing it. It is not just mono way of acquiring education. Let me give you an example. There are two sectors booming in Nigeria today: Nollywood and hip-pop. These two sectors are populated by graduates, who did not read theatre arts or music. What they have done is that, because they have trained their mind, anything they put their hands on, they could learn. If you do that in the university before leaving, there would have been a better transformation of Nigeria’s economy. 

Don’t you think ECOWAS and AU need to take a stand to say Faure Eyadema must leave, not minding possible humiliation to the Eyadema dynasty? Wouldn’t this send signal to other sit-tight leaders?
You need France and Nigeria to do that. AU will only follow Nigeria and France’s position. If today, Paris mounts pressure on Eyadema to promulgate into law the new constitution, that is the end of the game. If Nigeria says, promulgate the new law so that it becomes an act of parliament, Nigeria will have to seek Paris’ cooperation and understanding to make that a reality. So, it is a question of Paris and Abuja making the move.

The tragedy about Africa is that we have rulers who still behave, even with elections, like kings. You know a king is never replaced until he dies. That is what we are facing in Africa. And until there is a struggle to entrench the new position, it will not come like that. No human being will give up his/her privileges without a fight. Democracy and human rights did not come without a struggle. Change in Africa would only come through a struggle. And where there is struggle, there is no liberation.

The attitude of sit-tight African leaders can be checked, but it is a question of the will of the civil societies, to say we have gone through this path before and enough is enough.

Posted On Sunday, 17 September 2017 13:01 Written by

The South East Governors’ Forum has announced the proscription of activities of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

Arising from its emergency meeting on Friday in Enugu, Chairman of the forum, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi requested the group and other of such groups to articulate their grievances and send to the forum.

Umahi appealed to all governors in the zone to ensure compliance with the directive in their various states and for the Federal Government to withdraw the troops in the zone.

Umahi said: “All activities of IPOB are, hereby, proscribed. IPOB and all other aggrieved groups are advised to articulate their position on all national issues.

“Such should be submitted to the committee of governors, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and National Assembly members from the South East zone through the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum,” he said.

The Ebonyi governor said that the forum believed in the unity and indivisibility of the country and reinforced their desire for the restructuring of the country.

“We reinforce our desire for the restructuring of Nigeria where all national issues will be discussed and amicably settled to achieve justice and fairness to every Nigerian.

“Accordingly, we appeal to President Muhammad Buhari to, please, withdraw the military in the South East zone, while police perform their traditional role of maintaining law and order,” he said.

Umahi said that the forum was in touch with their northern counterparts “who have assured us of the safety of our people living in the north and we have also planned for exchange of visits to reinforce confidence.

“We wish to assure Nigerians that full investigation is ongoing on all allegations of killings, maiming and other unlawful conduct in the zone within this period,” he said.

He said that appropriate actions would be taken against those found culpable.

Umahi said that governors in the zone had taken adequate measures to protect the lives and property of indigenes and non-indigenes and urged northern governors to do same in their respective states.

“We advise all residents of the zone to go about their normal businesses as governments of each state is committed to protecting everybody,“ he said.

The governor said that all those invited for the meeting were present except the leadership of IPOB that sent in their apologies.

At the meeting were governors of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu while Imo was represented by the deputy governor.

Other notable personalities that attended the meeting were the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Maj.-Gen. Adamu Abubakar and the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo.

Posted On Saturday, 16 September 2017 00:41 Written by

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it has seized14 properties located in “choice areas” of Abuja traced to the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Bala Mohammed, and his son, Shamsuddeen.

The EFCC stated this in a court application filed by one of its prosecutors, Mr. Ben Ikani.

The application, filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on September 11, 2017,   sought the interim forfeiture of the properties.

The anti-graft agency stated that although it had “recovered and seized” the properties, they could not be forfeited to the Federal Government without a court order.

The EFCC stated that both Mohammed and his son “have denied ownership and connection” to the properties.

But the commission maintained that “preliminary investigation has revealed that the properties listed on the schedule are unlawfully acquired through corrupt practices by the former minister and his son while in office as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.”

The properties, according to the EFCC, included one “mansion” located at Sunrise Estate, Asokoro, Abuja; and three sets of four-bedroomed semi-detached duplex at Green Acres Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja.

Others were two sets of four-bedroomed fully-detached duplexes each with boys’ quarters on Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, a trekable distance to Transcorps Hilton Hotel Abuja.

Also listed as part of the seized properties was a four-bedroomed detached duplex with boys’ quarters located at 9, Platinum Luxury Home White Estate, Asokoro, Abuja.

Title documents attached to the EFCC’s application stated that some of the facilities in some of properties included “excellent road and drainage network; dedicated transformer; borehole for constant water supply; fitted kitchen, bedroom cabinet and wardrobes; ample parking space; and children playing ground.”

The rest of the properties are plots of land in six different locations in Abuja.

Some of the plots of land were said to be  located at Karasana West, Abuja, measuring 84,657.30 square metres; Industrial Area 1 Extension, Abuja, measuring 1.45Ha; and Guzape, Abuja measuring 2.7Ha.

Others were located at Industrial Area 1 Extension, Abuja, measuring 1.26Ha; Karasana West, Abuja measuring 64,507m2; and Dakibiyu, Abuja measuring 1,251.15m2.

Already, the EFCC is prosecuting the former minister before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, on six corruption-related charges, and his son, Shamsuddeen, before the Federal High Court, Abuja, on 15 counts of money laundering and failure to declare some assets.

 

The charges against Shamsuddeen involve about N1.1bn.

Two high courts in Abuja had in February ordered the former minister and his son to forfeit 10 properties located in Jabi, Garki, Maitama and Jahi and other areas of Abuja.

But the EFCC stated in its fresh application that “the crux of this application is that the respondents are being investigated for offences bordering on abuse of office, land scams, corruption and corrupt practices, money laundering and diversion of revenue of government while being the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”

It also stated that the properties traced to the father and son were “reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and crimes, kept and concealed in the names of the proxies and nominees of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohmmed, and his son, Shamsuddeen Bala Mohammed, and for their benefit.”

According to the EFCC, the properties were held in the names of different companies and one Maimuna S. Aliyu.

The commission described Aliyu as Bala’s proxy allegedly used to acquire the houses 1A and 2A of No. 7 Gana Street Maitama, Abuja.

The companies, in whose names some of the properties were said to be held, are Intertrans Global Logistics/Bird Trust Agloallied Limited, Gal Vac Mining Limited, and Diakin Telecommunication Limited.

Giving the details of its investigation, the EFCC maintained that the former minister and his son are the owners of the of Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, Bal-Vac Mining Ltd, Bird Trust Nig Ltd and Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, and Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd  in whose names some the properties were acquired.

The commission also alleged that Bala, while in office as the FCT minister, appointed one JemilaTangaza as Special Assistant and, thereafter, Director of Abuja Geographic Information System (A018) “to facilitate fraudulent allocations of plots of land to her and her proxies and nominees in choice areas.”

The commission alleged that the plots of lands were sold and their “proceeds laundered in the acquisition of some of these houses like House No 9 Plantinurn White Estate Abuja, acquired in the name of Mohammed Musa.”

It said Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd was linked to the son of the former minister, Shamsuddeen.

The affidavit filed in support of the forfeiture application read in part, “That investigation revealed that the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, and his son are the owners and beneficiaries of Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, which they used to acquire House FS1A, Green Acres Estte, Apo-Dutse, Abuja, and  No. FS1B Green Acres Estte, Apo-Dutse, Abuja, while Senator Bala Mohammed was Minister of Federal Capital Territory. A copy of the sales agreement between Abuja Investment Company Limited with Diakin Telecommunication Ltd in respect of the houses at FS1A and FS1B is hereby annexed and marked as exhibits EFCC A1 and 2.

“That investigation equally revealed that the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Senator Bala Mohammed, and his son used a company known as Diakin Telecommunication Ltd to corruptly acquire Plot N0; 32 Cadastral Zone D06 Karsana West, Abuja; Plot 1420 Cadastral Zone B10, Dakibiyu and Plot 1261 Cadastral Zone C16 Industrial Area 1 Extension Abuja. Copies of C of O dated 11/6/2013, 06/04/2013 and 06/09/2014 issued by the FCT minister in the name of Diakin Telecommunication Ltd is hereby annexed and marked as exhibit EFCC A3, 4 &5 respectively.

“That investigation revealed that the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Senator Bala Mohammed, and his son are the owners and beneficiaries of Bal-Vac Mining Ltd, Bird Trust Nig Ltd and Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd which they used to acquire houses and plots of land in choice areas in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, particularly Houses 1A and 2A of No. 7 Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja; House FS2B Green Acres Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja, respectively. A copy of the Sub-Lease Agreement in respect of houses number 1A, 2A & FS2B is hereby annexed and marked as Exhibits EFCC A 6, 7 and 8 respectively.”

Posted On Friday, 15 September 2017 12:35 Written by
  • There are Nigerians who haven’t been paid for six months, says President
  • Governors got yesterday a subtle rebuke from the President.
  • He urged them to ensure payment of salaries to workers and pension to retirees.

The Federal Government has released N760.17 billion in two tranches of the Paris Club loan refund to states for outstanding salaries and pensions but some governors are believed to have spent the cash on other things.

President Muhammadu Buhari told traditional rulers at a meeting in Abuja that he was “living with the problems of this country day-by-day, and mostly those of the ordinary people”.

“There are Nigerians that haven’t been paid for six months; there are Nigerians that have not been paid their retirement benefits for years.

“I’m appealing to the governors (that was why we voted money; we borrowed money), please make sure anybody under you, pay them because most of them depend on that salary to pay rent, school fees,’’ he said.

He stressed that the mismanagement of the national revenue over the years was responsible for the economic challenges facing the nation.

Buhari promised to pursue programmes and projects that would better the lot of Nigerians. Nigeria, he said, should use its huge population to advantage.

The President spoke also on security, saying all hands were on deck to secure the country.

On unity, he said: “We know our limitations, we have to continue to strengthen our constitution, to strengthen the resolve of our people to live together, work together.

On agriculture and this year’s planting season, Buhari said: “We are lucky this year than last year and this year the rainy season is good. If it were not good I must confide in you that I was considering which country to run to.

“But God answered the prayers of many Nigerians. The rainy season last year was good and this year, with the report I’m getting, it is good. We thank God for that; otherwise, there would have been a lot of problems in this country.”

Members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria were led to the meeting by Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar III, who thanked God for bringing the President back in sound health. He urged the President to tighten his belt and take on the mantle of leadership.

He said with a monarch from each of the gropolitical zone assuring Buhari of their support, the President should take their comments as honest and the tonic he needed to work hard for the nation.

He said: “We will continue to preach peace and stability, justice, transparency and accountability and anti-corruption.”

One traditional ruler each from the six goe-political zones spoke at the meeting.

For the Southwest, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwunsi, thanked God for the President’s safe return and for restoring him to good  health. Buhari was away in London for medical reasons. He spent 103 days.

He said: “From the Southwest, we thank God for your life and we pledge  to support you from our communities because we are closer to our people. We will continue to preach to our people that we should continue to foster peace in our country. We will continue to caution our youths against hate speeches.

“We cannot leave the development of the country all to the government but we have to work hand in hand. We assure you that we will support all your initiatives.”

For the Northwest the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the traditional rulers identified with Buhari’s commitment to national security.

For the Southsouth, the Jaja of Opobo said: “We express our commitment to your programmes.

“We know there is tension here and there, but as traditional rulers, we don’t eat politics. The economy has to be fixed. Coming from the region that produces the mainstay of the economy, even though the country will soon diversify the economy, before we diversify let’s protect the one that we still have.

“We are pleased to work for peace and stability of the region so that we can all see the benefits of the commodity.”

For Northcentral, the Gbom Gwom Jos, Jacob Buba Gyang, also thanked God for  bringing the President back to celebrate Sallah with fellow Nigerians.

He said: “The issues of health and security are not issues to play politics with, but issues in which we should put heads together so that the country can progress.

“We commend your efforts on security and agriculture.

“Few days ago, just when we thought peace had returned to the plateau up, it was truncated with the attack on Ancha village in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State, leading to 20 deaths.”

Gyang praised the President for ordering the security agencies to fish out those responsible for the attacks.

Speaking for the Southeast, South East Traditional Council Chairman Eberechi Dick  said: “Our hearts are full of joy that you are back. You shook our hands when you came in and that shows you believe in one Nigeria. We prayed for you and you are back. We prayed for you because your agenda for Nigeria is good.

“As your children, when we cry, it is for you to ask us to stop crying, that you will fix whatever is making us cry like the bad roads.”

Speaking for the Northeast, the Lamido Adamawa, said Nigerians were happy to have the President back to the country hale and hearty.

“God brought you back to Nigeria and we are all very happy. We will continue to pray for God to strengthen you more and give you the courage to continue to do more for the country,” he said.

Posted On Tuesday, 12 September 2017 02:15 Written by
 

A group, Buhari Support Organisation, Enugu State Chapter, on Sunday demanded the resignation of the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, for saying that President Muhammadu Buhari promised to stay in office for only one term.

Alhassan recently declared that she would back a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, for the presidency in 2019, rather than the incumbent, Buhari.

Claiming that Buhari had earlier vowed to serve only one term, the minister promised to quit if the President decides to seek re-election. 

Reacting to the development, the pro-Buhari group, Buhari Support Organisation, said Alhassan should, without any delay, resign her appointment as a minister in Buhari’s cabinet.

Chairman of BSO, Enugu State, Chief Anike Nwoga, in a statement made available to journalists, said the minister was not loyal to Buhari’s administration.

“We know Atiku Abubakar is her godfather but it is difficult for us to comprehend why she should make such an outburst against President Buhari.

“Her outburst clearly shows her disloyalty to the Buhari government and so we see no reason why she should remain in office as minister.

“She should be honourable enough to resign and face Atiku Abubakar’s 2019 campaign,” Nwoga said.

The group went ahead to declare that Buhari never told Nigerians that he would only stay one term in office.

Nwoga noted that Buhari requires two terms in office in order to effectively address the problems in the country, which he said were created by the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Before the 2015 presidential election, there was no day the issue of one term was discussed.

“Rather, from day one, we had always known that the rot left behind by the successive Peoples Democratic Party regimes was deep and that President Muhammadu Buhari needed eight years in order to cleanse the Augean Stable.

“He needs to consolidate the war against corruption, address insecurity in the land and also consolidate the foundation for economic prosperity.

“Women Affairs Minister, Alhassan, has the inalienable right to support anybody of her choice for president in 2019 but President Muhammadu Buhari should complete his second term,” the group added.

The Buhari Support Organisation, in the same vein, faulted former Vice President, Abubakar’s claims that he was sidelined, after contributing to Buhari’s emergence as President in 2015.

Nwoga pointed out that Abubakar nominated several persons in Buhari’s administration.

“How could Atiku Abubakar say he was sidelined when he nominated Hajia Alhassan and a host of his loyalists into the Federal Executive Council and other important offices?” the group wondered.

Posted On Sunday, 10 September 2017 16:24 Written by
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