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ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja

Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Kogi State‎, Alhaji Haddy Amoto‎, Senator Dino Melaye and former senators demanded for immediate resignation of Governor Yahaya Bello over double registration at the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had accused the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello of double registration for Permanent Voter Card against electoral law.

However, Senator Melaye who briefed Journalists in company of APC chairman in Kogi State, Senator Mohammed Oharie, Senator Abdulraham Abubakar, also condemned the alleged criminal behaviour of Governor Yahaya.

He added that the political stakeholders in the state have dissociated ‎themselves from the alleged criminal behaviour  of Kogi State Governor.

He also said the APC stakeholders in the state would not allow the governor to destroy the party because the platform is still useful for them in 2019.

He said: “We‎ condemn in its entirety the fraudulent behaviour of Yahya Bello which has become embarrassing to the people of Kogi and embarrassing to APC. We completely dissociate ourselves from these criminal tendencies.”

The Senator said INEC’s statement underscored his earlier position that Bello was not a registered voter in Kogi as at the time he became governor.

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John Nwodo, president of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, says most Nigerians are in agreement that the country, as currently structured, “is not working”.
Speaking at the Biafra conference in Abuja on Thursday, Nwodo, a former minister of information,‎ said the experience of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war still dictates the politics of the country.

He said the restructuring of the country should start with its constitution which he said is a military imposition drafted to favour one part of the country.

“At the end of the war an unconscionable policy of impoverishing the Igbo was launched.‎ Before the war, Nigeria lived in peace and unity,” he said.

‎”Reflecting on the Nigeria-Biafra conflict after 50 years, we have made elaborate efforts to build a united country. The best way to achieve unity is national building. Our present constitution is an imposition of the military.

“Almost all Nigerians agree that Nigeria is not working. We must become more responsive to the world around us. We have for too long allowed the experiences of the war to dictate our politics‎.”

Nwodo asked the government to direct security agencies to stop their siege and attacks on Biafra protesters and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra‎, and to pursue dialogue with them.

“The government must ask its police and army to stop its action on IPOB and Biafra agitators in the south-east, there is nothing dialogue cannot achieve,” he said.

“Every part of Nigeria can leave independently, but no enclave can be more viable than a united Nigeria. We want a Nigeria that is the collective ownership of all Nigerians, and not by a group or ethnic group that is in power.

“Nigeria cannot prosper as it should. Our country is at a crossroads, and the tension is palpable. Let us rise up a claim a glorious destiny.‎”

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The youth wing of the Ohaneze Ndigbo has given the federal government 48 hours to release the chairman of capital oil, Ifeanyi Uba within 48 hour.

President of the group, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro threatened to cause havoc if this isn’t done.

“We are giving the DSS 48 hour to release Ifeanyi Uba from detention and if they failed to do so, we will embark on massive protest in Abuja and other states”, he said.

The National Union of Journalist, (NUJ) South East vice president, Chris Isiguzo also called on the DSS to obey the law and release ifeanyi Uba.

“DSS should work in accordance with the rule of law and release the Authority publisher Ifeanyi Uba within 48hours”, he said.

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Former Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Fani Kayode has fired back at Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige over his statement that Igbos to stop complaining about marginalization by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Ngige had said that Igbos didn’t invest in Buhari’s election in 2015 and so have no reason to complain.

“I went to our Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo in Enugu twice. They could not even reply to a letter written by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, seeking for a meeting with them”, Ngige said.

Fani Kayode, in his reaction said: ”The devilish dwarf and little pygmy that said Igbos should not complain about marginalisation because they didn’t vote for Buhari is a village idiot, a compound fool and an unrepentant slave. He has sold his soul to the devil and he is eating crumbs from his masters table.”

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Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has kicked against the appointment of his daughter, Uju Okorocha-Onwuka into the board of the Federal College of Education, (Tech), Omoku, Rivers State.

A statement by the Imo state government read, “The attention of the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has been drawn to the publication listing one of the daughters, Mrs. Uju Rochas Anwuka as a member of the Board of the Federal College of Education (Tech), Omoku.

“And it is important to swiftly state, with every sense of concern, that the governor had read about the appointment like every other Nigerian because he was never consulted or briefed on the appointment and that is why the whole thing looks suspicious.

“To the governor, the appointment was obviously not done in good faith. Whoever was the brain behind the appointment did so out of unbridled mischief. Otherwise, the person behind the appointment would have had the courtesy of either informing the father or the mother.

“The truth of the matter is that the governor’s daughter does not need the appointment. The governor has therefore asked whoever was behind the appointment to withdraw it since the daughter would not have needed the appointment, even if he had not become governor.

“Indeed, the governor has the feeling that whoever was behind the appointment did it with something else at the back of his or her mind, otherwise the person would have acted well his or her part by informing him or the mother or even the daughter herself.

“The daughter and the entire family reject the appointment.”

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The trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta resumed yesterday before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court where the Federal Government tendered nine bags and boxes filled with local and foreign currencies allegedly recovered from the official residence of the jurist in October 2016, by operatives of the Department of States Security Service (DSS).

Justice John Tsoho directed that the N35 million contained in the bags be deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Justice Ngwuta is standing trial on 13 counts, bordering on money laundering, passport fraud and allegations of retention and concealment of origin of the various sums of money contained in the nine bags and boxes.
On May 16, 2017, the Federal government called its fifth witness, Mr. John Utazi, an operative of the DSS, who narrated how he led a team of other operatives to search Justice Ngwuta’s official residence in Abuja on October 7, 2016.

The witness revealed how huge sums of money in local and foreign currencies, contained in bags and boxes, were recovered at the end of the operation, which was carried out in the presence of Justice Ngwuta.
Testifying yesterday at the resumed trial, Utazi said the bags and boxes contained naira, United States dollars, British pounds sterling, euro, South African rands, United Arab Emirates dirham and The Gambian dalasis.
The bags were later opened in court revealing the cash in them.

Out of the nine items, eight of them contained naira notes, which Utazi said totaled N35,358,000.
He said the ninth bag contained £25,915; $319,596; R50; €280; 380 dirhams; and 420 daisies.
Meanwhile, the prosecution counsel, Mrs. Fatunde, applied that they should be returned to the DSS for onward transfer to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for safe keeping, pending conclusion of the trial.
The application was not opposed by Ngwuta’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN).

While granting the request, Justice Tsoho ordered that the monies be recounted in the presence of counsel for the prosecution, the defence and an officer of the high court.
The judge directed that afterwards, it should be deposited with the CBN by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court in charge of litigation.

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The Federal Government has approved the closure of five foreign missions and embassies, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said.

Onyeama told journalists in Abuja on Thursday that the process for closure was underway and was also subject to the approval of the president.

He did not name the affected embassies or missions.

“We do not want to indicate the embassies that will be closed yet because we are in the process of submitting the proposals, the cost analysis and also the political analysis we did to the president.

“When he sees that, he may or may not want to close some, so we have not yet reached the stage of closing some,” he said.

The minister said closing missions abroad was “extremely expensive”.

“The expense, costs of closing embassies is so high and prohibitive but in the long run it will more economical.”

The minister, on April 10, told NAN the closure of Nigerian missions abroad is inevitable.

Onyeama said the reduction of Nigeria’s foreign missions remains on the agenda of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Buhari had said at the inception of his administration that the Federal Government would reduce the number of missions to save cost.

Nigeria currently has 119 foreign missions.

Onyeama said: “The government is following up on that and we have sort of pre­pared the roadmap; we have started the implementation of that and made also recom­mendations in that context.

“Paradoxically, closing missions is extremely expensive. At first sight it seems ob­vious that you close it you are saving cost but you will actually find that the cost of closing is almost prohibitive.

“But in the long run it will be cheaper, but in the imme­diate and short term it is ex­pensive but we have started the process,” he said.

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Residents of Otuoke, host to the Federal University, Otuoke, have taken to the streets of the university town disrupting academic activities at the university.

They were protesting alleged marginalisation of indigenes into key positions in the institution located in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

The protest, which caused panic among students and staff of the Institution, also disrupted vehicular movements while the entrance to the institution was blocked by the protesters.

The protest was led by members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Otuoke chapter.

The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions such as “Bayelsans cannot be marginalised in our own lands”, “We want fair representation, Bayelsans are qualified”, “FUO na our oil well, Gbam!” and “It is our time, Bayelsans say”. The protesters barricaded the entrance gate in their numbers, singing and clapping the hands.

They called on the Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Professor Accra Jaja, to come down and address the situation.

Among their demands was the termination of the recent appointment of the institution Chief Legal Adviser, who according to them, did not follow due process.

They said the appointment was a deliberate attempt to marginalise indigenes and also to further under-develop the people of the region.

The Vice-Chancellor, who arrived to address the protesters in company of the Deputy Vice Chancellor some members of the University Senate called for calm down, promising to look into their demands.

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OBAJI ABUNG-AKPET

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for interrogation over allegations of N1.298,149,965 fraud (about $5 million), Daily Champion has learnt.

“Finally, EFCC has invited the minister of health for questioning,” the source who preferred anonymity told our reporter on Thursday.

It would be recalled that Daily Champion had earlier scooped a petitioned to the EFCC by Concerned Enrollees Network of Nigeria dated May 16 this year and signed by Mr. Muhammad Bello, fingered the Minister and former Acting Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr. Femi Akingbade, misappropriating NHIS funds to the tone of 1.3billion Naira.

The cash, the petition which was obtained with evidence stated was used for the purchase of the minister’s personal two range rover jeeps, five bedroom flats in Asokoro of Abuja.

Also, Adewale is said to utilize the fund under the cover of funding a foreign trip, fueling a private jet from Abuja to Sokoto on March 9, 2016 for a national health meeting.

Furthermore, the petition has it that he in connivance with former NHIS executive secretary expended, at a single sitting a whooping N10, 000,000.00 on allowance on a shady committee they created including tempering with numbers of those who enrolled in NHIS by inflating the figures and thereby diverting N1, 241,720,154.

The Health Minister, among other things is also accused of bribery of some NHIS staff union members to the tone of N2, 800,000 to cover up corruption and to wage petitions against Prof. Usman Yusuf, a senior staff of the health ministry said to be at the forefront revelations of the massive frauds in NHIS.

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, have said they were totally shocked and saddened by the death of Channels Television’s State House Correspondent, Chukwuma Onuekwusi.

They expressed this shock in  separate condolence messages to the family of the deceased made available to Daily Champion.
In a statement issued in Beijing, China, on Thursday, the Minister said his memory of the late Onuekwusi, during his regular interactions with State House Correspondents, remained that of a passionate professional and a gentleman, who contributed so much to the high ratings of Channels TV.
He extends his condolences to the late Onuekwusi’s family, the management and staff of Channels TV as well as the entire State House Correspondents for the untimely demise of the brilliant journalist.
Alhaji Mohammed prayed that God would strengthen the immediate and extended family of the late journalist, and also grant repose to the soul of the departed.

Omisore, in his condolence message, described the late Onuekwusi as a fine gentleman.

In a  message he personally signed,  Omisore extolled the professional acumen of the distinguished newsman.

“Mr. Onuekwusi’s death is still a big shock to many of us who knew him well while he was alive.  I’ve known Chukwuma since my framed/trumped-up charges days in 2003 in Ibadan. He covered the trial professionally and diligently till I was discharged and acquitted.  Since then,  he had earned my trust and friendship,” Omisore recalled.

He added: “He was a fine gentleman and a thorough media professional. The Nigerian media industry will, no doubt, miss his invaluable contribution.”

Omisore, therefore, prayed “that God should comfort his immediate family and members of the Channels Television organisation and grant them the fortitude to bear the painful and irreparable loss.”

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