President launches 30 new Navy vessels; Gov Fayose storms Zenith Bank to demand his money; Senate Calls for SGF’s Resignation, Prosecution over Mismanagement of IDP Fund; Despite Senate rejection, Magu remains EFCC Chairman – Lawyers; Dismiss, prosecute soldiers who murdered 348 Shiites – UK urges Nigeria; Rivers Rerun: Wike’s leaked audio tape has confirmed our fears – APC; We’re not responsible for your woes, FG tells Nigerians; Zahra’s wedding: FG not paying for food, other expenses – Buhari tells Nigerians; Senate Rejects Magu’s Nomination Over Security Report; Rivers Rerun: Wike leads protest to police headquarters; Korea Donates Milling Complex Worth $1.6M To Nigeria; Court awards N10 Billion against Mobil for Bayelsa oil spillage . . .
President launches 30 new Navy vessels
Lagos (The Sun) — In his first working visit to Lagos since taking office, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday pledged continuous support for the Nigerian Navy (NN). He stated this at the Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island, during the inauguration of 30 vessels newly added in the navy’s fleet. Among the vessels were the second Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) locally constructed, NNS KARADUWA, NNS UNITY built to specification in China, a tugboat, UGWU and 27 other back water boats.
Noting that the nation was in recession, Buhari urged the navy to remain prudent in the management of resources, adding that they should look inwards to construct and improvise some vital operational tools. The President commended the navy for building two out of the three ships that were commissioned.
Gov Fayose storms Zenith Bank to demand his money
Ado Ekiti (NigerianEye) — Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Thursday stormed Zenith Bank in Ado Ekiti to withdraw money from his bank accounts earlier frozen by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission.
His action followed the judgment of a Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti which ordered the bank to immediately unfreeze the accounts after condemning the action of the EFCC.
Senate Calls for SGF’s Resignation, Prosecution over Mismanagement of IDP Funds
Abuja (ThisDay) — The Senate on Wednesday called for immediate resignation and prosecution of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, over allegations that he exploited his vantage position to award contracts on North-east rehabilitation project to his company, Rholavision Engineering Limited. He alleged that top government officials took advantage of the development to award contracts to companies belonging to their cronies, family members and close associates.
The call for Lawal’s resignation was the fallout of the presentation of the report of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-east presented by its Chairman, Senator Shehu Sani. Sani had reported that the Presidential Initiative on North-east (PINE), saddled with the responsibility of rebuilding and rehabilitating the region devastated by the activities of Boko Haram, took advantage of the dire situation in the region by inflating contracts.
Despite Senate rejection, Magu remains EFCC Chairman – Lawyers
Abuja (Premium Times) — Despite the rejection of his confirmation by the Senate, Ibrahim Magu remains the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, lawyers have said. The Nigerian Senate on Thursday refused to confirm Mr. Magu as EFCC Chairman, based on “security report.” The Senate did not clarify what the security report contained amidst allegations the anti-graft chief was being victimised by senators who are either being prosecuted or investigated for corruption.
Despite the Senate’s action, however, lawyers say Mr. Magu will still continue in his position as acting EFCC chairman unless removed by President Muhammadu Buhari. The lawyers also said the president can choose to resubmit Mr. Magu’s name to the Senate for confirmation
“He’s still in (office in) acting capacity,” Akinolu Kehinde, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said. “The matter on ground is to confirm him. If the president feels strongly about his appointment, he will represent his name again for confirmation. “However, the law does not say that any appointment from the presidency must be approved, there are parameters to be met and the Senate must have a tangible reason for rejecting him”, Mr. Kehinde added.
Dismiss, prosecute soldiers who murdered 348 Shiites – UK urges Nigeria
Abuja (New Telegraph) — The United Kingdom on Thursday urged the Nigerian government to implement a White Paper which recommended the dismissal and prosecution of soldiers who murdered 348 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria aka Shiites in two days of deadly clashes. Soldiers attached to the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Yusuf Buratai, opened fire on the Shiites after hundreds of them blocked the army chief’s convoy on Kaduna-Zaria Road. The brutal attack was followed by a deadly raid on the headquarters of the Shiites in Zaria, during which some of the sons of their leader, Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, were killed.
In a tweet commemorating the first anniversary of the killings, the British High Commission in Abuja recalled that “it’s been a year since the tragic event in Zaria, which reportedly resulted in the deaths of 348 civilians and one soldier.” Making specific demands, it stated: “We call on the Nigerian Federal Government to take the recommendations made in the Zaria report forward in order to ensure that any future actions taken by the Nigerian Armed Forces are in accordance with international human rights law and/or international humanitarian law.”
Rivers Rerun: Wike’s leaked audio tape has confirmed our fears – APC
Photo: APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi
Port Harcourt (The Nation) — The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that the audio recording where Rivers State Governor, Nyeson Wike was allegedly threatening to kill electoral officers has confirmed its earlier fears about plots by the governor and the PDP to achieve victory through sinister means during the Rivers legislative rerun elections. An audio recording posted by an online newspaper revealed Wike threatening not to allow some electoral officials, especially those posted to Khana to leave the state if they failed to do what they have been paid to do.
The statement reads:
“The leaked audio recording indicating the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike admitting to bribing some electoral officials and threatening to kill them if his instructions were not followed has confirmed the fears raised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the leadup to the recently conducted December 10, 2016 legislative re-run elections in the State . . . The only logical conclusion from this therefore is that the electoral victories of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may have been achieved through underhand dealings and intimidation of officials . . . The APC condemns any form of violence as it relates to elections or any other matter. In this instance, we urge security agencies to do the needful and ensure that sponsors and perpetrators of violence, no matter how highly placed, are brought to justice.” “The APC condemns any form of violence as it relates to elections or any other matter. In this instance, we urge security agencies to do the needful and ensure that sponsors and perpetrators of violence, no matter how highly placed, are brought to justice”
We’re not responsible for your woes, FG tells Nigerians
Abuja (Daily Trust) — The Federal Government has said that it is not responsible for the pains Nigerians are currently passing through. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, stated this on Thursday while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The minister said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was a rescue team determined to take the country out of economic woes. According to him, the government is particularly determined to change Nigeria from being a consuming country to a producing one. Udoma said: “We did not and are not responsible for the current economic situation we find ourselves. We are actually a rescue team; a team working on rescuing Nigeria from the position we find ourselves in. “Under President Muhammadu Buhari, we are determined to take Nigeria out of the situation. The situation started long before we came.
Zahra’s wedding: FG not paying for food, other expenses – Buhari tells Nigerians
Facebook (NigerianEye) — President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government is not spending any money on the wedding ceremony of his daughter, Zahra, slated for Friday in Abuja. The president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, stated this in his Facebook page on Thursday. Shehu maintained that all the wedding expenses including the printing and distribution of invitation cards, souvenirs, lunch event for the men and dinner for the women as well as other miscellaneous expenses would be financed by the family and personal aides.
He said the president has said that even though the family wants to make Zahra happy on her wedding day, she will not enjoy “royal wedding”. He said, “Zahra Muhammadu Buhari’s wedding to Ahmed Mohammed Indimi starting today is a celebrity event to savour any day. Much as the family wants to make their daughter happy they, however, will not make it a royal wedding. “The President’s family is trying hard to keep it as simple as possible. Wedding Lalle, Fatiha, lunch event for the men and dinner for the women who must have come from far and near and the bride heads to her husband!
“In a twist from what was a norm among past leaders, the President asked to be given the bill for the food at the banquet. Government, he said, has no business paying for that. “This should be treated as private. His family and personal aides put the money together to foot the bill. No government money in invitation cards, souvenirs or Aso-Ebi. That’s essential Buhari for you!!.” The Wedding Fatiha will be conducted at the National Mosque, Abuja, on Friday, while reception for guest will be held at the Presidential Banquet Hall.
Senate Rejects Magu’s Nomination Over Security Report
Abuja (Leadership) — The Senate on Thursday afternoon announced the rejection of the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over security report at its disposal.
Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, told members of the Senate Press Corps that the Senate cannot proceed with the confirmation hearing of Magu based on the security report sent to the Upper Chamber by the Department of State Service (DSS). He added that the Senate consequently returning the nominations back to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Rivers Rerun: Wike leads protest to police headquarters
Port Harcourt (The Nation) — Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Thursday led thousands of supporters to stage a protest over alleged police high handedness in the just concluded legislative re-run election. The protesters also accused the police of killing PDP members and demanded the transfer of two policemen alleged to be masterminds of the police attacks. The protest which was peaceful started from Government House to Azikiwe street and Bank Road before terminating at the Police command headquarters on Moscow road in the city centre.
Addressing the police, Wike told the state Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Cyril Okoro that people of the state were fed up with alleged killings by some policemen and other security operatives.
“On behalf of the Rivers Government and good people of the state, we have to let the police know that enough is enough. We demand that Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations, Mr Steven Hasso and the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Akin Fakorede be posted out of the state. We have come here peacefully to communicate this demand and urge that this request is communicated to Police headquarters in Abuja because I (Wike) have written repeatedly (to IGP). Please, I don’t want people to die anymore and definitely do not want corrupt senior police officers posted to Rivers state.”
Korea Donates Milling Complex Worth $1.6M To Nigeria
Bida, Niger State (Leadership) — The Republic of Korea, through its agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) donated a modern integrated rice milling facility, constructed in Bida to Niger State government recently. According to the Country Director Mrs Park, the project started in 2008, and has the capacity of processing 1.5 tonnes of rice per hour (1.5t/h) with parboiling, drying, sorting and packaging facilities, which can be increased to 3.0t/h. Delivering a speech at the occasion the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria HE Noh Kyu-duk, stated that the project was part of South Korea’s effort in assisting Nigeria in its effort to diversify the economy, with Agriculture playing an important role.
According to statistics, Nigeria is presently producing approximately 5 Million tonnes of rice annually and imports about 3 million tonnes of it to meet demands. An estimated N356 billion is spent on rice importation in Nigeria yearly, making the country rank among the top 12 rice consuming countries in the world. It is anticipated that the facility will not only assist the local rice farmer and millers in Bida, and boost creation of jobs for thousands of unemployed youths, but will also contribute towards assisting Nigeria become self-sufficient in rice production. Furthermore, it will bring an end to the importation of rice from other rice-producing countries.
Court awards N10 Billion against Mobil for Bayelsa oil spillage
Lagos (NigerianEye) — A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited to pay N10bn to victims of a January 12, 1998 oil spillage which occurred when a 24 inches pipeline belonging to the company burst, releasing its content into the marine environment. About 40,000 barrels of Qua Iboe light crude had spilled into the environment when the 25-year-old pipeline burst in Akwa Ibom State. The oil spillage had spread over about 850km of Nigeria’s coastline and up to Republic of Benin.
A suit marked FHC/L/CS/274/2002 had been filed against Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited by one Chief M.A. Ajanaku and others, who sued on behalf of themselves and the fishing communities and cooperatives of Lagos. The plaintiffs had claimed that their tools of trade and occupational locations and environment were destroyed by the Idoho oil spillage.
They had urged the court to order Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited to commence post-impact remediation programmes in respect of their land and waters polluted by the Idoho oil spill and do all such acts and things to clean up their environment and restore it to its original state. They also urged the court to order the oil company to pay them N8.4bn as special damages with an annual interest of 10 per cent from January 26, 1998 until till the final liquidation of the award. They also urged the court to order the oil company to pay them N1.4bn as general damages for the infraction of their constitutional and statutory rights and interest on the judgement sum at the rate of 10% from the date of judgement until full payment.
In a judgement on Wednesday, 14 years after the suit was filed, Justice Ibrahim Buba affirmed that the plaintiffs’ right to life and right to live in an environment favourable to their socioeconomic development as guaranteed under Section 33 of the 1999 constitution and Articles 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act Cap 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, had been violated on account of the oil spillage. The judge awarded N10bn against Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited in favour of the plaintiffs.