Family members of the three operatives of the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and a civilian allegedly killed by soldiers in Taraba State, have tasked the Federal Government to ensure justice was done in the matter.
The Police said the officers murdered included Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeant Usman Danzumi and Sergeant Dahiru Musa.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, head of the family and elder brother of the deceased Inspector, Mr. Andrew Ediale, called on the international community and independent bodies, to undertake independent enquiries, with a view to serving the course of justice.
He said: “The blood of the slain men will hound the nation, unless justice was not only said to have been done in the final anaysis, but manifestly seen to have been done.”
The killing of the quartet occurred on Tuedsday, August 6 at Ibi area of Taraba State.
Hong Kong police fire tear gas in renewed clash with protesters
Hong Kong police have fired tear gas and baton-charged protesters who retaliated with a barrage of stones, bottles and bamboo poles as a standoff in a working-class neighbourhood descends into violence, breaking an uneasy peace that had lasted several days.
Thousands of demonstrators, many wearing hard hats and gas masks, on Saturday marched through the industrial Kwun Tong area, where they were blocked by dozens of riot police with shields and batons outside a police station.
Frontline protesters – known as the “braves” – pulled together a barricade of traffic barriers and bamboo construction poles. As the afternoon wore on, some fired stones from slingshots, prompting a charge from police, wielding batons and pepper spray.
Tears gas swept across the road as protesters retreated, leaving a trail of broken bottles and at least one small fire in their wake as pro-democracy protestsentered their 12th week on Saturday.
Several of the black-clad protesters were detained as officers swept through.
Four metro stations were shut down around Kwun Tong, a densely populated area on the east of the Kowloon peninsula, but thousands packed the streets anyway, most carrying umbrellas against the sun despite hazy skies in the former British colony
Hong Kong’s police force have become the target of the protesters’ ire for their perceived heavy-handed response to the months of demonstrations.
Antipathy has soared towards the police, who have used baton charges, rubber bullets and tear gas against hardcore protesters, but are also accused of beating peaceful demonstrators.
What’s been happening is that police have slowly been clearing the streets following a large peaceful protest,” Al Jazeera correspondent Adrian Brown said from the streets of Hong Kong.
Protesters were allowed on the streets between 1pm and 4pm, but when they did not leave after 4pm, the police moved in.
“It’s a reminder that after twelve consecutive weeks of protests that the streets of Hong Kong in some places still resemble a bit of a battleground,” said Brown.
Saturday’s protest focused mainly on the installation of a large number of CCTV cameras in the city, with residents fearing their privacy might be at risk.
In mainland China, facial recognition technology has allowed the government to follow the whereabouts of citizen.
Although Saturday’s protest was not as large as last week’s, when 1.7 million people took part, Brown said it was a solid reminder that the movement has not been running out of steam.
Earlier during the day, protesters once again tried to interfere with the operations at the Hong Kong airport, but their attempts to disrupt the passengers’ commute to the airport failed.
The demonstrations, which have occasionally shut the airport and businesses, still have broad support, despite some violent clashes between police and protesters, said Brown.
On Friday night, thousands of protesters chanted slogans and formed human chains around the city in a peaceful protest dubbed the “Hong Kong Way”.
Organisers said 135,000 people took part in the demonstration, inspired by the one in 1989 when an estimated two million people joined arms across three Baltic states in a protest against the then-Soviet rule that became known as the “Baltic Way” or “Baltic Chain”.
Friday’s protest, which included people shining lights on sidewalks and atop Kowloon’s Lion Rock mountain, followed warnings from Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam to stop the demonstrations and restore order.
Earlier this week, Lam announced that her office would “start immediately a platform for dialogue with people from all walks of life”, while promising to conduct an investigation into alleged police abuse.
According to Brown, those conversations have started, but it is doubtful that they will lead to concrete results.
Russian capsule carrying robot fails space station docking
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russia’s first humanoid robot on Saturday failed to dock automatically with the international space station, Moscow news agencies reported.
The craft launched a repeat of the docking manoeuvres after the failure of the first attempt, which had been scheduled for 0530 GMT, the agencies said.
Live broadcast of the event on the Russian space agency Roskomos was interrupted with the Soyuz spacecraft about 100 metres (109 yards) off the ISS.
The life-size robot, named Fedor, was to spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts in the space station.
Short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, Fedor is the first ever sent up by Russia.
Fedor blasted off Thursday in a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and was to stay on the ISS until September 7.
Soyuz ships are normally manned on such trips, but this time no humans were travelling in order to test a new emergency rescue system.
Instead of cosmonauts, Fedor, also known as Skybot F850, was strapped into a specially adapted pilot’s seat, with a small Russian flag in hand, reports France24.
“Let’s go. Let’s go,” the robot was heard saying during launch, repeating the famous phrase used by first man in space Yuri Gagarin.
The silvery anthropomorphic robot stands 1.80 metres (5 foot 11 inches) tall and weighs 160 kilogrammes (353 pounds).
Fedor has Instagram and Twitter accounts with posts saying it is learning new skills such as opening a bottle of water. It was to trial those manual skills in very low gravity.
Tunisian police arrest presidential candidate over tax evasion
Tunisian police arrested presidential candidate Nabil Karoui on Friday after a court ordered his detention, the Interior Ministry said, in a case involving charges of money laundering but which Karoui’s party said was a politically motivated attempt to exclude him from the election race.
Karoui’s own Nessma TV channel reported that the candidate had been arrested as he traveled to Tunis, and broadcast a video showing the police detaining him in his car.
The 56-year-old media magnate is one of the main candidates contesting the September 15 election following the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi.
“The indictment chamber charged in the cases of financial corruption decided today to issue two prison deposit cards against Nabil Karoui and his brother Ghazi Karoui,” Saber Horchani, the spokesman for the appeal court, told state news agency TAP.
A judge ordered the detention of Karoui to face charges of tax evasion and money laundering, Mosaique FM radio reported.
A judge decided in July this year to bar Karoui from traveling abroad after weeks of investigation on suspicion of money laundering.
“The police arrested Karoui while we were on our way back from the city of Beja to Tunis,” said Osama Khelifi, a political adviser to the candidate. “They kidnapped the most prominent candidate in the presidential election so that (Prime Minister Youssef) Chahed can win the election in an open way,” he added.
Samira Chaouachi, spokeswoman of Karoui’s Heart of Tunisia Party, said it was “a political arrest aimed at keeping Karoui out of the presidential race.”
“This is a judicial matter that has nothing to do with the government and came after a complaint from ‘I watch,’ a civil society organization,” a government official told Reuters rejecting what he called “‘allegations.”
Chahed and Karoui are among 26 candidates running for the presidency following Essebsi’s death last month at age 92. Essebsi was the first head of state to be democratically elected in Tunisia following the popular uprising of 2011.
Other candidates include former president Moncef Marzouki and Abd El Fatteh Mourou, vice president of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, reports Reuters.
Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defense policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by Parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.
Karoui founded the Khalil Tounes Foundation in 2017 to fight poverty, the main theme in his campaign.
In April, police stormed the offices of Nesma channel, which promotes Karoui’s candidacy and career, and took it off the air over accusations that it had breached broadcasting rules. Nesma said it was a move to stop it criticizing the government.
US: How Nigerian scammers duped Japanese woman of $.2m
The United States’ Department of Justice has released details of how some Nigerian fraudsters operating outside of Los Angeles and in Nigeria, fraudulently dispossessed a Japanese woman of $200,000, an equivalent of N70 million.
The woman, simply identified as J.K, was a victim of an online romance scam.
According to the DoJ, J.K had thought she was in conversation with a US Army captain, Terry Garcia, stationed in Syria.
Over the course of 10 months, J.K exchanged daily messages with supposed Garcia and ended up losing $200,000.
In the elaborate scheme to swindle F.K of her money, the scammer who had impersonated the American captain told the woman that he had found a bag of diamonds in Syria and would want to smuggle it out of the country.
He introduced J.k to supposed associate and Red Cross representative to legitimize his claims.
This Red Cross representative would later inform J.K that Gracia had been injured but had given him the box of diamond.
F.K. eventually made 35 to 40 payments, receiving as many as 10 to 15 emails a day directing her to send money to accounts in the U.S. Turkey and the United Kingdom through the captain’s many purported associates.
The fraudsters even threatened her with arrest if she did not continue to pay and at one point she travelled to Los Angeles because she was told a Russian bank manager had embezzled more than $33,000 of her funds.
This was part of the indictment on the 77 Nigerians accused of online fraud and money laundering.
Reacting to the incident, Nick Hanna. United States Attorney for the Central District of California, said: “We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in US history. We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks.”
The indictment was a result of about three years’ investigation.
“F.K. was and is extremely depressed and angry about these losses,” the federal complaint states.
“She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her.”
United States’ authorities arrested 14 defendants on Thursday, mostly in the Los Angeles area.
US officials said they are also working with security outfits of other nations to bring the culprits not in America to justice.
Town in lockdown as G7 summit descends on French resort
The French seaside resort of Biarritz is under lockdown by security forces ahead of the G7 summit, with more than 13,000 police as well as a special magistrates court set up to try anyone committing offences.
The historic centre of the Basque town was emptied of tourists on Friday before the arrival of leaders of the world’s advanced economies including the US president, Donald Trump, and the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, who will hold three days of talks on global issues from the climate emergency to trade wars.
Surfers were ordered out of the water on the central beach, the Grande Plage, and sent further round the coast. Sailing vessels were moved on and kept away. The train station and airport will be closed over the weekend, creating a no-go zone in the centre. There are road checks at the Spanish border and police have been stationed around town and on top of buildings.
Authorities have banned demonstrations, sealing off the town, but forces are on alert for any other gatherings in the region by anti-government gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protesters or possible anarchists.
“The aim is to have maximum security with a minimum of disruption. We will not tolerate any unrest. If it happens, we will respond,” said France’s interior minister, Christophe Castaner.
Riot police clashed with activists and fired tear-gas in Urrugne near the Spanish border on Friday night, on the edge of a camp where people were staying for an alternative G7 summit focusing on environmental issues. Authorities said 17 people were arrested for an unauthorised gathering and for covering their faces. The authorities said four police were slightly injured.
A special magistrates court, with 17 prosecutors and cells that can hold up to 300 people, has been set up to deal with those arrested.
Earlier this week, five people including “black bloc” anti-capitalists were arrested for posting messages online encouraging attacks on a hotel accommodating police during the summit.
Amnesty International warned on Friday that “the hasty construction of prefab holding cells in front of the Bayonne courthouse and the arrival of numerous prosecutors and extra judges was a sign of measures that could lead to massive indiscriminate arrests and fast-track judgments”.
Some locals likened the closing down of Biarritz in peak holiday season to trying to hold an international summit at Cannes during the film festival. But authorities argued that the international attention would bring in more tourists in the future – appealing particularly to Americans and Canadians, reports The Guardian.
An authorised demonstration by charities, climate change campaigners and other groups on the left will take place on Saturday, but 19 miles (30km) from the summit where leaders will meet at the luxury Hôtel du Palais.
Thousands of people are expected to march from the seaside town of Hendaye over the border to Irun in Spain, where another 3,000 police officers are expected to be on duty. Several gilets jaunes groups have called for protests in France on Saturday but it is unclear where.
Asked this week whether the G7 now resembled an ivory tower of leaders cut off from the people and the rest of the world, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said the summit was about finding spaces for dialogue and some of its work was being opened up to civil society groups and NGOs.
Host communities thank Buhari for appointing Akpabio, Sylva ministers
Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa
The National Chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria producing oil and gas (HOSTCOM), Dr Benjamin Style Tamaranebi has thanked President Mohammadu Buhari for appointing the son of Niger Delta Timipre Sylva as the Minister of State for Petroleum.
He also congratulated him for also appointing Senator Godswill Akpabio as the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs even as he immensely thanked him for approving N98 billion gas flare penalty fund.
Speaking at the weekend in Yenagoa during the inauguration of the Bayelsa State chapter of HOSTCOM, Dr Style also advised all the HOSTOM members to vote for that candidate that will establish BASOPADEC as the state governorship election approaches.
Maintaining that HOSCOM has hundreds of thousands of members, he, however, condemned in it’s entirely the non -establishment of BASODEC since the birthing of HOSTCOM pointing out other oil producing states have established their own commissions.
The National Chairman said: “We are indebted to President Muhammadu Buhari for aligning himself to the aspirations and yearnings of the Niger Delta people specifically for the approval and release of N98 billion gas flare fund that has been long awaited to host communities.
“It is a laudable gesture and we are now asking for the 13% derivation funds to be given directly to host communities so that we can we can feel it because it is hanging in the hands of the governors. That is why we are telling the federal and the state governments that the 13% derivation funds should be give us so that we can use it to develop our communities.
“This is a clarion call to our communities not to waste their votes but to identify with candidate who will listen to their clarion call not candidate who will turn them to beggars after voting for him.”
He advised the oil companies operating in the region to identify with the host communities so that pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft and other social vices will not be there; adding that all those things were happening in the host communities because oil companies were not involving the entire host communities in their dealings.
Oshiomhole: APC will rule Nigeria beyond 2023
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole, has boasted that the ruling party will rule Nigeria beyond 2023.
The former Edo State governor made this known while speaking at a meeting with governors of the APC on the platform of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF).
It will be recalled that many have predicted the collapse of the APC when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will come to an end in 2023.
Oshiomhole called for synergy among party members to move the party and the country forward.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he said: “It is quite a challenging experience for me. I try to compare myself as a governor and now as chairman of a party, coming in at the eve of primaries and dealing with fallouts of the previous congresses. And then proceeding to conduct elections.
“Then conduct primaries and campaigns across the 36 states and the FCT. And, working hard to ensure that we secure as many votes we can for our president.
“As well as support our states particularly where we didn’t have state governors to ensure that we are able to lend a helping hand.
“I am happy to say that at the end of the day even though we lost some states we also gained some states.
”We gained Kwara, which for us is extremely important. And, we also gained Gombe state which is also very strategic among others.
“Of course, we have a clear majority in the National Assembly. We have more senators elected on our platform. We also have more of House Representatives elected on our platform.
“As it stands there are many cases in court. And until those cases are resolved, we won’t be able to say for sure where we stand. It is our prayer because we believed that a lot of our cases in court have merit. We hope that there will be justice and they are resolved in our favour.
”We also want to congratulate you for having being reelected. Sometimes it is easier to be elected the first time. But to be reelected implies a huge vote of confidence by the people of your respective states.
“And Looking at things from here, I know a lot went into trying to seize the deliberate attempt by the opposition to discredit the good ones. Like, we have said during the retreat, we believed our party has made a lot of progress in the three key areas that were reflected in our manifesto.
“But, there is a lot to be done. And I am sure working together at both the executive, state and federal by the special grace of God, we will do better in this second time. As to merit, our party will continue to govern the country post-2023.”
FG ON ALLEGED $46M FRAUD: We’ ll surrender indicted Nigerians to U.S. if…
- Few bad eggs not true representation of Nigeria –NIDCOM
Nigerians living in the United States who were recently charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a $46 million fraud have been told to give themselves up to the law enforcement agency or face extradition according to international treaty between both countries.
The FBI had on Thursday, announced a massive bust of online fraudsters who are mostly Nigerians. According to the FBI, a total of 80 suspects have been apprehended for cyber crime and money laundering, with 57 more being hunted globally in investigations which began since 2016. It said the suspects were involved in schemes resulting in the fraudulent transfer of at least $6 million in fraudulently obtained funds and the overall conspiracy was responsible for the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million. Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, gave the advice yesterday, while condemning the action of the indicted Nigerians. She said the indicted Nigerians should be given the opportunity to defend themselves as every suspect remains innocent until proven guilty. Dabiri- Erewa said while the alleged involvement of these Nigerians ultimately have negative effect on the image of the country, the actions of a few Nigerians involved in criminal activities must not be the measure of what the majority of Nigerians represent.
The statement read as follows: “The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission is deeply concerned about the news of the court indictment of 80 persons, mainly Nigerians, in various parts of the US, being accused in separate FBI cases of massive email fraud and money laundering. “Prior to the court indictment of these eighty persons, of which Valentine Iro and Chukwudi Christogunis Igbokwe, are lead suspects, Obinwanne Okeke had earlier been arrested in Virginia.
“We acknowledge the fact that accusation does not mean guilt, and we hope that all the accused will be given fair and speedy trial. “We also ask those accused in Nigeria to voluntarily turn themselves in, to American authorities to clear their names, without which the Nigerian government should extradite them if relevant international treaties between the two governments are invoked. “While such actions ultimately have negative effect on the image of the country, the Commission however reiterates as it has always done, that the actions of a few Nigerians involved in criminal activities is not and can never be what the majority of Nigerians represent.
MY ESCAPE STORY, BY WADUME
The kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Bala Hamisu aka Wadume, (33), has further revealed that his handcuffs and leg chain were cut off by a welder, who was invited by the army captain, who ordered the attack on operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), leading to the death of three IRT Operatives and two civilians. According to Wadume, this was done moments after he reached the captain’s quarters.
He disclosed that before the captain invited the welder to do the needful, he had earlier called the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) in charge of Ibi Police Division to bring keys to unlock the handcuffs and leg chain. Recalling the events like it was yesterday, Wadume said: “On the day of my arrest, I was seating at a tea joint when some policemen came to me. They introduced themselves and showed me their identity cards. I followed them. When I entered their vehicle, they handcuffed and leg chained me.
“He continued: “While we were on our way to Wukari, we got to the first check point, some soldiers flagged down the policemen. The policemen presented their identity cards. The second check point was manned by mobile policemen.
“The policemen drove pass that point without any hassle. Trouble started at the third check point, which was controlled by soldiers. Three policemen alighted from the van to show their ID cards. “We continued on our journey, but less than five minutes after we left the third check point, we started hearing sounds of gunshots.
We looked back, it was the soldiers; they were firing at us. “The van suddenly summersaulted. I crawled out of the vehicle and saw all the policemen alive. While I was trying to leave the scene, two soldiers came to pick me. I then heard the soldiers shooting at the policemen. I even sustained a bullet wound from the shooting. “I was taken straight to the captain’s house.
The DCO of Ibi division came to meet us at the captain’s house. The captain asked the DCO to go and get the key for the handcuffs. He left, but never returned. The captain then called a welder, who used a saw to cut off the handcuff and leg chain. I also sustained some injuries in the process.”
Wadume said that it was after he came out from the army’s house, that he saw the corpses of the policemen and the civilians and became troubled. According to him: “I came out from the captain’s house and saw the corpses of the policemen and their agents at the front of the captain’s house.
I became very disturbed. I pretended like I wanted to go and urinate and escaped from the scene. “I called Audul, who is my boy, and he took me on his motorcycle to Ungwachiki Town in Ibi Local Government. I passed the night in the home of Meito, my friend. But while I was there, some soldiers came to Meito’s house and started searching for me.
They were armed with guns, machetes and axes. I believe they wanted to kill me. I don’t know how they got information that I was in that house, but I managed to escape through the window and fled to the river bank at about 8pm, where I boarded a speedboat to Tunga village in Nasarawa State. “I spent a night in Nasarawa State and boarded a commercial bus to Kano State. I had N500, 000 with me while I was on the run; I took the money to my un-cle’s house, where I went to hide in Kano. “While I was hiding, I instructed one of my bothers in Ibi to go to my house and remove all my rifles. My cousin brought an idea that I needed some journalists to help me write favourable reports, that I should pay them N3million.”
The police have since recovered four among the hidden rifles from Wadume’s relatives. It was also gathered that some of the intelligent reports on the alleged activities of Wadume, leading to the police tracking and arresting him were facilitated by one of his blood brothers.
Before Wadume’s started cooperating with the police on their investigation, however, the police had earlier arrested one of his gang members. The police then decided to use him as an informant and a mole in Wadume’s gang.
He was released after he agreed to cooperate with the police. But after his release, he went to Wadume, and lied to him that he was asked to get N1million from him by the police, so that they would stop hunting for him. The alleged kingpin bought the story and gave him the N1million but the man disappeared with the money. Wadume, who said that he was married to four wives and has only four children as against reports of many children, added that he dropped out of Government Secondary School, Ibi when he was in Junior Secondary School (JSS3). He said: “After I dropped out, I started fishing at the River Benue, which flows through Ibi town.
This was in 1996. I did fishing for six years, but in 2002, I went into fishpond business. “I used to buy fingerlings for N30 per one; I would train them for five months and sell them between N600 and N700. I started small, with just two small ponds. But I went on to get five more big ponds.”
While narrating his story, Wadume digressed into roles he played in politics. He explained that it was after he went into the world of politics that he took to crime. This was also as he disclosed that he defrauded some politicians.
His words: “I went into crime after some politicians approached me through a friend, Babaginda Musa. My friend was into fishing too. I was introduced into politics by Honourable Haruna Maintable, who contested for the state house of assembly during the 2015 general elections.
“He gave me vehicle and I campaigned for him. He won and later gave me N300, 000 and the vehicle we used in the campaign.” He explained that prior to the 2019 election, in June 2018, he fooled many politicians contesting for different political offices.
He was able to make them believe he had spiritual powers, which he could use to make them win elections. Many of them bought the pack of lies. Interestingly, one of his victim is the present governor of his state. According to him: “I also defrauded the present governor. When the governor came to Ibi, he met youths in my town, and as the leader of the youth, the governor came to me. “I promised to work for him. I also promised to consult some mallams to pray for his success. The governor gave me N2 million on that day and we exchanged phone numbers. A week before the election, the governor called and asked me to meet him at government house. “When I got there, he gave me N4 million cash, saying that I should continue praying for him. After the election, the governor called and thanked me.’’ Beside the governor, he confessed to defrauding a top civil servant in the state: ‘‘I also defrauded a top civil servant. He is from Ibi; I defrauded him of the sum of N30 million.
I was also given N13 million by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pursue the 2019 presidential election. I spent only N7 million. “I contested for the Taraba State House of Assembly under the YDP Ibi Local Government. I pulled out of the election and took my supporters to support the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).” One of the persons arrested along with the kidnap kingpin is Mr. Kawu Mohammed Kasuwa (30), a civil servant from Ibi, Taraba State, who said he works with Ibi Local Government. He explained that he was an executive officer, with the administrative department. He gave insight into his relationship with Wadume: “Wadume is my uncle. He is my mother’s younger brother.
I was arrested in Zaria because I made efforts to get journalists to write a favourable story in support of my uncle, who was being hunted by the police. It wasn’t my idea, but that one of my uncle residing in Lagos State. “His name is Ismalia Jita; he called and said that he wasn’t happy with all the bad publicity uncle Wadume was getting since the incident occurred. He wanted me to raise some money to give to reporters so that they could come down to Ibi and speak with the indigenes, and get a proper story about the incident, which would be favourable to Wadume. “I asked for N3 million. I gave the money to my brother, Awal, who knew how the money was paid to the media outfit. I was arrested in Zaria while the police were looking for my uncle, Wadume. I took them to my uncle, Awal’s house in Abuja.”
APC governors, NWC meet over party crisis
•APC will rule beyond 2023, says Oshiomhole
•Edo chapter submits reconciliatory report
“There is a lot to be done and I am sure working together at both the executive, state and federal by the special grace of God, we will do better in this second term. As to merit, our party will continue to govern the country post 2023.” Those were the words of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as the governors elected on the platform of the party met with the National Working Committee (NWC) to deliberate on a way forward for the party.
Though the thrust of the meeting, held at the APC’s National Secretariat in Abuja, yesterday was not made public, sources closed to the gathering disclosed that it has to do with the crisis in party. This is coming as a committee set up by the Edo State chapter of the APC to reconcile aggrieved party members after the 2019 primary elections, presented its report to Governor Godwin Obaseki. According to one of the sources close to the governors’ meeting, the states helmsmen were at the party secretariat to discuss, among others, the issues raised by the Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salisu Lukuman, in a letter to Oshiomhole; the suspension of the National Vice Chairman North West, Inuwa Abdulkadir; and the grievances of the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, against the National Chairman, among many other issues.
A party source said that the governors were concerned with level of crisis in the party, and that they had also expressed reservation that since after the elections, the NWC had not called for a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and had not given financial account of the elections.
The meeting was attended by governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abdulrazak Abdulrahman (Kwara), Atiku Badaru (Kebbi) and two deputy governors. The NWC members in attendance at the meeting were Oshiomhole, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and former Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Niyi Adebayo; APC National Organising Secretary, Chief Emma Ibediro; National Treasurer, Adamu Fanda; and National Vice Chairman (South East), Emma Enuekwu.
The meeting lasted over two and half hours, but the governors and NWC members declined to speak with the media. In the opening remarks before the meeting went into closed doors, the National Chairman had given a brief achievements of the party in the last election, just as he said APC would be in power beyond 2023.
In his remarks, the national chairman said his position had been a challenging experience for him. “I try to compare myself as a governor and now as chairman of a party and coming in at the eve of primaries and dealing with fallouts of the previous congresses and proceeding to conduct elections, also conducting primaries and campaigns across the 36 states and the FCT. “And working hard to ensure that we secure as many votes we can for our president, as well as support our states particularly where we didn’t have state governors to ensure that we are able to lend a helping hand.
I am happy to say that at the end of the day even though we lost some states we also gained some states. ”We gained Kwara, which for us is extremely important and we also gained Gombe which is also very strategic among others. “Of course, we have a clear majority in the National Assembly. We have more senators elected on our platform. We also have more of House of Representatives elected on our platform. “As it stands, there are many cases in court and until those cases are resolved, we won’t be able to say for sure where we stand. It is our prayer that they would be in our favour because we believe that a lot of our cases in court have merit. We hope that there will be justice and they are resolved in our favor.
”We also want to congratulate you for you re-election. Sometimes it is easier to be elected the first term. But, to be re-elected imply a huge vote of confidence by the people of your respective states. And looking at things from here, I know a lot went into trying to seize the deliberate attempt by the opposition to discredit the good ones. Like, we have said during the retreat, we believed our party has made a lot of progress in the three key areas that were reflected in our manifesto”.
However making his remarks, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, said some issues were deliberated at the meeting on Thursday and it was decided that a delegation be sent to the national chairman.
He said: “We are very proud that we have a President who insisted that we should not sacrifice due process for convenience, at a time when it was difficult for many of us to contemplate the party going through national convention and primaries almost at the same time.
The President courageously said we have to do it because that is what we promised Nigerians, which is one of the most important signature between our party and other party and we are glad. So, we are happy to cooperate with the NWC to do whatever we can do to strengthen the party.”
On the Edo crisis, the chairman of the four-man Committee, Theophilus Okoh, during the presentation of the report to the governor, said the committee visited the three senatorial districts in the state and the local government areas to interact with party members who bought APC expression of interest forms, adding that the aspirants cooperated with the committee members. He said that part of the recommendations by the committee was for the party to refund money spent by aspirants to purchase expression of interest forms, noting that “in the course of interacting with the aspirants, it was discovered that some of them are intelligent, and we advised the government to consider ways of absorbing them into the system.”
While responding, the governor expressed appreciation to the committee for helping to review issues involving all the aspirants that participated in the recent APC’s primaries. Obaseki also called for compulsory monthly meetings across the various units, wards and LGAs, that would be attended by Special Assistants and Advisers from the wards.
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