All posts by Adekunle Best

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Vote Of Confidence: See full list of 83 senators backing Senate President


The proposal titled “Vote of Confidence on Principal Officers of the Senate,” was in  pursuant to Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Order 2015.

Amid rowdy sessio

on Tuesday, September 29, about 83 Senators passed a vote of confidence on the embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, as the 8th senate resumed from its 4th recess in 110 days.

Saraki, who is standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged corruption and false declaration of assets, initially got the backing of 84 senator but the Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Rules, Babajide Omowarare(APC-Osun East), backed out – leaving the figure at 83.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senators, numbering 48 and 35 senators from the majority All Progressives Congress (APC) are putting their foot down for the Senate leader.

Below is the full list of senators backing Saraki and a video showing the rowdy session:

1. Sen. David Umaru

2. Sen. Mohammed A. Ndume

3. Sen. Godswill Akpabio

4. Sen. Biodun Olujimi

5. Sen. Malam A. Wakil

6. Sen. Isah Hamma Misau

7. Sen. Emmanuel I. Paulker

8. Sen. Ogola Foster

9. Sen. Gershom H. Bassey

10. Sen. James Manager

11. Sen. Babajide Omowarare (Backed out)

12. Sen. Ahmadu Abubakar M.

13. Sen. Joshua M. Lidani

14. Sen. Achonu A. Nneji

15. Sen. Shehu Sanni

16. Sen. Salihu H. Egye

17. Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa

18. Sen. Mohammed S. Ohiare

19. Sen. Philip Aruwa Gyunka

20. Sen. Abdullahi Adamu

21. Sen. Samuel N. Anyanwu

22. Sen. George T. Sekibo

23. Sen. Monsurat J.A. Sunmonu

24. Sen. Jeremiah T. Useni

25. Sen. Ogba Joseph Obinna

26. Sen. Aliyu S. Abdullahi

27. Sen. Sunny Ogbuoji

28. Sen. Gilbert Nnaji

29. Sen. Bala IBN Na’allah

30. Sen. Philip Tanimu Aduda

31. Sen. Duro Samuel Faseyi

32. Sen. Kabiru Gaya

33. Sen. Muhammad Aliero

34. Sen. Bukar A. Ibrahim, CON

35. Sen. Abubakar Kyari

36. Sen. Rose Okoji Oko

37. Sen. Osinachukwu I. Ideozu

38. Sen. Matthew A. Urhoghide

39. Sen. Fatimat O Raji-Rasaki

40. Sen. Tijani Yahaya Kaura

41. Sen. Sabo Mohammed

42. Sen. Danjuma Laáh

43. Sen. Mohammed S. Lafiagi

44. Sen. Dino Melaye

45. Sen. Abdulrahman Abubakar

46. Sen. Bassey A. Akpan

47. Sen. Olanrewaju A. Tejuoso

48. Sen. Buruji Kashamu

49. Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe

50. Sen. Samuel O. Egwu

51. Sen. David A.B. Mark\

52. Sen. Aliyu M. Wamakko.

53. Sen. Marafa Bachir Abba

54. Sen. Mohammed Hassan

55. Sen. Utazi G. Chukwuka

56. Sen. Francis Alimikhena

57. Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha

58. Sen. Joshua Chibi Dariye

59. Sen. Uche L. Ekwunife

60. Sen. Murray-Bruce Ben

61. Sen. Binta Masi Garba

62. Sen. Jang Jonah David

63. Sen. Ighoyota Amori

64. Sen. Ibrahim A. Gobir

65. Sen. Mohammed Goje, CON

66. Sen. Ahmed Rufa’i Sani

67. Sen. Ibrahim Abdullahi

68. Sen. Muhammad U. Shitu

69. Sen. Andy E. Ubah

70. Sen. Nelson A. Effiong

71. Sen. Rafiu Adedayo Ibrahim

72. Sen. Abdul A.M. Nyako

73. Sen. Theodore A. Orji

74. Sen. Olaka Johnson Nwogu

75. Sen. Abubakar S. Danladi

76. Sen. Yele Omogunwa

77. Sen. Stella Adaeze Oduah

78. Sen. Hope O. Uzodinma

79. Sen. John Owah Enoh

80. Sen. Peter Nwaboshi

81. Sen. Clifford A. Ordia

82. Sen. Donald Alasoadura

83. Sen. Mustapha Sani

84. Sen. Gbolahan Dada

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Vote Of Confidence: See full list of 83 senators backing Senate President


The proposal titled “Vote of Confidence on Principal Officers of the Senate,” was in  pursuant to Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Order 2015.

 

Amid rowdy sessio

on Tuesday, September 29, about 83 Senators passed a vote of confidence on the embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, as the 8th senate resumed from its 4th recess in 110 days.

Saraki, who is standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged corruption and false declaration of assets, initially got the backing of 84 senator but the Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Rules, Babajide Omowarare(APC-Osun East), backed out – leaving the figure at 83.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senators, numbering 48 and 35 senators from the majority All Progressives Congress (APC) are putting their foot down for the Senate leader.

Below is the full list of senators backing Saraki and a video showing the rowdy session:

1. Sen. David Umaru

2. Sen. Mohammed A. Ndume

3. Sen. Godswill Akpabio

4. Sen. Biodun Olujimi

5. Sen. Malam A. Wakil

6. Sen. Isah Hamma Misau

7. Sen. Emmanuel I. Paulker

8. Sen. Ogola Foster

9. Sen. Gershom H. Bassey

10. Sen. James Manager

11. Sen. Babajide Omowarare (Backed out)

12. Sen. Ahmadu Abubakar M.

13. Sen. Joshua M. Lidani

14. Sen. Achonu A. Nneji

15. Sen. Shehu Sanni

16. Sen. Salihu H. Egye

17. Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa

18. Sen. Mohammed S. Ohiare

19. Sen. Philip Aruwa Gyunka

20. Sen. Abdullahi Adamu

21. Sen. Samuel N. Anyanwu

22. Sen. George T. Sekibo

23. Sen. Monsurat J.A. Sunmonu

24. Sen. Jeremiah T. Useni

25. Sen. Ogba Joseph Obinna

26. Sen. Aliyu S. Abdullahi

27. Sen. Sunny Ogbuoji

28. Sen. Gilbert Nnaji

29. Sen. Bala IBN Na’allah

30. Sen. Philip Tanimu Aduda

31. Sen. Duro Samuel Faseyi

32. Sen. Kabiru Gaya

33. Sen. Muhammad Aliero

34. Sen. Bukar A. Ibrahim, CON

35. Sen. Abubakar Kyari

36. Sen. Rose Okoji Oko

37. Sen. Osinachukwu I. Ideozu

38. Sen. Matthew A. Urhoghide

39. Sen. Fatimat O Raji-Rasaki

40. Sen. Tijani Yahaya Kaura

41. Sen. Sabo Mohammed

42. Sen. Danjuma Laáh

43. Sen. Mohammed S. Lafiagi

44. Sen. Dino Melaye

45. Sen. Abdulrahman Abubakar

46. Sen. Bassey A. Akpan

47. Sen. Olanrewaju A. Tejuoso

48. Sen. Buruji Kashamu

49. Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe

50. Sen. Samuel O. Egwu

51. Sen. David A.B. Mark\

52. Sen. Aliyu M. Wamakko.

53. Sen. Marafa Bachir Abba

54. Sen. Mohammed Hassan

55. Sen. Utazi G. Chukwuka

56. Sen. Francis Alimikhena

57. Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha

58. Sen. Joshua Chibi Dariye

59. Sen. Uche L. Ekwunife

60. Sen. Murray-Bruce Ben

61. Sen. Binta Masi Garba

62. Sen. Jang Jonah David

63. Sen. Ighoyota Amori

64. Sen. Ibrahim A. Gobir

65. Sen. Mohammed Goje, CON

66. Sen. Ahmed Rufa’i Sani

67. Sen. Ibrahim Abdullahi

68. Sen. Muhammad U. Shitu

69. Sen. Andy E. Ubah

70. Sen. Nelson A. Effiong

71. Sen. Rafiu Adedayo Ibrahim

72. Sen. Abdul A.M. Nyako

73. Sen. Theodore A. Orji

74. Sen. Olaka Johnson Nwogu

75. Sen. Abubakar S. Danladi

76. Sen. Yele Omogunwa

77. Sen. Stella Adaeze Oduah

78. Sen. Hope O. Uzodinma

79. Sen. John Owah Enoh

80. Sen. Peter Nwaboshi

81. Sen. Clifford A. Ordia

82. Sen. Donald Alasoadura

83. Sen. Mustapha Sani

84. Sen. Gbolahan DadaTell

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Senate problems influenced by powerful individuals outside NASS -Saraki


By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke

Senate problems influenced by powerful individuals outside, NASS
Bukola saraki

ABUJA–SENATE President,Bukola Saraki,Tuesday,reiterated that his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal,CCT,was being influenced by people outside the National Assembly who were not comfortable with his emergence as Senate President

But he said the ‘intruders’ were fighting a lost battle as they were not National Assembly members to effect their desired leadership in the Red Chamber.

This was even as he disclosed that the screening of the ministerial nominees being awaited by the Senate would not be business as usual,vowing that the exercise would be thoroughly carried out.
Speaking while welcoming senators back,after six weeks of recess, Saraki insisted that
his travails in the hands of the anti-graft agency were the handiwork of those he referred to as “powerful individuals outside” the legislature.
“I wish to reiterate my remarks before the Tribunal, that I have no iota of doubt that I am on trial today because I am the president of the Nigerian Senate, against the wishes of some powerful individuals outside this Chambers,”he said.

In an apparent reference to the outsiders,the Senate President said: “The laws of Nigeria does not give any consideration to any other forces outside the Senate in the election of its President.

“And to yield the ground on this note, is to be complicit in the subversion of democracy and its core principles of separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution.”

“This, in your wisdom, is what you have done by electing me to be the first among all of you who are my equals,”he told his colleagues.

Bukola Saraki

He said the activities of the powerful individuals outside the legislature would not deter him,vowing that he would always defend the independence of the legislature.

He also noted that too many people have fought and died for the democracy being enjoyed in the country today,adding: “We would not be honouring them and their memories if we allow the sad chapters of our history to continue to repeat themselves like a bad curse.”

“As for me, I am prepared to do my duty in defence of our democracy and in safeguarding the independence of the National Assembly. My duty, as I see it, is to do justice and honour to the memory of those who have paid even higher prices to give us this democracy and this constitution.”

“Primarily as a senator of the Federal Republic and as Senate President, I owe it to this Senate to stand strong in the face of relentless persecution.

“I invite all of you to stand with me to defend this Senate and preserve its sanctity.

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EDO 2016: Oshiomhole, APC contenders and the fear of the PDP defectors


 


The Ogbemudia search group By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin-City

The question on the lips of Edo people is, who succeeds Governor Adams Oshiomhole when his second term ends on November 12, 2016? For the people, this is very important so that the state will not go back to the years of under development and inactivity. However, the Comrade Governor has been very difficult to predict on who he has in mind to succeed him in his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

After the general elections, the governor invited all the party leaders to thank them for their support that gave the party victory in the polls in Edo, but used the opportunity to warn that since the race for who succeeds him was still a little bit far, he would not condone any aspirant calling meetings or trying to factionalize the party in the name of putting structures on ground. In that meeting, many of the people gunning to succeed him under the APC platform were all there seated. They include his deputy, Dr Pius Odubu, a former governor of the state, Prof. Osarhiemen Osunbor, a former governorship candidate of the PDP, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, a former Minister of State, Works, Engr.Chris Ogienmwonyi, and Osarodion Ogie, the state Commissioner for Works. The governor informed them that he would not entertain any form of distraction to governance of the state arising from the 2016 race, stressing that when the time comes, he will, in consultation with the leaders of the state, ensure that a credible candidate emerges. Oshiomhole went on to proscribe all groups within the APC and threatened to sanction anybody involved in the formation of any political group within the party. Most of the aspirants who have been uncomfortable with the Edo in Safe Hands, a political pressure group led by his Commissioner for Works, Ogie, hailed the governor’s move. Ogie is seen as a big threat to the ambition of other APC aspirants due to his closeness to the Comrade Governor. It was not surprising therefore that most of the aspirants relocated to Abuja to face their private businesses while they work underground to avoid Oshiomhole’s wrath. From the results of elections so far in Edo, the aspirants are aware that without the support of the Comrade Governor, it will be difficult for any of them to fly. But the launching of the Edo Mass Movement (EMM) by the two-time former governor of the old Bendel State, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, penultimate weekend, in Benin City, is a signal that searching for a credible successor for Oshiomhole will not be an easy task.

Ize-Iyamu

Following what he described as the superlative achievements of the governor, Ogbemudia had vowed that good governance will not be compromised in the search for Oshiomhole’s successor. As a result, he launched the EMM to search for a credible candidate that could even out perform Oshiomhole, asserting that whoever the EMM decides will be the candidate of the people irrespective of the political party the candidate may belong to. Before choosing the candidate, Ogbemudia disclosed that the group will meet with all the aspirants before the end of the year to tell the people of Edo on why they want to govern them. The EMM is made up of community leaders, youths and market women across the three senatorial district of the state. Ogbemudia enjoys a cordial relationship with the Comrade Governor; so it will not come as a surprise to many if he works with Oshiomhole to produce the next governor of the state. Super rich aspirants However, APC’s headache is how to manage some of the super rich aspirants who defected to the party from the PDP. As a matter of fact, the popular Rice Man, Kenneth Imasuagbon, is the latest to defect from the PDP to the APC. The educationist, who decamped only two weeks ago, is one of those with deep pockets coming into the party to battle for the governorship ticket of the APC. Ordinarily, Oshiomhole should have been happy to have them in the APC, but the governor seems worried knowing that crisis may engulf the party after the governorship primary, particularly since some of them are capable of using money to influence party leaders. The worry is expected particularly after the governor had fought his political battles over the years and brought the PDP to its knees, retiring the political god fathers. After the crisis that rocked the state APC that led to the exit of Pastor Osagie-Ize-Iyamu and Chief Tom Ikimi, Oshiomhole had emphasized his desire not to entertain further crisis in the party, especially, ahead of 2016. Before then, the major groups in the APC were the ones led by Ize-Iyamu, who later defected to the PDP, and the deputy governor, Odubu. But as it seems, the APC may have ceded the governorship to Edo South barring any last-minute change. If the party leadership agrees on that, it means that will end the ambition of Osunbor and Imasuagbon who are both from Edo Central. The people of the Central, known as the Esan, have argued that they are yet to enjoy the governorship after Osunbor’s tenure was truncated after one year in office by the Appeal Court ruling which ushered in the Oshiomhole administration. However, Oshiomhole will determine who becomes the APC candidate because, apart from being the leader of the party in the state, he has become the political leader of the state. And for the PDP, it seems they may have re-strategize on where to zone the governorship after the defeat of former President Goodluck Jonathan by President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC. Initially, a former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, was said to have zeroed-in on a former Minister of Works, Arch.Mike Onolemenen, who is from Edo Central like Anenih, but Sunday Vanguard learnt that the former BOT Chairman may be looking towards Edo South knowing that the APC will cede its ticket to the district which has about 57 per cent of the population of the state. Onolemenmen,Ize-Iyamu, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, Senator Ehigie Uzamere, Chief Solomon Edebiri, Lucky Imasuen are the governorship aspirants of the PDP expected to run for the primary.

Wanted By Government One Amos Agbonifo’.

The situation is causing unease in the party as some of the aspirants are calling for the removal of the state Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, who they fear may play a leader’s script. Sunday Vanguard learnt the former BoT Chair may be looking at Edebiri as a suitable candidate while his area (Edo Central) produces the deputy governor. But the problem is that this calculation may hit a brick wall if the primary is not allowed to be free and fair. April 2016 primaries Ize-Iyamu, Uzamere and Iduoriyekemwen might hit a hard one in the heart of the party rather than succumb to any form of dictation. There is no doubt that crisis may engulf the two dominant parties in the state after the governorship primaries, expected some time in April 2016, but the advantage the APC has is an Oshiomhole who will be prepared to tear whoever the PDP brings apart during the campaigns and his developmental projects which he will easily remind the people about. Besides, with the emergence of the APC at the federal level, the party will no longer suffer intimidation from security agencies as unleashed in the past on APC leaders. Though Edebiri will make a good candidate for the PDP, the party will need a strategic, rugged and masses-oriented candidate, ready to dismantle the political machinery of Oshiomhole, determined to install an APC candidate as his successor, to make an impact in the election. And that is where Ize-Iyamu and Iduoriyekemwen come in. But again anyone who underestimates the political experience and doggedness of Uzamere may be making a big mistake because he has all his political victories against all odds. He is one person among the PDP aspirants that must be feared by others if they don’t want their ambitions to be truncated by the old war horse.

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The toxic rivalry of Saudi Arabia and Isis Riyadh’s main fear is of being outflanked on the religious right by jihadi extremists


By Adekunle Best

The death last week of Prince Saud al-Faisal, the respected statesman who had been foreign minister of Saudi Arabia for 40 years until this spring, prompted comment about the kingdom’s apparent transition from diplomacy behind the scenes to a policy of confrontation with Iran, the Sunni Arab realm’s Shia and Persian rival for regional hegemony.

There is some truth in this. Prince Saud was by instinct a bridge-builder. Saudi foreign policy at the moment seems to be burning a lot of bridges. King Salman, who succeeded the late King Abdullah in January and recentralised power around himself and his family, served notice in March that he would fight Shia fire with Sunni fire.

The ruling House of Saud, legitimised by the kingdom’s absolutist strain of Wahhabi Islam, had watched in appalled paralysis as Iran and its proxies exploited the mayhem unleashed across Arab lands — from the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the Arab spring after 2011 — to forge a Shia axis from Baghdad to Beirut.

In March the Saudis launched an air war in Yemen, claiming Iran was behind an attempt by Shia Houthi fighters to overrun the country. Three months of futile and indiscriminate bombing later, this multi-sided contest for a failed state is no closer to resolution. The Saudis, who have never managed to do much about their ungovernable southern neighbours except bribe a varying combination of tribes, know full well that Tehran has played little more than a peripheral role in their recent protagonism. The war in Yemen is more a signal of deep unhappiness at the deal the US and world powers have struck with Iran over its nuclear programme. The bombing started in late March just as the two sides worked on a framework agreement in Lausanne.

In the interim, the regional menace of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) has not stopped the Saudi government fixating primarily on Iran and the Shia — but that was true long before the death of Prince Saud.

The veteran Arab diplomat had warned the Bush administration what would happen in Iraq and the region if it went ahead with the 2003 invasion. But it was also Prince Saud, Arab officials say, who told John Kerry, US secretary of state, last summer after Isis surged back from Syria into Iraq, that “Daesh [an Arabic acronym for Isis] is our [Sunni] response to your support for the Da’wa”, the Shia Islamist party that has dominated Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s minority Sunni regime — with varying degrees of support from Washington and Tehran.In depthIran under Rouhani

After nearly a decade of isolation Iran has agreed a breakthrough deal with six world powers to wind back the country’s progress towards building a nuclear bomb in exchange for a sweeping reversal of international economic sanctions

Further reading

Isis is, of course, a physical threat to Saudi Arabia, where online polling suggests it has alarmingly high support. But the main fear of Saudi rulers is of being outflanked on the religious right by the jihadi extremists. The competition, therefore, is between Wahhabi absolutists and the Sunni supremacists of Isis as to which of them is a more credible scourge of the Shia — branded in both ideologies as polytheist heretics and rafidah (“rejectionist”).

The speeches of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared Isis caliph, are often marinated in pieces of Islamic lore ripped from their context and always threatening. But they repay examination. In mid-May, he labelled the Yemen operation, which the Saudis called Storm of Resolve, “the kick of a dying person”.

He mocked the Saudi air strikes as “a storm of delusion” and spoke of “the Muslim public in the Arabian Peninsula rallying around the Islamic State since it defends them against the rafidah”.

Picking up on reports that Saudi Arabia had held meetings with Israel to discuss the consequences of an Iran nuclear deal, the Isis leader said the al-Saud were “not people of war” but “people of luxury and extravagance, people of intoxication, prostitution, dances and feasts . . . accustomed to the defence of the Jews and Crusaders”.

Isis has a record of following up such rants with action. It bombed two Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province in May and then sent a Saudi suicide bomber to kill Shia in a mosque in Kuwait City. This sectarian carnage shows that, while the Wahhabis marginalise the “rafidah”, Isis exterminates them. Such attacks also show the limits of Saudi control, in the part of the kingdom that contains most of its Shia and nearly all its oil. But if the authorities move towards conciliating the Shia, that plays very well for Isis too.

Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy dependent on the Wahhabi clerical establishment, is purportedly a vital ally in the fight against Isis. Yet the kingdom is hoist with its own petard of religious absolutism at a time when the crumbling region around it needs the emerging detente with Iran to become eventually an entente — something Saud al-Faisal would instinctively have grasped.

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Why it’s difficult to prosecute suspected cultists in Edo, by A-General


By Adekunle Best

BENIN—Edo State Government, yesterday, expressed frustration in the prosecution of suspected cultists, saying that the lack of witnesses to testify against the suspects and the problem of law enforcement have been serious challenges militating against effective prosecution of suspects. Over 15 cult related killings had been recorded in the last one month in Benin City following renewed cult war between rival cult groups in the state.

The Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Henry Idahagbon, who was reacting to the call by some youths in the state for a law proscribing death sentence for cult offences, said the problem was not with the penalty but enforcing the law and effective prosecution.

He said: “We already have very stringent laws against cultism in our society, but the problem is that of law enforcement, problem of identifying who these cultists are, the problem of arresting them and subsequent prosecution. So, I do not think the issue is one that invites capital punishment. The issue is that of law enforcement. Section 4 sub section 1H of the Secret Cult Provision Law of 2000 in Edo State gives a maximum punishment of 21 years. “Anybody who belongs to a secret cult or is found in possession of the paraphernalia of a secret cult, for me that is a sufficient punishment.”

IG’s squad arrests five policemen, 98 others over Edo cult war


By Adekunle Best

Civil servants, artisans, businessmen, professionals among suspects

I came to assist police— Medical Doctor

My group does charity work— Engineer

By Kingsley Omonobi & Simon Ebegbulem

BENIN—FIVE police officers were arrested Saturday in Benin, following their alleged attempt to shield some suspected cultists from arrest.

This came as the crack team of detectives sent by the Inspector-General, Solomon Arase, to Edo State over the cult war in the state looked set to prosecute 11 kingpins of different cult groups, including a medical doctor, an engineer and some public servants for cultism, fingered in conspiracy and murder of 10 persons.

The five policemen were arrested by men of the IG’s crack team.

Vanguard learned that problem started at Oliha Market, where some youths engaged themselves in a free-for-all as two persons, including one identified as Castro, were allegedly stabbed, while several others, including market women, sustained various degrees of injuries.

It was further learned that the fight was part of the battle for the control of ticketing in the market by two different youth groups, one of which came with some police officers for protection.

Discovery

IG’s squad arrests five policemen, 98 others over Edo cult war
Policemen

However, after the fight, luck ran out on the policemen who escorted the youths to the market, as they ran into the men of the special squad from Abuja, who accosted them and insisted that their vehicle be searched.

Their colleagues in Benin informed the IG’s squad that they should allow the boys go. But the squad engaged them in a heated argument and eventually searched the vehicle.

Four cut-to-size guns and two short-barrelled guns were found in the vehicle.

Consequently, the IG’s squad accused their colleagues in Benin of being cultists since they were protecting the suspects and subsequently disarmed and arrested their Edo colleagues.

Vanguard learned that they were locked up at the state police headquarters on the orders of the IGP.

Attempts to get reaction of Edo State police command proved abortive as neither the Police Commissioner, Mr. Samuel Adegbuyi, nor the spokesman in the state took calls to their phones.

11 cult kingpins

Meanwhile, the IG’s squad is set to prosecute 11 kingpins of different cult groups, including a medical doctor, an engineer and some public servants for cultism, conspiracy and murder of 10 Nigerians.

Also, 98 other suspects, including students from higher institutions in the state, arrested by the police in connection with cult violence in the state, have been detained in the state.

They were said to have been arrested as they converged on Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, for an initiation ceremony.

Briefing the media on the update of investigations into cult killings in Edo State, Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said the cultists and their gang leaders murdered innocent persons between April 5 and May 5 this year.

He said: “I am presenting before you some persons suspected to have played ignoble roles in acts of terror, vicious inter and intra-cult conflicts that have led to avoidable loss of lives and destruction of property in Edo State.

“The cult group’s membership is not limited to students but also include artisans, civil servants, businessmen, public office holders, and professionals.”

Names suspects

Giving a breakdown of some of the kingpins and the group they belong to, Ojukwu said: “Engineer David Olukoga, 36, is of the Eiye; Dr. Salako Adebowale, 43, Black Axe; Osunde Aigbedo, 48, is of Black Axe; Ahunwan-Id Orlando, 39, Black Axe, and Uche Chukwuma, 36, Eiye.

Others are Adebo Eguaoja, 46, Buccaneers; Totti Omonuwa, 42, Eiye; Earnest Amadasun, 49, Black Axe; Isobor Larry, Norsemen; Felix Evbodi, Black Axe, and Joshua Ehiabhi, 36, Jurist.

Items recovered

He listed items recovered from the suspects to include cultists’ sculptors inscribed with Eiye slogans, template guidelines of Black Axe, minutes of NBA black axe meeting held in Edo State in 2014, 17 All Progressives Party, APC, membership cards, 34 APC registration forms, one bag containing various NBM confraternity documents, among others.

Ojukwu said: “The successes recorded in the arrests and investigation of the cultist are clear testimonies of the dedication of the IG to promptly respond to issues of crime and criminality that affect the quality of life of the citizenry in every part of the country.

“The same level of intervention shall be deployed wherever and whenever the need arises.”

Suspects’ story

Asked to comment on allegations against them, two of the suspects, Dr. Adebowale and Engr. Olukoga, admitted to being members of some cult groups, but noted that they had never been involved in violence.

They said their involvement had always been to assist the police checkmate criminal elements and miscreants.

Adebowale said: “I joined in 1998. I never killed anyone. I was never involved in violence or terrorism. I came out to assist the police when I was arrested.”

Olukoga said: “Our confrater-nity is a registered body. We try to foster peace; it is also for the emancipation of the black race. We also do charity work.”

‘I started armed robbery after Ogboni Confraternity failed me


Have you ever been hit from the rear by a motorcycle while driving? If yes, never attempt to alight to check the damages done on your vehicle, or exchange words with the erring motorcyclist, particularly if the rider is not alone. This is because you could fall prey to robbers who have devised such method to snatch vehicles from unsuspecting motorists.

This admonition is coming on the heels of the arrest of four suspected members of a robbery gang who specialised in snatching vehicles from their owners at gun point, by operatives of the Ogun State Command Special Anti Robbery Squad, using such method.

Robbery Suspects

One significant trait about this robbery gang is its penchant for posh cars, preferably Toyota Camry cars and jeeps. Its members who reside in Ogun state, as gathered, travel to other states in the south west region to operate and thereafter, sell the stolen cars at give away prices to ready buyers in Lagos state. Crime Guard gathered that the armed gang stormed Agbara area of Ogun state last month,where they blocked their victim who slowed down on reaching a bad spot,with their operational motorcycle. They thereafter, ordered the fear stricken motorist to get down from the vehicle , pointing a gun at him and thereafter zoomed off with the Toyota Camry car .  Barely had they driven off than the vehicle reportedly stopped. While they were contemplating on the next move, a team of policemen reportedly stormed on them. Three of them were said to have fled into the bush, leaving their partner in crime, Olalekan at the mercy of the policemen. Olalekan’s confessional statement reportedly led to the arrest of other members of the gang, including a popular car dealer who resides in Ejigbo area of Lagos, who was alleged to be one of the gang’s receivers. It was gathered that   several vehicles suspected to have been stolen by the gang were recovered from the receiver’s showroom in Lagos. Another car dealer identified as ‘Major’, who was also indicted by the suspects , is currently at large. Also, some stolen vehicles were reportedly recovered in his showroom at Abule-Egba area of Lagos. Preliminary investigation as gathered, revealed that three members of the gang were arrested in January 2014, by policemen attached to the Lagos State Police Command, over a similar case and were charged to court, from where they were granted bail. The suspects identified as Isiaka Olalekan, Kazeem Abiodun, Rafiu Ojolowo and Ife , however,blamed their indulgence on unemployment. One of them, 24 year-old Abiodun, a Nigeria Certificate in Education ,NCE holder, told Crime Guard that he had to join the ogboni confraternity in his frantic search for money but never had his desire met . I started with snatching female bags In this interview with Crime Guard the suspects revealed their respective roles,with 25 -year-old Kazeem Abiodun who hails from Otto -Awori , Ojo Lagos, saying: “ I am an NCE holder from Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education , Ijanikin, Lagos. I graduated in year 2011. I have have had several jobs but made no head way. I had to join Ogboni confraternity out of frustration. Yet, I did not make any headway. I started with snatching handbags at bus-stops, from where I met Rafiu Ojolowo. Our major place of operation was Agabra bus-stop. We were into that until wee met Isiaka who introduced us to real robbery where we used arms. I was given a pistol while Rafiu rode the okada”. I graduated from yahoo to robbery -Isiaka “I am a secondary school drop -out. I have tried my hands on many menial jobs without being able to feed myself. Several times, my family have suggested I got married. But no woman wanted to marry me because I have no money. I learnt tiling but could not get money to start a business of my own. I ventured into internet fraud . But because I am not educated, I could not make any thing reasonable out of it. Along the line, I met Ife who introduced me into robbery . I learnt how to snatch cars from where they were parked , using a metal key. Our choice car then was Toyota Camry because it is easy and faster to sell. Anytime we succeeded in moving the vehicles from where they were packed, my job would be to drive them down to Lagos , from where we would hand them over to Major , our receiver. We were initially taking it to Alhaji Balogun who has a show room ,before we switched to ‘Major’ who paid higher. For every car I took to Major, I got N10,000 to N50,000, depending on the model. I was arrested January this year by SARS Lagos,alongside Isiaka, Ife and Bakare, over a stolen Toyota Camry car. I met one Solomon in the cell who gave me Kazeem Abiodun’s contact. Immediately I was released , I went in search of Abiodun in Agabara, from where we formed a gang of three. We initiated Rafiu Olowo, a tailor, who drove our operational motorcycle. I graduated from being the driver to the gang’s hit man ,while Ojolowo volunteered his motorcycle. How we were arrested All was going on well until July 19, 2014. Three of us rode on the motorcycle. When we saw a man with a Toyota Camry coming, we hit him from behind when he slowed down on reaching a bad spot. He alighted and started speaking grammar. Before he knew it, I hit him with the butt of my gun and asked him to lie down . I jumped into the car with Afeez and sped off, while Ojolowo left with the motorcycle. We immediately put a call across to Alhaji Balogun who lives in Ejigbo area of Isolo. But on the way, the vehicle suddenly stopped and before we knew it, we were rounded up by the police”, said the 24 year-old suspect. . However, the forth suspect, Afeez Bakare, claimed he never partook in the robbery. He disclosed rather that other members of the gang mentioned his name to avenge him of a previous offence. According to the Ogun state suspect, “I have never joined them in any operation. One of them, Ife , only called to inform me that he had a RAV4 Toyota Jeep to sell. I never knew he stole it. He told me it was his and wanted to sell it because he had no money. All I did was to get him a buyer , one, Major, based at Abule-Egba, Lagos. I took them in the vehicle to ‘Major’ house in Sango and he bought the vehicle for N270,000. I was only given N10,000 . But two months later I discovered they went behind me to sell another vehicle to Major for N750,000,without my knowledge. I was angry and decided to set them up by reporting to the Police, thereby leading to their arrest . That was a long time ago. I have not set my eyes on them . They only implicated me to revenge” said the 32-year-old suspect. The suspects according to the Ogun State police Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, would be charged to court soon, adding that policemen were on the trail of other fleeing members of the gang.

Is Catholic Church’s influence in Philippines fading?


Catholics hold up statuettes of Jesus
The Roman Catholic church has deep roots in Philippine society

The Catholic church plays a powerful role in the Philippines but last month it lost a significant battle in its bid to prevent a government-backed family planning programme. Aurora Almendral asks if the church is losing its grip on the islands.

In the last five years, Jennievic Betana, who is just 24 years old, has been pregnant four times.

She lives with her three surviving children in a small, crumbling cement-block house together with two brothers and husband, Buboy, in the vast slum of Bagong Silang in northern Manila.

Buboy, a barber, earns about 300 pesos (£4, $7) a day, two-thirds of which goes to feeding the family. The burden of the extra mouths to feed is considerable.

To avoid adding to their family, Jennievic and her husband rely on the calendar method, an arrangement that nevertheless resulted in the last two unplanned pregnancies.

A practising Catholic, Jennievic knows that contraception is a sin in the eyes of the church, but says she is willing to take the spiritual risk for more immediate financial concerns.

“I want to use birth control,” Jennievic says, “but after paying for food, electricity and water, there’s nothing left. I’ll use it, even though I know it’s a sin.

“If [the Church] were to help us once the children are here, then sure, I’ll have more children. But they don’t.”

Jennievic’s story is typical of many in the Philippines which has one of the highest population growth rates in Asia.

Currently, the country is adding nearly two million people every year to its 100-million-strong population. This is putting a massive strain on resources, especially for the poorest among whom much of the recent growth has been concentrated.

There is also the issue of illegal abortions, of which there are an estimated 600,000 a year. Some 90,000 of the women having these procedures are later hospitalised and about 1,000 die.

Jennievic Betana
ennievic Betana and two of her children

Ugly episodes

This issue was recognised many years ago, when the Reproductive Health Bill was introduced in the Philippine congress back in 1999.

Its aim was straightforward, to provide contraceptives to those who wanted and most needed them. But it has proved to be one of the most divisive issues to have been debated by congress in recent history.

Conservative politicians opposed the bill and were backed by a horrified Catholic Church which fought against contraceptives from the pulpit and in the streets.

“There were some ugly episodes,” says Risa Hontiveros, a former congresswoman, women’s rights activist and prominent supporter of the bill.

Priests denied communion to community health workers, campaigned against politicians supportive of the bill, and even threatened President Benigno Aquino III with excommunication.

The ensuing battle dragged on for years.

With 81% of Filipinos defining themselves as Catholic, the country’s culture and society is intimately intertwined with the teaching of the church.

Laws are often framed around Catholic values. Alcohol and cigarettes are taxed for being “sins”.

Protestors in Philippines in favour of a bill providing contraception to the poor
The battle over legislation providing contraception to the poor was hard-fought

Abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage are deeply frowned upon, and the Philippines is the only country in the world, besides Vatican City, where divorce remains illegal.

Fight from the pulpit

The Church has long wielded much more than spiritual influence.

In a show of formidable political power, the Church rallied the faithful to help overthrow Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, a feat it repeated in 2001 to oust then-president Joseph Estrada.

When the church’s final legal challenge to the bill was overturned, the defeat had some in the Catholic Church, worried.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who has twice served as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the church’s governing body, admits that the passing of the bill “shows that the church is losing influence over its members”.

According to Allen Surla, professor of political science at De La Salle University, a Catholic institution, this is to do with the changing media landscape.

Under the Marcos dictatorship, he says, the pulpit was the main source of information, dissenting or otherwise.

Nun protesting the reproductive bill in Philippines
The church campaigned against the bill in the pulpit and the street

These days, the church’s teachings are vying for influence with many other sources of opinion in newspapers, radio, TV and the web.

“People are much more socially aware now than they were 20 or 30 years ago,” says Prof Surla.

Church ‘too controlling’

Despite its efforts to demonise contraception, widespread support for the church’s position never materialised. A poll taken in 2010 found that 70% of Filipinos supported the bill.

Corazon Quinalayo, 52, a homemaker just leaving mass at Quiapo Church, one of Manila’s most holy sites, says she does not support the reproductive health bill, but nor does she agree with the church hierarchy.

She believes making contraceptives available for free is an endorsement of promiscuity and a waste of government funds.

But she says the church is “being too controlling. It’s like they’re not giving people their freedom.”

Quinalayo adds that, however misguided, “the government is just trying to help”.

The 9 April decision of the Philippine Supreme Court to unanimously uphold the constitutionality of the law is seen as a victory in the eyes of women’s rights activists and other supporters, who rallied outside the courthouse.

Risa Hontiveros says the mood after the announcement was “ecstatic”.

“There was cheering, crying and unadulterated joy. This was the fight of our lives,” she says.

Big fights ahead

As a Catholic herself, Hontiveros says it was painful to see the church try to assert its power over women’s bodies, but says she never felt conflicted about her support for the bill.

“This will assist the majority of Filipinos who are poor,” she says.

“They won’t be overwhelmed by too many children. They won’t be snowed under by the demands of the every day. It will improve maternal health and allow women to pursue more education or livelihoods.”

Meanwhile, the church, licking its wounds, is looking ahead to other battles to fight.

“Contraception is no longer the issue. It’s passe,” says Archbishop Cruz, predicting further fights over divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he says, “because it’s going to be a big fight.”

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Oshiomhole succession: Shadow boxing in Edo State


Nigerian News


Though with over two years to serve out his second term, associates of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State are engaged in deep intrigues to position themselves in the line of favour. Comrade Oshiomhole does not want to be regarded as a lame duck and is now whipping them into line BY SIMON EBEGBULEM

*Odubu

commencement of the registration of members of the All Progressive Congress, APC could well be the commencement of the interesting battle to find a successor for the incumbent governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The battle is especially keen in Edo South senatorial district, the most populated region of the state which almost everyone expects to provide the APC candidate for the 2016 battle. So while it is agreed where, but the question of who, remains the dominating issue among political pundits. Among those in contention are the two most dominant persons from Edo South in the APC presently, the Deputy Governor, Dr Pius Odubu and the former South South Vice Chairman of the former Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Others also being mentioned are the former Minister of State for Works, Chief Chris Ogienwonyi, whom Vanguard learnt may have concluded plans to dump the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the APC. Another name being mentioned is Chief Solomon Edebiri, who flew the ticket of the former All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP in the 2012 contest. There are others Vanguard learnt may also join the race but who are still monitoring the battle between Odubu and Ize-Iyamu. At least, many are also expecting Oshiomhole who is shrewdly setting up an independent political structure to throw his own man as a way of protecting him in the ensuing battle of wits between his deputy and Pastor Ize-Iyamu. The open threats of the pastor’s supporters in their pursuit of their objective have frayed the nerves of the governor who is believed to see their actions as blackmail. Protecting Oshiomhole’s legacy Handy for Oshiomhole in asserting his wish against pastor and Odubu is the new group, Edo Solidarity Movement led by his Political Adviser and veteran political fighter, Charles Idahosa. Another pro-Oshiomhole group that would also prove helpful to him is Edo in Safe Hands anchored by his former Chief of Staff and current Commissioner for Works, Barr.Osarodion Ogie and the Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Comrade Philip Shaibu. Just penultimate week, these two groups reached an agreement to work together to protect the Oshiomhole legacy. Remarkably, Odubu was one of those who founded the Edo in Safe Hands before the 2012 election, but quixotically donated his input to the benefit of the governor as a demonstration of loyalty. In the midst of the developments entered yet another group, the Edo South Consultative Forum led by first civilian governor of the state, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. Penultimate Saturday, the group summoned a meeting of all leaders of the South at the former governor’s residence in Benin but the invitation was shunned by Odubu, the incumbent representative in the Senate, Senator Ehigie Uzamere and many in the Idahosa led Edo Solidarity Movement (ESM). However, a couple of the governor’s loyalists including Ogie, Elder Sunny Uyigue, APC interim chairman, Chief Osaro Idah, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, Chief of Staff to the governor, Patrick Obahiagbon were all at the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Oyegun, Chief Sam Iredia and Prince Eweka had visited APC Bini leaders, and also Governor Oshiomhole, during which they stressed the need for the Binis to speak with one voice, due to the bickering in the party ahead the 2016 governorship election. Oshiomhole was said to have agreed with them and encouraged his men to attend the meeting. Odubu’s loyalists, however, alleged that the meeting was a trap to hoodwink Edo South leaders to adopt Ize-Iyamu and therefore decided to abstain themselves. Not surprisingly for them, those fears came to reality when some speakers at the meeting expressed their support for Ize-Iyamu. But that move was said to have been punctured by Uyigue and Chief Idah, who are Oshiomhole’s men. The duo reminded the meeting that a section of leaders from the South was not at the meeting, therefore, it was best for all to be present before adoption of common positions. Debunking the insinuation that the group was fronting for a particular candidate, the group in a communiqué signed by Oyegun and Isaiah Osifo, Secretary, asserted that “the forum is not designed to support or sponsor a particular candidate for any elective office at any level. The platform will be available to all aspirants to political offices to exercise their rights within the rules and regulations of our great party”. However, Oyegun’s moves to reconcile his people has hit a brick wall, as Vanguard was reliably informed that the Odubu camp and even loyalists of the governor are not comfortable with the names pencilled as members of the reconciliation committee. Meanwhile, Oshiomhole is pressing home his advantage as party leader in holding tight to the structure of the party by not giving the two dominant groups as represented by Ize-Iyamu and Odubu much room for manouvere in the APC membership registration exercise kicking off today. At a leadership meeting held last week at Government House, the governor informed the leaders of the names he selected from the three senatorial districts to join the two persons delegated by the national secretariat to form the five man committee to supervise the registration exercise. The three are Godwin Adenomo, Edo South; Momodu Andrew, Edo North and Dan Enebi, Edo Central. Increasing intrigues It was gathered that one of the governorship aspirants opposed the governor on the nomination of Adenomo, but Oshiomhole stood his ground and he was backed by other leaders from the South. Vanguard learnt that all three men selected from the three senatorial districts are leg-men of the governor. Worried by the increasing intrigues of those aiming to succeed him, Oshiomhole broke his silence last week during the swearing in of the Commissioner for Sports, Chris Okaeben, when he warned them that they were distracting him. “Only God knows among all of us standing here who will be where because life is in the hand of God. For now, we must use the current mandate and that is why I want to renew my appeal to everyone, that this party is not about gubernatorial candidate, and anyone who wants to devote his time to gubernatorial campaign, can easily be excused.” With a legacy to protect, and a still promising political future in view, Oshiomhole it seems would not mind using the power of incumbency to whip the contending forces around him into line. Ize-Iyamu who once fought Chief Tony Anenih to standstill may have a younger, more intimidating force to contend with. He sure knows it.


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