15 Aug 2014
By Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Three persons were killed on Wednesday night when gunmen suspected to be assassins invaded Umuawulu Community in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State. The incident happened five years after a prominent son of the community, Chief Chukwudi Okafor (Amuruonyenego) was assassinated by gunmen in front of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in the community.
One of the victims of Wednesday’s attack, Rueben Ikwuka, said to be a visitor to the target of the assassins, Chief Azubuike Ekweozor, who escaped the assassins’ bullet, was mistaken by the hoodlums for their target and was shot dead.
Two others, who were killed in the incident, were said to be members of the gang, who stormed the community with a black Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and were felled by policemen attached to Chief Ekweozor.
The police recovered from the two dead suspects, two AK-47 rifles with 19 and 11 live ammunition respectively and extra 30 live ammunition.
Confirming the incident yesterday, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state command, Mr. Uche Ezeh, said the command had commenced investigations into the incident, adding that police also recovered from one of the suspects an Identification card belonging to Enugu State Transport Company.
Ezeh, who assured that the command would not relent until the perpetrators of the heinous crime were found, said: “What happened was that Chief Azubuike Ekweozor had a visitor in his house that night called Rueben Ikwuka and another person, but the man’s driver was coming back to the house with another vehicle following the man’s vehicle inside the compound.
“Three persons alighted from the vehicle, a black Jeep which was behind and because the suspected assassins did not know their target, the victim ran out and in the process, they fired and killed him.
“But the two policemen attached to the target quickly returned fire and gunned two of them down, while the third person ran away with bullet wounds as well as gunshots impact on the side of the vehicle before they drove off.”
“One good thing is that an Identification Card (ID) was recovered from one of them that could lead the way in the investigation; and also the recovered rifle.”
Tension and apprehension now pervades the community following the incident, though security operatives had taken over the entire town.
A community leader from the town and civil rights crusader, Osita Obi confirmed that his people had been in pensive mood since the attack and urged the government to join hands with security operatives to unravel those behind the incident.
It was also gathered that the handsets of the two suspects that were killed were recovered with many calls coming into them since then since that Wednesday night.
15 Aug 2014
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Presidency yesterday carpeted Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State for accusing President Goodluck Jonathan’s government of being inactive for three years, saying the governor might have been occupied in his state to know the achievements of the administration.
At a briefing in Abuja, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who admitted that there were some challenges, insisted that the government was giving its best attention to the problems.
LECTURE: From left; Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and Chief Timipre Sylva at the 50th birthday lecture in honour of the former Bayelsa State Governor at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja yesterday.
Okupe was reacting to comments by Governor Fashola during a lecture at the 50th birthday celebration of former Governor Timipre Sylva.
Fashola was quoted as saying “this government had been inactive for 3 years and in the fourth year intends to give the electorate kerosene, rice and money for the purpose of seeking their votes.”
However, according to Okupe, “it has become necessary for us to respond to some blatant and obvious lies, deliberate and skillful misinformation contained in the lecture given by Governor Raji Fashola at the 50th Birthday celebration of former Governor Timipre. Governor Fashola stated that “this government had been inactive for three years and in the fourth year intends to give the electorate kerosene, rice and money for the purpose of seeking their votes. Nothing can be further from the truth than this. ‘
”We admit that Governor Fashola may have been too occupied in Lagos and that may have narrowed his vision or precluded him from appreciating lofty developments by this administration all over the country.”
On Jonathan’s achievements
“We state as follows: The Government of President Goodluck Jonathan, has never lied about its achievements, programmes, commitments and even challenges within the Nigerian context. The Government inherited a generating capacity of 2800 Mega Watt, MW, 10 comatose National Integrated Power Projects, NIPPs, and an inefficient Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, the privatisation of which, though central to effective power supply, was never the less, seemingly unachievable.
“In three years, the Government has increased power generation to 5000MW with an installed capacity of 7000MW; which itself would have increased but for sabotage and vandalism sponsored by the opposition. The PHCN was seamlessly and transparently privatised to the acclamation of global players. All the comatose NIPP projects have been completed and brought back to life and their initial problem of non-alignment with gas pipe line infrastructure has been corrected.
“In the last three years, through the execution of its transformation Agenda, this administration, contrary to the assertions of Governor Fashola, has made significant achievements in the following areas: Railways – which were comatose for 20 years, have been revamped. Lagos-Kano lines have been opened and currently carry in excess of 5 million passengers per annum from less than 1 million 4 years ago.”
“Infrastructure – several thousands of our major economic arterial roads have been rehabilitated while more than 2000km of new roads constructed. Aviation – Virtually all our airports international and local have been comprehensively rehabilitated and refurbished.
”Agriculture – local food production has more than tripled. Food imports bill drastically reduced. We have become the largest exporter of cassava in the world. We have increased local Rice Production from 1.5 million tons to 3.5 million tons. We have revived the rice milling in the country. We had 1 million three years ago. Today, we have 18 million. A recently commission mill in Nasarawa is the largest in Africa.
On commerce and industry
“Commerce and Industry – A new sugar master plan is working. We will be self-sufficient in sugar production in 10 years. We are currently net exporter of cement. Housing – for the first time in Nigeria history, a Mortgage Refinancing Company has been formed and capitalized with $ 300 million. This will allow low and middle income Nigerians to be able to access long term mortgage loan at cheap rates nationwide.”
“Economy – We have maintained healthy economic indices in the last three years. We have successfully diversified the Nigeria economy. Latest figure shows that contribution from oil has significantly reduced.
”We are currently the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest in the world. If we are able to maintain the current trend, we will be among the world top 20 in 10 years.”
“On the issue of insurgency, the President has not lied to the people of Nigeria. Insurgency is a global phenomenon which has recently plagued the country. At its peak, it ravaged some 12 States in the North including Abuja. Today, because of the courage, resilience and capability of our Armed Forces and Security Agencies, we have pushed them to the fringes of the North Eastern parts of the country. There are still obvious challenges but Government is giving it the best attention and considerations possible.
“Recently, Foreign Allies including Britain, USA, France, Israel, China and Australia have arrived Nigeria soil and are co-operating with our military to resolve especially the issue of the kidnap of the Chibok girls. These are the best global players and have been with us for about six weeks. If the releasing of the girls was a tea-party, definitely, it should have been over by now. We have said it before and we will say it again, “yes, we know where the girls are but our approach at releasing them must be carefully weighed against their overall safety.
“It is a matter of National disgrace and shame that highly placed, and highly net worth individuals in the country will continue to politicise the Nations misfortunes and challenges not minding the deleterious and untoward demoralizing effects this attitude have on our Military especially, the widows and innocent children of our Military heroes who die daily on the fields, defending their country”.
On missing $49 billion
“On the issue of the purported missing $49 billion from the NNPC account, it is regrettable that even some of the best among us will in the name of politics descend so low to propagate a confirmed falsehood. Even the originator of this story has since changed the figures at least three times. From $49 billion to $12 billion and to $20 billion, yet, none has been substantiated.”
15 Aug 2014
The National Conference leadership on Thursday adopted the change of its document titled “Draft Constitution 2014” to “Proposed Amendments to 1999 Constitution” following controversies it generated among Nigerians and delegates.
This change was effected following a joint motion by Chief Jerome Okwuonu, representing South East and Dr Peter Odili, former Governor of Rivers.
Before the new amendment, the document had generated so much controversies among delegates over its intention.
The duo, in the motion, had called on delegates to mandate the conference leadership to correct the final report as noted by delegates, having gone through the reports.
However, in an amendment to the motion, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, representing elder statesmen, said there were “human errors” in the document.
“We like to suggest as a way forward that volume III should be re-titled to read Draft Resolutions or proposals to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic 1999.”
Following the motion and the amendment, Conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi, put it to voice votes and the amendment was overwhelmingly supported by delegates.
“Yesterday when I took your permission to meet the elders of the conference, that was what we equally agreed upon too.
“I wanted to propose it to you to adopt but since it has been made under the amendment to the motion, I think it has been carried.
“But what we agreed when the elders met with the leadership yesterday was that we changed the name only,” he said.
Subsequently, the conference also authorised the secretariat to effect the amendments on behalf of delegates.
Some delegates had faulted the inclusion of “2014” in the title, which was accompanied by a Bill to the National Assembly, saying it portended unanticipated consequences for the polity.
The delegates said that the consequences of the draft constitution could be automatic “third term” for the current president and vice president, as well as governors and their deputies.
NAN also reports that Kutigi had, at plenary on Wednesday, defended the draft constitution, saying it was the amendments proposed by the delegates and absolved the leadership of any hidden agenda.
The conference concluded its five-month old assignment after adopting its final report.
It was inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan in March to dialogue over matters of national importance and find ways of strengthening the unity of the country.
The delegates were appointed across the nation and comprised political, traditional leaders and civil society groups as well as professionals from various fields.
15 Aug 2014
IN spite of odds, delegates, yesterday, adopted the final report of the 2014 National Conference amid exchange of banters and pleasantries, thereby ending the five-month exercise on a positive note.
They will now reconvene on August 21 for the closing formalities.
The conviviality, camaraderie and hugs, which characterised the last plenary of the confab were unexpected giving the controversies that trailed the draft report and “draft constitution” produced by the national conference secretariat.
On Wednesday, a section of the Northern delegates distanced itself from the draft constitution and vowed not to pass it but Southern and Middle-Belt delegates differed and said they would adopt the report and draft amendments to the 1999 Constitution.
15 Aug 2014
There were indications on Thursday that members of the terrorist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, might have abducted about 100 young men from Doron Baga, a community in Borno State.
There were fears also that the abducted young men were being forcefully conscripted by the insurgents.
Our correspondent learnt that the victims were seized from Doron Baga during an attack, on Sunday, on the village, where at least 10 persons were allegedly killed.
15 Aug 2014
Federal Government has earmarked $4.7bn (about N752bn) for expansion
No Ebola Virus Disease yet in Enugu —Health Minister •Enugu residents under surveillance down from 21 to 6 •Another infected nurse dies
15 Aug 2014
Here is some good news: The number of Ebola cases in the country has been revised downwards while the number of suspected cases in Enugu has been drastically reduced. Besides, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has clarified that “there is no Ebola Virus Disease in Enugu. All cases are still confined to Lagos State.”
These were the highlights of a statement issued this evening by the minister in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Mr. Dan Nwomeh. Enugu had been thrown into panic yesterday after Information Minister Labaran Maku announced that there were 21 suspected Ebola patients in the state. Prof. Chukwu’s statement reads as follows: