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Top 13 stories of Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Ali Modu Sheriff


National chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has admonished President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop blaming the erstwhile ruling party for the unsavoury state of the economy.

Addressing a gathering of party faithful while inaugurating four committees ahead of its convention, Sheriff cautioned Buhari and the APC to stop the blame game and face the onerous task of governance.

Sheriff said: “The leadership of PDP shares the pains of Nigerians after 11 months of APC in office. They now have the opportunity to compare APC and PDP.

The judge are Nigerians.

“The APC rather than facing Nigeria’s problem are blaming PDP for lack of petroleum after almost one year in office. “I want to advise them to stop blaming PDP. We are now in opposition, repositioning our party to convince Nigerians that we can do better.”

The PDP national chairman however pleaded with the party members to relate as one family, as he restated his mission to run an inclusive administration.



Nigerians might have to pay more for petrol in the days ahead, as the Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed that it would review the price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, next

This came as the Acting Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mrs. Sotonye Iyoyo, called on the Federal Government to undertake the automation of PPPRA operations for improved efficiency and transparency and also develop a pricing framework to encourage local refining and
discourage importation of petroleum products in the long term.

Meanwhile, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to tender an unreserved apology to Nigerians for allegedly creating hardship for them through his alleged inability to handle the
country’s economy well, and for not providing solution to the lingering fuel crisis in the country.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, also said, yesterday, that they were not to be held responsible for the lingering fuel scarcity. Speaking during a visit to PPPRA, in Abuja,
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, also stated that the present fuel crisis witnessed across the country would end in Lagos and Abuja tomorrow, while it would end in other states of the federation by the end of the week.



The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, yesterday, said
the Federal Government has identified as top priority, the amendment of the Electoral Act with a view to empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,  to prosecute electoral offenders.

The AGF said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari intends to carry out a comprehensive legal reform that would address challenges posed by some of our outdated electoral laws.

In a keynote address he delivered at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room’s Stakeholders’ Forum on Elections, in Abuja, yesterday, Malami, SAN, said he has commenced consultations with the leadership of the National Assembly and the Judiciary to identify key laws and priority areas for reform.



FOR the April 9 Area Council polls, the battle line has been drawn between the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. Already, both
parties are perfecting strategies to outwit each other at the polls.

By Henry Umoru Currently, the FCT has become a behemoth of sorts as PDP, APC and other political parties have intensified campaigns in the six area councils to woo or cajole the electorate in favour of their
candidates. The tenure of the incumbent chairmen will end on May 17, 2016.

There is a poster war as posters of the candidates are pasted on available spaces like trees, street light
poles, road sides and broken vehicles, among others.



In a new twist to the ongoing trial of Director of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, he has asked Justice John Tsoho, of the Federal High Court, in Abuja, to hands off the case.

Last October, the Federal Government charged Kanu with treasonable felony and the case has suffered series of adjournments.

Yesterday, Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor said they have asked the Court of Appeal to reassign the matter.
After the court’s hearing yesterday, Ejiofor told newsmen that although “the defence is not accusing the judge of being biased, it is just that the position of the judge is very obvious to the whole world.”

Bringing up an incident that happened in court, Ejiofor said the parties would have to wait for the decision of the Appeal Court on the matter.

Justice Tsoho had earlier granted the Department of State Services (DSS) the permission to protect its witnesses.  But, following the court’s ruling, Kanu made an appeal on Tsoho’s ruling on the protection of DSS witnesses. While Ejiofor said they have asked the Court of Appeal to reassign the matter, his lead counsel, Chuks Muoma had argued that it will be wrong to accuse a person in public and decide to try him in

Kanu is facing trial for illegal possession of firearms and assisting in the management of an unlawful society
alongside two others.



Ahead of the expected judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, following yesterday’s commencement of
his trial over false assets declaration when he held sway as governor of Kwara State, Senate President, Bukola Saraki may throw in the towel by resigning from his position any movement from now.

In other not to be humiliated while on the throne, some senators including those who had vowed to remain with him to the end of his trial at the anti-graft court, yesterday, asked the Senate President to consider the resignation option so as to save the Senate, as an institution. The option was thrown to him at a special meeting held by a group of some loyal senators, who followed him to his Maitama residence, shortly after the end of yesterday’s trial at the court.

But as Saraki is considering the option, senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, appeared to be at loggerhead with their counterparts in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over the Senate President’s successor.

While the APC senators are insisting on producing Saraki’s successor, those of the PDP are favorably disposed to anointing one of their own, a development that has further polarized the Red Chamber.
A senator of the PDP fold, who spoke to newsmen late yesterday, but on condition that his identity would not be mentioned, said Saraki was given the option of resigning basically to save the institution of the legislature.



Less than 24 hours after he reconciled with Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, embattled Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Dr. Temitope Aluko said yesterday that he was set up. Two months ago, Aluko went on television to spill the beans on how the 2014 governorship election was allegedly
manipulated with money and soldiers in Fayose’s favour.

But, yesterday, said at a press conference in Lagos that Fayose orchestrated the purported reconciliation to rubbish the startling revelation he earlier made about his election.

” I need to emphasise that all that transpired at Eko Hotel on that faithful was organised propaganda, drama to stain my image and malign my personal integrity and, I believe it would be a good script for Nollywood.”
He continues: “I received a call from two senior members of the party; one of them is a serving senator and the other, a former governor. I was told to come to Eko Hotel to meet with them and I went in company of my wife. “We were half way in the discussion which they tagged ‘peace parley.’ It should be noted that no reference was made to the 2014 governorship election and the aftermath, including my revelation to the public about the way the election was manipulated in favour of Fayose.



The Ekiti State Government has said the reconciliation between Governor Ayodele Fayose and the former state Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Tope Aluko, will not stop the latter’s prosecution. Aluko had, in media interviews a few weeks ago, revealed how the PDP allegedly rigged the June 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State in favour of Fayose, who defeated the incumbent, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of the All
Progressives Congress.

He also claimed that President Goodluck Jonathan gave Fayose N4.7bn cash to prosecute the election.
He also claimed that he attended a series of meetings at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, where strategies on how to rig the election in the state were perfected with the help of about 44 special strike teams consisting of security men assigned to harass top members of the APC in Ekiti State at the time.



Gbenga Odogun, Lokoja, a faction of the Kogi State House of Assembly has described as an act of
illegality the continuous sitting of five members of the Assembly in spite of the taking over of the functions of the House by the House of representatives.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday in Lokoja, the state capital, members of the G15, a group of 15 legislators opposed to the impeachment of Momoh Lawal as the Speaker, said the continuous sitting amounted to flouting the resolution of the National Assembly and other steps being taken to resolve the crisis.

A member of the G15, Sunday Shigaba, who addressed newsmen, quoted Governor Abubakar Bello as saying he was not aware of any crisis in the Assembly in media reports last week, adding that the governor said his “Speaker is sitting.”

He stated, “It is no longer news to hear that the executive governor has provided accommodation in the Government House for the G5 to continue their illegal legislative activities in flagrant disregard
to the National Assembly’s resolution to take over the functions of the state Assembly, pending the resolution of the crisis rocking the House.”

The lawmakers accused Bello of frustrating every step taken so far to resolve the crisis.



Against the backdrop of threats to current employment levels by the economic downturn, there were indications yesterday that the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has stepped up efforts to protect private sector jobs from looming gale of downsizings in the sector.

The Comptroller-General of NCS, Col. Hameed Alli (retd) gave this indication while addressing staff and management of Snake Island Integrated Free Zone and Nigerdock Company during an official visit to the location. According to him, the Federal Government was concerned about the impact of the recent economic headwinds, which had brought some major constraints in the operations and businesses of major

He lamented that the development had equally portended a threat to job security and further complication of the economic hardship the citizens were already facing.

He, therefore, said his visit was part of government’s efforts aimed at ascertaining the challenges the company
was facing and finding ways government could be of help to prevent the crystallization of job cuts.

On the issue of threat emanating from unfavourable competition, the Customs boss promised to look into the industry issues with a view to redressing any anomaly, adding that the complaints earlier made by the management of the company would be scrutinized by top management of NCS, who are knowledgeable enough to know the right thing to do.



The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar, has advised the Federal Road Safety Corps to curb the excesses of drivers of public officials’ convoy. The Sultan said it was not enough for the corps to breath down the neck of ordinary citizens, noting that FRSC officers should be brave enough to flag down speeding government convoys.

Abubakar, who said this at the 6th FRSC annual lecture series on Tuesday in Abuja, drew laughter from the audience when he said he had never seen a government convoy being booked by the corps personnel.

“The FRSC should do more to curb the recklessness of government convoy on the roads, they should not stop at stopping ordinary Nigerians who are struggling to survive. I am yet to see FRSC officers stopping a government convoy,” he said. The monarch said he did not believe that speeding leads to road crashes, noting that accidents would be minimal with good roads, attentive drivers and well-maintained vehicles.

He, however, stressed that crashes were often caused by drivers’ carelessness. The Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, who delivered a paper on “State Road Management Efforts: The LASTMA Experience,” said that prior to the new regime of traffic management in Lagos in 2000, an estimated loss of N42bn worth of man-hour were recorded in Lagos yearly as a result of gridlock.



Former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba yesterday in Abeokuta, the state capital opened up on his return to the All Progressives Congress (APC). He disclosed how the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu and Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona mounted pressure on him to return to the
progressives fold.

Osoba spoke against the backdrop of a meeting held in his Ikoyi, Lagos residence with the leaders and some governors of the ruling APC last Sunday, which he regretted had been misconstrued by Nigerians.

According to Osoba, contrary to some media reports, the APC national leaders and governors led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu only came to plead with him to return to the party’s fold.



Less than 48 hours to the submission of the report of a Federal Government’s panel set up to investigate an allegation of sexual assault levelled against a Biology teacher at Queen’s College, Lagos, the Parent-Teacher Association of the school has accused the old girls’ association of plotting to remove the principal, Dr. Lami Amodu, and replace her with one of them.

The PTA and the Queen’s College Old Girls’ Association have differed on the allegations. While the PTA described the allegations against the teacher, Mr. Olaseni Oshifala, as baseless, the QCOGA had in a statement argued that the allegations were not “unfounded”.

According to the PTA, a faction of the QCOGA, led by one Mrs. Laila St. Mathew-Daniels, is determined to install a deputy director from the Federal Ministry of Education, whom they said was an ‘old girl’.

While saying the news briefing was not meant to pre-empt the outcome of the Federal Government panel, the PTA added that Chinenye Okoye, the purported parent, who accused Oshifala of molesting her daughter, had yet to surface.

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