No agreement yet on Chibok girls, says FG

The Council of State rose from its meeting on Tuesday with a statement that the Federal Government had yet to reach any agreement with the Boko Haram sect on the fate of the abducted Chibok girls.

It said although discussions were still ongoing, it was clear that the media misunderstood the position of the government on the reported ceasefire.

Governor Godswill Akpabio said this while briefing State House correspondents of the outcome of the meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

He was joined at the briefing by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State.

Akpabio said the council was briefed by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), on the efforts being made to rescue the schoolgirls.

He said, “The NSA was of the opinion that high level contact with the Republic of Chad was made and that some persons who acted on behalf of Boko Haram and who claimed to have authority also had discussions with them and there are some Nigerian officials with them.

“Of course, no agreement has been reached yet, it is just that the press probably misunderstood what was reported, the discussions are ongoing.

“What came out of the NSA’s briefings was that the President will do everything possible to ensure the release of those young girls and to ensure protection of lives and property.

“That will include dialogue where you can have the people to dialogue with, because you cannot dialogue with people that are faceless and therefore, every opportunity must be explored to ensure peace return to the region.”

Akpabio said the council was satisfied that the Defence Ministry and all the agencies had taken the right steps aimed at ensuring peace and tranquility.

While saying that the President was on course, the governor said sooner or later, Nigerians would hear good news.

He urged Nigerians to be patient and that the issues of terrorism were not issues that could be finished within a day of two.

“There are some instances in which countries had to contend with insurgency for years, but in the case of Nigeria, we said we must find a practical means of bringing insurgency to an end in the shortest possible time so that Nigerians can sleep with their two eyes closed.”

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We won’t support Jonathan in 2015 —Northern elders

As President Goodluck Jonathan declares his intention to run for second term in 2015, leaders of the North, under the auspices of the Northern Elders Forum, have expressed their decision to support any presidential candidate presented by the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 election.

They expressed their grievances with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party over the automatic ticket issued to President Goodluck Jonathan to seek a second term in the election. This, the elders said, had prevented aspirants from the North from contesting on the platform of the party.

The national leadership of the PDP, including the Board of Trustees, the National Executive Council and the National Working Committee, had unanimously adopted Jonathan as the consensus presidential candidate of the party.

In separate interviews with our correspondent on Friday, the Deputy Chairman of the NEF, Dr. Paul Unongo and spokesperson of the forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, stated that despite Jonathan’s power of incumbency and the deployment of state resources at his disposal, he would not win the election if the region voted against him.

He said, “Our position has not changed. We don’t mind him contesting, but we are not going to work for him to become president of this country again because we don’t believe that we have had any president that has been so divisive; that has heightened religious tendencies, hatred, ethnic militancy, high rate of impunity and a tremendous amount of insensitivity.

“The majority of northerners and the majority of Nigerians will decide for us and for the APC. We are not into party politics, but the APC has shown respect and deference to the North by allowing the North to produce its (presidential) candidate. But the PDP shut the door, saying there is nobody else but Jonathan; that he is the best for Nigeria. That is a lie.

“If not from the North, let somebody else come to contest; we will support him.”

The Second Republic Minister of Steel decried the abduction of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram on April 14 and that they remain in captivity over six months after.

He said despite the claim by the Federal Government that it had reached a ceasefire deal with the sect and that the girls would be released, the insurgents had continued to launch attacks and kidnap more people.

Similarly, Abdullahi stated that the NEF would carry out its threat to frustrate Jonathan’s re-election bid, as the President had failed to secure the release of the Chibok girls before the end of October.

The Presidency had dismissed the ultimatum issued to Jonathan by the forum on August 11, 2014 to produce the Chibok girls or forget about his 2015 ambition.

Abdullahi said, “We did not even put ‘if.’ He should just forget about 2015. We cannot support him for 2015 for whatever reason. What we said would only confuse those who doubt; we have never doubted his failure. We have always believed that the man is incapable of running this country.”

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Fire guts MRS filing station in Abuja

The MRS filing station on Airport road, Abuja  was on Sunday gutted by fire as a petrol tanker laden with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) exploded while discharging the product.

A News Agency of Nigeria correspondent who witnessed the incident reported that the tanker was discharging the product at about 6.41 p.m when it suddenly burst into flames.

Some of the station attendants told NAN that the cause of the fire was unknown, but that they would not rule out spark from a metal within the area when the tanker was discharging.

When NAN got to the scene of the incident at about 6:51 p.m some officials of the National Emergency Management Agency  were on ground for rescue operations.

Alhough the station was on the main road, the fire personnel did not come until about 7:20 p.m. which was almost an hour after the fire started.

The fire officers, who came with about five trucks, were from Federal Fire Service, National Judicial Institute and FCT Fire Service.

Meanwhile, no casualty was recorded as the fire only burnt the canopy but did not affect the main building or underground tank.

Fire fighters drafted to the scene were sighted battling to put out the fire and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the building.

Officials of the filling station and the fire fighters, however, declined to speak to NAN on the incident.

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Woman accuses Onyeka Onwenu of assault, petitions NHRC

A business woman, Mrs. Olajoke Adesipe, has accused popular musician, Onyeka Onwenu, of assault.

Adesipe, who had petitioned the National Human Rights Commission, also said she was forcefully evicted from her shop at the National Centre for Women Development, Abuja on the order of Onyeka, who is the Director-General of the centre.

Adesipe, in the letter dated March 3, 2014, claimed that Onwenu directed security officers to throw her wares out of her shop, adding that she was assaulted when she took the pictures of the incident, on the instruction of the DG.

The business woman, who sells textiles, said she was a yearly tenant, adding that her current tenancy would not end until December, 2014.

The petition reads in part, “On January 21, 2014, I heard that the DG might likely eject me even when my rent is still valid.”

Adesipe said she got a letter to vacate the premises within three days on January 28,2014, adding that another letter was served on her on February 4, in which the centre threatened to go to court.

She explained that she wrote a letter to Onwenu on February 6, and sent her a text message three days later seeking an audience. She said the DG gave her an appointment for the following day.

Adesipe said she met other members of the management team at Onwenu’s office and she narrated her story.

She said the musician apologised and said that a formal apology letter would be written by the centre to her.

She added that Onwenu said she should vacate the shop and promised that she would be relocated to the shopping complex within the premises.

Adesipe said she insisted that she would vacate the shop on the condition that she would be given an allocation letter.

“On February 13, I got a call from Onwenu asking why I had not moved out of the shop and I told her that nobody had given me an allocation letter for the new shop as she promised.

“She said if I failed to move out by February 14, she would send for the State Security Service to chase me out.

“On February 14, I was at the centre early. I heard that Onwenu, in company with her security personnel, had forced my shop open. I ran there and saw her supervising the forceful ejection without any prior court or police order,” Adesipe stated in the petition.

She explained that she took pictures of the scene with her phone and Onwenu directed that her phone be confiscated. She said in the struggle for the phone, she was beaten and dragged on the ground, while her cloth and bags were torn.

The Legal Adviser, Women centre, Mohammed Suleiman, however, explained that Adesipe was not a legal tenant of the centre.

He explained that she occupied a part of the auditorium, which she was not legally allocated though she paid N100,000 to the management of the hotel in charge of the hall.

Suleiman said the centre asked Adesipe to relocate to another shop because President Goodluck Jonathan was visiting on February 14.

He said, “She was allocated shop 0.11 at the Oyibo Odinamadu Mall, but she complained that she would prefer a shop on the ground floor.

“The DG directed that she be given a shop downstairs and she was given shop 0.10. She also declined to take the keys.

“It was apparent that she wanted to create a scene  during the Presidential visit. The security directed that her ware be removed and the instruction was effected.”

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Ejigbo torture: Police declare three wanted

The Police have named the three suspects earlier declared wanted in connection with the torture of three women at a market at Ejigbo in Lagos.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba, the police gave the suspects’ names as Ranti Akande, Akeem Shitu and Tiri.

“Ranti Akande, a.k.a. Otempa, who is between 45 and 50 years and dark in complexion, uses the appellations ‘Comrade’ or ‘Alhaji’ or ‘Chief Ranti Lukeman Akande.’

“He is tall with a big frame and has no tribal marks. The suspect has a white set of teeth with an artificial gold tooth,” Mba said in the statement.

He added that Akande was a panel-beater before he started parading himself as the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) Co-ordinator.

The statement also said the suspect speaks Yoruba and English languages fluently, while he often attends parties.

It further said Shitu, 42, is dark in complexion, slim, tall and has tribal marks.

“He speaks Yoruba language fluently and also speaks understandable English language and is believed to be a member of the OPC at Ejigbo,’’ the statement quoted Mba to have said.

Tiri, 37, according to the statement, is dark in complexion and not too tall, and has no tribal marks.

It said Tiri is also with a pointed nose, has an uneven set of teeth and has visible thick lower lips.

“The public is hereby implored to furnish the police with any useful information that will lead to the arrest of these wanted suspects,” the statement said.

It implored anyone with useful information on the suspects to contact the nearest police station or call either 08157178111 or 08098902777.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the police had on Feb. 25 announced the arrest of 12 suspects in connection with the incident.

It would be recalled that a woman and her two daughters were tortured at the Oba Morufu International Market, Ejigbo in Lagos in February 2013 over alleged stealing of pepper.

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Man bags jail term for stealing in church

A Mararaba Upper Area court in Nasarawa on Thursday sentenced one Joseph Onosufi, 20, for stealing valuables from a church.

The presiding Judge, Mr Vincent Gwahemba, gave the sentence after Onosufi pleaded guilty to the one count charge and prayed the court to have mercy on him

Gwahemba ordered that the accused be given a one year jail term or a fine of N5,000 because he was a first-time offender.

Earlier, the police prosecutor, Insp. Mr Joseph Ahua, told the court that the matter was reported by one Tobe Nicholas, Okechukwu Nwaemeka, and Donald Jakim at the A Division Police Station, Mararaba on Feb. 26.

Ahua said that the accused was taken to the Divine Majesty Ministry Church Aso C, Mararaba C, for deliverance by his uncle.

“Onosufi stole one iPhone, valued at N185,000, one Blackberry 3G Curve phone valued at N53,000 and also made away with one Black Nokia Asha 200 phone valued at N12,000 and other valuables,’’ he said .

The prosecutor said that the offence was punishable under Section 288 of the Penal Code.

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I don’t know my exact age – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the ceremony marking his 77th birthday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Wednesday said that he did not know his real age.

Obasanjo described the 77th birthday as his “official birthday”.

He said, “There are those of us like me who have no real record of birth. I want to thank God once again for what He has done in my life. Whether I know the exact date of my birth or not, I think God has made my path glorious.

“I was actually born on Ifo market day because according to my mother, she had prepared to go to the Ifo Market and Ifo market was every five days. And then she was in labour, before those who went to Ifo market could come back, I was born.

“I know and she knew I was born on Ifo market day. Don’t ask me what year or month.”

Obasanjo’s revelation was in response to the Olowu of Owu, Oba Olusanya Dosunmu’s assertion that the two-time leader of the country was actually older than 77 years.

He said it was not important that he did not know his age as that had not stopped God from making his path a glorious one.

The former President, who spoke amid applause, thanked President Goodluck Jonathan  for “congratulating me on this day of my official birthday.”

The event, which was organised by the Centre for Human Security, in conjunction with the UNESCO Institute for African Culture and International Understanding, held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, in Abeokuta.

The ex-President described himself as a lucky man, saying he would have been “consumed” if God had taken his shortcomings into account.

He said, “I have been very lucky for many things. At one occasion, I said God has never disappointed me and a journalist who thinks that he knows too much asked if I had disappointed God. I said, of course, as long as I am living on flesh and blood, I am liable to be unworthy. In all, I have strived to meet the standard of what God expects of me.

“God has never taken my shortcomings, my failures and all that into account. He hasn’t counted them against me because if He had, I would have been consumed. So, God has really sustained me with His grace, mercy, goodness and compassion.”

Earlier in his goodwill message, Dosunmu described Obasanjo as a “humane” man who never took the issues bordering on Nigerian unity lightly.

He said, “When you speak against the unity of Nigeria, you would see the red of Obasanjo’s eye. It is not by accident, it is in-built. He fears God and honours all human beings,”

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, said in his remarks that the former President had remained a blessing to the state and the country at large.

“Hate or love Obasanjo, you cannot just take something from him. Obasanjo’s passion for the unity of Nigeria is second to none,” the governor said.

Other dignitaries at the event were a former Ekiti State Governor, Chief Segun Oni; former Minister of Education, Prof. Babalola Borishade; a former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero; the immediate past chairman of SURE-P, Dr. Christopher Kolade; and Sierra Leonean Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Minkailu Bah.

Others were a former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola; state Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye; a former Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe; and Prof. Akin Mabogunje.

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