ENUGU MOSQUE FIRE: OHANEZE VISITS MUSLIM COMMUNITY, APPEALS FOR CALM
The apex Igbo-socio cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday visited the Muslim Community in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The visit led by the President of Ohanaeze in Enugu State, Chief Alex Ogbonna, was to commiserate with them over the fire incident which engulfed a mosque in the area.
A mosque located at Ogrute, the council headquartres was early morning of Saturday last week engulfed by a mysterious fire, which razed the entire roof down.
Ogbonna, who led other members of his exco to the mosque, said he was in the area to re-echo the existing peace and bond existing among all the residents of the State irrespective of their religious and ethnic differences.
Ogbonna, who expressed sadness over the inferno, urged the Muslim faithful to accept the development as an act of God which should not be allowed to affect the existing cordial relationship existing between Christians and Muslims in the State.
“We are here to sympathize with you and to tell you that whatever may be the case, we shall continue to be one.
“You have been here for several years and there has never been any incident of whatever form. So, our appeal is that you all should continue to live in peace.
“So, the essence of our coming here today is to show solidarity with the Imam and thee Muslim community in this area.
“We have Christians, traditionalists and Muslims in this State and all of them practice their religion unhindered.
“There is absolute freedom of worship in Enugu State and as such everybody is free to pursue their religion. That’s why we felt touched that this happened to a house of God”, he said.
Ogbonna further stated that “we felt that what happened is quite unusual because this is the most peaceful State. The Governor is a peaceful man and that is why in Enugu, everybody sleeps with two eyes closed.
“Also, from what we have noticed today, almost all the Muslim faithful here, including the Imam are Igbos. So, this is internal; this has nothing to do with ethnic group or religion. Our people should not be afraid at all.
“However, we are sure that God will find a way in distant time to see to the erection of a better mosque here.”
In a remark, the Chief Imam of Enugu-Ezike, Alhaji Ali Osai expressed happiness with the Ohanaeze leadership over the visit.
He stressed that they had lived in absolute peace with adherents of other religions, stressing that “the peace will be sustained.”
SOUTHWEST MILITARY OPERATION TO TACKLE BADOO, OTHERS _ARMY
The Nigerian Army on Wednesday identified the Badoo group and other cults as one of the security challenges that Operation Crocodile Smile II would take care of in the South – West .
The Director , Army Public Relations, Brig . Gen. Sani Usman , who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents , insisted that the military operations– Egwu Eke II and Crocodile Smile II – like the earlier operations, were not targeted at “ any particular ethnic group or group of individuals. ”
Usman said, “ Let me tell you . I made reference to Operation Crocodile Smile, because there is so much mischief and misinformation in respect of Exercise Egwu Eke II. What we are saying is that the exercise is not targeted at any particular ethnic group or a group of persons.
“ The army needs to train because in the event of being called upon by the civic authorities , we will know what to do. So , we are looking at large – scale security challenges and we train on those aspects . Last year , we had all these exercises based on the challenges at that time.
“ But this year, there are issues associated with criminalities such as Badoo and other cult- related activities . The problems associated with the North -West are different from the South – South or the South – East or a combination of both. The whole idea is that these exercises are routine and some people only blow things out of proportion. But we mean well and we just want to train our troops to be more professional .”
But the pan- Yoruba group , Afenifere condemned the planned deployment of troops in the South -South and South – West geopolitical zones , saying there was no basis for it .
The group said it was not the duty of the military to fight crimes , noting that the military authorities should rather deploy their personnel in the North -East where their services were needed.
Afenifere spokesman , Yinka Odumakin , in an interview with The Southwest first alert, raised concern over the deployment of troops for police duties when the military had not totally vanquished Boko Haram insurgents .
He said, “ There is no basis for it (troops deployment ), there is peace in the South – West and calm in the South – South as of now except there are fifth columnists within the administration who just want to provoke crisis where there is none .
“ If they say they are looking for kidnappers, even in the South – West , where they say they want to deploy troops , it was the police that arrested the notorious kidnapper, Evans . They arrested him without firing shots or carrying out any major operation , they simply used intelligence and arrested him .
“ If there should be any crime that the military want to curb , it is the police that should do it . There is no need for any Operation Python Dance, they should go and dance in the North – East where Boko Haram killed an Imam and others in Borno a few days ago ,” Afenifere admonished .
Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum and the Ijaw Youth Council have called on the Federal Government to reconsider the deployment of soldiers in the Niger Delta region under the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile 11,’ , saying that the move could undermine the relative peace in the region.
In a statement signed by its Coordinating Secretary, Dr . Alfred Mulade, on Wednesday, PNDEF said deployment of soldiers was misadvised and ill – conceived especially at this time when the geopolitical zone gradually coming to terms with the urgent need for sustaining the relative peace in the region .
The President of the IJC, Mr . Eric Omare , has also warned that the plan to extend Operation Crocodile Smile to the Niger Delta region will only aggravate the volatile situation in the area .
Omare said , “ The plan unnecessary; the Federal Government should not consider what the Operation Python Dance did in the South – East , which led to the tagging of the Indigenous People of Biafra as a terrorist group , as an achievement.
“ What Operation Python Dance has done is not an achievement to the Federal Government . It is negative for the government .
“ For the Niger Delta , from my experience , extending the Operation Crocodile Smile to the Niger Delta will only aggravate the volatile situation in the region .”
He , however , advised the Federal Government to reconsider its position on the matter…
AUDITOR GENERAL LAUNCHES 5-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN
The office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuGF) launched it’s strategic development plan (SDP) today, first of it’s kind in history of Nigeria.
The Auditor-General, Mr Anthony M. Ayine, FCA in his presentation said one of the major impediments of progress in Nigeria is poor governance, especially in the form of corruption, waste, inefficiency, poor accountability and lack of transparency.
The Strategic Development Plan being launched today is sets out with the efforts to reverse decades of under-performance by the audit function as well as under-investment in Audit. Firstly, Nigeria has not had an audit law since Independence (other than Audit Ordinance of 1956). The audit bill has been passed at the House of Representatives.
There is need for an operational and financially independent Audit Office, that is free from external influence or indirect Control, able to deliver on it’s mandate without obstruction, and empowered to report it’s findings accurately and in full without impediments. There is need for independent Audit Report on the performance and on the financial position of various initiatives across several sectors. The fascilities, equipment and training available to the Auditor.
The solution is most likely to lead to sustained system wide improvement, and the strengthening of governance across all areas of government endeavor, is to ensure that the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) charged with the audit of these MDAs, is enabled and empowered to do a thorough and independent job.
MARKAFI OPENS UP ON DIEZANI, JAMES IBORI’S CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS
The National Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said he did not investigate a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke in 2015.
Markafi was the Chairman Senate Committee on Finance then.
Senator Makarfi spoke with journalists in Kaduna on Saturday where he noted that his panel was saddled with the responsibility of probing the financial records of the NNPC.
According to him, “We did not investigate her (Diezani ). We investigated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the proceeds of sale of crude that NNPC was supposed to have remitted to the federation account and for the period of either 15 or 16 months.
“Our report made it clear that there were several aspects under her ministry that we did not look into because we were not mandated to do that like the issue of swaps, strategic alliances, sale of oil blocks, investments and other issues.
“Still, within the area we investigated, our report was clear that over N1 bn was not accounted for even though some agencies such as NPDC accepted that some hundreds of millions (naira) were in their accounts waiting for reconciliation before they could be remitted.
“We were asked to follow up when the senate approved that report, so we wrote series of letters to confirm whether the remittances had been done, but maybe because we were leaving office, our letters were ignored.
“The report is there. We never cleared anybody. We were not asked to investigate her as a person but NNPC as an institution. They owned up to everything, only that they could not account for everything and our report showed that.”
He also spoke concerning a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, saying that since he had served his sentence, he is free to join any political party and participate in politics.
He said, “The law prevents him from holding public office for some time and if we apply the law, we should not deny him his constitutional right to participate in politics.
“Participating in politics does not mean occupying public office. Why are prisoners allowed to vote? It is because they have the constitutional right. So an ex- convict has the right to participate in anything the law allows.
“By 2019, when we take over, we are not going to be vindictive but the truth will prevail.
PAY US OR FORGET OUR VOTES, EX_LG CHIEF’S THREATENS ANAMBRA GOVERNOR
The ex-council chiefs said they won’t vote for Obiano if their arrears totalling about N80m are not paid before the Nov. 18 governorship election.
Former Deputy Chairmen of Local Government Areas in Anambra State have threatened to withdraw their support for the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano’s re-election bid.
They said the governor should not count on their votes if their arrears totalling about N80 million are not paid before the November 18 governorship election in the state.
The council chiefs made the declaration on Saturday, September 2, after a meeting in Awka, the state capital.
They said the debts include wardrobe allowances, 28-day hotel claims, furniture allowances and salary differentials for the two years they served.
The chiefs, under the aegis of Deputy Chairmen’s Forum, alleged that former local government chairmen and councillors who served with them had long been paid such entitlements.
“We are 20 in number across Anambra north, central and south senatorial districts of the state; and we have siblings, children, parents, friends and well wishers,” the forum leaders, Messrs Chuks Obiwelozo and Emmanuel Enwerem said.
They said each of the 20 ex-deputy chairmen are entitled to about N4 million.
“We want the governor to know what is going on; we are suffering and this is adversely affecting our families.
“And we want him to know that this is election period. We can’t go into that election in empty stomachs.
“The governor is a good person, but some of his aides are blocking us from seeing him and lodging our complaints. There’s communication gap and we are not happy about it,” they said.
According to them, when their tenure ended about a year ago, they were paid N2.5 million each in two instalments in that respect from their total due of back pay of about N6 million.
“Our protest is not against the governor, but it’s clear and natural that hungry people cannot be expected to participate effectively in any electoral process. We want the governor to hear this and pay us so that we can be part of the electioneering.” the forum said.
However, the Chairman of Local Government/State Joint Account Committee, Mr Tony Olih , said the state government is not owing the former council chiefs.
He said the Obiano administration has settled the council ex-workers as stipulated in their letters of engagement.
“What you people should consider is whether the contents of the appointment letters were fulfilled or not. Their appointment letters were clear and they accepted them, so why return now after they had served out their tenures to complain?” Olih said.
He added that during the government’s meeting with the deputies, they were told them what the government could afford and it was agreed that payment would best be staggered, and that was what was done.
PRESIDENT BUHARI LEAVES NIGERIA ON MONDAY
Baring any last minute change of mind, President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Nigeria on Monday, September 4, 2017 for a trip to Washington, DC.
Buhari’s trip to the US is at the invitation of President Donald Trump.
SaharaReporters quoted a Nigerian Presidency source as saying that Trump had extended the invitation last February, shortly after his inauguration.
The president is scheduled to leave his hometown, Daura, by helicopter at 9:15 am on Monday for Katsina airport. From the airport, he will fly out at 10 am aboard a presidential jet to Washington, DC.
The source said the earlier plan was for the president to combine the official visit to the US with his participation at the UN General Assembly in New York from September 21 to 25, 2017.
BREAKING: NNPC CRASHES PRICE OF PETROL AND COOKING GAS NATIONWIDE
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that their sustained strategic intervention in the efficient supply and distribution petroleum products, has led to a significant reduction in the prices of premium motor spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas, nationwide.
Spokesman of the corporation, Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement on Sunday, said a national survey by oil and gas forum, NNPC’s weekly TV programme, indicated that in the last few weeks, the price of petrol has fallen steadily from N145 per litre to between N142 and N143 per litre in some stations across the country.
According to him, NNPC mega and affiliate stations across the country are selling for N143 per litre, while the pump price range is between N142 and N145 per litre in some major and independent marketers in Lagos, Abuja, Sokoto, Enugu, Delta and other major cities.
“One of the respondents in the survey and a manager at an independent fuel retail station in Abuja, Mohammed Abdullahi, said the station currently sells petrol at N142 per litre in line with the prevailing market situation in order to sustain the turnover of the business and to attract more motorists to the station,” the statement read.
“Another independent marketer in Mosimi, Emeka Ikechukwu, said the going ex-depot prices of PMS had dropped from N138 per litre in most depots to N133.28 in NNPC depots and between N130 and N131 per litre in private depots.
“However, the situation is slightly different in Aba and Umuahia in Abia State and Calabar in Cross River state where most independent fuel stations as well as major marketers selling the product at N145 per litre.
“The survey also showed a similar trend of drop in price for cooking gas with the average price for refilling 5kg cylinder at N2,215.96 from the former price of N2,500.00.
“The study further revealed that states with the lowest average price for the 5kg LPG refill were Kaduna and Niger at N2,000; Kogi at N2,005.00; and Oyo at N2,033.33.”
Ughamadu also said the prices of cooking gas have also reduced.
“At the NNPC Mega and retail stations nationwide, a 12.5kg of cooking gas that was sold for N4,500 a few months ago is now sold for N3,800 while other retail outlets sell the same quantity for N4,000,” he said.
“NNPC has sustained its interventions through sustained improvement in the supply of the products and remodeling of distribution channels to address sufficiency issues across the country.”