Presidential Debate: APC Shields Buhari’s Intellectual Laziness, Says Jonathan *Charges APC ‘Prove You’re a Party of Progressive Intellectuals At Debate’

The Presidential Campaign Organisation of President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stopping its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari from participating in a presidential debate being organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) as a means of shielding the intellectual laziness and inability of the former military dictator to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate from Nigerians and the international audience.

Jonathan who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, stated that the APC knows that General Buhari will flunk it if he is subjected to the rigours of debate on national issues relating to governance and development.

Jonathan’s Campaign body said it was aware that the APC had already expressed its concerns, when approached by an international news channel for a debate, about the intellectual acumen of General Buhari, and had assured the news channel that it was only comfortable with its vice presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who has capacity to feature brilliantly on the programme.

“We have just read a report in the media credited to the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation that the party would not allow its candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to participate in the radio and television presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

“The APC accused the organisers of the debate of unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organisers of the programme against the corporate political interest of the party and its candidates.

“Whilst we will not bother ourselves with the many reasons adduced by the APC, we wish to state that we see the APC decision as an attempt to shield its presidential candidate from displaying his intellectual laziness and inability to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate.

“We had envisaged that the APC would be reluctant to expose General Buhari to the rigours of a live television debate because the opposition party knows that its candidate will flunk it.

“If the APC truly believes that it is ‘a party of progressive intellectuals’, as it claims it should allow General Buhari to prove that at the debate.

“Should the APC fail to participate in the debate, it would also show the disdain both the party and its candidate have for the Nigerian people, denying them the opportunity to make informed choices on the basis of what each candidate will articulate as propositions on issues that will be raised.

“We are convinced that General Buhari does not have what it takes to sustain a coherent argument on germane issues of governance and development.

“We challenge General Buhari to a debate on any national and international medium of mass communication and our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan will be ready to participate.

“On the other hand, President Jonathan’s running mate, Vice President Namadi Sambo, is also ready to participate in the debate and any other debate.

“Our presidential candidate and his running mate will not raise flimsy and escapist excuses such as “unhidden bias” and the like, since we believe that they are well-rounded intellectuals who have been prepared by their experience in office to answer any question under the sun on the governance of our nation.”, Jonathan Campaign group noted.

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At 57, Agbaje too old to rule Lagos — Fashola

Apparently for want of facts, Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji
Fashola, on Wednesday, urged Lagos residents not to vote the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje, because he
is too old to rule the state at 57.
He said his party’s candidate, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has age advantage
to carry on with the task from where he would leave governance in May
29.
Also, the national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator
Bola Tinubu, enjoined the people not to vote Agbaje, who he said could
not manage his personal business well.
Both Fashola and Tinubu spoke on Wednesday, at the Lagos West
senatorial campaign of the APC governorship candidate, Mr Akinwumi
Ambode, which took place at Sky Power Play Ground, beside the Nigeria
Police Headquarters, Ikeja.
Agbaje will be 58 years on March 2, having been born in 1957.
Fashola, who did not mention name while addressing the crowd
consisting of leadership of the party, said it was Ambode that had the
wherewithal to govern Lagos as a young, successful accountant.
According to Fashola, the task of governing Lagos State was daunting
and needed vigour on the part of the person at the helm of affairs,
recalling that in 2007 when he took over governance at age 44, he
could count the number of grey hair on his head.
“Today, at 52, I am counting the number of black hair on my head.
Akinwunmi Ambode is the man that can do it. If you put an old man
there, he cannot do it. If you call him in the night, he may not pick
your calls,” he warned.
Fashola described the PDP as termites, always ready to destroy
everything they laid their hands upon, while describing them further
as worse than Ebola virus.
Addressing the gathering, Tinubu, while expressing appreciation to God
for making him discover Fashola and now Ambode as talents suitable to
rule Lagos, said Ambode as the APC candidate was arrived at based on
clamour by youths in Lagos who, he said, demanded they wanted another
youth like Fashola.
Tinubu said true to the promise he made, Fashola had not disappointed
the people of Lagos, adding that his tenure in office could be
described as eight years of unbroken promises.
He called on the people to vote for change by sending President
Goodluck Jonathan packing in February poll.
Tinubu said Lagos was not ready for any experiment, recalling that the
PDP governorship candidate, Agbaje, was with them in the Alliance for
Democracy (AD), but was defeated by better candidates in the party’s
governorship primaries ahead 2007 poll.
He also recalled that Agbaje rejected the offer of deputy governorship
of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) before he defected to
contest on the platform of Democratic Party Alliance (DPA) and lost to
Fashola in the general election.
In his address, the APC governorship candidate, Ambode, said it was
certain that the party would win the coming election, promising to run
a government that would not discriminate among the ethnic
nationalities in the state if voted into office in February.
Recall that the outgoing Governor Fashola administration had deported
none Lagosians to their various states in the last six years, the most
controversial was the deportation of over seventy Igbos and dropping
them at bridgehead, Onitsha, Anambra State.

Also, recall that the presidential candidate of the APC will be officially 73

#NigeriaDecides: Buhari is Clueless About How To Revive Economy, Can’t Remember His Phone Number, Says Jonathan

So Clueless? Can you imagine?

Pa Buhari can’t remember his phone number –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday during a rally in Enugu said that the All Progressives Congress candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), cannot remember his own mobile phone number.

Jonathan, whose unscripted address was mostly a response to previous statements made by Buhari, accused the APC presidential candidate of deceiving Nigerians by promising to revive the economy without explaining how he would achieve the feat.

The President wondered how Buhari would develop the country’s economy, a feat he could not achieve while he was in office as head of state between 1983 and 1985.

“Is it now that Buhari cannot even remember his own phone number that he can change the economy of the country.” Jonathan asked.

The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate said that although he did not like to “go personal during campaigns,” “sometimes circumstances demand that certain things must be said.”

Jonathan said that Buhari belonged to the medieval age, adding that he (the APC candidate) intended to run the Federal Government as a medieval king.

He said, “We cannot run the government as if we are in the medieval age; we cannot run a government where somebody said he would throw people into jail.

“You are not a medieval king – a medieval king can throw you into jail but we have to follow the rule of law because we cannot go back to the old days.”

Jonathan, however, read the speech made by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) after overthrowing Buhari’s regime through a military coup on August 27, 1985 to justify his claim that the APC candidate does not keep his promises.

Babangida, in the portions of the address read by Jonathan, justified Buhari’s overthrow by pointing out that the latter did not live up to the promises he made to Nigerians when he ousted a democratically elected civilian government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a military coup.

Noting that Buhari “deceived Nigerians” from 1983 to 1985, Jonathan quoted Babangida as saying, “The initial objectives of Buhari’s intervention were betrayed as there was a general deterioration of standard of living in the country.”

The PDP candidate also pointed out that Babangida accused Buhari of being “too rigid in his attitude to national issues” and “became alienated from the people” in the course of his stay in power.

He, therefore, challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians how he intends to revive the economy.

Jonathan said, “They are telling young Nigerians that they are going to change the economy but they have not told us how they want to manage the economy more than us.

“If they say they want to change agriculture, they should tell us the weak links in the agriculture value chain and what they want to do about it.

“I said in Lagos that I want to work with young people, not to deceive people.

“I am not going to run the government based on my habits, I am going to run the government according to global best practices.”

Jonathan also insisted that he was committed to the campaign against corruption.

“There is no government that has fought corruption more than we do,” he said, noting that some previous administrations pretended to be fighting corruption while oppressing their enemies.

He recalled that Buhari jailed some prominent Igbo politicians while in office as head of state, including former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo.

Stressing that Buhari jailed politicians on trumped up charges, Jonathan said, “You can no longer carry people and put them in prison for 301 years.”

The President equally accused Buhari of having a wrong idea of corruption.

According to him, Buhari believes that every wealthy Nigerian is corrupt.

He said, “If a Nigerian businessman has a private jet, then you are corrupt but if a South African has a private jet then you commend him.

“If you have a good house, then you are corrupt, if you have a good car then you are corrupt – that is his definition of corruption.”

Jonathan accused his opponent of making spurious claims against him.

The President said, “They are saying that government is corrupt but they are not telling us what they are going to do to stop corruption. Let them go back to their consultants to coach them, then I will listen to them.

“They should tell us how they are going to manage the economy better than we do.

“They are saying we stole foreign reserves, nobody can steal foreign reserves – spurious allegations.”

He also reiterated his claim that Buhari did not equip the military while he was the head of state.

Jonathan said that he had done more than his predecessors to shore up the country’s defence.

“For 30 years, we had only one frigate, now we have four additional frigates,” he said.

In the same vein, he pointed out that Buhari did not find any woman worthy enough for appointment when he was the military head of state.

The President asked Nigerians to assess him and Buhari by looking at how they performed during their respective periods in office.

He said, “They have deceived us before and they want to deceive us again.

“Go and find out whether these people are deceiving you or are telling you the truth.

“People are assessing me because I have run this country for some years – they have run this country for two years.

“They came with promises but immediately they came in, what they did was to jail Jim Nwobodo for 201 years.”

PUNCH

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2014: Seven Jonathan’s Ministers Quit Cabinet as FEC holds Valedictory Session for Them

Seven ministers, in President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet have resigned to run for political offices.
GEJ ministers quit
According to the President on Wednesday, the ministers that quit his government were Mr. Labaran Maku (Information); Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu (Health); Mr. Nyesom Wike (State, Education); Samuel Ortom (State, Industry, Trade and Investment); Senator Musiliu Obanikoro (State, Defence); Mr. Darius Ishaku (State, Niger Delta) and Chief Emeka Wogu (Labour).

They will be contesting the governorship elections in their various states.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, thanked the seven ministers on behalf of the FEC and wish them the best in their future endeavours while Maku responded on behalf of the ministers who are exiting the cabinet.

FEC holds valedictory session for Wike, Maku, others

Consequently, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday held a valedictory session for seven ministers who are resigning their positions to pursue gubernatorial positions in their respective states.

At the session coordinated by ‎President Goodluck Jonathan in the council’s chamber at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, seven ministers were listed by the president as those expected to leave to pursue their political ambitions.

The president, however, said since they have not formally written to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, indicating their interests to resign, they will still be regarded as council members.

He said the valedictory session had only arisen on the grounds that they had indicated their interests informally, and they are expected to quit before October 20.

Mr. Jonathan said “this meeting is definitely their last of FEC sessions”.

The president also warned those who have not really perfected their plans against writing, endorsing and submitting a resignation letter as any letter received by the SGF will be treated forthwith.

Speaking on behalf of the Federal Government, the Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo, ‎praised the ministers, prayed for the fulfillment of their ambitions.

Mr. Maku who spoke on behalf of the outgoing ministers, showered encomium on the president over his steadfastness, focus and integrity.

He urged Jonathan not to be distracted by the opposition and people who compulsively speak ill of his administration.

Mr. Maku said the president is the only one, since the time of former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon that entrenched stability in the council by not sacking or replacing council members regularly.

Jonathan Pledges to Implement National Conference Report

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday thumped his chest for organising a successful national dialogue, saying he meant well for the country and promised to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, which officially closed Thursday.
Confab-report
The president made the pledge Thursday at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, ‎during the closing ceremony of the conference, where he also received the 21-volume report from the conference chairman, Idris Kutigi.

Mr. Jonathan also said the successful conclusion of the conference have proved cynics, who never gave the conference a chance, wrong.

He said some of the recommendations of the conference will be considered by the National Council of State, while the remaining ones will be sent to the National Assembly, the President said while formally receiving the 10,000 pages, conference report, with 600 resolutions.

Jonathan, however, took a swipe on the conference detractors, whom he described as prophet of doom who have been put to shame.

He also pledged that the report would be considered by the council of State before it’s passed to the National Assembly.

Ambassador, ECOWAS Staff, 57 Others Listed Among Travellers Who Made Contact With Ebola Victim

Nigeria Ambassador to Liberia, Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie and 58 others have contact with, Patrick Sawyer, the victim of Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, who died in Lagos last Thursday, says the Lagos State Government. At a news conference on Monday 27.

July at the Lagos State Government Secretariat in Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, Lagos Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris disclosed that 59 people had contact with the late Sawyer, which include the Nigerian Ambassador to Laberia.

“So far, a total of 59 contacts have been registered consisting 44 hospital contacts (38 healthcare workers and six laboratory staff) and 15 Airport contacts, comprising 3 ECOWAS staff-driver, Liaison, and Protocol officer, Nigerian Ambassador to Monrovia, two nursing staff and five Airport passenger handlers. “As of the time of this report, 20 contacts had been physically screened of which 50% are type 1 contact and 50% had had type 2 contact. Airline manifest has not been provided by the airline at the time of this report and therefore the precise number of passenger contacts is yet to be ascertained, especially as two flights were involved (Monrovia-Lome and Lome-Lagos),” he disclosed.

On case management, infection prevention and control, Idris said an isolation ward had been designated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba for case management, adding that the designation of three other health facilities was underway.“A total of 100 Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, were procured by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH have been distributed to the private hospital and the State Ministry of Health. WHO also donated 250 PPEs to the NCDC/FMOH.

“Adhering strictly to WHO guidelines, the body of the deceased patient was decontaminated using 10% sodium hypochlorite and cremated, with the permission of the government of Liberia. A cremation urn has been prepared for dispatch to the family. The vehicle that conveyed the remains was also fully decontaminated,” he stated.
According to Idris, government could categorically state that as of today only one case of imported Ebola and one death had been recorded in Lagos, saying that no Nigerian had been infected, but that all contacts were being actively followed.
“We call on all Nigerians to be calm and not panic and do hereby assure them that both the State and Federal Governments are up in arms to ensure that the virus did not escape and that no Nigeria is infected with this virus,” he assured.
He said preliminary laboratory investigation conducted by the NCDC AI virology laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and the World-Bank Funded African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) Redeemers’ University, detected viral DNA and that in both blood and urine samples obtained from the patient were positive for the Pan Filo virus analysis and Ebola Zaire MGB virus strain- specific analysis, adding that samples were also collected for further confirmation at the WHO Collaborating laboratory for Ebola in Dakar.
On the 40-year old Liberian vidtim, Idris said he arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Monrovia via Lome on Asky Airline Flight No KP50, on his way to Calabar for the 8th ECOWAS Retreat of Heads of Offices meeting, as a senior ECOWAS official in Liberia.
He stated that his plane was reported to have had a brief stop in Accra and Lome, and the aircraft was changed at Lome, explaining that he was also reported to have fallen ill while on board and remained very ill on arrival at the airport in Lagos as he was then assisted by various airport and ECOWAS protocol staff to a private hospital named First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende, in Lagos.
“An initial diagnosis of suspected Viral Haemorrhagic fever was made. He was admitted and investigations were carried and supportive treatment was commenced. The private hospital immediately notified the State Ministry of Health who also notified the Federal Ministry of Health. The patient however died at about 6.50am on the 25th July 2014,” he explained.
Idris disclosed that the Joint Federal and State Team on the basis of all experiences gathered from the response to this outbreak recommended to mobilize funding for response activities, logistics and supplies; train and orientate health staff on the Ebola outbreak response Standards Operating Procedures and supply laboratory diagnostic supplies or activate the mobile VHF laboratory.
Other recommendations, he said, were to provide adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), organize psychosocial support and provide incentives to health personnel involved in Ebola outbreak response, design key messages in the local language and intensify public enlightenment in the local languages and involve the community in response activities.

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Ebola Virus Kills One Dies in Lagos, As Health Minister Calms Nerves, Gives Out Contact Numbers, Email

Federal Health Minister Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu

Federal Health Minister Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu

After several speculations and enlightenment regarding possible outbreak of Ebola disease in the Nigeria, one death resulting from the virus occurred on Friday in Lagos, compelling the Federal Government to embark on frantic efforts to calm the nerves of Nigerians.

The victim was said to be travelling from Monrovia, Liberia to Nigeria with Asky Airline via Lome to Lagos.

According to officials, “the passenger, a 40 year old man” who showed symptoms of “fever, vomiting and diarrhea on arrival at the airport” was “quickly isolated and transported straight to the hospitals” by officials of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Addressing journalists Friday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu alongside the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said the “patient was subjected to thorough medical evaluation where laboratory investigations were also carried out.”

He was said to have died in a private hospital.

Meanwhile, the Minister has urged all Nigerians not to panic, while pleading that citizens should be at alert and be conscious of their hygiene.

The Minister also said that contacts have been made with the airline and passengers that travelled with the victim for proper monitoring to avoid spread of the virus.

The Ministry has also made phone numbers available for the public to call in case of emergencies.

Ebola virus currently has no vaccine. The deadly virus which can claim a life within two days if contracted, is believed to be transmitted by bats and primates like monkeys and chimpanzees.

However, don’t hesitate to call the following numbers if you suspect any Ebola case: 08023210923, 08097979595 and 07067352220, others are: 08033086660, 08055281442, 08023169485, 08033065303, 08055329229 or email: ebolainfo@health.gov.ng

For updates, tips, follow on Twitter @alutamedia #PrayForOurLeaders

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Nigeria Police Uncover Plot to Bomb Abuja Transport Network

Nigerian police have uncovered a plot to bomb the Abuja transport network, they said on Saturday, using suicide bombers and devices concealed in luggage at major bus stations.

Abuja has increasingly been targeted by Islamist group Boko Haram, with three deadly bombings since April, including one in a bus park on its outskirts that killed at least 75 people.

“Credible intelligence … indicates that terrorists have perfected a plot to carry out attacks on the Abuja transport sector … intended to cause panic amongst Abuja residents and visitors,” police spokesman Frank Mba said in a statement.

(Reuters)

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Counter Insurgency: Troops Clear Terrorists Bases in Balmo Forest, Seize Several Weapons

Troops countering terrorists activities in Nigeria’s northeast have cleared and taken over Balmo forest stretching from Bauchi through Jigawa States in a military operation that lasted throughout the weekend.

Military spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, in statement on Monday, said that terrorists suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect and armed gangs operating in the forests were completely rooted out while some were captured during the operation.

Among those captured were two foreigners who are suspected to be mercenaries. The military also took possession of several weapons and equipment including power generating sets, communication equipment, vehicles, motorcycles, foodstuff and kitchen utensils.

Prior to the operation, Balmo forest with links to the fringes of Sambisa forest was used by terrorists as bases and hideouts for launching attacks.

In another development, over 44 terrorists died in Kerenoa and adjoining communities, following an encounter with troops who repelled their attack on the communities.

Armed with Improvised Explosive Devices and other high calibre weapons, a large number of terrorists had carried out a predawn attack on the communities but met with stiff resistance of the troops.

During the operation, several of them were captured and weapons and ammunitions of various calibres were seized.

Meanwhile, troops on routine patrol around Banki and Miyanti in Borno State during the weekend fought through an ambush laid by terrorists resulting in casualties on both sides.
Altogether, a total of 6 soldiers were lost in the various encounters with terrorists during the weekend while those wounded are receiving treatment.

The terrorist group has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches, mosques and schools in the region. they are seeking an Islamic state and an end to western education.

(CHANNELS TV)

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Nigerian Senate Passes N4.6 trillion 2014 Budget

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday approved the budget of N4.6 trillion as the government budget in 2014.
The budget proposal figure was increased by the legislators by relatively minimal 53 billion naira.

The sum of N4.642 trillion had been the budget estimate presented to the National Assembly by the Co-ordinating minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in December 2013on behalf of President Jonathan.

Out of that sum, 3.54 trillion was slated for the recurrent expenditure while the remaining N1.1 trillion-the equivalent of 23.7 percent, was billed for capital projects.

The budget which is the lowest in three years, passed the second reading on February 4, 2014.

A third reading passage is expected by the House of Representatives before a harmonization of the bill, ahead of the president’s assent.

The opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) had insisted on frustrating the passage of the 2014 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.

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#MissingFlight370: What Next as Pinger Signals Not Heard Since Weekend?

The chief of the Australian agency coordinating the search, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, has dampened the hope of finding the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight 370, soon as he revealed Tuesday that the pinger signals have not been heard again since the weekend.

A Chinese air force plane involved in the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane believed to had crashed into the Indian Ocean had spotted a number of floating objects in the search area last Saturday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said.

The signals “in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane could not be verified at this point in time,” retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston had said.

“The characteristics reported are consistent with the aircraft black box. A number of white objects were also sighted on the surface about 90 kilometers from the detection area. However, there is no confirmation at this stage that the signals and the objects are related to the missing aircraft,” Houston had said.

Next Steps Underwater Search

An Australian navy ship is expected to keep searching a small area as it is trying to regain a signal that it picked up Sunday that could be from Flight 370.

If it detects the pings again, it will deploy an underwater vehicle that can look for wreckage. But without a new signal, the possible area will be larger and take longer to search.

The pings detected by the crew aboard an Australian navy ship in the southern Indian Ocean had given those searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 renewed hopes of finding the missing plane.

The Ocean Shield, an Australian navy ship that’s slowly towing a pinger locator through the water, is going back and forth over the area where it twice picked up a signal Sunday.

“The focus is on trying to reacquire the acoustic signal they had 24 hours ago,” said Commodore Peter Leavy, who is coordinating military contributions to the search.

As of Monday morning, the high-tech pinger locator, supplied by the U.S. Navy, hadn’t redetected the pings, officials said.

“Probably for the next 24 hours, Ocean Shield will continue its runs back and forth over the area,” Houston said.

Why Crisscrossing Same Area?

The aim is to use triangulation to pinpoint the location of whatever is transmitting the pings, according to Cmdr. William Marks of the U.S. 7th Fleet. “For us in the Navy, this is kind of our bread and butter,” he said.

The crew of the ship does this by towing the pinger locator along a series of intersecting lines across a relatively small area of ocean.

If the sound is picked up along three different lines that cross at the same point, “that’s a pretty positive indication of where the signal’s coming from,” Marks said.

But it’s a slow and painstaking business. By the end of its runs Tuesday, Ocean Shield expects to have thoroughly covered only a 3-mile-by-3-mile box, according to Leavy.

Each run across the area takes the ship seven to eight hours. That’s because it’s moving slowly — at about 3 knots (3.5 mph) — and because turning around with the huge length of cable that’s dragging the pinger locator through the ocean depths is a delicate, drawn-out process.

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Being the Text of Speech by the Governor-General (Sir F. Lugard) on the Occasion of the Declaration of the Constitution of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, January 1, 1914

You are all aware that His Majesty’s Government, after long and mature consideration, arrived some time ago at the conclusion that it would be to the great advantage of the countries known as Southern and Northern Nigeria that they should be amalgamated into the one Government, conforming to one policy and mutually co-operating for the moral and material advancement of Nigeria as a whole.‬

‪This policy had been strongly advocated by Sir William Macgregor as Governor of Lagos, by Sir Ralph Moor as High Commissioner of Southern Nigeria, and by myself as High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria about ten years ago. It has continued to be advocated by Sir Walter Egerton and my successors in Northern Nigeria.‬

‪The construction of rival railways in Northern and Southern Nigeria accentuated the necessity having a single railway policy, with a single administration, and over a year ago the Secretary of State decided that the time had come to give effect to the scheme of constituting a single Government for Nigeria.‬

‪Mr. Harcourt was pleased to select me to carry out this difficult task, and he appointed me in the first instance as Governor separately of the two distinct Governments of Northern and Southern Nigeria, with a view to informing myself of Local conditions and submitting to him my proposals for Amalgamation.‬

‪I had the honour to submit those proposals for his consideration on May 9th last. They were accepted in all essentials, and today they are to take effect. I desire therefore as briefly as possible to describe to you, and through you to the official and unofficial community of Nigeria the basis on which this Amalgamation is to be carried out, and the principal changes which will result.‬

‪The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria will be placed under the control of a single officer upon will control of a single officer upon whom His Majesty has been pleased to confer the title of Governor-General, thus indicating the importance of this country among the Crown Colonies and Protectorates of the Empire.

That portion which has hitherto been Northern Nigeria will be known in future as the Northern Provinces, while the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria will be known as the Southern Provinces of Nigeria; each will be under the immediate control of a Lieutenant-General responsible to the Governor-General.

The Colony in view of its separate status and traditions will preserve a separate identity, under an Administrator of its own dealing direct with the Governor-General.

For the present, the Central Headquarters will remain at Lagos, and the Governor-General will divide his time between the Headquarter Stations of the Northern and the Southern Provinces. ‬

‪His Majesty, through the Secretary of State, has been pleased to confer on me the high honour of appointment as Governor-General, and I humbly hope that I may be enabled to discharge the functions of this office, the great responsibilities of which I deeply appreciate, in such a manner as to deserve His Majesty’s approval, and to the satisfaction and contentment of His Majesty’s loyal subjects and of all the people of Nigeria.

To succeed in such a task would be impossible unless I have the goodwill and co-operation of all classes, Official and Unofficial, irrespective of race or creed, and I take this opportunity of earnestly asking for that co-operation and loyal assistance, assuring you at the same time that, so far as in me lies, I shall not spare myself nor find any work too hard or arduous, if I can thereby advance the true interests of this country and of each individual person in it, whatever his race or creed, or however humble his rank.‬

‪For the high and responsible posts of Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces His Majesty has selected Mr. A. G. Boyle, C.M.G. and Mr. C. L. Temple, C.M.G. officers in whose loyalty and ability he has the highest confidence, and in whose hand the welfare of the Protectorate is assure.

As Administrator of the Colony the Secretary of State has selected Mr. F. S. James, C.M.G. whose long experience in the South marks him out as the most fitting officer for the post. I may be permitted to offer to these officers my congratulations, and to express my deep satisfaction that I am privileged to work with them as my colleagues.‬


‪Various schemes for the dividing of Nigeria into many administrations have been put forward in the Press and elsewhere, but it has been considered advisable to retain the old and well-known boundaries, at any rate for the present and until circumstances demand a change, more especially because the Northern and Southern Provinces are at present under two different sets of laws, the unification of which must necessarily be a task of magnitude which will take time to effect.‬

‪I had hoped to be able to recommend to the Secretary of State some scheme for a Legislative Council of Nigeria, but at present and until communications by railway are greatly extended the proposition is physically impossible.

The Legislative Council of Nigeria, if it is to represent the public opinion of Nigeria, must draw its Unofficial Members alike from Calabar and Lagos in the South, and from the Minefields and Kano in the North. To no place, however central, could the busy merchants and others find time to come in order to attend the Councils meetings.

It would be manifestly unjust to place the Mohammedan Emirates of the North and the Mining interests on the Bauchi Plateau under a Council sitting on the Coast, in which they could have no representation. The only alternative is that the Legislative Council of the Colony shall in the future limit its sphere to the guidance and control of the Legislature of the Colony.‬

‪And let me here remind you of the enormous extent of Nigeria, Its area comprises over 330,000 square miles – more than 5 times the size of England and Scotland, or one-third the size of British India.

The European population is scattered over this area. The largest community is probably at the Minefields in the Bauchi Province, the next largest at Lagos nearly 1,000 miles distant.

There are other centres widely separated from each other at Calabar and other Coast towns, at Zungeru and at Kano, while the Niger Company which has the largest capital of any single firm, has its headquarters at Burutu.‬

‪Other means than a single Legislative Council must therefore be right by which, on the one hand, not only local public opinion of the Principals of the Commercial and Mining.

Firms, and of other Institutions which have interests in the country, may be given an opportunity of expressing itself, and on the other hand, that the officers of the ripest experience and the most proved ability may be consulted regarding proposed Legislation and on affairs of moment.

To effect these objects the Secretary of State has approved firstly of an Executive Council for Nigeria which shall consist of the senior officers of the whole Administration, secondly, of a deliberative and advisory Council, to be called the Nigerian Council, which shall meet not less often than once a year, and thirdly, that all proposed Ordinances with a few necessary exceptions shall be published in the Gazette for two months prior to enactment, so that opinion may be freely expressed before a law is enacted. ‬

‪The Members of the Executive Council named in the Royal Instructions are:-‬

‪The Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces, the Administrator of the Colony, the Attorney-General,  the Director of Railways and Works, the Commandant of the Troops, the Director of Medical Services, the Treasurer, the Director of Marine and the Comptroller of Customs.‬

‪The official Members of the Nigerian Council will include the Members of the Executive Council and all 1st Class Residents or Commissioners, the Central Secretary, the Secretaries in the Northern and Southern Provinces and the Political Secretary.

The Unofficial Members will include a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and of any Chamber of Commerce which may be established in Calabar, and a Member of the Local Chamber of Mines, – all resident in Nigeria and to be nominated by those bodies together with four additional European and six Native gentlemen nominated by the Governor-General.

The former to be representative of Commerce, Shipping, Mining and Banking, the latter to be representative of the Native population both of the Coast and of the Interior.‬

‪The Official Membership of the Legislative Council of the Colony has been somewhat altered by the new Royal Instructions, in order that those officers whose work is especially concerned with the Colony may take part in the its deliberations.

The they will for the present by the Administrator, the Legal Adviser, the Municipal Engineer, the Senior Municipal Sanitary Officer, the Assistant Treasurer, the Harbour Master, the Commissioner of Lands and the Commercial Intelligence Officer,‬

‪The Official Members of the old Council have been re-appointed by His Majesty to the new Council with the exception of Mr. Millar and Dr. Johnson who have resigned and whose places have not yet be filled.‬

All three Councils will be presided over by the Governor-General.‬

‪Southern Nigeria was, as you know, divided into three provinces, the Eastern, Central and Western, each under a Provincial Commissioner. In future the Southern Provinces will be nine in number, each of the old Provinces being divided into three. Each Province will be under a Commissioner or Resident assisted by an adequate staff. Departmental officers will be directly under the Head of their own Department.‬

‪I come now to the Judiciary, concerning which there has I think, been some misapprehension. It was recognised alike by my …… and by the Chief Justice that the extension of Supreme Court jurisdiction into the Interior was inadvisable and, before I came to Nigeria, steps had already been taken to curtail its jurisdiction. Schemes were already under consideration for the creation of separate Courts in the Interior district. These schemes have now matured.‬

‪It is obvious that there can only be one Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and for this high office the Secretary of State has selected Sir Edwin Speed, who has experience in both Northern and Southern Nigeria and has much longer in Nigeria than his colleague Mr. Willoughby Osborne, It gives me great regret that by force of circumstances, the country will lose the valuable services and ripe experience of Mr. Willoughby Osborne, and I am aware of the high estimation in which his services are held both here and at home.

In saying good-bye to Nigeria he will have the satisfaction of feeling that he has discharged the functions of his high office with distinguished success.

To His Honour Chief Justice Sir Edwin Speed I tender my congratulations on his appointment and I am confident that while he holds his high office, the proud traditions of British Justice will ever be worthily maintained.‬

‪The curtailment of the territorial jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and the creation of Provincial Courts necessitates some changes in the existing law, and I am indebted to Sir Edwin Speed for the drafts of the new Ordinances which, with slight and unimportant alterations, will be enacted to give effect to his proposals.
They will involve for the present some diminution in the powers of the Native Courts, but it is my earnest desire to see those Courts advance in ability and to maintain their prestige under purely Native Judges guided and supervised by the Commissioners of Provinces.‬

‪The Scheme of Assizes and the method of conducting the business of the Supreme Court are in accordance with the proposals of the new Chief Justice.

In future there will be a Court vacation for four months during the rains, and for the remainder of the year the Court will be in Session with its full complement of one Chief Justice and three or more Puisne Judges.

The powers of the Provincial Courts are strictly limited and no sentence of over six months’ imprisonment is operative until it has been confirmed. A Magistracy, whose officers are Commissioners of the Supreme Court is set up for the Northern and Southern Provinces.‬

‪In the sphere of Departmental Administration there are some changes of interest. The Railway, Marine and Customs Departments have already, as you are aware, been centralised as common to both South and Northern Nigeria.

They remain outside the local administration of the Northern and Southern Provinces.

In addition to these three departments the Judicial, the Military, the Treasury and the Posts and Telegraphs” become Central Departments.

The Military Forces are organised into one Regiment with five Battallions and two Batteries under Colonel Carter, C.B, CMG as Commandant, with Lieutenant-Colonel,Cunliffe as Assistant Commandant. Mr. Dale takes charges of the Treasury, and Mr. Somerville of the Posts and Telgraphs.

A Director of the Medical Service and an Attorney General will act as Advisers to the Governor-General in their respective Departments.

In the former case the Medical Departments of the Northern and Southern Provinces will remain distinct, while two legal Advisers will assist the Lieutenant-Governors who with the Administrator of the Colony, will have separate……… of local business.

Mr. Cameron becomes the Secretary for the Central Administration, Major Moorhouse for the Southern and Mr. Matthews for the Northern Provinces.‬

‪His Majesty the King has been pleased to approve of a new Badge for the flag of United Nigeria and  of a new Seal. In future there will be only one Official Gazette.‬

‪This, in brief outline, is the scheme of Amalgamation which takes effect to day. The Gazette Extraordinary published this afternoon will to a large extent fill in the details.

It is impossible that any scheme which could have been devised should satisfy all the conflicting theories which have been propounded. The proposals I have made have the merit of simplicity.

They cause no great dislocation, which would have been most disadvantageous at a moment of transition when divergent policies and methods have to be reconciled.‬

‪I take this opportunity of publicly informing you that the Secretary of State has approved the construction of a new railway, which starting from the head of the Bonny estuary, will run northwards across the Benue river and join the Lagos Kano Railway where it crosses the Kaduna river some 50 miles South of Zaria. This important work will, I am convinced, enormously add to the wealth and prosperity of Nigeria.‬

‪Already the benefits of the partial Amalgamation, which has been in operation for the past year, have resulted in increased prosperity. The estimated Revenue of 1914 is almost exactly a million sterling greater than the estimated Revenue for 1912.

When my predecessor from this chair in 1906 announced the Amalgamation of Southern Nigeria and Lagos he stated that the Revenue of Southern Nigeria was just over a millions. The estimated revenue of Nigeria this year stands at 31 millions, and Trade has increased from 5 millions to nearly 15 millions in this period of under 8 years.‬

‪If we remember that it is only fourteen years to-day since the King’s Government assumed control of the greater part of the Interior from the Royal Niger Company, the progress which has been made is astonishing.‬

‪In maintaining and increasing that progress I look to the co-operation of the European and Native races, who must work together for the good of the country. It is and always has been my policy to support the Native Chiefs, and to work through them.

I have not invited any of them from the Interior to be present here because the announcement f the new changes which take place to-day is being made in the capitals of the various Provinces throughout Nigeria.‬

‪Today Nigeria enters on a new stage of its progress and we all join in the earnest hope that the era now inaugurated will prove, not only a new departure in material prosperity, but also that the coming years will increase the individual happiness and freedom from oppression and raise the standard of civilisation and of comfort of the many millions who inhabit this large country.

To these sole ends the effort of my colleagues and myself, with God’s help, will be devoted.‬

‪- F. D. LUGARD‬

*This document is culled from The Constitution, journal of constitutional development, a publication of the Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2013, pp. 106-114.‬

‪‬

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Gani Fawehinmi Writes FG, Rejects Centenary Award

Mohammed Fawehinmi

Mohammed Fawehinmi

February 27, 2014

Chief Anyim Pius Anyim,
Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria,
Presidency,
Abuja

Dear Sir,
RE: CENTENARY AWARD TO OUR LATE FATHER, CHIEF GANI FAWEHINMI (SAN)
We acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated February 24, 2014, which was routed through Mr Tony Akiotu, Group Managing Director, DAAR Communications, Abuja, wherein our late father, Chief Gani Fawehinmi(SAN) was chosen as one of the awardees of the Centenary celebrations of Nigeria by President GoodluckJonathan.

We want thank the Federal Government for considering our late father for this HONOUR.

However, for reasons stated here under, our family has decided it would be inexpedient to accept the award:

1. In the list of the awardees published by the Federal Government, was the name of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, who as military president, severally detained and tortured our late father. In the course of one of such illegal and inhuman detentions, our late father’s cell was sprayed with toxic substances while in Gashua prison in 1987. The cumulative effect of that dastardly action led to our father, a non- smoker, contracting lung cancer which eventually led to his death on September 5, 2009. We therefore, find it morally incongruous and psychologically debilitating for our family to stand on the same podium with General Babangida to receive awards.

2. Our late father was empathetic to the sufferings of our people, particularly students. In the last 72 hours, 59 innocent students were mowed down by the blood- thirsty Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe state, while 20 other girls were similarly abducted by these same band of terrorists. These girls are still in captivity while their fate is unknown. If our late father were to be alive, would he be wining and dining with all the glitterati at a Centenary celebration under these circumstances? Certainly no.

3. In the past few weeks, the polity has been assaulted with putrid odour of corruption with the alleged $20 billion missing in NNPC, a development that became the Archilles heel of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the suspended Governor of Central Bank. As an anti-corruption activist, if he were to be alive, our late father would have confronted the issue head-long and possibly gone to court. With the issue still raging, would our late father have accepted this award at this critical moment? Certainly no.

4. Our late father was unrepentantly for the UNITY of Nigeria. However, with the level of profligacy in some of the events celebrating NIGERIA’S Centenary, our late father would have preferred these multi- million Naira expenditures channeled to our decrepit Teaching hospitals, than unproductive razzmatazz that do not improve the socio-Economic well being of our people.

Sir, for these reasons, our family respectfully declines to receive the award about to be conferred on our late father by the government.
Please, accept the assurances of our highest consideration.
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(Signed)
MOHAMMED FAWEHINMI, ESQ.
(For and on behalf of late Gani Fawehinmi family)

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Suspended CBN Governor Sanusi’s Corrupt Tenure By The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria

Highlights:
… Claimed a Whooping N1.257 Billion for “Lunch For Policemen” and expenses for “Private Guards” In 2012

… Bogus Payments To Airlines To Distribute Currency Nationwide Exposed

… Operated Bogus Expense Heads To Hide Fraudulent Activities

… CBN Has Held An Account With A Balance Of N1.423 Billion For An Unknown Customer Since 2008.

Following Thursday’s suspension of Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor of the Central Bank by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, THEWILL has exclusively obtained a copy of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria report that ripped apart the 2012 audited financial statement of the apex bank and exposed the fraud, excesses and wastefulness of Sanusi and the CBN.

Sanusi had over the years projected an image of an anti-graft banker, activist, reformer and crusader against graft and waste in government, as well as the financial sector. Weeks before his ouster as CBN Governor, Mr. Sanusi had accused the NNPC of failing to remit billions of dollars in oil revenue to the federation account, a claim which the NNPC has continued to dispute.

The 13-page Council report emanated following Sanusi’s response to a query issued him in early 2013 by President Goodluck Jonathan over the apex bank’s alarming reckless donations nationwide and its finances.

Whilst describing Sanusi’s response to the President’s query as “a clear display of incompetence, nonchalance, fraud, wastefulness, abuse of due process and deliberate efforts to misrepresent facts…”, the Council accused the suspended banker of several violations including but not limited to carrying out activities with financial implications that are not related to the CBN’s mandate, especially billions of naira in ambiguous payments to invoices referred to as “Centre of Excellence” and “Contribution to Internal National Security”, and the CBN’s claim that it paid N38.233 billion to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc in 2011 for the “printing of bank notes” whereas the turnover of the entire printing and minting company group is N29.370 billion.

The Council also accused Sanusi of rogue payments as air charter fees to Emirates Airways (N0.511b), Associated Airline (N1.025b) and Wing Airline (N0.425b), for the distribution of currency nationwide whereas Emirates does not operate local charter flights within Nigeria, Wing Air is unregistered in Nigeria with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and Associated Airlines did not have a billion naira turnover in 2011 and have no financial statements because the company said it had not had any significant operation in two years to warrant preparing a financial statement.

In lieu of the serious misconduct it found against Sanusi and the leadership of the CBN, the Council urged the President to exercise the powers conferred on him by “Section 11 (2) (f) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 or invoke Section 11 (2) (c) of the said Act and cause the Governor and the Deputy Governors to cease from holding office in the CBN and also direct the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to carry out a full investigation of the activities of the CBN…”

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N100 Billion Second Niger Bridge: Work Finally Commences Mid March

After many years of failed promises from previous administrations work is to begin next month on the much awaited Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha, Anambra State, South-eastern Nigeria.

According to ministry officials, preparations were in top gear for President Goodluck Jonathan to perform the ground-breaking ceremony on March 15, for work by the concessionaire, Messrs Julius Berger and AIIM to start.

Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen had hinted that the Federal Government had begun negotiations with contractors handling the construction of the bridge, with a view to securing a reduction in the cost of the project.

Onolememen said the negotiations for reduction in the cost of the bridge arose from the fact that the exact figures for building the bridge were now known.

According to the initial contract terms, the contractor, Julius Berger along with its partner in the consortium, are to invest N100 billion.

The Federal Government is also to contribute 30 percent in equity that would come from money sourced from the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P.

“The second Niger Bridge has now been fully designed. Now that the figures are known, we are negotiating it downwards on the basis of our own objectives and financial plans, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Finance.

“We will soon do the ground breaking,”Onolememen told reporters in Abuja.

Ministry officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, yesterday, however, said Julius Berger had earlier mobilised equipment to the site in July last year for preliminary work to commence, pending the conclusion of the negotiations.

According to them, the new bridge and its approach road are estimated at 12.4 kilometres, with the bridge alone having a length of 1.8 kilometres.

US Attorney Opens West Virginia Chemical Spill Probe

A U.S. attorney has opened an investigation looking into the release of a potentially dangerous chemical into parts of West Virginia’s water supply.

Federal authorities are opening an investigation into what caused the chemical spill that tainted a river and shut down much of the state’s capital city and surrounding counties.

Nearly 200,000 residents in nine counties have been told not to drink the water and avoid cooking with it, brushing their teeth or even taking a shower.

The spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol was found coming from a 48,000-gallon tank at a chemical storage facility about a mile upriver from the West Virginia American Water plant.

The chemical, used in coal processing, spilled from a Freedom Industries plant into the Elk River in Charleston.

Coal is washed with the chemical before it goes to market.

Comrade James Ezema is a Political Scientist and a Journalist and can also be reached on +2348035823617.

FG To Phase Out Non-Biodegradable Energy – Minister

The Federal Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with UNIDO, in Abuja on Tuesday, began the process of phasing out non-biodegradable plastics, to ensure the nation’s environmental sustainability.

The Supervising Minister of Environment, Mr. Darius Ishaku, said this at the stakeholders’ workshop on the phase-out of non-biodegradable plastics in the country.

Ishaku said that the ministry began the process of phasing out bio-degradable plastics with a stakeholders’ workshop, to sensitise Nigerians and develop an action plan for its phase-out.

Non-biodegradable plastics are plastics that either do not break down at all or that requires mechanical or chemical process break down.

Represented by Mr. Taiye Haruna, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ishaku said that plastic waste accounted for more than 20 per cent of the municipal solid waste in the country.

“The Federal Government recognises that the uncontrolled use of plastic materials and indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste particularly shopping bags and pure water sachets, is detrimental to the environment.

“The large-scale flooding of major Nigerian urban cities and villages in recent years, particularly in 2012, is a clear testimony to this danger.

“Several attempts have been made by governments at all levels, to reduce the burden of plastic waste.

“One of such measures is the establishment of plastic recycling plants in 26 selected cities in Nigeria,” he added.

In his address, Haruna said that the project had been completed in nine sites where they were now operational.

The permanent secretary was represented by Mrs. Olufunke Babade, the Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health Department in the ministry.

Haruna observed said that other recycling plants were at various stages of completion.

According to him, on completion the plants are expected to handle a significant volume of the plastic waste generated in the country.

“The plants, would among other things, provide employment for Nigerians, attract investment in this sector and provide raw materials to plastics manufacturers.

“It will provide materials for re-manufacturing while at the same time, ensuring cleaner and healthier environment,” he said.

According to him, the ministry is keeping up with international best practice and the Federal Government’s transformation agenda, to establish a programme for the phasing-out of non-biodegradable plastics in the country.

Several countries have adopted measures to reduce the production and use of plastic materials by the imposition of taxes, fines, restriction or outright ban of shopping bags.

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BREAKING NEWS: Explosive Fire Engulfs Area Near NNPC Building Abuja

Explosive fire rocks an Abuja fuel station, with nearby buildings around the offices of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja affected.

Eyewitnesses, reports say, disclosed that a petrol tanker discharging gasoline exploded at the Conoil filling station opposite the NNPC building in the Nigeria’s capital territory.

The huge fireball could be seen in areas around Abuja. There is no immediate report of casualty caused by the explosion.

More than 8 fire fighting vehicles have exhausted their content but fire still rages on.

Efforts to reach authorities at National Emergency Management Agency and other stakeholders is on before the this report.

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Imo Police Uncovers Another ‘Baby Factory’ With 16 Pregnant Girls

The Imo State police command yesterday uncovered another illegal orphanage popularly referred to as ‘baby factory’.

The home which is registered as a non-governmental organization known as Ezuma Women and Children’s Rights Protection Initiative, was used by one Dr. James Ezuma as a cover for his heinous activities of encouraging teenage girls to get pregnant and after giving birth, paid N100,000 on the condition that they would abandon their babies.

pregnant-teenagersEzuma, a native of Ndiokeke Ndiakunwanta in Arondizogu in Ideato Local Government Area of Imo State, was arrested in his residence at Egbu Road, Owerri which also doubles as the address for his NGO and paraded alongside 16 pregnant teenage girls.

Addressing newsmen during the parade of the suspect, the state Commissioner for Police, Mr. Muhammad Katsina said, “You may wish to know that when a search was conducted in the premises being used as an office for an NGO, 16 pregnant teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 years, who are at different stages of pregnancy, were seen. Also recovered in the premises was an automatic eight loader pump action gun which is a prohibited firearm”.

Mr. Katsina also expressed worry about a missing baby, who was sold to unknown persons.

He said the baby was delivered on November 24 by one Chinaza Nnachi, a native of Ebonyi State, who came to the home when she was stranded during pregnancy but that all efforts to locate the child have proved abortive as the suspect has refused to lead the police to where the baby is.

“So far he has taken us to Abia State, where he said the baby is but we were unable to recover the baby; though investigations are still ongoing, the presumption at the moment is that the baby may have been used for ritual purposes”.

Corroborating the Imo CP’s statement, Miss Nnachi, 19, said she was directed to the home by a lady who assured her that she would be taken care of. She added that two hours after she gave birth to her baby, a boy, he was taken away from her without her consent.

When she probed further on the whereabouts of her baby, Nnachi claimed that Ezuma gave her N100,000 and asked her to look no further for the child.

The police boss also alleged that the suspect was a gun runner, who had earlier been arraigned for unlawful possession of firearms.

“It is pertinent to mention that the suspect was arraigned before an Owerri Chief Magistrate Court 1 in November 2013 for the offence of conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms”.

Other items recovered at the ‘orphanage’ include 10 unregistered vehicles which the suspect claimed to own but when asked to provide proof of purchase or ownership, he could not.

The Imo State police boss, therefore, admonished parents and guardians to be vigilant and ensure that their children do not fall victim of exploiters, adding that the command would continue in its campaign to rid the state of such businesses of trading in unborn babies and ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.