Vanguard Newspaper 10 january 2018
6 — SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018 My life in danger —Kassim Afegbua •Says he can’t be cowed by threats, intimidation, harassment and psychological torturing •Speaks on his interrogation, thanks Babangida for standing by him By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor and Henry Umoru PRINCE Kassim Afegbua, the spokesman to General Ibrahim Babangida has raised the alarm over threats to his life following his role in the release of a statement by Babangida advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019. In a statement made available to Vanguard at the weekend, Afegbua alleged that he had been inundated with mysterious threatening phone calls from unknown quarters following his interrogation by the police and the Department of State Services, DSS. While praising General Babangida and his family for the support he received from them in the course of his ordeal, he also thanked his lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo and several other lawyers who he said have repeatedly expressed support to him since he released the statement from Babangida last Sunday. He said: “In the last six days, I have gone through traumatic experience when I was declared wanted by the Nigeria Police. By the strength of that unprofessional declaration, I was treated like a common criminal and fugitive until I showed up at the Police Headquarters Abuja to physically present myself. After what the Police termed a no case issue, they were apologetic and I took my leave. In the evening of that day, Wednesday 7th February, 2018 I got a phone call inviting me to the Headquarters of the Directorate of State Security (DSS). “I honoured the invitation on Thursday and spent 7 hours waiting for attention. I left the office at 6.50pm when it became clear nobody was ready to tell me what the invitation was meant for. I was informed to report back on Friday 9th February, 2018 at 11am. On arrival on Friday, having spent 2 hours, I was attended to by the Director of Operations and two others who interrogated me on the said statement I issued. My interrogation was recorded electronically and was made to write a statement affirming the issued statement, having collected all my personal details; house address, account number, international passport number and other information. “I find this whole episode quite nauseating and utterly condemnable. By Onozure Dania JUSTICE Adedayo Akintoye of a Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere yesterday dismissed the no case submission made by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Rickey Tarfa over alleged gratification. Justice Akintoye held that the prosecution - Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) - had established essential elements of the offences it filed against Tarfa. She held that the justice of the case thus required that the court should demand some explanation from the defendant in respect of the charge. The judge then ordered Tarfa to enter his defence on the next adjourned date, fixed for March 13, 2018. I cannot rationalise why just a statement would amount to subjecting me to rigorous interrogation especially when there was no complainant. The action of the Nigeria Police coupled with that of the State Security Service is at best that of a meddlesome interloper and sheer bullying, leaving serious developmental issues to chasing shadows with a view to intimidate, harass and embarrass me. “Let me state at this point that my life is in danger as we speak. I have been receiving series of unknown phone calls from people threatening me and my family. But I am resolute in the true spirit of a free born, that threats, intimidation, harassment and psychological torturing has never and will not stop me from exercising my right of free speech as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; as well as carrying out my professional responsibility. I will not submit to intimidation, harassment and threats. Certainly not. I have just a life to live and no one under God will live for ever. “Let me use this opportunity to thank my principal, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR and members of his family who were constantly in touch with me to share in my tribulations. General Ibrahim Babangida’s words of encouragement and assurances further bolstered my resolve to soldier on. I am eternally grateful to Nigerians especially the Media for their solidarity, support and espirit de corps. Words are not enough to convey my deep and profound gratitude. My thanks also go to my very adorable and supportive wife who stood by me throughout the whole process without betraying any sentiments. And to members of my larger Afegbua family, my reliable friends, associates and compatriots, I record my thanks and appreciation in million ways. “And to my very dependable and reliable lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo and other lawyers who offered their voices to prosecute this case, I am eternally grateful. To take a Kayode Ajulo out on a stressful five days legal engagement without collecting a dime, is to me, the height of humanity. I am not only touched but humbled by this show of support and uncommon generousity. And my good friend, Emmanuel Ajibulu, such an efficient, and proactive media networker, I cannot thank you enough. Governor Yahya Belo of Kogi State (l) and the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawal exchanging pleasantries after the jum'at prayers at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida Alleged gratification: Court dismisses Rickey Tarfa’s no case submission Justice Akintoye also dismissed a claim filed by the senior lawyer asking for N520 million from the anti- graft agency as damages for alleged malicious prosecution. The judge described it as unmeritorious. EFCC had on March 10, 2016, arraigned Tarfa, on a 27-counts charge which was subsequently amended to 26 counts. He was accused of alleged wilful obstruction of authorised EFCC officials, refusal to declare assets and giving false information to a public officer, by lying about his age. The commission also alleged, among others, that the SAN, offered N5.3million gratification to Justice Nganjiwa in order to compromise the judge. Tarfa however pleaded not guilty to the charge. At the last adjourned date on January 17, Tarfa, through his counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, made a no-case submission urging the court to dismiss the charge because it was malicious. He prayed the court to make an example of the anti-graft agency and “slam the hammer” on it with a N500millon damages award. “The specific ingredients were not proven. It is not as if the prosecution did not make an attempt, but that the attempt was so woeful,” Owonikoko submitted. But EFCC counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo objected to Tarfa’s no-case submission, “because it amounts to contesting the obvious.” According to Oyedepo, Tarfa misconstrued the no-case submission. Fix refineries to end fuel crisis or resign, Arewa youths tell NNPC GMD, Maikanti By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor Piqued by the lingering fuel crisis in the country since the beginning of the year, Northern youths yesterday, asked the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Baru Maikanti, to take concrete steps to end the current fuel scarcity in the country or step aside. The youths under the aegis of Arewa Youths Assembly, said it was a shame for Nigerians to continue to suffer in unending fuel queues after the NNPC GMD had boasted to the world that there was no fuel scarcity and that it had enough stock in its depots to meet public demand. In a statement jointly signed by the Speaker of the AYA, Mohammed Salihu and the Clerk, Desmond Minakaro, the youths also chided President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the substantive Petroleum minister, for still appearing confused about what to do to find a lasting solution to the perennial fuel crisis in Nigeria almost three years after taking over power. The youths noted, “It is time for the President to act fast. The continuous hardship occasioned by inadequate fuel supply must stop before Nigerians lose confidence it has on the government. Don’t sell National theatre, Reps caution FG *As ministry proposes N2.6bn 2018 budget By Emman Ovuakporie THE Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tourism and Culture yesterday cautioned the Federal Government not to sell the National theatre situated in Iganmu, Lagos state. The chairman of the House committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama made this known during an interactive session between his committee and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at the National Assembly complex Abuja. The Edo lawmaker insisted that the position was in the best interest of Nigerians and promised to wade into the crises between the Artistic Director of the monument and his personnel should the minister fail to resolve it. Kidnappers abduct five Igbo traders in Calabar By Ike Uchechukwu, Calabar NO fewer than five Igbo businessmen have been abducted by hoodlums within three weeks in Calabar metropolis in Cross River causing fear among the Igbo community in the state. Saturday Vanguard investigations revealed that while one Ifeanyi and Lazarus, spare parts dealers, were kidnapped two weeks ago, an electrical parts’ dealer and contractor popularly known as ‘But Why’ was whisked away on Monday. The victims were said to have been kidnapped at their shops at Victor-Akan Street off Bedwell all in Calabar South. A family source told Saturday Vanguard that they have regained their freedom after paying ransom of about 20 million naira. However, the latest kidnapping of one popular Japanese spare parts dealer, Mr Paulinus Obi, popularly known as Matata, and Emmanuel Ozokwu a contractor have sent shivers down the spine of Igbo Community in Calabar. Obi was kidnapped on Wednesday at Bedwell Street, while Ozokwu was whisked away on Thursday at Target Street all in Calabar South. Tinubu’s C’ttee: Time is against us —Senate leader By Johnbosco Agbakwuru LEADER of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has said that the appointment of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconcile the aggrieved members of the party was long overdue. Senator Lawan, APC, Yobe, said that there was no time to waste in carrying out the assignment because elections were fast approaching. Speaking to State House correspondents after the Friday juma’at service at the State House Mosque, Abuja, he told Asiwaju Tinubu to kick start the process of reconciliation of aggrieved members immediately. Speaking on the Tinubu reconciliation committee, he said, “that committee should have been constituted long time ago because APC is plagued by some internal issues and I believe that these are issues that are surmountable. The Tinubu committee will definitely add value into reconciling the warring sides so to speak. Time is against us, we have to really kick start this process of reconciliation immediately and I believe that as a family we should be able to come out very much much united than we were before”.
Only looters not happy with Buhari, Gov Bello replies Catholic Bishops •Says NASS alteration of election time table'll weed out bad lawmakers By Johnbosco Agbakwuru GOVERNOR Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has told the Catholic Bishops that it was only those that looted the nation’s treasury and those that carried the country’s money with Jet to South Africa that were angry with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The governor also said that some religious leaders were angry because avenues to loot money and take to the churches and Mosques had been blocked by the Buhari’s government. The Kogi State governor also told State House correspondents in an interview after the Juma’at service at the State House mosque, Presidential Villa Abuja, that the recent alteration of election time table by the two chambers of the National Assembly, will help to determine the popularity of the lawmakers. He contended that some of the lawmakers at the National Assembly rode on the back of the popularity of President Buhari to win election in 2015, adding that the adjustment of the time table will help to weed out the “bad” members among them. He also said that he be- VANGUARD, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2018 — 7 Ugwuanyi transformed Enugu with IGR, says Finance Minister THE Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has expressed delight at the impressive pace of development in Enugu State, attributing the stride to the focused leadership of Gov. Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi and his prudent management of the state’s resources to address the basic needs of the people. Mrs. Adeosun, who described Gov. Ugwuanyi as a “brave” leader, noted that the governor has done very well in growing the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) “transparently” and has also ensured that the revenues collected are utilized for the development of the state. The finance minister spoke at the launch of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) in Enugu, which offer taxpayers an opportunity, within a short time, to regularize their tax status relating to previous tax periods. She emphasized the need for the development of taxes that will assist states and the country to achieve their potentials and vision for the people, stressing that “with regular taxes, we will avoid the pain that the recent collapse in oil prices and the consequent recession inflicted on Nigerians”. Mrs. Adeosun also lieved in the ability of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to reconcile all aggrieved party members based on the new assignment given to him by the President. On Tinubu’s committee, he said: “Of course, Whatever Mr. President believes in, his judgement and his wisdom I believe in him. And I believe in his ability to bring all party members together.” Commenting on the rearrangement of the election time table, Bello said, “I so much appreciate this. I think if you observe critically what happened in the last election where Mr. President was elected along with other members of National Assembly. “Then, we called it Buhari Tsunami, where the good, the bad and the ugly were all put together and elected. It is either going to be in their interest that the Buhari Tsunami will return them or everybody will be on his or her own. “Let Buhari return and let Nigerians select the good ones out of the bad ones to return to the National Assembly. Which ever order it comes in this upcoming general elections, I can assure you that Mr. President will win commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for the massive road projects in the state, especially his administration’s intervention on federal roads such as the 9th Mile-Ngwo-Miliken Hill-New Market road, adding that “Enugu State is one of the states where a lot is going on.” The minister disclosed that the Federal Government has recognized that infrastructure is the key to job creation, growth and wealth, stressing that “payment of taxes is a fundamental requirement for our growth story.” She said: “We have already released N1.2 trillion in capital so far for the 2017 budget, which commenced in June and most of this was applied to roads, bridges, rails, power, our airports and other key infrastructural projects.” In his address, Gov. Ugwuanyi while appreciating the Minister for her resourcefulness, dynamism and commitment, which he said saw to the establishment of the scheme, disclosed that his administration, despite daunting economic constraints, has through prudent management and application of its meager resources, made substantial progress in actualizing its set objectives for the benefit of the people. The governor stated that landslide and the good ones will return to the National Assembly.” When asked whether the lawmakers will be the losers of the proposed table time, he said that the unpopular ones among them will be the ultimate losers. He also said, “They have the choice to make and they have made their choice that the goodwill of Mr. President should not rob on the bad ones. Surely, the good ones on their the government while creating job opportunities for the people through agriculture, entrepreneurship and investments, has also actively increased the tempo of infrastructural develop- own account will return to the National Assembly at the appropriate time.” Commenting also on the submissions of the Catholic Bishops under the umbrella of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, in the meeting with the President on Thursday where the Bishops told the President that Nigerians were angry as a result of alleged bad governance and imbalance in the system, the governor ment especially in the rural areas; built capacity and remained regular in the payment of civil servants’ salaries and pensions. Also speaking, the Herdsmen killings: APC flays Wike’s N200m relief to Benue victims By Egufe Yafugborhi ALL Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted Governor Nyesom Wike on his administration’s compassionate donation of said it was those who had looted the country’s funds that were angry because sources of their free money had been blocked by the government. He said:“Yes. I followed it (the Bishops meting) keenly and one of the key statements there was that Nigerians are angry. Yes, it is very true that Nigerians are angry but the question is who are this category of Nigerians who are angry? Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State (left) with the National Vice Chairman (South East) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Emma Eneukwu during the funeral ceremony of the latter’s mother-in-law, late Deaconess Dorothy Ahanonu at Achi, Oji River Local Government Area of the state, yesterday. Executive Secretary of Joint Tax Board, Sir Oseni Elamah, who applauded the Finance Minister for initiating the scheme, also commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for his giant strides in Enugu State. N200Million to victims displaced by herdsmen menace in Benue State, describing the action as a show of “primitive hypocrisy” Rivers APC in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, noted that Wike has not shown as much compassion to bereaved families of several persons killed and as many persons displaced by similar criminal killings and violence in Rivers state. “River APC is shocked that whereas victims of killings and criminality in various parts of Rivers State are licking their wounds and wondering where help will come their way, Wike has gone to donate N200 million of Rivers money to victims of killings in Benue State. “Lofty as the gesture seems, however, what the governor has only succeeded in doing is a classical and wanton display of primitive hypocrisy of the worst type,” the party stated. The party recalled that, “Beyond the highly politicised, self-serving and halfhearted visits to Omoku recently, Governor Wike has ignored killings in various parts of Rivers, especially in the local government area of his PDP national chairman – Andoni. “The governor has neither mentioned nor visited Ajakajak and other Andoni villages where several persons have been gruesomely killed up till January, 2017. Why has he not visited victims of killings in Rivers and donate to their welfare, but chose to travel to distant Benue to display crass duplicity? APC demands an answer from Wike. “Quite disappointing is the fact that some prominent Rivers indigenes (some of whose people are being killed here in the state) joined the governor to Benue and even prayed at the graveside of victims while their own people are being killed without any intervention by Wike” Three killed in fresh attacks on Benue communities THREE persons were feared killed in a late night attack on Benue communities Thursday, according to the residents. According to an online publication, the Premium Times, the victims were ambushed by assailants who hit villages around Anyiin, a major town in Logo Local Government Area that serves as a base for police special forces and has one of the biggest IDP camps. Premium Times broke the news of the attacks on Thursday night, citing residents’ accounts that five persons were in critical condition from gunshot wounds. According to the report, the victims were all rescued and taken to NKST Hospital in Anyiin by police special forces. But two of the five victims died overnight. The first victim who died was identified as 40-yearold Orduuga Kumaga. Another victim was identified as Mnenge Orson, aged 30. The attacks claimed a third victim whom residents identified as a man of Hausa ethnic group. He was riding on a motorcycle from his village in Akwana to Anyiin when he was killed. He was reportedly on the bike with a Tiv man, who was also critically wounded by gunshots and was receiving treatments at the hospital in Anyiin. A female victim, Kanan Munduga, 18, has been transferred to Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi. Kavera Alfred, a medical personnel at NKST Hospital, said Ms. Munduga was transferred because she had lost too much blood than they could handle at his hospital. The doctor said he was attending to two more victims, Abraham Terer, 23, and Ambua Shimer, a 40-yearold woman. The doctor said the victim’s medical bills had been covered by Terkura Suswam, a politician and founder of Ashi Polytechnic. “He also helped to facilitate the transfer of Ms. Munduga to the Teaching Hospital in Makurdi,” he said. The doctor said the two remaining victims at his hospital had been stabilised and should be able to recover there if their treatment go on as hoped.