NNPC: The Cabal Within – Aisha Usman

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The fact that all the symptoms of corruption in the oil industry continue to resist the change intervention of President Muhammad Buhari through the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu should be a source of concern to us all. Not only is the old status quo resisting change, it is also fighting efforts at reforms and the anti-corruption campaign. The intractable fuel crisis that manifests as the current bitter and agonizing fuel queues across the country is proof to anyone that the old order at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) kicks still.

The oil cabal that once held the nation by the jugular had let go only to latch onto another spot that is no less deadly than when its hold was strangulating the nation’s economy. Our worries should be magnified at this point because the actions of the cabal are now deeply insidious as it has again activated its sleeper cells within the NNPC. Its assault on the change being implemented at the NNPC is now being implemented by the Manager Retail Services, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi Ogbue, who until a while ago was the Managing Director of Petroleum Product Marketing Company (PPMC).

The attacks aimed at casting aspersions on Dr Kachikwu’s integrity have the handwriting and signature of Mrs. Esther Nnamdi Ogbue written all over it. The strategy is the same routine that has now become familiar since the Minister’s appointment to midwife change at the corporation was once the byword for corruption. Paid stories and protests are usually organised to accuse Kachikwu’s family of interfering in the running of NNPC. One is thus left to wonder how dragging a man’s family members into state business will serve any purpose other than using it as leverage to blackmail the minister into allowing corruption to have its way.

Nnamdi Ogbue’s grouse is easy to fathom, it is driven by a sick sense of vendetta against a man who she wrongly surmised has taken food away from her table. Only that this is not her food table since the re-assignment did not stop her statutory salary and allowances; what she misses is the benefit of corruption that has shrunken as the anti-graft war intensifies.

She is thus at the vanguard of the disgruntled in the aftermath of the massive shakeup by Kachikwu both as part of the unbundling of the corruption behemoth called NNPC. Moving her from PPMC to Retail Services has turned off the faucet to the pipeline from which she drank petrodollars unfettered. The very fact that the burden of accountability has been increased, contrary to when all thefts were hidden under the blanket name of the NNPC, is another cause of disaffection for cabal members, who now have their brigade commander coordinating attacks on the person they see as responsible for their woes.

However, this is where Nigerians should take the Minister of State for Petroleum to task. Why he decided to retain the old guard in the face of the unspeakable theft and corruption under their watch beats the imagination. Here is a woman, a public office holder, who holds more assets than some states in this country own. The choice properties she has scattered all over Abuja, other Nigerian cities and some abroad are enough to create a national bailout package in this economic hardship if they were to be put on auction.

House 3, Off No 4 Amazon Street Maitama built and furnished by Julius Berger at a mind bending sum of N1.3billion is just one of the many edifices that can be traced to Mrs Esther Nnamdi Ogbue less than 6 months after resuming work. It remains to be seen how she will explain ownership of that structure or the many other ones in Asokoro, Wuse and Maitama.

Nnamdi Ogbue might have gotten addicted to permanently having her hands in the tills to finance her unbridled acquisitiveness, but Dr Kachiwku owns the blame for retaining her in the system. Now, not only is she not satisfied with being rewarded for being corrupt (by being assigned to Retail Services instead of being fired and prosecuted) she has also made it a mission to ensure that the reforms in the industry are rolled back through her blackmail of the man in charge of the changes.

Pending when Nigerians will force President Buhari to order Kachiwku to do the needful by firing known corrupt staff, Mrs Esther Nnamdi Ogbue should concentrate on her job and stop desperately trying to divert attention from her odious sleaze and countless atrocities. She will also do well to seek therapy for her compulsive acquisitiveness while not engaging in any activity that could constitute evidence tampering since the anti-graft agencies must catch up with her at some point.

As it is becoming apparent that the cabal is swarming and swamping the Minister of State for Petroleum, it is then time for President Buhari to come to his rescue. Kachikwu’s power to throw out those indicted for corruption or affiliation with the oil cabal should be strengthened since the entire anti-corruption crusade would amount to nothing if the cabal continues to freely operate within the system to the extent of making the hunter into the hunted.

Nigerians must also not continue in that unacceptable tradition of seeing this problem as Kachikwu’s own kettle of fish or President Buhari’s headache. There is no basis for us to keep quiet when one individual can frustrate the anti-corruption fight to this extent. A few groups held protests when Mrs Esther Nnamdi Ogbue was re-assigned to Retail Services from PPMC and they described the move as ‘rewarding corruption’.

Other groups and well-meaning individuals must add their voice to demand sanity at the NNPC as the regime of corruption typified by this woman and her kind is not sustainable. Anyone who needs additional incentive to speak out should think of the fuel queues, she knows about them.

This piece was written by Aisha Usman. She is a former staff of the NNPC writing from Kaduna.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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15-Year-Old JAMBITE Abducted On Her Way To UTME Centre

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A 15-year-old girl, Miss Chioma Rita Clement has been reportedly abducted by some unidentified persons on her way to sit for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos State.

Rita’s UTME slip

Rita’s UTME slip: The Punch

According to the family members of the teenager, she has not been seen since last Thursday when she was kidnapped by some unidentified persons on her way to sit for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Exams.

READ ALSO: JAMB Releases 200,000 UTME 2016 Results Amid Concerns

It was gathered that Rita, who lived with her relatives at Gboyega Kilo Street in the Ojodu Berger area, and had UTME registration number 65061660GJ, was to sit for the exam organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) at 6.30am on that fateful day (March 10) but had never returned afterward.

It was also learnt that the teenager had left home around 5.30am for her centre at Agidingbi Secondary School – International office, on Plot B, Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja.

At about 5pm that same day, Miss Clement sent a text message to her mother’s mobile phone, raising the alarm that she had been abducted and she did not know the location where she was taken to.

She wrote, “Mummy, they took my phone and beat me up inside the bus. Mummy, I don’t know where they took me to. They made me sleep and said they will kill me if I ran.

“Someone gave me my phone, saying I must return it before they came back. Mummy, please save me, please.”

It was through the text message that the family got to know that Clement was not missing, but abducted.

Meanwhile, the matter has been reported at the Ojodu Police Division on Friday and then transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja.

READ ALSO: JAMB 2015/2016: List of Accredited Registration Centers In 36 States Of Nigeria

It was learnt that the Divisional Police Officer in Ojodu took the family members to the SARS office, Ikeja, on Monday and the SARS commander assured them that he would detail his men to rescue the girl.

However, the family had yet to hear from the police as of Wednesday.

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N3bn Fraud: ICPC Freezes Accounts Of SURE-P Directors

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has frozen the accounts of some directors of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) which is now defunct, while some vehicles had been seized from them.

This is just as the anti-corruption commission has begun a probe into the activities of directors and senior officials of the SURE-P created by the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

It was gathered that the probe was in connection with a N3bn fraud allegedly involving the Federal Ministry of Finance and the SURE-P Graduate Internship Scheme.

The money, it was learnt, was meant to pay the allowances of 17,500 participants for eight months, which never got to them.

A reliable source in the ICPC on Wednesday, said that the probe started after the commission received information that huge funds were embezzled by the officials.

“We have frozen the bank accounts of some of the officials while we have started seizing some vehicles from them. Our plan is to seize about 200. Presently, we have seized about 30,” the source said.

It would be recalled that the Jonathan administration established SURE-P in February 2012 following nationwide protests caused by the then increase in the prices of petroleum products.

The programme was, however scrapped by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015.

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Dear Buhari, Call El-Rufai To Order – PFN Reacts To Religious Restriction In Kaduna

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The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), has in a warning message sent to President Muhammadu Buhari reacted to a bill seeking to license religious preachers by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Pastor Warns El Rufai To Revoke Preaching Restriction Law Or Die

A statement signed by the Chairman of the PFN in the State, Rev. Dr. Godwin Madu in Enugu on Wednesday, urged President Buhari to call Governor El-Rufai to order, as such a move was capable of throwing the country into pandemonium.

READ ALSO: El-Rufai Seeks 2-Year Jail Term For Unlicensed Religious Preachers In Kaduna

The statement read: “The situation in Kaduna State today calls for caution because this religious issue may bring problem in other states if not properly checked.

“The licensing of preachers is not in the best interest of the nation and it is contrary to the constitution of the country.

“Are we being forced to have two countries in Nigeria or two constitutions? Mr President should intervene in this matter. Let there be caution and proper understanding between government, leaders and religious leaders; let us stop anything that will not make for peace.”

Also reacting to moves by the Presidency to establish grazing reserves across the 36 States of the Federation, the PFN said it was a veiled plan to Islamize the country.

READ ALSO: Buhari Set To Ban ‘Cattle Roaming’ In Nigeria

He said, “We frown at the impending doom that may befall the nation if Mr. President fails to check the incessant attempts to Islamize the states.

“We request the National Assembly not to consider such bill; let the sponsors of such bill desist from it.

“The nature of attacks on the host communities of the Fulani herdsmen is so damaging; how can a grazing field be given to them whereas it is the cause of crisis in several cities across the country.”

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Source: New feed2

2015 Hajj: NAHCON To Refund N1.7bn To Pilgrims

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has said the commission would refund N1.7 billion to some of the pilgrims of the 2015 hajj.

READ ALSO: Hajj Stampede: NAHCON Brings 36,269 Pilgrims Back Home As NYSC Contacts Families Of 100 Corps Members

This is just as the Commission has opened applications and screening of air carriers for the 2016 pilgrimage.

Speaking on the matter during the inauguration of the 2016 hajj carriers screening committee in Abuja, the executive chairman of NAHCON, Abdullahi Mukhtar, explained that the money was for services not rendered to the pilgrims in terms of feeding, accommodation, and for those who were unable to perform the hajj last year.

“After the 2015 hajj, the account department of NAHCON carried out a thorough reconciliation with all service providers, both the Nigerian service providers and the Saudi service providers, and they were able to come up with substantial amount that will be refunded to all the state pilgrims’ welfare boards and agencies and this amount is to the tune of about N1.7 billion.”

“The essence of the screening is to ensure transparency and make sure that all the applicants are in compliance with the rules and regulation governing aviation industry in Nigeria as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And more importantly is to ensure improved and better service delivery for the pilgrims, who paid their hajj and air fare.”

“We believe in the leadership of the state board, we appreciate their capacities to effect the refund in line with financial regulations and in line with the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

It would be recalled, two major mishaps occurred during last year’s pilgrimage. On September 11, a crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, while on September 24, a stampede occurred in Mina during the ritual of “stoning the devil”.

READ ALSO: Hajj Stampede: Death Toll Rises To 717 With At Least 805 Injured 

At least 2,177 pilgrims were confirmed dead in the crush and stampede, Associated Press count stated.

If AP’s tally is accurate, it would make last year’s stampede the deadliest-ever hajj incident. The previous record dates back to 1990, when 1,426 people were killed in a stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel leading out of Mecca towards Mina.

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Again, Senate Adjourns Passage Of 2016 Budget

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In contrast to its initial promise to pass the 2016 budget today, Thursday, the Senate, yesterday, gave next Tuesday, March 22, as the new date the document would be passed, saying that the earlier deadline fixed for the passage of the 2016 budget was no longer feasible.

READ ALSO: National Assembly To Pass 2016 Budget On March 17

Speaking on the new development to newsmen during an interactive session on Wednesday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity Affairs, Abdullahi Sabi, assured that the budget would be laid today, even as he evaded question on when it will be passed.

He said: “I want to assure Nigerians that the 2016 budget will be laid in the Senate chamber as promised by the Chairman of Appropriation Committee.
“We are not unmindful of the date set for the passage, but we want to give Nigerians a budget that is acceptable, implementable, and that will actually drive the key policies of this government with respect to the change agenda.
“All is almost set for the laying of the 2016 budget tomorrow (today) in the Senate. As we had promised Nigerians and with that, one or two processes that are required will take place and we will have our budget as promised.
“This has put to rest any suspicion of what is happening. I am here to inform you that tomorrow (today), God sparing our lives, the 2016 budget would be laid by the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee.”
It will be recalled, the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, who had on February 14, said the Senate would try hard to pass the 2016 Budget before March 17 plenary, could not adhere to the promise.
In a related development, the Senate Leader told newsmen that the budget would be formally laid before Senate during today’s plenary, adding that the 2016 fiscal document would be deliberated and passed next Tuesday.
He added that after passage, the National Assembly would subsequently transmit the budget to President Muhammadu Buhari before proceeding on Easter break for onward presidential assent.

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Metuh’s Trial To Continue Despite Counsels’ Absence – Judge

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has directed the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, to open its defence by 12pm on Thursday in his ongoing trial for corruption the despite absence of the defence lawyers.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Okon Abang stood down the trial of Metuh to 12pm after the prosecution and the defence counsel failed to show up.

READ ALSO: EFCC Files 7-Count Charge Against Olisa Metuh

Metuh and his firm, Destra Investments Limited, were being docked by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on seven counts of fraud relating to the N400m he received from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2012 and $2m money laundering cash transaction.

Metuh was in court on Thursday without his lawyers.

Both counsels sent letters to the court notifying their absences; however the contents of the letters sent were not the same.

While Metuh’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), in his letter, asked the court to adjourn the trial for the reason that he was attending to a medical appointment at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, the Commission’s counsel, Tahir Sylvanus, in his own letter, asked for a stand-down until 12pm instead.

READ ALSO: Arms Deal: PDP Spokesman, Olisa Metuh Regains Freedom

Tahir explained that he was handling a case at the Supreme Court as of 9am, on Thursday.

In his ruling, the judge, thereafter, said that the matter be stood down until 12pm.

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Leading By Example: Saraki Slayed in #MadeInNigeria Attire (Photos)

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The Senate President Of Nigeria, Dr. Abubakar Saraki, who has been emphasizing on the need to promote Made-In-Nigeria products was recently spotted leading by example.

READ ALSO: Senate President Saraki Explains Why The Gender Bill Was Voted Against

The Senate’s number one person, who had received some locally made trendy outfits from Adic Designs as gift, was spotted wearing it during a meeting to find a mutual ground on Gender equality with Senator Biodun Olujimi and Senator Bwacha.

See photos below.Saraki.jpg 4Saraki-1

Photos credit: The Nation Newspaper

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Ambode Sacks Occupants, Orders Integrity Test On All Lekki Gardens Buildings

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Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state has on Tuesday ordered all residents living in houses built by Lekki Gardens to vacate their homes as integrity test is to be carried out on each building to determine its safety.

READ ALSO: Lekki Building Collapse: Death Toll Rises To 22, 13 Rushed To Hospital (Update)

Grisly scenes from the Lekki building collapse: The Punch

Grisly scenes from the Lekki building collapse: The Punch

The governor, who visited the site of the collapsed building, which killed 35 people in Lekki, said he was displeased with what he saw, hence the need for immediate action.

READ ALSO: Lekki Building Collapse: 6 Rescued As Death Toll Rises To 4 [Photos]

Speaking to newsmen after his visit he said all structures in Lagos would be audited to ascertain those with planning approval and evaluate their physical development against their plans, adding that the developers are expected to take responsibility of the relocation of occupants of the buildings as government would not wait for the buildings to kill other people.

“The State Government will undertake a stability test on all other buildings constructed by the developer in the state, whether occupied or not, to ascertain their structural stability. The developer will pay the cost of the tests. Any building found to be defective would be demolished.

“For those that pass the integrity test, the developer will pay a penalty for any over-development on the site. Further to the above, the State Government intends to carry out an audit of all structures in Lagos to ascertain those with planning approval or not and evaluate the physical development against the approved building plans. The details of this initiative are being finalized and you will be briefed in due course.

“Let me reiterate that Lagos is open to business for those who must comply with the state’s laws and regulations in order to prosper. Our main concern is to continue to improve on the ease of doing business and uphold the rule of law at all times. Those who choose non-compliance and defiance will henceforth face the full weight of the law without fear or favour.

“In addition, some government officials have been relieved of their duties. I want to assure you that there will no longer be any sacred cows. If there is failure of duty, there will be sanctions,” Ambode warned.

The governor also commiserated with families of those who lost their lives and those injured in the incident, stating that his government will do everything within its power to ensure the safety of lives and property of its citizens and that his government was determined not to fail in that duty.

Ambode also revealed that a five man committee to examine the Urban and Regional Planning Law of the State as it affects the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).

The Committee is to be chaired by TPL (Dr) Moses Olubunmi Ajayi, a past President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, while members include Engineer Ore Fadayomi, President of the Nigerian Institute of Structural engineers, Architect (Mrs) Yetunde O. Ajayi, a retired Permanent Secretary, General Manager of Lagos State Planning Authority(LASSPA) and Secretary of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) as Secretary of the Committee.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Lekki Gardens MD Over Building Collapse

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Society of Engineers has commenced investigation to ascertain the involvement of its members in the construction of the five-storeyed building which collapsed in Lekki, Lagos.

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6 Elderly Men Get 120 Strokes Of Cane For ‘Impropriety’ While Drunk

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A Senior Magistrates’ Court sitting in Malumfashi, Katsina State has sentenced six elderly persons to 20 strokes of the cane each for constituting nuisance while drunk.

According to the prosecuting police officer, Cpl. Joseph George, the accused men; Nomau Akwai; Yusuf Bature; Salisu Abdullahi; Sani Rabi’u; Sa’idu Abdullahi and Musa Yusuf, all residents of Malumfashi Local Government Area, were seen intoxicated and wandering with alcohol at Gidan Mariya and Gidan Coach, an act that constituted nuisance to the public.

Speaking to the Senior Magistrate, Mannir Shehu, he said the convicts were arrested by a team of policemen on patrol at Marabar Kankara, a suburb of Malumfashi on March 13.

The offence, according to the court’s code of conduct contravened section 183 of the penal code law and the court was urged to try them summarily.

When the offence was read to the accused, they pleaded guilty to the charge. In his ruling, the Senior Magistrate, Salisu Shehu sentenced them to 20 strokes of the cane each to serve as deterrent to others.

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Source: New feed2

Buhari Set To Ban ‘Cattle Roaming’ In Nigeria

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The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is conducting plans to halt the ‘roaming’ of cattle across the country, within the next 18 to 24 months.

This disclosure was made known by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, at the 19th Regional Implementation Forum for International Fund for Agricultural Development-supported projects in West and Central Africa in Abuja on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: #IStandWithAgatu: Gory Images Of Bloody Carnage Wrought By Fulani Herdsmen [Viewer Discretion Is Advised]

The minister also assured herdsmen that the government will allocate grazing fields where cattles would be restricted to, adding that grass seedlings would be imported and planted in the reserved areas.

Speaking as a representative of the President on the event, Ogbeh said: “This is why our government has decided that grasslands in large portions around the country will be created and improved grass seeds will be brought in from other countries, which have gone ahead of us to create the desired grass that will make it unnecessary for the herdsmen to roam about. So in the in next 18 to 24 months, we assure you that no cattle will roam about in this country.

“We need young women and men who can invest in cattle rearing and milk production as this must not be left only to the Fulani herdsmen. Feeding cattle has been an issue, which we need to address.

“We have given support to rice, wheat and cassava farmers; also to cocoa producers.”

This measure is aimed at curbing the incessant invasion of communities and massacre of the indigenes by Fulani herdsmen.

Bear in mind, this is coming on a day when Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state attacked the President, accusing him of paying attention to issues pertaining to other countries, rather than dealing with the problems facing Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Buhari Hasty To Condemn Cote d’Ivoire Attacks, Mute On Agatu, Mile 12 Killings – Fayose

Fayose had described the President’s quick condemnation of Sunday’s terrorist attack on the Grand Bassam Resort in Cote D’Ivoire as hypocritical, saying that back in Nigeria, the President kept mute for days over the Fulani herdsmen massacre of over 300 Agatu people of Benue State, the Mile 12 Lagos killings and wanton destruction of properties among others

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Buhari Hasty To Condemn Cote d’Ivoire Attacks, Mute On Agatu, Mile 12 Killings – Fayose

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Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has once again hurled condemning words at President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of focusing on issues pertaining to other countries, rather than dealing with the problems facing Nigeria.

Fayose described the President’s condemnation of Sunday’s terrorist attack on the Grand Bassam Resort in Cote D’Ivoire as hypocritical and demonstration of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.

READ ALSO: #IStandWithAgatu: Gory Images Of Bloody Carnage Wrought By Fulani Herdsmen [Viewer Discretion Is Advised]

Speaking in a statement signed by his Special Assistant of Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Tuesday, Mr Fayose said:

“If President Buhari could afford to pick his phone and call the Ivorian president, Alassane Ouattara, immediately after the attack, Nigerians must ask the President why he kept mute for days over the Fulani herdsmen massacre of over 300 Agatu people of Benue State, the Mile 12 Lagos killings and wanton destruction of properties among others.”

He said it was strange that President Buhari was more concerned with the killing of 16 people in Cote D’Ivoire than the Fulani herdsmen’s murder of over 300 Nigerian citizens in Benue.

He also said it was alarming that even when former Senate President, David Mark, was attacked by the Fulani herdsmen last Saturday during inspection of the eight communities destroyed by the Fulani herdsmen, there was no reaction from the president condemning the terror attack.

He continued: “From all indications, our President has abandoned governance. The only thing going on in the minds of those running the affairs of this country in Abuja is how to entrench themselves in power by crushing anyone perceived as capable of hindering them.

“That is the reason they are using the Department of State Services (DSS) to harass and intimidate us here in Ekiti, under flimsy excuses like investigation of members of the State House of Assembly for alleged forgery of tax certificates when the Ekiti State Government, which issued the certificates have not complained to the DSS that its tax certificates were forged by the lawmakers.

“That is also the reason the president keeps showing his anger against Nnamdi Kanu and his Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) agitators while the same president has failed to approach the economy and insecurity, especially the Fulani herdsmen menace with the same level of anger.

“Even when their own Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, has told Nigerians that the economy has gone out of the hands of the president, they keep using anti-corruption fight to persecute opposition elements both in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their own party, All Progressives Congress (APC), forgetting that fighting corruption is not a substitute for putting food on the table of Nigerians.

“The president must therefore be made to realise that Nigerians are suffering, with price of foodstuffs skyrocketing. The economy is in comatose, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen are killing people. President Buhari must learn to begin to cry over Nigeria’s problems first before going to other countries to cry over their problems for them.”

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Source: New feed2

Soldiers Seize Newspapers Displaying Biafra Reports In Abia

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Soldiers of the 144 Battalion, Asa, Ukwa West local council, Abia State, have on Tuesday invaded a newspaper office along St. Michael’s Road, Aba and seized copies from vendors.

It was gathered that the confiscated Newspapers were both unsold and new editions of New Republic, Vesym, Freedom Journal and The Authority.

The troops landed the vicinity which serves as the hub of newspaper business in Aba, in two Hilux vans around 7am, and then packed the unsold and current editions of the said papers into their vans and left the place and vowed to arrest the publishers of the various newspapers.

A seller said: “At about some minutes past seven, soldiers in two Hilux vans arrived with one of the vendors that they picked along Mosque, asking him to point at the person who gave him the paper. But the vendor could not, because the person who gave him the paper had gone.

“They asked to know the publishers or suppliers but got no response. Then they confiscated New Republic, Vesym, Freedom Journal and some copies of The Authority, which carried Biafra stories.

“We are yet to be told the reason for the confiscation, but the truth is that we have lost money as many readers were disappointed.”

Another witness said the military overstepped their bounds and then vowed that “No amount of efforts by the military to gag the press will work. We are publishing reports about Biafra like other national dailies do. Let the military go and close down all the media houses because they are carrying Biafra stories. After all, we are not the only people publishing stories on Biafra.”

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Source: New feed2

BREAKING! 22 Killed, 17 Injured As Suicide Bombers Raid Mosque In Maiduguri

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Two female suicide bombers have killed at least 22 worshipers in an attack on a mosque in Umarari Village, outskirts of Maiduguri, on Wednesday during morning prayers, a rescue official said from the birthplace of Boko Haram.

According to the coordinator of the civilian self-defence Vigilante Group, Abba Aji, one bomber blew up inside the mosque and the second waited outside to detonate as survivors tried to escape.

Abdul Mohammed of the State Emergency Management Agency told The Associated Press news agency that another 17 people were wounded in the explosions early today, Wednesday.

An official of the Civilian-JTF, Alhaji Danbatta, said: “The bomb attack occurred this morning in Umarari village, just after Mulai Leprosy Hospital, outside Maiduguri, along the Biu-Maiduguri highway.”

“It was a suicide attack: the bomber sneaked in while the worshippers were observing the morning congregational prayer. We evacuated 14 corpses and 21 injured ones were taken to the hospital”.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, however, the blame will likely fall on the dreaded insurgent group, Boko Haram.

The ferocious death cult has increasingly used suicide and bomb attacks as Nigeria’s military pushes the group out of territories they once controlled.

Several bombers have exploded themselves in recent months at roadblocks into the city manned by the military and vigilantes.

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Senate Leader, Ndume‘s Statement On ‘Bill On Gender Equality In Marriage’

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The bill on gender equality in marriage – designed to grant women the same marital rights as their husbands – has been rejected by the Nigerian Senate at the plenary on Tuesday, March 15.

READ ALSO: Women Lawyers Pick On Ndume For Suggesting More Wives For Nigerian Men

Speaking on the bill proposed by Senator Biodun Olujimi, representing Ekiti south senatorial district, titled: ‘Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women’, Senate leader, Ali Ndume urged Nigerians to stick with the norms of either religious or traditional marriage.

Senate rejects bill on gender equality in marriage
Senate rejects bill on gender equality in marriage

The Senate Leader said that crisis usually occurs when couples who had performed both traditional and religious marriage rites find themselves in the middle of a divorce saga.

He said: “This law that is being amended is very important especially when there is a clear conflict when it comes to dealing with widows, inheritance, divorce, even marriage itself in our society.”

“There are various traditions. The problem we have is the combination of our traditions and new religious beliefs. You will find an Igbo man who cannot speak Igbo language because he studied abroad. He will do traditional marriage then go to church again to get married in the church.

“The church wedding says if you marry, the couple become one while the Igbo tradition says when you marry a wife, she becomes your property. So when issues come up after the marriage, you now wonder which one to take.

“As for inheritance and divorce, in Islam, it is very clear how it is being done, but if you combine that with your tradition, you find out that women are being discriminated in a disadvantageous manner. There is a need for women who are involved in this advocacy to also engage in enlightenment.

“If you will marry, you will marry; either Christian or Muslim. I think this bill is timely and important and at the public hearing stage, we will look at this bill very well.”

However, while clarifying the content of her bill, Senator Olujimi, who is the deputy minority whip of the senate, said that it seeks equal rights for women in marriage, education and job.

READ ALSO: #MysognisticSenate: House Refuses To Pass Bill On Gender Equality

The sponsor of the bill stated that according to the content of the bill, a widow would automatically become the custodian of children in the event of the death of her husband, and would also inherit his property.

The likes of Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president, Senator Ibn Na’allah representing Kebbi south senatorial district, Ibrahim Gobir representing Sokoto east senatorial district pledged their support for the passage of the bill.

However, when the Senate President Bukola Saraki put the bill to a vote, the opposing senators shouted a thunderous “nay”, and subsequently had their way.

The bill, which was first read on October 20, 2015, seeks to reduce all forms of violence against women including sexual abuse and discrimination.

 

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Agatu Massacre, The Police And The Tragedy Of A Peace Talk – Jude Ndukwe

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The recent massacre of the people of Agatu in Benue State by suspected Fulani herdsmen has left a very sour taste in the mouths of well-meaning Nigerians. What baffles a lot of Nigerians, more than the actual killings, was the pussyfooting with which the authorities have reacted to the issue.

In a situation where innocent and defenceless Nigerians, including hapless women and helpless children were massacred in such a large number, with brazen notoriety and in one fell swoop, which should have attracted a massive, definitive and relentless manhunt for the perpetrators, the government is yet to do anything concrete to smoke these people out and make them face justice for their crimes.

However, after this pogrom, the perpetrators were invited by the country’s chief police officer to a “roundtable peace talk” as ordered by the president!

In this case of the Agatu massacre, the leader of the cowardly Fulani herdsmen appeared before the Inspector-General of Police and sounded bullish, while reeling out the reasons why his men had to kill harmless Nigerian citizens in their hundreds. He said that the people of Agatu killed their cows and therefore must pay for these with their blood, their land, churches, schools, houses, etc.

He made the IGP understand that the herdsmen are a law unto themselves – a people who are not obliged to report to the police about those they suspect to be killing their cows.

The tragedy of the whole episode is that after the “peace talk”, the leader and his delegation walked away from the meeting without being arrested, interrogated and or prosecuted. No one, not even the IGP dared to ask them about the source of their weapons.

It is unbelievable that the Fulani herdsmen were not questioned about their weapons nor were these weapons seized. The IGP allowed them to go and “sin no more”, possibly with pats on the back, while keeping their weapons that are enough to overrun vast communities.

What a country!

Is it then any surprise that just days after the Agatu massacre, the herdsmen marched down to Ngorukgan, Tse Chia, Deghkia and Nhumbe, all in Logo Local Government Area of the same Benue State, hacking down anyone in sight?

As if that was not horrid enough, these same blood-thirsty herdsmen had the temerity to attack the convoy of Senator David Mark who was in Agatu on a solidarity visit and fact-finding mission. This is in spite of the fact that the senator had the security cover of armed personnel in his entourage who, of course, returned the fire of the herdsmen.

The most tragic of all is that in his recent visit to Minna where he held a stakeholders’ meeting with the people of the area, the Inspector-General of Police mindlessly claimed that the number of victims in the Agatu killings had been exaggerated.

He said: “I was around; I travelled to Makurdi, I did not see where 300 people were buried…If you kill, you don’t just bury; you must take the corpse to the police station before you bury. We don’t have that number of people”. Yet our IGP failed to give the number of casualties he actually saw. This is highly unfortunate!

This is most disgraceful coming from the nation’s number one police officer. The approximate driving distance from Agatu to Makurdi is 239km, a journey of about four to five hours. With such great expanse, how exhaustive could have the IGP been before reaching the apparently contrived conclusion that he did not see where 300 people were buried.

How could he even see these when he stayed in the comfort of the state capital and nowhere near the theatre of the pogrom? Was he expecting the Agatus to take their dead through that great distance to bury, so that he could see them?

Was the IGP expecting the Agatus who fled the scene of massacre in all directions and are today taking refuge in places other than their homes to have the luxury of having time to collect their dead and bury them, even when those alive to bury the dead are still scared stiff of going back to their communities? Was he expecting them to first carry the dead to the police station that was also not spared by the Fulani militia who burnt every building in sight?

If we must call a spade by its name and no other, it is highly unfortunate that IGP Arase would make some of the claims he did – it was unexpected of him.

Apart from the foregoing, there are still many questions for the IGP to answer: Why did he not get to Agatu to see things for himself? What was he afraid of? Why did he choose to see things from 239 kilometres away? He could as well have remained in Abuja and received reports from the field.

Contrast this to the report of Senator David Mark who braved the odds and visited Agatu, even when he came under the heavy unprovoked attack of the herdsmen, and one would discover the needless copious discrepancies between their reports, one coming from the field and the other from outside it.

On getting to Agatu, David Mark had lamented the barbaric actions of the herdsmen who, in any case, have been rated the fourth most dangerous terrorist group in the whole world by the Global Terrorism Index. He said “I’m shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction I have seen here in Agatu today.

This is unbelievable. It is unimaginable. Nothing whatsoever justifies the brazen act of destruction meted out to the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds”. The difference is clear.

What one expected after such level of destruction was not a “peace talk”. One expected the police and other security agencies to have swung into action and bring the perpetrators to book. Anything short of this amounts to complicity, negligence, cowardice, and injustice to fellow citizens wickedly hacked down by an evil group.

The IGP’s failure, neglect or refusal to arrest the leader of the herdsmen, who appeared to have known everything about the attack from his narrative at the meeting, and an order for the seizure of all the weapons of the militia is criminal in itself, and the IGP has a lot of explanation to do to Nigerians. The failures on the part of our security agencies have made the herdsmen grow bolder to spread their deadly attacks to other parts of the country. This is most unfortunate!

While those who embark on peaceful protests without arms in the South are mowed down by security agents, the Fulani herdsmen who murder people in their hundreds in the Middle Belt and other places are invited to “peace talks” by the same security agents. What a tragedy!

Since the authorities have proved to be powerless in this matter, the least we owe those murdered in Agatu and other places is to continue to cry for justice on their behalf so that we are not caught in the web of inadvertent complicity in a crime committed by a felonious lot.

This piece was written by Jude Ndukwe, He can be reached on jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; Twitter: @stjudendukwe

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Medical Students Will Now Spend 11 Years In University – NUC

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The National Universities Commission (NUC) has announced that any student who wants to study medicine will henceforth spend a minimum of 10 years in the university.

Medical students to spend 11 years in varsity – NUC

Medical students to spend 11 years in varsity – NUC

This declaration was made by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, during a lecture delivered at the maiden matriculation and inauguration of the University of Medical Science, Ondo, Ondo State.

In the lecture titled ‘Development of Medical Education: Prospects and Challenges‘, Okojie, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Chiedu Mafiana, said the development was imperative in order to enable the students mature psychologically for the profession.

Okojie explained that students would be spending the first four years studying basic sciences in university, after which they would proceed to the medical school to spend another seven years.

This, he explained, would help the students “mature psychologically” for the profession.

Initially, to study medicine in Nigerian Universities last seven years – housemanship included – however, following the new declaration, it can last more than 10 years where admission into five or six years of medical school is preceded by three to four years of studying for a first degree.

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N45.9bn Fraud: Tompolo Seeks Change Of Judge

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Former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, has called on the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal to order Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos to withdraw from the fraud charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

READ ALSO: Finally, Tompolo Heads To Court | Denies Ordering Buhari To Withdraw Soldiers

This disclosure was made known in a statement issued on Tuesday by one of his counsels, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

Adegboruwa said that his client had since last Friday filed his appellant’s brief of argument before the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, adding that Justice Buba is expected to cease action on the case in deference to the appellate court.

READ ALSO: N45.9bn Fraud: Police In Bayelsa Comb Creeks For Tompolo

The anti-graft commission had charged Tompolo and nine others with an alleged fraud of N45.9bn before Justice Buba.

Since the 40 counts were filed by the EFCC against Tompolo and his co-suspects early January, efforts to arraign them had proved abortive as Tompolo had repeatedly shunned the summons issued on him to appear in court.

READ ALSO: N13bn Fraud: Tompolo Shuns Court’s Invitation | Court Orders His Arrest

On two occasions Justice Buba had issued a bench warrant against Tompolo and ordered his arrest.

Tompolo, who had earlier contended that the summons were not properly served on him had on February 8 urged Justice Buba to set aside the warrant issued on January 14 for his arrest.

However, the judge rejected his application and re-validated the arrest warrant.

Not satisfied, through his lawyers, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Adegboruwa, Tompolo headed for the Court of Appeal, seeking to set aside the arrest warrant.

The statement read: “In further demonstration of his commitment to the rule of law and due process, Tompolo filed his appellant’s brief of argument, through the law firms of Tayo Oyetibo, SAN and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Esq., on Friday, March 11, 2016, thus activating the judicial process for the prompt and effective determination of the said appeal.

“The consequence of this in law is that Tompolo’s case is now before the Court of Appeal, with the concomitant effect that the Federal High Court will willingly cede jurisdiction over Tompolo’s case, to the Court of Appeal, since the appeal has now been entered in the Court of Appeal.”

“Tompolo is thus asking the Court of Appeal to set aside the warrant for his arrest and vacate all subsequent proceedings emanating from the flawed process of the criminal charge.

“He is further seeking that the charge against him should be transferred from the current judge, to another judge of the Federal High Court.”

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Buhari Gets Equatorial Guinea’s Highest Honour [Photos]

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President Muhammadu Buhari was on Monday evening conferred with the highest national honour in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea by the Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo decorates Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari with country’s highest honour

Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo decorates Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari with the country’s highest honour

A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, confirmed that the President was given the national honour in Malabo on Monday for his personal integrity, exemplary leadership style and courage to fight terrorism in order to ensure peace and safety of Africa.

Buhari 2The honour of “Gran Collar De La Orden De La Independencia” translated “Grand Collar of the Order of the Independence” was said to have been conferred on President Buhari by President Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea at the Presidential Palace.

Buhari 3Speaking at the ceremony, Buhari was said to have dedicated the recognition to the people of Nigeria who had worked relentlessly to sustain peace in the country and across other neighbouring countries in Africa.

He said, “On behalf of my country, Nigeria, and the people, I will like to express profound gratitude for the honour given to me and my people. The reality of the situation now is that there had never been a time in history for greater neighbourliness, for security and economic stability than now.”

President Mbasogo said the honour was conferred on President Buhari for his “personal integrity, exemplary leadership style and courage to fight terrorism in order to ensure peace and safety in Africa”.

He said: “We deemed it fit and appropriate to honour this son of Africa for the great work he is doing, which includes tackling Boko Haram, a great menace to the continent.”

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Ex-CDS, Badeh May Have Worn ‘Same’ Attire For 7 Days | Trial Starts Wednesday

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has on Monday adjourned the trial of the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, till Wednesday, March 15, amid speculations that he (Badeh) arrived at the court premises clad in the same style of attire he wore on March 7.

READ ALSO: Ex-CDS, Badeh Cries ‘Persecution’ As Court Shifts Arraignment To March 7

The former CDS, it was learnt, looked exactly as he did on his previous appearances in court, fuelling speculations that he was repeating exactly the same dress.

Though, in separate clothing, the attire remained the same style he had appeared in over the past seven days. The only difference was that he looked a little bit rumpled showing that he has started settling to life in Kuje prisons.

The immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh approaches the entrance of the court
The immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh approaches the entrance of the court

The EFCC is prosecuting Badeh and Iyalikam Nigeria Limited on 10 counts of money laundering involving alleged fraudulent diversion of about N3.97bn from the account of the Nigerian Air Force between January and December 2013.

READ ALSO: Arms Deal: Court Remands Ex-CDS, Alex Badeh At Kuje Prison

After the defendants were arraigned on March 7, Justice Okon Abang, ordered that Badeh be remanded in Kuje prison pending the hearing and determination of his bail application.

The judge had fixed Monday for commencement of trial, and subsequently on March 10 granted bail to Badeh in the sum of N2bn.

Former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh prepares for court proceedings
Former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh prepares for court proceedings

However, Badeh could not immediately meet the bail conditions in order to leave the prison.

READ ALSO: Arms Deal: Court Grants Ex-CDS, Alex Badeh ₦2bn Bail

In his ruling on Monday, Justice Abang granted the application for adjournment only on the basis of the newly filed additional proof of evidence.

He fixed Wednesday for “commencement of trial without fail”.

It will be recalled, Badeh, while at Kuje prisons, had refused to eat the food given to other inmates, preferring food from home.

READ ALSO: Badeh Rejects Prison’s Food | His Presence Excites Kuje Inmates

It was also gathered that his presence generated excitement and curiosity as the inmates were amazed to see the former military chief in prison custody barely a year after his reputation soared high across the country.

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EFCC Indicts Fani-Kayode, Olu Falae In N3.145billion Fraud

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Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have on Monday traced N3.145bn transferred to the private accounts of some members of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation – money shared during the build up to the 2015 presidential election.

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode

Chief Femi Fani-Kayodecc

While presenting evidence, the anti-graft agency said the money emanated from the account of the Central Bank of Nigeria and was transferred to the account of a company, Joint Dimensions Limited, and then sent to various accounts.

Olu Falae ashamed over Dasuki link

Chief Olu Falae

Those allegedly involved in the splitting of the slush funds are a former aviation minister and director of media for the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign organization, Femi Fani-kayode; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and leader of the Social Democratic Party, Olu Falae; a former finance minister, Nenadi Usman; a former Imo state governor, Achike Udenwa; former minister of state for foreign affairs, Viola Onwuliri and politician Okey Ezenwa.

According to the EFCC documents, out of the money shared, Fani-Kayode allegedly received N840m, through his Zenith bank account, Maitama Branch with number 1004735721 on February 19, 2015.

Falae was said to have received N100m through a company, Marreco Limited, where he is chairman. The fund was credited into the company’s United Bank for Africa Plc account number 1000627022

A source at the anti-graft agency who pleaded not to be named because he is not authorised to speak said:

“The money was paid by the Central Bank of Nigeria into the account of the Ministry of External Affairs Library, from where it was moved into the account of Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.

“It was from the Joint Dimension’s account with Zenith bank that the money was shared to various individuals and organisations for purposes that are not stated.

“Fani-Kayode was the chief beneficiary of the disbursement as he allegedly received a whooping N840m, paid in three tranches into his Zenith bank, Maitama branch account with number 1004735721.

“The first tranche of payment involving N350m hit the account on February 19, 2015. Another N250m was also paid into the account on February19, 2015 while N240m was similarly credited to the account a month later; precisely, March 19, 2015.

“The balance in this account as of December 31, 2015 was N189, 402.72.”

Reacting, Fani-Kayode said he never received money from the CBN, adding that the monies that were spent were received from Usman who was the director of finance of the campaign organisation.

He said, “I served as the director of publicity and I was told to set up an account for the directorate, which I did. I never received money from the CBN but like all the other directors, we received money from the director of finance.

“I was assured that the monies were not public funds but were sourced from private individuals. I never knowingly spent government money all through. The monies were spent specifically on the campaigns. The accounts were audited and we were commended by the President.”

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BUSTED! 8-Year-Old Children Discovered On ‘Teachers’ Payroll In Bauchi

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In a shocking development, a committee setup by authorities of Bauchi State to haul out ghost workers in the state has discovered names of eight-year old children as “teachers” on the payroll of the government.

According to Vanguard Newspaper, the State Accountant-General, Alhaji Abubakar Gabi, who doubles as a member of the committee, made the disclosure known today, Monday in Bauchi in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He said: “We have discovered that names of children between eight and ten years of age appeared as ‘teachers’ on the payroll of the state.

“We also discovered that some of the pensioners duplicated their payment papers; had the same names, same BVN, same GSM numbers and same account numbers but bearing different photographs attached

“Again we discovered instances where deceased families who had earlier submitted death certificates of their heads and were paid bulk pension entitlements, fraudulently working their way back and are still collecting pensions.”

The Accountant General also stated that 4,500 out of the 33,000 civil servant inherited by the present administration in the state were ghost workers, while 7,300 teachers out of the 29,000 teachers handed over by the last administration were also discovered to be ghost teachers.

“We have so far discovered over 19,000 ghost workers while only 7,000 pensioners out of the alleged 14,000 pensioners have turned up for screening,” he said.

Meanwhile, State Governor Mohammed Abubakar vowed that all those culpable of the crime and their collaborators would be brought to book in line with the change agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governor issued the threat in a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Abubakar Al-sadique, and made available to NAN on Sunday in Bauchi.

He said: “l assure you that persons found to have hands in the ghost workers issue will face the full wrath of the law, this is a promise.”

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Road Map To Putting An End To Fulani Herdsmen Violence In Nigeria – Shehu Sani

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There is need for the federal government to urgently convoke a national security conference to address the spiralling herdsmen-farming communities violence, and the summit should include representatives from Miyetti Allah Fulani Association, Association of Nigerian Farmers, federal and state ministries of agriculture, and of environment, security agencies, traditional rulers, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, middle belt groups, representatives of communities along grazing routes, the Nigeria Immigration Service and representatives of state and federal parliaments.

The summit should aim at proffering short and long term solutions to the incessant violence, killings and rustling activities attributed to some herdsmen, and it should unfold lasting socio-economic, security and ecological solutions to the crisis.

The need to immediately set up seven grazing reserves in the states of Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kaduna and Sokoto will significantly stem the movement of herdsmen southwards and drastically curtail the incidences of violent clashes with communities across the country.

The grazing reserves should be jointly managed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Livestock Association, universities of agriculture and the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.

There’s an immediate need to set up a National Joint Task Force on Cattle Traffic Movement (NATFOC) made up of the police, army, civil defence corps, Department of State Services, Nigeria Customs, Immigration and the Nigeria Satellite Telecommunications commission, which would be mandated to monitor, trail and track the movements of herdsmen through modern technology and other means of communication, in order to ensure that they operate within the confines of the law, and that their cattle, and also farm settlements are well protected. NATFOC should also be mandated to disarm all herdsmen.

There is the need to document, register and issue identification cards to herdsmen; and the federal government, through federal and state ministries of agriculture and the Cattle Breeders Association, should embark on this on a national level. This will stem the activities of violent criminals who masquerade as herdsmen to unleash violence against innocent and vulnerable communities.

Moreover, there is the need to engage the ECOWAS member nations and Central African nations in the drive to end the menace of herdsmen violence holistically.

This piece was written by Shehu Sani, he represents Kaduna Central in Nigeria’s Eighth Senate.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Construction Workers Embark On Indefinite Strike

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All construction activities in Nigeria have been placed on hold following an indefinite strike by workers in the sector, over the failure of the union and their employers to implement the agreements signed by the two parties some months ago.

The workers, under the auspices of the National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction Furniture and Wood Workers, (NUCECFWW), are protesting the alleged refusal of employers’ body on the aegis of Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), to abide by the rules of engagement as contained in National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC).

Speaking at a briefing, the National President, Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, criticised the employers of FOCI.

It was gathered that at the expiration of the 2013 agreement where the employers conceded a 39 percent salary increment across board to workers, FOCI had in a letter dated September 1, 2015, asked the union to submit proposal for negotiation based on NIJC.

“The document was due for review last year, when the FOCI, in letter signed by its Director General, Olubunmi Adekoya which dated September 1, 2010 with reference number: FED/NUCECFWW/2015/OA/SAO, had requested the construction employees through their union to submit proposal for the review of the document,” he said.

The letter, made available to reporters, read in part: “As you are aware, the current NJIC Agreement is due to expire soon. We hereby request that you submit your proposal for 2015 Negotiation so that we can plan accordingly.”

In November 2015, the workers demanded for a 100 percent increase in salaries.

After several negotiations, both parties could not agree and there was total breakdown in February, forcing the union to issue a 10-day ultimatum to FOCI to accept and implement the new demand.

“Their recalcitrant actions have prompted this strike and unless they are ready to go back to the negotiation table, the strike continues. It is either NJIC or nothing. This, we are saying, is sacrosanct.”

“Embarking on this nationwide strike did not just happen, it is as a result of failure on the part of our employers to sustain dialogue which is the most required and viable option for every Negotiation.

“Various meetings were initiated by this union but they had never got the time to sit with us and dialogue with us, even as they are the one expected to initiative such meetings for dialogue. It appears they have something to achieve from doing this but for us, no going back on the decision until they are ready to come to terms,” Asugwuni said.

According to recent report, the strike has already paralysed construction works across the country worsening the deplorable road networks.

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Full Details Of National Assembly Budget To Be Published Next Week – Saraki

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The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has stated that the National Assembly would make details of its annual budget available to members of the public next week.

This is contained in a statement signed by Mohammed Isa, Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Mr. Saraki and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

READ ALSO: National Assembly To Pass 2016 Budget On March 17

Mr. Saraki, who is the Chairman of the National Assembly, made the disclosure while speaking with a team of editors of the London based newspaper- the Economist.

He said that publication of the details of the budget was in line with the anti-corruption stance of the 8th National Assembly.

“For the first time we promised Nigerians that the Senate will disclose its budget breakdown, the committee will make its report available by next week.

“We are resolved to break the tradition of one line item,” he said.

He also promised to support the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s fight against corruption.

He said, “Under my watch the senate will never cover corruption except if the information didn’t come to us”.

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