Leaders Must Rise Above Personal Interests – Gov. Ambode

Lagos State, lekki free zoneNigeria’s present economic situation may still be biting hard, but the situation urgently requires elected leaders to put aside personal differences and interests and focus on delivering good governance to those they represent.

This charge was giving by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to participants of the ongoing maiden edition of the executive and legislative retreat in Lagos.

Governor Ambode said that the recession taking its toll on Nigerians is a wakeup call for leaders at all levels to come together for the purpose of rescuing the nation rather than seeing it as an opportunity to amass resources for selfish purposes.

The 3-day retreat had in attendance members of the executive and the legislature at the state and federal level.

Party leaders from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties in the state were also part of it.

ECOWAS Court Declares Dasuki’s Detention Unlawful

Dasuki, ECOWAS Court, Sambo DasukiThe ECOWAS community court of justice has declared the arrest and continuous detention of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki as unlawful and an arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

Delivering judgment on the suit filed by the former National Security Adviser against the federal government, the three-man panel of the court presided over by Justice Friday Nwoke, ordered the federal government to release him immediately having detained him illegally without trial since the November 5, 2015.

The court also ordered the federal government to pay the sum of 15 million naira as compensation to Colonel Dasuki for unlawfully detaining him, invading and seizing his properties without a valid search warrant or an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

The court further held that investigating Colonel Dasuki for allegedly committing or planning to commit a crime is not enough ground to detain him for over seven months without trial.

The court held that it was an arbitrary claim that there were plans to destabilise the government.

The court also said that the applicant, like any other ECOWAS citizen, has a right to own and enjoy property without interference.

The lawyer to Colonel Dasuki applauded the verdict of the court and asked the federal government to obey the judgment.

Edo Governorship Election: INEC Begins Announcement Of Results

Solomon-Soyebi-INEC-National-Commissioner-on-Voter-Education
INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education, Mr Solomon Soyebi.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun announcement of results of the  Edo State governorship election.

The Commission had earlier delayed the announcement as it awaited results from eight Local Government Areas before it begins announcement of the results.

The National Commissioner for Voter Education, Mr Solomon Soyebi, confirmed the delay to Channels Television.

Speaking during a phone interview he said the results started trickling in from midnight but the Commission decided to “have a number of them before we start collation and as of now we have about 10 out of the 18 local government results”, adding that “we believe collation will start in about one hour”.

He dismissed as “speculative” various results on newspapers, websites and blogs, maintaining that “whatever comes out from the Commission is the authentic result”.

He added that the Returning Officer is the only person authorized to make announcement of the result.

He, however, didn’t mention which local government areas these are.

Compilation of results in the Edo State governorship election began at the different local government areas across the state, with the electoral body getting ready at the headquarters to receive the results.

The compilation started after voting and counting of ballot papers at different polling units ended.

The exercise is said to have been largely peaceful.

However, cases of ballot box snatching have been reported at some polling stations.

Dissatisfied Opposition Parties

Dissatisfied with the way the election is going, the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has called for total cancellation of the poll.

Mr, Osaro Onaiwu on Wednesday alleged that financial inducement and intimidation of party loyalists occurred during the poll.

“The election is going to be inconclusive because there is a lot of damage already.

There was no election in Ologbo and Oluku and whatever result they are bringing out from these two places, it is not going to be accepted by us,” Mr Onaiwu said.

Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State claims there is a plan by the electoral body and Governor Adams Oshiomhole to rig the election at the collation centre.

The opposition party said that the delay by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to begin ward results announcement at the collation centre was a sign of the plan.

Governor Oshiomhole is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A statement by the spokesman for the party in Edo State, Chris Nehikhare, pointed out that voting stopped at 2:00pm and votes were counted immediately at the unit levels.

“From results made available to us we are in a very comfortable lead.

“We are however shocked that till now no ward result has been declared.

“We are aware that the APC and INEC plan to change the result at the collation centre and we wish to warn that any change to the result we are already aware of will be met with stiff resistance,” the opposition party said.

It further urged the INEC to tell Governor Oshiomhole that the changing and swapping of results at the collation centre was a no-no.

“Even worse is the attempt to prevent our agents into the collation centres.
“We, however, advise our supporters and members to remain calm. In a few more hours, the liberation of Edo will be official,” the statement further read.

Earlier, the candidate of the PDP, Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu, said there were attempts to smuggle in results at the ward and the LGA collation.

He told reporters that the party was confident that the plan would not work.

Indian VP Seeks Legal Reform To Counter Global Terrorism

Indian_VPThe Vice President of the Republic of India, Prof. Hamid Ansari is advocating for international legal reforms to combat terrorism.

He also canvassed for stronger international cooperation to curb the supplies of arms and financing of global movement of terrorists.

Prof. Ansari made the call at a meeting with the National Defence College in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, where he delivered a lecture on “emerging security imperatives, in the context of Nigeria -India relations”.

He identified terrorism as a major threat to international peace.

Prof. Ansari sued for a stronger bilateral relationship between Nigeria and India as they seek international help to counter terrorism.

The Commandant of the College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, explained the importance of having the Indian Vice President around.

He recalled that there is a long existing military and economic relationship between Nigeria and India.

The Commandant also noted that India helped in the establishment of the National Defence Academy in Kaduna State in 1964.

Since then, both countries have continued to have cross border training for military officers.

Britain Re-iterates Commitment To Rescue Of Chibok Girls

Chibok Girls, BBOG, Presidency, Boko HaramThe British Minister for Africa, Mr Tobias Ellwood has assures Nigeria of Britain’s continued support for the rescue of the Chibok school girls abducted in April 2014.

Mr Ellwood gave the assurance in Abuja after a closed door meeting with members of the Bring Back Our Girls group at the United Kingdom’s High Commission.

According to him, he will be having another meeting with Nigeria’s Vice President, President Yemi Osinbajo to discuss the release of the Chibok school girls.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Bring Back Our Girls group, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has said the group will continue to seek international support for the rescue of the girls.

Prisoners’ Swap Request

Britain’s assurance is coming days after Boko Haram released a video of the girls in their custody, demanding for prisoners’ swap to release them.

Over 200 girls preparing for their final year examination in Chibok secondary school in Borno State were taken from their school’s dormitory.

After the Boko Haram released the video, parents of some of the girls asked the Federal Government to swap suspected members of Boko Haram terrorist group held at different detention facilities with the girls, as requested.

The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, thereafter renewed his commitment to rescuing the Chibok girls, saying the government will not give up in the search.

In tweet on his Twitter handle, President Buhari paid glowing tributes to the military for their efforts in the war against insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast.

The President also said he was willing to swap Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls.

But that is on condition that they are able to list those they want released and then come out to discuss with the Federal Government.

He says the Federal Government will want the girls out safe without any harm done to them.

Recently, the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners had called on the President to accept the swap of the Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls who were kidnapped in Borno State two years ago.

At a bilateral meeting with the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon,on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting held in New York few days ago, President Buhari said Nigeria would welcome intermediaries from the United Nations as a show of commitment, to swapping the abducted Chibok girls with Boko Haram fighters in custody.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said that”the challenge is in getting credible and bona fide leadership of Boko Haram to discuss with”.

“The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters. Government had reached out, ready to negotiate, but it became difficult to identify credible leaders. We will welcome intermediaries such as UN outfits, to step in.”

The President reiterated that the teachings of Boko Haram were far from being Islamic, as neither Islam, nor any other religion, advocates hurting the weak and innocent.

“The fact that they kill men, women, children, and other people wantonly, and shout Allahu Akbar (God is great) shows that they do not know that Allah at all. If they did, they would not shed innocent blood,” President Buhari said.

Gov. Shettima Cuts Tour Short, As Borno Cabinet Member Passes On

Shettima_BornoThe Borno State Commissioner for ‎Environment, Alhaji Waziri Imam, has died at the age of 54.

This development has made Governor Kashim Shettima to end his temporary relocation to Bama and tour of destroyed communities after visiting Chibok, Gwoza, Askira-Uba and Damboa local government areas, all in southern parts of Borno State.

The death of the Commissioner was confirmed in a statement by the Secretary to Borno State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa.

The Commissioner, who is a younger brother to an APC national chieftain, Alhaji Kashim Imam, died after a brief illness in Maiduguri on Wednesday morning.

He is survived by a wife and six children.

The Governor left Bama on Tuesday after nearly one wee‎k of Relocation to mobilize major reconstruction works.

Shettima visited Pulka, a populated village in Gwoza Local Government Area and also assessed destruction and ongoing reconstruction works in Gwoza town during which he interacted with thousands of residents that have since returned to their communities.

The Governor proceeded to Lassa for assessment before passing the night in Uba, another community in Askira-Uba Local Government Area, which was liberated from Boko Haram.

The Governor was also in Askira town, headquarters of Askira-Uba Local Government Area and met with the Emir.

The Governor left for Chibok to assess reconstruction works and interacted with some stakeholders before cutting his trip back to Maiduguri following the demise of his cabinet member.

The late commissioner was buried on Wednesday evening in Maiduguri in accordance to Islamic rites.

Edo 2016 Governorship Election: Results Compilation Ongoing In Local Councils

INEC-sorting-sensitive-materialsCompilation of results in the Edo State governorship election is ongoing at the different local  government areas across the state, with the electoral body getting ready at the headquarters to receive the results.

The compilation started after voting and counting of ballot papers at different polling units.

The exercise is said to have been largely peaceful. However cases of ballot box snatching have been reported at some polling stations.

Over 1.9 million people were registered to vote in the poll, which was supervised by over 18,511 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with 19 candidates contesting for the position of governor.

Edo State has 192 registration areas 2,627 polling units and 4,011 voting points.

Earlier, an official of the electoral body, said polls went on smoothly.

INEC National Commissioner, Mrs Amina Zakari, said the electoral process was going on as expected while the INEC officials and security agents were working professionally.

Mrs Zakari made the observation in an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday at one of the polling centres in Benin City, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.

“It (the electoral process) has gone based on our expectation.

“The ad-hoc staff are working professionally (and) the security agents are doing their work (while) the people of Edo State are actually doing what we expect of them.

“They are behaving adequately, they are lined up neatly and everything is going smoothly,” she said.

But the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Osaro Onaiwu, called for total cancellation of the poll.

He claimed that there were cases of financial inducement and intimidation of Party loyalists.

House Calls For Local Production Of Army Apparel

House of Representatives, budgetThe House of Representatives is asking that the uniforms and apparel of Nigerian military and paramilitary agencies are produced and procured indigenously.

Considering the motion, moved by Rep. Prestige Ossy and supported unanimously by members, the House noted that local industries have the ability to produce the quality of apparels required for the agencies.

The lawmakers also noted that the N4.3 billion in the 2016 Budget for uniforms and apparels would benefit local industries and boost the economy.

Edo Election: PDP House Caucus Express Concern Over INEC’s Neutrality

Insurance FraudMembers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed concern about some arrangement put in place for the governorship elections in Edo State.

These concerns, according to them, may not guarantee free and fair elections.

The lawmakers, led by Minority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor, said information available to them showed that some staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been compromised to rig the election.

They also alleged that INEC unlawfully agreed with some security agencies to move collation centres to a police station.

They urged INEC to be an independent and unbiased umpire and ensure free and fair elections in the state.

EFCC Arraigns Ex-Naval Chief, Others For N600m Fraud

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned a former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman O. Jibrin and two others before an Abuja High Court on a 4-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy.

The two others,  Rear Admiral Bala Mshelia (rtd) and Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (rtd), were docked alongside Habour Bay International Limited.

The naval chiefs whilst in office allegedly bought a house worth N600million from the account of Naval Engineering Services without the said purchase contract being captured in the budget.

It was also alleged that the documentation for transfer of ownership of the property was done such that a private company owned by the family of the first defendant (Vice Admiral Jubrin) became the buyer.

The alleged offence is in contravention of Section 26 (1) (b) and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Act 2000.

The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

In view of their plea, counsel to EFCC, Abdullah Faruk, asked the court for a date for commencement of trial.

However, Y. C. Maikyau, SAN, representing the first and fourth accused, through an oral application made pursuant to Section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution sought for the bail of his clients.

Maikyau told the court that the defendants had been enjoying administrative bail granted them by the EFCC and had never breached any of its terms.

The counsel stated that though he had earlier filed and served the prosecution with a formal bail application, he felt the need to move an oral application subject to the discretion of the court.

Counsel representing second and third accused relied on the arguments canvassed by the learned silk in seeking bail for their clients.

In response, Faruk told the court that, he was served this morning and asked for time to enable him respond appropriately.

Justice A.S Umar after listening to the submissions of counsel on both sides adjourned to tomorrow for hearing on the bail application.

AfDB Offers $5.1 Billion Loan To Nigeria For Budget Support, Diversification

AFDB, AbiaThe African Development Bank (AfDB) is set to assist Nigeria with a $1 billion to help finance the 2016 Budget, especially in cushioning the effects of the economic recession.

The President of the bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who said this after his visit to Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa on Monday said the bank will also provide another $4.1 billion dollar support to Nigeria in many other areas including power, agriculture, infrastructure development and private sector business expansion.

Dr Adesina, who said his visit is hinged on the fact that Nigeria remains the largest shareholder of the bank, said the country is currently facing a difficult time because of the fall in oil price.

He further maintained that the federal government is taking the necessary steps to address the problem, which the bank will now step in to overcome.

He said Nigeria is not in a debt crisis and will therefore bounce back stronger and more diversified from the recession.

He further noted that the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria will increase in Nigeria to more than $10 billion dollars over the next three years.

Nigeria To Raise N250-N340 Billion In Bonds

Nigeria-NairaNigeria plans to raise between N250 billion and N340 billion in local currency-denominated bonds in the fourth quarter, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said on Tuesday.

The DMO said it would auction between 90-120 billion naira worth of bonds maturing in 2021, 70-100 billion naira in the debt maturing in 2026 and 90-120 billion naira worth in the paper maturing in 2036.

In its latest issuance calendar, the DMO said that the bonds will be re-opened from previously issued debt.

Nigeria had planned to raise between 305-395 billion naira worth of debt in the third quarter but ended up issuing 460 billion naira worth.

Nigeria issues sovereign bonds monthly to fund its budget deficit, support the local bond market and create a benchmark for corporate issuance.

Nigeria said it will borrow about 900 billion naira locally to finance part of the 2.2 trillion naira deficits in its 2016 budget.