FG to repatriate 60, 000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon

The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to repatriate 60,000 Nigerian refugees in the Minawao camp, Maruoa in far North region of Cameroon, displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, gave the assurance when he visited the camp during his 3-day visit to Cameroon.

A statement by the Press Secretary to the minister, Osaigbovo Ehisienmen, on Monday in Abuja, said Dambazau, donated food and other essential items to the displaced Nigerians on behalf of the Federal Government.

The minister who was accompanied on the trip by the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, the CG Immigration Service, Martins Abeshi and other senior officials, said the refugees would be brought back to communities liberated by troops.

In a related development, the minister has jointly signed a communiqué at the end of a bilateral meeting with officials of Cameroon Interior Ministry on issues related to exchange of information on the organization and duties of Interior Ministry of both countries,  and also on the return of Nigerian refugees back home which would involve a tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Cameroon and United Nations Commission on Human Rights and Maritime Piracy.

Dambazau also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of regular consultation mechanisms between authorities of the Cameroonian regions, and states in Nigeria located along the common border.

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Elite setting masses against Buhari – Senate leader

Senate Leader, Ali Ndume on Monday,  alleged that the current public outcry against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, was orchestrated by the elite who wanted to set the masses against the Daura born retired general.

Ndume, who spoke with journalists in Abuja on the current  economic situation in the country further alleged that there was a deliberate attempt by elites to set the federal government against the masses since they have discovered the support base of the administration.

He said,  “For instance,  I wonder what the exchange rate of the of dollar  to Naira has to do with the price of gaari, maize and tomatoes that are produced locally in Nigeria.

“Elites are deliberately sabotaging the Buhari’s  administration ‎in order to make the All Progressive Congress government unpopular.”

He explained that the Buhari administration had made significant achievements in the areas of war against insurgency, war against corruption and infrastructure decadence in Nigeria.

The senate leader said, “If not for the saboteurs, Nigerians would have been reaping the dividend of electing President Buhari. Otherwise, what has the fall of Naira has do with millet, tomatoes and other local produced commodities.?

“It is understandable that the price is affected but we are working hard on the 2016 Budget and in it, the president had included items that would enhance the living ‎conditions of Nigerians. We will pass the budget in March.”

Court jails nine pipeline vandals over Arepo killings

Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday convicted nine out of the 20 persons charged with pipeline vandalism and killing of nine policemen in the Arepo area of Ogun State on May 24, 2014.

The judge, however, discharged and acquitted 11 of the accused persons, saying the police failed to substantiate the charges against them.

Justice Abang sentenced the nine accused persons he convicted for pipeline vandalism to 12 years imprisonment.

He said though the convicts were not found guilty of murder, their action was condemnable, saying they worked to undermine the corporate existence of Nigeria.

The convicts are Felix Yayu, 25, Yakubu Ebiwei, 45, Augustine Ebiwei, 28, Owei Atile, 37, Atinuke Odewale, 42, Ijoufaya Legbe, 42, Ahmed Bashorun, 42, Odewale Waheed, 43, and Tuesday Filatei, 36.

The judge held, “In spite of the genuine efforts made by Federal Government and the Lagos State government to protect the NNPC pipelines, they felt that vandalising the pipelines and killing the policemen sent to guide the pipelines, was best.

“The facts of this case are miserable, sordid, shameful to remember and ghastly to believe. Even though they have not been convicted of killing the nine policemen, it is not in doubt that they all conspired to do so in cold blood.

“Imagine one of the convicts, Tuesday Filatei, taking photographs of how the policemen were burnt to ashes. The convicts before me are wicked, heartless and harbingers of evil.

“The conduct of the convict has reflected the moral decay we find in our society. The convicts sowed the wind and they must harvest the whirlwind.

“They expect the court to show mercy when they had no mercy for their fellow human beings.

“A drastic situation requires a drastic solution, and a decision of a court of law, in a situation like this, will act as a deterrent. Even though others will not learn, I have to do my duty.”

Those discharged and acquitted are Tamara Dembofa, 32, Agbara Tiewei, 43, Rufus Godwin, 45, Tierry Koiyetin, 22, Ebis Sobijoh, 22, Ibori Lawrence, 45, Eberebu Ibori, 30, Susan Vianana, 54, Yellow Yeiyah, 28, Fatai Bolaji, 32, and Ismail Abdullahi, 47.

The police had on August 10, 2014 arraigned 20 persons on 14 counts bordering on conspiracy, pipeline vandalism, oil theft and unlawful killings.

Some heavily armed, suspected vandals had on the night of May 24, 2014 reportedly stormed the Arepo area of Ogun in about 14 speed boats to carry out an illegal oil bunkering deal. In the process, nine policemen of the policemen, who challenged them were reportedly killed.

In the police in the charge filed before justice Abang, gave the names of the slain policemen as ASP Abdullahi Bature, Inspr. Raymond Oriere, Inspr. Usman Mohammed, Inspr. Oguntihemen Kolawole, Inspr. Tijani Jimoh, CPL Elogbamen Timothy, CPL Yakubu Aliyu, CPL Usman Abdukarim and CPL Dauda Mohammed.

Those arraigned by the police were said to have acted contrary to Sections 3(6), 7(b), 17(a) and 4(a) of the Miscellaneous Offence Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation, 2004 and Section 319 of the Criminal Code Cap C38 Laws of the Federation, 2004.

I will not stay beyond my stipulated time- Sheriff

The National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, has said that he will not stay in office beyond the constitutionally provided time for his exit.

But he was not specific of when he would leave.

Sheriff spoke when he received forum of former PDP members in the House of Representatives, who paid him a courtesy visit at the party’s national headquarters.

He also vowed that there would be no imposition of candidates, saying that the National Working Committee of the party would, after much consultation, release programs for the national convention,

Recalled that PDP governors, National Assembly Caucus, Board of Trustees (BoT) and national caucus had last week mandated Sheriff and NWC to conduct national congress within three months.

Sheriff said,  “I, Ali Modu Sheriff, a man of character and integrity, one who would live up to expectation and his promises, hereby announce to the world that under no circumstances would I stay in office beyond the period prescribed by the Constitution of our party, the PDP.

“In the light of the above therefore, I will announce the Convention Congress Planning Committee after due consultation with all organs of the party within few days from today and I assure all faithful members of the party that I would do everything within my powers to ensure that I complete the processes of congress before the expiration of my time in office.

“l will do my best within the period left and as it is humanly possible to complete the convention and hand over to an elected chairman.

“By the time we finish congress everybody will be happy. PDP will not be run by impunity, the party will be returned its owners.”

No plan to handover NIPOST to foreign managers – Minister

The Minister of Communications and Technology, Mr Adebayo Shittu said Monday that the Federal Government has no plan to hand over the operations of the Nigerian Poster Service, NIPOST, to foreigners.

He dismissed as untrue insinuations that the government had concluded arrangements to allow foreign managers operate NIPOST and reposition it for profitability.

The Minister in a statement signed by his media aide, Mr Victor Oluwadamilare described the insinuations as misleading, but however noted that the government was committed to turning the fortunes of NIPOST around for profitability.

Mr. Oluwadamilare also announced that the minister has streamlined the appointments of his aides.

Accordingly, he said, Messrs Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo is now Special Assistant (Technical); David A. Awotunde, Special Assistant (Admin); Victor Oluwadamilare , Special Assistant (Media) and Hon. Razak Bayo Olubodun –,Personal Assistant.

“This development which is with immediate effect, is in line with the Federal Government guidelines on the appointment of aides by Ministers,” he added.

On the issue of NIPOST he said: “our attention has been drawn to various insinuations making the rounds on the social media and a section of the Nigerian press to the effect that the Ministry of Communications was said to have concluded plans to hand over NIPOST to foreigners to manage.

“Ordinarily, we would have ignored the innuendoes, as there is no iota of truth in the said story, except for the likelihood of Nigerians being misled on our genuine intentions to reposition and revitalise NIPOST.

“In putting the records straight, the Government of the day has no plan whatsoever to either privatize NIPOST nor hand it over to foreigners to manage. This could only happen in the imagination of those who concocted and orchestrated the rumour to achieve only their inordinate mischief.

“For the avoidance of doubt, and as stated at different fora by the Minister of Communications, Barrister Shittu, Our vision of the new NIPOST is a total transformation from being a mono-product service organisation to a one-stop multi-product service provider with the ultimate aim of making it a cash-spinning establishment that can make meaningful contribution to the country’s revenue base.

“Such transformation will no doubt, entail diversification of services which will include rendering robust and all-inclusive financial services, utilising post offices across the country for rural telephony services, commercialising NIPOST’s fleet of vehicles, running a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and expansion of the stamp duties processes among others.

“Barrister Shittu, an avowed nationalist is a patriotic Nigerian who is wholly committed to the sustenance of our national institutions and legacies will never join the league of those hell-bent in selling off our common heritage,” the statement added.

IPMAN threatens to shut down operations in Enugu, Anambra

The Enugu Zone of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) has threatened to shut down operations in Anambra and Enugu over alleged harassment by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

Its Chairman, Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka that the planned showdown was to protest the incessant harassment of the members by the officials of the DPR.

The chairman accused NNPC officials of sabotage, saying they were in the habit of preventing marketers from procuring products at the approved depot prices.

He called on the Federal Government to “probe, expose and punish the unpatriotic elements in the organisation.

“We have been meeting on this issue of selling at the approved price; DPR officials have been going to our members with security agencies to harass them, charging them for one offence or the other.

“Anambra and Enugu are the worst hit and we shutdown our stations for them this week so that they can service the people as they wish.

“NNPC does not supply us products, so why will they send DPR to come and be chasing us around?

“Let them sell to us at the normal N77 cost price, then they will not need to enforce anything,” he said.

Nwankwo called on Anambra and Enugu state governments to liaise with the NNPC and ensure that the right quotas to the states were supplied as the residents were suffering.

He also opined that if the depot in Enugu, which had broken down for more than 11 years, was repaired, it would reduce the pressure of supply to the zone.

Efforts to reach Ms Ngozi Okoye, the Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Oil and Gas, were not successful as she was out of the office and calls to her phone were not picked.

In his reaction, the Operations Manager at the Enugu office of the DPR, Mr Ahmed Gwaran, said the agency was aware of the threat.

Gwaran said the DPR and the petroleum products distribution stakeholders in the zone comprising Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states had met to forestall the action which would have serious economic consequences on the lives of the people.

He said, however, that the enforcement was a policy issue which would not be compromised, adding that the government price was sacrosanct and that the meeting would help to smoothen rough edges.

The marketers have always sold above the current approved N86.50 pump price in Anambra as the product sells for between N120 and N130 per litre.

Minister spells out punishment for Ese Oruru’s abductor

The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aishat Al-Hassan has condemned the abduction and forced child marriage of a 13 year old girl, Ese Oruru.

Ese was allegedly kidnapped by one Yunusa in Opolo, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, in August, 2015 and renamed her Aishat on arriving Kano state.

The Minister and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) made this known on twitter handle on Monday.

Her words: “Our laws are very clear on the case. Ese Oruru is 14 and as such cannot consent to marriage. Any such union she’s in is illegal.

“I have been in touch with the police authorities in Kano over Ese’s immediate release to her parents and we are making progress.

“I can assure you that I will use all my powers and influence as a Minister and woman to secure the release and return of Ese Oruru.

“Ese is still a child under our laws, and her right to freedom of movement is subject to parental control. She must be returned.

“Child Rights Act says no person under 18 is capable of contracting a valid marriage, and a marriage so contracted is null and void.

“The Act also clearly states that anyone who marries a child is liable to a fine of N500,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.

“No culture, religion or personal conviction supersedes the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ese Oruru must return home.

“My ministry is on this case and we will ensure full prosecution of anyone who is found to have contravened the law.”

The Minister further noted that Ese’s case has brought to the fore the need to protect the rights of children and women in our society, stressing that her ministry will not relent.

“I assure you all that Ese Oruru will be released & reunited with her parents without further delay. All hands are on deck for this,” she maintained.