Tuesday, 2 August 2022

PDP Crisis: Wike Lists Conditions For Ceasefire

PDP Crisis: Wike Lists Conditions For Ceasefire


 Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it will on Wednesday meet with the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, vice presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. 

The BoT’s Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, in a statement yesterday, said the meeting was to resolve the crisis rocking the party over the nomination of Okowa as its vice presidential candidate.

Senator Jibrin said the BoT was worried that the emergence of Atiku and Okowa as the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates was unnecessarily causing confusion among some PDP members.

He said, “The BoT is meeting on Wednesday, August 3, to address properly the issue by coming up with a strong committee to reconcile all aggrieved members, including Governor Wike. 

“After the BoT meeting, we will meet with Atiku, Okowa and Wike to finally resolve the matter to make PDP stronger and very united and enable Atiku and Okowa win the election hands down.”

Wike had on Sunday met with PDP governors and other stakeholders who coordinated his campaign for the presidential ticket.

During the meeting, it was gathered that the Wike PDP camp demanded the resignation of the party’s National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, as part of the conditions to work for Atiku.

Sources familiar with the meeting said the Rivers governor’s men were also demanding a written agreement from the presidential candidate on what would be accruing to them should the party win the 2023 elections.

Members of the camp had complained that the PDP had been hijacked by the North, saying the region produced its chairman, presidential candidate and BoT chairman. 

A source said, “What they are saying is that Ayu has been compromised, he refused to be impartial, he worked solely for the emergence of Atiku Abubakar. That is why some people are saying he should step down for equity. 

“The problem is that they are not sure that if Atiku wins, Ayu will agree to step down. So the Wike camp is said to be asking for a written agreement that Ayu will go and what they stand to benefit if the party wins the presidential election.”

North-West, South-West Lead As INEC Registers 96.2 Million

North-West, South-West Lead As INEC Registers 96.2 Million


The total number of registered voters in Nigeria may have risen from 84 million to 96.2 million, has gathered by our correspondent. 

This is according to the latest voter statistics released by the Independent National Electoral Commission which states that 12.2 million voters registered in the Continuous voter registration that ended on Sunday.

According to INEC, the North-West geopolitical zone, which comprises the seven states of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Jigawa, with a total of 22.67 million registered voters, has the highest number of registered voters.

As of the 2019 elections, the North-West had 20.15 million voters. However, the latest report released by INEC showed that 2.5 million new voters registered during the recently concluded continuous voter registration , bringing the total number of registered voters in the zone to 22.67 million. The South-West, which earlier had 16.29 million registered voters, now has 18.3 million, having added 2, 039, 982 new registered voters. The zone comprises Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo.

In third position is the South-South which comprises Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta states. The number of registered voters in the zone has risen from 12.8 million to 15.2 million.

The North-Central which is made up of Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Niger, Kwara and Plateau, now has 14.1 million voters while the North-East which is made up of Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe, added 1.5 million new voters to reach 12.8 million registered voters.

The South-East, which is the smallest geopolitical zone, and consists of five states – Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Imo – now has 11.49 million voters while the number of registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory has increased from 1.3 million to 1.5 million.

Lagos maintained its position as the state with the highest number of registered voters, increasing its figure from 6.5 million to 7.1 million. Kano State also maintained its second position, adding 569, 103 new voters to increase its number to 6.02 million.

Kaduna State now has 4.4 million registered voters while Rivers State has now overtaken Katsina as the fourth largest state in terms of voters. While Rivers now has 3.68 million voters, Katsina has 3.57 million.

Some other states with a sizeable number of registered voters are Delta (3.3 million) and Oyo (3.3 million) Also, Ekiti retained its position as the state with the lowest number of registered voters despite rising from 909, 967 registered voters to 1, 034, 911.

Youths make up 71% of new voters, women outnumber men

A breakdown of INEC’s report also showed that about 71 per cent of the newly registered voters are youths. Of the 12.2 million newly registered voters, about 8.7 million are between the ages of 18 and 34 while about 2.4 million are between ages 35 and 49. Those between ages 50 and 69 are about 856, 017 while about 127, 541 are over 70.

The statistics also showed that more women registered during the latest CVR than men. While 6,224,866 are women, 6,074,078 are men.

Speaking at the post-election training audit for the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun in Abuja on Monday, the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of The Electoral Institute, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, said youths and women constituted the majority of voters.

A political analyst, Dr Busari Dauda, said the new composition of registered voters could determine the winner of the presidential election. He also said this was a signpost that youths were ready to stop recycling old leaders.

Dauda said, “It is not strange. I think we have people who have matured to 18 years and are ready to exercise their franchise. It portends a positive outcome for the country. It is also a signal that in the subsequent general elections, they would decide who they want as leaders in the country as well take over the affairs of the country at the national level and the recycling will stop and someone much younger will one day become the president.

Also in a chat with one of our correspondents, analyst Dare Atoye-Ariyo, who is also the Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, said the recently concluded Osun State election which led to defeat of an incumbent governor, is evidence that youths are now transforming their online enthusiasm to votes.

“And that’s exactly what we saw in the Osun State governorship elections, ahead of the 2023 elections, there is a possibility that a good number of the new people who have registered this time around are going to vote,” he said.

Atoye-Ariyo added that the fact that the newly registered voters were mostly youths signaled a reawakening.


Taraba, Plateau Bandits K!ll 10, Amputate Baby

Taraba, Plateau Bandits K!ll 10, Amputate Baby


Bandits on Sunday attacked Joro Manu village in the Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State, k!lling three people and abducting six others.

No fewer than seven persons were also k!lled in the Jos South LGA of Plateau State by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.

The residents in Joro Manu village said the attackers came on motorcycles around 2pm and shot anyone in sight.

Two residents, Umar Saidu and Abdullahi Mohammed, told our correspondent that people were fleeing the area for fear of being k!lled or kidnapped.

The acting Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Gambo Kwache, confirmed the incident.

The police spokesperson said, “We are on top of the situation. We have made a deployment to the area to track down the attackers.”

The immediate past chairman of Gassol LGA, Musa Chul, had last year raised the alarm over the regrouping of terrorists in forests around the council area.

The k!llings in Jos, however, came less than 24 hours after 18 other persons lost their lives during a clash between bandits and members of a vigilance group in the Wase council area of Plateau State.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Berom Youth Moulders Association, Rwang Tengwong, confirmed the latest k!lling on Monday.

He said the attack happened on Sunday around 9pm in Danda Chugwi community of the council area.

Tengwong said, “Seven people have been confirmed dead at Danda Chugwi community following an attack by Fulani militias.

“Others, who sustained serious gunshot injuries, have been taken to the Vom Christian Hospital for immediate medical attention.”

It was learnt that among those injured was a four-month-old baby whose hand was amputated by the gunmen.

Tengwong identified the deceased as Pam Dawho, 59; Nvou Gyang, 43; Jah Pam, 50; Ruth Bot, 16; Chundung Gyang, 9; Mercy Gyang,12; and Benjamin Gyang, five.

Those who sustained injuries were identified as Lyop Dung, 40; and David Gyang, four months old.

Reacting to the attack in a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Macham Makut, Governor Simon Lalong described the incident as callous and condemnable.

The governor directed security forces to ensure that those behind the attack were apprehended and punished according to the laws of the land.

We Have Solutions To End Insecurity – Baba-Ahmed

We Have Solutions To End Insecurity – Baba-Ahmed

 Yusuf Ahmed-Baba, the running mate of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has said that both himself and Obi have solutions to end insecurity in Nigeria.

Yusuf, however, failed to say what the plans to end the insecurity were, noting that there was no point talking about the plans as so many politicians had talked and failed.

Yusuf spoke on Monday on Channels Television and also accused the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of failing to tackle insecurity in the country.

Yusuf said he was ashamed that Buhari failed to secure Nigeria despite all his promises to end insecurity.

Yusuf was speaking on the programme tagged ‘Politics Today’, and reacting to how Obi’s administration, if he won the elections, would tackle insecurity.

Yusuf said, “We do, what have Nigerians not heard in the past? What has the All Progressives Congress not told Nigerians? What did Buhari not say about restoring security? Are Nigerians not tired of hearing people talk and doing the opposite?. 

“Peter Obi and I are a completely a different mix, that is why we are seeking this opportunity and when we get it, we will deliver.

“The importance of talking has been destroyed by this administration, I feel ashamed to talk because someone like Buhari has talked and he failed.

“I don’t want to talk but act, we have the solution and by the grace of God, Nigerians will be safe and secured.”

Yusuf also said that the way to end persistent strike Actions by the Academic Staff Unions of Universities in Nigeria was consistent negotiations, adding that the Obi administration would be committed to welfare of lecturers.

Bandits Block Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway, Abduct Scores of Passengers And Burn Army Van

Bandits Block Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway, Abduct Scores of Passengers And Burn Army Van


Gunmen suspected to be bandits blocked the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway between Leru junction and Ihube axis and abducted scores of passengers.

Our correspondent gathered that the incident occurred on Saturday evening, and abducted the entire occupants of three buses, numbering about 30 people.

The bandits said to be heavily armed were said to have attacked a team of soldiers drafted to the scene following a distress call.

They reportedly set the military van on fire and wounded two soldiers before herding all occupants of three buses they abducted into the bush.

A youth leader in Umunneochi said the situation had heightened anxiety in the area.

He said the bandits took advantage of the evening rain on Saturday to block the highway, causing gridlock that stretched to Leru junction as commuters mistook them for policemen on the roadblock.

According to him, some of the commuters who had alighted to verify the cause of the gridlock took to their heels when the bandits opened fire on a military van that came to save the situation.

He said some people sustained bullet wounds as motorists abandoned their vehicles and scampered for safety.

Kidnapping for ransom has assumed a nightmarish dimension around the vicinity since after the abduction of the Prelate of Methodist Church, Dr Samuel Uche, and two clerics on his entourage.

Contacted, Commissioner for Information, Abia State, Eze Chikamnayo, who also doubles as the Secretary of Umunneochi Security Committee, recently inaugurated by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to tackle the menacing security challenges in the area, confirmed there was an abduction in the area weekend.

He, however, said the incident took place at the Imo State side of the expressway and begged for more time to be able to give accurate information on the casualty figure.

His words: ”It happened at the expressway between Ihube and Umunneochi. In Umunneochi proper, there has been a mass reduction in the number of such incidents but they have migrated to the border between Umunneochi and Imo State.

“But Umunneochi Security Committee worked very hard. We are putting checkpoints and we have strengthened our vigilante, and have potentially repelled them.

“I think it’s a sign of victory for us that they have left Umunneochi LGA and migrated further towards the express. They are at the boundary between Abia and Imo, precisely at Ihube.

Peter Obi Does Not Have The Capacity To Lead Nigeria – Governor Okowa

Peter Obi Does Not Have The Capacity To Lead Nigeria – Governor Okowa


Delta state governor and PDP Vice Presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, is not good enough to lead Nigeria as he doesn’t have the requisite ‘experience’ to be a President.

Okowa shared this thought during an interview with BBC Pidgin. He said;

“I did not say he won’t have any votes, he will have. But what I’m saying is that he’s not a new candidate. It has not been long since he left PDP. You know he was in APGA before, from APGA he came to PDP. It hasn’t been long since he left (PDP) so he cannot say anything about PDP because that’s where he was before.

“Some of us are still here. At every party, there are good people and bad people. But today’s Nigeria is very troubled and we need the right person. That is why I am appealing to our youths to be wise and vote well, they should not be blinded by the concept of a false change because that is how they raved on Jonathan in 2015.

His (Obi) previous experience is not enough for this one (presidency), it will be hard. His experience is not deep enough. Even as a current governor ruling in a time of crisis, I know how hard it is. I even want to learn under Atiku because he has experience with the federal government.

The thing is not easy. For them to have handled the economy at that time and made it something better, offering hope, creating jobs, and filtering the society, was not easy because it’s a bigger thing. So someone is supposed to learn through that. If you look at Obi’s experience you’ll know it’s small.”he said

Monday, 1 August 2022

National Security Adviser Has Failed, Should Resign – APC Senator

National Security Adviser Has Failed, Should Resign – APC Senator

The senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Sani Musa, has called for the resignation of the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, saying that the NSA has failed.

Sani, a former aspirant for the All Progressives Congress national chaimanship, said the Emir of Kagara, Ahmad Garba-Gunna, recently told him that the people of the state were in a dire situation and needed to be rescued.

Musa disclosed this during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

Niger State has become one of the epicentres of banditry, as bandits attacks have become frequent in the state.

The lawmaker said about 500 bandits were seen recently moving toward some villages in the state.

“If you go to Niger State today, you will see that a lot of IDPs are there. People have left their villages because these people have taken over these villages. They are real. The Emir of Kagara came to me on Thursday here in Abuja and said we need to be rescued.

“We had information over 500 of these bandits have been seen travelling from toward our area. What do we do about it? And I asked him: have you shared this information to all those that are concerned to hear? They did. My own assignment as a senator is to make the noise; to make things work and I believe we are doing it. So what I think we need to do is to go back to the drawing board. It is not too late.”

The lawmaker argued that Monguno, had failed and should resign.

He said, “What proactive action has the NSA done? We have to call a spade a spade. If I am the NSA, the National Security Adviser, in this country I will tender my resignation because I have failed.

“You do not wait until when you are attacked, then you act. This intelligence being shared is an information, free information given to you at a stage where the culprits had not concluded their plans and you neutralize them. Is this what is happening? So for me we need to strategized. We need to look at our demographics.”

Fully-Armed Terrorists In Osun, Oyo, Ogun Forests To Launch Attack On Yoruba States

Fully-Armed Terrorists In Osun, Oyo, Ogun Forests To Launch Attack On Yoruba States


The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Gani Adams, has raised the alarm that he has information that fully armed terrorists have lodged in forests in Osun and between Oyo and Ogun states, where they are allegedly planning to attack states in the southwest. 

Adams specifically said the terrorists are between Osun forest and Ile Ife in Osun State and in the forest between Ibadan in Oyo and Abeokuta in Ogun State. 

In a statement made available to journalists on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, the Adams who holds the title of Generalissimo for Yoruba land, said, “For instance, the information reaching me today is that the terrorists are in-between Osu forest and Ile Ife, Osun state, fully armed with various ammunition and they are present in the forest between Abeokuta and Ibadan planning to attack us in the southwest. This is one information that we need to act on in order to avoid possible calamity. 

“Yoruba aren’t cowards. So, let everybody in the southwest be vigilant and be watchful in checking this insecurity scourge that is already stiff-necking Nigeria and could not let the nation breathe.” 

Adams said under President Muhammadu Buhari, insecurity and economy have reached their worst ever state.  

He said, “On the economic front, it is another sad story. A dollar is now more than N700. This is an administration that met dollar at less than N200 in 2015. Economically, if this is not scary enough, we wonder what is. We now have a situation in which family members are being forced to raise N100 million naira to pay as ransom. The money is delivered to these terrorists to buy more weapons and the government is merely watching. 

“After every abduction, the President will summon Service Chiefs to a meeting, a statement will be issued and that is the end of it. What we will hear next is another abduction or series of kidnapping. 

“The insecurity situation has reached its peak with the threat by these terrorists to kidnap the President, governors and lawmakers. Presidential advance team was attacked in Katsina and even soldiers guarding the president were attacked in Abuja. Some of them were k!lled. It looks as if this administration has decided to force Nigerians to seek self-help.” 

“Is it a crime for Nigerians to move from one place to the other? Mass abductions go on every day, yet not one victim has ever been rescued, except when ransom is paid. The horrendous humiliation of Nigerians in their country by these terrorists should stop immediately. 

“President Buhari can use his executive powers to allow the immediate establishment of state police with a mandate to flush out all the terrorists stationed in strategic places in the country. 

“Nigerians’ silence is being misconstrued for foolishness. By the time President Buhari and other government officials realise that Nigerians can rise like Sri Lankans, it will be too late for them. 

“The President has about 10 months left in office. This is the time to redeem his image. Nigerians believe, and rightly so, that without high-level conspiracy with these terrorists, the blood-thirsty maniacs will not have the audacity and insolent boldness to be attacking Nigerians everywhere. Somnambulation and hate actions from the government against Nigerians must stop now” 

“Now that Abuja has seemingly lost the battle to terrorists, the southwest region has been the next target of these destroyers of hope. But we will never allow them to destroy our land. Therefore, we urge the six governors in the southwest states to hold an urgent emergency security meeting with stakeholders across the region so as to address the impending implosion. 

“We are aware of their plans to strike in Lagos, Ibadan, Oyo state, and Abeokuta in Ogun state, however, I implore all the governors in the southwest to recruit local security service structures in their various local governments. At least,150 people in each local government. This local security architecture would be given stipends as salaries as their job is to assist and complement the efforts of operation Amotekun that had been existing in five out of the six states in the region. 

“However, it must be said also that in case the governors need my help or any kind of assistance or that of Southwest Security Stakeholders’ Group in strengthening our region’s security, I am ready to offer the assistance. 

“Nothing guarantees safety in any country or region other than the synergy and cooperation among all the stakeholders. I want to also urge anybody with useful information that has any security implications to tell the traditional rulers, leaders in their respective locality, or even me for us to intervene and report the same to the right quarters.” 

Voter Registration: Stranded Applicants Laments, Seek Extension, INEC Adamant

Voter Registration: Stranded Applicants Laments, Seek Extension, INEC Adamant


Nigerians, who could not register in the continuous voter registration, which ended on Sunday, have expressed frustration over the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission to extend the exercise.

The stranded applicants in interviews with The PUNCH thumbed down the decision of the commission to stop the CVR, describing it as a way to disenfranchise them.

In preparation for the 2023 general elections, INEC began the nationwide registration  in June 2021 to enable Nigerians who had just attained the voting age and others to register.

The electoral body planned to terminate the CVR on June 30,2022,  but a civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on June 5 filed a suit at the Federal High Court seeking an extension of the exercise beyond that date.

Consequently, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon on June 20 granted an order of interim injunction stopping INEC from stopping the registration exercise.

In compliance with the order, the electoral body extended the exercise till July 31.

Despite the extension, however, hundreds of applicants have continued to besiege registration centres nationwide in a bid to register before the deadline.

But findings by The PUNCH indicated that thousands of Nigerians in Niger, Kano, Lagos, Katsina, Benue, Ogun and Enugu as well as the Federal Capital Territory could not participate in the exercise before it ended on Sunday.

In Niger State, hundreds of people were seen milling about at the INEC registration centre near the Eastern byepass, Minna, waiting to be attended to by officials. Some of them complained that they had been at the centre since 5am.

An applicant, Ibrahim Musa said, “Some of us have been here since 5am and they (officials) have been keeping us since then. They said they are working with numbers but we wrote our names on a list and no one is using the list. They said they will no longer go by the list but people with cars are coming and driving in and getting registered while we are left here outside the gate.”

At 5.07pm on Sunday, over a hundred persons were seen at  the state INEC headquarters on David Mark road, waiting to be registered.

They told our correspondent in Niger that the INEC staff said they had ended the exercise.

Omotola Ayeni said, “They refused to register us; they said they had closed and we have been here since 6am.’’

A Minna resident, Sarah Samson said she had been visiting the  registration centre for about two days and still was not registered.

She accused the electoral officials of unethical conduct, saying, ‘’There are so many irregularities; ‘man know man’ (nepotism) is being practiced here.“

Kano residents

In Kano, over 100 prospective applicants were seen struggling to register at the INEC sub-centre located behind Nomansland Police Station.

Narrating his ordeal on Sunday, Kevin Nnadi, said he and others had been at the centre for over 15 hours.

“What I observed here is that it depends on who you know and sorting (bribing) somebody. I’ve been here for 15 hours, while some others have been here for three days.”

When asked how the INEC officials have been treating them, he said, ‘’They intermittently come out outside the gate where we  have been waiting all day long and call one or two names. Also, from nowhere, they will call names and somebody would just be admitted into the premises while ignoring others who have been waiting for hours.”.

Our correspondent who monitored the exercise in Enugu observed that over 200 individuals could not be registered at the Okpara Square centre on Sunday.

They appealed for extension of time to enable eligible Nigerians to register for the permanent voter cards.

An applicant, Emeka Okongwu stated, “I have been coming to register for four times but could not register because of the crowd. I don’t know why INEC did not provide machines for the exercise, especially here in the South East.

“In the North the machines were provided but here the commission provided few machines and manpower. If I don’t register by the end of today and the exercise is not extended,  I may go to court to seek redress.”

An INEC worker who spoke on condition of anonymity said there was no way they could register all the people who turned out for the exercise.

He noted, ‘’We requested for more machines for registration but only four machines were provided. For more than two months, there is not a single day we finished registering people that turned out to register. We always have left-over. We register about 1,000 people every day with the four machines. It is not within our powers to extend the registration.’’

The situation was not different in Plateau State where scores of Nigerians complained about their frustration with the exercise.

A resident, Hannah Gyang, who was in the queue, said she would not return home unless she  completed her registration.

When The PUNCH visited the Plateau state headquarters of  INEC along Miango Road in Jos on Sunday around 6:10 pm, many of the prospective  voters were seen struggling to register while officials of the commission were also attending to them.

But an official deflected the blame for the slow process, saying the applicants only turned up when the exercise was about winding down.

The Head of Communication Unit of INEC in the state, Cornelius John, assured the people that the officials would attend to everyone before the exercise eventually closed.


Wife of Nigerian K!lled In Italy Demands Justice

Wife of Nigerian K!lled In Italy Demands Justice

 The Italian police authorities have said a 39-year-old Nigerian, Alika Ogorchukwu, was k!lled by his attacker, Fillipo Ferlazzo, over alms begging.

Ogorchukwu was beaten to death on Friday by Ferlazzo in Civitanova Marche city, in the Province of Macerata, Marche Region of Italy.

The police, while briefing the public on the incident, said the victim drew the ire of his attacker having persistently begged for money from him.

“The attacker chased the victim and first attacked him with a crutch, then knocked him to the ground and finished him off, k!lling him by repeatedly striking him with his bare hands. It is a murder determined by futile motives. What emerges from the investigation is that the victim was particularly persistent in begging money from the attacker and his partner,” the police said.

The police were said to have used street cameras to track Ferlazzo’s movements and arrested him on Saturday on charges of murder and allegedly stealing the victim’s mobile phone.

The accused is currently being held in the Montacuto prison in Ancona.

The wife of the deceased, Charity Oriachi, demanded justice for her husband.

Speaking in a video uploaded on Daily Mail, a United Kingdom based news platform, Oriachi said, “I need justice for my husband. That is what I want. I need justice. The pain is too much for me.”

The Nigerian Embassy in Rome, Italy, in a statement, condemned the k!lling, describing it as brutal.

The statement read in part, “The incident occurred on a busy street in front of shocked onlookers, some of whom made videos of the attack, with little or no attempt to prevent it.

“His Excellency, Ambassador Mfawa Omini Abam has condemned the gruesome murder and has commiserated with Mrs Charity Oriachi, wife of the deceased, and the rest of his family.

His Excellency has directed the provision of immediate consular assistance as appropriate. The embassy is currently collaborating with relevant Italian authorities to ensure justice is served and to provide succour to the family of the deceased.”

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission also confirmed the development via its Twitter handle on Saturday.

NIDCOM wrote, “39-year-old Nigerian citizen was beaten to death by an Italian man on Friday, July 29, 2022, in Civitanova Marche city, located in the Province of Macerata, Marche Region of Italy.”

FG May Suspend Free Four Million Meters’ Distribution

FG May Suspend Free Four Million Meters’ Distribution


The Federal Government-funded Phase 1 of the National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP, slated to commence in August appears to have been mired in uncertainty, as The PUNCH learnt that it had been put on hold following allegations of fraud by the Central Bank of Nigeria against some of the Meter Asset Providers, MAPs.

A source, who pleaded for identity to be shielded due to the sensitivity of the matter, told The PUNCH that there was no indication that the Phase 1 meter distribution would commence this month, as power distribution companies were yet to be furnished with meters.

The NMMP is an initiative of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in conjunction with the Presidential Power Task Force. The initiative was launched in August 2020 to allow the CBN to fund the acquisition of meters on behalf of DisCos by paying directly to the MAPs. The free metering programme commenced with the Phase 0 where one million meters were supposed to have been distributed.

However, the CBN, on July 20, asked the Federal High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, to freeze accounts belonging to 157 MAPs for allegedly diverting funds meant for the procurement of prepaid meters.

The apex bank, in a suit, requested commercial banks to restrict the account of 10 companies that received power sector intervention funds under the NMMP for 180 days pending the outcome of its investigation.

Following the ongoing court case, The PUNCH, on Sunday, learnt that the free mass programme had also been put on hold until further notice. 

One of our sources told our correspondent that the DisCos had accused some MAPs of not supplying them with enough meters during the last visits by the CBN to the DisCos’ offices.

“The CBN visited the DisCos to audit their books and see what they used the intervention funds given to them for. It was during the visits that it was discovered that some of the MAPs had failed to deliver enough meters for distribution. Before the NMMP commenced; what we were told by the MAPs was that they had enough local capacity to meet demands. But after the CBN signed the contract with them and disbursed money to them, they failed to meet their target. They saw free money,” one of our sources had hinted.

The CBN, in the suit said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria reviewed the activities of 12, including the defendants herein Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) alleged to have diverted the Central Bank of Nigeria’s power sector intervention funds under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

“The review was aimed at ascertaining the flow of the funds made available to the MAPs, covering the period between January 1, 2020, to March 15, 2022. The preliminary review revealed that the defendants diverted a substantial portion of the funds for other uses through related entities and individuals/companies connected to the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) and the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN),” the suit partly said.

Nigeria’s central bank has invested heavily into the power sector through its intervention support programmes. According to the bank, it had disbursed over N254.4 billion through its Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilization Facility – Phase 2, NEMSF-2.

At the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting of the Central Bank, Governor Godwin Emefiele revealed it disbursed about N47.8 billion for about 865,956 meters across the country.

“Under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), the Bank disbursed N47.82 billion for the procurement and installation of 865,956 meters across the country.”

Spokesperson for CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, declined commenting on the matter when contacted.

The NERC, on its part, said it created the initiative in response to President Buhari’s order that Nigerians must be metered. “The President has directed that there should be a nationwide mass-metering program in an effort by the Federal Government to put a stop to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity.”

The Commission had recently spoken of the success of Phase 0, and revealed it had shortlisted 45 companies for the next phase. It added that; “We are hoping that before the end of August, we will begin to see meters from our local manufacturers going to the electricity Distribution Companies and then to end-user customers.”

Both calls and messages put through to the General Manager/Head of Public Affairs Department, NERC, Usman Abba Arabi, were not responded to as at the time of filing this report.

One of the accused MAPs, Mojec Meter Asset Management Company Ltd, told The PUNCH that it fully discharged its obligations of manufacturing, supplies, and installation of meters for all eight DisCos it was assigned to. The company also pointed out that it was issued certificates of completion by all the eight DisCo clients as proof of execution of its contractual obligations on the initiative, according to Corporate Communications Manager, MOJEC International Group, Olufunso Adeolu.

“Mojec is ready to release all meter serial numbers produced in its factories, together with records of waybills of all in-Country volumes of meters it delivered to the various DisCos under the initiative,” Adeolu added.

The PUNCH was unable to get comments from other accused MAPs until the time of filing the report.

Metering Expert, Okunade Sesan, told The PUNCH that it was better for the NMMP to be scrapped so that citizens would be allowed to buy their own meters.

“The CBN refusing to disburse funds for the next phase of the metering is going to cause a setback. It would even be better for electricity consumers to take their fate into their hands and buy their meters. Then, NERC can arrange for monthly refunds through electricity units,” he said.

Boko Haram Leader Arrested in Ogun State

Boko Haram Leader Arrested in Ogun State


Anxiety enveloped some parts of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Sunday, following the reported arrest of a suspected Boko Haram leader.

A private radio in Abeokuta broke the news on Sunday afternoon which created panic among the residents of the state.

The suspect was reportedly arrested on Saturday night by the operatives of the Department of State Security Service.

An audio of the newscast went viral across social media platforms in the state on Sunday.

The development is being fueled by the alleged plans to attack some states in the South-West by suspected terrorists.

However, a reliable source told our correspondent that the suspected Boko Haram leader was arrested a few days ago in the Ijaye area of Abeokuta.

The source said the suspect initially put up a resistance before bowing to the superior power of the DSS operatives.According to the insider, the operation was carried out on Saturday night.

According to the report on the radio, the suspected terrorist reportedly arrived in Abeokuta from Katsina, took up a security job at Ijaye, while gathering intelligence for terrorist attacks.

The security source said, “He (the suspect) moved to Abeokuta to set up terrorists’ cell for kidnapping and terror attacks.

“And following an intelligence gathering, the gun-wielding security operatives stormed his hideout and picked him up.

The security source said, “He (the suspect) moved to Abeokuta to set up terrorists’ cell for kidnapping and terror attacks.

“And following an intelligence gathering, the gun-wielding security operatives stormed his hideout and picked him up.

“It was not an easy ride. Intelligence and the grace of God were sufficient for the operatives.

“There are still many of them around, but we are on top of our game.”Our correspondent gathered that the suspect is still in DSS custody.

When contacted, the DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunanya, did not respond to the text message sent to his mobile line.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said he was not aware of any arrest.

Money-Seeking Lagos Hoodlum Knocked Down By Hit-and-Run Driver

Money-Seeking Lagos Hoodlum Knocked Down By Hit-and-Run Driver


A hit-and-run driver has knocked down a pedestrian, identified as Hassan, at Moshalashi Bus-Stop, in the Ipaja area of Lagos State.

The incident occurred on Saturday shortly after Hassan allegedly attempted to extort money from the driver of a vehicle, which broke down on the road.

A photo of the incident, which was seen by our correspondent, showed the victim in a pool of blood on the road.

A resident, Badmus Oriade, said Hassan was a well-known street urchin, who always extorted money from owners of broken-down vehicles.

He said, “He is well known in the Ipaja neighbourhood. A delivery vehicle broke down here at Ipaja on Friday. When the owners of the delivery van came with mechanics to get their vehicle off the road, he accosted them and tried to extort money from them but they refused to pay and he threw a bottle at them.

“He ran away when the owners of the delivery van chased him. Unfortunately, as he tried to cross the median to the other side of the road, he tripped and fell. An oncoming commercial bus driver hit him and while people converged around him to resuscitate him, the driver escaped.”

Oriade said men of the Lagos State Ambulance Service later intervened and took him to a hospital.

“LASAMBUS officials were on their way to another place when they saw him, stopped and administered first aid to him before taking him to a hospital,” he added.

The Director General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Olufemi Oke-Sanyaolu, confirmed the incident in a statement.

He said, “While heading back to base, the agency’s response team sighted an adult male who appeared to have been hit by a vehicle.

“He was discovered lying in a pool of blood. The plan was activated and the LASAMBUS unit was dispatched from the control room.”

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Saturday, 30 July 2022

Adura fun Iwosan kuro ninu aileya Prayers for healing from Infirmities

Adura fun Iwosan kuro ninu aileya Prayers for healing from Infirmities

Ailera kii se ife olorun fun aye awa omo re. Ilera to peye ni ife olorun seto fun wa

Isaiah  Ori Ketale laadota, ese karun so wipe

“Ṣùgbọ́n won saa lọgbẹ́ nítorí ẹ̀ṣẹ̀ wa, a pa á lára ​​nítorí aise dede wa; Ìjìyà àlàáfíà wa ń bẹ lára ​​Rẹ̀, Àti nípa ìnà Rẹ̀, a mú wa láradá.”

Why I Stole Newborn In Ibadan After Suffering Stillbirth – Lady

Why I Stole Newborn In Ibadan After Suffering Stillbirth – Lady

 Ibadan, Oyo State-based couple, Lawal Lateef and his wife, Monsurat, are currently trying to shake off the anxiety which gripped them following the theft of their three-day-old baby at the Ogbere Tioya area of the state.

The tot was retrieved from one Itunu Adepoju; a self-acclaimed acquaintance to the Lateefs, through the help of well-meaning Nigerians.

Narrating the incident to Saturday PUNCH, Monsurat, who gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday, July 16, 2022 at Mission House, Yahora Faith Mission, Ogbere Tioya, Ibadan, noted that she went to immunise the newborn at Abaemu General Hospital, Ona-Ora, when she met Adepoju. She stated that the lady later stole her baby at their residence the following day.

She said, “On Tuesday, July 19, 2022, when I went for immunisation, I was breastfeeding my daughter when she approached me claiming she knew me. She claimed to have known me from my area and that she was the daughter of my in-law’s friend. I couldn’t doubt the veracity of her claim because that is where I live.

“She further said that she stays in Lagos State and came to Ibadan because she intends to relocate soon. She told me that she would prefer my area because she had previously lived around there. Out of love, I said I could help her because I know of a vacant apartment in the area.”

Monsurat noted that she exchanged contacts with Adepoju and departed after her session at the hospital. However, on Tuesday evening, Monsurat received a call from Adepoju stating that she was in her area to see the vacant apartment.

She stated, “When she got there, I took her to the vacant house behind my house and she negotiated with those in the house about payment and other things. She even chose her preferred room and gave time to make payment.

“When we returned to my place, she called her supposed husband and said that she had seen an apartment and that it dragged into some minutes past 7pm on Tuesday. Then she begged me that she wouldn’t be able to return to her place and requested if she could pass the night in my house and leave in the morning after paying for the apartment.’’

Monsurat stated that when her husband returned home, he interacted with Adepoju who also claimed that she knew her and mentioned names of those who they worked together in his workplace.

She also told him that she was the daughter of one of his mother’s friends in Egbeda, Ibadan, adding that the names and descriptions she gave convinced her husband to allow her to pass the night at their place.

She added, “The following morning, on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, after my husband left for work, she informed me that her husband had reached out and would soon send the money for the rent. Around 11 am, I was called by my husband and his mother to confirm that no one knew the lady and that the person she claimed to be her mother was not her mum.

“At that moment, I became restless and confused. I was told to find every means to get out of the house. When I got back inside, as if she suspected, she told me that she was ready to leave and that her husband had sent her the rent and the only thing left was for her to withdraw it at a Point of Sales shop.

"My husband called me on the phone again and because I didn’t want her to listen to our conversation, I stepped out. Before I came back, she had my baby strapped to her back already and asked me for the nearest PoS shop and that when she returned, she would bathe. I wanted to follow her but she said I shouldn’t and I couldn’t bear it so I sent two of my neighbours to follow her; 15-year-old Segun and 12-year- old Gbenga. ‘’

Monsurat further said that immediately when they stepped outside the gate, one of her husband’s siblings came to see them and asked after the baby. Thus, she said she had to excuse herself to call Adepoju to return home immediately.

She noted, “When she picked the call, she said they had yet to be attended to. I told her that my husband’s sibling came visiting and that she could return to withdraw the money later and she said she was coming. At that point, I started tracing her to the PoS shop because I heard a background noise of bikes and cars which was not supposed to be. At that point, her phone was switched off and it was the last time I saw my baby until today.”

his own narration, Lawal said that he was suspicious throughout the night when he returned home and saw Adepoju who despite saying he knew him, he couldn’t recall if they ever met.

He said, “When I got back home that day, she greeted me properly but I couldn’t place if we ever met. She told me she knew me from Iso Parts, Sawia, Ibadan, Oyo State where I work and I was taken aback. She further asked me if I knew Habeeb, a part dealer like myself and I couldn’t do anything because she was right about the claims. However, I was not contended because despite those she mentioned, if she were someone I knew, I would have recalled her face.

“The following morning, I left for my mother’s house immediately instead of going to the office to confirm her identity. When I got there, I told her my wife brought someone home who claimed to know me but I can’t recall her face. My mother said I should be careful and I called my sister whom she claimed was her friend’s daughter. Immediately, she said that she did not know the woman and thereafter, I called my wife asking her to get Adepoju out of our house immediately and to be careful of my baby around her.”

Lawal explained that it was not long after the call that a friend in the area called him on the phone to tell him that his newborn had been stolen.

Explaining how the baby was recovered, Lateef noted that immediately the baby was stolen, she went to Agidigbo FM, Ibadan and Target Police Station, Ogbere Tioya, to report the incident on Thursday, July 21, 2022.

She said, “When we got to Agidigbo FM, we told them what happened and they assured us that we would recover the baby. They told us that they would work on it and that we should put our mind at rest. They sent some of their staff members with us to make further findings. To our surprise, we were called by the radio station on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, to confirm if the baby they saw was our baby. To our surprise, it was our baby and the lady who stole her.”

Monsurat noted that she was grateful to God for giving her the opportunity to set her eyes on her daughter again and thankful to everyone who assisted them.

In her explanation, the suspect, Adepoju, said she started facing challenges at age 13 and was abused sexually which she said affected her psyche.

Twenty-three-year-old Adepoju said she had been married to four men and had four pregnancies for them; Israel, Florence (deceased) and Mistura whom she gave birth to for her third husband.

She said, “When I met with my current husband, I was impregnated and I told him that I didn’t want to take him to my parents because of my father’s attitude of belittling me before my suitors and they also changed towards me after meeting with him. He was fine with it and also told me that he would also not want his mother to know yet that he impregnated someone.”

Adepoju explained that she took Mistura to live with her parents until a day when her mum called her to say that her dad had sent her packing. She stated further that she was asked to come to Ibadan to take her and on her way she was involved in an accident at the time she was also pregnant.

She said, “I returned to Ajah, Lagos State, to treat myself and I was in the hospital for 10 days. However, after leaving the hospital, I noticed that I started bleeding and went for a test. I was delivered of the baby later but the baby didn’t survive because of internal injury I sustained during the accident.

“I could not tell my husband what happened and came to Ibadan to explain to my parents why I couldn’t pick Mistura. My husband called me and noted that I ought to have been delivered of the baby. I didn’t know what to tell him.

“On Ileya day, I called him to say that I had been delivered of a baby girl which the scan had earlier shown. He told me they want to arrange to come for the baby but I told him that my parents wouldn’t allow that and he should remember that I didn’t want him to meet my parents yet.”

She noted that despite her efforts to stop her husband’s family, the pressure they mounted on her was much.

She stated, “My father also mounted pressure on me that I must leave his house with Mistura. I left alone in the morning for a clinic because my stomach disturbed me. Also, I had called my husband that I would bring his baby for him.

"I met with Mrs Lateef when I got to the clinic and told her that I needed to rent an apartment which I planned to move in with Mistura. I noticed she just gave birth and later met with her in the evening of Tuesday.

“On Wednesday, I planned to leave their house. However, I needed to use the PoS and while I was going there, my husband called me again lamenting about his baby and since I was with Mrs Lateef’s baby and I felt it was an opportunity for me to take the baby to my husband in Ikorodu, Lagos State which I did.

Asked if she regretted her action, Adepoju stated that she did regret her actions, adding that she tried to return the baby but couldn’t under the watchful eyes of her mother-in-law.

Speaking on behalf of the radio station on how Adepoju was apprehended, the Head of Station, Agidigbo 88.7FM, Ibadan, Yousuph Adebayo, who spoke to our correspondent, noted that that after the issue was brought to their notice, they did a programme alerting Nigerians to help in locating Adepoju’s whereabouts.

He stated, “We had one of our informants supply us with her original number which was not the same as the one Monsurat had and we started tracking her. We tracked her to Odonla, a close area to Odongunyan, Ikorodu.

“We contacted some of our sources there who linked us with those who knew her and we were able to track her to her house. Those persons informed the family of what had happened and they brought her to our radio station on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.”

Adebayo added that the suspect was later handed over to the Oyo State Police Command after the baby was reunited with her parents.

The state police command confirmed the incident to our correspondent, adding that investigation was ongoing into the matter.

Contacted on the phone, the state police spokesperson, Adewale Osifeso, also noted that updates on the case would be provided accordingly.

Earlier in a statement, the police said, “The dragnet of the eagle-eyed crack detectives attached to the command’s Special Enquiry Bureau caught up with one Itunu Adepoju, 23, of Badore area, Ajah, Lagos State, who on July 19, 2022, surreptitiously absconded with a three-day-old female baby from her mother.”

Commenting on the development, a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Lagos, Dr Aroyewun Afolabi, noted that the psychological trauma Adepoju had gone through was the primary reason why she had found herself involved in the situation she was in.

He said, “It has been established that trauma has the tendency to make people have impaired judgement. Evidence has shown that trauma generally, either physical, sexual, or psychological, has a relationship with impaired judgement. Psychological abuse and physical or emotional abuse has an association with depression. The trait looks like post-traumatic disorder. 

“Adepoju, with her history, having gone through four husbands at a young age, had children delivered four times, with three surviving and only two children alive and alongside a stillbirth a few weeks ago, can be traumatic. Going through that immediate trauma can trigger the past experiences she bottled up with nothing done about it.”

Afolabi noted that research had shown that a little life event could affect someone who experienced a traumatic event whether treated or not. He further noted that anxiety, depression, and impaired judgement could have developed in Adepoju due to her past experiences.

He added, “After her current stillbirth, owing to the fact that she had not been earlier treated of her past experiences, she just had another problem added to what she was nursing. The person whom the police arrested and will charge to court is emotionally sick and needs attention and treatment. Despite how wrongful her actions were in the face of the law, she is a sick person that needs to be attended to.

"Some people will say that it is a crime but I’ll say that it is what trauma brings and the impaired judgement which elicits criminality committed while she was not of a sound mind.  Instead of being called a criminal, she should be treated as a sick person who acted under a sick state which the law should look into.’’

Afolabi also noted that if any punishment would be meted out to Adepoju, she should first be treated to realise that what she did was wrong.