Showing posts with label Nigeria news headlines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigeria news headlines. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Security guard prevents suicide bombing of hotel in Kano

KANO — A security guard (names withheld) attached to a newly commissioned Hotel Resort, Sunday, night frustrated what would have been a mass murder when he stopped the suicide bomber from parking at the hotel garage.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Jonathan cancels visit to Chibok

The much awaited official visit by President Goodluck Jonathan to Chibok Local Government Area of Borno state slated for today (Friday) has be pastponed indefinitely.
Sources said, the pasponment of the visit became necessary due to some important engagement.

Chibok, is in south and about 140 kilometres drive from Maiduguri, the state capital. It would be recalled that some gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists invaded Chibok on April 14th this year and abducted over 250 schoolgirls writing their final year S.S.C.E examinations, out of which 54 escaped, a situation that has attracted global outrage with some world leading countries offered help to Nigeria on how best to safely rescue the girls.

Monday, 28 April 2014

2nd Niger Bridge Will be completed on schedule – Federal Government

The Julius Berger-Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, consortium, the contractors handling the 2nd Niger Bridge, has promised to complete the project on schedule.
This position was contained in a statement signed by the Managing Directors of Julius Berger and the NSIA, Messrs Wolfgang Goetsch and Uche Orji, respectively, in Abuja, yesterday.
The duo described as untrue reports that there were plans to abandon the project, which was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan recently.

They denied reports that work on the project was suspended due to non-compliance with environmental laws .
The statement read: “Julius Berger-NSIA consortium wishes to clarify that reports suggesting that work on the bridge has been suspended due to non-compliance of environmental laws represent inaccurate and misconstrued information.
“Contrary to recent reports, work on the second River Niger Bridge project continue to progress according to schedule, to ensure timely completion of the bridge, which is set to be executed under the Public Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement for a concessional period of 25 years through the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer, DBFOT, model.

“The consortium also highlights that compliance with Nigerian Environmental Laws continue to be deemed a paramount priority and that Environment Impact Assessment, EIA, is an intrinsic part of the project, which is carried out in compliance with the environmental laws that govern Nigeria and in collaboration with the relevant ministries.”

The cost of the project was negotiated down from N138,530,896,346.72 to N117,860,700,741.82 (VAT inclusive) and certified by Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP.
Of this amount, the Federal Government will be contributing N30 billion as its equity participation in the project.

In one of the reports on the suspension of the bridge, Mr. Osita Okechukwu had told delegates during All Progressives Congress, APC, Enugu State, congress that the 2nd Niger Bridge had been suspended.
Okechukwu, who is the spokesman of APC South-East, had stated that the 2nd Niger Bridge was a strategy by President Jonathan to deceive the Igbo community.

He had reportedly said: “Now that the 2nd Niger Bridge has been suspended, we call for international competitive bidding and due process to govern the award of the contract.
“This is why the Minister of Environment, Mrs Laurentia Mallam, in line with due process and best international practices has exposed the grand deception by refusing to issue certificate to resume work, because there is no Environmental Impact Assessment Report.”

It would be recalled that the poor state of the bridge, constructed in 1963, had been a major concern of Nigerians from the South-East.
This is because the bridge, which is the main link between the South-West and South-East, and connects two large cities, Onitsha in Anambra State and Asaba in Delta State, had been in a bad state.
The bridge, which forms part of the Arterial Route A232; Enugu-Onitsha-Asaba-Benin-Shagamu, is 1,590m in length and located 1.7km downstream of the existing bridge on a new alignment.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

APC postpone states congresses on logistic issues

Abuja -The All Progressives Congress (APC), state congresses scheduled for Saturday have been postponed in Edo, Adamawa and Katsina states due to logistic problems. Correspondents who monitored the exercise in these states on Saturday report that lack of logistics, non conclusion of ward and local government congress led to the postponement. In Edo, the APC Publicity Secretary Mr Godwin Erhahon, said that the state congress had been shifted to a date to be announced later. He attributed the shift to logistic problems, saying “we want to put some things in place to ensure the success of the congress.’’ Erhahon also attributed non conclusion of the local government congress in the state as another reason why the state congress could not hold. He said that local government congresses were yet to be concluded in Orhionmwon, Owan West, Etsako East, Etsako West and Etsako Central councils. He said that a meeting had been slated for this weekend to decide when the local government congress would be concluded. “We are working to ensure the conduct of a smooth state congress,’’ he said. Officials of the APC in Katsina state said that the state congress was postponed indefinitely because of the non conclusion of ward congresses. A Senior Party Official in the state, who pleaded for anonymity, said the ward congresses in 25 local councils would hold on April 30. NAN recalled that the congresses could not hold on April 5, as earlier scheduled due to non arrival of election forms from the party’s National Headquarters in Abuja. In Bauchi the exercise began amidst tight security. Delegates were subjected to thorough search before being allowed into the venue. Six candidates are contesting for the chairmanship position. In Ondo State, the congress kicked off amidst tight security at the venue in Akure. Accreditation of delegates started at about 11a.m. The situation was different in Lagos State as traders used the opportunity offered by the exercise to make brisk business at the venue. Traders selling hats and brooms branded in the logo of the APC; souvenirs and soft drinks were seen making brisk sales at the secretariat of the party in Ikeja the venue of the exercise. Food vendors also recorded high patronage in their makeshift stalls scattered around the venue. Newspapers vendors also seized the opportunity of the congress to sell copies of their newspapers to information-thirsty delegates. Uche Onyema, a trader who sells hats branded in the logo of the party told NAN that he recorded high sales. “I got here around 10 a.m. and I have almost sold all the 150 hats I brought here. “I have even ordered for more hats to meet the demand of delegates who would come later,’’ he said. Mrs Yemi Adebayo, who sells bottled water and soft drinks, told NAN that patronage of her wares was overwhelming. “I have not had a moment of rest since I came to the venue of this congress; I have been busy attending to customers. “Yes business is good as you can see. I have not had a moment of rest since morning, ‘’ she said. Mrs Caroline Andy, who deals on recharge cards, said she wished the congress was held every day. “Honestly, I wish we have this kind of event and sales like this every day. Patronage has been good and I thank the delegates, “she said. Audu Ahmed, who sells brooms, said he had sold more brooms at the venue than he had sold in the last two weeks. “The APC logo is good for my business and I wish they retain that logo for long, “he said. Meanwhile, the APC has suspended its state congress in in Adamawa A statement signed by Mr Kobis Thimnu the state Interim Chairman of the party, said the congress had been shifted to Wednesday. He appealed to members of the party to exercise patience for the inconvenience caused by the postponement. (NAN)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Jonathan meets with Security Chiefs, Sultan, Oritsejafor over state of insecurity in Nigeria

The meeting is part of an enlarged security meeting the president is holding to review the security situation across the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday held a security meeting with leaders of Nigeria’s security agencies.
The meeting was also attended by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor; and the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar.
The meeting, presidency sources said, discussed the worsening security situation across the country particularly in some northern states.
The meeting is part of an enlarged security meeting the president is holding to review the security situation across the country.
A similar but controversial meeting was held last Thursday with security chiefs and state governors in attendance. However, the 16 governors of the All Progressives Congress were not invited for that meeting.
The worsening insecurity has led to the killing of scores of people in Zamfara, Taraba, Borno, and other states in the last one month.
Over 200 female students of a secondary school were also kidnapped in Chibok, Borno state last week.


Monday, 10 March 2014

Take strong action to stem oil theft, IMF tasks FG

Urges govt to cut oil subsidy, rebuild fiscal buffers,curtail waivers, boost non-oil revenue
By Omoh Gabriel,  Business Editor
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board, has advised the Federal Government to take strong action to address oil theft and production losses.

IMF also advised the government to strengthen Nigerian oil industry regulatory framework by passing a sound Petroleum Industry Bill with enhanced oversight and transparency provisions.
It said that the framework for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism could support these efforts.
IMF in its review of the Nigerian economy in its Article IV, 2014 released weekend urged the government to also highlight the need to improve oil revenue management by completing the transition from the Excess Crude Account to the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
These measures, it said, should be supported by full implementation of the Treasury Single Account and the integrated information management systems.
It said that maintaining fiscal discipline in the run up to the elections is also important.
The body also urged the Federal Government to rebuild fiscal buffers, reduce oil subsidy, curtail waivers, and boost non-oil revenue in order to ensure current progress in the country.
IMF board commenting on the Nigerian economy in its Article IV consultation with the Nigerian authorities released weekend emphasized the need to rebuild fiscal buffers and to strengthen the framework further.
In the report, IMF said: “Efforts should be geared towards boosting non-oil revenue by broadening the tax base, improving tax administration and curtailing exemptions, and further reducing oil subsidies.
“Directors underscored that adopting a rule-based reference oil price in fiscal projections and further strengthening public financial management should help the authorities achieve their consolidation objectives.
Directors commended the authorities for lowering inflation and considered the current tight monetary policy stance to be appropriate, given the risks associated with potential capital flow reversals. To better manage liquidity, they generally encouraged more reliance on open market operations to guide short-term interest rates.
“With regard to exchange rate policy, directors noted that greater exchange rate flexibility could serve as an important buffer against external shocks.
Directors noted that the financial system is well capitalised with low non-performing loans and recommended continued improvements in the supervisory framework, especially with regard to increased exposure from cross border financial activities.
Directors encouraged the authorities to build on the progress made in strengthening prudential policies by further enhancing the framework for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, and implementing the remaining Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP).
The report “welcomed the plan to wind down the operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.
Directors emphasized that structural reforms remain critical to improving competitiveness and productivity, and reducing poverty and inequality. They encouraged the authorities to persevere with their Transformation Agenda with continued focus on education and health reforms, the improvement of power supply, and broadening agricultural production.
“Reform efforts should also aim at enhancing the business environment, improving productivity, boosting financial access to small and medium sized enterprises, and strengthening governance and institutional capacity.
The upcoming release of re-based GDP data and further improvements in statistical data collection should strengthen the basis for policy and private sector decision-making in Nigeria.
According to the IMF, “Executive Directors welcomed Nigeria’s continued strong macroeconomic performance, underpinned particularly by sustained high growth in the non-oil sector. Inflation has continued to decline and the reserves position is adequate.
While the economic outlook remains favourable, key risks include continued lower oil revenues from oil production losses and lower oil prices, the impact from the unwinding of unconventional monetary policy in advanced economies, and domestic political and security uncertainties.
“Directors underscored that steadfast implementation of prudent macroeconomic policies and reforms will be essential to addressing the risks and vulnerabilities, generating more inclusive and balanced growth, and reducing unemployment.
“Directors welcomed the authorities’ continued commitment to fiscal consolidation and noted the improvements made to the fiscal framework. However, to ensure macroeconomic stability, they emphasized the need to rebuild fiscal buffers and to strengthen the framework further.
“Directors commended the authorities for lowering inflation and considered the current tight monetary policy stance to be appropriate, given the risks associated with potential capital flow reversals.
To better manage liquidity, they generally encouraged more reliance on open market operations to guide short-term interest rates. With regard to exchange rate policy, Directors noted that greater exchange rate flexibility could serve as an important buffer against external shocks.
Directors noted that the financial system is well capitalized with low non-performing loans.
“They recommended continued improvements in the supervisory framework, especially with regard to increased exposure from cross border financial activities.
Directors encouraged the authorities to build on the progress made in strengthening prudential policies, including further enhancing the framework for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, and implementing the remaining Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) recommendations.
“They welcomed the plan to wind down the operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria. Directors emphasized that structural reforms remain critical to improving competitiveness and productivity, and reducing poverty and inequality.
They encouraged the authorities to persevere with their Transformation Agenda with continued focus on education and health reforms, the improvement of power supply, and broadening agricultural production.
Reform efforts should also aim at enhancing the business environment, improving productivity, boosting financial access to small and medim sized enterprises, and strengthening governance and institutional capacity.
The upcoming release of re-based GDP data and further improvements in statistical data collection should strengthen the basis for policy and private sector decision-making in Nigeria.”

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Nigeria under siege — Christopher Kolade

A former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Kolade, says Nigeria is under siege following Boko Haram killings. Speaking at an interdenominational World Day of prayer held under the theme, “Streams in the Desert”, organised by The Salvation Army, Shomolu, Lagos, Kolade said, “I can say without any doubt that Nigeria in which I was born and in which I grew up as a child is far better than what it is today, but the Lord has revealed to me that Nigeria’s problems are not beyond His power.” He stated that enormous resources abound in the country for which we should have no problems. “Other countries are struggling with earthquakes, tornadoes and many other natural disasters, but God has exempted us. But with all the resources, what are the results? You and I are under siege from various directions. If it is Boko Haram today, it is Niger Delta militants tomorrow.” Gloria Iwuamadi, Chairperson of the occasion, in her speech, encouraged women to pray for the nation as they are closer to God.

Friday, 28 February 2014

World leaders, in Abuja, celebrate with Nigeria at 100

AS Nigeria’s centenary anniversary celebrations peaked Thursday, world leaders took turns to felicitate with the country, urging her to take her prime place in the comity of nations.

  Meanwhile, free movement of Nigerians and foreign dignitaries in Abuja as the nation celebrated its centenary yesterday was hampered by fuel scarcity.

  Some of the leaders who sent congratulatory messages to Nigerian leader included the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II; President Francois Hollande of France, who personally attended the International Conference on Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa.”

  Other leaders who were present at the celebration included the Presidents of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh; Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore; Ali Bongo Odimba of Gabon; Idriss Deby of Chad; Yaya Boni of Benin Republic; Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary-General of Organisation of African Unity (OAU); Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

  Others included Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Jose Manuel Baroso, President of the European Commission; Mrs. Joyce Banda of Malawi; Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania; Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali; Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia as well as Mohamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic.

  The leaders spoke extensively on the warmth relationship between Nigeria and their respective countries.

  In a written message delivered to President Jonathan yesterday by Britain’s Minister for Africa, Mr. Mark Simmonds, Queen Elizabeth II conveyed her best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria.

  “On the occasion of the Republic of Nigeria celebrating 100 years since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, I send the people of Nigeria my warmest congratulations.

 “I have fond memories of my first visit to Nigeria in 1956 and again in 2003 as Head of the Commonwealth.

  “The links between our two countries have deepened over the past 100 years and I hope they will continue to do so.

  “I would like to convey my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria,” she wrote.

  The Ethiopian premier, in his presentations, stressed the need for African leaders to address the root cause of some of the problems confronting the continent, more especially in addressing the needs of the youths.

  According to him, “ensuring security means we as leaders have to address the issues that cause the untold human suffering which our countries have been noted for, failure of which have been series of conflicts.

  “The only way Africa can break the cycle of violence is through the promotion of good governance evolving policies that would guarantee sustainable development of the continent.”

  The Liberian President, who spoke on her country’s experience, noted that the future of the continent would be guaranteed if strong continental leaders like Nigeria showed clear example.

  Johnson, who recalled the great role Nigeria played in restoring law and order to her country during its almost decade-long civil war, noted, however, that the country was yet to shed the toga of the conflict as has been seen from her unstable economy.

  Baroso, who commended Nigerian leadership both at regional and international affairs, called for co-operation from other African countries with Nigeria in order to ensure secured continent free of crisis.

  Simmonds, who read the speech of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said Nigeria, despite her initial challenges, had the prospect of leading other African countries, but noted that only Nigerians hold the key to its development.

  His words: “Nigeria has a great future of prosperity; the choice that Nigerians make in determining their future is entirely theirs, but the UK will continue to assist Nigeria in tackling extremism and terrorism.”

  He used the opportunity to challenge African leaders present at the occasion to work towards producing leaders who will leave strong legacy behind after they might have gone, citing the example of the late South African President, Nelson Mandela who the world celebrated because of his selflessness and spirit of reconciliation.

  Banda, in her intervention, called on Nigeria not to shirk in its responsibility of leading the continent to its destiny. She deplored the recent attack on a college in Yobe State, noting: “As a mother and grandmother, I see the killings in some parts of Nigeria as shocking and saddening. But I can assure you that Malawi will continue to lend its voice on matters that will help in restoring peace in Nigeria.

  Among former Nigerian leaders that graced the conference yesterday included Gen. Yakubu Gowon, former President Shehu Shagari, Chief Ernest Shonekan, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme and ex-Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya. There was also former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, as well as former Minister of External Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari.

  Though the situation abated later in the afternoon, fuel shortage in Abuja caused gridlock as queues blocked most of the access roads within the city.

  Commercial taxi operators also took the advantage of the situation by increasing fares which resulted in some dignitaries’ late arrival at the International Conference Centre, venue of the event.

  The Guardian gathered that the inability of the country to meet its domestic fuel consumption has been linked to non-granting of autonomy to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

  It was gathered that government’s bureaucratic bottlenecks that have been embedded in the operations of the national oil company often resulted in operational delays, especially in the process of award of contracts for the maintenance of critical infrastructure such as refineries, pipelines, strategic reserves, among others.

  Some of the reasons deduced for the consistently non-performing of refineries is the lack of power to award contracts for the refurbishment of the refineries and many layer of approving authorities that the NNPC has to go through before core maintenance work can be executed.(GUARDIAN)

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Court dismisses oil marketer’s application to quash charge

JUSTICE Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Tuesday struck out the application of an oil marketer, Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, seeking to quash the fuel subsidy fraud charge preferred against him and three others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
 Justice Onigbanjo in his ruling dismissed the application for lacking merit.
 The application was filed by Mr. R. A. Oluyede (Ogunbambo counsel) seeking an order of the court to quash all the count charges and information filed against him for lack of jurisdiction.
  His application brought pursuant to Section 66(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and supported by a 26 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by one Kunle Shote, also urged the court to discharge him.
Ogunbambo was absent in court.
 The EFCC had arraigned Ogunbambo over alleged N4.4 billion fuel subsidy scam alongside Mamman Ali, son of Dr. Ahmadu Ali, a former Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Christian Taylor and their firm - Nassaman Oil Services.
 EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo in his response, asked the court to dismiss the application.
 He said the application was premature on the ground that their plea had been taken and trial had commenced.
 “The issue of competency of the charge cannot be raise at this stage when the prosecution has not close its case. Prosecution had only called three witnesses.”
 Oyedepo said the application filed by the “defendant is an abuse of court process.”
 Justice Onigbanjo in his short ruling, however, dismissed the application for lack of merit.
 The judge ealier re-emphasied his bench warrant issued against Ogunbambo in another subsidy matter before him.
 EFCC counsel had urged that another bench warrant be issued against Ogunbambo despite a pending one issued against him earlier in another matter.
  Rotimi argued that since Ogunbambo’s lawyer had tendered same medical report, he tendered in the other matter claiming to had sustained a spinal cord injury after falling from a bathtub in this same matter, another bench warrant should also be issued on him.
   The Judge re-emphasied his earlier ruling on the bench warrant against the marketer and ordered the EFCC to execute the warrant and  adjourned further hearing till May 6, 2014.(GUARDIAN)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Ekwueme, Nwabueze decline to lead Igbo to Nigeria's National conference

Photo credit: VANGUARD

LAGOS—SECOND Republic Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme and iconic constitutional lawyer, Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN) have declined to lead the Igbo delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.

Igbo leaders mounting pressure on the two leaders said the duo, who are intellectual giants and vastly experienced in the act of constitution making would, apart from marshalling the Igbo position, also help hammer out an equitable and workable grundnorm for the country.

Professor Nwabueze, who is chairman of The Patriots, a group of eminent Nigerian statesmen, played pivotal roles in the making of the 1979 Constitution. He was also part of the 1989 experiment.

On the other hand, Dr Ekwueme led the Igbo to the late General Sani Abacha 1994 conference, where his contributions led to the emergence of the six geo-political zones in the country.

Confirming the issue, yesterday, Evangelist Elliot Uko, founder of the Igbo Youths Movement (IYM) and Deputy Secretary of the Nwabueze-led Igbo Leaders of Thought, said Ndigbo would like the two elders to lead them to the confab but unfortunately they have resisted the pressures.

He disclosed that Ekwueme, in particular, will travel out of the country next week for a two-and-a half months trip. The conference, if things go according to plans, will begin early next month.

His words: “Contrary to reports that Dr Ekwueme will lead Ndigbo to the national conference, there will be no such thing. Ndigbo have tried to convince Dr Ekwueme to be a delegate to no avail. All the pressures on him in the last couple of weeks are to no avail. He said he has done his best that he will travel out of the country next week and will be away for at least two-and-a half months. So talks about Ekwueme attending the conference are not true. Both Ekwueme and Nwabueze have resisted pressures to lead the Igbo delegation to the confab.”

This came as Northern governors endorsed a 30-point agenda they will canvass at the conference, just as Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti gave reasons the All Progressives Congress (APC) states, which had dismissed the confab as diversionary and waste of scarce funds, resolved to participate in the exercise.

Meanwhile, traditional rulers in the South-West have called on the government to increase the number of delegates of monarchs in each of the six geo-political zones from three to six.

Northern govs adopt 30-point agenda
To protect the interest of the North at the conference, the 19 northern states have articulated about 30 points that would be presented at the conference. The agenda was hammered out at their two-day meeting concluded in Kaduna on Tuesday.

This is part of the legwork of the governors to ensure that the North speaks with one voice at the conference.

Speaking in an interactive session on the National Conference with major stake holders at Government House Minna, yesterday, Governor, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State said the northern governors took a bold step at their just concluded meeting in Kaduna on the points to be presented at the conference but assured that the points articulated would not in any way tamper with the unity and development of the country.

“In our last meeting, we took a principled position to send our best and experienced people to the conference and this will include those who will be able to defend and discuss the issues without fear or favour but which will not tamper with the unity and development of the country,” the governor remarked.

The adopted points to be presented at the conference as reeled out by Secretary to the Niger State Government, Alhaji Idris Ndako, who is also the secretary of the Northern  States Governors Forum, include fiscal federalism, structure of government, state police, labour matters with regards to wages and salaries, with emphasis on whether salaries should be uniform or based on the financial capability of each state, electricity as a major weapon of economic growth, especially on whether states should be allowed to generate power independently.

Other points include tenure of president and governors, devolution of power, traditional institutions, immunity clause for governors and president, independence of the legislative arm and the judiciary, onshore and offshore dichotomy, resource control.

Others are social security, including health, housing, electoral law which include how elections should be conducted, system of government — presidential or parliamentary, security, creation of more states and local governments and transformation of the agricultural sector as the mainstay of the northern region.

A committee, it was gathered, has already gone round the 19 states to mobilize and sensitize the people on the need to participate in the conference.

Niger State delegates
In line with the agenda, Niger State has nominated her delegates for the confab. They are Alhaji Abubakar Chika Adamu, a former member of the state House of Assembly from Zone B; Halidu Ibrahim from Zone C and  Hajiya Dije Bala, a one-time Commissioner for Education in the state.

Why APC will participate –Fayemi
Governor Fayemi, yesterday said the APC governed states would participate in the forthcoming national conference to take care of the interests all citizens.

The governor, who spoke in Ado-Ekiti, explained that the decision of the governments of the APC-controlled states to participate in the national conference should not be seen as going against earlier position to boycott the conference.

His words: “There is no sudden change of mind. The national conference in its constitution has slot for political parties as well as states. APC is well within its rights as a party to decide on what its position is as far as the national conference is concerned. But APC also has states being governed by its members bearing in mind the fact that governors are governors of all. Without prejudice to the position that our party has taken, we preside over both members as well as non members of our party and it would be wrong for us to decide unilaterally as governors not to allow our citizens to air their views as far as the national conference is concerned.

“Take Ekiti where I can speak authoritatively for example. Ekiti people are very particular about the nature of federalism that we are practising. The citizens have interest in whether we continue to run this kind of feeding-bottle federalism or not or a co-operative federalism within a regional context. They also have a range of interests for economic prosperity and how will agriculture thrive and why should primary education be the right of Federal Government?  Should we then suggest that as governors of our individual states, which are federating units within the Nigerian states, arrogate to ourselves the position that because our party is not participating we should not participate?”

S-West monarchs want delegates increased
Meanwhile, traditional rulers in the South West have called on the presidency to increase the number of traditional leaders’ representatives from three to six in each of the six zones of the country.

This came as they distanced themselves from the call for regional police, saying it would be counter-productive for the corporate existence of the country.

These were part of a communiqué issued by Yoruba Obas Conflicts Resolution Committee at the end of a three-hour deliberation in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Held at the Alakia residence of Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Obateru Akinruntan, who is the chairman of the committee, the meeting was attended by five monarchs, who also canvassed for two out of the expected six slots that would be allotted to the South West.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Dangote Sugar Group gets $35m equipment sale from Pan African Group.

The PanAfrican Equipment Group, a recognized leader in providing mining, construction grade equipment has announced the sale of USD$35 million worth of Komatsu construction equipment to the Dangote Sugar Group.

The equipment was handed over to the Dangote Sugar Group during a handover ceremony which took place at Tin Can Island Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. This landmark sale is PanAfrican’s largest within the agricultural sector and in Nigeria and is in line with the Nigerian 2010 transformation agenda to drive growth in the agricultural sector.

Commenting on the sale, Scott McCaw, Group Managing Director, Panafrican Equipment stated, “We are delighted to have been chosen by Dangote Sugar as a major supplier for their agricultural expansion project in sugar production in Nigeria.”

He further stated “We look forward to building on this relationship and being their partner for development in Nigeria now and in the future. As the sale includes a long-term maintenance support and parts supply contract, we fully expect to maintain a critical role in helping Dangote achieve their goals”


Senate leadership perfects plans to rebuff shut down of government by APC

LAGOS—The Senate leadership has perfected plans to rebuff attempts by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to shut down government by stalling the appointment of seven of the 12 ministerial nominees recently submitted to it.

The Senate leadership in a show of strength, Vanguard learnt last night, was determined to set aside a Senate convention that the APC senators were planning to adopt to stall the confirmation of the targeted nominees in continuation of the party’s protest of alleged reign of impunity in Rivers State.

Seven of the 12 ministerial nominees had been targeted for the APC offensive at the Senate screening that is to commence tomorrow.

The rebuff by the Senate leadership follows the equally strong snub of the APC plan to stop consideration and passage of the 2014 budget. The Senate is set to forward the budget to its committee on supply for defence before Senate committees by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of the Federal Government.

EFCC not witch hunting any Citizens or politicians- Ibrahim Lamorde

ABUJA — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, lamented that its efforts to tackle corruption in the country had been misconstrued by corrupt persons as a witch-hunt.

This came as the anti-graft agency arrested an undergraduate of the University of Ibadan, Orowo Jesse Omokoh, for using an internet dating site to defraud an Australian of the sum of  $90,000.

Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, made the claim when he received the new American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, in his office.

Lamorde told his guest that it was normal for Nigerians to complain against the commission for doing its job, especially during an election year.

Lamorde said: “Most of the times, anything that happens, whether people are at fault, they blame it on someone else.

“Even when there is a genuine case and you go after an individual, they will start saying that he is being haunted because he is this or that. It is a situation that is laden with landmine now.

“So, we have to meander to avoid stepping on the landmine so that they don’t blow us up. It is very difficult. We went through that in 2011. Sometime when election is coming it becomes very difficult to do anything.”

He, however, assured the ambassador that the commission would not be deterred, saying the commission had decide to do its job to the best of its ability.

Lamorde commended the United States government for its continuous assistance to the commission since its inception, describing the US as a major international ally in its fight against corruption and other financial crimes.

On his part, Ambassador Entwistle assured that the US would continue to support and strengthen the EFCC to tackle corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria.

Even though Entwistle did not state the form the support would take, he said the American government was ready to support the commission in any way it could, admitting that corruption was a serious global challenge.

Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency has arrested an undergraduate of the University of Ibadan, Orowo Jesse Omokoh, for using an internet dating site to defraud an Australian of  $90,000.

Arrests UI student for defrauding Australian

Omokoh, 28, reportedly met the victim, Mrs. Jette Jacob, an Australian based in Johannesburg, South Africa, on a dating site and struck a sizzling romantic affair that necessitated him moving to Johannesburg in 2013 to link up with his lover.

According to the EFCC, Omokoh arrived in Johannesburg on February 4, 2013, to meet with Jacob who had been in Johannesburg since November 2012.

The commission said five days after Omokoh had arrived and taken up residence with her, Jacob was found dead in her apartment with some of her valuables missing.

After the incident, Omokoh reportedly fled South Africa and returned to Nigeria, fuelling speculations by the South African police that he might have had a hand in Jacob’s untimely death.

Spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement on the matter, confirmed that the EFCC received a petition from Richard Stanford of Australian Federal Police on March 15, 2013, asking for help to track Omokoh, whom it accused of defrauding Jacob to the tune of $90,000 in a dating scam.

The commission said although it swung into action almost immediately to track down the scammer, Omokoh became elusive until a few days ago when he was nabbed.

The commission said the suspect had already made useful statement while efforts were on to track his accomplices and arraign them in court.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Again Borno, Adamawa Burnt: Gunmen kill 52, set 300 houses ablaze

MAIDUGURI—BORNO, the epicentre of the Boko Haram murderous attacks literally burnt on Sunday as gunmen numbering over 50  invaded Kawuri District of Konduga Local Government Area of the state and set ablaze over 300 houses and shops after killing 52 people including a soldier, and wounding several others including policemen and civilians.

In neighbouring Adamawa State, several people, including two policemen were also feared killed as gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked a church in Chakawa village of Madagali Local Government Area.

Some residents of the affected village who fled the area told newsmen that they were attacked during the Sunday service in the morning.

However, the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawal Tanko, who confirmed the deadly attack in Kawuri town to journalists in Maiduguri, said  40 people were killed while 25 others sustained gunshot wounds and burn injuries.

The Borno attack, which was carried out at about 5pm on a market day led to many traders and residents sustaining injuries. Some of the injured are now receiving treatment at Konduga General Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

Kawuri District is one of the towns in Konduga, which is along Maiduguri-Bama Expressway, about 60 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

This is the second time the town is being attacked. The first was in October last year when some Boko Haram suspects clashed with vigilante youths popularly known as civilian JTF, which led to the killing of 10 people including three youths, while 18 were injured and over 48 shops and 200 houses were burnt in the attack.

Governor Kashim Shettima who was billed to visit the ghost town yesterday morning had to suspend the trip following intelligence reports that the place was not safe.  The terrorists who attacked the town had planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), targeting rescue workers and security operatives deployed to maintain law and order in the area.

Vanguard gathered that the fresh attack on Kawuri town took place at about 5pm on Sunday when gunmen suspected to be terrorists armed with AK47 rifles, IEDs and petrol bombs entered the community and wreaked havoc before fleeing into the Sambisa forest.

I counted 47 dead bodies –Survivor

A survivor, Mallam Mustapha Modu said he counted about 47 dead bodies yesterday morning while several others sustained gunshots and various degrees of burns.

It would be recalled that in the last one week, 37 communities of Kwaljiri, Kaya, Ngawo Fate, Limanti, Njaba, Yahuri, Mude, Wala and Alau among others in Damboa, Konduga and Gwoza council areas have been sacked by terrorists. The displaced residents have taken refuge in some neighbouring villages of Cameroun Republic and other towns including Maiduguri metropolis.

The Police Commissioner of Borno State, Mr. Lawal Tanko confirmed the incident to Vanguard. He said:  “I received an intelligence information that Kawuri town was attacked by Boko Haram sect members suspected to be on  revenge mission on market day (Sunday), where many civilians were killed while several others were left with serious burn wounds before they set the whole place on fire. We have deployed our men to the area and very soon I will feed you with details”.

On the number of casualties on the side of his officers and men, Tanko said, some of his men were wounded in the attack but he did not lose any of them.

How they attacked us – survivors
Some survivors told newsmen in Maiduguri, yesterday, that the attack coincided with the weekly market of the town.

“The gunmen arrived the town using Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, and pretended to be villagers coming to the market. “Unknown to the people the gunmen had planted IEDs at strategic areas in the town before carrying out attacks on residents,” Malam Isa Ibrahim, a survivor, said.

He said that the gunmen also set several houses and shops ablaze before fleeing. Malam Fantara Madugu, another survivor, said he counted about 15 bodies at the end of the attack. We counted about 15 bodies of victims at the end of the attack. ‘We also assisted in conveying about 20 injured persons to the hospital,” he said.

Several worshippers killed in Adamawa church attack

Meanwhile, in Adamawa State, where Christians were attacked on Sunday, some of the worshippers who escaped being killed said: “They used explosives during the attack on worshippers and many people lost their lives”.
A  resident who identified himself as Apogu said: “I cannot actually say how many people were killed but I learnt that about 16 people were evacuated from the church.” Another resident claimed that some houses were also attacked by the gunmen who took some men hostage, while two policemen- an inspector and a sergeant who were on guard in the church were killed.

“I saw some people crying, saying that their relations had been taken away as hostages by the gunmen”, the resident who preferred anonymity said.

Attempts to get military and police authorities in the area to comment on the incident did not yield result.
A soldier in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity told Vanguard that nine people lost their lives during the attack.

He said the Army had sealed up the area and were hunting for the fleeing attackers.
Military authorities in Adamawa State have promised to speak on the issue later, even as the chairman of Madagali Local Government, Maina Ularamu confirmed the attack, but declined to comment on the casualty rate.

Meanwhile, Tanko said, with determination to end the violence perpetrated by terrorists in the region, particularly in Bama, Gwoza, Damboa council areas where over 30 communities were sacked and displaced in the last one week, the state command under the recommendation of the Police Service Commission, has decorated/promoted the Area Commander of Bama, Mr. David Dangiwa from the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police, while Officer in-Charge of Operations, Mr. Aminu Koji was promoted from Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner of Police with immediate effect.

Head of civil service urged concerted efforts
Disturbed by the tragedy,  Alhaji Bukar Aji, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), said the fight against terrorism and crimes was a collective responsibility that should not be left for the Presidency alone.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Oyinlola: I remain PDP National Sec.

Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on Wednesday said he remained the National Secretary of the PDP. Dismissing reports of his suspension from the party, Oyinlola told a news conference in Abuja that the PDP might collapse ``if the crisis rocking it was not properly addressed. ``I want to pray and believe that reason will prevail and will bring the crisis to an end. If not, that may mean the end of PDP as a ruling party’’, he said. He emphasised that he remained the National Secretary of the PDP, adding that he would institute legal action against the party if anything was done in the name of its secretary without his signature. ``I remain the national secretary and I must be allowed to perform my duty because anything done in the name of secretary without my signature is absolutely illegal. ``It will face the legal test at the court and we don't need to put our party into such ridicule and problems’’, he said. He, however, said that he had taken a number of steps to ensure that peace reigned in the party. Oyinlola stressed the need for the party leadership to abide by its Constitution, adding that ruling with impunity was not the way to run a party. ``We all know that factionalisation of a ruling party will have a collateral damage on the unity of the country, more so when we have been in power in the last 14 years. ``To have a new beginning now means stepping backward in terms of development. ``And that is why we were making efforts to make sure that we reconcile. Somebody who wants a united family cannot say go to blazes’’, Oyinlola said. Oyinlola argued that he, Abubakar Baraje, Sam Jaja and Ibrahim Kazaure, who were recently suspended from the party could not be said to be the pillar of `New PDP.’ This, he maintained, could not be correct when seven serving Governors were in the splinter group and were not accused of anti-party activities. ``I want to believe that they only added these other people, the target was Oyinlola, to circumvent the judgment of the Court of Appeal. ``They just added others so that it will not be too naked’’, he said. Oyinlola questioned the legitimacy of the Umaru Dikko-led Disciplinary Committee of the party recently set up by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the party`s National Chairman. According to him, the committee has not been approved by the party`s National Executive Committee (NEC) as stipulated in its constitution and hence cannot be authentic. He further stated that the procedure for disciplining erring party members was clearly spelt out in its constitution and should be adhered to. ``Specifically, Section 57 (4) states that where an allegation is made against a member of the party, the disciplinary committee shall inform the member in writing of the allegations made against him or her. ``Nobody has till date informed me of any wrong doing against my party’’, Oyinlola said. He added that Section 57 (7) of the PDP Constitution stated that only the NEC could entertain questions of discipline as may relate or concern a member of the NEC (NAN)

Monday, 11 November 2013

SSS tackles terrorism with advance tech

The Director-General of the State Security Service, Ekpenyong Ita who disclosed this at the graduation ceremony of the Executive Intelligence Management Course for 47 participants at the Institute for Security Studies, Lower Usuma Dam, Bwari, weekend in Abuja, assured that the Service remained steadfast in her determination and commitment to proactively identify and neutralise security threats. Ita while speaking at the graduation ceremony with theme, “Year 2020: The Challenges of Security Sector Synergy in the Democratic Culture”, said applications of these technologies and human capacity development is already achieving desired result on national security as the relevant agencies have prevented Boko Haram from operating in cities. He stressed the importance of equipping serving and prospective executives of critical organisations in the public and private sectors with appropriate competences to manage security related issues effectively. Ita explained that as part of the human capacity development programme of the agency, 12 staff would soon attend Harvard University for further studies, which he said would empower them for leadership roles. He the SSS had in the last three years provided training in various spheres of security endeavours for 1,248 participants drawn from critical government organisations and various foreign countries. According to him, “this service has therefore placed great premium on the acquisition of advanced technology for its operations through cutting edge know-how in keeping with international best practices. What this has translated to, is the procurement of intelligence products that are more precise, credible, reliable, accurate and I dare say, faultless.” Noting that the acquisition of enhanced intellectual capability alone cannot make for meaningful achievement without commensurate technical support, the DG said that the SSS through the EIMC programme, is placing priority on a more efficient security sector governance and management through synergy. He said the EIMC programme was expanded and extended to critical agencies in the private sector because of the need for collective participation in the nation’s security management.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Sea piracy Nigeria, Indonesia rank high

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report has ranked Lagos Nigeria as one of the pirate prone areas in the world, despite a fall in the attack in global piracy in seven year. The development may lead to an increase in freight rate of Nigerian bound cargoes. Other countries prone to pirate attacks includes Indonesia, Malaysia India, Togo, Egypt and Bangladesh as at September 2013. According to the report, “Pirates/robbers are often well armed, violent and have attacked, hijacked and robbed vessels/kidnapped crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters. Attacks reported up to 170 nautical miles from coast. In many incidents, pirates have hijacked and ransacked vessels and stolen cargo-usually gas oil. A number of crew members have also been injured and kidnapped. Generally all waters in Nigeria remain risky.” The report noted that there surge in the pirate atttack in the Gulf of Guinea, which has replaced Somalia as the world’s piracy hotspot with more than 40 attacks, seven hijackings and 132 crew taken hostage in the first nine months of the year 2013. The Gulf of Guinea accounted for all crew kidnappings worldwide, 32 of them off Nigeria, and two off Togo. Nigeria accounted for 29 incidents, up from 21 a year ago. Two ships were hijacked, 11 boarded and 13 fired on. The IMB report also said Indonesia accounts for the most number of incidents with 68 reports however that such incidents were “low level attacks aimed at thefts against the vessels and should not be compared to the more serious, violent attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and off Somalia.” The director of the international maritime bureau (IMB) warned in 2012 that the region was now a major focal point for armed robberies at sea, “Piracy in west Africa is a serious problem,” said Pottengal Mukundan, IMB director. “Pirates are getting quite audacious, with increasing levels of violence being used.” Mukundan also criticised the lack of efforts by governments in the region to tackle the problem.

Oduahgate: probe and punish all

THE Oduahgate scandal is another proof positive that the rot in government at all levels, not just aviation sector alone is indeed, hydra-headed. Coming on the heels of the recent Associated Airlines crash, which is the seventh in three years with almost 200 lives lost, it is a wake up call for a thorough re-examination of the processes of government with a view to restoring sanity in administration and allocation of scarce resources. For the aviation sector, this means engendering the safety, comfort and confidence of users of air transport services. Following the patriotic action of a whistleblower in the Ministry of Aviation simply called “Nicholas Edwards”, the nation was confronted with the shocking story of how the huge sum of N255 million (or US$1.6 million) was splashed on the purchase of two armoured luxury cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for embattled Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah. After initially denying the purchase, the NCAA and a ministerial aide as an afterthought, put up a lame justification for the purchase. They claimed it was meant to protect the Minister who had come under threats due to reforms she initiated in the aviation sector. We take the position that this is a mere alibi. If allowed to stand, it will signal reinforcing similar alibis by public officials with easy access to public funds to undertake spending sprees that add no value to their schedules, including purchase of armoured security vehicles. We believe that these officials are already over-protected to the detriment of ordinary Nigerians as officials enjoy full complements of security convoys with legions of selected, armed-to-the-teeth policemen on guard duty round the clock. This is partly the reason recurrent expenditure gobble as much as three-quarters of annual budgets of governments at federal, state and local levels, leaving only one quarter of capital votes for development. Apart from the wasteful spending it amounts to, the purchase of these vehicles at such preposterous prices has the baleful imprimatur of corrupt intentions all over it. In the first place, there are clear evidences that armoured luxury cars in the class of the vehicles bought for the Minister go for about N64 million, which is roughly half the price of each of the cars. A thorough investigation of this issue will reveal the extent of over-invoicing which, if established, will make all involved liable for prosecution for corruption. Secondly, signals from the House of Representatives indicate lack of budgetary approval for this purchase. Hon. Zakari Mohammed, spokesman of the House of Representatives who is also a member of the House Committee on Aviation, disclosed that when proposal for the purchase of armoured cars was presented by the Ministry during the budgeting process, it was thrown out outright. The officials later returned with a request for “operational vehicles”, which was approved only for them to go and purchase the armoured cars. It is gratifying that the National Assembly has waded into this matter, while the President has issued the Minister a query, in addition to an administrative panel of inquiry into the debacle. The House of Representatives has given its panel until Wednesday, October 30th 2013 to submit its findings. In the extant case, we must establish beyond reasonable doubts whether these purchases conform with the law recently passed by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) which regulates the standards for catering for Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in terms of salaries, emoluments, housing, vehicles and other matters. We should also establish the role, if any, of the Bureau of Public Procurement in the entire saga. Wherever it is established that this and other laws and regulations guiding proper conduct of office holders has been breached, all officials connected with infractions of the law must face the full weight of appropriate laws. This will serve as a deterrent to others and also help restrain public office holders to moderate their excessive tendencies to live way above the standards established by the rules of public service. We also condemn any act of witch hunting against “Nicholas Edwards”, the whistleblower. He performed patriotic service to the nation and deserves rewards and a service medal at a national honours awards by the President. We stand solidly behind “Nicholas Edwards” and will not accept his persecution in any form. VANGUARD

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Uyo: Esit Eket. monarch kidnapped

UYO —The Paramount Ruler of Esit Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Ubong Assam, was yesterday, abducted by no fewer than 30 gunmen, who stormed his palace at 2a.m. The kidnappers took the royal father to Unyeghe village, Mbo Local Government Area in a car, transferred him to a waiting speedboat and left for the high seas. The kidnap, it was learnt, might be in connection with N2.6 billion compensation paid by ExxonMobil to the four host local government communities, which the youths had rejected. Although the security personnel attached to the royal father attempted to rescue him, the kidnappers’ superior fire power won the day. The Paramount Ruler, who was sleeping when the gunmen struck was, according to a source, not maltreated by the abductors. The source said the abductors were demanding N150 million ransom to release the victim, as their share of the compensation money, which they claimed they joined in agitating for. A family source said: “Some of the gun shots sounded like bomb blasts. The operation was like an invasion.” The Esit Eket Divisional Police Officer could not be reached, but a senior police officer that identified himself as Ogar, said they had received distress calls around 2a.m., but that before Police arrived, the kidnappers had gone. Youths of Esit Eket, Onna and Ibeno local government areas of the state, last week came out to say they had demanded for N26.5 billion from the oil giant due to the oil spill last year September, but that the company paid N2.6 billion. They had alleged that some of the royal fathers in the area connived with the oil company to shot-change them.

National conference will cause Anarchy say Deputy Senate president

ABUJA—DEPUTY Senate President and Chairman, Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, gave insight on why the proposed National Conference cannot be sovereign as being agitated by some people. Senator Ekweremadu specifically said that convocation of a Sovereign National Conference without legal and constitutional framework would end up throwing the country into anarchy. Speaking when the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Dr Femi Okurounmu, led members of his committee to him on consultation, the Deputy Senate President disclosed that the National Assembly was already working on how the result of the exercise could be used to give Nigeria a new constitution. According to him, “when we hear people talking about sovereign national conference; there must be a legal framework for it. You don’t wake up when you have a constitutional conference in place and begin to say you want a sovereign national conference to impose the will of some people on everybody without a legal basis for what they are doing. Otherwise, we are calling anarchy.” Sen. Ekweremadu He further stated that, “Now that we have looked at the 1999 Constitution from 1999 till now, and we tried to do some amendments, it is therefore possible that based on our experience in the practice and the exercise of the review process, there are changes that are fundamental that must be made to make sure that this country progresses. “And so, that is where your job comes in. My understanding from what you said is that your committee is to create framework for this exercise, to provide intellectual background to enable those who will have the conversation to do something that is seamless. “It is not an easy job because it is difficult at this stage to determine the character of representation but that is the business of your committee so. We are not going to worry ourselves about that. We believe that you will deal with that. “For us at the National Assembly, the most important job in this exercise is to provide the necessary legal framework that will support whatever the outcome of both your own committee and that committee that will come after it. “We envisaged as I said earlier from works that were done over these years that a day such as this would come. We proposed to our colleagues a possible amendment to section 9 of the Constitution that would provide a legal basis to a possible constitution because today, what we have in our Constitution, the process for amendment, there is no such provision in this constitution that can successfully power a new Constitution.” Ekweremadu said the country borrowed the example of other countries that have had the kind of experience Nigeria was passing through now such as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Brazil, to bring into the constitution. He said that when the senate meets with the House for their harmonization, that they would support the initiative, especially now that their work was in progress. “If that happens, then, most of the views here would have been addressed because if we say we are a country that believes in rule of law, we must do everything in accordance to the law and not the rule of the tongue,” he stated. He expressed the optimism that the committee and the National Assembly could work together to make the exercise to be fruitful. Ekweremadu said, “I have no doubt whatsoever that you are eminent citizens of Nigeria, very concerned about the progress of Nigeria and you have shown in the past, your commitment to nation building. “We in the Senate have no doubt whatsoever that you are going to bring to bear on this particular assignment, your very wide experience and your very well known commitment to issues of Nigeria as one nation. “So, let me add that we in the National Assembly have been in this business of trying to find some better ways of addressing some of our challenges through some possible amendments, through the business of some constitutional reforms since year 2000.” The Deputy Senate President who said that the proposed amendment to Section 9 of the Constitution as passed by the senate included the referendum noted that there were challenges culminating in 2010 when the constitution was first amended. He said, “In fact, immediately after the beginning of this particular assembly. We had the National Assembly joint committee on constitution review and for which you are quite aware of. We had number of challenges culminating in 2010 when we successfully amended the constitution for the first time. “And we have done it two other times after that and we are now in the fourth phase of that constitutional reform exercise. For us, in doing those exercises, we have come to terms with the reality of the necessity for improvement in our country. “So, we welcome this decision from the federal government to allow Nigerians to discuss and bring about possible changed that would better the life of all of us. Speaking earlier, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Senator Femi Okoroumu, said the committee’s main job was to consult widely with all Nigerians in respect of the proposed National Confereence particularly with a view to what should be on the agenda of the conference. He also said that the committee would also look at “what should be the size, duration and how membership of the conference should be chosen and what should be the legal basis of the conference and transmission of it’s outcome to Nigerians. “We have stopped over in Jos and Akure. We are making 13 stops on the whole. As one of the most powerful bodies, we are here to confer with you,” he explained.