Below are the headlines found on The Nation Online Newspaper for today, Saturday, 3rd March, 2018.

Three former ministers are leading an exodus of top Three former ministers are leading an exodus of top members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after efforts to heal the wounds of the last national convention of the party hit the rocks.

Ex-Information Minister Jerry Gana,ex-Education Minister Tunde Adeniran and ex-Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe  are moving to the  Social Democratic Party (SDP) which is merging  with the  Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) to form a formidable party ahead of next year’s elections.

More chieftains of the PDP are expected to join them, The Nation gathered yesterday.

The Olusegun Obasanjo-inspired Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) is in  talks with the SDP to work together.

The likes of Gana, Adeniran and Orubebe,all founding members of the PDP, are still displeased with what they see as the hijack of the party by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and others during the party’s last national convention.

Adeniran was defeated in a bitter  chairmanship election by Wike’s candidate, Uche Secondus.

A  high powered committee headed by  Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State to reconcile  the aggrieved members could not help the situation.

The aggrieved party chieftains launched into a  marathon meeting/negotiation with the leadership of SDP on Thursday night in Abuja for a merger.

The meeting ended  early yesterday with the the signing of  a Memorandum of Understanding  by the coalescing group at Ladi Kwali Hall in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

Joining Gana from the PDP are a former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Sen. Joseph Akaagerger; a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Peter Godsday Orubebe; Chief Mike Oghiadhome, who was  a former Chief of Staff to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Governor Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State; and ex-Minister of Defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye and a former Deputy Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon. Dare Emiola.

Also teaming up with SDP are a former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed; Sen. Bassey Ewa Hensaw;  a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olamide Oni; Supo Shonibare (South-West Zonal chairman of SDP), Hon. Dipo Olaitan (a former leader of the Alliance for Democracy in the House of Representatives); a former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Kehinde Ayoola;  Amb. Yemi Farounbi; leaders of the Middle Belt Forum; Mr. John Dara; the leaders  of the National Intervention Forum led by Dr. Tafawa Balewa; Amb Bejide; Shehu Gabam who gave the vote of thanks.

A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae is a stalwart of the SDP.

Although ex-Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and a former Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu were part of  the preliminary talks, it was unclear why they were not at the signing of the MoU.

A highly placed source in the group said:”As a matter of fact, Mantu propped up the name of a party which should be included in the merger but it was rejected. He attended the initial meeting but by the time  the MoU was signed, he was not there.

“We are hopeful that he will  be at our subsequent meetings. Some of our leaders are suspecting that Mantu may chicken out  because he has been begging Adeniran and Gana not to leave  PDP.

The MoU entered into by the leaders  was  obtained yesterday by The  Nation.

Jointly signed by Falae (for SDP) and Prof. Gana (for Movement for a New Political Order),  the MoU reads in part: “Whereas on the 12th Day of February 2018, a joint resolution was adopted at Sheraton Hotel Abuja, for working together to ensure the emergence of a new and credible political order to deepen democracy, good governance and genuine development, with peace, security and social justice. The said meeting also  unanimously resolved to build:

a)a restructured, balanced equitable and truly functional Nigerian Federation:

b)a humane, free, seIf-reliant and democratic society;

c) a dynamic, productive, transformed and sustainable economy;
d) a just, fair, egalitarian and peaceful nation
e) a land of bright and full of opportunities for all Nigerians; and
f) a national culture of raising good leaders through effective mentoring;
“Whereas, it was also agreed that the proposed movement shall be directed,  driven and defined by such core values as:  1. Justice, fairness, equity and progress;  2. Democracy, good leadership, good governance and sustainable development; 3. Transparency, integrity, truth and honour; 4. Accountability and zero tolerance for corruption; 5. Respect for human dignity, human rights and sanctity of human life;; and 6. Peace, security, harmony,  cooperative solidarity, within the rule of law; and 7. International cooperation for a common humanity within a secure and peaceful order.

“Whereas, the movement further resolved to be inspired and motivated by the ideals of social democracy, with great emphasis on:  the triumph of social justice; the  nobility of human dignity; the  harmony of fairness and equality; the power of working together in solidarity; the excellence of good governance, driven by good leadership; the wisdom of reforms and transformation far beyond mere growth; the horror of poverty, demanding eradication; the dignity of prosperity; the imperative of democracy and the security of peace with justice

“Whereas with due reference to these objectives, core values, and ideals, a Strategy Committee was mandated to search for a suitable, popular, meaningful and widespread platform, with a name that already resonates with the people and to make appropriate recommendations; and

“Whereas, the Strategic Committee, comprising representatives from all the six geopolitical zones of the Federation, have met  and submitted their report, unanimously recommending the adoption  of  Social Democratic Party(SDP) vehicle by the movement for a new political order:

The Barnawi faction of Boko Haram has contacted human rights activist, Mrs Aisha Wakil, admitting it has in its custody the Dapchi schoolgirls who were abducted last week.

The sect also hinted that the girls might be released.

Wakil, popularly called Mama Boko Haram on account of her closeness to many of the sect members ,said yesterday that the Abu Musab Al-Barnawi faction called her on Thursday to confirm that it is keeping the girls.

She told  the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the  abductors told her  that the girls were safe, healthy and in good condition.

She did not say how many of the girls are with the terrorists, although the Federal Government  put the number of the missing girls  at 110.

The sect had called her following an earlier interview she granted PRNigeria in which she pleaded with  the abductors to release the girls to enable them to be reunited with their families.

She said in that interview that she was ready to sacrifice her life to rescue the girls.

Wakil said: “They were even the ones that called me, and said Mama we heard what you had said and told me that they were with the girls and they were going to release them.

“I begged of them and said please let this not be another 1,000-plus days of Chibok girls, and they laughed and said no.

“I asked them where I can come and stay with them (girls) for two days, but they did not say anything.

“I can assure Nigerians that so far they are with my son, Habib (Abu Musab Al-Barnawi), and his friends.

“Habib is a nice guy; he is a very nice boy. He will not harm them; he will not touch them; and he will not kill them.

“He is going to listen to us, and so far, he indicated interest that he loves peace. And I love them for that and believe what they said on this.

“They will definitely give us the girls. All I am begging Nigerians is to calm down, be prayerful, everything will be over.”

The activist had, at various times, participated and played key roles in negotiations between the military authorities and Boko Haram insurgents’ commanders, which facilitated the release of numerous abductees from terrorists’ captivity.

She  was a member of the Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges Committee in the northern region set up during the President Goodluck Jonathan era.

Al-Barnawi is the first son of the late founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf.

Yusuf died in police custody following a 2009 military crackdown on the sect in Maiduguri.

The militant  group, Islamic State (ISIS), in August 2016  appointed Al-Barnawi as the head of Boko Haram, a decision which was vehemently rejected by Abubakar Shekau.

For the uniniated, Akala Street in Mushin, a Lagos suburb, is usually a ‘no-go’ area. Most of the adjoining streets in the community are ‘relaxation’ spots for hemp smokers and drug addicts, who in the fit of craving and lack of money exchange their clothes and other personal valuables for wraps of hard substance.

But that crowd of craving young men on the streets of Akala, Elegba and environs with lit marijuana and bottles of beverages spiced with other hard drugs, was yesterday replaced by sullen faces ruing either the loss of their wares to the police raid, vandalised properties or the arrest of their loved ones.

Following the murder of a sergeant, Abam Mohammed by hoodlums at Akala Street, the police on Wednesday night carried out massive raids of all the streets in the neighbourhood, allegedly vandalising vehicles, buildings; looting properties and arresting innocent people.

The Nation observed that a grave at 29, Alhaji Lasisi was also vandalized and three vehicles parked within the premises had their windscreens, headlamps, shattered.

Most of the residents said they hid under their beds and in the toilets to avoid being arrested, adding that anyone the police saw was a suspect.

According to the Community Development Association (CDA) Chairman, Kolawole Kilani, about 200 vehicles were vandalised, 87 houses looted and over 50 people arrested.

Kilani, who confirmed the police were responsible for the vandalised shops and vehicles, said that they also whisked away elderly people from their homes.

He said: “It was the police that vandalised these vehicles. They came in their uniform and they were shouting that they would deal with us for killing a Sergeant. My annoyance is that these vehicles they destroyed and the shops, homes they broke into belong to innocent people.

“The owners are engaged in legitimate businesses and it is not as though they found drugs in them. No one is supporting what those boys did, but taking it out on innocent residents is unacceptable.”

It was gathered that among those  arrested was one Monday Chukuma, a trader, who was returning from the market.

He was said to have alighted from a motorcycle and was about to pay the rider when they bundled him into the vehicle.

“They also arrested Onyeka, Samuel Ekundayo, two native doctors, Alpha Alenge and Baba Super, 79. A woman Taiwo Hassan, Chidi Osuji, one Basil, Okeowo Ogunmuyiwa, 70, One John, Salisu Ishola, 70, Dupe and Taye Maigida, as well as a woman, Bilikisu and her daughter Hasisa,” said a resident, Olufemi Banjo.

He said those arrested were hurriedly charged before the Lagos Mobile Court on Thursday, adding that they were granted stringent bail conditions.

“It is unfair how the police went about this issue. Why not go after the real culprits? Imagine those elderly people that were whisked out of their homes and taken to Mobile Court. We have gone for their release and we were told they were taken to court.

“That the Magistrate granted them bail of N10,000 with two sureties each. The Magistrate said each of the sureties must have two houses in Lagos or be a level 17 civil servant. How many people own two houses in Lagos in this area?”

Narrating how his home was burgled, 79-year-old Olaitan Olayinka said the policemen forced his wife to lock her shop, only for them to break the locks minutes later. He said: “They beat me up for questioning their action. They used their gun butt to hit my arms and they ransacked our home. It was around past 7pm that they got to my house at 31, Alhaji Lasisi Street.

“My wife’s shop was still open. She sells sachet and bottled water. They w 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has been urged to void the extension of the tenure of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congioress (APC) by its National Executive Committee (NEC).

The request formed part of the prayers in a suit by Okere Uzochukwu, who described himself as a member of the APC in Imo State.

Uzochukwu, in the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/219/2018, said he was an aspirant to the state chairmanship position of the party in Imo State and that the tenure extension violated provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the APC.

The suit filed by his lawyer, Nnamdi Okere, has APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as  respondents.

Uzochukwu is of the view that the extension of the tenure of officials of the party at various levels was “the primary function and responsibility of the national convention” by virtue of the provisions of Article 13   and 13 (3) (ii) of the Constitution of the APC  2014 (as amended).

He stated, in a supporting affidavit, that “the plaintiff is a registered and card carrying member of the All Progressives Congress who registered at   Ulakwo, OAU ward of Owerri North,  membership card number 11013379  and has been participating in all   programmes and activities of the party.

“The said APC membership card is hereby pleaded and shall be relied upon  as exhibit 1. The  plaintiff is aspiring and contesting the   Imo State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress slated to hold during the party elective convention in July 2018.

“The  four-year  tenure of the present National Working Committee, State Working   Committee, Local Government Area Executive Committee  and Ward Executive Committee  of the party will expire in June 2018 and  new elective conventions ought to be conducted to elect party leadership at the various levels.

“On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, the National Executive Committee of the Party met and purportedly usurped the constitutional powers of the National Convention by unconstitutionally extending the tenure of the present National Working Committee, State Working   Committee, Local Government Area Executive Committee and Ward  Executive Committee  of the party which will expire in June 2018. ”

Uzochukwu wants the court to among others, declare that the purported one year extension of the tenure of the John Odigie-Oyegun-led NWC, the state working committees as well as the local government and ward executive committees of the party commencing from June 2018 to June 2019 “is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void  and of no effects”.

He said APC’s national convention “never and did not meet to delegate and has not delegated any of its powers to the National Executive Committee,  to warrant the unconstitutional tenure extension”.

The plaintiff also wants the court  to compel “the incumbent  John Odigie- Oyegun-led  National Working Committee”,  and others  to vacate their respective offices with effect from June 1, 2018.

Following the expiration of the two week ultimatum given to operators of illegal homes and orphanages in Lagos State, the enforcement team of the State Ministry of Youth and Social Development yesterday arrested a woman allegedly harbouring pregnant women illegally under the guise of operating a traditional birth maternity. Officials of the ministry, escorted by 20 policemen from the Ajah Police Station and Area ‘J’ police Command, stormed the area at Baboon Village, Ajele. Youth and Social Development, Commissioner Agboola…

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recorded a major breakthrough in its fight against hard drugs after it intercepted 404.9 kg of cannabis sativa, popularly known as marijuana, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Spokesman of the FCT Command of the agency, Mr Peter Adegbe, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday. Adegbe also said seven suspects were arrested in connection with the contraband which, according to him, was seized between Feb.…

Barely a few months to the 2018 gubernatorial election in Osun State, a call has gone to the people of the state to ensure that a credible candidate take over from Governor Rauf Aregbesola in order to continue his good work in the state of living spring and that anything contrary will set the state back. This warning was handed down yesterday in Oshogbo, the state capital, by the Publicity Secretary of the Osun People’s Assembly (OPA), Oloye Olalekan Abegunde, where… Read more

The University of Maiduguri is set to send its team of experts back to the Chad Basin to resume oil exploration despite last year’s abduction of three of its lecturers in the area by Boko Haram. One of them was killed during the attack. The three survivors were released only last week following negotiations between the federal government and the terror sect. Leading the three lecturers and the management team of the university on a visit to the Nigerian National… 

The Lagos State Government is phasing out the use of plastic bottles in the state by 2023. The aim,according to Mr Adebola Shabi, the Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode on Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), is part of the efforts to save the environment from pollution. Shabi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that plastic bottles, also known as pet bottles, needed to be phased out because it could take over 500 years for each such bottle to degrade,… Read more

The Police in Ekiti State have arrested and detained a chieftain Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Ikere-Ekiti, Dele Olorunfemi, over alleged murder of a student, Faramo Tope. The deceased, said to be a student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti Campus, was killed at about 9.30 pm on Wednesday, February 28. Tope was being conveyed with another passenger by a commercial motorcyclist when he was hit by bullets allegedly fired by some OPC men on… 

An Ikeja high court yesterday, refused bail to a suspected kidnapper, Victor Aduba, one of the henchmen of billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudimeme Onwuamadike a.k.a. Evans. Aduba, is the sixth defendant and the army officer who aided Evans activities, in the ongoing kidnap trial of Evans and five others before Justice Hakeem Oshodi. Justice Oshodi, in ruling declined Aduba' s request for bail on the ground that the applicant doses not live in Lagos. He also noted that he does not have… 

The remains of Mrs. Veronica Linda Moro, wife of the former Minister of the Interior, Comrade Abba Moro will be committed to mother earth on Friday, next week, in Effa, Ugbokolo, Okpokwu Local Government Area, Benue State. A press statement signed by Comrade Moro to announce the passing of his wife, noted that the body of Veronica will leave the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi by 10: 00 am on Thursday, 8th March, 2018 for her family compound in… 

Residents of Ayila community in Ogun Waterside Local Government, Ogun State, are allegedly fleeing the town after a man identified as Bayo Oluseyi was killed and several others injured during a fracas over selection of new Baale(traditional ruler) of the town. It was learnt that the nomination of an unnamed man for the traditional stool by a powerful politician in the community triggered the fight. The controversial nominee was said to have been rejected by a section of the community.… Read more
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