Daily Archives: November 4, 2009

Nigeria: Anambra PDP Elders Caution Ojukwu on Threat of War


THIS DAY

Onitsha — Elders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State have cautioned the presidential candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2007 election, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, for threatening to drag Igbos to another civil war should the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu grant the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the April 14, 2007, governorship election in Anambra State, Dr. Andy Uba.

Uba is seeking a revalidation of his mandate to enable him occupy the Government House, Awka, after Peter Obi’s tenurein 2010.

The state PDP Elders Forum (PEF) yesterday berated the Ikemba Nnewi and his party, advising that the Igbo should be allowed to pursue their goals peacefully in the country.

While condemning the statement, the forum, in a statement signed by the Chairman, Chief P.C Agu, and Secretary, Rev. Canon Chris Orajekwe, said Ojukwu should be sober and reflect over the fate of war lords in Yugoslavia, Liberia and Sierra Leone and not abuse the magnanimity of the federal government in granting him unconditional pardon upon his return from exile in 1982, 12 clear years after the end of the civil war in 1970.

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By Ojukwu’s statement, the forum noted in an eight paragraph statement that the former Biafran leader was threatening the eminent jurists of the Court of Appeal and expressed the hope that he would understand the grave implications of his actions. The forum called on the law enforcement agencies to call him to order.

The elders noted that it was sub-judice to discuss the issue of the case before the court of appeal and advised Ojukwu to leave the courts alone to adjudicate on the matter before it.

The forum expressed surprise that at a time the entire nation is talking about the success of the president’s seven-point agenda that will propel the nation to the gains of Vision 2010, Ojukwu wants the Igbo to go to “his war with himself as “Commander-in-Chief,” describing the thought as “mere delusion, and treasonable which are repugnant to the Igbo.

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“An old man like him should be talking peace and not war and should reflect on the futility of the ego propelled war he dragged the Igbo to fight in 1967.”

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The forum further said,” No sane Igboman will ever go to war again, under any circumstance. Can Chief Ojukwu tell Ndi-Igbo what we gained from the avoidable civil war of 1967-1970, which he guided us into, because of his personal pride? How did he end the war? He scurried away to the relative safety of Ivory Coast, leaving the hapless Igbo to their fates. Since he came back from exile in 1982, has the Ikemba thought it fit to apologize to Ndi-Igbo, who lost relatives and loved ones, lost properties and their future in a country they helped to nurture? Why can’t he borrow a leaf from Gen. Gowon.

“What is wrong with Dr. Andy Uba seeking redress from the law court, established by the Constitution? What does he expect the young man to do? We the Elders most wholeheartedly support him for his consistent efforts in this regard,” the statement added.

Rather than accuse Dr. Uba, it is the Ikemba that is bringing the courts to ridicule and dragging its integrity to the mud. Ikemba is advised to leave Dr. Andy alone and carry his war chant to other climes.

“We take great pity on the Ikemba for allowing political prostitutes to operate statements only for him to append his imprimatur. We cannot easily forget his role in the Emeka Etiaba and Peter Obi debacle.

“When the entire nation is talking about the success of Mr. President’s Seven (07) Point Agenda that will propel us to the gain of VISION 20:20, Ikemba wants us to go to his Civil War, with himself as “Commander-in-Chief.” What a delusion? What treasonable thoughts? His thoughts are repugnant to Ndi-Igbo. He is advised to keep quite permanently. An old man like him should be talking peace and not war, at all times.

“We the Elders will want to advise the Ikemba to shun the toga of WARLORD, as it is not the in-thing now. Where are the Ex-War Lords of Yugoslavai, Liberia and Sierra Leone? He should not abuse the magnanimity of the Federal Government in granting him unconditional pardon.”, the statement said.

Nigeria: Omisore’s Late Sack Boosts Calls For Electoral Reform


THISDAY

Lagos — In yet another round of dire combustion, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, last week nullified the election of Senator Iyiola Omisore. Omisore, who until his sack, was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, represented Osun East senatorial district at the National Assembly.

Unlike the previous cases of election annulments, the dismissal of Omisore as a member of the Senate, did not elicit any jubilation in the polity even among members of the Action Congress (AC), whose candidate, Babajide Omoworare, filed the appeal against Omisore’s victory.

The nullification was described as a dire combustion because keen watchers of the Nigerian situation expressed dismay that election petitions over a senator’s election could run for almost three years, when the entire tenure is almost exhausted.

The situation was viewed to be much more disturbing moreso, that the Justice Clara Ogunbiyi-led panel of justices, ordered a rerun election as against the expected clear-cut judgment in favour of or against the petitioner or the defendant. A critical analysis of the previous cases of rerun, so far ordered by the election petitions tribunals, has revealed further waste of funds by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while such reruns continue to be fraught with irregularities which culminate in the orders in the first instance.

It is against this background that many viewed a rerun order towards the end of the tenure, as another setback for a country which has been boasting of electoral reform process in the last three years. It was not only the election of Omisore that was annulled. The former Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Jelili Adeleke, also had his own share of the rerun judgments. The case of Adeleke was viewed as much more provocative. This is moreso, that a less severe petition, bordering on the exclusion of the Labour Party (LP) logo from the ballot papers used at the April 14, 2007 election which produced Adeleke, could also drag for almost three years. This has resulted in insinuations that the Nigeria’s judicial system requires a total overhaul, if Nigeria’s democracy must grow after all.

However, the crux of the matter, according to analysts, is that rerun elections have been a recycling experience which has failed to produce the desired change expected at the polity. While the victims of election annulments have remained the beneficiaries of the exercise, it has amounted to double tragedies for the petitioners. Double tragedies, because they remain eternal losers.

Apart from the millions of naira they expend to pursue their protracted petitions at tribunals without any reimbursement, they are compelled to spend the little left in their pockets for another reruns, which they still lose in the end. Whereas, the defendants who have taken oaths of office make huge sums of money from the system and hence have no difficulty in prosecuting their cases at tribunals as well as undertaking another rerun.

Omisore and Adeleke will participate in another rerun respectively, which the Appeal Court had ordered the INEC to conduct within 60 days. Even Omoworare, whose petition and appeal culminated in the annulment of Omisore’s election, has already expressed despair on the possible outcome of the election, saying nothing better than the April 21, 2007 election which he contested, may result from the rerun.

Though he commended the justices for their courage to annul Omisore’s election, Omoworare said he had expected his outright declaration since cases of irregularities were identified by the judges. He did not mince words to express pessimism in the rerun.

“We will just keep trying our best. We all know elections are not properly conducted. We all expect electoral reform, which was what the President said when he was sworn in. We have not seen any effort to that effect. Now, are we going to have a free and fair election if this election is done all over again? I can’t answer the question, the people of Nigeria and Ife/Ijesa should answer the question,” the AC candidate said.

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The lower tribunal sitting in Osogbo, had upheld the election of Omisore as the lawful winner of the April 21, 2007 poll in Osun East. But dissatisfied with the lower tribunal’s judgment, Omoworare through his counsel, Miss Folasade Aofolaju, filed an appeal at the upper tribunal, insistiing that Omisore was not duly elected as the senator representing the senatorial district.

Omoworare also argued that having been impeached as the Osun State Deputy Governor by the House of Assembly on December 13, 2002, Omisore was not qualified to contest the disputed poll. He also argued that the election was marred by violence, thuggery and intimidation and not done in compliance with the 2006 Electoral Act.

However, the three-man panel of the Appeal Court justices led by Ogunbiyi, upturned the decision of the lower tribunal, noting that there were evidences of “widespread violence, acts of thuggery, electoral malpractices and non-compliance with the electoral laws.” The Appeal Court however, argued that his impeachment as deputy governor did not disqualify him from contesting the election.

“The tribunal judges grievously erred by failing to attune themselves to the word while the tribunal seriously somersaulted in overlooking the absence of signatures of presiding officers on the election result sheets, absence of voting in some polling booths arising from violence and acts of thuggery.

“With the findings of the tribunal, it established that there were thuggery, violence and absence of signatures of officials; one wonders what could be a serious proof. They erred in their majority conclusion. It is of significance that the justices in the lower tribunal were not unanimous in their judgment,” Ogunbiyi submitted.

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At any rate, this twin rerun orders have again lent credence to the calls for the implementation of Justice Muhammadu Uwais Committee on Electoral Reforms. Following the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on Electoral Reform by President Umaru Yar’Adua on August 28, 2007, the committee after public hearings held in each of the six geo-political zones of the country, recommended among others, the conclusion of election petitions before the swearing in of the purported winner of any election.

The committee reported that to achieve this, the general election should be held at least six months before the commencement of a new tenure to enable the election petitions tribunals conclude their jobs. But the Federal Government rejected this seeming important recommendation, among others.

This action has provoked anger in the Civil Society Co-ordinating Committee (CSCC) on Electoral Reform, which rejected the decision of the Federal Government, saying only the implementation of the recommendations of the Uwais’ committee, can serve as a benchmark for the conduct of a credible electoral process in the country.

In addition to the ERC recommendation for the conclusion of election petitions within six months, the committee recommended the appointment of the INEC Chairman by the National Judicial Council (NJC); the finance of the electoral body from the federation account, the split of the electoral body into three independent institutions; the introduction of proportional representation into the system as well as independent candidature.

On the constitution of INEC, the ERC recommended that professional and interest bodies such as the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), civil society organizations, women groups among others, would send three nominations to the NJC, which upon examination, would make recommendations to the National Council of State, after which one would be recommended to the Senate for confirmation.

Comrade Emma Ezeazu, Chairman of CSCC insisted during a campaign he led to Kaduna recently, that election should hold six months before a new tenure to enable the election petitions tribunals conclude all litigations arising from general elections before the commencement of another tenure. This he reasoned, would forestall illegal occupation of undeserved offices as well as looting by election riggers.

The last recommendation, whose implementation is of utmost importance to the CSCC, according to Ezeazu, is that the onus of proof in an election at tribunals, should be the responsibility of INEC and not the petitioner.

Therefore, given this recent development, campaign for a total electoral reform has been heightened as the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER), has vowed not to relent in its effort to ensure the implementation of Uwais report.

Nigeria: Atuche, Ojo Granted 450 Billion Loan Without Collateral, EFCC Tells Court


Daily trust

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday told a Federal High Court, Lagos that former managing director of Bank PHB, Francis Atuche and one of his executive directors, Charles Ojo, granted a credit facility of N450billion without any collateral. EFCC made the allegation at the resumed hearing of their bail application.

Counsel to the EFCC, Kemi Phinherio, SAN, told the court that the credit facility was given frivolously without collateral and that the two bank chiefs acted beyond their approval limits.

Atuche and Ojo were arraigned on a 26 count charge last Wednesday before Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye.

The EFCC accused them of mismanagement of depositors’ funds and abuse of credit management rules. They both pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

In a bail application deposed to by Atuche’s wife, Elizabeth, his counsel Tony Idigbe, SAN prayed the court to “consider the application in liberal terms because medical reports showed that Atuche is suffering from systematic hypertension and obstructive airway disease.” Counsel to Ojo, Mike Osekhome, also prayed the court to consider his bail application in favour of his client owing to the constitutional presumption of his innocence.

However, Phinherio insisted that if granted bail, the suspects will interfere with the investigations of the commission.

Justice Ajakaiye adjourned ruling on the bail application till Monday, and the suspects remain in the custody of the EFCC.

Ghana: NDC is Trying to Crucify Me – Osei Akoto


Ghana chronicle

Kumasi — The former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, has stated unequivocally that he is the major target in the NDC government’s ‘Search and Prosecute’ operations. According to him, he is fully aware of the desperate attempts by the Atta Mills government to look for incriminating evidence in order to nail him.

“I know I am the ‘number one’ target of the government, they are looking at every nook and cranny, and making very frantic efforts just to get evidence to hang me, especially on the Vodafone deal, but I am the least perturbed,” a confident Dr. Akoto told a gathering of party foot soldiers on Monday.

According to the ex-Minister, the government’s anxious moves would amount to nothing, because there is no single misappropriation in the Ghana Telecom/UK Vodafone deal. “Look, they can dig everywhere, set committee upon committees, but I can assure them that they won’t find any single evidence against me,” he noted.

Addressing party functionaries at the official inauguration of polling station executives at Tafo, a suburb of Kumasi, Dr. Akoto expressed disgust at the government’s obsession towards retribution, rather than finding solutions to the economic mess they themselves have created.

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Dr. Akoto observed that instead of searching for remedies to the economic woes they have plunged the nation into, they are embarking on a wild goose chase, pursuing unworthy and unnecessary agenda.

The former Minister, however, asserted that the cynical moves by the government, which were meant to humiliate former officials under ex-President Kufuor’s regime, appear to have backfired, and that they have been caught in their trap, as evidenced in the recent Mabey and Johnson saga, which has indicted a number of NDC officials.

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He stated that the startling revelations made in the Mabey and Johnson account was a tip of the iceberg, stating that there are more of such shockers in the offing. Dr. Akoto stated that the NDC government is continuously taking the people of this country for a ride by constantly lying through their teeth, in the face of clear evidence of inefficiency.

According to him, the recent difficulty the country is going through in securing crude oil and the flimsy excuses being given by the government amply sums up this government’s dishonesty and lack of respect for the citizens of this country. The former Finance Minister contended that instead of the government telling the people the truth behind its inability to mobilize letters of credit for the importation of crude oil, it is rather pointing accusing fingers at the NPP administration.

According to Dr. Akoto, the hands of the government are tied against the backdrop of the $300 million loan which the government has contracted from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which bans it from guaranteeing commercial loans. “When they were contracting this loan, we told them that the deal was a bad one, but Dr. Duffuor did not listen to me, now look, the government could not sign a guarantee for common $80 million, and had to rely on private entities, this is shameful,” he asserted.

The former Minister also stated that the government is presently reeling under a lot of pressure from the international body in terms of fuel deregulation and the passage of the Freedom of the Information bill, which he said, are all prerequisite of the loan. Dr. Akoto further promised more fireworks for the government as it promises to present its budget to parliament next month.

Admonishing the party foot soldiers, the MP urged them to stay united and work together as a team in order to solidify the grass root base of the party. He said the politics of mudslinging, insult and factionalism would not in anyway help the party and urged the party executives to shun anyone who campaigns on those lines.

“The fight for 2012 is going to be a different ball game altogether, we are not in power at the moment and that means we need to prepare solidly against the NDC’s intimidations and barbarism in the next elections, the struggle for 2012 starts from now, ” he charged party supporters

Nigeria: Warner to Abuja Fans – You’re Shameful, Unpatriotic


DAILY TRUST

Abuja — FIFA Vice President Jack Warner yesterday revealed that the football ruling body is not happy with the poor attendance of the local fans at the FIFA U-17 World Cup venues, as well as the attitude of Nigerian fans during Nigeria’s first match against Germany.

According to statistics released by FIFA, only 471,934 watched the first 72 games in the first round, representing an average of 13,109 per match.

Warner, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, told reporters at a media briefing in Abuja that it was a shame to see Nigerian fans booing their national team after it was trailing the Europeans by 3-0.

He stated that the most annoying thing was to see the soccer fans leave the match venue after Germany’s second and third goals were scored, stressing that whatever happened the home fans would have stayed behind to cheer their team to recover from the setback.

“It was a shame that Nigerian fans were booing their team, and some even walked out of the venue when the match was still on. Whatever was the scores, they would have stayed to give them support, and it is satisfying the boys played their game and ended it 3-3″, Warner said.

He recalled that the spectators booed the team and left the stadium in annoyance.

He condemned the attitude, saying that it did not show patriotism.

It is unpardonable that when the Golden Eaglets needed support most was when the spectators booed them and eventually left the stadium.

“A team needs support most when it is down, but unfortunately the Abuja case was different.

“I am not impressed with the spectators, especially those who booed and walked away when the team was down and needed them most.

“You can imagine the spectators booing the boys who are 17 years old.

“If I were a young Nigerian footballer, I would have cried to see what the adults did, because that was not the best way to behave.

“You do not need friends when you are coping up; you need friends when you are down, but when the team was down to Germany, the spectators walked out on them and booed them.

“To me that was unpardonable,” he insisted.

He said that FIFA would, however, not like to dwell on the past and urged spectators to make amends and show the world that Nigeria was a football country by filling the Abuja National Stadium to its brim on Thursday when the Golden Eaglets would tackle New Zealand in the knockout stage of the championship.

“We expect the stadium packed to its 60,000 capacity in the coming matches,” he said.

On the other hand, Warner commended the level of security provided by the country at hotels and match venues, saying the standard was impressive.

“I am over-satisfied with the security situation at the stadia and other venues”, he added.

Nigeria: PDP Leader Dies in CP’s Office


Daily trust

Katsina — Confusion enveloped the political class in President Umaru Yar’adua’s home state of Katsina yesterday when a prominent member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Tasiu Mashi, popularly known as Tasi Elder, collapsed and died during what was said to be a reconciliatory meeting in the state Police Commissioner’s office.

Tasi Elder was a staunch supporter of the Katsina PDP’s Abuja Faction led by Agriculture Minister Abba Sayyadi Ruma, which is fighting to wrest control from Governor Ibrahim Shema in 2011 under the name of “Seven Point Agenda”.

State Police Commissioner Dan’azumi Doma told newsmen yesterday that Tasi Elder died during a reconciliatory meeting between him and some aggrieved members of the party in Mashi local government, following a bloody clash that occurred between the two factions last Saturday.

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CP Doma said in the course of the meeting in his office, Tasi Elder suddenly became motionless and was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina where he was certified dead. According to the CP, the incident occurred while one of the complainants who also is the Mashi Local Government Council chairman, Alhaji Surajo Mashi, was making a submission. Present at the meeting were the PDP chairman in Mashi Local Government, Alhaji Badamasi Yellow, the state director of the SSS, the Commanding Officer of the Nigeria Army’s 35 Motorised Battalion, Katsina as well as several top police officers.

Doma said the meeting was called to discuss the clashes that occurred last Saturday between supporters of the chairman, who is loyal to Governor Shema’s Tazarce PDP faction, and those of Tasi Elder, who is loyal to the Abuja Faction.

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Our correspondent who was in Mashi gathered that last Saturday’s fracas ensued when Tasi Elder mobilised hundreds of his supporters to line up the road and stage a grand welcome for Agriculture Minister Ruma, who was on his way from Katsina to Daura to represent President Umaru Yar’adua at the unbanning of Court of Appeal President Justice Umaru Abdullahi as the Walin Hausa. However, Governor Shema’s supporters in Mashi, led by the council and party chairmen as well as House of Reps member Salisu Majigiri, mobilised their own supporters to welcome the governor. In the ensuing fracas, three people were seriously injured.

When our correspondent visited Federal Medical Centre yesterday, a senior nurse who pleaded anonymity told him that Tasi Elder was already dead when he was brought to the hospital. She said doctor on duty confirmed him dead, after which he was taken to the morgue.

Police commissioner Doma told reporters that an inquest will be undertaken to ascertain the cause of his death, and promised to keep reporters posted over any developments.

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However, some members of Ruma’s Abuja faction told Daily Trust last night that a day after Saturday’s clashes, the police commissioner ordered the Divisional Police Officer [DPO] in Mashi to bring Tasi Elder to police headquarters in Katsina. They said hundreds of supporters accompanied him to Katsina, but that all of them were kept out and only Tasi was taken to the commissioner’s office. They said “all the other officials at the so-called reconciliatory meeting” were Shema faction members.

According to the source, who asked for anonymity, about 20 minutes before he died, Tasi Elder emerged from the police commissioner’s office and told his men who were stationed outside to go and get for him a lawyer. It was a sign, they said, that he was actually detained by the police, but that by the time the lawyer arrived, Tasi was dead. They questioned the police boss’ account and insisted on a thorough investigation. The source also alleged that soon after Tasi died yesterday, Governor Shema despatched Mobile Policemen to Mashi town and immediately left for Abuja.

Malam Abdullahi Shuaibu, a member of the deceased man’s family, who spoke to our correspondent in Katsina, called on the government to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of their father’s death.

He said his father had no known ailment and was hale and hearty when he reported himself to the police. Shuaibu said the family cannot but surrender to the will of God and continue to pray for the repose of his soul.

The late Tasi Elder was the PDP chairman in Mashi Local Government until he was removed and replaced by the current chairman, a Shema loyalist

Nigeria: Pa Soludo – Police Quiz Uba, 23 Guber Aspirants


-THISDAY

Abuja/Awka — The self-styled godfather of Anambra State politics, Chief Chris Uba, and 23 gubernatorial aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state were yesterday quizzed by the police over the kidnap of Pa Simeon Soludo.

Also, the five-man armed gang, which abducted Pa Soludo, the father of the PDP candidate in the February 6, 2010 gubernatorial election in the state, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has again reduced its ransom demand from N300 million to N200 million.

The gang initially demanded N500 million, the state Commissioner of Police Philemon Leha said.

Meanwhile, Soludo yesterday took issues with Uba, saying the PDP chieftain should answer to the charges against him over the kidnap of Pa Soludo.

The former CBN governor also denied offering Uba $10 million, wondering why he would offer the PDP chieftain any money. He asked: “Is the offer of $10 million part of the ransom for the kidnap or what?”

Though details of the interrogation of Uba and the 23 PDP aspirants by the police commissioner were not made public, Uba told newsmen at the police headquarters that his accuser’s aim was to malign him, but that he did not know anything about the kidnap.

He said PDP was yet to nominate its candidate for the February 6, 2010 election, adding that members of the party were prepared to follow due process in carrying out the exercise.

He said that he and his group were waiting for the decision of PDP National Working Committee (NWC) on the matter.

Leha said Uba made a statement along with other 23 former governorship aspirants and submitted video clips of the stakeholders’ meeting held on the day Soludo’s father was kidnapped.

“I don’t have anything to tell you (media) now except to say that Chief Uba because of the invitation we extended to him made a statement. Other stakeholders also made statements and we received the video clips of what transpired at the meeting held before Soludo’s father was kidnapped. I have to get the full report before making any statement,” he said.

He also said his command had formally invited Soludo to come and make a statement on the kidnap of his father, adding “he has a case he is pursuing so he will come”.

But an Enugu High Court has granted an order brought by Uba, seeking for the enforcement of his right to personal liberty.

The order made by the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I.A. Umezulike, said the leave so granted should be or act as a stay on all actions or matter connected with or related to the complaint of the applicant.

Legal Assistant to Soludo Campaign Organization, Mr. Leo Chiegboka, said in a statement that Soludo’s legal team was compiling the various libelous statements made against him by Uba and would respond appropriately.

He described the allegation by Uba that Soludo was in the governorship race because of immunity granted governors under the 1999 constitution as childish.

“Immunity from what? Soludo is neither the subject of any criminal investigation nor is he being prosecuted, and so what immunity is Chris Uba’s rambling about,” he asked.

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Uba had alleged in an interview with journalists published in some national newspapers on Monday that the CBN governor offered him $10 million to support his candidature and that Soludo was in the race because of immunity.

On the kidnap of Soludo’s father, a 78-year-old man by unknown gunmen, Uba claimed the former CBN governor knew his father’s whereabouts.

Chiegboka said in the statement: “It has come to the attention of the Soludo Campaign Organization that Chris Uba has, in recent days, been systematically and deliberately making wildly false, libelous and ludicrous accusations and at the same time sponsoring specific individuals to slander and smear the name of Prof. Soludo. We do not want to join issues with him yet. However, our legal team is compiling the various libelous statements as published in various media and will respond appropriately.

“Chief Chris Uba has been named by the police as the prime suspect in the kidnap of Pa Simeon Soludo. Since then, he has refused/failed to respond to the invitation by the police. Instead he has characteristically engaged in all manner of cheap media blackmail to divert attention from the criminal charge.

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“Everyday, he comes up with one childish allegation or another to distract the attention of the public from the crime. Even without Prof. Soludo making any statement to the police or any member of the family directly accusing Chris Uba of the crime, he alleged that Prof. Soludo may have kidnapped his own father. What a ridiculous and criminal thought! Is this not the case of a child who breaks the glass and even before the mother could ask about it, starts denying that he did not break the glass? Nigerians should count their teeth with their tongue! Knowing Chris Uba, we would not be surprised if one day he lines up people to testify that they are the kidnappers and fabricate all manner of fairy tales and allegations. We know what Chris Uba can do!”

In another development, Ikemba Nnewi and Leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, has come under attack for saying there would be civil war if the Appeal Court granted Andy Uba’s prayers that he be declared governor-elect on the basis of the April 14, 2007 governorship election in the state, which the Supreme Court declared should not have been conducted.

Former gubernatorial candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in the state in the 2007 elections, Chief Stanley Okeke, described Ojukwu’s statement as a threat to democracy.

Okeke, who stated this while fielding questions from State House Correspondents, urged security agencies to invite Ojukwu for questioning over his remarks.

He called President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to intervene by using his discretion as the leader of the party to ensure that Andy Uba is allowed to fly the party’s flag via due process.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) Awka and one of the 47 aspirants who participated in the botched October 2, 2009 PDP primaries in the state, Prof. Ilochi Okafor (SAN), has warned Ojukwu to thread softly and exercise restraint in commenting on matters yet to be decided by the court. He described Ojukwu’s statement on Andy Uba’s court case as a brazen attempt to pre-empt people to riot and break the law.

On its part, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) called for dialogue as a solution towards resolving the crisis in the state, instead of drumming up songs of war.

CNPP National Publicity Secretary Osita Okechukwu said: “This is not the time for any war, irrespective of the grouse of the elder statesman, Chief Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.”

In another statement, Melville Ebo, Head Fairing Associates and a close associate of late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, said: “We are against any acts that would incite the Igbo for another war, when we are gradually being integrated into the Nigerian system.”

Nigeria: Ribadu Lodged U.S.$15 Million Ibori’s Bribe With CBN – Waziri


Source,Leadership(Abuja)

Kaduna — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally broken its silence on allegations by its former boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, that he lodged $15million bribe money from former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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The EFCC’s boss, Mrs Farida Waziri, stated this in Washington, while on a working tour to the United States. In an interview she granted the Hausa Service of the Voice of America which was monitored in Kaduna on Wednesday, Mrs Farida Waziri confirmed the insinuation saying, “Yes I confirmed that the money is in the Central Bank; yes you know when I came, the case was already in court and I read the allegation in the case file.”

Ribadu had in September alleged that Ibori induced him with $15 million to halt charges against the former governor. This allegation spawned a major controversy between the duo.

It would be recalled that Chief James Ibori had in September 2009, debunked Ribadu’s bribe money allegation. But the former anti-crime czar said he received and lodged the money with the apex bank. In his self-defence, Ibori clarified that Ribadu had wanted him to influence his appointment as Inspector-General of Police, saying, “Yes, I maintain that I never, repeat never, bribed or attempted to bribe Ribadu, who, always loose with the facts, tried to hoodwink the public by alleging that I was speaking after two years of being investigated.

“Yet, the bribery allegation I reacted to publicly, was the one he made in a witness statement in London as recently as August 26th, 2009. I had to reply to that one publicly because, as Ribadu himself knows, that allegation will not be tested by any trial, as no charge whatsoever, whether related to that bribery allegation or not, has ever been leveled against me in any court of law in the entire United Kingdom.

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“His allegation of two years ago, which I have not publicly reacted to, is being tested in court. I am a Christian and will not deny him. Very many times, he tried to get me to assist him in one way or the other, including his desire to become the Inspector General of Police.

“In his approach, he posited that in his estimation and knowledge of Nigerian politics, I was one of those who could help him achieve it. In fact, he promised that if I did, he would not file charges against me and would not prosecute me. I told him to give me time to reflect on it, but it would be stupid of me to have bought into his blackmail; so, I ignored him.

“When he then realized that I was not succumbing to his cheap blackmail, he decided to go ahead with his plan to humiliate me”.

Malam Nuhu Ribadu, who also swiftly replied Chief Ibori’s outburst, had argued “How could I have been seeking the assistance of a convicted felon for the highest police position in the country? If I wanted to be IG, he would be the last person I will consider to help me. Ibori, just like the others we tried to bring to justice, is desperate and would do anything to escape justice as he has always done.

“Nothing emphasizes Ibori’s capacity for falsehood and felony than his claim at the press conference that I ‘framed’ him for attempting to bribe me with $15 million. As he told the lie, and as I write this, the $15 million remains as an exhibit deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria. I must state, however, that I am used to these types of allegations and fabrications by those who are struggling under the present circumstances to find a way out of their advertised felonies and crimes against the people.

“It has now become fashionable for all sorts of morally-bankrupt people to try to use me to do one thing or the other. Any close observer of the events in Nigeria in the last decade would agree that what we were able to achieve as founders and operators of the EFCC was of a more fundamental nature, in the context of our urgent national crisis, than becoming IGP.

“But that is a matter for another day. People understand what we tried to do and recognise that the felons must be brought to justice so as to allow millions of our compatriots to enjoy their God-given resources. Ibori claimed that he could trace ‘the genesis of his ordeal to his staunch and uncompromising stance on a major electoral promise he made back in 1998 to the people of Delta State that he would champion the cause of redressing the injustice associated with resources derivable from their land.’

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“I will only like to ask if it is in keeping with this ‘promise’ that he became a billionaire overnight ‘on behalf’ of the suffering masses of Delta State. Finally, Ibori said he remained my ‘loyal friend’. I am also still open to his ‘friendship’, but that will never be at the expense of my loyalty to my fatherland and commitment to transparency and honesty in public office.

“I have a friendly advice for Ibori, though. Instead of wasting the money of Delta State people that he stole to pay lawyers all over the world, isn’t it better as a ‘Christian’ that he claims to be to return his loot to the people of Delta State and have peace with his God? If he fails to do so, at the appropriate time, no matter how much the Iboris of this world run from the law, they would one day be made to atone for their sundry crimes.

“If they are able to bribe their way through in Nigeria and get men and women of questionable character appointed into office to shield themselves from prosecution, they cannot do the same in the United Kingdom and before God. But even in Nigeria, the protection that they enjoy today is temporary. Wait, James, still on our friendship, since I couldn’t see you when I visited Lagos recently, why don’t you visit me in London to catch up with your other friends”.Reacting to the recent verdict meted out to Chief Olabode George and others, Waziri, said “Yes am happy because all that Nuhu Ribadu did were plea bargain and you know it is not in our law. I rejected plea bargain because how can someone loot and use the money to be free. In our following of rule of law we do not agree with it and so this is a big conviction and landmark.”

Commenting on her commission’s progress, she noted: “We are doing our best and have shut down about 800 websites, and charging people of that character to court, and we had set up a mechanism, Transparency Clearing Desk. Any one that wants to do business in Nigeria should contact us if you give us address we go to Corporate Affairs and find out not for a company to register with the aim of selling fish only to be engaging with road construction.

“Yes I cannot imagine how some one will loot and rush abroad to America to buy posh house, and even when he comes he would not stay there. Do you know how much tax it is accruing? All these funds will develop our country. He will buy house in Dubai, South Africa and deposit money in bank and when he dies no one knows. So stealing will not just be allowed to continue. I think it is a psychological problem and something is wrong”, she said

This Day Nigeria: Bode George’s Leeway to Golgotha – Who’s Next? [analysis]


Source ,Thisday

Lagos — In a marked departure from the norm, former military governor of the old Ondo State and former Deputy National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as the de facto leader of the PDP in Lagos State, Commodore Olabode George (rtd.), was sentenced to two years imprisonment last Monday. George was sent to jail having been found guilty of corruption allegations bordering on inflation and duplication of contracts while he held sway as the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

George’s journey to jail came at the time hopes of Nigerians in the anti-corruption battle seemed to have worn out. Critics of the anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri, have dismissed claims of anti-graft war as nothing but a mere distraction. According to them, despite the obvious cases of corruption against former governors and other prominent personalities in the country, hopes of anyone being brought to book had daily continued to wear thin.

Therefore, the conviction of George and his eventual sentence to jail, have elicited hopes that Nigeria can still be a better place after all, if the battle against the corrupt minds is further intensified and the law is allowed to take its course against every Nigerian whether lowly or highly placed.

George’s conviction came to many, including the retired naval officer himself as well as his army of supporters as a rude shock. This is moreso that records of reckless corrupt practices perpetrated by former and current Nigerian leaders since the inception of independent Nigeria, had shown no instance of the imprisonment of any leader. Rather, Nigerian leaders had always been above board, whose corrupt acts were often celebrated with trumpets and loud cymbals. To this end, civil society organizations and human rights crusaders, notably the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, fought desperately to no avail, to bring perpetrators of corrupt Nigerians to justice.

Nigerians’ hope of the possibility of combating the menace of corruption, which has eaten deep into the entire system of Nigeria’s national life, dimmed yet the more when the spirited effort by the former Chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, to combat corruption, turned out to be his albatross as he was removed, humiliated and forced into voluntary exile for daring to grand stand in a seemingly corrupt friendly system. Till date, Ribadu lacks the courage to visit his country from the United States where he is taking refuge. He only sneaked into Nigeria to commiserate with the family of Fawehinmi in September and had to vanish about an hour later.

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Besides, the Nigerian courts have been littered with several corruption cases perpetrated by former governors and other notable leaders. While some leaders are viewed as too powerful to be arrested, others have their corrupt cases abandoned in the court, while the government or the anti-graft agencies look the other way in the face of several calls for their prosecution. To this end, cases of no fewer than seven former governors arrested and arraigned shortly after their exit from office now seem to have more or less been consigned into the dust bin, while such former governors still walk in the paraphernalia of their past glory.

Similarly, Nigerians officials named in the Siemens and Wilbross scandals appeared to have been cleared as the noise which accompanied the outbreak of the allegations has formally disappeared from the scene, while the Federal Government seems to have achieved its objective to douse tension as agitation for investigation into the Halliburton scandal involving Nigerian officials has also subsided. The constitution of a committee led by the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, at the height of the clamour, seemed to be merely political as nothing has been heard from the committee.

It is against this background that the conviction of George appeared to many as a mystery, perhaps a miracle, being 

the first highly placed Nigerian politician to be thrown into the gulag on account of conviction for corruption. First to be convicted in this dispensation was the former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The embattled former governor was accused of money laundering to the tune of one million pound sterling in the United Kingdom in September 2005. Though eventually convicted, Alamieyeseigha walked away from the court following a plea bargain with the EFCC.

Also convicted on November 19, 2008, is the former governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion. He was convicted by the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu on a one-count charge of corruption. Like the case of Alamieyeseigha, Igbinedion walked away, as the trial judge, Justice Abdullahi Kafarati, only imposed a fine of N3.5million on him. The EFCC had initially declared Igbinedion wanted in January 2008 and later arraigned him on a 191-count charge of corruption, money laundering and embezzlement of public funds. The anti-graft agency later withdrew the charges and filed an amended 24-count charge against the first and second accused, Igbinedion and Kiva Corporation. He was eventually arraigned on a one-count charge.

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By these developments, George became the first scape goat in a country, where privileged individuals acted with impunity, raising hopes that Nigeria might have gradually been awakened from its years of preferential treatment for certain feudal lords. Only last Monday, human rights activists converged on Lagos Airport Hotel to bemoan the rising spate of corruption without any check. It was however, ironic that as the activists lamented the drowning state of Nigeria via corruption, George was being handed the red card by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the state High Court in Lagos.

Lamenting at the occasion, that corrupt elements are rather celebrated instead of being made to face the wrath of the law, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, the convener of the Second Lecture on Law and Social Development, regretted the adverse effects of corruption in Nigeria.

“This country cannot survive if we continue in this state of anomie or lack of morals. This is not a doomsday prophecy. Corruption is killing our nation. We must kill it first if we must survive. Those accused of stealing who ordinarily ought to either bury their heads in shame or at least keep themselves out of circulation rent crowds to attend their trials in court with full complements of orchestra bands as if they are giving out their children in marriage! Not only that, unless we want to deceive ourselves, the accused are the ones in charge of the commanding heights of the economy and politics,” Aturu said.

At any rate, both President Umaru Yar’Adua and some other notable Nigerian critics, have warned corrupt Nigerian officials to learn from the misfortune which has befallen George and shun corruption or risk imprisonment and humiliation, whose remedy might only be the grave yard once fallen victim. But will Nigerian leaders ever learn? This remains a one million dollar question. However, if the threat of Yar’Adua that a renewed fight against corruption has just been kick started is anything to go by, the pertinent question then will be who will be the next victim? According to the President, henceforth, corruption will be reduced to its minimal level to such an extent that governors and their deputies will no longer be allowed to hide under the cloak of immunity to perpetrate corruption in office.

The President vowed to provide incentives to the EFCC in its task of ridding the country of corruption. This threat of the president, if pursued with any sense of sincerity, will imply that the era of selective justice for a group of Nigerians may be over, while the next victim may just be waiting at the door.

“We continue to support the financial and moral independence of the anti-corruption agencies as well as try to make corruption unattractive by ensuring that anyone found guilty is sanctioned according to the law.

“The level of corruption in our country today does not justify the sustenance of the immunity clause, whatever its other merits are, since there is the need to make everybody accountable for all their actions. I hope the new laws to be enacted from the bills I sent to the National Assembly will provide answers to the question of free and fair elections in the country,” the President said.

By and large, the President’s expression as well as George’s somersault, may be instructive for Nigerian officials who see their ascension to public offices as an opportunity to amass wealth at the expense of Nigeria and the downtrodden masses of this country.

Besides, George’s downfall may again be a lesson for other Nigerian officials. This is moreso, that the one-time all powerful military governor, a prominent decider of who got what in the PDP and the godfather of the Lagos chapter of the party, is now clad with his prison uniform, taking instructions from persons who would have struggled in vain to catch a glimpse of his glory when the going was good. This inglorious transition of George invokes with nostalgic feelings, the notable Biblical expression: “How are the mighty fallen and the weapons of war perished?”

Disclosing the descent of George into the abyss as he took his place in the Kirikiri Maximum Prison last Tuesday, a prison official said the glory of the former politician ended at the court before his conviction and was nothing but an underdog in the prison who must respond to warders’ instructions with fear and respect.

Said the official: “It is mandatory for every convicted inmate to face the reception Board within 24 hours of his or her arrival at the prison. There is nothing special about Bode George. Like every other inmate, he and his co-convicts had appeared before the Board. They were given their uniforms and their prison numbers. They were also told the do’s and don’ts of the prison. If anybody tells you that Bode George is still dressed in his agbada in the prison, such a person is a liar. He has his prison uniform already.” George’s travail began in 2003 when Mr. Adebayo Sarumi, the then newly appointed Managing Director of the NPA alleged the violation of procedural law in the award of contracts at the NPA during the era of George as the Chairman of the Board. Consequently, professionals who audited the activities of the institution when George was in office discovered how items running into millions of naira were ordered repeatedly within a short period of time.

The exercise also revealed a huge differential pricing within the Authority such that different departments purchased the same items at vastly different prices. For instance, the five departments purchased berets (caps) at a unit price of N11, 804.77 while the police department bought same item at a unit price of N750.

Nigeria: ICPC Shielding Arab, Others From Prosecution


-Leadership(Abuja)

Abuja — The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is alleged to be shielding the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Nasir Arab and four officials from investigation over allegations of corrupt practices

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Johnson, had on January 29, 2009, petitioned the ICPC over alleged sharp practices against Arab and the four officials of the National Assembly, including Alhaji Kabir Suleiman (Director of Budget Planning), Engineer Idris Mohammed (Director of Estate and Works), Alhaji Abdulazeez Bukoye (Director of Finance) and Mr James Okorodudu (Head of Accounts).

LEADERSHIP checks revealed that the commission’s chairman has since ordered investigations into the alleged sharp practices contained in a petition against Arab and the other four officials, but a ranking official of the commission has been sabotaging processes that would ensure a smooth sailing investigation into the matter.

“The officer, who is said to be in the legal department of ICPC, allegedly got gratifications from the accused persons through one of their friends and associates”, a source close to ongoing investigation in the matter told our correspondent.

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He further said, “ICPC statement forms were given to the accused persons in their various offices in the National Assembly complex for them to fill instead of inviting them to go and give their statements at the ICPC headquarters as practised. This was done so that journalists in ICPC will not see them. This is illegal and unfair”.

But the ICPC said they are still investigating the clerk about the matter.

Confirming the investigation, the Resident Consultant incharge of Media and Event, Mr. Folu Olamiti, debunked allegation that the commission is trying to sweep the matter under the carpet after the ICPC Chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, had ordered that the management of the National Assembly should be investigated following a petition brought before it.

“We have not foreclosed the investigation. Those who are misleading people that there are people who are frustrating the investigation know where they got their information from but as I am talking to you, the investigation is on.

“The commission has various processes in conducting investigations. Forms have been distributed to the people concerned in their various offices. After they have filled the forms, the investigative team will now invite them to the commission’s corporate headquarters for further interrogation”, Folu Said

Liberia: Ellen Shocked Over Murder of PPCC Chief -Two Suspects Arrested


Source,The Informer (Monrovia)

President Ellen Johnson has expressed deep “shocked and distressed” over the vicious murder of Keith K. Jubah, Chairman of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) who was shot to death Sunday.

The PPCC chief was reportedly shot dead and his remains burnt, with nothing reportedly taken from him-not even his wallet and two phones, police sources say.

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Mr. Keith Jubah was murdered at his home at Morris Farm in Margibi County, and two of his killers have been arrested while a third is on the run, the Executive Mansion quoted the Police yesterday.

Presidential Press Secretary Cyrus Wleh Badio told a news briefing yesterday that “The President is deeply shocked and distressed over this heinous crime, which according to early police reports was the action of former disgruntled employees who have been fired.”

The President has extended her deepest condolences to the bereaved family upon hearing the sad news, he said.

“The late Keith Jubah was one of Liberia’s most decent public servants. He believed in the reform agenda of this country. Liberia has lost a great asset; his death will not go unpunished. Those found guilty of this gruesome cowardly act will be brought to justice,” Badio said.

Two of those allegedly involved in the murder, he disclosed, have already been apprehended. “They are Abel Bondo and James Linka. A third culprit is being sought by the Police.”

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has also received with sadness the passing away of Ambassador Madam Eugenia A. Stevenson, the first woman to be appointed a Liberian Ambassador.

Ambassador Stevenson, who died in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, at the age of 82, was first appointed Ambassador to Bonn, Germany in 1973 and ended her career as Liberian Ambassador to the USA, in Washington, DC.

The President has expressed her condolences to the bereaved family

Ghana: NPP MP in GH¢400 Million Contract Brawl


Source ,the chronicle

Kumasi — The Minority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Old Suame, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has been indicted by an audit report of the Audit Service released in March this year.

The MP is alleged to have awarded a contract without the approval of the Assembly (Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly) Tender Committee

The 60-page audit report has indicated that the MP for Suame instructed the Assembly to pay an amount of GH¢40,000 to Messrs Badu Adu Boahene Enterprise, to work on an abandoned Breman Community Clinic without documentation. Mr. Adu Boahene is the NPP constituency Chairman for Suame.

The report said the MP failed to adhere to the guidelines on the utilisation of the MPs’ Common Fund, which requires MPs to make use of the Assembly’s Tender Process and Works Department in the award of contracts.

The auditors expected that all projects by MPs are awarded through the Assembly’s Tender Committee, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 663 of 2003, which the Minority Leader is said to have breached.

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The scope of application of procurement structures under the Public Procurement Act, applies to the procurement of goods, works and services, financed in whole or in part from public funds, except where the Minister decides that it is in the national interest to use a different procedure; functions that pertain to procurement of goods, works and services, including the description of requirements and invitation of sources, preparation, selection and award of contract and the phases of contract.

It also applies to administration; the disposal of public stores and equipment; and procurement with funds or loans taken or guaranteed by the State and foreign aid funds, except where the applicable loan agreement, guarantee contract or foreign agreement provides the procedure for the use of the funds.

The Act 663 states that the head of an entity is responsible to ensure that provisions of this Act are complied with; and concurrent approval by any Tender Review Board shall not absolve the head of entity from accountability for a contract that may be determined to have been procured in a manner that is inconsistent with the provisions of this Act.

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The Act also provides that each procurement entity shall establish a Tender Committee in the manner set as set out and that a Tender Committee shall ensure that at every stage of the procurement activity, procedures prescribed in the Act have been followed; exercise sound judgment in making procurement decisions; and refer to the appropriate Tender Review Board for approval, any procurement above its approval threshold, taking into consideration the fact that approval above the Entity Committee is a one stop only approval.

Each procurement entity shall appoint a tender evaluation panel with the required expertise to evaluate tenders and assist the Tender Committee in its work and that a tender evaluation panel shall proceed according to the predetermined and published evaluation criteria In the performance of its functions.

Sections of the Act also provide that a procurement entity shall prepare a procurement plan to support its approved programme and the plan shall indicate contract packages, estimated cost for each package, the procurement method, and processing steps and times and that a procurement entity shall submit to its Tender Committee not later than one month to the end of the financial year, the procurement plan for the following year for approval.

It is further stated that after budget approval, and at quarterly intervals after that, each procurement entity shall submit an update of the procurement plan to the Tender Committee, among others.

The Minority leader has not answered several calls by this reporter to get his version of the matter.

He has also not responded to The Chronicle enquiries through text, regarding the said contract.

Uganda: MPs Must Account for Development Fund


Kampala — LEADERS attending a parliamentary seminar on the role of MPs last week, called for the abolition of the annual constituency development fund (CDF) given to MPs.

It was argued that the sh10m was too little to create an impact in a constituency and distracts MPs from their cardinal role of legislation.

Among the seven roles of Parliament spelt out in Article 77 (1) of the Constitution of Uganda is; making laws on any matter for peace, order, development and good governance.

MPs are also mandated to scrutnise the various objects of expenditure and the sums to be spent on Government projects. They are also required to ensure transparency and accountability in the application of public funds.

The participants’ argument is pertinent. The CDF should be scrapped because, although the money comes from the consolidated fund, it is not properly accounted for as the Constitution requires. Instead, MPs have gone out of their way to market themselves as philanthropists who provide school fees, wedding contributions, funeral expenses, salt and soap.

It is also common for MPs to promise constituents tamacked roads, health services and clean water. If they could do all these from their private resources, it would be a job well done.

However, expecting to use the CDF to fund all those obligations is ridiculous and dishonest. This money, however little, does not belong to individual MPs and should, therefore, not be used as if it was personal money.

The MPs are willing victims to their constituents because they don’t tell them the truth. By making endless promises, they are buying voters’ favours with public money! The result is that they misappropriate the CDF.

The way forward is that MPs should stick to what is expected of them by the Constitution. If there must be CDF, it should be channelled through sub-counties and properly audited for development projects. However, before the CDF is scrapped, all MPs must account for the money they have already taken

Nigeria: Tasi Elder Was Poisoned – Family


Source; Leadership

Katsina — The family of a top politician in Katsina State, Alhaji Tasi Elder, who died suddenly on Monday, have insisted that their breadwinner was poisoned inside the state police commissioner’s office.

The family also dismissed claims by the commissioner that Elder died at the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina.

The spokesperson of the family, Malam Musa Elder, alleged in an interview with newsmen in Mashi town yesterday that some top politicians from the area were behind his younger brother’s death.

He specifically fingered the state governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema, a member of the National Assembly from the area, Alhaji Salisu Majigiri, and the Mashi Local Government Council chairman, Alhaji Surajo Mashi, as the masterminds behind the death of the politician.

He added in tears, “They connived and succeeded in killing my brother. Before his unfortunate death I told him to be careful with these evil men”.

Elder alleged that his brother was poisoned and killed inside the commissioner of police’s office, debunking claims by the commissioner that he died at the medical centre.

According to him, the family would soon meet and take a stand over the matter, vowing that it could not be swept under the carpet.

In a related development, one Mustapha Kaura, who was invited by the police together with Tasi Elder, told newsmen that only the deceased was allowed into the commissioner’s office.

He added that after hanging around for hours at the police headquarters they saw the commissioner leaving his office with the excuse that he was attending an emergency meeting.

According to him, a few minutes after the commissioner had left, a police woman called them inside the commissioner’s office and ordered them to take the dead body of Tasi Elder.

“We met him inside the commissioner’s office with his gown torn apart, his trousers removed and water coming out of his mouth”, he alleged.

Kaura said on reaching the Federal Medical Centre a doctor, after medical check, told them that Elder had died some hours earlier.

The lawyer of the deceased, Mr. E.O.S. Ogbunadike, has called on the inspector-general of police to carry out a full investigation on the circumstances leading to the death of his client.

It could be recalled that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Dan’azumi Job Doma, told newsmen on Tuesday that the late politician became motionless during a meeting called by him from where he was rushed to the medical centre, where he died 30 minutes later.

When contacted by our correspondent yesterday over Musa Elder’s allegation, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the state governor, Alhaji Maharazu Ahmed, said the government would not respond now.

In another development, four members of the same family, Halliru Dalhatu, Muntaka Dalhatu, Bashir Magaji and Zaidu Salihu have died mysteriously in Katsina metropolis.

The deceased persons, who were between the ages of 19 and 23, were found dead in a shop where they slept in Kofar Guga area of the city yesterday.

An eyewitness told LEADERSHIP that the deceased as at Monday were hale and hearty before they went to sleep in the shop, only to be found dead in the morning.

According to the eyewitness, shopowners in the area realised that up to 7.00 a.m. the deceased did not wake up, so they raised an alarm and forcefully opened the shop.

The dead persons’ parents and the police were invited to the scene who later took the corpses to the Katsina General Hospital for medical examination.

However some people around the scene of the incident who spoke to Leadership suspected that the deceased may have either died of suffocation or food poisoning as a local drink, Fura, was being sold at the shop.

When contacted, the state police commissioner, Mr Dan’azumi Doma, who confirmed the incident, said the police suspected food poisoning as the possible cause of death.

Doma said the command was expecting the medical reports of their death from the General Hospital, while investigation was continuing on the case.

 

 

Namibia: Businessman Killed in Robbery


THE owner of HAMS Security, Andries (‘Dries’) de Jager, was shot dead during an attempted robbery in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area yesterday.

According to the Police, the incident took place at around 12h40.

They said De Jager was walking to his shop with one of his security guards when two suspects approached them.

An eyewitness told The Namibian that De Jager had just come from the bank after withdrawing money to pay wages.

One of the men allegedly grabbed the security guard, and the other shot De Jager in the back.

The guard gave chase, shooting one of the suspects in the thigh. The second suspect sped away in a waiting blue BMW driven by a third suspect.

According to the eyewitness, the injured suspect, left behind by his accomplices, had the money on him.

This was recovered, and the suspect arrested. He is in hospital under Police guard.

By late yesterday afternoon, the second suspect was still at large, the Police said. They did not mention the driver of the getaway car.

De Jager died on arrival at the hospital.

At the time of going to press, staff at HAMS Security were still talking to the Police and said they were unable to comment.

The shocked eyewitness said Iscor Street, where the crime took place, is a busy street with several businesses, and that De Jager had a number of people around him.

Ibori – Delta Elders Take Protest to CBN Governor


SOURCE   LEADERSHIP

Abuja — Against the alarm being raised that the Federal Government is trying to thwart the course of law in the corruption charges leveled against former Delta State governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, members of the Delta State Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders Forum yesterday staged a protest march to the office of the Central Bank Nigeria, (CBN), Governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

The protesters, numbering about twenty, all prominent elders of Delta State, took off from the Asokoro home of the leader of the group, Chief Edwin Clark, and were armed with placards whose inscriptions showed that they wanted justice not only to be done in Ibori case, but to be seen as done.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the protesters also visited the office of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri.

They were said to have held a closed door meeting where they strategised on how to make their position known in the Ibori case and what they intended to do if justice is undermined.

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Apart from alleging that some government officials, spearheaded by the Attorney- General of the Federation, Chief Michael Aondookaa, were making it impossible to have a fair hearing on the Ibori corruption charges, the group also demanded that the presiding judge of the Asaba High Court, Justice Marcel Awokulehin, be disqualified for showing elements of bias.

In an open letter addressed to President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua dated November 3, 2009 and entitled: No Sacred Cows as the Guilty Must be Punished”, the group which made copious reference to some of President Yar Adua’s pronouncements on the anti-corruption crusade as evidence of his determination to eradicate corruption, however, noted with dismay its gradual decline resulting from unpatriotic activities of some of his principal aides.

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The group, which also addressed another letter to Justice Awokulehin of the Asaba High court dated November 2, 2009 entitled: “Our Humble Request that you Disqualify Yourself from Presiding Over the Trial of Chief James Onanefe Ibori” listed, among others, the obstacles posed by some presidency officials against a fair trial in the Ibori case.

“Preventing officers from being investigated and prosecuted by the EFCC and other law enforcement agencies through court injunctions, the deliberate refusal of the AGF to cooperate with the British government under the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement Treaty (MLAT), hurried transfer of Chief Ibori’s case from the Federal High Court Kaduna to a newly, created Federal High Court in Asaba and indicted public officers arrogantly parading themselves as celebrities and sacred cows in and out of the presidency”

Some of the prayers of the group include that the people of Delta State demand for a fair and judicious trial of all charges preferred against Ibori both in London and Asaba, that the AGF should be directed to comply with the request by the British under the MLAT , particularly to make available all the witnesses to the case, the EFCC should be directed to employ the services of an honest and dedicated lawyer to prosecute the cases presently in court and that the case should be transferred from the Asaba Federal High Court, as the judge has not only enriched himself but is presently undergoing disciplinary measures in the National Judicial Council.

Gunmen Kidnap Senator’s Wife in Benin


Benin — Unknown gunmen yesterday abducted the wife of Senator Francis Okpozo, Anna, in Benin, Edo state capital. Mrs. Okpozo, a pastor with Christ Embassy Church at the Erediauwa branch, off Ekehuan Road was reportedly kidnapped at about 9 a.m Monday from her house, No. 10, Abu Street, shortly after a prayer session with her family members.

Her husband, Sen. Francis Okpozo, an outspoken politician was said to have traveled at the time of the incident. Her two sons with whom she prayed had reportedly just left the house when the kidnappers struck.

According to eye witness, the kidnappers, four in number, had pulled up and parked their white Audi car to block the gate of the compound. While two of the kidnappers were said to have gained access to the compound, the other two remained inside the car.

It was learnt that before her abductors took her away, they searched everywhere in the house and took along with them some valuables and thereafter phoned Sen. Okpozo, demanding a N5 million ransom before they could release her.

The kidnap of Mrs. Okpozo is the second incident to happen to the well respected politician in less than a month. On October 13 this year, unknown gunmen had broken into his country home at Ozoro in Isoko North local government area of Delta state at night and shot one of his nephews severally on his legs.

Source Thisday

The Senator was also not at home during the incident. Several of Senator Okpozo’s associates who visited him yesterday condemned the kidnap of his wife, saying the latest incident is “one too many’ and called on the kidnappers to release his wife immediately to enable her re-unite with her family.

At press time yesterday, several callers besieged the Senator’s house, even as the incident is said to have been reported to the police