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DON’T BOTHER TO CALL THE POLICE
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I was at a meeting in Washington DC, USA a few weeks ago when President Barack Obama took the podium. He was brilliant. He succeeded in persuading us that even though he is pre-occupied with a huge pile of global issues and had spent Monday and Tuesday hosting the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron and reinforcing the “special relationship” between the United States of America and its colonial master, Britain, Africa (especially, Nigeria and its security problem) was very much on his mind.
Obama’s parting shot was a masterpiece:
“If you check the history of the last 2,500 years there were only 152 years when the world was not at war. Sadly, nearly all those wars were about religion (principally between Christianity and Islam).”
He was rewarded with a standing ovation. After Obama’s departure, we were left to contend with the main item on our agenda, how come in Africa, particularly Zimboda life is safe only after death!! Welcome to peace in our graves.
All over Africa, the pattern is the same. Alcohol and guns are strictly forbidden in cemeteries so that once we are in our graves, we are guaranteed a good night’s sleep. There is no reason to call the police.
In Washington DC, our case study was on the Republic of Zimboda. Here are some of the case notes:
(i) “Daily Trust” newspaper March 12, 2012
Headline: “OIL THIEVES NOW CONTROL STATES, LGs – NNPC”
“Gangs of oil thieves are gradually taking over the control of some states and local governments in the country and the trend will escalate if left unchecked, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Austen Oniwon, has said.
Speaking at an interactive forum between top management of the NNPC and the board and commissioners of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC), Oniwon warned that the situation, if left unchecked could degenerate to the scenario in countries like Mexico and Colombia where criminals have empowered themselves through nefarious activities and now call the shots because they have stolen so much from the system through underworld operations.
He said: “Let us take this menace a bit further by looking at the danger it poses to our collective existence as a nation. If we fail to curb this trend, we are inadvertently empowering these criminals to take over our local government areas and by the time they do that they would move on to take charge of the states since they now have the resources to decide who gets to power. One day we may as well wake up to discover that they have taken over the entire country.
These criminals steal both crude oil and refined petroleum products and sell same to enrich their pockets. We must work collectively to stop them.”
He said the nefarious activities of oil pipeline marauders were posing a potent threat to the successful operation of both the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.
He also said that pipeline vandalism presents the single biggest threat to the smooth operation of the petroleum industry today in the country, stressing that if left unchecked, Nigerians will wake up one day to discover that pipeline thieves have taken over the country.
“In the last few months, we have lost millions of dollars in shut-in oil wells as a result of the activities of oil thieves who breach our crude lines to steal oil. So far, the Trans-Forcados and Trans-Niger Trunk lines have been shut-in due to attacks on the facilities by thieves,” Oniwon said.
He said the activities of oil thieves was also a menace to the downstream sector where increased vandalization of petroleum product pipelines had made it almost impossible to pump products to the depots across the country through the pipelines thereby compelling NNPC to adopt bridging with trucks.
The GMD then pledged to make the interaction with the RMAFC commissioners a regular exercise, saying that the corporation was willing to work with the commission and other agencies of government to ensure public accountability through improved communication with all stakeholders.
(ii) FrontPage headline: “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper
“PENSION OFFICIALS DIVERTED N45 BILLION POLICE FUND”
The Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service and States and Local Governments, on Wednesday, was informed how some officials of the pension office falsified documents to withdraw N24 billion instead of N3.5bn required and approved from the Budget Office for the payment of pension.
Chairman of the Pension Review Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, told the committee that the task force recovered N21 billion out of the money lodged in a First Bank account.
He disclosed that the team discovered two major accounts in Lagos where pension fund for the police was lodged, saying one account had N21 billion while the other had N24 billion.
Maina said when the team discovered that on a daily basis, various sums of money ranging from N200 million to N300 million were being withdrawn, he quickly applied to the Accountant General of the Federation for the transfer of the accounts.
In his application, he said he mentioned that since the headquarters of the police pension was in Abuja, the accounts should be moved to Abuja and to be opened in Fidelity Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA).
The committee, after listening to the submission of Maina, directed that he should make available all relevant documents relating to the transactions, including bank statements, cheque books and others that would assist the committee in writing its report.
In a related development, it was also revealed, on Wednesday, that names of primary school teachers were used to siphon money from the pension fund.
Maina said his task force team found out that the 32 persons who were all staff of the pension department in the office of the Head of Service included names of primary school teachers on the pension payrolls.
The pension reform team was set up by former Hear of Service (HOS) Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, to address the challenges facing the payment of federal pensioners across the country.
He explained that the deal was being carried out by 32 staff members in the office of the Head of Service, with a director in the pension office as ring leader, who siphoned billions of naira meant for the payment of retired workers.
He narrated to the committee how they perfected the deal so much that at the end of every month when these teachers received the payments, 10 percent was always deducted out of the total sum as their own shares and returned the rest to members whom he called the cartel.
According to him, "so many primary school teachers were used as conduit pipes to siphon pension fund. For instance, a primary school teacher in Kebbi was paid N3 million each month and he would take 10 per cent and refund the rest to the pension staff who were behind the deal.”
He added that through the dubious deal the numbers of pensioners were increased to 141,790, which was costing the Federal Government N1.3 billion monthly.
However, Maina informed that immediately the process of biometric verifications was concluded by his team, the number of genuine pensioners came down to 70,658 with a reduced monthly budget of N825 million.
He alleged that his team found out during its investigations that the cartel collaborated with officials of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) to siphon part of the pension funds.
According to him, the team found out that the bank account of the NUP, which was initially at N15 million, rose to over N2 billion.
The extra amount, he informed was later transferred to the 32 members of staff at the office of the Head of Service, who are currently facing prosecution.
He gave the amount recovered by the task force team from the 32 staffers of the pension department as N12 billion, which has now increased to N18 billion.
Abdulrasheed added that out of the N5 billion spent monthly on pension by the office of the Head of Service, N500 million was for death benefits, an unspecified amount paid to states as reimbursement in cases of contentions, a certain percentage paid to the NUP, while the remaining was for actual pension payment.
Abdulrasheed said his team ascertained that a total of 42 pension offices were maintained by the pension department of the office of the HOS across the country, adding that between 2005 and 2011, the Federal Government spent between N250 million and N900 million annually to conduct verification exercise for pensioners.
(iii) Headline: “Daily Sun” newspaper, March 8, 2012
“13 AIG’s RETIRED”
“Aggrieved Officers Head for Court”
Thirteen Assistant Inspectors General of Police [AIGs] have been compulsorily retired as a fall out of the appointment of seven new Deputy Inspectors General of Police [DIGs] announced recently by the Police Service Commission [PSC).
There are however, conflicting reports as to the procedure to be followed in the notice of retirement issued to the officers. While one of the AIGs who pleaded anonymity confirmed that he had been served with a letter of retirement, others said they got the ‘news’, but have not officially received the letter.
While also confirming the development, another senior officer warned on the consequences of the directive.
He said: "What I learnt was that some of the AIGs, who have been invited on the notice of retirement either refused to collect the letter or declined to write for voluntary retirement. I also heard that some of them are already planning to go to court over the issue. How can you force people to retire against their wish. It is improper, but we are watching, because there is confusion everywhere.”
Sources hinted that following the development anxiety had heightened on the fate of some of the commissioners of police whose subordinates were elevated to the ranks of DIG and AIG.
“We do not know for now whether the treatment meted to the old AIGs will also befall them,” a senior officer who does not want his name in print remarked.
Contacted for comments on the issue, PSC spokesman, Ferdinard Ekpe, said he was not aware of the development and had not been briefed. However, the police Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Olusola Amore, did not respond to repeated calls on his mobile phone.
Meanwhile, Daily Sun has authoritatively learnt that the Chairman of the PSC, Mr Parry Osayande, yesterday, sent a letter to the National Assembly, in which he gave about three reasons to justify the retirement of the 13 AIGs.
Among the reasons, according to sources privy to the letter, were that an officer may be retired if his/her office was being re-organized, or for reasons of redundancy.
Osayande reportedly cited some sections of the Public Service Rules to justify the commission’s action.
The Senate Committee on Police Affairs is presently investigating complaints arising from the recent promotion of the seven DIGs and 13 AIGs, and it was believed to have waded into the contentious retirement of the AIGs whose names were also said to have been sent to the National Assembly.
(iv)Headline: “DAILY SUN” newspaper March 13, 2012
“BOKO HARAM CAPTURES RUNAWAY MEMBER”
Fed up with life as a terrorist, a Boko Haram member, Mallam Sulaiman Isah, decided to settle down to raise a family six months ago. But he regretted the decision yesterday.
He relocated from Maiduguri, Borno State, the base of the Islamist sect to marry in Kaduna where he operated as a drycleaner in Ungwa Sanusi area of the metropolis until yesterday, when in a commando style he was captured from his residence.
As Isah was being led away, he was screaming “yan Boko Haram ne” meaning, they are Boko Haram members,” even as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said all Nigerians must join hands to stop the sect.
Also on Sunday, barely few hours after the Islamist sect attacked St Finbarr’s Catholic Church, Rayfield, Jos, which claimed seven lives and 11 others in a reprisal by irate youths, the gunmen killed three Christians at Chugwi village, also in Plateau State same day even as 11 more bodies were recovered yesterday.
In yet another incident, Boko Haram, on Monday attacked a police station in Kano, injuring two officers on duty even as a sect member was disarmed and killed by policemen also in the metropolis.
Mallam Isah, a dry cleaner, who resides in Kwana Mai shai of Ungwa Sanusi in Kaduna South Local Government Area, fled from the sect in Maiduguri and relocated to Kaduna about six months ago.
A source who did not want to be named, told our correspondent who visited the area that, Mallam Isah repented from being a terrorist for fear of being killed and ran to Kaduna for safety.
The source noted that “Isah secretly went back to Maiduguri to pick his fiancee that he later got married to in Kaduna two months ago. Unknown to him, his movements and activities were being monitored by the sect members who eventually trailed him to Kaduna.”
He said, “the taking away of Mallam Isah caused so much panic in the area. When they came, we thought they were security operatives, there were about seven of them and they came into the compound at about 6.30pm some few minutes before the Magrib prayers.
“They were shooting sporadically into the air and went straight to where Mallam Isah was performing ablution and whisked him into their vehicle, a Toyota Hiace Bus and zoomed off immediately."
Another eyewitness who identified himself as Mallam Shehu, said that, “as he was being taken away, Isah was screaming ‘Yan Boko Haram ne!! (They are Boko Haram members!) Yet, nobody could come to his rescue. The men were heavily armed”.
However, soldiers arrested eight Boko Haram suspects at Ungwa Sarki some hours later.
But the spokesman of the Nigeria Army 1 Divisional Headquarters, Kaduna, Colonel Abubakar Dun, denied any knowledge of such arrest.
Similarly, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), of the state police command, Deputy Superintendent Aminu Lawan also said he had not been briefed about any arrest.
Meanwhile, the ACF while condemning the suicide bomb blast that claimed 18 lives and destroyed properties worth millions of naira at St Finbarr’s Catholic Church, Rayfield, Jos, on Sunday, said Nigerians would be helping Boko Haram to succeed in its plan to destroy Nigeria if they fail to collectively checkmate their activities.
A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr Anthony N. Z. Sani, said: ‘The Forum heartily condoles with the government and people of Plateau State, with the Catholic Church and families who lost loved ones and properties.
“The forum is seriously disheartened by a situation whereby innocent men are indoctrinated to kill themselves and others.
The ACF and northern leaders reiterate that all Nigerians of all religions and of all ethnic extractions must stand up and deny the common enemy the pleasure of knocking our heads and unleashing religious conflict, which will do no one any good.
“If Nigerians fail to realize that he problem of insecurity across the nation is a collective responsibility aimed at checkmating the attackers, we would be helping them to succeed in their aspirations to destroy the country”, it reads.
ACF charged all Nigerians to prevent terrorism through community policing by keeping an eye on people with suspicious movements.
Amid rumour of fresh attack in Jos yesterday, there was a stampede. Even the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshall Oluseyi Petirin said security chiefs would re-strategize on ways of checkmating Boko Haram. He was in Jos yesterday.
Daily Sun learnt that Christian and Muslim youths had gathered at the Angwa Rukuba junction Monday morning, ready for showdown following the news that a youth was killed at Angwa Rukuba but soldiers quickly got to the scene to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
The rumour of the attack got to most parts of Jos forcing traders to close their shops and rush home while parents hurriedly went to schools to withdraw their children and wards.
By noon, the situation in the state was back to normal with people opening up their shops.
However, the Chief Medical Director (CMD). Dr Ishaya Pam, has confirmed that seven more bodies were brought yesterday morning while one was deposited in the hospital on Sunday and one other had died in the hospital earlier bringing the total of those who died to nine.
The CDS who met with the security chiefs in Plateau State told journalists that he was told three people died at the church while three others gave up the ghost in the hospital bringing the total of people that died to six.
After visiting the scene of the blast, the CDS who held a closed-door meeting with Governor Jonah Jang, assured that the same way the security surmounted other challenges in the country in the past they would overcome the current ordeal.
According to him, “suicide bombing is an admission of defeat (by the Boko Haram). It means you are not doing very well that is why you now allow members of your organization to start killing themselves.
“Otherwise, if you can achieve your aims without getting your members killed, you will do so. But, because the terrorists behind all this act have discovered that they have no any other means of inconveniencing the society, they result to suicide bombing.”
However, Plateau State government spokesman, Pam Ayuba, said the two Sunday attacks were not thought to be linked.
“Unknown gunmen, in an apparent ambush late Sunday, waylaid and shot dead three people and injured three others – all Christians, in Chugwi village.” Ayuba said: We suspect that the attackers were herdsmen. They left with the handset of those killed and called numbers on their phones to alert their (the victims’) relations that they were responsible for the killings,” he said from the scene of the attack.
Ayuba, who is a native of the Christian village, said no arrests have been made. The victims included two brothers aged 25 and 30, he said. Three other people at Dogo Garba, a nearby hamlet, were wounded by the same gunmen and were taken to a nearby government hospital, he added.
In Kano on Sunday, a Boko Haram member was disarmed and killed by a police officer, a statement by the police, has claimed.
According to the statement, which was made available to the Press on Monday, the incident happened at the residence of the said officer, adding that the gunmen came in a motorbike and attacked the officer.
Giving an account of the incident, the statement noted that at about 9am on Sunday, two armed men attacked a police officer at his residence in Tarauni Local Government Area of Kano, adding that the said officer disarmed one of the gunmen and shot him dead with the same rifle that he came with.
Headline: “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper 13 March 2012
“MINISTER WEEPS ON SIGHTING INMATES AT MAKURDI PRISON”
“Minister of State for Trade and Investment Chief Samuel Ortom, on Monday, at the Makurdi prison, wept openly on sighting inmates of the prison, particularly a 70-year-old man.
The minister, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Eunice Ortom, to donate some materials to the inmates and officials of the prison, under the aegis of Oracle Foundation, broke down in tears as he sighted the septuagenarian among the 60 inmates brought out to witness the occasion.
The minister also paid the fine options for six convicts to effect their release from prison. The imprisonment of the affected convicts ranged from one to two years depending on their offences.
One of the released convicts, Ben Dgazi, who claimed to have been involved in handset theft, was jailed for one and half years with an option of N5,000 fine but had to serve the jail term when he nor his parents could neither afford the payment of the fine and had spent six months in prison before luck smiled on him on Monday.
Ortom, while giving his speech, said he was sad on sighting inmates as young as his children and, particularly the elderly man who should be at home enjoying his old age but “for one reason or the other is today languishing in prison.”
He noted: “If I have the power, I would have asked all of you to be freed and go home but some of these things are beyond my power. But to those who are released today, my advice is that you forsake all those vices that brought you here and accept Christ as your saviour. He is the one that can save you and restructure your life.”
(v) Headline: “The Nation” newspaper March 13, 2012
POLICE PENSION SCAM: WHY CABAL IS AFTER ME – by MAINA
“The Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force, Mr. Abdul-rasheed Maina, said yesterday that a “cabal” within the nation’s pension system was out to discredit him for reporting cases of graft to the anti-corruption agencies.
He described as defamation of character, an allegation that he opened a bank account in his brother’s name.
According to him, Danjuma Zubairu, a worker with the Fidelity Bank Plc, is from Kabba in Kogi State and is not his brother. “I am from Biu in Borno State.”
Maina told reporters to expose members of the task force found culpable.
He said: “These problems that have brought misery to the retirees occurred not because there was no adequate funding, but because of the large scale corruption through the diversion and mismanagement of pension funds, manipulation and falsification of data, non-improvement in the pension administrative structure and bureaucracy with poor, unreliable and inefficient accounting system.
“We have tried our best and clinched landmark achievements. But there are media comments and accusations by the Senate Committee on Establishment that the pension task force did more harm than good. In what way? Is it a crime to fight corruption in this country?”
(vi) Headline: “The Punch” newspaper February 13, 2012
“OIL PRODUCTION FIGURE, REVENUE UNKNOWN – REP”
“Vice-Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum, Upstream Sector, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha, says Nigeria’s daily production of petroleum is unknown.
He also claimed there was no accurate recording system to ascertain the revenue accruing to the country daily from its oil productions.
The lawmaker said in Ilorin on Sunday that it was a positive step by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to have set up the task force on oil revenue headed by former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, and the National Refineries Special Task Force headed by a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Idika Kalu.
He was confident the two bodies would restore sanity to the oil industry.
Mustapha said, “As of today, Nigerians cannot know how much oil is explored and how much is accruable to the country in terms of revenue unless we sit down to check the operators of the system. Some of the Joint Venture Companies are dated back to 1950s and they are still in operations.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has seen the lapses based on the outcry of the people and he has now decided to take some proactive measures such as the task forces to checkmate revenue outflow. Revenue is a major problem in the industry sector.
“This is a nation that if you go to the oil rigs, you will see oil coming out of the Nigerian soil every second and the oil is not metered. When it is not metered, how do you know the quantity and quantum of oil that we have? So you have a lot of things coming up.
“Now with the calibre and credibility of the people in those task forces, I am of the view that even if we cannot see 100 per cent accurate figure of oil per day, there will be great improvement.”
Mustapha, who represents Ilorin West and Asa Federal Constituency, said the revelations from the public hearing on the National Assembly’s probe of the oil subsidy regime were not only mind-boggling and shocking but that some were “very embarrassing.”
According to him, it is embarrassing that a company incorporated less than three years ago, which has less than N100,000 share capital, and has never been involved in previous oil business, got amazing contracts to import fuel.
The lawmaker also alleged that many of the companies that were involved in the subsidy transactions did not meet the stipulated criteria for such business.”
(vii) Headline:“The Guardian” newspaper March 12, 2012
“FEAR GRIPS LAGOSIANS OVER STENCH”
Road users, others call for treatment of refuse dumpsites on LASU – Ojo Expressway, Ojota”
“The road from Isheri, Egbeda or Ikotun to the Lagos State University (LASU-Ojo) Expressway is well paved compared to other routes in the metropolis. It has no potholes to slow down moving vehicles, making it a choice road for both motorists and pedestrians.
Day or night, the atmosphere along the route is serene and breezy.
But, that is just before the driver from either ends of the beautiful road reaches Hotel Bus Stop, a few kilometres to Igando. At that spot, there is a mighty heap of refuse on both sides of the road.
The offensive odour waiting from the dumpsite assail the pedestrian or motorist with a rude shock. It is a sharp contrast to the beautiful road.
At Hotel Bus Stop en route LASU, there are two massive heaps of waste. Disused vehicles are abandoned on the sites, which surely provide sanctuary for miscreants, popularly called area boys.
Many passengers alighting from vehicles at these spots or passers-by involuntarily clench their nostrils to prevent inhaling the horrible stench. People are forced to spit and curse under their breath as they get near the spot.
As people approach the sites, they are compelled to protect themselves from the horde of large files, which zoom from the sites and attempt to perch on people. Many a people are known to have inadvertently ingested a fly in the process of trying to spit out spittle and take in some air.
In the midst of this gloom, some people stay there to eke out a living. These are the scavengers, ransacking the mess in search of some hidden treasure. They manage to cope with the offensive odour in their search for objects discarded by their fellow Lagosians. But it is not lost on decent people that these scavengers are a veritable source of contracting communicable diseases.
A civil servant, Mr. Aremu Edun who passes the area daily, could not help but wonder: “Each time I pass through these spots, I always ask myself if I am actually living in Lagos. Even in rural areas, these types of refuse sites are no longer located close to the community but away from the village.
“Therefore, if in the villages, they are aware of the risk of living with such unpleasant sites, why should it be tolerated in a city where the enlightened stay?
“I am thinking of the danger these refuse heaps in a city like Lagos may pose to residents. Surprisingly, there are people with sticks rummaging through the refuse to get some disused articles for sale.
“People who live in the vicinity, I believe, must have adapted themselves to the situation, which invariably is not in their best interest, but because they do not have a choice.”
Meanwhile, this situation is not limited to LASU Expressway. The situation is similar to that of Ojota, near the popular Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, used by hundreds of thousands of protesters during the January petrol subsidy removal protests. The site is next to a petrol station and a commercial motor park. The offensive odour from the refuse leavy can churn the stomach.
“Why should visitors entering Lagos for the first time be welcomed with such a bad odour?” a Lagosian, Charles Rotimi, asked.
“I am only appealing to Lagos State government and the Ministry of the Environment to come to the aid of people living in these areas as well as passengers travelling along these routes.
“The government should fumigate the area to reduce the odour and avoid an outbreak of an epidemic from these sites.”
Another area with such ugly site is on the road near a makeshift bridge at Ayobo, on the outskirts of Lagos. It has all the hallmarks of the dumpsite of Ojota and LASU road.
“I am of the opinion that prevention is always better than cure and so, immediate action to clear the refuse would reduce the odour and make the environment habitable,” another Lagosian, Kehinde Abass, said.
“The government has the responsibility of protecting its citizens from various attacks including that of epidemics,” he said.
(viii) Headline:“BusinessDay” newspaper February 1, 2012
“NIGERIA SLIPS TO 133 POSITION ON GLOBAL DOING BUSINESS RANKING”
“Richard Montgomery, head of office and country representative, Department of International Development (DFID), has said that Nigeria has slipped further in the World Bank Global Doing Business Report 2012, as it ranked 133 out of 183 countries in the world.
The Doing Business Project provides objective measurement of business regulations and their enforcement across 183 economies and selected cities at the sub-national and regional level.
Montgomery, who said this at the presentation of the report in Abuja, noted that Nigeria urgently needs to improve its competitiveness in the ease of doing business in order to attract much needed local and foreign investments.
Lamenting that “Nigeria is either static or sleeping in a number of criteria,” he called on states to borrow from the reforms going on in Kano and Lagos states and improve their investment climates.
He said: “The report just shows how competitive the world is. Nigeria is either static or sleeping in a number of criteria. Overall, Nigeria is ranked 133 out of 183 countries in the world. That is an issue of concern. As I said, the minister, there is a number of good practice in Nigeria and if you were to look at the way reforms are being taken forward in places like Lagos and Kano; if you were to take all the best practices from all the states and put them together in one plate, Nigeria will properly go up to about 72 out of 183. One of the challenges in Nigeria is to spread good practices from states which are doing good things. It will be easier to create jobs.”
Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment, who spoke at the event, stressed that government was doing all it could to improve the doing business environment in Nigeria.
He said: “You can see from the ranking that even in Africa, we rank number 15. If you look at the competiveness ranking also, we have not done very well in the last three years. If you want to improve the investment climate and make it easier for investors to invest in this country, it is critical that we focus on our investment climate reform. One pillar of that is the business climate reform.”
(ix) MINIMUM WAGE VERSUS PUMP PRICE OF PETROLEUM
COUNTRY PMS PRICE MINIMUM
PER LITRE WAGE
Venezuela 3.61 Naira 95,639 Naira
Kuwait 34.54 Naira 161,461 Naira
Saudi-Arabia 25.12 Naira 99,237 Naira
Iran 102.05 Naira 86,585 Naira
Qatar 34.54 Naira 101,250 Naira
UAE 78.18 Naira 217,362 Naira
Algeria 63.55 Naira 55,957 Naira
Libya 26.69 Naira 23,813 Naira
Iraq 59.66 Naira 25,813 Naira
Nigeria 141.00 Naira 18,000 Naira
(x) Front page headline: “VANGUARD” newspaper February 1, 2012
“BOKO HARAM ATTACKS AIR FORCE BARRACKS”
“In continuation of its plans to Islamize Northern Nigeria, the Boko Haram Islamic Sect on Monday night invaded the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, barracks as well as a police station in Maiduguri, Borno State, killing five persons including a soldier, two policemen and two civilians. Also, two other civilians were reportedly injured, as the sect members bombed the Gambouru/Ngala police station, (the Joint Task Force, JTF, check point).
The incident was said to have occurred at about 6.30 pm. Gambouru/Ngala is a border town with Chad Republic and 150 kilometres North-East of Maiduguri, the state capital.
To cripple the sect, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, yesterday, canvassed decisive actions against it, warning that the earlier the government took the bull by the horn and acted decisively, the better for the future of the nation. He anchored the need for decisive steps on the fact that the menace had spread to other parts of West Africa.
Ihejirika’s warning came on a day the Department of State Security Service (SSS) quizzed immediate past Governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau over his alleged involvement in the sponsorship in the of the sect.
Welcoming members of the House of Representatives Committee on Internal Security to Army Headquarters, Ihejirika said Boko Haram and other security issues could not be solved by a wave of the hand.
He thanked the National Assembly for its concern for the well-being of the country. He said that the Nigerian Army remained apolitical and committed to assisting civil authorities to enhance security.
He reiterated his call on the citizenry to provide all the support required by those in the army to serve the nation better.
Noting that soldiers were the representatives of Nigerians when it comes to the force of arms, he said, “you need to recall the phrase that war is of such importance that it cannot be left in the hands of the security agencies alone, just as national security issues cannot be left in the hands of service personnel alone.”
The Army boss urged all well-meaning Nigerians to aid the crusade and expose evil among the people so that the problem could be nipped quickly for the nation to move forward.
“I can tell you that this development, even the problem of Almajiri and so on cannot be solved just by a wave of the hand. So we are delighted to have you in our midst and note your resolve at working with us to solve this problem at hand.”
Continuing he said, “we are also looking beyond the confines of this country. The whole of the West African region is looking up to this country to find a solution to the menace of Boko Haram because it is no longer news that the Boko Haram issue is not limited to the confines of our borders and the earlier we act decisively, the better for the future of this nation.”
(xi) Headline:“VANGUARD” newspaper February 1, 2012
“I PREPARED CHARMS FOR GOVERNORS, PROMINENT PERSONS, HERBALIST CONFESSES”
• As six suspected kidnapers face trial in Anambra.
“Onitsha – The trial of six persons charged with kidnapping and murder, yesterday, at an Ogidi Magistrate Court in Idemili local government area of Anambra State, took a dramatic twist as one of the suspects, a native doctor, denied preparing charms for criminals but admitted aiding governors and other prominent people in the society.
The suspect, Chukwunonso Okerulu, even boasted that he had bought many cars and built houses from proceeds earned working for governors.
He said: “Our people even gave me chieftaincy title when they found out after administering native oath on me that my hands are clean.
“I am a native doctor, a trade which I have practised for more than 20 years and I have many cars and big buildings all over the place, even governors visit my shrine,” the suspect told the court.
Pandemonium had earlier trailed trial of the six suspects as villagers stormed the court premises to hear the case, causing anxiety and stampede.
As early as 8.30 am, residents of the community had thronged the court to hear the matter in connection with the murder of two security guards and kidnapping of one, Dr. Reuben Okwosa in December last year.
The atmosphere became tense when the accused persons were called to the dock by the court clerk and the 8-count charge read to them.
The six persons standing trial over murder of two security guards attached to KP Pharmaceutical at Ogidi, Idemili North local government area, as well as kidnap of Dr. Reuben Okwosa, had allegedly collected N5.5 million ransom.
Those arranged were Emmanuel Caeser Nwabunne ‘M’ 32, Edward Nwoye ‘M’ 50, Ifeanyi Nwafor, ‘M’ 48 years, Chukwunonso Okerulu, ‘M’ 37 Anthony Aghaonu, ‘M’ 41 and Vincent Aghanou, ‘M’ 25 years who were being accused of masterminding the murder and kidnap of the medical doctor.
The accused persons were also standing trial for murder of one Godwin Mendu who was a security guard at KP Pharmaceuticals, when they allegedly struck at an end of year party being organized for the chairman of the company, Dr. Reuben Okwosa, who was kidnapped in the process.
One of the lawyers to the accused persons, Mr. Peremine Oseme, who appeared for the 1st, 5th and 6th accused persons, said his clients were arraigned by the prosecutors on mere suspicion.”