Copy of Chanji Banza! Chanji Wahala – Mockery on Jos streets as PDP celebrates faithfuls. Onnoghen’s job as CJN hangs in the balance. Not Santa – workers deprived of salaries by states despite Christmas spirit. We’ll make tanker drivers sleep through the night – FRSC boss. For not paying December salary by December 20, a cleaner kills boss. Robbers steal police van, kills policeman. Police man kills driver for not giving bribe again on ‘return leg’ journey. Ekiti 2018: the battle begins. ‘Asiwaju of Igbo’ title in Akure. Nigeria membership in Islamic organizations: we will no longer pretend all is well with Nigeria – CAN.

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Trump to expand US nuclear arsenal
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

US president-elect Donald Trump has called for the US to strengthen its nuclear capability in response to Moscow comment on bolstering nuclear weapons.

Drop Buhari as mediator over Jammeh, HURIWA tells ECOWAS
The Guardian Nigeria

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) wants the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to drop President Muhammadu Buhari as the joint chairman of the committee mediating over the political impasse in The Gambia.

The pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation said it smacks of unprecedented hypocrisy and political immorality for the regional group to have the President of Nigeria in that trouble shooting position when his administration is in violation of a binding judgment of the highest constitutional court in the region, the ECOWAS court of justice, which ordered the immediate freedom for the erstwhile National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired).

Inside ISIS’s German recruiting network
CNN.com

New light has been shed on the German terrorist network behind the Berlin attack by 345 pages of German investigative files obtained by CNN. You can check details on the CNN site.

How Igbo can develop, by Obasanjo, Anyaoku, others
The Guardian Nigeria

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday harped on the need for cooperation among states of the South East region, insisting that the zone can feed the country and develop with little or no assistance.

He spoke during the South East Security and Economic Summit in Enugu, as governors of the zone identified infrastructure deficit, deplorable state of federal roads, insecurity, ecological challenges among others as factors hindering the development of the area, pointing out that these had brought other negative consequences.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari, his ministers from the South East zone and only governor produced by the All progressives Congress (APC) in the zone, Rochas Okorocha shunned the summit.

The president who was to declare the event open did not also send representation, a development that sent members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) into the streets jubilating.

Rescued Chibok schoolgirls to celebrate yuletide with parents – Presidency
BusinessDay

The 21 rescued Chibok schoolgirls are to enjoy Christmas and New Year festivities with their parents, Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President has disclosed.

Shehu, who stated this on his Facebook page, said already the Department of State Security (DSS) had taken the liberated girls to their respective families.

He also dismissed social media reports that more Chibok schoolgirls had been rescued from their captors saying that the girls sighted in Yola were the ones rescued in October.

Shehu, however, revealed that negotiation was ongoing by the DSS to secure the release of the remaining girls and other Nigerians held captive by the Boko Haram insurgents.

According to him, DSS is full of optimism that the department will succeed.

He said: “to my friends spreading the news of a further release of Chibok Girls, we are not there yet.

“The negotiations are ongoing and the Department of State Service, DSS is full of optimism that it will be successful.

“Today, the DSS took the 21 Chibok girls already rescued to Yola, Adamawa State, on their way home to celebrate the Christmas with their families.

“No new girls have been released but by God’s grace, they will be; Happy Christmas, everyone.’’

Magu’s Rejection An Attempt To Undermine Anti-corruption War
Nigerian News from Leadership News

Consequent upon the refusal of the Senate to confirm Mr Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Red Chamber has been criticized for attempting to frustrate the war against corruption being waged by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Head of Transparency International (Nigeria), Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, made this assertion in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP Friday.

According to him, the Senate has been trying to scuttle the anti-corruption war of the incumbent administration since it started making moves to overhaul the Code of Conduct Act just because the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, was standing trial for not properly declaring his assets while he was the governor of Kwara State.

Bagudu Ambode’s, Efforts Bear Fruit As Lake Rice Reaches Market
Nigerian News from Leadership News

What began as a mere appending of signatures to a Memorandum of Understanding between the governors of Kebbi and Lagos states, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu and Akinwunmi Ambode, about nine months ago, yesterday, yielded the much anticipated dividend as the commodity the governors jointly agreed to produce became available to Nigerians in Lagos State.

It was launched by both governors on Wednesday and billed to be sold to the public at N12,000 per 50kg bag while the sale of the commodity began yesterday at

10 designated areas in Lagos State that were advertised by the government.

It was gathered that the 25kg and 10kg will sell for N6,000 and N2,500 respectively.

Ambode, on Wednesday, described the launch of the rice as historic, stressing that the MoU signed between Lagos and Kebbi in March 2016 had started yielding fruitful results.

He added that “we signed an MoU in March 2016 with an understanding that, being proudly Nigerians, we want to come out with what will be made in Nigeria and what is good for Nigerians.”

Buttressing Ambode’s point, Governor Bagudu recalled that the idea of cultivating and milling rice locally began 16 months ago during the National Executive Council meeting in Abuja when he entered into a discussion with Ambode for a joint partnership for the production of rice in view of what was happening in the country.

“Since then, we have been working assiduously on this after we signed the MoU, ” he stated.

Ambode corroborated him, saying: “We took all that President Muhammadu Buhari said on the need for us to grow our food and we decided that we would prove a point.”

According to him, the Lake Rice, grown and milled in Nigeria, is of extreme high quality that marks it out from Ofada rice and the imported rice being sold in the country.

“We want to show our people that Lake Rice is the way to go.The major difference between Lake Rice and imported rice is that imported rice has a minimum storage capacity of five and and six years but Lake Rice is fresh,” he explained.

The governor further revealed that the state would expand its rice mill as it had the largest consumption market in Nigeria.

Ambode said interested buyers would need to get ticket to pay for a bag of rice in the bank before going to any of the locations for collection, adding that this was done to allow the rice to go round and for everyone to have access to it.

“We want to ensure that this rice goes to everybody. You cannot buy twice,” he said.

Governor Bagudu gave the assurance that the product would stand any integrity test in Nigeria.

“Lake Rice is of high quality. I am proud of this joint venture but we can do more; we are glad that we are launching this commodity today,” he said.

Lagosians Storm Sales Locations To Purchase Lake Rice

Meanwhile, following the launch of Lake Rice by Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu on Wednesday, Lagos residents yesterday stormed the various sales’ centres across the state in large numbers to scramble for the product.

LEADERSHIP Friday checks in Ikeja Grammar School in Bolade, Oshodi and other selling points for the sale of the Lake Rice showed that there was initial confusion on how to go about buying the product.

One of the buyers who gave her name as Risi said, “We didn’t get the procedure for purchasing the rice on time and the people assigned to sell to buyers were just two in this designation. So, there was confusion because the number of people that came to buy the rice were very many. It is either you pay with your POS or go to the bank to pay, get your teller and once it is verified, they give you the bag of rice.”

Buyers at the Teslim Balogun Stadium complained of late arrival of the commodity, but it was eventually sold in the afternoon. They urged the government to sustain the sale of the rice beyond the yuletide season.

Digital Switch-Over Will Boost Economy, Information Versatility – PMB
Nigerian News from Leadership News

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, officially switched on the Abuja phase of Digital Switch Over (DSO) in a ceremony full of pomp and jubilation, saying that the digitization process will boost the nation’s economy and increase the versatility of media information.

President Buhari noted that the local industry was already experiencing a boost from the new vista in digital economy, with several indigenous companies now manufacturing Set-Top-Boxes.

He further declared that the federal government was irreversibly committed to meeting the June 2017 deadline for the switchover in West Africa.

Speaking at the launch of the DSO in Abuja, President Buhari lauded the successful launch of the pilot scheme in Jos in April, which, he said, had clearly demonstrated the gains of digitization.

YULETIDE: Cash Crunch Hits Banks As Long Queues Exacerbate Withdrawal
Nigerian News from Leadership News

Long queues yesterday emerged in most commercial banks across the country following noticeable cash withdrawal scarcity and inability of customers to obtain cash to embark on Christmas shopping.

LEADERSHIP Friday’s checks at most of the commercial banks showed rising difficulties by customers in the banking hall and Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) points to have access to make withdrawals.

The large number of customers noticed at most banks was attributed to the recent payment of salaries some state governments to civil servants and the rush by customers to emabark on travels to their villages.

Bayelsa

In Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, some bank workers who declined to mention their names attributed the difficulty of customers to access cash to the shortage of cash supplied to the state.

Worried by the development, the Bayelsa State government, through the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Maxwell Ebibai, in a statement issued on Wednesday, confirmed that the attention of the state government had been drawn to the information that some civil servants and officials in the state were having challenges collecting their salaries due to lack of cash in various banks in the state.

The statement noted: “It is indeed sad but also worthy to note that it is not the fault of the state government as it is on record that the governor did fulfil his promise of ensuring that civil servants in the state get their salaries before the yuletide celebration, but the situation that is being faced right now in the banks is applicable in other states and not only in Bayelsa state.

Taraba

In Taraba State, long queues resumed in banks within Jalingo, the state capital, as account holders in various commercial banks and civil servants made frantic efforts to make withdrawals in preparation for the Christmas celebration.

Our correspondent who visited some banks operating in the state observed long queues at First Bank of Nigeria, Guranty Trust, Stanbic IBTC, Fidelity, Zenith FCMB, Eco bank Diamond bank and Sky bank.

Some customers, who spoke to our correspondent, expressed their frustrations over network failure and the inability of most ATMs to dispense cash.

A customer, Mr Innocent Ibiodu, told LEADERSHIP Friday that he had gone to more than six banks before he could make his withdrawal.

Delta

In Delta State, It was gathered that long queues of depositors at the ATM machines caused a harrowing experience for customers who resorted to shouting match among themselves.

For instance, in Asaba and Warri, the situation was said to be chaotic for depositors who, in most cases, were anxious to withdraw their money. At various banks such as UBA, First Bank, and Union Bank, among others, depositors’ experiences were pitiable.

One of the bank depositors, Mrs. Marry Ogbeideh, said, “I have been at the UBA ATM stand since morning. I could not withdraw my money; when it got to my turn, the ATM could not pay again”.

Cross River

Also, bank customers in Calabar yesterday decried the continuous long queues and unavailability of cash at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the metropolis.

Checks by our correspondent indicated that virtually all the ATMs situated along Ndidem Usang Isong road between the hours of 2pm and 4pm on Thursday could not dispense cash to anxious looking customers.

Most of the ATMs visited had the following message, “Temporarily out of service” among others, signalling network failure..

Kaduna:

In Kaduna, our correspondent who visited banks around the metropolis witnessed large numbers of customers who were there either to withraw money or make deposits.

Several of such banks visited saw large customers queuing beside most of the Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) to make withdrawals or transfer as the case may be.

Some of the customers who spoke to LEADERSHIP Friday said they had been on queue for almost two hours trying to make withdrawals.

“I have been on queue for almost two hours now, the machine is very slow in dispensing cash and I need money to buy some things for Christmas celebration”, said Mrs Juliana Danladi.

Kogi

It has been hectic for bank customers in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital in the last couple of days as rush to cash money for the festive period gathered momentum.

The experience of customers in Lokoja varied from bank to bank, as some customers lamented their difficulty in making withdrawals in the banks, while others complained about ATMs not dispensing cash, as well as the long queues.

Some of them said they waited on the queues for about four hours and at the point of getting the money, the cash had already been drained from the machine’s vaults, resulting in so many people being disappointed.

However, those whose salary in the state had entered the bank expressed confidence that when the period is over, they are sure of collecting their money.

Osinbajo comes under fire for “Nigeria is Progressing” remarks
The Herald Nigeria

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on Nigerians not to despair in the current economic downturn, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was addressing the challenges. He said that no country in the world could be successful without going through pains. He on Thursday admitted that although the current administration is making progress,

SON confiscates N100m substandard energy saving bulbs
The Guardian Nigeria

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), vested with the responsibility of standardising and regulating the quality of all products has seized two containers of substandard energy saving bulbs worth over 100 million Naira in continuance of its zero tolerance for substandard products while also safeguarding lives and properties ‎in the country.

Onnoghen’s job as CJN hangs in the balance
The Guardian Nigeria

• May leave office in six weeks
• Lawyer sues Buhari, NJC, others
• ‘Delayed confirmation may hurt judicial reforms’

About one and a half months after Justice Walter Onnoghen was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), hopes that his appointment would be confirmed are getting dimmer.

Onnoghen was appointed the acting CJN by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 11, 2016 following the retirement of the immediate past CJN, Mohammed Mahmud on November 10.

This is the first time the holder of the office would be appointed in acting capacity for such a length of time in recent times. He now has till February 10, 2017 to get his appointment validated by the National Assembly or be removed from office.

Section 321 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended stipulates that any person so appointed “shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three months from the date of such appointment, and the President shall not re-appoint a person whose appointment has lapsed”, meaning that Justice Onnoghen, if not confirmed, would leave the office.

Stakeholders are deeply concerned that the uncertainty over whether Onnoghen would be the substantive CJN or not, might impede justice administration and judicial reforms in the country.

This development also confirms worries from different quarters that there are grand plots to deny justices from the Southern part of Nigeria the opportunity of heading the apex court. The next in rank to Justice Onnoghen is a Northerner, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad from Bauchi State.

The last time a Southerner headed the apex court was in 1985, when Justice Ayo Gabriel Irikefe held sway. Since then, the North has produced virtually all the CJNs. Justice Mohammed Bello took over from Irikefe from 1987 to1995. Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais served between 1995 and 2006; Justice Salisu Modibo Alfa Belgore (2006-2007), Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi (2007-2009), Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu (2009-2011), Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar (2012-2014) and Justice Mahmud Mohammed who began to serve from 2014 till November 10, 2016.

Underscoring the seriousness of the issue, a Lagos lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja asking the court to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to forward Onnoghen’s name to the National Assembly for confirmation.

Respondents in the suit are Buhari, attorney general of the federation, federal judicial service commission, Justice Onnoghen and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Among other prayers, the plaintiff wants the court to declare that by Section 231(3) of the 1999 Constitution, the first respondent as the head of the executive arm of government cannot handpick and/or choose who he wants to be the head of the judicial arm of government.

A retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, is unhappy with the development. According to her, the appointment of Onnoghen in acting capacity may affect reforms in the judicial sector.

Speaking to The Guardian, Justice Adekeye, who retired from the Supreme Court in October 2012, having attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years, maintained it would be difficult for a CJN in acting capacity to introduce reforms in the judicial sector since he is not sure of his time frame in office.

She said: “When you have an acting CJN, who can be removed at any time, he will lay down whatever he wants to do as a substantive CJN but will wait until he is appointed properly.

“It is very important. When you have a solid tenure of office and you know what to do, you can swing into action.”When your tenure is not certain, you do not know what to do. That surely will affect the Nigerian judiciary; not only in the dispensation of justice but in several other ways.

“When you are the CJN, you are the head of judiciary, you must definitely have your own pattern or whatever style you want to introduce to the system to benefit it.

“But no reform can be done now when you do not know your position. This is the first time we are having an acting CJN. It has never happened in Nigeria. May God help us in Nigeria.”

Justice Adeyeke further charged government to always adhere to constitutional provisions in its decisions and actions.”The Constitution must be strictly followed. There is a provision in the Constitution for the appointment of the CJN. It says the next in rank.”So, we do not know whatever reason the government may have to appoint Justice Onnoghen in acting capacity,” she said.

Over 5,000 PDP Members Defect To APC In Kogi
Nigerian News from Leadership News

Over 5,000 members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State have defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The defectors included former local government chairmen, councillors, Special Advisers and host of other notable politicians in the state.

The event, which held at the Government House in Lokoja yesterday, saw the new APC entrants moving to the party with thousands of their supporters and they were received by the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

New Ebola vaccine 100% effective
CNN.com

An experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus was found to be 100% effective, according to a study published in The Lancet on Thursday.

Ogun parents panic as WAEC begins registration of candidates
Punch Newspapers

As the registration of candidates for the 2017 West African Senior School Certificate Examination begins, parents whose children sat for the examinations in Ogun public schools in the year under review have become deeply worried over the withheld results.

Delta has no case against Ibori, says commissioner
The Guardian Nigeria

• Ex-gov not under restriction, aide maintains
• Celebration of return senseless, Ajulo cautions
• Antigraft agencies to blame for conviction’

The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, says government has no case against former governor, Chief James Ibori, and as such, was happy about his release from London prison.

Briefing newsmen on some of the decisions reached at the last State Executive Council meeting for the year in Asaba, Ukah noted that those who knew and loved Ibori were joyful at the news of his freedom.

“We are all very happy that our son, brother and former governor has been released. So, it is a thing of joy and the only expression as a state is that we are happy.

Also yesterday, the media aide to the former governor, Tony Eluemuno, said his principal was not facing any encumbrance in the United Kingdom.In a statement in Lagos, he insisted that Ibori’s release was without any condition, stressing that the “position of the Secretary of State, as very candidly set out by Mr. Birdling (representing the Home secretary), is that she accepts that there is no argument that she has no power to detain him.”

There had been widespread rumours that the former governor was under some restrictions pending the conclusion of the confiscation trial before the UK court.

Meanwhile, an Abuja-based lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, described as senseless any attempt at celebrating Ibori’s on return. He suggested that any of such people should be arrested and prosecuted as accomplices.

Also yesterday, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Solo Akuma, dismissed the controversies surrounding the release of the erstwhile Delta State’s chief executive.

He, however, hoped that political office holders would learn a lesson from Ibori’s experience and avoid every act of corruption.Akuma submitted that thee conviction abroad should not be seen as an indictment on Nigerian judiciary but the anti-graft agencies.

CAF award: Auba, Mahrez, Mane make final list
Punch Newspapers

Borussia Dortmund’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Leicester City’s Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez and Liverpool’s Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane completed the final shortlist for the 2016 Glo-CAF African Player of the Year award.

Eagles slide to 51 in FIFA rankings
Punch Newspapers

Nigeria dropped to the 51st position in the latest FIFA Rankings, which were released by the world football body on Thursday. However, the Super Eagles, who rose 10 places to place 50th in November, retained their eighth position in Africa.

Overland expands operations to Asaba
The Guardian Nigeria

One of the domestic carriers in the country, Overland Airways, has announced the start of flight services from Lagos to Asaba, Delta State, effective December 21, 2016.

The new route, according to the operator, will enhance economic activities in Delta State and Overland Airways’ revamped operations to Asaba International Airport, which began recently with the commencement of flights services from Abuja to Asaba.

PDP sets agenda to regain power in Plateau
The Guardian Nigeria

• We brought democracy, built solid institutions in Nigeria, says party

Thousands of supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State have resolved to ensure that strategic measures are taken to forge a common front ahead of 2019 and remove the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the next election.

To achieve this goal, concerted reconciliatory moves have commenced as faithful of the party recently took to the streets of Jos, Mangu, Panyam and Shendam to welcome the Coalition of PDP Patriots during a zonal meeting of the intelligentsia unit held recently.

Interestingly, the excited PDP faithful including some known adherents of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) trooped to the streets shouting ‘Chanji Banza’, ‘Chanji Wahala’, ‘Change the Change, among other derogatory slogans to sly the ruling style of the President Muhamadu Buhari and that of the state governor, Simon Lalong.

Observers argued that the protest suggested that the people of Plateau are getting tired of the APC’s policies as the acclaimed change agenda promised during the 2015 general elections, was not what the people are experiencing presently.

Speaking during the programme, the Southern Zone Chairperson of the Coalition of PDP Patriots, Joyce Ramnap, harped on the need for the PDP to unite so as not to fail its supporters again. She urged members to forget the disaster of 2015 manifested in the dismal performance of the PDP at the gubernatorial and presidential levels.

According to her, the mammoth crowd that came out for the programme indicated that majority of the populace is still with the PDP.Also at the event, a PDP stalwart in the state, Istifanus Caleb Mwansat described the party as a product of patriotic thinking of serious-minded democrats in Nigeria.

“The party was consummated and conceived in Plateau State but delivered in Abuja on 28th July, 1998. The party was founded on a very solid foundation with a development driven manifesto and well-drafted constitution second only to the Nigerian Constitution,” he stated.

He said whatever claim of anti-corruption crusade the Buhari government is making couldn’t be compared to efforts of the PDP government, which established all the anti-graft agencies. “Since 1999 that the PDP held sway, it established all the anti-corruption institutions that are in use today as well as political, economic and infrastructural development that is second to none.”

He lamented that the party got to where it is today because its members did not adhere to the principles of its Constitution adding: “for example, Article 2 of the Party’s Constitution provides for the supremacy of the party, which should have been the binding force on all members and organs of the party while Article 6:1 provides for democratic principle. But no one could say the party really follows these.”

He condemned those he described as usurpers that took over the powers and functions of the organs of the party in the name of leaders “worst of them all was the Governors’ Forum.

Policeman Guns Down Driver Over Refusal To Give Bribe

A driver at Awo in the Egbedore Local Government Area of Osun State,Michael Ishola, has been shot dead for refusing to give bribe by a police officer, Mr. Pius Senu

It was further learnt that the victim had earlier passed through the road and was made to bribe the policeman, but he was said to have refused to give another bribe when the cop allegedly demanded a fresh one while he was returning from his trip.

The officer was said to have started hitting Ishola’s vehicle with the butt of his riffle and threatened to kill the driver if he refused to pay the money he demanded.

The 48-year-old policeman was said to have shot the driver in the stomach and he died on the spot, Punch reports

Cleaner kills boss for not paying salary in advance

A 22-year-old Cameroonian, Joel Ludguo, is currently in police custody at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, Lagos State, for allegedly killing his boss.

Ludguo was a cleaner and lived with the victim on Prince Tayo Adesanya Street, Park View Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Ludguo had approached his boss, whose marriage was scheduled for early 2017, in her apartment around 10.30 am on Tuesday, asking her to give him 15,000 out of his December salary so he could travel.

It was gathered that his boss explained to him that she didn’t have naira notes on her and told him to be patient.

He was said to have walked out on the woman in anger only to return with a knife and stabbed her in the chest.

A source told our correspondent that Ludguo wanted to flee the house, but the woman’s driver and a security guard put a distress call to the Ikoyi Police Division.

“The cleaner said the woman had not paid him his December salary. It was just a month’s salary and the month has not even ended. He collects 27,000 Naira per month.

“He used a knife to stab the woman in the chest. The woman shouted, which alerted the driver and security guard. He wanted to escape when policemen arrived at the house and arrested him,” the source said.

The ambience of the posh estate was solemn on Thursday when Punch correspondent visited the deceased’s family members, who lamented that they had yet to come to terms with her death.

Dressed in black, the sister of the deceased, who did not give her name, said the family was in grief and would not talk to any journalist.

“I appreciate your coming. The incident is shocking. The family is sad and grieving and needs privacy at this time. We want to be accorded that respect please. Thank you,” she said.

El-Rufai meets Buhari over Southern Kaduna attacks
Punch Newspapers

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on Thursday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja over the renewed violence in parts of the state. The state government had on Wednesday imposed a 24-hour curfew in Zangon-Kataf, Kaura and Jema’a Local Government Areas of the state following the Tuesday attack.

Robbers snatch police van, kill one in Ekiti
Punch Newspapers

A tragedy hit the Ekiti State Police Command on Thursday as robbers killed a policeman, identified simply as Inspector Gada, and injured another cop called Sergeant Sunday. It was learnt that the robbers escaped with a police van in the robbery, which took place in Ilupeju, in the Oye Local Government Area of the state.

Buhari Asks States to Clear Workers’ Outstanding Salaries with Paris Club Debt Refund
THISDAYLIVE

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on state governors to use at least 25 per cent of the refunds made to them from excess deductions for external debt service of Nigeria’s Paris Club debt to clear outstanding workers’ entitlements.

A statement by his media aide, Mr. Garba Shehu revealed that the president approved 552.74 billion Naira to be paid in batches to all the states, which were entitled to the refund.

They are, however, expected to get 25 per cent of their approved sums in the first instance before this week ends. About 33 states are affected.

Shehu said that the refunds arose from claims by the states that they had been overcharged in deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002.

He said, in a directive through the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the president said the issue of workers’ benefits, particularly salaries and pensions, must not be allowed to continue and should be handled with urgency.

The statement read: “When he assumed office last year, the president declared an emergency on unpaid salaries, following the discovery that 27 out of the 36 states had fallen behind in payments to their workers, in some cases for up to a year.

“Following this, a bailout loan was issued to the states twice, with a first batch of about 300 billion given to them in 2015 in the form of soft loans.

“The administration also got the Debt Management Office to restructure their commercial loans of over 660 billion Naira and extended the life span of the loans.

“Because this did not succeed in pulling many of the states out of distress, the federal government this year gave out a further 90 billion Naira to 22 states as yet another bailout under very stringent conditions.

“President Buhari is of the opinion that the payment of salaries and pensions must be given priority to save both serving and retired workers and their families from distress.”

A recent report by BudgIT showed that of the 36 states in the country, only Lagos, Rivers and Enugu, were capable of meeting their obligation to their workers.

Consumer council pursues anti-monopoly bill
The Guardian Nigeria

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) is leading other stakeholders in the pursuit of the passage of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection bill in the National Assembly.

The bill, when passed into law, will ensure that consumers are protected from monopoly and cartel in the production of goods and services.Speaking at the Consumer Rights Awareness Advancement and Advocacy Initiative (CRAAAI) yearly National Summit/Award, in Lagos yesterday, the National Chairman, Igbrude Moses, noted that the bill has already passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.

He noted that it is expected to be passed into law in between January and February, 2017. Moses lamented that Nigeria, unlike in the United States where the anti-trust laws is highly operational to prevent monopoly and cartel, the rights of the consumers are violated, adding that producers “play on the intelligence of the consumers.”

Moses called on consumers to understand their rights in the market place and stand by it, stating that it would prevent undue exploitation from producers, while making governments and manufacturers more responsive to them.

Boko Haram: No Chibok Girls Have Been Released – Presidency
The Herald Nigeria

The presidency on Thursday dismissed rumours that some Chibok girls have been released by the Boko Haram sect. Early Thursday, news on the online media said an additional 21 Chibok girls were released. But in a statement, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the news was false.

We Are Making Progress But We Are Slow In Governance – Osinbajo

The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said although the current administration is making progress, it is slow due to “damages of the past.” According to a statement from his media office, Osinbajo spoke when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Mpape artisans’ village, located near the Maitama district of Abuja.

FRSC reads riot act to tanker drivers, set to impound trailers
The Guardian NigeriaThe Guardian Nigeria

FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) will impound trailers seen carrying fuel at night in order to reduce road crashes across the country.The agency also said the enforcement of compulsory installation of speed limiter and safety valve on all petroleum products trucks would take effect from of February 1 2017.

This was disclosed in Lagos, at the branch executive council meeting of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, said the enforcement of the impounding of trailers carrying fuel at night on Nigeria roads would commence immediately.

“Any tanker seen at night would be impounded by my men, this however would be without any penalty, but the driver would be made to sleep and would only be released at 6 a.m, to continue his journey,” he said.

Togolese arrested for land grabbing in Lagos

A Togolese, Segun Sunday, has been apprehended by policemen attached to the Lagos State Special Task Force (Enforcement) Unit, in connection with land grabbing in Oko-Olomi, in the Ibeju-Lekki area of the state.

Troops kill four female suicide bombers in Borno
Punch Newspapers

Troops of the Nigerian Army in Borno State, under the Operation Rescue Finale, have killed four female suicide bombers, while trying to detonate their Improvised Explosive Devices. It was gathered that two of the bombers who wore hijab, attempted to break into the troops at their base in Limankara on Thursday.

Ekiti APC guber aspirants jostle for space ahead of 2018
The Guardian Nigeria

• Leadership frowns on division
• PDP says opposition is no match

If the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State is desirous of defeating the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2018 governorship election, the party must put its house in order and conduct free and fair primaries.

That was the position of most of the governorship aspirants of the party that had signified their intention to fly the party’s flag in the 2018 election where it will slug it out with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But a division between the old members and those that joined later is bogging down the party. This situation has prompted the leadership of the APC in the state to warn that it would wield the big stick on anyone discriminating against the newcomers.

Accordingly the acting Chairman of the party, Mrs. Kemi Olaleye advised those tagging some members of the party as ‘decampees’ to desist from such acts because APC has only one united family.

VC blames poor electricity for stagnation in health sector
The Guardian Nigeria

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Prof. Abdulwaheed Olatinwo, has blamed erratic electricity supply for the slow progress in the health sector.

The VC spoke yesterday in Ilorin at an interactive forum between Service Compact (SERVICOM) and stakeholders of the university.Prof. Olayinka Buhari represented the CMD.

He said the frequent strike by health workers had made the hospital to lose about 107 productive days in this year alone.According to him, despite these challenges, the management had positioned the hospital to be among the best in the country.

He said: “Our operating environment has had its own challenges, with poor electricity being the major problem in our efforts to satisfy the patients.

“If the money we spent on providing alternative power was deployed to other uses, our service-delivery to children and pregnant women would have been improved upon.”

He said the hospital was still recovering from the effects of the industrial action, which the workers embarked upon during the year.Olatinwo said the strike took a toll on their clients, especially those who had taken the hospital as their “one-stop-shop.”

2017: Buhari, Osinbajo to spend 1.05 billion Naira on foreign trips
Punch Newspapers

The foreign trips of President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the State House headquarters will gulp about 1.05 billion in the 2017 fiscal year. Their local trips will cost the nation 353.115 million. These are some of the details of the 2017 Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly.

Lagos faces water crisis, says UN
Punch Newspapers

The country’s commercial capital, Lagos, faces a water crisis that is creating unacceptable conditions for millions of people, a United Nations expert said on Thursday, but a state government official says spending is being increased to alleviate the problem.

Army Issues Alert on Boko Haram Suspects Fleeing Sambisa Forest
THISDAYLIVE

The Nigerian Army has said due to its ongoing final clearance and occupation of Boko Haram terrorists hideouts in Sambisa forest, a number of the terrorists are escaping the theatre of operation in the North-east to other parts of the country.

It therefore warned members of the public, especially residents of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, to be extra vigilant and security-conscious of strange movements or persons in their areas.

Ibori supported Saraki, Dogara, others from prison – Senator
Punch Newspapers

A Senator, Peter Nwabaoshi, on Thursday, claimed that a former Governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori, who was released from prison in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, supported Dr. Bukola Saraki and Mr. Yakubu Dogara to emerge as Senate President and Speaker of the House.

PDP Sweeps All Seats in Abia LG Polls
THISDAYLIVE

Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was yesterday declared the winner of the chairmanship seats in all the 17 local government areas of Abia State election conducted last Wednesday.

The Chairman of the state Independent Electoral Commission (ABSIEC), Justice Igbozuruike Akomas (retired), announced the results at about 3 a.m. yesterday, saying the results of the 292 councillorship positions would be announced later.

The electoral body, as at press time, could not make available a copy of the poll result to journalists as officials claimed that none was available.
With this result, the ruling party has made good its promise to make a clean sweep of all the contested seats in the council poll in what it termed “operation no mercy” during its campaign.

The council poll, which came nine years after the last one, was marred by late arrival of electoral materials thereby making it impossible for election to hold in several parts of the state.

Expectedly, the opposition parties that participated in the election had kicked against the results announced by ABSIEC, vowing that they would not accept it as it did not reflect what transpired on the election day.

The state Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Sunday Onukwubiri, decried the outcome of the election, saying it was “a predetermined result.”

Xmas: Workers battle governors over salaries
The Nation Nigeria

Workers in some states across the country yesterday got furious over their unpaid salaries. They protested.

Governors and top civil servants were put under pressure in Ondo, Taraba, Gombe, Bayelsa and Zamfara states as workers got anxious over an imminent Christmas celebration on Sunday.

President Muhammadu Buhari also yesterday admonished governors to pay workers from the N525b debt-service refund which the states have been getting. He declared as unacceptable the situation in which workers are owed salaries for months.

In Ondo State, workers led the Accountant General to the bank to facilitate the payment of one month salary approved by Governor Olusegun Mimiko out of the seven months they are being owed.

Bayelsa workers were angry when they failed to get money from the bank after the government announced the payment of salaries.

Workers shut down the government secretariat in Taraba over unpaid eight months wages. There were protests in Zamfara and Gombe states.

Taraba workers under the auspices of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) shut down the secretariat to protest the non- payment of salaries and pension.

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman Peter Gambo, who addressed the protesting workers at the gate of the secretariat, decried what he called the government’s continued insensitivity to their plight.

On Monday, the Government House was shut down by protesting footballers, who were demanding payment of their 21 months salaries.

Gambo listed the issues in dispute as “illegal deductions from salaries, nonpayment of local government workers and teachers for eight months and subjection of workers to meaningless screening and futile verification by the government.”

But Governor Darius Ishaku insisted the state is not owing workers.

“I am not owing anybody,” he told the House of Assembly while presenting the 2017 appropriation bill yesterday.

But the NLC Chairman alleged that union dues were deducted indiscriminately without being remitted to the unions.

“The government has shown that the welfare of workers is not its priority.

“Workers have been subjected to all kinds of belittling treatments in the name of screening and verifications that have not yielded any fruits apart from subjecting workers to extreme hardship.

Head of Service Samuel Angyu, who addressed the workers, said the government was aware of the complaints and was already putting measures in place to address the grievances.

The protesters were carrying placards with inscriptions, such as “One year of impunity and insensitivity must stop”; “Salary is a right not a privilege”; “Starter Up must go”; “ Pensioners have right to a dignified living, not humiliation from the government they served”, among others.

Ondo State workers took Account-General (AG) Felix Ajibokun to the bank to begin the payment of workers’ salaries.

The aggrieved workers, who had earlier picketed the A-G’s office at Alagbaka, Akure, the state capital, said they were being owed six months salaries.

They were led by their Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) Chairman, Mr. Sunday Adeleye, the State chairmanship of the NLC, Mrs.Bosede Daramola, and other union chiefs.

According to them, they “begged” the government for one month salary to enable them celebrate Christmas, adding that Governor Olusegun Mimiko directed the AG to pay them,

but Ajibokun, who is expected to retire from service today, allegedly refused to pay.

Adeleye told reporters: “About four days ago, we met with the governor and the Commissioner for Finance. They directed the AG to pay the workers’ salaries so that everybody could go home with something.

“Since then, we have been coming here, but he has been avoiding us, until today (yesterday) when we asked him when he would pay us, but he said no worker will be paid until after Christmas.

“For your information, this is a man who will be retiring from service tomorrow(today) and the system is this, he is the only one who has the legal right to pay workers and the moment he retires, it will take the government up to three weeks to appoint another AG.

“Let me tell you, people are dying. What manner of parent are you, when you cannot buy your child a T-shirt?

“We will continue to keep vigil on these premises until the AG is ready to pay the workers.”

Ajibokun, however, blamed poor banking network for the delay in payment.

In Bayelsa, the government also blamed it all on the banks.

A statement yesterday by Commissioner for Finance Maxwell Ebibai said the inability to pay workers was due to “lack of cash in various banks in the state.

“It is indeed sad but also worthy to note that it is not the fault of the state government as it is on record that the governor did fulfil his promise of ensuring that civil servants get their salaries before the Yuletide celebration, but the situation that is been faced right now in the banks is applicable in other states and not only in Bayelsa State.”

He said the government had been interfacing with “the banks to ensure that civil /public servants and Bayelsans in general would receive their entitlement to ease the pain and stress that they may face.”

In Zamfara, the 1,400-yet-to-be-paid workers since 2014 protested.

The workers, under the aegis of “May 2014 Civil Service Forum (G1400)’’, took their protest to the House of Assembly.

The leader of the forum, Luqman Majidadi, told reporters that legal action remained the only option left for the workers, having exhausted all other avenues in the last two- and-a-half years.

He said: “We have notified all relevant government agencies, held interactions with top government officials, traditional and religious leaders and other stakeholders to no avail. We have now resolved to seek other means of seeking redress.”

Majidadi condemned how Governor Abdulaziz Yari had treated the workers since their recruitment in 2014.

“We were recruited after a very thorough screening conducted by the State Civil Service Commission in May 2014. The process was very tedious, because after obtaining the application forms for free, we sat for a written examination, interviewed and we went through eight screenings before collecting our appointment letters. For 32 months, we have not been paid any salaries,” he said.

House Committee on Civil Services Chairman Lawal Dogon-Kade, said the lawmakers were working hard to ensure that the impasse was resolved.

In Adamawa, Governor Mohammed Bindow promised to pay the outstanding four months salaries of teachers.

Bindow, who did not however specify a date, made the promise in Girei while addressing staff of Government Secondary School, Girei, during a visit to the school.

He said: “We have declared a state of emergency on education and the welfare of teachers is very important for it to succeed.

“I want to assure all teachers in Adamawa that all their arrears will be paid very soon,” Bindow said.

Teachers in Gombe State yesterday cried out over unpaid three to four months salaries.

They urged Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo to consider the harsh economy and pay their salaries, especially now at Christmas.

The teachers, who pleaded for anonymity, said they had not been paid in the last three to four months and a solution is not in sight.

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Chairman Usman Dauda Kwadon, pleaded for patience, saying that the situation would soon be resolved.

He said the first set of teachers was owed about six to seven months because they banked with community and micro-finance banks which were not online.

Kwadon said that the problem had been resolved and their salaries had started coming in. “Some received two months once and others one month,” he said.

The chairman added that the second category were the 3,800 whose names were removed from the payroll because they were named as ghost workers due to a mix-up in the list submitted for the workers’ verification.

The committee constituted to look into their case had finished its work and was compiling its report, he said.

Igbo in Akure kick against ‘plan’ to install Eze Ndigbo
The Nation Nigeria

A fresh crisis is looming in Akure, the Ondo State capital, over an alleged plan by the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade, to install an Eze Ndigbo.

The Igbo have threatened to “create a scene”, if the Deji does not refrain from such move.

But the monarch’s spokesperson, Michael Adeyeye, said he was not aware of any Eze Ndigbo title in the state.

In a statement by James Chukwujekwu and Samuel Maduka on behalf of Concerned Igbo Indigenes, the Igbo said the plan would create crisis in the town.

The duo said Sir Gregory Iloehika was elected Eze Ndigbo by the Igbo communities in the state in August 2011.

They said: “Any attempt to appoint another leader would lead to crisis.

“We wish to reiterate that the Igbo association, Ndigbo, has been in existence in Ondo State for over nine decades.

“The Igbo have always democratically elected their leaders.

“The Eze Ndigbo, Sir Gregory Iloehika, was elected on August 10, 2011.

“However, there are speculations that some faceless characters are presenting one of them to the Deji to be installed Asiwaju of Igbo as against the interest of the Igbo in Ondo State.

“We are advising the Deji-in-Council and the relevant authorities to be wary of these characters, whose intention is to truncate the peace enjoyed by both the Igbo and their host communities.

“We are using this opportunity to call the attention of all relevant parties to stop any attempt that can lead to breach of peace in the state.”

CAN Kicks against Nigeria’s Headship of Islamic Organisation, IILM
THISDAYLIVE

• Insists Nigeria remains a secular state
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has kicked against the membership of Nigeria in the General Assembly of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM), contending that it is a violation of the 1999 Constitution.

CAN, in a statement signed and issued by Pastor Bayo Oladeji, the Media Assistant to the CAN President, Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, said Nigeria’s membership of the IILM without the backing of the country’s law should be withdrawn with immediate effect.

There have been reports that the IILM recently appointed the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, as its chairman during its 17th governing board meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.

IILM is an international institution established by central banks’ monetary authorities and multilateral organisations to create and issue short-term Sharia-compliant financial instruments to facilitate effective cross-border Islamic liquidity management.
“By creating more liquid Sharia-compliant financial markets for institutions offering Islamic financial services (IIFS), the IILM aims to enhance cross-border investment flows, international linkages and financial stability,” the corporation discloses on its website.

The leadership of CAN, however, wondered when Nigeria became a member of this Islamic body, stressing that the government’s action was a violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria especially Section 10.

Section 10 states that “the Government of the Federation or a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.”

According to CAN, the action by the government of Nigeria on accepting to head IILM amounted to denouncing Nigeria as secular, insisting that Nigeria therefore cannot join any organisation that has a religious connotation.

Against this background, CAN said Nigerians should focus on some pertinent questions with intent to make the government offer right answers. The questions are as follow: “What is Nigeria doing in Islamic and Sharia-compliant organisation?
“Who authorised the governor of the (CBN) to join this organisation?
“What provision of our constitution supports our membership of a religious association as a secular state?

“If the argument is that we are a multi-religious state, does having many religions in a state define that state as multi-religious state? Will that not contradict section 10 of the 1999 constitution at the same time?

“When did the National Assembly pass the law to do away with our secular status?
“When did our constitution change to allow this alliance that seems to portray Nigeria as Islamic? Is the National Assembly aware of all the treaties regarding these Islamic organisations to which Nigeria is now a member?”

CAN statement stated: “We also recalled how President Muhammadu Buhari not only smuggled Nigeria into the “34-state Islamic military alliance against terrorism” but he and his government poured invectives and venoms on those who spoke against his unconstitutional action.
“Do we need to repeat our concern that almost all the heads of security and paramilitary agencies in Nigeria today are Muslims, as if Christians have become second class citizens or rather lack competent officers? Has Nigeria become an Islamic state?

“We also recall the controversy surrounding the funding of Jaiz bank, an Islamic institution, with the public money by the immediate past CBN governor with impunity.
“Recently, when the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, overhauled the heads of the 17 parastatals and agencies under his watch, 13 out of 17 of them were and are Muslims. Is this government saying it is only Muslims that can be trusted?

“A government that is interested in the unity and peace of the country should not be taking actions such as the lopsided appointments at the expense of one religion with impunity.
“We have noted with dismay that this government is not a listening government and this is dangerous for the future wellbeing of our nation. Is it democracy we are practicing or a rigid dictatorship?

*Equally, we are surprised by the argument being canvassed in some quarters that Nigeria is not a secular but a multi-religious nation. Assuming, but not conceding that Nigeria is a multi-religious state, should the government policies be pro one of the religions at the expense of the others?

*Many of our Christian brothers and sisters are being killed like rams in hundreds by the Fulani herdsmen while our security agencies look elsewhere all because none of their heads is a Christian.

*This is not the Nigeria dreamt of by our founding fathers, and it is high time the government woke up to its constitutional responsibilities.
*Christians have equal rights with our Muslim counterparts since the 1999 Constitution recognises the multiplicity of religions, and we will no longer pretend as if all is well with Nigeria.”

 

 

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