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Ghanaian President must apologies to 723 Nigerian deportees-Maharaj ji

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The founder of the One Love Family sect, Ibadan, Satguru Maharaj ji, has asked the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to apologies to the Federal Government and 723 Nigerians that were deported from his country over sundry allegations.

Maharaj ji’s reaction came barely 48 hours after Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Michael Abikoye, disclosed the deportation while protesting against the action of the Ghanaian government to Nigerians between 2018 and 2019.

He warned that the President could be risking his life if he failed apologies to the deportees and order their return because the action was an apparent violation of African Union, AU and Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS treaties on African unity.

“It is sad that another discriminative act against Nigerians living abroad has been perpetrated again. We are just getting over the issue of xenophobia in South Africa. And now, Nigerians living peacefully in Ghana have been deported.”

He urged Akufo-Addo to revisit the AU and ECOWAS conventions signed previously and immediately retract the action, saying, we all have rights to live in all African countries.

Maharaj ji however cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against retaliation because it could trigger confrontation between both countries and the citizens would suffer.

According to him, the President should also query Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, for their inability to foresee the act and liaise with the Ghanaian government to prevent the act.

On the need to give youth’s elective positions, Maharaj ji lamented that many youths seeking public offices in the election lack required knowledge to perform efficiently in the office they seek to occupy.

He said: “The youths need to serve and while doing that, they will acquire knowledge and leadership skills to excel in that office. But many today have not acquire the needed tools and they want to acquire office.”

FG reacts over 723 Nigerian deportees, begins illegal immigrants clampdown

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Following deportation of Ghanaian Government deportation of over 700 Nigerians, the Federal Government has disclosed plans to introduce stiffer measures to clamp down on illegal immigrants in the country.

The Government stressed that the measures became imperative to ensure available employment opportunities were occupied by Nigerians.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who disclosed this on Thursday at the BRF Gabfest 2 programme with the theme, ’Where Are The Jobs’, held in Lagos lamented inhuman treatment of Nigerians abroad, saying the country also has extant laws to deport illegal immigrants in the country.

He said there is current audit of workers on so many construction sites in the country to ascertain how many ECOWAS citizens who are working in the sites noting that even though they do not need a visa to come into the country but they need a work permit.

Fashola added that,’’ But you heard that Ghana deported some Nigerians. It is the right that every country has but it is a right we have never exercised but we are going to exercise it now. It is just the law, every foreigner who has legitimate papers to come to Nigeria is welcomed, if you want to work in Nigeria the same regulation that applies in your country that you must get a work permit here go and get a work permit.

‘’If you do not have a work permit here and you are in my site I will take you out. That is already happening I refused to approve payment for one consultant two months ago because I said I wanted to see his work permit and make sure it was valid for the period the job was done and thankfully he produced it and he was paid. These are the policies about of jobs and employment that are in place by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.’’

He stressed that job creation in the country was hampered by policies enunciated by previous administration in the country.

Dwelling on job creation strategy of the present administration, he said the president has issued an executive Order known as Executive Order 5, saying’’ What Executive Order 5 seek to achieve is that anytime our economy produces opportunity we must ensure that if Nigerians are able to do that job we should give them preference.’’

Fashola reminisced that after about three hundred Nigerians found themselves in difficult business terrain owing Nigerian Banks over N5 trillion, the government of the day then bailed the banks out with N5 trillion in order not bring the country’s banking system down and collapse the economy.

The minister noted that while there was nothing wrong in supporting them not to cripple the economy , the three hundred people involved never showed any sign of remorse , neither did the government that was in power then deemed it fit to ensure some lesson were learnt from the drawbacks their actions or inactions caused the country.

He explained that, the lesson from that experience informed why the Buhari led government decided to support people at the base of the pyramid by starting with social intervention funds to cushion poverty and established N-power and school feeding programme for over nine million children, among others.

Fashola said the programmes had overtime created a linkage support for farmers producing the food stuff needed to keep the programme going.

 

I am not thinking of resignation-Osinbajo

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has debunked claim that he has tendered his resignation letter over his exclusion from the recent security meeting conveyed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Worried by the claims making the rounds on social media, Osinbajo stressed that he was committed to the vision of the administration and was never considering any resignation.

The security meeting conveyed by the President had in attendance governors of Kaduna, Nasru el-Rufai, his Borno state counterpart, Yerima Shettimma and Adamawa state governor.

According to sources, the bulk of discussion at the meeting was the insecurity in the states especially at the election draws near.

The vice president in a statement on his twitter handle on Thursday described the claim as fame news and misleading.

He said: “Misleading/FAKE news is on the rise especially in this season when Nigerians will make a choice about who will govern them for the next four years.

“I have not resigned. I remain committed to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he added.

 

FG declares Friday work-free, exempts essential service providers

By News Desk

Ahead of Saturday’s presidential election, the Federal Government has declared Friday, February 22, 2019, as a public holiday, in preparation for the February 23 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The ministry of interior via a statement on Wednesday,  however, excluded bankers and those offering essential services across the nation.

“Federal Government declares Friday 22, February 2019 as work-free day. Those providing essential duties and bankers are excluded,”

“The work-free day is to enable citizens return to their poling units for the reschedule Presidential & National Assembly elections.

“Security agencies have been directed to ensure safety of lives & property before, during & after the general election.”

Tinubu woos Igbos in Lagos ahead presidential election

By news desk

Ahead of Saturday’s Presidential election, National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has appealed to Igbo in Lagos State to vote the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the poll.

Tinubu made the appeal in Ikeja while addressing party faithful at a stakeholders meeting held in Ikeja, to perfect the party’s preparedness for the rescheduled elections on Feb. 23 and March 9 in the state.

The party leader said the APC government never discriminates against people from the South East and others in the state in the delivery of democratic dividends.

Tinubu said the state government provides equal opportunities to all residents irrespective of whether they are from the state or elsewhere.

The party leader said that the APC government has provided the environment for the people of the South East to conduct their businesses and succeed in the state.

He said the party expects them to support its candidates at the polls for progress.

“We appeal to our Igbo brothers from the east. This is the state where you conduct your businesses. Your children are in our schools. We don’t discriminate against them in our WAEC fees.

“We don’t discriminate against them for NECO fees. We don’t discriminate against them for JAMB fees. Even in our universities, they take the benefit of our tuition and allowances and all that.

“Now this time, we say, help us, we say vote for us and our candidates,” he said.

Tinubu said he had to intervene when the popular ASPAMDA market and other markets dominated by the Igbos were faced with threats of demolition.

The party leader said he took the step to save the markets to protect the interests of the traders who are mainly from the South East.

Tinubu said the party would be monitoring election results from Igbo-dominated areas like Amuwo-Odofin, Ojo, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, and Surulere in anticipation of votes for APC by the people of the South East in the state.

In the 2015 elections, the APC lost some legislative seats to the PDP in the areas, though some of the winners later defected to the APC.

On the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, the party leader said he was confident that the APC would emerge victorious.

He said it was not possible for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to defeat APC as they do not have the strength of the ruling party in all parts of the country.

Tinubu urged party members to work hard to make the victory a resounding one for the party on Saturday.

“We will beat PDP on Saturday. They don’t have our strength in the North West, in the South West and even in the Middle Belt. So how do they want to win? We will beat them.

“But I urge you our dear party members, you need to make the victory a resounding one. You must work hard and mobilise everyone to vote for our candidates,” he said.

He urged members, particularly women, to embark on door-to-door campaigns in their neighbourhoods to canvass votes for the party.

Tinubu warned members against violence but urged them to protect their votes to ensure victory.

On the rescheduled polls, he said the party had put the disappointment behind it and was working hard to record victory on Saturday.

He said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had the backing of law to reschedule elections if the need arises.

Tinubu said the party hoped that the rescheduled elections would be conducted successfully.

“INEC has the rule and the law on their side. They have postponed the elections; we believe anybody can run into crisis.

“When a plane gets into turbulence, sometimes the passengers shake, the plane shakes and the pilots shake.

“They eventually steady the plane. The prayer is that they should land safely and happily. We pray that INEC will land safely with the elections and APC will win,” he said.

Tinubu urged Nigerians to turn out en masse to vote President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday for the continued progress of the country

Nine die, five injured as Nigerian Army, Boko Haram clash in Yobe

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
No fewer than nine persons died and Atleast five others injured when Boko Haram terrorists attacked military base at Buni yadi, in Gujba Local Government Area, Yobe State.
Among the deceased were four soldiers who lost their lives during the attack that lasted for several minutes within the base. Others were members of the terrorist group.
While the number of Boko Haram terrorists members that sustained injuries were yet to be known, the Nigerian Army, in a statement by it’s Acting Director Public Relations, Sagir Musa, on Sunday, hinted that five officers had gunshots wound injuries.
It was learned that the terrorist attacked at about 06:05 pm yesterday when they believe that the larger percent of the personnel would have been deployed for the general elections.
Sources said that the terrorists appeared prepared for the attack because they approached the military location with four gun trucks, one Mine Resistant Ambush Protection, one MOWAC and assorted arms and ammunitions.
According to the statement, no fewer than five of the bandits/terrorists were effectively deleted.
 “9 x AK 47 rifles, 1x Anti Aircraft gun, 121 rounds of 12.7 mm Anti Aircraft ammunitions, 2x 36 hand grenades, 295 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition, 4x Improvised Explosive(IED) Device, 1x IED cylinder, 1x RPG bomb, 1x RPG bomb charger, 1x gun truck and 1x Bajaj Motorcycle were recovered.

“Unfortunately, an officer and 3 soldiers have lost their lives during the encounter. While 5 soldiers were wounded, are stable and receiving treatment in the Brigade Field Ambulance,” the statement added.

Musa stated that the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has already commended in general terms, the successes being recorded by troops in recent times, in the various operational arenas especially in the North East and enjoined all personnel to remain resolute, alert and decisive as well as professional in the discharge of onerous national assignment.
“Nigerian Army hereby expressed appreciation to all those who passed timely credible information that aided the successful abortion of this obviously deliberately attempted attack on troops position in Buni Yadi.”

INEC justifies new election timetable, expresses regret over shift

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

 
Thirteen hours after announcing shift in election date, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has justified the new timetable released for the 2019 general elections, even as it apologized to Nigerians for the loses.
 
The commission, while expressing regret over the shift in date, stressed that if the election was held as earlier scheduled, the poll would have been marred by irregularities.
It would be recalled that before the postponement, the Presidential and National Assembly elections was scheduled for February 16th while the governorship and State House of Assembly would hold March 2nd.
 
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu stated these on Saturday while addressing political parties, Civil Society Groups, foreign and local observers and other stakeholders’ which include former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, retd.
The Chairman narrated that the various fire disasters, issues of bad weather and other sundry cases prevented the poll from commencing as earlier stated.
He added: “If the election had went on as planned, the polls would not have started early as expected. It would take longer than expected.
 
“This is because as at 2am on Saturday, we were still hopeful that the election will hold. And the reason was that both I and my colleagues slept at the airport with the aim to ensure that the election holds.
 
“In fact, we had to contact private airline operators for assistance and anyone that can help to deliver the beat poll to Nigerians.
“In order to have a better distribution of the electoral materials, we created five hubs across the country to fast-track the process. But all these were unable to achieve is the required successes.
Yakubu stated that the commission was forced to announce new timetable after it became obvious that efforts to ensure the Presidential and National Assembly election hold prove abortive.
The INEC boss hinted that holding the poll either 24 or 48 hours after the earlier scheduled date was muted at the meeting.
“We had considered Sunday and Monday but we were told by our Information, Communication Technology (ICT) that it would take time for the Smart Card readers to be configured for the exercise.
 
“Also, we were made to understand that the sensitive materials have not reached their various destination. So we decided that all these be considered,” the chairman added.
Yakubu argued that numerous court cases also affected the Commission’s plans to get the poll conducted within the earlier timeframe.

Buhari leaves Daura, attends postponed election stakeholders’ meeting

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed his readiness to attend Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stakeholders’ meeting to explain reasons for the postponement of general election.

It would be recalled that the election was scheduled to hold on Saturday but the commission announced the postponement few hours to the commencement of the exercise.

It further announced that the one-week postponement in the earlier announced date.

The Stakeholders meeting, according to INEC chairman, Mahmud Yakubu, has been scheduled for 2pm, to explain reasons for the last meeting change in the timetable.
While reacting over the planned stakeholders’ meeting, the president, who had relocated to his home town in Daura, Katsina State, disclosed that he would be leaving the state to attend the meeting in Abuja.
“I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.”
“I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development,” he added.

I am disappointed INEC postponed election- Buhari

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the postponement of the general elections by Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC), urging Nigerians to remain calm.

Buhari stressed that the commission has everything to ensure a free and fair elections but allowed Nigerians to pass through the rigour of exercising their rights.

The president condemnation on Saturday came hours after the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, announced the postponement over inability to distribute electoral materials across the state.

The President said: “I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, INEC postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.

“Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered,” he added.
Buhari lamented that INEC themselves had given assurances to Nigerians and “almost hour after hour, they kept assuring us that they are in complete readiness for the elections.  We and all our citizens believed them.”
He assured Nigerians and the international community of his administration continued to remain neutral and work with the commission  to ensure that funds were released.
“We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.”

Group woos students, youths for Buhari’s re-election

By News desk

The Buhari Volunteers Network (BVN) has initiated a round table discussion across the country in a bid to interact with students and the civil society on the need to re-elect President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term.

National Coordinator, BVN, Olayemi Success, in a statement on Tuesday said the group had taken note of the achievements of the president and had decided to sell them to the public.

“Buhari Volunteers Network is the Network of young people and professionals with firm belief in everything President Muhammadu Buhari represents, including his achievements, integrity, style of leadership and his anti-corruption stands.

“Our aim is to see him re-elected as the President of Nigeria on Feb. 16,” the statement quoted Success as saying.

According to Success series of activities including media talk shows, rallies and Round Table discussion with major stakeholders among the students, the youths and civil society, are the strategies adopted for the campaign.

He listed some of the achievements of the current administration, noting that no other candidate would be able to match what President Buhari had achieved in less than four years.

Success also said in the statement: “Our strategy is to basically showcase the achievements of this government in the last three and half years with facts, figures and reality on ground.

“Furthermore, we compare and contrast among the available options.

“Without any doubt, the fight against corruption is yielding results already to the extent that the image of our dear nation in the international community has greatly improved.

“Many countries that were not willing are now eager to do business and invest in Nigeria.

“People are more ready than ever to do things or serve the nation with integrity knowing that if one is caught in corruption he or she will be dealt with irrespective of status, religion or tribe.

“The infrastructural development in today’s Nigeria is unequalled, ranging from roads and rail to power, and many more are wearing new and highly improved look across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

“Surprisingly and unbelievably, queues in our fuel stations especially during festive periods have completely vanished not just from the cities alone but at every nook and cranny of the nation.

“We are sure that this achievement alone must have offended many corrupt elements in the society who will wish the continuation of the old order.”

He expressed optimism that the round table which held in Ibadan, Oyo State, in the week would move to South-East and South-South before the end of campaigns in line with INEC’s campaigns timetable.