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Punch: As Buhari’s $29.9bn loan request sparks public fears
Experts say the Federal Government’s plan to borrow $29.9b from external sources will jeopardise the future of the country, writes JESUSEGUN ALAGBE
During his electioneering, President Muhammadu Buhari literally promised “heaven on earth” for Nigerians if voted into power.
From giving a monthly stipend of N5,000 to 25 million poor Nigerians, to the creation of a Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least one million new jobs every year, to the creation of an additional middle class of at least two million new homeowners in his first year in government and one million annually thereafter; the list of promises was endless.
It’s over a year since the President was elected as the chief executive officer of the country, yet many of the promises made to Nigerians have yet to materialise.
Expectedly, many Nigerians have since started expressing how disappointed they are regarding the President’s failure to fulfil his campaign promises.
However, President Buhari has on several occasions said he is still committed to delivering his campaign promises to Nigerians, and has, however, never stopped blaming the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party for the country’s problems, including the current economic recession.
He has accused the former President and his party of “extravagantly” spending public funds and leaving almost nothing for him to spend on development.
So, it is believed that Buhari has been seeking several means to get funds to, according to him, provide infrastructure and bail the country out of its current economic crisis.
In September 2016, the Federal Government approached the African Development Bank for a $4.1b (N1.29tn) loan, which was approved by the bank.
The President of the bank, a former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said the loan package includes $1b in budget support, $300m to create jobs for 185,000 youths, $250m to provide infrastructure development in the North-East, $1m grant to deal with the challenges of Internally Displaced Persons, $300m for infrastructure development around Abuja, and $200m for the Transmission Company of Nigeria to improve its facilities, among others.
Saying that Nigeria was the largest shareholder in the bank, Adesina said the bank was in the country to offer its support in the face of the tough time in the country.
A month after this development, specifically on October 25, 2016, the Federal Government again disclosed that it was planning to borrow $29.9b (N9.4tn) from the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Islamic Development Bank and the China Exim Bank.
Asking the National Assembly to approve the external borrowing plan, the Federal Government said the $29.9b loan would be used to execute key infrastructure across the country between 2016 and 2018.
Buhari said the borrowings would target projects across all sectors, with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, employment generation, poverty reduction through social safety net programmes, governance and financial management reforms, among others.
If the loan request is ratified by the National Assembly, the Federal Government said it would take $25.8b out of the money, while states would get $4.1b.
However, several experts said borrowing a “whopping” $29.9b by the Federal Government was tantamount to jeopardising the future of the country.
Some of them even pleaded with the Senate — which has already rejected the loan request due to “lack of technical details” — never to ratify the President’s request, saying it portends great danger for the country’s future.
For instance, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, said the President’s loan request was as good as mortgaging the future of the country’s unborn generation.
At a symposium recently organised by the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, tagged, “X-raying 50 years of military intervention in Nigeria’s politics,” the human rights activist warned the President against chasing after the loan, but rather engage in an aggressive recovery of looted funds stored up in Western countries by past rulers and politicians in the country.
Citing how previous debts negatively affected development in the country, Falana said, “Between 1978 and 1986, this country incurred debts to the extent that we did not know how much we owed under the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. They had to engage the services of a consultant in the West to tell us what we owed, and of course, the London Paris Club gave us a figure.
“By the time [former President Olusegun] Obasanjo was paying the debts, in one fell swoop in 2005, this country parted with $12.4b for the West to forgive us our debts. Meanwhile, they were the real sinners. At that time, on both the principal and the interest, we had paid $42b. That amount alone could have eradicated poverty in the entire Africa.
“Now again, President Buhari wants to get a loan of $30b. You know what that means? For generations unborn, we will mortgage their future, except the money is genuinely meant for infrastructural development, which is usually not the case once the money comes in. So Buhari should forget about the $30b loan when he can get more than that if he goes after our stolen money in the West. General Sani Abacha and one of his men alone stole over $17b.”
Tasking President Buhari on other ways of seeking funds to work with, Falana added, “Don’t go and borrow. Engage in an aggressive recovery of our looted funds. If this government is genuinely committed to the development of our country and wants to fight corruption, we can raise up to $200b. Go after the Western countries, especially Switzerland that warehouses stolen funds all around the world.”
Already, the country’s external debt profile stands at $68b and ranks 57th on the World Bank’s list of countries by external debt.
Furthermore, recent figures from the Debt Management Office show that in the past one year alone, the country has accumulated over $13.2b (N4.17tn) in external debt.
An economist, Henry Boyo, said with the current fiscal landscape in which about 40 per cent of the country’s annual revenue is already applied to debt servicing alone, getting a $29.9b loan would worsen the economic situation.
Describing it as what would be “the largest borrowing in Nigeria’s fiscal history,” Boyo asked lawmakers to ignore “predatory” suggestions that the country’s economy is relatively under-borrowed.
In an article titled, “To concession is more responsible than to borrow,” the economist expressed worry that a $29.9b loan would shoot the country’s debt profile to above $90b.
He said, “Additionally, if the foreign loan package excludes the widely reported offer of billions of dollars’ China loans and the trillions of naira which will also be borrowed from the domestic market to fund future budget deficits, then of course, well over 50 per cent of our actual annual revenue will be required just to service our debts, while the balance income will be predominantly, as usual, consumed by recurrent expenditure, with little left over for infrastructure remediation.
“Unfortunately, serial defaults in payment of service charges, as was the case before the 2006 debt exit, will invariably instigate overbearing foreign creditors to exercise their rights and insist on more socially oppressive economic reforms to guarantee their investments.
“Besides, when completed, projects funded with the $29.96b loans would invariably become public utilities. These prospects should be worrisome to us all, as our track record in the management of public utilities has always been riddled with corruption and deliberate negligence while some projects have become moribund, even before completion, while other sporadically sustainable operations have ultimately ended in dismal failure.”
In a similar manner, a development consultant and public affairs analyst, Mr. Jide Ojo, also said more loans would further plunge the country into crisis.
He said, “Previous loans have not been used judiciously. Rather, the bulk of the loans were diverted to private pockets with little or nothing to show for the projects for which the loans were obtained in the first place. Two, the government should account for additional revenues received from the increase in the pump price of petrol from N87 to N145 per litre, N50 stamp duty collection by banks on every banking transaction, looted funds recovered and the Treasury Single Account savings.
“Three, the government stands to rake in huge revenue from the sale of white elephants embarked on that have become a drain on our resources. Over 11,886 uncompleted Federal Government projects were discovered by the Alhaji Bunu Sheriff-led Presidential Assessment Committee in 2012. I have earlier canvassed the audit of these projects to be done. While those that are liabilities should be auctioned off, those that will add value to our economy should be funded to completion from the sale of proceeds from the white elephants auctioned.
“Four, with the current attempts by the Federal Government to reduce the cost of governance, bring more people into the tax net, and block revenue leakages in the bureaucratic system; there should be more money at government’s disposal to be used for infrastructural development. Public-Private-Partnership infrastructural finance model is also a viable option and is better than taking more foreign loans.”
Some analysts believe that former President Olusegun Obasanjo encouraged President Buhari to borrow the money when he [Obasanjo] recently said the country should borrow, spend less and earn more to get out of the current economic recession.
However, speaking on the effects of government borrowing, a Lagos-based economist, Dr. Babatunde Abraham, also said the $29.9b loan could further worsen the economy rather than improve it.
He said, “Oftentimes, the government imposes taxes to finance its loan repayment programme. High rate of taxes discourages people to work more. Although public borrowing involves transfer of resources (from taxpayers to the lenders), the negative effect of taxes (that is, the desire to work less when taxes are increased) produce an unfavourable effect on income.
“Because of debt, present generation obtains less capital. Thus public borrowing is not necessarily expansionary. A lower volume of capital reduces production and productivity of an economy. Also, getting loan leads to an increase in money supply, which will put a great pressure on the prices of goods and services. In this sense, the borrowing could be inflationary. Borrowing should not be the only way out of this economic crisis. I believe there are better options that the Federal Government could consider.”
Shortly after the Senate declined the President’s loan request, there have been three closed-door meetings between the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and President Buhari, suggesting some sort of “romance” between them and leading to insinuations that the Senate would sooner or later approve the loan request.
But on Thursday, Saraki stated that his recent meetings with the President had nothing to do with the loan request, which was not rejected out of “personal” reasons, but in the interest of the country.
The Nation: Group faults Niger Delta leaders’ 16-point demand to Buhari
Niger Delta Youth Association, (NDYA), has faulted the 16-point demand handed to President Muhammadu Buhari by leaders of Niger Delta, known as ‘Pan-Niger Delta Forum, (PNDEF) on the way forward in resolving the crisis in the oil -rich region.
This was contained in a seven-point communiqué issued in Akwa Ibom State after an emergency conference of the body during which it took a critical assessment of the ’16 Point Demand’ earlier presented to the Presidency.
In the communiqué, the President, Comrade Victor James, Vice President, Comrade Ibiso Harry and other executives of NYDA, regretted that the leaders could not give priority to the Niger Delta Coastal Road Project which they said would improve the economic life of the people of the region.
Harry who read the communiqué for the group also pointed out that the delegation ought to have expanded the request for the granting of oil and gas blocks to cover communities of the entire Niger Delta other than giving few individuals the blocks.
The group while commending the contingent for their courage, tasked the presidency to ensure sincerity in dealing with the issues of Niger Delta.
The communiqué read in part: “We endorsed some of the ’16 Points Demands’, ranging from the Maritime University at Okrenkoko in Delta State, to the restructuring of the Amnesty Programme, the opening up of Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt Ports as international Ports, the cleaning up of the entire Niger Delta wherever pollution is found.
“PNDEF should have made the ‘Niger Delta Coastal Road Project’ one of its basic demands and as clear as possible without ambiguity because it is strategically positioned along the region’s vast coastline and an economically viable project which will attract serious foreign investments to the Niger Delta in terms of real estate and tourism.
“Some demands like the federal government’s granting of oil and gas blocks should rather be expanded to cover communities of the entire Niger Delta as simply giving a few individuals from the Niger Delta oil and gas blocks will not create the wealth need to move the region forward.
“The reason is because our region is suffering from institutional and systemic poverty therefore clusters of communities within all ethnic nationalities should be granted oil and gas blocks as doing so will create wealth which the people are starved and which prevents the people from enhancing their potentials.
“What the Niger Delta needs is sincerity from this present administration particularly when it cannot be argued that the current resurgence of violence and insurgency resulting in the bombing of oil and gas facilities is occasioned by the current administration’s approach to issues relating to the Niger Delta Region and Its People.”
From Punch, Stop disobeying court order, group tells Buhari
A civil society organisation, Human Rights Defenders and Advocacy Centre, has expressed concern over what it described as “flagrant” disregard for court orders by the executive arm of government, saying, if unchecked, it could bring the judiciary to disrepute.
The rights group added that it was high time President Muhammadu Buhari stopped acting like a dictator as the country was no longer in the military era.
Speaking at a news conference in Lagos on Friday, HRDAC President, Rose Ameh, said it was regrettable that “impunity by men in uniform and those in government had now become a norm” which, according to her, had made Nigerians to start losing faith in the system.
Citing examples, she said, “The ruling of the court (including that of the ECOWAS Court) for the release on bail of a former National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.); and the order for the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, were totally rebuffed by the executive.
“The continued detention of the leader of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is another case of shameful disregard for human rights and due process. These are indeed appalling and condemnable.”
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the group, Mr. Innocent Agbo, said the group had written to the presidency and embarked on protests, including one at the National Assembly, but that nothing had been done.
From PressTV (Iran),
Nigeria officials raze Muslim group’s buildings
Nigerian authorities have razed buildings belonging to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as a government crackdown on the Muslim group gains force.
IMN officials said the government forces razed several buildings, which included schools, hospitals, and religious seminaries, in the cities of Zaria and Saminaka in the northern state of Kaduna.
Officials with the Muslim group also said that the latest demolitions took place without prior notification to the group, which they said had done nothing to provoke the government to take such drastic measures against it.
The demolition of IMN buildings comes after the brutal killing of some 100 members of the group, who had gathered on Monday to take part in a religious ceremony ahead of the upcoming Arba’een mourning rituals.
Arba’een marks 40 days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Many more were also injured when government forces fired live rounds and tear gas at Shia mourners taking part in a peaceful march in the northern city of Kano.
IMN and its supporters have been the victims of a government crackdown since last year.
In December 2015, Nigerian forces raided the house of the IMN’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, in Zaria.
This file photo released on social media shows the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Zakzaky while being arrested after being shot by Nigerian soldiers in December 2015.
The government forces shot and injured Zakzaky after killing his companions, including one of the movement’s senior leaders. Zakzaky was then taken to an unknown location and still remains in the custody of government forces.
The raid occurred a day after Nigerian soldiers attacked a group of Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the city of Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him, an accusation that the Muslims rejected as baseless.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission released a report, saying the Nigerian army killed 348 Muslims during the attack on the religious ceremony.
From Reuters: U.S. says concerned by deaths of Nigerian Shi’ites in clash with police
The United States on Friday said it was concerned by the deaths of Nigerians in clashes between Shi’ite Muslims and police earlier this week and what it called the apparently disproportionate response of the police in the violence.
Police said nine people were killed in the clashes during which officers opened fire on members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) taking part in a procession in the northern city of Kano on Monday, but the minority sect said dozens died.
Security analysts have drawn some parallels between the IMN and Boko Haram, the Sunni Muslim jihadist group whose insurgency began in 2009.
The violence was the latest in a series of incidents involving the sect. A judicial inquiry in August reported that 347 IMN members were killed and buried in mass graves after clashes with the army in December 2015, and two sect members were killed in processions in Kaduna state in October.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the deaths of dozens of Nigerians during clashes between individuals participating in a Shia procession and the Nigerian Police Force in Kano State,” a statement by the U.S. diplomatic mission in Nigeria said.
“While the matter is still under investigation, we are troubled by the apparent disproportionate response by the police,” said the statement, issued by spokesman John Kirby, which also called for “calm and restraint on all sides”.
The U.S. said Nigeria’s government should conduct an investigation and “bring to account anyone responsible for violating the law”.
Last month, the government in Kaduna state, which is next to Kano state, declared IMN as an “unlawful society” on the grounds that its processions were a danger to peace, and said anyone convicted of being a member of the sect could be imprisoned for up to seven years.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of 180 million inhabitants, combines a predominantly Christian south and mainly Sunni Muslim north.
Human Rights Watch estimates that IMN, whose 1980s founders were inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Shi’ite Iran, has around 3 million members. The sect’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, has been held without charge since December following the clashes with the army in Zaria.
And in the Oslo Times: UNICEF lauds Niger authorities for establishing child right protection agency
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Chief of Field Office Kaduna Utpal Moitra has lauded the effort of Niger State Government North Central Nigeria for establishing a Child Right Protection Agency to protect right of children in the state.
He gave the commendation during the Annual Review of 2016 of Niger Work Plan in Kaduna on Friday. According to him, the established agency would serve as advocacy voice for protection of children in the state and help them to meet their basic needs and reach their potential.
Moitra pointed out hat the agency will enhance children protection against violence that causes physical and emotional harm to the growth and development of the child.He added that UNICEF would assist Niger government by linking it with Federal Government to receive support from its country office to develop the agency.
“We commend Niger for being the first state in the North central to establish a Child Right Agency. UNICEF will give it maximum support to accelerate the realisation of children’s right in the state,” he said.
A UK based Non Governmental Organization Voluntary Service Overseas was quoted in the media to have said Nigerian Children face threats including rape, denial of education, child marriage and trafficking, in a state that failed to pass child rights legislation introduced by the national government well over a decade ago.
From VOA: Migrant Deaths Spike on Mediterranean
A dramatic upsurge has taken place in the number of migrant deaths, mainly from West Africa, on the perilous Mediterranean sea crossing between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa.
The International Organization for Migration reports at least 365 people have disappeared and are presumed dead after at least six incidents in the Mediterranean in the past three days. It says that brings the number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean this year to a record 4,636.
IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle calls this a calamity in plain sight.
“In November, we have 365 deaths that we have counted. So, this is six times higher than the deaths last year in that month ,” said Doyle. ” Overall, we are counting 1,000 more migrant deaths in the Mediterranean compared to the same period last year. So, over the stretch of the year from January to November, 1000 extra deaths and six times more in November alone.”
Doyle says deaths on the Mediterranean are surging because the migrants are making the dangerous sea crossing in poor weather and rough conditions. Survivors say smugglers are forcing migrants to get on board unsafe rubber dinghies, which take on water and gradually sink.
“Migrants assuming and paying in the hope and expectation that they will get a decent passage across the Mediterranean, coming down to the beach and being confronted with a rubber raft and not having any options sometimes, physical restraints and then even going back,” said Doyle. “So, the situation is clearly alarming.”
Doyle says there are few happy endings for migrants who survive the arduous journey and arrive safely in Italy. He tells VOA their expectations of having a good life in Europe and sending money home to their families is rarely realized.
He says most of the requests for asylum from migrants who come from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and elsewhere in West Africa are rejected. Doyle says they are regarded as economic migrants and are either deported or forced to live underground in the European Union.
I’ll go to the US for the next story, From CharlotteObserver: Charlotte 49ers’ Larry Ogunjobi tries to live up to his Nigerian name
The Yorubas of southwest Nigeria compose one of Africa’s largest ethnic groups south of the Sahara Desert. Their children shape their world view.
A well-brought-up child internalizes the Yoruba way, beginning with a naming ceremony, on the eighth day after a child is born.
Mercy and Larry Ogunjobi Sr. weren’t afforded such an opportunity.
A year after following her husband from Nigeria to the United States, Mercy found herself in a Livingston, N.J., hospital, giving birth to the couple’s first child.
A name hadn’t crossed their minds.
The first moments with their newborn boy were interrupted when a nurse requested a name for the birth certificate. In a panic, Larry Sr. rattled off ideas.
Every Nigerian name carries meaning, a significance that follows throughout one’s life and potentially one’s children’s, as well. Mercy and Larry Sr. refused to settle.
Soon, they arrived at one: Olumide. Translation: Our savior has come.
Now, you know Olumide Ogunjobi as Larry Ogunjobi, a 6-foot-3, 297-pound stalwart defensive tackle for the Charlotte football team who could become the first player in program history selected in the NFL draft in April.
He cherishes his given name. And he’s always aspired to live up to it.
“It just reminds me that you never forget who you are,” Ogunjobi says, “Where you’ve come from and the people who have put their faith, their trust and their hope into you.”
Finding a path
Ogunjobi was big as a child, bigger than most. By the time her son reached high school, Mercy was worried.
Eating and playing video games all day, Ogunjobi gained weight rapidly, peaking at roughly 350 pounds before his sophomore year.
“You’re killing yourself,” he remembers his parents saying. “You’ve got stop this.”
A stint at a local gym was short-lived after Ogunjobi didn’t receive the training his parents paid for. Then came Robert Mitchell, an angel in disguise.
A fitness coach running a summer program, Mitchell offered to help Ogunjobi lose weight. And he did, dropping 30 pounds. On a Friday afternoon just before school started, Mitchell drove him to Ragsdale High in Jamestown.
“You’re going to play football,” Mitchell told him.
Ogunjobi refused, but the next day he found himself running sprints across a field he swore he’d never step foot on. Parents placed bets on if the 300-plus pound sophomore would return the next day.
He did. The day after that, too. He rolled his ankle in his first game, but he pressed on.
Then came the season-ending football banquet. Ogunjobi, who couldn’t line up in a football stance a few months before, received the junior varsity team’s most improved player award.
The crowd chanted his name. And as he stood in shock, Ogunjobi saw an avenue that could help him live up to his name.
‘Something you’d expect’
A first-generation American competing in his first organized sport as a freshman wrestler at Ragsdale, Ogunjobi didn’t understand the importance of hard work and attending practice daily. His coach dubbed him “Lazy Larry,” a nickname he despised.
After earning his first football award, he’d never be called lazy again.
Football workouts at 7 a.m. were just the start. Then came the neighborhood jogs and post-practice trips to the YMCA. No longer on the wrestling team, Ogunjobi joined his former teammates for their workouts, too.
“It simply became something you’d expect of Larry,” says Ragsdale football coach Tommy Norwood.
Ogunjobi earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior and senior, drawing the interest of Howard, Furman and Presbyterian. Charlotte, a program still in its infancy, was the right fit.
The 49ers offered something others couldn’t – a chance for Ogunjobi to forever inscribe his name in the program’s history.
Claiming his name
Ogunjobi visits defensive line coach Aaron Curry’s office at least once per day.
Just a few days ago, they sat together and talked about Thanksgiving and families and mental toughness. And the NFL. Curry, a first-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2009, initiates the conversations about Ogunjobi’s future. He wants him to be prepared.
But right now, other things command his attention, like leading Charlotte to its first bowl and continuing to work toward his computer science and biology degrees.
Yes, the 49ers’ career leader in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks excels in the classroom, too. If not for his NFL prospects, he’d be applying for medical school.
The first day he met Ogunjobi, Curry watched him run stadium stairs alone and thought, “This kid is going to do a really good job of outworking a lot of people.”
Curry hasn’t been wrong. One of 19 fifth-year seniors who helped compose Charlotte’s first recruiting class and will be honored Saturday on senior day, Ogunjobi has set the standard within the 49ers’ locker room.
“It’s amazing what God will do and the places he’ll put players, the places he’ll put people,” Curry says, “And how he’ll name us and put us in positions to claim our name.”
It’s what Ogunjobi thinks about every day.
“You can have a name that can say you’re XYZ, but if you don’t ever do anything with your name, it’s just a name,” he says. “I feel like your name is what you make of it. Hopefully I’m on the right track of trying to make my name special.
From MailOnline (UK) – Nigerian butcher stole meat from a warehouse after a witchdoctor sold him a charm he claimed would make him invisible
The man repeatedly visited a warehouse and helped himself to large slabs of meat
He believed he was invisible, having been sold charms by a witchdoctor
When he was discovered, an angry mob beat him, stripped him naked, and wanted to lynch him for practising witchcraft
He was rescued by police and is now facing trial in the city of Enugu
A brazen thief repeatedly strolled into a warehouse and helped himself to large quantities of meat – because a witchdoctor had convinced him he was invisible.
When he was eventually caught, police had to rescue the man from an angry mob who stripped him naked and beat him before attempting to lynch him.
Thinking no one could see him, after being sold a charm by a witchdoctor, the butcher kept on visiting the warehouse and stuffed slabs of meat into his sack.
Because he looked confident, staff thought he was there legitimately and did not question him – until it emerged that the equivalent of several cows and half a dozen sheep were missing.
The next time the thief wandered in, a worker got suspicious and questioned him.
But thinking he was invisible, he carried on until the warehouse worker started shouting: ‘Stop! Thief!’
At this point he was grabbed, beaten and stripped naked and already had a rope around his neck to be lynched before police arrived and rescued him.
He was then taken to a jail in the city of Enugu in south-eastern Nigerian Enugu State where he is facing charges of stealing from the warehouse attached to a local abattoir.
According to Egwuatu Chukz, who shared the photo, the Hausa man casually strolled into the warehouse, brought out a sack and started stuffing large chunks of meat into it, completely ignoring the fact that there were other people around.
He said charms were found around the young man’s leg, which locals also believed had been used to make him invisible on previous occasions.
As a result they wanted to kill him for practising witchcraft.
Police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu confirmed that an investigation was being carried out.
He added: ‘We are investigating and he is due to appear in court shortly.’
And from the Premium Times
Shiites abandon Borno protest after police threat
A planned protest by Shiites in Borno State was shelved following a threat by the police.
Due to the relatively low popularity of the Shiite IMN in Borno State, the news of their proposed procession came as a surprise to most of the residents in Maiduguri, the state capital.
PREMIUM TIMES had on Friday exclusively reported, quoting a source and a police document, how the police received a special intelligence report that the protest would kick-start shortly after the Friday Jumat prayer.
The Borno State police command later confirmed the report on Friday, warning the Shiite group to “drop the idea of the planned procession.”
The police commissioner, Damian Chukwu, also said that embarking on the procession was illegal because the Borno State government had issued a statement banning all kinds of procession in the state.
The police claim of a ban could not be independently verified by PREMIUM TIMES.
Officials of the Borno State government, who preferred to be anonymous in this report, said they were not aware of the ban on religious processions in the Boko Haram troubled state.
The police chief warned the Shiites to adopt “lawful means of championing their cause”, and not through road processions.
“We just got information that the Shiite group is trying to embark on public procession in Maiduguri and the state government had already issued a statement banning that procession,” he said.
“I want to say that we are in support of the ban because the law banning public procession without permission is still in force.
“We know the group will always want to carry on with the procession without even trying to seek permission. We hereby advise them to please shelve the procession in the interest of peace,” he added.
Mr. Chukwu warned that the police would do everything within its constitutional powers to maintain peace in the state.
On Friday, the atmosphere was somewhat tense as police deployed its officers to all the strategic locations within Maiduguri. Anti-riot vehicles and armoured personnel carriers were moved to locations where it was suspected that the planned Shiite procession would take place.
Heavy security presence was seen at the MaiSaje Mosque, where the police intelligence indicated the IMN might kick start their protest. The same situation was noticed at the Fodiya Centre, near a spot called Yan Nono in Bulumkutu along the Kano-Maiduguri highway.
After the Jumat prayers at the MaiSaje Friday mosque, some group of young men waited to see if the protest by the Shia group would take place.
One of them, who sought anonymity for security reasons, said “we just want to see if truly they would begin the procession; we would have dispersed them by tagging them as Boko Haram members”.
The deployed police officers maintained their vigilance till evening hours when they were cork sure the planned procession would no longer hold.
Efforts to contact the leader of the IMN in Borno State, identified as Malami Goroma, was unsuccessful.
The Borno State government had on August 11 inaugurated a board to censor Islamic teachings in the state, as a means of curbing the radicalization of young people into extreme groups like Boko Haram.
It is not clear if the censorship also covers public procession by religious groups.
The police have foiled similar Shiite protests in Abuja and Kano. Monday’s incident in Kano led to the death of at least nine people, the police said.
The Shiites are demanding the release of their leader held without trial since December by the federal government.
Still on the IMN
Kano Governor talks tough, says Shiites must obey constituted authority
The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has said that Shiite members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria have to recognise the authority of security officials by seeking their permission before they hold any gathering.
Mr. Ganduje said this in an interview with journalists on the sideline of the third edition of the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award in Abuja on Friday night.
The governor said that members of the sect could not keep breaking the law and tampering with the rights of other citizens.
“As far as they continue breaking the law, the police have to come in. They cannot use they-have-the-freedom-to-do-whatever-they-want because they are crossing other people’s human rights.
“As far as we are concerned, they have to recognise the authority; they have to get permission.
“If they do not get permission, then the police will not allow them to continue the procession that they do.”
Mr. Ganduje’s remarks come a day after the U.S. government advised caution in Nigeria’s handling of the Shiites crisis and called for an investigation of the Kano killings.
No less than nine people were confirmed dead and many others injured following a clash between members of the group and the police in Kano city on Monday.
Trouble broke out around Tamburawa, on the outskirts of Kano city, after the police tried to stop the Shiite members who had embarked on the annual Arbaeen trek from Kano to Zaria.
The Kano State Police Command, however, said security operatives including anti-robbery squad units only intervened as the Shiite members began attacking motorists and passersby.
The Kano State Police Commissioner, Rabiu Yusuf, confirmed that one police officer was also killed.
The Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, on Wednesday, also said the police should be appreciated for the method deployed by officials of the force.
Mr. Idris said that the police had a responsibility to ensure that law and order was maintained adding that the activities of the group needed to be checked.
In October, Kano police banned IMN from conducting street processions ahead of the annual Ashura celebration.
As part of their demands, the Shiites seek the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been held by the federal government without trial since December when over 300 members of his group were killed by soldiers.
The soldiers said the IMN members blocked a road and plotted to kill the army chief, Tukur Buratai, a claim the Shiites denied.
From the Punch,
Gunmen kidnap Nasarawa commissioner’s two wives
Gunmen on Thursday night kidnapped two wives of the Nasarawa State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Aliyu Ahmed.
The incident took place around 10pm in Nasarawa, the headquarters of the Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that the gun-wielding unidentified men, who came in a black Peugeot 406 car, were said to have overpowered the policemen attached to the area and invaded the residence of the commissioner, taking his two wives to an unknown destination.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the gunmen were said to have asked for the whereabouts of Ahmed, but because he was not around, they abducted his wives.
A family member of the commissioner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “They came to Nasarawa town in the night and started shooting sporadically into the air and scared all the residents in the area away. Before we knew what was going on, they went inside the house of the commissioner and kidnapped his two wives.”
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abubakar Bello, said the command was aware of the incident and that a rescue operation was ongoing to ensure the victims’ release.”
Asked whether the kidnappers had demanded ransom, he said, “I have dispatched a team to ensure their safe release.”
On the current Asuu Strike, Consider the plights of students, NANS begs ASUU
The National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to consider the plight of students and shelve their industrial action. Obasi In a press statement on Friday in Abuja, NANS President, Comrade Chinonso Obasi said that it is obvious that times are hard owing to the general economic down turn in the country.
And from The Punch, Kwara prison officials beat six inmates to death
Pandemonium ensued on Thursday in the Oke Kura Prison, Ilorin, Kwara State, after six inmates were reportedly beaten to death by warders.
Saturday PUNCH exclusively gathered from a top prison source that 11 other inmates were seriously injured during the fracas which occurred around 2pm.
It was learnt that the inmates, who were in the condemned inmates’ cell, had protested the substandard quality of food they were served.
They reportedly demanded to see the controller of the prison to address their grievances.
The source said the prison authorities shunned the inmates and refused to heed their call.
He said, “The demand for improvement in food quality and quantity had been on for the past two months, but nothing was done.
“On Thursday, the inmates decided to protest. That was how the warders went and got the arms squad. They entered into the prison and unleashed terror on the inmates, who were in the condemned cell.
“Five of them died there and one of the 12 casualties died at the hospital. The incident has caused tension in the prison as I speak with you.”
It was learnt that the 11 other casualties were on “danger list” at the hospital where they were receiving treatment.
Our source identified the deceased to include one Alhaji Fasisi, Alhaji Yusuf, and Jeunlo.
“There is a grand plan to cover up the incident in the prison,” he added.
The spokesperson for the Nigeria Prison Service, Francis Enobore, could not be reached on his phone.
He had yet to respond to a text message sent to his line as of the time of filing this report.
However, the Public Relations Officer of the Ilorin Prison who identified himself simply as Philip, denied the incident.
He said, “How is it possible for warders to beat inmates to death? It is not true and no such thing happened. If you’re in doubt, come down to Ilorin, I will personally lead you to Oke Kura to see things for yourself.”
Unbelievable! Kidnapped Pastor killed, passed on as top militant by the Nigerian Army
A man the Nigerian Army said its soldiers killed as a senior militant in the restive Niger Delta, was actually a clergyman who had been kidnapped days before, PREMIUM TIMES can report today.
The Army said the man, Andrew Anthony, was killed late August when soldiers raided a hideout of militants in Rivers State ahead of the formal launch of “Operation Crocodile Smile”.
But a PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation showed that soldiers who went for the operation knew Mr. Anthony was a kidnap victim, yet the Army, in its official statement, circulated his photograph to the media as one of five top militants killed in the area.
You can get the full length of the interview from PremiumTimes, it is titled, INVESTIGATION: How Nigerian Army ‘killed’ kidnapped pastor and labelled him militant.
Imo records highest number of candidates seeking admission in five years, says JAMB
Imo applicants have taken the lead among the candidates seeking admission into tertiary institutions in the country through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), consistently in the last five years, the Registrar/Chief Executive of the board, Prof Ishaq O. Oloyede, has disclosed
Oloyede, who disclosed this on Thursday when he visited Governor Rochas Okorocha at the Government House, Owerri on Thursday, stated that for the five years under review (2012- 2016), indicated that Imo State has remained on top.
Meanwhile, the governor at the occasion donated a bus and handed over certificate of occupancy (C of O), to the registrar, for the take-off of the newly established zonal office of the board in Owerri.
He disclosed that they were in the state to hold a five-day second Technical Committee on the 2016 Admissions Exercise at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education Owerri, disclosing that in “2012, Imo State had a total of One hundred and Twenty-three thousand, eight hundred and Sixty-five applications.
In 2013, he recalled that the state recorded one hundred and thirty-four thousand, six hundred and ten applications, while Delta State came second with one hundred and one thousand, six hundred and ten applications
In 2014, Imo state, he said, had “One hundred and eighteen thousand, eight hundred and nine applications, whereas, Delta State had eighty-seven thousand, one hundred and fifty-three applications to maintain the second position.”
Oloyede, explained that in 2015, Imo State recorded One hundred and four thousand, three hundred and eighty-two applications to occupy the 1st Position, while Delta State also maintained the 2nd Position with Seventy-eight thousand, eight hundred and Fifty-six applications, and in 2016, Imo State recorded One hundred and four thousand, three hundred and eighty-three applicants followed by Delta State with Seventy-eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty-four candidates who applied for admissions, describing Imo’s consistency as ‘unbeatable’.
Oloyede regretted that despite all the feat, Imo State had only three universities while Ogun and Osun states have 14 and 8 respectively, noting that it was evident that Imo state does not have the number of universities to accommodate its numerous candidates.
Punch: Buhari signs eight bills into law, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed eight bills into laws.
The bills were the ones that had earlier been passed by the National Assembly and sent to the President for assent.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after the President signed the bills into law at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Enang said the bills signed into law cut across various sectors of the economy and development.
He listed the new laws as the Prevention of Crime Amendment Act 2016; National Crop Varieties and Livestock Breeds (Registration) Amendment Act 2016; Telecommunications and Postal Offences Amendment Act 2016; National Agricultural Land Development Authority Amendment Act 2016; Produce Enforcement of Export Standards Amendment Act 2016; Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute Amendment Act 2016; Bee Import Control and Management Amendment Act 2016; and the Water Resources Amendment Act 2016.
Enang said, “These bills were passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to Mr. President for assent and Mr. President today (Friday) assented to them today and (they) have automatically become law.
“Mr. President expresses his appreciation to the leadership and the membership of the National Assembly for the great work they did in considering the bills.”
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