Seriki Salihu AbdulKadir was sacked from Ibarapa last month by Yoruba freedom fighter, Mr Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho and his supporters. He was said to be providing cover and even assisted killer herdsmen in Ifangan.
Seriki AbdulKadir’s house, an unpainted, fenced and plastered bungalow building of three bedroom flat, was one of the few buildings in the community. The 78-year-old Sarkin Salihu AbdulKadir was surrounded by his wives and kinsmen discussing the misfortune that befell the family when Saturday Vanguard arrived.
Why are you being accused of helping the kidnappers to collect ransoms from families of the kidnapped victims?
They just want to tarnish my name. I was the one who reported so many acts of kidnapping. I reported both the Fulani and Yoruba kidnappers from the community. A recent case was the one that happened in a place called Lanlate. I helped the police to arrest the kidnappers of a victim whose husband was killed. The kidnapper is at Agodi Prison now. They just want to rope me in. You’ll recall that it was the popular politician in the community, (name withheld), who led Sunday Igboho to my house to give me a quit notice. I mentioned his touts to the police and they are presently in prison.
Their case had become a major issue between me and the politician in the community. These two guys had become so notorious in kidnapping that I had to report them several times to the police. They kidnapped and kept their victims in their house. It’s on record that the politician came to my house several times to beg that I should plead with the authorities to release his touts from prison. These are guys who killed at times. I can mention names of Fulanis that they had kidnapped and collected ransoms. It became a headache for me at a point because the community thought I was exposing their children.
US backs Okonjo-Iweala to break 26-year WTO record
The United States has finally backed a former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to lead the World Trade Organisation after several months of delay of the selection process.
President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday offered its “strong support” to Okonjo-Iweala, citing her “wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister.”
The move marks another sharp split with former President Donald Trump who paralysed the organisation and opposed Okonjo-Iweala who was backed by many other countries.
The development came after Okonjo-Iweala’s only remaining contender and South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, on Friday withdrew her candidacy for the position.
The US’ decision to back Okonjo-Iweala was contained in a statement on Friday on the website of the US Trade Representative titled, ‘Office of the United States Trade Representative Statement on the Director General of the World Trade Organisation.’
The statement read, “The United States takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director-General of the WTO. Dr Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister.
“She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organisation with a diverse membership. It is particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO Director-General – the first time that any woman has made it to this stage in the history of the institution.”
The US said it stood ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision on the WTO Director-General, adding, “the Biden-Harris administration looks forward to working with a new WTO Director-General to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.”
Reacting, Okonjo-Iweala has expressed her appreciation to the US for supporting her for the job.
In a tweet on Friday, she said, “Grateful for the expression of support from the US today for DG @WTO. Congratulations to Madam Yoo of [the Republic of] Korea for a hard-fought campaign. Thank you, President Muhammadu Buhari @MBuhari & all Nigerians for your unflinching support. Thank you friends. Love to my family. Glory to God.”
By this development, Okonjo-Iweala will become the first woman and African to head the WTO since its establishment 26 years ago.
The World Trade Organisation had in October 2020 announced Okonjo-Iweala and Myung-hee as the remaining two out of an initial eight contenders for the job, with either of the two succeeding Roberto Azevêdo, who resigned from the job in August 2020.
Okonjo-Iweala had already enjoyed broad support from WTO members like the European Union, China, Japan and Australia.
However, the United States, under the former administration of President Donald Trump, had favoured Myung-hee.
This had stopped the decision-making process of the WTO since the selection of a new leader requires all members to agree.
According to CNN, Myung-hee said in a televised briefing on Friday that her decision to withdraw her candidacy was reached after “close consultation” with the US.
The Geneva, Switzerland-based WTO, whose job is to promote international trade among nations, has had six directors-general since its founding, all of them male.
All along the selection process which started mid last year, the 66-year-old former finance minister had said she remained positive of becoming the first African and first female director-general in the 26-year history of the WTO despite “hiccups.”
Okonjo-Iweala serves on Twitter’s board of directors, as chair of the GAVI vaccine alliance as well as a special envoy for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 fight.
UNILAG NASU says no going back on indefinite strike
The Non Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), University of Lagos chapter, says there was no going back on the indefinite strike embarked upon by its members until the Federal Government acceded to their demands.
Addressing journalists on Friday, in Lagos, after a Congress meeting of the union, convened to officially declare the strike action, Mr Kehinde Ajibade, Chairman, UNILAG NASU, said the union would resist any form of intimidation or force to return to work, until their demands were met.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), had on Jan. 12, embarked on a three-day nationwide protest over government’s inability to honour its agreement.
The unions said they were protesting the non- implementation of an agreement it entered into with the Federal Government in 2009, alongside more recent contending issues.
The issues included inconsistencies in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of benefits of retired members and non-payment of EARNED allowance.
”Today, we received a directive from the national headquarters of our union to embark on an indefinite, comprehensive, and total strike, starting from Feb.5.
”And the basis of this strike are numerous. First, the Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with our unions, NASU and SSANU in 2020.
”This MoU was signed and agreed that all that was contained therein will be attended to, on or before Dec. 31, 2020, but up till as we speak, the government is yet to fulfill the promise.
”Some of the agitations contained therein are issues of inconsistencies in the IPPIS, the payment platform for university workers and a lot of others”.
The chairman explained that the Federal Government introduced IPPIS to university workers in 2017, and the national headquarters, under the aegis of JAC, held series of meetings with the government.
”Government convinced the executives of JAC that there will be no issues, if only they embraced the payment system.
”Recall that our sister union, which is ASUU, outrightly rejected the IPPIS, because of the peculiarity of the university system,” he said.
According to him, NASU only accepted it because it wanted to give government benefit of the doubt to government and to see how it would play out.
”Before now, we were using another platform to receive our salary before migrating to the IPPIS. When we migrated, we discovered that the IPPIS is not sustainable within the university system.
” Since February 2020, the Federal Government started using IPPIS for our payment, some of our members will not be paid. If they pay ‘A’ this month, ‘B’ will be affected next month.
”We have made series of complaints, through our bursar, to the IPPIS office and up till now, nothing has been done about it,” the chairman said.
Ajibade lamented that the union was also having issues with their membership dues, saying that the IPPIS office had muddled and lumped up union dues and was warehousing them for months.
”The IPPIS withheld our dues for as long as eight months. It was only released in September 2020. However, we are getting it now on a monthly basis. But we are still having issues,” he said.
The union leader vowed that the strike would be indefinite, if the government failed to yield to their demands.
Party chair, chieftain blame Lai Mohammed for Kwara APC crisis
The Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State, Abdullahi Samari, has condemned the violence that broke out on Wednesday at the venue of the party’s stakeholders meeting, alleging that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, instigated the fracas that occurred at the venue of the meeting in Ilorin.
A former senator in the state, Suleiman Ajadi, also blamed the minister for the crisis in the state chapter party of the party, alleging that Mohammed wanted to make himself a godfather to the governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
Speaking in Ilorin at a news briefing on Thursday, Samari also alleged that some loyalists of the former chairman of the party in the state, Bashir Bolarinwa, masterminded the violence that disrupted the meeting.
He added, “We condemn in the strongest terms possible the show of shame by erstwhile party chairman and my brother, Bashir Bolarinwa, and a few others who are clearly acting on the instruction of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to disrupt the meeting.
“The violent entry by Bolarinwa was unwarranted and embarrassing. He was among the stakeholders invited for the meeting; nobody could have prevented him from joining the meeting. His conduct left so much to be desired and we urge him and other leaders of the party to have deeper introspection as senior citizens. While party democracy is not without its challenges, introducing hooligalism to the mix is not acceptable.”
Efforts to get Bolarinwa’s reaction were unsuccessful as his line was switched off, but the spokesperson for the APC Elders caucus loyal to Mohammed and Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo, dismissed the allegations, describing Samari as an illegal chairman imposed on the party.
He added, “We are aware that the governor brought more than 200 women into the meeting and kitted them with his uniform. The women were chanting ‘Bolarinwa a thief, Oyedepo a thief’ in the hall.
If it is the minister or Bolarinwa brought them, will they attack him, why did they not attack Samari who was also in the hall? What Samari said is not correct. He is holding an illegal letter and he is occupying the seat of the chairman of the party illegally.”
Meanwhile, Ajadi told reporters on Friday that Mohammed was allegedly using Bolarinwa to destabilise the state with propaganda and anti-party activities, including a lawsuit filed by 11 of his (Mohammed) loyalists on January 29, 2021.
Ajadi added, “Ask anybody, the former chairman (Bolarinwa) hardly attended rallies with the governorship candidate then, and after he won the election they continued their antics of propagating their lies against the governor.
They were openly discrediting him under the guise of not carrying them along. How can you be disparaging somebody and you are accusing him of not carrying you along; carrying you along for what? He made the children of most of the people fighting him Special Advisers. But if Alhaji Lai Mohammed had called the chairman he brought (Bolarinwa) to order all along, it would not have gone this far.”
He alleged that Mohammed was claiming to be the leader of the party in the state when there is a governor. “I remember a case when the governor wanted to go and meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Akwa Ibom; I saw the text message of Alhaji Lai Mohammed telling the governor that he should not go. How do you command the governor not to go to where he wants to perform his official function?” he queried.
In a related development, a group of youths in the state chapter of the party, under the aegis of the Concerned Youth Stakeholders of the APC, has asked for the reconstitution of the party’s membership registration and revalidation committee sent by the national leadership of the party.
The group in a statement by John Adegboye called for a new committee “that is not only truly independent but that will be fair and just to all interests in the party without fear or favour.”
Insecurity: APC’s best not yet good enough, Fayemi admits
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said the efforts of the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government in tackling the insecurity in the country have not been good enough. He however argued that the current situation was better than what was obtainable under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Fayemi, who is a chieftain of the party and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, in an interview with one of our correspondents, noted that with the recent appointment of new service chiefs, he was hopeful that the war would be won, especially as it tends to boost the morale of the troops on the battlefield.
The country had been engulfed in insecurity problems, through which many lives have been lost. Apart from the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, there have been banditry, kidnappings and armed robberies in different parts of the country.
Meanwhile, during the electioneering that brought his party into power in 2015 and 2019, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said security, economy and fight against corruption were his cardinal programmes, with a promise to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists. But many Nigerians have expressed disappointment in the way the President has managed the affairs of the nation, especially in the three areas he promised to focus on.
The Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said during the week that the expectations of Nigerians hadn’t been met under Buhari, adding that rather than getting the change the APC promised, it appeared Nigerians had been shortchanged.
However, responding to a question on insecurity and how he felt the government had fared, Fayemi said, “You could say that the situation has not improved much in the sense that Boko Haram has only been technically defeated, not effectively clamped (sic).”
When asked if he would have been comfortable with the situation of things if the APC was not in power, he said, “I was in Maiduguri last month to commiserate with the governor when those 43 farmers were killed, so you could say, yes, they are still there. It shows that a lot more could be done by our government. Our best has not been good enough but significantly better than what transpired under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
“There is no question about that, but that is not comfort for victims, what victims want to see is obliteration of these marauders and we have got to figure out whoever is going to take over from this administration. We must help the Buhari administration to finally nail the coffin of Boko Haram before the administration leaves office. That, for me, is why I am excited by the recent changes of service chiefs.
“There are those who will say changing service chiefs will not change the status of the war, I can tell you as a student of security that war is largely won by the morale of the fighting men. If the fighting men don’t have confidence in the leadership, they will not display the necessary courage for the battle.
“I think the President has chosen well in terms of the people who have been selected as service chiefs and the Chief of Defence Staff. They are tested and trusted by the men and they are likely to deliver a lot better on the field.”
The governor argued that Nigeria could have been overrun by criminals if the APC was not in power. He also commended the President for those he appointed as service chiefs, saying with better intelligence, greater coordination with neighbouring security forces, partnership with the civilians from affected communities and the right equipment he was confident that the criminals would soon be defeated.
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