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Stranded Nigerians return from Libya

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has announced that it received another batch of 174 stranded Nigeria’s Voluntary Returnees from Libya on Friday.

NEMA said the returnees were received at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, by the Acting Zonal Coordinator of NEMA South West Zonal Officer, Segun Afolayan and other federal government agencies.

They arrived aboard Al Buraq Air which landed at the cargo wing of the airport about 1:10 a.m.

The returnees which comprised of 61 female adults, four female children and eight female infants with 91 male adults, six male children and four  male infants along with unaccompanied male child were brought back to Nigeria through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with support from the European Union in the ongoing Assisted Voluntary Repatriation programme.

Others include 10 families, three minor medical cases and three pregnant women

Afolayan while receiving them urged the returnees to take precautions with any information that seems to be very easy at getting rich, especially when it involves travelling outside Nigeria, noting that most of the conveyors of these messages would not be sincere with the truth.

A returnee, Chukwudi Onyemechie, 30 years old from Anambra State told newsmen that he was a successful auto tyres dealer at Ladipo Market  Lagos before he left the country to make quick money and expressed regret at his gullibility to allow himself to be fooled by the promised of a better life in Europe.

Onyemechie disclosed that a man convinced him that he could help him travel to France and linked him to his friend in Libya.

In order to raise money, he sold off his wares and took off to the Benin Republic from where his journey to Libya began.

“I was told that that the journey would be by road but I never knew that it was a deadly and dangerous route. I entered Libyan town where I was taken to a camp controlled by Nigerians where I spent three months in detention. My trafficker organised my detention in other that I would be forced to pay him money. I left Nigeria in June 2017, I experienced an unstable and dangerous life over there. After struggling to cross but unsuccessful, I was helped to get to IOM office in Libya who helped me back to Nigeria today. I am proud to be a Nigerian. Libya is a country that has existed without government; so it is incomparable to Nigeria that is peaceful and naturally endowed,” he said.

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Custom seizes goods in another raid

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Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘B’ Kaduna, yesterday disclosed that it made seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N68,363,700 in January.


The Comptroller in charge of the zone, Mustafa Sarkin Kebbi, made the disclosure at the FOU Zone ‘B’ Headquarters in Kaduna yesterday.
He named some of the items seized as 1,412 bags of ‘perboiled’ rice, 40 vehicles including Tokunbos and other types of vehicles used for conveying the seized goods, as well as 65 cartons of spaghetti.
Others include 111 jerry-cans of vegetable oil, 46 bales of second-hand clothing, 333 pieces of used tires and other sundry items.
The zone comprises Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Kwara, and Kogi states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Comptroller, Kebbi, said the FOU would continue to be proactive in the discharge of her duties against all forms of smuggling of prohibited items until the menace was brought to its barest minimum in the zone and by extension in the country.

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2019 elections: Court orders no elections for APC in Rivers state

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State will not participate in the 2019 general election.

All Progressives Congress

This follows a ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the decision of a federal high court in Rivers State

The high court had annulled the candidature of all the candidates of the Rivers APC in a ruling.

The Court of Appeal last week ruled that the Rivers APC could present candidates overruling the judgement of the high court.

However, it will be no show for the Rivers APC in 2019 after the apex court’s judgement sustained the judgement of the high court.

This decision by the Supreme Court means the Rivers State APC will not present candidates on the Feb 16th National Assembly elections and the Governorship and House of Assembly elections on the 2nd of March.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court this morning finally sacked Tonye Cole and all products of the factional APC indirect primaries conducted in Rivers State.

The minister of Transportation Chibuike Amaechi led faction of APC in Rivers State had gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the validity and right of the state legal adviser of the APC to make legal representation onbehalf of the party at the state level.

They had gone to court seeking to declare the judgment of the state High Court null and void for purported faulty legal representation in the matter brother by Ibrahim Umar and Ors at the trial Court.

Delivering its ruling this morning, the Supreme Court says its state legal adviser Barr Chinweikpe Chieme, and not Fagbemi SAN, that should represent the APC in any matter having to do with members of Rivers APC.

The Apex Court said that is the purport of the APC constitution, stressing that letter from any national officer of the party, no matter how highly placed, can abrogate the party’s constitution.

The Supreme Court further reaffirmed the validity of the judgment of the Rivers State High Court that nullified all the congresses and Indirect Primaries conducted by Amaechi faction of APC in Rivers State, adding that it was a consent judgment.

Senator Magnus Abe and a the Direct Primary candidates are the authentic candidates by the judgement of the Supreme Court today

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President Buhari owns Benue – Ortom

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said, yesterday, that the state belongs to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Governor Ortom

This is even as the president announced that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, will soon commence drilling for a deeper search for oil and gas in the Benue trough.

The governor, who stated this while receiving the president who was on a campaign in the state at Nigerian Airforce Base, Makurdi, also said the president could do whatever he wished in the state, being the President of Nigeria.

He said: “He is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and whatever he is doing, it is our responsibility to give him adequate protocol.

“He is our President, and this is beyond party… so I am doing all the needful. There is no special thing in what I am doing, it is what I am supposed to do as governor of Benue State, irrespective of party because he remains my President and I respect him.

“I have no personal issues with him; we talk about policies and issues, there is no personal grudge. So, I am here to receive him, and I have made adequate arrangement. This state belongs to Mr President. So he has access, he can be here and do whatever he wants.”

Ortom defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in July, having fallen out with the Federal Government.

Speaking while addressing traditional rulers at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Makurdi, President Buhari announced that NNPC will soon commence drilling for a deeper search for oil and gas in the Benue Trough.

He said the oil and gas drilling search in the Benue Tough will be the next after commencement of drilling in Kolmani River area, located within Bauchi and Gombe states.

He recalled that as Minister of Petroleum in the 70s, he had seen “very interesting seismic surveys” that revealed discovery of oil and gas from the Chad Basin through the Benue Trough down to the Delta region.

According to him, for mostly commercial reasons, investment was directed to Niger Delta, given the promise of quicker results.

He narrated past efforts by him as Military Head of State to diversify the country’s sources of oil to strengthen its unity, promising that his administration will intensify efforts in this direction.

Buhari welcomed the observation by the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Professor James Ayatse, that peace had been restored to Benue State and the fact that he had so far conducted a decent and a peaceful campaign.

The President promised to look at requests for more roads, bridges and tertiary institutions made by the royal father.

Earlier, the Tor Tiv had expressed appreciation to Buhari for the manner he had conducted a peaceful campaign, without riots, violence, stressing that the president had set good example.

“We had a challenging time in 2016. Thanks for your intervention, for accepting our appeal to step up security. Operation Whirl Strike has succeeded in chasing away violent herders.”

He also called for a closer look at the border to stop “criminals and bandits” from crossing into Nigeria.

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Court orders INEC to postpones Rivers state’s election

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The deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) in Rivers State, Chief Victor Giadom, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the February 16 and March 2 elections in Rivers.

Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rives State

This is in view of Monday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt on stay of execution.

He also accused Rivers Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike of being jittery upon confirmation the governorship candidate of APC in the state, Pastor Tonye Cole and other candidates that emerged through indirect primaries supervised by members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, would participate in the elections.

Giadom stated these Tuesday in Port Harcourt in an exclusive interview with our reporter.

While assuring Cole and other candidates of APC would emerge victorious in the polls, he maintained that postponing Rivers elections would ensure the candidates and the electorate were not disenfranchised.

Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, who doubles as the Director of Information and Communications of PDP Campaign Council, however maintained that Wike and other candidates of the ruling party were neither afraid nor jittery of main opposition APC’s candidates or candidates of other political parties, having campaigned extensively and fully prepared for the polls, thereby emerging victorious.

The appellate court presided over by Justice Ali Gumel granted the stay of execution of the judgment of Justice Kolawole Omotoso of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt on the fielding of candidates by the APC.

Giadom, the immediate past Deputy National Secretary of APC, said: “Wike is jittery, because of the strength of APC in Rivers State. That is why he teamed up with some enemies of democracy to ensure that our party (APC) is not on the ballot, but God has put all of them to shame. Wike made all efforts, including outside the law, to stop APC from fielding candidates in Rivers State.

“Wike and his allies must stop their propaganda and futile fights, but to prepare to meet candidates of APC in the field. APC will win 80 per cent of the votes cast in Rivers State in all the elections, because Rivers people are tired of Wike’s failed promises.

“I expect Wike and other members of PDP in Rivers State to enjoy the healthy competition of political context, so as to know who are the choices of the people of Rivers State, as against the attempts by Wike to shut the doors against APC.

“While thanking the judges of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt for granting the stay of execution of the judgment of Justice Omotoso, we urge INEC, as a law-abiding institution, to do the needful by postponing Rivers elections, to ensure a level-playing field and in order to allow candidates of APC to adequately campaign as their counterparts in other political parties, who have been campaigning round Rivers State’s 23 LGAs for over two months. The postponement will be in the interest of Rivers people, especially APC members.

“I wish to urge Rivers people to believe in the APC, as the difference is very clear. We will continue to ensure quality leadership that will transform the entire Rivers State and ensure adequate protection of lives and property, thereby making the state a destination for investments.”

The deputy governorship candidate also berated a governorship aspirant on APC platform, Senator Magnus Abe (Rivers Southeast) for misinterpreting the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, accusing him of mischief.

Giadom declared that Abe, from the same Bera-Ogoni in Gokana LGA of Rivers, was being economical with the truth, stressing that the former Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG) in the administration of Rotimi Amaechi, now Transportation Minister, ought not to speak differently from what was contained in the ruling of the appellate court.

He urged Nigerians to avail themselves with the ruling, in order not to be misled by individuals or groups, while calling on APC members and supporters in Rivers to take advantage of the ruling and return to active campaigns, so as to ensure victory in all the elections.

The deputy governorship candidate assured that members of Rivers APC were ready to receive President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his campaign team in Port Harcourt next week.

He said: “Rivers people should continue to support APC. We should ensure peaceful elections in Nigeria, especially in Rivers State. When Cole becomes governor and I as deputy governor, by God’s grace, Rivers State will experience massive transformation in all sectors. There will also be peace, security and commensurate development. We will bring back the lost glory of Rivers State.

“The Federal Government is doing a lot in Rivers State, particularly the construction of Bodo-Bonny Road, Ogoni clean-up, completion of the international wing of Port Harcourt International Airport and massive construction of roads through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), among others. Wike’s propaganda should be ignored. Wike’s abysmal performance will end on May 29, 2019.”

Giadom also called on Nigerians to continue to support the Buhari’s administration and come out en-masse on February 16 to vote for him and other candidates of the party in all the elections

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