Hard knocks for Obasanjo over attack on Buhari govt [THE NATION]

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo came under fire on Sunday for criticising the state of the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari.

Obasanjo, who spoke on Thursday in Abuja at a consultative dialogue attended by regional socio-cultural groups, said: “Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state. Economically, our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.”

The Presidency, the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in different statements chided the former President.

The Presidency described him as descending “from lofty height of Commander-in-Chief to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief”.

The Federal Government said Buhari’s election rather saved the country from disintegrating while the APC said the former President and his deputy Atiku Abubakar lack the moral right to chart the way forward for the country.

Obasanjo declined to respond last night. His spokesman Kehinde Akinyemi said he had “no comment”.

But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said President Buhari should “listen to the voice of reason.”

A statement by Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, described Obasanjo attack on Buhari as “unfair”, adding that Obasanjo should “in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.

“Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment.

“No doubt, he must have left those admirers confused in announcing the support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.

“The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the ninth Assembly as another waste of time and resources.

“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kickstarted and carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, States Houses of Assembly and the country’s Judiciary. These changes have already been signed into laws by the President as mandated by the constitution.

“The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people has also not escaped the ire of the former president.

“It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They failed in achieving these measures because, one there was a shared greed. They plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.

“Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and development that Nigeria urgently needs.

“This President has run an administration focused on infrastructure and development. He has repaired our damaged relations with neighbours and our traditional allies such as the UK, US, China, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the others with lots of benefits to the country.

“It is a pro-business administration that has used diplomacy to unlock bilateral trade and investment.

“With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn”, the statement said.

The Presidency said President Buhari’s admonition to ECOWAS leaders to respect term limit is consistent with his principles and in line with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box.

“Having cleared this misperception, we hope that Chief Obasanjo would once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.

 

Police warn students against protest on fuel price hike [THE NATION]

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has dissociated itself from the planned protest by the Southwest Zone D chapter of the association over the recent hike in fuel pump price and electricity tariff.

The association’s National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Azeez Adeyemi, announced this in a statement on Sunday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Adeyemi said the NANS Southwest Zone D, led by Kappo Olawale, had given the Federal Government a five-day ultimatum to reverse the hike in the prices of fuel and electricity tariff.

He said the students insisted that if the government failed to reverse the prices, it would shut down the Southwest in a mass protest today.

Adeyemi disowned the Olawale–led group, describing its members as “impostors”.

The NANS spokesman insisted that the group was not recognised by the national leadership of the students’ umbrella body.

He said NANS and its affiliate bodies had staged a protest in Abeokuta and other Southwest states last Tuesday to register their displeasure on the issue.

“The NANS wishes to inform the general public that it is not part of any planned protest by a group of impostors who called themselves NANS Southwest Zone D, led by Kappo Samuel Olawale.

“We want to put on record that the umbrella body does not recognise the Olawale–led group and would not, in any way, be held responsible for their actions.

“This group of individuals is not authourised to carry out any protest in the name of NANS. We want to call on security agencies to be alive to their responsibility and arrest anyone caught during the planned protest,” he said.

Also, the Plateau State Police Command has said it had not received any letter on NANS planned protest.

Police spokesman Gabriel Ubah, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), told The Nation on Sunday in Jos, the state capital, that the command had not been formally notified of the protest.

He said: “Since they didn’t write us, it will be illegal for them to embark on any protest. So, as far as we are concerned, they haven’t written to us.”

On the proactive steps the command will take if the students embark on the protest, Ubah said: “I can’t say anything for now. For me, I am not aware if anything is happening. Our men are on the ground to handle any unforeseen situation.”

No official of NANS was forthcoming last night on the association’s planned protest.

In Abia State, the police command said it had not received any letter on NANS planned protest.

Police Commissioner Janet Agbede stated this yesterday while speaking with our correspondent in Umuahia, the state capital.

She said: “If they don’t write us, it will be an illegal protest. But if they write us, we will give them security to ensure that hoodlums didn’t hijack it. But, like I said, they haven’t written us.”

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command said it will deploy policemen across the city to avoid likely breakdown of law and order, if NANS embarks on its planned protest.

 

Take to Obasanjo’s advice, PDP tells Buhari, Fed Govt [THE NATION]

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to come down from his high horse and listen to advice from eminent Nigerians, who are advising him against allowing the nation to tumble from the cliff under his watch.

In a statement on Sunday by its spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan, the party accused the Buhari Presidency of worsening the woes of the country.

It took him on for choosing to haul insults on Nigerians, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the party noted called on the Buhari administration to end its divisive, suppressive and insensitive style of leadership that has ruined the nation.

The statement reads: “From its reactions to patriotic counsel, it is clear that the Buhari Presidency has become bereft of the fundamentals of governance as well as overwhelmed by its own failures and burden of guilt for the disunity, bloodletting and anguish that have enveloped our nation in the last five years.”

The party echoed Obasanjo’s claim that Nigeria was sliding into a failed state, where citizens are not guaranteed of their safety and cannot afford the basic necessities of life, among others.

The PDP said: “Under Buhari, all sectors of our national life are in shambles; the productive sectors have been crippled; the nation has been pushed into the reverse gear; bandits, insurgents and marauders are freely ravaging communities and our citizens live in constant fear and extreme poverty.

Indeed, never in the history of our nation has the situation been this pathetic.

“While President Buhari recedes in the comfort and safety of the Presidential Villa and reneged in his promise to lead from the front, Nigeria is being pushed to the fringes by marauders who are pillaging our citizens in various parts of our country…”

“Furthermore, it smacks of shamelessness for the Buhari administration to be talking about corruption in PDP’s subsidy regime, when it has been caught neck-deep in unprecedented oil corruption that had ruined our economy, turned our nation into the poverty capital of the world and put our citizens in a dire strait.”

The PDP alleged that life has become more traumatising for Nigerians under the present administration.

“Today, life has become resources from the sale of crude oil have either been wasted or stolen by officials of the Buhari administration,” Ologbodiyan said in the statement.

He claimed the Buhari administration has not done enough to sustain a credible electoral process, which enhanced his elector victory in 2015 over a sitting government.

The statement further reads: “It therefore amounts to pretending to sanctimony for President Buhari to be preaching on term limit, whereas, his administration has done everything possible, broken all known democratic norms and rules to debase credibility in our elections.

“Our party implores President Buhari to pause, think of Nigeria and its people and heed wise counsel to save our nation from an imminent collapse, which this idling administration has foisted on all our people.”

 

Ize-Iyamu rattles Obaseki on performance [THE NNATION]

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki last night failed to clearly defend his government’s performance in critical areas of job creation, healthcare provision, agriculture, security and infrastructure development.

He also failed to debunk the claim that he did not possess the requisite qualification for admission into the University of Ibadan where he graduated.

It was during a debate organised by Channels Television and its partners to enable Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) contender, to sell their candidature to the people.

The Edo State governorship election will hold on Saturday.

Ize-Iyamu said Obaseki has not performed and that he borrowed millions of naira on account of the agriculture sector without any result.

He also chided the governor for failing to employ teachers when there are no teachers in the classrooms while no doctor was hired in the absence of medical personnel to work in the hospitals.

He said the government closed down the nursing school, raising the fear of lack of nurses in the state in the near future.

Ize-Iyamu said firms in Sobe and Wareke, among others, are neglected.

He said the state’s stake in the modular refinery under construction was a mere one per cent.

On security, Ize-Iyamu said: “We can combat human trafficking, if we make the home environment more conducive and curb the rural to urban drift. There are laws in place and the Federal Government is doing a lot to reduce it.

“The personnel deployed in our state for combating insecurity will be complemented by an organised state police, but we must work with the Federal Government and every other stakeholder. Our people must feel safe at all times.

“Kidnapping is high in the state. We are not showing enough concern. If I were governor, I would have acted on veritable intelligence and mobilised security agencies to flush them out of the forests around Okada-Ofosu road.

“There have been increase in security votes, but there have been no investment in security. Our state is one of the few in the country with no advance in technology for fighting security. Our security vehicles cannot fight security. I will introduce tracker and drones to tackle crimes.”

Obaseki said the state was working closely with the Federal Government to reduce the crimes.

“We have software in government, which we use to track crime and monitor trends. We have deployed this a couple of times, especially when kidnapping was rife in the Okada-Ofosu-Ore axis. We cleared both sides of the forest and collaborated with federal authorities to bring sanity.

“We have young men that are providing intelligence on what is going on in their areas. This has helped to tame cult groups in communities. We call them Public Work Volunteers,” he said.

Ize-Iyamu accused the governor of bandying fake statistics on employment in the state.

According to him, most schools and hospitals do not have teachers and doctors.

“Eight of 10 graduates in Edo State don’t have jobs. There is unemployment in the state. The governor was just releasing fake statistics. The little jobs available were given to outsiders,” he said.

Ize-Iyamu added: “My fellow contestant is not worried about the brain drain in the medical sector. This is, according to him, because he wants to do e-diagnostics.

“Mr Obaseki did not know of the Stella Obasanjo Hospital, which was built over 12 years ago. So, what was he doing when he was in government? He does not even know what is happening in the state.

“I am shocked that the state’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has been closed. The danger is that we will be going outside our state to look for nurses to help our mothers in labour.

“The government has spent around N16 billion to train teachers, but how has this improved education in the state?”

Obaseki said the data records were available for verification and denied spending so much.

He admitted that there were challenges in the area of employment.

“Human capital development is one of the areas that the government has accomplished a lot. Jobs came from the way government addressed the problem by creating a sense of purpose to encourage the private sector to participate,” he said.

 

Has Nigeria started flattening the curve? [THE NATION]

For the second time in two weeks, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was seen as a bearer of glad tidings. Barely a week after announcing a phased reopening of schools in the state, he once again threw many Lagosians into celebration mood last Monday when he declared that Lagos has started flattening the COVID-19 curve .

Sanwo-Olu delivered the good news during the opening ceremony of the second session of the 34th Synod of the Dioceses of Lagos, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Onikan, Lagos.

“It has been said that we will be picking dead bodies on the streets, but we thank God He kept all of us. We have less than two per cent fatality; when the statistics said that it will be 10 to 15 per cent. We had estimated that by August, the curve would have flattened out, meaning that the positivity rate would have flattened and we will begin to see a downward trend. I’m happy to inform the people of God that the curve is coming down, and we are beginning to see a low number in the positivity of the COVID-19 in the state.

“Though we are not out of the woods yet, we need to take precautions as we see the numbers coming down in Lagos. Lagos, the epicentre indeed has risen up to it and we are beginning to see the numbers coming down on a daily basis. We sympathise with the people that lost their loved ones, and we pray that God will spare our lives. As a government, we will continue our best to save lives,” he said.

Going by daily updates from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), new infections in the country have been consistently lower in the past few weeks than what obtained in the first four months of COVID-19. Last week (from Sunday, September 6 to Saturday September 12), Nigeria recorded 1,272 new Coronavirus cases and 24 deaths; but 1,166 people recovered from the illness. Till date (as at Saturday, September 12), 56,177 cases were confirmed, 44,088 cases discharged and 1,078 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A breakdown of NCDC updates showed that on Saturday, September 12, 160 new confirmed cases and two deaths were recorded in Nigeria. There were also 90 recoveries – the lowest daily number of people who were discharged from isolation centres in the week. The 160 new cases were reported from 13 states: FCT (39), Plateau (39), Lagos (30), Kaduna (23), Katsina (7), Rivers (6), Oyo (6), Yobe (3), Benue (3), Bayelsa (1), Abia (1), Edo (1) and Ekiti (1). As for 90 recoveries, discharges happened in  seven states: Plateau (35), FCT (16), Oyo (11), Ogun (10), Rivers (9), Kaduna (6) and Osun (3); while the two deaths were reported in the FCT.

If new infections were far higher than recoveries on Saturday, September 12, it was the equivalent of a draw game on Friday, September 11 – 188 recoveries and 188 new cases. On September 11, NCDC announced 188 cases in 19 states: Lagos (47), Enugu (25), Plateau (21), FCT (14), Abia (11), Delta (10), Bauchi (8), Kaduna (8), Ondo (8), Ogun (6), Imo (5), Benue (4), Katsina (4), Taraba (4), Edo (3), Kwara (3), Oyo (3), Rivers (2) and Yobe (2). On the same day, 188 people were also discharged in 12 states: Abia (59), Plateau (45), Oyo (24), Kaduna (20), Rivers (15), Ebonyi (11), FCT (4), Lagos (4), Bayelsa (2), Ondo (2), Imo (1) and Osun (1). The only death of the day was reported in the FCT.

On Thursday, September 11, it was a better scenario as recoveries exceeded new infections in the country. One hundred and ninety-seven confirmed cases were reported in 13 states: Plateau (83), Lagos (48), Kaduna (17), FCT (16), Ogun (11), Katsina (7), Imo (4), Edo (3), Nasarawa (3), Rivers (2), Bayelsa (1), Osun (1) and Oyo (1); while two hundred (200) discharges were reported in 12 states. The 12 states are: Oyo (80), Kaduna (32), Plateau (27), Kano (22), Edo (16), Ogun (9), Lagos(4), FCT (3), Ondo (3), Rivers (2), Anambra (1) and Osun (1); while five deaths were reported in four states. They are FCT (2), Ondo (1), Oyo (1) and Plateau (1).

There were also far more recoveries than new infections on Wednesday, September 9. On that day, there were 176 new cases as against 276 recoveries. One hundred and seventy-six confirmed cases were reported in 17 states: FCT (40), Lagos (34), Plateau (26), Enugu (14), Delta (12), Ogun (12), Ondo (9), Oyo (8), Ekiti (6), Ebonyi (4), Adamawa (2), Kwara (2), Nasarawa (2), Rivers (2), Bauchi (1), Edo (1) and Osun (1); while two hundred and seventy-six (276) discharges took place in 11 states. The states are: Benue (110), Plateau (70), Ondo (42), Delta (13), FCT (13), Rivers (12), Ogun (9), Bauchi (2), Bayelsa (2), Osun (2) and Ekiti (1). Three deaths were reported in three states – FCT (1), Ogun (1) and Rivers (1).

 

Health workers begin nationwide strike Monday [THE NATION]

Health workers, under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), have begun their planned strike.

The action took effect at 12 a.m on Monday, following the alleged inability of the Federal Government to meet their demands.

JOHESU urged its members to withdraw their services across the country to key into the industrial action.

The union said it took the decision at its expanded National Executive Council (NEC), which took place on Sunday.

But the government described the proposed strike as ill-timed and illegal.

It asked JOHESU to shelve the action and return to the negotiation table.

At a conciliatory meeting brokered last Thursday by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the government announced that it had reached an agreement with the unions.

But JOHESU leaders, at the end of their meeting with the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; JOHESU Chairman Biobelemoye Josiah, and other officials, were given till Saturday, September 12, 2020, to report back to the government team.

In a memo on Sunday, JOHESU said the unions unanimously agreed that since nothing concrete was achieved at the conciliatory meeting with the Federal Government last week, the strike notice was “still germane and alive”.

The memo, copies of which were sent to Ngige, was jointly signed by the President of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Biobelemoye Joy Josiah; Secretary-General of MHWUN, Dr. Silas Adamu; President of National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Abdulrafiu Adeniji; Secretary-General of NANNM, Thomas Shettima; and President of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Hassan Makolo.

Others included: President of Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, Dr. Benjamin Akintola and General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Peter Adeyemi.

It reads: “You would recall that at the end of the meeting held in your office on Thursday, September 10, 2020, JOHESU demanded that the outcome of the meeting between JOHESU and the Federal Government be reported back to our expanded NEC meeting and give a feedback to the Federal Government within 48 hours.

 

Failed state: Presidency, ACF attack Obasanjo as Ohanaeze, Afenifere defend ex-president [PUNCH]

The Presidency on Sunday berated former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his Thursday’s comment on the state of the nation, describing him as the country’s ‘divider-in-chief.’

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in a statement titled “Obasanjo is Nigeria’s divider-in-chief.”

But socio-political groups in the country differed on the Presidency’s attack on Obasanjo.

While the pan-northern socio-political group, the Arewa Consultative Forum, advised Obasanjo to stop presenting himself as a saint, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the former President’s administration was more credible than the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

On its part, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, said Obasanjo was more pan-Nigerian than Buhari, whom it accused of dividing Nigeria along religious and ethnic lines.

Obasanjo had on Thursday said Nigeria was slowly becoming a failed state and a basket case that urgently needed to be pulled from the brink of collapse.

Speaking while delivering a speech titled, “Moving Nigeria away from tipping over” at a consultative dialogue in Abuja, the former President said he had never seen Nigeria so divided, adding that many of the problems plaguing the country were due to the recent mismanagement of Nigeria’s diversity.

But Shehu said with his comment which he described as unfair attacks on the President and his regime, Obasanjo had descended from the lofty heights of a commander-chief.

He stated, “In his most recent statement, former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria.

“The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of divider-in-chief (to adapt the coinage of Time).”

The presidential aide said as some commentators were already suggesting, Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problem-solving instead of helping the “mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.”

He said the former President must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups which had vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment.

Shehu added that Obasanjo must have left his admirers confused in announcing the support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.

The statement added, “The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed–as did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same political party– does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the 9th Assembly as another waste of time and resources.

“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitution amendment was carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, state Houses of Assembly and the country’s judiciary. These changes have already been signed into law by the President as mandated by the constitution.

“The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people have also not escaped the ire of the former President.

“It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party. They failed in achieving these measures because, one there was a shared greed. They plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.

“Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and development that Nigeria urgently needs.”

Shehu boasted that Buhari had run a regime focused on infrastructural development.

He said with his achievements and the more to come, it was not surprising that Buhari would be an object of envy from politicians who he said failed to deliver.

He added, “It (Buhari’s) is a pro-business administration that has used diplomacy to unlock bilateral trade and investments.

“He leads a government that has liberalised the investment climate and market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the list of the world’s top reforming economies.

“Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential.

“With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn.”

Shehu also faulted the views of some analysts on Buhari’s recent advice to West African leaders to avoid tenure elongation.

He said contrary to the assertions by the few analysts, Buhari’s recent speech in which he advised West African Presidents against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits had been consistent with his long-held views on the need to adhere to the rule of law.

Also, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Adeyemi, faulted Obasanjo.

The minister said the country would have been overrun by Boko Haram insurgents and bandits if the President had not rallied for regional and international support.

He said Buhari came into office at a time that “a swathe of the country’s territory” was under occupation by terrorists and “many Nigerian towns and cities, including the capital city of Abuja, were playgrounds for insurgents.”

He said it was a moment that “the nation’s wealth had been looted dry, with little or nothing to show for the nation’s huge earnings, especially in the area of infrastructure.”

The minister therefore described as “a cruel irony that those who frittered away a great opportunity to put Nigeria on a sound socio-economic footing, at a time of financial buoyancy, and those who planted the seed of the insecurity in some parts of the country today, are the same ones pointing an accusing finger at a reformist government.

“Nigeria today faces a lot of challenges. But whatever situation the country has found itself in, things would have been much worse but for the deft management of resources, unprecedented fight against corruption, determined battle against insurgency and banditry as well as the abiding courage of Mr. President in piloting the ship of state.

 

Palm wine seller beats up policewoman over missing N150,000 [PUNCH]

One Florence Samuel, on Friday, appeared before an Osun State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Osogbo for allegedly assaulting a police sergeant, Caroline Olaitan.

Florence, a 28-year-old palm wine seller at a shop located in the Balogun Agoro area of Osogbo, allegedly beat up the policewoman and resisted arrest when Caroline visited her pub following allegation that the sum of N150,000 belonging to a patron was missing.

The palm wine seller, who was arraigned on charges bordering on assault, a breach of the public peace, conspiracy and stealing, was allegedly with a customer, Ayodele Ogundipe, when another customer, Taiwo Yusuf, visited the pub on September 10, 2020, around 9.45am, with the sum of N150, 000, which eventually got missing.

She was arraigned alongside the 59-year-old Ogundipe.

The police prosecutor, Adeoye Kayode, explained that Florence assaulted Caroline by beating her and tearing her uniform, while the policewoman was performing her lawful duty.

The offences were said to be contrary to and punishable under sections 356, 249 (D), 251, 516 and 390 (9) of the Criminal Code, Cap 34, Vol. II, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2002.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Counsel for the defendants, Mr Najite Okobe, prayed the court to commit them to bail.

Adeoye, however opposed the bail application, saying it would jeopardise evidence.

The presiding magistrate, Mr Adebayo Ajala, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N400,000 each with one surety in like sum.

He adjourned the matter till October 13, 2020, for hearing.

 

FG fumes as health workers begin strike today [PUNCH]

Following its deadlocked meeting with the Federal Government, the Joint Health Sector Unions has resolved to proceed with its strike with effect from midnight of Sunday, September 13, 2020.

This was the decisions reached after its expanded National Executive Council meeting held on Saturday.

This was just as the Federal Government on Sunday directed the various unions in the health sector operating under by JOHESU to ignore the strike directive.

JOHESU, in a three-paragraph letter dated September 12, titled, ‘Re: Notice of 15-day ultimatum/outcome of JOHESU expanded NEC meeting,’ said it would proceed on strike as nothing was achieved in the conciliatory meeting.

The memo sent to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, was signed by JOHESU President, Biobelemoye Josiah; Secretary-General, Dr Silas Adamu; President of Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes, Dr Benjamin Akintola; General Secretary, Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, Martin Egbanubi, among others.

It read, “Recall that at the end of the meeting held in your office on Thursday, September 10, 2020, JOHESU demanded that the outcome of the meeting between JOHESU and the Federal Government be reported back to our expanded NEC meeting and give a feedback to the Federal Government within 48 hours.

“In the light of the above, the meeting of our expanded NEC was held today, Saturday, September 12, 2020. And at the end of the meeting, which was held both physically and virtually, it was unanimously agreed that since nothing concrete was achieved at the said meeting with the Federal Government, that the strike notice is still germane and alive.

“Therefore, the 15-day ultimatum still subsists and with effect from midnight of Sunday, September 13, 2020, our members shall withdraw their services due to Federal Government’s inability to meet their demands.”

Your strike illegal –FG

However, the Federal Government urged unions JOHESU to ignore the directive.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment in a statement said it had “apprehended   the dispute” with the conciliation initiated last Thursday, which is still ongoing.

A statement on Sunday by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr  Charles Akpan, said going ahead with the action would be illegal.

 

Top 10 exporters earned $74.78m in one month [PUNCH]

Top 10 exporters earned $74.78m from export proceeds in May despite lockdown introduced by the Federal Government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic spread according to the Central bank of Nigeria.

The CBN stated this in its monthly economic report for the month of May.

It said, “Despite the lockdown measures, export proceeds of the top 10 exporters increased by 29.8 per cent to $74.78m from $57.62bn.”

Analysis showed that Olam Nigeria Limited topped the list with a value of $21.15m or 28.3 per cent of the total, from the export of cocoa beans, cashew nuts, and sesame seeds to Turkey and China.

The second major non-oil exporter was British American Tobacco Nigeria Limited with a value of $18.13m (24.2 per cent), from the export of cigarettes to Liberia, Guinea, Ghana, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger.

The third major non-oil exporter was Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited at $9.64m (12.9 per cent), realised from the export of urea fertilizer and agronomy services to Turkey and China.

The fourth major non-oil exporter was Valency Agro Nigeria Limited, with a value of $5.52m (7.4 per cent), from the export of cocoa beans to Malaysia.

This was followed by Starlink Global and Ideal Limited, with a value of $5m (6.7 per cent), from the export of cocoa beans to Malaysia.

Olatunde International Limited, Wacot Limited, ETC Agro Company Nigeria Limited, Atlantic Shrimpers Limited and BC Nigeria Cocoa & Chocolate Limited, were at sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th positions with export earnings of $4.09m (5.5 per cent), $3.48m (4.7 per cent), $3.09m (4.1 per cent), $2.39m (3.2 per cent) and $2.29m (3.1 per cent) respectively.

Their major export products were raw cocoa beans, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, sea frozen shrimps and chocolates to Spain, India, Japan, Vietnam and the Netherlands respectively.

According to the report, dampened global demand caused a contraction in merchandise imports to $3.92bn in May 2020 from $4.12bn in the preceding month and $6.51bn in May 2019.

Non-oil products, constituting 77 per cent of total imports, declined to $3.02bn in the review period, from $3.12bn and $4.01bn in April 2020 and May 2019 respectively.

Similarly, it added, the importation of petroleum products, representing 23 per cent of total imports, fell to $0.90bn in May 2020, from $1bn in April 2020 and $2.20bn in May 2019.

 

You’re Nigeria’s divider-in-chief, Presidency replies Obasanjo [SUN]

The Presidency has come hard on former President Olusegun Obasanjo describing him as Nigeria’s divider-in-chief.

This followed Obasanjo’s ealier claim that the country was adrift. He gave the damning verdict on Thursday last week when he delivered a speech: ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum, when he said Nigeria was becoming a failed state and a basket case that urgently needed to be pulled from the brink of collapse.

The Presidency, in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria, Obasanjo, on the other hand has made attempts to divide the country.

The statement read: “In his most recent statement former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria.

“The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to adapt the coinage of Time).

“Before responding further to the unfair attacks on President Buhari and his administration by the former President, it is important that we categorically state that contrary to the assertions by a few analysts, the recent speech in which President Buhari advised West African Presidents against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits has been consistent with his long held views on the need to adhere to the rule of law.

“Even though he tried it and failed, the recent uptick in the number of such leaders proposing to do, or actually carrying on in office beyond term limits is sufficient to cause concern among democrats in the sub-region given its prospects of destabilising the states and the region.

“President Buhari’s advocacy is consistent with his principles and in line with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box.

“Having cleared this misperception, we hope that Chief Obasanjo would once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.

“As some commentators are already suggesting, Chief Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.

“Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment.

“No doubt, he must have left those admirers confused in announcing the support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.

“The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the 9th Assembly as a another waste of time and resources.

“To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kickstarted and carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, States Houses of Assembly and the country’s Judiciary. These changes have already been signed into laws by the President as mandated by the constitution.

“The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people has also not escaped the ire of the former president.

“It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They failed in achieving these measures because, one there was a shared greed. They plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.

“Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and development that Nigeria urgently needs.

“This president has run an administration focused on infrastructure and development. He has repaired our damaged relations with neighbours and our traditional allies such as the UK, US, China, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the others with lots of benefits to the country.

“It is a pro-business administration that has used diplomacy to unlock bilateral trade and investment. He leads a government that has liberalised the investment climate and market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the list of the world’s top reforming economies. Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential. With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn.”

 

Birthed in integrity, the enduring legacy of Captain Hosa [SUN]

Forbes’ “Best of Africa” award conferred on business mogul, chairman and director of many topnotch companies, including Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL), Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo (Capt. ’Hosa, for short) on Friday, September 11, 2020, was very inspirational. It has compelled an obligatory task of reviewing his fascinating trajectory and revisiting the question of his identity.

Long before the current jejune effort, especially by his traducers, to rewrite his story in a series of articles and social media posts, he had consciously defined the shape and texture of his future with the magnitude of his ethical values of integrity, and commitment to ideals strong enough to ward off the revisionists, like water off the back of a duck.

And, bolstered by a disciplined upbringing, he has been able to sustain fidelity to noble principles, navigating a breathtaking path that has consistently guided him through successive voyages. Today, with inexplicable boldness, a testament to his can-do spirit that had propelled him to retire as a commercial pilot at the age of 30, way back in 1988, after logging about 7,000 hours of flight time, in order to explore the business world as an investor and entrepreneur, the Benin-born billionaire has finally unravelled as his (own) prophet. He has, indeed, come full circle.

The decision to quit at the time he did marked the end of an era of doing exploits with the winged metallic birds in the air, and the dawn of a new era in the task of building on the identity that he personally constructed for himself as a dedicated pilot who could modestly be said to have conquered the air with his phenomenal outings, spanning about nine years.   He had actually graduated as a professional commercial pilot in 1979, at the age of 21, from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre, Zaria, an institution remarkable for training most Nigerian pilots.

Since his immersion in business, he has continued to define and redefine his constructed identity as circumscribed within the context of his essential business interests and moral obligations. His superintendence over OMSL, for instance, is reflective of his can-do spirit and integrity in business where, today, he has conquered the sea, with a fleet of no fewer than 50 vessels. He has also extended that identity of integrity, uncommon value addition, et cetera, to his multimillion-dollar greenhouse farm in Benin, and other businesses that straddle marine security, marine logistics, property and real estate, hotel and hospitality, aviation, entertainment, power, telecommunications, agriculture, and much else.

His dealings have been tempered and mediated by his identity, and this has accounted largely for his mantra of uncommon value addition in business, integrity in his interactions and non-negotiable exertions towards the preservation of his name. His traducers have always targeted his much-valued name, pulling all manner of propaganda stunts to negatively portray his immaculate identity and mischaracterize his persona.

It is significant to note that, whereas identity is both foundational and super-structural in the conception, perception, validation and appreciation of the essence of Capt. ’Hosa’s persona, he has providentially done so much to nurture it into a veritable social and moral capital bank, from where he consistently draws to sustain robust, trustworthy and honest socio-economic interactions.

And in the alchemy of values, his social interactions with many who have encountered him, and his spiritually-driven compassionate connection with many others whose existential needs he continually ministers to, as the Almighty God lays it in his heart of gold, have become a way of life. Thus, in appreciating the Capt. ’Hosa identity, I am reconstructing from my personal experience with and knowledge of him an identity that those in the other camps have assailed with all manner of innuendoes, direct assaults, and insults, malicious claims and outright mendacities, but which has remained attractive and has continued to be recognized both locally and globally.

But just before the Forbes award, which recognizes outstanding leaders on the African continent, he was, last month, awarded the Anti-Human Trafficking Hero for the year 2020, on account of his solid contributions and support for the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), in the pursuit and realisation of its key mandate of stopping human trafficking in Nigeria.

He also has so many other awards from various appreciative organisations, individuals and governments in his kitty. A quick recap: Justice of the Peace; an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Benin; the African Titan award by the American Congress for being a voice for the Niger Delta people through his movie “Black November”; Vanguard Businessman of the Year 2016 award; and, the Order of Lafayette award conferred at the 2019 United Nations Day for Global Peace in Geneva, Switzerland, among others.

It is a question of identity that, in spite of his great accomplishments, his great influence and humongous wealth from which he funds his eleemosynary acts, he remains very humble.  Apart from business wherein he is always single-minded, ambitious and daring, he spurns ambition in so many other areas, especially politics. Unfortunately, politics has provided the gung-ho footing for his traducers, and those in the other camp to throw tantrums, stones and all at him. They thought he was interested in seeking the office of governor in Edo State. How far wrong they were! Regardless, they have erected a propaganda machine against him for supporting a candidate in the September 19 governorship poll.

But for the imperative to defend and preserve his identity from the political hawks, he would have remained his unobtrusive, taciturn self, entrenched in businesses, far flung from political shenanigans. His self-effacing mien and equanimity would not have been violated by the raucous malicious claims against him even if they have been coming in fits. The fact remains that he has no political ambition.

Even in business, whereas the primary motive is to make money and build on it, whereas so many find it difficult to give back to society, Capt. ’Hosa has continued to live a life of philanthropic service to man and thanksgiving to God. That is his ambition: to build society and be a role model to the youth. On these scores, he has kept fidelity to promises. His word is his bond.  Once he gives his word to do a thing (favour), from my personal knowledge and experience, I have not had cause to remind him. He has always been on top of the situation. That is his flagship identity: integrity. There is truthfulness.  There is reliability. There is compassion, but, certainly, no misplaced ambition.

He did not fall into the error of jumping on the bandwagon of Edo governorship politics as an aspirant despite overtures made to him and the pressure on him. Attempts to malign and savage him would have been much more intense. Capt. ’Hosa understands his identity. As the ancient Greek philosopher, Protagoras, once said: “Man is a measure of all things.” This encapsulates the Capt. ’Hosa persona. And the intervention by Alexander Pope remains quite instructive: “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; the proper study of mankind is man.”

When Pope was presenting man’s position in the universal scheme of things, through his eternal lines, which indeed constituted the beginning of Epistle II of his essay on Man, little did he know that the lines would be reinforced today to serve as a context for obligatory resolution of the question of Capt. ’Hosa’s identity, which remains immutable in the shaping of his values, beliefs, practices and knowledge of things influenced both by cultural systems and by individual actions around his world.

Indeed, for Capt. ’Hosa, an identity of his had long been constructed, which is being daily minded through the prisms of personal and other people’s perceptions of the self in a changing world. In reconstructing his unfairly portrayed identity by some promoters of political shenanigans, my verdict is that he remains true to his principles, loyal to friendship and compassionate to all that know him. Because his identity is birthed in integrity, it will long endure and transcend the onslaught of ill-bred traducers. The only thing that has justifiably changed about him though is his frequent presence in the media space: to preserve his identity, lest the falsehoods are perceived to be the truths, if unchallenged.

 

Forget inconclusive election in Edo –INEC [SUN]

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned politicians to forget about inconclusive governorship election in Edo State, on September 19.

A top source in the Commission disclosed this to Daily Sun, in Abuja, at the weekend.

To ensure the electoral process is conclusively determined on September 19, assurances have been secured from security agencies; with the two top governorship candidates, Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu signing a peace pact tomorrow.

The top INEC source reiterated that wherever acts of violence disrupt the process, the process would be repeated until a clear winner emerges.

“In the past, politicians will disrupt elections in places where they are not strong, so that they will win on the basis of where they are strong.

“Based on the basis of section 23, the Commission said ‘no, if you disrupt elections in places where you are not strong, we will appoint another day to go and conduct the election in that place’ (because) you can’t disenfranchise the people.

“So, if elections are disrupted in a place where the candidate is not strong, we will mobilise again for that election…In past elections, we’ve also seen that politicians disrupt elections even where they are strong.

“The framers of the Constitution are not mad…they didn’t envisage inconclusive elections. So, if it’s disrupted because it is inconclusive (the voting process), our regulations says that, yes, for the first time, yes, for the first time, declare it inconclusive based on the margin of winning votes garnered and the margin of cancellation but, when calmness is restored, there would be voting again and a winner declared based on valid votes the second time.

“Sometimes, some steps are taken, to ensure that you safeguard the process… elections are not only disrupted where politicians are not strong, they are also disrupted where they are strong,” the source said.

In a similar development, the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee will meet with Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, where they would sign a peace pact, tomorrow.

Penultimate week, the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, urged political leaders in the state to eschew violence in the election and rein in violent supporters.

Fuel, electricity increase: NLC, TUC hold crucial emergency meetings ahead of nationwide protest [SUN]

There are strong indication that organised labour may draw its members and Nigerians out this week to protest the recent increase in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.

Ahead of the protest, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has scheduled emergency meetings of two of its organs, the National Administrative Council (NAC) and Central Working Committee (CWC) for Wednesday in Abuja to ratify and grant permission for the leadership to organise nationwide protests along with other allies in the country.

The NLC in a letter to its affiliates on Friday had said the two emergency meetings billed for 10am and 2pm was on the state of the nation and emphasised the importance of members attending the “crucial meetings.”

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, though not specific on the date for the protest, informed Daily Sun that workers would hit the road immediately the organs gave the nod.

Wabba said Nigerians expected labour to take to the street immediately after the announcement, but said it was important to take some time to organise and plan the protest so that it turns out successful.

He, however, said labour was happy Nigerians were conscious of what was happening around them and taking responsibility.

In the same vein, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Friday held a Zoom meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) on the latest increase in the pump price of petrol and electricity.

A TUC source said the union plans to hold another meeting tomorrow to finalise details of the protest.

“The protest may hold this week, but if not, definitely it cannot go beyond next week. We are meeting to draw the modalities and probably the cooperation we may have with our other allies,” the source said.

 

Okorocha, Uzodimma fight over new varsity [SUN]

Former Imo governor, Rochas Okorocha, and his successor, Hope Uzodimma, are entangled in verbal war over the true founder of the University of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Umuagwo in Ohaji/Egbema Local Governmner Area of the state.

While Uzodimma, in a statement by his Media Aide, Oguwuike Nwachukwu, said his boss founded the varsity, located in Umuagwo,  Okorocha, in a counter claim, boasted that the tertiary institution is his brainchild.

Okorocha, in a statement, through his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, yesterday, said the protest by the academic staff union of the polytechnic and some other interest groups, delayed the take-off of the university until he left  office.

The former governor said he did not only get the approval and the licence for the take-off of the university, but also appointed the vice chancellor, Peter Akanwa.

Okorocha said he equally constituted the university governing council with Rev. Fr. Wence Madu as chairman and seven other members, including Thomas Obiefule. All event, he said, took place in April 2019.

“Okorocha, as governor then, founded the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, which he located at the premises of Imo State Polytechnic Umuagwo, with campus at Aboh/Ngor-Okpala. While, the Umuagwo Polytechnic was relocated to Ehime Mbano,” he said.

Aside the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Okorocha said on May 7, 2019, he also got the licences and approval for the take-off of three other universities, namely, University of Creative Technology, Omuma, Isiaku in Nkwerre council, University of Medical Sciences, Ogboko in Ideato South council and University of Sciences and Technology, Umuna.

“In fact, NUC Executive Secretary, Abubakar Rasheed, while handing over the licences to me, said the three additional universities have been recognised as the 50th, 51st and 52nd state universities respectively and as the 172nd, 173rd and 174th universities in the nation’s university system also respectively, with effect from May 7, 2019,” Okorocha said.

But Uzodimma has described his claim as a blatant lie. The governor said if it were true that he founded it, the feat would have received a wider publicity.

Uzodimma said: “That is a blatant lie, and, of course, you know that Okorocha is not somebody that will found an institution of that calibre without making a noise about it if he had a hand in it, everybody knows that.

“I think he should allow the governor to do the work he has come for, he has enough problem to grapple with, for instance, the Eastern Palm University that the circumstances under which it was founded is cause of worry to everybody, including those living there.

“He should solve that problem rather than facing the one that is taken off on a smooth plane.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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