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2019 Election: PDP Panel Grills Saraki, Atiku, Makarfi, Others On Thurday |RN

                                     Saraki, Atiku and Tambuwal

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees panel set up to discuss the possibility of having a consensus presidential candidate among the aspirants will meet with them  (the aspirants) and also screen them on Thursday, The PUNCH has learnt.

The 12-man panel, which is headed by Senator Walid Jibrin, is expected to first meet in the morning of Thursday before inviting the aspirants for the screening.

Authoritative sources within the board told our correspondent in Abuja on Monday that all the 13 presidential aspirants had been contacted for the screening.

The aspirants are a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal;  Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo;  a former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso;  and a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa.

Others said to have been invited are President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki;  a former President of the Senate, David Mark;  a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki  (SAN); a former Governor of Plateau State, Jona Jang;  and a former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi.

Others expected at the meeting are a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed and Usifo Stanley.

It was gathered that the aspirants would be persuaded to have meetings among themselves and see if they could agree on a consensus candidate.

Jubril, who will chair the meeting, confirmed to our correspondent that the board would meet with the aspirants.

“We will meet them on Thursday in Abuja, but I will not tell you the location.

“We are talking with the aspirants and I have hope that they will all work together for the progress of our party which will make us win the presidential election in 2019,” he said.

It was gathered that the aspirants had, however, made up their mind not to drop their ambition.

A member of the BoT said that the aspirants “do not want to hear anything about consensus or stepping down for anybody at all.”

But another board member said that the aspirants could still strike a deal among themselves before the October 5 and 6 dates for the presidential convention.

Investigations by our correspondent showed that the PDP is looking for a presidential candidate that will be able to deflate the support base of President Muhammadu Buhari in the northern part of the country.

A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the party would prefer a candidate that would break Buhari’s popularity in the north.

He said, “We are praying to have a candidate that will be loved by the entire country; a nationalist, who will see the entire country as his base.

“We also want a candidate that is loved by the north, where we have zoned the ticket to. We need someone that can break the support base of President Buhari.  That is just it.”

‘Killings, kidnappings caused by injustice’

Meanwhile, Lamido, on Monday alleged that heinous crimes such as killings and kidnapping were increasing due to injustice in the country.

Lamido spoke with journalists after he met with the forum of Southern and Middle belt leaders in Abuja at the residence of an Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark.

He said, “The culture of governance is deteriorating because of the absence of justice, which should be the anchor of governance but it is not in Nigeria anymore.

“That is why you are seeing all these kidnappings, Boko Haram attacks, killings in Taraba, Adamawa, Zamfara, Sokoto and all over Nigeria.

“This country is not being run according to law and order; there is nothing like justice in Nigeria. Therefore, Nigerians feel that this country is not good anymore.

“This government is trying to bury the contributions of our founding fathers; integrity and honesty are not new in our vocabulary.

“Before Buhari there was integrity; there was Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano and Nnamdi Azikiwe. These are people of honour and integrity. He (Buhari) has never for once paid tributes to our founding fathers.”

He regretted that President Buhari had breached the constitution by openly declaring that he would favour those that voted for him more than an area where he had fewer votes in 2015.

Lamido said, “More than anything, we are going through a period of injustice. In other climes, he (the President) will be impeached because he said he would work in favour of where he got 95 per cent votes and do less where he got five per cent”

“What is happening now is because this country is sick; we are looking for justice. We want a Nigeria where everybody will feel a sense of belonging, not nepotism anymore.”

The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, spoke on behalf of the forum.

He said, “Our people are deeply upset by the state of affairs in the country. Our country is at a crossroads where leadership is critical; so we have invited you here to tell us what you have for Nigeria.

“We seek restructuring of Nigeria to address the problems confronting us. We seek answers to how your policies will address all these.”

Mark seeks Abdulsalam’s blessing

Also, a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd.) on Monday received Mark, who asked for his support for his presidential ambition.

Abdulsalam said Mark remained one of the capable hands needed to lead the nation out of the woods.

He said Mark had over the years demonstrated unwavering commitment to his fatherland.

He said, “Both as a military officer and politician, Senator Mark has proved to be a reliable and competent administrator.

“The nation would benefit from his wealth of experience if given the mandate to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Abdulsalam said he was pleased to note that the PDP was putting its house in order and playing the role of an opposition party, hoping that the 2019 elections would be free, fair and credible.

He counseled political parties, aspirants and supporters to play the game according to the rules, adding that only the wishes of the people would endure.

Earlier, Mark told his host that he was prepared for the contest believing that his track records of meritorious services to the nation had put him in a better stead to lead the nation.

The meeting later went into a closed door that lasted for about two hours.  (Punch)

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Offa Robbery: Court Summons Saraki Over Fresh Criminal Complaint |RN

                                               Senate President Bukola Saraki

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

 

A Grade I Area Court in Aco Estate, Lugbe, Abuja, has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to serve a summons on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to compel him to face a criminal complaint initiated against him by a private lawyer in respect of the bloody bank robbery in which many died in Offa, Kwara State, earlier this year.

The criminal complaint was initiated by an Abuja-based lawyer and rights activist, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, whose lawyer told the court on Monday that the IGP had given assurance that the necessary court papers would be served on the Senate President.

The police had said their investigations linked Saraki to the kingpin of the robbery operation.

The Senate President is the sole defendant in the criminal complaint initiated by the private lawyer.

The criminal complaint marked, CR/196/2018, was said to have been initiated by Ojaomo under Section 89(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

It sought Saraki to be summoned for allegedly ignoring police invitation to answer to an allegation involving the investigation of the suspects of the Offa robbery.

The complaint stated that Saraki’s alleged refusal to honour the invitation amounted to obstructing a criminal investigation and disobeying a public officer carrying out a lawful responsibility.

This alleged conduct, it said, was an offence punishable under Section 136 and 149 of the Penal Code Law.

The judge handling the case at the Grade 1 Area Court, Aco Estate, Lugbe, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Abdullahi Garuba Ogbede, had, on September 10 this year, ordered the issuance of a summons on Idris following Saraki’s absence from court.

On Monday, the complainant’s lawyer, Mr E. S. Marcus, said he was informed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Legal Unit of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, identified as Mahmoud, that the IGP had directed the legal unit to ensure the prompt service of the court papers on Saraki before the next hearing date of October 3, 2018.

He said, “The defendant is not in court. At the last date, the court issued a witness summons on the IGP to come and show cause why the police failed to effect service of the criminal summons, warrant of arrest and other processes on the defendant.

“The witness summons was served on the Nigeria Police Force by the court’s registry.

“However, we received a call from DSP Mahmoud of the Legal Department of the Nigeria Police Force headquarters, that the matter has been assigned by the IGP to a particular unit of the NPF to effect the service of the summons on the defendant and arrest him.”

Marcus explained in court on Monday that his client, who was supposed to bear the responsibility of serving Saraki with the complaint, had to resort to seeking the IGP’s involvement in accordance with Section 122 of the ACJA, when it became difficult for him to serve the Senate President.

According to the lawyer, the Inspector-General of Police is required, under the law, to either produce the defendant in court or attend court to explain why the defendant was absent.

He then applied to the court to grant a short adjournment to enable the police to serve the processes on Saraki.

The judge, Ogbede, granted Marcus’ request and adjourned the case till October 3.

The criminal complaint against the Senate President read, “Criminal complaint brought pursuant to Section 89(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015. Please, cause a summons for a direct criminal complaint on the defendant on the following terms:

“That you, Dr Bukola Saraki, on or about the 24th day of July, 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did refuse to honour the invitation of the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police Force to report at the police headquarters in FCT, Abuja to answer to  an allegation involving the investigation of  some criminal suspects involved in a case which the Nigeria Police Force is currently investigating, thereby obstructing a criminal investigation and disobeying a public officer carrying out a lawful  responsibility.

“You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 136 and 149 of the Penal Code Law, whereas, the complainant is praying the court to charge the defendant accordingly.” (Punch)

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EFCC Asks Nigeria Customs To Watch Out For Fayose Being Smuggled Out Of The Country

Ayodele-Fayose-New

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose

“@officialEFCC putting my name on watch list after notification of my coming is petty. I’m not among those who are afraid to face tomorrow. Nobody is God.”

• Customs orders governor’s arrest at border

• ‘Where were you when Adeosun left Nigeria?’

Ismail Omipidan

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to place outgoing Ekiti State governor Ayodele Fayose on its watch list.

Fayose, whose tenure ends on October 16, is being investigated by the EFCC for alleged abuse of office, money laundering, among other offences.

In a letter, dated September 12, addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs Service, Hameed Ali, the EFCC said Fayose may be planning to flee the country.

“There is a reasonable suspicion suggesting that he (Fayose) may likely leave the country either through the land borders, airports or seaports in order to evade investigation. Hence, you are kindly requested to watch list him and arrest him,” the EFCC, in a letter personally signed by Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman said.

In its response, the NCS instructed all zonal coordinators, area commanders and comptrollers to monitor Fayose, through the provided contact details if sighted, the NCS stated in its letter of September 14.

Reacting to the development through his personal Twitter handle, Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, noted that to put his name on the watch list after he had formally written to the anti-graft agency to inform it of his willingness to report to it next month, is an indication that the EFCC was playing politics with the matter.

“@officialEFCC putting my name on watch list after notification of my coming is not only political but petty. I’m not among those who are afraid to face tomorrow. Nobody is God. They should expect me on October 16, 2018. I will remain in PDP not minding their intimidation,” Fayose declared.

Also reacting, Fayose’s Special Adviser on Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said: “That would be irresponsible of the EFCC and of the APC-led Federal Government. This is the same APC-led Federal Government that allowed Kemi Adeosun who forged her NYSC certificate to resign and leave the country immediately, but it is now placing alert on customs against Fayose. What happened to the alert that should have been placed on Kemi Adeosun?

“Governor Fayose has written to the EFCC that he would appear at their office by 1pm on October 16. They should wait for him, he is not afraid and not a coward like them who are afraid of just anything. And we want to say that they should not waste their time and also not use the hushed up alert to customs to steal from the Federal Government coffers. Their case is like that of cow thieves running after fowl thieves.

“Governor Fayose is not afraid of any of them; he will appear as promised on October 16. They wrote a letter to the governor that he should appear on September 20 but by section 308 of the constitution, Governor Fayose still enjoys immunity against criminal prosecution until October 16, and when that garment of immunity is removed, Governor Fayose will present himself as promised on October 16 at 1pm,”the governor’s aide said.

Daily Sun recalls that Fayose’s party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost the July 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State, to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Kayode Fayemi. He defeated PDP’s candidate and outgoing deputy governor, Olusola Kolapo, to win the race.

Barely 24 hours after the election was won and lost, the EFCC, had in a tweet noted that with Fayose’s tenure ending in less than three months, he should be preparing to visit the Commission.

The Commission intimated that investigation into Fayose’s alleged N1.3 billion poultry project during his first term would be reopened so as to continue the prosecution.

“The parri (party) is over; the cloak of immunity torn apart and the staff broken. Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project/Biological concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon,” the EFCC had tweeted.

Since 2007, Fayose has been having a running battle with the anti-graft agency. A new twist was however introduced to it in 2016, following the discovery that the governor, had allegedly benefitted from the alleged arms deal scandal, amounting to N1.3bn, which he was alleged to have received from the then minister of state for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro to prosecute his election in 2014. Obanikoro has since joined the APC. (The Sun)

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Saraki To APC: You Cannot Impeach Me |The Republican News

The ruling party kept mum about the senate president’s insistence that they lack the required number to impeach him

• Ruling party keeps mum

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and John Adams, Minna

Senate President and presidential aspirant on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said the the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) does not have the required number to impeach him.

The senate president said this in Minna, capital of Niger State, when he met with the state’s PDP members, to solicit for their support for his presidential ambition.

“They know that we are in the majority and whatever they want to do they know they don’t have the number,” he reiterated.

Saraki, however, ruled out the possibility of him stepping down when the senate reconvenes; as being demanded by the ruling party following his defection to the PDP.

“One thing is clear, I will not sacrifice the interest of the country for my personal interest, and, in the last three years, as senate president, I have demonstrated that my interest is second to that of national interest”.

He described as unnecessary, calls for the senate to reconvene from its annual recess.

“We did not adjourn the senate in the dark; there was a procedure where, at the end of the session, there was a vote and it was seconded that we should go on annual recess.

“So, it wasn’t anything done in the secret; everybody was there. It is not that some few people met somewhere and took the decision. “Everybody participated and everybody took the decision that we should adjourn for a normal, annual recess.

“The date that we agreed to resume was the same date we resumed last year and the year before, so, there is nothing abnormal about the senate adjournment.”

Saraki also pointed out that all he wants for the country is a country rooted in the rule of law and a democratic process.

“I am happy that even they that started making the noise have now agreed that they will follow the rule of law and due process.

“What is important to me is to ensure the independence of the three arms of the government, to allow rule of law, to ensure that we respect the democratic process”.

Although the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, had earlier declared that the party will deploy every legal means to impeach Saraki, the ruling party kept mum about the senate president’s insistence that they lack the required number to impeach him.

In earlier comments, Oshiomhole had insisted that Saraki would be impeached.

“He (Saraki) failed to understand that the Nigeria, national project is more complicated and is not that easy.

“He will not only be impeached, we will work hard to have him defeated as a senator in his own senatorial zone come 2019.

“Saraki will not be the first to be impeached and I doubt if he is going to be the last but, definitely, he will be impeached according to law and according to the democratic norms.

“The only way senator Saraki can avoid impeachment is for him to do what is honourable, which again leads to the issue of character,” Oshiomhole said then.

Yesterday,, efforts to get Oshiomhole’s reaction to Saraki’s insistence that he cannot be impeached, or the reaction of the acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, were unsuccessful.

None agreed to speak on the issue.

While the spokesperson kept promising to react to Saraki’s claims, after several calls and text messages to him, Nabena refused to pick the several calls. He didn’t reply the text messages either.  (The Sun)

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IBB To Saraki: I’ll Endorse Your Presidential Ambition |The Republican News

Saraki-IBB

Saraki and IBB

Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.

John Adams, Minna

Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has thrown his weight behind the presidential ambition of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.

“it is my turn to do what your father did to me,” Babangida said when Saraki visited him in Minna, on Saturday, as part of his nationwide campaign tour for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) convention.
Babangida also added that he will treat Saraki as his own son and ensure that he succeeds in his bid.

He pointed out that “I will rightly observe that you are my son, for coming to pay a courtesy visit. I remember when I was still in office, I spoke with your father, Oloye Saraki, who always provided advice on a number of things attached to this country.

“He always made himself available to me, to give advice and encouragement which will move the country forward. Your visit is historical. Now, it is your time and turn to come to me and I will do just that.”

Earlier, Saraki told General Babangida that Nigeria is now at a crossroad following the high level of hunger, insecurity and killings across the country.  (The Sun)

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Buhari’s Government, HSBC Engagment In Fight Gets Uglier |The Republican News

Buhari-Muhammadu

“We ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”

• As EFCC allegedly traces $33.6m to 3 Nigerians’ accounts with bank

• You’re hypocrite, Atiku slams govt

Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

The Federal Government appears not to be taking lightly the alarm raised by the British multinational bank (HSBC), which predicted that re-electing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 could further worsen Nigeria’s present economic situation.

Barely 48 hours after the presidency issued a statement, accusing the bank of aiding the collapse of Nigeria’s economy in the past by conniving with past Nigeria’s leaders to loot the country’s resources blind, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, took a swipe at the bank, accusing it of engaging in money laundering.

But former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, came hard on the government for attacking the bank, just because it gave a verdict that Buhari’s re-election for another term would spell doom for the country’s economy.

The EFCC in a statement it posted on its Instagram page noted that the international bank “is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

“Since inception, HSBC is synonymous with money laundering and has paid billions of US Dollars in fines across the world. In Nigeria, the bank laundered more than $100 million for the late dictator, Gen Sani Abacha in Jersey, Paris, London, Switzerland and Geneva. The bank is also involved with laundering proceeds of corruption for over 50 Nigerians including a Nigerian serving Senator.

“Part of Abacha Assets yet to be recovered are: $12 million in HSBC Fund Admin Ltd with account number S-104460 in Jersey; $20 million in HSBC Life (Europe) with account number 37060762 in U.K and $1. 6 million in HSBC Bank plc with account number 38175076 in U. K.”

The presidency had in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, last week alleged that one of the things that helped to destroy Nigeria’s economy in the past was the connivance of HSBC with some Nigerians to loot Nigeria’s money, adding that “rather, we ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”

 

Reacting to the government’s outburst, Atiku, whose position was conveyed by his Presidential Campaign Organisation, yesterday, said he was amused when he read the statement that emanated from the presidency.

He added that, “It is at once comical and pathetic that the Buhari government’s statement called HSBC corrupt. It seems they are unaware that some of the record 12 trillion worth of debt which the Buhari administration has saddled Nigeria with is actually funded from HSBC, which is the world’s largest bank.

“When they were taking their money, the ever begging Buhari administration did not know that HSBC was corrupt. It was after the HSBC told the truth about the Buhari government that they knew that the HSBC is keeping looted funds.

 

“In their statement, the presidency called HSBC ‘a bank that soiled its hand with millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered Abacha loot.’ They forgot that their principal, Muhammadu Buhari said ‘Abacha did not steal.’ So if Abacha did not steal, how could HSBC keep recovered Abacha loot? When you tell so many lies, you begin to contradict yourself,” Atiku said.

He reminded the All Progressives Congress-led administration that the British Prime minister, Theresa May and other international organisations have condemned Nigeria under Buhari’s leadership as one that is being regarded as the world’s centre for “extreme poverty.”

He also called on the government to put on its thinking cap so as to change the negative narrative about Nigeria.

“The fact remains that Nigeria under Buhari has been adjudged as the world headquarters for extreme poverty by the World Economic Forum and the World Poverty Clock as well as the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Are these people also corrupt?

“Only last month, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that our second quarter GDP growth rate was lower than our first quarter GDP growth. Another quarter of negative growth and Nigeria will enter a second recession under the Buhari administration. The same NBS published in December 2017 that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in 21 months under Buhari’s watch.

“These are the things that the government should be focused on and not to haul infantile insults at the world’s largest bank,” Atiku added.  (The Sun)

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Scores Killed In Fresh Boko Haram Attack On Army Location |The Republican News

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

Boko Haram terrorists, in what appears to be an unending onslaught on locations of the Nigerian Army, on Wednesday evening attacked the troops’ base in Damasak, Borno State, resulting in a heavy gunfire which lasted for several hours.

The army has confirmed the attack, saying troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak, withstood the insurgents and killed scores of them in the firefight.

The army was, however, silent on the number of casualties sustained on the side of the troops.

Damasak is a town in the Mobbar Local Government Area, some 146 Kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

It will be recalled that the Boko Haram insurgents only last week attacked troops’ location in Gudumbali in the Guzamala LGA and Baga in the Kukawa LGA, resulting in an undisclosed number of casualties on both sides.

The army’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, on Thursday confirmed that “many Boko Haram terrorists” were killed in the attack on troops’ location in Damasak.

He said, “Troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak engaged the Boko Haram terrorists who came to attack their location at about 6pm on Wednesday. This resulted into a fierce battle.

“The troops engaged and subdued the terrorists in Damasak following a superior firepower. The troops’ aggressive posture, tactics and marksmanship resulted in the neutralising of many Boko Haram terrorists.

“Consequently, the army wishes to state that the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East part of the country is yielding a positive result.

“We, therefore, advise members of the public, particularly residents of the affected areas, to go about their legitimate businesses as the army will continue to protect lives and property of citizens at all times.”   (Punch)

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