FORMER Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister, Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, yesterday, said the powers of the President and Minister of Petroleum to award oil blocs should be curtailed. El-Rufai, who spoke at the final public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, organised by the House ad hoc Committee on the PIB, said Nigerians should be given the opportunity to freely bid for available oil blocs, instead of arbitrarily awarding same to select individuals by the President.
The alleged mastermind of Christmas day bomb blast that killed about 44 persons and wounded 75 others at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, in 2011, Kabiru Umar, a.k.a Kabiru Sokoto, yesterday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that though he was a high profile member of the Islamic “Shurah Council” in Nigeria, he never joined the Boko Haram sect. Sokoto, who testified as his own witness, told the court that though he initially had sympathy for the organisation, his elder brother whose name he gave as Suleiman Aliyu Sokoto, persistently warned him not to get himself involved with the sect. Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “I am a member of the Shurah Council but not under Boko Haram. I did not participate in any bombing.”
Igbo leader and founder of Association of Igbo Youths (AIYO), Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka has said it is time for Igbo to unite, describing AIYO as the platform with a commitment to stabilize Igbo people in the country. Ezeonwuka, who made the call during a prayer session organized by Ndigbo International Prayer Organization (NIPO) at Rojenny Games Village,Oba, in Anambra State, assured that if adequately aided with funds, vehicles and communication gadgets, AIYO would be able to rid the South-East region of kidnappers and armed robbers.
Former Minister of Science and Technology under General Abacha regime, Major General Sam Momah (rtd), has warned against break-up of Nigeria, saying the effect of such would be too disastrous to contain. Momah, who was also Adjutant-General of the Nigerian Army, made it clear that it was better for Nigeria to remain a united country, despite its many contending tribal, ethnic and religious entities. Momah spoke at the presentation of his book, entitled “Nigeria beyond Divorce” in Abuja last weekend. He pointed out that although the country managed to survive a civil war, it would not be able to survive disintegration.
The demand for crude oil from Nigeria and other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC,
Minister of Special Duties and Chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, yesterday said that there was no basis for the Boko Haram Islamic sect to back out of the ceasefire agreement reached with the Federal Government. He based his position on the discussions held so far with the group. Turaki, however, noted that the framework for the terms and conditions of the ceasefire was being worked out, stressing that the truce agreement was not a temporary arrangement but was designed in such a way that it would put an end to the violence and bombings in the country.
ELDER statesman and Chairman of The Patriots, Professor Ben Nwabueze, SAN, has described as gratuitous, comments attributed to leader of the South-South Assembly, Chief Edwin Clark referring to him as a person “camouflaging (his) political ideas and ambition with intellectualism “and an “unpatriotic saboteur of the democratic process.” The legal icon, in a statement noted that he served under the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida and not Sani Abacha, adding that there was nothing unpatriotic or undemocratic in his advice to President Goodluck Jonathan not to contest the 2015 election and focus his attention on the nobler task of leading Nigeria out of danger.
The fracas that erupted Monday over who controls the Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, spilled to the streets, leaving several people injured. At the centre are 27 legislators loyal to Governor Rotimi Amaechi and five others belonging to the opposition. Yesterday’s street fight attracted thugs who descended on pro-Amaechi supporters, forcing them to retreat into Government House in Port Harcourt. The seat of government in the state did not prove to be a safe haven as policemen in hot pursuit of the pro-Amaechi suppporters shot several canisters of tear gas into the fence of the seat of power, peppering government officials holed inside the complex. The chaos provoked by the mayhem forced banks, the state secretariat and the judiciary to hurriedly close shops.
The Presidency on Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan did not need the support of the spokesman for the Northern Elders’ Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, or “his North” to win the 2015 presidential election if he decides to contest. Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, said this in an interview with our correspondent. He was reacting to Abdullahi’s interview with The PUNCH in which he said the North would not support Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election.
The Benue State Police Command has said nine persons were killed on Monday in a communal clash in Awe, a Benue/Nasarawa boundary town. Police spokesman, Daniel Ezeala, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Makurdi, the state capital. Ezeala said the deceased have been deposited at the Gbajimba General Hospital morgue in Guma.