National Food Fair: Aisha Buhari calls for Commercialization of Nation’s Indigenous Foods For Export Purposes.
Mrs Karima Babangida, Mrs Mary Ekpere-Eta; Hajjo Sanni; and Dr Labara Shoda...
Mrs Karima Babangida, Mrs Mary Ekpere-Eta; Hajjo Sanni; and Dr Labara Shoda at the high table.
The Wife of Nigeria President; Aisha Buhari made the remark during the opening ceremony of the 1st National Food Fair in Abuja organised by the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) in collaboration with the Travel Marketing Partners held in Abuja today.
Hajjo Sanni representing Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari inspecting agricultural exhibition stand.
She said that the Nigeria is so endowed with food varieties, that is time to start harnessing it’s maximum export potentials by commercialing them.
According to her, the commercialization of some of the Nigeria’s foods would creates more jobs along the value chain for women and the youth.
She went further to add, that working towards achieving SDG’s goals agenda in creating food security and eradicating poverty, Nigerians need to start appreciating and promoting Nigeria indigenous foods.
Earlier, The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, (represented by Mrs Karima Babangida, Director, Agricultural Extension Services in the Ministry), said marking the World Food Day with a Food Fair was very apt that it reflects the present administration’s commitment to the unity of the country and diversification of the economy through agriculture.
He went further to emphasis that the food fair would help to address the critical issues of women in agriculture, that out of 95 per cent of Small Holder Farmers in Nigeria who actually feed the nation, 70 per cent of them are women.
Mr Shola Ilupeju, Chief Executive Officer, Travel Marketing ltd
“These women account for 70 per cent of agricultural labour force, in spite of the challenges of having access to only 20 per cent of productive resources.
“Women are highly involved in food foraging in the forest, collecting products such as snails, mushrooms, vegetables and spices for native cuisines.
“This administration fully appreciates and recognises the critical position of women as wives, mothers, home builders, labour force enablers that sustain their homes all year round through their food,’’ he said.
Ogbeh added that, in recognition of the significant role women played both in nutrition and income generation to improve livelihood in the family, the ministry had mainstreamed gender and nutrition into agricultural policies, that the National Food Fair was geared to encourage Nigerians to `eat what we grow and grow what we eat’.
In his closing note, he urged participants at the fair to spread the news of cherishing our indigenous food culture and ensure its preservation for the unborn generation.
Speaking also at the event, The National President, NCWS, Mrs Gloria Shoda, stated that the National Food Fair 2018 was designed to ensure sustainable food security as Nigerians would learn to grow what they eat and eat what they grow, that the event was a platform for the public and private stakeholders, producers and consumers to come together to showcase their products.
She says, “This will foster opportunity to deliberate, network and proffer viable and implementable strategies for zero hunger and for the wellbeing of Nigerians,’’ she said.
Speaking to the press in a side chat interview, Mr Shola Ilupeju, Chief Executive Officer, Travel Marketing Ltd, siezed the opportunity to call on Nigeria government to refocus investment lights on Nigeria culture and tourism awaiting potentials, as they have great revenue generation potentials.
According to him, by promoting our food culture and tourism potentials, the needed jobs would be created along the way, for not only youths and women in the country but for everyone.
Pamela James reporting.
Dr. Philemon Gora Chairman, Cash Flow ABI Network Ltd and its chairman, Philemon Gora was attacked yesterday at the Headquater federal high court premise in Abuja.
The chairman was attacked by armed assailant as he was going out of the court compound in midst of his sympathisers yesterday but was rescued by the security men.
Dr. Philemon Ibrahim Gora
Luckily, the security guards quickly took down the assailant and apprehended him.
Many attributed the incident to inability of the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) FCC and the Nigerian Police of honouring the court judgment of the Federal High Court on the case filled by Cash Flow ABI Network Ltd and its chairman, Philemon Gora to defreeze the company’s account to enable it refund the depositors.
Cashflow Abi Network Ltd and its Chairman, Philemon Gora, business activities are under investigation by EFCC for allegedly running an illegal financial institution has been years under scrutiny, deflating the existed trust the company had with its customers before the seizure.
However, it’s on records that in 2013, the plaintiff of the defendant obtained court order ordering EFCC to immediately defreeze the accounts and allow the peasants whose moneys have been trapped to access their money.
Up till today, the company has been left stranded and the chairman and his staff are being harassed by the irate customers across the country.
It was also of record by law that Cashflow Abi network Ltd is a registered company since 2011 under CAC and it operated from its headquarters in No: 21 Apollo Crescent, Jos, Plateau state, with physical branch offices in Kaduna, Lafia, Owerri, Enugu, Lagos, Ibadan, Abakiliki, Gombe, Kano, Uyo, Sokoto, Ilorin, Ibadan etc.
Speaking to the after the court hearing session, the company’s defendant ( lawyer) Barrister Emeka Okoro, the case has been adjourned till 5th and 6th November for further court sitting.
Pamela Ogwata reporting- Abuja.
The Peoples Democratic Movement picked Pastor Aminchi Habu as Party Candidate for 2019 election to battle with Buhari and Atiku.
This was done at its 2018 elective convention which ended in Abuja, Sunday night, October 7, affirmed Aminchi’s candidature through a unanimous voice vote of delegates from the 36 states of the country and the FCT.
Chairman of PDM Chief Francis Igwebuike said the National Executive Council (NEC) and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party would continue to uphold the ingenuity of its founding father, late Shehu Musa Yar adua.
Igwebuike noted that it was the first time PDM as a party was presenting a presidential candidate and that it would mobilise to dislodge the President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.
“As I am talking to you today, we have governorship candidates after successful primaries in states of the federation; we believe in actualities and the actuality is that PDM has come to stay.
“Nobody will destroy the legacy of Yar’Adua because his disciples will uproot and throw traitors away.
“Most of the people emerging from primary election of different political parties today are bye products of PDM, we are very proud because we are the mother of all political parties in Nigeria,” Igwebuike said.
In his acceptance speech, Pastor Aminchi assured to restructure the security architecture of the country, fight insurgency and ensure total defeat of Boko Haram.
He explained that a 10-point agenda which include revitalising the economy, standard education system, security, agriculture and quality healthcare, would be his major focus if elected Nigeria’s president in 2019.
The PDM presidential candidate also promised to restore the dignity of Nigerian workers through enhanced and prompt payment of salaries.
According to Aminchi, the party will pick a female vice president to encourage women’s participation in politics.
“Our slogan is ‘New Nigeria, hope for all’, and I have decided to take the bull by the horn and rise to the challenge to save this country from those whose only desire is to make mockery of it.
“We want a country that will be a paradise for all; a country that will be a pride of Africa and for our unborn children.
“Our children deserve quality life; President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar are human beings like me, but with God, I am going to dislodge them.
“We are going to revive democracy if elected because rigging which has killed democracy in Nigeria will be no more.
“By the grace of God, there will be nothing like rigging in the 2019 general election because God will mount his angels at the polling units; Nigerians will be shock with what will happen,” Aminchi said.
He regretted that the economy of Ghana and some other African countries were now doing better than Nigeria, which was adjudged the best economy in Africa few years ago.
Speaking to the press, Senator Yusuf .M. Nagogo, PDM Nassarawa state chapter governorship candidate for 2019 race, says “All the patriotic sons and daughters of the nation who believed in this nation should not loose hope as Our party is willing and ready to harness great budding potentials the nation endowed with, to give the Nigeria economy a real growth with lives and property secured.
We have what it takes and we will win.”
He added, that if elected as the Nassarawa state next governor, he would transform the state in the areas of agriculture, education, infrastructure and human capital development among others.
Dr. Philemon Ibrahim Gora, Director of Cashflow ABI Network Ltd Director on his response to press questions, affirmed that he is there to give the nominated Candidate, Pastor Aminichi Habu needed supports.
“I am here to indicate my unquestionable support to Pastor Aminichi Habu presidential candidacy. He is someone I know very well. He has all it takes to deliver all his promises, and I am ready to offer whatever needed from me to ensure he wins.” He said.
Pamela Ogwata reporting-Abuja.
Groups from four geographical zones representing political groups from the Niger Delta, South East, North West and South West regions of Nigeria, have asked Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the former chief security officer to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, to contest the 2019 presidency.
The group which held mega rally on thursday in Abuja, came together to request and encourag Mustapha, whom they see as only detribalized Nigerian with leadership qualities to lead Nigeria to a promised future.
Speaking to Olakunle Ife, who will be running for senatorial seat for Kaduna Central under the Green party comes 2019, has this to say, “This gathering is meant to beg Major, to come out and contest because we know he will deliver but the pain is, he seems to be dragging his feet. We have presently 29 group ready for him.
I am very optimistic he will beat down other presidential aspirants if he decides to run. Please, Major Mustapha, come out and declare open your presidency race, we have done many things to mobilise Nigerians across 36 states to vote you in”, he pleads.
In the same note, comrade Ayo Michael representing Green Party South West forum, declaring his forum passionate pleas for him to run as they have done intensive research and arrived at his candidacy.
” We are passionate on pursuit of making sure we have him as our Presidential candidate. Even when he suffered dehumanization during trial, he remains loyal. He has a high integrity records. He is the best man to heal Nigeria”, he affirmed.
Answering the questions fielded to him by press at his residence after the event later, Major Mustapha gave insight why he is not rushing into politics and where his passion lies if he eventual runs.
“I am not going to announce myself contesting for a presidential seat but if is the wish of the people whom I to refuse.
”I am not a power tasty person, if I am, I would have lost my personality long before now, but when people gather to speak and the decision is by them, then it is a call to serve but meanwhile I am busy consulting,” he said.
According to him, his focus is the protection of the right of Nigerians as provided under the law and that after due consultation, Nigeria and the world will know.
The Founder of the Global Initiative For Harmony in Nigeria, Amb. (Mrs) Omini Elizabeth, made the call at the 58th Independence Day Interdenominational Church Service at National Christian Centre, Abuja.
Amb. (Mrs.) Omini Elizabeth, Founder (GHIN)
In her statement during press interview, the National harmony advocate, urged both Christian and Moslem faithful in the country to embrace peace and love for unity of the country as they celebrate Independence day.
Omini, also urged Christians and Muslims to emulate teachings stated inside the two holy books- Quran and Bible concerning loving your neighbours as yourself.
“My advice to both Christians and Muslims is to love one another. Love your neighbours as thyself. All that have spoken today centred on one word “love” because if you love your neighbour, you can not harm him and that’s the only way to shun violence and usher in peace and unity and prosperity in Nigeria” .
Amb. Omini also asked Nigerians to support whoever emerges as a winner in any election and to respect people in authority as each holy books dictates.
“Nigerians should put heads together to support whoever emerges as winner to lead us. The two holy books urge us to obey and respect our leaders and those whom God has put in authority over us. We can only pray for God’s direction for them”.
Some dignitaries also at the church service.
The event was well attended.
Prominent dignitaries also present included: Vice President and the Wife, Dolapo Osinbajo, Mrs. Beatrice Ekwueme, wife of former Vice President, Victoria Aguyi Ironsi, wife of former Head of State, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, and former Head of Service, Ama Pepple, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Naval Staff etc
Special prayers were offered for the progress of Nigeria and for God’s grace to enable Nigerians elect people with his fear and respect in preparation for the 2019 general election.
One hundred and twenty trumpets were blown in honour of fallen Nigerian heroes.
Pamela Ogwata Reporting.
Two global election watchdogs, the International Republican Institute IRI and the National Democratic Institute NDI have lamented the growing delay in finalizing the legal framework for the 2019 elections.
Joint press briefing
At a joint news briefing Friday in Abuja to signal the end of their second pre-election assessment mission to Nigeria, the groups said despite noticeable improvements in the electoral process, the delay in the release of funds for the general elections remained a pressing challenge.
The delegation said it has taken note of the consensus among political, civic and governmental stakeholders on proposed amendments to the Electoral Act 2010 which could improve the credibility an transparency of elections in 2019.
“After weeks of back and forth between the executive an legislative branches, the bill is currently with the National Assembly, which is slated to reconvene on October 9, 2018. However, delays in the amendment’s passage have many Nigerians questioning whether INEC will have enough time to implement these changes for the 2019 election”, they said.
They noted that Nigerian interlocutors expressed concerns regarding timely and sufficient funding for the 2019 elections. “INEC leadership has affirmed that it will be prepared for elections if the full budget is released when the National Assembly returns to session. Several electoral stakeholders in Nigeria underscored the need for timely logistical and operational preparations”, they added.
The second assessment delegation was comprised of Robert Benjamin, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and East Europe, NDI (USA); Mvemba Dizolele, Sarah Jegede-Toe, Anna Jones and John Tomaszewski, Africa Director, IRI, USA.
The two groups also raised concerns about the growing incidences of vote buying, security threats and hate speeches.
Pamela James- Abuja
The Presidential Support Committee, an umbrella body for all support groups rooting for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari has described those fiercely working against the reelection of the president as looters who want to return the nation to Tue dark days of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
The World Press conference in process.
This was as the committee hailed the president for prioritizing the completion of most of the over 15 million abandoned projects in the country.
At a news briefing Wednesday in Abuja, facilitator of the committee and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters, Gideon Zamani said “the president has done creditably well that many of those working against him, participated in the looting of this country in the past administration”.
He added that four years was not enough for the president to completely turn around the country, saying that was why many Nigerians are realigning to give the president another chance.
Some participants in a photo session after the briefing.
On their part, National Coordinator of the Committee and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Michael Kaàse Aondoakaa SAN as well as its Conference Committee Chairman, Umaru Dembo noted that “the committee was created as the singular umbrella that accommodates all the Buhari support groups in Nigeria with a common purpose geared towards reelection of Mr. President and also showcasing to Nigerians and the world the laudable achievements of President Muhammad Buhari”.
They said the “massive corruption freely demonstrated during the previous administration was unprecedented and has never happened in the history of Africa, where the revenue generated from our abundant natural resources was not invested in the Nigerian people, or the economy, instead these funds were redirected into personal accounts leaving our hospitals with inadequate and obsolete facilities to treat our citizens. Our institutions workshops/laboratories were left unfurnished and left with scanty and obsolete facilities during the past administration.
“Because the past administration did not invest in the economy, the cost of living increased steeply. Our foreign reserves and internally generated revenues were depleted, looted and shared among members of the PDP, the consequences of this outrageous and uncontrollable act led to the great depression of our economy. We have not completely recovered from it, but it is a miracle about the extent the economy has recovered so far, following the strict measures and policies developed and applied. This administration needs more time to perfect her good works.
“Nigeria used to be the country with the highest abandoned projects in the world estimated to be more than 15 million projects. When President Muhammadu Buhari came on board, his decision first was that all abandoned projects be completed. And that is how our journey to greatness began”, they added.
Pamela Ogwata reporting.
Federal, states and local governments on Wednesday shared N741.843billion revenue generated in August.
The figure indicated an increase of N27.37billion when compared to N714.8billion generated in the previous month.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry and chairman of FAAC, Mamood Dutse, while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the outcome of the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, attributed the increase to increase in oil production and tax collection in the month under review.
“The total statutory revenue collected for the period comes to N627.139billion which is above the figure collected in the previous month by N17.164billion, after the usual deductions by the Nigerian Customs Service, FIRS and DPR.
“Following the upward trend in the revenue, we decided to save N40billion. What is left in the Excess Crude Allocation is N574.842billion.
“A breakdown of the allocation of the N741.843billion distributable shows that federal government got N274.889billion; States N139.427 billion and LGs N107.493billion.
Derivation allocation comes to N53.034billion.”
“For VAT, a total of N114.542billion, which is a substantial increase compared to N79.807billion collected last month. After 4percent deductions by FIRS and NCS, it came down to N109.961billion.”
“In the distribution, federal government received N16.494billion, states got N54.981billion and LGs received N38.486billion.
When added to the N574.842billion distributsble, it gives a total of N741.843billion.
“The balance in Excess Crude Account as at 26th September, 2018 $2.468bn and this includes 40billion dollar equivalent saved for the month.
“Also, the balance in the PPT Account comes to $0.133billion.”
Comrade Mathew Oshimole
Remember, it was in 2005 under the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole , that the Nigeria Labour Congress broke into two, with the emergence of the TUC.
Senior staff of different trade organizations, of course, well educated and better experienced, felt insulted with Oshiomhole’s dictatorial style o running the union. They left the NLC and formed the equally powerful TUC.
Adams Oshiomhole does not understand diplomacy. He is a bad negotiator who failed to achieve any substantial price reversal despite all the industrial actions he led. At some point the FG will play him for a fool. When they wanted to place N5 price increase, they deliberately make it N10, knowing that the “loud mouthed man” as they call him, “will bark”. True to their plan, always, government negotiators always got what they wanted.
Blessed with a high dose or oratorical skill, Oshiomhole is an aggressive mobilizer without foresight. He cares less about consequences, but more about immediate gains. He believes more in what he can achieve alone than what can be achieved by collective planning. This was the reason why the powerful NLC fell in 2005.
He would rather not be challenged. The one man who stood up to him and defeated him on national TV was rewarded with position of minister of information by former president Olusegun Obasanjo. That man, Chukwuemeka Chikelu reduced Adams Oshiomhole to a noisemaker when he refused to be rattled by the shouting and recklessness of the labour leader on national TV in the heat of the NASS furniture allowance saga. Chukwuemeka Chikelu communicated and made sense.
When Oshiomhole suggested that some of the legislators were paupers before they got elected, Chikelu did not try to hit back. He conceded to Oshiomhole but quickly reminded him that “When your people elect you to represent them, they also raise you from being a pauper.” Chikelu, dropped the final jab when he reminded the Comrade fighting for the “poor masses” that he was currently staying in Suite number 742 at the luxury Transcorp Hilton Hotel and drives around town in a brand new Lexus SUV with plate number “NLC 01”. At that point a shattered Oshiomhole cried fowl, but the masses disappointed in the Comrade’s hypocrisy. A new star, Chikelu emerged. The next year, or so, his performance earned him a place in the federal cabinet.
The emergence of Adams Oshiomhole as chairman of the APC was good news for PDP strategists. They computed that their work was half done by the selection of the former labour leader. Their calculation is that Oshiomhole, an ineffective and inexperienced national political strategist will rest on the party’s spine with his reckless style of leadership and unguarded statements. They reckon that he will throw enough of his senior party members under the bus, just like he did with the TUC.
Oshio Baba, as he is fondly or maybe sarcastically called , has tendencies somewhere in between that of Fascists and dictators. He is impatient and sometimes restless. A rarely sober man, his idea of loyalty is subservience.
Once a friend of the masses. He lost his appeal nationally when he supervised the assault of a poor widow, a trader, who perhaps voted for him as governor. When the widow reached out to him as her items were being seized and destroyed, she saw in him that labour leader who led her in the protest to reduce fuel prices. She saw a man who could be her saviour at that moment. But she was she shocked to the bone. What she heard was “Go and Die!”
This is the leader of the Nigeria’s biggest mistake.
Let me catch my flight.
The Amalgamated Union Of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical And Recreational Services Employees Aupctre hold their first annual conference on Thursday, 20th September, 2018 in Abuja, under the theme ” Violence and harrassment against women and children.”
Cross section of Executives and Vice- President at high table
Speaking after the paper presentation and well wish messages from stakeholders, Comrade Yusuf Buba in an interactive media chat called on the participants to imbibe lessons learnt from the lectures delivered by the outgoing Chairperson of the commission, Deaconess Mercy Okezie, in their daily lives, and to always have the progress of the union in all they do in lives.
Comrade Yusuf Buba in an interview chat.
spoke further on the relevance of the roles women plays in our society and need to accord them recognition in all activities that affects them.
The vice -President of the union, Comrade Abdullahi Mohammed Balange, stressed the need to give women more leadership responsibilities given to economic contribution they can contribute to the economic development of the country.
New Elected Executives of the commission
In her remark, Chairperson of the commission, Deaconess Mercy iheoma Okezie attributed the achievements so far recorded by the commission to the cooperation and support of the women,
adding that their remarkable scorecard is a testimony to the ability of women to when given leadership positions.
Newly elected National Chairperson of Women Commission at the middle, Comrd. Lami Longse
The event saw the inauguration of the new cabinet who are going to steer the affairs of the commission for four years.
The newly elected Chairperson, Comrade Lami Longe, in a chat with journalists spoke about her agendas.
“I have so many innovative ideas and projects to inject into the existing system. But my first priority will be in area of skill acquisitions for members, starting from grassroots because I believe that grassroots orientation and skill acquisition are what will keep the commission members economical and productively going, even after leaving the service”. she said.
She went further to emphasise that the learning of new skills will create new kind of confidence in them, as it will enable them have something to fall into even in retirement.
The conference was well attended with over
125 delegates from all the 36 States in Nigeria including Federal Capital territory (FCT) in attendance.
The Benue state government in collaboration with experts in the agriculture sector in west and central Africa have vowed to tackle post-harvest losses which account for the alarming rate of food shortages in Nigeria.
The Conveners with some of the dignitaries at the event.
The group made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a 5-day post-harvest congress and exhibition to meet food demands.
Speaking with the Director/ Centre Leader of the World Bank Centre of Excellence, Prof. Daniel Kparevfa Adedzwa, in an interview with the press at the venue
, he called on Nigerian farmers to come together to address post-harvest losses prevalent to each region due to poor process and storage .
“We are inviting the farmers from all geographical zones in Nigeria to come so we can hear from each and find solutions to the problems”
He went further to emphasis that in as much as Benue state being regarded as the food basket of the nation, the farmers suffers the same storage loss like others, and that by coming together, ways out of the problem will be forged, and new strategies can be adopted to reduce losses they encounter in the value chain from production to harvest stage.
“It is imperative for Nigerian farmers to come and let’s discuss ways to preserve their produce. A way to prevent those post harvest losses starting from time of production to post harvest stage. That’s why this conference is important for them to attend,” he stated.
Pamela Ogwata reporting Abuja.
Following protests recently by mobile policemen in Maiduguri, there is a strong wave of discontent amongst policemen across the country over non-payment of salaries, allowances and poor work conditions. Daily Trust Saturday reports on what the issues are, and how this is a potential powder keg for the volatile security situation in the nation.
While it is not strange to see policemen mounting checkpoints all over the country, the sight in Maiduguri on Monday when some mobile policemen deployed to the city cut off the Maiduguri-Kano expressway to protest non-payment of salaries and allowances was shocking.
Officially, the police denied that what happened in Maiduguri was a protest, Sergeant Bala (not real name), who is one of the leaders of the action, described it as a protest, for which they are now being fished out for sanctions by police authorities.
Some of the policemen spoken to almost unanimously stressed that the infrequent and sometimes non-payment of their allowances is hindering them. “And that, in turn, is undermining the very security of the nation as a whole,” one of them said, adding: “The Nigeria Police isn’t a charity organisation, so us workers shouldn’t be treated as volunteers.” Another said: “The nation’s security suffers, because those providing it suffer”.
Daily Trust Saturday, speaking with policemen across the country, can reveal that discontent within the police force is rising and policemen in other units across Nigeria are threatening to take similar action over non-payment of salaries and allowances, and deplorable work conditions.
“It is very pathetic to hear that we were all transferred here without any arrangement for our accommodation at all,” Sgt. Bala, whose unit was transferred to Borno State from the Southwest to help combat the insurgency in the northeast, told Daily Trust Saturday.
“Go to the Command Headquarters, and you will see many of us sleeping on the bare floor downstairs. And they have to wake up very early before work starts. Their bags are heaped along the corridor, littering the place. There is also no provision for healthcare and because of this, many of us are lying ill either in hospitals or where anywhere they can find to lay their heads at night,” he said.
Sgt. Bala said there are 44 mobile police units of 63 men each from all over Nigeria posted to Borno in a special assignment to help tackle the insurgency there. Each man, apart from his salary, is entitled to a N1,000 daily allowance, amounting to N30,000 every month.
“I was posted here in January, 2018, but I am telling you that since then, apart from those of us attached to the military, none of us has been paid a kobo in the name of the N30,000 monthly allowance. Those of us attached to the military are duly paid by the military authorities, they are not owed a kobo. But the majority of us posted to other places have not received a kobo for the seventh month now,” Sgt. Bala said.
The importance of these allowances, he explained, cannot be over-emphasized as that is all the policemen have to live on while on these special duties.
“Most of us have left our ATM cards with our wives back at our respective main duty places or the states from where we were transferred here from so that as soon we receive our salary alert we notify them to go to the bank,” he said.
While the sergeant’s ordeal might have just begun in January this year, for some of his colleagues it has been a long-running horror show of neglect. Some of them have been posted to Borno since 2014, shortly before the general elections in 2015.
Their job is to secure the city and towns while the military pushed into the forests and hinterlands of the northeast to tackle insurgents. Since then, they have been guarding public buildings and providing security in liberated towns.
At the moment, about 10,000 policemen in the northeast are groaning under poor working conditions and non-payment of allowances and salaries.
However, Police spokesman DCP Jimoh Moshood, speaking in Abuja, is adamant that what happened in Maiduguri was not a protest by policemen. “Some of the Police Mobile Force personnel on Special Duty in Maiduguri went to the Borno State Police Command Headquarters on enquiry over the delay in the payment of their special duty allowance in the early hours of today and not on protest as reported in some media,” he said.
But while those in Abuja are playing semantics with the events in Maiduguri, as they did when for the first time in the history of the country policemen went on strike on February 1, 2002 over poor work conditions and non-payment or salaries and allowances, disaffection is growing within the rank and file, as Daily Trust Saturday findings show.
That 2002 strike caused then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Musliu Smith, his job. He was unceremoniously sacked by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. Incidentally, the same Mr. Smith resurfaced last month when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him Chairman of the Police Service Commission, the body responsible for overseeing the force. Barely a month into his new role, the same issues that caused his sack 16 years ago are still threatening to derail whatever project he hopes to implement at the PSC. Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, is similarly embattled. With security in the country flailing and issues of police welfare coming to the fore, he has been accused of not acting quick enough to address complaints by his men.
“When the IGP came to Borno, I think last March, we complained to him about the unpaid allowances,” Sgt. Bala said. “He said the delay in the payment was due to delay in passing the federal budget. However, up until last Monday’s protest, nothing was said by anybody about our allowances.”
However, to bring an end to the protest, Mr. Moshood said the police have acted promptly, with the IGP directing the Commissioner of Police (CP), Borno State to address and inform them why there is delay in the payment of the special duty allowance. He said the CP also assured them that since the budget has been approved, the allowances will be processed and paid without any further delay.
But the protesting officers say the police strategy now seems to be to zero in on those found to have been involved in the protest on Monday in Maiduguri for punitive measures.
“The authorities are tormenting all of us on this with threats of summary dismissal,” Sgt. Bala said,“The IGP has directed the Borno CP to investigate the protest. Those identified in the videos are currently being invited for proper identification and investigation, which we are made to understand, may lead to summary dismissal from service for those confirmed to have participated in the protest.
“This identification and investigation exercise began yesterday (Wednesday, 4th July),” he said. He called on rights group, including Amnesty to intervene on their behalf to save their jobs.
But while the police is zeroing in on protesting policemen in the Northeast, discontent is spreading across the force.
At a police checkpoint in Abuja, Sergeant Dele [also not his real name] is busy flagging down vehicles for “stop and search operation.” He has been at this station since January and hasn’t seen his family since then.
“I sleep there,” he said, pointing in the general direction of some trees, “I sleep in the afternoon and work all night, every day since January, putting my life at risk just so I can provide for my family. Everything for N49,000 salary,” he said.
“I was supposed to be here for three months, but this is my sixth month,” he said, visibly enraged. “They are not doing well for us. Some of us don’t get our salaries, we don’t get our allowances, and we are here risking our lives. Look at me, look at my name,” he said, grabbing his name tag for Daily Trust Saturday reporters to see. “This is my name and my rank, put it in the paper, tell them I said they are not trying for us,” the officer said.
Issues of policemen overstaying their post are widespread. It is one of the complaints protesting policemen in Maiduguri highlighted to Daily Trust Saturday.
“The normal duration of every squadron’s stay on special duty here is three months,” Sgt. Bala told our correspondent in Maiduguri.“But because of maladministration, most of us have not been transferred back to our original duty places for the past eight to nine months. I am an example because I am in my seventh month, but there is no news of my transfer.”
“More pathetic is the case of Mopol 26 Squadron transferred from Akwa Ibom State. They are in their ninth month here, but they are yet to receive any news of relief from the special duty. They have been calling their commander back in Akwa Ibom State to complain to him about their overstay here, but they are yet to receive any positive response,” he added.
But even in the mass chaos, there are few exceptions, Sgt. Bala said. “The luckiest among us are those in Mopol 22 Squadron transferred from Ikeja, Lagos. Their commander has been replacing duly after the three months duration. He was not used to doing this until last March when he lost seven of his men in an attack by insurgents,” he said.
Daily Trust Saturday can report that more police officers, especially those manning checkpoints along the major highways out of Abuja, are bracing to go the way of their counterparts in Maiduguri.
A team of policemen who belong to one of the highway patrol squads located along one of the major highways out of Abuja who opened up to Daily Trust Saturday on the difficulties they face in the course of their work said they may be forced to take a cue from what happened in Borno State if nothing is done to address their plight.
They say they cannot continue operating under such poor and insecure conditions, especially barely less than a week after armed attackers gunned down seven of their colleagues in Abuja.
Like their counterparts who protested in Maiduguri, the police officers who spoke with Daily Trust Saturday alleged that they were being owed allowances for six months even as they complained of lack of communication gadgets and functional operational vehicles.
One of them, Sgt.Okoro (not real name) said, “Before the commencement of this operation (code name redacted) we were promised a good welfare package including N40,000 monthly allowance, shelter, and feeding as well as operational vehicle. Instead of the N40,000 promised, they started by paying us only N15,000 per month. Even that has not been paid for the past six months,” the sergeant said, adding that they were neither fed, kitted, nor provided with tents to serve as accommodation.
Pointing towards the opposite side of their operational spot, Sgt. Okoro said, “The owner of the building over there volunteered to accommodate us, otherwise we would’ve suffered in the cold at night. Last week we all got sick because of cold. We are not well-kitted for protection; no bullet-proof vests, raincoats, nothing. Our most important concern is our feeding, because we can’t effectively work without eating.”
Okoro’s colleague, Corporal Aliyu (not real name), wielding an AK-47 rifle, said it is the only weapon they use, with no more than 30 rounds of ammunition to face bandits who have superior weapons and ammunition. “We have no life insurance, no risk allowance. Even our pension is no longer life-oriented with the introduction of PenCom,” he sighed.
Recalling a recent incident, when they heard gunshots from armed bandits nearby and needed to respond but couldn’t, Corporal Aliyu said: “’In the process, an Okada rider was killed while a woman who was returning from the hospital with the corpse of her deceased child was shot in her right arm. We wanted to move there for emergency intervention but unfortunately our vehicle could not move.”
The police officers who said the problems faced at their operational location were similar to those faced by their colleagues elsewhere within and around the Federal Capital Territory and some surrounding states said, “We have complained to our unit commander and sector commander, but all they tell us is to remain patriotic and disciplined. In fact, we depend on the goodwill of passers-by and motorists who occasionally give us tips to feed ourselves.”
“We are also afraid of what happened to seven of our colleagues at the Galadimawa area of Abuja. As you can see we are surrounded in this place by hills, without communication equipment and do not know who is watching us.”
Asked if the IGP is aware of their plight, Sgt.Okoro said, “We believe he is aware of our predicament, but so far we’ve heard nothing, not even a senior officer to address us”.
While urging President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in addressing their problems Sgt. Okoro said: “We are encountering many challenges that government is not addressing. Under normal circumstances, we are supposed to be changed from this operation within three months. But here we are for the past six months without replacement and unpaid allowances.”
“It is possible that we too may take a cue from what happened in Maiduguri in order to show our grievances. Anything can happen!” he said.
Daily Trust Saturday investigations show that the problem is not only restricted to allowances, as salaries are also delayed, and sometimes paid incomplete. Some policemen serving in the northeast confirmed this much to Daily Trust Saturday, saying that they are being short-changed even when they get any payment at all. Some say they have only received half their salaries, with one saying he hasn’t received any payment in four months, a situation that has made life difficult for his family.
Most of the complaints are referred to ‘Abuja’. But a source said it’s frustrating when they travel to the federal capital only to be told the problem is with the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) domiciled at the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Corporal Aliyu complained that in spite of the detailed feedback provided by policemen when the IPPS was introduced, problems still persist in the system.
While the police have been reluctant to categorically state that there are problems within its ranks, IGP Idris earlier in June admitted as much while addressing the rank-and-file from the 36 states of the federation as part of activities marking his second year at the helm. He noted that the police management is working with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation to address challenges with the payment of police personnel salaries. He added that with over 300,000 personnel there have been some challenges but with proper planning the situation would be addressed.
“When you have challenge with salaries you should speak out. Your salary is your right and entitlement, nobody has right to hold on to your salaries,” Mr. Idris told his men.
But while making these pronouncements, what has become clear is that despite facing the challenge of insecurity in the country, the police has a huge problem paying the men in its service, with the House of Reps Committee on Police Affairs having said that the 2018 budget proposal for the Nigeria Police is inadequate and cannot cater for the myriad of security challenges facing the country.
The panel chairman, Rep Haliru Jika (APC, Bauchi), said that his committee would seek to on the N332billion proposed in the budget for the police in consultation with the Budget Office of the federation.
In 2017, the Nigeria Police proposed N342billion for capital projects but only N20.19billion was appropriated, out of which N9.09billion has been released so far. With the budget passed and the rhetoric coming out of the force headquarters in Abuja, the police needs to act fast to contain the growing discontent within its ranks, and to save the nation’s security from looming jeopardy.
The twin evil of impunity and imposition of candidates that caused the People’s Democratic Party’s electoral misfortune in 2015 is imminent, as aspirants are threatening fire and brimstone in kogi and several other states as build up to 2019 general elections.
A forum of PDP Aspirants for political offices in the 2019 general elections in kogi state led by Hajia (Bar.) Halima Alfa has warned that it might be compelled to work against the interest of the party in 2019 general elections if the party goes ahead with it’s planned imposition of candidate’s on the people of the state.
While venting their anger yesterday in a press conference at Grand Hotel, Abuja, the group demanded a level play field where a transparent, free and fair primary election is conducted for a credible candidate to emerge for all positions.
The forum faulted the PDP opposition party National Working Committee for its complicity with sitting Federal Law Makers (FLM) to grant them a ‘right of first refusal’ as a plot to rob other credible party members and aspirants for the House of Representative and Senate for the three senatorial districts in the state, with a promise to resist it.
Alfa said, “Our attention has been drawn to the clandestine scheme by some Senior officials of the People’s Democratic Party at the National Level to organise predetermined and prearranged manipulated Primary Election aimed at anointing/nominating some party members as candidates of the party in the 2019 General Elections in contravention with the extant party guidelines, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 ( as amended)”.
“The PDP Constitution 2018 (as amended) provides that party primaries must comply with Fundamental Human Rights provisions in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that guidelines of the party for Primary Elections must comply with the Electoral Act and the Constitution”.
The group warned on the lack of internal democracy, impunity and adherence to party Guidelines, Constitution and principles of democracy that caused implosion in the party and it’s losses in the 2015 polls.
The group therefore demanded that the party should ensure transparency, equity, fair play and justice in all the primary elections in a build up to the 2019 General Elections to avoid fragmentation of the party.
It also reiterated that all the aspirants for the National Assembly seats under the party shall collectively and wholeheartedly work for the interest of the party and duly nominated candidates, promising that anything contrary is an invitation for implosion against the party” s interests.
The Governor of Taraba state submited the governorship form today while confidently awaiting the other political parties candidate to challenge him in next year’s guber poll.
Executive Governor, Darius Ishaku of Taraba state
The leadership of the various groups within the PDP, including the board of trustees, supported the zoning formula and unanimously agreed for him to solely, fly the party’s banner, as up till now, he remains unopposed and sole challenger within the party.
Speaking to one of the party chieftain from the state, he says, “The general consensus is that Ishaku should do a second term to complete our eight years zoning slot. Let me state it clear to you, even the northern and central zones are in full support of his re-election arrangement”.
In an interview chat with another PDP member from the state. He attributed his unchallenged status to his distinctive performance in the state especially in agriculture, health, education and infrastructure.
While another member chronicled consensual rotation formula in the state by giving examples of his predecessors who was also given general consensus to serve eight years.
“Apart from his substantial performance which are enough to earn him second term. His predecessors were given the same chance. starting with Rev. Jolly Nyame who did 10 years from northern zone, from 1992-1993 and 1999-2007.
Danbaba Suntai, from central zone, did eight years. so, it is a general consensus for him to complete his terms and our slot”
Addressing women and youths groups, who travelled all the way from Taraba state to Abuja to show the governor unblinking supports, the Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu spoke on behalf of his partner, assured them that the unparalleled trust and solidarity they have been shown, can never be compromised, and asked them to show the same unwavering solidarity to ensure his reelection.
” Your job as electorates is to make sure he is returned as governor for a second term. We are asking for you to remain undaunted in support for us to complete the jobs we have started. Thank you. And God bless you”.
Beside some distractions that might come from other parties, the PDP in Taraba state is optimistic that Governor Darius Ishaku will retain his mandate come 2019.
By Pamela Ogwata
Federal, states and local governments on Thursday shared N714.8 billion revenue generated in July.
The figure indicated a decline of N107.1 billion when compared to what was generated in June.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the outcome of the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, highlighted several factors that impacted negatively on the month’s income.
“Crude oil exports sales volume was 3.74 million barrels showing an increase of 0.17 million barrels when compared with the previous month sales of 3.57 million barrels.
“Despite the improved revenue, production was negatively affected in the period by shut-ins and shut-down at various terminals for repairs and maintenance of ageing facilities.
“The value Added Tax (VAT), import duty, Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Oil Royalty decreased, while Petroleum Profit Tax recorded an increase,” she said.
Adeosun, giving a breakdown of the revenue generated, said that N376.14 billion was generated as mineral revenue, while N221.8 billion came from non-mineral resources.
The minister said that Federal Government received N269.8 billion, states N136.85 billion and local government N105.5 billion.
She said that N44.96 billion was also shared among the oil producing states, representing 13 per cent of the oil revenue generated in the month of July.
Abuja – Foreign investors have appealed to Nigerian banks to invest in the mining sector to boost the sector.
Mr Abubakar Bwari, Minister of State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, disclosed this while declaring open the first edition of the Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Stakeholders’ Forum (MISF) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The theme of the forum is: ‘Nigeria’s Economic and Industrial Development Through Value Addition in the Metal Sector.’
He said this while declaring open the first edition of the Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Stakeholders’ Forum (MISF), on Tuesday in Abuja.
Bwari said that the foreign investors made the appeal in Australia at a mining forum where they complained about Nigerian banks’ non commitment to the sector.
He added that of the African countries present at the forum, Nigeria was most focused on for investment interests.
“At the Nigeria’s round table forum, most of the investors from Australia had one complaint that had to do with our investors and not the foreign investors.
“They said that the Nigerian banks were not ready to fund mining and know little or nothing about mining.
“So the ball is in our court, as stakeholders, to bring mining before the banks so that the Nigerian banks can be educated on what it is about, “ he said.
According to him, the effort will also highlight some of the challenges that have to do with mining and the way out.
He also said that in as much as government was paying attention to mining as a means of diversifying the economy, there was need for Nigerian banks to play their own role.
The minister also said that modern mining would soon commence in Nigeria with Bauchi state being the first beneficiary because of its large deposit of zinc.
Bwari said that the metal industry had a great impact on other sectors of the economy, adding that the prospects of a vibrant metal industry in Nigeria include foreign exchange earnings and sustenance.
He also said that it would contribute to increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create job opportunities as well as acquisition of technical skills leading to technology transfer to Nigerians.
According to him, the stakeholders’ forum will be organised periodically to proffer solutions to the challenges of the metal sector and educate the metallurgical operators on the government’s policy direction.
Giving the history of the metallurgical and allied plants in the country, he said many were established by investors from far and near but expressed concern that some had either closed down or were about to do so.
Bwari identified lack of effective government policies to guide and regulate the activities of operators in the sector and lack of commitment by persons assigned to run public enterprises as some of the challenges.
Others he said were; corruption and economic sabotage by Nigerians, unfavourable and sometimes inconsistent fiscal policies and inadequate and expensive power supply with the attendant danger of power generating sets.
In his address of welcome, Dr Abdulkadir Mua’azu, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said the present administration was poised to create an enabling environment for metallurgical operators to thrive.
This, he said was necessary with a view to generating employment, creating wealth and reducing poverty.
He also said that to achieve its goals, the ministry had articulated some strategies and activities for the development of the metallurgical sector to take it to the next level.
“They include: ensuring Presidential assent to the Nigerian Metallurgical Industrial Bill which has passed the second reading at the floor of the senate and collaboration with all relevant government agencies,“ he said.
He also said the ministry was liaising with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) toward curbing incessant dumping of substandard steel and other metal products in Nigeria and export of banned scrap metals.
Comrade Otorri Saliu
In a side interview with former National President of Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and present United Labour Congress (ULC) Auditor, Comrade Otorri Saliu who commended the collective efforts of the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Abubakar Bawa-Bwari for putting the needed external infrastructures to kick start the mining sector in Nigeria.
He went further to throw light on some of the implementation challenges undermining the efforts made so far to revitalise the sector.
“The issue we have is the inability of subsequent government to start from the road map created by its predecessor. They continue overhauling and somersaulting the policy. There is a need to put and adopt stable policy to move this sector ahead and beside that I won’t fail to commend the efforts of the present government and minister of mines and steel development who have been able to create external infrastructures for the revitalisation of mining sector in the country. Is a welcome development.”
He called on government to adopt stable policy to drive the sector not overhauling the one created by the predecessors.
Lawal Idrisu, Chairman, House Committee on Steel and Metallurgy, said as a nation, there was need to encourage players in the industry by way of incentives through creation of special funding.
“Availability of funds cannot be overemphasised and this is because accessing these funds for investments is very important.
“For example, the lowest cost of interest rate of less than five per cent will invariably boost investment in this sector.
“I therefore implore our policy makers to look into this as we in the parliament will be able to support this kind of gesture with legislation.
“We look beyond ourselves and focus our attention on the multiplier effects of what this policy will bring to the economy.“
He listed the multiplier effects to include creation of wealth and increase in the revenue that would accrue to government, through taxes and other remunerations.
The two-day forum was being attended by government officials and captains of the steel and metallurgical industry.
By Pamela Ogwata
Managing Director, CSS Bookshop, Dare Oluwatuyi made the commendation at the public presentation of a book written by the ANAN Chief, Olumuyiwa Sosanya, titled “‘Revolution of Accountancy Profession in Nigeria”
Dare Oluwatuyi, MD CSS Bookshops Ltd.
Speaking at the official launch of the book, Mr. Oluwatuyi said the presentation was “ welcomed” and of “timely importance,” adding that his vital role in can never be overemphasised.
The book provided useful insights on his struggle for the liberalisation of the accountancy profession and the birth of a virile homegrown accountancy body in Nigeria.
The unveiling of the book and presentation.
“In the book, ‘ Revolution of Accountancy Profession in Nigeria”.
Olumuyiwa has not only chronically puts the record straight , but has scholarly presented the sequence of hindrances, triumphs and reflect on the future of accountancy profession in Nigeria.
Author at the middle with guests at the event.
Oluwatuyi noted CSS bookshop having been given opportunity to collaborate in publishing, and presenting the iconic book to the public is a great privilege.
” When he called on us to be part of this , it was like we have caught a big fish. We felt so priveledged and honored to be part of its presentation today”.
Dare Oluwatuyi lauded the persistent doggdness of the author and the inherent dignity he exhibited in his fights to see the positive change in practice of accountancy profession and membership in Nigeria.
He noted that not even Olumuyiwa Sosanya’s worst detractor could deny the profundity of his intellectual grasp in establishment of ANAN in Nigeria and writing the book.
“He has established the ANAN association, for that he has done his own by lighting the spark, and is now left for others to keep the flame alight and not to allow it to flicker”, he said.
Pamela Ogwata Reporting- Abuja
In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani writes about the Nigerian man who composed some 200 hymns, despite having leprosy.
Nigeria’s most famous victim of leprosy was fatally injured in a motor accident 40 years ago, and a ceremony is being held to mark the anniversary of the music composer’s death.
Born in 1905, Ikoli Harcourt Whyte was diagnosed with leprosy as a teenager, at a time when there was no effective cure for the dreaded disease which usually leads to deformity of the hands and feet.
People suffering from leprosy were often isolated or driven away from their communities. Whyte channelled his experience of suffering and stigmatisation into music, and went on to compose more than 200 inspirational hymns.
“He wrote with the stubs of his thumb and index finger,” said 77-year-old Achinivu Kanu Achinivu, a professor of music who was a friend and protégé of Whyte.
“He wrote very slowly. It took him a whole day or more to write one page of music.”
Listen to his hymn Atula Egwu:
Whyte’s talent for music was developed at the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in what is now Abia State in south-eastern Nigeria, where he spent the last 45 years of his life.
Before then, he had been receiving treatment at a hospital in Port Harcourt, capital city of his home state of Rivers in the Niger Delta, which had a thriving leprosy ward.
When residents of Port Harcourt, known as the Garden City, agitated for the removal of people with leprosy in their midst, Whyte led the other patients to resist attempts by local authorities to evacuate them forcefully, insisting that they be provided with an alternative location instead.
His persistent activism partly led to the intervention of Methodist missionaries, who then established the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in 1932, with Whyte and his fellow patients as some of the first set of inmates.
“The work at Uzuakoli was hugely significant,” said John Manton, Irish historian and anthropologist of medicine.
“It was the place where the dosage of dapsone for treating of leprosy was standardised in the early 1950s, and the first clinical trials of clofazimine took place there in the early 1960s – these are two of the drugs that are used as part of multi-drug therapy for leprosy today.”
It was also in Uzuakoli that Whyte met British missionary and medical doctor, Thomas Frank Davey, a music lover and a pianist – an association that became the catalyst for his music career.
“Dr Davey taught him everything he knew about music, that he acquired by studying the Methodist hymn book,” said Mr Achinivu.
During trips to surrounding and remote villages to treat leprosy patients, Dr Davey recorded the traditional music of the people.
He then encouraged Whyte to develop his own personal style by listening to and composing songs that sounded more like those tunes, rather than the ones in the Methodist hymn book.
Even after Whyte was eventually declared cured of leprosy in 1949, he chose to remain at the Uzuakoli centre, where he formed a choir made up of other patients.
His first wife, who also had leprosy, had abandoned him there a few years earlier after she was cured, leaving him with their two children.
Soon, books of Whyte’s hymns were being sold in different churches across the region, and choirs from around Nigeria were visiting the leprosy centre to listen to and learn from him.
Tales abound of the reach and impact of his music, most of which was written in his local Igbo language and focused on hope in spite of trials and tribulations.
“In the evenings, people from all walks of life came and he would teach them the music which God had shown him in dreams,” said Enyeama Okoroafor. Now in his 70s, Mr Okoroafor is currently the oldest resident at the Uzuakoli centre, having been diagnosed with leprosy as a child and abandoned by his family.
“At the time, because of his fame, we regarded him as the most senior person here and gave him that honour and respect. Because of what he was doing, he moved with many important men.”
The decision to change the name of the chapel at the leprosy centre from Colony Chapel to Chapel of Hope was inspired by the aura that pervaded the hall whenever Whyte and the choir rendered his music.
“He didn’t want instruments with his music so that they wouldn’t overshadow the message,” said 85-year-old Godwin Harcourt, Whyte’s oldest child.
“From his songs, you could get solace, advice, things that would awaken your hope in God.”
Godwin grew up in the leprosy colony with his father, although living in separate quarters, and became a school teacher.
“Every school I was sent to, I made sure I formed a choir there so I could teach his songs,” he said.
Apart from church services, Whyte’s choir sang for various dignitaries from Britain who visited colonial Nigeria.
Some say that the Queen of England also became aware of his music, and once requested his hymns to be played by the BBC on Christmas Day.
And, during the Nigerian civil war when leaders of the Igbo ethnic group attempted to secede and form a different country called Biafra, Whyte’s songs were popular as a source of courage and hope.
“Each time we gathered, the chances were that we would end up with some recording of his,” said Ejike Ago, 73, who fought in the Biafran army.
“It is not only the Biafran soldiers alone. The Christians, each time we gathered had his recordings playing.”
Reporting- Pamela. O.
Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Akwa Ibom state, under the aegis of Akwa Ibom Progressives Watch, have petitioned the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, protesting the defection of Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to the party.
In a letter dated August 3, 2018, and addressed to the APC national chairman, the group said it had noted with deep concern the broad chorus of disapproval and complete despondency amongst different strata of members of the APC in Akwa Ibom state over the defection of Akpabio to the party.
The letter endorsed by Innocent Sylvanus, Chairman and Ubong Victor, Secretary, read in part: “Our group is an integrity watch team whose support for the APC is driven by the party’s change agenda, the fight against corruption as well as the near immaculate personality of the leader of the Party, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We metamorphosed from Ibom Transparency Watch under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), working assiduously in the last seven years to entrench in the party sterling values, such as integrity, justice, accountability and transparency, which are lacking in our political system.
“Hence, we have been on the watch so that such persons with tendencies which violate these values are not found tip-toeing around our party.
“For this reason, we feel sad, so are most members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State who looked up to our party as institution that will evict moral pervers as Senator Godswill Akpabio from position of authority, by the admission of Senator Godswill Akpabio into our party.
“Senator Akpabio who is now seeking asylum in the APC called our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, very unprintable names during the 2015 electioneering.
“He ordered the immediate closure of the Ibom Airport on the day Buhari, who was then the presidential flag – bearer of our party visited Akwa Ibom State.
“After our President won the 2015 election despite all their antics, Akpabio encouraged former President Goodluck Jonathan to challenge Buhari’s election victory in court.”
The group also informed Oshiomhole that Akpabio polarised ethnicity to its zenith in his bid to annihilate the Ibibio majority, and destroy the Oro ethnic nationality, when he was governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Kabiru Turaki, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has highlighted how President Muhammadu Buhari deceived Nigerians.
Turaki recalled that Buhari in 2015 promised that he won’t travel abroad to seek medical attention but since he assumed power, he had travelled severally for treatment.
Speaking with PDP stakeholders in Lokoja, the state capital, the presidential aspirant lamented that the country was stagnant despite the many promises made by Buhari in the build-up to the 2015 general election.
He insisted that Buhari failed in three major areas of security, economy and the fight against corruption with which it “deceived” the people to get votes.
According to Turaki, “President Buhari said if he wins he will not go abroad for medical treatment, but he became president, what do we have? If he has an ordinary headache, he heads to London, if he has a fever, it is London, even when he has an ordinary ear problem, he was flown to London.
“He said he would scrap the office of the first lady but what do we have today, billions of Naira is being allocated to that office. He said if he became president, he will make the value of naira and dollar to be same, has he done that? There are a lot of failed promises by this present APC government and that is the reason Nigerians have resolved to kick them out.”
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