•Deploy more personnel as army chief vows to wipe out terror group
•Security beefed up at N’Assembly
Deji Elumoye and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power, is under a massive security cordon following threats of attacks by insurgents and the increasing wave of banditry in the contiguous states of Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger States, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
There has been a wave of kidnappings in the outskirts of the federal capital, notably Pegi, Tuganmaje and Kuje among others, which the police have battled in recent times.
The security situation in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was heightened by the pronouncement of the Niger State Governor, Mr. Sani Bello, that Boko Haram fighters who he said sacked 50 villages in the state and hoisted the terror group’s flag, were about two hours drive away from the FCT.
Security has also been beefed up at the National Assembly as operatives, yesterday, thoroughly screened every vehicle approaching the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
The deteriorating security situation nationwide prompted the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, to warn that the 2023 general election may not hold, demanding the declaration of a state of emergency as well as the convocation of a national conference.
However, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, yesterday restated the Nigerian Army’s determination to annihilate Boko Haram.
But the Governor of Katsina State, Hon. Bello Masari, cautioned against declaring a state of emergency, saying doing so isn’t the solution to combat the security challenges facing the country.
The security of the nation’s airports was also in focus yesterday as the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) said there was no threat to them.
THISDAY’s investigations showed increased presence of troops, police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel and intelligence operatives at the three strategic entrances to the city notably, Keffi, Zuba and Gwagwalada.
More checkpoints were also mounted around Gwagwalada and Keffi.
THISDAY also observed increased intelligence deployment at the entrance and the borders of FCT with contiguous states.
Beyond the borders, there were more deployments and police patrols inside the city and increased intelligence deployments as well.
Security sources told THISDAY: “There are deployments here and there but they are routine. Alertness is key to a secure environment.”
It was also learnt that security agencies were involved in frenzied meetings throughout yesterday.
The meetings, coordinated by the office of the Chief of Defence Staff under the new joint operational strategy of the armed forces, were aimed at coordinating a joint response to possible threats of attack to the FCT.
“I understand the security teams have been meeting for some days now and if you look around you, you will notice that there are increasing patrols and numbers of security personnel. The threats are not been taken lightly,” a source said.
National Assembly workers, lawmakers and visitors also had a harrowing experience accessing the legislative complex due to heightened security in the area.
Security operatives thoroughly screened every vehicle approaching the National Assembly complex in Abuja, impeding both human and vehicular traffic.
The Sergeant-at-arm of the National Assembly and other security agencies supervised the operations, leading to huge traffic build-up inside the complex.
Legislative staff, visitors and lawmakers were seen patiently waiting for their cars to be searched so that they could go ahead with the business of the day.
Some staff and visitors at some point got tired of waiting and were seen alighting from their cars to trek from the gate to the complex.
Meanwhile, the ONSA has said there is no threat to the nation’s airports.
A statement by the Head of Strategic Communication, Mr. Zachari Usman, said the reports of threats to the airports were an internal correspondence of security threat assessment misconstrued as security threat to the airports.
PDP Demands State of Emergency
In a related development, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, yesterday demanded the declaration of a state of emergency, warning that the 2023 general election might not hold if the federal government failed to tackle insecurity.
He called on the federal government to summon a national conference to address the spike in insecurity.
Secondus added that the national caucus of the party will meet today to discuss the state of the nation.
Addressing members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja, Secondus said: “We are worried Abuja is not even safe. It is no longer politics. We got alert of plots to bomb and burn down our airports.
“We urge the federal government to declare a national state of emergency in security. There is the need to call a national conference to discuss the insecurity in the country.
“There may not be any election in 2023 in Nigeria due to insecurity. This government must listen to the people. The Buhari government should call a national confab to discuss security and state of the nation. It is no longer politics. This time we are not playing politics. Let’s keep politics aside and move the nation forward.”
He said the country had been grounded, regretting that there had been no matching response from the federal government.
Secondus said in the past, terrorism in the North was confined to the North-east, but with the report of Boko Haram occupying villages in Niger State, terrorism had spread to the North-central
“Herdsmen are also menacing in the West; gunmen causing havoc in the East; and the militants in the South; all killing, looting, raping, maiming and burning down homes. The situation is bad; Nigerians all over are living in fear,” he said.
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the problem of Nigeria was outside of the PDP headquarters, while pledging the support of the Senate to the declaration of state of emergency in security.
Abaribe said he deliberately decided not to speak on the floor of the Senate but to allow the APC senators to speak so as to avoid being accused of giving a partisan colouration to the issue of insecurity.
He stated that only electoral reforms would give victory to the opposition party in the 2023 general election and ensure a democratic defeat of the APC-led federal government.
Also, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, commended the NEC and the PDP leadership for their collective efforts at resolving the House leadership crisis.
The NEC meeting adopted the position of Secondus, calling on the federal government to convoke a national conference to discuss the state of insecurity in the country, according to a communiqué read by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan.
Army Chief Vows to Wipe Out Boko Haram
The army yesterday reiterated its commitment to wipe out Boko Haram.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, told reporters in Maiduguri, Borno State that Boko Haram had been defeated in many encounters and would continue to be defeated until it’s annihilated from Nigeria.
“We will take on Boko Haram decisively, and we are committed to the focus of the operations, which is the total annihilation of Boko Haram from Nigeria,” he said.
The COAS, who was visiting the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri for the fifth time since his appointment four months ago, said the visit was to boost the morale of the troops, reassure them and listen to any issues affecting them.
Earlier, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Farouq Yahaya, lauded the visit, which he said had continued to boost the morale of the troops.
“We are honoured, we are grateful, we are encouraged by those visits. You provided us guidance, logistics and other things we required. We are most grateful for those visits,” Yahaya said.
State of Emergency Won’t Solve Security Challenges, Says Masari
Katsina State Governor, Hon. Aminu Masari, has, however, said declaration of a state of emergency won’t solve the security challenges facing the nation.
Masari, who spoke yesterday with journalists after meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at the State House, Abuja stated that he was against the recent call by the House of Representatives for the declaration of a state of emergency in the security sector as it would not solve the problem.
According to him, declaring a state of emergency will not achieve the desired effect as the security structure and personnel to be used to execute the emergency are already overstretched in a bid to safeguard lives and property.
Sourced From: THISDAYLIVE
Tambuwal Takes COVID19 Jab as A’Ibom Begin Mass Vaccination
Okon Bassey in Uyo
Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal yesterday received the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine just as the Akwa Ibom State Government officially unveiled mass vaccination statewide.
In Sokoto, the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ali Iname led a team of medical personnel to administer the vaccine on the governor at the Government House, Sokoto.
Tambuwal took the jab alongside the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Muhammad Dan’iya and other top government officials in the state.
Speaking after taking the vaccine, Tambuwal implored the people of the state to make themselves available for the vaccination.
He, therefore, enjoined the people of the state especially the vulnerable to come forward and be vaccinated against the deadly disease.
He further explained that prevention “is better than cure. Instead of running here and there in need of support, it is better to take preventive measures to ensure that everyone is vaccinated.”
When asked about the side effects of the vaccine, the governor said globally the success recorded so far is more than the side effects
In Uyo yesterday, the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel noted that the vaccines provided protection against non-treatable diseases while flagging public vaccination at Government House, Uyo.
Emmanuel, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, said no report of life-threatening side effects has so far been recorded.
The state government on March 10 took delivery of 69,030 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government.
The governor lauded the efforts of scientists and researchers who made concerted efforts to come up with the vaccines.
The vaccines, he stressed, had been subjected to conventional safety and quality assurance processes and had received the approval of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant bodies.
He said: “I want to assure the people of Akwa Ibom State that the vaccines have been put through conversational safety and quality assurance processes and was largely approved by WHO and other relevant bodies
“We started administration of the vaccine on health workers and l want to assure you that we have not gotten any report of life-threatening side effect”. he assured
The State Commissioner for Health, Prof Augustine Umoh had earlier declared that the vaccination was the last hope against non-treatable diseases and viruses.
He urged the people to step up the speed by accepting the vaccination as a modality to control the spread as well as protect oneself against contact or against the worst form of the virus.
Umoh listed those at first line charge of vaccination, based on the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency arrangement to include; frontline health workers, other health workers, opinion leaders, top government functionaries, security personnel and senior citizens.
Highpoint of the event was the vaccination of the representative of the governor and Secretary to State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem and other top government functionaries as well as security chiefs.
Sourced From: THISDAYLIVE
Again, Non-service of Corruption Charges Stalls Stella Odua’s Arraignment
By Alex Enumah
The failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to serve corruption charges on two defendants, on Monday stalled the arraignment of a former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah, on fraud and corruption allegations.
Senator Oduah’s arraignment was first stalled on February 9, 2021, following her absence in court which prosecution lawyer, Hassan Liman (SAN) tied to non service of court processes.
Trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, then rescheduled her arraignment for Monday, February 22, 2021.
However, when the case was called on Monday, although Oduah this time was present in court and was represented by Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), but her arraignment again failed due to non service of suit on two other defendants.
The EFCC’s lawyer had told the court that the commission was yet to serve the fifth and sixth defendants specifically with the court processes.
Lima then sought a short adjournment to enable the prosecution serve the defendants, which are corporate bodies, at their respective addresses.
In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo granted the request and directed that the defendants be served within 14 days.
The judge subsequently fixed April 19 for the arraignment of the defendants.
Oduah, now a senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, is to stand trial alongside eight others on a 26-count criminal charge bordering on corruption, misappropriation and money laundering running into billions of naira.
The senator was said to have committed the alleged offences when she served as Minister of Aviation under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/316/20, the defendants were in count one charged with money laundering, while in count two, Oduah in connivance with one Gloria Odita, Company Secretary of Sea Petroleum & Gas Conthat, Ltd (SPGC), was accused to have “used your position to transfer the sum of N839,780,738.00 (Eight Hundred and Thirty Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty, thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty Eight Naira only) from 1-Sec Security Nig. Ltd account No. 2021756955 with First Muds Plc to Broadwaters Resources Company Ltd account No. 2023201064 with First Bank Plc which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: Fraud and thereby, committed an offence contra, to Section 15(2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
She was also accused of illegally transferring another sum of N838,000,000.00 (Eight Hundred and Thirty Eight Million Naira only) in count three.
In count four, both Oduah and Odita were accused of laundering another sum of NI,629,250,000.00 (One Billion, Six Hundred and Twenty Nine Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira only) in February 2014 and another N1.629,250,000.00 (One Billion, Six Hundred and Twenty Nine Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) in count five.
Sourced From: THISDAYLIVE
PDP Laments NURTW’s Activities in Lagos
By Oluchi Chibuzor
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State, yesterday expressed concerns at the activities of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in different parts of the state.
The party, also, vowed to reclaim five million non-participatory eligible voters in the state, noting that such inactive citizens lost confidence in government since their plight was aggravated.
The Chairman of Lagos PDP, Mr. Adedeji Doherty made this remark at a virtual town meeting yesterday to enlighten the youths on the need to participate in the electoral process.
Specifically at the meeting, the party chief decried the activities of NURTW in the state, describing their activities as frustrating and debilitating to road users in some parts of the state.
Doherty noted that most businesses “are in comatose while others have wound down because of unfair policies which include undue taxes imposed on businesses.
“The NURTW needs to be withdrawn. Its activities are exacerbating the plight of the people coupled with other levies, taxes and charges which are suffocating many businesses.
“We need this government to rethink and make amends where necessary. We are open and ready to share ideas for the general well being of the people. The welfare of the masses is paramount to us.
“We need a society where there is peace and tranquillity, talents development, equity, fairness and justice. We shall re-orientate every apathetic citizen, women and the youths in particular to make them better decision makers going forward, and PDP is fit and proper to achieve this,” he averred.
He lamented that the decline in citizens’ participation in elections was becoming unbecoming owing to bad governance.
Doherty noted that PDP “is open and ready for a cross-fertilisation of ideas with the ruling party (if invited) for such brainstorming synergy to better the lots of the people.
“The party will focus on youth and women empowerment going forward to arm them with requisite knowledge to wage war against any form of deception by any political agent.
“The unfolding events in the country is a clear indication of deception and lies perpetuated by some political leaders which have dragged many into abject poverty; therefore, the people must wise up and reject any act of falsehood and rhetoric from people seeking their mandates.”
He added that PDP was designed “to foster and advance the cause of young people and women, noting that Lagos State Chapter of PDP would embark on massive youths and women talents development empowerment and ready to incorporate them with opportunities to hold strategic positions across levels.
“What happened during the pandemic and Endsars protest was a clear lesson for all and sundry. We don’t need to be deceived any longer. Let us fortify ourselves mentally and otherwise to resist any form of vain preaching from any angle.
“All these little offerings are ephemerals. We at PDP are coming with succour and more to mend the wounds of the people. We call on all stakeholders to work assiduously to restore the dignity and respect of the people being eroded by this administration. We remain auspicious for better tomorrow,” the party chairman said.
Sourced From: THISDAYLIVE
Stakeholders Chart Course for Sustenance of Igbo Language
By David-Chyddy Eleke
Stakeholders in the South-east region yesterday came together to harp on the need to keep the Igbo language alive, decrying the nonchalant attitude about Igbo people on the fast disappearance of their language.
At a colloquium held in Enugwu-Ukwu Civic Centre in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, several personalities gave ideas as to how to keep the language from going into extinction, enjoining all to ensure they always speak the Igbo language.
President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Anambra State, Damian Okeke, who was also at the event, called for a law that would compel the Igbo people to speak the language and also dress in its cultural attires as a way of encouraging the customs and traditions of the people.
“We can start with the Enugwu-Ukwu which has held a yearly colloquium on this topic by asking that the traditional ruler of Enugwu-Ukwu, Ralph Ekpeh, makes a law that would encourage all members of the community to speak Igbo language.
The lead speaker at the event, a Professor of African and Contemporary studies at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Prof Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, spoke on the theme: ‘Community-based approach to promoting and sustaining Igbo Language’.
She queried Nigeria’s colonial masters for their disregard for Igbo language as well as the imposition of the English language on the people.
“The white man did well by coming to give us civilisation, but in teaching us what they know and what they want us to learn, they should have looked well to see what we have that is worthy of preservation.
“Our language is our pride. Our people must learn to speak our language so that the prediction of UNESCO that Igbo language is among those that will go extinct in 2050 does not come to pass,” she said.
Sourced From: THISDAYLIVE
Nigeria records 55 new COVID-19 infections, total now 165,110
Military, Police Ring Abuja to Forestall Boko Haram Attack
UFC: Usman gets N584m after beating Masvidal
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