Sunday, 21 January 2018

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina says the relationship between Nigeria and China is one that President Muhammadu Buhari cherishes and values highly.

Adesian said this in a statement signed by Mr Abiodun Oladunjoye, a Deputy Director (Information), Presidential Media Office, Abuja.

Oladunjoye said Adesina stated this when he received the Vice Minister of Information of State Council, People’s Republic of China, Mr Guo Weimin who was on an official visit to Nigeria.

According to Adesina, the fact that the Nigerian President cherishes the cooperation between Nigeria and China automatically means that there will always be areas of mutual cooperation between the two countries.

Adesina explained that media organisations from the two countries should profit from the mutual cooperation.

The presidential aide reiterated the readiness of the presidential media team to build on the existing mutual relationship while also exploring other areas of cooperation.

He assured Weimin that the presidential media office would work closely with the Chinese Ministry of Information to explore areas where agreements were signed during the visit.

Adesina expressed optimism that such agreements would enhance the interests of the Nigerian media in particular and the Nigerian Government in general.

Earlier, Weimin said the delegation, comprising officials of the Chinese Government was in Nigeria to explore areas of exchange of ideas toward deepening the relationship between the Chinese and the Nigerian media industry.

He identified New Media, transparency in governance, broadcast communication and socio-cultural values as areas in which the delegation hoped to share ideas with their Nigerian counterparts.

The vice minister, who said Adesina had had a big role to play in deepening the relationship between the two countries solicited his cooperation.

Weimin disclosed that his delegation had interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerian media professionals, to get the first hand information from them on their expectations from the visit of the delegation.

Published in News & Stories

The Federal Government has endorsed a new, unified Healthcare and Life Insurance Scheme for the movie and creative industry in order to enhance access to affordable healthcare services by its members. The government’s endorsement is coming on the heels of calls by a preferred provider of health organisation for implementation of universal health coverage requirements of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

While speaking at the recent launch of Nolly Health Insurance, comprising Life Insurance and Pension Scheme for practitioners in the creative industry in Lagos, the Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, explained that the unified insurance scheme was a bold and commendable initiative.

“Let me quickly assert on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria that the launch of the unified Health /Life Insurance and Pension Scheme (LIPS) is a thing of joy and it gladdens my heart to be associated with it. We shall compliment and back it with full faith and credit of the government under the auspices of Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC),” Maduekwe said.

Maduekwe added that government lauds the film Directors Guilds of Nigeria (DGN) and other guilds and associations for putting in place the insurance scheme for the industry.

Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lagos State, Mrs. Adebimpe Akinsola, stressed that the scheme was long overdue in view of the health challenges, including kidney and heart problems, which had claimed many lives in the industry due to lack of fund for medicare.

She commended the leadership of the movie and creative industry for the laudable programme, explaining that Lagos State Government had planned to establish art theatres in the five geographical zones of the state in order to bring the industry closer to the people.

President, Actors Guild of Nigerian (AGN), Mr. Fred Amata, noted that the initiative was the first collective decision to be taken by the operators in the creative industry to bring into force the imperative of healthy living as a necessary condition for effective and efficient performance of creative artists. Amata urged practitioners to take advantage of unity of purpose to ensure the success of the scheme, saying it has potential to ensure the wellbeing of the practitioners in the industry.

Also, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Pinewood Medicare, Dr. Olasimbo Davidson, described Nolly Health Insurance initiative as historic in view of the deplorable state of Nigeria’s healthcare system. He bemoaned the effects of poverty on access to healthcare services in Nigeria, saying only two per cent of Nigeria’s population could afford pre-paid health coverage.

Davidson, however, called for adoption of a unified approach to solving Nigeria’s healthcare challenges, saying everyone has a right to enjoy high quality healthcare.

Published in Entertainment

Idara Inokon, Miss Nigeria USA contestant representing Akwa Ibom, has emerged winner of Miss Nigeria USA 2017 beauty pageant held on Saturday night into early Sunday morning in New York.

Idara, who was crowned by the out gone holder of the title, Miss Lola Adeoye, beat 13 other contestants to emerge winner.

The new Miss Nigeria USA, who was the fourth to be crowned in the pageant, would cart home $10,000 in prizes, according to Ms Joy Fakhoury, the organisers of the annual beauty pageant.

She would also embark on a pet project that would impact on the less privileged back home in Nigeria.

Each of the contestants represented her culture in the pageant that was meant to promote the richness of Nigerian culture, the diversity of its people, the beauty and intellect of the Nigerian lady and to promote togetherness and unity among Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Miss Ondo – Ayoyemi Ajimatanrareje, emerged the First Runner-up, Miss Lagos – Susan Adeyemi, emerged the Second Runner-up, while Miss Rivers, Lucy Edosomwan, emerged Miss Congeniality, in the keenly contested pageant.

The contestants were tested in intelligence, carriage, beauty, knowledge about Nigeria, Nigerian culture, and planned contributions to Nigeria through a pet project during their reign.

Judges said that they had a hard time determining the winners as all the contestants performed outstandingly.

Fourteen contestants made the finals on Saturday, whom were; Miss Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Rivers States.

The new Miss Nigeria USA, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after her crowning, expressed surprise at her emergence, pledging to devote her reign to impacting the lives of the less privileged in Nigeria.

“I was very surprised, I felt very shaky in the whole competition, you know how nerves get to you but I just said ‘Idara, whatever the outcome, you did your best and so I went out with a smile’.

“I wanted to compete in a different pageant in New York back in April but it happened to be the same weekend as one of my close friend’s.

“And so, I said well, let me reconsider and find a pageant here in the U.S. that has good values and is something I want to stand behind.

“So, when I found Miss Nigeria USA and I found that the pageant was located in New York, I was extremely excited.

“I see it as a moment to share women empowerment and to represent my culture, which is a perfect opportunity. I really want to start to get to work to see how I can serve my community.

“My platform is to create awareness on prevention. As a registered nurse, I do health education on a daily basis.

“It is something I am very passionate about and I believe that if people are educated about their health, they can live healthier lives. So that would be what I would pursue during my reign,” she said.

Inokon, a registered nurse in the U.S., and born to a Nigerian father from Akwa Ibom, graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science and Psychology.

She was also attended the Accelerated Nursing Programme at the University of Delaware and graduated in 2014, and currently a Masters Student in Family Nursing.

The event was attended by many Nigerians across the U.S., Africans and other nationalities resident in America.

Published in Arts & Culture

MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho says he is "keeping his feet on the ground" despite watching his Manchester United team thrash West Ham on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Two goals from new £75 million striker Romelu Lukaku helped United to a 4-0 win at Old Trafford which left Mourinho's side top of the table.

It was United's biggest opening-day win since beating Fulham 5-1 at Old Trafford in 2006 and Mourinho's biggest league win as Red Devils manager. United went on to win the title in the 2006-07 season, ending a four-year drought under Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Mourinho, though, insists he is not getting carried away.

"We finished the [last] season winning the Europa League and qualifying for Champions League," he told a news conference. "We start the second season with a very good performance at home. We had many players on the pitch with a very good game. We have reasons to be optimistic.

"For me, years and years of experience and experience in the Premier League, my feet are on the ground and I am calm. Last season we were also top of the league in the first match and we finished sixth so this means nothing. It just means we played well and confidence levels will be high and now our challenge is to keep this confidence level."

There were plenty of positives for the United manager. Lukaku scored twice on his league debut for the club following his move from Everton, while Nemanja Matic, a £35m buy from Chelsea, ran the midfield in a manner that made it hard to believe he spent most of the summer training alone at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley 24 hours earlier made Matic's performance even more noteworthy.

Mourinho said afterwards he had wanted Matic, who was named Man of the Match, at Old Trafford last season.

Manchester United eased to victory against West Ham.

He added: "It depends on what is happening or what was happening behind doors and we don't know.

"The only thing I know is that of course with Chelsea money I brought him to Stamford Bridge because I thought he was a player with special qualities, and since I left I always thought he could be a perfect player for us, but I didn't disturb him, I didn't disturb Chelsea.

"I never thought it was possible unless something special was happening and his agent told me we could have him and we were very happy with that. We have him and we are very happy. He was a player this team needs."

West Ham were one of the 10 teams who got a point at Old Trafford last season, a statistic that cost United any chance of challenging Chelsea for the title.

In the 1-1 draw in November, United had eight shots on target but only scored once, while six on target this time produced four goals.

Lukaku has scored more goals against West Ham than any other team and took his tally to 11 in 13 games with a double.

Mourinho said: "Romelu scored in the Super Cup, scored twice today, he's playing well and he's working hard. He likes the team and the team likes him. Strikers can play phenomenally well, but if they don't score goals, the pressure's on them.

"So I think it was good for him to score and for all the guys arriving at new clubs who scored goals on their first games. It's always oxygen, it's happiness and confidence for them.

"Romelu knows we well. He knows sometimes strikers can play well but not score, but from me there will be no pressure. But today was very good and he was very effective, with the first goal especially."

Published in Sports

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has congratulated President Uhuru Kenyatta on his re-election as President of the Republic of Kenya.

Mr Laolu Akande, the acting President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said the congratulatory message was contained in a letter signed by the Acting President and addressed to the Kenyan leader.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kenyatta’s electoral victory was formally announced by the country’s electoral commission on Friday amid allegations of voting fraud by his rival, Raila Odinga.

Osinbajo, however, noted that President Kenyatta’s re-election was a clear testimony to his selfless service to Kenya and the giant strides he took to transform the country in the last few years.

He said: “I have the honour on behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to congratulate you on your successful re-election as the President of the Republic of Kenya.

“Permit me, therefore, to use this momentous occasion to reiterate Nigeria’s support and cooperation with Kenya in our collective determination to advance the development of Africa and its people.’’

The acting President also congratulated and extended his best wishes to the people of Kenya on the successful conclusion of the Aug. 8 general elections in the country.

He wished President Kenyatta “a very successful new term in office.’’

The official figures released by the Kenya’s electoral commission indicated that Kenyatta secured 54.27 per cent to defeat Odinga who scored 44.74 per cent of the ballots cast.

Published in Headliners
Sunday, 13 August 2017 00:26

The return of Ghana-Must-Go!

In 1983 in Nigeria, an executive order was given to immigrants without proper immigration documents to leave the country or they would be arrested according to the law. Immigrants from Ghana were deported to their country.  And as they left, they were all seen in a particular type of sack -red and blue checkered-hence the name “Ghana-must-go” became famous. It is very important to note that, when Nigerians call that bag “Ghana-must-go”, it is not meant to spite Ghanaians but just to describe the type of bag used to carry their luggage when they left Nigeria.

These bags are so cheap and local that you can only find them at roadside shops and not in  malls or high end stores.

However, eagle-eyed international designers are now drawing inspiration from the pattern and colour of the bag and are incorporating them into fashion.

Italian designers such as Celine, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton have glamorized the famous Ghana-must go-print. The trend is not only sweeping the international fashion scene but has also infiltrated Nigeria. Singer, Mr Eazi, wore a Ghana-must-go-inspired outfit to promote his Lagos to Accra mixtape recently. Despite the criticism he drew from Nigerians on social media for wearing that edgy outfit, he responded that he was proud that his style had inspired a trend with many of his compatriots now wearing Ghana-must-go sack materials.

“I called my stylist and said, ‘I want to dress in Ghana-must-go!’ And I said I wanted it tailored in the most prestigious traditional Nigerian fit. A lot of people got mad! They said they’d fight me in the street. But I’ve also seen people wearing it on Instagram. It’s getting the youth to wear the Ghana-must-go”, he said.

Other celebrities pictured wearing Ghana-must-go-inspired bags include actress Mercy Aigbe.

Published in Arts & Culture

Champions Chelsea lost Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas to red cards as they suffered a stunning 3-2 home defeat to Burnley on the opening Saturday of the Premier League season.

Chelsea were down to 10 men with 14 minutes gone when captain Cahill was dismissed for a lunging challenge on Steven Defour, and they fell behind with 24 minutes gone as Sam Vokes guided the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

Burnley's lead was doubled when, with a little over five minutes remaining until the break, Jack Cork set up Stephen Ward to hammer home, and it was 3-0 before the interval when Vokes scored his second with a header.

Marcos Alonso had an effort saved by Burnley keeper Tom Heaton early in the second half before Alvaro Morata was brought on for Michy Batshuayi, and Alonso had a free kick saved soon afterwards.

Morata dived to head home his first Premier League goal from a Willian cross and bundled the ball home moments later only to see an offside flag deny him.

Fabregas then saw red for a second booking -- but David Luiz pulled another one back to set up a frenetic finish in which Burnley's Robbie Brady hit the post and Morata failed to touch home late on.

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Liverpool conceded an injury-time equaliser as they were held 3-3 at Watford in their Premier League opener.

Mohamed Salah looked to have netted a winner on his Liverpool debut, but Miguel Britos headed home from point-blank range in the dying moments to secure a share of the spoils.

Liverpool -- without Philippe Coutinho, who was ruled out with a back injury amid intense speculation over his future -- fell behind on eight minutes, with Stefano Okaka taking advantage of some poor defending from a corner to head past Simon Mignolet.

Sadio Mane hit back on 29 minutes, but Liverpool's defensive weaknesses were exposed again as Abdoulaye Doucoure slotted in for 2-1.

Liverpool turned it around early in the second half, with Roberto Firmino equalising from the penalty spot after Salah was brought down in the area by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes on 55 minutes and then Salah nudging home.

Two goals in three minutes set Huddersfield up for a dream start to life in the Premier League as they defeated Crystal Palace 3-0 at Selhurst Park.

Tom Ince missed an early chance to give the Terriers the lead when he sent a bouncing effort from Tommy Smith's cross straight at keeper Wayne Hennessey.

But they were ahead after 23 minutes when Palace failed to deal with an Aaron Mooy corner and the ball deflected in off Joel Ward -- and with Palace rocking Mooy crossed again and Steve Mounie headed home.

Palace made a half-time change, with Andros Townsend coming on in place of Luka Milivojevic, and Christian Benteke almost pulled a goal back -- but Huddersfield made sure when Mounie struck again.

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Sergio Aguero was on target as Manchester City denied Brighton any hope of a shock on their Premier League debut.

Pep Guardiola's side, for all their riches, took time to get into their groove in a 2-0 win at the Amex Stadium.

But the moment they did it was ruthless as striker Aguero converted 20 minutes from time.

Lewis Dunk turned Fernandinho's cross through goalkeeper Mathew Ryan grasp and into his own net soon afterwards as City prevailed after previously being frustrated.

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Wayne Rooney scored the decisive goal on his second Everton debut as the big-spending Merseysiders beat Stoke City 1-0 at Goodison Park.

New-look Everton had marginally the better of a disjointed opening spell with Sandro, another of their new signings, seeing an effort trundle just wide of the Stoke goal.

But Rooney ended a scrappy first half when he headed in to mark his Goodison homecoming in the best possible style.

Stoke started the second half in determined fashion but found good chances at a premium with Darren Fletcher coming closest when he seized on a loose ball 25 yards out and drilled narrowly wide from distance, and they were denied at the end when new home keeper Jordan Pickford made a fine stop from Xherdan Shaqiri.

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West Bromwich Albion made another set piece pay as they opened the season with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at The Hawthorns.

The visitors produced plenty of neat football throughout, but were unable to create much threat and fell behind after 31 minutes when Ahmed Hegazi headed in a Chris Brunt free kick.

Jermain Defoe came on for Bournemouth after the break, replacing Benik Afobe, but the former Sunderland striker had little to work with as West Brom held firm.

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Southampton suffered a frustrating afternoon as they were held 0-0 at home by Swansea City.

Dusan Tadic missed a fine early chance to put the home side in front when he guided a close-range finish wide from Ryan Bertrand's inviting cross, and James Ward-Prowse saw an effort deflected over as the home side kept control.

They continued to create the better openings, with a Nathan Redmond cross creating havoc before Swansea scraped the ball away, but struggled to carve out clear chances against a well-organised visiting side.

Dusan Tadic went close late on as Southampton made it a club-record six home league games in a row without a goal, their worst run since the 1930s.

Published in Sports

Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa, a former Vice President of Nigeria and a former presidential candidate, no doubt may be one of the most maligned high ranking former public office holders from the North. In addition to the public perception that everyone who has been in government has stolen government money and is corrupt, the experience and challenges Atiku Abubakar had with his then boss, during his time as vice president has contributed to whatever perception of him the section of the public may have. There is a general lack of trust for former public office holders, understandably so. For these reasons, whatever any former public office holder says or does must be for his personal aggrandisement in the perception of skeptics. Of course skeptics are many, and will always be.

But can we stop for a moment and listen sincerely to what this individual is saying? Can we take a look at our own system and analyse how well we have done, how much we have progressed? We all have this consensus that the nation has not met her potentials. I saw on Omojuwa’s twitter handle the other day, where he stated “When you read up on Nigerian’s history, it just feels like this country got frozen in time. The same problems over half a century. Kilode?” “Kilode” meaning what happened, in Yoruba, an expression I understood to mean nothing seems to have changed. The agitations arising from all regions of the country are signs of the consensus that the people no longer believe in the present system. It is an old saying and a popular one that it is only a fool that will do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.

It really does not matter who says it, I think the content is more important than the container. This is not to say I share the view of those who are disparaging the former vice president for his outspokenness and his position on the issue. As a matter of fact I commend him for his courage and continuous faith in the Nigeria project. But the point I want to buttress is “what is he saying?”

Our problems as a people as observed by many have been over-centralisation, bigotry (be it religious or ethnic) and corruption. The lack of growth and development is only symptomatic of the above tripod of pathology which is in turn complications of our present system. The suspicion and lack of trust amongst citizens from different ethnicities and regions have continuously been fed by our present structure.

Atiku is saying the present system has not worked for even his region despite other regions of the country’s perception that his region, the north presently benefits the most from the present arrangement. This is a view that most other people also share. He has said one united Nigeria is possible if we practice true federalism. He is again not alone in thinking that the period in the history of Nigeria when we made the most progress coincided with the period when our dear country practiced federalism as it was intended. Bearing in mind that there is no such thing as true federalism, and that federal systems generally evolved in society in line with their peculiar challenges with a view to solving them, true federalism cannot be some kind of system that is cast on stone otherwise there will not be congresses and assemblies as it is with most democracies. Lawmaking is a continuum and the structure of government is part of the law that needs to be continuously reviewed. Atiku has consistently called for a major change in the present arrangement (restructuring).

As germane as this call may be, I have heard argument against him with great surprise, especially because such arguments have also come from people you expect should know better. Despite the former vice president’s courage and visionary ideas, I find it not too surprising that oppositions abound.

The former military president, Ibrahim Babangida also expressed support for a system change a few weeks ago and the polity was laced with similar reactions. No doubt that some of our former leaders had opportunity to do “right” and they didn’t. But are they not allowed to change their views? Should their views not be affected by

changing situations? From the period of the Ibrahim Babangida administration till now is a long time and there is no doubt that a lot has changed. Despite that, Atiku has been quite consistent with his view on the need to practice true federalism. As far back as 2009 at the National Conference On Consensus Building For Electoral Reform held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja as a keynote speaker, despite applauding almost totally all the recommendations of the Justice Uwais commission on electoral reforms, Atiku still pointedly disagreed with the commission’s recommendation that state electoral bodies be taken over by the federal INEC and the reason he gave was that if it should happen, it would further make a mess of our federal system of government. As vice president, he also spoke against the over concentration of power amongst other things at the center and has in different fora expressed the need for devolution of power to the federating units (states).

I do not believe that any one man has the magic wand that solves our numerous challenges nor do I believe that the solution to our problems is one prong and that with restructuring all our problems will go away. The former vice president has also expressed his views that restructuring may not necessarily be an easy sail.

But we shall search for the eye of the fish in the head of the fish as looking elsewhere will only be a waste of time. In the Vanguard Newspaper of 30th July, 2017, the former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole joined the barrage of individuals who have tried to disparage Atiku’s stance on our political outlook and was quick again to ask what the former vice president did during his time. He, Adams, went further to describe restructuring as some ambiguous word employed by politicians to hoodwink gullible Nigerians. The question being asked is why is Atiku just realizing this? Why didn’t he restructure Nigeria when he was vice president for 8 years? I will like to draw our attention to the Atiku vice presidential era so we will be able to mirror what it would have looked like calling for restructuring just after returning to democracy in 1999.The country was ruled by the military for 16 years and in this period the focus by all well-meaning Nigerians was to return the country to democracy. A struggle he, Atiku was well part of. Wouldn’t it have been foolhardy to begin to call for restructuring only after the then 1999 constitution has barely been tested?

Well I have news for all naysayers, I and millions of Nigerians are not gullible, we have just refused to be called stupid as doing same thing over again and expecting a different outcome only makes us stupid. A day after Oshiomhole’s vituperation, I read again, Alhaji Yakassai’s interview in the same Vanguard Newspaper. My first observation was his striking mental alertness considering his age and I quite respect him for that. But once again he showed his opposition to restructuring by pointing out the perceived complexity of the process and attempting to puncture Atiku’s position. I do not agree with him or anyone who interpreted Atiku’s speech at the University of Nigeria (UNN) recently to mean he is saying restructuring Nigeria is going to be easy. And I say to them that hard ailment requires hard medication. The country has been held down for far too long by this present system of government and is responsible for all the vices we have now become characterized with.

The cry that time is running out by Atiku is real and to continue to vilify him for his position is ludicrous.

  • Dr. Ememena Bright is a medical practitioner based in Warri, Delta State and can be reached via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published in Parliament

It was drama yesterday when pro and anti-Buhari groups staged protests at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.

It started when Buhari Support Group, under the auspices of Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiatives, arrived at the arena to meet the protesters under the aegis of #OurMumuDonDo#.

The anti-Buhari group, which claimed that a cabal had taken over government, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence for about 96 days for medical reasons, began their own action as early as 9am.

But, the pro-Buhari group, on getting to the arena, put up their tent at the other end of the Unity Fountain.

And unlike “Day One” and “Day Two” when hundreds of protesters led by the popular musician Charles Oputa (Charlie Boy) gathered at the arena, to demand Buhari’s immediate return to the country or his resignation, the “Day Four” of the protest witnessed low turnout.

The number of #OurMumuDonDo# protesters was not up to 20.

But, the pro-Buhari group had about 70 protesters.

Policemen and other security operatives quickly took over the arena to avoid any break down of law and order.

They divided themselves to avoid clash between the two groups though they were not as many as those on ground on previous days.

The policemen monitored the anti-Buhari protesters closely till the end of their activities and the other group backing Buhari was allowed to carry placards chanting the achievements of the President. 

The police team also allowed them to move around town singing from the Unity Fountain through the secretariat road.

The Buhari support group condemned the activities of the #OurMumuDonDo#, saying there was no cause for alarm over the President’s health.

The group said there was no provision in the constitution that stipulates how long the President could stay out of office while on medical vacation.

 According to the group, “what the President needed to do, which is stipulated in the constitution, was to transmit power to the vice president through a letter to the National Assembly, which President Buhari did before leaving for the UK”.

 Addressing the protesters at the fountain, the convener of the protest, Okpokwu Ogenyi, said: “No provision of the Constitution gave time limit when the President is expected to return and resume his duties, if he falls sick. It is not found anywhere in the constitution the timeframe for an Acting President.

“In as much as we all want our President back to his duties, the constitution never stipulated how long a serving President can be away on medical holiday.”

At the other end of the Unity Fountain, the #resume or resign protesters called on the President to demonstrate integrity by resigning from office, saying he was incapacitated.

The coalition members reminded Buhari that he asked the late President Musa Yar’Adua to resign or be impeached when the latter was sick in 2010, stressing that he should toe the path of honour by doing what he preached.

 
Published in Headliners

*N234m, $5m in bank accounts
*Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt houses listed

SOME OF THE ASSETS:
A block of six units serviced apartments at 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of three-bedrooms each and six three-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments in Yaba
A twin four-bedroom duplex at Lekki Phase one, Lagos
A large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos
A duplex at 10, Frederick Chiluba Close in Asokoro, Abuja
A six-bedroom en-suite apartment on Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja
16 four-bedroom terrace duplexes at No. Heritage Court Estate, Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt.

 

A massive investigation has revealed former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s love for property.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has so far traced N47.2 billion and $487.5million to the ex-minister.

The agency also claimed that Mrs. Alison Madueke has N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) cash in various banks.

But only the about $37.5million Banana Island property has been forfeited to the Federal Government by the ex-minister.

On Monday , Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of the property.

These revelations were contained in a fact-sheet released by the Public Affairs Directorate of the EFCC.

The fact-sheet is signed by two officers of the directorate, Mr. Tony Orilade and Aishah Gambari.

The document reads: “Apart from the jewellery, the EFCC, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption agency, has traced N47.2billion and $487.5million in cash and properties to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources in ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

“This followed painstaking investigations by operatives of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”

In the fact-sheet, the EFCC gave the details of the properties linked with the ex-minister.

It accused Mrs. Alison Madueke of acquiring a block of six units serviced apartments a few metres away from the EFCC zonal operations hub in Ikoyi.

The document added: “Also in Lagos, Alison-Madueke allegedly bought a block of six units serviced apartments at number 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, just a few hundred metres away from the EFCC zonal operations hub.

“The apartment has a standby power generating set, sporting facilities, play ground and a water treatment plant. The property was bought at the rate of N800 million (Eight hundred million naira) on January 6, 2012.

“Other properties in Yaba, Lagos, also discovered by the eagle eyes of the Commission’s operatives, are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street. The Thurnburn Street property consists of 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of three bedrooms each and six three-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments.

“The Raymond Street property is made up of two en-suite 2-bedroom apartments and one four bedroom apartment.

“The Yaba, Lagos properties, which dug a deep hole of an eye-popping N1billion (One billion naira), were paid for on May 30, 2012. The same day Alison-Madueke splashed N900 million for the Port Harcourt estate.

“In Lekki Phase one, an upscale neighbourhood of Lagos, operatives found a twin four-bedroom duplex. The duplex is located on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, Lekki, Lagos, with an estimated value of over N200million (Two hundred million naira).

“Also in Lagos, a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos has also been traced to the former Petroleum Resources Minister. The land, which is located in Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki peninsular, Lagos and currently being utilised as a dumping site, was bought on February 16, 2012 for N135million (One hundred and thirty- five million naira).

“Plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi, Lagos, another property traced to Alison-Madueke, is a penthouse on the 11th floor in the Block B Wing of the building. It was bought for N12million (Twelve million naira) on December 20, 2011.”

Besides the properties in Lagos, the commission claimed that Mrs. Alison Madueke allegedly bought choice mansions in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Yenagoa in Bayelsa State.

It said: “On Plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, in the serene, upscale Asokoro District of Abuja, lies a tastefully built and finished duplex. In the compound, there are also a guest chalet, boy’s quarters, an elegant swimming pool, fully equipped sports gym and a host of other amenities.

“ Investigators have discovered that the property acquired by the ex-minister in December, 2009, at the cost of N400 million (Four hundred million naira) was never declared in any of the asset declaration forms filed by Alison-Madueke.

“Also linked to the former Minister in Abuja is a mini-estate at Mabushi, Abuja. The estate, located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, houses 13 three-bedroom terrace houses, each with one bedroom en-suite maid’s quarters. It was purchased on April 2, 2012 at the princely sum of N650million (Six Hundred and Fifty Million Naira).

“In Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja, Alison-Madueke reportedly acquired a six bedroom en-suite apartment made up of three large living rooms, two bedroom guest chalets, two-bedroom boys quarters, two lock up garages and a car park. It was bought on July 20, 2011 for N80million (Eighty million naira).

“Down South in Nigeria’s oil city of Port Harcourt, the former minister’s acquisitive appetite took her to Heritage Court Estate, located on Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu Government Residential Area, Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt.

“The Estate, which is made up of 16 four-bedroom terrace duplexes, is equipped with, among other facilities, a massive standby power generating set. Alison-Madueke did not blink as she shelled out N900million (Nine hundred million naira) for it on May 30, 2012.

“In neighbouring Bayelsa State, an apartment with two blocks of flats, all en-suite, and with a maid’s quarters was also traced to her. The house located on Goodluck Jonathan Road, Yenagoa is sitting on a large expanse of land.

“Realtors spoken to by EFCC investigators have placed estimated values running into hundreds of millions of Naira on the property. The apartments have four living rooms, eight bedrooms and gold-plated furniture.”

Besides jewelry and property, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, EFCC operatives claim, has N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) in various Nigerian banks.

Published in Headliners
Page 9 of 13

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