FGN admits Boko Haram leader Shekau is still at large; Senate suspends Ndume for 6 months; Senate draws battle line over Magu with Buhari; Senators will regret not screening Buhari’s list of RECs – Prof. Sagay; Buhari sends 2 new ministerial nominees to senate; Bishop Kukah denies collecting money from Jonathan; Nigerian military searching for elusive Boko Haram leader – Defence minister; Senate summons Prof. Sagay over ‘controversial comment’; Senate is an arm of government that must be respected – Presidency; Dokpesi got N2.1bn for 2015 presidential campaigns – 1stBank manager . . .
FGN admits Boko Haram leader Shekau is still at large
The federal government has admitted that Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, is alive and still at large, despite previous repeated claims it had killed him. The Defense Minister Mansur Dan Ali told reporters in Abuja on Tuesday that Shekau was “on the run” and likely hiding out in a Boko Haram enclave in the Sambisa Forest, one of the group’s last remaining strongholds in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno. “We shall be patrolling and ransacking that forest for the whereabouts of Shekau,” said Ali, according to Reuters. “We will not relax, we are on him.” Shekau took over leadership of Boko Haram after the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf was captured alive by the Nigerian army, handed over, but died mysteriously in Nigerian police custody, in 2009. Under Shekau’s leadership, the group has fought a deadly war against the Nigerian government, killing thousands in genocides, displacing millions and creating a humanitarian crisis in northeastern Nigeria. The group split into two factions in 2016, one led by Shekau and another by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who was appointed by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in 2016.
Senate suspends Ndume for 6 months
The Senate on Wednesday suspended Former Senate Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) for 6 months. The decision of the senate was sequel to the presentation of a report by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu (PDP Imo East). Sen. Ndume was suspended following the point of Order he raised that Senate President Bukola Saraki was on a vengeance mission against the Comptroller- General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col.Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.) because the agency had impounded a bulletproof Range Rover SUV valued at N298 million imported into the country by Saraki following his alleged refusal to pay the Customs duty of N74 million on the SUV.
Senate draws battle line over Magu with Buhari
The Senate on Tuesday drew a battle line with the presidency over President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sack the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu. Consequent to that the red chamber has suspended action on consideration of Buhari’s list of 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) forwarded to it last week for confirmation. The Senate had two weeks ago rejected Magu for the EFCC top job and advised the President to forward a new name for consideration. However, many legal experts contend that Buhari could still stick with Magu in Acting Capacity as EFCC boss, notwithstanding the refusal of the Senate to clear him. The Senate in a resolution after a motion by Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North), declared that required legislative actions for consideration and possible confirmation of the appointment of the 27 RECs, are withheld for two weeks in view of non-compliance of President Buhari to the rejection of Magu as EFCC Chairman.
Senators will regret not screening Buhari’s list of RECs – Prof. Sagay
Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, has warned the Senate over their decision to shun screening of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) He said, “That action is childish and irresponsible. Do they think Buhari is a man that can easily be threatened? My God! How can people of such character occupy the highest legislative office in the country? Nigeria is finished. “It is a great mistake and they will regret it . . . Senate is being occupied by the most unserious set of Nigerians in history . . . we have people who have no sense of responsibility, who have no feeling and are there for just vanity and are ready to bring down the country in order to feel important, it is the worst case of abuse ever. Let them do what they want, they will regret it.”
Buhari sends 2 new ministerial nominees to senate
President Muhammadu Buhari has sent names of two new ministerial nominees, Professor Stephen Ikani Ocheni (Kogi State) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe) for consideration as Ministers. Ocheni is to replace Barrister James Ocholi (Minister of State for Labour and Employment) who died in a ghastly motor accident along Kaduna-Abuja road in March 2016 and Hassan is replacing Mrs. Amina Mohammed, the former Minister for Environment who is now the Deputy Secretary General of United Nations. The President seeks quick consideration of the nominees. Buhari’s letter on the nominees was read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Wednesday.
Bishop Kukah denies collecting money from Jonathan
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Mathew Hassan Kukah, has debunked the perception that he was close to former President Goodluck Jonathan for what he could get. In an interview with ‘The Interview’ he said: “Despite my friendship with Jonathan over this long period of time, we never discussed a penny, we never discussed one dollar; we never exchanged a penny, and we never exchanged a dollar. Suddenly, journalists whom I knew were writing, hoping they would be given positions (by Buhari) and all those who were abusing me have gone full cycle. Those who should be ashamed of themselves are those who took money from Jonathan, tonnes of it, and have decided to lie, buried under the table; they have decided to change course in the middle of the race. Those are the guys who you should be talking about.”
Nigerian military searching for elusive Boko Haram leader – Defence minister
Nigeria’s military is “ransacking” territory it said it had recaptured from Boko Haram in a search for Abubakar Shekau the elusive Boko Haram leader, the Nigerian defense minister said on Tuesday. “He is on the run so he may be hiding in one of the enclaves of Sambisa forest,” Mansur Dan Ali, minister of defence, told reporters in Abuja. “We shall be patrolling and ransacking that forest for the whereabouts of Shekau,” said Ali. Earlier this month a man identifying himself as Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video in which he claimed responsibility for a spate of bombings in and around Maiduguri the Borno state capital and its environs. Presently, large aeas of the embattled northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from Boko Haram as suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the area this year. The militant group had controlled a swathe of land in northeast Nigeria around the size of Belgium at the end of 2014 but was shifted from most of that territory early last year by Nigerian troops, aided by soldiers from neighbouring countries. Boko Haram has killed more than 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during its seven-year insurgency to create an Islamic state governed by a strict interpretation of sharia law in Africa’s most populous nation.
Senate summons Prof. Sagay over ‘controversial comment’
The Senate on Wednesday summoned a legal luminary Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) to appear before its Committee on Ethics and Privileges following his remarks about the senate which were considered insulting. Prof. Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in an interview with newsmen had said that the Senators will regret their decision to shun screening of Buhari’s list of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs). He had said: “That action is childish and irresponsible. Do they think Buhari is a man that can easily be threatened? My God! How can people of such character occupy the highest legislative office in the country? Nigeria is finished. It is a great mistake and they will regret it.” Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, moved the motion and it was supported by majority of the senators.
Senate is an arm of government that must be respected – Presidency
‘The Senate is an arm of government that must be respected in any decision it takes in the course of exercising its powers as an independent institution’, the presidency said on Tuesday. The comment came in reaction to the decision of the Senate to suspend consideration of the president’s nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in protest against Ibrahim Magu’s continued stay in office as the acting chairman of the EFCC. The senators had declined to confirm Mr. Magu as substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency after two requests by President Muhammadu Buhari. The president sent a list of 27 nominees to the Senate last week. The senators also protested alleged disrespect of the National Assembly by appointees of the president.
Dokpesi got N2.1bn for 2015 presidential campaigns – 1stBank manager
A relationship manager with First Bank Maitama branch, Abuja, Mrs. Zainab Ibrahim-Kokobili, on Wednesday gave details of how AIT founder, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, received N2.1billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) between January and March 2015. Ibrahim-Kokobili was testifying before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court Abuja as the third prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Dokpesi, along with his firm, Daar Investment and Holdings Limited. The EFCC had filed 6 counts of money laundering and other charges relating to procurement and fraud against Dokpesi and Daar Investments for allegedly receiving N2.12bn from ONSA to prosecute PDP’s 2015 presidential media campaign. Justice Tsoho adjourned until May 24 and 25, 2017 for further trial.