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Kidnapped Plateau State PDP chairman, Damishi T Sango has been released from the kidnappers den along with the 4 others abducted with him at gun point. They have since been reunited with their families. 

It would be recalled that Sango along with the others were on their to Abuja for the PDP convention which ended this morning when they met with their captors who demand various sums as ransom before their release. It is not clear whether the ransom was paid.

Meanwhile details in due course.

Sunday, 10 December 2017 00:00

2019: We must be ready to fight-FFK

Party stalwarts have continued to send felicitations to the newly elected members of the PDP national working committee, the latest coming from Chief Femi Fani Kayode. 

In his message which he personally signed, Chief Fani Kayode said “Congratulations to my friend and brother Prince Uche Secundus, the newly-elected National Chairman of our great party the PDP, and to all our other newly-elected party officials.

He further commended and congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and others on their profound and inspiring speeches at the convention which took place at the Eagles square, Abuja yesterday.

He urged members of the party to quickly set aside their differences and prepare to face the monumental challenge that lay ahead saying “We must be ready and prepared to fight for a greater cause and to stand against a vicious, corrupt, deceitful, relentless and rapacious enemy that has divided our country, that has destroyed our economy and that has persecuted, marginalised, humiliated, demonised, massacred and pauperised our people. 

He added that “together we shall change the change and “burn the brooms” in 2019. Together we shall raise the PDP flag in every part of this nation and send Buhari and his evil APC government back to hell where they came from”

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has been an ardent critic of the government and has been known to hold strong views against leaders of the ruling party.

 

 
Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Abuja Killing: No Bail For Maryam Sanda

Maryam, wife of Abuja based Bilyamin, the murdered son of erstwhile PDP National Chairman and former defence minister Haliru Bello, was denied bail by an FCT High Court sitting in Jabi, the federal capital. 

She stood in the dock holding closely to her 6months old baby and a prayer rosary which were not enough to cause a bail for killing her husband.

The alleged murderer and husband killer who married her husband recently was said to be a product of a similarly troubled family background which had both parents separated.

Police lawyer say three other members of Maryam ‘s family, including her mother, Maimuna Aliyu, alleged to have deliberately manipulated a crime scene in order to destroy evidence would be charged to court appropriately. Police lawyer, James Idachaba, who spoke with journalists outside the court say the suspects are being sought and would be served with the charges once found.

Maryam ‘s mother Maimuna is currently answering charges in the same court for alleged fraud.

The alleged murderer was returned to the prison as the court refused her lawyer ‘s oral application for bail. She is to be re-arraigned on Thursday next week 

It would be recalled that  the FCT Police Command in a two-count charge accused Maryam, of killing her husband, Bilyamin Bello, who she allegedly stabbed in the chest and other parts of his body, but  died on the way to the hospital while being rushed there by her.

She was said to have made a confession at the hospital but later changed her statement after meeting her mother. 

The Bellos have since described the incident as an act of God. Friends of the deceased have held a vigil in Abuja to protest his murder and push the campaign on violence against husbands, also, as victims of domestic violence which is becoming rampant in Nigeria.

Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has for the umpteenth time told Faithful of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Saturday’s elective Convention to allow the will of the people prevail and restore the dignity of the Party.

Senator Mark in a message to the delegates, urged them to shun those ills such as imposition of candidates and impunity that ruined the chances of the Party in the previous elections.

Senator Mark stressed that “we have seen what the imposition of candidates caused us in the past. We cannot travel the same route anymore.

“I am sure we have learnt some useful lessons from our electoral misfortune in 2015. We now have the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past by allowing the will of the people to prevail at the convention”.

The former Senate President expressed confidence in the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led National Convention Committee to do a good job and return the Party to the people.

Senator Mark enjoined Party Faithful to adhere to the rules of the game in order to guarantee a smooth Convention “because only the rule of law and adherence to the principle of Democracy endures”.

He advised the would-be winners and losers to accept the outcome of the elections in the interest of all, saying, “Win or lose, we are still one family. All we need to do is put our house in order in the interest of the Party and its members because I can see a bright future”.

He welcomed the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and others back to the party just as he enjoined all those who defected to return home because “PDP is still the only National Party and a home for all”.

 

Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

SARS: Reps Give Caution

The attention of the House of Representatives and that of the Rt. Hon. Speaker Yakubu Dogara has been drawn to stories in the media credited to the Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood insinuating that the #EndSARS lead campaigner, Mr. Segun Awosanya has ties with politicians and even displaying a photograph in which the said Awosanya appears with the Hon. Speaker

This is the height of blackmail against the person and office of the Speaker and an affront on the institution of the House of Representatives. 

Although, the Force PRO denied accusing the speaker of sponsoring Mr. Awosanya and other campaigners, we wish, for the sake of clarity to address the mischief inherent in this sinister and insidious action by Moshood and the Police to make the Rt. Hon. Speaker and the House of Representatives subject of controversy and to divert public attention from the apparently sordid and weighty allegations against the Police, especially the SARS unit
In the consciousness of the fact that the House is investigating the matter, we shall abstain from indulging in any comment that might be prejudicial to the investigation. This not withstanding, because of the gravity of the mischief, it is imperative to disabuse the minds of the public. It is important to note at this point that the Police spokesman accuses politicians and Speaker Dogara along cannot be politicians. In any case, the House of Representatives and indeed the parliament happens to be the home of the highest number of politicians especially elected officials. It is obvious that, they are part of the politicians being so accused.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara is not ashamed of being a politician because he is not just a politician but a tested and trusted leader, a lawyer and legislator of note with untainted honour and impeccable integrity. The Horouble members of the House of Representatives do not also have any cause to deny their status as politicians 

For the avoidance of doubt, the picture in question was taken in September this year, when Mr. Awosanya came to submit the petition against SARS, which is a daily happenstance in the House and indeed any other parliament. This should not in any way be interpreted as ‘hobnobbing’ with politicians. If any official interaction between citizens and politicians is to be construed as “hobnobbing” then, all citizens, the Police inclusive would be guilty.

The Police ought to know that sovereignty belongs to the people and the House of Representatives is made up of true representatives of the people; hence people have the constitutional right to express themselves without let or hindrance; and so can at any time petition the National Assembly, on any issue that affects their interests or the interest of the nation.

As the Speaker assured the petitioners in September, the House of Representatives under his watch cannot be intimidated to abandon the investigation into these allegations of corruption and brutality against innocent citizens by SARS. 

The House would thoroughly investigate this matter and ensure that justice is done.

The Police as law enforcers are aware that no institution of government is above the laws of the land and subjection to the oversight and scrutiny of the legislature.

The IGP’s directive for immediate reorganization of SARS is a confirmation that all is not well with the activities of the embattled squad. This, not withstanding, the House commends the maturity and introspection of the IGP through his directive for immediate reorganisation of SARS which is an indication that all may not be well with the activities of the embattled squad after all.

The House wishes to strongly advise the police to ensure respect for the constitutional rights of the citizens to participate in governance through opinions and contribution of ideas and must protect citizens execriong that constitutional right including the #EndSARS lead campaigner, Segun Awosanya, rany other campaigners and indeed all citizens exercising their constitutional rights lawfully.

The House of Representatives remains resolute in its pursuit of justice and entrenchment of the rule of law in Nigeria. It will continue to exercise its statutory responsibility and will not hesitate to wield the big stick where such is the justice of thr case. Of course, citizens are assured that they will not suffer sanctions unjustifiably.

The House wishes to urge all the #EndSARS campaigners to conduct themselves strictly within the ambit of the law in exercising their rights and to rest assured that the House of Representatives will expeditiously consider their petition. The investigations will be carried transparently and everyone will be given opportunity to present his or her side of the story.

How boys become men with so much ease! Well, perhaps, I should say, not quite easy. However, today, on behalf of the unofficial Committee of Elders, I welcome my friend and brother, Fr. George Omaku Ehusani to the club of fellow travellers inching closer and closer to the sunset.

The threads of our lives were strengthened when he joined me as Deputy Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat in Lagos and finally took over from me. We worked together pretty well, reinforcing one another’s strengths, coping with each other’s lapses and weakness but never losing sight of the compass.

We came together at a very exciting time, the peak of our energies. In 1990, after defending my Ph.D thesis, I had asked permission from my Bishop to study Journalism formally. I had wanted to go to Columbia where I had heard from my friend Mohammed Haruna that they had a great School of Journalism. I decided to seek counsel from my good friend, Dan Agbese who, then as now, combined both an elegant turn of phrase with some serious intellectual depth thus, making his writings both entertaining and didactic.

When I raised the issue, Dan emphatically said No emphatically. You should thank God, he said to me. He has already given you a gift. You do not need anyone to teach you any writing skills. You already have your own style. What you need is more depth and knowledge. Columbia went through the window on Dan’s advice.

It was in the middle of this that my Archbishop asked me to come back home because, he said, the Catholic Bishops are looking for you. I complied and headed back home. I was invited for an interview in the September 1990 and the next day, I was told I had been appointed Deputy Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat and Secretary, Pastoral Department. Both, as I was told, came with a handsome ecclesiastical stipend of N250 monthly (I love my Catholic Church. Imagine: My Ph. D, Secretary General, all rolled into N250!!

By 1994, I had already been appointed Secretary General and so I started thinking of rallying my troops. It was an excitingly challenging time in Nigeria. My head was spinning with different ideas. I sensed that being Secretary General was a great platform to test my ideas about where I thought our Church should be heading. I sensed that it would be challenging, trying to move the Conference of Bishops and the Catholic Church in a new and untested path regarding the social questions of our time. Enter General Abacha!

Things were brewing in Nigeria and I thought these were great times to be alive. I had always been drawn to the appeal and allure of activism, what Steve Biko, my inspiration, would refer to as, asking for trouble.

The ingredients were all there: the NADECO tribe, Nigerian Labour Congress, Pat Utomi, Olisa Agbakoba, Gani Fawehinmi, Clement Nwankwo, Chidi Odinkalu, Innocent Chukwuma, Josephine Effah, Ayo Obe, Abdul Oroh, Odia Ofeimun, Fela and Beko Ransome Kuti, detainees, the whole lot, all served a brew of forbidden fruits that I could not resist. I also sensed we needed to make the leadership of the Catholic Church part of this historic times. I began my search for a strike force.

My first choice was Fr George. I decided to visit him in his parish of Ogori Magongo outside Okene. We spent a night chatting in his nondescript parish house. He had returned from the prestigious Howard University where he had earned a Ph.D. We talked for most part of the night.

Back home, he had been made Parish priest and Editor of a local Diocesan Newspaper. He wrote Editorials that had depth and finesse. He had passion, devotion, and deep love for God and the Church. He had deeper insights than myself in many fields. I managed to convince him to come over to Lagos. You need to publish in The Guardian, I told him. What you are writing as Editorials should be read in The Guardian, the flagship of Nigerian journalism. I assured him that I had a long leg in The Guardian and that seemed to attract him. But, the bigger offer I made was for him to consider joining me at the Catholic Secretariat. I told him I would do the homework. I sensed that I needed him as a sounding board because he had better antenna than I had. My move was largely selfish, but I also wanted the world to hear him and he needed a bigger stage.

My job was made easy when he was invited to the Vatican as part of the delegation for the first ever Synod of Bishops on Africa in 1996. He presented a paper before the Holy Father. When the delegation came back, Archbishop Albert Obiefuna, President of the Bishops’ Conference asked over dinner if I knew Fr. George Ehusani. I put on my diplomatic charm and pretended that I did not know him so well because I was not sure what to expect.

After hearing his enthusiasm, I drew him slowly into my net. If you think so highly of him, perhaps we could invite him for an interview for the new staff. His face lit up. The rest is history. I had won my first battle, but there were a few more.

Next, I persuaded Archbishop Anthony Ekpu to release Fr. John Ofei of blessed memory. He had impressed me with his writings too. Next were Fr (now Bishop) Emmanuel Badejo and Sr. Regina Oke. With George as my Deputy, I felt we now had a great strike force. On balance, I think we are thankful to God for what we were able to accomplish.

At the end of it all, I think we managed to place the Catholic Church on the right side of history. Indeed, it is a measure of the appreciation of civil society, the media especially, that when the late Pope John Paul came to Nigeria at the height of the Abacha reign in 1998, one of the newspapers, I think Vanguard, splashed a headline: The Pope our Last Hope!

We were not without our own little troubles both internal and external, but there was nothing that compared with feeling that the Catholic Church had achieved an unprecedented level of visibility and moral authority. Then, at the end of every Conference of the Bishops, our Communiqués and Statements were very much sought after.

Our so-called revolution had been accomplished because of the presence and encouragement of our father, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Anthony Okogie who served as our guide. With his own rhetoric and no holds barred views about all social issues, even we could never rise beyond him.

Looking back, I am thankful to God that our paths crossed with Fr George. Being in his company is always a pleasure because he is a man with neither equivocation nor diplomacy when it comes to where he stands on issues. He speaks truth to power with eloquence, passion and depth, but with sincerity of one who truly loves both country and church. He is a man of deep faith.

I am grateful to God that he heeded my proposal to come to Lagos, because not only did he write for The Guardian, he ended up on its Editorial Board, became Deputy Secretary General and Secretary General! Today, he runs Lux Terra (Light of the World), an initiative that focuses on strengthening the capacity of the Church to become more professional in administration and its commitment to human development. Fr. George’s passion, expressed in his many talents has been deployed in the service of the Church and society with his many books.

His Sunday night sermon on AIT and Lumen Christi television have become for many outside the Catholic Church, the source of inspiration and respect for the Catholic Church. He has written extensively, produced tones of electronic spiritual guides, songs, poems and commentaries.

At 60 today, we celebrate and love you, my brother. I am happy that you are my dear friend who became a brother. May your shadow never grow dim. Toast to a great man and may the Lord be with you.

The President of the United States (U.S), Donald Trump,  has announced that the U.S recognises the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This announcement means that the U.S will move it's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump had promised during his campaigns to recognize the State of Israel and move it's embassy there. This new order, reverses U.S. long time policy on the status of Israel. He further stated that they are committed to a two state solution and that it is up to the Israeli and Palestinian to decide their boundaries.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his joy and called on other countries to follow suit by moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

On the other hand, the Palestinin Leader, Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinians have condemned the action and are of the opinion that it will destroy the fragile peace process.

Many world leaders have voiced their opinions and concerns about the actions of the U. S, some  like Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Jordan and many other Arab states have said it will undermine the peace of the state.

 

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 00:00

Buratai Set To Clench CDS Position

New service chiefs may be appointed within the coming days, as a number of officers many of whom have served for 35 years are set to retire from service. 

Similarly, new appointments and postings in the military would be effected to fill the vacancies that would be created by the corps of exiting officers. 

Our sources say the Army Chief has already been identified among the General Officers Commanding (GOC) and recommended for the job while General Yusuf Buratai would be made chief of defence staff, to succeed General Gabriel Olaonisakin who is also due to proceed on retirement.

General Buratai is favoured for the Job because of his loyalty and the fact that he enjoys the loyalty of many in the officer corps. It is also expected that he would use his closeness to the president, particularly, the persons of influence around the villa to properly elevate the office of the CDS in the various functions of that mandate. 

A number of names are being suggested to replace him but our source is of the opinion that the GOC from Enugu is most likely to clinch the troubling portfolio.

Close to 300 officers will be affected by the retirement exercise reason why nearly similar numbers were promoted across the services recently.

Monday, 04 December 2017 00:00

Okowa Promises Huge Gains For PDP

The Chairman of the main committee of the December 9, 2017 national convention of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has said officers of the party will emerge through a transparent, peaceful and blameless process.
Senator Okowa who is the Governor of Delta State, commended the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, members of the Committee and members of the Board of Trustees of the party for finding him, members of his committee, chairmen and members of sub-committees for the convention fit to serve the party and Nigerians in that capacity.
A statement from his office quoted the governor as saying that he is confident that his committee will carry out the assignment in such a manner that people will be happy, as they will ensure that the election process is transparent, a convention that is peaceful, reconciliatory and blameless,"
In his speech, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Markafi had said the party is now positioned to emerge victorious in the 2019 general elections.
He observed that in recent times, the party has been having haul of decampees of prominent personalities from the opposition political parties, noting that the Chairman and members of the convention planning committee were carefully chosen based on their antecedents in delivering results and their commitment to the ideals of the party.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, BOT, Senator Walid Jubril in his speech, stated that due process was followed in order to achieve a hitch-free convention while assuring that the BOT will work with the convention planning committee for the best outcomes in the interest of the party.
Some members of the main committee which has the Governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishiaku as Deputy Chairman includes former Senate president, Dr Iyorchia Ayu; former minister, Dr Kema Chiwe; and former senators, Odion Ugbesia and Duro Faseyi while other committees inaugurated include, accreditation, constitutional amendments; contact and mobilization; electoral, entertainment and welfare; medical committee, publicity committee; screening committee; security committee; transport, venue and protocol; and secretariat committees.
Sunday, 03 December 2017 00:00

Breaking News: Atiku Fomally Joins PDP

The Former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has formally announced his decision to join the PDP, a part he calls home.

One of the reasons for his decision he says, the conditions that made him leave his n the first place no longer exists.

Arrogance and delusional thoughts make people in government to draw some funny conclusions about how long they would stay in power like PDP said 60 years, or the APC which said PDP will never rise again. 

He promised to travel around the country in the coming days to share thoughts and obtain first hand information on the present situation of the people with a view to fashioning proper foundational Solutions

 
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