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CONFAB South West insists on referendum

As the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference kick-started its nationwide consultation in Akure, the Ondo state capital yesterday, stakeholders from the South West unanimously submitted that decisions reached at the conference be taken to a referendum. They posited that afterwards,the President will forward an Executive Bill to the National Assembly which shall enact it into law without tinkering with any of the decision.This is just as other ethnic nationalities and civil society groups in the Niger-Delta at a pre-national conference congress, yesterday, in Warri, Delta state, insisted that the final decisions of proposed national conference should not be subjected to a review of either the National Assembly or Federal Government.

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National Conference Committee begins consultations in zones

The National Dialogue Advisory Committee set up by the Presidency to put in place the modalities for convening a national conference has begun work, consulting with Nigerians on the basis of their geo-political zones. Nigerians in each of the zones would have the opportunity to interact with the committee on two occasions as the committee has drawn up its scheduled to allow for town hall meetings in two states in each of the six geo-political zones The interface which began in Akure, Ondo State, yesterday is expected to end on November 11 with a parley with residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Meanwhile the federal government has said the committee has not been overfunded, but that its financial needs had only been met.

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Boko Haram Why our initial fi ght against sect failed –Army

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Onyeabo Ihejirika, yesterday revealed why efforts to frontally combat the menace of terrorism by the dreaded Boko Haram sect in the north eastern part of the country did not record instant result. The Army chief said that at the beginning of the operations to combat the Boko Haram menace, especially that involving joint operations among the three armed forces, they went into it without necessary joint deployment training which hampered their operations at the time. General Ihejirika said this at the multilateral joint exercise between the Nigerian Armed Forces and the navies of United States of America, United Kingdom, Spain and The Netherlands carried out at the Takwa Bay in Victoria Island, Lagos. According to General Ihejirika, “We went into the operations in the North East without the joint deployment training, which culminated in limited success in the area at inception,” he said. But the Army chief quickly added that that lapse had been covered as the armed forces had now taken concrete measures to improve the effectiveness of the operations, which he said was already yielding fruitful results in the fight against insurgency in that part of the country.

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When is the right time for Nigeria to decide

Nigeria, a country in West Africa, has faced a lot of challenges over the years. The level of insecurity and other news of insurgencies have almost jeopardised the future of the country. It is no news any longer, especially in the northern parts of the country, to see houses razed by fire, dead bodies, women and young children being raped; due to the menace of the Boko Haram sect, whose first mission was to oppose Western education but who have since gone on to make more demands from the government. The Dana plane crash that led to the instant death of 153 people on June 3, 2012 was reported to have originated from the careless attitude of the management of Dana Airlines. Corruption is now a widespread deadly disease we live with daily, and it has been permitted to get through us to the point that our

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National dialogue My appointment inappropriate, says Nwabueze

LEADER of The Patriots, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, has described his appointment to serve on the National Conference Advisory Committee by President Goodluck Jonathan as inappropriate. “I never expected to be appointed chairman or member of the Committee, and would, quite frankly, have considered such an appointment inappropriate in the circumstances. It is an appointment for a younger person, not for an old man of 83 years afflicted by ill-health,” Nwabueze said in a statement on Thursday. He said in the statement that he had been in London since September 8, receiving treatment for prostate cancer but that he had to cut short his medical trip on October 12, “to keep a long-standing commitment to chair the Anambra Literary Creativity Festival at Awka on 15 October”. Nwabueze had earlier nominated a member of The Patriots, Solomon Asemota (SAN), to replace him on the committee but the nomination was yet to be accepted by President Goodluck Jonathan.

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Nigeria ranked 4th highest slave country

The Global Index on Modern Slavery for 2013 released yesterday rated Nigeria as the fourth country with the highest numbers of slaves in the world. The report shows that there are 701,032 estimated population in modern slavery in Nigeria. The range of the estimate spans from 670,000 to 740,000 salves in the country. India has the highest population of slavery in the world with 13,956,010; China is rated second with 2,949,243; and Pakistan third, with 2,127,132. The report showed that 30 million people are enslaved worldwide, trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labour, victims of debt bondage or even born into servitude. Almost half are in India, where slavery ranges from bonded labour in quarries and kilns to commercial sex exploitation, although the scourge exists in all 162 countries surveyed by Walk Free, an Australian-based rights group. Its estimate of 29.8 million slaves worldwide is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery.

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Nigerians risk death working at illegal oil refineries

It is possibly the most dangerous workplace in the world. Young men and women, often working at night, pump crude oil from barges into massive tanks or open air pits, heat it to boiling point with naked flames and then pass the liquid through water-cooled pipes where it condenses and evaporates. Black smoke billows across the swamps, the waste oil residues are tipped straight into the waterways, and at any point the tanks could explode. Developed country health and safety officers would despair, but the 500 or more small-scale illegal oil refineries that have sprung up across the Niger Delta in the past five years make diesel and kerosene of good enough quality to use in generators and cars. But the very real risks of death, illness, pollution and the Nigerian armed forces smashing up the camps are all outweighed by the lure of jobs and money in impoverished communities. No sooner has one refinery camp been broken up than another reopens.

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A’Ibom community rejects N2.5bn oil spill compensation

Eket Federal Constituency, comprising Eket, Ibeno, Esit Eket, and Onna local government areas, Akwa Ibom State, has rejected the N2.5bn oil spill compensation from Mobil Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil. The said sum was paid as compensation for over 200,000 barrels of crude oil which spilled into the coastal communities of the affected local government areas, for about four months in 2012. In a communiqué issued at the end of Eket Federal Constituency Vanguard in Eket on Wednesday and signed by Onna LGA representative, Mr. Bassey David; and Eket LGA representative, Mr. Ayubong Enoidem; the residents said the community had demanded N26.5bn for the November 9, 2012 oil spill. The communiqués read, “The Community Vanguard condemns in strong terms the several lies, insults, and total disregard by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited of the agreements reached at the intervention meetings held by Governor Godswill Akpabio on November 23, 2012 and July 26, 2013 on the oil spill saga.