Jonathan was never committed to defeating B’Haram – Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said on Monday that despite what his administration might want people to believe, former President Goodluck Jonathan was never committed to ending the Boko Haram insurgency during his tenure.

Osinbajo said this in a lecture titled, “The unraveling of Boko Haram and the rebuilding of the North-East of Nigeria” which he delivered at the Harvard University’s Weatherland Centre for International Affairs, United States.

The Vice-President’s media office made the speech available to journalists on Monday.

While attributing his position to many factors, Osinbajo said it was politically convenient for the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party to claim that the Boko Haram sect was sponsored by a northern-Muslim political elite to discredit the government led by a Christian.

He recalled that when the All Progressives Congress was formed, the then ruling party was also quick to paint it (APC) as the political wing of the Boko Haram sect.

He said it was not until President Muhammadu Buhari who was then the leader of the opposition, was nearly killed in an attack in Kaduna that the false narrative began to lose credibility.

The Vice-President added, “Secondly, the ruling party also somewhat cynically seemed to have considered that since BH attacks were actually in the heartland of the opposition it was not necessarily an unwelcome development as it could only weaken the opposition.

“Third, extensive corruption in arms procurement estimated at about $15bn, ensured that the military remained poorly equipped and demoralised.

“A number of well-publicised mutinies occurred and troops involved were taken through widely unpopular court-martials.

“As the government dithered and equivocated BH proceeded to realise the objective of occupying territory and  establishing Islamist states in Nigeria and in the Lake Chad basin.

“In Borno State alone, it occupied and hoisted its flag in 20 of the 27 Local Government Areas that constituted the state. In Adamawa State,  BH took Mubi and some villages in Yobe State.”

Osinbajo said it was not until the abduction of more than 200 secondary schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok that public outrage against Jonathan’s government’s inept handling of the insurgency reached its peak.

He added that the government then incurred widespread anger when it denied that an abduction took place and suggested that the opposition had simply invented the story.

Osinbajo, however, said Buhari’s assumption of office changed the tide.

He said the strongest reasons for Buhari’s victory in the March 2015 presidential election was the expectation that going by his reputation as a no-nonsense soldier, he would defeat Boko Haram and restore peace to the North-East.

True to type, he said within six months of Buhari’s Presidency, the sect had been effectively dislodged from all the local governments they once held and had retreated into the Sambisa Forest and the northern border towns and villages.

He said the terrorists’ military capacity had been severely degraded and their supply lines effectively blocked.

Osinbajo said the ability of Boko Haram to get willing suicide bombers remained a mystery.

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Cattle rustlers kill five in Niger

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Enyioha Opara, Minna

Cattle rustlers on Monday attacked Gbada community in Kaure, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State and killed five persons.

 Our correspondent learnt that the attack was carried out by about 30 cattle rustlers at about 3am and that many villagers were injured, others missing, while many cows were taken away.

The senator representing Niger East, David Umaru, has condemned the attack, describing it as barbaric and heinous, calling on security agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.

Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent in Minna, Umaru explained that he got a call from some members of the community informing him of the invasion and he promptly alerted the police in the state.

The Chairman of Shiroro Local Government Area, Hassan Jagaba, who confirmed the attack to journalists, described the onslaught as inhuman and devastating.

The Police Public Relations Officer of the state police command, DSP Bala Elkana, also confirmed the report, saying that the invaders fled to the neighbouring Kaduna State.

He said the anti-cattle rustling team was combing the forest through which the fleeing rustlers escaped.

He said that no arrest had been made in respect of the attack.

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ACF laments insecurity in the North, el-Rufai hails group

Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has lauded the pan-northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum,  for its contribution towards addressing the security challenges being experienced in the North.

The governor said this when he  received a delegation of the ACF, who paid him a courtesy visit on Monday at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna.

El-Rufai said the ACF’s plan to organise a security summit in Kaduna was coming at a time the North was  battling with  insecurity ranging from cattle rustling, kidnapping, banditry to reprisal attacks in different parts of the region.

The governor, who noted that the summit would help in finding solutions to the unfortunate security challenges confronting the region, assured the delegation of the support of the state government towards the success of the summit.

Earlier, the Deputy Chairman of the ACF, Alhaji Liman Kwande, who led the delegation,  told the governor that the ACF was worried by the rise in security challenges in the region.

This, he said, was the reason the ACF was planning to organise a security summit in Kaduna to find lasting solution to the security challenge in the North.

Kwande, who represented the forum’s Chairman and a former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Ahmadu Commasie, also condemned the recent attack by suspected herdsmen on the people of Godogodo in Jema’ah Local Government Area of the state.

He  added that the rampant kidnapping of innocent Nigerians along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway was a source of concern to the ACF.

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Ambode is doing well –PDP

Ramon Oladimeji

A former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, has said Igbo people are better traders than politicians.

Kalu said the lack of understanding of politics and the indiscipline of Igbo politicians were responsible for what he called the political backwardness of the South-East.

He said the political fortune of the Igbo would have been better had their politicians approached politics like the Yoruba.

Kalu said Igbo politicians had a lot to learn from how a former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, and his predecessor, Bola Tinubu, handled their differences during Fashola’s second term.

He said things would have been different if his own successor, Theodore Orji, had the same approach as Fashola.

Kalu, who said most of the Igbo elite were selfish, said the Igbo should blame themselves and not the Federal Government for their woes.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Interview magazine, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene, in a statement of Monday, quoted Kalu as saying this in a recent interview he granted the magazine.

According to Ishiekwene, Kalu told The Interview magazine that, “Let me tell you, there were more problems between (Bola) Tinubu and (Babatunde) Fashola than there were between me and Theodore Orji. But it is the discipline of the Yoruba that kept them at bay.

“The Igbo have no discipline in terms of politics. They are very good traders; they’re good in anything they do, but they don’t understand politics.”

Kalu recalled a conversation he had with President Muhammadu Buhari, where the President wondered aloud “why previous high-profile Igbo appointees had done nothing for the region.”

According to Ishiekwene, Kalu barred his mind on the agitation for the sovereign state of Biafra as well as the travail of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

 He also spoke on “his relationship with former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Governor Ikedim Ohakim; the recent statement of former Governor Peter Obi; and allegations that while he governed Abia for eight years, his mother ruled,” Ishiekwene said.

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Receding Lake Chad leaves 40 million jobless, says minister

Kayode Idowu, Maiduguri

Receding Lake Chad has left about 40 million youths restive and exposed to poverty and unemployment in the West African and Central African sub regions, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Ibrahim, said on Monday.

The minister, who noted that this had often contributed to the insecurity and strive on the African continent, said the most affected countries as a result of the recession of the Lake included Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Ibrahim, who was represented by Ambassador Ahmed Gusau, said this while delivering a keynote address at a workshop organised by the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa with the theme, “Water Resources and Sustainable Environmental Management in the ECOWAS region” in Maiduguri.

The minister said there was urgent need to brainstorm on the lingering issues of water resources and environmental management in the ECOWAS region.

She said many technical experts were brought together to brainstorm and fashion out an enduring solution to the poverty, unemployment and insecurity challenges caused by the problem.

The minister lamented that though the problems of water recession and environmental degradation had been addressed  by international organisations including the African Union, New Partnership for Africa’s Development andthe United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisations, the challenges persisted.

The other dangerous angle to the receding lake, according to her, “is the devastation of the ecosystem caused by environmental degradation through refuse dump on coastal lines which emits toxins that are injurious to human health.”

She noted that environmental pollution had been identified as the major reason for the depletion of the ozone layer with harmful radiation on human health.

The minister added, “This has rendered many people homeless and by extension contributed to poverty, hunger, depression, unemployment, conflicts and total economic recession in the ECOWAS region.”

The minister, however, assured stakeholders of the Federal Government support and in addressing the issue of receding Lake Chad, River Niger and any threat to the coastal line to reduce the menace of water recession and environmental degradation.

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Maiduguri, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi, who was the chairman of the occasion, said that the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East was a symptom of the challenges of water resource management in the Lake Chad Basin Areas.

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Sokoto agog for Sultan’s 10th anniversary

Adeniyi Olugbemi, Sokoto

Sokoto metropolis is wearing a new and clean look, as the celebration of  the 10th anniversary of His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar 111, as the Sultan of Sokoto draws closer.

A drive round the town saw countless roundabouts that dotted the city roads, repaired where necessary and all repainted. The Sultan’s palace was not left out.

Weeds on major highways are also cleared while drainages are also being cleared to give the state capital a befitting look.

Significantly, most of the roundabouts scattered all over the state capital are painted in the colours of different commercial banks in Nigeria and branded with their logo.

The nation’s apex bank, CBN, was not left out in the frenzy, with its conspicuous logo erected at the biggest and busiest roundabout, on Ahmadu Bello Way, under the fly-over, constructed by the Governor Aliyu Wamakko administration.

Investigation also revealed that major hotels within Sokoto had been booked and reserved to compliment government residential lodges, to accommodate guests envisaged to attend the event.

Activities lined up for the celebration begins on Wednesday, November 2, with an International Symposium on the legendary Sokoto Caliphate by renowned scholars, and presentation on the proposed Nana Asma’u College of Medical Sciences.

During the symposium, there will also be a presentation on some translated books authored by the founding fathers of the Caliphate like the legendary Jihadist, Sheikh Uthman Bin Fodio, Abdullahi Gwandu and Muhammadu Bello.

A cultural night to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Caliphate is scheduled for Thursday, November 3, while special prayers for sustainable peace in the state, Nigeria and the world at large will be conducted on Friday, November 4.

The grand finale on November 5, will be attended by President Muhammadu Buhari and guests will be treated to a grand durbar, that will feature thousands of horse riders.

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Buhari, N’Delta leaders meet in Abuja today

Fidelis Soriwei and Okechukwu Nnodim

The meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Niger Delta leaders will hold on Tuesday (today) in Abuja.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had on Monday, described the meeting as contentious due to the controversies it generated among Niger Delta leaders.

Kachikwu, however, said that despite the increased controversy, negotiations would continue until the unrest and militancy in the oil-rich region were adequately resolved.

He had on Thursday announced that the leaders from Niger Delta would meet with the President this week Tuesday to discuss issues affecting the region.

Kachikwu, who spoke about the controversies surrounding the meeting during a gas conference in Abuja on Monday, said, “We are having our first meeting (tomorrow), which is already becoming very contentious. We would be surprised if it wasn’t. We were encouraged to continue to engage, despite these misunderstandings. I am personally committed to ensuring a very robust engagement with every stakeholder in the region to ensure the sense of inclusion.”

He said the threat to the nation’s gas supply from militants and insurgency in the Niger Delta were critical and thought-provoking, stressing that the government was trying to address the situation and others through negotiations with various stakeholders in the Niger Delta.

The Punch had exclusively reported that there were sharp divisions among leaders of ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta over the choice of representatives of the region for the scheduled meeting with President Buhari on Tuesday.

Similarly, it was revealed on Monday that elders, leaders and stakeholders of the region reportedly rejected the Federal Government’s move to launch a $10bn (N4tn) infrastructural rebirth investment programme in the area.

It was also learnt on Monday that leaders of the region were still consulting in order to have a common front in their meeting with the President on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, investigations by our correspondent have revealed that the leaders of the Niger Delta have resolved their differences over the delegates list for the meeting.

The group led by Chief  Edward Clark reportedly took a decision to harmonise the three different lists that came from different leaders of the region.

A source privy to the meeting confided in our correspondent that it was agreed that a new list comprising prominent elders and activists who had worked for peace in the region should be drawn up for the discussion with the President.

The source said, “All the ethnic groups in the Niger Delta would be represented in the meeting. For stance, Prof. Gabriel Darah, and Prof. Amos Utuamah would lead the Urhobos; the Olu of Warri nominated people including Chief Isaac Jemide for the Itsekiri; a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Olisah Imegwu, will represent Ndokwa; and the President General of Isoko Development Union, Gen. Iduh Amadhe, will represent the Isoko people.”

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If Fashola were Igbo, he would have left Tinubu – Kalu

Ramon Oladimeji

A former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, has said Igbo people are better traders than politicians.

Kalu said the lack of understanding of politics and the indiscipline of Igbo politicians were responsible for what he called the political backwardness of the South-East.

He said the political fortune of the Igbo would have been better had their politicians approached politics like the Yoruba.

Kalu said Igbo politicians had a lot to learn from how a former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, and his predecessor, Bola Tinubu, handled their differences during Fashola’s second term.

He said things would have been different if his own successor, Theodore Orji, had the same approach as Fashola.

Kalu, who said most of the Igbo elite were selfish, said the Igbo should blame themselves and not the Federal Government for their woes.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Interview magazine, Mr. Azu Ishiekwene, in a statement of Monday, quoted Kalu as saying this in a recent interview he granted the magazine.

According to Ishiekwene, Kalu told The Interview magazine that, “Let me tell you, there were more problems between (Bola) Tinubu and (Babatunde) Fashola than there were between me and Theodore Orji. But it is the discipline of the Yoruba that kept them at bay.

“The Igbo have no discipline in terms of politics. They are very good traders; they’re good in anything they do, but they don’t understand politics.”

Kalu recalled a conversation he had with President Muhammadu Buhari, where the President wondered aloud “why previous high-profile Igbo appointees had done nothing for the region.”

According to Ishiekwene, Kalu barred his mind on the agitation for the sovereign state of Biafra as well as the travail of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

 He also spoke on “his relationship with former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Governor Ikedim Ohakim; the recent statement of former Governor Peter Obi; and allegations that while he governed Abia for eight years, his mother ruled,” Ishiekwene said.

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Abuja power firm disconnects APC secretariat over N1.2m debt

John Alechenu, Abuja

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has disconnected electricity supply to the National Headquarters of the All Progressives Congress over its inability to settle a N1.2m debt.

The secretariat is on Blantyre Street, Wuse 11 Abuja..

It was learnt in Abuja, on Monday, that the AEDC is seeking a balance of N1.2m after the party paid N.5m out of the outstanding N1.7m debt accumulated over time.

A copy of the receipt of payment of the N.5m pasted at the entrance of the party secretariat indicated that the payment was made on October 24, 2016 via a Zenith Bank cheque, with deposit slip number: 316088.

The document also has PHCN receipt number: 0024102016000 and payment reference number: ZIB/PHCN/24-10-2016 with the (original) customer name written as the Nigeria Export Promotion Council clearly written out.

A member of staff of the AEDC, however, confided in our correspondent that the disconnection was actually carried out close to two weeks ago “when the management felt the party has not shown sufficient commitment towards meeting its obligations.”

The source said, “I understand they have made a part payment of N500, 000 out of the debt. I cannot say if this gesture is sufficient to enable us to restore power to the building.”

None of the party officials was willing to speak on the record about the issue because “it is too embarrassing.”

However, a high ranking party member who spoke in confidence said, “You know the country is in recession. We are not immune to the funding challenges facing other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“In fact, I think Nigerians will now know that this is a departure from the immediate past because we are the governing party it does not mean we can dip our hands into the national treasury to meet our obligations.”

The source was however silent on what happened to funds generated from the sales of expression of interest and nomination forms for the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections estimated to be in excess of N100m.

Attempts to get an official reaction to this development failed.

Calls to the mobile telephone number of the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, were neither picked nor returned, a text message sent to him had yet to be replied as of  the time of filing this report.

Similar calls to the party’s National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, indicated that it was switched off. A response to a text message sent to him was also being expected as of the time of filing this report.

Most of the power distribution companies have described unpaid bills and vandalism as some of their biggest challenges.

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MainOne selects Minkels to enhance data centre market

Ozioma Ubabukoh

Minkels, part of a publicly traded company, Legrand, has been chosen as a data centre supplier for premier West African connectivity and data centre solutions company, MainOne.

MainOne blazed the trail in Africa with its undersea fibre optic cable connecting West Africa to Europe and the construction of West Africa’s largest commercial Tier III+ Data Centre, MDXi.

MainOne observed a strong market demand for a world-class, carrier-neutral co-location data centre in Nigeria in 2012.

The Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Ms. Funke Opeke, said, “The market demand rapidly outstripped the co-location space in our landing station and necessitated the construction of a purpose built Tier III facility with 600 rack capacity. We developed the Lekki-data centre (MDXi) over 24 months and launched in January 2015 to keep up with the customer demand.”

She said that MainOne, in search of best of breed solutions, conducted a global search for a more flexible Cold Aisle Containment System to accommodate the various needs of their global customers with racks of varying widths and heights.

“We considered manufacturing in China to meet our specifications and direct purchase from various Ordinary Equipment Manufacturers. A global evaluation followed: all top industry players, custom CAC vendors and local manufacturers were evaluated to provide racks, Cold Aisle Containment, PDUs and accessories for customers at our data centre.

“Minkels met our requirement to provide a CAC solution: flexible concerning rack width and height, able to accommodate a free standing 47U solution, and lend itself to caging. In addition, Minkels has the technical ability to understand our requirements and quickly make custom engineering modifications based on experience with many of our global customers.”

MainOne had deployed the Cold Aisle Containment solution and custom support frames to meet the requirements of their international co-location customers who will be deploying their server racks shortly.

“As the premier data centre in West Africa, it is important we lead in innovation, professionalism and delivery of world-class solutions. Our partnership with Minkels ensures our ability to respond to customers with different technical requirements and volumes,” Opeke said.

She also said, “Feedback from our customers is that they are impressed with the Minkels CAC and it makes the decision and process of co-locating with us easier.

“Given the success of this first-of-its-kind custom CAC deployment, we are in early discussions exploring the possibility to partner in the further deployment of Minkels solutions across MainOne’s MDXi data centres to ensure we remain very competitive in a dynamic and growing market.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Minkels, Christiann van Terheijden, said, he was also delighted with the partnership with MainOne.

He said, “We are very proud that MainOne has selected Minkels as their data centre supplier. We see MainOne as a company that knows how to drive Internet use across the West African region.

“MainOne invests heavily in growing the broadband ecosystem in West Africa. This benefits both inhabitants as Internet enabled business models across the region. We are more than happy to be part of that development.”

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