All posts by Premium Times

BREAKING: Nasarawa Impeachment: Lawmakers flee state capital; relocate to remote local govt for sitting

Tanko Al-Makura, governor of nasarawa state

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly has relocated to Karu Local Government Area and is currently sitting to deliberate on a petition against the state Chief Judge, Suleiman Dikko, over the composition of the seven-member panel raised to investigate allegations against Governor Umaru Al-Makura.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-dominated Assembly had asked the chief judge to set up the panel as part of the impeachment process of Mr. Al-Makura.

The governor, a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has denied any wrongdoing and his party has condemned the impeachment process and blamed the PDP and the presidency for it.

It is not clear why the lawmakers abandoned the Assembly Complex in the state capital, Lafia, to sit in Karu, near Abuja.

But there have been widespread protests against the impeachment process across the state.

Details later…

Good Governance: Hon. Bimbo Daramola and his 32 Bed Hospital By Ayodele Bayode

Good Governance: Hon. Bimbo Daramola and his 32 Bed Hospital
By Ayodele Bayode

“I have chosen a different path in politics; that of service to the greatest number of people over and above self.’’ That is the famous quote of Honourable Bimbo Daramola, Deputy Chairman House Committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the federal House of Representatives. Interestingly this astute, articulate and amiable parliamentarian is living this quote.
Hon. Daramola is one of the few federal lawmakers who believe impactful developments should not be the responsibility of the members of the executive only whether at the local, state or federal level. He sticks with the belief that, the passion to affect life positively should be everybody’s business at all times.
This great legislator representing Ekiti North Federal Constituency 1, has been receiving applause from Ekiti indigenes, particularly his constituents following the latest multi-million naira 32 bed hospital project, which will be completed before the end of third quarter of 2013; a landmark project that is personally and independently financed by Hon. Daramola, targeted at improving on the health of his people. The hospital which is near completion is expected to be equipped with state-of-the-heart facilities which can truly add value to the life of the people irrespective of their religion, sex, political party or ethnic group.
Not too long a time, several youths from his constituency benefited from various empowerment programmes valued at over N50 million, ranging from scholarships, provision of accessible and portable water, free health services to the less privileged and senior citizens. Other incentives are monetary support for the needy to float business, provision of generating sets to support business owners in the event of power outage, provision of grinding machines, motorcycles, tricycles, renovation of some hospital buildings etc.
The dividends of democracy cannot be better felt than this, and it’s truly an eye-opener for others who are into government at different levels, private sector, NGOs etc, to come to the side of the underdog/downtrodden and better their lots. Recently one of Hon Bimbo Daramola’s constituents from Ikole Ekiti who simply gave his name as Ogunmoroti was caught pouring encomium on this parliamentarian with respect to his masses-driven initiatives. Said Ogunmoroti; ‘‘For me, good governance should not be compromised at all level, in order to maximise our potentials, improve the general welfare of the Nigerian people and even development in geo-political terms, there must be good governance. Government institutions as well as the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. I have been hearing of this man called Bimbo Daramola but I never knew he has a caring heart, I thought he was one of those politicians who only bamboozle us with semantics, but with nothing good coming out. Hon Daramola has started well in his empowerment programmes, good and quality representation at the hallowed chamber and many more. For the record, this 32 bed hospital project is a key milestone, and I stand to be corrected. With people like this governance can be more purposeful and meaningful.”

Great leaders have vision and enthusiastic to achieving results.

They can see into the future. They have a clear, exciting idea of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish and are excellent at strategic planning. They dispassionately focus on the needs of the people as well as their situations.

Leaders focus on results, on what must be achieved by themselves, by others.

Suffice to say great leaders focus on strengths, in them and also in others for the overall good of the larger society. These are virtues Hon Bimbo stand for and represent.

University of Nigeria Nsukka Mbanefo Hostel squatters cry out for help

PREMIUM TIMES please there is a situation in University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, that needs to be published.

It started when we resumed for the new session. We were told that one of the boys hostels by name Mbanefo Hostel won’t be rented out with the excuse that it is a dilapidated building, and this information was not conveyed to us at the end of the previous session.

We begged the Dean of Student’s affair and he refused that it won’t be rented out because I guess he feared a situation of the building being rented out and they be blamed for the death of students.

Along the line he stopped disturbing us to pack out, and we stayed for the 1st semester without a single fee paid.

Now we are at the middle of the 2ND semester and we are being harassed by the female new Dean of Student’s Affair, that we should park and leave Mbanefo Hostel within 24 hours since we refused to pay, because they want to rent it out to Sandwich students coming soon.

The question is, why are they now to collect money from Sandwich after using us to test the firmness of the building?

Who told the new Dean of Student’s Affairs that we refused to pay.

Does the new Vice Chancellor know the real truth?

If they bring ARMY or POLICE to chase us tomorrow, do they actually know the real truth OR will they be told that we are stubborn students, criminals, okada riders illegally occupying Mbanefo Hostel.

Help us, Help us, our exams are around the corner, like next month

Our grades will be affected. Our physiological comfort will be disturbed. We are leaders of tomorrow.

We need such ill and corruption to stop in our school.

I love UNN.

Please I should be anonymous, and let this possibly get around the social network. It is genuine and this means is our last hope.

Let them allow us round off the almost ending session.



The situation on ground now is that the Dean of Students affair after holding words with the newly elected Student Union Government president, got back to the Mbanefo hall governor, demanding names of the students occupying Mbanefo Hostel as at the night of July 17, 2014.

We here that will be the criteria for us to be allowed to stay, and help the school authorities fish out non students occupying the hostel.

Some students including I wrote down our names, while many students didn’t comply because of fear. They said the security men who will come the following day will use the list to work.

That is the much we the students in Mbanefo Hostel know for now.

Osun Election: ‎Large Crowd at APC rallies come for entertainment – Omisore

Aregbesola Campaign Rally in Ede

Omisore says incumbent governor Rauf Aregbesola is a drowning man.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, candidate at the forthcoming
gubernatorial election in Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, has said that
Governor Rauf Aregbesola will fail “woefully” in the August 9 election
because he does not have the support of the grassroots.

In an interview with the Nigerian Guardian, published on Sunday, Mr.
Omisore blasted the All Progressives Congress, APC, the ruling party
in the state for acquiring a helicopter of N4 billion used by the

“How can a state, which cannot pay the salaries of teachers, be acquiring a helicopter of N4 billion used by the governor, claiming it is for security reasons?” Mr. Omisore said.

“Osun State is the second safest state in this country, by security watch report. Why do you need a helicopter when you can move around my road? Well, the roads are bad.

“Last time they visited Ila, the town of Bisi Akande, they went in a helicopter. They can’t drive because they would be calling them names. You are running away from people and you want to rule these people you are running away from; that is why they will fail and woefully too,”
Mr. Omisore continued.

“Look at my campaign now, I’m doing my campaign from ward to ward. They can’t go to any ward. They always do their campaigns in stadium, Ife stadium, Iwo stadium etc.

“(There is a crowd at the rallies) because there are Fuji artistes
there to entertain them. Those people only came to watch their favourite Pasuma or Wasiu Ayinde Marshal perform. Didn’t you see similar crowd at Fayemi’s rallies? What has that cost him? The votes are in the wards and in the towns. I’ve been going to every ward and
polling unit,” Mr. Omisore added.

The PDP candidate criticized some of Mr. Aregbesola’s projects in the state, particularly the popular Opon imo and the O’yes programmes, describing them as “blatant failures.”

“The truth is that the so-called O’yes participants have not been paid for the past eight months; in that regard, he has failed,” said Mr. Omisore.

“Opon imo has been withdrawn. I joined other well meaning people to demand for its withdrawal all over the state because Opon imo has 17 subjects and 87.7 errors.

“He gave the contract to one of his sons. Doing this is not the problem, but the reality is that a dangerous work, capable of destroying our students, was done. It has 17 subjects and 84.7 per
cent errors.

“For example, in mathematics, algebra to be specific, there is no single graph inside Opon imo, no single diagram, no single isograph and so on. I am a mathematician, you cannot teach mathematics without illustrating figures. It’s not possible.

“No single table, when you go to physics, same story. And in chemistry, nothing. The idea was driven by profit because he wanted to steal. Opon imo syllabus, SS1, SS2, to SS3, is the same syllabus. Opon imo in chapter 4 (history) says history of the Songhai Empire, what you will read in the body is the history of Mali. That’s the characterof Opon imo.

“I have written to British government, that they should withdraw the recognition of Opon imo. I have gone to the UNESCO. It’s an embarrassment. They’re being withdrawn from the schools now, all over the schools. In O’yes, he’s owing them salary.”

Mr. Omisore said that his eight-cardinal programmes, if elected the governor of the state, would include the disbanding of the merger of schools by the current government, developing of human capital, and promoting regional and national integration.

“Unlike Aregbesola’s government that everything is Lagos arrangement, even carpenter, bricklayers, welders are brought from Lagos…

“They have destroyed the children’s psychology (in public schools).
What we see in a Baptist High School in Iwo, where some students were wearing masquerade dress, some wearing choir dress and some wearing hijab only portend chaos.

“It is destroying the psychology of the child. He’s already imbibing wrong culture, values into the brain of a young child. He’s destroying the future of Osun State, so he must go, he must be removed…

“I will return schools to the owners of the schools and I will disengage merger of schools. I am going to announce immediately by 10th of August, all the schools should go back to their owners.”

On how to improve the Internally Generated Revenue of the state, Mr.
Omisore said that he would not “hurt” the people of the state with a high tax regime.

“Osun State is a civil service state, I’m sure you know that. There’s no Cadbury in Osun State, no Texaco, no Chevron, no Coca-cola, no 7Up, so you cannot force revenue,” said Mr. Omisore,

“When you say people should pay high taxes, you are hurting them the
more. It is better for you to manage what you have for the people in that state and they would understand you.

“So, I am not going to engage in any high tax regime. Aregbesola is
now saying he would withdraw the taxes because he wants to win
election. That means he’s unfocused, when you see a government now
backsliding because of election and withdrawing all policies, that
government has no focus at all. It’s a government that just want to
fumble and ramble.

“Aregbesola has lost the Osun election over a year ago, nothing can salvage him. No amount of Bola Tinubu, Bisi Akande will save him, he’s a drowning man and he’ll be drowned.”

Mr. Omisore dismissed claims of his violent conduct as a “Lagos press

“I am a PhD holder, I am an academician, I am above all those things. Conversely, Aregbesola is a thug. When we formed AD in 1998, I’m telling you today for record purposes, I was a founding member of AD, he was a mere thug in AD. This is on record and you can check the facts. He was a common thug in AD in 1998. But the moment you give a slave keys to drive a car, you end up in trouble.

“The man is of very limited ideas and he has no knowledge; nothing. That is why he’s going to fail. All the noise about him are mere media creations and as the reality continues to dawn on you people, you will have to go and audit yourselves. Those of you who are in the media, because you are being bought over by these people.”

Mr. Omisore also dismissed his alleged involvement in the murder of Bola Ige, stating that he had been acquitted by the courts.

“I went through the trial and was discharged and acquitted. So, what else do you want? My standing trial over Bola Ige’s murder means that in that matter, I, Iyiola Omisore, is the only person innocent in this country. Every other person is a suspect by law. You are a suspect for Bola Ige’s murder. I’ve gone through the trial, I’ve been discharged and acquitted. I am the only person in this country that is safe and free from Bola Ige’s trial. All of you are suspects. But you refuse to accept the reality. That is wrong. That is the position of law.”

Nigeria Federation Cup: Warri Wolves, Gombe United, Abia Warriors crash out

Abia worriors

Some Nigerian Premier League Clubs have crashed out of the Federation Cup 2014.

Warri Wolves, Gombe United, and Abia Warriors all crashed out after losing their Round of 32 matches.

Warri Wolves lost 1-4 on penalties to Prime FC of Osogbo, a National League side, in a match played in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

Gombe United also lost 4-5 on penalties to First Bank FC after both teams played a goalless draw after 120 minutes.

Abia Warriors conceded a first half goal to lose 0-1 to El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri in a match played in Abuja.

The Coach of El-Kanemi warriors, Salisu D’Black, told PREMIUM TIMES after the match that his team put pressure on the attacking area of Abia Warriors to secure victory.

“Although some of our players are fasting we put pressure on the attacking area to win the match. Our target now is to win the FA Cup and to keep working hard,” he said.

While reacting to the team’s loss, the Abia Warriors captain, Okorie Arinze, said, “We created many chances which was not converted into goals. Sadly luck was not on our side today.”

Final results of round 32 matches played  on Friday

Abia Warriors 0 El Kanemi 1
Dolphins 1 Kogi United 0
Prime 0 Warri Wolves 0 (4-1 on pen)
Heartland 0 Sharks 1
First Bank 0 Gombe United 0 (5-4 on pen)

INTERVIEW: Jonathan is worst Nigerian leader ever – Sowore, Publisher, Sahara Reporters


Omoyele Sowore is the publisher of New York-based Sahara Reporters, known for its hard-hitting reporting that is keeping Nigeria’s government officias, individuals and corporations on their toes. Recently, Mr. Sowore suddenly walked into our newsroom in Abuja. Our reporters sat down with him for an interview during which he spoke about his work and the political cum economic situation in his country.


PT: We are glad to have you here, we will just be asking you a few questions. Now just tell us briefly how Sahara Reporters operate?

Sowore: Well, I started off first as a news website about 7 years ago basically collecting information from citizens, processing them and publishing them and distributing them through our media platforms across the globe. In the last three years, it has escalated and upgraded to become a complete multimedia outlet that has an online TV and now an online radio platform and of course the important thing to mention is that it is surrounded by Internet users. PT:

Now, 7 years down the line, will you say you have achieved the original vision. How far have you come?

Sowore: To be fair to myself and everybody who has worked with me on this platform, in my estimation I have far exceeded my expectations of these platforms. I just wanted to set up a website that I could use in communicating with Nigerians, Africans and the rest of the world about happenings in sub-saharan Africa and doing so from the safety of the United States of America. I was expecting on an average, on a daily basis, of 200 or 300 people reading us and feeding back to us in giving informations but after 7 years, it’s gone way beyond that expectation. But in terms of the fulfilment of the mission, yes the site has covered a good distance but I think there’s still a few more to be done.


PT:  You publish very damning reports, how are you able to ensure your safety and that of your colleagues?

Sowore: Our first mission is to make information available to people in a way they can use as they want. That mission has been fulfilled. The second aspect of our mission is to speak truth to power. And the third aspect of it, in some cases and in most cases, is to damn the consequences for as long as the people who need to benefit from it get it, they can use it. They can take it to run and that can help them redefine their power because in a lot of ways I think for a lot of people, I think the kind of information we provide and the way we provide them is their only way of fighting back the myriad of problems they are confronted with by government. The last part of your question is about safety. Our mission is also to help ensure that citizens can turn the trajectory of fear against oppression, that people should no longer be afraid of people who are doing evil or who are stealing their commonwealth, people who are robbing them, people who are denying them their fundamental future, they should be the ones that should be afraid and that would mean by saying we are turning around the trajectory of fear. As for how we feel safe or unsafe, I think somebody has to do what we do and when you do it, it’s not hard to understand that they come with consequences. It’s a very dangerous job as you know. All over the world, the business of telling the truth always come with consequences and a lot of safety issues but what we’ve also not done is to put the safety pin on ourselves so we do whatever we can to stay safe. But our primary or major concern is not safety, it is the delivery of our mission.

PT: How did you just walk into Premium Times?  We were in shock! How did you just get here without being arrested?

Sowore: First and foremost, I’m not a criminal and I’ve said that many times. I navigate my way through the country as much as I can so I travel as much as its permissible to help me get to where I need to get to. I won’t disclose the rest of how I got here but I’m here and that’s the most importan thing and I can pretty much go anywhere I want. I take my freedom very seriously, especially the freedom of movement.

PT: That leads us to the next question. Do you consider yourself a free Nigerian in Nigeria?

Sowore: No! And I don’t think that there are Nigerians in the majority who live in Nigeria who feel free. Part of the reasons why I take the risk that I take, if you want to call it a risk, is to share in the pain, in the difficulty, in the bondage that you can be in a country where you want and love to be but not free to. I’m not the only one who is not free in Nigeria, a lot of Nigerians are not free. As I’m speaking to you today, more than 2oo  females who undertook secondary education in Borno state have been held hostage by a non-state actor like Boko Haram — just a ragtag group of militants. Those ones are not free, their parents are not free. There is a sense of siege even where you are today so freedom is relative and I’m saying that nobody can claim to be free in this country for as long as this country is in bondage and is being run as an open prison.

PT: What do you think should be done?  What does Nigeria and its people need to do to make the majority of its citizens to be free?

Sowore: They have to decide to be free and that has to be psychological. I am psychologically free but I’m not physically free because I cannot move as freely as I should. And then they have to decide collectively to be physically free but that’s where there’s a lot of work because people have to take away the shackles of fear. They have to stop being afraid of those in power, they have to confront them and demand that they leave so they can be free especially those who have been holding back their freedom. And talking about freedom, you are talking about a wide range of freedom. It’s not just the freedom to move but the freedom to worship, the freedom to go to school, the freedom to give and have opportunity, the freedom to hope in a country of one’s birth.

PT: You have been very critical of successive administrations. What’s your impression of the Goodluck Jonathan administration?

Sowore: In an order of successive administrations in my lifetime I think this would be the worst in terms of delivery of services, in terms of organisation, in terms of even the style of governance, in terms of transparency, in terms of economic management and of course in terms of security. So this is the worst government in my lifetime that I have seen. You would say maybe Abacha was worse but you can understand Abacha was a military dictator. Nobody voted for him. He just hijacked power and he did whatever he wanted with it. But even within that framework as you can see, the Abacha regime is actually better than the Jonathan regime and I’m sorry to say this because you could almost feel that this country was more secure during those days. The value of the naira under Abacha’s regime was higher than the value of the naira under Jonathan regime, in fact it’s double that rate now. There were perhaps even better roads, in some cases better schools, in some cases better opportunities.

PT: So you are saying even within the framework of the Abacha regime…

Sowore:(Cuts in) By the time you look at the entire corruption that Abacha perpetrated in his five years in power I guess, we are looking at 10billion dollars. Jonathan’s people stole at least 20 billion in less than 3 years from just sales of crude oil alone. If you add that to what the oil marketers or importers stole, which was 6.8 billion dollars, so you are looking already at 28 billion dollars stolen under Jonathan’s regime which is three times more than what Abacha stole during his regime. I’m not making this comparison saying that Nigerians deserve any of these leaders from Babangida to Abacha and the rest of them. I condemned successive administrations but it’s important to state that in clarifying my position as to which government is worse. This is my own statistical definition of how bad things have gone.

PT: But this government is building the airport road in Abuja. Did you not pass through the airport road? They also say they are creating jobs. Will you ever say anything good about the Jonathan registration?

Sowore: There is a difference between what the government says its doing and what we know the government is doing. For example, they claim to have created 1.5 million jobs and we have been asking for the last two months for them to provide us the sector of the economy or society where those jobs were created and nobody can give us answers. If the U.S says they have 240,000 jobs, they can tell you how many of them were from the hospitality business, academics, road construction. All of the sectors that we count, nobody can provide those sectors for you. The airport road you are talking about was awarded under Yar’adua so it’s not Jonathan that awarded the airport road that you are talking about. It’s possible that he attempted to construct such roads but none of those roads I see today exist to my understanding. They said a few months ago that they had turned around the power sector by privatising the power sector. As we speak today, you and I know that they have only invested more money  in buying more darkness for the Nigerian people.

PT: The government also says it’s rebuilding the airports….

Sowore: Which airport did he build? Is it the leaking airport in Lagos where the materials that were bought were fake? And they are falling apart already. That one you can verify. You are a journalist and I don’t need to tell you these things. Theirs is a tokenistic government and governance of mediocrity that is wrapped up in propaganda. That’s not the way countries are governed. You can’t govern a country with propaganda of how many airports are under construction. You actally judge a government by how many airports they are able to construct within a reasonable period of time, within a reasonable cost in terms of resources.

PT: What do you think of Boko Haram and the way the government is handling the insurgency?

Sowore: First and foremost, I think Boko Haram is a security problem. It’s just like how the Niger Delta militancy was a security problem but this security problem doesn’t mean that they can be tackled the same way. If government does its job, it decreases the amount of people that get attracted to any kind of crime. So for as long as the Nigeria police is not doing its job and is bogged down by corruption, for as long as the Nigerian army is ill-equipped and incapable of fighting any kind of war inside and outside of Nigeria, it will be difficult to make Nigeria safe. All these problems, as small as they look, can become really really big and it’s compounded by the incompetence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, who doesn’t have a clue how to resolve any of these problems. That’s why every small problem in this country under his regime has escalated to become a major problem. When they were extra-judicially executing Boko Haram people, we were the ones warning them that this would become a major problem. But they were calling us names because we were asking them not to kill people. They said we were sympathetic to terrorists, NO! We were just saying that if you do things the wrong way, they will haunt you in a bad way especially where you have a government that doesn’t even know how to tackle any of these problems. PT:

What do you think of the future journalism, especially in Nigeria?

Sowore: As you know, we have what you call legacy media, the old big-time guys who produce big newspapers and now there’s new media where everybody has moved to. My own genre is citizen journalism which is something that is completely different because I’m not trained for journalism. I’m just collecting and passing information based on the guarantee of the United Nations Human Rights Article 19 that allows anybody no matter who he is to exchange information. That is where I derive my own expertise and it is my fundamental rights to do what I’m doing. My own suspicion is that the old legacy journalism will have to die a natural death to feed into the new media. What I mean by natural death is that the way they do journalism in the olden days is not going to work anymore. The truth today is that, you can ask any of the big media how many newspapers they are distributing on daily basis. Probably not up to 50,000. Let’s give them 200,000 combined together. That’s the same kind of readership we can get in a breaking news within two hours when we have really big news. You should also look at the channels of distribution of news, it has changed. The idea of holding newspapers on the street with a vendor with an apron is no longer the way journalism is done anymore. So the future of citizens journalism is actually the future because the citizens themselves see news first and report them first. What we do and how we are going to become the future is that the citizens are going to be driving journalism through the use of small technological devices and finally through the entrenchment of community. The devices feed the news, the community discusses and debates and distributes the news. That’s new media, that’s the future of media.

PT: Do you consider yourself a journalist?

Sowore: No. I actually studied Geography and Planning at the University of Lagos, went to do my Masters in Public Administration at Columbia University in New York. So, I do not consider myself a journalist but you do not have to go to journalism school to be a journalist. I think anybody who is smart enough to report can be referred to as a reporter, not necessarily a journalist. Journalism is actually an old word of people who keep journals and nobody does that anymore.

PT: What’s your motivation for the things you do? You seem to be a troublemaker, giving people sleepless nights. What’s your motivation? Do you want to be appointed to government?

Sowore: I don’t think I can survive in government for one night because I have no motivation to subscribe to the kind of deceit that goes on in government. I cannot be a minister who goes to a meeting and start praising the president and claiming that things are alright when things are not. I’m the kind of person who would show up and tell Mr President you are running a bad country, this place is terrible. And they are going to hate me for it. I’m however not ruling out the possibility that I am capable of governing this country better than all these characters that are governing the country and I am serious about it but that is not to say I’m trying to position myself for political office.

PT: You now live abroad. Is there a possibility that one day you will return home to play a role in the affairs of your country?


Sowore: I’m here now and I’ve returned. You see if I don’t show up in your office, you won’t  know I’m in this country. That’s one of the things that is very interesting in my lifestyle and what I do. I go in and out of Nigeria as it’s convenient for me and whenever possible. It’s not that I don’t want to confront them at the airport by travelling through the airport but I also don’t want this work to be disrupted so if it takes a few more hours to travel here, it’s ok. And that takes me back to the issue of motivation for the work I do. I just dread the fact that at my age I have to live in another country just because I want to practice my trade or to live any kind of life I consider to be an acceptable standard of life. I want to live my life here. I want to drink Nigerian water. I want to live in a house that doesn’t have walls. I want to be able to drive from Lagos to Abuja in the middle of the night without fear of being attacked or being kidnapped or being blown up by anyone. I want to have a country in which I can live and be proud of. Right now, we just have a country no one can claim to be proud of, including the people governing the country.

PT: So if your people in Ondo state ask you to run for office, what will you say to them?

Sowore: The concept of my people has been bastardised that if any group of people approached me to come and run for office, I would be shocked. I would wonder if I won a lottery. You know that concept is a scam. It’s only the corrupt elements who have stolen so much that get those kinds of invitation. The people prefer them to people like us. You know, the idea of inviting anyone who even claims to be honest, who wants to run an honest administration does not appeal to this concept of my people you just referred to. It’s like an anathema . If I want to run, I will go to my people and say ‘look! We have to fight to free this place from this buccaneers and you can imagine what will happen. They don’t invite you to that kind of war.

PT: Now just tell us, how have you been able to make Sahara Reporters sustainable?

Sowore: I have said it openly and would continue to say it because of all the new media in town, we have been the most transparent to the extent that you can google and find out how we get our funding. I started this with my own money. It was so cheap. I started Saharareporters with 20 dollars hosting the website with an individual whose server got knocked out when I had the first DDOS attack and I went to yahoo and from there it grew bigger. So I started with my own funds. I raised some little funds at the beginning from some people. And then I got foundation funding, Ford Foundation and then the foundation with link to ebay known as Omidyar Foundation. To limit the damage that can be done to our conscience and brand, we do not take government ads, we do not take from people praising people or people who want to greet others for birthdays and things like that. We focus mainly on product advertisements and ensure that whatever we are taking, we make it very clear that those cannot affect our editorial decisions.

UPDATE: Why Judge adjourned ruling on N600 million corruption trial of Lagos Speaker, Ikuforiji

Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Lagos State Assembly Speaker. [Photo:]

The judge attributed the delay in delivering the ruling to fatigue and the heavy work load of the court.

After initially scheduling Friday to deliver a ruling on a ‘No case submission’ application filed by the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has shifted the date to September 26.

In a short ruling, Friday, Mr. Buba attributed the delay in delivering the ruling to fatigue and the heavy work load of the court.

“Since the prosecution has refused that the ruling be delivered during vacation, and considering the legality of doing so, this matter stands adjourned to September 26.

“The matter before this court not only involves ruling on the no case submission, but also touches on issues of jurisdiction,” Mr. Buba said.

“This criminal trial is like any other criminal trial in this court. The court will not be put under unnecessary pressure.

“Let all counsels enjoy their vacation, while the bail of the accused should continue,” the judge added.

Mr. Ikuforiji and Oyebode Atoyebi, his aide, are facing a 54-count amended charge of money laundering amounting to over N600 million.

The Speaker’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, had filed a no case submission on Monday, after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the prosecution, closed its case on June 20.

Mr. Buba, who initially fixed Friday to deliver his ruling on the defence’s application, said that it was “not ready” due to fatigue.

An attempt by Mr. Olanipekun to urge the court to fix a date during the court’s long vacation, which begins on July 14, was opposed by Edward Okpe, the prosecution counsel.

The defendants were re-arraigned before Mr. Buba in June last year, following the retirement of Justice Okechukwu Okeke, the former trial judge.

After they pleaded not guilty to all the charges, Mr. Buba granted the defendants bail in the sum of N1 billion each with two surety each in the sum of N500 million.

The prosecution has produced two witnesses during the trial – Adebayo Adeniyi, an investigator with the EFCC, and Adewale Olatunji, former Clerk of the House of Assembly.

During his evidence, Mr. Adeniyi had detailed how the defendants allegedly laundered millions of naira through honorarium, renovation of the Speaker’s residence and guest house as well as to the Speaker’s wife, Mayowa Ikuforiji.

According to the EFCC, the defendants committed the offence between April 2010 and July 2011.

The offence is said to contravene the provisions of Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.

Akpabio, Speaker Ikon lied about Akwa Ibom scandalous pension law, federal lawmakers say

Godswill Akpabio

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, and Speaker of the state’s rubber stamp assembly, Sam Ikon, lied about the intent and status of the state’s scandalous pension law, PREMIUM TIMES investigation has shown.

The duo have in several forums tried to explain away the dubious and profligate law that would make Mr. Akpabio and other ex-governors enjoy an obscene lifetime luxury at the expense of the poor masses of the state.

Among other things, Mr. Akpabio, claimed the new law is an amendment to the 2006 law, which was passed by his predecessor, Victor Attah.

This was reiterated by Mr. Ikon, who said that the passage of the law was a patriotic duty exercised to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, show respect for public trust and to protect public funds.

The speaker, who is widely known to be Mr. Akpabio’s stooge, also insisted that the Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law 2014, was an amendment to a similar law passed in 2006.

When these statements were subjected to tests on the basis of fact and truth, PREMIUM TIMES found that they were lacking in both.

Samson Osagie, the Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, who has paid keen attention to the matter, also told this newspaper the Akwa Ibom Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law 2014 is a fresh legislation.

Mr. Osagie, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on the telephone, argued that whenever any legislature body is amending an existing law, it is clearly stated in the heading.

He said, “It is often stated in capital letters in the caption of the bill. The title of the bill must carry an amendment in order to show that the new act that will come out will be an amendment to an existing law.

“It must also show in the body of the bill which section of the existing law it seeks to amend. In other words, in the marginal notes, the particular section to be amended must be clearly stated.

“In which case, the entire product of that exercise will be regarded as an amendment to an existing Act and the sections amended will take precedence over an existing Act.”

Mr. Osagie, however, said that what was sent to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly was a new bill and not an amendment as the public was made to believe.

A former member of the House of Representatives, Chononyere Macebuh, expressed disgust over the lies peddled by the two politicians in Akwa Ibom State.

Mr. Macebuh, who was fielding questions from PREMIUM TIMES, said that if the bill was meant to amend an existing law, it would have read, “Governors and Deputy Governors Pension (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

He also drew attention to the long title of the bill which read, “A Law to provide for the grant of pensions and other benefits to elected former Governors and Deputy Governors and for other matters related therewith.”

The former lawmaker insisted that the long title of the bill and the provision on Section 4 clearly showed that the bill was not intended to amend the 2006 law but to enact a brand new legislation.

Continuing, Mr. Macebuh said, “Looking at the copy of the bill I have seen and have cause to believe it is a genuine copy, there is a provision repealing the old law. If you have repealed the old law, then an amendment doesn’t exist.

“Any other thing that is made to address the issues similar to what the 2006 law addressed is a new law entirely. This is a new law. The old law is no longer in existence and so there is nothing to amend. You cannot have something that doesn’t exist to amend.

“If you want the 2006 law to be amended you must clearly indicate the sections of the old law to be amended. The old law will still be effective and still cited.

On the claim by some that the state assembly did not subject the bill to public hearing; Mr. Macebuh argued that not every law is put to public hearing.

“But since the law attracted so much public interest, I think it should have been worth the while to subject it to public hearing,” he said.


Prominent Northern Politician, Umaru Dikko, is dead

Former Minister of Transportation, Umaru Dikko

A prominent northern politician and Minister of Transportation during the Second Republic, Umaru Dikko, is dead, his son, Dr. Bello Dikko and another family member, have confirmed.

Mr. Dikko, 78, died early Tuesday in a London hospital, the younger Mr. Dikko and another family member told PREMIUM TIMES.

He has been sick for “quite some time” and suffered three strokes in a row, a family member said.

Details later….

Meanwhile, below is Wikipedia entry for Mr. Dikko.

Umaru Dikko (born 1936, Wamba) is a Nigerian politician and was a trusted adviser to President Shehu Shagari. He was also the Nigerian minister for Transportation from 1979-1983.

He started playing a role in the nation’s governance in 1967, when he was appointed as a commissioner in the then North Central State of Nigeria (now Kaduna State). He was also secretaryof a committee set up by General Hassan Katsina to unite the Northerners after a coup in 1966.[1] In 1979, he was made Shagari’s campaign manager for the successful presidential campaign of the National Party of Nigeria. During the nation’s Second Republic, he played prominent roles as transport minister and head of the presidential task force on rice.

A military coup on December 31, 1983 overthrew the government of Shagari. Dikko fled into exile in London as well as a few other ministers and party officials of the National Party of Nigeria. The new military regime accused him of large-scale corruption while in office, in particular of embezzling millions of dollars from the nation’s oil revenues.

On July 5, 1984, he played the central role in the Dikko Affair; he was found drugged in a crate at Stansted Airport that was being claimed[2] as Diplomatic Baggage, an apparent victim of a government sanctioned kidnapping.[3] The crate’s destination was Lagos.[4]


BREAKING: Galadima Adamawa is dead

Breaking News1

The Galadima of Adamawa, Aliyu Raji, is dead.

Mr. Raji died on Tuesday night at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola.

He will be buried by 12 noon on Wednesday at Yola cemetery according to Islamic rites.

The Lamido of Adamawa, who is a delegate at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja, is reportedly on his way to attend the burial.

Article of Faith: Jesus can never be a Sacrifice for Sins (1), By Femi Aribisala

Femi Aribisala, Ph.D

If Jesus’ death was a sacrifice, it can only atone for sins committed before his death.  High priests don’t atone for future sins. 
I often ask fellow Christians if our sins are forgiven or if they are paid for.  Did Jesus die for our sins or do we need to repent?  Most say it is both, but it cannot be.  If our sins are forgiven, nobody needs to pay for them.  But if our sins are paid for, then we don’t need to be forgiven.  If I owe a man one thousand naira and Jesus pays my debt, then I was not forgiven the debt.  Indeed, if Jesus died for our sins then God never forgave anyone. 
Jesus teaches about repentance and the forgiveness of sins.  But Paul talks about blood payment for sins.  Whose report should we believe?  Most Christians disagree with Jesus.  Jesus says God does not desire sacrifices. (Matthew 9:13).  But Paul says Jesus sacrificed himself to God for us. (Ephesians 5:2).  Whose report should we believe?  Most Christians disagree with Jesus.  Nevertheless, we say Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2).
Good Shepherd
Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11).  This statement is often mistaken as indicating that Jesus will die as a sacrifice for sins.  However, since the ways of God are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8); the good shepherd must not be confused with the typical shepherd.  Indeed, the life of the good shepherd is a deliberate anti-type of the Mosaic sin-sacrifice. 
In the typical sacrifice, the life of the sheep is sacrificed for the shepherd.  But Jesus contradicts this by saying he is the shepherd who gives his life for the sheep.  Obviously, this cannot be about dying for the sheep for the simple reason that a dead shepherd is of no use to his sheep.  On the contrary, Jesus is talking about living for the sheep.  The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep by devoting his eternal life to taking care of them.  Without a doubt, it is far more difficult to live for the sheep than to die for them.  Indeed, when you give your life for someone, you don’t have to die. 
Jesus’ crucifixion was a one-time event, but his priesthood as our shepherd is everlasting.  Jesus did not say “the good shepherd will give his life for the sheep.”  Instead, he talks in the present continuous because he is “the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).  “The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”  This shows Jesus is not talking about Calvary.  Jesus remains our shepherd today and he is still giving his life for us.  The enemy decided to kill the shepherd so that the sheep would scatter. (Zechariah 13:7).  However, God countered this by raising him from the dead, showing that this shepherd cannot be sacrificed or killed. 
Surrendered life
Jesus teaches that physical life is inconsequential.  He says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” (Matthew 10:28).  Therefore, the life he lays down cannot be the inconsequential life.  It must surely be the spiritual life.  Hear him: “My Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17-18). 
This shows the life Jesus laid down is not his physical life, as many Christians presume in the sacrificial atonement fallacy.  The physical life was taken from Jesus against his will.  When he was to be crucified by men, he said to God: “Not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42).  However, no one took his divine (eternal) life from him.  He voluntarily relinquished this in order to take up a mortal life on earth. 
This shows the cross of Jesus was fundamentally his incarnation.  His cross was in laying down his life in heaven in order to come to earth as a man to show us the way of salvation.  After his earthly death and resurrection, he took up again his heavenly life. 
Ransom not sacrifice
Before Jesus went to the cross, he says to his disciples: “Love each other as I have loved you.”  He then describes his love for them as laying down his life: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13).  This love was expressed in the past; before his crucifixion.  Therefore, Jesus’ definition of laying down his life has nothing to do with dying on the cross.  It is about loving others and living a life of service for them. 
The laying down of life that Jesus talks about cannot be about Calvary because he asks his disciples to lay down their lives also.  Surely, it cannot be said that he was requiring them to die also as sacrifices for sins, especially since misguided Christian doctrine says Jesus laid down his life once for all. (Hebrews 10:10).  
Furthermore, Jesus says to his disciples: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28). 
This injunction is further proof that the doctrine of Jesus has nothing to do with sacrifices for sins.  Jesus says he gives his life as a ransom.  However, a ransom is fundamentally different from a sacrifice.  A ransom is not paid as atonement for sins but for the release of captives.  It is not given to God but to kidnappers.  Kidnappers are evil, but God is righteous.  Ransoms are paid by the innocent, but sacrifices are given by the guilty. 
If Jesus’ death was a sacrifice, it can only atone for sins committed before his death.  High priests don’t atone for future sins.  However, if Jesus’ life is seen correctly as a ransom, its lessons remain relevant even to those of us born after his death.      
Fear of death
Satan holds men captive through our love of life.  We sin as we try to save our lives.  Therefore, Jesus warns: “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25).  Jesus ransomed captives with his life by allowing himself to be killed; only to rise from the dead.  Thereby, he exposed the counterfeit of death by demonstrating that our fear of death is baseless. 
Hebrews says: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-  that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15). 
The Good Shepherd lays down his life and takes it up again.  Therefore, we can now confidently lay down our lives, without fear of losing our lives.  Thanks to Jesus: “Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.” (Psalms 124:7).

Three killed as Biafra secessionists attack Nigerian broadcast station

Biafra map

Mr. Onwuka, a lawyer, had last year declared a Biafra Republic led by himself.

At least one police officer and two others died, Thursday, in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, after secessionists promoting the re-emergence of Biafra attempted to take over a broadcast station in the state.

The group known as Biafra Zionists Federation, BZF, stormed Enugu State Broadcasting Service’s office at dawn with “gallons of petrol and dangerous weapons” in an attempt to seize the station for a broadcast by its leader, Benjamin Onwuka.

Mr. Onwuka, a lawyer, had last year declared a Biafra Republic led by himself, in the region.

Sources in Enugu State governor’s office told PREMIUM TIMES the group planned to seize the government station to have its leader broadcast a speech re-affirming his declaration of the Biafra Republic last year.

A police sergeant guarding the facility was reportedly killed as the local police tried to repel the group. Two members of the group were also reportedly killed as they fled scene.

Our sources said the leader of the group has been arrested. He was arrested with some of his members as they fled the broadcast station.

Trouble in the East

The attack on the broadcast station is the second by the group in three months. In March, the group carried out a failed attack on the Enugu State government house leaving many guards injured.

Since returning to democratic rule, groups in Nigeria’s southeast have made several attempts to re-enact a secession idea that led to Nigeria’s three year civil war in 1967. The groups, infamous for their ideas, have always been contained by state forces.

The most widely known of such groups, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has so far adopted semi-civil means of pressing its demands.

MASSOB embarks on activities such as hoisting Biafran flags in local communities, persuasions and in some instances, forcing residents of the region to observe certain rules.

In January last year, MASSOB claimed ‘50 bodies’ floated in Anambra River, near Awka, the Anambra State capital were its members killed by the police.

Delicate issue

Discussions or activities around the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) are described as “delicate” and are sometimes suppressed by the government.

Recently, a widely celebrated movie, Half of a Yellow Sun, chronicling the Nigerian Civil War was stopped from premiering in Nigerian cinemas. The movie is an adaptation of a book of the same name written by Nigeria’s Chimamanda Adichie.

“Is it right to release such a film at this time with the security challenges in the country?” chairman of Nigeria’s Video and Film Censorship Board, Patricia Bala, said on Thursday.

She argued that the security challenge in Nigeria at the moment is a huge factor in approving the movie for public viewing.

Nigeria is currently battling Boko Haram insurgency, which has killed over 12,000 people; and a mix of militancy and oil theft in its oil rich Niger Delta region.

The police in Enugu are yet to make any categorical statement on the fate of the arrested secessionists.

Ebere Amaraizu, spokesperson of the state’s police command, demanded more time when PREMIUM TIMES made inquiries.

The Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime, is also yet to make an official statement on the issue. He is away in Abuja, officials of the government house told PREMIUM TIMES.

Disowned by APC, ex-Minister Fani-Kayode rejoins PDP

Femi Fani-Kayode

Mr. Fani-Kayode rejoins the PDP one year after describing it as irredeemable and lacking capacity to deliver good governance to Nigerians


Hours after the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, disowned him, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister, has announced his return to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which he left a year ago.

Mr. Fani-Kayode told PREMIUM TIMES Monday afternoon he was withdrawing his sympathy for the APC and rejoining the PDP with immediate effect.

He said his decision was based on APC’s intolerance of divergent views, “sympathy for Boko Haram and the insistence of its leadership to put up a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in the forthcoming Nigerian presidential elections”.

The former minister said he was now comfortable returning to the PDP since its former chairman, Bamanga Tukur, who he said demonstrated sympathy for the extremist Boko Haram sect, had been removed.

“I have decided to ensure that I assist the PDP to become the party that I’ve always believed they could be,” he said.

Mr Fani-Kayode officially left the PDP May last year after declaring it had lost the respect and confidence of of its members and was “irredeemable”.

He also cited his doubt about the PDP’s sincerity in delivering good governance to Nigerians, the autocracy of its decision making body and the rascality of President Goodluck Jonathan in a political feud with the Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi.

He said he left the PDP to be “with those that my spirit has been with long ago” in his declaration for the APC in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital.

Mr. Fani-Kayode’s heart however appears to have left the APC months ago when he wrote a two-part article criticizing the APC for allegedly insisting on a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

In addition to the new leadership of the PDP, Mr. Fani-Kayode said his kinsmen also helped persuade him to return.

“And they are far more welcoming and accommodating, and tolerant of dissenting opinions more than the APC,” he said.

Shortly after be began attacking the APC over its potential presidential candidates, Mr. Fani-Kayode held a secret meeting with President Jonathan, but said the president did not help to persuade him into returning to the PDP.

“This decision I have made has nothing to do with a discussion I had with anybody inside the (Aso Rock) Villa,” he said.

Haramite Party

“PDP is not a Haramite party,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said, alluding to his claims that APC nurses a soft spot for the dreaded Boko Haram sect and its inherent desire to make Nigeria a religious state.

He said a major reason he left the PDP in the first instance was the party’s former chairman’s declaration that tBoko Haram sect was fighting for justice.

He said the argument by two key members of the APC – the National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, and one of the party’s national leaders, Muhammadu Buhari — that Boko Haram members should be treated like Niger Delta militants and offered amnesty laid the foundation for his disagreements with the party.

“I cannot be in a party which has even if it is ten haramites,” he said. “So I am going back to where I came from. Even if I had issues with the PDP and the government, we will try our best to join our hands together to make it a better place and make it a PDP we once wanted it to be.”

He is not one of us

The APC had told PREMIUM TIMES exclusively that Mr. Fani-Kayode was never its member despite parading himself as such.

The party suggested that the former minister did not have a membership card qualifying him as a member of the party.

The interim National Publicity of the APC, Lai Mohammed, said the party could not therefore take punitive measure against the former minister for repeatedly deriding the platform and flirting with President Jonathan.

He faulted this newspaper for describing Mr. Fani-Kayode as a senior member of the party and demanded to know where he registered as a member.

Mr. Mohammed said, “Femi Fani-Kayode is not a senior member of my party. Where did he register as a member of the APC and what qualify him to be a senior member of my party?” the APC spokesperson said.

“People came to join our party and in politics, you don’t push everybody away. He is a former Minister and has what I can call name recognition, and when he came to associate with our party, all well and good. But what role or specific office was he given? Which meeting of the organ of the party has he ever attended?

“Fani-Kayode has access to many people; he has access to me, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu or perhaps even General Muhammadu Buhari or Bisi Akande, but that does not make him a senior member of the party.”

“You don’t seem to understand what I am saying. This man has no locus standi in my party, so what am I going to sanction? No Locus!”

Chief Judge Controversy: Rivers Government accuses NJC of planned illegality

Rotimi Amaechi

“The Rivers State Government wonders what special interest the Chief Justice in person, and the NJC, in general, have in Rivers State.”

The controversy between the Rivers State government and the National Judicial Council, NJC, took another twist, Sunday, as the former accused the latter of attempting to smuggle its candidate for the state’s Chief Judge position “through the back door.”

In a statement issued by Ibim Semenitari, Commissioner for Information and Communications, the state called on the public to hold the NJC responsible for any break down of law and order which its “planned-intermeddling with the administration of Justice in Rivers State shall inexorably occasion.”

The Rivers State government and the judicial body have been at daggers drawn over the appointment of a Chief Judge for the state.

While Rotimi Amaechi, the state governor, gave the nod to Peter Agumagu to occupy the position; the NJC preferred Daisy Okocha, the most senior High Court judge in Rivers State.

In March, following a suit filed by the state government, Justice Lawal Akanbi ruled that the governor was not under obligation to accept the recommendation of the NJC on the appointment of a Chief Judge.

Irked by the court’s ruling and the subsequent appointment of Mr. Agumagu as the Chief Judge, the NJC suspended him, stating that his appointment was illegal.

In their statement, Sunday, the Rivers State government said that in addition to the NJC’s surreptitious move to install Mrs. Okocha, they also intend to direct all the judges of the Rivers State judiciary to accept directives and instructions from her.

“This is clearly against the Judgement of the Federal High Court which voided NJC’s recommendation of this same Judge,” the statement read.

“The NJC, to disguise its disrespect for the Law and give the impression that it is acting within the Law, has planned to christen the said Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha as an ‘Administrative Judge’ with powers to perform the functions of the Chief Judge especially the assignment of cases.

“The Rivers State Government wonders what special interest the Chief Justice in person, and the NJC, in general, have in Rivers State and its Judiciary as to contemplate such obviously unconstitutional and illegal act against the state judiciary which act is also contemptuous of a Federal High Court’s Judgment which has voided NJC’s recommendation of Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha for appointment as Chief Judge of Rivers State,” the statement added.

Ms. Semenitari further stated that according to the State’s High Court Law, it is the Chief Judge that has powers to assign cases to judges and not any other person whether known as Administrative or Most Senior Judge.

“The contraption and contrivance known as ‘Administrative Judge’ to perform the functions of a State Chief Judge is unknown to both the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Rivers State’s High Court Law,” she said.

“The public and in particular, Rivers People, are further informed that all issues pertaining to this matter of Justice Daisy Wotube Okocha and her desire to be the Chief Judge of Rivers State with the active support of the NJC, are subject of various litigation in various courts including the one Justice Okocha herself appealed against.”

The Rivers State government further said that it would seek redress in a court if the NJC continues to disobey the Constitution and the court ruling.

“Rivers State Government wishes to state that it shall administratively and legally use all ways and means known to Law, including its powers under the Constitution and all other extant Laws, to resist the over-arching desire and attempts by some politicians in the NJC who hope to use their membership of the NJC to hijack the Rivers State Judiciary for their Group’s political ends while pretending to be politically neutral.

“Finally, the Rivers State Government, which holds the NJC, as a body, in high esteem especially because its members are eminent members of the Learned Profession of Law, however, is constrained to call on Nigerians to hold the Body and its leadership solely responsible for any break down of Law and Order which its planned-intermeddling with the administration of Justice in Rivers State shall inexorably occasion,” it added.

Jonathan condemns killing of Emir of Gwoza

Emir of Gwoza

President Jonathan calls on Nigerians to forge a common position against terrorism.

President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the assassination of the Emir of Gwoza, Idrissa Timta, on Friday by Boko Haram militants.

A spokesperson for the president, Reuben Abati, said Mr. Jonathan believes that the brazen attack reinforces the need for all Nigerians to come together with urgency to quickly end murderous attacks by terrorists.

“The president got the news and he was sad about it because what it means is that, these terrorists, who are threatening peace and stability in Nigeria, are desperate and they continue to show that desperation,” Mr. Abati said in an interview with state house correspondents.

“The president made it clear in his democracy day broadcast that was his main message to Nigerians, that at the end of the day, it is the people of Nigeria that will prevail.

“No matter how desperate terrorists may be, that his government is determined to rid the country of terrorism.

“The whole of the West African sub-region, Africa and the entire world showed that this is the battle that the whole world is prepared to fight.

“So, the days of peace as the president said in his speech are assured because this battle will not end until it is won and the sustainable development is fully guaranteed.”

He said the president had also spoken about those who were willing to renounce terrorism and those who were willing to embrace peace.

According to him, opportunities have been created for them through the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolutions of Conflict in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.

In the broadcast, the president had directed the security forces to launch a full-scale operation to put an end to the impunity of terrorists in the country.

The president had said: “for our citizens who have joined hands with Al Qaeda and international terrorists in the misguided belief that violence can possibly solve their problems, our doors remain open to them for dialogue and reconciliation, if they renounce terrorism and embrace peace.

“My government, while pursuing security measures, will explore all options, including readiness to accept unconditional renunciation of violence by insurgents.

“Government will also ensure their de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society,” he said. (NAN)

Rubber stamp Akwa Ibom Assembly passes Gov. Akpabio’s N200m scandalous pension law

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom

Despite public outcry and barrage of criticism across the country, the rubber stamp Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Monday passed a bill, approving a whooping N200 million annual pay for Godswill Akpabio; among other perks.

The assembly also approved the construction of a mansion which would serve as Mr. Akpabio’s retirement home; in addition to brand new cars, befitting furniture and other luxuries, for the rest of his life.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported on the controversial bill on Thursday just as it was presented for first reading in the rubber stamp Assembly, which has a history of never holding the state’s profligate governor to account.

Mr. Akpabio had forwarded the bill known as Akwa Ibom State Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Bill, 2014, to the assembly through a letter dated May 15.

To underscore the urgency of the proposed law, the Governor had indicated that he wanted it passed hurriedly so it could come into force on June 1.

However, the bill was received by the Acting Clerk of the assembly, Mandu Umoren, on May 19, but PREMIUM TIMES learnt it was locked in a safe on the instruction of the Speaker, Samuel Ikon.

After a prolonged executive session on Thursday, the lawmakers came out and put the bill through first and second reading just as Mr. Akpabio  directed.

While labour and civil society groups mobilised their members for a showdown with both the governor and the state lawmakers, the assembly on Monday sat in its so-called Committee of the Whole and considered the bill, clause by clause.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that immediately the proposed law scaled through the Committee of the whole, the assembly reverted to plenary and adopted the report of the Committee.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reported that the motion for the bill to be read the third time was moved and seconded by Deputy House Leader, Ekaete Okon and Aniekan Akpan, a member from Ukanafun state constituency respectively.

NAN also reported that immediately after passage, the leadership of the House directed the clerk of the assembly to forward a clean copy of the bill to Mr. Akpabio for assent.

Under the new law, Mr. Akpabio and former democratically elected governors of the state and their deputies as well as indigenes of the state who served in similar positions in Cross River State, will pocket several millions in monthly retirement perks.

Based on Section 1(1) of the law, “An indigene of the state who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of former Cross River State and a person who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of the state shall when he ceases to hold office be entitled,” to the new perks.

Although similar laws have been passed by many Nigerian governors including those of Lagos, Rivers, Bauchi and Benue states, among others, Mr. Akpabio’s version is clearly the most ludicrous.

Under it, Mr. Akpabio and others listed in Section 1(1) are entitled to a monthly pension for life at the rate equivalent to his current salary.

Similarly, the serving deputy governor, Valerie Ebe, is entitled to a monthly pension for life at the rate of her current salary.

Mr. Akpabio and his deputy; Mrs. Ebe will therefore pocket a total of N2, 223, 705. 00; and N2, 112, 215, 00 respectively as monthly and a total of N26, 684, 460,00  and N25, 346, 580 respectively as pension, per annum.

This is based on approved remuneration package for state executive and local government executives by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.

The governor is also entitled to a new official car and a utility vehicle once every four years, one personal aide and the provision of adequate security for his person during his lifetime at the expense of the state government.

Akwa Ibom taxpayers are also expected to provide an amount not exceeding N5 million or an equivalent of $50,000.00 monthly for Mr. Akpabio to engage the services of a cook, chauffeurs and security guards.

This provision is in contrast with Section 1(b) of the bill, which indicates that security shall be provided to former governors during their lifetime at the expense of the government.

However, the deputy governor is entitled to N2million naira or an equivalent of $20,000.00 monthly allowance to hire cooks, chauffeurs and security guards.

Mr. Akpabio and his spouse are to also access free medical services at a sum not exceeding N100 million or an equivalent of $600,000.00, while the deputy and her spouse will pocket N30 million or an equivalent of $200,000.00, annually.

Based on budget figures from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHDA, and the Millennium Development Goal(s), MDG, the amounts set aside for the two government functionaries to access medical services could build and equip two state-of-the-art health centres and two blocks of classrooms in the state.

Section 1(e, f, g, h, I j) of the bill wants Mr. Akpabio and other past governors entitled to a “Provision of a befitting house not below a 5-bedroom maisonette in either the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja or Akwa Ibom State for the Governor and a yearly accommodation allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor; (300 percent of the deputy governor’s basic salary is N6, 336,645).

“Provision of furniture allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary once in every four years; (A total of N6, 671,115 for the governor and N6, 336,645 for the deputy)

“Provision of yearly maintenance and fueling of vehicle allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary; (A total of N6, 671,115 for the governor and N6, 336,645 for the deputy)

“Provision of severance gratuity allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary as at the time the officer leaves office; (Another N6, 671,115 for the governor and N6, 336,645 for the deputy)

“Provision of yearly utility allowance of 100 percent of annual salary; (with the governor taking N2, 223,705 while his deputy takes N2, 112, 215)

“And provision of entertainment allowance of 100 percent of annual basic salary; (Another N2, 223,705 for the governor and N2, 112, 215 for the deputy).”

According to Section 2 of the proposed law, a former governor or deputy who received severance gratuity under Akwa Ibom State Public and Political Office Holders (Remuneration) Law, 2000 is not eligible for any other severance pay.

This means that former Governor Attah will enjoy the sumptuous retirement perks but will not be entitled to severance pay since they had been paid based on the provisions of the 2000 law.

Where a former governor or deputy governor dies, the law provides that the state government makes adequate arrangement and bear the financial responsibility for the burial.

The government is also expected to pay a condolence allowance of a sum equivalent to the annual basic salary of an incumbent to the next of kin.

One surviving spouse of the governor is entitled to a medical allowance not exceeding N12 million per annum provided such spouse was married to the governor at the time he or she was in office or if a wife; had served as First Lady.

Unless on health grounds, a former governor or deputy who resigned his office, or impeached or who had not held office for a period of three years or more, is not entitled to benefit from the provision of the new law.

With this provision, Mr. Akpabio’s estranged friend and the former Deputy Governor, Nsima Ekere, will not be eligible to enjoy the lavish perks.