Appeal Court Sacks Oshimhole


NIGERIA’S Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday removed Adams Oshiomhole as chairman of the country’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Court upheld the suspension of Oshiomhole as the APC national chairman as earlier ordered by an Abuja High Court.
The party has already appointed a former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi as its acting chairman.
In a unanimous judgment of a three-man panel led by Justice Eunice Onyemanam, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier March 4, 2020 order of the Abuja High Court, suspending Oshiomhole as the national chairman of the ruling party.
On March 4, 2020, Justice Danlami Senchi of the High Court in Abuja had suspended Oshiomhole as national chairman of the party in agreement with the prayers of the plaintiff.
The suit leading to the March 4 order suspending Oshiomhole was filed before the FCT High Court by the Chairman of the party in Edo State, Anslem Ojezua; Oshiomhole’s Ward 10 of Etsako Council Area of Edo State; Sani Gomna; Oshawo Steven; Fani Wabulari; Princewill Ejogharado; and the Vice-Chairman of the party, North-East, Mustapha Salihu.
Oshiomhole’s Party Ward executives had in November 2019 suspended him as a member of the party alleging anti-party activities.
The plaintiffs went to court, seeking compliance and enforcement. They got their prayer but Oshiomhole applied for stay of execution of judgment.
Following his application, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya had on March 16, 2020 stopped the execution of the judgment. It also reversed Oshiomhole’s suspension, pending the hearing of his substantive appeal.
However, in its latest ruling, the Appeal Court dismissed Oshiomhole’s appeal and upheld  his suspension.
Justice Mohammed Lamido, who delivered the lead judgment, noted that the lower court was right to have issued the March 4, 2020 order of suspension.
He resolved all the issues raised in the appeal.
 “In these circumstances, the position taken by the lower court that the plaintiffs have made a case for the issuance of the interlocutory order  is proper and that part of the decision is hereby upheld,” the Justice ruled.
Justice Lamido also resolved that, contrary to Oshiomhole’s argument that he was not given fair hearing before the suspension, the order issued by the lower court was for his suspension and not removal from office.
He added that the November 2, 2019 decision of the Party in his Ward 10 suspending him from office was ratified by the Council and State executives, making the action binding.
He noted that though Oshiomhole filed a suit to challenge his suspension on December 9, 2019 in good time, he withdrew it, only to return 72 days later.
“In the circumstances, I hold that the appellant’s right to fair hearing was not breached.
“The appeal is unmeritorious and it is hereby dismissed,” Justice Lamido ruled.
Justice Onyemanam, who led the panel, had in a separate judgment upheld another March 2, 2020 ruling of the lower court which dismissed Oshiomhole’s preliminary objection challenging the lower court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Justice Onyemanam also resolved all the issues against Oshiomhole raised for determination.
 “Unless we intend to stand the law and the established procedures on their head, there is no element of abuse in the instant case,” she ruled.
With the ruling of Court of Appeal, the crisis in APC would have been easier to resolve, given that almost all the governors elected under APC wanted Oshiomhole removed, but Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki on Tuesday announced his resignation from the party. His deputy has also left the party; both citing the crisis with Oshiomhole as reason for leaving.
With the incumbent governor leaving, it is difficult to predict victory for APC in the election coming in the falls this year.
A failure of the party at the Edo governorship polls may scatter the remains of APC, whereas the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is fighting tooth and nail to recover Edo and control the entire south-south region, having captured five states in the six-state region.




Again, Kogi Denounces 'Beautiful Fraud' In COVID-19

DOUBT over reports by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) over COVID-19 cases is deepening as reported cases of the disease in Kogi state are described as “beautiful fraud” by the state government.

Last Wednesday, NCDC announced two cases of COVID-19 in Kogi State but the next day the state’s information commissioner, Kingsley Fanwo, said it was all lies: “a beautiful fraud”.

Featuring on Channels Television, Thursday night, Fanwo explained that the alleged COVID-19 Patient was an Islamic Imam who was stung by bees. He was rushed to a private clinic and later taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Lokoja where the patient was deceived and moved to Abuja. “The man showed no symptom of COVID-19; it was a beautiful fraud,” Fanwo alleged.

He disclosed that members of the Imam’s family were traced and tested by the State Ministry of Health which tested them “but they all turned out negative.”

He added that another two cases referred to the state testing centre by the FMC turned out negative.

“NCDC has said all states of the federation must have COVID-19 even when it was only in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun and Kano States, but we reject in its entirety this fraudulent inclusion of Kogi State on COVID-19 log,” Fanwo said.

In a reaction, the Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the Kogi index case was a referral from the FMC in Lokoja on which he had no influence, adding that normal process was followed.

“There is actually no dilemma in the two cases. They followed absolutely normal practice on the patient that was referred from the Federal Medical Centre to the National Hospital. This is a normal referral pathway when you have a case,” Ihekweazu said.

“The physicians in the National Hospital; I don’t have any influence over the work that they do. They suspected COVID-19 based on the clinical symptoms of the patient, asked for a test and the test came out positive.

“The individual lives in Kogi state and public health response is based on where you live because that’s where your contacts are. So this is not controversial in any way.

”Standard practice was followed. Once the results came out, the state’s Epidemiologist was informed that he has to do contact-tracing around this patient.

”It is the state’s responsibility to do that contact-tracing. So we hope they do it. There is nothing actually controversial in any way about this,” Ihekweazu added.

But Kogi state insisted that it had tested 14 members of the family of the Imam which turned out to be negative, adding that it had capacity to ensure the safety of its people.

“We have capacity for testing. We are well prepared to curtail and manage any case of COVID-19, but we will not accept fictitious declaration of positive cases. We will continue to ensure the safety of our people,” Fanwo said.

A fortnight ago, the state government alleged that it was under pressure from NCDC to accept that it had cases of coronavirus in the state, even though there was none.

Critics agreed that there were cases of COVID-19 in the country but that the situation is exaggerated by officials of NCDC and political collaborators.

In some parts of the country, people have become afraid going to the hospital for normal checks, as health officials are suspected for summing up all cases as COVID-19.

A woman who arrived from London for burial in Benue state (name not given) was reported to have gone for normal check up due to stress, but was said to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Drugs were said to have been given to her but she refused to take them, insisting she was not ill. While being detained, she sent out Whatsapp messages to groups which raised alarm leading to the release of the woman.

Language such as "escape" and "arrested" are being used for patients of COVID-19, making infection or suspected case look like criminal case.

Rights groups such as Nigerian Regional Office of Amnesty International are currently investigating cases of rights abuses by states and federal government task forces on COVID-19.




WHO Suspends Hydroxychloroquine For COVID-19
By Jason Beaubien

THE World Health Organization says it is temporarily halting its clinical trials that use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients over published concerns that the drug may do more harm than good.

The move comes after the medical journal The Lancet reported on Friday that patients getting hydroxychloroquine were dying at higher rates than other coronavirus patients.

The WHO has 3,500 patients from 17 countries enrolled in what it calls the Solidarity Trial. This is an effort overseen by the WHO to find new treatments for COVID-19. The patients in the trial have been randomly assigned to be treated with hydroxychloroquine which is a common malaria drug, or 3 other experimental drugs for treating COVID-19 in various combinations. Only the hydroxychloroquine part of the trial is being put on hold.

"The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and in particular robust, randomized available data to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug [hydroxycholoroquine]," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during an online press conference from Geneva on Monday.

The WHO's chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, says the review was prompted by the article in The Lancet, which was not a randomized control trial but still large.

"While it was still a reporting of observational data," Swaminathan says, distinguishing it from the gold-standard randomized controlled trial, "it came from multiple registries and quite a large number of patients, 96,000 patients." She says the WHO hasn't yet seen data that showed a problem with hydroxychloroquine in its own study but The Lancet article raised questions among many of the investigators involved in the WHO's trial.

"The steering committee met over the weekend, in the light of this uncertainty," Swaminathan says. "We decided we should be proactive, err on the side of caution and suspend enrollment temporarily into the hydroxychloroquine arm [of the Solidarity trial]."

President Trump has advocated for the use of hydroxychloroquine during the pandemic despite limited research into whether it is effective against the virus. The president has said he's been taking hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus. The trials being put on hold by the WHO are investigating its use as a treatment for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, not as a drug to prevent the disease.

The review panel will also check on seven other studies globally including the Recovery Trial in the United Kingdom that are using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients to see if they are seeing similar problems.

Swaminathan says they expect to decide whether to resume testing hydroxychloroquine in the Solidarity Trial in a week or two.




Preventing Spread of COVID-19 In Endoscopy Environment


By Lauren Dembeck, PhD
HEALTHCARE practitioners working in an endoscopy department are at significant risk for exposure to infectious respiratory diseases. Image Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, a team of clinicians from Milan, Italy, a region that has been severely affected by the virus, has reported the specific measures and precautions that their hospital has implemented to prevent further spread of the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2, during endoscopy procedures.1 The article was recently published online in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.1

Endoscopy procedures typically require the endoscopist to be in close proximity to the patient, placing healthcare personnel at increased risk for exposure and infection from SARS-CoV-2-positive patients.1

Repici and colleagues highlighted that the risk of exposure is not only to the endoscopist’s face by virus-carrying airborne droplets but also through possible fecal-oral transmission, as SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in biopsy and stool samples, which may be important when working with asymptomatic patients.1,2  

Spread of the virus via an airborne route also places noninfected patients at risk through aspiration of oral and fecal material via endoscopes.1,2   

The authors explained the importance of establishing a definition for SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as classifying the potential SARS-CoV-2 infection risk in patients undergoing endoscopic examination as low risk, intermediate risk, and high risk according to presentation of symptoms, contact with someone who was known to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, and known to be in high-risk areas during the previous 14 days.1

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After a patient is scheduled for an endoscopic procedure, the team suggests using a nurse-directed triage protocol to survey the patient the day before the procedure by telephone to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and potentially reschedule depending on the patient’s disease and condition.1

Once the patient has arrived for a procedure, the team suggests checking the patient’s body temperature. Based on the preliminary screening, the patient should then be classified according to infection risk; the risk classifications translate into different infection control precautions including suggested personal protective equipment (PPE) for each risk category.
The Milan-based hospital now strictly prohibits caregivers and relatives of patients from entering the endoscopy department, with exceptions only for help with specific patient needs.1

The authors recommend telephone follow-up with dedicated triage at 7 and 14 days after any endoscopy procedure for all patients.1

The team also detailed the proper use and removal of PPE and proper hand hygiene in the endoscopy setting, standardized guidelines for reprocessing of flexible endoscopes and endoscopic accessories, and a decontamination policy for endoscopy rooms.1 Of note, they strongly discourage the reuse of any disposable device and suggest a surgical mask as a substitution when filtering respirators are unavailable, and they encourage the use of 2 pairs of gloves, a skin-covering inner pair and an outer “working” pair, especially when the patient is classified as high risk.1

“In general, establishing infection prevention measures and guideline within an endoscopy department is essential for creating a high-quality and extremely safe environment to protect both patients and personnel,” wrote the authors. “In this new era of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative that these measures be implemented and maintained to avoid further unrecognized spread of the disease.”

1.    Repici A, Maselli R, Colombo M, et al. Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: what the department of endoscopy should knowGastrointest Endosc. 2020;0(0). doi:10.1016/j.gie.2020.03.019
2.    Gu J, Han B, Wang J. COVID-19: Gastrointestinal manifestations and potential fecal-oral transmission [published online February 26, 2020]. Gastroenterology. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2020.02.054





COVID-19: Index Case In Nigeria Tests Negative


CORONAVIRUS index case in Nigeria, an Italian national, who has been receiving treatment in Lagos has tested negative.
According to Lagos Health Commissioner, Prof. Akin Abayomi, the patient was admitted to Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos on February 26 when he fell ill and eventually tested positive to the disease.

“He fell ill on the 26th February and was transferred to Lagos State Bio-security Facilities for isolation and testing. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” Abayomi told newsmen on Thursday.

The Health Commissioner who disclosed this in Lagos, said though it was good news to Nigeria, the patient would not be discharged until the result was confirmed after 48 hours.

The Italian index case entered into Nigeria on February 25 through Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.
All passengers and crew aboard the flight were hunted by the health authorizes for adequate self isolation; the bid recorded some success, but an American visitor to Nigeria reportedly died of the disease last Wednesday in Ekiti State while his driver tested positive to the disease.

Meanwhile, wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari tweeted on Thursday that she was shutting down her office for two weeks in keeping with the advice of health authorities.

She said some of her staff including her daughter who returned from United Kingdom would also be on self Isolation within the same period.

Some states in the country have shut down schools in their states as a measure to curtail spread of the disease. Lagos State similarly announced a ban on religious gathering of more than 50 persons, while the Federal Government banned its public officers from foreign trips.

However, President Donald Trump of the United States of America announced, Thursday, that his administration had approved the use of Chloroquine Phosphate for the treatment of the disease.





COVID-19: Nigeria Records 7th Case, Bans Foreign Travels


A seventh case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been recorded in Lagos as authorities of the city plans discouraging large processions including religious services.

Lagos State Information Commissioner, Mr. Gbenga omotosho told newsmen, Wednesday, that the government would suggest shuting down Islamic Friday juma'at and Christian Sunday services to religious leaders in the state.

But most religious leaders in the country are of the strong view that the pandemic disease largely requires prayers.

While Federal Government, Tuesday, announced a ban on foreign trips, Pastor TB Joshua predicted that the virus would disappear at the end of March 2020, arguing that strange disease is not for believers in the Lord Jesus.

Government announced a ban on all public officers in the country from embarking on foreign trips as a measure to stop importation of the endemic coronavirus (COVID-19).

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, who made the announcement late Tuesday after the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the ban would remain until further notice and would affect 13 countries where the virus is endemic.

Such countries are China, Iran, Germany, South Korea, Italy, USA, UK, Switzerland, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, France and Spain.

“We have decided to advise that all officials in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies including parastals, that government has ban all forms of travels out of the country for whatever reasons,” said Mustapha.

“Whether for meetings, bilateral, multilateral, conferences, seminars, workshops and any form of other ceremonies.
“And this ban will remain in place until further notice and until the situation of pandemic nature of the COVID-19 stops.

“By this notice, any prior approval to travel abroad on official assignment during this period is accordingly rescinded”, SGF added.

All citizens are also advised to cancel or postpone all non-essential travel abroad in their own interests.

“This is especially so, especially when it comes to the countries known to be seriously affected by the COVID-19.

“Secondly, we urge anyone returning to Nigeria from any country to strictly self isolate for 14 days.

“And that all people returning from countries with high community transmission rate, especially countries that have recorded a thousand cumulative cases and above would be actively isolated for 14 days by the health authorities,” said Mustapha.

Mustapha also disclosed that the committee which he heads advised the government to update health emergency structure in the country to a maximum level to stop further spread of the disease.

Many African and Western countries have taken similar measures, though presently sinking the global economy to the lowest in two decades with signs of further slide.

Nigeria has recorded seven cases of COVID-19, the first happened to have arrived the country from Italy on a business. He was treated and quarantined in Lagos. Six more cases have been reported, though one of the cases was said to have tested negative when tested a second time.

After a second examination of what would have been the second case, the first test which was positive was found to have been in error, as the patient tested negative.

Observers said the government took difficult but necessary step given the porous nature of the Nigerian population. It is also observed that for the ban to be effective, land borders; water ways and ports should be adequately policed to check entries of travellers from endemic countries through neighbouring West and Central African countries.

Authorities in various countries around the world are taken various steps to check the spread of the disease in their respective countries. American President Donald Trump early in the week commissioned a German pharmaceutical company to produce new drugs for treatment of the disease in only United States of America.

The disease is reported to have appeared in over 30 African countries, with the first death in sub-Saharan Africa reported in Burkina Faso on Wednesday.





Court Orders Release Of Sanusi


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the release of the dethroned Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi 11.
Sanusi who was dethroned last Monday and banished to Awe in Nasarawa State applied to the court seeking a declaration enforcing his freedom of movement and other rights.

The respondents to the application are the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN); Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu; Director-General of the Department of State Service, Yusuf Bichi; and the Attorney-General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar.

Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court granted the interim order following an ex parte application by his lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) late morning on Friday.

Justice Chikere also ordered that the order for his release should be served on the respondents to the application.
Before his dethronement last Monday, Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria had a frosty relationship with Governor Gandudje of Kano State. In the statement by the state government dethroning him, Sanusi was accused of insubordination to constituted authorities and refusal to attend usual meetings with officials of the state government.

Before his dethronement, Sanusi had also criticized the leadership of the north of under-developing the region, arguing that education of the northern youth was paramount to the future of the region. During the recent 60th birthday anniversary of Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna, Sanusi called on the governors in the north to embark on massive reforms which could increase awareness for education of the youth in the region.

He warned that quota system which had sustained the north despite the region’s inadequate manpower could change someday, warning that the consequences might be grave for the north.

He has maintained that dethroning him would never remove the truth.

After his banishment youths in the north reacted, condemning the dethronement; making the authorities to beef up security around the dethroned Emir.

Several number of rights lawyers, most being Senior Advocates of Nigeria, have signified their interest in fighting for the enforcement of Sanusi’s rights.




Okowa Congratulates Okonjo-Iweala On Her New Job


DELTA State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on Sunday congratulated Nigeria's former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on her appointment as Chairman, Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) of South Africa.

Okonjo-Iweala, an illustrious Deltan from the Ogwashi-Uku royal family, was a two-time Minister of Finance in Nigeria, who led the country's economy to exit foreign debt obligations during her first term under President Olusegun Obasanjo.

She went further to grow the nations Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to become the largest in Africa in her second stint under President Goodluck Jonathan. 

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, Okowa said that he was elated to hear of Okonjo-Iweala's appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa to head South Africa's PEAC. 

He described Okonjo-Iweala as a brilliant, competent, world-class economist and international development expert whose works over the years distinguished her globally.

He stated that the former minister remained a worthy ambassador of Delta and Nigeria as well as a great role model for the girl-child.

"I am elated to hear of your appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. 

"Your appointment is indeed, a testament to your competence and experience as a renowned economist and international development expert. 

"On behalf of my family, the Government and people of Delta, I congratulate a worthy ambassador of Delta and Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on her appointment into South Africa’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council as not just a member but as chairman.

"As you take on this onerous but distinguishing assignment in another country, I pray and urge you to re-enact that, which you have always done - bringing pride and honour to Delta and Nigeria.

"It is without doubt that your pedigree and impeccable footprints in monetary and economic administration in Nigeria and at the World Bank stood you out for this sublime international assignment.

"As you continue in this remarkable trajectory, we wish you success and in all your other endeavors," Okowa stated.

Okonjo-Iweala met last Friday with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the country’s Economic Advisory Council to begin discussion on the country’s economic growth.

South African economy is presently facing a second-time recession in two years amidst poor power supply.






Gov. Okowa Challenges FG ON Herdsmen Menace


THE governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has challenged the Federal Government to lead the direction on what should be done to properly check the menace of criminally-minded herdsmen in the country.

The governor made the call on Monday in Asaba while presenting 35 pickup vans to security agencies in the state, against the backdrop of recent killings of people by the herdsmen in Uwheru in Ugheri North Council Area and Issle-Asagba in Aniocha-North Council Area of the state.

Not fewer than 11 farmers were killed in parts of Uwheru Kingdom the penultimate week by the herdsmen who are also suspected to be responsible for the several raiding of schools in Issele-Asagba.
Prominent men in Uwheru Kingdom met last Saturday on the issue, placing a ban on the sale and consumption of beef (cow meat) throughout the kingdom considered the largest single clan among Urhobo people of Nigeria.

Governor Okowa condemned the brazen attitude of the herdsmen who usually invade communities; most times attempt to take over their farmlands or brazenly graze their cattle on farm crops, wielding prohibited AK 47 assault rifles to deter resistance.

The governor said that with strong statements from the Federal Government, security agencies would know what to do.

According to Okowa, “as it concerns herdsmen menace, on the part of the Federal Government, a lot needs to be done; we need strong statements on what should be done for the security agencies to further do their work.

“If you are going into any particular place, it is only just fair that you don't walk into a community and  seize the place, that is not right, and for anybody carrying arms in the name of being a herdsmen, it is obviously wrong.

"They are not licensed to carry arms, not to talk of AK 47 assault rifles, and anyone seen carrying arms is a criminal.

"Beyond those that carry arms, you don't walk into a farm and begin to graze on it; that is not the way it should be; so, there are a whole lot of issues and we need strong voice from the federal authorities which will assist the security agencies.

"In this state, we will continue to do the best that we can. A lot of criminals have been apprehended and one thing that we have said is that we are not giving any land for settlement.

"So, we need to continue to work hard and to liaise with other state governments in the South-South and at the national level to ensure that we are able to achieve a more conducive environment for investments to take place," governor Okowa said during the presentation of the vans.

He commended the security agencies in the state and urged them to continue to do more, particularly during this dry season.

The governor stated that there was need to find ways to curtail the criminalities involved in cattle-rearing, noting, however, that people were aware that some herdsmen were civil in their approach.

"We are also aware that there are Hausa/Fulanis who have been in Delta for decades, but the criminal elements, who are out to maim our people must be apprehended.

"This will enable us and those who have been settlers over several years in this state to continue to be at peace with each other.

"It is on this note that I will formally handover the vehicles to security agencies realizing that as the years go by the various vehicles that they have begins to wear out.

"We thought that it was necessary to begin a process of replacement to improve on their ability to move from one point to the other and today, for a start we are going to give 35 pick-up vans for the various security outfits and we hope that we can add a few more in the next few weeks.

"I want to use this opportunity to appreciate what they have been doing, because I do know that we have some security challenges and we know that the incidence of criminal activities have grossly reduced in the last few months.

"I want to urge that the partnership between the security agencies must continue to be strengthened; there is a need for us to continue to share intelligence and to work together as a team because that will definitely help us to further achieve peace in this state," he said.

The Brigade Commander 63 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Asaba, Brig Gen. Ibrahim Jallo; Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Mohammed Hafiz and the Director of Department of State Security (DSS), Mr Ademola Adebiyi, received the vehicles on behalf of their respective security agencies.

In a brief remark, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz thanked the governor noting that his action testified to the governor’s interest in protecting lives and investments in Delta State.
"This is a testimony to show that the  governor cares for the security of lives in Delta as these vehicles will boost security in the state and I want to assure you that the vehicles will be fully utilized," Hafiz said.



PDP Takes Over Bayelsa Amidst Violence


FOLLOWING the sacking of APC governor of Balyesa State last Thursday by the Supreme Court, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 2019 governorship, Douye Diri, has been sworn in as the Governor of the State.

In its Thursday's ruling, the Supreme Court directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue certificate of return to Diri immediately. It was issued Friday morning some hours before his swearing in ceremony.

The deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has also been sworn in.

CourtlyNews had reported last December that though INEC declared the governorship election of November 16 in Bayelsa conclusive, it was not yet settled as the former governor, Seriake Dickson, continued to insist that there was no such election in the state as declared by INEC.

“The reality in Bayelsa is that there was no election. It is an insult to the integrity of institutions and our people to refer to what happened on November 16 as an election,” Dickson said.

The November 16 election in Bayelsa was widely condemned for various irregularities. Election Petition Tribunal and Appeal Court upheld the results as announced by INEC. Their judgments were reversed last Thursday by the Supreme Court, leading to Diri’s swearing in.

After receiving certificate of return from INEC, his residence in Yenogoa, the state capital, was attacked by alleged supporters of APC. The state radio was also attacked by protesters of the Supreme Court judgment, said to be APC supporters.

The Peoples Democratic Party in a statement on Friday called on the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Muhammad, to hold APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, accountable for the violence, alleging that the attacks were a response to his earlier threats by which he warned that no new governor would be sworn as a result of the Court ruling.

“Oshiomhole must be brought to book and stopped from the use of garrulity and clear misuse of language to cause a crisis in our country.

“He should, therefore, be pulled in immediately for prosecution for inciting violence and arson in the state,” said Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP national publicity secretary in a statement last Friday.

“The violence and arson being perpetuated in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital, on Friday, was in furtherance of the Oshiomole’s statement. It was a direct call for sedition and violent subversion of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the statutory authority of the Supreme Court and the mandate of the people of Bayelsa state,” the statement added.

Bayelsa State Police Command has announced a-three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state.

An excited former President Goodluck Jonathan in his tweeter handle expressed confidence in the ability of the new governor to govern the state.

Jonathan said Diri had worked with him as a commissioner when he was governor of the state. “So I am without doubt that you will live up to the expectations of our people,” said Jonathan.

He called on the people of Bayelsa to be law-abiding, peaceful and embrace the transition in all sincerity, and work together towards a united and prosperous State.





Imo Gov Election: Trial of Nigerian Judiciary


THERE doesn’t seem to be such a bad time for the Nigerian Judiciary as now, even in the dark days of the military era.
Apart from the recent controversial ruling by the Supreme Court on the Imo State governorship election, which critics say lacks credibility, a judge – Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja – was reported by the Punch edition of December 23 2019 to have withdrawn from a case involving the embattled publisher of Sahara Republic, Omoleye Sowore, saying he was not credible to adjudicate any matter involving Sowore whom, the judge said, had criticized him some years earlier.

Rights lawyer and a senior advocate, Femi Falana, agreed that in justice the judge was right. But such is the poor aura surrounding the Nigerian judges, sadly cast upon them by the involvement of some of them acting out scripts in the corrupt political system in the country, albeit pockets of resistance by a few of the judges, who, unfortunately in a converse, are neither popular nor rich, given their resolve to defend their integrity and calling.

Of course, the last has not been heard about the recent ruling of the Supreme Court on Imo State election of March 9 2019. Critics say it speaks volume about Nigerian judges: a woe and bad omen to the judiciary and the nation.

The Court nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor and declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the winner of the governorship election.

The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad gave the unanimous decision while deferring date for details.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the lead-judgment held that Ihedioha who was declared winner of the March 9 governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was “not validly elected.”

In the election as announced by INEC, Ihedioha polled 273,404 votes ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance (AA), Uche Nwosu, who polled a total of 190,364 votes while the candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume, came third with 144,676 votes.

However, Nwosu, who is son-in-law of former governor Rochas Okorocha, withdrew his appeal before the final judgment of the Supreme Court.

Like Uzodinma, who came fourth with 96,458 votes, Nwosu challenged his loss at the election petition tribunal but also lost. He appealed to Court of Appeal like two others did, but they all lost leading to their separate appeals to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had earlier in December ruled that Nwosu was not a valid candidate for the March 9 election; leaving Ihedioha, Ararume and Uzodinma in order of polling scores.

Uzodinma of APC who polled fourth was declared winner of the election. In the final judgment, the Apex Court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha. It directed that a fresh Certificate of Return be issued to Uzodinma for his immediate swearing in.

Common question being asked by critics is that if Ihedioha was not “validly elected”, his runner-up, Nwosu, declared persona-non-grata, what happened to the next candidate, Ararume, who polled third in the election?

Observers said it has been a statement or declaration by the Supreme Court, short of a court ruling as the details are generally doubtful, which were not immediately released with the judgment.

A group of lawyers in a WhatsApp conversation over the ruling gives a sad look of the future of the nation’s democracy, if the judiciary is not truly reformed. They noted that the nation’s judiciary is facing a trial which may require sincere attention of the national conscience. Below is the conversation sent to CourtlyNews on Saturday January 18; but two pieces of the conversation are excluded because they are also in the speech of PDP chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus; including them below may betray the sought anonymity of members of the WhatsApp Group:

  1. “Those accusing Emeka Ihedioha’s team as doing so little are not informed... They did what they should do but Supreme Court chose their way.”
  2. Ihedioha’s team filed a cross petition which the briefs were adopted alongside Hope Uzodinma’s appeal.”
  3. “The Supreme Court in its judgment never referred to it (2) as they expected to.”
  4. “The Supreme Court merely adopted and relied on the first two issues for determination raised by the appellant and entered judgment.”
  5. INEC at the tribunal up to the Supreme Court disowned the election results from those polling units as elections were not held therein.”
  6. The question that should have bothered the Supreme Court was: ‘Where did Mr. Hope Uzodinma get those form EC8As which was not tendered by INEC, rather was tendered by a policeman through subpoena.”
  7. “No matter how anyone may try to defend this, it is a sad judgment for our democracy. Sad that we must live with it; but for posterity sake, I’m making my position known on this matter. It is about our Constitutional Democracy; not about anyone or party.”

Expectedly, the leadership of the PDP after its meeting on Thursday January 16 rejected the judgment and called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Muhammad, to resign, alleging that he had been compromised. The party also demanded a review and reversal of the judgment.

The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, after a meeting of the party’s  members of the National Working Committee (NWC), said the Court’s declaration was a coup d’état against the people and a death sentence upon democracy in the country.

His disturbing speech reads as follows: “In the light of extraordinary circumstances that vitiate that judgment as a product of manipulation and a clear coup d’état against the will of the people of Imo State, we demand that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Imo governorship election be reviewed and reversed in the interest of justice.

“Furthermore, we demand that Justice Tanko Muhammad, the CJN and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP in the Supreme Court.

“We state for the records that the Supreme Court under Justice Tanko Muhammad shall be held responsible if there is any breakdown of law and order in any state as a result of judgments procured solely for political rather than judicial reasons as is currently happening.

“The Supreme Court, in a host of cases, the latest and most celebrated being Atiku Vs Buhari & Others, consistently decided that for a petitioner to succeed in an allegation of infraction of any provision of the Electoral Act, especially one complaining about malpractice, as in this case, wrongful exclusion of votes, the petitioner must call witnesses polling unit by polling unit.”
Secondus further raised certain disturbing issues which tend to cast serious doubt in the entire judiciary if not judiciously resolved.

They include: “The question is, how many witnesses did Uzodinma/APC call from the 388 polling units from where the Supreme Court allocated votes to him?

“The so-called results from the 388 polling units were rightfully rejected, in line with several decisions of the Supreme Court, by the tribunal and Court of Appeal as it was merely dumped on the tribunal in a Ghana-Must-Go bag, by a policeman who had no mandate of the police to testify at the tribunal.”

“It is one of the great wonders of the world how the Supreme Court opened the bag, counted the results and added them to only the APC candidate.

“What is more perplexing is the fact that INEC produced a schedule of reasons why the results were not produced from the 388 units.

“Indeed, election did not even take place in most of the units for one reason or another, like violence, and so no; result could possibly be obtained from those units. The results were not merely rejected or cancelled by INEC.

“None of the candidates or their counsels, except perhaps APC, as we speak, is aware of the number of votes scored by each party from the 388 polling units. The tribunal or Court of Appeal did not mention or ascribe any figure from the units to any party in their decisions.

“In fact, in the cross-examination of the APC candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, he could not read any figure from the ‘Oluwole’ (forged) results. He said that the figures were not clear. And so it beats our imagination where the Supreme Court conjured and manufactured the figures it used in declaring Uzodinma/APC as duly elected.

“Does the Supreme Court have powers to formulate and allocate votes as election results?

“It is on record that the votes analysis from the Imo governorship election as at March 11, 2019 when the results were declared were as follows: Total Accredited Votes: 823,743; Total Valid Votes: 739,485; Cancelled Votes: 25,130; Total Valid Votes: 714,355. But at the Supreme Court the Total Valid Votes have increased to 950,952.

“This account for 127, 209 votes in excess of total accredited votes of 823,743.

“Can the Supreme Court sit in Abuja on January 14, 2020 to increase the total number of accredited votes in election held in Imo State on March 9, 2019?

“Is there any law, which permits the Supreme Court or anyone else for that matter, to unilaterally increase the total accredited votes by any margin after the accreditation and or the election?

“Where did the Supreme Court get the numbers to declare Uzodinma/APC from a paltry 96,456 votes over Ihedioha/PDP votes of 276,404?

“What was the evidence of perversity? It is important to also bring to the consciousness of well-meaning members of the public, particularly Nigerians, that there were two elections on March 9, 2019; namely, governorship and the House of Assembly.

“As already known, there was only one accreditation for the two elections. The APC did not win any of the 27 seats in the Imo State House of Assembly, which were won as follows: PDP won 13; AA won 8; APGA won 6; APC won 0; Total is 27.

“The above further questions and confront the rationale for the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo State.

“How then did the Supreme Court arrive at its decision to allocate results to void a lawful governorship election and imposed an unelected person as governor?

“If the people no longer repose confidence in the Supreme Court, then our democracy, national cohesion and stability are at great risk.

“The constitution of the panel that heard the appeal itself was a product of drama,”

“But can any judge who sat on that panel go home and sleep well?

“Can any judge who sat on that panel face his creator and swear that impartial justice was done? We think not.

“Can the PDP rightly trust the impartiality and independence of the panel headed by Justice Tanko Muhammad, the CJN, to adjudicate on the remaining cases involving the PDP like Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa, Plateau and others?

“Is the same fate awaiting the governors of these states that are controlled by the PDP and other states like Kano where the PDP clearly won and was robbed?

“Should Justice Tanko Muhammad and his colleagues on the Imo governorship panel not recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP?”

These are worrisome questions which only spirit of impunity may deny answers from both the presidency and the judiciary. Given the above questions, Secondus states as follows:

“Our party has it on good authority that Justice Tanko (Muhammad) and his panel are working on instruction from certain forces in the presidency to use the Supreme Court to take over states lawfully won by the PDP and award them to the APC.

“The PDP, therefore, advises Justice Tanko not to allow himself to be used to push our nation to the path of anarchy and constitutional crisis as any further attempt to subvert justice in the pending petitions on Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Adamawa as well as Kano and Plateau states will be firmly and vehemently resisted.

“In order to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order, the PDP demands that Justice Tanko Muhammad immediately steps down as CJN and chairman of the National Judicial Council as Nigerians have lost confidence in him and a Supreme Court under his leadership.

“Justice Tanko must not head the panel to determine the remaining election petitions before the Supreme Court.”
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who delivered the lead judgment is also accused of being constantly used to destroy the Nigerian democracy, recalling that the judge had earlier delivered three of the most doubtful and controversial judgments.

After critical analysis, former president Atiku Abubakar who had earlier accepted the ruling in good faith described it as a threat to Democracy.

“The founders of this great party (PDP), l, members of G34 and subsequently our great party fought and brought democracy and development to our great country.

“Our party governed very well from 1999 up to 2015. As true democrats, we conceded power to the opposition in the hope that it will further entrench democracy, development and unity. But alas, Nigerians have been proved wrong by the governing APC.

“It has become very necessary for us to mobilise Nigeria to resist the threat to our democracy, unity and development,” said Atiku.

While Secondus feared anarchy, the chairman of PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jubrin, said the situation resembled war.

Secondus concluded his speech by quoting Thomas Jefferson, the third American president saying ‘when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty.’

“This is the point we are now as the APC is using the highest court in the country to legitimize injustice,” said Secondus.
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, who read the communiqué of the NEC also said “the PDP observes that this calculated injustice perpetuated by the Supreme Court has proven that the judiciary under Justice Tanko

Mohammed is no longer the last hope of the common man but rather the lost hope of the common man in Nigeria.”
Shortly before the 2019 general election, the federal government raised alibi against former CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who was frustrated and removed from office before Justice Tanko Mohammad was appointed.

Observers fear that it was like a script which is now manifesting at the expense of peace, justice and the nation’s democracy.




Supreme Court Sacks Ihedioha, Uzodinma to be Sworn In


THE Supreme Court in Nigeria has nullified the March 9 election of Imo State Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Court declared Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the winner of the governorship election.
The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Tanko Muhammadu gave the unanimous decision on Tuesday in Abuja.

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who delivered the lead-judgment held that Ihedioha who was declared winner of the March 9 governorship election was “not validly elected.”

In the election of March 9 2019 as announced by INEC, Ihedioha polled 273,404 votes ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance (AC), Uche Nwosu, who polled a total of 190,364 votes while the candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume, came third with 144676 votes.

However, Nwosu who is son-in-law of former governor Rochas Okorocha withdrew his appeal before the final judgment of the Supreme Court.

Okorocha had favoured his son-in-law to contest the election under APC, but was condemned by the APC national leadership and party chieftains leading to the defection of Nwosu to AC where he eventually contested to succeed his father-in-law. He came second in the election.

Like Uzodinma, who came fourth with 96,458 votes, Nwosu challenged his loss at the election petition tribunal but also lost. He appealed to Court of Appeal like two others did, but they all lost leading to their separate appeals to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had earlier in December ruled that Nwosu was not a valid candidate for the March 9 election.

In the Tuesday final judgment, the Apex Court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw Certificate of Return issued to Ihedioha. It directed that a fresh Certificate of Return be issued to Uzodinma for his immediate swearing in.



Adeboye Declares War Against Persecutors


NOT many fools might continue to say ‘there is no God’ when saints deny themselves food and water to cry over the plights of the poor and the persecuted.

“Every form of persecution in the government, persecution of civil people, persecution of the old and young in all our land, in all parts of our nation should come to an end.

“Every form of persecution, going on in all the nations, starting from Nigeria tonight, oh Lord, arise on our behalf, fight our battles for us. Devil, whatever it is that you have been doing ceases tonight; an end has come to you.”

This is the resolved prayer of Mrs. Foluke Adeboye, wife of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria.

It sounded like a holy anger while leading over a million worshippers to pray for Nigeria and other countries at the Church’s 22nd Holy Ghost Congress last Saturday. It is an annual event, usually held at the Redemption Camp on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway southwest Nigeria.

With this year’s theme, ‘The Great Turnaround’, she declared: “We cannot afford to have this kind of topic and the devil will still cheat us. It is too late for the devil because the word of the Lord is prevailing over every action of the devil in all our nations. God will arise and fight for people that are being persecuted in all nations.

“We are going to pray that in all our nations where Christians are being persecuted and denied what our Father has given to us as our inheritance that our Father should fight for us.

She however noted that Christians allow sin to remain a barrier between them and God, arguing that “without sin, there cannot be punishment.”

She advised that it pays to accept one’s wrong doing with a view to repenting and obtaining God’s mercy.

“We have to humble ourselves and be convinced that we are sinners most especially in this nation-Nigeria, apart from all other nations. We all know who we are as individuals. We say we are of the Lord’s, but we deny the power in
Him. We don’t live by his word; we don’t obey his commandments and we do things the way we like.”

She called for mercy. “Therefore, in all humility and soberness, let’s ask God to please have mercy on us because we have not measured up.”

Contributing, Pastor Adeboye admonished worshippers to always confess challenges confronting them and exercise the spirit of divine faith.

 “Our turnaround and blessings begin the moment we say enough is enough,” he said; adding: “the moment we say ‘no’ to sufferings, sickness, loneliness, fruitless efforts and barrenness in our lives, our turnaround begins.”

He reminded the worshippers of the efficacy of faith, recalling the story of the blind Batimus.

“Let us say without any doubt that we are tired of suffering, the devil does not respect titles, sickness does not recognize that you have doctorate degrees,” Adeboye declared.





Nigerians Aplaud Jailing of Senator Orji Kalu


NIGERIAN Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has been jailed for fraud, elicitng jubilation among many Nigerians. The senator was sentenced to 12 years in jail last Thursday for defrauding Abia State Government a total sum of N7.65billion while he was governor of the state.

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on October 31, 2016, preferred a 34-count charge against Kalu bordering on a fraud of N3.2 billion.

Following further revelations, EFCC amended the charges on July 16, 2018 to 39 counts while the amount involved increased to N7.65 billion. He was charged along his company Slok Nigeria Limited and a former director of Finance and Accounts in Abia Government House, Mr. Ude Udeogu.

In his judgment, Justice Mohammed Idris found them guilty as submitted by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).
The EFCC had argued that Kalu procured Slok Nigeria Limited, a company which his family solely owned “…to retain in its account , domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc , Apapa branch , Lagos , an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208 .7...”
According to EFCC prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the N7.2bn “formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government and which was converted into several bank drafts before they were paid into the said company’s account;” an offence which violated Section 17 (c) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition ) Act, 2004. The convicts were therefore sentenced under Section 16 of the same Act.

Kalu and the other defendants were also accused of receiving a total of N460m, stolen from the Abia State Government between July and December 2002, which, according to the prosecutor, breached Section 427 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

Although, Kalu and others were found guilty on the multiple counts, the sentences would run concurrently. The court also ruled that the money should be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Though Kalu and others have right to appeal the judgment, it appears to be one of the most popular judgment in recent times. Many Nigerians across the cities are jubilating over the development, for it is rare finding a rich politician in Nigerian guilty of fraud allegations. A shoe dealer in Aba, Metieze Ejiogwu, called it “the biggest catch so far.” Some others look forward to the jailing of more corrupt politicians whom critics accuse of stealing so much at the expense of the poor masses. It is believed that many of them, who crossed to the ruling APC, did so to evade prosecution.  




Soyinka At 85 With Prostrate Cancer


WE all like to think of our literary heroes as immortal — especially Professor Wole Soyinka. For so long, this venerable figure of African letters appeared untouched by age and time; indeed, he turned 85 this year. So it came across as a real shock when we learned that Soyinka had been previously diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Soyinka, it seems, was as human and as susceptible to mortal travails as the rest of us.

In a recent mini-documentary with BBC Life Clinic’s Charles Mboglu, Soyinka revealed that he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer during one of his routine check-ups in 2014. The news hit his family hard. “She just put her head on the steering wheel like that,” Soyinka said of his wife, recalling the moment they both learned of his condition. “I said start the car now. She just sat there like that.”

Soyinka, however, was optimistic. “I said, ‘Don’t worry, we are going to fight this together,'” he told Mboglu. The cancer, according to Soyinka, was at its earliest stages when it was diagnosed, and so not irreversible. Five years later, it is safe to say Soyinka has recovered from it and is in good health.

The doctors treated Soyinka with proton therapy. The therapy, according to BBC Life Clinic, is not yet available in Nigeria even though 13,000 cases of prostate cancer were reported there in 2018 alone. In the mini-documentary, Soyinka states that he does not see why Nigerians must travel abroad to receive such treatment for cancer, and that it is “a shame” that such treatments are currently unavailable in the country. “I do not see why that kind of treatment or similar treatment should not be available,” he says. “I don’t understand why there should not be a choice.”

The documentary also captures Soyinka’s strategy for maintaining his health. “I don’t go to the gym, and I do not jog,” he says.

In fact, as he adds with typical wryness, he thinks that some of these joggers he sees on the street “should go and jog behind walls, they look ridiculous.” Soyinka opts instead to go for walks, or into the bush to hunt.

According to BBC Life Clinic, Soyinka “is on the board of the African Cancer Centre and his story remains an inspiration to many still fighting cancer.” “Cancer is not a death sentence,” Soyinka declares. “It’s a labor of willpower. Some hard labor is involved, but ultimately, you can be victorious.”
Source: Brittle Papers


'Pastor' arrested for rape, money rituals


A money ritual man who paraded himself as a pastor has been arrested and paraded by the police in Enugu, southeast Nigeria
The man, Sunday Egbo, was arrested after he allegedly raped a female member of his church, Christ Mercy Ministry.

Enugu State Police Commissioner, Ahmed Abdur-rahman said Sunday invited the female member of his church to his house on November 9, 2019 pretending to conduct a deliverance service on her.

“On arrival, the pastor took her to his house and left while pretending to go and bring other people, who were supposed to participate in the programme. He returned around 11pm, dragged her into his room, brought out a magic stone and threatened to kill her if she raised the alarm.

“He ordered her to remove her clothes, but the victim refused and the pastor slapped her and tore her clothes and raped her.
“Egbo seized her pants, brassiere and brought out a small bottle and wanted to insert it in her private parts, but she struggled and ran naked to the door and shouted, which attracted neighbours, who invited the police to rescue her and arrest the pastor,” the police commissioner revealed.

After diligent search in his residence, police discovered a miniature coffin, flute, female underwear and other strange items.
Sunday confessed to journalists that he raped the young girl in his house and that he was told by a witchdoctor in Kogi State, north central Nigeria, that he would become a millionaire after performing certain rituals which included sleeping with women.

“I paid the native doctor N200,000 to get the coffin and flute. He told me to do certain things, after which I would get a Ghana-Must-Go bag full of money in my room.

“But after two weeks, the money did not come as the native doctor had assured me,” Sunday said.

Before this incident, it was revealed by victims that some men pretending to be pastors visit beaches for power and money making. Most of their victims have been women, who, for various life problems, go to them for deliverance having been deceived with Christianity.



Uduaghan bows, congratulates Manager


FORMER Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, who finally lost his bid to the Senate has congratulated his opponent, James Manager, for his victory at the Appeal Court.

Announcing his fate to his supporters, he thanked them for persevering with him while the case lasted.
“It is no longer news that the outcome of today’s Appeal Court judgment did not go in my favour as the judgment of the Election

Petitions Tribunal in Asaba was set aside by the Appellate Court sitting in Benin City,” Uduaghan announced.

“I want to first appreciate everyone who was in the trenches with me throughout this journey. Please do not despair. There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in; whether it is politics or any other endeavour. I cherish the input of everyone, families, friends, political party, supporters and the good people of Delta South Senatorial District,” he added.

In a rather language of a diplomat, he said he accepted the judgment of the Appeal Court which didn’t seem to have satisfied him. He also asked his supporters to accept the judgment while he congratulated his opponent for his victory.

“I am happy that throughout the elections and the tribunals, our peaceful process as a Senatorial District was tested. Recall I withdrew from the race in 2014 as a result of the threat to peace. In 2019 however, an itsekiri man could campaign freely in Ijaw area and an Ijaw man could campaign freely in itsekiri area. Itsekiris voted for Ijaws, and Ijaws voted for Itsekiris. There was no case of violence anywhere. For me this is a big victory for peace in our Senatorial District.

“The loss at the Appeal Court today, was as a result of a pre-election matter that the court entertained. This was a matter that was not addressed at the lower tribunal, which ought to be the first place that any prayer whatsoever relating to election matters should have been introduced. Well, the judiciary has had their say and I have accepted the outcome in good faith.
“I must put on record that it was a period of experiencing the “enemy within ” at another level.

“I have formally called my brother, Sen James Manager to congratulate him.

“My brother, Sen James E. Manager, congratulations once more on your victory. I wish you well as you represent our people at the hollowed Chamber again.

“The contest is over now, it is in the past. I urge my supporters to put this behind them and focus on the future which holds a lot in store for all of us.”

Uduaghan who governed Delta for eight years, had contested for the Delta South Senatorial District at the February 23 election under All Peoples Congress (APC). He lost to James Manager, candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but he applied to the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba challenging his lost. The tribunal nullified the election and ordered a repeat of the election but Uduaghan rejected the ruling and appealed the judgment to Appeal Court demanding to be declared outright winner of the February 23 election.

The Appeal Court neither granted his appeal not upheld the ruling of the Tribunal but rather confirmed the election of James Manager thereby setting aside the judgment of the Tribunal which partially favoured Uduaghan.

Uduaghan left the PDP in an inglorious way by defaulting in the power rotation arrangement of the party. Shortly before the 2015 governorship elections, he declared support for a former Permanent secretary Tony Obuh, a kinsman of current governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. Obuh, who before the governor’s interest in him, was not known to have declared interest for governorship. He suddenly resigned and contested for the PDP ticket but lost to Okowa.

Political analysts speculated that Uduaghan’s plan was to ensure that Okowa and Obuh lost by shared the votes from the Delta North at the primary election. It was believed that such situation would have enhanced victory for Uduaghan’s actual candidate, David Edevbie, his Finance Commissioner, who hailed from Delta Centre, the same constituency with James Ibori who handed power to Uduaghan after being governor for eight years. Delta North leaders understood the plan and quickly summoned a marathon meeting on the eve of the primary election.

Chaired by octogenarian Asagba of Asaba, Obi Chike Edozien, the leaders appealed to all aspirants from Delta North to step down for Okowa. Sources said all the aspirants, except Victor Ochei, former speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, agreed. Uduaghan eventually defected to APC where he contested for senate in the last February 23 elections but lost to Manager.

Nevertheless, it is expected by PDP supporters that Okowa, who will conclude his second tenure in May 2023, will not mind what Uduaghan attempted to do, but rather encourage a successor from either South or Central Senatorial District of the state in tandem with the zoning arrangement of PDP which has produced governors of the state since 1999.




Border closure: Nigeria's Customs seize 34 containers of rice


THE Nigeria Customs Service, Tuesday, announced that it seized 34 containers of smuggled rice put at Duty Paid Value of 2.7billion naira roughly equivalent of $7.6million.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, who made the announcement, said the containers were smuggled through the Tin Can Island port in Lagos.

He noted that the partial closure of Nigerian borders with some neighbouring countries of Benin and Niger might have made the importers to divert the items through the seaports.

“Specifically we are aware that the partial closure of the land borders has resulted in the diversion of some cargoes back to our seaports,” Ali said.

Like many other government officials had defended the closure of the borders, Ali said it would encourage national economic growth among other things.

 “While we welcome this development which no doubt will boost revenue, improve our trade facts and figures and sustain our diversification efforts, we have also recorded a number of seizures of unwholesome products which otherwise would have been smuggled through the borders.”

He remarked that there might had been some negative effects of the border closure on importers who might had paid for certain consignments before the closure, but said the Customs would beef up monitoring of the ports to avoid further smuggling.

“Realizing that there may be a possible backlash to the closure of the land borders, I directed all seaports and airports to beef up surveillance and intercept any illicit and prohibited consignment for which attempt for their smuggling may be made through these entry points.
“This decision was made considering that those consignments may have been paid for and the importers will devise entry means to ensure they are delivered to their warehouses in Nigeria.”

In a similar development, a combined team of soldiers, customs personnel and police raided Ogbogonogo market in Asaba Delta State capital last Saturday, seizing bags of rice considered imported. Sources said similar raids are ongoing across the federation, believing that importers have continued to smuggle bags of rice into the country as Christmas approaches, given that rice is usually shared in the country as gift items during Yuletide.

Ali revealed that some of the bags of rice seized in Lagos had expired while some others were about to expire.

Importation of rice is prohibited in Nigeria. The government believed that the measure would encourage local rice farmers and millers, but in April this year, Association of Rice Processors of Nigeria complained that over 20million bags of rice were smuggled into the country in the first three months of the year. Smuggling of rice carries three years jail term in Nigeria.

Many international groups had condemned Nigeria’s action, saying it is against free trade accord entered into with other international trade groups.

Nigerian government has severally defended its action, saying there is no country in the world that opens its borders to all kinds of goods for national destruction especially when the security of the country is threatened by inter-border banditry and insurgency.





Implementation of new minimum wage backdated to April


IMPLEMENTATION of the new minimum wage in Nigeria is now backdated to April 2019, according to minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

The minister, while briefing newsmen at the State House after Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting said the presidency had directed the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to effect payments of the consequential adjustments effective from April.

He said December 2019 had been set as deadline for implementation which would guide the states governments for their respective implementation.
 “FEC also approved for us that the financial implication is worked out and the payment should be completed in or before December 2019. Council further directed that the minister of finance budget and national planning, through the office of the accountant general of the federation should affect all these payments before 31 December 2019,” said Ngige.
“Council further directed that the National Income and Wages Commission and the Ministry of Labour and Employment should send the consequential adjustment table down to the states and local government as an advisory document for their information and guidance for their national joint public service status in their respective states because the national minimum wage is a national law,” he added.

He also said the new pay would gulp N4.88trilion in 2020 budget.

As earlier agreed, salaries of workers on grade level 07 has been increased by 23.2 per cent; 20 per cent for those on grade level 08; 19 percent for grade level 09; 16 percent for grade  levels 10 to 14; and 14percent increase for grade levels 15-17.

While some states claim to have begun implementation of the new minimum wage, others are saying the principle of capacity to pay adopted by the International Labour Organization must be respected. Governors Forum led by Zamfara state governor, Abdui’Aziz Yari, before the latest accord had agreed to pay N22,500 but was rejected by the federal government, whereas Chairman of Kajuru Local Council Area of Kaduna state, Cafra Caino, was recently quoted to have said that all the 23 councils in Kaduna State stated the implementation in September. It is not yet clear if the said implementation in councils of Kaduna State is extended to state level.

The minister noted that even though implementation document being sent to states and councils are advisory, “the national minimum wage is a national law.”


Code of Conduct Bureau seeks To Void FoI Act Over Buhari


Controversy trailing documentations of President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo rises again as the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) is seeking a Lagos High Court declaration voiding the celebrated Freedom of Information Act.

“The provision of Freedom of Information Act relating to release of asset declaration forms is in open confrontation with the Constitution of Nigeria and therefore void. The constitution is the supreme law of the land and any law that is inconsistent with it shall to that extent be null and void,” CCB submitted.

A rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had earlier written a request to CCB to release to it the asset declaration forms of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Following the failure of CCB to satisfy SERAP’s request, the latter filed a suit before a Lagos High Court seeking an order to compel CCB to release the said forms of the president and his vice.

“Democracy cannot flourish if governments operate in secrecy, no matter how much open discussion and debate is allowed. The very nature and quality of public discussion would be significantly impoverished without the nourishment of information from public authorities such as the CCB and to guarantee freedom of expression without including the right to know would be a formal exercise.
“The CCB has an obligation to proactively keep, organise and maintain all information or records about their operations, personnel, activities and other relevant or related information or records in a manner that facilitates public access to such information or record.
“Given that many public officers being tried for or convicted of corruption are found to have made a false declaration of their assets, the CCB should no longer allow politicians to undermine the sanctity and integrity of the asset declaration provisions of the constitution by allowing them to continue to exploit legal gaps for illicit enrichment,” SERAP argued; adding: “The right to receive information without any interference or distortion should be based on the principle of maximum disclosure and a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.”

Responding to the suit, the Bureau called upon the court to void the Act upon which the rights activist relied while pressing its demand.

Apart from the order seeking the nullification of the Act, CCB is also asking the court to dismiss SERAP’s suit, arguing that it is not under any obligation to release the sought forms, adding that the Bureau might release the said forms only if the president and his vice gave their approval for the release of the documents, which on submission to the Bureau, became public documents as described by the Act.

“The asset declaration forms of the presidents, vice presidents, Senate presidents, speakers of the House of Representatives, state governors and deputy governors since the return of democracy in 1999 to 2019 are in the custody of the CCB. But the public officials have not consented to the disclosure of their asset declarations forms,” CCB argued.

It further argued that the activists did not disclosed that disclosing such documents to them would be in any public interest

“The CCB is not obligated to submit assets declaration forms to any person. The forms are not publicly available. SERAP has not shown that it is in the public interest to disclose the information nor that such public interest overweighs the protection of the privacy of the presidents, vice presidents, Senate presidents, speakers of the House of Representatives, state governors and deputy governors since 1999 to 2019.”
 “The power of the CCB to refer suspects to the Code of Conduct Tribunal is discretionary and the courts are circumspect in granting mandamus in respect of discretionary powers and in the circumstances of the case, SERAP has an alternative and effective legal remedy. This renders SERAP’s case incompetent,” the Bureau further argued

The trial judge, Justice Muslim Sule Hassan, granted SERAP motion for leave.
 “Going through the application filed by SERAP, supported by a 14-paragraph affidavit, with supporting exhibits, statements setting out the facts, verifying affidavits and written address in support, I am satisfied that leave ought to be granted in this case, and I hereby grant the motion for leave,” the judge ruled.




Minimum Wage; No Strike Yet, Talks Resume Today


GOVERNMENT and the organized labour emerged from their nine hours meeting to announce that some agreements were reached, yet would resume their meeting 7.00pm today.

“We have agreed on areas hitherto we could not agree on. We are adjourning the meeting. We have given assignments to people on both sides and they are going to do the work and get back to us,” Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige said after the meeting.

They also declared that though the meeting was inconclusive as on Tuesday there was no declaration of strike yet

The meeting which began 5.06 p.m. on Wednesday ended at 2.11am this morning, Thursday.

Ngige, who presided over the meeting, also told newsmen that assignments had been given to various committees expected to submit reports to enable them complete every negotiation when they reconvene Tuesday‘s evening at 7.00pm

“The work involved is enormous. We are giving them the entire day to get back to us; issues of money and wage adjustment with different wage structures. We have 12 different wage structures presently in Nigeria.

“We don’t want to make mistake that would be fatal thereby put the whole exercise in jeopardy. We have consensually agreed that we will reconvene this meeting at 7:00 p.m. today. This will enable those that we give assignment to complete them and get back to us. We are okay with the meeting moving on smoothly. It is very cordial. We disagreed on various issues but we have agreed,” Ngige added.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba who confirmed that progress had been made, refuted earlier reports saying the parties had settled for certain percentage increase adjusting worker’s salaries.

“It was a collective bargaining process that has lasted this long. Some progress has been made but we have not been able to conclude and have collective bargaining agreement. Some committees need to do some computation. We have worked up to early hours of today. That is in the true spirit of collective bargaining. That is what we have to do to get the process concluded and conclude the process.”

On the issue of strike, Wabba said it was not the practice of Labour to disrupt negotiations with strike.

 “In collective bargaining, if a meeting is adjourned, you should know that (declaring strike) is not our practice. Our practice is that until we are able to conclude the issues, we will be able to inform them (workers) appropriately, but not midway when we are making progress. We cannot abruptly disrupt the process. At the appropriate time we should be able to give details,” he said.

Executives of Labour chapters in some states went round offices and schools yesterday picketing and driving workers out of their offices. It is not clear if they may continue their actions today. Some workers all already on the streets to offices while some others are waiting for further directives.

But according to Wabba, other issues had been resolved, remaining the actual percentage increase and implementation by the government. He condemned speculative reports.

“We cannot speak on the percentage until we finish the negotiation. The matters under consideration are implementation and consequential adjustment. That is mere speculation. We should work on the basis of information that is credible.”




Ethiopian Prime Minister Wins 2019 Nobel Peace


ETHIOPIAN Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to achieve peace with neighboring Eritrea.

He was awarded the prize Friday for his “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.” Ahmed worked with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki on the peace agreement, to end the two-decade long conflict.

“An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed’s unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002,” the Nobel Institute said in statement.

During Ahmed’s first 100 days as prime minister he has also lifted “the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalizing outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life.”

A statement from the office of the Prime Minister Ahmed said since coming to power in 2018 he had made “peace, forgiveness and reconciliation key components of his administration.”

“This victory and recognition is a collective win for all Ethiopians, and a call to strengthen our resolve in making Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope – a prosperous nation for all,” the statement added.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had been the favorite to win. Abiy Ahmed, elected leader in 2018, was the bookmakers’ second favorite to win. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also a contender, lauded for her response to the Christchurch shooting earlier this year.

This year’s peace prize was the 100th to be awarded. According to the Nobel Institute there were 301 nominees in the running for this year’s peace prize, the fourth highest on record. The record was 376 candidates in 2016. However, the list of nominees is only revealed 50 years after the prize is awarded.

Congolese Doctor Denis Mukwege and human rights activist Nadia Murad were joint winners in 2018 for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.



Another Nigerian year of bad flood, too many losses

By Pius Odiaka

FLOODING in parts of Nigeria since 2012 has produced varying experiences ranging from nightmares, displacement of families, to loss of life-time savings and sometimes outright death of hundreds.

Early in July this year, some victims woke up midnight only to find young members of their families drowned in pools of strange floods submerging their living rooms and other household.

It was like a nightmare to Reginald Kombra, a resident of Nkpolu-Rumuigbo in Obio-Akpor local council area of River State, who lost 18months daughter to flood in July this year.

“On that fateful night, yes, it was 4th of July,  around three o'clock,” Reginald recalled, “I felt unusually cold in bed; I woke up only to notice that my mattress was soaked; I sat up immediately but only found my feet in a strange pool of water above my knees. I rushed to the children's room; found two of my children completely submerged in the flood. One of them later died in the hospital.”

She was not alone. Mr. Israel Maduabuchi, a trader, fled the community same night with members of his family, fearing a repeat of last year's experience when he lost two children to flood. He returned the next day; his shop flooded, such wares as rice, beans and garri destroyed. Other stocks like kegs of palm and vegetable oils which water could not destroy were looted.
In Aniocha-North council area of Delta State where earth wells are used to store water round the year, some of the wells measuring 30ft deep overflowed while some others collapsed due to heavy rainstorm. In Idumuje-Unor, Mr. Agiliga Okwuechime was displaced for days by flood which sacked his entire household; 300kg of processed garri worth over 28000 naira, stored by his wife and ready for sale at the next market day, were all destroyed.

In the same town, a country home of a lawyer serving with the state's Ministry of Justice was also submerged in flood for days in July. 

Last year, Anambra, Benue, Delta and Kogi states experienced similar flooding. In September, four people were killed in Asaba, Delta State capital, by rainstorm while many houses in Warri, a coastal city south of the state, were submerged.
 In Anambra, two churches belonging to Anglican Communion were submerged following three days of insistent downpour.
Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) had to declare the state a flood risk zone after heavy rise in the volume of River Benue following days of unrelenting rainstorms.

The Incident Commander of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) coordinating Delta and Anambra states, Mr. Walson Brandon told newsmen that three persons including an 11-year old boy were killed. According to him, the 11year old boy was drowned at Okpai in Ndokwa East Council Area of Delta State while two others were drowned in Asaba.

As in Benue, NEMA in Delta declared Oshimili South, Ndokwa East, Ughelli South, Patani, Burutu and Bomadi council areas as flood risk zones.

The state government eventually set up Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps to manage problems arising from flooding and other ecological disasters. The situation was deplorable requiring evacuation of victims, but some of the victims refused evacuation.

The governor of the state, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa insisted that if the danger persisted, force might be applied to evacuate the victims. “If we find out that the danger is still there, we will no longer plead; we will move them out forcefully.”

By middle of September situation actually escalated; health workers could no longer access the flooded areas to give assistance to victims who required medical attention. Outbreak of epidemics was predictable, making the government to forcefully evacuate them to IDP camps in the state capital.

“We could not access Oko-Anala because the entire road had been taken up by water,” Governor Okowa was quoted in a report. Relief workers had to pass through Onitsha in Anambra State to access the shut-in victims.

Previously, severe flooding was limited to coastal areas of the country, especially such coastal cities as Lagos, Warri, Makurdi and the environs due to surge in the volume of rivers and straits, the Lagoon in the case of Lagos. The 2012 and 2017 flood disasters were blamed, mainly, on the bailing of water at Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, a central African country stretching northeast and southeast of Nigeria. The executive director of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Benue state,

Mr. Emmanuel Shior said “consistent heavy down pour” had been responsible for the situation in the past two years.
According to statics released by NEMA in April this year, rainstorm and flood disaster in 2018 was worse next to 2012 in 20 years. In 2012, a total number of 363 persons were killed, while 199 persons were killed last year in parts of the country. Over 600,000 people were displaced last year.  In 2012, estimated  2.1 million people were displaced while seven million otherpersons lost various properties in 30 of the 36 states of the country.

Last year, a total number of 2,321,592 people were affected. According to NEMA's report, endorsed by its director-general, Mustapha Maihaja, last year's rainstorm was severe, damaging homes and farms in parts of the country.

“The damage to property and agriculture land was also massive. Over 100,190 houses were damaged and 382,368 crop farms destroyed. The flood also affected water, sanitation and hygiene facilities of the people,” said NEMA in its report.

By NEMA's statistics, 19,369 persons were displaced between May and August this year.

When signs of imminent rainstorm were visible in April this year, NEMA issued a forecast, warning it anticipated a repeat of 2018 experience. It however added that it was prepared for eventual flood through construction of barriers and drainages.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) also in April made its forecast and presented its 2019 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO).

According to the director general of NIHSA, Mr. Clement Nze, the agency predicted that 600 out of the 744 local council areas in the country were under threat of flood in 2019. The best remedy, he warned, would be a halt to blocking water ways and urgent evacuation of the drainages.

“The issues here have been well articulated, no person should build structures within the flood plains, and people should clean their drainages,” Nze appealed.

Flood disaster in 2018 affected largely properties and residents around coastal areas as it arose mainly from river flooding and pockets of urban flooding, Nze observed.

The case this year is different as people living outside the coasts are major victims. “Urban flooding is caused by sudden rainfall of heavy amount for very short duration; the ground is unable to take in all of the torrential rain and begins to finds an escape. When the flood looks for a way to move and does not find any, it begins to pull down buildings and bridges,” said Nze.

Although the year is approaching a period of sparse rains, experts are of the view that prediction of flood cessation is difficult.
“It is not easy to predict urban flooding, it occurs suddenly mostly, but river flooding can be predicted to a high level of accuracy because of equipment along the river channels in Nigeria,'' said Nze.

In order to give a-nine-month support to 300,000 flood victims, described as “the most vulnerable people,” the Nigerian Red Cross sought the sum of 5,425,000 Swiss francs. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) also launched an emergency appeal on behalf of the Nigerian Red Cross for the purpose.

The operation is aimed at providing shelter and relief items including cash support to victims described as most vulnerable.

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