Governors head to court over illegal deductions

The Nigeria Governor’s Forum says it will be heading to court to seek legal redress over the federal government’s continued illegal deductions and withdrawals from the federation account.

This was part of resolutions the group reached at its meeting, which ended early on Thursday in Abuja.

In a communiqué read by its Chairman, Governor Chibuike Amechi, the group said it took the decision after long deliberations.

“The forum deliberated extensively on the continuing illegal deductions from the Federation Account towards offsetting oil subsidy, excess crude by the Federal Government and unanimously resolved to go to court to seek legal redress,” the communiqué said.

The forum sympathised, particularly with the government of Plateau State, on the recent loss of lives and property in the state and condemned the recurring insecurity in the country.

The governors also appealed to the federal government to urgently take steps to address the security challenges presently facing the country.

It appealed to the Federal Government to urgently commence the recruitment, intensive training and proper deployment of security agents across the country.

The forum also called on customs and immigration services to tighten security at the borders to prevent hoodlums from gaining entry into the country.

The group further resolved to constitute an economic and security intervention committee with membership from Rivers, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Abia, Plateau, Adamawa and Zamfara states.

It also expressed a willingness to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan on emergency intervention plan focusing initially on agriculture and other economic generating programmes for employment generation in northern states.

It described the deduction as unconstitutional and negation of the principle of federalism and budgetary provision.

Insecurity in Nigeria dominates Council of State meeting

The insecurity in Nigeria on Thursday was the issue that dominated the National Council of States meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House in Abuja.

Present at the meeting were past Nigerian leaders including Shehu Shagari, Ernest Shenekan and Abdulsalami Abubakar as well as the governors of the 36 states of the federation or their deputies.

There was no formal briefing after the meeting but sources said that National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki briefed the meeting on security situation in Plateau state and the efforts being put in place so far to nip it in the bud as well as the situation in Mali and its effect on neighbouring countries including Nigeria.

The Belgore Report on constitutional matters and the National Honours list were also discussed during the meeting

The 36 state governors met last night in Abuja to take a common position on the incessant violence in parts of the country ahead of the council meeting.

Officials close to the forum said the governors were discussing the level of insecurity especially in the North, and were considering taking a common position ahead of the Council of State meeting.

The governors’ meeting was summoned in the wake of the latest bloodshed in Plateau State, where dozens of people were in killed in attacks on villages, which also led to the deaths of Senator Gyang Dantong and state legislator Gyang Fulani.

Last night’s meeting was held at the Rivers’ State Governors’ Lodge in Abuja.

The governors’ meeting was attended by governors of Katsina, Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara, Kebbi, Taraba, Jigawa, Kogi, Enugu, Delta, Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia, Plateau, Rivers, Bayelsa, Anambra, Gombe and Adamawa states. Deputy governors of Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara, Ogun and Yobe states were also in attendance.

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22 year-old Nigerian breaks academic record at John Hopkins University

22 year-old Emmanuel Ohuabunwa has emerged as the best graduating student in the John Hopkins University, USA with a grade point of 3.98 out of 4.0 in Neurosciences.

Ohuabunwa who hails from Abia State, has been able to make the nation proud and with his efforts has won himself a scholarship to Yale University to get a degree in Medicine.

He has also become a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society, a prestigious honor group that features membership of 17 US Presidents, 37 US Supreme Court Justices, and 136 Nobel Prize winners.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honour society. Its mission is to “celebrate and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences” and induct “the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at America’s leading colleges and universities.”

Speaking about how he moved to the US, Ohuabunwa said “my parents moved the whole family when I was 13 years old. I was about to begin SS1 at Air Force, Ibadan. When I got to the US, I was enrolled with my age mates, which meant at 13, I was in middle school.

“I went to Fondren Middle School, which was in the middle of the ghetto. That was one of the darkest years for me because I encountered a lot of peer pressure. Some of the students, ignorant about Africa, bullied me and called me names such as ‘African booty scratcher’ because to them, Africans were dirty and scratched their butts all the time.

“Some asked me if I lived in mud huts and ate faeces for breakfast.

“I remember one day, when I was walking to the school bus, a boy came from behind and punched me in the face, called me an African and walked away. It took everything in me not to retaliate. I knew that God had put me in the U.S for a purpose and it did not involve fighting or selling drugs or doing the wrong things.

“My experience during that year gave me a thick skin. I learned to stand for what I thought was right even when the opposition seemed insurmountable. I also learned to look at the positive in all situations. Even though these kids were bullying me, I was still gaining an opportunity to school in America and nothing would stop me from making the best of this opportunity.

“I knew I wanted to go to the best school in the US. I had heard that Johns Hopkins Hospital had been ranked the number one hospital in the US for the past 21 years and I wanted to be in that environment.’’

Worried that his parents might not be able to sponsor him to the university, Ohuabunwa purposed to work very hard. He did and when the result of the PSAT came, he performed so well that he won the National Achievement Scholar.

By virtue of this award, he received certificates of recognition from various organisations including senators from the Congress of both Texas and the US. He also received scholarship from the University of Houston; Rice University, Texas A&M Honors College and many more.

He had also won the Principal’s Award during the annual awards ceremony at DeBakey High School.

“I studied Neuroscience, because I was fascinated with the brain, its control of our behaviours and how various diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, lead to a decline in its activity. I also minored in Psychology because I wanted to understand disorders in the psyche. What causes bipolar disorders or schizophrenia.

I did not just want to label them as crazy but to understand what causes these conditions and how we can treat them,’’ he explained.

But what does he consider to be the missing links in the education sector of Nigeria when compared with that on offer in US, Ohuabunwa said unpredictable academic calendar, corruption, examination malpractice and inadequate funding were some of the problems confronting his home country’s university sector. These, he said, were absent in the US.

Police officers undergo trial for disregarding IG’s order on checkpoints

Police officer at a checkpoint; the acting IGP had ordered men of the force to remove checkpoints for the roads.

Eight police officers of the Abia State Command are undergoing trial for allegedly disregarding the Acting Inspector General’s order banning police from mounting check-points and individual patrolling on highways.

The officers were caught by the AIG’s monitoring team while visiting commands to ascertain compliance with directives on illegal detention and long detention without trial.

In response, the State Police Commissioner, Bala Hassan insists that his Command has fully complied with the acting IGP Mohammed Abubakar’s directive, saying that the AIG’s directive did not imply that policemen should not be seen on the roads.

In his words, “It is not true that there should be no police patrol on the roads. Only roadblocks are banned, vehicular and foot patrols are not affected”.

Mr. Hassan implored members of the public not to harass the police on the roads, noting that their presence is for the security of every law-abiding Nigerian. He also noted that since the IGP directives against roadblocks took effect, there had not been any robbery or criminal attack incidents recorded in the state.