Togo’s Political Instability May Affect Nigeria, Others -Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari and his Ivorian counterpart, Alassane Ouattara, on Wednesday expressed concern that political instability in Togo, if not averted, could have regional consequences.

According to a statement on Thursday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, both leaders expressed the view during a bilateral meeting in Abidjan on the margins of the 5th AU-EU Summit.

“We must have a solution in Togo. The friends of the opposition and authorities must talk to them on the steps to jointly take to achieve stability. They must work towards gaining the trust of each other.

‘‘There will be regional consequences for instability in Togo and this will surely come at a cost to development,’’ Buhari was quoted as saying.

The President also had a separate bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel where the issue of stemming the tide of illegal migration of Nigerians to Europe took the front burner.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen legal migration and made a commitment to expand discussions on how to stem the tide of illegal migration.

On security, Buhari told the German Chancellor that his government’s commitment to the security of lives and property in Nigeria remains absolute.

Reaffirming the nexus between security and job creation in Nigeria, President Buhari said prompt attention is being given to the gainful employment of youths in Nigeria through education and the acquisition of skills and vocational training.

He said Nigeria and Germany can draw from the experiences to cooperate effectively in the area of investing in youths for a sustainable future.

In her remarks, the German Chancellor appreciated the strides made by the Buhari administration in revamping the economy and promised to increase support for Nigeria in dealing with terrorism.

 Merkel said 58 German companies are operating in Nigeria, adding that more companies have indicated interest to invest in the energy, manufacturing, agriculture and construction sectors.

Buhari also had fruitful bilateral discussions with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Vice President of the Gambia Fatoumata Tambajang.



Major Oil Firm, MRS, Owes FCMB N6.2bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria-initiated name and shame campaign of banks’ delinquent debtors gained further momentum on Wednesday as First City Monument Bank Limited and Ecobank Nigeria published their lists.

The lists have the names of popular companies, whose directors are prominent Nigerians appearing among the high non-performing loan defaulters.

MRS Oil & Gas, a major player in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, topped FCMB’s list of delinquent debtors with a N6.2bn non-performing loan. The list has 86 names with a combined bad debt of N17.11bn.

White Diamond Property Development Limited, a firm owned by a business mogul, Rabiu Isiyaku Rabiu, is the second on the list with a debt of N616m.

Two companies belonging to an ex-Minister of Sports, Saidu Samaila Sambawa, occupied the fourth and sixth numbers on the FCMB list.

The firms, Sigma Engineering & Construction Limited and Sambawa Farms have a combined delinquent facility of N1.04bn.

Niger Global Engineering & Technology Company Limited, a firm belonging to Senator Hope Uzodinma, a former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, was number eight on the FCMB debtors’ list, with N338.85m

The name of the same company appears on the Ecobank Nigeria’s delinquent debtors’ list, with a bad loan of N94.3m recorded against it.

Global Energy Resources, which according to FCMB, belongs to Mr. Olatunde Ayeni, who is the Chairman of Skye Bank Plc, owes N175m.

Suzzatej Nigeria Limited, whose directors are listed as Prince Olanrewaju Adeyemi Tejuosho, Princess Mojisola Tejuosho, children of the Osile Oke Ona, Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, and two others, is said to owe the bank N84m

In total, the 86 names on the list owe FCMB a combined sum of N17.1bn.

Ecobank Nigeria, which has 73 names on its list, is being owed a total sum of N5.4bn by the delinquent debtors.

This means that the debtors are owing FCMB and Ecobank a total sum of N22.5bn.

Plasto Crown Nigeria Limited, a firm belonging to a former Minister of Environment and Housing, Lady Helen Esuene, and other people, is said to owe Ecobank N11.1m.

Banks, which are expected to publish the lists of their delinquent debtors later this week or before the end of the month are Standard Chartered Bank, Keystone Bank, Citibank, Wema Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc.

The banks, which had published the lists of their delinquent debtors on Monday were Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Heritage Bank Limited, Enterprise Bank Limited, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc and Unity Bank Plc.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had on April 22, 2015 directed the banks, discount houses and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to publish the list of their delinquent debtors from August 1.

They are to publish the names in at least three national newspapers on a quarterly basis.

In line with the directive, the banks gave the chronic debtors a three-month grace period, which expired on July 31.


Fire Guts INEC’s Electoral Institute

The Independent National Electoral Commission’s Electoral Institute in Abuja has been gutted by fire.

The fire which began at about 11pm on Saturday destroyed bags, envelopes, election forms and electrical control panel/ switch   in the institute’s warehouse before it was contained at 2am on Sunday.

Before INEC spoke on the incident, there was   apprehension, especially in Abuja on Sunday that some sensitive materials for the March 28 and April 11 general elections might have been affected by the inferno.

INEC described the items damaged by the fire as “non-sensitive and old materials” used for the 2011 elections.

The result of the 2011 presidential poll was announced within the compound of the institute, which is located along the Airport Road, Abuja.

The electoral body also ruled out political sabotage and assured Nigerians that the incident would not in any way affect the conduct of the forthcoming elections.

INEC Director of Security, Mr. Shettima Ngilladar, who conducted journalists around the affected area, said there was a power surge which caused the electrical panel/ switch to go up in flames.

He explained that no   materials for the general elections were in the warehouse as of the time of the fire as they had been moved to all the states of the federation.

Ngilladar said, “These are non-sensitive materials that have been banned in the warehouse. You will see it yourself. It is not hidden.

“It is something clear, these banned non-sensitive materials have nothing to do with the elections.

“They are old materials in store that have not been evacuated. These are old stock of non-sensitive materials, like bags, envelopes, election forms which were used in the 2011 elections. “They won’t be used for the 2015 elections. Everything here is non-sensitive.”

Disclosing that   security agencies had already started investigating the incident, the commisson’s security director, said he could not state the financial loss recorded by INEC.

He said, “I cannot quantify the financial loss now because they are envelopes, bags and used forms for elections. So, it is not something I can say how much now.”

On the likelihood of political sabotage, he said, “Whether it is too long or too early, there is no political motive about it. It was was caused by power surge.”

INEC’s Deputy Director, Electoral Logistics,   Ken Ukeagu, also said sensitive materials required for general elections had been moved to the states.

He added, “Whatever we have here are old stocks of the materials. You know the normal process of disposing materials take a little while. But these materials here are not useful for 2015 elections.   Even if these were materials that would have been used, there is no way it would affect the elections.

“All materials required for the election have been moved to the state, there is no way anything happening here will affect the elections.”

INEC Commissioner in Charge of Electoral Logistics,   Mohammed Hammanga, who was also at the institute to inspect the damage, expressed happiness that the materials affected were old stock.

“We thank God it has not gone beyond this. We are happy that it has not destroyed the materials that will be used in the election,” he stated.

Like Ngilladar and Ukeagu, the   Chief Press Secretary to the chairman of the commission,   Kayode Idowu, said the damaged items would not affect the general elections.


Adamawa Assembly Moves To Impeach Nyako, Deputy

Nyako-AN investigation into the activities of Adamawa top government officials over an alleged massive fraud by them Wednesday reached its climax as the Assembly members directed the Clark of the House to serve an impeachment notice on Governor Murtala Nyako and his deputy Mr. Bala Ngillari.

Citing several constitutional breaches by the embattled governor, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Laori Kwamoti, moved a motion for the impeachment of the governor, arguing that Nyako had grossly violated his oath of office.

“In exercise of the powers vested in the Adamawa State House of Assembly by Section 188 sub (1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and all other powers enabling the Adamawa State House of Assembly in that behalf, we the undersigned members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly append our names and signatures to this notice of allegation of gross misconduct against the governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”

Also, Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s associates have alleged fresh moves by the Presidency to move for his impeachment just as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused him importing suspected terrorists to the South to foment trouble and revolt against the Federal Government.

In an eight-page impeachment notice, 20 allegations of massive gross misconduct running into several billions of naira were leveled against Nyako.

One of the impeachment allegations stated: “Squandering of N1billion Adamawa State Scholarship Trust Fund.”

Another stated:  “Abuse of office and violation of Adamawa State law by appointing his wife, Dr, Halima H. Nyako, as the chairman, Adamawa State Action Committee on Aids (SACA), contrary to the SACA law. His government is popularly nicknamed ‘government of family and friends.”

Another motion moved by the member representing Nassarow/Beyerin constituency, Alhaji Umar Abdulkarim, directed the Clark of the House to serve another impeachment notice on the deputy governor over alleged misconduct.

The lawmakers, in a majority agreement, resolved that the governor and his deputy would answer all the charges of alleged mismanagement of public funds under their control.

Nyako, who was slated to travel to Abuja by air at 1:00 p.m., left   by road.  Since Nyako became the governor of Adamawa State, this was the first time he travelled by road to Abuja after his flight was booked 24 hours ahead.

While reacting to the impeachment notice, the Director of Press to the governor, Alhaji Ahmed Sajoh, who accused the lawmakers of acting a script from Abuja, said that their action to remove the governor and his deputy was not only a child drama but a political joke.

“It is not possible for the governor and his deputy to commit the same offence at the same time. So I have not heard about this kind of action before and I know it is not only illegal, but an abuse of democratic values,” he said.

He told The Guardian that speaker of the House wanted to take over the leadership in Adamawa through the back door.

“You cannot be a beneficiary of your own action, you cannot impeach the governor and his deputy because you (speaker) want to be governor”, he stated.

Sajoh, who traced his boss (Nyako) dilemma to the presidency, lamented that President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday this week hold a closed-door meeting with the governors of Borno and Yobe with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in attendance without inviting the Adamawa State governor.

“The Federal Government has stopped all SURE-P programmes in Adamawa State. Today the governor was scheduled to travel to Abuja, when we got to the airport we were told that the air force had shut down the airport for flight. That is what my boss is facing with Abuja politicians”, he maintained.

He said that his boss was yet to receive the impeachment notice from the lawmakers.

“When we get the impeachment notice, we can react based on the content. For now, we are still waiting for them to serve the governor”, he said.

Nineteen out of 25 members of the Assembly signed the impeachment notice.

“Information at our disposal revealed that this new move is been coordinated by serving minister from the state,” one of Amaechi’s associates who spoke on behalf of the others, said, although he asked not to be named.

He added: “The plot, we gathered, is to use the six members of the House of Assembly who are PDP members to carry out the impeachment. The six PDP members are opposed to Governor Amaechi and have refused to be part of the sitting of the majority 25 members who are All Progressives Congress (APC) members like the governor.

“The plan, we gathered, is for the six members to convene a sitting of the House of Assembly at a private residence or office, with Evans Bipi presiding as the Speaker. At that sitting, a member will then move a motion for the suspension of the other 25 APC members. Once the purported suspension is adopted by the six members, they will now move for the impeachment of Governor Amaechi on very spurious grounds.”

According to the associates, the “plotters claim to have on their side the support” of a prominent judge in the state to impeach Amaechi.

A Rivers State Government House insider is said to have confirmed the development, saying: “This is not the first time, or the second time they have plotted to remove our Governor, albeit illegally. Their plot is illegal, unconstitutional. In a legislature of 31 members, six members cannot go and sit in someone’s private sitting room and claim to have impeached a governor! That is impunity. This is a democracy. The Presidency should be careful not to truncate our democracy with all these their reckless acts of impunity.”

On its part, the PDP, Rivers State Chapter, said “it has no doubt that the recent trend of mass influx of suspected Boko Haram members into the states of the South-South and South-East is not unconnected with the consistent and unhidden revolutionary activities, as well as the series of calls and incitement by Governor Amaechi on people to revolt against the Federal Government.”

A statement by its spokesman, Jerry Needam, said: “The PDP strongly believes the Governor and his allies in the APC have visibly taken resolute position in doing everything possible to rubbish the image of President Jonathan’s administration, one of which is to use all mercenaries at their disposal to cause breach of public peace, killings, destruction and tension in the land.

“The PDP wonders why the mass movement of 486 suspected insurgents into the South three days after the National Convention of the APC in Abuja, during which Amaechi took time to address his fellow party members, as it was beamed live on national television, calling for revolution, charging them to be fully involved in the revolutionary movement which the APC is poised to carry out against the government in power.

The PDP believes there cannot be any explanation other than the fact that these suspects, who apparently had Port Harcourt as their final destination and discharge point, were brought in not without the consent of the governor and enemies of the Federal Government.

“The Party also recalls that during the APC’s registration exercise in Rivers State, Governor Amaechi masterminded similar incident where over 300 youths were moved in several buses from northern part of the country into the state, the purpose of which the PDP uncovered, was among other things, ostensibly, to register them as APC members in Rivers State. This mission to us is not prejudice to the fact that the Police had declared them suspected Boko Haram members.”


Mu’azu Says Automatic Ticket is Undemocratic

muazuPeoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, has ruled out the possibility of handing automatic tickets to the party’s members in the House of Representatives.
Mu’azu was reacting to a request by the House Leader, Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande, at a PDP caucus meeting with the lawmakers on Tuesday, where he described automatic ticket as undemocratic.

Adeola-Akande, in an address at the meeting, had said the issue of automatic ticket was part of the promise made to the legislators by the executive arm of government, which it did not fulfill, thereby leading to a frosty relationship between the lawmakers and the party.
But responding, Mu’azu said: “Automatic tickets are given by parties that are undemocratic; we have a democratic process and we will go through that. Those that deserved it will surely be there.”

When reminded about the earlier promise made by the immediate past National Chairman of the Party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, that PDP members in the National Assembly would get automatic tickets, the party chair said: “I have no knowledge of what you are telling me.”

On whether the leadership of the party was jittery over the loss of PDP majority in the House,  Mu’azu said: “Does any of us, the speaker,   the governors or I look panicky, if I may ask?”

The meeting, which Mu’azu chaired, was also attended by the House Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal; his deputy, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Ramalan Yero; Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Saidu Nasamu Dankigari; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio and Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema.

Others governors in attendance were  Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Theodore Orji (Abia), Babangida Aliyu (Niger),  Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), who is from Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi (Anambra) and acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar.
Also, deputy governors of Kogi and Jigawa States represented their principals.

EFCC Partners Australia Police in Fighting Internet Fraud

EFCC-LogoThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Western Australia Police are to work together to combat internet fraud and money laundering.

This is contained in the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU that was signed today by the parties under the Sponsorship of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The latest collaboration between the EFCC and the Major Fraud Squad, MFS of the WA Police is a further demonstration of the commitment of the EFCC towards the eradication of economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.

Ibrahim Lamorde, chairman of the EFCC during the ceremony said that the Commission was committed to riding the country and the sub-region of economic and financial crimes.

Lamorde, who commended the Western Australia Police, said the partnership became imperative as financial and economic crimes remain a monster in the world.

“Through cooperation of this kind, crime fighting agencies can overcome the hurdle of their investigations stopping at international borders.

By working with the Western Australia Police and other police forces throughout the world, the EFCC hopes to increase its capacity to track down and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes and reduce the financial impact on their victims.”

The Officer -in -Charge of the Major Fraud Squad, MFS, Detective Senior Sergeant Dom Blackshaw, said the agreement will pave the way for the two agencies to work more closely to combat online fraud and international cybercrime.

The collaboration between the Major Fraud Squad, MFS of the WA Police and the EFCC is the latest for Nigeria’s foremost anti-graft agency and its foreign counterparts.

Other agencies which the EFCC collaborate in its efforts to eradicate economic and financial crimes are London Metropolitan Police, US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Anti-Confab Agitators Are Selfish, Says Braithwaite

Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Coordinator of the Southwest Consultative Forum for the National Conference, yesterday, described those opposing the planned National Conference as selfish.

President Goodluck Jonathan October 1, set up the National Conference Advisory Committee, naming Senator Femi Okurounmu as its chairman.

The committee was to facilitate the convening of a National Conference by the Federal Government.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos after a closed-door meeting of the group, Braithwaite cautioned politicians speaking against the planned dialogue.

“The interest of those opposing the planned conference is to seize power for political gains.

“The advocates of National Conference are not calling for the break-up of Nigeria, but a dialogue to redefine the basic existence of the country.”

He said that all Nigerians should embrace the dialogue as it would give birth to a new Nigeria with equal opportunities for everyone.

“The timing of this conference is divine because next year is the 100th anniversary of the Nigerian union.

“The dialogue will strenghten the continued union of the nation on the terms of Nigerians.”

Dr.Braithwaite commended President Jonathan for buying into the idea of a national conference.

“President Jonathan by this conference has taken a very big step. If the conference is well managed, the President would have succeeded in writing his name in the sands of time.”

He, however, said that the forum had its reservations, regarding the outcome of the dialogue.

The forum coordinator suggested that the outcome should be subjected to a referendum and not to the approval of the National Assembly.

“The purpose of the conference is to give Nigerians a new nation and a people’s constitution.”

He, however, urged the advisory committee to ensure that all ethnic groups and nationalities in the country were recognised for representation.”

We’re Not Opposed to National Dialogue – NLC

nlc-logo-1610The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it is not opposed to any form of national dialogue or conference or conversation as long as it is geared towards improving the quality of life of the Nigerian people.

The Congress also stated that in as much as time or timing is of essence, motive is even more significant. It stressed that a meaningful dialogue can be achieved by men and women of character, wisdom, integrity, patriotism as well as courage, and not charlatans or hirelings.

The union said it will support a national dialogue as long as it strengthen  the bonds of unity, advance the cause of democracy, builds our economy, create an enabling environment for the expression of our shared values and common heritage as well as defend our sovereignty.

In a statement signed by its acting General Secretary, Chris Uyot, the NLC said the labour movement has been part of national dialogue, from colonial times to post -colonial Nigeria.

The statement reads in part: “It was part of the dialogue leading to the country’s independence and its acquisition of the status of a republic. The labour movement played a leading role in the process and subsequent protests that culminated in the repudiation of the Anglo-Nigeria military pact that sought to make Nigeria an out-post of the British shortly after independence by way of establishing military bases in the country.

“The Congress was not only part of the national “conferences” or dialogue contrived by the military and even the civilian government of President Olusegun Obasanjo, but played a significant role, offering in the process alternative views or development agenda.

“It has no reason to shy away from any conference now. For the avoidance of doubt, the Congress believes Nigerians should regularly talk to themselves as well as talk to one another. The constituent parts should as often as practicable sit down to talk, to address the ills that plague our politico-socio-economic well-being, not only at the federal level but right to the village square.”

ASUU Strike: TUC Urges Stakeholders To Look Beyond Personal Ego

TUCMr Boboi Kaigama, the President – General of Trade Union Congress (TUC) says Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) should put aside personal ego and resolve their impasse.

Kaigama, who said this at a news conference on Wednesday in Jalingo, urged both parties to consider the plight of students and their parents in the present strike by lecturers.

He disclosed that TUC and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) were working toward ensuring that FG and ASUU reached an understanding that would prevent a recurrent of the incident.

“The Federal Government signed agreement with ASUU since 2009 and allowed it to accumulate over a period of time and it has become difficult to meet now.

“From 2009, when the agreement was made to now, about N400 billion is supposed to be injected into the university system to tackle the issues gradually but nothing was done.

“TUC and NLC are doing everything to bring the two parties into a common understanding that will provide a long lasting solution to the problem,’’ Kaigama said.

He appealed to the students and their parents to be more patient, stressing that it was better to get it right.

The TUC president, who also commented on the 53rd anniversary of the country, noted that Nigeria was not as mature as it should be at this age.

He advised the country’s leaders to build infrastructure that would directly or indirectly create employment for millions of unemployed graduates roaming the streets.

“If the government revamps agricultural sector, provides good roads, builds sea ports, railways and makes the power sector functional, there will be employment for the youths,” Kaigama noted.

He urged Nigerians to embark on self-reorientation beginning from families to smaller societies and the entire country for genuine progress to take place.