Tinubu writes Oyegun, accuses him of sabotaging his reconciliation efforts

Ebun Francis || Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the national leader of All Progressive Congress, recently appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconcile aggrieved members of the party has accused the national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, of sabotage.

Tinubu made the allegation in a seven-page letter written to Oyegun with copies to the president, vice-president, senate president and speaker of the house of representatives and dated February 21, 2018.

Tinubu’s letter read in part, “Disappointment greeted me when I discovered that you had swiftly acted in contravention of the spirit of our discussions. Instead of being a bulwark of support as promised, you positioned yourself in active opposition to the goal of resuscitating the progressive and democratic nature of APC”.

Tinubu also accused Odigie-Oyegun of thwarting his presidential assignment in Kogi, Kaduna and Adamawa states.

He noted, specifically, that Odigie-Oyegun had rushed to Kogi without due consultation with him to unilaterally inaugurate officials “parallel to the officials already heading the state chapter of the party”.

Tinubu said Odigie-Oyegun apparently seeks “to undermine my mandate by engaging in dilatory tactics for the most part. When forced to act, you do so in an arbitrary and capricious manner”.

He directed Odigie-Oyegun to, without delay, “make available to me the status reports and all the pertinent information regarding the state chapters without further delay”

FG not sure of true situation of missing schoolgirls – Lai Mohammed

Ebun Francis || Four days after suspected Boko Haram insurgents reportedly attacked and abducted some student’s from government girls Science and Technical college, Dapchi, Yobe State, the government still does not have the full picture of events that transpired on the school premises that fateful Monday night and the whereabouts of the missing girls.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, leading a federal government delegation to the state, on Thursday said the Nigerian government would need more time to assess the situation.

“On the issue of the number of missing girls, we cannot give what we are not sure of, until we hear from their parents, we cannot say this is the number,” Mr. Mohammed told reporters shortly after he arrived at Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Thursday afternoon. “Give us a few more time please”.

The minister arrived at the community with Khadijat Bukar-Ibrahim, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on Thursday afternoon and were received by Yobe State governor, Ibrahim Geidam, and the Theatre Commander, Operations Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas.

They were briefed by the governor and the General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Damaturu.

After the briefing, the minister informed newsmen that he was delegated by the president to visit the attacked community and commiserate with the victims and to also to find out the true situation about the missing schoolgirls.

He said that it too early to determine the whereabouts of the missing school girls as some who fled to neighbouring towns and communities are still returning home.

The minister said, “We are still monitoring the situation and what I want people to understand is that since two days ago some of the students who fled to neighbouring towns and communities had returned and more have been returning.

“When we arrived here we have been briefed by the governor and the GOC about the situation of the students. We know there are few students who are yet accounted for, but we don’t want to manufacture stories on this issue. But give us few days, we will be able to tell you exactly the real situation of things.

“But you can see response of the military, the response of the state government is quite commendable. Since four days now we have been following the efforts being made to arrest the situation,” he said.

The minister described the attack by Boko Haram as the antics of a dying group craving media attention.

He said, “But we must understand that these are they dying days of the Boko Haram and what they intend to do is to embarrass the government because they have been degraded, they have been pushed out of Sambisa forest.

“They have been starved out of oxygen and the oxygen they feed on is publicity so that they can grab the world’s attention. But I can assure you that with the determination of our gallant military, the days of Boko Haram are numbered.”

2019: Buhari asks APC governors to give him more time to decide

Chidi Samuel || President Muhammadu Buhari has asked APC governors who met with him behind closed doors at Aso Rock on Thursday to give him more time to decide whether to re-contest for the Presidency in the 2019 Presidential election.

Imo State governor and chairman of the APC governors forum, Rochas Okorocha, said as much in a brief chat with newsmen at the end of their meeting with the President.

Okorocha who confirmed that they were in the Villa to ask Mr. Buhari to seek a second term in office, however, said the President will address the nation soon on the matter.

He said, “We discussed so many issues that affect the nation, our party and Mr. President’s ambition to run for 2019 elections.”

“It is the desire of the governors that Mr. President should run for this exalted office given his performance in the last two years. We believe that if he continues Nigeria will be better for it.”

He also said Mr. Buhari “in his usual manner” has requested that the governors “give him time and that he will address the nation and the caucus of the party very soon”

“So we should be full of expectations that Mr. President will make officially known to Nigerians his intentions but we hope that his response will be in line with what the governors are thinking,” he said.

Kaduna State governor, Nasir el Rufai along with other APC governors have been putting pressure on President Buhari to seek re-election.

They met with him last week in his home town, Daura, on the same issue.

However, former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a widely circulated letter earlier this month called on the President to ‘dismantle the horse’ and not seek reelection.

How to control high blood pressure with coconut water

A moderate consumption of coconut water can lower the risk of high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol level and weight control.

Dr. Ochuko Erikainure, a nutritionist, and biochemist, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.

According to him, coconut water is rich in high electrolyte contents particularly, potassium which reduces the risk of high blood pressure.

“Studies have shown that coconut water has been used as a refreshing natural beverage.

“It is because coconut water is naturally enriched with antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

“Coconut water can also be used for re-hydrating agent because it is much better than commercial sports drinks.

“Vitamin C in coconut water also plays an influential role which helps to reduce cholesterol level and weight control.

“Vitamin C, selenium, manganese and zinc make coconut water a potent antioxidant, thus protecting the cells against oxidative stress.

“Cytokines in coconut water protects against aging effects in cells and tissues which help to reduce the risk of developing degenerative and age-related diseases,” he said.

According to Wikipedia, Cytokines are a broad and loose category of small proteins (~5–20 kDa) that are important in cell signaling. Their release has an effect on the behavior of cells around them.

Erikainure, however, cautioned that over consumption of coconut water could cause hyperkalemia.

“Hyperkalemia is an overabundance of potassium in the blood which can induce acute kidney failure, heart arrhythmia, and coma.

“It is advised to consume moderately because excess consumption has also been shown to have laxative effect in the body,’’ he said.

National Assembly can’t alter election sequence- Jega

Chidi Samuel || Prof. Attahiru Jega, the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, on Thursday questioned the power of the National Assembly to alter the sequence of the 2019 elections.

The former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities and immediate past chairman of INEC made the assertion at an event organised by the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Development in Abuja.

Jega who spoke on the theme, ‘Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?’ said the National Assembly’s action undermined the independence of INEC.

Citing several sections of the 1999 Constitution, he stated that the power to organise and set the date for elections clearly remain the exclusive preserve of INEC.

According to the respected professor, another drawback for the amendment is the fact that the cost of election would be higher if the election sequence is altered.

Fayose in face-to-face meeting with Buhari

Ebun Francis || Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state and fierce critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, met face-to-face with the president at the villa on Thursday.

The controversial opposition governor was at the Villa to attend the Council of State meeting.

President Buhari summoned a meeting of the Council of State to deliberate on key national issues.

In attendance were former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, former military leaders Yakubu and retired General Abdusalam Abubakar attended the meeting.

The meeting, which started at 11 a.m, also had in attendance, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, four former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Senate President Bukola Saraki and state governors.

Yobe governor, Army, Police deny report of rescued Dapchi  school girls

Ebun Francis || Almost 24 hours after the Yobe state government claimed in a statement that some of the abducted school girls from Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi has been rescued neither the state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, the police nor the Army could confirm the development.

The suspected Boko Haram insurgents raided the school on Monday and abducted some of the students.

The government in a statement late Wednesday confirmed the abduction but said the army had been able to secure the release some of the girls.

“The Yobe state government hereby informs the public that some of the girls at Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) whose school was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists last Monday have been rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army from the terrorists who abducted them,” the governor had said in a statement which Abdullahi Bego, his spokesman, issued on his behalf.

“The rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian Army. We will provide more details about their number and condition in due course.”

But speaking when he visited community on Thursday, the governor told family members of the students to keep praying that the girls should be found.

The Defence Headquarters has also said it has no such information on the rescue of the girls.

“We cannot confirm” the statement by Yobe State that some of the girls have been rescued, Defence spokesperson, John Agim, said on Thursday morning.

The brigadier-general refused to give further details about the military’s intervention in the situation as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

One of the aides to Yobe state police commissioner, Sunmonu Abdulmaliki, also said that the police had no information on the matter.

“There’s nothing we can confirm,” the aide said in answer to questions from newsmen.

According to him, the police would be working with a team  President Muhammadu Buhari sent to Yobe.

“We hope that after the visit by the delegation, the picture would be clearer,” he added.

Army rescues Dapchi schoolgirls

Some of the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents at Government Girls Secondary School Dapchi in Yobe on Monday have been rescued by the army.

Alhaji Abdullahi Bego, Director General to Yobe governor on Press affairs, disclosed this in a press statement issued on Wednesday.

“The Yobe State Government hereby informs the public that some of the girls at Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) whose school was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists last Monday have been rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army from the terrorists who abducted them.

“The rescued girls are now in the custody of the Nigerian Army.

“We will provide more details about their number and condition in due course.

“His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who is very grateful for the gallantry and hard work of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army involved in the operation, is monitoring the situation closely and will make a statement in due course,” the statement said.

Earlier the government had said about 50 of the girls were yet to report to the school since the attack by Boko Haram gunmen.

With NAN reports

Corruption getting worse in Nigeria- Transparency International

Ebun Francis || Transparency International on Wednesday said that corruption is alive in Nigeria and even getting worse, going by the latest corruption perception index (CPI) released by the anti-corruption agency.

Whereas the country was ranked 136th in 2016, the latest CPI scores Nigeria 28/100 but with a rank of No. 148 out of 180 countries surveyed —  this is 12 places below where it was in 2016.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption in the opinion of experts and business people, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

The analysis of the report shows that Kenya, which was rated more corrupt than Nigeria in 2016, has now ahead of the country, climbing to 143 from 145.

Other sub-Saharan African countries ranked higher than Nigeria are Botswana — ranked 34 and the best in Africa — as well as Rwanda ( 48) and Nambia ( 53).

Nigeria is ranked 148 along with Guinea and Comoros.

Nigeria’s abysmal ranking is a blow to the President Muhammadu Buhari who was elected into office on the strength of his anti-corruption credential.

 

Nigeria warns on ECOWAS currency integration

ACCRA –  The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has cautioned member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against forcing through the planned currency integration in the sub-region by 2020.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, issued the warning on Tuesday, February 21, 2018, during the 5thmeeting of the Presidential Task Force on ECOWAS Currency Programme in Accra, Ghana, noting that Heads of Government had not properly articulated and analysed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration by 2020.

He reiterated that the non-preparedness of some member countries, the credibility of the union if anchored on watered down criteria, and the continuing disparities between macroeconomic conditions in ECOWAS countries, continued to be major issues of concern that members must examine in order to make progress.

Pres. Buhari further observed that ECOWAS Heads of Government had not been adequately briefed on the full implications of forcing through the integration by 2020, particularly where some countries were not individually ready domestically.

While pointing out that there were still outstanding issues in the roadmap to an integrated currency union, he noted that the macroeconomic fundamentals of many countries in ECOWAS were diverse and uncertain. He also noted that the inflation targeting regime recommended as framework was not feasible as it was based on adoption of a flexible exchange rate regime. He equally noted that real convergence was nowhere near achievable despite efforts made so far.

President Buhari, therefore, called for a push towards ratification and domestication of legal instruments and related protocols, and the harmonization of all fiscal, trade and monetary policies and statistical systems, with a view to limiting the extent of current policy divergences.

He also advised that the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) countries to make a presentation on a clear roadmap towards delinking from the French Treasury.

Furthermore, the President called for a review of the fast-track approach to monetary integration and the harmonization of plans by ECOWAS members with that of the African Union Programme of monetary convergence that had recommended a convergence deadline of 2034 for the for the establishment of Regional Central Banks in all sub-regions of the continent.

President Buhari also used the occasion of the meeting to call for the establishment of an Ombudsman with powers to invoke sanctions when member countries are in breach of agreed standards, protocols and convergence criteria.

The Nigerian President also called for the transformation of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) into a West African Monetary Zone Commission, equivalent to the UEMOA Commission, stressing that his proposal of merging WAMI and WAMA, by the ECOWAS Commission into the ECOWAS Monetary Institute would be very critical in achieving monetary union in the West African sub-region.