Senate In Clossed Door Session To Deliberate On Emergency Rule For Day Two

Nigeria Army.The Senate has gone into a closed door meeting to discuss President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for an extension of emergency rule in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states.

President Goodluck Jonathan, in his letter to the Senate, explained that despite concerted efforts by his administration to stem the tide of terrorism and insurgency in the affected states, the security challenges that necessitated the proclamation of state of emergency were yet to abate.

After the letter had been read on Tuesday by the Senate President, David Mark, the lawmakers went into a closed-door meeting to discuss the President’s request.

About one and a half hours later, it was obvious that the Senate had not reached an agreement on the matter as the Senate President announced that the discussion would continue on Wednesday.

The Senators where unable to reach an agreement on the matter as some northern lawmakers particularly those from Yobe and Borno states were opposed to the extension of emergency rule in the three north eastern states.

The northern lawmakers were opposed to the extension of emergency rule on the grounds that the extension had not helped to curb terrorism in the region.

Today’s meeting marks the second day in a row where the Senators are discussing the extension of emergency rule behind close doors.


Jailed Al-Jazeera Journalists: Australia Summons Top Egyptian Diplomat

aljazeera_journoAustralia has summoned a senior Egyptian diplomat, on Tuesday, to protest against the sentencing of an Australian reporter, who is one of the three Al Jazeera journalists jailed for seven years by an Egyptian judge.

The three journalists, including Australian, Peter Greste, all denied charges of working with the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said that the Egyptian Ambassador was currently in Cairo.

So, the Egyptian charge d’affaires, Sherif Abdelaziz Bedeir Hussein was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra so that Australia could further “express its disappointment”.

Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, however, struck a cautious tone, somewhat softening his government’s initial outrage.

“What we don’t want to do is engage in unhelpful megaphone diplomacy because that won’t do Peter Greste any good, it won’t do his two AlJazeera colleagues any good.

“What we want to do is to talk calmly and patiently and reasonably to the Egyptian government.

“We want is what’s best for the long-term interests of Egypt as well as what’s best for Peter Greste and his colleagues…my vocabulary fails to convey just how shattered we are”, Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, revealed that steps were being taken to lodge a formal diplomatic request to President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt, although they have been informed that that the President cannot consider a plea of clemency or a pardon until such time as all of the legal proceedings, including appeals, have being concluded.

Greste was sentenced along with Canadian-Egyptian national, Mohamed Fahmy, who was the Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English, and Egyptian
producer, Baher Mohamed, who was given a further three year term for possession of a single bullet.

The sentence has caused outrage in Australia, with at least one senior politician going so far as to raise the possibility of levelling sanctions against Egypt’s government, something Abbott’s government has so far ruled out.

Meanwhile, Greste’s parents told a news conference in Brisbane, that the verdict was an attack on free speech everywhere and it has left them “shattered”. It is believed that they may be considering an appeal.

National Conference: Buy The Idea, Ignore The Intention – Ojekunle

Public Affairs Analyst and Criminologist, Professor Femi Ojekunle has described the proposed National Conference as one that is truly needed, considering the acute problems the country is currently facing.

He said this while appearing as guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

Welcoming the initiative, he also expressed his understanding of the scepticisms of many Nigerians about the motive behind the plan but advised that Nigerians should buy the idea and forget about discussing the Government’s intentions.

“Definitely, the king may have a particular intention but the people can use initiative to serve their purposes. I believe that this initiative, we should seize it to serve the purposes of the long suffering public good of Nigeria.”

Speaking further, he identified the development of the country as the top agenda that Nigerians should focus on.

“Even the World Bank recently has come to recognize that we are growing but we are not developing. Developing refers to the continuous improvement in the conditions of living of the majority of the population and such improvement must be evenly distributed in the population.”

He posited that in a society where there is no justice, equity, and fairness, there cannot be peace and progress. He suggested that this has been the cause of insecurity in the North-East, new patterns of crime in the South-South and the South-East.

Citing examples of current happenings in the aviation and education sector, Prof. Ojekunle stressed that the National Conference should serve the purpose of restructuring our values and our development plans and strategies for the benefit of the majority.

He also expressed fears that ethnic sentiments might overtake these developmental issues at the conference. “I’m aware of a state in the North that has about 10 ethnic groups that are at each other’s neck. So when you talk about a conference of ethnic nationalities, it creates its own problems.”

He advised that all those who are going to represent their different nationalities, professions and institutions must be people who have bought into the Nigerian project, as failure to ensure this will be one of the major obstacles to the conference achieving its purpose.

Police Ban Gatherings At Airports

The Nigerian Police has banned gatherings, receptions and carnivals at airports across the country.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, explained that the ban is part of a deliberate effort to avert any security breach and protect critical infrastructure, travellers and airport staff.

The police authorities have directed all airport command commissioners and state commissioners of police hosting the airports to ensure compliance with the directive.

This order is coming after the supporters of Rivers State Governor; Rotimi Amaechi forced their way onto the tarmac of the Port Harcourt International Airport during the visit of APC leaders to Port Harcourt on Tuesday, an act seen as a security breach.

Reps Summon I.G. Over G7 Govs’ Meeting

The House of Representatives has summoned the Inspector-General of Police over the actions of police officers in disrupting the meeting of 7 governors and members of the National Assembly in Abuja.

In what has been described as impunity and disregard for the constitution, the lawmakers expressed dismay at the actions of the Nigerian Police in disregarding the immunity of the governors under the constitution.

In a motion supported by 61 lawmakers, and moved by Idris Kutigi, the lawmakers said police authorities have in recent times disrupted several meetings of these governors by sealing the meeting venues.

“On Sunday November 3, 2013 when the G-7 governors and members of the National Assembly were holding a meeting at the Kano State Government Lodge, Asokoro, the Divisional Police Officer, Asokoro Division stormed the lodge midway into the meeting with instruction from the villa to disperse or arrest the governors if they refuse to stop the meeting.”

The House has mandated its Committee on Police Affairs to investigate the matter and report back in 2 weeks.

Amaechi Barred From Accessing Port Harcourt Airport

Supporters of the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi had to barge their way into the Port Harcourt International Airport, with the governor in tow, after the police allegedly stopped him from gaining access into the airport.

Governor Amaechi was on his way to the airport to welcome leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were in Port Harcourt to pay him a solidarity visit and also invite him to join their party, when the incident happened.

The crowd of supporters subsequently forced their way through the airport gate and carried the Governor along with them.

The Rivers State Governor however had to walk some 5 kilometers from the gate to the tarmac.

The police claim that they were only trying to maintain law and order.


FAAN Condemns Amaechi’s Reaction

Meanwhile, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has condemned what it calls the invasion of the Port Harcourt International Airport by Governor Amaechi and his supporters.

The Coordinating General Manager, Public Relations of FAAN, Mister Yaqub Datti said the airport area is a security zone and not a place to play politics, and advised against such recurrence in future.

He also alleged that the incident forced an Arik flight to divert to a neighbouring state for landing, as the pilot considered it unsafe to land at that time when the supporters of the Rivers Governor had invaded the airport.

G-7 Govs Plane Stopped From Landing

Drama played out on Monday, November 4 as the plan by the aggrieved G-7 PDP Governors to attend a solidarity rally at the Rivers State Governor’s Office could not materialize because they were allegedly stopped from landing at the Port Harcourt International Airport.

The Chief Of Staff to Rivers Governor, Mister Peter Okocha said the Government was told by airport authorities that the airspace had been closed due to the presence of a very important dignitary.

The governors who have given the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP conditions to remain as members of the party, had planned a rally where they would explain their next plan of action to their supporters but could not carry out the campaign.

The G-7 Governors are those of Rivers, Niger, Jigawa, Kano, Kwara, Adamawa and Sokoto States.


FAAN Denies Allegation 

Aviation authorities have however vehemently refuted the allegation by the G-7 Governors, with the Coordinating General Manager, Public Relations, for the Aviation Ministry, Mister Yakubu Datti, describing it as a malicious lie.

Mr. Datti insisted that the agencies in-charge of the airspace did not and could not have given such a directive.

He cautioned politicians not to drag the ministry into any political dispute, maintaining that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, is a professional body and would therefore not like to join issues on political matters.

APC Leaders Storm Port Harcourt To Woo Amaechi

The leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC have thrown an open invitation to the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and the people of Rivers State to join and support the party.

The political rally was held at the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital, despite the earlier challenges.

The APC delegation included Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, Former Military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC Interim National Chairman, Bisi Akande, National Secretary, Lai Muhamed, as well as the National Vice-Chairman South-South (APC) and Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi.

Thousands of Amaechi supporters, members of the National Assembly and chairmen of all Local Government Areas of the state also thronged the rally, singing his praise and reaffirming their support for the embattled governor. The leader of the state’s chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Chimbiko Akarolo in his speech, declared the councils’ support for Amaechi, saying “Wherever he goes, that is where we are going to go”.

Taking turns to address the crowd, the APC leaders showered encomiums on the Rivers State Governor. National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande commended his courage and brilliance while Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, refered to him as a visionary who has performed extremely well in fighting for the rights of his people. He said “a man who stands to be cheated is not a man but a pig”

Speaking further on the validity of his party’s proposition, he encouraged Governor Amaechi to consider the APC’s offer saying “this is a mission to rescue Nigeria from polarization, division, intimidation and oppression.”

Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Tom Ikimi on his part eulogized the values of the All Progressives Congress as the better option for Amaechi. He claimed that the APC provides ‘balance of power’ and an alternative platform for Nigerians.

The event climaxed with the anticipated response by Governor Rotimi Amaechi who delivered his speech amidst intermittent singing and dancing.

The visibly excited Amaechi said to the APC leaders “If I say I am not happy that you are, I am only lying”. He went on to condemn the activities of his political opponents and the many accusations against him and his administration.

Recounting his administration’s achievements and emphasizing his popularity among the masses, he dismissed threats to unseat him and called on the citizens of Rivers State to confront the Nigerian Police and end impunity.

Amechi who has long been suspended from the People’s Democratic Party alongside 6 other Governors promised that he would embark on consultations with his fellow G7 Governors, the APC leaders and the Nigerian President before responding to APC’s request to join the party.

Nigerian Democracy Most Expensive In The World – Babanawa

Nigerian democracy has been described as the most expensive in the world, in view of the overhead cost of governance and its lack of corresponding development in the country.

Former Gubernatorial Candidate of Movement for Restoration of Democracy and Development (MRDD), Retired Colonel Suleiman Babanawa said this at the commemoration of the 10th year anniversary of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Kogi State Chapter in Lokoja the state capital.

He was the Guest Speaker at the event where he presented a paper on Nigerian Democracy to an audience that had members of the CNPP from the 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) executives, commissioners and special advisers, as well as the traditional head of Lokoja.

In his paper, he reiterated that democracy still remained the best form of government for Nigeria while a military system of government is an aberration. He however advised that the legislative arms of government should be made less attractive and should be on part time basis, adding that the huge amount used for salary of the legislators could be used for other developmental projects.

The CNPP Chairman, Mr Abubakar Aliu stated that the CNPP in the last ten years in the state has fared well on his role as umbrella body for political parties, adding that it has provided peace in the state for a touted fledgling democracy. He also stated that at critical moments they have subjected the government to listening to dispassionate and unbiased analyses.

The Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada who was represented by the State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr Abdulmumuni Usman was later honoured with the Grand Patron of the CNPP. Also honoured was a traffic controller whom the CNPP said has been very dedicated to his work.

In a separate interview, Retired Colonel Babanawa pointed out that there was no basis talking about National Conference; rather the country should be speaking about a National Conference on corruption and how to develop the country.  He stressed that insecurity and insurgency are the major threats to democracy, advising that Nigerians should emphasize the ideology of leadership and not the ideology of politics.

Gov. Amosun Reshuffles Cabinet

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun on Monday November 4 announced a minor cabinet reshuffle.

The exercise which involves 4 Commissioners and 4 Special Advisers to the Governor is to take immediate effect.

In a press statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, those affected include Dr. Lanre Tejuoso who before now was the Commissioner for Environment but has been moved to the Ministry of Youths and Sports.

Mr. Gbenga Otenuga who formerly was the Commissioner for Youths and Sports has now been moved to the Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning.

Also affected are the Commissioners for Forestry, Engr. Ayo Olubori who is now to oversee the Ministry of Environment, while Mr. Adebayo Fari of the Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning now oversees affairs at the Ministry of Forestry.

The affected Special Advisers are the Special Adviser to the Governor on Social Development, Mr. Tunde Sanusi who now moves to the Ministry of Environment; Mrs. Lanre Balogun, hitherto of the Ministry of Environment moves to the Office of Secretary to the State Government.

Others are Mrs. Tinu Shopeju of the Ministry of Agriculture who moves to Commerce and Industry, and Mr. Femi Ogunsola of Commerce and Industry who now moves to Urban and Physical Planning.

PDP Crisis: G-7 Governors Meet With Obasanjo

The G-7 Governors have met With Former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

It was gathered that the closed-door meeting, which lasted for about 2 hours, was part of the on-going consultations to resolve the leadership crisis rocking the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

The governors, led by the Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliu told journalists that they were in Abeokuta to keep the former president informed about the latest development on the crisis.

He said “This is part of the consultation, more so that we are coming to the resolution of the matters.”

“We’ve been discussing with the President, discussing about these matters and we believe after the lull of the pilgrimages, we are all back. So we needed to consult again to find out if there is any variable that have intervened and we are very happy that things are going normal.”

At the meeting were the governors of Rivers, Niger, Kano, Adamawa and Jigawa States. Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State were both conspicuously absent.

Fake INEC Staff Jailed 6 Months

A 24 year old man who claims to be a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Cross River State has been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment.

Mister Emmanuel Silas was convicted today by a magistrate court for fraudulently obtaining between 12,000 and 4,000 Naira from different job seekers for employment in INEC.

INEC commissioner in Cross River State, Mister Mike Igini has advised Nigerians to beware of such characters as INEC does not collect money as processing fee for employment.