RECORD KEEPER: APRIL 2013

 

 

1 April 2013

It started again this month. I was shocked to learn that a two-day raid by unknown gunmen on four communities in Kaura Local Government Area, Southern Kaduna left 20 people dead. That was what the villagers claimed today, but the police said only 19 died. The gunmen, believed to be nomadic herdsmen, invaded the villages on Saturday night and continued their raid on Zilang, Taliki, Zangkan and Mafang hilltop communities – home to many villagers – till early Sunday. While they were doing this, I gathered, there was no policeman around to save them.

That might be the reason why MASSOB was angry as the leader of Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike expressed utter discomfort over the continuous killing of the Igbo in the northern parts of the country and said the Igbo nation would consider an option of declaring war against the north if pushed to the wall. I heard the MASSOB leader say the Igbo nation had borne the pains of sustained killing of their kinsmen in the northern parts of the country by terrorist groups for too long. The Igbo, he said, would not fold their arms while recording the highest casualties in the killing fields of the north, warning that MASSOB would soon engage the north in a bloody war to avenge the killing of innocent Ndigbo.

 

2 April 2013

Even with this, I am disturbed that between the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur, and governors on the platform of the party, the ‘war’ appeared to have just started with Tukur telling the governors that he had no apology for his actions.  I was not unconcerned though that Tukur’s new confidence was premised on the support of President Goodluck Jonathan whom the national chairman said was behind all the decisions he had taken, including the one’s rankling the governors who were said to have insisted on their Tukur-Must-Go war.

And Muhammadu Buhari got his own share, as the Presidency today described the former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, retired Maj-Gen Buhari as a leading protagonist of violence. It said that apart from his ambition to rule the country again, Buhari had refused to contribute meaningfully to actions capable of ending insecurity in the country. Buhari, a former head of state and now the National Leader of the CPC, had, on the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation on Monday, said the Federal Government should be blamed for the lingering security challenges in the country. And, once I heard him on BBC, I knew he would be thrown verbal missiles!

This was real bad news for the entertainment industry in Nigeria, as someone told me today that the Federal government was planning to turn the National Theatre into a hotel. That means the Lagos landmark would be set for a new status if the federal government succeeds in its plan to find another use for it. The 37 year-old National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos Mainland, was to be converted into a five star hotel. Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, gave a two-week quit notice to Federal Government agencies at the facility. But some stakeholders have rejected the plan, especially the sudden quit notice given to the agencies. And I support them in toto!

 

3 April 2013

Oh God, this was not the best of times for the Chairman with the big Umbrella: it is raining badly, as the unending multifaceted crises rocking the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), took a new turn today when the governors of the party insisted that the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party must go, for peace to reign, pledging absolute loyalty to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih. “PDP as the leading political party in the whole black race remains solid, we have no crisis, we are loyal to the leader of the party, who is also the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the new Chairman of the BoT, Chief Tony Anenih, in fact it may interest you to note that President Jonathan is a life member of both the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the recently created PDP Governors’ forum, he is free to attend the meetings of the two organisations, he was a product of the system, that is why we  are ready to fight this battle to a logical conclusion” This was from one of the governors, and since Tukur is not a PDP governor, he could not attend their meeting like OgaJona!

But the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) today also announced that it would on Friday resume hostilities in the country.

In an e-mail sent to journalists, MEND’s spokesman, Gbomo Jomo, said a series of attacks, code-named Hurricane Exodus would begin at midnight on Friday. It said the attacks would be “a direct repercussion of a forged threat letter contrived by the Nigerian and South African governments purporting to have originated from MEND. And all this was simply because Henry Okah was jailed in South Africa. I started thinking this should occupy the mind of the leaders of the ruling party for now!

 

4 April 2013

Well, I wouldn’t know where this was leading. President Goodluck Jonathan today set up a committee to consider the propriety or otherwise of granting amnesty to members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram. I gathered that the committee, whose members’ names had yet to be released, was set up during a meeting the President held with security chiefs. It had two weeks to prepare its report and it would work with the office of the National Security Adviser.

I learnt today again that a fresh crisis may soon rock the All Progressives Congress as a splinter group in the All Nigerian Peoples Party sought a halt to the merger and registration of APC. The ANPP was one of the three main opposition parties spearheading the formation of APC to defeat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 elections. The others are the Action Congress of Nigeria and the Congress for Progressive Change. Until recently, the ownership of the acronym, APC, had been a subject of controversy among the All Progressives Congress, the African Peoples Congress and the All Patriotic Citizens. The All Patriotic Citizens dropped its name, while the Independent National Electoral Commission declined to register the African Peoples Congress which hitherto insisted on its name and the acronym.

 

5 April 2013

It was a horror Friday today on the Lagos-Benin and Onitsha-Owerri roads in Edo and Anambra states. No fewer than 85 people were feared killed in two accidents. About 60 of the victims were burnt to death in one of the accidents, which involved a cement-laden trailer, a tanker and a luxury bus at Ugbojui village on the Lagos-Benin express Road. The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) however confirmed 36 deaths. The victims included the drivers and motor-boys of the trailer and the tanker as well as the driver and passengers of the bus. The accident occurred at about 1:30 pm when the East-bound bus suffered a burst tyre and the driver struggled in vain to manoeuvre it out of danger. The bus rammed into the trailer which in turn rammed into the tanker. I could not bring myself up to watch the video of the accident. So sad!

I like this! The National Judicial Council (NJC) was investigating allegations of sale of judgment against 23 judges across the country. The affected judges might know their fate by the end of the month when the NJC would be due to consider the reports of the ongoing probe of petitions against them. Those found wanting will either be dismissed or sent on compulsory retirement. The NJC is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar

Today, the Christian Association of Nigeria criticized President Goodluck Jonathan for his decision to set up a committee that would pave the way for amnesty for the Boko Haram Islamic sect. It said the decision showed that Jonathan was not in charge. According to the association, granting amnesty to the sect only showed that lawlessness was a profitable venture in Nigeria.

6 April 2013

It was a day of mourning for many Nigerians when it was relayed that the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olayinka, 52, was dead. She died today of cancer at the St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. The news was broken to Governor Kayode Fayemi this night at a public function in Lagos, and he hurriedly left the event. Then, the news became national, and many could not hold back their tears

And Turai, wife of former President Umaru Yar’Adua, remembered members of Boko Haram in her prayers when she urged President Goodluck Jonathan to forgive the sect as her late husband did to former militants in the Niger Delta. The former First Lady advised Jonathan not to listen to anyone who advises him not to grant the sect amnesty. Turai said, “When Yar’Adua saw that the People in the Niger Delta, particularly the children were dying callously, he (Yar’Adua) took it upon himself to grant amnesty to the militants to ensure lasting peace. There is poverty in the north. What Yar’Adua did in the Niger Delta, he Jonathan should do same thing to the north.”

 

7 April 2013

This is trouble. Yes! Fear enveloped the Niger Delta region after unknown gunmen killed at least 12 policemen in Bayelsa State, the day the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta threatened to resume hostilities in the country. I gathered that the victims were deployed by the state police command to provide security for the funeral of the late mother of an ex-militant leader, Mr. KileTorughedi, popularly known as Young Shall Grow. It was learnt that Torughedi, who was the commander of the south wing of MEND from 2002 till 2009, when he embraced the amnesty for repentant militants, is currently serving as the senior special adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Marine Waterways Security. The policemen were said to be escorting dignitaries to the wake of the deceased when gunmen attacked them.

 

8 April 2013

Everybody remembered her: the Iron Lady. And Tributes had been pouring in for the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who died today at 87. Among those who sent their condolences to the Thatcher family and the British Government were: President Goodluck Jonathan, America’s President Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II. The “Iron Lady,” as the late Mrs. Thatcher was known, dominated British politics for two decades. She died today following a stroke she suffered on Monday, Tim Bell, a family spokesman, said. The only British woman Prime Minister was a towering figure in the post-war British and world politics.

But, Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, today asked “state actors” to be careful in granting pardon to corrupt officials and other criminals. “A situation whereby you misapply the law even to grant pardon or whatever it is, we need to really look at that. Because if you don’t understand the law you may tend to misapply it,” Tambuwal said. This was a loaded warning as President Goodluck Jonathan recently granted ex-governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and others state pardon. The Alamieyeseigha pardon had generated controversy with many arguing that it had made nonsense of the country’s anti-corruption war.

9 April 2013

There was confusion in the People’s Democratic Party today over the cancellation of the election of 12 members of its National Working Committee by the Independent National Electoral Commission. Although the party said the INEC decision was not binding on it, I learnt that the affected NWC members and their supporters in Wadata House, the headquarters of the party, were jittery over what the final outcome might be. INEC, in a report by its 12-member committee under the chairmanship of Col. M. K. Hammanga (retd.) had rejected the adoption/affirmation of 12 members of the PDP NWC. The commission faulted the process adopted by the PDP in electing the 12 officials, arguing that it violated paragraph 6.5 of the guidelines used for conducting the 2012 congress and national convention of the party. So, what was the next move? Really, I couldn’t say!

 

10 April 2013

And today, the crisis rocking the ruling People’s Democratic Party became messier as some of its members sued the party for violating guidelines for the election of its national officers. Three members – Abba Yale, Alhaji Yahaya AruwaSule and BasirMaidugu asked an Abuja High Court to compel the party to conduct a fresh convention to elect its national officials. The suit was filed on April 7, 2013, a day before the Independent National Electoral Commission made public a report in which it voided the election of 12 members of the PDP National Working Committee.

Good news for Boko Haram. The United States of America, on Wednesday, said it backed the federal government plan to grant amnesty to members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram. The political counselor at the Embassy of the USA, Gregory Lawless, said in Abuja that the American government would support amnesty for Boko Haram if it was the solution to violence in the north and other part of the country. And Muhammadu Buhari said it was a good move, towards the right direction.

 

11 April 2013

Today, there was palpable fear in the Presidency as Boko Haram rejected the amnesty plan of the Jonathan administration. Thus, the Presidency launched a desperate mission to salvage its shattered amnesty-for-Boko Haram programme, The fundamentalist sect dismissed the planned clemency for its members, saying they should be the one to pardon the government. Some prominent Northern elders believed to be close to Boko Haram had been enlisted to prevail on the sect to embrace peace.

But CAN was not happy with this. The Christian Association of Nigeria today flayed Boko Haram’s rejection of amnesty by the Federal Government, saying it was a further indication that the militant Islamic sect was bent on Islamising the country. CAN, through, its president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, therefore challenged northern leaders seeking amnesty for Boko Haram to bring Sheik Ibrahim Shekau to a dialogue table with government.

Even at this, a 58-year-old man from Agbura community, Yenagoa Local Government, Bayelsa State did what many men would not do. He was today arrested by the police for impregnating his two daughters. The suspect, whose name was not disclosed, was also said to have attempted to rape his third daughter. His arrest was initiated by the special adviser to the governor on women affairs Mrs. PuluZifawei. The matter reportedly got to the office of the special adviser after the suspect made several attempts to rape his youngest daughter.

12 April 2013

Now, the Federal Government’s committee on amnesty for the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, planned to reach out to the leader of the group, Sheik Ibrahim Shekau. Investigation showed that in spite of the sect’s rejection of the amnesty offer by the Federal Government, the government was still leaving the option open. I gathered that as part of the moves to pursue the dialogue option, the committee, which would soon be constituted, would consist of respected Islamic leaders. President Goodluck Jonathan today held a closed door meeting with service chiefs over the rejection of the offer of amnesty for the Boko Haram insurgents.

 

13 April 2013

And this was bad enough for the amnesty programme. Just as Monguno Local Government Area of Borno State was about putting behind it the recent killing of six secondary school teachers, including a principal, the local government was again plunged into mourning as many students were, today, murdered in cold blood by some gunmen suspected to be members of the Jama’atulAhlis Sunnah Lid’Awati, also known as Boko Haram. I got to know that the gunmen killed many students of Monguno Secondary School by slitting their throats, after laying an ambush for them as they returned home from centres where they wrote the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE). Monguno is 135 kilometres North of Maiduguri, the state capital; and it is considered to be an epicenter of activities of the Islamist sect.

The Presidency seemed not to have enough time on its hands for this as the gulf between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State widened further over the weekend as the Presidency and the Rivers State Government locked horns yet again. This time, the Presidency was reacting to a recent claim by Amaechi that Jonathan was after him. The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, who spoke on the matter, implied that Amaechi had an agenda. The relationship between the president and the governor deteriorated in recent times with several reports saying the feud was all about 2015 politics.

 

14 April 2013

But the Peoples Democratic Party was running the risk of its candidates list being rejected by the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2015. INEC might reject the PDP candidates list, if the party failed to correct anomalies already observed by the electoral commission on the election of members of the party’s National Working Committee. It was learnt that INEC might refuse to have any dealing with an improperly constituted NWC. The commission had two weeks ago written the party, saying that 12 members of the NWC were not legally elected.

And Nigeria might have started moving dangerously into a theatre of war following the resolve by the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) to start avenging the killing of Christians in Northern Nigeria by members of the Islamic group, Boko Haram. MEND said it was prepared to launch a crusade in this regard code-named “Operation Barbarosa” which it said would involve the bombing of mosques, hajj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations of Islamic events and assassination of clerics who have been propagating the doctrine of hate in Nigeria. Then, no one was safe!

15 April 2013

Another bad news for the opposition. Why? Well, the People’s Democratic Party today boasted that it had no reason to lose sleep as it would convincingly win most of the 36 states of the federation during the 2015 general elections. While its Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, believed that through hard work, the party would win at least 32 states, the Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih, said, “we will do what we know how to do best” to sweep the polls. Tukur spoke when members of a PDP caucus from the South-west visited him in Abuja while Anenih did same after a three hour close-door meeting with former president Olusegun Obasanjo, in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

How could this have happened? A prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), today told a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory that a vessel purportedly used in importing fuel into the country actually ceased to exist a year before the supposed importation as trial continued in an alleged N1.5 billion subsidy scam. A statement issued by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren stated that “Prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Alhaji SaminuRabiu, JubrilRowaye, Alminnur Resources Limited and Brila Energy who were involved in a N1.5 billion subsidy scam, Tolu Olanubi, today April 15, 2013, told the court that MT KRITI, the vessel allegedly used by the accused persons in shipping Premium Motor Spirit to Nigeria in 2011 had ceased to exist since 2010.

 

16 April 2013

On a day President Goodluck Jonathan met with service chiefs to appraise the amnesty committee’s report, the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) today urged the authorities not to pardon members of the Boko Haram sect. The Association described the group as “Murderous and blood thirsty” CAN advised the President to disregard the Northern Elders pushing for amnesty to avoid a crisis. Northern Elders, CAN said, were pushing for amnesty to enable Boko Haram members reap where they did not sow. CAN General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake, spoke at a news conference in Abuja. He berated the Ja’amatuNasril Islam (JNI) for condemning the President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor for saying that; “Amnesty to mass murderers foisting their belief on others, cannot precede reconciliation, compensation, restitution and other amelioration steps to people and institutions hurt in the Jihad of Boko Haram.”

 

 

17 April 2013

Despite CAN’s annoyance, and reports of the Islamic religious sect, Boko Haram, kicking against the idea of an amnesty declaration for their members, President Goodluck Jonathan pressed ahead with the initiative following his setting up of a presidential committee today, to engage in dialogue with the insurgents. The 26-member committee whose inauguration was announced by the Special Adviser to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, in Abuja, was headed by the Minister of Special Duty, Alhaji KabiruTanimuTuraki as chairman.

Speaker Tambuwal blasts Obasanjo

When I heard this, I no know wetin  a go talk o: Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, today came down heavily on ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight-year rule, describing the administration as the worst defaulter of the principles of the rule of law. Tambuwal observed that the Obasanjo administration “contrived the political space and usurped the powers of both the legislature and the judiciary, posing a grave danger to the democratic content of democracy.”

 

18 April 2013

However, there came a serious problem for the new committee, because Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN) President, Datti Ahmed, today declined to serve on the 26-member committee to dialogue with Boko Haram. Activist Shehu Sani had earlier turned down his membership. Dr. Ahmed said the bitter experience he had with the Federal Government in trying to broker peace with members of the sect informed his decision to opt out of the Presidential Committee on North’s Security. He told the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) monitored in Kaduna that the government should be held responsible for the breakdown of earlier peace talks. He attributed the collapse of the talks, which he initiated with the insurgents, to what he described as government’s insincerity.

 

19 April 2013

Presidency, Ogun officials clash at Awolowo’s burial

This should be called, the fight of officials. I was there when a disagreement between some protocol officers of the Ogun State governor, IbikunleAmosun, and a Federal Government delegation almost disrupted the funeral service for the late publisher of the Tribune titles, Chief Oluwole Awolowo, in Ikenne, Ogun State today. The disagreement created a drama which delayed the funeral service held at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ikenne, for about 30 minutes. The Federal Government delegation to the funeral service was led by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku and Amosun’s protocol officers had insisted that the Federal Government delegation must vacate the front row seat for the governor and his colleagues and this led to a hot exchange of words.

I heard today also that over 5,000 members of the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram as well as their wives and child might benefit from the proposed Federal Government amnesty for members of the group. Members of the Federal Government’s amnesty committee would, among other things, recommend a phased release of members of the sect currently in detention. I gathered that children and wives of the sect members would be released first before other detainees.

 

20 April 2013

This might be the reason there appeared a ray of hope for the Federal Government’s planned amnesty programme for Boko Haram sect members as a leader of the sect, Mohammed Marwan, has hinted that the sect was now ready for dialogue with the Federal Government. According to the sect leader, the reason the sect ordered the release of the French nationals its members took hostage was to demonstrate its readiness for dialogue with the Federal Government on the way forward in the offer of amnesty.

Another serious news I read today was that a former associate of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Richard Odusanya, alleged that  Obasanjo was in charge of a killer squad that was formed under the military regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha. Odusanya reportedly worked behind the scenes when Obasanjo was in power. Odusanya said that the former president lodged the killer squad at a State Security Service headquarters, known as ‘Yellow House,’ using it for political assassinations and was responsible for the unresolved killings of politicians under Obasanjo’s administration. The questions people were asking me was why would Odusanya wait for almost ten years after the killings before somebody, or something opened his mouth to speak out! Me, too, I no know o!

Yeeepa! The United States government today indicted the President Goodluck Jonathan led Federal government of massive and widespread corruption. According to the United States Department of State, government officials and agencies frequently engage in corrupt practices with impunity. But if the truth be told, this na stale news!

 

21 April 2013

One could not say how this would be taken in. But a former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, advised the Federal Government today against offering blanket amnesty to members of terror groups, saying the process should be selective. According to him, there should be a process to find a way to compensate the victims, adding that “Those who are dead, we cannot do anything about that, but those who were injured, those who have become widows or widowers, we cannot bring their husbands or wives back. Those pastors who have been killed, you cannot bring them back. What you do is identify the victims of the situation. However, those victims should be properly enumerated and compensated carefully. Along that line of the carrot, there must be the stick. There must be justice for those you find blood on their hands, you must apply this so that there will be no copycat in the future. You must be selective. But it should be selective, not just a blanket approach.

Of course, the advice was not well taken in, and the Presidency dismissed criticisms of the Goodluck Jonathan administration by the two main opposition parties, saying their national leaders – Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu were “heavily burdened political liabilities.” Senior Special Assistant to Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. DoyinOkupe, told journalists that the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government would not be distracted by their ‘empty’ criticisms.

At least, someone was here to defend Baba: A stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief OyewoleFasawe, today said former President Olusegun Obasanjo had no killer squad while he was in office, and that he had no hand in the unresolved murder of former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, and a former national chairman of the All Peoples Party, Chief Harry Marshall.

Note this: N5, N10, N20, N50 paper notes coming, Tunde Lemo of CBN said it.

 

22 April 2013

Oh, the amnesty programme don pafuka! What may rightly be considered the worst  bloodshed since terrorism became real in Nigeria a few years ago was recorded in Borno State where a clash between gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members and the military left 185 dead in a single day. The village head of Baga, Kukawa Local Government Area, Mallam Ali, who gave the figure while briefing Governor KashimShettima today, added that 2,000 houses, 62 vehicles and 486 motorcycles were either burnt or vandalised during the clash in the early hours of Saturday. The Presidency which ordered investigation into the incident, however, said it believed the figures might have been “grossly exaggerated.” Authorities of the Defence Headquarters, Abuja had before the Presidency’s comment, put the casualty figure at 25.

While this was on, the Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly, Rt. HonourableIstifanusGbana, his deputy and the majority leader were being impeached by the members. They did not like their faces any longer.

 

23 April 2013

Yes, it got many people real mad! Today there was public outrage over the massacre of no fewer than 185 people during a clash on Saturday between the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram and the Multinational Joint Task Force in Baga, Borno State. The condemnation came from the National Assembly, the Northern Elders Forum, the Action Congress of Nigeria, the Congress for Progressive Change and Spain. While members of the Senate decided after hearing a motion on the clash to probe the killings, lawmakers in the House called for a judicial commission of inquiry. In Kaduna, the Northern Elders Forum, after its meeting with the Arewa Consultative Forum, feared that the massacre could threaten the planned amnesty for Boko Haram members.

The bad news there was that the Nigerien and Chadian officials confirmed the involvement of forces from their countries in the gun battle at Nigeria’s border town, Baga in Maiduguri, Borno State, where these people were killed.

Probably, this was why the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Tuesday expressed reservations against the move by Federal Government to grant amnesty to members of Boko Haram, saying doing so was offensive to common sense in all ramifications.

 

24 April 2013

Then, about five days after the military sacked Baga community on the Nigerian border with Chad, Niger and Cameroun, the army gave details of reasons behind the military operation. Speaking today, Commander of the Multinational Joint Task Force Brigadier-General Austin Edokpayi, said the operation was necessary because the Baga Community was increasingly becoming a safe haven for militants who were attacking the MJTF at will and escaping into the community. He said during one of such provocations in the past, a soldier was beheaded in the town by the terrorists who took cover in the community after the dastardly act.

Well, an obviously disturbed President Goodluck Jonathan also today vowed to ensure that those found culpable in the massacre of no fewer than 185 people during a clash between the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, and the Multinational Joint Task Force in Baga, Borno State, would be dealt with.

 

25 April 2013

And because of these killings, ACN and some activists wanted President Jonathan to face criminal court. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) described the attacks on the civilian population as crime against humanity which it said should attract the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The party said the intervention of the ICC became necessary because the Federal Government has not demonstrated enough willingness to bring the masterminds of the killings to book. It said the killings in the north, especially the latest at Baga, fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the global court. That would be another bazaar for big SANs.

So, the governors had no alternative than to beg. And The Northern Governors’ Forum today lamented the effect of the Boko Haram insurgency on the north and pleaded with members of the violent Islamic sect to accept the planned amnesty for them by the Federal Government. The Chairman of the forum and Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, stated this in Abuja today.

 

26 April 2013

You won’t believe this! French and Cameroonian negotiators might have paid the equivalent of $3.15m (about N500m) to Boko Haram for the release of a family of seven French hostages. Reuters quoted a confidential report by the Nigerian government as saying that the ransom was paid to the group to secure the release of the family on April 19. This was why it would continue to be difficult to get the hoodlums out of this business. Or what other easy way to get money in Nigeria now: Carry one Oyinbo, you don become rich be that!

Well, today was a bad day for a governor, as Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State ran into a fresh storm with the federal authorities. The aircraft conveying the governor and his entourage was grounded for about two hours at the Akure Airport, Ondo State for allegedly violating aviation procedures for take-off. The development seemed to have lent credence to a frosty relationship between the president and the governor even after he declared in Kano on Thursday that he was unaware of any rift between him and the president. The ministry of aviation said last night that the crew of Amaechi’s aircraft failed to produce the manifest of the passengers on board as required by the new safety measures it has put in place.

 

27 April 2013

Really, I could think of where to go from here. The Federal Government said that only 520,000 candidates out of the 1.7 million that registered for the 2013 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) would be offered admission in the country. So what would the rest of them be doing! Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai who made this known while addressing newsmen at the Federal Government Academy, Suleja, after monitoring the conduct of the UTME, on Saturday, said only 520,000 spaces are available in all the federal, state and private tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

According to her, the bulk of the 1.2 million candidates would have no placement because of the low carrying capacity of the institutions available, adding that she was pained that most of them who sat with all seriousness for the examination might not have access in the long run. “Out of the 1.7 million candidates, the space that we have in the entire nation is 520,000. What are we going to do with the remaining 1.2 million?” Assuming that only 1 million passed the exam, about 50 per cent of them would have admission and what are we going to do with the remaining number when only over 500,000 have the provision in terms of our readiness of the carrying capacity? Huuuum, this one pass me o!

 

28 April 2013

That was not as serious as politicking, politics first and other things would follow. So the Federal Government today refuted claims that the president had a hand in the grounding and outright ban of the official plane of Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi for “Operating illegally in the country.”  Reacting to reports that the Presidency was in the know as touching the ban of the Rivers government aircraft last Friday, the government, through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority stated that such stories were mere speculations.

And ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo also today challenged the federal government to probe his eight-year administration instead of descending on his cabinet members. Besides, he criticized the establishment of an agency to protect oil pipelines, describing the action as a move for another “chop chop” a veiled reference to corruption in governance.

29 April 2013

And this was so, so interesting: An Osogbo High Court today, sentenced a 31 year old Kelvin IghaIghodalo to 45 years imprisonment without an option of fine, for stealing a Sony Ericson phone valued at N50,000 belonging to the Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola during his swearing in ceremony in November 2010.

Ighodalo was accused of stealing the governor’s phone on November 27, 2010, at the state Technical College sports grounds, during his swearing-in-ceremony. The convict, who stood trial on six-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining property by pretense, stealing, impersonation and advance fee fraud, pleaded guilty to the charges slammed against him. According to the charge sheet, Ighodalo and others now at large on May 24, 2011, impersonated the governor, by using his phone with intent to defraud and obtaining the sum of N500,000 from the OwaObokun of Ijesa land, Oba Gabriel Aromolaran. He also continued to impersonate Aregbesola, when he accosted one Shenge Rahman and defrauded him of a sum of N200,000 before he was arrested. But many were not happy, asking what happened to Mr. Yusuf who stole the pension fund. In one gulp, he swallowed N23 billion and was jailed for two years with option of fine. He quickly paid the N750,000 fines and vamoosed from the court premises.

 

30 April 2013

This day, the troubles hanging on the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi remained there, it won’t just go away. The leadership of the state House of Assembly cried out over alleged sinister motive to impeach the governor. The allegation came less than 24 hours after 27 members of the House were suspended and removed from office by the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a statement personally signed by the Speaker of the House, Amachree, the lawmakers claimed that a fake mace had been smuggled into the state, while five members of the state Legislature had been billed to hold an emergency session ‘even when the House adjourned sine die on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. “The Abuja plan on ground is to falsely impeach the Speaker and the governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and create confusion through varied responses, which they hope will make the state ungovernable and provide them with some kind of warped basis to introduce emergency rule in Rivers State,” the statement read in part. And the situation was tagged “Roforofo fight.”

Well, also, the Defence Headquarters yesterday formally presented preliminary report of the investigation conducted into the massacre in Baga, Borno State to President Goodluck Jonathan, saying 30 terrorists were killed, while six bodies were discovered in Lake Chad about three kms from the action spot as against the reported 185. It also said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) discovered 32 fresh graves and that contrary to reports, there were no mass graves according to the local government chairman of Baga community. So who is now lying? That was the question on many lips as the month came to a grinding halt.

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