News (900)

A  member of the House of Representatives, Abdullahi Wammako, is dead.
Mr. Wamakko represented Kware/Wammako federal constituency of Sokoto State.
He died at the National hospital after a brief illness, spokesman of the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, announced.
“We just got the information that we lost Abdullahi Wammako from Sokoto” Mr. Namdas said.
Mr. Wammako is the second member of the National Assembly to die in three months.
 Isiaka Adeleke, a senator from Osun State, died in April.
A team of policemen on Friday afternoon raided the country home of Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney general of the federation, in Okene, Kogi state.
The team, made up of over 20 police officers, arrived the home of the senior advocate with a search warrant from Abuja.
They were said to be looking for money and unspecified documents in septic tanks as well as underground water tanks.
After searching the house for two hours, sources said, they did not find anything and promptly asked the guards on duty to sign a form confirming that they did not take anything away.
They arrived at 3pm and left after 5pm.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently on the trail of Adoke, whom they accused of misleading the federal government in approving the transfer of OPL 245 from Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd to Shell and ENI for a fee of $1.3 billion, including $210 million signature bonus paid to the account.
He is also accused of money laundering, but the former attorney general has denied the allegations, maintaining that he is being witch-hunted.
This is the fourth search by security agencies, with previous ones carried out in The Hague, Kano and his brother's house in Okene.
This is the first time police are leading the raid.
EFCC carried out the other two raids in Nigeria, although it was reported that nothing was found.
The Cable
Suspended Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Usman Yusuf, has given five reasons why he will ignore his suspension from office as ordered by Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole.
Mr. Yusuf, in his letter dated July 12, acknowledged receiving the suspension letter dated July 6, but gave five reasons why he would not comply with the suspension.
In his own letter addressed to the minister, using the NHIS letterhead, Mr. Yusuf said he received the letter directing him to proceed on three months suspension with immediate effect to pave way for uninterrupted investigation of petitions against him in accordance with Public Service Rules.
He, however, said he would not comply with the directives for the following five reasons:
“1. By virtue of the NHIS Act particularly section 4 and 8 thereof, my appointment and removal from office whether by way of suspension or otherwise is at the instance of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“2. Except removed from office by the president under circumstances specified in the NHIS Act, my appointment is for a period of five (5) years subject to further term of the same period at the discretion of the president.
“3. Although by virtue of section 47 of the NHIS Act, you are empowered to give directives of a general nature to the Governing Council of the Scheme and in the absence of the Council, you have Presidential mandate to exercise the powers and functions of the council, but since the powers and functions of the Council do not include discipline, suspension or removal of the Executive Secretary of the Scheme from office, the directive in your letter under reference cannot find comfort under the said section or presidential mandate; and
“4. The letter of suspension is not in accordance with Public Service Rules as no prima facie case has been established against me in respect of the petition referred to in the letter. The mere fact that there are pending petitions against a public officer which is yet to be substantiated does not constitute a ground for suspension under the Public Service Rules. otherwise, with over 18,000 petitions pending against public officer holders before the EFCC and ICPC as at the end of June 2017, the total number of public officers who would have been on suspension by now including Honourable Ministers is left to be imagined.
“5. As you are aware, the petition referred to in your letter are currently being investigated by the ICPC which is yet to submit its report. In view of the criminal nature of most of the allegations in the petitions, security/investigative agencies like ICPC are the appropriate agencies for investigation contemplated in your letter; not a Ministerial Committee. I have cooperated fully with investigators so far and will continue to do so.”
The embattled health insurance chief asked that the minister allow “investigations of these petitions to follow due process.”
The minister had directed Mr. Yusuf to hand over to the most senior officer in the parastatal, a directive Mr. Yusuf refused to comply with; although he has not been to his office since the suspension.
The Ministry of Health had earlier explained the minister's suspension order, saying it was as a result of various allegations and petitions against Mr. Yusuf, and to allow for unhindered investigations.
Mr. Adewole also directed the setting up of an investigative committee to look in the various allegations in accordance with the Public Service Rules.
Mr. Yusuf’s letter to the minister was sent same day the House of Representatives ordered his reinstatement, a directive that is not binding on the health ministry. The lawmakers’ position has been condemned by a civil society group which said the resolution was one which encouraged corruption.
Federal Ministry of Health has reacted to the response of the embattled Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Usman Yusuf, to his suspension.
Mr. Yusuf in a July 12 letter addressed to Health Minister, Isaac Adewole, said he would not obey the suspension order, listing five reasons for his decision.
In response, the health ministry in a press statement on Friday said it dissociates itself from Mr. Yusuf’s letter.
According to the statement signed by the health ministry’s spokesperson, Boade Akinola, Mr. Yusuf, being a public officer, is bound by the regulations governing the Public Service.
“The NHIS is an agency supervised by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Administrative Panel of Inquiry raised by the Ministry to investigate activities of the agency has commenced its assignment with specific terms of reference,” the spokesperson said.
Mr. Yusuf was suspended by the minister for three months to allow for unhindered investigations into corruption allegations levelled against him.
Three men namely Saibu Popoola , Aliu Ajiroba and Jimoh Ijiola have been arrested by officers of the Ogun State Police Command for being in possession of two human skulls.
This was contained in a release by the State Police Public Relations officer, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi who disclosed that two of the men were arrested when Policemen attached to Ayetoro Division were on routine patrol.
 He said the duo of Saibu Popoola and Aliu Ajiroba on a Bajaj motorcycle along Idagba Olodo road with a bag which look suspicious were accosted by the Police.
The Police spokesperson said "a search was quickly conducted on them and two human skulls were discovered in their bag. The duo were promptly arrested and taken to Ayetoro Police Station where they told the Police that the skulls were given to them by Jimoh Ijiola who live in Erinpa area of the town".
He explained further that, "the DPO Ayetoro Division Csp Makinde Kayode led detectives to the resident of the third suspect where he was arrested."
Oyeyemi disclosed that Jimoh Ijiola in his own statement, denied being the person that gave the other two suspects the skulls but they all got it from neighboring Benin Republic and their intention was to use it for money rituals.
The State Commissioner of Police CP Ahmed Iliyasu has ordered that the case be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation and possible prosecution of the suspects.
In a related development, fresh human body parts were found by the police in the hands of a jailbird at Obada-Oko in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Police spokesperson at Zone 2 police headquarters in Lagos, SP Dolapo Badmus, identified the suspect as Olufemi Goriola, who had been jailed twice for dealing in human parts.
She said, “He was arrested after the command received an information that the suspect ‘an ex convict’ deals in sales of human body parts.
“Upon the tip-off, the operatives trailed the suspect to Obada-Oko, in Ogun State where he was arrested at about 8pm yesterday.
“The suspect confessed to being a dealer in sales of human part, while investigation revealed that he has been to prison twice over the same offence.”
Badmus said the AIG in charge of Zone 2, covering Lagos and Ogun states, Mr Adamu Ibrahim has directed that the suspect be thoroughly investigated and charged to court.
Two 30-year-old men, including a father that wanted to sell his son for money to organise burial of his mother, were, yesterday, arraigned in Iyaganku Magistrate’s Court, Ibadan.
The names of the accused were given as Haruna Sule, the boy’s father, and his friend, Abdulfatai Quadri. They were arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy and alleged attempt to sell his six-year-old son.
When the charges were read to the accused, they pleaded not guilty. 
The bizarre incident happened at Agbowo area of Ogbomoso on June 21.
According to the prosecutor, Sergeant Oriola James, the boy’s father and his friend, AbdulFatai allegedly conspired to sell the boy, noting that the offences contravened Sections 516 and 509 of Criminal Code Cap 38, Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.
One of the accused, Haruna, reportedly told the Police that his mother died and he was desperately looking for money to perform a befitting burial for her.
While pondering over what to do, he said he called his friend, Abdulfatai, to look for a buyer for his son, Saka Sule, in order to raise money for his mother’s burial.
He explained further that his friend called to inform him that he had finally got a willing buyer for the innocent boy. 
However, the would-be buyer informed the Police of the plan.
Chief Magistrate Taiwo Oladiran granted the accused N100,000 bail with two reliable sureties in like sum and adjourned the case to August 31 for further hearing.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has described Sen. Ahmed Makarfi’s victory on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership tussle at the Supreme Court on Wednesday as verdict that would bring PDP together.
Jonathan stated this on Wednesday on his tweeter handle in his reaction to the court judgment on the party’s leadership crisis.
The Supreme Court in Abuja on Wednesday set aside the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt that affirmed Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff as PDP National Chairman.
Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who read the judgment of the five-man panel, declared the Makarfi-led caretaker committee as the authentic leadership organ of the party.
Jonathan, who commended the Supreme Court judgment, said “I thank God for this day of justice and may God bless Nigeria.
“I believe in our jurists. We may have issues with some individuals but the Nigerian judiciary deserves respect and commendation.
“Today’s verdict is a judgment where there are no winners or losers. It is a verdict that will bring our party together.’’
He congratulated the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee, adding that “I strongly urge them not to see this as victory for a section of the party but as moral victory for constitutionality over arbitrariness.
“Thus, they must take inspiration from Gen. Yakubu Gowon and declare a ‘no victor and no vanquished policy’.
“I hereby call on all those who left the party because of leadership issues to return to their natural home and build PDP.’’
He added that PDP was an inclusive vehicle, not an exclusive one, saying “we see Nigerians as human beings deserving of the rule of law, separation of power and free market economy that provides level playing ground for all.
“The party that gave Nigeria the largest economy in Africa is a party with large heart enough to find a place for all Nigerians.”
A Cabinet reshuffle is likely soon. It is all part of the fallout of Tuesday’s London meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, sources said, pleading not to be named.
Some ministers may be dropped. Some ministers may also swap portfolios in the new plan.
The imminent action is believed to be delaying the inauguration of the two ministers-designate already confirmed by the Senate.
The looming shake-up has caused anxiety among members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
It was also learnt that President Buhari endorsed all the measures taken by the Acting President to keep the nation united.
Osinbajo was also said to have got approval for some decisions and appointments.
According to the sources, the need to reshuffle the cabinet for “efficiency” was one of the key issues discussed between the President and the Acting President.
It was however learnt that it might not be a wholesale dissolution of the Federal Executive Council( FEC) “because the nation cannot afford such a luxury now”.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “There is likely shake-up of the cabinet in line with the new fast-pace focus of the Buhari administration. Some of the ministers cannot cope with the portfolios assigned to them.
“Some ministers were also found to be behind the crisis of confidence between the Executive and the National Assembly.
“So, apart from dropping some, others may swap portfolios for efficiency. It is just some restructuring of the cabinet to ensure service delivery.”
Responding to a question, the source added that there had been anxiety among members of the Federal Executive Council( FEC).
“Obviously, there is disquiet in the cabinet on this latest development. I think the likely changes in the cabinet accounted for the delay in inaugurating two ministers-designate.
“I cannot tell you when the changes will be effected but the cabinet shake-up came up as an item between the two leaders, “ the source said.
Osinbajo is believed to have briefed the President on the renewed separatist and secession agitation.
It was gathered that Buhari was shocked by the situation and insisted that Nigeria must be kept united.
Another source said: “The President endorsed all the consultations and actions taken by the Acting President and asked him to continue to take steps to keep Nigeria indivisible.
“The President was delighted that Osinbajo managed the threats to the nation’s unity with courage and maturity.”
On some outstanding issues, the source said: “Osinbajo secured approval to take some decisions and make some appointments.”
Regarding how the meeting went, the source added: “The President and the Acting President were together without any third party. And they had fruitful talks. We should expect some actions soon.”
Also, there were indications last night that the Acting President briefed FEC on the health status of the President.
A member said: “The Acting President told us that there was no cause for alarm. He said the President had been recuperating well.
“We were all relieved because this first hand information was the most authentic we have got.”
The Nation
Following the ruling of Supreme Court on Wednesday, which sacked Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, National Caretaker Committee of the party, under the leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has taken over PDP national secretariat in Abuja.
The secretariat was until Wednesday morning occupied by Sheriff and his loyalists.
Members of the party trooped to the erstwhile deserted secretariat located at Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.
As soon as the Supreme Court made the pronouncements, drummers and praise singers took over the party secretariat, singing and dancing as politicians in their large number rushed to the secretariat.
Among the early birds at the office were Makarfi and members of his team; former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; a former governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; Plateau State ex-governor, Jonah Jang; a former aviation minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode; PDP Board of Trustees member, Prof. Ahmed Alkali; and a former Chairman, DAAR Communication, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, among others.
Drummers, trumpeters and singers were also on hand to welcome Makarfi and his team to the party’s erstwhile temporary secretariat located at Wuse Zone 2.
Members of staff of the parties, who had been receiving less than half salary for more than a year, also joined in the celebration.
Earlier on Wednesday, Supreme Court had removed Sheriff as National Chairman of PDP.
A five-man panel of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, in its unanimous judgment, reinstated the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee, which was earlier sacked by the majority verdict of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal on February 17, 2017.
The same majority judgment of the appeal court had recognised Sheriff as authentic National Chairman of the party after nullifying the national convention of the party, which had earlier removed the ex-governor of Borno State in Port Harcourt on May 21, 2016.
Wednesday’s judgment of the Supreme Court puts to rest the legal battle for the control of the party, the fallout of the political crisis which has been rocking the party since it lost the 2015 presidential election.
Reading the lead judgment of the apex court on Wednesday, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour formulated two issues for determination and both were resolved against Sheriff.
The judgment, which was based on the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the PDP’s constitution, also awarded the cost of N250,000 against Sheriff.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour descended heavily on Sheriff, whom the apex court adjudged to be filing multiplicity of suits in his desperation to cling to office after being removed by the resolution of the national convention of the party held in Port Harcourt on May 21, 2016.
The apex court upheld the judgment of Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, delivered on July 4, 2016, and the subsequent dissenting decision of a member of the three-man panel of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, which both validated the removal of Sheriff as National Chairman at the party’s national convention held on May 21, 2016.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour held that the majority judgment of the two of the members of the panel of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, delivered on February 17, 2017, was perverse.
The apex court held that the suit filed by the Makarfi faction before the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, was not an abuse of court process as wrongly held by the majority judgment which formed the decision of the Court of Appeal.
On the second issue, which it also resolved against Sheriff, the apex court held that the national convention of the PDP held on May 21, 2016, was rightly and constitutionally convened.
It held that going by the provisions of PDP constitution, it was right for PDP Deputy National Chairman to preside over the convention after Sheriff abandoned the convention and attempted to call it off.
It held that the convention acted rightly and not in breach of any aspect of PDP’s constitution by setting up the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour ruled, “When the first respondent (Sheriff) abandoned the convention, PDP Deputy National Chairman presided over the convention in accordance with Article 35(2)(b) of the Constitution of the PDP.
“Furthermore, the Court of Appeal was wrong for its findings and came to a perverse conclusion after examining only Article 47(d) of PDP constitution. It should also have examined other articles.
“It is also to be noted that the motion for the removal of the National Working Committee was brought pursuant to provisions of Article 33(5)(d) of PDP constitution.”
He therefore held that all the resolutions passed and adopted at the convention, sacking the NEC and the NWC of the party, were valid.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour ruled, “There is merit in this appeal. The appeal is allowed. The judgment of the trial court, which was affirmed by the dissenting judgment of the Court of Appeal, is affirmed by this court. Cost of N250,000 is awarded against the first respondent (Sheriff).”
He advised the heads of various courts, which have the duty of assigning cases to judges under them, to be wary of antics of mischievous politicians who file multiplicity of cases.
The apex court Justice advised the heads of court to ensure that cases of similar subject matters were heard by the same judge.
Rhodes-Vivour added, “Trial judges must also be on the lookout and refrain from receiving cases when aware that a brother judge is handling a similar matter.”
Justice Rhodes-Vivour noted that many of the suits filed by Sherfiff had been abandoned and would continue to gather dust in judicial archive.
He held, “The respondents (Sheriff group) and their allies filed over 10 suits. The Court of Appeal has this to say; ‘the first appellant’, I agree, ‘displayed an infantile desperation to cling to office at all cost’.
“The first respondent has unpalatable desire to cling on to office.
“That desire was deployed relentlessly by filing over 10 suits. Most of which have been abandoned. They shall forever gather dust in judicial archive.”
Earlier in the judgment, Justice Rhodes-Vivour dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Sheriff.
Sheriff had contended in the motion, which the Supreme Court ruled as lacking in merit, that the appeal by the Makarfi faction was invalid on the basis it was filed in the name of the PDP, which he (Makarfi) was no longer in control of after the February 17, 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeal.
Other members of the panel, who also consented to the lead judgment, were Justices Onnoghen, Tanko Muhammad, Kayode Ariwoola and Dattijo Muhammad.
While Makarfi was at the Supreme Court with a large retinue of loyalists, Sheriff was absent.
The only notable personality of the Sheriff group present in court on Wednesday was the Deputy National Chairman of the faction, Cairo Ojougboh.
The roll of the party’s big names on Makarfi’s side, who attended the proceedings, were Fayose and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Also present were a former Vice-Chairman of the party (South-West), Bode George; and the present occupant of the position in the faction, Eddy Olafeso; a former National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh; a former Minister of Education, Tunde Adeniran; and a former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of PDP has vowed to regain power in the country in 2019.
Makafi stated this at a meeting he had with members of the party’s Senate caucus shortly after the Supreme Court verdict which affirmed his leadership of the party.
The meeting was held at the private residence of Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, in Abuja. Fayose is chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum.
Makarfi said the party would not repeat the mistakes of the past, adding that history must not be allowed to repeat itself.
He urged the leadership of the party to work together and also ensure that nobody “is allowed to hold the party to ransom again.”
He said All Progressives Congress made a blunder in Osun State, adding that this was the reason why the ruling party in the state lost the Osun-West senatorial election to the PDP.
He said, “Work, we must work together. We must also learn to accommodate. But that should not be to the detriment of the people who fought for the party.
“Just as we took Osun West, we will take Nigeria in style by 2019.
“We would be coming with a programme that would be realistic and will not be against any constitution of the party, electoral act or any law whatsoever.
Makarfi told the senators and others present at the meeting that the party’s leadership would meet on Tuesday with the party’s Board of Trustees.
He said it was after the meeting that decisions would be taken on when the party would have its National Executive Committee meeting.
The former governor of Kaduna State added, “All the caucuses are meeting soon, I think on Tuesday or so. We must be tactical, we must be careful and we must know that the enemies are also watching.
“The enemies are shivering already. Today is a turning point of things in Nigeria. We are moving forward. Where we have erred, we must tell Nigerians that we erred and seek their forgiveness. This is a collective victory.’’
Fayose, however, said, “The wall of Jericho has fallen. We must come together to get power in 2019.”
He declared that the Supreme Court judgment had placed the party on good stead to return to power in 2019.
He assured the Makarfi-led leadership of the full cooperation of the governors, adding that, “where we need to speak we will speak, where we need to spend money, we will spend”.
However, members of the Sheriff faction refused to speak on the outcome of the court case.
Spokesperson for the faction, Mr. Bernard Mikko, who had earlier told one of our correspondents that members of the faction were meeting and would speak afterwards, later switched off his telephone.
Also, Sheriff’s deputy, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, did not return his calls and had yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, APC National Vice-Chairman (North-East), Alhaji Mustapha Salihu, said the Supreme Court judgment resolving the leadership tussle in PDP, was not a threat to APC.
He said this at APC national secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday.
The party chieftain said it didn’t matter who led the PDP, the party, as a platform, had lost credibility.
Salihu added, “You assume that it is about Ali Modu Sheriff and Makarfi or anybody else? It is not so. The issue is this, what you look at is the party as an institution.
“This is an institution that institutionalised corruption. This is an institution that distroyed our infrastructure. This is an institution that distroyed our security. We are not threatened by anybody that is left of that institution.”
But Organising Secretary of PDP in the South-West, Mr. Fasiu Bakene, described the judgment as a good foundation for democracy.
Bakene stated, “The Supreme Court’s judgment today is a clear and solid foundation for the sustenance of democratic rule in Nigeria.
“With this judgment, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi caretaker committee should immediately put PDP in its rightful position of giving good governance to Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliation.”
Against the backdrop of the nation’s rising debt profile, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said the Federal Government must not borrow more to fund its budget.
Adeosun said the government should instead raise the money needed by other means, calling into question planned foreign loans of $2bn from lenders like the World Bank, according to Reuters.
The government had planned to borrow extensively from overseas to fund a record budget aimed at helping the country spend its way out of its first recession in 25 years.
But plans for lenders like the World Bank and the African Development Bank to loan at least $2bn to Nigeria have been stalled for over a year as international organisations’ frustrations mounted at the country’s refusal to impose key fiscal reforms such as allowing its foreign exchange rate to float freely.
The minister’s comments, made at a business forum in Abuja, suggested that the government would no longer seek such loans, or an additional $1.5bn it had planned to raise from international debt markets.
“We cannot borrow any more, we just have to generate funds domestically enough to fund our budget and mobilise revenue to fund the necessary budget increase,” she said.
In May, head of Nigeria’s budget office said the country had a shortfall of $7.5bn for the 2017 budget expenditure, and added that would be addressed with $3.5bn from the aforementioned loans and debt.
The government also planned to raise $4bn from the local debt market, he said at the time.
The Presidency signed off on its record N7.44tn budget for 2017 in June, after numerous delays.
The plan projects a deficit of N2.21tn, implying a deficit equivalent to 2.18 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
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