Thisday Newspaper Today, Monday 12th November 2018

Thisday Newspaper Today, Monday 12th November 2018

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Outrage over Search of Atiku, Private Jet by Security Agents
Mon, 12 Nov 2018

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A cross section of Nigerians and groups yesterday reacted angrily to the search conducted by security agents on the private jet of former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Atiku, who landed around 1:30a.m, said he arrived into the waiting hands of special security squad comprising army, police, customs and immigration officers, which carry out a thorough search on his aircraft.

Those who reacted to the incident included the PDP, leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo; PDP chieftain, Chief Olabode George; former All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Timi Frank; Senator Ben Murray Bruce; and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.

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But the federal government, in a statement by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the search was a routine exercise that Atiku had misrepresented to the public to grab headlines.

The former vice president had relocated to Dubai immediately after he won his party’s presidential ticket, saying the aim was to “strategise” for the 2019 presidential election.

It was learnt that video recording gadgets and other devices were used to record the search but nothing implicating was found on the PDP presidential candidate.

Atiku had broken news of the search on his Twitter handle, “I arrived to Abuja this morning to a search by agents of the state, aimed at intimidating me and my staff.

“I am committed to building a Nigeria where no citizen is intimidated by agents of state who are paid to protect them. Together, #LetsGetNigeriaWorking Again.”

The ruling APC had last week called on security agencies to probe the former vice-president over his trip.

In a statement signed by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, the party said security agencies should probe the real motive behind the trip.

He said, “There is more to the meeting than meets the eye. Nigeria has enough meeting/conference rooms, many of which meet international standards. It is, therefore, clear that the Dubai meeting was for other sinister political purposes ahead of the 2019 general elections.

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EFCC Confirms Plan to Extradite Alison-Madueke
Mon, 12 Nov 2018

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that the process for extraditing a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom has begun.

Acting spokesman of the commission, Mr. Tony Orilade, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja.

There have been calls from different quarters for the extradition of the former minister over several allegations of impropriety against her.

According to Orilade, EFCC’s Operations Department has made presentation to the agency’s Legal Department to commence the process, adding that the process has commenced.

He, however, said that the action had to be processed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, explaining that it was not something the commission would commence and conclude on its own.

He said, “It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public.

“It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into; the whole process is a total package.

“This extradition is just an aspect of Diezani’s investigation and commencement of trial.”

Alison-Madueke, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the Federal Government to bring her back to the country to face corruption charges against her.

But, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had said that bringing her back to the country would jeopardise the investigation being carried out on her in the UK.

He had explained, “Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.

“If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Alison-Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that.

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Okorocha Replies Oshiomhole, Says APC Chairman is ‘Father of Nepotism’
Mon, 12 Nov 2018

The spat in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its recent primaries is not abating as Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State yesterday threw some jabs at the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, accusing him of nepotism.

The national chairman had at the weekend explained that the governor, along with three others, had been offended by his refusal to do their biddings, specifically saying Okorocha was particularly angry because he had refused to assist him to establish a political dynasty in Imo State.

But Okorocha reacted to this charge of nepotism yesterday in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, and said it was Oshiomhole that was the “father of nepotism,” accusing him of promoting his relations into several political offices in Edo State.

“To say the least, Adams Oshiomhole is the “father – father” of family dynasty or nepotism or “familiocracy,” he said, refuting the allegation that he was sponsoring his family members to take over Imo State.

He explained that his preferred, Mr. Uche Nwosu, though his in-law, was not from the same local government with him. “Uche Nwosu is from Nkwerre Local Government Area, while Rochas Okorocha is from Ideato South Local Government Area,” adding, “They have no relationship aside the in-law issue.”

He explained that the only relation he had in government was Mrs. Ogechi Ololo from Owerri North.

“There is no other direct or indirect relation of Okorocha in his government. So, as it stands now, Rochas is the only Okorocha running election,” he explained.

On the other hand, he said, the party chairman had allegedly fixed his direct relations in government position in Edo State.

According to Okorocha, “But Oshiomhole is the known family dynasty builder. And Edo State is the victim. In fact, he is the architect of “familiocracy”. Oshiomhole is the National Chairman of APC and governor for eight years. Rilwan Oshiomhole, his younger brother, is a Commissioner in Edo State Oil Producing Development Commission (EDSOPEDEC).

Seid Aliyu Oshiomhole, another younger brother, is the House of Assembly candidate for Etsako West 2 State Constituency. Yakubu Oshiomhole is the Secretary to the Local Government Commission; Dr. Cyril Adams Oshiomhole is vying for the House of Representatives for Etsako Federal Constituency.

“With all these, between Rochas Okorocha whose only relation in government is Ogechi Ololo from Owerri North and Adams Oshiomhole who has the Oshiomholes in government or contesting positions, who should be accused of building a dynasty or running a “familiocracy”?

Okorocha insisted that Nwosu won the Imo State governorship ticket of the party fair and square, and accused Oshiomhole of manipulating the process to produce a different outcome.

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FG, Investors Negotiate Fresh Terms on Sale of Power Stations
Mon, 12 Nov 2018

As the federal government resumes privatisation of some national assets, THISDAY learnt at the weekend that negotiation of fresh terms has begun with preferred bidders of three power generation plants of the National Independent Power Projects (NIPPs) that have been slated for sale.

The power plants to be sold in the first phase of the resumed assets sales are 630.5 megawatt (MW)-capacity Calabar power station; 504MW-capacity plant in Geregu, Kogi State; and the 518MW-capacity plant in Omotosho, Ondo State.

The preferred bidders are EMA Consortium, which initially won the NIPP Calabar Genco at $625 million; Omotosho Electric Power, which won Omotosho Genco at $659.9 million; and Seoul Electric Power Ltd that won that of Geregu Genco at $690.2 million.

The three Gencos were built and currently being managed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC).

THISDAY gathered from reliable sources that in the resumed negotiations, factors such as sources of funds to finance the acquisition; operational statuses of the three plants; and the financial liquidity challenge of Nigeria’s power market have been key priorities to both government and the investors.

Ten Gencos built under the NIPPs by the NDPHC were initially slated for sale in 2014, but factors, which comprised of market liquidity challenges; inadequate gas supply; and other problems, led to the discontinuation of the process.

A decision to complete the transactions in phases starting with fully operational Gencos was subsequently taken by the federal government.

Also, in February 2016, the Chairman of the NDPHC board, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, approved the first phase of the transaction to commence with Calabar, Geregu and Omotosho.

But in an interaction with THISDAY, one of the presidential sources explained that the government was worried about the sources of finance for the exercise considering that the transaction is structured to be funded by 30 per cent debt and 70 per cent equity.

The source noted that the government considered that Nigerian banks may have been over-exposed and may not be able to provide the debt portion of the financing, hence, its consideration of measures to allow for unhindered offshore financing.

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Impeachment: Ondo Lawmakers Shun Akeredolu’s Peace Meeting
Mon, 12 Nov 2018

The 18 members of the Ondo State House of Assembly, who effected the removal of the Speaker, Bamidele Oloyeloogun, and his deputy, Ogundeji Iroju, shunned the meeting summoned by state Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to intervene on the leadership crisis that rocked the assembly.

This is coming as the organised labour in the state has threatened to resume the suspended strike if the state government fails to start payment of the salary arrears from the N20.9 billion received as the state’s share of Paris Club loan refund by today.

THISDAY learnt yesterday that the 18 lawmakers had fled the state and relocated to Ibadan, Oyo State, following alleged threat to their lives.

The situation came just as the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the party and its state Chairman, Mr. Ade Adetimeyin, were not involved in the invasion of the assembly by hoodlums suspected to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) after the removal of the speaker and his deputy.

During the invasion of the assembly, some lawmakers, journalists, assembly workers and security agents were assaulted.

Sequel to the removal of Oleyelogun and Ogundeji, Olamide George and Faloju Abimbola were elected and sworn in as the new Speaker and deputy Speaker respectively.

It was gathered that the 18 lawmakers shunned the meeting convened by the governor while the removed Speaker, his deputy and four others loyal to the embattled Speaker, attended the meeting.

A lawmaker, who was among those that shunned the meeting convened by Akeredolu said they relocated to Ibadan, Oyo State capital, following series of threats to their lives after the Speaker’s removal last Friday

A source within the government also confirmed the lawmakers’ absence at the meeting, adding that only the removed leaders of the assembly and four others loyal to them honoured the governor’s invitation.

“The governor had lost the control of the assembly, and the former speaker (Oleyelogun) was not in-charge, if not for the APC and Aketi, he would have been removed since, but I don’t think the removal would be reversed because some lawmakers are not returning to the assembly in 2019, so they have nothing to lose.”

Akeredolu had early this year intervened in the removal of the speaker and his deputy, which brought them back to office.

The source said the governor was rattled with the development as George-led assembly is clearly the majority with two-third required by the constitution to take decision in the assembly.

Meanwhile, state APC Publicity Secretary, Mr. Alex Kalejaye, debunked the allegation that the party’s chairman led thugs to invade the assembly.

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