Saturday, 20 January 2018
Items filtered by date: October 2016

Twenty-one of the over 200 missing Chibokschoolgirls freed after being held by  Boko Haram  for more than two years on Sunday spoke of their ordeal as they were reunited with their families.

The church service was organised by the Nigerian government for the schoolgirls who were released on Thursday.

Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed represented the government at the Church held at the Presidential Villa on Sunday.

Miss Gloria Dame, one of the girls who spoke on behalf of her colleagues was visibly happy and as she jumped for joy, she said, “we stayed for one month without food’’.

Continuing her testimony, she said: “I narrowly escaped bomb blast in the forest. I never knew there would be a day like this.

“`I will give thanks to God ,’’ she said.

She begged Nigerians to pray for the quick release of the remaining girls in Boko Haram’s captivity.

Shiktra Kwali, in her sermon at the interdenominational service, urged the girls not to allow their hallowing experience to deter them from achieving their dreams

Information Minister Mohammed said that the reunification was a day the world had been waiting for.

“It is day of joy,’’ he said.

As government continues negotiation on the remaining girls, he appealed to the public against making unguarded statements that could truncate the rescue efforts.

Families of the girls left Chibok in Borno state on Friday and arrived in Abuja on Saturday night and were reunited with the girls at the Church on Sunday.

The parents saw the girls for the first time in over 900 days since they were abducted from their Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok.

No fewer than 276 of the girls were abducted and 57 escaped within a week of their abduction.
They were abducted by Boko Haram on 14th April, 2014.

Two buses conveyed the parents from Chibok.

The chairman of Chibok Girls Parents Association, Yakubu Nkenke, had said that the girls had eventually been identified by their parents.

The Chairman of Chibok Local Government, Mr. Yaya Yarakawa, confirmed the identification of all the girls and said those doubting their authenticity “must have sinister motive’’.

He expressed satisfaction with the role played by the government.

“I am travelling to Abuja with all the parents of the freed girls, all of us are here. We are overwhelmed with joy that our girls have been found alive. I cannot talk more because we are approaching security check- points,” he said.

The release of the girls was made possible through a negotiation brokered by the International Red Cross with the support of Swiss government.

President Muhammadu Buhari had also promised the negotiation would continue for the release of those still in captivity.

Published in Headliners

The federal government has initiated a fresh charge of money laundering against former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Fani-Kayode, who was the Director of Media and Publicity in the campaign organisation of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, is already standing trial on a 17-count charge of money laundering before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Fani-Kayode is being tried in Lagos with a former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.

They are charged with unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money to the tune of N4.9 billion on the defendants.

The new charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/140/2016, which has Femi Fani-Kayode as the sole defendant, was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Fani-Kayode is accused, in the five-count charge, of diverting N26million, which he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) while Sambo Dsuki was in office.

He is also accused of handling the said N26miliion without using a financial institution as required under the Money Laundering Act.

When the case was called yesterday before Justice John Tsoho, the prosecution was absent.

Although Fani-Kayode was absent, he was represented by a team of lawyers led by Wale Balogun. Balogun said he did not know why the prosecution, who filed the charge and was aware of the date, was absent.

He complained that his client was yet to be served with the charge as required. He sought for time, following which the judge adjourned to November 10 for arraignment.

Justice Tsoho ordered that hearing notice be served on the EFCC.

Published in News & Stories

Strong indications have emerged that troops and security personnel involved in the ongoing counter-terrorism campaign against Boko Haram are unhappy with the release of five top Boko Haram commanders, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

The commanders were said to have been released in exchange for the 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls who regained their freedom on Thursday.

Some security personnel, who confided in one of our correspondents, said that while the return of the girls is worth celebrating, those in the armed services are not pleased with what Nigeria gave in exchange for the girls.

Investigations revealed that the military expressed reservations about the swap which saw the release of five terrorist commanders in exchange for the 21 girls.

Troops and some military commanders are further worried by the fact that the release of terrorist commanders could impact negatively on the ongoing campaign to flush out the insurgents from the North-East.

It was further gathered that some of the troops were not happy that Boko Haram commanders, who had killed civilians and security personnel, were traded for the girls.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, reportedly said on Wednesday that the Army had rescued over two million captives from the Boko Haram sect to date.

The Chief of Civil Military Relations of the Nigerian Military, Maj.-Gen. Peter John, said this while representing Buratai at a recent event organised by the Coalition of Civil Society Groups to mark the United Nations World Peace Day.

The Army, which is leading other services in the fight against the insurgency in the North-East, has been engrossed in the search for the Chibok girls.

Investigations, however, revealed that senior military figures in strategic places only knew of the release of the girls when the news broke on Thursday.

However, a top military figure said that the information on the negotiation for the release of the Chibok girls was not meant to be known to the public.

The source said the negotiation was purely the responsibility of the political leadership.

This, he said does not in any way foreclose, the ongoing military operation in the area.

The source said, “You must understand that it is not all information that we release to people. The lives of those girls were at stake. Negotiations securely rest on the shoulders of political leaders, but that does not mean that military operations will not continue. We must protect the civilian populace from attacks and build confidence in the citizenry.

“It was a political decision; we are under the political leadership. We derive our mandate from the constitution as provided for by democratic governance.

“The military action must continue and it is going on as planned. We are working round the clock, in concert with other security agencies, to ensure that the remaining girls are also rescued.”

Our correspondent could not get the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, to comment on the story as calls to his mobile telephone line did not connect.


Published in News & Stories
Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:56

AMINA and the other girls

IN a haze of official denial surrounding movement of captured Boko Haram insurgents in the opposite direction, 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls last Thursday returned to safety. They were, as widely feared after more than two years in captivity, a shadow of their youthful selves.

While one of the girls cradled a baby, sources alleged that as much as 18 of the group could be nursing mothers.

The girls were part of the 276 pupils abducted by extremists from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014 while they stayed to write final year examinations. The abduction sparked outrage and prompted global figures, including activist Malala Yousafzai and US first lady, Michelle Obama, to support the campaign #BringBackOurGirls.

After the insurgents stormed and firebombed the school and seized the girls, dozens escaped within hours but 219 remained missing until recently. While some of the ones that managed to get away have since benefited from scholarship opportunities at home and abroad, others, mainly through their minders, have complained of neglect and unfulfilled pledges.

The government denied a swap arrangement on the latest release but reports indicated that the girls were traded with four detained Boko Haram fighters at the Borno border town Banki. The Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said: “That is not true. If you listen, I said this particular release is significant because it is a first step in what we believe will lead to the eventual release of all our girls in custody. And it is significant also because we have been able to establish ever than before a kind of confidence in the core leadership of Boko Haram and Nigerians.  And I am not aware of any monetary transactions.”

The government would not relent until the remaining girls regained freedom, he pledged.

The release of the girls coincided with the start of President Muhammadu Buhari’s three-day trip to Germany to discuss assistance for rebuilding of the Boko Haram-ravaged northeast. The president said that the release underscored his determination to secure all Nigerians wherever they might be.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the girls and the baby at the Directorate of State Services (DSS) medical facility in Abuja after they were brought to the Federal Capital Territory. Borno State governor, Kashim Shetima, thought the girls’ return heralded greater news. He expressed gratitude to the president for the efforts made so far, hoping that the rest of the girls would be rescued alive.

Former Minister of Education and leading voice on the global #Bring Back Our Girls campaign, #BBOG, Oby Ezekwesili, expressed gratitude to God and thanked the president and gallant Nigerian soldiers. Ezekwesili, on the social media, admitted a mix of emotions.

A common thread runs through the captives’ narrative. Many endured sex abuse in the sect’s Sambisa Forest enclave and arrived makeshift army and government camps starving and traumatised after trekking through the bush for days.

Shortsightedness in policy making and a weakened military under Goodluck Jonathan administration, in the opinion of many, heightened insurgency and his 2015 presidential election defeat. While thousands of girls, boys and young women are estimated to have been kidnapped in a seven-year-old insurgency that claimed over 20,000 lives in and around Nigeria’s borders, the military has reportedly freed thousands following Buhari’s emergence and a reinvigorated military operation.

Deriving from the casualty figures as well as the combined effect of official neglect and societal permissiveness, however, Boko Haram may have assumed the reputation of being the deadliest terror organisation on the planet, perhaps more than the Islamic State. Through the coercive methods of murder and rape, the sect is believed to have forced 10 to 12-year-old girls to strap on explosives for deadly suicide bomb attacks.

Where Jonathan’s allegedly corrupt and intimidated force skirted the Boko Haram stronghold of Sambisa Forest, their contemporaries, assisted by the local vigilante group called Civilian JTF, force the bedraggled opposition to the recesses of the sprawling game reserve from where they launch occasional guerrilla attacks.

The first of the girls to be liberated from the fortress, Amina Ali Nkeki, was in May, 2016 brought to the village for identification. She was rescued in Bale village at the edge of the Sambisa forest by the Civilian JTF after fierce fighting with insurgents.

Witnesses instantly recognised the girl and sent for her mother. Mother and daughter rushed into an embrace. Seventeen at the time of her abduction, the 19-year-old was ‘married’ to a Boko Haram fighter and bore his four-month-old child, it emerged.

Her father died of trauma while she was in captivity. Six other parents also died of the same condition.

In tears, Amina reportedly told of schoolmates languishing in Sambisa forest while six had died. They were ‘well secured and protected’ to stop the Nigerian Army from rescuing them, she said.

A doctor from Chibok, Idriss Danladi, who treated beleaguered parents of the abducted girls, threw in a dampener. Amina was pregnant again.

Her rescue, however, raised hopes in Chibok and across the country that some of the famous girls lived in spite of their infamous captors.

James Bako, an opinion leader in Chibok, who was one of the first to see the rescued girl, said she escaped from the Sambisa Forest together with her ‘husband’ as a result of ground and aerial offensive by Nigerian security forces.

He said that the girl claimed that she was forcefully married off to the man, Mohammed Hayado, whom she said was equally abducted, conscripted and told to fight for the insurgents.

Three months after her escape, Amina pined for her rebel husband. Held hostage by the terrorist group for more than two years, she said she was married off a year into her ordeal and later had a baby girl, Safiya. Found on the outskirts of Nigeria’s Sambisa Forest, the couple fled the camp by themselves, and was not rescued by the Nigerian military, contrary to reports.

For a year after they were taken, the abducted girls were kept together, Amina said. Some of the teenagers were then ‘given’ to the terrorists as wives.

Twenty-one-year-old Tabitha Adamu, one of the women freed from the sect’s camp but not originally of the group of kidnapped Chibok girls, said the Chibok girls had turned to Boko Haram fighters (for protection). Expectant for one of the sect’s commanders who forcibly married her, Tabitha said she mingled with the girls at various times in the sect’s camp.

The chairman of Chibok community in Abuja, Tsamdo Hosea Abana, also confirmed that one of the girls released by the insurgents, Susan Ishaya, to be pregnant. Abana bemoaned the trauma experienced by parents and the abducted girls.

Security sources said Miss Ishaya was found near a police station in the border town of Mubi after she was left there by the insurgents. Abana confirmed that Miss Ishaya was among the schoolgirls abducted by the insurgent group in Chibok, Borno State.

While the war against insurgency nears closure, the plight of the rescued girls, especially of the Chibok group, opens a new vista. Besides the challenge of catering to pregnant and lactating mothers are resettlement and re-absorption of the affected into a critical society.

Published in News & Stories

THE nation’s air has been filled with excitement since the news of the release of 21 of the secondary school girls kidnapped by the dreaded Boko Haram sect at Chibok, Borno State, since April 2014. Their release came after they had spent about 900 days in the den of the dreaded sect along with their more than 200 other colleagues.

While many see Thursday’s release of the 21 girls as a sign that the remaining 197 who are yet unaccounted for will return, others see it as a development that portends a bitter-sweet experience for the affected parents because of the heart-rending experiences the returnees will narrate to them and the revelation of the identities of those that are dead as well as the circumstances that culminated in their demise.

Fatima Abba-Kaka, a member of Bring Back Our Girls (#BBOG), the advocacy group at the forefront of the agitation for the release of the girls, said in an interview with our correspondent: “For some of the parents, the arrival of these girls will mean the truth about those that Boko Haram claims have been killed. These ones will probably tell the real story of the girls that lost their lives.”

Mr. Hosea Tsambido, the Chairman, Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA), Abuja, an umbrella body for members of the Chibok community, was allowed audience with the girls when they arrived Abuja. He noted that while the girls were all emaciated, they were well composed and acted in very normal and respectful manner. He also said they were very excited when he introduced himself to them.

Tsambido said: “I met them. They looked so emaciated but composed and not acting rude at all. There was nothing to show that their stay with terrorists for so long had changed them. They were so excited when I introduced myself. They know a lot of my siblings back home and still remembered their names.

“A lot of the parents kept calling me for information as soon as the news broke, to know if their daughters were among the 21. When I eventually got the names and called their parents, I did not actually sense so much excitement from them, because they have been traumatised for so long and it took a while for the news to sink in that their daughters are finally back. The other parents who are not amongst the 21 feel so bad that their daughters are still in captivity.”

The Chairman of the Chibok parents and father of one of the girls still in captivity, Yakubu Nkeki, said they had been contacted by the Minister of Women Affairs and had been asked to come to Abuja with the parents of the 21.

He said: “I just spoke with the Minister of Women Affairs. We have been invited to Abuja. We are boarding a vehicle and will hopefully arrive Saturday. My daughter is not among the 21, but as their leader, I am happy for the lucky parents. I am very happy for them that their daughters are back.

“Most of the parents in Chibok have been rejoicing since the news broke. They have all been trooping to my house in excitement. The release of these 21 has renewed our hope for the release of our other daughters, which is good. We don’t want to think about those whose daughters might have died. The important thing for us is that we have hope and our hope has been renewed by the release of the 21.”

Another parent, Rev. Enoch Mark, whose two daughters are amongst the abducted girls, expressed excitement about the release of the 21. Although none of his daughters was among the 21, Rev. Mark says he sees the move as a sign that more of them will be released.

He said: “My wife and I have been unable to sleep since we heard the news. Even though neither of my daughters is amongst the 21, I am still really excited and hopeful because it means that those still alive will all return home soon. I am so grateful to the government for making this possible.”

Rebecca Isyaku, the girl who escaped by jumping off the vehicle when they were being taken away by Boko Haram more than two years ago, was filled with excitement at the release of 21 of her friends.

She said: “I am very happy today because I hear that 21 of my friends have been released. I used to think the government could not do it, but this has shown that it can. It even seemed like the government itself felt that it could not do it, but this has shown that it can.

“Even though we are yet to see or hear the names of those released, we are still happy that 21 of them are back. We will keep demanding until the others return. This has brought more life to the parents. They had been thinking of their daughters but now they have hope. Their faith has been renewed.”

A member of the Chibok community, who lives in Maiduguri, in a telephone conversation with The Nation, expressed excitement, saying it is what the community has been asking for.

He said: “We lack word to describe our excitement. This is what we have been asking for. Now that our hope has been restored, we are going to organise prayer and fasting to seek God’s face for the return of the others.

“We learnt that they swapped a few leaders of Boko Haram for the girls in Banki. Whether it is true or not does not matter. The government can release as many Boko Haram members as they want so that they will release our daughters and other Nigerians in captivity. This singular act by the government has renewed our confidence in the government.”

Another member of the community and member of the #BBOG, Gyanpany Yanga, said that they were not bothered if a swap for Boko Haram leaders would mean more terrorists out there because they have always seen Boko Haram as still being active with their constant attacks on Chibok and neighbouring communities.

“I am very happy, honestly. I commend the Federal Government for a job well done. But any of their lapses, we will still talk about it. Not that we are fighting; we are telling them the truth. Let them continue the good work because after they have brought back all the girls and it remains one, we will continue to demand.

“We are not bothered if it was a swap or not or what it might mean to our community, because Boko Haram is still disturbing in Chibok. They recaptured about four villages a few days ago. So, whether the girls were returned as a result of an exchange or release, or whether their number will increase or not, the government knows that it has to stand up to work as a responsible government.

“We know the capabilities of our military and how good they are. We recommend them all over the world.”

The leader of strategic team for #BBOG, Aisha Yesufu, on her part stated that the release of the 21 girls would not be complete until the government puts enough effort into their rehabilitation and reintegration into the society.

“I am very excited and joyful for the wonderful development. That says a lot for us. It means a lot. We have continuously demanded from the government because we believe in the capability of our government.

“Today, we have seen it with the rescue, and we know that the remaining 197 out there will also be rescued and we hope that all other that were abducted will be released as well.

“For us as a movement, the rescue of the Chibok girls is the easy part. The main part for us is to ensure that our girls are rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society and made to get that life that is theirs, which the terrorists tried to truncate.

“We are not just a movement that demands, we proffer solutions, and part of what we have done is the verification, authentication and reunification system that we passed over to the government. And from what we are seeing on ground, there has been an improvement with the government in this situation than we saw when Amina Ali was found.

“We must not let the terrorists win with them, because if we just rescue them and allow them to just be, then everything would have been defeated. We need to ensure they are rehabilitated, returned to school and get that education and become the world leaders they are meant to be.”

While the leader of the group, Oby Ezekwesili, was said to have travelled to the US and was not on hand at the Unity Fountain with the rest of the group to celebrate the release of the 21 girls, her excitement on her twitter handle was infectious as she thanked the government, the Red Cross, the military and the Swiss government for their combined efforts in ensuring the girls’ release.

Some of the tweets read: “I can only weep right now. You know that kind of cry that is a mix of multiple emotions. Lord, some of our girls are back. It is 4 am in California and I can no longer sleep. Join me in singing the words of Psalm 126. When the Lord turned again the CAPTIVITY.

“With tears of unspeakable joy at the release of 21 of OUR #ChibokGirls, We cry out and use them as a point of contact for the rest 197. Imagine how it feels for parents of our 21 #ChibokGirls to behold and hug their daughters after 913 days of their captivity. #HopeEndures on.”

Another member of the group, Fatima Abba-Kaka, in her excitement, said that finally, the group has been vindicated. She said that God has vindicated the group from those who said that the girls were never taken.

“I feel incredible. I couldn’t eat today or do anything. This is what we have been expecting from our government. We believe in our government. Even when they thought they couldn’t, we believed they could, and they have done it and need to do more.

“The issue is that if there is negotiation, there has to be an exchange. We gave the government three scenarios—negotiation, military might or a combination of the two. Definitely if you negotiate, you will release their own.

“Right now, let us get all our girls and abducted people back and then the military can strategise and know how to handle Boko Haram. To me, the life of a single Chibok girl is more than anything. So I am okay with the negotiations.

Published in Business and Economy

First Lady Aisha Buhari drew an instant response from President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday after threatening on air that she might not support his re-election bid in 2019.

Speaking in an interview she granted the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the wife of the President said the President needed to reshuffle his cabinet for her to back him for re-election.

“I have decided as his wife that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again,” she said.

She claimed that the President “does not know” most of the top officials he has appointed so far.

She said: “The president does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed, and I don’t know them either despite being his wife of 27 years.

“Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position.”

Aisha said some of such appointees are not on the same page with the President on the vision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that they were appointed only on account of the influence of a ‘few people.’

She mentioned no names, and when pressed to identify those she was referring to, she said: “You will know them if you watch television.

“Some of them don’t even have voter cards, and those who made sacrifice have been reduced to nothing and certainly not happy with the way things are going.”

The APC, she said, must wake up to remedy the situation.

She said people who did not share the vision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were now appointed to top posts because of the influence a “few people” wield.

“What I am afraid of is the rebellion of 15 million people. Many people have started creating division among the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

“This worries us a lot because they believe they are the ones who suffered but are nowhere today.

“Those who didn’t do anything, who don’t even have voters’ cards, are the ones in position doing everything.

On whether the President was aware of the challenges caused by the cabal, she added: “Whether he knows or he doesn’t know, those who voted for him know.

“There is nothing I will tell him. He can see. Among all the people he selected, if he is asked among 50 people, he doesn’t know 45.

“I don’t know them despite staying with him for 27 years.”

Responding to a question on if the president was in charge, she said: “That is left for the people to decide.”

Pressed to comment on a major achievement of Buhari, she pointed to the enhanced security in the North-East as a result of a total war against Boko Haram.

She added: “No-one is complaining about being attacked in their own homes. Thankfully everyone can walk around freely, go to places of worship, etc. Even kids in Maiduguri have returned to schools.”

But Mrs. Buhari admitted that the President had not told her yet about 2019.

Her words: “He is yet to tell me (if he’ll seek re-election) but I have decided as his wife that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again.”

She was also asked whether the President was in charge of his administration, to which she responded thus: “That is left for the people to decide.”

However, she hailed the President for checking the onslaught of the terror sect, Boko Haram in the Northeast and for improving safety in the geo-political zone.

“No one is complaining about being attacked in their own homes. Thankfully, everyone can walk around freely, go to places of worship, etc. Even kids in Maiduguri have returned to schools,” Mrs. Buhari said.

Moments after the interview was aired, reporters covering President Buhari’s current visit to Germany asked him to respond to the First Lady’s comments.

He claimed to have laughed it off and said: “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.

“So I claim superior knowledge over her and the rest of the opposition, because in the end I have succeeded. It’s not easy to satisfy the whole Nigerian opposition parties or to participate in the government.”

Findings by our correspondent revealed that the First Lady decided to open up following Buhari’s tough stance, anti-corruption and alleged frustration of his agenda by the cabal in Buhari’s government.

Apart from not conceding ministerial slot to the First Lady, the President officially designated her as the “Wife of the President.”

Unlike in the past, the wife of the President has no say in the affairs of the state including award of contracts.

A source added: “In fact during one of the Federal Executive Council meetings, the President told the ministers: ‘None of you should give contract to my wife or relations. If you do so, I will take drastic action.’ Since then Ministers have kept Mrs. Buhari at bay.”

Also in June 2015 Buhari ordered security agents to grill one of Aisha’s brothers over a N300 million deal to facilitate allocation of an oil block.

The suspect was allegedly brought to the Presidential Villa in handcuffs, a development which angered his in-laws.

Writing on a sketch of Buhari’s tough anti-corruption mindset and plans was contained in a book, “Muhammadu Buhari: The challenges of leadership in Nigeria”, Prof. John Paden, who is the author, said Buhari told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti-graft agencies to probe his children or any member of his family implicated in corrupt practices.

The book says: “Buhari’s attitude is to let the chips fall where they may in particular cases, although reform of the judiciary is one of his larger goals.

“Buhari has often said that if any of his own children were accused of corruption, and the authorities did not investigate, he would never forgive the authorities.

The President also allowed the First Lady limited access to the use of the Presidential jets.

It was gathered that when the First Lady was going on Hajj in 2015, the President directed her to go in a commercial flight leading to the choice of Emirates Airline.

“During a shuttle to Edo State, the President frowned at the First Lady for coming in a chartered chopper.”

Another source said: “I think the First Lady spoke because of frustration. Her battle with the cabal in the presidency started before Buhari’s inauguration.

“When the President-elect was at the Defence House, her flat was third to her husband. A member of cabal was living in the middle flat. At a stage, she protested that she must have direct access to her husband. The allocation of room was later adjusted.

“It has been paining her that a member of the cabal singlehandedly nominated seven ministers without the knowledge of the President. It was an influence which security agencies could not detect on time.

“Many members of APC have been protesting to her but she does not have much access to her husband.”

Following is the full translation of the interview:

People have goodwill towards President Muhammadu Buhari, especially looking at the things he did before. But since coming into power, things have not been working the way they should. What do you think is the cause?

I am not a government official. But in my opinion as a woman, a mother, what I think is it is well known that the first four years are not going to be easy. Firstly, it was people that brought the government into power. More than half of those people are not appointed into the government. Some people that are not politicians, not professionals were brought into the government. They don’t even know what we said we want and what we don’t during the campaign.

They even came out and said to people, ‘We are not politicians.’ But they are occupying the offices meant for politicians. Some have parted with their wives. Some lost their children. Some women too have parted with their husbands because of politics. A lot happened during the time.

The way things are going, I too I am not happy. We are just starting; we have not finished. Some people that worked for the government have been appointed. But those heading government agencies, you can find one fighting his state governor. They contested together during election, one in APC while the other is in PDP.

Who are those doing this kind of things?

Everybody knows them. Those people should know that people voted singly. Even Buhari too had one vote. Nobody voted five times. 15.429 million people. That one that people are thinking too, he had only some two or three people. I am pleading with them to have the people at heart and embrace everybody so that we can all move together.

Not even now in 2016 or 17, lot of people are creating divisions within the APC, which is our source of concern. They think they have worked for the government while those appointed, some of them had no voter’s card. What I fear is uprising of 15.4 million people.

Is the President aware some people are subverting his government?

Whether he knows or he does not, those that voted for him know.

But you are the closest to him. Did you tell him?

There is nothing I can tell him. He is seeing things himself. Of the people he has appointed, take 50, 45 of them, I don’t know them. Perhaps he doesn’t know them too. I have been living with him for 27 years.

Do you think there are some people that are dictating to the President the things to do?

That is what I am saying. Those that know they don’t have voters card, they should give chance to those that have. They are the ones that struggled and know what we want to do. Some of them, if you go to a meeting with them, they will tell you we are not politicians. If somebody is wise, they will not accept to take any political office. They didn’t even work for it. Even if you are asked to, you should say it is not my profession. Those places not headed by politicians will cause people discontent.

One would wonder to hear you say some people have hijacked the government without him knowing. But who do you think are those people?

I don’t know them, I don’t know them. I don’t know them.

But some people are calling names, saying two or three are the ones. Do you know that as well?

Yes I agree. Because of those appointed, apart from Fashola, Amaechi and some others, not much, I don’t know them. Most of us too don’t know them, and he too does not know them.

One would wonder that Buhari is not the one in charge. Knowing him as a person who had leadership experiences, people would not believe.

Yes, it is surprising. Nobody thought it was going to be like this. But now that it is so…sometimes when one is doing something wrong without him knowing, but when people talk to them, they should listen. Because in future, whether he is going to contest or not, it is that same people that would vote for APC. We hope those people don’t come back, and everybody don’t hope so too.

You said “Whether he is going to contest in future or not”, has he disclosed it to you whether he is standing or not?

He didn’t tell me, but I have made up my mind.

Published in Headliners
Friday, 14 October 2016 00:54

Boko Haram releases 21 Chibok girls

Twenty one of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist Boko Haram insurgents in April 2014 have been released to the Nigerian government.

 Reports quoted a government source as confirming the release of 21 of the girls.

The sources disclosed that the girls were picked up by military helicopter from Banki area of Borno state where Boko Haram militants dropped them off earlier today.

The release of the 21 girls comes as President Buhari began a three-day trip to Germany to discuss assistance for the rebuilding of the northeastern part of Nigeria ravaged by Boko Haram.

Also, a senior government official in Nigeria told the BBC that 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants have been freed.

It is understood the girls are being held by the security services in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.

It is not yet clear how the girls were rescued, but the Nigerian military is currently carrying out a large-scale operation in the Sambisa forest, Boko Haram’s stronghold.

The Islamist militant group kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok in April 2014.

Until now only one girl had been rescued.

A vigilante group found Amina Ali Nkeki in May with her suspected militant husband and her new baby.

Over 200 secondary school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok in April 2014. There have been outrage from several pressure groups on government to facilitate the release of the school girls.

In recent time, the Federal Government has agreed to enter into negotiation with Boko Haram for the release of the girls through swapping them with some Boko Haram detainees in custody of government.

Meanwhile, the presidency has made public the names of the twenty-one Chibok girls released by Boko Haram in the early hours of Thursday.

The girls were freed after negotiation was brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed said at a press conference.

The names of the girls were given as Mary Usman, Jummai John, Blessing Abana, Luggwa Sanda, Comfort Habila, Maryam Basheer and Comfort Amos.

Others included Glory Mainta, Saratu Emmanuel,Deborah Ja’afaru, Rahab Ibrahim, Helen Musa, Maryamu Lawan and Rebecca Ibrahim.

Also released were Asabe Goni, Agne Gapani, Saratu MArkus, Glory Dama, Pindah Nuhu, Debprah Andrawus and Rebecca Mallam.

Published in Headliners

One of the seven judges arrested by the Department of State Services, DSS, has admitted that he took bribes running into millions of naira.

A DSS source revealed that the judge on being confronted with the proof of the N500 million bribe he collected prostrated before the DSS boss and begged him not to expose him.

He was rolling on the floor and this was captured, the source told The Nation newspaper.

The judge had refused to unlock the safe in his house for DSS operatives to have access to its contents.

The DSS, however, plans to take possession of the safe to uncover its contents, the source said.

It was gathered that the agency has been questioning bank chiefs and directors over links with some of the alleged corrupt judges.

Those arrested were two Supreme Court Justices ­– Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro; – the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, who was picked up in Sokoto; Justice Adeniyi Ademola (Federal High Court); the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court; and Justice Muazu Pindiga (Gombe State High Court).

The source said: “Corruption in the Judiciary was based on our intelligence gathering and alerts from informants and petitions. It is not based on the perception of Nigerians. We have been on the trail of some of these judges in the last few months.

“For instance, we started probing one of the seven judges in detention since the Ramadan period of 2015. When we got sufficient intelligence on him, bordering on over N500 million bribe, we invited him.

“The judge was given a copy of our report on him. By the time he read it halfway, he prostrated, held the legs of the security chief (Lawan Daura) and begged for forgiveness. We captured the way he was reeling on the floor.

“We later sent a security brief on him to the National Judicial Council (NJC) with enough evidence. But he was cleared by the NJC as having committed no wrong. Since the NJC could not do the needful, we have decided to subject him to a judicial process.

“We also have a case of one of the judges who refused to unlock a safe in his house when our operatives went to his house. We may actually secure the leave of the court to relocate the safe to Abuja.

“Another detained judge got a contract from Bauchi State Government and obtained a loan from a bank. But when he defaulted in paying back the facility, the bank filed an action against him before the Federal High Court in Bauchi. What is the business of a judge with contract?”

Another source gave insights into the ongoing operation against 15 judges by the DSS.

“We are digging more and getting fresh revelations from these judges. For instance, a Federal High Court judge in detention actually spread the N54 million and $171,779 recovered from his residence in different rooms. He kept them in different parts of the rooms like a thief.”

“There is no immunity conferred on judges, we are only duty bound to protect the court because it is a sacred place, a temple of justice. Once you have issues, you go to court but immediately a judge is outside the court, he or she is like you and me.

“There is nothing unusual about the arrest of judges other than it has not been the practice. But it is normal. Once a petition is lodged, it is normal that you just have to look into it as a security agency.”

“We have started looking into allegations against some banks; we have torn all banks apart. Some bank chiefs have been coming to the DSS office in Abuja for clarifications on some transactions we are investigating.

“Every week, not less than three bank officials come here. We will let you know the outcome soon.”

Published in Business and Economy

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday declared Goodie Minabo Ibru, wanted.

The anti-graft agency said that the businessman was wanted in connection with a case of corruption.

According to EFCC Ibru was involved in “conspiracy, capital market fraud, stealing, diversion of funds, and money laundering”.

He allegedly diverted billions of naira and assets belonging to Ikeja Hotels Plc, owners of Sheraton Hotel, Lagos; Federal Palace Hotel; Capital Hotel; and Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.”

EFCC urged members of the public with information as to his whereabouts to contact the commission.

Published in Headliners

The suspects

The Nigeria Police on Monday paraded nine suspected kidnappers of Margaret Emefiele, wife of Godwin Emefiele, Governor Central Bank of Nigeria.

The woman was kidnapped on 29 September and released within 24 hours by her captives who were later arrested.

The names of the suspects, including two serving soldiers, were given as Lance Corporal Musa Maidabra ‘M’ 28 years
2 Lance Corporal Edwin George ‘M’
3. Ernest Anthony Uduefe ‘M’ 32 years (dismissed Soldier)
4. Mohammed Abubakar A.K.A Dogo ‘M’ 29 years (Gang Leader)
5. Mohammed Musa ‘M’ 26 years
6. Mohammed Sule ‘M’ 26 years
7. Ibrahim Abdullahi ‘M’ 30 years
8. Aliyu Musa ‘M’ 30 years
9 Mohammed Yusuf ‘M’ 36 years

The suspects

The suspects


Police officers addressing the press

Police officers addressing the press

The suspects

The suspects

Another car bought with the money collected

Another car bought with the money collected

The suspects and the stacks of money retrieved from them

The suspects and the stacks of money retrieved from them

Car bought with proceeds of crime impounded from one of the suspects

Car bought with proceeds of crime impounded from one of the suspects

Published in Business and Economy
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