Nigerian News from Leadership News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:41:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jonathan Wades Into Ebonyi Crisis, Summons Elechi, Anyim, Umahi Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:39:24 +0000 The impasse crippling political activities in the Ebonyi State chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took a turn for the worse yesterday when a meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the warring parties was inconclusive.

The president, LEADERSHIP gathered, had summoned the state governor, Martins Elechi; secretary to government of the federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, the PDP governorship candidate for Ebonyi State, David Umahi, and some PDP leaders to the meeting with a view to addressing the political rancour once and for all.

The meeting, which lasted for over five hours in the president’s office at the presidential villa, Abuja, was also attended by Vice President Namadi Sambo and some PDP governors led by chairman of their forum and Akwa Ibom State governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio.

Also in attendance were Governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and his Benue counterpart, Gabriel Suswam.

After the December governorship primary in which former health minister, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, who was Elechi’s candidate, lost to the governor’s deputy, said to be the preferred candidate of the SGF, the state has been embroiled in a serious crisis.

The governor, who also failed to win his own senatorial primary, is at the moment facing an impeachment threat from the Ebonyi State House of Assembly over allegations of misappropriation of funds, gross misconduct and anti-party activities, as he is said to have shifted his support to the Labour Party governorship candidate in the state.

It became apparent that yesterday’s meeting could not resolve the impasse in Ebonyi when Elechi stormed out of the president’s office looking rather angry.

He was also very hostile to State House correspondents who had approached him for the outcome of the meeting, threatening to break a tape recorder belonging to one of the reporters.

The governor, who said he was not in Aso Villa to answer questions from journalists, raised his walking stick, threatening angrily to smash the tape recorder of the correspondent who was adamant in trying to get the governor to talk.

Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, who spoke to journalists, acknowledged the fact that the political crisis in Ebonyi was one of the major issues discussed at the meeting, pledging that the impasse in the southeast state would soon be over.

Suswam, who came out of the meeting few minutes after his Ebonyi counterpart had left, denied, however that Elechi had stormed out of the meeting, contrary to the impression created by his body language.

He argued that the meeting went well and that Elechi only rushed out of the meeting the way he did in order to meet up with his flight.

He said, “I don’t think he (Elechi) stormed out of the meeting. We ended the meeting properly, and I believe he had a flight to catch and so he was rushing, noting that they were almost arriving at the solution to the problem

On the allegation that some PDP candidates were not campaigning for other candidates of the ruling party, especially the party’s presidential candidate, Jonathan, the governor dismissed the claim as near impossible.

He explained that all candidates of the party were duty bound to campaign for the party, which implied that every single candidate was campaigning for all others on the party’s platform.

He said: “You know, in political parties, we have issues. Different candidates have different issues. There are no universal issues across the length and breadth of the parties. So it is not true that people are not campaigning for the president.


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Incumbent Politicians Must Be Re-elected On Track Records, Not Promise – Fashola Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:37:57 +0000 Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Monday urged the Nigerian electorate to ensure that incumbent politicians who are seeking re-election to their positions are re-elected based on their track records and not on promises.

Fashola who said this while commissioning nine networks of roads in Maidan-Aina-Agiliti area of Mile 12, Kosofe local government area of the state noted that the incumbent candidates in the forthcoming election had enough time to prove their mettle during their first term in office, adding that coming around to be making fresh promises to the electorate is deceptive.

The governor urged Lagos residents to reject dollars and other incentives being shared by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to induce the electorate in its desperation to win elections in the state.

He said, “If you collect dollars, know that you have collected your security, your roads and your infrastructure. It is demeaning, degrading and insulting for anyone who has made promises to come back and offer you money. Tell them your dignity cannot be bought by naira or dollars.”

Fashola who also commissioned 18 Classroom Blocks Aiyedire Ajibola Senior High School in Ketu area of the state said the road project was an evidence of his government’s slum regeneration and urban renewal plan.

He said whoever had visited the area before the construction would understand why the whole residents had turned up to witness the commissioning.

“I was here in 2007 and this place was taken over by flood after a downpour. The only source of movement from Kosofe to Maidan is by canoe. You were all very unhappy and asked for culvert and jetty. I said no, since you pay your taxes, I promised to give you a first-class bridge and you have it today. This is for me the value of democracy, where you can hold politicians accountable for their promises,” he said.

He emphasized that all politicians should always keep their promises; otherwise they should not be eligible for second term re-election.

On the new classroom blocks, he said government that must discharge its responsibility must do so on the welfare of its children, adding that they must be taught,” survival skills, build facilities and prepare them for what they want to do in life.”

Fashola who lauded the teachers noted that he wouldn’t have been where he is without teachers; saying in providing facilities needed in the educational sector the government has respond to the issues of the teachers.

“If you work in a place where you cannot be proud to invite their children, then there is a problem. It elevates teaching, self-esteem and pride of a teacher to say boldly that he is a teacher.

“Every school will get grant for annual maintenance every year. All the money that would have been used to build schools and infrastructure, they are sharing it in dollars. Remember somebody brought dollar at the last minute, remember somebody has been under the sun for eight years.”

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of Kosofe LGA, Afolabi Bamise thanked the state government for the “gigantic project” and promised to collaborate with the ministry of works and infrastructure for proper maintenance of the roads.

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Fire Guts Lagos Magistrates’ Court Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:36:15 +0000 There was pandemonium at the premises of the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Igbosere yesterday following a fire incident that disrupted activities at the court complex.

The fire incident, which started about 20 minutes after the chief judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade inspected the three-storey court complex, affected one of the courtrooms on the last floor of the building.

According to LEADERSHIP’s investigation, the fire was caused by a power surge from one of the air conditioners in the courtroom which ignited one of the cabinets in the courtroom.

However, the day was saved by the timely intervention of the state’s Fire Service, which put out the fire before it could spread to other courtrooms.

Though the court authorities refused to comment on the incident, an eye witness, who did not want his name mentioned, said no life was lost though one of the security men attached to the court was injured while trying to help to put out the fire.

The attorney general of Lagos State, Ade Ipaye, who later visited the court, told journalists that it was just a minor incident that was quickly brought under control.

According to him, other courts were not affected and normal activities will resume at the premises today.

Ipaye also said that the court officials had already started cleaning up the courtroom to eliminate the fire debris and fire fighter’s powder that was used to put out the fire.

At the time of filing this report, the gate leading to the court was under lock and key and security men could be seen preventing lawyers, litigants and other court users from gaining access into the premises.

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N1.9bn Fuel Subsidy Scam: Appeal Court Reserves Judgement In Oil Marketers’ Case Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:35:07 +0000 Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday reserved judgement in an appeal filed by an oil marketer, Walter Wagbatsoma and two others, challenging the refusal of a Lagos High Court to quash a N1.9billion fuel subsidy fraud charge filed against them.

Wagbatsoma, Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi and their company and Ontario Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited had challenged the jurisdiction and competence of the lower court presided over by Justice Lateefat Okunnu to hear the case brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

But Justice Okunnu had on October 10, 2014, dismissed their different applications holding that “it is the nature of the offence that determines the jurisdiction of the court and the charges here are matters that can be tried in the High Court”.

The appellants are alleged to have fraudulently obtained the sum of N1, 959,377,542.06 from the Petroleum Support Fund for a purported importation of 39.2million litres of Premium Motor Spirit.

They were arraigned before the court by the EFCC on a nine-count charge of altering, forgery, conspiracy and obtaining property by false pretences.

The appellate court presided over by Justice Amina Augie adjourned the appeal for judgement yesterday after taking arguments from the lead counsel for the appellant, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and that of EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).

At the hearing of the appeal, Olanipekun, who led two other SAN, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan and J.A. Badejo asked the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside the ruling of the High Court.

According to the lawyer, the information on the charge sheet revealed that the alleged offences were based on importation of fuel into the country stressing that only the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

But in his own argument, EFCC counsel, Jacobs urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgement of the lower court that says the High Court has concurrent jurisdiction to try the matter.

Justice Okunnu had in her judgement held that, when it comes to trial of criminal cases, the line between federal and state is necessarily blurred. Section 251 (3) has not robbed the High Court of jurisdiction in this matter, this case is not an admiralty case but a pure criminal matter. Therefore, it is not the pieces of peripheral evidence before the court that determines jurisdiction, but the nature of the law that has been infringed.”

The judge also threw out the appellants’ no-case submission on the grounds that enough evidence has been presented to the court by the prosecution, to warrant at least an explanation and answers by the defendants.

According to Justice Okunnu, “it is only when there is nothing linking the accused to the crime committed that it becomes unfair to put the accused through the trial.

“The question now is, has enough been said to warrant at least an explanation by each defendant? Enough has been said to warrant explanations and answers by the defendants,” she held.

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PDP Has Plunged Nigeria Into Economic Crisis – Amaechi Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:31:53 +0000 Rivers State governor and director-general of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has called on Nigerians to vote out President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming general elections for plunging the country into economic crisis.

This is as unknown gunmen temporarily disrupted the ward-to-ward campaign rally of the APC governorship candidate in Rivers State, Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside, at Bakana community in Degema local government area of the state yesterday.

The attack by unknown gunmen, which was immediately brought under control by security operatives, made up of the Police, Navy, Army and the Department of State Services (DSS), came less than three days after a similar attack was carried out against the campaign train of the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike.

Amaechi, who spoke at Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru local government area of the state, during the APC ward-to-ward campaign, said the PDP-led federal government has run out of cash due to its profligacy.

The governor, who predicted that the dollar will soar against the naira in the coming days, urged the people to vote out PDP and vote in APC for the economic survival and revival of the country.

He said, “Because they have stolen all the money, there is no money to steal anywhere. So, they can’t even pay for fuel.”

The remaining money they have stolen for campaign, so your suffering has started.

“When we were meeting in Abuja, we were planning on what to do about the election. We said God will deliver this election for us. Now, how many of us know how much a dollar costs now? It is N225; I am predicting that before March 28, it will be N265 per dollar.”

Also speaking, the APC governorship candidate, Peterside said if elected into office on April 11, his administration will empower women, youths and also carry out reclamation in Abonnema to expand the city, adding that the APC led government at the state and federal level will ensure speedy development of Kalabari.

The governorship candidate, earlier led the Greater Together Campaign Organization (GTCO) team to wards in Bille, Bakana and Tombia communities, all in Degema local government area before going to Abonnema, urged the APC women and youth leaders to mobilise their members to turn out en masse on election days of March 28 and April 11 to vote for all APC candidates.

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Protesting Youths Shut Down Shell’s Facility In Bayelsa Over Neglect, Arrest Of Monarch Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:30:05 +0000 Protesting youths from the Obunagha Community of Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State yesterday shut down the multi-billion dollars Gbarain-Ubie Gas Gathering Facility belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) over alleged neglect and the arrest of the paramount ruler of the community, Chief Godgive Apoh by men of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The protesting youths accused the SPDC of neglecting their corporate social responsibility on the provision of employment to the youths and construction of basic amenities such as water and hospital, adding that the desecration of the royal stool through the arrest of the paramount ruler was a joke taken too far.

The youths started the peaceful blockage of the Gas Facility as early as 6.30am, chanting war songs against the SPDC.

Leadership observed that while the protesters blocked the entrance into the facility and stopped the over 300 workers of the company from gaining entrance, the combined team of the Nigeria Police and men of the Joint Military Task Force code-named Operation Restore Hope was keeping vigil at the scene.

One of the youth leaders, Reji Akari, told leadership that the action of the angry youths was provoked by the refusal of the SPDC to honour agreements reached on employment and provision of basic amenities, saying “the SPDC has failed our people on the agreed issues of employment, scholarship, water and health facility.”

At the time of filing this report, the representatives of the protesting youths, the community leadership and the security agencies were in a meeting trying to resolve the crisis.

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MasterCard, eTranzact Tap Into Nigeria’s $21bn Remittances Market Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:28:27 +0000 MasterCard and eTranzact International Plc,yesterday at the Mobile World Congress holding in Barcelona, Spain announced an agreement to make international remittance services available to millions of consumers in Nigeria.

According to the World Bank Migration and Remittances Brief, Nigeria is the largest remittance market in Africa and the fifth largest in the world, attracting $21billion in remittances in 2014, which contributed four per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Under the agreement, citizens would be able to securely receive international remittances into their eTranzact mobile money wallets or select bank accounts through the international transfer hub, HomeSend.

A joint venture between MasterCard, eServGlobal and BICS, HomeSend bridges the gap between various entities globally such as financial institutions, non-financial entities and mobile network operators, enabling Nigerians living and working abroad to send money from mobile money accounts, payment cards, bank accounts or cash outlets back home.

Vice president and area business head for West Africa, MasterCard, Omokehinde Ojomuyide said, “For millions of Nigerians, the receipt of funds from friends and family is an important lifeline. HomeSend provides senders across the globe and the recipients in Nigeria with a convenient, safe, and cost effective money transfer channel.”

Upon receipt of funds into their eTranzact mobile wallets, Nigerians could use PocketMoni, eTranzact’s mobile money platform, to pay bills, top-up airtime, pay select merchants, cash-out at agents or at participating bank ATMs, and send money to any bank account, PocketMoni user, eTrazact card or mobile phone user.

Valentine Obi, chief executive officer, eTranzact International Plc said “Our partnership with MasterCard enables us to bring a new, cost-effective, cross-border remittance service to Nigerians, many of whom have previously struggled to access such facilities as they do not have formal bank accounts.

Obi added that “Instead of travelling long distances and waiting in long lines, Nigerians will now be able to electronically receive cash transfers from family overseas with the convenience of their mobile devices.” eTranzact, which is connected to and switches transactions for all of Nigeria’s major commercial banks, will also enable millions of consumers to receive remittances directly into their bank accounts.

“We are pleased to partner with eTranzact to bring one of the most comprehensive international remittances offerings to Nigeria. This type of service has the potential to open up new remittance corridors, expand the scope of cashless money transfers, extend financial inclusion and support the growth of the economy,” said Ojomuyide.


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Cantor Fitzgerald Plans $1bn Investment, 10,000 Houses In Nigeria Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:26:26 +0000 Mortgage financing in the country received a major boost yesterday, as Cantor Fitzgerald & Co, a global private investment firm with strong expertise in asset- backed mortgage securities announced its plan to invest a minimum of $1billion (about N200 billion) in the Nigerian mortgage sector.

The firm has also made arrangements to build 10,000 houses in Kaduna, Lagos, Enugu and Abuja within the next one year.

Representative of the company, Mr Jack Heffernan, managing director of the firm’s Debt Capital Markets division, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Professor Charles Inyangette, CEO of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in a ceremony presided over by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, in Abuja.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the entry of such an important player into Nigeria’s mortgage sector was yet another signal that the Jonathan administration’s vision on making affordable housing available to Nigerians was gaining the confidence of serious international investors.

She said that the prospects of achieving the core vision of the NMRC which is to get young Nigerians convenient access to the means of owning their own homes has been achieved.

“Cantor Fitzgerald’s presence in Nigeria shows that our mortgage strategy is attracting the right kind of attention from the right kind of people around the world and this will deepen and diversify and ultimately reduce the cost of mortgage and housing in Nigeria.

This shows that President Jonathan’s vision of making housing available to Nigerians is working,” said Okonjo-Iweala.

Heffernan described the NMRC as “exactly the right business model to bring liquidity to Nigeria’s housing sector”.

According to him, the double digit interest on mortgages currently applicable in Nigeria would gradually give way to single digit as liquidity increases in the system and more houses are made available.

He said, “I have been in the mortgage sector for about 30 years in the U.S. When I first started interest rate was 12 per cent and over 30 years, it has dropped to four per cent Nigeria can experience same,” Heffernan said.


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Fuel Scarcity: PPPRA Says No Cause For Alarm Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:24:26 +0000 As the fuel scarcity continues to bite harder for the second week, the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPRA) has assured that there is no cause for alarm and that fuel queues will disappear by the weekend.

This is even as the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) threatened that the scarcity of fuel currently being experienced in major cities across the country will persist except government acts fast to pay outstanding subsidy claims.

The group said that unless government facilitates the payment of petrol subsidy claims, its members will not consider the importation of products, adding that they are constrained from importing petrol due to the non-payment of their subsidy claims.

However, appearing before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, yesterday, the PPPRA boss, Farouk Ahmed, explained that the current fuel scarcity was a manifestation of the problem the devaluation of the naira in November last year caused in the sector. According to him the recent events have to do with the delay in the arrival of cargoes, adding that the non-arrival of cargoes made it difficult for petroleum motor spirit (PMS) to be delivered.

He said, “What actually complicated it was the devaluation of naira twice. The first one that took place on November 28, 2014, when the naira went from N155 to N168 to $1 and the second one that took place on February 18, 2015, brought the exchange rate to N199 to $1.

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Presidency: Jonathan Will Poll More Than 90% Votes- PDP Govs Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:22:06 +0000 The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors have claimed that situation report at its disposal indicated that President Goodluck Jonathan will win the March 28 presidential elections with 90 per cent of the total votes cast.

Chairman of the ruling party’s governors’ forum and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio who stated this yesterday after a meeting held with the president on Monday night, noted that having taken stock of preparations for the general elections, it had become clear that the PDP would win the residential election on the first ballot.

He said with this development, it was clear that the opposition was already in disarray ahead of the forthcoming elections, even as he added that the latest development was also a testimony that Nigerians are now aware of the giant strides of the incumbent administration in the various sectors of the nation’s economy.

He also asserted that within the last four years, Jonathan has performed better that all his predecessors.

Akpabio said, “The meeting was just to take stock of the situation on ground and the report is very favourable. It looks like on the first ballot, we will win well over 90 percent of the votes across Nigeria.

“Today, Nigerians are much more aware of what the PDP administration under President Goodluck Jonathan has been doing.

“I want to commend not only the President but also members of the Federal Executive Council who have opened the eyes of Nigerians to know that so many things have been done in the different sectors of the economy.

“It was as if people did not know these things because the opposition took over and they kept saying PDP was doing nothing. Yet, in four years of the president’s tenure, he has achieved far more than any president had ever done in the history of our country.

“We are very proud of the achievements of the PDP, not just at the federal level but also at the different states. If you want to assess state-by-state, pick the opposition’s best APC state in Nigeria and compare it with the best state of the PDP, you will see that we tower above the opposition in all ramifications.

“The next election, particularly the election of March 28 will be about performance and issues. Nigerians have since gone above the level of tribalism and ethnic or religion differences. God put us together in this country and He knew that we are a multiplicity of religions and tribes”, Akpabio said.

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