Lagos PDP Says ACN’s Lai Mohammed Is Over-Ambitious

The Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that it is high time that the National Publicity Secretary of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Lai Mohammed was called to order in “his unconventional and guerrilla style of making false press releases all in a bid to appear as always talking or posing opposition to president Goodluck Jonathan.”

The state chapter of the PDP in a press statement said its position is “on the heels of the falsehood being peddled by Lai Mohammed that President Jonathan will be in Lagos State tomorrow and that the president should rather shelve the visit because the ACN will be holding its conventions in the state tomorrow.

The statement said, “Supposing the President actually plans to visit lagos State tomorrow for the further federal support in developing the state, should a self-acclaimed progressive like Lai Mohammed, oppose such visit only for the sake of parochialism and self agrandisement?”

The party emphasised that ACN, Mr Mohammed nor Governor Babatunde Fashola cannot even curtail the fundamental Right of ordinary citizen to move around not to talk of curtailing that of the Commander-in-Chief.


N4.5 Billion Fraud: Court Grant Nnamani’s Travel Request

The Federal High Court, Lagos, has granted former Enugu State Governor, Chimaroke Nnamani leave to travel to the United States of America for medical treatment.

Presiding Justice Mohammed Yinusa, while dismissing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) opposition to the application, held that the former governor needed not to justify his journey because “he can as well travel abroad for any other reason apart from health grounds.”

It will be recalled that the trial of the former governor, who was arraigned six years ago along with others for alleged money laundering involving about N4.5 billion of the state’s funds is yet to commence.

The court had on four previous occasions permitted the former governor to travel abroad on health grounds.

The court noted that by the ruling of the former presiding judge, Justice Peter Olayiwola, who granted bail to the former Governor on August 2, 2007, the only condition needed to be satisfied before travelling abroad was for the accused person to file an application seeking leave to travel abroad.

Justice Yinusa said that, “The applicant was granted bail by Justice Peter Olayiwola on August 2, 2007 and one of the conditions of the bail granted was that the first accused/applicant shall give a written undertaking that he will not travel outside the country without the permission of the court.

“My understanding of the above bail condition is that anytime the accused/applicant intends to travel outside Nigeria, he must seek the leave of court.

“It is very clear to me that what the first accused/applicant (Mr Nnamani) is required to do is to seek for leave of this court before travelling of Nigeria either on health grounds or any other grounds.

“The emphasis is on seeking leave of court and not on providing justification for the journey.

“It is therefore my considered opinion that the first accused/applicant has fulfilled the requirement and the conditions provided under the bail bond by seeking for leave of court before embarking on the medical treatment in the United States of America.”

Justice Yinusa further held that denying the request of the former governor as contained in his application, would amount to altering the bail conditions earlier granted him in 2007.

“To insist on or to compel the applicant to provide reasons or justification will amount to altering the order of the court granting bail to the accused/applicant,” Yinusa said.

The judge, however, ordered that the former governor must ensure he appears in court at the next adjourned date fixed for May 28, adding that he must also submit his passport and file a notice of return to Nigeria.

Nnamani and others were re-arraigned before Justice Yinusa on 105 counts of money laundering and economic crimes involving about N4.5bn.

The accused were said to have committed the alleged offences between 1999 and 2007 while Nnamani was the governor of Enugu State.

Others standing trial along with him are his former aide, Sunday Anyaogu, and six firms allegedly linked to them.

The firms are, Rainbownet Nig Ltd, Hillgate Nig Ltd, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

NHRC Partners Nollywood To Stem Rights Violation

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has entered into a partnership with the Nigerian movie industry (NOLLYWOOD) to promote activities that are geared towards dealing with issues of human rights violation through the production of movies aimed at addressing such ills.

The new partnership according to the Executive Secretary of the Commission,  Bem Angwe would ensure that people have frequent and easy access to movies, jingles and messages that discourage abuse of peoples’ rights and at the same time promote discipline and hard-work among youths in the country.

Mr Angwe buttressed the crucial role which the Nollywood industry is playing in the society, as he recalled that child labour, forced prostitution and various forms of violence perpetrated against the vulnerable Nigerians have always been showcased and condemned by the Nollywood.

Earlier, the leader of the two groups and initiator of the next to non-support initiative, Ndukwe Obu, said they came to identify the various areas they could partner with the commission to ensure that Nigerians know their rights and that in the event such rights are violated, they follow the laid down procedure to get them redressed.

Mr Obu who led prominent Nigerian movie starts like Bruno Iwuoha, Sydney Diala among others to the commission said “enthronement of good leadership through human rights, advocacy, networking, education, information dissemination, empowerment and entertainment when necessary” informed the decision of the groups to identify with NHRC.

Pensions Arrears: 80 Per cent Paid?

[highlight]Still on the pension arrears on Faceoff, our host Nneota Egbe got in Adeolu with the co-ordinator debunked Adeolu’s claim as he went to further saying he is not recognised in the Federal Authorities.[/highlight]

Watch for more details.

Ribadu Berates FG On State Of Insecurity

The presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the last general election in Nigeria, Nuhu Ribadu, has frowned at the kidnap and murder of the party leader in Anambra State, Mr. Chudi Nwike, as he has asked federal authorities to put a quick check at what appears to be ‘politically motivated killings’ in the country.

Mr. Chudi Nwike who was abducted by gunmen on march 19,was deputy governor of Anambra State under governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife in 1991.

According to his statement, the ACN presidential candidate wonders if this case will not become a mere statistics in “the trail of unresolved murders of many great contributors to the building of the nation who are cut down by the bullets of assassins”.

The politician who was a former police prosecutor said “the government must assure citizens that the value of having of a government that cares for their constitutional rights is not misplaced.”

ACN’s Negative Criticism Detrimental To Democracy — FG

The allegations by the Action Congress of Nigeria that the Federal Government is promoting policies that will plunge the nation into crisis have been debunked by the Federal Government.

The president’s special adviser on media and publicity, Dr Reuben Abati has dismissed the claims of Mr Lai Mohammed saying he’s merely crying wolf where none exists.

He says Nigerians are witness to the fact that President Jonathan has organised credible, free and fair elections in the history of the nation.

According to Dr Abati, Nigerians should know that ACN has developed a pattern of negative criticism of government policies which is detrimental to deepening democracy in the country.

The national publicity secretary of the ACN, Mr. Lai Mohammed at a press briefing in Lagos, told journalists that the party’s decision hinged the fact that the Federal Government is giving oil pipeline protection contract to militants, pitching the north against the west.

Despite all of this, the PDP is wrongly campaigning for 2015 elections, neglecting the provision of social amenities to the electorates.

Presidency Claims First Lady Is Not Sick

The Presidency has responded to media report alleging that the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan is sick again and has been flown abroad for medical treatment.

In a statement released by her Special Assistant (Media), Ayo Osinlu, the First Lady travelled to Dubai from where she proceeded to Paris, France, to participate in the 1st Green Women Conference, which took place on March 17, 2013 where she received the 2013 Global Women Leaders’ Award for Peace, not for medical treatment as speculated.

The statement stated further that the first lady travelled to Italy, “from there proceeded to Germany with her holidaying children to see her mother, Mama Sisi, who is currently receiving medical attention and for the children to spend quality time with their grandmother.

“It is unfortunate that again, some media houses have allowed themselves to be used by dedicated mischief makers against the basic tenet of professional journalism, which regards truth as sacred.

“It is notable that Her Excellency has a history of visiting the hospital in Germany even before she became the First Lady, thus making her medical trips routine.

“It is also instructive to state that medical experts have recommended that every human being should undergo medical check-up every six months, even if not suffering ill health.

“Therefore, hospital visitations of our leaders should not become leading media issues or attract disrespectful comments, just as the current circumstances of former President Mandela and other African leaders in similar situations, and even those who died, have not attracted negative comments from their people”.

Media reports had suggested the first lady was ill, again, and travelled abroad for treatment.

The denial by Mrs. Jonathan’s aides may, however, not impress many Nigerians as the presidency had made similar claims last year when the first lady travelled abroad for several weeks.

Despite the repeated denials by the presidency, Mrs. Jonathan later confirmed her illness and treatment for several weeks at a German hospital saying she nearly died.

Nigeria’s Oil Economy Has Been Mismanaged For Decades — Ezekwesili

Former minister of education and co-founder of Transparency International, Obiageli Ezekwesili has said that the oil economy has been mismanaged by the government of Nigeria over a decade now.

Ezekwesili however accused the federal government of squandering over the $67 billion foreign reserve  which she claimed was left in the foreign reserve account while she was a serving minister.

She volunteered to prove the mismanagement of the funds but was turned down when she requested for a democratic accountability forum.

She further said that her believe in good governance, transparency and accountability still stands and her accountability credentials has not been questioned internationally.

According to Ezekwesili Nigeria never put to good use its oil resources during the five major oil booms that the country had as this can be seen by the level of development in the country compared to the progress that other oil producing countries have made over time, citing Singapore as an example. She said Nigeria’s income per capital is $1500, while that of Singapore stands at $50, 0000 presently.

Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan; Doyin Okupe has reacted to the comments made by Ezekwesili on Sunrise Daily saying the problem the FG has with Ezekwesili is that she misled Nigerians on the issue of foreign reserve, that the Obasanjo regime did not leave $67m in Oil Reserve.

Okupe said it is wrong for Ezekwesili to say oil reserve money was squandered by the present administration and with her recent statement in which cleared her points, the administration has been vindicated.

We Have Serious Leadership Crisis In Nigeria — Ezekwesili

A former minister of education and co-founder of Transparency International, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili said Nigeria has serious leadership crisis and warned if the fight against corruption is to be won then the present leadership has to turn to ways of setting good examples.

The former minister, before berating the leadership problem of the nation, reacted to the level of insecurity that has gone beyond anything that is tolerable while making reference to the recent blast which took place in Kano on Monday at a motor park.

The former minister who was a guest on Sunrise Daily said the “elders” of the land should put away differences and join heads together to find a lasting solution to the incessant killings by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

Speaking on the level of the fight waged against corruption in the country presently as against what was obtainable while in government as a minister, she responded saying, before any analysis can be done on Nigeria as regards fight against corruption, three major factors (tripods as she called it) have to be put in place as these factors will actually ascertain whether there’s been progress made against the cancer-like corruption and they are: credible leadership, prevention of corruption and deterrence from corruption.

On credible leadership Ezekwesili said Nigeria has serious leadership crisis and if the fight against corruption is to be won then the present leadership has to turn to ways of setting good examples.

On prevention of corruption, Ezekwesili took NEITI as an example standing as an agent used in wielding war against corruption amongst several other agencies created for this purpose and she gave kudos to the Federal Government for the creation of these agencies to prevent corruption but she was quick to ask “if theses agencies really have the powers needed to fight the cancerous corruption? Were they properly empowered to stop corruption?”. Citing NEITI as an example, she explained that the agency would have been able to block the recent scandals that had rocked the oil and gas sector if these agencies were properly empowered.

Watch rest of the interview for more details.

Pipeline Vandalization Will Soon Be History — Haruna

 The Managing Director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, Mr Haruna Momoh has given assurance that the agency is set to bring to an end the incessant vandalism of NNPC pipeline at Arepo, Ogun state.

Speaking today on our breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr Momoh disclosed that currently security agents are on ground manning the facility, and a lasting solution to the problem of vandalism will be found in three months’ time.

Watch interview for more details.

FG To Review Trade Policy

The Federal Government has announced plans to review the nation’s trade policy in order to develop trade as an alternative source of revenue and reduce the nation’s over dependence on oil.

Speaking in Abuja at an enlarged national focal point meeting, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mr Dauda Kigbu says the last trade policy which was put in place eleven years ago is overdue for review.

He said the new trade policy to be put in place will serve as a basis for rapid, equitable and sustainable growth that will broaden the nation’s product base, encourage non-oil exports and proper use of trade defence mechanisms.

FG Approves Payment Of PHCN Staff

Efforts to clear the huddles hampering the successful privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) appears to be yielding fruit, as the Federal Government has approved the immediate payment of the agreed entitlements of the staff of the PHCN.

Briefing state house correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Labour; Emeka Wogu enjoined the labour union in the power sector to work closely with the government to ensure steady power supply to Nigerians.

The disagreement between the ministry of power and the electricity workers over the payment of entitlements had slowed the privatization process due to threats of industrial action by the workers.