Friday, April 4, 2014

Another ritualists’ den uncovered in Abeokuta


Hell was let lose yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, when residents of Akinremi Estate in Adigbe area of Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area, discovered another ritualists’ den. Angry youths trooped to the area and set the building ablaze.
Yesterday’s discovery was, however, special as the proprietors also used to breed babies for rituals. This development came barely 24 hours after a ritualists’ den was uncovered in Iyana-Egbado in Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state.

Policemen from Adigbe Divisional Headquarters in Abeokuta rescued three pregnant ladies, three kids whose ages range between two and four, from the den. The police also arrested wife of the suspected proprietor of the house.
When Naijatalk visited the scene, some neighbours around the estate explained that one of the victims, a young pregnant woman, escaped from the den, ran into a building located about 200 meters away and pleaded with the occupants to save her from assailants, Wednesday evening.
The victim, who claimed to have hailed from Abia State, was said to have informed the occupants of the building where she sought shelter that her elder sister sold her and her unborn baby to the ritualists for N100,000.
It was further gathered that the ritualists told the lady, who had spent three days in the den that she would stay till she delivered her baby, because her aunt had been paid for the unborn baby.
The police were alerted and reportedly carried out a raid on the premises at 11pm, Wednesday. As the news filtered into Abeokuta metropolis, angry youths, who were mostly students from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojere, Abeokuta, reportedly invaded the duplex and carried out a thorough search of the rooms.
The youths discovered an ivory plate containing fresh blood, coffin, effigies, scorpion, assorted charms and other ritual items.
Also discovered were international e-passport and identity cards of junior and senior secondary school students of Sacred Heart Catholic College, Oke-Ilewo who may have been killed by the ritualists.
Several other male and female cloths of white garment worshipers suspected to have fallen victims were also recovered.
The mob set the building ablaze, including two vehicles parked within the premises: a Toyota Camry salon car with number plate LAGOS: EKY 942 AJ and a Mitsubushi salon car, LAGOS: AGL 971 BH.
Officials of the Ogun State Fire Service, however, succeeded in putting out the fire.
Fierce-looking policemen, who had been helplessly watching the angry youths, however, reinforced with an Armoured Personnel Carrier, arrested some youths and took them away to the command’s headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta.
The Command’s Deputy Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who confirmed the incident, said two victims were rescued, while two others were also arrested in connection with the discovery.
Oyeyemi gave names of victims rescued as Jennifer Goodluck, who is nursing a two-month-old baby, while the other pregnant lady was simply identified as Oluchi. Both were said to be from Abia State.
He said the arrested suspects are one Muibat Yusuf and her brother, who are indigenes of Kwara State.

Source: Vanguardng
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Immigrations recruitment: 7 feared dead, dozens injured in stampede in Abuja

At least seven people were killed and dozens injured in Nigeria’s capital after thousands of panicked job-seekers stampeded during a government recruitment drive in the national stadium on Saturday.

Survivors told AFP that thousands had gathered to apply for jobs with the immigration department in the Abuja stadium.

One witness said the stampede broke out as applicants surged towards a central stage. They said only one entrance to the 60,000-capacity stadium was open. It wasn’t clear how many people were inside at the time of the crush.

“The immigration service was having a recruitment exercise at the stadium … there was a stampede and they brought the victims to the national hospital,” said hospital spokesman Tayo Haastrup.

No official casualty list was given, but an AFP journalist on the scene counted seven dead and dozens injured.

Many injured people could not be admitted to hospital due to lack of capacity.

Those with stable injuries “will be sent to other hospitals so that we can deal with the numerous injured that continue to arrive,” said Haastrup.(AFP)

Massacre: Gunmen kill over 100 in Katsina

Less than 24 hours to President Goodluck Jonathan visit to Katsina State, gunmen killed over 100 residents of five villages in Faskari Local Government Area of the state.

The agents of death reportedly stormed four of the villages between 4 pm and 5pm on Wednesday after they had attacked one of the villages the previous day.
A witness at Maigora, where the attackers killed 27 persons in a house-to-house raid, Gambo Mohammed, confirmed in a telephone interview that the remains of the victims were buried shortly before Daily Sun contacted him.
He revealed that the total number of those killed or injured in the attacks could rise as the search for the remains of those who fled into the bush with gunshot injuries was still on as at the time of filing this report.
Investigations revealed that no fewer than 40 persons were also killed at Marrabar Maigora, 21 at Sabon Layin Galadiman and eight others at Unguwar Doka on Wednesday evening while another seven were killed at Garin Kaura Mota, the previous evening.
It was gathered that scores of those injured in the attack on the communities had been rushed to undisclosed hospitals.
Efforts to get the response of the spokesman of the Katsina State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Abubakar Sadiq, failed, as he did not pick several calls to his phone as at the time of filing this report yesterday.
Meanwhile, the visit of President Jonathan to Katsina State continued yesterday as he commissioned some projects and paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman.

207 suspected terrorists killed as Boko Haram battle military in Maiduguri


Acts of bravado exhibited by hundreds of Boko Haram terrorists who attempted to rescue some of their detained members inside the military barracks in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday led to the killing of scores of the terrorists during the ill- fated mission/ attack.

Reliable sources said that the suspected terrorists succeeded in freeing some of the detainees but the victory was short-lived as most of them were later killed or re-arrested by troops who were joined by fighter jets from the Air Force to overpower the invaders.

Multiple explosions and sporadic gunshots started rocking the troubled city and environs at about 7.30 am when the terrorists reportedly invaded the town in an attempt to destroy the Giwa Military Barracks (Air Defence Unit) where the suspected Boko Haram members were being detained since 2009 when the uprising started in a bid to rescue them.
It was however, gathered that a swift  response from the military led to heavy fighting, during which  scores of the insurgents died along with some few security operatives and civilians who also were killed in the crossfire.

Military sources told Saturday Vanguard in Maiduguri that several members of the sect who tried to escape into the town from the barracks were captured at Polo, Sulimanti, and other surrounding wards in Maiduguri metropolis, with the assistance of villagers and members of the vigilante youths popularly known as civilian JTF.

According to sources, no fewer than 207 suspected terrorists were killed while at least 50 others including some Arabs, Malians and Chadians were captured by troops, who also collected their weapons.

In the nearby Adamawa State, some suspected terrorists were also arrested by troops in three Toyota Sports cars (with three different colours of red, white and blue respectively). The occupants of the Toyota cars who were arrested at the Belel border in Konkol near Cameroun claimed to have come from either Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’ Voire.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has called for greater cooperation between Nigeria and neighbouring countries in the fight against terrorism.

Speaking at an audience with a Special Envoy of President Paul Biya of Cameroon, Mr. Emmanuel Sadi Rene who delivered a special message from the Cameroonian leader, President Jonathan said that Boko Haram and other criminal groups that operate in the countries’ border regions must be seen as a common threat to them all.

The President said that Nigeria and its neighbours must take urgent action to harmonise their strategies and efforts to roll-back the menace of Boko Haram and other violent criminal gangs that operate between their borders.

“The issue of Boko Haram remains worrisome. If it is not properly handled, it could affect the security of neighbouring countries. We therefore expect maximum cooperation from all countries within our region to route the sect,” President Jonathan told Mr. Rene who is Cameroon’s Minister of Interior.

Saturday Vanguard gathered at Polo Ward in Maiduguri, that about eight of the fleeing terrorists were captured by civilian JTF operatives who later handed them over to military operatives, just as six others were captured at the outskirts of Sulimanti by the NNPC Depot, and handed over to the security agencies.

Reliable sources said that the attackers came into Maiduguri from the Sambisa forest en-route Fori village on the outskirts of the town, and reportedly used several Toyota Hilux vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft gadgets, rocket propelled launchers, AK47 rifles and Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, to launch the attack with the aim of destroying the barracks after setting their members free.

However, the terrorists were said to have been repelled by troops from the 7 Division, Nigerian Army even as Nigerian Air Force, NAF fighter jets bombarded them from the air.

”The gunmen were able to destroy some structures at the military barracks using rocket propelled launchers as I saw smoke coming out from the barracks, but thank God that many of the terrorists were killed as I saw their corpses lying close to the Barracks which is also close to where I reside before I fled for fear of being caught up in the crossfire,” the source said.

Unconfirmed reports also said that three students of UNIMAD were hit by stray bullets, but it was not known whether the victims were wounded within or outside the school premises, as the university is also located close to the barracks. It was alleged that the university’s  Education Trust Fund, ETF, Lecture Hall was destroyed during the mayhem.

Two explosions occurred in the university between 7.42 and 8.0am, leading to the destruction of the lecture hall. One of bombs exploded near the River Ngaddabul behind the 202 and 303 Housing Estates.

Residents of Maiduguri, including school children and traders were trapped in their schools or houses from 7.30am to 11.35am while the gun duel lasted.

The housing estates, according to Ba Modu Fannami, a resident, were some of the areas targeted by  the insurgents for destruction.

”Thirty minutes, before the UNIMAID twin blasts, soldiers in their patrol vehicles took cover at the villages of Wadiya, Fori and Galtimari; and behind the housing estate; and clashed with gunmen, Fannami said.

Mallam Shehu Babakura also who reside near the ForI I village said, “sporadic exchanges of fire between soldiers with aerial support of two fighter jets from Yola and insurgents commenced by 7.35am in the area, and continued for over three hours.  The fighter jets bombed insurgents’ escape routes, killing scores of them at the villages and on banks of River Ngaddabul by 9.45am.The number of freed insurgents cannot be ascertained, but they are many, but 75 per cent of them were arrested and handed over to soldiers for investigations. At the Water Treatment Plant, 303 Housing Estate, a total of 21 suspects were arrested, while another 19 were also arrested, while they were fleeing across the river that morning hours of attacks and fierce battle that lasted for over three hours.

”Some soldiers that engaged the insurgents while fleeing were also killed, but I cannot tell you the exact number of casualties on side of Military,” he said.

Another source said, “ the nine suspects arrested by Civilian JTF in Jidari Polo ward, were killed, after being identified that they are among the freed insurgents from detention at the barracks”.

Kaka Bomboy, a member of Civilian JTF that participated in the arrests and repulsion of insurgents said that all the arrested suspects were handed over to the military, adding that the insurgents converged at Fori village, after their repulsion, but that they were also bombed, killing scores of them.

He said most of the insurgents that attempted to attack the two Housing Estates, south and opposite the University college are foreigners from either Niger or Libya; adding that; “the four arrested and handed over to soldiers could neither speak English or Hausa. If you attempt asking for more information from these insurgents, they keep mute and continue to look into your eyes.”

Bomboy said: “The number of freed insurgents cannot be ascertained, but they are many, because 75 per cent of the freed suspects had been arrested and handed over to soldiers for investigations. At the 303 housing estate, a total of 40 suspects were arrested, while they were trying to cross the river in the morning hours.

”Some soldiers that engaged the freed insurgents while fleeing were also killed, but I cannot tell you the exact number of casualties on side of military,” he said.

Meanwhile, most Muslims could not perform their Friday Jumat prayers as the whole city was deserted with only security operatives and men of the vigilante youth seen patrolling the major streets checking motorists and pedestrians.

Mallam Usman Yaro Gujba said “Jumat  prayers that hold around 2pm did not take place in his area as most of the roads and streets leading to the mosques were condoned off by military to prevent further attacks and killings.

Borno State Police Commissioner, Lawal Tanko denied any attacks on the university, insisting that the institution was not affected during the incident.

Tanko, however, said he was yet to get details on the number of casualties on both sides.

The incident which lasted for over three hours came under control when the NAF fighter jets that came from Yola, the Adamawa State capital joined in bombarding the terrorists, a situation that led to their dislodgement.

Also, commenting on the attacks yesterday in Maiduguri, the Spokesman of 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Col. Mohammed Dole said that military operations were still ongoing around the Housing Estates and UNIMAID campus among others.

Dole said that the Boko Haram suspects freed some insurgents at the barracks, adding that the soldiers with the aerial support of two fighter jets repelled the attackers, after fierce exchange of gun fire in some areas in Maiduguri metropolis.

He said a high number of insurgent were also killed, while others were in military custody undergoing interrogation.

He also said that items recovered in the terrorists included dozens of motorcycles abandoned at the Dolori Housing Estate, about two kilometres away from Fori village, where many of them were  killed yesterday.

DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS REACT:

The Defence headquarters yesterday explained that the series of bombings and explosions heard in Maiduguri metropolis leading to panic and pandemonium among residents arose when soldiers foiled an attempt by Boko Haram terrorists to break into a military facility to free their detained members.

A statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade while giving an update on the situations said, “Pockets of terrorists apparently in a move to boost their depleted stock of fighters this morning attacked a military location in Maiduguri with a view to freeing their colleagues who are being held in detention.

“The attack has been successfully repelled with heavy human casualty on the terrorists. Some of the victims of the terrorists’ fire in their efforts to break into the detention facility, included those they came to rescuE.

“Many of the terrorists and their weapons have been captured. Four soldiers were wounded and are being treated. Hot pursuits by land and air operations are ongoing along with cordon and search of surrounding localities.

“No institution has been reported attacked, although the effect of firing from the encounter could be noticed in surrounding facilities in Maiduguri. It is believed that the terrorists’ attempt is in response to the intensity of attacks on their strongholds.

“These strongholds are the camps at Talala, Monguzum, Sambisa forests, Gwoza, Mandara mountains as well as the general area of Lake Chad.

“The camps have been destroyed and many insurgents killed.

Source: Vanguard Nigeria

Thursday, March 13, 2014

An Exlusive With "V-Wonderful"

Another day, another interview with a sensational artist “V-Wonderful”…
Emmanuel Victor “V-One”(a.k.aVwondaful) is a GOSPEL/R&B/ act based in Nigeria. His single, “I’m in love”, has been making a huge impact on the music scene. An indigene of AkwaIbom state, this young and talented artiste had so much to tell us about the struggles and challenges of being an artiste in Nigeria. Sit back, relax and read.

Naija Talk: Let’s get to meet you

V-One: My names are Emmanuel Victor. That’s what’s on my birth certificate. But as an artiste, I decided to take up a stage name…and it is V-One. (he smiles)

Naija Talk: So, are you a Nigerian?

V-One: (laughs) yea! I am a full blooded Nigerian.  I am actually an indigene of Akwa-Ibomstate; though I have lived in Lagos state for a very long time. So yes to your question…I am a Nigeria.

Naija Talk: When did you decide that music was going to be your career?

V-One: I started out my music professionally in 2003, but the decision to pursue music as a career was one I made a long time ago. I grew up on the streets listening to good tunes, developed an insatiable love for the trade and decided ‘hey, why don’t I concentrate on music…since it appeals to my spirit so much’. I believe I took that decision in 1999 when I first join the church choir.

Naija Talk: What inspired you into music?

V-One: my inspiration came from the streets. You know whenever our parents took to neighbor’s birthday parties and other functions; e’d dance and listen to a lot of good music. Those songs I listened to as a kid really inspired me into wanting to compose my own. I listened to great songs by Michael Jackson, CeceWinnas, R-Kelly, Usher Raymond,BoysIIMen, Whitney Houstone.t.c; and on the home front -naija scene- I listened to King Sunny Ade, 2face idibia, African China, Sound Sultan and so a many others. All these influences did ignite my passion and love for music. Music is my passion and I live for it…

Naija Talk: How many songs have you recorded since you started music professionally?

V-One: I have done a lot of songs in the past. I have recorded some demos and played with some tunes in the studio…if you understand what I mean! But since I got really serious with standard, more serious recording, I have done 5 songs which I am promoting currently one after the other. One is already rocking the airwaves... “ I’m in love”

Naija Talk: How many artiste(s) have featured so far?

V-One: Hmmm. For now i have worked with some UPRISING act. Am still in the circle of working with the Top and known act. I have not yet promote any of the songs. I am promoting my own personal effort to show to my my fans that I can still deliver better  by just me myslf and i. You know…we were just free styling then. But I am currently working with some great artistes(name witheld for now).

Naija Talk: Now let’s ask you one personal question which I know the lady fans out there would love to hear: Are you married? Or tell us about your love(relationship) life?

V-One: (Laugh) well to be frank with you…  It’s my privacy which i don’t intend to bring out to the media for now. So let it be confidencialplssss. (he Smile). Let me concentrate on my career for now. MUSIC IS MY LIFE. 

Naija Talk: Any advice for Upcoming Artistes who wants to be like you?

V-One: Well, what can I say; music is not the easiest career in the world. But if you have it and you believe that you’ve got it in you, I wanna say ‘don’t give up’, ‘keep the flame burning and keeping perfecting it’. Keeps faith to whatever you’re doing… believe on your strength and believe in God. And one day you’ll be there.

Naija Talk: Nice to have you with us today, V-One. Hope you will oblige us when you seek your presence here again?

V-One: It would be a pleasure any time. And I would like to say a huge thank you to all your crew and the wonderful people supporting your movement.

To clear your mind, you can listen to his banging single "I am in love" below



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Boko Haram slaughters 43 students in Yobe

Barely 24 hours after the soldiers manning the check point close to the main gate of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State were withdrawn, Boko Haram terrorists, numbering more than 50, yesterday, invaded the school at 1.30 am, killing more than 43 students and staff while abducting 16 female students.

The insurgents who went on a killing spree without any challenge from security agents also burnt down all the students’ hostels, the classrooms, and about 40 houses including the council’s secretariat complex,  high court, government and private establishments as well as telecommunication masts.

The governor’s media aide, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego confirmed that on Monday before the attack, the few soldiers stationed close to the school were redeployed without any cogent reason.

The college was the fourth educational institution attacked in the state in the last eight months. Buni Yadi is about 65 kilometres from Damaturu, the state capital, while Gujba town which witnessed a deadly attack at the College of Agriculture, last year where over 40 students were killed, is located south and about 35 kilometres from the state capital.

Inusa Danboyi, an SSS 3 student of the college was one of those killed. His father, Mallam Danboyi who wept uncontrollably at the morgue of General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital, Damaturu, where he had gone to collect his son’s corpse said: “Inusa is my son, and an SSS 3 student who aspired to get western education and was even preparing for his final SSS 3 examination. But see what fate had in stock for him”.

Fear has now gripped Damaturu town following the massacre and the abduction of the students as the residents wondered why the security agents could not contain the insurgents, who appeared to be succeeding in their mission. Many parents are also saying they would seek admission for their children, especially female students in other regions of the country where there is peace.

One of the victims who did not want his name mentioned told Vanguard at the specialist hospital that “the insurgents who invaded the school gathered all the girls in one room, where they started preaching against western education and warned all of us not to return to the school, and after killing most of the female students who are mostly SSS 3 students, they absconded with over 16 girls”.

Pupils burnt alive in the attack

Adamu Garba, who teaches at a secondary school attached to the college said he and other teachers, who ran away through the bush estimated 40 students died in the assault. Garba who spoke to Associated Press in Damaturu, where he and several other teachers fled to, said “the attackers first set ablaze the college’s administrative block, then moved to the hostels, where they locked students in and started bombing the buildings. At one hostel, students were trying to climb out of the windows and they were slaughtered like sheep by the terrorists who slit their throats. Others who ran were gunned down and students who could not escape were burnt alive.

“The gunmen, in fact, had to separate the female students from their male counterparts. They opened fire on the male students including some staff of the college, before abducting many of the female students to the Sambisa Forest”.

Another source working at the mortuary in General Sani Abacha Specialists Hospital in Damaturu said, “ambulance services have been bringing in bodies from Federal Government College since morning”. Likewise, a senior medical source in the hospital, who is not authorized to speak to the press said: “So far, 43 bodies have been brought and are lying in the morgue”.

Spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Damaturu, Captain Eli Lazarus confirmed that there was an early morning attack on the school college in Buni Yadi by suspected terrorists, but could not give the actual number of casualties as  the  figures are still being collated,  promising to send details to the press as soon as possible.

However, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sanusi Ahmed Rufai told journalists that 29 people were killed, but he was not immediately clear if all of the dead were students.

Rufai said he was on his way to the scene with Governor Ibrahim Geidam to assess the extent of the damage.

The authorities of the school, however, confirmed that 29 of its students were killed by the insurgents. Mr Ibrahim Abdul, a senior master, gave the figure while receiving Governor Ibrahim Geidam during a sympathy visit to the school. Abdul said that 11 students also sustained various gunshot wounds.

Defence HQ vows to track the killers

Meanwhile, the Defence headquarters, yesterday, vowed that it will go after Boko Haram terrorists who perpetrated the attack noted that troops were now conversant with the methods of the attackers.

Speaking on phone with Vanguard, Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade said: “Our troops are on the trail of the terrorists who attacked and killed the students. We have discovered where they came from. We now know their methods and how they plan the attacks. We will get them and we will deal with them appropriately”.

Jonathan condemns Yobe killings

In his reaction to the latest killing by Boko Haram, President Goodluck  Jonathan in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said he “received with immense sadness and anguish, news of the callous and senseless murder by terrorists, of scores of students at a college in Yobe State in the early hours of today (yesterday).

“On behalf of himself and the Federal Government, President Jonathan extends heartfelt condolences to the parents and relatives of the murdered students.

“The President wholly condemns the heinous, brutal and mindless killing of the guiltless students by deranged terrorists and fanatics who have clearly lost all human morality and descended to bestiality.

“He assures the nation that his administration will not relent in its ongoing efforts to end the scourge of terrorism in parts of the country which has sadly claimed more innocent lives today.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will continue to prosecute the war against terror with full vigour, diligence and determination until the dark cloud of mass murder and destruction of lives and property is permanently removed from our horizon,” he said .

Supervising Minister of Education, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike in his reaction yesterday, condemned the attack. He immediately reached out to the management and staff of the school to commiserate with them.

While commiserating with families of the bereaved, the Minister noted that the Federal Ministry of Education will continue to liaise with security agencies and relevant stakeholders to improve security around all Federal Unity Colleges.

Atiku weeps over massacre of school pupils

Former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, broke down in tears when informed of the killings of the students. The former vice president said in a strongly-worded statement by his media office in Abuja that all the Federal Government had been doing about addressing the security situation in the North-East region of the country amounts to mere chasing of shadows if school walls cannot be protected from armed attacks.

Alhaji Abubakar particularly frowned at the impression given by President Goodluck Jonathan at his Presidential Media Chat on Monday that the government has been successful at pushing armed attacks to the fringes of the country.

“My heartfelt condolences go to families of the slain students. It is unfortunate that innocent school children, will become victims of armed attacks.

“This will not be the first time in recent times that school children are being attacked, and it is particularly disheartening that the Federal Government is yet to devise a strategy of keeping our schools safe from terror attacks. If our counter-insurgency strategies are not strong enough to keep our children safe inside their schools, then one must wonder if such a strategy isn’t mere chasing of shadows,” Atiku said.

According to him, “it is important that the Federal Government ups its counter-insurgency strategy and desists from taking credits in pushing armed attacks to the fringes, as the president would like to put it. No Nigerian’s life is less in value to another.”

He said it is imperative for government to ensure security in schools, in particular the Federal Government Colleges because of their unique role in forging national unity among pupils from diverse backgrounds in the country.

Why Boko Haram attacks persist—Interior Minister

Minister of  Interior,  Patrick Abba Moro also said yesterday that the Boko Haram insurgents were successful in their attacks because they  have changed their tactics and are now wearing camouflages of the soldiers.

The minister also said that the attacks persist because the Nigerian security outfits have not been able to provide security personnel in all the localities of this country.

He stated these in Abeokuta during the commissioning of an administrative block and 36 unit staff quarters of National Security and Civil Defence Corps at the college of Security management.

He said: “In recent times, the insurgents have changed tactics. They have started wearing camouflages of the soldiers. They have started claiming to be members of certain organisations like welfare organisations, Red Cross organisations and infiltrate the local communities. In the process, they mingle with the local communities, and assume the colour of the vigilance groups and security outfits.

“And once they mingle with civilians, it becomes very difficult for the military and security agencies to identify very quickly who is a civilian or not.

“ In the circumstances, the security men don’t have any choice but to make sure that these insurgents, in the midst of civilians, are located but, in the course of this action, civilian casualty certainly will occur.

It’s satanic, unjustifiable, says Labour

Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, has described the massacre of the 43 students as satanic and unjustifiable in any way.

The trade union (ASCSN) which workers of all the 104 FGCs in the country, otherwise known as unity schools, belong to, said the unprovoked killings of the innocent students was the height of barbarism.

Visibly shaken Secretary General of the Association, Lawal Basir, said though the association was compiling details of the incident for a formal statement today “it is a sad development in our educational sector and national life. It is condemnable in its entirety. It is not justifiable in any way or under any circumstance- be it religion or otherwise.  Are these killers Nigerians? I can’t imagine fellow Nigerians killing Nigerian citizens as if they were chicken. We claim we have security in those areas, yet innocent students were murdered without provocation. It is hard to believe. Please, I cannot say more. It is a sad day. We will issue a formal statement tomorrow (today).”

APC slams Jonathan’s comments on Borno

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned President Jonathan’s vituperation against Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima during his media chat on Monday night, saying it was unwarranted, unpresidential and petty.

In a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said President Jonathan was wrong to have threatened, no matter how subtly, to withdraw from Borno the troops who are battling against Boko Haram insurgents, and urged him to apologize to the people of Borno and to all Nigerians for the presidential indiscretion.

It said the threat, which was in response to the statement credited to the Governor, that the soldiers needed to be better equipped and more motivated, showed clearly that President Jonathan does not have a full grasp of what is expected of him as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

‘’Mr. President, your most important duty as President is to ensure the welfare and security of all Nigerians, irrespective of the criticisms you may face or whether or not they voted for you. Therefore, you are not doing anyone a favour by performing that duty. It is the role you swore an oath to perform.

“Also, even if you feel that the Governor should not have made the statement he made, it is incumbent upon you, as the President and the father of the nation, to take the higher road, instead of choosing a public forum to air your grievances. Wittingly or unwittingly, Mr. President, you have played into the hands of the insurgents who must by now be gloating at the discordant tunes in government over the battle against them,” APC said.

Using the President’s exact words to the Governor during his media chat, the party said: “A (President) should be mindful of what they say. Yes there are issues, but no matter how frustrated you are you, don’t make this kind of statement.”

It said based on the anger exhibited by President Jonathan while commenting on Gov. Shettima’s statement, the party was justified in its call on the President not to go ahead with his reported plan to remove the Governor and replace him with a military administrator.

“President Jonathan should know that a leader cannot afford to be taking decisions on the basis of a perceived slight or criticism, because such decisions are most likely to be wrong and counter-productive. He should also use his enormous powers as President for the benefit of the people, not to their disadvantage.

“By his threat to pull out the troops from Borno for one month, he has further victimized the good people of the state, who have been at the receiving end of the senseless attacks by Boko Haram. A retraction of his threat and an apology to the people will be a good starting point for Mr. President to make amends,’’ APC said.

Source: Vanguard

Missing $20b: I want the whole truth, says Okonjo-Iweala

The  Minister of Finance  and Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has demanded to know the whole truth about the alleged missing $20b which the suspended Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said is missing from the federation account.

A statement Wednesday from the finance ministry to the BBC,  said the minister, “ asked for urgent action with regard to an independent forensic audit of conflicting claims of unaccounted funds made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamdio Sanusi.”

According to the BBC, the direct statement from Dr Okonjo Iweala, said, “My position on this has been clear from the start. The Ministry of Finance’s reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8bn in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20bn being mentioned. So since 13th February I have called for an independent forensic audit. President Goodluck Jonathan indeed announced last night that there will be an investigation into whether there are any funds missing from NNPC. He also indicated that the correct process needs to be followed in this investigation and I understand that the entity that has the proper authority to initiate such an investigation is the Auditor General of the federation.

“I therefore want to see the truth from an investigation under the auspices of the Auditor General, which in my view should be undertaken as a matter of extreme urgency by independent external auditor.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Labaran Maku said yesterday that the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi made himself a whistle blower as well as a voodoo statistician feeding the country with unsubstantiated figures of missing funds.
The minister who stated this while fielding questions from newsmen after defending his ministry’s 2014 budget proposal at the Senate said that Sanusi as the manager of the nation’s monetary policies who advised the president on monetary issues should have not made himself a whistle blower.

Maku said, “But the reality of what has happened is that there are issues with the account of CBN of 2012 as the president explained. The Financial Reporting Council has said that there are issues that should be addressed so the president returned it back to the council and the council again returned it with some of the items with questions.

“CBN is the nerve centre of the nation’s financial system. If there are problems with it, it means that it can generate a lot of problems in the banking system and the economy and so the president has been trying to sort this out and between him and the CBN governor there have been communications since April 2013. So, it has nothing to do what my brother Sanusi has said relating to the NNPC. This has been ongoing conversation between them.

“Unfortunately, the CBN governor is also the chairman of the board and he can’t sit in a matter he is being investigated for, so, what the president has done as the appointing officer of the CBN was to ask the governor to step aside pending the outcome of the investigating.

“He has not been removed and we don ‘t know where the uproar is coming from. Are we saying that the queries that were raised relating to the CBN account were false? In the end if he is found not guilty, he still has his tenure to run.”

At the budget defence, Senator Domingo Obende, APC, Edo State accused the minister of going on air to announce that the N800m Okpella Water Scheme was completed and commissioned while in actual sense the projected never neared any completion.

But the minister swiftly denied having said so, saying that he never even went to the project site because of time constraint during the good governance tour.

Suspension: Sanusi drags Jonathan to Court

Embattled Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, yesterday, went before a Federal High Court siting in Abuja to challenge the powers of President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend him from office.

In the suit he filed through a consortium of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Kola Awodein, Sanusi,  told the high court that his purported suspension was as a result of some discrepancies he discovered in respect of amounts repatriated to the federation account from the proceed of crude oil sales between the period of January, 2012 and July, 2013.

He maintained that his sin was that upon discovering the financial anomalies, he had cause to inform the National Assembly considering the fact that the revenue of the federation and the national economy was directly affected.

He further insisted before the court that his purported suspension by President Jonathan was aimed at punishing him for the disclosures he made with regards to how revenue that accrued to the federation was being mismanaged.

Sanusi contended that the President did not approach or obtained the support of the Senate, saying his discussions with several lawmakers including Senator Bukola Saraki, confirmed that the decision to oust him from office was unilaterally taken by the Presidency.

Consequently, he urged the court to restrain President Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police, from giving effect to his purported suspension from office as the CBN Governor, pending the determination of his suit.

Besides, he begged the court to make an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from obstructing,disturbing, stopping or preventing him from in any manner whatsoever from performing the functions of his office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and enjoying in full, the statutory powers and privileges attached to the office of the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

In an affidavit he deposed in support of the suit, Sanusi averred: “I have been informed, and I verily believe the information given to me by senator Bukola Saraki to be true and correct that the senate did not give the President any support for my purported suspension and removal from office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria”

Sanusi told the court that his interlocutory application was necessary considering the issues raised in the suit, saying delay would entail irreparable and serious damage and mischief on him in the exercise of his statutory duties as the CBN Governor.

He urged the court to exercise its discretion in his favour by granting the interlocutory injunctions as the President’s continued unlawful interference with the management and administration of the apex bank, unless arrested, poses grave danger for Nigerian economy.

It was his prayer that the court should order the maintenance of status quo ante bellum, which he said should be that he should return to his office as the Governor of the CBN.

Sanusi further averred that the actions of the President in suspending him from office was contrary to provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act relating to the appointment and removal of the CBN Governor.

He said his purported suspension, “amounts to unlawful interference in the administration and management of the apex bank and is therefore illegal, null and void.”

He said it would be in the interest of Justice for the court to grant all his prayers.

Meanwhile, the suit, dated February 24, is yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.