Thousands of people across the country have been rendered homeless by the recent floods ravaging the north-central part of Nigeria.
The overflow of River Niger has caused massive flooding in Kogi, Edo, Niger and Anambra states, displacing over a million people, destroying properties worth millions of Naira including highway road and bridges, as a number of lives are reported lost.
The thousands that are lucky to be alive are now internally displaced people (IDP).
The director-general, Niger State Emergency Agency (NSEMA), Alhaji Mohammed Shaba has declared that “the flood has overwhelmed the state government.”
The flood has also divided the country into two parts as the water flooded the Lokoja-Abuja road, making it impossible for travellers to move from the southern part to the northern part of the country.
Many travellers were shocked when on getting to Lokoja, they discovered that they could only get to the other side by canoe.
However the director general of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET ) Dr Anthony Anuforom, noted that “the worst is not over yet.”
NIMET however says more rains are expected which would likely cause more floods in different parts of the country.
The meteorological agency warns that the high level of flooding currently spread across most parts of the central states will soon find its way to the southern part of Nigeria; this is according to the Nigerian meteorology
Three policemen, two inspectors and a constable and an ad-hoc official of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday died while transporting election materials to Ologbo, a suburb of Benin City, Edo State. PUNCH Newspaper quoted the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Olufemi Adenaike, as saying “two inspectors and one constable died; two policemen and one prison official survived.
“One INEC official also died. Only the body of an inspector has been recovered.”
Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, also confirmed the development.
The Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole on Saturday said that he is disappointed in both the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and the electoral body for failing in their responsibility to conduct a free poll in the state.
The governor warned that there will be trouble if the true winner of the election is not declared.
Mr Oshiomhole who disclosed this during an interview with journalists at the Iyamho primary school, Iyamho, Etsako West Local Government Area said there can be no winner when the people are not allowed to vote.
“They plan not to bring out the voting materials on time and as we speak in Oredo Local government area, Benin City and Egor local government area, the heart of Benin City materials have not gotten to majority of the polling booths after 11 am and at the New Era college, upper mission road, they brought fake voters register different from the one the people registered,” he said.
“If accreditation is to stop by 12pm and by 11am, it is after 11am now, there are no materials in some polling booths, it then means Professor Atahiru Jega and INEC have no plans to conduct election. The whole idea is to frustrate the people so that they will not be able to vote, and they will declare a fake result.
“Professor Jega and INEC have been an embarrassment to the nation. I am in shock with all the arrangements they have made sensitizing the people, and I told them, INEC need to be sensitized. INEC is the weakest link in the Nigeria democratic chain. I have no faith in what INEC is doing in Benin City.
“This is designed for where majority of the people are denied the right to vote and this time around I have told them this country either decides on whether to move on or move back, I see sponsored editorials saying whatever happens we will go to court, but today we have to sort out the issues once and for all,” Mr Oshiomhole said.
The governor further said he would hold the INEC Chairman responsible for the failure of the election and for disenfranchising the people as INEC has connived with the Peoples Democratic Party to involve in scientific rigging.
“They planned it and executed it this way. It is a shame that they have programmed this to embarrass the Nigeria nation. If INEC do not allow the people to vote and they pronounce the winner there will be trouble.
“Fifty five percent of voters are in Edo South and forty percent in Benin City, and they think they can deprive the people the opportunity to vote.
“Professor Jega has failed because I wrote a petition that they are buying voters card. We will all go to court before God. They know that if it is two people remaining they will not vote for them”
PDP says Oshiomhole is scared of defect
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described Mr Oshiomhole’s condemnation of the governorship election in Edo, while the accreditation process was still on, as hasty.
The Director of Publicity of the PDP in Edo State, Okharedia Ihimekpen accused the governor of frantically attempting to destroy the integrity of the election.
Mr Ihimekpen said that the governor has seen the writing on the wall and is trying to raise the alarm in order to rationalize his eventual defeat at the poll.
The PDP is also said that the governor has suddenly realized that “the security and the electoral body are insisting on accreditation of voters whose names are in the voter registers in line with the one man, one vote mantra.”
The over 3 million people of Edo State will today decide who will occupy the Dennis Osadebay Government House seat as their governor.
Seven candidates are contending to become the governor of Edo state.
Those eyeing the coveted seat are:
1. Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
2. Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd.) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
3. Solomon Edebiri of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)
4. Izevbuwa Roland of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)
5. Andrew Igwemoh of the Labour Party (LP)
6. Mr. Paul Orumwense of the National Conscience Party (NCP)
7. Frank Onaiv of the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP)
However, all eyes will be on three candidates: Misters Oshiomhole, Airhiavbere and Edebiri because of their antecedents.
Projected voting pattern
The Heartbeat State is divided into three senatorial districts composed of several ethnic groups. Some political analysts have argued that this may affect the pattern of voting today.
The ethnic political dimension has been between sharing the powers among the three senatorial districts of the state, with major dominance in this election between Edo South and the Edo North district.
By INEC Figure, Edo South holds over 59% of the voters while the North and Central shares the balance percentage in succeeding order.
The North has the incumbent governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who is of the ACN; Etsako West, Labour Party’s Andrew Igwemoh is from Etsako East, and Prince Frank Ukonga of the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) is from Akoko Edo LGA.
For the Edo South, the main opposition party candidate, Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Ovia North East LGA, Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) Uhunmwonde LGA, Roland Izevbuwa of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Ikpoba-Okha LGA and Imaguomwanrhuo Orunmwense of National Conscience Party (NCP) Ovia North East LGA.
Edo Central is popularly referred to as the very stronghold of the PDP and is made up of five local governments namely, Esan West, Esan Central, Igueben, Esan North East and Esan South East making up the six constituencies at the state house of Assembly.
Esan central senatorial districts boast of a number of political heavyweights who have held their sway strongly at the national level.
Very notable ones now include the National Leader of the PDP, Tony Anenih who hails from Uromi in Esan North East Local Government. The National leader of the ACN, Tom Ikimi who hails from Igueben is also from this District just as well as the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememe.
INEC is ready
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the assurance to citizens of Edo state that today’s governorship election will be conducted in a free and transparent manner.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Kassim Gaidam affirmed that security and logistics arrangement have been put in place to ensure a smooth and credible election in the state.
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The publicity secretary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mathew Urhoghide on Wednesday said that his party has some surprises for the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) during this weekend governorship election.
In a telephone interview with the hosts of the Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, Mr Urhoghide said that the incumbent government is not connecting with the grassroot people of the state and that this is the loophole his party plan to exploit.
Barely 72 hours to the Edo State governorship election, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have said that the deployment of 3, 500 soldiers to different parts of the state will help to guarantee security of lives and properties during the election.
The Director, Media and Publicity of Oshiomhole campaign organisation, Kassim Afagbua, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, said that the opposition – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – have planned to use thugs to create panic in the state on Friday in order to scare people aware from voting points.
Barely two weeks to the Edo State Governorship election, President Gooodluck Jonathan on Saturday assured residents of the state of peaceful poll conduct saying that the organisers of the election must adhere to the principle of One Man, One vote. The president, who arrived the Benin airport aboard a presidential jet at about 11: 36am, was received by the Edo state governor Adams Oshiomhole amid other top Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts and top federal government dignitaries before leaving for the Palace of the Oba of Benin, Omo n’ Oba Erediauwa.
Speaking at the packed venue of the Dr Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Mr Jonathan assured residents of the state of peaceful poll conduct, even as he called on PDP members in the state to mobilise to ensure victory.
Expressing his commitment to free and fair election, the president thanked the people of the state for voting him during the 2011 presidential election, saying it was in the state he started his ‘one man, one vote’ campaign.
“It was here in this state that I said that we must change the way we do elections in this country; this time around, there will be no thuggery, it is going to be one man one vote. I came here to promise the people of Edo State that they should keep faith with that promise.
“This morning before I came, I asked the Inspector-General of Police, ‘Are you ready for Edo State?’ He said yes. I asked the Chief of Defence Staff, ‘Are you ready for Edo State?’ He said yes.
“I guarantee 100 percent security for your election and there will be no manipulation, election results will be entered at the various units and nobody will change figures.
“PDP is the dominant party. As long as you mobilise and vote PDP, we will win. I am sure that, come July 14, PDP will rule Edo.”
A leader of the party, Tony Anenih, speaking earlier, said that the PDP is prepared for the forthcoming election.
“We want to put in place a government that will be responsive to the yearnings of the people. Mr. President, your presence here has raised our hope,” Mr Anenih said.
“You have energised us. We need a free and fair election. We want to make sure that on Election Day, all the candidates will be given equal opportunity to vote and go home,” he added.
Those on the President’s entourage to Edo included Vice-President Namadi Sambo; PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur; and state chairman, Dan Orbih.
The Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim, Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Seriaki Dickson (Bayelsa), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Idris Wada (Kogi) were also on President Jonathan entourage to Edo State.
Two female varsity students lost their lives on Friday when a well at the hostel in Edo state caved in.
The young women, both students of the Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, died in the tragic accident at about 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning, at the Kudirat hostel.
According to reports, there were seven students at the well when the structure fell apart and the students found themselves in the well.
The victims were pulled out of the crumbled well and rushed to the Irrua Specialist Teaching hospital where two of the seven were pronounced dead.
One of the survivors, Ms Esther Akhibi, a 200 level student of Political Science, said the water taps at the hostel had been non-functional for a long time, forcing the girls to resort to trips to the well for water.
None of the girls had been able to jump back in enough time to avoid falling into the well as it collapsed. They were rescued by the University’s Red Cross team and other resourceful students.
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. George Akpede, described the incident at the well as tragic and confirmed that the hospital was making every effort to keep the injured victims in good health.
University authorities are yet to react to the incident that has sparked protests among university students angered by the incident.
Police officials on Thursday confirmed that gunmen have kidnapped a Lebanese businessman in Edo state, the second abduction in one week.
State police spokesman Etim Bassey confirmed that the kidnapping had taken place “on March 20 in Auchi by some unidentified gunmen who scaled the fences of his house and took him away”.
The spokesman said the culprits were yet to make any demands, adding that the man in question was a private business owner.
His kidnapping is one of a rash of recent abductions that have spread through Nigeria’s oil-producing regions in recent months.
Recently, Al Qaeda’s north Africa branch said it was holding another German engineer who had been kidnapped in Nigeria two months ago.
According to a Mauritania news agency, Al Qaeda in Maghreb (AQIM) said it was willing to negotiate the release of the captive with that of a jailed Muslim woman.
“We inform you that your compatriot Edgar Fritz Raupach is a prisoner of fighters from AQIM,” the group said in a statement published by the ANI agency.
The group demanded in the statement that the woman, Felis Lowitz, a recent Islam convert who now goes by the name Um Seiv Al-Islam Al-Ansariya, be released from her detention in Germany where they claim she is being tortured.
According to AFP reports, a video obtained by the ANI news agency showed Raupach, surrounded by masked gunmen with his hands tied behind his back.
In the video, Raupach, an engineer, called on his “parents, friends and German public opinion” to convince Berlin to “bring an end to the torture of our Muslim sister”, adding that his life depended on her freedom.
AQIM warned against any heroic rescue efforts, adding that his fate would be the same as that of Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara and British colleague Chris McManus, who were killed earlier this month during a failed rescue bid by British and Nigerian forces.
Germany confirmed Raupach, who was kidnapped on 25 January, is a citizen and construction company Bilfinger Berger has said he is one of their employees.
The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) as part of its efforts to check piracy, arrested 14 pirates and recovered exhibits worth N5 million from raids it conducted in Benin City, Edo State, and Warri and Ughelli in Delta State on Tuesday.
At a press briefing, the Commission’s Head of Enforcement, Augustine Amodu, disclosed that those in their custody were specialists in broadcast piracy who use multiple decoders and boosters to tap from legal satellite television broadcasters to people within their vicinity covering between 200 and 300 houses and collect subscription.
“During the raids, we recovered decoders, dishes, smart cards, television sets used to do broadcast piracy…some of these pirates have about five to 10 decoders, use boosters and very powerful senders and signals belonging to legal people to over 200 to 300 houses and they collect subscription between N500 to N1,000 monthly…our stakeholders have been complaining that these people are doing illicit business with their facilities. We take statements from those arrested, and give them,” administrative bail. When we are ready for prosecution, we go for them,” Amodu said.
The Edo state Government has vowed to appeal the court order which committed the state Attorney-General to jail in the suit between the state Government and the Church Gate Industries over the ownership of Bendel Breweries.
The Edo state Commissioner of Information, Louis Odion, disclosed this on Wenesday in a press briefing in Benin. However, he said till today the trial judge Justice Adamu Hobon is yet to issue a certified copy of his order of committal which will enable the government seek an appeal.
A Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, the Edo State capital, had on Monday, ordered the remand of the state attorney-general and Commissioner of Justice, Osagie Obayuwana, over the non-compliance of the state government with an interlocutory injunction it gave in a suit involving it and a private investor, Churchgate Industries Limited.
The presiding judge, Justice Adamu Hobon, in a ruling following the bench warrant which the court issued last week for the arrest of the attorney- general ordered that Mr Obayuwana be remanded in prison custody until the state government was able to provide an affidavit of compliance with an order the court had earlier issued directing the state government to comply with an interlocutory injunction sought and got by Churchgate.
HISTORY OF THE CASE
Bendel Breweries a company established by Edo state government was in a 1992 agreement given to ChurchGate industries to manage under the administration of Chief Odigie Oyegun.
The company was valued then at N212 Million. And in a yet to be explained process fifty one percent of the company shares were transferred to ChurchGate Industries Limited at a value of N12.75 Million.
In 2003, the government of Edo state under the administration of the Lucky Igbinedion took over control of the Management of the Company prompting a litigation instituted by the Management of Churhgate before the Federal High Court in Benin City.
In the same year the Federal High Court granted an order asking the state government to hand over the company to Churchgate. The state government however said it was dissatisfied with as it amounts to a grant of the claim in the substantive suit and has appealed in the Supreme Court.
The Edo state Government however claim that almost eight years after the said order was made that court was yet to fulfil the mandatory personal service of forms 48 and 49, and proceeded to issue a Bench Warrant against the person of the Attorney General of the State and committed him to prison custody until compliance by Edo state Government to the 2003 order.
The state Government however said it is unwilling to sell the company as it represents the patrimony of Edo People and will help create wealth and employment in the State.
The Attorney General has so far spent two days in Prison custody in Benin City.