NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: Today's Thisday Newspaper Headlines [7th April, 2018].

Below are the headlines found on Thisday Online Newspaper for today, Saturday, 7th April, 2018.

Sat, 07 Apr 2018
The Commander of the United States’ Special Operations Command Africa, Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks has described Boko Haram as the most lethal terror organisation in the world despite claims by the federal government that the extremist group had been significantly degraded and technically defeated.

The issue of Boko Haram’s power came up at a press briefing held in the US on Thursday on anti-terror efforts of the US government and made available to THISDAY yesterday by the US embassy.

The military commander spoke on US efforts to reinforce development, diplomacy, and defence, including the Flintlock, an annual exercise in Africa, and noted that the US had shifted its focus of training from tactical proficiency of small units to command and control of joint forces. 

“Likewise, we have participants from the Multinational Joint Headquarters in N’Djamena that address the threats of ISIS West Africa, which is really in North-eastern Nigeria, and Boko Haram, its predecessor….which is the most lethal terrorist organisation in the world, in Lake Chad,” General Hicks remarked. 

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When asked why Nigeria and other African nations are so important to the US, the American Ambassador to Niger, Eric Whitaker, at the conference said: “I think Africa is important to US’ national security for a variety of reasons. We have a long, historic relationship with the African continent and its 54 countries, keeping in mind that no less than 13 per cent of our US population derives from the mother continent. Africa, a continent of over 1 billion residents, is a continent with which we have important relationships, whether it’s in diplomacy, development, or defence for several decades now. 

“We wish to expand trade with these countries, including through the AGOA, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, to help countries develop their economies through trade. We also have humanitarian assistance to help countries who have food insecurity situations, for example.”

Hicks added that the training focused on members of the G5 Sahel and the Multinational Joint Task Force, around Lake Chad with eye on Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa. 

Sat, 07 Apr 2018
A former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has revealed in her new book titled, “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous –The Story Behind the Headlines” that former President Goodluck Jonathan indeed showed concern and made spirited effort to rescue the schoolgirls abducted in Chibok in 2014.

This revelation is at variance with allegations that the Jonathan administration “looked the other way” when the pupils were abducted.

In the book set for release this month, which THISDAY had an exclusive first look, through a reliable source in the United States’ publishing industry, Okonjo-Iweala said Jonathan called her on the phone while she was in Mexico City on April 15, 2014, a day after the schoolgirls’ abduction, confirming to her that Boko Haram had indeed kidnapped a large number of girls. 

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“When the President came to the phone, he sounded tired. It was easy to sense the fatigue in his voice. I told him what I had heard in Mexico and the reaction of the participants. The President confirmed that the kidnapping had happened, that they were still trying to determine with the state authorities exactly what happened, and that the total number of girls taken was still not known.” 

She quoted Jonathan as saying, “CME, we must get those girls out alive. I don’t care what they say about me. But I don’t want those girls dead. We must get them back alive.” 

The former World Bank managing director also revealed a graphic encounter between her and an aggressive South-West governor (still serving) who pounced on her at a National Executive Council meeting.

She related in the book that it took the intervention of the then Vice President, Namadi Sambo, who rescued her from the hands of the south-western governor (who was in the major opposition party at that time; now the ruling party), who pounced on her and was verbally aggressive at the NEC meeting.

In the book, the former Coordinating Minister for the Economy also narrated the challenges and frustration she experienced over the resistance by some governors and other powerful elements to saving for the rainy day even as her efforts were fully supported by both ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan.

She stated that it was only by sheer force of will that Obasanjo was able to protect the savings in the Excess Crude Account from the governors.

There were times, Okonjo-Iweala noted in the book, that she was reluctant to attend the NEC meetings because of the animus towards her by some governors who saw her as the obstacle to sharing funds in the ECA and saddle their states with ill-advised loans which would have been difficult to pay.

The book reveals that the absence of sufficient buffers against low oil prices was largely caused by some of the governors and, in some detail, listed the roles played by a number of specific governors from the two major parties then, to undermine efforts of Jonathan to institute adequate buffers through the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the ECA even when their states were already receiving more funds from the Federation Account than some African countries.

Sat, 07 Apr 2018
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Uche Secondus has made good his threat to drag the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to court for defamation of character.

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The Minister had mentioned Secondus in the list of those he claimed looted the nation’s treasury alleging that he collected N200 million from the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, but an embarrassed Secondus who said he never collected a dime from the former NSA through his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba, wrote to the Minister few days back, seeking the immediate removal of the PDP Chairman’s name from the list, payment of N1.5 billion damages and public apology within 48 hours.

The letter told Mohammad to note that if he failed to meet their demands after 48 hours, “We shall within 72 hours from today, proceed to a court of competent jurisdiction to ventilate our clients right under the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you”

A statement issued yesterday by Secondus’ Special Assistant on Media, Ike Abonyi, said: “Having failed to meet the demand, Prince Secondus on Friday April 6,2018, made good his threat and filed a suit at the Port Harcourt, High Court, Rivers State, claiming among other things, that the court awards to him the sum of N1.5b being damages for humiliation, castigation, vilification attack on his person and integrity as a result of the publication.

Secondus in the suit no/PHC/1013/2018 is also claiming that Lai Mohammad’s publication is defamatory and is asking the court to direct him to retract the said publication and apologise in writing.

He is also asking Mohammed to publish the retraction and apology in all the social media including but not limited to the Following newspapers: The Nation, THISDAY, The Sun, Guardian and Punch as well as in the following television stations: Channels and NTA, among others, where the defammatory story was published.

Secondus is also asking the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further publishing defamatory materials against him.

Joined in the suit are the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Attorney General of the federation and the Vintage Press ltd, publishers of the Nation Newspapers.

Dokpesi Demands Apology, N500m

Chairman of Daar Communications, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi has demanded an apology and the payment of N500 million from the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for calling him a looter of government treasury.

The notice from Chief Dokpesi’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, dated 4th April, 2018, specifically demanded an “apology and retraction of defamatory statement/publication against
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the person of High Chief (Dr) Raymond Alegho Dokpesi (OFR).”

The lawyer said the minister’s apology should be published in four national dailies, “to wit, The Punch, THISDAY, The Nation and the Sun Newspapers.

“That you pay to our client through this Chambers, the sum of N5

Sat, 07 Apr 2018
Governor Godwin Obaseki yesterday said that Edo State Government would continue to intensify efforts to stem clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state to ensure harmonious relationship among different groups in the state.

Obaseki disclosed this during a parley with the national leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and heads of security agencies in the state, at the Government House in Benin City.

He said though there might be challenges with identifying some herdsmen due to their itinerary nature, the state government was working to ensure that such issues are cleared to ensure smooth relations among the herdsmen and farming communities across the state.

He said the meeting was organised as part of the measures to engage stakeholders and exchange ideas to ensure peace, noting, “As a member of the committee of the National Economic Council led by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to deal with the issue, I know how sensitive the issue is and how it has led to the loss of lives and property in many states across the country.”

He said the state was fortunate to have recorded fewer incidents as efforts have been intensified to manage the situation.

He said this was done by setting up the security committee in the 18 local government councils, noting “The committee was made up of council chairmen, two leaders of the Hausa/Fulani community, Directorate of State Security, Divisional Police officers and two native farmers. They will continue to meet monthly and report any incident in their areas to the committee at the state level.”

Obaseki explained that in addition to the structures in place to address the situation, the state had resolved challenges by identifying herders and organising sensitisation programmes for them.

He added: “With the structures in place, sensitisation programmes will be organised for the Hausa/Fulani herdsmen, farmers and other relevant stakeholders in different communities across the state. Through these, we hope to reduce the incidents of clashes between herders and farmers.”

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He maintained that the ban on night-grazing still stands, and approved a 40-day window request by the group to allow strangers in their midst to register with the state government.

National President, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammadu Kirowa, represented by the group’s National Secretary, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, commended the governor for the positive steps taken to ensure peaceful co-existence between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the state.

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