The World has gone mad finally or so we think, enlisting Aliko Dangote, a criminal as the 30th Richest Person, worth $30bn! How did he acquire this $30bn?

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person and the President of Dangote Group, one of the continent’s largest conglomerates is estimated to worth $30billion and have added a whopping $9.2 billion during 2013 out gone year. He remains the 30th-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg, a global financial intelligence. While the widely respected media corroborate Forbes Africa, reporting that the cement tycoon made the biggest profit in the African continent in 2013, however, it reported that Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp., was the year’s biggest gainer worldwide as the 58-year-old tycoon’s fortune increased by $15.8 billion to $78.5 billionThe richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals.The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on December 31, according to the ranking. The biggest gains came in the technology industry, which soared 28 percent during the year. Of the 300 people who appeared on the final ranking of 2013, only 70 registered a net loss for the 12-month period. .Dangote, it stated recorded his highest gain from Dangote Cement, which is the most capitalized company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, with a 74 per cent run-up over the last 365 days.However, according to FORBES’s most recent statistics, he is now worth $22.9 billion, up from $12.8 billion at the end of December 2012.While still aggressively expanding his cement business within the African continent, the foremost industrialist made a bold move late last year when he ventured into petroleum refining business when he signed a jumbo term loan agreement of $3.30 billion with a consortium of both international and local banks for the purpose of constructing the biggest Petroleum Oil Refinery & Petrochemical/ Fertilizer Plants in Nigeria.The plants, which will cost a total of $9 billion will generate up to 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs, in addition to reducing current volumes of refined fuel imports by around 50 per cent and effectively stopping the importation of fertilizer. The USD9billion project will be financed by USD3billion equity and USD6billiion loan capital.The loan agreement signing between Dangote Group and a consortium of 12 local and international banks was the first tranche of loans secured by Dangote, comprising USD3.3billion. This first facility was jointly co-ordinated by Standard Chartered Bank as the Global Coordinator, and Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank PLC as the Local Coordinator.


Cracks in Northern solidarity against Jonathan

There appears to be a major crack in northern solidarity against President Goodluck Jonathan’s supposed ambition to contest the 2015 elections as over 50 top politicians including former governors, ministers and senators from seven northern states met in Kaduna State weekend to strategise on how to neutralise the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, in the area. Those who attended the meeting said that they in full support of Jonathan and his Vice, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, and distanced themselves from the position of both the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, and the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, that the presidency must return to the North in 2015. This was even as Kano State was almost thrown into crises yesterday afternoon following an attack on one of the supporters of the former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, Abdul Majid Danbiliki Commanda at the popular Al Furqan Mosque shortly after the Juma’at prayers by unidentified persons.


North shortlists Buhari, Tambuwal & Kwankwaso •Directs key PDP members to defect to APC •Plots to make PDP regional party

AS the PeoplesDemocratic Party (PDP) meets next week to put its house in order, opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is deepening its agenda to wrest power from the ruling party. Investigation by the Saturday Tribune revealed that the opposition is focusing on areas likely to weaken it in the 2015 presidential poll, such as the fight over its presidential ticket and PDP’s presence in some parts of the North. Findings showed that the leadership of the opposition party, in conjunction with opinion and political leaders in the north, has


Boko Haram terrorists invades Borno village, kills 9

Boko Haram insurgents yesterday invaded Kayamula Village of Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, killing no fewer than nine people. Several other people sustained gunshot injuries in the attack. Kayamula Village is on the outskirt of Maiduguri metropolis and is located about ten kilometers away from Giwa Military Barracks where several members of the sect were arrested and being detained by security operatives. Our correspondent gathered from a reliable source that the insurgents invaded the village at about 2am on Friday night and started


Enugu community protests alleged imposition of monarch

Enugu Monarch ProtestHundreds of indigenes of Eziani community, in Nsukka Local Government Area, stormed the premises of the Enugu State Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters on Friday, protesting alleged imposition of a traditional ruler on them by the ministry officials.The protesters made up of aged men and women, as well as youths, arrived Enugu the state capital from Nsukka as early as 9 a.m chanting angry songs.They carried placards bearing different inscriptions such as “No to Imposition of Igwe on Our Community”, “Enugu State Government Please us as Other Communities Where You Conduct Elections for Igweship”, No to Injustice, Due Process Must be Followed”, Without Justice, No Peace”, among others.In a protest letter addressed to Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, they alleged that contrary to laid down rules and procedures, few highly placed individuals were bent on imposing a monarch on the community.The letter read in parts, “We the people of Eziani are here to again beg the government of Enugu State to come to our aid, as some few individuals are bent on doing things against the right of the people.“We listen to news, we go out, we observed that this ministry has been doing well to so many communities by restoring peace to those communities through the conduct of elections for the Igweship positions of such communities.“It is on record that when the ministry came to our community, Eziani in Nsukka Local Government on 4th June 2012 for verification exercise, the commissioner, Pastor Emeka Abugu promised that the ministry will come back to conduct an election for Eziani people”.The commissioner was quoted as saying then that “we have seen that there are more than one candidate for the Igweship stool of Eziani community, therefore, we will come back to conduct an election. I also want to let Eziani people know that government make more money when there are multiple candidates, so any other person that is interested should go to the ministry at Enugu and buy form, it is N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira), per contestant”.They lamented that “we complied and two people went to the ministry and bought the forms at the rate of N100, 000 each. Yet up till now, the ministry has not come to conduct the election.“When government take side on any issue bordering the masses, especially when it comes to their traditional rulers, it is obvious that such government is encouraging bad blood among the people and as such make them fight against themselves, which may lead to loss of lives”.DailyPost reports that the commissioner, Pastor Emeka Abugu, who arrived the office three hours later told the protesters that the only option left for them was to go to court.He stressed that “your foundation, the constitution is faulty; most traditional rulers did not consult the people before writing the constitution, and the rule of government is that we don’t change the constitution when it is time to elect a new traditional ruler.“As long as government has recognized him as Igwe, there is nothing anybody can do to remove him; the only thing that can remove him is decision of the court; even if you kill everybody in your place, it will not change anything; I cannot overrule myself, just like the INEC cannot go back after it has declared somebody winner”.Abugu said he would go ahead with coronation of Chief Tony Ezema as the traditional ruler of the community.


Obi Appraises Jonathan Instead of self, Says He performed well in 2013

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, has given a pass mark to the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013.Obi said the present national administration deserves commendation, as it has made positive impact on the lives of the people since inception.He therefore, called on all Nigerians to give the president total support in 2014 to enable him improve on his transformation agenda.Obi, who stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Awka on New Year day, also listed areas in which Jonathan has done tremendously well.His words: “The President has done very well. He is trying to introduce a new order and the so much bickering as we hear are mostly from those resisting the new order; most of them being those that benefited from the old order.“Look at the power sector; the President has succeeded in unbundling the area and I bet you, in a few years, we shall see the effect and at that time, he will surely go down in history as one of the best presidents Nigeria has ever had.”Obi, speaking further, also compared past governors and the present ones, observing that governance was improving by the day in the country.“In the South-East, for instance, riding from the airport through Enugu, reveal commendable progress. The same with visits to Umuahia and Abakaliki.“Even among our neighbours, Delta has changed a lot; Akwa Ibom is no longer the same; in Cross Rivers and Bayelsa, one sees efforts to provide democracy dividends to the people. I knew what Benin and Akure used to be and what they are now,” Obi added.By Wale Odunsi


Zoological Govt Flip-flops on Approved Sale of the Four Refineries; Denied Ever Approving such

 Govt reverses self to avert oil workers strikeThe Presidency yesterday denied that there are plans to sell any of the four refineries in the country.The denial is to forestall a strike by unions in the oil industry, who are opposed to the plan.Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, in a statement in Abuja said there was no basis for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, to embark on strike as government has no intention of selling the refineries.But the denial contradicts the disclosure of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, who in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV Africa in London had said that the refineries would be sold.“We would like to see major infrastructure entities, such as refineries, moving out of government hands into the private sector. Government does not want to be in the business of running major infrastructure entities and we haven’t done a very good job at it over the years,” Alison- Madueke had said.But Abati explained that the Federal Government was not considering selling the refineries and appealed to PENGASSAN and NUPENG to drop the idea of embarking on strike.“Government is not going to sell any refineries. There is no such plan and there is no presidential approval for such. Nobody, not even the minister of petroleum has powers to sell any government property,” he said.The four refineries are located in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt with a combined capacity of 445,000 bpd.It would be recalled that a presidential audit of the refineries, led by a former Minister of Finance, Kalu Idika Kalu recommended that they be sold off, due to inadequate government funding and sub-optimal performance.In a related development, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources also yesterday dismissed speculations that the Federal Government plans to increase pump price of petrol through a full or partial withdrawals of subsidy.Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Danladi Kifasi, said this in a statement made available to National Mirror in Abuja.He said that government had no plan to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from the prevailing price of N97 per litre.The Permanent Secretary dismissed fears in some quarters about an impending price hike describing it as “unfounded”.“We would like to appeal to oil marketers to refrain from the hoarding of petroleum products and the general public from panic buying in anticipation of any increase in pump price.“It is equally important to state that neither the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources nor any of its parastatal is under any instruction to activate a new pump price regime as being speculated,” he said.Kifasi further warned petroleum product marketers to desist from creating any scarcity so as to induce panic in the system in order to exploit unsuspecting members of the public.“The relevant agencies of government including the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have been directed to deal with offenders,” he said.Kifasi assured that the government had made enough arrangements to ensure that the entire nation remains “wet” with petroleum products round the clock in 2014 just as it has been the practise in the last three years.President Goodluck Jonathan had in March, said that the Federal Government would still remove fuel subsidy, even after a sudden removal in 2012 triggered public outrage.

Gov Dickson of Bayelsa State

Human rights groups describes Gov Dickson of Bayelsa State as the worst violator

Some human rights groups have described the government of Bayelsa State as the worst violator of human rights in Nigeria, accusing Governor Seriake Dickson of illegally detaining a social media activist, Tonye Okio.The Nigerian Human Rights Community, and the Journalists for Democratic Rights; said during a press conference that while millions of Nigerians were marking the Yuletide with fun and grace, many innocent people were in detention on the orders of the state government, a statement said.The statement read in part, “We are obliged to raise the alarm on the human rights condition in Nigeria. It is currently facing severe challenges. As the country marks towards its 100 years anniversary, it is regrettable that basic human rights, especially freedom of speech, continue to come under atrocious attacks.The groups alleged that on October 26, 2013, armed men, on the instruction of the state government, invaded the Abuja home of Okio and whisked him away.They claimed that “he was tortured, humiliated and suffered depression. The abductors wanted to bundle him to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, by air through Port Harcourt, but the air trip was aborted. He was subsequently taken by road, chained like an animal and brought to the Government House in Yenagoa.”The groups further alleged that after the operatives had received their briefing from the governor, Okio was subsequently remanded in police custody.“At the police station, for several days, he was not allowed access to his family and friends. He was subjected to all sorts of indignities. As we speak, a fellow Nigerian is suffering unimaginable political persecution.“He is in prison where he is being subjected to deliberately harsh and dehumanising conditions. Currently, due to the kind of food that Okio has been fed with, he is weak, malnourished and may die unless urgent action is taken to save this Nigerian citizen. The action is for him to regain freedom now. Tomorrow may be too late.”The statement added that in a bid to draw global attention to the plight of the detained, the right groups launched the “Free Tonye Okio Global Campaign” noting that it had informed advocacy groups across Africa, in Asia and in Europe and North America, that Okio must be free.The groups noted that for several weeks, a businessman, Fakuma Ilagha, was held as an accomplice to Okio because his number was found on Okio’s phone.The groups cited another case involving one Mr. Melford Esinte, another social media critic of Dickson.According to the group, Esinte has been arrested on two previous occasions for his Facebook postings.“A few days to Christmas, he was again arrested.”The groups said as soon as he was granted bail by the court and conditions were met, he was rearrested by his “persecutors who were not satisfied with the ease with which his bail came about. He was again charged and granted bail over the same offense he is being accused of.”The group called on the National Human Rights Commission to immediately intervene in the matter.When contacted on the telephone, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said he could not speak much on the issue since the matter was already in court.

Jonathan the Igbo Man

SERAP to Jonathan, Promises Alone Can’t End Corruption

A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, on Thursday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to refer unresolved cases of corruption to the anti-graft agencies.SERAP gave the advice in a statement issued in Lagos which was a reaction to Mr. Jonathan’s New Year broadcast where he promised to fight corruption.The SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said: “Promises alone can’t end corruption and the impunity of perpetrators”.He cited some of the unresolved corruption cases to include the Oduahgate scandal in the aviation sector, the fuel subsidy scam amongst others.The organisation said that requesting the prosecution of indicted officials would send a clear signal that the government is committed to combating corruption.“Jonathan should urgently address allegations of corruption in the privatisation of electricity, which is now denying the citizens access to regular electricity supply.“The matter should be urgently referred to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for action.“Taking these simple actions will immediately send a clear message that as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, it won’t be business as usual in 2014”, SERAP said.It also advised the president to demonstrate his total rejection of corruption by publicly declaring his asset and instructing all members of his government to do same.According to SERAP, the president should cut down on unnecessary expenses in the 2014 budget and dedicate the resources for the provision of drugs for hospitals across the country.It said the president should lead the process to domesticate and effectively implement the UN Convention against corruption, within the legal system.