Thursday, 21 November 2019
Items filtered by date: December 2018

Nigeria’s former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, is dead. Shagari died at the Abuja National hospital after a brief illness.

His death was disclosed in a tweet made by his grandson, Bello Shagari, Friday evening.

Bello  wrote in his tweet: “I regret announcing the death of my grandfather, H.E Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who died right now after a brief illness at the National Hospital, Abuja.
 
Shagari served as the first and only President of Nigeria’s Second Republic between 1979–1983, after the handover of power by General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military government.

He was later overthrown in a coup by Muhammadu Buhari.

Published in News & Stories

Of the $1 billion approved by the National Assembly for the procurement of military equipment, $877 million has been released, The Nation has learnt.

There has been some controversy over the whereabouts of the money.

Immediately after the Metele, Borno State attacks on the military last month, the controversy got bigger. Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai said the military had not received such cash from the government to boost the anti-Boko Haram and other campaigns.

However, The Nation can confirm that $496,374,470 was released from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the purchase of Super Tucano aircraft from the United States. The payment has been made.

Besides, $380,513,958.71 was released (as first tranche) for the procurement of critical equipment for the Army, the Navy and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), a source said.

These releases along with other deductions may have contributed to the depletion of the ECA from $3.502 billion in January to $631 million in December 2018.

Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed attributed the “rapid” depletion of the ECA to payments made to the military as approved by the National Assembly.

A source in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) confirmed to The Nation that $876m had since been released to the military. But the source did not give the exact date when the payout was made.

The source also disclosed that the ECA had an opening balance of $3.502 billion in January 2018, made up of $2.451 billion as balance brought forward on the January 1, 2018 and additional inflows of $1.052 billion.

In the course of the year, the source said that $1.761 billion was withdrawn from the ECA as refund to state governments for Paris Club deductions made in the past from the state governments accounts. Besides, $0.233 million was withdrawn and paid to state governments as grants to fund their Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) obligations.

These deductions brought the ECA down to over $600 million balance as at the last Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja.

Gen Buratai did not categorically say how much the military was expecting from the government but said that the government had not released funds to the military to effectively prosecute the war against insurgents across the country.

A member of the Senate Committee on Defence said it was not aware that the fund had been released.

He spoke of how some members of the committee made inquiries, but were not told that part of the $1 billion had been released.

He said: “We are actually in the dark as far as the issue is concerned. It is an important issue. When the Chief of Army Staff said they had not received the money as approved by the National Assembly, some of us made enquiries.

“May be because of the security nature of the fund, the authorities may not want details of the releases to be known. We will definitely follow up, although it may not be for public consumption because of the security implications.”

“We may have to invite relevant authorities to brief us,” the senator, who did not want his identity disclosed, told one of our reporters.

The House of Representatives is investigating the whereabouts of the $1 billion appropriated for the procurement of arms and equipment in the fight against Boko Haram in the Northeast and general insecurity.

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of $1 billion for the procurement of security equipment.

Published in Headliners

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor Dr. Goodluck Jonathan were among the army of dignitaries who were in Sokoto yesterday to commiserate with the family of former Second Republic President Shehu Shagari.

Alhaji Shagari, who passed away on Friday at the National Hospital in Abuja, will be immortalised in due course, President Buhari said.

Dr. Jonathan was accompanied by Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the presidential running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi and other PDP chieftains.

The planned immortalisation of the late president was conveyed in a letter routed through Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to the family.

The letter, read by the governor during the visit, stated: “I received the very sad news of the passing away of Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“This, indeed, is a grievous loss, which will be felt throughout Nigeria, irrespective of any difference. The late Alhaji Shagari was a landmark figure being virtually our last link to the post-independence government of Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and the first elected Executive President of Nigeria.

“Please convey to his immediate family, the government and the people of Sokoto State my heartfelt condolences on the passing away of this great statesman.

“The Federal Government will in due course institute a suitable memorial to the late former President.

“May his soul rest in peace.”

President Buhari was received in Sokoto at the airport by Tambuwal and his Kebbi State counterpart Abubakar Bagudu as well as Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and other APC leaders in the state.

He was at the Sama Road Sokoto residence of the deceased to commiserate with family members, led by the late Shagari’s eldest and district head of Shagari, Alhaji Bala Shagari, former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa, former Transport Minister Yusuf Sulaiman and traditional rulers among others.

However, the President was ushered into the sitting room of the late President where he condoled with the family members, including the deceased widows.

Buhari described the late President as a “Landmark figure”, being virtually our last link with the first independent government and the first executive elected President of Nigeria.

“Please convey to his immediate family, the people and the government of Sokoto State our heartfelt condolences on the passing away of this great nationalist.

“The Federal Government will in due course institute a suitable memorial to the late former President. Please accept our conferences.”

Responding, eldest son of the late former President, Bala Shagari, thanked President Buhari for the visit despite his tight schedule.

Tambuwal commended the President for the condolence visit. In the same vein, special prayer was offered for the repose of the soul of the late President by Prof Shehu Galadanci.

Galadanci also prayed Allah to grant President Buhari more wisdom and strength in order to continue with the good work he has started.

Jonathan said the late Alhaji Shagari played a key role in the development of Nigeria and the democratic system.

He said: “A unique habit of the late former President, which only those who interacted with him will tell is, he was a very simple and humble man in spite of the various positions he held.

“He possessed a very clean and good heart which he showed clearly in his life time thorough various engagements and activities.

“We are mourning today however, we are still happy because it is not easy to reach the age of 93.

“I believe he has done all the works Allah has asked him to do on earth.”

The former president urged family members of the deceased to be happy because their father impacted on all Nigerians.

Obi, who represented the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, urged Nigerians to emulate the lifestyle of the late former president for the betterment of the country.

The late Shagari’s eldest son thanked Dr. Jonathan for the visit, recalling the concern and solidarity shown by the former president when their father was ill.

The governorship candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) in Zamfara State, Sen. Sa’idu Dansadau, also described Shagari’s death as a great loss to the country, Africa and the whole world at large.

Visitors who thronged the residence of the former President included a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, among others.

Published in Business and Economy

A first half of cavalier attacking football saw United score three times, with Paul Pogba netting his second double in successive games and Marcus Rashford grabbing the other against Bournemouth.

They are now only three points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having trailed by eight following the morale-sapping 3-1 defeat at Liverpool earlier this month.

Pogba poked in his first after Rashford had mesmerised both Nathan Ake and Diego Rico on the right, before the French World Cup winner headed in from Ander Herrera’s precise delivery.

It was 3-0 when Anthony Martial, back in the XI after recovering from a bug, provided a wonderful delivery for Rashford to slide his shot past Asmir Begovic.

Bournemouth, who had looked dangerous on set-pieces, pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time when Ake headed in following good work by David Brooks.

Substitute Romelu Lukaku scored United’s fourth from Pogba’s pass two minutes after coming on, while defender Eric Bailly was shown a straight red card for scything down Cherries midfielder Ryan Fraser.

United, who have now found the net 12 times in the three matches since Solskjaer took over, will look to continue their dramatic revival at Newcastle on Wednesday, BBC reports.

Published in Sports

Mr. Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has fired back at Barrister Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, for saying his principal should have been in jail over corruption charges.

Keyamo had in a lengthy statement on Wednesday night stated that had Atiku not been a beneficiary of the slow system in the country, he should have been sent to jail before May 2015 when Buhari came to power.

Responding to Keyamo’s statement on Thursday in a tweet, Ibe said had Nigeria a working system, President Muhammadu Buhari should have been killed long ago for overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari in 1983.

In his tweet, Ibe stated: ”Festus Keyamo should be careful what he brings on himself and APC campaign. If Nigeria had a working system, Muhammadu Buhari should have been executed for overthrowing a democratically elected government in 1983.”

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar fired the first salvo when he blamed Buhari for the slow progress in the fight against corruption.

The PDP presidential candidate was responding to President Buhari’s admission that the fight against corruption in the country has been slow because of the Nigerian system of doing things.

“Fighting corruption. Yes, we are slow because the system is slow. It’s not Baba that is slow but it is the system so I am going by this system and I hope we will make it,” Buhari said.

“I told you what I did when I was in uniform but now when I have to go by this system (Democracy,) where people have to be arrested and then prosecuted, taken to court and then with evidence.”

“I am going slowly but whatever the case, I will not stop pointing fingers at those who have abused trust by taking money that does not belong to them,” Buhari added.

The president said his decision to play by democratic rules of government has made critics nickname him “Baba go slow”.

“We will collect back what they had taken illegally and for doing that, people are calling me ‘Baba go slow’.”

Published in Business and Economy

The All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday said the  Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar is exhibiting early signs of depression, resulting from obvious frustration, making him unable to focus on his campaign.

The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Lanre Issa-Onilu said Atiku should tell Nigerians why a discredited person like him should be elected as President instead of raising puerile allegations on a daily basis.

“President Muhammadu Buhari and APC, not his programmes for the country, appear to be his main campaign issues. Nigerians are desirous of campaign that focuses on issues that matter to them. For Atiku and his PDP co-travellers, the only interest is to grab power and continue where they stopped in their avarice.

“The APC administration is eager to showcase the impressive achievements we have recorded in the last three and half years. This is the campaign that matters to us and this is what Nigerians are interested in.

“The trajectory is exciting as we see a brighter future shaping up. We won’t yield to the PDP’s shenanigans. The obvious strategy of the PDP is to truncate the country’s journey towards economic buoyancy and social stability. We will not play the PDP’s game.”

The statement said PDP is acting an anti-people’s script, saying that Buhari remained unshaken by the desperate efforts being made by Atiku and the PDP to blackmail the APC government, as everyone who was involved in corrupt practices would be brought to justice.

It added that PDP is not offering any alternative to the progressive course this government is pursuing, saying that “it is actually apparent that the party is not contesting the 2019 elections to redeem itself, least of doing any good for the country.”

“PDP simply wants to seize power to escape justice for the grievous crimes committed against the people of this country. Nigerians won’t be fooled by the rapacious PDP gang. Never,” he said.

 

Published in Headliners
Friday, 28 December 2018 03:00

The Nation is Newspaper of The Year

The Nation” is the best newspaper in the land. And it is official.

This newspaper last night won the star prize, the Babatunde Jose Prize for the Newspaper of the Year at the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA) 2018.

“Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper”, beat “The Punch” and “The Guardian” to clinch the award.

It won five NMMA in Power Reporting, Capital Market Reporting, Money Market Reporting, Innovative Reporting and  Newspaper of the Year.

This newspaper was runner-up in 16 categories, namely: Power Reporter of the Year, Agriculture Reporter of the Year, Culture and Tradition Reporter of the Year, Gani Fawehinmi prize for Human Rights Reporter of the Year, Foreign Reporter of the Year, Defence Reporter of the Year, Tourism Reporter of the Year, News Photographer of the Year, Banking and Finance Reporter of the Year, Oil and Gas Reporter of the Year, Most Innovative Reporter of the Year, Investigative Reporter of the Year, Newspaper Reporter of The Year and Editor of the Year.

Chukwuemeka Ugwuanyi opened the door of awards  with his entry “Power headache: will it ever get the right pill?”

The entry won the Peter Odili prize for Power Reporter of the Year, beating The Nation’s Taiwo Adebulu and The Punch’s Toluwani Eniola.

Multiple award winner Collins Nweze followed with the Access Bank Prize for Capital Market Reporter of the Year.

Nweze’s two entries: “Sukuk bonds…grassroots investors golden chance” and “Small businesses groan as T-Bills, bonds grab attention” were winner and first runner-up respectively. Both entries trumped New Telegraph’s Ugwu Christopher Ndubuisi’s.

Collins also shone in the UBA Prize for money market Reporter of the Year category with two entries. They are: “AMCON: restorer of businesses (1)” and “Taxation: Endless games…Endless controversies”.

New Telegraph’s Ugwu was third best in the category.

Duru Ekene Innocent received the baton and coasted home with another award with two entries in the 9 Mobile Prize Most Innovative Reporter of the Year.

Innocent’s entries that dusted Gabriel Sunkanmi Olawale of Vanguard’s are: “Paedophiles on the prowl” and “We’ll rather perish in the desert”.

New Telegraph newspaper won 12 awards, The Punch won five awards, NigerianTribune won two awards, while Vanguard and BusinessDay won one award each.

Television Continental (TVC) beat rivals Channels Television to win the Television Station of the Year.

The Nation’s runners-up in 16 categories were: Taiwo Adelabu in the Power Reporter of the Year category won by Ugwuanyi.

Oyesina Fadare was first and second runner-up in the Bukola Saraki prize for Agriculture Reporter of the Year.

The category was won by New Telegraph’s Omoniyi Oluwatosin with an entry titled: “Women of calloused hands, financial power.”

Oladesu E Olaniran’s entry in the Olagunsoye Oyinlola Prize for Culture and Tradition Reporter of the Year, was beaten by New Telegraph’s “Tribal Marks: Our identity, our pride.”

Wale Ajetunmobi and Olatunji Ololade were neck and neck in the Gani Fawehinmi prize for Human Rights Reporter of the Year, a category won by Mojeed Alabi of New Telegraph.

His entry was “El-zakzaky: Hurting memories of a massacre.”

Ajetunmobi was also runner-up in the Foreign Reporter of the Year category won by New Telegraph’s Ogunbanke Temitope.

Ololade also gave the Defence Reporter of the Year a shot, but was runner-up to New Telegraph’s Juliana Francis whose entry ‘Why I stood naked at naval gate’ clinched the prize. Isioma Madike also of New Telegraph was second runner-up.

Okorie Uguru left Saturday Sun’s Musa Jubril in Second runner up place, but lost the Tourism Reporter of the Year Award to Nigerian Tribune’s Newton-Ray Ukwuoma.

Ukwuoma’s entry was ‘Badagry: Descendants of foremost slave merchant now lives in cells he built for slaves’.

Last year’s winner Abiodun Williams of The Nation lost his crown to The Punch’s Obasa Olatunji Dave in the News Photographer of the Year category.

Aside winning the Capital Market and Money Market Reporters of the Year Prizes, Nweze was also first runner up in both categories.

He was also runner-up in the Banking and Finance Reporter of the Year category.

Ugwuanyi’s entry in the Oil and Gas Reporter of the Year category was bested by Vanguard’s Emman Ovuakporie, while Innocent Duru was also runner up in the Most Innovative Reporter of the Year category that he won.

Dorcas Egede gave a tough fight but finished second in the Investigative Reporter of the Year category won by Punch’s Folarin Samson.

Star Judicial correspondent Joseph Jibueze was unlucky this time round, losing out in the Newspaper Reporter of The Year category to Telegraph’s Isioma Madike.

The Nation Editor, Gbenga Omotoso bested Vanguard’s Eze Anaba but lost the Editor of the Year prize to The Punch’s Martin Ayankola.

In the print category, New Telegraph newspaper won 12 awards, The Nation and The Punch tied at five awards, Nigerian Tribune won two awards, while Vanguard and BusinessDay, which was the only nominee in its category, won one award each.

In the Radio category, FRCN won Radio Reporter and Presenter of the Year. Ray Power won the Radio Broadcaster of the Year.

Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1 won Radio Programme of the Year, while Radio Nigeria won the Radio Station of the Year.

LTV 8 clinched the prize for Television Reporter of the Year.

Channels TV was named the TV Newscaster of the Year.

Television Drama of the Year prize went to Silverbird’s Liberty Villa, while TV Continental won TV Station of the Year.

Published in Parliament

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, has retracted his earlier story of speaking with the widow of Lt. Col Ibrahim Sakaba, killed by Boko Haram at Metele last month.

He now said he spoke with the slain soldier’s sister, Maryam.

The PDP candidate had opened himself to widespread derision following his online post that he spoke with Seun, Sakaba’s wife.

But the woman denied she received a phone call from Abubakar and wondered why the 72-year old politician lied.

Abubakar has now set the record straight and apologized for the “erroneous communication”.

Here is Atiku Abubakar’s statement:

”Following the death of Lt. Col Ibrahim Sakaba during the Boko Haram insurgents’ attack on 157 Taskforce Battalion in Metele, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar’s staff has made efforts to get the contact of his widow to enable the former Vice President express his condolences over the loss of the fallen hero.

”Over the weekend, Atiku Abubakar was availed with phone numbers of Mrs. Sakaba and Maryam, younger sister of the late soldier, in the alternative.

”On Sunday, the former Vice President tried albeit unsuccessfully to contact Mrs. Sakaba but was able to eventually speak with Maryam, younger sister of the gallant soldier during which he expressed his deepest condolences to the family.

”However, this communication was erroneously communicated. The error is regretted.”

Atiku Abubakar, however reaffirms his deepest condolences to the Sakaba family, which sacrifices, like those of their brave son, keeps us safe.

Published in News & Stories

The wife of the late Lt. Col Ibrahim Sakaba, has denied claims by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, that he spoke with her on the phone.

Late Sakaba was one of the 44 soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents during an attack on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Borno State last month,

Atiku had claimed on Twitter @Atiku on Sunday that he spoke with the widow of the late soldier.

He wrote: “This Christmas I urge all Nigerians to spare a thought for our military on the frontlines of the war on terror.

“I had cause to telephone Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sakaba’s widow this Yuletide. I am touched by her devotion and love for her husband who paid the supreme sacrifice for Nigeria.”

Atiku Abubakar

@atiku
This Christmas, I urge all Nigerians to spare a thought for our military on the frontlines on the war on terror. I had cause to telephone Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sakaba’s widow this Yuletide. I am touched by her devotion & love for her husband who paid the supreme sacrifice for Nigeria.

The PUNCH however reported on Monday that the widow, Seun, who spoke to their correspondent, said that she never received any call from Atiku.

She wondered why Atiku would tell lies, saying: “Why the lies? I have not received any call from Atiku please,” she said.

Published in Business and Economy

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the temporary forfeiture of 46 properties allegedly belonging to Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, the Deputy Chairman, Finance Committee of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in the 2015 election.

The court order showed that the properties were located in several locations in Abuja, Delta, Enugu and Bayelsa States.

The properties comprise 27 buildings, including a bank, office buildings and houses, at various stages of development and several pieces of undeveloped land.

Some of the properties include: a twin duplex office building – Plot R/151 (No. 30A) Kingsway Road, Old GRA, Enugu State; a parcel of land measuring 4833.241 sq. metres located at Uberi Bush along Mbiama Road, Akenta, Yenegoa, Bayelsa State; and a parcel of land located at Igbandaden Bush, Emeya 2 Town, Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa.

Others include: Properties located at 196, Melford Okilo Road, Amarata-Epie, Yenegoa, Bayelsa State (six units of one bedroom apartments, one unit of five bedroom bungalows, a block of six units of office space); a mansion at 24 Kainji Crescent, Maitama, Abuja and a bank building (former Intercontinental Bank) located at Plot No. 933 Cadastral Zone B01, Gudu District, Abuja

Punch reports that Olejeme, who was the Chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, is wanted in a case of criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering.

The former chairman is alleged to have, along with Mr Umar Munir Abubakar, the former Managing Director of NSITF, mismanaged and diverted well over N69 billion in government funds into their personal accounts through the award of suspicious and bogus contracts to proxy companies.

The suspect, who served as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015, was in June declared wanted for allegedly diverting N69 billion from the agency but turned herself in last Monday.

Olojeme is also the widow to Felix Obuah, the late Chief Security Officer to Jonathan, was said to have fled the country shortly after her sack by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

The suspect, who was also the convener of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme sub-committee on Public Works and Road Rehabilitation, finally reported at the EFCC on Monday after which she was detained.

The NSITF, which was headed by Olojeme, is a social insurance scheme designed to provide compensation to employees who suffer from occupational accidents or diseases in the line of duty. The organisation is funded by deducting 1 per cent from all government and private sector employees enrolled in the scheme.

However, according to documents made available to The PUNCH, Olojeme and some directors in the company allegedly diverted billions of naira including funds meant for the payment of allowances of its staff as well as compensation of contributors

Trouble started for Olojeme shortly after her sack by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

The EFCC subsequently received a petition alleging that over N50bn from the Employee Compensation Scheme fund paid by Ministries Department and Agencies and private companies as well as another N18bn being the contribution of the Federal Government as take-off grants to the NSITF were mismanaged and diverted into the personal accounts of Olojeme and Umar Abubakar, the Managing Director of the NSITF.

The EFCC immediately set up a team of detectives to look into the allegation. The commission looked into the bank account of the NSITF and discovered suspicious transactions and diversion of funds.

Some funds were said to have been traced to accounts of some consultants and contractors who were mainly fronts of Olojeme and other directors in the NSITF.

Published in Headliners
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