Former Minister of Information Labaran Maku, has called on Journalists in Nasarawa state to imbibe the spirit of investigative Journalism.
He believes that investigative reporting is the only solution that relieves the people from the clutches of misrule.
The state governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) challenged the press to exhibit the courage and habit of rural Journalism instead of focusing on issues that has to do with the government alone.
“Investigative reporting is the only tool that can keep those in the helms of affairs on their toes; this will help people at the grassroots whom have been excised from day to day livelihood” he said.
“Investigative journalism will help the citizenry to know what came in and what goes out of the state” Maku stressed.
Furthermore, he expressed displeasure with the way reporters give prominence to government activities.
“Move to the grassroots and report activities there, do not give priority to government activities and proclamations alone”
He also tasked the press to create awareness in the cause of their reportage, stating that scores of communities are disconnected from government presence.
Dr. Victor Ike Oye has emerged the new National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), with the former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, clinching the National Secretary position.
Before the event started, there were rumours of a court order stopping the convention but after a directive from the outgoing National Chairman, the party’s legal adviser cleared the air.
The convention, which took place at the Women Development Center, Awka, had a total of 740 delegates from the six geopolitical zones of the country and happened eight years after the last convention was held, laying to rest projections of disintegration of the party.
The new National Chairman promised to take the party to new heights through building a new and cohesive political movement founded on mutual love, peace and fraternity, devoid of bitterness and acrimony.
The outgoing National Chairman, Victor Umeh, made a well-tailored speech on the achievements of the party and urged the new executive to continue in a higher dimension.
Moving further, the convention moved for the dissolution of the existing body of the National Working Committee, after which the Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chinwe Nwaebili, moved a motion for the approval of the election of the members of the National Working Committee of the party.
The nominees were called upon and with an unanimous voice vote, they were elected and sworn in.
The three leading governorship candidates in Nasarawa State, north central region of Nigeria, made a surprise campaign appearance at the Mada Cultural Festival in Akwanga, where they all canvased for votes ahead of the polls.
Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, of the All Progressive Congress (APC) asked the people of Mada to re-elect him based on his performance during his first term.
While the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Yusuf Agabi and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labaran Maku, both sought the people’s mandate for the forthcoming April 11 governorship election.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has said that the controversy surrounding the party’s governorship candidate in Nasarawa State has been resolved as the name of immediate past Information Minister, Labaran Maku, has been submitted and accepted by INEC.
The party’s National Chairman, Mr Victor Umeh, confirmed this to our correspondent on the phone.
He stated categorically, “Mr Labaran Maku is our governorship candidate in Nasarawa State. We have submitted his name and same has been accepted by INEC.
“There is no question about the party’s governorship candidate in Nasarawa State, Maku’s name has been accepted by the party and INEC.”
There was some drama a week before, over who would fly the party’s flag in Nasarawa State, when news of Mr Maku emerging as APGA candidate broke.
The controversy stemmed from the claim by Mr Matthew Unbugaku who reportedly claimed the ticket.
The immediate past Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, has defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the February 2015 governorship election in Nasarawa State.
Mr Maku, a governorship hopeful on the platform of the PDP, lost the party’s ticket to new entrant, Alhaji Yusuf Agabi who defeated Maku and three other contenders.
Sources at the All Progressive Grand Alliance headquarters in Abuja, confirm Maku’s name was submitted before the December 26 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to contest the governorship position on the platform of APGA.
The Ministry of Water Resources says it has increased citizens’ access to clean water from 58% in 2010 to 67% in 2014.
The Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, told journalists at a forum in Abuja that she has embarked on over 4,000 water supply facilities across the country to increase access to clean water.
Noting that she had delivered in the Ministry’s responsibility of providing water for domestic and industrial use across the nation, Ochekpe said that the several irrigation projects embarked upon in the last three years by the ministry have improved agricultural productivity.
Ms Ochekpe also revealed that over 140 dams and irrigation are currently under construction by the ministry across the country.
It is hoped that the completion of the projects would not only improve agriculture but would serve as a boost to government’s efforts to improve electricity generation and distribution in Nigeria.
Since 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the forum where cabinet ministers give public accounts of their stewardship.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said that the platform serves both for constructive criticisms and to hold ministers accountable for their services.
The Nigerian government has said there is no Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, as claimed by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The Minister of Information, Mr Labran Maku, told reporters on Monday in Abuja that the claims of the group was not true and that the Federal Government was on top of the situation.
“No part of Nigeria has been or will be ceded to any sect or illegal group,” he said.
His statement is the latest reaction on the purported declaration of a caliphate in Gwoza, a community in Borno State, north-east of Nigeria, by the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Mr Abubakar Shekau in a video released on Sunday.
“Thanks be to Allah who has given us victory in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate. Thanks be to Allah. We are in an Islamic caliphate and we have nothing to do with Nigeria,” Shekau, who spoke in arabic, said in the video published on Youtube by AFP.
Mr Maku pointed out that although there were security challenges in some parts of Nigeria, the military had launched an offensive and that there was no cause for alarm on the part of citizens.
He also defended the deployment of large number of security operatives during isolated state’s elections, insisting that it was for security reasons.
At the briefing, the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ade Abolurin, said that the NSCDC was prepared to defend the integrity of the nation’s general election in 2015.
“Claim Is Empty”
On Sunday, the Nigerian military said that the claims of an Islamic State in Gwoza was empty.
In a tweet on its twitter handle, the Defence Headquarters stated that “the claim is empty, insisting that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact”.
“Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with the expression of delusion and crime.
“Appropriate military operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits is still ongoing,” the tweet read.
The terrorist group had attacked a training camp of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force (PMF) in Gwoza few days ago and 35 officials of the police were said to have been taken away after the attack.
The terrorist group is demanding for an Islamic State and an end to western Education.
In response to the attack, the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, ordered the tightening of security around police facilities in addition to efforts to further protect lives and property.
A police spokesman, Emmanuel Ojukwu, told reporters that an attack on the camp on August 7 was repelled by the Police, but that a fresh offensive was launched on August 20 in which the policemen on duty engaged them in a fierce battle.
“The search and rescue party launched immediately has located and brought to safety all Police officers in the Training College at the time of attack.
“So far, 35 policemen, who are still missing from the facility as a result of the latest attack, are being searched for with very promising prospect of locating them,” he said.
The IGP urged all Nigerians to remain calm and join hands with the security forces in the collective fight against insurgency, restating his determination to work closely with other security agencies to stem the tide of terror. The Boko Haram sect has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches, schools, mosques and public places in some states in the north.
Three states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – in the north-east have been placed under a state of emergency that has lasted for over one year to enable the military tackle insurgency in the region.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of 200 million Naira to support the Lagos State government in tackling the Ebola Virus Disease that has killed at least 1,200 persons since its outbreak in the West African region early this year.
Announcing the donation after the council meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, who joined the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, to brief reporters on the outcome of the meeting, said the donation was coming at a time the United States government also donated 30 body scanners for screening at airports and border areas.
He said the donation was following the meeting President Goodluck Jonathan held with the United States President to fashion out ways of checking the spread of the virus.
The Nigerian President had approved an intervention fund of 1.9 billion Naira last week to help contain the spread of the virus that has claimed the lives of five persons in Lagos state, the only state with reported cases of Ebola.
Ebola was first reported in Nigeria in July, when a Liberia-American man, Patrick Sawyer tested positive to the virus.
Sawyer died on July 25.
Also at the meeting, members of the council were told that only five cases of polio had been reported this year as against the over 20 cases reported last year.
The Council expressed happiness over the efforts made towards the eradication of polio.
Meanwhile, the FEC awarded contract to the tune of 31 billion Naira for the evacuation of the over 40 megawatts of power from the Kashimbila dam in Taraba State.
Following the dismissal of allegations against the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-makura, the Commissioner for Information in the state, Hamza Mohammed, believes that as far as the law is concerned, the crisis in Nasarawa State should be over.
He made this assertion on Channels Television’s weekend breakfast programme, Sunrise.
The Nasarawa impeachment investigative panel set up by the State Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Dikko, to investigate the 16-count allegation of misconduct and breaches of the constitution levelled against Governor Al-Makura had dismissed the allegations against the Governor following the failure of the State House of Assembly to provide evidence in support of the claims.
The panel held that in criminal proceedings, the onus lies on the person who had made the allegations to prove culpability and that since the state’s lawmakers had failed to prove the allegations, the panel had no choice but to dismiss the allegations.
On the back of this, Mr Mohammed, during the conversation, said: “Section 188 subsection 7 of the constitution says that as soon as the report of the panel is a ‘not guilty’ charge, no further proceedings has to be undertaken in regards to impeachment issue and we believe that is the situation now”.
He, however, berated the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, for allegedly urging the Assembly men to carry on with the impeachment process, during a rally of the People’s Democratic Party.
He maintained that as far as the party was concerned, the Governor “has not committed any misconduct to warrant any impeachment” since his assumption of office, adding that he has the support of the people of the state.
A legal practitioner, Wahab Shittu, who was also on the programme, said that the respect for the constitution and the rule of law was most important and that it should be the perspective that Nigerians should be concerned about, as adhering to it would help the country’s democracy survive.
According to him, “impeachment is both a constitutional process as well as a political process.
The Federal Government says it has reached out to the United States Centre for Disease Control to request for the unapproved drug ZMAPP, for the treatment of Ebola victims in Nigeria as the country continues its search for Ebola cure.
The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku and the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, told reporters after the Federal Executive Council meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday that the government was awaiting the response of the request it made last night to the centre in the US.
Professor Chukwu said that the council meeting presided over by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, focused mainly on the measures being taken to contain the spread of the Ebola Virus in Lagos.
He said that the persons who had primary contact with the index Ebola victim have been traced and isolated.
According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola cure has not been found and the virus has claimed about 900 people in West Africa representing 60% of deaths caused by the virus in the world.
The disease, which has started spreading in Lagos State, was a major talking point at the FEC meeting,
The Minister stressed that the Ebola Virus was a national emergency, with everyone in the world at risk.
He confirmed that Nigeria had recorded it’s first indigenous case with the death of a nurse who was infected with the Ebola Virus while attending to the Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who died on July 25.
“The Federal Government has reached out to the United States Centre for Disease Control, to request for the unapproved Ebola drug, ZMAPP, for the treatment of affected persons in Nigeria,” he said.
The Health Minister further said that the government had set up a special team for counselling and psychosocial support to patients, identified contacts and their families.
Mr Maku also advised Nigerians to be weary of quacks who would want to take advantage of the hapless victims.
The Minister of Information said the Federal Government was also set to recruit and deploy health personnel with attractive remuneration to Lagos to assist in the fight against the deadly virus.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved an $82 million loan facility from the Japan International Corporation Agency to speed up the eradication of polio in the country.
The loan, which has an annual interest rate of 0.2 per cent, will give a boost to the Federal Government’s effort to completely eradicate polio in the country.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the council meeting, the Minister for Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochepke, who joined the Information Minister, Mr Labaran Maku, decried a situation where the water resources available in Nigeria do not have a proper management.
The FEC also approved a new National Water Resources Master Plan which aims at not only making fresh water available to Nigerians but puts Nigeria on the same pedestal with other countries of the world.
The FEC also applauded the recent data from 2010-2013 by the World Bank which has placed the poverty level in Nigeria from 62 to 31.1 per cent.
Mr Maku said that the report is an indication that the various poverty measures adopted by the present administration have been working.
The council further noted that the development in agriculture and the new methods of distributing seeds and fertilizers in the country have contributed to the reduction of poverty in the country.
The Information Minister also spoke about the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the benefits so far, as well as efforts to make houses available to Nigerians using the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company.
The Federal Executive Council also urged President Jonathan to keep his eyes on the ball, hoping that, despite distractions from terror attacks, Nigeria will be among the largest world economies.
Prince Henry Olukayode Odukomaiya celebrated his 80th birthday with a thanksgiving service at the Arch Bishop Vinning Memorial Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos followed by a reception at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island.
One of Nigeria’s foremost journalists, Prince Odukomaiya is one of the brains behind the birth of Concord Newspaper. He was also the former Managing Director of Champion Newspapers and a former Deputy Chief Editor of the Daily Times.
Prominent Nigerians who attended the event included Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, Ogun state Commissioner for Commerce, Bimbo Ashiru, Chairman Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Sam Amuka, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi.
The celebrant also launched a book: Henry Odukomaiya @ 80: In the Eyes Of Associates, which was reviewed by the former Managing Director of Daily Times, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi.