FROM THE PUNCH, THIS DAY AND THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE TODAY 07/09/2016
BBOG CAMPAIGN ERST BLOCKED FROM REACHING STATE HOUSE ABUJA
A gale of condemnation, on Tuesday, followed the disruption of a protest by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigners in Abuja, who were stopped by security operatives and a group claiming to be supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari from seeing the President.Among the human rights groups and individuals, who condemned the action of the police and the pro-Buhari supporters, were the Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Mr. Ibuchukwu Ezike; the Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr. Debo Adeniran; the Civil Liberty Organisation; a security analyst, Ben Okezie; and the Publicity Secretary of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Mr. Yinka Odumakin.Ezike, while speaking with one of our correspondents on Tuesday, said the government had shown its lack of respect for the citizens and human rights by deploying the police to bar the BBOG protesters.He said, “Even if it is one person who is protesting or demanding an explanation from the leaders or the government, such aperson should be afforded the opportunity,how much more a group that has been campaigning for government to intensify effort to rescue these girls from the captivity of Boko Haram.“The government not listening to them shows that we have not departed from the past. And for the police to harass them, it shows that there is no respect for human rights because the citizens have the right to protest activities of the government which they find not to be in consonance with best global practices.’’Also, Adeniran described the GOVERNMENT’S approach to the BBOG protest as a miscalculation, saying the police were making their cause more popular by stopping them from seeing the President.Adeniran stated, “The police are just making the cause of the BBOG group more popular because if they had allowed them to get to the Presidency, somebody would have addressed them, knowing that the President himself was not available when they got there.‘‘It is a miscalculation on the part of the government to have barred the BBOG group from getting to the Presidency; it is unnecessary; they don’t have to stop them.They have been there for more than two years; they have not fomented any trouble. There is no reason the police should stop them.”On his part, the President, CLO, Igho Akeregha, said Buhari was becoming tyrannical.He said, “The continuous clampdown on the BBOG by the Federal Government is a clear sign that the Buhari administration is increasingly becoming tyrannical and repressive.“If the administration is unable to rescue the girls and resorts to jackboot intimidation of citizens, who are flustered by endless promises of the government to free the girls, the government may as well oil its guns and be prepared for the wrath of more Nigerians who will join the clamour to pressure the government to rescue the girls in the days ahead.”Okezie said the government had no legal ormoral justification to stop the BBOG protesters, noting that the failure of Buhari to rescue the girls prompted the protest in the first place.He said, “If his (Buhari) children are among the abducted girls, will he not take every measure to get them back? When (the former finance minister, Ngozi) Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was kidnapped, did the security agencies not search everywhere till they rescued her?”Odumakin stated, “I said it and I am saying it again: the remnants of #BBOG# should know that the outfit was a special vehicle created as part of the regime’s change agenda.“Now those of them who are genuine aboutthe cause should count the cost of their continued engagement with a security apparatus that may soon bear its full fangs.”Tempers had flared on Tuesday as the #BringBackOurGirls members engaged security operatives, who attempted to halt their protest to the Presidential Villa, Abuja,in a confrontation.Also, a group of protesters, who claimed tobe expressing support for Buhari, confronted the BBOG protesters a few metres away from the President’s office, telling the Chibok girls campaigners to stop distracting Buhari.Armed policemen, numbering over 60, mounted a barricade on the Shehu Shagari Way, Central Business District, Abuja, to prevent the campaigners from taking their fourth protest to the seat of power.But the group breached the police cordon thrice to reach the access road to the Presidential Villa, where they pasted the pictures of the Chibok schoolgirls on the bridge.The protesters, including Chibok indigenes,were earlier stopped from marching to the Aso Villa by the policemen and women, who formed a barrier by the Federal High Court headquarters.Displaying pictures of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls, abducted by Boko Haram fromthe Government Secondary School, Chibok,Borno State, on April 14, 2014, the BBOG members had a standoff with the security operatives for some minutes, pleading thatthey be allowed to proceed with their march.The BBOG Co-convener, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, approached the leader of the police team, identified as CSP Garba, and entreated him to allow the group to continue with its march, but the senior officer simply ignored her.Miffed by the police personnel’s lack of concern, the protesters broke through the ranks of the policewomen and marched on,while the security operatives ran after them.The operatives caught up with the campaigners around Bayelsa Guest House and quickly formed another barricade to stop the march.The rowdy situation also paralysed vehicular movement on the road.Ezekwesili berated the policemen for denying the coalition members their right to protest.“Officer, will you allow me to proceed? I ama harmless citizen,” she said and breached the blockade again with other BBOG members following her swiftly.The group was halted at the access road tothe Aso Villa, where they had held three protests earlier.The protesters were, however, confronted by a pro-government group, which had taken over the access road to the Presidential Villa, chanting pro-President Buhari songs.But while the Chibok girls’ campaigners were harassed by the police, the pro-government group were given tacit approval by the police to protest at the access road to the Aso Villa.The group, donning green and white T-shirts with the inscription,#IStandWithBuhari, and carrying placards, opposed the BBOG members, whom they branded as enemies of the country.A member of the group, Amina Mohammed, denied being paid to attack the Chibok girls campaigners, stating that they were out to drum support for the President.“We didn’t know the BBOG members are protesting today; we just wanted to drum support for President Buhari. I wasn’t sponsored to join this protest; nobody can sponsor me; I am doing it (protest) from my heart. All I want is peace,” she said.The leader of the pro-government protesters, Idris King, told journalists that their protest was in solidarity with Buhari on his efforts to end Boko Haram insurgency.He pointed out that his group was made upof Nigerians from all sectors, who had decided to tell the Ezekwesili-led group to allow the Federal Government work on the rescue of the girls.King stated, “We are referring to whoever has been disturbing the government. Any responsible government knows that the issue of national security will not be disclosed to the general public. The reasonis simple: it will make the government porous to the people. “When this government came in, in their own wisdom, they used their strategy. They never told ushow they were going to stop the series of bombings.”Ezekwesili told journalists that her group was not interested in meeting the President, noting that they had met him twice without any positive result or coherent decision from him.The former education minister added, “We have not been coming out because we want to sit with Mr. President. No. We sat with Mr. President twice; he didn’t make any difference. We want to make sure that as citizens, we will continue to give the President no rest until he does what he pledged.“He pledged that he would not consider himself to have defeated Boko Haram without the rescue of our Chibok girls and all other abducted citizens of this land.“We don’t want a meeting; we want the President to know that we will continue to demand the rescue of our Chibok girls.”Reacting to the attempt by the police to halt the protest, Ezekwesili argued that the campaigners had constitutional rights to the freedom of movement and association,which she noted, could not be taken away.She said the government must take a decision in respect of the schoolgirls in theBoko Haram captivity, stressing that the issue should not be treated as an open-ended affair.Ezekwesili said, “There are three options that the President and the Commander-in-Chief with his team of security people can take from. The President can decide a military action to rescue our Chibok girls orthe President can decide to negotiate for the release of our Chibok girls or the third option, the President can combine the military operation with negotiation.“Now, there is a fourth option. Unfortunately, it’s the riskiest of all the options. The first three options are risky. We are mindful of the fact that there are risks attending the three options but the fourth option is the riskiest of them all. It isthe option of ‘do nothing’
NIGERIA WILL BE GREAT AGAIN SAY PRESIDENT BUHARI
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria will be great again in spite of its current challenges.Buhari made the statement at the grand finale of the All Progressives Congress Edo governorship election campaign in Benin on Tuesday.He said that just as the country was almostout of its security challenges, it would surmount its current economic difficulties as well.The president urged Nigerian youths to reflect on the statement he made 30 years ago that “Nigerians have no other country other than Nigeria.”Earlier, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, who is also the Chairman of Edo Election Campaign Council, said the president’s presence in Edo was a pointer to the political and economic success recorded in the state.Ambode said that Edo had witnessed developmental progress in the almost eight years of the administration of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole.He said that the Oshiomhole administration had been responsive and committed to the yearnings of the people of the state.“In view of this, it is clear that continuity is the sure way to greater progress,” he said.He also said that the APC candidate, Mr Godwin Obaseki, had the expertise to turn the state around if elected in the election scheduled for Saturday.
JOHN KERRY VISIT TO NIGERIA, US DENY HE MET WITH ONLY MUSLIM LEADERS
The United States government has dismissed claims that the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, during his last visit to thecountry met with only Muslim leaders.It also said it could not give a specific date when Nigeria’s stolen money stashed abroad will be returned to the country.This was stated by the US Embassy in Nigeria, following an inquiry by our correspondent concerning a $300m loot Kerry promised would be returned to Nigeria.According to the Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate General in Lagos, Frank Sellin, recovering the $300m and other assets stolen from Nigeria will not be easy.“In regard to asset recovery, the United States has and will continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to recover assets stolen from the Nigerian people. As you know, investigation of complex international money laundering and corruption, includingthe identification and recovery of assets, can be challenging and time- consuming, particularly when legal challenges and numerous banks and jurisdictions are involved,” Sellin told our correspondent.Because the processes or asset recovery are complex and involve litigation in different jurisdictions, he said the US “cannot provide a precise timeline on recovery of assets.”He, however, noted that the recovery required cooperation between Nigerian and foreign security agencies.Concerning the allegation of CAN, Sellin said, “In Sokoto, Secretary Kerry met with both Christian and Muslim leaders to discuss religious tolerance and ways to counter violent extremism affecting all Nigerians. The Embassy is in communication with CAN to clarify the media reports and any misunderstandings.” – Punch.
NIGER DELTA – MILITARY VOW TO INTENSIFY OPS
The Defence Headquarters has vowed to continue its ongoing military campaign in the Niger Delta to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs.The army said despite the Federal Government’s olive branch to broker peaceand proffer lasting solution to the lingering problem in the oil-rich region, some groupswere still fanning the ember of war.In a statement from the Defence Headquarters, the army expressed disaffection with the proliferation of armedmilitant groups hiding under regional agitations to wreak havoc on oil installations.According to the army, the latest group, theNiger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), which claimed responsibility for blowing up NNPC oil pipeline few days ago, has come out again, demanding residents living near oil and gas infrastructure to vacate their homes to avoid being caught in its next attacks.“The Defence Headquarters wishes to state, in clear term, that no group or individual has the right to threaten or force residents in any part of Nigeria to abandon their homes in obeisance to certain group’sselfish and devilish interest,” the army warned.The military said it would remain focused, un-intimidated by the antics of these armed groups, noting that they would continue to display professionalism in ensuring adequate security to lives and property in the region and beyond.Part of the statement reads: “While the Armed Forces respect the government’s negotiation with relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta, the military exercise and operations in the area are not targeted at any group or meant towards making lives difficult for the inhabitants. The ongoing exercise is geared towards enhancing civil-military relationship and building the confidence of the resident on the ability of the military to protect them. The exercise also demonstrates the strength of the troops to purge the region of criminals andeconomic saboteurs. The Armed Forces would not tolerate any form of criminality in that region”.“The military and other security agencies wish to therefore re-affirm their total commitment to ensure security of lives and property, not only in the Niger Delta, but throughout the federation. We also solicit the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the royal fathers, leaders and youths to achieve this feat. We urge public, especially those residing inthe Niger Delta, to discountenance the threat and request innocent citizens and those domiciled therein to go about their legitimate businesses.”
INVESTORS HEAVEN – NIGERIA TO LIBERALIZE VISA TO INVESTORS
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said government was seriously considering the option of issuing visa on arrival to foreign investors and other businessmen coming to the country.He spoke in Abuja at the public presentation and first annual lecture of “The Interview” Magazine.He said the issuance of visa will help remove many perceived bureaucratic bottlenecks that had clogged the business climate in Nigeria.According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has already inaugurated a committee on enabling business environment.The responsibility of the committee, which he chairs, was to move Nigeria up by 50 spaces on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index before the end of 2017.Speaking on the theme of the event: “Why start-ups fail and strategies to save them,” the vice president said it was the responsibility of the government to create the enabling environment for business to thrive, assuring that the present administration was committed to doing just that.He said: “The business of the government is to provide the right environment for start-ups. The problem in most cases and which we have experienced in Nigeria is that our approval processes are needlessly difficult.”
TELECOM NEWS-NCC TO TO ISSUE NEW LICENCES
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Tuesday said it would soon commence the second phasesof the licensing of five new Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) in the country, to bridge existing broadband gap.Mr Tony Ojobo, director, Public Affairs of NCC, said in a statement that the licensing of the five InfraCos would bring to seven, the total number of companies issued with the licence.“NCC on behalf of the Federal Government announces its intension to commence Phase 2 – license of Infracos for North East, North West, South-South, South-West and South East zones.“The InfraCos will deploy metropolitan fibre infrastructure within its assigned territory on an open access, non-discriminatory, price regulated basis,” Ojobo said.He said that the open access model had been examined and found to be an appropriate model for optic fibre backboneinfrastructure deployment in Nigeria to bridge the current broadband gap.According to him, “the model will help deliver fast, reliable broadband services to households and businesses.“It is envisaged that this initiative will address the challenges of congested transmission network and also mitigate the challenges arising from infrastructure sharing and Rights of Way issues.“In this project, the Federal Government shall provide financial support in the form of subsidy, which shall be competitively determined to facilitate rollout obligations,”he said.Ojobo said that the Request for Proposal (RFP) document, detailing the commercial principles, key licensing conditions and technical specifications would be advertised soon.MainOne and IHS were in 2014, licensed todeploy infrastructure for Lagos area and North Central, respectively. – Nigeria Comms Week.
NIGERIAN ECONOMY – TELECOM SECTOR CONTRIBUTIONS
The telecommunications sector of the Nigerian economy contributed N1.580 trillion to gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2016, or 9.8 per cent,which represents an increase of 1.0% points relative to the previous quarter.According to a new data just released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this is the largest contribution to GDP made from this sector in the rebased period, which emphasises that growth in telecommunications has remained robust when compared to total GDP.NBS however, added a caveat that “due to differing seasonal patterns, the contribution from telecommunications is usually the largest in the second quarter.”The report also noted that although growthin the sector remained positive, in contrast with the economy as a whole, year on year growth nevertheless dropped in real terms from 5.0 percent in the previous quarter to 1.5 percent, the lowest rate since the third quarter of 2011.The share of telecommunications in total real GDP had declined throughout 2010 to 2014, but for the last five quarters growth in telecommunications has been higher, meaning the trend has reversed, it noted.The total number of subscribers has increased rapidly over the past decade; at the end of 2005 there were 19,519,154 subscribers, but by the end of 2015 there were 151,017,244, which is equivalent to an increase of 13,149,809 every year. However, growth has been declining more recently, possibly as a result of high market penetration leaving less room for large expansion.Total number of subscribers at the end of June was 149,803,714 with MTN having 58,409,767, followed by with 36,320,572 subscribers, 31,978,848 subscribers and Etisalat had 22,469,896 subscribers.Globacom continued their uninterrupted growth in subscriber numbers. With the highest quarter on quarter growth and yearon year growth rates of 4.95 per cent and 16.20 oer cent respectively, Globacom alsorecorded the largest increases in absolute terms by both measures.At the end of the second quarter Globacomhad 36,320,572 subscribers.As a result of these trends, Globacom increased their share of total subscriptionsto 24.35 per cent, from 23.48 per cent at the end of the previous quarter and 21.34 per cent a year previous.Both MTN and Etisalat also increased their percentage share of subscribers relative tothe previous quarter; MTN’s share increased from 38.70 per cent to 39.15 percent and Etisalat’s share increased from 14.84 per cent to 15.06 per cent.However, both providers nevertheless recorded a decrease in their share relative to June 2015, when the shares for MTN and Etisalat were 42.88 per cent and 15.60per cent respectively.Airtel was the only provider to record a decrease in their share relative to the previous quarter; in June 2016 their share was 21.44 per cent compared to 22.98 per cent in March. However, this still represents an increase relative to the share of 20.18 recorded in June 2015.In the CDMA category, NBS reported that there were 454,092, representing a decline of 61.19% relative to the end of the previous quarter with only Visafone and Multilinks playing.Visafone remained by far the largest CDMA provider, and accounted for 99.02 percent of CDMA subscriptions in June.
NEWS FROM ENUGU STATE
Determined to tackle the challenges posedby the menace of herdsmen in the state, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State yesterday inaugurated the recently constituted Security Committee in the state, chaired by a high-ranking military veteran, Brigadier-General Fred Eze (rtd) who was also appointed as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters.The committee also comprises members of the Enugu State Executive Council, members of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Security Agencies, Local Government Council Chairmen, representatives of the Fulani, Shuwa Arab and Hausa communities in Enugu State, representatives of Cattle Market Traders, Traditional Rulers, Presidents-General of Town Unions, Neighbourhood Watch Associations, representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Student leaders in Enugu State.Inaugurating the committee at the Executive Council hall of the Government House, Enugu, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that the committee was “charged with the responsibility of taking all necessary and lawful measures to ensure security and lasting peace and harmony among various communities and in all corners of the State.”The governor said that the constitution of the Committee was also necessitated by the desire of his administration to consolidate the enviable status of the statethrough the continued maintenance of a high level of security and the elimination and prevention of circumstances or incidents that threaten peace and security of lives and property in the state.He disclosed that similar committees will be constituted in each Local Government Council and in all the political wards in the state and will be coordinated at the ward level by the immediate past Local Government Councilors and serving Executive Assistants, to ensure the engagement of all stakeholders in addressing security issues in their respective communities.While maintaining that “Enugu State is in the hands of God”, the governor stressed that the state was “rated as one of the most secure and peaceful states in the country”, adding that it would continue to enjoy a pride of place as the first and only city in the country to be listed among the 100 Most Resilient Cities of the world.Gov. Ugwuanyi therefore, enjoined members of the committee to approach the important task with requisite zeal, sincerity and commitment, in the interest of the public, assuring them of the full support and cooperation of the State Government towards the attainment of its set objectives.Responding on behalf of the committee, Brigadier-General Eze thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve the state, assuring that they will discharge their responsibilities diligently and ensure the enthronement of enduring peace and security in the state.Brigadier-General Eze has held many important and strategic positions among which were: Sector Commander, Sector South and simultaneously, Nigerian Contingent Commander African Union/United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur, Sudan; Chief of Staff, Infantry CorpsCentre, Jaji, Kaduna; Deputy Director, Plans, Department of Policy and Plans, Defence Headquarters, Garki Abuja; Team Leader, United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC), Democratic Republic of Congo; Company Commander, Nibatt 1 (29 bn), United Nations Protection Force (Unprpfor), Croatia, former Yugoslavia and many other
NEWS FROM TARABA STATE
The araba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, on Tuesday said his state would receive foreign investors this week as a fallout of the governors’ recent trip to Germany.He spoke with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.Governor Ishaku said the trip was not a jamboree.Apart from the trip economic gains, he saidit was important to let the outside world know that Nigeria was safe.He said: “The outcome was very nice. I am expecting some of the investors by next week. They will be here. Actually they should have come on the 28th but I had to travel out of the country.“They are coming next week and three of them are already promising. We are going to work together. One of them is going to help us in the establishment of a vocational training center and skills acquisition centre in the state and you can bear me out that with the magnitude of the hydro pressure coming we need a lot of skilled manpower to be able to handle the job.“The trip wasn’t a jamboree. My view is that it was an extremely good trip because there were more than 200 investors who came and are eager to come to the country. But they have their fears.
LAGOS STATE NEWS
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has sent a formal request to the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, asking for the redeployment of some police officers attached to the LagosState Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences Unit.The request came in the wake of last Friday’s raids in different parts of Lagos byofficers of the taskforce, leading to a roughtreatment and arrests of innocent citizens.In a statement issued on Tuesday by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the Governor has sought an immediate redeployment of several of the taskforce officers from the unit and possibly from the state over what the Governor called “unacceptable conduct.”The release stated that the request became necessary in order to checkmate the reoccurrence of last weekend’s unauthorized raid and indiscriminate arrestof citizens who were out to have fun on Friday night.According to Ayorinde, preliminary investigation showed that the unauthorizedraid was carried out with the knowledge of the second in command to the Chairman ofthe Taskforce, SP Taiwo Adeoluwa withoutthe approval of the Chairman, SP. Saheed Olayinka Egbeyemi.“The conduct of the affected officers is notin tandem with the vision of Lagos State Government and is therefore condemnable. Their conduct is also unbecoming of officers who are expected to protect the citizenry and ensure that citizens and visitors find every part of the State safe and conducive enough not only on Friday nights but every day.”The commissioner added that Governor Ambode’s massive investments in security and Light Up Lagos Project was meant to create a 24-7 economy that encourages businesses to thrive. He said the government would not fold its arms and watch any overzealous officer derail the vision that has earned the government applause.While expressing the State Government’s heartfelt apology to the affected person, Ayorinde stated that government would not condone any act(s) of high-handedness, extortion and disregard for human rights on the side of any of its law enforcement agencies and any public official as the State has sworn to protect and guarantee the rights of its citizens.He therefore reiterated the State Government’s commitment towards providing a safe, secure and friendly environment where every law-abiding citizen can go about his or her businesses and activities without fear of being molested, harassed or intimidated by anyone.
Four of the 24 Chibok girls who escaped from Boko Haram in 2014 and came to the American University of Nigeria for their education, were among the new students formally accepted into the University during the Convocation and Pledge ceremony on August 29.The matriculation ceremony witnessed a large turnout of parents and students.Since their lucky escape, all the 24 have been on the University’s scholarship studying under a special preparatory program.Also among the new students were those accepted from assorted applications for the maiden class of AUN’s new School of Law that kicked off this semester. The AUN Law program uniquely offers concentrations in Humanitarian, Gender and Environmental Laws.Others who took part in the ceremony wereuniversity graduates pursuing various postgraduate programs; among whom were18 winners of the 67 competitive AUNscholarships on offer, while several intakeswere transferring from other universities inGhana, Lebanon, Egypt, the United States and some European countries.Apart from the novelty of admitting her first class of law students, the American University of Nigeria admitted the largest number of undergraduates in a semester inthe past three years, signaling a return to pre-insurgency admission figures, even as commercial and other activities peak in Yola and other parts of Adamawa State.Addressing the convocation inside the Commencement Hall, President Margee Ensign announced that the type of education the new students will receive at AUN will ensure that students become leaders in their chosen fields.“This kind of education will train you to look at problems from varying perspectives.”President Ensign reminded them that they are being trained to be the leaders of the continent who, upon graduation, will be ready to solve the challenges that confront them, their community, their country, and their continent.“All universities identify new problems, come up with new ideas. They discover new truths and some change society. At AUN, Africa’s first Development University, this is what we are trying to accomplish.”Whether those problems are poverty, literacy, inequality, injustice, or violence, President Ensign continued, by engaging students in the real world, AUN students deal with such problems during their time at university, asking questions about them, and finding solutions that improve the livesof their fellow human beings.“We not only provide you with a different sort of education, we provide you with the intellectual tools to become the future leaders of Africa.”
MICHEAL IBRU IS DEAD
The patriarch of the Ibru family in Delta State, Olorogun Michael Ibru, is dead.The deceased was the husband of the former managing director of the defunct Oceanic Bank, Cecilia Ibru.The business mogul, who was aged 86, a statement from the family said, died in a hospital in the United States of America on Tuesday morning.The deceased, an Officer of the Federal Republic and the Otota of Agbarha-Otor kingdom in Delta State, was also the Chairman, Michael and Cecilia Foundation.Reacting to Ibru’s death, the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, described the passage of the patriarch of Ibru dynasty asa national loss.Okowa in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, said it received with sadness and an immense feeling of great national loss, the death of Nigeria’s foremost entrepreneur.Okowa described the late patriarch of the Ibru family as an epitome of integrity in business.The statement partly read, “On behalf of my family, the Government and people of Delta State, I extend my sincere condolences to the entire Ibru dynasty of Agbarha-Otor, the Urhobo nation and Nigerians on the passage of the beloved, urbane, cerebral and quintessential businessman and industrialist whose contributions to the growth of commerce and industry in Nigeria remains indelible.“Olorogun Michael Ibru was an accomplished businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader who built the Ibru dynasty to command the respect, trust and love of the entire country.”It added, “As a state, we also recall with immense gratitude the role played by the late Olorogun Michael Ibru in the creation of our beloved Delta State. The Urhobo Nation and indeed Deltans have lost a great man who was indeed a pride to Deltans.“He will be sorely missed by all and sundry whose lives he affected in many several ways. I therefore urge all who mourn the demise of Olorogun Michael Ibru to take solace in the fact that his was a life of great accomplishments in which we give thanks to the Almighty God for the indeliblefootprints of his achievements in the sandsof time.”Also, the Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, who is maternally-related to the late Ibru, said he had yet to come to terms with the news of the death even though the international business tycoon had been ill for long.According to the former Federal Information Commissioner, the late businessman was humble, gentle and philanthropic.Also, the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya, condoled with the Ibru family, describing the deceased asa modest and strong businessman.Igbuya’s position was contained in a statement issued by his spokesman, HenryEbireri.He said, “Olorogun Micheal Ibru was a shrewd businessman with a good heart.“Olorogun Michael Ibru as an international businessman, philanthropist, educator, a lover of children, grassroots organiser and community leader gained the respect, trustand love of the entire country and he will be greatly missed.”Also, the President-General, Urhobo Progress Union, Chief Joe Omene, on Tuesday described Ibru’s death as a colossal loss to the Urhobo nation.Omene, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the telephone on Tuesday, said the late Ibru was a man of peace and was “God’s greatest gift to Urhobo nation” and Nigeria in general.The President-General of UPU, the apex socio-cultural umbrella of the Urhobo people worldwide, said the Urhobo nation was proud of his contributions towards projecting his people in a positive light.According to him, there is no family that was not touched by Michael’s generosity inUrhobo land.“I received the news of Michael Ibru’s death this afternoon with sadness and rude shock. This is the greatest man ever to have hailed from Urhobo nation. He touched the lives of every Urhobo man.“Check the lives of those who made moneyin Urhobo nation before now, they all madetheir money through his tutelage. Michael was a patriotic Urhobo man who manifested both in Nigeria and across the globe,” Omene added.He added that Urhobo people would surely honour him for placing them on the world map.Also, the National President and Chairman in Council of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Sir Orimadegun Agboade, said Ibru was an accomplished industrialist whose entrepreneurship brought growth to the nation.“When he began, nobody knew he would go this far to boost the economy. We cannot forget him in a hurry,” he said.An astute businessman, the late octogenarian was a member of the Business Advisory Council of the International Finance Corporation, just as he was a council member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigeria-United States Business Council.An alumnus of the Igbobi College, Lagos, the late Ibru worked at the United African Company (now UACN) between 1951 and 1956, before establishing a company, Laibru, at the age of 24.The businessman, who founded the Osadjere Fishing Company in partnership with a Japanese Conglomerate in 1965, extended his business tentacles in 1974 with the acquisition of Nigerian Hardwoods, a logging, sawmilling and wood processing company, from the Lathem Group in the United Kingdom.His death came some weeks after the burial of his younger brother and a former governor of Delta State, Felix Ibru.The former governor died on March 12, 2016 at the age of 80. – Punch.
THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL TEAM THE SUPPER EAGLES
Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr said the national team will not play itsgames at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, until there is an improvement on the bad condition of the playing pitch.The Super Eagles laboured to a 1-0 win over Tanzania at that venue in their Africa Cup of Nations tie last weekend and Rohr believes the condition of the pitch was partly responsible for the lethargic display by his team.“I think the management of the stadium will have to be more professional if they want to have Nigerian team come to play here.“The stadium is wonderful. It was full for the game. The people love the team and they supported them but the pitch is not sogood. We tried to play well on a bad pitch.“But when we want to play good football I think we must have a good pitch. I think there are too many games and training being done on the pitch,” he said.
THE NIGER DELTA MILITANCY AND NIGERIAN ECONOMY
Government should focus on addressing the militancy in the Niger DeltaThe current crisis bedevilling the nation is bad enough to make any government nervous. For almost two years, the country’s economy has been contracting due to the global slump in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main foreign exchange earner. The situation has been worsened by the activities of a new militant group named Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). In the past few months, members of this group were engaged in the singular preoccupation of sabotaging oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta. These waves of attacks have profound implications for our national wellbeing. Indeed, available reports indicated that at one point, the country waslosing about 800,000 barrels per day whichslashed the nation’s crude oil output to 1.4 million bpd.Unfortunately, instead of addressing the challenges associated with the problem, some people within the government seem to be looking for a scapegoat. In the past few months, media reports, quoting anonymous sources, but obviously from government of the day, were pointing fingers at former President Goodluck Jonathan as the man behind the Avengers. A shadowy militant group named the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers and some members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had also lent weight to these allegations. One of the media reports (yet to be denied)said the presidency has ordered a probe into the alleged links between Jonathan, his wife, Patience, and the militant group.Even though a few other names were usually mentioned along with him, Jonathan has repeatedly denied the allegation. In a statement issued by his spokesman, the former president dismissed his link to the militants as the handiwork of people who hold long-standing grievances against him. “There is no doubt that there exist such people who may have scores to settle with the former president,” said a statement by Jonathan’s spokesman. Indeed, last June, during an interview on Bloomberg Television, Jonathan himself said he was aware that the current administration was after him. “I am being investigated, yes, investigations are going on,” he said.While we have no problem with agencies of state doing their work against any citizen, the allegation against the former president should be taken with circumspection. If anything, the accusationlooks more like a throwback to the Jonathan era when the activities of Boko Haram were linked to Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) without any supporting evidence beyond politics. But this is a dangerous gambit that we cannot afford, especially at such a delicate period as this.In a recent editorial, we had canvassed the need for the federal government to apply both the stick and the carrot as a way of addressing the haemorrhaging energy sector and dousing the tension in the air. We urged the government to persuade the militant groups in the Niger Delta to seek more peaceful alternative ventilation for whatever may be their grievances and to deploy force only to deter further infrastructure damage without alienating the unarmed populace. We also harped on the need to enter into dialogue with any reasonable group ready for peace.Evidently, the government is listening. In the past few weeks, the government has been tightening its grip on the militants in the Niger Delta, particularly with its “Operation Crocodile Smile” while also opening flanks for negotiations. Indeed, last Monday, the Avengers openly declaredtheir cessation of hostilities for dialogue. We consider this a remarkable milestone towards ending the violence in the Niger Delta just as we implore genuine militants, as against criminals, who have issues to come out and put them on the table.But we also hasten to warn that attempts to rubbish President Jonathan with allegations that cannot be substantiated will only worsen an already bad situation.
REQUEST FOR ECONOMIC EMERGENCY POWERS BY NIGERIAN PRESIDENT
Much as the state of the Nigerian economyhas bothered Nigerians, the touted requestfor emergency powers for the president to deal with the situation as he deems fit without restraint of any kind seems to haveeven worsened their anxiety. Such emergency powers would, for instance, have the president selling off the country’s assets without recourse to the legislature. Thankfully, the retraction from Mr Laolu Akande, the Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media, who stated that the proposal had not even reached the Federal Executive Council (FEC), soothed frayed nerves.The consternation of the citizenry no doubtderived from the cynicism about the country’s antecedents in such matters when former presidents had been egged on by their coterie of self-serving inner caucuses to get more powers with which they only failed abysmally. The fact that it took the current administration well over six months to put a cabinet together only increased their doubts. It may not be easy for it to convince anyone that it is actually in a hurry to improve the economy. Indeed, what plans or policies in the form of bills from the Presidency have ever been rejected by the National Assembly since the inception of this administration to warrant a request for emergency powers? Has the National Assembly ever constituted any kind of impediment to the president on any known score that is considered beneficial to the country’s economic interests?The overwhelming victory with which the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) rode to power showed the confidence which the people reposed in the party. The economic challenges were expected but the people also expected the party to run a government that would confront these economic challenges with policies and creative ideas, not some extra powers that would suspend the constitution. The request for emergency powers for the president therefore hinted at some furtive, dark and sinister motives since there was nothing in the offing that the constitution did not already empower the president to do to turn the prostrate economy around within the shortest possible time.Nothing, for instance, recommends emergency powers like a war situation. Buteven then, the constitution accords the power of recognition of the war situation tothe National Assembly and the president will need the assent of two thirds of its membership for his declaration of a war to be valid. Has the situation with the country’s economy aggravated beyond a war situation that some people feel compelled to prod the president to seek emergency powers?Truth told, Nigerians are frightened about granting emergency powers to a president who affects trust issues with the National Assembly and does not feel comfortable with exploring all the democratic options and institutions in tackling his challenges. We are persuaded that the president does not actually require emergency powers to function effectively, especially in Nigeria where many observers are of the view that the Nigerian president has been given awesome and immense powers by the constitution already.If the emergency powers being sought for the president will make him take unitary decisions like disposing the estimated $55billion national assets to whomsoever he pleases, will it also allow him to suspend the activities of establishments like the Due Process office? Such establishments emanated from the efforts by previous administrations geared towards protectingpublic funds, which emergency powers for the president will automatically trash without any evidence that they are no longer useful. Meanwhile, there is absolutemutual distrust amongst the entities in the polity, which will threaten the country’s stability if emergency powers for the president are given. Many countries have waded through economic recession and even depression without suspending their democratic institutions.We believe that the country’s current economic challenges can still be surmounted without the rather drastic option of giving emergency powers to a president who already is constitutionally one of the most powerful presidents in the world. It is frightening that this was even mulled at all in the first place considering its dire implications, but we are relieved that it has not even reached the level of theFEC. Let it remain in the wild imaginations of the awful dreamers. TribuneNewspapers
DANBURY MARKET REOPENS
Frank Ofili wrote: Two great news….
First, Danbuwa market, a short distance from the dreaded Sambisa forest in Borno State, has been re-opened after two years of being shut down on account of incessant Boko Haram attacks.
For those of us who do not know, or remember, Danbuwa market had been the target of attacks by Boko Haram. In 2014 it was attacked one more time by the terror sect. Several were killed and maimed while 60 market women were abducted by the terrorists.
Since then the market has remained closed. It has just been re-opened by military authorities following the uprooting of Boko Haram from that part of Nigeria. Life is gradually returning to normal for that community.
That is one bit of good news……
The second is that four of the kidnapped Chibok girls who escaped from Boko Haram during the attack on their school in 2014, have matriculated at the American University Yola.
The University is owned by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Abubakar offered the girls scholarship following their ordeal in the hands of Boko Haram.
Now this is not so good news…….
A Pro-Buhari group clashed with BBOG campaigners and stopped them from forcing their way into Aso Rock premises. Recall that the Nigeria Police has been preventing the BBOG campaigners from carrying out peaceful protest at Aso Rock on the ground that the group does not have Police permit.
Now, I need a lawyer to clarify something here. I thought a Court of Appeal ruling had quashed the requirement of a Police permit before a rally can be held?
Be that as it may, let me repeat that storming the Presidency uninvited is not, in my view, the best approach. The BBOG should change its approach to get access to Aso Rock.
Having said that, I think it is time someone from the government talks to the BBOG campaigners. It may not necessarily be the President himself. The Vice President, a Minister or even a Permanent Secretary will do.
SOURCE: From the Net