Evans: police took my N55m, $10,000, 29 vehicles, others
By Jide Babalola and Robert Egbe
•He is lying, say police
Alleged billionaire kidnap kingpin Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (a.k.a. Evans) has accused seven senior police officers and others on the Inspector-General (IG) Intelligence Response Team of extortion and sexual assault.
He alleged that the investigators forcibly obtained his cash in local and foreign currency, phones, wrist watches, jewelry, television, cars and trucks.
Evans claimed that his girlfriend, Amaka Offor, “was roundly sexually molested and abused by the above policemen of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team”.
In an October 13, 2017 petition written on his behalf by his counsel, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, he called for “appropriate sanctions and dismissal of the culpable police officers and policemen”.
The lawyer claimed that the policemen “forcefully and corruptly extorted” N50 million from Evans and his wife was also forced to part with another N5 million.
A sum of $10,000 was also allegedly forcibly taken from him.
He listed other items to include a Brigade wristwatch, valued at $117; a $70,000 pendant cross; a necklace of $25,000; a Virtu phone worth $30,000; a Virtu Signature phone valued at $17,000; and five pieces of Saphono Ruccu diamond rings worth $100,000.
Ogungbeje also accused the police of taking away from his apartment, his 85-inch Samsung television set, worth N6.5 million.
Other items were 25 Mack trucks; a Lexus 470 jeep; a Grand Cherokee jeep; a L400 Mitsubishi Bus and a gold-colour Toyota Highlander jeep.
The lawyer alleged that Evans’ girlfriend, one Amaka Offor, “was roundly sexually molested and abused by the police team”.
But Force spokesman CSP Moshood Jimoh and Head of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) ACP Abba Kyari described Evan’s lawyer as someone on deliberate misleading allegations of extortion against the police.
In separate interviews with The Nation yesterday, the two officers expressed disgust over Ogungbeje’s claim that IRT operatives had extorted expensive telephone handsets, vehicles, money and other valuables from his client.
Jimoh said it was unfortunate that a handful of people, who claim to be very knowledgeable easily resort to desperate name-calling against the police when officers and men are only carrying out their basic statutory duties in the interest of millions of citizens.
“As for the allegations being made against policemen, who are investigating the kidnap suspect, I can assure you that they are unfounded claims.
“That notwithstanding, our officers and men will neither be intimidated nor distracted from performing their statutory responsibilities,” he stated.
Kyari expressed grave disappointment, stressing that policemen, who risked lives and limbs to bring notorious criminals to justice, did not deserve such despicable treatment.
He said: “Several of the items that he (Ogungbeje) was referring to were items that we publicly displayed and these were given adequate media coverage across Nigeria.
“Besides, does it make sense for anyone to have expectations that the proceeds of grievous crimes like kidnapping or murder should remain in the hands of a suspect, who can use such resources to further his own ends?
“The telephone handsets that clearly linked the suspect to crimes and other relevant exhibits displayed before are still intact in custody; nobody is doing all the things being unfairly alleged.”
News Headlines Oct 16, 2017. Headlines From Nigeria’s Major Newspapers
Compiled by Demola Adefajo
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Kachikwu is a minister without portfolio, he has no say in NNPC – David-West
Prof. Tam David-West was minister of petroleum and energy when President Muhammadu Buhari was head of state. He tells OLUFEMI ATOYEBI that the office of the minister of state should be scrapped, among other issues
What is your comment on the recent $25bn oil contract controversy at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation?
When I first read it in the newspaper, I was flabbergasted. It is out of the question completely. I have said I will never comment on NNPC, but it would be irresponsible of me to keep quiet. It is dangerous. Despite the fact that I am no longer the oil minister, I know what is happening in the oil industry every day. I am still in touch with the system in Nigeria and even the North Sea Oil, Brent, I get the price every day.
I am interested in the oil industry just like any other Nigerian, for obvious reasons. Oil accounts for 80 per cent of the Nigerian budget and 90 per cent of its assets outside. The money we have outside and foreign reserves are mainly from oil. As someone from an oil-producing state, I am interested in what goes on in the industry. Thirdly, I have been there before and I know what is happening there.
I don’t know the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, or the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, but what is going on is very embarrassing to Nigeria. This has never happened before.
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I had a misunderstanding with my managing director when I was oil minister, but it was well managed, although that case was different compared to what is happening currently. Fortunately for me, we both attended the University of Ibadan, so we were friends. But what is happening between Kachikwu and Baru is a misunderstanding over claims and circumstances that are beyond them.
When you say that a minister of state is the boss of the GMD of NNPC, it is wrong. That cannot be. People are making those claims because of misconception. The minister of state in the First Republic was a minister without a portfolio. He cannot be a boss of the GMD of an oil industry, who is the livewire of that sector.
Each time I read the newspapers about this issue, I am upset. An editor called me and asked me, ‘What is the duty of a minister of state?’ Some of these problems are caused by personality problems. Some of them have both bloated and ballooned egos. No one is indispensable in Nigeria because for every Nigerian holding a position, there are many others who are better qualified. No public servant can threaten the country. Nigeria is bigger than anyone, so whoever is in a top position should thank God and the country for the opportunity to serve. One million Tam David-Wests cannot threaten Nigeria.
When I read Kachikwu’s letter, I was flabbergasted. But I was relieved when the NNPC replied that nothing like that happened. There is a danger in having Kachikwu loyalists and Baru loyalists in the same sector. It is very dangerous for the nation.
When I wanted to recommend a managing director for Buhari as his minister when he was the head of state, three people who were qualified were vying for the position. I called them to my office at night after close of work and told them that they were all qualified but that I would choose Aret Adams.
Why did you do that?
One of them had contested the position and the other one was also interested in the position at a time in the past. They both had loyalists in the company. It would not augur well for the industry. That was why I chose someone who was fresh.
As a minister, Rivers State indigenes organised a reception for me, but I told them that I would not attend and that they should cancel it. I did that because I did not want to make myself a sectional minister. I was a minister for everybody. Buhari appointed me as a Nigerian minister and not as a Rivers minister.
Something must be done quickly before it puts the oil industry in jeopardy. The whole world is watching what we are doing in Nigeria. No one should do anything that will put the nation’s oil industry in jeopardy. If there is a problem in an industry, how can we attract foreign investors? They will be scared to come to Nigeria to invest in the country. No one wants to come to a country that is not safe. There must be a favourable atmosphere for them to come. If you give an impression that NNPC is not conducive, no one will come.
If you predict a bad thing and it comes to pass, you will be sad. But if you predict a good thing and it comes to pass, you will be happy. I am sad because I have predicted that something like this would happen one day.
When Rilwan Lukman was the Minister of Petroleum Resources and he carved out about 11 to 12 subsidiaries out of the NNPC, I said it was dangerous. I was supported by a prominent Nigerian oil technocrat, Chief Feide. I pointed out that what Lukman was doing was not good for Nigeria. I said it would be dangerous because what we are going to have are pockets of autonomies. Now it has happened. How can you refer to the NNPC as a parastatal? It is a parent body for all the subsidiaries carved out from it. It should not be under any ministry. Even now, it is not under any ministry.
But there is the Ministry of Petroleum Resource. Is the NNPC not responsible to it?
It is a ludicrous thing. The NNPC is a parent body. Was there a Ministry of Petroleum Resources in (Shehu) Shagari’s time and during Buhari’s first term in government? Let me clarify this, what we have is the ‘Department of Petroleum Resources’ and not a ministry.
But Kachikwu is today the chairman of the NNPC Board. Is there not a mix-up?
Buhari made him the chairman of the NNPC board. The chairman of that board does not have to be a minister.
Is Buhari not doing too much as a president and minister of petroleum?
People have forgotten what he said when he resumed as president. He said that he would hold that position for 18 months, during which he intended to straighten things up in the place. Actually, Buhari should be the chairman of the NNPC board and not Kachikwu, who is a minister without a portfolio in reality. It would be better if we scrapped the ‘minister of state’ which is superfluous and redundant.
Shouldn’t Buhari step down as minister since the 18 months have passed?
He will decide when to take that decision but that title of minister of state should be scrapped or called ‘minister without portfolio.’
Would you recommend he choose a substantive minister?
Buhari is a competent man when it comes to the oil sector. I learnt a lot from him when I became minister.
Don’t you think that based on his complaint, Kachikwu has been sidelined?
If he is complaining about being sidelined, maybe there is a clash between what he expected and what he has found. There is a fundamental problem there. But are his expectations valid? There are a lot of misconceptions and lies.
Another important thing is that you cannot be oil minister or the GMD and be an oil merchant. The two individuals should search themselves. Is there a conflict of interest in their activities? Baru said that Kachikwu recommended eight companies to lift oil but Kachikwu said it was a lie. The President must set up a panel to investigate this. In my time, I was offered things by oil companies that I rejected. King Ado Ibrahim in the Ebira land can bear me witness.
What is your comment on the restructuring agitations?
I am writing an article titled, ‘Restructure, constitution and scapegoatism.’ Fear is the cause of this agitation. (Charles) Darwin’s theory of organic evolution underscores that God restructures from time to time by restructuring the animals that inhabit the world from time to time. I am fully in support of restructuring. My only fear is that those who are clamouring for it are not sincere. They cannot define clearly what they mean by restructuring. It is hypocrisy and stupid.
People blame Lord Lugard for amalgamating the southern and northern protectorate. The company he represented asked him to do so because of administrative reasons. He executed the amalgam and it is left for us to form a nation. There is a difference between an amalgam and a compound. Lugard did the amalgam but it is left for us to create a compound out of it to form a nation. He has done nothing wrong. He did not come to create a Nigeria. If what he did was so bad, why did we celebrate 100 years of amalgamation?
Will the Petroleum Industry Bill see the light of day and will it have positive effect on Nigeria’s oil industry?
The PIB will make foreign companies investment in oil business in Nigeria difficult. The bill is meant to correct the oil industry but there are lots of taxes in it. It will not encourage what we call joint venture partnership. The taxes will chase investors away. They may not tell us the truth but the reality is that many oil companies are divesting from Nigeria secretly. They are taking their assets out of Nigeria without making a noise about it. Before now, many oil companies objected to a lot of clauses in it. They inject a lot of money into the industry, they pay royalty, they pay taxes and now you want to add more burden on them. The PIB has clauses that are burdensome. If you consider the politically unfavourable atmosphere in Nigeria, the electric car issue, alternative source of energy and so on, the future of oil business in Nigeria is in jeopardy. We will suffer more because we depend on oil. Nigeria depends only on oil. We only talk about diversification without acting on it.
What is your view on the search for oil in the northern part of Nigeria?
This is the typical Nigerian factor. They have made this issue political. Kachikwu assured the North that by January, he would strike oil in the region. I will continue to mention his name. Before I became minister of petroleum, a lot of money had been spent on the search for oil in the North and the search stopped. When I came, I called Aret Adams and told him that we should try again. He said a lot of money had been spent without getting even gas in that area. Adams was in charge of exploration at the time. I insisted that we try once more in 1984. I gave him six weeks to get me a rig. In four weeks, he got a rig for me and I bought it and took delivery of it at the Port Harcourt harbour. I took it to Gaji Gana to begin the search all over again. We started digging but we could not find anything. On my way to Maiduguri (in Borno State), I had an accident and almost died. I told Buhari what happened.
Before we left Gaji Gana, someone wrote in the newspaper that oil had been discovered in the North. I told my personal assistant to counter the report that it was not true. I said it would be better to use the money to build schools and hospitals for our people instead of wasting that money. That was the background to the search for oil in the North. I was shown two wells that were drilled but which were closed because they could not find oil there. It was like a wild goose chase. The search for oil has been made political. On the French side of Chad there is oil so, they said there should be oil on the Nigerian side. I alerted the nation that foreign countries were not willing to go to the North and start looking for oil. If there was oil there, they would have rushed to the place. Some read conspiracy theory to it but I said I and Adams are from the Niger Delta and we made so much effort to find oil in the North.
Why then is the search still going on?
Let us assume that there is oil there, is it in commercial quantity? If you say technically you have oil there, the only reason for anyone to go there and dig is if it is in commercial quantity, else, it is a waste of time and money. Some years ago, northern governors came together and said they would explore the possibility of getting oil in the North. It was a good move to jointly look for oil there. I have the record. They thought NNPC was not serious enough about it.
I wrote a three-page article titled, ‘Ankali, Ankali (be careful)’. I gave them the history of oil search in the Chad basin, the record of failures, how much was spent and how I bought a rig and took it there. I advised them to spend the money on education and health instead of spending it on the search. A professor from Maiduguri said I was wrong so they continued. I knew it was a chase that would not be fruitful.
More than a decade after giving refinery licence to investors, none has been built. What could be wrong with the initiative?
This is an interesting country. The first thing is that during Babangida’s era, they (the government) proposed to sell our refineries and (people) kicked against it. They changed it and said they wanted participation whereby someone would come and manage them for us. I said it was a risky move. They wanted to buy a refinery for Nigeria abroad and I wrote to Babangida (speaking) against it. They were beating about the bush. I said we were not facing the music. If we bought a refinery abroad, would it help our workforce at home? NNPC has competent staff in Nigeria.
Are private refineries the solution? They can only complement our own refineries. I wrote an article and said our refineries were sabotaged. Many years after, the Senate confirmed my claim. If our refineries are working, no one will import fuel. Fuel importation is a fraudulent business. The cabal and the unpatriotic people behind fuel importation know why our refineries were sabotaged. I conducted a study and found out that each time the refineries broke down, the same part would break down from each of them.
How can Nigeria stop the sabotage?
Except we stop importation of fuel, it will not stop. We had three refineries in my time and we never imported a litre of fuel. We were even exporting it. Private refineries are good but not the solution.
Why do you think those already handed licences to run private refineries yet to begin operations?
It is capital intensive and after you have built it you will have to get the crude from Nigeria. That is where the problem is. Our quota according to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is about two million barrels per day. Many with the licences did not study the implication. Is Nigeria ready to cut its exportation of crude and prefer to sell to the private refineries? Can we satisfy both markets without exceeding the OPEC quota? I once told the late MKO Abiola that with all his wealth, he would not be able to start oil business alone. You need foreign partners. It is attractive but when you get to the details, you will slow down.
But we have people who locally refine crude in the creeks. How are they finding it easy to do?
I am happy you brought that issue. The militants refine few litres for their daily use. That is not the type of quantity we need. They talk of modular refinery but even though that is easy to build, it cannot solve our problem. When we sit down to face the problem really, we will find a solution.
Can private refineries bring down fuel price in Nigeria?
The answer is yes and no. It will bring it down if the investors have enough crude to refine massively. But the question is that will they have enough because of the OPEC quota that we cannot exceed.
More than $153m has permanently seized from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke while $9.2m allegedly was found in the home of former GMD of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu. Is Nigeria actually monitoring its oil business the way it should be managed?
I am happy and I am sad over this issue. I am sad that a Nigerian public officer could have such amount of money at home. This is a country that cannot pay N18,000 minimum wage to its workers. I am vindicated because I have always challenged anyone to come out and prove me as a corrupt minister. I never took money from anyone I awarded a contract or involved myself in oil business. A former Inspector General of Police once told me that Babangida was always sending spies to trail me anytime I travelled abroad to know how I got money. He said Babangida suspected that I was making money outside. I have forgiven him. He jailed me for life for taking a wristwatch (as a gift). If I wanted to be corrupt, will taking wristwatch (as a gift) be my target? I occupied top positions and never corruptly enriched myself. All the charges were lies. As a minister, my signature could command multimillion-dollars. It is not how much wealth you amass but the legacy you leave behind.
I know Dieziani very well. She was in Shell before; so I was surprised that she did what she did. How could she enrich herself so much? The PIB that was proposed was personalised. It gave the minister more power in the sector and she made sure it was so while she was there. If without the PIB, she made billions, with it, she would have stolen trillions.
Source, The Punch
The return of monkey pox, ailment that has no cure, 39 years after
By Sola Ogundipe
The current suspected monkey pox outbreak in Nigeria, which has now spread to seven states, is the third in the nation’s history. There were a total of three recorded human cases previously in 1971 and 1978 according to the Centres for Disease Control, CDC
The virus was first isolated from colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name “monkey pox.”
The first recorded human case of monkey pox was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a period of intensified effort to eliminate smallpox. There were also reports of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The following year, 1971, there was one case in Cote d’Ivoire and two cases in Nigeria. Then in 1976 there were two cases in Cameroon and again in Nigeria, in 1978, one case was recorded. Since then, monkey pox has remained strictly a disease of Central and Western African countries, except in 2003, when 47 cases were reported in the US.
The 2003 US outbreak is the only time monkey pox infections in humans were documented outside of Africa. Most of those affected had close contact with pet prairie dogs believed to have had contact with animals that were imported.
The current outbreak in Nigeria is of West African origin and associated with milder disease, fewer deaths, and limited human-to-human transmission. Studies have shown that the monkey pox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.
A professor of virology and former President, Nigeria Academy of Science, Professor Oyewale Tomori, described as a shame Nigeria’s inability to diagnose monkey pox.
Tomori, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard from the US, remarked: “It is indeed a shame for us in this country that, nearly 60 years after our so called independence, we are still unable to confirm a case of most diseases without sending our samples to laboratories overseas.
“And which overseas, are we talking about. Senegal! Just imagine. And there was a time when our laboratory system was able to confirm many of these diseases, now, none of these diseases are we able to confirm.
“We do not have appropriate and well equipped laboratory facilities to definitely confirm suspected cases. Samples have been sent to Dakar and plans are being made to send additional samples to the smallpox laboratories of the WHO Collaborating Center for Smallpox and other Poxvirus Infections at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta”.
Monkey pox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkey pox virus, that belongs to the same family of viruses that includes variola virus (the cause of smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.
The natural reservoir remains unknown. However, African rodent species are expected to play a role in transmission.
The monkey pox virus can cause an illness with a generalised vesicular skin rash, fever, and painful jaw swelling. In previous outbreaks, it has led to death in about 1-10 per cent of infected cases.
There is no specific medicine to treat the disease, but intensive supportive care helps patients to recover fully.
Confirmation of suspected cases
We do not have appropriate and well equipped laboratory facilities to definitely confirm suspected cases. Samples have been sent to Dakar and plans are being made to send additional samples to the smallpox laboratories of the WHO Collaborating Center for Smallpox and other Poxvirus Infections at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.
I think it is too early to say that we are having a rapid spread of the disease as we do not have laboratory confirmation of the reported cases from different states. However, this is not to say that the disease cannot be spread easily, especially from an infected person.
The largest outbreak ever reported in Africa was the 1996 DR Congo outbreak, with more than 70 cases. The outbreak lasted for a period of one year. During the outbreak, there was a significant association of human contacts with squirrel (trapping, preparing raw meat for cooking) and human-to-human transmission through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected persons.
In Africa, there are reports of human infections associated with handling of infected monkeys, Gambian giant rats and squirrels, with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.
Cause for concern
There is definitely a danger and cause for concern, as between 1- 10 percent of people infected with monkeypox may die, most deaths occurring in younger age groups. However, we need to confirm the cases before we think of declaring a national emergency. If we have to declare an emergency at all, it is to declare emergency for the poor state of national health. Otherwise, we will be declaring emergencies for every outbreak. And we have many in our country- Lassa, Meningitis and pardon me, and the most severe and devastating disease – corruption.
There is no cure
In as much as the government has taken appropriate steps and measures – alerting citizens, calling for calm, sending samples for laboratory testing, contacting international agencies for assistance- our national response is adequate. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease, although it is known that people who have received smallpox vaccine suffer a mild form of the disease. But remember smallpox vaccination was stopped in the 1980s, so should people born after that time contract the disease, they are likely to suffer a severe form.
What to do to prevent infection
First is to prevent transmission from animal to man through contact with any of the animals listed as natural hosts of the virus – monkeys, rodents, rats, squirrels etc. Those handling sick animals, raw or infected tissues, must wear gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. We must thoroughly cook all animal products (blood, meat) before eating.
During a monkey pox outbreak, we must avoid close and direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of an infected person. Since there is neither a vaccine nor a specific treatment for the disease, you need to raise awareness of the risk factors and educate people about the measures that must be taken to reduce exposure to the virus.
Also upgrade our surveillance for the disease to rapidly identify new cases and isolate them. We must implement standard infection control in our health facilities, while providing our health workers with gloves and protective equipment when taking care of ill people.
We cannot over stress the need for regular hand washing, especially after caring for or visiting sick people. Finally, we must keep our environment clean and free from invasion by rats and rodents.
Oyegun: Akande’s Comment on APC Presidential Ticket His Personal Opinion
Ex-chairman’s remark that party’s presidential ticket is open to all unsettles South-west
APC Clash of interests polarises party’s panel on restructuring
Olawale Olaleye in Lagos and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the statement credited to his predecessor, Chief Bisi Akande, that the party’s presidential ticket for 2019 election was open to all was his personal view.
Although Oyegun who had declared in May that the party would give Buhari right of first refusal for the party’s presidential ticket in 2019 was unperturbed byAkande’s remark when responding to a question from THISDAY on telephone last night, that was not the situation with some South-west leaders of the party, who were taken aback by the development, as they maintained that the former national chairman of the party spoke outside the agenda and resolutions of the zonal leaders’ meeting.
Akande had at the end of a stakeholders meeting of South-west APC last Thursday, involving governors, National Assembly members, ministers and other party members, held at the Agodi Government House, Ibadan, Oyo State, declared that the presidential ticket of the party was open to all in the 2019 general election.
Responding to a question about the position of the party on Buhari’s speculated second term ambition, Akande had stated thus: “He has not told us he is running in 2019. Anybody in our party is free to become the president of Nigeria as long as he indicates interest. We have a process through which a candidate will be selected. If he is lucky to get the ticket, then we have no option than to present him as our candidate.”
The meeting, which lasted four hours and held in the executive council chambers of the governor’s office, had in attendance Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos State), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State), former Governors Adebayo Alao-Akala, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Olusegun Osoba, Adeniyi Adebayo, Kayode Fayemi, who is also the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu, Minister of State for Niger Delta, Claudius Daramola, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Lasun Yusuff and House Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.
Speaking last night, Oyegun, who was not keen on commenting, said there was really nothing to say as far as the reportage of Akande’s statement was concerned, because it was his personal position and he had a right to it.
“That’s his personal view. He said what he felt. There is really nothing to comment about – nothing. That is his personal view,” Oyegun said.
But THISDAY learnt last night that the statement had since unsettled the South-west APC as a majority of stakeholders, who attended the Ibadan meeting were dismayed that Akande would go completely off the thrust of the meeting and create avoidable controversy for the party in the zone.
A governor at the meeting, who confided in THISDAY, said those of them who were there felt so “thoroughly embarrassed” by the development that they had begun to ponder the need to come out to set the record straight as far as the essence of the Thursday meeting was concerned.
“That didn’t come up at our meeting at all. It was just a question asked him by a journalist and he answered off-the-curve. Everyone is angry now. The only thing we discussed was what was in the communiqué read by Governor Ajimobi and essentially the meeting was about restructuring.
“What we said at the meeting was that the word restructuring is not in our manifesto. What is there is that we would initiate a process that would lead to a bill or an act that will define the governance structure of the country. So, basically, we insisted we never used the word restructuring.
“So, that should be it as far as the meeting was concerned. But he really embarrassed us and we didn’t expect it from him, although it must have been inadvertently, because when he was asked after the interview, he said the question was on the spot and that he just gave an on-the-spot answer. Everybody is really angry now and sadly, he is President Buhari’s number one fan. So, I don’t know where this came from,” the governor said.
“He has a lot of respect for Chief Akande and they get along really well. But as it is, we may have to salvage this situation with one of us coming out to address the issue more pointedly,” he added.
In his reaction to the development, a chieftain of the APC and Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said regardless of Akande’s view on the party’s presidential ticket for the 2019 election, a majority of the state chapters in South-east have endorsed Buhari for reelection.
Okechukwu said Buhari had “more than a right of first refusal” as far as the 2019 presidential election is concerned.
“Well, Akande was our first interim national chairman and a highly respected elder of the party but Chief Oyegun is today our current national chairman of APC – substantive – so we align with Oyegun’s submission, because he is the current chairman.
“Even some state chapters of the party like Enugu, Ebonyi and Kaduna had endorsed the president for a second tenure. To be honest with you, the good luck is that his miraculous recovery has encouraged us to endorse him. He has more than a right of first refusal.”
Okechukwu, a close ally of President Buhari since his days in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, spoke to THISDAY on telephone last night, noting: “From my understanding of what Chief Akande has said, I think he meant that President Buhari has not formally informed the party and it is only when he tells the party. I don’t think what he is saying is that the issue of the right of first refusal be discountenanced. For me, I am one of those, who is saying we should support him to finish what he is doing to set the nation on a solid foundation.”
Meanwhile, the restructuring committee set up by the party leadership may have run into operational difficulties.
At the heart of this brewing discontent, however, is the crisis of confidence amongst the committee members.
THISDAY has also learnt that when the committee tried to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly on the issues of restructuring, it was rebuffed following what a source at the legislature described as a rejection of the committee’s mode of operation.
According to sources, both the Senate and House of Representatives leaderships were not pleased with the manner in which the committee appeared to be taking positions on the issues they were meant to seek the opinions of even the ordinary party members.
Particularly disturbing to some members of the committee is the disposition of their chairman and Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasiru El-rufai, who has openly expressed reservations over restructuring and continued to preach the same message at the various public hearings organised by the committee.
A committee source also told THISDAY at the weekend that some of their members were getting increasingly uncomfortable with the governor’s posturing, which they claimed was tantamount to imposing his position and ideas on the others.
The source cited a recent statement credited to El-rufai at an interactive meeting with some APC youths in Abuja, where he allegedly told the audience that the agitation for the creation of more states was not an answer to the issue of marginalisation or perceived imbalance in the country.
He said such agitation amounted to enthroning injustice and akin to seeking to make unequal equal in a country that has unequal population and resource distribution.
“The greatest injustice is trying to make equal unequal and unequal equal. Things are not done like that. What do I mean by that? There are those who have said Nigeria and Unites States are same. It is just like saying everyone, who is six feet, five can play basketball.
“As human beings, we are equal but you cannot come and stand here and say we should create nine states in each zone. Nigeria is not equal likewise the population and resources. You can’t do that,” el-Rufail had said at the interactive meeting.
But while some members have shown that they are opposed to restructuring by openly speaking against it, other members are in support of the idea.
It was however learnt that the not-too-agreeable positions among the members are affecting the work of the committee as they are yet to sit down together to consider the feedback from the various zones of the country as mandated by the party.
“We are yet to receive reports from different parts of the country on the outcome of the zonal public hearing. Whatever the chairman of the committee and governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-rufai has said with regards to restructuring is nothing but his own personal opinion. It does not represent the position of the committee, even as the chairman”.
Some of these committee members have also disassociated themselves from the governor’s recent statement made at the Chatham House in London, where he criticised those seeking a restructuring of the country.
One of the committee members went on to accuse the governor of using the platform to try to position himself ahead of the 2019 general election by making statements that are clearly outside the terms of reference of the committee.
“Not that the governor has no right to hold his personal view on the issue of restructuring but as the chairman of the committee, he should not be seen imposing opinion on the audience during the public hearing. The job of our committee is to listen and collate the views and positions of Nigerians on the demands for restructuring of the federation and to advice the party accordingly.
“At present, we have not received reports from various parts of the county; we have not even met to discuss the issues raised, so we still have works to do in that direction,” he said.
But a close source to El-rufai has dismissed an attempt by “faceless people” to shade the governor over a committee work that has not quite advanced in its operations, adding that there was no truth to the allegations so far raised against him.
“Why are they hiding if they have serious and genuine concerns? Why can’t they come to the open? At the very least, they could wait till the reports are put together and they would have the opportunity of authoring a minority report if they feel strongly about these allegations and accusations against the governor.
“But I find the allegations preposterous because a committee with other governors as members cannot claim the governor of Kaduna is imposing his views on them. That cannot be true. Are you saying the Kaduna governor will intimidate or shout down the Osun State Governor? Governor Aregbesola cannot be intimidated and that is the truth. So, I do not think it makes any sense debating with a faceless person.”
I bought 15 cars, built four houses, Lateef Aremu suspected human parts dealer confesses
…We paid N12, 000 to procure human flesh, skull and 12 teeth –Mudasiru and Abass
…Cemetery attendants: We sold human head to cleric for N10, 000
By Daud Olatunji
It is like nemesis is catching up with suspected ritualists in Ogun State trading in human body parts.
No week passes without the police in the state arresting a suspected ritualist.
In the latest onslaught against them, no fewer than seven were arrested.
The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, in the meantime, allayed the fear of residents, saying security agents would not be tired of arresting suspected ritualists.
Iliyasu was speaking on the arrest of the seven suspects who allegedly operated in three syndicates and apprehended by men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The first syndicate was said to have comprised of two suspected members, Lateef Aremu (67) and Kola Sodipo (32), who allegedly specialized in purchasing and exhuming corpses for money ritual.
According to the police boss, men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad arrested Aremu and Sodipo after receiving information about ritualists who specialised in using human parts.
“The Federal SARS received information about some ritualists who specialised in using human parts for ritual purposes. So, based on the information, a team was sent to track them down and the effort was successful when two members of the syndicate were arrested at Owode-Egba area of the state”, Iliyasu said.
“ Kolawole Sodipo and Lateef Aremu were arrested. Recovered from them were human skulls and bones, as well as six live cartridges”.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, Aremu confessed that he used human parts to prepare various charms for people, adding that the business had provided him the financial muscle to acquire 15 cars and four houses.
Aremu, who claimed that he was a farmer and herbalist, did not deny that he used human parts to make charms for people.
He said the human skull he was allegedly caught with by the police was brought to him by his colleague for money ritual.
“I am a farmer and an herbalist. We were doing a foundation in Itoko where I wanted to build a house; there, we saw these bones and we packed them inside a bag and that is all. However, when we wanted to do money ritual, he brought a dry skull for the purpose”, the suspect said.
“What we did was to grind the skull and add other ingredients, including a white dove and local soap. It has been up to 20 years since I have been in the business. I don’t use human parts all the time. I only do once in a while. “I have built four houses and bought up to 15 vehicles since 1980 when I started this business”.
Sodipo, 32, while explaining his role in the syndicate, said, “I am a farmer. I know baba (Aremu) to be an herbalist, because he usually comes to see my landlord. I also trained as an herbalist.
“Someone came to me requesting for money ritual and I directed him to baba who negotiated and collected N75, 000 from the client but the ritual failed. The man called me to complain and I asked him to collect his money. He wasn’t ready to collect the money, he wanted it repeated but it failed again.
“I didn’t know anything about the skull. I didn’t take any skull to him. I only specialized in working for petty traders to boost their trade”.
The N12, 000 human parts’ transaction
The police boss said that when the second suspected ritualists’ syndicate was raided, Adebayo Mudasiru and Rashid Abass were arrested with dry and fresh human parts, including human skull, flesh, teeth and four lizards in Totoro area of Abeokuta, the state capital.
Iliyasu stated that Mudasiru and Abass were sighted with a suspicious bag and, upon interrogation, the items, which also included reptiles and assorted charms, were recovered.
He alleged that the suspects were serial killers.
“They specialised in killing people for the purpose of using human parts for rituals. A team of Federal SARS sighted two men on motorcycle with a suspicious bag and were forced to stop and be searched.
“Recovered from their bag were fresh and dry human parts. On interrogation, it was suspected that the men are serial killers with their base at Totoro in Abeokuta. They are Adebayo Mudasiru and Rashid Abass. Dry and fresh human parts, human skull, some reptiles and assorted charms were recovered from them.”
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, Mudasiru, 36, who claimed to be an Islamic cleric, said it was one of their former teachers who sold the human parts to them.
He said they bought the human flesh, skull and about 12 teeth for N12, 000.
“We were coming from Itoku to buy some of the ingredients. We didn’t buy the human flesh at Itoku; we collected them from someone in Ijemo area of the town”, the suspect said.
“We were aware of the contents; human parts are used for money rituals. We actually wanted to use them for ourselves, to draw people’s attention to us and we have been in this job for about five years.
“We bought the parts from a cleric; the teeth are not costly. I don’t know how many but we bought them for N2, 000; we bought all the human parts, including the skull and flesh, for N12, 000.
“We went to an Islamic school in Ijaye area of Abeokuta and we have been doing this, though we didn’t learn this in the Islamic school. What we do is to burn the human parts, mix the charred remains with local soap and snail water and use it to bath.
We haven’t done it before but that is what we were taught. We were taught to mix lizard, human parts, snail water and other ingredients, we don’t really know how the charms function but that is how we were taught”.
On his part, Abass, 33, said: “It is the person who gave us the ingredients that gave us the human parts. He is the one who taught us the way to use them and it is for money ritual. It is the same day we collected it that we were arrested”.
The police claimed to have arrested a third member of the suspected syndicate, Razaq Adenekan, 42, shortly after the first two members were apprehended.
Cemetery attendants trade in human parts
The third suspected syndicate allegedly had two members, Jimoh Olarenwaju and Babatunde Seun, both of whom reportedly worked as cemetery guards, and they confessed to have sold human heads for N10, 000 each.
Iliyasu said the suspects were arrested at Oke-Yidi cemetery, Lantoro, Abeokuta, while digging at a burial ground.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, Olanrewaju, the suspected leader of the gang, said they sold four human heads for N10, 000 each.
“We didn’t break into caskets to remove corpses. What we did was to dig the ground and found human corpses that had been buried”, he said. “Some graves, which were not concreted and did not have identity, were the ones we got them from. These graves are usually difficult to know. But when we dig, we may not know if there is a grave or not.
“I sold one human head to a deceased alhaji who was an Islamic cleric, also known as Alfa. He lived at Tinubu Street in Abeokuta North Local Government Area. He didn’t tell me what he wanted to use the human head for.
“All the evil things I have done in this life, I believe, was during a period of ignorance; all what we did was done in ignorance”.
Thirty years ago, the leader of Burkina Faso’s revolution, Thomas Sankara, was cut down in a hail of bullets — a bloody! Africa.
The young army captain who took power in the deeply poor nation in 1983 has been nicknamed “Africa’s Che Guevara,” a moniker that reflects his anti-imperialist convictions almost as much as the way he died.
“Kill Sankara and thousands of Sankaras shall be born,” he is said to have declared in 1987. Just a few months later he would be assassinated as he headed to a government meeting.
Born on December 21, 1949, at Yako in the dusty north of what was then Upper Volta, the future officer was 12 when his homeland attained independence from France.
Once in power after an August 1983 coup, Sankara would rebaptise the country Burkina Faso, or “land of upright men”, and introduce progressist policies that distanced his regime from other former colonies in what France regarded as its backyard in Africa.
His first taste of military action came during a conflict with neighbouring Mali in 1974-75.
But he was already nursing ideas that, along with popularity, brought a shadowy side to his rule.
After a successful coup in November 1980, the new head of state, Colonel Saye Zerbo, appointed Sankara junior minister of information. But his radical outlook led him to quit the government a year and a half later.
By the next coup in January 1983, Sankara was back in favour and became prime minister, but a power struggle erupted within military ranks.
– Breaking with colonial ways –
Initially arrested in May 1983, Sankara made his comeback in August, following a coup led by his close friend Captain Blaise Compaore and associates who put him in charge of the country.
Just turned 33, Sankara cast himself as the symbol of a proud, young Africa.
The image was a stunning break from that of the paunchy corrupt leaders who emerged from the end of colonial rule.
The new head of state was lean and good-looking, with a ready smile, a love of football and other sports and an accomplished jazz guitarist who liked nothing more than to jam with other musicians.
But he was also a hard-working authoritarian who slept little and always wore battledress, with a mother-of-pearl pistol tucked into his belt — a gift from North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.
He lived with his wife and two sons in a rundown presidential palace and his main worldly goods were a guitar and a second-hand Renault 5.
He ordered government ministers to use similar cars and forsake their limousines — a demand that cemented his huge popularity among the poor, especially in the countryside.
– ‘Decolonise mentalities’ –
Sankara’s priority policies were to clean up public finances and trim a bloated civil service, to bring improvements in health, to increase access to education and to take rural measures to meet the aspirations of peasant farmers.
His programme revealed Sankara’s iron-fisted side.
“We have to decolonise mentalities,” Sankara said.
Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR) were formed to keep watch on the people, while People’s Tribunals of the Revolution (TPR) dispensed justice.
Sankara dealt with a teachers’ strike by sacking them, while the political opposition and trade unions were kept in check by arrests.
Burkina’s relations with other countries were never easy.
Sankara kept close ties with the radical rulers of Libya and Ghana, Moamer Kadhafi and Flight-Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, which roused strong enmity elsewhere, notably in neighbouring Ivory Coast and in Togo.
After France’s president of the day, the Socialist Francois Mitterrand, gave official welcomes to Angolan anti-Marxist rebel Jonas Savimbi and South Africa’s apartheid leader P.W. Botha, Sankara publicly gave Mitterrand a lesson in human rights when he visited Ouagadougou.
Sankara urged struggling African nations to stop paying their debt to the West. “The debt cannot be reimbursed because if we don’t pay, our creditors won’t die. But if we pay, it’s us who will die. Be sure of it,” he argued.
The Sankarist spell in Burkina lasted only four years. On October 15, 1987, on his way to a special cabinet meeting, Sankara was assassinated in a putsch that left his buddy Compaore alone in power — some say he was behind the coup — and blaming Sankara for poor relations with France and Ivory Coast.
When people today lay claim to the heritage of a revolutionary killed at 37, they remember his ideas and his courage more than his record in power.
The Sankarist spirit swelled in the civil unrest that ironically ended Compaore’s 27-year rule in 2015. Young protestors wore T-shirts that read: “Sankara — he still provokes.”
“(Sankara) is someone who reflects ideals of hope for all youth,” Franco-Burkinabe rapper Humanist told AFP.
“For me, he’s a character with a universal dimension because of his values and principles. He’s somebody who crosses time.”