Ikoyigate: Don’t make public your findings, Akinyemi tells Osinbajo panel

Former External Affairs Minister and Deputy Chairman 2014 National Conference Professor A. Bolaji Akinyemi has called on the Osinbajo Panel not to make public their findings on National Intelligence Agency (NIA)money discovered in Ikoyi.

Akinyemi in a statement on Sunday warned that the Osinbajo Panel should engage the services of an external intelligence officers as a Consultant and that ‘under no circumstances should the National Assembly be allowed to conduct hearings into the affair of the National Intelligence Agency NIA .

Akinyemi further recommend that the Osinbajo Panel report could be shared secretly with the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House and that should any NIA officer be found culpable, he or she should be quietly eased out.

He also warned that putting a foreign intelligence officer on trial in an open court is going to be disastrous to external national security interests.

Read the full statement below

When the news broke that some millions of dollars had been found hidden in a flat in Osborne Rd, Ikoyi, Lagos, I was quite frankly indifferent as it has become a recurrent decimal. I was not even bothered when nobody initially stepped forward to claim it.

But when Ambassador Ayo Oke stepped forward to claim it on the part of the National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), alarm bells started to ring in my ears. It is one of the sacred traditions of the external intelligence trade to admit nothing and to deny nothing.

A saving grace emerged when the President set up the Osinbajo Panel to untangle the web over the millions of dollars. But the President inadvertently made a mistake.

He did not appoint anyone with a history of external intelligence experience unto the panel. External Intelligence operations do not belong into the same security genre as domestic security forces such as the SSS, EFCC and the Police.

External Inteligence officers, otherwise called spies, do not operate under the same operational penalties as domestic intelligence officers.

The ultimate penalty for a foreign spy in most countries is death. Countries go to incredible lengths to hide the identities of their agents both domestic and foreign and their operations. No receipts get issued. Budgets are called black budgets because they are never publicly acknowledged.

It would have been reassuring if the President had appointed a former head of or a former very senior member of NIA to be a member of the Panel.

Even at this late stage, let me remind the Vice-President that a lawyer with a specialty in constitutional law will not appreciate the niceties of international law. It is not too late to appoint a retired Head of NIA as a consultant to the Panel.

What has motivated me at this late stage to issue this release is the news that the House of Representatives has now decided to institute its own inquiry to this peculiar mess.

This is a dangerous move. In my knowledge in this field, I know of only one occasion when a government, in this case, the United States Government , set up a Congressional Committee, the Church Committee, named after the Chairman, Senator Frank Churchill, to look into “GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS WITH RESPECT TO INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES”.

In fact the main issue which was its concern was “Did the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ever indulge in carrying out assassinations of foreign Presidents?.

Normally, foreign intelligence activities are shrouded in secrecy, and not in the glare of publicity.

Now the whole saga has made us a laughing stock in the world.

Nigerian agents strewn all across Africa are now in dread of being exposed. Recruiting agents in future in Africa is going to be difficult out of fear of future exposure.

The following recommendations are to secure damage limitation:

It is not too late to call in a former Director of NIA to serve as a Consultant to the Osinbajo Panel.

No more leaks from the Panel.

Under no circumstances should the Report of the Panel in as far as it relates to the activities of the NIA be made public.

Under no circumstances should the National Assembly be allowed to conduct hearings into the NIA affair.

The Osinbajo Panel Report could be shared secretly with the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

Should any NIA officer be found culpable, he or she should be quietly eased out. Putting a foreign intelligence officer on trial in an open court is going to be disastrous to external national security interests.

If there is no provision to put an intelligence officer on trial in a secret and special court, an executive bill should be sent to the National Assembly to make provision for such.

Under no circumstances should one security agency be allowed to move against another security agency especially one dealing with foreign intelligence, without the express permission of the President or in his absence the Acting President. This should be without any publicity or fanfare.


May Day 2017: We feel your plight, FG tells workers

AS workers all over the world mark the May Day, the Federal Government has commended Nigerian workers over their resilience in the face of economic challenges.

This is as the National President of Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union, RATTAWU, Comrade Kabir Garba Tsanni, has said that with improved pay package for workers, the output would change as workers will put in their best to justify the pay package and avoid cutting corners to make the ends meet.

RATTAWU also commended President Muhammadu Buhari in the recent appointments especially in the cultural sector, saying that those appointed so far have the capacity to deliver, just as he advised the government to improve and protect the cultural values of the country for the survival of the nation.

The Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, while commending workers said the future was bright despite the current economic challenges in the country.

Nigerian Air Force to commence mass production of oxygen

Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique, the Chief of Air Staff, stated this on Sunday during a routine inspection of some on-going expansion works at the Nigerian Air force Base in Yola.

The Nigerian Air Force says it is set to begin mass production of oxygen for domestic and other uses before the end of 2017.

Air Marshal Abubakar Sadiq, the Chief of Air Staff, stated this on Sunday during a routine inspection of some on-going expansion works at the Nigerian Air force Base in Yola.

Oxygen use for pilots and passengers is a pre-requisite in aviation when aircrafts reaches particular altitude and its production is subjected to strict international standards.

Abubakar said that the oxygen plant would produce enough gas for the needs of Nigerian Air Force Base, Yola as well as other bases.
“I am in Yola for a routine visit to see the expansion works been undertaken to accommodate newly inducted aircrafts and also to inspect the oxygen plant which is at the tail end of completion.

“Very soon, we will start producing oxygen for our needs and beyond,’’ Abubakar said.

On the fight against insurgency and other criminal activities in the country, the Air Chief said that the Air Force would not relent until Nigeria’s enemies were defeated.

He also disclosed that the Air Force had intensified training and re-training of its personnel to strengthen its might and capability of protecting the country.

Nigerian workers, pillars of the nation – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki has described Nigerian workers as the pillars and driving force of the nation in view of their invaluable contributions to national development.

Saraki made this known in a message signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja at the weekend to mark this year’s 2017 Workers’ Day celebration.

He lauded the resilience and commitment of workers in both the formal and informal sector describing their contribution to the nation and the economy as “priceless’’.

“From the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that contribute over 47 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to the civil servants who are the driving force behind our government;
“All the way to the unregistered business owners who work to make a living for themselves and their families, every Nigerian worker in both the formal and informal sectors makes a priceless contribution to the sustainability of our nation.

“As we mark this year’s Workers’ Day, all Nigerian workers should be proud that their significant contributions keep this nation moving forward as they are the lifeblood of our country, an integral part of the fabric that makes up our society,” he said.

Saraki said that the Senate would continue to work to establish and enhance all legislations that would guarantee the safety and well-being of Nigerian workers.

He also emphasised on the need for government across all levels and participants in the private sector to work toward ensuring that workers received their salaries and pensions as and when due.

“As a result of globalization, the Nigerian workforce is no longer competing with itself. We are now competing with our counterparts from both developing and developed nations.

“With this in mind, it is necessary that all employers, those in the public and private sectors, work to continuously invest in the development of their employees,’’ he said.

Saraki said the upper chamber would continue to partner with Nigerian workers to enact legislation that would guarantee that they got their dues at the appropriate time.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Workers’ Day is observed May 1 each year to celebrate the achievements of workers.

Police arrests ex Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido

The police in Kano on Sunday arrested the immediate past governor of Jigawa, Alhaji Sule Lamido.

A reliable source told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano that Lamido was arrested for allegedly inciting his supporters to stop the conduct of state’s upcoming local council polls.

NAN reports that the arrest of Lamido may be connected with a programme aired on one of the Kano local radio stations.

Lamido was alleged to have directed his supporters, during the programme, to ensure that they win the local governments elections by all means.
The former governor was said to have been arrested at his Sharada Kano residence in the early hours of Sunday by the Zonal Investigative Bureau unit of Zone One Command of the Nigeria Police in Kano.

When NAN visited the headquarters of Zone one located along BUK road, the former governor was still being held by the police who are yet to make any official statement on the issue.

However, when contacted, the Public Relations officer, Zone 1, DSP Sambo Sokoto confirmed Lamido’s arrest.

He said: “Yes I was told that the former governor was invited at Zone 1, but I was trying to get the details when you called me now, ” Sokoto said.

He said that more details of the arrest would be issued to the press soon.

Police arrest driver for supplying food to Boko Haram

The Police Command in Borno said on Sunday that it had arrested a driver, Malam Modu Mustapha, suspected to be purchasing fuel and food items for Boko Haram insurgents.

Damian Chukwu, the Commissioner of Police in the state, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri that the suspect was arrested after a tip-off by members of the public.

“The Police have received information that one Modu Mustapha of Jumptilo village was a terrorists’ collaborator, who buys fuel and food for them, at Alagarno and other hideout.

“The Police descended on the suspect, who has confessed to the crime,’’ he said.

Chukwu alleged that the driver usually fetched firewood in the bush, from where he was suspected to have met the terrorists.

“He said that he had been buying things for the insurgent group.

“We recovered N10, 000 from the suspect, which the terrorists gave him to buy bicycle spare parts for them,” said the commissioner.

The commissioner said the suspect also named 15 other firewood vehicle drivers, who engaged in similar crime.

According to him, the Police are yet to establish the motive of the driver buying things for the insurgents.

“We have not been able to establish his reasons for buying things for them, whether he is under the influence of spell, coerced into doing it, or doing it willingly as their collaborator,” said Chukwu

He said that because of the nature of the alleged crime, it would be transferred to the military for further action.

Chukwu said that the Police also arrested three men who specialised in adulterating grind-pepper, mixing it with sawdust and flower waste and selling same to public as pepper.
“Those arrested included Bukar Masona, Babakura Umar and Ali Muhammad.

“The adulterated pepper they sell to the public is poisonous and unfit for human consumption,’’ he said.

The commissioner said that the suspects had confessed to the crime and would be handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), for further investigation. 

UNIPORT emerges overall NUGA Games winner with 150 medals

The University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) won 150 medals to emerge the overall best in the 25th Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA).

The games were held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State between April 22 and 29.

The medals table released by the NUGA secretariat on Saturday in Makurdi showed that a total of 57 universities contested for medals at the sports fiesta.

UNIPORT had 70 gold, 47 silver and 33 bronze medals secured in Judo, Athletics, Taekwondo, Volleyball, Basketball, Scrabble and Tennis.

Ahmadu Bello University Zaria won 11 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals to emerge a distant second, while Benson Idahosa University came third with 10 gold, 7 silver and 9 bronze.

University of Lagos with 20 medals, made up of 9 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze took fourth position, while University of Benin was fifth and the host institution took the 11th position with 2 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals.

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