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Politics / Re: When Is FCDA Demolishing This Eyesore In Federal Capital by JosEast(m): 9:21am On Apr 15, 2021
Politics / Asians Hawking Vegetables, Selling Ankara, Taking Over Nigerian Jobs – FG by JosEast(m): 9:19am On Apr 15, 2021
The Nigerian government is worried that expatriates are taking over jobs in the country.

According to the Nigerian government, this is responsible for the soaring number of unemployed youths in the country.
As Nigerians battle inflation: Where are the mercenaries and tools to tame the monster?

Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while declaring open a stakeholders’ meeting on expatriate quota administration in Abuja on Wednesday, said uncontrolled activities of foreigners in the country were starving Nigerian youths of employment opportunities.
He lamented that the horrible stories of insecurity in the Newspapers every morning was a cause for concern to all patriotic Nigerians.
Aregbesola said: “I have a good cause to say that this meeting has been long overdue in the sense that its outcomes will tie up a lot of loose ends in the obsolete handbook last reviewed in 2004, which has been in use as a guide to granting approvals to requests for various types of expatriate quota made to the Ministry of Interior.

“I recall that during the presentation of the draft handbook on Business Permit & Expatriate Quota Administration by a 10-man committee set up to review the handbook, I made the case for an expanded stakeholder meeting that will generate a comprehensive handbook in line with international best practices.

“Some of the abuses we have discovered are egregious. We have seen cases of expatriates fraudulently coming in to work as bricklayers, painters and even high-end consorts.

“Some also circumvent the rules by dubiously acquiring Nigerian citizenship through scam marriages.
“The funny but tragic case of some Asians hawking vegetables went viral. These are clear economic sabotage acts that should be detected, stopped and sanctioned.”

The stakeholders’ meeting is expected to produce a brand new, well-articulated handbook on expatriate quota administration that will have fair and reasonable sanctions that will be effective enough to curb abuses of Business Permit & Expatriate Quota.

Also, it is expected to ensure that the benefits and revenues accruable to the country would now begin to pour in while the teeming unemployed youth in Nigeria would have increased opportunities for employment through the understudy programme stipulated in the expatriate quota guideline.


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Crime / Re: Mando Kaduna Forestry School Kidnapping: Gunmen Abduct Female Students In Kaduna by JosEast(m): 9:07am On Mar 12, 2021
Politics / Falana: Minimum Wage Has Nothing To Do With Federalism by JosEast(m): 9:03am On Mar 12, 2021
A human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, has described the current protest by workers across the country as a popular one, saying the issue of the minimum wage has nothing to do with federalism.

“Members of the National and State Assemblies should appreciate the need to prevent payment of starvation wages in the country,” Falana said in an interview monitored on Channels TV Politics Today.

He said the constitution stipulates the payment of living wage for workers, noting that the present 30,000 minimum wage cannot be said to be a living wage.

Health / NAFDAC Warns Of Possible Infiltration Of Fake COVID-19 Vaccines by JosEast(m): 8:44am On Mar 12, 2021
The National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians to be wary of possible infiltration of fake COVID-19 vaccines as the country continues its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made the call in Kano at the North-West zonal destruction of fake, counterfeit, substandard, expired and unwholesome regulated products worth N613.3million, said the public must be on the lookout for counterfeit vaccines and other regulated products.

She said NAFDAC on its part will ensure continuous surveillance on these products and shall continue to enforce the regulations governing these products in Nigeria.

The DG, who was represented by Barrister Kingsley Ejiofor, Director Investigation and Enforcement of the agency, said “drug counterfeiting is an act of economic sabotage and also represents a serious threat to public health.

“NAFDAC will ensure that the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of medicines and foods are effectively controlled to ensure that the prescribed standards of identity, safety, quality and efficacy are met.”

Daily Trust reports that the products destroyed during the operation include drugs such as antibiotics, antihypertensive, antimalarial, herbal remedies, psychoactive and controlled substances as well as foods such as spaghetti, vegetable oil and non-alcoholic drinks. Others include cosmetics and chemicals.

Politics / Reps Demand Timeline On Reopening Of International Wing Of Kano Airport by JosEast(m): 8:29am On Mar 11, 2021
The House of Representatives on Wednesday mandated its Committee on Aviation to meet with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to seek a timeline for the reopening of the International wing of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

This was a sequel to a motion by House Majority Leader Alhassan Ado Doguwa and 33 others.

Doguwa recalled that the airport was closed on March 19, 2020, as a response to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.

He said the Kano airport had remained closed despite the opening of the other two closed the same period.

According to him, the Kano airport is very strategic and important to Nigerians, foreigners and the Nigerian economy as it serves 15 passenger airlines, including local airlines like Kabo Airline, Air Peace, Aero Contractors, Max Air as well as regional African airlines like Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines and others as well as International Airlines.

The House urged the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to direct the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to place COVID-19 preventive protocols ahead of the re-opening of the international wing of the airport.

Politics / Buhari: I Will Continue To Empower Nigerian Women by JosEast(m): 12:18pm On Mar 10, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said Nigerian women would continue to have pride of place in his administration.

He said this at State House, Abuja, while receiving in audience the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Winnie Byanyima.

“Women hold strategic positions in this administration. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is headed by a woman.

“The Civil Service of the Federation is headed by a woman. And many others like that. We will continue to do our best to empower our women,” President Buhari said.

The president said Nigeria had lost good opportunities for infrastructure renewal.

He, however, said that “we can’t continue to cry over spilt milk. We are now doing our best in concert with some developed countries.”

The UNAIDS Executive Director described Buhari as “a Nigerian and African hero,” stating that exploits by Nigeria in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic and HIV/AIDS are quite commendable.

“I salute your leadership in Nigeria and Africa. It is very robust. I praise you for it,” Byanyima added.


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Education / Senate Moves To Create University Of Health And Medical Sciences In Suleja by JosEast(m): 9:28pm On Mar 03, 2021
The Senate, on Wednesday, passed for second reading, a bill seeking to establish the National University of Health and Medical Sciences in Suleja, Niger State.

In his lead debate, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), who sponsored the bill, said the establishment of the institution had become imperative to create more access to higher health and medical studies in view of the large number of qualified candidates, who are annually stranded in their failed attempt in gaining admission into higher institutions in the state.

He said the establishment of the National University of Health and Medical Sciences would encourage the advancement of learning, as well as develop and offer academic and professional programmes leading to the award of diplomas, first degrees, postgraduate research and higher degrees with an emphasis on planning, adaptive, technical, maintenance, developmental and productive skills in the field of Medicine, biomedical engineering, scientific, and allied professional disciplines relating to health resources.

The Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), said the establishment of the institution would address the dearth of health professionals, and provide an opportunity for students who choose to specialize in the area of medical sciences.

He added that the University, when established, would “remove the frustrations of young Nigerians”, emphasizing that “this type of university is long overdue.”

The bill, after scaling the second reading, was referred to the Committee on Health for further legislative inputs.

Similarly, the Senate also considered a bill seeking to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards) Act 1985, to accommodate the Federal University of Lafia Teaching Hospital.

The University Teaching Hospitals (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which scaled second reading during plenary, was sponsored by Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa South).

Al-Makura noted that the inclusion of Lafia Teaching Hospital in the Principal Act was to give full recognition to the hospital.

According to the lawmaker, the proposed amendment when passed, would complete all the required legislative enactments to bring the Federal University Lafia Teaching Hospital into full operation.

“I wish to state that in compliance with Order 77(3) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015 as amended, this bill when passed will have no immediate financial burden on the Federal Government treasury as the facilities for the immediate takeoff of the proposed Teaching Hospital for the Federal University, Lafia and its Management Board have been donated by the Nasarawa State Government,” Al-Makura added.

Also, the Red Chamber passed for second reading a bill seeking to revive an international hospital that would specifically focus on the treatment of leprosy, skin cancer and other skin related diseases.

The National Dermatology (Specialist) Hospital Bill, 2021 was sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC, Adamawa Central).

Leading debate on the bill, the lawmaker recalled that as far back as 1929, an International Hospital was established in Garkida, Adamawa State by the Church of the Brethren Mission (USA) for treatment of leprosy and other illnesses.

The lawmaker, however, lamented that 92 years after, “this noble work of providing tertiary health care at the reach of the common man was neglected and allowed to decay in vigor and extent, thereby became weak and inconsequential.”

Ahmed bemoaned the fact that the existing international tertiary dermatology hospital in Garkida Adamawa State has been conspicuously left out in the federal government’s drive to provide tertiary health care services to Nigerians.


Politics / EFCC Re-Arraigns Embattled Justice Ajumogobia, Withdraws Name Of Godwin Obla by JosEast(m): 4:27pm On Mar 03, 2021
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday re-arraigned embattled Judge of the Federal High Court Lagos, Rita Ajumogobia, on allegations of money laundering.

The agency applied before the re-arraignment to withdraw the name of Godwin Obla, a senior advocate of Nigeria, changed alongside Ajumogobia.

Ajumogobia becomes the sole defendant in the amended 15-count charge of money laundering and breach of public trust.

She pleaded not guilty.

EFCC has applied for a trial date to calls its witnesses.

The court has ruled Ajumogobia will continue on conditions of an earlier bail granted.

A trial will continue on April 21 and 28.

EFCC had on April 18, 2019, arraigned Ajumogobia before Justice Aikawa on an 18-count charge, bordering on breach of trust, false statement and unlawful enrichment

According to the amended charge, the defendant was alleged to have committed the offence on or about July 11, 2014 in Lagos

The prosecution accuses the defendant of indirectly concealing the total sum of N12 million in the Ciamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd opened and operated by her.

According to the commission, the defendant ought reasonably to have known that the money forms part of proceeds of an unlawful act of criminal breach of trust.

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Politics / ‘why Obasanjo Visited Yahaya Bello’ by JosEast(m): 5:23am On Mar 02, 2021
Following the meeting of former President Olusegun Obasanjo with the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, the GYB2PYB Youth Support Group has said the visit was borne out of the ex-President’s deep love for youths.

The group commended the former President for fulfilling his promise to meet with Governor Bello.

Daily Trust reports that Obasanjo, on Sunday, met with the Kogi State governor in Lokoja.

During the visit, Obasanjo lauded Gov Bello on his efforts in ensuring security, good governance, and infrastructural development in the State.

Reacting to the development on Monday, the Director-General of GYB2PYB, Oladele John Nihi, described the meeting as timely and a confirmation that former President Obasanjo cares for the nation’s stability.

“Obasanjo is one of the few Nigerian former leaders with the interest of the youths at heart.

“We are not surprised to see him coming out openly to acknowledge the good works of Governor Yahaya Bello.

“He did it because he is a progressive leader that wants the country to move forward against all odds.

“I knew this when I personally met with Baba for the first time in 2019, at his Ota country home,” Nihi said in a statement.

President Obasanjo, during the closed-door meeting, urged governor Bello to continue his fight against criminality.

“We believe Governor Yahaya Bello will keep doing his possible best to safeguard the lives and livelihood of all Nigerians,” Obasanjo had said.

Education / Benue School Sends Home 7 Girls Over Spiritual Attack by JosEast(m): 7:04pm On Mar 01, 2021
At least, seven female pupils of Universal Basic Education (UBE) Junior Secondary School in Nyiman layout of Makurdi in Benue State have been sent home to their parents after they suffered a spiritual attack popular referred to in Tiv parlance as ‘Iyor genen.’

Our correspondent gathered that the incident, which caused a stir among pupils in the school, occurred separately on Friday and Monday during which period the affected girls manifested symptoms of seizures and shrill cries.

The incident had caused tongue wagging around the town, alleging that the pupils were suffering from a strange ailment similar to what was reported at Vaatia college which was shut down some weeks ago.

But, the Principal of the school, who though confirmed the attacks, however, said she was not competent to speak to journalists about the matter.

The Education Secretary of Makurdi Local Government Area, Sir Patrick Hangem Aese, also confirmed the attacks but dismissed the claims that the affected people were suffering from a strange illness similar to that of the victims of Vaatia college.

Aese rather explained that the spiritual attacks on pupils of the school were common with girls of Tiv ethnicity, especially from particular lineages since the olden days.

“I suggested those affected should go home.

“It’s a common spiritual attack on Tiv girls by their ancestors.

“When one is manifesting, it goes on to attack others who are susceptible.

“But, they will be normal after an hour if they are administered local herbs by those native people who know how to treat the case.

“In Tiv land, it has a particular group of people or lineage which it happens to frequently. It is for selected people not all persons,” he said.

Aese added that attacks were usually triggered by white or red colours, or people wearing clothes of attraction and could be heightened by anger as well as whistling.

“It doesn’t stop them from marrying.

“In a burial ceremony, a great number of girls are affected and it’s uncontrollable at that moment except with the help of hefty men to calm down the sufferers.

“It has no age bracket. In the olden days, it was girls of marriage age but now it cut across all females irrespective of age.”

Also, the Head of Department, Education, at the LGEA, Joseph Iorakpen, said he heard that seven girls came under the demonic attack in the school.

Crime / I Was Offered ₦500,000 To Take ‘Stuff’ In Algeria — Suspected Cocaine Trafficker by JosEast(m): 4:24pm On Mar 01, 2021
Mr Nkem Timothy, who was arrested with a substance suspected to be cocaine, said he was offered the sum of N500,000 to deliver the ‘stuff’ in Algeria.

In an interview with newsmen in Sokoto, he said he was introduced into the business by a friend.

“It was a friend of mine that we were living together in Algeria that offered me the money to deliver the stuff for him.

“This was not my business to start with. I was selling leather jackets and ladies’ shoes and bags.

“When I get to Algeria I buy them, come back to Nigeria, sell, collect my money and go back.

“He was just like mocking me that I am not getting anything.

“So, we met at a wedding party in Nigeria. He told me that if I will be able to take it [the substance] to Algeria, he would give me N500,000.

“He asked if he can go with me, I said no because at that time I have not collected my balance.

“He then left for Algeria about two weeks ago.

“So, that is how it happened. I don’t want to go further, please,” Timothy said.

The arrest

The acting Commander of the Sokoto Command of the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Amos S. Bamidele, said on the 25th of February, 2021 at about 5:15 pm men attached to the Illela border, intercepted one Nkem Timothy who tried to smuggle cocaine into the Niger Republic on a motorcycle.

“His bag was searched and two bottles of Yoghurt were found inside the bag.

“Inside those two bottles, 62 wraps of substance suspected to be cocaine that weight 1.550 kilograms were concealed.

“Curious search into other luggage led to the discovery of an ECOWAS passport.

“The name on that passport read ‘Auwalu Audu’ but his real name is Nkem Timothy.

“I think he did this so that he would be allowed to live in Algeria because he is based there.

“His story was that he travelled home, met someone through whom he got the substance, which he was taking back to his base, Algeria.

“We have commenced an investigation. After the investigation, we will take the next step that is required by law and our regulations,’ Bamidele said.

He added that this was the first time a suspected cocaine trafficker was arrested in the state in recent years.

“This is an eye-opener because it has helped us a lot to beef up our presence in that place so that not even a pin will go through henceforth,” he noted.


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Politics / Gov Emmanuel Donates Land For Proposed Air Traffic School by JosEast(m): 5:31am On Mar 01, 2021
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has donated a 30-hectare land for the proposed Air Traffic School to immortalise the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok.

The Governor presented a Certificate of Occupancy for the property to the Chief of Air Staff, Isiaka Amoo while on a condolence visit over the demise of the former Airforce Chief, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok.

Emmanuel declared the readiness of the state government to strengthen its partnership with the Nigerian military in its training and logistics needs.

He disclosed that the terminal building under construction in the state-owned airport once completed will offer an in-country Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) facility that would support the training facility without need for foreign exchange.

According to him, “our major gateways of development are at advanced stage. Our road network is one of the best in the whole country. Talk about air, our airport has an upgraded category two runway that can still take commercial flights even in bad weather.

“By the time we finish our terminal building, it will have no rival in Africa. Even our taxiway is built as a proper runway so it can serve anytime we want to resurface the main runway. So you can’t have air training school anywhere in this country better than in Akwa Ibom.

“We have a lot in terms of infrastructure that we can partner. Our MRO will soon be ready, so flying your aircrafts abroad for servicing will no more be fanciful. Pay us naira, use our facilities and you save your foreign exchange”.

Governor Emmanuel appealed to the Chief of Air Staff and other military chiefs to improve on the quota allocated to Akwa Ibom people for recruitment into the Nigerian Air Force and other military services in the country.

Speaking at Ibom Hall Ground in Uyo during the funeral service of Late former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Nsikak Eduok(Rtd), Governor Emmanuel said with the renowned sterling attributes of Akwa Ibom, the indigenes should be given more opportunities in the military services in the country.

“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Chief of Air staff that every year you advertise, our people apply in numbers. Please we will use this occasion to solicit for a larger percentage of our people in the Armed Forces,” he said.

He bemoaned a situation where only nine people were considered from the state, despite the hundreds of brilliant young people who applied for recruitment into the service from his state. He expressed deep grief over the demise of the late Air Marshal Eduok, whom he described as a trial-blazer, an epitome of courage and a decorated Air Force Officer who will be greatly missed by all.

“I stand here today filled with a deep sense of loss and grief on behalf of the Government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State, to bid farewell to a quintessential Nigerian patriot, a trail-blazer, an epitome of courage and bravery, a decorated Air Force Officer and above all, a husband, father and a devout Christian the Late Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok”, he stated.

The governor eulogized the sterling characteristics of honesty, transparency, integrity and inspiring ideals and innovations the late Air Force Officer brought to bear in the course of his career where he rose to the pinnacle of the service.

The Governor thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for sending his condolences to the family of late Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok, and also used the occasion to condole with the families of the Airforce officers who lost their lives in the recent plane crash near the Abuja Airport and congratulated the new Airforce Chief on his elevation and prayed that his efforts in curbing insecurity in the various parts of the country yield results.

In an earlier remark, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, thanked the Governor for the warm reception accorded him, the logistics support given for the burial of late Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok and for the C of O allocating 30 hectares of land for the Air Traffic School in the state.

He admitted that the state is the best location for the establishment of the Air Training School.

He assured the state government that the Nigerian Airforce will expedite action towards the establishment of the school.

He described late Nsikak Eduok as his personal mentor, and a role model to both serving and retired Air Force officers, saying, “he was a mentor to so many of us both serving and retired and changed the landscape of the service”

Politics / Falana: Buhari Wasn’t Arrested For Asking Jonathan To Resign by JosEast(m): 9:33pm On Feb 28, 2021
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, (SAN) has kicked against the detention of former Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Salihu Tanko Yakasai.

Salihu was arrested and subsequently sacked after he called for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation over insecurity.

In a statement on Sunday, Falana said Salihu is being held incommunicado in an undisclosed detention facility for merely exercising his freedom of expression enshrined in Section 39 of the Constitution,1999.

Falana recalled that between 2013 and 2014, leaders of the APC, including Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly asked former President Goodluck Jonathan to resign.

He said they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time.

The senior lawyer, who is the Interim Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), wondered why Salihu would be arrested after many civil society, chieftains of the APC and both chambers of the National Assembly have called for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment over insecurity.

“The decision of the founding fathers of the present Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech, which must include freedom to criticise, should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided by the constitution must be resisted,” he said.

“Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism in respect of their office so as to ensure that they are accountable to the people. They should not be made to feel that they live in an ivory tower and therefore belong to a different class. They must develop thick skins and where possible, plug their ears with wool if they feel too sensitive or irascible.

“In view of the foregoing, we demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Tanko-Yankasai from illegal custody. However, if the State Security Service has evidence that the political detainee has committed any criminal offence known to law he should be transferred to the Police for proper investigation and possible prosecution without any delay.”

The Department of State Services (DSS) has confirmed that the former aide of Kano governor is in its custody.

Politics / Nigerians Will Benefit From N37bn Allocated For National Assembly Renovation – F by JosEast(m): 9:14pm On Feb 28, 2021
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says despite the recent outcry on the huge sum of money allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly, Nigerians stand to gain from it.

Daily Trust reports that there was an outcry over the N37 billion allegedly approved for the renovation of the National Assembly, with many Nigerians describing it as a misplacement of priority.

But Fashola said maintenance of public infrastructures is a veritable tool to boost any economy.

Speaking on a public accountability programme on Bond FM in Lagos, monitored by our correspondent, Fashola disclosed that no fewer than 5000 Nigerians comprising artisans, workmen, engineers, among others have been engaged in the ongoing maintenance of federal secretariats across the country.

The renovation of federal secretariats, he said, is part of the federal public assets maintenance programme recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which would extend to federal hospitals in the country.

Fashola also disclosed that no fewer than 100 Nigerians were engaged in the just concluded rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.

The Minister also reiterated that the Lagos-Ibadan expressway reconstruction would be completed in 2022, saying so far 80 kilometers out of the 127-kilometer stretch of the highway has been done.

Fashola said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the public assets maintenance programme because of the potential in generating more employment for Nigerians.

He said, “There is nothing like maintenance culture but a maintenance economy. We will achieve a lot by adopting what I call maintenance economy.

“Like I told you we are carrying out renovation of many highways and bridges. The recently opened Third Mainland Bridge, over 100 Nigerians were employed.

“Many people would be employed from the maintenance of our roads and highways and as I am talking to you, we have started maintenance of federal secretariats across the country. If you go there, you would see people cleaning, painting, fixing the facilities and other activities.

“Over 5000 have been employed. The Federal Government is doing its own, the states and other private individuals should follow suit by regularly maintaining their assets and infrastructures. By this we can engage many artisans. What I am saying basically is that maintenance is not about culture, it is largely about boosting the economy.

“We have started with the federal secretariats, we will soon commence with the federal hospitals and many public assets.

“You remember recently there was an outcry over the renovation of the National Assembly which would gulp billions of naira, who will carry out the work? Welders, plumbers, painters, those are the people that would do the work.

“Nigerians are criticizing the money not minding the economic benefits. While the money may be huge as being criticized, Nigerians are still the beneficiaries. The money will come back to our young graduates, the engineers and the likes.”

Speaking on housing, Fashola said the Federal Government is committed to providing mass housing for all.

He said several interventions through its agencies and parastatals have helped many Nigerians to have access to cheap and affordable homes.

The Minister, however, appealed to state governments which have exclusive control over the land resources under the Land Use Act should cooperate with the Federal Government to have access to land to build mass housing units for Nigerians.

Politics / Scarcity: Fuel Queues Return In Abuja by JosEast(m): 7:18am On Feb 28, 2021
Queues on Saturday surfaced at some petrol filling stations in Abuja and its environs as marketers refused to load from depots due “to uncertainty in fuel price regime.”

Daily Trust observed apart from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) retail stations and some major marketers, many of the independent marketers did not open.

Because of this, there were long queues at the few petrol stations selling to customers.

At an NNPC retail outlet at Central Area in the nation’s capital, motorists were seen struggling to buy the product which sold at N162 per litre.

The situation was the same at A.A. Rano at Jabi where the premium motor spirit went for N163 per litre.

The president of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chinedu Okonkwo, declined to comment on the cause of scarcity, but an executive member of the association attributed the situation to anxiety over price of fuel.

Down stream deregulation

The executive, who pleaded anonymity, said IPMAN refused to load at the depots because they wanted the NNPC to come clean on deregulation.

The deregulation of petroleum downstream and pump price increase have generated conflict between the Government and Labor for close to two decades.

Since 2004 when the Federal Government started the policy of selling the crude oil earmarked for local refining/consumption at international price, the landing price of petroleum products has been higher than the regulated pump price of petroleum products.

The old system where crude oil earmarked for local refining/consumption was sold to the NNPC at a subsidized rate is able to take care of price differential between landing cost and regulated pump price.

With the new policy, a system of subsidy payment was introduced to take care of the price differential.

But over time, the subsidy system became cumbersome and government found it unsustainable.

Politics / Don’t Evacuate Your Children From Schools, Northern Elders Beg Parents by JosEast(m): 7:01am On Feb 28, 2021
The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) yesterday appealed to parents who have children in boarding schools in the region not to be discouraged with the latest incessant kidnappings in both Zamfara and Niger states.

The forum, through its Director Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, also expressed shock and outrage at the spate of kidnappings of boarding school children in different parts of the North.

The forum, while decrying the increasing danger to life of Nigerians despite assurances from the federal government that it will end banditry and kidnappings, urged parents to resist the temptation of withdrawing their children from schools.

The elders advised governors to examine issues responsible for the spread of banditry at local and community levels and resolve them, saying citizens should organise and raise their levels of vigilance.

Speaking further, Baba-Ahmed emphasized that governors should approach the menace using another approach, saying any bandit that is not ready for peace as initiated by some governors in the region should be dealt with accordingly.

Politics / Crisis Deepens In PDP Over South-West Congress by JosEast(m): 8:36am On Feb 27, 2021
There seems to be no end in sight to the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West over the forthcoming zonal congress, Daily Trust Saturday reports.

The party has been polarised following vested interests of the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde and a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose over who becomes the next zonal chairman of the party.

The zonal congress has been postponed several times before the March 6 date was fixed, but the Makinde bloc is raising the alarm over an attempt to postpone the congress again.

The group said the party may sink deeper in crisis if the NWC colludes with some “reactionary elements” in the party to postpone the election.

Our correspondent learnt that there is a move by some stakeholders of the party to file a court case to stop the congress as division deepens over who becomes the national vice chairman, South-West.

Also, yesterday, another group of stakeholders in the zone, under the aegis of “PDP Collectives” warned that the party might be treading a path of “self-destruction” by postponing the South-West zonal congress scheduled for March 6.

The chairman of the ‘PDP Collectives,’ Professor Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes, said the postponement would be “totally unacceptable.”

When contacted, the national publicity secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, asked the stakeholders to await a final decision, saying it would be communicated to them soon.


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Politics / Dangote Refinery Will Put Nigeria’s Economy Back On Track – Rep by JosEast(m): 6:53am On Feb 27, 2021
Mansur Manu Soro, the member representing Darazo/Ganjuwa federal constituency of Bauchi State, has said the refinery being built by the Dangote Group and the $1.2 billion planned turnaround maintenance of existing ones will put Nigerian economy back on its feet.

He disclosed this yesterday after his tour of the Dangote Refinery and other government-owned refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.

According to him, oil refineries in the country require total rehabilitation to return to full production capacities and generate revenues for the government.

He sad Nigeria had wasted nearly N10 trillion ($26.2 billion) of its scarce forex in just 10 years, subsidising petrol while it cost Dangote Group $15billion to build a 650,000- barrel per day refinery as part of a petrochemical complex that also houses a gas processor and the world’s biggest plant for ammonia and urea.

“The Dangote Refinery is expected to come on stream later this year to meet Nigeria’s demand for petroleum products, export the excess and conserve our scarce resource, among other multiplier effects,” he said.

Politics / Soldiers Shot Dead As Boko Haram Kidnaps Bride On Maiduguri/Damaturu Highway by JosEast(m): 5:46am On Feb 27, 2021
At least, two soldiers were killed and dozen travelers, including a newly-wed bride and her friends, were abducted in separate attacks launched by suspected insurgents along the Maiduguri/Damaturu highway on Friday.

According to sources, the insurgents ambushed commercial vehicles plying the highway yesterday afternoon and forced many passengers into the forests.

Daily Trust Saturday learnt that the abductions took place between Mainok and Jakana axis in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, around 3:30 pm.

According to a family source, only an elderly woman was left with instructions that the others have been kidnapped by the insurgents.

The source were in grief over the incident, saying all the passengers in the three vehicles who accompanied the bride to Damaturu had been forcefully taken away.

Similarly, suspected insurgents attacked a troop stationed between Mainok and Benisheik in the Kaga LGA and killed two soldiers in the process.

A security source who confirmed the incident, said the other soldiers were yet to report to their stations.

“We lost two soldiers and their hilux vehicle had been carted away with ammunition”, he said.


Politics / Cattle Dealers Begin Strike Today by JosEast(m): 11:39am On Feb 25, 2021
Cattle and Foodstuff dealers under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN), will today commence nationwide strike following the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum given to the federal government to attend to their demands.

AUFCDN, an affiliate of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) had on Sunday at a press briefing said the union was demanding protection of its members, payment of N475 billion compensation for lives of members and properties lost during the #EndSARS protest and Shasa market chaos.

The union also demanded that the government should order dismantling of all road blocks on federal highways due to problems its members get subjected to when carrying out their duties.

The Grand Matron of AUFCDN, Hajia Hauwa Kabir Usman, while giving an update during an interview with our correspondent, warned the police not to disturb task force of the union who will carry out enforcement of the strike by ensuring that no food and cattle were moved from North to the South.

Usman said, “The leadership of the union has already made a strong plan to ensure that all our exits (our borders) between the Northern and Southern part are closed.

“Every truck that will go out has to be checked. If you carry any food or cattle, you cannot take it out except you take it back or be destroyed there. None of the security agents should dare intimate our task force members because if they do, we will fight it legally.”

Usman vowed that the union would not compromise until the federal government attended to their demands, saying they had earlier given a 21-day ultimatum without any response from the government.

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Politics / Re: Either Of Rotimi Amaechi Or Dr Kayode Fayemi Will Make A Better President. by JosEast(m): 2:06pm On Feb 24, 2021
Politics / Workers Stranded As NLC Pickets CAC Headquarters by JosEast(m): 1:53pm On Feb 24, 2021
Civil servants working at Aguyi Ironsi area of Maitama in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, were on Wednesday morning stranded following picketing of the headquarters of Corporate Affairs Commission by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The protesters, led by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, were in solidarity with the staff of CAC under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), who had accused the commission’s Registrar-General, Garba Abubakar, of stalling their promotion.

Our correspondent reports that the entrance and exits of the building were blocked as early as 8:00 am by the visibly angry protesters – a development that also restricted vehicular movement.

They insisted that they would paralyse the activities of the Commission for three days.

Addressing newsmen at the protest ground, Wabba also alleged that the CAC’s boss committed various anti-union offences, ranging from corruption, illegal redeployment of married women out of the commission, stopping staff’s promotion arrears among others.

Wabba said Abubakar brought in environmental experts to fumigate the agency for N35 million in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, including contracting someone to paint the Zone 5 annexe office for N25 million.

It would be recalled that the AUPCTRE, through its branch chairman, Comrade Ibrahim Makirfi, in an interview with Daily Trust, gave an ultimatum to the Federal Government to avert a crisis in the commission after series of letters detailing offences of the CAC boss.

“The issue we have with the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has to do with the promotion of staff of the commission and other issues.

“There are some entitlements meant for staff that are not negotiable. For instance, the issue of promotion.

“There is no motivation to any worker anywhere except promotion,” Makirfi said in an interview with Daily Trust.


Politics / Banditry: What We’re Witnessing Is Terrorism – Govs by JosEast(m): 7:01am On Feb 24, 2021
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has blamed terrorism for the high level of insecurity in the country.

Speaking on Tuesday when he visited Minna, Niger State, over the recent abductions, Fayemi, who is the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), said what Nigeria is witnessing, whether banditry or kidnapping, has no name other than terrorism.

The governors held a meeting with Sani Bello, their Niger counterpart, and pledged to stand by him during “this difficult period”.

“At the level of the governors’ forum, we met last week and we came out with some specific ideas we have shared with the federal authority but for us, our visit is in commiseration, solidarity and in identifying with you, the government, and the good people of Niger State.

“We want to reassure you that even this difficult time shall pass but we must put our heads together, put all our efforts together, demonstrate resilience and reassure our people not to give up hope because ultimately we can only defeat terrorism collectively, not in isolation.

“What we are witnessing is terrorism, there is no other name for it. We may call it banditry, kidnapping, these are the remnants of the actors in the North-East that have found themselves in other parts of the country. Whether they are known as ISWAP, Shekau faction, they are remnants of what we are still dealing with in that part of Nigeria.

“That is why we must not treat the North-East in isolation of this problem. We are all victims as long as any section of our country is ravaged by this problem.

“On behalf of all your brother governors, I want to assure our people in Niger State that we are all for Niger State. We shall not rest until we resolve the challenges we have here as we have in other states.”

Politics / Re: 1,525 Nigerians Killed In Six Weeks Of 2021 by JosEast(m): 8:46am On Feb 22, 2021
Politics / Years After Zaria Killings: Victims Of Army, Shi’ite Clash Await Compensation by JosEast(m): 8:24am On Feb 22, 2021
Justice for the victims of the December 2015 bloody clash in Zaria, Kaduna State, during which soldiers dislodged a Shi’ite worship centre and residence of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, has remained elusive five years after.

Over 340 civilians, largely members of the IMN, were killed while a soldier also lost his life, according to official accounts. But the IMN at the time said over 1,000 of its members were killed.

Gyellesu, a bustling community located opposite the Samaru Campus of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, which played host to Sheikh Zakzaky and his IMN followers before the clash, was one of the places worst affected.

While some of those who survived the clash said they were still waiting to be compensated, the Kaduna State government told Daily Trust that it took over some properties around the scene of the carnage because of overriding public interest.

The government also said it has started implementing the recommendations of the judicial commission of inquiry it set up, including banning the IMN and compensating some of those deserving it.

However, most of the victims of the crisis said their details were only taken and nothing more.

Mohammed Inuwa Sheshi, 35, a tailor at Gyellesu settlement in Zaria, is one of the victims of the clash that took place in the ancient city in December 2015.

The dark memories of events that led to the crisis still linger in his mind.

Sheshi, who had lived in the area for about 15 years, told Daily Trust at his shop how, “Whenever I remember that incident, my heart freezes because of the shock and anxiety I experienced.

“Although the incident lasted for only about two days, the level of damage was monumental.”

But beyond the shock, he is also disappointed that five years after, the promises made by the government to compensate victims have not been fulfilled.

Widowed and broken

On a recent visit to Zaria, Daily Trust encountered two women who have been rendered widows by the clash.

Zainab Isa, who lost her husband and six male children during the clash, betrayed emotions as she expressed doubt over the prospect of getting justice for the killing of her loved ones.

She said: “On that fateful day, rumour had started filtering in that Hussainiyya was under attack. Being the first day of the month of Rabi’ul Awwal, which was slated for hoisting the Prophet’s flag to mark the beginning of Maulud, I asked my children to be at the venue since I was billed to go somewhere else.

“Around 1pm, we heard that Hussainiyya was tense and I decided to go there myself. But before I got there, the carnage had already taken place. I found the place under siege by armed soldiers while our children were trapped inside.

“Initially, my thought was that they (soldiers) were there for the POP (passing out parade) and would vacate the vicinity after the event. We also noticed a massive deployment of soldiers around Polo Ground, who opened fire on the crowd at Hussainiyya.”

Zainab left Hussainiyya but returned home the following morning without meeting her children and husband. She later found out that except for her youngest male child, the rest were either killed or had gone missing in the crisis.

She displayed their photographs, tears coursing down her cheeks. Asked how she had been coping five years after, Zainab, who said she has been doing some petty trading to survive with her only surviving son, simply said: “It is a trial of faith.”

Mohammed Inuwa Sheshi

On whether she expects justice from the government, she said: “There is nothing they can do to bring about redress to us in terms of justice. We are repressed. Look now, our children have been taken away from us, we don’t know their whereabouts for five years. Not all of them were killed; most of them were buried alive. Some were moved to unknown destinations.”

Another widow, Sherifat Salihu, who lost her husband and three children in the crisis, said life has not been the same for her since then.

“We were living happily with my husband and our children. My children were my pillars, the ones doing the house chores. I have been left empty after their deaths.

“No justice can come from government; even the commission of inquiry cannot bring about justice. I have sued them to Allah’s court. I will return to Allah and they are going there too. It is only when we meet before God’s Court that we can get justice,” she said.

The trigger of the crisis

Daily Trust reports that members of the IMN, who were conducting a “hoisting of flag” ceremony at Hussainiyya, their headquarters along PZ-Samaru Road, had mounted roadblocks at strategic locations on the highway on all approaches from Samaru and at the popular PZ Railway Junction.

It was about the time the convoy of the then Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, was coming from Dutse, Jigawa State, to attend the passing out parade (PoP) of the 73rd regular recruits at the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria.

The convoy was caught up by the blockade and officers on the entourage of the army chief were said to have made entreaties to the IMN members to lift the barricade for the convoy to pass but to no avail.

Zainab Isa, Lost her husband and six children in the clashes

This, according to witnesses, led to the “forceful clearance” of the roadblocks by soldiers who reportedly used lethal force.

Consequently, the military carried out a cordon and search operation at Hussainiyya and Gyellesu, the residence of the IMN leader as well as Darul Rahma at Dambo village. In the wake of these operations, hundreds of lives were lost while movable and properties destroyed.

Although there were conflicting reports over the death toll in the clashes, the Kaduna State government carried out the burial of over 300 dead bodies in a mass grave at a cemetery along Mando Road, Kaduna.

‘Compensation still hanging’

Following the incident, the Kaduna State government set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the incident.

The commission, with 13 members from different professional backgrounds, headed by Hon. Mohammed Lawal Garba, was inaugurated on January 29, 2016. Among its terms of reference was to ascertain the number of persons killed, those wounded or missing during the clashes.

It is also to identify all property allegedly damaged or destroyed during the clashes, the owners or occupiers of such property and the values claimed for such damage or destruction.

Similarly, the commission was mandated to make recommendations to the state and the federal governments on the direct or indirect responsibility for any identified acts of commission or omission. It was also to recommend actions to be taken to ensure that administrative or criminal responsibility was further determined by the appropriate administrative or judicial authorities for any identified acts or omissions.

On receipt of the report of the commission, the Kaduna State government appointed a White Paper Drafting Committee through a letter no. SSG/KDS/508/ VOL.T4/100 dated July 22, 2016, to study the recommendations of the panel and produce a White Paper.

Investigations, however, revealed that although the panel made far-reaching findings and recommendations which were backed by the white paper, they are yet to be implemented five years after.

Among other findings, the report, a copy of which Daily Trust exclusively obtained, indicated that properties belonging to 19 persons valued at N74.3 million were destroyed while vehicles belonging to 25 persons valued at N78. 9 million were also destroyed

It also found that six (unspecified) properties belonging to members of the IMN were destroyed but the value could not be ascertained since the IMN did not appear before the commission of inquiry. “The Kaduna State government should appoint professional valuers to re-evaluate properties reported to have been destroyed or damaged and take appropriate steps to provide the necessary compensation to the claimants,” the report recommended.

Daily Trust findings further showed that although the state government had noted in the White Paper that: “Property destroyed had already been valued for the purpose of payment of reasonable compensation to circumstantial victims,” many of the victims who spoke in Zaria said nothing was given to them.

Sheshi the tailor in Gyellesu said: “It has been five years after I presented my estimated losses but the promise of compensation made by government remains a pipe dream.”

Suleiman Idris, another tailor in Gyellesu said following the incident, he was requested to make a submission through the Zaria Local Government Area for compensation but nothing has been done yet.

“My shop was burnt to ashes and I lost property worth N750,000 including three sewing machines. I was requested to make documentation of my losses which I did but to date, nothing has been done,” Idris said.

Another victim, Zahraddeen Sanusi, said he lost goods in his shop worth N1.3 million. “We were informed that fateful night that our shops were set on fire as a result of the IMN/military clash.

“When I got to my shop the provisions I had stocked for sale, including fridges were all destroyed. We were later promised assistance after submitting our losses to Zaria Local Government Council but five years after nothing has been done,” he said.

Similarly, Salisu Ahmed Gyellesu, another victim, said he wrote and submitted to the investigation committee that sat in Kaduna, details of the destruction done to his house, including the damage to his car and that of his younger brother, but there has been no response.

“They asked me some questions just the way you are asking me now on what happened and I told them; the government promised to pay us some money to enable us to fix what was damaged but we’ve not received anything yet,” he said.

Aliyu Mohammed Kafinta, who said their mosque was affected during the clash at Gyellesu, said the government did not give them any form of assistance. “You can see all the repair works we did are through our own efforts; we need assistance from government in any form,” he said.

The Vice-Chairman, Gyellesu Community Development Association, Malam Mukhtar, said apart from individual residents, the community made a presentation to the judicial commission detailing the losses incurred by victims but there was no response from the government.

“There were only promises from political office holders who made pledges that the government would assist victims that lost their property but nothing has been done to that effect. We even wrote two reminders to the governor of Kaduna State but no response up till now.

“Government should be realistic and compassionate for the less privileged, especially those who lost their property. If they cannot pay them they should at least compensate them with something tangible,” Mukhtar, said.

IMN against Nigeria’s sovereignty – Inquiry commission

Aside from the panel’s recommendation on compensation, checks by Daily Trust also showed that the IMN also crossed its borders.

For instance, the panel said it found that the IMN had been steadfast and deliberate in refusing to recognise the legitimacy, authority and the Constitution of the Nigerian State.

“They have operated outside the laws of the state and the Funtua Declaration is their flagship enunciation of the ideology of confrontation with the Nigerian State, its legal system and its security agencies. The result has been a long tradition of IMN refusal to respect, observe and comply with the laws of the country,” the report said.

It therefore recommended that the state and its law enforcement agencies should investigate all persons allegedly breaking the law even when such persons belong to powerful religious groups. “All those found to have engaged in illegal activities must be prosecuted and if found to be guilty be punished appropriately,” the report recommended.

On killings, the report said evidence before the commission from the Kaduna State government’s memo dated February 26, 2016 states; “From the bodies provided by the army, 347 corpses were evacuated from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika and 191 from the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria. The actual counting of the corpses by Kaduna State government officials during the burial confirmed this number.”

It also found that the memorandum submitted by the Nigerian Army dated February 9, 2016, revealed that they lost one soldier, Cpl. Dan Kaduna Yakubu 98NA/46/29100.

“Oral evidence before the commission by the Nigerian Army Acting Provost Marshal showed that seven people died at the scene of the blockade near Hussainiyya along Sokoto road, Zaria on December 12, 2015,” the report read.

While recommending that, “Members of the Nigerian Army found to have been involved in the killings should be brought to trial before a court of competent jurisdiction,” the report also said: “The members of the IMN found to have been involved in the killing of Cpl. Dan Kaduna Yakubu should also be tried before a Court of competent jurisdiction.”

The report faulted the Cordon and Search Operations Order that led to the killing of victims, saying: “The oral order for the cordon and search operation issued by the GOC 1 Div which led to the deployment of officers and men of the NA for operational use, was in contravention of the provisions of Section 8 of the Armed Forces Act, No. 24 of 1994.

“It is recommended that all such orders in future should be written and lawfully procured under the law. Cordon and Search Orders should always be accompanied by the issuance of the “Rules of Engagement” to all officers and men involved,” the report said.


Politics / 2023: Top Northern Politicians Pushing For Southern President by JosEast(m): 4:26am On Feb 22, 2021
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, some top northern politicians are pushing for the emergence of a southerner as President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor, Daily...

Twenty-seven months to the end of Buhari’s second and final term, caucusing, machinations, scheming and realignments have commenced among politicians, especially those in the two leading political parties in the country.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are yet to zone their presidential tickets to any part of the country, but scheming for it has commenced, thus the crisis rocking the two political parties.

Expectations are that the zoning arrangement of the two parties would be known after their national conventions later this year.

Impeccable sources told one of our correspondents that the APC 2023 zoning formula would be made known and ratified at the party’s national convention, likely to hold in June this year.

Similarly, competent sources at the PDP national secretariat said the direction of the party as per the 2023 presidency would be known in December this year when the national convention of the party is likely to hold.

Before the political parties take decisions on the zoning, politicians are pushing for the consideration of their respective regions.

However, some northern politicians have aligned themselves with the agitation that the South should produce the next president of the country.

Since 1999 when the country returned to civil rule, the presidency has been rotated between the southern and northern parts of the country.

Unconstitutional as it is, the arrangement has played a key role in determining who emerges as the president of the country.

So far, four persons, including the incumbent President Buhari (North-West), have governed the country.

The rest are Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (South-West), the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua (North-West) and Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (South-South).

The agitation for the zoning of the presidency ballooned in July last year when Buhari’s nephew, Mallam Mamman Daura, said there was no need for it, positing that competence should be given priority in 2023.

Mixed reactions trailed Daura’s position, forcing the presidency to distance President Buhari from it, insisting it was his nephew’s personal opinion.

However, if anything, the ‘clarification’ by the presidency only emboldened some notable northern politicians to speak on the matter.

Governor Nasiru El-Rufai

Without mincing words, Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufai, has backed the quest for southern presidency come 2023.

El-Rufai, 61, who is completing his second term in 2023, had on many occasions made his position on the 2023 presidency clear, insisting that it was the turn of the South to man the coveted seat in the country.

In an interview with the Hausa Service of the BBC, El-Rufai said, “In Nigerian politics, there is a system of rotation, in which everyone agrees that if the North rules for eight years, the South will rule for eight years.

“That is why I came out and said that after President Buhari has been in office for eight years, no northerner should run for the office. Let the southerners also have eight years.”

However, sources around the governor and in the APC said he was scheming to pair with a southern politician to contest for the vice-presidential seat.

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje

El-Rufai and the Kano State governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, are most of the times not on the same page on issues, but on zoning, they share the same position.

Days ago, while featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Ganduje said the presidential slot should be given to the southern region.

“It should go to the southern part of the country, but there should be a consensus of members.

“The zoning system, even though it is not in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a strategy for winning elections,” he said.

Ganduje, who is completing his second term in May 2023 has a very cordial relationship with the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who is said to be eyeing the presidency.

His closeness to Tinubu fuels the reports that he may pair with him in 2023.

Governor Babagana Zulum

In the spirit of fairness, the Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, said power should go to the South in 2023.

At the 17th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture with the theme: “The constitutional history of Nigeria’s dysfunction: Any pathway to indivisibility and common progress?” the governor said the country was moving into an inevitable tension.

“My response to the question posed by the theme of this programme is that, yes, there are pathways to indivisibility and common progress.

“We must collectively agree that we need to do more to demonstrate fairness to every constituent part that made up this country. That is the constitution.

“We need to understand that pedestrian suspicion is not an empirical or legal reason to deny any section of the country participating in the leadership of this country.

“We are fast moving towards a point of inevitable tension,” Zulum, a first-term governor, said.

Abdulaziz Yari

Also throwing his weight behind a southern presidency is a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari.

He said if the presidential ticket went to the South, the APC chairmanship would go to the North.

“Our presidency has to go to the South. The APC chairmanship may as well come to the North,” Yari, a former chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), said.

Senator Ali Ndume

A former Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), has said it will be tantamount to a third term if the APC fields a northerner as its presidential candidate come 2023.

Ndume, who chairs the Senate Committee on Army, in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, said in the spirit of fairness, justice and fair play, the party should zone its presidential ticket to the South.

He added that retaining the presidency in the North would not augur well for the party and the country.

“As a founding member of the APC, I witnessed the first convention, where the presidency was deliberately zoned to the North, and four candidates from the region – President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and the late Sam Nda-Isaiah – slugged it out, with Rochas Okorocha exercising his constitutional rights.

“I feel it would not be fair, equitable and just to field a northern candidate for the presidency in the APC. To me, fielding a northern candidate would be tantamount to a third term, which is unconstitutional,” he said.

He said the fairest thing was to allow southerners slug it out among themselves for the 2023 presidential ticket of the APC.

Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita

Kaita represents Katsina North Senatorial District, where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from.

To him, the APC would be doomed if its zoning arrangement is jettisoned in 2023.

The lawmaker said although he was not aware of any agreement in the party, common sense demands that the South should produce Buhari’s successor.

He said, “Considering the political arithmetic of this country, it is common sense that none of us can produce a president without the support of the other.

“It is common sense that we have to network with other people and bring like-minds to be able to wrest power in favour of our party.

“If this is the case, we should rotate and accommodate everybody. I believe that even though it is not written, it is a gentlemanly agreement we should be able to abide by because without the contribution of other stakeholders from other regions, the APC is doomed.

“That was what happened to the PDP. They were so power-drunk that they thought everything was possible.

“I am a firm believer that the only way we can survive as a party is to make sure that power rotates within the regions,” he said.

What Nigerians should look out for – Prof Jega

Lending his voice to the debate, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, said Nigerians should go for the best.

Jega, a chieftain of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), said, “My take is that in a country, state or local government, people should look for the best.

“Things have been so bad for long in Nigeria. We have been reduced to perceive representation in the context of where someone comes from, rather than competence, experience and capacity of that person to govern.

“All over the country, they are doing that. We want our own to be there; and our own goes there and didn’t do what we wanted, still everybody wants their own to be there.

“I believe strongly that to manage ethnic and religious challenges in our country, the issue of federal character is important, at least for some time, before we get to a point where people will realise that putting the focus on competence and merit is the best way for a country to develop.

“But I can summarise my point that ultimately, for Nigeria to develop, tap and explore its potentials, we have to pay attention to merit, competence and capacity, while at the same time looking at the issue of federal character.

“Let everybody produce their best and let us all look for the best everywhere and decide amongst them who is the best.

“It is possible to do that, using a scientific criterion to produce the best,” he said in a recent interview.

Failure of leaders makes zoning inevitable – Don

For Dr David Omeiza Moveh, a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, zoning is still seen as a stabilising factor in Nigeria’s democracy because of the failure of successive administrations to accommodate and give a sense of belonging to different parts and people of the country.

He said the Nigerian elite needed to continue to use the formula for peace to reign in the country.

He added: “I think the issue of zoning has become a factor in our political reality. If you look at the nature of the Nigerian society, it is heterogeneous, comprising competing interests across regions, ethnicity and even religions. Therefore, it has become very crucial, or almost inevitable to try to balance these competing interests if we want peace to reign in the country. I think this is why zoning has come to be with us.”

The varsity don said it was a product of informal arrangement amongst the political elite for the presidency to rotate between North and South.

“If a region holds the presidency for eight years, then it is logical for another region to hold it for the next eight years. By now, zoning is not supposed to be an issue in our democracy, but there is the failure of leaders to deliver services that will affect citizens’ lives.

“If leaders effectively accommodate all the diverse interests across the length and breadth of this country, whichever part of the country they come from would not be an issue. This failure makes zoning to become like an entitlement – if one zone holds it, the other may feel it is its turn. In a mature democracy, zoning is not an issue,” he said.

On whether the failure of leadership since the return of democracy is the factor that makes zoning still relevant in Nigeria’s democracy, Dr Moveh said it may be a factor, but not the real issue.

He added, “I think the major issue in Nigeria is accommodation – giving every part of the country a sense of belonging. If we talk of the failure of leadership, it entails many issues. If you look at the military leaders that were in place before President Obasanjo was installed, they were from the northern part of the country. This coupled with the 1993 annulment of the June 12 presidential election, which was widely believed to have been won by the late MKO Abiola, made the political elite to agree that power should shift to the South and South-West for that matter. That was why the two major contestants then, Olu Falae and Obasanjo emerged.

“So, zoning is like a gentleman’s agreement amongst the elite to see how they can accommodate and give a sense of belonging to all the parts of the country.”

Moveh does not believe that zoning is a way of sacrificing or compromising competence based on parochial interests.

There are qualified Nigerians in every region

He said, “The truth is that there are qualified Nigerians in every region. If we want to move further to the six geopolitical zones, qualified Nigerians are everywhere. The question is how to find them. We should have a leadership recruitment process. One of the ways of finding them is to look at the records and antecedents of Nigerians that held one position or another and how they performed.

“For instance, the Federal Executive Council is supposed to comprise one minister at least from every state. So, from 1999 we know those that have been ministers, governors, senators, among others. We can find those that delivered. However, it may not be democratic to find leaders, but every state can come together to pick one person who should compete with others from the remaining 35 states.”

Dr Moveh believes that the only way Nigeria can do away with zoning is for leaders to rise to their responsibilities. In his view, most Nigerians would not bother who a leader is, and from which zone if they are feeling the impact of his leadership in their lives.

“If you look at the 1993 elections, the presidential contestants were Muslims. Again, if you also look at 1999 elections, the two major contestants were from a particular region of the country. So, the issue of religion, region or ethnicity, in my opinion, usually comes to play when the leadership fails to effectively carter for Nigerians and accommodate people of divergent interests. Once leadership is working, this issue of zoning will be a thing of the past,” he added.

By Ismail Mudashir, Isa Sa’idu & Saawua Terzungwe

Travel / Witness: Why We Didn’t Rescue Victims Of Abuja Air Crash by JosEast(m): 4:16am On Feb 22, 2021
A man simply identified as John has explained why victims of the air force jet that crashed on Sunday were not rescued.

John, who told Daily Trust that he was among the first set of persons who got to the scene of the accident, said the victims were alive after the the aircraft crashed.

He said it took over 30 minutes for rescue officials to get to the scene, disclosing that those on ground attempted to rescue the trapped occupants but smoke billowing from the ill-fated aircraft prevented from doing so.

John said while they were trying to put out the smoke, the aircraft exploded and they all fled to safety.

He said the crash happened 100 meters away from Bassa village, hence, no confirmed cases of ground casualties.

Daily Trust reports that the aircraft crashed few minutes after leaving the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, killing all the seven persons on board.

Ibikunle Daramola, spokesman of the force, confirmed the incident, saying investigation was ongoing.

Our correspondent at the scene of the accident said at about 12pm, the black box and the cockpit recorder were all recovered.

He also saw lifeless bodies being taken into body bags and hauled into waiting ambulances.

Working with the Airbforce personnel, the investigators immediately began to map out the body parts of the aircraft lay strewn around the crash site.

The aircraft was said to have reported engine failure at 10:39am and crashed on the final approach path of Abuja runway 22 at 10:48am.


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Politics / Senate Begins Work On Bill To Prohibit Casual Jobs For Graduates In Nigeria by JosEast(m): 8:34am On Feb 19, 2021
The Senate, on Thursday, considered a bill seeking to stop employers in the private and public sectors from engaging employable Nigerian graduates as casual workers.

The Prohibition of Casualization Bill 2020, was sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central), the statement issued on Thursday by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant to President of the Senate stated.

It cited Akinyelure saying that “casualization of Nigerian graduates in the Nigerian labour market has become a subject of great concern as more workers continue to groan under this immoral strategy of cutting cost by employers rendering them inferior to their counterpart in other countries of the world.”

According to him, “Statistics from the Nigeria Labour Congress show that many workers in the telecommunications, oil and gas sectors are engaged as casual labourers by employers of labours.

“Other sectors with thousands of casual labourers include mining, steel, banking and insurance.

“In all these sectors, staff outsourcing and casualization have become the order of the day as such workers no longer have regularised employment terms and, therefore, Nigerian graduates are treated as second class citizens in their own country of origin while foreigners from underdeveloped countries from Asian, Indian, Pakistan, Lebanon with less qualification to Nigerian graduates are placed as managers above Nigerian graduates in many Private and even Government establishments in Nigeria.”

Rising trend

Akinyelure raised the alarm that the scourge of casualization of employment in Nigeria is gaining grounds in an unprecedented proportion, intensity and scale.

“The increase in the spread and gradual acceptance of this labour practice in the Nigerian labour market has become an issue of great concern to stakeholders,” he lamented.

“Employers of labour is increasingly filling positions in their organisations that are supposed to be permanent skilled workers with casual employees.

“The trend has been largely attributed to the increasing desperation of employers to cut down organisational costs and thereby taking advantage of large numbers of unemployed graduates roaming the streets of our major cities in Nigeria.

“Apart from the fact that these categories of workers are working under a spate of uncertainties, casualization also reveals a brutal work growth process similar to slave labour,” he said.

‘Banks turning female marketers into sexual slaves, harlots’

Akinyelure, while citing the banking industry as a hub for casualization, blamed banks for turning female marketers into harlots and sexual slaves in a desperate attempt by them to keep their jobs and meet unrealistic deposit targets.

“Mr President, in Banking and Insurance Industry, for instance, many young graduates particularly female are employed as Marketers and given unrealistic Customer deposit ceiling targets running into millions.

“They are hired and fired at will when such unrealistic targets are not met.

“The female among them, who are desperate in keeping their jobs, turned to harlotry and sex slavery, moving from one office to the other looking for invisible customers who had staunch of fund to enable them to meet their targets.

“Mr President, it is high time this evil and devilish act is stopped,” the lawmaker fumed.

Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South), while re-echoing Akinyelure’s observation, said: “Our girls have been turned into what we cannot imagine.

“Most of them have been asked to look for funds, and when they come to us, I always tell them, I do not even have the funds to eat, how can I have funds to keep with you in the bank?

“And they will never be promoted if they don’t bring in such funds, and this is a banking industry that is privately owned, yes but has made so much profit, and from the profit, they could at least take the few that they can manage properly, rather than take a lot that they will be giving pittance.”

The lawmaker, therefore, harped on the need to have a legal framework to ensure that casualization does not exist.


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