always an Hero



3 feared dead, 20 wounded as pro-Biafra group, security agents clash in Anambra

By Vincent Ujumadu of VANGUARD

Awka- THREE persons were feared dead and about twenty others wounded on Sunday when members of a new pro- Biafra group, the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and security operatives engaged in a shootout in Onitsha.

It was not clear what caused the trouble, but one of the injured persons, Mr. Chinwendu Ikechukwu said the group was carrying out an evangelism programme on the need for people to embrace Biafra Republic in parts of Nkpor , Idemili North local government area after their routine meeting, adding that it was while they were on the street that security operatives opened fire on them.

He said: “On reaching Okpoko junction, we were accosted by a detachment of policemen who fired tear gas on our members numbering about 5000, but they later allowed us to go since we were non violent.

“However, on reaching Uga junction close to the Niger Bridge Head, the Naval men on duty there opened fire on us. In our defenseless state, three of our members were shot dead, while about twenty others sustained injuries. Even the police who initially allowed us to go later joined in shooting our members.”

According to him, the injured persons were initially rushed to the nearby Paragon Hospital, Fegge before they were distributed to other hospitals.

The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Okechukwu Ali however denied the involvement of police in the shooting, adding that the police were in a ‘Show of Force’ operation in Onitsha as at the time of the incident.

“We never shot at the group, even though the law of the land has outlawed all pro -Biafran groups,” he said.

Also, a naval officer who refused to give his name said the group was lying, insisting that nobody died. According to him, “if they claim that three of their members died, they should provide their bodies.

Source: Vanguard News

Liverpool land Taiwo Awoniyi after beating Monaco, Porto

Taiwo Awoniyi

Liverpool hope to ratify the signing of Nigerian prospect Taiwo Awoniyi on Monday.

Sportsmail reported earlier this month that the striker was also attracting interest from the likes of Porto and Monaco.

But Liverpool have won the race for the 18 year-old striker’s signature and he is poised to join the club from Imperial Academy in Nigeria.

The initial fee will be in the region of £800,000 but that could rise to £3m with add-ons.

However, Awoniyi does not qualify for a work permit so will be immediately sent out on loan.

He has already been likened to current Liverpool striker Christian Benteke and will most likely move to Germany on completion of his deal.

Buhari’s appointments based on merit, says Oshiomhole

Governor Adams Oshiomhole

Against the backdrop of the widespread criticism that trailed the 29 appointments made so far by President Muhammadu Buhari, Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has rather commended the President, noting that the appointments were made purely on merit.

According to Oshiomhole, the recent appointments of the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Comptroller General of Customs and Presidential Liaison Officers to the National Assembly, were based on merit and not political sentiments or ethnic consideration.

The governor in a press statement issued and signed on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, said; “The appointments are based on merit and not political sentiments or ethnic consideration as some tribal jingoists would have us believe. The Nigerian nation has come to a point where we have to use the best hands to confront the peculiarity of our problems.

“It is not all the time we descend to the level of geopolitical balancing; we need to employ unusual methods to solve an unusual problem. The level of decay in the country at present requires very seasoned hands and incorruptible Nigerians that would help to
translate the APC agenda of change for the benefit of all Nigerians. We must not reduce governance to political patronage of bread and butter.”

According to Oshiomhole, “rather than condemning the President for taking this bold step, we should commend him for having the uncommon courage to take plausible decisions in the appointments he has made so far, as he settles down for the real task of governance.

“If we must make a huge difference in the lives of Nigerians, things must be done differently. We cannot continue to apply same template in the recruitment of persons and expect different results. The new appointees are Nigerians who have served the country in different capacities before now and deserved every bit of our cooperation and support to make them excel in their new jobs,” he added.

The Governor who congratulated the recently appointed men he described as having tall credentials, wished them well “in their new jobs of helping to sanitize a system that has become so rotten and corrupt as a result of manifest incompetence and mismanagement.”

An attack against Fashola is an attack against me – Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stated that any scathing attack on former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola is an attack on himself.

In a statement issued by Tinubu’s media office the former Lagos state governor claimed that the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was trying to unsettle the APC.

Read full statement below:

The past elections were an epic confrontation between two opposing political camps. Those who believed in the progressive governance of the people gathered under the banner of the APC. Those who harkened to the conservative elitism that had cast this nation downward for so many years held to the PDP.

The elections clearly showed the preference of the average Nigerian. They chose the APC and rejected the PDP nationally and in Lagos state. Since the commanding victory of the APC in Lagos and all over Nigeria, the enemies of progressive governance have cleverly been at work, trying to regain through intrigue and subterfuge what they so openly and fairly lost in the elections.

Our political opponents now try to steal victory when their only entitlement is resounding defeat. Having fared woefully with the electorate, their game plan is to sow discord within the ranks of the party people had chosen to lead them. The PDP hopes to strike division in the APC, in that way weakening us and our ability to govern.

Apprised of their wiles, we in the progressive camp must be wiser still. We must not allow ourselves to be pawns in this cynical strategy. We cannot fall into their obvious snares for that would be embracing defeat when victory has already been won. It is our responsibility to govern as the people want. It would be to our detriment to fall victim to our opponent’s sly instigations by allowing ourselves to be utensils picking each other apart.

This brings me to recent developments in the Lagos political scene. Born of this motley stew is the recent gossip mongering that I have willfully instigated false and negative reports against former Governor Fashola to thwart him from being appointed to a major post in the Buhari administration. I want to declare clearly and categorically that these rancid attacks do not come from me nor do I endorse them. Neither my hand nor my heart are in these mean submissions. I deplore them. An attack against the performance of Governor Fashola is indirectly an attack against me and the edifice of achievement we have constructed in leading Lagos state out of a protracted time of stagnation and into an era of sustained progress and development.

Lagos is a much better place than when we came into governance in 1999. Each year, it has gotten better. With the APC at the helm, each subsequent year will be better yet. Babatunde Fashola has been an integral part of this improvement. He does not deserve the pillory. His record has been applauded and will continue to be when all this rumor mongering has died its natural and quick death.

Former Lagos governor, Babatunde Fashola

I am proud to say that I played an instrumental role in bringing Governor Fashola into politics in the first instance. He served as my trusted chief of staff, performing excellently in that role. Due to his leadership qualities and diligent work ethic, I endorsed him for governor notwithstanding the stiff and vocal opposition of many. I am not ashamed of backing him. I believe the progress the state made under his administration has more than vindicated my endorsement.

Fashola, the present Governor Akin Ambode including myself are the products of a progressive political institution and its programmatic expressions. I laid the governance foundation and started the first lap, running as well as I could. I handed the baton to Fashola, knowing he would do the same. He did; he ran as well as he could. Now, he has handed to Ambode who is off and running as well as he can. We have achieved much in Lagos; but, we recognize as much as anyone that we have much more to do.

We also know that progress is fragile and easily undone while destruction is easily transacted but hard to undo. I for one am not the type to tear down my own house or to bring my enemy’s rubbish into it.

We must remember something. We have always governed Lagos state as an open forum where democracy and free expression were respected. Those who are against us were never placed in fear of the heavy hand of government descending on them even as they played funny tricks. We also must remember than in any democracy, a number of people will always oppose you no matter the quality of your performance. If an office holder has an approval rating of 70 percent, this means, in Lagos, roughly five million people dislike the person. Also remember the PDP is just recently out of office at the federal level and that it built a vast, unprecedented financial war chest to contest the elections. The residual of that war chest is still at work, buying media space to plant rumors in hopes of spreading discord through the APC. Thus, the enemy camp may be a minority but it is a large and well-funded one that knows its only chance lies in us attacking ourselves.

I for one will not bend to the artificial provocation of those seeking to tear at what we have painstakingly built over the years. In my mind, Governor Fashola and I are and shall always be political allies and fellow travelers on a vital journey; that alliance is unshakeable and our journey must not be interrupted. I would no more attack his character or his administration than I would attack myself.

I see this present moment as crucial to Nigeria’s future. The nation faces acute challenges of security, corruption and economic development. Our task is to create policies that bring prosperity, dignity and hope to all. Great change is in reach because we have progressive governments at the federal and state levels for the first time. With great change at hand, it would be a terrible abdication of our duty to allow agents provocateur to prompt us to suspect and toss dirt at each other at a time when we should be focused on building a better, more equitable nation and society.

I for one shall never allow myself to be a tool of a political enemy that has nothing good in mind for Nigeria. I for one will never engage in the intramural character attacks of which I am being accused. I stand for the unity of the APC and for the progressive purpose we serve. I will not be guilty of tearing down our progressive house, not a brick of it. That I vow to all.

Buhari appoints Babachir Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the following appointments:

Engr. Babachir David Lawal – Secretary to the Government of the Federation

Alhaji Abba Kyari – Chief of Staff to the President

Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) – Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service

Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi – Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service

Senator Ita S.J. Enang – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate)

Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu – SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives)

The appointments are with effect from today, August 27, 2015.

Engr. Lawal, the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation hails from Hong Local Government Area, Adamawa State. He graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree and worked with the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited and Data Sciences Limited before establishing his own ICT and Telecommunications consulting firm in 1990. He is also a member of the Nigeria Computer Society, the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.

Alhaji Abba Kyari, the new Chief of Staff to the President holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick in Law and Sociology. He has worked with the New Nigeria Development Company, New Africa Holdings, African International Bank, United Bank for Africa, Unilever, and Mobil in various capacities over the years.

The new Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ali holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Criminology. He was military administrator of Kaduna State from 1996 to 1998.

The new Comptroller- General of Immigration, Mr. Abeshi hails from Nasarawa State. He joined the Nigerian Immigration Service in 1989 as an Assistant Comptroller. His educational qualifications include a Masters Degree in Public Administration.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

August 27, 2015

Buhari slams NASS jumbo pay, fumes at RMAFC


Source: PM NEWS

President Muhammadu Buhari has rebuked the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission for approving excessive remunerations for some political office holders.

And he has urged the commission to seek a proper interpretation of its powers and address the public outcry against the unreasonably high payments.

Buhari made the remark today when the RMAFC chairman and members briefed him in Abuja on the cost of governance in the country.

Excessive payment to political office holders has remained a hot topic in Nigeria, since Buhari assumed power in May and followed up with a voluntary massive reduction in his salary. Expectations that the National Assembly which votes N150 billion yearly for its recurrent expenditure, would take a cue, were dashed as senators vehemently resisted the 30 per cent reduction in their pay package as recommended by an ad-hoc panel set up to address the issue.

Despite the grave poverty in the country, Nigeria’s assemblymen earned the highest salaries in the world. Ordinarily a senator gets a monthly salary of N1.4 million while his colleague in the House gets N1.1 million a month.But the allowances they received are humongous, far above the markings set by the RMAFC.

For instance, each senator earns N6, 079,200 for furniture. House members get receive N5, 955,637 each for their furniture.

At the meeting, the President also gave the RMAFC the assignment to design a humane way to deal with the oil subsidy issue.

Buhari had blamed past administrations for the current situation in which Nigeria is forced to spend billions of naira annually on alleged subsidies for petroleum products.

According to him, the escalation of petroleum subsidy payments in recent years was due to the deliberate neglect of the nation’s refineries, oil pipelines and other related infrastructure to allow the importation of petroleum products and corruption to thrive.

The President, who restated his huge disappointment with the way Nigeria’s oil industry has been run since he left office as Petroleum Minister and Military Head of State, said that he was convinced that if the development of the country’s domestic refining capacity and petroleum products distribution network had kept pace with national demand, there would not have been any need for the huge subsidies currently being paid to importers.

“They allowed the infrastructure to collapse so that their cronies can steal by bringing in refined products from overseas,” President Buhari said.

The President urged the chairman and members of the RMAFC, who availed him of their view on the vexed issued of petroleum subsidy payments, to go “back to the drawing board” and come up with more humane proposals to rescue ordinary Nigerians from the “wicked manipulation” of the country’s oil industry by corrupt operators.

The President said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Ports Authority and other MDAs which previously relied on the laws establishing them to retain all or part of revenues collected by them, did so illegally and must now comply with the Nigerian Constitution by paying all revenues to the Federation Account.

President Buhari also warned that severe sanctions will be visited on any individual or organisation that violates the directive on the payment of all national revenue into the Federation Account.

Former Akwa Ibom Gov. Akpabio, Others, Provokes President Buhari; He Restates That Corrupt APC, PDP Members Will Face Prosecution For Corruption


President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to claims by the 49-member Senate Caucus of ‎the Peoples Democratic Party which on Thursday kicked against the current administration’s war against corruption, claiming it was selective and lacked transparency and fairness.Former Governor (now Senator) Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State

In a statement Sunday night, Mr. Buhari described the claims by the Godwill Akpabio-led caucus as “false, baseless and totally unjustifiable”.
Mr. Akpabio and his colleagues had at a press conference in Abuja Thursday alleged that the administration’s anti-graft war was mainly targeted at opposition politicians.

“The [PDP] caucus is not happy with the current trend that seems to suggest that the war against corruption is selective and targeted at PDP stalwarts and states,” the group said at the briefing.
“The current war lacks transparency, fairness to all and appears to be aimed at political adversaries.”

But in a statement via his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, Mr. Buhari said it was regrettable that “wild allegation of bias and partisanship” could come from respected and distinguished members of the Nigerian  Senate.

Mr. Buhari said, “We have noted with regret, the allegation by members of the PDP Senate Caucus that the present administration is being selective and partisan in its prosecution of the war against corruption.

“We state without equivocation that the allegation is false, baseless and totally unjustifiable.

“For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, we affirm that having made his zero tolerance for corruption clear to all and sundry, President Muhammadu Buhari does not micro-manage or interfere in the daily work of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies.

“The wild allegation of bias and partisanship in the fight against corruption shouldn’t have come therefore from respected and distinguished members of the  Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“That claim belongs to the past and not the present. Public officials and other leaders accused of corruption by relevant agencies should plead their innocence, not malice.

“President Buhari’s unwavering stance is that whosoever is charged with corruption should face the law irrespective of whether  they are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), or any other political party.

“As far as the President is concerned, corruption has no political party, no religion and no ethnic group.

“It is important to remind the PDP Senate Caucus and all Nigerians that right from 2003 when he started campaigning for the Presidency of Nigeria, President Buhari consistently promised to do his best to curb corruption in the country.

“The President remains wholly committed to fulfilling that promise and will not be deterred from the relentless prosecution of the war against corruption because he remains convinced that, as he has said, “unless Nigeria kills corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”.

The President also dismissed the claim by the caucus that he and his party were meddling in the ongoing cases at election tribunals and using the State Security Service to harass electoral officials believed to have sympathy for the PDP.

“The claim by the PDP Senate caucus that President Buhari and his administration are meddling in election petition cases through the Department of State Services (DSS) is also untrue,” Mr. Buhari said.

“The duties of the DSS and other security agencies are clearly spelt out in the laws establishing them. The Federal Government led by President Buhari does not give them instructions regarding their daily operations.

“Election Tribunals and the Independent National Electoral Commission  in Rivers, Abia and Akwa-Ibom States  do not operate under the guidance of the President.

“Any individual or group of individuals who think that their legitimate political and civil rights are infringed upon by the DSS or any institution is advised to seek protection and redress under our constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria instead of resorting to baseless allegations against the Buhari Administration.

“On President Buhari’s watch, the rule of law, not impunity, shall govern every aspect of life in Nigeria and there will be no room for sentiments, bias and corruption in the application of the laws of the land.

“President Buhari also wishes to re-assure all Nigerians that his administration will not discriminate against individuals or groups in the performance of its duties and that favours or patronage will not be dispensed on the basis of votes.

“The President remains committed to his Oath of Office and  the letters and spirit of the constitution.

“He calls on all Nigerians to join hands with him in the fight against insecurity, corruption and impunity in Nigeria so that we can have a country that will prosper for the benefit of all of its citizens  and future  generations of Nigerians.