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Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Shut Down Oil Wells Over CJN, Onnoghen’s Trial

               Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators on Sunday warned that it would begin to attack oil wells in the oil-rich region if President Buhari failed to reverse the harassment of  Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The various militant groups said they were shocked to learn about the planned arraignment of the CJN over allegations of false asset declaration.

A statement issued via electronic mail by the coalition alleged that Onnoghen was being persecuted because he was from the Niger Delta, adding that the petition was plotted by the Presidency to forcefully remove Onnoghen as the CJN and replace him with a northerner.

The statement was signed by John Duku of the Niger Delta Watchdogs  and Convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; Ekpo Ekpo of the Niger Delta Volunteers; Simply Benjamin (Bakassi Strike Force); Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors); Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters); and Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters).

It stated, “In the first instance, President Muhammadu Buhari was not disposed to Justice Onnoghen’s appointment to this position, which was why he refused to confirm the appointment after so many months of serving in an acting capacity. It was during the period of his sickness while in Britain that the (then) acting President – Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, confirmed the appointment.

“We wish to also recall that in August last year, Mr Matthew Seiyefa of Bayelsa State, who was the most senior and most qualified officer at the time was appointed to the position of acting Director-General of the Department of State Services by Prof. Osinbajo, only to be replaced with a retired and junior officer to Seiyefa, Mr Yusuf Bichi, by President Buhari as soon as he resumed duties.

“We hereby vehemently resist any attempt to remove the CJN from office. We, therefore, want to state categorically that if the Presidency failed to reverse its harassment against the CJN, we will have no other option but to mobilise all the Niger Delta fighters and commence serious actions that would shake the country and the whole world.

“We shall shut down all the oil wells in the Niger Delta. We call on all the northerners and Yoruba who own oil wells in the Niger Delta to prepare to vacate immediately.

“We also want to warn our Niger Delta brothers, who are working for Buhari to watch their back and know that we are watching them and their family members. We warn them to stop campaigning for Buhari in the Niger Delta,” the militants added.  (Punch)

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2019: Niger State PDP Receive 4,500 APC, PDM Defectors |The Republican News

 

John Adams, Minna

 

The People Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger State on Friday received a big boost ahead of next month’s general election as it received 1,500 members of the People Democratic Movement (PDM

) from Chanchaga Local Government Area of the state.

The entire structure of the party in 11 wards in Chanchaga collapsed into the PDP with it 1,500 members.

The defectors were led by the local government chairman of the party, Hon. Suleiman Alhassan and were received by the PDP chairman in the local government, Hon. Jamilu Saidu in a ceremony in Minna on Friday at the party local government secretariat.

This is coming barely one week after the PDP chairman in the state, Alhaji Tanko Beji, received no fewer than 3,000 members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from Edati local government who defected into the party.

Speaking on behalf of the defectors, the chairman of PDM in Chanchaga local government, Hon. Suleiman Saidu, said their decision to pitched their tent with the PDP was borne out of their conviction that the party was the only one that had the capacity to bring all Nigerians together for peace and development irrespective of their ethnic and religious differences.

Hon. Saidu said the four years APC government had taken the country ten years backward in all aspects of human development, pointing out the country was more divided along ethnic and religious lines than ever.

“This government has succeeded in causing sharp division among Nigerians along ethnic and religious lines. It has also failed to handle the security challenges in the country today.”

According to him, the peaceful conduct of PDP primaries across the country and the confusion that greeted other parties after their primaries, was a clear indication that PDP remained the largest and with the capacity to take the country to the promise land.

“PDP is the only party that can guarantee peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians, regardless of ethnic and religious differences.

“It is the only party that has the interest of the masses at heart, that can reduce the current unemployment and hardship in the country, and that is why we decided to join the party.”

He assured the party that he and his co-defectors would work assiduously to ensure total victory for PDP candidates at all levels in the forthcoming elections.

Receiving the defectors amidst cheers and jubilations at the party secretariat, the Hon. Saidu assured them that the party would carry them along, stressing that “our umbrella is big enough to accommodate everybody whether new members or old members.”

He reminded them that PDP would go into the election fully prepared and would protect their votes from the polling units to the final collation centres.

“We will protect our votes with our last blood from the polling units to the final collation centre; we will resist any attempt to manipulate people’s mandates because the only thing left for them now is to rig the election.    (The Sun)

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2019 Election: Buhari Will Beat PDP, Others With Wide Margin – Lai Mohammed

Iheanacho Nwosu Emmanuel, Abuja

The Federal Government has boasted that President Muhammadu Buhari would win the 2019 presidential election with a margin higher than the score line he recorded in 2015 poll to beat then President Goodluck Jonathan.

It also accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of sponsoring insinuations that the police and other security agents were working for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated these during an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja also dismissed as untrue, claims that the implementation of 2018 budget was only within 10 percent. He upbraided some National Assembly members for disrupting last Wednesday’s budget presentation by President Buhari.

He said, “Yes, some unruly lawmakers threw away parliamentary decorum to behave like ordinary protesters or agitators. It is nothing but bad politicking.

“But the real news is that the unruly action provided the platform for our party, the APC, to assert its majority in the National Assembly.

“The plan by the opposition was to embarrass the president and prevent him from presenting the budget.

“But they were comprehensively overwhelmed by our lawmakers who are in the majority.

“That also sends a clear signal to the opposition that they lack the number to override the president’s decision not to accent to the Electoral Bill.

“I must also note that all through the sniping by some unruly lawmakers, the president remained dignified and presidential. He rose above it all to make his presentation.”

Describing next year’s election as crucial, Mohammed said everything so far points to the fact that Buhari would record a landslide victory at the polls.

He continued, “APC will win with a larger margin than it won in 2015. We have no fear in this election. We are going to win; we are going to win massively.”

The minister claimed that the performance of the government in the area of infrastructure, wealth creation, employment generation, security and diversification of the economy would gift the party victory at the polls.

He said it was wrong to say that APC was not campaigning, stressing that the party’s presidential campaign had not kicked off because it was not long the window for campaign opened.

The minister who spoke on a wide range of issues insisted that there was no truth in claims in some quarters that APC was working with the police on electoral matters accusing PDP of being behind the allegation.

Reminded that two United States of America (USA)-based groups, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), in their reports last week, made similar allegation against the police, Mohammed insisted that PDP was behind the allegation.

He said, “The opposition is only crying wolf where there is none and in view of what they did during their 16 years in power.

“They never really won a free and fair election. Their strategy was to use the security agencies to thwart the wishes of voters. They did it in Ekiti and Osun in 2014. I was a victim in Osun, so I know what I am saying.

“But the guilty are always afraid. They think what they have done to others is what will be done to them. Under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch; no security agency will play that kind of ignominious role in any election.”

On the recent hullabaloos over the report of Amnesty International on killings in Nigeria and government’s lack of or slow response, Mohammed said although there were aspects of the group’s report that were correct, it was fraught with misrepresentations.

He said, “Let me say that I have gone through the statement by the Amnesty International on this.

“One thing they got right in their report was the cause of the killings. Amnesty said the root cause of this conflict had nothing to do with religion or ethnicity; and that it was largely about land and access to grazing.

“That is correct and confirms what we have been saying that the clashes were a result of environmental factors that had made the contest for resources, especially land and water, very keen, demographic factors and, sometimes, sheer criminality.

“But they were wrong, very wrong to suggest that the government had done nothing to stem the killings. I think their report is largely outdated.

“Everyone knows that the killings resulting from the farmers-herders clashes, and indeed killings from cattle rustling and other causes, have gone down drastically.

“This didn’t happen by accident, but by a concerted and determined efforts by the Buhari administration.

“Let me list some of the actions that led to the drastic reduction in the killings: deployment of a Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF), comprising Regular and Special Forces personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy, and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

“Establishment of the Army’s 2 Battalion Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Kanfanchan, Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State.

“Establishment of a new Area Command and two additional Divisional Police Headquarters in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

“Establishment by Nigerian Air Force of Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states, and deployment of Special Forces to these Quick Response Wings.

“The inauguration, by the Nigeria Police Force, of a new Mobile Squadron in Takum, Taraba State.

“And Operation WHIRL STROKE, operating in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states, to tackle the menace of armed herdsmen, cattle rustlers, communal militias, kidnappers and other bandits.”

He added, “Amnesty also accused the government of lethargy, saying this has allowed impunity to flourish. Again, they got it wrong.

“Apart from taking concrete measures to end the killings, as I have stated above, there have been arrests and prosecution of offenders.”

He equally faulted the recent report of New York Times which indicted the military in the killing of Shiites members during the latter’s religious procession.

He said, “I have read the report and watched the video. First, let me say that as an administration that believes in the sanctity of life and the rule of law, the Nigerian government does not and will never condone extrajudicial killings or the willful violation of the rights of its citizens.

“This does not define who we are as a government. In this regard, the government will study the report and the video with a view to determining their authenticity and taking necessary actions.”

He submitted, “The bigger picture must not be lost on us, there seems to be a choreographed campaign to demoralise our military. This is dangerous, considering their sacrifice, gallantry, and patriotism.

“Thanks to our men and women in uniform; we sleep with our two eyes closed at night.

“We must be careful not to do anything that will kill their morale, thus hampering the fight against terror, which they have prosecuted with tremendous success since this administration assumed office

“For example, when we suffered a setback recently with the killing of our troops at Matele by Boko Haram, we didn’t see the kind of outrageous reports that we normally see when Amnesty International or a section of the foreign media writes to condemn the Nigerian military.

“There was no widespread condemnation of Boko Haram. I think the impression must not be given that our military is a target of attacks by the human rights organisations and the media, especially the foreign media.”

He tackled the former Vice President and presidential candidate of the PDP over his alleged statement that that killings would continue if President Buhari was re-elected, contending that such comment amounted to politicisation of the matter.

He said, “This amounts to politicisation of the killings and bad politicking and it is totally unacceptable.

“If it is indeed true that the former vice president said that, it must be an act of desperation due to his floundering campaign.

“It is clear to all Nigerians that the electioneering campaign of the PDP presidential candidate has failed to gain traction.

“From Sokoto to Ilorin to Ibadan to Gombe, it has been a disastrous outing for the campaign. With that magnitude of failure, anyone can say anything to stay afloat.”       (The Sun)

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Mass Defection From APC To PDP Hits Akwa Ibom |The Republican News

 

Patrick Odey, Uyo

 

About 20,000 former members of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State on Monday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party.

Those who left the APC included units, wards and chapters’ officers from the 31 local government areas of the state.

They were received into the PDP at a ceremony held in Uyo, the state capital.

The state governor, Udom Emmanuel, commended the new members for joining the PDP which he described as the only grass roots party in the country.

While describing the new members’ decision as being about the soul of state, the governor urged them to always stand in defence of the state.

He said, “This is unprecedented in the history of our state.

“What you are doing today is not about me, it is not about the party chairman, or any other person. It is about the soul of Akwa Ibom State.”

The governor said he was not losing sleep over the threat by the opposition to take over the state.

He described such threats as coming from “empty vessels that make the loudest noise.”

Earlier, the state chairman of the PDP, Mr Paul Ekpo, had described the number of new members as unprecedented in the history of the PDP in the state.

He said, “It has never happened in the history of Akwa Ibom State that people in their thousands and on their own would decide and say we should come and receive them into the Peoples Democratic Party.

“We have been preaching industrialisation, peace and stability and workability but little did we know that our preaching has touched the minds of so many people in the state.” (Punch)

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Buhari Will Fight To Have A Better Senate In 2019 – Remi Tinubu |The Republican News

                                                   Senator Remi Tinubu

Mudiaga Affe

 

The senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Oluremi Tinubu, has expressed the belief that President Muhammadu Buhari will work hard to ensure that the nation has a better Senate in the 9th Assembly.

She said it was important for the President to do so in order to forestall a repeat of the present situation in which she said the upper chamber of the National Assembly was populated by some people who are frustrating Buhari’s efforts aimed at repositioning the country.

Tinubu spoke in Lagos on Saturday during a media luncheon where she unveiled her plans for the senatorial district for 2019-2023.

While responding to questions from journalists on the strained relationship between the legislative and executive arms of government, she said some members of the 8th Assembly were bent on frustrating Buhari’s programmes.

She said she was sure that Buhari would not want a repeat of what he witnessed with members of the present National Assembly.

She, therefore, urged Nigerians to re-elect Buhari for another term in order to complete his task.

Tinubu also called on Nigerians not to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party because the main opposition party was responsible for the hardships currently being experienced in the country.

She said Buhari would have learnt in his three and a half years in office that his inaugural statement that “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” was not exactly the way he thought.

She said, “I believe the President would have learnt a thing or two because when he came in, he said ‘I belong to everybody and belong to nobody.’ But I know by now that he knows those people that belong to him.

“What I am saying is not to take the President’s comment for granted, but now, I am sure he knows that some Nigerians are very dangerous to his decisions, even moving forward. The President should know those who are his own by now.

“It is a lesson to him and I know that he would fight to ensure that we have a better Senate in the 9th Assembly, not what we have now with a set of people who are frustrating his efforts. I do not think he would want to go through that route again.”

Tinubu said a term of four years was not enough for the President, hence the need for Nigerians to give the ruling All Progressives Congress another chance in 2019.

“Nigerians should give the APC another chance in 2019; four years is not enough for a President to complete his task, he is not a magician. We did not get to where we are overnight,” she said.

Speaking on her plan to return to the Senate, Tinubu said the leaders of her senatorial district convinced her to seek re-election.

“I am doing a third term because the leaders of my district asked me to contest. Beyond that, there is so much more to be done.

“I have shown through our quarterly town hall meetings that power belongs to and rests with the people. This third term is thus a chance to consolidate on previous achievements.

“To ensure that the third term is even more productive, we have set out to focus more on empowering our youths and finding ways to make them self-reliant.

“Through our quarterly town hall meetings, 27 in the series, I have been able to bond more effectively with our constituents,” she added.   (Punch)

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Atiku Not Buhari’s Match, Will Suffer Bloodied Nose – Dambazau |The Republican News

                                            Atiku and Buhari

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja

 

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, has said former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku is no match for President Muhammadu Buhari and will suffer a bloodied nose in the 2019 presidential election.

Atiku is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party while the incumbent President, Buhari is of the All Progressives Congress.

Addressing journalists at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, Dambazau said while the President had used his position in and out of office to better the lives of people, Atiku had not impacted lives outside his immediate circle.

He spoke through his Senior Special Assistant and former Chairman, House Committee on Security, Aliyu Gebi.

He said, “In this race (2019), there is only one gladiator and that gladiator is the current President. So, there is no contender.  (Atiku) by saying this is the toughest election in the history of Nigeria, yes toughest for him, certainly not for the President.

“As far as I’m concerned, this will be the easiest election in the history of Nigeria as far as President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC are concerned; he (Atiku) will not even win Adamawa much less Taraba or Gombe and then come to Bauchi. We will ensure we do whatever we can, this will be the last Atiku’s outing and he will suffer a bloodied nose by the grace of God.”

Dambazau said the country had decimated Boko Haram, adding that the insurgency was in his last days despite the recent attack on Melete where soldiers were killed.

The former Chief of Army Staff said with the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gbenga Olonisakin, taking a centre stage and promoting cohesion among the service chiefs, it was a matter of time for the insurgency to be completely wiped off.   (Punch)

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Minimum Wage: FG To Address Agitation For Increase |The Republican News

                                                  SGF, Boss Mustapha

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

 

The Federal Government on Sunday said it would soon address the agitation for the upward review of the national minimum wage in a manner that will make workers and all Nigerians smile.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the promise in his remarks at the 22nd Choir Anniversary of the Christ Apostolic Church, Living Water DCC Headquarters, Abuja, tagged “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary (General Services Office), Office of the SGF, Mr. Olusegun Adekunle, said the present administration was sensitive to the plight and wishes of the masses.

He said, “While this administration is determined to bring our nation to self-sufficiency and self-reliance, it is also sensitive to the plight and wishes of the Nigerian masses.

“I assure Nigerians that the recent agitation for upward review in the national minimum wage will soon be addressed in such a way that not only Nigerian workers will smile, but the entire nation will be better for it.”

Mustapha also admitted that Nigeria needed prayers and supports of churches at this time in the nation’s history more than any other time.

He said while government was working hard to address the nation’s challenges, the church should continue to assist the government with prayers.

The SGF added, “As I sincerely appreciate your prayers of the past which have helped us this far, I wish to reiterate that this government, more than ever before, needs the prayers and support of churches and well-meaning citizens.

“I, therefore, call on the church to add more oil to its lamp of prayer and praise while government is working hard to perfect on restoration of security, peace and economic prosperity.

“I have no doubt that with the indomitable weapons of prayer and praise like what we are gathering here today to do, the walls of corruption, insecurity and economic challenges will be brought down and our nation shall possess its possessions.”

Mustapha also urged Christians to take part actively in the forthcoming elections by getting their Permanent Voter Cards and voting for leaders of their choice.

He said if they failed to elect leaders of their choice, others would elect their choices to lead them.

“The Church is not expected to sit back or fold their arms and watch others elect leaders for them.

“I call on all believers to rise to their constitutional responsibilities as patriots during the forthcoming general elections and exercise their franchise.

“If you don’t go out to elect the leader of your choice, others will elect theirs to lead you,” he added.

Pastor Ifiok Abia, in his sermon titled ‘The accomplishment of praise and worship,’ assured Christians that as they sang praises to God, the host of heaven would defend the country.

Abia expressed the conviction that the numerous vices currently bedevilling the country would soon be erased.   (Punch)

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