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Blackmail Game Against Saraki, Others Won’t Help Our Party – ex-PDP spokesman

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Prince Diran Odeyemi, former deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has raised an alarm over the attempt to allegedly blackmail former Senate President Bukola Saraki and other chieftains of the party.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Odeyemi accused some persons of attempting to rubbish the efforts of the PDP reconcilation committee under Saraki.

Odeyemi said as a stakeholder in Osun PDP, he knew that there was a deliberate attempt to cast Saraki in a bad light.

“My attention has been drawn to a statement issued by one Apesin-Abiodun Adegoke who claims to be from Modakeke in Ife East Area Office in which he made many libelous, mischievous, and false claims, particularly directed at the chairman of the committee, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki who was also President of the Senate between 2015 to 2019.

“As a major stakeholder in the party, I am obliged to respond to this write-up because the writer made several untrue statements concerning the party, some key leaders, and insinuated things that only exist in his imagination as well as that of his sponsors.

“I believe that the entire write up is a dubious attempt to mislead the public and blackmail Dr. Saraki as well as the new leadership of the PDP under Dr. Iyorchia Ayu into taking premeditated decisions that will favour a group in the Osun State PDP crisis, on whose behalf the writer did the hatchet job.

“It should be noted that every genuine member of the PDP knows that Dr. Saraki is a quintessential, committed, loyal, and trusted party man. His antecedents, the tasks he has undertaken on behalf of the party (assigned and voluntarily assumed), and the contributions he has made to the party have shown that he is a genuine leader whose devotion, motivation, and interest are unquestionable by all reasonable members of the party.

“From my knowledge, the National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee (NRSC) met the Osun State stakeholders on March 15, 2021, in Abuja as it did to most of the other states where the party had a crisis. From the commencement of the meeting, Dr. Saraki declared his closeness to the Adeleke family, particularly revealing that two of the members of the family (late Isiaka and Ademola) had been his colleagues in the Senate. He however made it clear that the fact will not prevent him from saying the truth and ensuring justice, equity, and fairness determined the outcome of the deliberations. After his statement, nobody raised any objection to his presiding over the meeting. Many of the stakeholders across the board praised and commended his objectivity and full disclosure.

“I know very well that as a result of the reconciliation efforts in other states and later developments leading to the emergence of the new party leadership, the final report of the NRSC has not been submitted to the new NWC headed by our respected leader, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. Therefore, the committee as a body, its chairman, Dr. Saraki as a person, and other members could not be accused of playing any role in whatever decision the party leadership has taken, is contemplating, or may take on the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Osun State.

” As a stakeholder in Osun State, it should be clear to all of us that this game of blackmail, intimidation, muck-raking, mud-splashing, and peddling of bare-faced lies cannot help our party. The 2022 gubernatorial election in this state is there for PDP to win. It is also easy for PDP to lose it due to unreasonable actions of its leaders and members like the one under consideration.

“None of the various groups can win this election alone. We have all been in the opposition in the last 12 years. With some sensible actions, unity of purpose, a ‘give and take’ but positive attitude, and strategic planning, we can win the elections and go-ahead to provide good governance for our people. However, if we choose the path of self-destructing like the one represented in the press statement by the so-called Apesin-Abiodun Adegoke, we will all continue to enjoy the benefit of in-fighting under the opposition umbrella.”

 

Black Stars crash out of AFCON 2021 after shocker from Comoros

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Comoros provided undoubtedly the biggest shock of AFCON 2021 in Cameroon following a 3-2 win over Ghana in their final Group C encounter at the Roumdé Adjia stadium in Garoua.

Midfielder Ahmed Mogni scored twice as Comoros dumped the Black Stars out of AFCON for the first time since 2006 following a return of one pint from three matches.

Striker El Fardou Ben Nabouhane gave Comoros a surprise fourth-minute lead before Andre Ayew was shown a straight red card for a foul on the goalkeeper, the video assistant referee helping the centre referee make up his mind after a pitch-side review.

Andre, the elder Ayew brother, becomes the first Ghana captain to be dismissed in an AFCON match.

Mogni scored the first of his goals with a well placed shot into the corner before Ghana staged a mini-comeback. Richmond Boakye and Aleksander Djiku dragged the West African side back to life before Mogni ended the hopes with an 85th-minute winner.

Comoros stay third on three points and could still claim one of four best losers spot.

Morocco and Gabon took the top two spot, with the Atlas Lions of Morocco confirming top spot with seven points following a 2-2 draw between both sides, Gabon finishing with five points.

Zimbabwe also earned a surprise 2-1 win over Guinea while Malawi held Senegal to a 0-0 draw. Senegal top Group B with five points, one more than second-placed Guinea while Malawi are third on head-to-head rules.

RESULTS
Gabon 2-2 Morocco
Ghana 2-3 Comoros
Malawi 0-0 Senegal
Zimbabwe 2-1 Guinea

We are lacking manpower in Lagos, Northern region – NSITF

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The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), on Tuesday, said the agency was short of personnel, hence its resolve to recruit “suitable and qualified Nigerians” into different cadres in the fund in December 2021.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the fund, Mrs ljeoma Oji-Okoronkwo, who stated this, disclosed that disabled persons were also employed.

Oji-Okoronkwo also said the recruitment became pertinent because of massive redeployment of staff which happened in the third quarter of 2021.

She said, “It would be recalled that the Fund had, in the third quarter of 2021, embarked on a massive redeployment of staff, which placed them where their productivity would be enhanced.

“Thereafter, the NSITF in December 2021 recruited suitable and qualified Nigerians in different cadres into its services to address the manpower gaps in the Fund, especially in the northern regions and Lagos State.

“The recruitment exercise also opened up opportunities for the employment of disabled persons in fulfillment of the vision and mission of the Fund regarding the vulnerable group in line with our renewed focus on social security intervention and mandate.”

The NSITF spokesperson quoted the Managing Director of the fund, Michael Akabogu, as saying “the recruitment exercise went through all due processes and approvals.

Akabogu said the approvals ranged from Presidential, Head of Service of the Federation, Budget Office, and the Federal Character Commission on geopolitical consideration to due selection processes by consultant on behalf of the Fund.

After 13 Years, Comedian AY, Wife Welcome Second Child

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Iconic Nigerian comedian, Ayo Makun fondly called AY, is currently in an ecstatic mood as he and his wife have welcomed their second child after 13 years.

The funnyman who has already named his newborn, Ayomide, welcomed the bundle of joy 13 years after they had their first child, Michelle.

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In a post via his official Instagram account, the humour merchant stated that his family’s prayers in the last 13 years has been answered.

He wrote, “Our prayers in the last 13 years have been answered. Ayomide, thank you for making @realmabelmakun and I, Mummy and Daddy again. Thank you for making Michelle a big sister.

“Thanks to everyone who kept us in their prayers and never stopped feeding us with positive vibes. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

 

2023 election: Corrupt elites don’t want another Buhari – Presidency 

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The Presidency has said corrupt elites in the country do not want “another Buhari” in 2023 because of their selfish agenda.

The Media Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Tuesday, said the President’s strong legacy would be difficult to dismantle.

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He explained the reasons why President Buhari cannot take a “business as usual approach” in governance.

According to him, many of the political elites in the country cannot wait for the President’s second term in office to end as they wish for a return to the “good old days” of helping themselves to public funds with abandon.

The statement read in part, “So many in the political elite of this country cannot wait for the President’s second term in office to end. They yearn for a return to the ‘good old days’ of helping themselves to public funds with abandon, the easy export of ill-gotten money to foreign bank accounts, of acting without responsibility, accountability, or censure. The last thing they want is ‘another Buhari’.

“Even though the President will stand down after the election of a successor next year – whether that successor lives up to the exacting standards and example he has set or not – his legacy is strong and will be peculiarly tough to dismantle:

“Courts that hold those before it fairly and properly accountable – regardless of their wealth or lack of it; the successful repatriation of stolen funds from decades of export abroad and its use to fund social empowerment, and welfare programmes for the poorest; reforms that have taken the steam out of centuries-long ethnic and tribal disputes – such as the farmer-herder clashes – long used to stoke ethnic and regional tensions by venial politicians for political advantage; and the protection of millions through an effective vaccine roll-out programme. 

“These are just a tiny handful of the achievements of the President. But, perhaps, his greatest achievement of all is to break the belief that Presidents of Nigeria take the office and use it to enrich themselves and their accessories at the public’s expense. 

“That wicked spell is broken for good. And it has offended politicians everywhere. They thought the state owed to them while the people provided for the state. Instead, they have witnessed how, when the state owes to them nothing, it provides for the people.”

Buhari condemns attack in UAE

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President Muhammadu Buhari has described the drone strikes in the United Arab Emirates that caused explosions and a deadly fire outside the capital, Abu Dhabi, as a “worrisome escalation”.

The President, in a statement issued Tuesday by his media aide, Garba Shehu, said such attacks targeting innocent people and civilian infrastructure, leading to the loss of lives were condemnable by all reasonable opinions around the globe and should be stopped.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Nigeria, we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the people and the friendly state of the UAE,” said President Buhari.

He urged restraint to give dialogue and engagement a chance.

EFCC grills Supo Shasore, former Lagos Commissioner, over P&ID Scam

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Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are currently grilling a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Mr Olasupo Shasore, (SAN).

An impeccable source at the commission told Daily Trust that the senior lawyer arrived the headquarters of the anti-graft agency on Tuesday afternoon.

The source said he is being quizzed over his role in the Process & Industrial Development scam.

“Yes, Mr Shasore and other prominent Nigerians played key roles in that P&ID scam. Each of them is being quizzed one after the other by the commission. Though, only Mr Shasore is here today to answer some questions,” the source said.

Spokesman of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the development to our correspondent but declined further comments.

Daily Trust recalls that EFCC on October 18 last year re-arraigned two British nationals over their alleged involvement in the controversial gas processing contract.

The contract led to the $9.6bn arbitral award to P&ID Limited by a United Kingdom commercial court.

James Nolan and Adam Quinn were arraigned alongside ICIL Limited before a judge, D.U. Okorowo, of the Federal High Court, Abuja. Nolan pleaded not guilty to the 32 counts including money laundering and tax evasion.

Quinn, who was said to be at large, was re-arraigned in absentia, with “not guilty” plea recorded for him and the judge. Similarly, a “not guilty” plea” was recorded for the company.

Buhari Leaves For The Gambia On Wednesday

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President Muhammadu Buhari leaves Abuja on Wednesday, for Banjul, Republic of The Gambia, to attend the inauguration of Gambian President, Adama Barrow, following his re-election for a second term.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, announced this in a statement issued on Tuesday.

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Family raises alarm as Abuja farmer is murdered

He said the President will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (retd.); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai, and other top government officials.

Shehu said at the invitation of his host, the President will be the special guest of honour at the ceremonies to be attended by other African leaders at the Independence Stadium, Bakau.

He said President Buhari, along with other ECOWAS leaders, played a leading role in the restoration of democratic rule in The Gambia in 2017 after the former President, Yahya Jammeh, refused to surrender power after losing the election.

The presidential media aide said the President is expected back in the country at the end of the inauguration ceremonies.

Family raises alarm as Abuja farmer is murdered

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A family in Karu in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has accused some herders of killing their bread winner.

According to the family, Muhammad Hassan, who was a farmer was killed by the herders while working on his father’s farm on  January 14, 2022.

Daily Trust gathered that the deceased had been having issues with the herders, who settled near his father’s farm, for more than a decade.

The funeral rites of the deceased were conducted, according to Islamic rites in Nyanya.

One of the sons of the deceased, Ibrahim Hassan, said their father had farmed the land since 1984.

He said the herders had attempted to kill their father on different occasions, saying that in 2021, the deceased sustained injuries after a clash.

However, Daily Trust gathered that to prevent the issue from escalating, the leader of Fulani in the area with help from some elders of the community got one of the accused arrested and handed him over to police for investigation.

The relations of the victim called for thorough investigation into the matter to ensure that the assailants are brought to book.

A witness, who is also a friend to the deceased, said  he heard a noise but before he reached the scene, they had already killed the victim.

Attempts to hear from the herders were abortive but the police in Karu said they were investigating the matter.

IPOB ‘militants’ gunned down in the forest

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Some militants of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN), have been killed at Lilu Forest in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Lilu, a border town between Imo and Anambra States, is known to be the operational base of the IPOB/ESN.

In a statement, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the troops conducted early hours operations on January 17, 2022, and neutralised some gunmen in their hideout after a gun battle.

According to him, after dislodging the dissidents from their fortress, troops recovered 10 Pump Action Shotguns, two locally fabricated guns, One Revolver pistol, rounds of 7.62 mm special, live cartridges, machetes’ and IPOB flags.

Other items recovered were mobile phones, laptops amongst other dangerous weapons.

He said the operation was jointly conducted by troops of 82 Division, Nigerian Navy, 211 Quick Response Group of the Nigerian Air Force, Department of State Services and the Police.

“It was a well coordinated dawn attack on the fortress, where plans were been perfected to violently enforce the illegitimate sit-at-home declaration by the irredentist groups” he said.