Sex Scandal Probe: Onyeama, US Ambassador, Again, Fail To Appear Before Committee

house-of-reps-to-reveal-lawmakers'-allowancesThe Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday failed to appear before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

This is the second time the Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, have failed to appear before the Committee.

The Minster, in a letter to the Committee, said the time for the investigative hearing coincides with the Federal Executive Council meeting in the Presidential Villa.

The Committee had adjourned the meeting last week after another letter from the Minister said he will be away in Kigali, Rwanda for the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union and asked for another date.

The Committee, however, heard from the three lawmakers who denied the allegations brought against them.

The hearing is expected to resume on Thursday when the minister is expected to appear.

The United States Ambassador, Mr James Entwistle also failed to appear before the meeting.

Mr Entwistle, said there is proof that three members of the Nigerian House of Representatives were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwhistle is to present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, had challenged the U.S Embassy to come and place their facts in the sex allegation against federal lawmakers before the House.

He said the House of Representatives is expecting the U.S Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via a phone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House is convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah, and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

Sex Scandal: US To Provide Video Evidence During House Public Hearing

James_EntwistleThe United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says there is proof that three members of the Nigerian House of Representatives were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwhistle is to present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah, and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

The US Ambassador in a petition to the Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara, said their actions brought disrepute to the parliament.

The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Ossai Ossai has been assigned to probe the matter.

The three lawmakers were attending the International Visitor Leadership Programme in Ohio, from April 7 to 13, 2016, when the incident occurred.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema is also expected at the hearing.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe Dies At 71

Ojo Maduekwe, Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of TransportThe former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, has died at the age of 71.

The elder-statesman was reported to be returning to Nigeria on Wednesday from the U.S via Dubai when he fell ill.

Maduekwe was born on May, 6, 1945 in Abia State.

He was appointed Culture and Tourism Minister by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, and Minister of Transport in 2001.

He was also made Foreign Minister of Nigeria on July 26, 2007 by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and left office in March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.

He was National Secretary of then ruling political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and worked as the Deputy Director of PDP presidential campaign 2011 Goodluck/Sambo ticket.

The late elder-statesman advocated greater use of bicycles during his time as Minister of Transport.

Senate Suspends Ambassadorial Nominees’ Screening

Senate, Legislature, Aliyu Abdullahi,The screening of 47 ambassadorial nominees at the Nigerian Senate has been put on hold following what the federal lawmakers call irregularities in the nomination process.

The Senate suspended the screening on Wednesday after Senator Joshua Dariye raised a motion under matters of urgent national importance alleging the non-inclusion of the names of competent persons from his constituent.

Senator Dariye expressed concern that not a single career diplomat from his state was included in the list.

His views were shared by Senators Sola Adeyeye and Fauster Ogolar. They believe that the nomination process is faulty.

The Senate after deliberation summoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, to appear before its Committee on Foreign Affairs to explain the lopsided nomination and report to the upper legislative chamber in one week.

It is barely two weeks since President Muhammadu Buhari sent the names of some ambassadorial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation and since then, lawmakers have been picking holes in the nomination process.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, also joined in the condemnation of the nomination process before announcing the decision of the Senate to suspend the screening.

The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs is expected to meet with Mr Onyema and report to the Senate in one week.

But for now, the screening of the ambassadorial nominees remains on hold.

Switzerland To Repatriate $230 Million Stolen Money To Nigeria

Stolen Money, SwitzerlandThe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says a non-contentious fund of about 230 million US dollars is being repatriated from Switzerland.

The Minister made the disclosure at a news conference to give a scorecard of the achievements of President Buhari’s administration in the last one year.

He said that monies stolen from the country were also in the process of being repatriated from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Jersey Island off the coast of the United Kingdom, Lensisteine.

He said that the country was also in talks with countries in the gulf to recover stolen money from the country.

Mr Geoffrey Onyeama defended the many trips undertaken by President Muhammad Buhari. According to him, they were in the interest of the nation.

These returns, he said, were some of the benefits of the President’s interaction with the international community since he took over the government in 2015.

He shed light on other areas of success which he attributed to the administration’s openness to working with other countries for the common good of everyone. These achievements include the recent victory against the Boko Haram insurgency.

The Minister said that he believes that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has started on a good footing and would ensure that by the end of its tenure, Nigeria is better for it.

Don’t Link Herdsmen With Boko Haram, Foreign Minister Tells Nigerians

foreign Affairs minister on herdsmen Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has asked citizens to desist from linking recent attacks by cattle herdsmen to the Boko Haram insurgents.

Mr Onyeama stressed on Friday that there was no evidence available to security operatives suggest any linkages.

The Minister further told Channels Television that all efforts were being made to ensure that the attacks do not degenerate to another security concern, as the successes against the Boko Haram increase.

Nimbo-Community-Enugu
Attack on Nimbo community in Enugu State by herdsmen left scores dead and property destroyed

He said: “While Nigeria has not achieved the objectives set at the first security regional summit in Paris, more cooperation and better strategies are on to ensure the group is totally defeated”.

There are insinuations that the herdsmen that had attacked different communities in Nigeria are Boko Haram terrorists fleeing the northeast in the wake of heightened counter-terrorism operations.

5,000 Megawatts Not Enough For 170million People – Fashola

Power generationWorks, Power and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola has acknowledged difficulty in handling the power situation in Nigeria and hinged the challenges on low power generation.

The Minister spoke during the first in the series of the Federal Government town hall meetings held on Monday in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city.

During his presentation, Mr Fashola told the gathering that the 5,000 megawatts of electricity currently being generated was inadequate to address the nation’s power problems.

“I acknowledge that we are in a result-driven business and perhaps today results are measured by ‘in my ministry, how many roads have been finished? How much power do you have, how much housing can you get?’

“Those results are not yet delivered but I assure you they will be delivered.

“Some results are becoming evident to us in government and they may seem intangible to those outside government and I understand that. They are results of clearly understanding why we are where we are.

“Should we continue to do what was done in the past if it hasn’t solved the problem?

“ECN, the precursor to NEPA and PHCN was inaugurated by ordinance in 1950; that’s 66 years. So why hasn’t the problem been solved in 66 years? Why did we inherit it?

“So I am looking at some of the things that have been done well and some that could have been done better but I will summarise the power issue simply in one word.

“There is not enough power. 5,000 megawatts for 170million people is just not enough. The solution is delivering more power on an incremental and sustained basis,” Mr Fashola said.

The town hall meeting is expected to hold in six geo-political zones and two other cities, Abuja and Kano.

It is an interaction between the government and persons from different sectors of the economy.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah and Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi were also in attendance.

First Edition Of FGs’ Town Hall Meetings Holds In Lagos

FG Town Hall MeetingThe first in the series of the Federal Government town hall meetings held On Monday in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city.

The meeting is expected to hold in six geo-political zones and two other cities, Abuja and Kano.

It is an interaction between the government and persons from different sectors of the economy.

At the Lagos meeting, President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers talked to artisans, traditional rulers, students and a cross section of the public

Those in attendance are the Information Minister, Mr Lai Mohammed, that of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah and Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.

During his presentation, Mr Fashola told the gathering that the 5,000 megawatts of electricity currently being generated was inadequate to address the nation’s power problems.

The Power Minister, however, believes that the problems could be surmounted.

On his part, the Minister of industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Enelamah, said that the follow up on the China trip embarked on by the President would be very intense and that the President had given his cabinet the mandate to deliver.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Kachikwu, said the Buhari-led government had reduced a lot of excesses within the oil and gas sector and close to ending the era of subsidy payments while making sure the refineries would commence production shortly.

The Minister, however, appealed to Nigerians to be patient and hopeful, as he believes a lot is being done.

Buhari Attends Forum On China, Nigeria Production Capacity Cooperation

Muhammadu-Buhari-in-ChinaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday attended the official opening ceremony of the Business Forum on China-Nigeria Production Capacity Cooperation holding in Beijing China.

President Buhari is in China on an official visit aimed at securing greater support from Beijing for the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, especially in the power, roads, railways, aviation, water supply and housing sectors.

At the official opening of the forum were Chairman of National Reform and Development Commission, Mr Xu Shaoshi, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Okechukwu Enemalah, National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama.

Some other Nigerian government officials present at the opening were, Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Okechukwu Enemalah and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

Other Chinese government officials at the ceremony were Governor of National Development Bank, Mr Zheng Zhijie, Chairman of National Reform and Development Commission, Mr Xu Shaoshi and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Qian Hongshan.

The Nigerian government is looking to secure more funds from China, with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, saying the oil rich nation would consider issuing Chinese panda bond to plug deficit in the 2016 budget.

Earlier, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the world’s biggest lender, and Nigeria’s central bank signed an agreement on yuan transactions.

“It means that the renminbi (yuan) is free to flow among different banks in Nigeria and the renminbi has been included in the foreign exchange reserves of Nigeria,” the Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s African Affairs Department, Lin Songtian, told reporters.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Buhari To Reaffirm Nigeria’s Right To Use Nuclear Energy For Development

Muhammadu Buhari On Nuclear Energy President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja for Washington DC on Wednesday, to reaffirm Nigeria’s right to use nuclear energy for development.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Commander-in-Chief would join President Barack Obama and about 60 other world leaders and heads of international organisations at the 4th Nuclear Security Summit which opens at the United States’ capital on Thursday.

At plenary sessions of the summit which is dedicated to reinforcing international commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, President Buhari would insist that while Nigeria continues to sustain that commitment, world powers must respect the right of other countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy for development purposes.

The President would also reaffirm Nigeria’s stance that international efforts to ensure greater security of nuclear materials should maintain a balance between nuclear non-proliferation obligations and the indisputable right of Nigeria and other countries to harness nuclear energy and technology for socio-economic development.

“It will be recalled that at a meeting with him in Abuja earlier this month, President Buhari told the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr Yukiya Amano, that the Federal Government will welcome greater support from the agency for Nigeria’s aspiration to begin the generation of electricity with nuclear energy.

“While in Washington DC for the Nuclear Security Summit, the President and his delegation which includes Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd.) and the Director-General of Nigeria’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Professor Lawrence Anikwe Dim, will also hold bilateral meetings with other participating Heads of Government and high-ranking United States Government officials,” the statement read.

President Buhari would depart Washington DC for Abuja on Sunday.

Buhari To Participate In Africa 2016 Business Forum In Egypt

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari will depart Nigeria on Friday for Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to take part in the Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Forum.

A statement on Thursday by a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, said the forum would open in the Egyptian resort town on Saturday, February 18.

It is being organised by the Egyptian government under the auspices of the African Union Commission.

The forum’s objective is to accelerate private sector engagement and investment within Africa and promote the development of African ties and partnerships.

President Buhari, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt and the Presidents of Togo, Sudan, Kenya, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, as well as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia are among confirmed speakers at the forum.

Other confirmed speakers include the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and the President/CEO of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote.

President Buhari would be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, alongside the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelama.

The President is expected to return to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital at the conclusion of the forum.

El-Rufai Investigates Army/Shiites Clash In Zaria

zariaGovernor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has set up judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the December 12, 2015 clash between soldiers and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria that left several people dead.

Several members of the Shit’te sect were allegedly shot dead during the clash following what the Army authorities called an attempt on the life of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Yusuf Tukur Buratai, by the group.

A statement issued by the Spokesman of the governor, Mr Samuel Aruwan, says the commission of inquiry has been mandated to determine the immediate and remote cause of the clash, examine the circumstances and contributory factors of the clash, and ascertain the number of persons killed, wounded or missing during the incident.

He explained that the Commission will also identify the actions of persons, institutions, federal and state to determine whether such actions were necessary, appropriate and sufficient in the circumstances in which they occurred.

The commission will have Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba of the Federal Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt as Chairman, while former Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, former Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) Afakriya Gadzama, a one-time Secretary of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Alexander Mshelbwala and ten others will serve as members.

The committee  has six weeks to submit its assignment.